Late Sunday night, two pieces to do, midnight approaching - wasn’t I supposed to take last week lite & easy? This week as well? Friday night I said NAY to the usual Bleat redesign – I did the motels, twice the allotment, actually, but that’s just rote work. I spent the night on family movies, a project I’ve been neglecting. Usually I burn one DVD per month, but so little of note has been happening I haven’t shot as much footage. The real problem, of course, is disk space. Bear with me on this, because it’s pathetic, and you can have a laugh.

Since August I’ve been shooting in HiDef. This is great! Because iMovie now handles HiDef. But this is bad! Because there aren’t any HD burners yet. There isn’t even a standard, for that matter. (My money’s on HD-Dvd, because people will know right away what that means. “Blu-Ray” may be better, but it sounds like something you saw underwater while snorkeling.) Of course, I can move my completed projects to tape, suffering only a slight degradation in quality, then move them back to disk when the burners become available – Nostadamus says that will occur in seven years, after the falcon flies and the River of Princes boils, or something like that. Anyway. Point is, I needed to save the movies to tape AND back them up on another drive, just in case. We’re talking four files that total 180 GB. Last week I finally got the movies backed up and burned in low-def form, freeing up the space to digitize 2006 video. (There are, of course, pristine examples of the projects on another drive.)

I know it sounds rather excessive, but I made a vow when Gnat was born that I wouldn’t film & forget; I wouldn’t have boxes of jumbled unlabeled video tapes, never viewed, never sorted. It’s also had the side benefit of slowing Time’s cackling gallop; the last five years don’t seem like a blur at all, because I’ve gone back, hammered in the signposts, marked the journey. And on the odd chance that she inherits my interest in the culture of her gauzy happy youth, I’ve saved the quotidian detritus that usually gets whisked into the bin. And if some day she says she appreciates it, well, I’ll be able to say “do you know the Firewire conflicts with iSight and an underpowered bus I had to resolve to back up that movie?” And then she’ll call for the nurse and have my Soma-Drip ration increased. So it’s all good.

And that was Friday. That, plus a “24” marathon. Yes, I cut loose on Friday night: it’s “Homestyle” popcorn, with extra grease and large granules of salt! None of that low-fat stuff on Friday night, ‘cause I’m pimpin’ out my corn. (Note: I hate, hate, hate the term “pimping” as a synonym for “increasing the superficial exterior aesthetics.” The origins of the word are not exactly mysterious; it refers to those fellows who use force, threats of force, and crude psychology to make drug-addicted women walk the streets and service panhandled men in cars in dark alleys. But somehow we’ve gotten away from that. I wouldn’t be surprised to read a story about a new Papal tiara, and learn that Benedict had “pimped out his rainments.”  I mean, after this, nothing surprises me. Nothing.)

Saturday Gnat had a sleepover; my wife and I went to dinner at a cheap Thai place, and I had a curry that reminded me of the Thai joint on Connecticut in Woodley Park in DC. I ordered the beef, because the chicken at this restaurant is usually a sad bruised hue – I’m curious which entrée, if any, gets you white breast meat, or whether the entirety of their chicken comes from Dark Greasy Chicken Parts, Inc. – they back up a truck, let down the sluice gate, and out pours 500 gallons of slimy chicken parts, ready to be concealed in a good masman curry. The beef, however, defied chewing. It contained gristle made of the same material used for Superballs, and neither tooth nor fork could parse it. I asked for a knife. It worked, more or less, but my forearms still ache from the effort.

Good meal, though.

Sunday I woke and made breakfast. Bacon!  It is Sunday, and my God approves of Bacon! How did this happen, exactly? Is there a lost Gospel in which Jesus says, oh, go ahead. Me, I like the maple variety. Went out with the Giant Swede, which we haven’t done for a while. Had coffee, went to the computer store so he could buy Quake 4 (on my recommendation; my reputation is on the line), then went to the grocery store for large amounts of MEAT. Grilled brats tonight. All is well in the world.

Except . . . well, I wrote something I had intended to file in the Screedblog, but then I recalled that I also have an actual job writing this sort of stuff, and my life would be easier if I used the stuff there. So, alas. But I’m one day ahead of the game! All is well in the world.

Except . . . I hadn’t redone the Bleat graphics. So I did. All was well in the world.

Oh, to hell with it: the nightmare continues.  I called G. Burly Mofo on Friday. (If you’re just tuning in: August I hired a company to install a Water Feature. They said it would take five days. It was unfinished when November snows arrived. Construction took forever, crap was left in my lawn and driveway for most of the fall, the Water Feature leaked like the CIA, and the company didn’t pay the electrical subcontractor, who put a lien on Jasperwood. The company sent over a new guy a few weeks ago to fix the project, and I wrote that he was a burly mofo, but genial; hence the name G. Burly Mofo,  the Dependable Straight-shootin’ guy.) When I informed him that the Water Feature still leaked – in fact, it drained dry in three hours., which suggested either a huge leak or the ill-advised use of Sponge as a building material – he said he’d call the next day. He did not. A week passed, during which his reputation sunk. Finally I called.

He said that his boss was supposed to call me. I noted that he said he would call me. He said his boss, who was after all the boss, said he was not only going to call but, at the time, said he was heading over to my house. I said that would have required him to call me and tell me was on the way. Small details, but somehow telling.

And that’s where we stand today. Fresh prevarication from the Heretofore Unnamed Landscape Company. We’re about two weeks away from the big google bomb, I think.

Oh, one more thing: the pump no longer works. So it can’t even successfully fail, if you know what I mean. If I wanted to fill the tank and run it until it ran out of  water, I couldn’t, because the outlets now pop when I turn on the juice. Reset; retry; pop.

But at least the bubbler works. It pumps a nice stream of water. It had better: if the pond goes stagnant, the mosquitos breed. The bubbler pump goes out, it’s malaria for all.

New Quirk & Matchbook. See you tomorrow; thanks for stopping by.





c. j lileks. email may be sent to first name at last name dot com.