Thursday, July 31, 2003

I just realized that my links to the Robin Williams and Dustin Hoffman videos haven't been working. (Why didn't someone tell me?) I've fixed them and they're now working. Hopefully, if I get busy, I'll have one from Jackie Chan as well. But I have only two weeks to draw a picture of him, so I don't know...

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Friday, the 25th was miserable. The station's production scheduler and my boss, the production supervisor, were both out of town. That should have been ok but suddenly everybody needed something from me. I was looking forward to a relaxing day of not much to do. Didn't happen. I got a call from a producer who's working on a video presentation for a convention in Los Angeles and who needed a stage right away. He also needed one of our trucks and and audio guy. I don't know what the rates are for renting our production stage and I wasn't sure how I was going to get the keys to the truck and I've done audio before but I'm an editor, not an audio guy. But I rented it to him anyway.
It all worked out. When I stage manage, I'm used to sitting around, playing my guitar. But, since this was such short notice and they were shorthanded, I worked quite a bit on Saturday. It's going to be a pretty funny gag. They shot the whole thing through the windshield of the truck and they're going to edit in some of the O.J. Simpson chase footage. The talent were great, improving jokes and bantering back and forth. I thought they must be a morning radio team or something, but I learned that they're just distributors for their company, that they've never really been on air or on stage.

Friday, July 25, 2003

Yesterday was the 24th of July. For the rest of the world, that doesn't mean much, but for Utah and other Mormon communities it's as big as, if not bigger than, the 4th. It commemorates the day the pioneers came into the Salt Lake Valley to settle it. We got the day off but I still went into the station to work on a friend's project, his latest in a trilogy of documentaries on the Mormon Temples.

Last night, I took the boys to a Salt Lake Stingers minor league baseball game. They seemed to enjoy it, though they couldn't figure out what was going on. Dinky Jr's eight now, so he should know something about the game, but he doesn't. That's my fault. I'm not very interested in sports and I'm afraid that might have an adverse effect on the kids. I want them to be well-rounded and I think sports are a great way to teach them social and other skills. Jr. and his middle brother huddled under a blanket as we were drizzled on during nearly the entire game. But my three-year-old loved the rain. He sat on my lap with his arms out and his mouth open, trying to catch the drops. It was actually quite pleasant to be out in the rain like that. It was still very warm (we've had a record 10 consecutive days of over-100-degree temps) even after dark, so the rain was refreshing. We stayed for most of the fireworks after our team was stomped on by the Sidewinders. As we walked the 3200 blocks back to our car--early to beat the crowd--we were able to see the rest of the show, as well as the Liberty Park Fireworks show near the University of Utah. That made the trek a little easier.

Thursday, July 24, 2003

Yesterday I had a headache that ripped me apart. It was one of those that builds up gradually and then hits you so hard you can't stand anymore. I was able to deal with it for awhile until this punk kid from an ad agency came to edit with me. Like most agency-types, he's much younger and pulls in a much higher salary than me--always hard to take. He kept talking about all the big-budget projects he's worked on, how he was in a spot but didn't get a talent fee for it, how everyone else in the industry have no clue what they're doing. And then he told the most awful jokes. I wanted to tell him, "Look, you're paying for the editor who doesn't talk. I'm the quiet one. If you want a social hour, it's $50 an hour more with the other editor." And then the pain began to consume me. With every teeth-clenching smile in his direction, my skull began to implode. Finally we finished and I convinced him that the dubs couldn't be done that day and he left. Then I literally felt as if I were going to die.

I think I have gained an insight into what those people go through who have pain so bad that they mutilate themselves. My neck felt like it was broken. I've had migraines and tension headaches all my life but I always forget exactly what the pain was like. Let me tell you, it's hell.

Monday, July 21, 2003

My Dive Card

I was cleaning out my wallet and I found my PADI dive certification card:

That's me 13 years and sixty pounds ago.

