Monday, April 20, 2009

Obnoxiously Long Meme (Oscars)

Here's a list of all the films ever nominated for best picture. I've seen 97 of 'em.

1928- The Racket, 7th Heaven, Wings

1929- Alibi, In Old Arizona, The Broadway Melody, Hollywood Revue, The Patriot

1930- All Quiet on the Western Front, The Big House, Disraeli, The Divorcee, The Love Parade

1931- Cimarron, East Lynne, The Front Page, Skippy, Trader Horn

1932- Arrowsmith, Bad Girl, The Champ, Five Star Final, Grand Hotel, One Hour with You, Shanghai Express, The Smiling Lieutenant

1933- Cavalcade, A Farewell to Arms, 42nd Street, I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang, Lady for a Day, Little Women, The Private Life of Henry VIII, She Done Him Wrong, Smilin' Through, State Fair

1934- The Barretts of Wimpole Street, Cleopatra, Flirtation Walk, The Gay Divorcee, Here Comes the Navy, The House of Rothschild, Imitation of Life, It Happened One Night, One Night of Love, The Thin Man, Viva Villa!, The White Parade

1935- Alice Adams, Broadway Melody of 1936, Captain Blood, David Copperfield, The Informer, Les Miserables, The Lives of a Bengal Lancer, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Mutiny on the Bounty, Naughty Marietta, Ruggles of Red Gap, Top Hat

1936- Anthony Adverse, Dodsworth, The Great Ziegfeld, Libeled Lady, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, Romeo and Juliet, San Francisco, The Story of Louis Pasteur, A Tale of Two Cities, Three Smart Girls

1937- The Awful Truth, Captains Courageous, Dead End, The Good Earth, In Old Chicago, The Life of Emile Zola, Lost Horizon, One Hundred Men and a Girl, Stage Door, A Star Is Born

1938- The Adventures of Robin Hood, Alexander's Ragtime Band, Boys Town, The Citadel, Four Daughters, Grand Illusion, Jezebel, Pygmalion, Test Pilot, You Can't Take It with You

1939- Gone With The Wind, Dark Victory, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, Love Affair, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Ninotchka, Of Mice and Men, Stagecoach, The Wizard of Oz, Wuthering Heights

1940- Rebecca, All This and Heaven Too, The Foreign Correspondent, The Grapes of Wrath, The Great Dictator, Kitty Foyle, The Letter, The Long Voyage Home, Our Town, The Philadelphia Story

1941- How Green Was My Valley, Blossom in the Dust, Citizen Kane, Here Comes Mr. Jordan, Hold Back the Dawn, The Little Foxes, The Maltese Falcon, One Foot in Heaven, Sergeant York, Suspicion

1942- Mrs. Miniver , 49th Parallel, Kings Row, The Magnificent Ambersons, The Pied Piper, The Pride of the Yankees, Random Harvest, The Talk of the Town, Wake Island, Yankee Doodle Dandy

1943- Casablanca, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Heaven Can Wait, The Human Comedy, In Which We Serve, Madame Curie, The More the Merrier, The Ox-Bow Incident, The Song of Bernadette, Watch on the Rhine

1944- Going My Way, Double Indemnity, Gaslight, Since You Went Away, Wilson

1945- The Lost Weekend, Anchors Aweigh, The Bells of St. Mary's, Mildred Pierce, Spellbound

1946- The Best Years of Our Lives, The Chronicle History of King Henry the Fift with His Battell Fought at Agincourt in France (Henry V), It's a Wonderful Life, The Razor's Edge, The Yearling

1947- Gentleman's Agreement, The Bishop's Wife, Crossfire, Great Expectations, Miracle on 34th Street

1948- Hamlet, Johnny Belinda, The Red Shoes, The Snake Pit, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

1949- All the King's Men, Battleground, The Heiress, A Letter to Three Wives, Twelve O'Clock High

1950- All About Eve, Born Yesterday, Father of the Bride, King Solomon's Mines,
Sunset Blvd

1951- An American in Paris, Decision Before Dawn, A Place in the Sun*, Quo Vadis, A Streetcar Named Desire

1952- The Greatest Show on Earth, High Noon, Ivanhoe, Moulin Rouge, The Quiet Man

1953- From Here to Eternity, Julius Caesar, The Robe, Roman Holiday, Shane

1954- On the Waterfront, The Caine Mutiny, The Country Girl, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Three Coins in the Fountain

1955- Marty, Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing, Mister Roberts, Picnic, The Rose Tattoo

