Thursday, September 30, 2004

A Bird in the Hand

Okay, now what do I do?

Walking out to my Jeep yesterday, I heard this squawking in one of the trees in my front yard. I peek around and find this guy making a ruckus. I've seen escaped pet birds before and most of the time, they fly away as soon as I approach.

He (until somebody says different) was coaxed out of the tree and had a nice meal of birdseed. We let him loose in the house and he's been very sedate for the most part. Some chirps yesterday and today and he found a comfy spot above our living room curtains to sleep last night.

He seems not to be afraid of people, but he has no bands around his legs. I'm thinking he may be illegal, but if anybody has a clue what I should do at this point, I'm open to suggestions. I'll probably post flyers in the neighborhood, but I'm looking for any info from anyone who keeps birds. I had a parakeet many years ago and my younger brother kept pigeons. I think that qualifies me for "not quite completely clueless".

Right now, we're calling him, "Lucky" or "Catbait".

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Just like normal

It feels like the quiet before the storm. Just a regular day off for me and even though I'm tempted to write a detailed essay on the activities of my day, the awful truth is that I haven't done anything interesting over the last couple of days. That might be a relative term. Just want everyone to know that I'm alive and well. Here's hoping that the day finds you the same.

On the fringes of the radar-

Election coming up soon. I think I'm staying home for this one. I was in Austin, Texas for the last one.

Last year about this time, we were in one of the biggest fire seasons I've ever covered.

I've got another dental appointment next week.

I like it when there aren't any grieving families in my post. Sometimes I need to feel what a normal day is like. I like normal.

Okay, I'm getting bored.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

The high cost of beer

For all the jokes I make about my love of beer, there's just nothing funny about this.

The manager of this small market/liqour store was stabbed and killed by a man who tried to steal a beer. A beer?

People from the neighborhood were delivering candles and flowers while we were putting together the story.

A wife loses a husband, children lose their father, a man loses his brother. All this pain over a beer. I know the good in the world outweighs the bad, but the bad always seems so much worse.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Esquire, Wired, Popular Science

I'm still working on my own huge stack of magazines this month. That may include a few leftovers from last month, but the only down time I've had recently has been on slow news days. I thought that was really going to be the case yesterday.

This is the end of a police pursuit. The suspects (two minors) stole a car in the Wilshire Division patrol area. I had to drop my reading material and chase the chasers around the Hollywood area.

Not one of the longest pursuits. The two suspects didn't get very far. They succeeded in only screwing up their lives and breaking up my otherwise slow evening.

I know every young person doesn't steal a car, but it doesn't seem to even register with many people that this is very wrong. I don't need them to be thrown behind bars and made to pay for this mistake with a pound of flesh. I just want them to get the message loud and clear. DON'T STEAL!

We should try to keep higher standards when it comes to moral values. Parents, friends, neighbors, teachers, somebody who is in contact with these kids needed to hold them accountable for their actions and teach them responsibility. I don't know who is more or less to blame, but somebody dropped the ball on these two rocket scientists. If somebody had taken an interest in making these two do what's right before they learned to drive, they might not be locked up right now and I might have been able to finish reading more of my magazines. It might be selfish, but that's still kind of what I'd call a win-win situation.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Mellow for a Monday

Somebody registered a complaint today about my lack of posting over the last couple of days. I don't have to single him out (Buzz!), he knows who he is.

Good weekend for me and I rested. . .sort of. Last couple of days were spent with Action-Wife and Scooter. I think I crammed a lot into a couple of days. Worked in the yard, watched parts of the new Star Wars DVD set, visited a few blogs, fried up a mess of fish, walked the dogs, and drank some beer. I hear we're still at war with terrorism and the election is really coming up fast. I better get to work and see what's going on in the world.

It's looking a little shaggy today, but that's because we're. . .okay, no lame exscuses. I need to roll up my sleves and get some work done.

More reasons why I'd rather be at home when other people would love to have my job.

This is why I may never buy another house. Starbucks and 24 Hour Fitness going in around the corner. Perfect, because I can't see them from my house, but in easy walking distance. Really easy walking distance.

Here's a picture borrowed from Scooter. These are the boys from the deep end of the pond. I let the algae get out of hand this summer. Taking steps to fix the problem, but the boys don't seem to mind. It must be dinner time.

