Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Wally was initially glad to see me yesterday, then ran off to spend more time with his new best friend, my assistant, who watched him over the weekend. He was being very rebellious all day yesterday because I had left town, but when I got him home last night, he crawled right up onto the bed to cuddle. JD said he came to the conclusion while dogsitting that Wally is “very needy.” I don’t know what he’s talking about.

Since it’s Wally Wednesday, here’s a photo of him from when I used to have a house and a pool. He’s a water dog, so it was nearly impossible to keep him out of the water.

I finished reading the latest John Grisham book last week. It’s called The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town. This is Grisham’s first foray into non-fiction writing. I’ve read everything Grisham has written, but I was especially interested in this book because it takes place in small town Ada, OK where my assistant grew up. It’s the true story of one man (and a few others) who were sentenced to death in Oklahoma for crimes they didn’t commit, later to be exonerated by DNA evidence…but only after spending 12 years on death row. It’s an interesting story, and certainly makes you wonder about the death penalty, and the legal process used to arrive at a death sentence. Like all of Grisham’s books, it’s an easy read, and you’ll easily get to know the main characters.

The song for the day is “Pretty In Pink” by The Psychedelic Furs. I don’t know if this was on one of their own albums, because I always remember it from the Pretty In Pink soundtrack from 1986. I loved this movie, and I love this soundtrack. It’s a perfect example of great music from that year. If you haven’t listened to it in awhile, go check it out.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

I’m home from the Northwest today and back at work, waiting for Wally to show up. I missed him all weekend and am excited to have him back. I got home late last night, but have a few photos to share with you.

This girl was about 13-years-old and it was about 35-40 degrees outside. Not only that, but we were at an ice hockey game, so it wasn’t exactly warm inside, either. My friend and I followed her around the coliseum for some time before I remembered that I had my camera in my pocket. Inspired by Malingering, I managed to snap this photo just as she turned to enter into the arena. Note the very tiny skirt (I just hope she had underwear on) and the legwarmers. What you can’t see here is that she’s wearing thongs on her feet, too. We saw her again after the game, and both of us were just staring at her and her ridiculous outfit. We got caught staring and she laughed loudly in our faces as if WE were the ones who were idiots. What kind of parent lets their kid out of the house like this?

Here, as promised, are a couple of photos of my nephew, Caleb, skate boarding. I love to watch him skate. He was at the skate park initially, then he and his friend wanted to head up the street to skate off what they referred to as a “4 stair” which, as it turns out, is four stairs. They also made reference to a nearby “6 stair,” etc. I felt so square and un-hip.

The song for today is one I woke up with in my head this morning. It’s “Don’t You Want Me” by Human League off their 1981 album Dare! I was never a big fan of the band, though this song was alright. Somehow, I woke up with this song running through my head. I don’t even have a clock radio that could have planted it there.

Monday, January 29, 2007

It's my last day in Vancouver, and I fly back to Burbank tonight. My mom and I are about to head over to have lunch with my sister during her lunch break.
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of getting to watch my nephew, Caleb, skateboard in a skate park. He's been skating for years, but I've never had the chance to see him to it. He's a natural athlete who picks up sports easily and has great dexterity and hand-eye coordination. There's a small skate park out in Ridgefield near where they live, conveniently located right next to the police station. I was impressed to see his skating abilities, and had to keep looking away every time he crashed into the cement ground, only to get right back up and try the jump again. I took some photos and will post them when I get back home, so you can also be witness to Caleb's mad skillz.
Last night, I took all three of the nephews to the movies where we saw Night At The Museum, a movie that wasn't necessarily on my must see list. For some reason, I was under the impression that it would be enjoyable to much younger kids (the nephews are all in high school). I'm pleased to say it was much funnier than I expected, and even my nephews were laughing quite a bit. Ben Stiller was his usual amusing self, and it was nice to see Ricky Gervais in a big screen role in America.
The song for the day is "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)" by Dead or Alive off their 1985 album Youthquake. (Cut me some slack, I'm missing my iPod. I have to rely on bits of annoying music that has gotten stuck in my head). This is the only song I could ever tolerate by this band, and by tolerate I mean I can just barely listen to it. I found it listenable enough back in the day, but the transgender club dance music was never really my style. I think they were pretty much a one hit wonder, and you can sometimes hear this song being used in commercials for things like Hoover Vacuum cleaners.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Had my birthday get together yesterday. It was really great to get everyone. A little weird, to be honest, to see everyone in the same room at the same time. I can't remember the last time that happened, but it had to have been over 18 years ago when we were all in school. My mom and sisters went all out with decorations with a Hollywood theme, and everyone loved them. The lasagna was great, and my sister's chocolate brownie pie went over well. Everyone is asking for the recipe. It's about 10,000 calories a piece but delightful. I have some photos and other stuff to share, but it's going to have to wait until I'm at home and not on a dial-up connection.