1956- Around the World in Eighty Days, Friendly Persuasion, Giant, The King and I, The Ten Commandments

1957- The Bridge on the River Kwai, 12 Angry Men, Peyton Place, Sayonara, Witness for the Prosecution

1958- Gigi, Auntie Mame, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Defiant Ones, Separate Tables

1959- Ben-Hur, Anatomy of a Murder, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Nun's Story, Room at the Top

1960- The Apartment, The Alamo, Elmer Gantry, Sons and Lovers, The Sundowners

1961- West Side Story, Fanny, The Guns of Navarone, The Hustler, Judgment at Nuremberg

1962- Lawrence of Arabia, The Longest Day, The Music Man, Mutiny on the Bounty, To Kill a Mockingbird

1963- Tom Jones, America, America, Cleopatra, How the West Was Won, Lilies of the Field

1964- My Fair Lady, Alexis Zorbas, Becket, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, Mary Poppins

1965- The Sound of Music, Darling, Doctor Zhivago , Ship of Fools, A Thousand Clowns

1966- A Man for All Seasons, Alfie, The Russians Are Coming the Russians Are Coming, The Sand Pebbles, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

1967- In the Heat of the Night, Bonnie and Clyde, Doctor Dolittle, The Graduate, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

1968- Oliver!, Funny Girl, The Lion in Winter, Rachel, Rachel, Romeo and Juliet

1969- Midnight Cowboy, Anne of the Thousand Days, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Hello, Dolly! , Z

1970- Patton, Airport, Five Easy Pieces, Love Story, MASH

1971- The French Connection, A Clockwork Orange, Fiddler on the Roof, The Last Picture Show, Nicholas and Alexandra

1972- The Godfather, Cabaret, Deliverance, Sounder, The Emigrants

1973- The Sting, American Graffiti, The Exorcist, A Touch of Class, Cries and Whispers

1974- The Godfather: Part II, Chinatown, The Conversation, Lenny, The Towering Inferno

1975- One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Barry Lyndon, Dog Day Afternoon, Jaws, Nashville

1976- Rocky, All The President's Men, Bound for Glory, Network, Taxi Driver

1977- Annie Hall, The Goodbye Girl, Julia, Star Wars, The Turning Point

1978- The Deer Hunter, Coming Home, Heaven Can Wait, Midnight, An Unmarried Woman

1979- Kramer vs. Kramer, All That Jazz, Apocalypse Now, Breaking Away, Norma Rae

1980. Ordinary People, Coal Miner’s Daughter, The Elephant Man, Raging Bull, Tess

1981. Chariots of Fire, Reds, Atlantic City, On Golden Pond, Raiders of the Lost Ark

1982. Gandhi, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Missing, Tootsie, The Verdict

1983. Terms of Endearment, The Big Chill, The Dresser, The Right Stuff, Tender Mercies

1984. Amadeus, The Killing Fields, A Passage to India, Places in the Heart, A Soldier’s Story

1985. Out of Africa, The Color Purple, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Prizzi’s Honor, Witness

1986. Platoon, Children of a Lesser God, Hannah and Her Sisters, The Mission, A Room with a View

1987. The Last Emperor, Broadcast News, Fatal Attraction, Hope and Glory, Moonstruck

1988. Rain Man, The Accidental Tourist, Dangerous Liaisons, Mississippi Burning, Working Girl

1989. Driving Miss Daisy, Born on the Fourth of July, Dead Poets Society, Field of Dreams, My Left Foot

1990. Dances with Wolves, Awakenings, Ghost, The Godfather Part III, Goodfellas

1991. The Silence of the Lambs, Beauty and the Beast, Bugsy, JFK, The Prince of Tides

1992. Unforgiven, The Crying Game, A Few Good Men, Howards End, Scent of a Woman

1993. Schindler’s List, The Fugitive, In the Name of the Father, The Piano, The Remains of the Day

1994. Forrest Gump, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Pulp Fiction, Quiz Show, The Shawshank Redemption

1995. Braveheart, Apollo 13, Babe, Il Postino (The Postman), Sense and Sensibility

1996. The English Patient, Fargo, Jerry Maguire, Secrets & Lies, Shine

1997. Titanic, As Good as It Gets, The Full Monty, Good Will Hunting, L.A. Confidential

1998. Shakespeare in Love, Elizabeth, Life Is Beautiful (La vita รจ bella), Saving Private Ryan, The Thin Red Line

1999. American Beauty, The Cider House Rules, The Green Mile, The Insider, The Sixth Sense

2000. Gladiator, Chocolat, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Erin Brockovich, Traffic

2001. A Beautiful Mind, Gosford Park, In the Bedroom, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Moulin Rouge!

2002. Chicago, Gangs of New York, The Hours, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The Pianist

2003. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Lost in Translation, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Mystic River, Seabiscuit

