Daily Barks 05.06 cataroo.com
The Daily Bark: May 2006

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May 31, 2006
Had a great day at Disneyland today. First, the crowds were surprisingly light. Got onto various attractions in less than 15 minutes each. Picked up two tins of pins and got the specific ones we wanted. Also got several very-hard-to-get pins from lanyards. Even had some fun interactions with park employees. The biggest surprise was a big change in the Turtle Talk attraction in DCA. We've seen it at least a dozen times, but this time Dory showed up with some funny business. Always nice to see something really change for the better. Saw some great new merchandise for PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN. The general good vibes of the day helped offset some health issues at home... and some mental kinks.
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"No matter how much cats fight, there always seem to be plenty of kittens."
Abraham Lincoln, President

May 30, 2006
It is interesting to see a skill long honored being stolen in the night. Such a robbery is currently happening with the craft of animation directing for TV. When I first began in the business, the business of directing animation could only be handled by those with real animation experience. TV animation directors from the 80s had their roots in classic Warner Cartons, UPA or MGM. They were animators who understood timing and could slug boards and fill out the exposure sheets with skill and finess. They could take a show too long or too short and adjust it professionally without a sign of padding or rushed storytelling. When the new syndication boom of the 80s hit, such directors were in high demand... and could demand a good rate. Studios began looking for ways to save money. Disney TV pulled the biggest coup by taking away sheet writing from the directors and created "sheet timers". These new folks followed the board and dialogue tracks to write sheets. Shortly after the world of animatics took over. Originally a tool for animators to check timing, animatics became a short cut for producers and networks who did not want to take time to read storyboards. Then, as time went on, producers and network execs began using the animatics as a ways of adjusting timing of shows. Suddenly, some producers were refering to themselves as "directors" due their timing adjustments. Now it is common to see a "director" credit given to storyboard artists (for "staging" as one producer put it) and creators (for adjusting the animatic timing). The experienced directors of the past are now credited as "animation director", as if directing the animation is different, or less than, directing the show. So at a time when folks in animation are promoting creator rights, those who are actually directing the animation are are being demoted. Their credit and skill are being stolen by folks who are not satisfied being creators, producers and writers. Folks used to complain about executives taking more credit than they deserved. But the new breed of creator seems focused on joining the executives and grabbing as many credits as possible. These same creators will then make big statements about how important their crew is. Yep. The crew is important... they just don't deserve any personal credit.
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"I'm not a member of any organized political party, I'm a Democrat!"
Will Rogers, Humorist

May 29, 2006
Rachel and I do not always enjoy films we see together with equal "strength". For example, we both thought well of X-MEN 3, but Rachel liked it much more than me. But when it comes to films we experience for the first time together, we usually do not totally disagree. Well it happened tonight with HOODWINKED. Thanks to Netflix, we got to see the cgi hit from last year that re-tells the Red Riding story as a ROSHOMON like tale. About 20 minutes into the film, Rachel got up and worked on the computer. Saying she was glad we had not paid to see it in a theater, she stated she found it unfunny, poorly designed and generally dull. Though not hilarious, I found the concept amusing and thought they did a good job at intertwining all the stories. The film, done for a small budget, shocked everyone by becoming a small hit. In fact, despite of mixed reviews, it did equal or better box-office than THE CORPSE BRIDE, THE WALLACE & GROMIT MOVIE and HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE - films that were nominated for last year's Oscar over HOODWINKED. I would not say it necessarily equalled those other films, but I did enjoy HOODWINKED more than WALLACE AND GROMIT. However, having seen it, I do not feel compelled to see it again. Congratulations are certainly due the creators, who on a small budget had film with a higher percentage of profit than FINDING NEMO! It gives hope to others trying small projects.
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"A wide screen just makes a bad film twice as bad."
Samuel Goldwyn, Producer

