Note: If you do not already know who I am, then you are advised to turn back now, lest ye die of boredom. This is not the blog of someone who is trying to become a famous blogger. This is meant as a memory bank for our future and as a way for our out-of-town families to keep up with the goings-on around here. I am increasingly bothered by the permanence of the internet, particularly in regard to children who have no choice in the matter. As a result, I intend to keep things pretty matter-of-fact.

Technology Woes

You know you have an old computer when you can’t turn it off for a night. I built this computer in Jan 2003, and even then it was a budget build. I turned it off last night because of serious thunderstorms, but when I tried to boot up this morning, I had a few problems. First the computer wouldn’t stay powered up for more than ten seconds before shutting itself off. Then, after jiggling a few wires, I found that my CMOS settings had been reset back to their default, meaning the onboard battery has died. I’m up now, though… limping along, but booted.

Oy vey; I guess there is a reason I leave my computer on for years at a time.

America’s Most Famous Movie Scene

When discussing the “most famous movie scene ever,” several famous scenes come to mind: the opening scene of Alien, the last scene in Planet of the Apes, HAL disobeying Dave, the T-Rex chasing Jeff Goldblum and company, and Moses parting the Red Sea in 1956’s The Ten Commandments. There is one scene, however, that has been remade hundreds of times on film: the brutal shower scene in Psycho. This scene is referenced in everything from mocking comedy films to children’s cartoons. The music is instantly recognizable (and often imitated) and still makes me uncomfortable just hearing it. Here are some facts about the famous shower scene, lifted from the pages of my Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader: 4Ply Edition (©1988, 1989, 1990, 1991).

  • There are approximately 65 edits in this 45 second scene.
  • Although there’s practically no graphic violence in the scene, it has literally scared some people out of taking showers–including Janet Leigh (the actress portraying the protagonist who is stabbed to death in the scene), who says in her autobiography that she refuses to take them anymore.
  • Alfred Hitchcock later claimed he made the film as a joke.
  • It took seven days to shoot the 45 second scene.
  • The blood washing down the drain was actually chocolate sauce.
  • Only one shot in the entire shower scene montage shows a knife entering the body and no blood is seen in that shot.
  • Some shots use as little as eight frames of film (at 24fps, that’s only 1/3 of a second).
  • Anthony Perkins (as Norman Bates) did not actually act in the scene. He was on Broadway at the time of the shooting, starring in a play; a stand-in filled in as “Mom.”
  • Mixed-up priorities: According to Hitchcock, studio executives were more concerned about having a toilet flushing onscreen than they were about the implicit violence.
  • Janet Leigh refused to let her daughter (actress Jamie Lee Curtis) watch the movie as a child when it appeared on TV.
  • Hitchcock got the movie past censors by first submitting a script with many more horrible scenes, knowing that by allowing them to be cut he would get more leverage on the others (a tactic often used today).

Janet Leigh on the Shower Scene:

“What I was to wear in the shower scene gave the wardrove supervisor migraines. I had to appear nude, without being nude. She and I pored over striptease magazines, hoping one of their costumes would be the answer…. There was an impressive display of pinwheels, feathers, sequins, etc., but nothing suitable for our needs. Finally, the supervisor came up with a simple solution: flesh-colored moleskin…. So each morning for seven shooting days and seventy-one setups, we covered my private parts, and we were in business.

“For sundry reasons, we had to do [the scene] over and over. At long last a take was near completion without a mishap. Abruptly I felt something strange happening around my breasts. The steam from the hot water had melted the adhesive on the moleskin, and I sensed the napped cotton fabric peeling away from my skin. What do to?…I opted for immodesty…and made the correct judgment. That was the printed take.”

(By the way, I highly recommend the Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader series for articles and facts about anything and everything).

Audio Test

Evan and Robert Valentine – Creation of Earth

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Robert and I made this song during his last visit. The sounds that comprise the song are: classical guitar (bowed), tuned wine glasses, guitar, harmonica, and piano.

Asleep in his Pack-and-Play

June 01, 2009

June 01, 2009

Stephen, with one of his Grandmommy’s oil paintings behind him.

Cheryl&Co.

June 01, 2009

June 01, 2009

My wife received a tin of “it’s a boy” cookies as a gift from
her workplace–delicious cookies from Cheryl&Co.

One Week Old (1/2)

June 01, 2009

June 01, 2009

One Week Old (2/2)

June 01, 2009

June 01, 2009

Mouth Breather

May 30

May 30, 2009

My wife holds Stephen as he sleeps with his mouth agape.

Mother meets Child

May 22, 2009

May 22, 2009

Weigh In (8lbs, 6.4oz)

May 22, 2009

May 22, 2009