Thursday, March 30, 2006

Turns out a Guinness with deep company isn't conducive to sleep.

Neither is adding a media experience as rich as Oblivion for the Xbox 360.

The net result being I'm a bit thinkish tonight.

I'm reminded how important to me it is that people change.

People change.

I change.

Growing (moving forward) or not (ostensibly moving backward), I change.

I don't get to stay stuck. By nature of entropy, that deterministic descent into disorder, I'm either getting better or I'm getting worse.

I'm either growing or dying. Emotionally. Physically. Spiritually. Intellectually. Growing or dying.

I rock or I suck.

I am constantly doing so much. People are amazed at how much I do. Hell, I'm amazed at how much I do. And I'm not being cocky -- I just have these constant moments of stopping to assess and having one of those Matrix/Neo/Reeves "Whoa" moments at all the pretty brands in the fire. And it's not that I'm just throwing as much as I can at the wall to see what sticks (though there's an element of that) -- it's that I have so much to do. And if I don't keep myself growing Emotionally/Physically/Spiritually/Intellectually, I'm dying. Emotionally. Physically. Spiritually. Intellectually.

I'm inspired when I hang around people who are all over figuring out their own growth, and take an active role in it.

I'm saddened by people who seem seriously stuck in some area of their life, because they're not stuck.

They're dying.

Being a human is exhausting.

My epiphany for the evening is "you haven't changed a bit!" is either pleasantry or superficiality. But it's not sincerity.
"Why ..."

this is an audio post - click to play

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Today is one of those days that makes me seriously question the company for which I work.

When it rains, it pours. It's been literally doing that all day outside, and while I love it on the natural front, on the metaphorical equivalent front ... not so much.

The last two days have been filled with people who have responsibilities not doing their jobs, and them being OK with saying, "Yeah, that should be me, but I'm not going to do it."

They've been filled with character disorder, lack of accountability, lack of foresight, like of backbone, and lack of integrity.

I do not understand how some people get promoted.

While I plan and scratch and pull and earn everything I have position-wise, other people just put in time, and are promoted to be better paid bumps on logs. I seriously don't get their value add, other people don't get their value add, and they can't tell me what they do, or how it benefits the company.

And the process!

I'm a process guy, but stupid process and human screw-ups make me crazy.

Here's one brief example. today, I've gone through like 12 re-submissions of a form for installing software in a data center. The form and process are supposed to be controls to keep bad software from going into Production, and is supposed to instill checks and balances so that any qualified person can do the installation. Here's an abbreviated version of how this played out:

THEM: Your request is rejected because you haven't included the reason for the request.

ME: That's "Reason Code" equals "CUST", which is short for "Customer requested change to system". You told me to put that.

THEM: Your request is rejected because in Section 8.1 you haven't included the service for which you're requesting the change.

ME: I list the service name on line 2 of Section 8.1.

THEM: Your request is rejected because in Section 8.1 you haven't included the impact for the change you're requesting.

ME: I list the impact (service, Customer, Environment, Application and Database) on lines 3-5 of Section 8.1.

THEM: Your request is rejected because in Section 8.2 you haven't included the server name for the change you're requesting.

ME: I list the server name on line 3 of Section 8.2. It's also on line 3 of Section 8.1.

THEM: Your request is rejected because you don't list the name of the person who tested the change you're requesting.

ME: I've include the name of the person who tested the change in the "Tested by" field.

(Ad Nauseam ...)

Seriously. Stuff like this.

All. Freaking. Day.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Do cigarette laws increase cigarette and related sales?

I've been thinking about this since attending SXSW shows.

Austin as a city -- and therefore clubs and bars in the city -- are now smoke-free. So, smokers can't puff away on cigs while rocking out -- they need to step out, smoke a quick one, miss music, and go back in.

So, do people smoke less of a cigarette, in order to get back inside to hear the music? Does this partial smoking increase their consumption, and therefore, spending?

Or maybe it decreases it, because they don't want to miss the entertainment.

