A Twenty-First Century One Act Play

Scene: Anchorage, AK; Living Room on Vassar Drive

We see Stephanie engaged in an on-line chat with her friend in NYC.



Time passes and we see Stephanie take her MacBook into the kitchen.

Scene: Kitchen of same house

Stephanie and her friend continue their on-line conversation.

Stephanie fills pot with water for cooking pasta.


Stephanie adds pasta to water, stirs.

Looks to see if there is a response from her friend.

Puts broccoli in a container and places into microwave. Starts microwave.

Reads text from friend and replies with a question about kitchen light fixture.

Scene: Same kitchen

We see Stephanie holding the MacBook so camera points to ceiling. Snaps picture of light fixture with Photo Book program. Places Mac Book on counter. Stirs pasta.

Stephanie returns to MacBook and uses Photo Booth to take a picture of herself with funny expression. Opens e-mail program.

Stephanie e-mails the two photos to her friend and awaits response.

Drains pasta.

Stephanie returns to online chat as husband John enters and they begin talking about work.

[improvised conversation]


Stephanie [aside]:
It was a really big deal when my mother got a microwave.

– end –

Happy Birthday, Stephanie!

Golden Gate DetailsWell, it’s Stephanie’s birthday today (Sat, 1/26). And it’s friggin’ cold in Anchorage again (currently 10F). But we’re still going to brave the cold (but sunny) weather to go shopping today. Stephanie doesn’t know what we’re shopping for, but I do.

Meanwhile, a year ago this week we flew off to Seattle, San Francisco and Santa Barbara for a vacation. That was a lot of fun. We did that instead of going to Hawaii, which we thought would be more expensive and less interesting overall.

And during that trip last year, Stephanie got a bit of a birthday surprise — a brand new MacBook! It’s rare we do such extravagant birthdays, but she needed a new computer and wanted to go Mac.

Some of our photos from last year’s trip are on Flickr — just click the image above to see more. I even put captions on all of them. Naturally, we shot a lot more photos than are on Flickr, but didn’t want to bore people.

This year, no January traveling. But I’m off to L.A. in February and we’re both off to San Diego in March. We’re even meeting up with family in San Diego and tooling out to Palm Springs, too. More photos later, huh?

"Hillary Rodham Clinton is a man."

For the past three years I’ve been working in public media, at a company that runs a public TV (PBS) station, a public radio (NPR) station and also a statewide public radio news network. In that time I’ve gotten more and more involved in the actual creation and publication of content, especially on the web. Indeed, for the statewide news network I pretty much handle all inquiries / complaints from the public personally.

Well, in these handful of years I’ve discovered in media what’s true of working in almost any public-contact job: there are crazy people out there. And I don’t mean unreasonable or biased or unnecessarily mean. I’m talking mentally ill, in the sad or scary way. And for some reason, when you have a media company, they believe it’s their right — actually, their duty — to set you straight about the facts of the world. For example, consider all the insane ramblings about 9/11 being an “inside job” and so on. We get that kind of stuff.

So yesterday, our News Director at APRN gets a voicemail. And it’s one of these voicemails — the rambling screed / raving message that makes you laugh, cringe, shake your head — whatever.

At first I was outrageously entertained. The claims are fast, furious and fabulous. Then I felt bad about it, because clearly this person isn’t getting along in the world very well. And now, with a few hours looking back, I’m just profoundly amazed by the whole thing.

First off, listen to this 4-minute voicemail and/or read the complete transcript:

AUDIO: clinton-is-a-man.mp3

Duncan Moon:

I’m a 70-year-old Canadian living in Calgary, Alberta, Canada that has taken the duty and responsibility as a human being to advise nations of our world of 90 banking institutions connected to 9/11 that their citizens on 9/11 of New York City are held hostage alive in Canada’s underground.

Now I realize I’ve talked to your station before in some manner, one way or another. My name is the Right Honorable John Baptist [indecipherable].

