Plus: a project that I've been working on won an award from the IABC.
Minus: my name's not on the award.
Plus: the person whose name is on the award invited me to the award dinner.
Minus: socializing with a bunch of strangers still terrifies me.
Plus: it might be a way to do some networking, which could get me a new job.
Minus: the dinner's formal-fancy.
Plus: I've dropped about 20 pounds in the last year.
Minus: none of my formal wear fits any more. (Coats, yes; pants, nooooooo no.)
Plus: I get to go clothes shopping!
Minus: I have to go clothes shopping at the last minute, which is going to put me at the mercy of a speedy tailor.

(all right, enough of that.) I'd actually like to use this as an opportunity to pick up something slightly less classically formal (i.e., Brooks Brothers, whom I love but I am not paying $1500 to go to this dinner). Unfortunately, most of the stuff I've seen that's a little more laid back is also cut for the more slender gentleman. (Like this, which I like but which I doubt will look nice enough when draped over my paunch.) (Or this, which might actually fit okay but still might be lacking on the formality front.) I'm not sure that I'm done losing weight ("hah" says the new French bakery up the street) so I'd rather not buy a complete suit, or have any of my present suit pants tailored just yet.

Harrumph. Someone sell me an awesome sharkskin suit, and I will rock the fuck out of it.

things I learned while yelling at runners

Rode a bike downtown yesterday morning to cheer for folks running the Pittsburgh marathon—nobody in particular, everyone in general—and right away discovered that my concept of the sheer scale of the event was way off. 30,000 runners is like everyone in my home town who could walk suddenly took off running through the streets of Pittsburgh. I felt guilty leaving before everyone went by (if I'm cheering for anyone, then shouldn't I cheer for everyone; I fail cheering), but halfway through the race the stream of runners becomes virtually endless, and dammit I had a hockey game to fret about! So as far as I know there are still people running, because I never saw the end.

- Mechanical cheering aids are a good idea, because clapping and yelling for 45 minutes at a stretch is hard, and there are still more runners coming! The ding bell on my bike was a good crutch (although I'm sure I was annoying everyone around me because I was annoying myself; it was like a angry hotel bell captain standing on the curb), but a cowbell would be better. Cyclocross fans know what's up.

- If you wear knickers and forget the sunblock for your winter-white calves, you will be sorry. I did and I did and I am.

- Ain't no big boys running near the front, but there were more running than I expected.

- I could do this. Maybe just the half marathon to start, or the 5-person relay. Hmm.
  • Current Music
    Atheist - "Third Person"

the nerding will not be silenced!

I didn't get to go to NAB (well, unless I wanted to pay for it myself, which works out to essentially the same conclusion), but of course I have opinions and it seemed like a good time to check back into LJ. We'll see how long it lasts. Anyway, the video stuff:

- Reports are that nobody was talking about 3D, and everybody was talking about 4K. I'm not surprised. 3D has always struck me as a inessential technological stunt, and I'm not surprised the end-user adoption hasn't developed the way a lot of manufacturers were hoping. 4K is also a technological stunt—given the screen sizes that most people can fit in their homes, they'll need to skooch way the hell up towards the screen before they'll see any difference between HD and 4K—but 4K adoption only means changing out the content capture hardware, not the entire soup to nuts hardware configuration. Lots of folks replace their content capture hardware on a sort of regular basis anyway (or just rent the newest latest when they need it), so I wouldn't be at all surprised to see a whole bunch of people recording at 4K and delivering at lower resolutions in the very near future. (Better buy a bunch of hard drives...)

- Speaking of which, the cost of LTO-5 backup systems seems to be approaching poor pro range ($4.5Kish). Meanwhile LTO-6 is shipping (I think), LTO-7 is under discussion, and Hitachi was showing an 8K camera, which would overwhelm the whole cheap backup solution all over again.

- I think the new Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera is going to be a big deal. RAW recording, micro four thirds lens, and a Super 16 sensor for under $1K could sell a whole bunch of cameras. Well, assuming it ships something close to on time, and that it's a more solid platform than their other cameras (which have had some, um, issues).

- The demo for SliceX makes me think two things. Thing 1: Maybe I need to search out some work that gives me a rationalization for buying and playing with this, because holy geez it's nice. I know that demos operate in their own self-aggrandizing version of reality, but the quality of the rotoscoping that's coming from a $150 plug in is mighty impressive. Thing 2: anyone who is basing their job security on the (formerly) high cost of entry into the serious post-production game is going to (continue to) be sad.

- I really should be putting this in some sort of professional blog instead of hiding them on here. But hey everyone!

after a minute, a (minute) return

My new favorite thing for my cold-addled brain: the NFL Red Zone television channel. It's a (mostly) real-time highlight program that runs Sundays when most of the US football happens—no commercials, not too many breaks, just one event after another, flipping from game to game to game to game. I'm sure this was initially conceived for the football superfan who wanted a way to watch every single game at the same time; that sure isn't me, but I love it anyway. I don't dislike football in some faggy, NPR-listening, stereotypical fashion, I just don't care (plus it normally competes for attention with hockey, so it's straight up doomed in my world). Hell, I played football back in elementary school, but that's about where my interest (and understanding) stopped. Play action? Backfield motion? Don't know; don't care.

But the Red Zone channel, ooh. It's the shiniest object. The distillation of all the games to flickering episodes strips everything down to the most basic win/lose/"oh no!" elements, and makes for some near-hallucinatory confusion about who's playing whom because I'm not really paying attention, especially when there are three different games showing at the same time. Football heads for Calvinball territory. Pour that shit into my head, yes please.

Or maybe it's the cold.

hm, more space here than I remember

Dodging the year-absent mark, a brain-dump:
- I was helping out at a local record store, counter work and ordering, making use of many years of music arcana and seeing how it applied to actually levering dollars out of wallets, but after a few years of the good financial fight we finally pulled the plug. It's absurd how impossible the music-retail business is right now, especially as a small independent store, especially with Amazon chopping the legs out from under all price points. Pricing at MSRP, we were making about $3 on the average CD, sometimes less. Super-deluxe vinyl editions could be more profitable, but that required people actually wanting to drop $30+ on an album. Nutty. So every order became an agony of new releases versus money tied up in product that wasn't selling fast enough. We circled the drain for a while, then shut it down on Halloween. I don't know that the record store will become extinct, but they're getting awfully rare.

- Bought art last weekend, a combination of serigraph and watercolors that I can stare at for time-erasing stretches. I think it might be the first piece I've ever purchased from someone I didn't know ahead of time; she said it was the first piece she'd ever sold to someone who wasn't family or a friend. Now for the framing; oh, and maybe I should fix a wall so I can hang it somewhere inside the house.

- Jumped back into the RPG world via a Sunday group playing in the Labyrinth Lord framework, mostly, with some detours into other games depending on who shows up. Still working on the actual role playing, and I should never take my unlucky dice hands into a casino, but whee it's fun. (Also expensive when I discover that things like 7-sided dice and Battle Wizards exist.) I see a gaming convention in my future.

Derp, brain empty.
  • Current Music
    Death Grips - "Hustle Bones"


The phone message waiting for me last night from my friends in Alabama: "We're okay, the house is totaled, the cats are missing. How are you?" Add another thing to my list of things I am not sure how to deal with. I think I'm going to sprain the reflexive problem-solving part of my brain.
  • Current Mood
    anxious anxious

not presently on a boat

We're wrapping up a conference in Savannah; I've been here since mid-last-week. Haven't really clicked with the city, which is actually not a bad thing because it's meant evenings in the fitness center instead of some bar. (Running on a treadmill with a built-in television is weird but effective. Not as nice as running outside, but Savannah has little city blocks and lots of traffic squares, and one abortive attempt mostly spent dodging cars and tourists was enough. Running along the river one morning was nice, but cut short by rain.) As usual, my impression of the city is mostly airport (small; weird, school-like architecture), hotel (trying to be fancy but falling down on lots of little details), and convention center (lovely open architecture, but a bit small; also on an island, which has proved picturesque but inconvenient when the ferry isn't running due to diesel spills or bomb threats or whatever the fuck shuts it down today), and whatever small bit of the city I see when I'm trying to find dinner, which expands or contracts based on necessity and just how adventurous I happen to be feeling. Nothing has changed my general opinion that the south doesn't really get vegetarian, at least not widely enough that dining options appear without some serious research, but the food in general has been surprisingly good (even at the hotel and convention center, places not always known for edibility). Favorite discovery so far has been B. Matthews (link), although it's too spendy for every day (plus, again, the veg options are limited). (Fave discovery at B. Matthews was the New Belgium 1554 Enlightened Black Ale (link; must find this closer to home!) Now we're in that limbo state where we're waiting for things to end so we can tear down. Waiting, waiting. I must be tired because this is polluted with parentheses and "nice".

So yeah, not presently on a boat, but soon! (link)


With due respect to everyone who's had to live through days without power, or who need to get places Right Now (godspeed to my friends who are presently trying to get from Pgh to Erie before someone dies), and now I feel like I need to say this very quietly, but the snow's been pretty great for me. Work's been closed all week so far (and it's presently snowing as I type this Wednesday afternoon, so who knows for tomorrow), and the impromptu vacation has basically meant elaborate breakfasts (as I work my way through A Real American Breakfast; yesterday was buttermilk pancakes, today was jonnycakes), extended videogame sessions (I've pretty much decided that the control scheme in Phantom Hourglass is clever but ultimately a pain in the ass), lots of snow shoveling, and one abortive attempt to chuck a bike down the Frick Park trails (just too much snow for any forward progress, but riding down sort-of but not-really-cleared streets that make it pretty obvious why work is closed; way to go, Pgh DPW!). Today: more shoveling, a walk down to the radio station for this evening's show, and maybe a trip over to REI to look at snowshoes.

Wow, that's almost too cheery. I promise to play lots of ultra-kvlt metal tonight to make up for it.

beside the hype

While I have a passing nerd interest in the maybe-upcoming Apple tablet, what I really want to hear this afternoon is that Apple is chopping the price of their Mac Pro desktops. Because that's what I need right now, not a new toy.

(Yes, the new quad-core iMac is very pretty (and friggin' huge! it's maybe the first time I've ever thought a monitor was too big), but I think the lack of easy expandability takes it out of the running for me.)