Santa Claus is back in

Santa Claus is back in town

Boy, my auctions are going really well! I’m sure that regular readers are getting a little tired of hearing about them, so I’ll just point you to the totally lame “about me” page I made…boy, it took me back to the old Pagemaker days, I tell you what!
While I was waiting for my eBay stuff to process, I headed over to Slashdot, to see what was up in the world of “news for nerds, stuff that matters”, and, while I was being a wiseass, I saw this story, about the new Joss Whedon show, which he is calling “The anti-trek”. It sounds awesome to me, and I put in a call to my agent, and he is going to call Joss Whedon’s people, and see if we can’t set up a meeting…how cool would it be if I were to play a bad guy, on a SF show?
When I talked to my agent today, he told me that we’re just finishing up the details for me to narrate the A&E Biography of River Phoenix. I’m really looking forward to that. It’s about damn time someone did River’s story in a non-exploitive way. He was an amazing person, and this will be a great way for me to honor his memory.
Pretty damn cool, baby. Pretty. Damn. Cool.
Anne, the boys, and I are doing massive Christmas baking tonight…it’s one of my favorite things to do during the holidays…fire up a little Elvis’ Christmas album in the old CD player, put a fire in the fireplace, drink some hot apple cider, and make the whole house smell good.
It certainly beats the hell out of shopping, that’s for sure!
Speaking of Christmas, watch this space for the exciting, Radio Free Burrito XXXmas Extravaganza show!

eBay for Xmas, Part Deux!

eBay for Xmas, Part Deux!

Well, the success of my first eBay auction is really exciting, and totally unexpected!
Many, many people have emailed me, asking if I’ll be doing another one, and if I’ll be putting up anything from “Stand By Me”, so I’ve gone ahead and put up two more:
This one is of me and River, behind the Blue Point Diner, right after I’ve shot the trash can. It’s one of my favorite stills from the movie.
This one is of just me, looking sad and doe-like, wistfully wondering what life is like across that trestle…o(r looking towards the grip truck while the photographer says, “Beautiful, babe! Keep looking off that way! Oh, you’re amazing, baby! We love it! love it!” I can’t remember which.) :-)
Did some holiday shopping for the kids today, and remembered why I always promise myself that I’m going to have my Christmas shopping completed by May, each year.
Push, shove, complain, argue, repeat.

A Christmas Story I think

A Christmas Story

I think that A Christmas Story is the greatest Christmas movie ever made. Each year, I watch it, over and over, on TNN or TNT or TBS, or whatever T-channel does that marathon, and I never, ever, get tired of it. Every year, when I watch it, I am reminded of the time, when I was about 10 or so, that I auditioned for it. The auditions were held on a cold, rainy day in late spring, down in some casting office in Venice, I think. I saw the same kids that I always saw on auditions: Sean Astin, Keith Coogan, this kid named “Scooter” who had a weird mom, and Peter Billingsley, who was very well known at the time, because he was “Messy Marvin” in those Hershey’s commercials. I sort of knew Peter, because we’d been on so many auditions together, but I was always a little star struck when I saw him. (One time, I saw Gary Coleman on an audition…now, this was HUGE for all of us kids who were there, because we’re talking 1982 or 83…and he was Arnold freakin’ Jackson, man…wow). [tangent] Whenever I see Sean Astin, I sob at him that he got to be in Goonies, and I didn’t, and he always says, “Hey, man, you got Stand By Me. I’d trade all my movies for that.” I haven’t seen him since he did Lord of the Rings…but something is telling me that he wouldn’t be so keen to trade that. ;-) [end of tangent]
So I remember that audition, for Christmas Story. The scenes we had to read were the one where Ralphie is telling Santa what he wants, and panics, telling Santa that a football is okay, the one where Ralphie is decoding the Little Orphan Annie message, and the one where he thinks he shot his eye out.
I don’t remember much more than that, except that my dad took me on the audition, and helped me learn my lines. I can still see my dad, in all his permed, mustached, corduroy-pantsed, 1983 glory, helping me understand how badly Ralphie wanted that BB gun. It’s a really happy memory, because my dad and I didn’t do too many things together when I was a kid, and I always loved it when he’d take me on an audition. [tangent] Once, I had an audition for Frosted Flakes, and, this I will never forget, my dad took me to the call, over on Sunset near Gower, and there were tons of kids, running around (yes, Scooter and his weird mom, who wore a wig and low-cut evening gowns to auditions in the afternoons, were there). My dad was helping me learn my copy, which had something to do with me and Tony The Tiger sitting on an airplane together. My dad told me that when I was done with my reading, that I should “tag” my audition, by saying something funny or memorable…he suggested that I point to my orange (well, more like raw umber) Le Tigre shirt, and ask Tony, “How’d you get off my shirt!?” I thought that was the funniest thing I had ever heard, and I raced through the reading, just so I could give up the funny. I don’t recall if they laughed or not, but I sure did. It was just cool to be there with my dad.[end of tangent]
So, if you haven’t seen this movie, you really must. At the very least, rent it, and enjoy the performance of Scottie “I left the industry to do porn” Schwartz as Flick. (I can tease Scott, because I sort of know him, too.)

