Audio production assignment

Posted onDecember 19, 2010 
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Here is my audio production assignment:



Writing project – Profile – December 2010

Posted onDecember 19, 2010 
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An oft-quoted phrase, perhaps incorrectly attributed to the Chinese, states “May you live in interesting times”.

To say that this past year has been interesting would be an understatement.

Earlier this week, my daughter was decorating our Christmas tree.  As is tradition with with many families, there are certain ornaments that we have collected over the years that we make sure always go on the tree.

Some ornaments are indicative of interests, like the Shuttlecraft Galileo and tiny Enterprise from Star Trek. There is a small spool of 8mm film representing what has given so much to our family over the years financially.

Others were hand made by my children, as projects in preschool, scouts or daycare.

A few others are special in another way, as they commemorate a series of “firsts”.  A small house with a lit porch light and a silhouette of a man and woman in the window is marked “First Christmas Together”.  This was the ornament that I gave my fiancé in 1990.  We were married 4 days after Christmas that year.  Two others are marked “Son 1991” and “Daughter 1996”.

This year there is another first Christmas, although it will not be the subject of an ornament.  This will be the first Christmas without my mother.

Carol Lyn Mansfield, née Timmons, was born to real salt of the earth people.  Her father, Washington Timmons, could trace his line back to the pioneers of Kansas and then farther back to the frontiersmen of Appalachia.   He was a farmer who raised his family on the income from a single 80-acre section, like many of his neighbors. During the Depression he hunted squirrels and pigeons with a .22 to add meat to the table.  His wife Elsie was born in the Wilhelmshaven area of Lower Saxony in Germany.  Shortly after the end of the First World War, Elsie, her Father and Mother, and two brothers, emigrated to America through the port of Baltimore, and made their way to northwest Iowa.  Life for the Timmons family was not easy.  Washington went through a bout of Rheumatic Fever sometime early in the marriage, leaving him with a weakend heart that slowed his pace considerably for the rest of his life, ultimately causing his death at planting season in 1977. Elsie gave birth to two sons and a daughter.  Both boys were stillborn, and my Mom was the only one to survive.

Carol was only 16 years old when she graduated from Okoboji Township Consolidated High School and moved to the big city, Sioux City, to attend what was then called the Lutheran School of Nursing.  Graduating in the spring of 1957, she received her cap and pin, and went to work as a nurse.  As was common in the nursing field in the mid 20th century, Carol held down several positions concurrently.  During the week, she was an office nurse for Dr. Bowers here in Sioux City.  Weekends would find her being a temp nurse on one of the floors of the Lutheran Hospital, or a local nursing home.

Sometime in the early 60’s, she met my dad, Roger Mansfield, and they were married in the summer of 1965.  Dad was, at the time, the Sports Director of KTIV.  Neither of my folks worked a “normal” 9 to 5 job for several years after they were married, even after I came along in the fall of 1966.  I know that my mom, who went to work in surgery at the newly formed St. Luke’s Hospital in the late 60’s went to work quite early in the morning, what was probably the 6am shift.  Dad was working the 6 and 10 sports, not to mention shooting sports events on the weekends. (You see, being the Sports Director of a small TV station in the late 60’s meant that you were more than likely the entire Sports Department.)  This, of course meant that he was getting home at something like 11pm.  Many days mom would ride the bus to work so Dad would have the car to take me to school.   I vaguely remember picking up Dad after the 6 and eating in the car while watching the Ozark Airlines planes come and go at the Municipal Airport, or perhaps while at Grandview Park. Dad would then drop us off at home so he would have the car to come home with late that night. Having only one car, as many families did then, meant getting the schedules to mesh with the precision of a fine Swiss watch.

Mom was a tireless worker.  All her life she battled asthma, for which she always carried a small rescue inhaler.  Wheezing and shortness of breath were just something to work around, and although I do have some childhood memories of her having to catch her breath from time to time, I don’t ever remember it stopping her for long.  I know that as a child, the asthma caused a lot of hospital stays and medicines that Washington and Elsie could barely afford on 80 acres of income.

