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The seventh month anniversary of our marriage ceremony in California comes later this week. Now we aren't a couple that makes a big deal about tiny anniversaries or anything, but this one will be the first one that may be missing an actual valid marriage license, depending on what the California Supreme Court rules today.

I've been joking about our marital status ever since Prop 8 passed. Even from the beginning it was odd, only valid or recognized in certain states, and certainly not my native Texas. Are we married, or are we not? Depends. Then once Prop 8 passed, suddenly even the small amount of recognition was also in limbo. Suddenly a contract we had both signed was...well what was it?

Back home it seemed than there hadn't been much change. We started wearing wedding rings, and calling each other husband, not partner or boyfriend, but the relationship stayed pretty much the same. We've been lax about hiring a lawyer to draw up power of attorney documents and getting things taken care of legally, for no matter how California sees us after today, until the Defense of Marriage Act is overturned federally, we won't have the same rights and privileges here in Texas. Texas has a constitutional amendment that bars recognition of same-sex marriages and civil unions, or the creation of them by the state. I think Texas would be one of the last states to get rid of the rule, much like it took a federal court case to get rid of sodomy laws here.

Our opponents are desperately seeking a win from the court today. the news lately has been heavily in the favor of marriage equality. Today they will hope that mob rule trumps the rights of minorities and they continue to try to paint the picture of marriage as one reserved strictly for heterosexual couples (or opposite marriage as some deep thinker put it).

It still makes me mad when they continue to try to spin that marriage is tied to the churches when it has long been the fact that no church would have to sanction the union of two heterosexual people (or two people of opposite sex, regardless of their orientation, really). State sanctioned marriage has been a separate institution as much as the separation of church and state has been the law of this land. No one has had to get the permission of a church for years to get married, and the state, not the church grants the rights and privileges of marriage - at least in this life.

And it's not like I couldn't fine a church to get married in. You might not be able to get hitched in a Catholic church to you same-sex partner, but plenty of other denominations will do it, and still have the same appreciation of your Prada loafers.

Let's face it, marriage hasn't been as sacred as our opponents make it out to be since they started granting no-fault divorces. Say what you want about the bonds of matrimony, but when it comes down to it, the partners can break the contract almost as easily as any two business partners. Marriage is a contract from the state, the spiritual stuff is up to someone else.

One thing that throws me is that ads that the proponents of "traditional marriage" (sorry for the scare quotes, but I couldn't come up with another way of putting it, but marriage has changed over the years, from a property situation to a search for a match between two people- another reason not to deny marriage equality) seem to come up with ads that keep up the scare factor that gays are going to come and steal marriage away from them. I never see an ad that seems to truly state why keeping marriage as a separate institution for heterosexuals is important. What is it that we are supposed to be stealing from them? We aren't taking away their rights, or trampling on their relationships. We aren't going to take their children away from them. Heck, for nearly half of them, it doesn't seem that marriage has actually been that great of a institution for them.

It's hard to state how marriage has changed my life, maybe because with the passage of Prop 8 it never seemed fully real. Sure, we exchanged vows in a quickly arranged ceremony under some really odd circumstances. It's something, like many other married couples, we might have waited a little longer to do, but the political situation and the fact that it was California pushed along our decision.

Still, hearing the vows, even if they were done in front of a small group in a conference room of a county clerk's office still made for one of the happiest moments in my life. Those words, weather there's a piece of paper with them or not still stand for me.

I know that chris' family would like us to have a reception, or even a larger ceremony, but I know I've shied away from it because of the political situation. My own family isn't really on-board with the whole marriage thing, so I'm not sure if they would be inclined to come to something or not (not that they don't like Chris, but it's one of those things that the reality of what's family vs. the political dogma don't always mix well). Maybe if things are positive for us today we'll look into doing something bigger, but for now a simple ceremony is fine, and truly, our core relationship together didn't change, and won't change from what happens today.

(Of course the jokey guys that we are, as he was leaving I said that we'll see if we are still married after today, Chris on the way out said i should watch the news and if Prop 8 is upheld he expects that my stuff will be out of the house, as he will not live with someone in sin. Heh.)

I'd marry Chris again if today's verdict comes down against us. I'm not sure there's any great push to do it though. Sure I could get married in Iowa, or New England, but really, without the rights being here in Texas, it's as meaningful as any other piece of paper in the printer drawer. The relationship remains the same either way. With Chris being from California, then the California license was special to us. I'd love to get married in Texas, and maybe one day, many years from now, we will, but I'm not waiting for it.

We will see how the court rules. Because of my work schedule, I don't think I can make it to the rally today, but I'm sure there will be many more rallies, because either way, there's still a very long fight to go, and we're going to have both wins and losses.

So who knows. I say that it won't affect me, but maybe because I've been trying not to get my hopes up, waiting these long months for a decision, maybe it will be something I take more personally than I care to admit at this moment. I look right now and I see that we have a chance to really make history, but I am trying to steel myself for the likely possibility that we will lose today, activist judges be dammed. On we go to the next fight, state by state, and eventually the country.

Still, I'll be keeping the ring on, and still calling Chris my husband,no matter the validity of a piece of paper. My day of decision came when we decided to date each other, and it's only been validated by the choice to move in together and late on the day that we said our vows. A ruling form a court isn't changing that. I think we can still get away with having a first anniversary celebration in October even if it's for our six year relationship.

Update: So there you have it. Prop 8 was upheld by the California Supreme Court, but the existing marriages stand, makeing us a limited, collector's edition marriage that's still only recognized in a few states. Expect to see more litigation, both on recognition of these limited edition marriages, and probably a few trying to still invalidate them as they don't jibe with current CA law. The battle continues.

I guess I should frame that marriage licence after all.
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☆ Well, again I'm having to say something about how long it's been since I've written in my journal. For weeks I had a half written post about TBRU that never got off the ground. Partly it was due to stress at work and trying to get through tax season, and now that's over, thankfully. It may not have been as hard as we thought, but it's definitely been a stressful time at work. Otherwise I just haven't been so inspired to write and have been lazy, watching TV in my spare time.

Lets face it, TBRU can be boiled down to a few things. There was great people there, I did my best to stay out of crowds and kept the drama to a minimum. That's not to say that going to Six Flags during Spring Break was not frustrating with the long lines and rude people, but luckily the guys I went with were good company. Also, the Battlestar Galactica finale went great and it was fun to have fellow geeks come over to watch. It made viewing it much more of an event. The finale itself was good, not great, but I think there was a lot of expectations. I saw people I knew and was glad to see them, and met a couple of new people, mostly introduced by people I knew since I'm too shy to go meet them myself.

