Saturday, January 27, 2007

A Quick One

Are you getting sick of these yet? I did this one really quick and videotaped the process.
You can see the video here.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Temple Hill Videos

My friend, Dennis Lyman, has produced four historical documentaries on Utah and some of the Mormon Temples. I edited and directed three of them. Click here to learn more.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Another Meeting, Another Doodle

This is the result of a six-hour meeting on Saturday. Someone there tried to steal it from me, but I'm lightning fast, baby. I scanned it larger than the others so if you click on it you'll see it in more detail.

Just a few of the things I can see in it:
a cabin; Mario(a friend of mine swears it's the bat signal); a mummy; a girl leaning against a tree looking down; a rose, an alien skeleton, a bus, a woman in a skirt taking off her jacket (this one's very subtle); a drawing compass wearing gym shorts; an old haunted house with a lot of junk in front of it; a jeep; a low rider; an upside-down mountain lion; a nose-diving goose; a star; upside-down hearts; an amtrak train; a barn; the dog/reindeer from the Grinch; an olive branch; a scale; a harp; a bust of some guy; a pot of gold; two safety pins; a stratocaster; and lots of other things.

Friday, January 19, 2007

A Couple of Doodles

This is what I do during meetings when they think I'm taking notes:

What images do you see? I see different things every time I look and I drew them.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Ready to Rock

Here's the new band. As you can see, we have a new Drummer. We're rehearsing, gearing up for the new world tour. There are a few hitches, though. We're not sure when we're going to start because one of us isn't potty-trained yet. I'll let you decide which one. Our booking agent is up in arms and some of the venues are threatening to pull out if we don't give them a solid commitment. The way I see it, our fans won't let that happen. We discussed it as a band and their mom, I mean our manager, has agreed that we just can't risk an accident on stage. So we'll keep practicing and we'll let everyone know when we're ready to get on the road.
Oh, by the way, if anyone can think of a good name for us, we're all ears!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

A couple more of my drawings. The brown one is Saint somebody and the boy is one of my sons.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

I Don't Think So, Al

This photo has been sitting here in my editbay for a while and I figured I ought to preserve it here with the others I've put up.
That was the day Richard Karn finished shooting an infomercial. He is a great guy. Very funny and very un-Al-like. I never ask for these photos. I always leave that up to my buddies who are in the picture with me and Richard. The only time I asked to have a photo with someone was Tears for Fears which you can read about somewhere in this blog.
A few weeks after this I was in Vegas at the airport looking through a magazine and I saw a full-page ad for the company he did the infomercial for. It was a shot of the whole cast and crew on our stage. It's funny how excited I get about these things.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

I'm Listening to Music Again!

I started this post a while ago and then I started to realize how much it rambles. I'm not sure anyone wants to know what I think about music, especially when my thoughts go on like this. But this experience I had rediscovering U2 has taken a lot of space in my grey matter and it even made me physically ill. Something that profound ought to be preserved for myself if for no one else. So here I go:

If there is one thing that's on my mind more frequently or more intensely than anything else, I would say it has to be music. I'm not sure I like what that says about me. I'd rather have it be my family, or God, something noble like that, but it's not. It's music. I might talk about how lost I've been feeling that last few years in another post but I've been thinking that this overwhelming disorientation in my life lately has at least some roots in the way I've been feeling about the state of music in the world.

