Sunday, May 28th, 1995

Hello from Atlanta, where we’ve had a series of wet, warm downpours that are indeed the mark of the month of May hereabouts. You can tell we’ve just had one because what appears to be a small tree is crammed up against the back tires of our pickup truck…that’s because our neighbors up the street (topographically) put out all these plant cuttings on the curb; a downpour occurs, the streets are awash with a torrent of water, and their stuff gets gullywashed down our way. Life in the hot and muggy city, I guess. I’ve missed a lot of these weather follies during a late-in-the-week trip to Albuquerque (where it was windy, cool, and quite enjoyable.) And now, on Memorial Day weekend, we’re enjoying yet some more rain. And debris.

If you check into this page often (and I’m not sure why you would–but thanks for doing so), you’ll find that I rant all too much about the weather, in part because that’s what everyone around here does. It’s part of the Positively Atlanta Georgia experience.

In honor of my friends Nancy and Deb, who have a quite unnatural attraction to Warren Zevon, I’ve picked up his new CD, ‘Mutineer,’ where he looms large on the cover looking like one of Jimmy Buffet’s more coke-addled shipmates. They were playing some Warren in Albuquerque on Coyote Radio (button number 2 on my Avis rental car, right past NPR.)

My brother’s added what might actually be some useful content to his web page. It’s something he calls Tricks of the Trade, and if you’re in our trade, it might be useful. Also, if you’re in our trade, you might welcome the opportunity to read me droning on in print about the convergence of print and video. As an experiment, I’ve uploaded some of my old speech-type things. Tedious when delivered aloud, they might just be palatable in this form, if a bit out of date.

Our neighborhood, more or less.

Tuesday, May 23rd, 1995

Hello from Atlanta, or more specifically, Virginia-Highland, the small intown neighborhood I’ve called home for the last dozen years or so. It’s a pleasant enough place with small shops and restaurants around the corner from our house, a lot of pedestrians, and brick homes built anywhere from 1920 to postwar. Sidewalks, trees, it’s nice.

And more than one person I know has pointed out that it’s not all that different from the neighborhood I grew up in…Grandview Heights, a suburb of Columbus, Ohio, which was much more a blue-collar place in the 1960s of my youth. I understand now it’s more like Virginia-Highland…fashionable, home to many sport-utility vehicle drivers, and you can’t swing a cat without hitting a coffee house. Strange how that goes. I’m wondering whether Grandview, which was pretty white-bread when I lived there, has become more diverse with time…because if not, than it does differ from Virginia-Highland, which has a comfortable mixture of people, races, cultures, orientations. It’s something I notice, with pleasure, after a long trip to places elsewhere. It’s one of the reasons I like living here.

That, and the trees that come crashing down at the first sign of trouble.

Loath as I am to offer too much praise to the folks at the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, they are fortifying their web site every time I check in. My favorite tidbit is a driving tour of Atlanta, lushly illustrated, written by Jim Auchmutey of their staff. A great web-taste of here. It’s nice as well that they go to the trouble to spell the name of our neighborhood right. (some folks like to call this ‘Virginia-Highlands’ with an ‘s’. Drives me nuts.) Click on the the AJC’s photo of our neighborhood (Copyright 1995, them), above, and you’ll go on the tour.

What else is new out here/there on that great Internetway? As a designer (and type fanatic), I’ve been enjoying an ‘Online Type Museum‘ that celebrates the many shapes that letters can be (and the slightly eccentric folk who make them that way.) Folks I know know I am a sucker for books about typography, and this is darn near–but not quite–as much fun as paging through a beautifully-printed fancy hardbound text.

And as a TV guy, I appreciate the usefulness of a site like this Digital Video Resource Page that gives you great jumping-off points to video manufacturers, facilities, and documents that list obscure technical specifications like CCIR601 and explain just how many pixels, and how square, your image can or should be. Component? Composite? It’s just a jargon treat for vidfolk like me.

There is no there here.

Wednesday, May 17th, 1995

Hello, from the other end of a fairly slow through-pipe to the Internet, which can, occasionally, be a good thing. There are other things in life beyond web-surfing, and the balance betwen digital and ‘real’ life is one that few handle well.

By now, a fairly large number of people have tuned in to this little experiment in stream-of-digital-consciousness, and most are confused by the process. I find myself having to explain that it’s really not important where a piece of information is–it’s only important that you can find your way to a connection and access it, from wherever ‘there’ is. To be honest, I have no idea precisely where the CRL computers that hold these words are–I suspect somewhere between San Jose and San Francisco. Is it important? Naah, not particularly.

And why do I call this Positively Atlanta Georgia without much of an informational connection to the city where I live? Well, sometimes life for me…a particular week here or there just intersects with this place only tangentially. Like when we get an evening of bad weather, thunderstorms, and high winds, and I’m reminded of the Sunday August afternoon in 1991 when a large oak tree bisected our house.

I’m not kidding.

If you’ve got a capable pipeline, click on the Atlanta picture, above, and you’ll be connected to a really large GIF of a photo of downtown Atlanta from space. (Thanks, Steve, for the tip on this.) You can see individual cars. Amazing. (Caution: it’s big.) We’ll look at Atlanta–at least the version I’m familiar with–in some detail in later installments of this thing. Check in every now and again, ok?

Don’t count on this.

Wednesday, May 10th, 1995

Man, oh man, people on the net are obsessed with counters, or, in other words, are obsessed with having some way of measuring who has seen their WWW page. Well, here at the CRL pages, as you may know, this isn’t a complete, full, and total implementation of all Web server features, so right now, server statistics are not directly available from the big CRL host somewhere. (California, right?) That’s why some folks have discovered this guy in Edmonton who has made it possible for us poor folk to say, hey…

You are visitor number so-and-so to this page since we started counting.

It’s a convenient way for WWW amateurs such as ourselves to do this…I hope that the brave little machine in Alberta can withstand the pounding of repeated accesses. Seems as if that’s very much the trend on the Internet. Something cool is established, a few people discover it, and then it staggers under a wave of users after the community at large catches the wave.

The birthday month ends.

Monday, May 1st, 1995

We’ve come to the end of April, and just had a nice evening of folks over for pizza and cake that my brother’s wife and daughter baked. This is marginally a celebration of my birthday, which was on the 11th, as well as those of Tom Burton and J.C. Salyer, who were also here to blow out some candles. I seem to know a batch of April birthdays, including my good friend (and Emmy Award winning editor) Mark West in LA, my wife’s father, the station manager of KCCI in Des Moines (also the 11th), and, uh, David Letterman. I mention all this to call your attention to the Web Birthday Page, which is a great cosmic gathering place for people with common birthdays.

I bought myself a High-8 video camera over the weekend from a mail order place that happens to have a net presence, as just one more source for the video images I blend together in the name of television. Will images from the camera show up on this server soon? Mmmm…could be. Will I annoy friends and family with this thing? Perhaps. But I really purchased it for those moments where the sunset looks just perfect…and should be captured for some kinda posterity. Now of course, I’ll never have it in hand when that happens.

Most of my friends in television will be crazy the next few weeks because it’s time for ‘the May book’, yet another round of ratings sweeps. Me, I intend to let as much of it drift by as possible.