Thursday, January 31, 2008

There's a New Chapter!

What are you doing here? There's a brand new chapter up in the War Room.

Go read it!


The Oscars are coming! The Oscars are coming!

And you can participate. Thanks to defective yeti, I've got the wherewithal to run an Oscar Pool.

Enter your picks by Noon E.S.T. on Sunday, February 24th. (Yeah, I know my Alaskan fans are in a time bind what with the 5 hour difference, but I know you can get it done.) Whoever gets the most right is the winner. Simple.

What's the Prize? Haven't got a clue. (It won't be one of my books 'cause that's getting boring and also, when someone picks one, sometimes its hard to find it and actually, ya'know, send it to them. Todd, I'm really looking and I'll send it soon, I swear.) I'll announce what the prize is sometime before it matters, but you're all in it for the bragging rights anyway, right?

Go to Nathan's Oscar Pool , make your picks and send 'em to me with the nifty button at the bottom.

Bonus Question: Identify the following movie quote. "Emergency, Emergency. Everybody to get from streets, Emergency. No prize for guessing right but its one of my favorite movie quotes of all time. Who said it? Character, Actor, Movie.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Da Da Da Daaaaaah!

That was announcement music. For weeks, I've been trying to figure out how to create collapsable posts over on the book blog. Jeff H. has tried to help. Shawn has tried to help. Jim made a bowl. None of it helped. I absolutely, positively assure you that their help was brilliant and my ability to carry it out was...lacking.

Well, tonight, after a dozen messages back and forth on the Blogger Help Group, I've got it set up. Tomorrow, I'll go back and make all the existing posts show as a paragraph or so followed by a "read more" tag. If I'm really energetic, I'll edit and post another chapter. If not, eh, you've waited this long, what's one more day?

Anyway, There's No Crying in the War Room starts posting new chapters in the next day or so.

Thank you for your patience. (And if you didn't give a rat's ass, you don't need to tell me.)

UPDATE: Code is installed. Code works! All chapters have been collapsed. New content coming soon.

Technorati Hates Me!

D-List Blogger

D-List Blogger

What's My Niche?

I mentioned yesterday that I was having trouble coming up with something to write about here. I could follow the example of some of your blogs, but that would be boring, wouldn't it. Not that your blogs are boring, they're not, but if I write the same kind of stuff, it would be just one more blog...with the same kind of stuff.

You guys (the ones I read and you know who you are), write about serious stuff on a fairly regular basis. Sometimes your posts are serious, sometimes sarcastic. Sometimes your tone is outraged, sometimes fatalistic, sometimes completely snarky. You guys do that well. Probably better than I would. So, I'm not gonna do that. (Note: I fully expect to see some story show up later today that makes me post something serious and completely contradict everything I've said so far. So be it. Its my blog and I reserve the right to be consistently inconsistent).

So what am I getting at? In the past, I've frequently told friends or relatives about something that annoyed me and their reactions have taken the following forms:

-"That's really what you waste time worrying about?"
-"So, that's the biggest worry in your life right now?"
and my personal fave,

Yeah folks, that's right. I like overreacting to really petty inconsequential crap. And since I've got a blog, I can react to it with gusto. Damn, this blogging sure opens up the pipelines for spreading inanity. So, here goes with a couple of really stupid things that bug me.

Stupid things that bug me #1:

I like browsing through sites like Fark and Link Burglar. I've noticed that, quite often, I'll be linked to a story and I can't figure out where the hell the story took place. Seeing a banner that says it's from The Lodi News only narrows it down a little bit. Mapquest will find Lodi in ten different states. Sometimes you'll find a clue in the story itself or sometimes there are some local ads that give you the location, but sometimes there's nothing.

This annoys me. The news organizations putting up these websites should realize that the internet goes everywhere, not just to Moe's NewsStand down on the corner of Elm St. and Podunk Ave.

Note: I'm even more annoyed that I went to Fark and tried to find some links to post as examples and every freaking story I looked at, clearly identified their location. This is the equivalent of telling a really funny story and when the crickets start chirping, you finish things off by saying "I guess you had to be there."

Stupid Things that Bug Me #2:

Once upon a time, when you paid for your purchase in a store, the Standard Operating Procedure was to hand you your change and stuff the receipt into your bag. At some point during the last 15-20 years this perfectly good system was altered. Now, invariably, the cashier places the paper bills in your hand, places the receipt on top of the cash and then drops the coins on top of the receipt. Why does this annoy me? Follow along children.

