Tuesday, December 20, 2011


The Truth about Christmas

There's a theory that everything influences everything else.  You know: When a butterfly dies, a war breaks out somewhere.  Or for every bell-ring, an angel gets its wings. Something like that.  The Hawaiians only use 13 letters of the 26 letter alphabet, and they get a volcano.

We decided not to send out Christmas cards this year, and instead, I will give the $$$ to charity (water.org)   If everyone did this in the USA, we'd put, say, $10,000,000,000 into 'doing good.' (that's billion with a B, based on 100 cards at $.50ish, postage at $.45ish, and 100 million people not sending greeting cards.)  Think of the good we could do.  Great ideas start small.

But wait!  As politicos quickly respond to any idea at all, jobs will be lost.  And yes, jobs will be lost.  Big Joey, the guy who stands over the steaming fumes at the vat of to-be-cards’ recycled paper, stirring the slurry of bleach and acid, will be gone.  The doc who treats him for his lung condition will have one less patient.  Frank, who oils the rollers that squeeze the last drops of old ink from the paper paste, he'll be gone too.  Little Sally, his daughter, won't get the Little Buckaroo Pony Cardboard Corral she asked Santa to bring because dad will have fallen on hard times.  She’ll still have to walk to school in her bark flip-flops.  At the glitter factory, Bruce, the formerly-jovial manager, will call for a staff meeting.  He'll shut down the big machines which turn old car sheet metal into glitter to help angels find their way through the Christmas clouds on so many cards, then to serve as reminders of fond greetings in carpets for months after the holidays.  Hallmark will shut down its Christmas Card line; some workers will be moved to Sympathy, some to Graduation, some to Birthday, but, sadly, some artists, envelope glue inspectors, and folder-operators will be cast out into the harsh reality of Missouri.  They'll hold onto their old beater SUVs a little longer, guzzling more gas through low efficiency, increasing demand, and raising prices at the pump for the rest of us.

And the postal service is already so deep in debt!

There are so many implications.  The mind boggles. Plus, it's a dilemma – how to let those who don't get a Christmas card from us this year know that this Christmas "letter" – sort of a semi-popular tradition – is alive on the blog here?

We simply feel the almost-obligatory Christmas Card assembly line is too impersonal and only good for about 5 seconds of yearly contact, when we wish there could be a deeper connection.  Having worked all over North America, not to mention the good work of the witness relocation program, there are trails of friends who, sadly, we don't ever see.

Heck, you don't even get to lick a stamp anymore.

Before their passing, the Mayans’ calendar implies that next year will be the last one anyway, so maybe we will only miss one yearly card, i.e.: 2011.  The end of the world is scheduled for BEFORE Christmas 2012, and just before my birthday on the 23rd.  (Screwed again!)  They apparently misplaced the asterisk signifying the end of their civilization but thoughtfully included their End Of The World Calendar *for the rest of us.  *Like festivus.

Allow me to jump around in time as you read, since this piece is written in streams of consciousness over a span of months. At this point, I have just missed the nationwide emergency message test.  I wanted to spin the dial to hear what was happening but I forgot – by only 8 minutes.  Apparently some stations got Lady Gaga instead of the "tuck your butt" warning.  Having worked in the biz, as they say, I can understand this.  I also wanted to hear which stations had sold advertising into or out of the scary message.  Pest or plague control services would be a natural, for one.  Hearing Aids, for another.

This year, the administration has imposed a 15 cent or 15% (earliest reports vary) tax on Christmas trees.  An image-management stupidity!  And why is there an election next year if the world is ending?  Shouldn't we all be running up massive debt we won’t ever repay?  Oh, wait, that's happening.
Today is November 9th.  Last evening, the big aircraft-carrier-sized meteor missed us.  Today astronomers are going naa-naa-naa na naaaa naa!   If the threat was real, Bruce Willis would have saved us.  I just know it.  Ronald Reagan ripped the fabric which held Hollywood and Real Life apart. Forever.

I whole-heartedly recommend the Steve Jobs biography.  He was clearly a simultaneous asshole/jerk/genius.  Quite a spectrum on that man.  I read the book on the IPad2, which was really haunting.  If they had made Siri (the voice assist on IPhone 4s)  speak in his voice, it'd be REALLY spooky.  So far Siri has mostly told me it can't connect to the network.  Actually, Siri's gender wasn't assigned.  Sounds like a female to me, but then you can't be sure.  *Note: a guy on the interwebs says he was recorded for what became Siri, in 1996.  Could be. You can’t tell.

Another big endorsement: Stephen King's 11/22/63 – a long yet extremely worthwhile read!

We live pretty much at the edge of a preserve, which explains the fruity goodness.  No, that's not it.  There's a conservation area as our view.  We actually have heard coyotes and do have road runners.  We don't hear cartoon sound effects.  Out loud anyway.  Only sometimes in my head… We also can hear the big cats at the rescue zoo a few miles upwind.  We are weed farmers.  Clearly we don't fit in with those who have manicured their expansive lawns, making it more user-friendly for the weeds to surely come.  This development called Spanish Oaks was supposed to be 'natural', but then the rules changed and McHaciendas, McLexuses and McBMWs invaded.  I believe we were the 12th or 14th occupied home (of eventually 400… about 150 built so far.)  We were early settlers.  Wish we still had that buckboard.  I don't miss the gingham.

We had a cold snap the other day - the temperature actually went below freezing.  Cover the spigots!  Uh oh - our spigot covers are missing.  True Texan ingenuity:

 I believe there are two things you should never write about in a Christmas letter: religion and politics.  There's simply too much room to offend.

You HAVE been watching all the Republican Presidential Debates* haven't you?  (*Not to be confused with the Mecum Auto Auction!)  So here are some thoughts to hang on your newly taxed Christmas tree. BTW: The economy is so bad, Pine Tree Car Air Fresheners are being used as Christmas trees in homes around the U.S. of A.

I am amused by and interested in the debates.  After so many years in radio, trying to persuade hundreds of thousands of listeners to listen and like us, I see much of the world as a giant radio style "promotion" full of hype and bombasity.  (Not to be confused by radio promotions which are pure and as genuine as the 8th caller.)  Note that some of the contenders might have dropped out by the time I publish this, but that won't stop me, so sirree.

