Technology & The Memorial Day Parade

The Sagebrush Chronicles is excited about finally taking a step forward in communication with the new and existing technology. Now this is a big deal, as the principal writer of this blog, namely me, is not totally up on the hip stuff. There is a kind of beauty in the simplicity of my lifestyle here in Montana… and for that reason I have not had a cell phone. Nor a blue tooth. Nor an iPad or iPod.

But wait a minute. The last seven albums I’ve recorded were done on a computer. And I do this blog on a laptop… with occasional digital pics. And now… Ta Da! The Chronicles is going video!! Well, sort of… We have purchased a GoPro Hero2 video camera, which turns out to be a real killer. We’ve been experimenting with it for a couple of months now and it shoots some amazing pics. We want to share some of them with you, compliments of Lisa Capehart, from Augusta, Kentucky.

First, though, a short story about technology and my seeming resistance to it. Two years ago my son, Dillon, drove up here to visit me… and arrived on Superbowl Sunday, just in time for the game!! I was blown away, of course, and we had a great two weeks together. The morning he left, he wanted to get an early start, as he had a long day ahead of him and the weather wasn’t good. It was snowing here and about 5 above zero. I’d had his car in the garage, keeping it as warm as I could, but when he got in to start it up, the key wouldn’t turn in the ignition. We didn’t know whether it was frozen or broken, but this was a bad turn… Dil had a long way to go and needed to be back to work in two days.

After both of our repeated attempts to get the key to turn with no success, I was looking under the hood while Dil appeared to be playing with his hot rod cell phone. I noticed this, was instantly irritated with him, and told him so. “Dil,” I groused, “This is a damn poor time to be screwing around with your stupid phone… we’ve got a real problem here…”

Quietly, without looking up, he said, “Dad, I’m online here. Looks like there might be several solutions to this problem, one of them being to heat the key with a match or something, then try it. There’s a guy here that says if the car is really cold, this solution will work every time…”


I was a little embarrassed, but still miffed. I lit a match and held it under the ignition key for about 20 seconds, then gave it to Dil, who slid in and…. presto!  Started it right up!! Then I really WAS embarrassed. Dil just laughed at me and said he did that all the time, that his phone is a small computer, and he can get online nearly any time he wants to. Oh good, glad to know that. Since then i’ve tried to be more cognizant of what any small device in anyone’s hand might be capable of… I tell you, it’s getting weird out there.

Several years ago at the airport bar in Bozeman, I was having a beer and waiting for a friend to arrive while watching one of the five screens in my field of vision. A guy three stools away suddenly started telling me he didn’t like the insurance policy I’d sold him. I looked up at the voice, and the guy was looking right at me, telling me (I thought) that he knew he could find a better deal on insurance, and by god he was going to do just that. I immediately took offense.

“I’m not an insurance agent, and I don’t even know you…” I fired back. The guy looked at me in disgust and turned away on his stool. And that’s when I saw it – a little tiny device in his right ear I had not noticed before.  Seemed at that moment that the new technology had decided to make a total ass of me.

Perhaps those isolated incidents helped me to get somewhat up to speed with some of the new tech. I bought a small 4-track digital audio recorder last March and it’s been great – it’s the one I recorded the Ruby Valley Boys & Barb Wire with. Then, two months ago, I got a GoPro2, a tiny digital video recorder designed for taking videos of skiing, surfing, dirt-biking, and any other sporting activity that is fast and extreme. It works great on car racing, too. It has 3 settings on the lens, a normal setting, a wide angle and a super-wide angle, for the real extreme stuff you can’t really focus on. You can mount it on a surfboard, a snowmobile, a dirt bike and on your head or helmet. It is so cool!


This person could be a a nouveau video documentary director.  He is “wearing” a GoPro… a hi def 3-lens video cam shooting at 30 frames per second… very suitable for PBS or any other network, for that matter. As pictured here, he is capable of gathering raw footage for nearly two hours of hi def video with 4-channel live sync sound. With his laptop under his arm, he could be a video crew and an edit suite, able to upload semi-finished product back to the studio for final music, fx and mix. I say he could be… but he isn’t. What he is, is dangerous. The point is, however… look at the size of that monstrous technology. Is that not amazing?

Anyway, that is where our experiment begins on this particular episode. I want very much to share videos with you… fishing, kayaking, 4-wheeling… the things we love to do in SW Montana. I REALLY want to make some snowmobile videos for us… that very well might be the best use for it. In the meantime, I shot Memorial Day Parade, May 26, ’12 with it this past month, just as an experiment. Am including it here for your viewing pleasure.

If I can get it to work the way I imagine it can, the addition of video will surely bump The Sagebrush Chronicles up a notch. And brother, can we ever use it… Oh, and we can now pull still pics off the GroPro video we shoot, plus do a few smooth transitions in the video editing process. Next on the list… how to reduce the size of video files, and how to add music to our new videos… we gone tear it up, out here in the sagebrush!

Steve Hulse

One Reply to “Technology & The Memorial Day Parade”

  1. Hey Steve

    I chuckled a bit to myself when I read the part about the guy with the bluetooth ear piece at the bar. If its any consolation, I wanted you to know that that stuff doesn’t just trick folks like you who had the tech-crazy age forced upon them. Even millenials like myself get caught in awkward situations with those things.

    A few months ago I was sitting at my little counter at work where customers come to retrieve the books they’ve ordered online. As I was helping one customer, the lady behind her seemed to be staring straight at me and asked
    “Are you ok?”
    Not like “hey, how are you” but more like “Are you hurt or do you need help?” Confused, I didn’t respond.
    “Are you ok?”
    I cocked my head a bit in more confusion and said, “well, yes, I’m fine.”
    No response from her.
    Perplexed, I sent the customer I was helping on her way. The woman who seemed so concerend with my safety stepped up to the counter, pulled out her phone to turn her bluetooth off, removed the ear piece from underneath her shoulder-length hair, and said “hey, how’s it going?”
    NOW she was back on our planet.

    The fact is, with a little bug in your ear, you are really not shutting yourself out to the outside world during conversations liek you would with a phone to your ear. You appear (key word there) that you are still in this dimension, having the audacity to communciate with the folks that physically around you. And, in your case, its just natural to respond when someone seems to be trying to start a converstion. Thats human nature for now, but who knows.. maybe we will all eventually evolve to the point where face to face conversation isn’t the norm, and the true weirdos are those who DON’T hold all their conversations via ear pieces.
    ..But not yet.

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