Showing 1 - 10 of 379 posts found matching keyword: walter
Thursday 12 January 2023
Not so long ago, my anonymous friend — let's call him "Randy" — asked, "Can you name one thing that is better now than it was a few years ago?" It's a pretty good question.
Certainly, there has been a parade of bad news over the past half decade or so: COVID, Trump, Ukraine, drugs, inflation, immigration.... I'm sure you can think of a few more. Certainly, a lot of things don't seem as fun as they once did: watching the television shows you want to see costs a small fortune for a dozen streaming services, most of the content in video games can only be unlocked with micro transactions, corporations bought the fun out of the Internet, comic books cost $6.... I'm sure you can think of a few more of these, too.
From an objective point-of-view, things for most of us are actually still pretty good, as evidenced by the fact that we all have so much time to bitch about what sucks. Could things be better? Yeah. Yeah, they could. But were things better than this just a few years ago? Has American society peaked? I have doubts.
Judging whether the future we got is "better" than the present we had is a matter of comparing what we hoped we would get to the reality of what we got. That's never a particularly fair comparison. Hope might spring eternal, but reality, to borrow a phrase, always bites.
But in answer to Randy's question, yes, I can name one thing: Georgia Football. Georgia Football is better than it was a few years ago. Way better. Go Dawgs!
Friday 6 January 2023
More True Tales from the Hospital
NURSE: Sir, have you experienced any domestic violence?
JIM (pointing at me): Only from him.
WALTER: He's kidding.
NURSE: I can tell.
WALTER: And if he says anything like that again, I'll shut that smart mouth of his for good.
For the record, that completely true conversation took place when Dad was being introduced to his seventh-floor ward nurse... after six hours spent in the hall of the overcrowded ER. His hematologist didn't like something about the looks of his blood test so a CT scan was ordered, and his nephrologist didn't like something about the looks of that. They agreed that Dad should go to the ER for more tests. When we got there, the attending physician asked, "Why are you here today?," and Dad answered, "I don't know."
The only thing Dad says he's really worried about is being discharged in time to watch Monday night's UGA game from his own recliner.
Tuesday 27 December 2022
Early in the 2022 football season, Friend Randy said that if his beloved FSU made it to a postseason bowl game, we were going. Well, FSU did make it — to the Cheez-It Bowl in Orlando — but Randy decided we should go to a closer game. So we went back to the Birmingham Bowl to see the East Carolina Pirates play the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers.
Full disclosure: Randy wanted to go to the Camellia Bowl in Montgomery to see Georgia Southern play Buffalo. But that game kicked-off at noon Eastern time, and I didn't want to wake up so early in the morning. So we compromised and went to Birmingham, which had a 6:45PM Eastern start. The only down side to this decision was that the entire game was played after dark. We could have used a little sunlight warmth. Actually, we could have used a lot of sunlight warmth. It was cold.
University of Alabama-Birmingham's Protective Stadium has replaced historic Legion Field for reasons that are not entirely clear to me. I mean, it does have larger bathrooms and more convenient concession stands, but its seats aren't any more comfortable and the place isn't wrapped in the smell of BBQ. I mean, it's fine. I'm just old fashioned.
Sadly, the game itself wasn't as good as our last visit. The Chanticleers' starting quarterback knocked himself out of the game in the second quarter, bouncing on his head in the end zone right in front of us, and the team never recovered. (The backup's nameplate read "Guest," which Randy and I had a lot of fun with: the poor temporary replacement wasn't even given his own account!). We left at the end of the third quarter when the game was very obviously over.
Despite these minor problems, Randy and I agreed we both had a great time and will have to try to make going to some bowl game an annual tradition. Maybe we'll get to the Camellia next year... depending on kickoff time.
Monday 26 December 2022
Did everyone have a Merry Christmas? I guess I did, all things considered. I mean, so long as I ignore the fact that the Miami Dolphins collapsed in the second half and lost their 4th straight game, going 0-4 in December and demonstrating that despite some earlier success they are definitively not ready to be a playoff team for the 22nd year in a row. (Annual reminder: their last playoff win was in 2000.)
Yeah, ignoring that and the fact that I badly cut my thumb on the large carving knife while doing the dishes, the rest of the day went pretty well. It was in the wee hours of this morning that I ran into trouble. Or maybe I should say that it was Louis who ran into trouble for us all.
After watching Sunday Night Football go to overtime and spending an hour trying and failing to play online games with Friend James (the trouble seemed to be with his ISP), I noticed at about 1:30 in the morning that something smelled wrong in my room: the faint smell of burning plastic. That's never good.
I began sniffing my way around the darkened house for the cause, starting with the basement. It wasn't coming from my room. It wasn't the furnace which has been running all out for days to combat the 30-year historic cold. It wasn't in my studio where I had been painting finishing veneers earlier in the day. So I moved upstairs where the smell was indeed stronger. I thought maybe it was the Christmas tree lights, but no, they seemed fine. And It wasn't any appliance in the kitchen or anything electronic in Mom's office. I even grabbed a flashlight and checked outside to no avail. What *was* the source of that smell?
When I came back inside, I noticed that the flashlight wasn't a spotlight like it was outside but an illuminated beam, a fuzzy lightsaber. As a former Boy Scout, I quickly recognized this as a Very Bad Sign. The good news is that I could follow the flashlight beam to find the areas of thickening smoke.
The source, as it turns out, was behind the curtains separating the den from the sunroom that Mom uses for crafting. As is usual in the winter, the "sun" room was the coldest in the house, and she has been running an older model portable oil space heater day and night to keep the chill out. At this point, you've probably figured out where this is headed.
