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John Sciacca Writes...

Features, Reviews and a Blog by John Sciacca

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Random Thoughts (Blog)

CEDIA Day 3 - The long, slow Nooooo!

Posted on September 26, 2010 at 11:00 AM

The day started off innocently enough. I hadn’t stayed out too late, I hadn’t got too much of a drunk on, I didn’t have any crazy early appointments, and I didn’t have any looming antenna events hanging all Sword of Damocles like over my every step. So I head down the elevator and as I’m walking out the door I see that the CEDIA shuttle bus is there. So I break into this slow, loping trot to make sure I get the bus. But due to the incline the bus is parked on, the slow loping trot quickly escalates into a faster, ungainly jog. Now, since I am wearing dress-type clothes and carrying a backpack that I have come to call “The Burden” and it is about 8 in the morning pre-coffee, I am not perfectly outfitted to be engaging in any jogging activities. And that’s when it happens. The tip of my left shoe catches something.


Have you ever tried to balance a broom stick or pole on your hand and that when it starts tilting you start running forward to get the momentum to keep the stick from falling? That was me. Except the stick that was tilting ever further forward was my face. So now I am *sprinting* down the hill, but because destiny had already determined the outcome of this little moment in time the second my shoe got caught and then pushed my two legs together, it is all happening in this horrible, dreamy, slow-motion. And even though my legs are fighting the fine-fight, taking these super human length strides to try and stave off what would have seemed impossible just seconds before, it quickly becomes apparent that I am going to lose this battle with mother gravity.


So I go into this full-on barrel-rolling ground plant where I literally fall face-first onto the ground, holding my hands out to help break the fall and kind of use the palm skin to friction-burn slow my descent. And because I have been running down this hill, I hit the ground and continue to roll/slide for a bit. Then to make matters even more awesome, The Burden has become unzipped and ALL of my contents have exploded out of it and are also sliding down the hill. My little reporter notebook is all torn up, and, oh, look! There’s my laptop. Which I watch completing its slow, several foot downhill slide on its lid. It was so HP shiny black before but now it is well and truly battle scarred.


So I get up and slowly start jamming all my stuff back into the pack with as much dignity and grace as I can muster (which was truthfully WAY more Nancy and virtually no Grace) as I can only imagine EVERY passenger on the bus starring out the tinted windows recovering from their collective pee-laughs – Oh, God! He totally just bit it! Tell me you all saw that! Please tell me that EVERY SINGLE person on this bus just saw how awesome that was! – and praying that somehow, somewhere a camera was capturing this for the YouTubes. So, I finally start the walk-of-shame onto the bus, which, of course was in absolutely no hurry to leave so I just sit there – totally ignoring every single thing behind and around me, refusing to acknowledge that yes, I was that guy – for about 5 minutes picking chunks of debraded skin off my hands and taking a inventory of goods and body and then notice the – Ah! Hot-frickin’-Damn! Isn’t that just GREAT?! – hole in my virtually brand new Polo slacks.


So, welcome to CEDIA Day 3!

I head in and stick my head into the Resi Daily office and it is…empty. There are no yells for coffee or for flowing the page or the low steady maaaaaaa! of a silent sustained scream. There is Kirsten’s chair, but there is no Kirsten sitting in it. So it was all just a sham…she actually could walk the whole time! It was a real Keyser Soze moment.


I say goodbye to the Resi room and walk across the hall to the press room and grab a cup of coffee and finish up the story I was working on for S+V, a show trends report on 3D front projectors, and I see that I need to grab a couple of last minute facts and photos to go with my story. So I head down to the show floor and get the info. Except one of the vendors says that the projector that I want to see isn’t here; it didn’t survive the boat trip over. So, no biggie, stuff breaks. So I mention this to another reporter, DBJ, I run into and he says, “Hmmm. How interesting. I saw that projector yesterday afternoon and it was working fine. The person you talked to didn’t know what they were talking about.” So he escorts me back to the booth (which, if you remember the photo of the Coriolis effect, you’ll know is no simple or quick task. Plus my knee is hurting from the morning’s concrete excitement), and we go up to the guy that I spoke to – who is also the guy that DBJ said I should talk to – and DBJ starts asking him about the projector so I just chime right in with, “Yeah, he says you lied to me and that it’s here.” I’m in a cut to the chase frame of mind. Turns out DBJ was wrong – possibly a first when it comes to video – and the projector he mis-remembered seeing was not the 3D model at all but another unit. So I Johnny-hustle back to the press room and file my story. Then I head back to the show floor to meet with Lauren from Caster to visit a couple of her clients. Then I meet with Dave R who takes me to a few of his client’s booths. Then back to the press room for some kind of BBQ meat sandwich. Then back to the show floor. Where I got a phone call from Luton’s PR *thanking* me for the great story I did on Mr. Lutron. “Oh, he absolutely loved it,” she said. “He felt like you really captured his message and thinks that it is really going to help Lutron to sell more energy management products. And, he thought you were a very nice young man.” (Stop laughing. Compared to an 84 year old, I am young. And can appear very nice when the chips are down.) And you know what I say; nothing says “thank you SO much” like more lighting and shade control equipment!


