Friday, February 3, 2023

Friday, 2/3

Because it's been an insanely hectic week and because I have to go be on TV in a few minutes I'm gonna leave you with something I wrote three years ago (right before the world turned on its axis). But it's also apt because I did the exact same thing this past Wednesday (prior to a DFB Pokal match for the same team I mention in the blog).

Who knew I had it in me?

8-)

Have a great weekend!

(jim@wmqt.com)

*****

(as originally posted 2/20/20)

I was almost a guy yesterday.

Seriously. I did a very guy-like thing yesterday. I know I'm usually not a guy. In fact, I think we were even discussing this a few days ago. But I did a very guy-like thing, and because of it, you would have thought the world had shifted on its axis or something.

I wore a sports jersey to work. I don't think my co-workers will even be the same.

Because they were playing their first game in the Champions' League knockout round yesterday (where they beat Tottenham 2-1) I wore an RB Leipzig jersey to work. It's one of, I think, two sports jerseys I've ever owned, and since Loraine had brought her RB Leipzig scarf to her job, I figured I'd share her spirit of support. Obviously, it worked because of the final score of the game, right?

8-)

Anyway, my co-workers acted if I'd come in wearing a canister of Coronavirus germs, or something. Jen wondered what was wrong, if I was making some kind of cry for help. When I told her why I was wearing it, she then told me all about her pretend boyfriend, David Beckham. My boss had to stop and stare at me for a few too many uncomfortable seconds, as if I'd grown a third arm or an extra head. And then Tanner, our sports director, a guy who wearing sports jerseys ever single day of his life, had to point out that even he was wearing a “normal” shirt for the day, and that for once I was the oddball.

Then it's a good thing I'm comfortable being an oddball, isn't it?

I had no idea that being a “guy” for a day would engender such a reaction. Can you imagine what would have happened had I also come in wearing camo pants or drinking beer or doing whatever else it is guys do? I would have driven them insane. Or, at the very least, caused them to grow a third arm or an extra head. And while that does give me an idea or two for the future, it also just makes me laugh that little laugh that we all do when things get a little strange.

Today, I'm back to not being a guy. I'm wearing a brightly colored shirt and a dark jacket, because I know that I look really good in contrasting colors. I'll have some tea, and then go to a meeting about a charity fashion show with which we're helping out. And not once, not at all, will I say anything about sports, sports jerseys, or the sports fans who wear sports jerseys.

If only because I did enough of that yesterday.

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Thursday, 2/2

How much is a person's entire financial identity--their social security number, credit card and bank account numbers, credit history, et al--worth?  Most people couldn't put a financial amount on it, but I can.

Because mine's apparently worth $5.21

Long time (and I mean looooong time) readers of this may recall that I was one of the people whose financial information was stolen in the great Equifax data breach of 2017.  I was one of millions of people whose financial identity--their social security number, credit card and bank account numbers, and credit history--was lifted from the companies by hackers.  Thankfully, my portion of that data hasn't (or at least hasn't yet) been used, and I've spent the last 5+ years checking every so often to make sure my financial identity--one of the cores of who we are these days--has remained safe.

Knock on wood

By the fact that I was one of the victims of the data breach I was also entered into a class action suit against the company, and although it took 5+ years I finally received my settlement from the lawsuit.  I had no idea what the amount would be; after all, I filled the paperwork out back in (believe it or not) 2019, but a mere three years later, there it was, finally in front of me.

A check for $5.21.

In one respect, the amount didn't matter.  What was important is that Equifax made sure the breach never happened again.  After all, when you're entrusted with some of the most sensitive information a person has you NEED to make sure that information is protected.  But in another respect...

$5.21?  For having my most sensitive information stolen by hackers?  Seriously?????

There were millions of people who had their data stolen, and all of us deserved justice.  I don't know if we needed the psychic slap in the face that our financial identities are worth the approximate cost of a cup of coffee, but that's the world we live in.  Whether the settlement amount was absurdly small or the lawyer's fees absurdly high is something that, I suppose, I could look into.  But like I said, making sure it doesn't happen again is the most important thing.  The settlement amount was secondary.

But $5.21?  That's...eye-opening.  I received more than that in another settlement, one fifteen years ago because the first iPod I bought didn't come with a carrying case.  I received $25 bucks for that, which means that (if I'm doing my math correctly here) that iPod case is five times more valuable that my financial well-being.

That seems logical, doesn't it?

But it's done.  My aforementioned financial identity seems to be secure, the company has promised it'll never happen again, and the justice system has compensated those of us who were injured.