☆ I'll just a paragraph or five about politics here. I think Obama and his administration are doing fine. Sure, I don't agree with everything he does, but I do appreciate that he seems to be able to plan for the long term and doesn't get caught up in the day-to-day news cycle. Politicians are often too reactionary (see AIG bonuses) and try to respond too often to what the polling shows rather than getting out there and making real plans. I find it refreshing.

The tax day tea parties were ridiculous. What began as a libertarian thing suddenly became some way for disenfranchised Republicans to find a voice, but the problem with that voice is that it seems to find outrage but no substance or solutions. For many people there they seemed to be outraged, but didn't quite know what they were outraged about. Of course you have Fox News out there, actually adding their name to the event. If my parents ever try to tell me that Fox News is balanced again, all I have to do is point to this moment where the right-wing network didn't report the news, but tried to be an event organizer. While I don't find much in the way of objective journalism from any of the cable news outlets, I can't see either CNN or MSNBC trying to actually create a movement for their benefit. For anyone on fox who wants to remain a journalist, it's time to leave.

Funny that these tea bag protests about spending come after several years of Republicans raising deficits while Bush was in office. All this sturm and drang only seems to come around now that they are out of power. I'll take your message as seriously as I do the Code Pink housewives.

Oh, and our governor here in Texas, Rick Perry, is worried about a primary fight against Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson next year, so naturally he decides to go to these tea party events to campaign. He's a complete idiot, but he knows the Republican Party here is a bunch of rabid fools (Just check out the Texas Republican Party Platform) so he knows he has to play to these guys. Kay is much more the moderate, and she would do better in a general election, but it will be harder for her to win the primary.

So Governor Good Hair, as we call him, goes out to start talking about Texas shouldn't be ruled by Washington, that states are sovereign and we need to look at secession from the US. Great! Just what we need here is an idiot telling us that we should leave the US. If we left the US, the US would also leave us. Do you think Texas would keep the US companies that headquarter here? Do you think that the US military would just leave all there equipment to us? Do you realize that there isn't a large enough bank based in the state to do commerce with? We are so tied into the US, that...why am I even arguing this, our governor is an idiot.

☆ Lastly, tomorrow we head out to LA for our cruise. I'm excited about going out to see a Dodger game tomorrow night and Saturday getting on the ship for a Mexican Riviera cruise. It's the Lazy Bear cruise, so there should be lots of good people on the ship. chris was on this same cruise a couple of years ago - as were a couple of other LJer's. I'll admit that I am not excited about any of the ports of call, but it will be nice to relax and get away from it all.

I'm packing, trying to get everything I need into one suitcase. You'd think going away for a week wouldn't require so much, especially going to somewhere warm, but I'm struggling to keep the bag under 50 pounds. Luckily this cruise I don't have to bring formal wear.

I have been on one other all-gay cruise, and that was the one to Alaska in 2007. I liked that one because people were dressed a little more warmly, but I see this cruise as a little more body competitive - beaches and pools and such. I'm sure there will be several people in skimpy swimsuits both on and off the ship. I'm already in my mindset that I will be the largest guy on the ship and won't want to be out at the pool area. Hopefully this feeling will change and I'll be able to let go and have a good time, but I'll tell you, it's easy to feel that you are very unattractive going into something like this.

Still I can't just stay in our little cabin all vacation long. This will be odd for me because I'm always looking for things to do on vacation but this one seems to be more about doing nothing. I hope I don't go crazy with boredom as I can't think of any of these ports that I want to explore, or anything. I'll be missing my internet access, too. I'm guessing I'm going to be on deck reading a book quite often. We will see how it goes.

Now if I can just cram all these T-Shirts in the bag!

☆ Oh, and it's possible that California's Supreme Court will rule on marriage next week. I guess we'll see if our marriage is still valid (in selected states) or not. We'll be without internet, but I'm sure we will hear the news on the ship. not that I'm expecting it, but if they rule for marriage equality that is going to be one big party boat.
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Well we had a string of some really nice spring weather, even having a good weekend to take out the visiting [ profile] bigmacbear to a party and then the Eagle. Overnight it turned rainy and cold. We had gotten rid of the comforter on the bed but Chris had to wake up and haul it out early this morning as the temperature dropped.

Here's a few more questions that I need to answer:

1. [ profile] deanosota asks: Will you be seeing The Watchmen this weekend?

Well, that was a yes. I saw it at the midnight showing on Friday. It was a theater filled with nerds and geeks, so an audience that would know the material. I thought it was good, but didn't have the spark to really be considered great. Many scenes looked like they were taken directly from the comic, and that was good, but the movie lacks something as an adaptation.

Let's face it, Watchmen is a character study. Who are costumed heroes? What makes them tick? If we put them in a really desperate situation, would they really come out as heroic as comic books make out? Only Dr. Manhattan is really a superhero, per se, and his powers make him so different that he no longer connects with humanity. It's a cynical, but likely realistic thought.

The ending in the comic book is more there to finish the plot than it is to give a big action sequence, so it doesn't really translate well in a superhero move where people are looking for the big fight. I'm sure that will disappoint many casual viewers who are expecting something more.

Luckily the audience knew the story and knew what to expect. They expected penis. You could tell who in the audience didn't expect that coming. Frankly we really need to get over this whole "you can't show male full frontal". It's really silly. No one made a big deal of the breasts in the film. In many of the negative reviews of the movie the reviewers were more shocked by the big blue than they were the graphic violence and blood. Personally I'm squeamish, and I can't watch horror movies - this was coming pretty close for me as far as gore goes. I say less violence, more penis.

Oh, and the soundtrack. Yikes. i understand using poplar songs to evoke a time is to help the viewer, but man, could you try to find songs that were less clichéd. When I heard "Hallelujah" and "All Along the Watchtower" it really took me out of the scene. In fact "Hallelujah" got many unintentional laughs from the audience.

Lastly, since it is a character move, and the reasons for the heroes motivations are really deep in the book, it's sad that the Silk Specter wasn't really given as much depth. She's the whole reason for Dr. Manhattan's actions in the present, but it doesn't really connect on screen how she was pushed into the superhero life by her mother and how she's the last connection to humanity for Dr. Manhattan. Part of it is because her mother didn't seem like the sad character she was in the book. Nite-Owl and Rorschach were handled pretty well.

