Sunday, August 31, 2003

Jensen Family

This is ridiculous. I thought we lived in a free country. A man can't decide what's best for his own child? And when he does, he's a kidnapper? Since when was chemotherapy an absolutely surefire solution?

Food Blog

I slept late and didn't go to all of my meetings today. I felt justified because of my ordeal, but as I talked about it with some of the people at church, I began to realize how much of a wimp I am. A friend of mine walks seven miles a day and another rides his bike fifteen. If I did it more often, this little 8.3 mile jaunt of mine would have been nothing.

I caught a little of The Splendid Table on the radio today. I love that show. I always get new ideas. The rub is that I can't use them because I don't have the ingredients, I don't write down the recipes, or I'm just plain lazy. I do a lot of the cooking at our house so I thought I could start a food blog. But I know me: I would post a couple of entries and then everyone would starve to death. So I had a better thought. I could find other food blogs. Here's what I came up with:
Food Blog
Eat, Drink, and be Married
Chef Blog
That last one has a bunch more that I'm not going to post here.

I took the ADD Test. You might as well strap me to the table and give me a permanent I.V. solution of ritalin right now. The answer to each question ranges from 1 to 4. I was swimming in fours. What was I just talking about? Maybe if I sift through the stacks of papers all around me I'll remember.

Saturday, August 30, 2003

Walking to Work

It's Saturday and I'm at work. I'm babysitting the stage production going on and working on the video with Dennis. I'm absolutely beat because of the way I got to work. Last night, I had Dennis drop me off at my house and I went downstairs and played on the computer for awhile. When I came upstairs at 10:30, Mrs. C. had that perturbed look she sometimes gets. I thought it was because I was playing on the computer. Turns out, she'd lost the key to the car and she didn't know how I was going to get to work this morning. We looked and looked but no key. At 11:30, I decided my only option was to walk to work. I've done it before, in the middle of winter, so I could do it at night. She didn't want me to, but I saw no other way. I didn't want to walk either. It's 8.3 miles and it was the middle of the night. But I had committed to working and I had to be here to let the production company in the building. So, after a minor scuffle, I began walking. It was actually pretty fun. I love being outside at night. It's cool and mysterious and solitary. The road I took goes through a long stretch of barren desert and the darkness took away the ugliness of it. I had my tape player with me and I finished Crichton's Eaters of the Dead. After that I listened to talk radio. Around the fifth or sixth mile I began to experience a strange sense of euphoria and increased energy. I was even dancing a little to keep my under-used and atrophied muscles loosened up. Today, as I sit here, they're tightening into little knots. The trip took me 2 and a half hours. My wife just called a second ago. She found the key. It's in the diaper bag.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Summer Party

Yesterday was our annual summer party at work. We went to the new Utah Jazz training facility and played basketball and pool and had a really nice lunch and the prize drawing in which I never win anything. Wait, I take that back. I won a chia head about six years ago and an expired coupon for a night's stay at the Anniversary Inn. Yesterday I won two dvd's. It's too bad I didn't win the dvd player so I could watch them. The guy who did win it has already won one at a previous party, same with the guy who won the television. These things always make me unhappy. That's what I get for coveting, I guess. One year one of the sales people won an mp3 player and he had no idea what it was. He just couldn't get the concept. He couldn't figure out where to put the cd's. I offered to take it off his hands since it was obviously defective but he declined. Over the years I've seen the general sales manager, who makes six figures, win a really nice mountain bike, the programming director win two television sets, and, yesterday, there were two $400 gift certificates for a year at the Excel Fitness spa. I'm not even sure where my chia head is.

Last night was fun though. As an extension to the party, they gave us tickets to the Salt Lake Stingers baseball game. I took the three boys and it was quite an exciting time. Our team played the Edmonton Trappers. The play on both sides of the plate was really fun to watch but the most excitement happened at our seats. Just before the start, one of the players handed my boy a ball. Then, around the 4th inning, all my attention on the game, I stole a glance at my boys and saw a terrifying sight. My three-year-old, who's wearing his first real underwear, had them down and was peeing on the cement below his seat. I looked around to see if anyone else was witnessing this, then, relieved that no one was, I quickly pulled his undies and his shorts up, both soaked with urin, and pulled his shirt down as far as I could. I would have left then but my other two boys and I were enjoying the game and he didn't seem too bothered about having wet pants, so we stayed. After the fifth inning, the Stingers up by two, I started noticing an awful smell. It turned out that one of the boys had tooted, but I didn't want to chance having a big turd on the floor of the stadium, so we left. On the long hike back to the car, my three year old tried to get my attention for a long time. I was tuning him out but my hearing finally clicked on and I heard, "Dad, pull up my pants!" I looked down and saw that he had been walking for a block with his shorts around his ankles. Apparently they didn't fit very well. Obviously, great fun was had by all on our little adventure.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003