At this stage of the game – late November - there are still many players.  And why not start with our own Governor Perry?  He's a very personable guy with stigmata: bad college grades.  They say he got a D in “meat” at Texas A&M.  But I think he'd be a fun guy to hang out with.  He'd be the one to get the guys together to put a Volkswagon beetle at the top of the stairs of the admin building. He shot a coyote while out jogging.  Where do you put your pistol in a track suit?  Well, never mind that – he was attacked.  ANYBODY can make an oops, too.  Nice hair.  A few years back, the Governor’s Mansion was set ablaze by some ne’er-do-well.  The guards missed it.

Rick Santorum has that bad latin-verb last name.  Plus it sounds like a tuberculosis hospital-um.  He's from my home state, Pennsylvania, but I think he's soon to be in the parking lot with the crowd of Clear Channel employees recently let go.  To me he always looks slightly embarrassed.  If they put his podium any farther to the wing, he'd be behind the curtain.

Newt.  What a name.  Isn't he on the endangered species list?  I don't know much about newts, but looking at him, I wonder if he can puff up his wattle and do a good croak.  But make no mistake, he's smart.  He’ll say! Reminds me of our high school English teacher who introduced himself to our class by declaring we had a "plethora of dearth."  Newt has to be careful, though, or he might cut himself on his wife's hair. When he speaks he sounds like a trumpet with a mute in it.  He’s made about $100 million dollars since his bout of unpopularity back in the 90s.  While barking or croaking or whatever at Bill Clinton for immoral behavior, Newt was cheating on his second wife.

Michelle Bachman.  She's raised about a hundred kids in a wooden shoe, so apparently they had a refrigerator just for milk.  From Lake Woebegon, Minnesota.  Seemed batty at first, but that could have been the Palin effect, kind of an aurora. I think she should have changed her name to Marge before declaring, though. 

Ron Paul.  I LIKE him.  He's seems so wacky.  He's Fred McMurray in the movie Flubber.  I also suspect he's right about a lot, and his Mister Deeds-isms  makes me like the guy.  If only ANY of these candidates could even come close to accomplishing what they throw around the stump!  Has there ever been a president with two first names?  Sounds like a young Andy Rooney.

Huntsman.  A name right out of the Cabela's catalog!  Who needs a first name?  The guy has serious experience.  Speaks fluent Chinese.  And is a Mormon.  One wife though.  Second to Perry for hair.  His podium has been so far away from the action, you have to feel for the guy.  Well, he at least can leave early and beat the crowd to the parking lot.

Herman Cain.  Hey, we had a Dwight, a Chester, an Abraham, why not a Herman?  He reminds me of my uncle Bus*.  (*His nickname, was not a vehicle.)  I love the way he doesn't equivocate.  His Monty Python-animation-style mouth splits his lower face and that great voice makes his case. 9-9-9 has some odd math but he says that's because we haven't studied the menu options.  Various women claim things about him which he denies.  But, “Cain and Able.” “The Cain Mutiny.”  Plenty of name recognition there.  Bad thought: "Pure Cain Sugar." If he isn't delivered in 30 minutes or less, he's free.  Sorry.  New nickname, as he’s suspended his campaign due to unfounded allegations: The Zipper.  

Mitt* Romney.  (*Misspelled German for "with Romney.")  They accuse him of flip flopping, but to be the former governor of Mass as a Mormon – you'd expect a Catholic, so that confuses everything right there.  He's been married since he was 8.  He dresses well.  He made a ton of money.  That much money is heavy.  That's why they call it a ton.  Mitt reminds me of a guy I used to work for – good looking, "buttoned down" – and I loved it when Mitt scolded Rick Perry.  And he did it without appearing too condescending.  He's likely to be a front runner (no I am not rewriting much of this as history unwinds, and pages fall off the calendar like in an old movie) but politic running is hard to predict, like knowing WHICH Ethiopian will win a marathon.

November 21 – there's a warm wind blowing today – hard at times, from the south, a comforting hug as it blows through the oaks.  This is the kind of day that makes me real pleased we chose these here parts a.k.a. Austin.  We had a little rain the other day (still in extreme drought) but just like prayer feeds hope, our weeds have greened up, teased by the rain and by globally warmed late November sun, courtesy of Chinese construction, Indian Industry, cow flatulence, and factories in Akron, Ohio.  Rick Perry hasn't bought into Global Warming.  He thinks science should be another of a state's rights.

I recently had an amazement as Terri's new assistant's computer (which we supplied) stopped working within a month of purchase.  Loaded with upgrades and programs, Terri hoped the store would swap drives or download it onto another computer.  I scoffed:  "This big box retailer has a heart of concrete.  They'll want to exchange it, screw the programs, and us."  Terri's has been on me about being negative, so I held back.  And everything I thought would happen didn't.  They weren't busy.  They were helpful.  They had another same model.  Swapped our hard drive into it, three minutes, thank you sir.  Terri may be onto something.  50 dolla later, that Toshiba is just like new, only with a very slightly-used heart again pumping mortgage data into the bloodstream of lenders so that deserving citizens can get their slice of the American Dream pie.

Excited by the thought of adding some snap to this letter with video via IPhone, I have been trying to figure out how to add it.  I am behind the curve.  Trying to get it to work in HD.   if I can get it to show,  it'll be a short short clip - an iBlink - and I will find something appropriately Holiday themed.

AH - here it is.  Supposed to be in 720p.  I can't be sure something didn't downrez it as it took me about two hours to get it in here in this "quality."  

This year, again, our 'forever tree' will continue its timeless ways in the forever attic.  There is one string of built-in apparently non-forever lights on it which don't light.  Also, bringing it down the stairs is risky, as it wants to open and spear me.  It's quite heavy, as forever weighs more than you might think. 

Scientists have uncovered civilization near where Austin is, that dates back to 13,500 B.C.  Back then most of the roads were dirt, and there wasn't even one traffic light!  BTW, Austin is this city's professional name.  Its first name was Waterloo.  You can look it up.  Now it's WaterLESS as our drought has sucked everything bone dry. Many of the docks on the lake now look like kids toys the day after Christmas: scattered all over the dry lakebed.

