Monthly Archives: October 2012

We finished off the prequels last night, with Episode III – “Revenge of the Screenwriters” – taking a large chunk of my intellectual and emotional capital.


It surprised me to learn that this film earned close to a billion dollars at the box office. And that it was received better by the critics than the first two – I admit, maybe it makes more sense than Episode II, but I would assume that by the time this puppy was released, the critics would already have their hate mail pre-written.

Hayden Christiansen is not a “bad actor”, no matter how many times Ethel may have yelled that at the screen during the last two movies. No, I don’t think that he has any chemistry with Natalie Portman, but then I’m not one of those guys who really looks at Natalie Portman.

But Hayden did a passable job in Jumper, which is the only other film of his that I’ve seen. I very much enjoyed that one.

At any rate, now we’re free to watch the original last three episodes. But I’m wondering – how will they look, on a 65″ HD television, almost forty years after the first one was filmed? I remember watching those ships fly around in…when was it, 1976?…and being totally amazed.

But have the intervening years gotten me used to special effects that no longer look like special effects? Will it all seem primitive and clunky?

Or will Hans and Chewbacca still be Hans and Chewbacca, and it won’t matter what sort of hardware I see around them?



Ethel and I have watched football in Alabama.

We’ve watched football in Bisbee, in a small house shoved against the canyon wall. We’ve watched football in suburban Tucson, in a stucco-and-tile California-style home like every other new home east of Houghton Road.

We’ve watched football in our basement in Vermont, and in our basement in Park City. We’ve watched football in a larger version of the Tucson home in Anthem, AZ, and we’ve watched football out here at the Chocolate House.

We’ve watched football in our small ski condo, the Love Grotto, for the last two years. But we’d never watched football before where you look in one direction and you see the Crimson Tide in a 3-4 defense, and look the other way and see this :

This is the view from the Money Pit, and it is a very nice view indeed. Those mountains are “thirteeners” – i.e. just over 13,000 feet elevation at the peaks. Very soon now, they’ll be covered w/snow, and Ethel and I will be watching football after coming in from the ski hill.

Now, truth be told – full disclosure – here at the Chocolate House, we do get to watch the entire New River Mesa turn this color of red just about every evening.  And we like that just fine. But I have to admit that I prefer the Rocky Mountains to the Sonoran terrain features. I reckon I’m just an ingrate.

Three weeks and three days.

Driving in from Purgatory down to Durango, we see this coming around the turn at Honeyville:


This was early yesterday, when it was overcast. Everything except the evergreens was gold – even the grass along the side of the road was gold. (Okay, some of it maybe wasn’t “gold”, but it was very bright brown : )

We missed the aspen turning up here at the condo, but down in Durango, the aspen, cottonwoods and maples are all in competition. It’s not a bad consolation prize.

And even up here the world has a gold-ish tint – the fallen aspen leaves are gold, the stands of aspen have a silvery look to them with some gold tinting that I can’t explain, and the October sun throws a golden cast over everything. It’s just plain beautiful.

Today we were supposed to head down to make a noon meeting, and then go play golf this afternoon – but now that has been cancelled. Seems that we have to go to Silverton to transfer the title on our Hyundai Santa Fe to Colorado, since we live in San Juan County. Our address is Durango, but that doesn’t matter to the state of Colorado. The eight-tenths of a mile between our condo and the county line demands that we drive north 20+ miles to Silverton. Oh, well. It’s not like it’s an ugly drive : )

MOVIE REVIEWS – we’ve seen a couple of Redbox movies the last few days, and I’d like to comment on them. Summary – I like ’em both, and will watch both of them again.

MONEYBALL – since I tend to think of baseball as a sleep-aid, I wasn’t too high on this one. But it was a very good telling of a very interesting, thoughtful story, and I would give it high marks anyway – however, one thing that makes it must viewing is Brad Pitt’s portrayal of Robert Redford. Yes, yes, I know, he was playing Billy Beane, the GM of the Oakland A’s, but the man seemed more Robert Redford-ish than Robert Redford does.

SAFE – Okay, sure, this should be a good movie, Jason Statham playing a down-and-out character who finds a reason to protect a little Chinese Girl, gee what a surprise he’s an ex-Special Forces or Black Ops type who is good with guns and fists. Sounds like standard fare.

And it IS – but to my mind, it’s the best so far. It’s like a fine filet – sure, it’s more steak, but it’s the best example of steak you’re liable to come across, and a reminder of what’s good about steak in the first place. I’m going to buy it.

Okay, I’ve been typing this while I’ve been icing my Achilles tendon, which is taking a hit as I transition from elliptical back to running. Now that’s done, and we’re going to try to get the car titled this morning, rather than waiting until this afternoon, which would allow us to still play golf this afternoon.

Well, we’re back up in Colorado!…this time, we came for golf.

Things just got more expensive in Phoenix; it seems that greens fees went way up on 1 October. So I ‘splained to Ethel how we could drive to Durango, where we already have a membership, and we’d come out a lot cheaper just playing golf for a week.

I really believed it, too; and it would have worked out that way, had Ethel not decided that we needed fancy new push carts for our golf week.