A Christmas Carol

Boy, if you live anywhere near New York, you simply must go see Patrick’s performance of “A Christmas Carol” when he brings it there. I think he starts on the 24th, for 8 performances, all for charity.
Anne and I took the kids to see it on Sunday, because Patrick gave us tickets. We got to sit in the fifth row! It’s the closest I’ve ever been to the stage all the times I’ve seen it, and it was really amazing to watch the sublteties in his characterizations. I saw stuff that I’ve never seen before.
You know, I was at the very first performance of this, way back in 1988 or 89, at the Wadsworth theatre near UCLA. I went with most of the cast, on a freezing cold, rainy December afternoon, and sat in a theatre, more empty than full, where the heater did not work, and just marveled at what Patrick could do. He was still mostly on book back then, but he was still amazing. It’s been so exciting for me to watch the evolution of this work, because I feel like I was there at the very beginning…well, I guess I was there at the very beginning…but you get the idea.
I got to take Anne and the kids backstage to meet him, which was really kind of odd…there were all these people, excited to meet him, waiting in a long line…it just struck me as so odd that I was waiting in a line to see one of my friends…but I didn’t mind, in the least. When we did get into the Green Room, Patrick was talking to everyone, and, I swear, each person he talked to was made to feel like they were the only ones there, including me and my family. It was really, really cool.

A Christmas Auction

Boy, the eBay auction has drawn much more attention than I thought it would. As of the last check, 2735 people had viewed it, and the bidding was up to $132.50! I’ve gotten lots of requests, in email, for more auctions, so I’ll put up a picture from Stand By Me later today. Thank you to everyone who is interested…watching the bidding is really exciting for me, in a totally dorky way. :-)

A Christmas Miracle

Finally, loren got MT and GM working last night, so I’m awaiting help from the GM gurus to get my old entries recovered. I’m really excited to bring all the old entries back. There are stories in there that I really like, and stuff that I’m really proud of, and I’m very hopeful that we’ll get it back. I tell you, it’s been so damn frustrating, the past week or so, trying to get this stuff working, and not being able to figure it out…I finally broke down and asked for help. Yep, you read that correctly, Mr. “I have to do it myself, give me the scalpel so I can remove this lesion from my face” asked for help.
Thank you, Loren. I mean it. :-)

eBay for Xmas! I’ve gotten

eBay for Xmas!

I’ve gotten lots of emails recently, asking me if I’d be able to sell any autographed pictures in time for Christmas. I really haven’t been able to set up the online store, yet, so I did the next best thing: I made an eBay auction, where you can bid on an autographed picture of me, wearing the infamous Ugly Grey Spacesuit(tm), which was affectionately known as “The Iron Maiden” when I was working on Trek. The cool thing is, I can personalize it to the winner. It’s tough to get personalized pictures from Trek actors these days, and I know that it’s important to some collectors, and since I’ll be signing this at my dining room table (I’ll even include a picture of me signing it, so you know I’m not sitting in The Grotto while I’m doing it), I can write whatever you want on it. Even, “I hate Wesley” or something. :-)
I’ve made this a 3 day auction, so this can be sent out to the winner in time for Christmas (or Boxing day, or whatever you celebrate).
This is the first eBay auction I’ve ever done. If it works out, I’ll put up auctions for lots of TNG stuff I have cluttering up the house, that my wife would just love for me to get rid of.

News Good morning. I’m working

News

Good morning.
I’m working really hard to get MT installed, but my technical lameness is really showing, while I try to do it. :/
I have all the old GM entries, but I still can’t get GM to run properly, and rebuild the files.
I tell ya what…I really hate computers these days. The time and effort that I’m having to put into this crap really isn’t worth it right now, and I’m this close to just saying “screw it”. I’ll work on this for about one more week, and if I can’t make any real progress, we’re just going to have to accept blogger without comments, no soapbox, and no gallery, until at least after the first of the year. There’s nothing as lovely as holiday stress compounded with website stress. Just ask my poor family.
In other, better, news, this afternoon, I’m taking Anne and the boys to see Patrick Stewart read “A Christmas Carol”.

