What a Way to Start the Week

Some days are just not worth getting out of bed for. Over the weekend, had a bit of an ice storm that knocked power out in some areas. Many traffic lights out. All traffic lights are supposed to be treated as stops when they are not working. I’m on my way to work, driving very carefully and keeping my eye out for jackasses on the road. I pass by some of the toughest intersections on my route, some of which are dangerous even when the lights are working. I get to the road I need to make a left turn onto to get to the street my office is on. I stop like I’m supposed to and wait for the cross traffic to stop. Cross traffic stops which means my turn to cross. As I am crossing the intersection, this one guy decides to proceed before I am even clear and slams into me. Luckily nothing major but we both go into the gas station parking lot and look over our cars. My car only had a bit of paint rub and the bit of paint being held on by the rust around my gas tank area fell off. Hey, it’s a 15 year old car and I’m poor. The man who hit me doesn’t even come over to see if I’m okay and when I went over to him, he did not even apologize and barely looked at me. There was hardly any damage to his car either but he called the cops anyways so I stuck around. When the police came, did the customary things one does in these situations as well as tell the officer my side of things. The guy was trying to make it out like I was in the wrong. I hope karma bit him good and gave him a ticket. What an asshole!

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Fish Tale

About two weeks ago, a coworker asked if I would watch her young daughter’s goldfish while the family went on vacation. I said okay, not a big deal it’s only a fish. A couple days later, coworker brings the goldfish into the office. She had the poor thing in a ziploc bag in a flower vase. I did not realize until the end of the day after she had left that the ziploc bag was sealed! In her defense though, this woman has never owned a pet in her life. The fish was looking a bit lethargic. I opened the bag hoping that it was not too late. I’m thinking this woman just killed the fish she wanted me to look after. I tried transferring the bag with water into a slightly larger vase so the little dear would have some swim room. Then of course it began to lay on its side. Just great! After a few minutes it started to right itself and looked like it might be on the mend.

Took it home with me and sat it on the kitchen counter then went to buy some much needed shoes. Returned a few hours later to find that Mr. Flippers had croaked. Called coworker to break the bad news. Although it was technically her fault, I offered to get her a new one so that her daughter would never know. When coworker came back, I went and got a new fish that looked very close to the original. The child is only 6, she’s not going to notice every minute detail. On the way to work, had the fish in the vase between my legs. Had no issues whatsoever until I got into the parking lot at work and then of course hit a couple bumps causing some water to splash and cause me to look as if I peed myself. For future reference, never drive with a fish bowl between your legs.

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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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Send in the Clones

Cloning has come a long way since Dolly the sheep. I recently watched a news magazine program where they had a segment about a rich guy down in South America who developed a herd of horses cloned from his prized champion polo horse. We should be doing this for endangered animals. We just lost the white rhino and we will be losing many more species in the next few decades. Some people will argue that we shouldn’t mess with nature or “play god”, but aren’t we doing that anyways by hunting certain animals to extinction? I am all for hunting, I come from a family of hunters and fishermen, but killing animals just for the sake of killing them and driving them to extinction is just plain wrong and causes an imbalance in the ecosystem. Maybe cloning can restore the balance.

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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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Just A Thought About the Environment

I’m sure I’m not the first person to think about this, but I got to thinking recently while dodging car swallowing potholes all winter about an alternative patching solution for roads. Could someone possibly come up with a way to recycle all of that plastic trash in the oceans and landfills and use it for roads or patching for bad roads? Something needs to be done with all that plastic and styrofoam that will be around for at least a thousand years and something needs to be done about the roads, especially here in Michigan where we have the worst roads in the country. Cities currently use cheap asphalt filler that only lasts about a week before the pothole reappears. I would like to see someone experiment with this idea.

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