Monday, June 30, 2008

Rocks, Brush and a Monkey

First day back from the week of goofing off and I'm doing SNG for the crew covering the escaped monkey.
We're out in the middle of nowhere and I'm not feeling very "live and let live".

I've seen what a Monkey can do to a guy. They don't really fight fair.
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El beFrank

I bought the entire series of "Last Remaining Seats" showing of classic movies at the restored Broadway Street movie theatres.



That was six shows, but with my schedule I've only gotten to see two shows.

The Lovely Mrs. Frank and I saw the opener of the series (which I posted about), "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" and last Wednesday's show, "El Rey Del Barrio".

Mrs. Frank and both daughters got to see most of the other shows in the series and will probably get to see the Classic Silent Comedies playing this week.



I was impressed with both the Los Angeles Theatre and The Million Dollar Theatre, but I felt just a bit safer in the Los Angeles Theatre.



At the Million Dollar, we sat in the first row of the balcony.  What can I say?  It seemed like a good idea at the time.

As we sat there, I could just imagine one good (or even a so-so) earthquake and we were either getting pitched over the rail or the entire section might land on the folks in the rows below us.



Still, the positives of the evening outweighed the negatives.  Fox News veteran Tony Valdez hosted the evening.  I think it's cool that I know him from when we both mentored a group of APTRA Academy students.

He set up the film for those of us (okay, me) who are culturally challenged when it comes to life South of the border.



We also got live music from the John Villalobos Quartet.

Help me out here, does "quartet" mean something different in Spanish?



The movie was pretty funny.  After it was over, Dellis and I enjoyed a traditional late evening Spanish meal. . .at The Pantry. . .I had chicken fried steak and Dellis had fish and chips.

Okay, maybe not so traditional.

I'm pretty sure at least the waiter was Latino.  I didn't think to ask at the time.
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NOT Everything I Did Last Week

Almost a week without a proper post.  I'd feel guilty, but my week of truly glorious goofing off has been overdue.  I'm just sorry that my hammock post fell victim to decay, so I couldn't spend my quality time rocking in the summer breeze while quaffing a tasty beverage.



Other parts of the backyard were pretty bad off also and I had a good couple of honest days cutting and trimming things up.  The grass is still looking pretty shaggy and I'm pretty sure all my trim work will have grown back in by the end of this week.



That's okay.  At least I found some time to smell the roses.  Not surprisingly, the world and the world of news has continued in my absence.  I'm scheduled for mostly night shifts in the coming week.

That really doesn't mean much. 



There's always a better than good chance, with this being the season for fireworks, I'll get a call to cover a brush fire.  That might take me away from home for a couple of days or more.



I'm not hoping for anything bad to happen (I never do).  I just know that it's likely to happen and eventually will happen.

It's not something to look forward to, but I have bags packed with regular clothes and my fire gear.

Is it any wonder why I like to enjoy my home when I have time off?

Anyway, that was last week.  This week I'm starting off with my head in the game and I'm ready to cover some news.
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Friday, June 27, 2008

In Progress

New post here soon. I promise.



Didn't realize I had left the place in such a mess. I really need to clean things up a bit when I'm posting from the BlackBerry.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Riding the Rails

I'm still on the Red Line and heading for 7th/Metro Station. I'm not hungry just yet, but I'm thinking some sea food snacks might hit the spot.
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Go Metro

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George Carlin (1937-2008)

I'm sure everybody has a George Carlin story. Even if (like me) you never met him in person.

Okay, I admit I don't have a good George Carlin Story.

My oldest friend I've known since the eigth grade. We both attended the same college and graduated with the same major.

Over the years we've worked a few of the same jobs and still hang out together and have a beer or catch a movie once a week or so.


Photograph from the Internet

He's laughed with me (often at me) through every girlfriend I've ever had and he was laughing and cracking jokes with me when I met my wife. Honestly, it's still kind of surprising how that turned out.

The first semester of college when we did a lot of things we shouldn't (but thankfully enough of the things we should), we played a lot of George Carlin. Going to school every morning we played George Carlin over and over and over until we could have done his bits from memory.

I remember laughing out loud at the same jokes we might have heard a hundred times.

My condolences to all the family, friends and fans of George Carlin. I'm saddened by his passing.

It's too bad I don't have a good George Carlin story. I've got stories of people, places and things from a particular time of my life and all I can do is notice how much he was a part of the soundtrack to everything from then.



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Friday, June 20, 2008

It Never Fails

I'm already pretty screwed. The worst thing for me to do now would be to complain.

