Saturday, September 27, 2008

Update to "Eye on the Bay" segment

As I was setting the DVR for 11 a.m. tomorrow on KPIX, the episode featured is not "Eye on the Bay". It is very possible that I may not find myself in a rerun. Oh well.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A claim, albeit BRIEF, to fame

Back in June, KPIX contacted me to do an interview about fog on their newsmagazine show, "Eye on the Bay". I was told the segment wouldn't appear until September. I had been perusing their website for the past few weeks to see if it was coming up on any of the program listings. There was a feature about fog last night, but wasn't sure if this was going to include my interview.

I had it marked on my calendar to watch it. I ran an errand at Target after work and didn't make it home in time. Sure enough, the person who originally contacted for the interview emailed me this afternoon to tell me it was on. It's up on Eye on the Bay's website now. And if you are among the many friends and family I notified today on Facebook, Twitter or personal email and haven't found out about my TV appearance, then you've been under a rock for the past 6 hours. Or dead.

Just in case you STILL don't have it, here's the link. My last name was incorrectly said as "Chang". But hey, at least my first name was pronounced correctly. For those of you in the San Francisco Bay Area, the segment will air again on Sunday, September 28 at 11 a.m. on KPIX (CBS), channel 5. Crunched for time on your way to brunch or football game? No problem. You'll only have to watch the first 6 minutes. I appear twice in that time frame. It's a good as time as any to fire up that DVR.

Autographs cheerfully provided upon request.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Diet Coke. Just for the taste of it...

I haven't touched regular soda (or pop, as they say in parts of Canada and in Ohio) in over 20 years. Even when I did drink it, about the only drink I could gulp in semi-massive quantities was Mello Yello. My dad (today's his birthday) liked Mello Yello so much that he used to hide his supply from us.

When I decided to give up regular soda, I tried Tab, Diet Rite, Diet Pepsi, Diet 7up, Diet Sprite, Diet Dr. Pepper and a bunch of others I won't bother to mention. To me, Diet Coke was and still is the best tasting. Even over regular soda (which I have no desire to drink anymore). I used to opt for Diet Pepsi if Diet Coke wasn't available. But Diet Pepsi is nasty and would rather have plain, still water instead.

I then tried to go the route of giving up soda altogether. Including diet. This was successful for about 2 years. I switched to fruit drinks, iced teas, flavored vitamin and sparkling waters. The energy and fruit drinks don't have as much sugar as regular soda, but still too much. Sparkling water is good, but doesn't neutralize strong tasting food, isn't as satisfying or available. I still drink iced tea, usually green and diet.

So, after too many drowsy, dragged out afternoons at the office, I returned to Diet Coke. This time, I ventured off into other variations. Diet Coke w/Lemon made with Splenda, decaffeinated Diet Coke, a vitamin fortified version, Coke Zero, with Lime, and with Cherry.

Coke Zero is bitter and nasty and in no way, shape or form tastes like regular Coke. Only marginally better than Diet Pepsi. All the other Diet Coke versions are likable enough, but whenever I return to original formula Diet Coke, I notice the taste difference right away. Not too fizzy and very satisfying.

Gulp, gulp, gulp. Long live Diet Coke.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

San Francisco, August 1983

Last month was my 25th anniversary in San Francisco. While reading a discussion thread in Yelp! asking for native San Franciscans to comment about what their childhood experiences. I'm not a native, but it made me realize in 25 years, many things about my transplanted city have changed.
  • Stonestown Galleria was an outdoor mall with mostly mom and pop type shops and very few chains. What is now Macy's was Emporium Capwell. Petrini's Supermarket was where McDonald's now is.

  • Marine World was in Redwood City where Oracle now is.

  • Bridgepointe Shopping Center in San Mateo was Fashion Island Mall. One of the store's anchors was Whole Earth Access. A skating rink was located inside the mall.

  • Potrero Avenue and 16th Street was the San Francisco Autocenter. 

  • Highway 480 dominated the skyline at my workplace on Davis and Broadway. It was torn down completely after the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake.

  • Royal Theatre on Polk and California, Regency Theatres I and II on Van Ness and Sutter, Northpoint Theatre on Powell and Bay (saw "Ghostbusters" and "Top Gun" there), Parkside Theatre on Taraval Street and 20th Avenue (saw "Field of Dreams" there).
  • Crocker and Security Pacific were major banks. Crocker merged with Wells Fargo, Bank of America acquired Security Pacific.

  • Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA) was the dominant discount airline carrier, very similar business model to Southwest Airlines.
Wow, recalling these makes me realize how long I've been around.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

How to Be a Leading Hollywood Player When You're Lazy

Ricky Gervais's new film, Ghost Town is due for release on September 18.  I saw the trailer when we went to see Vicky Cristina Barcelona last week. While doing my regular surfing, I came across an Esquire article Ricky has written and it's hilarious. You can also read it here.

The Best Advice Is: Be in charge. Then you can do anything. If you're not in charge, always play characters who have your haircut. That saves an hour in the morning. No wigs, no beards. Forget it. I had to wear a beard for one day. Ridiculous. Forty minutes. No. My haircut: ten minutes. And don't choose ridiculous costumes. Choose normal clothes. Ordinary trousers, ordinary shoes that you can put on yourself. Costume: five minutes. Hair and makeup: ten minutes. That's it. No costumes. No wigs. Own haircut.

Two: Do your own accent. You don't want to have vocal coaching. Don't do anything that needs skill. If there's a scene and it says " . . . rides a horse," say, "You do not need me to ride that horse." Because you'll have to learn how to ride a horse. That could take, like, two weeks. Too busy. Too much trouble.

Three: Always say that your character should be sitting down. Don't ever be standing at the beginning of a scene. So if it starts off, "There's a knock at the door, you get up and answer the door," you'll be up and down for eight hours. Convince them that you should sit there and say, "Come in." When we were filming Ghost Town, I tried to convince the director, David Koepp, that we should do a remake of Ironside together. It's the old TV drama with Raymond Burr as a detective in a wheelchair. Also, I've always wanted to play someone in a coma. Just comes out of it at the end. I was really jealous of Colin Farrell when I found out that Phone Booth was shot in just 16 days. Some of it, he was sitting on the floor of the telephone box. One location, sitting down.

Four: If there are long and complicated monologues, cut them. Say, "I don't think I'd say that." No one will think you're being lazy; it comes across as integrity.

So if any directors are reading this, I will work every day. I will give it my all. I will give it everything. I will give you 100 percent between the hours of, say, eight and six. And that's from pickup to wrap. If it's, like, two miles away, you can't go, "You'll be picked up at six, it'll be over at eight." You're having a laugh. My pickup is no earlier than seven-thirty. I'm not a maniac. I have to be wrapped by six. Five-day weeks. I only shoot in London and New York. No night shoots. No wigs. No nudity--that's more for the general public's sake as opposed to mine. And let's not go on and on with it. Let's try to keep it under five, six weeks. So, Spielberg--your move.
--As told to David Walters

Monday, September 01, 2008

RIM Blackberry Curve 8310

Toward the end of July, I bought my first smartphone, a RIM BlackBerry Curve 8310 to replace my Sony Ericsson W600i. Like the Nokia that preceded my Sony, the phone contains all of my must haves in features: Bluetooth, speakerphone, cameraphone (which is now standard in most cell phones). I originally had no interest in getting a smartphone, but since my current employer permits us to expense the cost up to $200 on smartphones, I had to take advantage of the offer.

It's now going on my third month with the BlackBerry. In order for me to feel like I was taking full advantage of BlackBerry's features, I changed to an unlimited data/text/e-mail plan. I'm glad I did. I added Twitter, my Yahoo! e-mail, NYTimes for mobile and Facebook to read messages when I'm not on my laptop. I e-mail and send a lot more text messages now, but because I can access this so quickly, I'm also finding I'm more much attentive to the phone than ever before. At work, I find myself constantly looking to see if the flashing LED is red, which means I have a new text or e-mail message.

Two features that my Sony had that my BlackBerry doesn't are a countdown timer and flashlight. I found a free countdown timer from NorthCubed and inexpensive flashlight at Handango. The timer isn't quite as good as Sony's. The loudness can't be adjusted and once time has elapsed, it turns off with no reminder. So if it goes off and I don't know it, I'm SOL.

I don't have yet my work email setup on the BlackBerry. It isn't a requirement (at least not yet) for me to have it installed. I won't be pushing for it anytime soon.