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Ken and Frank:

I’m writing to more fully express some of the reasons behind my negative comments on Twitter following the ITVfest opening night party. I’m making this an open letter since my tweets were as well, and so others can refute any of my points if they had a different experience. I am also speaking on my behalf as only one of three producers at KATR Pictures. I do not speak for Robb or Tanya.

I got your letter this morning, and, truth be told, the two issues you mention in it are irrelevant to me in the end. So here is why I, as an excited and enthusiastic webseries producer and ITVfest participant, was so disappointed and peeved by the whole affair.

Communication is your festival’s primary issue. Your communication is terrible.

I tend to be more of an optimist. I tweeted that “the little hints at trouble with @itvfest have been building for weeks,” and this meant that I had been noticing some problems, but not letting them get in the way of our participation at ITVfest. Because this is your first year running ITVfest, most of these little problems were easy to shrug off. They were noticeable, and sometimes even aggravating, but nothing was detrimental, and I was assuming you were trying your best and working with situations others are unaware of.

Some examples of the early “indicators” were:

1. Lack of communication on festival details.

2. Lack of communication regarding technical aspects of the screening.

3. Inaccuracy of information.

Other issues, like the lack of passes for participants to see screenings and panels, and the expensive awards banquet that we as no-budget producers can’t afford to attend, really are just annoyances and disappointments. It’s the lack of communication that has created an air of “we don’t care” and “you are here for our benefit, not your own.”

To explain these 3 issues now would make an already long (LONG!) letter longer. So I will just talk about why the opening night was such a let-down and, to my eyes, an unprofessional mess.

When I arrived at 7:35 and saw the red carpet set-up, I was really excited. Call it vain—and, really, who gets excited about a red carpet without some vanity being involved?—but I couldn’t wait to take my first walk ever down a red carpet and talk to the media about a show on which I and my friends worked very, very hard and of which we are immensely proud.

There was no check-in table, which was very strange, and the only person with a clip board was the assistant to the photographer. I couldn’t pinpoint anyone there as being an official of the festival.

The red carpet line was huge. Robb and Tanya had yet to arrive, so I found some fellow webseries friends in the line and waited with them to see what was going to happen.

While the line wasn’t moving, word started spreading that we might be able to just skip the red carpet, join the party, and come back out later when the line was winding down. Then about 10 minutes after that, Frank was coming down the line telling people they could get their hands stamped if they wanted to just go up to the party. Some people took him up on the offer. After Robb and Tanya arrived, we decided to finish waiting in the line.

It was nearly an hour after I showed up when some lady with a clipboard started yelling something about being on a list. We couldn’t hear her, so we waited for her to come down the line. Turns out there was a list of who was allowed to be on the red carpet and who was not. This was a surprise, and not just to us, but to everyone around us. People were either VIPs or not. As I waited to check our names, listening to this lady communicate with the others in line made me angry. Her demeanor was brusque, unfriendly, and accusatory. She told every one of us that “our people communicated to us” that only two from each show were allowed on the red carpet. We were told that “our people” had chosen who the two would be. She was either misinformed or was making this up because no one around her knew what she was talking about.

The obvious irritation amongst in the crowd around this woman did not suggest to her that something had gone wrong and that she should take a more sympathetic tone with us. “I’m sorry, there seems to have been a miscommunication and we didn’t get the VIP info out. But let me find your names and blah blah blah.” That would have gone a long way. Instead, her tone was, as I said, accusatory. Whose fault was it that none of us knew about the list? Whose fault was it that we did not know to check in with someone? Whose fault was it that we wasted time in this line? Ours. That was the message.

Let’s examine this for just a moment. Here are well over a hundred people, waiting in a line without anyone having told them what the rules were. There is no check-in table, something even major studio motion picture premieres have. No one is wearing badges to identify themselves as staff. There has been no e-mail ahead of time saying there were red carpet rules for the evening. There has been no request for us to choose who would represent our show on the red carpet. Nothing. So instead, a large number of people wait in this line, then are told much too late in the evening that they should not have been in that line and it was all their fault for time wasted. This is why I called it an invisible lottery on Twitter, and why I felt it broke us all into castes.

