Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Still Hanging With SCC

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

Is it a shame to admit that on the Friday a little while back I was more engaged by the episodes of Dollhouse and Sarah Connor Chronicles than by the series finale of BSG? I'm not a Whedon guy like other people are, but when that phone machine picked up and she said "there are three flowers in a vase" and the girl went all batshit, well, wow that was good TV. It made me think that all the episodes we'd seen up until that point were just there to give us enough balance to be able to handle how the stories are really going to go. Which was also the point at which I remembered that there was discussion online ad nauseum when the pilot was written about how they had to rewrite it because it was too hard to follow.

(Firefox says "batshit" is not a word, by the way - although curiously the second time, and in quotes it seems to be ok. Perhaps we need an experiment: batshit. Nope, quotes don't seem to matter. Perhaps spelling something wrong twice proves you're too determined to be corrected. I digress...)

I opined some time ago about why you should be watching SCC. I have to say that after some time I still believe it to be true. The resolution of the Riley plotline, how she was an agent of sorts, and then how John had made her as an agent but hadn't let on and then how John busts Jessie, and then how Derek may or may not have aced Jessie was really, really well done. The only bit I was unhappy with was that I sorta liked Riley as a character and I guess had figured it would wind up with Jessie and Riley joining the gang in their fight against Skynet. This was was much darker, but also probably much better, and certainly more interesting.

Last week was for me a less interesting episode, but it was worth hanging in as the last fifteen minutes or so were killer. We've been going on for quite some time now being lead to believe that the thing in the basement using the triple-8's body and the worlds most advanced AI was in fact the embryonic Skynet and that the T-1000 running the company was in some way sheperding it's development and protecting it from the Connors. But this week another AI, something dating back to the T2 story came on the scene and suddenly you have to start wondering is John Henry Skynet or not? And if not, just what is Catherine Weaver up to? For a brief moment I saw a geometry in my head where Weaver's T-1000, John Henry, Agent James Ellison, and the Connors all wind up on the same side.

And if none of that makes any sense to you then all I can say is get on line and get caught up. It's real good TV.

(and now, the first batshit isn't a spelling mistake but the second two, but not the one I just typed are. Which I guess means that learning to spell and buying a dictionary are not as obsolete as one might think.)

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Shorties

  • 14:19 Please RT: Sign the petition to tell Bob Casey to join Twitter! is.gd/eftP #tweetcongress #PA-S2 #
  • 14:20 Please RT: Sign the petition to tell Mike Doyle to join Twitter! is.gd/efwh #tweetcongress #PA-14 #
  • 16:44 Looking for missing turnbuckle bolts. Spinning them out may save seconds at strike, but it can wind up being REAL expensive later #
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Monday, March 30, 2009

Shorties

  • 14:22 personal infrastructure day #
  • 19:35 taxes just too much archeology for a one day project this year #
  • 23:00 wrapping up the laundry #
  • 00:32 HEY DO ME A FAVOR? RETWEET THIS: tinyurl.com/co94jq for School of Drama Pre-College #
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Sunday, March 29, 2009

CMU Drama Pre-College

So it is time once again for my grass-roots precollege recruiting program and I need your help. Could you please email theatre instructors, college counselors, and anyone you might still know at your high school that might, possibly, in the least bit be interested in coming to Pittsburgh for Drama Design/Tech Precollege this summer? That would be awesome!

Really I guess it can be for any of the Drama programs, I'm just particularly motivated to make sure we get a good class in DP.

You could send them links to these videos Don made:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6AioyjvmiU


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ExngA15jmc

and you could definitely send them the link to the precollege admissions site:

http://www.cmu.edu/enrollment/pre-college/drama.html


Applications are accepted through June 1, but the more people that sign up earlier, the more of a program I can build. We typically committed to a program that includes:

  • Drafting
  • Basic Design
  • Lighting
  • Technical Production
  • Stagecraft
In the past we've also done things like:
  • Costumes
  • Scenic Art
  • Production Management
  • Stage Management
  • Lighting Technology
  • Sound Design
  • Storyology
and we've had workshops including:
  • Horror film Sound Design
  • Tye Dying
  • Moving Light Programming
  • Dinosaur Sculpture
  • Resume Writing & Interviewing
among many others. Really its all about the count, the more people we get, the more I can do.

It's also worth mentioning to people that to the best of my knowledge this is the only summer program that features a purpose built Design & Technical program with fully conceived courses and run by many of our regular year staff and faculty. It's just something that cannot be found at other schools. And as a footnote you could toss in that pretty nearly every year we admit students into our regular year Design & PTM program at the conclusion of their time with us in the summer - so they get to go back for their senior year already having been admitted to college.

You can also tell them that if they have questions they can contact me at dboevers@cmu.edu

actually I guess you don't have to write anything, you can just forward this email, thanks!

Shorties

  • 13:12 Friday's Monroeville #
  • 14:31 Poking my head into install #
  • 15:04 "The Father" tech meeting #
  • 22:51 Into the Wild Green Yonder #
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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Catvention!

Not normal for so many to be in one viewfinder. Left to right Tivel, Bra'Tac, Petra, & Bean. Also very strange to see Tivel with the others and not fighting. If he starts to behave I might stop calling him "Lurker von Fuzzybottom." I don't think he likes that name.

