Sometimes People You Like Can Be a Real Headache

I will never again offer input to a tech unless asked because I now know how it feels and it is infuriating. For those of you under 35 and don’t quite get the terminology I will be using, don’t worry you will still get the point of the story. Last week, a gentleman who produces a show for one of the channels run out of my office asked a favor. I’ve mentioned this guy a few months ago I believe. He’s an elderly man who has been doing his show forever, and I’ve known him for a good portion of my professional life. For the sake of the story I will call him “Moe”. Moe still refuses to upgrade to 21st century technology and for years my department has indulged him, probably too much. Recently he decided to “upgrade” to DVCPro format tape as it is increasingly difficult to find replacement parts for the 3/4 inch umatic and Beta formats he has been using for decades and he has just about cleaned us out of the junk we had in storage for those formats. DVCPro is a step up but it is still obsolete. If you’re not sure what videotape is, ask your parents or Google.

Anyways, last week Moe told me he was having issues with his editing decks and asked if we could take a look to see what the problem is. The decks work great, they just aren’t performing the edits. Unfortunately he won’t take the solution of scrapping the format altogether and getting with the times, we’ve tried until we’re blue in the face. So silly me being the sweetheart I am said sure, bring it in and I will have a look but I could not make any promises as we don’t have any manuals for the machines and any of the few remaining employees who have experience with videotape editing have not touched tape to tape editing since about 10 years at the most recent. Also, I am no engineer. Sure I’ve used tape to tape editors back in the analog days, but when a machine decides to go wonky and it’s not an obvious fix I’ve always called for one of the techs to come help. Video tech is the only position in television production that I have not held. I’ve been a production assistant, assistant director, director, producer, floor director, camera operator, on screen talent, graphics maker, set designer, lighting, editor, and even audio person but never the technician. That being said though, I have had the occasional stroke of luck getting something to work in emergencies when the tech was not readily available. I’m what I call a “monkey see, monkey do” learner and picked up a few minor tricks by watching techs do their thing which has come in handy on more than a couple productions.

Moe decides to drop in unannounced today with his machines. At first I thought he was just going to drop them off and I would get to it when I had the time. It’s not like I just sit around the station looking like a pretty piece of furniture even though sometimes I feel like it. Apparently Moe had other plans. I think he had the impression that it was going to be a quick check and repair because he started rambling on about getting it all hooked up. Tuesdays are my half days, so I really wanted to get other things done that I needed to get done. He kept insisting upon getting it checked out right then and there, so while trying to keep my cool I went about tracking down some old monitors and cables from the storage area and hoped they worked. I never did have time to track down a manual so I’m trying to connect things from memory. Back in the day, cables would have been labeled as to what connects to what but since we don’t use tape to tape we have no labeled cables. We get things hooked up finally, and while I’m trying to troubleshoot things he is next to me trying to tell me what’s what and I need to try this and that and asking me why something is not working properly still. He would not shut up and let me work on it. Since he is also a bit hard of hearing and I have to speak up a bit when talking to him and I was almost sure that someone from the office across the hall was going to come over and tell me I’m too loud. I really wanted to just grab Moe and ask him why ask me for help if he won’t let me check things over, but of course I must remain professional and polite. Looking at the time, and then remembering that his wife is still in the car (she has to drive him as he cannot anymore) after almost 2 hours, I finally told him to go and let me handle the dino machines and I will let him know what’s up when is pops in on Friday. I’m sure his wife gave him an ear full when he finally got to the car. I know I would have. I’ve always liked the guy, but sometimes he can be a real pain and I’d rather not deal with him. I’m sure we all know people like that.

After Moe left, I decided to shove the machines into a corner to work on tomorrow because I wasted enough time already. Dealing with that man soured my mood for the rest of the day. Got out of the office an hour later than I wanted to though I still managed to make it to the post office just before it closed, but my whole timing for the rest of the day I had all planned out was screwed up. Good thing I went to the bank before work.

