Friday, September 05, 2014

Power consumption

Editor's note: you do not want to bother yourself by reading this blog post. 
So. These dang MacPro towers run very hot. Also, my studio now has a deal where I pay my own electric costs. As a classic model in economics, this now encourages me to reduce the amount of electricity I use.
Note that the amount of heat is directly related to the amount of electricity.
When asking about the charges per kilowatt hour, my landlord gave me this handy chart:
this month it's $0.34
in june it was $0.31
in april $0.27
Of course it's not consistent. That would make calculations too easy.
I feel fairly confident Mac Pro eats between 115 and 318 watts. is about 85kW/h to 235kW/h a month. And if we pretend that we pay thirty cents a kWh, that's somewhere between $25 and $75 a month. Probably not quite $50 on average. I'd guess about $30 on average.
Still, that's $360 a year.
Our office is number 10.
Thing is, nowadays, I could get a Mac Mini for a thousand dollars which benchmarks faster. Those are between 11 and 85 Watts. So maybe 20kWh a month? So electric cost of six bucks.
So it'll cost about $72 a year to run a new mini. Versus $360 to continue to run the old Mac Pro.
The new mini would pay for itself in about 3 years. And it would irritate us with its heat consumption vastly less. And the fact that the mini is faster means it won't even be working as hard as the Pro.
Huh.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Wetsuit Thoughts and Notes to Myself

I have an extremely light-duty wetsuit. It's basically a Lavacore 3mm rash guard. But my goal is to get a real wet suit.

Now I am dry suit certified. But a thing with drysuits is that you need to use giant-pocket fins because your feet are in boots. And dry suits are very expensive.
But there are these things called "semi-dry" wetsuits.

The Cressi Lontra comes very well reviewed except that it's not made anymore.

The Henderson Aqua Lock comes recommended. And it is very interesting in that it has micro-fleece as the liner.
Now the thing is I want a suit without boots so I can wear full-foot-fins. And yeah, my feet will get cold. But these full-foot-fins I have exhibit so much more speed and control than regular fins. So uh. So yeah.

Click me

Please click and vote. It's relatively painless. You have to be logged into Facebook but it doesn't seem to do anything harmful, it just wants to make sure votes aren't double-counted. Mission Main St Grant

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Payout!

So we got a payment from a couple sales on Friday and looking at the report I realized we'd actually gone above our arbitrary amount of money after which we start paying actors and editors and writers and stuff on the movie Android Insurrection.

And I'm really kind of tickled to be able to start paying that "deferred" money. You know, "monkey points". Well the monkey is here and he has a banana for you. This is where the analogy breaks down. Look. Nobody's getting rich. Most of the checks I'm writing are for less than a hundred bucks.
But hey! It's something!
To be in the black like this is something, as a producer, we're really proud of. We hope there are many, many more checks to write.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Robin Kurtz: The Maiden

Why didn't I see this show with the awesome Robin Kurtz in it?


Full of IT: The Maiden: The Maiden Conceived by Chance D. Muehleck Directed and Choreographed by Melanie Armer Composed by Admiral Grey Produced by La MaMa in asso...

Monday, August 25, 2014

Those Things

Diet to Go
It's relatively cheap. Food comes well reviewed. I have to lose like 60 lbs. That's gonna take more than a year. Plus I have to get my cholesterol down. Boo.

Stock Video site. I'd love a nice HD overflight of Manhattan coming from the south west.
I could get one of these little tracker things to measure my minimal movement through the day.
Super-duty 1/2" case kits might make for a guitar amp isolation cabinet. Especially if you put ANOTHER cabinet inside one.

Lights Narrow

Check out this groovy interview with Vinnie Marano and DeLisa White.
DeLisa White is nominated for Outstanding Director; Vincent Marano is nominated for Outstanding Original Full-Length Script; and Lights Narrow is nominated for Outstanding Premiere Production of a Play.
That's Ridley Parson and James Becton in the show!


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Just clearing out some links

The Iron Heel is a Jack London book. Oddly, it was an inspiration for the racist's Bible -- The Turner Diaries.

The Scarlet Plague is another piece of post-apocalyptic fiction by Jack London.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Live IN the city

If you're gonna pay the high prices of living in New York City you may as well actually enjoy New York City. Even if you're flat broke there are plenty o'concerts and theater to see. I bet if you called around indy theater producers and were like "I'm flat broke. I can't afford the twenty bucks to come to your show. I'm eating mac n' cheese all week and living on my friend's floor" the producer would be all like "My show isn't totally sold out tonight, if you really want to see it I'll comp you."
Because seriously, someone begging to see your show is vastly better than a couple people who are tangentially related to one of the writer's cousins and who felt obligated to go.
Your poor broke dude just wants to the the show. I mean, who do you want in your audience anyway?
New York Public Library Lion on a day off.
It's so easy to get to the point where you never see any theater, you never experience any of the things New York can uniquely offer. You just go to those three restaurants you go to. You just walk to your subway, then you walk to work, then back again, eager to watch HBO over a plate of lo mein. I know, if there were only fewer choices it would be so much easier, wouldn't it? But alas. There aren't.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Jet Drown Relax

I dunno. There's a lot of stories out there about the perfect diet or whatever to avoid jet lag. They all seem fishy to me. But here's another one.