Now, if you'll excuse me, even though i don't drink it I'll go buy a cup of coffee to celebrate.

Geesh...

(jim@wmqt.com)

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Wednesday, 2/1

Well, it worked. Kinda. Sorta.

After four months of database work, file tweaking, and general gnashing of teeth our new computer system is up & running at the station. There still appear to be several more months of file tweaking and general gnashing of teeth ahead as we discover all the little problems and issues that go along with a huge computer switch, but it's running, nothing blew up, and no one died.

So that's a good thing. And, please—you're gonna hear mistakes the next few weeks. You're gonna hear things that aren't going right. But those issues will eventually (I hope) get worked out.

Be gentle with your criticism.

8-)

As I've said before, going from our old system to the new one is like going from German to English. They're both in the same language family, so you get the basic structure and a few things are similiar, but all in all they're two totally different things. Just being on the air yesterday was a trip, having to use a mouse instead of a touchscreen, having computer monitors in new, unfamiliar places, and wondering why this button did one thing while on the old system it did another.

It's a learning curve. That's for sure.

But that might not be a bad thing. You know how they say in order to keep your brain supple you should constantly challenge it to do new things, like learn a new language? Well, I'm guessing that the next few weeks could cause my brain to become the most flexible organ in my body.

And it may prove that you actually CAN teach an old dog new tricks.

That, of course, was the last item to check off in my “January from Heck” list. So now, I can concentrate on two things—fixing all the little mistakes that will arise from the switch, and seeing just how supple my brain will become. Because, as we all know, that's one area in which I could always use a little help!!

(jim@wmqt.com)

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Tuesday, 1/31

This may not work for you. Heck, it may not even work for me. But I think I've come up with a way to mentally, at least, handle this hellaciously cold snap we currently find ourselves in.

Just think of the (pardon the pun) polar opposite,

Now, let me explain. If you study weather or if you're just obsessed with temperatures like some of us, you know that winter is kind of a mirror-universe version of the summer. Even though the temperatures are cold and the precipitation is solid instead of liquid, winter and summer are like the matter and anti-matter versions of each other, or like the evil and good versions of each other.

Which, I guess, would make winter the Spock with the beard.

(And, hopefully, someone is currently rolling on the floor laughing out loud. Either that, or my jokes are just getting WAAAAAAY too specific).

So let's work from that theory, that Summer & Winter are the same seasons, just 180 degrees apart. In that theory, January and July are the yin and yang of the seasons. They both represent the extremes of their respective seasons (which, in real life they do, January being the coldest month of the year in Marquette and July the warmest). If something happens in January there would have to be something happening in July that's a mirror version of it. That would then mean that there is an equivalent version of this hellacious January cold streak, and it's the thought of that that's keeping me going.

Because, after all, the July equivalent of this cold streak would be a nice long streak of hot & humid weather in July.

From a meteorological point of view, both streaks are pretty much the same. They're both caused by weather systems that have stalled over the area or that have popped in from a place where they usually don't visit. They both bring extreme and uncomfortable conditions, and they both last longer than (some) people would like. When they finally go, people rejoice in the fact that “normal” weather returns. They're almost exactly like a mirror copy of each other.

Except one's brutally cold, and the other is heavenly warm. And while I can't speak for every single person, I know which one I prefer.

So that's how I'm (hopefully) gonna get through this next week. Whenever I shiver or have to throw on extra layers or, heck, even look out the window, I'm just gonna think—I'm in the Mirror Universe now. But soon, I'll be back in the real one. And when this summer's equivalent of this cold comes around, I'm gonna bask it in as much as I can.

Hopefully, that will work. Keep your fingers crossed.

(jim@wmqt.com)

Monday, January 30, 2023

Monday, 1/30

Could it be that I might actually have survived my five days from heck?

Keep your fingers crossed.

The five days to which I'm referring started last Thursday, when Jack & I did “Lights Camera, Marquette” at Kaufman Auditorium, followed by “High School Bowl” & work Friday, followed by announcing at the Noquemanon all day Saturday, followed by work stuff for three of my jobs Sunday, and to (hopefully) be wrapped up today by finally (finally!) having our new computers installed at work.

Once that installation is done (and computers, that's always a VERY big if) I just have to do the other of my TV gigs tonight and then, just maybe, I can sit down, stare at the wall, and wonder what kind of bozo has scheduled these last five days for me.

I honestly think whoever it is needs to be fired.

