Monday, August 31, 2009

Dating in the Facebook Era

I've only been on the Facebook since sometime last fall, and I've only been de-coupled since around mid-May. So I'd never had the experience of dating anyone I was connected to via social networking. (The old gf refused to join -- she had no interest in her old acquaintances seeing, as she would often remind me, the wholly unsatisfactory state of her life, career, relationships, etc. That was always a shot in the arm.)

Anyway, a couple of months ago I dated a woman who happened to be a Facebook friend. She's also involved in the arts, so we have a bit of an overlapping social circle. When I changed my relationship status to "single" we suddenly began communicating online. (Which is a nice thing about Facebook, actually -- it does make some things easier.)

One thing led to another and we went out a few times. It was fun for a while and then suddenly it stopped for no really clear reason, as sometimes happens in real life. Unlike real life, however, in which we would, at most, occasionally run into each other at social events, on Facebook we were still "friends." So we both continued to be privy to the everyday details of each others' lives. What we were doing and who we were doing it with, etc., etc. A total mindfuck.

I sure thought it was odd. Maybe I was the only one. But in any case it occurred to me after a few weeks to simply de-friend her. Which I did. Problem solved. I have no idea what the etiquette in such a situation is, but in the decade or so in which I've been online I've generally tried to pattern my Internet behavior after my IRL behavior. Not everyone does that (see Internet bullies, trolls, etc.), but it's been my general operating procedure and so that's why I de-friended her. I mean, really, do people just go on being "in" each others' lives just because they're connected online? Weird.

On the flip side, I met someone a few weeks ago and we started going out. We were not, and still are not, Facebook friends. Maybe we will be at some point (probably after we break up!), but right now I think I'd like to just get to know her the old-fashioned way. She doesn't need to know my 38 favorite movies right off the bat and I don't necessarily need to "meet" all of her friends and family just yet.

We're gonna just make like the Eagles, and take it easy.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sorrow

Photos are very deceptive. They catch just a glimpse. At this point we don't know if Victoria Kennedy is just exhausted, or disappointed over the rainy weather, annoyed at a minor dropped detail, or if, just for a fraction of a second she let her true feelings come out.

When my mom buried her father she was a rock just about the entire time. But when we got into the church and they started to lead the coffin down the aisle she broke, just a bit, for the first and only time.

What a wonderful day of memorial for an incredible man. I was especially touched by Teddy Jr's eulogy. Just beautiful. Touching, heartbreaking and inspirational. And funny -- a little bit of Al Franken in him, if I'm not mistaken. I want to know more about him and his work.

For all of Teddy's accomplishments and status, what really came through today was the only thing that really matters in the end. He was loved, and beloved, deeply, by family, friends and others. Because he gave it, apparently, fully and freely.

"I know you can do it. There is nothing you can't do." What a thing to have that kind of love and support in your life.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Persistence

Almost six years ago I did a staged reading of a screenplay. It was, I think, my second stage acting role ever. I had to actually go back into my files to find the info as it pre-dates my online history.

It was a cool idea -- giving screenwriters the opportunity that playwrights routinely get, to hear (and, to an extent, see) their words acted out in front of them and a real audience and get feedback.

Over the next few years I did a number of readings with this group. And of all those readings, this writer/director seemed to really have his act together -- at least from a production standpoint. I had to say I found the script a little, um ... what's the word? A bit contrived in places?

But I recall at the talkback session he spoke very confidently of his budgetary needs, his plans, the investors he was lining up, etc., etc., etc. And now, six years later his film is actually opening in actual theaters across the actual country!

Unfortunately it's being almost uniformly panned. Roger Ebert and lots of others just really ripped it.

Nevertheless, like I said, it's actually playing in theaters. Not just one showing for one night in some stinky art house cinema at some local film fest. The thing's actually been distributed.

It just goes to show that an undaunted belief in yourself can take you a very, very long way in this business. Now I don't know what this debut will do for his future as a filmmaker, but if he never does another thing he's already gone a hell of a lot further than 99.5% of screenwriters (or "screenwriters") out there.