I don't get to see Radiohead after all. I got the job, but the guy who hired me is out of town and his assistant--who's been on the job for two months--wants to wait till he's back to start me. So I've missed almost the entire season. I'll get to work the ZZ Top show but that's about it. So I missed Audioslave and Radiohead, and Nora Jones... I know, I've said all this before, but I'm hurting here! It turns out that I could probably sneak in, but I can't be dishonest. I'm a lot of things but I can't cheat or steal. I stole once in my life--some posters from a record store--but I went and paid for them three months later because I was feeling so guilty. I have a lot of regrets but there are three aspects of my virtue that are still intact--I don't steal, I've never killed anyone, and I've never been to a topless bar. So I had to turn down the opportunity to avoid piling more guilt on my sore shoulders.
I got a guestmap to see where the three of you who are reading this are, so sign in below. Also, you can click on the icon below that to sign up free for bravenet so I can get a buck. That would be nice of you. (I'm smiling but I can't show it because I don't really like those smiley faces. :))

Monday, August 25, 2003

The first day back to work was busier than I expected. When I looked at the schedule my heart fell when I saw how much of my day was spoken for. I was hoping for a leisurely day to get readjusted to being at work. As it turned out, it wasn't as bad as it appeared. The U of U football billboards, something I dread every year, were done by the other editor and the scheduler forgot to remove them from the schedule. There was still a lot of work to do, but it was all enjoyable stuff: I had a meeting with some friends who I only get to see during the sports season because they are freelancers not full time employees like myself. That's the only good thing about the impending season--even though they're freelance, it's the same crew every year so we've become very tight over the last eight years. One sad note, however. Fred the Floor Director has retired this year. He's a broadcasting legend here in Utah. He started in televison back in the film days. During the downtime, instead of watching the Jazz Games, he and I would practice our drumming and discuss music. He used to play drums and clarinet in a swing band long before I was born. He taught me, an exclusively rock drummer, how to play the Krupa beat and and a lot of other jazz beats. He's notorious for passing gas very loudly while we're on the air, a fact that makes him very endearing. I'm really going to miss those 70-year-old farts. But he's trained the rest of us well and I'm sure we can pick up where he's leaving off. Seriously, the sad thing is that his son died a couple of days ago. I hope the grief isn't too much for him. The other project I worked on was the three-minute video presentation on the Olympic Park in Park City. This is something that was handed over to me completely and there's a lot of satisfaction in it.

The rest of this week is daunting, though. Every workday is packed with something then I have my side projects. We just bought a van to accomodate our family, but it's in Idaho, so I have to find time to drive up and get it. Also, we have a deadline to meet on the Logan Temple video so I have to work almost every free evening on that, AND I got a job as an usher at the Usana Amphitheater just in time for the Radiohead concert. I got it so I could see all the great concerts that have been coming to town (I've already missed James Taylor, Nora Jones, and Metallica, I am NOT going to miss Radiohead) and the eight bucks an hour isn't bad either. Not to mention the four paying jobs I've secured drawing portraits with two more possible. Ima gonna be a busy chicken.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

I know you're probably tired of it, but I'm dazzled with my new daughter and I can't stop talking about her. She has a new name. We got a bunch of really girly clothes from the neighbors. They're brand new, really nice stuff, but most of them have ruffles on the britches. So Mrs. C. began calling her Princess Rufflebutt and it's stuck. Even some of the neighbors are calling her that now. I think it's the perfect name for the daughter of Dinky Chickenshorts.

I'm starting back to work tomorrow. I've spent the week as errand boy at home and now I have to go back to my day job. The prospect brings mixed feelings. It's been nice to be away from the grind but the tension has been building as Mrs. C. has been recuperating and becoming less dependant upon me. She loves me, I know, but I always mess up the established routine when I stay home. It's kind of like when your parents come to town to stay over night and it ends up being for a weekend or longer. So it will be good to let her have back the eight hours a day she needs to prepare for my coming home.

