Category Archives: Media

It’s Movie Time

Photo Credit:  Wikimedia Commons

One of my close friends, Pat, is an Oscars fan. As soon as the list of nominees comes out every year, she works hard to make sure she has seen all the nominees (in the best picture category – not every category) before the Oscars.  I’ve been getting updates since the list came out of what she’s seen.  She has a pretty good track record; most years she manages to see them all by the time of the ceremony.

I’m the opposite, since I rarely go to the movies. In fact, this year, I have only seen one nominee – Klaus, an animated Christmas film which I didn’t have to leave the house to see as it was a Netflix release (it was very good).  Reviews are not usually worth my notice; if I want to see something, I see it, not matter what the reviewers say.  I can’t ever recall a time when I left a movie screening saying “gosh, I should have listened to the reviews.”

Every now and then I do look, including the Doctor Doolittle reviews this month.  There is always a certain amount of trepidation on my part when Hollywood decides to tackle a beloved book, especially a beloved children’s book.  I’ve seen the trailers and I know that the movie bears very little resemblance to the book.  While I can’t stomach this in, say, Wrinkle in Time (one of my favorite books of all time), it may not be a deal breaker for Doctor Doolittle or even Little Women.  Both have been made into movies multiples times so I feel like the water is already completely muddied.  The newest Doolittle venture has not gotten great reviews but I don’t think that will stop me.  Dare I admit that Robert Downey Jr. is the main reason I will probably go see this movie this weekend?

Do you have an actor/actress who will entice you to see a film? Or one who will keep you out of the movie theatre?

New Technology

I finally had to cut the cord. My old laptop just wasn’t going to make the grade when I upgraded Explorer this week; it was originally a re-furbish, so it was about six.  Ancient for a laptop and SLOW.  So knowing that it would only get worse, I trundled myself up to the computer store last weekend.  Obviously I am part of a large contingent of folks who waited until the very last minute to do something about this week’s looming deadline.

You all know that while I am fully capable to doing research if I care about something, too much time thinking about computers doesn’t fill me with elan. I went into the store, found a salesperson (so so young), told him what I use a computer for at home along with my price range.  He showed me three different computers and I chose one.  10 minutes.  I spent longer standing in line to pay for it than I did choosing it.

Now comes the hard part – learning how to negotiate the new systems and software. I remember in my Software Etc. days that software would come in big packages… several disks and a LOT of manual.  These days you get a piece of cardboard with a website and a license number.  My first thought when I opened the box and turned it on was “I am lost in space here”.  Three hours later, I am up and running.  Not proficient yet at getting around or typing on the new keyboard, but at least I’ve got security, internet and, most importantly, OverDrive (for listening to audio books)!

What’s the last book you listened to? (Or read…..)

Ohm!

Photo credit:  NASA

Twice yesterday I uttered the words “it’s why I’ll never get on the space shuttle.”

On the way to work, I stopped at SuperAmerica. Sorry, Speedway.  The cashier was struggling with the computer that runs the gas pumps, having to basically re-boot it every time somebody needed to pump their gas.  While I was waiting for her to ring me up (no gas for me), I commiserated with her and she made a derogatory remark about computers in general.  I replied “Yea, it’s why I’ll never get on the space shuttle.”

Fast forward a couple of hours and we had a “flub” (Tech’s word for it, not mine) which locked a lot of us out of our program subdirectories for about an hour. I was the one who called the helpline to document the issue so I was the one to hear the tech swear that computers would be the death of him.  As I repeated my space shuttle line, I realized that I say this often in response to somebody griping about pcs and computers in general.  Interesting that there is a need – seems to me that our society depends heavily on computers but generally doesn’t like them.  So here I am, stuck with “it’s why I’ll never get on the space shuttle” as my personal mantra.  I supposed it could be worse.

Do you have a mantra? What would you like it to be?

REAL CRABBY

I had a strangely quiet afternoon on Tuesday, and when my only late afternoon appointment cancelled, I went home. I felt  tired, slightly unwell, and really crabby.

I was crabby for several reasons. It is bitterly cold out most of this week. Our local paper just announced it is going to be published only weekly starting in March.  Since January 4th,  our mail has been  delivered a total of four times.  The last time it was delivered there were five pieces of mail belonging to a couple who live on the next block. I delivered it to them myself.  We are told that the carrier for our route quit, and our mail will only be delivered if other carriers have time. They are in the process of hiring, and suggest we have our mail held at the post office for us to pick up ourselves until we have a regular carrier.  Who has time to do that? Grrr! I wrote my congressman about this even though I don’t care for him and he makes me crabby, too.

