Friday, October 30, 2009

Larger than life


I went to this party last night for the ad agency I'm working with on that book project and it was pretty fun.

I only really knew the CEO, but wasn't counting on spending too much time with him since it was the agency's 10th anniversary and he had clients and employees and a lot of other people to talk to. I figured, go in, have some free food and drink, say hi and head out.

But then I kept running into people. A couple of the staffers I'd worked with. One on a print job that I originally did with the agency (which was the impetus for my getting in touch with them for marketing/communications work). Another I worked with on an industrial when she was with a different company. A couple of the agency's vendors, who I've done a couple of spots with. And then some people who I just met there and had fun talking to.

I even spent a while talking with the CEO, though half that was spent on business and the other comparing iPhone apps. At one point, one of the guys came out and said, "Hey, Rob, I found these in the printer." Giant blowups from the shoot I did with them a few years ago.

I mean these things were freakin' huge. My 8x10 headshot for scale:


I've never seen my face so big.

Anyway, the whole night reminded me of how fun the agency life can be. Lots of young, smart, super-attractive people. And funny, too. I guess they told one of their vendors it was a costume party, so they showed up as ... I'm not sure what they were supposed to be. White Harlem Globetrotters?

It's not all parties, of course. But I could go back to that. I could.

I think I'd have a really hard time having or keeping a girlfriend in that environment, but ...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Postscripts and Addenda

That law firm project I didn't get? I checked in with them, the way we used to do at the PR firm when we didn't win a pitch, and found that it was one of the three things I suspected. They picked a lawyer to do their writing. Well, someone described as a "lawyer/writer."

Again, plenty of lawyers are good writers. But I'm guessing he (or she) isn't going to break any new ground for them. And actually I've found, especially with small and medium-sized firms, that their goal is not to stand out from the rest. Rather, they want to blend in. They want to approximate the look, tone and feel of the big firms.

This is all generalization. There are big firms that do some cutting-edge stuff, for sure. I've stolen ideas from the best of them. Anyway, I'll be interested to monitor their site to see how it turns out.

That Farmer Ted audition? I got a callback. Go figure. I just felt I was so far off type, even though they weren't looking for a "typical" farmer, but a more modern, business-savvy grower. But I didn't even have the modern farmer wardrobe. No "work shirt" (whatever that is) or "denim shirt" or "light canvas jacket" or ballcap. To say nothing of my hair, my glasses, my build, etc., etc.

But I actually felt in the audition like they enjoyed what I was doing. It was all MOS (without sound), so it was just me, getting up in the morning and surveying the land with looks of pride, satisfaction, wonder, excitement, etc. The feedback I got in the room was pretty positive (which doesn't always mean anything), but I usually do pretty well with that kind of thing.

I still don't think I'll get it, but I'll go back out and give it the ol' ag-school try.

That book I'm editing? We've been moving along at a fairly decent clip, chapter by chapter. We've done a few chapters a couple of times as he's changed direction on his vision and such. Pretty normal stuff. We're a little behind -- about halfway done -- but now he's hitting a roadblock, with massive stuff happening at his firm. Good stuff, but the kind that's not so conducive to sitting down and banging out chapters.

So, to keep the project going I proposed I start taking up more of the writing. I think I can capture his style and tone pretty easily. The tricky part will be finding time to draw the substance out of his head so I can organize it and get it down on paper. Or screen.

Chug-chug-chugging along ...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Four seasons


Sometimes I miss my old view from the 33rd floor (and the 26th, and the 29th). But a view is what you make of it. And how much you can appreciate what you've got.

Winter ...


Spring ...


Summer ...


And fall ...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mini-me and me

My pal Matt got his copy of the bank spot we (sorta) did together. He was with the football coach:



Funny stuff. I like his better. Well, I like his performance better than mine.



I like the gags on mine better. But the more I see it, the more I think of things I wish I'd done differently. Little things that probably nobody else would notice. Like the way I say "this here" over and over. And "uh."

I think that's just due to the loose nature of the script. We were both ad-libbing and improvising and paraphrasing and shucking and jiving and ... anyway, we were encouraged to do all that, but what happens sometimes is the language doesn't come out as precisely or elegantly as you'd like. Also, again because of the ad-libbing, the cut to the "Titanic" line is not very smooth. That one probably only I would notice.

