Saturday, August 29, 2015

Back to Beijing - IAAF World Champs 2015

(Like Famous the Tam is wont to say, I hate using good stuff at an away game.
I had to write up the my current tasking here for Oculus, the company newsletter; 

Since I wrote it, I have no issue with reproducing it here... Enjoy.)

Has it really been seven years?
Yes … Just seven years ago, the Olympic Green in Beijing was simply awash with my co-workers.

StAss the Mad Russian, Chief Propeller Head, Ty, Ben (no longer) in Florida, The Apostle, Spongemark, SGK, and a host of others in addition to your humble correspondent were dispatched far and wide over Beijing during the 2008 Olympics.
(For some of those tales, head to the left of the page and navigate to Aug of 2008, or click the Olympic tag to see all of that content)

Ah, yes- the agonizingly slow buses to the shoebox-like accommodations, the thorough and very invasive security pat-downs to get in and out of event spaces, the insane traffic as we tried to go from site to site or to see the local attractions, and of course, the spectacle of the opening ceremonies. Good times...good times...

Fast-forward to August 2015, and we (and by we, I mean yours truly, the lone survivor from the Battle of Beijing) are back in the Celestial Kingdom, and once again courting heat stroke, black lung disease and food poisoning as we provide stats interfacing for the Really Big American Network broadcast for the IAAF World Track & Field Championships in the National Stadium (国家体育场北京 aka the Bird's Nest). The former Olympic sites are a little faded and dusty, but the Water Cube and the other structures around the former Olympic site are still very recognizable.

Your humble correspondent is the boots-on-the-ground in Beijing, with very capable tele-support provided back in Florida by St.Ass and  The Apostle. This World Championship is basically a pre-Olympic event, a warm-up if you will, for the Rio Olympics in August 2016.

I had a bit of a scare in the days leading up to departure for the event … The container of equipment for the event was on-site in the port of Tainjin when a warehouse full of chemical and explosives blew up. I was sitting on the edge of my seat to find out if the container was OK. A backup plan was put in place where I would hand-carry the equipment in case the container was damaged, lost or destroyed.

The word came down the day before I left Jacksonville that the container had arrived in Beijing and all was well. (I brought the backup equipment anyway, because you never know.)

On arrival, I found the pre-shipped equipment was in pristine condition. I wish I was in as good condition after the 25 or so travel-hours it took to me get here.


There is a huge parade and showcase for Chinese militaria next week in front of Tienanmen Square and the Forbidden City, in celebration of the anniversary of the victory over Japanese aggression (not kidding).
They are practicing different aspectds of how they will be screwing up basic services and inconveniencing everyone this week... We got caught in a traffic holdup and after waiting on a freeway offramp for 45 minutes and a van with no A/C, I said Adios MotherF'er and walked to the site... Ain't nobody got time for this.

There is absolutely no truth to the rumor that I set up a Teamviewer app and was running my systems from the bar in the hotel, in order to avoid the traffic and the roasting highways.
No truth at all. None. Nothing to see here... Just move along.

I said move along. Now go.


My real workstation at the Birds Nest....

So China   Much exotic    Very Broadcast   Amaze.
There is a little Easter egg here that a few folks caught. So worth it.
The TIS Virus lives!!

A funny story: Everyone knows that the Silk Street Market is a six-floor building dedicated to separating tourists from their money in exchange for counterfeit or poorly made knock-offs of name-brand merchandise and mass-produced tchotchkes and gewgaws.

First-timers are cautioned not to go alone, or at least to be very wary of any deal that seems too good to be true. And this visit was no different.

The crew headed for the Silk Street Market to shop for souvenirs. One of the NBC runners for the event, who we shall call "Ferguson" in order to shield him from further ridicule, split off from the rest of us in search of adventure and treasure.

When we caught up with him later, we found he had not heeded the warnings from the Old China Hands on the crew, and proudly showed off his new "finest quality" Rolex he had just purchased for a ridiculously high "friend-price." Most of us, having seen the gamut of knock-off Rolexes from the shoddy to the near-perfect, gathered around to see how he did.

In a word: Awful.

Crappy band, ticking second hand, lightweight ... It was sad.
And poor Ferguson...
He thought he'd gotten a deal.
They saw him coming and they laid the sales pitch on hard.
Sat him down, gave him a cup of tea, brought out the pretty inlaid wood boxes and gave it to him with both barrels.

Word of his folly spread quickly once we got to the site for work that day...

And to add insult to injury, his painful lesson was reinforced every day, all day long on-site. 
There is a tape source named 'X'. During the broadcast, the director will call cameras and tape sources to be used on the air, and very, very often we will hear the director call "Ready X ... Roll X!" (Rolex! - Get it?)
In the spirit of fun, everyone started calling the source "Ferguson" or "Ferg" - So we heard "Ready Ferg ... Roll Ferg!" instead of “Roll X!” all through the broadcast.

From our "That Dude is Fucked" Department...

By now everyone should have seen The World's Fastest Man, Usain Bolt get taken out by a Chinese cameraman on a hands-free Segway...
Fortunately Bolt escaped the attack unscathed, later joking that American Justin Gatlin had paid the guy to run him over...
He had a great sense of humor about it.
Not sure the Ogranizing Committee will be as forgiving. They have zero tolerance policy  about public embarrassment. That and the $50,000 camera he destroyed...
I have a feeling that next week Segway CameraDude will be posted in 二连浩特市, (which is so far away that it doesn't have an English pronunciation) and will be videotaping yak turds for the rest of his career.

Outta here on Monday.

Cannot wait.



Old NFO said...

You done good, now get home safely!!! :-)

Daniel Culp said...

Very fall. Much embarrass. So dead. Wow.