Pitch in for Mitch?

SO I found out yesterday, definitively, there will be no Mitch this year. I was trying to explain to the Grad1's why this was so sad but I couldn't. Kathryn was there and she goes all the way back to the brief "Two Mitch" era. I think there was even a year where we had them for pre-college and I got Mitch three times in a single year.

I just told the grads that may have been the very best year of my entire life.

What's Mitch? Mitch's Mobile Bar-B-Que of course.

A fixture of the School of Drama's award ceremony at the end of the year (and I think very briefly for the opening welcome picnic as well) Mitch puts out a spread everyone can sink their teeth into. Whatever you can grill, they grill it. They also do a whole table of vegi stuff for the non-meat eaters.

I think if I could have Mitch for every meal it would be a very long time before I complained.

One of the things people like the most about the Mitch experience is dessert. They do ice cream sundaes, make your own with tons of ice cream flavors and all the toppings anyone could possibly think of. Generally I was late to the ice cream thing because the line would be just too long with everyone trying to get theirs.

Sadly due to the current financial situation, there won't be any Mitch for us this year. I briefly entertained the idea of taking up a collection, but it'd be a lot of money, and I am not sure that sends the right signal anyway. I've heard of a bunch of places canceling party like events and then admonishing their people from even doing one on their own dime just because it looks wrong (and here I would have thought that it ws because they thought it was wrong for their people to have to carry the freight). We've had no such admonitions at work, but I think the idea isn't 100% off target.

I guess all we can do is hope that the federal administration has some Bar-b-Que bail out money in their stimulus package. Be hard to vote against that.

Shorties

  • 10:15 Forgot my phone, again #
  • 12:01 CAD class - modelspace/paperspace, floating viewports, viewport layer control #
  • 16:27 option coordinator meeting, big fun #
  • 19:47 Game night #
  • 00:30 @giantspatula DVR ate Dollhouse. :-( #
  • 00:58 Looks like FOX53 cocked up both my Friday shows. Thanks for that. #
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Friday, March 27, 2009

Shorties

  • 11:29 Awaiting RG take 7 #
  • 11:42 Waiting for take 8 #
  • 11:55 Take eight also fails. Take nine (the final take) will be at 6:15. Fingers crossed. #
  • 13:27 dropped my whole lunch :-( they gave me a new one :-) #
  • 13:36 @jkrall tinyurl.com/cljrpe #
  • 13:58 Its taken a while, but I believe I have finally reached disorganized. #
  • 21:34 Take ten didn't quite make it either. TANBI recap later. #
  • 21:35 Cross option meeting #
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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Critical Path, Rube Goldberg Day

So today was the day the Freshman Basic PTM class finished their Critical Path project. I'm not sure I can accurately tell you where I get Rube-Goldberg from Critical Path, but once upon a time it made sense to me and so here we are.

This year's group did a lot of construction, and there was a lot of chemistry and electronics. Unfortunately, the machine never managed to complete, even with 10 tries. So last year's crew still reigns supreme with this year and year one being fairly tied.

This year there was an erupting volcano:


a balloon in a tube:


a robot:


and somewhat inauthenticly an EZ button:


I think the EZ button, like many of the accent elements (including Dave-O-Postits) had appeared before.

Here's the video of the last, best attempt:



Anyway, good times all around and now everyone gets a nap!


Previous Forays:

I Have A Lot To Learn About Video






Time's Up!


Shorties

  • 10:12 CAD class: xrefs and images I think. #
  • 13:58 sending out the letters of doom #
  • 13:59 @PunkyPicc you're a CYLON! #
  • 16:50 Production meetings #
  • 18:43 Pittsburgh's signiture weather has arrived #
  • 22:03 apparently Sayid doesn't exactly believe Faraday - but then, he wouldn't know either #
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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Unexpected Consequences

Peg misses regular blogging. With so few readers it wouldn't do to upset any of them.

So today I discovered an unanticipated consequence to my mother passing away. It's a sort of Rube Goldberg of unrelated dependencies (and seeing as how my Basic PTM class has roughly 11 hours to finish their Rube-Goldberg Machine it is only fitting. I wonder how they're doing?) but it is so.

See since I missed quite a bit of the top of the semester, and seeing as how I return not quite capable of full duty cycle somewhere along the way we decided that this semester could do without two of my classes. One would be for Sophomores: Scenery Fabrication & Installation, and one would be for Juniors: Entertainment Rigging.

Actually, Entertainment Rigging was once upon a time Advanced Entertainment Rigging. But that's a different story.

So the consequence. I'm getting there.

Today I plowed through sending out what are sometimes referred to here as "The Letters of Doom." That's student shorthand for an academic warning letter. Students in the SOD that don't get decent marks are in danger of getting dropped, so when those poor marks show up they get a warning letter - hence the "doom" dimension. Anyway, these aren't really letters of doom because they are for mid-semester grades, which in our world are ephemeral and disappear almost as soon as they are published.

