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Monday, October 31, 2005

Crosstown Traffic

There was a considerable amount of traffic on the 134-W this evening.

Halloween Traffic? End-of-Daylight-Savings-Time Traffic?


Happy Halloween, Everybody!

For anyone who knows me, dressing up in costume (for any occasion) does not rank very high on my list of things to do. It's probably somewhere between self-immolation and dancing.

That said, Halloween is obviously not a big draw for me, although it's hard to pass up a good pumpkin carving and spiced cider. (Thanksgiving is more my speed: "Uh, what do you want me to do -- eat and be thankful? DONE.)

So what's happened in the past week? Um... Hooray for the White Sox!

Saw Good Night and Good Luck. Gorgeous black and white cinematography, lovely songs from Dianne Reeves, David Strathairn was fantastic, and rather than serve as an account of the events of it's time, it's a solid commentary on the sad state of television and journalism today.

From Murrow's keynote speech at the RTNDA Convention:

Unless we get up off our fat surpluses and recognize that television in the main is being used to distract, delude, amuse and insulate us, then television and those who finance it, those who look at it and those who work at it, may see a totally different picture too late.

Full transcript available here.

Everyone's gonna go out and vote next week, right?

Saturday, October 22, 2005

There's Music In My Car Again...

A little over two months ago, I decided to replace a broken factory-model stereo in my '97 Saturn.

A little over one month ago, said radio was forcibly removed under cover of night from my very own parking garage.

A little over four hours ago (and $404 plus change), I've installed a new stereo -- same make & model as the temporary upgrade, although cheaper by about thirty bucks this time around.

Hopefully this one will stay in my car for awhile.

For those of you who have not heard my conspiracy theory, allow me to enlighten you. I went to out looking to buy a new car stereo. After eight years, I had grown quite fond of the factory model CD player that was a part of my Saturn SL2 -- particularly the manual 5-band equalizer sliders that allowed me the freedom to flip from Awesome Sonic Experience to Vintage AM Radio with the whimsical flick of an index finger. Of course, in this digital age, nothing is manufactured with manual tuning options, so I read the product reviews, I browsed the Wall o' Radios at every electronics outlet, and I made my choice: the Pioneer DEH-P3700MP. With a few minor adjustments, I found that it could replicate the acoustic balance that I'd grown accustomed to over the years... and it didn't feel like a cheap piece of plastic.

I stopped into a nearby Circuit City store -- not my usual locale for electronics-type purchases, but they happened to have one key item in stock at the time of my purchase -- the plastic mounting bracket for my '97 Saturn. Fully expecting to install the new stereo myself, I was caught off guard when the sales clerk asked, "Would you like us to install it? It's free installation. There's no one waiting. It'll only take about 45 minutes."

I caved. After all, why not? I can go over to Barnes & Noble, grab a coffee, do some sketching... "Sure," I said. Forty-five minutes later -- I enjoyed my new, kickass car stereo.

The smile on my face lasted exactly one month -- a Sunday morning when I headed down to the parking garage prepared to run a few weekend errands.

The elevator door slid open. I looked down and thought, "Hmm, that's odd. Why is there a bottle of Armor-All sitting outside the elevator?" I rounded the corner and saw that the trunk of my car was wide-open. I thought, "Why is my bottle of Armor-All sitting outside the elevator?" As I approached my car, I thought, "Why is there broken glass around the rear-passenger side of my car?"

Long story short, the gentleman who violated my car simply broke that little triangle window (the one that doesn't roll down), unlocked the back door, reached up and unlocked the front passenger-side door, and wrenched out my new stereo with all the finesse of a chimpanzee on methamphetamines.

(Actually, other than the window, all that was damaged in the heist was the face plate for the AC controls -- replaced at the cost of $188.41 from my local Saturn dealer. I'll have to check again on Monday, but if the cost of the broken window is included as part of my $500 insurance deductible, I should have $152.43 coming back to me thanks to good ol' Mercury Insurance.)

Where's the conspiracy you ask? I'm thinking that the upstanding young men in the Circuit City Car Stereo Installation Garage simply contact their associates on the outside, provide them with the address of the consumers whose cars have no alarms, and those fellas can get to work. In the aftermath, those newly stereo-less consumers then return to Circuit City to buy a replacement stereo, and create additional sales commissions for the gentleman who provided the information which caused the theft in the first place.

"It's the cirlce of life, and it moves us all."

Bitter? Maybe. Cynical? Perhaps. All I can say is that I didn't go back to Circuit City for this new stereo and I installed this one myself, as I originally intended to, and let me tell you, it sounds fantastic.

I think I'll go for a drive tomorrow. What do you think I should listen to?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


... is funny. It makes a cloudy day sunny. It makes a bee think of honey, just like I think of -- er, no... that's imagination. Nevermind.

I've noticed that the gap between wanting to do something and actually doing something is filled with procrastination.

Despite the reminders to myself to keep posting new things, there are all those BIG PROJECTS that I really need to focus on. Whittle away at 'em so, bit by bit, so I can stop thinking they're so... well, BIG.

And, in the meantime, three more girls added to the sketches section.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Little by Little...

I'm hoping that I'm just about finished tweaking the layouts for the rest of the site pages. No, they're not perfect, but at this time I'd rather focus on uploading content rather than second-guess my page formatting... so they'll certainly do for now.

Although it's not recent material, I've added several new pages o' girls to the sketches section, if for no other reason than to test them's thar purty colored thumbnail icon-thingies.

Since one of my primary goals behind developing this site was to build a gallery for my storyboard and comic work,
I'll have to get to work on that stuff next.


Saturday, October 08, 2005

Website, Schmebsite!

Now that I've got my domain name, index page, and this here blog-thing, I'm trying to finish up the layouts for the rest of the site pages. I've been away from the internet lifestyle for some time now, and getting back into it reminds me of all the reasons that I wanted to get out, but I'm a big proponent of the do-it-yourself school of web design. Yes, I know they have all these slick programs and online utilities now that'll plop your content into a template and build your site for you. Nonsense, I say! If you're going to do something -- know how it's done. Pay attention to the man behind the curtain. If you don't know what he's up to, ask! There's practically a website for everything you'd care to know about (and a few things that you don't), and there are plenty of people who'll provide answers to questions like, Why isn't my javascript working? or What the @#$& is a cascading style sheet?!

Let's get on with the show...

Friday, October 07, 2005

Gillian Welch

Last night marked the sixth occasion that I've been fortunate enough to see Gillian Welch in concert, and like each time before, it was sublime. I've been a devoted fan since her 1996 debut recording, Revival, but it's the quality musicianship of her live performances that earns her a seat atop the list of my favorite artists. Soulful. Sorrowful. Spiritual.

Gillian's soft-spoken partner, the marvelous David Rawlings practically defines the phrase actions speak louder than words. While providing gentle harmonies to Gillian's lead vocals, it's his intensely physical style of playing that is a treat to watch -- coaxing every note out of that weathered 1935 Epiphone Olympic through a combination of raw energy and natural grace. Simply one of the greatest guitar players ever. Astonishing.

Playing to an enthusiastic crowd at the Avalon on Vine, we were treated to a double-encore, including a rendition of the Jefferson Airplane classic, White Rabbit. I'd love to have a recording of this.

Note to self: Become independently wealthy and consider following them on tour.