Jennifer D. Wade Journal

Welcome to my online diary, enjoy your stay!

Blog posts July 2006

In the previous post, I expressed concern about the apparent direction of the upcoming "Miami Vice" movie.  Based on one clip, I thought it looked different, a deviation, if you will, from the original TV show.

Since then, I've read an article and seen a news story which basically reinforced that perception.  They also made the point that being different from the TV show IS the point.

I gather that writer/director Michael Mann, who was the executive producer of the TV show, is using the movie to fulfill his vision of what Miami Vice should be.  The movie promises to be darker and more dangerous than the original.  I guess I will have to put my prejudices aside and judge the movie as a unique entity, rather than as a continuation or as a remake.  Same name, different game.

Perhaps it's good that now I at least know basically what to expect.  I recall when "Batman Returns" (the one with Catwoman and the Penguin) first came out.  There were all kinds of promotional tie-ins, toys at McDonald's and other such stuff, that really made it seem as though this was a movie aimed at kids.  When I went to the theater, that's what I expected to see.  But, that's not what I saw.  Not by a long shot.  Once I saw what the film was really like, I could watch it again and truly appreciate it.

So, when I go see "Miami Vice," at least I'll know what I'm in for.

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The movie version of "Miami Vice" comes out on Friday.  Colin Farrell as James "Sonny" Crockett and Jamie Foxx as Rico Tubbs.  I haven't seen too many previews for this movie, but what I have seen doesn't impress me.  Maybe because it was a single clip, with no discernable context.  The clip showed Jamie Foxx's Tubbs piloting a private jet to the Dominican Republic or something so he and Crockett (using their undercover aliases, of course) could cut a deal with a drug lord.  So, the movie takes "Miami Vice" out of Miami.  Hmmmm.   

We shall see, I guess, if the 21st century movie can stand up to the TV show of the 80s.  That's a difficult task, I think, because the TV show is holding up pretty well. 

I've come across a cable channel called "Sleuth" (channel 308 on DirecTV), which includes the original "Miami Vice" in its line-up of TV crime dramas. ("Homicide: Life on the Street" is also on the schedule.)  I've managed to catch a few episodes lately, and they're good.  The cars are still cool, the music is still great, and Castillo is as mysterious and intense as ever.

Oh, sure, you can tell it's the 80's.  Shoulder pads, rather large cordless phones, primitive car phones, racial epithets, smoking in public places - it's all there.  And, poor Gina and Trudie.  If they weren't doing all the paperwork while the men were out on the streets, then they were "out on the streets" trying to catch themselves some johns.

But, all in all, the "look" still works.  As I said, we'll see how well it works on the big screen.   

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Pod People

Jen Wade is a pod person.  And, I mean that in the best possible way.

To clarify, I'm not talking about me.  I'm talking about "Another Jen Wade", who you can check out using the link to the left.  She lives in San Francisco.  What I know about her, I've learned through her journal entries and, now, through her podcasts.

This past spring, Jen stopped making actual entries to her online diary and began making podcasts.  She gets together with a few of her friends every week or two, and they chat about whatever in a very entertaining manner.  They also play cool music in between segments.  The friends include Shannon K (who also lives in San Francisco, but who, I think, maybe, grew up in Philly and went to Penn State) and Jen Fu.  They also check in by phone with the Wisconsin contingent, Wendy and Mo Pie.

Due to my lack of an iPod or some other kind of mp3 player, it's difficult for me to listen as often as I would like.  But, yesterday, I had some ironing to do.  And, Jen had a podcast that seemed to be the perfect length.  So, while I ironed, I listened to about 45 minutes of stories about neighbors and roommates.

All of which made me think about some of the neighbors I had, especially in my first apartment.  It was at the end of a court in Dunmore.  I had the top floor, and another woman lived on the bottom floor.  The landlord said she had been there for a long time, and was a good tenant.  And, she was.  But, then, she got married or something - anyway, she moved out - so I got new neighbors.

They were a young married couple.  I think the guy had a job, but the woman did not.  At any rate, I don't go out of my way to talk to my neighbors, so our acquaintance consisted mainly of a hello in passing.  Yet, despite this limited contact, when they learned they were about to become parents, I was one of the first people to know.  And, they didn't even have to tell me.  I found out through my clock radio.

