Monday, March 30, 2009

Expanding Fiction

I've been debating expanding a short piece of fiction I published here earlier this month. I rather like the characters, which is natural when you consider that a couple share characteristics with real life people. That can be dangerous too. This is a small community. As I commented to a friend earlier today, Chautauqua County is a bit like high school at times when you start playing connect the dots with who has dated, married, divorced, had children with, or is simply friends with.

Either way, there's a new character floating around in my head. Her name? I'm considering Gina. She's an amalgam of a girl I used to see around Java's Cafe during the mid 1990s and something imaginary. I would describe her as being in her upper 20s, dark hair that is about chin length and has swing to it, a kind of "it" girl personality. Men like her. She has no problem pulling more than one guy along on an outing to the bar. Women don't like her much, but the dislike is more born out of envy.

The scene I have her in right now is enjoying a night out with two friends, male of course. She's enjoying herself. All her drinks are taken care of. She's also playing the two men off each other, flirting heavily with one on her right while barely saying anything to the guy on the left. It smacks of Dorothy Parker. That's all I have right now. We'll see where it will go.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Time Warner Cable Starts 24-Hour News Station in Buffalo (and Jamestown)

As of 8pm last night, Time Warner Cable subscribers in Western New York have a 24-hour news channel.

In Jamestown, Cable 8 news will still continue to have a local newscast at 7pm and 10pm while the other 22 hours of the day will be whatever is on YNN out of Buffalo. Well, I say out of Buffalo loosely. The main sports anchor will broadcast from Rochester, which some Jamestown residents will like just fine because at last word that will be Cable 8 veteran Kevin Carroll. Then there's programming that comes from Albany (Capitol Tonight). Weather? That's being done from somewhere else as well. I believe Albany handles the weather reports you see if you watch R News in Rochester or the Time Warner news station in Syracuse.

Either way, there will now be a place you can watch whatever the top 4 stories of the day are for this section of the state over and over and over. Don't get me wrong, I love tuning into R News when I'm visiting my parents in Rochester. I know that if I miss something, it'll be on again in roughly 29 minutes. Ditto for the weather, except that happens ever 9 minutes. I just hope that when given that many hours a day to fill with content, that we get quality coverage.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Chautauqua Region Word Editor Stepping Down

I've just read that Michael Salamone will be stepping down as editor of The Word.

In a lot of ways, I'm not surprised. Mike hasn't lived in the area for a couple years, and it's rather difficult to run a paper from another city and county. Tim Smeal, who blogged from the DNC for all us stuck in Chautauqua County, will be taking over.

The Word is facing a lot of challenges. My caveat in stating my opinions is that I don't know a lot about the newspaper business, so forgive me if it's somewhat off-base.

I don't believe newspapers are dead. I do believe they need to adapt better. A paper edition of The Word is necessary. After all, what else would we read while waiting for our $10 steak and beer at Forte? The paper definitely needs to utilize its website and free social networking apps that are available. Despite a local misconception that Twitter is only good for status updates, it does have use when applied to news media (see BreakingNewsOn, D&C, or NY Times).

Locally, there is another weekly newspaper that is making an effort to become a challenger to any paper in the county. The Word could easily differentiate itself from this weekly by being the go-to paper for news on arts, music, etc. in the area. Which brings me to another point..

Obtaining original content can be difficult if you don't have the funds to pay for that content. Some people would be happy to write articles for free, but free content means you might not be able to depend on getting consistent content. That means you need to be able to sell enough ad space to not only cover the costs of the paper, but to pay staff or freelancers as well. That can be tricky in any economy.

Since I know a couple of the people who most likely will be involved in the transition, I will let on that I have high expectations for the direction for this weekly newspaper. I wish the best to all who will be involved in this transition and happily await future issues.

Friday, March 20, 2009

All You Need Is Morrissey

The Morrissey concert in Buffalo last night? Totally Amazing. I left my pretty awesome seat in the seventh row before Morrissey even came on and planted myself two people away from the front of the stage. I regretted not doing this when I saw Morrissey in November 1997 at Kleinhan's. Last night did not disappoint.

The Courteeners opened the concert. I'd buy their stuff. Solid Brit band.

Buffalo News: Review - Crooning As Art

Initial takes by others on the Morrissey concert

Set List:
This Charming Man / Billy Budd / Black Cloud /
he played the same setlist as pittsburgh tonight in the b-lo:

How Soon Is Now? / Let Me Kiss You / Irish Blood, English Heart / That's How People Grow Up / I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris / Ask / How Can Anybody Possibly Know How I Feel? / The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores / The Loop / Death Of A Disco Dancer / Seasick, Yet Still Docked / Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself? / Best Friend On The Payroll / Sorry Doesn't Help / I Keep Mine Hidden / Something Is Squeezing My Skull / I'm OK By Myself // First Of The Gang To Die

Our new cell phones are crap when it comes to taking pictures. I wish I had my old phone with me, which took better shots and would have been easier to use. What I'm really hoping for is that the girl in front of me gives her friend my email address and he sends me the link for pictures he took. I spent part of the concert keeping two other girls from squeezing by and pushing into these two people in front of me. I knew the girl and guy wouldn't have room to move if that had happened, plus I like my space too.



Despite that, Morrissey was in great form. His voice was solid, which was a concern since he canceled shows early in the tour due to some sickness. He had fun with the crowd and it was great to see all the "brave ones" get on stage. One girl near me actually jumped onto Moz and gave him a big kiss on the cheek. The look of surprise with a tinge of smile from him about that was nice.

