Got to the airport on time. Felt very weak, upset stomach. Probably food poisoning. Got on the plane and just before take off I felt faint. Broke out into a cold sweat, bowels where in an uproar, just about passed out. Just after take off the sweat broke and everything was fine. Seatbelt light went out and I got up and delt with the Muskrats agitating for freedom.
Was able to eat dinner. Read. Slept. Woke up. Read some more. Ate Breakfast. Landed at Charles DeGaulle Airport. Wandered over to the C3 Terminal. Security was pretty lax. Didn't even look at my ticket. Made the flight to Athens. Ate lunch, slept. Landed in Athens. Got my baggage and walked outside took me an hour to find an AOB rep. Had to tag along with someone else. Got into town. Got credentialed. Got taken to my accomadations. They didn't have me on the list. ARGH. Come to find out I was TBD. Cool. Got into my room and started unpacking. Showered. Place is pretty nice. Single beds though.
Woke up at 6am. Did yoga. Went for breakfast. I still don't know where I'm supposed to go or what I'm supposed to do. So at 8:30am I catch the bus to the IBC (International Broadcast Center). Get through security (fairly easy). Go to the Information desk and ask where crewing is (3 rd floor, to the right). Walk in get my uniform told to return at 10:30 am. Go downstairs and by some magazines to read. 10:30 comes, go back upstairs. Wait 15 minutes and then got down to –2 floor (2 nd basement) and go to our waiting room. Picture a 50' by 50' room with a BRIGHT RED carpet and an Orange red wall and the rest is white. Lots of AC ducting running in the ceiling. 25'x15' office built in. There were 2 blue couches and a chair wrapped in plastic and some plastic chairs. Also a ping pong table. Basicly there is a whole venue crew here in this room waiting to give relief to what ever position is needed at any point. Various nationalities. American, Canadian, South African, South American, Greek, Australian. A high mucky muck comes down and explains what we are going to be doing (Waiting) then we wait. I end up gravitating towards the Americans. They're from Atlanta and have worked with some guys I have worked with. We spend the day 1 downing each other as opposed to one upping each other. Who could gross the others out the most. I held my own. Played 25 games of solitare. Also released have of each group for lunch and then sat around. After lunch plugged the computer in and played music. Waited some more. Got some meal vouchers worth 6 euros. They didn't have a debit card for per diem so they had to process a 1000 euro cash advance. Even then did not get it today. End of day George, Greg, John all audio guy, and I go out for sushi and beer. Then I head back to my media village. Went for a swim. Repacked my bag into a back pack as a rollaround does not work very well here. Read alittle then went to sleep.
Got up around 6 am. Did yoga. Ate breakfast and then tried to get online. First you have to buy a 15 euro internet access card then you have to by a 6 euro phone access card. Then after ten tries I get online and get my email. There was an NBC IT guy in the media room where I was trying to get the girls who where working there to let him put a router in line with there LAN so he or his guys did not have take the bus into the IBC to deal with problems. What I didn't get was none of the girls understood what he was asking for. Also all the networks here are login access only so trying to get a tap off of that without admin permission was stupid. He should have had NBC work it from their end. Went into the IBC at 9:30am. Americans are already bitching about things. Where is the bus? When is it going to get here? Why aren't I on it right now? Don't you know who I think I am? Why can't I get on those busses and have them take me to where I want to go. Hi I'm from Canada.