What happened was this.  The couple downstairs must have had a cordless phone.  And, once in a while, I guess, the antenna from my clock radio would pick up the signal.  So, even if the radio wasn't on, I would occasionally hear a voice coming through the radio - a voice which I eventually determined was the wife from downstairs talking on the phone.  On one of these occasions, she either told someone she was pregnant, or said enough buzz words that I figured it out.  I could only hear one side of the conversation, so I had to listen carefully and fill in the blanks.

Sure enough, several months later, they had a baby - a girl, I think.  And, not too long after that, they moved out.  Then, some other people moved in.  Maybe someday I'll tell you how that change compelled me to commit the criminal act of breaking and entering.    

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Oops! I Did It Again

So, I'm driving along Birney Avenue yesterday, on my way to work, and I notice that, for no apparent reason, my left turn signal is on.  How did that happen?  When did that happen?

To recap:  Right turn signal on Wednesday.  Left turn signal on Thursday. 

Ahhh.  Symmetry.  It's a beautiful thing. 

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One of Them

Not quite 24 hours ago, I officially became one of "them."  Oh, you know who they are.  "They" are the people who drive for miles and miles in a straight line - all while a turn signal blinks merrily away.

I hang my head in shame, for I am now one of "them."

To be fair, I don't know how it happened.  I'm actually pretty much convinced that it was an accident and, therefore, I can't really be held accountable.  I mean, if I didn't know that I turned on the turn signal, how would I know that I needed to turn it off?

Anyway, here's how I suspect that it happened.  I was stopped at the light on River Street in W-B, just before the hospital.  I was about two or three cars back.  In the rearview mirror, I saw an ambulance coming up from behind.  When the light changed, I pulled off onto the curb to let the ambulance pass.  I either intentionally put on the right turn signal to let the driver behind me know what I was doing.  Or, I inadvertantly hit the signal as I maneuvered onto the curb.  I tend to believe the latter because I don't recall doing the former.  If I actually had turned the turn signal on on purpose, I would have managed to turn it off before approximately three miles had passed.  I'm SURE I would have.  Wouldn't I?

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In the news biz, we're pretty big on anniversaries, especially if there was tragedy involved.  Did something bad happen 1, 5, 10, 20 or 25 years ago?  We'll be sure to remind you.  Did it happen, say, 7 years ago?  No need to mention it now.  Just wait a few more years.

I bring it up because yesterday, July 17, marked 10 years since the crash of TWA Flight 800.  The plane exploded over Long Island, shortly after takeoff from JFK.  It was headed to Paris, carrying 230 people, including 21 from the Montoursville area. They were 16 students and five chaperones on a class trip to Paris.   Another passenger on the plane graduated from the same high school I did, a year ahead of me.  I didn't know him well, but I certainly knew of him - he played sports and his red hair made him hard to miss.  He and his wife were going to Paris to celebrate their 5-year wedding anniversary.

But, of course, it was Montoursville that got most of the attention.  When 21 people from a small community perish, it's not just a local story.  It's national news.  And, the national news came to Montoursville in droves with their satellite trucks and their unfamiliar reporters.  Apparently, they made quite an impression.  Our reporter who covered last night's memorial service said many people in Montoursville refused to talk to him on camera because they still resent they way they were treated by the national media.

As for me, the night Flight 800 crashed stands out, even 10 years later.  I can remember looking up at the TV monitors in the newsroom as the networks did special reports soon after the crash.  The vivid image of the wreckage burning in the night-darkened water off Long Island.  Another vivid image of this tragedy came later, as we told the stories of the students and chaperones from Montoursville.  We acquired home video, I think, of one of the students, a girl, competing in the high jump for the school's  track team.  I'm petty sure she cleared the bar.  I don't know how many times we showed those pictures - more than once, I'm sure - and I still remember it.

I recall it being late, maybe even after the 11PM news was over, when we learned that people from Montoursville were on the plane.  I think we got a tip call or two, then had to confirm the information.  Our sports guy helped out with that, and he may have been the one to get the confirmation we needed.

I remember sending our two nitebeat reporters and their photographers, who had already worked full shifts, to Montoursville, some 90-minutes away from the station.  At that hour of night, I didn't know what they would manage to gather for the morning newscasts, but we had to try.