Here's the discovery though. Since I am not teaching two of my classes, many sophomores and juniors in the program are not taking my classes, and therefore some portion of these students are not getting the lousy marks they inevitably would have been earning in my classes. And so as a direct consequence of my mother passing away, fewer CMU SOD PTM students will end this semester on academic warning.

It is a long way to go for a silver lining, I'll give you that one.

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Shorties

  • 12:06 Forgot my f'in phone. Miss it too much too. #
  • 21:46 Remedial BSG #
  • 23:49 Now accepting suggestions for feeling less crappy. I think I've had enough. #
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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Shorties

  • 13:31 Office - pretty much what I remember #
  • 17:11 so the very first thing we wrote on our blank page - we can't do that? classic. #
  • 23:45 There are three flowers in a vase - nice. #
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Monday, March 23, 2009

Ellipses...

The blogging thing is hard these days. Not entirely sure why... Must. Do. Taxes. Soon... Today the guy subbing for Rush was infuriating. Kept going on about the high tax rate in Denmark. First, Obama isn't proposing a rate that high, and second - I don't hear them complaining... I appear to be fostering an alien again... Sounds like 15 of the top 20 AIG bonus getters are giving it back. So far so good... Pitt really hasn't looked all that bullet proof at the NCAA's... Anyone want to show my dad how to use the DVD without having to call the cable people? Thanks... Looking more and more like Ultimate weather every day. There was a time when every day looked like that... The stegosaurus fell over. Can't get motivated to right it... Of site someone added Hossfeld to my "missing" list. I wonder what was wrong with on-site... All things being equal I enjoyed Friday's Sarah Connor Chronicles more than Battlestar Galactica - go figure... There isn't much point to a blank page if the very first thing you write down isn't going to work... Gong to a conference isn't so good for the snail mail sorting. I now have a fairly impressive backlog... I never did write a decent Las Vegas wrap up, and now we're clearly onto the Cincinnati wrap up. Life is too fast for blogging... Yesterday I accidentally bought the third Futurama disk again. Gotta go back and get me an "Into the Wild Green Yonder"... Must be getting close to the end of the school year, all the cats need to go to the vet (don't tell them)... I am pretty nearly officially out of lanyards for the School of Drama. I wonder if "due to the current economic conditions," I will be able to get more... There are now several NPR stations in Ohio. I can remember a time when that didn't seem so. I wonder if they are becoming more blue lately... Speaking of Ohio, if King's Island were closer I would SO daytrip there. The coasters look awesome from the highway... I really must grade some of the papers I have in my office sometime soon... It's time to cover up the "no" button in the Crazy Scheme office. Maybe well past time... Somehow the lawn guy is going to go another summer without changing his price. That's four years in a row. Unbelievable... I really, really hope we're done with snow for the year...

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Shorties

  • 13:48 BW3, Monroeville #
  • 16:26 Catching up on feeds #
  • 00:17 griping about USITT #
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Sunday, March 22, 2009

What's Missing From the USITT Floor?

With USITT just ending it seems to be a reasonable time (and frankly often the only time) to think about how to make it better for the future. We were told this time around that the show floor next year will be bigger than this year, so I thought I would take a minute to think about who's not at the show that I think ought to be. You could help too and add things in the comments.

Whenever I normally think about this I first come up with a list of non-theatrical vendors I use over and over. Some of these may sound like no-brainers, but I have worked at more than one company without an account for each, so they must not yet be ubiquitous.

  • McMaster-Carr
  • Grainger
  • Newark
  • Outwater/Outwater
I am sure there are more, but I am off the top of my head here. I suppose we could also include VerSales, but they have shown before, so I gather maybe they're just not that into us.

After that I wander to home-show vendors that we also use, so how about:
  • Home Depot
  • Lowes
  • Menards
  • Sears/Craftsman
  • True Value
These might not be as valuable participant, but they for sure have people who's job it is solely to go to trade shows, so they are probably easy additions.

I guess that makes the transition to tools. Here the list is long...
  • Makita
  • Ryobi
  • Hitachi
  • Milwaukee
  • Rigid
  • Dremel
  • Bosch
  • Channellock
  • Klein
  • Streamlight
  • Stanley
  • DeWalt
  • Delta
  • JET
  • Fluke
  • Nico-Press
  • Loos
That's just a selection. I am sure I am forgetting a bunch. Really there are enough of these that they could be their own whole aisle at the show, adding for TDs, PMs, and Facility people without taking away anything from others that don't directly use their products. I even think this would be good vendor to vendor. Maybe the BMI guy meets the Dremel guy and then put together a "propmaster package" for theatre people. Maybe the Loos guy meets the DeWalt guy and they do a screwgun attachment to crimp press sleeves.

A guy can dream right?

Finishes: Glidden, Bennie Moore, Minwax all the paint people.

Computer and software. I'd love to see a toughbook laptop. Or maybe Autodesk should come and set up next to Vectorworks. Be nice to see an MS Project demo.

Material handlining: JLG and Genie. MAybe those people that make that freaky reconfigurable ladder.

Mechanical and fluid power components. Motion control components.

I don't know the hotwire vendor name, or a vacuform machine maker, or any of the hundreds of CNC tooling companies. I'm sure the SawStop guys would make a splash for better or worse. And how about the ironworker guy.

Oops I forgot all the metals tools people.

