Monday, March 31, 2008


...reminds me of someone. I just figured out who. Her voice, especially when she gets going, sounds like my pet parrot I had for almost 18 years.

Maybe she should cut back on the seed.

I'll bet her advisors have declared that should she ever wear a dress instead of a pant suit her (I imagine) chalky legs will blow out the tubes on old b&w TVs. They could spray her some tan. But that's not presidential. Nor germane.

To me, Bill Clinton is starting to look much older and cranky.

Behind the scenes they are working on an exit strategy for her - become guv for New York - the state where everybody does everybody else (no, it wouldn't fit on the license plate.) She'd avoid those who back stabbed her in congress and let whomever botch it for 4 years then come back strong. Likely in pantsuits.


Ten cubic yards of dirt are now spread all over the areas I had planned and beyond. Three pallets of grass are now sitting on top, and thank you very much, it's raining today. This stuff might grow if you keep it wet for two weeks. They say.

Caliche soil is common here - it's limestone and not a lot of dirt - so you need to do some work to get sod to grow. We've tried seed several times and each time just threw our money into the wind. You could hear the presidents laughing as they blew away.

I did more heavy labor than perhaps anytime in my life - at least no other siege comes to mind; also, back THEN I was younger and less prone to aches and pains, whatever it was I did.

Shovelling snow was probably it. Heavy wet snow. Lots of it. (I note the forecast calls for snow today and tomorrow in Minneapolis. How did we make it through that weather?)

I've also started a new venture. Rather than fully describe it here (though there's a summary in the post below), I'll direct you to the new web site. This could be the next thing for me combining entrepreneurial and voice work and audio production. I figured I needed a video on site. I had the program but zero knowledge. 3 weeks of almost full time work and study took me to where I am. I'd change just one insignificant thing but I'm not going NEAR that program for a while.

ALL my muscles - the ones in body and head - need a break. I'll work on the mailing list, the template for same, and the database.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Give it a chance. I went for quality. When I recover I wiil back down the quality for faster load time.

The website is

The idea is simple: docs don't have enough face time with patients. Add in a CONDITION and there's the very real possibility that once they hear they HAVE IT, all other words are lost on the patient. It's too overwhelming. Therefore, what if the doc could acknowledge this and give a CD to take home and share with the family -on it he/she would explain the situation generically, thoughtfully, and fully discuss options. This can be in a narration where I read his script - he can read his script, or just talk, or do a prepared q and a with me. Recorded professionally at his office or my studio. Completely edited. (Preview copies every step of the way.)

All is fully pro, is audio only, to keep costs down, but a pro photographer does the in office/clinic/hospital shots for the CD wallet and all is very carefully monitored at every step of the production process. Well, heck, you can read about it on The site.

Whoops - just realized that the file size of the video is too large for Google. After a little while I may, as I said, redo to speed up the load time. So see it on the site if you care.

If a doc, there's a form to fill out ON the site for more info.

Great for dental surgeons, general practitioners, clinics, wellness advocacy, extended care facilities, diet gurus, plastic surgeons, equipment or pharmaceutical manufacturers, etc.


I write a blog for the locals - as 12th or 14th into this development, we've sure seen it grow while the developers were and continue to be very weak at communication - in my opinion. This gave me the idea of a blog which would basically serve as a newspaper/ organ (ahem) for the folks who were interested or bought in. See The Spanish Oaks Blog

Well, there's certainly some political correctness necessary, even though I've been consistent in my opinion (hey, a newspaper has opinion pages!) which centers around my perception of mismanagement in various nits and picks plus the big one - lack of info flow to owners.

I am the communications person (voluntary) for the development - as such - any emails sent out must be to an opt-in list and also vetted by the bigs at the Board of Directors or their assigns. Once almost weekly, they have trickled down to almost none.

This leads to an Electric Onion approach toward it all... and a new website with a title that I feel explains it all. Nothing is true. All is fair game and in the spirit of tongue deeply in cheek. See Welcome to SARCASM OAKS!


Two weeks of almost full time tries and fails to get this video together. I can do an audio in minutes. Why, then, am I so obsessed with completing it? Because I need some flash (no pun) on the website which I will direct high dollar clients to view. So far my attempts have been thwarted by not knowing the software well enough, making dumb mistakes, disappearing files, and publishing software which is incompatible with the hosting software I've chosen (and may discard due to its poor performance.)