Thanks for the picture, Scooter. Sorry for not giving proper credit earlier. No, you can't ground me.

Monday, September 20, 2004

LAX Security?

In two separate incidents, two people were caught with live ammunition trying to go through security at Los Angeles International Airport. We're only talking four bullets between them, but why in the heck would anyone do this?

Oh, and why am I smiling? It's my Friday. TGIF everybody!

You remember Joel Conable? I was working with him tonight. We were scheduled to go on live during the 9:00pm newscast, but a police chase bumped us out of the show. We ended up having our first shot in the 10:00pm newscast.

Just a reminder for everyone travelling, leave the ammo at home.

We got pictures

Some more Emmy pics.

Stockard Channing


Tim and Tyne Daly

That guy

What's her name from "Arrested Development"

Me again

Barbara Walters

That Girl (I know it's Marlo Thomas)

Bill Macy

Ted Danson

Marvel Girl, Jean Grey, uh. . .dammit. Famke, something.

Near malfunction

I'm getting better at recognizing these people. Yes, I know her show. No, I don't remember her name.

Mr. Streisand

I got nothing.

Providence. Do I get half points for remembering her show?

Sharon Stone. No, really.

As the sun set over the truck farm, I can't help but wonder who's covering my regular shift.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Emmy Awards? Bring it on!

Emmy work is difficult. Hot sun and heavy equipment. This is not an example of that. This is just a cue card dropped from one of the entertainment news magazines.

Just remember, the clothes don't make the man. It's the shoes that make the man.

Debra Messing in a candid moment.

Brad Pitt because somebody probably would like to see him.

Ellen deGeneres

I'll add some more, but the work day isn't over yet. I still have to cut a piece and we have partial wrap up to do. The main cable lines will have to wait to be wrapped up in the morning. The live-truck will be packed up and put away. My back is sore from running camera for three hours straight, but that's just part of the job. It amazes me that entertainment news is often much harder work than crime or natural disasters.

Rage against the machine

If you saw the picture I took of Michael Jackson in Santa Maria, then you saw the deputy who wanted me to not take pictures from where I was standing. One school of thought follows that we live in a free country and I was breaking no laws. Now, I’m no lawyer. I’m just a small town country news photographer. Okay, seriously, there were some important points to consider.

The parking lot was no longer open to the public. In the interest of public safety, parts of the parking lot had been closed off to the public and reserved for media access. Legal? I don’t know. There were many non-media persons walking through the lot. I believe the restriction was there to maintain order if individuals (or the whole crowd) got out of hand.

We are better able to do our job if we aren’t fighting with each other for prime positions. We cooperate with each other in order to best serve our viewers. The deputy didn’t seem to care if I took pictures, I just needed to snap them from another spot. If everybody decided to stop there and take pictures, we’d be potentially causing a hazard to public safety.

Now, on the flip side of the story, we don’t want to let ourselves get too comfortable with letting law enforcement tell us what to do. We will respectfully follow all laws, but there are times where reporting a story and law enforcement are going to clash. I’ve been told to stop shooting, I’ve been chased by officers on horseback, and I’ve been denied access to areas that the general public had access to. That’s been done with laws to protect my ability to cover the news.

The most important point to consider in this situation? I was taking still shots for myself, not as a representative of a legitimate news organization. I enjoy the protections the law provides for me to do my job. Until blogs are recognized as legitimate news operations, I don’t want to take that for granted.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Big Game Day in Santa Maria

This was the day. Not the greatest shot, but there he is.

Michael Jackson himself, walking into court this morning. I did want this shot, but it was a low priority for me. I had a couple of jobs to do to finish our equipment set-up. We'd done most of it yesterday, so we were in good shape. I got thrown the first curveball of the day when a reporter asked if I could uplink a track for her. We're always happy to help, but she needed the help now and I was 5-10 minutes away from being free enough to safely split my time.

We call it, "crashing". It's usually associated with editing a piece and getting someone on the air when there's little time before the slot in the show we're supposed to fill. I've gotten used to saying it whenever I'm pressed for time. It comes from the adrenaline rush (near panic) of hitting right up against a deadline, but not missing slot.

So, what started as a calm relaxed morning, turned into a situation where I was crashing to get my work done and help out another crew. I won't bore you with the play by play details, but with just a little help, we got the job done.

