Monday, January 31, 2005

What did you watch last night?

Action-Wife (Dellis) and I were watching "NYPD Blue" on my TiVo the other night (yay, TiVo!) and even though it was a pretty good episode, I couldn't get into it.

Don't really know if it's just me, but I get like that from time to time. Even the best television programs and movies sometimes just don't entertain me. Maybe it's because the scope of what I do puts me in a mood where the suspension of belief is difficult to maintain.

I can't forget that Andy Sipowichz is really Dennis Franz and the dialog coming out of him was written by someone else.

This isn't a Hollywood set. It's all real and I'm not talking reality show real either.

The events we witness zip by quickly. Sometimes I don't know if I really do them justice describing the details in my average post. I try to pick out what I think is most interesting, but sometimes there's just too much that's important and to say less seems almost disrespectful of the situation.

These pictures are from Friday night. My SAT truck trainee and I were on our way to Big Bear (yeah, that Big Bear) to put a reporter on TV in the snow. We were in a small messenger van for transportation and picking up the SAT truck at an accident scene in Colton.

None of these locations are close to Hollywood. We drove through almost three hours of traffic just to get to Colton. That's normally about an hour from our station. It was raining off and on and it was a long frustrating drive.

Also, don't forget, we still have to drive up to Big Bear. A drive up a mountain road at night in the snow. Yeah, good times.

We get to Colton and begin to make the swap, but the assignment desk calls and tells us the crew on the mountain can't get any further in the snow. They can do the liveshot by microwave from their current location in Running Springs.

We like to call that dodging a bullet. Now of course, that's great, but what do WE do?

The van we're in has no camera gear, so we can't work an assignment. Rather than swap out for the SAT truck to continue training (it's a complicated exchange, we'd have to get the truck back to the home of the regular driver in Chino at the end of the night), we decided to stay and help the crew coming up assigned to the Colton story for the later newscasts.

It's good that we did.

A little background on the accident. Don't quote me on this, but if I have my facts straight, this accident happened during a multi-agency police chase. The second suspect of a robbery/sexual assault case from days earlier was believed to be either driving or a passenger in the white van. The van hit another car at this intersection. That pretty much ended the chase, but shots were fired and the suspect was injured.

The whole incident was long done by the time we arrived on scene. Only the clean-up remained.

Before the liveshot, I found out the police had distributed a DVD of the surveillance video from inside the convenience store that had been robbed. Nobody could get it to work in their DVD players. I found out when I tried to play it in my computer DVD drive that it wasn't a video on DVD, it was an executable computer file and when I ran it, the program showed the robbery video from multiple camera angles.

On the video, you see the two suspects grab a female cashier. They rob the store and drag her with them as they leave. From one camera you can see them run out the door and get into a vehicle. The footage was grainy and low quality, but that didn't matter. You could see the faces of the suspects and the face of the victim clearly enough.

We were told one of the suspects was quickly caught. The other suspect drove to Colton with the woman and sexually assaulted her.

We didn't show the face of the victim in our news report, but we saw it. For low quality video, you could see things clearly enough. It wasn't difficult to imagine what kind of fear the victim must have been feeling. You could see it on her face.

The other photog and the reporter began editing the story while the SAT truck trainee and I stood in the rain at the back of the messenger van to shoot my laptop computer screen as the video played. We had to play it over and over to get enough usable footage because we used the camera to zoom in on portions of the screen that would keep the victim's identity anonymous to the general public.

We did one liveshot from the scene of the accident, but the police warned us that the neighborhood was too dangerous for us to stay in after they cleared the scene.

The rain stopped, but the street was still flooded with muddy water.

I loaned a set of jumper cables to a police officer, because one of their car batteries had died.

After the liveshot, we broke down the gear, packed it away and drove to the nearest police station for our next liveshot.

I got home late, but Dellis had taken a nap earlier so she could stay up late with me. She fixed me a snack and we watched some TV together. Remember what I wrote earlier about how watching TV or a movie sometimes doesn't do it for me? It's not that I find standing in the rain at a crime scene more exciting.

It's just when I'm sitting there watching it, even the best acting is still just acting. I couldn't get past that.

Not when the last thing I watched didn't end with closing credits.


ASantana said...

Ohh, how cute. Your wife waits up for you. I do that with Ali too! Sometimes I end up knocking out before he gets home but at least he sees I tried.

Michelle said...

Bryan, i have to agree with you. When your "there" and witness to every detail, its just NOT the same. I am so bad, i sit there and pick faults out of all the crime shows i watch. Whilst i know they try to do the best they can and many have consultants its still not the same.

beFrank said...

ASantana - I have no doubt that you are a wonderful wife for Mr. Santana. It was great to see him out in the field and I got a big kick from seeing you comment on my blog.

Thanks for reading me, now go take a nap so you can be awake when Ali gets home.

beFrank said...

Michelle - Sometimes there's just too much violence in the world for me to find relaxation in entertainment that makes violence look "cool".

Smoke said...

Drugs are just bad, you should try to use Herbal Alternatives as a temporary replacement to loose the dependance!