Back in the 80's when I was in my late teens and early 20's, I was driven. I pursued my job in television with an exlusionary furvor. I pursued my art and writing, if not with the same intensity, at least much more than I do now. Music had really sparked me. While officially I was a goth/punker, I was into any kind of music that had what I considered were edgy, punk rock ideals. Many might agree with my definition but in addition to the obvious choices like The Sex Pistols, The Cramps, The Circle Jerks, 7 Seconds, The Pogues, I included Pink Floyd, Neil Young, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Doors, and (I know, I know) Prince and the Revolution. They were all--or they all had been at one time--pushing the limits and doing things that were outside the mundane crap that had been going on. I loved listening to that but I had two fall backs that I always listened to: Depeche Mode and The Cure. Anybody familiar with these two groups in the early eighties will agree that they are not the same bands they used to be.
Then, in 1985, a punker I knew gave me a cassette he'd recorded from LP. Actually it was from two LP's. One side was TSOL, which was just a little too thrashy for me and I couldn't connect. But the other side of the cassette changed me in ways I can't describe. It was "Under a Blood Red Sky" by U2. I was absolutely blown away by it. I wore the tape out listening to it. I had heard some of the songs much earlier on the radio, "Electric Co.," "New Year's Day," and "I will Follow" among them. I had thought they were cool but when I heard them, my relationship with music was much more cursory. I didn't pay a whole lot of attention. But this, the live, kind of ratty, unpolished, but huge sound grabbed me and threw me to the ground. I immediatly bought it on cassette along with all of their studio albums up to that time. I was disappointed. First of all, the cassette didn't have Bono's long ramble in the middle of "Electric Co." It was edited out. I vaguely remember it being something about clowns. The other disappointment was that the studio versions on Boy, October, and War, did not nearly capture the vibrance and spontaneity of the concert. I had come at these songs in one way and from the studio they seemed wimpy and dispassionate. I've gotten over that, though, and I wouldn't miss the chance to hear the other songs that didn't make it in the concert.
I was completely under U2's spell for years afterward. Unforgetable fire was a thrill because they'd finally done in the studio what they captured at Red Rocks. the Joshua Tree pierced me with its anthems. When the film "Rattle and Hum" came out, I was a cameraman for the local news in Idaho. Between the 6pm and 10pm newscasts, I went across the street to the theaters there and bought a ticket. I sat there by myself shivering from being immersed in the stunning live footage. Phil Joanu is incredible. I know that album wasn't a critical success but I loved it. U2 could do no wrong, except that Bono's God complex started to become apparent. I didn't really think about it at the time but, looking back, I realize that something didn't sit well with me. He had a message and he was forcing it down everybody's throat. And the message wasn't just political. It was about American music and values and it was a little pushy for an Irishman who hated the blues.
Then there was a break. I went on a mission for my church before "Achtung Baby" came out. Mormon missionaries live a somewhat cloistered life in that they don't listen to popular music or watch movies or, in some cases, read the news. All this is so that they can focus on their two years of work. It's actually a good thing and I wouldn't trade my experience for anything.

Of course I couldn't miss hearing the ubiquitous sounds of the band of Dubliners. But I couldn't immerse myself in it and I lost touch. The next thing I remember is seeing videos from "Pop" years later on M2 and if the door wasn't shut before then it was now...and locked. "Pop" sucked and the concert that came here to Salt Lake sucked according to my friend who went to it. So that was it. I didn't need to pay attention anymore. I didn't even know they had come out with "All That You Can't Leave Behind" until last week. I totally missed that one. When I saw their Ipod commercial featuring "Vertigo" my interest piqued, but not enough to get them back on my radar.

But it wasn't just U2 I lost touch with. Music in general was going down the tubes. Aside from the few standouts--Coldplay, John Mayer, and The Killers--music had lost its soul. I was dependant on old stuff to get me by: Pink Floyd, The Beatles, and a few others. I even started exploring genres I'd avoided, going for Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash, and the old delta bluesmen. But for the most part, I avoided music. When I got an IPod, I loaded it up with audiobooks. People would think I was rocking out when I was really sinking into a great book.

Then it happened. A couple of weeks ago I was in the library looking for another audiobook and I saw U2 by U2 among the new arrivals. It was a hefty book and I figured I'd do what I always do with books of that type. I've done it with the best: I thumb through it, looking at the pictures and reading a few pages but inevitably losing interest and returning the book. I've done it with Pink Floyd's book, Mick Fleetwood's, and many others. Still, I thought I'd give it a shot. I read until 3 or 4 in the morning every night for a week until I'd finished it. I'm just getting over a 3-day migraine as a result. But I've also rediscovered my favorite band as well as discovering a few other things along the way.

One of the reasons I fell out with U2 is I don't like liking bands that everyone else likes. If it's the lowest common denominator there must be something wrong with it, right? When I was first into them, hardly anyone else I knew was into them. Now it seems everybody on the planet knows who they are. Also, Bono seems to have this arrogance that I can't abide. That came through in the book, as well. His paragraphs were always 3 or 4 times as long as the rest of the band's. And he had the last word! But the rational side of me thinks that that is what it takes to become what he's become. Not necessarily arrogance but confidance, which he has in abundance.

