Sunday, October 29, 2006

Link of the Day

I've seen this page a couple of times through Stumble. Seems particularly significant with an election coming up. Check it out:

Project Censored Media Democracy in Action

I Really Dislike These Guys

Boing Boing: "Bush legalizes martial law -- what Constitution? "

Applied Technology

Today I took this picture with my phone.

For the record, this is the first use of my camera phone for something other than putzing around. To make it even cooler, I used the SMS picture messaging capability to send the image to the Scene Designer. We had a question in real time about whether something needed to be adjusted for sightlines and needed to get the input from the design team. It was actually very nice to have the capability to wirelessly and instantly (almost) send an image to someone else in the course of my job.

And all this time I thought the picture messaging was completely worthless. Is it possible that streaming video to your cell is also useful for something?

Friday, October 27, 2006

Thanks for Thinking of Me!

Mom & Dad, and Jess & Matt, Matt, David, Anne & David, Ellie, Erik, Debi, Matt, Alan, Deano, Celeste, and Mrs. TANBI.

It was a very nice day.

Listen to Alex P. Keaton, Not to Rush Limbaugh

Thursday, October 26, 2006


For SpongeBob, 3-year-old sacrifices freedom (at least temporarily) - "ANTIGO, Wis. (AP) — A toddler who went fishing for a stuffed cartoon character in a vending machine wound up sharing space with the toy inside the game's plastic cubicle."

Funny Is Everywhere!

Party Hearty? Party Hardly...

Today, this morning, while most Americans were at school or at work our President, George W. Bush, had a press conference. I guess that's when his people tell him the most people are watching. One of the brave reporters asked the question: "Do you think the coming election will be a referendum on the war in Iraq?" Pretty tough stuff. I waited anxiously for an answer. (Why was I not at work, you ask? Different story.)

The president said that he thought this election would come down to two issues:

#1. Which party would keep the economy healthy.


#2. Who would best safeguard the security of the United States.

at first I thought: "What a crock!" But really that's just a reflex response when he says anything. And then I thought: "What a crock!" because I believe that people are now concerned about the same things they were concerned about the first and the second time he was elected: Social Security, Health Care, Insurance Reform, Tort Reform, Education - all that stuff. The health of the economy and national security are just some big, bright, loud, displays to keep people from remembering that nothing has been done about the things that really do effect them.

And then I thought: "What a crock!" because after thinking about it I think that the two statements he made are completely open to spin. Arguments that republicans or democrats could both invigorate the economy and protect the national security. Normally that spin is what makes for elections. Whether the economy is kept healthy by tax cuts for the rich or by education and health subsidy for the poor is what we normally talk about. Protecting our national security by building taller walls and making more guns or though international outreach and lifting up the third world is what we normally can disagree on. Those are the kind of things we want to decide on in a typical American election.

But not this time, which is why the proffering of such blue chip issues is in fact for this election a crock of epic proportions.

This election is really about one thing and one thing only: accountability. Do we want to continue to have a government that allows the administration to do whatever it wants or do we want a government that thinks for itself?

Right now there is no party politics, right now there is George W. Bush, and really that's all.

While I am hoping to see a leadership change in the congress after this election, I have to tell you that I think I would be almost equally as happy to see every single incumbent voted out and have the numbers stay exactly the same. What is important this time is not whether someone wears blue or red. What matters this time out is will this person represent me and their conscious, or will they rubber stamp the will of the president?

The total lack of oversight and abdication of judgment and leadership from the legislative to the executive engineered by this current crop of congressional leaders is embarrassing. I guess from their point of view it must be much simpler to make the hard decisions when you let someone else make the decisions. But I've had enough, and I don't care if they are republican, democrat, green, libertarian, or communist - whoever they are they need to think for themselves.

Who will best keep the economy healthy? The same people that will best protect our National Security: representatives who know it is their duty to question the actions of the President.

Hi, I'm a Mac...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Sick Day Tag Cloud

Let's do a tag cloud for the last couple of days:

tired aggitated dizzy irritable feverish impatient nausious hungry dehydrated elevated uncomfortable listless disorientated stressed clammy confused blurry exhausted sad worried cranky bored busy fatigued craving itchy

all fairly unpleasant and contradictory if you ask me. Maybe tomorrow will be better.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Time to Go! Inside the Worst Congress Ever

Read this article and the one about the Top Ten Worst House Members, and then decide if you are going to kill yourself, cry, or run for office.

Rolling Stone : "These past six years were more than just the most shameful, corrupt and incompetent period in the history of the American legislative branch. These were the years when the U.S. parliament became a historical punch line, a political obscenity on par with the court of Nero or Caligula -- a stable of thieves and perverts who committed crimes rolling out of bed in the morning and did their very best to turn the mighty American empire into a debt-laden, despotic backwater, a Burkina Faso with cable."