Finally, I remember that we interrupted Nightline to go on with a special report with the information about Montoursville.   We didn't know a lot of specifics at that point, but we had to report what we knew.  It was the best we could do.

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Running Man

A classmate of mine from high school is running for a seat in Congress.  He lives in Kansas now, and is running as a Republican in a district that's been held by a Democrat for the past 8 years.  The current thinking seems to be that my friend will win the primary next month, but then lose to the incumbent in the general election.  I found one website that tracks fundraising, and the incumbent has about a $5 to $1 advantage over my friend.

I was trying to think of any "skeletons" that this classmate could have in his closet from our high school days.  I couldn't really come up with anything.  The guy took the upper-level academic courses, played in the band, and ran track.  The only thing that even came close to a scandal was when he dressed up as Boy George for a senior class skit and danced to "Church of the Poison Mind."  I Know.  That's it.  That's all I've got. Sorry.



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Conflicting Schedules

We're on day 4 of the latest visit from my parents' Scottie dog, the Evil Chrissy.  So far, things are going OK, except for one thing.  Chrissy is not on my schedule.  And, she's not on KT's schedule, either.

Because of my work schedule, it's usually around 1:30 or 2 a.m. until I get to bed.  My dog, KT, likes to get up about 7:30.  I guess that's a little late for Chrissy.  She starts to stir around 5:30.

One morning, I got up and put her out for a few minutes, then went back to bed until KT decided it was time for her to get up.  So, I put KT out and gave her breakfast, then I went back to bed.  Chrissy followed me up the stairs, and laid down on the landing outside the bedroom.  All was quiet for a few minutes, but then Chrissy started whining.  She kept whining until I let her in the room.  Then, it's another battle to stop her from climbing on me and continuously licking my face.  Seriously, if I didn't push her off, I think she'd just keep going, and going, and going. 

Four more nights left.  We'll see if she manages to adjust to my schedule before she leaves.

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Week End

I would say this work week ended on a positive note, seeing as how I didn't see any bodies lying along the sidewalk in my neighborhood.  Let's hope the trend continues through the weekend.

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Talkin' 'Bout Money

I got up early this morning because I was expecting the window installers (yes, finally!) to be here around 9 or 9:30.  I even moved a haircut appointment to accomodate their expected arrival time.  The fact that they were LATE gave me time to watch a little bit of CNN, while the news team was killing time before live coverage of a Presidential news conference about the deficit or the economy or something.

Anyway, CNN's business reporter came on and said that the President wanted to speak this morning because the budget defict for the year will only be about $300 billion instead of the projected $400 billion.  Apparently, the president sees this as a sign that his tax cuts are working, and he wants everyone to know that.

I, personally, would like everyone to know that WE STILL HAVE A $300 BILLION BUDGET DEFICIT!

If I, myself, had a budget deficit that was even one-trillionth of that, I don't think I'd call a news conference to say how proud I am.  I would start looking for a second job, however. 

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Last night, I'm channel surfing, and I come across "Scholastic Scrimmage" on the local public TV station.  In high school, I was on my school's Scholastic Scrimmage team, so I thought I'd see how this generation is doing.

Anyway, when I tuned in, there were about 10 minutes left in the program.  The host was in mid-question.  All I heard was something about Marilyn Monroe and portrait.  "Andy Warhol!"  I yelled at the TV.  Apparently, none of the students heard me.  An uncomforable silence passed as no one from either team buzzed in.  I guess this is what happens when you cut funding for the arts in schools.

But, that lack of pop culture knowledge was not to be the low point of those 10 minutes.  No.  That came when the host, the host, mind you, asked the following question:  What is the tallest quadruped on earth?  Seems simple enough. 

Except for the fact that this is how she asked it:  What is the largest QUAD-ROOPT on earth? 

Yes, the host mispronounced the key word in the question.  A brave player finally buzzed in and correctly guessed "giraffe."  He must have realized that what she should have asked was: What is the largest QUAD-RAH-PED on earth?

Seems like everyone involved could use a refresher course.

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At approximately 12:15 this morning, the following (paraphrased) phone call occurred:  

Operator:  911.  What is your emergency.