Worth seeing, but I think that more adaptation and less cribbing from the comic could have made the experience a lot richer in the end.

2. An Anonymous reader named Curious and Alone writes: How did you meet your husband?

We met right here on LJ. About six years ago I had just started here on LJ. Chris had been on for a while. In connecting with friends of friends here, Chris commented on a post or two and eventually wanted to meet with me.

Chris was supposed to surprise me and come down to the Dallas Diablos and Houston Roughnecks Rugby game where I said I was going to go. I instead responded to an invite to go to Austin that weekend and meet [ profile] cristalskye, [ profile] lostncove, and [ profile] mattycub, who were there to see one of Randy's plays at the fringe festival.

So we missed each other that weekend, but Chris then messaged me about meeting for lunch one day before he would go back to Dallas, and we met. It was over chicken fingers at Skeeter's near my office in Greenway Plaza. I talked - a lot - because I was so nervous. I remember a hug and how I walked away back to the office in a bit of a cloud of excitement!

Chris and then met a few more times when I would visit my sister who was living in Dallas at the time. Eventually the visits to Dallas were to visit Chris rather than my sister, then eventually I moved in. The rest is history.

3. Another anonymous questioner asks: Why aren't you on Facebook?

I go back and forth on this, but really, I'm not too crazy about another site. I'm on Linked In, Flickr, and Twitter and sadly on MySpace (there's nothing to see there, really). I'm not sure I really want something else to look at. Besides, remember Friendster? Yeah, well MySpace is already going the way of Friendster and I think we can all say that Live journal is less vibrant than it once was (sadly - it was the one place you could find people who could write a whole sentence). I'm worried that Twitter and Facebook will be yesterdays news pretty quickly.

I guess I'm trying not to join Facebook because I know that will be the moment that Facebook will have become totally uncool. Not that I'm worried that much about cool, but I know that the parade would have moved on somewhere else. I just wish I knew where it was moving to.

Oh, and I love Twitter, but it's already reached the point where it is now being marketed to, and then it fills up with more folks trying to advertise than actually trying to connect. It's like when MySpace became more marketing tool for bands and media companies than an actual community. It's the one thing LiveJournal hasn't become. I guess it comes down to the fact that people want community, but don't really want to be bothered by what would actually make the site a sucessful ommercial venture.

That being said, I'll probably give in and join Facebook sometime soon, but I hate those little "sell your friends" games.

I'm out of questions. This may be a good thing, but we'll see. I'll still take them. If you have a question, comments are screened if you go to THIS post. Keep asking away.
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Here's a couple more questions that have come my way...I'm trying to answer them between naps.

1. [ profile] polomex asks: You are given quite a morbid superpower: you can kill people simply by thought. Your victims would die a natural death, and you would never be suspected. Would you ever use this new power?

While I'd like to say that I'd be all high and mighty and respect the culture of life, I know that I can be quite petty. I guess my question about the power is: How easy is it to use? Is it something that you have to put effort into it, or is it something that would go off at the second you have one of those "I want to kill..." thoughts in your head? If it's the latter I'm afraid I would have a trail of dead.

It also depends on if it works only in proximity or over great distances, because there would have been a widow filing for benefits last night after the call I had with the guy yelling at me in his rage. I know I'd be weak and want some way out of that painful call.

Also, there's be no Karl Rove or Dick Cheney left to testify on anything.

Let's just say, that's not a power I'd want (sort of a King Midas thing, right?) because I'd know the guilt would weigh to heavily on me.

2. [ profile] mikiedoggie asks: What aspects of your home city do you like and dislike?

Well, Dallas has definitely done better in this economic downturn than many other areas of the country. Housing prices were never as high as other areas, but they haven't fallen as much here. If your business is housing construction, well, you may still have a job here. Except for a large batch of allergen-producing crap, the climate is good, not as humid as Houston. It's hot but you can stay out of it, and you don't get months of snow and cold. For someone who is afraid of driving in the annual ice storms, Dallas is good, even if you have to watch hours of screaming reporters on local news saying how we're all going to die if sleet hits the Dallas roadways.

Food wise Dallas is good for me. For anyone who wants to eat right, well, you are screwed. Dallas is a series of suburbs ringed by other layers of suburbs and then an extra layer of exurbs. It all grew so fast that there really wasn't the time for local neighborhoods to develop restaurants. There are chain restaurants everywhere. Dallas is where Pizza Inn, Chilis, and the late Bennigans began. It shows you the haute cuisine we have here. Still, I love fast food and this is the town for it.

On the negative side, we have to drive everywhere and it takes time out of your day. Walking is rarely an option. Want to know why were all fat? You get used to driving even short distances that would shock anyone in the north. Of course in the summer who wants to walk in the 100 degree heat when you have an air-conditioned SUV?

Dallas also has too many religious nuts.

Dallas is also a place where people would still buy a Hummer. You can take that comment however you want.

Finally, there's always a lot of talk about Texas and the low cost of living. The thing they don't mention is that wages are very low here as well. We are the place businesses send jobs to before they send them overseas. It also keeps people here because their pay here wouldn't give you a sustainable life in other parts of the country. You would need to find a job with a significant pay raise elsewhere to make a move. Sometimes you feel trapped here.

It's not a bad city, but it's a boring city. It's a place where you live, not visit. The city implores you to travel elsewhere. We have a big airport for a reason!

Still, Texas has always been my home. It is what I know.

I have a couple of questions left, and I will keep answering them in other posts. If you have a question, comments are screened if you go to THIS post. Keep asking away.
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Right now I'm trying to redirect some negative energy from a customer call gone all sorts of wrong, and I got royally chewed out by the caller. Oh, and we screwed up, but not on every part of it, and the caller doesn't want to take responsibility for the portion he screwed up.

Luckly I have tomorrow off, and I don't have to talk to him again. I'm trying to calm down so I'm not still angry about the call when I go to the midnight showing of Watchmen tonight. With that being said, let's answer some questions!

1. [ profile] winbear asks: I like that you used the Charlton/DC character "The Question" as the artwork for {the perevious} post. What do you think of the more recent female Question? Also, feel free to compare and contrast The Question with the Watchmen's Rorschach since they are loosely analogous.