May 28, 2006
Went to the dog show today, and Eagle had a great time. Sadly the venue, the Pomona fairgrounds is not the greatest. It is held in an area that is covered with asphalt, like a parking lot. This is very harsh on paw pads... and not so great for general walking. Also, the air seemed full of cigarette smoke and dog feces. Fear the people were not doing a good job of picking up. The worst part was the judge. There was a dog that was having problems walking. Might have been a pulled muscle, a twisted leg or other injury. But it could also have been signs of a more serious hip issue. The judge saw how bad the dog was limping yet still allowed the dog to be shown. I have been at shows where a dog limping far less than today's canine were disqualified. Some thought it might be due to a need for all the dogs to keep the winning points high. But if that was the reason for keeping the dog in the ring, the judge should have at least not required the dog to continue walking around. She should have politely indicated the dog did not need to walk anymore. Instead, the poor dog got worse and worse as the session went on. And to make it worse, the judge placed the limping dog third, above another healthy dog. It is bad enough that some folks will show their dogs when the dog is not i the best condition. It is worse when a judge will not punish those who think so little of their canine companions. As the British might say, "Bad show."
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"Imitation is the sincerest form of television."
Fred Allen, Humorist

May 27, 2006
Our Memorial Day "Garage Sale Mania" was more like a "garage sale mudslide" due to a night of drizzle and heavy fog. Not sure what I would find, and feeling the need to browse, I went out around 8am. The fog was still so thick, that many of the handmade signs could not be seen from the road. My first stop was a house with a lot of stuff... but most of the paper material was ruined by the water. I found the same at other stops. Even worse, some folks had decided not to open... but not remove all their signs. More than once I followed the signs, only to discover they stopped near the address. I would go to the address and find they had taken down one or two to keep folks from getting all the way to their house. Bleh. Hope there are no surprises in tomorrow's weather. We're on our way to a show.
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"I think I've discovered the secret of life - you just hang around until you get used to it."
Charles Schulz, Cartoonist

May 26, 2006
Saw X-MEN 3 today, so can go back to watching TV. It seems this year is the summer movie ad blitz on TV. No matter what the movie, I seem to be bombarded with ads. And worse, some films have dozens of different ads so that I fear I will have seen all the good moments before even stepping into a theater. Anyway, the film was well done... that is as well done as expected for a film that has too many characters, too many side stories and too many extended action scenes. In some ways it plays like a big budget version of TV series like NIP TUCK or DEAD LIKE ME. Rachel, who is much more into X-men than I am really enjoyed it. So it pleases the audience that is made for. Also got to see a batch of trailers. PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 2 still looks to be a great movie. The really big one we are waiting for this year. Next was a trailer for SNAKES ON A PLANE. It looks as cheesy as the title suggests... but admit I might netflix it. Then there was Adam Sandler's CLICK. Looks to be a typical Sandler film... with a plot that seems really familiar. The new SUPERMAN looks, well... hokey. Have no real interest in it. The remake of THE OMEN looks to be almost a scene for scene remake. Can't remember if it is based on a book... but if not, the re-makers have really followed the old script. Was a pretty good show in all. Though the theatre really needs to get more 'slides' in the front. They start repeating after around 5 minutes.
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"The first condition of progress is the removal of censorship."
George Bernard Shaw, Writer

