SF 2008, Part 4

Fourth set of pictures have been posted.

On Wednesday, I rested at the house and read more about the history of Tennessee. Later that night, King and I journeyed out to the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF), Mission Bay campus, which is evidently all the way over to the other side of town. After supper at Burgermeister in Cole Valley, we hopped on the N-Judah train, riding it for a while before transferring to the T train via a train station (much like a subway station in Manhattan, but much brighter and cleaner). At UCSF we found the appropriate building hosting this year’s Final Cut Pro User’s Group Super Meet. This get-together features several presentations concerning products for and uses of Final Cut — the popular and useful video editing software that King & I use. Last year’s Super Meet was in a dance club and felt cramped and uncomfortable; this year’s venue is much nicer and pleasant. We listened to:

Apple’s Richard Townhill on “The New Mac Pros and FCP 6.0.2”
Adobe presents: DV Rebel Stu Maschwitz
Blackmagic Design presents: Alex Lindsay
Apple’s Steve Bayes on “Evaluating Codecs.”
Sony presents: Noah Kadner on the XDCAM EX1
“They Turned our Desert Into Fire” – Jason Mitchell – Show and Tell
“Soledad Is Gone Forever” – Mabel Valdiviezo – Show and Tell
“FCP Tips and Tricks You Need to Know” – Steve Martin

I saw an actual RED camera close-up, as well as an XDCAM EX1 — cool new video gear! Though the organizers touted (constantly) “over $40,000 in prizes” to be given away at the end of the night via some convoluted lottery drawings, we chose to leave after the presentations (after three hours, around 10 pm). Yes, free things are nice, but we’d made the mistake of sticking around for the drawings last year, and that was just so excruciatingly painful that we considered ourselves fortunate to escape. (Note: drawings should not be so long and drawn-out like what we experienced last year. Even this year, on our way out the door, I heard them announce “we’re still getting all the prizes organized for the drawing” — after, you know, only five hours after they’d opened the doors for the meeting. If it takes more than five hours to just line up the stuff, how long do you think it will take for them to draw a ticket, announce the winner, wait for the winner to reach the stage and claim their prize … for hundreds of prizes? Answer: A Long, Long Time, as we saw last year. No thank you!) The organizers did a fine job — a wonderful job — keeping the rest of the meeting running exactly on schedule, and the speakers were mostly interesting; other than the prospect of another drawing fiasco, the meeting was well-organized.

After our escape, we took the T train to the ballpark (um, maybe the baseball one? “Phone Company Park”?) where we intended to hop on the N-Judah train for our return home. The N train was leaving the station just as we reached the platform, though, so it looked like we’d be waiting 13 minutes for the next one (thanks to the helpful LED signs with their useful info). However, the departing N train stopped right beyond the station, with the last part of the train still at the platform, though with its doors still closed. There it remained, as still as a stopped train. Another N train was stopped farther down the track, and the train operators got out, walked around — mostly around the farther train. Well, now. After standing around on the platform for a few minutes, we walked over to the N train that was almost at the platform. No conductors or operators in sight now. Hmm. Surely the N trains are still running at this time of night? Wondering if this train was still, indeed, functional, we walked down off the platform toward the front of the train (no operator in the cab), when the doors hissed open. Oh, ok. We climbed on, expecting the train to continue on its journey. After a few moments, the doors hissed shut. The train did not move. King and I were the only ones on this train, and now we’re sitting inside a train that’s not even properly at the station — a train that’s not moving, nor seeming to be moving in the future — and now we’re also sealed in. No operators were in the cab at either end. After a few minutes, King tried manually opening the doors (“Push Bar To Open Door”), to no avail. Well, looks like we’re in for the long haul. Suddenly, after a few more minutes, the train started moving, and glided back to the platform, where it stopped and opened up its doors. As we quickly considered whether that meant we should now escape, a couple of people entered our train, and after they’d come in of course the doors hissed shut again. Another couple of captives for the hungry train, I guessed. Our hopes rose as the train started moving, and once we realized that it was, indeed, moving in the right direction, we were relieved. We got home, safe and sound. Evidently we’d won our lottery after all.

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