That would just anger the news gods and then I'd get pulled from this easy story out at Burbank Airport.

It wouldn't even be a "thing", but I'm taking some time off this week. Any other night, actually "every" other night this week I was able to "lunch out" towards the end of my shift.

I don't expect to get home until after midnight.

Oh, well. It beats covering the weather.
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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Who Are You?

It was just another day at the office, but so cool.  I got an entertainment story instead of the usual death and destruction assignments.

It's not the same as actually sitting through the entire performance in a seat, but I had a absolutely awesome blast yesterday and I don't use the words absolutely and awesome together in one sentence (let alone twice) just for the dramatic effect.

My assignment involved covering a staging of "Tommy" in Hollywood happening at the Ricardo Montalban Theatre.



Loved it.  The reporter and I got to see the entire first half of their dress rehearsal and it rocked.  I'm not the biggest fan of "The Who", but I've seen the movie and I have fond memories of listening to the songs during my sometimes misspent formative years of high school and college.

Acid Queen and Pinball Wizard?  Yup, saw both tunes performed.  If I hadn't already filled my quota for "absolutely and awesome" I'd be using those words again.



It was just aweso-- (sorry) that the folks putting together the show allowed us such great access during the dress rehearsal.

If this had been an actual performance, most often we would have been ushered in and given an order to begin rolling video during the song selected by the media wranglers for the performance.  We might be given one minute of a particular song or two near the opening of the show.

This was way different (in the coolest way).

I'm talking about walking around, okay to use sticks, everything and everyone is shootable, just be considerate enough not to shoot entire songs, full freaking access.



We got to meet and interview Nona Hendryx who plays the Acid Queen.  Follow the link if you don't know the name.  Over the years, I've met quite a few impressive celebs and I'm not the most star struck person working news, but I gotta be honest, the interviews with her and fellow cast member, Ronny Drayton put a big ol' Kool-Aid smile on my face.



I took both their pictures and I shook his hand (the man's got a grip).  These are people who have been a part of the musical history that I love.

Hey, I'm usually a lot more discreet about snapping a quick still shot, but I couldn't take a chance and miss the opportunity even if I risk sounding like a dork.

"May I take you picture?  Duh-huh?"

Ronnie Drayton mentioned casually about seeing "The Who" perform "Tommy" and that's the kind of thing that just blows my mind.

"Duh-huh".



It's been a long time since I had the feeling as strongly as I did yesterday.  My job is cool.  I get to see things for myself that other people only get to watch on TV.

I've had days recently where I'm tired and worn down by my job, but feel like I didn't really do anything.  Yesterday, I worked harder than I have in many months and came home feeling like an action hero.

Today I'm looking forward to going back and doing it some more. . .only somewhere else and something different.

I know.  It's sick.  I don't care.
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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

History Repeating

You want to hear the "good" first?  Great, because that's the part I was going to start with.

It's good to come into work and feel like I'm recharging.  There's nothing like heading out to cover a story and not be relegated to the sensei role.

I don't know how Yoda did it and kept his cool.  I'm not known for being the most high-strung person in the world, but training others to do a job that I want to be doing has been (and still is) pretty tough.

It's actually not enough just to witness the events that become part of history.  I have to admit, I need to have an active hand in our coverage to really feel the satisfaction I've come to love as a news photographer.

Give me a camera, an assignment and the public's right to know and I'm happy.  Really really happy.



So, I was happy on Monday even though it was difficult to do my job and also get a shot during the frenzy surrounding the first legally sanctioned "gay" wedding.

Not my best shot ever taken, but I'm a little out of "frenzy practice".  Not a problem, it's an election year and I expect to get lots of good workouts over the summer.  All this was also part of the "good".

The picture below shows the "bad" I'm taking with the "good".



These two women, and I understand they're now in custody, were wanted by the LAPD on suspicion of long list of child abuse charges.  We covered the press conference last Friday and I had just been to Parker Center the day before to cover a presser related to an LAUSD administrator's suspected cover up of sexual abuse and a related arrest of a suspected on-line child pornographer).

It feels like I've been asleep, I'm groggy and now somebody is grabbing me by the collar and slapping me hard across the face.

Somewhere in the past few months or so, I'd stopped paying close attention to these stories.  It had all faded into the background.

Ouch.



Okay, I'm awake.

There's nothing I'd like better than to have things all right in the world and not have these stories happening.

