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Avia S-199 in Israeli Air Force Service

Archive for October 2005

Unusually high rankings

Saul noticed that a Google search for his film company turned up an old reference to the then unresolved issue of the use of my Lou Lenart bio. Since that resolved comfortably, I went back and edited the post. Although I don’t like editing posted content, what Google was picking up was not fair.

(Watch closely as I cleverly segue….)

I’ve been covering the Net for a dozen years, but I don’t understand how my 101 blog ranks so highly on some fairly ordinary searches. Saul and the company don’t have much of a Net presence, so my site’s prominence in a search for their names isn’t surprising.

I can’t understand some other results. I only get a dozen or two hits per day, and only four or five other sites out there link to me. There’s no reason 101 should be Google’s second highest ranking for “narcotic nose itch”, or third for “mice and tendonitis”, or seventh for “things to do tomorrow”.

That’s just strange.

Back to script work

Alex wants me to write a three-page synopsis of one of his feature screenplays for submission to a Canadian writing prize. While I appreciate the confidence he must have in me, it’s a daunting responsibility.

Alex was also surprised to learn recently just how little TV I watch.

The only shows I make a point to watch are “House”, “Arrested Development”, “My Name Is Earl”, “Corner Gas”, and “The Simpsons”. When the sequel to “The Tournament” comes out, I’ll certainly watch that, too. The first miniseries was hilarious, and was filmed in part at the arena I play at.

Shows I’ll watch if they’re on while I flick through channels: “Family Guy”, “Scrubs”, “King of the Hill”, “Trailer Park Boys”, and “Myth Busters”. I used to watch a “Law and Order” every lunch hour on Bravo, all repeats.

I’ll also watch anything with tanks or airplanes or guns in it. My presets include the Military Channel, the History Channel, etc.

I’ve watched a few “Dead Like Me” recently, but mostly because the lead is so odd looking.

Hockey, baseball, and NFL will also park my bottom on the couch, but not with any regularity.

You know those analyses that find that the Net has cut into TV watching? I’m Exhibit A. Well, the Net and three kids and four jobs….

Nearmiss and I have submitted our final draft. A surprisingly high number of the other pairs either broke up or otherwise failed to turn in a script.

Schedule off schedule

Nothing like a power outage to bring life as we know it to a grinding, frustrating halt.

Looks like tomorrow is a make-up day.

Busy, busy, busy

My week is packed, primarily because Netsurfer Digest creaked back to life, which entirely befits this spookalicious season (I never feel quite right calling Halloween a “holiday”).

I had three sets of assignments to correct for my classes. For the students past and present who visit this blog (shout-out to L… – nope, not going to, haha), here’s some insight into a teacher’s brain. When I first started teaching JOUR 202, the product of the LexisNexis assignment was a news article the students had to write. At some point, that changed to the current long list of short answer questions. That’s not entirely laziness on the part of Leo, Matt (before he imploded), and me. The short answers are much easier to grade, but because of that, they most directly test the research skills – without all that fiddly writing obscuring the matter. But most importantly, it’s easier and faster to correct.

Monday afternoon, I spent alternately trying to move 101squadron.com to a new server and working on Child One’s high school applications. I’m sure I did more, but I have no record of it. Oh, wait – Netsurfer. Sunday night, my publisher sent me a batch of Breaking Surf to whip in to shape for the issue that had been waiting for that since the first week of the month. I spent the day after class editing that. Good thing I had decided at the very last possible moment to get the Halloween issue in gear, or I’d be feeling pretty crappy about now. The Halloween issue should go out Saturday, maybe Sunday.

Tuesday was an Alex day. I tried to find people to talk to about the pilot/series. Anyone out there know people in the fashion biz who wouldn’t mind spending less than a half-hour on a phone interview? I also corrected the JOUR 202 tests and assignments, took Child Three to hockey, and played hockey myself at night.

Yesterday was another teaching morning. I spent the afternoon on my final draft and polish of the short-film script I’m doing with Nearmiss. It’s only OK. It tells the story, but I’m not entirely happy with the secondary characters. I wish I’d had more time for that.

