Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sequencer Sort Of

I found a free program* called Anvil Studio that will do MIDI sequencing. I have only rudimentary knowledge of it so I can't do nearly as much as I could with my old program that doesn't work with my new computer. But I can record from my synthesizer, so it's a start. The piano and bass sounds in the tune below are from the synth. Then there's the usual assortment of guitars and looped drums, all assembled in my Sony Acid (also free).


*By free I don't mean stolen or pirated. It's actually free. Of course it will probably install all kinds of spyware on my computer that will cost more to get rid of than a good sequencer would have but that's just how I roll, yo.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Music and Musings

I play piano about like I play golf. Just well enough that I sometimes hit something that makes it appear that I know what I'm doing. This revelation did not come to me as I plonked on the keys this morning; I've made it before. What was new was the disappointment that in both I show occasional flashes of ability never developed because I don't apply myself to practicing them.

Golf is one thing. I don't do it that often -- Wednesday and yesterday being a novel experience of playing on consecutive days -- and if I can't break 100 but I can find more balls than I lose then I call it a successful outing.

(I won varsity letters in high school swimming and my affinity for water has extended to my golf game. On one par-5 yesterday which has a long pond bordering its left-hand side nearly its entire length my tee shot rolled into the water but stayed close enough to the edge that I could retrieve it. I hit the next shot back into the water but again within a club's reach of the edge. On my third try I was finally able to lose the ball for good by splashing it into a swamp. Did I say the hole was a par-5? I misspoke. It was a par-9. And do you know what? Despite my struggles, I managed to birdie that sucker!)

My musical misadventures aren't as excusable. I have a digital piano in my living room and a total of five guitars around the house. Not having the means to record them lately has thwarted me some but that doesn't account for the more than two decades before that. When I die, I won't rue the gym workouts that I missed -- especially if I suffer a fatal heart attack on the treadmill.

But I will regret not playing music more often.

I don't have any illusions that I was ever going to make a living at it. I wouldn't have the patience for the BS you have to have to make it, even if by some fluke I had the talent and the look and the drive to do it. As proud as I am of some of my compositions, there are so many more rhythms and melodies bounding around inside my brain I would like to have shared, even if only with my cat and any neighbors I might have annoyed in the process of recording them. Instead I'm wasting the chance. What a shame.

Random unrelated thought: The directions on the protein powder jug say you can mix it with water or milk. Do not believe this. Mix it with milk it tastes good. Mix it with water and it tastes like something you drink trying to win a bet.

Postscript to random unrelated thought: I did not win the bet.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Crash Course

I got a new computer a few months ago that is just shy of nuclear powered. It runs a 64-bit version of Windows XP to take advantage of its multi-many gigabytes of RAM. I don't know the technical stuff. I just know that between all that memory and the quad core processors (I think there are two of them), all the computer's programs run lightning fast.

The ones that are compatible with XP64, anyway. That's my problem. Few of my existing programs play nice with XP64 and I'm having to find either updates, workarounds or, in some especially unfortunate cases, replacements for my programs.

It took forever to diagnose the problem with my new sound card. I knew it was operator error, I just didn't know where I was erring. Once I learned how to make simple recordings again the next problem was that my Guitar Port software that enables me to replicate many different electric guitar sounds right in my computer didn't work any more. I couldn't find any updates until I discovered that I had to download an entirely new program called Gear Box.

Now I can play and record guitars again. Yay! Here is my latest effort:

Crash Course
The hurdle looming now is getting a new MIDI sequencing program. That lets me record music from my synthesizer and fix it up later. I can make the playing more precise; I can speed it up; I can even change the key of the song. My old sequencer was a Windows 3.1 program called Midisoft Recording Session I had originally installed on my first Windows 95 machine.

Here is the first piece I ever composed using it:

It's called "Trem" simply because it featured a synthesizer sound called "StrTrem." You can hear how the program allows me to layer sounds. None by itself is too intricate or complicated but together they create a much richer and complex arrangement.

Recording Session dutifully followed me through every new computer and new operating system with no complaint. Until now. Now when I click on it, I get a message reading something like, "This is a valid program but not on this machine."

Crash Course © 2008 John McQuiston
Trem © 1996 John McQuiston

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Movie Review

"Now there's a reliable disappointment."

