Thursday, January 28, 2010

Back to square one

Now after three bookings I find myself back to zero -- nothing in the pipeline, all potential castings from recent auditions expired.

But looking back, a good month. Six first auditions. Of the 6, 2 resulted in bookings and 1 resulted in a callback audition and a hold. The third booking of the month was direct from my headshot, so no audition there.

That's how these numbers get confusing. Direct bookings and callback auditions. So I'm going to try to keep a little better track of that. In past years, my ratio of bookings to auditions has been somewhere in the neighborhood of 1:11 to 1:15.

So right now we're looking at 1:3, which I can totally live with.

Oh, and I could have had a fourth booking if I was willing to drive 4.5 hours to Lansing, Michigan tonight for a pretty low-paying job tomorrow. (And then back another 4.5 hours.) Some independent thing outside the normal casting agency/talent agent process. I'm realllly trying to avoid those. Luckily, they all pay terribly, so that makes it easier to resist.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The dark side


I had another booking today -- my third already in this brand new year -- and they had me darken my hair. I guess it's a compliment to my skills that instead of casting someone more age-appropriate to couple with the 31-year-old wife, they wanted instead to just youthanize (heh) me.

And actually, I've done two other commercial spots for these guys -- Winestyles and Woodfield Mall. So they knew me, and they seem to like me. In fact, I could barely make the audition and they sort of went out of their way to get me in.

Also, I knew them, too. This is the kind of commercial that could be really, really cheesy, but I feel like I was in good hands based on their past work. Okay, the Woodfield one was a little cheesy, but I think they were working under some limitations there that didn't have a lot to do with them.

And one thing that was REALLY cool with this shoot: they were actually doing "live" edits, right there in real time. They'd pick the best takes and then link each scene with the next in a rough cut so they and the client could really see what they were getting. And it helped us a lot with continuity in transitions. Very, very cool.

Anyway, the dying. Crazy. They had me go to the drugstore and get this temporary "rinse" that shampoos out. I did it this morning, but it still didn't cover up all the gray. So they used mascara around the sides! And on the beard. THAT was a little harder to wash out.

I think I look how my alter ego might appear in that Star Trek episode where everyone had an "evil twin" in a parallel universe (including Spock with a devilish goatee).

So once again, a chance to do my job and do it well and please everyone, including the client. It'll start airing nationally next month so I'll even get to see myself on TV again.

At this rate, I should have 36 bookings this year. Which I know won't happen. More likely, this will be my last booking until April.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The future of reading?


The iPod changed the way I listened to music. (In fact, it caused me to buy more music and listen to it more often.). The MacBook changed my relationship with the computer. (Turning it from a hated adversary to an indispensable tool for work and play.) Whether the Kindle changes the way I read remains to be seen.

But what might change it is that little doodad above. Set to be announced tomorrow, the new iTablet or iSlate or iPad or whatever they're going to call it looks like it could be pretty cool device, filling the space between an iPhone and a MacBook.

The iPhone is great and handy and portable, but you can't do everything on that little screen and with that tiny virtual keypad. And the MacBook is wonderful, but it's really heavy to lug around on vacation and to meetings, etc.

The device's exact look, size, features and price are all the subject of speculation and rumor at this point, but if it has a lot of what I'm looking for, it will be very, very tempting. In my ideal world, I could read books, listen to music, watch movies, surf the net, do email, upload photos from my camera for loading on to FB and iPhoto and view (maybe even edit) Word docs and PDFs.

I like the Kindle, but it has its limitations. They really sought to replicate as much as possible the experience of reading an actual book. Thus the special screen with magnetic ink that's easier on the eyes than LED. But I think I'd actually rather have a device that replicates a computer.