I think the idea of Renee Montoya being the new Question is a good one, and DC certainly took forever to make a link from the previous Question to her, but she really hasn't been used well yet. There's also the problem that the Question is firmly in the Bat-Family now, and not the more universal DC character that reporter Vic Sage was. Montoya is more attached to the Gotham City Police Department and the fact she was Batwoman's former girlfriend.

Oh, and how many world's greatest detectives does Gotham City need? Geez. Hopefully Montoya will be able to break out of the Bat-books like Oracle was able to and solve crimes elsewhere.

All of the Watchmen have a DC correlation because Alan Moore started it as a alternative Charlton Comics story before DC got cold feet (DC learned their lesson with Kingdom Come and The Dark Knight Returns). Rorschach is most definitely The Question, Owlman is Blue Beetle, Silk Specter is Phantom Lady, Dr. Manhattan is Captian Atom, etc. The Question is doggedly relentless just like Rorschach.

All the characters are much darker, and much more violent, even to the point of being deranged. The idea is that anyone who would actually want to be a super-hero would already be out of their mind.

I enjoyed the Animated Justice League take on the Question where he was a total conspiracy theorist and voiced by the guy who does "Monk". the guy who played all those aliens on Star Trek Deep Space Nine and Enterprise.

2. [ profile] chibi_masshuu adds: "... as I suspected, 32 flavors." ~ The Question

"Thirty-Two Flavors and then some." ~ Ani DiFranco

Well, I have a couple of other questions that aren't about the Question, but I will try to answer those tomorrow. I need to eat dinner and get ready for the movie.

If you have a question, comments are screened if you go to THIS post. Keep asking away.
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I know I haven't said a whole lot here lately, so I'm not sure I will get a lot of response to this, but here goes. If you'd like me to write a little more, then by all means, ask me a question. It is March, and it is the LJ way.

So have at it, ask away, and I will answer. Comments are screened but please let me know if you want to stay anonymous as I like to answer directly. I should try to ask a few questions of others, too.
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Obama's budget is a very broad package of ideas. There's an emphasis on higher education, health care reform, and to attach global warming by encouraging new technologies and using penalties and incentives to business. Subsidies for farmers would be cut (primarily because large corporate farms take the most of this money and taxes on the wealthy will be raised, if Obama gets his way.

For those who were hoping for more change from Obama with the stimulus, for those who thought that it didn't go far enough, should look to the budget. This is where the president is making his case for his campaign promises.

The budget couldn't be more different from those put out by George W Bush, well, except for the large budget deficit, of course. Still, there's actual cuts in some programs - something that the deficit ignoring Bushies never made much of an effort to do - and there's a new transparency at least in one realm. Obama actually puts the cost of the Iraq and Afghan wars in the budget. A cost that had always been handled off budget as to not offend the American public.

Basically the Obama Administration is looking to make a fundamental change of direction in the budget, one that throws out thirty years of Reaganomics and harkens back to a more FDR route. There's an emphasis on government taking a larger role and using more money from the rich to fund projects to benefit the greater whole. Some call it "Robin Hood" others will label it socialist, or worse.

Of course many who shout such things don't truly know the meaning of the word socialist, and lack understanding that we have been a socialist nation, albeit less so than many other Western nations, for a long, long time.

Many look to change the problems of economic inequality that have continued to grow over the last 30 years, much of it increased to nearly a breaking point in the last eight. From this I seem to get the idea that Obama and company understand that a strong middle class is key to America's future, but I worry about trying to restructure and pay for so much directly from government programs, entitlements and subsidies. I look for smart spending and directed payments, not a general doling out of money.

I understand taking advantage of our current economic despair to make large, sweeping changes and to pull up the middle class. It's time to encourage better salaries and I'm even for government taking over healthcare from employers, something that we know is currently preventing employers from hiring and having them cut salaries and benefits. The private sector's backs are eventually going to break. I'm just not sure our government is up to the task.

What I'm hoping, and I'm likely naive about this, is that President Obama is just taking his chief of staff Rahm Emanuel's quote about not letting a serious crisis go to waste to heart and trying to put everything on the table so it can be discussed and likely whittled down. He went for middle ground on the stimulus, but decided to shoot for the moon on the budget knowing that he would get only part of what he actually wants to accomplish. The proof will be how hard he pushes his agenda, and what he stumps for.

Now we will get to see if Congress is serious about fiscal responsibility or if they go back to their ways for the last eight years. What congressperson will say no to earmarks, and who will look to control entitlement spending? We can expect Republican's make a big stand and say no to everything, but will they actually bring anything to the table? Can they work with the president without just being obstructionist? We know that the Democrats could push much of the Agenda through without a single Republican vote if necessary, so it behooves the two groups to actually work together.

The Republican's have little to stand on after the spending binge they went on over the last eight years, but if they want to remake their party, now is the time.

There's smart ways to work with the president and try to be responsible with the people's money. The Obama administration has apparently put it thin Congress' court now. We know what Obama's goals are, but what are the priorities of Congress?

At least it's out there on paper, what the agenda is, at least fiscally. We know where Obama is heading but we need to know if the efforts to reduce the deficit spending over the next four years are going to work, we need to know what will be change and possibly cut in entitlements where we don't end up prolonging this economic crisis. We need to know more about the plans for healthcare and the details of rescuing banks that currently are "too big to fail". The devil is in the details.

Now we wait for the debate to ramp up. If you thought the stimulus package fight was nasty, you haven't seen nothing yet. Obama won't get everything he asks for, presidents rarely do, but perhaps it is shooting for the moon to get more than he bargained for.
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Well it's been a while. Since the last time I journalized, we got a new president. We've decided to spend nearly $800 Billion and lost about 50% of our stock market value!

★ Back on January 25th, the 25th anniversary of the Macintosh, my iMac decided to take a big dirt nap. After taking the machine to the Apple Genius who said the hard drive had gone ka-blooey. After a week of trying to recover files unsuccessfully and finding out that getting a professional to do it would start at $400, I gave up on it and decided that it was time to just let go.

The iMac was just under warranty - by about a week. Thankfully.

After getting my iMac back from Apple with a fresh, empty hard drive. for the last few weeks I have been trying to piece together files from old computers, and few ancient back-ups and whatever I could find. Everyday I seem to find that I'm missing an application. Today I just re-downloaded XJournal.

