Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Some Random Crap Bouncing Around In My Head (Where There's Apparently Plenty of Room To Maneuver).

First up: Maneuver just looks funny. The internet tells me that's how it's spelled, but I'm leery.

Next: (Defenestration - noun: the act of throwing a thing or esp. a person out of a window. From the Latin fenestra meaning a window or opening.) How many words do you know that are that damned specific. I mean, really -- how often do you really need the word defenestrate? I love this word. I want this word to come live with me so I can cuddle it and feed it snacks and have it giggle with me as I defenestrate various objects and/or (esp.) people.

Third: I've got a couple of new regular lurkers. One is in the UK, the other is local. The local one appears to work at a well-known publishing house. C'mon guys -- delurk! (Note to the one at the publishing house: I swear I won't bug you to publish me before I actually finish writing something, so you're in little danger of me ever bugging you to publish me. Really.)

D.) I'm still dying of curiosity to find out why the E Street Band wasn't in the house for Springsteen's Kennedy Center Honors. Am I the only one? I can't find any mention of it on any of the Gossip sites.

5.) As some of you know, I'm having Jeff and Vince build me a professional website. Vince sent me the "skeleton" for the photo hosting portion of the site for me to play around with a little and see how I like it. It's flexible as all git-out and I've got a lot of choices to make about how I want it to behave. I got it and was a little bit overwhelmed by how much is there. So I sent Vince an email asking for a little tutorial.

He sent me a 31-page PDF explaining all of the arcana of the site. It was highly detailed. Highly detailed. So detailed, it was a little beyond the progress I've made so far. I suppose the equivalent would be if I'd bought a new Flat-Screen TV and queried the manufacturer about some difficulties I was experiencing. The manufacturer (if it was an extremely responsive manufacturer), might respond by telling me about light to dark ratios, length of time (in nanoseconds) it takes a pixel to turn on or off, compatibility with European standards...stuff like that. To which I might respond -- Uh, how do I change the channel?

Vince -- How do I change the channel?

And finally: I absolutely had one more thing on my mind...but it's gone. Pfffffft. I'll let you know if I think of it.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Closets Are For Hangers...When You've Used The Door.

Update 9:30 a.m. 12/30: I forgot that this post needs a preemptive response to certain nitpickers who are sure to come along. I know that the lyric is supposed to be "Winners use the door". I've just always had this image of a shirt hanging from the doorknob, and my headline is the way I've always heard it. I'm sure Bruce would have written it that way if he'd thought of it. He's welcome to change it (without credit) if he wishes. I'm just generous that way.

I watched the Kennedy Center Honors tonight and I was surprised at how good it was. The part for Dave Brubeck was very cool. The presentation for Mel Brooks included a performance of Springtime for Hitler. Matthew Morrison is about to become a HUGE star and watching the Obamas' reaction to the performance was a little surreal.

The night was capped off with the presentation for Bruce Springsteen. John Stewart did the intro in which he surmised that Bob Dylan and James Brown had had a love child and abandoned him on the side of the NJ Turnpike -- That child was Bruce Springsteen. Great line.

I was struck by a few things.

1.) I realize that it's fashionable to think of Bruce as Rock for old people. Tough shit. I guess I'm old people.
2.) I wondered where the E Street Band was. Did they get dissed? Did they dis him? I have no clue. Maybe neither, but I was surprised they weren't there.

When Springsteen first showed up on the scene -- around the time I was 13 or 14, I was sure his name meant he was Jewish. I was pissed when I finally saw the spelling. I used to blast Greetings from Asbury Park out the back windows of the house and "shoot hoops" (in my case, the quotation marks really did apply), and hope that the two girls who lived in the house behind us would notice me. (They probably did -- and thought, "That dork is at it again".)

Anyway, here's something good to have come out of the 70's.

Rosalita from a live performance in 1975.

For Lack of Anything Else To Post About...

Your result for The Who Would You Be in 1400 AD Test...

The Knight

You scored 45% Cardinal, 31% Monk, 35% Lady, and 54% Knight!

You are the hero. Brave and bold. You are strong and utterly selfless. You are also a pawn to your superiors and will be lucky if you live very long. If you survive the Holy wars you are thrust into you will be praised for your valor and opportunities both romantic and financial will become available to you.

Take The Who Would You Be in 1400 AD Test at HelloQuizzy

Monday, December 28, 2009

Coincidence? You Tell Me.

