Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Todd Lively

Someone very special left this world on Sunday. He was a dear friend, a brother, teetering on the role of father on many occasions in my life. It makes me sad that he is gone. It makes me even sadder as I realize that this world has so few Todd Livelys who live their lives exclusively for others. He was the most generous and unselfish man I have ever met, and he was a man that always had you covered.

At the funeral, I saw so many individuals who were fortunate enough to call him friend. I was fortunate to spend a year of my life in his freezing apartment. I connected with so many people today, and I just can't help but think that the hospitality and generosity of such a great man was still felt the entire day, and will be felt for many days to come.

I wish I could have had one last conversation in his big ass bed...I know that sounds weird, but if you knew Todd, you would understand. I wish I would have made that trip out there to see him after his surgery, and much of me is pissed because God felt it necessary to take something so good from us when we live in a Christian culture barren of such genuine hearts. The world became a bleaker place on Sunday, and although Todd is completely enamored in the glory of the One he served just about every day of his life, we here on earth are left with so little because we are plagued by selfishness and greed. Most aren't steeped in sin. Most aren't addicted to substance. Most are just too damn busy. Most can't see past their own problems to help anyone else. Most are controlled by a sexual and monetary appetite that keeps them from ever experiencing anything real when it comes to relationships, and I find myself often being that person, so self absorbed that I even neglect the family that I love.

Todd always inspired me to be a better man, molded by the hands of a loving God who only wanted to be close. Now he is gone, and I ask myself is when my day comes, will I be that person who inspires others, or will I simply continue to consume this Christian culture that not only gives me an excuse for being an ass, but every day props up poster children that even write self help books to be the best ass I can be. Todd, if you have the chance, don't hesitate to let me know that I am being an idiot. Thanks for being Jesus.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The purging...

This week will conclude my two week extravaganza of the booth cleanse. Our booth has been in great need of a makeover. It is probably one of the worst "installs" I have run across. Basically, think of the worst installs you have ever seen, and replace those installers with monkeys and you have the previously deceased install! As I was working over my new patching matrix, thanks to Ryan Howell's matrix as a guide, I finally reached a breaking point, and just started tearing stuff out! Fortunately, this started on Monday and didn't conclude until Friday.

I redesigned the entire layout of the booth to give us more square footage of table space and booth space. I literally pulled piles of network, audio, and video cable out of corners and spaces. There were at least 15 power strips in the rats nest. I got rid of gear that we no longer use, which enabled me to get rid of two 12 space racks as well that were taking up table space. I moved the console to the corner, where I had my graphics, lighting, and producer crammed, and now they have plenty of space to work. Then I cleaned up the backs of the racks and it is starting to look like a real install now!

Clair Brothers is here this week adding to the patch bay some insert channels for the Drawmer compressors and gates that I added earlier in the year. They are also running two aux sends to my amp room so that I can control my subs and front fills on an aux. Then we are adding 12 desperately needed channels to the stage, getting me up to 40 channels on the stage, which is workable for our setup. So after this week, I won't have to sacrifice my second kick mic for a click channel. Very nice.

This weekend was probably one of the smoothest that we have had. I had an almost full staff, minus an A2, which always makes things interesting for me. Our transitions were flawless as were the cues. It was one of those Sunday's that just make you smile, and are some much needed therapy to the techsticular cancer!

On a personal note, this weekend I had a great daddy day. We hit the water park and had lunch at Hullihan's off of Beltline. Their lettuce wraps were the best I have ever had. I had some great family time, and took my son down the big slides even though he was an inch too short. We don't need no stinking inch!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Keep on Pluggin

Caution-This post is all tech, so if you don't dig that, move on my friend.

This week, we found out just how well we are communicating with one another here at my job. We had an event that was basically the people's chance to get to know the issues that would be voted upon on the upcoming congregational vote. Our new Exec. Pastor took the helm of this event along with a brand new position that we created called the Events Manager. Needless to say, we learned allot this week about how we don't work together as a team, but the good news is that we are working to resolve those issues.

It is amazing to me that typically in many fellowship, tech is an afterthought. I worked in corporate gigs before I came here, and that was certainly not the case. I have also worked at a couple of fellowships where that wasn't the case, but here it seems to be. I think that they have been so used to everything AV related being so sub par that they no longer have a level of expectancy when it comes to tech. Of course, my job would be very easy if I just did nothing and allowed the same 'ol same 'ol but that doesn't really help our cause, and I am a perfectionist, so I can't stay out of it!

We do a number of events in our Christian Life Center, which is supposed to have a "wisywig" system for the common dude to operate. It of course doesn't work worth a crap, and it never has. So we are dropping another $12 grand into the system that will hopefully, but not likely replace our need for a campus wide AV guy/gal. It's a Crestron system, which is so complicated that there are only a handful of guys that can actually service the unit, and they are so busy that we have to pay an additional lump sum for them to simply be available for us the following day after we call for an emergency. I think I might need to learn how to tech that system!

At any rate, since the "wisywig" system doesn't work, I set up a system and lighting for the event, and that portion went really smoothly. I got a chance to rent the Yamaha LS 9 console, and although I have used it's big brother a number of times, and it's even bigger brother as well, I wasn't sure how impressed I would be in this console. Let me tell you, it was a great rig! That console sells at around $4000, and the sonic clarity along with comp and gate on every channel makes it one of the best bargains in the industry. I am going to put the LS 9 in every room in this building that requires AV. I used the 16 channel version, which is capable of 32 with additional input cards. The footprint was 19" which was just great. I was set up and mixing in minutes.

For the mains, I used some of my favorite speakers, the JBL VRX series. I had a big room to fill with these tiny cabinets and they had no problem. I didn't even array them. I used for, and spread them across the front, because the room was so wide. It easily reached the last seat, but there is no treatment on the back wall, so the stage could hear a pretty significant echo from the slap back. The senior pastor threw up the breaks during the program and asked if I could turn the echo down! It's always great when you get called out for a problem during the program. Of course the audience had no idea.

Lastly, I finally made the trip out to Norcostco for some 3204 corrective gel. I have been using 02 for as long as I can remember, and just don't like how bright it makes the stage. You can't control it well when you are attempting to do some significant color changing or dramatic fx. The 3204 was a huge improvement! The light is very natural, and the skin tones work well under it. The senior pastor is a bit olive skinned, so I have had to use 02 to keep him from looking dead, but the 3204 worked well for him as well. I am pretty pleased with the results.

The new lighting in the worship center looks great. We have had a ton of comments, which was nice. It looks and sounds great....which is something they haven't had in a long time. I am glad that I could help them get there!
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