I get to the IBC, The red room is now called the AOB Relief Crew Lair. Bruce the Relief Venue Tech Manager approaches me 1 st thing saying that the Rowing venue VTM is not happy with his DVTM and would I be up to replacing him for the duration. Duh. They had started sending groups of people out to each venue to check out what each one is like. So I went with them to the Rowing venue to meet the VTM and the BVM (Broadcast venue manager). It's 11:45 and there is a 12pm bus to Shinias where the venue is at. We make the bus and the ride takes 45 minutes. Got to the venue and was able to find the VTM via his cell phone. He was supprised to see me as they hadn't let the other guy know that he was getting replaced. I explained that I was out to take a look and meet him and the BVM. No problems. He gave us a tour of the venue. I should have brought a LOG so I could have a picture taken at the docks, for Frank in SD. I then had a 5 minute interview with the VTM which consisted of one question “What's your background?” After I said EIC he said ‘Cool.' You already know more than the other guy. The guy I am replacing is a retired NBC guy. Jochim (VTM) says he doesn't have much experience let alone able to deal with the enviroment. So looks like I got the job. Rode the bus back to the IBC. Grabbed lunch then attempted to get my cahs advance. Not ready yet. Promptly ran into a guy who remembered me from working on the Michelle Branch Concert for Oxygen in SF. Couldn't get the advance yet. Went back downstairs and started working on getting my bank info so they could get me the down payment of 20% wired to my bank. Then got started on my invoice. Looks like its about 11,000 euros which is around $14,000. Plus I find out that I will get overtime for anything over 10 hours. WAHOO! Finally got the cash advance. Nothing like 1000 euros burning a hole in my pocket. Went and got my copy of the contract and then stayed until 8pm. Rode the bus home. Grab some dinner and a Heinikin. Went to bed.
Woke up at 6am, slept till 6:30. Major kink in my neck. Just made it out of the room and caught the 7:30am bus to make it to the IBC at 8am. Got the word that the trade out was going to happen. I hung out for 2 hours then went back to my room. Packed. Got a call from head of Operations to let me know that Logistics would send a car at 3pm to pick me up and then take me to my new accomodations. I hear they are on the beach. Wahoo.
As I was walking out to take my gear downstairs I actually met the guy (Steve Varnick ?) that I was replacing. He looked like he was in his 60s, Definitely a Network attitude. Didn't bother me. A car picked me up at reception and then took me to the Steve's old place. It's an old Military Vacation Resort that is on the Aegean Sea ?!?!?!. 2 bedroom cabins with a share bathroom and ‘Kitchen' Did a walk about when I first got there. I'm 5 minutes walk from the beach. The place is a step down in quality but 3 steps in location. Met Jochim and various other people at the bar and grill. Then went out for dinner.
5am bus call. Ouch! Got to site and started meeting people and got a more in depth tour. It's a small venue compared to Cross Country Skiing. Though it is over 2.5. KM long. A lot of tagging after Jochim all day. 1 st day of compitition. It went well. It's kind of strange not really having a position during show. Though we still made a point to be in the production office to watch the show. Peter took me out to one of the camera towers to look at how we/I could make it safer. Decided a platform made the most sense for the one ladder. As we were leaving the NBC carpenters drove by with a load of 2x4s on their rental car. Pulled a Uie and went back and found out they where there to install a rainling for the stairs and a toe kick as well. I was able to get them to make a pallet that I scrounged into the platform at the bottom of the ladder. Saw Vic an A1 I used to work with in the early 90s. He's working for NBC. Sat a local outdoor bar to watch the opening ceremonies in Greek. Then Gyro for dinner. Stopped in at reception to let them know that my shower did not drain fully. Got back to my room and the maintenance gys show up about 10 minutes later. I asked them to come back in the morning after I left.
5 am bus call. Got to site and realized I didn't lock up the storage container. Though I did get the golf cart on the charger. Still following Jochem around. Getting to know more of the people. I have been handed the fuel ‘potato' such that I am responible for making sure there is enough fuel for the boats, generators, and Rovers. That took about 20 separate conversations before a final solution was reached. I think I have pretty much mashed the potato.
The uniform that everyone was issued tends not be the correct size for most people. Also some ‘Fuckwit' as Peter would say, decided that long khakis and a long sleave denim shirt was appropriate clothing for Greece in the summer time. Our solution: cut the sleaves of the shirts. Make the pants into shorts and tailor anything that is to big. We also have permission to wear tan shorts on site via Michele Dupepe.
Left site around 3:30pm. Went swimming at the beach. Had pizza for dinner. Went to bed early. The shower drains now.