So very tired today but so very happy. The title of the post comes from the pretty light blue t-shirt I bought. I opted not to get the one of the band and Moz with the vinyl records over their packages, even though I love that picture. I have one pic that shows part of the back-drop on stage with Moz in the forefront obscured by the white glow of spot lights. If I have a moment, I'll post it later. (ADDENDUM: The girl who took these pictures was standing just 2-3 people to my right. Here are videos she uploaded from the concert).

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the good company I had on the way to and from the concert. Nick, Lori, and Shannon hitched a ride with me. Shannon sat shot-gun, so she became the defacto DJ, using my iPod on the way up to put together the perfect playlist. She and Nick cracked me up with their rendition of The Pixies' "Bone Machine." Once we got to the UB Performing Arts Center, one of the first people we ran into were a couple from Jamestown (Jason Sample and his lovely lady). Later on, I saw a fellow WBNY Alumnus, Karl. Regretfully, there were a couple Jamestown kids who couldn't get rides that had tickets. All in all though, it definitely was one of those concerts where you felt like all your friends were there.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sweeties

I bought more candy for the Easter eggs yesterday. Will resume stuffing this week sometime.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Blip on the Musical Radar

I signed up for Blip.fm a couple days ago. Unlike other social networking sites I belong to that have laid dormant because I have the tendency to forget to update, the appeal of this one is the fact I can incorporate a tweet with a song I think fits the mood, or am actually listening to. There's at least one other person in J-town that has also created his own Blip.fm as a replacement for a show he used to have on WRFA.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Candeh For Kiddehs to put in their Tummehs

Stuffing plastic eggs with candy for our city's Easter Egg Hunt. 250 eggs stuffed. About 800 left to go.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Daylight Debt

Daylight Savings Time is more Sleep Deprivation Time to me.

I heard thunder grumble around our neighborhood as a storm moves into our area. I wasn't sure what it was at first and wondered what calamity had struck.

I wish osmosis was possible when it comes to learn music. I'd put my musical score under my pillow if I thought that would help.

I don't mind when it rains because it's better than the desolate and endless landscape of snow we've seen since November around here.

The gray weather still depresses me.

If I stop to think too long, the list of things I need to do starts to shout louder and louder until I want to cry.

I have five weddings that we will probably go to this summer. I'm happy for my friends and honored to be invited.

Sometimes I feel like the dream is slipping away.

I'm losing track of time. Like that hour. Where did it go?

I'm losing track of people. I realized today that we haven't seen one of our friends since before February and he lives in town. We used to see him every week.

I've almost completely suspended belief in a possibility of a god. A small part of me still thinks it's possible one exists.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Shiver - A Piece of Fiction

Some time ago I wrote a short, fictional piece (one paragraph) that played off of some people I see around town. A few weeks ago, I came back to it and lengthened it a little more. Here's the result:

She sighed as she adjusted her hat that had drooped in front of her eyes again. That and her coat couldn't keep the chill off that emanated from the window next to her. But it was such a rare, sunny day that she didn't want to move away from the brightness.

"You know if you sit there long enough, you may freeze and we could make you a permanent installation art piece," Andy contemplated Sheila's bundled figure. "This place could do with some sculptures," he said over his shoulder as he went back behind the counter where a heater kept him a few degrees warmer than the patrons in the coffee shop.

Sheila grumbled internally, "Why do I insist on coming here? I could go somewhere much cozier. Not that it would provide better inspiration." Blank pages of her composition book lay open on her lap. She twirled her pen around between chewing on the cap.

Clarke shifted uncomfortably at a table next to her. He never seemed to lack words to set onto paper. Everywhere she saw him, he was reaching for cocktail napkins or the backs of envelopes to fill with endless scribbles. Some time ago, she had a discussion with him at Coda about writing. It was the kind of discussion that shook him from his sleepy demeanor and filled his mouth with spoken word,

"I write a lot of stream of consciousness. I don't always know what it means right away, but that's not so important. It's what you think it means and what you get out of it. I've had people tell me how something I wrote really affected them because of how it reminded them of something from their childhood, or of some other minutiae from their lives. It gave them something they didn't expect. So my writing changes with each reader. I like that. I also like creating stories. Taking ordinary life and making it something unreal. Of course, around here what isn't unreal?"

Sheila listened more than she spoke that night, which is not what she was expecting. It was a pleasant turn of events. She didn't quite understand what he meant about the "unrealness" of the area until a few months later. That's when Clark's book came out.

The book became a dizzying success. At one point, some Hollywood types were throwing around the names of Kim Kardashian and Denise Richards as possibilities to portray make-out girl. The success surprised not just Clarke, but everyone else in Smythport. Apparently, all those hours Clarke isolated himself writing what Sheila thought were his "stream of consciousness" over a beer were really him recording his account of the humanity that weaved in and out of Coda every night.

And even though he had changed names and places, it dawned on people where they stood in his fictional world. That created some new drama for a few weeks, leaving the regulars at Coda to form awkward huddles around the bar. Ultimately, some couples split, leaving the broken halves to glare at each other over glasses of syrah and IPA. But after awhile, people began to mellow or just slip back into the disreality they had built around themselves of drinks, drugs, and disco.

Clarke didn't let success and the money that came from his book's popularity change him too much. He kept out of people's way for a good while, but found that most didn't feel a need to bother him when he was at the Perplexed Cat huddled over his paper with a mug of coffee to keep him warm.

Sheila shivered. She closed her notebook with a snap and tucked it away into the vast depths of her purse.

"I've had all I can handle today, Andy."

"Ah. Letting yourself fail so soon!" he admonished. "You didn't give your tea proper time to warm youself through."

"Nothing could warm me in this place," she answered, walking out the door into the dazzling January sunlight.

Away, Away

We're on a mini-vaca in an area where they're experiencing forest fires (thanks asshole arsonist). It's an area that makes Clift...