Friday, July 31, 2009

Take Back The Beep

"Hi this is Jon Dayton at BNB Sound, it's probably just too loud for me to hear the phone ringing so leave me a message and I'll get right back to you. Thanks... At the tone, please record your message. When you have finished recording, you may hang up, or press one for more options. To leave a callback number, press five. (Beep)"

That's what it's like to leave me a message when I don't answer my phone. I only have a cell phone so if you need to call me and I can't answer (which is most of the time) you'll have to burn fifteen extra seconds of your life to get to the point where you can say what you need to say and move on.

Someone has finally taken up the cause. There was an article in the New York Times on the subject encouraging people to put pressure on cell providers to change their ways. The truth is that these additional instructions can in most cases be turned off. The process is often quite involved because the providers want them there to make you use up your air time. Often you can press a key when leaving a message but it's different across providers so you have to remember which key it is for every contact you call.

The article has gotten four major providers to sit up and take notice (somewhat) and provide means to voice your opinions on line. Here are the links.

Verizon: Post a complaint here: http://bit.ly/FJncH.

AT&T: Send e-mail to: customerissues@attnews.us.

Sprint: Post a complaint here: http://bit.ly/9CmrZ

T-Mobile: Post a complaint here: http://bit.ly/2rKy0u.

Some of them are just the usual complaint forms but a flood of input is pretty hard to ignore. If you're on Twitter you can spike your tweets with #takebackthebeep and let 'em have it that way.

Not that this is a lofty crusade or anything but it would be a pretty nice accomplishment to get a little change to happen. I'm grabbing my cell phone to send out a tweet or two and then (deep breath) check my voicemail.

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Iron Maiden

In the few minutes that I had all to my lonesome last night I was out in the shop watching some videos on YouTube. For no particular reason the selection was Iron Maiden and there was a lot of footage of their recent tour which was turned into a TV show or a DVD or maybe both and a breakfast cereal as well. (It's all about the tie-ins these days)

What was really good to see was that after close to three decades they're still incredible and still obviously loving it. What's more is that there are still enough fans, new and old to pack 100,000 a night into stadiums to revel in it with them. (And might I add, it still sends a shiver up my spine when that many people all shout, "CAN I PLAY WITH MADNESS!!!!" all together. True, they're starting to show some wear but hey, The Stones all look like hobbits these days and they still rock.

I suppose it's not really important which band it is. I just think it's cool that it's still possible to attain longevity in the industry these days. With fans becoming ever more fragmented in their tastes and the industry finding it ever harder to make sales it's nice to know that success as we dreamed of it as kids with cheap guitars is still out there, still possible.

And while I'll likely never get in on the action at that level, it's just good to know that despite all the moaning and groaning in the media about the music industry people are still willing to play the game. To make the records, to buy them, to stand in line for the shows and buy the t-shirts. There's still a reason for kids to bang out chords on cheap guitars and dream about tour busses. And, most importantly, there's reason for people to call This Guy (right here) and book him to mix a show.

Take 'er easy. See you in the mosh pit.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Steep Downgrade

I felt like I've been on a downgrade, one of the ones with a sign on the side that says trucks use low gear. Some people liken a tough spot in life to climbing a hill but this one felt more like trying to keep it between the guard rails with the jake brake screaming and the tie downs ready to break loose. And I'm not gazing out from the peak now, I'm cruising in the flats, in twelfth gear with the throttle cracked, sipping fuel. It's an easy haul for a bit.

I'm not sure exactly what it was that got me from being so pissed off and worthless feeling that I was shaking yesterday to being OK today. Actually I know exactly what it was. As I was walking down a hallway early this morning at work I said a quick prayer, "Dear God, Help." He did. Within the space of a few hours I was suddenly on top of four remodeling projects and had a grasp on a gargantuan office move that's coming up. I worked late, sped home, got the kids into bed and I still feel like I have enough energy to get something done.

So I'll not dawdle here. Just thought I'd poke my nose in and let my bloggy friends know I haven't fallen off the Earth. Peace. Hit me up on Twitter, yo.

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Happy Burf Day To Me

Thirty-three for anyone who's wondering... moving on. I just wanted to say a quick thank you to everyone who sent me electronic birthday wishes. A lot of people look down their nose at such things but I find the dozen text messages and thirty thee (odd huh?) well wishes on Facebook to be quite heartwarming.

Having only gotten a couple traditional cards this year, some with nothing more than a name hastily scribbled inside, receiving personalized electronic missives is changing my view of things. For instance, I got one from the CEO of the hospital where I work. That was one of the ones with my name in pen above the printed birthday wishes and his below. Not exactly a heartwarming exchange at first glance, but the guy sends out eight hundred of those a year when he doesn't really have to send anything. Slightly less exciting than that was the same treatment from my mother-in-law.

Then there were close to fifty electronic messages that honestly for the most part were caused by a reminder from Facebook. Considering that those folks likely gets hundreds of birthday reminders a year and took a moment to peck out a few words for me that's pretty nice too. I think I'll be a little more engaged with that myself this year.