I've seen pretty much all of these guys at one show or another over the years. Most of them are bigger than your average theatrical supplier and have nearly full time trade show and sales reps. Their lack of attendance can't be from the vendor end.

In the past when I've asked I've been told that the floor is sold out with the people we already have. But if the floor next year really is bigger, maybe we should look at it as an opportunity to bring in some different market sectors - people we all use all the time and really would benefit from seeing what they have coming down the pike that's new - or exposing people in that next tier of the business to the suppliers those of us who have been at the top tier use regularly that they might not know about.

Do due me a favor and add whoever you can think of, and pass this around and ask friends and co-workers. It might not do any good, but I do think I will actually write the letter this time to try to get some of these people online.

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Shorties

  • 13:01 And we're off #
  • 15:38 Pit stop tinyurl.com/cldjs9 #
  • 17:44 "you have arrived" #
  • 21:30 Sushi, waterfront #
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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Shorties

  • 10:42 @bpeoples because sometimes one ought to aim higher #
  • 11:11 Taxing a million dollar bonus at 90% doesn't "wipe it out.". It still amounts to more than most people make. #
  • 11:30 Young Technician's Forum #
  • 11:42 Theatre Joblist listings: twitpic.com/2a1ly #
  • 14:52 Browsing the Tech Expo and then sitting on the booth until 4:45 #
  • 15:02 Ellen, check #
  • 15:57 Rimes, check #
  • 18:25 USITT award presentation to Ben Sammler #
  • 19:36 CMU Alumni reception #
  • 19:37 @scoutfinch2271 and nary a tv in sight - dvr better not crap out #
  • 23:10 Yale School of Drama reception - where'd all these Cirque people come from? #
  • 23:11 @scoutfinch2271 I have a date with the DVR tomorrow night #
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USITT - Friday

Long day today. Started out this morning with the Young Technician's Forum. Then there was a lot of booth. Round about then I snapped a pic of Joel becuase he couldn't be bothered to come to the reception:

Then I went to the Tech Expo to see the new entries. Here I got to see something remarkably like an item I built at Chicago Scenic maybe a decade ago - I'm sure I didn't invent it either...


After that was the Project Management session. We had a good turnout, and except for the fire alarm going off mid session I think it went pretty well. We didn't end early and most of the people that were there at the start were still there at the end.


After that we had a tribute to Ben Sammler. He got a lifetime achievement award from USITT. He gave a real nice speech and almost lost it a little when it came time to thank Larainne.


From there off the the CMU Alumni Reception. Since we haven't had an official one I think we had a fairly decent turnout:



And then after that off to the Yale Alumni Reception...


That's Victoria Nolan telling the group about Ben's award. He didn't make a speech at this event. I spent most of the Yale reception pimping kids to Cirque people. It's nice to be useful.

Tomorrow - back to yinsburgh to catch up on BSG and SCC.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Shorties

  • 13:41 NCSA has a new booth, again #
  • 16:18 Joel, check Ray, check Lisa Porter, check #
  • 16:19 Angsting again over a lack of hand outs #
  • 17:38 Tech Production Commission meeting #
  • 21:01 Apparently eating close to home tonight #
  • 23:19 Just told an excited, bright eyed college TD student to "get a better dream" #
  • 23:20 Tien, check #
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Thursday, March 19, 2009

USITT - Thursday

No picture today. Maybe we should steal Jean's:


Show floor opened today. It feels bigger this year, and I am told it will be bigger again next year. Maybe it;s time to ask where the tool and industrial supply companies are again.

I started out today with prep for a session I sit on tomorrow. We're talking about Project Management concepts and how they relate to theatrical technical direction. It could be real long and real dry or it might be real interesting. Mostly I think it depends what kind of a turnout we get.

I spent some time on the booth today. Long enough to once again wonder about give-aways. NCSA has a new booth and they bought a 10x20 space. That's some serious juice to compete with. Yale bought a double space this year. Overall I think it isn't the trend though. There are still enough schools at the tables that we don't look conspicuously frugal.

This afternoon was the Technical Production Commission meeting. I've been to that meeting enough times now that I could likely recite it as a performance art piece. One interesting thing: Fritz asked how many of the 100 or so people that were there taught rigging and got like 75 hands. Then he asked how many were certified theatrical riggers and got three (and one was his, and one was mine). Looks like I might have some preaching to do amongst my own population.

Late tonight I was talking to Mike Katz in the lobby and a random undergrad age person came to talk to him "I've seen you in a bunch of sessions..." He asked what our advice would be for someone that wanted to be a TD at a small liberal arts college. My advice? "Get a better dream." Maybe I erred a little on the shocking end I guess. I mean that's a fine "I'd like to wind up" or "when I want to settle down to have kids" or even "after a few years" response, but to be going to school for theatre for the sole purpose of teaching theatre at a school - that's EXACTLY what's wrong with USITT. I babbled at him about "technical supervisor for Broadway" or "automation supervisor for Cirque" as more appropriate goals - even if you don't get them - but I think by then he wasn't listening to me anymore.

David, destroyer of dreams.