Melanie and I went to the Winterhawks game last night. Sadly, the Hawks lost 2-1 to the Chilliwack Bruins. Apparently, the Winterhawks have been having a season on par with the Kings. If you look at their website, you can see that every headline is trying to spin the fact that they've lost another game. I'll have to post photos of that later, as well as the girl I saw there wearing leg warmers and thongs.

Without my iPod and the ability to search my own blog to see if I've used a particular song before, the song of the day is becoming a challenge. I'm pretty sure I've never used this one. It's "Whip It" by Devo off their 1980 release Freedom Of Choice. I never got Devo and I don't particularly like any of their music, including this song, though it's very catching and had an oddly captivating video (like looking at a train wreck). The reason it came to mind is, seeing all my friends yesterday, I was reminded of a kid named Derek Lux who, in the 4th grade, did his puppet show (it was a class project) to this song. He had sock puppets lip singing to "Whip It" and everyone thought it was hilarious. I was 9 - it's ok to like sock puppets when you're 9.
And just for fun, because I saw my old friend Jason yesterday and was reminded of Rush:

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Here I am in Vancouver, despite the tiny plane I was on. I flew Alaska Air, but it was a small Horizon plane. I actually like the smaller planes because I don't like crowded places. This had 18 rows, 2 on each side. Lots of turbulence on the way in, though, and interestingly enough, a female pilot who looked like she was about 25-years-old. As we pulled out of the terminal, the stewardesses went through their safety directions. I always like how they say, "The plane has been pressurized for your comfort" as if they're doing it as a favor for us passengers. Like, "Hey, if YOU weren't here, we wouldn't bother. We just want YOU to feel more comfortable!"
The approach to Portland was beautiful. All the mountains were covered with snow. Driving into Vancouver, I noticed all of the lawns were covered in frost. I really miss seasons living in Los Angeles.
Oh...and to give you all an update on my cell phone (in case you're on the edge of your seats wanting to hear the outcome) I got it in the mail yesterday. And it was not fixed. In fact, I don't think they did anything to it. The phone itself it completely functional except that the Bluetooth will not activate. I wouldn't mind except that a) I paid $200 for the phone and I expect it to work COMPLETELY, and b) I take pictures with it and send it to my laptop via Bluetooth for this blog sometimes. My point is, they clearly didn't even check to see if the Bluetooth was working before returning it to me.
I called Samsung to find out why they couldn't just give me a replacement phone since it was only 2 months old and they just had it for a month and couldn't seem to fix it. I was informed that "Samsung doesn't replace phones, they only repair them." The third person I talked to finally said that, just for me, they would expedite the repair so I would only be without my phone for another week and a half. I said what happens when I get it back and it's not fixed again? And the guy actually guarantted me there was zero chance of that ever happening again. That had to take balls.
Since I accidentally left home without my iPod, I have to pull some 80s songs from memory for the song of the day while I'm away. For some reason, the one stuck in my head this morning is "Pop Muzik" by M. The song came off the album of the same name, and was actually released in the UK in 1979, hitting the US charts in November of that same year. This is the quintissential roller skating song for me. I remember being at the roller rink wearing my satin powder blue Shaun Cassidy jacket and my Norsport roller skates, eating hot smokies, drinking a graveyard, and skating to this song. This had to be one of the earliest true pop songs that I remember hearing.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Boy, the people at Blogger are really pushing the new version. Any more news from people who have upgraded? Has anyone had success, or just a lot of failure?

I locked my first episode last night and was finally able to sleep in a bit today. Until 7, but still. I'm leaving for Portland first thing tomorrow morning and Wally is going to stay with my assistant. He's looking forward to his weekend at the beach. I'll have to publish the blog from my mom's dial-up connection, so there may not be many photos until I get back.

I came across this cool website in the back of Wired magazine yesterday. The company is called DNA 11 and they make art out of your DNA and fingerprints. It's a bit spendy, but very cool and if I ever have a bunch of extra cash I don't need, I'll probably buy one. Here's how it works. You send in a sample of your DNA (I'm assuming in the form of a blood sample), they extract the DNA and map it, take a photo, and then turn it into art. They can alternately do this with your fingerprint. It's pretty cool looking and something I would enjoy having on my wall because I'm just that geeky.

