10/30/2005

Dealing with a clogged pipe

Another weekend spent at the tavern, two nights in a row, and as always, it takes a day to get back to normal, or even closer to normal. The baby girl is doing well, and so is the mother. I'm getting the chance to go through my e-mail and other things. Catching up on articles. For the fourth year in a row, I totally missed the Film Festival. One of these years, perhaps.

I'm also wiped because I gave a presentation at a conference at JMU on Friday, and I think it might have been okay. Since then, I've not felt like doing much of anything. I worked today on the Rivanna Trails piece, which I'm just about to post. The pieces have also been sent to the places that will hopefully air them, reminding me I had better figure out some time to invoice.

I'm not too keen on the coming approach of winter. Usually I like the approach of cold, but that was before I lived in a big house and had to pay a lot of money for it. We can't put the temperature down too much this year because of the baby girl. I look forward to warmer times, and a trip to warmer climes this January.

Lots of stories to produce this week, so the blog entries will likely be down. I'm also working on stories on the Sorensen Institute, Monticello's Center for Historic Plants and several other news stories for WVTF.

10/27/2005

Tapping the Inner Geek

So, yes, I'm a Superman nut and have been since I saw the movie in 1978 when I was 5. When I was a kid, I used to take out a book from the Campbell County public library that was a compendium of Superman comics from the 1930's to the early 1980's. My favorite era was the late 1950's and early 1960's, when the writers went crazy with all kinds of imaginary stories. There was all this crazy stuff happening with all the crazy versions of Kryptonite, and something about that fascinated me. Still does.

Anyway, the first two movies are excellent, and then, well, we all know what happened. I didn't really care for the Lois and Clark show, and I didn't understand anything about the much-hyped Death of Superman. So, I didn't really pay much attention when Smallville debuted on the WB in 2001. When I was in England in January of 2004, I was fairly bored and jonesing for something American to consume. And, I watched the season 3 premiere on one of the digital stations available there. And, I was hooked. Thanks to DVDs and the Internet, I watched the entire show within two months, and now I can't wait to watch every episode.

And why? Because, Smallville is so playfully faithful to the Superman universe, recreating a story we've heard over and over again by taking its basic DNA, tweaking it here and there to create a show that is entertaining, especially when it rises over its WB-ness. The music is horrible, the dialogue is sometimes rotten, but, wow, it's an awful lot of fun.

So, if you want to catch up with the show, one place to start would be to read this entry on TV Guide about this season. The show is constantly getting closer and closer to the time when Clark Kent decides its time to be a hero. Man, it's a lot of fun!

10/25/2005

New Yorker article on Justice Breyer

Jeffrey Toobin has a good article in The New Yorker has a great article on Justice Stephen Breyer and his belief in something he calls active liberty. It's a long read, but Toobin's coverage of the Supreme Court is well worth reading.

Morning Thoughts

The little baby girl is staring up at the few things approved for her to play with. She's having a hard time sleeping. I was as well so I decided to get up at 4:00 to get some work done. Of course, the wife-to-be brought the baby girl down here so that she could get some sleep. Now the baby girl keeps waking up every five minutes or so, breaking my train of thought. I'm going to have to learn how to work in spurts, which is definitely not easy when you're writing and producing a radio story.

She's so angelic, though. And so beautiful. She's staring up at the big cow hanging above her little chair. Every few minutes she opens up her eyes, and then closes them again.

I think she senses I'm writing about her, or maybe the sound of the keys lulls her somehow. Every time I switch to the radio computer, she squawks.

---five minutes later---

She's back to sleep. So, I'm back to radio.

---30 minutes later---

I've progressed a bit further with the story. Helped out in part by this post from another cvilleblog. I love how the web is becoming a way for us all to share these little fun things like this.

10/24/2005

The World at 2.0

60 Minutes tonight had a story about Charles Robert Jenkins, the army sergeant who got drunk and deserted his U.S. Army post in Korea. He spent almost forty years in North Korea, and was only allowed to leave the country last year. In the interview, Jenkins describes what it was like being a prisoner of the regime, and they even show clips of the movies Jenkins was forced to star in, usually in stereotypical roles like The Evil American.

Jenkins was described by reporter Scott Pelley as a "modern day Rip Van Winkle" who had never seen a computer, didn't know what a Big Mac was. Watching the video is well worth it if you have the time.

What a different world we're in in 2005, as opposed to 1965. 1965 was the year my parents came to North America, leaving England in search of a better life. I've grown up in between two cultures, England and America, and I've spent my life wanting to be somewhere else other than here. It's deep in my family history. My great grandfather moved from England to Malta. His son went from Malta to England. My dad went from England to North America. And me?

We live in a different world than any of my forebears inhabited. I can instantly communicate with my family three thousand miles away. At the moment, I'm listening to Virgin Radio over the web, hearing all the latest advertisements. The M25 is closed between junctions 5 and 6 as I type this.

I've never listened to British commercial radio before. I've only recently become a listener of commercial radio in the U.S. My radio career was influenced by British radio, in particular that of the BBC, and the fact that I ended up in public radio has something to do with this. I'm still in public radio, but I've widened my horizon to accomodate other opportunities. Wordcast is a for-profit venture, after all, though CPN will hopefully evolve into a non-profit. I'm temporarily not categorizing things while the whole business model sorts itself out.

England is always going to be beckoning me, influencing me, helping me to sort out who I am, where I come from. In addition to supporting my new family, I'll be trying to earn money to travel over to England at least once a year. I've been over twice in the last year, to see Henry, and to lay down the foundation of a possible emigration of my own.