Oh, well. I think they got a couple of really good spots out of us. And it's nice to be on the same team. I just barely beat him out for the crazy Des Moines spot, and he was totally kicking himself. Or kicking me.

Speaking of Des Moines, they had a couple of extras there for the background. I'd assumed they were just regular ol' civilians, but this one girl said she was an actress -- and even had representation in Des Moines. Go figure! Anyway, she was surprised to learn that they went all the way to Chicago to find us instead of using local talent.

I guess that's something I take for granted when people come from Detroit and Kansas City and Louisville and Omaha and places like that to cast Chicago actors. I assume they have no actors there at all. They probably actually do, as they apparently do in Des Moines. They just don't use them for the big stuff.

Because, as I think I off-handedly answered to this Iowa actress, "we're prettier." (It was a long day.)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Once again, Farmer Ted

I had an audition last week for an agricultural product and I asked, with gritted teeth, "Am I playing a farmer?" Turns out, no, I was playing opposite the farmer. I was a gameshow host. Perfect.

But then another call just came today. Another ag product. I ask again, "Am I playing a farmer?" She said no. I'm playing a "grower." Um. Yeah, that's a farmer.

I'm going to go in there dressed like this:


Seriously, I hate the "throw a dart into a given age range" method of casting.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Inconcievable!


There are many, many better actors than I am. There are better humanitarians, better sons, better dressers, better "dating material."

But there aren't that many people who are better at business writing. I do it really, really well, and have made a successful career at it for more years than I care to count.

So I was seriously shocked to open the mail this afternoon and find a rejection letter for a job I had bid on. I didn't even make it to the interview round. Something is very fishy, and I'm in the process of figuring out what happened. My guesses are these:
  1. I was too expensive. There are people out there who charge half as much as I do. Or worse. People who come from an editorial background, as opposed to an agency background, are using old-timey budget formulas like pennies per word.
  2. They picked someone they know. That would be totally understandable.
  3. They picked a lawyer. That might also make sense (this is web copy for a law firm). There are lawyers who are excellent writers. Many are not, however. But they sometimes get picked because they offer the legal expertise, which is actually far less important than being a good writer. It does help if you're working with a firm like I did once where the partners had almost no idea what they wanted to say about themselves or what they stood for. They expected me to "make it up" -- and even suggested I go to other firms' websites and copy ideas and even language from them. Oy.
Luckily, I wasn't counting on it. And it may even be a blessing in disguise, given how the selection process went. They had me do an RFP, which I've almost never had to do. Generally, people hire me because a) they know me; b) someone whose opinion they respect knows me; or c) they see my portfolio and meet me and are duly impressed.

I think RFPs are an odd way to hire for a job like this. To me, their main function is for when things go awry and it becomes clear the wrong person has been selected for the job. The decision-makers can then hold up this piece of paper to deflect blame from their colleagues and say, "See, we followed a process -- it's right here on paper!"

We shall see what happens. I've had the experience a few time where I've been passed over for someone else and they end up coming back to me, months later, behind deadline, over budget and in a general mess.

Anyway, best of luck to them.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Unlucky shirt


I've talked before about Stripey, my lucky audition shirt. That shirt has paid for itself almost 500 times over with the gigs it's won me.

Pictured above is my unlucky audition shirt. It's so unlucky I haven't even named it. (But if I did, it would probably be Greeney.) It's so unlucky I've never gotten so much as a callback -- let alone a booking -- when I've worn it.

And yet, I just keep wearing it. Sometimes I wear it just to defy the fates. Sometimes I wear it when I don't particularly care for the role or job I'm auditioning for (like lumberjack) or when the odds seem severely stacked against me ("casting for portly, blue-collar, ethnic type").

And sometimes I wear it because, damnit, I'm convinced it's a good audition shirt. Perfect for "nice casual." Perfect for a dad around the house. It's a good color on me, it's not blue like everything else in my closet (except for the stuff that's black), it has a collar (to better disguise my pencil neck) and it's comfortable (no tuck-in required!).

This shirt should be a hell of a lot more productive than it's been. This shirt needs to earns its damned keep. So I wear it.

Sometimes, like this morning, I find it actually relaxes me a little. It lowers the stakes. Like that audition that you know is a million-to-one shot. Or when you don't get the script for some reason and you go in with almost no preparation or expectation. That whole "Ah, fuck it" sense that just makes you a little looser and more natural.