And one final (unrelated) item that needs getting out. I hate Pork Pie snare drums. There is just no reason at all to even own one. I remember years ago when they came out wondering why in the hell anyone would need a drum that sounds just like a piccolo snare but ten times louder. And owners of Pork Pies are always super excited about them. When I hear the first couple warning shots on one and say, "Pork Pie eh?" the response is always something similar to what you would expect from a guy who is tapping his secretary and isn't shy about who knows it... "awwwww yeah."

So then I have a performance to try and mix that has snare drum bleeding into every microphone. Usually I can turn off quite a few mics and still have way more snare than I want. And so does everybody else. I'm actually thinking of buying a piccolo and keeping it in the truck for just such occasions. "Here ya go buddy, you can play mine or get off the stage. See? It sounds just like yours but it's not louder than BOMBS!"

End rant. Happy Burf Day to me.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Ho Hum

It's VBS week at church and all the Short People are ecstatic. All, that is, except lil H-Bomb who is not old enough to go. He get's ice cream though so he's fairly OK with the whole thing. It's also VBA now, Vacation Bible Adventure. woo.

At any rate, the big kids in our family get to go but it's really just a little bit more than J-Man can handle (He dropped the Super a little while ago. Apparently the whole hero thing was getting to be a drag.) He does fine the whole time he's there and is super good but it totally uses him up. Come bed time there's just nothing that can please him and it turns into an all out scream-fest.

I have to admit that things are getting better with him. There's still no reasoning with him until it runs it's course but there's a whole lot less of grabbing him and putting him back in bed. He seems to have lost interest in kicking me in the face, I totally won out with persistence on that one.

The real losers in the battle though were H-Bomb and Sweets. The baby is at that age where he's starting to get really freaked out by his siblings crying. H-Bomb is becoming quite stoic though. He lays there quietly under his blanket, making the occasional staccato , "suck, suck" noise like Maggie Simpson. He rolls over. Suck, suck. He snuggs up the covers. Suck, suck. He sighs. Suck, suck. He pauses for a break in the torrent of screams to politely ask for a drink of water. Suck, suck. With one final sigh of resignation he fishes around under his pillow, finds what he is looking for, and cracks a book open to peruse by the light of the moon.

What a guy.

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

iPod or Lightsaber

I got an iPod touch for Christmas this year. It was a thoughtful gift from The Missus. I figured I would get some use out of the internet with it but I had no idea. What a sexy little device it is. All these helpful applications. Read the New York Times at breakfast, sure. Look up something on Wikipedia, no problem. Check gas prices, the weather, no end of games for the kids, and having the whole internet on a card that fits in my pocket is just bliss.

But more than that there's the deep joy that comes from owning a device that has leapt from the pages of the sci-fi books I used to read as a kid. At that age I never would have dreamed that this much power and information could fit in the palm of my hand, or that you could get them at Wal-Mart. Captain Kirk's tricorder is a clunky gizmo by comparison.

I had a little moment when I was tweeting on a break today. I looked at this little technological jewel in my hand and saw past the glitter of the information age. The screen was all smudgy from the Short People playing with it. The case is all scratched and foggy from riding around with me. It has that "lived-in" look that the creators of Star Wars spent so much time simulating.

I slipped it back in my pocket, daydreaming about the Cantina scene and Isaac Asimov. Han Solo's light saber hasn't got anything on my iPod. (And no... I don't have the light saber app.)

--End gushing--

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Monday, July 6, 2009

Summertime Roll

I achieved a level of suspension of disbelief that even a production geek has a hard time reaching this morning. In real life it's pretty hard to just enjoy stuff. There's always the list of nagging chores, and blah blah blah in the background.

Well, I woke up early this morning and called into work. Then I went back to sleep because yesterday I had a throbbing headache all day and Miss O had to go to the hospital in the big city to make sure she didn't have meningitis. (She doesn't, just a virus and a crick in her neck. But we play it safe with the health of our Short Peoples' brains.)

When I woke up it was just me and the boys. We ate some cereal and went outside. I wound up sitting in a chair, in a sunny spot by a Maple tree, the smaller of the two monkeys in my lap just soaking up the summer. It only went on for about twenty minutes but I found myself on the other end of a host of memories from my childhood.

My earliest memories are of breakfast and heading outside with Mom, who was a school teacher and off for the summer, and wandering around our sun drenched yard. They're just fuzzy memories with dashes of clarity. Grass, tulips, Maple trees, Mom. (I started capitalizing Maple trees because they are important to me.)

Now I know what it feels like to be the grownup in those scenes. For a few minutes it was just me and some small people, trees, grass, breeze, a distant lawn mower. A big truck on the next street caught our interest. The first ripe black berries grabbed our attention. Then the girls woke up and needed our presence.

But the morning of July 6, 2009 is firmly planted in red letters on the calendar in my mind. A morning so ripe with goodness and the endless possibilities of childhood that it nearly made me shed a tear. I might have if it weren't for the intense waves of happiness that washed over me. Bare feet. Buzz cuts. Tickles.

I'm so high.

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