The song for the day is "Goodbye Stranger" by Supertramp off their 1979 release Breakfast in America. I really did not grow up listening to Supertramp. I'd heard their songs but I couldn't necessarily match them with the band. I never game them a second thought. But then I saw Magnolia. Only a few songs on the soundtrack were recorded by someone other than Aimee Mann, and two of them are Supertramp songs. They've been on my playlist ever since.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Samsung strikes again in my battle to get my cell phone back. I mentioned earlier about the problems I've had trying to get them to repair it. Apparently, they've done the repairs and sent my phone back to me. However, they did a really stupid thing when they shipped it. In fact, this is a huge pet peeve of mine with companies that ship product in general. That is, without telling me or asking me if I wanted them to, they shipped it via UPS with SIGNATURE REQUIRED by me in person. First off, who the hell is home all day long and can just wait for UPS to show up? Secondly, my other option would be to pick it up at the UPS hub (which is not close to me at all) and when would I have time to do that? So basically, they've shipped me something that I can never possibly receive, and I never asked them to do it. It's a cell phone for god's sake, and it doesn't even have a battery or a SIM card with it. Leave it on the porch. It's not top secret government papers or a $1000 item. Luckily, I was able to call UPS and get them to reroute it to my work address. Unfortunately, it will now take an additional two days before I get my phone back. It's supposed to come Friday. It would be nice to have it back when I go out of town.

I also mentioned yesterday that I'm traveling home to Portland for the weekend. The truth is, I'm from Vancouver. It's a city in Washington state that sits just on the other side of the Columbia River (and the state border) from Portland, Oregon. It's a Portland suburb, even though it's in another state. It's only a 10 minute drive from Vancouver to downtown Portland. It's a frustrating town to be from, though. Here's how a conversation goes when I meet someone new:

THEM: So, where are you from?
ME: Vancouver.
THEM: Oh! You're Canadian, eh?
ME:'s in Washington.
THEM: Cool! Washington D.C.?
ME: It's right outside of Portland.
THEM: Oh! I're from Maine.
ME: (frustrated pause) Yes. I'm Canadian.

In fact, I have friends at work who have known me for 6-7 years who until recently, always thought I was Canadian. Maybe the hockey throws them off.

Speaking of hockey, when I'm in town, I'll have the pleasure of going to see the Portland Winterhawks play. The Winterhawks are part of the WHL (Western Hockey League), one of the three leagues that make up the Canadian Major Junior hockey league. There are only 5 American teams in the league, and besides Portland, they are all Washington state teams. I love watching Junior level hockey. It's so much better than the NHL. The kids are 15-20 years old, and they don't get paid. They come from all over the world and stay with families in the area called Billet families, and earn money toward an education. Since they don't get paid, they're playing purely for the love of the sport. My friend, Melanie, has had season tickets since she was a kid and never misses a game. In fact, she introduced me to hockey and I never saw an NHL game until I moved to Los Angeles.

The song for the day is "Come Back And Stay" by Paul Young. Young, a British singer, was certainly more well known for other hits like "Every Time You Go Away," but I always liked this one better. It comes from his 1983 release No Parlez. I don't remember the guy having that many hits, to be honest, but he must have been pretty big in the UK since they included him in the "Feed The World" project by Band Aid, which also included so many of the hugest performers of the day from England. "Come Back And Stay" is much grittier and urgent than Young's usual pop fare, and for me, much more enjoyable.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

As a testament to the fact that I have worked too many days in a row, I realized this morning that I'm not up to 20 days yet. Today is only my 17th straight day. I will finally some days off this weekend. I'm taking advantage of the spare days by taking a much needed trip home to Portland, though it will be an incredibly short trip. I'm flying in Saturday morning and leaving Monday night. Because of tonsil surgery, I wasn't able to make it home this past Christmas, so I hadn't been up since Christmas 2005. My aunt subtly sent me an e-mail letting me know Southwest was having a sale on airfare between Burbank and Portland, so I took the hint.

Since the trip will be so short, and there are many people I haven't seen in a long time, I decided to try to get as many people as possible together in the same place at the same time. My mom has rented the rec room in her condo complex for Saturday afternoon and we're having an early birthday party for me there. Besides my family, which I'll be happy to see, I invited several old, old school friends that I still keep in touch with, and some of them I haven't seen in years. I've always tried to keep in contact with people I really like, and feel very fortunate to still be in touch with the people I liked the best from my adolescence. To this day, one of my very best friends is a guy I met when I was 10. He'll be there, along with the others. I don't think we've all been together in one place since probably junior high. The thing I like the most about having stayed in touch with these friends is getting to see them grow and change in adulthood. I've seen them go through marriages, kids, divorces, second marriages, coming out of the closet, drug addiction, rehabilitation, and just plain growing up. I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone.

This is a very special Wally Wednesday because I have video! Here's Wally playing with Molly from last Sunday at work. They played like this for literally 4 hours or so. It was like 2 bulls in a china shop. Look at those wagging tails!

The song for today is "Africa" by Toto off their 1982 album Toto IV. I was never a huge fan of Toto, but I liked a few of their songs including this one. I think I actually liked the video more than the song, and it's another one of those songs that always takes me back to the very early days of MTV.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Sorry for the extremely late post. I’ve been up to my eyeballs in work. I turned over to the producers yesterday in the afternoon. Of course, despite the short turnaround, it took them several hours to come watch it and give notes. (I’m sure they’re up to their eyeballs, too!) The good news is they didn’t have much problem with the editing in general. The bad news is they hate the script and the supporting actors. In fact, when they saw the opposing counsel’s closing, they about had a fit. So, I was here doing notes until 10:30 last night, and then most of this morning. They came and watched it again and are much happier with it. So, I have a short while to address some final notes before FedExing to the EP.

