The New And Improved Studio 5E

In retrospect I should have caught it. When built and installed the studio camera and lighting were mostly eyeballed in. I was learning. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. It worked, so I never went back.

Me holding an HD chip chart. This ‘photo’ is actually a frame of video. The colors look crisp and bright. All the grays are distinguishable. The chroma key is clean.

I made a presentation for a potential client last week and was very disappointed they were disappointed with my studio’s video.

They were right. In retrospect I should have caught it.

When built and installed the studio camera and lighting were mostly eyeballed in. I was learning. I didn’t know what I didn’t know.

It worked, so I never went back.

Me and Larry Fitzgerald on the patio.

This weekend it was time to get everything in spec. Larry Fitzgerald, friend from his Channel 8 New Haven days came by. Larry’s an editor based in Burbank. He cuts packages for Miss USA and Miss Universe every year and does a lot of reality shows. A lot.

At Channel 8 he was our production director in charge of all studio activities. He was the perfect assistant (and by assistant I mean I did everything he told me to do).

All these adjustments control the keyer. We’re attempting to remove a specific shade of green, but at many different brightness levels. It’s magic.

We moved the camera forward, the lights back and removed some diffusing paper. For those counting I’m getting around 29 lux on my face while standing on my mark.

With a “chip chart” we calibrated the camera. We checked the colors on a vectorscope to make sure the phase was correctly set. White is now white! What a concept.

There’s additional light hitting the green wall with the diffusing paper off. That meant starting from scratch resetting the chroma key. This process lets me stand in front of a blank green wall and look like I’m in front of a map.

My TriCaster’s keyer likes the additional light. It’s delivering the cleanest key I’ve gotten.

OMFG — the waveform monitors are showing exactly what they’re supposed to show!

As you can tell from the photo, Larry’s pretty pleased. Me too. My gear is capable of looking as good as any HD studio. It’s my fault it didn’t look that way last week. It does now.

I’m One Of The Doctors

Each pill is a specialist. Two (I alternate) are for nausea, one helps my stomach digest food more efficiently with enzymes and the last one no one wants to hear about. Seriously, you don’t.

Creon retails at over $8 per pill. I take 3-4 a day.
At the moment I’m taking four different medications for stuff going on in my stomach–all adverse reactions to treatment. The cure is chemical.

Each pill is a specialist. Two (I alternate) are for nausea. One helps my stomach digest food more efficiently using enzymes. The last one no one wants to hear about. Seriously, you don’t.

A few are taken at meals. Others every four hours. One is as needed, up to eight times a day. It’s confusing.

Do they interact? Yes. Therein lies the rub. Interaction has brought a new problem, also unmentionable.

I have a fairly good understanding of the dosing involved. Now I’ll start adjusting schedules until the pills and my stomach are happy together.

I don’t expect my doctors to do this. I’m not sure how they could.

Oh — and pills are expensive. I’m not sure who pays list price, but Walgreen says my insurance saved me $838 on the last one alone. My end was $13 and change. When I can I get my pills from the insurance company’s mail order pharmacy which usually has zero copay.

A few months from now my medical obligations will fade away. I’ll be in observe and report mode with regular testing. Medical intervention should slow down, maybe stop. Until then, I’m one of the doctors.

You Know That Healthcare Thing?

Dear America —

You know, the healthcare thing that got shot down today because far right Republicans couldn’t agree with moderate Republicans? There is a way to get a better deal than what Obamacare is now.

COMPROMISE!

Bring in the Democrats. Make a deal. No one said Obamacare can’t be better.

There are 192 Dems. You don’t need to convince every one, just thirty or so. On the other hand, there is no compromise from the Freedom Caucus (aka Tea Party), the Republican’s most conservative faction.

Our nation’s history is filled with bipartisan compromise. It’s part of our nation’s strength.

For a few decades I helped negotiate the union contract at Channel 8. It’s a difficult job I’d never want again.

