a) An explosion. Twenty minutes into the day, the bulb in my bay's 12K straight-up 'sploded. The sound hurt my ears, and I wasn't even on set when it happened––it was like cannon fire. The blast shattered the fresnel ($$$!) and pretty-well smashed the reflector, and when we opened the poor thing up there was no glass left on the bulb, just the socket and weirdly-oxidized filament. To paraphrase one of the other techs that helped replace the unit, "I put up with everyday work, but these problems, this is what I love." And it's true. I can click buttons and check focus all day, but nothing gets my blood flowing like a catastrophic failure and putting on heat-resistant gloves to get things back to normal.
b) Camera/software glitches. I love 'em. Look at the above images. These two came into Capture One exactly wrong. Sure, we had to restart the camera and take a few more shots, but they're just beautiful. I'm not sure why I like them so much... maybe it's because they're impossible to get on demand––only in the malfunction (the disobedience!) of our beloved technologies are we able to see such bizarre things––or maybe it's because they illuminate in some way the invisible processes that take place inside our electronic machines, which are otherwise incomprehensible and intangible. We can basically understand a car if we take it apart and look at it. A digital camera? Beyond the basic optical elements, it's all microscopic or electrical magic, 1s and 0s pretending to represent a men's dress shirt on sale for $60. And just as a failing muffler educates us about it's proper function, perhaps by observing these technicolor monstrosities I can learn about the mojo of our digital world.