I'm on my 20th straight day of work. I am so tired.

I’d like to have something interesting to say, or some cool link to refer you to. Sadly, I’ve had so little time to do anything but work that I haven’t read the news, surfed the internet, etc.

The song for the day is “King For A Day” by the Thompson Twins. The song came off their 1985 release Here’s To Future Days. I’m sure this band has a lot of other hits that are better than this one, but I have a fond memory of this song because my old band used to play it really badly. I can’t think of another band whose look said “80s” more than this one. The hair, the clothes. They should be in the dictionary for it.

Monday, January 22, 2007

I ended up working until 9pm last night. The director showed up around 4 and we were going through his cut. The good news is that he was happy with it. It goes to the producers later today.

The best part of yesterday was that the director brought his Labradoodle in to work with him and I had Wally here. I had never seen a Labradoodle before, but it was soooo cute. And best of all, no shedding! Wally and his new friend Molly were playing and wrestling like crazy for hours! It was so nice to see Wally playing with another dog again. I started taking him to Doggy Daycare when he was only about 4 months old, so he has always been very socialized and playful with other dogs. However, about 3 years ago, a dog belonging to an actress was playing with him and suddenly turned and attacked him. I had to pull the other dog off him, but it ended up putting a deep puncture wound in Wally's neck. Ever since then, Wally is happy to see other dogs and will run right up, tail wagging, to say hello. But he never plays with them anymore, not even at the dogpark. He's happy just running around sniffing everyone, but almost never plays anymore. Needless to say, it was great to see him having so much fun. And he slept like a rock last night.

The song for today is "Major Tom (Coming Home)" by Peter Schilling. The song, a retelling of David Bowie's 1969 song "A Space Oddity" was the only single released off Schilling's 1983 album Error In The System. I don't know a thing about Peter Schilling, but I have always loved this song. I wonder what the original German version sounded like.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

It's Sunday and another day at work. Sigh. I'm so glad I'm union. Not like the money totally makes up for having to work three straight weeks without a day off. But it sure helps.

It "only" took me 6 hours to edit together a 5 page closing out of 7 hours of footage yesterday. At first, I thought that was too long, but then I realized it wasn't much longer than the average of an hour of editing to a page of script. Our show contains 42:15 of content (meaning actual story, not including commercials). It certainly took me more than 42 hours to edit the entire show, but it didn't take me longer than it would take any other editor, so I feel pretty good about that. By the way, this show shot roughly 27 hours of film, which all will eventually have to be edited down into those 42 minutes, in case you were wondering what goes into a television show.

My old editor came and looked at the show this afternoon (I had to bribe him with food) and he said it looks fine. He had very few notes or comments. Since he's been editing and producing for about 25 years, it makes me feel much better about my cut. Plus, the director has seen at least half the show and was happy with what he had seen. Keep your fingers crossed. The producers will have it in their hands at some point tomorrow afternoon.

I left here sort of early yesterday, around 6:30 pm. I'd been editing with no breaks since 8:30 in the morning. I was burnt out and exhausted and simply couldn't work anymore. I drove home and got caught in the usual Saturday evening Los Angeles traffic. Picked up some food and watched an episode of Monk on Tivo. I was tired all evening. Went upstairs to read and turned out the light around 9:30. I layed there in bed forever, tossing and turning, then my eyes popped open. I was wide awake. This always happens. Bored, I went to the computer and noticed that iTunes has a much bigger selection of films now. I bought "Miracle" and "Breakfast at Tiffany's" for my iPod. I can't wait to watch the 1980 Olympic hockey game on a 2.5 inch screen.

The song for the day is "The Way It Is" by Bruce Hornsby & The Range. It came from the band's 1986 album of the same name. I liked this song a lot and at the time, I thought it was nice that someone was bringing the piano back to mainstream music. So many songs in the 80s were buried in heavy synthesizers and electronic sounds. Hornsby, and old friend of Huey Lewis, also wrote the song "Jacob's Ladder" which would later be a hit for Huey Lewis and The News. To be honest, Lewis' version is 1,000 times better than Hornsby's. I saw Bruce in concert when he toured for this album. I can say that to this day, he is the only person I've ever seen do an accordion solo at a rock concert.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Sorry for the late post. It's Saturday, and I'm in at work again. All weekend as a matter of fact. It will be 19 straight days before I have a day off. There's nothing like being thrown right into the fire for your first episode. There have been a lot of setbacks, most of which I can't go into, but they're finally done shooting. Unfortunately, they shot the big closing argument on the last day of shooting, when the call time was noon and they worked until after 2am. They also printed over 7 hours of film. Because of the late hour that the film got to telecine, they actually weren't able to transfer it all, so I sat around doing a lot of nothing yesterday, knowing I would get hit with all this film today. I'm getting through the closings...slowly, tediously, and painfully.