As I grew, and started school, Mom was frequently at school for PTA activities, school programs, and bake sales.  One of my funniest memories was of her running the cotton candy machine at a school carnival, and winding up totally covered with the stringy sugar mixture that escaped from the whirling mess at the center of the contraption.  At our 6th grade graduation party, she made sure to give me a piece of the cake that did not have the teeth staining blue frosting, much to my dismay. My sister Dana, 5 years my junior, says in fascination “How did she do this?  Meals, laundry, school for us kids, work…It’s amazing.”

As my own children have grown, and I work through many of the same issues, I seem to have no shortage of new admiration of how my parents, and in particular Mom, kept the house running, and kept my Sister and I on track.  I graduated High School in the spring of 1985, and took some college courses and started my own career in television.  All seemed to be going well until the fall of 1988.

It was then that Dad got sick.  I do not know how she did it, continuing to work full time and also taking care of him as the cancer slowly robbed him of his health.  Chemotherapy, radiation and lots of doctor’s visits became the norm as the fall of ’88 became the winter and then finally the spring of ’89.  I don’t remember much as the days and weeks blurred together as I spent as much time as possible with them when I wasn’t working as the new 6 and 10 director at KTIV.

As the spring approached, hospice was determined to be the course most likely as the cancer spread to Dad’s brain.  However, he never lived to enter hospice and died with Mom and I at his side at St. Luke’s one warm May morning.  I was devastated, and I know that Mom was too, but years later she confessed to me that she accepted the inevitable the preceding fall and grieved silently as he faltered.

Life moved on and she did too.  In the summer of 1990, she took a second job as an overnight weekend nurse at a local care facility.  This was in addition to a weekday job at a local doctor’s office.  Having worked overnight weekends and regular weekday hours at the same time (while significantly younger), I still do not know how she did it.  As I said earlier, she was a tireless worker, although I could tell she was starting to slow down.

In the mid ‘90s, the doctor she worked for retired and the office closed, and she went into a semi-retirement, only working the overnight weekend job. This was not the easiest of positions to hold for a number of reasons, primarily in the winter.  The facility where she worked was separated into 3 or 4 different buildings, and that meant in her rounds she had to go outside to go from building to building, in blizzard like conditions and the intense Iowa cold that winter brings, several times a shift. This caused a lot of problems for her as the cold air severely affected her breathing.

But she worked this job until she was forced to retire after a fall in which she broke her shoulder.  She was afraid that with the diminished ability to do CPR, she would not be able to help a resident if needed.  Having worked so hard for so long, retirement did not suit Mom well.  With her diminished mobility from the previous fall and being diagnosed with COPD shortly before, the last few years for her were very hard.

In addition to her own health issues, my sister went through her own health problems the latter part of 2006 and spring and summer of 2007.  In the fall of ’06, Dana was diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism that required a couple of weeks of hospitalization.  Then, in January of ’07, she was diagnosed with Leukemia.  Mom tirelessly went through all this, and the chemo and months of hospitalization again, this time with a better outcome. There were very few days where she did not get to the hospital. With Dana in remission, it would seem that life could go back to normal. Then, mom started to falter.  She was again starting to slow down, and was in and out of the doctor’s office, starting to rely more and more on oxygen. The last part of 2009 and the first two months of this year were the hardest as she fought several opportunistic infections and other conditions that seemed to feed off one another. During this period she was in and out of the hospital several times (Including an ambulance trip on the Christmas Day blizzard) and also did a stint in the care center for therapy.  In the end her lungs, weakened from 70+ years of asthma and smoking, finally could cope no more and gave out on her on a bitterly cold day the first part of March.

It’s the first Christmas without Mom, but although she won’t be here with us, she won’t be far from my thoughts.

