Archive for the The Life of a Dome Jockey Category

Digital Hatred

Posted in Digital v. Analogue, The Life of a Dome Jockey on March 30, 2010 by dcbradshaw

I’ve occasionally gone on about the strange civil war that periodically rages in the planetarium industry circles concerning digital vs. analogue projection systems.  For some odd reason, there are a handful of planetarians that simply do not accept that any sort of digital projection belongs in a planetarium.

I go on and on about my take on this in my Planetarium Definition (long version), but the short of it is: digital is better, for a variety of reasons.

Today, this was posted to the dome-l mailing list:

…the “industry” reps bombard us with the story that “digital is the only way to go”, and imply that anyone with a differing view is some kind of moron, who will be “left behind”… And so some planetarians try to shout us down & shut us up…

Is someone a moron for not exploring and embracing technology that brings increased flexibility and capability to education and presentation?

This analogy was brought up:

Beta-Max WAS way better than VHS video.  But too many people had too much invested in VHS, so Beta-Max lost-out.  Politics, NOT technology…

In actuality, because of its technical superiority and flexibility, Betamax tapes, cameras, and machines were widely-used in professional capacities until well after 2000, and finally in 2002 Sony stopped producing recorders, primarily because everyone was in the process of switching to digital.

Just sayin’.


This just happened: Peter and some Wolf or something

Posted in Rant, The Life of a Dome Jockey on March 26, 2010 by dcbradshaw

A woman and toddler came rushing into the theater lobby just literally mere moments before I was about to shut the door for the 2:30 music show.  She asked if this was the planetarium, and I told her it was, and she said–half a question, half a statement, “We’re here to see Peter and some Wolf or something…?”

I said, “The show is just about to start, may I see your tickets please?”

She says, “We need tickets?”

(Warning: Incoming Guest Service Rant)

Now, I try to be a patient person, and give folks the benefit of the doubt, but come on people, help me out here…  YES you need tickets.  Do people just assume that shows are free (or something)?

So they rushed off to get tickets, and of course there was a line, so of course the show started really late, which maybe isn’t a big deal to some people, but I look at it like this: the buck needs to stop with an employee.  That is to say, if a visitor has some kind of an issue, then the issue needs to be dealt with by an employee, not handed off to other visitors.

In this case, the visitors that ran up at the last second passed the buck to me, and by me waiting past start time for them to go buy tickets, I passed the buck to the guests already in the theater, who are waiting for the show to start on time.

I could have been a jerk and told them that the show was about to start, that they weren’t going to make it, and they could come to the next showtime on the schedule, but since they asked specifically for Peter and The Wolf (only one show today), I wanted to try to accommodate them.

I hate having to pass the buck back to visitors, and as a rule I try to avoid it.


Posted in Music, The Life of a Dome Jockey, TwiSixtyFive on March 20, 2010 by dcbradshaw

First day of spring, eh?

Snow and icicles and wet and stupid.

Snow and icicles and wet and stupid.

Silly climate, don’t you know that today is the equinox?!?

Also, yeah, it’s been a while, the long excuse is my daughter’s been in and out of the hospital and we’re getting ready to move and I’ve been busy at work with testing and installation of a new projection system (more on that later).

The short excuse is I’m lazy.

Still working on TwiSixtyFive, though, and as today is the 79th day of the year, I’m a little ahead with following 104 people.  I’ve found that there’s a pretty central core of “my style” folks that I care to follow–strangely they all seem to follow each other–and I’m to a point where it’s going to be a little difficult to find more people to follow.

Well, I say difficult, but only as difficult as a 45 second search through Twitter listings will be.  See short excuse above.

Anyway, in the meantime, here’s a hopeful-sounding track from Ulrich Schnauss.  It sounds like Spring to me, even though the weather hasn’t caught up.

Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. (etc.)

Posted in Family, The Life of a Dome Jockey on July 26, 2009 by dcbradshaw

I fell down the stairs this morning, while carrying the toddler. Landed hard on my butt, rammed my forearm into a step, scraped my other arm and shoulder on an iron candleabra which also ripped out of the wall, and twisted my ankle and foot on the floor when I finally made it to the landing.

Did manage to mostly cushion her fall, and she wasn’t hurt, just scared.

I, on the other hand, feel mostly horrible, but here I am at work on a Sunday, which is non-standard for me.

It’s the museum workweek curse: Tuesday through Saturday, with your weekend Sunday and Monday—it’s very common in the industry, since most museums (and the like) are closed on Monday for upkeep and maintenance and whatnot.

We’re so short-staffed that it was easier to schedule one of the science center full-timers to cover the theater on Saturday and have me come in on Sunday.

I do like having Saturday off every now and then, to spend with the family (and in fact this weekend I have family from Chicagoland in town; took the Wii over to mom’s last night and much fun was had by all bowling and playing tennis), and it’s nice to work a Sunday here and there since it’s a half-day, but I think that just the same I’m going to take it a little easy today, and stay tanked on Ibuprofen.

Let it be known

Posted in The Life of a Dome Jockey on July 24, 2009 by dcbradshaw

…that for the first time in my planetarium career, going on 5 years now, a visitor’s cell phone rang during a show.

First time it’s happened.

I’m lucky—thick cement walls, held up by big steel girders, and what is essentially a big aluminum cage surrounding the audience (the projection dome) means that people in the theater typically don’t get a signal, and though I include “please turn off your cell phones” in my intro spiel, phone ringtones during a show have never been a problem.

Until today.  I think it may have been Axel F.

I’m hoping that there’s not a new tower that’s just come online nearby or something…

Tinkle, tinkle, little star

Posted in The Life of a Dome Jockey on July 22, 2009 by dcbradshaw

My first show of the day was attended by a small group (a dozen or so) of developmentally-disabled adults, chaperoned by a single adult.

As they were leaving after the show, I could quite clearly see that one of them had peed her pants.

The chaperone was oblivious.  I tried to catch them on the way out, but they were gone by the time I got to the lobby.

My next point of concern was that I didn’t know where she was sitting, and I thought for sure that I would have a hard time finding the offended seat.

I didn’t.

Biohazard cleanup in the planetarium, ASAP, please.

This JUST happened

Posted in Hilarious, The Life of a Dome Jockey on July 17, 2009 by dcbradshaw

Woman Chaperoning Summer Camp Group: (pointing to the doors behind me) What is that?!

Me: This is the planetarium!

WCSCG: (excited) Oh!  We can see fishes and stuff in there?

Me: Uh…  Not typically, no…

Woman Behind Her: PLANETarium.  So it’s plants and stuff.

Me: Buaaalaalaaahuh?

Okay, maybe not all of that is true.  I’ll let you decide which parts did and didn’t happen.