Apple was nice enough to allow me to re-download countless songs that I have downloaded from them over the last 5 years, but they didn't have every song I've ever downloaded. There's gaps in my photos, especially things that happened in the last year. Bye-bye New York.

The music files are all over the place, and last year I was working on ripping all of my CD's into iTunes, and well, I have a new goal for 2009.

★ While getting my digital life back together I've been using Twitter more for little everyday kinda notes and posts. It's fun, actually. It's a challenge for me, trying to get a whole thought into 140 characters. I'm so long winded. I'm still on the fence about Facebook.

★ Otherwise, the other night I went to a party. Parties and I don't go together really well, but I did OK. This was a Mardi Gras themed party and there was plenty of Jelloshots and all. There were some good people there, many more I would like to talk to, but there were some really crazy people there. Naturally that put me sitting in a corner, watching the strangeness for most of the night. *sigh*

I'd just like to take some of them away from the party and have a nice chat with them over dinner...or take everyone over to Josh's ([ profile] joshjeffcoat) and watch really bad kung fu movies (Shout out to Tae-Bo master Billy Blanks, the villain in 1991's classic "King of All Kickboxers").

★ Work has been, stressful. On one side you have fearful investors needing information and guidance and on the other side you have management that is very concerned about bringing more dollars through the door. On top of that you have a market that continues to go down and down and down. You never know what the mindset of the next call will be. I've had people yelling at me, people crying and people hoping that you have the answer for them. It can be very trying.

I worry that I don't give out the right information - not only for the financial liability for the person on the other line, but also for my own job. In these time you hear about more and more people in finance getting laid off (though never the ones that should be, like many bank CEO's). Being a recent hire, now with the company a year, it's always in the back of your head.

Bonuses in the financial industry have been getting a lot of talk lately. I am eligible for one if my scores are good for this year. Most of it is based on phone stats and quality of service, but there's one other part, one that's going to be tough. It's the sales part. We aren't gaged by the products we sell or the investments we suggest for people, but strictly by the amount of dollars. It's good because we aren't told what to sell, but encouraged to find what best suited for the.

The difficulty though, especially for a non-sales guy like myself is that I'm expected to pull in $2.2 million. It's pretty daunting. Last year very few people passed 1 Million, so I don't know how well we'll do, especially as the market will likely stay down. Hopefully I'll do well enough to stay in good graces, but I'd guess I won't see a bonus this year unless I find some rich sugar daddy.

Of course, one should always be looking for a rich sugar daddy.

★ Otherwise I seem to like the new President. He's doing alright so far.
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Over the weekend I went back home and saw the parents. Surprisingly they were looking a little more hearty than they had looked when I had seen them last. Dad has recovered pretty well from his prostate surgery and Mom seemed to be doing alright.

The state is widening the freeway out in the far suburbs of Houston where they live so there was construction all around as I tried to get to my parents house. There are many new shopping centers and businesses that still show the optimism of the area even though the housing market has fallen. It will be interesting to see if this is all worth it, or will they have overbuilt and the economy will leave many empty strip malls. The outlet center looked like a ghost town.

I visited my friends, Hans and Naima and their new baby. They had just recently moved to the outer suburbs when Hans’ job had relocated to The Woodlands. The Woodlands itself seems to keep growing and the master-planned streets are full of cars and SUV’s.

My Dad was his usual self, watching old westerns (who knew the Rat Pack made a western?) while my Mom stuck to new on Fox. I showed Mom the pictures from Chris’s and my quick California wedding. Dad didn’t want to see them, but did take notice of my wedding band.

Mom pulled me into a political discussion that I was trying to avoid, but I knew would be there. I showed my optimism for the future, at least in the long run, while they complained that the media was to blame for everything, especially the meltdown of the Republican Party.

One of my favorite lines was that John McCain wasn’t chosen by voters in the primary, but chosen by the media itself. Some how people are lead astray and the party faithful can be convinced to vote for someone they despise; someone who’s not Republican enough. The notion that it wasn’t that the country was rejecting the message that the Republicans were running under, but that the Republicans weren’t conservative enough seems ludicrous to me. It’s odd how bitter the party adherents have gotten.

Let’s face reality. The Republican message became toxic. It hurt their candidates across the country, and had they put up a candidate that wasn’t moderate, someone who followed a more Cheney-esque line of thought, the loss would have been bigger, not smaller. People were tired of Bush and those that supported him. The tide was turning in 2006, and crested with the 2008 election. Now, looking back, it would have been amazing to see the Democrats lose.

So instead of embracing the change, and looking to find opportunity to reach new voters, Republicans are retreating to their little corner, trying to shun the moderates and embrace the far right, christianist wing. It does not bode well for them, unless President Obama really makes a mess of things. The Republicans are looking like spoiled children and seem ready to play the obstructionist role one again. I guess it will be like the Clinton years where we have right wing radio throwing out ridiculous rumors and opposing anything the President did.

Hopefully the new president won’t pay much attention to the sideshow. I think he’ll continue to work with moderate Republicans and ignore the rest. He looks better when he makes attempts to be bipartisan and I don’t want him to quit that, but in many ways, he can’t let his agenda be stopped by those who aren’t bringing anything to the table. The Republicans have no new ideas, no direction other than opposition, and nothing to offer and it seems that their leadership is fine with this.

As always I know enough about the right wing talking points to hear it parroted by my parents. I love them, but I know when I’m hearing the same lines that Sean Hannity said. They talk about liberal policies being failed policies but they don’t see that their ideology has also been shown as a failure. There’s a denial at work here, and it’s sad to see. When you can’t blame yourself, then blame someone else, and once again it’s time to blame the media for all their troubles.

With Obama taking the oath of office in a few minutes, I find there’s a larger change at work here than at any time that I can recall. More than with the Clintons, this inauguration seems to be really creating a different era, and the many years of conservative rule, from Nixon to Bush II, could be at a true end. Everything runs its course, and so has the last 40 years of this country. I do get the feeling that we are entering something new and exciting, and though its growth pangs are going to be difficult, we can truly make this a better country.

So my parents, well, it seems that history is passing them by. They will cling to the old ways, and hope that things will swing back their way again, but I don’t think it will. Sure, conservatives will make a comeback, all things go in cycles, but I think they will really need to rethink who they are, and develop a new plan to appeal to voters in areas that aren’t the south.