Assignment: Branstad Visit to Morningside College

Posted onOctober 18, 2010 
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“I love Iowa” was former Iowa governor Terry Branstad’s quote when asked why he was running again. The current Republican candidate for the gubernatorial seat spoke Friday to a packed UPS auditorium on the Morningside College campus.

Branstad focused on a litany of ills that has befallen Iowa in recent years. Stating that unemployment has hit 8.6%, and when he left office that figure was at 2.5%, in addition to the state having a 900 million dollar surplus.

Morningside senior Alex Pacheco referred to his comments as “chicken$hit”, but went on to say that his comments were addressed to a “Private liberal-arts higher-ups group” which “may have explained this.”

Recession still on according to two small business owners. (Final draft)

Posted onOctober 8, 2010 
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A resounding “no” was the answer to the question, “Do you consider the recession over?”, posed to two small business owners here in Sioux City.

The Federal Small Business Administration defines a small business as (depending on the type of business) having up to as many as 1,500 employees.  Many small businesses have fewer, and in some cases, many fewer people on the payroll.

According to SCORE, small businesses employ just over half of the country’s private sector workforce, and represent 99.7% of all employer firms (i.e., firms with less than 500 employees).  Small businesses have long been heralded as the ‘engines of the economy’.

That said, two small business owners were interviewed recently about how they feel about the economy today, statements from the government notwithstanding.

Jereme Muller, of local booking agency Comedy Productions responded: “Here we deal with a lot of different businesses and when they call us their budgets are maybe usually half of what they used to be, or their workforce is half of what it used to be, and we’ve had a lot less calls from some of our normal clients.” He relates that half of the comedy clubs that they book for have closed. He goes on: “Last time when the economy was down, people still went out and spent their money, this time they aren’t.”

“Our business is different,” relates Dave Patch of Patch Craft Hobby,”…when the economy is somewhat screwed up, and they don’t want to spend a lot of money to go out . . . say they don’t want to take a hundred dollars to go out to eat for the family, they  may spend a hundred dollars on modeling supplies, but that may last them for four months. The dollar stretches a lot farther in our industry.” When asked about regular customers, Dave continues: “We’re not seeing people as often . . . this recession has drug on longer.”

Whether or not the recovery has or has not begun, or has stumbled, both Dave and Jereme believe that there will be an end, and are working to prepare for it. Muller says: ”It has made us a lot leaner, we have done a lot more marketing, so when the people are ready to buy, we’re still in their face. Rather than wilt and die, we’re trying to fight it and make sure that when it does come back we’re ready to go.“  Dave Patch goes on to say “We’re really looking at all the purchases we make – trying to get the most for every dollar we spend.”


Daily Post / 10-4-10 – Dinner!

Posted onOctober 4, 2010 
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This morning, before trying my hand at doing 3 things at once and not mixing the client’s materials up, I started dinner.

Over the weekend, my wife, daughter and I  went to one of the warehouse stores to stock up on some items that we had been running low on.

While there, I went past the meat counter, as I had been successful in picking a rather large roast up, and wanted to see if it was a fluke or if the quality of the meat here was actually not too bad. After a short search, I found one that would be at least two trips to crock-pot land.

So, back to this morning.  I used my very sharp boning knife to divide the roast into two parts, one of which went into the freezer for later.

Putting about a quart of hot water into the crock, I then gently placed the roast fat side up in the water.  Next, I liberally sprinkled granulated beef broth into the hot water, sliced up two medium onions and added those, and then finished up with large amounts of Mrs. Dash and black pepper, flipping the switch to high at the end.

There – dinner’s done.

Well, not exactly.  One of the things that I truly enjoy with roast beef is gravy.  Yep – the American Heart Association Official Condiment (TM). (Not to be confused with the American Heart Association Breakfast – 2 eggs, bacon, hash browns and toast.)

