I’m pining for the moon

Oh I had the best of intentions of what to do with my morning. Get up! Do some work! Get in a quick bike ride! Iron clothes for class. Leave by 11:30! But you know what they say about the best of intentions … they are so often impacted by what you do the night before.

What I did the night before was to sit at my computer until quite early this morning — but still not so ridiculous as has been my habit of late — and then sleep in a bit.

Just about one of my least favorite things to do is go to bed and then stare at the ceiling. So I will roll over and then stare at the wall. But that’s not very exciting either, so back to the ceiling. It’s all so very productive. Not that I am a peak exemplar of constant productivity, mind you, far from it. But I am never more aware of that I am not doing anything until I am doing the least of it. So I go to bed when I am finally dragging around, nodding off, and so on. Which means I watch a lot of movies on Hulu, or edit a lot of photos late at night, or both. And so there I was, last night, this morning, crawling into bed well after midnight. But you know what? I fell right to sleep.

So, this morning, I did a little work, but not as much as I would have liked. Well, there’s always tomorrow morning. I did not get in a bike ride. I did iron clothes. And we left for campus on time. So what, I ask you, really suffered? Aside from my circadian rhythm, I mean.

In my classes today we went into the television studio. (Boy, where have I heard that before?) I am teaching two intro to production classes this term and today was the day that several of them were looking forward to, a few were dreading and three or four could treat it like another day in the big tall room with the glowing lights, and the smaller room with glowing lights and buttons.

The assignment was this: they had to shoot a breaking news segment, something that has already been produced by the talented people within the college. It’s a three-camera, two anchor shoot. The story is scientists have uncovered a egg at the nearby dinosaur park and, apparently, its recovery has re-started the millions-year-old gestation process.

The story itself is silly, of course. And whoever recorded the package did it in a voice that was aimed at humor and plausible deniability. He hit most of the puns and used some great B-roll. There’s even a quote from an archeologist, Dr. Amber Stone. Best I can tell, this is a fake person. Great name for that field though, right?

The segment starts with bars and tone, a slate, the opening graphic and a shot of both anchors at the desk. Each anchor has single shots and script to read. And then one anchor pitches to this package, which is nicely done and funny the first two three times you hear it. After 769 seconds of dinosaurs and absolutely no Jeff Goldblum, the shot comes back to the studio where one of our anchors returns you to regular programming, terrified that we may soon be stomped on by a giant monster from another time.

And while five or six students are doing things in the studio, the rest are working in the control, making sure all of that happens. It’s an easy enough segment, but if you’ve never done anything like this before, there is a lot going on. The production itself has been streamlined and, really, only the student who is working as the director is sweating real bullets.

Between the two classes we ran that exercise maybe 12 or 13 times. Someone did their read in a fake Southern accent. I’m not sure if that was aimed at me or not, but it sounded western Kentucky and I’m not from there, so I did not take offense.

Overall, it was fun, it was scary. It was full of mistakes, and then it got better. Then we made more mistakes. It’s a hands on exercise and it accomplished its goals. And, as I so often find myself saying, “We’re all here to learn.” I’ve been in that particular control room twice now, counting today, and today was the first time I walked into that studio. I learned a lot, too.

It was dark by the time I was done. Dark and in the 60s. So when we got back home I took off the coat and tie and put on some bike kit and set out. I rode several loops around our neighborhood, and four or five around the next one up the hill, and got in 12 miles, enough to make it feel real.

Here’s my view.

Tomorrow I’ll tie my personal best for consecutive days of riding. That streak, be it ever so surprisingly humble, couldn’t end on a technicality of class and darkness. Fortunately, I have that One80 light. I shot that on a dark road in the next neighborhood. Houses everywhere, no street lights. It’s dark. And I was doing about 17 miles per hour there, having just recorded a demo video of the light for a friend.

A little bit later I was on a road in the back part of our neighborhood, a road I’ve been on twice, I think, and it has a little downhill. I was freewheeling down that at 24 miles per hour, and happy with the light’s throw. I don’t think I would try to do much beyond that, for fear of outrunning the light, but I’m not sprinting much in the darkness and I’m otherwise only doing that kind of speed downhill. I wish it cast a bit more light to the sides for a clearer look at any critters that might be tempted to run in front of you, but that’s my only complaint about the thing.

I won’t go all over the place in the dark, like I would in the daytime. It makes me want to come up with reasons to have to ride into town in the evening, just for the experience. Night riding For some neighborhood riding, this light works great. I said, over dinner, I just need one or two more little side road neighborhoods nearby that I could mix in for variety …

She pulled up another one that I hadn’t considered, hadn’t even noticed, really. Altogether and if I did it right, I could get about 8 miles out of these quiet little subdivisions. I’ll have to check out that new road tomorrow, so I can add it into a future night ride.

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