Friday, March 24, 2017

Hospital internet movie test

If the subject of this post seems like just a random assortment of nouns, I will do my best to explain their interrelationship.

Last night I needed to do an internet stress test at a local children's hospital.


Well, I'll be conducting my online fantasy baseball draft there on Sunday, and I needed to make sure the signal was strong and that it didn't kick me out after a certain allotment of time per visit.

The hospital is a 10-minute walk from my house and it's what I relied on as my sole source of internet for something like a month after we moved in, when problems with the wiring in our house kept our internet from working.

That was back in 2013, and though there were no restrictions on usage at the time, a lot can change in 3.5 years.

The reason I'm drafting there on Sunday, rather than just using the internet at my house, is that a) it's more fun to draft somewhere out in the world, just for the novelty of it, and b) my family isn't able to clear out of the house this Sunday morning like they usually are. I need my concentration during the draft, you see, and the 90 minutes maximum it may last is not usually too difficult to carve out for myself. This year, though, they have conflicting plans that promise to leave my house as a maximum-distraction environment.

The hospital has a little food court where you can sit on your computer and be on the internet without bothering anybody, and though I do find it a bit strange and borderline inappropriate to utilize the hospital's resources in this way, it's really not hurting anyone. And no one should know the difference -- I might just be using my computer between visits to the bedroom of my sick child. (Ouch, it's not sounding any better.)

But if the hospital's free WiFi did kick me off in, say, an hour, I'd be screwed mid-draft without any way to get to a location I can get back online -- without sprinting home, anyway. So, careful as I am about any preparations related to my draft, I figured I needed to test it on Thursday night.

And what's the truest test of both the speed and endurance of an internet connection? Plus feeding naturally into my own interests?

A movie, of course.

Now, I have a number of movies out from the library right now that are trying to fight their way into my DVD player, and it would have been a great opportunity to watch one of those. But a movie on my computer's DVD player does not test what I'm trying to test. Netflix does.

So I was left with the fun task of finding something completely random to watch -- preferably something long enough that it'd provide the true test of just how long I can expect to have an internet connection.

I perused the baseball movie options, as I always like to watch a new-to-me baseball movie to celebrate the start of the season, though I ended up coming up empty. I landed upon an indeed completely random option: Garry Marshall's 1987 movie Overboard, the Kurt Russell-Goldie Hawn movie that I'd always heard was such fun. (Interestingly, the one baseball option I considered for a moment -- the documentary The Battered Bastards of Baseball -- also features Russell.)

Oddly, it's almost exactly the one-year anniversary of when I watched another one of Hawn's screwball comedies (if you want to call them that) from this period, that being 1992's Bird on a Wire -- and Mel Gibson even had a similar period-appropriate mullet to the one Russell sports in this one five years earlier.

The big difference, though, was in how much I liked the films. I found Wire tedious and annoying. Overboard, however, was indeed the classic its fans have made it out to be.

I won't launch into a full lovefest for Overboard, since this post is more about watching a movie at a hospital than the actual quality of the movie (for whatever that's worth), but it's a really good combination of laughs and heart. It starts with a bit of tacky period costuming as Hawn plays a materialistic asshole whose wardrobes stretch the definition of ridiculous, and all my "this hasn't aged well" alarm bells were going off. But it morphs into a funny domestic comedy in which Russell is gaslighting an amnesiac Hawn for stiffing him on a carpentry job and then pushing him over the side of her yacht. Of course, in the course of getting some (very funny) revenge, he falls hard for as her buried inner nice person comes forward. It achieves its goals and then some, and the two of them are great together -- no surprise as they were also a real-life couple. Still are -- which surprises me to learn, as I thought they had broken up.

One thing worth specifically mentioning is another element that always seems dated in 80s movies -- the score. Overboard was no exception, but the main theme is interesting in a very peculiar way -- it sounds a bit like the perfect combination of hillbilly music and synthesizer music. I have no better way to describe it, but I can tell you that it works.

Oh, and one other thing: Hector Elizondo does, indeed, make a brief appearance, this being a Garry Marshall movie. I wasn't sure how long ago their partnership started, but it was at least three decades.

And did the hospital internet pass the test?

Indeed it did. The movie buffered nary a once, and it never cut me off or told me I had only x amount of time to surf. The one thing that did worry me was the warning that hackers might see my information if I joined this insecure network, but I tried to reassure myself that I was probably safe unless I was planning to do any banking. Or at least, maybe that hackers have enough of a conscience not to find victims at a children's hospital.

I only watched a little more than an hour of the movie, though. Although I was not kicked out by the security guard -- something that used to happen to me back in 2013 -- the place was virtually empty when I did leave. I figured, that was a long enough test, and I watched the rest at home.

So hopefully, my only obstacle to successfully completing my draft on Sunday will be my own dumb decisions on which players to draft, which I am sure to instantly regret.


Wendell Ottley said...

Haven't seen Overboard, but I have seen The Battered Bastards of Baseball. If you get a chance, do give it a watch. It's quite entertaining. Love hearing about what you were doing at the hospital and why. It all made for a very cool read. Good luck with your draft. And go Yanks!

Derek Armstrong said...

Great to hear from you, Wendell! On your recommendation I will definitely cue that up this week. In the end I actually didn't go to the hospital -- maybe I was a bit spooked by the unsecure connection. I had a much nicer experience at a nearby cafe that was only too happy to let me linger for a full two hours. And I guess I too will be saying "Go Yanks!" this year as I drafted both Gary Sanchez (whom I kept from last year) and Greg Bird. This is particularly awkward as I am a lifelong Red Sox fan!