Harold And Betty – How We Met

More than anything I’ve ever produced I am proud of this video because I think it captures my parents true love, even after 60+ years of marriage.

This was originally on my blog’s old site, but with the change of structure it needs a newly defined home.

This video was made about four years ago at my parent’s condo in Florida. I asked them separately to tell me how they met. Some of the story I knew. Much of it I did not.

More than anything I’ve ever produced I am proud of this video because I think it captures my parents true love, even after 60+ years of marriage.

The Golden Grandchild Returns From South Florida

Stef and I have discussed the reality show potential of my folk’s condo. The show writes itself!

Stef just came back from visiting my folks. Where they live having your 22 year old granddaughter visit and visibly spend time gets you rock star status! She and they had a fabulous time. Harold and Betty, my parents, are not kids but they’re sharp and active and have lots of friends.

Stef and I have discussed the reality show potential of my folk’s condo. The show writes itself!

“She doesn’t have a mirror?” That’s my mother asking Stef is she noticed a neighbor walking by.

It’s just like Real World or The Hills, except everyone’s a lot older–but it’s really the same.

They all have money without working, spend lots of time in social situations and… well let’s just say sexual freedom and Viagra have hit South Florida and it’s singles! And there are lots of yentas to supply the narrative.

This is an exciting and scary time for my dad. He totally lost the use of one eye while here in Connecticut. Now the good eye is awful courtesy of cataracts. I know it’s awful because he’ll have surgery in a few weeks to correct it. When you only have one eye you don’t go into eye surgery lightly.

One of the good stories Stef told me was of her time with my friend John who recently moved to Florida. I’ve probably known John for 15 years–maybe more.

John came as a team the day I met my friend Kevin. Like Kevin he’s a ‘shirt off his back’ kinds guy.

Stef has seen John but never really spent time with him or Alyce, his wife. That changed this week. There are good stories from the dinner the five of them had.

It was John who drove my parents to pick up Stef at the airport and drove them back earlier today. I’m not sure how I could ever repay that kind of dedicated friendship.

It’s no surprise John dd this, because it’s simply what he does. In South Florida a person like John is called a mensch.

Mensch (Yiddish: מענטש mentsh, German: Mensch, for human being) means “a person of integrity and honor”.

So, Stef is back. My folks can recuperate as we begin the process of getting Stef ready to ship out.

About My Friend Harold’s Infection

We changed his Facebook password which stopped the varmint in its tracks–but not before it had sent over a dozen invitations on Harold’s behalf.

My poor friend Harold got bitten by a virus this morning. What happened speaks volumes to the real threat facing PC owners.

Harold is a bright guy–a technical guy. His computer has virus protection.

The criminals (that’s what they are) who wanted to infect his computer took that into account. They weren’t thinking about Harold in particular, but computer users in general who have become much more wary.

They used social engineering to convince Harold to install the virus himself!

Harold’s confidence was gained when he received a Facebook message from a trusted friend. Look at this video, the friend’s email implored. Harold did.

He was brought to a legitimate looking page with a legitimate looking demand for him to update his Flash player. Clicking there brought in the executable file that took over his PC.

I can’t be sure what this virus wanted to do (probably zombify Harold’s machine to send spam or denial-of-service attacks), but I do know one of its dastardly deeds was procreation! It sent similar video ‘invitations’ to all Harold’s friends gaining entrée to the Facebook account it knew Harold had.

We changed his Facebook password which stopped the varmint in its tracks–but not before it had sent over a dozen invitations on Harold’s behalf.

Now Harold has an infected computer which needs cleansing. In the end the only real solution might be save the data and reload the operating system to its original purchase state.

This is nuts. Attacks like this cost individuals and businesses lots of money. The criminal’s cost is minimal.

We need law enforcement to stop this just as we stop bank robbery or muggings or any other crime.

Solving these sophisticated crimes is difficult. Even though it’s not as sexy as perp walking some thug it’s worth the effort. Computer crime has been given a pass for too long.

The Long Trip Home

I’m normally a huge Southwest fan, but they failed on this. No announcement was made when they moved the gate.

I’m home. Google says if I drove it it would have taken 43 hours covering 2,885 miles. I’ll keep that in mind as I look back on the 12 hour door-to-door trip.

My secretive friend called “Super Shuttle” to take me to LAX. He told them the flight, scheduled for 12:25 PM, and they offered a 9:15-9:25 AM pickup. That sounded awful early for a drive that normally clocks in under a half hour. I was at LAX two and a half hours before my flight.