Like the Kindle only shows photos and illustrations in black and white. And not at a very good resolution. You have to click a button to advance pages, whereas I'd rather swipe the screen with my fingers, as you can do with the iPhone. And while clicking the cursor will give you dictionary definitions of words, I'd like more of an interactive experience. I'd like to tap on a word or phrase and go to its wikipedia page. And access the Internet if I'm suddenly curious about, say, the War of 1812 or want to look at a map of the Brittany Coast or check imdb to see how the movie version differed from the book.

Not to mention plugging in earphones to listen to music so I can drown out background conversation on the bus or at the coffee shop. Or even switch seamlessly from reading to listening to the book being read to me.

I suppose there's something to be said for simply immersing yourself in a book without all these modern distractions. But I've always been a little ADD when reading and am much more so now with the Internet. So I don't think there's any going back.

We'll see what the news brings tomorrow ...

Monday, January 25, 2010

Current events

One thing that did not factor into my calculations about healthcare was that the system would actually be reformed anytime soon.

Honestly, the political news over these past few months has been so damned depressing. It's killing me. It actually affects my daily outlook. There's so much to do, and so much else that's not getting done while healthcare is not getting done.

I blame stupid Americans. I blame the lobbyists. And I blame Obama. The individual elements of the plan are favored by the majority of Americans, but the bill itself has been trashed and tarred and distorted. It's like a failure of messaging more than anything else. Yes, it's easier for the opposition -- it's always easier to tear down than build up -- but I feel like there's more that can be done.

The opposition says to just break it up into little chunks, but it simply won't work that way. If you want to prevent insurance companies from turning down sick people and people with pre-existing conditions, they need to make up that income from somewhere. Thus, the individual mandate. And, of course, some low income people won't be able to afford that, so you need to help them out. So you've got to find that money somewhere. Etc.

It's a hugely complicated problem that doesn't have a simple solution and people want simple. And I understand that people are naturally worried about how it will affect them personally. And the fact that most people's health care is fine (for the moment), makes it really hard to motivate change.

That's why I think instead of arguing facts and figures and dollars and cents, Obama should get back to an argument that he has only briefly made. That it's the right thing to do. The moral thing to do. The fair thing to do. Try appealing to the better angels of our nature. This is what I would say:

"There have been a lot of distortions in this debate. Government takeovers, death panels, socialism. This is not about any of that. It's about taking care of our fellow citizens. It's about doing what every one of us does on daily basis -- helping out our fellow man, whether it's a family member, a neighbor, a colleague or, most astonishingly, people we don't even know.

In the last couple of weeks, Americans have opened up their hearts and their pocketbooks for the people of Haiti. How many Americans know anyone in Haiti? How many have even been to Haiti? Yet, here we are, a generous people, giving and giving in record numbers to total strangers. Giving and giving at a time when so many of us are facing our own economic struggles and have even less to give than we've had in the past.

Yet we do it anyway, because it's right. Because it's good. Because it's what we do. Whether it's for the victims of the tsunami in Asia or the house fire down the street.

There are tens of millions of American who are hurting. Who can't afford decent healthcare, for themselves or their families. And many, many millions more in peril. And we have an opportunity to help them. Our country was built on individual enterprise, yes. But it also has a strong foundation of support and caring for each other.

Our opponents can call it socialism, but it goes on every day. And many millions of Americans benefit from it. Social Security. No one these days would dare argue against Social Security. It keeps millions of our elderly from slipping into poverty. And allows millions of disabled citizens to lead lives of dignity and independence.

Same with Medicaid and Medicare. Government-funded programs that help those who need it. Food stamps. Aid to dependent children. Without these programs, and others like it, America would be a place of desperation and despair far greater than what we see today.

We have a chance to do something great. Something noble. Something that will truly lift up the lives of so many of our fellow citizens. It won't be easy. Nothing important ever is. It won't come without some sacrifice. But the price of not acting is even greater. The cost of doing nothing will haunt us for generations to come if we do not seize this moment.

Ted Kennedy often said that one of his great regrets was not accepting the sweeping health care reform proposed by Richard Nixon. Are we going to let this moment pass? Are we going to pass this problem on to the next generation? No, we cannot. No, we will not. We're a better nation than that. We're a better people than that. The time to act is now. For ourselves, for our children, for our future."