Me:  Hi.  I live on (my street), and on my way home I drive along (another street, just around the corner), and there was this body, lying kind of half on the sidewalk and half in the street.  I'm not sure if it's dead or what, but when I got out of my car and started saying, "Hello!  Hello!" - it didn't move.

Operator:  Can you describe him?

Me:  White.  Not sure if it's a man or a woman.  Didn't get close enough to tell for sure.  Wearing khaki shorts and a dark shirt, maybe purple.

Operator:  OK.  We'll send an officer right over.

I hung up the phone and immediately left the house to walk back to the scene, hoping against all hope that the body was still there so I wouldn't get charged with making a false report or something.  I got there about the same time as a young man who had also spotted the body (it was still there.  Yes!).  He brought his father along to check things out.  Turns out, they live just a few houses down from me!  What a way to meet the neighbors. 

Anyway, we were all, like, "This is weird.  Is it dead?  I didn't touch it.  Did you?  No way!"

The cop showed up (very promptly, I might add) and started yelling at this person, who was, as I said, lying with his upper body on the sidewalk and legs hanging over the curb into the street, arms bent at right angles so the hands were at or slightly above the head.  It was almost as if the person had been standing up but then fell straight back - right after someone yelled "Stick 'em up!"

The cop wasn't getting any response from the person, so he bent down and gave a couple quick rubs to the person's chest.  At this point, the person actually moved.  The cop gave a couple more rubs, a little harder this time, which woke up the person to a point where the cop could actually move him into a sitting position.

Well, my neighbors and I said, at least he wasn't dead.  More like dead drunk.    

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Last night - or maybe it was early this morning - I had a "producing" dream.  I haven't had one (at least one that I can remember) for a while.  But, I used to have them fairly often when I was new to the news business.  They'd take on different incarnations.  Sometimes, I'd be in the control room as the newscast was on the air, only to realize that I'd forgotten to write something - just as the anchor was about to read it!  Other times, I would be preparing the newscast except I wouldn't be in the newsroom.  In one dream, I was in my college dorm room!  And, then, there were the dreams where I realized I had a newscast to put together, but decided it could wait while I did something else that was much more urgent.  Meanwhile, it got closer and closer to deadline and I still didn't have anything written for the show.  Oh, well, not to worry.  In my dream, I knew I could still get it done - even if I only had one hour.

Last night's dream was a little different.  I was someplace else - a dinner or something, I think - and then I went in to work.  It didn't look like my newsroom, but at least one of my co-workers was there.  Since I work the night shift, going to work after dinner makes you really, REALLY late!  I knew that, once I got there, I'd only have a couple of hours to put a newscast together.  No problem except that, in my dream, I couldn't find a computer that I could actually work at.  Some of them didn't have the program I needed, others had mouse issues - like there wasn't enough line to actually move it around on the mousepad.  From computer to computer I went, maybe writing one story here, another one there, but usually just ending up rushing on to another computer.

Eventually, there was only one hour until news time.  That's when the scripts get printed, and I had about three stories ready to go.  That's not good, which is probably why that's when I made myself wake up.  I don't think I wanted to know how that dream would have ended.

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You know those people who can't walk and chew gum at the same time?  Well, I'm not one of them.

But, it seems I am the kind of person who can't boil water and run the microwave at the same time.  That's what I did a couple of hours ago, and I think I shorted out an outlet!  I had the microwave and the electric kettle plugged into the same outlet.  All went well for about two minutes.  Then, ZAP!  Both appliances stopped working.

I have since tested the appliances in other outlets, and they began working again.  Nothing else in the kitchen stopped working, so I know I didn't trip a curcuit breaker.  The issue seems to be limited to the outlet.  It's the kind that has the black/red buttons for test/reset, but they don't seem to be working.

I'll check it our some more in the morning.  Then, I get to go to work.

Happy Fourth of July!   

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Please! Make it stop!

Televison and, therefore, TV news, depends on advertising to survive.  So, knowing full well that the following falls under the category of "biting the hand that feeds me," I'm going to say it anyway:  Get that commercial featuring the recent American Idol winner off the air!  The local stations (mine included) seem to air it at least twice in every half hour.  By now, I know all the words to his stupid song and, oh yeah, I know what company he's pitching.  And, one other thing, I'm not buying. 

Now, go away.

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