Shorties

  • 12:28 @sdeutsch Hewlett? #
  • 13:41 Bell, Check Schmalz, Check #
  • 15:42 Note to all: when you leave the hall, badge off! #
  • 16:18 Technical Production Comission leadership meeting. Fritz, check Ben, check Alan, check #
  • 17:05 Any theatre type people out there fluent in a Balkan language? #
  • 19:29 @renelae not so far #
  • 19:29 Knots knots knots #
  • 19:30 Bill Reynolds, check Joel, check #
  • 22:38 Some time, not long ago, I absolutely became a drinking lightweight. This is probably not a good thing. #
  • 22:49 Val Light, check #
  • 22:51 @renelae missed it. Tomorrow I will try to stay up. #
  • 23:08 Is the Hyatt Internet really this buggy, or is it my machine? #
  • 23:11 @renelae I'll have to check it out #
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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

USITT - Wednesday

It is Wednesday, yes?

First off, mission accomplished:


The CMU based, Piano Lesson "Phantom Piano" entry to the tech expo is set up, for what it's worth. Let this be a lesson to everyone: if you want to put something in a show, don't pull it from the warehouse the day it has to ship (lest you might discover it needs a power supply). Still, something is better than nothing.

I went to the Technical Production leadership meeting and only volunteered to do one thing that ultimately I probably won't be allowed to do. And believe you me, there was much more volunteering to do. If anyone wants to coordinate a large, hand's on programming section of next year's conference, now if the time to email Fritz.

We did "Knots knots knots" again this year. I think I lost about 1/3 of my rope. This year we did the sheet bend, double-dragon bend, carrik bend, clove hitch, two-half hitches, bowline, figure-eight on a bite and then I lost track.

By my count it was 65 minutes until the first person said "monkey's fist" and it was all down hill from there.

After that I sat through the start of Ben Sammler's presentation of his production management style. What he does is highly dependent on operating inside of what I call in my Basic PTM class "the proto-typical regional." It's a model that is extreemly egalitarian and collaborative. I had to leave because I wanted to ask subversive questions like "But what do you do if historically each department has treated their budget as their own instead of a part of each show like you are suggesting?" The answer would either be: "Get them to change their mind" or "well, you probably don't want to work there." Neither of those (although correct) are particularly helpful I think.

Tomorrow the show floor opens.

Shorties

  • 11:53 @aerdin Playground Research #
  • 11:54 trying to get on the road #
  • 13:12 And we're off #
  • 14:53 Gps is loony tinyurl.com/d5k8k8 #
  • 17:39 Pit stop tinyurl.com/c6aand #
  • 19:05 Gps says: "you have arrived" #
  • 19:29 Contemplating a side trip to the Creation Museum at some point. #
  • 19:54 @mipow USITT #
  • 20:32 at a loss for dinner ideas #
  • 22:19 I need to stop forgetting to get receipts. Bit Nuker! #
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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

AIG - Unforgiven

So I've been thinking about the bonuses again. A long drive listening to the news all day I think I know more about the subject then I could have ever wanted to know. Sadly it seems like they really do have to make the payments, and the more I think about it, the tax ideas being floated to recover the money seem like the very definition of ex post facto.

So in hindsight I still like the audit idea.

There's this line at the end of "Unforgiven" that comes to mind. A fairly hasty Google search turns up this site and the quote:

MUNNY
                   I'm comin' outta here... an' any
fucker I see out there, I'm gonna
kill him... an' any fucker takes a
shot at me, I ain't just gonna
kill him, but I'm gonna kill his
wife an' all his friends an' burn
his fucking house, hear?
The real solution here is for the government to persuade the execs that its in their best interest to just decide not to take the money. It makes sense, without the bailout they'd get nothing. Now they have salary and jobs. Right minded people ought to figure out they don't need a bonus - and turning it down doesn't violate the existing contracts.

Perhaps after a personal call from the President of the United States might drive home the point.

And if not, well we ought to arrange the most invasive, annoying, awful, embarrassing investigation that the Federal, State, County and Local Governments can come up with. Think of it as a bureaucratic stimulus package - create some investigator jobs. National, State, and Local IRS, reassess their house, send the building inspector to their home and business along with OSHA and the heath department, have immigration set up outside their homes, maybe send DCFS out to interview their friends, all the way down to sending the ASPCA to check on their pets. Go back too. If in 2007 for doing absolutely nothing I had to pay fees and penalties on an auto registration in CT for six months of 1996 I think we can come up with SOMETHING on these greedy bastards.

Maybe it starts like this:

I have this vision in my head, of Joe Biden, in a cowboy hat, at the podium in the White House Press Room:
I'm gonna be watching... an' any fucker that takes that bonus, I'm gonna audit them... an' any fucker that keeps that bonus, I ain't just gonna audit him, but I'm gonna audit his wife an' all his friends an' seize his fucking house, hear?

USITT - Begin

I'm here. The GPS decided I wanted to take the Penn Turnpike toward Harrisburg, but I got here. As a side note, did you realize that leaving Pittsburgh the Turnpike East mostly goes South until you hit I70?

Still seems stupid.

But now, after a surprising amount of Ohio NPR, I've finished my drive.