2004. Million Dollar Baby, The Aviator, Finding Neverland, Ray, Sideways

2005. Crash, Brokeback Mountain, Capote, Good Night and Good Luck, Munich

2006. The Departed, Babel, Letters from Iwo Jima, Little Miss Sunshine, The Queen

2007. No Country for Old Men, Atonement, Juno, Michael Clayton, There Will Be Blood

2008. Slumdog Millionaire, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, Milk, The Reader



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Sunday, April 19, 2009

So That Happened

This weekend was a real pisser. A lot of good stuff happened too but mostly it was just one kick in the pants after another. I realized something while I was home today recovering. Three friends of mine stuck it out at a very long, drawn out event that they didn't really have to be at. And not only that but they went way out of their way to help me out.

These guys drove all over the North Country to pick stuff up for me. They worked like dogs to get my sound system set up. They prayed for me when I was about to throw up from the stress of working a big, fupped duck gig and having my newborn baby in the hospital at the same time. They worked the kinks out of my neck. They poured me drinks and sat up late with me. They refused to let me pay for dinner.

Mack, Anth, Amanda... You guys are the real deal. There aren't words to describe it. I'd walk on razor blades for you. Because church events are nice, and theology is all good, but people who love God and their neighbor for real burn so brightly that they make everything else look like a dingy photograph.



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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Changin' It Up Again

Things at work are starting to look a little dire. Management is... well... let's not talk about management. The thing that worries me is that yet another rat is about to jump ship and I'll likely be the one to get his duties dumped on me. I'm not the least bit interested in that. But, there's no better time to look for a job than when you're still employed. I'm just biding my time to see what comes down the pike.

I've been peeking around the pro audio scene to see what might come up. Nothing has been offered yet but it looks like a short tour and a pretty sweet festival stage could possibly be in the works. From there it's just a matter of networking. Not that I'm super excited about becoming self employed again, but if those types of gigs start coming along it could be a pretty sweet existence.

Mostly though I'm just praying and waiting. Anybody who was reading me back toward the end of the summer will remember how I was desperately praying for a new job in August and got hired at my current position on September 16. Yay God! It's that kind of thing that is making me go into this with very little worry about the mortgage, health insurance and all that other stuff. God knows my family needs to eat and go to the doctor and whatnot. He also knows I'd be a much happier guy if I was mixing for a living.

I haven't been thinking about this seriously for very long. I've been praying seriously about it for an even shorter time. The thing that keeps popping into my head is "July". You heard it here first. Stay tuned and see what shakes out.



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Friday, April 10, 2009

Old Timers

I read a post over at Irish Gumbo by cIII from Goat and Tater today about an old timer he remembered from his childhood. It got me to remembering one from my own. Not my Grandfather, who is far and away the most prominent in the pantheon of old timers in my book. And not our old plumber George who is responsible for about 90% of the geezer-isms that I collect. My thoughts turn tonight toward an old farmer I worked a couple summers for. A man affectionately referred to as, "The Boss".

The Boss was a wizened old farmer type, as twisted and dried up as an old corn stalk and twice as tough. He held a particular charm in that he had lost an arm at the elbow in a corn picker years back and wore a prosthetic in its place. My best friend at the time and I were too old to be freaked out, even when he wore the one that had a hay hook on the end. Most of the time he wore the one with pincers and every so often you'd see him in his best coat with his Sunday Go To Meetin' hand on, the one that really looked like a hand. (He gave me his old Sunday Go To Meetin hand, we used to slam it in the hatch back of my Chevette and one guy would work the cables while the rest peed their pants at the looks on passing motorists faces.)

There really wasn't that much that was charming about him though. He worked us like dogs. We'd hay for him after school until the sun went down and when the hay was all in there was plenty else to do. I learned how to drive a tractor and how to fix one. I learned how stupid and skittish cows really are and how to get them in and out of a barn. Mostly what I remember learning was was tough really was. (Funny side note: he had a silo that was continuously on fire. It was one of the air tight glass lined jobs and it caught from too much moisture making the silage self ignite in the bottom. Everything they did just made it worse so they sealed it back up and just let it simmer. The outside of it was a constant 200 degrees Fahrenheit for years.)