That's what I'd say. Well, I'd polish it up some. Maybe substitute a little detail for some of the platitudes. But not too much. These arguments are won on emotion, not logic. Then backed up with some bare-knuckled ass-kicking.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Stepping out into the unknown


So I did it. I talked to a lot of people, both real and Internet, thought really hard and made the big decision. I signed up for the SAG health plan and just a moment ago called Blue Cross to cancel my individual plan.

Quitting was a little too easy. A one-minute phone call. Maybe they're on the other end high-fiving each other, knowing they've got me off their rolls and will never have to take me on as a risk again.

And that is my big risk. That someday I might need an individual plan again and won't qualify due to pre-existing conditions -- both current and whatever the doctors might find in the orgy of exams, tests and procedures I plan to go through this year to make the most of having the first decent health plan I've had in a decade.

Like I'm going to get a physical, for instance. I'm going to get myself a general practitioner. I'm going to get some tests done that my allergy doctor has wanted me to do for years now. And I'm going to inquire about every ache, pain, itch and bitch I have or imagine I have.

I figured that, first of all, I've invested a lot in this SAG thing. Initiation fees and first-year dues amounting to more than $2,000. So I might as well get something back for that. And second, in spite of the risks to my future insurability, I figure it's a good idea to get myself checked out and make sure I don't have melanoma or prostate cancer or something.

I'm not too, too worried. The things that have the biggest impact on health and longevity -- smoking, blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, exercise, and diet -- are not an issue for me. But, of course, it doesn't take too many major issues to affect your insurability.

In the end I decided that it's a risk worth taking. I've got plans -- some big life changes in mind. And this recession has, for the most part, kept me at a sideward pace instead of forward. I like the idea of maybe burning a bridge behind me.

So a year from now maybe I'll be in a full-time/benefits environment, pursuing the next stage of my career. Maybe I'll land another lucrative SAG job. Or maybe I'll be glomming off my wife's benefits. (Ha!) So maybe this will help push me forward.

Into the great wide open ...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Ack!

Great audition opportunity today. Big company, big paycheck, shoots in LA. Best of all, it was a genuinely funny script.

And I screwed the pooch. I just wasn't getting it right. I'm very good at doing "natural" and I'm good at "confident/reassuring" and not bad at "goofy." But I don't seem to be very good at total deadpan. Bringing it all the way down to almost nothing. I just can't seem to help myself. Maybe that's not my thing. Or maybe I just need to take some more training.

It's almost like it takes more energy and power to underplay like that. To contain yourself to just before the point of breaking. I don't know.

Plus I was just doing stupid things -- missing my cue, looking the wrong way, etc.

There was a second part of the audition for a different spot, which called for a goofy/crazy guy along the lines of my Gordmans thing. Something I'm actually just right for. But by that time, it may have been too much of a lost cause. They probably will have already fast-forwarded through my whole audition to see it.

Then, in a story that just keeps repeating itself, including here on this blog, I went to another audition -- lower profile, lower pay, etc. -- and probably nailed it.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Happy endings

Heh.

So it worked out fine. As usual, expecting the worst is the way to go. Yes, I sat on my ass for the first 3 hours (then through lunch), but when I went on I knocked my shit out bing-bang-boom. We had lines, which was a surprise until 10 pm last night, and we had to deliver them like it was spontaneous conversation, interview style.

Another surprise: they picked a few of us for a still photo shoot, which added some money to the job. We did 100 photos and I think they got 96 usable ones and it took about 10 minutes. The photographer gave me a few props to interact with -- coffee mug, phone, pen -- and was really happy and relieved. Apparently someone couldn't figure out how to hold a pen naturally, which reminded me of the 30 Rock episode where Jack Donaghy is on camera and has no idea what to do with his arms.

