May 21

Friday in the garage

Slept in, enjoying a day off. Fiddled around catching up on the day’s reading until lunch. Had a sandwich and then went to the garage.

I have been trying to get into the garage all week. But events, and timing and desire and other things, so events, have conspired against me. Today, though. Nothing on the calendar, so to the garage!

Moved the car out so I could get to a saw. I had some wood scraps that needed to get trimmed down. Do away with the pointy bits and save the better stuff on the end.

Ahh, the smell of sawdust! Smells like progress!

And then I straightened things up along that wall of the garage. It needed it. It needed cleaning more than I realized.

Doing that I found a piece of lumber that would work for something my beautiful bride asked me to make for her. So I cut that down to size. And then cut it again. And then tried to square it up. And cut it a 1/16th of an inch off the desired dimensions. Fortunately that’s not integral to the project. Nor is the squareness of all the ages. Somewhere there’s a 1/32 inch of a wave in the thing and we don’t care.

And then I sanded and sanded: 100, 150, 220, 400, 600. It’s almost furniture quality.

It’s just a rectangle of pine. It took no time, but the grain is clean and has some nice character when you can see it up close. Most importantly, she’s pleased. Next The Yankee will stain it — she likes the staining part, everyone does. Then we’ll put some legs on it to make a nice monitor riser on her desk.

This evening we went for a nice walk in between the rain drops. Standing on the cement garage floor and then walking three miles or so. I was starting to feel that. Thanks, old sneakers!

Ribs and re-runs for dinner this evening, and then an early morning for a bike ride. All of this makes for a nice way to start a weekend. Still didn’t get to some of the projects I’d imagined for myself last weekend. But it’ll keep.

And this will have to, as well. I’m taking a few days off from here. So this may hold us over until May 17th. There will be plenty of things to see here then.

Until then, though, you can keep up with things on Twitter and check me out on Instagram, too. And did you know that Phoebe and Poseidon have an Instagram account? Phoebe and Poe have an Instagram account. Follow the cats.

May 21

The cats are in this one

I did an interview today, and then I edited the video. And then I played with the mysterious settings in Adobe Premiere. Everything worked fine, after a subsequent amount of time. It’ll be up tomorrow.

You learn a lot by being self-taught. That’s what I’ve learned, every time. I spend a lot of time thinking about that when I’m messing around with something I’ve taught myself.

Somewhere in all of that is the joy of learning. That’s probably one of those things that means different things to different people, but to me, it’s pretty straightforward. Instilling the willingness to continue to learn in someone, because they understand the delight of discovery, is to give them the drive to want to do it throughout their lives. And what a gift that is, a gift that defeats the fear, the intimidation of learning new things later. Then a person isn’t stagnant. They continue to grow throughout their lives. What a joy that is.

You know people who just sparkle in knowing a new thing. They positively glow at the opportunity. And you know people who blanch at the prospect.

It’s funny, I used to think of this in the context of the elderly. You see it in people a lot earlier, though. And lately I find myself wondering — not about the old guy who knows he’s lived and seen and learned it all, and yet there’s still so much! — but about that middle-aged guy who thinks he’s lived and seen and learned enough.

And he’s going to stagger through the next several decades like that?

That sounds lonely, and depressing, doesn’t it?

So the joy of learning, of discovery, of inquisition, of invention and creation, it shall always be.

These aren’t the problems of philosophy, but, then, it’s only Tuesday.

If it’s Tuesday, that means yesterday was Monday. And I didn’t do the cat feature. So let’s get to that here.

Phoebe did not like this email.

She did not like it at all.

We were sitting out back and Poseidon desperately wanted to be involved.

Really he wanted to find some place to roll around out there, but we’re on to his game.

And now they’re both onto the idea that there’s a chipmunk living in the back yard. If you’ll just follow their eyes here, you’ll see him too.

One day, they are thinking in their little kitty brains, I will catch you and your days of blissfully tormenting us will be over.

May 21

The in between

It is finals week. I have no finals. Not taking any. Not delivering any. Only one major studio production this week, and one minor one.

It is the interregnum! The inbox will be cleansed! The office will be returned to its minimalist purpose! Other content will be scheduled, arranged, prepared and produced! Much will get done!

In a week or two it will all start again.

I spent two hours today dealing with an audio production I am working on.

See, it all began when I received an email in February with an intriguing subject line. Someone wants to produce a program, and can we help produce it. Well, I have studios and students. And so we began the process. And now they are to the point where they are almost ready to publish their first episode. (Hence the minor studio production later this week. We have to get their credits put in the can.) The host has been interviewing his guests most enthusiastically. The producer is closing in on a nice mental image for how the show will work. I have a bright young student who is working on editing the shows.

We’ve had technical difficulties. We’ve had laughs. I’ve tried my best to come off looking like a wizard. They are very pleased with my wizard-like skills. And, now, we are almost ready to let this thing run under its own power.

But two hours, right in the middle of your Monday, that really fills up the day, somehow.

Also today, I was able to say goodbye-for-now and congratulations to some of our graduating seniors. As is my tradition I wished them the best, gave them the parting advice they needed and reminded them I might one day be hitching a wagon to their star.

I don’t do that, but it could be. It’s a small industry. You wind up working with everyone some day.

Here are the last two shows of the semester. This is the late night show, which has been a lot of fun to watch come to life this year. The studio where they produce this is a giant soundstage, but they’ve built sets on it this year for some of the cinema classes, which crimped the previous style of this show. No matter, the creative-types said, we can work with that. I made them jump through a lot of hoops because of various studio rules and Covid-19 rules and they did it all with good cheer and determination and this show has been evolving all year long. It’s been neat to see.

