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Trainer job [Apr. 20th, 2008|01:53 pm]
So, I seem to have, so far, pulled it off. I've been working at a park in Switzerland as a animal trainer for a little over a month now. I'm still doing my job from California via telecommuting. It's quite tough doing 2 jobs, but so far, it's worth it. I'm working with Patagonian sea lions and bottlenose dolphins. I love the dolphins the most, but the sea lions are not bad. Of course, more than 50% of this job is cleaning and preparing food, but it's worth it.

So far, the only show I can do is the "dry" dolphin show (That's with none of the trainers in the water). I've done it in the winter pool a few times, but this weekend the water temperature outside got warm enough, so the dolphins are outside, as of yesterday. I haven't had a chance to try the dry show outside yet (I was off on Saturday, and Sunday was very crazy). I've learnt all the music for all the shows now. The "arena" show (which is mostly a show-n-tell about sea lions), the "theater" show, which is a pirate story with 2 sea lions (Oscar and Pinky), and today, I learnt the dolphin show music (We didn't have any music in the winter pool). Learning the "music" is more complicated than you might think. The music is basically any sound that goes with the acting, which basically means you have to know all the cues for the whole act, and play and mix the right track at the right time. Also, if the animals are not behaving, you have to figure out what track you can play next, that will still make sense with what's going on, and will still fit the story. Of course, it doesn't help that it's all in German :)

Anyways, I hope to get a bunch more pictures of me working, but here's a couple for now:

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Big descision [Dec. 9th, 2007|07:19 pm]
I've recently been given the opportunity to do something I've toyed with wanting to get into for a very long time. At the moment, I have a very well paying job in California, and have just about everything I could possibly want. Of course, I still have this arrangement with my employer that I can work remotely for some of the year. I think convincing them to let me do that for almost all the year wouldn't be too hard.

I've now possibly got the opportunity to work with dolphins & sea lions directly (dolphins being the one that's interesting to me). In order to do this, I will have to leave California, at least for the summer. This job will be 6 days a week, and pretty full on days. That, I don't have a problem with - I'd need to keep some form of arrangement with my current employer, as if I stopped working for them, I couldn't afford to keep the house in California (which I don't want to give up). So, I'd be working during the day with the dolphins, and in the evening, telecommuting for my current employer.

So, I see I have 4 options:
1. Give up the house in California, and the job in California, and work only with the dolphins
2. Make some arrangement with my current employer, where I would work remotely for them, but only at 20 hours/week (I'd take a drop in pay too, to accommodate this)
3. Leave the arrangement as is with my current employer, and try and give them 40 hours a week remotely.
4. Don't take the dolphin/sea lion job

My personal preference is for #2, but I'm not sure I can sell them on this. I think I can... #3 would put a huge workload on myself, and I don't think I'd be able to cope with it. #1 & #4 I don't really want to do either.

Of course, there's no 100% guarantee I will get the job, but in that case, I stay with my current mode of operation.

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(no subject) [Nov. 18th, 2007|06:23 pm]
It seems I'm making this a twice-yearly event now. I'm off to Switzerland again to go and spend some time with drakkor and see the phins. I hear they've very short handed, so it sounds like it'll be cleaning up after sealions for me... It's the least I can do for getting to spend time with the phins, which is always so enjoyable. Of course, I'm looking forward to seeing drakkor again too - I haven't seen him since like February when I was last over there.

Maybe I'll get some time while I'm over there to edit the video and such I shot in New Zealand :) Anyways, at the very least, there'll be some more photos. Of course, I'll be taking my video camera with me to Switzerland, so there should be some HD video of the phins coming too!
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Flying orcas? [Sep. 27th, 2007|07:39 pm]
While we've been waiting for sightings of orcas so we can go out and see them, we've been spending some time at a local helicopter company helping them with internet connections and phones, and whatnot. When we first hooked up with them, they gave me a ride down the coast (which I shot video of, and will edit shortly...). More recently, though, as a thank you for all the stuff I've been doing for them, their pilot who does their training said he'd take me for a trial flight in their R22.

Wow, it was an amazing experience - I'd say all that time spent playing with choppers on the computer helped a lot. I was able to hover OK, and follow a track on the ground fairly well too. The pilot made the comment of "There's very few people who I've let take complete control on their first flight", and I was one of them! Here's a shot of me just before we landed with the pilot on the right of the picture showing that he's not the one flying -- I am!
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Found orcas again! [Sep. 15th, 2007|12:27 pm]
Yay! We found them again a couple of days ago, late in the day (around 4pm). We'd been looking for a while, and were just about to give up when we spotted them. We spent nearly 2 hours with them before it got dark, and we had to head home (in the dark the whole way back -- 2 hours!). The bioluminesence at night is VERY cool - Turn out all the lights, and even though it's pitch black, the water still lights up on it's own in the wake of the boat.

Anyways, I hope to get some time to post some of the clips from the other day - They will get here eventually, I promise :) In the mean time, here's another photo from that day:
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Found orcas already! [Aug. 27th, 2007|02:02 am]
The first week I'm in New Zealand, I'm supposed to be spending with my parents. I got a call at 7am from my orca researcher friend (who I'll be staying with for the majority of the time in New Zealand, starting next Thursday) to say there were orcas in Whangarei harbour, which was about mid-way between where I was staying and she was coming from. So, I tore off to meet her there, and after an hour drive, and jumped into the boat, we found the orcas a little after 8:30am. We were with them continuously until around 5:30pm. I have quite a bit of video, and a few others were shooting stills. Here's a picture from a friends boat of us:

I'll try and get some video posted soon (I still need to load and catalog all the footage I shot)

The next day I spent working on the crittercam, making sure I know how it all goes together. Also, I needed to make sure I could track it once it had detached from the orca and floating (It has a VHF transmitter on it) - It's quite a complicated device, and you have to program it before you deploy it to set all the mission parameters. It records in MPEG-4 to SD-HC cards, and also records on a mini-SD card all the telemetry, such as pressure, salinity, compass direction, temperature, etc. I also had to make sure it seals properly after you program it. Here's a picture of me with the crittercam after I assembled it:
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Trip to New Zealand [Aug. 2nd, 2007|10:55 pm]
I know I haven't posted for a while, but I generally don't like to post unless I have something worthwhile saying. Well, I'm going to New Zealand for somewhere around 6 weeks on my "work remotely" agreement. I'll be heading down there around the 20th of August. I've got quite a lot planned for my own time there (when I'm not working remotely).