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Black Panther

Another hit for Marvel. Their latest film “Black Panther” is a fun watch. Say what you will about superhero movies, but they are going to be sticking around for awhile and I don’t mind one bit as long as they are done well. Finally got to see this film after being a bit sick for a couple weeks in February. “Black Panther” picks up just a few weeks after the events of “Captain America: Civil War”. After the death of King T’Chaka, his son T’Challa (a.k.a. Black Panther) returns home to the technologically advanced and reclusive kingdom of Wakanda in Africa to claim the throne where he is soon challenged by forces bent on destruction and conquest. Yeah I know, destruction and conquest is pretty much a staple for most comic book villains but comic books in general have been around for at least a century so there is obviously something appealing to people about villains determined to destroy and conquer and the heroes that fight them.

I really love the action sequences, always the big highlight of any superhero film. Very well choreographed fight scenes although a couple spots look a bit videogamish (you’ll see what I mean if you watch it). T’Challa’s sister is quite reminiscent of Q from the James Bond films. The Wakandan costumes were pretty cool, inspired by actual costumes worn by the various cultures of Africa for a bit of authenticity. The visuals are as stunning as other Marvel movies, very detailed. A bit of social commentary about cultural relations in the world is interlaced into the story. The main villain could have been more properly fleshed out but I see that in most comic book based movies and I think it has to do with trying to keep the story moving. A lot easier to flesh out any character in print than it is a 2 or 3 hour movie. The story itself is good but not groundbreaking. If you like most of the superhero films Marvel has been churning out, you will like “Black Panther”. Suffice it to say, 8 out of 10

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Not How to Sell it

Lately I have been trying to find cheaper accommodations in my area. Can’t really afford to move out of state just yet still, but would like to find a cheaper place so I can try to save some money. With rising costs of auto and medical insurance and everything else it is just hard to get anywhere. I would really love to not be paycheck to paycheck. That and I really need a change in my surroundings. I feel like a flower forced to wilt in a tiny bud vase instead of blooming to my full and beautiful potential. Anyways, I’ve been perusing various websites for homes to rent periodically and so far have come up empty in regards to affordable places within a reasonable distance from where I work. Some places that would be in my price range are in not so desirable areas. I had to laugh at some listings though. When you are listing a home or apartment for rent, it does you no favors to post pictures of the property with boarded up windows and a totally unkempt. I know some people BUY fixer-uppers, but nobody rents a fixer-upper or something that looks like it’s about to fall apart. You don’t entice potential tenants if the place looks like it’s been abandoned. Not the way to sell it people.

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Saturday Surprise

Finally after a week, my car comes back to me. The cluster panel is still not 100% right but I am so done with that shop not getting stuff right the first try that I’m not going to worry about it as long as things show up right most of the time. One bright spot though which totally caught me off guard. As I get ready to pay for the new battery I had installed, the girl at the counter tells my that my battery had been paid for already by someone who wished to remain anonymous. Not sure of who would have known where I was having my car serviced, but thanks to whoever it was. I found it odd but not going to argue. I guess there is still good in the world.

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Took my car back to the shop on Jan. 20th to see about that faulty panel that was installed in my car. The guy at the repair shop told me he would have to order a new one. I kept my car until they located a new panel and kept calling every couple days for an update. Finally, after two weeks, they said they got it in and I could bring my car in to have it installed Tuesday morning. Awesome right? Yeah not real newsworthy but wait, there’s more.

Monday was going fine until I got ready to leave work. I normally leave around 4:30 or so on Mondays, before most everyone else, but this time I ended up getting ready to be on my way just after 5:00. Wouldn’t it be just my luck as I turned the key to start my car that the damned thing wouldn’t start? Of course by this time everyone else is already gone. All I wanted to do was to get out of there, grab a couple things from the store before going home, then sit myself down to a nice bowl of leftover chicken soup and chill with some classic Doctor Who on the television and unwind. But NOOOOO! After calming myself down a bit, I called the person I live with to ask if he could come to my office to give me a jump. I didn’t know what else to do really. Threw off my whole night, and my friend’s, and now I need a new car battery just to add to things I really don’t need on my plate right now.

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I once thought I had a future. How is that for a joke? The whole universe laughs.

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