Thursday, February 28, 2008

Does Not Compute

Our computer died after five or six years of semi-faithful service last week. Someone who ought to know told me the motherboard died. I think that's what he said. Either that or something about the mothership connection. I'll have to take his word, since anything beyond opening a word file, playing a CD or looking up pictures of Phoebe Cates on the internet is beyond my computing capabilities.

Naturally, the weekend before it crashed I was thinking, "You know, I really ought to upload all these photos to Flickr and burn a lot more of these MP3 files I stole off the internet totally paid for onto discs.” Then I searched for more Phoebe Cates pictures and went to bed.

Just like when the power goes out and all you can think about is watching TV or running the vacuum cleaner or anything that uses that wonderful power, this last week without a computer has been annoying.

If I want to check my bank balance, I've got to use the phone and sit through all that 'press one for more options' business, all the while knowing that I could have checked my $23 bank balance 50 times on the computer in the time it takes just to get to the prompt for English.

If I want to find out if it will freeze overnight, I have to watch the weather channel, which for 10 minutes gives the forcast for Miami and Atlanta, so I have to use the pythagorean theorem or something to determine whether I need to cover the plants.

So yeah, it's gonna be a long three weeks. Hopefully by the time my new computer comes I'll have a backlog of stories written out by quill pen.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

No Diner For Young Men

Couple years back I took the car to get fixed. My parents had drummed into me the need to get to repair places right when they opened so I would be first in line. I've since learned that at most places the mechanic doesn't show up until 9, so you may as well get another couple hours of sleep instead of hanging around reading 7 month old Newsweeks and watching Judge Judy on the crappy repair place TV while wondering how much all this is going to cost.

After a couple hours of waiting around I figured I'd walk down to this diner and get some breakfast.

As I opened the door all conversation stopped and everyone turned to look at me. I felt like I just walked into the saloon and was going to start a shoot-out. I determined that I was the youngest person in the place by like 50 years, and had probably interrupted some Masonic ritual or spirited review of last week's church social.

After the oldies vibed me out, they went back to eating, but I could tell they didn't take kindly to this young buck taking up valuable space in their establishment.

Later that week my wife and I went to see TV on the Radio at Freebird Cafe, where we were the oldest people by about 15 years, so I suppose it all evened out.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Take a Letter

My dad was awesome at writing complaint letters. If he felt a company or organization had slighted him, he’d get out the paper and pen and fire off a letter. I don’t know exactly what he said, but it must have been pretty persuasive since a few weeks after mailing out the letter he’d get a ton of free samples or a credit voucher delivered in the mail, along with profuse apologies.

Dad wasn’t stingy with praise either. He tried some sort of foot powder and liked it so much he wrote the company. When I came home from college there were crates of the stuff in the garage. I couldn’t visit without my parents trying to sneak bottles of the stuff into my car to take home with me. Now I could see if this was from a big company like Arm and Hammer or Gold Bond, who could afford to mail out a boxes of foot powder to keep a customer happy, but this was some sort of Mom and Pop foot powder outfit, so I’d constantly have people finding a bottle of the stuff holding up the couch or something and asking me what the hell Dr. Funkenmeir’s Olde Tyme Foot Powder and Poultice was, and why did I have a million little plastic bottles of it anyway.

But if he was good with a letter, Dad was a maestro over the phone or face to face. We’d be buying a car stereo or something and he’d say to the guy at Circuit City, “So how much is this really.”

I’d be all embarrassed, because I knew that you just didn’t do that sort of stuff, but sure enough, the guy would knock like 50 bucks off the price. The few times I tried that on my own, the salespeople just sort of looked at me and I felt so awkward and embarrassed that I’d write out a little extra on the check just to make up for my faux pas.

So one day my sister and dad are watching the local news. There’s some story about this Minute Maid fruit juice that was being recalled.

“You know, I’ve been feeling sort of sick all week. I’m pretty sure I had some of that juice.”

“Dad, you’ve never had that stuff in your life.”

”No. I ..I’m pretty sure I had some earlier this week and that’s why I don’t feel good.”

“Dad, that stuff is called like ‘Extreme Razzleberry Kicks.’ You’d never drink that.”

“No, I think I had some at work. I’m gonna have to write a letter.”

Whatever he wrote it worked again, because we had bottles of the stuff when I got home.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Saturday in the Dark with George

Last Saturday night with George Romero commenting over “Night of the Living Dead” was awesome. I fully intended to write something up about it, but got lazy and got scooped.

There’s not much I would have said that Alonzo didn’t hit, but I will say that I was surprised Romero downplayed the politics that have been read into the movie (A movie made in the midst of the Vietnam War featuring children eating their parents lends itself to all sorts of political readings), but he mostly dismissed that as something Cashiers du Cinema took off with and he sort of went along with.
Most of his talk was more on the cooperation between the team that made the movie, and the rigors of the filmmaking, as well as frequent plugs for his new zombie movie which he promises to be more in the spirit of “Living Dead” than the “Land of the Dead,” which won’t really be that hard.

Oh yeah, and he hates fast-moving zombies.

I was also able to use the movie as a way to unveil this year’s Amateur Film Contest. We’re going with a zombie theme this year. As with the other years, all you have to do is make a short movie with a zombie theme, submit it and possibly win valuable prizes.
Expect to be hassled about this from now until May.