It’s That Time Of Year

It must be getting close to Christmas.

After bugging me for the last several weeks about playing Christmas music in our cutting room, Dana finally convinced me today to put some on. For the last few hours that we were in the office we worked away to the gentle melodies of the Glenn Miller Orchestra’s “In The Christmas Mood” volumes one and two.

When I was growing up there were two Time-Life cassettes of Christmas music that my parents had and for me those songs really represent the spirit of the season. Unless my memory is playing tricks on me, I think the series was called “Home For The Holidays”.

Time-Life doesn’t sell it anymore but thankfully a few years ago I discovered that they had a new set of CDs with nearly the same track list, “The Time-Life Treasury Of Christmas”. I gave those as a gift to my mom that year and now I insist that if she’s going to put on some music when I visit her, those have to go into the rotation.

Christmas music is one of those festive holiday things, but I can’t take a lot of it. I hoping that we don’t have to listen to it everyday for the next three weeks.

Don’t Know What You’ve Lost ‘Til It’s Gone

I find it’s amazing how quickly the internet has become a integral part of my life. Today at work our internet connection was down most of the day and it was remarkable the number of times I was frustrated because I couldn’t go online. I have two editors working out of their homes and the picture department is on the other side of town. So it is certainly easier to exchange certain files over the net than it is to drive there in a car. Recently we’ve had some ADR sessions in Toronto and Montreal. With an ISDN hookup to a local stage we were able to get immediate recordings of those lines but with the internet I was able to download the original files within an hour or so of finishing the session. Even faster than FedEx overnight.

Plus Dana and I tend to have many pop culture-related conversations while we are doing our work.

“‘Dance Fever USA’? That sounds a lot like that movie with Sarah Jessica Parker and Helen Hunt.”

“‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’?”

“Exactly. What was the name of the dance TV show on that?”

“I don’t know. But Shannon Doherty was the younger daughter.”

“Yes, but who was the geeky little brother?”

“Little brother? I don’t remember that one.”

“‘Tune-in Tokyo’? No? Jonathan Silverman.”

“Oh yeah!”

Of course it’s not always that easy to remember all the names or the movies so we’re often going online to look at IMDB or All Music Guide or Google searches. So without the internet today, the conversations tended more towards the oblique.

“You know. The guy. That one who did that thing.”

“The guy? What thing?”

“You know, in that movie with the woman with the hair.”

“Most of them do have hair.”

“No. But she married that other guy.”

Much less fun.

I first got on the internet when I started college in 1992. Twelve years is certainly a long time to be online. However back then it was with my 2400 baud modem—not even comparable to a 512kbps DSL connection today. I don’t think I had a dedicated broadband internet connection in the office I worked in until 2000. Obviously I used the internet a lot in those eight years but it was really only sometime in the last four that it has become so pervasive, so much a part of my life that I feel a sense of loss when I don’t have access to it.

Figure Out When Things Are Good Enough

Sometimes it’s best just to leave well enough alone. Things might not be perfect but they’re good enough. Sure, you’re sitting there. Taking stock of things and you say to yourself, “Hey! I know I can make this better.”

The problem is that intent does not always equal success. Good intentions are certainly good. We all like good intentions. However, when those good intentions lead to failing miserably, you have to ask yourself, “Was it really worth it? Are good intentions all they’re really cracked up to be?”

I have a goatee. I’m one of those “trim around the edges” kind of goatee guys. It can get big after a while if I don’t cut it back. Initially, years ago, I started growing it out because it didn’t come in very full—kind of the comb-over equivalent to facial hair. Now it comes in much better.

This morning I had the brilliant idea that I might finally be able to set my trimmer to #2 and just buzz over everything. Much faster and probably cleaner looking in the long run. Easier than the trim around edges.

Unfortunately I now have a couple of bare patches on my upper lip thanks to some over-zealous clipper work. Thankfully it grows back. I’ll just have to suffer through looking like an idiot for a couple of weeks until I can even it all out.

“Hello. I’m Jon. Big dummy.”

Eat Your Heart Out, Jonathan Swift

This is one of the funniest damn things I’ve read in a while. Funny because it’s so true.

By C. B. Shapiro

I feel bad for the Red States.

Yes, they won the White House, Congress, the Supreme Court and most of the state houses.  But they still can’t have the country they really want because the last few Blue States won’t roll over.  So I am making a simple proposal:

Secession.  Divorce.  Splitsville.

Personally, I think we made a huge mistake not letting them go when we had the chance back in 1862.  Well, no time like the present to correct an old mistake.

Then, they would finally be free to have the kind of society they’ve always wanted; church and state can be fused so they build the kind of theocracy they’ve dreamt of, with Jesus at the helm.  Then the new USAR (United States of America Red) can ban books, repeal civil rights, persecute gays and have all the wars they like. They want prayer in schools?   More power to them.  They can ban abortion and post the Ten Commandments in every federal building in their country.  Bring back slavery, if they want.  We’ll be free to live with our like-minded countrymen who believe in science, modernism, tolerance, religion as a personal choice, and truly want limited government intrusion in our personal lives.  Why should each side be driven mad by the other any more, decade after decade?

Call the Culture War a tie and everyone go home.

Of course, we in the U.S.A.B. get the Gross Domestic Product, businesses and universities of California, New York, Massachussetts — basically the whole Northeast and Northwest (plus Illinois and Michigan if they want to come along).  They get Wal-Mart and Duke and most of the Nascar tracks.  But they can feel free to import movies, TV shows, financial services, and defense technology.  We’ll import country music, bibles and Confederate flags.

The two countries will by necessity have open immigration policy: anyone who feels they are living in the wrong country can just move across the border, no questions asked.

