Toronto Meetup

Here we go again!

We have such a stellar bunch of people coming up for Call for Help next week we really thought we should do a meetup.

Tuesday, October 3, we’ll be recording Inside the Net live from the downstairs dining room at No Regrets in Liberty Village, T.O. The festivities and no-host food and drink start at 6:30p. Come by to meet:

and I bet we can talk some other Call for Helpers into stopping by.

RSVP at Upcoming.org – you’ll find directions and maps there, too. See you there!

The New Sofa-Free Call for Help

I’m in the Burbank airport waiting for a 7am flight back home. I’ll have a day with the family (minus the radio show) then it’s off to Toronto tomorrow for our third week of taping – our third month of shows – for the new Call for Help.
MonicaThe new show is going through some changes, which always happens as you work out the kinks. Monica, my wonderful co-host, has decided that she can’t keep up with the grueling schedule. She kept her job in promotions at Rogers/Omni and doing both that and the TV show was just too much for her. She has opted to keep her day job and spend less time on the TV show. We plan to continue to use her from time to time as a field reporter. I know it seems strange to most people that someone would choose a role behind the cameras rather than in front. It’s never easy to know what you want to do in life, and when someone really is clear about that I totally respect their decision. We’ll miss Monica’s happy presence on the set but we’re glad she’s doing what makes her happiest.

Amber MacArthurFortunately our Web Workshop expert, Amber MacArthur, is willing to step up and take the role of co-host. Amber is an experienced TV host who has worked on the CBC, and in San Francisco for KQED. She’s also an accomplished web designer who has been consulting with Microsoft and other companies on usability and design. And she’s a Mac geek. Andy and I are thrilled to have her join the team.

We’re also working on dumping the red couch. That’s one departure that won’t be mourned. I know we all look uncomfortable sitting on those dang couches. We are. We’re looking for something to replace them. My preference is for high stools and a round table – kind of like a café, but we’ll see what the set designers come up with.

Every show is an evolutionary process. And despite the same old name and the same old host, Call for Help really is a new show. I think it’s a great show already, but we’re still perfecting it – and we have a long way to go. I really want to get a Wired World Challenge style game show up and running, for example, but it’s tough with the limited staff available. As the show, and staff, grows, there will be lots of things we can add to make it even better.

Meanwhile, thanks to our Canadian fans for your support. And to my friends in the US, patience. We’re working hard to find a US home for the show. I’ll let you know as soon as we get some idea of where there’s interest. (I think G4 is probably out – they seem to be headed in a totally different direction.) And to my other International friends – we’re not forgetting you. My plans for global domination have received a tiny setback, but I am not giving up. Today Toronto, tomorrow Dubai, and Sydney, and Nassau, and…

Quicksilver

Patrick and I are having a blast, as usual, meeting fans at the Lenox Square Mall in Atlanta. We stayed four hours signing autographs with Michaela Pereira. I’m told we met 273 people. We usually get to more but we took our time today. We’ll have to work a little faster tomorrow; we both have planes to catch so we’ll be leaving at 3p sharp. Come early – they’ll probably cut off the line by 2pm.
I needed a little escapism after watching the Giants season end so suddenly this afternoon. Fortunately, Patrick and I had picked up copies of Neal Stephenson’s newest book, Quicksilver, at the airport bookstore. We were both big fans of Snow Crash and Stephenson’s last, Cryptonomicon, and couldn’t wait to get our hands on this one.

It’s very good, but very different from Neal’s previous works. It’s definitely not sci-fi. So far it takes place in the time span between 1655 and 1713 and deals with the birth of modern science. We meet Ben Franklin and Isaac Newton as children and see the earliest days of the “Massachusetts Bay Colony Institute of Technologickal Arts,” already home to investigations of computing machinery and far in advance of its neighbor, Harvard College, whose dons are still stuck in the scholasticism of the Dark Ages. We also meet the author of the original Cryptonomicon. But that’s only in the first hundred or so pages. I’ve still got 800 pages to go, and it’s just the first book in the three-volume “Baroque Cycle,” so who knows where we’ll end up. So far it’s a great read, though, and best of all… there wasn’t any baseball in the 18th century.

Coups de Martin

Huzzah! Martin Sargent here. I’ve taken over Leo’s Web log. His goose is cooked. This is just the beginning, too. I plan to swipe his entire tech empire from his weak, clammy hands. Leoville? Soon to be Martinville. Call for Help? Soon to be Rap with Martin. The Screen Savers—uh oh, here comes Leo. I’ve gotta split.