November 17th, 2002

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"Demand Vacations"

For the past couple of weeks, every few days I've been getting a message in my voicemail from an outfit that turns out to be called "Demand Vacations". They got my name from my throwing my card into one of those "win a car" contests that were at the most recent Seattle Home Show.

Well, got in touch with them, and they wanted to give me a "free vacation" and a "digital camera" if I come listen to their pitch. What the hey, I'm relatively resistant to sales pitches, especially to "vacation ownership" so I made the appointment, and today I went.

Listened to the group pitch, and was again reminded why I so distrust to the point of almost loathing big beefy well-tanned guys with the gift of glamor and sales training.

But here's the good bit. After the main warmup, before they started the hardcore pitch, they culled all of us single guys out of the herd, and told us "we get garbage results from single men, you guys can't commit, so it's a waste of our time, unless you say now that you're interested in buying, we'll just give you gift and get you out of our way."

Well. That was fine by me.

So now I've got a really cheap 352x288 digicam (which I think I can buy in bulk for under twenty bucks), and a gift certificate for an inconviently scheduled "vacation" in a Holiday Inn (airfare not included).

Whee.
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Laptops

There is nothing quite like sitting back in bed with a laptop with a wireless connection. Or at least, it will do until the day comes that I can close my eyes and be online via a wetware implant.

However, I'm not doing that tonight.

A few days ago my laptop started flickering, and finally Friday afternoon the screen went out. It had done this just over 6 months ago.

So today I dropped it off at Seattle Laptop.

The news so far?

It's probably not the whole screen (which is USD400 plus labor).

It's probably the backlight inverter (similar to the ballast transformer in a fluorescent light fixter). Which is a hundred and change, installed.

And they are way backed up, so it will probably be a week.

Sigh.
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Harry Potter and his girlgeek friend

I saw "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" film again tonight, with a group of friends and friends friends. I also saw it yesterday afternoon, as part of a company outing. (Paul Allen owns both my employer, and the theater (the Seattle Cinerama (THX sound, and digital projector, wooooo!))

My opinion? Once again, jaw dropping great set, perfect costuming, excellent casting by physical type. The people responsible for those bits obviously have a love of the books and an eye for detail.

The script, on the other hand... Yesh! Look, we have almost 500 pages here, that have to be cut down to novella length, and then converted into a screenplay. So we're rushed for time, even in two and a half hours. Plus, we have an audience who are either adults with kids, who don't appreciate being insulted, or fans who've read the book a dozen time at least (with a refresher reading just before coming to the theater). And if the Harry Potter books have proved anything, they've proved that kid fans are not stupid, and can keep track of characters, settings, and plots more sophisticated than "Clifford Gets Lost".

We don't need to have every character repeating back everything that everyone says to them, just to make sure that we the audience don't miss anything. Plus the character reintroductions were just plain clumsy. Someone needs to give Steven Kloves a whack upside the head.

I found myself doing a "fan edit" in my head the second time around.

Back to the casting.

Kenneth Branagh as Gilderoy Lockhart was just, inspired. And with all the animated portraits of the man in the background, doing "Branagh" in the periphery, while he chewed scenery in the foreground, well, he probably was able to pack 6 hours of "face time" into his role. And they were all funny.

Emma Watson ("Hermione Granger") is going to be, IMO, beyond hot in another 3 years. But then, I always lusted after geek girls.