Monday, December 31

batting 4 for 5

Sensing the need to continue enriching the pockets of them wild-haired Hollywood Libberuls, I waddled over to the local AMC megaplex today to see Juno (2007), which is about as close as I'll come to seeing a Chick Flick in 2007. I was mildly surprised to find that the lead actress (Ellen Page) has 20+ films under her belt. Verdict: good, not great. Mostly predictable.

Hmm .. what to see tomorrow - New Year's Day? Hmmm ...

Sunday, December 30

3 for 3

Daniel-Bob recommended that I see No Country for Old Men (2007) so I did that yesterday, making it 3 movies in 3 days.

Old Men was certainly a warm, caring movie; I wasn't expecting a chick flick.

Friday, December 28

a movie a day keeps the doctor away?

Second movie in two days .. I waddled down to The Angelika to screen The Rape of Europa (2007) .. a documentary about the treatment (theft and destruction) of art during World War II.

Daniel-Bob wants me to see another movie tomorrow. Hmmm.

Thursday, December 27

Payback's a bitch

In today's (New York Times) ON THIS DAY:
"On Dec. 27, 1979, Soviet forces seized control of Afghanistan. President Hafizullah Amin, who was overthrown and executed, was replaced by Babrak Karmal."
and then there's an Associated Press story yesterday:
With those items in mind, I suspect Vlad Putin (the one who Dubya looked into his soul) is hoping to shoot down a few hundred US missiles/helicopters/aircraft that will be launched against Iran's nucular [sic] bomb factories. Payback's a bitch, ya see.

This afternoon, I waddled down to The Angelika to watch Charlie Wilson's War (2007) which explores the events of 1982-1983 when the US (covertly) armed the Afghans with enough firepower to drive the Soviet Union out of their country. Mild surprise: there was no mention of Osama bin Laden's role in that conflict. Oscar prediction: they should just give Best Supporting Actor to Philip Seymour Hoffman now, and avoid any pretense that anyone did any better in 2007.

Tuesday, December 25

Christmas musings

Why is the Christian religion the only one that gets a US Postal holiday all year? Can't they staff enough Heathens on the 25th of December to make deliveries, or is this like the periodic addition of "In God We Trust" to our currency, that would've left Our Founding Fathers spinning in their graves? And .. if today's holiday is that important, why is there a newspaper delivery?

Alas, it's now past noon and time to investigate which retailers have reopened after yesterday's partial holiday, when most closed early. Hmmm. To be fair, I must take the same route as last night, right?

4:30pm update
Okay, here's what was different: some (not all) of the groceries reopened; El Rancho and Tom Thumb were doing a brisk business. The church parking lots that were overflowing for Christmas Eve (during the daylight I can see the signs advertising their multiple services) are empty, as are the Finer Steak Houses (Rick Stein's; III Forks; Ruth's Chris; Del Frisco's). A few restaurants that were open last night (Blackfinn; Burger Street) are closed, while others (Humperdink's; Sonic Drive-In; Furr's) have opened - mostly the Asian ones - Thai, Chinese. Some Starbucks locations are open while others remain closed. The movie theatres are open. Blockbuster and Hollywood Video are open - presumably to put something inside all the Shiny New DVD players that were under "the tree" this morning. It was warmer (14-15C). Gas prices $2.75 unleaded, $3.28 diesel.

weekend redefined

The local newspaper - supposedly the fount of all knowledge - doesn't know what a "weekend" is. A few years ago, after I observed that I no longer had time to read a daily (paper edition) newspaper, I switched to "weekends only", which arrived on Saturday and Sunday. At some point, that evolved into Friday also and then Monday was added to the mix, so that weekends became 4 days long. Since the Monday paper is always the lightest of the week, it didn't bother me as much as the Friday edition which weighs about thrice as much due to the ads and the double sports section.

Now (a few days ago) I got a robo-dial from the paper saying that (effective immediately) my weekend edition would change to Thursday-Friday-Saturday-Sunday. I suspect it has a lot to do with declining ad revenues but there's apparently nothing I can do to stop the Thursday-Friday editions from going straight from my sidewalk to the recycle bin (I still don't have time to read those days). Today - a Tuesday - there's a newspaper on my sidewalk. So I guess "weekend" == "Thursday through Sunday + US Postal Holidays"?

KVAM on the fritz .. wait, no .. it's okay now

Every once in awhile, the mouse attached to my KVM switch locks up. The cure is to unplug the mouse from the switch, count to 4 and reinsert it. This doesn't happen with the keyboard, audio* or video - only the mouse. Today is one of those days.
* (Deep Thoughts:) should mine be properly called a KVAM because it switches audio, too, in addition to Keyboard Video Mouse? Why is there a radio station (Weatherford, Oklahoma) with the callsign KAVM, yet none with the callsign KVAM?

Monday, December 24

Nothing says Christmas Eve like a thick, juicy steak

Between 10 and 11pm tonight, I drove around to see what businesses were open, now that the bulk of Texas is shut down for Christmas Eve - a Christian holiday.