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Totally the same, and yet totally not the same

So I found this page, probably stumbled upon it, I am not certain. But I found this page: Midway Arcade and on this page they have, for sale, some thirty or forty arcade games of my youth.

Which is cool.

What is cooler is that they have totally free versions of some of the games too.

This is what Defender looks like most of the time when I am playing. You can see the remnants of my ship boiling off into space. Damn.

The adaptations to Flash are 100% faithful. The graphics, gameplay, and sound are identical to what I remember from the 7-11 I rode my bike to in order to waste quarters. In as far as the game is concerned, the only difference is the form factor of the controls. You don't have the cabinet or the spread out buttons at home, and they've merged the up down joystick with what had been the reverse button - but there's still the fire button that's easy to find and the hyperspace and smart bomb buttons that are impossible to find when you need them.

Much better than most of the more recent games which have one button that says "action."

The store I rode my bike to had a Space Invaders, an Asteroids, and a Defender. Eventually the Asteroids machine went away and we got a Tempest machine (Atari has a great Tempest port to windows - although it makes me wish I had a paddle instead of a joystick). I think for a while the store had a Missile Command too, but I was never really a Missile Command guy.

Finding and playing Defender at home is fun (they have Joust and Defender II as well, and Tapper, and that incomprehensible Robotron 2084). But I do think there is something different about the gameplay, and I wonder if the gameplay that the current Playstation generation is getting is cheating them of something.

I think I might have played Defender something less than 50 times in my life up until two days ago. Defender was hard. Back in the dawn of video games there was an economy involved. You knew a quarter into Asteroids or Space Invaders would be good for maybe five minutes - longer if you played well. I once played Galaga for almost an hour on vacation in Florida. Defender might be over in 15 seconds. My dad gave me a quarter to play Defender at an arcade at Cannery Row in California. We had been watching this huge black guy play for maybe 15 minutes, he was real good. He had a bunch of quarters up, but let me in to play my game, and as I was dying he was shouting at me "reverse! reverse! SMART BOMB!" and then I exploded, again, and the game was over. With me standing there wondering why if I was just going to smartbomb why I needed to reverse. The three ships might have lasted 20 seconds.

Since I found this page a couple of days ago and dug out the paddle I got to play NBA 2004 I think I have blown up maybe 60 ships. The concept of being able to practice this game is so totally foreign to me. The norm for Defender would be to drop the quarter, blow up the ships, get the 4150, and then go look for Star Castle or Ms. Pac-Man or even a pinball machine - anything that would stretch the dollar a little bit further. Play Defender twice in a row? That's a waste.

Defender 10 times in a row? That's insane. There's a lesson there somewhere, but I am not sure what it is, and having learned it long ago I'm not sure I care. Now if I could only clear the second stage...

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


And once again, living on the East Coast probably meant that many, many people will be confused when they hear the Bears won... I would not have thought I would have to define "substantive comment" but it looks like I do... Katy says everyone not in the novel writing thingy has to post every day of November. Good think Katy is not the boss of me... Streak stopped at 20, although I made a phone call... I was going to watch the PA Senate debate and then I decided there was really nothing either man could say to change my mind... The cats are getting a little rambunctious, maybe I need to sign them up for soccer camp or something... Nice to finally have a Monday after a Steelers victory. It was getting a little gloomy... Interesting how into negotiations the US gets when all of its troops are already tied up elsewhere... I don't think I am going to go to my high school reunion. All in all I'd rather be in Vegas. Don't think I'm going to Vegas either... The work is piling up again, and I could almost see my desk... Studio 60 is coming along nicely, but I liked the Bradley Whitford character on West Wing better... Sunday I was going to rake leaves, today the guy came to cut the grass, once again laziness pays off instantly and again a day later. Really hard to beat laziness sometimes... I believe I am going to try to get some 32" monitors, just too sexy not to try I think... We had actual people over to our actual house. It was actually fun...

Sunday, October 15, 2006


I really ought to get back to working on my book. Somehow I think this doesn't really count, but it is interesting.

It's cool to see how the information clumps. For non-fiction books this would be a real easy way to find out what a book is about - although interestingly I don't see the word "Theatre" up above.

Perhaps I've overlooked something fairly foundational.

Or maybe it confirms something which we tell parents all the time - that the things we teach in drama school apply to many things besides theatre.

Or maybe it doesn't mean anything at all.

18, 19, 20...

Do you have trouble taking your own advice?

A couple of weeks ago I was advising a student who was talking about how much crew he was working and I explained that since he was the one making the calls there was nobody to blame but himself for all of the hours. Just this morning I was thinking about a conversation I had recently had with a fellow professor about all the time they were putting in, how much there was to cover, and how they were carrying the entire load. While I was walking I was composing a message for them saying that they should cut down their overload, scale back what they were doing and focus their effort on the highest priority items.

