Thursday, December 29, 2005

Know your rights

The following entry was intended for last week, but an early trip to the hospital delivery room pre-empted posting. So the holiday relevance may be irrelevant, but I'm too busy learning how to change diapers to make a new one this week. Thanks for reading!

This holiday shopping season I've been trying to vote with my wallet. Easier said than done. takes care of the checking on the store you're planning on throwing money at. The rest is up to you.

Do you wanna support the Red (i.e. EVIL) companies? Go to Wal-Mart. Duh. But who else? None of those tree-hugging, parka sporting companies in the Northwest, right? WRONG. Every time you click the purchase button on Amazon, you're giving more money to the Red party than the Blue.

Instead, go to the co-op of all co-ops, REI and buy some gear. 100% Blue. Not that everybody on your holiday shopping list is gonna want lanterns and snowshoes, but everybody appreciates a nicely pitched tent.

Need some toys for some nieces and nephews? Mattel gives 81% of their money to the Blue party. If you buy "it" on eBay you're giving 56% Blue. But if you walk into KB Toys and slide that credit card, it's now 100% Red.

And when you go home and order a pizza at the end of your shopping day, picking up the phone and calling Domino's will give 100% of your money to Republicans. Surprisingly enough, so does California Pizza Kitchen. You know you're funding corporate America when you go to the big burger chains like McDonald's
and Burger King, but what about In-n-Out Burger? In-n-Out actually gives a larger percentage of their donations to the Red party than the other two.

Well that's all for this week's installment of LLMB. Gotta get a Blue coffee. Where? Surprise surprise!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Lost in the supermarket

Lately I've been receiving a lot of inadvertent e-mails to one of my bazillion e-mail accounts. Specifically my Gmail account. I never use that one because they scan each and every one of your e-mails for marketing clues. It's true. Says so right on the user agreement.

I always love getting random e-mails to my accounts that have pictures attached. I received one e-mail that had this one attached. The sender said "You look so cute in these. Here you go."

I wish I knew which one of these cute guys he or she thought was me. Striped shirts and dark belts, coronas, clean shaven and neatly trimmed eyebrows. I just wanna party with these guys.

I got signed up for an account to Wegmans, which is a supermarket chain. I don't see any of these dudes signing up for supermarket online offers, so it must be some other person who thinks they got my Gmail account.

Now I'm on this e-mail list for moms of Brownies. I get regular e-mails telling me when to be at Investiture and Rededication, Ice Cream parties and such. Apparently I'm supposed to bring an ice cream scoop and a can of whipped cream to the next meeting. And there is a super secret trip to the Jelly Belly factory on the 27 of January. I so badly want to show up dressed as a Brownie so I can go along. Doesn't this place look like a blast?

I can't wait to see where our little Brownie group will go next. Speaking of which, we have a meeting next Wednesday which requires "holiday cookie cutters." No bigger than 3-4 inches please. Kisses!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

What's my name?

A tribute to Andy Rooney:

You ever wonder why some bands are called "The" something-or-other? Why bands aren't called "The" something-or-other? Why is that?

With rock bands in the 60's, it was pretty easy. Bands were more likely to put "The" in their names. You knew it was THE Beatles, THE Who. Not Beatles, or Who. Then in the 70's it got a little tougher because the preference wasn't to use "The". Yeah, we know it's not THE Foreigner. Not THE AC/DC. Just Rush. Styx. Queen. But is it THE Sex Pistols? or Sex Pistols? Right about now, you thinking "Well their album is called Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's THE Sex Pistols." Right, but the title of the band on the cover of Flogging a Dead Horse just says "Sex Pistols". Damn punk rockers. So angry they wanted to confuse us all.

In the 80s, there was no preference for "The" in your name or not. Great. It's THE B-52s, but is it THE Stray Cats? (It's not, it's just Stray Cats. But try saying it that way the next time they come up in conversation - which will be like, never.) You think it's THE Go-Gos, but it clearly says just "Go-Go's" on Vacation. It gets easier with hard rock bands, because they don't want to think about whether it's THE or not, they just want big hair and beer. Motley Crue. Guns n' Roses. Not THE Poison. And not THE Twisted Sister.

And when grunge killed glam in the early 90s, it also axed THE from its vocabulary. Easy to remember: Soundgarden, Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam. (Some Seattlite is going to write me and tell me that those bands are from the late 80s, I just know it.) Hip-hop made it easy too by bustin' a cap in THE's ass: Gangstarr, NWA, Mobb Deep, Wu-Tang.

Then around the new millenium, THE came back in vogue. So many THE's it was The THE empire strikes back! The Strokes, The White Stripes, The Vines, The Hives! AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!

I heard The The was touring again, but it's probably just as interesting to see whether the THE is popping up in band names again. -LL THE MB

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Car Jamming

I recently bought a certified pre-owned vehicle. The last time I bought a car was in 1995. Before that, 1988. My first car was a BMW 2002 - you know, those little ones that make a Mini look big. It wasn't certified pre-owned. Private owner, a guy who worked at some fashion store in the Tacoma Mall that makes Gap look like haute couture. He was a slick dude. And the 2002 was a fine looking vehicle on the outside, but under the hood it was the biggest piece of shit I've ever heard of. I bet the guy who sold it to me is a used car salesman now.

What is it with car salesmen (and women) that makes them so slimy? Do they go to some car sales school where they're taught the slimy tricks of the trade? Slimyness 101? Seems like they could just point out the features of the car and go along for the test ride and talk a few special deals up and their job would be done. I don't need the "I really want to make this work for you" treatment. They don't give a shit what works for me, as long as it means a sale for them.

Well this salesman, we'll call him Sammy, gave me the requisite treatment. Coffee, more coffee, more coffee. I love coffee, but what else ya got? He talked about his cousin who lives near me, but couldn't remember his name. He told me to go in and say hi to his cousin. Uh huh. He attempted to recount the details of our phone conversation and got every one of them slightly wrong. Wife's not coming, don't live in San Hose, don't have a trade-in.

The slimy stuff was generally harmless until we were finalizing the details of the purchase. I told him I noticed that the fog lights weren't working, the light that turns on when you open the drivers side vanity mirror didn't, and the windshield wipers made a horrible rubbing and skipping noise when turned on. Not major stuff, but stuff that shouldn't be happening on a certified pre-owned vehicle. Sammy said they were taking the car to the back to get it ready to go.

I sign the next 3 years of my life away with some other guy who does nothing but complain about "the man" and ask me if I would edit a video of his 2 year old son. I go back out to the waiting area where Sammy asks me if I want more coffee. Then he tells me that the shop is closed on weekends and they're not gonna be able to fix that stuff today. To sweeten that deal, Sammy says that I have to take it back to Sunnyvale VW to get that stuff fixed. Wow, that was a fast one! I thought I'd covered my bases.

My head turned into a big flat lollipop like the ones you see in Bugs Bunny cartoons that said "SUCKER". Actually all that stuff wasn't a major deal, but it made me wonder what else didn't meet the certified pre-owned criteria. Well, a few days later I drove the car down to Sunnyvale to get the stuff fixed, they gave me a Hyundai loaner that drove like a souped up golf cart, and I drove back down again to pick it up the same night. You gotta love that 101 rush-hour traffic. I drove into the lot to find Sammy combing his greasy hair back in the reflection of my certified pre-owned car window. He greeted me with a big open hand waiting for a shake. "Well I guess the next time I see you is when you're bringing me another customer!" Yeah.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

How to Stop Breathing

Let's talk about the restroom for a minute. When you work in a workplace and share the restroom with a bunch of people, there are random smells in there that you just don't want to be inhaling. I.E. Someone's Ass Air. Yep, microscopic particles from somebody's behind going into your nose and producing a not-so-pleasant fragrance. Stopping breathing while you're in the restroom can prevent unwanted Ass Air from getting into your nasal passageways.

Here's how:

1. Take a deep breath of air, filling the lungs BEFORE entering the restroom.

2. As you are urinating, release the air from your lungs as slowly as possible. If you try to hold the air in with full lungs for as long as possible, it will trigger a panic sensation that will quicken the heart rate and cause you to begin breathing again. (Please do not attempt stopping breathing while creating your own Ass Air. Going #2 takes longer than #1 and therefore will nix this procedure.)

3. Upon reaching the last of your air supply (I'm all out of love, I'm so lost without you), hold your breath. It is much easier to hold your breath with empty lungs than full lungs.

4. Wash up.

5. Exit the restroom and breathe freely again.

Now that wasn't so bad, was it? Best of all, you avoided inhaling that nasty unwanted Ass Air for a pleasant, non-stinky trip to the potty.
Be like our last great president, Bill Clinton, who said many times: "I didn't inhale."

These statements not approved by the AMA. Any passing out in the restroom is not the responsibility of LLMB, LLC. Please consult a doctor before attempting to stop breathing. The views and opinions expressed by LLMB have not been reviewed or approved by TNSC and its affiliates.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Looky over here!

Every week I try to come up with something interesting to read. There are a bunch of folks who appear to try to do the same on a daily basis. There are also a whole bunch of narcissists who want you to believe their lives are so important that you MUST read their daily spew and somehow feel enriched by it. wants you to: "Subscribe to my RSS feed to keep up to date with my life. " Apparently the coding he's doing will validate your existence, so best to keep him in your feedbag so you can read about... uh, code.
Later in his blog he says, "I'm SO tired of the amount of crap on the Internet these days." Well do us all a favor and save your typing for the code, crapmaker.

A Fallen Angel. This has to be some sophomore in high school with nothing but a Playstation and a PC. His entry on Monday Nov. 7th is titled: "boring dayz....."
Oh boy! Here's the boring entry:
"woke up at 1 pm 2day. i already knew that 2day wud be 1 of those days where u did something realy fun yesterday.i whent on9 2 chat wiff ppl.but then my internet was giving problems.i cud not go on9 4 de whole sis and cousin and friends went 2 see chicken little while my dad and mom went 2 see anak mami.i stayed at home and watched tv de whole 11.45 pm the internet went i just post this and went 2 sleep.(a very slow day)"
Wow. Thanks for sharing. I can't wait for A Fallen Angel's podcast, so I can subscribe and actually hear the excitement emanate from his voice.