In the old system, there were a number of ways to stow my change while still holding the shopping bags without causing weird contortions. You could grip the cash between two fingers and let the coins slide into your pocket and then stash the cash in your wallet. An alternate version was that you could slide the change into your other hand, stow the cash in your wallet and then put the cash into your wallet. You could do all of this without putting down your shopping bags.

Now, you have to use your non-change-holding hand to pull the receipt out of the pile. You have to decide where to put it while putting away your change. If you didn't want a receipt at all, you might just leave it on the counter, but somehow, that feels rude. If you do want the receipt, you probably do want it in your wallet, but not mixed in among the bills. You still need to double handle it. And you have to do all of this while the customers behind you are waiting for you to get the fuck out of their way.

My younger brother is an operations manager for a large chain of supermarkets. A couple of years ago, I asked him to rectify this situation, at least in his stores. He reacted with utter, complete silence...and a blank stare.

And since I'm such a helpful guy, I'm going to post the first comment.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Testing, Testing. Is This Thing On?

I just took the Jeopardy online test. I'm fairly certain they won't be calling.

A Book Review

1634: The Bavarian Crisis by Eric Flint & Virginia DeMarce

First of all, I loved the first book in the series, love the whole premise of a fictional West Virginia town being transported to the early 17th Century, loved the original characters. Having said that, I think the series may have over-reached some time ago. I wouldn't say that each novel has any responsibility to be a "stand-alone", but they're now woefully lacking when it comes to reminding you who the hell everyone is. There's a list of characters in the back, but the character descriptions are minimal, at best. And the series has a buttload of characters to keep track of now. It may be my own deficiency, but I was lost fairly often.

Speaking of lost, the book has three maps in the front. Grantville isn't on any of the maps. The book repeatedly moves the action to some town that isn't on any of the maps. I like maps. I can't tell you how many times I've started a book and when my GF looks over, she says, "Ooh, you're going to like that one. Its got plenty of maps." So here's a shout out to Authors and Editors everywhere. Go ahead, put in all the maps you want. Just please make sure the places you write about in the book are somewhere on the fucking maps!

Another quibble I'll make is that the book seems to suffer from what others have described as Baen's policy of letting authors self-edit. There's certainly something to the concept of giving your authors a more free hand, but is there any reason not to proof the book for typos and obvious grammatical errors? Sorry, that just strikes me as lazy.

Anyway, I want to like this series more than I do. In the end, I got the gist of the story and it was good, if not great. But, and this is the big but, I'm only going to get the full benefit of these books if I decide to become the Grantville version of a Trekkie, fanatically learning Klingon and wearing Spock ears everywhere I go.

Nah. That ain't gonna happen.

What to Write About

Here I am, a couple of weeks into being a blogger and I'm drawing a complete blank on what to write about. All I can think of is things I shouldn't write about.

1. There's a strict moratorium here at Polybloggimous on even using the word for what we did yesterday. There's no firm date set for the expiration of the moratorium, but its probably sometime in 2013.

2. I can't comment (intelligently) on the State of the Union Address because:
a.) I was reading a book and only half paid attention.
b.) who cares what he said.
c.) I'm more than happy to respond to other people talking politics, but I don't think I'm ever going to take the position of being any kind of authority.

2. (Part 2) I did notice two things during the address. First, I heard what Bush had to say about Immigration and my first reaction was, "That makes sense." My second thought, which followed the first almost immediately was, "I must not have heard him right, or he must have been lying". Yes, things are great when I have to assume that any time the President says something I agree with it means I either didn't hear him right of he was lying.

Lacking anything else of import to discuss, I'll throw this question out to my thousands of loyal readers. Should Polybloggimous have one or two G's. This question has been nagging at me. What do you think. I can't promise to go with majority rules.

Monday, January 28, 2008

International Hijack™ Day is over.

And I pronounce it a resounding success. You all have my thanks for your enthusiastic participation.

First, some stats:

10 full participants
3 or 4 drop in visitors (by my count)
315 overall comments made. (including on the e)
Comments from Croatia.
Comments in Dutch (but I think from within the continental U.S.)
Who got the most comments? Me ::gloat::! 34 comments here. FTW!
Shawn managed to get the second most comments and he didn't even show up until around 3:00pm. Bahstahd!

I don't know about your sites, but I got 116 hits today. This blows away my usual average of 9.

My favorite moment? When Anne's family turned up and said WTF?

And what have we learned?

Not much. First of all, we should listen to MWT. MWT was the first to point out that this was indeed, completely, irredeemably, utterly retarded! And it was. So I bid adieu to The First Annual International Hijack™ Day. And if there's a second, it won't be at my instigation.