A lot of writers (including me), do so much self editing that it's self-limiting -- always finding something in the plot or characters or dialogue that's wrong and that stops a project in its tracks. Sometimes you've gotta shut off that inner voice and just do it. Beyond all the unwritten stuff bouncing around in peoples' heads, imagine all the truly great finished product that's out there, just languishing in boxes and drawers for want of someone with the ambition and resourcefulness of this guy.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Productivity

I am at my most productive when I'm avoiding a more important priority.

Like the five minutes before I'm supposed to leave to get to a meeting or audition on time. I get a crazy amount done then, often taking it to several minutes past the time I'm supposed to leave. Because getting somewhere early is a total waste of time, and if you don't have that gut-wrenching feeling on the bus or the el, watching the clock and willing the train or bus forward and absolutely agonizing when the dude in the wheelchair gets on ... well then, it's just not a commute.

It also happens when I have tasks on my to-do list I don't want to tackle. My to-do list has three columns: work-work, performance stuff, and life stuff. Today I doubled the number of tasks in the life-stuff category, getting most of the additions done, but at the expense of the original items.

Suddenly this morning it became inexplicably urgent that I rotate my mattress and wash all the dust-mite covers (which allegedly keep allergens in the mattress and pillows at bay). Well, I guess it was somewhat explicable. My allergies have been bad this summer and I was just at the doctor this week, so I guess that's where that comes from. But it's crazy how when these ideas pop into my head they become so massively urgent.

Sure, it does make you feel productive -- at least in the short-term. But at the end of the day there are still those niggling unchecked tasks staring back at you. And likely to reappear on next week's list ...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ted


I love this photo. It was on the Trib's website this afternoon. I can't recall ever having noticed that sculpture outside the Capitol, but it really does say it all today, doesn't it?

Well not all, I suppose, since I feel compelled to add my two cents. It's interesting that with public figures and close family members alike, we don't really fully appreciate them while they're here. So I've enjoyed reading and watching the coverage today. CNN just aired the recent HBO documentary, "Teddy: In His Own Words," and it was mostly excellent.

And I like this piece, especially David Brooks' part. He's a conservative, but something has been happening with him lately. Maybe teaming with Gail Collins is bringing out his softer side. Or perhaps, hopefully, he's just absolutely chagrined and mortified by the Palinization of his party.

Anyway, I have nothing to add to what more insightful people have already said, but I do have a few observations. Things I remember and things I never knew.

Like I had no idea he was a standout athlete in prep school and college. I mean, obviously, his physique in the past couple of decades only hints at that. But he was 6' 2" and 200 lbs. in his prime! The Green Bay Packers even made an overture to him after graduation. So I didn't know that.

I also didn't know about his near-fatal plane crash. The footage of him campaigning from a hospital bed for the 1964 Senate run was fascinating. I guess he endured lifelong back pain, just like his oldest brother John. And I didn't know that among the three brothers he was known as the most gregarious one. And I didn't really piece together just how much of an impact he had over his five decades of public service, but his fingerprints were on just about every advancement of civil rights, education and health care.

Things I do recall ... when I was a kid I remember another kid around my age (his son) losing a leg to cancer. I remember watching, live, the infamous and disastrous Roger Mudd interview in which he couldn't articulate why he wanted to be president. And I remember him at the '80 convention -- his defiant speech and his refusal to raise arms with Carter in victory. He was much-criticized for that, but I recall giving him credit for his integrity. (But then, I've always been kind of spiteful myself.)

I remember once seeing him hop out of a black SUV on Capitol Hill -- his broad back and shock of white hair. And his remarks at a ceremony at Arlington Cemetery honoring Bobby -- an anniversary of either his death or birth back in the late '80s which I feel lucky to have attended.

