Disclaimer: This site contains racial imagery that may be offensive to some. We, the owners of this blog, include it not only for the sake of preserving these artifacts of our history, but to call attention to the brilliant people who contributed to them--including actors, comedians, and musicians of color

Monday, December 11, 2006

Blog, Interrupted

Unknown to most people on my side of the pond, the BBC started regular television broadcasts in November of 1936 from the Alexandra Palace in London, getting the jump on--well, everybody in the world, including the U.S. They continued smoothly along for over three years, pioneering forms of television programming we would not master for at least another fifteen years: talk shows, variety shows, quiz programs, and the like. Only the start of World War II would knock them from their pedestal, as the government put an abrupt halt to TV broadcasting (the transmission towers were a potential homing beacon to enemy planes).

You may wonder what this has to do with anything, particularly my sudden disappearance for three weeks. Don't worry, I'm getting to that.

Two days after the German invasion of Poland, a television presenter introduced a Mickey Mouse cartoon. Halfway into the cartoon, London's few hundred television screens went black--and stayed that way, until June of 1946.

When regular broadcasts resumed, they did so at the exact point they left off--in the middle of the Mickey Mouse cartoon. As the animated images faded from the screen, they were replaced by a shot of the same announcer from 1939, now noticeably older and grayer.

His first words? "As I was saying, before I was so rudely interrupted...."

(Note: As I suspected, this story is apocryphal, according to an online BBC history site. But why let the facts get in the way of a great opening?--Rachel)

Considering what has happened since before Thanksgiving, I rather wish I had the British gift for wit and understatement. I have no clever words for my three-week vanishing act. I was simply tired--tired and frustrated.

If ever there were a stumbling block to my keeping a steady supply of reviews flowing into this blog, it would be the complete lack of an efficient note-taking method. Up to now, I had two primary means of doing so, neither of which worked. I could view a few seconds of videotape, pause, turn my wheelchair around, type, turn, view a few more seconds, pause, turn and type.

Or I could sit in front of the TV screen with a legal notepad on my lap, scribbling handwritten notes until my wrist went numb. You can guess how successful that was. When it takes eight hours to write a review/synopsis of a seven-minute cartoon, it's clear one's methods need a serious overhaul.

"So why didn't you record your notes?" you ask. Believe me, I tried. I have no less than three recording programs on my computer. Two days before Thanksgiving, brimming with enthusiasm, I started making audio notes for MISSISSIPPI HARE.

Halfway through, my computer crashed, destroying all my data. I start all over again; an hour later, I had slogged through the entire seven minutes.

But the recording, a half-hour long WAV file, was too large for my wreck of a computer to handle. Hence, crash city.

When it happened a third time, my nerves and my exhausted brain could take no more. I resolved to take a vacation from reviewing, and anything else to do with the computer except the occasional game of Yahtzee. After I stopped screaming, that is.

But I'm back now, with a brand-new analog microcassette recorder, which has sped up the process immeasurably. Analog recorders don't crash, after all. Over the weekend, I have compiled notes for three cartoons (MISSISSIPPI HARE, JERKY TURKEY, and the Private Snafu cartoon THE GOLDBRICK) and should have at least one of those three posted today.

I can only pray there will be no further "interruptions."

Tags: , , ,

No comments: