What Else Are Blogs For?

So this is kinda bizarre. Sitting in my living room, tapping out this entry on my wife’s netbook, which is logged into my home’s wifi. It’s a cute little thing with a foreshortened keyboard – the last and only time I bought a laptop I got one with a full keyboard, making it so huge it could hardly be called a notebook or a laptop. I called it the Necronomicon, which amused me and puzzled everyone else.

So I should feel all cool and 21st century. The only thing needed to complete the picture would be doing this in Starbucks with a clove cigarette in one hand. And wearing a beret. It’s cool enough for a beret out there. Instead I feel like I’m typing this on a Fisher-Price toy.

To be sure, lacking my usual desktop brain, I’ve been sneaking a few moments at work to update the blog (sssh!), but my work schedule is messed up this week, and that’s all my fault.

In the course of a semester, I have to do a certain number of stories centered on the college,  a responsibility shared among the reporters. This can get tough on a community college campus, especially one in a suburban setting, but I had my ace in the hole, a presentation that took place last Spring, but it was a former instructor on a second career, and fairly evergreen.

To digress (but not really), the man is Dr. Richard Taylor, who was diagnosed seven years ago with dementia, likely Alzheimer’s.  He works hard to keep his cognition up, and has become an Alzheimer’s advocate, writing a book called Alzheimer’s from the Inside Out and speaking on the disease’s effect and helping unaffected people understand how best to interact with sufferers.

It was a very good presentation, and he gave me an excellent interview afterward.  And I finally needed to use that footage this week.

When I go on location, I check out equipment from a pool. I’ve learned the hard way to make the “check out” part of that equation literal, but I had not apparently learned it when I recorded Dr. Taylor. Generally, under such circumstances, I use a shotgun mike with pretty good results. But apparently, whoever had the camera before me had switched the audio inputs to the camera’s internal mike, which are, to put it mildly, inferior.

To put it more diplomatically, less discriminating. The audio was marred by a horrific buzzing, most likely from the fluorescent lights, and picked up every door slam from students arriving late like a gunshot, every unzipping of a backpack, every shuffle in a seat. But mainly it was that buzz.

Now, mind you: this was on the same campus where I work, where I have my own workstation. It would have been the work of a minute to grab headphones from my computer to check the audio. Two minutes to check out a wireless mike setup so I could piggyback on the frequency of the mike being used by the Central campus TV guy.

But yeah, hubris. i knew what I was doing. And it would come back to haunt me.

Our station manager is an audio wizard, but was out with bronchitis, and only came back yesterday. It still took him an hour to get the buzz down to an acceptable level, using some software tools that were so complex I hadn’t dared try them,even with 25 levels of “undo” at my beck and call. After the lengthy Wednesday staff meeting, I still have voiceover, B-roll, graphics and a music bed to lay down.

I still have two remotes to shoot this week, and my extra time put in yesterday weighs against those, and the fact that I floor manage the news stand-ups this week. I can’t go beyond my allotted 19.5 hours, or they might have to start thinking about giving me benefits.

I shouldn’t be so churlish as to complain. I have work, a lot of people don’t. Bills are getting paid, if barely. There’s food in the refrigerator. Then again, I also contemplate I am here unable to replace a necessary tool, with some health problems that need to be looked at, and a wife driving a 20-year-old car. So fuck it. I’m gonna complain.

What else are blogs for?