I want you to mentally realize and accept the reality that the Calgary police force members — every last one of them — knows today what I am doing in talking to you on the phone.

I want to enlighten you that Hillary Rodham Clinton … known to be a mentally sick man from Calgary, Alberta, Canada and every policeman of Canada knows Hillary Rodham Clinton really is a man.

Now realizing every candidate running to be President of America as a candidate… they have the knowledge that Hillary Rodham Clinton is a mentally sick Canadian man that has to be arrested and placed within a federal institution until he is declared mentally sane, to face the charge of treason.

But every candidate running to be President in their knowledge that Hillary Rodham Clinton is a man — they are to be arrested by our American military commands for the crime of knowledgable treason and letting a man from Canada campaign to become the first woman President. When every child over 12 will tell you if you asked them the question, “Can a known man from Canada campaign to be the first woman President?” the children will say to their parents even at the age of 12 and older, “Are you mentally sick, Mom or Dad?”

Just ask the question because everyone with a brain knows a man can’t become the first woman President. Hillary Clinton is a man.

Now when the world of our nations… of our banking institutions know that, they also know a man, George W. Bush… George W. Bush and his mother Barbara Bush whatever married and … never had a son.

And when the Calgary police of Calgary, Alberta, Canada years ago arrested Robert Gauthier — G-A-U-T-H-I-E-R — for robbing a Jewish rabbi’s house and pistol-whipping him… and then taking 225,000 out of the safe and received a term of… imprisoned for 7 years and he boasted of having raped a Jewish rabbi’s wife upstairs… upon getting caught in the house in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and the money was not recovered.

Robert Gauthier is known to be Laura Bush by every Jewish rabbi to the world, and every mayor and leader of the world… and Robert Gauthier being Laura Bush proves to the world our Canada’s criminal record… you do not have a President in Washington, D.C. unless you truly are a mentally sick American news broadcaster.

I know all your military commanders have received their faxed documents from Calgary… why they’re being given some kind of story… but they’ve got no excuse to the honor and dignity of America’s laws of not following directions in the national interests of America.

You see, if you reported and made the question available in your population… TV news broadcast or radio station broadcast — here is the question: is the 70-year-old Canadian in Calgary, Alberta, Canada so mentally sick… so mentally sick he believes Hillary Rodham Clinton to be a man from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Question mark.

Okay… Thanks for your call.

So it’s crazy, right? But hold the analysis for just a moment and consider the complex interplay of neuron firings that must happen to string together all these real names, places, events, circumstances and wild claims into a largely intelligible set of sentences. If a fiction writer sat down to come up with something like this, could she or he come close?

It’s almost beautiful in its derangement. To come up with this you clearly have to have some wires crossed. Yet this man’s wires aren’t so crossed that he can’t pick up a phone and dial it to reach a media company. Remarkable.

Anyway, the thought has crossed my mind to call back (we have the source number) and ask if everyone is okay. Or maybe call the local police and advise them that there may be someone in trouble, someone that needs help. But I’m unsure whether that’s appropriate, and I definitely don’t want to earn an enemy that calls every day to rant crazily about whatever pops into his head. We’ve had those kinds people bother us before — one guy would call and cuss out the receptionist for any news on the radio he didn’t like. That went on for 18 months virtually every business day — we don’t need more of that.

In the end, I’m left in awe of the kind of mixed chaos and order that the mind can conjure up all at once. It’s simply amazing.

Well, all that plus now I know not to vote for a mentally ill Canadian man from Calgary, Alberta, Canada for President this fall. Whew!

UPDATE (1/26): Turns out this guy has called our offices several times in the last six months. The receptionist knows his voice by heart now and just hangs up on him immediately when he calls. So whatever problem he may have, it’s definitely chronic, but doesn’t appear life-threatening.