I checked my bag at the curb. The skycap wrote Gate 14 on my boarding pass and pointed me in the right direction. The departure area was busy, but I found a seat.

LAX isn’t particularly WiFi friendly. There are few electric outlets. The WiFi service is “pay-per-byte.” I pulled out my BlackBerry and played around. I was in my own world as flights came and left.

Around 12:10 a young man came and asked me if I was on the Chicago flight? He was wondering why it wasn’t on the board at the gate and why it hadn’t been called. Good question. We went to another gate where we were told it wasn’t at Gate 14 it was at 4A.

I’m normally a huge Southwest fan, but they failed on this. No announcement was made when they moved the gate. It’s probable the move was made shortly after I headed there… maybe while I was heading there. There were a handful of us waiting in the wrong place! Without this lucky questioner I surely would have missed the flight–something I’ve never done in 40+ years of flying.

Southwest compounded their failure by not having information monitors. We had to wait in line and see a person to get the gate info.

Though I had an “A” boarding pass by the time I got to the gate the waiting area was empty. Nearly everyone else was on. I walked back to the only non-middle seat left. It was 20F in the non-reclining last row. On the aisle was a man who looked to be around 30. In his lap, Randy.

I’m a dad. I understand you can’t control small children–you wouldn’t want to. What follows is observation more than kvetching.

At 10,000 feet the first ding rang over the PA and Randy, nearly two years old, was moved to the middle seat. He was mostly quiet but squirmy. Me too. I pulled out my horse collar and tried to fall asleep.

I’m not sure how long I was unconscious when the pounding began. Randy was getting me with his feet and his hands. He meant no harm. In fact, he probably didn’t understand what he was doing. This continued intermittently for the next four hours or so. He did a little yelping as well.

Delayed Southwest flightWe landed at Chicago’s Midway Airport, waited a few minutes for a free gate and pulled in. I had about an hour between flights… well it was scheduled as an hour. The sign at the gate said otherwise.

Though I criticized Southwest for the earlier gate debacle they get a pass on this. Our flight to Hartford, last of the day, was being held for incoming passengers. I have been on the receiving end of this act of airline kindness in the past.

It was a bumpy ride as we passed over the disturbed weather that’s raining on Connecticut today. At one point the pilot asked the flight attendants to be seated and phone the cockpit when they were! Nice touch, but probably overly cautious. Let them err on the side of safety.

We landed in Hartford behind a Southwest plane from Las Vegas. Their bags came off first. That gave me the opportunity to run into and talk with my friend Harold and his wife Karen who were coming home from their daughter’s graduation (PhD, thank you) in Santa Cruz.

My drive home was uneventful though I was beginning to drag. I walked into my darkened house around midnight.

“Feels like you’ve been gone three weeks, doesn’t it?” Helaine asked this morning. Yup. Why is sitting in a seat so exhausting?

Mill River–Final Fall Color

This photo is a 3-shot HDR. It was taken in aperture priority with the exposure centered 2-f/stops darker than what was indicated.

mill-river-hdr.jpg

I took a quick trip to Cheshire to see my friend Harold this afternoon. On my way back I detoured to Mt. Carmel Avenue. There’s a nondescript highway bridge over the Mill River right at the foot of Sleeping Giant Mountain. I had wanted to take some photos there but somehow the time was never right.

I took a few dozens pictures and was walking back to my car when I realized I’d set the camera wrong! I walked back and took this one, facing south.

This photo (here’s a larger version) is a 3-shot HDR. It was taken in aperture priority with the exposure centered 2-f/stops darker than what was indicated. Without that the blue sky would have been totally washed out.

There are plenty of bare trees now. This was probably the last good leaf peeping weekend.

My Wasted Day

I was going to spend today with my friend Harold. He’s suffering with kidney stones. Contrary to popular belief, misery does not love company.

Helaine is away, gone with Stef to a series of concerts in New Jersey. I am home. I am bored.

I was going to spend today with my friend Harold. He’s suffering with kidney stones. Contrary to popular belief, misery does not love company.

I spent a lot of today being totally useless. That’s unusual for me. Maybe it’s a good thing. Really, every once in a while don’t we all need to do nothing more than ‘veg’?

I didn’t hit the shower until nearly 8:00 PM. My only trip outside was to get coffee. My TV viewing has consisted of learning why I don’t want to be in prison (thanks MSNBC).

I’d better be motivated tomorrow. I’m putting myself on notice!