5am bus call. This is getting old. Lost power to the TOC (Television Operations Center) Cabin last night. Did not affect the gear just lights and AC. So it was very hot in the room when we got there. Turns out it blew the main breaker. Next we find the ARD/ZDF (German TV) lost power to their cabin as well. They also thought they lost to the OB van (Outside Broadcast) due to massive condensation on all the gear. When Yochim and I finally made it round to them to talk about the situtaion we realized that the OB van did not lose power. The AC had been running all night. Making it COLD and DRY. When they opened the door in the morning it was very humid. ERGO immediate condensation. They actully assumet that it had occurred overnight. I was still getting sceptical looks from them when I tried to explain to them what happened. So we were able to nix that as an issue. Turns out that it is a know ‘Feature' of the cabins that when you have the lights on and all 3 AC units kick on at the same time you will blow the main breaker. I think we just hit the lottery on 2 of the cabins. Spent a good amount of time discussing this with the GE generator guys.
The fuel potato raised it's ugly head again this morning. I was able to deal with it with out to many problems. Yeah! Also got the word that compition was cancelled for tomorrow due to weather. Meaning a 7am car call. Left site around 2:30pm. Took a nap then went for a swim. Wind was blowing something fierce. Got a phone call From Sam Friedman a Finnish tape guy that I worked with in Salt Lake. He is working track. Decided on dinner for tomorrow. Went to bed early.
Slept in an hour and a half today. Got to site and ate breakfast. The Chef walks in slightly drenched. Turns out that the wind slammed the door on his Kitchen In a Sea Container. Set the fire suppression off. Water and foam everywhere. Yochim and I think that we have a Gremlin that goes from area to area messing things up. The good news for the Chef and his crew is that they already had breakfast done and there was fewer than 20 people on site today as opposed to 120. Wind is blowing pretty heavy this morning. There is no way they could have run compitition today.
Went into Athens today after work. 15 min trolly ride to the Media Village 1 entrance then a bus to the IBC Hub. Followed by a 15 minute walk to the main sports stadium. The first person I see when I get off the bus is Steve, the guy I replaced. Looked like a tourist. Met up with Sam Friedman a Finn that I met during the Winter Olympics. We met up with Peter and Sacha, 2 other tape ops from the Winter Olympics. Went and had dinner. The waiter just started bringinout dishes. Quite good. 11 people at about 15 euros each. The bus ride back and getting off one stop early and then got a ride with some of the staff to my compound. The building all look the same. It's suprising I can find my own way.
Thoughts of the day: Feta Cheese, wind=sound and fury signifing nothing, everything looks good from far away but the closer you get the more you can see how shoddy at times things are done.
I've been here one week. It's gone quite quick. Had a 11am bus call today as compitition starts at 2:30pm today. Nice to sleep in but these little single beds aren't the most comfortable things in the world. Still have to figure out how to update my web site. It's been about 3 or 4 years since I added to it.
Got to site and ARD/ZDF had problems with blown powersupplies over night. We find out that the mains are sitting around 242V. It should be around 220V. We come to find out that they do not have ANY voltage stabilization buitl into their OB Van. I guess they are used to Perfect Germanic Power (PGP for short). They then ask us if we can turn down the voltage. We say that we have to ask the main generation point to do that. Not easily done we thought. Turns out that's all we had to do. Call up and ask them to turn down the voltage. Show went well. Left site around 6:00. Stopped off after work and had gyros on the square near the Media village. Went to bed early due to 4am wake up. Looks like Brian the Chef pulled some ligaments last night while shopping. So now he's walking around in a cast. Things are not going well for him. The food is very good though.
4am wake up call. Got some great sunrise photos. Put out a 13” monitor to get stats to the mix area. Show went well. At 1:30pm we get to play ballast to test one of the catamarans that has been repaired. Hopefully it won't sink. Also need to do laundry today. No more underware, under there. Didn't get to play ballast. The boat left early. Whatever. Got to put carpet down on the other side of the lake so that the virtual finish line could chroma key better on the far side. Also made a reflector out of cardboard and a space blanket so that the unilaterals could get a better shot of reporters.