Context clues indicate that sometime while I was preoccupied with football or video games, my mischievous puppy, Louis, had taken a break from chewing up my new shoelaces and pajama bottoms to sneak behind the curtain — where he knew he wasn't allowed alone — and knocked over the heater. The sideways heater did not have an automatic shutoff, and worse, on its side it started leaking oil, oil that fortunately smoked before it flamed.
I uncovered the problem in time to prevent any further damage to life, limb, or property. (Sure, the house *smells* like burnt plastic and oil, but at least there's a house to smell.) I think from now on I'm going to have to keep Louis tied to me. And I'm going to recommend that Mom mounts her new space heater (with automatic shutoff!) to the floor!
Post-Christmas crisis averted!
Friday 23 December 2022
The big winter storm came through last night, bringing with it sub-freezing temperature and crazy wind. As is usual for these sorts of things, half of my neighborhood lost power immediately; our backyard neighbors lost theirs at 2 AM. (The yard was awfully dark.) Fortunately for us, we only lost cable and Internet.
Power company estimates a restoration by 8 PM tonight. There's no estimate yet from the cable company, but I'm not complaining about that. Better to be bored than cold.
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Tuesday 6 December 2022
Saturday 3 December 2022
Today, the UGA Bulldogs won their first SEC Championship game since 2017 in dominating fashion. Hooray!
But the real news of the day is that I have a new dog.
Like Henry before him, this good boy is a rescue puppy whose first family couldn't care for him. His original name was Ricky, though his temporary foster parents discovered he didn't seem to know it. They renamed him Coco Puff, but he never really cottoned to that name, either. Mom decided we might as well call him something that sounded good alongside "Henry."
(Side note: I might have ambushed Mom with the idea of a new dog just yesterday, so she justifiably needed some appeasing before she would allow another standard poodle in her house run by Audrey the Hungry Havanese — whose birthday is tomorrow! If that means Mom gets to name my new dog, so be it.)
Therefore, allow me to introduce Louis, pronounced like a French king, unless you're my dad, who insists on saying it "the American way."
Of course, I'm particularly sensitive to whether Henry might get his feelings hurt by having a new dog in the house, so I woke up early (for me) to take Henry to the PetSmart in Peachtree City for an interview with his prospective new playmate. As it happens, the Peachtree City PetSmart is right beside a cemetery, and when Henry and Louis (nee Coco) politely paused their inaugural rollicking to let a group of funeral-bound mourners pet them, I was pretty sure we were going to be all right.
I'm quite pleased that Louis is a brown poodle, a first for my family. White poodles can be pretty, but you really have to keep them on their pedestal, especially on rainy days when playing with new puppies in the mud.
Immediately after this picture was taken, I introduced Louis to my bathtub. It was an eventful day, indeed.
Tuesday 22 November 2022
I was inclined to believe that Elon Musk's takeover of Twitter wouldn't mean any real change to the platform. After all, it's been a sewer of uneducated shitposts for years. But through careful curation, I had carved out a space for posts from comic book publishers and creators (specifically creators who worked on Booster Gold comic books). I figured that shouldn't change under new ownership.
However, no sooner had Musk taken control than the app started suggesting I might be interested in tweets from "Elon Musk." Musk bought Twitter because he likes to troll other users — specifically potential investors and the Securities and Exchange Commission — not because he likes comic books. I didn't follow him before he spent $44 billion to tank a business, and I'm not interested in following him now. So I declined the suggestion.
Twitter said okay, how about tweets from "business leaders"? Technically, creating comic books is a business, but that's not what these are. All of the tweets promoted in this category seemed to be someone criticizing the old leadership at Twitter for hiring thousands too many employees and/or praising Elon Musk, who has — completely coincidentally, I'm sure — just reinstated their previously banned account. Neither of those topics has anything to do with comic books, so I told Twitter I wasn't interested in what any "business leaders" had to say, either.
Twitter said okay, how about "tech news" tweets? I mean, that's what I do professionally, so maybe? But Twitter's idea of "tech news" seems to be limited to exclamations about how great it is that a billionaire has bought a social media company. It's a win for free speech, they say! I think I speak for all Americans when I say that if "free speech" means I have to hear less about comic books, you can keep it to yourself.
So what's next? "Car manufacturers" promoting government-funded space travel? "Cool guys" advising that hot chicks love Teslas? "Medical professionals" recommending that I should add cocaine to my Coca-Cola just like Elon Musk does? No, thanks, Twitter. Just comic book news. Please.
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Saturday 5 November 2022
On Tuesday, November 2, the initial College Football Playoff rankings of the 2022 season were released, and the Tennessee Volunteers leapfrogged the Georgia Bulldogs, who were atop the Associated Press poll, to become the top-ranked football team in the country.
Then they played Georgia on a soggy Saturday afternoon in Athens.
To be the best, you've got to beat the best, Vols. And you didn't. Final score: Tennessee 13, UGA 27. Honestly, it wasn't really even that close.
Driven in no small part by the chip on Bulldogs fans' shoulders, the game atmosphere was truly great, the best in years. The enthusastic fans were really into the game from long before kickoff, were only made more rabid when the refs stole a safety from Georgia in the second quarter, and somehow managed to get even more energetic when the rain started falling in the third quarter. What a bunch of damn good dawgs!
Reminder to future Walter: This is why you buy season tickets, to go to games like this one. Fantastic.
Thanks to friend James for keeping me company in the rain. I certainly enjoyed myself.
Wednesday 2 November 2022