That is not a description of American Splendor, the uniquely styled biopic starring Paul Giammati as the comic book author Harvey Pekar.

Pekar's anti-hero works as a file clerk in a Cleveland VA hospital, who -- either fittingly or ironically, I'm not sure -- cannot organize his ratty apartment to save his life, or either of his first two marriages. The character is based on an actual file clerk for a Cleveland VA hospital with a similarly organizationally-challenged home life named Harvey Pekar.

So the movie is about a real-life comic book writer whose comics are about his real life experiences, whose subject essentially co-stars with the actor who plays him. Further blurring the line between biopic and biographical documentary are the intercuts between Giamatti playing Pekar and the man himself on such occasions as his appearances on the David Letterman show. We see Giamatti in the green room before the segment and then we see Pekar himelf in footage from the original broadcast.

Pekar also provides the expository narration -- when the actor tells part of the story as we see a shot of him walking down a street, for instance. We see Giamatti but we hear Pekar. In case it wasn't clear enough, the movie cuts from a shot of Giamatti to one of Pekar in a studio as some assistant asks him if he needs some water. Pekar also appears again throughout the film in interviews about his life.

The quote above comes from a scene in which Giamatti as Pekar catches a mirror reflection of himself half-dressed. It sums his life to that point when his connection to comic books is collecting them. Pekar also collects jazz records. A fellow afficianado he knows happens to illustrate comics for a living. One day Pekar decides that he's going to make something of his miserable life by making a comic out of it. He shows his friend a stick-figure rendition of his everyman comic book character. The friend thinks it's a brilliant idea and asks to illustrate it.

The new career doesn't pay enough that Pekar can quit his file clerk job. It does lead him to his third (and still, as of the making of the film) wife, a cashier in a comic book store in Wilmington, Delaware.

Giamatti does a terrific job with what had to be a daunting role. "See, Paul, the guy you're playing? He's going to be in the film, too." He didn't have that problem when he played John Adams in that HBO mini-series. Maybe that was the attraction!

While we're discussing comic book characters enshrined on film, I saw the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight yesterday. It was a disappointment only in the sense that it was hyped as the best thing since electric light. It wasn't that. All the best moments of Heath Ledger's Joker I had already seen in the trailers. In fact, the editor used a different take of Ledger's "kill the Batman" line in the trailers than in the film.

Although one critic called Maggie Gyllenhaal a happy improvement over Katie Holmes in the role of Bruce Wayne's love interest Rachel, I missed Mrs. Cruise's beautiful elegance that Gyllenhall sorely lacks. This stood out in the scene where the Joker, stunned at the sight of Rachel, addresses her as "Hello, Beautiful." Gyllenhaal isn't gorgeous enough for that line to work.

The movie runs over two-and-a-half hours. The story never drags but you can feel the length. The more than 15 minutes of trailers shown before the feature began probably didn't help. It was worth the time and I'll buy it when it comes out on DVD. Or at least when it goes on sale sometime after it comes out on DVD.

I might have to look for American Splendor, too -- both the movie and the comic of the same name.

In unrelated news, my stat counter tells me that a lot of people are curious about Royal Bastards.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Live From the Death Scene

Two Quinnipiac University professors have produced a documentary detailing how much Connecticut TV stations focus their coverage on crime stories.

(The phenomenon is not unique to the Constitution State; it's just where the study happened.)

A reporter for WFSB-TV in Hartford, where I spent an unhappy several months as the weekend sports anchor in 1995-6, says in the film that he's not happy concentrating on crime stories but "there may be empirical data saying that's what people want."

I doubt that. Who would tell an interviewer that they like to see crime stories? I'm not talking about CSI Miami crime dramas; I mean "shots fired, man fell dead" stories on the local news.

It's not the crime as much as the sense of immediacy that the stations want to portray. The irony being that the less information you have, the fresher the situation seems and the more the station wants to go with it.

This was reinforced at about 10:45 one night a few years ago when I was reporting news in Cincinnati. We heard that police had closed off some roads in the city. That was all we knew but it was BREAKING NEWS! And we were the BREAKING NEWS LEADER! Just ask our promotions department.

So we tossed out the already written and mostly if not completely edited story we had been working on, rushed out in a live truck to the intersection where the street closure was and did a talkback only at the top of the 11. We learned a few minutes later that police had closed the streets to investigate a body found inside a burned car. We did another live hit with the update.