I recently (well, a few months ago) got a new video camera. Having working in the professional TV industry a bit now, I couldn't stand getting a consumer, or even pro-sumer camera. I ended up getting the cheapest professional HD progressive scan video camera I could justify. It's a JVC GY-HD110U

I've mostly just been playing around with it, but so far, am very pleased with what it shoots. When I'm in New Zealand, I'll be staying most of the time with my orca researcher friend. Whenever we hear about orca, I'll be off to try and get some footage of them. Additionally, National Geographic is sending me one of their Critter Cams. We're planning on using the suction cup system to stick one of these to the orcas in New Zealand and get some very cool footage from their perspective. There's also a chance I'll be filming with a local film crew looking a producing a series on the orca research in New Zealand.

So, all in all, look out for some interesting updates from me over the next few months!
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Got a bit of a breather [May. 22nd, 2007|03:25 pm]
We recently came out of a like 8 week "work every waking moment" stretch a few weeks back, and have been catching up on stuff that didn't get done for 2 months while we were going through that. At the moment, I'm out in Virginia on a business trip. I'll be here until Thursday night, when I fly back to California. As soon as I get back, I'm working BayCon (I'm not sure how I got roped into that, but I'm one of the few on a list of people authorized to operate the equipment, so they called me)

Also, recently I've been hired as an official (part-time) employee of NCPB (Northern California Public Broadcasting). I'm actually getting paid for doing TV stuff now. I just got done last week with a 1 day production we did for CSUMB (California State University - Monterey Bay), in which I was the Technical Director. I was listed as the third person (under the producer and Director) on the production. Yay!

Other plans for this year include some more gigs at the KTEH studios. Some of them will be paid, some will not. I'm also planning on going to New Zealand and doing the work remotely thing in the September/October timeframe, and then am also planning on spending some time in Switzerland in the winter. Not sure how much time that'll be yet, but it will be some, for sure!

That's about all I have for the moment - More when I think of it :)
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One test to rule them all [Mar. 4th, 2007|10:43 pm]
I usually don't take these things, but this one sort of appealed to me. I liked the questions they asked:

The Everything Test

There are many different types of tests on the internet today. Personality tests, purity tests, stereotype tests, political tests. But now, there is one test to rule them all.

Traditionally, online tests would ask certain questions about your musical tastes or clothing for a stereotype, your experiences for a purity test, or deep questions for a personality test.We're turning that upside down - all the questions affect all the results, and we've got some innovative results too! Enjoy :-)

You are more logical than emotional, more concerned about self than concerned about others, more atheist than religious, more loner than dependent, more lazy than workaholic, more traditional than rebel, more engineering mind than artistic mind, more cynical than idealist, more leader than follower, and more extroverted than introverted.

As for specific personality traits, you are adventurious (100%), intellectual (87%), slutty (60%), greedy (59%).

College Student75%
Life Experience

Your political views would best be described as Liberal, whom you agree with around 32% of the time.
Your attitude toward life best associates you with Middle Class. You make more than 0% of those who have taken this test, and 69% more than the U.S. average.

If your life was a movie, it would be rated PG-13.
By the way, your hottness rank is 52%, hotter than 75% of other test takers.

brought to you by thatsurveysite

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2 weeks goes by so quick [Feb. 17th, 2007|01:32 am]
Well, as always, Switzerland has been a blast. I have such a good time spending time with the dolphins. This time I let my hand get chewed a little more by the youngest dolphin - He doesn't know how sharp his teeth are. I have around 20 new scratches and holes in my right hand from letting him chew on my hand too much :) Oh well, I show them to everyone that thinks dolphins are always cute and harmless as a warning to be careful where you stick you hand. I also had a lot of fun playing with the other young dolphins. I can keep them entertained for hours with the right toys and games.

I also put a reasonable amount of bucket cleaning, fish sorting, sea-lion cage cleaning, etc. One of the sea-lions also tends to make a mess sometimes, that we compare to choco-sauce. I love to remind shinigamigirl about it - It squicks her so, and it gets back at her for reminding me about laminated orcas. This is a joke Jace started a few weeks back when we were all at my house one night, and she is always reminding me about it :)

I never let a single chance to go to see them get away from me, so overall, I spent every daylight hour at the park, and late nights until midnight or 1 am working remotely. It's very tiring, since the only time I get to relax is Saturday night and Sunday night - Otherwise every day is go-go-go, and nights are work, work, work. Overall, though, very well worth it.

I'm looking forward to the next time I can visit them, and I'm sure I'm really going to feel it over the next few weeks about missing them. The next time I can visit is probably near the end of the year. I might see if I can work there for a few months next winter, since I enjoy spending time there, and I don't mind doing the other crappy jobs (cleaning and sorting fish, etc)

Over the next few days, I might post a few pictures after I recover from the travel and time zone change. I'm sitting in Zurich airport right now waiting for my flight.
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