Today in My History

2001:  Something with Chicken In It
The Danger of Getting Cocky
The Hours Crepe On Apace
Famous Last Words
It's Really Over...Sigh
2006:  Everybody's Doing It
2007:   No Place Like Home


Books Read in 2007
Updated: 11/17
"Second Chances"



You Tube

Mefeedia Video Archive

My Favorite Video Blogs
Desert Nut
(for others, see Links page)

Look at these videos!
The Dim-Wit Barber of Mayberry
Yes, We Can
Ennio Marchetto
Argument to Beethoven's 5th
Time Warp

Family Stories Vlog
(updated 10/2/07)

New on My flickr_logo.gif (801 bytes)

Cousins Day, December 2007


9 February 2008

What a day it has been!  I ended this day feeling like a real reporter, lemme tell you.

At 1 p.m., I had made arrangements to meet a delightful man named Liam Creighton, who is the producer and director of a film called Julie, Julie, which is being entered into the French Film Festival in Sacramento in July.  I am doing a feature story on him and on the film.  I had already spent a lot of time on their blog, going over the production videos they had made and reading up on Liam and his wife Courtney and spent the morning watching the latest videos and getting up to speed with what I'd seen before.

(I've finally done it--I've found a way to make my internet obsession actually work for my job!)

At 1, I went back to good ol' Mishka's cafe (where, coincidentally, Liam had once worked) to meet with him.  I was going to take the computer, but ended up no.  I just brought my "trusty" tape recorder.

We had a delightful chat.  He told me about his background, about how he came to make the film and all sorts of wonderful things.  About 30 minutes into the interview, I went to check the tape, as I usually do, and that's when I discovered that the tape recorder was not working.  The tape had just stopped about 30 seconds into the interview and because of the noise and clatter in the coffee house, I didn't hear the warning beep.  I didn't have one single word on tape.

I pulled out a pad of paper and my pen to take notes, which I do badly (which is why I tape a recorder in the first place), and discovered my pen was out of ink.  This was not looking good!  Liam got a pen from behind the counter at Mishka's and I did what I could, but all the while I was groaning inwardly because at 3 p.m., I had an appointment to interview another guy--and this guy wasn't going to be anybody that I could just "wing it" with. 

"The guy" was Rinde Eckert, who is the playwright / director / choreographer / performer and current Granada Artist in Residence at the University.  He is about to present his Pulitzer Prize nominated (he was one of 3 finalists) Orpheus-X for one performance on February 16 and then he is directing a student cast in his Fate and Spinoza the following week.  I've seen Rinde in performance before and knew that his interview was going to be more cerebral than just a couple of folks sitting around talking about movies and knew that if I was going to pull off a feature article over the weekend, I really needed a recorder I could rely on.


I remembered the last writing group meeting we had at Joan's house and how one of the women and Joan had been comparing their digital voice recorders.  I didn't have a clue how much they cost, but since there was only 30 minutes before my meeting with Rinde, I decided to bite the bullet and buy one--at any cost.  I went to Radio Shack.

To my delight, they were not only significantly cheaper than I feared they were going to be, but the clerk told me that they all pretty much did the same thing and the cheapest model was even on sale.  It's amazing.  It holds sixty-nine hours of dictation (for $20 more I could have gotten 114 worth of dictation, but I felt that was probably overkill!)

I told him to ring it up, add batteries, get it set up for me and show me how it worked.  He did, I raced home, checked Rinde's address, went to the bathroom, and then showed up at Rinde's apartment, heart and digital recorder in hand.  I plunked it down on the table, pressed the record button and hoped for the best.

[May I add, parenthetically, that I may have had my salary cut in half for stuff like this, but this is really the perk of the job.  I just love meeting these fascinating people--and without exception, everyone has been just as delightful as they have been interesting, Rinde Eckert definitely no exception!]

As we spoke (well, he spoke and I listened), I was desperately hoping that the recorder was working because there was absolutely NO way I could ever remember 1/10th of what he was saying, much less quote him on it.  Try, for example, remembering this:

He stands, in my estimation, kind of astride two worlds, one the world of the lyric, of the elevated, the high brain, essentially and this other world of the Dionysian, the animal, the inchoate, the natural. Hes able to talk to rocks; he knows the language of the rocks and therefore hes trusted by the rocks. That requires a very different order of poetic imagination than the Apollonian high lyric. And so he stands as this pivotal figure between our more primitive and animal natures and this higher nature, the higher poetry.

Yeah.  Right!  Please, dear God, let the recorder be recording!

I was pretty sure I knew how to listen to the recording, but I didn't dare even try until I'd double checked the instructions at home and to my delight the 1 hr 21 minute interview had not only recorded, but in amazing clarity, the difference of night and day from a tape recording.  AND, what was even better, I could transfer it from the recorder to my computer.

When I volunteered to work on the Morning Stories transcription project, the coordinator told me about a program called "ExpressScribe," which is a free download and which you can use to transcribe files on your computer.  It even has keyboard controls to stop and start and speed or slow down the recording.  I checked my Eckert interview that I transferred to the hard drive and there it was, playing through ExpressScribe.

I am an amazingly happy camper.  Now I just have to transcribe it tonight and tomorrow and write the article on Sunday.  I also have 3 more interviews to conduct, but they will be over the telephone, so I will type them as I talk to the subjects.




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