Caveat: Venter

Think about all of the things that make your brain itch. These are mine.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

New Programming

Fox has settled on a late addition to the Fall 2006 lineup of shows. Premiering in time for the run-up to the mid-term elections will be El Presidente American. Sources have said that Cheech Marin will be playing the nation's first Hispanic President to last more than an inauguration, beating out Jimmy Smits on The West Wing.

One Fox executive is quoted as saying, "The West Wing was fine for a show born during the Clinton administration, but times have changed. El Presidente American will fill the void left by the departure of The West Wing, but the content will be more realistic, focusing on such matters as the supremacy of trickle-down economics rather than namby pamby issues like health care and the environment."

Industry watcher have yet to learn whether Fox intends to write the show as a drama, playing off of Marin's work on such vehicles as Nash Bridges, or a comedy, harkening back to the actor's days in such films as Up in Smoke. The former would be useful in endearing the network's preferred party to Hispanic voters hungry for respect, particularly given the discussion of immigrant rights. The latter would allow the same organization to rally support in its traditional strongholds throughout the south by subtly mocking the capabilities of Hispanics to lead.

Rupert Murdoch, despite his declining role in the day-to-day operations of the network, is said to be personally involved in both the development of the pilot and weekly briefings at the White House. Regardless of the final decision about the general tone of the program, the casting director is said to be pursuing Rosie Perez to play the first lady.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

One Thing I Won't Miss When We Move . . .

is being along parade routes; practically on top of the finish line for a marathon (that's noisier than you might think); and above an access road that, despite the neighborhood, somehow attracts the same twits who are doing their best to collapse their lungs with their stereo systems.

At this moment, Earth Day has interrupted my sleep via marching bands. Unamplified, these are pretty bad, of course. Bouncing off of mid-rise and high-rise buildings (God only knows the accoustics of the outside of the Disney Concert Hall). Don't get me wrong, I like Earth Day. I love all it represent. I just don't freakin' want it marching through my sleep. Ever. And if everything else can keep right on up with that, well . . .

Friday, April 21, 2006

Silly Things That Piss Me Off

OK, it is just one thing, though not clearing the darned timer on the microwave can make it two, assuming you really wanna give me some grief here.

Let me just say that people who use Page Layout View in MS Word piss me off. Actually, I don't so much mind that they use it as that they disseminate it as if somehow it is better to look at text that is shrunken so it can fit within the borders of pretend digital pages.

Learn to use the software, people! Galley View (known now as the more mundane Normal View, the name of which should be a frakin' clue) makes it much easier to read multi-page documents. Oh look! There really ISN'T a 2.5" line breaking through that sentence.

Yes, I am fully capable of comprehending how text flows across page breaks. I just don't understand people who use computers in such a way as they reinforce their ideas of how the physical world works. Ya know, the "page" in the computer is the fake part. Check out a text file sometime, folks. And for god's sake, stop sending things that open in Page Layout View.

Monday, April 10, 2006

House Of Leaves

It took me a couple years to discover Danielewski's novel, and here, on page 35, I feel I am deeply into it, yet I have a good 600-some to go. It already feels like the house of the novel: larger on the inside than the outside. There is, we readers are to believe, a house that harbors something dark, transmitted to those who inhabit it and visited upon those who read about it. Were it not for unusual coincidences, I might not be writing this, but coincidences make me smile.

On our drive up from Los Angeles to San Francisco earlier today, we say a sign mentioning Utica (not New York, of course—a school, I believe, in some town before we got from the 580 to the 80), and then I ran across mention in the novel of a chest made in Utica, NY. Worse, Sunshine was calling out clues to a crossword in People magazine. One was a three-letter word for a wing constructed at right angles to a building, and the novel's house was almost updated in 1981 with an ell.

Now I ask you, how odd is it to encounter two such coincidences in short a space, both physically and temporally? I must confess I am intrigued by Danielewski's novel, and to a degree newer novels rarely achieve. Never mind the humor, he subtle errors, and the author's mastery of differing voices.

The Queen Anne

Our hotel in San Francisco (guess the name . . . go ahead) is everything it adevertised, plus more and less. We have a refrigerator in the room, but the fridge makes a lot of noise. We have a television (had to get our fix of 24), but it whines most of the time it is on. We have great drapes that don't close all the way. We have windows, but no screens.

All of that may seem a little to the bad, but the Victorian appointments are certainly worthwhile and comfortable. I am in a back parlor right now, where a British man is teaching his son chess. A young girl is using the wireless connection in the next parlor, and a few minutes ago a couple was consulting with the concierge (who has already been immensely helpful to us) about something or another.

Whether or not we are to accept as authentic the little nicknacks and chachkis spread about the place is not really a matter I wish to take up. Indeed, they create a wonderful sense of being someplace other than where we are used to being, and what more can one really ask of a hotel while on vacation?

Most interesting is the liberal use of mirrors. On the secoond floor there are a couple of floor-length mirrors that reflect images almost spectral in their aspect. The deep glass provides not only the expected reflection but a visible ghost, distinct enough from the main image to be unnerving the first few times. If I may paraphrase a paraphrase from within a piece of fiction, mirrors and copulation are abominable: both multiply the numbers of men. How true that seemed earlier as my head floated above the top step of a staircase and looked back down a hallway to my own eyes. Or maybe his.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Production Hurts

Now, I have not really been involved in music, other than as a listener, since about 1981 (perhaps late 1980) when I quit violin and my voice started to break, forcing my departure from my minor involvement in the Northwest Boychoir. Hand me a violin today, and I might be able to tune in. Ask me to sing, and you will regret it. Nonetheless, my friend Britt asked me to come in as her producer.

It's an odd thing, really, to listen to this part or that of a piece and decide that it needs something more or something less, whether it is only a little panning or volume or something like an entire track. And while Britt is putting down the basic rhythms and beats (it is her music, after all), I find myself nudging her aside every now and then, sometimes with good ideas and sometimes not.

This may all sound relatively pain-free, but believe me it isn't, and I suddenly have a great deal more respect for those people who do this for a living. I have no illusions that I am now or ever will be much more than a pair of ears and a mind, giving voice to personal musical prejudices. Trevor Horn will never fear me, or even hear of me for that matter. Still, I can't help but think that both the process and the product are quite something different than I ever would have expected—and in no small way surprising.

I am not sure when Britt and I will get some final vocals down (I think that what we have is fine for the internet, but it is far from what it could be) and finish tweaking the levels, but one way or another we should be seeing "Unanswerable Questions" up at her MySpace account within a couple weeks. I'll make note of it when that takes place. In the meantime, she has four others up for anyone interested in hearing what she has already got up. Five down, five to go.