Jim Colburn...Don't Ask

Road Trip

Oh boy.

A road trip.

Get me out of the office and back on the campaign trail.

Even if it's only for a weekend.

Get down to South Carolina for the primary on Saturday. You're going to historic Charleston to transmit pictures of McCain on primary night. We'll be holding open the magazine. And by the way. We want you to take along a new Nikon D-1 digital camera and be the second shooter. Can you handle it?

You bet I can.

Except for the fact that I don't have a Powerbook available. Or the D-1. But not to worry, all would be provided. Things would be shipped overnight. Flights and hotel rooms would be booked, cars would be rented. Get going. The direct flight on a decent size airplane on a decent airline is yours and you've got a suite.

There's been a slight change of plans. Now you're going to Columbia, South Carolina (Yes,  that town with the confederate flag flying over the state capitol and all the culture of a petri dish) and you're going to transmit from the Bush event, so change all the flights and hotel reservations. The stuff you need will be shipped shortly. So there's going to be a change of planes in Charlotte, but your still going to be on a good airline with real planes and you can have a nice room at the Hyatt.

Just a second. Why don't you fly in to Greenville, South Carolina instead? Then you can drive 75 miles to that Bush event, pick up the film and drive back to Greenville airport to ship the film before driving for another couple of hours until you finally get to Columbia for the Friday overnight. THEN you can set up the computer for transmissions on Saturday. Cancel your old flights and book new ones. Okay, okay. So you'll be changing in Raleigh-Durham now and the planes will be kind of small, actually very small, and you'll get into Columbia at around midnight IF your lucky.

Friday. I have to leave the office at Noon to catch the flight. The Powerbook isn't here yet. The digital camera isn't here yet. Thank God for Federal Express, here they are. Oh look. It's a brand new, still-in-the-box Powerbook. With no software on it. No Photoshop. No Nikon View. Good thing I planned ahead and burned a CD with everything I need to transmit on it. It'll just take an hour or so to copy everything and configure the software, but I can do the configuring tomorrow morning, with plenty of time before the Saturday night event.

Damn this plane is small. It's REALLY small. Doesn't even look big enough to carry all our luggage. Hahahahaha! That's funny. What? My luggage didn't make it to Greenville? Where is it? When's it going to get here? You don't know Mr. Midway Airlines? Here's my cell phone number, I've got work to do but I'll be back in about three hours. You should have it by then. Right?

Hello? It's where? Look, can you just send it to Columbia so I can pick it up at the airport there? Great idea. That's what we'll do.

Good evening Miss. You're the official baggage person for Midway Airlines here at the Columbia airport, aren't you? I'm here for my bags. You what? You sent them back to Greenville? There isn't another flight until when? Late tomorrow morning? Tell you what. When it gets to Greenville have them put it in a cab or a van and drive it here to Columbia. To my hotel. I'm going to sleep.

Front desk? Are my bags here yet? Great! It only took them an extra day to get here. All I have to do now is unpack and make sure everything works. Well the scanner's toast. But we can still transmit from the digital camera, can't we? Not really. The Nikon software doesn't work with Mac OS 9, but there's a patch on the Nikon web site. Only I can't get connected to AOL at anything over 7200 baud. Let's try a long distance call to my ISP at home. Connection! Go to that Nikon page..... 404? "Can't find the requested URL"? Oh hell.

Figure out a work-around. By-pass the Nikon software. Bingo! It works! And there's still an hour or two left before we need to transmit!

Watch George W. come out and smirk his way through the winner's speech. Get Brooks' digital cards. Run out, do an edit, transmit a dozen shots to the magazine. Wait for a confirmation. They're there. They're good. I'm out of here. Tomorrow anyway. After I pack up all this stuff and drive to the airport and check the luggage and finally get a  sandwich...

I just LOVE the glamour of the campaign trail.

Jim Colburn
(aka james.colburn@pressroom.com)


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