Kim's Blog is chock full of unique and interesting muses, none of which have ever been seen in print. Here's an example:
"I was in the car and listening to the radio and heard that a certain station is a mix of the 80's and 90's. I started pondering what we'd call this decade when it's over with. The "zeros"? LOL! Anybody got better ideas?"
I've got a better idea, how's about pondering what the next decade will be called, since this one is half over with. People have been wondering since the 90s what this decade will be called. LOL!

There's this other moron who just writes about random stuff. There's no theme, and no telling what's next. Like that's going to keep 'em coming back for more. His latest entry was about other people's blogs. Oh, that's mine.

Tune in next week for another exciting episode of LEE LEE THE MUSICAL BEE!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Don't mess with Texas

I am not a fan of the Chicago White Sox. I'm hardly a fan of baseball. But my favorite TV show the past few days has been the one where Houston is forced to eat its ten-gallon cowboy hat. My favorite part was when they showed former President George H.W. Bush and wife Barbara decked out in Astros gear and mouths agape when the White Sox took the lead in game four.

(I couldn't find a pic online of George senior and Barbara when their mouths were agape, but you get the idea. That's Neil Bush next to the silver fox. Neil is potentailly your future president if we don't get our shit together and stop the insanity.)

One of the many sayings in Texas is that they do everything bigger there. Well, they certainly managed to lose the World Series as hugely as possible. Swept. Not one win. That's huge, right?

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Days of Thunder

I was channel surfing the other day (taking a break from surfing the web), and "The Color of Money" was on TV. Tom Cruise and Paul Newman in a movie about shooting pool. And I wondered: When exactly did Tom Cruise fall out of favor? There was a time in his career where he could do no wrong. But now he's seen as a crazed egomaniac.

Was it after starring in a few bad movies? Top Gun? Cocktail? Days of Thunder?
Or was it later, like: Magnolia? Mission Impossible II? The Last Samurai?

Was it his breakup with Nicole Kidman? You can't hate the guy for that. But you can wonder about his sexual preferences for that. I mean, IT'S NICOLE KIDMAN FOR CHRISSAKES.

Or was it when he became a supremely vocal Scientologist? I gotta think that his rant against Brooke Shields must have lost more than a few of his fans. Beck is apparently a Scientologist, but you don't hear anybody saying "remember when Beck used to be good?" He's still good! But Beck isn't as vocal about his love for Scientology as Tom Cruise is.

Maybe if Tom Cruise picks up a guitar and starts playing the lo-fi slacker part, he'll be welcomed with open arms again. Or if he shuts the fuck up.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Witness the evolution of the revolution

At the rate new iPods are coming out these days, why would you buy the video one Jobs announced yesterday? By this time next month, there'll be one with internet connect-ability (duh). And by January, one with a built-in iSight for iChatting! I'm gonna hang onto my $299 until the one that makes perfect poached eggs and hash comes out next spring.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Hello. How may I help you?

We're on the verge of buying a bed, which is long long overdue. I've researched mattresses so much in the past week that I feel like some sort of authority on the subject. Like "a little knowledge is dangerous" kind of authority.

After lying in the beds for 30 minutes at Room & Board near the old Western Images intersection of 7th & Townsend, we were about to pull the trigger on buying a memory foam mattress. Then Lily's friends Kevin and Randy ran into us and convinced us to shop around online for something that would surely be half-price.

We found an online mattress seller which had memory foam mattresses for half the price of Room & Board. Not a lot of info there, and I wanted to ask some questions, so I clicked on the "chat with a customer service representative now" button. I was looking forward to chatting with somebody as helpful as the woman on the picture of the button.

Keep in mind that an average of 5 minutes passed between each response.

Chat Information Please wait for a site operator to respond.
Chat Information All operators are currently assisting others. Thanks for your patience. An operator will be with you shortly.
Chat Information All operators are currently assisting others. Thanks for your patience. An operator will be with you shortly.
Chat Information All operators are currently assisting others. Thanks for your patience. An operator will be with you shortly.
Chat Information You are now chatting with 'ed'
ed: How may I help you today?
lee: hi.
lee: I'm wondering what the ILD rating of your memory foam mattresses is.
ed: our memory foam has a 5.3lb density

[Sidebar from LLMB: ILD does not measure the density of foam. It is a measure of how hard or soft the material is. It's generally measured in the number of pounds needed to compress the material 25% (on average). According to ed's answer it would take 5.3 pounds to compress the material 25%. At that rate, any full grown human would be lying on the ground.]

lee: is the foam made in the U.S.?
ed: our beds are made in the US
lee: is the foam bought elsewhere and the beds assemebled in the U.S.?

[20 minutes passes]

lee: still there Ed?
ed: I'm sorry for the delay
ed: our Memory foam is made in China
ed: and beds are assmbled in our plant
lee: does the foam contain fire-retardants such as PBDE or formaldehyde?
ed: they are fire retardent
lee: does the foam contain PBDE?
ed: no
lee: what fire-retardant chemicals are used in the mattresses?
ed: i dont know
lee: can you find out?
ed: not today
lee: sorry ed, but your lack of answer is not allowing me to make a decision on buying your product.
ed: i'm sorry
lee: does the foam contain formaldehyde?
ed: Call me at 1 800 xxx-xxxx ext xxx
ed: on Monday, I'll find out from my plant
lee: I'm not clear on how you would have the answer to the PBDE question and not the formaldehyde question. Do you have a list of some of the chemicals and not others?
ed: I said I'll get the info on Monday, call me then, OK?

Oh, ok. I'm just some pesky customer that might spend more than a few bucks at your store. Good thing I kept asking questions about where the components of your mattresses are made or you might think China is a state in the US.

I wasn't about to pick up the phone to speak with Ed considering his track record with answers. I went back to Room & Board to ask some questions and got basically zero help there as well. Luckily we ran into a very nice young man named Andrew at a mattress store in Menlo Park. He gave us loads of info and was ready to do anything in his power to lower the price and get us the mattress we wanted. No salesy BS at all. Nighty-night.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

My butto is go e

My butto is go e

My butto is go e. I have a theory about how it happe ed. Whe you wa t a ew fi der wi dow i OSX, you press Comma d + . I do that all the time, i stead of goi g to the Fi der File me u a d choosi g " ew fi der wi dow". So I guess all that pressi g Comma d + wiped it away.

But perhaps someo e stole it. The fact that I ever oticed the butto slowly disappeari g is evide ce of this. Maybe someo e who pressed Comma d + eve more tha I do, a d who eve presses Comma d + Shift + more ofte tha I do! That would make the butto disappear faster.

It's ot like the e tire butto is go e. It's just a bla k key betwee B & M, u der H & J, that sits there a d could be a ythi g. I e visio the comi g back o e day as a rei car ated . O e with miraculous powers that would make a fi der wi dow that ope ed EXACTLY i the directory I was thi ki g of.

Rece tly some self-proclaimed geek mass-produced keyboards with othi g pri ted o the keys. Evide tly it makes o e a more efficie t typist because with othi g pri ted o the keys, it's impossible to hu t-a d-peck a ymore, thereby rei forci g o e's memory of where each key is. Screw that. I just wa t my back.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The week in cycling

It was an interesting week on the bike. On Monday I nearly got run over twice by the same truck in a span of 10 seconds. Makes me wish I had a third hand just so I could flip the bird and stay on course. And so I could choose the tunes a little better as I ride. Anyway. Monday night I guess I ran over a nail because on Tuesday morning I discovered a flat and I had to walk to work.

Tuesday evening I walked to 3 shops looking for flat-fixing related gear, and let me tell you, the employees at that new Sportmart on Folsom and Division are VERY eager to help you find what you need. Not that they know what to recommend, but enthusiasm counts for something, right? I bought a pump, a patch kit, and a tire insert called Slime that is supposed to prevent more flat tires.

Wednesday morning I rode the bike to work with fully pumped tired for the first time in... well, a long time. Much faster. And with no fear of riding over the glass on 14th street that probably amounts to a case of beer's worth. Mmm... beer. Okay. I was flying down the bike lane on 14th so fast because of the tire fullness that I passed 3 slowpoke cyclists (feeling like Lance Armstrong here, but without Cheryl Crow waiting at the finish line) and past one scooter rider occupying the bike lane who I yelled "it's a BIKE lane" at. I arrived at work in record time. 2 songs.

At the end of the work day I left a little late (5:04 pm), put "Suck my Kiss" on the 1st Gen iPod and pedaled down Harrison. The beginning of rush hour. Crazy people frantically careening home in their cars to get in front of the tube to watch Friends reruns. Upon approaching the bike lane on Harrison near the Best Buy I noticed a homeless dude in the middle of the bike lane bent over rummaging through an old suitcase. I looked to my left and there was a car driving right along side me. No room to maneuver, but the fully-pumped tires were sending me right into him. I swerved between him and the narrow space left by the car and gave him a spank on the rear as I passed by. I laughed so hard that I almost didn't make my turn. I could barely hear him yelling "HEY, MUTHAFUCKA" over the Chili Peppers. Try that in a car at 3 bucks a gallon.

With gas prices the way they are, you might just consider hopping on your bike and taking a ride too.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

I Love LA

What the hell is up with that song? What is there to love about LA? I mean, I like LA, and I may one day live there, but would I love it? Probably not. I can imagine hating it after living there for a bit.

What is there to love? The weather? Probably. Hot days and warm nights are pretty lovable. The beaches? Okay, having a warm night on a beach is pretty rad, brah. The radio? Love it. I ditch the CDs and mp3s when I'm in LA. KCRW is the best station in the nation, and you can just leave it tuned in forever.

Sorry, but that's about all there is to love about the City of Angels.

What is there to hate? Well, the list goes on and on.
Idiotic drivers in idiotic traffic.
Bad service at mediocre restaurants.
Strip malls.
Starfuckers and wannabees.

It's really lame when the landmark for a city is a bunch of letters on a hill (sorry AC). But a city as huge as LA ought to do better than that. What do you think of when you think of New York? Maybe the Empire State Building or the Brooklyn Bridge. What do you think of when you think of San Francisco? Possibly the Golden Gate Bridge, or the painted ladies, or the Transamerica Building. What do you think of when you think of Los Angeles? A bunch of non-descript buildings downtown surrounded by traffic and smog, and the Hollywood sign. Lame.