This may be the year to celebrate my new notoriety:  says Amazon about me:
Reviews written: 4
Reviewer rank: 975,507
Helpful votes: 7 of 9
I have broken the million-reviewer-rank barrier.  Happy dance!  I am in the top 400,000 players of Angry Birds, too.
Meanwhile, over at HBO.com, today as I write this part, is CYBERmonday, and their "virtual agent" has gone goofy.  She don’ understan’! On a related note,  my car's voice activated-navigation control has also seemingly lost the ability to understand me.  Not unlike Terri, or many others.  “Cancel navigation” is in Wilton, Connecticut, says Audi’s Uhura*.  (*Early Star Trek reference.)

This year on my birthday I will celebrate another milestone by having – and I'm not making this up – a back-to-back endoscopy and colonoscopy  (actually, that'd be up-to-down.)  I wanted to get it done on this year's medical insurance and that was the last date they had open.  This is sort of like that golden spike moment of the joining of the halves of the intercontinental railroad. They knock you out so you don't feel or even remember the procedure, but do wake you up for the copay.  And the knockout is via Propofol, recently in the news, as Michael Jackson's c-o-d.  The Discovery Channel has expressed an interest.  Seriously, there's apparently another way, but it costs a fortune and isn't covered by insurance.  You actually swallow a camera (MUCH harder the other way.)  The thing then travels along and sends back pictures.  Everybody: "Eeeeuuuwww!"

Thanks for your understanding about our cardless Christmas –  but at least you won't have that glitter stuck in your rug this year.  It's a bummer that so many of our friends are scattered all across the country – we miss you and wish you Happy Trails Until We Meet Again.

Christmas 2011 -  Bob and Terri Wood

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Yesterday we went to Home Depot and Terri chose the perfect Christmas tree. A noble fir. Now it is in its new temporary home, our house, and bedecked with lights. We will wait until dark to see if the lights are sufficient and spread according to best known geometric practices. We have one more string which we can use if necessary.

The ting ting a ling of the title is the sound of the needles falling off.

Monday, December 05, 2011


When people learn I do voicework, that's the next sentence most say. And truthfully, I rarely can answer. It's an odd business. You do this and that, sometimes (like today) only part of something in which the other pieces don't yet exist, and when the piece shows, it may be for 'internal use' or at a convention of sales people or whatever. I rarely hear the finished version. Also, it's a global business. I've done stuff for as far away as South Africa. I would think there's be more commercial work, but commercials are just a small part of it. Some is acting, some is narrating.

I know a guy who was the voice of Benjamin Franklin at The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia - my understanding is there's this sort-of-statue which comes alive and greets visitors. That's Dave.

Today the business runs on auditions. Getting the work is really the job - doing the voicework is the easy (and often fun) part.

Sunday, December 04, 2011


I am so happy with my IPhone 4s (versus the scummy Blackberry - watch RIM go out of business in a year or so!) and my IPad2 that my toy lust is well satisfied. It's amazing. I do fear that future - sans-Steve Jobs Apple products will not be as easy or elegant, but there's hope someone will keep the quality high.

I WILL go for the IPad 3, assuming there will be a market for used IPad 2s. Many think the next one will have a much better camera and display, and that's all it needs. I can live happily after ever then.

If I had a spare throwaway $35,000 (not in the (crystal ball) I would upgrade my stereo. I can't see that windfall happening.

Meanwhile, the thought occurs to me what if Steve Jobs controlled BluRay (in my opinion a stupidly flawed interface, slow loading, stupid features) it would be a whole other experience. For that matter, his insane push for perfection applied to CARS would have been something to see.

Ironically, Steve had a 'thing' for the Beatles, and he's one of the very few I would say ranked right up there alongside them in his own way.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


This year we have decided to not send out Christmas Cards. This will be explained in another post, but for those who maybe see this, and care, I will post my annual Christmas Letter very soon. Since it usually gets a positive response, that's one tradition I hope to keep.

BTW: Humbugs have been seen mating with BEDbugs in NYC. Be careful where you sleep!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011


We are thinking of not sending Christmas Cards this year. It seems so impersonal, then you might get one back and it is signed or printed with the senders' names... and nothing else. Xmas cards seem to be the lowest form of contact. This is part of the reason why I have been putting things (from glitter to Keep This Coupon coupons to a yearly spoof letter) inside - to have a longer moment of contact. Now with so many electronic devices and the ease of email, the costs of buying and stamping cards for that brief 5 seconds of contact... seems to be a waste of time.

Am I becoming curmudgeonly? Likely so.

Friendships mean more than ever to us, but not getting one from you doesn't strike you off the friend list. And hopefully if we send nothing you will still be our friend.

I can publish my letter - if there IS one - on this blog.

What do you think?

Sunday, November 06, 2011


I recently replaced my BlackBerry with an Apple IPhone 4s. I also have had an IPad 2 for some months.

What surprised me was how underwhelmed the IPhone left me. Yes, it's cool and way beyond the BBerry, but it just hasn't grabbed me the way the IPad does. I'm not sure why.

One thing the Apple folks need to do is to make it possible to delete all incoming emails all at once from either device. The way it is now, you have to choose each e, after which you then delete them all at once.

Trash works well - you can choose a group delete. Done! Since I receive emails - identical emails - on My Windows i7 computer, the IPad and IPhone, I have seen them by the time I get to the second device.

The IPhone camera is much better than the IPad one. When they release the next IPad device, if it has a better display resolution AND better camera, I will sell mine and move up. As far as I can tell, those two features will be addressed.

I bought an add-on device which will make either Pad or Phone a replacement for three of my remotes. It's called an L5. It's a tiny IR emitter. Setup isn't that much fun, but the result will be cool. I won't try to mirror the TiVo remote because I really work it, turning volume up or down many times in most shows or commercial breaks - or skip through them. Don't get me started on TV audio!

I just finished reading the Steve Jobs book on the IPad, which was somehow odd and appropriate.

Sunday, October 09, 2011


I let my subscription to Esquire expire.

Saturday they sent me an issue as a come-on to re-up. In it was a writer's contest to celebrate their 78th anniversary. The story you submit must be just 78 words long. It gnawed on me for a day and I thought maybe I'd give it a whirl. Then I reread the rules and deadline for entries was midnight, two days ago.

