Jun 22

We’re back!

We are back from our many long travels and my two-week break from writing here. We’ll get to those wonderful adventures starting tomorrow. It’ll be a nice day-by-day symmetry as the site gets back to the daily stuff.

But first, I have to catch up on everything at work. It will take days to work through my email, for example. (And I was periodically checking in on it while I was gone!)

I use the ERRS process.

Simply Delete

Good system, poor acronym.

Some of the email should simply get a picture of this sign, which sits on my desk.

There’s usually not much on my desk, but that’s always front-and-center.

The cats stayed at the house while we were gone. They had a sitter and I think she did an excellent job because the cats didn’t hate us when we returned late Saturday night.

Yesterday, though, Phoebe didn’t let us out of her sight.

And her cuddles left little room for moving around. I was only just able to catch this bit of light in her eye.

Poseidon, for his part, stayed close by as well. Here he is waiting on us to finish breakfast so he could enjoy his Sunday morning routine.

His Sunday morning routine involves a big session of pets with a napkin. He loves napkins.

Because he’s a cat.

And here he is last night rushing the camera, as if he just remembered we still owed him extra pets from our two-week absence.

Today, he woke us up at 5 a.m. He’s cute, but he’s not that cute.

Anyway, tomorrow, we talk van Gogh and airplanes. Come back for that and a lot of cool visuals!

May 22

Do not dip the needle in gasoline

I didn’t know it any point in time over time, but I have watched four Karate Kid movies — including the unnecessary Next Karate Kid. I also watched the inappropriately named 2010 remake with Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan. (That was kung fu, if anyone is keeping track.) I had my mind blown by the 2015 explanation of how Daniel is the real bully, a violent sociopath, in the movie and, before that, the Sweep the Leg music video which is probably not canon. (The internet is a magical place where people put way too much of their free time.) I have also watched all four seasons of the Cobra Kai series. I’ve done so with two things in mind. First, that Daniel is the bully and, second that Daniel doesn’t realize his best days are behind him and Johnny thinks his best days are still ahead of him.

And now, after all of that — a runtime of 29 hours and 48 minutes, plus the four minutes it took to figure that out — finally this. The best line in the whole franchise, from Chozen Toguchi.

Yuji Okumoto has appeared in 100 projects over the years, and he also owns a restaurant in Seattle. He … is gasoline.

Graduation ceremonies are this weekend. We had one in the building today, the game design faculty do a special program for their students, and it is always one of the first ones to go off, and they do it in our building, and use the giant television to show off their hard work. It’s quite neat. Late this afternoon the Media School’s program was held in the IU Auditorium.

Tomorrow the big graduation in the football stadium. Other schools have similar multi-part ceremonies, as well. The School of Nursing will be in our building to take advantage of the extra space for their students’ proud family members. No matter their school or discipline, it is always fun to see the happy faces.

They’ve all been posing all over campus in their caps and gowns and nice suits and beautiful dresses for days. Graduation, like everything, has become a much more involved exercise over the years.

(Why the university hasn’t decided to control the flow of foot traffic around iconic and scenic photo settings for better graduation photos and a chance to maybe fund a scholarship or something out of the effort eludes me. But I’m sure they’ll get around to that one day. Everything gets more involved over time.)

And, we got a Covid booster today. CVS said “Why not?” Dude was done before he began. Best shot I’ve had in a long time — not that anyone charts these things. No emerging side effects, as yet, but I can feel the injection site. Previously, from the Pfizer shots I could feel the scratchy throat and weariness and whatever else just moving in for a day or two. No such problem with the Moderna. Conclusion: I got the placebo.

Or I’m immune to vaccines.

But before we commit to that, let’s see what tomorrow brings.

May 22

Coldest 62° ever

I believe I had the last meeting of the semester today. Things aren’t over, but the meetings are. And the activities are wrapping up this weekend. Once those tasks are complete, we’ll be doing … summer things.

Personally, I think everyone needs a few weeks off, unscored against their vacation time. It’d do everyone a world of good after the last few years. It’d be useful for the year to come.

Just you wait, someone is going to say this out loud in a few months, but you heard it here first.

But no one listens to my ideas.

Makes the meetings fun.

Here are some more of the programs IUSTV has produced at the end of the semester. I’m told there’s still maybe one more show to roll out this week.

They are still editing and producing shows during finals week. It’s impressive.

Robert Steven Mack is interviewing American Enterprise Institute’s Dr. Zack Cooper, about China’s relationship with Russia and the U.S. after the invasion of Ukraine. Pretty hefty stuff.

Riley and Alex follow the fan shenanigans — I’m just going to call them fananigans — during Little 500 weekend. It’s real atmospheric stuff. Fun, enthusiasm, silliness. What a campus should be — at least part of the time.

It took me two episodes to get it, but I’m a slow learner. That show grows on you in a hurry. I’ll miss it over the summer, but I hope it comes back even bigger in the fall.

We went for a bike ride this evening. She had to do hill repeats. Usually, when I even hear the phrase “hill repeats” I lose two or three miles per hour off my average. But I checked my numbers just before we started the hills, and just after, and I managed to hold everything steady throughout the up and down and up and down and up and down of the hill repeats.