I don’t particularly like the type you find at some restaurants, where it is a light brown, somewhat pasty, opaque gel that is covers everything.  No, I like my gravy just a little transparent, and a dark, savory brown. (I was probably spoiled by my Aunt Helen’s cooking.  She and her husband owned the YoGo Inn in Melvin, Iowa for many years.  Every once in a while we would go to her house for Sunday dinner and this was the type of gravy she made.)

I start by fishing all the caramelized onions from the beef broth in the crock.  Then I add a ladle or three of the broth to the onions in a saucepan.  Next, I heat this over a high heat, to bring it to a rapid boil, taking a moment to add a couple tablespoons of sliced mushrooms and a liberal shaking of pepper.

If I have more time, I add another two cups of broth and mix up some corn starch and cold water to add and thicken the gravy.  Tonight was not a night of a lot of extra time, so I did the next best thing.  Two jars of Heinz Brown Gravy.  This is pretty close to homemade and tastes pretty good as well.

The end result was a nice dark brown savory sauce that was transparent enough that you could see the food through it, but was thick enough to stay where placed and not runaway from the food. A perfect companion to what turned out to be a very tender, not too dry, mouth watering roast.  Coupled with mashed potatoes, rice and noodles on the side, and a perfect glass of fresh brewed iced tea.

Nap time at about 6:30.



Oh, by the way, no posts last week.  Just that kind of week. I’ll try better this week.

The Quest

Posted onOctober 4, 2010 
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The search was short.  Today we were tasked to obtain different items and to write about the quest.  Each person had one of several different items to locate through a scavenger hunt.  The item I was assigned was ‘something with a Morningside logo”.

After entering the library, I stopped to talk to my wife (who had just purchased me a delicious, fresh brewed iced tea).  I then asked Nancy and Jackie behind the Spoonholder counter for an item with the required logo.  After a short but frantic search, Jackie produced a homecoming postcard, apologetically stating, “This is the only thing we have.” I then returned to the classroom to regale my WordPress site with the tale of conquest!

Weekend assignment – quote

Posted onSeptember 27, 2010 
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“Tensions on the Korean Peninsula could not be any higher. The only next step is a conflict.”

–Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Borodavkin

Found here.

This is quotable because I think that the Korean situation may very well turn ugly again. If it does, most people will be rather surprised. as many people don’t realize, the war was never officially ended. There has been an armistice in place since the 27th day of July 1953, but there was no surrender on the part of either side.

Friday Comment – Facebook Fail

Posted onSeptember 24, 2010 
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This week it’s not so much a comment on a specific news story, but an event that triggered many news stories.

Here is a link to the story on CNN.

It seems that technical difficulties brought about the death of Facebook for several hours yesterday.

I thought something was up as in one of my classes, people weren’t Facebooking as is normal during lecture.

The upside to this story is that, after that monumental failure of modern technology, we are all still here.


Daily Post – 9/23/10 – Remember the treadmill guys?

Posted onSeptember 23, 2010 
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This time with puppys.

You have to hand it to these guys. (And their dog trainers.)

I wonder how many takes they went through to get this right. If you watch carefully, it appears to be ONE SHOT. I can’t seem to find a single cut in it at all.

Impressive.  Even my 13 year old daughter remarked that they had too much time on their hands.



Daily Post – 9/22/10 – ‘Run the day’

Posted onSeptember 22, 2010 
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(Beware – long post to follow!)

Sometimes, very important people, upon arriving at the office, have their secretary or administrative assistant ‘run the day’.

This means that they want a verbal rundown of the upcoming events.  This entry will be that, only in reverse.  We’ll call it a ‘review of the day’. (I know that’s pretty original……)

6:00am – Day starts at the sound of the alarm.  Can’t say what the song’s name was, but I recognize it from something my daughter has sung along with on her iPod.  Something about tears on a guitar. Yep, it’s KSUX-FM.

