Jan 22

Another long day

Without even intending to, I managed to stay in the office late for a third night in a row. But I got out by 7 p.m., so that’s an improvement?


Not that anyone acknowledges such things, or even notices. Makes you wonder, sometimes, why you spend so much time under the ol’ florescent lights.

Well, first of all, it’d be too cold to be outdoors just now.

Anyway, the extra bit of the day that shook up the routine today featured interviewing a bunch of students and a lot of Zoom meetings. And I learned how some new hardware and software will work together in one of our new studios. Not that I have high or demanding expectations for January, in general, but that’s almost enough to make for a banner day.

Except for the extra hours.

Jan 22

Read along as I talk myself into something in less than 100 words

Today I start feeling the impression that I’m beginning to wrap my arms around a new project at work. I’ve been working at it for a few days now, so that’s good timing. We’re also bringing two new studios online. And everything is up in the air with Covid.

And we haven’t even got the IUSTV folks back into their productions yet. They’ll start next week, 50-plus days in various studios and 80-or-more shows and a handful of podcasts and all of the live sports and … I probably shouldn’t be this tired in mid-January. I should definitely be this excited.

I also left the office mostly on time today, which was great, because I got to the house and hopped on the bicycle.

Here is my avatar riding underwater.

And look! I’ve never noticed this mountain in the background before. That’s not where we were headed today, but I have been thinking about going uphill, so that was a nice view.

Since I mentioned riding through the volcano in Watopia earlier this week, I figured I should do that again, and actually get a photo.

I set a new PR on the volcano climb, despite getting distracted, losing my rhythm and falling apart in the last 100 meters before the top of the climb.

At the end of each ride you get a little wattage report. They compare your best output over five seconds, one minute, five minutes and 20 minutes to your all time bests. In the five and 20 minute segments this was one of my better rides.

And now I want to start doing laps up the volcano. And returning to the bigger ascents on Zwift.

But first I need to upgrade my bike shoes. My dear sweet old, cheap, Bonties — pictured here when they were still almost new — are starting to hurt my feet.

More than six years and many thousands of miles. Suddenly I don’t feel so bad about that.

My feet do, though.

OK, this weekend: shoe shopping!

Jan 22

From the home office

Worked from home today — also worked from home yesterday afternoon — because of a heating problem in our building. People that know what they were doing had to work in the ancient steam tunnels and that meant there was no heat on what have been the two coldest days so far this winter.

Late in the fall they went down into the tunnels to do a two day job and it turned into something like a three-week proposition. When the experts got down there they found the problem was much more extensive than they thought. We had no hot water or heat during that stretch, but at least the weather was mild.

Now, it’s bitter cold. You can almost feel it in this photo, which was essentially the look of the day.

This is not my first cold workplace environment, of course, but I sure wouldn’t mind if it was my last. I once had a studio so cold I couldn’t type. As we were taught, you faked your way into pleasantness. Never let anyone know what’s wrong on the air. This had the added benefit of making sure the boss never got repair bills from the HVAC people, too. In my last stop the newsroom and office could get just as painful. The facilities people said too few of us worked up on that third floor, so it was not a … What is the word they used? … Was it priority? They never solved that in eight winters, so, no, I don’t think priority was the word. Oh, yeah! Problem. It wasn’t a problem! And nothing was ever done, no larger complaints ever lodged, no important people ever involved, because it wasn’t a problem, because it was just a few people, you see.

Looking back, that should have been a clue.

Yesterday I had four layers on, and only four because, I figured, sitting in my office while also wearing my long coat would have been silly.

Put it this way, when we received word yesterday we could retreat to warmer conditions, and I got to the house — where my lovely bride, who was raised a frugal Connecticut yankee, manages the thermostat — it felt positively toasty in comparison.

Anyway, the people working in the mysterious steam tunnels said their work would carry over into today, so we were given the option to work from home again. This was a rare treat, indeed.