But then I was at the airport, and noticed the "No cigarette lighters beyond this point" signage, and a bin for disposing of lighters. Are BiC and Zippo making a mint off of the Patriot Act? (I'm being a bit unfair, but inquiring minds want to know.)

Anyway ...

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

I saw Tim League speak as part of last night's AFS/UT Master Class.

League (below on the left, trust me), is the guy who started the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, built it into a big part of what keeps Austin weird, franshised it, and then reduced his scope to make sure he and his wife were still having fun.

Still the owner of three of the four Austin locations (Downtown at 4th and Colorado; South Lamar at Lamar Plaza; and the Village at Anderson west of Burnet), I learned a lot from League.

He was a mechanical engineer for Shell, and hated it. Passionately. He leased a theater in Bakersfield, CA, and made a go of it for two years, before devising an exit strategy, doing some research, then opening in Austin.

He's a great example of an entrepreneur, and a guy who followed his passion (movies), rather than the money. And he had a guardedly supportive extended family.

Good stuff, and some cool insight into the details of how the theatrical exhibitionist world works, and how the big dogs in the industry are really going downhill.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

SXSW update

Robert "Guided by Voices" Pollard is a showman. A charismatic, compelling

Pollard finished the Antone's/Merge Records showcase tonight with a bang of
an hour-long set. The dude's got like a million songs, and played about a
dozen -- old, current European single,and a couple from his upcoming Merge
Records album coming out Oct. 10th.

Great, great set tonight from all Merge label artists. For the Pollard and
Superchunk experience, I must say drunk people suck. Really, really suck.
Made me wish I'd packed a camera phone so I could belittle their sorry
hides for the World Wide Web to see.

But, they weren't enough to ruin the evening, or even detract from it that

SXSW update

Camera Obscura was a pleasant surprise. Clean, lilting vocals from this
Glasgow-sent band.

They have a lot of clapping in the new songs. Which is fine. Lot of
clapping, good. Lot of clap, not so much, I'm sure.

Uh, Mr. Pollard, on deck, please?

Saturday, March 18, 2006

SXSW update

Superchunk so ROCKED! These guys have gotta have at least another album in

All of their kidding about hoping to be "discovered" aside, they did at 3
or more kick-ass new songs just for SXSW, and they'd make at least an
awesome LP.

SXSW update

Ah, Essex Green does not disappoint. New stuff from the new album coming
out Tuesday.

Next: Superchunk!

SXSW update

Annie Hayden (NY, NY) also doesn't suck. And also rocks. Kind of a Liz
Phaire(ish) sound (but not content). Sweet/quirky/compelling stuff.

SXSW update

White Whale DIDN'T suck. As a matter of fact, they were slick. And had some
emotional depth. I'm looking forward to their album in September(ish).

Here's hoping next act Annie Hayden (NY, NY) also doesn't suck. And also

SXSW update

We got into Antone's, and'll probable be here the rest of the night,
wrapping up with Superchunk and Robert Pollard...

Beer me ...

SXSW update

Globlin Cock sucked. Not so much when performing, but the whole black robe druidish F-ing other word when they weren't performing thing got annoying.

So we left. Now we're at Fado for dinner.

Then we'll try to get back into Antone's for Superchunk and Robert Pollard.

SXSW Music

My brother's visiting Austin for the first time, so we're SXSWing it.

We're at Antone's, where Clap Your Hands Say Yeah just finished a solid
set, and are waiting for Globlin Cock, who I suspect will suck.

But SXSW this year is all about being surprised ...

Friday, March 17, 2006

St. Patrick's Day partying!

I started out at Fados for several hours, then found out one of my favorite yearly traditions - Pubcrawler - though on the bill, was NOT performing. So I left - but not before running into fellow agency talent Brent Smiga ("The Cassidy Kids"). Dude is talented. Now I'm at Dog and Duck Pub. Where Pubcrawler IS performing.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!
I saw jumping off bridges as part of SXSW this afternoon.

Check out my other post here.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

I went to the V for Vendetta regional premiere last night, as part of the SXSW Festival.

The movie doesn't actually open until Friday, but the studio folks were nuts about protecting this film.

