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Wednesday, July 09, 2008
NPR saves you money
I did a segment on NPR yesterday related to the coupons story from a few weeks back. You can hear it online.
Usually if it's not breaking news related to tech, I never know when these things will air after they're recorded, but this one was on the air hours after I was in the studio yesterday. And it was online about an hour or two after that, neatly edited with all of my "Ummms" and stumbles edited out. Those guys are pros!
The person I usually deal with at "All Things Considered" told me that they're adding a regular tech segment to the broadcast (they mentioned it on the radio broadcast). I'm hoping I'll be doing more segments like this for them.
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Will Smith power
Awesome YouTube comment posted on our Hancock video:
"hancock was fucking awesome, you don't know what you are talking about!"
Sunday, July 06, 2008
Two fairly big things happened this weekend, and one of them was probably only big for me because it relieved an itch I'd been feeling for so long.
We went to the movies to see Wall-E (which I loved; I (heart) it. I can't lie. It may be this generation's E.T..). We've had several movies we planned to see over the summer, but for whatever reason, every weekend we just end up not going. We let Iron Man and Indiana Jones and many others slip by. If I'm being honest, I have to tell you that the last movie we saw in a movie theater was There Will Be Blood. It's been a while.
It looked like we were going to be thwarted again -- we were running late and I figured the movie would be sold out by the time we got there, but I pressed on, adamant that we were going to see the damned movie. We were going to be charmed, DAMMIT! Bring on the apocalyptic cute!
We get there and all seemed well. I picked a row for us mid-left and made sure nobody was going to sit behind us. Then, mid-way through the previews, a family of four sat in that empty row. I was directly in front of a boy who might have been about six or seven.
The kid starts talking. A lot. I didn't give anybody a dirty look or sigh or do any of the passive-aggressive movie theater signals because
Fair enough. But before Wall-E starts, during the brilliant short that precedes it, the kid wouldn't let up. "That rabbit wants a carrot, huh Dad?" he asks. "His hand is in the HAT!" That sort of thing.
- It's still just the previews. Am I gonna miss something major in the crapalicious trailer for Bolt?
- The kid sounded harmless and was genuinely engaged with what was going on up on that screen. He was saying things like, "That's a mean dog, huh, dad?"
- I have a kid of my own now and I don't want to bring bad karma on my family. I don't have to guess: I know she's going to be a chatterbox. I was a chatterbox growing up. I know that when you go see an animated movie geared to kids, you have to make some allowances for kids being kids. I was going to let it pass.
What stunned me, though, was that the parents weren't shushing the kid or saying, "OK, that's nice, but let's watch the movie" or anything like that. The parents were encouraging the kid to ask questions and pretend this was his living room. "Oh really?" the Dad would say, or, "What? I didn't hear you," prompting the kid to repeat his proclamations even more loudly. Then the dad started making comments, too, and I started to lose my shit.
In my mind, I was already composing the Twitter message I wish I could send at that moment: "It's a movie theater. SHUT. THE. FUCK. UP."
"Presto," the short, is so antic and funny that I could almost tune them out. I tried.
But then Wall-E starts and the first 10 minutes are so quiet and elegant and magical that the kids' increasingly frequent declarations ("He must be lonely, huh, dad?" and "He squishes trash!") were making me nuts. I gave the half-look-around. I slumped forward and sighed. Finally, Rebecca, sensing my distress, leaned over and asked if I wanted to move. I did. We sat two rows up and didn't hear another word the whole rest of the movie. The relatives we were sitting with later told us that one of the parents told the kid, "We have to be quiet now so we don't bother other people."
Yeah. Please do that. Thanks a fucking lot.
But what really bothered me is that I have no idea how I'm going to deal with that when the time comes for me to try to contain a chatty child in a crowded movie theater. Will Lilly be better behaved than that? I even get mortified if a person I go to the movies with asks me a question too loudly. Will I be able to contain myself and not pull my kid right out of the theater when that happens? I see some challenging times ahead.
The other big thing: we've kicked Lilly out.
She's just a few weeks away from her birthday and things are starting to come to their natural ends. We're taking her off nursing at the one-year mark. She's given up some foods she used to love in favor of others. And she's left a lot of her infant clothes long behind.
Now, she's moved into her own room. Rebecca had decided it was time and I didn't argue. But, inside, I was sad that one of my favorite things in the world was coming to an end. When she wakes up, Lilly now grabs the bars of the crib and stands up. Sometimes I wake up as she's crying or whining and she's just staring at me, looking over the big bar of the crib. It's kind of an awesome way to wake up.
Also, I love not having to get out of bed to go grab her, but that's me being lazy.
We never really fixed up her room because we knew she was going to be in our room for about a year. Now, we were suddenly clearing things out, putting up the decorations we'd been saving, getting her changing table and crib back in order.
It's only been one night and she seemed to sleep better than usual. Maybe it's because she doesn't have to hear my rolling around restlessly or hearing noise whenever one of us gets up. Maybe she just likes having her own room.
But it's another step, another sign that she's not going to be an infant for much longer. She crawls, she stands, she demonstrates her temper, she giggles and chases the cats. She amazes me, especially when it all still feels so new that I frequently can't even believe I'm a parent.
And I can already see far enough into the future to know there'll be a time when she won't want me in her room, when she'll have more important things to do than entertain dad.
Two for the weekend
I had two Life & Arts lead stories in a row this weekend, and I'm really happy with the way they both turned out. (Having a good editor and planning way in advance helps.)
The first story ran Saturday and was a round-up of big summer video games, the blockbusters of the industry. It's called The Summer Games.
The second story I've been working on since, I think, February. It's about coworking, sort of the next generation of telecommuting and coffee shop offices for what they call "Digital nomads." I met some pretty amazing people in Austin and Houston who are trying to create spaces for highly creative freelancers and entrepreneurs. Having been through the "Telecommuting's not as awesome as it sounds" conundrum, I was really curious how people balance working outside an office with being productive and having human contact. Of course, to some people it's just whining, as evidenced by a comment left by a reader after the end of the story: "Wah! I miss human contact! Please." Ha!
There's a photo gallery as well as a video I shot that was edited by Joe Stafford. He took on the task of pulling together months of clips and turning it into a cohesive two minutes. It was definitely too big a video project for me to take on by myself.
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