A Little About Palm Springs

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I am in Palm Springs. Most people have heard of it, probably don’t know a lot about it.

First, it’s the desert. Less than six inches of rain a year. We’re under an inch since October and this is the rainy season!

We are in the Coachella Valley. It’s a very well defined lowland with the San Jacinto Mountains on one side and the Little San Bernadino Mountains on the other. Peaks exceed 10,000 feet. Much of the valley floor is below sea level.

The northern edge of the valley funnels into San Gorgonio Pass, making it consistently breezy. It’s home to nearly 4,000 windmills, most 160 feet tall to the hub. Huge.

Winters are mild. Summers are unbelievably hot. It once hit 100 in February! July’s average daily high is 105.

Humidity is very low, which does diminish the effect. It’s still searing heat.

“Gays and grays,” said a co-worker. This market is loaded with both.

Google MapsThe Hollywood crowd hung out here in the 50s and 60s. Sinatra, Crosby, Dinah Shore, Gerald Ford all have streets named after them. I ride on Fred Waring to get to my hotel. A casino is located off Bob Hope.

Lots of retired show biz types live here. Some active too. Easily recognizable names. People I’d go out of my way for, just to say I met them. Legends in music, pictures and TV. Comedians. Stars I grew up watching on TV.

It became a very nice place to retire, especially if you had some cash. There is a large community of well-to-do people in the region. We’ve had a bunch of stories on-the-air mentioning local philanthropists. Philanthropists live here. Lots of them.

Bill Clinton was here last weekend. He is attracted to philanthropists as a moth is to light.

There is a large gay community here. 60% of Palm Springs proper is gay, I’ve been told. I enjoy the vibe. It’s a great city for visitors and the residents love it.

There is also a large Hispanic community. Lots of my co-workers come from Spanish speaking or multilingual households. We are close to the Imperial Valley which has been a magnet for Mexican workers. The Southwest in general has always attracted families from Mexico looking for a better life.

The Palm Springs area has a “season.” During the winter, our season, we consistently have America’s best weather. Humidity is always low. The mountains usually protect us from nearby storms.

Do not confuse the desert with Florida. Totally different. The palm trees throw you off.

During summer the population shrinks. It’s tough to go outside.

IMAG2213-w1200-h1200This is a small television market. We’re a small television station. It’s like Home Depot, we help in all departments.

I have focused cameras and set up shots. That’s Thalia Hayden, our late news co-anchor during a commercial. Everyone wears many hats. I like that. I touch things and push buttons. It’s all the stuff that got me into broadcasting in the first place.

KMIR is, by-and-large, a station of happy people. I don’t want to Pollyanna it, but I’ve worked at places that seemed ‘grudge powered.’ I’ve yet to hear an angry word spoken.

I’m doing my first public appearance February 14th. I’ll be in Cathedral City for the Balloon Festival. Psyched. I’m looking forward to it.

The Compliment

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My studio is ready to go, but some equipment here at the TV station is not. If not fixed it’s another week in the hotel. I was hoping to sleep in my own bed.

Meanwhile, yesterday I was asked by our chief engineer to explain my tech needs to an IT guy. It used to be video and audio flowed through ‘electronic plumbing.’ No more. Most of the chain in today’s digital video environment is IT.

I started explaining how the signal would flow from my house to the TV station when Scott, our CE, interrupted. “He’s an engineer,” he told the IT pro while pointing at me.

Of all the nerdy accomplishments possible, being called an engineer by an actual engineer was pretty cool.

I’m not really an engineer. I know enough to be dangerous. I basked in that compliment all day!

Hotel Life

webcam-toy-photo3In my room. 12:14 am. A little bored.

Being on the road is not like being at home. Don’t get me wrong. I’m in a fine hotel. No Helaine. None of my stuff.

I just ran down to the car. No USB charging cables. Who am I?

I’m very anxious to perfect my operation of the TriCaster. That’s the ‘control room’ for my home studio.

It does what’s needed. I just have to figure out how to command it. I don’t yet speak its language.

The TriCaster is capable of following a set of predetermined transitions between graphic elements, allowing me to ‘drive’ the show while on set in my studio. Along with originating live-from-home, it’s also probably a potential TV first.

I have to learn how it’s done.