Even their song is lame. Maybe I'm forgetting some beautiful song crooning about the beauty of Los Angeles, but I believe that the Randy Newman song is about all there is. We've got "I left my heart in San Francisco." LA has "I love LA", where Newman sings about driving and the weather and a bum on his knees. I love San Francisco, despite this fog that is supposed to have burned off by now. LA? Well, that smog ain't never burning off. We love it!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

The Problem

Due to the fact that I'm on a mini-vacation, and to commemorate his band's recent visit to SF - Steve Albini will be the guest writer on this week's edition of Lee Lee the Musical Bee.


Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Final Cut - part 2

Continued from last week...

"Holy shit Bob, I thought you were dead!"
"I'd like to be dead after the crap they've been feeding me."
"What have they been feeding you?"
"Golden Boy pizza"
"Sweet! When do we eat?" I asked.
"I always loved those slices. But after you've been eating it for as long as I have, it starts to taste like a cardboard square with tomato paste on it." Bob gagged.

The sound of footsteps echoed through the stage as two silhouettes approached. It was blinding to try to see them past the lights aimed in our direction, but it appeared to be Lisa and a tall thin man. The man clapped his hands in mock appreciation. "Congratulations Mister Garner. You are the second editor to survive the dreaded Nested keyframe zoom chroma key sawtooth wipe of death."
I tried to make out the voice, but no luck. He was still just a silhouette. "Thanks. And it's GarDner, mister...?"
The man let out an evil laugh. "My apologies Mister Gardner. And I assumed that you would surely recognize my voice by all my lectures you've attended and by my award-winning DVD collection 'In the Blink of an Eye.'"
The man walked out from the shadows, but it was already apparent to me who he was.
"My name is Murch, Walter Murch."
Bob puked right next to where we were sitting. It smelled like rotten pepperoni.
"Well, I guess I'm never eating at Golden Boy again. Damn!" I gagged.
Murch explained the reason for our capture: "You see Mister Garner, the Nested keyframe zoom chroma key sawtooth wipe of death has always been unattainable by even the likes of me. I lost many a colleague by its hands. I believe the only thing that protected me was my award-winning Standing While Editing™ technique, which I will receive the patent for later this year."
I gagged again. "You can't patent standing, you megalomaniac."
Murch laughed again and walked closer. "Oh you silly computerized-editing boy, you lack the true knowledge of this business, don't you? I will not only receive the patent, but I will produce the Murch Console™ which will only permit standing while editing. Legions of editors, especially that of your era which have never even cut a strip of film, will buy the method and console in hopes that it will make them stronger editors. But you can't buy the skill of editing, you must learn the craft."
"That's funny, coming from somebody that had to abduct two editors who did the work for you in solving the dreaded Nested keyframe zoom chroma key sawtooth wipe of death." I turned my head towards Bob's and whispered "Back me up here, dude."
Bob lifted his head and said "Yeah" and then he vomited again.
"Oh Jeez Bob, the pizza's not THAT bad"
Bob finished puking and said "It's not the pizza, it's his pompousness."
Murch continued on. "That was the one thing I could never understand about the Nested keyframe zoom chroma key sawtooth wipe of death until Mister Malloy figured it out. The missing link is not a link at all, but a pen. And not a pen, but a stylus. You see Mister Garner, there really aren't many editors using a tablet as their input device, and even fewer who will attempt the Nested keyframe zoom chroma key sawtooth wipe of death. But with my newly forged alliance with Apple Computer and Final Cut Pro, we are in negotiations to purchase Wacom technology. Wacom will cease to exist and their tablets will be renamed iTablet, in coordinance with the Apple naming system. In 2006, I will be introduced as the face of Final Cut Pro 6 and with iTablet in hand, Steve Jobs and I will travel across the world hosting seminars unveiling the mystery of the dreaded Nested keyframe zoom chroma key sawtooth wipe of death. The effect will be sold as a plugin ONLY AVAILABLE through Final Cut Pro 6."
Bob finally perked up and said, "The Nested keyframe zoom chroma key sawtooth wipe of death was completed on an Avid, Murch."
Walter Murch began to turn red. He turned to Lisa and screamed "Avid? NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Kind of like the newly minted Darth Vader in Episode III, but without the cool James Earl Jones voice. Lisa plugged her ears and doubled over as Murch's head began to shake violently. Lisa screamed "OH MY GOD!!! HE'S GONNA BLOW!!!!!!" Murch's head exploded with such a force that it blew Lisa's head off too. Bob puked again, and the smell of rotten pepperoni was a blessing compared to the smell of Murch head on my shirt.
I remembered that I had put my Wacom stylus in my pocket, so we used it to pierce and rip the tape binding our hands to get free.
After we found our way out of the stage, Bob and I walked to Columbus Cafe for 2 for 1 drinks at happy hour. We laughed as we picked off pieces of Murch from various places on our clothing.
Bob pondered the state of editors and the standoff between Avid and Final Cut Pro. "I went to a lecture once where Murch was talking about cutting Cold Mountain on Final Cut Pro and he constantly slammed Avid like he would never use it again. We have to keep our options open and use the best tool for the job."
"Yeah" I replied, "Some people refuse to learn the new tools and they become dinosaurs. Murch became one by refusing to keep his options open."
We decided to go our separate ways. Bob told me he was moving to New Zealand. I told him I was going to Golden Boy to get a slice of pepperoni. Bob puked in the alley. Never seen anybody puke in North Beach before.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The Final Cut

Many of you know him and some of you do not. His name is Bob Malloy, and he's an editor. He does the strangest shit like putting his mouse on the left side of the keyboard even though he's right handed. He turns his keyboard upside down and types with his palms underneath. Sometimes he turns his whole console toward his clients so that he can get some perspective on where they're coming from with their requests. Either that or he's paranoid that they're making faces at him when they ask him to change something.

Well, I hadn't heard from Bob in a while. I got a little worried about him when 3 months went by and I hadn't seen him at the FCPUG at Brainwash (Final Cut Pro Users Group for you non-editors). Bob's producer Lisa called me looking for an editor to cut a results reel for Genetech. A results reel is a compilation of taped news broadcasts from around the country showing where they put a "story" on a typical Health and Science segment of the nightly news. It's advertising parading as information which causes the drug investors and day traders to get their boxer shorts in a bunch. The finishing touches hadn't been put on the cut Bob had been working on.

Lisa, the producer who I once thought was the hottest chick on earth but who was now looking somewhat haggard but beer-googleable (if you're not married like me), called me asking if I could finish out the job. I was still working on Dean Martin with no end in sight, so I had to turn her down. She said we should go out for a drink to figure out how she could finish this piece (of crap) without Bob, and I obliged her with no arm twisting at all. We met at Lucky 13, and she bought Newcastles all night. She told me that Bob was dead. Dead after attempting the dreaded Nested keyframe zoom chroma key sawtooth wipe of death. I immediately called bullshit on her bullshit. No way. Any editor in his right mind would never attempt the Nested keyframe zoom chroma key sawtooth wipe of death. She laughed and started to cry at the same time. I wiped her tears with my soggy beermat. She went to kiss me, but I pushed my wedding ring into her lips. "Nice try" I muttered as I took a swig of my 5th Newcastle of the evening. I walked out into the cold summer night.

The next day, as I was looking at footage of Dean Martin and Ann-Margaret shaking their asses while singing "I Take a Lot of Pride in What I Am", my senses came to me. I decided to help out Lisa. She knew I would call, and she had already rented a suite at Beyond Pix to attempt that which had killed Bob. I left work five minutes early (4:55 pm) so I could get down there and get started.

When I arrived, Jen, the operations manager was leaving for the day along with everybody else. "Half-day?" I asked. She smiled slightly and said "Never heard that one before. No, just going out for beers. It's Thursday, ya know." I looked at my wrist where a watch would be, but there was only my bracelet. "Oh yeah. Where is it? I never get those e-mails anymore." One of her work buddies said "I can get you back on the list if you want. Just send me your e-mail address. It's at Eagle Drift-in Lounge tonight. Not to be confused with The Eagle." I walked into the suite and turned back to them, "Thanks. Hopefully I'll be getting out of here soon and I can have a pint with you guys." Jen burst into laughter "Yeah right! You'll be lucky if you get out of here at all!"

I sat down at the console where there was a note on a post-it from Lisa. It read: "The latest sequence is called "Rev 27". It only needs that last transition completed and you're done. Call me when you're finished. Thanks!"
Yeah, only that last transition. Only the dreaded Nested keyframe zoom chroma key sawtooth wipe of death. I sat down in the chair that wasn't an Aeron chair. The last chair Bob Malloy ever sat in, the last suite Bob ever edited in. I got right to work.

Hours passed. AC drunk dialed me to ask when I was gonna finish up. I paced the room back and forth at least 100 times. I took my shoes off. I did headstands. I channeled Bob as best I could. I put my mouse on the other side. I turned the keyboard upside down. I remembered what the famed editor Walter Murch said at a lecture: "I stand when I edit. It makes one impatient with the footage." I stood. Nothing. I stood on one leg. Nothing. Suddenly I remembered that I had my Wacom tablet in my bag and forgot to plug it in. I removed the mouse, inserted the plug and grabbed the stylus. Success! "Holy FUCKING SHIT!!!! I DID IT!!!" I pinched my arm to make sure I wasn't asleep on the sofa dreaming. And to make sure I was still alive. I was. I raised my arms in victory and let out a sigh of relief. "I did it." I looked at the clock and it was 4:20 am. Then I heard the sound of one person clapping slowly from behind me. It scared the shit out of me. I turned around and it was Lisa. "You did it. You're finished." She sprayed something in my face that knocked me out cold.

I awoke groggy and with a massive headache. I was in a shooting stage with bright lights shining directly at me. My hands and feet were tied with gaffers tape. I tried to wriggle my hands free, but it was no use. I was tied to another person. He said "Dude, will you stop moving around? I'm trying to sleep." I remembered that voice. It was Bob Malloy.

To be continued...