I passed the rest of the day sticking my head in and saying hello to people I know and taking in demos that I missed – speaker companies that I enjoy, control systems, more 3D, some audio servers, and just random things that looked interesting. One included a company called Surge X that was ba-lasting their surge protector every 45 seconds with 6000 watts of voltage simulating a maximum lightning strike. (Apparently that is the maximum amount of voltage and amperage that can pass through your electrical wiring before the wire itself just melts and fuses together into one singularity.) So every 45 seconds there is this loud WHAP! accompanied by a blue spark that is both terrifyingly frightening and powerfully beautiful. (I know. It’s been a long week.) Then they show what happens to other competing products under the same inhumane conditions by sticking an MOV resistor into this glass protection tube and then plugging it into the shocker machine. So, they blast it and the resistor just toasts itself, exploding into pieces with this thin wisp of black and grey and acrid friend electronics smoke roils around inside the glass tube and slowly trails out. Pretty much exactly what I picture a crack pipe looking like. (Thanks to Lauren from Caster for the demo, and for being willing to stand her pregnant belly SO close to the mega-joules of voltage like it was the most natural thing in the world.)


So the show mercifully ends at 5 PM and I meet up with the guys from URC to grab a beer and hang out for a bit before heading to our respective dinners. We hit this place across the street that has 130 beers and I saw they had Stone Brewery on the menu which I was ultra impressed with from my trip to San Diego. So I order a Self Righteous Ale (because the name seems so fitting) on draft and it is abso-frickin-delicious. This is a really dark beer with a thick cappuccino-like head on it that was just toasty and smooth and nutty. And like 8.9% alcoholey. Grab another draft of something Magic Hat and then shuttle it up to go and meet Paul D with Definitive Technology for dinner. Also in attendance is – wait for it – Darryl Wilkinson. He is back from his totally-wasn’t-at-all-a-hangover sudden sickness and is in rare – or probably more accurately for Darryl, totally typical – form. Great dinner at this place where things on the menu were written entirely in lower case because I guess that’s more artistic.


I went to the bathroom and I see this sign:



So, I’m standing there, you know, going to the bathroom and I can’t seem to get past the giant, bold and underlined “PLEASE DO NOT FLUSH TOILET.” So I’m thinking, man, how awkward. I mean, not flushing could *really* create some uncomfortable situations. So I finally read the second line of the horrible grammatical mess and determine that Ah! It’s OK to flush the toilet, just not excessively.


Darryl ordered a beet salad and I had the fist beet I can remember eating since I was like 6 at my aunt’s house in Coos Bay, Oregon. This beet tasted much less like sucking on a piece of iron encrusted old moldy earth, but still I doubt I’ll ever be a beet guy. Darryl related how he attended an event in the morning for “Woman in CE” and then wrote a blog post using terms like “staying a broad” and “keeping abreast.” (We lamented that he neglected to include some reference to “a rack” but still high marks.) So, I’ve decided that while it would never-ever-never happen, if, and I mean it won’t happen, but IF Darryl and I had a gay love baby, the entire earth would implode in a hollow vacuum created by the unprecedented level of snark suddenly brought into existence. This would be a child with a wit so razor sharp that woman would be Brazilianed by just walking past and with caustic observations SO biting they would leave actual teeth marks. Like a biting thing. But again, that is something that will never happen. Anyhow, a great dinner where I was not longer “new press guy” and really felt like I truly belonged amongst the ranks of the press corps, sharing stories from the past and nostalgia-nostalgia “remember when?” fun talk.


So, the dinner menu is so artsy and foreign and descriptive that there is this dessert on it called “organic vanilla ice milk drizzled with olive oil and sea salt.” This sounds totally horrible, but despite that – or maybe because of it – two of the others at the table order it. Darryl and I get this flourless chocolate tort. We each got our own; it isn’t like we shared. Though there would have been nothing wrong or gay about it if we had. Leave us alone! Our love is natural and beautiful! Right, Darryl?) So in the car ride back, I’m asking one of the guys that ordered it how it was. (In typical John style, the asking soon becomes something more akin to a cross-examination, trying to get to the truth that I knew was waiting.)

“So, that dessert. I looked pretty gross with all that oil on it. Was it good?”

“Yeah. It was OK. I liked it.”

“Would you ever order it again?”

“Yeah. Sure.”

“Like what are the percentage chances that you would order it again?”

“Probably 75%.”

“OK. So you’re saying that if we went to that restaurant 4 more times, you would order that dessert 3 of the 4 times? That’s what you’re saying?”

And here’s the awesome quote, which my memory tells my is word for word. “Oh. No. I meant that if I went there 10 more times, there would be a 75% chance that I would order it one more time.” Awesome! What a great line! And that, friends, ended my CEDIA 2010, as I returned to the hotel to pack up and head out tomorrow. Head out on an epic quest of air travel that I CAN’T WAIT to tell you about!

Categories: September 2010, CES/CEDIA

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