The Funeral

My friend Kevin’s funeral was held tonight. As much as I expected a terribly tragic evening, it was not.

I’m not saying it wasn’t sad. Of course it was.

I brought three hankies and they did not go to waste. This, however, was more than sadness. It was what a funeral should be – a celebration of Kevin’s life.

Kevin was, and Melanee and their families still are, devout Mormons. It’s a religion where lay people officiate at services. Before cancer, Kevin was the Bishop of his branch&#185.

His faith was very much part of his life. I greatly respect Kevin’s devotion, even though he and I reached very different conclusions on faith and God. It was easy to see how it also shaped his out-of-church life.

I suspect faith serves his family well in this time when questions are many and answers few. There is reassurance when you believe a higher purpose awaits all of us, that heaven is a very real, and Kevin is waiting there for us.

Helaine, Stef and I drove to Cheshire and followed our friends Harold and Karen to the service in Waterbury. The building that now houses this congregation was once a Jewish synagogue. In fact, Harold’s brother was married right here.

As you might expect, there were lots of people attending the service. The sanctuary, normally divided in two by a movable wall, was opened to its full size.

Good people draw large crowds and few were as good as Kevin. The place was packed.

The service began and within a few minutes it was my turn to walk to the stage and eulogize Kevin. I speak in public a lot. Crowds don’t phase me. Still, this was very different.

I was a nice Jewish boy speaking in the Mormon’s place of worship. I didn’t want to inadvertently do something wrong.

Kevin’s eulogy, based on a web entry I made last week, went well. He was so nice, telling stories about his life couldn’t do anything but touch the congregation.

Then, I came to a part of my speech I hadn’t fully considered. Standing before this Mormon congregation, I looked at the paper and saw:

In March, at a poker table in Las Vegas, I sat next to a man who was a counselor at a hospice in Texas. We talked about Kevin and my fears for him.

“No one ever dies scared,” he said.

I pondered for a second… broadly turned to the church officers sitting behind me and excused myself for what was to come. I was going to say something that had never been said there before.

And then I read the line.

“In March, at a poker table in Las Vegas…” It got a very big laugh.

A laugh at a funeral is different than a laugh at a comedy club. This laugh said, “You are not offending us. Permission granted to continue.” And, I did.

It was an honor to be asked to give the eulogy. I sat down satisfied I had properly portrayed Kevin and our relationship.

Later, both his sister and sister-in-law also spoke. Their stories of Kevin’s life were priceless and brought new context to things I already knew from personal experience.

These weren’t sad speeches. In fact, both of them were very funny and delivered as if these two women were stand-up comics. There was lots of laughter from the crowd. How could you celebrate Kevin without celebrating his amazing spirit?

Can a funeral be perfect? This one was pretty close. There was the structured reverence organized religion brings and the genuine warmth people can only express when there’s real love involved.

Don’t you think I’d like to be able to pick up the phone and discuss this with Kevin right now? And, of course, that’s the tragedy in all this.

Here’s the good part. Nothing said tonight would have surprised Kevin. He knew that was how we felt. I take great satisfaction in knowing that.

&#185 – I apologize for being a little vague, but I don’t know the full structure of the Mormon Church. I did some quick research, but was still left confused.

I think the regional grouping of congregations is a ward and the individual congregation is a branch.

I am avoiding the word church to describe the congregation Kevin attended, because I think (and, again, I don’t know) the word “church” is used in a different way by Mormons than, say, Catholics

Writing For Print

My friend Harold is Chief Operating Officer of the American Radio Relay League – the national organization of ham radio operators. Recently, he asked if I’d write an article for QST, the League’s monthly magazine.

The article is a non-technical look at antennas for Field Day. From Wikipedia:

Field Day is an annual amateur radio exercise sponsored by the American Radio Relay League which encourages emergency communications preparedness.

I like to write. This will give me a chance to write against deadline. I have a week.

This afternoon, I sent a note to some possible interviewees. By tonight the ball should be rolling.

I’ve blogged about this because I know some of you reading this are hams and might have Field Day experience. If you’d like to participate, please drop me a note.

In the meantime, isn’t that writer’s block I see making a left onto my street?

The Saddest Part Of Life

My friend Harold’s mom died a few days ago. She had been sick for a long time. No one wants to see a parent, or anyone, go through that.

Helaine and I went to the funeral today at Temple Beth David in Cheshire. Tonight we made a shiva&#185 call at Harold’s house.

If it’s possible to attend a good funeral, this was it. Of course people were sad, but I suspect they did lots of their mourning while she was still alive.