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Take that

You may have heard about the recent lightning strike which touched a plane operated by AirFrance and subsequently crashed at the Toronto airport. Well, that was all me. I will take full responsibility for the lightning strike, and the authorities may begin an investigation into my involvement. Nobody died, nobody was seriously injured. And there will probably be no financial repercussions to AirFrance because it wasn't like it was operator error which caused lightning to strike the plane. It was me.

You probably don't think it's funny. I don't either. But after I heard the news, I had that little grin on my face like Megan from The Exorcist did after she kills the elder priest. You see, AirFrance did me wrong. Last year on one of their flights I was smacked in the back of the head (on purpose) by a Frenchman sitting behind me. The man had been jamming his knees into the back of Lily's seat the entire flight, and when we asked him to move his knees elsewhere, he said something to the effect of, "How do you say... fuck you?" Homeboy actually said his legs were long and there was nothing he could do about it. Later I passed him on the way to the bathroom and he wasn't much taller than me. Legroom Lee they call me on the planes. Yeah.

After a while Lily and I switched seats so we could both share in the joy. When we were about an hour from home, the Frenchman's knees pushed into my seat so hard it snapped the seat out of its locked position and into a position further forward than normal. I responded by trying to get my seat back to its regular position, and then more pushing from the dude, and then the smack on the head.

I immediately got up from my seat and was about to grab the guy when my inner Phil Jackson told me to take a timeout. I went to the flight attendants and told them what happened. They proceeded to go the headsmacker and ask him what happened. He told them, in his native tongue - something I have a very slim knowledge of - and the flight crew were laughing with him about his story. Great. Suddenly I had a hankerin' for some freedom fries.

AirFrance did nothing about it. Well, they did have the courtesy to send me a letter stating that they weren't going to do anything about it. Oui oui.

So I expect to be receiving another letter from AirFrance soon expressing their full apologies and giving me and Lily free flights to anywhere AirFrance flies for a year. Don't make me pull out the lightning finger again. Cuz I WILL burn you. C'est la vie.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

3 o'clock

Not long ago in a galaxy not far away, the people who write the articles on the website you're parked at right now all worked at the same company. Western Images at 300W Townsend street San Francisco, CA. When I began working there, I didn't drink coffee. I don't know if Tama did either because coffee didn't seem to involve so much of her daily existence as it did the others. Alan constantly had a coffee mug at his desk, and Josh constantly carried one with him wherever he went.

I drank orange juice in the morning. The bike ride down Potrero ave at 8:30 am complete with cars racing by within 6 inches of my bike was enough to wake my ass up. But then the afternoon would arrive and asses would start dragging. I began to notice that Josh and Alan were hanging around the kitchen at 3 o'clock every day drinking coffee. I'd get my regular - Coke in a plastic cup with ice. Coke poured before the ice was put in so as not to flatten the Coke. I hate it when fast food joints do it the wrong way. Anyway, one time at 3 o'clock Josh asked if he could buy me a cup o' joe. Figuratively speaking, of course. It sounded like fun, and away we went. The energy level after 3 o'clock coffee definitely trumps what a Coke will do. Enough caffeine-induced energy to get through the end of the work day.

I joined the tradition of congregating in the kitchen with the other coffee aficionados at 3. And even though Western Images is gone, the tradition remains. For me at least. Or maybe it's called caffeine addiction now that it's less of a social thing. In any case, another tradition that IS social is wearing a tie on Thursday if you're gonna tie one on at Thursday Night Social Club. And then there's the tradition of AC buying you drinks if you're wearing a tie. Or even if you're not wearing a tie. What could be better than that?

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Howdy Neighbor

Neighbors suck. Well, they don't ALL suck. But for the most part I think I can safely say that my neighbors, in general, suck.

I live in a house which includes seven rental units. In this day and age, if you even see your neighbors a couple times a month it's a rarity. Some neighbors I see far less than that. Included in San Francisco neighbor-dom are the people who live on either side of the house that's standing next to yours. So I have a neighbor on one side who's an opera singer, and one on the other side who's redoing his backyard. There was a time about two years ago when I would hear the opera singer belt one out, and I thought it was beautiful. Now I think she's showing off. And as for the guy with the backyard, he needs to get it done before the wind blows all his dirt away. The opera singer's friends routinely park in our driveway, despite the NO PARKING IN DRIVEWAY sign. And I routinely tell them, "Hey, it would be super cool if you guys could just put a note on your car saying which apartment to ring. K?" Why I oughta...

Those are small gripes compared to the ones I have toward the people living in the same building as me. They collectively do the absolute minimum it takes to keep the building in order. One of my neighbors (who I don't mind so much, but Lily does because he's nosy) called last week to gripe about the lack of participation by the rest of our building in taking the trash bins out for Thursday morning and taking them in that night. Nobody in my building takes out the trash bins nearly as often as I do. So obviously I was ready to hear him out.

He wanted us to leave the trash bins out after the collection and have somebody take them in, other than the three of us who regularly do it. Not a big deal, seeing as how I take them out when they're full (i.e. Heavy as hell), so taking them in when they're empty shouldn't be too difficult. But no, the bins sat there on the curb for days. Days after all our neighbors on the block had taken theirs in. After a while I began to feel childish about it, and that we were becoming the neighbors who suck by leaving them out there. I was just about to break and roll them inside when my neighbor who started this test told me that he saw Bob taking them in at about midnight the night before. Bob's one of the newest residents in the building. Bob had a little accident
when he moved in. When he was moving in at 3am a bunch of guys beat him up, and now his shoulder is messed up. He's probably pissed off at the people who left the bins out there for a man with a bum shoulder to take in. I better wrap this up. I forgot to take the trash bins out. Neighbors suck.

Thursday, July 14, 2005


A very hearty "welcome" to my newly found 4th reader. Enjoy!

Thursday July 7th -
9 am - Work on Dean Martin
6 pm - Work on Barbershop

Friday July 8th
9 am - Work on Dean Martin
6 pm - Meet Brian, Joe and JC at Hi-Dive. Margaritas.
7 pm - The four of us go to Red's Java House. We grab a beer before entering SBC Park which sells half the beer for double the price.

7:20 pm - Enter SBC Park to see Giants v. Cardinals.
10 pm - Giants lose 3-1. I am hoarse.
11 pm - The four of us go to Noe's. More margaritas.

Saturday July 9th
1 am - We travel to El Farolito. Super quesadilla suiza - Al pastor. Chips. Corona.
2 am - I am dropped off and immediately pass out on the sofa.
6 am - Lily helps me find the bed.
9 am - Hangover begins
10 am - Lily gets me ibuprofen.
11 am - Lily returns from the corner store with Gatorade.
12 pm - I get out of bed and return to the sofa to space out for hours while Lily prepares and bakes a plum tart.
1 pm - Director of Barbershop calls to request revisions.
2 pm - Shower
2:30 pm - Drive to San Anselmo for BBQ with Kevin & Sheila and their two kids.
5 pm - Dinner - Poached salmon, flank steak, grilled zucchini and mushrooms, rice pilaf.
8 pm - Return home and work on revisions.

Sunday July 10th
12:30 am - Go to bed
9am - Wake up
9:15 am - Get e-mail and more revisions
10am - Edit revisions
11am - Prepare old computer for sale to new owner
12pm - Edit more revisions
6:30 pm - Post last revised cut of the day
7 pm - Drive to the law offices of George Rush to drop off old computer. Setup takes 10 minutes.
7:30 pm - Pick up Jesse and drive to Metreon. The newly paved Mission street between 5th and 11th streets is very smooth.
7:45 pm - Eat chicken curry and rice at Sanraku. Sapporo and sake to share with Jesse.
8:40 pm - Batman Begins
10:50 pm - Batman Ends

Monday July 11th
9:45 am - Doctor appointment
12 pm - Work on Dean Martin

Tuesday July 12th
9am - Work on Dean Martin
10:45 am - receive e-mail notification of approval of Barbershop title sequence
5:15 pm - ride to Washington Mutual new location in Potrero Center and deposit checks. Receive massive flirtation from teller. Remember wedding ring is in pocket and put on in front of said teller.
6 pm - Post clean version of Barbershop for titles to be animated elsewhere

Wednesday July 13th
9am - Work on Dean Martin
5:45 pm - Go to gym. Answer guy's questions about my Shure e2c earphones. Recommend said earphones. Wonder if he heard a word I said.
6:45 pm - receive call from Lily.
6:46 pm - remember that I forgot to pick up Lily
6:47 pm - drive downtown to pick up Lily. The newly paved Mission street between 5th and 11th streets is very smooth.

7:15 pm - calculate timings of titles for Barbershop and e-mail producer
11 pm - roll trash bins to curb

Thursday, July 07, 2005

mp3 of Death

As you no doubt have heard in the press, there have been a rash of robberies in New York City lately for iPods. In fact, one 15-year old boy was killed for his iPod last week. I can just imagine the thugs who stole the iPod thinking "heall yeahz, I'm gonna fill this up with all my dope-ass tracks" only to find that they need a computer to actually put their dope-ass tracks on the stolen mp3 player. Doh!

Well I thought it was only the east-coast riff-raff that were capable of such dirty deeds, but the San Francisco riff-raff proved me wrong. As I rocked out to Slayer's "God Hates Us All", some punk kid in the lower Haight with a Rambo knife charged at me and yelled "Gimme the iPod!" Well, I actually don't know exactly what he said because I had my earphones in and... nevermind. The dead giveaway was wearing my old standard-issue white headphones because I forgot where I put my decidedly better sounding black Shures.

Not really wanting to get sliced in any way, I reached into my pocket and held out my first-generation 5GB iPod from 2001. I removed my earphones and the kid looked at me quizzically. "What the fuck is that?" he asked. "My iPod" I replied. "That ain't no muthafuckin iPod, bitch" he said, shaking his head. "Uh, yeah it is" I replied. He asked me how much storage it had and I told him. He just said "shit" and turned and walked away. I put the unwanted iPod back in my pocket and got back to Slayer. Well, at least it's still wanted by me.

Thursday, June 30, 2005


My apologies to the 3 regular readers of this column, but my brain has still not recovered from last weekend's festivities (my birthday + friend's bachelor party), and LLMB will resort to music review-age.