We had no video, almost no information, just me standing breathless on a streetcorner recounting what little we did know. And the Executive Producer was ecstatic. "That's what they want," he said, referring to the big brass. Forget storytelling; it made the news look new.

We were doing marketing more than news coverage. It rang to me like one of those tests of the Emergency Broadcast System. "Had this been an actual emergency..." Performing those seemingly pointless live shots with the police lights flashing and the crime scene tape flapping in the background was our way of telling the viewing public. "Had this been an actual news story worth your attention, we would have been first on the scene to cover it."

The article linked above pointed out another reason for the emphasis on crime stories: They're cheap. They don't take a lot of time, resources or thought to cover. And the less you're paying your reporters, the more important telling simple stories is.

The Diet's Working

Now I'll be perfectly healthy when I choke to death on a 100% whole grain oat bran cluster.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Churchill is Prime Minister

And it took only 588 pages of Roy Jenkins' biography to get him there. Winston Churchill was 65 years old when he ascended to the premiership of Great Britain in 1940, which is coincidentally the age I'll be when I finish the more than 1,000 page-long book.

It is written in British English, which I am learning is distinctly different from the form we speak here in the colonies. It doesn't help that Mr. Jenkins is far more erudite than I and he uses a disturbing number of words that I do not know. Their meaning is more obscure than those of the French phrases he sprinkles liberally throughout the text. There is also frequent use of the word "rumbustious," which in context seems to mean the same thing as "rambunctious." (Merriam-Webster online confirmed that it does.)

The author also presupposes that readers will have a knowledge of English history and a familiarity with the workings of the British government that I do not possess. Readers who don't already know are left to figure for themselves that an MP is a Member of Parliament. "Chancellor of the Exchequer" reqired some Googling to learn that that's the British equivalent of our government's Secretary of the Treasury.

And I can only hope that the next 400 pages or so will better elucidate what "peerage" means. I am presuming that the esteemed author, himself a longtime MP in the second half of the 20th century, did not simply misspell "porridge" time and again, though perhaps being elevated to the porridge is just one more English thing that I don't understand.

One last glossary tip: "Irish Home Rule" is apparently not a zoning regulation.

Difficult as treading the text may be, Churchill is a fascinating enough figure to make it worthwhile. (Spoiler alert: He dies at the end.) Though now almost uniformly revered as a historical giant, until he became Prime Minister, he was often denied a place in top levels of government. His reckless crashing from one issue to the next created more enemies than allies -- hence the need for his biographer's repeated use of "rambustious."

"Intransigent" is another oft-used adjective in the book.

Churchill's legendary oratorical skill was one of the many talents that friends and foes alike readily acknowledged. He was one of the most prolific and highly paid authors of his time, which was important because he needed the income to fund a lifestyle whose extravagance consistently outstripped his considerable means. He vacationed often and lavishly but always took his work with him.

As a member of his own Conservative Party at the time wonderfully summed it up:
When Winston was born lots of fairies swooped down on his cradle with gifts -- imagination, eloquence, industry, ability and then came up a fairy who said 'No one person has a right to so many gifts', picked him up and gave him such a shake and twist that with all these gifts he was denied judgment and wisdom. And that is why we delight to listen to him in this House we do not take his advice. (p. 511)
Another political colleague described him more succinctly: "It is like arguing with a Brass band." (p. 512)

It is a testament to Churchill's immense talents and drive that he was able to stay close enough to Britain's inner-circle of power, even if not directly within it, that in 1940 when England needed a leader with his will to fight and the confident eloquence and to rally a desperate nation, he was still there to answer the call.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Citizen Journalists

Tampa Bay's local CBS affiliate, WTSP, has posted an ad on its web site seeking Citizen Journalists.

The station will train 20 ordinary Joes and Janes to shoot video. WTSP will provide a camera and tripod for those chosen. Video may show on the air or on the station's web site with each video the station uses earning the shooter $20.

Full disclosure: I do very occasional work substituting for WTSP's morning traffic anchor. My paycheck comes from but I work at the station when I appear on its morning show.

But I have no inside knowledge of the reasons behind the idea. I heard of it from a posting on a TV photographers message board that I frequent called, where people do not warmly welcome the idea.