This was a celebration of Pearl Kramer. I only met her a few times and hardly knew her. I learned so much more today when two of her sons and one of her granddaughters spoke.

She was educated – a college graduate when women college graduates were rare. She was valued, as she worked at the State Department in Washington during World War II. She was organized, a trait she passed on to my friend Harold.

What was said was more than sweet words. There was substance to these eulogies and her life.

She left behind a family that valued her love and guidance and wanted to make sure everyone understood that. Pearl would have been pleased to hear how she was characterized. Who wouldn’t?

The saddest part of life is, true love can only end in sorrow. Loved ones die.

There is no other way. To not love… to immunize yourself against the hurt that’s inevitable, is a fool’s errand.

&#185 – From Wikipedia: Shiv’ah (שבעה Hebrew: “seven”) is the name for Judaism’s week-long period of grief and mourning for the seven first-degree relatives: father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, or spouse. As most regular activity is interrupted, the process of following the shiv’ah ritual is referred to by English-speaking Jews as sitting shiva.

Link With My Past

I found a link earlier tonight to Ancestry.com. I don’t know anything about the site, except it’s a commercial outfit, but it did offer a three day trial to look at the 1930 US Census.

First I went and looked for my mom’s family. Nothing. I’ll try again later. Next, my dad’s family.

Goose bumps ran down my spine as I looked and saw their handwritten names: Jacob, Sarah, Anna, Harold and Murray.

There’s nothing earth shattering here. A tiny insight into their lives in Depression era Brooklyn.

My grandfather was 35 and from Austria. He was listed as being a chauffeur. I seem to remember stories that he was once a trolley car driver. Maybe that’s what was meant?

Grandma Sarah was 30 and from Russia. Both she and grandpa could read. Aunt Anna was 10, my dad 4&#189 and Uncle Murray 2 years, 10 months.

They rented their apartment for $25 a month at 80 Middleton Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. There were two other families in the building – one of whom was headed by someone also named Fox. He owned the building, worth $4100. If he’s a relative, this is the first I’m hearing it.

The other Fox family spanned a few generations with a grandfather, grown daughter and her husband living there.

The third family was headed by a divorced woman. She had a four year old daughter and a boarder, named Minnie Shonda.

Where listed, each of the adults in the building came from a home where Yiddish was spoken as the first language.&#185

It’s amazing. All of this carefully hidden away for 76 years, waiting for the Internet to set it free.

When I speak with my dad, I’ll see what, if any of this, he remembers.

&#185 – Many people confuse Yiddish with Hebrew. Yiddish is an amalgam of Eastern European languages, spoken primarily by Jews (and so the story goes, Colin Powell). It is a dead language, no longer spoken anywhere in the world as a primary language. My parent’s generation is the last to have Yiddish regularly spoken at home.

Born On The First Of July

Maybe I’m spoiled, being born in New York City? With millions of people there were economies of scale. The Fourth of July was actually celebrated on the Fourth of July! Here in the ‘burbs, things don’t run quite as according to that plan.

My town, Hamden, had their big fireworks show last night – June 30th. I was working.

Tonight, with my friend Harold in tow, I drove a few towns over to Wallingford for their big First of July celebration.

My expectations were low. Wallingford is a small town. A nice town, no doubt, but the number of people paying for the fireworks show is small.

We drove toward the high school where the display would be mounted, only to find a roadblock. The high school was full. A policeman told us there was a plaza where we could park and then hike. That’s what we decided to do.

A few blocks later, we pulled into the parking lot at the Yalesville School. The lot was already half full and some people were hoofing it toward the fireworks. Surprisingly, more were sitting at Yalesville in folding chairs.

I walked over to a woman sitting a few feet from my car. “Could the show be seen from here?” The answer was, “Yes.”

The Eagle has landed. We stayed at Yalesville.

As far as I can tell, we saw 90% of the show. There were ground displays whose glow we sensed, but whose artistry was hidden behind trees and homes. Just about all the aerial fireworks were high enough to see nicely.

Even better, we parked next to a giant pickup truck with Sirius satellite radio. The driver had the broadcast of the Grand Old Opry&#185 on, and it was loud enough to be heard where we stood.

Seriously, this was the perfect soundtrack for the evening, including Jim Ed Brown (he must be 1,000 by now) singing Three Bells – a song I played a zillion times as a disk jockey!

The show was much more than I could have ever anticipated. I didn’t check carefully, but there must have been 30 minutes of fireworks. They weren’t holding back either. This was an excellent show with plenty of action.