(Although, I'm perfectly capable of coming up with something differently Retarded.)

Important things YOU NEED TO KNOW!

The ever brilliant Federal Communications Commission has announced that it is fining ABC and 52 affiliates over an episode of NYPD Blue that aired 5 years ago. Wow! I mean just, Wow. One of the leaps of logic involved was that the FCC has declared a woman's buttocks to be a "sexual organ". It is apparent that Sex Ed. in our schools has taken a back seat (groan - shut up).

Also, Blogger has "scheduled" a brief "outage" at 4PM PST. Would that not be the exact same time as 12:00 a.m. GMT...the exact moment Hijack™ ends. Coincidence? I think not. We have much greater powers than we imagined. Good work Hijackers.

Following Janiece's example, (but only partially), you are permitted to address this post in its own comment thread, in someone else's thread and/or to place new incoherencies in this thread. Not commenting on this post is clearly not an option.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Ready, Set, Go!

UPDATE: I no longer care what movie you think was mis-cast (as if I ever did in the first place). Now I'd like you to Google Apples and PitBulls. Pick two words that have no relation whatsoever. Google them. Tell us the hilarious results.

EXAMPLE: A search for "Space Station Yogurt" resulted in the following:

Today there is a Russian yogurt cultured from bacteria in the saliva and guts of cosmonauts aboard Mir station. Spaceflight stress upset their immunity, according to the Moscow Institute of Biomedical Problems. That allowed bad bacteria to attack good bacteria. Microbiologists developed the yogurt in the 1980s as a remedy. Cosmonauts ate yogurt before blast-off. Today, it comes as fruit-flavored yogurt, cottage cheese and traditional Russian cheeses studded with garlic and herbs.

This is news to me.

The First Annual International Hijack™ Day
has arrived!
(Well, when the clock below counts down to zero, at least)
(That means wait for the clock to count down)

I'm posting this early just to give you all some idea of what your post should look like. Or you can ignore my example completely! Here's the rules.

-Do not respond to me in my own thread. Go to one of the other participant's blogs and respond there.

-Do not respond to other participants in their own threads. Go to one of the other participant's blogs and respond there.

-If you're responding to a comment in a thread, do it somewhere else.

-If one of the participants has failed to put up a Hijack™ Day post, Hijack their most recent thread with your non-sequiter comments. Serves 'em right, I say.

-Post the rules so your readers know what the hell is going on. If you feel like operating by a different set of rules, fine. Just include them in your starting Post.

-You should either include all the links of participating blogs in your post or you can just link my post so that everyone knows who is playing.

-After posting all of this crap, make sure you include the "audience participation" part so that there's something to respond to. (Duh!)

-New Rule I just thought of: Creative flaming and name-calling are hereby deemed most welcome during the 24-hour playing period. I think being pissy out of context could be most excellent!

-If you are late to the game, email me (address linked in my profile), and I'll add you to the list.

-By all means, invite your own readers to play. Just send them here to sign on.

-Lastly, if I've included your blog and you didn't really mean to sign on, email me and I'll remove you from the list.

What's the point of all this. Nothing whatsoever. As someone pointed out, its difficult to organize chaos. So, the hell with organization. Chaos for its own sake. I expect the resulting threads to look like a meeting of Bipolar Disorder meets Tourette's Syndrome suffers.

BTW, any response to this post in this thread will be grounds for disqualification. There's other posts on the subject where you can ask questions or introduce other ideas. Just sayin'.

The players (in no particular order) are:

Who am I to say?

Random (but not really)
Smug Puppies
The Blog of Siram
Hot Chicks Dig Smart Men
Stonekettle Station
Anne's Public Storage Space
The Brain of Shawn
Snavely's Web Log

My Audience Participation Portion.

What movie do you think was completely mis-cast. Why did you think some actor(s) sucked in their role? Who would have been better.

Your opinions will be graded. Harshly!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Countdown to End of Hijack™

I was breathless waiting to start and I'm out of breath trying to keep up.
All Good(?) things must come to an end.

Countdown to January 29th, 12:00 a.m. GMT.

The Second of two promised Posts

I promised you all TWO exciting new posts today and here is the second. Since my creativity and curiosity have taken a (hopefully) brief vacation to parts unknown, this will be an audience participation thread. You are all invited to


That's right. I know you're all curious. What do you just absolutely need to know about me to get through your day without succumbing to a massive anxiety attack? What question has been driving you mad? Go ahead. Ask away.*

*I officially don't promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, or any remotely tiny part of the truth.