I guess I pay less attention to what my parents are saying. I’ll never change them over, but maybe it’s not something to worry about. Times change and sometimes people change with them, and sometimes they don’t. Right now I'm enjoying a little renewed optimism after the last few years.

Let’s move forward.
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rings-2, originally uploaded by f__k.

This lovely 8mm mens ring comes in many sizes and is made of a Tungsten Carbide Alloy - Virtually Indestructible, and hand washable!

In the Pink

Jan. 1st, 2009 01:00 pm
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In the Pink, originally uploaded by eggwards.

Our friends Mark ([ profile] marktintexas) and Ami ([ profile] amisadeh) have a huge New Year's Eve party every year, and each year there's a color theme. This years was pink, and Chris found some really loud pink Kool-Aid branded Reeboks on clearance that worked with the theme pretty well and garnered some attention.

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I think I'm ready for this year to end. 2008 was certainly full up ups and downs and many changes.

2008 was the first year where I attended more funerals than weddings, but yet I had a wedding of my own. I did the east-coast west coast thing again ending up at Disneyland and New York City in my travels. I met new people and shied away from them at parties as usual. I got a new job and then had to tell people how much their investments had lost as the stock market went down, down down.

It was another year with my fantastic husband, and the first year I could truly call him that.

It was a year where we elected a new leader, and we are just waiting for him to take office, but it was tempered by the fact that bigotry remains a party of this country.

The first half of the year was much better than the second half. I think most of us will be ready to move on.

With that said, here's some things I hope won't make it into 2009:
Novelty Shoe Fashions (aka Uggs and Crocs)
High Gas Prices
So-called tolerant preachers
Hannah Montana
Magic Underpants
Israeli-Palistinian Conflicts & War in general
Cancelation of good shows (or at least better than the normal crap)
The phrase "Where's MY bailout?"

Things we need more of in 2009:
More marriages for my friends
More facial hair
More jobs
More friends
More good times
More calm nerves
More progress
More love

Ring It Up

Dec. 30th, 2008 09:13 am
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Christmas was a quiet affair here. I never did get totally in the spirit and neither Chris nor I were really wanting to spend a lot on each other. Chris also went out to California for a few days to be with his family. He returned on Christmas Day and I cooked up a big pot of chili for the two of us. I think this kicks off our attempt to cook more for ourselves and try to save some money.

In the saving money category we went out to the mall Sunday, and I think people have decided to stay away, which was good. There's only one store in our local mall that carries my size, and that's Dillards. Despite being told that retailers have slashed prices to try to get people to buy, Dillards didn't seem to follow the trend, at least not for the big boys sizes. Chris was looking for a new coat and didn't quite find what he wanted. Macys selection was terrible and for some reason they don't have the big-boy love at all. What's up with that?

One thing we did finally do was buy our wedding bands. We had made some attempts to check out some stores, but apparently trying to buy jewelry at retail stores is just a giant rip-off. We went to Robbins Bros., a specialist on wedding rings here in town and totally felt that we were being sold a car. Would you like floormats with your rings? That will be an extra charge of several hundred dollars. The salesman there wanted to give us drinks and sell us something a lot more than what we were expecting. It was ridiculous.

Let's face it, wedding bands shouldn't cost as much as women's rings with diamonds and all. It's a symbol, not necessarily an investment. Right now I don't have the money for a big investment and I don't want to go into debt. If we want something more extravagant several years from now, we can do that later. I personally want to get out of debt, and maybe look at things like a house. Jewelry isn't my main worry.

Well, we finally found a ring we liked that was made of tungsten. It's great, meets my requirement of being inexpensive, and is what we wanted in looks and color, etc. It will be nice to have them before the state of California decides whether we stay married, officially or not.

Work has been interesting these last few weeks. Call volume has quieted a bit, but I had to work Saturday and it was quite busy. I know the next few weeks will be very busy, especially as the new statements come out and people learn that they lost a lot over the last few weeks.

Work has already started reducing our lunches from an hour to thirty minutes, which really makes me mad. I really do need that time to decompress. I'd rather come to work earlier, or stay later than have my lunch cut short.

I've been watching a little more football lately, with the bowls and the NFL playoffs coming. I'm glad the at Cowboys are out of the playoffs because I think their owner, Jerry Jones is an idiot and needs to be slapped in the face and told he doesn't know what he is doing. The man spends a lot of money on talented people, but doesn't understand that they are all cancers to team unity and success. The man gets what he deserves. I wish he would sell the team - a wish I've had since he bought the team, but not one I'm likely to see.

Otherwise in the small, means nothing bowl games, I'm rooting for the Rice Owls tonight in the Texas Bowl. The Owls have been underdogs for years. They have always been the smart school in a league that was too strong for them. This year they almost won the conference and they beat my Alma Mater for the Bayou Bucket.

Speaking of the alma Mater, the Houston Cougars play Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl tomorrow. I'm rooting for Air Force. I think UH puts far to much money and emphasis on the football program, a program that always loses money. The school would do better, and be more competitive if they moved down to Div II A, but no. They must keep going on playing Div IA and being a middle of the pack team in an awful conference. The School sent out an email begging alumni to attend this game as the school can lose money if the tickets aren't sold. In the same email they said that UH would be looking for it's first bowl game win in 28 years - not a good way to sell the team!

i think the end of the year has sent me into an introspective mood.
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Is anyone else happy that we won't have the stupid Palm Centro ads for much longer? You know, the ones with CLAÜS?

Yes, please use your product to turn Santa into a total hipster douchebag. Sure, plenty of companies use Santa this time of year to sell their product, but mostly they stick to either a reverent or comic version, and not one that I'd actually hate to be around. Thanks Palm for making your phone completely unattractive to me.

I'd rather see Pancho Claus than this dork.

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It seems that Turner Classic Movies channel (TCM) has gotten hold of much of the Disney Live Action films for the 50's 60's and 70's and has been shoing them on Sundays this month. I saw one of the old Kurt-Russel movies, The World's Strongest Man last Sunday, and noticed they had also been showing The Love Bug, The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes and The Parent Trap among others.

Today was the best, though. Movies that really brought back memories. This morning 1979's The Black Hole was on, followed by Escape to Witch Mountain - which really doesn't hold up over time, but is cute. [ profile] joshjeffcoat came by to watch Bedknobs and Broomsticks and besides loving Angela Lansbury we both realized we knew a lot of the songs.