Baby spiders everywhere. The mother spiders sit up in the ceiling and eat everything they can and then throw it out of their webs and when we come in in the morning there are lots of desicated insect bodies all over the desks and tables. Nummy.
It appears that the reporter from RAI (Italian TV) is a large, obnoxious, overweight man. At one point he feel asleep at his announce position and ended up pissing himself. Needless to say not many people wanted to be near him. Other times he has his shirt open to his belt, his belt undone and his shoes untied. He has also wandered into the Athelete Familly area where press is NOT allowed. One of the Sports Info people took a picture of him while he was sleeping at one point. He woke up and caught him and proceeded to throw a tantrum. We're waiting to see if he gets thrown out or not. We have nicknamed him Jabba the Hut
4am wake up. You know the drill. Put out the monitor and picked up the jerry cans. I took Cecile (Venue Logistics Manager) on a tour of the venue as she really doesn't leave the compound. She thought it ws pretty cool. Compitition went well. At the end I went out and measured all the timing towers and the camera platforms. As well as the road and the bike track. Peter needs it for the report regarding 2008 games in China. There has been issues with certain countries reporters yelling and screaming because they show up right before the start of compitition and demand to be accomodated. The usual response is NO. The more you yell the less inclined we are to help you.
Left site and went back to the Media village. I finally figured out how to get into my web site but now Dreamwaver won't allow me to transfer files from my computer to the site. I went to the beach for an hour. Swam to the buoy and back. Then went back to the MV. When I went through the metal detector I set it off. Pat down! . My nipple rings finally set off the hand wand. As I explained to the guard what it was he called over his supervisor. He immediately pats down my nipples. So I reach out and pat his. That confused him. I asked him not to touch me with out letting me know. He replied that he was trained to search people. What? I then had to go to back area to show him my nipple rings. Very interesting.
Day off today. Slept in till 6:30am. Got up and went into Athens. Stopped by the Red Room to say hello. Wandered about the IBC. Checked out the Transmission center and the HD Theatre. Then met up with Greg, John, George and 2 of the Greek Utilities. Checked out the HD Truck being used for Track (They call it Athletics). Then went to the metro and took it to downtown. John was looking for a guitar. Went to 3 different shops and finally settled on the 1 st shop. Then went and grabbed lunch. Had a massive plate of gyros bread, spiced chiken, onions and garlic yogurt. Very good. They took off back to track and I walked up to the Acropolis. Ran out of memory and had to start deleating pictures to get more memory. Took the metro back to Track and then to the IBC Hub and a bus back to the Media village followed by a train to my cabin and then a cool shower. Long day. Very good pictues. Cool to finally see the Parthenon, Acropolis and Agora. All places that I studied in Western Civ back in Junior High School. Fueling became an issue again today. Oliver did not take the empty Jerry cans over to where the fuel truck would be able to fill them. Therefore we did not get refueled. We have enough to get through tomorrow. When we might get refueled but Nikos does not know if it will happen. ARGH! We were expecting a new Wescam unit (stabilized camera mount) today. It missed the flight out of the US due to customs so will not see it until tomorrow.
4am wake up. 5:30am on site. Today is the 1 st day of the finals. Looks like we will have enough fuel for tomorrow. Still don't know if we will refuel on Sunday. Helicopter is on site today. Very nice shot. The new Wescam is at the airport and now we have to figure out how to get it here and bypass it going to the field shop. Problem is there is to much gear to fit in a car. We only have one van, it may take 2 vans to carry all the gear involved. To get a truck to deliver it would route it through the field shop and then dogs would have to sniff it when it gets hear. Adding more time.
More and more baby spiders.
Okay so the gear finally arrived, directly from the airport, at about 3pm but security would not allow it on site until the bomb sniffing dogs had checked it out. Problem is in the past when dogs where scheduled to check out incoming gear they showed up 8 hours to 1 day later. Painfull. Other options included sending it back to the field shop having it inspected there and then brought back to site a 4 hour turn around. Not. We could also put everything through the x-ray. Problem with that is that the biggest component could not be disassembled without recalibration. Not good either. Final solution: send the truck to the dogs, 30 min total trunaround time. Return the truck under police escort after inspection. When it got back to site the vehicle inspection guards stopped it yet again and started to inspect it again. Obviously there communication is as bad as ours. Turns out the driver did not have a pass. Yochim ended up driving the van onto site. We off loaded the gear and the started assemble. I ended up staying with them until 10pm when they finished.