So I got out of there in 5 hours instead of the dreaded 10. And I had my laptop and my kindle anyway, so I got stuff (Facebooking mostly) done.

And I've had unbelievable traffic luck, both today and yesterday. No traffic jams at all. I lost a hubcap somewhere, but Budget didn't charge me for it. And they waived the fee for extending the reservation.

Two pretty good days doing good work and doing it well. Tonight I shall sleep the sleep of the dead. Until by 10 am audition.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Back to back

I was driving home from Waukesha today when my agent called to confirm that other booking for tomorrow. So two gigs, two days. And it worked out well enough that I just decided to keep my car for a second day to save myself a long Green Line ride out to Oak Park with 20 lbs. of wardrobe.

Hell, if I'd known earlier I wouldn't have bothered washed my makeup off.

As always, I love doing things I'm pretty good at. I've got this host/narrator/spokesman role down pretty well -- exuding confidence and warmth and bringing the script to life.

When you show up for a job and don't know the crew, you can tell they're thinking, "Is this a-hole gonna be trouble? Is he gonna make my job harder?" And it's nice to exceed their expectations. To get them through their day smoothly, relatively stress-free and well ahead of schedule.

I sense that tomorrow, on the other hand, will be a clusterfuck. Last minute, not too friendly sounding, and lots and lots of actors. My favorite jobs are when I'm the only actor. That way there's almost no sitting around waiting. You're always on camera, always doing stuff. Tomorrow sounds like one of those 1-hour on, 2-3 hours sitting around, rinse, repeat.

But we'll see. Things usually turn out opposite from my expectations. And maybe I'll meet some fun people and/or see some old friends. At least I don't have to get up at 4:45 again!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Medical miracle

Or maybe it's a show-biz miracle.

A couple of weeks ago I got a big fat envelope from SAG marked, "Information About Your Health Plan." Silly, SAG, I thought. No way I'm eligible for health benefits. The conventional statistic that gets tossed around is that supposedly 95% of SAG members don't earn enough to qualify for health benefits. I doubt that exact statistic is true, but it's probably a pretty high number.

Then I got a second, smaller envelope. I opened this one. It said I had just a few days to enroll and make my first premium payment.

What the what?

It was a lot of information and it was very complicated, but the upshot is, I actually did earn enough last year (actually, October '08 to September '09) to qualify for benefits this year. Ain't that something?

So now I have to figure out what to do. On the face of it, the SAG deal looks great. Premiums are less than HALF of what I'm paying now on my individual policy, and the deductible is ONE-TENTH my current one. Which basically means my current policy is catastrophic care. My doctor visits, prescriptions, tests, etc., effectively come out of my own pocket since the deductible is so high.

So do I cancel my current policy and go with SAG? There's a very good chance I won't make enough in the current cycle to qualify for coverage next year. I could go on COBRA for a giant markup, I suppose. I guess the biggest risk is, if I one day have to go back to individual coverage, will it be impossible to get, what with my age and various not-too-terribly-serious conditions like allergies and such. But who knows, with our fucked up health system?

It's times like these where I really miss having a Dad.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Or maybe not

Okay, after all that, they booked me for the job. Hilarious.

Always the ones you think you screwed the pooch on.

I'm always leery of investing in a car rental and gas for a job I might not get. But this one paid off 16-fold.

And right after that my Chicago agent called with a potential booking on Tuesday. It would be straight from my headshot, too, so no audition.

Of course, together the two jobs would just exceed two-thirds of the income I would have gotten from that job last week.

It's allllll about seeing both sides of the coin. Both colors of the cloud. That.

Well, that blew

Just yesterday I was having a conversation with another actor about ear prompts. It's something I've long avoided. Partly I don't feel like spending several hundred dollars on it, but partly also it was a matter of pride. I feel like, "I'm an actor -- memorization is a pretty basic part of the business." Not to mention, "I'm a smart guy -- what I can't get verbatim I can paraphrase."