That's the theory anyway. We'll wait and see.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

APB


Reports have been coming in over the past few weeks. The 66 bus, the Brown Line, the Purple Line -- all with my smirking mug looking down on them.

I've issued a reward of beer for anyone who snaps a photo or, better yet, swipes one for me. And still, nothing.

Every time I get on a bus or train, I scan the ceiling for one of those posters. I need to get a picture of one. And a picture of me posing with one.

In the meantime, I love the idea of being kind of ubiquitous. Of being in people's face whether they want me there or not. And on the CTA, it's a totally captive audience.

Heh.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A booking too far

I was going for the trifecta. Three bookings in less than a week. Five of seven days spent shooting.

This last one was supposed to be a shoe-in. Apparently they really wanted me. I added up the dollars for the three jobs together and totally banked it (mentally). More money in a week than I made in three of the past five years acting.

Then I blew it. Or maybe I didn't blow it. Who knows? But I was up against just one other guy, so that kinda stings.

It was an odd one, though. Very last-minute, not a lot of info. And the actual "audition" was held in a corner of a hotel lobby, with various passersby and groups stopping to chat. It was very distracting, and I was more than a little self-conscious. I was supposed to be a frustrated, angry traveler, but I think I just couldn't give them everything they wanted. Not there and not also how I felt.

I got the call on the train ride home and that's when the exhaustion hit. Friday, up before 5 and driving to Milwaukee to shoot, the driving back then out and up late. Saturday errands and chores and flying to Des Moines and up late again. Sunday a long shoot day and flying back and getting in and getting settled and staying up late once again. Only to hit the door Monday morning with another audition, bookended by the other one in the afternoon, with prep time and memorizing in between.

Again, maybe it wasn't me at all. I met the other guy and maybe they just liked his look better.

On the bright side, when I got home I realized he's actually someone that another actor/businessperson contact of mine has been wanting to hook me up with, as our fields kind of overlap. And I won't have to spend the next three days shooting out at O'Hare, which is sort of a relief. I can get a little work (and sleep) done.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Is this heaven? No, it's Iowa


The Des Moines shoot went great. Good, fun, professional crew and lots of cutting up and acting silly. I can't wait to see the final product. We did so many takes and different versions of things, it's hard to say what will finally come through in the end.

And it was tons of shots. We were filling just 22 seconds of a 30-second spot and I swear they shot at least that many scenes and camera angles.

They also outfitted me in a little black suit that was at least a size or two too small, a purple shirt and purple paisley tie. And we did my hair up in a faux-hawk. We did versions with and without my "Franck" accent, but either way it'll end up the gayest thing I've ever done.

And now, off to an audition (second of the day), out at O'Hare of all places. I'm pretty much packing up everything I took to Iowa and going back out to the airport now, less than 24 hours after landing. Bleh.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Lost Weekend

The good news is I booked another job. The bad news: I fly to Iowa tonight and spend tomorrow there shooting. Bleh. (I've found Frommer's USA has no chapter on Iowa or even a page on Des Moines.)

The pay isn't extraordinary. Less than half of what I made yesterday for a four-hour shoot in Milwaukee. But it's one of those that I'm glad I got because it just felt really, really right from the very start of the audition process, and I was able to quickly get into and bring a lot to the character. (Reminds me actually of the Bank/B-ball spot I did earlier this year -- a job I wanted mainly because it was really, really fun.) This is the one from earlier in the week with the bad listener.

For the callback, which I really wasn't surprised to get, I was paired up with a friend from the Factory, so we already had a bit of a relationship and chemistry going before we entered the room. Being friends with your scene partner isn't necessary. A lot of times when you're working with someone who's very good and very open you can establish that feeling instantly.

But anyway, they loved us and took us both. I'm playing a snooty, pain in the ass store clerk (one, incidentally, who's "not physically intimidating or overly virile!"). So right up my alley. I did the character as a cross between Franck from Father of the Bride and the little tiny pixie of a man who cuts my hair.

So tomorrow should be a fun day of silliness and cutting up, even if it is in Iowa. And, again, pleasing the client, which is a total kick. Like the industrial shoot yesterday in Milwaukee. They'd booked the studio until 5 and we wrapped just past noon. They were very, very happy, and in spite of all the phlegm that the last remnants of this cold continue to spew from all orifi, I had a good time.