The irony here is that when I was having that thought was while walking from the parking garage to my office, on the way in for a meeting, on a Saturday. The Saturday that by my count is the 20th consecutive day I have gone to the office.

I don't think I worked 20 straight days in summer stock. I remember working at Yale Rep during installs and going like 13 consecutive days and hoping for darn sure there wouldn't be any notes so that the install could end and we could take a day. I'm fairly sure I did work 20 straight days for Cirque, but its all such a blur that I can't be sure.

It's not like its been 20, 16 hour days. Mostly I'm not there too early, although about 8pm is the over/under for leaving and at least one day in this stretch had me around until after midnight. I need to watch next year's schedule as it comes together and check for a rolling sequence of Sunday install and tech calls. What with shows coming together, the weekends tend to be the only real time available for grading and class prep - and when production invades the weekend, well, it gets real ugly.

I suppose it's only fair. The students often work day after day after day. I guess you are calibrated a little differently when you are a student though, and as much as I don't want to think about it, some of them have almost 20 years on me.

Still, upon further review, and an insightful remark from my wife, maybe I will take that advice I was about to give the co-worker. Thin out my plate some, change up the routine and focus on the priorities. There are other people I work with to share the burden, and in the end there will be nobody to blame but myself.

21? Maybe not this time. Could be though, I do have trouble taking my own advice.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Wither the American Democracy

This isn't surprising, but is still sad. Be nice to think that although they didn't share my opinions they were at least honest and committed to their cause...

Think Progress: "Kuo also writes that Rove referred to evangelical leaders as “the nuts,” and claims Rove deputy Ken Mehlman “knowingly participated in a scheme to use the office, and taxpayer funds, to mount ostensibly ‘nonpartisan’ events that were, in reality, designed with the intent of mobilizing religious voters in 20 targeted races.”"

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

World Breathes Sigh of Relief... Braces for Coming Culture War

THE PENTAGON - Information released from the Pentagon today confirms reports that leaked this morning debunking the claims of a North Korean nuclear test. Military Forensic Choreographers had in fact made this determination almost immediately upon seeing the seismology reports, but somehow the information had difficulty making its way to the public. During this afternoon's press conference, when asked why the release of information had been so slow, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld explained that under the current Uniform Code of Military Justice, commanding officers are precluded from even inquiring who might be a Military Choreographer and the analysts are discouraged from volunteering the information as well.

The briefing continued: "What was originally suspected to be a low-level underground nuclear test was in fact the thundering finale of the first North Korean National Touring Company of The Lord of the Dance."

betcha weren't expecting that

With the conclusion of the Pentagon briefing and the secret now public a communique was released from the North Korean Ministry of War:
"The country of North Korea has no desire to acquire nuclear weapons. The last practical application of such a weapon happened more than half a century ago. The people of this nation have no need for such an antiquated technology. While the bulk of the world's rising nations climb over each other for the scraps of the cold war, trying to attain a status as a member of some kind of club, the North Korean military has armed itself with the weapon of the next century: Dance!

For far too long now the decadent countries of the West have waged an unopposed culture war against the peace loving people of the East. Bombs, tanks, and bullets have been replaced with fatty food, indecent clothing, and lowbrow movies. But this one sided battle will be one sided no longer. Our great leader Kim Jong Il is taking his feet of fury on the road. Soon audiences all over the West will be mesmerized by the seemingly impossible choreography of Korean Step Dancing. We will steal your children's hearts and then conquer your governments as an afterthought."
Calls to the White House for comment were unreturned. The Actor's Equity Association reported they were looking into ways to oppose Kim Jong Il's casting of himself in a role that could clearly be played by an American. When asked if they would book the show even with the threat to National Security, a press agent for LiveNation Entertainment said they were still considering the matter.

Caught on the way to his car, Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff said: "Clearly a new threat is on the horizon. Americans will have to find a way to protect themselves from Korean Step Dancing more effectively than we have previously demonstrated with the Irish variety."

What is a recipe...

I've wondered about this for quite some time. What with people being prosecuted for digital versions of images and audio files I always seemed to jump to food as an analogy. Afterall, a digital recording is really not a recording at all, but rather a complex series of instructions; a recipe for a song, if you will...

Boing Boing: Panicked chefs propose copyrighted food

Think about it. Under current law you need a mechanical license to play music from a score. Is that any different than "performing" a dish from a recipe? Think of how much money the Alfredos stood to make had there been a copyright on Fettucini Alfredo. For that matter, what would the Earl of Sandwich's estate be worth - although I guess both of those would likely be in the public domain.