When we took a break he'd sit us down at the picnic table in the shade of an ancient maple tree and bring us instant coffee in plastic mugs. We'd sit and he'd start in on spinning yarns whether we wanted him to or not. He'd tell us about how he used to run a garage when he was young. I never saw a photo but I can clearly picture him as a young man with a head of hair, slick with grease in a blue coverall, grinning in front of a lift with a wrench in his hand.

Mostly though he'd talk about farm life. A few good times but mostly hard times. Simple logic would make one think that the people who grow our food would do all right, but that's far from the case. He talked about failed crops, broken machinery, sick cows, sick kids, bad loans, lost land, lightning strikes, fires, and a million other tragedies.

I won't bore you with all the details. They're just details. They're probably totally meaningless to anyone and really not all that meaningful to me. But those stories are just one more of the things that make me feel tied to this place. Every time my mind roams over the hills to the South they linger on a little farm. A little forty head dairy barn whose old beams watched a man live and toil and die, working the land and scraping by. People talk about Americana. Chevy commercials churn it out in stylized thirty second chunks. I actually worked there for two summers. I heard the stories of that little parcel that every once in a while will creep up from the depths of my mind like August heat rising from a field of Timothy hay.

Some kids grow up in the city and the concrete and steel become a part of who they are. Some kids grow up in the country and spend all their time trying to be like the city kids, slick and hard. There's absolutely no escape, no real departure from the location that made you. That's how you end up with Black No. 1 goths with studded faces that unconsciously lip synch to Sweet Home Alabama (they still know all the words, of course). And that's how you end up with me, the ever running, ever technical sound guy slash electrician who still stops once in a while and thinks back to what an old timer taught him about Jersey cows and alfalfa and hard work.

God rest ya, Boss. And thanks.



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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Why Must I Be In Charge?

Ugh. Why is it that no matter where I go I get nominated to be in charge? Can't I just go to work, do some work and go home? WTF?!

Mere moments after completing a remodeling project that took five of the six months of my current employment as a maintenance mechanic at the hospital I got made the liaison between the hospital and (at last count) five companies taking care of various elements of a whopping great project on our other building.

Back in 2000 the two hospitals in town merged and started operating mostly at our North St facility. The Bank St building had a big do-up to house a lot of out patient stuff, and there's a drug rehabilitation facility on the second floor, but the other five floors are basically a shit mess. Soooooooo, in comes the cavalry to abate all the asbestos, turn the top four floors into senior living apartments and rehab the second floor. Without disturbing (too much) the current inhabitants.

This is my headache for at least the next six months. And that's just the first two floors! That's just to get all the asbestos out, patch, paint, get the druggies re-situated and leave the first floor still a hulking wreck. The developer for the top four floors hasn't even gotten started yet. That'll be another architect firm, another general contractor, and half a dozen trades companies.

At least I'm far away from my bosses and only have to speak to them occasionally. The only discernable benefit of working with all these companies is that they're really good at what they do. I like working with people who are good at what they do.

And I'm very nearly over (probably not) the fact that the hospital has secured for themselves a full blown (I have my own company cell phone!) project manager at mechanic's rate. Yeah, the guy juggling all this crap is making the exact same as the dude changing light bulbs. At least it's a resume builder. I may not even make out an actual resume (because my ass is definately in the market for a new job) I may just submit a piece of paper that says this on it:

Hire me, because everywhere else I've worked they have decided to put me in charge of stuff after the first twenty minutes.

I'm really going to try and bite my tongue about all this. I could easily fill a page with bile on a nightly basis. I was ready to punch my one boss in his fat, stupid mouth the other day. Oh! Funny story about that. I was walking down the deserted first floor hall at Bank St (the one about to be torn apart), bitching to a couple guys about punching my boss in the mouth. This floor is deserted. Not even the ghost goes there. And after shooting my big fat mouth off the whole length of the hallway and punching the elevator button who should come strolling out of a room at the other end? The CEO. That is seriously fupped duck. He likes me though so I'm pretty sure it won't mean my job or anything. There is cause to worry slightly though. The other day said boss encouraged a guy to say what was bothering him and when the guy exploded about what a shit mess our department is the boss wrote him up for bad attitude.

Done writing. Picture your humble host with a very Ward Cleaver expression on his face as he says to you, "I'm going to get intoxicated now."