They shot that last Thursday night in Studio 5. And on Friday morning another group — though there is some crossover in the crew — produced this in Studio 7. The shows where they talk about themselves always run the longest. Weird.

That episode also had a surprise-on-video appearance by Gabrielle, one of the people that started the show, and Patrick, who was a producer that really helped round it into something nice. Award winning, even.

He’s an award-winning producer, then. Met his wife doing these shows. (Or in a class. Or just on campus. Or maybe they grew up next-door to one another. I’m not really sure, but my version sounds better. They met on one of our shows.) He works in finance and does freelance production today. Just a super, super nice guy. I think he was the first person I had a conversation with in masks last spring. He had to return a key to me. I watched him hold it up and drench the thing in sanitizer and then hand it to me, and we stayed well apart in a parking lot because everyone was afraid of everything. I told him one thing I wasn’t afraid of was what he’d do next because, to know him is to know one of those people who you just know is going to work hard and do right and things in the world around him would line up.

How was that only a year ago?

It was probably more like 13 months. And change.

Oh, well, yeah, sure. That’s right. That makes a lot more sense, then.

At some point this month I’ll consider doing some back-to-normalish things. Just visit a store for the heck of it, sort of things. We’re vaccinated. Our families have all gotten the shots. The local population will be reduced a bit when the students return home. Hopefully community vaccination will get a nice surge. (It’s slowing here, same as everywhere, unfortunately, but I’m hoping for renewed interest.) So all of those things together might make the time right. Plus it will a nice bit of punctuation between that time last year and this time this year, a good reminder of the time spent laying low, rather than creating a misperception of a foggy dream.

Maybe this sort of timing is important in ways we haven’t yet really wrapped our arms around. Everyone is eager and in a rush to put this behind them, and I understand that. Maybe that it hasn’t been one symmetrical year is a good thing. There’s a lot, still, to understand about what’s just passed us, too.

Went for a bike ride this evening. There’s this one road on one of our usual routes that has three little rolling hills and, for some reason, that third hill always hurts. So my tactic this time was to ride the first two casually, spinning out the easiest gear I could. (My rear derailleur needs adjusting and I can’t shift from the big to the little right now, too, so that’s a thing.) And then, on the third hill, I hoped, I would still have some feeling left and be able to get over the thing.

So that’s when I jumped ahead of my lovely bride.

The next five miles offer a handful of turns and curves and sticky little rollers before the turnaround spot. And right after that is when I passed her going the other way.

She was far too close, which meant she was far too close. Which meant I hadn’t created the separation I’d hoped for. Which meant she was going to chase me down. Which meant I had to ride harder to keep in front.

It’s more difficult to get ahead to give her something to chase than to catch up to her when you’re behind.

It is six-and-a-half miles from where that photo is taken to the house. And all of that was in my head the whole way. There are a few places on that part of the route where the terrain and the road and, on days like today, a lack of traffic can give you a good long view behind you. I never did see her. But once, on the last little leg of this course, she was nowhere to be seen and I sat up to catch my breath and soft-pedaled for 17 seconds. I did it for only 17 seconds because in the 17th she whooooosed right by me.

So there was going to be none of that this evening. I had two one-mile splits that were on the low end of fast. And she never caught me.

She was about 15 seconds behind at the end, though.

Apr 21

End of the semester

Morning show time in the television studio today. This was the last IUSTV show of the school year.

This morning show in Studio 7, and the late night show they produced last night in Studio 5, will be online next Monday. Today, though, I can show you the sports shows from last night. Senior on the desk, his last show before graduation.

Mike is going to go out there and do some real good work somewhere. He’s a sharp guy.

I mentioned last night that the sports people have a few other graduating seniors. They’re a good bunch and they’ve brought a lot of leadership and talent to the table. The sports crew just gets a little bit better every year because of that sort of leadership. And this graduating group has been a big part of that evolution.

There are sophomores and freshmen and a senior on camera in this show.

Anyway, after this morning’s taping, we called it a year.

I woefully undercounted the podcasts there. Also, all of this was, of course, during a pandemic, wearing masks, social distancing and putting up with all of the safety measures we put in place, etc. They did it safely, and they’ve done it well.

Since we’re talking morning show, I should mention the two show runners.

Amy and Ellie are also graduating. Amy has been around the entertainment division of IUSTV since her freshman year, and Ellie has been on board for two or three years. Amy is going the talent agency route. Ellie is an aspiring director. Super sharp women, detail-oriented, get-it-done types. They’re going to do nice, great big things out there one of these days. Can’t wait to see it all come together for them.

And this evening we had a thing cancel at the last minute, and that’s how the semester ended, quietly, in an empty building, at 6 p.m.

He said, having spent the rest of the evening on a chair on the deck.

Apr 21

Another slow mover

Two more final shows of the year. Tonight it was IUSTV’s sports crew wrapping their season. Among that group we’re graduating four seniors. One of them anchored the highlight show.

One anchored last week. Another had a hit on the the talk show tonight.

And the fourth — Jordan, one of our producers — told me tonight about the job he’ll start right after graduation. I think that makes five or six students this term who have jobs before graduation. That’s a great testament to their hard work.

Those shows will be online, so I can share them with you then. And there are two other shows to oversee tomorrow, too. And that will wrap up the year. Time flies, and maybe the summer will move much, much slower.

That’d be a great speed for a while. Because, really …

We grilled out this evening, and it was delicious. Also, it meant I had to cover the grill after doing the dishes, and I saw this guy.

Here’s a common angle moth (Macaria aemulataria). I think. I mean, it could be. There are more than 10,000 moth species in this country, so I’m pretty bad with moths.