Shellac is coming to the Great American Music Hall for 2 nights in August. They don't tour much, and this may be your only chance to see them. Minimalist rock that's indie in nature - but now that indie has become synonymous with emo - it's not really indie other than the fact that it's not on a major label. Math rock at it's finest.

Buy TRS-80's "Shake Hands With Danger". It's kind of a hard listen - no vocals - and crazy electronic beats - but I've listened to it 20 times in the last 3 days, and that has to say something good about it.

Rock on.

Thursday, June 23, 2005


I don't know if many of you have heard of this, but there's a local dude named Barry Bonds who's chasing the home run record. Not currently though. Currently he's sitting on his ass counting his millions and blaming the media for his plight.

But there is another dude I've heard about from a friend of mine living in Chicago. He told me that he's heard from more than one co-worker that there's a serial killer in Pittsburgh who's chasing Barry's record in a different manner. He's mimicking Bonds' home run record in kills. Apparently the Pittsburgh Police Department have given him the nickname "Bury Blondes" because of his penchant for bludgeoning people with blonde hair (both male and female) to death with a baseball bat.

Now I don't have anything to worry about because my hair takes about 10 hours under a sunlamp to turn light brown, but maybe the blondes out here living in San Francisco should take notice. "Bury Blondes" has been operating in Pittsburgh for 6 years now, which is almost as long as Mr. Barry Bonds was hitting home runs in the steel city. Which means this is could be his last year there and next year will be his first year in San Francisco, if the killer is indeed following the career of the slugger.

It's hard to debate the similarities between the home run record and serial killer's record. In 2004, Bury Blondes murdered 25. This year he's on pace for 34, which is exactly what Bonds homered in his final year in Pittsburgh.

Apparently the reason this serial killer isn't featured more heavily in the news is because of pressure from Major League Baseball to keep it quiet. They don't want this thing taking any of the excitement from the home run chase. God forbid something like steroids might do something like that.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Good Karma

I have no idea what's going on, but I've had a mini-run of good fortune lately. Not that you can call your computer dying on you good fortune, but the resulting free-repair-after-your-laptop-isn't-under-warranty-anymore would be moved to the "good" category.

My bike has been sitting in the garage for a while in the recent past because it's used mainly for transportation to and from work. And because you can't really ride a bike from San Francisco to Seattle very quickly or very easily, the work commute has left the bike next to the rake and the broom and the hoe. Huh huh. Hoe. Anyway, the bike has been called to action lately because I've been working close enough to pedal down 14th street and coast to this week's worksite. That's livin'.

The gears on the bike don't shift like they used to, and I didn't think it was much of a problem until I tried to do the slick biker maneuver of blasting through a red light, pedaling my ass off to avoid being run over by a Toyota Tacoma. Well the gears didn't shift like they used to and the gears kinda snapped into an unintended gear at an unintended moment and I didn't have the cranking speed I wanted. That, and my foot nearly slipped out of the pedal, and that could have been disastrous.

So I tried to do the bike tune-up by myself. I'm no bike mechanic, but how hard can it be? It looked like I fixed the gear shifting when testing the gears out with the bike upside-down in my garage, but the riding was a different matter. The problem was worse than before. I'd shift gears and nothing would happen. I couldn't pass those road rage bikers like I used to.

There's a little bike shop on 14th street and Guerrero called "Box Dog Bikes" that has a pit bull type dog that's old and very sweet and slowly comes out to greet you on the street when you pull up. I brought my bike there and a bike mechanic with worn black nail polish came out and asked me what the problem was. He said the rear derailleur cable was too tight. I said "I wonder how that happened?" and scratched my head. He brought out a wrench and did some quick adjustments and took it for a ride. He rode it back into the shop and said "I think I fixed it. Do you want to put some air in your tires?" I did and then I took it for a spin right out front. Fixed. I rode back in and asked him "how much?" No charge. Wow. That's 2 free repairs in 2 weeks. Since everything comes in 3s, I can't wait to see what's next.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Apple Store Adventures - part 3

My laptop computer died again last weekend. At this point, one would think that I might be giving up on the Macintosh experiment in favor of trying out a PC. Which points out the glaring fact that there aren't many alternatives in the way of computing out there. You can get a PC or a Mac. You can get a PC and put Linux on there, or some other operating system, but it's still a PC. The fact that there are dozens of PC makers out there doesn't count. It's still a PC. And based on the fact that you can't get Final Cut Pro on a PC, I will be buying Apple computers until the next great edit system comes along on a different platform.

Anyway, back to my busted laptop. As was the case last time this happened (about 4 months ago), the computer was doing nothing. It became slower and slower until I decided that it would be a good idea to try to back the thing up, and then the backup took about 2 hours. I tried to erase the drive, and no luck. Ruh roh.

I got online and put my name in line for the Genius Bar at the Apple Store downtown. It was about 10 am (which is when they open), so I was first in line. I rushed down there on Muni (which isn't really rushing at all based on the schedule of trains - future rant coming) and arrived about 10:30. My name was first in line, but on the monitors, it said "next Genius available at 11:55 am". Nice. A pair of Euro glam women were tired of waiting for the next Genius, so one of them raised a stink about how she didn't want to wait and she just wanted to drop off her computer for repairs (which is what I wanted to do), and the Genius who was moderating the line fell for her accent and glam look and let her go to the front of the line. Unfortunately I'm neither a woman or have a Euro accent or glam, so I continued to wait.
(The ironic part is that I finished my Genius session before the Euro ladies did.)

Finally my name came up and a guy named David was assigned my Genius. He immediately asked if the laptop was under warranty. Nope. Apple Care? Nope. He attached his Genius toolkit to the computer and came up with the fact that the drive was fried. I told him my story of how the last Genius I spoke with in February (when my laptop was still under warranty) diagnosed that the drive wasn't in danger of frying (not exactly what the Apple Hardware test CD diagnosed) and that I should just write zeroes to the disk and re-install and it would be just fine and dandy. David said he totally disagreed with the other Genius, and asked for his name, which I couldn't remember. In any case, David said they would repair my laptop FREE OF CHARGE. For all my griping about bad customer service at places like Travelocity - which I continue to advise against ever using, ever - this was a glimmer of hope that some people on the other end of the counter actually remember what it's like to be a customer. Thank God for Geniuses. The good ones anyway.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


Mr. Steve Magg suggested this YEARS ago, but finally this Wednesday the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers approved the suffix "xxx" for pornographic website use. The hope is that it will protect children from online smut by allowing family filtering software to block access to sites ending in xxx. The major flaw in this plan is that registering domains under the new suffix will cost about 10 times as much as a dot-com name. And registering under the new suffix is optional. Hmm. So if I'm a porn website owner and I can keep my site and all the traffic associated with it as is at the same cost OR buy a new xxx site and redirect traffic there at 10 times the cost, what should I do? Nothing. God bless America.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Blah blah blog

I have no fucking idea why this is, but Blogger has put the "Blogs of Note" spotlight on a blog called Romseyredhead. I clicked on it hoping to see pictures of freckled fuckers but to no avail. What I found was possibly the most boring and incoherent pieces of shite on the web. It's a blog by a woman named Sandra Gidley in the UK, who is the Liberal Democrat MP for Romsey. I have no idea what that is, but just by reading the first couple of entries, I can see that she has nothing better to do than blather on about nothing worth reading. Which is probably what I'm doing as well.

Without copying too much text from her blog (you never know what the copyright police will come down on these days), here's a tasty tidbit:

My eye was caught by a new Labour female MP who was dozing off..... Dozing off during the budget is understandable (almost acceptable) but to see a newly elected MP dozing during what is supposedly the highlight of the parliamentary week... I am lost for words

What the fuck is that about? Why the hell does anybody want to read that? And more importantly, why in the hell does Blogger put the spotlight on shit like that? Okay, I may not be adding much more to the web than a chuckle for a few TNSCers over their morning coffee, but that Romseyreadhead blog is a total waste of time. At least she's not wasting paper.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Great expectations

I saw two movies in the last two days. Sin City on Tuesday, Revenge of the Sith on Wednesday night. Sin City I couldn't be more disappointed with, Star Wars III I couldn't be less disappointed with. One was filled with cliché after cliché, and the other had dumb line after dumb line. Oh wait, the other one had dumb line after dumb line too.

Sin City has been out for months now but it seemed like one of those "gotta see it on the big screen" flicks due to the neato-comic-book-style painting treatment visually. High expectations abounded. So I went to the AMC Van Ness 14 or 1000 or whatever it's called and checked out a matinee. About 6 people were in the theater and maybe that had something to do with it, but it felt as vapid and empty as the theater. How many times can you show the hero getting pounded and never dying? I can just hear Robert Rodriguez in his casting sessions: "Hey, we need a guy who can get beat up a lot and keeps living. Brad Pitt? Too expensive. I saw Bruce Willis do that in Die Hards 1, 2, 3, and 4. Get him, and cheap!" Dumb. Gratuitous violence and nudity, and thankfully none of Bruce Willis. Actually yes, there was too much of Bruce's naked flesh on the screen. Next.

Revenge of the Sith just opened to throngs of geeky viewers frothing at the mouth. Yes, I stood in line outside the AMC Van Ness 14 or 1000 or whatever it's called for about an hour (that's not super geeky, right?) in the drizzle to see it on opening night. We got flashed and mooned by a bunch of women in a hotel shuttle while we waited in line. After getting inside the theater, we were able to see the true geeky-ness of San Francisco Star Wars fans, which wasn't much. Yawn. Not a lot of people dressed up as Chewbacca or a Stormtrooper, but there were lots and lots of light sabers. A couple of guys went up to the front of the theater and staged a light saber battle in front of the screen. One guy was way too good with that thing for me not to believe he practices with it on a daily basis. The other guy got skewered and then some other kid came up and bum rushed his ass. The "bum-rusher" kid was way too agitated and we started to wonder when security would escort him out of there kicking and screaming. And crying for missing opening night of Star Wars.

