Thursday, August 02, 2012

Le Voyage Dans La Lune

"You really whacked it off good" she blurted out emphatically.  I snapped out of my momentary spaceout to look back at her and say "Yeah, it doesn't look the same anymore when it's that long".  She handed me back my driver's license and said "Well your hair looks nice short, so it's all good".  And with that, I was through LAX airport security and on my way back home to the Pacific Northwest to see my folks.

My mom was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, and because my sister was already taking our mother to and from nearly all her doctor appointments, it was well beyond time for me to help carry some of the load.  I had spent the previous few days neurotically checking the Alaska Airlines website at hourly intervals in order to find a better seat than 26C in the back of the plane when I had initially purchased.  The day before the flight a lovely aisle seat became available forward of the wings and I pounced on it.  If clicking with a mouse could ever be considered pouncing.

After getting groped by airport security, I grabbed a cup of Major Dickason's from the cafe, showed my boarding pass to the boarding pass people and strolled onto the plane.  I always like to board the plane last because I don't enjoy sitting on a plane that's not in motion.  I did the usual countdown to my seat as I passed rows.  1D, 2D, 3D, and so on until I reached 7D, where the nice stewardess was standing.

"Oh hi, are you in 7D?  Would you like to exchange seats with the passenger in 11C so she can sit next to her husband?" the stewardess asked in her cordial stewardess tone.
I looked at the wife, then the husband next to the stewardess, raised my eyebrows and thought about it for approximately .5 seconds, during which the memories of every single time I checked on the Alaska Airlines website to get seat 7D rushed through my brain.  
"Does that seat recline?"  I asked.
"No, that seat is in front of the emergency exit, so it doesn't recline" she replied.
I told her "no", stuffed my laptop bag under the seat and sat down, knowing full well I'd get the stink eye from the husband for the rest of the two hour trip.  I didn't care.  I was going to sleep.

Little did I know that the husband had more than the stink eye as his weapon.  He had the stink breath.  His wife made it a point to camp out in the aisle next to my seat to speak to her husband in French.  I have no problem with the French in general, however I do have a problem with being on planes next to  them.

His garbage breath nearly made me puke or exchange seats with the wife, but the thought of the last time I had close quarters on an airplane with a Frenchman made me dig in my heels and persevere. I have to hand it to them, they really turned it up a notch what with the death breath and Frenchman husband getting up every 5 minutes to visit is wife who had just been standing next to us chatting for 5 minutes.  

Finally things calmed down and I was able to dig out one of two magazines I brought with me.  It struck me as odd that the cover of the magazine read "Mom, I Love You.  I Also Wish You Were Dead."  Not a magazine I'd be sharing with my mother when I arrived.  

I was able to collect about 3 minutes of shuteye before the beverage cart arrived at my aisle.  I ordered another coffee.  The stewardess turned to the other side of the aisle and began speaking the words "Sir, since you were so kind as to exchange your seat with another passenger..." and I swear she was turning her head toward me and speaking louder as she continued, "...we'd like to offer you a complimentary adult beverage of your choice."  By the end of this sentence I was revisiting my decision to stay in seat 7D.  I think Frenchman coughed up a hairball into my coffee and stewardess glared at me as I considered what I might have ordered.  A Bloody Mary?  A double?  Nah.  I closed my eyes and went back to sleep.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

TV is dead.  It is.  I saw the proof just yesterday during the latest episode of 30 Rock playing from my DVR.  See for yourself:

See?  Told ya.  And for those of you who aren't fluent in the jargon of making television, that little screen will tell you only one thing:  TV is dead.  (It also means the pictures that were connected to that shot aren't connected anymore) Don't even watch any further, because we've now crossed a line that can't be backtracked on.  We've exposed the person behind the curtain.  And it's only a matter of time before all quality in television is completely erased.

There I was, watching 30 Rock, happily skipping through the commercials 30 seconds at a time like every other schmo with a DVR these days, and I caught that frame of MEDIA OFFLINE.  And if you've spent any amount of time with any form of editing system (like I have), it's a picture that screams out at you "SOMETHING IS VERY FUCKING WRONG HERE", and it's impossible to do anything but become alarmed.  

I said aloud "no fucking way" and rewound and fast-forwarded and frame-by-frame jogged until I landed on the picture of failure.  I shook my head.  I chuckled.  I couldn't believe my eyes.

There used to be a bunch of us huddled in a freezing cold room looking at monitors in weird cross-hatch blanking measuring interval world, or not even looking at the picture at all but instead getting green vector lines laser burned into our young eyes as we QC'd spots.  You'd definitely see a goddamn picture of something that only showed MEDIA OFFLINE if you were looking to make sure the VITC was on lines 14 and 16 or 16 and 18.

Or later there would be four of us in the film transfer room each choosing a quadrant of the 4 by 3 screen to stare at without blinking for 30 seconds to make sure there wasn't a piece of dirt for like one single frame out of 30 (not 24 you soft punks) per goddamn second.   If some frame came up that said MEDIA OFFLINE in some crazy-ass blood red, you think one of us would probably see that? Hell yes we would.

But now it's all over.  No need to care about quality I guess.  Maybe I'm taking things a little too far.  Yeah, it was only one frame, but this little tidbit showing itself during a hugely popular show like 30 Rock is a bad omen.  TV is dead.  I'm gonna go make some more TV.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


The receptionist sauntered into my edit suite late yesterday afternoon and started straightening the pillows on the sofa.  And in a completely nonchalant and unexcited fashion mentioned "That's so sad what happened to Derek today."  Derek is the other editor at the place I'm working these days.  I spun my chair around toward her and asked "What happened to Derek?"
"Oh you didn't hear?" she asked in a shocked tone.
"No, what happened?" I replied in a shocked tone.
"He's in a heart-attack induced coma."
I was floored.  "What?  When did this happen?"
I couldn't believe it.  I had just had a conversation with Derek that morning.  The strange thing was I didn't remember any commotion or stress like someone having a heart-attack at work.  I thought "Why isn't everybody here freaking out like I am?"

"It happened this afternoon." she told me.
"Wait, where was he?  At work?"
"No" she said "He must have been out at lunch and his son called and said he was in a coma because of a heart-attack."

I was in complete shock.  The idea that it could happen to me made me forget all about work and think about my family, my friends, and the fact that I should probably change my diet.  Eating those chocolate chip cookies they bring into edit suite every day can't be good for preventing cardiac arrest.

The receptionist probably didn't know what else to say, so she left the room.  I needed more info so I walked into the producer's office to see what I could find out.  
She was zoned out on her e-mail, but her long face confirmed what the receptionist said.
I asked "What's this that happened to Derek?"
The producer turned away from her computer and paused.  "Oh did you hear?"
"Yeah, he had a heart-attack?  He's in a coma?  When did this happen?"
"No, it was his dad!  Who told you it was Derek?"
"Diana told me."  I felt totally stupid, but she was laughing at me, which felt kind of morbid because somebody was still in a coma even though it wasn't Derek.
"Oh wow.  That's a relief" I said.  Still felt morbid to be relieved that it was somebody other than Derek in a coma.
I walked out of the producer's office and went back to the edit suite.  I was still a little shaken, but luckily there was a chocolate chip cookie there to calm my nerves.  Yum.