It continued tonight with Candleshoe and later the original Freaky Friday both with Jodie Foster. Candleshoe is a fun little young-person's mystery that doesn't get it's due. It's amazing that both of theses squeaky-clean Disney movies were shot after her role as a teenage prostitute in Taxi Driver. They are a lot of fun though, and the Original Friday is a lot better than the Lindsay Loahan remake.

I saw all of these films in the theater growing up, and it's good to see them all again. I normally don't look to TMC for entertainment. I'm not much of an old movie buff, but I do enjoy these bits of nostalgia.

Speaking of nostalgia, TCM is showing two other movies this week I'm interested in. They are showing Fiddler on the Roof tomorrow (as a part of a Chanukah lineup that sadly includes Yentl) and The Man Who Came To Dinner (which is not Guess Who's Coming To Dinner). They were two of the plays I was in while in high school, so it's always fun to revisit those shows.

I guess I'll have to watch TCM's schedule a little more closely from now on.
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For the life of me I can't seem to get overly excited about the Rick Warren thing. Sure, I think it's a lousy pick, and I think the Obama could have done way better, but in the end, they guy gets his few minutes on stage and goes back home.

Now I know, you are say, this guy's an ass, and he will use this so he can be seen as a power broker, just like James Dobson or Pat Robertson, an in that way I'll agree with you. While he doesn't have the television presence like Robertson, or the radio presence like Dobson, he has been finding a larger audience by attaching himself to political movements and politicians. It's a pretty strange place for a preacher in my book, and it is sad that Obama is giving this man more face time.

That's what's more upsetting to me than the actual invite. Heck, Billy Graham has been doing these things for years, and I don't agree with him, either. I'm sure someone like Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson would cause a lot of furor as well. Warren is getting it from both sides as Fundies seem to not like that he's fraternizing with pro-choice politicians. We all have our battles.

I guess why I'm not outraged as much as other people is I see this as political payback. Obama seems to be making an statement for inclusiveness and for differences of thought, or at least trying to spin it that way, but I see it more as payback for not trashing him at the "Forum" Warren held and for not campaigning against him. Warren could have done more to rally his flock against Obama, but likely spent more of his efforts getting Prop 8 passed. Perhaps Obama is trying to use this inaugural platform as a way to keep this guy off his back for a while. I don't know.

If you want to protest this move, fine. write your congressmen and Obama and all that. It's good to stand up. I see this more as a blip than anything else, and there are much bigger issues. If you want to use this as a starting point to announce that you will be looking to the administration to do more for GLBT issues, then that's a positive. If you fell back on the idea that there was a democrat in the White House and we would be making great strides, I'd like you to look back to the Clinton Years.

We will continue to need to make our case for rights and a seat at the table. That shouldn't change no matter who's in Congress or the White House.

Disappointed, yes, outraged, not so much. Maybe I'm in the minority here, but I'm waiting on some bigger policies before I'm ready to write Obama off.

★ One bit of Rick Warren business, the Seattle Stranger's Blog (or SLOG) yesterday posted some interesting information from Rick Warren's church. Apparently he has a manual for church leaders out there. And some of the excerpts are pretty funny. Like many Non-Denominational and Baptist churches, they are against porn, against strong women, and against gays.

What I really found funny was the information on how to make church more appealing to men. Apparently churches have become to soft an feminine with quilts and banners and priests in Prada shoes and all, and church needs to get more butch in order to get the men involved. Warren suggests you take down the quilts and put up swords and animal trophies.

He also says, "years ago, I attended a church where everyone held hands across the aisles while singing a unity hymn. Men hate this — especially when they have to hold hands with other men." So apparently church has problems attracting men because it's too homoerotic!

No wonder churches want to put women in their place and "ex" the gays, they are ruining the church for manly men!

★ Speaking about making our presence known. There's a rally tomorrow. It's a candlelight vigil all across the country, and in most places it's taking place outside of shopping centers.

In Dallas it will be outside of the Galleria. Now I don't think this was the best choice as the Galleria is the place that out-of-towners shop, not people from Dallas. I think we could have done better by picking Northpark, but the choice has been made.

Is anyone here going to go to the vigil? I'm not 100% sure about this one, and I have my reservations about the format, but we'll see. Maybe I'm not excited because I don't care for the format. A candlelight vigil during the Holidays just makes you look like a group of carolers that aren't singing. We aren't supposed to bring signs, but instead have T-shirts with clever sayings. I'm not sure as people drive away from the Galeria they will get the message.

I'll consider it though, for the community and all. I'll have to find where I can get a good candle.

★ Lastly as the colder weather sets in, I can feel my joints tightening up. I always knew that I would likely start showing some signs of Arthritis as I got older, and can remember my dad having the same problems showing up as he got into his 40's.

My knees already cause some trouble, but that's from weight, not Arthritis. Luckily my ankles haven't been twisting and turning as much as they used to. Now my fingers get kind of locked up at times, and that hasn't been fun. I guess I'll have to start looking for Arthritis pain relief aspirin at the Walgreens soon.

Arthritis and some forgetfulness seem to be pointing to a bright future!
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Back Door Santa, originally uploaded by eggwards.

At lunchtime today I tried taking a Santa Hat photo. I needed a tripod, the hat was on wrong, I couldn't get me and this Santa-wearing-a-cowboy-hat cutout in the picture and my hands were so cold I had a hard time feeling that they had mashed the button after a bit. It was 20 degrees at lunchtime! So here's the entry, actually taken by the door to our bedroom.

eggwards: (Xmas)
I took a half day off from work today. I didn't feel like taking the whole day off today in protest since I didn't really have anything planned to do, say community service wise, so I didn't feel there was a positive point for me to be out all day just to protest Prop 8 and marriage rights.

No offense to those who called in gay today, I just felt like I do more by being in the office. my whole team knows that I got married a month and a half ago to Chris, so i think that does more for awareness than anything else. I remember that I didn't exactly come out and say anything right away about the wedding to my co-workers, but I had to tell my boss just incase there were any HR issues I needed to tackle.

My boss wanted to make a big deal about it to the team, but I didn't think it needed to be. I haven't worked here for even a year yet, and I don't know all my team members that well (I'm kind of quiet at work), so I didn't want anyone to be offended or anything. My boss eventually leaked it to the team and everyone was pretty positive about it. One of them asked me why I didn't announce it to the team. I told her "Have you seen how many McCain stickers are in the parking lot?" My fears were allayed, and I found my team is very accepting.