May 25, 2006
A fellow I used to talk to a lot never liked to talk to me about movies. He said that I had a "problem" with new films. As he put it, I had seen so many movies, it was never fun discussing a "new" film because I could usually come up with several other movies with similar plots... and even predict how a new movie would end due to its similarity to older films. I am now having the same problem with animation. In the "golden age", everyone was aping a few styles, mostly Disney. This tended to homogenize so many films. But it seemed several key creators had a spot in the sunlight. This was due to the fact that there were not a lot of studios around, so most artists were concentrated in just a few environments. Hence they were mostly influenced by only a few styles. The same thing is happening today. I was reminded of this recently when a popular animation site ran a CalArts student film called "Baby's New Formula". They were using it to show how fresh and clever one of their favorite industry folks are. It just reminded me of how CalArts has created a new homogenized look. During the early 1980s, I was seeing lots of CalArt student films. I went every year as part of my studio duties, looking for new talent. At that time there was a film with an extremely similar storyline to "Baby's". In fact, I can think of at least one more, done around mid-80s with the same theme. Since so many of the current animation talent has come from CalArts, it seems as if the trends of that school are the ones that become industry standard. Again, in the 80s the students were agog by Chuck Jones. It seemed as if every other short had to have the stock Chuck Jones bit of a character turning its eyes to the screen and hold, in a classic pre-Jones Oliver Hardy take. Also big was the Harry Belafonte "Day-O" song. For almost two decades I have seen it pop up in films done by CalArts grads. But there are lots of signs of this common background popping up in animation. Every cartoon today must have some sort of fart gag. Every cartoon character must have exaggerated lower eyelids. True the style is sort of a combo Tex Avery-Bob Clampett-Hanna & Barbera with some Robert Crumb thrown in. These copy-cat creators also tend to tell the same stories over and over. It should be no surprise when dublicate series, like AMERICAN DRAGON and JUNIPER LEE both show up at the same time. The talent pool has actually gotten smaller and smaller over the past decade. Instead of new talent coming in with new ideas, the old "stars" of the 80s and 90s keep getting shows, promoting their story ideas and their designs. Similarly, studio execs clamor after every "name" they find in credits as if art directing or character designing a popular series makes you an expert on creating new hits. Reminds me of a fellow who for years tried to get a new Warner Bros short department going. Every time he almost got it going, one of the old timers (like Chuck or Friz Freleng) suddenly showed up and took over. Chuck, Friz, Tezuka, Clampett and company are all gone. Those who actually worked with them are few and far between. Instead there are the new "old timers" who will continue to overshadow fresh ideas until someone really original or knowledgeable pops up to steal the show. I just hope it is not another college student with the same background as every other college student.
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"It is discouraging how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit."
Noel Coward, Writer

May 24, 2006
Movie games. The other day I heard that a film is being made based World of Warcraft, a popular computer game. It made me think that I could not think of many successful transition from game to movie screen. I can think of books, comics, radio shows and even tv shows that became hit movies. But when it comes to games... with the recent exception of the horror game SILENT HILL, most never make the grade. In fact, Rachel was not even aware there had been a game on The Mario Brothers. To that one can add Clue, Dungeons and Dragons, Final Fantasy, Mortal Kombat and the mega-hit game Doom. The only game-based films to be big hits were the Lara Croft and Pokemon movies. Yet despite a record of flops, Hollywood keeps going back to the well thinking that kids who like games will want to see movies based on those games. But that makes no sense to me. In the game, you are controlling the actions. You are experiencing it in real time. But a movie? That is a predetermined story and characters that must do more than just shoot something. While I think movies can create popular games, I think games are too personal to adapt into an "every man's" story.
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"We allow no geniuses around our studio."
Walt Disney, Producer

May 23, 2006
Have tried and tried to come up with a theme for tonight. And have failed. There has certainly been lots of items in the news. And I have had a lot happen today. However, some nights the writers block is stronger than any other stimuli. And that is a truly scary thought.
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"Whenever you find you are on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect."
Mark Twain, Writer

May 22, 2006
Pezzed off. Recently got a new Pez dispenser. It is Diego from ICE AGE. I have had a variety of Pez dispensers through the years. My earliest memories include the Zorro and golden dispenser. Have sold each long ago. But I noticed Pez has changed some things recently. First, they have some new flavors. Do not think Raspberry is a very good one. But worse than the change in flavors, is the change in packaging. The old candy refills were foiled wrapped with a paper label around the foil. One would slide the foil wrapped candies out of the paper sleeve, open the foil and pull out the candy. The new refills are paper and foil together sealed around the candy. This makes it really hard to get the candy out for the dispenser. It is little things like that, that can ruin childhood memories. Orange flavor is still good.
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"We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home."
Edward R. Murrow, Journalist

