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.