It is so freaking hugely ironic that to get into a movie warning about letting ourselves get into a police state, we were subject to electronic and physical search, and all cameras, camcorders, and mobile phones had to be checked in prior to entry.

Hugely. Ironic.

I'm trying to decide if this a clever meta-hype stunt, or a potential marketing nightmare.

Check out my other blog for the write-up.

"Remember, remember, the 5th of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot;
I know of no reason,

why the gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot."

Sunday, March 12, 2006

I went to the SXSW world premiere of The Cassidy Kids, from Burnt Orange Productions, Texas's own home-grown production company, with a unique partnership with the University of Texas Film Institute.

The film was very good, with particularly strong performances from Austin talent Gabe Folse and Brent Smiga.

It's a really cool feeling to watch a film and its credits, and know so many people behind and in front of the camera. Very cool.

Even better was hanging out afterwards with acting buddy Aaron Hallaway, and biz-types Chris and Julie; those are good folk.

Today was much better than yesterday's South-by outing ...

The film portion of the South by Southwest (SXSW) Festival is well underway, and this year it's a bit slow for me.

I did go the Austin Film Society's open house at Austin Film Studios.

Kind of cool to get a bit of history on the 20-acre facility, the onsite vendors, and the potential for the space.

I was bummed the tour wasn't more inclusive of the available office space, interaction with the onsite vendors, etc.

It was also an "open house" in the negative sense of the word -- kind of a "come in, hang out, whatever" kind of shin dig, and not lot of energy or positive vibe, which was (understandably) a bit of a downer.

Plus it was like 90-degrees yesterday as we wandered around what was the tarmac of the old Austin airport.

I did run into Stephen, a student producer for whom I auditioned for a role as Batman. I'm pretty picky about student films, but this was Batman. They ended up casting based on who fit the suit, and the mean spirited side of me was happy to hear they didn't have a good experience with the actor.

Stephen and co. seemed like good folks though, and I hope cool things come out of SXSW for them.

And for me.

I'm an AFS member, which got me in to the open house, but gives me no other discounts during the festival -- not even the AFS sponsored events, which seems a little embarrassing.

I am going to try to hit The Cassidy Kids tonight. There are some real talented folks in this film, and I'm also supposed to meet "someone who knows someone" tonight.

I've been hearing that a lot lately, so whatever. If it happens, it's gravy.

Maybe see you there?

Saturday, March 11, 2006

I added a new audio clip to the "Voice" part of the site.

This is from Write of Passage, a send-up/homage to old and new classic suspense and horror flicks. This particular bit is from Scream.

Check out my video section for a separate video clip from the project, and my previous posting for the history of the whole thing:
I added a new clip to the "Videos" section of the site:

This brief snippet is from Write of Passage, a send-up/homage to old and new classic suspense and horror flicks. This particular bit is a combination of I Know What You Did Last Summer and The Birds.

History of the whole experience:

I'll get my voice clips from the "Voice session ..." on the site soon.

Friday, March 10, 2006


I picked up the "Clerks" Tenth Anniversary DVD.

I'm inspired to watch/rewatch Smith's stuff after seeing him speak on

Weird -- never thought I'd think there was something "comforting" about
watching "Clerks".

Almost "The Breakfast Club" comforting.

And the 3-disc DVD is a treasure trove o' goodies -- for fans of the film
(or Kevin Smith), or students of independent film.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

An acting buddy of mine told me he kind of likes "the new, edgier Adam."


Just because I hadn't slept for 5 days while chasing down the software/service-installation-gone-bad-from hell, wasn't combing my hair, and have been spewing profanity since I was probably overly affected from seeing Kevin Smith speak while I was seriously sleep deprived does NOT make me "the new, edgier Adam."

What the f**k?

I may have been a been a wee bit affected by the whole Kevin Smith thing.

I actually called one of my dogs a c***sucker yesterday.

He gave me a look like, "Dude, that was totally uncalled for. Besides -- I'm a dog. So it's not really an insult -- you're just jealous."

OK, maybe I'm a little edgier ...