Hijack™ Planning Session

A Sound Clip for you!

Are we on for Monday? Do we have a plan? Is this a brilliant mistake destined for spectacular failure? Is that any reason not to make the most (least) of it?

I say we proceed with reckless abandon. Here's your last chance to sign up, weigh in on how it should work and recommend how we spread through the internet's plumbing system like the gelatinous hairball that ate the world.

Let the anarchy begin on Monday January 28th at 12:01 a.m. Greenwich Mean Time! Do we have anybody in that time zone?

Guilt. Witness its massive powers.

Somehow, I've managed to get too busy to post anything here for the last two days and I haven't added anything to the book blog for an entire week! Bad Blogger!

Later today, I'll add two posts, (count'em two) here. We need to talk about Hijack™ Day if its going to happen and I need to add something original to talk about if I'm going to keep you all scampering back here. I don't know what I'm going to come up with that will get all of your synapses popping but there'll be something here later today for your amusement.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Writing 101. You Fail.

The following post is lifted completely from Ken Levine's blog. Since he obviously got it from somewhere else, I don't feel guilty. They're hysterical and you need to read them. My favorite is the one about the lame duck.

I don't know how legit these are but who cares? They're really funny.

Every year, English teachers from across the country can submit their collections of actual similes and metaphors found in high school essays. These excerpts are published each year to the amusementof teachers across the country. Here are last year's winners:

1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a thigh Master.

2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.

3. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.

4. She grew on him like she was a colony of E.Coli, and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.

5. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.

6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

7. He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.

8. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM machine.

9. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.

10. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.

11. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie,surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.

12. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.

13. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.

14. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other fromTopeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.

15. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth.

16. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

17. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant, and she was the East River.

18. Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.

19. Shots rang out, as shots are known to do.

20. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.

21. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for awhile.

22. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.

23. The ballerina rose gracefully en Pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.

24. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with powertools.

25. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.

Nathan's a Whiney, Whining Whiner Part 2.

Today has been...boring. We're shooting interiors in a small apartment. Once I get the company in on a day like this, my day consists of fielding important questions like, "Are there more bathrooms? This one's all stopped up." "Where is the nearest Kinko's?" "Does the G train stop at Borough Hall?"

This is not fun. The set itself is crowded and boring and they don't need me there, so I spend most of my day standing around. Like I say, once I've got the trucks parked and everyone knows the lay of the land, I'm pretty much done until wrap. Boring!

Add to this the fact that we have day and night scenes today, so we started at 10:00 a.m. and we'll be out of here around Midnight. Boring and long.

So, one of the first things I did this morning was to introduce the production assistants to the freight elevator. Its this ancient thing with early Twentieth-Century technology. You run it by pulling a cable up or down and this goes to some motor that either goes forward or reverse to go up or down. The other important thing to know about this elevator is that if you let the doors close with nobody inside the elevator, you can't get the door open from the outside.

Of course, somebody closed the door. That's bad. Because, basically since the grips, camera guys and electrians never know what they'll need at any moment, they all like to take absolutely everything off their trucks and bring it all upstairs. Having no elevator to get it back down from the fourth floor would be bad.

Luckily, one of the Production Assistants, Luke, is MacGyver in the flesh. He somehow got it open with a broken stub of a screwdriver. He is my hero today.

So anyway, life got interesting there for about a half-hour. I'm glad its back to boring now.

How is/was your day?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A Star Is Born

In one of the scenes we shot today, the girl who came to NY has gotten a Cabbie to take pity on her. He gets her to a nice part of the city and not only does he not charge her for the ride, he gives her $20 to help her out. He offers some fatherly advice and recommends a really good, really cheap place to eat. Before she walks away she kisses him on the cheek and thanks him. As she leaves, he smiles, becoming a gentle giant instead of the ogre we imagined when we first saw him.

Well, while we were setting up for the scene, it occurred to the director that anyone walking by and witnessing this little tableau without the benefit of any context, might think the whole thing looked a lot more pervey than sweet. He decided he needed an Extra to react to them. He decided I needed to be that Extra.

Now getting asked to be an Extra in a scene is pretty common on smaller non-union shows. They don't have the budget for enough extras to make the street look busy and they're always asking the crew to be in a shot. I've always said, "No". I've got my own job to do. If I'm established in the scene, they're going need me to be in every take for that angle, and then when they do alternate shots for the scene, I'd need to be in some of those. I really can't do my job if I'm not available to deal with any problems that arise at a moment's notice. I just can't afford to be tied to the set like that.