Hotel room has a nice view too:

Shorties

  • 12:44 churning #
  • 15:18 trying to clear my desk in advance of USITT #
  • 15:58 Makin copies, like ya do #
  • 18:39 maybe they should just stop calling them Bonuses - that's what the Bush administration would have done #
  • 22:04 totally and completely unprepared to go out of town #
  • 00:57 @aerdin get off the couch. #
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Monday, March 16, 2009

AIG

American International Group, Inc.

Maybe instead of "bonuses" AIG ought to just call the money something else. Balloon payments? How about "severance pay"?

The previous administration always made much hay over just calling something a name it wasn't. I bet people wouldn't be as upset about "commissions" as they are about "bonuses." AIG ought to take a hint from the Bushies.

Also I guess they could write off the money to advertising. With all the press they're getting over "bonusgate" (I typed it here first people) they can probably lay off any TV advertising for 18 months.

You can probably tell that I think that the last thing these folks deserve are bonuses. Tonight on NPR someone pointed out that if the company had gone out of business the execs would be getting nothing, but because that would take the rest of the economy with it we the taxpayers pony up the bailout money, and then ipso facto since the company isn't bankrupt they have to make the payments.

Makes sense to me... unfortunately.

There's another answer though. Some of the higher up execs have decided they wouldn't take the bonus. Some have even said they won't draw salary for the year. How about an executive order stating that any employee of any company receiving bailout money that takes a bonus is guaranteed to have this year and the past seven years' taxes audited by the IRS.

You can take the money, but then the tax man is a-coming.

Might be just the incentive needed to get these schmucks to do the right thing.

Just a thought.

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Shorties

  • 14:10 in the office on Sunday. I must really love the office. #
  • 17:57 @pennjillette I wondered how often that happened when I saw the show the other night #
  • 17:58 I've given it a little time to grow on me and now I think i can firmly say I liked the old facebook better #
  • 18:00 @scoutfinch2271 would think if all these securities that were worth something are in fact - not, there ought to be some charge available #
  • 00:06 @rachelyra can you say "stalker"? #
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Sunday, March 15, 2009

So Much for That

Remember that lonely corner of a building they built at the end of the Purnell driveway...


So much for that.

Shorties

  • 16:01 Waiting for the shop to finish my state inspection #
  • 17:36 Watchmen, 7:00 #
  • 22:11 People ought to stow it. That movie is just fine as is. #
  • 01:24 if the administration is so outraged at Wall Street bonuses, maybe they should turn some of that outreach into indictments - just a thought #
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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Shorties

  • 13:50 thrilled to be back in the office #
  • 18:38 Crashing friend's Shabbat dinner #
  • 18:40 @scoutfinch2271 socks on fire? #
  • 21:21 Just a little while until BSG #
  • 01:51 @scoutfinch2271 was so nice when Caprica found that assisted living facility for old man Baltar #
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Friday, March 13, 2009

Shorties

  • 12:37 No sleep at all last night - what work is happening is happening from home #
  • 13:34 SO nice to have my pocketknife back #
  • 18:40 putting Milan on the Greenpage, among other things. RIP - cmuptm.blogspot.com/ #
  • 20:37 Car wreck right outside our house - no injuries. #
  • 23:18 @scoutfinch2271 put it way then. Mind over matter. #
  • 23:18 @aerdin neighbor car #
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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Ellipses...

Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino

Dad needs to check on his voicemail, people are wondering... All those CNN reports about drug wars in Mexico are cramping my future beach plans... Man o man did we do a dense vacation in Vegas... Last Friday's Galactica was really kinda meh... We'd intended to go to several movies on our break, but somehow never found the time... Looks like it might be a bad week for Anne Coulter, although with poeple talking about her, how bad could it be... I remember now some of the problems I had with KA, starting with the baton twirling... I never did get to Circuit City before it poofed. Probably didn't miss much... Still stoked several days later about Tower of Power. If you get a chance, you should go... That guy with the shoe got three years. I bet we could easily find 1,095 Americans each willing to serve one day for him... Note to Mandalay Bay: It's not a "hot tub" without the "hot" part... The day after the US resumed funding foriegn NGOs that provide abortions the Austrailians did the same. I wonder why they felt they had to wait for us... You have to wonder if the maids at the Luxor and Mandalay Bay really hate that there's a Lush store in the Mandalay Place Mall. People probably wouldn't even think of using that bath bomb with confetti in it at home... I am at once not all that thrilled about the end of break nor the imminence of USITT... There's a distinct chance the new cat may have to go. If you think you would like a cat, and don't already have a cat (as that appears to be the issue) shoot me an email soon... Let it Ride really took the cash out of me at The Orleans... Had to watch the second part of the latest Batman: The Brave and the Bold on YouTube. Darn DVR spaced it. Good show, you should watch if you aren't... I am closing in on the end of Halting State by Charles Stross. I've been reading it (or really ignoring it) forever, but I can report it has been well worth the investment... So long Milan Stitt. Thanks for all your support. You will be missed...