I don't see it as the threat that they do, though. Their fear, not entirely unfounded considering how the TV news business has gone, is that these $20-a-story shooters will replace some of them as stations try to make up for falling ad revenue by finding cheaper ways to gather the news.

Many stations, including WTSP, have begun adding "one-man-bands," who shoot, write, edit and report stories by themselves. OMBs (called "backpack journalists" in WTSP lingo and "videojournalists" at some other places) are common at small markets. I shot my own stories for the first three years of my professional life at WMDT-TV in Salisbury, Maryland.

(Now, in a completion of the circle, I own my own camera and shoot some of my own freelance work.)

The chief criticism of using citizen journalists is that airing the work of amateurs cheapens that produced by professionals and further blurs the line between established news outlets and any idiot who signs up for a free blog and starts typing, especially those idiots with access to still and video cameras.

One such idiot could interrupt your reading pleasure at any time with some stupid video of his cat, which he thinks is clever because the music -- first of all titled "The Year of the Cat" -- builds up to a huge crescendo (thanks, in part, to one of the guy's favorite guitar solos ever) as his cat, which has no commensurate ups and downs in its life, sits licking herself.

If that's not entertainment, there just isn't any.*

(Pause while we snap the guy out of talk-about-himself-in-third-person-land, among other faraway delusional places.)

Where was I? Oh, yes, the dilution of the news media as it invades, but may be instead invaded by, the blogosphere.

But what's a station -- or any traditional news outlet, for that matter -- to do? Their audiences are fleeing -- for the Internet, for their cell phones and for the great beyond. Until they can find a way to marry the newscast with a video game, trying to incorporate those who might be competitors at a neighborhood level into its cause might be worth trying.

WTSP's ad doesn't say whether one of its Citizen Journalists can claim to be working on its behalf when he or she shows up somewhere ready to roll. Nor does it say if the camera will be branded with the "Tampa Bay's 10" logo. That would make sense.

I suspect that one reason for this is marketing. People see someone representing Ch. 10 at some obscure town meeting, school play or little league game and get the idea that the station has a wider reach than others. Maybe they tune in to see if their event airs on TV or on the web.

Maybe the station gets video of something important that either it didn't know about or couldn't get to with its own staff.

But mostly, it sounds like a response to the threat from blogs like Seminole Heights or Davis Islands Today. They're both blogs dedicated to sections of Tampa. There are probably a lot more that I don't know about. Each by itself is no rival but together they continue the chipping away of local TV and newspaper audiences.

TV stations are probably safe from that guy with his cat video. For now. He may wise up someday.

*Maybe there is. Please note that I did not shoot the cat video with my professional camera.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

I Have to Fall in Love First

Then the rest of the story comes.

I just sent off a completed script on my next story for A Gulf Coast Journal, a program on Tampa's PBS affiliate. This one is about the semi-pro football team called the Sarasota Millionaires.

(Previously written about Here and again later here.)

What a relief to get that load off my shoulders.

The load lightened considerably once I got the opening sequence figured out. That's when the affair starts. I don't need to like the topic or the subjects to love the story. I just have to figure out how it's going to start and where it's going to go from there. Then I'm hooked. After that the story sometimes comes in bits and pieces that I have to fit together and sometimes rearrange later but it always comes.

Often I have to do my best writing to cover holes in my interviewing. The story will lead me to a logical point where I can't go because I failed to ask someone about it. It's sometimes a good idea to try to write a story before doing the interviews. If the final script is provides answers, trying to write it will show me the questions.

The danger with this "writing on spec," when I'm able to do it, is becoming too enamored with what I've written. Sometimes the facts get in the way of my well-turned phrases and I have to force myself to dump them.

That wasn't a problem with the previous story about dulcimer players. I didn't know enough about the subject to even guess at how the story would go. That one aired last month and the station has put it online. It's the second story, about 8-and-a-half minutes into the show.

Royal Bastards

Next time someone calls me a royal bastard*, I may be slower than usual to take umbrage.

PBS is showing a program called "Lost Royals" which consists of a British woman named Jennie Bond traveling the world with camera crew in tow knocking on doors to inform people that they're descendants of illegitimate children sired by members of the British royal family.

(King John was a prolific sire, having fathered about 20 children out of wedlock, according to the show.)

As soon as she springs the surprise on someone, after we see their shocked faces, the show cuts to a "Certificate of Bastard Descent" with a sound effect of a stamp banging down on it.