6:20am – Into the kitchen to start breakfast, after turning the radio on. (The kitchen set is usually tuned to KWIT.  If I don’t want a daily dose of news, I’ll flip the iPod in the dock on.)  I usually do the breakfast cooking, and like doing it. Most of the time I keep it pretty simple.  This morning it is scrambled eggs with onions and cheese for my wife and I, and some hash browns for the kids and I. (My wife doesn’t like hash browns. That’s OK. My son says my eggs “don’t taste right”. That’s OK, too.  It’s probably because they are cooked with salt, pepper and onions and with a little bacon grease.  Hey, if you are going to have the cholesterol, why not go all out!)  I fry some bacon as well. Everybody likes Bacon! By 6:40 the table’s set and the feast begins.

7:20am – out the door to take my daughter  to middle school.  I really try to get her out the door by about 10 after, because if I don’t, the wait time to get onto Indian Hills Drive can be almost 10 minutes some days.  Today it’s no exception, and after watching about 45 cars go by in both directions, manage to do a NASCAR style pit exit to take my place on the road.

7:40am – back in the house and time to go “to work”.  This means it’s time to go downstairs to my desk and see what the overnight email consists of.  Maybe someone bought something of mine from eBay? (Nope.)  Well I start in on the task of the day.  With no homework left over from last night, I start company work.  Project for today is ten 3 minute presentations.  Over the course of about 3 mornings in the last couple weeks, I have worked with a member of my church to cut audio for some mission presentations.  The audio is all edited and I have all the photos lined up, so here we go.  First I get my laptop where (I swear) I have the original project which we did as a proposal.  Nope, not on the laptop.  Oh well, since that leaves me somewhat befuddled, I start up the videotape to DVD rack, and load it up.  By now, it’s almost 8:30 and I walk upstairs to see my wife off to work.  Then, it’s back downstairs.

8:45am – I locate the project files on my desktop computer (how’d they get there?), and fire up Final Cut Pro and start editing.

8:47am – Phone rings.  It’s a client, wanting to ask some questions about transferring some 8mm film to DVD.  He’s been getting ready to send his stuff for some time and has evidently been looking at other sites and asks the infamous question:  “I like all the info on your site but why should I send my stuff to you?”  Having answered this question many times in the past, I recite all the points about experience, high end equipment, professional software and so on. (I leave out the part about making a house payment. I figure that goes unsaid.)  I don’t criticize other companies, and really don’t like it when I hear someone boosting their company by attacking someone else.  Probably why I don’t do political spots as a rule.  He’s satisfied with all my explanations and we go over some other information, and he agrees to send his film in.  Back to editing.

9:00 am – time to change tapes in the dub rack, then back to editing.  My goal is to be out the door today by 11:15am, since I have a physics lab at 11:45.  Let’s see if that happens.

9:15am – phone again.  A friend of mine is having trouble getting a new Mac up and running with Final Cut.  This problem has been around a day or two, and the suggestions from yesterday didn’t work. Seems a previous owner turned on something called “file vault” and it has succeeded in encrypting parts of the operating system.   Time to wipe the HD and start over, we decide.

9:21am – phone. It’s someone I talked to yesterday who has a tape from a surveillance camera.  It’s of somebody stealing a political yard sign.  Yesterday he asked if I could “clear it up, or enhance it” so they could get a license number off the car. (Thank you CSI!) I told him that there was not going to be enough resolution on the VHS tape to do much, if anything.  Today, he just wants to “sit down and see what can be done.” He’ll even pay!  I reiterate that there is more than likely no hope of getting anything useful from the tape.  In order to get a license plate, the camera pretty much has to be zoomed all the way in and fill the screen with the tags. I also tell him that my schedule is pretty full and I don’t have time to even meet today.  The fellow thanks me and says they will be back in touch. Back to Final Cut.  Now I have three of the ten done.

