Sunday, April 20, 2014

Spoilers and Triggers

I just saw this article come up on Twitter in Den of Geek.

A friend and I were discussing the possible future of a GoT character in normal, inside voices.  Since we'd both read the books, we were talking a season or two from now (I love the show as well).  A man from across the room (a decent, non-audible distance) interrupted our conversation to tell us we were rude because Spoilers.

He left his OWN space to interrupt us in OUR space.

I respect story lines from authors and would also protect their audiences from Spoilers, but if I'm in a private conversation, that's over the line.  Sometimes the sensitivity to Spoilers is extreme, and sometimes the power of waiting for a story to unfold is disrespected.  Generally I will tread carefully around Spoilers, just because I don't want to be a dick.


I would argue that Triggers are just as important.  Many Survivors got bashed in the head and heart and nervous system during last season's Downton Abbey, in part because the producers wanted the audience to get the full effect of the shocker, so there was a warning of "violence", but no Trigger warnings, which would only have been basic human decency concerning that plot turn.

This is one of those nebulous areas where only natural human decency is going to save us.  There is no other code. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Robbie Verbosity E1. Warning: Vertical Video

Dag nab it.

I went and did it.  I thought the iPad was more forgiving but no, a vertical video is still a vertical video.

It's my first in the Verbosity series.  I'll re-cut it someday.

Don't Kick the Grasshopper

"I wish I had a fun job,"

We hear that a lot from people who are not content, at the moment, with their lives.  They wonder if they should have taken a different direction.  They have regrets. They think they should have done something fun and easy.  Like radio.

It's an ancient idea that those who create art for a living are swinging in the lazy hammocks of leisure, that we're just people who didn't want to work for a living.  The grasshopper in the fable was punished for the sin of playing his violin all summer (and probably getting really good by that point) by starving in the winter.

Working for food does give people something to live by, but working to create music, or any art, gives people something to live for.

I was invited to a political luncheon a few years ago; I was seated at one of those round, 50-seater tables next to a prominent business man who had done outstanding charity work over decades.  I was pleased to meet him and hear of his work.  He was fascinated by radio and spilled questions through lunch.  Finally I could sense he was winding up for the Big One.  He leaned in.

"Tell me the truth," he said, "With an easy job like that, where you don't need any skill, what are those people like?  Do they just drift around all day and not really care about anything?"

Your average disc jockey is a master storyteller. Although storytelling does come naturally to the human animal, great storytelling does not.  Great storytelling can only come from the obsessive pursuit of the skill. This skill tends to be invisible because everyone imagines himself to be a master of it; it's a common delusion among people who are not master storytellers, since they can't even hear the finer points of what we do.  Most people in audiences nurture a secret belief that they too could sing the song as well as the artist, could be as funny as the comic, could tell a story as well as some chick on the radio.

When these people moan at me that they wish they had a "fun job", I save them with one question:

"Would you be willing to be poor to do what I do?"

The response is always shocked amusement.  "Are you kidding?  Of course not!"

"Well, then," I say, "That career in business really was the right choice,"

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Failed Silencers

This break is based on a true story.

What I didn't add, because it would have weighed down the break, was the fact that the guy interrupted a private conversation to tell me not to talk about something that he didn't want to know about, which seems to me to be a bit invasive.

I've been told to shut up in public a lot.

One day at a Chili's I said "Fuck" in a conversation at a table with friends.  A man several tables away stalked over to our table to rage at me about his children possibly hearing that kind of language.  I replied that I'd try to keep my Turrets in check for him.  He turned purple but he went away.

Another day I was having lunch with a friend when an elderly man came to our table to thank me "Very much for sharing the conversation with the whole room," but would I mind speaking more softly.  I wanted to keep things nice for my friend, so I capitulated.  My voice DOES carry.  I studied opera and did lots of live theater as a kid.  I sang Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance when I was seventeen.  As an asthmatic my ability to project was hard-won, but it's also an occupational hazard.  In retrospect I should have told him that the sarcasm was unnecessary.

Just last week I was at the UPS store, fighting with a copy machine.  This time I was very sotto voce, but the man behind me was also hearing a nonstop dialogue from his seven year old daughter, who had to proclaim the cuteness of every card on the rack.  She was trying to connect with him but he, having a male brain with half the language wiring of hers, was suffering from frayed nerves.  I said to the copy machine, nearly under my breath and for the third time, "Oh!  Nonononono!"

He wheeled on me and spat, "You know, talking to the machine is not going to help!"

I got all smooth on him.

"Dude," I purred, "In case you haven't noticed by this point in your day," I nodded in the direction of his daughter, "Women are going to talk whether it helps or not,"

He lowered his head in what resembled defeat but what might have been a cringe against his own urge to strangle me, and left me alone after that.

For me, being a public target of so much male frustration is hilarious.

They sure listen to me when I'm on the radio.


I was voicing a spot this morning and realized why a certain recurring character has become so tedious to me every time she appears in a script, which is about twice a week.

She is a radio trope.

This female character is a product encyclopedia and she's just a tiny bit cunty about it. This character is a narrative device to get the information into the spot, and she usually does so with a cheeky put-down to the male in the scenario who's only crime is that he doesn't know what products the client carries or their address and hours of operation.

This morning I named her Vaginapedia.

Men loved that, but the women I consulted were a bit repulsed, as I was (I am frequently repulsed by my own ideas, which doesn't make them less funny to me).  My friend Joni suggested we shorten it to Vagipedia, which is much easier to swallow (sorry).

So I did the intellectual property check.  Funny Or Die seems to have attempted to Bogart every possible use of the term.

But they haven't used it as a character trope.  So I get to.

Hi!  I'm Vagipedia!  In the first two lines of this commercial you'll hear me posing questions that I will magically have the answers to, just a few seconds later.  ALL the answers!  The address, the phone number and everything that's GRRREAT about this client! And if I can get the male character to feel like an idiot in the process, so much the better! 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Classic Rock Breaks from 4-7-14

What I tried to do in the first break was ease my way into the morning with a death announcement.  I think Mickey Rooney had a great run and I think the ending of a life is cause to celebrate that life.  The audio was meant to create a theme and atmosphere, so all I had to do was keep the announcement short.

In the second I was melding two current topicalities and hopefully for a bit of comic effect.  The punch line was a recognition of how crazy that line of thinking is, and to emphasize the flawsome.   I felt very comfortable sharing my fangirl, since GoT did shut down HBO GO last night.