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Shorties

  • 13:23 Packing. Turning for home. #
  • 15:29 Sushi lunch - Toadi, then airport #
  • 17:40 Car returned. Through security. Waiting. #
  • 22:40 Pittsburgh, down, safe... Cold. #
  • 04:40 Very clearly still on Vegas time. #
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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Shorties

  • 18:48 Off the beach... On to KA #
  • 21:20 Waiting to go to our seats #
  • 01:07 CraftSteak - be good or "pack your knives and go home" #
  • 02:47 Seriously, ate too much. #
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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Shorties

  • 14:50 kind of a Black Monday at Mrs TANBI's office - thankful to have mostly dodged the bullet #
  • 15:53 Heading to lunch with Ms.Stark #
  • 18:35 Break #
  • 20:55 Tonight, Dinner: BAM! #
  • 23:09 Ordering: Calamari, Lamb, Duck, Truffle Mac & Cheese #
  • 01:55 Expensive drinks at Eyecandy #
  • 01:56 @scoutfinch2271 um, everything ok? #
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Monday, March 09, 2009

Shorties

  • 12:47 Gospel Brunch HOB #
  • 19:43 Pool time #
  • 22:34 What is hip? Tower of Power! #
  • 22:44 @aerdin well, it might be funk or R&B, I think maybe soul is the closest. Maybe. #
  • 00:24 Well. That's going to leave a mark #
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What is Hip?

I had to hook up the computer to do grades, so I thought I might give some respite from the Shotries posts.

Today was like LIVE MUSIC SUNDAY here on the break. We started off going to House of Blues' Gospel Brunch. It was a fairly interesting experience, although in hindsight I am not sure I would go again. The music is good, the food is good, the bar is an open bar, the people have a good time, and yet still the summation of all of those things just didn't make it for me and Mrs. TANBI. Probably the hardest part is that depending on the table you're seated at you could be fairly packed in. If you do decide to take in this experience I would go to the box office and see if there's any way you can get yourself at one of the round tables on the periphery rather than at the long tables in the front. I mean, you really are in the thick of it up front, but that might not be conducive to your being able to finish eating your shrimp, get it? The event is really food, and then a show and you're a little pressed to finish up if you're down front. After further review I think I woul dhave liked to have been further back and at my leisure to finish my meal. But, cool event.

Tonight we went to see Tower of Power. I've been angling to go to one of their shows for a good long time and just never made it work until today. This is a soul band, big horns, James Brown rythms - big sound, and a lot of fun. In some ways they're like the worlds foremost wedding band - they would TEAR UP your wedding. But that's not fair, because they are so much more than that, but when trying to answer the question "what are they like" and not having a real command of music terminology, that's the answer I came up with once. I think I like their sound because I think they're most like the band I would like to be in if I were in a band. It's like they were all in High School Jazz Band and made it stick and made it cool. There's a lot here that sounds like Chicago might have been had they gone a different way - funk instead of pop. At one point in this show tonight one of the horns was playing a trumpet in his right hand and a trombone in his left, alternating from one to the other. I'm not sure I could ever be that good, but if I were to change careers mid-course, and if I were to become a better horn player than I ever was in my life, and if I got together with some kindred spirts to for a soul band, maybe a Tower of Power tribute band; I have the name: Radius of Gyration.

bip bip bip bip bip

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Shorties

  • 14:35 Not 0-dark-30 today #
  • 14:36 @renelae yeh we went there last time we were here. Very good. #
  • 14:49 twitpic.com/1wr90 #
  • 20:19 Pick up show tickets, grab lunch, hang by the pool #
  • 22:11 @renelae @aerdin. Penn & Teller #
  • 22:13 FYI: it's not a penny machine if the bets are in 50 penny increments #
  • 00:17 @pennjillette watching people sign the envelope #
  • 00:23 Lenten sacrifice: Six weeks without Facebook, Twitter usat.me/?34351946 #
  • 03:21 Decent food, decent show, now in room desert. #
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Saturday, March 07, 2009

Shorties

  • 07:21 PIT--->LAS #
  • 13:06 Down, safe. #
  • 16:08 Lunch Dim sum Carts #
  • 00:19 Down 20 #
  • 00:19 Dinner: Bobby Flay #
  • 02:38 Don't think mesa is making our top ten #
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Friday, March 06, 2009

Shorties

  • 13:17 Season announcement: Grapes of Wrath #
  • 13:18 Season announcement: How to Succeed... #
  • 13:21 Season selection: The Government Inspector (Chemers adaptation) #
  • 13:22 Season announcement: Richard III #
  • 13:47 @PunkyPicc is there another? #
  • 13:54 Greenpage top five: tinyurl.com/d3xpru #
  • 14:52 First Peter Cooke faculty meeting #
  • 17:49 home, laundry pack, sleep - have to be up soon #
  • 05:55 0-dark-30, getting up this early one ought to get to go to Hawaii. #
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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Shorties

  • 16:16 churning #
  • 20:38 disappointing the window guy, bummer #
  • 01:21 @PunkyPicc once I looked for my glasses for a half hour while wearing them. #
  • 01:22 Possibly just printed something in my office at work from my office at home - not sure if we really need that capability, but kinda cool. #
  • 01:24 In case anyone is interested, the newsquiz this week is lame. #
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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

I Don't Do Windows...

replacement windows

...today anyway.

Do you own your home? Have you had people in to quote work for you? Do they do the "you have to sign now or you don't get the price" thing?