I only noticed this the other night, but is it mere coincidence that teh eevil Fairy Godmother from Shrek 2 disappeared and then, suddenly, this other lady showed up on the national scene?


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Nobody Would Notice If I Said I Wrote It. Would They?

I was listening to some of the new regulations for air travel in the wake of another failed bombing and found myself thinking, "Wouldn't we all be safer if they just made everybody fly straightjackets?" Well, of course we would. So while I was letting that germinate in my head, I was Stumbling around the web and I ran across this 2002 post on The Onion.

"WASHINGTON, DC—Seeking to address "the number-one threat to airline security," the Federal Aviation Administration announced Monday that it will consider banning passengers on all domestic and international commercial flights. "

Bastards! There goes another perfectly good idea.

"Next Blog"? Not So Impressed.

Once upon a time, I wrote a little something about that "Next Blog" link you see on the banner across the top of most Blogger Blogs. (I think you can hide the banner, but why bother). Anyway, I noted that it was pretty useless and took you to blogs in foreign languages you couldn't read and all of them seemed to be about Futbol, Asian Teen Heartthrobs or Mid-Western Families (with Family Values).

I noticed this morning that Blogger said they were making it more useful (announcement dated November 10th). Here's what they had to say.

"Some of you must have wondered what the Next Blog link on the NavBar does, and clicked on the link once or twice. Next Blog used to take you to a random blog, written by a random blogger. Your fellow blogger could have been writing her blog in a language that you don't know how to read. Or you might be someone who likes to read about food and restaurants in Germany, but your randomly chosen next blog could have been focused on sports, and written in Tagalog.

We've made the Next Blog link more useful, by taking you to a blog that you might like. The new and improved Next Blog link will now take you to a blog with similar content, in a language that you understand. If you are reading a Spanish blog about food, the Next Blog link will likely take you to another blog about food. In Spanish!

You might discover a cool blogger who has hobbies similar to yours, has similar taste in electronic gadgets, likes sports that you're into, or has similar curiosities and interests. We will finish rolling out the new and improved Next Blog link over the next week and hope that you will enjoy discovering blogs that are likely to interest you."

Of course, I decided to give it a try since:
A). I was bored.
B). It might give me something to write about.
and C). I had already read the rest of the Internet.

First, I thought I'd see what happens when navigating from my own blog. What would Blogger's algorithm decide my blog is all admittedly difficult proposition, since I'd be a little hard pressed to tell you what it's about.

First stop? The Womack's website.

Now, I'm sure Jeff and Melissa are just lovely people, but this doesn't seem like the place for me.

If the first stop had been even a vaguely similar blog to my own, I'd have hit the "next blog" button again. I decided that since we were so far off the mark I'd go back to my own blog and start all over again.

Second try lead me to a blog called Her's Story. There's no "About Me" page, so I'm not sure who writes this blog, but the writing and the sidebar lead me to believe that English is not the writer's first language.

A quick click on "Next Blog" from that one took me to a Gospel Music Site. Go Figure.

I figured I'd give it one more shot starting from my own place again.

Arggggghhhhhhhhhh! Another Uber-Christian Mommie Blog!

What the fuck does Blogger think my blog is? Have I been watching my fucking language too fucking much lately? Well, that's right out for the immediate future. Fuck!

Anyway, three strikes and you're out.

I decided to give it another try from a ... shall we say...more focused blog? I decided to see what would happen when my starting point was Stonekettle Station. That's Jim's place...or is it?

Rumor has it (OK, I started the rumor) that Jim is not the macho retired Chief Warrant Officer spewing bile...and vile Liberal Propaganda, but really an 11-year-old Mongolian girl...spewing bile...and vile Liberal Propaganda. Whatever. The point is that Blogger should only know the words on the blog and should send a reader to another opinionated foul-mouthed blog...right?

Well, spewing something anyway. Go visit The Nelsons. Scroll down and immerse yourselves in ...dirty diapers. Now, really. Nothing against the Nelsons but I doubt somebody looking for another blog similar to Jim's is going there. Let's give it one more shot. OK, I cheated...I gave it seven more shots. Guess what. Every time I clicked "Next Blog" from Stonekettle Station, I was led to another site chronicling someones recovery from addiction.

I figured I'd give it one more shot. Let's try it from a website with a very clear focus. I went to DollyGrippery.

