Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Another day in the AV Business

Yesterday I ended up having to re-edit some videos that had been produced for the show today.
Just little things, like cutting some of them in half, and fixing some glitches that were in the opener.
It was fun because we don't really do that. However, since the shows in Philly and Belgium Rick purchased some software and memory for my computer to edit a DVD project that we needed to work on, and it was really easy to fire up Final Cut Express and knock out the quick edits for our client here in San Francisco. I also had to chop up some music and produce 5 second cuts of a few songs to embed in a power point presentation. I knocked that out first thing this morning, and then hung around all morning waiting until my break out starts. It should be an easy afternoon and then we strike all the breakouts and pretty much my end of this show is over.
I should be leaving tomorrow sometime mid afternoon for the two hour drive back to Folsom. My jeep will be packed with sound equipment which is very exciting for me!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Oh what a night!

Our Private Room at Kokkari

The show has been the show. Everything is going well... blah blah blah. Dinner however, is something to write about! Evan had found this amazing restaurant called Kokkari. It is a greek place and was just amazing. The food was incredible! We had a private room down in the basement, and our server, Lillith was up for the challenge. We laughed until we cried, ate until we couldn't see straight and then finished off with some desert, and a walk back to the hotel.
We ordered a ton of appetizers for the table. Everything from Spanakotiropita - traditional filo pies of spinach, feta, leeks & dill, to Soutzoukakia - grilled meatballs with tomato & green olive compote. Then Mike and I ordered Horiatiki - classic Greek salad of tomato, cucumber, bell pepper, onion, oregano, olives & feta. It was the best greek salad I have ever had.
Then, the main course came and I was already really full. I had Arnisia Paidakia - grilled lamb chops with a lemon-oregano vinaigrette & Kokkari potatoes. It was a tremendous dish. Just cooked to perfection. Although I was stuffed to the gills, I had to order a Kokkari Sundae - chocolate & vanilla ice cream with hot fudge, whipped cream & toasted hazelnuts.
All in all, a lot of people in the world never get to experience a meal such as this, so, I am very grateful. Thanks for treating us Rick, and Evan for finding the place!

Monday, July 28, 2008

San Francisco

Well, it is cold and foggy. I know that is a shocker.
It was about 50 degrees last night, and about that this morning as well.
The setup of the show went pretty well. I got to play with my new speakers and they sound really good.
The speakers are super solid, which translates into pretty heavy, but they are the real deal, not just cheap plastic boxes.
I have to work on a setup today which will involve my new Mackie Onyx 24.4 console, about 18 table mics, and my new JK Audio Innkeeper telephone interface.
It is a really good feeling to be providing gear, even though it is a small portion, for the show.
Bad news... the mixer case that I purchased, even though it said it was for the Mackie 24.4 console, doesn't fit the mixer.
I am not sure what I am going to do there. Do I purchase a mixer just for the case? I don't know.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

A Show in San Francisco

It was a hot week in Folsom, and I got out on the harley twice for about a total of almost 200 miles. Yesterday Allen and I went for a ride up in the mountains to a lake called stumpy meadows and then to a place in the woods called Uncle Toms Cabin.
The riding was tremendous! Twisty roads, long sweepers, just a motorcyclist's heaven!

I hopped in the Jeep this morning and drove to San Francisco where I am staying all week at the Hyatt Regency Embarcadero hotel. We are doing a show for an insurance company.
It took about 2 hours on the nose to drive. There was not much traffic and it is a different experience driving to a show instead of flying in. The experience started with a two car pile up in the middle of route 80 on the way here. Fortunately it happened almost right in front of me, so I I got past it before traffic piled up. The second part of the experience was pulling into the hotel where I found out that it costs $57 per day to park the Jeep. Ouch!
I am not paying for it, but I am going to try to find a cheaper place to park. With those kind of rates, I could have flown for about the same money if not less!

The crew arrives today starting around 12:30 and it will be fun to see all of them.
I am on IT duty this week, and we have a computer lab for internet and email that needs to be set up tomorrow. Fun times!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Last Day in San Diego

The show has gone well. A pretty sleepy one by all accounts.
The breakouts scaled down to just a flipchart and nothing has gone wrong.
I fly back to Sacramento this evening and then tomorrow morning all my stuff arrives from Allied Van Lines.