In between, I did crap work for Alex. I found places for him to order blueberry bushes (not as easy as it sounds), tried to find out where he should report his neighbour’s mess o’ beef leavings, and pursued the true earnings per click of an online film site.

Today, I’ve wasted 20 minutes blogging. The rest of the day is Alex’s. Tomorrow is more Netsurfer. Saturday, my kids are throwing a Halloween party. Sunday will be spent correcting JOUR 319 biographies.

By Saturday night, I’ll be a hollow shell, ready to be filled. So, little journalists-in-training, what day and when is your Halloween party? I have a great hobbit costume….

Willmaaaa!

As in hurricane.

My father’s note, sent Monday morning:

I woke up around 6 this morning and was a little surprised to hear the wind blowing out there at that force and so early. It was forecast to pass north of us around 2 PM today. I haven’t yet checked all the sources, but since it is huffing and puffing from the south, I’m guessing it got larger in area and probably upgraded to a Cat 3. As it tracks north of us, the winds will shift to the west and start diminishing.

In any case, it was a VERY good decision yesterday morning to fly the plane down to Nassau for tie down. An additional distance of 125 miles from the storm is a wonderful idea and more importantly, Nassau airport is not subject to surges or flooding. It was in fact a beautiful day for flying yesterday.

The patio is clear, loose jalousie windows supported by either 2 x 4′s or 4 x 4′s, and I think I’ll go have coffee and take some pictures. It very comfortable with the air conditioning; it is quite hot and humid. We will experience a severe cold front right behind the hurricane, dropping temperatures and bringing extremely dry air. It will be beautiful again!

More later when and if able. No desire yet to go back to shovelling snow!

This morning, he phoned me, and I sent out this e-mail for him:

Hurricane Wilma passed through Freeport overnight, and my father left a message for me to pass on.

Predictions had called for 50 mph winds, but the winds hit at hurricane strength.

Don and Marion are fine, but their roof is not. They lost the roof over their bedroom, but the house’s windows all remain intact. Don’s car, on the other hand, lost its windshield.

They have no power at the moment. Yesterday was 88 degrees, but the overnight low was only 58. (Tonight, the expected low is 48. – L) Fortunately, it’s dry so Don and Marion don’t have to worry about being rained on.

All in all, my father sounds cheery.

I wonder if the snow is any more attractive today.

Opportunity knocks

Last night, a Hollywood type contacted me about hiring me to do some research for a documentary. He wasn’t explicit, but I assume he meant work on 101 Squadron. He wrote that Soly Haim had passed my name to him. I’m not sure if this is Soly’s Lou Lenart project or not.

The man (who will remain nameless for now) has legitimate credits. He seems to be primarily an aerial photographer, but his credits extend from airline commercials to NASA projects to high-budget features. At least, those credits are on his CV. IMDb does match on one film, so I suppose there’s no need to be paranoid.

He asked me how much I would want in pay, and I wrote back that he would need to detail what he wanted. I couldn’t even gauge whether to charge by hour, per word, or as a flat fee. I’m not even sure if he would want me to travel to California for this.

More as this develops….

Urg, aahhhhh

I got hit with a migraine today, but not a bad one.

In addition to migraines, I also get severe tension headaches. Pain relievers work for both conditions, but the Imitrex nasal spray only works on the migraines. I tend to stick with the analgesics because of that – the Imitrex only works about half the time.

I don’t get auras. (I did once get one. It looked like a pink and powder-blue paisley pattern.) My migraines normally start off feeling just like a tension or caffeine headache. It’s only once the nausea and pounding kick in that I can diagnose a migraine.

My self-treatment usually starts with upwards of 500 mg of ibuprofen (I use a generic, but most people call this Advil). If that doesn’t help, I move on to the narcotics. I used to have a prescription to Percocet, but I had to take more and more to soothe the pain, so my doctor moved me to Dilaudid.

