August 10th, 2007


The other people who are the best in the country at something

Any movie whose director's statement begins, "What does it mean to be the best in the world at something?" is bound to draw me in.

I missed seeing "The King of Kong" at Tribeca. Tonight I returned to the plush HBO screening room (stadium-style seats!) to see this documentary, which opens August 17. I have never played Donkey Kong or any other arcade game; it was after my time and more of a guy thing. That didn't matter. I absolutely loved this movie.

The elite video gamers are almost universally male (one older lady is highlighted), generally nerdy (not that there's anything wrong with that!) and as dedicated to their passion as anyone we know in crosswords. Many of them have families and careers and lives; they're just obsessed with their particular obsession.

I laughed, I cheered, I gasped, I cringed, I cried. I wondered whether this or "The Lives of Others" wins my best film of '07. Thank you, IFP and Picturehouse.

It was just before Associated's 9 pm closing time when I got back so I picked up some groceries (they still had no blondies). My apartment was stuffy despite the slightly cooler weather. So I brought my new chair out to the terrace for the first time, ate frozen yogurt in the dark, and then read People with my clip-on light. There's an outlet there but I didn't want to drag out a lamp. I could see lots of light coming from my neighbor's terrace; he has a whole set-up out there. Too bad I didn't use the terrace the first 32 years I lived here. Extremely pleasant - nature in the city.

I then updated my iTunes and iPod software. For some reason I had been putting this off for, oh, years. Now I can finally do podcasts, a whole new area to explore. I still have a dozen CDs to load.

I finished "Billion-Dollar Kiss: The Story of a Television Writer in the Hollywood Gold Rush" by Jeffrey Stepakoff. I would not enjoy this kind of work - too creative and too collaborative - but I enjoy reading about it. I've also been reading Ken Levine's blog (he's Millipede's brother-in-law).

People always mistakenly assume I write questions for game shows. Research, just research - or checking other people's research. I may be one of the few researchers who doesn't really want to write (and everyone else in showbiz really wants to direct), though I don't mind tweaking wording here and there.

I'm so low on lens fluid I had to dip into the 4 oz. travel size, and if that goes I'll be using expired Renu of the type that was recalled (I save this stuff just in case). So I need to get to Duane Reade ASAP. And pick up at-home mail so I can perhaps clear out the entire backlog of grading.

(no subject)

It was too cold and rainy for idyllic terrace lounging today, so I opened the recliner inside along the windows and read there for a bit. I could really get into this retirement thing.

I finished "Nightwork" by Irwin Shaw, a mostly light adventure involving corpses, piles of cash, and jet-setting through Europe. Inside is written "Property of [grandfather's name]" and I considered keeping it just for that, but I'm going to leave it in the laundry room book exchange.

Got a Fresh Direct order today. My refrigerator is now filled with vegetables. I want to make a huge salad before anything goes bad. The Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches arrived squishy and melted; I've complained and expect to get a credit.

A few weeks ago, FD had given delivery pass customers a coupon code for a free pizza, but it wouldn't work when I tried it. They then apologized that there was a system problem and it could still be used through August 1. I did an order July 30 and totally forgot about the promotion. So I tried to use the code this time - and it worked!

My credit card had a mysterious charge from Sofitel Philadelphia. I had paid for the room in advance and the charge for wireless came directly from T-Mobile, so I didn't know what this was. I called and they said it was for the minibar. I never have anything from the minibar and didn't even take the key, and didn't drink the bottles of water in the room assuming they weren't free. I was prepared to argue and yell and say I'd take a lie detector test if they didn't believe me, but they were nice as could be and immediately reversed the charge. Later I remembered I had used the shampoo and conditioner, but I don't think that's extra. Or is it? Nah, that would be like charging for soap.

I regularly Google for "crossword" and found this press release. Skeptical of the hype, I did a free registration at the site to see if these were legit puzzles, and sure enough they're kriss-krosses. Maybe it should be called PuzzlesAm instead of PuzzlesPro.