But today kind of sucked. I had four paragraphs of pretty technical, jargon-heavy copy. I spent an hour or so last night on it, plus two hours in the car on the ride up and I thought I had it down. But then sometimes everything changes when you're standing on your mark and that little red light goes on.

What really screws me up is when I glance at the script (or the cards, if they have them, which they didn't for this one). I could just be merrily paraphrasing from memory but then when I see the exact words I get completely jumbled up and lose it.

I don't really understand why, if there's going to be a TelePrompter at the actual gig, what the point is of having us memorize. It seems dumb. Then again, if I get the ear prompter, that won't even be an issue. And it could maybe get me other gigs where they can't afford a prompter.

Anyway, that was a waste of 4 hours and $40.

I know the car rental people must wonder what I'm up to when I put 170 miles on a car and bring it back in under 4 hours. Like I drove to Wisconsin, exchanged money for drugs and came right back.

Everyone else I know who's carless keeps their car for the full 24 hours when they rent. They run errands, go to the suburbs, buy a bunch of heavy stuff. But I just want to get that damned car back as soon as possible so I don't have to think about traffic and parking and tickets, etc. And I don't have room around here for 24-roll packs of Charmin or 10 gallon laundry detergents.

Feh!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Dollars and sense

I may have auditioner's regret. I've done several jobs now for the same company. It's a huge organization, so I don't necessarily expect everyone to know everyone else or what they're doing, but it is the same division, and the same location.

So the first question is, why am I auditioning again? It seems kind of redundant. In actuality, I suppose the division itself is pretty huge, with many subdivisions.

The other question is about the pay. It's for an industrial, and it pays less than a quarter of what the last one paid. The last one was through a different agent, though. Maybe it's that, or maybe the usage is totally different. I should have asked more questions, but the different pay scales for these things are downright byzantine. And that other job was very much on the high end, as these things go.

I guess I was just feeling like I needed to make up for the job I didn't get. And I feel like I've got a bit of an edge here, as they're seeing only a few people. And what the hell, who doesn't love four hours in a car?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Oh, SNAP!

After all that talk, I didn't get the job. Probably partly because of all that talk.

I guess it's been a while since I've been put on hold and released, but today I was suddenly recalling a streak sometime a year or so ago when that seemed to be happening all the time.

Oh, well. A little new year's overeagerness. Serves me right.

But, auditions today and tomorrow, so onward and upward ...

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Whore

Still no word on this job, though a friend of mine who was also put on hold says she's in the same boat -- no word, no nothin.' So maybe that's a good sign.

It's not like this is the greatest paying job. The pay is good. Not fantastic, but good, especially for a non-union job. It's not super-glamorous. And it's not necessarily something I could use for my reel, since the role is non-speaking.

I have to admit that what I really like about it is that it gets me on TV locally. I really, really like being on TV. I like seeing it. I like my friends seeing it. I like the Facebook shout-outs. I like that the girls working the desk at the gym think I'm some kind of superstar. It's really fun. And it doesn't get old!

Pathetic? Maybe. But there are worse things than unrepentant narcissism. Greed, for instance.

At least I'm not that.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Booked?

Ish?

Per a call this morning, I'm on first refusal for that job. But then I haven't heard back and wardrobe fitting is Sunday/Monday.

Soooo, I don't know.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Good day

First off, I got called back for yesterday's audition. And the snow wasn't even that bad to get through.

Second, when I got to the casting agency, the Gordman's people were in the back room auditioning people for their next round of commercials. One of the agents told me to go on back and say hi to them. That was really cool, and it was fun to see them again. Obviously they can't use me again (at least, not so soon).

Third, someone pointed to the big TV over the reception desk that runs spots the agency has cast. "That's you, Rob!" And it was. They were running my Central Bank commercial. I'd left a CD with a bunch of my spots with an intern and he just looked at me like I was handing him swine flu or something, so I'm glad they got them.

