Sunday, November 16, 2014

My Inner Lumberjack, SleepIQ and Does Hollywood Think the Bible Is a True Story?

You probably wouldn’t assume it by looking at me but I have a streak of lumberjack in me. It’s not just the flannel and chamois shirts I favor once the air becomes nippy.

My constant gardener, aka Gilda, loves her compost and mulch, resulting in many an afternoon spent by yours truly collecting fallen leaves to be pulverized in my Sears Craftsman Leafwacker Plus. One day last week after chopping up 15 bags of leaves I filled another 18 black, 40-gallon Hefty bags with the discards from maple and oak trees. I shredded those leaves this afternoon. 

A few years ago I bought the Leafwacker from a Craig’s List poster in New Jersey for $25 and have enjoyed the annual autumn ritual of mulching leaves. It’s a lot less laborious than my two decades-ago lumberjack toil of collecting, chainsawing, chopping and stacking tree limbs culled from the roadside for our wood-burning stove.

Anyway, there’s a back-to-nature type of pleasure I get from this exercise, which almost got stopped in its tracks this year. Shortly after starting last week, the Leafwacker ground to a halt. I thought it might have shorted out on the foil wrapper of a Twix bar that had infiltrated the leaves. I took the machine to the Sears repair shop. They said it would cost some $125 with no guarantee they could fix it. 

I passed on that “reassuring” estimate and turned to Google. Sure enough, there were several posts about sudden stoppages of a Leafwacker, including one suggestion to hit the reset button on the bottom of the inverted machine. Who knew there was a reset button? Again sure enough, the Leafwacker sprung back to life. A short while later the mulcher stopped again in mid-stream but this time I knew what to do. Hooray for technology. 

Sleep Tight: The good people who sold us our Sleep Number bed called over the weekend to ask how we’ve been slumbering and to suggest a technology add-on. With SleepIQ, we’d be able to monitor things like how many times we got up in the middle of the night, how often we tossed and turned, our heart rate and breathing rate, and how our diet affected our sleep. All this for $499.

I respectfully declined, though I would have liked to find out how SleepIQ distinguishes normal tossing and turning from the bodily movements of two people making love. 

Here’s another question I’d like the answer to—when Gilda and I recently went to the movies, we saw a preview for "50 to 1," what was said to be “based on the true story of horse racing legend Mine That Bird.”

Okay, lots of pictures these days originate from “true” stories. The next preview was for “Exodus: Gods and Kings.” It did not say the movie was based on a true story. I’m guessing the producers did not want to take sides on whether the Bible was fact- or myth-based, but I’d like to know their reasoning. 

Spoiler Alert: The movie we saw was “Gone Girl,” which contained one of the best puns I’ve heard recently. It concerned Amy Dunne who masquerades her own disappearance and possible murder. In describing missing person Amy, a TV personality said she “forged a successful career in journalism.” As the British say, brilliant.

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