I have decided that I am going to pursue another career. The TV Station is my livelyhood, such as it is, right now, and I'm going to stay there as long as it takes, but it's not my future. I have bigger and better fish to fry.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003


I love my job. I love the people there and I like the work I do. It's far from art or real creativity like working on a really clever national ad might be, but there is at least a little satisfaction in turning on the TV and seeing something I made. But my job doesn't sustain me and my family financially. It never has on paper--It's our faith in God that has kept us alive and out of debt. I'm making more now than I ever have and it's at or under the established poverty level. In addition, I've had this gnawing feeling that I'm not doing what I'm capable of. Since I was a kid I have wanted to be a writer but I don't write. I got an English degree with the hope that knowledge would abolish my fears and motivate me. All it's done for me is make me a walking grammar guide, a "Strunk and White" for my co-workers and friends. Television doesn't satisfy me anymore. I'm not sure it ever has. The fact that I'm not really making a contribution creatively or getting the respect I would like would be nicely offset by a slightly better paycheck. But that's not happening. I wouldn't work anywhere else in television. The industry is full of puffed-up, self-important blowhards who think they are doing something earthshakingly important. 9/11 proved them false and a lot of them seemed to realize that for about a week, but they're back in their mode. The local station I work for is an exception. I couldn't ask for better co-workers. We've received comments from many astonished and envious people. We bought a new piece of equipment last year and the person who trained us couldn't believe the camaraderie we have. She's been involved with national projects like FX network's morning show and Tina Turner's concert and has been all over the country and she's never seen anything like it. That's what keeps me here. And that's what discourages me from looking elsewhere in the industry. I've worked at other stations and production houses and was miserable. This industry's so full of egos you can't breathe.
I just feel like I don't have a direction in my life. I don't have one thing that I'm passionate about. When I tell people I want to find another job they ask "What do you want to do?" and I stop breathing. I don't know what I want to do. I have all of these interests and hobbies, but none that I do exceptionally well.
This new baby has magnified and focused my terror. I could lose this job and where would I be? I have no direction.
On the other hand, I think I have a case for a raise. It's particularly difficult to ask for one right now because the station is feeling the bite of the downturn in the economy. But I feel like I deserve it--that they're getting me cheaper than they should. When I moved into the position I'm in now, that of editor/producer, it was at a lower rate than I wanted (and much lower than any offers from jobseekers) because I didn't have a whole lot of experience and I'm a terrible negotiator--absolutely horrid. Since then, I have gotten a fairly good jump in pay, but I feel I'm due another. My case? Since being hired on at the company I have gone to school and received a degree. I quickly adjusted to the role they moved me into, taking clients a week and a half after they threw me to the wolves with no training whatsoever on the equipment. In fact, I have proven my adaptability time and time again. Televison equipment, like computers, evolves rapidly and I have learned each new toy in record speed. I learned our latest aquisition, Pinnacle's FX Deko II, so quickly and thoroughly that I've been dubbed "Motion Master" and could probably train others on it. I do a variety of jobs: Shooting, editing, audio, directing, technical directing, c.g. operator, writing, and anything else that comes down the pike. This season, for instance, our first show with the U of U football coach is coming up, and the c.g. op, can't make it. So I've been asked to do it. It's not part of my job description but that's the case many times. I'm loyal to the company. I stay after hours almost everytime I'm needed. I feel I go over and above the call. But in that regard I'm only chastised for getting too much overtime. I guess if I were truly loyal I would do it for free.
Well, that's enough resume. I just need a plan.

Monday, August 18, 2003

Mom and little girl came home today. I don't usually use names on this thing but I'll make an exception because I finally got to pick the name this time! My choice of Sydney Marie made the finals and came out victorious. (Sorry Layne...that was my second choice.) The kids are so glad Mom is home. The first night she was gone my three-year-old kept saying, "Mom's dead," and, "Let's build a new mom." My five-year-old said he wouldn't be able to sleep at night with Mom gone. But they got over it, especially after we went to the hospital and they could see that she was still alive and mostly well. Now the tough part is getting them to stay away from her so she can get some rest.
I lucked out today. I took a week and a half off from work but one of the clients wouldn't reschedule. They had to have their commercial done today or they'd go somewhere else. The other editor has Mondays off (it's in his contract--I don't even have a contract) so it was up to me. I had everything planned: I got a sitter for the boys and I would go in to work, hope it only took a few hours, then rush off to get Mrs. C, but not before I'd made a few snyde remarks about how a stupid sixty-second commercial is more important than a sick mommy and a new baby. But, alas, I didn't have to do all of that. The production scheduler called at about 8pm last night and said the other editor was coming in to do billboards for the football games and he'd be able to do the edit. It was a nice surprise. I still had to get a babysitter because now our '93 Plymouth Sundance won't accommodate our whole family anymore, but it was only for a couple of hours.