I still don't know what to look for when someone's drowning.
I'm taking two days off from working. Inadvertently I'd even pulled my machines off the Internet so I can't even work on them remotely.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

New Studio

So it seems we're moving our studio. We're moving about a block away, to 356 Broadway.
The odd-shaped space requires some special thinking to fit our workstations.

Luckily we don't need to rent a truck to move our stuff. But we are going to need to hire a couple people to carry things.
Yeah, the pretend furniture is flipped around. I didn't notice in the plan view. I may rethink this setup.
The floors are wood. We have 20amps of electrical service.


I've been playing with this software to pre-visualize. You think we should put wheels on the bottom of the WhisperRoom?
The following are other visualizations based on smaller offices than the one we're getting. Or rather the one we put a deposit on, we'll see if it's all good when they google my name. ;-)


Friday, July 25, 2014

Showcase Code

On the New York IT Awards blog is this post on the Actor's Equity Showcase Code.
"[The Showcase Code]  has helped to create a matryoshka doll of inequality in New York City theater."
Is my favorite sentence on the blogosphere today.
Here is a rabbit.
The Showcase Code is a non-negotiated code which, as a producer, you can sign. Doing so allows members of Actors Equity to work for you for (approximately) zero dollars (or basically whatever you want to pay) without the chance of them getting into trouble with their own union.
I'm not putting this in as an asterisk -- here's a very important point from the producer's point-of-view:

  1. Federal law prohibits discrimination against employees based on their membership in labor organizations. You do not get to decide on whom to hire based on whether they're Actors Equity or SEIU or AFM or not. They might have signed an agreement with one or more unions saying they wouldn't take non-union work, but you cannot decide for them. Whether you hire or fire anyone is dependent on factors other than their union status.
  2. You, the employer/producer, may insist your employees pay a collective bargaining agent. But this only applies to employers in states which do not have "Right To Work" laws. Talk to your favorite labor lawyer if you feel like doing this.*

There are a lot of restrictions on the contract though -- the number of shows you can do, the ticket prices, etc. It is made to keep the producer from making any money on a Showcase production. Which is ironic because, you know, "making money" in theater isn't a problem that any off-off Broadway theater producers have.

So we're not really concerned with the exploitation of surplus labor for Capital in the case of actors (and writers and designers and directors) in the way of off-off Broadway theater because there is no money in it. In fact, the producer is all but guaranteed to lose money while making off-off-Broadway theater. There is actually no way around it.

The fact is, though, that New York indy theater sucks.

Compared to the (this is my blog and so I will say) objectively better theater scenes in San Francisco, Chicago, and Washington DC, indy theater in New York is simply terrible. It's boring. It's no fun. There's only two exceptions to this:

  1. Theater made by my very close friends
  2. Theater that isn't produced under the Showcase Code

The first thing is self-evident, of course. But the other kind of theater in New York is what I'm discussing. There are three companies I'm thinking about. They're all producers of long-running shows and they're all non-Equity.

  • One is Sleep No More which has a fairly large cast, is very interesting, and actually pays their actors/dancers something in the $125/performance range (as I recall). The show is on an open run and actually makes the producers money. 
  • Two is Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind. This is an ongoing 2-nights a week show by the New York version of the Chicago company The Neo-Futurists. The actors in that company make something -- I don't know how much, I think several hundred dollars a years. Just enough to cover subway basically. 
  • Three is (and yes, I gag while I type this) The Wooster Group. Nowadays the Wooster Group is part of the establishment, man. But they pay around $850 or so a week? And they do a lot of theater.

I have a gazillion complaints about The Wooster Group but the fact is that all three of those companies at least try to do things that are theatrical and interesting. And most of the downtown theater does not. They do plays about two guys in black turtlenecks talking about living in Brooklyn in their 20's.
One problem with theater, as a thing to do, is that it takes quite a while to make a given piece any good. The fact that you can't do any more than 18 shows under the Showcase Code means that necessarily you haven't done the show enough to make it not suck. And you also can't make enough money in ticket sales (because of the limitation in ticket price) to keep renting whatever space you're using anyway.

Those three companies above, and every company in DC, SF, and Chicago, don't have those problems. And (as noted above) their theater scenes are objectively better and more interesting.

§

*You do not feel like doing this. But the union might negotiate a contract with you wherein you agree to make sure all your employees are paying them to collectively bargain for them. And there are other restrictions and Supreme Court precedents and nonsense.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014