I know this pushes the limits of reasonableness, but nobody ever said the law was in any way reasonable. Someone that composes an original culinary creation and then fixes that creation in media ought to be entitled to copyright, and a chef doesn't seem all that much more ridiculous than a musician or a choreographer.

In the least it would be nice to be on the jury. Might come with free food.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Election Season

Clearly we are coming up to an election. I hadn't really noticed. Political rhetoric being what it is, all over talk radio and on TV, and everything always being so partisan the advertisements for candidates hadn't so much caught my eye. We have signs on lawns here all the time it seems. Maybe they never get struck after the elections are over. I don't so much read local news or watch the local TV news, so that wasn't it either.

Still, I have options. I have a blog, I must have opinions. I've told people before how I hope and pray that Rick Santorum will not continue to be my Senator. I've also been peripherally aware of the race for PA governor. 70's Steeler super hero Lynn Swann is running for that post. Pretty much I have thought this was a joke. Sort of the ultimate crafted candidate. Someone black for Philly and a Steeler for Pittsburgh - how could you go wrong?

Yes, its a little crass, even for me.

But for someone with no political or management experience at all to be running for Governor, and what with all of the African American candidates that normally come from the big tent of the Republican party you could hardly blame me, yes?

Interestingly, because of these completely unfounded beliefs about Swann's candidacy I had not for even one second even entertained the thought of possibly voting for him. Until today. What happened today, you ask? Today I got a call, on my phone, from a concerned mother who wanted to tell me all about why she loves the current Governor. Except it wasn't a concerned mother. It was a recording of a concerned mother.

Now I am just fine with not-profits and political campaigns being exempt from "do not call" but I think whoever it is that is doing the calling should have to actually do the calling. I really ought to be illegal for anyone to cause you to have to pick up the phone to only find a recording on the other end. So for just a second I thought, gee maybe the current governor isn't any better. If Swann wanted a shot at my vote he would have an actual person call me and tell me how disrespectful he thought it was for the Governor to have a recording making calls on his behalf.

I still wouldn't vote for him, but I might think about it.

And as long as I am ranting about unfortunate intrusion of policy advertising in questionable format, I am real tired of the issue add running on cable right now complaining about how Verizon isn't going to offer their video service in all neighborhoods. Could it be any more transparent that the ads warning of Verizon's "Sweetheart Deals" are coming from Comcast? There ought to be an equal time thing in effect here. And no, that doesn't mean I want Verizon to call me on the phone to tell me what kind of jerk Comcast is. One paper doesn't run ads about how crappy the other papers are, or the TV or the Radio. The person that owns the wire that goes into your house should not have carte blanche to run whatever political drek they want to on it. If they want to send me an email, fine; include an expensive and wasteful insert with my bill, great; produce an editorial that runs on their crappy little Comcast news, ok. But they shouldn't be running issue ads on their own service that so blatantly advocate for them - even if they aren't the money behind them.

Maybe the unibomber was right.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Galactica's Back

They sure didn't take their happy pills in the interim. Nothing like a little light TV to help unwind after a stressful work week.

Insurgents, suicide bombings, detainees, torture... I thought maybe I was watching the news right up to the point where they trucked the insurgents out to the countryside and lined them up for a firing squad. At least I hope it wasn't the news.

It was nice to see Rosilyn in the preview for next week. Otherwise that last scene would be a little bit bleak to have to wait until next Friday to resolve.

One thing is for sure. The writers for this show have some serious nads.

I did especially like the tip of the hat to Seinfeld:

"but you didn't do the twist at the end, what was that this time?"
"that was a swirl."

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Here's What I Hope

I hope the next time that any legislator, anyone in government at all really, the next time someone in a position of power seeks to foist upon us some rule or law to protect our morality, the next time someone wants to talk about the sanctity of marriage, or tell us what we can or cannot say on TV or in a song, the next time someone drafts a report about how video games are corrupting our youth, the very next time someone suggests that we ought to still not be able to buy beer on Sunday or at the grocery store, the next time that happens I just hope with all of my being that those who are listening remember that the person that drafted that rule, or law, or hateful speech, that person who appeared at some time to be the best and the brightest, that person, that on their computer at the same time as that pure as driven snow composition there was just as likely as not another window in which they were chatting with an underage page and explaining how they would really like to get in their pants.

Government really never had any moral authority, perhaps for a few days people might actually think that is a good thing.

But probably not. We Americans have an unbelievable capacity for denial.

I hereby swear that I was in fact wearing pants while composing this post and that no other windows were open concurrently.

Monday, October 02, 2006

I'm Famous - Not

USITT Sightlines: "Have you ever had that thought? Or maybe 'This is so cool I just want to show everybody!' Don't just think about how cool you are."