But I like these guys. And this was a "featured" Extra...someone who is actually part of the scene instead of just "out of focus head #3". So, I said "Yes."

I'm supposed to be walking down the street and stop to look at stuff in a store window. The cab will pull up directly behind me. When I hear a certain line of dialog, I turn to look at them, just as he hands over money and she kisses him. Up to now, I've been chewing on a cigar; now I'm puffing on it furiously. She walks away. I look back and forth between her departing figure and the cab driver. The driver notices me and his smile disappears immediately. He hollers, "What the fuck are you lookin' at?" I walk off sheepishly.

Fun, huh?

During the course of shooting this scene I also had to do my job a little bit. First Con Ed showed up and wanted to dig up the street in front of the restaurant we were shooting next. Talk, Talk, Talk; phone call to Con Ed Dispatcher; problem solved. I also had to find a store that would let up plug in a light since our generator was a block away with the guys pre-lighting the restaurant.

And then, the British Producer, who shoots behind the scenes footage interviewed me; but not as the Locations the aspiring actor, "And do you think this role might be a turning point for you?"

So...eventually, I'll be in the show, which they post to their website after its aired, and he wants to put the interview on their website as well. I'll post links when this happens. Cool, Huh?

Monday, January 21, 2008

And The GF said...

11:51 P.M.

GF: "And then I told her"...

The above sentence completed a discussion last addressed three hours ago.

I know all of you understand both sides of this one.

Nathan's a whiney, whining, whiner.

I've been told once or twice in my life that I'm capable of getting a little...whiney. In the past, my only whining options were face to face, telephone, email, etc. All of those options are clearly limited in the amount of people they can reach.

Eureka, Hosanna, Hallelujah, I've got a blog! The amount of people I can reach is damn near limitless. And, to make the most effective use of this wonderful piece of technology...

I was on my feet all day and my legs hurt!

Shit! Shit! Shit! Shit! Shit!

Briefly checking in with all of you to let you know its a balmy One Degrees here in Brooklyn.

Feet. Not. Happy.

I'm not sure when I can check in again, but I'd love it if you send me warming thoughts.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Its a two-post Sunday!

It would appear that while trying to install the code to collapse paragraphs on the book blog, I somehow managed to delete some other the links to all of your blogs and other sites I like. Crap! More fixing to do.

I've got a few things I need to do today:

-Figure out where we're catering lunch tomorrow. (Suggestions will be considered.)

-Cut 20% out of the Parking Coordinator's budget without cutting any of the parking I need him to hold for the coming week.

-Continuing to force-feed Ollie (the cat) 5-6 times per day in hopes of getting him healthy.

-Change the lightbulb in one of the two porchlights. (This has to be done in daylight because I, the incompetent electrician, wired the photo-sensor in such a way that if you touch the porchlight when its activated after dark, you get a nice little low-voltage jolt.)

-Rehang the shelf with the pegs for jackets in the front hall. (This has to be done, because I, the incompetent carpenter/mason/handyman originally attached said shelf-with-pegs in such a way that when I put one jacket beyond its 3-jacket capacity on a peg, the whole damned thing pulled free of the wall, anchors and all. Luckily, I should be able to rehang it so that it blocks the view of the original screw-holes instead of having to do plaster repair.)

-Rehang the towel rod in the upstairs apartment. (See my level of competence with wall anchors above.)

-Go see a movie...because I haven't seen much of what's out now. (Suggestions will be considered.)

Whoo! I'm exhausted. Better lie down for a while.

Don't get too excited, but Its my ONE-WEEK Anniversary!

That's right folks. Polybloggimous has been rocking your world for one solid week. I started the blog by posting something I saw on CBS Sunday Morning because I thought it was kinda cool. Guess what? I saw something else on CBS Sunday Morning that I thought was pretty cool. I smell a theme.

Anyway, they did a piece this morning about Jim Denevan. Basically, picture a man and a beach and a rake. Fine art until the tide comes in. I was impressed. Take a look.

What else? Steve Buchheit told us yesterday that Todd Wheeler is having another contest. This one is pretty easy. Just enter your name and he'll pick a winner out of his virtual hat. Don't forget to give either me or Steve credit for sending you there. That increases our chances of winning stuff, and I think I can speak for both Steve and I when I say, "We like winning stuff!"