I'm irritated because my one New Year's resolution was to play more hockey this year, and I've already missed two games because of work and will miss two more this weekend. Bugger. If only somehow I could get the Universe to cough up a 36 hour day for me. Then everything would be easier.

I wrote earlier about the very cool and slim calling cards you can order through Moo. I finally got them in the mail yesterday and they are as cool as can be. I've always had business cards, but I almost never hand them out. They have too much unnecessary information on them and they're cheap and boring. Not so with the Moo's mini cards. They're made of incredibly nice card stock and are well worth the $19.99 I paid for 100 cards. You can upload as many as 100 different pictures to put on the front of your card. I used 5 different photos of Wally (of course). I can't wait to show people. I'd post a photo here but I haven't had the chance to take one.

Since I mentioned GTR yesterday, the song for today is "Send Down An Angel" by Bronze. I doubt you've ever heard of them, and I'm pretty sure this is the only song they had that was even marginally known. The song comes from their 1983 release Taken By Storm. As I mentioned yesterday, their lead singer, Max Bacon, went on to further obscurity with the "supergroup" GTR. I was just looking for their album artwork and couldn't believe it when I found that they STILL have a website! I was doubly shocked when I checked YouTube and found the video online. I guess there really ARE a lot of people with time on their hands. Thank God for them! Oh yeah...that's Emma Thompson in the video, too.

Friday, January 19, 2007

When I went to pick up some dog food for Wally at the vet's yesterday, I had them weigh him because I put him on diet food over a month ago and everyone keeps saying he looks thinner. Sure enough, the little guy has lost 7 lbs! Don't you wish YOU could just eat a can of processed protein every day and lose weight that quickly? I suppose you COULD but I can only imagine the taste.

I mentioned in an earlier post the joys of having to send my relatively new cell phone in to Samsung to get it repaired. I sent it USPS Priority Mail on Dec. 26th and their web site shows it received on Dec. 28. Samsung had told me it would be a 14-21 day turnaround (how convenient). Yesterday was the 21st day, and still no cell phone. When I check the RMA online, all it says is "In Progress." I had to take time I didn't really have out of my day to call them to find out what the hell has happened with my phone. The guy told me that had not received my phone until Jan. 12 (!!!). I explained that I'd purchased tracking for the package and knew it had arrived at the end of December. He said, "Well, the way that works is they mark when it was delivered to the last address." I was like, "Uh...yeah. That's exactly how it's supposed to work." I assured him I had never had a problem with USPS Priority before, and if it said it was delivered, it probably had been. He then reassured ME that there was no possible way they could have lost the package internally. It took TWO WEEKS for that package to get from reception at Samsung to the repair department, and all the guy could say was that it wasn't their fault and he was sorry. What the hell ever happened to customer service?

The song for today is "When The Heart Rules The Mind" by supergroup GTR. It comes from the band's self-titled 1986 debut (which was probably their only album). As supergroups go, this was a pretty weak one. Led my singer Max Bacon (of Bronze. Ever heard of them?), Steve Howe (of Asia and Yes) and Steve Hackett (one of the OTHER guys from Genesis). It was also produced by Geoff Downes, previously of Asia, but more known for writing "Video Killed The Radio Star" by The Buggles. With Steve Howe, this song was complex, as you might expect. That didn't stop my junior high rock band from covering it...horribly.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

I’ve been editing full time for a little over a week, and though things have been busy, I’ve decided I really like my job. I’ve edited before and been paid for it, but never on a big union show like this or on a production of this caliber. I feel very fortunate to do what I do because to be honest, if I wasn’t doing this, I really don’t have any kind of skill set to do any other kind of work in the real world. I think this is probably true of most people who work in Hollywood. It’s not like I haven’t had other jobs before, but that was a long time ago, and I wouldn’t want to do any of those jobs (ever) again.

The other day, someone asked me about something on the show and I said, “Oh, my assistant did that.” Then I realized – I have an assistant? How did THAT happen? And how am I making this kind of money? I don’t even have a college degree! I didn’t go to film school!

Sometimes, I’m jealous of people who had the opportunity to go to film school. I never had the chance to learn about all the aspects of production, I still don’t know the difference between a grip and a gaffer, I didn’t get to produce my own student film. Still, I like to give the film school grads a hard time. They show up their first day as a PA with four years of college under their belt, bragging about how they’re a “director” and I like to say, “Wow…that’s really interesting. Could you go get my coffee now?”