I was not on the list, but Robb and Tanya were. This is not what upset me. Robb and Tanya can sell our show maybe even better than I can. Nor am I upset at your rules. Many projects have a large number of cast and crew, and to limit who gets to represent the production publicly at the event makes sense. (Though a case-by-case exception—in our case for 3 equal producers—would have been fantastic.) I am upset because you never told us—and apparently most others—about the rules. Being told by some rude woman that I should have known about it made me angry. We were, as I tweeted, treated like pigs. An exaggeration in the metaphor, perhaps, but the tone is accurate, and it’s how many of us felt.

That the limiting of red carpet participants didn’t do anything to speed up the process is another, most likely organizational, issue entirely.

I went into the party others who were also not on the VIP list. After being in the party for a while, many of us started getting texts from our friends below that they were not being allowed up because the bar was over capacity. Our colleagues, the supposed VIPs of the party, were shut out.

One of your defenses later that night was that you told us all to get there early because the event would sell out. Shouldn’t you have made sure there was room for your own festival people and designated VIPs? How does it help arriving early for a red carpet that starts, according to all communication, at 7:30? You guaranteed that people who were part of the festival would be left out.

Who was the party for? We had mistakenly assumed this event was for us, the participants, to kick off the festival and meet other folks involved. This was obviously wrong in hindsight. According to your letter from this morning, it was a success because the confusing and poorly-planned amassing of people brought press and dragged some executives back from Hawaii. Your defenses make it sound like gaining some cliché obnoxious Hollywood bragging rights helps us all. Exposure in 33 media outlets makes no difference if it comes with disrespect.

Drai’s can be blamed for kicking us out early, it seems, but they were not the ones selling tickets. That was all you guys. To have oversold the party to the point where people who are actually involved in the festival could not even get in is not Drai’s problem. And yes, to us, they did close us down early because your Eventbrite site said the party was from 7:30 to 1:00am. If the party was scheduled to end at 10:00 and you told us 1:00, whose communication error was that? (I can not find the Eventbrite page now, so I can’t confirm the ending time that I remember. But I know we all had 1:00am in our calendars.)

Event planners should know a thing or two about capacities, venue expectation, contracts, and attendee numbers. All of that, I imagine, would have been helped had you had a knowledgeable PR and event planner team to communicate continuously with you, with the venue, with the attendees, and amongst themselves.

We can try to argue over who this festival should benefit. But, really, it’s your show. You can make the rules. You can have all the expensive banquets and gift bags and more VIP-than-the-VIP VIPs and Hollywood-style attitude you want. It’s your show. Just make sure you communicate. Make your event professional. Allow us to work with you to create an amazing event for everyone. Apologize and recognize when your efforts may not have worked as you wanted them to. And if everything has indeed gone off just as well as you planned, then perhaps ITVfest is not what we were expecting based on the past. We cling to last year’s ITVfest because it was low-key, yet energetic. It was attendee-focued. It was friendly and accommodating. Since I was not part of an official selection last year, I can not speak to communication. But I can say that the vitriol you are experiencing from many of us is in response to the apparent New Douchebaggery of the event. That may be fine for the TV and the movie people. They’re used to it, I guess. And you’ll find plenty of webseries people who will join you in a more Hollywoodized ITVfest. Just know that the whining and complaining about gift bags is a symptom of real concerns. We have our own vision for what this new media can be, and a lot of us strive for a professionalism and honesty that, are we to take Thursday night’s events into account, do not mesh with the goals of this year’s ITVfest.

I’d love to be wrong about your intended tone and goal for ITVfest. The reason I’m even bothering to write this detailed letter is to see if I am wrong, and to give you guys a chance to see that maybe we aren’t just thoughtless complainers but truly passionate participants in what is hopefully the new and different future of entertainment.

We are not pulling out of ITVfest, as others have. Frankly, we understand why they have. But for our own selfish reasons, we are staying in. We have fans who want to come, we have prizes to hand out, we have fellow artists in our screening block who deserve our continued participation. We are hoping for a really fun screening. It could be by the end of the week, the festival will have righted itself from the mess of Thursday. I personally am withholding final judgement until the end, which is as it should be, I think.

Thanks for reading.

–Steve Lekowicz

Here’s a blast from… er, a time long ago.

In 1991, I got to act in a few sketches for a Bridgewater, Massachusetts cable access show called The Cutting Room Floor, created by Bob Caron and David Almeida. Christian Roman wrote most of the episode. My B.U. friends Catherine, Synneve, Karl, and Seth were in the show as well. I did improv in college and then professionally in Boston with Seth and Chris, and professionally in L.A. with Seth after 1994. Catherine, Karl and I made A Pound of Flesh in 1993, in which Seth had a part. None of us had anything to do with Mr. Belvedere: The Golden Years in 1997.