That's 7 days, 3 auditions, a callback and 2 bookings. And more, apparently, on tap for next week!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Stage flight

Over the past year I've turned down close to a dozen audition invitations and several outright roles in shows. I'm not even seeking out theater work -- these are just coming in to me. And I imagine there'd be even more if I was, you know, a really good, sought-after actor!

It's been weeks since I've checked the twice-weekly audition listings, which I did religiously for more than five years.

And it doesn't feel that weird, either. I've taken a couple of good vacations. I've had a lot less stress. Gotten some work done. Work, to varying degrees of success, on relationships.

Most of all, though, whether coincident or not, I've had an absolutely unbelievable year for commercial work. With tomorrow's industrial booking I will have already doubled last year's income, which itself was double my average income over five years.

Again, there's no way to tell whether all this would have happened anyway. But I think the extra focus, the extra energy to devote, the lack of conflicts (theater conflicts have occasionally cost me a couple of thousand dollars here and there over the past few years), and, I don't know, just the general send-the-energy-out-into-the-universe-and-see-what-comes-back kinda thing. (Without putting too Oprahesque a point on it.)

And I'm really feeling good lately. I still have my audition fuck-ups, but for the most part I feel very much on top of my game. It's not quite the same satisfaction you get from theater, but there's definitely something there. The honing of the craft, the hard work. And pleasing clients and directors and others I find is just as rewarding -- in some ways, more so -- as audience applause.

So here's to good decisions. If I wasn't doing this well with the commercial work (knock wood), it would have been a very, very different year.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Listen up

I've never been a great listener, but I work on it all the time. I'm always getting ahead of what people are saying, anticipating what I think they'll say instead of just shutting up and really listening to what they actually say. And, like Vincent Vega, sometimes I have to consciously make myself listen instead of waiting and thinking about the next thing I'm going to say.

But listening to instructions is not really a problem. That's definitely information I want to know. I'm reminded this week that many people just don't listen.

I've had a streak of auditions -- four already this week -- and either I'm super advanced at this point or they're bringing in a lot of new people. In one audition, it was a two-person scene -- me and an actress. They brought everybody in beforehand and walked us through the blocking. She had about 5 or 6 things to do. Walk over here, pick something up, walk over there, pick something else up, check herself in the mirror, make a face at me, say a line, get out a phone, etc.

I suppose when you list it all out like that it might sound like a lot. But when you've got a grasp of the big picture, the actual story the scene is telling (which, of course, we get the day before), it should come together pretty logically. But of the half-dozen things she had to do, she did maybe two of them. And for good measure, she did a couple of the things that were assigned to me. Then after she was coached on everything she did wrong, she managed to get an extra thing or two right but a couple of others wrong.

Remarkably, I got a callback. Sometimes it's really hard when your scene partner sucks. I mean, we had almost zero interaction and chemistry, but apparently they saw that I was trying.

Another audition was interview style. They ask random questions and are simply looking for how we interact, what our facial expressions and body language are like, our energy, etc. They told us that one question might be, "Who would you have lunch with?" And they told us not to pick an actor because, duh, they know we're actors interested in acting -- they want to see another side of us.

I had a hard time thinking of what non-actor I'd want to lunch with. And I even ruled out film directors and screenwriters as being a little too close to what they weren't looking for. They ended up asking me something else. But one of the other actors in the room got the lunch question. Her reply? Morgan Freeman. Oy.

I'm wondering if the economy is causing agents to register a bunch of new, untested people. Because one of the casting directors in town just sent out a terse note about some of the sloppy, unprofessional conduct they're seeing.

And, of course, now I'm thinking of how much I probably sucked when I started. Which I did. But I got better. Eventually.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A night at the opera

I'll try anything once. A lot of people are like that.

But I will also try some things more than once -- usually several times -- if they're highly recommended by people I respect.

So it was with sushi. I tried it three times, thought it was just okay, and never had it again. Just didn't do it for me.

Also opera. Again, several attempts, never got into it and never went back. Until tonight, I hadn't seen opera in over a decade.

And it turns out ... I liked it! I don't know if it was that I saw some mediocre productions before (they weren't all in Chicago) or if this one is just a particularly popular and accessible one (Tosca). Maybe it's something else, though. This was the first time I've been since I started acting.