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Sunday, April 05, 2009

Solar Project

We do a lot of things the Crunchy Granola way at our house. It's not so much that we're a bunch of tree hugging hippies but that we're professional cheapskates. As it turns out, buying local produce and meat is super affordable and the fact that it's way healthier for your is a nice bonus. So we've got freezers full of free range, organic meat; bags and bags of locally grown, organic produce; and a host of other goodies that save the planet and the pocket book.

All of this is in pursuit of lowering the bottom line. With The Missus staying home with the Short People bringing home the bacon falls on me. We're still a two income family, I just happen to be both of those incomes. So we've done a lot of things like replace most of our lights with compact fluorescent bulbs, significantly lowered our thermostat, and even gone as far as to make the majority of our food on site. Now we're looking for additional ways to cut back.

Getting "off the grid" is often associated with the type of folks you find living in desert compounds with large stocks of automatic weapons and possibly an affinity for Kool Aid. That's not us, we're just pinching pennies. We're definitely not at the point of trying to power the whole house with wind or solar, it's just not economical. But with a few windfalls and the available (cheap) technology I'm thinking I might be able to get a partial solution going.

Working at the hospital I come across all sorts of gear that's getting thrown out because the law mandates it. Of particular interest are the UPS systems that back up critical gear in the event of a power outage. Most are tiny little things that are just meant to run a computer for a few minutes until the generator kicks in but some of them run machines that are the size of a Volkswagon. So now I'm at the point of saving $300 to $500 on an expensive controller and inverter because I'm actually doing the hospital a favor and saving them the disposal fee.

The problem with most alternative energy solutions for homes is that they just cost too darn much. It's an economy of scale issue as well. Taking one small load off the grid can easily cost hundreds of dollars. Dollars that you will never make back in savings before the equipment ages out. Doing a larger project makes the ratios more favorable but you're still just a hobbyist playing around with batteries and expensive electronics and not a frugal homeowner saving money. Free stuff put me ahead in the game, scrounging is what it takes at this point in the evolution of alternative energy.

So... now that I've got a self contained box that is ready, willing and able to run the entire second floor of my house all I need is a method to charge the batteries and some switching and monitoring equipment. Anyone looking for the technical jargon has probably already clicked on to something else by now but here I go anyway. The following is not something that you want to undertake unless you have a very good understanding of both AC and DC power. If you don't and you still feel like tinkering you should invite an electrician and an auto mechanic over for a barbecue and get the free advice going that way.

I'm going to start by disabling the circuit that charges the battery bank from utility power. I'm going to substitute a small solar panel and charging circuit. That will have to be purchased and it looks like about $150. With the UPS installed in the basement and the charger hooked up I can then route the AC output to the circuit that runs my second floor.

Side note: most modern homes would have a separate circuit for each room and likely a general lighting circuit for a similar area. My home was re-wired in the 1970s when there wasn't so much electrical draw, a light and a couple outlets to run very light loads were all that was expected. A single twenty amp circuit covers three bedrooms, a hallway and a bathroom and never trips because the load for that area is still very low. (Unless someone is running the hair dryer) This makes it an easy way to take a large area of my house off the grid as an experiment, one circuit, one wire, small load.

Back to the action. With just those three things done I'll be ready to manually switch over to making AC power from the batteries and feeding it to all my second floor lights and outlets. The UPS is designed for a large load over a short time. Using it for a small load over a long time will make much better use of the batteries. A few lights and alarm clocks, the odd humidifier or music device, that's it. I'll have to do some load testing to find out how long I can go and that will involve simply spending some time switching and watching.

The next step will be to make it automatic. If the batteries finally get tired in the middle of the night and our alarm clocks all go dead it's going to close down the operation in a hurry. Same goes if The Missus plugs in the hair dryer and draws down the batteries quickly. The solution is automatic switching back to utility power. A simple three-way switch is all it will take for manual change over so to automate things will take a relay.

The UPS already has a battery monitoring circuit. If I'm able to tap in to that, I can use it to signal the relay to trip when the batteries are tired and the solar charger can do it's thing. When the batteries are full, it can automatically switch back. If that's not possible I can build a circuit very cheaply that will do the job. Total cost for this part I estimate to be under $50 including the relay. There are a lot of variables involved here though. How fast will the batteries run down and how fast can they be recharged.

It may be that I can run all night and charge all day and have that load disappear completely from my electric bill. It could also easily be that it will take a week of sunny days to keep the bedrooms lit for a single evening. If that's the case then more batteries and larger chargers will be in order. If that's the case then the challenge will be to look for other crafty ways to recharge.