And I remember his testimony at his nephew's trial, and what a dignified and sympathetic figure he was. I recall especially where he recounted meeting the young women at the bar. He introduced himself and one of them sorta sneered, "Is that supposed to impress me?" Such a nasty and embarrassing thing! And on the stand he was a total gentleman, just saying that at that point the conversation had become unpleasant, so he turned to talk with his nephew. It's interesting that that was a sort of turning point in his life -- a transition to a more stable lifestyle.

Okay, time for Sam and Diane's take on ABC. Sadly, these great figures make me feel excessively lazy and unworthy. Though it's sobering to see how the youngest can advance (albeit, via tragedy) to patriarch status in a family. Should be a lesson in there somewhere.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Money for nothing


Okay, not nothing, exactly. But it looks like I'll be getting another check for that shoot I did three years ago, which is nice and unexpected.

I guess they'll be using the shot above, instead of the one that ran the other day. I just stop asking questions about this stuff at a certain point. You could spend hours upon hours, stretching into weeks, trying to figure all this stuff out, till you get to the point where you're hunting a gnat with an elephant gun.

If it was big, giant money I'd get more involved, but at some point you just have to leave this in the hands of the people who are paid to know all this.

Anyway, I think I look angry up there. And big. Big and angry.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Don't let it get away ...

Beautiful Day
Lakefront, Sunday morning

I had some good people time this weekend. Lots of activity. Multiple bars and restaurants and a streetfest and good company and such. But Sunday I had to save just for me.

Up at 7:30 am sharp. excited to start. Read the Sunday paper. Went to the corner diner to have my one and only truly indulgent breakfast of the week (my usual: French Toast Special -- scrambled eggs, bacon and, duh, French Toast), outside, of course. Then over to the lake to sit in the sun and read some more -- newspaper, Internet, book.

Then Pilates class with my favorite instructor. Then way, way up on the North side to a street fest I hadn't been to before, where I saw a cool band I'd never heard of called Elephant Gun. I don't even mind going to these alone sometimes. Every time I do I run into people I know anyway, and today was no different.

Then back to the 'hood to my corner tea shop to sit and read (outside, of course). And finally back home to have my favorite pizza (Chicago Homemade) and watch Mad Men.

What could possibly be better, you ask? Answer: nothing.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Trouble in the hood

We've had multiple break-ins in the complex where I live. Part of it is management indifference, part of it is the construction site next door (which allows unfettered access to our property without the nuisance of a working fence or gate), and part of it is the same gang of people have figured out that we're a pretty easy mark.

Other parts? This neighborhood happens to be where the cool stuff is that criminals like to steal and sell, and the ol' economic meltdown is making people desperate all over, from the crackheads to the suburban couples over their heads in second and third mortgages.

But even the cops we've talked to have found the recent escalation pretty alarming. I mean, when the bad guys start stabbing dogs to death, then it's getting pretty damned serious. This was right across the courtyard from me. I saw the blue flashing police lights through my bedroom window, but didn't bother checking it out -- that's not such an unusual thing around these parts.

Anyway, the neighbors have been getting together and pressuring management to do more to secure things around here. I feel fairly good about my set-up and the measures I (and they) have taken since my place was hit back on the Ides of March '08, but I know there's more that should be done for the area in general.

One thing I've come to realize from all this is how disconnected I am from most of my neighbors. I'm totally out of the loop. When I'm in my apartment, I'm in it. When I'm leaving, I'm on my way to an appointment (and I don't build serendipitous chit-chat time into my schedule). And when I'm coming back, well, I've usually got stuff waiting for me to do inside.

In fact, the people who are really hooked in are the dog owners. They spend a lot of time in the courtyard meeting and chatting while their dogs run about. So I'm trying to network in the way I know best -- I've set up a message board for us.

I'm not TOO worried, but it's definitely on my mind. The other night my back door alarm went off. It could have been someone just accidentally bumping it, but that's never happened since I installed it and it kinda scared the bejeezus out of me.

But other than that, I feel safer in my home than I do out on the streets. Which seems to also be a bit of a problem lately.

