Oct. 10 Production Night Liveblog

Rachel Alexander

Hello dedicated readers! We’re back with a second Production Night Liveblog, written by Editor-in-Chief Rachel Alexander and Managing Editor Libby Arnosti. (Update: and Web Editor Blair Hanley Frank, who asked if he can join us.) Will we finish before 2 a.m.? Will Rachel finally die of a sugar overdose after stealing one too many Hershey bars from the ASWC office? Stay tuned…

4:20 p.m. I arrive in the office, slightly late, but with extra food. Anticipating a rough night, since we just got back from a four-day fall break, I’ve purchased a bunch of tea and coffee for our new coffee maker. I also have the usual cookies and a few other things.

4:40 p.m. Someone notices my somewhat-yellow whipped cream and asks me what it is. I explain that my house fridge froze my cream and I had to defrost it, which resulted in the milkfat separating from the liquid. Now it looks like butter but tastes sweet. Everyone avoids it, but they eat the apples  brought. Yay!

4:50 p.m. Humor Editor Kyle Seasly and Backpage PA Cara Patten ask me if I have a camera so they can go take a phallic photo of Memorial Building. I direct them to Marie von Hafften, who is (ahem) our Photo Editor.

5:00 p.m. Blair ends up taking the phallic photo. He returns a few minutes later and we start our weekly web team meeting.

5:20 p.m. Our wonderful Webmaster Ben Schaefer has fixed our Google Custom Search by “successfully wrangling robots,” in Blair’s words. We now have a real search box!

5:45 p.m. Backpage asks me to look over their page. I notice that the word search is fart-themed. Classy as always.

6:13 p.m. (Blair) Production Manager Sean McNulty asks what we do for a guest columnist who doesn’t have a headshot. I suggest we use Facebook’s default placeholder image. Surprisingly, that suggestion doesn’t go over all that well.

6:30 p.m. A&E is ready for me to look over.

6:31 p.m. Blair pinpoints a problem in our CSS and works to fix it while muttering death threats at the screen. The Opinion team struggles to make their page not look like a massive wall of text.

6:40 p.m. (Blair) Rachel and Opinion Editor Alex Brott depart for their Politics seminar, which means I’m in charge of the liveblog. I’m working on containing my maniacal laughter.

6:44 p.m. In order to test a theory about problems she’s having with a particular post, Marie uploads a photo of an armchair to the website.

6:50 p.m. Managing Editor Libby Arnosti arrives, and immediately gets to work helping out Feature Editor Adam Brayton with his page.

7:05 p.m. Control of the live blog is relinquished to Libby, but is quickly hijacked by the delinquent formerly known as Adam.

7:06 p.m. Adam is totally digging Blair’s smooth jazz, which is playing from his computer, which Adam is using to hijack the blog. (Note: I was not playing Smooth Jazz, but rather Jazz that Adam considered smooth. -BHF)

7:07 p.m. Adam begins contemplating the mysteries of life, while listening to smooth jazz and Obama campaign banter from outside the office.

7:08 p.m. Stella walks in with a take-out box from downstairs at the Reid Cafe.

7:09 p.m. Adam goes back to work on his page, returning to being a productive member of Pio society.

7:22 p.m. Sean, our Production Manager (and therefore God), walks into the office. Libby greets him exuberantly before bragging shamelessly to him about her wonderful housemates who cooked and brought her two full meals today. Sean laments not having such awesome housemates. Both agree that it’s an unsolvable pity and go back to work.

7:30 p.m. Blair returns with dinner, and returns to work on a few belligerent image files.

7:42 p.m. Libby says that she is “doing a good thing for her body” by eating brown rice chips with lime before “gorging” herself on Oreos, which are currently in plentiful supply in the newsroom.

7:50 p.m. With the politics majors gone at their seminar, the newsroom is dominated exclusively by Apple products. Tim Cook would be proud.

7:55 p.m. Blair, turning to Marie: “Marie…”
Marie: “Nooo, I already have enough work to do. Go away!”
[Blair explains some intricate technology-related task for Marie] (Note: resizing images is not that intricate. -BHF)
Marie, following the speech: “I hate the world.”
Blair’s response: “I’m sorry, it’s because our fortunes are built upon a piece of idosyncratic software.”
Marie: “…Okay.”