I just placed an order for some equipment
4-QSC HPR122I 12" Loudspeaker
4-QSC HPR122I Cover Speaker Bag
4-Ultimate TS90B Speaker Stand
2-Ultimate BAG90D Dual Speaker Stand Bag
1-Mackie Onyx 24.4 Mackie Mixer
1-Road Ready Mixer Case Mixer Case
1-Whirlwind MS-24-4-XL-150SS 24.4 100 FT Snake
1-JK Audio INN-1X Telephone Interface

So this is very exciting for me. Pretty much all this gear is going to be used at the show I am on in San Francisco, so that is doubly exciting.
Yellow Shirt Productions officially owns a PA system!

Here are some images of the Equipment

The QSC HPR122i 12" Powered Loud Speaker

Bag Covers for the Speakers

The Mackie Onyx 24.4 Mixer

The JK Audio Innkeeper Telephone Interface

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

San Diego

I arrived in San Diego Saturday morning. The weather was grand.. warm.. about 75 Checked into the US Grant Hotel, one of Starwood's Luxury properties.
I pretty much went straight to the AT&T store which was right next to the hotel and scored a new 3G iPhone.
The line was only about 20 minutes and I was fortunate enough to get one before they ran out.

We went to dinner at my favorite restaurant in San Diego called Graystone. Graystone is a really great steak place on 5th Ave in the Gaslamp District. After eating so much and waddling back to the hotel, we had a drink at the bar and I called it a night.
Sunday morning Rick and I set up the office and made sure everyone was happy.
Then we went to the AT&T store again to try and score Rick an iPhone, but they were out, so we hopped in a cab and went up to the Apple store in the Fashion Valley Mall. When we got there, the line had about 200 people in it, and there was no way Rick was going to wait in that. So, we hopped on the train and took it to Old Town and had a nice lunch.
We got back to downtown and then walked to Office depot to grab some stuff for the show. I was beat at this point and decided to go take a nap. All the rest of the crew was arriving soon and I wanted to at least be able to hang out for a bit.
Later that night we all met for drinks in the bar and had a great time seeing each other.

Yesterday was setup day, and we all worked till about 7:00 pm Not a bad day, and at the end, we went across the street to a restaurant called "The Yard House" and hung out at the bar and had dinner.

Today was about the same... Call was at 9:00 am and it was a very easy day. Worked on a little bit of computer issues, and tomorrow the show starts.
Thats about all I have been up to. Livin the dream and getting paid!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Day 2 in Folsom

I woke up this morning feeling a little out of sorts. This is my new home, and waking up this morning and thinking about the other times I woke up in the same place made me put it together that this time.... I am not a visitor. I took Allen to work so I could have the Montero for the day and it was quite pleasant out. By about 11:00 am it was approaching 104 degrees, and things were getting hazy out. Then I started smelling smoke.. like someone was burning brush in their back yard.
By this afternoon, it was pretty incredible how much smoke there was everywhere, and by the evening, visibility was very limited.
Now, we are not really close to any of the wildfires that are going on, but since this area is considered the foothills of the mountains, the smoke collects up against the mountains and just sits there.
Allen found a photo on the inter-web that gives you an idea of what is happening

Click on the image to view it full size

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

At the airport

I am sitting in Gate 48 for maybe the last time.
My friend Dan picked me up at 8:00 am sharp and drove me to Greensboro.
In life, I have had the great opportunity to make good friends. I met Dan about a month after I moved to North Carolina.
We had a whole bunch of people help us move out of the storage unit to the new house we bought. It was not an easy day as we had a ton of stuff! Everyone was exhausted from loading and unloading the truck I rented. When the last box was off the truck, everyone scattered like flies. it was a ghost town. Dan however, stayed around and helped me more than he will ever know. We went to dinner and then he even came back after dinner and continued to work moving boxes... getting rid of cardboard and clearing out space so we could set the bed up.

Dan works out of his home, and that has been just around the corner from my home, so it has been nice to call him up and go grab lunch together. I have been on the road in foreign countries and through MSN Messenger, Dan has helped me solve IT problems. When we were in China and not able to hit certain websites because of the Chinese government, Dan hooked me up with a VPN to his servers and next thing you know... we are hitting everything we need to.
We have kept in touch over the last two years while I am traveling through MSN Messenger, from all over the world.

I really appreciate his friendship and concern for me. He is truly one of the greats.