I think that gave me a whole other level of appreciation. For the acting, the singing, the costumes and sets and staging. And it was really something. Just beautiful. And actually moving at times. I didn't quite have a Julia Roberts/Pretty Woman moment in there, but I'm really glad I did it. Not that it was a big risk -- the tickets were free. But I would definitely go back for more. Very cool.

So maybe I should have a new rule. After giving something several tries and finally giving in, maybe giving it one more chance after a decade or so passes. In that light, it may just be time to try sushi again.

After all, last time I did I was eating three to four pizzas a week -- and the other nights just blocks of cheese, boxes of crackers, loaves of French bread and honey-nut Cheerios. (Serious carb addiction.) So it's quite possible that my palate (like my appreciation for theater) may have matured a bit.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Exhibitionist



I went to see the Lincoln exhibit yesterday and it was VERY weird hearing my voice on that film. I know I can't be objective, but all I hear is ... ME. Doing a very bad job. Nothing approximating the Great Emancipator. But hey, they chose me and they know what they're doing.

That's a pretty short snippet. A guard came by and told me photography and video were verboten so I shut it down. But then, he didn't say anything about audio recording, so I put the iPhone down and just took in the sound. This clip's a little closer to how I sound most of the time on it:



I'm going to see about getting an actual, non-bootleg copy. It was pretty good. Very Ken Burns-ish, with old photos, paintings, and documents panning, along with background music and the ambient sounds of war, protest, etc. They even credited me in the end titles, which was very nice and which I didn't expect.

All in all, I think it's a pretty cool gig. In the scheme of things, I know it's not a really huge deal (especially compared to a FB friend who this morning announced the debut of her latest Indie film, complete with glowing reviews of her performance from the NYT and Variety).

But being part of a museum exhibit is kinda unique and I got a real kick out of it. I wanted to tell people "That's me! That's me playing Lincoln!" For some reason, it just feels more exciting than any old TV spot.

Friday, October 09, 2009

As seen on daguerreotype


My turn as the Great Emancipator opens this weekend, just a few weeks after I recorded it.

It's for an exhibition at the Chicago History Museum called Abraham Lincoln Transformed, part of a series of events and exhibits related to the Lincoln bicentennial. This one focuses on the evolution in his thinking on slavery.

I provide the voice of Lincoln in a short film. I read selections both from famous speeches and documents (like the Emancipation Proclamation) as well as private letters he wrote to friends and associates.

It was a hell of a responsibility, but they had confidence I was the right guy for the job. At points I was concerned that the accent and the voice wasn't accurate or good enough. But, of course, no one knows exactly what Lincoln sounded like. The most important thing, they said, was a voice that not only captured the spirit and intent of his words but was pleasant to listen to.

I look forward to seeing/hearing the final product. Admission this weekend -- Saturday and Sunday -- is just one thin Lincoln penny. And it runs through April 12.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Relapse

Every time I think this cold can't get worse or can only get better ... it gets worse!

This morning was just awful. I think I actually was slightly dehydrated, as it felt similar, but only a tenth as severe, as the time I actually was dehydrated and went to the emergency room.

But in my dazed state none of that really registered with me. I was googling trying to figure out if I actually had everything from swine flu to plain ol' ordinary flu. But I think it's just the worst damned cold I've ever had.

And it is seriously killing my productivity. I managed to get myself slightly upright for an hour or so yesterday and today but it wasn't what I'd call quality time. I am hoping (and counting on) a few solid hours of energy and clarity tomorrow to meet a client deadline.

And maybe to shower.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Natural Born Weasel



I think I found my calling. The role of slippery/smarmy weasel seems to fit me perfectly.

I've been trying forever -- or at least two-and-a-half years -- to get this video. I finally got it through the actor who played the judge (not in my edited version). I recall it being a fun gig. It was training for a company's partners and based on an actual case of malfeasance of some sort.

The guy playing the lawyer is an actual lawyer, and his grilling really helped with my motivation. (I think I'm the case study in what NOT to do -- both in business and on the stand.)

I don't think it's anything I could use for my commercial reel. Most people are casting for happy, upbeat types. But who knows?

Meantime, I was hellaciously ill for about 24 hours there. But I went back to bed this morning, showered and am feeling almost half human.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

2-4-2?