This coming week will be my first experiment with whether or not I can blog while I've got a shoot going on. Tomorrow, I've got to be on location by 6:00 a.m. and I don't expect to get home until 9:00 or 10:00 p.m. We'll be shooting at four different locations in Brooklyn and Queens. This is a small shoot with only 2 trucks, 3-4 vans, one motor home and a crew of about 35 people. Still, its complicated moving all those people and vehicles three times in one day. I still don't know where we're breaking for lunch and that would be a good thing to get figured out. If any of you know of a space near the corner of Bedford Ave. and North 7th Street in Williamsburgh, Brooklyn that can accommodate us tomorrow, let me know.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Technical Difficulties...I haz them!

Shawn Powers, who not only rocks but posts video of it, was kind enough to look at the HTML coding necessary to make my posts "collapse" on the book blog and send me instructions on how to make it work. I want each chapter to show up as maybe one paragraph and then have a "read more" link. I just think it would be easier to navigate that way.

Well, like I said, Shawn figured it out, tested it and sent me an example, and then sent me detailed instructions (with screenshots) telling me where to insert the tags. Truly above and beyond the call of duty (especially considering that his duty here is zilch, nada, zippo).

Stupidity. I have it. I get through step #1 fine. I hit the wall at step #2. Can Not Find the tags I'm supposed to be looking for. They've got to be there, since I sent him a clone of the HTML Template. He found them. So they're there.

And, while I've been typing here, Shawn just popped up in my email offering IM support in real time. How much does Shawn rock? Shawn rocks like Springsteen at the Stone Pony back in 1973.

I'm off to pound round pegs into square holes. Wish me luck.

Update 7:50 p.m.: Arrrrgggggghhhhhhhhhhh! (Just had to be said).

Friday, January 18, 2008

Step Away From the Blog

GF was kind enough to make me aware that shortly before Eight, this morning, a raving lunatic took over my blog and started posting some of the most ridiculous drivel I've ever seen. I have no idea what he was going on about. The whole thing is completely baffling.

I apologize to my thousands of readers who have come to expect much more erudite, witty and Eureka-inducing content here. I have wrested the keypad from him and banished him forever. If I had one, I'd have applied the Shovel of Doom ™ to him. I had to settle for the cast-iron skillet. A most satisfying [sfx]Boy-yoy-yoing[/sfx] was produced.

I am also informed that he installed some sort of worm that caused unrelated and sometimes unintelligible comments to infiltrate some of my readers' threads. For this I humbly apologize. I will endeavor to keep that maniac away from the blog and to only bring you the quality to which you have become accustomed.

Announcing: International Hijack™ Day

A day or two ago, Janice informed us that I am the holder of Hijack™ (a non-profit company, I assure you). Yesterday, Jim posted a comment on my thread. I followed this up by quoting him and responded in his thread. I've seen other evidence of our various blogs losing coherence (to the innocent "dropping in wherever" folks) because some of us (okay, mostly me) are incapable of sticking strictly to the thread we're commenting on without referring to one or more of the threads in other C.F. (Collaborating Founders') blogs. (I introduced the concept of C.F.'s yesterday in the comments on my "Yeah, But You Can't Beat the Fringe Benefits" post. The basic concept is that you all as the readers in my first week of blogging are Collaborating Founders in setting the tone here.)

I propose that on Monday, January 28th, we hold the first International Hijack™ Day. We have a week to figure out exactly how it works, but the basics are as follows:

-Each of us post something that invites audience participation.
-Each response should link you to one of the other C.F.'s blogs.
-The response should not be in the blog you're responding to and it shouldn't be in your own blog; it should be in a third blog.
-Confusing? Yes! That's the point.

Like I said, we have a week to figure out the particulars, but anyone who thinks this is a good idea should say so in the comments. Ideas for the rules will be most welcome. Feel free to expand on (or Hijack™) the idea and take it in a direction I haven't thought of.

I'm going to be running around in the cold all day and won't be able to play more until I get home this evening. I look forward to seeing what lunacy the rest of you can propose.

Update: In the spirit of the proposed International Hijack™ Day, you should also feel free to talk about it in each others' blogs...just sayin'.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Yeah, But You Can't Beat the Fringe Benefits!

Most days I think my job is pretty cool, but some days there are things I've got to do that rate pretty high on my suck-meter. I've had completely full 30 gallon trash bags break and rain day-old, baked, fermented garbage over my head while trying to get them into a dumpster that stood 6' high (to my 5'7").