So I sat in my home office, where it was pleasant, and worked. And at the end of the work day I decided it wasn’t pleasant because I really need a new chair. I was pretty sure, but now I’m convinced. And so I found one which will arrive next week. Or sometime in 2027. It’s difficult to tell, based on this website.

It might seem counterintuitive, but do you know what you do when your backside is hurting from a worn out cheap chair that you bought 10-plus years ago? You get in the saddle.

I set an entirely pedestrian 20 mile-per-hour pace around London.

The good news, the people working in the steam tunnels got their work done today. So we’ll be back in the office tomorrow and I’ll give a silent thanks to the hardworking people that I don’t know, who kept us warm, or safe, or both. And tomorrow is good, because classes begin again on Monday. Tomorrow will be the last deep breath until the sprint to mid-March.

Deeeeep breath.

Dec 21

‘Like a band of gypsies’

Sometimes images give us their message loud and clear. There’s no mistaking it because of the power of the visual or the gifts of the photographer or the structured nature of the composition. Or sometimes because of chance. Other pieces are less straightforward and much more given to suggestion. It’s the malleability of the image, the impressionable nature of the viewer.

For instance, this looks like bad inside liner art for a record, doesn’t it? I’m thinking upper midwestern band who can’t help but write about the cold and barren land a little too often. You think it’s the diminutive sun. I say it’s the water collected in the rumble strips.

Slow day, until it wasn’t. I slept in. Caught up on the world. Had an early lunch, tidied up a bit, and started packing a suitcase with — it isn’t a useful phrase, but I’ll use it — studied helplessness.

“Studied,” meaning something like “carefully considered or prepared,” or “marked by conscious design or premeditation,” or, my favorite, “achieved by careful and deliberate effort.”

For me, it was about not having a solid deadline for packing. And being completely befuddled by the forecasts for the places in my immediate future. Everything is 120 to 880 miles away from the next place, and there’s nothing requiring being outdoors, except for all of the things that require me to be outdoors in highly variable weather conditions.

Oh, it’s possible I’ve forgotten how to pack. It’s equally likely that I nailed it, or forgot something, or packed far too much. I’ll know before the end of the year.

So that’s the road. And you’ll notice that, in this one, I was careful to time it so that the tree is blocking the sun.

That changes the whole shot. Less desperate; same amount of loneliness. It was both chance and composition, the sun looks like the sun rather than a bad watercolor accident, but otherwise, there’s a lot of chance here, because I was watching the road more than the camera.

There’s a fun community oriented radio station in southern Indiana. I’ve happened upon them running incredibly specific fishing reports: who caught what in which lake, with what lure, and what the fish weighed. It’s terrific.

There was also a promo today about hunters donating deer for hungry neighbors. Bring your whole deer over to this particular place and they’ll process the animal and send the meat off to the community’s food banks. And you’ll be registered to win a new gun, sponsored by … a dentist, I think it was. (One deer, by the way, yields between 40 to 50 pounds of meat, and about 200 meals.)

The afternoon DJ has been there for 30 years. He sounds like he should be there, and that’s not meant to be reductive. He’s got a pitch perfect presentation.

But it was funny to hear that syrupy local accent backselling Cher’s “If I Could Turn Back Time” and Neil Diamond’s “You Make It Feel Like Christmas” before leaning into the Tom Petty/Stevie Nicks duet, “Stop Dragging’ My Heart.”

All of which came right after the comprehensive farm reports. (Wanna know how November soy futures did after the bell?)

It’s a local station — they’ve been owned by the same people since the 1940s — and locally-owned radio is wonderful, is the point.

We also listened to the campus station for the University of Southern Indiana, 95.7 The Spin.

The DJ wasn’t backselling songs, he did frontsell one new song. He did hardly any station branding. He (or they, it’s difficult to tell with campus radio) programmed great music. And he was a GREAT story teller. Over the course of three talk segments, I got a slice of life. It was so charming because there’s not much better than someone earnestly doing good campus radio. It’s one part confessional, one part aspirational, a bit vulnerable, not-at-all pretentious and completely amateurish. The young DJs may be really smart. They’re all clever.

