Thank Grog It’s Firday!
What a week…
The news this week was full of awful stuff…with very few bits of good news worth watching. So mostly, I didn’t. I knew what was going on…but it all felt the same, like we had been here before. Kind of like this update….which is a whole lot of the same. Some interesting writing…but otherwise, not much of a “game.”
It made me remember some of the crazy updates we used have as “normal.” Chasing stuff…being chased by stuff…killing…maiming… No, wait…was that the news, or highlights from my home improvement projects? I’ll get to that too.
And then, just when I thought things couldn’t get weirder, the long-time, and now former Simpsons music score composer filed a lawsuit against FOX, alleging “wrongful termination and age discrimination.” And I was surprised that I had mixed feelings about that too…
So…many…mixed…emotions. So many ants. And yes…I’ll get to that as well.
First Alf Clausen. And yes…when you see his picture, you have to wonder if somehow the character on the “hit TV show” which featured a fuzzy alien, was named after him.
Now…as this article from “Variety Magazine” lays out, Clausen had been doing all of the soundtrack music for the show for 27 years. That is a LOT of music. And, it was all wonderful, no doubt about it.
However, when FOX “went another direction,” there is no doubt in my mind that it had to do with money, and not age discrimination. Clausen was/is a great composer/arranger. However, in my estimation, his downfall came from his “old school” methods of using a 35 piece orchestra to record the scores. Thirty Five Hollywood Union Musicians….for hours and hours on end. That is a boatload of sprinkles in anyone’s book. This isn’t the golden age of Hollywood. This is the Netflix generation.
The real culprit here isn’t Fox, or Clausen, or the Thirty Five Union Musicians, it is technology. The suit lays out the facts, ” After he was let go, Clausen was replaced by Bleeding Fingers Music, a music production company co-founded by Russell Emanuel, Hans Zimmer and Steve Kofsky. The suit states that Clausen’s replacement “was substantially younger in age, who was not only paid less, but was not disabled.”
Uhm….not disabled? I’ll have to look up to see if “Conductor’s Shoulder” is covered by Medicare. But, these guys aren’t lightweights. Zimmer has a huge list of credits, and a ton of Oscars. But, he is far, far less expensive, even with those credentials, because he is primarily a digital musician/composer. One guy, with a ton of computer linked keyboards and samplers…playing exactly what he wants, when he wants -vs- a conductor/composer, with 35 guys on the Union Clock. And side by side…you are hard pressed to know the difference, except that the rest of the guys at “Bleeding Fingers” can also do “young, hip, cool,” if they choose.
Technology is a beast. But, like the dragons in “Game of Thrones,” once you tame the beast, it is powerful beyond words. As I have recounted here, almost all of the music I did for the “Claymation Christmas Celebration” back in 1987, was done on some of the latest keyboard and emulators, using the very first MIDI and SMPTE controllers invented.
And yes…I stole the gig from another group, who played live…and hired loads of musicians.
When the orchestra played the music for the “Walrus Dance” in the special…it was me…and a set of keyboards…locked up to the video…so I could use the woodblock emulator in the Ensoniq sampler (which used the new 3.5″ floppy drives to swap media to my blazingly fast and new IBM 286) to place the notes exactly. I did it in my studio, in the woods, at a pay scale that was a couple of zeros less than a 35 piece orchestra.
This is copy of one of the original “Ani-Matix” that they would send me to do the preliminary score, for them to animate to. Then, I’d go back and redo the music, to exact time frames, using SMTP to lock up the film to the music. No orchestra required.
Things change. Sorry, Alf. But your way, just isn’t THE way anymore for TV. FOX needs all of the cash they can gather to pay the over-priced voice actors.
And yes…I have changed my position since I first wrote about Clausen’s firing. It was a sucky thing to do. But, was it illegal? Nope.
And speaking of sucky…while the writers seem to be back working overtime, there is little doubt that the “new format” is going to be a variation on an expanded “Mini Update” that follows the same track…every update. AND, THEY STILL HAVEN’T RAISED THE FREAKIN’ ITEM LIMITS!!! Loads of new buildings…and every time I want to place one, I have to whack a tree, or a flower, or some waterworks. I feel like a developer in post-War East Berlin. No flowers…no trees…just loads of concrete.
Where are the good old days, when you had stuff to chase…or things that chased you, or horrible little beasties that messed with your town (and no I’m not talking about taggers).
I was reminded of the “Good Old Days” of TSTO this week, when my “very good, very smooth (except for the Jackhammer part) remodeling project took a turn into the macabre.
I was doing a bit of patch work on the back corner ceiling, in a closet….when…
But, before I go on, what you need to know, is that our house is sub-terrainian…with most of the lower level buried into a hillside. We see the occasional bug, or ant once in a while…usually a random scout. So, I was not prepared when my hammer pierced the sheet-rock…and a couple of carpenter ants fell onto my head.
Then 5…then 10…and as I pulled back the sheet-rock…hundreds an hundreds.
I’d like to say I didn’t shriek like a little girl…but instead, let loose with a howl of new epithets with words not yet invented for the combination of disgust, horror, and anger that overwhelmed me.
Yep. You guessed it. The genius contractors had taken yet another shortcut, and just let the vapor barrier and concrete wall fall a tad short of complete in that far corner…near the dirt. Hey…it’s just a closet…who’s gonna know?
ME!!!!!!! DAMMIT!! And the ants…that just kept coming and coming…to rid themselves of the intruder.
I kilt ’em. Hundreds. With no remorse. THEY were the intruders. They were encroaching on my homeland (with an invitation from the lazyass contractor). They had to go. And they did.
Now, I could go into a huge dissertation about current events…and getting rid of pests that are bad for you. But, I’m too damn tired. I have 3 days to button up the project…including sheet-rocking, installing the vanity, and putting in new floors. Deb has her surgery Monday…so it has to be done…ants or no.
I’m sorry for Alf. But, he did well. I’m actually kinda sorry for the ants…it wasn’t their fault they had a nice place to make a home that mostly wasn’t bothering anyone, until it was. And I’m very sorry we seem to have a game that is stuck in “repeat the same motions”…much like congress on gun violence. And, to be honest…I’m sorry I wrote that last line. But, you knew it was just under the surface, after this week.
Keep on tappin’…. I’ll keep pounding, and painting, and flooring!