Friday: 08.August.2003

Senator from Yosemite

Whilst hiking in Yosemite National Park last week, we ran into a kindly gent atop a 9,000-foot peak near Lembert Dome. The views up there were spectacular and he forgot to bring his camera. So he asked us to take some photos of him & his family and email them to him.

He gave us his card, which contained his email address .. and a gold seal beside the title "State Senator". I probably should protect his privacy, but I can say his state is north of the Mason-Dixon and east of the Mississippi. It's also Sharon's home state, so they had plenty of common ground to discuss.

Being the skeptic I am, I looked him up on the Internet, and that's really the guy. He seemed like a regular chap .. huffing & puffing in the thin mountain air .. just like me. His wife was down to earth and we even liked his son. In fact, the Senator took this photo of us.

If I remember my US Government correctly, each state has two senators. Anyway, I received a note from him today thanking us for the pics. Maybe someday he'll repay the favor by taking care of a parking ticket for me.

Posted by Rad at Friday: 08August2003 | Comments (0)

Wednesday: 06.August.2003

Reader mail

Those of you who remember the days when we used to post weekly updates of Wendy's adventures at the world's finest Film school might appreciate this [forwarded] letter:


In a few days, I'll be leaving the safety of the hometown I grew up in to enter the great unknown of Los Angeles. In May, I graduated from Boston College and was shocked to learn that I got into the graduate program at USC.

Though I have made a few films, most notably a 40-minute documentary about AIDS in South Africa, I've been terrified about going to USC. The detailed account of your experiences there however, has pacified my fears considerably (though some of your stories are reason for even more concern!). I know I won't be the most artistic filmmaker there, but I also know I won't be outworked by anyone. Your story made me confident I can do it.

I know you get tons of these, but I just wanted to say thanks for opening your life to the world. It has helped greatly.

Thanks and best of luck!
Dave LaMattina

We get lots of letters from people who are inspired by the chronicles, and even from those who apply to graduate Film school at USC. But it's a rare treat to get a letter from someone who has actually been accepted.

Note his mind set: I won't be outworked. That's the right attitude. Filmmaking involves more perspiration (sleep-deprivation) than inspiration. Even a bad film requires a lot of work. We expect great things from him. He has an advantage over students who don't know what to expect. Some day, when Dave is a famous director, you'll be able to say, "I knew him when..."

Tuesday: 05.August.2003

Pageant of the Masters

Folks who live here in Southern California might want to consider attending this years Pageant of the Masters. It's been going on every summer for 70 years now. They use real people to depict classic art. Extraordinary. A narrator describes both the art and the period the art if from. So it's a cultural experience. Held outdoors, at night, here in Laguna, under the stars. Beautiful.

The whole season, which lasts all of July & August, with performances every night of the week, sells out before the first show. You have to know someone to get the good seats. But decent seats can usually be had from scalpers out front.

Another trick is to line up at the box office an hour before they open. There you can purchase cancelled tiks for face value. The night before, they will post [on the box-office window] how many will go on sale when they open [9AM, I think]. Limit 2 per person. So if they have 10 tiks available, and you see 5 people waiting in line, you're too late. Most people bring a chair to sit in, along with a copy of the LA Times.

Last show is August 30th. Bring a pair of binoculars .. to see if you can catch one of the performers blink. Hard to believe they're real people on stage .. until they step down and walk off.

You want a nice restaurant before the show? I can recommend Sorrento Grille. [My favorite] It's walking distance from the Pageant .. which always concludes with da Vinci's The Last Supper. If you know someone in the show, you can get tiks for free. I wonder who is playing Christ this year.

Posted by Rad at Tuesday: 05August2003 | Comments (0)

Monday: 04.August.2003


Saw Seabiscuit last night. Great flick. Putting it on my official Recommended list. Good casting. Well acted. I especially liked the historical perspective. Both the horse and era [Great Depression] come out of early-30's lore. The horse was a bright spot at a dark time in the country's history. I also liked the narrated voiceover: used sparsely but effectively. It added a folksy feel. Reviews posted here (Rotten Tomatoes).

Posted by Rad at Monday: 04August2003 | Comments (1)

Sunday: 03.August.2003

New laser printer

Picked up a new laser printer today: the Brother HL-5040. Lasers are so cheap these days. They offer much for the money .. in terms of print-quality and page output. This puppy is rated at 17-PPM. It's rated resolution of 2400x600 tho, is weird. I set it to 600-DPI for normal text printing. Any of the popular brands [HP, Lexmark, Canon] would've worked fine.

I previously had an old, clunky Epson ink-jet that was noisy and slow. It finally quit after several years as my primary workhorse. The Brother was up & running in minutes. Simply install the toner cartridge, fill the paper tray [with 250 pages], load the drivers, and you're good to go.

I run mine on the printer port, but this model also supports USB 2.0. Comes with 8MB RAM and a standard 1-year warranty. Got mine at a local OfficeMAX for US$229 [minus $50 rebate = $179]. The persistent check-out girl tried to work me for the $29 extra year of warranty. I declined .. about 10 times. A 6,500-pge replacement toner cartridges goes for $65. That's a penny a page.

Posted by Rad at Sunday: 03August2003 | Comments (0)

Friday: 01.August.2003

Photos of Cathedral Lakes: Yosemite

We're back from vacation. Posted some photos from our hike to Cathedral Lakes. Enjoy.

Posted by Rad at Friday: 01August2003 | Comments (0)