Thursday, July 17, 2003


Hello. My name is Dinky Chickenshorts and I've been an addict for twenty-five years. I am still off the wagon. It gets in the way of everything. It keeps me up all night, keeps me away from my family, except when I've got my kids involved. Yes, that's right, I've even got two of my boys doing it lately. It makes me irritable and I'm not productive or outgoing or friendly. I know I have a problem. My latest "drug" of choice is Rollercoaster Tycoon 2. The problem with this particular game is one session can last for hours. It's not like Unreal Tournament 2003 in which you can set one game for 15 minutes and you know you've played for 15 minutes. In RCT2, as with most real-time strategy games, you keep going and going until 5 minutes turns into three hours and it's suddenly two o'clock in the morning and Mrs. Chickenshorts is sleeping on the couch because you never go to bed so what's the point of sleeping with you in your bed.

I tell myself I'm sick of the game and it makes feel like I've just wasted my time and haven't accomplished anything toward the big plans I have to be rich and famous and my life is going nowhere and I speak in long, drawn out run-ons, but nothing helps. I still come home from work thinking, "you know, I should just put a few more twists into that long wooden rollercoaster and make it go through the hill instead of trying to go around it and I bet the excitement level of that ride will go up at least two points." And then I'm gone. I've destroyed my disks, but then there's Kazaa, that evil gamedealing program that keeps hanging around the alley behind the house waiting for me to start jonesing again. Will it ever end?

Monday, July 14, 2003

Amateur Hour

A couple of weeks ago I was asked to sing a solo of my choosing in a church meeting. I said yes against my better judgement. Then, last week, I was asked to participate in a quartet in another church meeting on the same day. We would have two practices. I never say no. Why don't I ever say no?

Well, yesterday was the big day and both performances were disasters, at least as far as I am concerned. The quartet was less so, but disaster none the less. I performed well, but one of the women started sputtering and coughing during her duet with the other woman. The other man and I held our own and were ok. We performed "America the Beautiful."

Yesterday evening was far worse. I never perform solos very well during the first verse of whatever song I'm singing. This was no exception, though I was hoping for a first time. My nervousness has been building up for a few days and the good performances I was cranking out during practices were getting me down because I'm superstitious: If I do well during rehearsal, I'm bound to crash and burn during the actual gig. I couldn't breathe during the first verse because of my raised blood pressure and the accompanying hyperventallation. This is all par, including getting back on track during the chorus and the next verse. But this time it didn't feel right. I wasn't sustaining very well, and had the vibrato of a blue-haired, could-have-been-an-opera-singer old lady. I don't remember much as I must have blacked out until the end. Keep in mind that the room was filled only with men, with the exception of my wife who was trying to keep up with my sporadic timing. After I finished bleating, and walked down to my seat, I was greeted with embarrassed and pitying glances. No one said a word about my performance. I kept quiet after the meeting and finally got one feeble commendation. I don't think I'll ever do that again. I used to enjoy singing but embarassing myself is not my thing.

Thursday, July 10, 2003

More Carnage. . . well, almost.

My wife called me at work yesterday barely able to speak. She was sobbing. I was finally able to ascertain that she had hit a dog and she was hysterical about it. The owners of the dog had been there and, thankfully, were very nice about it, saying there was nothing she could have done, that it was not her fault, that they should have had it on a leash. Still, she was punishing herself ("What if it had been a kid?") and admonishing me to be careful on my way home from work. Last night she shared an insight I have known about her since we met: What terrified her was the lack of control we have in this life. You can take all the precautions in the world, obey all the rules, do everything you can, and things still happen. Although I knew lack of control terrifies her, I always thought it was because she was a control freak. Now I'm beginning to think that is an incorrect assumption. She doesn't want to be controlling, she wants safety and security. Anyway, I asked what shape the dog was in and she said, "Oh, he's ok. He was running around after." I unsuccessfully stifled a laugh. Imagine what she would have been like if she'd killed the poor thing.

Art and Fear....