I finally figured out how to get ftp to work. As you can see if you are reading this from my website. It's been 4 years since I last updated it. That's pretty sad. I am going include a section on the house so you can see what's going on at home. Also check out the projects area. That's new as well.
We checked the unit by starting the boat motor and putting it in gear and running into the dock under idle as well as running the on board generator. Looked clean. I then drove them back to the compund. Wait a minute. Aren't I supposed to have an international license? Opps. Home and in bed. 4 hours of sleep then back to work.
Guess what time I got up this morning. The first correct answer gets a phone call from me when I wake up. Today is the Womans Marathon. The powers that be are closing the road at 3:30pm. So if you don't make the last bus at 3pm then your stuck here till 7pm when the road opens again. I also have wait for the fuel delivery at 8pm tonight. Oh joy. Today is the last day of rowing and now we move on to canoe and kayak. That means a camera repo and then rehearsal. Most crew hope to make that 3pm bus.
The German TM walked in this morning saying that someone stole a laptop form there cabin. He said it was locked down and the door was locked BUT the window was slightly open. Oppsy. Also they whoever did not take a desk top cmputer that was sitting next to the laptop.
The turnaround went well. Had to run some power cables under the road for the crane. Everyone made the 3pm bus. I got back and hand washed my uniform shirts and up loaded some changes. 2 hours and 45 minutes worth. They do not have DSL out here and the AOB network is password only on existing computers. No plug in DHCP. Oh well. Around 7:30pm I headed back into Schinais to meet the fuel truck at 8pm. Due to the road closure they finally showed up around 10pm. Then I had to wait while they filled all compitition boat tanks followed by 1 car and 3 vans. Then they got to me. ARGH! Finally got back to Media Village grabbed 2 Gyros at the local ‘Sweat Shop' and got to bed by midnight. Nothing like 4 hrs of sleep to make you bright and cheery in the morning.
Blah de blah de blah 4am. What else is new. Got to site still full from midnight snack. Ignored breakfast and got all my errends done and promptly took a 3 hour nap in the car. Neck hurts again. Shows done. Went well again. Had to run AC through some pipes again. After we ran it they decided to put the crane back at its original position. Whatever. We are already talking about striking cable. Hopefully we can get the cable up from the very beginning of the course tomorrow. Then we will be way ahead. I also just found out that I am flying out on September 1 st . Instead of August 30 th . Cool 2 more days pay & per diem. I will definitely going to be ready to go home by then. Had lunch at the Maui Beach Club restaurant. Then went back to the media village and crashed for an hour. Woke up and hand washed my uniform shirts. Someone decided we look like a bunch of Smurfs when we all wear our uniforms. Everone does the hand wash thing and then hangs it on the porch of their cabins. It looks kind of Smufs gone white trash when you walk thru the media village. Had pizza for dinner. Then Crashed hard. 4 hrs and a 1 hour power nap makes for a much happier boy.
You guessed it 4am call. Had breakfast and got the errands done. Then around 6:30am I ams 2 of the utilities went and pulled and coiled all of the AOB cable at the starting position. I choose not to go back and get my gloves when I left this morning. I'm regreting it now. I've got a burst blister between 2 nd and 3 rd finger. My arms are like limp noodles after pulling aobut 10km of audio, triax, video and cat 5 cable. The button down uniform shirt was not a good choice either. Nothing like being bent over at the waist and pulling cable through my legs so that it piles up behind me. So I just about touched every meter of every cable. How is that possible? I pulled and the utilities coiled the cable in a figure eight then we had to tie it with sections of cat 5 cable. We got all the cable coiled before the end of compitition at around 11am. Now my back is locking up and my hands are sore. The index finger on my left hand has a cramp on the back of it if you can believe that. I'm sore . I'm tired. When's lunch? Time for a power nap. The Swiss use cable reels built into the back of the OB van for triax and audio mult. Then all the triax that is in the field is rolled on a reel using a battery powered platform that spins the reel. One guy runs the cable onto the reel and another guy pulls it in and takes the weight off of it. The added weight of the reels and motors is probably 1000lbs. Then all the loose reels probably add another 1000lbs to the truck weight. 2000 lbs equates to about 5000' of triax and about 4500' of audio mult that you can carry. Actually the loose reel of triax are carried in a B Unit. Even so you can still carry more cable without reels That's why we don't do reels in the states. To much weight. So we use more grunt labor. Like me.