May 21, 2006
Civil war? More like uncivil wars. The news today is more and more about this country or that country nearing civil war. While our government is focused on just one or two, it seems every week a new country gets added to the list. As I wrote earlier, the world seems to be getting more and more divided into two extremes. Even the recent election of the mayor of New Orleans found a vote of 52% to 48%. Such a small margin. George Carlin used to have a routine in which he stated a key tool of government was to highlight the differences so that people would always be at odds with each other. He said, instead we should look at things we have in common. As is often the case, comedians can make very keen observations. Our current administration is constantly working at creating things to divide us. Whether it be gay marriage, wars in foreign countries, government secrets, immigration, privilege for the rich, or threats of terrorisms, the administration uses its power to distract more than lead. It is time to look at things we can agree on... keeping our country free and safe for everyone. Whether under god or not... we should focus on "liberty for all".
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"If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy."
James Madison, President

May 20, 2006
While listing things on eBay I was reminded how fickle the modern collectible market is. For fun I will do random searches of things on eBay and am surprised at how something that might have sold for $20, $30, even $50 ten years ago is now selling for around $5... when it is selling. Many such items cannot even get a bid. When I first got into comic collecting in the 1960s, generally values only went up. The only thing to create a downward slide was a surprise discovery. Such as when someone discovered a warehouse of Big Little Books and their prices went from $20 and up to around $10 each. By the late 70s though, I noticed how certain items were losing value due to losing interest. Pulp magazines and silent movie memorabilia to name two. Each decade saw more and more valuable things lose their value. Records, animation artwork, pogs, antique books, beanie babies, laserdiscs, Pokemon cards, comic books, McDonald toys, the list goes on and on. This is not to say that all such items have lost value. In almost all of them, there are still key objects that command strong interest and prices. The saddest part is that with the loss of value comes the loss of interest and the loss of desire to save and protect such things. I can imagine in a few decades records, game cards, fast food toys and such will be only found in picture books or museum exhibits. Actually, forget museums and books. Both are also rapidly disappearing. The internet will become the home for about everything, from extinct animals to extinct collectibles, until... I wonder at what future time the internet will become as out of date as a 8-track tape?

May 19, 2006
The end of my second week in search of a new position brings some good news. A pilot for a cable channel is in need of a line producer. I will talk with them first thing next week. But with the good comes the not so good. Rachel has had a relapse with her cold/flu. In the meantime am keeping in touch with folks, keeping at work upstairs and keeping up the listings on eBay. The weekend promises to be busy. Will be picking up the meat order for the kids on Saturday. On Sunday will have an outing with my parents. Monday, the interview. The time, as usual, is filling up quickly.

May 18, 2006
Finally got my day at Disneyland. Originally had hoped to go there the first day after getting laid off... but instead was super ill. After several other things got completed, got to visit "the happiest place on earth". And it was today. The weather, supposedly hot, was really nice and overcast. The attendance was super low and we got to go on a variety of attractions - Haunted Mansion, Indiana Jones, Small World, Train, Horse Carriage, Monster Inc., and Turtle Talk... never having to wait more than 10 minutes! Also we got some great pins and chatted with some nice folks. Only thing really missing was characters. Only saw a few. Oh well. Still a fine day. It will be something to remember when things are rough.

May 17, 2006
Another busy day of work around the house and putting things on eBay. My page has all sorts of stuff from artwork by Rachel, to Disney studio letterhead, to train pins, and animation collectibles. And should mention we got our coupon for "SunMilk". It is one of the newer "healthier" milks, like the one we worked for at the food show. Seems the new idea for healthy milk is take no-fat milk, which is little more than white water, and put in some sort of "healthy" oil to replace the cream. SunMilk uses sunflower seed oil. Omega milk used a fish oil... and no, it did not taste fishy. For me, since the only place I use milk is on my cereal, I do not think the 2% fat is that much of a health concern. But we'll try SunMilk.

