Saturday, December 30, 2006

Can 2006 be summed up in one internet video? Well, maybe it can...

Oh yeah... Which Superhero are you?

Your results:
You are Spider-Man

Iron Man
Green Lantern
The Flash
Wonder Woman
You are intelligent, witty,
a bit geeky and have great
power and responsibility.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Test

Monday, December 25, 2006

The Day after Christmas Blues

What happened to those 53 toy cars I got for Christmas?

Merry Christmas!

This is a little video my brother made with his cellphone. They love thier Christmas in Brooklyn.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Holiday Letter 2006

This letter went out in the mail with our Christmas cards to all sorts of people. If you didn't get it, we probably don't have your physical mailing address. We placed it here it is here, on the blog, for you to read. And it has pictures, which the printed version doesn't have.

Merry Christmas!

We hope this letter finds you well, happy, and joyful this holiday season. Each year we spend in this world seems to get better and better.

This past contained quite a bit of news to report. The biggest change is RT’s job situation. When we last wrote a Christmas letter, RT was working for AT&T, which was going through a merger. We do not know how familiar you are with working for a company going through a merger, but this is how it works: You need to present yourself as completely invaluable and profitable to the company (so they don’t decide to downsize you) while at the same time, be completely anonymous and blend in to the background (so they don’t notice you enough to downsize you).

Now, RT does not work well in situations like this because he really likes standing out from the crowd. He goes out there and says, “I can do this and I can do that and I can help out and we can do something amazing.” Unfortunately, what was expected from him was “Do anything except amaze us. Sit down, be quiet and wait for something to happen to you. Repeat this course of action for at least two years.”

Well, the two years didn’t even wind up being six months. RT got a job for a Seattle-based consulting company called The Mosaic Company ( So far, things are going quite well. RT is doing constructive things, gaining power, and shaping the world to his particular vision. And by this, we mean he has gone crazy mad doing home repairs that have been put off since before the wedding.

So, as of this writing, there are no floors on the first level of the house. But, by the time you read this (depending on the postal service) there will be hardwoods everywhere. It will be the ultimate playground for children with rubber bouncy balls. We have a large and growing number of friends with kids who should give it a try.

So… what else is going on besides work and home repairs? Not much. Well, what would be about average for us, which seems like a lot whenever we compare notes with other people. Just goes to show what all you can do when you never turn on the TV.

We did not go on a vacation this year unless you count a weekend in Chicago, but considering we both worked during that trip, it can hardly be called a vacation. We did get to sneak off to east Texas for 4th of July to stay with friends and watch birds flit in the trees and go out in a boat on a body of water. That was pretty cool. We didn’t realize until we got there how much we needed to just rest.

CT got to go to dayjob-sponsored conferences in Chicago, Las Vegas, and Boston. The Chicago show was combined with a weekend on the town with RT beforehand, which made the trip much more worthwhile. Conferences, however, are not the same thing as a vacation. At all.

We are still continuing to produce the SALON home concert series, and inaugurated a couple of new homes for that. CT sang at one of them, for the first time in years. She also got to record a new song by composer Mike Capps, “Easter Wings”, who also recorded 2 wonderful piano pieces and another piece for tenor and organ. (Even the greatest composers seem to write for tenor eventually. ) And yes, there are .mp3s of CT singing out there, but you have to email us for them. This is just our sneaky way of saying, “Drop us a line!”

RT continues to put up his shenanigans on his blog

We produced a podcast for a high school art class, and RT made a little film about things he learned in a coffee appreciation class. CT gave hour-long workshops at 2 Toastmasters conferences about the voice, drawing from her music studies to help professional speakers. We both ended our officerships in Toastmasters to focus on other things. RT presented a session on podcasting at the Trinity Arts Conference.

The book pile is as big as ever. RT is going through the complete Flannery O’Connor, while also taking in a huge pile of periodicals and comics and podcasts every month. CT got through some marketing books and (via the miracle of audiobooks on iPods) a biography of Will Shakespeare. We are both listening to Seth Godin books via iPod (he writes about marketing). CT also got to take in a collection of Jane Austen’s very early works and fragments, and hopes to get through one of the long novels. It was nice to discover that JA was not at all a good writer when just starting out, but got much better the more she wrote.

We are looking forward to 2007 and all the change it holds. We are going on a family trip to Oregon in May, we may be selling our house, and quite possibly we will finally get that concealed/carry permit that seems to be a citizenship requirement in Texas. On that holiday-inspired note…

We hope you are doing well, and hope for an exciting 2007. The best we have to offer goes out to you this holiday season. We cherish you and are continually grateful for the time we have together.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

He sees you when you're sleeping, and, apparently, he videos you when you go to the bathroom

Nothing Ever Happens to Me...

I was at a Christmas party recently and found myself in the corner – my normal spot when things get too exciting and loud. Soon someone else drifted into the corner to join me. Because this is a party and because no one likes standing in the corner in uncomfortable silence, we started making chit-chat.