But, I live in a world where I might not ever have to choose one country over the other. Every day I listen to Virgin Radio while I walk my dog, thanks to podcasting. Imagine being like Charles Robert Jenkins, walking back into a world that is becoming more connected, stronger through the weaving of information through ones and zeroes.

What will it be like in 2045? Where will Henry end up? Rootlessness runs in my family, but again, roots are taking on a new form. We're all leaving trails every day of where we were, what we did, what we saw. Where is this all going to go?

To steal an audience-stealing technique from television, stay tuned.

10/20/2005

Anticipating the Word Wars

Fellow Cville blogger L.M. Squires has given me a great tip to add to my Netflix queue. Word Wars is a look at four obsessive Scrabble nerds. I know that I'm guilty of being obsessed by the game, and have had relationships ruined by my former inability to take the game anything less than seriously. Now I'm much more relaxed about the game, but that may be because I've not lost a game in a long time. I don't play nearly as much as I used to, but would love to have a copy of the game at Court Square Tavern, where I work part-time. If anyone has an extra Scrabble board they'd like to loan to my smokey little home away from home, I will buy you two beers. Not just one. Two.

C-Ville Weekly has highlighted the
Franziskaner Dunkel-Weisse as a special reason to come to the Tavern. I'd have to say that I'm not a fan of it, nor any of the other expensive German beers we sell. I prefer American microbrews to the imports, though I do like our Spaten Lager.

So, yes, that's the deal. Loan us a Scrabble board, and two beers are on me.


Revisiting an old friend

So, we're sitting here watching the second half of the Battlestar Galactica miniseries while we wait for our baby daughter to have her second feeding. Everyone tells you you should sleep while the baby sleeps. Yeah, we get that, we really do, but we also have to have a little down time.

Anyway, the point is, I'm missing this show so very much. It's three more months until the second half of the second season begins. I think I'm the only person in Charlottesville who actually watches this show. Well, there is the wife-to-be, but she doesn't really count.

Something about this show captivates me. It is the smartest show on television today, in terms of what it's trying to achieve. So many words have been written about this show's ability to twist the viewer's expectations. I'm hesitant to write about it, because I don't want to ruin a second of it for anyone who missed it the first time. But, this show gets in your head because it feels so real. All of the situations are simply metaphors for that which is going on all around us.

I'll likely write about the show again when it feels fresh, when there are new episodes. Watching the miniseries after following the show through one and a half seasons is like watching a history lesson. As I watch the dead bodies spread all across the floor of the Galactica, it reminds me of the fact that we are in this very odd war, at a time when it looks like the world is set to end at any minute. Hurricanes keep getting bigger. People turn on each other every day. And tragedy can strike us at any minute.

I've started this blog because I want to have a place where I can explore what's going on around me. As I said in the introductory post, I'm not going to be political, I'm not going to talk about elected officials, and I'm not going to talk policy. This is where I kick back at the end of the night, and force myself to write something down about what happened. I've turned away from journaling in the last year, as I prepared for the birth of a new child. I could write volumes about how words can get you in trouble.

But I don't want to do that this time. This time, I'm going to talk about what I see in other pieces of pop culture. The season premiere of South Park is on now, and I have to say, we're living in an age of amazing satire. Did it offend people? It's all about hysteria and panicking, satirizing events of the recent past. It's funny, but I don't know if it actually says anything. Does comedy have to say anything? Does drama? What does it mean to "say"? I have art critic friends who I don't understand, because it seems they're looking at the world through only one eyes. I posit we're flies, with composite eyes, and to really see the world, we need to come up with new ways to focus on all of the complexities that shape our existence.

I'm going to end to write a lot of text. There won't be many pictures. There will be links to music files that don't make much sense to many people except for me. But yes, I'll write a lot of text, and no, much of it won't make sense. But hey, this is free, man!

10/19/2005

Announcing the Garden Variety Show

So, why this title? Why this name? Why another blog? Aren't there enough to go round as it is? Who would read this? Who will cite this? So many questions about intent, and I don't have time to truly answer them.

All I know is that I am possibly the 3,445,320,043 oldest person in the world. How do we wrestle with identity in a world where it's all been done before? My answer: We simply go ahead and do the things we have to do to to make our mark in the world. We talk about the things we like, we post links to our favorite things. As I continue through my 13th year on the Internet, I'm making a career out of the whole webbiness of our computers.

And so, I've decided to create this blog to provide a way for me to tell people about what I'm watching, what I'm reading, what I think about what happens. Of course, because I'm a journalist, I'll steer away from anything political. I'll steer away from the controversial, at least as it affects by business. I've got the Charlottesville Podcasting Network and other various sites to be my professional presence in the blogosphere, on the Web. This is me time.

This is actually my second public journal. My first was called Codpiece, and was public from March of 1998 to January of 2000. This covered the time I spent working in Georgetown through the time I spent in Calgary. I stopped it for various reasons I won't get into today, but I wonder what would have happened had I kept it live through until now. I penned several Livejournals for a while, but I kept those anonymous. Halfway through the Codpiece experience, I changed all the names to allay the skittish fears of my girlfriend at the time.

But, this is different. This is about having fun in Charlottesville, starting a business, beginning a family, tending bar at Court Square Tavern, filing stories for Virginia public radio, and who knows what else? It's also very much an experiment. And hopefully, an encouragement to others to blog their lives - not to project an ego, but to simply connect to others.

So welcome, and let's all place our bets.