There are two or three “aha” moments coming before I really understand the box. I’m reading manuals and watching tutorials, but need more hands on time.

By definition computer programs need to be logical. That makes learning easier. There’s no doubt I’ll get it. How quickly? Dunno.

TV friends say the TriCaster is easy to operate. I’m eager.

Saturday.

Meanwhile, I work with nice people at a fun operation. No complaining. It is truly a winter paradise. You’d love it here.

A Few Feet? Really?

Geoff in the snow East Hartford-w700-h700I have been busy today. Little time to check the weather in the Northeast, except to say I won’t miss missing the snow! However, I have read a little of the forecast chatter.

From NWS Upton, NY:

NWP GUIDANCE CONTINUES TO BRING THE INGREDIENTS TOGETHER FOR A DANGEROUS…HISTORIC BLIZZARD AS A SECONDARY LOW FORMS OFF THE MID ATLANTIC COAST ON MON. THIS LOW WILL UNDERGO RAPID INTENSIFICATION AS THE PARENT UPPER LOW CUTS OFF ALOFT NEAR THE MID ATLANTIC MON NIGHT…STALLING SE OF MONTAUK LATE MON NIGHT INTO TUE. MSLP DROPS NEARLY 30 MB IN 24 HR FROM MON AM TO TUE AM… BEFORE GRADUALLY FILLING

That’s pretty scary talk. It’s helpful to take a deep breath and consider for a moment.

If I was on-the-air today my biggest fear would be people who go to work Monday hoping to beat the storm home. To quote Rocket J. Squirrel, “That trick never works.”

No 2015 forecast is going to get the accumulation exactly right. That’s OK. One foot and two feet of snow are similar in their impact. Everything stops!

The most important thing to know is the timing. Once the afternoon arrives all travel bets are off. It only takes 1/2″/hour snowfall to get ahead of the plows!

Charge your cellphone and keep it at 100% as long as you can. Stay put. The potential is there for a dangerous travel scenario EVEN IF THE STORM UNDERPERFORMS.

Snow… big snow… even the occasional blizzard are all part of New England life. With a little prep the storm will inconvenience you, no more.

I have made forecasts like this before. In the modeling everything clicks and the storm maxes out. In real life everything ‘clicking’ and ‘maxing’ are a little more difficult. New York City has only received two feet of snow or more twice since records have been kept, 2006 and 1947.

Maybe “historic” is a word which should be reserved for after-the-fact. Dreadful will do for now.

Stay warm. Stay dry. Stay home.

If I Was In Connecticut

If I was in Connecticut tonight I’d be going a little crazy about Monday. It looks to be a big storm, but the distance between big storm and miss isn’t very much!

School superintendents will make the call before the first flakes fall. That’s a decision best left until the very last second.

It’s likely the snow won’t start until late morning or afternoon. Just a few inches by going home time. By then it will be falling faster than plows can keep up.

This snow will feature gusty northeast winds over the later stages of its 24 hours over the state.

A footish. On the high side of a moderate New England snowstorm.

You won’t get exactly twelve inches, but the effect will be as if you did. Eight or ten hours after the storm you’ll be good to go.

Connecticut will be beautiful, but tough to deal with.

It Works End-To-End

This is a first. No one else is doing this. It looks like it will work exactly as planned. I’m really excited.

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The Very Long Day

“No problem,” I said… lying through my teeth. All of a sudden sleep had become a logistics problem.

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Tonight’s Nerdy Accomplishment

As you might already know, I host space oriented webcasts for Slooh.com. As shows approach I also produce promos. They’re done one man band style: research, write, find video, voice and edit. That’s fun. Video editing is done at home where my computer is beefy. Tonight I’m in a hotel with a laptop. Editing changes […]

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Meeting An Old Friend For The First Time

I had lunch with Bob Hardt today. Bob and I have so many friends in common it’s amazing we hadn’t met until today. It’s funny how age difference shrinks as you get older. Back when I was finishing high school, Bob came to New York City where he anchored news on WABC Radio and later […]

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It’s Starting To Look Like A Studio

I was just in the garage. It’s more studio now. Boxes still litter the floor. The rugs we ordered haven’t yet released their folds. The lights aren’t properly pointed. But there are signs it’s not for cars anymore.

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