Minor embarassment

September 25, 2005

Saturday, we were at a memorial service for the missus’s great uncle Oliver. It was a very nice service and well attended; he was 95 years old and I don’t think there was a bad thing to say about the man.

About three or four minutes after the memorial service started, the boy inched closer and asked to be picked up. The service was out doors and under a canopy but it was quite cold and the boy had declined a sweater. So, I reached down, picked him up and stood back up.

And smacked my head on the back of the canopy, causing it to ring like a bell.

Half the people turned to look at me while I was holding the back of my head, trying to dampen the internal ringing and not laugh at myself. Fortunately, most were smiling and the boy was able to hold still for quite a while until we had to go to the van to have a chat about what is appropriate and what is not appropriate at a funeral or memorial.

We miss you Oliver.

On Friday, I took the missus, the boy and my nephew to see a local band, Ryan Shupe and the RubberBand.

Wow.

Now, you might be thinking that it would be a bit unusual to see a great band arise from the supposed cultural province of Utah, but this is about as world class of a band as they come.

Ryan Shupe and the RubberBand

The group, fronted by Ryan Shupe, has everything that a first class performance needs – great music, well written songs, and energetic performers. If I had my CDs in front of me, I’d name the band members as well, but the missus claimed them almost immediately and they are in her vehicle for the time being. I’m planning on a midnight raid to reclaim them.

Anyway, this was the boy’s first concert. He was a bit rambunctious at first and wanted to wrestle on the grass but once the music started he was hooked. He sat rigid, swaying with the music until the break and then he’d bounce up and start pretending to be playing the music. His first air guitar… .

(Devin enjoyed it as well, but I wasn’t paying that much attention to him. Sorry Devin. Although I did notice him ‘text messaging’ his girl friend at some point during the show…)

I did giggle when, during the most energetic and loud part of the show, a cover of ‘The Devil Went Down To Georgia’,
Ryan Shupe and the RubberBand - The Devil Went Down To Georgia
the boy crawled up into the missus’s lap and fell asleep.

I played the fan boy part and got the band to sign a couple of CDs for me; they were very friendly and seemed to really enjoy chatting with the fans.

During the last three summers I’ve volunteered at the Sandy Ampitheater and it has been an annual venue for Ryan Shupe and the RubberBand. Unfortunately, since I work in concessions I only get to hear them and see them come on and off stage. This was well worth the change in perspective.

Serenity!

September 25, 2005

Thanks to a nod from a friend of mine, I’m lined up to see Serenity next Tuesday, September 27th. In case you have been under a rock for the last couple of years, here is the summary:

Joss Whedon, the Oscar® – and Emmy – nominated writer/director responsible for the worldwide television phenomena of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE, ANGEL and FIREFLY, now applies his trademark compassion and wit to a small band of galactic outcasts 500 years in the future in his feature film directorial debut, Serenity. The film centers around Captain Malcolm Reynolds, a hardened veteran (on the losing side) of a galactic civil war, who now ekes out a living pulling off small crimes and transport-for-hire aboard his ship, Serenity. He leads a small, eclectic crew who are the closest thing he has left to family –squabbling, insubordinate and undyingly loyal.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I’m getting in free for agreeing to write a review of the movie. I’m expecting to like it (okay, I’m expecting to love it) but if I don’t, I’ll tell you about it. If I do, expect fan-boy gushing. Lots of it.

Fundamentals of Journalism

September 23, 2005

Fundamentals of Journalism

It probably isn’t cool or trendy to admit it, but many bloggers have a tendency to grab a germ of fact (and, often, fiction) and write an opinion piece as if it were news. I love to read BoingBoing.net, but they seem to report rumor and hearsay just as much as they report the facts. They are entertaining, but I don’t rely on them as news.

Opinions are great. They make us what we are and shape the way we see the world.

However, sometimes it is better to report what you know or saw as fact; either as a public service or as a starting point for discussion. Lisa Williams points out that you can’t blog about an experience you don’t own (my paraphrase), which is true, but you can write about someone else’s experience and do it fairly and accurately. Above is a link to The Fundamentals of Journalism Class Schedule at the University of Arkansas. Look over the materials that are available online and just read through the first four homework assignments (It is up to you as to whether or not you do them).

There are some basics of journalism that haven’t changed, whether you are a citizen journalist or a prominent broadcast hack.

  • Who
  • What
  • Where
  • When
  • If possible, why

You don’t have to follow a traditional structure (lede, inverted pyramid, et cetera) but everything you write about should consider these items.

Now, if you are writing a creative essay about your daughter or pouring your soul onto the web, these guidelines really don’t apply. But if you have the latest CD by your favorite band or a fabulous piece of investigative work about a local councilman, start with the Five and work from there. You will find that you are more clear, more accurate and less likely to get someone upset because you misrepresented the facts.

Now go out there and find some content!

playing around…

September 20, 2005

I’ve been playing around with a PocketPC lately (in fact, I’m writing this on it now).

It definitely has its uses. This device has built-in wifi and bluetooth so I can lay on the bed and read the feeds with BlogLines. I can take notes, including audio, so expect some audio posts to come if I can figure out mp3 recording.

There are some limitations though. The built-in memory is waaaaay too small. There is a SD slot, but there should be at least 256 Megs, not 64. It holds on to memory and requires a soft boot to get it back. Battery life is poor.

Still, I find that I grab this device instead of the laptop for meetings. I even left the laptop home one day (connected to work via VPN) and it hot synced to the laptop over TCP\IP!

Oh, and the hot sync is great — I auto archive Outlook automatically so I don’t have to remember to pull stuff off.

It isn’t a laptop replacement, but it is a great accessory.

Fire on the mountain…

September 5, 2005

“Fire on the mountain, run boys run!” — Devil Went Down To Georgia, Charlie Daniels Band

The mountain behind my house is on fire tonight.

ForestFire20050905

The fire looks to be burning up the slope, which is normal, and by the time of this writing it had already burned over the ridge. My digital camera can only do a 4 second exposure so it isn’t a great shot and the lights in the foreground give a false impression of location; the fire is actually half way up the mountain, probably 5 miles from those lights.

Still, it is very pretty in the darkness. Quite surreal; it looks like a volcanic vent opened up in the middle of the night sky.

Update: Another image

ForestFire20050905A