I wrote two, and stopped tweaking them, or finishing the second, after I realized I was too late. But so as not to waste:

The 52nd President strode to the AT&T podium to address the three houses of congress. "Members of congress, Mr. Vice President, Mr. Speaker, honored guests from Exxon-Mobile, I come to you on this auspicious occasion to celebrate our latest budget reduction initiative. Starting this March, our paper currency will contain logos from patriot blue chip companies who have purchased space to help reduce our national debt. This is truly a great day for Walmart's United States of America!"

On the day the fish swam away, Pedro's net pulled up empty. He cursed God under his breath while making the sign of the cross, then kissing the silver Virgin Mary medal which had hung around his neck since his baptism. He scanned the horizon, and what appeared to be clouds were thousands of gulls, flying as one, away from land. As his oars dipped, they were unable to gain purchase as the sea had begun to effervesce.

I don't think the second story had a shot. I think they wanted a beginning, middle, and end. The first story is probably too jokey.

Well, heck.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Watch TV? The crawls and 'bugs' (logo in corner) are creeping into more and more of a program. The animations are getting larger, too. You're really into a drama, and now Mike and Molly come dancing in at 1/5 size along with text to tout their show. It's visual pollution! It seems to be on the increase too, in size, duration, and frequency.

On the internet, yes, sometimes you have to pay a penalty and are forced to watch a commercial before what you tried to see. But I just endured one where the commercial was seemingly as long as the feature I was after! On TV I believe you are forced to watch 8 minutes of commercials per 30 minute show. Most radio stations run between 14 to 16 minutes of commercials an hour.

We use TiVo. Record most everything, and speed through the commercials. Want to get rich? Invent the same for web-based ads! And to be fair: I will stop and watch a commercial more than once if I really like it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


What's the latest approval rating down to? And isn't that very question a statement in itself? I think it was 17% for Congress. Uh, no, Gallup says I'm wrong:

"Congressional job approval is now 15%, up slightly from the record-tying low of 13% recorded in August, while disapproval is 82%, compared with 84% last month."

Obama was at 43%.

What I can't figure is how members of congress must not think it applies to THEM; they point at the other side and hurl invective at them. Hey, it's ALL OF YOU. You aren't getting the job done.

I say start over. Throw everyone out. Set term limits. Ban lobbyists altogether. I guess that a complete clean sweep would allow some boobs in, for sure, but the bonds with special interests would (hopefully) be broken, the influence-peddlers having to also start over, and in the time that took, maybe common sense from non-professional politicians would cause more good than bad. More action than inaction. More consensus than partisanship.

You all are embarrassing.

And for those candidates that stand there in debates and lie, who make things up, I'd like to have them all wired to a truth meter and cattle prod. Each mis-truth gets a shot. Each successive mis-truth gets more voltage. This idea isn't an electric chair type thing - the amperage would be low. Maybe after ONE outing, truth would prevail.

Friday, September 09, 2011


To get ready for a voiceover session I printed out the script a day early. I could rehearse and be well prepared.

Unfortunately the fan was on high because we are in the worst heat and drought, and it blew the script onto the floor.

The dog decided, "If it's paper and on the floor, I can take a dump on it." So she did.
By the time I discovered the smell and the target, it was starting to dry. I tried to scrape it off, was only semi-successful, but the inkjet ink isn't permanent so some words were blurry or obscured.

The printer stopped working, because when it is out of ONE ink color, it stops altogether to force you to the store to buy more.

I can't read off the screen because the microphone is in another room, and I lost the email and there isn't time to find it.

The producer calls and we begin.

In mid-spot I stumble over words I can't really see, and mumble something about "this crap." The producer hears this and launches in on me as being a spoiled, overpaid, prima-donna who is lucky to get ANY work, let alone this spot, and how dare I attack what has been put together by some of the finest minds in advertising?

Then I wake up.

Saturday, September 03, 2011


That's what blogs are - today's diaries. I wonder if kids still keep them locked from their parents or open online for all to see.

I must admit, I understand, but don't 'get' twitter. I guess my social needs aren't on a par with those who tweet everything they do or think. And there are some adults who treat Facebook the same way... one guy I know posts "Good Night All" regularly. Way too nothing, there, though he's a nice guy in real life.

I stare at the top line in Facebook and think I should say/write something, but rarely does it meet my "Who'd give a darn?" filter. But then I am not the type of guy who enjoys multitasking. I tend to go straight to the goal. Watching TV? I watch. I don't want to converse by any means with the world online at the same time. If online I don't wish distraction via radio. Don't get me started on today's radio!

I am addicted to my IPad, and find many ways to entertain myself on it, but linearly, i.e.: one thing at a time, thank you. Skype on IPad works well and I enjoy it with or without the video! After a while staring at myself staring at them, though, I become self-conscious.

Imagine the instant communication taps which will change the way today's youth will interact with each other and the world as they grow! Will it DEpersonalize or Amplify a sense of belonging? Will it make those on the fringe feel special or left out? Remember the High Tech /High Touch theory? Are we now at the intersection of both? Or is high touch - human real time, real life interaction even more important?

Seems to me that one thing all this connectedness has brought on is an ease of hostility and polarity. Note the political parties playing the media with rancor and drum beats. Either there's a lot less civility and cooperation or the partisanship was always there but invisible.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


...and a blog isn't FACEBOOK. I have less to write that I used to - mellow due to the unusual heat here? We are over 5 TIMES normal for the number of 100+ degree days this spring and summer.

Some people I follow post things on FB like, "Good Night!" Uh.

I put a new profile picture up on FB and got several nice comments from some friends I miss, but don't have a lot of back-and-forth with. That felt good. Thank you. The picture was taken for a voicework site, as I formerly had a golden microphone instead of my bald head, and I figured if they'd like the voice, they'd idealize the face to their own preference. But I was talked out of that, as "it's a people business." I'll put it here too.

Friday, July 22, 2011


I am waiting for a script revision so that I can record it. My client DID say "in the morning" but his morning and mine may be different. I am grateful for the work, whenever it comes.

Recently I found out that one of the games I have done a character for has 20,000,000 players (online, not all at once.) I get a real kick out of doing these things which have some kind of wide play. You never know WHO will hear you.

