Nostalgic.

I’ve been watching a mid-1970s Saturday morning show called “The Secrets of Isis”. I’ve been a fan of the show since it’s first run when I was in elementary school. Paired up with “Shazam!” as the latter half of an hour long presentation, I must admit I was always more interested in Joanna Cameron’s “Isis” than I was for Jackson Bostwick’s, and later John Davey’s “Captain Marvel”. I never had a thing for Billy Batson or Jackson’s portrayal of the superhero, but as a bumbling young gay I thought John Davey was kind of cute in a math teacher sort of way.

I really enjoyed Joanna Cameron in the role of teacher Andrea Thomas who could turn into Isis. To this day I find her speaking voice spellbinding and her kind-hearted ways in the show always made me feel comfortable. As both Andrea and Isis she would occasionally break the fourth wall and wink at the viewer, knowing we were in on her secret as everyone on the screen couldn’t recognize that this chemistry teacher was a superhero.

It’s amazing to see how many familiar faces guest starred on the program, and the “teenagers” always seemed like they were finishing college instead of navigating high school.

In one episode, Miss Thomas takes the science fair winners to explore a ghost town, where the bad guys are hiding stolen goods. They are kidnapped.

While they’re getting moved around by the bad guys, Andrea loses her magic amulet and is unable to turn into Isis. What to do? She gets the students to run distraction and then she runs in the other direction, looking for her amulet, which was lost when she fell down some stairs.

To not upset the young viewing audience, she finds it less than 10 minutes later in the episode.

Finally, she is able to turn into Isis and save the day!

But the young man, who earlier in the episode, beat himself up for coming in second place with his amateur radio presentation saves the day by reaching the police while Isis catches the bad guys.

Rick and Cindy Lee hear the calls on the radio and able to pick Andrea and the students up in the ghost town. Isis is still running around when Rick and Cindy Lee arrive and mentions something about keeping gas in the car.

After Isis leaves and the cops and bad guys are gone, Andrea nonchalantly appears and joins the others. Rick is confused and asks what happens. The students fill him in and then Andrea says the exact same line as Isis, mentioning Rick should keep gas in his car. Rick is stunned but doesn’t figure out that Andrea and Isis are the same person.

But the viewers know and in typical fashion, Joanna Cameron breaks the fourth wall and winks to the audience, bringing us in with a smile as we eat our way through a box of Lucky Charms on a sunny Saturday morning in 1976.

Back in 1976 I may have made headbands with the Isis amulet to wear while “flying” around the front lawn. But I don’t have them 45 years later.

And I didn’t lose them when I fell down the stairs.

The Honeymooners.

I didn’t really watch “The Honeymooners” until the mid 1980s. Back in the day it was shown in reruns on WPIX from New York at 11:30 PM, followed by the original “Star Trek”. After working second shift at a job, my boyfriend at the time and I would watch “The Honeymooners” and “Star Trek” before calling it a night. At the time, only the original 39 episodes were available; it would be a couple of years before Jackie Gleason found “The Lost Episodes” from kinescopes, it would be a little while after that where we could see the original sketches from Jackie Gleason’s Cavalcade of Stars.

While watching the original 39 episodes in perpetual rotation on WPIX, and having done so enough times to start knowing which episode was next and being able to recite lines, I mentioned to my boyfriend that Audrey Meadows wasn’t the original Alice. I don’t know how I knew this at the time; perhaps I had read it in a book or something. When asked who played the original Alice I barked out “Pert Kelton”. I didn’t really know who she was, I just knew the name and I knew she’d long been deceased at the time. You can’t help but bark her name when it’s nearly midnight, “Pert Kelton” just has a barky sound to it.

My boyfriend thought I was nuts (he never really got me anyway) and often scoffed off the useless knowledge in my head. A few months later from this revelation I went to the library and found a book that did indeed show Pert Kelton as the original Alice in “The Honeymooners” sketches on Jackie’s variety show. She was out because of the blacklisting during the McCarthy era. Audrey Meadows had her photo taken after just getting out of bed, all a mess in a frumpy dress, and Jackie gave Audrey the part.

I’ve seen a few clips of Pert playing Alice in various places on Youtube. Many of the comments talk about the bad actress playing Alice and how she’s too old and has such a nasally voice. In reality, Jackie thought Audrey Meadows was too young for the part, but she made herself look older.

From time to time I’ll watch interviews from the classier actors and actresses from a bygone era on Youtube, usually courtesy of the Foundation Interviews at the Emmy TV Legends website. An interview with Jayne Meadows talking about her sister Audrey and the role of Alice Kramden came up on my suggestion feed today, and Jayne tells how Audrey got the part of Alice and the comparison to Pert.