A few more threads of thought formed inside my little old brain as I read. The band talks about the song, "One," how people play it at their weddings and how the band, having written the song would never have it played in such a setting. It's about breaking up, they say, not getting together. That got me thinking. It's not just the poet who writes the poem. It's the reader as well. They bring their own experiences to the work and make it their own. It doesn't matter who owns the copyright, no one owns the work itself. It's a living thing that starts breathing as soon as someone lays eyes or ears on it.

Ok. That's enough of that. Suffice it to say, my IPod's loaded with U2's music. And I have quite an advantage over the rest of the planet: This stuff is all new to me!

Friday, January 05, 2007

On a Winter's Day

This is what it looks like outside my window right now. That's our half-dead plumb tree that drops purple bombs all over the sidewalk in the summertime, exploding their sticky mess in the path of passersby.

This is our half-dead willow tree that is a beautiful sight when it's showing off its green plumage except for a great gap in the very top which, at its worst, looks like a cancer-caused cavity, and at its best, an old bald man who can only manage to grow hair on the sides of his head.

The snow seems, oddly, to be a new thing at our house. There's a lot of excitement among the kids and grumbling among the adults. There's talk of Snowmen and Snow Forts and how our neighbor came and "mowed" the snow in our driveway, according to my youngest son. Little girl is bugging me to go out with her but she can't find her boots. This is the first real snowfall of the season but other than that, I'm not sure what all the fuss is about. We've spent a lot of time in the white stuff. I could ski almost before I could walk and in Idaho where I grew up, we could walk close to the tops of the power poles on the drifts. I guess it is a lot milder here but you wouldn't know that by watching the traffic. People around here get really stupid in the snow when they're driving. They think their monstertruck four-wheel drives will stop them on a dime on a sheet of inch-thick ice. They never learn.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

My Fifteen Minutes Aren't Up Yet...If I Can Help It

I've got a friend who's a movie reviewer with a nationally syndicated show. He's the one interviewing Robin and Dustin in those videos of mine. I put together the graphics for his show when I feel like it. I don't get paid for it so it's not something I'm really motivated to do. He's been bugging me for a new look for the new year and I've been putting a little effort into it here and there but that hasn't really helped me much because he's still nagging. If I'd just get the thing done, he'd get off my back for a while. So I found the kick in the butt I needed:
The concept is several of the stars he's interviewed flying by in slick looking boxes that assemble themselves into the "T" (the first letter of the title of the show) when you pull back wide. It's a mundane process because you need a lot of shots to make it work. While I was thus engaged, I noticed my camera in the corner and had a crazy thought. What if I took a shot of myself as if I were one of the stars and slipped my picture in there? So I set up the camera here in my edit bay and rolled on 40 seconds of myself talking to the wall. My shot won't be prominent. It'll come up in the distance but it will be clear enough for someone to recognize me if they're looking for it.

Don't tell my friend.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

So THIS is Why We Lie

This will go down in the annuls (not anals) of history as the best Christmas ever. This is not because I was swimming in presents--I wasn't. It's not even because I gave my wife the gift that made her jaw drop and brought tears to her I eyes--I didn't. It was because I got to live Christmas through my three-year-old daughter.

3:45 am Christmas Morning: I'm jolted awake by the sound of my Wife's voice shouting, "Get out of there. Go back to bed until 7:00!" The culprits? Dinky Jr. and his 8-year-old brother rummaging through the presents. As far as I know they went back to bed.

7:00 am: I'm awakened again. This time it's the sound of little boys whispering, "Can we go in there now?" I got up and tried to rouse Little Girl. As always, she wouldn't have any of it. She's a late sleeper. I pulled out the big guns. "Do you think Santa came?" She was up like a shot and heading toward the living room. Her body was up but her brain was still asleep and I had to steer her to keep her from bumping into the walls. She went into the room, looked around, and went right past her presents to the window. "What are you looking for?" I asked. "I don't see Santa," she said. I pointed to her presents and we explained that Santa had been there after all.

All morning long we took turns opening presents. Even before she had the wrapping off of most of them she would exclaim with joy about the wonderful suprise inside, and then she would say, "What is it?"

All week she walked around saying, "It's a wonderful Christmas!" until New Year's Day when her mantra changed to, "Is it Christmas?"