Other than the technology snafus and the kitchen cutting disasters and the bleeding and now the full-blown cold laying waste to my sinuses, I'm having a slight run of luck on the audition front.

After yesterday's industrial booking, I am now on hold for a print job this Friday. So that's two auditions since New Mexico, two potential bookings. I may be speaking too soon on the print job. And, frankly, I wouldn't be too crushed if I didn't get it. It's out in the burbs and they want me to shave and I have a wedding to go to on Saturday and I'd rather not look like a weenie-face for it.

And I've got a bunch of work I'm trying to slog through this week. I need a day where I do absolutely nothing but lay about and sleep. Bleh.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Bookity booked

Finally, a pleasant turn of events.

As I was packing to leave town a week ago Wednesday, I got called for an audition the next day, Thursday. I couldn't do it, so I figured that was that.

Then they called back and said the client really wanted to see me. So they scheduled me for the day after I got back. Unless they're doing callbacks, it's very unusual for the audition process to be stretched out over a week like that, let alone for the sake of one person's schedule. So I figured the job was mine.

I mean, not only that, but I've done two jobs for this client in the past. And beyond all that? Here's the role I was going out for, as depicted on their storyboards:

Look familiar?

Then when I got back I saw several other people were scheduled that day. WTF? Maybe I wasn't so special. Anyway, I was super tired and cranky and there was a ton of copy -- as a result, I don't think I gave my best and wasn't counting on getting the job.

But then my agent called today and I booked it! And it's pretty fine money, too! I have to go to Milwaukee, but it's even good money for having to go to Milwaukee.

Now I feel home again.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Enchantment indeed


Got a good 8 or 9 hours of sleep last night, which felt great. On the other hand, I seem to have picked up a cold. Seriously? I know this string of relatively minor annoyances don't add up to catastrophe by any stretch, but it's odd for me to have a streak of bad luck like this.

Anyway, one last post about New Mexico. I was amazed by the diversity of the landscape. And in such concentrated form! You'd go around a bend, over a hill or through a pass and be smacked in the face with almost a completely different ecosystem. It really was extraordinary. Or enchanting, as they say. A surprise around every corner.

I'm gonna stop typing because I've discovered in the past 48 hours just how much I rely on my middle finger. For typing, too. So here are pictures demonstrating the diversity over a mere 1,163 miles.













Friday, October 02, 2009

Emergence

On top of everything else in my "Welcome Home & Fuck You" from Chicago, last night I sliced a couple of key fingers (right hand) wide open, and lost the glass carafe to my blender in the process. The blood was everywhere. I'm gonna say I lost a full quart. Sticklers for detail might put it closer to a teaspoon or two, but when it's coming out of your body and onto your recently cleaned kitchen, it feels like a lot.

Other than that, I'm doing considerably better than when I got home. I'd have to be, wouldn't I? Or otherwise I'd be swinging from a noose. I'm going to chalk it up partly to the things I mentioned, but mostly to fatigue.

That was a tiring trip. Someone who'd seen my agenda suggested I slow it down a little and relax. But I get plenty of relaxation as it is. I work at home, pretty much set my own hours and have absolutely no one depending on me for anything. So what I was looking for was not relaxation but experience. And adventure.

And I had that-a-plenty. So much so that I really only got a few hours of sleep a night. Maybe 7 once, but mostly 6 or even less. Minus all the energy expended hiking and cavorting and driving and fretting.

So I'm feeling better. To an extent. I think one thing I need to do is a media blackout. Or at least a TV news blackout. It's really, really distressing. Anyone who still believes the media has a liberal bias is an idiot. The media has a conflict bias. Conflict = story, and that will always be their focus. If they can't find it, they create it. The current storyline is Obama and the Dems are in big trouble (and I can imagine what they're saying about the Olympic loss right now -- probably writing his epitaph).

Anyway, this is the story of the moment and they will continue to focus on it until gets old (or healthcare passes) and then the pendulum will swing and they'll snap back into a completely opposite (and just as shallow and ludicrous) storyline -- Obama as miracle worker. Because nuance and gray area and substance are too complicated and time-consuming to cover in between updates on YOUR HEALTH and MONEY MATTERS and GETTING FIT.

So I've been threatening to switch from GMA to NPR and I just might do it. I just need batteries for the stereo remote.

Hopefully that, and recovering use of those digits, will make things a little brighter.