The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Friday, October 03, 2008


Sarah Palin acquitted herself well last night, as I figured she would. Yes, she funneled every question toward the same five boiler-plate answers (energy, Maverick, Mayoral experience, etc.) but that's one of the things politicians do. I remember watching Tom Bradley give a speech to the press corps, and wondering if I was the only one in the room who noticed that he said NOTHING. It was impressive and frightening. Now, watching the test group reactions, it was clear that the audience reacted to the debate much as I did: Biden won it by about 20%. Palin's performance should slow the hemmorhaging, but Biden's tear sealed the deal. Women LOVED him. Undecideds gave it to Biden about 42%-22%. Barring some drastic turn-around, Obama is right on track.


Nicki is home from her first week of her last year at UCI. Great to have my baby home again. Think I'll take her to see something silly today, maybe "Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist." Then there's a kid's science museum in Pasadena that we might go to Saturday. Tananarive is outa town, so I have to find stuff to do.

Blair was on "Regis and Kathi Lee" today promoting "Dirty Sexy Money" and, of course, "In the Night of the Heat." Man, in this economy, you have to play every damned card you've got. I can't even believe the spread of different things I'm doing to keep the doors open. I guess I should just be grateful that I have services in demand.


And the question of the day is: what is the SECOND greatest marketable skill you have? Not the thing at which you make your primary living, but the thing you might fall back on if that bellied-up?


Steve Perry said...

Only got the one marketable skill -- unless somebody needs a bodyguard who can blend in at an AARP meeting ...

Bennett said...

It's funny you ask that today, since a friend made mention of going back to school for some medical training as a backup just a couple hours ago. It brought up the point that my backup is basically not to have to back up. Which, if I'm right, is not technically so much a plan as it is desperation.

I suppose there's always the option of becoming a gigolo. That seems like good work. Flexible hours, good wages, no self-respect. That last bit's a burden on me anyway.

Nancy Lebovitz said...

I don't know that it was a tear from Biden that made a difference. It looks like people found Palin to be more likable, while Biden was seen as better qualified.

If I'm not mistaken, this is what Palin said before Biden teared up:

Say it ain't so, Joe, there you go again pointing backwards again. You preferenced your whole comment with the Bush administration. Now doggone it, let's look ahead and tell Americans what we have to plan to do for them in the future. You mentioned education and I'm glad you did. I know education you are passionate about with your wife being a teacher for 30 years, and god bless her. Her reward is in heaven, right? I say, too, with education, America needs to be putting a lot more focus on that and our schools have got to be really ramped up in terms of the funding that they are deserving. Teachers needed to be paid more. I come from a house full of school teachers. My grandma was, my dad who is in the audience today, he's a schoolteacher, had been for many years. My brother, who I think is the best schoolteacher in the year, and here's a shout-out to all those third graders at Gladys Wood Elementary School, you get extra credit for watching the debate.

It jolted me a little when I heard it, then the jolt was stored in memory when Biden sounded like he was on the edge of tears. Unless I've missed something, it was a very cruel way to bring up Biden's dead wife.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, Biden is not getting enough recognition for a masterful, genuine performance. There were TWO crucial goals for him and he achieved both:

1) Link McCain policies to the Bush administration. Debunk the maverick image. There can be little doubt at this point that Bush is going down as one of the worst presidents in US history. It is just as certain that McCain does not differ enough from Bush to be a reformer in a meaningful sense. Biden was right, and devastatingly effective, in making that connection repeatedly.

2) Always attack McCain, never Palin. He kept his eyes on the real target and hammered away all night. On the one hand, this subtly demonstrated his realization that Palin was only a puppet on strings. On the other hand, he never failed to be courteous to her. This was something that women in particular picked up on, and appreciate. Overall, he was forceful, assertive, yet gentlemanly. It is no surprise that his level of approval with female voters is in the stratosphere. This may prove crucial when November comes around.

Christian H. said...

OBAMA FTW. I love that ticket. They both seem like serious men who understand we have problems that won't be solved with the same old "trickle-down" tactics.

I watched her and she seems so out-of-place it's ridiculous. I just hope that down home crap doesn't fly as we need a CHANGE.

As far as marketable skills, I have lots. I'm a SW developer now but I could go back to Mechanical Engineering. I also used to be a DJ and a rapper though the "thug" thing has made that difficult for serious hip hop musicians.

There's that serious word again. Because I have college training and a mind like a sponge I can do any job with a little study.

I think I want to be a film maker now though. I mean, hell, my first script got me a Consider as a writer.

My third may get me an assignment or maybe, in the wildest case a SALE.

Anonymous said...

Bak up skill? Right now I count other people's money for a living and I consider THAT my back up on the way to my MTF! I guess if I really needed to do something else I could fall back on doing receptionist/admin work. Not my favorite and it does feel like desperation to consider that.

Steve Perry, I need to begin attending AARP meetings so come on along! Ha!


Unknown said...

Part of my fallback in terms of marketable skills is that I've worked various types of jobs in the software industry, so, in a pinch, could do tech support, programming, testing, or tech writing (if I needed to broaden my job search). Also, I have enough German that I could do technical translation from German to English.

Anonymous said...


Pagan Topologist said...

I don't know whether I have any backup skills or not. I have known four mathematicians who, when deprived of their academic positions, took fairly menial positions, driving a delivery truck, or working at a convenience store, for example. I have to admit that being a mathematician and a teacher is so completely tied up in my sense of who and what I am that the idea of doing something else, except as a hobby, is very difficult to cope with. Come to think of it, I have also known two who became stock market analysts, and another who became a high school teacher.

Steven Barnes said...

Congrats on the script. I'll be at Orycon in November down in Portland. If you happened to be there, we could talk.
Someone commented about the "Hannibal" series and children. I would never do a series about a warrior aimed at children: you would HAVE to trivialize the impact of violence far too much. Teenagers, perhaps. But PG is as mild as I'd ever go. Prefer PG-13. It HURTS to get cut or shot or crushed. That should be shown.

Kami said...

I do killer customer service. Hand me an upset person and I can usually calm them down quickly and get down to prioritizing their wish list of things that will make them happy. I also am a mean secretary. Sometimes I think I'd like to be an executive secretary, but I'm not sure I'd be qualified. Something to work up to, maybe. Playing secretary to four techs and doing accounts receivable on the side was some of the most enjoyable work I've ever done. I like the office atmosphere. It never felt cutthroat or petty to me. People are fun to play, er, I mean work with.

Vince Moore said...

My fall back skill would be to open (or take over) a comic book shop. It is the one thing I've done the most and the next best to writing and editing comics. And, since Mike Richardson of Dark Horse Comics started as a comics retailer, it could still lead me to the places I want to go in my life.