I am not so great in large groups of people, but I am fine talking one-on-one with someone. My family is one of the best families ever, and it is always a good source of party anecdotes. I shared interesting and fun experiences about relatives near and far, young and old. And my corner-buddy did likewise, entertaining me with tales of wild uncles and grandparents.

Then we kind of sighed and went, “You know. All these great things happen to people in our families, but not much happens to us. Why do suppose that is?”

So then we dared to share a story, a recent story about something that happened to us, recently.

Here is what I said. Feel free to use it on your next party:

Last time I got on a flight, there was a guy in first class who looked just like Bruce Vilanch. I said, “Hey! You look just like Bruce Vilanch!” and he said, “I get that a lot.”

The End

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Hollywood Pitch Fest

“Ok. So there is this guy- An everyman – a Toby McGuire or Heath Ledger type. Just a normal guy. He packs up his wife and kid to go visit his Dad for Christmas. On the way there, his wife tells him she wants a divorce.”
“So it’s a drama.”
“We’re talking Best Picture family drama here. So he gets to his Dad’s house and sees his mom there. And he freaks out. Because his parents got a divorce 25 years ago when he was a kid. It was the single most traumatic experience in his life, and in some ways, he is still trying to get over it. So he’s got his own marriage falling apart while he sees his parents’ marriage miraculously rising from the ashes. So over the Christmas holiday everyone will talk and scream and cry and hug each other.”
“And here’s the kicker. We get Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep to play the parents. We don’t make any direct reference to that film where they got a divorce, but we do get…
“Emotional resonance.”
“That’s it. It is like we know them already. Like we know their story.”
“So it is like a sequel.”
“A quasi-sequel, yes.”
“I understand quasi-sequels are the next prequels.”
“Seriously, I have read this script a dozen times over and I promise you… Oscar buzz.”
“Do you think we could call it Kramer meets Kramer?”
“I don’t know. It might be a little too ‘cutesey’ for what I had in mind.”
“That reminds me of this thing I saw on YouTube. They edited in scenes of that guy from Seinfeld with Meryl Streep and made it look like they were getting a divorce. You know, like KRAMER vs. Kramer. Do you think Michael Richards is available for this project? He could play the son.”
“Uhhh… I-“
“You’re right. He might be a bit old for the part. Maybe the wacky uncle? Just to lighten things up a little. I mean, no one wants to see another dysfunctional family yell at each other through a Christmas setting. It is so… so…”
“Serious 1970s cinema?”
“I was thinking ‘cheap independent film cliché,’ but what you said works.”
“Some of the best films made the past decade came from independent cinema.”
“Tell me what you think. That instead of your Toby McGuire everyman son, what if we have a Will Farrell type as the son? Or a Jim Carrey? And instead of everyone sitting around talking about their feelings, what if the son decides he doesn’t want his parents to get back together and starts playing tricks on them to get them to split up again.”
“Like an anti-Parent Trap?”
“Yes. We can have you speeches and your soul-searching and your great actors, but we can have a few funny bits in it, too.”
“I don’t know.”
“People like to laugh. You can’t argue with that.”
“I suppose I can’t.”
“I like what you’ve done here, but if you can rework it a little, lighten it up, and make it funnier, we’ll talk then.”

Why I Will Never Be In Politics #9,432,177

Here is a great little video of Dallas City Councilman, Leo Chaney, walking out of a bad public meeting, mumbling a nice little insult under his breath.

Ok, I don't say things like this, but I THINK things like this all the time. And I know if I were in a stressful situation, these kind of words would definitely come out.

So I got this from one of the news sites I read, and it has all of this tut-tutting text around the video about how this guy is an elected official and needs to set a standard for public decorum and yadda yadda.

Yep. There is no way for me to achieve this high standard. Part of me is too much of an eight-year old who still laughs at "yo momma" comebacks.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

One Man Show

The famous Horton educational podcast continues!

This one has me talking on it. Although Me, the actor, really loved hamming it up and shoving fingers up my nose while talking, Me, the director thought the performance was hammy. To round it out, Me, the editor, just had fun mixing in burps whenever possible.

All in the name of education...

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Yet Another Peek into My Big Ol' Media Input Pile

I love RSS feeds. There are only a few RSS feeds I choose to pass up. Most of the time, when a website offers RSS, it is like your favorite cute waitress offering you a free second cup of Jamaican Blue Mountain with a tiny block of dark chocolate on the side. I mean, how can you pass something like that up?

I use Google Reader to keep up with all of my RSS feeds. And it collects over 100 items from these RSS feeds every hour.

When people are over-saturated or super-saturated with information, there is a compulsion to share. To copy/paste the news item in an email or to slam it into a blog and comment all over it.

Google Reader, in an attempt to keep down unnecessary email FWDs or blog entries, has set it up so that if you click a Share button and it automatically posts to your very own Google Reader blog.

So, if you want to see my Shared News Item list, it is here.

And, of course, it has a RSS feed here.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Apparently, I am the Nemesis of Filmspotting

According to Filmspotting #139 (just at the one hour mark), I am the nemesis of the show. And my attempts at constructing sentences result in run-ons.

