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Fermius Firefly

A Dream Log, whenever I remember the dreams I've had.

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Location: San Marcos, United States

Fermius is a pen name drawn from a series of short fiction I wrote when I published the small press magazine Stellanova (on paper.) I play RPG games to escape from my daily grind as a technology wage slave for the state of California. I eat out a lot in order to do my part in supporting our increasingly service level economy. I am butler to 2 feline masters. If you ask them they will tell you I'm not very good at it, late with dinner, don't have enough hands with brushes in them, and sometimes I even lock them out of their office.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Sound Tech Work Goes Haywire.

            Not so much a Nightmare as a Frustration. I was in a school multipurpose room, not really working, but present, when the sound system started feeding back and sounding poor. RG my boss asked me to take a look at it.

            So, in front of hundreds of bouncy students (who were also very chatty) I had to go up and look at the setup. What I found was a mess, there were 5 microphones connected into the system, one directly, and four through an old Yamaha PA amplifier.

            I tried to explain to the person running the sound that maxing everything out wasn't going to work. They needed to pick a mic or two for their presenters, and connect them both into the same system, then they could use the Yamaha to feed the main amp.

            While I was doing this, a wheelchair bound singer came in, and picked up the mic attached to the longest cord. I quickly figured out which one it was and set the system up to be as clean as possible. The performer then rolled out into the audience, dragging the cable behind, and pulling it through where it was duct taped to the floor.  The duct tape didn't hold and the cord was pulled out of its jack. Instant Feedback as loose wires shorted to ground. I slammed the pot down and asked the person if they had any wireless equipment.

            He started up a DVD to try to get the kids to calm down. The wheelchair singer rolled back to the stage, apologizing for the “oops.” The board operator gave him two more mics and sent him out on stage next to the DVD image, which was now showing a slide show of cheerleaders, one of which I recognized as a porn star. I raced over to the DVD and stopped the projector, creating a spotlight for the singer (who now looked like a high school friend of mine, DL) to continue his song. The board op had the gain all the way up to feedback again, though.

            I was trying to adjust the Yamaha and get the DVD to the spot in the presentation they wanted. Apparently someone had recorded the school's presentation on a home DVD that had some adult entertainment all ready recorded on it. I found the right presentation and cued it up. Telling the person who's DVD it was that they'd better stick by to make sure the slides stopped where they were supposed to.

            The singer was trying to make both mics work, I finally went and turned one of them off and brought the other's input level up, the board op couldn't believe that the sound was better and louder from one mic than it was from two mics. I felt like I didn't have time to explain it to him. I was just afraid that whatever was after the current slide show would be far worse than what images were before it so my attention was more focused on the projector input controls.  I managed to blank the presentation at their last slide, good thing, the cheerleaders were posing in much more provocative poses and with much less clothing.

            I finally got out from the tech area and the principal of the school cornered me and demanded that I fix the system permanently. I tried to explain that each performance was going to be different, and she would always need someone to monitor the sound if she were having more than one mic, and more than one presenter. Not everyone's voice is the same loudness, or even picked up the same by the microphone. I offered to train someone and give them a couple of different setup diagrams they could use. I could tell she just wanted it to be completely plug and play, or that the district would send someone out to do it, but I knew that was not something I wanted to commit to. (Especially since I really couldn't commit the tech department to anything.)


            The dream before that was more about things skittering across the roof and dropping down into the backyard, then sneaking off into the darkness. Not really bothering with us, but creepy.


Ad astra per technica,




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