While thinking about business, I think it's almost time to redo my demos (strings of short samples of different approaches to similar work.) Why redo them? Maybe it's the belief that new stuff is always better. The urge to tinker. Freshen. Show-off.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


The story takes place with a 'live chat.'

User Bob_ has entered room

Analyst has entered room

Analyst Mattew has entered room

Analyst has left room

Mattew(Wed Jul 13 15:12:54 CDT 2011)>
Hello! Thank you for choosing Road Runner Internet Technical Chat Support. My name is Mattew, how may I assist you?

Bob_(Wed Jul 13 14:13:18 CDT 2011)>
Hello. My friend in Tennessee has tried numerous times to send me emails and they never make it nor do they bounce back to him.

Bob_(Wed Jul 13 14:13:34 CDT 2011)>
Could it be the isp is blocked? dtccom.net

Mattew(Wed Jul 13 15:13:56 CDT 2011)>
Can you be more specific with the issue?

Bob_(Wed Jul 13 14:14:03 CDT 2011)>
I don't receive emails he sends me.

Mattew(Wed Jul 13 15:14:23 CDT 2011)>

Mattew(Wed Jul 13 15:14:30 CDT 2011)>
I can help you with that.

Mattew(Wed Jul 13 15:15:17 CDT 2011)>
Are you using Web mail or Email client(outlook)

Bob_(Wed Jul 13 14:15:35 CDT 2011)>
I use Windows Live Mail.

Mattew(Wed Jul 13 15:15:53 CDT 2011)>

Mattew(Wed Jul 13 15:16:32 CDT 2011)>
Are you able to send a mail?

Bob_(Wed Jul 13 14:16:40 CDT 2011)>
Yes. He gets mine.

Mattew(Wed Jul 13 15:16:59 CDT 2011)>

Bob_(Wed Jul 13 14:17:00 CDT 2011)>
This is only from this fellow.

Bob_(Wed Jul 13 14:17:25 CDT 2011)>
And it seems rather recent, as in several days to a week now.

Mattew(Wed Jul 13 15:17:31 CDT 2011)>

Mattew(Wed Jul 13 15:18:23 CDT 2011)>
Please send a test mail to your self and check it once.

Bob_(Wed Jul 13 14:19:15 CDT 2011)>
Works fine. This is only from that one person.

Mattew(Wed Jul 13 15:19:34 CDT 2011)>

Bob_(Wed Jul 13 14:19:46 CDT 2011)>
I get many emails all day - but his have stopped when he uses dtccom.net

Bob_(Wed Jul 13 14:19:57 CDT 2011)>
When he uses webmail I get them.

Mattew(Wed Jul 13 15:20:44 CDT 2011)>
Can you please login to the webmail.

Bob_(Wed Jul 13 14:21:01 CDT 2011)>
I don't know how and don't really want to, either.

Mattew(Wed Jul 13 15:21:47 CDT 2011)>
It may be blocked in your junk mails in your web mail.

Bob_(Wed Jul 13 14:22:46 CDT 2011)>
You aren't quite following me. I use Windows Live Mail. When HE sends emails to me, I haven't been receiving them UNLESS he uses webmail as his source. When he doesn't, I don't receive them (but I used to.)

Bob_(Wed Jul 13 14:23:11 CDT 2011)>
They are not in Junk mail. I receive emails on three devices, so it's not 'my computer.'

Mattew(Wed Jul 13 15:23:50 CDT 2011)>

Mattew(Wed Jul 13 15:24:01 CDT 2011)>
Please give me a moment.

Bob_(Wed Jul 13 14:24:13 CDT 2011)>
I keep emailing him (which he receives) saying I don't see your answers to my questions - he responds that he's repeatedly sent them.

Mattew(Wed Jul 13 15:26:59 CDT 2011)>
Please mark the "leave a copy on the server".

Mattew(Wed Jul 13 15:27:20 CDT 2011)>
Let me know the results once you have done with that.

Bob_(Wed Jul 13 14:27:28 CDT 2011)>
And WHERE would I do that?

Mattew(Wed Jul 13 15:28:10 CDT 2011)>
I will help you with that.

Mattew(Wed Jul 13 15:28:25 CDT 2011)>
Please give me a moment.

Mattew(Wed Jul 13 15:32:46 CDT 2011)>
Please give me some more time to resolve this issue.

Bob_(Wed Jul 13 14:32:56 CDT 2011)>
isps sometimes block other isps. Can you check if his is blocked and if so can you unblock for me?

Mattew(Wed Jul 13 15:36:50 CDT 2011)>
Please open accounts tab-> Properties-> Advanced tab.

Mattew(Wed Jul 13 15:37:17 CDT 2011)>
You can find the "leave a copy on the server".

Bob_(Wed Jul 13 14:38:19 CDT 2011)>

Mattew(Wed Jul 13 15:38:39 CDT 2011)>

Mattew(Wed Jul 13 15:41:24 CDT 2011)>
Let me know whether you can receive the mails from the person in webmail?

Bob_(Wed Jul 13 14:41:31 CDT 2011)>

Bob_(Wed Jul 13 14:42:40 CDT 2011)>
He has two computers. His BUSINESS computer is the one from which emails have stopped coming TO ME. As far as I kinow, only to me. His laptop uses webmail and I get them, just like always.

Mattew(Wed Jul 13 15:43:43 CDT 2011)>

Bob_(Wed Jul 13 14:44:33 CDT 2011)>
He does not receive 'undeliverable' notifications.

Bob_(Wed Jul 13 14:45:32 CDT 2011)>
... which leads me to wonder if TW has blocked his ISP?

Mattew(Wed Jul 13 15:46:55 CDT 2011)>
Can I access your computer remotely?

Bob_(Wed Jul 13 14:47:05 CDT 2011)>

Bob_(Wed Jul 13 14:47:16 CDT 2011)>
To do what?

Mattew(Wed Jul 13 15:48:09 CDT 2011)>
So that I can check were the problem is?

Bob_(Wed Jul 13 14:48:07 CDT 2011)>
It isn't my computer. It's my Blackberry and my IPad also... all of which used to get his messages.

Bob_(Wed Jul 13 14:48:24 CDT 2011)>
I am uncomfortable allowing you access.

Mattew(Wed Jul 13 15:48:42 CDT 2011)>

Mattew(Wed Jul 13 15:48:49 CDT 2011)>
Please give me a moment.

