Monday, December 31, 2007

While you were sleeping.

Hmm. I think I may have used that caption before on another post. Honestly though, it's the only thing I can think of at 5:00am. I've been up since 1:30am and on the clock since 3:00am.



It's an amazing thing to be up and on the road in Los Angeles during the early morning hours.  It's not enough in itself to get me out of a warm bed, but if I gotta be up, I might as well enjoy the scenery.

Yes, that is a UFO in the center, near the top of the shot above.  It could also be just a UO, I don't know if it's actually flying.  It could be falling, somebody could have thrown it, you know I just can't tell from where I'm sitting.



Did I mention that it's really early?

It's the worst shift (for regular folks) on the last day of the year and I'm happy to be here.  With any luck, I'll be able to get off work on time.  That'll work well for me getting home and getting ready for a wild evening of falling asleep in my comfy chair while trying to finish off "The Razor's Edge".



Not to make anyone else's evening a downer, but I've worked many a New Year's Eve night shift.  It has its' appeal, but I'm not that. . .

Time for the liveshot.  I plan on taking a look back on my blogging year later today, but if you're out and about tonight, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Fullerton Work Time Fun.

Our older two kids are back up North in the Bay area.  The youngest has a couple more weeks at home before returning to college in Hawaii.  Dellis and I are quickly dismantling the holiday decorations in an effort to get back to the quiet normal life we've settled into.

After a almost two weeks off work (I can't really call it a vacation), I was back on the job early this morning.

You might have heard me as I drove up to the station.

"Damn,damn,damn,damn,damn". . .and so on.



Kind of water under the bridge at this point.  I had an early call and made it up to the station at 6:35am to start my 6:30am shift (DOH!).

Got the keys for Unit #19 and some disks for my XDHD camera, filled out my CALOSHA safety checklist and picked up the paperwork for my story from the assignment desk.

Officer involved fatal auto accident in Fullerton and I was flying solo, no reporter.



Fullerton is not a casual drive during morning rush hour.  I was lucky this is still the holiday week, so traffic wasn't horrible.  There were still spots of slowing, but I made it to the accident scene in pretty good time.



I don't claim to be able to recall every fatal accident I've ever covered, but I haven't covered one in a while.  That sort of sets this one apart and I can tell it's going to stay with me for a bit.



The accident happened at about 2:45am.  A Fullerton Police Officer was traveling across the intersection and the red SUV ran the red light.  The driver of the SUV was killed and the police officer was in serious, but stable condition.



Not exactly a fun assignment, but I had a job to do.

It was a bit chilly this morning, but there wasn't any need for me to warm up to the task at hand.  I shot the scene and got a statement from an officer.  There were tarps in place to  shield the body from the curious.  They couldn't have been doing that for my benefit.  I've seen enough bodies over the course of my career to have satisfied my curiosity.

That was my only story today.  I spent a good chunk of the rest of my shift wading through traffic to get back to the station and now, as I write this, I'm safe at home.  My family and friends are also safe, but I know safety is a relative term.

The nature of this accident naturally raises my level of concern (especially during the holiday season).  The officer wasn't on a call.  He was just driving.  The driver of the red SUV wasn't being chased and likely wasn't breaking any laws.

Suddenly another life is gone.  Sure, at last count maybe we aren't in any danger of running out of people.  Still, I believe every life is precious and the world is diminished by the loss.

I'm hesitant to try and tell other people how they should live.  I'd actually be a pretty big hypocrite if I advocated for people to live their lives in any way less than "balls out".

I've got another early call tomorrow, so I've got to wrap it up.

If you're out and about, I'd just suggest everyone look at this as an example of just how random life can be.  It is a wonderful world, but the dangerous parts don't discriminate.  Be careful out there.  Try not to make the news.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmases!

YAWWWWWWWNNNNNNNNN! It's Christmas morning. Dellis has been up and about, but the kids will sleep in as long we let them. From what I remember, that's what college students do.

I'll stop in and update as the day moves along.

FlutePrayer gifted me a Darth Vader Clock over on Facebook. Thanks, "Flute".

I just heard from Lomara. She's the first to stop by with a Merry Christmas comment this morning.