In the end both sides compromise to make a deal they can live with. No one gets exactly what they want, but both sides are invested in the outcome. And it’s tougher to be a dick in a face-to-face negotiation than it is in a press release.

As Important As My Doctors… Maybe More So

he vast majority of my treatment has been below the physician level. I see nurses and therapists and technicians who are the nuts and bolts of my treatment much more often than the doctors they work for. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for taking care of me.

Ask about my cancer and it won’t take long before the subject moves to care. No complaining. My care received has been excellent even beyond my amazing outcome.

Compassionate care makes all-the-difference. Remember, these are the people I’m trusting to hurt or even wound me in the name of medicine! I need to trust they’re on Team Geoff.

I traded emails with Nicole, physician’s assistant to my oncologist, yesterday. At this level of care I have easy access to him through her. My email was about Creon and all the commercials I’m seeing for the Neulasta patch. At the end I wrote:

To your last point — the care I’ve received in the Hoag system has been incredible (plus the USC Treatment Center). Every medical professional has been kind and caring. I need to trust you to allow you to hurt me — and I do. Knowing I’m being served by people who care makes it easier.

Not such a big deal. I told her I appreciate her and her colleagues. She replied:

Wow! In 15 years, I have never heard it put in those exact words before…..
But what you say is so true.

Early on and with Helaine’s encouragement every medical professional we’ve dealt with has been personally told of our gratitude for their work. I want them to know. I want to encourage them to always be this way.

The vast majority of my treatment has been below the physician level. I see nurses and therapists and technicians and phlebotomists, the nuts and bolts of my medicine, more often than the doctors they work for. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for taking care of me.

A License To Eat

Think of it this way. I’ve been given a license to eat anything, any quantity, any time and not gain weight! And they say cancer has no upside.

Before cancer I weighed close to 200 pounds. This morning I was 164. The last time my weight was in this ballpark I was worried about the SATs.

When people look at me they’re astounded I had cancer. I’m slim and trim with good color. By my own admission I am the least cancery cancer patient ever!

The problem is last week I weighed 168. We went to Vegas where I ate like a human. It wasn’t enough. I need to be grazing all my waking hours to maintain my weight.

I know why. First, the distance between my mouth and tush was surgically shortened by the Whipple surgery. Food spends less time in me and I receive less nutritional benefit.

Second, I am the proverbial greased goose. ‘Nuff said.

Think of it this way. I’ve been given a license to eat anything, any quantity, any time and not gain weight! And they say cancer has no upside.

All this can be fixed pretty easily with medications like Creon, which I’m about to try. However, there’s something to be said about staying thin.

See, guys worry too.

I Am A Tough Guy

My walk through McCarran Airport

I am a tough guy.

There’s no way I would have said that seven or eight months ago, before pancreatic cancer. It’s nothing I thought I was. However, as they say, shit got real.

Recuperation seems to be in my wheelhouse. I’ve smashed most medical benchmarks. If a doctor said two weeks, it was three days. Stronger, faster¹.

Again, this is a major surprise. There is nothing which led me to believe any of this was likely… much less possible.

My stomach is still in upheaval. Instead of 80% upset it’s 80% calm. There’s still that 20%.

The most frustrating part of my recovery is physical weakness. Recently I’ve averaged 11-12 hours a day in bed. It shortens my day–too short already.

I run out of energy like a little kid. Much of the ability to pace myself is gone. Chalk this up to 28 days of radiation and Xeloda. As I detox this should ease.

Yesterday was a test. From the curb to our gate at McCarran was around 3,000 feet (thank you Google Maps). That’s a kilometer carrying one bag and dragging another.

Improvement continues.

¹ – I have written this sentence “Stronger faster,” “Stronger, faster” and “Stronger. Faster.” Each seems to have a grammatically correct use. Each looks wrong, including the version I’ve used. My English teachers would be happy this perplexes me in 2017.