It's not that I'm expecting the world to ever be some sort of storybook fantasy land where bad things never happen to good people.  I'm just admitting to myself that I'm not so jaded and cynical that I don't have those kind of thoughts.

Come on, there have to be worse things to dream of than a world where children are safe.



All the things I used to tell myself when I covered horrific stories are all slowly coming back to me.

I have to go now.  I'm not really done saying what I feel like I need to say, but It's about time to start my shift.

I don't know where I'll be later, but for all the "good" and "bad", I'm still happy to be out covering the news.
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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Defiant Ones

I'm about two weeks behind in telling the stories that go behind some of the pictures that I've uploaded to my Flickr account.

It's never my intent to short-change the folks who show up on a regular basis and I really hate that I didn't at least jump on here sooner to relay my half of the great Lenslinger/beFrank Summit.


Photo by Lenslinger

I had half a post written and kept saving it as a draft because, heck, I knew the weekend was coming up and I should have a chance to catch up by Sunday.

Yeah, well, that was last week. The post is still only half written and my free time is not likely going to quadruple in the near future.

Even now, the clock is ticking and I know I've got to shift into "go to work" mode.

Let me just say that Mr. Pittman did a good job of making me sound like the larger-than-life character I so wish I were in real life. Really, I don't want another day to pass without adding a resounding "ditto" to everything he said so well on his blog Viewfinder Blues.



Photo by Lenslinger

It was a great meet up and I look forward to taking creative license with the facts to reminisce about the bar fight, the bullet he took for me, and that close call we had jumping the freight train back into town after having been ambushed by the terrorist sleeper cell operating out of Kernersville.

Yup, I do loves creative license.

We're each our own harshest critic and I think the time we spent chatting about what we do as blogging photographers put that part of our lives into pretty good perspective.

I really enjoyed having a beer with him and I believe we'll be able to manage that again at some point. You know, with me being a land baron and all.


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Monday, June 16, 2008

Historic

You are looking at the first "wedding reception" between a same sex couple to be officially recognized by the state of California.

Sure, we covered the wedding, but it was just nuts. A total media madhouse.

Thank goodness, the reception was much more civilized.

I don't know if any reporters mentioned this on air, but there was cake and champagne for everyone after the ceremony.

Even the media.

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Coulda' Been News

Emergency vehicles pulled up to City Hall. I was packing away my gear after a liveshot.

It could have been the Mayor or someone that might be of interest to the general public.

It wasn't. I'm going home.

TGIF

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Desert and Rock

Being a land baron, I'm always on the lookout for a good deal on real estate. I'm fairly surprised to find myself on a dayside shift heading towards that vast cultural mecca known as Palmdale.

In addition to the brush and rock, I'm seeing the signs for those nifty affordable homes. I wonder how far into the desert I'm gonna have to go to find property at the price I can pay.

If I find some of that good $2.00 an acre land, I'd be willing to go in halfsies on a couple of acres.
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Monday, June 09, 2008

Longest Sports Related Post EVER!. . .and keep off the grass!

I can remember someone saying that second part to me just before I drove out onto the field. Actually, I can remember EVERYONE saying that second part to me.

My head is still spinning so fast that I'm not even sure how much of the past week actually happened and how much was just a sleep deprived hallucination.

Here's what I believe is true, but golly, feel free to sort it all out for yourselves.

In no particular order, but starting from where I think I left my understanding of the natural laws of the universe, I somehow found myself driving a microwave truck around the bases at Dodger Stadium.

Shoot, how cool was that?


Photo by Joel Fallon

What's funny, is that in my mind I was scheduled to attend a walk-through meeting with the Dodgers people and the upper two-thirds of our Chief Trinity (Joel Fallon and Jeff Mailes being the First and Second in command, with myself filling in occasionally as "The Third Wheel").


Photo by Jeff Mailes

It was quite a shocker to discover when I got to work that there was no walk-through. Saddle up, we were doing this thing.



It was all a part of a pre-game CBS2/KCAL9 promotion/charitable event featuring Anchor Pat Harvey, Meteorologist Henry DiCarlo and Alex Calder of Angel City Air.



Also Tommy Lasorda.

This was all super cool and you could hear the loud squishy "popping" sound of my mind blowing. Yeah, I'm walking around without no mind and then life continues the unexpected surprises and decides to send me through the heavy load spin cycle.



After the promotion event ended, I got invited up to the Corporate Luxury Box to partake in snackage and watch the Dodger game with nearly all of the newsroom upper management.

We're talking nice party food, but more importantly, free Dodger Dogs. No limits.