May 16, 2006
My wife the cow.

Today got to work with Rachel on a gig where she performed as "Meg the Cow". It was a trade show for specialty foods. Meg was the spokescow for a new line of dairy products that feature omega nutrients. As usual, she was really good doing all sorts of mischief with the attendees, dancing up a storm when there was no one around... which was quite often due to the nature of the show. (Only major execs from large grocery chains were allowed.) I was there mainly as the ride and unoffical handler. The folks stated she was extremely entertaining... and that the two of us were the lowest maintenance performers they had ever had. A fun day.

May 15, 2006
No bark. Was too distracted from Rachel watching the season finale of GREY'S ANATOMY... and then too sleepy.

May 14, 2006
Mother's Day. For the first time in decades, got to spend Mother's Day with my mom. In fact, got to take three moms out - Rachel, Luca and mine. We all (with my dad) went to the local renfaire. It was a lot of fun. Mom got a kick out of seeing some of the craft stuff, and bought a hand made basket for fifty cents. Rachel enjoyed seeing the various artwork and met a craftsman who molds faces into clay medallions. Luca loved watching an "untrained" dogshow. The local renfaire is really a lot of fun, made more so with their allowing dogs. Not only was Luca there, but a happy pair of shepherds, a wolfhound, a deerhound, and a variety of smaller canines. It really makes the ambience of the fair more authentic. It was also fun seeing the three moms having a good time.

May 13, 2006
One week. The time has not been as productive as I would have liked. The nagging colds continue. Nights of little sleep have finally ended, but the tiredness lingers. It all makes the mind work slower... not harder. Have trouble concentrating and planning. Did spend some time job hunting. Did spend some time putting things on eBay. Did spend some time with the family. Did spend some time on housework. But not as much time as I would have liked. Just hope next week will be a bit more standard, a bit more productive. Hope writing comes easier. Hope energy returns. Hope for some real fun... and some real good news. Or at least some good vibes.

May 12, 2006
Still getting little sleep as we are watching Kele's tail. So tired. One amusing thing... the Tonight Show (with Jay Leno) purchased a Scooby plush from us for a skit next week. Yay, internet.

May 11, 2006
Spent today at E3, the super trade show for videogame makers and suppliers. It was gigantic. The only thing I could use to describe it was imagine the most amazing video arcade filled with thousands of people! It was a convention center full of graphics, noise, people, computers, costume characters (yay), controllers, cel phones, art, demonstrations, mini-movies and more. Unlike other trade shows where you look at products, hear speeches and get little goodies, here the booths are simply set up with stations to play. One could play computer games, arcade games, cel phone games, and hand held games. The games could be seen by viewers on large screens above the units. (And at least several times folks playing the phones and hand helds were mostly watching the larger screen above.) The graphics and game ideas are really amazing... and sadly mostly highly violent. The booths were almost all advertising new monsters, new dungeons, new weapons, and one even had "new deaths!" I must admit the image quality on the cel phone games were often as good as the best gameboys. I was almost more amazed by the game players. Mostly young, they were willing to sit through all sorts of rules and screen pop-ups to figure a game. One game had two rows of icons along the bottom of the screen that you could pick to choose at various times in the game. Such complexity, in my mind makes a game less fun. I like to play a little bit and move on. That's why puzzle games and kids games are the ones I usually play. But many of the players were as into a game's story and characters, having followed it from maybe several versions, that they discuss them as one would discuss the Harry Potter novels! Out of all the booths, though, my favorite... or at least the one that gave me the biggest laugh was one outside one of the main halls. It was a Tylenol booth! They were handing out free Tylenol and ear plugs. The booth was full of people. The trash can was full of used Tylenol wrappers and paper cups. Guess, at times, even fun can be a headache.