I hate that.

Yesterday a company that we had do some work on the house called and said they were having a special incentive program and did we have anything we might want to do. I told them we wanted to do some window replacements and they said great, and that their guy would come out, do some measurements, and give me a quote that would be good for a year.

Perhaps optimistically I thought that as a repeat customer I would be spared the hard sell. Alas no.

So Gene comes out, measures our windows and quotes me a price - a HUGE price by the way, in case you've never done replacement windows. Then he says he can do me 10% as a repeat customer. To me 10% an incentive program does not make.

Then he trots out the hard sell. The company and the manufacturer have allocated incentive funding that make "a substantial" difference, but you have to sign now.

Hmm. Go jump in a lake.

We chat and chat and finally he trots out the incentive price - one night only - an additional 30%. It's a decent price I guess. I can never seem to get my head wrapped around how much people want for home improvement work. It might even be a price I might pay, but not in a "before-I-leave-the-house" scenario.

Strangely, the work we're looking at is the balance of the job we did with them the first time and the "screaming deal" price this iteration is just barely 10% lower than the remainder on the first estimate. So much for a special incentive program.

I guess we'll see how our taxes come out and then decide if we really want to finish the work now and if we do we'll call and make them an offer. If they want the work, they'll take it, and if not - well they know where to find me.
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Shorties

  • 13:30 Everyone in Basic PTM needed nap time today. #
  • 14:28 @bpeoples I soldiered on. Pretty much the worst teaching experience there is, but we've already canceled too many classes this semester #
  • 14:59 Technology brainstorming meeting #
  • 19:53 @PunkyPicc don't get too excited. Remember you're at work #
  • 20:38 @PunkyPicc why is this night different from all other nights? #
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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Shorties

  • 13:56 BCSA Meeting - adding Directing #
  • 14:34 Debugging The Illusion #
  • 15:29 feeds, greenpage #
  • 16:44 @PunkyPicc I'm so sure that never happens #
  • 16:44 BPTM Prep #
  • 18:32 Hanging out for The Six - that's "Scheduling" to you CSSI people #
  • 21:28 Running Man or Point Break? A billion dollars per month for cable and that's the choice. #
  • 21:29 @aerdin poof! #
  • 00:25 late night pet mopping - big fun #
  • 00:25 @aerdin but think - now you've saved up a whole show for reruns #
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The Sad State of Action Stars

The Running Man (film)

I watched "The Running Man" tonight. While taking in all the mid 80's film making and thinking about the reboot of "Total Recall" I've been reading about I had the thought that The Running Man would be a good candidate for a remake. There's just something about the casting and the visuals and the story and the concept that seems to me like it would still resonate today and that would benefit from a retooling using today's film making technology.

But there's a problem. Who would be Arnold?

Think about the action stars of today and try to put any of them in something as high concept as The Running Man. Who's out there? Matt Damon? Ben Affleck? WIll Smith? Daniel Craig? Keanu Reeves? Tom Cruise? Johnny Depp? Christian Bale? Viggo Mortensen? Shaq? Really the well of action stars doesn't much include anyone too butch. Orlando Bloom as The Running Man - shoot me now.

Hugh Jackman? Are you serious? I mean Geez, they had Kelsey Grammer play The Beast.

I suppose you could go Vin Deisel or maybe even Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. They both seem to be mired firmly in what for Arnold was his "Kindergarten Cop" phase. They'd be ok I guess. For a moment I thought about Ving Rhames, but he's never really carried his own film. Even TV is a little devoid of the big bodied action star, nobody leaps to mind from Heros, or Lost, or BSG. You don't think too long before saying "Well maybe the remake could have a woman?" Since Angelina Jolie might be the most credible action star of the past decade. But that seems wrong.

So really, what happened that has us rebounding so heavily from Stallone and Schwarzenegger? Where's the new Dolf Lundgren or Carl Weathers? I think I'd even go Van Damme. It's pretty sad.

In their time I don't think anyone would have said those guys were the best actors around, but there was a niche they filled very well, and I am not sure there's anyone waiting to step in right now. How odd.

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Monday, March 02, 2009

WOW

Shorties

  • 10:25 Sunday Morning - Interviews - and yet, 26 minutes without applicants #
  • 12:12 @aerdin happens - welcome to the US Airline industry #
  • 13:18 Lunch break - two grads this afternoon #
  • 13:49 @renelae the movie? #
  • 14:21 and now - grad interviews: why? why here? why now? #
  • 16:19 Time now for snack #
  • 20:54 @thespophile yes, bacon goes bad #foodpoisoning #
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Sunday, March 01, 2009

Doom

Have Americans given up on the economy? - By Daniel Gross - Slate Magazine: "There was a time, not so long ago, when a company like Circuit City would have stuck it out by filing for Chapter 11. A Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing gives companies breathing room from creditors in order to regroup and relaunch. Circuit City started down this path in November, but in mid-January it decided that rehab was too tough and threw in the towel. Sharper Image, Linens 'n Things, retailer Steve & Barry's, and the department store Mervyn's all filed for bankruptcy with the intent of reorganizing."

Shorties

  • 23:11 "Taking Chance" - decent flick #
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