These are “CaddyTek CaddyCruise One” carts. The one on the right is folded up – one button push, and it collapses down to that size.

I did the “assembly” in just a few minutes – all that meant was sticking the wheels on and hanging the mesh bag on the back. The carts feel smooth, sturdy and, while lightweight, seem to have the proper amount of heft – in short, they feel leek money.

I’ve done the math, and it will take ten rounds of golf for us to come out even – that is, ten rounds of riding in a cart pays for these push carts. Bit, truth be told, I prefer walking anyway, except in Phoenix in the summer. It feels more like golf when I’m walking. And nobody hears me cuss.

These carts remind me of the Droidecons (I think that they were called) in “The Phantom Menance” – the ones that rolled into place, then unfolded and started shooting at Jar-Jar Binks. I do hope that they do not become self-aware and try to take over, because I’ve already taken the boxes to the dumpster.

Excuse me – I gotta go get ready to go play golf now. Since this is a vacation, that means “sit in the jacuzzi for a while – maybe take a nap”. And then drive down to Durango with the droidcarts in the back of the car, listening to see if they start unfolding on their own….

Here’s a Nissan Leaf parked at the (only) “Electric Car” parking spot in our Scott$dale parking lot.

When I see this, my sarcastic, irony-seeking-missile of a mind wonders what innaheck is going on here.

Eco-friendly? We’re in the middle of a steenkin’ desert, during air-conditioning season. Electricity in Arizona is very expensive – okay, maybe that’s not true. I see this from the perspective of a native North Alabamian, where the Tennessee Valley Authority’s hydroelectric and nuclear plants provide cheap clean power (yes, I said clean. Only thing coming out of those smokestacks at Browns Ferry is steam). To me, APS seems to really like their electricity a lot, and they don’t want to part with it cheaply.

How “eco-friendly” is a car that is sucking up electricity that was probably produced at Boulder Dam near Las Vegas and run several hundred miles over high-tension wires, losing amps, watts and volts by the mile?

I’m reminding of the ecologist’s rant in Lucifer’s Hammer . Think about an electric razor – sure, it doesn’t take much electricity to run the thing, but have you any idea how much power is used just to make it? The mining of the metal, and then it gets tossed into a landfill.

Most of these “green” decisions strike me the same way. Somebody trades in his older vehicle – which had many more years of service, with a little maintenance – for a new Nissan Leaf. So the old vehicle winds up in a dump, with all of the possibly-remaining miles in its frame and engine wasted, so that somebody can buy a trendy vehicle (with no established useful lifetime) that actually sucks electricity out of the walls.


Not that I mind. I’m a real environmentalist, as I’ve said before. I have a real, abiding respect for the environment. I suspect that an ecosystem that can absorb a 10-mile-diameter iron-nickel asteroid impact can probably handle some styrofoam cups and petroleum fumes.


My daughter-in-law took this picture of Floyd and I as a vehicle to show our family resemblence:


Now, I’m not detached enough from the whole thing to know if there are actual physical resemblances here; I wouldn’t wish on anyone the label of “looks like Jim Puckett” and I’m sure that Floyd would agree that that’s not a label that he wants, either.

But I can’t help but notice that the fellow on the right – with the pointy chin, the tuft of fur, and the loose, flappy neck skin – looks an awful lot like an iguana.

So I reckon I’m not going to worry too much about my person appearance anymore. No matter what, you can’t

a) make an iguana pretty, nor

b) make an iguana ugly.

This might explain Ethel’s reluctance for the whole kissee-kissee thing. And it sure takes the pressure off for formal wear.

Now that we can step outside of the building without bursting into flame (read: “it’s mid-October”) I enjoy a walk around the offices in the early afternoon.

When one walks through the Go Daddy parking lot, one is bound to see geeky, nerdy stuff, such as this rear windshield on a Cooper Mini with a child seat:


Note that I said that I ENJOY it now – I was doing it during the worst of the summer, but not enjoying it so much. Physical activity seems to help me get my digestion going without slowing down my cogitation; sometimes it seems that lunch without walking results in…. my….. mind………. slow……. ing…….. down……… like Hal 9000 at the end of 2001. Sometimes I even start singing “Daisy”.

I changed my pattern this morning a bit. Usually, I go to the gym and do my cardio and my core and resistance work before I come to the office. Today, I decided to put the resistance work off until the end of the day, on my way to the 5:30 meeting. I figured that this might give me more energy during the day. It hasn’t, so far as I’ve noticed, but it’s the first time I’ve tried it. I reckon that I need a larger sample size. If I had only tried marriage once, I wouldn’t have whatsername.

Speaking of whastersname, she and I are heading up to Colorado this weekend. We’re going to just play golf for a week – a week that WON’T cost extra money, and a week that won’t be in the Tucson heat, so we’re hoping that it’ll be a fun, relaxing, cheap week : )

I’m taking the week off. I get six weeks of vacation per year, and there’s no way that I can take all of it, but this year I might get close to at least not letting it build up too much. I’ve got next week off, and I”m taking three weeks at Xmas/New Year’s. When that’s done, I’ll only have….about six weeks left, accrued….wow.

And I’ll also have my two floaters back : )