I am not quite sure what to do with this new position. My guess is now that I am officially a nemesis, I will finally have the motivation to build that underground lair I've always wanted. And once I have it, I can get a pit and fill it with cyborg crocidiles and other freaks of nature in hopes of luring Adam and Sam into my sinister clutches.

Yes! That is it! I will rely on elaborate traps and schemes - perhaps convincing them that they are invited to a special screening of 'Apocalypse Now Redux REDUX' - The Never Before Seen Longer than Long version - NOW WITH MORE BULL-SLAUGHTERING SYMBOLISM! - and then springing a diabolical-yet-undetermined-trap on them.

Once in my clutches, they will be forced to watch repeated viewings of 'The Lake House,' 'The Wild Bunch,' and 'Sin City: The Extended Edition' until they bicker and banter so much that their incredible podcast chemistry falters and fades. Once that happens, I will reveal my own podcast, MovieWatching or CineSeeing or some elusive noun-gerund combination, where I discuss movies with Mr. Binky, my sock puppet. Every episode we will list off the same Top 5 films, but will present them in a different order each time, so the audience won't catch on to what we are doing. We will rule the podcast-film-reviewing community, Mr. Binky and I. And after that, THE WORLD!


Aw, who am I kidding? I'll probably just send them an email, telling them how much I love the show, how much I wish I were as cool as them, and how I don't get out much. Then I'll send them donations in hopes that Sam gives me a cool nickname.


Well played, Filmspotting guys. Foiled again.

Shows how often I read my comments...


I just read this in my comments area:

Dear Mr. Turnage,
I just read your blog post dated 11/15/06 and I am sorry for any confusion you may have experienced regarding the strange email. So that I may investigate the matter further, please send the email in question to me at the address below. I look forward to your email. Thank you and have a great day!

Best Regards,
Dell Customer Advocate

That is totally awesome! Too bad I deleted that email weeks ago because, frankly, it is better to be safe than sorry, and anything that promises to give me a new Dell laptop is too good to be true.

But I'm happy to know where to go when I have a problem. I like the whole idea the Dell trolls the blogs, looking for complaints. That is a great business practice and Marie deserves a raise.

Believe me, if I ever run into a problem again, I will be emailing Marie. (If her text is any indication, she probably is the spitting image of Olivia Newton-John.) Marie, you are truly a wonder.

This made my day.

Why Didn't Anyone Tell Me About This?

I'm trying to put together my 2006 CD list of songs I really liked this past year. When, out of the blue, I fall totally in love with Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins.

The first inclination I had, especiallly when I saw the January 2006 release date, was, "WHY DIDN'T ANYONE TELL ME ABOUT THIS?" I asked around to a few hipster friends, and they were all, "Whoa. That is an awesome album. I thought you already knew about it."

So I did some checking around with my normal media feeds. One of her songs was played in the Coverville podcast and NPR featured her in a concert.

Somehow I missed the boat on this one. Oh, well. Thank to several Top 10 Albums of 2006 lists, I was able to find Jenny Lewis, the Watson Twins, and their music.

This music is so good, it is hard for me to believe they are all from L.A.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

More Education (in Podcast Form)

The latest educational podcast is up. This is the first one where you can really hear some of my contributions (the scoring, primarily).

Email me privately and I'll tell you a funny story about an early take of the David and Goliath portion of the podcast.

The Nightmare Before Christmas?

Neatarama posted this great link to a gallery of pictures of children being frightened by Santa.

I really like the Santas in the pictures, and I just think of all the grief they're putting up with for what probably works out to $10 an hour.

This photo is my favorite.

Friday, December 01, 2006

What I Want for Christmas is Bleak and Dreary

The trailer for Children of Men really turned me off of the film. Visually, it looked fine, but the trailer seemed to hammer in the obvious, what with the Clive Owen “women stopped having babies” narration and the climax montage set to cheery pop music. It adhered to a formula mocked by such wonders as the Shining remix trailer.

And if the advertising campaign is so formulaic, it means one of two things – the film is either going to be formulaic or the film is going to be so wildly unusual that the marketing team has gone into overdrive to make it look tepid.

So I wrote off the film as a rental, if that.

But then I heard this month’s Audition podcast, which begins with this introductory speech:

Films that open during the Christmas season are traditionally either upbeat and heartwarming or mindless eye candy. On Christmas Day this year, a film will open in American theaters that has been described as dystopian, terrifying, and bleak. The film is Children of Men, starring Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, and Michael Caine. Set in the year 2027, the story ushers us into a world where no babies have been born for 18 years. Some undetectable has rendered all women on the planet barren. The last generation of humans has become hopeless. Societies are torn by war, terrorism, and savagery, and suicide is a positive possibility for many. Merry Christmas.

Ok, this may reflect more on me unfavorably, but THAT TEXT sold me more than the trailer ever could.

Christmas comes at a dark and melancholy time in the year. The days are shorter, the air is colder, and, on the surface, it doesn’t seem like a good time to celebrate anything. But just as dark helps define the light, hopelessness can define hope.

I think I’m finally getting into the holiday spirit. I can't wait to read the book.