I've learned a lot.

My buddy who used to own a production house said to count on $1000 to $2000 per minute of finished pro video - I can understand that as there are so many decisions to make and tweaks to tweak. Audio is much, much easier (also my work all of my adult life.)

Monday, March 17, 2008


There should be a short film here. This is a test. I have fought for days trying to load this onto my website but without luck so far. It 'transcodes' and produces an html player, but never ever arrives (not unlike the pre-show entertainment at the local cineplex, except there's nothing but a circle circled. Or in the case of google, it ain't available. It CAN'T be this hard. There are a lot of places that will suck $97 out of your wallet as they assure you how easy it is. (And usually forgetting to explain the ONE thing the non-geek needs to know!) I remain skeptical! Long live still photos.PS: This isn't the film - it's only one scene. And since it takes so long to get into the blog (or not), I thought I'd try to book a seat before I get bumped off the flight.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


I don't miss that part.


I'm making a movie. Or film. Or promotional web something. Only trouble is, I don't know what I'm doing. Although I AM pretty good at feeling my way through the process. Irony: at the time I started production I received the video (trailer) below for which I did the voiceover. This one was as most are - a bit odd - in that I never saw what I was reading to, and it was recorded here in my home studio then sent off to the producers.

Try to click on this. I think you need Quicktime, but I'm unsure. Click twice if once doesn't work for you.

There it is. The problem I will have to confront, perhaps as early as today, is getting the film I am working on to show UP on my new website It's a big file, though only a minute or so long, to promote me as a Voiceover Guy for the heathcare biz. I want it to look pro and good. Start laughing now.

I see why it takes so long to do these things - first you put up the pictures (once you find the shots - I looked at thousands of stock films!) and narration, then you start to trim the videos by juuuuust a little (ooops) then add sound effects, then (ooops) mess with the video a bit or the transitions from scene to scene.

I am almost done again. Yesterday I did something bad and the title wouldn't go away through every scene. I had to semi-start over. I almost don't want to go there... so close.... so far.


Nobody trusts politicians anymore. It's not politically correct. You had to feel something for Spitzer's wife, as ol' Horndog Elliott stood there and said he needed some time to put things right with his family. Ain't gonna happen.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

3.20 to 3.80

I'm glad that technology is update able - i.e.: not necessarily obsolete, so when we sat down to watch either of two Netflix-delivered DVDs, one Blu-Ray, one standard, and neither would play, it was (somewhat) encouraging that you could update the Blu-ray player firmware via download, cd burn (image burn, not data burn! it warned), reload.

If you think that sentence is a long one you should have been with me as the first CD burn failed, the computer crashed twice, and FINALLY when I loaded the seemingly right stuff, the Blu-Ray never returned from the darkness.

Warnings in red exclaimed not to interrupt, push any button, or sneeze.

We gave up and went to bed. And lo! As sure as daylight savings time, the darn thing appears fixed. I can enjoy Bruce Willis blow things up. Here are the simple instructions:

Important Notes
Please follow the update instructions carefully. Failure to follow the instructions may interrupt the update process and may cause the player to be unresponsive or to require repair.
Do not power off the player or disconnect it from the AC power outlet. Loss of power during the installation of the firmware update may cause the player to be unresponsive or to require repair.
Use a brand new CD-R disc to burn the firmware update. The player may not be able to correctly read a dirty disc or a disc with scratches.
Recommended operating system for the computer that will download the firmware update:
Microsoft® Windows® 98SE or later is needed.
Windows Vista®, Windows XP, or Windows 2000 (Service Pack 4) is recommended.
A drive with CD disc burning capability is required to create the update disc.

If you do not have a CD burner in your computer, Sony will provide a free disc with the firmware update. Click here to order the firmware update.

NOTE: If you have questions or require assistance, please contact our customer call center at 866-909-7669.

A CD-R disc is required to create the update disc.
NOTE: A CD-R disc is highly recommended. Do not use a CD-RW disc.
Installing this firmware update will return all your personal settings to the factory default settings. After installing the update it will be necessary to reconfigure your personal settings.
In order to perform the firmware update, it is necessary to have the BDP-S300 correctly connected to a compatible television.
It is highly recommended to print out these instructions as a reference during the installation process.

