Brotherly Visitation

Last week my brother flew out to visit me.

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We had a ball. He’s a busy guy these days. He’s an optometrist in Calgary, AB. He has a family, and his 1 year old daughter is a delight, but a handful. I was very honoured that he took the time to visit me, so I showed him a great time by taking him to my favourite greasy spoon, my favourite fish and chips place, and allowing him to sleep in and help me fix my van.

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We replaced the front brake pads, and replaced the starter solenoid. Now my van BOTH stops AND starts!

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To celebrate our victory, we played a few rounds of “run the brother over”.

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After that, we found the switch that turns on the reverse lights, pulled it apart and rebuilt it. This was a bit of a challenge, because the engine in the van has been replaced, and it wasn’t where the Haynes manual said it would be.

It was a lot of fun. It’s rare that Paul and I get to hang out like we used to when we were younger. These days there are many distractions, and living in different cities means that the occasions we visit are just that – occasions. Lots of sitting and visiting, but not so much hanging out, going to Canadian Tire, seeing dumb guy movies, and doing backyard projects together. These are the kinds of things we did when we were growing up, but can no longer be the kind of casual day to day thing that just happens without intention.

When Paul told me he wanted to come out and visit, he wanted me to make a list of things he could help me work on with the Van. I couldn’t imagine something I’d want to do more with him (other than maybe helping him work on HIS van, or refinish his basement). I am very glad he took the initiative and time to come out. It was really therapeutic for me, not to mention my RV!

Al Gore

I have more to tell about that Pattison conference I worked on in March.

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This year, the guest speaker was none other than Al Gore. In the past, Jimmy has had John Glenn, Bill Clinton, Rudy Giuliani, Colin Powell, and Niel Armstrong. In many cases, we (the crew) get an opportunity to have our pictures taken with the speaker. For us, this is a pretty big deal. It’s quite something to actually have a moment with these personalities, even if you are just one in a long line of people waiting for a quick handshake and smile at the camera.

When a keynote speaker comes to the conference to give a talk, Jimmy has them watch the show we produced for him first. This usually means I am sitting backstage at the main conference room where the big projected show has already been set up. I wait for a cue and press the spacebar when told to do so.

This year, however, the event was at a more formal venue than the tent that the rest of the conference was at. Instead, I was asked to stand by in a small meeting room to press the play button on a dvd player to show the dvd version of our show to Al Gore. The full reality of what this meant didn’t really sink in until it was happening. What it meant was that I was to be, for 25 minutes or so, in a small room with Jimmy, Al Gore, and his security guy (I presume), while we watched the dvd that I helped to produce. It was a great experience for me. Not only because it was very cool to see Al Gore visibly being impressed by our work, but also because I got to see how Jimmy uses the show.

For me, the best part was when a motion graphics sequence came up that had lots 3d stuff flying around. I had spent a lot of time working on this particular sequence when it was created. In this small room with an audience of 4 people in it, I saw the former Vice President of the United States react to my animation by sitting up and saying, “Golly!”.

After the video was over, he said he said he’d seen a lot of videos like this one in his line of work, and complemented us on it saying it was very good. He called it “world class”, and shook my hand. Later, when I shook his hand again for the moment with a smile to the camera, I told him I liked his show, too. “Touche!” he said.

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It’s been a long strange trip doing the Pattison Show. At times like that, it’s hard to imagine a cooler job. It’s not every day a guy like me gets to fly in a private jet or enjoy the company of figures like Vice President Al Gore.

Here is a series of photos taken of the tent setup:

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