Ah, well. Still wouldn't live anywhere else. Well, no other neighborhood, at least.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hey cart! Look behind you!


So funny. Not, actually.

Just as I was talking the other day about the print ad running again, my agent mentions that, what do you know, they're interested in running it again and are negotiating terms. Oh really, I say. It was just in the RedEye the other day. Which is news to her.

Ironic, as I was just talking about this other thing yesterday, and how, you know, this whole "fair use" thing tends to get messy sometimes.

Vigilance! I will be looking extra, extra hard at the terms of the release before we do the re-shoot.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What goes 'round, comes 'round

A few years ago I shot this industrial that ended up being used as a commercial, which is highly verboten. There were all kinds of factors that led to it -- poor communication and people leaving the various agencies and companies between me and the end-client, etc., etc., yada-yada-yada. Further complicating things is that people who depend on a company for business can be reluctant to tick those people off.

Anyway, I went through a ton of back and forth, and even consulted a lawyer, at great risk to my agent relationship. In the end it involved a balancing of reward and risk, ultimate compensation versus cost of winning it, principle and pragmatism. So we got a little extra paycheck and that was something. A little something.

But now, they're calling us back in -- the same actors -- to shoot an updated version. The pay this time around is much better and everyone will be making sure all our Ts are crossed and Is are dotted.

So justice does sometimes come, even if it takes a little while. And it wouldn't have come at all if I'd completely blown up this bridge. So there's our lesson for the day.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Back to school


It's that time of year, and it looks like the DePaul campaign is running again. And now it's in LIVING COLOR.

I found out about it at the gym. Several of the girls at the front desk were looking at it in the RedEye when I came in. They were debating whether I was a DePaul professor or student.

Which is funny. People really believe the advertising they see, even in these skeptical times.

I'd love to get an actual tearsheet of this, but have been unable to in the past. But at least the color scan is a little better quality than the old black-and-white.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Dork!

My new comp card, front and back.


My agent has been bugging me for a while to get one made up. Which I thought at first was odd. My other agents told me I didn't need it.

And, frankly, I've always kinda looked down my nose at the people at casting calls with their comp cards. "Just models -- not real actors." There was something about the full-size headshot with the resume listing bunches of theater credits and (gasp!) speaking roles that made me feel, well, superior.

Which, of course, was overcompensation to make up for my feeling of inferiority versus their towering height, sculpted physique and pretty faces.

Anyway, I'm not crazy about the "tear" one, but it's good to have on there because it looks like an actual tearsheet, which it kinda is. But for me, the duck photo saves the day. Just in case anyone was thinking I take myself too, too seriously.

Which I suppose I do. Put this provides the illusion that I don't.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

View from the not-so-cheap seats


I went to Wrigley last night and a world-class shellacking broke out. Of course, the moment we chose to get up and get hot dogs was the inning in which the visiting team scored EIGHT runs. I think we caught a couple on the concourse TVs, but didn't realize the immensity of the whole thing 'til we got back up top.

One thing I did NOT miss, however, was this douchebag tossing a VERY full beer onto the Phillies' center fielder just as he was snagging a long, deep fly.


It made it really hard to care about the outcome from that point. This is the time when I'd normally be likely to drown my own self in beer. But I went in last night with the intention of keeping it together. I'm not 25 anymore, and the old "one beer per inning" limit is getting kind of untenable (especially when those beers are 16 ouncers).

And not that my enormous self-control and maturity weren't enough, but it did help, I suppose, that I was seated smack in the middle of a long, long row.

Big me.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Okay, NOW it's done.


So yeah, a month ago I said the website was finally done, with the addition of video and a better photo interface.

But I guess it wasn't quite, quite done. The last (or latest) thing nagging at me was my lame "Samples," page, which is now SO much improved I've dubbed it my Portfolio page.

I've added a bunch of projects to better demonstrate the range of work I do. And it's more visual and interactive, which (I hope) makes it a better, more compelling read.