She has no compunction about calling them "royal bastards" to their faces. And they don't seem to mind. In San Francisco she found a society of royal bastards, led by a man who proudly called himself the "bastard-in-chief."

What fascinated me was how elegant Ms. Bond made calling someone a bastard sound. English accents make everything sound flattering.

*Usually I don't get the "royal" added to the appellation. "Complete" is more common.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Your Government Inaction

The tragedy of Hurricane Katrina continues. CNN reports that FEMA stored $85 million worth of supplies meant for Katrina victims for two years, declared them surplus and then gave them away.

(Read the full story here)

A highlight: Mississippi's surplus agency spokeswoman Kym Wiggins said, "There may be a need, but we were not notified that there was a great need for this particular property." Who was supposed to notify you, Kym? How were they supposed to know you had this stuff?

Just a classic government clusterbomb.

It reminded me of the frustrating two weeks I spent in Louisiana two months after the storm hit in 2005. I was producing stories for a FEMA-operated TV network called the Recovery Channel, whose supposed purpose was to keep the evacuees scattered around the country apprised of the recovery progress. But stories became entangled in a great morass of government self-servitude because the bureaucrat supervising us wanted certain officials "featured."

It wasn't about serving the victims at all. It was about junior bureaucrats perverting a noble idea to make superiors happy.

FEMA had converted a former Baton Rouge shopping mall into its Louisiana operations base. Three thousand bureaucrats pushing paper around all day, most that I encountered had the same attitude of our supervisor who once said to me, "Just because I spend my time in meetings all day doesn't mean I'm not working." Actually, if you mean getting any work done, it does mean that. But as long as she could account for her time, she didn't have to be accountable for anything.

It boils my blood again just thinking about it. God, that was the saddest thing I've ever seen. I tried to keep a journal of the experience but was frequently too exhausted both from seeing such universal devastation* and from beating my head against a wall of bureaucracy to properly articulate my observations.

*As I wrote at the time: Here's the thing the pictures don't show: It's not that you see damage. It's that you don't see anywhere there is no damage.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Just Tennis

NBC calls the final weekend of its coverage of Wimbledon "Breakfast at Wimbledon." Rain delays stretched the men's final almost to dinner time. The fact that the match went five dramatic sets before Rafael Nadal unseated the five-time defending champion Roger Federer helped too.

I watched most of it, though the weather breaks did not always correspond to my breaks for a nap and a trip to the gym.

During one of the stoppages, NBC replayed the women's doubles final yesterday won by Venus and Serena Williams. That match happened a few hours after Venus defeated Serena for the singles title. The two of them won a combined $2.5 million for their labors on the lawns at the All England Club.

It reminded me of watching yesterday's Williams vs. Williams match, which marked the seventh time the sisters had met in the finals of a Grand Slam tournament. Although the Williamses have combined to win 15 Grand Slam events, NBC commentator Mary Carillo criticized them for their lack of singular devotion to their sport. Steffi Graf, she pointed out, won 22 Slams by herself. Venus and Serena could have become "the Tiger Woods of tennis," she said, if only they didn't spend so much time on their interests outside of tennis.

"This is where they belong," Carillo said.


Really. Why? What difference does it make whether they total 15 major championships or 50? So what if they'd be known as the greatest tennis players ever? It's still just tennis. Whether Tiger Woods surpasses Jack Nicklaus as the greatest golfer ever, it's still just golf. Seems the Williams sisters have a wisdom about life that even the brightest observers of the game lack. If their greatest achievements on Earth happen on a tennis court, what a shame that will be.

As it is, they have won enough events to become icons of the game, won enough money to live comfortably for the rest of their lives and won enough attention to have a bully pulpit for any cause they want to champion. What more do they need?

This has less to do with their needs than those of people who invest too much of themselves watching them.

I realized this when I watched Justine Henin quit during the final of the 2006 Australian Open because of stomach pain. Afterward, reporters practically begged her to explain how she could give up in any circumstance short of death. "Doesn't it mean enough to you?" they asked. Implied in their voices was that it meant that much to them.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy F'ing July Fourth

I like America and I'm proud to be one of its citizens. It's many of my fellow Americans with whom I'm not too enamored. Specifically the ones who are launching fireworks perilously close to my front door. My feline-American housemate chimes in that she doesn't appreciate the whistling thunder, either. The offenders appear to have a pick-up truck full of explosives so the mammoth-scale snap, crackle and pop will likely continue well into the weekend.

