Monday, June 28
Just reloaded my professional page RTOmedia.com with a new layout (the same one teased earlier on my personal blog) and some new content (a delicious story about pasties).
It's just an appetizer, there's still a lot more work to be done. However, I hope it's enough to get me started and keep me going.
(Not-so-)Quick note: I don't know how many people get SpikeTV, but I wholeheartedly recommend Joe Schmo 2. It's a reality show for two people -- for everyone else, it's a fake set up to mock reality programming.
I caught the first series last year and the second series with a Joe and Jane Schmo on a mock dating show has successfully raised the stakes. In short, the Jane thinks the show is rigged (which of course it is, but she's not supposed to know).
Lots of humor, lots of mockery of reality TV and it's just really well done. Check it out, and visit the TiVo Community Forum to chat with fans (sometimes the producers stop by).
Saturday, June 26
Bought a few DVDs in the past two weeks including Season 4 of The Simpsons today. Although the bargain bin at Wal-Mart can be a drought of cinema, there were two good buys that I snapped up -- The Complete Adventures of Wallace and Grommit and The Godfather.
While I was gladly paying my $5.50 for The Godfather, I thought about the fact that the special edition for the whole trilogy was around $70. Why would I pay so much considering the fact that the first movie is the best of the lot?
I know a lot of people say the second film is the best of the series. I don't. The second film seemed way too derivative of historical events for me. It's still a great movie, but not as good as the first.
And they actually should pay people to watch Godfather III, which is a pale shadow of the first flick.
So, I've got a lot of great movie watching ahead of me while I move through a pile of newspaper clippings tomorrow.
Tuesday, June 22
After only having my TiVo Digital Video Recorder for about two weeks, I've managed to break the darn thing. I swear it wasn't my fault -- I was watching a classic episode of X-Play when the screen froze. It could've been a momentary hiccup, but it turned out to be alot more.
After a few minutes, the unit was pretty much non-responsive to the remote control. Restarting the beast, which previously solved the TiVo's ailments, didn't work despite my repeated efforts. Instead of the infamous "Blue Screen of Death" that haunted old PCs, I was struck with the Grey Screen -- a cheery greeting saying that television goodness was just around the corner but perpetually frozen.
In the back of my mind, I was cursing my eternal cheapness (the unit was factory refurbished), and that TiVo was going to have to send me a replacement unit.
Although the phone call to technical support was long -- I was waiting for at least 45 minutes -- the people on the other end of the phone were very professional. I was also struck by how devoted TiVo fans they seemed to be -- the first woman Sandy mentioned how she couldn't live without her TiVo and soap operas. The technician mentioned how he has four units (three were refurbs coincidentally).
While I think the TiVo is very nice, it's really just a more convenient way of watching TV. I like the fact that TiVo automatically recorded my favorite shows all the time, but it's just TV nonetheless.
In the end, TiVo is going to have to send me a new unit (which should be here soon). As my abbreviated love affair with TiVo is about to resume, I've learned some interesting things about my viewing habits.
Tuesday, June 15
Huzzah! For all those thinking that my professional Web site may never be done, I've got a preview of things to come:
It's still very much in development, but I think I've got the layout and the image style that I want. It's not the latest, greatest in Web design, but I think it's good enough.
My goal is to keep my pro page separate from the (not-so-very) personal Web site that you're reading right now. My official site is supposed to be "professional" whereas my blog is a little sloppy (in more ways than one). There are a few ways the sites will be interconnected -- there will likely be one or two links between the two sites and the Web design for both sites will be similar, but not identical.
For those thinking that my blog is a little too vain -- it's just a humble update of goings on in my life. I'm not trying to dazzle the world with my opinions -- I tried that my freshman year of college and the globe still spins 24/7.
When everything is all said and done, the personal page will include many more things than just my blog. Plans include adding my radio stuff, favorite links (everyone does it), photos and poetry (just kidding on that last one).
Stay tuned -- it'll be grrrrrrrrea--- better than it is now.
Tuesday, June 8
Every year at UC Davis' Picnic Day there is the Battle of Bands featuring marching/pep bands from across the state of California. One of the highlights is the performance of Beginnings by the entire group. It's a 30-minute long romp that is always fun for everyone (even for the flutes and clarinets -- we dance mostly because there isn't parts for us).
That annual event is the closest thing I can think of that compares with this:
930 saxophones playing at the same time. Jazz group The Shuffle Demons organized this world-record attempt last week in Toronto.
What's even scarier is the wallpaper:
Seeing so many saxophones is daunting. Note, I was going to make a snide joke about the dangers of combining so many egos in one place, but it seemed like a low blow.
The song they chose to play was "Canada's Second National Anthem" - the theme song to the Hockey Night in Canada telecast. Actually, they played the song on Hockey Night and it sounded surprisingly good considering that nearly 1,000 people are trying to play at the same time.
All and all, it would have been nice to have been there.
Saturday, June 5
Joshua Marshall has a brief and fitting tribute to Ronald Reagan who passed away on Saturday.
I'm not going to linger long on Reagan's death, simply on the principle that if you don't have anything nice to say you shouldn't say it at all and because my Web site hasn't dwelled on strong political opinion.
I salute the man for his passage as a human being. Yes, he was a leader of men and his dedication to defeating Communism is probably second to none. And yet I doubt his effectiveness -- in dealing with the communists and with the country as a whole. His legacy is concrete only because the conservatives have made it so.
I lived the first third of my life under the rule of Reagan, but my memories of his administration are less than fond. I believe that Reagan has long been idolized (dare I say overhyped) by those on the right for far-less-than-truthful reasons. I have no reason to dwell on the relative mediocrity of the Reagan administration especially because conservatives are more than willing to prop up his administration upon half -truths and lies. Unfortunately, the conservatives' zeal to place Reagan's name upon practically every edifice across the country won't reveal the truth about his administration.
In particular, I look upon his reputation as a fiscal manager and leader of the democratic free world. While he approved a few tax cuts, his title as a fiscal conservative is laughable when considering such expensive boondoggles as Star Wars and other worthless military build ups that we as taxpayers are still paying dividends. As a leader of democracy, Reagan's actions were often anti-democratic and contrary to U.S. policy and the causes of the free world.
Much of Reagan's legacy is hypocritical and false. Ultimately, I remember a story about his time as California's governor during political unrest at UC Berkeley. Aside from the feckless political meddling that the then-governor attempted to accomplish, during the Free Speech Movement that raged across campus, Reagan purportedly ordered the National Guard to restore order by any means necessary. The commander then ordered shotguns to be fired into the crowd regardless if they were protester or innocent bystander. The result: An innocent was caught in the crossfire and died.
Such is the example of Reagan's reckless leadership that unfortunately spanned from California to across the world.
I pray that Reagan's real legacy is remembered by future generations. My fear is that it won't.