Darleene has wished me a Merry Christmas and I promise I'll work on getting some shots of the yard to post. I was too worn down to lift a camera all week.

FlutePrayer has been online this afternoon and also wished the Frank household a Merry Christmas

I got an email from Dave Clark. He's doing well up in the San Francisco Bay area and sends his regards.




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Monday, December 24, 2007

Counting Down.

Yesterday I was positive there nothing that was going to get me out of the house and into the madness that is the mall.

It was a good plan.  Didn't have a chance in hell of actually happening.

I guess that's part of the beauty of the holiday.  Expectations and reality might not meet and I lost sight of that for a short time today.  It was tough, but I survived and now I'm relaxing with a glass of wine (thanks ali and asantana) and counting all my blessings that have nothing to do with retail mania.

My wife and all three of my kids are safe and healthy and close enough that I can hear their laughter.  That's a symphony I expect to change and become more rare as we grow older.



. . .you can't hear it, but I'm being called away from the computer right now.  I'm glad to have had this moment to wish everyone who stops by a very Merry Christmas.  Hug your family and hold them close.  Life changes and the opportunity might not always be there.

Love and hugs.

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Friday, December 21, 2007

Is it just me?

Advil. That seems to help when every muscle in my body is sore. I feel like I've gone fifteen rounds with my backyard. I didn't want to spend much time in the yard during my days off, but I know it would mean a lot to Dellis if the yard is looking its' best for the holidays.

I went after that yard like a demon today. Chopping, snipping, digging, raking, sawing and fixing anything and everything. There's a lot that's needed my attention all year and I worked from sun up until after it got dark and cold outside.

I'm tired, but it felt good to see some progress.

The pond is full and the water is flowing, but work on the stream will have to wait until after the holidays to be completed. The filter is filtering, the UV light is killing micro-organisms and the fountainhead. . .well, I'll get back to that tomorrow.

I ran new wiring for the low voltage lights. I even managed to re-attach three of them (and two are still working).

Of the thirty odd pavers that have been sitting in the flower bed out front, I moved them to the backyard. I dug out space for them, laid all of them out and properly seated about twenty of them.

Where the dog has destroyed the underlayment for the stone pathway, I dug it up and (hopefully) dog-proofed it.

Many trees were trimmed and many weeds were pulled.

The torches were tested. I'll have to fill all of them, but that can wait until Sunday.

Tomorrow, I'll survey the land and figure out how to fit what still needs to be done into the one day I have to do it and maybe, just maybe, I'll have the energy to pull out my camera and take pictures of my handiwork.

Is this how other people vacation?

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Wicked Redux

It's a father/daughter night on the town. The youngest and I are at the Pantages Theatre for a performance of "Wicked".



The show is fine, but less important in itself than the time spent with the kid.



You might also be interested in knowing that the show holds up pretty well the second time around.


--
Sent from my BlackBerry

Dave Clark Sighting!

This is for everyone who has been missing Dave Clark. It's part of life in news to see friends move on to other gigs and a couple months ago, Dave made a career move to an anchor position in the San Francisco area.


I came across this trailer for a Will Smith movie coming out next summer.

For me, there was no mistaking Dave's distinctive voice. It was a completely unexpected surprise, but he has a brief cameo in the trailer.

This was a nice little cool thing for me. A little jump start to my Tuesday morning.

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Killer Auger

I don't expect this to make the news, but no joke, this thing almost broke my arm today.

Well, I'm actually laughing now and nursing both my arm and a cold beer (for medicinal purposes only). I rented the post hole digger because it takes me longer to dig the holes manually and I figured it was worth it to get the job done.



I've done this before. The posts for every bit of decking in our yard was dug out with a similar gas powered auger. The twisty part underneath is supposed to be spinning. Not the top part.

It's a simple concept, but there are huge chunks of concrete buried in my back yard. Our house was built on land that had seen the demolition of homes to make way for the 105 Freeway. Every now and then I'll find another relic of that bygone era.

The auger bit into something hard and whatever it was, it stopped the auger cold. Unfortunately, I kept turning.

