Friday, April 29, 2005

2005: A Very Good Year For Whines

I'm glad the last two weeks are over. What a lot of crap hit during that period. First, I had to take a difficult class for work. It's more than a little disheartening to realize that my memory is stuffed fuller than a glutton on Thanksgiving and won't hold anything more. I managed to pass the final and get my certificate, but I don't look forward to applying what little I learned. If I do I'll be responsible or seeing to it that a C-17 cargo plane is properly loaded. There are a ton of things to consider before one of those $300 million planes gets off the ground, and I'm happier not having to consider them. I suppose that after a while it'll all be second nature to me, but for now it seems quite daunting. Worse, there's no extra money in it for me.

While I was fretting about that my car blew a head gasket. Estimated cost: $1600+.

And to top it off I heard from my collaborator, Warren Murphy. He's decided to retire from the writing business so the book I wrote that he was supposed to rewrite is now orphaned. Oh, I could take it back and try to sell it myself, but I don't think that's going to happen. It was really his book, his vision, his idea, and he has the clout to sell it.

It would seem that the insurance company for the jackass who rear-ended me almost three years ago finally offering to settle would come as good news. Sure. Of the $10,000 they're giving I'll get about $4800. The car will eat up a lot of that. The little that's left won't cover a tenth of the projects I have begging for attention.

Oh, and I've had a head cold the entire time all of this has been happening.

Sometimes, life really stinks.

I guess I should be glad that we're all reasonably healthy and Kristine's latest report card was excellent (except for the C in science). The rest were A's and one B.

I've succumbed to the lure of Netflix and watched a few movies since I signed up. MYSTIC RIVER started breaking up after the first half and I never saw it through. It wasn't bad, but it suffered from a modern affliction some movies have with the addition of so much ambient nosie that the dialogue is often lost. And no, I'm not getting deaf in my dotage. I hear the foot shuffling, clothing material rustling, dinnerware rattling, and cars whooshing by just fine. But I'd prefer to hear what the people are saying. I've compared how they record movies today to the way they did during the Golden Age of Hollywood and I'm positive they were more aware of sound then. Even when people whispered in those old movies I can hear them. Nowadays, I need to be a lip reader.

KILL BILL 1 & 2 were great. I liked part two better, but they were both exciting, funny, interestingly plotted, and deliciously over the top. Okay, so no one is going to come out of a four-year coma looking as good as Uma Thurman, but I was willing to play along with the director on that one.

HERO was the first movie I saw on this plan. The kung fu was elaborately staged, almost balletic, but the story dragged badly and I was glad when it was over. I gave it a 6 out of 10.

I also saw BASIC INSTINCT, but that was a local rental. Hard to believe that I waited this many years to see it. Sharon Stone is magnificent as the calculating femme fatale, Michael Douglas has just the right amount of doofus in him to be convincing as the gullible cop drawn into Sharon's web, and the plot twists were smooth and believeable. A real classic.

Before all the crap started I stumbled over a cheap record/CD/cassette player/radio and bought it. I've been able to play my old vinyl albums that have been sitting around for decades, in some cases. As I type this I'm listening to The Man From Duck Run, a collection of songs by Leonard Slye before he became Roy Rogers.

My other girl, Stephanie, has started a driver's training class. She's now 15 1/2 years old and can't wait to hit the highway. But so far she hasn't had any stick time at the class. If she doesn't get some soon I'm going to go in there and ask some pointed questions. I didn't shell out $240 so she could watch videos and read bulletins.

Okay, life hasn't been all weevils in the flour. I got the latest James Crumley and Loren Estleman books, fishing season opens May 1, and the M's just won two in a row. And perhaps my lottery tickets will come through.

Yeah, sure.