If you remember the opening scene of Crocodile Dundee II (and who doesn't), it shows the lead character fishing in the East River with dynamite. We had scheduled two days to shoot the scene. The first day of shooting went fine...not a cloud in the sky. The next day it rained, so we went and shot some interior scene. The day after that, was cloudy. Since that wouldn't match the bright sunshine in the first day's shooting, we shot a different exterior. This went on for a week and we finally went back to complete the scene on the following Monday. Since it was my job to park the trucks when they showed up, I was the first person on the set. And guess what. The Props Department had left three crates of dead fish sitting there right where the trucks were going to park. Dead fish that had gotten extremely deader in the intervening week. Naturally, I had to deal with getting them out of the way.

If you ever see a movie where there's an extended scene on a moving NYC Subway train, odds are the crew loaded into the train at one of a very few un-used platforms after the evening rush hour and went out riding through the subway system all night. The thing is, the train they're on can't stop anywhere until they get back to their base camp at the station where they loaded-in in the first place. If they stop anywhere else, none of the real traffic can get through and for some reason, the Transit Authority thinks that's a bad thing. Soooo, if you know you're going to have 150 people on a train with 2-3 hours between bathroom breaks, what do you do? You put chemical portable toilets into a couple of the conductor's booths. Then, since Nathan is low man on the food chain, you assign him to deal with it at the end of the night.

One time I was in a van full of crew headed back to NYC after a long day of shooting at a house in New Jersey. As we were driving through the Lincoln Tunnel, someone noticed one of the guys who had to sit in a tiny booth in the middle of the tunnel whose job it was to watch for breakdowns or accidents or whatever. This was in the days before they had little video cameras they could patch up, so there were always two or three guys who got to their booths by way of a narrow catwalk along the side of the tunnel. Well, this guy in the van pointed at the tunnel watching guy and said, "That's gotta be the worst job in the world". From the back of the van, another voice piped up, saying, "Well I wouldn't want to trade places with him, but I just spent my day doing body make-up on a girl with the worst case of zits on her ass I've ever seen." We decided she won.

What's the worst job you've ever had...or the worst thing you had to do at your job?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I'm no lawbreaker

In accordance with The International Internet Code of Conduct, Section XII, Subsection III, Paragraph II, stating that "all websites of whatever content or media, now known or hereafter devised, shall contain a minimum of one (1) picture of a cat within thirty (30) days of inception."

I present Widget!

To the extent that any cat can be said to answer to their names, Widget is equally responsive to: The Widge, Widger, Widgerific, Squidge, Squidge-girl, Squishy, Tank, The Barge, and What the Fuck. The last must be yelled at hi decibels after hearing something crash in the kitchen...after which, Widget comes flying into the room (stopping 4 feet beyond where she meant to) and stares at you with a proud look that I interpret as "You wanted that stuff on the floor, didn't you?"

What you can't tell from the picture are 2 things:

1. Widget is a very fat cat. Her weight is accentuated by her freakishly squat legs and small frame.

2. Widget is being a cat. She falls short of things she leaps for. She rolls off of furniture while sleeping and always looks around trying to figure out who pushed her. Most cats are able to walk on a dresser or other piece of furniture and delicately pick their way through any items that might be there. Widget just takes the shortest path without regard for what gets knocked down.

Having said all that, she's very entertaining.

Update: I have just been reminded that, on occasion, she is also known as Stink-but and Dingleberry-Cat.

Today's gig

Right now, I'm working on what I consider one of my "hit and run" projects. The TV show Skins
will be shooting in NYC next week and today, I'm running around with the Director, Producer and D.P. (Director of Photography) to pick the places we'll shoot. I got the scripts three weeks ago, so I know what happens in the scenes we'll shoot, but I don't know enough about the show to put what we're doing in any context. I know that Cassie comes to NY from the UK because of some trauma she's suffered, but I don't know what the trauma was.

Guess what, I don't need to know. I've never seen the show, and odds are, I never will. I met the Brits yesterday and they're terrific. I'll enjoy working with them.

A note on the "hit and run" jobs: These are the short jobs where I'm hired for as little as three days (take us to some landmarks) or as much as a month (find locations for a one week shoot). Most of these don't make it onto my resume'. I'll get all my instructions by email, fax and/or phone calls. They'll show up as late as the night before we shoot. We shoot, get to know each other (kind of), trade war stories and then they go back to wherever they came from. In twenty years of doing this, I've never seen or heard from any of them again. Speaking of which, I wonder if the open invitation for a place to stay in Mexico City is still good. That dates back to 1996 from some guys who came to New York to shoot a commercial for a Mexican bank.

Anyway, time to go to work. I'll talk to you all tonight.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


There's No Crying in the War Room has had a visitor who was searching for "the red button, colostomy". Thanks for that Janiece.

