Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Work Is Almost Done.. (Almost is the Key)

This week, getting home after the travails of New Hampshire (Hillary 38, Barack 36, .. others... 20+) I made a little attempt at cleaning up the new office. Actually, I went to the Geographic Seminar, and let Iris make a big attempt at cleaning up the new office. Let’s face it, she does way better at these things than I do. She is allergic to clutter, and I think I must have some sort of archaic desire to be surrounded by crap.. something that no doubt goes back a few thousand years in the Burnett clan, when we were living in hay stacks on the steppes of Russia. (It’s funny... when you think back to the BC days of Europe, the Romans aside, most of our ancestors were really roughing it, weren’t they? I mean.. no plumbing, no refrigeration other than the fact that it was 11 degrees outside.. and there probably wasn’t a helluva big difference between ‘outside’ and ‘bedroom.’) Clutter was probably just something they lived with. I don’t think the screwdriver or the plastic container, or file cabinets would even have done them much good anyway. Nothing to screw, little to protect besides food, and nothing to file. (“Hey Zeke, I just invented paper. Wanna see a Poem I wrote?” )

We have such riches, and never really pause to ponder them, except when they are at risk, and for most of us that doesn’t happen. Barring a fire, a flood, or a Katrina like event, we have maintained our comfort zone pretty well for the last couple of generations. The ability of the human mind to adapt to upward mobility is amazing. Anything you have had since youth (for Jordan and her pals, that includes cell fones, computers, fax machines...) you probably think has been around forever, no matter what your parents say about their abject poverty, and walking 2 miles in the snow to school. You have no real experience to let you understand what ‘without’ those items would be like, so how can you ‘imagine’ it. You can’t really. And given the enormous reliance on technology today, the assumption we all have that things will always work ... the internet, airline bookings/schedules, delivery of food from all over the country to our local Safeway... puts us in a place where it could get ugly very quickly if something happens, man-made or natural, which makes those things go away.

A few years ago I bought a yogurt at TCBY, at a time when there was a brief electrical outtage. Their cash register had gone on the blink, and not powered back up yet, and the 15 year old kid told me she couldn’t take my money because the register wasn’t On, and she couldn’t figure out how much I owed her. Talk about a ‘one button’ life! I told her, that it was not so difficult to add 8 percent to a buck fifty, but more important than her inability to do the math was the cultural paralysis which came with the outage. She had absolutely no idea what to do, or how to do it. She needed to have that electrical system On in order to even charge me for a cone.

One of the positive signs we see now and then is that during a black-out, usually east coast, most often in summer, people definately take it on as a challenge, and look after each other. But I wonder how long that would all last if the outtage was more than a day or two, turning for a mini adventure in SwissFamilyRobinsonNess to The Survival Guy all too quickly.

But back here in Office One, the Kai Productions headquarters, yes the place where The Gefilte Fish Chronicles and other outstanding shows emanate from, things are finally coming to order. There is, as of yet, no real ‘wireless’ solution to setting up a photo-based computer system. You cannot have a laser printer, two inkjets, a half dozen disk drives, and two scanners, plus a few other assorted accessories, and expect them to talk to each other without a bundle of wire which looks like a spagetti factory in Pisa. But you can try and hide them, hide being a relative term. All you have to do is look down and under the soon to be clean desk, and you ll see what looks like the public wire and plumbing works under Third Avenue in 1927. (Thats a lot of wires!) But most of the wires actually know where they start and where they go (hey Geek Squad, where are you when you’re needed?!) Most of the stuff actually works, which is quite amazing since the history of these things is to get them set up once, use them, forget what goes where, and a year later when you upgrade or repair, have absolutely not a clue as to what actually needs to be plugged in to which plugette. This year I even bought a packet of cable stays, the little things which are 1/8” wide plastic bands, about 5 inches long, and with the loop on one end, you thread the whole thing around a bunch of cables, then tighten up the cinch like the saddle on a rodeo horse. They are quite handy. They are especially fun (the slightly larger sizes) for using on charter campaign flights to surreptitiously loop one thru a seat belt and a belt loop of a sleeping journalist’s pants, only to watch in great glee as they attempt to leave their seat at the end of the flight, and are brusquely prevented from doing so by the previously mentioned plastic stay. They call it a ‘stay’ for a reason.

I have sorted out a good amount of the stuff, and now it’s just a question (again!) of what goes where, but progress is a funny thing, and as long as we don’t have a 72 hour power blowout, I should be in good shape by mid week. And I even unpacked a new, small set of 'cool lights' for doing portraits with my big cameras. And they work. (Sorry, but in this house, the only person I have to shoot pictures of is Me...)-

Canon G9 @ 200asa, macro setting. And if you find yourself in Arlington, drop by the office for a cup of coffee. It’s the good stuff (excellent and probably decaf) and the service is always with a smile. We’re just sayin... David


Anonymous said...


I'm there.


Anonymous said...

Hello David,
Glad to see you survived the bus.

I had what I like to call a "Burnett Moment" tonight.

Someone blocked my car door (me in it) with their car until I told them what I was doing with my camera on a night shoot. I always think of you in those moments,and all the stupid guards you've had to glare at. I was calm but rude enough that he left... Nearly... he pulled in behind me and put on his bright lights, and refused to leave. Everyone wants to be a hero, everyone wants to save the homeland! And we're in Canada!

Idiots! If i was a crook/terrorist he'd be dead by now. I guess he never thought that thru...They see a guy with a camera and he's a scum puddle. Paparazzi have screwed it for us too. Freedom of speech,my tiny bum! Was a time people were generally interested in what I/photographers were doing, actually would stop to talk, now they are just afraid.

I seem to get a lot of nuts in this small town. Challenge after challenge. I always think,"What would David do?- Oh spirit of David guide me -let me not go astray. And protect my equipment, amen." Seriously thinking about getting a Speed Grafic just to hit jackass's with.

Maybe that should be your next book. Self defense for photographers.

Page one. How to render a moron unconscious with a light meter.

Good luck on the office saga - part deux. G9's are great,even work with the ste2 wireless with ettl. Getting a little worried that most of your photos are of you though. Maybe its time to get a cat?

Not that your an unattractive man. God no...I mean... according to my girl friend...ya...As far as she's concerned, if I die, its between you and Natchwey. I'm prety sure Iris can take her in a fight though. (note:aim low Iris, she has week knees).

Just going over the last few blobs, looks like you got a real fan base for that book Iris!


Iris&David said...

I wish I had some clue as to why, in the moment of challenge in 2001, the 'great leaders' had decided that Fear was the only response they could come up with. Oh, there was "keep shopping", of course, dont want to forget that one: But instead of really asking for all of us to pitch in some how, all they could think of was raising the Level to Mauve or Chartreuse. In the end, a million idiots who think they are Zorro, on some stupid mission to take care of Sgt. Garcia.. think they are being Mister Tough guy. It's very true that those awful scenes of 50 pap's chasing Brittney don't do us any good.Our image becomes them. There was really nothing like that until TV nosed out print (and us) as the important medium of choice, and what are we as photographers left to do? Try and document what we see, and let there be some record of it, untainted by Anderson Cooper. It scares me that the bottom line ends up with fools thinking they are capturing someone. Don't any of them know that if you really want to photograph a nuclear site you dress up like a grandma, and push a pram (which has a video camera peeking thru the cover). They don't need out two cents worth, whether shot with a Speed Graphic or a G9. Somehow the fools on OUR side are never that creative. Makes a person sigh, doesn't it. I'm looking into renting a cat. Low mileage.

Anonymous said...

well said...