Home, and the Holidays.

Sunday, December 24th, 1995

It was the day before Christmas, and all through the home, people were wandering, though not one from Nome. My thanks to my sister for correcting the meter in that last phrase.

Hello from a cold but thankfully snow-free Atlanta, where we are enjoying a Sunday before a holiday that, in some ways, has seemed to have taken its sweet time in arriving. Sammy’s parents are here, as usual taking a stopover en route to extreme south Texas, where they park their small RV amidst others with more accoutrements who have also fled the snow and slush. While here, they’re the kind of company one would like, especially from in-laws, helpful, polite, and generally no trouble at all, although I occasionally see in them the origins of one of Sammy’s more..um..interesting characteristics: the dead-certainty that one has the only true and correct solution to a problem, and for some other one to propose an alternative is not only foolish, but deserving of contempt. This is not a major character flaw (in most cases) though, so we’re having a good time. Also here, from Boston, is Sammy’s childhood friend Kelley, who is an accomplished designer and photographer who has spent every waking minute the past couple of years pushing through the renovation of an old elevator factory in Cambridge. Now finished and beautiful, Kelley’s home is a wonder of space and a convenient oasis in the urban hustle and bustle.

We’re also pleased to have my sister and her husband in town, although they’re staying with friends of Leslie’s from her stay in Atlanta. These folks have a lot in common, including, apparently, a large and high-maintenance dog that almost kind of sort of go with Leslie and Gene’s three cats in their small Columbus, Ohio home. Also down from Columbus is my father, staying at the moment at my brother’s house (hey, he was staying here over Thanksgiving.)

So we’re all here, together, give or take a zip code or two, and we’re enjoying a variety of offbeat holiday gathering that is certainly not Norman Rockwell, but not quite Tim Burton, either.

If it seems that my words are written with a bit more zip than before, it’s because my computational ship has come in. I did some work in September for the fine folks at DayStar Digital, a company that makes MacOS computers in (of all places), Flowery Branch, Georgia. For my efforts, I am now enjoying the work of their labors–a brand, shiny new Genesis MP. Man, oh man…four fast 604 PowerPC chips, gobs of RAM, and multiprocessing that makes two of my most-used programs–Adobe After Effects and Adobe Photoshop–fly like, oh, er, what cliche can I use here? Like really fast, useful programs that seem like an extension of my thought processes. How’s that?

I’m proud to have a machine put together by these folks. I wholeheartedly recommend and enjoy their products. I’m glad they’re on the Mac side.

And I mentioned After Effects, above. This program represents yet another key to my being able to do complete, full-resolution, broadcast quality television from my Mac..er..DayStar. This program is remarkably well done. I remember looking at version 1.0 a couple of years ago and thinking (and saying, to all who would listen) that if they made a couple of improvements and the speed of machines continued to increase, we’d have a tool here that would really open all kinds of creative doors. Well, it has. I’ll tell you more and show you some examples soon…watch this space.

A quick holiday gift of some links before I go. Take a look at yet another way to search for stuff on the web. This one’s called Excite–and although it seems to have some connection to that lurking bloated giant Microsoft, the search engine is fast and efficient and it also lets you search the past two weeks worth of newsgroups in addition to webspace. Very cool. Another search engine that sits atop my big pile of bookmarks: Open Text. Some folks have developed TV listings available for the major cable and broadcast networks on the net. The Starwave Memory Bank appears to be some sort of large collection of celebrity biographies and collections of their works, a fine companion to the indispensable Internet Movie Server at Mississippi and in the UK. Fess Parker. Dead or alive? Ask the Dead page. And thrill to a great collection of all those zip code, area code, and address lookups, courtesy of the aforementioned lurking bloated giant Microsoft network. There’s more, a lot more no doubt, but we have some holiday cheer to get through, dispense, accumulate, and dispose of. You have a good one or two holidays, too.