Welcome, welcome all crazed fans to the year 2006! First of all, I was mighty glad to see 2005 scoot out the door, since it was less-than-kind to me. I have much bigger hopes and dreams for 2006. But first this....
The Return of Dick Clark
New Year's Rockin' Eve on ABC TV wouldn't be he same without the host who created it decades ago: Dick Clark. As most fans know, Mr. Clark, 76, suffered an extremely debilitating stroke over a year ago and has been in rehab ever since. He couldn't make last year's party, but was determined not to miss it again. Did any of you all see that? It was so sad, yet so hopeful at the same time. They propped him up behind a desk overlooking Times Square while the host-in-waiting Ryan Seacrest did most of the talking from elsewhere. Clark obviously still has great problems with his speech, but I could make out 95% of it pretty clearly. I have heard on news shows that his friends told reporters that he does much better when he's not under pressure (much as TV is his second home, I imagine his first public appearance in over a year--especially in the condition he's in---had to make him nervous). Still, it was better to see him try than see him give up. Here's hoping New Year's Rockin' Eve 2007 will feature a return of a fully-recuperated Dick Clark at full power!
By the way: I still have The Bangles on tape from when they did New Year's Rockin' Eve in the late '80s ("Walk Like An Egyptian"). I was amazed how good they all still looked on Saturday night's show ("Hazy Shade of Winter")! The only new member seems to be the bass player, I don't remember this one. But Suzannah Hoffs never looked hotter!
Crazed Fanboy Homepage Refurbished
I decided against a floor-to-ceiling re-write of the source code that's been so very good to me, but I was definitely ready for a change of scenery! Behold, the Crazed Fanboy homepage for 2006: more multi-media intensive (that's the idea anyway) with a brand new top "half" and a made-over writer's navigation bar. The spacescape background has been succeeded by a dark, stormy sky. And, of course, the PCR Banner featuring my smiling mug has been replaced with a new version. The middle "headline" section is largely the same, because everything else I tried seemed to be self-defeating in one way or another. And the bottom "half" (actually lower third) with the CF Spotlight, hitcounter, etc., is pretty close to unchanged, except for a slight reduction in font size and I moved the donate button to the right side where the Amazon credit card ad used to be (since dropped).
My diciest challenge was making the NolanWebcan compatible with everybody's systems. Believe me, that's harder than it looks! NolanWebcam uses Windows Media 9 codecs and displays on your computer via a low-rez progressive download. These are not live, just filmed to look that way, and designed to play smoothly even on dial-up systems. I wanted it to start playing video immediately upon downloading the page, but at the last minute decided against it due to repeated Internet Explorer warnings and I didn't want to freak everybody out. In a nutshell: you have to press "play" to start the video. If Internet Explorer displays an "Active X" control warning and prompts you for an OK, click "Yes", or "Allow blocked content" or whatever your machine says. The warning is to prevent malicious code from being placed on your machine by nefarious third-party douche-bags and generally it's a good idea to be careful about it. In fact in your "Internet Options" toolbar, you can untick the ActiveX warning altogether, but even I wouldn't recommend that. Just remember, all I'm trying to send you is my pre-recorded, low-rez webcam video! Please let me know if you experience any problems.
Browser/Media Player Compatibility Problems
Then there's this: I have noted occasional incompatibility problems with MacIntosh computers viewing this page. Recently, I had the experience of watching a friend open my homepage on his new Mac laptop that came with the Safari browser. Not only didn't the page display properly, but NONE of the multi-media would open at all. While this thorny compatibility issue is being researched, all I can tell you is I code for a default assumption that 90% of my visitors are on Internet Explorer 5.5/6.0 on Windows XP or something reasonably close to that and there are no problems with IE. Nolan Radio started transcoding to MP3 files as of the Ralph Butler interview, so if the pop-out player window doesn't work (as it didn't on that Mac), you can always go the the download page and simply copy it to your hard-drive and open it with whatever.
The World of Nolan/Nolan Radio
The World of Nolan internet video series will pick back up where it left off after the "Rakuween" and "Saints & Sinners Festival" videos---that is, a better, fuller production that better spotlights the subject matter. The way I've been doing it lately, just talking into the camera from the computer room, has been moved to Nolan WebCam. The World of Nolan now uses RealMedia 10 codecs although the roll-in is currently still encoded with Real 8. It is now and always has been true streaming video. However, the reverse compatibility issues may mean TWON may not open properly for you if you have an older player. The new Real Player 10 is the best they have ever made and it's free from their website.
Good friend and legendary radio announcer, 970 WFLA's Tedd Webb has compiled a new book that is ready for sale during January enititled, "Butt of Course: A Black and White Tribute To Women". Tedd's a nutty guy and quite the photographer! For more info and a sampling of his wares, check out buttofcourse.us
Local comedy maestros Damage Control Online, whose bits have found their way onto Crazed Fanboy in the past (and will again in the near future) are throwing a CD release party at The Trap, Wednesday, January 4, 2006! The Trap is located in Ybor City, corner of 20th St. and 7th Ave. We're all invited to take part in free food and CDs and and hear the demented warblings of comedian Jay Hewlett (among other things).
Congratulations to PCR writer Dylan "The Drow" Jones (no relation to Brandon) and his wife Kelly on their new baby girl, Melanie Loralie Jones! I'm sure I speak for the whole PCR staff when I say "best of luck" with this new life direction as a dad. Let me know when it's time to babysit.
The Kansas City Film Critics Circle, of which our own Mike Smith is a member (and current interim secretary) has issued their list of the Best Films of 2005. Read about it in this week's Mike's Rant