Enjoy this ridiculous but often rather funny piece of local cable access TV history and read more about it on the official Vimeo page. You can also see the other episodes there.

Watching this now for the first time since 1991, I remember how Chris and I both loved Monty Python. We had re-created a couple of their sketches at the coffee house nights in Claflin Hall. You can see the Monty Python influence in the above, with props and themes that weave through the episode, and segues between skits.

Boy, it’s good to see this again!

UPDATE: David reminded me that a skit we shot was included in episode 2 as well. Here it is! Look for “Sleeping Through the Movies with Philip & Bean” at 13:05. And here’s the Vimeo link, also with interesting tidbits about the episode.

The inspiration for this…

Awesomeness Test

…came from this…

Print Shop Splash Screen 1984

Read all about it in my Life from the Inside blog post!

LFTI episode 8 is just a week away! I think it’s about time. Really, it took too long. I’ll have to have a word with the producers about that.

I have posted a few interesting (read: not really) facts about the new episode over at the LFTI blog. Time to go read it!

Tiny Story Icon

I came up with an idea about two weeks ago that sounded pretty interesting: use Twitter to post little stories that fit within the 140-character Twitter limit. It was both gimmicky and challenging, so I decided to give it a go. Besides, my mind felt uncreative, I’m almost 40, and I needed my version of a mental sports car.

I created a new Twitter feed called Tiny Stories (@tinystories), and I posted my 7th story there today. (Actually, thanks to a Twitter outage yesterday, I just discovered that #6 did not get posted, so I have to post that one again.) Click the link to read and follow the Tiny Stories tweets.

A few of the stories so far have been difficult to write, but certainly a lot of fun. Today’s was one of the difficult ones. Here it is, all 140 characters of it:

Amid the dead they are forcing me to bury is the old tutor who made my young life hell. Now, by the pit, his still, gray face echoes heaven.

This one was a huge struggle. There was a lot to convey. Though the final story has a slight grammatical awkwardness, I think it is a good compromise.

The inspiration for this story was a feature at The Big Picture regarding the trial in Cambodia of former Khmer Rouge officials.

I have always been fascinated, in a terrified way, of how so many “revolutions” target intellectuals. I understand, theoretically, why this is done, but the logic of it beyond ideology is insane. The Killing Fields was my first significant exposure to the Cambodian tragedy. Seeing the new pictures last week reminded me of this failing of humanity. The pictures of the skulls, the man piling up the bones, and the mass graves that are now pits filled with stagnant water are deeply shocking. Aside from the usual question of motivation is one of result. What would it feel like to be one of the “intellectuals” swept up and slain for a governmental cause? What was it like in the camps, with so many people from so many different backgrounds becoming nothing more than animals waiting for slaughter? How does one live through such a time? When those with whom you’ve had differences are placed in the same horrifying circumstance as yourself, how do you see them then?

I wanted to see what I could do with those ideas in 140 characters. Yeah, I know.

I started with a sentence that I would have ended up changing very little if I hadn’t needed space, since I think it set the scene, the characters, and the situation just the way I wanted it to.

Among the dead they were forcing him to bury was his old teacher, who’d made his life hell so long ago.

My first try at the second half made the story about the true hell of the present erasing the mild hell of the past.

He had no idea what hell was back then.

I decided I liked another idea better, though, where people are all the same in these camps, whatever their pasts. Whatever strife there was once between people is erased by the horrible present. How better to do that than to counter “hell” with “heaven.” I had very little space left, so what was the most efficient yet effective way to end the story?

The gray face now reminded him of heaven.

Now the gray face reminded him of heaven.

Now the gray face was that of heaven.

Now the still face was that of heaven.

What I really needed was more space so I could try to create a stronger image of the dead man. I had to shave letters out of the first sentence.

…who’d made his life hell as a kid.

…who’d made his young life hell.

…was his old tutor…

I liked the reference to the main character’s youth, especially if I used “old” to describe his teacher, meaning both age-wise and time-wise. “Tutor” was shorter than “teacher,” and it also suggested that the main character was once upper class, and that the dead man was a step above a teacher… more “intellectual.”