A small wind turbine would work day and night, but they're even more expensive per watt than solar chargers. I'll likely be looking into DIY versions though. Water flow meters generate a small current from water passing through pipes. One of those just after the water meter would make a small amount of current every time we ran a faucet or a load of wash. Again though, it's a case of wanting to be a frugal homeowner and not a hobbyist playing with expensive gadgets.

This has gotten pretty wordy but it was mostly to help me map out the project. Once I start to actually get this stuff installed I'll be posting more articles, hopefully more concise, as I iron out the kinks and hopefully pinch some pennies.



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Saturday, April 04, 2009

This Is Only A Test

Yesterday at lunch the Big Boss asked myself and the other electrician if we would head over and support the drug rehabilitation clinic folks during an emergency preparedness drill. Sure, we said... whatever the hell that means.

We went over there and watched the nurses line them all up and evacuate them. Six minutes till the all clear, not bad. Then I got an interesting phone call. It was the Big Big Boss telling me to go meet with the Disaster Assessment Team and tell them what the situation was. He then related to me how the imaginary situation included a floor collapse, burst waterlines, severed electrical lines, but no fire at that time.

So we met up with the lady in the area where the pretend incident had taken place and began relaying the "situation" over our radios. It started getting really good when we were asked about investigating the possibility of shutting off a water main. My cohort asked the disaster lady if he could throw a wrench in the works to which she just grinned and nodded.

We could hear the irritation coming back in the radio responses as we told them that the utilities area in the basement was inaccessible. We were also having radio reception problems (just like a real emergency!). For every new twist and turn that we thought up we'd pause and sort out how we, ourselves, would deal with it and toss that information into the mix. This was intensely amusing for me in particular because while I have been through two actual emergencies at the hospital, this was my first drill.

We wound up pretending to partially shut down the electrical system from an auxiliary switching station and getting a pretend DPW crew to turn off the water at the street. This lead to more theorizing about how to keep the steam boilers from exploding due to a lack of supply. After most of the afternoon went by in a post game wrap-up meeting the maintenance crew realized that even those who have been there for two decades don't really have a good understanding of all the stuff that in some cases has been going into these buildings for nearly one hundred hears.

Anyway, said all that to say this: If you ever wind up living through an emergency, have patience for the people dealing with it. Because no matter how many drills have been done, no matter how many manuals have been written, it's still just men and women on the ground figuring it out as they go along.



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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Pro Audio Here I Come?

I've been furtively wishing for about a month for some way to pursue a career in pro audio and yet not have my family starve to death in the street. Most guys that do it spend their mid-twenties honing their skills and developing contacts that lead to tours and the like. I spent that era of my life doing little shows in my home town and making babies. Not that I'm the least bit dissatisfied with how that played out, but I'm a little bit off the beaten path as far as advancing my career.

If I were to get a touring career going it could easily keep the family afloat. It has the sizable downside though of the feast-or-famine element. It's not so bad to think about being gone for six weeks at a stretch, but being gone for 300 days out of the year is probably a bit much for the Short People. Be home and starve or be gone and pay off the mortgage. It's a tough one.

After a little prayer a couple things (in typical fashion) have dropped into my lap. One is the Cornerstone festival. Last year I got an offer to work on one of the better independent stages there. It's pretty much the who's who of Christian music and a guy who gave away 1000 business cards could conceivably quit his day job shortly thereafter.

The other thing started off innocently enough, with a band asking me to guest engineer at a club. I made a favorable impression and the owner shortly asked me to cover a date for the house guy. That didn't work out, but after a second time mixing there and the house guy getting an unexpected promotion at his day job, I've suddenly been offered about as much work as I care to take. Small pay, but much easier in that I don't have to haul all my gear in. I just show up and mix. Despite being a small club they host national acts fairly regularly. This could be real good for a certain small town sound guy. It's already lead to one really good industry contact.

The thought of being on the road most of the time would be a lot easier to deal with if I was still twenty-five and living with my folks. The current situation with the mortgage and the Shorties who need lots of daddy-type attention makes things a little trickier. I'm not hanging my hopes on anything yet, but the daydream of getting phone calls to go do big bucks one offs for famous people is starting to take shape in the ol' noggin.

As with anything, God provides. He knows the deepest desires of my heart and has provided for their satisfaction in ways far better than I could ever imagine. If there's a way to do sound for a living and keep my peeps happy, I'm sure to find it.



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