The movie started and everybody cheered and you know the rest. I mean, how suspenseful can it be when you already know what's happening in the next three movies? Still, It was enjoyable to the point of not feeling like 2 1/2 hours had passed. And because my expectations were much lower than that of Sin City's, the movie was pretty great. After all the futuristic gadgets and flying machines on the screen, the crowd moped out to broken escalators all the way down. Use the force next time.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

This is the end, beautiful friend

Well, this is the final installment of "Lee Lee the Musical Bee". I want to thank the TNSC robots for giving me a forum to blather on about anything I wanted to. And personal thanks to the probably three people who read "Lee Lee the Musical Bee" on a somewhat regular basis. I especially enjoyed it whenever somebody would e-mail or IM me and tell me that they almost peed their pants. Nothing is as magical as the ability to make somebody laugh so hard as to pee their pants. If that were a superpower, I think that's the one I would choose. And then the ability to magically make their pants clean again. Because people would get mad at me and not want to hang out with me as much. Anyways, I hope y'all have enjoyed at least one of my rants/blogs/whatevers.

One final quote from Henry Adams:

No one means all he says, and yet very few say all they mean, for words are slippery and thought is viscous.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

The show to end all shows, or at least part of the show...

Last weekend I went down south to Indio for the annual Coachella music festival. Me and a bunch of high school pals just kickin' it in the desert. I probably mentioned the festival in my previous rant about how nobody should ever use Travelocity, ever. I'm not gonna let that one rest until I have that "reimbursement" they promised.

Some of the headliners were Coldplay, Nine Inch Nails, Weezer, New Order and Chemical Brothers. The overriding theme seemed to be: "Yes, yes we know. The 80's are back and now we're going to have a festival show about it. Blah blah blah." Except they left the hair metal bands out of the lineup.

It seems that the decades off have reminded a few of the bands where they ventured off their courses and started to blow in a major way. Example: New Order stuck completely to either their early stuff or their brand new album. Their set list screamed "I know our disco period was shit!" They even played a couple of Joy Division songs to make up for their disco misdeeds. Example #2: Gang of Four stayed away from material on their last couple of albums. I guess they couldn't afford to bring along the backup singer ladies.

But the one band from the late 70's / early 80's that played material from their whole catalog was Bauhaus. They stole the show. It proved they were right in breaking up and leaving their legacy intact. Peter Murphy made his entrance hanging from a rope upside down. They began with "Bela Lugosi's Dead" then moved throughout their catalog without staying too heavily into one album or another. "Stigmata Martyr", "In the Flat Field", "God in an Alcove", "She's in Parties" to name a few more.

They blew me away so intensely that I'm swearing off concerts for the time being. I mean, who's gonna top Bauhaus? I think I've now seen every band I've ever wanted to see, except for Iron Maiden of course - but that would have only been for the Powerslave tour.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Some truths I've discovered this week

- As a novice filmmaker, never write a bank scene into your script.

- There are no differences between the silhouettes of Marge Simpson and Erykah Badu.

- A person wearing white earphones doesn't mean that person has an iPod.

- Don't underestimate a band you previously liked and later disliked from coming out with an album with will blow you away.

- You can only stuff 3 Twinkies in your mouth and successfully down them in one minute.

- Putting a new battery in your iPod gives you the exact same feeling as getting a new iPod.

- The Dukes of Hazzard isn't as fun as you remember.

- No matter how bad the Star Wars movies get, you will go see the next one.

- Stop-motion is good because it's difficult.

- If you don't get your paperwork done at the end of the day, it will come back to bite you in the ass.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

NAB 2005 review

The Las Vegas Convention Center was hopping with all sorts of techie activity this week at the annual National Association of Broadcasters convention. It's still going on, but nobody should stay in Vegas for more than 3 days. Especially me.


- Apple was the winner.
- Avid was the tired loser.
- HD is about to be shoved down everybody's throats.

I worked at Apple a couple of weeks ago, and Steve Jobs came into my edit "suite" with a group of large men wearing white jumpsuits with iPod shuffles dangling from their necks. Two of the men grabbed my arms while another laid down a sheet of paper with the words "NON-DISCLOSURE AGREEMENT" on the top. A circular robot similar to the one in Star Wars that floated into Princess Leia's cell hovered into the room. It had a syringe attached to one of its robotic arms. I yanked my right arm away from one of the henchmen and quickly signed the form. The group of henchmen let out a collective "awwwwwwww" and slumped out of the room. Mr. Jobs just smiled and nodded his head as he rolled up the paper and handed it to the robot. They left and I got back to work. Anyway, because of that I can't really mention anything about Apple except for stuff that was announced at NAB.

Final Cut Pro 5 was announced. A whole Final Cut Studio which includes FCP, Motion, Soundtrack Pro, and DVD Studio Pro was also announced. Across the aisle, Avid was showing a demo with some 3D footage that looked like it was rendered in 1995 of a Mini Cooper. Avid played testosterone-driven rock through their soundsystem. It was sad. It just felt odd. Avid wasn't really introducing anything new other than the ability to do HD on all their systems, while FCP5 was closing the gap on functionality with multi-cam editing.

But basically everybody was touting their HD capabilities. Nobody seemed to care if your product could do SD. Even though the majority of consumers won't be upgrading their home TVs for at least another year, it felt like the collective NABers were over the hump as far as incorporating HD into their facilities. Even the small-time booths aiming for the chump-change folks like myself had HD gear to sell.

Autodesk changed Discreet's name to Autodesk, Quantel is fading from our memories. Adobe didn't have anything new to say. Sony is still the biggest fish in the pond, and Panasonic had the most forward-thinking product to release: removable disk-cards for shooting, which imports into editing systems at 4x realtime. No more kicking back and drinking way too much coffee while the tapes load. Yippee.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


I got my haircut the other day. I didn't really need it, but rather than letting my hair go way longer than the standard 3 months I usually do, it seemed like a good idea. You know. Give the hairdresser something similar to go for, rather than the complete overhaul.

The last time I got my hair cut I was in Seattle. I decided to go to this reportedly hip place called Rudy's Barber Shop on Capitol Hill. The hairdresser at Rudy's was this 80's punker chick with jet black hair and a ring through her lip. She definitely didn't want to have anything more to do with me than chopping my hair and taking my money. She sang the words to the Gang of Four songs from "Entertainment" blaring through their sound system. She didn't talk to me. That was okay because I didn't have anything witty to say other than possibly, "Ya know I used to love these guys back in the 80's. Back before you were born." There was one other person in the joint, and he looked older than me. I began to wonder how hip this place could be if there were nothing but a bunch of old fogies there. She finished up and I paid 20 bucks, which included a decent tip. Good deal.

I hated it. I walked around for the next two weeks wondering why the hell I got my hair cut at a cheap barber shop instead of going to a stylist. The people I worked for looked at me like I was a victim. I felt like a victim. I decided not to get my haircut again for a while. But 3 weeks later it looked pretty good, so around then I was thinking it's too bad there's no Rudy's in San Francisco.

How quickly we forget. About 8 weeks into this haircut it was looking a little shaggy. Not long, mind you, but hair was extending beyond the tops of the ears, and when the wind blew (as it has a lot lately) it bugged the crap out of me.

I've been to almost every haircutting joint in my vicinity. I walk out of each and every one hating the cut. I'm beginning to think it's my weird little thing to go through life and never find a place where I get my regular old haircut. So the one place that I actually think the haircuts aren't that bad was the one I decided to go back to this time. Oxenrose in Hayes Valley.

Oxenrose is the most uber-hipster-styley mecca in San Francisco. I am not worthy of getting service there. The clientele is kids in their 20's with gear from Diesel, Urban Outfitters, and the used clothing stores that nobody knows about but them. These kids have every cool accessory, and ONLY cool accessories. My friends think I have some idea of what's hip, but I walk in there and I stick out like a sore thumb.

Assured that I would walk out of Oxenrose minimally-annoyed-but-nonethless-satisfied, I made an appointment. A day later I'm getting my haircut by a girl who's (I only call her a girl because of...) turning 21 in a couple weeks. 21. Couldn't they have told me this BEFORE she started cutting? I don't care how hip you look, you need to cut hair for about 3 years before you get to work in the most hip spot in town. She also told me this is the only place she's worked at. After telling me she's worked there for almost a year.

One should be allowed to get out of the chair and switch to another one at that point. But I'm way too nice to do that. So I let her finish, and I kept telling myself on the way home that I'd just shower and put some gunk in my hair and it would look stellar. Lily thinks I look like Frankenstein. So at this point, I think I'm going to either invest in some head-shaving gear or it's gonna be a grunge revival for yours truly.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Earphones can kill.

I bought a pair of Shure e2c's a couple weeks ago. They sound great. I heard elements of my music I've never heard before. And they seal off the outside world so much that I no longer have to hear the dancepop crap they play at my local gym.

On all the review boards I read prior to buying these earphones, they consistently warned about them being dangerous to wear in the outside world because they block the outside world so well. But did I listen? Hell no. I mean, I listened to the earphones but not the boards... uh, nevermind.

I was walking around downtown listening to the new Beck album (which is pretty great by the way), and as I was jaywalking between two trucks in the loading zone, I neglected to hear the #4 bus barreling down Sutter. At the last possible moment, I sprinted out of the way and I barely escaped being run over. But in doing so, I ran into a group of very large tourist ladies from Ohio. One of the ladies believed I was a terrorist because of the way I darted between cars so she smacked me in the head with her Kate Spade knock-off bag. I landed on the sidewalk already out cold.

Apparently I was unconscious for a few days. The hospital was feeding me through a tube to keep me alive, but my mom objected to this because the pope (the prior pope, that is) majorly disapproved of the way the Terri Schiavo thing was handled. That was, until the pope himself had to have his breakfast, lunch, and dinner delivered via tube.

Anyway, as I lay there unconscious I vividly dreamt of having a long meeting with the president and CEO of Travelocity, Michelle Peluso, about why they don't owe me any money. It all made sense to me as she explained it, but by the end of the dream she had turned into Satan and Dick Cheney was wiping her ass with the constitution.

I guess the doctors figured I was a goner, and they didn't want Lily to endure the same torture as Michael Schiavo. They give up so easily once a precedent is set. As they were pulling the feeding tube from my nose I woke up. I clearly remember it smelling awful as I awoke. Somebody had farted. I looked around the room, and along with Lily, my mom and the accountant at Digital Kitchen was the saleswoman from the Apple store who sold me the Apple in-ear earphones (that's a redundant name for those things). Apparently she felt responsible for my accident and she wanted to personally apologize to my family. So all my griping about her farts in a previous rant was a little premature. Sometime somebody's gas just might save your life. It's kind of like the saying from Lankavatara Sutra: "Things are not what they seem; Nor are they otherwise."