…forcing him to burn…

“Burn” was no shorter than “bury,” but it sounded more brutal and violent. However, in my head, I had the image of the mass graves filled with water, and what digging up those graves must have been like when the Khmer Rouge was out of power. Graves ended up seeming more brutal to me, so I kept “bury.”

“Among” was long, but it was exactly correct. The dead man was, physically, among the dead. “Forcing” had to be used, since it, too, was exactly what I meant. I wanted to add something about soldiers or gunpoint, but I did not have space. Saying the main character was forced to do this hopefully implies soldiers and guns, or at least someone or something cruel and heartless. I did not have room to replace “dead” with “slain,” which would have  clinched the murder image.

Back to the ending, I wanted to make the realization of “heaven” more personal for the main character.

…became his heaven.

…is his heaven.

I could not get that to sound right without expounding a little bit more. I had no room, though. Instead of making it obviously personal to the main character, perhaps I just had to find the right word to give a sense of such. I found “echoed” in the thesaurus, which was a good word to describe the heaven the character sees in the dead man’s face.

Today, the still, gray face echoed heaven.

Now, the still, gray face echoed heaven

Now, by the pit, the still face echoed heaven.

Now, in the pit, the still face echoed heaven.

I had come up with the pit as a dramatic counterpoint to “heaven,” to see if I could create a more tragic image at the end. I liked “by” instead of “in,” since I pictured the main character musing this before pushing the body into the grave. I also played with putting “old” at the end to describe the face, instead of at the beginning to describe “tutor” or “teacher.”

Today, the old, still face was…

But “old” fit better where it was, helping to give a sense of past and age to the dead man.

I was always 4 or 5 characters over the limit. One way to shave off extra letters was to change the voice of the story, making “him” “me” and such. I wasn’t sure I’d like it, but I gave it a try.

Among the dead they were forcing me to bury was my old tutor, who’d made my young life hell. Now, by the pit, his still, gray face echoed heaven.

Four characters over. Maybe the present tense would work better?

Among the dead they are forcing me to bury is my old tutor, who’d made my young life hell. Now, by the pit, his still face echoes heaven.

I wasn’t completely sold on the change of voice, but I liked it enough. And I now had 3 spare characters! Could I get one more word into the end? I wanted to use “still” and “gray.”

Among the dead they are forcing me to bury is my old tutor, who made my young life hell. Now, by the pit, his still, gray face echoes heaven.

One character too many.

Among the dead they force me to bury is my old tutor, who made my young life hell. Now, by the pit, his still, gray face echoes heaven.

Among the dead they forced me to bury was my old tutor, who made my young life hell. Next to the pit, his still, gray face echoed heaven.

Five and 3 spare characters, respectively. But present was better than past in this case, and “force” didn’t work as well as “are forcing.”

Among the dead they force me to bury is the old tutor who made my young life hell. Now, by the pit, his still, gray face echoes heaven.

Five spare characters, but “force” still is no good. Changing “my” to “the” saves a comma but gains a letter, so it’s a wash, yet I liked it better in the end.

With the change in voice, the grammar of the opening was sounding muddy. Many people might insert a comma with their mind, reading it as, “Among the dead, they force me to bury is….” I did not have room for it, but I tried:

Among the dead, which they are forcing me to bury, is the old tutor…

Too long, and too parenthetical. By the way, they were forcing me to do this…

Could I fix the problem by re-organizing the first part of the story? What if I got rid of a few commas, too?

My old tutor, who made my young life hell, is among the dead they are forcing me to bury. Beside the pit, his still, gray face echoes heaven.

The old tutor who made my young life hell is among the dead they are forcing me to bury. Beside the pit, his still, gray face echoes heaven.

While being forced to bury the slain, I find the old tutor who made my young life hell. Beside the pit, his still, gray face becomes my heaven.

Sure, I got “slain” in there, but the flow of these stories did not have the correct impact. Even though the original arrangement was a bit sloppy, it was best. Maybe the first person POV would allow people to forgive the sloppiness.

Now, I was only 1 character over the limit. I could not get rid of any commas. “…His still gray face…” has completely different meaning! I had to lose my beloved “among” and go with “amid.” “Amid” is not the better word in this case, because “among” sounds more physical and tangible than “amid.” But “amid” would have to suffice.

There was no more tweaking or experimenting to be done. Time to post!

Amid the dead they are forcing me to bury is the old tutor who made my young life hell. Now, by the pit, his still, gray face echoes heaven.

