Thursday, October 19, 2006

Today's the day before the day for folks like us. The show floor opens tomorrow morning, and from there on out it's three days of grippin' and grinnin', meeting old friends and new, looking at new toys and trying to figure our how best to get them into the hands of our customers, and meeting new customers in the midst of one of our industry's largest toy shows.

I'll head over the convention center today to check out how load in is going, get the lay of the land a touch early (i.e. find our booth!), and check out how long it takes to get from my hotel to convention center via the monorail, so I may not have to wait upon the vagaries of the taxi line all weekend. But before that, the all-important ironing must take place.

The thing I hate most about cross-country (or internation) travel isn't the security at airports, the dry sinuses from going from the humid south to the arid desert, or even leaving my wife and cat for most of a week. It's ironing. I hate it with a passion, but I'm just not willing to pay to send the shirts out when I'm moderately capable of performing the task myself. This is made no less onerous by the fact that most strip hotels have a very limited television offering (the better to induce you to the tables, my dear), so the odds of finding back-to-back Law & Order reruns to iron to (and yes, it does take me that long) are pretty slim. So if my sleeves are a little rumpled or my color isn't pressed quite evenly, I apologize in advance. Because no matter what space-age polymer they make my shirts out of, there's no way they're going five hours on a plane without becoming seriously wrinkled.

A couple of things I'm particularly interested to see this year, and I'll definitely keep you updated on what I find out about these things.

1) New consoles from Strand and ETC. The shell of the new LightPallette looks pretty sexy, all smooth curves and brushed metal. I've heard rumour that they've incorporated Marquee software into the console, so I'd like to check that out. The EOS looks all neat and Ikea-retro, and everything I've heard about it's functionality sounds impressive, and the Congo Jr. is just the cutest little thing, especially for those of us who've whined about the loss of our Microvision for the last decade or so. So I'll be popping into those booths fairly early.

2) SSRC has a new motorized raceway with cable management. Aaron and the boys down in Greer always put out a great product, so I'm interested to see what I think of thier foray into the motorized rigging market, which is becoming increasingly large.

3) Genlyte/Strand/ET/Vari-Lite - the last time there were acquisitions this big in our industry, a man named Harris was behind them. I'm interested to see what the plans are for product crossover, development crossover and product legacy, especially with some Strand products historically being manufactured in the US and some abroad. I also think that's a large collection of smart people under one large umbrella company.

I'm sure I'll see lots of other cool new stuff, and I'll lug along my trusty digi-cam (a new Canon SD600, yay tiny cameras!) to get you photos of as much as possible.