A long time ago I picked up a book called Art and Fear. At that time, I was buying everything I could that might tell me how to realize the dream I've been nurturing (and neglecting) since childhood of being an "Artist" (artist....artist...artist...echo...echo). I have wanted to write, draw, and be a rock star (rock star....rock star....whatever) ever since I was a little chickenshorts. I don't think I got past the first page. I think I liked just having those books on my shelves so people knew I wanted to be an "ARTIST" (I'll dispense with the get the picture.) Now I don't want people to know it. Wanting to be a writer or painter without having produced anything, even "bad" work, is not something you want everyone to know about. In the case of this blog, there's only one person who reads it, I think (Thank you, thank you, thank you, Dave!), so I'm not to worried about making the statement here. What I'm trying to get at --and getting lost along the way--is that I picked the book up again and have discovered that it is packed with wonderful little, life-sustaining tidbits.

Monday, July 07, 2003


This morning, as I began to open my car door and get on to work, I saw the remains of a terrible ordeal. The first thing I noticed was bird poop all over the driver's seat. I had left the window open a little and a bird must have gotten in. I opened the door and found it's carcass on the floormat. I looked around in the car and decided it must have really been terrified because there were splatters and droppings all over, front and back. Then I found its friend, dead on the floor in the back. It was a hot day yesterday. They were probably baked in an hour or so. My wife told me I should keep the window up from now on. Thank you dear. I never would have thought of that.

This reminds me of something that's been going on lately. I haven't done the proper research to back this up, but I'm sure I've seen at least five news stories this summer about people leaving their kids in the car. In the most severe cases, the children have died. But even in the least serious ones, they were sweaty and exhausted. How does this happen? My wife and I don't leave the kids in the car even when we're going to the gas station to pay for the fuel, which should only take a couple of minutes. It's more of a hassle, but we undo their car seat restraints and herd all three of them into the store. Even if the heat didn't get them something else could happen. I saw two stories last year in which cars were stolen with a baby inside. If children are so inconvenient, why do people keep having them? We knew going in that our children would be a responsibility and a sacrifice, but that's a price we're willing to pay.


This is as good a place as any to record these things, and since I don't remember them very often, it's a good idea to write them down.

This one started with me in Alaska, or some other northerly location. I had to get back to what I assume was Salt Lake, though that wasn't explicit. In my dreams, most of the details are implied, or at least strongly suggested. The mode of transportation was a long cable with a pole and a seat attached, much like a pommel lift, I now realize. There was some discussion (again implied) with the operator of this contraption that the cable was extremely long and extended across the continent. I have a vague image of an explanatory analogy: a cable reaching to the moon.
Well, I began my journey poorly dressed and shivered as I was pulled, at a dizzying height, across the wild Alaskan countryside. This was all rather truncated, but I'm now imagining wolves below me, waiting for me to fall off. This part of the dream was positive, however. There was an exciting, adventurous feeling about it. Suddenly I was in a house. The cable passed through it via tiny, improbable holes in the walls. The cable stopped, presumably so I could take a break and get something to eat. I had some connection with the occupants of this home--I think I went to school with one of them. They were very hospitable and I ate, but there was some tension in this part and the rest of the dream. I knew the cable would be off again and I didn't want to miss it, that was part of it. But I think the biggest cause of uneasiness for me was the question of how the cable and seat passed through those tiny pinholes. The rest I remember only vaguely. I was struggling with something very tedious having to do with the lift. Also, at one point, I knew I was dreaming, to the point of thinking I was awake. But when my alarm went off and I found myself buried under my covers (not having thrown them off like I thought) I knew I'd been asleep.

There it is.

Friday, July 04, 2003

So Kazaa and other p2p programs are being monitored? I'd be interested in hearing if anyone has gotten "nabbed" yet or even what the opinions are about the sharing of music files, although that topic's been discussed to death.

What reminded me of it was Glen Phillips website. He offers some of his songs for free download. That's nice. Thank you Glen.

Well, it's independance day. It was pretty much the same as any other day for me, except that I didn't have to work. I'm not brave enough to go out in public on a day when everyone and their dog are out doing stuff. I'm sure there were lots of things to do. Mayor Rocky Anderson is doing his darnedest to make Salt Lake a hip and happening place. Whatever. It would have been cool to drive up to Park City or somewhere, but, once again, I just don't have the guts.

Thursday, July 03, 2003

Yet another picture. Working on the End Zone gave me the opportunity of meeting some great musicians. Meeting Toad the Wet Sprocket's Glen Phillips has to have been the greatest part of the whole show. What a guy!