And that, dear friends, is the long-winded story about a very short-winded story. I’m sure the chances are slim of a person reading the story and going, “My god! The Khmer Rouge!” Or even, “My god! The Holocaust!” It might be too vague for any of that. But I hope that whatever images the story creates, the basic meaning and emotion is there. Who knows?

Please read Tiny Stories, and let me know what you think. I hope to keep this going for a while.

I’m trying to get back to my blogging duties over at the LFTI blog. In my most recent posting, I expose truths about our recent holiday video, including this:

Go take a look!

Today: A gripping tale of T-shirt design! Be sure to make a point not to miss today’s LFTI post!

What a Bunch of Turkey!

Ah, I love shooting! Specifically, I love how creative you have to be when you have no budget when you’re shooting.

Also, I have problems typing “would,” “could,” and “should.”

Read all about it at the LFTI blog!

Since LFTI takes up so much of my time, I decided to post a more informative write-up about some of what we go through during pre-production. We put a lot of care and therefore a lot of work into the show. Go read all about it at the LFTI blog!

The dream I had last night could probably be considered the cliché Steve dream.

I and some friends were at a convention, a mix of Comic-Con and Dragon-Con except it seemed to truly be a convention for independent “content creators.” Robb and Tanya were there, I think, and we were trying to peddle the sitcom to people at the booths. It was, of course, difficult getting anyone to take notice. I visited a booth Robb had already visited, where there was a line of non-TV-related people signing autographs for a large line of people, and I butted in line to a non-busy person to try to give them one of our demo DVDs. (The butting in line came from the movies Friday night, when I cut the line so I could get two water cups.) The person I talked with was nice, but we both realized Robb had already given them a demo DVD, so I was really just making a fool of myself.

There was, as always in these dreams, a huge world surrounding the task of shopping the sitcom. To describe it would take many paragraphs, and that’s not considering how much information I’ve forgotten since waking up this morning.

The end of the dream was, however, the most telling bit of the entire exercise.

In the center of the convention space, which was low-ceilinged like at Dragon-Con, I found racks of toothbrushes. As I always do when I come upon toothbrushes in real life, I searched for the extra soft variety. In the dream, I was expecting failure, as always happens in real life. But no! Lo and behold, the entire bottom of the rack was filled with extra soft toothbrushes!

I was so excited, and I knew I had to buy a bunch to take home, like I did in my parent’s town last Christmas, when I did find some extra softs and took home 5. My dream excitement was tempered when I saw on the toothbrushes that these were special “Limited Edition” extra softs. How annoying. And yet, how lucky I saw them before they were discontinued.

As with anything in my dreams these days, a leisurely pace was not allowed. There was pressure as I shopped for the toothbrushes. I was delaying my friends (I think it was my boss Richard by this time) by stopping for this personal errand. I had a few toothbrushes in hand, but then I started looking at them. They were all different, but not “normal.” In continuing to scour the selection on the racks, I saw that there were nearly infinite varieties of Limited Edition extra soft toothbrushes. Small heads, large heads, narrow heads, fat heads, many bristles, very few bristles, short handles, long handles… but I could not find the kind I wanted.

This part of the dream may sound stupid, but it’s not. In fact, it’s about as correct a reflection of the waking world as you can expect from a dream.

My friends were pressuring me to leave, but I could not find what I wanted. I knew I had to buy something, though, because there was no guarantee I would ever find extra-soft-bristled toothbrushes ever again. Yet the selection and design of the toothbrushes was so over-intellectualized that none of the brushes seemed to be useful.

As far as I can recollect, I ended up grabbing a few random brushes. A couple had tiny heads and long handles, and two had square heads with only four clumps of bristles, once in each corner, like a Lego. I had extra-soft toothbrushes, but at what cost?

I had a good chuckle and head-shake when I woke up from this dream. But I have to ask why? Why, why, why oh why do I have to dream about my real life? Where, after all, is the fun in that?

Here’s a man who owns millions of records.

This is a very nicely shot mini-documentary which brings up a good point: Where does all that music go in the end? What if it’s lost to future generations? A majority of music is crap and probably not worth the vinyl or plastic or wax or metal it’s delivered on. But do we only save the popular stuff? How many gems or masterpieces have been lost to time because they were never very popular?