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Kevin Smith was Monday night's guest lecturer for the AFS/UT Masters class I'm taking, and it might have been the most hilarious few hours I've spent in a long time.

Clerks Kevin Smith.

Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Jersey Girl, Clerks II Kevin Smith.

Kevin. Fucking. Smith.

(Seriously, I think that's his middle name.)

Kevin was self-deprecating, and kind of cavalier about the studio system, but he was obviously comfortable in his own skin (speaking in front of an unusually large class), and through his stories and anecdotes showed he's deceptively savvy about the business side of the Biz. And he was a forerunner in the use of the Internet for leading his films.

He said he admired Ang Lee, and what he termed "isolation flicks" -- every movie is different -- Brokeback Mountain; The Ice Storm; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and so on. And he, like most comic book fans, is pissed about The Hulk.

Complaints about Smith's movies generally center around the content -- profanity and sexual jokes. If you see his films, saw his presentation at the Independent Spirit Awards, or hear him speak, I think you realize this is not just part of shtik -- it's part of who he is. Unlike Eddie Murphey or George Carlin, who arguably used content for shock value, Smith is being himself, making movies that interest him, then his friends, if anyone else likes it, "everyone else is gravy." Not that I'm saying he's just that; people reductionism sucks.

I really like how he talked about his relationships. With his wife, his friends, his parents. I'm really into hearing about people's soft spots lately.

And we got to see a bit of Clerks II, which doesn't come out until August.

Soundbites or other things that stuck with me (WARNING: May contain poopy words):
  • (On changing a film based on test screenings and focus groups) "It's a risky proposition when you take a movie out of the filmmaker's hands and start listening to the audience."
  • (On where he gets his ideas for films) "I just take shit from my life and kind of try to make it more entertaining."
  • On dialog, he said he used conversations from life as his starting point, then throws them out, dresses them up, removes the monotone, and so on.
  • (Reading a death threat he received for Dogma) "You Jews [Smith's not Jewish] better invest all the money you stole from us and invest in flak jackets, because we're coming after you with shotguns. [Signed] 'Your Brothers in Christ'."
  • (On accusations he's going "back to the well" with Clerks II) "There's nothing that says you can't draw fresh water when you go back to the fucking well."
  • (On his public spat with Disney) "And, ultimately, I got to call Eisner a prison rapist. So it all worked out in the end."
  • In a fight between Magneto and Darth Vader, Magneto would win. And if Magneto had been on the Millenium Falcon rather than Obi Wan Kenobi, "That would have been a totally different movie."
I was seriously sleep deprived from a 4-day botched software production issue, so my social filters were a bit off. Turns out that's not good when listening to Kevin Smith.

I can't stop swearing.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Just left the AFS party

I just left the Austin Film Society party at Ringers in Austin. Sadly, our peeps didn't win.

Now, it's off to catch Ultraviolet at the theatre with buddy Hallaway ...

Friday, March 03, 2006

I've got a new project!

I've mentioned in past posts about my various projects -- seven, actually -- that are destined for at least a movie format, but also comic book and/or video game.

My mind has been racing since last weekend's shoot, and the stuff I got to work with on the green screen and 360-degree camera.

Now, inspired by specific statements and actions from people like Will Wallace, Mike Judge, Richard Linklater, and Vin Diesel, I'm starting a new project.

I'm keeping details a bit quiet, but know it's different in genre, tone, and target thatn my other seven projects. It'll be an episodic kind of thing, letting me flex my voice and writing talents, should be a lotta fun to make and experience, and have some (hopefully) clever (but not heavy handed) parody and homage.

No timeline yet, but I'm chomping at the bit to get the first "pilot" out there, and see just what I've gotten myself into.

We'll see ...
Saturday (March 4) is STAPLE! The Independent Media Expo, in Austin.

I met a lot of great independent comic and media writers, artists, and business folks at last year's inaugural expo, so I'm hoping to make it this year.

Check out the STAPLE! Website for the skinny, and I hope to see you there (in between Oscar and Independent Spirit Awards parties).