Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Happy Joy Joy

I just finished a week of starting work at 3am and leaving at noon, so now that that's over, the happy happy joy joy has begun for me.

Aside from that, I've got a week off of work! So I plan on resting up, having fun with my family, editing on the show, and maybe writing a little bit or getting squared away for the upcoming 52/25 challenge.

What's that? You don't know what that is? Well, check it out. Lizanne, Renee, Rish and I would love to have you along.

Don't really have much to say, other than Happy Christmas, Merry Holidays, Feliz Chanukah, and Fröhliche Kwanzaa to everyone and to all a good night.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Spin Out

For the last few weeks since we came back from vacation, we've gotten nothing but rain here. Balmy weather for winter, at least for us. This isn't Sacramento anymore, it doesn't rain at Christmas time.

But now the snow is back in town. It came back in earnest last night. I'm working the early morning shift this week, so I headed out to my car at 2:30 a.m. to find it practically buried in snow. It was probably a foot high on the hood and roof. I took a few minutes to brush it all off, and then headed out.

At 2:30 in the morning, the plows haven't really had time to get out and clear all the roads yet. So for the most part those roads were a foot deep in snow, with only the trails of the cars that had come before you to indicate where the road even was.

Early on in my drive to work, I was wending my way along a lonely Freeway, when I felt the tail end of my car sliding out from behind me. I know what to do in that case, so I turned into the spin, and my car straightened back out, but it wasn't done with me. Immediately, my tail end spun in the other direction. This time I was unable to keep control of the car, and I was whirling along the road like a pinwheel in the wind.

When I finally came to rest, I was sitting sideways in the road, but otherwise, I was fine. I hadn't hit anything, and no one had hit me. I cranked the wheel, pressed the gas, and soon had my car righted. I proceeded on my way to work, happy that things weren't any worse than they'd been. Luckily for me, I was on a big three lane wide road that was completely empty of traffic. There was simply nothing to hit.

I have to count my blessings, because yesterday, a group of people had the same problem that I did. They spun out on the highway, losing control of their car. Only the highway they were driving on was a busy highway. A truck that was following close behind them broadsided their car, and just for good measure, one other car got in on the action as well. Three of the four people in that first car were killed on impact, and the fourth is critically injured in the hospital. I never thought I would consider having to be at work at 3:00 a.m. a blessing, but today, it sure turned out to be one.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Lights

The other day, I was driving home from work, and as I was topping the last hill before my house, a car coming in the opposite direction flashed his headlights at me a bunch of time. I wasn't sure what he wanted to tell me. My headlights were on...I wondered if maybe one of the bulbs was out, and I was driving around like One-Eyed Willie or something. Or was it something else? Was there danger ahead? Debris on the road? I slowed down just in case. There could be a cop waiting ahead, for all I knew, just hoping I'd speed down the hill.

There were several cars behind me, and they were probably all irritated that I had slowed down, but when we all passed the sheriff's car that was positioned in the church parking lot just past the point where the speed limit drops from 45mph to 35mph, they probably changed their curses to thanks. I know I did.

It's Christmastime, but I have no idea if that motivated this guy who flashed his lights at me or not. He definitely spread a little more peace on the earth and I felt his good will toward men. I sure couldn't handle a speeding ticket right now, so I'm really grateful to that guy for warning me.

In the future, I'll have to try to remember to return the favor, or pay it forward or whatever the proper phrase may be.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


...was not only a fine film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It apparently is something that I have a tendency to suffer from. I never knew until I put myself hundreds of feet in the air on the bridge that spans the canyon where the Hoover Dam is located.

Here I am, taking another crappy self-portrait. I didn't get all the dam in the background, but it's okay, because I got a picture of the dam by itself.

After snapping these noteworthy photos, I looked down at the canyon below me. My stomach did not appreciate the view. I was sick to my stomach for at least a half hour after that. It took about that long for my stomach to quit complaining two days before when we went on those world famous teacup rides at Disneyland too.

I guess I'm just a lightwieght after all. If only the scale agreed with me. Too many snacks in the car, and now it tells me I'd better start exercising or the next time I step on there it may break.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Just When You Thought It Was Safe... go back in the water, the fat guy shows up.

Yes I am very skilled at the self-portrait.

You know, I found that the beach was much more private when visited in December. Maybe that's because the water is so bone-numbingly cold. Sure it only gets worse the farther north you go, but nobody's dumb enough to get in the water farther north.

Not only did I freeze my feet to painful levels, the damned seagulls at my lunch when I had my back turned. One bird pecked through the plastic bag to get at our bread, and once a seagull has touched something of yours, you sure as hell don't put it in your mouth. Rats with wings.

