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sat 23 mar 02

good night, irene.

spiked: epidemic of fear.

cnn reports on our fires. a long way away from me; perhaps wood s lot might get some pics, as he's touring southern n.m. ...

some random shots i took around santa fe today. first time using 'snapgallery.' good shot of someone's dream date ...

it's a-gonna be a tough fire season.

new mexico's burning again. local channels are doing coverage of the 'kokopelli' fire down near ruidoso, in alto, new mexico. at 4, eight homes were gone. at 5, 30. we have 35 mph winds gusting to 60 all over new mexico right now.

reuters: link between the hijackers and anthrax? i don't buy it. the return addresses, and the supposed mailing locations point to an individual who knew the central new jersey area well. i've seen no evidence of that, yet.

well, i've got other things to do today. great memories. it was a load of hard work, but it was a lot of fun, too. people asked for me by name, because in five years of doing what was then the 'new world' of video graphics (vs. slides), i never once had a presentation go down. not once. that was bankable in the late 80's/early 90's. when the industry tried to save money (when powerpoint began to strangle us) and transitioned to macromedia director, i could no longer guarantee a flawless performance. the quality and reliability went way down. damn thing couldn't even do a proper dissolve, much less give me 24 bit color with an 8-bit alpha for real-time effects. that's when i made a dash for the 'net. i should have switched over to broadcast and learned paintbox. and don't even talk to me about powerpoint. give me my old 33mhz with tvl boards, and i could still run circles around anything you could do on powerpoint today.

we usually had a comedian on site, to operate our live animation character, 'roscoe.' when you're working long, brutal, thankless hours ... a comedian is a godsend.

hotel a/v technicians, and 'local sound engineers', are legendary in the industry for their sheer lack of brilliance. pocket protectors, tape on the bridge of the glasses, a crowbar required to extricate them from their newspaper and coffee. wireless mics that pick up emergency band broadcasts. projectors without bulbs. podiums with microphones, but missing all cabling. oh, the best. local spotlight operators who couldn't hit the space shuttle from three feet away, but winging the contraption around so wildly that you worry that you should have taken out insurance for the audience ...

or, there was the time in philly. ballrooms are always kept cold, but this one was particularly brutal. the entire crew was rehearsing, and it was late. about 2 in the morning. a couple of us went out and raided the hotel's stock of blankets (we ranged freely throughout whatever hotels we were producing a show in; not even the kitchens were safe). we gratefully wrapped ourselves from head to toe in blankets, as the production coordinator worked onstage with the speakers to get their presentations just right. we're all hooked up by wired headsets, so backstage can talk to the control booth at the back of the seating area. suddenly, a voice croaks: "the return of the blanket people" ... we all start losing it. later on, at about 4 a.m., someone starts singing the traveling wilbury's "at the end of the line" ... the most dismal, horrific, tomb voices join in a dischordant harmony ... the show was to start at 8 a.m. the next morning. we had two hours of disturbed sleep ... in our work spots. i used bubblewrap, others built tents and sleeping bags out of duvateen and duct tape.

i remember teleprompting one gig; the planners had forgotten i needed a certain amount of space to set up computers. so they stuck me in an in-the-wall bar area. hot and cold running prompters? no way. i had whiskey, gin and club soda on tap ... michelob ... i wasn't the most reliable prompter for that show ...

meg's conference post (linked yesterday) is still dredging up memories of many, many conferences/meetings/shows. i still remember that time we tried completely random speaker support. we created a set of visuals that we figured covered everywhere the discussion could possibly go ... programmed on two pc's, four monitors (2 computer monitors, 2 video out sony trinitrons), two barco video projectors aligned on the screen for extra brightness ... and pounds of sweat, as i tried to keep up with the speaker and audience. i had a 'panic' visual ("knowledge," on a nice background. don't laugh. that what all presentations are about, anyway.), and a live video cam that i could dump to, but i was right on for the presentation. nearly killed me. the speaker was an adept ad-libber, thankfully, and between the two of us (him on stage, me backstage) we pulled off one hell of a presentation. nobody ever truly appreciated the effort, however.

nice. warm. sunny. cloudless. azure. you get the idea.