This little movie brought up another question I’ve had for a long time now: What happens when civilization collapses and we lose all our technology? How do we re-discover who we were? A record is a perfect storage medium for sound. With a minimum of knowledge, you can look carefully at an album and figure out how it works. The same is true for film. You can just look at film and see what’s going on. But a CD or DVD? A digital file? Magnetic disk drives? Once the technology is lost, once the algorithms and codecs are lost, how does anyone reconstruct those treasures? My guess is they don’t.

In the event of a major crisis, a dark age following this technological one, our digital world will be lost forever. Analog at least has some chance of survival and rediscovery.

I have only seen Brief Encounter once, but I always remembered, and often thought about, the ending, the moment when Laura decides to kill herself. I didn’t remember it for the emotion, necessarily, but for how it was technically achieved, the brilliant camera work and direction that support the emotion.

The movie is a measured study in careful, level shots, but just here, and only here, as the scream of a train whistle gradually approaches, the camera slowly tilts into a Dutch angle, and stays there through the next four shots. Then, on the fourth, as Laura’s urge dies, the camera just as slowly re-rights itself, and her life goes on.

I re-discovered this thanks to Post Secret. Someone’s secret was simply a still of the movie, and someone then replied with the YouTube link.

It’s movies and moments like these that fill me with love for cinema.

It’s a bona fide scandal!

But not really.

Sorry for that uncouth title, but that’s what I was thinking when I saw these amazing, brilliant charts.

Zach Beane has charted the grosses, rankings, and longevity of the weekly top 25 movies since 2006, plus some top 10 charts for 1988 and 1998. I prefer the normal vs. the log scale charts. These charts are much more elegant end legible than the (still cool) chart at The New York Times.

I found this via H&FJ. Read their take here.

My post for the LFTI blog today tells the very truncated tale of Episode 6, the shooting of it on two cameras, and both those cameras using different speeds. If you would like to know why there is not yet a DVD of LFTI episodes 1 through 6, your answer lies just a click away.

We shot new and thrilling footage for LFTI this past weekend. This being Monday, I got to post about it! But I don’t reveal much of anything.

I have not posted in a while, for which I apologize. I have been tweeting, and I have been writing a post every week over at the LFTI blog and not linking to them here, and for all that, again, I apologize. You see, I have been obsessed.

With what?

With the sitcom, for one. We are shooting our next “episode” this weekend, and we’ve been working very, very hard. I put episode in quotes because it’s not really an episode, it’s a series of shorts introducing our new character. But this is sort of secret, so don’t let anyone know. We’re keeping this new character and shorts series a surprise for our fans. If any of them make it here, then, by golly, they deserve to know this secret! Yeah, not many people read the LFTI blog, but by golly, they should. It is chock full of interesting info about our show, and it’s typically quite the funny read. This is not tooting my own horn, but… Well, yes, it is. It is tooting my own horn. But I am tooting it in tandem with the horns of Robb and Tanya, who also post regularly. They deserve the toots just as well as I, maybe even more so.

So, the sitcom. Yes. It is a beautiful, wonderful time suck. I feel my life is gaining meaning again by working on it. I sat on the floor two nights ago, for instance, cutting and shaping foam rubber to create a cowboy hat. It has to look like the Arby’s hat, you see. Why? That is one secret I shall not divulge here. That secret I will make you wait to discover in good time.

I feel so creative with the sitcom, so rewarded and so proud. These are results that both grow from and grow into obsession.

My second obsession, at least for the past few weeks, has been the iPhone. I have loved my iPhone somehow even before I owned it. I waited in line for hours to get one on June 29th last year. I have used it and, despite its few shortcomings, loved it for over a year now.

Then the 2.0 upgrade was announced, along with the new 3G version of the iPhone. It would be a month-long wait between the announcement at the having. Well, that day of having was last Friday, July 11. Since that day, my happy iPhone has been a completely new device. It’s like the tiny but sunny window you’ve been looking out of for a year was been suddenly replaced with a wall-sized picture window. Really. Just like that. But my old phone did not have three important new features: 3G, GPS, and 16GB of storage. Upgrading was not a necessity, it would be a luxury. I checked up on three stores over the weekend, all with huge lines that scared me away. I went back and forth in my head, knowing that my original iPhone was excellent, fine, perfectly great.

Today, on the way back to the office from a work show at Disneyland, I called the Glendale Apple Store. They had 16GB black iPhone 3Gs in stock, and the line was short. I made a detour, waited maybe 45 minutes in line, then after ten in the store, I had a new iPhone.

