Quirks, headaches, toilets

Trip Start Jul 27, 2008
Trip End Aug 27, 2008

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Saturday, August 2, 2008

The wisdom of 4 papers.
This is what I came up for as an analogy for how things are a little quirky here in Beijing. In the West we have 1)Paper Towels 2)Tissue 3)Toilet Paper 4)Napkins. We know the difference when we see them and use them. For example, I saw a great sign in the crew bathrooms today, "Please put toilet paper in the waste bin, not in the toilet. It's gross I know but the toilet paper clogs the toilets" So this must be why there are no toilet paper holders in the stalls but instead across from the sinks!!?? Imagine my surprise. I saw my first paper towel roll today, but realized that this was brought in from the west as well.
Also, the other day we stopped in a local supermarket, which was cool and pretty normal looking for a small place.
I picked up some Yak Jerkey, which was pretty good, and each piece is vacuum sealed. We keep thinking we could tip people with this. It's also amusing that the whole crew are either Austrians (the climber/ riggers) or German (camera operators) and everything on the walkie talkies are in German. I can't begin to keep up with them, so they talk to me in English when something important comes up. Oh, and they have sandbag pillows.
Well there are 2 pillows, one soft with down, and the other filled with sand, saw dust, buckwheat husks or something. It's great when you want a pillow that doesn't conform to the shape of your head. Also just to let you know the internet is something like $17 a day so I'll probably do this every few days which is fine the way events are playing out.

Anyway I've been a little busy last couple of days. Thursday after long day of standing around and staring at the stadium, we got our equipment and brought it inside. The view from the nosebleed seats was truly spectacular.
Yesterday, we did electronic modification on all of the remote heads (what I work with) and actually got my head up and running, sort of. The best way to describe what I'm doing is putting a camera on a rope and the pulley is 100' above me. As the camera goes up and down we have quite a view and I'm operating this camera, i.e. I'm pointing it. I had some problems mounting the brackets on the camera as they didn't give me enough pieces. Lot's of sweat on my forehead as many people standing around looking at me. Got it to work, and had some issues with the gear as I am supplying the power to the whole system, and it's overloaded. This was a bad call on someone's part, and so far the only answer I get is "looks like you are going to have to keep swapping batteries and putting the others on charge". Okay, so the batteries are drained in 4 hours, but take 8 hours to charge. More sweat on my forehead as directors, etc want to know if everything is alright. For a good 10 - 20 minutes, everything was amazing though, before the batteries started to die.

Today, Saturday, we got up at 3am to help lay out ropes and cables for the overhead cablecar system. This was quite a process, laying out almost a 1/4 mile of rope from one tower to another, then attaching it to a pulley, then returning back to the original tower to make a clothesline kind of loop. This loop was then used to pull a heavy duty rope from one to the other, then a second rope. Imagine 2 ropes going from one tree to another, about 3 feet apart. Now imaging putting a little wooden platform on the ropes, with wheels so that the rope rides in the wheels. There is a camera underneath so it won't turn over. Now imagine the clothesline attached to this trolley so you can shuttle back and forth between the trees. Got it? Now instead of trees, you have metal towers 300' up in the air (yikes) the distance between the trees is almost a quarter mile.
Pretty awesome view needless to say.
All in High Definition, and running on batteries in the trolley. Hey I'm a techie and I figured you wanted to know.

Have some questions to be figured out before next Friday: Power - batteries?? Do we get uniforms in time?? Will my wireless control have any issues? Is our control table in the way of the 20,000 performers coming through the entrance to do their routine or will I get trampled to death during the dress rehearsal. Will we get internet? Will I get to go sightseeing in Beijing? Will they return the right laundry to my room? Will I forget my walkie talkie, room key, cell phone, Chinese cell phone, all access pass or any other items in my room? How come they allowed Leatherman multitools, with 7 inch blades through security but made me go back to my room with my 2 inch Swiss Army Knife? Has the Swiss Army fought any wars with said knife?

I miss all of you and wish I could spend time with you here. Even if you didn't have to dig through the used toilet paper in the bin next to me so that you could wipe.

Slideshow Report as Spam
Where I stayed
Beijing Conference Center
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bjrm on

Aren't you glad you brought prunes?
Are you insisting, screaming for more batteries, or a backup generator?

If you run into red tape about this, call on Susan (not sure I have ever spelled her Chinese name correctly). She is so genuinely humble you may underestimate her clout.
While there are 32 provinces and equivalents like Shanghai, there are only 9 members of ccommitte running the country, and her family are friends of the families of 4 of the 9. On a recent trip, she arranged in 48 hours for our group to meet with the Vice Chairman of the COUNTRY, whose power approached the combined power of VPCheneyplusSecCommerce, andSecTreasury combined. So call on her if your team cannot get the equipment it needs. The essential nature of power source and feed is obvious to any official once explained and they would be sad to have a broken transmission of the opening ceremonies due to power problems, obviously outside your control. They must have dozens and dozens of backup generators available for such contingencies.

We listed our house July 31st. Open house Tues 5th, Helmut's birthday.

I found a picture of me reading to Teddy and hope I can figure out how to upload it.

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