The auger spun me around and threw me into a half nelson (for real). My hand twisted and was caught under the handle. It happened so fast, I didn't have enough time to do anything.

Just by luck, my hand slipped free and I untwisted my arm. As you can see in the video, the auger just kept spinning and I went inside for my pocket camera. What the heck, I gotta blog about something.

My shoulder and arm is sore and I'm not altogether positive I didn't do some damage to my wrist. It's all just sore and I'm betting it's not going to be feeling any better in the morning.

I'm going to be okay. I just hope nothing else tries to kill me on this vacation.

How many hours in a vacation day?

It's not a terribly long vacation, but I'm determined (and motivated, darn it!) to cram as much nothing into the few days I have off as possible.

By "nothing", I mean all the little things that I've wanted to do, but had to bump down lower on the priority list, because there's only 25 hours in a day.



That includes some writing (yay!) and gardening (grrr!).



Near the top of my impossible long "list of things to relax and enjoy life while I'm on vacation" is reading for the first time completely with no breaks and re-starts "The Razor's Edge".

I won't cheapen its' literary pedigree by cracking wise about it being the novelization of a nearly forgotten Bill Murray movie. The book was given to me by one of the best writers on the planet (You go, Buzz! How's that motivatin' you, eh!) and I've been trying to get to it for a number of years.

Well, warm up the comfy couch, I'm making the time to read this vacation.




BTW - If there's anything you think I should be doing, feel free to offer up the suggestion and yes, having a cold beer later today is already on the list. Booyaaaaaaaa!

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Hey, BATTER!

With unlimited goofing off time at my disposal yesterday, I was able to squeeze in a photo opportunity at my station's softball game.



There are things I'm pretty good at, there are things I'm not so good at and there is a really good reason why my name is not on this team roster.

How does that joke go? As a softball player, I make a really good news photographer.



Anyway, I wanted to let the team know where they could get a peek at the shots I took yesterday.



I also wanted people to see that even if I wasn't getting involved directly with any outdoors activity, I wasn't just spending my vacation time vegetating on my comfy couch and enjoying a beer.

The rest of the photos can be found in 2007 Softball set on Flickr.

(yawn) Now, I'm gonna go rest up on my comfy couch and vegetate until happy hour.

I'm really enjoying this vacation.

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Hic!

Enjoying my vacation. Just had a Fat Tire beer.

MmmMmmmm. That was good and round two coming up.

Anybody watching the news? What's going on in the world?
--
Sent from my BlackBerry

Friday, December 14, 2007

Where was I when this happened?

The news was on and I was eating dinner. Grilled salmon on a bed of lettuce with ranch dressing, corn on the side and a glass of shiraz from the Barefoot label.

Imagine my shock when I heard my name being mentioned as part of the recent Malibu fires.



My first reaction was to deny any involvement in any criminal acts, but then I realized they were talking about another Bryan. Brian Franks sounds a lot like Bryan Frank and I'm sure you can understad my initial concern.

It wasn't me. Honest.

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Bryan is swinging from vines and doing Tarzan yells.

Sorry, I find my writing is being influenced by my Twitter and Facebook accounts. I've been typing in short blurbs about what I'm doing at the moment. It makes sense, because that's the bulk of the writing I've been doing lately.

That changes today.

Actually, since I'm officially on vacation and plan to spend every waking moment larger than life. Let's try that again.

As God is my witness, THAT CHANGES TODAY!

Gee, now what do I write about? Got it, how about this?



I shot a story on this modest home last week and it aired as part of the new "Tech" segment with Rich DeMuro. If you're in the market for a modest $3.4 million dollar Brentwood pad, you can get a video tour of the place on the internet.

It might not be the most cutting edge use of video, but the YouTube connection now makes it a shade more "tech-y" than a simple real estate video.



It was cool for me, because I'm a big landscape and home design fan. I recognized this house from a magazine article.

I gotta tell you, I was just glad to be out of the office and shooting something. Coming up on the end of the year and being on vacation gives me only three actual shooting days until 2008.

It feels like I took a beat down from 2007 and while I was on the ground, 2007 kicked me in the kidneys.

Ouch!