Mattew(Wed Jul 13 15:56:01 CDT 2011)> (Almost 8 minutes later)
Thank you for your patience.

Mattew(Wed Jul 13 15:56:53 CDT 2011)>
TWC does not block any isp.

Mattew(Wed Jul 13 15:58:38 CDT 2011)>
How ever there would be a problem in the settings of your friends please ask him to delete his junk mails.

Bob_(Wed Jul 13 14:58:56 CDT 2011)>
I will. What else?

Mattew(Wed Jul 13 15:59:51 CDT 2011)>
That's it. it works if you delete the junk mail blocks.

Mattew(Wed Jul 13 16:00:25 CDT 2011)>
Is there anything else I can help you with?

Bob_(Wed Jul 13 15:00:40 CDT 2011)>
No. Thank you.

Mattew(Wed Jul 13 16:01:26 CDT 2011)>
My pleasure chatting with you.

Bob_(Wed Jul 13 15:01:30 CDT 2011)>
So you are saying HIS junk mail settings blocks HIM sending ME an email? (The answer was Yes.)

Mattew(Wed Jul 13 16:01:35 CDT 2011)>
For more information about the products and services offered by Road Runner, you can visit this link anytime to get more help and knowledge : http://help.rr.com and check for online tutorials, FAQs and more details about Road Runner features.

And our story ends with no resolution. Have a nice day!

Thursday, July 07, 2011


I may have contracted HYPE FEVER while doing voicework demos. This is a condition whereby the voice rises and you shout things like "BUT WAIT!" And swallow then regurgitate words like AMAZING, CALL NOW, LIMITED TIME OFFER and you gurgle up exclamation points like a babe on strained peas.

I am unsure what the cure is. Deep breathing, maybe. I'll try that. Pray for me.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Actually, it's me. I get a big kick out of the nature of voicework. If I am right about the timing of the schedule, my voice is now on some stations in Houston, Austin, Jacksonville, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Salt Lake City, Atlanta, Columbus, Portland, Phoenix, Minneapolis, Las Vegas, Denver, and on Satellite radio. More! I want more!


Or maybe it should read IPAD 2 and Me Too.

After months of backorder, it arrived, this sleek little screen and not much else. True to Apple's form and function, setting it up was a little Disney-magical. Somehow it all comes together, though I didn't see Tinkerbell in the box.

The included instructions are three sentences. More on line if you need it.

CLEVER CLEVER CLEVER. They've been around long enough that you either have one, have seen one, or are waiting for one.

Here's Apple's store at 2PM on a Sunday, and this doesn't show enough of the store which was packed - PACKED! Clearly, they know what they are doing.

And now I find myself an Angry Birds semi-addict, loving the "heh heh heh... nice" undercurrent audio while I try to figure out where to shoot the birds. Kudos to the developers.

I have also loaded apps like the free audio analysis app for which I once paid about $800 to get such functionality in an IPAQ (remember those?)

Somehow Skype works, even though it's not really an IPad version. THAT is said to be coming. The sessions I've had came with remarks about the great audio quality. I'd have to agree from THIS side of the conversation. Apple worked it out.

I'm almost at the video recording and editing stage. I say almost because my mind is running with how do I want this to look... what neat things can I do. Maybe I am too lazy or busy to mount a full-scale production, but with this gadget, you CAN.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011


There is an atomic gnat in our TV room. Or several. It's hard to tell. Physicists have determined that certain very very small particles may be able to be in two locations at once. And these gnats are very very small. So when that speck is walking across my glasses, it might also be buzzing the couch. I'm not sure.

Perhaps they arrived in the late winter when we had the deck door wide open - after all, there were no bugs we could see, and it was unseasonably warm. Or maybe they camped out in a new plant which now sits beside the tv. Or rode bareback in on the dog. Actually, the atomic gnat is small enough to pass through a screen.

And so I have begun the ritual of ridding ourselves of this pesky insect which is apparently attracted to my nostril like Bubba to a strip bar on a Friday after work.

I went to LOWES and bought the meanest, and apparently most toxic, pest strip known to man. The instructions say it kills flying things. They say don't be in the room with this horrible chemical for more than 4 hours. Disposal calls for a hazmat team. After more than a week, no gnat deaths have been recorded, though our own lifetimes may have been shortened.

I then resorted to the tried and true... the glue-y thing which hangs as a beacon of stickiness from the pull chain on the ceiling fan. 50s diners and truckstops of that era would sport these traps like stalactites, usually peppered with flies. But for me, no luck. I have avoided walking into it.

I read on the web how to build a trap... using cider vinegar and a soda bottle. But so far, it hasn't worked.

The atomic gnat is winning the war. I am pretty sure it's too small to be a predator drone and don't think I am being surveiled.

Prayer hasn't worked.

Bad tv hasn't worked.

I am unsure of my next move. For now, I am a swat team of one.

Friday, May 27, 2011


It has happened twice now.

After washing some windows, I left the bucket with some solution in it in the garage for the next round.

It's a big bucket and it had maybe four inches of soapy water in it.

Both times I later found a dead mouse floating in what had become a very stinky soup.

Mickey and Minnie's last bath is a sad memory.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Over the past little while my voiceover business has brought a real wide variety of jobs:
narrating the celebration of a man's life; and intros and outros for a weekly church podcast. I played a proud, tall, Norse BEAR in a videogame, voiced a local pharmacy advocacy project, a tire safety piece for the Texas DOT, a narration about lessons learned from the Deepwater Horizon disaster, and a pitch for a security company trying to sell its system in Argentina. Small world.

I love doing voice work.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011


Is overdue but we'll cut slack for it's only 7 minutes. So far.

We didn't realize it, but our carpeted areas have self-dirtifying carpet of a light color which shows off that feature really, really well. The carpet stretcher man said the only recourse to clean carpets is clean white socks. But I won't go shoeless full time. I am not turning Japanese.

The guys come in with a water heater and Tim-Allen modified sucker in a truck. They spray hot water with special sauce into the rug then wait a few seconds and suck it back out. This is a lot like a salary and taxes.

I think the world that created the Zamboni can do a better job. There should be whirling brushes, though come to think of it, I have never seen a street sweeper work well, even with its wire brushes spinning.

