|Tuesday, January 17th, 2006|
9:33a - My Three Day Weekend, Part the First
I'm sitting here trying to snap out of this fog. I'm hoping that it's just a case of a sluggish morning, but I fear that I'm coming down with something. Damn it.
Not that I'm too worried about it -- apparently my sick time is at some absurd level, so that I could easily absorb it if it turns out I've picked up a bug. But I don't WANT to be sick. I actually like my job, and really detest losing time here due to some arbitrary illness.
If I do turn out to be sick, it shouldn't be that huge a shock. This past weekend turned out to be far, FAR more strenuous than I thought it would be.
First, a lovely night on Friday with Darlene, who (finally!) made it over for dinner and (ahem) dessert with Roni and myself. Roni made a delicious dinner of sausage and pasta with garlic bread.
The goal saturday was for Roni to take care of getting her hair and nails done for the Heather Macallister "Benefat" that Saturday night. I planned on installing the video card I had ordered to surprise Roni.
Despite an evening's fun the night before, I felt pretty alert and ready to get to it Saturday morning. DOing the usual chores, I felt pretty productive, and the video card installed with almost no trouble at all. I decided to start slow and loaded up a copy of "Half Life" to try my hand at a video game produced some time this century.
I managed to get through the "training room" sequence without dying... more than once. Look, I had no IDEA that shrapnel from a percussion grenade could take me out so easily. In fact, I hadn't realized that the game was already penalizing me for those kinds of mistakes.
Anyway, I got up to speed, so I decided to go to fullscreen and really PLAY.
10 minutes later I was in the bathroom retching and gagging like I had just been put through a tilt-a-whirl during an earthquake.
Much later I realized my mistake. The last time I played was so long ago that the standard screen was 13 inches, 640-480. The graphics were typically 8-bit low res wonders. Typicall viewing distance was 18 inches.
That Saturday I was dealing with a 30 inch display, 1280 x 768 resolution, 32 bit color. The view shifted smoothly and quickly, with NO stuttering or latency at all.
My viewing distance? An incredibly stupid (in hindsight) 18 inches.
Roni pointed out that NO ONE sits that closely to that large a display when playing such games. This vaguely assuaged my severely wounded geek ego somewhat, but did little for the migraine I managed to trigger.
My plan was still to attend Heather's benefit. Roni agreed to drive, so I medicated my migraine into submission (but only just barely). I figured that I could snag some great shots, and limp out of there with some pride intact.
What was that saying about best laid plans?
Roni, Kim and I got there with plenty of time before the show. Roni needed to squeeze in a sound check (she was doing "Unforgettable", the old Nat King COle classic).
No sooner than Kim and I sat down as Roni spoke with her compatriots in Big Burlesque than the stage manager, a regular fixture at some of the earlier shows spotted me... and got that look that could only mean "Thank goddess, someone I can get to help". Turns out whoever was slated to do sound had flaked.
Sure, I could have begged off. I was barely upright, and felt REALLY funky. But this was an important show, it was was rapidly apparent that no one had the geek hops to step up.
So I found myself scrambling to right up sound cue notes, figure out the hardware (that I hadn't touched until that moment), and workaround at least 4 major shortcomings of the setup (including a complete lack of headphones, damn it!) and dealing with artists who, right up to the show, hadn't given me their CD's or sound cues. Hell, Annie Sprinkle didn't get me HERS until intermission -- and she was the first act after the break.
Through the entire ordeal I cursed myself for re-assuring Roni with the classic line from "Shakespeare in Love" when she fretted that things would go badly during the show -- "It's a mystery!". Obviously my sudden involvement was as fine an example of instant karma for making that comment, repeatedly.
Afterwards Kim said that the sound was great. The worst issue I had to contend with was Lori Selke speaking to low and far from the Mic for me to compensate through sheer audio wattage. The stage manager kept asking if there was any way that I could bring her audio up. I pointed to the maxed master output pot, noting that this ordinary equipment only went to ten, not 11. Even a smidgen more on her input dial and things would be a piercing, painful squealing.
One of the people who were late with their CD actually had the nerve to be fussy when their sound cue was a few seconds late. Free clue: If you want a sound cue to be perfect, I need to know how much dead air pads the start of a CD track. Some are set to zero, some can have several seconds. The people who got me their CD's an hour BEFORE the show had no problem with their sound cues. However, failing that I *have* to assume no padding. Telling me to "push play, already" when I already have will only get you a dirty look, especially since the track IS playing.
(It's been suggested that I just volunteer in advance for the gig, and thus have a bit more in the way of control. For one thing, I wouldn't have used the multiple disk CD player to cue everything up -- I would have pre-ripped everything as full sized audio files and used my portable to set up the sound cues. The several set changes could have been a LOT simpler to implement in that case. Certainly my notes would have been easier to read.)
Oh, and while all of this was going on, I was STILL trying to take some shots. I should have a few posted in a day or so -- I actually managed to get some killer shots in spite of the overwhelming multi-tasking.
Did I say "It's a mystery"? Because it sure as hell is. The night was fantastic, the benefat a huge success. So many people showed up there was an overflow room set up with closed cicuit sound and monitors. Nearly five grand was raised.
There's more, but the queasiness just got really bad. I might have to admit defeat if this keeps getting worse. I'll post this, and update a bit later.
current mood: sick
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