This is a website exclusively devoted to operating camera dollies and cranes. It's about camera movement and dolly track. It's about all of the hardware and finesse associated with getting a lens from A to B to C smoothly and in the right time. I've been reading it for a bit more than a year and I can't remember once reading about anything political, medical, maternal, theological, or psychological. It's a blog that's focused on one narrow part of filmmaking. Where does "Next Blog" lead to from there? GrandMommy Blogs. Six in a row.

Blogger, I've gotta tell ya. At least the previous version of "Next Blog" was sometimes entertaining in its randomness. This thing doesn't work at all. I'd tell you myself, but that doesn't appear to be an option.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Pigeon Impossible

This is an animated short by Lucas Martell. Enjoy. With three awards so far, the film festivals seem to be.

Well Bugger Me Backwards. Look What This Gormless Pom Is Whingeing About.

I have to say I'm a little at a loss for words...which strikes me as an excellent way to start a blog post.

I'm about a month late, coming to the party, but I just discovered via Gawker this article by Stefanie Marsh for Times Online. I won't try to restate her premise, 'cause frankly, I'm really not sure what it is.

She starts off lovingly waxing nostalgic about a friend, who at age 13 was hanging out with friends one night when they were "...leapt on by a gang who robbed them not only of their money but all their clothes. For good measure the gang spray-painted their tag across the naked chests of the three boys, who were forced to walk home naked, petrified and yet altered." The paragraph goes on to conclude, “That day” Roger likes to reminisce, not altogether ironically, “we became men.” "

WTF? No, really! WTF! She goes on to deride a NYC in which: toughened post 9/11 border controls have dissuaded some people from moving to NY and settling, instead in London or Berlin, Rich bankers and investment brokers who made the city expensive and then, after the bubble burst, are now pariahs, and the morphing of CBGB's into a high-end boutique (that -- gasp -- kept some of the murals from CBGB's heyday). I think there's something in there about modern architecture with lots of glass and no exterior walls, and she finishes off with a quote about there being a Whole Foods Market (OMFG,) on Bowery.

Now, I'm on record as thinking that post 9/11 security is more window dressing than anything else, but if it kept some people in London or Berlin, am I really supposed to mourn that. Is she really longing for a time when three 13-year-olds could lose their money and clothes to a gang of other kids? Or is it the creativity of tagging the naked kids with their gang signs? I've got news for you. You can still get robbed really easily in NYC. I wouldn't even really have to point you toward the wrong (or would that be right) neighborhood to get the job done. Here's just the highlights for crime in my precinct from a couple of weeks ago. (I have to admit that I always think I live in a really safe neighborhood until I read the weekly roundup on that blog.)

And if you think NYers have lost their flair for the creative, I'll point out that just a week or so ago, the cops arrested a guy for breaking into closed parking lots and then charging people to park there! And then there were the guys who wheeled their dead friend to a check cashing store so they could cash his social security check. You want creativity? Take that, you prat!

I'm not sure which good old days she's longing for. Would that be the 70's when the city was dead broke but the Ramones were playing CBGB's or the 80's when Greed was Good? And speaking of CBGB's, even CBGB's wasn't CBGB's every night. For every night that Patti Smith, or Blondie, or The Talking Heads played, there were a bunch of nights when the band playing...uh..wasn't Patti Smith or Blondie or The Talking Heads. Hey, the place had a great run, lasting until 2006, but by the time I moved here in 1986, it was already starting to coast. I went there three or four times and I never saw anybody memorable play. That's fine. I had fun. I drank a lot. I danced around to some bands nobody ever heard of before or after. But the place smelled like beer and piss the second you got to the door, and, God-forbid you ever saw what it looked like in the light of day.

And what's wrong with having a Whole Foods on Bowery? Is this somehow so much worse than stepping over passed-out drunks in dark doorways? Did you prefer when trash blew down the streets (even when it was being picked up), and the pre-cellphone days of trying to find the one payphone in 12 square blocks that worked? Did you like it when gunshots rang out so often that nobody even bothered calling the cops anymore?

WTF are you talking about? Oh, and posted on the same day, you've got your "Six Cities that beat the Big Apple" article. (Was a concierge or limo driver here mean to you on your last visit? Is that what this is really all about?) I can't claim to be well traveled. The closest I've been to London is a one-hour layover at Heathrow -- lovely airport, that. And I loved Tel Aviv, but I haven't been there since 1978, so I'm guessing things have changed. I'd love to go to all of those cities. And I'm ecstatic that they meet your qualifications for being cool places. Good for them.

