Let’s get it started

The Buzz has entered the blogosphere and is ready to serve. We sit here ready slam our keyboards with cool, compelling arts observations, thoughts and other minutae for public consumption.
These profound passages – relating to both the local and national entertainment scene – will be served up by longtime Chico E-R Buzz Editor Alan Sheckter and Chico E-R Web Content Editor (and keen pop culture critic) Ryan Olson.
We hope you’ll join us frequently. You’ll be glad you did next time you bump into someone you’d like to impress who asks you, “What’s happening?”

What’s next for Al Gore?

I don’t know why I did it, but I watched what seemed to be all 82 hours of this year’s Emmy telecast Sunday on FOX. The creative arts Emmy show (a two-hour affair Saturday on E!) was much breezier — they cut out the lists of nominees, most of the speeches and thankfully all of the singing numbers.

Anywho, I was interested to see Al Gore win an Emmy for his broadcast baby, Current TV. As I watched the audience’s resounding ovation, I wondered what was next for the former vice president.

Since he’s already won an Oscar (for “An Inconvenient Truth”) to go with his Emmy, what is his next entertainment conquest? I think he should form a barbershop quartet and go for a Grammy.

What do you think? A Grammy? I don’t think Al will go for an American Music Award because it’s not classy enough. Perhaps a Tony for a Broadway production of “An Inconvenient Truth”?

Heck, if they can turn “The Producers” and “Hairspray” from cult films to top-rated musicals, who knows what they can do to an environmental documentary. I can’t wait to see a musical “Truth” come back to movie cineplexes.

Open-mic night at the Chuckle Hut

I’ve got a topical joke, but I know it won’t go further than this blog:

The U.S. military is working on a futuristic anti-mob energy beam that makes people think their skin is on fire. Unfortunately, the military refuses to deploy it because some might view it as a torture machine.

The military’s had this problem before — the device’s first name was TortureBeam 5000.

That’s my time. Thanks, folks. You’ve been great.

Chance encounters

Chico can be a pretty small world sometimes. On Friday, I happened to head downtown for a slice of pizza where I ran into one co-worker at City Plaza. Later, I ran into another co-worker near Duffy’s.

I guess I didn’t expect to see them — I usually don’t see anyone I know when I visit downtown. Still, I run into people enough times to keep things interesting.

Oh, I walked through part of City Plaza’s fountain and emerged with a sharp, distinct smell of chlorine on my clothes. I wonder if the city increased the amount of chlorine after some parents complained.

Different worlds

I know some groups are worried about “freaking,” that genteel style of dancing involving dance partners sexually grinding against each other. China apparently has a similar problem — kids holding hands while dancing. BBC News has the story. Interestingly, the Chinese government is promoting dance as a way for increasingly overweight kids to get exercise, but some are worried.

Some parents had expressed fears that if boys and girls danced hand in hand they might fall in love and put their studies at risk.

I wonder if the Chinese might be receptive to square dancing. It seems less scandalous than the waltz.

Good news and, well, good-er news

Hey all –

I wanted to share two of the best things to happen today. First off, someone installed those paper towel dispensers that auto-magically whirl paper out when you wave your hand in front of them. Truly, we live in a wondrous age.

Perhaps more importantly, I’m proud to announce that I helped relaunch my newspaper’s Web site today at ChicoER.com. The redesign has been a long time coming, and I’m glad to turn our site on its head (esp. with the help of my co-workers).

Oh, I also devised a slightly corny slogan to go with it. “The new ChicoER.com – the power of more.” One huge reason why I’m not in public relations, although I’m all right with it.

ChicoER.com – It’s for real.

It’s a modest effort compared to the most progressive of the “Web 2.0” sites. I mean, where are the delightful search “clouds,” jerky 30-second video clips and user-defined ‘news’ sections?

Still, it’s a pretty big step forward for a 30,000-circ. newspaper used to putting out stories just once a day. I’m happy with this blend of old-fashioned journalism with the best the Web can offer, including multimedia, mashups and some user-contributed material.

I hope those interested enjoy it as well. Please let me know what you think.

— Ryan

Learn about the redesign — Including the “power of more.” (Just one of the three or four things I’ve had to write about the redesign).
– Watch Editor David Little discuss the new site.

So … the future

I might have gone a little overboard on the blogs lately. I’ve got:

  • my.rtomedia.com
  • rtomedia.com/pro
  • MySpace
  • rtomedia.com/unity (or something)
  • TVGuide.com
  • norcalblogs.com
  • TextAmerica

Unfortunately, many of them are languishing from a lack of attention (that and TextAmerica has broken my heart). That’s something I probably should’ve known going in.

While there are some really cool ways to display a news feed that displays everything I write (from FeedBurner), it’s probably just easier in the long run to simplify — especially when I want to try new features like chicopedia.com.

That’s why I’m thinking about merging my personal and “pro” RTOmedia.com sites together. When I started the site in 2004, I was worried about keeping my personal “life” separate from my professional. To some extent, that’s still true, but I’ve realized that I should always act in a respectful and professional fashion.

It’s 2007. Many journalists with Web sites combine their personal and professional persuits. Employers look to a job candidate’s MySpace profile for information. Heck, newspapers have MySpace pages, for cryin’ out loud.

Regardless if it’s under my own domain or under MySpace, people will probably be able to find me and I should be prepared for that.

A merger has additional benefits. My professional work could still be profiled (and marked differently from non-pro stuff), but I can update it more quickly. Who would’ve known that my photos pages would have languished while I’ve expanded dramatically into the realm of video and audio?

I don’t know when the merger will take place. I’ve got a pretty wide open week after the craziness of preparing coverage of fairs, fires and summer pools. However, I may want to work on Chicopedia or create that überfeed I’ve been meaning to.

Nonetheless, the times are a-changin’.