Peace? Yesterday, I wrote something

Peace?

Yesterday, I wrote something about Peace, and I made an offhand comment about how everyone wants Peace, except the military/industrial complex.
I didn’t think much of it, since I’m always making stupid, throw away remarks, in conversation and in my writings.
Well, I got this email, and it’s made me think about it a bit more deeply:

Interesting comment on your website:
“Of course everyone wants peace (except the military/industrial complex, but I digress).”
As an officer of 14 years in the Air Force, I would suggest to you that anyone who’s been shot at in a conflict, or faced the potential for that, is pretty disposed toward wanting peace. It’s not just a hypothetical concept for us, it’s our work environment.
I notice that you consider talking to William Shatner as a first step toward peace. Good for you. I think people need to be a hell of a lot nicer to each other, perhaps more so to strangers because that’s more unexpected and may have a longer positive effect. But that seems to be as far as you want to go. Let me point out to you some of the things that I, a member of the military/industrial complex, have done for peace:
– 4 years pulling 24-hour shifts in an ICBM launch control center during the final years of the Cold War
– another 4 years at the Air Force Academy, teaching cadets about how the military works in concert with (and, preferably, defers to) diplomatic, economic, and informational means of national influence
– deploying to Macedonia, being forced to wear civilian clothes and have a bodyguard due to terrorist threats, so I can help them develop a military that works under the control of a democratically-elected government, rather than a military that IS the government
– returning to Macedonia and donning a baby-blue beret as a UN peacekeeper so a war in neighboring countries wouldn’t spread into a nation that was just starting to make it
– sewing a NATO patch to my uniform and deploying to Bosnia to keep the locals from killing each other long enough to get their economy started so they might see the benefits of peace over war
– parking myself in a little cubicle in Alabama for 2 years developing plans for responding to terrorism, plans the existence of which I had hoped would deter a terrorist from attacking
– attending funerals at Arlington Cemetery for my former Academy students who have died in the line of duty
– serving as an active member of the ACLU chapter in every state where I’ve been assigned and working with youth-oriented support groups
I’ve given up a lot to do that. I’ve lived in places I didn’t necessarily want to live. I’ve taken on responsibilities most people won’t accept (when you were 23, were YOU prepared to accept a job where you might have to kill millions of people? I didn’t particularly want to do it, but somebody had to be prepared to, thanks to the threats to this country). I’ve had to keep quiet about my religious beliefs…I’ve accepted less pay than my peers from college. And yeah, I’ve been shot at.
And a lot of people in uniform have done a hell of a lot more than me.
I applaud your efforts to be nicer to people. But feel free to get down off your high horse and quit making generalizations about people of whom you know nothing. Contrary to what Charlton Heston, Barbra Streisand, or Rush Limbaugh may think, a career in the entertainment industry may give you a “bully pulpit” but it doesn’t make you an expert on public policy.
Just my $.02 worth. Feel free to tell me to go [fark] myself.

Well, far from telling this writer to go fark himself, I have to apologize, and clarify.
I have always supported the members of the military, who are in the field, sometimes getting shot at, whether I agree with the war, or not. Regardless of how I feel about it, leaders are going to fight wars, and people are going to be involved in those wars. I think that I can support the men and women in the armed forces, without supporting Bush and Company.
Matter of fact, I so support the men and women in our armed forces, it really pisses me off when I see a president using them in ways that I think are inappropriate. But, this writer is correct. Being in the public eye does not make me an expert on any policies, at all…I told him in an email that I was just a guy, with a webpage, who talks about stuff that’s on his mind. I never meant to be on a high horse (when I’m on a high horse, I’ll make sure you know), and my generalizations were in the spirit of humor. I mean, all people who generalize are idiots, right?
So, consider this another step in letting Peace begin with me. If my comment yesterday offended anyone, please accept my deepest and most humble apologies, and please read it again, focusing on the larger message.
And let’s not forget that there are people, like this writer, who are, right now, 11 days before Xmas, far from their families, and nowhere near a Dr. Demento CD and a fireplace.
I hope everyone is having a nice weekend.

Peace I saw this sticker

Peace

I saw this sticker today. It said, “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.”
My first cynical thought was, “well, duh. everyone wants peace.”
But, as the night wore on, I got to thinking about that. Of course everyone wants peace (except the military/industrial complex, but I digress). How can I make peace begin with me?
Well, I did some puzzling on that, and here’s what I came up with: letting peace begin with me is pretty easy. IT begins with me when I say, “Thank you,” to someone. It begins with me when I let a car in front of me in rush hour traffic. It begins with me when I take a chance talking to WFS. Peace can begin with all of us, and, cumulatively, we can and will make a difference.
Think about it.
Think back to the last time someone you didn’t know did something nice to you. That good feeling stayed with you for hours, maybe even days, didn’t it? You can’t help but spread that feeling to the people around you, and they to those around them, and so on.
I got all bent out of shape about the person who put me on all those mailing lists. I got really angry. I’m pretty sure that whomever did it is coming here to see what I’ll do about it, and I played right into his hands.
So, I’ll let peace begin with me. Fark it. There’s worse things in the world than this.

Watery Fowls Boy, what a

Watery Fowls

Boy, what a day. If you live in Los Angeles, I hope you got to see the AMAZING sunset we had tonight. Ryan took pictures from the car while we were driving home, and as soon as I fix the gallery, I’ll put them up.
We got our Xmas tree last night. I’m so torn about that…on the one hand, I totally hate the idea of killing a tree and putting it in the house for a few weeks…but on the other hand, it’s such a long-standing family tradition, and, especially after the loss of my Aunt Val, I’ve realized how important traditions are to me.
Example: I listen to this guy, Dennis Prager, on the radio here in LA from time to time. Dennis is very conservative, but he’s not a jackass conservative reactionary like Rush or Sean Hannity, who’s recently been thrust upon us here. Dennis is very honest, and amazingly smart. He’s also not one of these idiots who toes the line no matter what. He talks about issues of morality, without succumbing to demagoguery and hyperbole. (Jesus, I feel like I’m writing an essay here. Score me an extra 3 points for big, important-sounding words). Suffice (there I go again) to say that, even though I’m pretty out there on the Left, I can listen to Dennis, and, although I disagree with him often, I always think a second time.
So, today, on his show, Dennis was talking about the importance of tradition in human existence. He was talking about the difference between having a day off, and having a day where we engage in some sort of tradition. It’s the difference, to me, between not going to work and drinking beer, and finding a Veteran to thank, on Veteran’s Day.
So, tradition is very important to me, and this recently came up, at my mom and dad’s house.
The whole family was there, and we were talking about Xmas dinner. My brother was pulling for this German potato salad that we have eaten since we were kids, but never as a holiday meal…I mean, getting together at mom and dad’s for Melted Salad is just awesome, but I was really not into it for our Xmas dinner meal. I wanted to have the traditional turkey, candied yams, mashed potatoes and stuffing, punkin pie, and the whole thing…and I was getting a lot of resistance from the rest of the family about it, until I explained to my mom how important it was to me that we have what we’ve always had, because it wouldn’t feel like Xmas to me otherwise, and, eventually, they all came around.
What I didn’t realize, until I was listening to Dennis this morning (while stuck in traffic on the Four-Oh-Farking-Five-Freeway-Farking-Farking-Farking), was just how important that tradition has become to me.
This is my 5th Xmas with Anne and the kids, and we’ve really established our own traditions, and tonight we’ll have the mashed potatoes and turkey meatloaf, then we’ll build a big old fire in the fireplace, while we drink egg nog and hot apple cider, and decorate our tree, while listening to Dr. Demento’s Greatest Xmas CD.
Bring on the Jingle Dogs, dammit!

Score one for the good

Score one for the good guys

Charges to Be Dropped Against Russian Computer Programmer
The Associated Press
Published: Dec 13, 2001

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) – Charges will be dropped against a Russian computer programmer accused of violating copyrights on software made by Adobe Systems Inc. in exchange for his testimony in the trial of his company, a spokeswoman for the programmer said Thursday.
Dmitry Sklyarov, 27, had been charged in the first criminal prosecution under the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
Sklyarov and his employer, ElcomSoft Co. Ltd. of Moscow, were charged with releasing a program that let readers disable restrictions on Adobe’s electronic-book software. The program is legal in Russia.
Sklyarov was arrested after speaking at a hacking convention in Las Vegas on July 16. He lives with his wife and two children in an apartment in San Mateo and was working on a doctorate in computer science.
AP-ES-12-13-01 1602EST

Breakfast Anne doesn’t go into

Breakfast

Anne doesn’t go into work until late in the day on Thursdays, so she usually sleeps in and I get up with the kids, get them ready for school, and all that jazz.
So this morning, after I took them to school, I came home, and made Anne breakfast while she was asleep. Strawberry waffles, freshly ground coffee and OJ (the drink, not the murderer and drug dealer).
It was awesome. After we ate, we walked Ferris, who chased birds and attacked sprinklers, then went and watched Ryan’s school play.
It’s been a good day. If you haven’t, make your wife breakfast some time. It’s cool.

50,000 Monkeys at 50,000 Typewriters Can't Be Wrong

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