But I live in New York. And I like walking the streets at night with just a modicum of cluefulness. I like being able to buy groceries in a decent store. I don't care where investment bankers are now persona non grata -- I was never at the top of those places' guest lists to begin with. I may not be the target audience, but I can assure you that New York still has its share of cool places to go, populated by hipsters, artists, disaffected youth and just plain lowlifes. The spots have just moved they always have and always will. Or maybe you're just missing your youth hanging out with the Dead Rabbits?

Seriously. WTF?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

And Another Thing...

In case you missed it, NYC and Washington D.C. apparently react differently to impromptu acts of harmless mayhem.

In D.C., an off duty cop who happened upon a snowball fight pulled his gun and started threatening people. When a cop in NYC encountered the same thing in Times Square, he made himself scarce.

Here's a ton of pics of The Epic 2009 Times Square Snowball Fight!

It's Official. I No Longer Have One Iota Of Redneck Cred Remaining. (And That's O.K. By Me.)

Did you know that Krystal Burgers has a Hall of Fame? (Depending on where you live, have you ever even heard of Krystal?) Anyway, I ran across this story this morning about a woman who broke down in tears when she discovered that Krystal had finally opened a restaurant near her home in suburban Houston. It's touching as all git-out. (Quote from her brother Rick, “You know you're a redneck when your sister's picture is on a Krystal's burger box.”)

For those of you who are geographically challenged (in the sense of never having run across a Krystal before), they've got all of the normal burger-ey stuff now, but they got their start with these little postage-stamp-like burgers, which are similar to the White Castle Sliders. I grew up in North Florida, so Krystal was part of the landscape. If you remember the great White Castle = Not Hamburgers debate of Aught-Seven, you'll know that I fall into the "Not Hamburgers" side of the controversy. So, I'm not likely to ever become a Krystal Hall-of-Famer.

Add to that, the fact that the nearest Krystal to me is in Bristol, VA...over 500 miles away, and the likelihood of me becoming a Krystal devotee anytime soon is...negligible. (But, really, doesn't that look worth the trip?)

In New York, burgerly speaking, we've got yer McD's, yer Burger Kings, and yer Wendy's. We've got Roy Rogers..which has burgers, but that isn't really their thing, now is it? And we've got Arby's, which I don't think even makes a burger. (I do claim their roast beef-like product™ sandwich with horseradish sauce as one of my guilty pleasures, but we're talking about burger-love here.) We do have a couple of Johnny Rockets in the city, but...meh...I'm not thrilled with the whole nostalgia-themed food experience.

Besides that, there are plenty of places to get a better burger anywhere. Every diner does burgers. Most pizza joints do burgers. And I'm surrounded by gourmet burgers. Missing Krystal is the last thing on my mind.

If there's one fast food experience I actually do miss from the south, it would have to be Hardee's. Hardee's actually has (or at least had, the last time I was in one), some tasty burgers.

And their fries were absolutely to die for! (I'm pretty sure they fried them in fortified, meaty, greasy grease which added massive amounts of flavor, but you didn't really want to know more than that.)

The nearest Hardee's is a mere 148 miles from me in Middletown, DE.

I may have to do a road trip to find out if they're as good as I remember them. I'm pretty sure they have cheap cigarettes in Delaware, too! It'll be just like a trip to the health spa...only kinda different.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Thank You U.S. Department of Transportation.

You may have heard that airlines will soon be required to return to the gate and deplane the passengers if an aircraft is in danger of sitting on the tarmac for 3 hours or more. They'll also be required to serve food and water within 2 hours of the beginning of a delay, to keep the ventilation running and to maintain functioning restrooms throughout the delay. And DOT is planning to levy some stiff fines for infractions -- $27,500 per passenger kind of stiff!

These all sound like good things but I'm not so sure. I'm pretty sure this is going to trigger some of those unintended consequences we often hear about. I, for one, am looking forward to paying $6,000 for a coach seat from NYC to Pittsburgh.

Yeah. That'll be great.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Brain Is Stuck In Neutral.

Or maybe I'm just boring as hell right now.

I've really wanted to post something worth a damn for the last few days...and I've got nothing. Needless to say, this is making me all shades of nutso.