There will be harder, longer hills later. I’ll be slower. The above paragraph will not apply to that experience.

Here we are — well, here she is; I am behind the camera — after those hills, and weaving through the last two neighborhoods before the house. In the last one we found ourselves in an impromptu sprint. We were doing the mid 30s and I was running out of gears.

I was probably working harder at it than she was.

She’s fast.

Apr 22

And that’s a wrap!

Today the last two shows of the semester were produced by the entertainment division of IUSTV. This afternoon the Not Too Late crew wrapped their season in Studio 5. This morning it was The Bloomington Breakfast Club, which always ends their year talking to former hosts, for whatever reason. It’s great to see old friends, though. And three of them were on Zoom to join the current hosts.

So it’s Old Home Week! Gabrielle, who is in the top left square, helped start the show with Lydia, who is in the bottom right. Julianna came along after Lydia moved on. And they’ve all moved on to great things. Gabby is a producer at Vox Media in Los Angeles, Lydia is in marketing at Adidas in Oregon and Julianna is doing social media marketing for Dick’s Sporting Goods corporate offices in Pennsylvania.

That show started in 2016-2017, one of two new shows we launched in that year, my first year here. This year we rolled out three new shows, and at least two of them are going to stick. We’re also building out something really unprecedented for next year, as well.

Other interesting stats on this year … IUSTV has produced:

161 episodes of TV
Over 10 series
Three live streams
All told, earning well more than 205K views
And podcasts all over the place

Most importantly, the students are developing skills, and the graduating group are getting jobs. IUSTV is young this year, among the entire group — some 120 or so strong. We’re graduating four or five this term. Almost all of them had jobs by spring break this year.

The last shows of the production year will be online Monday, and I’ll share them with you here.

What we’ll do after that is anybody’s guess.

Apr 22

Doesn’t get better than donuts

There were donuts in the building this morning, and I was nominally involved in the event. My fee was paid in donuts. I had an old fashioned, my standard donut choice. (If you’re at home reading this, go outside for a moment.)

I am not writing home about that donut. It was dry and flavorless, and this is sometimes a misnomer about the old fashioned. It shouldn’t be either of those things. It should be subtle, and nuanced. This was not.

I also grabbed a powdered sugar donut. (You may go back inside, because I will write home about this donut.)

That donut was the best decision of the morning.

I had two studio productions canceled today, and one shoot that went off without a hitch. I think there are just two more productions left this week. Time creeps by, no matter how much fun you’re having, or not having, as the case may be.

I was in a meeting yesterday where this semi-famous quote came up. William Bernbach was an American advertising creative director. He co-founded an influential, global ad agency, and had a huge role in the advertising landscape of the second half of the 20th century. Volkswagen, Life, Juan Valdez, if you watched any TV or read any magazines in the last 80 years or so, you’ve seen some of his agency’s work, and if you’re of a certain age, quite his very own campaigns.

This makes him a celebrity in the right circles. In fact, if you watched Mad Men, you heard his name get dropped a few times, for good reason.

All of us who professionally use the mass media are the shapers of society. We can vulgarize that society. We can brutalize it. Or we can help lift it onto a higher level.

Anyway, impressive cultural contributor. Important concept in the quote, which has earned its own fame over the years. You know it has pulled the weight the author intended because it has appeared in several textbooks. It’s funny how those mid-century sorts seemed to be reaching beyond their own event horizon.

The quote, of course, also finds its way into a lot of navel-gazing webpages. There’s one that asks Should We Evaluate the Media Input in Our Lives? And if every there was a question that needed asking because it didn’t need to be asked, it might be that one. The brief piece seems to start from the position that we’ve already and incontrovertibly vulgarized and brutalized it. But this isn’t a universal truth, of course.

I’ve been wondering today about the lifting to a higher level. We’d all like to think we have. And, as it came up in that meeting, it isn’t necessarily a big lift that you’re always after. Just a bit is enough. Mass media? Society? The former is merely the tool. Society, being of considerable size, requires a fulcrum.

Hopefully, I’ve done a decent enough job in helping show others how to lift it. Surely I’ve worked with others who have actually shaped some bit of society. Me?

I’m just doing podcasts that I find interesting, after all. This is compelling research.

It turns out we need more people, different sorts of people, in our in-person, face-to-face interactions. That challenges us, mentally, and that stimulus could help ward off cognitive decline as we age. That’s the research from IU’s Dr. Adam Roth. I talked to him about his recent work.

Listen to that, share the show, and then let’s all go out and make new friends.

If watching videos sounds better than listening to me — and who could blame you? — these are the news shows the IUSTV gang produced last night. These are the last two shows of the news division this semester. Here’s the news show. And there’s been big news in town. Two shootings within minutes of one another over the weekend sent four people to the hospital. As of this writing, still no arrests announced.

And here’s What’s Up Weekly, the pop culture magazine style show. There’s a haircut and a taco hat and some clever jokes in here.

The entertainment group will shoot three more shows this week, and that’ll be a wrap on the term. More bragging to come, then, on Friday.