Friday, April 01, 2005

Never use Travelocity.

First the short version:

- They sold me a hotel room.
- They ensured me it was available and charged my credit card.
- The hotel then told me they've been sold out for months.
- Travelocity told me no rooms were available.
- No resolution.

Now the really long-winded version:
(Just stop reading now, and save yourself some time and never use Travelocity.)

I'm going to the annual Coachella festival in Indio, California at the end of April. A bunch of high school buddies and me will meet in Burbank and drive over to the Palm Desert area where we will go to our hotel and party down for a few nights. And then we'll go and see lots of fun bands like Bauhaus, New Order, Weezer, Wilco, Gang of Four, Fantomas, blah blah blah.

We divvied up the chores to get this thing done and I (stupidly) volunteered to get the hotel room. Everything around there that was affordable was sold out. I looked on Yahoo! Travel (which says Travelocity on it) and their site said they could book these cheaper hotels that were sold out on other sites. I booked it as fast as I could. Then I received my e-mail confirmation:

First line of e-mail:

Page down:

Now how in the hell can that happen? Shouldn't a travel site not list a hotel that isn't available? Isn't that the whole reason you put in the dates you want to book there in the first place? Call me crazy.

So I call Yahoo! Travel and get somebody from halfway across the planet I'm sure, and she is of no help at all and basically tells me I should cancel my reservation. Great. Thanks for your help. I go to Travelocity's site and see that the room is still listed as available. Not wanting to make the same mistake, I pick up the phone and call Travelocity and tell the lady what happened to me at Yahoo! Travel and I saw that these rooms are still available. She took a look and ensured me that the rooms were available. I told her to book the rooms for me, and she did. She sent me an e-mail receipt with confirmation not like the earlier one, which contradicted itself.

I let it be for a month. Am I dumb or what? Then I decide to call the hotel and make sure that my reservation is there. The lady at the hotel gets all pissed at me and tells me I don't have any reservation, and she's been sold out since November. Great. So I call Travelocity and the fellow halfway across the globe tells me matter-of-factly that the reservation isn't confirmed.

This is the part where anyone who knows me can envision me completely blowing my lid and letting the motherfucker have it. He basically told me to cancel my reservation and book another one. Right. This is the part where anyone who knows me can envision me completely blowing my lid and letting the motherfucker have it. I asked for a manager. He told me that the managers were all busy and I'd have to hold for some time. This is the part where anyone who knows me can envision me completely blowing my lid and letting the motherfucker have it.

Anyways, there is still no resolution to this point and I'll probably be reserving a much more expensive hotel room much further away from the venue. All I can say is: Never use Travelocity.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Apple Store adventures - part 2

Being in the Apple Store in downtown San Francisco is kind of surreal. There are a bunch of people aimlessly moving slowly from computer to computer, gadget to gadget. It's the store where you can actually buy cool. All I wanted were some new headphones. And I heard the Apple In-Ear headphones were good.

I asked the Apple store representative about the In-Ear headphones. She told me they were amazing, and explained how she liked them better than the stock earbuds that come with any iPod because her ears were too small. Then I think she farted. I didn't hear it, but she was kinda squirming around while she was telling me about the fact that the Sony earbud headphones had a cord that wrapped around the back of your ear. And then it smelled stinky. I tried to hold my breath for as long as I could, but it was futile. I was about ready to hand her the 40 bucks and run, just so I could get away from the stench. For a moment I thought my friend Jesse laid it because he moved away from where we were standing as soon as I smelled it. He denied it.

Anyway, these Apple In-Ear headphones have got to be the worst I have ever heard. I had these lame Koss earbud-style phones a while back that had poor sound quality, but at least it was a listenable experience. The Apple earphones had absolutely NO bass whatsoever. They fall out of my ears on average about every 2 minutes.

After finding the article on the web that describes the "prescribed insertion method" for these things, I realized it was all me. Operator error. Suddenly these things had great sound and they sealed off the outside world nicely so all I heard was the music. Well, until about 10 seconds later. The canalphones (as they're now called) lost their seal and there went the bass.

Now I'll have to pay the fart lady a visit at the downtown Apple Store again. Hopefully she'll remember that she told me I could "try 'em for two weeks and if I didn't like 'em, bring 'em back." If she doesn't rememeber, maybe if I tell her she farted while telling me the tech specs, it'll jog her memory.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Spam n' eggs, Spam n' spam...

Today I actually clicked on some of those spam e-mails I always delete. The temptation to get free Starbucks for a year was too much to resist. So after getting my free Starbucks for a year coupon, I decided to head over to the local Starbucks and get a triple mocha latte with extra whip. It worked! Being the planner-aheader that I am, I brought my notebook computer so I could test the waters of spam again.

I logged on at the comfy sofas at the Starbucks that used to be called Circadia on the corner of Mariposa and Bryant, kitty-corner to the Muni bus barn. After signing into my Yahoo mail account, I found 69 bulk e-mails that were ripe for the picking. Just as I was about to click on one with the subject line "Mexican Pharmacy tj" my iPod ran out of juice. There's not much that will take the wind out of your sails easier than having your iPod die. Especially while it's in the middle of "Red Alert" by Basement Jaxx.

Suddenly, like an angel descending from heaven, the words "Claim your Apple iPod 40GB" glowed from my computer screen. Click. Almost immediately a punk rock bike messenger was handing over a box and demanding my signature. Unfortunately the iPod was the damn U2 version and had nothing loaded on it except for U2. There's always some hitch when stuff is free. Thank god for Under a Blood Red Sky.

This spam thing was like a dream come true. Actually it was like having unlimited wishes, but always with some loophole in the wish making it not exactly what you wanted. I was having so much fun consolidating my debt and selecting new desktop computers, I neglected to check my battery usage. I clicked on every single spam link, and the last one from Conjurer H. Giggling had the subject line asking "Leegardnersf wanna play? knead" This one sounded kinda odd, but hey how bad could it be? I envisioned myself playing "knead the bread dough" or playing "knead the sore calf muscle" at Starbucks as the baristas cleaned the espresso machines for the next morning. Instead, some huge hairy dude in a wrestling outfit busted through the door. He wore a jock strap and protective cup on the OUTSIDE of his singlet. "WHO'S LEEGARDNERSF?" He shouted into the room full of computer caffeine addicts. He shouted "WHO WANTS TO PLAY KNEED?" Now I understood. Knead. Check.

My computer ran out of juice and shut off. The wrestler guy barreled over to a sofa near the door. I silently said "Oh fuck" to myself. He angrily confronted a web design-y hipster. "YOU LEEGARDNERSF?" I discreetly closed my computer and got the hell outta there. I hopped on the 22 Fillmore and listened to "With or Without You" for the 20th time that afternoon. When I arrived home, I plugged my computer in and looked for some new bulk e-mails in my Yahoo account. There were too many to count. I clicked on "Paris Hotels $49 a night." Nothing. Clicked again. Nothing. I clicked on "Need Quick Cash?" Nothing. It looks like I better just realize that spam is just spam. Unless it's spam n' eggs. Or bacon eggs n' spam. Or spam spam n' spam...

Thursday, March 03, 2005

One of our finest

Did you watch the Academy Awards? Did you see the part where Chris Rock was asking who the hell Jude Law was? Man that was funny. I mean, we all know that Jude Law is a huge star now. He's a hottie, right? That's all it takes. Hottie? Star. Not really, because I'm wondering why Adriana Lima isn't a huge star yet if that's the formula.

Did you see the part on the Academy Awards where Sean Penn came out and tried to one-up Chris Rock by saying Jude Law "is one of OUR finest actors"? Oh shit, man. What a pompous ass. I can just see Sean Penn backstage snorting a fat line of blow and doing the requisite double sniff afterwards to make sure he got all of it up his schnoz, then telling his coke buddies how he was gonna set the record straight on Jude Law. It could have only been a better made-for-TV moment if Mr. Law were actually in attendance because he was such a fine actor that he'd be up for an award for one of the 10-fucking-million movies he was in last year.

Unfortunately, none of the people at the house party I was at caught the retort from Chris Rock later in the show. But I read it online. He apparently said something about his accountants wanting a word with Mr. Penn. Lame. It's Chris Rock for cryin' out loud! He LIVES for shit like that. Please, Chris Rock, don't let Penn get away with being a stuffy shit. I can't decide what was more disappointing - that, or the fact that Adriana Lima wasn't up for best actress.

Thursday, February 24, 2005


I flew back from Seattle last Friday, and boy are my arms tired! (Insert drums and crash sound effect here).
Actually, I had probably one of the more miserable flying experiences in recent memory, and that's saying a lot. I know, I know, you're probably saying "Golly, Lee, you're always griping about stuff that happens on airplanes. What could possibly be more miserable than:
a. Almost having to pee your pants while the flight crew blocks your entrance to the toilet.
b. Getting smacked on the head by the Frenchman in the seat behind you.
c. Being held at gunpoint on a hijacked plane."

Okay, so C never happened, and I hope it doesn't ever happen. But the other two are in fact, fact. Well, this time it was nothing in particular. Except maybe that the stewardessesses skipped me and the gentleman next to me whilst giving out complimentary feces-laden water and juices and soda with feces-laden ice cubes. That, and the lady behind me kept letting her newspaper rest on my head.

Lately I've noticed the pilots of these planes are becoming a little more aggressive with their flight maneuvers. I mean, do they think they're some ace pilots hot-dogging in the friendly skies? If so, we can probably find a nice flight pattern over Iraq or Afghanistan to hot-dog it at will whilst dodging the scud missiles or whatever the US Gov't sold them a while back. IT'S A DAMN PASSENGER PLANE. TREAT IT AS SUCH. Lily made the analogy of a bus driver maneuvering like he's driving a sportscar. I've seen that on Muni. It ain't pretty.