I'm really hoping it doesn't take a "bolt out of the blue" to provide inspiration. I hear they hurt.


I made ratatouille (of a sort) for dinner last night. We don't really like eggplant so much, so mine has zucchini, tomatoes and onions. That's all seasoned with olive oil and salt and pepper. Then it's topped with some mozzarella, parmesan and bread crumbs (also mixed with a little olive oil).

This is what it looked like before it went into the oven. It looked almost exactly the same when it came out (40 minutes at 400º), so just look at the same shot twice.

This guy helped.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Hey! It Snowed!

And I took pictures of it from inside the house.


And I paid a neighborhood kid to do my shoveling. He did a really nice job...doncha' think?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Nobody Ever Mentions Clement Weather...Even When It Is.

There's a storm headed my way and the folks on the news are...uh...
fuh-reeeeeaaaaking out! O.K. fine. We might get 6"-10" of snow...or 10"-15"...or 3"-6". You never know. It may go one way or the other and then we either get nailed or we get squat.

Those aforementioned folks on the news have been getting shriekier and shriekier about it as the day has gone on. I bought some salt. Yawn.

So, a little while ago, I decided to take a look at the weather satellites online, like maybe I can predict this stuff better than the guys with expensive haircuts. And imagine my horror to discover that they've been deceiving us. Snow? Hell! There's a big-assed green cloud headed my way. It's huge. And it's green! And it's headed right for me. (It looks like it may have already gotten all my friends on the eastern seaboard south of me. It was great knowing you guys.)

Here's a closer shot. Still Green. Still awesometacularly gigundous. Still headed right at me! What the hell is that thing? Some kind of gas? Locusts? A massive concentration of greenhouse gasses? (Damn you world leaders for waiting until this week to not really decide anything.)

Pardon me while I join the freak-out.

This sucker is supposed to hit around 10:00 a.m. tomorrow. If you don't hear from me before or after this crap hits, well, it'll be because I'm preparing and then exercising Escape and Evasion. In preparation, I'll be re-reading World War Z and The Stand. Those should both have some good practical suggestions.

Update: Saturday 12:20 p.m.: Zero snow flakes so far. Shoveling is extremely difficult due to lack of resistance of non-existent snow drifts.

Update: Saturday 1:00 p.m.: Rumor has it that it is now snowing in Elizabeth, NJ. Terror is increasing. Panic building. Wow...this is just like War of the Worlds.

Update: Saturday 1:24 p.m.: Flakes! of Snow!

Update: Saturday 4:02 p.m.: So, it snowed for a little while...not very heavy. This is what it looks like right now.

But the forecast still says we're gonna get as much as 18" by the time it's over tomorrow morning. Go figure.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Al Franken...American Hero.

I thought this was an absolutely delicious moment.

"Oh, really!" "Yeah, really Joe...STFU."

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Verizon, You've Got Some 'Splainin' To Do!

In the 2-plus weeks since I bought my Droid, I've had a few...glitches. I've been learning to use the thing and learning how to touch the screen just right so that I'm not just mashing everything at once, but the little bastard has been uncooperative in some other ways.

First, I had a recurring problem in that anyone I called heard an awful echo on the line. I never heard it on my end, so it took a while to figure out what was going on. Once I understood what was happening, I called Verizon.

Verizon Tech Guy: Good Morning. My name is ________ and I'll be your Tech Support Dude this morning. How can I help you?

Me: Everyone I call complains of a terrible echo on the line.

Verizon Tech Guy: I'm sorry. I can't understand you. There's a terrible echo on the line. Is there another phone you can call from?

Me: D'oh!

Eventually, after a series of "soft" resets and some other stuff, they asked me to go into a Verizon Store to get a "hard" reset. That took an hour and a half and seems to have gotten rid of the echo.

Then there's my email problem. Sometimes I don't get any emails. I've deleted and reentered the account about ten times. I've changed the port settings as directed by the Verizon DSL guy*. Sometimes, when resetting the email, the whole thing just gets stuck in an infinite loop, trying to confirm the settings. Since my email is on a web server (also Verizon), it stays on the server until eventually I get it on my computer (on Entourage) and it gets deleted from the server. I want it to stay on the server until I have the option of saving it to my hard drive. But the problem there is that the phone "sniffs" for email as often as I tell it to (every 15 minutes), and it seems to decide that some emails are so important, I should see them over and over and over again. (I was informed of a Macy's sale 7 times yesterday).

