Walkin the Dawg

The idea is simple. Time tested. Tried and true.

Gather together in one place all the best content you’ve produced for the entire year and present it in a way that’s engaging, informative, entertaining.

I’ve been doing it for decades at various newspapers.

So last year, my first year completely away from daily newspaper journalism, I put a video up on the net that showed the best photo work that I did during the year.

But this time instead of train wrecks floods and fires it was personal projects.

As of today, the last day of 2012, that video got a whopping 45 views.

The only plan this year is to beat 45 views in 12 months time.

So I tagged all the best stuff I shot all year in Lightroom, brought it all into FinalCutProX and started looking for what amounts to the soundtrack of our year.

I considered Bettie Serveert, The Airborne Toxic Event, The Pineapple Thief and Portishead all of which had some influence on me this year.

What I settled on was this old Harry Nilsson song from his 1972 album Son of Schmilsson.

This hauntingly beautiful song became my favorite last Christmas and again this year.

And although it’s kind of slow and syrupy, it just seemed to fit what our year was like.

If you followed the link I posted on Facebook last week, I’m sorry to make you listen to it again.

Personally, I could listen to it over and over, and I did for the past two weeks.

But while I was editing the video, most of the images from 2012 just didn’t work with this music. So this represents a small part of what would have been the best images of the year.

Not a good way to try to break my record of 2011, but I’m going to let Harry carry it.

So, it’s the last day of the year and this piece is all of 5 minutes. Same length as last year.

If you’ve gotten this far, then you probably have 5 more minutes.

Why “Walkin the Dawg?” It’s a song by Rufus Thomas and released on his 1963 album of the same name. It’s been covered by a ton of people including The Stones, The Grateful Dead and Green Day but my favorite cover is by Aerosmith.

Oh, and Wendy, at the end.

Occupy print journalism

Twenty five million, two hundred twenty eight thousand, eight hundred … seconds.

That’s four hundred twenty thousand, four hundred eighty minutes.

Or, seven thousand eight hours.

Two hundred ninety two days.

Exactly 9 months and 17 days since the Los Angeles Daily News decided that they could no longer afford to keep me employed there.

That’s longer than the average gestation period of a human being in the 21st century (280 days) and it’s the longest vacation I’ve ever had.

In those 292 days my income, obviously, plummeted, my savings account strained, my health insurance went away and my car turned over 200,000 miles.

We also buried Joey, one of our three kitties, in our back yard. Continue reading

Thought I’d something more to say

A few years ago – well, four years ago – I wrote in this blog a piece about the ever-accelerating passing of time. You could read that here if you were so inclined.

The title of that post, “Where’s the Time Go?” was a direct quote overheard from a geezer named Glenn in a cafe. Glenn was lamenting the fact that he was old and unkempt and suffering from unceasing acid reflux.

Since that Christmas Eve morning that phrase, “Where’s the Time Go?” has been one of the many mantras Linda and I restate, nearly daily as we watch the sun race across the sky like a meteor and dive beneath the western hills, only to instantaneously pop up back behind us in the east.

I revisit that idea now just as a way to make sense of the whole year-in-review vid above.

It’s kind of peculiar, in nearly 30 years in the newspaper business this is the first year I wasn’t involved that end-of-year salute that newspapers always do.

So, after being inspired and prompted by my pal Mat Luschek, who told me he has been doing a YIR slideshow for several years now, I decided to do my own.

Then …

Just tonight I stood in the mirror and observed that I was wearing a dark blue t-shirt with “Press-Telegram SWIM TEAM 2004″ emblazoned across the front in swimming-pool-aqua-colored type.

Two thousand four.

George W. Bush was still in his first term and was even reelected. The Abu Ghraib story broke. An enormous tsunami killed more than 200,000 people in Asia. Ray Charles died.

Tonight, I’m wearing an eight-year-old t-shirt.

I probably have six drawers that can barely contain the superabundance of t-shirts I own, some of which are significantly older than eight years.

Where does the time go?

Thorazine, Tequila and Dancing in the Streets

Only once.

Only one time in my entire life – and I’ve been around for a quite a few years – has someone made mention that I wasn’t a half-bad dancer.

This happened in the mid-1980s at an office Christmas party for the Oxnard Press-Courier which was held at the Casa Sirena at Channel Islands Harbor.

Not only was I not half-bad that night, the exact words uttered by the 20-something circulation clerk were, “You’re the best dancer here tonight.”

I remember those exact words decades later because I happen to know that I’m a really dreadful dancer. The scant few times that I have been hoodwinked onto a dance floor with treacherous comments like, “You love music right? You play music right? So, you HAVE rhythm, right?” led to some of the most mortifying moments I can remember, and I remember them all.

Once, at a now-long-gone club called “Garfield’s” in Ventura, I was literally jeered off the dance floor by the three girls I came in with as I attempted to emulate that 80s kick-thing.

Picture Paul Giamatti impersonating Elaine from Seinfeld. Disturbing, I know. Continue reading

Funeral for a friend

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He was ornery, cantankerous, whiney and a bit grouchy.

He was confident, independent, determined and self-reliant.

He had no use for chasing butterflies, no interest in birds or squirrels and he would rather lay on his back in the shade than stalk a mouse or a lizard.

Joey, the big, fat, black kitty cat that ran things around Rancho de los Gatos for more than a decade and who was his guardian mother Linda’s best friend for the past 13 years, slipped the surly bonds of Earth on Thursday morning after a long illness.

He was 91 kitty years old.

Continue reading