But we need more than squirt and suck.

By the time all dries completely, they are gone, and at that time you get to see how those special places will remain shrines to where the doggie rubbed the medicine we put into the her ear, or the spilled tea episode.

Oh - and the upsell is "Want Scotchguard with that?" No. We have posted a no-bagpipe warning at the door!


I had hoped to have my new IPad 2 and even IPhone 5, though that one was more a silent prayer while using my hated Blackberry.

The IPad 2 is supposed to arrive at the reseller this Friday. They said that about last Friday too.

The IPhone 5 is delayed, says Apple pundits.

Meanwhile I must have mellowed some, as I am not so frantic to get the new toys as I might have been once upon a time. Hard to believe, but the Patience Institute has lowered my world ranking to 1,225,068.

Friday, April 15, 2011


The 'rule' is - if you are in the public perception, and are in a room with a microphone, assume it is LIVE.

Obama just broke the rule. He said some things which were a little more human than what you'd term Presidential. The message wasn't managed. Other presidents have also been caught.

I know of some guys who were fired for speaking on what they thought was a 'secure' line to a tech at their radio station. Too bad they were on the air over the music on one of the sister stations. Profane and detailed, too.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I am once again BLOWN away by APPLE. Specifically, the Apple Store, which today was crowded. I've ordered an IPAD 2 from another seller (soon to arrive) and thought I'd go the the company store for a cover and adapter. I was greeted and handed off to an associate who took me to their accessories and took what I needed from the display, then whipped out a device (maybe an Iphone with attachment? - It wasn't much bigger than that but it had a slot for card swiping, which he did. He then sent me the receipt by email and I was on my way, amazed at the ease of the transaction.

I then went up the road to another retailer of electronics - the one with 80+ check outs, lines, etc. where I paged through an IPAD for Beginners magazine... holy smoke, this device really IS a game changer in so many ways. I am excited.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011


Recall the Andy Griffith Show/ Mayberry jingle..."

Why is it this always seems to happen? You have to fix something or update something on your computer. You haunt the blogs and forums and find what seems to be good advice, It goes like this for me - you too?

Open Desktop.
Desktop, right. Got it. Easy.
Do to Control Panel
Got it. I am humming!
Open Accessories.
Yeah. No - wait. Is that here? I know where it was on my old computer.
Okay, maybe here. Yes. Of course. No wait, it's under programs, isn't it?
Then simply snarl the berg.dll

By this time I am lost. I am lost a lot.
Recall the Gilligan's Island theme now.

Sunday, April 03, 2011


I went to the plant department of Lowes today. What we need is a colorful plant for the shade. Oh sure, they can make a turtle bark and glow in the dark via DNA, so why not a shade flower?

People were swarming like flies.

There was a dead big fat porcupine on the road.


Yesterday we had lunch at the Four Seasons for Terri's Birthday. It was the busiest we've seen. A good sign for the economy? Then we walked the Art Fair. Some great stuff, especially one piece which just cost too much. It was what appeared to be - and wasn't -a poster for KILLER BLONDE in comic book headline-styled fireworks package. Bang!

Friday, March 18, 2011


...and may explain why Japan allowed reactor essentials to be placed in vulnerable-to-tsunami locations. With all the nuclear reactors in the world now (not to mention bombs), can't you expect something very, very bad to happen eventually?

Several weeks ago, Terri and I were on PCH - the Pacific coast highway, driving on vacation from Los Angeles to just north of San Francisco. The road is challenging and yet beautiful, rising to about 1200 feet above the ocean, and you are essentially driving without guardrail at the edge of a cliff in earthquake territory.

A week or so later, the very road we drove fell... down.

Here in Texas, the weather has turned warm, and the first squashed snake-in-the-street has appeared. It makes you wonder how many others there are, and where, as some are venomous... but, ignorance is bliss.

Monday, March 07, 2011


Terri looks for whales from our deck in San Simeon

Our tree house in Big Sur

The view from our waterfront room/deck in Sausalito, looking back toward SF.

Muir Woods (no relation)

We just enjoyed a wonderful week of Terri-planned vacation. She's great at this! We flew to LA then drove up to beyond San Francisco, stopping for a night or two along the way.

By the way, it hailed on us for about 15 seconds in LA and also snowed while we visited with my great friend, Howard. The snow lasted maybe a minute. This was in Sherman Oaks.

Everything seemed compressed in CA. compared to TX. I swear their traffic lanes are not as wide as elsewhere, and at one point, heading toward the Golden Gate bridge, some yahoo in a panel truck came within inches of sideswiping our rental car.

I will throw several pictures from the phone onto this. A new phone with much better resolution is about a month away.

Big Sur was as incredible as we remembered it (Post Ranch). Sitting about 1200 feet above the ocean, it's incredibly romantic.

Monday, February 14, 2011


I wrote the following shortly after Christmas, but it took this long to get back into Blogger. The new machine works fast and fine, although there appears to be some issue with printing multiple docs, but I think that's the HP software. I don't trust HP in return.


The Christmassy New computer - hooked to an old monitor... doesn't show up. I can't find the discs to the old monitor if there were any anyway... connection is good, power is on, I give up for a few minutes of reflection..

Nerds: Yes I hooked up the keyboard (well, the mouse anyway, and it shows signs of life, although all I get on the screen is the instruction to move the mouse.

Okay – I have the new wireless keyboard going (I can see the receiver acknowledge it.) Nothing on screen though. I will again rip apart our cache of old install discs to find what I can.

I am lost and the starter gun hasn't been shot. Of course I am a MANLY MAN and expect setbacks, although, frankly, not this one. Since the old computer is beside it, and working, I can keep this journal.

I turn to hp troubleshooting on my old computer for instructions:

* If you have a flat panel LCD monitor, unplug the monitor power cable, wait about 30 seconds, and reconnect the cable and then turn on the monitor. This resets the electronics on the monitor.

This didn’t work.

Next step: try old working monitor on new computer. This will destroy all the care I took to dress the cables to lessen cable clutter, but no matter, for I am a man on a mission. WIN 7 pro or bust! I could also just go BUY a new larger monitor (planned for later) but let’s try this. We’ve really become addicted to computers, since the thought of losing my screen even for a little while gives me agita/anxiety/the willies.