The guy from Motorola said I should take the phone into Verizon and trade it in for a new instrument. That was the only thing he could think of at this point. I'll be doing that later today.

But the coolest thing is that my first bill since buying the thing showed up this morning. When I switched to Verizon to get this phone, Verizon became the exclusive agent for all of Nathan's communications options. I have Verizon for my landline. I have Verizon for my DSL. I have a wireless card so I can get online with my laptop anywhere. And I got the cell phone with unlimited everything because in 2-plus weeks of having it, I've used 1272 minutes, 390 text messages, and 208357.88 kb of ... something. I'm on the thing a lot when I'm in the middle of a job.

But the thing is, they explained how they'd be able to bundle my services and give me some steep discounts. After the bundling, I should be paying slightly under $200/mo for everything. (And I'm supposed to be able to downgrade my calling plan between jobs when my usage isn't so high.) They explained that my first bill would be a little higher because of some one-time activation fees (which should have amounted to about $35.00). So, you can imagine my reaction when I saw the first bill this morning...for $386.00.

Verizon! You've got some 'splainin' to do!
* One of the major frustrations in all of this is the number of companies you have to deal with to make one little phone work. Motorola makes the phone. (They're the only ones to acknowledge that their piece of the pie...the instrument itself...might be the problem.) Verizon Wireless which provides the phone service insists that my email problem originates with Verizon DSL, which is an entirely different company! Verizon DSL, of course, points their finger in the other direction.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Thanks, But I'll Take My Advice From The Womanizing Jackass With A Talk Show.*

On those rare occasions where I've gotten serious here, I've apologized in advance. Other people do a lot better job of it. They do research. They have credentials. They write better than I do. So usually, I've admiringly read someone else's well crafted rant and contented myself with a hearty, "What he said!"

This morning, I ran across two oddly contrasting bits of video and they've got me in something of a lather. First, from Deus Ex Malcontent, here's a bunch of people protesting Eric Holder's decision to hold Khalid Shaikh Mohamed's and five other accused terrorist's trials in Federal Court here in NYC. I'll cheerfully admit that I only watched about half of it. I have no intention of refuting each individual point (many of them pointless in themselves and others displaying jaw-dropping cluelessness about...well...everything). Go ahead and watch as much as you can stand. (Maybe a contest is in order? But I'm not sure if winning should be defined as turning it off the quickest or actually making it through the whole thing.)

A little while earlier, I was playing with Stumble and one of the random clicks brought me to this video. What you'll see here is David Letterman returning to the air on September 17th, 2001. Forgive him his few errors in facts; nobody knew the real numbers at the time. And there's no need to forgive him his praise of Rudy Giuliani -- it's what we all felt at the time and it's utterly accurate with regard to Giuliani's actions and statements in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.

This is the little piece of advice I'd like to take from Letterman:

"There is only one requirement for any of us and that is to be courageous. Because courage, as you might know, defines all other human behavior. And I believe, because I've done a little of this myself, pretending to be courageous is just as good as the real thing."

At the risk of offending any of the 9/11 families (who are well-represented in the first video), and at the risk of offending Rudy Giuliani who was so impressive in September of 2001, but now seems to think that some illusive sense of safety trumps everything else, I'd like to say, "Man up, you pansy-ass twits!"

The crimes took place here. The victims of the crimes were here. The trials belong here.

Traditionally, jurisdictions fight tooth and nail against a change of venue. Because we want and deserve our pound of flesh. If you're concerned about being a target for further terrorism, I've got news for already are! If you're so scared, maybe you should consider living in Iowa...or Wyoming. (No slur on Iowa or Wyoming is intended, but face it, they're not terribly attractive high-impact targets, now are they.)

And I will respond to one of the idiots in the first video. I'm not going to search for the exact quote, but early on, there's a guy babbling about giving rights to people who aren't even citizens. OK, fine, the Declaration of Independence isn't part of the law of the land; it isn't codified like the Constitution is, but it is the document that announced why we intended to sever our ties with England and the impetus for everything that followed. The first sentence of the second paragraph is: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. It makes reference to all men. It doesn't quibble about where you were born or where you live now; it makes a blanket statement about how we view the rights and station of all men. I'll acknowledge that we have no power to extend basic human rights to citizens of other countries (something we actually strive toward all the time - uh, China anyone?), but we do have the power to live up to our ideals here.