Really what the whole site is is an extended, electronic resume. As I'm out there making contacts and marketing myself, this site pretty much tells my whole story. People can scan it for a quick glimpse and (if they're really nuts) dive right in and plumb the depths of my career(s) and background.

I honestly can't think of another thing. Well, a couple of things perhaps, but I don't think technology or my web host are quite there yet ...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Bates Hospital


Patients check in, but they never check out!

Had the perfect shoot today. Late call (10:30 am), early release (1:30 pm), and right in the neighborhood. The only thing that could have made it better would be really great pay. But it was only decent pay. About standard for an industrial.

But one thing that was kinda cool is that we shot it inside an old, vacant hospital. Lincoln Park Hospital, which google now tells me closed last fall. The fact that they apparently couldn't find a buyer explains the state it was in. On the one hand, super disheveled -- open lockers and cabinets, lab coats and supplies scattered on the floor, wires hanging from missing fixtures.


Apparently there was an auction, but not everything got unloaded. There was lots of random stuff left -- beds, chairs, tables, equipment, supplies, even TVs still bolted to the ceilings in patient rooms.


At the main desk were stacks of Admitting and other forms neatly stowed in trays. I kept half-expecting to find a lit cigarette in an ashtray or coffee brewing on a burner. Like an old Twilight Zone episode.

(Also like the Twilight Zone, it appears the place hadn't been remodeled since the '50s and closed several decades past its prime. It's amazing the made it look okay on film -- we were not, as Facebook friends guessed, shooting a horror film.)

The spookiest part was the elevator with no lights. Thank goodness for the iPhone flashlight app. (And the fact that it seems 7 out of 10 actors and crew people in the business use iPhones.)

Check that. The spookiest thing was this dismembered CPR baby:



Obviously a victim of Obama's death panels. Rest easy, slugger -- your pain is over now.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Check your cynicism at the door


My second girlfriend out of college introduced me to the world of alternative music. I wasn't completely in the tank commercially at the time. My favorites were Pretenders, Elvis Costello, Talking Heads, Blondie. And I did like some of the new stuff by that gal Madonna. So not completely mainstream, but not exactly avante garde either.

But this girl introduced me to bands like the Replacements, Hoodoo Gurus, the Smiths, the Cure, the Squeeze (before most people had ever heard of them). The relationship only lasted about a year, but she set me on a path of discovering and keeping up with new music, leading me to bands like the Smoking Popes, Too Much Joy, Gin Blossoms, Goo Goo Dolls, Cracker, Green Day (again, before most had heard of them), and dozens of acts I forget now.

One of the first bands I found on my own was 10,000 Maniacs. (That's the actual album there, from my collection.) I loved Natalie Merchant's voice. And it seemed she sang about things that nobody else was talking about -- or at least not in the way she did. I saw them twice in DC in the late '80s or early '90s.

Later on Natalie left and was replaced by Mary Ramsey. I bought that first CD of theirs (which had the great remake of More Than This), but didn't follow them through their many permutations since and never saw them live again. Until last night.

They were playing a local streetfest. And at first I was thinking this was a little sad. And as a sparse crowd stood a respectful distance from the stage, it seemed none of us knew quite what to expect. But when they came out and launched into old hits like "Hey, Jack Kerouac" and "What's the Matter Here," all skepticism and cynicism melted away. The crowd grew, and grew closer, as the night went on.

I had never heard Mary sing Natalie's songs. And while Natalie's one of the most beautiful singers there is, Mary did a very, very nice job. And the band was very tight, playing all their old hits faithfully and with energy and fun. It was a great night to be outside enjoying the weather and the music.

They finished their set, played a couple of encores and thanked us. Afterwards they were milling around, talking to fans and I went up to one of the guys, one of the originals, and thanked HIM. I mean, they didn't have to come to our little streetfest. Or maybe they did. But they sure didn't act and play like it. Some friends and I were talking afterwards, saying what an amazing job it would be to make and perform music like that. If I had the talent, I'd do it for any amount of money.