I often wonder what I would do if I wasn’t doing this. If I suddenly found myself out of the industry in Indiana or something and I had to go find a job. I’m not sure, “I write pretty well” would get me very far. “Write what? Well, I have several unfinished scripts and manuscripts in my closet. Been published? Um…no. Not really, but I was the editor-in-chief of my high school newspaper!” I guess in case that ever happens, I should practice saying, “Would you like a Tall or Grande?”

The song for today is "Blood and Roses" by The Smithereens off their 1986 album Especially For You. To be honest, I don't know too many songs by this band and have never listened to an album, but I've liked the few songs I've heard. This band was much overlooked, except for perhaps the college crowd. Listen to this song and it sounds much more like the grungy 90s than 80s pop. If you've never heard them, catch the video here:

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Ever since "The Shield" hit the airwaves, I've heard nothing but great things about it. Unfortunately, I missed the first few episodes and didn't want to jump into the middle of a series. Next thing I know, it's several years later, and the show is still on the air. A friend loaned me Season 1 to watch when I was recuperating from surgery over Christmas. By the time I got the DVDs, I was feeling much better, and never found time to get started on them, but I finally watched the pilot yesterday. All I can say is it's a great show and everything everyone says about it is true. I usually don't notice editing, but I did notice the show was really well cut and thought it would be fun to work on. If you're like me and have never watched the series, a gritty police drama, I recommend renting the first season to watch.

If you're interested in travel, check out this website. The writer, Leah, is the girlfriend of a friend of mine. She recently quit her job as a chef and left the country to travel the world for 10 months by herself. She's been in Thailand since she left, and is now headed to Vietnam. It's a really interesting read and it will definitely make you want to travel.

It's Wally Wednesday, so here's a photo of the little man. This is one of my favorite photos. I thought for sure I had published it before, but I don't think I have. One great thing about Labradors is how good they are with kids, especially little ones. This is Wally with my neighbor's daughter, Sofie. She loves Wally, and often asks if he can come out and play. She always points out that "Wally is very soft." How very true.

The song for the day is "Bearing Witness" by Athens, Georgia rockers Dreams So Real. It comes from their 1988 album Rough Night In Jericho. I don't think this band ever broke very big, but I came across this album when I was working in radio and stole it from the small station I was working for (hey - they were never going to play it). This is actually a great album if you can find it. They have a very nice sound and this album is a good example of music as it transitioned from the 80s to the 90s.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Just to keep you all up to date, it's now been a month and four days since my tonsillectomy. My throat is still sore every day, especially in the morning when I wake up. According to the doctor, this is totally normal and I'm right on track for a healthy recovery. My throat isn't sore in the "I've got a cold" type way, it's more stiff, like an injured muscle, and it still hurts when I yawn and those muscles stretch out. I'm still glad I had the surgery, but really look forward to the day when I won't have this continuing pain.

On the way to work this morning, sitting in traffic on the 110 in downtown, I looked over to see a 19-year-old girl in a Jetta with a full bail of hay in her backseat. WTF? When I was a kid back in the Pacific Northwest, people would put a bail of hay in the back of their small truck during winter to add weight to the vehicle on snowy roads. I can't imagine why this girl had a bail in her car, though.

Also seen on the freeway this morning - several cars and trucks with bullet hole stickers on them. These are the stickers you put on your car so it LOOKS like you've been shot up. I have never understood the purpose of this. Is it, "Look how cool I am? People shot at me!" Does that inflate your street cred? I would think it would actually invite other people to take a shot about you, and wonder that this has never occurred to any of the people with the stickers on their vehicles.

On the upside of things, I had to turn over half the show to the Director on Sunday so he could look at it, since our schedule is so short. He seemed to be happy with it, and had very few notes. I guess my job is safe for another day!

The song for the day is "Tarzan Boy" by Baltimora. I didn't know what album it came from until I looked it up - back in the day, I only ever bought the 45. At any rate, the song, from the band's 1985 US debut album Living In The Background ultimately spent 6 months on the US charts. I liked this song before it ever got big, and continued to like it a lot until people started using it in commercials and cartoon movies. Still, a fantastic example of 80s pop.

Monday, January 15, 2007

WARNING! "24" SPOILER (if you haven't watched it yet).

After me bitching about not being able to watch the season premiere of "24" yesterday, I found myself miraculously home at 8pm. Thank God, because somehow, my Tivo hadn't caught the premiere and I would have missed it. First off, I'd like to say, it was a GREAT show and I'm really looking forward to this season. It was nice to see Jack Bauer, usually so strong and in control, a very broken man after his release from the Chinese prison. Although, one of the things I often find amusing in this show is how quickly he can bounce back from injuries and trauma. True to form, he was soon up and running around, doing his usual special agent stuff, despite having been stabbed in the shoulder and back.