Imagine how much information I’d have rattling around in my head today if I had access to the Internet in the mid 1980s!

Write.

Since the first of the year I’ve been trying to take my work notes on my iPad Pro using an Apple Pencil. I’ve tried a couple of different apps designed for this, the stock Notes app, GoodNotes, OneNote, Notability and a couple of others. While they provided a good to very good note taking experience, I’ve never been satisfied with the result. Writing with an Apple Pencil is not as much like writing on paper with a great pen as it’s touted to be. And worse yet, organizing your notes and being able to find things a day or two later can be a bit of a challenge, especially if you’re not completely inside the Apple eco-system.

Prior to this iPad experiment I was using good, old-fashioned pen and paper. I have stacks of notebooks with all my work notes from over the years and the indexing system was by date and in my head. As I get older I find things are falling out of my head faster than they used to.

Enter Rocketbook.

I’ve talked about Rocketbook before. My husband and I discovered their product line a couple of years ago when they were on “Shark Tank”. Dressed in orange space suits, the co-founders of the company presented their plea for money from the sharks for a notebook that could be reused, simply by microwaving the notebook when it was full. Ink would magically disappear and you could use the notebook over again. The only caveat was you had to use a pen from the Pilot FriXion line. These pens use erasable ink.

The Rocketbook Wave was kind of nifty and I used it for a couple of cycles until I realized the pens made an impression in the paper, and even though the ink had disappeared, the impressions were everlasting. After two cycles through the notebook writing on a page was a bumpy experience.

Rocketbook now has the Rocketbook Everlast. This is a notebook that is erasable, but this time with a drop or two of water and a microfiber cloth. It’s like a notebook of mini-erase boards, but the cool thing is, using the FriXion pens, which now come in felt-tip marker-like instruments, there’s no impression. And, better yet, the ink sticks to the page after a couple of seconds and doesn’t smudge or wipe off like dry-erase markers. However, a couple of drops of water and that microfiber cloth and you can wipe the page clean and use it over again.

I’ve fallen in love with this approach.

The Rocketbook app lets you scan the pages and send them off to pre-determined destinations by marking icons at the bottom of each page. I have destinations in the company OneNote for team member notes, project notes, staff meeting notes, etc. And because it’s easy to sort and catalog notes, I can find things easily.

I’m really pleased with this system. They just started a Kickstarter campaign for a new product that involves templates and magnets holding pages in place and the like and I’m supporting their project.

I’m feeling more organized with this approach than I did with the Apple Pencil-iPad Pro system. I know it feels a little counterintuitive from my “technology is the answer for everything” mindset, but I’m really like writing my thoughts down, in my own handwriting, on a piece of paper, and filing it where I want it to be. There’s something memory-invoking about writing versus typing.

I’m feeling much more productive. And that’s always a good thing.

Early.

Sunrise over Lake Michigan. From Wikipedia Commons.

Every self-help book promising to make you a billionaire in five days says the same thing: you must get up before sunrise to be successful. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple does it. Mel Robbins, life coach and motivational speaker, up before sunrise. Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter and Square, not only gets up at the crack of dawn but then he bathes in ice cubes and walks four miles or so to work.

I am not wired this way.

I want to be successful. I want to be healthy. I want to be thin. I want people to like me. I want to be one of the cool kids. But apparently I’m destined to be a failure, fat, and unlikeable because I am really miserable when I get up in the wee hours of the morning. I try to smile. I try to focus. But my body will scream “WHY?” and my brain will constantly say the same thing, “you know you need more sleep. Remember how comfortable we were in bed?”

It’s mid February. The idiocy of Daylight Saving Time is just around the corner. Beyond this statement of it’s on my mind, I’m just going to say that I’m not looking forward to that experience.

When I get up at 6:00 a.m. I don’t want to watch videos of people working out and then try to do the same thing along with them. I don’t like working out, I don’t like lifting weights, and I’m bored out of my mind if I ‘jazzercise’ or whatever the latest fad calls for me to do. I like riding my bike, but we live in Chicago and as previously mentioned, it’s February. I’m not hipster enough to be riding my bike in this weather.

I’m ready for a nap.

Attentive.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve noticed the television has captured Truman’s attention while he is resting on the couch. He particular likes watching golf; his eyes widen and dart around as the ball moves around.

Apparently he also enjoys watching an XFL game with his Papa and Daddy Bears.

It Just Works?

I realize that the evolution is technology is making it more difficult to manage all the things we have going on with our devices. However, when you’re writing your own software exclusively for your own hardware, and charging a premium to be part of that experience, this should not be possible. This is not an example of “It Just Works”.