9:30am – I get an email from AOL that the piece I went to Sioux Falls to shoot last Tuesday has failed quality control.  I open the email to find out why, and all they have done is to send me the original instructions. Huh?  Not what needs to be changed, but just a cut and paste of the original guide. (This graphic, this font, so on and so on.) I quickly log on to the message board for the project and post that I need something specific to change, because to me, I did exactly what the instructions called for. I then call my contact, Daniel, and leave a voicemail stating the same thing.  Oh, by the way, this (whatever it is) needs to be fixed and re-submitted in 24 hours.

9:40am – Back to Final Cut.

9:50am – Daniel returns my call.  He agrees that it was poor for the person doing QC just to regurgitate the original instructions.  We both look at the piece and find out that there was a communications gaffe in the instructions and I used the wrong graphic, which was what the instructions said to use. No harm, no foul, quick fix. He does compliment me on the quality of the video.  That’s nice to hear.  I get the feeling that they sometimes don’t get the “A” team to go out and shoot these things (The instructions start out ominously enough with “Use a tripod”, “Use a microphone” and “Use Lights” !?!?!?!) I pull out one of my laptops and start doing the changes on it while continuing to edit on my desktop.  Two fisted editing.  (Yes – I do have four licenses for Final Cut. No cheating here.)

10:15am – Flip the dub rack again,and I’m up to 5 pieces edited.  Looks like the dream of getting to physics lab is fading a bit.

Between about now and Noon, I probably take about 15 to 20 calls, while continuing to edit.  Most of them are clients, and a couple are telemarketers.  I will always take time to talk to a client, no matter how impossible the task they need (My husband erased our wedding tape! Advice: Sorry, nothing short of re-staging the wedding will help that, no matter what you’ve seen on CSI.)  Telemarketers get even shorter amounts of my time now.  I always hang up on the robots and the humans get the “Don’t have time, please remove my number from your list.” recitation.

12:15pm – Lab started 30 minutes ago.  (I can make it up later.) Now I am up to 8 finished pieces.  Well, at least I can eat lunch today.

12:45pm – Must leave by 1:15 to get to Ross’ class. I need to do just one final piece.

1:10pm – Hit the “Submit” button and send all ten pieces to Compressor.  Run upstairs and grab my backpack and out the door with 5 minutes to spare.

1:35pm – I walk into the faculty suite in Mass Comm.  Chris Levine is dis-assembling a tripod for Doc to use as a wall mount for a camera in the broadcast booth at Olson stadium. I try to help.  2 minutes later, my cell phone rings (my business line is forwarded).  It’s the client from this morning telling me that he has all the film ready to ship.  He confirms my address (correct for 5 years ago.  He has been thinking of this for a while.) and promises to email me the Fed Ex tracking number.

I hang up and  within 30 seconds, it rings again.  My wife (the secretary) takes it from me and quickly takes a number as I walk quickly to class.

After class – I wait for my wife so we can leave at the same time, and follow her home across town.  Down to the basement, I flip the dub rack again and then print on a dozen DVD’s to burn the projects from this morning onto.

From now until dinner, which Joan fixes, I return phone calls and burn one DVD after another. (Each project has to be seperate and one disc holds all 11 finished projects.) I also get an email with a tracking number from this morning’s client. (Yes!)

Break for dinner about 5:20, then back downstairs to work on some homework and kick all 11 mission projects through Compressor again to create web versions.

About 6:45, it’s off to church.  After returning from church, about 8:15, I decide to sample the German chocolate cake from the Spoonholder Joan and I picked up yesterday.  Delicious.  From now till about 9:45 I do homework and print out the email from my physics professor reminding me about the quiz in his class Thursday. (By the way, my cell phone shows two missed calls during church. A friend once said about being self employed: “It’s a part time job! 12 hours is only half of the day!” I’m not complaining, though.  eBay is full of people who are selling their video gear because the phone has not rang enough lately.)

At ten, I go upstairs long enough to pour a glass of ice tea, tuck the family in, and head back downstairs for homework.

I turn in at about Midnight. Well, that’s my day in 1801 words.  The rest of my posts will be shorter, I promise.

Till tomorrow (wait, that’s today.),


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