The reason I'm bringing the show up right now has less to do with the show than my frustration with the department of broadcasting called "Standards and Practices." On "24" last night, around 8:30 pm on a Sunday night, we all got to see Jack kill someone by biting into his neck and ripping an artery open. Yeah, blood running down his chin, etc. This doesn't bother me at all. I've long been a believer that people should be able to pick what they want to watch and avoid the shows they DON'T want to watch. And if you have kids, try to stay on top of what they're watching as a parent. Although, I certainly think things like this should be shown a little later, such as after 10pm, when children are less likely to be watching.

This whole bitch session is because on my show, which airs at 10pm on a weeknight, has been repeatedly busted by Standards but stupid, petty thing, always sex related. We've been told a) you can't see him on top of her, b) we can't be able to hear them making the sounds of lovemaking, c) you can see him go up OR you can see him go down, but you can't see him go up AND down. Look, people...we all KNOW they're having sex. I'm not suggesting a Nip/Tuck full on soft porn sex scene, but let's be real. As long as you're not showing nudity, and it's not gratuitous, what's the problem? God forbid in this country, especially after the Janet Jackson Nipple Incident, that we might even IMPLY that two consenting adults are having sex. And yet, we can see Jack Bauer stab someone in the neck, or see him BITE someone to death.

Sometime last year, there was an incident here in Los Angeles. The details are fuzzy, but I'm pretty sure it was a policeman wrongful shooting of an innocent civilian. Someone caught it on video. In the video, we see the cop holding the guy at gunpoint, and the guy is trying to tell him, "Hey...seriously. I'm not armed, I'm not dangerous, please don't kill me," or something to that effect. The cop is saying, "Shut the fuck up! Shut the fuck up!" So, when they showed it on the news, they bleeped out the f-word, but then SHOWED the cop shooting the guy.

The word Standard should imply that there is an actual Standard being adhered to. That there's a book somewhere where you can cross reference sex and donkeys or whatever you're dealing with, and it will tell you what the guidelines are in any given situation. Seven dirty words, that type of thing. But here's the thing - there IS no Standard. It's totally subjective from network to network, and from Standards person to Standards person. I don't mind FOLLOWING a Standard, I just wish there actually WAS one and that is wasn't so random and unpredictable.

Anyway, that's my rant for today.

The song for the day is "Fortress" by Sting. There are so many Sting songs to choose from, but this has always been one of my favorites. In fact, the entire album Dream of the Blue Turtles, Sting's 1985 solo debut, is fantastic and one of my favorite albums from that decade. I always liked the clean, crisp guitar riffs in the opening of the song. I went to buy speakers for my stereo in the late 80s, and when I went into the store, one of the CDs they had to test the speakers was this one. I had them put on this song, and I was sold. If you haven't listened to this disc in awhile, I recommend pulling it out. It will still hold up today.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Damn you, Jack Bauer! Tonight marks the season premier for "24," starting with a two hour episode tonight, and another two hour episode tomorrow. This has become typical of how the show opens its non-stop season every year. Unfortunately, because I am generally pretty busy in January, it instantly puts me 4 hours behind on just that show, not to mention all the other shows that will start back up this week. It's rare that I will ever be up to date on "24" and I have to avoid all water cooler talk about last night's episode because I haven't watched it yet. Still, I've never EVER missed a single episode. Thank God for Tivo.

But still, there's something to be said for having a little self-restraint when it comes to the DVR. I love my dish and my Tivo and I probably would be unhappy to live without them. And yet, I have a co-worker who this past year got rid of both because, as he said, he had "become a slave" to his Tivo. Apparently, he felt he had to tape anything and everything that interested him, and he was Tivo-ing upwards of 70 hours of programming per week. Knowing the hours that we work, this had to mean that he spent every waking minute away from this place camped in front of his TV set trying to catch up on the Tivo.

The thing I've found about Tivo, at least for me, is that I will actually feel guilty for abandoning a series. Just because you actually CAN go without ever missing an episode, I sometimes feel compelled to do that, even when a show has gotten boring for me. At least, I used to. Then I got to the point where I was constantly behind because I had to watch things I didn't even WANT to watch. So I've taken back control. Now, every season, I go through and thin out my season passes. Just because I watched the first season of "The O.C." doesn't mean I have to continue to watch it until it gets canceled. (Plus, I realized I'm not a 15-year-old any longer). Just because I started to watch "Studio 60" doesn't mean I have to continue to watch them all, when I'm starting to find the show slow and boring.

The song for today is "Round and Round" by Ratt. Come on...who DOESN'T have a copy of their 1984 album Out of the Cellar somewhere? It seems like almost everyone does, even though this is the only good song on it. This was the first big hit for this band, and I don't remember them having too many more after this, though hair band lovers seem to have great affinity for this band. The band still has a website, though I'm not sure how current it is. I imagine you can see them play live if you happen to be at a fair in Montana this summer.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

It was in the low 30s last night in Pasadena, and still only 40 when I left for work at 8am this morning. What happened? When did I leave Los Angeles? I don't mind COOL weather, but I don't do COLD. It seems sort of unfair - part of the payoff of dealing with the high cost of living and all the crappy traffic is that it's supposed to be warm all the time.

