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Not much of a Diary today, other than to say that The Eagles (Cliff Thompson & Ian Woolnough from England) have landed, 2 hours late, tired but in good spirit. I’ve tucked them in and given them the right time for their watches and alarm clocks, allowing for the change to Summer Time while we are asleep.

Earlier in the day I signed them into Motel 6, extended the car rental so that I could pick the guys up from the airport, went to the San Diego cactus club meeting – again an audience of 60 plus including people with whom I have had correspondence in the past, but had never met face to face.

There was another speaker, Mark Muradian with whom we had travelled in Argentina in 2005. Mark is a great laugh and we had the audience in stitches. We had to wear microphones, so Mark was doing his ‘1-2, 1-2 testing’, to which I responded ‘1-2 Testing English Accent’, which caused some amusement.

There was a tense moment when the lead that Mark had provided for the connection from his projector to my laptop was designed for an Apple, which has its pins arranged differently. Fortunately a number of people had brought their PCs along to show me pictures of cacti which they wanted me to identify. I think I only managed a ‘nice cactus!’ in most cases. One member of the audience had a cable that did the trick.

The talk was well received, but I know how to improve it for the next run through in Crawley, England in April.

Mark’s talk was brilliant, all video work, from which I learned a lot, including what not to do. I’ll stick to a Movie of images with specific lengths for each picture rather than the present 9 sec per image setting, with just a few film clips where they show things that a still image can’t show. I’d also like to include clips from Google Earth where you zoom to the next cactus location and then switch to images or movie clips of plants and habitat.

The audience seemed to appreciate big white lettering for plant names on the plant images, where the writing fades to just leave the picture of the plant, rather than my more subtle writing at the bottom of the screen. Mark needs to put spell check on his names though, because at times they were so incorrectly spelled that it was difficult to get the the correct name.

In 2005, on our Argentina trip with Guillermo Rivera, Mark had admitted that he was a technophobe and had appreciated the help from a friend to put it all together. He also had to bring along speakers for the back ground music and a small microphone so that his commentary blended in with the sound track. All very nice, all do-able, but it all takes time. A nice project for the summer.

Enthused, I immediately re-charged the batteries of my camcorder when I got ‘home’.

The last move of the day was to return my rental car provider to remind them that we’d be round tomorrow to pick up the next one.

Better get some rest now


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