Oct 21

Concluding this little trip

It takes about 15 minutes, they said, to get your car out of the valet garage. So you call down and ask for yours and then the clock is ticking in your head. Now, we’re only on the second floor of this hotel, and it doesn’t seem especially busy, but I still have a slow-moving person on crutches and I’m carrying two people’s worth of luggage.

It’s a good thing, then, that our room was close to the elevator and the elevator itself opened into the lobby and directly across from the front door. Hauled all the stuff down the hall, banging walls and pinching fingers as we slowly went. Dropped our room keys off at the desk just as my car pulled up. Perfect timing.

I lost the valet ticket for a full day, and looked everywhere for the thing, twice. I’d resigned myself to having to say I lost it, knowing this sort of thing has surely happened before. I was planning to go with the classic “Shucks, what can you do?” routine when I had to call and confess I’d lost the ticket. Finally, though, I found it on top of the blankets on the bed. On the ticket it said you’d have to present a photo ID and the car’s registration.

Fine, can you bring the car up so I can root around in the glove compartment for my registration?

That’s not a problem. I keep a tidy glove compartment. I need to wash the car and thin out some of the things in the trunk, but the interior storage areas are well maintained. It’s a point of pride, and necessity. You need to know where everything is.

We, by the way, made it back to the house. It’s a six-hour drive. We stopped every hour or so to walk around for a few minutes. It makes, somehow, for a full day. But the weather was grand, the interstates in northern Ohio are of good quality, and once you were out of the cities the views along the way are nice enough.

The map routed us through Cincinnati. There’s a Mellow Mushroom there, so we picked up dinner for the next few nights. Pretzels and spring dough slices! The consensus best pizza in this, a college town, is reminiscent of Pizza Hut in their glory days, and so we sadly have to wait for good pizza when we travel, which, of course, doesn’t happen much these days.

Anyway, got to the house, unloaded the car and dumped all the clothes in the laundry. Walked around putting things away, basically counting the steps until I could pronounce the trip completed. The Yankee is sitting comfortably, after spending all of that time in the back seat of the car. Tomorrow it is back to work. Tonight, I’m hoping for more sleep than I got last night.

I wound up driving more today than I slept last night. Can’t imagine why I’m so tired this evening. My own pillows await!

Oct 21

Sometimes, somehow, the day goes quickly

Computers arrived today. Sixteen pallets of them. Ninety-six machines. We unloaded the pallets and took the individual computer boxes out of the larger ones. We put them in temporary storage, waiting for the holidays or some other slow time to install them in our building. (Slow time. The next slow time is scheduled to be three weeks spread out over next summer.) Also, we have 80-something more machines due in next week.

Computers are strenuous exercise around the office. We have six computer lab style classrooms and the giant computer lab.

I remember when the now old ones went in as new ones. It’s an experience that lives with you. How the guy in charge of all of those machines — and their software and the many updates — is able to keep it all straight in his head never ceases to amaze me.

Here’s the first sports show that they shot last night. It’s all the highlights fit to highlight.

The second show will be up on Friday or so.

And now I have to record an interview for the podcast. And then I’ll produce it. And I’ll share it with you, and the rest of the world, tomorrow.

(Update: It was a great subject, and an interesting interview. I think you’re going to like it.)

Sep 21

Let us talk about sports shows

Let us talk about sports shows. Here are two of them. First, this is your standard issue updates-from-the-desk, reports-from-the-field highlight show, Hoosier Sports Nite.

And this is The Toss Up, your standard issue sports talk show. Four people sitting and talking at great depth, and with some degree of fandom, about the upcoming Major League Baseball playoffs.

Now, The Toss Up dates to 2016, when I got here. It has, more or less, always been shot as a show in-sequence. They do little pitches to another person for a sidebar, or a package, and they will sometimes shoot those out of order, but, generally it just makes sense to shoot it in that straightforward way. It has always felt natural and done in realtime, over the course of the four regular hosts it has had in those six years.

The first show above, Hoosier Sports Nite, is 11 years (or so) old. It has always, at least in my experience, had elements produced out of sequence. This means that if the anchor “pitches” to a reporter in another part of the studio, it’s an editing trick. The reporter part was done earlier, or later, and they just put it together in post-production. There’s nothing wrong with this. It happens in the industry all the time on programs that aren’t live. (Sometimes, for example, the person doing the pitching is live and the person catching the pitch is on tape.) There are different ways and reasons for doing that. They’re all legitimate. From our perspective, it usually has a lot to do with practical reasons like time, or our experience and so on. (We’re all still learning in this shop, of course.)

So imagine my pride when, last night, they produced Toss Up as they normally do — timing segments and getting in and out in a logical way and leaving me only two or three constructive criticism points to make — and then they did Hoosier Sports Nite straight through, a show produced truly live-to-tape. They did two bits over to correct small errors, also not unusual, but it’s all there as one live show.