Another reason not to call in today was that all of my co-workers saw me last night at the holiday event. The company took us out to Main Event - sort of a Dave and Busters type of place, but with crappy food. I managed to win in bowling and wiped up on trivia against a large group of managers. I not only wanted to boast, but not appear that I shrugged work off the day after the holiday party.

While I won on bowling and trivia, I didn't do so well at lazer tag, but wasn't the biggest loser (that gal had negative points) and ended up working a sweat.

So what did I do with my half day off? After going to lunch I went over to the mall thinking that it would be less crowded than usual, which was true. It's been cold, and we try not to turn up the heat too much in order to save money, so I wanted to get some pajama pants or sweats or something. Well, the mall closest to us isn't good for such mundane items.

The lowliest store there is Dillard's and although they do have a large big and tall selection, it's all overpriced. Since retailers are having a difficult holiday season, just about everything was 25% off, but even at that, I think those should have been the prices to start with. I know I'm cheap, but come on, $40 for sweats? I guess I'll wait until late January when all the winter stuff is 70% off.

I got home and I took Joey for a walk before it got dark. We walk for about 45 minutes. I worked to catch up on some little projects I've been needing to do, including changing the vehicle registration in my car. While I have the car door open and went back to get some Windex, Joey just jumps into the car, plops herself in the passenger seat and waits. I thought that she'd get out as she usually associates getting in the car with going to the vets or to the pet hotel. She's never jumped into the car voluntarily without coaxing from Chris or I.

I waited a bit to see if she would get out, as I had finished removing the old sticker and placed the new one on (Check the Date, Love Your State, the sticker says). I went back into the house and she just stayed there, so I got the keys and we decided to take a drive in the nearby neighborhood to see the holiday lights. Just the dog and I. Joey doesn't get very excited about car rides, and she didn't try to hang her head outside the window or anything. She only got excited when she saw someone walking another dog on the sidewalk. Once we got back into the garage Joey was ready to jump out of the car and go back to doing the normal things she does around the house. Those being eat, play ball, chew on her bone and of course, sleep.

Well, now I should get back to the laundry so I can say I did put some of this time to good use.
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We were watching Heroes last night. Surprisingly one of the more plot-heavy episodes. We seem to be following the show just to see if they can actually pull it out of the tailspin that it's been on since the last episode of the first season. Every once in a while there's a spark of life in it, but more often it's full of comic book clichés and characters that change motivations on a whim. Two of the biggest things that bug me, everyone can see the future and to many characters die only to see them come back to life, often in the same episode!

Strangely, this isn't a entry about Heroes, but about network television. One thing about Heroes is that it seems to be run on a series of polls. We're trying to redeem Sylar. Oh no, test audiences don't like that, now he's back to being evil again. Enough of that. The show needs to grow a pair and try to tell a consistent story, but I'm thinking that network executives won't allow it.

Too much of network television is dumbed down for the masses, just when the competitive marketplace shows they should be taking more risks. There needs to be more talked about shows and not just another season of Two and a Half Men.

Sadly, those talked about shows don't seem to find an audience large enough for the networks, so a show like Pushing Daisies gets canned. It seems that the networks have an unrealistic audience expectation in a world where there's too many other choices. I would have loved if Daisies appeared on a cable network that would have been happy for the loyalty, but that cable network wouldn't have had the money to produce such a show. Well, maybe HBO would have but there's not enough sex on Dasies to have a boob shot now and again.

I guess it's dammed if you do, damed if you don't these days. Shows like Law and Order and CSI can go on and on since there's little to follow from week to week and actors can be plugged in and out at any time. CBS seems to have an entire line up of these shows, and they manage to win in the ratings again and again. What reason would a network have to try something like Lost when you have to hope that an audience will keep watching.

The only show I watch on CBS in The Amazing Race. I really don't like procedural shows. I want something with a little more story, something that make me feel good for remembering something from the first season. The only problem is we all expect these shows to be cancelled (I'm just waiting for Josh Whedon's Dollhouse) so no one wants to get too involved.

So that brings me to the news from NBC yesterday. Apparently NBC has given up, again. A couple of years ago NBC said that they would no longer put scripted shows in the 8 o'clock hour (7 Central), relying on a series of reality and game shows to fill the time. It was purely a cost cutting move, and suddenly you saw as many episodes of Deal or No Deal as you do Law and Order on TNT.

NBC backed off of that plan a little bit, but you may notice that most networks no longer program new shows on Saturday nights, and even Friday night seems to be filled with reruns. The Networks are putting on fewer new shows than ever. The cost-cutting has meant that the big three (NBC, ABC and CBS, Fox never did program a full schedule) no longer have something different scheduled each night. In a 500 channel and TiVo world this doesn't seem to be significant, but from growing up in a time before Cable, it seems crazy to me.

NBC announced yesterday that it was planning to give Jay Leno a new talk show, rather than have him run off to another network. Leno was losing the Tonight Show gig after originally planning to retire, but then changed his mind. For his new talk show, NBC will clear out the 10 o'clock (9 o'clock central) schedule. That's right, NBC will move the Tonight Show with Jay Leno up before your local news and give up on their last hour of programming. This will mean fewer episodes of Dateline, which is fine, but it's seems to be a sign that NBC has given up. They are unwilling to produce shows and try to build up an audience.

If I were a local NBC station that had to earn ratings for my late local news, I think I'd be pretty pissed with this decision. I can't understand why people watch Leno anyway - heck, I can't watch Letterman anymore, either, but Leno always seemed to be a bad host and interviewer. Now they are going to entrust 5 hours of prime time programming to him each week?

I'll admit that good TV doesn't have to come from the networks, but it seems that they are no longer trying, which is odd as advertising gets more scarce. You'd think someone would want to take more risks. The Networks have become so inclined to try to appeal to the masses that they are turning people away from their product. It seems that the Networks are becoming less relevant to the total entertainment package as fewer people watch television in real time, over the air. When does it become viable to pass up the Nets all together and just produce a show strictly for on-demad delivery?

I think many of us are very close to ditching the networks and cable because the programming is available elsewhere. As it becomes easier to get content away from the networks and watch it how we want, well maybe it's time for Network TV to give way and for television to be produced without the need for an actual airdate.

I know I'd be happy to have a few more seasons of Pushing Dasies. Where do I subscribe?


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February 2013



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