Friday, July 11, 2008

Stories From Provo

Well this week has been different. Compared to my 12-14 hour work days from last week, this week's breather was nice. I'm still working, technically, although I've really had nothing to do all week save for a few calls here and there. So I thought I'd share some stories of my trip to Utah. It was a fun adventure, it was a lot of fun, with many stories. But instead of writing a long post I thought I'd do some bullet-blogging (patent-pending). 
• I have a newfound respect for mormons. Upon first impressions I thought it was going to be crazy town USA. No swearing, no drinking, no overt sexuality, no drugs, no caffeine, and women can't even expose their shoulders. But instead I was pleasantly surprised by the people there. They were all so nice, and polite. Sure their work ethic was not as fast-paced as those coming from LA, but nearly the entire staff at the Stadium was filled by volunteers, people who were working for free, and proudly, to create something larger for the community. I feel like so many people think mormons are these weird polygamists with horns on their heads, but I found nothing to be further from the truth. What is wrong with a little modesty? If anything I think the world would be a better place if we all practiced it in our everyday a little more. 

• Blue Man Group is awesome. They were called in for a sound check the Wednesday before the show, but instead they had a full-scale rehearsal. They actually had three leading up to their performance Friday night. Even during their rehearsals their energy was amazing, and felt like a live show. Their main mission statement is to bring the audience out of their comfort zones, out of the culturally defined ways to behave, and try to transport them to a place of primal group reaction. A great show, backed with great sounds. I definitely recommend checking them out at some point in your life. I know I need to check out a full show sometime. 

• I love my boss. I probably couldn't say this enough times on this blog. During the shows my main job is to follow him around and assist him in anyway needed. But it's amazing to see him in action. He has this quiet and confident demeanor about him, along with dry wit. When he walks about everyone treats him with the utmost respect, and dignity. I don't think I truly understood what power was until you experience it first hand. He's like a General. A true leader, who always has a game-plan, who knows when to reprimand and when to encourage. I've learned so much from him, and I hope to be the type of leader he is one day. 

• M.i.l.e.y C.y.r.u.s. was interesting. I write her name like that so I don't have a million people Googling my website. Cause trust me, it will happen. She sold out a 50,000 crowd in less than ten minutes. There were a thousand little girls wearing pink t-shirts, dressing like MC, waving signs, and screaming at the very mention of her name. Not only was the noise from the crowd overwhelming, but the pitch at which they screamed at was deafening. Regardless, it was very cute to see five year olds dancing on top of their chairs at their first "rock" concert. And I certainly give credit to our headliner. For a fifteen year-old she had some amazing stage presence. 

• Did I mention I love my boss? Among the notes I take during the power meetings (when I get to sit in on the meetings between the two head honchos, one being my boss) like things for me to do and remind my boss of, I write down the side of the pad various vocab my boss spits out. He's ridiculously smart, and I'm a sucker for a large vocabulary (especially from a beautiful woman). Here are just a few of my favorite new words from my boss. 

Gestalt (noun)- An organized whole that is perceived as more than a sum of it's parts. 
Glib (adjective) - (of words or the person speaking them) fluent and voluble but insincere
Espouse (verb) - to adopt of support (a belief, a way of life, a cause)

he didn't use this one, but it's another favorite word I've recently discovered...

Schadenfruede (noun) - pleasure derived from another person's misfortune

• It was great to do something good for a change. One of my main jobs for the show was to assist in getting a satellite feed up so that three soldiers in Iraq could talk to their wives in Provo. The wives thought they were just going to make a recording to say 'hi' to their husbands, so they were completely surprised when they saw them on the big screen. It was really heart warming to see, and it made me feel good to be a part of that. 

• The entire show was broadcast around the world on the armed forces network, so that servicemen and women around the world could watch a fourth of July event back home. It really felt good to contribute back to them. I think military service is one of the most noble things you can do with your life. Sure you might not agree with our leader, but you're giving your life to your country, which I think is brave as all hell. When the service men and women walked into the stadium during the pre-show the entire audience stood up and gave them a standing ovation. I wish that was something more people did. 

• We had a chocolate fountain in our trailer. It started off as an inside joke between the Executive Producers and our Operations Coordinator, but then one day one actually appeared in our trailer. It was lovely. Great idea. Everything tastes better in chocolate. 

• Glenn Beck. Well, to begin with I've always appreciated Glenn Beck. I like some of what he says, then he seems to go too far with it, and loses me completely. But above all I do respect that he attempts to use logic in his arguments, and expects the same from his opposition. But meeting him in real life gave me a new appreciation for him. He is actually quite charismatic, and a pretty funny guy. He gentlemanly, and very professional. I don't think I agree with his politics any more than I did before, but as a person I respect him much more now. 

• A new friend (and reader) from Provo wanted me to share this story (my details may be off here or there, but the story should still ring the same):

What is Fourth of July without Flags? Not Fourth of July. So as part of the celebrations someone from the Foundation ordered a few thousand miniature flags for the event. And where do you go for cheap American  flags? China of course. Well they don't ship directly from China for some reason. A quicker air freight is from Beijing, to Chicago, to Cincinnati, to Salt Lake, to Provo. Well my new friend didn't order the flags, but she was in charge of tracking the package to see when it was going to arrive. She saw the slow progress the flags made as they leisurely traveled the world. So a day or two before our event, and after arriving in Cincinnati an associate called the shipping facility and talked to someone, who passed him onto someone, who passed him onto a manager. The manager located the shipment, and asked if they wanted it expedited to our offices so that the package would make it in time. He said "yes", and asked how much it would cost. The manager weighed the package. Now how much should thousands of flags weigh? Fifty pounds? Sixty pounds? Nope, twelve ounces. It looked like they sent a sample by accident. So instead of a large box with flags there was a small envelope. So the envelope was sent to the office, they figured out another flag source, and waited with bated breath for the "package". It arrived at the office moments before the event, impeccable timing. Eagerly they opened it. But no flag was to be found; instead a small sample of Viagra. Not even a full bottle, just a sample. (Insert flag raising joke here). Moral of the story? Never buy anything over seas with a money order or by wire. 

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