Friday, August 15, 2003

Happy Birthday! The first baby girl was born to the Chickenshorts Clan today, and she came out fighting to stay in. All was going well until the doctor realized the baby was facing the wrong way. This happened with our first born, but while he rotated at the last second and popped out, our stubborn little girl would not and had to be taken c-section. This was not fun for Mom, who hates hospitals and especially surgery. (She thinks I'm nuts because I like surgery. I love being knocked out, waking up with it all done, and, especially, the wonderful pain killers and everybody pampering me.) For those who like the numbers, our little girl weighed 8 lbs. 3 oz. and was 19 in. long. She has the male-pattern-baldness thing going on and she looks like Ed Asner. I wanted to stay with my wife because she seems knocked for a loop by this unexpected turn of events and very lonely. But I had to get my three boys from our neighbor's house and feed them. We've talked on the phone. She doesn't seem much better. I hope she bounces back. This was supposed to be simple. We still aren't sure about a name. All the hospital documents say "baby girl" on them. Naming a girl isn't easy.

I started bawling as I held her for the first time. You'd think I'd be jaded by now. Maybe it's because she's the first girl. Or maybe it's the whole "Alien" thing: Seeing her head poking out of her mom's belly, crying, and mad as hell. That's a lot to deal with. A lot of emotion.

Thursday, August 14, 2003

I guess I lied. We couldn't have the baby when scheduled because there seems to be a new baby boom here in Utah. All the beds in most of the hospitals are full of new mommies. That's fine, we can wait, but the charge nurse was pretty rude to my wife about it. This wasn't our idea, it was our doctor's, and I've taken a lot of time off for this. So we're more than a little miffed. We've been on hold for two days now. They said to try tomorrow and all should work out, but we're not holding our breath.

I just heard about the massive blackouts. I guess I didn't realize that so many large cities were tied to the same power sources. Good luck to you all up there. I was a New Yorker for six months in 1986 and I know that would be rough. I've heard that as it's nearing dusk, many people are still trying to figure out how to get back to their respective boroughs. I was stranded one time in Port Authority around 8th Ave and 42nd trying to get to Long Island when it started getting dark--let me tell you, it was frightening. I hear some of these people have to walk to Brooklyn and Queens from Manhattan. Not pretty. I hope they make it.

Monday, August 11, 2003

It's finally here...almost. We're going to have the baby two days from now. The doctor talked Mrs. Chickenshorts into inducing the labor ten days early. I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Here's a picture of my buddy, Dennis, shooting the jumpers practicing on the Olympic Ski Jump at Park City. I'll be using the footage for a project showcasing the jumpers and how they train.
(Photo by Scott Frederick)

Sunday, August 03, 2003

Fleetwood Mac Concert

I'm giddy as a schoolboy. I just got back from the Fleetwood Mac concert and I can't contain myself. It was so cool!

I got the tickets free from work. They rarely do that--they usually give us a 15% discount on most things in the group which includes many auto dealerships, Fanzz memorabilia stores, movie theaters, restaurants, and tickets to Jazz Games at the Delta Center. But they hardly ever even give a discount on concert tickets at the DC. So I was floored when I heard they were giving free tickets. I went and got mine from the grumpy Delta Center staff (they are so unhappy over there).

I wasn't that excited, to be honest. I don't like going out and, even though Fleetwood Mac is one of my all time favorite bands, I didn't feel like driving all the way downtown. But I invited my brother and his wife and we went. When I asked him he said, "Who?" I tried to explain but he'd never heard of them. His wife knew one song by them, she said. It turned out she knew two--I'd forgotten the Dixie Freaks had covered "Landslide."

This was my first real big concert in over 10 years and when it started, I was a kid again...all tingles inside. They opened, as they always do, I think, with my favorite song "The Chain." They played most of their old hits: Rhianna, Gypsy, Landslide, Gold Dust Woman, Silver Springs, Tusk, Go Your Own Way, and some of the lesser-known (at least to me)-but-still-wonderful songs: Beautiful Child, Never Going Back Again, World Turning, and the new ones: Say You Will, Peace Keeper, What's the World Coming To, Come.