8 more days and a wake up call. Do Dah. Show went well. Got back to the Media Village and went and lay on the beach for an hour. On the way to dinner we crossed paths with Michele and Anna Berg coming from dinner. Anna was my Ops Manager when I worked for NMT. Then she was our Broadcast Venue Manager at Cross Country Skiing in Heber City during the Winter Olympics. Off to dinner then sleep. Blessed sleep.
Need I say it? Same Bat Time. Same Bat Channel. Shit, shower, shaved as opposed to set shoot strike. More mobile tv talk. Then checked my email and got an offer of 10 days of work in Toronto for NEP. Whew. That pays for my September. Only problem is that I get back from Greece on Sept 1 st and leave on Sept 3 rd . One whole day off . . . . No rest for the wicked. I can sleep on the plane. One day off. Enough to do laundry, repack and pay some bills. Also some serious kitty time. I won't be able to get the tub plumbed. DAMN. (see projects page, house pictures)
There is something strange about walking to Yochim & Peters to catch a ride at 5am. You see groups of Smufs in the shadows, walking to catch the bus. Kind of eerie. Blue Berry Zombies of the Night. They have no brains due to the lack of sleep. They only know how to get to the bus in the morning. All they want is COFFEE!
We left the venue around 2:30pm and I took 3 hour nap and then went back to the venue to get the invoice for the fueling. Then went and had dinner with Jochim and Peter on the beach. Then off to bed.
Hold the presses I had a 6:45am wake up call. One of the runners came and picked me up at 8am since I delt with the fuel. Show went well. At one point during the day a spider bungges down right in front of Peter. So he grabbed the silk and started to pull it up. The spider not wanting to get caught spun more silk. Peter kept pulling. Spider spun more silk. Jane and I sat watching him do this and we started laughing. Peter kept pulling. Spider kept spinning. We kept laughing. It was good for 5 minutes of distraction.
I pulled the last of the power cable that we installed for the crane camera. We left site around 12pm. Went to Media Village and changed cloths. Jochim, Peter, Jane and I drove into Athens to go to the Acropolis again. Took a lot of pictures then walked down to have a late lunch in the shadow of the Acropolis.
I took off to met George, John and their friend Helen to take a ferry to the island of Aegina to have dinner and watch the sun set. Got loads of pictures. We actually missed the 1 st boat at 5:00 because the told us the wrong dock and boat number. We waved at it while motored away from the dock. So we exchanged our tickets for the 6:00. Then they added a 5:30 ferry. So we got on that one and finaly got the island. Did about 2 miles of walking. Saw this old villa that looked out on the bay with a view of the sunset that was unbelievable. I could live here. Took a cab back to town and had dinner. Grill octopus, calamari, and shrimp. Very good. Very nice sunset pictures as well. Made the return boat in time. Hung out on the stern of the boat on the trip back. The moon was 3/4 full. Light reflecting off the water. House lights on the coast of the Aegina. Very cool. Jumped a cab back to the IBC and then walked right on to the bus to the Media Village. Home and in bed by 12:30am. This was pretty much the high point of the trip.
Ouch. Ew that hurts. Why do my eyes hurt when I open them. Oh it's light. Woke up at 2:30am then slept till 4am. I am really beginning to hate my alarm. 5 more days and a wake up call Do Dah. Spiders the left of me. Spiders in my hair. Spider on my tea cup. Spiders on the food. Spiders in my lap while driving to work. I really hate spiders.