Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Captioning

I'm not really a big sports fan guy. I follow golf a bit, mostly because I think it's one of the most interesting sports, but also because it's one of the few things that my mind will hold on to. My brain just doesn't seem to want to keep any info about football, baseball or basketball. Stats, players, teams, leagues - Just doesn't stay in my brain. I've sometimes thought that I should make more of an attempt to know some sports stuff, just so I have a point of conversation with other "guys". Just can't bring myself to it, though.

The treadmills at the gym line up in front of a bank of about 4 big flatscreens. Depending on which machine I get on, I'm staring at one or another of them. At the time I'm at the gym (usually in the 3:30 to 4:30 AM range) my viewing choices are a CNN investing show, infomercials for wrinkle cream or aeroponic herb gardens, an unidentified talk show, or ESPN Sportscenter. I've been watching a lot of Sportscenter lately.

Of course, I have headphones on as well, listening to my running mix, so I'm reading the captioning running across the screen. I've never really done that before; it's kind of hard on a fast-moving show like Sportscenter because the captioning is always about five seconds behind the video. So the words you are reading are describing the play you saw a few seconds ago, and you're watching a play you'll hear about next. Kind of confusing, but at least I'm raising my sports intelligence quotient a bit.

The thing that struck me this morning was that I was starting to recognize different people who were doing the captioning. I have no idea how it actually works; I'm picturing someone sitting in front of a monitor frantically typing to keep up with the announcer, trying to spell the bizarre names of NBA and NHL players. At any rate, the person who was doing the captioning this morning had a funny tendency to correct typing mistakes they made. I recognized that from a week or so ago. The person who, I think, normally does Sportscenter at that time slot doesn't correct as much. I could be wrong, but I think they even use some sort of predictive typing system that brings up some interesting mistakes. Kind of reminded me of WWII cryptanalysts recognizing the "hand" - the particular keying style - of different code machine operators.

Sounds like I have too much time to think while I'm running, huh?

2 comments:

SnowLeopard said...

Wow, Turi- I think this is a new record for you in length, minus pictures! I can totally relate to your "thinking" time while running- my mind is usually going as fast as my feet are, and half the time I don't even hear the music that's playing. I also feel the same about sports teams- I can never keep up, but it's also not a passion of mine (and neither is golf- sorry, but it's boring to me too!). Olympics- that I can watch and get totally excited about, but that's about it. Nice to know that someone else feels the same way... I'd much rather read a book than watch a football game...

SnowLeopard said...

I was thinking on the treadmill this morning, the reason I DO so much thinking on the treadmill is because my mind just doesn't idle. People like you and people like me~ we can't even eat without either a conversation or a book in our hands. And the same for running- yes, the body is moving, but the mind doesn't always necessarily need to concentrate on what the legs are doing. I think this is why I over-analyze stuff sometimes- I spend a lot of time on the treadmill, which means a lot of time to think. Hence this second comment to your post.