Don't say anything, but I'm going to sucker punch 2008. Yeah, that's right. I'm going to own next year out the gate. You want some 2008, it'll cost you a pack of smokes.

Are you getting the prison analogy?

I've got some vacation to rip through. Check back later for an update.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I'm sleepy, but I know I have to get something posted or people (yeah, I'm looking at you, Paul) will take shots at me for not posting. . .so, here goes. . .

. . .oh, and you could almost ignore the pictures.  They're just two random shots from the archives that I tossed up here because it's been sooooooo borrrrrrring this week at work.

I did a day of edit training on Monday.  The trainee I was working with is sharp enough to not need me for the rest of the week.  That's a nice surprise.  I'd given up a while back on ever seeing anyone pick up the new system quickly.

The downside for me?  At least for one day I was standing around with nothing to do.  I had to stand by to offer tech support if the trainee needed it.

I never got a call.



The picture above is from the La Conchita landslide.  We spent a lot of time on that story and I pass the area every now and then.  I'll have to check, but I think this is an early morning shot.  I might have been there all night.  It seems like I remember working some long days.

I was so bored yesterday, I actually volunteered to run a satellite truck up to Gorman.  Gorman!

I'm only a little crazy.  I'm sure I could have convinced the assignment desk to throw me into something if I really wanted to push it.



This was a cold Palm Springs morning right after Gerald Ford had died late last year.  It seemed like the pace was going to be heavy, but things didn't quite work out like that for me.  I'm almost sure we had just as much death, destruction and animal stories as we normally have in a year, but I wasn't around for most of it.

I was pulling a lot of straight eight (hour) shifts and spending that time in training, training other folks, or getting ready for the big move.

The last few months have been better for me.  Not so good for the people who have been suffering through fires, floods and criminal court proceedings.

I hope for nothing bad to happen to anyone, but if something bad does happen, shucks, I'll be happy to cover it.

Time for me to go to bed.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Gentleman Joe

It's been quiet over the weekend. I've been quiet.

A friend of mine whom I hadn't seen more than once in the last ten years or so, passed away last week.



His name was Joe Farris, but he was an actor/writer/comedian and sometimes went by the stage name of Gentleman Joe.

I'd met Joe at a writer's workshop. It doesn't seem all that long ago in my mind, but it was pretty far back.

The last time I saw him was over a year ago. He had quite unexpectedly shown up at my gallery show. We got a chance to talk briefly and I'm glad that he reconnected with some of of the other folks from the workshop.



It almost goers without saying that life does go on. For the moment though, I'm taking it easy.

It's kind of a gentlemanly thing to do.

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Waiting for the rain.

It wasn't too crummy of a drive and I was only about a mile away from the scene of the suspected homicide. The phone rang. I got the call to return to the station.

Rats, that meant another 45 minutes in traffic and swapping out trucks.  I didn't want to swap out trucks.  I like shooting news.  Where are all the other SNG guys?



Plus, I was headed back to Orange County to the same location I had run satellite shots from just about a week ago. Remember my foggy night adventure?

No problem, a little overtime and a chance to get a couple more shots of the nice bureau folks.



I'm keeping one eye on the sky. It hasn't started really coming down yet, but I expect to get hit at some point. We're parked in a large dirt camping area and I'm hoping for the best. Even a little downpour is going to make for a muddy wrap up at the end of the night.



With the way this day has been going, I'm not expecting much from the Frank luck.

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Some day.

Just another day more interesting for what I didn't do, rather than for what I did.

(Sigh.)

I just swapped out of the microwave van and I'm headed to Orange County for satellite liveshots with Suzie Suh.

Check me later.
--
Sent from my BlackBerry

A few words about burritos and beer.

Let me just say, mmmmmmmmmmmmm!

Oh, baby, I've been jonesing for a steak burrito from Poquito Mas for a couple of weeks. It might have something to do with turkey overload at Thanksgiving, but I'm not a scientist. I couldn't tell you for sure why I'd been having this particular craving. I just did.

Grilled steak with rice, beans, jack cheese and a combination of their tomatillo green and fire roasted red salsa in a grilled flour tortilla and again I go, mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!