I also was crabby due to the frustrating work of getting all the necessary documentation for an  appointment later in the week to get my REAL ID.  That is the identification card/drivers license that one needs to have after 10/2020 to use as an ID for air travel.  My driver’s license expires February 1, so it was time to get the new ID. There are very specific requirements for the documents so that there is primary source verification of identity and address. Do you think I could find my Social Security card?  Of course not. I am thankful that my most recent W-2 form came in one of the two mail deliveries this week so I can use that to provide proof of my Social Security number.

I am a government employee and I am pretty used to the slow workings of the bureaucracy.  That said, I really hope that the bureaucracy is in good fighting trim and all my documents are the right ones and sufficiently current to make my appointment at the DOT go smoothly this week.

What makes you crabby? Are you getting the REAL ID? Got any good bureaucracy tales?

Space Discovery

Photo credit:  NASA/JPL-Caltech

For all space geeks, the news this week is that a high school student, on his third day of interning at NASA, discovered a planet. For all Star Wars geeks, it turns out that it’s not just your ordinary planet, but a very rare circumbinary planet with two suns, like Tatooine, the planet where Luke Skywalker grew up.

He made the discovered this past July at the very beginning of his internship; he and other astronomers have spent the last six months confirming the find. The planet is now called TOI 1338b and looks to be almost 7 times bigger than Earth.

Apparently not only are circumbinary planets rare, they are even rarer to find since the way that most planets are confirmed don’t work due to timing of the planet passing in front of its stars.   So this is quite an auspicious start for the high-schooler who has said that he does intend to continue his studies in astronomy and astrophysics.

If you could be known as the discoverer of something, what would it be?

Valor, Tragedy, and Scandal

Our town was mentioned in the national news over the past couple of days due to an obituary.  I bet in the next couple of days it will make the national news due to a scandal at the local post office. Both stories involve the local newspaper.

Earlier this week our newspaper ran a moving and poetic obituary on a former resident, a Vietnam veteran, who died in a Veterans’ home in Montana. The story made the national news. If you read the article, it also provides a link to the actual obituary.

http://a.msn.com/01/en-us/BBY97ry?ocid=se

Then, late Thursday afternoon, the paper broke a story about thousands of pieces of mail being thrown in dumpsters behind the post office by postal employees.  I believe I have mentioned here my frustration with late or non-existent mail delivery.  Well, now we know what has been happening.

https://www.thedickinsonpress.com/news/4831203-Complaints-on-mail-delivery-at-Dickinson-prompt-investigation-newspapers-other-mail-found-in-dumpsters

Both these stories will elicit Baboon reactions and comments, so my question is simple:

Comment on these stories and your reactions to them.

Our New York Trip

Husband and I returned last Monday from a week long trip to New York  City. We were there with four other members of our church handbell choir to participate in a massed handbell choir of 275 ringers. We were the opening act before a performance of Handel’s Messiah at Carnegie Hall.

Everything that could go right on the trip did, and there were no disasters. We slipped past three major snow storms in our travels.  All our rental bells were there as ordered, hotel reservations were good, and our names were in the program. What more could a person ask for?

In addition to the Dec. 1 Carnegie Hall gig, we had the options of playing in Central Park on Saturday afternoon, and with the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall at various times during the weekend. Here are the players at the Naumberg Bandshell in Central Park.

The Rockettes Christmas Spectacular featured the Rockettes in numbers like “The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers”, during which the dancers collapsed on one another like dominoes. They also did a number called “Sleigh Ride” in which the dancers were featured as precision-stepping reindeer. In between the dance numbers were high tech visual effects and bell numbers. It ended with a tableau of the nativity complete with three live camels, a donkey, and a sheep. All the animals had been blessed by Cardinal Dolan at the start of the season. No unsanctioned animals in this production! I haven’t any photos. Photos were prohibited. This will give you an idea.

The Carnegie  Hall concert was really fun.  We entered the hall through the stage door, just like all performers do. There were a few ringers on stage with the conductor, and the rest of us were in the boxes on Tiers one and two on either side of the Hall.  The following photos were taken during dress rehearsal.

 

 

We played  well. The acoustics were good, but we had to be as precise as possible given how many of us there were.  Given the size of the hall, we couldn’t use our ears to make sure were were together. We had to watch the conductor as much as possible for the timing. The conductor was so excited as they used “the Bernstein podium” for him.

The Messiah performance was wonderful. The two male soloists were on loan from the Metropolitan Opera, and there were more than 300 singers in the chorus. Half of them sang from the boxes we had played in.  We had to vacate to the nosebleed seats in the balcony during the oratorio.

So many things could have gone wrong, but nothing did. We were all so grateful for this opportunity.

 

Tell about your best and worst vacations and trips.