May 10, 2006
Reversals. Every so often I think of how the world has turned. An example is the excuses of technology. There was a time, when one had justify using technology. A cel phone was needed for family emergencies. A home computer was needed for work away from the office or school needs. A personal music system was for the consideration of other workers. But today, one must justify NOT using technology! If you do not have a cel phone, every one wonders why? No computer? Why? No digital music device? Why? It seems as if there is fear of folks that do not use technology. Are they afraid of it? Are they untrained in it? Are they boycotting it? Whereas one can state they do not like classical music without being hounded, mention you do not have some current high tech device and everyone will demand to know why. I see no reason to explain, apologize or make excuses for things I like and do not like. It all reminds me of the Abbott and Costello "mustard" routine about the reasons for "not" wanting mustard on a hot dog. It begins with Lou Costello not wanting mustard and Bud Abbott demanding to know why. "You some kind of big shot? Too important to like mustard?" I did not need to explain why I was using some new technologies in the 70s, 80s and 90s... and see no reason to change my habits to explain why I am not using some new technology now. As Lou Costello stated so clearly at the end of the mustard argument, "You mean to tell me there are thousands of people making this one jar of mustard for me? Well, if they are you can tell them to stop doing it... because I'm not going to eat it!"

May 9, 2006
Still a bit low, and very tired.
Rachel is improving.
Kele's tail is out of bandages... and looks a bit more like a trunk than a tail.
And I am already tired of seeing ads for OVER THE HEDGE and CARS... which only reduces my already small interest in the films.

May 8, 2006
Once again the death penalty has been in the news because of a high profile case. And, as usual some folks have been asking what I think of the sentence. It is hard to say, as I am not fully decided on the death penalty. First, I do not think it is much of a deterrent to crime. The murder rate is pretty steady, and since many murders are in moments of passion, the killer is really not thinking of consequences. Second, I do not fully believe the idea of "since you killed someone we'll kill you". If that was the issue, then why not have thieves and robbers' future income tapped to pay back those they stole from? In fact, the only thing I think the death penalty does is make more room in prisons. So I guess, at best, it is just a convenience for the penal system. But of the recent verdict? I think it was correct. I have lots of legal reasons for that thinking, but won't bore anyone here with it. I will admit to being a bit surprised at our President's apparent disappoval of the verdict. Surprised because on almost every other issue from birth control to assisted suicide, he always tells us we should always choose the "option of life". Since the jury did exactly that, he should be happy. But maybe he really doesn't care that much about "life". Perhaps he cares a bit more about politics. Thank goodness we have a court system... at least some of us.

May 7, 2006
Another day at the con. Kele and Rachel had fun, and so did I... though I was still under the weather. A nice bonus was a friend, visiting from out of state, coming home with us to spend some time. A sad side effect, it seems Rachel has caught my cold.

May 6, 2006
Still feeling a bit punk, but went to the convention. Rachel and Kele came along. All had a pretty good time. Kele was very good around the crowd, and was loved by them. As predicted, she was one of the most popular folks there. She had her picture taken dozens of times. She had so much fun, she did not want to rest. At times it looked as if she would just pass out. We finally made her rest. Though I did make it to the table, I did not make it into costume. Which was good, because I barely got through the day. Now it will be an early night and some nyquil.

May 5, 2006
Cinco de mayo was more like sick-o de mayo. The cold got worse and spent the day in bed. That means I missed the first day of the con. *sigh* Tomorrow will go, even if not 100%. It will be Kele's first convention too. She is joining us becuase her tail needs to be watched. Bet she will be one of the most popular attendees.