Percocet contains a powerful narcotic, oxycodone, that runs the risk of addiction, as Rush Limbaugh could tell you. To me, it’s just another pill. I’ve never felt the slightest inclination to take one except for pain relief. Then again, the pills don’t affect me the same way they do most people. One of my roommates also suffered from migraines, and took a Percocet. The pill made his arms numb. The Percocet only makes the inside of my nose itch, physically, and behaviourally, it loosens my tongue. I’m a quiet guy, but on Percocet, I jabber like a parrot. I rarely feel high on the pills – I need to take them on an empty stomach for that to happen.

The Percocet use got to the point where I’d take four or five, spread over two-pill allotments an hour apart, to get rid of a headache. One time last year, I was up to seven over two and half hours without relieving the pain. I went to a hospital ER, where they put me on an IV of something and helped me out.

Today, I started with 400 mg ibuprofen and a cup of coffee. An hour later, I took another 600 mg, and after that, one Percocet.

Now, three hours after the first pill, I can finally get back to correcting student work. I still have some head pain, but I’ll grind through it.

The best site on the Net

Last night at the shmoozefest, I found myself discussing what I thought is the best site on the Web.

I’ve gathered roughly 25 sites an issue for NSD, roughly 45 issues per year, for 11 years. That’s 12,375 sites. I only use the good stuff I find; my conservative estimate is that I’ve looked at 36,000 unique Web sites over the years.

Nothing but nothing beats comedy, in my opinion. So what beats all other sites on the Web?

Herb Zipper’s “How to Be a Cyber-Lovah”.

Shmoozefest

I attended a semi-regular meeting of working pros this evening, mostly writers with a few directors and probably some other specialists sprinkled around as well. I spent most of my time talking with only four other people, and met a kindred spirit with respect to the pinnacle of television that was the prematurely extinct “Futurama”. One director wanted to read my stuff, which I always appreciate.

The highlight of the evening, however, was a glimmer from the deep, dark past.

I was one of the first to arrive, and as I waited at the bar for two loonies to feed the meter, I noticed a woman paying for her glass of wine. She looked familiar, but I couldn’t place her.

I fed the meter and returned to find this woman sitting in our then little group of five. She said her name was Alana, and I told her I was sure I knew her from somewhere. I assumed she was Jewish, and I was right, and so I focused on that aspect but I could make no connection. She is six years younger than me, so school or camp wouldn’t link us.

Later in the evening, as I spoke with two other writers, my mind suddenly locked on to where I knew Alana from. When she came back to our corner, “Thunderdome, right?” I asked, “You used to go to Thunderdome?”

Thunderdome was a club in Montreal in the mid to late 1980s run by Pat, a man who would later become a close friend. It was the only place I ever went when I was in town then, always two and sometimes three nights a week. To call it a goth/alternative/dance club is to risk conjuring a cliche, but that’s the genre. The Cult, the Cure, Sisters of Mercy, New Order, Depeche Mode… all the stuff I still listen to, but I don’t have cages to dance in. People of a certain age still speak of that club in reverence.

Alana also spent a lot of time there. I was right. I doubt I ever said a word to her those 17 or so years ago, but I can recall a dress she used to wear with long sleeves and a short skirt. She sort of remembered it. I think I freaked her out a bit.

We spent the next quarter hour talking about cool clubs from that era. By the way, if anyone privy to our conversation remembers discussing the club on St. Hubert we couldn’t name, it was Alcatraz.

New site, new features

101squadron.com has migrated to a new server and with it, this blog. I hope the move goes without a hitch once the DNS change filters through the Net.

Edit (and second test): Things went kablooey, especially with respect to file permissions. So this is just a test of the update problems I’ve had.

Update: Nothing’s resolved. Blogger can’t update already established files, yet it can upload files that don’t already exist. Yet in the same account, I can go in and manually delete files. It doesn’t make sense.

I took the opportunity to modify some settings as well. Readers who don’t have Blogger accounts should now be able to comment. Would somebody please test this?

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