Don't you dare mistake any of what I'm saying as advocating going easy on any of these people. They murdered more than three-thousand people here in New York, and I'm confident they'll be convicted and receive an entirely appropriate sentence for it. And I don't give a rat's ass how their friends back home view us; I don't have any illusions that they'll say, "Oh, look how fair and impartial the Americans are. Maybe they're not so bad after all." But I do care about how we collectively view ourselves in the mirror.

Man up and pretend to be courageous. It's just as good as the real thing.

* In spite of the title of this post and Mr. Letterman's recent, uh...difficulties(?), I really do admire the guy quite a bit. I just couldn't resist.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

One Wake-up and One Oversleep To Go.

Tomorrow is our last day on location. We'll have a late call (11:00ish?), so oversleeping isn't much of a worry. Monday, we're in the Studio for one day. I'm needed like a fish needs a bicycle.

I'll probably sleep in that morning.

Almost done. WooooHoooo!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Close Knit Community

The Film Business is a small world. We, at least in NYC, tend to mostly know each other...or at least of each other. So, we're a close knit community.

But usually, not this close knit. Yesterday, we were shooting on the very same block that Damages was shooting on. I can't remember the last time we published a set map that had sections devoted to telling the crew where "Not Our Trucks" would be parked. And you'll note that they were parked right in front of our location.

Well, we worked it out with them (and with the Film Office) in advance and managed to stay out of each others' way. They left us a gap directly in front of our location so we'd have just enough space to get our shots of characters coming and going from the house.

Just enough space. Aside from a couple of people who followed the wrong "To Set" signs, there was surprisingly little confusion.

And finally, there was one other thing I was struck by...and it leaves me with two conclusions.
1. Damages has what must be the ugliest Grip Truck in America.
2. The Damages Grip Crew must be supremely secure in their masculinity to be willing to work out of that thing.

Oh, BTW...all photos here were taken with my "crappy little camera phone", which turns out to be not crappy at all! w00t!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Color Me Impressed.

I'll be posting something else, but I just ran across this video of NYS Senator Diane Savino speaking in favor of legalizing Gay Marriage in NY.


Sunday, December 6, 2009


As you all know, last Tuesday, we got to run a train into a Cadillac. Yes, some days my job is tres-cool. As usual, let's begin with one of my nifty (and highly professional looking) diagrams.

You can see the train, and the car and the two cameras covering the shot. You should imply that the crappy curved black line is the track.

Before actually driving the train into the car (we'd only get one shot at it), we did a POV shot through the passenger side of the car at the train coming toward the car. In reality, the shot begins with the train practically touching the car and then the train backs up away from the car. Then, we'll just reverse the footage, speed it up, and presto -- it looks like a train is headed right at the camera.

Then, we set up for the real shot. Here's the guys setting up "A" Camera.

Here's "B" Camera setting up in their position. (I decided I'd want to hang out with them since I liked the idea of shooting the train as it went by me as opposed to toward me.)

Look. There's a dummy in the front seat!

And here's the crew hanging out behind the cameras. Nobody wanted to get into this shot. I can't imagine why.

This is "last looks" before we roll the cameras. Note the guy who runs the Railyard getting a front row seat up on the bridge over the car.

And here comes the train.

Boom! (We didn't want the car to get totally smashed to shit, since the guy in the scene is supposed to survive.)

When everybody saw that the car was going to be pushed until the train stopped, the guys running "A" Camera ran. (They would have been fine if they'd stayed put, but you can't blame them for thinking it might be a good idea to get out of the way.)

That missing back tire is under the train.

Poor Cadillac.

Trust me. This was fun!

Danger! Danger Will Robinson!

I'll be posting the pictures of us crashing a train into a car in a little bit, but in the meantime, I couldn't resist making sure you knew about this! You can now purchase your very own Robot B9 from Lost In Space!

And all for the low, low price of $24,500. Supplies are limited, so order yours today!

(I swear, I want one.)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Bad Blogger

I've been a bad blogger. Two days ago, we shot a scene for the show I'm working on that involved hitting a car with a train! Hey, most of what we shoot on any particular day bores me to tears, but hitting a car with a train is pretty cool beans.

And I haven't gotten around to going through my pictures and posting anything about it yet. I'm going to forgive myself, since I've worked 46 hours in the first three days of this week. I'll probably get around to it on Saturday.

In the meantime -- here, have a puppy!