There was one thing, one incredibly geeky, ridiculous, silly thing that pushed me over the edge to get a phone now instead of waiting for the next version. I want to keep the original iPhone. I want to be able to pull it out years from now and show it off or even just touch it because it will be a device long-remembered for changing a small tidbit of the world. I much prefer the original iPhone feel and look to the new one. It has a much nicer heft, and the aluminum is so wonderful to hold. I would use it until I ran it into the ground. But that was just it! I did not want it to end up like my Newton, shattered and useless. I wanted a relatively cosmetically excellent specimen to enjoy for much longer. The only way to do that was to sacrifice my everyday enjoyment of it.

I am writing this now because the new phone is loading the backup from my old phone. I will love using the new phone, I will love it’s faster wireless speed and its GPS and its extra space. But it will not be an original iPhone.

I have yet another obsession, which is more long-lived, and that is dealing with rude people. Selfish people, people who do not have any consideration for others, and whose world extends beyond them only so much as it does to support and coddle them.

It was a great posting by a guy named Lance Arthur that, combining this topic of selfishness with an iPhone 3G line, that started me writing this post in the first place. Please go read it now.

I sympathize with this fellow for a few reasons, one being that he waited in a long, long line to upgrade his phone, like I did, and another being that he had a run-in with a schmuck that turned out for him as it would have for me (namely, with an illogical confrontation ending in lingering anger). It also seems he’s gay, which adds a sprig of parsley to the dish.

I have posted before about run-ins with inconsiderate neighbors, and the continuing saga of a majority number of drivers believing themselves to be the only ones on the road has got me flummoxed at record-high levels. New examples arrive in greater numbers every day of people who are so turned inward that I can’t imagine why we’re not all standing about, horrified at having to stare at their glistening innards. My own recent attempts to exact justice on these types only leave me flustered and angry, like Lance. Even the possibility of encountering idiocy and potential intervention create a dull but palpable stress. The very real potential of being kept awake at night by a dolthead next door who thinks talking loudly on their cell phone at three in the morning is acceptable social etiquette is enough to keep me from falling asleep in the first place.

Did I mention that drivers are even more insanely self-absorbed now than they were when I first moved out here? There’s the lady yesterday who, talking illegally on her phone and half-blocking a lane of traffic at a parking garage exit, gave me a look of “fuck you!” when I dared to honk and crowd her back into the garage. There’s the guy who darted from behind me into the lane on my right, which was ending in 100 feet, then shouted mean names at me through my window when I refused to slow down so that he could merge in front of me. Plus numerous other, similar examples. Somehow, these people become indignant when they are at all inconvenienced by having to work with others in their society.

You see how I obsess. Sure, no surprise there to anyone who frequents the Forum. But you see how the past couple weeks have been a double-whammy of obsession for me. I feel fairly overwhelmed with all this, yet I know, really, since my obsessions have kept me from getting sleep (see: right now), it’s less me being overwhelmed than being exhausted. I could use my obsession with the iPhone App Store to find a productivity app to keep me task-oriented and hyper-scheduled, allowing me to get more sleep… but oh so much more fun to download the daylight app that shows day, night, dusk, and dawn times and use that for our shoot this weekend…

While Wal-Mart is busy changing into Walmart, it’s good to see Buy n Large is still the same old, comforting company we know and love!

Fake websites promoting movies are nothing new, but I think the BnL site is pretty damn clever. [NOTE: Sadly, Disney has removed the BnL site, and it does not work at Wayback Machine. What a shame.]

Oh, this is fun! It hits all the points I’ve been making about Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Blah Blah Blah. Lovely.

Reminds me of what I used to do, back in the day. (Plus other fun, non-review-like formats!)

There really are no words for this:

I saw it on the 101 south on the way into work this morning. Eddie Murphy’s head just appeared from an on ramp, merging gently into traffic. It’s (obviously) a promotional… thing for Meet Dave.

Thoughts that went through my head: “Who sculpted this thing?” “Is it as top-heavy as I think it is?” “Who exactly pops out of that door in his ear? Certainly not Eddie Murphy himself!” “Does Eddie know this exists? If so, has he seen it?” “Who gets to keep it when the movie promotion is done?” “How many of these are out there?” “What if I rear-ended Eddie?” “If Eddie’s head fell onto my car, would the insurance company consider my car totaled?”