We wound up eating at a nearby McDonald's. Not a huge step up from seagull-pecked bread, but at least it was sanitary.

Friday, December 10, 2010

You Gotta Hear The Remix!

I've been to Disneyland a few times in my life, but it's been many years now. I'm not like some of those serious Disney-philes that are there at least once a year sometimes for weeks at a time though. I've been to Disneyland twice before and Disneyworld once. But that was enough to get the feel of it, you know. Disney is a peculiar kind of park. It's for kids, and it's kind of anchored in a certain time period's technology. Animatronic figures make up a huge part of their attractions, from the Abe Lincoln to the Carousel of Progress to the Small World to the Jungle Cruise to the Tiki Room to get what I mean.

A lot of these rides have been the same since the 1950s when the park opened in the first place. So everybody gets that same Disney experience. And many of these rides have become so iconic that even though people hate them, know they will hate them, they still stand in line for them and take the time to float through them at least once.

Now I'm not one of those people who might hate a Disney ride. I went on the Small World ride last week and actually loved every minute of it, especially the big finale. But it wasn't the normal Small World ride. It was the remix.

During the Christmas season, Disney does everything up in fantastic Christmas decorations. They're really nice and beautiful. They have a Christmas parade, and fireworks that culminate with a fake snowfall (pretty cool, except that I see real snow all the time. We'd come to L.A. to escape the snow).

There's main street done up in Christmas decorations.

And the winter version of Sleeping Beauty's castle.

But, like I said, I got the remix of Small World. It was the song everyone knows, mixed into a medley of Christmas songs like Jingle Bells. And they did this in other places too.

Yeah, that's Jack Skellington. He makes the Haunted Mansion his home during the holidays. That's cool, to me. I wonder what my kids thought though. They'd never been to Disneyland. They've never seen the Haunted Mansion as it normally is. It's hard to appreciate a remix or a cover song when you've never heard the real tune. And worse yet, will my kids show up at Disneyland next time and think it's not as good as the remix is?

It's like me hearing the Tiffany version of the song before ever hearing the Beatles version, and then being disappointed when I finally heard the original, because it was different from Tiffany's version. That's just not right. Not right at all. I hope it doesn't happen to my kids that way.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

On The Hollywood Walk Of Fame

I ran into this wreath that had been set out in honor of the late Leslie Neilsen. It was of course placed over his star. A great thing about modern technology is that even though Mr. Neilsen or any other star leaves us, their films or music or whatever will always remain for us to remember them by and enjoy again and again.

A guy that you and I both consider funny told me that if he had to pick the funniest film of all time it would be Airplane!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

How Far Can Those Donations Take Me?

No, we're not Escape Pod. That's not the real Eiffel Tower. It turns out there's a nice replica out in "The Middle Of The Nevada Desert."

Las Vegas has a few other replicas too. The Statue Of Liberty can be found there, and that robot that has been impersonating Cher for the last fifteen years performs there all the time too. Rest in peace Cher.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

As If Lions Weren't Scary Enough

Some mad scientist in Las Vegas had to go and bioengineer them with laser beam eyes!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Why No Episode?

I'm here to beg your forgiveness. I continue to underachieve. It's been quite a dang long time since we put out our last episode, and it's all my fault. I hope none of you have gone into any sort of withdrawal. Some people have claimed that such a thing could happen to them in emails that they've sent in, so I'm praying that I don't have guilt to deal with too.

Why is it taking so long? Well, the second Broken Mirror episode it turns out is more than a short story. It falls soundly in the novelette category. The story is 10,000 words, which makes it one of the longest stories we've ever done. I think only "A Place So Foreign," by Cory Doctorow and "Casts A Demon Shadow," by Derek J. Goodman were longer, in all 85 or 90 or whatever episodes were on. So, it's taking me a long time to edit my way through this story.

Add to that, my family and I took a trip to Las Vegas and then Disneyland this past week. So, I just plain wasn't working on it for that week. I'm back at it, and I have a strategy that I may put into action to try to get double the work done on the story, editing both the sound effects as well as the story reading at the same time. Normally I finish editing the story reading before I start on the sound effects, so doing this could save a decent amount of time.

Anyway, that's my deal. I'm excited to get this story done, and get the next Broken Mirror done as well. I hope you guys like to listen to them as much as I like to work on them. Broken Mirror is one of my favorite things of each year, and I really look forward to the reaction.

I'll be back soon to talk about my experiences at Disneyland and in Las Vegas.