Brain Freeze x2

I was asked to run the church’s brand new audio-visual equipment for our second Christmas Eve Candlelight Service (more about that here — The Christmas Party).  I practiced, and I practiced, and I marveled over the state-of-the-art equipment and the primo presentation software.  I knew what I was doing and I was all set to go.  Sylvia had stressed to me how important it was to stay focused, and I already knew a bit about that because I often ran the A/V stuff at Heritage UMC in Vegas.

I was diligent.  Everything from “Welcome” to Pastor’s sermon went smooth as silk.  During Pastor’s sermon the screen goes dark, and I managed to listen to the message and still be ready for my cue to bring the Nicene Creed up for Communion.  After the Nicene Creed, when Communion was actually being served and the music team was playing, the screen goes dark again.

When it was time for the screen to come up again, I was Janey-on-the spot.  As is common in many churches, we ended the Candlelight service in candlelight and singing Silent Night.  It is a wonderful tradition and I love it.  Despite being at the controls I stood and sang the first verse along with everyone else in the sanctuary.  As singers we moved on to the second verse, but the screen did not change!  I frowned.  What on earth was wrong with the system?  Not now, I thought.  And then it dawned on me that the only thing wrong with the equipment was that the operator hadn’t pushed the “next” button.  Oops.  That’s me! PUSH!

Sunday Sylvia was still off-island visiting her family, and the Pastor’s wife was to operate the machine.  We’d trained together and before the service she went over everything with me again.  She was set and I knew she would do a good job because she’s one of those competent people that make the most challenging things seem easy.

The “Welcome” screen came up right on time and remained up during the pre-service messages.  Then the praise music started.  Everyone stood, the Praise Band started the first song … and the welcome sign remained on the screen.  I looked over my shoulder.  No one was in the audio-visual booth.  Oh-oh.

I figured that the pastor’s wife, because she is the pastor’s wife, was called away on an urgent duty and hadn’t gotten back in time.  I stood and made my way to the back of the church.  Halfway down the isle I see the PW standing off to the side at the back.  She flashed me a bright smile and waved.

I know I looked at her like she was nuts. I pointed at the screen where the welcome sign still glowed.  She did the Macaulay Culkin “Home Alone” Face Slap and then ran for the A/V booth.  I chuckled my way back to my seat.  After church was over we both decided it wasn’t so bad not being perfect if we could be not-perfect together.

My Apologies

I didn’t make it to the blog world last night and, as you know by now, Punny Monday didn’t go up.  I completely underestimated how much stamina I would have.  After three days of pain and then a very busy Sunday, my body just crashed.  I left the party early and came home to bed.

And this is Monday — I have to run my Avon kiosk at the coffee store from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  After that I will have to go shopping because Tuesday I am cooking dinner for 15 or so ladies who are attending a seminar at the church.

I hope to visit you all tonight.  Tomorrow I will be very busy.  And Wednesday I start volunteering at the elementary school so I won’t be around in the morning.  Phew!  I piled my schedule full this week!

Catch you when I can!  I haven’t forgotten you and I want to know what you’re all up to — as soon as I can see over my own stack of stuff!

I Need a Video Converter

I am working with the 5th and 6th graders at church. They came up with a really cool video idea and the head of the Sunday School department called me. She said nobody in the Sunday School department had the technical expertise to help the kids, could I? I said yes, and I do have the knowledge to help them, but I am short a couple of tools.

I have already found a couple of video cameras (multi-angle shots) and camera operators lined up. I have the kids busy designing their storyboard and deciding on locations, stars, etc. The kids have to do all of the coordinating. This is their video. Their teacher is available for support and guidance. I am running/teaching the tech (and occasionally providing support and guidance for their teacher who knows she’s over her head).

What I still need is a good video converter. The scenes are going to have to be edited and spliced. I know how to do it but I am far from an expert.

One of the 6th grader’s parents said she had a video converter for Mac, but I’d have to use it at her house because it came bundled on their Mac desktop.  I don’t want to be stuck in their house at the mercy of their schedule and they likely don’t want me underfoot all the time, either. I need a program — it can be Mac or PC, but with Mac software I could get Amoeba’s help — that is easy enough for me to use and teach 11 and 12 year-olds, but will still produce a quality video. Anybody have any experience or products they recommend?

Strategic Retreat

I am out of here again.  This time I’ll only be gone overnight.  Most of you won’t even miss me.  A few of the church ladies and I are talking the ferry across the Sound and we’re going to spend the night … I don’t quite know where.  I just know they said, “retreat, worship, and prayer” and I said, “Count me in!”  I also know that we are being hosted by a United Methodist Church and I am going to a United Methodist Women’s event.  Having been a member of the United Methodist Church for years, I have participated in many such events, so I am sure I’ll have a mountain-top experience.  Yes, I’m taking my camera!

So, I’ll be back sometime tomorrow evening!  Play nice while I’m gone. (I’m taking a laptop, but I don’t know if I’ll ever even open it.)

Reg and Syd: The News at Easter

Reg and Syd, two [ahem] satirical gentlemen of means, made their blogatorial debut in October 2009. Then, as now, they were discussing the events of the day at their waterfront club


“Ah, Syd, the stratagem progresses well. How very gratifying.”

“I’d propose a toast, Reg, but the champagne hasn’t arrived yet. Horrible service today. You’d think it was a holiday or something.”

“Well, if our media boys continue to do their work as they have been, we won’t have to worry about that much longer. You haven’t heard a word about the Pope’s actual Easter message, have you?”

“Not one. Not a sentence that has ‘Pope’ in it that doesn’t also have ‘scandal’.”

“Perfect. With the Catholics labeled ‘perverts’ and the Protestants ‘freaks’, soon Easter will be history, and the field will be cleared for our business interests.”

“I do find it hard to figure out, Reg, just how many of these pedophile priests there really are.”

“Sydney, you know that answer as well as I do. Very few. But it’s greater than zero, which is all we require for our purposes. We tell people about the ones we know about, and let their imaginations work. And if their imaginings come up with a number that’s, um, somewhat larger than the real one, all the better for us.”

“Indeed. The bigger the problem looks, the more people will leave the church because of it.”

“Right. And churches are just about the last things in society that induce a person to think of someone other than ‘me’. Which is bad for business. When we make churches look bad, we split individuals away from them.”

“And an individual will be thinking how to do better for himself. And when he does, we sell more stuff! Which means we can pay for all the champagne we want.”

“Right now, it’s beginning to look like we can’t pay for champagne at this club. Call the maitre d’ over, will you, Syd, and get him to find our waiter. And fire him, even if he offers some cock’n’bull excuse for his laziness, like going to an Easter Sunrise Service. Hell, especially if he was wasting energy at a Sunrise Service that he should have been conserving to serve us.”