Check Current Firmware Version
Power on the television and make sure it is tuned to the inputs to which the BDP-S300player is connected.
Power on the BDP-S300 Blu-ray Disc™ player.
If the player starts to play a disc, press the "STOP" button and wait until the blue Sony Blu-ray Disc screen is displayed on the television before proceeding.
On the remote control (RMT-B101A), press the SYSTEM MENU button.
At the "System Menu" screen, use the arrow keys on the remote control to highlight "Setup" and then press the ENTER button.
At the "Setup" screen, use the arrow keys on the remote control to highlight "Video Setup" and then press the ENTER button.
Use the arrow keys on the remote control to highlight "TV Type" and then press the ENTER button.
On the remote control, press "BLUE" button.
The firmware version currently installed on the BDP-S300 will be listed on the television screen. If the version number is 3.80 or higher, it is not necessary to install this firmware update.

Download Instructions
Download the UPDATE_BDPS300_VER0380.EXE file to a temporary or download directory (please note this directory for reference).
Go to the directory where the file was downloaded and verify that the size of the UPDATE_BDPS300_VER0380.EXE file is 54,798,336 bytes.
Right-click the UPDATE_BDPS300_VER0380.EXE file, and click "Properties".
On the "UPDATE_BDPS300_VER0380.EXE Properties" screen, verify that the "Size:" listed is "52.2 MB (54,798,336 bytes)".
NOTE: The "Size on disk:" listed may be different. That is normal.
If the file size is different than the "54,798,336 bytes", please download the UPDATE_BDPS300_VER0380.EXE file again.
Double-click the UPDATE_BDPS300_VER0380.EXE file to begin the process to extract the firmware update.
At the UPDATE_BDPS300_VER0380.EXE dialog box, type a location, or click the "Browse..." button to select a location for the uncompressed update, and then click "OK". The UPDATE_BDPS300_VER0380.ISO file will be extracted to the specified location.
Use the "Burn Image" option of your CD burning software to create the update disc from the UPDATE_BDPS300_VER0380.ISO file.
CD Burning Notes:
Do not create a data disc. In order for the update disc to work, you must create it using the "Burn Image" option of your CD burning software.
The update disc must be finalized. Be sure to select "Finalize CD (No further writing possible)" in your CD burning software to finalize the update disc.
If write errors occur during the CD burning process, discard the disc and create a new update disc.
Burning the disc using packet writing software is not supported.
Do not use an update disc created using any other process than the one described above.

Firmware Update Instructions

WARNING!! Do not power off the player or disconnect it from the AC power outlet. Doing so may damage the player to the point of requiring repair.

WARNING!! Do not press any buttons, except as instructed, until the update is complete. Doing so may damage the player to the point of requiring repair.

NOTE: The firmware update process takes a minimum of 30 minutes.

Power on the television and make sure it is tuned to the inputs to which the BDP-S300player is connected.
Power on the BDP-S300 Blu-ray Disc player.
Place the update disc in the player, and close the disc tray.
The update starts automatically and "DISC-DWLD" appears on the player front panel display.

At the beginning the player will automatically power off and then, after awhile, back on. This is an initial read sequence and is normal.
A series of different messages will appear on the front panel display.
NOTE: After about 20 minutes, the disc tray may open.

WARNING!! Do not remove the disc from the player and do not close the tray. The update is still in progress.
The firmware update is complete when "DL OK" appears on the player front panel display.

WARNING!! Do not operate or power off the player until this message is displayed. Doing so may result in your player being unresponsive and requiring repair.
Remove the update disc from the player.

Power on the BDP-S300 player.
NOTE: It takes about 90 seconds for the player to display pictures on the television when the player is powered on for the first time after installing the update.
Check the firmware version (See "Check Current Firmware Version").
NOTE: If the version number is 3.80, the firmware update was successful.

If The Update Disc Does Not Eject

If the update disc does not eject even though "DL OK" is displayed, please follow the steps below.

