Home for Christmas

My family is here, there are some patches of snow on the roof, the house is decorated, and I bought my lunch (an Italian hoagie) at Wawa. It’s good to be home.

Here’s a shot of my French vanilla cappuccino, with a dash of dark roast and chocolate caramel coffee, for just $1.19:
Wawa coffee

In thewysz.com news, don’t expect a new Chicken and Ketchup episode for at least two weeks. But I promise I have a few good ones ready to shoot in 2008. I’ve even pre-written a few jokes about spaghetti sauce.

Christmas Waltz

I always thought that there were a couple lines in Natalie Cole’s version of “Christmas Waltz” that went:

People vacuuming on New Year’s Eve with a smile
‘Tis the season to care

I never really understood it; I assumed it was traditional to clean a house on New Year’s Eve, or maybe the people were preparing to host guests for a New Year’s party and cared about how they presented the house.

Well, while trying to search for that song using that phrase, I didn’t get very far. Turns out the actual lyrics are:

People that you meet on any street will smile
‘Tis the season to care

I was close.

Whoops

I knew something was wrong last night when I was ready to go to a party early. Usually I wait until the last minute to start looking for some clean clothes, but I didn’t really have anything to do yesterday so I even had time to go out and buy a new tie for the event. And that new tie? I got it in a decent knot on the first try. I wear ties so infrequently (probably averaging out to about once a year) that it usually takes me quite some time to get it even close to looking acceptable.

When it was time to go, I had everything I needed for the party, but when I reached for my keys, I couldn’t find them. I looked around my unusually clean apartment and didn’t see them anywhere, and within seconds realized what had happened. Off of my balcony, I have a storage closet that is locked with my apartment key. I was putting stuff in there earlier in the day, and set my keys down inside. When I was finished, I closed the locked door and got ready for the party, leaving the keys to my car and apartment locked up.

I sure felt like an idiot calling the after-hours lockout number, because when he asked where I was, I replied, “In my apartment.” He was pretty nice about it though, and told me about someone else who locked himself out on his balcony.

I think my string of bad luck is just about over though, because if these things come in threes, I’m all set. When I finally left for the party I forgot to bring directions to my friend’s house, and then today I went shopping in the grocery store without my wallet. I shop at Lucky, by the way, because they don’t have bonus cards. I like bonus cards as much as Adam West likes baseball cards.

Easy Music Licensing

I don’t do much video work now, but when I did, music was always an unfortunate issue. The boundaries were unclear when it came to educational/non-profit work, “free” music wasn’t really free, and even when one was willing to spend the money for a license, the process was prohibitively confusing.

Nearly three years ago, in a post titled iTunes Pro, I suggested that someone make it easy to license music for production use. This hasn’t happened yet. But, I was happy to hear on a recent episode of This Week in Media that at least one artist, Moby, has stepped up and explicitly allowed a portion of his catalog to be used for free by independent non-profit filmmakers. And for those who want the music for commercial use? Moby offers an “easy license,” with all revenue going to the Humane Society. I’m not sure about the details of this license (site requires registration), but anything “easy” is a step in the right direction.

On a side note, I also wish there was an easy way for small-time producers (meaning anyone with at least one original piece of content, whether it’s a video, song, book, or thingamajig) to sell downloads. I’ve heard of a few services that come close, but nobody does it quite right yet.

After these problems are sorted out, all we need are online haircuts. Then I’ll be satisfied.

Reality Television

In 1776, the United States of America declared its independence from Great Britain. In 1783, Britain recognized us as a sovereign nation, and presumably wished us good luck with our independence.

I’m guessing they thought, “Let’s just see how long they last on their own.”

The U.S. was left to fend for itself for over 200 years. We did some cool things, including becoming the largest exporter of television programming. In the era of sitcoms, this was great, providing the American entertainment industry with cash, and the rest of the world with common pop culture references. But then came the reality shows. The rest of the world, including the British, finally saw what Americans were really doing after 200 years of no supervision.

What did they see and hear? Our singing was terrible, we were being ruled by our children, and our restaurants were potential gold mines turned into money pits. Perhaps feeling a sense of responsibility for sending us off into the world a bit too soon, the UK sent a series of ambassadors to discipline us on our own TV shows.

At least that’s how I understand the story.