Ultimately, why should I have to convince my fellow countrymen that Darwin may have had a point and that the word “liberal” is not equivalent to “godless communist?”  And why should they be forced to live in a country with morally corrupt non-believers?  I’ll stay in the messy, free-thinking U.S.A.B.  And to the U.S.A.R. I say…

God bless you all, and see you at the U.N

I Woke Up Early The Day I Died

You know that part in horror movies where the hero is chased by some crazy murderer and attacked with a knife or an axe or some other implement of death and just before the killing blow lands, the hero wakes up screaming? And just as relief starts flooding through the hero’s body the crazy murderer comes crashing through the door or the window or the wall and you realize that the nightmare isn’t over? It’s just beginning.

I woke up this morning and walked into my own horror movie when I saw the electoral votes on the TV.

A Reflection On The Little Things In Life While Picking A Lock

Pants? Check.

Wallet? Check.

iPod? Check.

Cellphone? Check.

Keys? Oh crap.

Every two or three years something happens and I manage to step outside my apartment, close the door and almost immediately discover that my keys are now on the otherside of 2 inches of wood and a Schlage lock.

I guess I was due because that was the situation I found myself in this morning just before 8am. My internal clock had me up early since we just had our time change. I was doing a little cleaning around me apartment. When I went to take the trash out, I immediately discovered that although I had managed to have nearly every other technological gadget about my person, the necessary keys were sitting on the counter.

Thankfully since I had my cellphone I was in touch with a locksmith within minutes and a half-hour later he was crouched at my door jiggling his tools in the handle.

This was obviously the first call of the day for him and he had that rumpled “I just got out of bed” look about him. But he was a friendly fellow and proceeded to wax rather philosphic while I stood around impatiently waiting for him to let me in.

“Wow! Look at that tree! It’s beautiful! You know you have quite a view up here.”

I guess he was working on the lock by touch and sound because he was looking past me down the hill and over the morning rooftops of Burbank.

“I bet you could just sit and stare out the window on the other side of your place looking at the mountains all day long.”

“Actually that window just looks into an alley.”

“Still, you know a tree like that takes a lot of work to get it to look that beautiful.”

“Yeah. Probably.”

“You know, you have to trim it once a year. You have to make sure all the branches are pointing up or they’ll just end up breaking off.”


“You know how much it costs to trim a tree that size.”

“I have no idea.”

“Five thousand bucks.’


“Yeah. Hey! Check out that hummingbird! You know a tree like that supports an incredible amount of life.”

“Uh huh.”

“All kinds of different things live in a tree like that. Imagine if all of us could live in a tree like that. The number of people it could support. That would be incredible. You know my neighbor this old guy doesn’t trim his tree. The branches don’t point up. They’re all going ‘zoom’ like this and back like that. Ok, let’s try this lock the other way.”

“Actually it opens clockwise like how you were first going.”

“I know. I’ll reset it if I get it open.”


He went on and on like that for the twenty minutes it took him to get the door open. After suggesting that I hang a shower curtain in front of my balcony to get more privacy and informing me that my neighbor’s wooden shingle roof was a huge fire hazard, the lock finally popped and my cat Max who was really curious about all the racket that was going on at the door stuck his head out through the crack in the doorway.

I managed to get Max back inside before he escaped, thanked the locksmith for coming to my aid, and went on with my life with a whole new outlook.

Ok. Maybe not.

The End Is Nigh

From the AP:

Billboard to Rank Cell Phone Ringtones

… The music market tracker Billboard will begin ranking the customized mobile phone sound snippets beginning next week….

As it does with other music sales data, Billboard will publish the top 20 ringtones purchased for each week.

Is it just me or is this totally lame? I have never had much use for the Billboard charts. They certainly don’t reflect the music that I’m interested in and that I buy. Of course I’m also not a 12-year-old girl. But it seems to me that this is the final nail in the coffin of Billboard’s relevancy. Are the record labels so anxious to justify themselves that they have to bolster their self-esteem by keeping track of which 15 second music-bytes are the most popular on telephones? Does this mean that there is going to be a surge in the “Macarena” on the charts again? How about “Hava Nagila”?

I’ve got an idea. My current ringtone is the theme to “The A-Team”. I think those crack commandos from the 80’s deserve to be on the charts. If everyone called me my cellphone maybe we could make it to number one. The number is 818-555… oh nevermind.

A Genius Named Jon

Not me.

Jon Stewart and “The Daily Show” has been very political since the 2000 election and seems to have gotten even more so with the current election. Recently though, Jon has started to take on news organizations for being puppets of the politicians, for not calling them out when they get caught in a lie.

If you’ve missed any of these confrontations, you really should set aside a few minutes to take a look. Jon went on CNN’s “Crossfire” pleaded with them to “Stop… hurting… America.” The following Monday he talked about the encounter on his own show. “Here’s the thing about confronting someone on their show. They’re there…. Uncomfortable!” He also spoke with a gathering a journalists for an hour about his thoughts on journalistic integrity on an episode of “American Perspectives” which aired on CSPAN. He expressed similar views on “60 Minutes”.

Goodbye To Peel

This just in from Reuters:

Veteran British disc jockey John Peel, who championed new music trends like punk on mainstream radio, has died of a heart attack on holiday in Peru.

Basically every band on the planet has played on John Peel’s show at one time or another. Obviously anytime you see an album that is called “The Peel Sessions” it was recorded by him. Also many that just say “Live At The BBC”.

I’m very saddened to hear of his passing.

A Busy Weekend

My cousin is in town from Norway and we are going to see some sites today and then tonight I’m off to a minor league hockey game for a friend’s birthday. Tomorrow will probably be some more touristy things with my cousin. I’ll try to post pictures when I can.