I clicked away like crazy. There was really no way to know whether I was striking pay dirt or not. I don’t have much in the way of fireworks experience with this camera.

I did read an article yesterday and slavishly set my ‘film’ speed at ISO 100, my aperture at F16 and plugged in a shutter release cable.

These shots of are a sample of my better catches.

The good thing about seeing fireworks on the first is, I can probably run out and see more on the second!

&#185 – Holy cow! The Grand Old Opry sounds like it’s been plunked directly from the last century. There were live acts, live announcers, a live audience and live commercials (spoken and sung) for such mainstays as Martha White Flour. It was interesting to hear these 1940s type commercials make reference to Martha White’s website!


Unintended Consequences Google Style

As long as I’m here, I thought it might be fun to be a guest lecturer for my folks condo’s computer club. A few years ago I spoke to the camera club.

This is an active community. There’s a club for nearly everything.

The meeting was set for 1:00 PM, but as is the Florida tradition, everyone came early.

The computer club meets in the clubhouse. It’s the air conditioned town square for this complex. The club has its own room with banks of computers and monitors. They are wired so each can be independent or they all can watch what’s going on at the head of the table. It’s pretty clever and put together on a shoestring budget.

My talk was about blogs. What the hell – I have some expertise. Many of the participants had heard the word, but had no idea what it was. These are computing neophytes.

I spoke and demonstrated and answered questions. It was pretty nice. They are really anxious to learn.

Someone asked about finding old friends. Actually, the question was asked a few times in different ways and I realized to the people in this room, this was a big deal

I used my folks as an example, entering my father’s name into Google. Then I entered my parent’s phone number and watched Google cough up the address.

I was a hit.

We talked about how couples will check each other out online before the first date. Google has spawned the act of googling.

Then a woman threw out her daughter’s name. It was a little unusual, so she spelled it and I entered it letter by letter. Within a few seconds Google displayed a page full of results.

The woman looked on her screen, recognized her daughter’s name and another, the daughter’s boyfriend. Meanwhile, I was reading ahead. Each of the six or seven entries on the page referred to the couple’s arrest in Miami on smuggling charges!

If this poor woman knew, she wasn’t letting on. I changed the page quickly, hoping the rest of the group wouldn’t catch on.

Good grief! That’s not what I want to get when I Google a name. I was turned tomato red.

I stayed a few minutes more then beat a hasty retreat. I’m not sure how long they’ll remember that nice young man, Harold’s son, who spoke to their group. I will never forget meeting the mother of a smuggler at the condo’s computer club.

The Mecca Of Ham Radio

This is probably the nerdiest thing I can say about myself. I have been a ham radio operator for nearly 40 years. I was first licensed as a Novice class operator while in high school and then went on to my General, Advanced and Amateur Extra licenses.

I can still remember my first contact or QSO&#185. I didn’t have a radio of my own, so I went to my friend Ralph Press’ house. Using Morse Code, I was able to span the globe from Flushing, Queens all the way to Nassau County, a little farther out on Long Island.

His callsign was WN2RNG. I remember that, because in Morse it had a distinctive rhythm: di dah dit dah dit dah dah dit.

Growing up I lived in apartment 5E. It was a building where outdoor antennas were forbidden. From time-to-time early in my ham radio career I strung up ‘invisible’ antennas of extremely thin, and very flimsy, wire.

Neighbors who knew complained I was ruining their TV reception. They complained even after I moved out and went to college!

It was all for naught. Only as an adult did I being to understand what it took to have a proper antenna and how important that was.

My ham radio career has been through a number of stages. There would be a few years of activity followed by a period of inactivity. I’m in an inactive stage right now. You can blame that on the Internet, which is more efficient than ham radio doing many of the things I enjoyed.

In my last active stretch I became involved in contesting, trying to contact as many other hams as possible in a set period of time, usually exchanging specific bits of information to confirm the contact. I also started toying with QRP or low powered contacts.

I have made contacts to Europe and Asia and everywhere in between with a transceiver I built on my kitchen table, using less power than a flashlight bulb. Once, on vacation, I took it to the Dominican Republic and operated off of D cell batteries with an antenna draped between two palm trees on the beach.

Early on, I used voice for contacts, but I grew tired of that. It was too much like operating an appliance and there didn’t seem to be much skill involved.

In my last ham radio incarnation I was 100% Morse. Ham operators call that CW for continuous wave. It is the most simple form of radio communications.

