A Man Called Otto has dropped on Netflix. This is the Americanized film version of the Swedish novel, A Man Called Ove. I suggested to Harry that we watch the movie together, but he informed me that he had already seen it and did not like it. It was “too perfect,” whatever that means. I was surprised by that comment, because when Ove first hit the scene, I immediately thought of Harry and like everyone else in the family, he loved the book. Maybe he saw some of himself in Ove, maybe not. In truth, I am older than Ove, making Harry way too old to conflate him with Ove. In Otto, an even younger than me Tom Hanks plays the title character, assisted by his son as the young Otto in flashbacks. The movie’s reviews have been tepid, but I still blubbered through its ending.
Longtime readers of this blog will have surely noticed the Flickr feed that has always appeared in its sidebar, labeled “Chris’s Camera.” For years it featured glorious photographs of California’s rugged central coast. There my brother had documented many of this portion of the West Coast’s most distinctive features and landmarks. Always captured near sunset, amidst the perfect lighting of the golden hour and with just the right amount of clouds to fill the frame. More recently though, Chris has switched his focus to the many, century old buildings in nearby Pacific Grove. Pictured here is the initial galley of a book that he has created. It is almost done and is well into the final tweaking phase of this project. So much so, that he is now casting about for a new photography project to fill his time. He just needs to capture a few more homes to finish his book. Like me, my brother Chris was never a great writer. So how did he write a book? I have for years been laboring to pullup my weak writing skills by their bootstraps, to this present day relatively lofty level, from where I had begun. Chris has chosen a more modern and much more expedient approach. In cooperation with many Pacific Grove based cultural and historical organizations who have contributed, who he prominently credits, he has accumulated plenty of text to accompany his photos in this coffee table book. How best to organize these disparate sources though? Enter the AI bot ChatGPT. It has been making an enormous splash in the news lately. Both heralding it as the next new, new thing and decrying it as a source blatant lies and disinformation. Chris has found that by limiting this robot to only quoting the text that he gives it, it does well at what it was always intended to do, before all the hoopla occurred. ChatGPT is just the next generation of autocomplete and if that is what you use it for, it does a good job. In this case organizing disparate text into a coherent paragraph.
On Christmas morning, the picture gift was Maren and David’s way of letting us know that they are expecting a baby. Best Christmas gift ever! This will be their first child and our first grandchild. I was asked to stay mum on this blog until all of the testing came back, which it did, last week. Yesterday, they made their own social media announcements. It was hard to contain myself all of this while. The baby is due in July and not wanting to know the baby’s sex beforehand, they have taken to calling their child the Little Hatchet. In addition to being our first grandchild, this baby will also be Maren’s parents first grandbaby too. This will be my father’s first great grandchild and Anne’s father’s fourth. Three of which are due this year. I think that I can safely say that we are all joyful with this news and expect great things to come.