So, in about an hour I will get on the plane and fly to DC, then to San Francisco, and then finally Sacramento. it is going to be about 10 hours of traveling before I make to to my new home, but I am flying United... so what could possibly go wrong??

Monday, July 7, 2008

Moving right along

I got a call early this morning from the moving company who told me that the truck that was scheduled to take my stuff to California was not going to be here, and that a shuttle truck was going to take my stuff to a transfer station. They also said that "Bobby's"

The truck arrived around 9:30 am after a ton of broken up cell phone calls with the driver not having any idea where my house was. Three guys jumped out and introduced themselves as Fernando, Louis, and Tony. I walked them through the house and they were very happy. They had been told there was 7000 pounds to load on the truck, however, that included the Jeep and the two motorcycles. So when they saw my stuff, this was an easy Monday morning for them.

The load went very well and we were almost finished when Tony asked me how much fuel was left in the motorcycles.
David my Allied sales guy told me that I needed to have 1/4 tank or less in them.
So, I rode over the weekend and made sure that I was down below them limit. Tony looked at me and said that I had to drain the tanks.

I was not happy.
I had no gas can or hose to siphon the bikes. I just wanted to get them on the truck.
At that moment, my friend Todd had just shown up to drop off something for me and he heard the conversation and immediately offered to go get a gas can and siphon hose. Todd was the hero of the hour! About 20 minutes later, Todd showed back up and helped me drain the tanks... easy breezy!
We loaded the bikes on the truck and the boys took off with everything I own. A little surreal I tell you. Watching everything you own drive away with no real guarantee that you will ever see anything again. An accident on the highway.. a truck fire....

I suppose the lesson is not to hold on too tight. It is only stuff.

Now I am at my next door neighbors Brent and Courtney. They have been great neighbors for the past two years and unfortunately, we never really spent all that much time together. The good news is that we always have been really friendly with each other, and the times we did get to hang out have always been good. I suppose that is because they are just good people.

They generously offered me a place to stay for my last night in North Carolina, and we BBQ'd some burgers for dinner. It is very relaxed and just like good friends hanging out and watching TV.
My flight leaves at 10:22 tomorrow morning and my friend Dan is coming to pick me up and drop me off in Greensboro at the airport. By this time tomorrow night, I will be a Californian. Talk about surreal... My head is just spinning right now, and I am really not sure how I feel about all this. The point of no return happened a while ago though. Pretty much when I signed the contract to sell the house. The clock started ticking, and hasn't stopped since!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Home from Brussels

The Brussels airport was crazy busy! Not much made sense... but we figured it out and were headed through security. I was watching my bag on the monitor and could see the outlines of the hard drives, all the mess of cables that I carry and I was completely expecting them to pull out my bag and search it by hand. The lady behind the machine called out for a bag check and then pointed out my bag. Big surprise.... Then she pointed out a sharp object on the monitor and the lady took my bag apart like crazy... searched it 3 times. I asked what she was looking for and she told me scissors. I said that I didn't have scissors, and she told me that she saw them. I thought that was weird because the sharp object that was pointed out was in someone else's bag.
Then Tina our lovely meeting planner who was standing next to me started looking through her bag and realized that the last 20 minutes of having my bag completely searched and taken apart was because she had scissors in her bag and the xray girl pointed out the wrong bag.

Just my luck....

The flight went well and I spent about 6 hours of it editing photos from my trip.

I got through passport control and then thought I would make it through customs without any hassle. Was I ever wrong....
I got pulled out of line in a random spot check. Tina had made it through right in front of me and never even saw me get pulled aside. So I go to the line that I was told to go to, and there were two other dudes in front of me getting the third degree.
I stood there for about 40 minutes just waiting to get called up.
Finally the dude looks up and calls me up.
Long story short.... I had 4 bags, he only opened two of them... barely looked in either of those and told me I could go.
It was truly ridiculous! They almost made me miss my flight... and didn't even do diligence to make sure I wasn't smuggling Drugs, or any other contraband into our beloved country!

I made the flight.... but come on.... does it have to be this difficult to just travel for a living?

I have posted the photos from the trip on my flickr site. Here is the address. Enjoy!

Click here for the Brussels photo set

Click here for the Paris photo set

Here are a couple of teasers. Enjoy!
Eiffel Tower UnderneathCenter 2.jpg

Eiffel Tower 3


Hilton Paris Terrace