25 April, 2007

I'm fluent in JavaScript as well as Klingon [White & Nerdy]

Okay. Taylor and I have spent 4-5 solid hours working on some important videos. We were recently loaned a video camera from the states and were pretty excited to start using it. It works great, and is much better than the low budget video function on our digital cameras. We filmed the interview clips we needed without a hitch, and even fooled around doing silly stuff a little bit, too. Next step: onto the computer for editing. That's where the issues began.

We used no less than 4 cord/memory card options before finding a suitable transfer method. Then we had to locate and download driver software that would allow the computer to recognize the camera hardware. Unfortunately we only found software for PCs, no love for the Mac. We could get the video onto Taylor's computer, but she couldn't edit it. So we needed to convert the file format in order to be able to use the editing software on my computer. The ensuing chaos was nothing short of traumatizing. Between the two of us we installed 9, yes NINE, different programs designed to help us do just that. I felt like I was in some awful dream version of Hackers. There were zip files, codecs, and binary codes involved, and I will probably mumble about MPEG4s and AVIs and those blasted ASFs in my sleep tonight... Amazingly enough, Taylor figured out a way to get it to work, but it's not ideal so we're hoping for more breakthroughs tomorrow.

Anyway, all this reminded me of this one night that we went over to Dario's and he turned on a VH1 special called Big in '06. It was kind of a shock to discover how out of touch with pop culture I've grown, but my favorite part by far was Weird Al Yankovic's performance of "White & Nerdy."

Go ahead, take in the brilliance:

Full lyrics available here.

23 April, 2007

Exile, or, Excellent question, Sarah May!

I know, I know, posting two days in a row! Amazing. After yesterday's offering let everyone know that we're still alive over here, Sarah May insightfully asked, in essence, 'What's the dillio/deal, yo with John?' Well, like I said, he's in Sarajevo. It's a little complicated, but I can at least try to clear up some of the confusion. For one, he was not arrested for failure to heed lawn signage.

Nor did he and Allison elope - as convincing as this photo may be! He also was not deported. But a little over 3 weeks ago we were informed that the central police authorities had decided to review his case. In order to review his case, they need to have his file on hand. Until they have finished that process, he is unable to begin the necessary procedures to request residency again. If they decide to uphold the rejection issued in March, it's not really a problem because he has been given permission to reapply. If they decide to overturn the rejection and allow him to stay, that's even better! The thing is, since he is not officially 'in process' yet because his file is not available, he cannot be in the country. Early on we had high hopes because there wasn't a lot riding on any decisions being made. But. The last we heard was that no progress had been made. We don't know what that means. We don't know if they've reviewed everything and the right form just hasn't reached the right people to let us know John can come back tomorrow, or if they haven't even touched his file to begin reviewing it yet. There's always the possibility that the hair fashion crimes shown below (known only as The Rony [rat + pony] Tail) have swung the odds against us, but it's hard to say.

Anyway, thanks for your prayers. Nothing too crazy is going on, but we miss him and it's hard having our team leader gone, having no guys on the team, and trying to continue full speed ahead to finish the year well with only 4 of us left.

22 April, 2007

Real Estate by Baryshnikov...and other news.

So much has happened in the past few months it's tough to know where to begin. I feel that 9:00pm this past Thursday night is as good a place as any. Right about then, Taylor and I arrived at El Rio, a nearby café, to meet two guys from an apartment agency to try to find places for the summer project group to stay. Shortly before sitting down, they called and told Taylor they were running late but that we should order and they would pay for our drinks. We ordered fruit tea and talked...for 40 minutes. We were starting to worry, but then saw two guys in their early 30's approach our table. We introduced ourselves and shook hands - I knew they didn't actually catch my name and I forgot theirs about 4 seconds after hearing them. One of them had dark hair, dark eyes, and very limited English so he spent most of the time quietly listening and staring. The other did most of the talking and looked strikingly like a young Mikhail Baryshnikov (i.e. not bad). Since our tea was gone and paid for they insisted on us ordering something else. After that, it only took about 5 minutes to reconfirm the details of what types of apartments we needed and at what price. The half hour of small talk and long pauses that followed was...awkward. But we're used to that by now, so it wasn't all that bad. Walking home we were laughing at ourselves and recalling various parts of the evening that entertained us when we noticed they were following about half a block behind us on the way to their car. Oops, hope we weren't too loud...

Considering that I haven't posted anything in over 3 weeks, and even that was about our travels in January, I've fallen pretty far behind. We'll see how it goes from here on out, though I can't make any promises. Now we're two men down - Andy's in Portland to stay, and John is in Sarajevo indefinitely. We hoped he would be back in a couple weeks, but now it's been 3 and the last update we got on Friday was that no progress had been made on his case. So. There you have it.

We're busy, we miss John, the semester is well underway, and we went to Ireland!