Tag: entertainment

A practical time machine

Over two years ago, at the rehearsal dinner for he11o_sunshine and stubiebrother wedding, they gave me the Complete New Yorker on DVD. Since that time, it has sat on a self in my office, unopened. This is not because I wasn’t interested in it. I am very interested. But other things took over my time and I just never got to it.

Until last night.

When I should have been going to bed, I finally decided to crack the seal on the package. I installed the software on my MacBook and spent nearly an hour browsing through the earliest complete issues of the New Yorker. The earliest issue goes back to February 1925. My Grandpa would not yet be 5 years old. Skimming through the pages was like an adventure back in time. The writing styles, the sense of humor, and the contemporary references were fascinating. And on top of that, there were the advertisements. It really is like a kind of practical time machine.

It’s also highly addictive. I spent an hour browsing (and I wasn’t reading, just browsing) and I could have kept going, save the fact that my battery was getting low and I had to get up at 4:20 this morning. I foresee a lot of future enjoyment from those DVDs.

Bad car karma

It started Friday night. Kelly and I attended a happy hour with a decent turn-out for a change. Even AJ and Denisse joined the fun. Denisse offered me $100 if I got AJ drunk. About all I got him to do was a shot of tequila. Oh well.

Kelly was parked in the Pentagon City fashion center. We made for the exit, but the automated exit booth said that her parking ticket had expired. Strange. We drove over to the manned booth where we found a line of cars. Apparently, the system was down. Cars couldn’t get out and the people at the booth were not decision makers and would not open the gates to let people out for free, possibly for fear of loosing their jobs. Tensions flared. People honked and shouted. Police were called in to deal with the situation. Kelly and I watched on, mildly amused. After something like 25 minutes, we finally made it out.

Fast-forward to Saturday. We were supposed to go paintballing with a group of people, but for a variety of reasons, decided we couldn’t make it. Headaches were involved. Later, when the headaches had cleared, we decided to go into Old Town (Alexandria) and wander around. We’d grab some breakfast while we were there. We couldn’t find a place to park. We drove farther and farther from Old Town and still couldn’t find a place to park. When we reached Huntington, we decided to give up. We’d been looking for a parking space for nearly an hour. Instead, famished, we found a TGI Fridays and got some food. By this time, Kelly suspected bad car karma.

A few hours later, we made our way to my house and once again, hit an usual amount of traffic, on 295 and again on East West Highway. Third time was a charm, we decided. We hoped the bad karma was gone. I think it was.

Later in the afternoon, we decided to drive up to the Arundel Mills Mall and wander around there for a while. I decide to take Route 1, which made for a mildy interesting drive. We got there, found a spot quickly and headed in. We then spend a few hours wandering through the place, which is mostly outlet stores, and is about as big as the Palisades Mall near Nyack, NY. We browsed, we perused. Kelly got some clothes. I got a new mattress pad for my bed (I’d toss the old one a few months back when it was essentially shredded and had been sleeping without one since).

We wandered into Books A Million and there I discovered that the January/February 2008 ANALOG was on shelves. It contains the first part of a serial by Joe Haldeman called Marsbound. I love Joe’s stuff (The Accidental Time Traveler was one of the best books I read all year) and I was so excited to see this on the shelf, I almost bought the issue, even though I am a subscriber. Cooler heads prevailed and I am now waiting patiently for it to arrive in the mail.

We had dinner at a pizza place in the mall and finally headed back home. We started to watch Mary Poppins before dozing off. I hadn’t seen that movie in a decade or more!

I’m ready to give up on TV and TiVo

Last night, when I could have been writing, I sat in front of the TV for a few hours and watched stuff TiVo had recorded for me. This says more about me than it does TV or TiVo, but I felt like crap by the time I went to bed and I more or less resolved to give up on TV.

I can’t do this wholesale. For instance, when Kelly is over, she likes to watch TV. So the TV will still be around for now; but I’m giving up on it. I’ve decided that at some point in my life, I’ll look back on the time I wasted in front of the TV and say, “Damn! If I’d only made better use of that time!” Last night I could have been writing. But my will-power, in this respect, sucks.

So, here’s what I think I’m going to be doing:

1. Canceling my premium packages. Now that the Sopranos has ended, I almost never watch HBO or STARZ.

2. Cancel the cable and DVR service in my bedroom. In the 1+ year that I’ve had it, I’ve watched TV in my bedroom 3 times.

3. Cancel the TiVo service and unhook the TiVo unit. I had it for a year. I gave it a shot. It’s a remarkably cool tool, but I don’t have the will power to stand against it without some sort of fight.

4. Greatly resisting the temptation to watch any more TV at home.

I’m certain I won’t be completely successful with step 4. But I’ll do my best.

This means giving up a whole bunch of shows that I enjoy watching. But as of last night, most of them are going into reruns because of the strike so it’s a clean breaking point. And the more I think about it, the more I feel I should be writing my own stories, rather than acting as an audience for someone else’s.

Some smart-ass out there (strausmouse or maybe kevnyc) will point out that I am still an audience when I read someone else’s stories. This is absolutely true but I have a love affair with reading, whereas my relationship with television can only be described an unending series of one-night-stands.

Time will tell if this means I actually write more. It certainly doesn’t mean I will write any better, although one hopes that the more one does something, the better they get at it. So by a kind of twisted logic, giving up TV for the duration may actually make me a better writer.

Cable company gets a phone call on Monday. Stay-tuned… (Yes, irony!)