So thank you again, Maniacs. And thank you, too, Kara.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Just when I thought I was out ...

I managed to get back in on the Harris action after all. They called me in as an extra and we did the shoot last night.

I stopped doing extra work for the most part, but this job had several things going for it. First, I thought it was nice of them to call me in. Obviously they couldn't really use me again as a principal in a fresh set of spots, but I was happy to do background. Second, it's SAG pay, which is two or three times better than standard extra pay. Third, it was happening on a Friday night, so it wouldn't interfere with work or auditions. And, sadly, I didn't really have anything else planned.

It was a ridiculously easy shoot. Just a few hours. They'd been shooting for four days, including one earlier in the day where they had TWO HUNDRED extras. One of the guys was really funny. There were about 15 of us and he said, "Welcome, have a seat here and wait and stay out of the way because, frankly, we're really sick of you guys today." So they were more eager than anyone to get this shoot done, and done fast.

I think I'll be virtually invisible in this one, but I'm thankful at least that I wasn't in the crowd with the 200.

And I imagine the clock is ticking on my own spot. Probably just a few more weeks before it's pulled. But I guess it's good to know that at least these first two spots were pretty successful since they decided to extend the campaign.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Ethics Schmethics?

Today I said okay to an audition. The details, as is customary, were vague. At 6 pm I got the breakdown and script.

The first thing that struck me was the rate. Pretty damned low.

The second thing that struck knocked me over and busted my head in was the script.

It's an anti-health care reform ad!

Fuck that noise! I called and canceled. I do have my limits. I've auditioned for Big Tobacco and Big Oil and Big Box Stores, but there is no way, no how, under any circumstance that I would do work for these people. Especially given the lies/hysterical scare tactics in the script I saw.

And I would like to think that the decision would have been just as immediate and just as easy if the pay wasn't so crappy. I'd LIKE to think that.

Actually, as I think about it, there's really no way I could do the ad. Hell, my former boss is running for the U.S. Senate right now. I hadn't thought about that, but it makes it doubly-triply wrong.

Bleh. Bath time.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Scheduling

I obsess all the time when I get business meetings scheduled that they're going to interfere with auditions. And yet, it almost always works out.

But the next couple of weeks will be the test. I have multiple meetings scheduled out in the northern 'burbs. Worst of all, they're smack in the middle of the day. High noon. Meaning I'm out of commission basically from around 10:30 to 3, which doesn't leave much day for anything else.

Unfortunately, there's no way around it. This is the only time these guys (they're physicians) are available. I guess there is one way around it. The phone. I'm a big believer in the miracle of early 20th century telephone technology. But I suppose there's something to be said for face-to-face.

But man, if I never had to set tire rubber on the Edens again, I'd be a happy, happy man ...

Monday, August 03, 2009

What is happiness?

I used to have a quote on my old website from Sigmund Freud:
One day in retrospect the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.
That was my hope anyway. And in some ways it's true. I think when you're living a little close to the bone, everything it a bit heightened.

There was a great article in today's NYT that reminded me of that old quote. It's about happiness, basically -- how and where we find it in our lives. A couple of things really jumped out at me. In talking about a time in Mexico after a bad break-up, he says:
The fresh heartbreak was, in a sense, like being in a foreign country; everything seemed alien, brilliant and glinting. It was as if I’d been flayed, so that even the air hurt. When you’re that unhappy, any glimmer of beauty or consolation feels like running into an old friend abroad, or seeing mountaintops through smog.
There is something to that raw feeling of heartbreak. You're like an exposed nerve -- everything is felt more strongly. Also, some of my happiest times have been on vacations. I used to say, "I'm always happiest when I'm somewhere else." The newness, the freshness, the surprise.

And often my most interesting and memorable days are the first ones. Especially overseas. There's something about the haze of jetlag. You haven't really slept, first of all. You're thousands of miles away from where you were just a handful of hours ago. Often in a totally foreign place where they don't even speak your language. Those first days always have a sort of magical, mystical feel to them.