This screenshot is from the latest version of iPad Pro running the latest version of iPadOS. If user interaction elements just disappeared like this on applications built and maintained by my team at work I’d be calling meetings and having frank discussions with quality control.

There’s a reason I am reevaluating who I invest my money with to maintain my realm of technology.

Nostalgia.

I know I’m showing my age here, but I’ve been in a nostalgic mood as of late. Yesterday I asked Spotify to play a “great tune for Valentine’s Day” and it surprisingly came up with “We’re All Alone” by Rita Coolidge.

I was instantly transported to the back seat of my father’s 1971 Heavy Chevy, listening to 62 WHEN, riding with the rest of the family up Interstate 81 between Syracuse and Watertown, New York. Mom in the front seat, me sitting behind her, my sister to my left behind Dad as he drove us home from my grandparents’ home in the city to our mobile home next to my grandparents’ farm in the country.

Listening to Rita sing this track through headphones was an amazing journey. I was struck that I immensely miss the sound of music delivered through analog means and the experience of listening to an entire album, instead of random songs selected by algorithm.

I tried not to think about what a cover version of this track on “American Idol” or “The Voice” would sound like; any youngster (there’s my age kicking in) singing this song today would over-emote, engage in very unnecessary ‘melodic’ acrobatics, have pains of overwrought emotion and bad singing on their face, and make shrieking noises while an engineer backstage undoubtedly applied AutoTune1 to make it sound ‘perfect’.

Rita’s version is nearly perfect as it was recorded in 1975.

The complexities of the control required to sing this song properly are evident in later performances of this song by Rita; as she got older her voice lost some of its’ shine as age is wont to do. I stopped her Farm Aid performance of this song in 1986 about a third of the way in; I didn’t want to put tarnish on the memory of her sheer brilliance of the original performance. Watching this video from sometime in the 1970s (which sounds like it was a lip sync to the original track), I can’t help but admire the sheer beauty of Ms. Coolidge and of the song itself. Rita always presented herself as a very classy lady in her performances at this point in her career, and I found her to be a beautiful woman.

From 1975, here’s “We’re All Alone”, by Rita Coolidge.

1I stand by my opinion that AutoTune is absolutely the worst technological advancement of the late 20th century, and one of the worst crutches known to musical performances.

Star Trek Future.

Cross-posted from Facebook.

Photo from syfy.

So I’ve been a Trekker since The Original Series. When I make my fan movie (which will live in the Voyager era) I’m using the theme from “Star Trek: The Animated Series”. In 1988 I sent storyboards to Paramount describing how the transporter should look in “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier”. (Voyager ended up with a very close representation of what I suggested but I doubt I had anything to do with it). I love the theme of hope, the better future, and the moving beyond many human failings that were depicted in all incarnations of Star Trek through “Enterprise”. 

We’ve been watching “Star Trek: Picard”. We subscribed to CBS: All Access just to watch. I wanted to love it. I was excited about Picard, Seven, and all that is Star Trek in the 24th century coming back to television. But while some of it feels familiar, I’m struggling with the swearing, the constant strife, and the use of very 21st century language. Name one place where Kirk said “groovy” or Deanna Troi said “rad” or “gnarly”. 

Why so much darkness? And don’t get me started on the vaping.

Prior to the 2010s, Star Trek has represented what we should be moving to: humanity getting better, evolving into a more caring species with a thirst for knowledge, exploration, and the betterment of the universe. Poverty, homelessness, the need for money: humans had moved beyond that. The “pew pew” was always a last resort. There were bad guys, there always will be, but Star Trek was classy and polished. I was hoping “Star Trek: Picard” would bring that back. 

I’m starting to doubt it will do that. You can put a fancy label on a cheap wine but sometimes that wine really does belong in a box.

I’ll finish this season but I hope it takes a turn for a brighter future soon.

Impressed.

I’m always amazed at what Google Photos can do to a photo with a little stylizing. The colors are amazing!

Cold.

I believe tonight is the first time during this winter season that it’ll get below zero Fahrenheit. I was hoping we’d get through the season without temperatures dipping that low but Mother Nature seems to always accomplish her plans despite the increasing amount of interference from the humans running around on her planet.

I’m taking the expected cold temperatures tomorrow morning as a signal that I should workout inside and focus on my strength training with my resistance bands instead of going outside and burning of cardio through a lively walk. I’m not in the habit of trying to freeze my face off just for the heck of it, even if it means the chance of a lower number on the bathroom scale.

I’m sure the workout tomorrow morning will be quite dandy. And cozy warm.