I like Starbucks, but they have a long way to go before they beat that kind of rush first thing in the morning.

Same shot, but I wanted to show more of the entourage.

Just one more. That same shot, but now you can see the kindly local law enforcement representative telling me to knock it off. Apparently I was violating the rule about taking pictures from where I was standing. Oops.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

We grew it

Thanks Terri. This is what it looked like when we moved in. Not much going on, but loads of potential. AW has the green thumb.

Slow weekend days

I like 'em like that.

Last night I noticed that I was linked to a couple of blogs that focus on Los Angeles and Journalists. To be in such company? Stunned is putting it mildly.

Not knowing what else to do, I right away checked the husband manual. It says, Go tell your wife. I found Action-Wife in her home office with a stack of magazines, some beadwork, the days mail, and "Law & Order" on the TV.

"You busy?" I asked.

I know (keep in mind, I am just a husband). I get her to drop everything and showed her the links.

"That's so cool!"

I can't explain it, but that is the essence of why I love her madly.

It feels like I've graduated to another stage of blogging. If anybody asks me if I know what I'm doing now, I'd still have to look them in the eye and tell them, "Nope."

I started this blog to share a bit of what I do as a news photographer. It's become a lot more personal than I would have thought, but it's been nice to share ideas and opinions with so many close personal strangers. No offense to those who have shared their lives with me. It just feels good to be connected with others and exciting to know that this is happening across global boundaries.

I've thought more about the things that I take for granted and I've heard from people who see me a lot differently than I see myself.

At the end of the day, I feel good in knowing that people care. They care about each other, their causes, their families, the quality of their lives. There's a lot of people out here who will never make the evening news, but that's okay. I know you're there and that makes it easier for me to go to work and deal with the people who do make the news.

The pictures are from my backyard. I wanted to snap a few because I'll forget what it looked like this summer. I spent a little time with AW just taking care of the plants and our pond. Some people wonder why I don't need more in my life. I try to explain it, but if it doesn't click for them I give them the simple answer. . .

. . .just beCause.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Open wide. . .I said, WIDE!

Really sorry, if this is too graphic, but welcome to my day. The dental hygenist was quite gentle with me. She may have pro-wrestled at some point in her life. I'm planning to take it easy for the rest of the afternoon.

I snapped the picture with my cell phone camera and sent it to Action-Wife in the waiting room.

The beer was Scooter's idea. She's a good kid. It really wasn't doing much for my teeth, so I drank it.

Just me, a few scholarly diversions, and a very well chilled bottle of Pete's Wicked Ale. That's as good as it gets. If you're so inclined, enjoy a little bit of your day for me. I'd appreciate it.

ps- Thursday I'm heading to Santa Maria for another round of Michael Jackson coverage. Sunday, I'll be on the red carpet covering the Emmy Awards. I'm lucky to have a job I can look forward to.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Stop the presses!

This one almost got away from me.

A joy happy fun part of my job puts me out dealing with the public. If you've ever dealt with the public, you might catch the huge pile of sarcasm in that.

While driving with a reporter in the KCAL newsvan through NOHO (Originality? Man, if we could just copy some of that.) a guy that looks normal walks into the street and flags us down. He's got a flyer in his hand and I thought it might be a press release.

He quickly tells us, somebody is installing electronic devices in the area that can kill people by remote control.

I was too shocked to laugh. I thanked him and promised to look into it. He turned and walked away. We drove off. Quickly. I think he was happy that somebody heard what he had to say.


I think I have just had an epiphany (first one this week). Maybe that's all a lot of people want. Just to feel that somebody has heard what they have to say. Even if it's crazy.

Where was beFrank in 2001?

With today being the 9/11 anniversary, I was looking at these old pictures. Serious, I'm not trying to be a hated man, but this is where I was on 9/11.

My station had sent a crew to Hawaii to produce a series of stories on resort living. I sat on my balcony looking out at empty beaches and skies. I'm told it was frantic back in Los Angeles.

We had a lot of worries about getting home that week (yeah, I know. Maybe 30 pounds).

Lunch wasn't one of the worries (Ahi salad).

One of the most tragic days in history. Surreal doesn't even begin to describe how it felt at the time.