I stopped by their post-production meeting to tell them so. To thank them and congratulate them for their work. It’s no small thing, doing a live show, and they’ve been building to this for a while.

When they rolled out the first episode of The Toss Up, the talk show, this semester, I noticed they’d changed the last of the original bits of the show. I remember all the components well, as it was the first show* I helped IUSTV bring to life. Every year something would change on this particular show. The logo improved. They added lower thirds or sharper segments. The last thing to go was the music. And that got updated this year. The guy that really brought this show to life, Jacques, he’d be pleased with the program today. He specifically wanted to start this show and give it to the people that came after him and let them run with it. And they have! The music was really his thing. He’d probably like that his music stuck around the longest from the original show. But now, aside from the name of the show and one line at the very end, they’ve organically grown the premise of his project, just as he’d hoped.

When I was watching them shoot Sports Nite last night, and talking about it and congratulating them after that, I was thinking of the through line of that show. Jacques was the first sports director I knew here. He graduated and then came Ben. Ben produced and improved those shows, graduated, and is now a producer at ESPN. When he moved to Bristol there came Auston. He produced and improved those shows, graduated, and went into the local sports writing business. The next year Michael was the sports director. He ran the shows, had his senior year in the studio cut short by Covid closing campus, but they grew a ton nevertheless, and he’s now doing sports at his hometown TV station in Iowa. So Drew and Jackson moved into the sports director roles after Michael. Drew graduated and is doing news in Fort Wayne now. Another Michael came along to help Jackson out and he just graduated and is on the market. Jackson will soon be graduating. Each of those guys have always told me what they liked about what the previous sports director did, and what they wanted to do differently. And as I stood there, beaming with a little pride, I could see all of that distinctly running through the night’s work. Those sports directors, and all the women and men working on those shows, were a part of making that particular episode a special little effort.

The thing is, all of this hard work is foundational. And, sometimes, you necessarily have to wait to see the development. It just keep building, though. From here it’ll grow through a room full of talented young folks learning from today’s upperclassmen, because those sports directors I mentioned have always aspired to raise the bar. It’s all cumulative. If all those now-graduated people had a mysterious little chill, or felt the hairs stand up on the necks, last night, I suspect they’ll get a more profound sensation when we have our next big moment. The thing is, it won’t be long now.

*Since I’ve been their adviser — and helper and cheerleader and all the other things — we have created seven new shows from the very air. Five of them are still running.

Sep 21

What was your first concert?

It was a productive and quiet Thursday, which allowed me to catch up on things and prepare for tomorrow, which will be productive and hectic.

I had a great memory this morning.

This is Ray Charles’ birthday. He was born in Georgia. I saw him when I was a little boy at Opryland, in Tennessee. My mother and my grandmother were at the park. And, to be honest, it was probably just an excuse to get out of the sun and heat for an hour or so. But, as I recall, they opened the doors for general admission seating and I, being smaller than everyone waiting to get inside, weaved through the crowd and got us seats close to the stage and right in the center. Maybe six or eight rows back.

Pretty great first concert.

Charles came on from stage right, sat at his piano, and The Raelettes came in behind him. At some point my mother leaning over and saying “I remember, he was old when I was young!”

He would have been about 54 or 55 at the time, my mother was in her mid-20s. That sentence is now hilarious.

He played to the crowd for a nice long matinee set. He leaned way back on his stool. He sang all of the songs you’d expect. He wailed on Hit the Road Jack. I remember that clearly. This isn’t from that show, but a concert about two years before.

I’m sure my grandmother knew some of his songs. Probably some of the country catalog and the stuff that, by then, had become American standards. I wonder what she thought about the show.

Here’s the sports show from last night. It’s just a barrel full of IU sports. What transpired, and what’s coming up. It’s all on Hoosier Sports Nite.

And here is one of the planters out front of Franklin Hall. This area, in the Old Crescent, is one of the campus highlights, and it’s always photogenic. The landscape and facilities people are putting out their best fall colors. They always do terrific work on campus. Just imagine this sort of thing all over the heavily landscaped parts of a sprawling campus.

We’re waiting for them to return my call about whether they work on private residences. I’ll let you know.

Sep 21

This headline got changed because of an error in the original

I spent all day wrestling with Premiere Pro. In truth I spent a solid three hours wrestling with the editing software today. But, if you fight a program, in vein and without resolution, it just feels like all day.

Really, it just puts me behind on arbitrary deadlines I’ve set for myself on varying projects.

(Update: Over the weekend I had an epiphany and tried it the next Monday. And it worked! It was the highlight of Monday, oddly enough.)

Here are the sports shows from last night. All the highlights and updates from the last week of Hoosier sports.

And if you need 20-plus minutes of talk on collegiate soccer, you need this program right here. Sharp analysis, if you ask me. (It’s sort of implied that you asked me, since we’re on my site, after all.)

And that’ll do it for today. Come back tomorrow, though. We’ll get your weekend started right by talking about … research.