NPR had a story this morning (shortly after the Hawaii Spam sushi recipe story mentioned below) about how supply disruption from their source in China made fireworks harder to get and more expensive to buy. The difficulties were not nearly enough.

Does it surprise you to hear that these are the same nimrods who don't pick up after their dogs? Not that it's a home owners association rule or anything. Or a county ordinance. Oh, wait. It's both.

In other news I watched the U.S. Olympic swimming trials tonight. The broadcast mentioned that Dara Torres made the team as a 17-year-old in 1984. Why did her name come up? Because she qualified again this year by winning the 100-meter freestyle. And, yes, the 41-year-old mother of a two-year-old daughter is still hot.

On that subject, Amanda Beard, as well known for posing nude in Playboy as for her Olympic swimming medals, also made the team again. No one on NBC mentioned the Playboy spread in recounting her career achievements.

Now on the DVD player, courtesy of the Hillsborough County Public Library, is The Accidental Tourist that Yahoo! Movies defines as "Comedy, Drama and Romance." Roger Ebert called it "one of the best films of the year." The year being 1989. It looks so long ago. Kathleen Turner and William Hurt still look young and thin.

I don't know if the movie looks fun but it will help me pass the time until the explosions outside finally subside.

Conservative Liberal Media

I awoke to an NPR story reporting that Hawaiians buy more Spam per capita than people in any other of the United States. The story went on to describe a Spam sushi recipe.

No wonder it was two-and-a-half hours later before I wanted breakfast.

Later the news reader promoted a story by Robert Krulwich. What was novel -- to my ears, anyway -- was that rather than coming up later in Morning Edition, the story by one NPR's most well-known correspondents could be heard only on its web site.

News outlets often refer people to their web sites for details and other features of a story that they couldn't fit into their broadcasts. But I had never heard one say, "We have this story but even though we're a radio network, we're not going to air it on the radio. You must go to our web site to hear it." That's how hard news organizations are trying to drive traffic to their web sites, hoping, I suspect, to get people in the habit of visiting their site when looking for news.

They can't be sure that's where their audience is going; they just know that's where their advertising (called "underwriting" in NPR's case) dollars are going and that they better work to get their piece of the online pie.

Times are indeed changing in media. A media-related blog in the St. Pete Times, probably not entirely without glee, reported that the owner of rival Tampa Tribune and WFLA-TV will be laying off more staffers. The ones left will be adding duties.

According to WFLA news director Don North, both the Tribune and WFLA will work to create a single pool of photographers who can shoot video and/or still images for television, online and print.

"In essence, we will be operating as a single entity," said North, who admitted managers hadn't yet quite figured out how it all would work. "There's still a lot of details we're talking about."

They don't know if how it will work; they just know it will cost less. And the people who survive will have to wear more hats. If photographers are shooting both video and still photographs, it can't be long before reporters go into a similar pool of people who can tell stories for television as well as text.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Prius Up a Mountainside

I mentioned that during my brother Jim and my trip out west that at one point we had to drive our Toyota Pious up a mountain. As Jim drove, I had my crappy, head-clogged little video camera rolling.

Again the disclaimer about the shooting: This does not represent what I can do with my real camera. On the upside, you don't have to listen to me play guitar this time. I did, however, add some commentary.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Lost a Day

Got a call from the photographer shooting the rest of my story on the Sarasota Millionaires.

"You and I are shooting tomorrow?" he asked.

"Thursday we're shooting," I said. "Is tomorrow Thursday?"

It is, he confirmed. Now I'm trying to figure out whether it was Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday that I missed.

I have to pay better attention.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Jim Drives The Strip

On our recent sojourn to the American West, I brought along a piece-of-crap, heads-always-clogged, little consumer video camera. I used it mostly as we were driving and most of the results, because of the clogged heads in the piece of crap despite numerous passes with the head-cleaning cassette, look terrible.

But I've loaded the video into my computer anyway and I'll see what I can salvage. This first clip is part of the drive from the airport down the Las Vegas strip for the first time. Yes, even the Walgreen's and McDonald's signs are tricked out in neon!

Note: This is not representative of my shooting and editing skills with my real camera. It is, however, representative of my guitar playing skills.