May 4, 2006
Well, today was my last day at Cartoon Network Studio. HIHI PUFFY AMIYUMI has come to an end. I have had the pleasure to work with a variety of talented folks on DEXTER'S LAB, THE FLINTSTONES: ON THE ROCKS, CHICKEN SCRATCH (the Dexter's Lab theatrical short), HARVEY BIRDMAN, MEGAS XLR, CHOWDER, LIFE IN WACKAMO, WONDERREALM, FIENDMAKER, SQUIRREL BOY and of course HIHI PUFFY AMIYUMI. Those go onto my list that includes GARFIELD AND FRIENDS, AN AMERICAN TAIL, BOBBY'S WORLD, SPACE ACE, SPIDER-MAN, ANGRY BEAVERS, CRO and various primetime specials. My time at CNS has allowed me to add creative folks such as Genndy Tartakovsky, Sam Register, Tramm Wigzell and Chris Savino to my growing roster that includes Bob Clampett, Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnson, Phil Roman, Jhonen Vasquez, Osamu Tezuka, Jim Davis, Howie Mandell, Larry Fine, Bob Givens, Joe Barbera, Glen Keane, Bill Scott, June Foray, Moe Howard, Avi Arad, Scott Shaw!, Don Bluth, Mark Evanier, Bob Richardson, Pete Alvarado and others. Not to forget those "kids" I gave early breaks to like Craig Kellman, Bob Boyle, Pat Ventura and Gary Trousdale. It has been a run of five-plus years at CNS. My second longest stint. Film Roman still is the topper at a little over six years. Befitting my last day here, the weather is very grey, having shifted from a sunny start at the beginning of the week. On top of that, I have come down with a cold and feel pretty miserable. In fact, if it wasn't my last day, I wouldn't be here. At the moment, CNS does not expect any new series to be greenlit until August. If the fates are in alignment, I could be back around then. It would be nice... but I know the fates may have other plans too.

May 3, 2006
Suddenly sick... most likely a cold. Going right to bed. Oh, and gas went up 14 cents between the time I left for work and the time I got home.

May 2, 2006
The "good enough" generation. That term was mentioned on the radio recently during a story about how the Ipod has caused sales of stereo sets to drop. An audiophile commented that though the digital player could not equal the sound quality of a top stereo system, it was "good enough" for the new generation. And it got me to thinking. He was right. In the 80s and 90s it was all about getting things better and better. You wanted better sound, so you went to cds. You wanted better video so you went to laserdisc, and later dvds. Then you had to have digital tv. But now, the audience isn't interested in something better. They want something easy. They want to watch movies on cel phones with a picture the size of a postage stamp. They want to have all their music crammed into a player the size of a postcard. They want their computer to be as small as possible. I talk to folks at the studios with these mini marvels and comment at the small nature of the image. Time and again, I'm told how great it is to be able to watch a movie or hear a song anytime thanks to the device in their pocket. They state how they carry the device everywhere... and even use it at home in their bedroom. When I look at the picture, I see a small image, difficult to see at some angles. The other day someone was showing me a cartoon on their cel phone. I mentioned it was not easy to see. They replied "but you can watch it anywhere. And really, the picture is good enough for that." Made me think of that old gag, "you want it good, fast and cheap... pick two and let me know". I guess today's take would be "you want it good, small and convenient." And the consumer answers, "small and convenient" is the choice. I am no technophobe... I just think some of today's devices are not good enough for me.

May 1, 2006
A sad tail. Today, our pretty little Kele lost part of her tail. Her tail was one of the most active I have seen on a Great Dane. It would weave and swing around her as if it were a snake. Well, such movement and joy shows that one can be too happy. She was frequently getting "happy tail", a condition of the tail tip splitting open after hitting a hard surface (wall, fence, furniture, etc.). We had to treat it quite a bit. However, it began to grow in size... and she began more and more to chew at it. Suddenly her tail tip actually fell off. So today she went in and had around 6 inches of her tail removed. Very sad. She still has such a pretty face, and a well built body. But with the few inches of tail missing, her show career has come to an end before it could even begin. Of course we always look to the positive. She is healthy and happy again. She does not even seem to notice the missing part, as she still has plenty to wag. And that really is what's important.

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