What it comes down to, he says, is this:
Maybe we mistakenly think we want “happiness,” which we tend to picture in very vague, soft-focus terms, when what we really crave is the harder-edged intensity of experience.
It's true -- my happiest moments are usually when I'm busiest. Focused, purposeful, engaged, involved.

Finally, he uses an excellent metaphor I've had stored in my senses for the longest time, waiting for the right outlet -- a story or a play or even an executive speech or just a lesson I might spout in a meeting or conversation. It's this visual phenomenon that you notice most when looking at the stars. We have a sort of "dead spot" at the dead center of our eye. On our lens or something. But I remember it from astronomy classes in college. If you want to see the faint cloud of the Pleiades star cluster, for instance, you can't look at it straight on. You have to move your gaze a bit to the edge before it becomes clear.

Anyway, I always thought that would make a great metaphor for something, like the thing we want or need isn't always the thing we have our mind set on. But this guy puts it best:
I suspect there is something inherently misguided and self-defeating and hopeless about any deliberate campaign to achieve happiness. Perhaps the reason we so often experience happiness only in hindsight, and that chasing it is such a fool’s errand, is that happiness isn’t a goal in itself but is only an aftereffect. It’s the consequence of having lived in the way that we’re supposed to — by which I don’t mean ethically correctly so much as just consciously, fully engaged in the business of living. In this respect it resembles averted vision, a phenomena familiar to backyard astronomers whereby, in order to pick out a very faint star, you have to let your gaze drift casually to the space just next to it; if you look directly at it, it vanishes. And it’s also true, come to think of it, that the only stars we ever see are not the “real” stars, those cataclysms taking place in the present, but always only the light of the untouchable past.
Sort of a twist on what John Lennon said:
Live is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.
There's certainly a time and place for reflection and for pulling away and even stewing and wallowing. But things always seem to happen for me when I just get out there and engage myself. In whatever it is -- work, play, other.

Just do it.

Case in point

Continuing the Mac vs. PC debate with myself ... I do have Microsoft Office loaded onto my Mac. Apple has programs compatible to Word and PowerPoint and Excel, but you have to convert them before sharing with PC users, blah, blah, blah. So I sprang for the Microsoft suite.

When any of my Apple software requires updating -- like iTunes or Safari or OSX, it prompts me for my password, I hit hard return and it just goes and loads the update.

When the Microsoft stuff needs updating it's always no fewer than a dozen clicks and prompts and check boxes and menus and confirmations. Apple just seems to intuit that, yes, I want to load this software on my hard drive and, yes, since I'm replacing existing software it's very likely that I have the room on my computer for it, etc., etc., etc.

So yeah, PCs suck.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

My first Mac complaint

A couple of weeks from now marks 18 months since I switched over to the Mac, and I've never looked back. Unlike my years with Dell/Windows, I actually view my MacBook positively. I don't get angry at it. I haven't punched the screen out like I did with one of the Dells (idiot!). It actually helps me get things done instead of always being an obstacle.

Only two things have broken on it -- the screen and the trackpad. Both were covered by my service contract and both were fixed within hours.

The only negative I've found so far is the battery. I just got a new one today, and I had to shell out the $129 myself. Supposedly the batteries only go for about 300 charges, and once mine crossed that threshold, performance dropped like a rock. From an hour down to less than a half-hour in just a few weeks.

So I'm looking forward to being able to unplug for several hours at a time again, but it seems crazy that I've had to replace the battery so soon. The support dude says that, officially they're regarded as "desktop notebooks," as opposed to "mobile laptops." They do understand that, naturally, people are going to unplug it and take it with them, but they recommend that I use the AC adaptor anytime I can.

I'd like this computer to last a full four years (if I can possibly resist the lure of ongoing redesigns). So that means 10 charges a month, max. I guess I was doing close to 20 before.

Supposedly they (you know, "they") are working somewhere on wireless power. Now THAT will be awesome -- getting AC power over the air, just like Internet via wi-fi!