Swapped monitors. Old one works in old computer, not in new computer.

I tried resetting the BIOS blind. Troubleshooting explained the sequence of keyboard strokes. Nothing. The next step is to take the box apart and be sure all the cards and connections are good. A REAL MAN in today’s world is not computer-intimidated. Now if I can just figure out which screws...

That was easy. Nothing was loose. And just like that, all back together again... but it still doesn’t work. Now I have to repack and send it back. I will not replace it with another of the same breed. When apart I also learned it will not accept my pro audio card. (Geek talk: it had open PCI express slots not a standard PCI slot, and even with an adaptor it seems there isn’t enough space.) Joy. More when I figure out what to do. But REAL MEN can handle a little setback here and there. I think the HP is not worth the trouble, or money.

I consulted with a GUY WHO KNOWS THINGS.

Just bought all the parts to BUILD MY OWN COMPUTER. Think of the trouble I will be in shortly. Way too much $$$ but it has everything I would want (it says here) and I am very hopeful that I can do it - or will have to buy local help. See, the prepackaged ones all have some shortcoming or cheapest something else. As I hope to keep it for quite a long long time, it should be hot as they come to start, then age with grace. Like me. PRAY for me. I don't know the mess I just climbed into.

The non-working one by HP is awaiting FedEx truck tomorrow, at the dropoff store. A final salute: “%#$!!%#$@!”

A friend writes: “Building a computer must be quite a project. Any advantages over buying a new one except for the price? Where do you get the kits? Any soldering?”

My reply: “I think the advantages to do it yourself is in a better choice of what's in it - the prepackaged ones come with a decent this and a cheap that. Choosing parts means you can have a good this and good that. The cost is about the same, but with advantages in what is included. (About $1200 for me so far).”

“NO soldering - everything is via some sort of connector.”

“But buying parts means it's not really a kit with instructions.”

And quick as you can say UPS a hundred thousand times, twin boxes arrive at Stately Wood Acres.

I look at the empty case - haven't even opened the box and already I have questions.

The build begins:

Well, there are instructions, but for each piece, in every language known to man. A 75 page ‘manual’ is 5 pages per language. There are MANY setup instructions once the thing boots, and it looks daunting, but I have to mount the hardware first (am writing in breaks from the tabletop.)

My first issue: understanding how to get the bare case apart. Something about plastic tabs. Do I push in or to a side? Push harder and risk breakage? Happily, I finger it out.

Removing the bezel: uh, what exactly is a bezel? Again, logic and careful futzing – bezel removed. Futz-o-meter barely on #2.
Now, replace the panel with cutouts for the ins and outs. EASY does it. Success. No futz.

Now the motherboard. Must be extra extra careful. De-Static wristband. Count holes. Mount standoffs. Don’t touch any soldered parts. Almost fits. Almost. Almost. Push a little. Holes align with some persuasion. Screws fit – some hard to get to, but I persevere. Next, the power supply.

My back hurts. Boy will I feel great if I can do this. Boy will I ever be confused if I arrive at the BIOS setup – there are SO many options and I am unsure which apply and how many matter. But let’s get back to the hardware. Power Supply (750w vs. the 300 w in the HP I returned. Arf!) Must not be overconfident. Must not drip sweat onto or into anything.


Yes, I am learning a lot. Sometimes the hard way. Like when I turn the computer case to stand up and the processor falls out of its home. I loudly proclaim NOT MY FAULT though clearly I didn’t understand the pressure necessary to close the latch. I DID close the latch, but a lip wasn’t engaged. Thanks, Microsoft, for that unclear pictograph with no words of help. (That way they don’t have to print all languages and it saves paper and money.) Well, it’ll be a miracle if this thing works from the get-go anyway. They’ll build a chapel and pilgrims will come worship here if it does boot up with no smoke.

Now the DVD drive and two hard drives are in – not connected, but in. Memory is in. Wiring, not so much. I am still trying to figure that out. Tomorrow I will be back at it.

Just getting away from it all and thinking about it, helped. Also, finally finding the explanations of the connectors and where they go. I don’t know how I missed this, but I did. There’s one long receptacle with many pins into which many of the power and other connectors hook up into the motherboard. What I mistook for one LONG socket is really many. That’s a big help! Little by little it comes together. It’s hard to SEE in some of the tight spaces with widdle connectors to place.

As I write this it still isn’t working, but I am sending emails and screen pictures (via phone) to the guy who convinced me to build my own. There’s an interesting twist to the process: I read the instructions, am lost, return later, reread, and it starts to make sense. Not in the DO THIS DO THAT part but in the HOW do you do this, HOW do you do that? I had lower grades in school, I think, because I would see possibilities which weren’t covered. There were never enough answers. Not enough explanation. This is a theme to my life.

I am now at the point where I am trying to configure the twin hard drives to have one mirror the other. Like building this, once I figure it out, it’ll be easy. For now, I keep looking for a screen I haven’t found. I don’t want to load anything until I have this done, otherwise the drives won’t be the same (or do they mirror after the fact? – A good example of the questions which go unanswered. I can imagine it works either way.)

Later --- I am now at WINDOWS IS LOADING FILES. This could be good. I have no idea how long it’ll take. Now after about a minute or two it is starting Windows. And I have a nice colorful yet blank screen. This is not the Blue Screen of Death. It has swirls on it. Windows 7 Pro is a large program. My computer is fast. But it couldn’t be THAT fast. Which is probably why the screen is blank. AH – it wants me to respond. I do, and on it goes. Until I discover a shattered disc in the packet. Can’t fully configure without it.

Monday I chat with a rep from Newegg who finally relents and sends me the CD or DVD – I can’t tell which it is.

Then I decide to go for it and after research and consultation buy a 27 inch new screen. It arrives later in the week and is HUGE. I have a 19 inch now. The printer will move off the desk.

If all checks out, I will run both computers while I try to figure out which programs and files should be transferred and kept forever. I still have 20 year old video I shot and NEVER WATCHED. I am a digital packrat. And now I have even more cheese.


It may be a conspiracy. While I cannot get into blogger with my old computer or my new one, even after their cookie-and-java dance, Chrome worked first time out. Could it be a way they push you to Chrome? Never mind. I am back.