2.301 A/V, fopal, meeting

Tuesday 10/05/2021

Today was the second event I was supposed to do A/V support for. But more, because I knew that George, who supervises the First Monday Book Talk series and finds speakers, is not really capable of the rest of setting up the auditorium. I knew that the speaker, same guy as last time, wants a lectern for his notes, and a whiteboard. And I was obsessively concerned about this so I decided to forego morning aerobics and go and set up the auditorium at 8am. Ridiculous, I told myself, for an 11am event. Hah!

First thing I found when I entered the auditorium was that the chairs were still in the disarranged state they had been left after yesterday’s flu shot clinic. Second thing was that when I moved the lectern into place and plugged it in to one of the outlets set into the stage floor, the light in it, a little brass goose-neck thing, didn’t come on. Oh dear. I presumed the bulb in it, and odd tubular shaped bulb (later I learned it was a T10 shape), was burned out. Do we have a spare?

But the third thing I found when I went to turn on the audio system was, it wouldn’t come on. A little investigation and I found that the tall rack of equipment in the stage left wing area, normally a tower of green LEDs, was a dark monolith. No power. Panic.

I went out to the front desk and asked the lady there to ask housekeeping if they could please put the chairs back where they were supposed to be. Then I dithered a bit, and wrote an email to Vanessa, head of the IT department, asking for urgent help with the audio. But then I bumped into Paul, the main IT tech, who was just passing through the auditorium. He immediately shifted from whatever job he had been doing, to the dead audio rack. He realized it just had no power, and made a call to Facilities.

Meanwhile I went to the 11th floor to get the small self-contained lectern there. It contains its own amp and mic system, so it would do, presuming that I could plug it in. I brought it down the elevator and rolled it up the backstage ramp and plugged it in to the stage outlet. Nothing. So whatever power outage affected the audio system, also included the stage outlets. By now a guy from Housekeeping was tidying up the chairs. Great service!

Just then two guys from Facilities walked in, and in a few minutes had isolated the problem to a breaker in a breaker panel tucked away behind the audio rack. The rack stuff lit up and also the stage floor outlets came to life. Thanks guys!

So I verified the audio system was working, and laid out the two mics to use for the book talk. Then I took the little lectern back to the 11th floor, and in the process barged right through an exercise class that AJ was leading via Zoom. Sorry, AJ!

Back in the auditorium it was now 9:30 but I had everything set up, except that all the dry erase markers on the whiteboard were dried up. Hell, I’ve got time. I got my car and drove 2 miles to Staples, and bought a pack of dry erase markers and brought them back. 10am and everything is set for our speaker. Who arrived at 10:30 and all went well.

After lunch I decided to go give my section at FOPAL one last pre-sale check. Good thing I did. One thing I wanted to check was the value of what I thought were two original Windows 95 intallation CDs. Some might remember how Windows 95 install CDs were distributed in a sealed cellophane packet through which you could see the warning, “for distribution with a new PC only”, and an official looking certificate of authenticity? I had gotten one of those and another sealed envelope with a cryptic label about WIN 95/WIN NT, in a donation box.

I had put them on the shelf with prices of $5. But then I got to wondering, maybe they are worth more? So I took them off the shelf and over to a computer and started googling. Sure enough, similar unopened Windows CDs were selling for $10 to $40. But then, I happened to flex my sealed package and it bent. There was no CD inside, it was just the “install guide” booklet. Junk! And the other envelope? I decided I had better open that, and it wasn’t from Microsoft but some third-party add-on software on a 3.5-inch floppy. Trash!

So a good thing I checked and didn’t try to sell them.

Back to CH in time for a special CEO’s open meeting on the dining services. I haven’t written about that since April, when we kicked out Sodexo and started our own in-house system. It has had some ups and downs since then, and recently they began cutting back because they were spending over budget. So today was a presentation from the chef and the manager on what they’ve done and are doing, followed by a lot of questions from residents. I don’t want to try to summarize 90 minutes of that.

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