Saturday, January 21, 2006

Finally, A Scooter Post

Time to wax & wane on about my scooter! I bought this screamin' orange baby right before Christmas having done extensive research on pretty much every scooter available, from the Vespas to ebay specials I looked at them all. I was convinced a 150 would be about right for my non-highway, about town use, however, once I was introduced to the hot rod 50s from Derbi, Aprilia and Kymco I was sold on the hooligan moped concept. My local dealer & all-around good people Scooters of Dallas had this one sitting on the floor. With a water cooled 50, ABS disc brakes, monoshock rear, 2 year warranty and a price substantially less than the Italian competition I was hooked. I've put about 1,000 miles on it now and can honestly say it's the most fun I've ever had on 2 wheels. This from a guy who's owned some fairly serious motorcycles, a Ducati 750SS & Yamaha FJ1200 not withstanding.

Dallas has a small but happening scooter scene which has good mix of machines and is refreshingly free from the "my scoot is better than your scoot" rhetoric.

So, 50mph, 65mpg, $160p/year full coverage...does it get any better than this?

Friday, January 20, 2006

Faces from early CNN

I headed off to Atlanta on Delta (blah, delayed 3 hours, seat in the waaaay back) to work on a pilot for a TV show about, and named, "Excellent Women." Ex-CNN'er Bobbie Battista was once of the principals responsible for the production. It took me a few seconds to tie the face to the name though. I was a big CNN junky back in the days when Bobbie, Goodnow, Russell and the others headed a network known for pretty serious news coverage rather than the magazine format one finds there today. I think I probably gave up on CNN on 9/11, it seemed then that their staff cutbacks and format tweaks had left a network incapable of responding to such an event effectively.

We shot a single show, 5 cameras to 6 DVC Pro decks, Gil Gillum did his usual bang-up job of directing (and in this case TD'ing too). I mixed on a Midas Verona which is my favorite small-format console but not exactly designed for broadcast production work (the direct outs are post-fader). Lots of DAs & splitters later we had stereo program and tons o' iso channels on the 12 bit/4 channel DV setting. I used my trusty Behringer 2496 Finalizer to process the mix, the sound stage was somewhat noisy but I think the product was acceptable.

Back at Hartsfield, of course there was CNN Airport News, now that's a processed audio feed!

Chewing On Some Consoles

I finished a show this week at the ever pleasant Marriott Desert Ridge in Phoenix. The event was for US Smokeless Tobacco, makers of, among others, Copenhagen. Busy show it was too, a live band interacting with presenters and multiple video roll-ins. This was my first trip on the Digico D1 (I've been a happy D-5 bunny for a couple of years now, It operates almost identically to the D-5 but has two 8-bank fader surfaces and Macro Keys that can be set up for further functionality. For the price (it's less than half a D-5) it's hard to beat & certainly makes me wonder why anyone would buy the functionally deficient Yamaha PM-5D? I probably should have specified a D-5 as those extra faders would have been useful, anyway all seemed happy with the results.

What with all the smoking & chewing in the ballroom it was like "Back To The 80s."


Jason had his first "op" today, the placement of a stint (?) to open up some passageways in his heart. All looks to be good & if this is succesful will probably be the last procedure needed until he's about 1 year old. Good news for a sunny Friday.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Say A Prayer For... little nephew Jason, born 6 weeks premature with heart defects. When he makes it to 12 pounds the surgeons will begin a serious of operations unless things destabilize early. Hang in there little guy!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

On A Lighter Note

After discussing the drug trade and the Nazis maybe it’s the time for something a little more easily digested. We’re dissing CSI, as in the “currently in 3 flavors” TV drama airing almost nightly on CBS.

When was the last time either a CSI victim or perp (good Law & Order word) was not either a supermodel or metro-sexual hunk? I must assume that in order to get the crime scene folk interested you have to fit the profile. No oldies, fatties or uglies are going to get their DNA in the Petri dish. No Way Baby. For Horatio to look you in the eye and deliver a well-timed cliché you’d better be looking hot. No DKNY, no Gucci’s, no service at this establishment.

Now the cast is impressively turned out as well and I can understand why. Walking into a blood splattered motel room I’m going to have to look my best too. A little mousse, some Italian loafers, well see here, it’s an exit wound!

While we’re flogging this horse, why aren’t the good citizens of Miami, Las Vegas & New York demanding more accountability for their tax dollars? In Dallas, if I see an officer of the law tooling around in a department Hummer I’m going to be looking for some answers.

So I give the show a credibility factor of 4, in other words, I’d rather read 10 teen Jesse McCartney blogs than watch this.

Anne Frank & the Final Solution

My son (the 10 year old in the bio) is a big reader. Yesterday he picked up a copy of Anne Frank's Diary at the school library & settled down for most of the afternoon with it. Of course that introduced much discussion & googling about the concentration camps & Hitler's Final Solution. This is all the more relevant to him as his Grandmother's side of the family were all Austrian Jews, some of whom fled before the Nazis and a number who waited too long. His namesake & Great-Great Grandfather survived, his Great-Great-Grandmother and most of the others perished at Auschwitz.

Without belittling the obviously horrific human cost I have difficulty understanding why the 3rd Reich, already short of troops & materials, were prepared to commit such huge economic resources to the extermination of the Jews and other undesirables? The systematic murder and disposal of over 6 million people is no small task. Was their collective hatred so great that they were prepared to jeopodize the other theaters of war in order to continue this undertaking? Obviously so.

And they say "Love is Blind?"

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Plasmas & The Drug Trade

On a show yesterday we had a speaker from a very large (the largest maybe) consumer electronics manufacturer. The show was for a producer of Supply Chain Management software which as far as I can figure out, controls the flow of goods from raw materials to, in this case, the shelves at Best Buy and the like. The speaker was noting how this software had revolutionized their ability to predict changing market conditions and ensure the right products arrive at the right stores in time. He was particularly interested in the flow of Plasma TV's which apparently were the hottest big-ticket items this Christmas. Claiming that California, Texas and Florida were the biggest markets for these TV's he noted wryly that "Florida's demand for hi-tech consumer goods peaks & troughs with the success (or lack thereof) of the drug trade!"

Now he didn't actually claim that they were using the software to predict such market conditions. However, it certainly demonstrated how ridiculous our "War On Drugs" has become when major manufacturers are factoring the narcotics trade into their supply chains! It begs the question, how many other industries are doing the same?