8-)

Of course, as I mentioned last week, there really does seem to be no rest for the wicked. Now that I'm past this batch of stuff I get to stare at the next batch of stuff. While there are only two more shooting dates for “High School Bowl” left on the calendar, I still have my other TV gig (and the attendant writing that goes along with it). Plus, I'm only a month or so away from the premiere of “The Greasier the Spoon”, the documentary I'm making for the Marquette Regional History Center.

So I won't be bored. That's for sure.

However, assuming the computer switch-over goes well today (and please keep your fingers crossed that it DOES go well) I might be able to actually catch a breath for a day or two. After all, miracles CAN happen, right?

Please say yes...

(jim@wmqt.com)

Friday, January 27, 2023

Friday, 1/27

 So...how did it go last night for "Lights, Camera, Marquette" at Kaufman Auditorium?  Well, this is how it went--


I'd like to say more, but I have to be at a TV studio in a few minutes.  Then I have to go do radio stuff.  Then I have to announce a cross-country ski race.  Then I have to write something for my other TV gig Monday.  And it looks like Monday is also the day we finally get the new computers installed at the station.

If there is indeed no rest for the wicked, I'm wondering just what I may have done in the past to rate the next few days.

8-)

I'm off!!

(jim@wmqt.com)

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Thursday, 1/26

Well, tonight's the night.  Tonight's the night Jack & I get up on stage at Kaufman, show a bunch of old movies, and crack a few bad jokes.  Since I have a lot to do before that, would you mind if I re-purposed something?

I mean, at least it's something that's relevant to all this, as opposed to just being, well, irrelevant.  So we have THAT going for us.

Anyway, here's a Mining Journal article I wrote about the big show tonight.  Hope it at least gives you a little hint as to one of the things I've been working on the past few months.

(jim@wmqt.com)

                                                *******

A unique piece of Marquette history, which the public can see Thursday night, was literally rescued from a dumpster.

In the 1910s and 1920s the owners and managers of the Delft Theater in Marquette shot 35 millimeter movie footage of area events and activities. That film was then shown in the theater, placed before films starring such stars of the day as Charlie Champlin and Mark Pickford. There was also footage shot of several local businesses, in what may have been an early version of the pre-show commercials that populate movie theaters today.

Flash forward to 1980, when Jack Deo owned Superior View Studios, then located above Donckers in downtown Marquette. Looking out his window one day, Jack saw what appeared to be several canisters of movie film lying in a dumpster behind the Delft.

“I immediately ran down and talked to (theater owner) Paul Florence, who was cleaning out the theater. In the basement were all the old films from the Delft Theater, and he was nice enough to give them to me instead of throwing them away”, Deo said.

The footage he recovered was irreplaceable, chronicling both everyday life in Marquette–shots of schools, businesses, and life on Lake Superior–as well as special events, such as pageants at NMU, parades, and the arrival of Army generals on a nation-wide tour.


Screen shot of old Post Office and (now Old) City Hall taken at corner of Washington & Third in the 1910s

Deo sent the film away for preservation, a process he said involved two different processes–the films actually shown in the theater, and the negatives on which it was shot. The negatives were stored in tightly wound reels, but in 1980 sixty years after the footage was originally shot, big portions of the film reels had started to degrade.

“Some of the film had already started to turn to dust”, Deo said. “There was a George Shiras movie that was gone, among others. However, there were some that were still intact, so the negatives were sent off to the only lab in the country that could process them.”

Deo received some assistance from Russ McKee, who ran the Michigan DNR magazine at the time. Deo was working with the magazine, and showed McKee what he had found. “He knew they were worth saving”, says Deo, who ended up with two 16 millimeter reels of film.

Since then, the 16 millimeter reels, taken from the original 35 millimeter footage, have been transferred to several other formats, now digital. And while the original footage, some of which has experienced severe degradation over the past century, will never match today’s 4K television picture or IMAX movie screens, what remains is a vital link to Marquette’s past.

Instead of seeing mere still pictures of the area in the 1910s and 1920s, the movies bring to life an era of the city in a way that few have ever seen before.

All of which was saved from a dumpster 43 years ago.

*****

That footage (and more) will be screened, with commentary from Jack Deo and Jim Koski, as well as live silent movie-era music played by Bob Buchkoe, during “Lights, Camera, Marquette: The Silent Films of 1914-1949”, a fund-raising program for the Marquette Regional History Center Thursday, January 26th at 7 at Kaufman Auditorium. Tickets range from $15 to $25, and will be available online or at the door. For more information, call the History Center at (906) 226-3571, or visit www.marquettehistory.org.