8:26 p.m. Marie, who is currently searching through the Pio’s archives for her own archives, is dismayed at some of the online layouts from previous years.

8:36 p.m. The scheduling whiteboard is distressingly empty.

8:48 p.m. Libby is currently writing a correction to the issue 5 correction box, and nearly crying at the embarrassment.

8:59 p.m. After complaining about having enough work to do an hour ago, Marie is now voluntarily adding more tasks to her workload.

9:02 p.m. Adam is now conducting a lesson for Libby on how to use the popcorn maker, since he is apparently the only editor who actually knows how to operate it.

9:09 p.m. Adam calls Sean a “sporty individual.” Sean disagrees with that statement. So does Libby.

9:43 p.m. Libby tells Sports Editor Pam London to go home. Pam says those were the best words she has heard all day.

9:44 p.m. Rachel returns! No time for rejoicing, though, it’s all hands on deck here to get sections done by their deadlines.

9:48 p.m. Rachel declares that the whipped cream she brought in at 4:30 is “nearing food poisoning levels.” Given her previously documented willingness to eat rotting lettuce with bugs in it, I think it’s safe to declare the whipped cream as hazardous materials.

9:51 p.m. Allison Work, one of our News Editors, begins meowing along to Muse’s “Supersonic Black Hole.” It’s getting to be that time of night.

10:31 p.m. Currently on the Pio jukebox (Blair’s MacBook Pro): “I’ve Been Working too Hard,” by Southside Johnny. It seemed appropriate.

10:33 p.m. Rachel bemoans the fact that Opinion is 4 hours behind schedule. Alex and Maddi exchange a high five of shame.

10:39 p.m. Rachel: “Sometimes, I think to myself, ‘What would [Former Editor-In Chief] Tricia do?’ And then I get ashamed.”

10:47 p.m. More checks are appearing on the scheduling whiteboard! And the Oreos are almost gone.

10:58 p.m. Alex gives Rachel a thousand-yard stare after trying to salvage a headline.

11:03 p.m. It has come to light that News Editor Emily Lin-Jones’s phone changes color when in use. This is apparently quite amusing.

11:30 p.m. With the last article scheduled to publish, I (Blair) will be taking off to go sleep. Libby will be taking over further live blogging duties. Good night, and good luck.

11:31 p.m. (Libby) Two hours after Rachel banged her own head on a table in frustration a la Dobby, she is still complaining about it hurting. As a concussion survivor, I have little sympathy for intentional head-bangers.

11:42 p.m. On his way out, Blair gets caught up in a conversation with Rachel and Spencer about vegetables, wine and how to do a proper food review in the dark hallway outside the office. Meanwhile Marisa, our Chief Copy Editor, and Matthew, a copy editor, discuss the Myers-Briggs personality test at length. Like, multiple-hours-every-single-production-night long.

11:43 p.m. Opinion is finally laid out and checked off, only five hours behind schedule! There is much rejoicing. Only now Sean has gone mysteriously missing.

11:45 p.m. Sean reappears and begins PDFing pages! Hoorayness.

12:28 a.m. Brought back by popular demand, we resume the liveblogging excitement. Update from the last 30 minutes: Sean is PDFing all pages except Inside News, which Marisa and Matthew are copy editing. Rachel and I are working on planning for Circuit Issue 5. Sean informs us that tomorrow is his sister’s birthday. Spencer marvels at how his younger brother can somehow pull off wearing two waistcoats in his senior pictures. Rachel chokes on popcorn kernels. Marisa and Matthew talk hyphens.

12:48 a.m. The degeneration of newsroom conversation:
Spencer, to his computer: “This is spam.”
Rachel: “You’re spam.”
Spencer: “Your face is spam … Which makes it really hard for you to be vegetarian.”
Rachel: “What? Why would I eat my own face?”

1:10 a.m. Rachel and I fail at selecting text in a caption, proving our collective deliriousness. Sean, as always, comes to the rescue.

1:24 a.m. Time to copy edit Inside News. Finally. It is also time for some T Swift.

2:06 a.m. Just Sean, Rachel and me left. And Spencer, who is working on his thesis. Finishing PDFing. Almost … there …

2:10 a.m. DONE! And going to bed. Goodnight.