I became pretty proficient, able to send and receive at nearly 30 words per minute. At that speed you stop listening to individual letters and begin trying to hear words or phrases.

Once you start sending faster than 10-15 words per minute you can’t use the classic Morse key – the ‘brass pounder.’ Instead I used a paddle, with the dit and dah on opposite sides and an electronic keyer to translate my little finger motions into properly spaced tones.

Recently, my friend Harold become the Chief Operating Officer for the American Radio Relay League – the ham radio organization in America. It is headquartered in Newington, CT, about 40 miles from my house.

League Headquarters is ham radio’s Mecca. I went and visited today. It’s been a while since I’d been there.

It’s a difficult time for the ARRL because computers have stolen many of the geeky kids, like me, who used to go into ham radio. Restrictive covenants in housing developments have also made it extremely difficult to put up a decent antenna. They still have plenty of members, but I assume they’re getting progressively older.

ARRL headquarters is an interesting place because it’s a publishing house, membership service center, laboratory where new equipment is evaluated (and those evaluations published) and home of W1AW.

W1AW is to ham radio stations as Yankee Stadium is to ballparks. It is the best known callsign, without a doubt. Today, before I left the league, I sat down and did a little operating at W1AW.

There is, to me, something very romantic and relaxing about operating Morse Code. In a darkened room, with headphones on, totally concentrating, you can pluck weak signals from the ether and have conversations with people from around the world.

Imagine if the simple act of conversing required skill? That’s what CW operating is all about.

Many of the people you speak to don’t understand English, and I certainly don’t speak any foreign languages fluently. That’s where the telegrapher’s abbreviations come in. It’s possible to have a rudimentary conversation without speaking a common language.

I sat down at the W1AW operating position. The transceiver was down on the low end of 20 meters (14.005 mHz to be exact), a wavelength suited for long distance conversations. The rig’s coaxial cable connected it to a large multi-element beam on a tall tower. I was loaded for bear with a very recognizable call.

I called CQ – the universal request to chat. Nothing. I called again and Tom in Cardiff, Wales came back. We talked for a few minutes and, as I signed off, Ludo in Slovakia called me. That was followed by Valentin somewhere in Russia.

Harold estimated my speed at about 18 words per minute, well below my old CW comfort zone. My sending wasn’t entirely flawless either. A number of times I hit dit when I should have hit dah and had to correct myself and resend.

It really felt good.

Maybe it’s time to throw a wire antenna up over the house again and give it another try? Or, maybe, ham radio’s time has come and gone for me. I’m not really sure. There’s certainly a lot more on my plate right now. Where would I fit it in?

Something to ponder. Who knows?

&#185 – Because amateur radio had its beginnings in telegraphy, many Morse Code abbreviations are used, sometimes even when speaking. QSO, QTH, QRZ, QRU – they’re all part of the arcane lexicon.

Fast Cinema

Lately, I have become fascinated with the idea of shooting a movie. I’m not talking about some Jerry Bruckheimer explode-o-rama, but a little movie. A little movie done very cheaply and very quickly.

It’s a concept best explained by the folks at the 48 Hour Film Project.

The premise? Filmmaking teams have just one weekend to make a short film. All creativity-writing, shooting, editing and adding a musical soundtrack-must occur in a 48 hour window beginning Friday evening at 7 and ending Sunday at 7. The following week, the completed films are screened to an eager audience.

The 48 Hour Film Project and other similar groups like Cinemasports&#185 seem to attract a crowd of eager filmmakers. Interestingly enough, most of the small teams involved contain at least a few professionals – people who know their way around a camera and editing software. They look at these (mostly) 5-10 minute movies as intellectual challenges.

As it turns out, while I was in the midst of thinking about this while at work, in walked Ray Flynn. At one time Ray was our floor director, but he has gone on to own his own production house. He was interested – and he said he had a friend who would also be interested. This was good.

I called my friend Harold. He was in TV until a few weeks ago. His amazing skill is his attention to detail and organization – two concepts normally foreign to me. Harold was also interested.

Now we have to find a competition to get involved in. There’s one in Boston in about a month but it’s not a good day for Ray. So, we’ll wait until later in the season and hope for something else we can all get behind.

I have read comments from people saying how difficult these 2-day projects are. It doesn’t seem it should be that bad. In TV we often shoot, write and edit 1:30-2:00 packages in a few hours.

I’m probably just naive.

&#185 – I’m looking for more information on other similar events. If you know of one, would you drop me a line, please?