February 22, 2000



Where I've Been


Okay, so where was I? Well... I've been sitting here for about five minutes trying to think of a clever way to say this, but there isn't a clever way to say it. At least not that I can think of. Where was I? Sick. At least for part of the time. I also got some new toys. And watched some TV. And... Oh, hell, sit back, I'll tell you about it.

I put up the Match Game '00 entry way back in January and figured I'd let it steep for a couple of days, then I planned to get right back to it, pumping out the clean, wholesome, family entertainment you've all come to expect from me. But then a little purchase got in the way.

First, some background. We've got this VCR in the den that makes me, um, unpleasantly disposed, shall we say. It'll play tapes just fine for awhile, then out of nowhere it'll start not playing them fine. It won't fast-forward or rewind without stopping at random, for example. Repeatedly. Really pisses me off.

And let's say it keeps doing that and you're getting angry and mashing harder and harder on the buttons on the remote and it keeps doing it and you abandon the remote and start hitting the buttons on the VCR itself. And let's say you graduate from what's generally meant by the phrase "hitting the buttons" and start really hitting the buttons until you cut your knuckles and start bleeding on the Berber carpet, so you graduate to sort of stabbing at the buttons with, oh, let's say the business end of a pair of needlenose pliers. And let's say your efforts build in force and scale until the VCR's buttons begin to disintegrate and little pieces are flying off it and, well, it ends up kind of broken. Still workable from the remote, you understand, but not from the front panel and the whole thing's not quite so nice-looking anymore.

This is all hypothetical, by the way. Never happened.

Anyway, let's say this VCR was sort of toast and to cover up and hopefully hide it from your wife through the powers of distraction you give her the old hard sell on "You know, we really should get a DVD player." And maybe she shocks you silly and goes for it. Wouldn't that be a pretty cool turn of events?

So we got this new DVD player. Suddenly we were movie-renting fools. A new movie every night, four or five on the weekends. Everything's better on DVD -- picture, color, sound, cool factor, all of it. You haven't truly seen Jack Frost until you've seen it on DVD. (And then you appreciate how truly execrable it is.) Trust me, a new DVD player can change your life, and one thing it can change is your commitment to update your journal every night, a commitment I'd forgotten to make in the first place.

Then, on top of the DVD player -- literally -- we also up and got ourselves satellite TV. Now we've got umpteen hundred channels of round-the-clock viewing entertainment, everything from TV Land to Sci-Fi Channel to east and west coast feeds of the networks to six channels of HBO to... Well, damn near everything you could ever want to watch, and a few more things you didn't know you wanted to watch until you found out they were on. There's World's Funniest Animals on Animal Planet and Star Trek on the Sci-Fi Channel and reruns of Hill Street Blues (it holds up really well) and St. Elsewhere (doesn't hold up at all) on TV Land.

So between the DVD player and the satellite TV, I've been on a viewing binge of epic proportions. I've hardly had time to watch everything I've taped while I watched something else, never mind setting aside time to write here. I kept meaning to come post something thrilling but, dammit, there kept being a Very Special Sliders on, or that favorite Night Gallery that kept me awake for weeks when I was a kid, or the Collector's Edition DVD of John Carpenter's The Thing. I just didn't have the time!

And then I got sick. The flu, or so I thought. After a week or so it became clear it was something else, maybe Flu+, so I went to the doctor. The word from the medical profession is: "Sinus infection. Maybe. Go see the ENT specialist and maybe he'll run a CAT scan on your head, but here's some antibiotics and decongestants to hold you over until then, make sure you pay your deductible to the receptionist on the way out, thank you, next!"

But here I am again anyway. Neither nitwits nor electronics nor space-age television reception nor flu or maybe suppurating head tumors can keep me away from you, my lovelies. At least not for long.

But for right now I gotta go. I've got Seven Samurai on DVD that's due back soon and a Gomer Pyle marathon coming up on Nick at Nite and I have to lay in a supply of Kleenex for my stuffy nose. I don't have time for this.