60 channels and nothing on

So I wrote this long post about how we just upgraded to a new cable package that has all kinds of channels and went on and on about what a screw job this is. But it was boring, so never mind. Here’s the upshot:

  • We went from basic cable to something like 60 (watchable) channels. Additional cost: $50/month or $600/year.
  • We’ve been watching for a week. The only change? It takes longer to find something to watch. There still isn’t anything on very often that’s worth scheduling your life around.
  • Since for us cable TV and Internet access are bundled, I looked into getting alternative Internet access so we could just dump cable TV and found I don’t really have a comparable alternative for Internet stuff.
  • We’re going back to the basic cable plan, in order to save $600 over the next year and not waste any more time hoping for quality entertainment.

A TiVo would have helped, but not much. We pretty much get our fill of cable when either or both of us travel and stay in a hotel with decent cable. That’s when it’s kind of an exotic treat. If we travel a few times a year for work or whatever, that’s plenty cable.

I do wish I could get a plan that was just Internet service instead of being forced to buy Internet + Phone + Cable TV.

My only regret: I won’t be able to see Battlestar Galactica when it comes back (possibly in March).

More Flickr (photos) to come

Angus PeepsWell, I broke down and finally paid for the “Pro” upgrade on Flickr. For $25, all the photo uploading you can stand for a year — no limits on uploading bandwidth and no storage limits.

That means more photos from our collection will start showing up here and on Flickr. Fun, yes?

If you want to see us on Flickr directly, just go here…

For a feed that updates with each photo posted to our account, go here…

I also post photos for work stuff, for the various public media teams I’m trying to bring into the 21st century. You can see those photos here.

We have a few thousand photos, so we’ll keep posting here and there for fun. I’ll try to caption and tag all of them well, too.

Hey Jason!

bb.pngSo I go to Best Buy this evening to buy a (crappy) Linksys router for a guy at work that needs help setting it up. And Stephanie (who bought Monk – Season 5) introduces me to Jason, a former colleague at ACS and, apparently, the sole reader of this site.

Hello Jason. Welcome to your site! 😉

Anyway, I discovered a few things that Anchorage shoppers might like to know…

  • Best Buy sales reps are not on commission, either for specific products or — get this — extended warranties. Apparently sales of extended warranties might play into a job review, but there’s no direct compensation. That’s a good thing for shoppers, as extended warranties are rarely a good deal (though I did recently recommend someone consider an AppleCare warranty).
  • There is, indeed, a second Best Buy being setup in Anchorage, on the north side of town in the shopping center being developed by CIRI and pals. I knew that already, but had forgotten. Hopefully that will alleviate the horrible parking problems at the existing location. That’s the only reason I hate going to Best Buy in Anchorage and do my best to find low-traffic times to go.
  • The current Best Buy location in Anchorage is the largest physical retail location west of the Mississippi in the Best Buy network. As I remarked to Jason, it didn’t seem that big to me. That might be because I used to live out East and I even lived in Best Buy’s hometown so I’ve seen some big stores.
  • As I had heard before, but Jason confirmed, sales in the Anchorage Best Buy rock.
  • The “Apple guy” (can’t remember his name… Ben?) from CompUSA that so many people know in town is now working at Best Buy (due to CompUSA’s collapse). Good for him and them. Screw CompUSA — the sooner they die the better… I hated that store. And I shouldn’t — I worked for CompUSA many years ago in the Columbus, Ohio area and it was okay.
  • Best Buy’s CEO is gay and hit on Jason when visiting the store recently.
  • Okay, I made that last one up.

So if you’re headed out and want to buy a computer at Best Buy, or whatever, see if you can find Jason to help you. Tall guy, glasses, likes Army of Darkness, carries an iPhone and knows what the hell he’s talking about.

Gasping for Air

Well, I won’t be buying one because I simply don’t need one right now. But she is a beauty.

Why is it that Apple has to be the one to make the best computers?  Why isn’t there more competition in the computer and electronics design space?