Finally, the callback seemed to go pretty well. It was all MOS (no sound), so it was about facial expressions. There were four of us there, but at the end of our bit, the director asked if they could focus in on me for a few shots. That was funny.

Then after I left the room, they called me back in to look at me for a different role. This time without glasses. And they spent a good bit of time with me.

So that's cool. Who knows what will happen. I was all low blood sugary and weirdly jittery so I might have messed it up, but a good afternoon nonetheless.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

One down

Ninety-nine to go.

I had my first audition of the new year today. It went fine. It was actually for a client of mine. It's a big place, and I doubt the people who will be looking at the tape are the same people I work with, but who knows?

They're auditioning tons of people (though there are tons of parts, too). And I was kinda holding my breath that I wouldn't get a call back for tomorrow, when it's supposed to storm pretty badly. So THAT worked out! No reverse psychology there ...

There's still Friday, though. That could happen.

Either way, I don't think I'm gonna get to 100 this year. That's not pessimism. More like realism. Last year was a good year and it's going to be tough to top. A good year to go out on.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Kids

Christmas 2009

I've always disliked children. Even when I was one. Seriously. When I was eight years old my mother said I was already a cranky old man. I'd be inside reading and annoyed at the kids outside yelling and screaming. I'd get really ticked off when they'd track through the fresh snow on our lawn.

And when the characters on TV shows and movies were in peril and there were pleas to "spare the children" and talk of "children first," I always thought that was stupid. Adults should come first, I said. They're actually productive members of society and have a lot to live for. A kid has no perspective on life -- a five-year-old's not going to know what he's missing by having his life abruptly ended. Again, I was a kid when I thought all this.

To this day a chill runs down my spine when I enter a party and hear kids laughing inside. Or, of course, when I'm waiting to board a plane and looking around at all the little goldfish eaters and wondering which ones were inevitably going to be seated directly behind me. If I were on Inside the Actor's Studio and James Lipton asked me what sound do I hate it would definitely be a child's crying. And in restaurants when they try to seat me near a bunch of kids I ask for the no-mewling section.

But that's all in the abstract. I generally dislike all kids I don't know. Once I get to know them, though, we get along okay. At parties I end up being the one teaching then stupid-human tricks or playing goalie or pitcher for endless hours.

Those kids up there are a favorite part of my Christmas holiday. They belong to the friends I always visit on the 26th, which I've been doing for, I don't know, 10 or 12 years now? It's been really cool watching them grow up. I mean, a couple of them aren't really kids anymore. It's freaky. And I'm always kind of touched that they readily spend the day hanging out with us and seem to enjoy my company. I feel like I know them better than my own niece and nephews. (Which says a lot about our family.)

An ex-girlfriend of mine would constantly lament that she did not have the opportunity to have children. She didn't get along at all with her mother and felt that if she had a chance, she would raise her kids "right." On one hand I felt kind of sad for her, but on the other I admired her optimism. What made her think she'd be successful at it?

I mean, I've always been non-committal about kids. I guess I thought if it was important to the woman I was with, then okay, sure, but it wasn't that important to me. But I also believed that no matter what I might have learned from my parents about what not to do, I would very likely screw it up anyway.

If the apples don't fall far from the tree, then neither do the apple's seeds.

Monday, January 04, 2010

The World of the Fuuuuture!


The other day on Facebook, I posted this:
In the '00s, I bought my last roll of film, my last photo album, my last music CD, my last DVD (okay, I only own 4 DVDs anyway), and (possibly, thanks to my new Kindle) my last hard-copy book. Clearly the greatest advance of the last decade is the opportunity to de-clutter (physically, at least) our lives. In the future, moving will be 40% easier!
I know there have been lots of other innovations -- I just focused on media and my little world -- but it's interesting that if you took a person from 1999 and plopped him into 2009, things probably wouldn't seem all that foreign to him. Cool and intriguing, but very little that would make you feel you've been plopped into an episode of Twilight Zone.