What was open: every gas station; 7-11 stores; drugstores (CVS and Walgreens); liquor stores and at least three of the finer steak houses (although they appeared to be closing around 10pm .. the valets were handling the last cars). One local bar was doing a brisk business at 11pm. Not surprisingly, a few churches were holding late-night services and had full parking lots. I spotted a couple "24x7" restaurants -- IHOP and Denny's -- open, but the only fast-food drive-thru doing business was Burger Street. The hotel lobbies were open (of course) - probably for people who were banned from their relatives' homes for the holiday.

It'll be interesting to see how many of these businesses will be open by noon tomorrow. Yesterday - Christmas Adam (a/k/a Festivus) - everything retail was open.

During tonight's trip, my car thermometer registered between 1-7C (colder as I neared the various creeks), and I noticed regular gasoline averaged $2.80, $3.10 for premium (and diesel selling for about $3.50).

Saturday, December 22

numerology: from 12.2 to 9.2 (with a stop at 14.5 en route)

Ah, the joy of electricity deregulation. My provider waited until 1 picosecond after my contract expired to raise my electric rate from 12.2¢ to 14.5¢ (per kwh). So, I logged onto Power To Choose and switched providers - again. I think this is about the 5th time I've changed since deregulation happened here. Now, I have a rate of 9.2¢ per kwh but that's expected to fluctuate, and since there was no contract I can switch without penalty if they get out of line.

The fact that my new provider uses about 50% coal is irrelevant. If it was important that we conserve resources and use renewable sources of energy, the Texas legislature would mandate it, right?

Thursday, December 13

cascading ...

Last Friday, Trish-Bob sent me to Benbrook to deliver Rambo to a foster family (long story, don't ask). Naturally, I couldn't leave until 4pm because Justin-Bob -- Tim-Bob's son -- had to go back to Lowe's for more stain (he was supposed to be there 10 days earlier but it turns out solid-core 1-3/8" doors are a special order item).
If I haven't lost you yet, I will ...
While I was waiting for Justin-Bob, I noticed the pop-up message on my PDA saying that it was Daniel-Bob's 50th birthday. Hmmm. I phoned Judy-Bob to inform her of the fact and she suggested we all meet at Ed's Deli on Sunday for a Breakfast Birthday Event [BBE]. Since I'd never been to a BBE before, I agreed (5 of us would eventually be there, including Mark and Joe-Bob).
The nicely-wrapped gift of Faux Spam wasn't the highlight; that honor goes to the plain-white-cover on the Sexaholics Anonymous book (lest I digress)
As I was leaving (did I mention it was Cold & Rainy?) I spotted a pour soul with an EVENT jacket standing in the intersection at Preston/LBJ-635 with a "sandwich sign" saying that Petco was having a G.O.O.B. sale -- not to be confused with a GOOB(er). "Whaaat?" (I shouted to myself as I clamped on the brakes). "Petco's going out of business?" (turns out it's limited to the location at Preston Royal, where the Mean Old Landlord has raised the rent to the point it was unprofitable to remain open .. now Tom Thumb -- owned by Safeway -- will expand into their space starting in January).

I can no longer pass up a CLEARANCE sale (thank you, Judy-Bob), so JACK (Just Another Car) ferried me there post haste. I was checking out the "ALL SALES ARE FINAL" merchandise (did I mention this is where Jill Wazabob found Marvin?) -- I've learned that while the (currently 20%) discounts certainly will increase, the only thing left at The End of the Going Out Of Business sale will be those poor orphan items that Only A Mother Could Love -- I ran into an Australian with dreadlocks, shopping (with his Dallas-originated girlfriend) for one of those multi-level cat houses. I noticed his Aussie accent and asked if he was from Melbourne. "No," he said, "The Great Barrier Reef". Since I didn't know that any humans actually lived in The Reef (I strongly suspect he lived nearby) I asked him if a news report I'd read about the coral being bleached due to Global Warming was true. He said "yes, it's true .. it's still not widespread but the early effects are obvious and it may all be gone in our lifetime - the next 50 years or so".

So there you have it. If Trish-Bob hadn't done The Intervention (again, don't ask) I wouldn't have confirmation from an Aussie-with-dreadlocks that our American excesses WRT power are bleaching/killing the coral halfway across the globe. I silently wondered if Jill - who dived there years ago and met Paul The Divemaster - knew about that Catastrophe In The Making, and the cascade effect it will have.

Now can I go back to reading the prose on my breakfast cereal box?

Wednesday, December 5

genealogical deep thought

does anyone know: are Dad Gummit and Dag Nabbit related? If so, how?

Tuesday, December 4

Messing with Texas

I just turned in a litterer (anonymously, since the website [Don't Mess with Texas : Report A Litterer] didn't ask who I was). I wasn't sure what he threw out - chicken bones, cigarettes, papers .. all I saw was a pile-o-stuff being launched, about 10 feet to my right.

What will happen next - he'll get a postcard saying "someone saw you"? I'll bet he frames those as trophies. (actually, he'll probably just toss them out his window at the next opportunity).