I've figured out why I'm convinced Giuliani is the Devil's spawn.

Rudy's positives:

Rudy is the absolute definition of an Executive. He doesn't work and play well with others. He needs to be in charge. When you're considering who should be president, that's a good thing. I would never have voted for him when he was running against Hillary for the NY Senate seat, because that position calls for the ability to work and play well with others. President? I'd think about it.

During his eight years as Mayor of NYC, I didn't like a lot of the things he was doing. But he was always completely up front about what he wanted to do. He didn't give a shit about polls. He came right out and said, "This is what I'm going to do and you can elect someone else next time if you don't like it." During his first term, he usually got what he wanted. During his second term...not so much.

Bu here's the thing. I found that no matter how much I disliked the guy, I was forced to respect him. I thought it was very refreshing to have a politician who said, "I managed to get elected because I have a specific agenda, and I'll be damned if I'm going to drop that agenda just because some of you are getting squishy about it". He got things done and told everyone to "piss off" if they didn't like it.

Once again, I didn't like a lot of the things he was doing, but I respected the fact that he said what he'd do and he did what he said.

Then, 9/11 happened. I can't overstate how impressed I was with his post-9/11 behavior. He didn't have a script but he said the right thing every damned time. He didn't sugar-coat anything but he didn't resort to any kind of rhetoric. George Bush stammered and waved his fists and Rudy Giuliani comforted, consoled and reassured us.

I'll never criticize the way he handled the aftermath of 9/11. But,

Rudy's Negatives:

Rudy fought the FDNY tooth and nail over budget for years preceding 9/11. There's a valid case to be made that he's a big part of the reason the Fire Department's radios didn't work in the twin towers. I don't think any reasonable person can say he could have done anything to prevent 9/11, but he certainly could have done something to make its consequences less dire. The twin towers could have had some catastrophe completely unrelated to terrorism and the results would have been horrific because Rudy refused to spend money on predictable problems.

Do I think he should have predicted terrorists flying planes into buildings? No, not really. Do I think he should have understood that in a city full of high-rise buildings, there might be an emergency that would require the ability for first responders to be able to communicate with each other? You betcha!

I can live with his brief (one day) exploration of delaying the election of a new mayor. (9/11 was primary day here.) We were all unsure and all had the thought that maybe we should continue with the officials we had. We all had the thought that we didn't want to let terrorists have any influence on an election. He backtracked the next day and he was right to do it.

But this is the guy who, as Joe Biden puts it, is:

"the most under-qualified man since George W. Bush to seek the presidency."

"There's only three things he mentions in a sentence: a noun, and a verb and 9/11," Biden said.

Its important that a President be capable of reacting to a national emergency, but so much more important that a President prepare for it. Rudy's not that guy. In the one area that he could have made a difference beforehand he shows up lacking. He's running on a record of his clear failure.

And don't even get me started on the fact that he announced his separation from Donna Hanover in a press conference without bothering to tell her first.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Wow! I'm bi-bloggular!

So, just a few weeks ago, I was all, "I'm not gonna have a blog" for a bunch of reasons, and here I am with two of 'em. I'm bi-bloggular or is that polybloggimous? The only reason I threw this site together was that I saw the story about the English graffiti guy and felt like telling everyone. I didn't want to throw it in the middle of the book, so, voila...Nathan haz muzings.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do with this place, but hopefully I can make it worth visiting. One thing I've noticed is that most of the rest of you guys seem to blog from work. (How the hell do you ever get anything done?) I'm the opposite. When I'm working, I'm running around all over the city and that's not really conducive to whipping out the laptop. Also, at least here in NYC (especially in the winter), there's very few places to sit down. (In the summer there's a bazzillion parks and my internet-anywhere-dongle works...anywhere).

Anyway, I just wanted an excuse to type bi-bloggular. Gotta go check stats over on the book and see what the rest of you are talking about today.

In fact, this post has inspired me to rename the whole damned thing. :-)

Leaving open the question of whether or not Muslims really want a Secret Santa in the first place.

There's really pretty much nothing about this story
that isn't wrong! One guy makes a tasteless joke. The other guy really isn't offended. The religious community backs him on the not being offended thing. Not so offensive cop forced to quit the force anyway.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

I think this is pretty cool

Living in NY, I usually think of graffiti as just someone pissing in public. I don't like it and wish the graffiti "artists" would just make a mess out of their own living room. This is different and I'm really impressed. Let me know what you think.

It takes a little while to load, but its worth the wait.