The iPod and iPhone would probably be fairly surprising. I know they have fundamentally changed the way (and time I spend) listening to music and connecting to the web. (And it will be interesting to see if the Kindle, or a future tablet device, will have a similar effect on my reading.)

Maybe the Internet itself would be the biggest shock. Sure, we had Internet then, but nothing like now. The explosion of websites and blogs and online media. Even search engines are so much more comprehensive now. Finding the right answers and quality information was pretty hit and miss on yahoo and ask.com. There was no wikipedia then! And we were still pretty dependent on television for breaking news.

Anyway, it got me thinking of what the world might look like in 2019. I thought I'd document my predictions here, with the probably insane thought that I could check back in a decade and see how I did. (I don't know which is the most presumptuous assumption -- that blogger will still be around then or that I will.)

But for the hell of it, here's what I'd like to see:
  • Wireless electricity. I know they're working on it, but it may be too far off. But it would be awesome not to have to worry about cords, or even batteries, anymore. Like the Internet, all your power will come right through the air.
  • Star Trek (TNG)-like mobile device. A little thingie that you wear (or maybe it's embedded in your head!), and it has access to everything you need. A communicator to phone and text with, GPS, all your information, data, documents, music, movies, etc. So when you go to the grocery store or make any purchase, you click or swipe or scan (or better yet, just THINK it) and it transmits your credit card info. Same with tolls, fares and everything else. And you make phone calls with voice recognition (which will be much more advanced, I hope -- the other day I told my iPhone to "call Karen" and it apparently thought I said "play Van Halen").
  • Cloud computing. This one is actually pretty far along, but that little device would also access all the information your computer does now, except it will be stored on the Internet instead of the device itself.
  • Virtual keyboard and monitor. Accessing the Internet or Word documents or other data via the device, you could do computing whenever and wherever. Little gloves or sensors would activate (or project) a virtual keyboard on a tabletop, other surface, or even in the air. Screen images would be projected on a virtual monitor, or in the air.
  • No typing! I'm hoping voice recognition will be good (and available) enough that I never have to type again if I don't want -- even on a virtual keyboard. I can walk around the house, shower, workout, do errands -- whatever -- and all I have to do to write an email or send a message or draft a document is talk it out.
  • Digital content. They're pretty far along on this, too, obviously, with digital music, iTunes movies, netflix online, the Kindle, etc. But instead of being stored on your mobile device or your Tivo or your computer, it's all out there. No more setting the DVR to record certain programs. Anything and everything will be available anytime (for a cost, of course).
  • Universal health care at an affordable price. Ha!
I know little of this is terribly original. Lots of it has been talked or speculated about, but these are the things on my wishlist.

My biggest hope from all this is that 10 years from now the thought of lugging a 7 lb. laptop around (as I did on four trips this year) will be as ridiculous a notion then as carrying around a CD library or an address book or a photo album is now. Actually, I'm hoping this one will come true within the next year or two.

Forward!

Friday, January 01, 2010

Hello, 2010 Twenty-Ten

I've been practicing, but it's tough getting used to after a decade's worth of "two-thousands." How did we get in this mess? I blame Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick.

I don't know if it's the fact that I'm connected to more peoples' thoughts with Facebook, but I really can't recall so many people so happy and so relieved to kiss a year goodbye. I mean, people really, really hated that year.

I can totally see that that. Beyond the personal economic turmoil people are experiencing, just opening the newspaper every day is a major downer. War(s). Bombings. Congress. Health care. Partisan vitriol. Irrational hate. The crashing of hope into the brick wall of governance.

Makes me feel a little guilty about yesterday's round-up post. In some ways 2009 was a pretty decent year for me. The commercial work, certainly. And two nice vacations, to Mexico, old and new. And, again, the whales.

But in spite of that I should add that I am, for the most part, and like most everyone else, pretty miserable. And I'm not expecting the new year to magically change that. That's going to have to come from within ...