Power on the BDP-S300 Blu-ray Disc player.
Immediately after "POWER ON" is displayed on the front panel display (within one second), press the "STOP" button on the player. The disc tray opens and the player turns off automatically.
NOTE: Pressing the "STOP" button on the remote control does not work. It is necessary to press the "STOP" button on the BDP-S300 player.
If the disc tray still does not open, repeat these steps but vary the timing of pressing the "STOP" button in step 2.

Firmware Update FAQ
Q: "WRT FAIL" is displayed on the player front panel display. A: Please perform the following procedure:
Push and hold the "POWER" button for several seconds until the unit powers off. Do not remove the disc.
Push the "POWER" button again to continue the firmware update procedure.
If "WRT FAIL" is displayed again, remove the update disc from the player and delete the update files from your computer. Download the update again and follow the entire procedure above to create a new update disc and install the firmware update.
Q: "DISC-DWLD" is not displayed on the player front panel display when the update disc is inserted. A: Remove the update disc from the player and delete the update files from your computer. Download the update again and follow the entire procedure above to create a new update disc and install the firmware update.
Q: "NO DLWD 2" is displayed on the player front panel display. A: The latest firmware is already installed. No update is necessary.
Q: All my personal settings are gone after updating the firmware. A: This is normal, updating the firmware returns all settings to their factory defaults.
Q: How can I verify that the update disc was burned correctly? A: After creating the update disc, check that the disc name is "BDPV-11380" in your computer.
Q: Power was shut down while updating. A: Power on the player again keeping the update disc in the tray. The update should restart automatically.
Q: When I double click on the UPDATE_BDPS300_VER0380.EXE update file I downloaded from the update web site, the UPDATE_BDPS300_VER0380.ISO file is not created and the following error message appears: "Win32 Cabinet Self-Extraction". A: The download may have failed. Delete the downloaded file and download the update file again.
Q: When the player is powered on after performing the update, nothing appears on the front panel display or on the TV screen. A: Initial start-up after installing the firmware update will take longer than normal (approximately 90 seconds). If this situation continues for more than two minutes please call Sony support at 1-800-222-SONY (7669).
Q: When the player is powered on after performing the update, a "POWER ON" message appears on the front panel display or on the TV screen. A: Please call Sony support at 1-800-222-SONY (7669).
Q: The firmware update does not finish, after running for more than 30 minutes. A: Please call Sony support at 1-800-222-SONY (7669).
Q: "INCOMPLETE"/"NEED DISC" are displayed on the player front panel display. A: The update procedure is not completed.
Put the update disc in the tray and power off the player by pushing the "Power" button on the player for a few seconds.
Power on the player by pushing the "Power" button again and The update procedure starts again.

Thursday, March 06, 2008


It was supposed to rain today, not that it HAS and the weather boobs around here are so often wrong it'd be a smart bet to bet against their forecasts; nevertheless, noting that you have to water IN the various killer chemicals I purchased, I spread a second dose of agent orange or whatever the hell it is yesterday. There's me, in long pants and shirt, with cap, protective goggles, a respirator, and a hand cranked spreader, doing my thing under a glorious blue sky.

I will admit that some of the clover has turned to broccoli. That's good. The crab grass is the big target this year. It has been spreading like crabgrass, and must be stopped! I have three kinds of crabgrass killer and my double dose should upset some
ecological balance.

And of course it hasn't rained.

Meanwhile they've recalled some Aunt Jemima pancake mix as possibly containing salmonella. Jemima, al qaeda - hmmmm. BTW: she's thinner on her picture now. I haven't looked since I was a kid. Photoshop? Radicalism? Pancake poison. What's next? I can't get the weeds to even cough and Auntie J is sending thousands to the place of intestinal pain. The world is out of whack.

Meanwhile I am exploring a way to do a very short (minute) movie to show off my voice skills to some professionals in a professional way. More later.

Saturday, March 01, 2008


And I thought it was grass which brightened the late winter days. Well, not here at Casa De La Weed-Wood. However, I just spent $73 at Lowes buying stuff that'll take the horns off the devil and leave your grass safe.

My trial of three other killers proved inconclusive. Perhaps I am too impatient.

THIS STUFF should kill anything that thinks about emerging AND get the green crap that's already up.

The clock is ticking. Reports from the battlefield will follow.