It was odd too, because I only got it at night. I needed a steak burrito at the end of the day after work.

My big problem was that the Poquito Mas on Ventura Boulevard (which I pass twice a day) has been closed by the time I've gotten off work the past couple of weeks. I work until 12:30am (or later) most nights.

Could I have gotten it on the way to work and saved it until after work?

(shuh!) Please, don't be silly.

Why, the chemical changes alone would have made it a completely different experience and really, the experience is probably a big part of the appeal. Also, I know me, my near complete lack of will power (when it comes to food) would have never allowed it to survive intact through my entire shift to make it home.

Gosh, it had to make it home. Remember, home is where the beer is.

Speaking of which, I can't really recommend the Alaskan seasonal Winter Ale.



It's not a bad brew, but if I had looked closely at the label, I would have seriously questioned the addition of spruce tips as a flavor additive. I don't know, maybe some folks enjoy the spruce tips. This beer is firmly in the "beers I could drink if no other beer was available and not drinking a beer was actually an option" category.

It could happen.

Anyway, call it what you want. I had my craving and I took care of it. I've been in the field for almost two weeks solid and that's more of a streak than I've managed all year.

Next week I'm working dayside coaching another edit trainee. You can believe I'm going to savor my remaining time out in the field. I'll enjoy it almost as much as I enjoyed my midnight snack.


ps- The bag is empty. The cup is empty. The beer is empty. Never let a post get in the way of a good meal.

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Speed Post

No time to write.  I wish I could bend time and space.   Hataaa!

Worked with K. Lazar on a follow up to last week's mountain lion attack story and learned her mother was fond of the picture I snapped of her daughter just prior to a liveshot I uplinked from the fires the other weekend.



That prompted me to do up a special edition of the picture for K. Lazar.



I shot the Divine Design fundraiser last week.

The day (and assignment) flew by and didn't get a mention.  Can somebody talk to the Bentley owners in Beverly Hills and mention that it's never a good idea to park the very expensive car next to the microwave truck?

I thought we'd covered this a while back.



And the sadness continues.

We were pulled from Beverly Hills to cover the story of the 11 year old who died on the playground in Burbank.

We met another photog at the scene and were working out of his truck.  POW!  We had a technical problem just a few minutes before the liveshot and had to scramble my truck into position.  We missed the top of the show, but made it within the first block.

Gotta run.

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Saturday, December 01, 2007

In the wet

Every now and then the news provides me with a tiny bit of adventure. Nothing dangerous (mostly) and certainly not immediately life threatening.



The stories I'd covered last week were still in mind. It felt like I'd invested more emotionally than what was professional (or healthy) in the story of Latasha Norman. At least I kept going and made it through Friday.

That whole emotional investment thing is an occupational hazard.



It helped me to end the week on a high note. Driving down to Orange County for a satellite shot to put Suzie Suh on the air was cool. The drive itself wasn't, but doing a job well and making it seem easy is always a nice pick me up.



I left the station just after 7:00pm and had to drive from North Hollywood through East Los Angeles and then South on the 5 freeway until I hit the Jamboree exit near Irvine.

The news vans are usually loaded down with gear and electronics, so the weight makes driving in the rain tricky at times. I'd say, I'm used to it, but that's usually th last thing someone says just before a horrific accident.

Let's just say, I'm familiar enough with the vans to take it easy when the ground is wet.



Well, I took it easy enough and eventually found the crew I was sent out to put on TV. I mentioned the fog in a post from my Blackberry. It was thick and I had to crawl along like I was driving by braille.

Didn't know exactly where I was going, couldn't see very far ahead of me. These are the kind of things that should cause a sane person some small measure of concern.

I was lucky enough to have my semi-trusty little GPS unit with me. It's not a high end model, that's for sure.



I found the crew exactly where they said they would be on Modjesko Canyon Road. It's possible that I had never been to this part of our coverage area, but I made it there and managed to get a soggy liveshot uplinked.

Live at ten and eleven. The fog gave way to a light rain. We could see a little further, but it was still dark and cold out there. On the drive home, the rain let up, but I still passed a couple of accidents along the way.

I guess I'm lucky. Even with the week that was.

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