Your choice of ice cold beverage (if you know what I mean, hint-hint, wink-wink).



And everybody got their own dessert cart, but by then, my brain was on full experience sensory overload and I was folded into a corner babbling incoherently.



Hmm, I'm pretty sure I hallucimo'generated some of the details of that last part (Tommy Lasorda? Shuh, right).

Also, not being a big dessert person right now, I only include the information for all those who might enjoy freelovin' pastry decadence. Myself, I'm only too aware of the fact that chocolate is a gateway drug.

For me, it leads directly to dairy.

Remember, don't do drugs and stay in school. Uh-oh, duck.

WHAM!

Darn, I just got hit with life distractions. Nothing major or particularly serious. Just the stuff that demands my immediate and full laser guided undivided attention.

Funny, but I was having a conversation with my older daughter this past weekend. Just about the things I'd like to still accomplish in life. Some of them, like taking over the world, takes time.

My most precious commodity.



I'll be back with more of the whirlwind week that was and I promise to answer any and all questions about. . .



. . .real estate, Tom Clancy, Duke University, North Carolina, buying sushi from a fast food place just before closing and having a beer with Stewart Pittman.
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Sunday, June 08, 2008

From the Station Chief:

Against all odds, the North Carolina mission was accomplished. Details to follow.

Sorry if that sounds a bit cloak and daggerish, but I'm reading Tom Clancy.
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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Luxury Suite

Joel Fallon in the luxury box.
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Took a wrong turn maybe.

This is not the most difficult day someone might have at work.

Dodger Stadium and I'm on the clock. Funny thing, I was not expecting this.

Later on, I'll tell you alll the ways I figured this could go horribly wrong.
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Back to the Future.

Holy smokes, look at the time (it's 3:00am).  Even with the Blackberry, I can't quite fit everything into 24 hours.  It's frustrating, because after weeks and months of nothing but training, I get an actual story to shoot and cut, but I barely have any time to post about it.  Right now, I'm sitting in my living room running a virus scan on a friend's computer, trying to catch up on emails and blog comments, watering the backyard and fretting about a meeting I'm going to with Chiefs Number One and Two (I'm Three) at Dodger Stadium tomorrow-- um, today.  I can't worry about that now.

Did you know about the movie studio in Downtown Los Angeles?



I did.  They're called The Los Angeles Center Studios and they're located just West of the 110 between 4th and Wilshire.

Mayor Villaraigosa held his victory party there the night he won the mayoral election.  I've covered a handful of other events there over the years and it's always surprising when I discover that a lot of people don't even know they exist.



It wouldn't have been a good time to snap stills while we made our way around the lot, but at least I managed a couple of discreet clicks of the "Curve" to use for posting purposes.

We were pressed for time, but we got to see one of the cast members from the show "Madmen" rocking out with his iPod.  It was the actor who plays the young ambitious guy who knocked up the lead character's secretary.

What?  You want names?

Hey, if I had two extra minutes, I'd Google it myself, but I have to quickly tell you what a downer it was after having shot the piece to get pulled off the editing of the story.  The timing wouldn't have worked out.  I could have easily cut the piece, but they needed my truck for the night shift.  The desk let me lunch out and the reporter had to cut with an in-house editor.

It wasn't worth it to fight for the story (There'll always be another one).  I was just happy to be working out in the field.

The actor from "Madmen" was wearing his 60's style suit and tie and I-- rats, I really better get some sleep.

You never know, I might actually have to cover the news tomorrow. . .I mean today.
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Monday, June 02, 2008

Last Update (I Promise)

We just got the "All Clear" message from Newspath. I'm packing it all away and heading for home before I start babbling.

Goodnight everybody.
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Look, Another Update.

It should probably go without saying that I'm tired. I just want to thank all the faithful readers who have shown solidarity by staying up with me.

Hello?
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Update

This is difficult. I'm barely getting any sleep. Of course the company probably prefers that I don't get any sleep at all.

Let's learn something from this.
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Up All Night.

The reception was great. Don't go rhinking I'm crazy or anything, but here I am. At work while most folks are still sleeping.

I got here first, so I own Monday.
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Sunday, June 01, 2008

Put me in, Coach!

This morning I was at the gym when I saw the news report about the fire at Universal Studios.

I thought it looked pretty bad and I hoped that nobody got hurt. Also in the back of my mind, I was hoping for my phone to ring.

It's just as well that it didn't happen. The closing reception at the NoHo Gallery is this afternoon and I really would have hated to miss it.
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