Wednesday, January 30, 2008

More Dad Tid-Bits

For a while, during the 'thirties, my Dad's family live in Las Vegas. My understanding is that they actually owned property there!

Of course, this was back before it was the gambling, whoring, entertainment capitol that it eventually became in the 'forties and 'fifties.

Yep, they sold that worthless plot of land and moved on to green er pastures.


My Dad once sold a newspaper to Leo Gorcey!

There was a radio show called "It Pays To Be Ignorant" back in the 'forties. If I understand correctly, my Dad's cousin, Marianne Turpie was married to panelist Harry McNaughton. (You can use this information if the game "Six Degrees of Separation from Harry McNaughton ever catches on. You're Welcome.)

At one point, my Dad's family was living in an old house that had no inside plumbing. There was, however, a water spigot outside.

Grandpa's solution was to get a whole bunch of old galvanized pipes from a scrap yard and add some plumbing from the outside spigot to the inside of the house.

Apparently, though, the pipes used were old gas pipes, so, unless you let the water run a good, long time the water would smell like and taste like rotten eggs.

According to my Dad, thee fashion statement for guys when he went to school was to wear white corduroy pants. It was even cooler if you took a pencil and darkened in the lines between the cords. (I'm pretty sure Dad never owned a pair of said white corduroys, though.)

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Big Eight-Oh!

On January twenty-fifth, 1928, George Turpie Davison entered this world. This past Friday was his 80th birthday, folks. Here are some random notes about the birthday boy.

My Dad grew up during the Great Depression and no doubt has some interesting stories to tell about it. One of them that sticks in my mind has to do with a time they were so poor that his family didn't even own a clock.

The Davisons had moved from Crystal Beach, Ontario to California, USA sometime in the thirties. I know that at one point they were living at Uncle Harry Havner's old duck hunting farm. This may or may not have been when they were clockless.

Seems that a discarded tin alarm clock was found and brought back to the house. Not only was the it not working, but it was missing the minute hand.

Grandpa Norm soaked it in kerosene to unfreeze the clockworks, so it at least could be wound up. My Dad says that they were then able to set the hour hand by listening to the chimes in the town's clock tower.

By all reports it ran pretty well and you could interpolate the approximate time by looking at the position of the hour hand.


Friday, January 18, 2008

DVDR Troubles

I had wanted to put together a system that would allow me to import, edit and burn video files to DVD-R discs. I approached an on-line acquaintance to pick his brain on the subject and he suggested I get an older iMac, a fireiwre DVD drive and go to town.

So, about a year ago, I bought an iMac off of eBay.

I bartered some 16mm films with the aforementioned acquaintance to grab some additional peripherals, and here I am with a small pile of stuff sitting on the desk in my family room.

I tried hooking up the DVD drive and got a big goose-egg from Mr. iMac.

Gee, whiz! Where's the drive's installation disk, I wondered.

Oh, no. The 'Mac will instantly recognize the drive and it will be usable without installing any drivers. After all, THIS IS AN APPLE NOT SOME CRAPPY (99.99999% of the market share) WINDOWS-BASED SYSTEM!

Uh... no.

After a couple of panicky e-mail to my mentor, he finally came up with the suggestion to unhook everything, unplug the computer for five minutes and then restart the whole mess.

Bingo! That did it. The DVD drive seemed to come to life and it was displayed as being present on the iMac's desktop.

I tried out the Roxio TOAST program. There was a six minute cartoon on my hard drive, so I figured I 'd use it to burn my first DVD.

People, The danged program started running. And running. And running.

I went to bed.

I got up at 2:00 AM and it was still running.

When I woke up the next morning there was a message that my disc was now ready.

I hit the "eject" button and ran upstairs to see the fruits of my Apple's labors.

Eagerly, I popped the disc into my DVD player's drawer and hit the "play" button.

The player started running. And running. And running.

Finally the dreaded "Disc Error" message was displayed on the TV screen.


I popped the disc into my DVD-R recorder.

It played!

Not exactly a total success, but at least I now had a single cartoon that could be played on 50% of my household DVD machines.

And that's been it.

I have gotten only "Windows OS X" error messages ever since that one and only disc was burned.

The iMac's DVD PLAYER application doesn't work and the TOAST program doesn't work.

My mentor has offered to help me over the phone, so I'll have to figure out some time that is mutually beneficial to contact him.

Oh, well, at least I still have my PANASONIC DMR-ES10 DVD recorder...

  1. Last weekend I was walking by our "entertainment center" and something caught my eye.

    The digital clock display on my good old PANASONIC DMR-ES10 DVD recorder was blank.

    Not flashing, not dim, but blank.

    "Oh, geez," I thought to myself. "Either we've blown a fuse or one of the cats pulled the plug again."

    A quick check of the breaker panel and the unit's power cord brought about the consideration of a third possibility.

    My PANASONIC DMR-ES10 DVD recorder has died.

    It is just plain dead.

    Back in the day, I would've taken it my friend's AV repair shop, but there are only two things wrong with that plan now:

    1. I moved from Buffalo, NY to Fayetteville, NC ten years ago.

    2. He went out of business eleven years ago.

    Looks like I won't be burning any DVDs until (dare I even think it?) after the old IRS refund check arrives this Spring...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Art of the Pitch

We've all heard the stories about how movie ideas are "pitched" in the boardrooms of Hollywood.

Sometimes the person doing the pitching has two minutes to summarize the movie's plots and selling points:

"Donald O'Connor and a talking mule have wacky misadventures in a haunted house and uncover a nest of Nazis!"

Sometimes they have a few seconds to spit out a phrase:

"Jim Carrey - Animal Orifices!"

Now it appears all one has to do is spit out the title of a previously existing entertainment entity and just add two words to the end of it:




So, here are a few ideas I'd like to pitch:







Another "sure-fire" pitch technique appears to be taking something and adding "THE MOVE" to the end of the title: e.g. JACKASS - THE MOVIE.






C'mon, gang, let's be Hollywood producers. Pitch me your ideas!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Two Point Five!

I've been at my new job for nearly two months, now.

One of my big concerns going into this new gig was that my commute was going to increase from seven to about 45 miles, each way.

Like water running over a rock the commute has been polished.

Initially, the google map had me taking a very annoying route that ran through endless small towns with their traffic lights, strip malls, school buses and the like.

During my first interview, the plant manager suggested an alternate route that took me down a long two-lane country road. Yeah, baby! This made for thirty miles of two-line, 55-mph cruising with only one stop sign in sight. This cut the commute down to 43.5 miles and made for a much mellower driving experience.

This week I figured out a way to lop a further 2.5 miles off the drive.

Yeah, baby! We're talking about a forty-one mile commute, now.

That's five fewer miles a day.

Twenty-five fewer miles a week.

Twelve hundred and fifty fewer miles a year!

And with gasoline prices going the way they have been, well, do the math.

Ah, one of life's little satisfactions...

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

My Daily Schedule

As you can see by the chart, I have about fifteen minutes of discretionary time on any given day.

Schweet, or what?