Lindsey Buckingham is my hero. I was a drummer first so that spot should be held by Mick, but I just love Lindsey's solos. Mick's solo that led to world turning in the encore was fun but it wasn't as good as I've seen him do on tv. But Lindsey was fantastic. He really seemed to be enjoying himself.

That's more than I can say for my bro and his wife. They're ten years younger than me and they got earplugs so they wouldn't hurt their hearing. Don't get me wrong. That's actually a great idea, just not one someone their age would normally think of. As I said earlier, they only recognized two songs. I'm usually rather subdued. I don't cheer much at sporting events--I keep quiet most of the time. But tonight I was jumping and shouting and singing every word of every song. I can barely talk now.

Lindsey, Mick, and Stevie all had something to say. John just stood back, doing the bass-player thing, like he was one of the back-up musicians and not one of the founding members that the band is named after. Lindsey, invoking Jerry Garcia, said, "It's been a long, sometimes dificult and strange trip. But we're still here." Stevie was sweet. Before she sang Beautiful Child, from 1979's Tusk, she said she never thought they'd do it in concert, but that they were "letting" her do it tonight. I had been waiting for her to say something about Salt Lake City and she finally did. She said, "Yes, I lived here for two-and-a-half years. I was here in 8th grade, 9th grade, and 2 weeks of 10th grade." She said she loved it here. She was just getting into high school when they were transfered to Los Angeles. She said it broke her heart to have to leave. She said hi to one of her friends from here, Mary, who apparently was in the audience. She said Mary was always there for her and still is. It was nice to hear she had fond memories of this place.

Unfortunately I didn't have a very good vantage point visually or audibly. We were at the very top of the lower bowl (they hadn't sold the upper) back on the right side of the stage. That's not a very good spot for sound in the DC. The owner of the DC thought only of sporting events. It's considered the loudest stadium in the NBA. I guess that's cool for sports fans but it doesn't make very good sense for music. There's no sound-dampening material anywhere in the building's construction. I have heard that the guy in charge of that during construction walked away from the project because the owner wouldn't let him put any of that material in. So while the mixing and sound was probably great, we got a lot of echos and mushed-together tones. We did get a view of the back-up musicians that those in front of the stage didn't. Mick's huge drum kit was center stage up on a pedestal, and his percussionist was up high, too, back and to his left. Then there was another drumkit, a small five-piece, was hidden behind the speakers. When they broke into "Tusk" and a couple of other songs, all three drummers were going crazy. It was great to see--something the others didn't get to experience.

Grocery Shopping

While I'm here, I wanted to post some thoughts about grocery shopping. I went with the big biweekly list my wife makes and everytime I do, the thought occurs to me that we Americans take a lot for granted. I read once that at the height of the cold war, a member of Kruschev's cabinet came here on a tour and was taken to the produce section of a supermarket. He was sure that it was all propaganda, that all of the food was gathered and setup just for him, to make him think we had a lot, because that kind of thing could not be found in the Soviet Union. More recently, a friend of mine who speaks Norwegian, was assigned the task of chauffering the King of Norway during the King's visit to the Salt Lake Olympics. My friend took the King to a supermarket to get something and the King could not believe we had so much at our disposal. We really are a rich country and none of us seems to know it. We're such a throw-away culture, accustomed to having anything we want that when we experience a little bit of turbulence, like we are now, we can't handle it. I'm really surprised at how businesses are reacting to this slowdown in the economy. There are so many layoffs and cutbacks. You'd think that in rich times we'd be making plans to carry us through tough times. But even with 1929 under our belts, we still don't think it could happen to us and we're surprised when it does. Also, I believe in capitalism to a point. Competition is healthy for the economy. But if we can't see each other as brothers and sisters like I wish to God we could can't we find some other reason to help those who are really affected by downturns in the economy instead of only looking out for our own interests. The company I work for is a great example. I honestly believe that our gm is doing everything he can to cut costs so he doesn't have to lay off anyone. He's already kept hiring to a minimum even in good times so he wouldn't have to trim any excess fat in situations like the one we're facing now. As for the owner of the company, he has said, and I believe him, that he wants to make a profit so that he can continue to have jobs for people. He feels an obligation to the community and to his current employees to provide jobs that will allow them to support their families with one income. Of course I applaud this because my wife stays at home with kids and we feel we are sinking in a world of two-income families. Why can't it be this way everywhere? When does competition end and good will begin? Ok. Will someone help me down from my soapbox, please?