As you have probably all heard by now, the L.A. Galaxy
announced earlier this week that they have signed European soccer star David Beckham to a 5 year $250 mil. deal. I actually think that's really cool. I've always liked soccer (I played for years as a kid), but have only been to a couple of Galaxy games. Beckham will bring to Los Angeles soccer a certain star quality that will make going to the games worthwhile. I heard the owner of the team on KROQ on Friday morning saying they sold 2,000 season tickets on Thursday al0ne. Not just tickets, but SEASON tickets. Beckham wants to help put American soccer on the map, and that would be a great thing. We've never been too impressive in that particular sport, generally being outplayed by every single country in the world. It's the most popular sport in the world. Except in the U.S.A. Plus, Beckham is pretty easy on the eyes.

The song for today is "Live is Life" by Opus. The German band released this song on their album Up and Down in 1984, though it was not released in the U.S. until 1986. I always really liked the sound of this song. I imagine it's great live and in a stadium with a bunch of foreigners. I don't think it ever peaked very high on the U.S. charts, so if you have never heard it, watch the video here:

Friday, January 12, 2007

Well, three days down and I’m still up to camera. However, we’ve had a little problem in production that’s thrown a wrench into the schedule, so check in another 4 days and ask me how things are going. The upside of working longer hours is that I'm hitting much less traffic on the way home from work. I'm being lulled into a false sense that traffic in this town is acceptable. I'm also getting more miles to the gallon because I'm not in so much bumper to bumper traffic, so I may be working longer hours, but I'm doing something for the environment! There was almost no traffic on my way in this morning. This usually means it's some sort of Jewish holiday I'm not aware of, but this wasn't the case. I guess I just hit a lucky pocket.

Check out what I got in the mail last night. My favorite cereals from when I was a kid – Count Chocula, Frankenberry, and BooBerry. It’s hard to find them anymore, but I sometimes see them at Target around Halloween. However, it’s not Halloween right now and I had a craving the other day. (I swear, it was not caused by the use of any illegal substances.)

I bought the cereal on the Hometown Favorites website. If you’ve never been there before, they specialize in hard to get foods. As they state in their FAQ section, “Our products are "hard to find", not "no longer in production". All of the items we carry come direct and fresh from the manufacturer. If a manufacturer has stopped producing an item, we do not try to track down someone else's unsold product, as we cannot verify freshness. If we carry it, it's still being made.” They have a great candy section too, so if you miss your Marathon Bars or your Mountain Bars, check them out.

Since I hit Canada recently, I’ll do it again. The song for today is “Summer of ‘69” by Bryan Adams, off his stellar 1984 album Reckless. This is still a great album, and I admit, I still like Bryan Adams. I saw him in concert back in the day at a big arena and The Hooters opened up for him. It was a great show. I think Bryan is still recording and putting it out there, but they wouldn’t play that on the stations I listen to now. This is a classic summer song to be played in the car with the top down and the volume up.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

A friend who read my blog yesterday said he had read that the girl with the flour filled condoms was actually using them for grip strengtheners. Like the ones you can buy for a couple of bucks at Sport Chalet. Now, why on earth would you use condoms for that instead of just buying some.

Said friend also mentioned his own run-in with airport security where he was talking with a fellow passenger about his television development deal and mentioned, “I just hope we get to shoot the pilot.” Someone overheard him and he got detained. I heard a similar story from a friend who knew the locations manager for “24.” The guy was in the airport on his cell phone when someone from the set called about scheduling. Frustrated about a mistake they had made, he responded, “No! No! They’re supposed to blow up the government building on Wednesday, not Tuesday!”

I saw an off-beat independent movie on DVD the other day called “Brothers of the Head.” It’s in mockumentary style, but isn’t a comedy. I’m not sure what kind of weed the writers were smoking when they came up with the premise, but it’s about British conjoined twins who’s father sells them to a record producer who wants to teach them how to play punk style rock and roll and be big stars. It’s an interesting film, and the twins are interesting characters. One is honestly interested in learning to play the guitar and write music and has a very soft side. The other is an angry, bitter rebel who becomes the lead singer. The music’s not too bad, and surprisingly, either was the film. I recommend it if you’re looking for something unconventional to watch.

The song for the day is “19” by Paul Hardcastle. There seems to be some confusion as to when it came out, but 1984 sounds about right. Hardcastle, a British jazz-synth composer, apparently had many other hits in Europe later in his career, but for the life of me, this is the only song I know by him. It’s got a pop synth track and a white guy rapping in a very Max Headroom style about the Vietnam War. I really liked it when I was a kid in the 80s, when Vietnam was sort of “in vogue” so to speak. Something not necessarily remembered fondly, but still with a sense of dreary nostalgia.