At some point we started losing The Spin’s the signal, and two other stations bled in and out. It felt like every bad representation of schizophrenia you’ve seen in movies.

Here’s Twista! And Stone Temple Pilots! And Twista! And STP! And Twista! And … Brooks and Dunn?

By this time it was well into the evening, and The Yankee suggested we play my favorite car radio game. (She secretly likes it, too.) So we DXed stations and listened to …

650 WSM Nashville
660 WFAN New York
670 WSCR Chicago
700 WLW Cincinnati
710 WOR New York
720 WGN Chicago
730 WFMW Madisonville, KY
740 KRMG Tulsa
750 WSB Atlanta
760 WJR Detroit
780 WBBM Chicago
850 KOA Denver
870 WWL New Orleans
890 WLS Chicago
950 WAKM Franklin, TN
1000 KTOK Oklahoma City
1040 WHO Des Moines
1060 KYW Philadelphia
1100 WTAM Cleveland
1120 KMOX Kansas City
1200 WOAI San Antonio
1230 WHOP Hopkinsville, KY
1670 WMGE Macon, GA

Fourteen states, makes for a pretty good hour! Two lifetimes ago, I reported on a dozen or more of those stations for ABC. Lots of tornados and murders and corrupt judges and the like.

Anyway, we’re near here, until we aren’t. Which will be before you read this.

Things move improbably fast this time of year.

Dec 21

Look at this lovely sign, and all of these fun videos

The question isn’t “Can he pad out a full weekend from his short trip?” The question is “How long should he do it for?”

I think at this rate I could drag it out another three or four days, but we’ll wrap it up tomorrow. Wouldn’t want to be too showy, right?

We walk by this theater every time we visit Savannah. I really do enjoy their signage. And as we walked by in the daytime early in this recent trip I said I’d like to see it again at night.

On the last evening of our trip we made a special walk back over that way. It’s nice when you can accomplish some of your humbler goals.

Oh, did you notice the snowman in the box office in the first photo? I think he’s there every year.

Did I shoot video of all the blinking lights? Of course I did! Do I have something planned for it?

Not yet! But eventually!

Meanwhile, here on campus, it is time to catch up on all the videos we’ve missed in the last week or so. There are quite a few, so settle in. And, no they won’t all be for you, but there is something for most everyone here. Allow me to interest you in one or two.

This is a sports talk show, and they’re breaking down the end of the regular season of college football. This was a really enjoyable show.

More sports! This is the show that starts at the radio station. Here they are talking about Indiana football and basketball. After they do it live on radio, they take the cameras down and put the footage up.

The late night show goes full holiday! And partial Grinch. And there’s an important post-credit scene, so you’ll want to stick with it.

Speaking of the holidays, it’s time to decorate gingerbread houses. And you can get present-shopping tips from the morning show crew:

Behind the Curtain looks at a new student film. Yes, an honest-to-goodness film. Some people are still shooting on that. As I am not an expert I assume the reason has to do with “artistic choice.” But there’s much more here on all of that.

And here’s the news show I watched on Tuesday night. I mentioned that our meteorologist signed off here. She’s been with the show since her freshman year, but now she’s graduating. A senior at the green screen, but a freshman at the desk. The circle is also revolving. And, because it’s a news show, there’s a lot of news here.

Time for the haps and pop culture … haps …

Remember, Tuesday, when I told you about the all female a capella group, Ladies First? They sang two songs on this show. And there’s a nice interview with a few of the members of the group, as well.

That show has done a good job of varying up their guests and that’s a nice little feather in their cap. This semester they’ve also had an Olympic silver medalist Andrew Capobianco, a student from the university’s Latino Cultural Center, the student government president, local mask makers, and more. They’ve also shot all kinds of people-on-the-street pieces and lots of studio fun. They’re always hustling, which is a lesson that serves us all well.

And that’ll do for now.

Tomorrow, we’ll be freshening up the front page of the website. And there will be a few other things to help point us to the weekend. Be sure to stop back by!