Life in Hollywood, below-the-line

Life in Hollywood, below-the-line
Work gloves at the end of the 2006/2007 television season (photo by Richard Blair)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Breaking the The Fourth Wall

I should know better by now. Having been burned more times than I care admit by the eccentricities and bugs in Blogger, I know damned well only a fool dares to compose and edit a post on-line using the domain host for this and a million other blogs. I’ve learned the hard way to do all the writing and editing off-line on my computer, then when everything is just right, log on and post.

Because if I don’t – if I walk out on that very thin ice and start dicking around with the words and syntax while trusting Blogger to save all those editing choices – that ice will eventually crack and leave me floundering in the dark, cold water. When it comes to saving edits on-line, Blogger is as trustworthy as Lindsay Lohan out on bail.

Which takes me to last Sunday. Having teleported back to the home planet for the holiday week – which just happened to coincide with my shows final hiatus – I tried to ram and jam the Sunday post onto the blog. But it wasn’t quite ready, and I knew it. So I started fixing things, cut a word here, paste a sentence over there, then reassemble the verbal infrastructure to accommodate all those changes. It took a lot longer than I’d anticipated, flipping back and forth between “preview” and “edit” modes, being careful to save each new and improved version as I went. Long about seven p.m. – many hours after I’d planned to post – it was finally ready for prime time. I hit the “publish” button and waited.

And waited...

Conditions are rather primitive here on the Home Planet -- no streetlights, wood heat, rabbit-ears television reception (meaning my 12 inch portable cathode ray gun can display one of three channels if and when conditions are right), and slow-as-a-tortoise dial-up internet.

I don’t know if it was Blogger or my lousy internet connection, but something fucked up. After a full minute staring at a blank screen, I clicked the “back” button and found the post in edit mode... only none of the edits were there – Blogger didn’t save any of them. All that work hammering the post into shape had vanished into the ether.

Back to square one, I threw in the towel. It was late, I was tired. Time for wine and food and staring into the fire. Fuck the goddamned internet...

And that’s why there was no fresh post last Sunday.

Now, three days later, I go back to look at that post and it just pisses me off. I see all the problems I’d fixed, but no longer recall the solutions. Essentially, I have to start all over again, and right now simply don’t have the energy. Thanksgiving looms, and then the long haul back to LA and four more weeks of work before we shoot episode 15 – the final scheduled show of this year – on December 22. Add in the frenzy of Christmas bearing down on us all like a big black steam train festooned with tinsel and colored lights, and it looks like energy will be in short supply as the clock runs out on 2011.

Maybe I’ll knock the post back into shape by next Sunday, and maybe not. Right now that seems unlikely -- just looking at that post depresses me. When that stops being the case, I’ll sit down and get the work done ... and I’ll damned well finish the editing off-line before entrusting my post to the not-so-tender mercies of Blogger.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, all of you.


A.J. said...

Oh, I definitely know how you feel on that one.

I'm sure at one point or another, we've all poured our best efforts into putting in a rig or setting up a shot only to have it scrapped at the last minute and/or never used at all. That sucks.

But it feels even worse when you lose a blog post you've worked so hard on since it's your own personal work... And now you have to try and replicate it all over again.

"You know that three mile rig of 4/0 you put in the other day? We're not going to use it, but I need you to wrap it all up and then put it back in next week. Coolthanx."

Penny said...

You are not alone, Mike.

I do all my writing off-line, but I can't seem to stop tweaking posts when I see them outside of Word. Oh, and Blogger appears to save changes until the cows come home for a comma here or there, but for me to hit Preview, suddenly I'm cautioned from navigating away from the current page without saving changes?


I hope your muse visits over the holidays, gives your internet connection a very merry bitch-slap and let's you post again soon.

My best to you as always. :)

Michael Taylor said...

AJ --

It seems we all step into the shoes of Sisyphus on a regular basis, whether at work or the keyboard: rock, hill, repeat...

Penny --

It is an eternal mystery why a post that looks just fine in Word suddenly requires tweaking once it has been entrusted to Blogger. And therein lies the rub, since as we've both learned, Blogger is not to be trusted when it comes to saving changes.

Ah well, our little cross to bear. Thanks for the good vibes...