Whoever the fuck was flying this Alaska Air MD80 decided to take the super-agrro pattern while coming in to land at SFO. I looked out the window and we were heading straight toward the San Mateo bridge. That or the surrounding WATER. I felt queasy. I don't normally feel queasy on flights. I looked up toward the front of the cabin and saw just about everybody looking out their windows. About 15 rows in front of me somebody puked. Hopefully into the little barf bag nobody seems to notice anymore.

Now this has nothing to do with weather, or mechanical issues, or anything. It has to do with some asshole in the cockpit who thinks he's some slick pilot who could do wonders in a smaller plane. Let me tell you, we were all pretty fucking impressed. I am so gonna say YOU SUCK to the smiling trio in the cabin the next time something like this happens. But I ain't flying for a while. That, or I'm gonna push the limits of how many in-flight drinks you can buy.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

El Presidente

I received an e-mail today containing a letter written by John Cleese. It was a notification of revocation of our independence from England. Apart from being totally hilarious, it made a good point about us not being able to elect a competent president, and now we have to do a bunch of things in a proper Brit fashion. It's too bad. We were becoming a pretty good country. I mean, not too long ago who didn't want to be an American? Now half of America is ashamed to be American. I know I am. We're represented by a buffoon. And to the rest of the world, it looks like we want him in the oval office.

And this Monday we're supposed to pay homage? What is it that we're supposed to do exactly on President's Day? I can understand most of the other holidays. At least the American ones. Independence day = grill, drink beer, blow stuff up. Thanksgiving = eat. President's Day = ?

I think I'm gonna write a letter to the editor of the San Francisco Chronicle (a fine newspaper if you're normally into reading the Weekly World News) and preach to the choir a little. Maybe say something about the fact that we're better off giving a day to pay homage to John Cleese than this fucking nimrod we call our leader. Hopefully I won't be the only one. We should all do something to pay homage. Wear a FUCK BUSH shirt. Stick a flag with Bush's face on it in some poo. Anything.

I'm also starting a campaign immediately - GAVIN FOR PRESIDENT 2008!

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

me & my me & my me & my me & my me & my ...

Last week one of my "friends" in Seattle invited to me to go to his friend's house to watch the superbowl in HD. Now if that's not one of the best things you can hope for while you're on the road, I don't know what is. So on Super Sunday I call my "friend" around 3 hours before kickoff. Left a message. No callback. Left another message about an hour before kickoff. No callback. So I proceeded to watch the game in my hotel room with no beer and nobody to sing "Live and Let Die" with.

I had a Superbowl party at my house 2 years ago. Lily and I stocked up on food and beverages. People came over. We even had a mock Superbowl before the real one using Madden 98 on Playstation 1. Raiders vs. Bucs. I was the Raiders. And just like the in real game, the Raiders lost. I vaguely remember getting my ass handed to me just like the Raiders did. Even though none of us were really fans of either team (we were mildly rooting for the local team), we still had a great time.

Okay, back to the 2005 Super Sunday. That day in the hotel I understood what the hell Super Sunday is really about. It's not about watching a game. It's about hanging out with your friends. Which is what most events are about. Unless you're my friends who are Giants season-ticket holders - in which case, it's about watching a game. But it's also about drinking. Drinking a lot of beer. But that wouldn't be any fun unless your friends were there too. So when you decide to go to tonight's venue, remember that the "S" in TNSC is for "Social". And buy your friend a drink.

Thursday, February 03, 2005


As I was putting the finishing touches on the 203rd edit I've been working on, I remembered that I hadn't writtten this week's edition of "Lee Lee the Musical Bee". I thought about it for a minute, and what was noteworthy in recent memory. Like the fact that my car had been broken into, but being as my car is a beater and we don't keep anything but melted cassette tapes and grocery bags in there, there was nothing to steal. Then I realized that all that was just me recalling working on the edit and thinking about the car thing and whether I should write about that, while I was at this "music" event in the basement of 222 Club listening to a guy warp a rasta voice on his laptop while a gal played an endless loop that she too was warping. It was kind of mind-numbing, but at least I had earplugs. It was such a drone that it brought me back to my gig in Seattle that went full-circle and eventually was killed. Maybe that would be good to rant about. But then I emerged from the blackout I was in while drinking myself silly with the writer of the ad, who had just recently moved from San Francisco and was pining for his days of watching "football" matches at Mad Dog in the Fog with his buddies. And all that was just an endorphin space out after a hard bike ride through Golden Gate park where I came across a new dirt trail and narrowly escaped the lusty come-hither look of a guy in the bushes that made me pedal the hell outta there. And then I woke up this morning and remembered that I hadn't written this week's edition of "Lee Lee the Musical Bee."

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Born Again

On Saturday my computer died. I hadn't even touched it or moved it for hours. It was playing some music through iTunes. Perhaps the Mail app was open. Then it started making a crunching noise. Not a good, "wow, my CPU is really churning through some data" kind of noise. But a "wow, that sounds like my hard drive is eating itself" kind of noise. Without running through my complete list of tech repair maneuvers, let's just say it was the first time in my computing experience that it truly seemed dead.

Enter Apple Computer tech support. If you're a gambler like me, you don't buy the "extended care" plan you're always offered whenever you buy a piece of tech gear. If you gamble and you lose, what Apple wants you to do is go down to your nearest Apple Store and belly up to the "Genius Bar". You can sign up online for a place in line, so you can limit your waiting to 2 hours or so. During which, you watch helpless souls try to figure out why their iPod doesn't play anymore. You watch a friendly "Genius" explain to an elderly couple how to set up and use a Mac - which is slightly more difficult than plugging in your VCR and setting the time. You check your place in line on the iMac G5 nearby. You check it again. And again. And again. At this point you start to wonder where you can buy the new Apple "ProCare" card. Only 99 bucks for the ability to actually schedule an appointment with the "Genius" of your choice, instead of waiting in line with cheap bastards like me.

And then... my name was called. I told the Genius who called himself "E" that I ran the hardware test CD and it said my drive was dead, so I wanna use my warranty while it's still in effect and put it in the shop. He told me to hold up and then plugged in his firewire drive. He couldn't find an OS. He asked me if I backed up my computer recently. I had done so, and he promptly erased my drive. He had me install the OS right there at the bar. Voila! Good as new. E is a goddamn Genius.

The moral of the story is this: Back up your computer as often as possible. So DO IT NOW. If not, I'll look forward to reading your rant in the near future.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

living large

Some people think that if you're taking business trips and living out of a hotel, then you've like hit the big time or something. You check into a room and stay there for weeks at a time. WOOHOO! High-rollin' playa. I used to think that. Then it became a reality for me. The only thing that's posh about hotel living is the fact that you can get out of bed and not do anything about its messyness. You come back from work and the bed is made again. Sweet. Other than that, hotel living kinda sucks. I have to reconfigure my mind to which channel ESPN is on. There's no stereo. And I feel like I'm fighting housekeeping about keeping a glass on the nightstand for water.

There is a strange phenomenon going on with the current hotel though. It's this weird game I'm involuntarily playing with housekeeping: Every day I come back to the hotel and find a new bar of hotel soap, wrapped in this hotel chain's paper, and there's another hotel-sized bottle of shampoo. It's always sitting on the edge of the tub on top of the bathmat, which has been folded in that weird hotel way to emphasize its girth. So I take the soap and shampoo and put it next to the tissue box. As of today I have 6 bars of soap and 5 bottles of shampoo. I can't remember how the numbers diverged, but it doesn't matter.

I can't honestly understand how somebody who takes so much care to fold the towels in such a way as to do the "fannning out in a clamshell shape" day after day wouldn't notice the growing mountain of soap and shampoo next to the tissues. Do they think that I can possibly use a whole bar of soap and an entire bottle of shampoo in one day? Why don't they take them back? I'm really gonna mess with their minds by putting all the stuff back on the edge of the tub when I leave. Apparently these things are invisible to them unless it's on the edge of the tub. Or maybe it's their way of letting me know I've hit the big time.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Fly the Friendly Skies

I've been on far too many airplanes recently. So much so that it's becoming less like a rare treat and more like getting on a bus. I've become aware of the power of alcohol for making the bus ride a little less nerve-ridden. On my most recent adventure, I made my way through the throngs of suits to find a bar in the "B-travel" section (which includes ATA, AmericaWest, and AlaskaAirlines). It was the only bar that had sports on the TV. I promptly ordered a pint of Anchor Steam. The guy sitting at the table next to mine slammed his pint, then followed that up with what I could only guess was a Jack n' Coke. Another woman bellied up to the bar and was there for about a minute and left a bottle of Heineken behind. What a magic trick! After looking around at all the people who looked like they travel more regularly than I do, and seeing how many drinks they had, I figured I better have another Anchor.

Time came to get aboard the flying bus, so I went down to the gate and boarding had already begun. I got into my seat and we took off. As we were passing through ten-thousand feet, the thought of urinating started becoming an obsession. But the "fasten seat belts" light was still illuminated, so I counted to 10 countless times. Finally the light went off and I turned to head to the closet in the rear they refer to as a "restroom". The beverage cart was already coming down the aisle, so I started toward the restroom in the front of the plane. Occupied. The first class attendant (named Cathy) ordered me to wait at row 6 - the first row outside of first class. Luckily there was nobody there, so I took a seat and tapped my foot for about 2 minutes.

One of the pilots exited the cabin and tapped Cathy on the shoulder. She took a key from her pocket and unlocked the restroom which was marked "Occupied". He went in. Okay, so I'd been had. The restroom was never occupied at all and Cathy knew this. I had to go to the little zen place in my mind to get over this. Meanwhile another stewardess (named Theresa) came to the front to sub for Cathy, who had just gone into the cabin to provide a little naughtiness to the flight crew I'm sure. The pilot who had just dropped a load went back into the cabin. I waited another minute and started toward the bathroom, which I was now sure was free. Theresa blocked my entry and said, "No, you have to wait". I said "But there's nobody in there." She told me to go back to row 6. I saw that the beverage cart was still blocking my way to the restrooms in the rear. I was about ready to make a break for the front restroom, but instead I went to that little zen place in my mind again and politely said to Theresa "I have to use the bathroom." This really set Theresa off so she got in a huff and told Kirk (our other flight attendant) to move the cart so I could get by to the rear bathroom. I wonder if I should start wearing Depends to the airport. Live and learn.