Friday, October 23, 2009


I kept thinking about the HBO show. So, who do I need to see to get some time with "management"?

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I Shot That.

It's not all wildfires and car chases that make up my day at work.  Okay, sure, the people who bean count might wish those stories filled the time, but the reality is that we cover other stories.

If you were watching our newscast earlier this week and happened to see a Stacey Butler story about the woman on whom Dan Brown based a character featured in his latest magnum opus, there were a few shots of the book itself that you might find interesting.

Yes, it was a slow day.  i was working a day side shift, but the reporter (Stacey) I was assigned to work with wasn't going out into the field.

No HD liveshots for me that day, but there were a couple of elements for her story she was going to need.  Nice shots of the book itself.

Having been shiuffling from van to van over the last couple of months, I've left a good deal of my "specialty" gear at home.  One of the basics that I use all the time is a large piece of dark black material used to create impromptu product stages.  The material I use is called duvatine (or duvetyne) and you buy it from photo and video supply stores.

Nope.  I had none with me that day, so being the MacGruber kind of guy that I am, I used a black fleece hoodie jacket that I happened to have with me that day.

I set up my camera in the garage area of the station and shot into the side of the van.  I also narrowed the light on the book by using a piece of black wrap.  That's a thick aluminum foil material sold also at photo and video supply stores.

Good for shaping light, but not so good for storing leftovers.

Like I said, it wasn't a particularly busy day, but even the little odds and ends need to be shot and that's what I do.  I shoot things.  Sometimes the backstory is more interesting than the actual story, but the cool thing is that every day is something different.

Plus they pay me.

What I do isn't as complicated as a Dan Brown plot, but I could throw in a couple of car chases and maybe a fire and heck, maybe we could get Tom Hanks interested in playing a role in the movie version of my life at work.

Tom would have to be content with the sidekick or comic relief role.  If there's a movie to be made, darned if I'm not playing the part of beFrank.

Helloooo?  Hollywood?
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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Shout Out!

Danny and Glen send regards to Lissa and Josh in Maine.

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Yay, Angels!

Again I find myself in a perfectly beer-able situation and due to horrible circumstances (I'm working) I can't have any.

That just really burns me.

Also, how come they don't have Angel-Dogs anymore.

Oops, I stand corrected. They do sell Angel-Dogs. Go figure.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Rainy Days by the Fire (area).

Quick question, what were you doing when it was raining last week? Were you miserable? I was a little, because I was working a big ol' NewsCentral dayside shift up near the fire burn areas in La Canada.

The first big rain of the season and I'd really like to tell you that my years of experience means that I was ready for it.

I wasn't.

It never fails that I always refuse to believe what other people were telling me. It was fixing to rain and I should have had my rain gear out and be good to go.

The rain was falling, but not very hard (most of the time) and all my good stuff was sitting right in the van in a large duffle that I keep packed for three different types of weather.

No. It doesn't do me any good at all in the bag.

Also, yes, the "bad pinkie" was still freshly stitched and should have been kept clean and dry as per doctors orders.

In my defense, I have to say, I've been fooled before. I've stood out in remote parts of sunny California waiting for "Stormwatch" to hit and argued with disbelievers back at the station.

me -It not raining.

pinhead - Are you sure?

Am I sure? Really? You want me to double check if I'm standing in the middle of rain and might somehow not be aware of it?

I hate to disappoint.

Nearly as much as I hate to be standing behind a foggy lens with no hope of staying dry while waiting for a liveshot to happen.

There I stood in my damp tennis shoes. I was working with Randy Paige. We put together a story on the residents of the area picking up sand bags and also showed heavy equipment workers dropping concrete k-rails to divert the expected mud flow.

The gray cloudy skies didn't really bring down my mood. My soggy clothes did that just fine.

I'll be ready next time.

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Testing Apps

Hmm, now I can say, I have an app for that.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod Touch.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Bad Pinkie? Better.

Got the stitches taken out. Looks like I'll survive and will be able to play the piano.

Hypothetically speaking, of course.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Standing by with Coogan

Waiting to do a liveshot right now (it's about noon). We''re covering the news of the day for the Dodgers, but I think we might just get shut out because of the little boy up in a run-away helium balloon.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

APTRA Weekend 2009

It's almost time to start my shift, so I have to go check in at the assignment desk. That means you just get a few pictures for now. I promise to come back later to fill in the blanks.

Well, that's the plan, unless my assignment takes me somewhere interesting.

We'll just have to see.

(Hey! Okay, I'm back!)

Just woke up and it seems like all I have time to do when I get home is grab a bite to eat, fall asleep wherever I sit down, crawl into bed and start it all over again the next morning when I get up to go to work.

What happened to free time?

I can't help but think it might actually be my own fault. Shucks, I could have had plenty of free time this past weekend if I hadn't volunteered at the APTRA Academy.

What's that? It's an annual weekend broadcast news training boot camp sponsored by the Associated Press Radio and Television Association.

People who think they'd like to jump into the broadcast journalism pool have the opportunity to spend the weekend networking and learning from people who actually work in the field of TV news.

We all take part in a mock breaking news story and spend the two days putting the story together, then present selected pieces for a critique.

Dozens of working fire and law enforcement professionals (and also professional actors) donate part of their weekend to perform in the mock news story in order to add to the realism.

This is the fifth year I volunteered to help out.

The attendees are split up into groups (hello, "Blue Crush") and I usually shoot and edit for one of the groups.

My bad pinkie (see earlier posts) prevented me from shooting this year, but I did manage to hang in there the whole weekend and edit for two groups.

It's a fun weekend. A lot of work, but it gives the participants an opportunity they might never have. They get to see a little bit of what it's really like to cover the news.

It also gives them a chance to network with working news people who are willing to be mentors and actually want to help along the next generation.

So, that's why I once again find myself zombified and trying to drag myself through another week of work. It was a ten hour day yesterday and I spent most of it standing out in the bad weather.

I kept wondering something as I hauled my soggy self in and out of the van for multiple liveshots in the rain. I wondered if the folks who attended the APTRA Academy realize that not every day is interesting and full of excitement.

Some days are just normal days at the office. You get rained on. You miss meals. You depend on the kindness of strangers for bathroom facilities (and you also get your stitches wet against specific instructions from your doctor).

These are just the regular old days at work for me. Of course, I wouldn't trade them for anything.

I just wonder why anyone else might feel the same.

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Friday, October 09, 2009


Instead of heading for home, I have to make at stop at our after hours med clinic because I cut my pinkie finger and might very well need stitches.

It kind of turned the night at work sour. Maybe I can get them to prescribe something to help me with the pain. --
Sent from my BlackBerry

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How's the Food?


My schedule the last few weeks has been pretty random.  Early calls, late nights and odd assignments are always a standard thing for me, but wow.  I don't think I started work at the same time more than two days in a row in the last couple of weeks.  I also don't think I was at home or had two full days off in row in the last month and a half.

It's like I always tell my lovely wife, "Okay, some of that might be my fault."

On to last night.

We were in Norwalk and we were only in the 11:00pm newscast last night, so I had a randomly odd thirty seconds to think about things.

Lots and lots going on in my personal life.  It feels like I'm building towards something (but don't ask me what), so my free time is tight.  My family time is tight.  My time for working in the yard or around the house is nearly non-existent.

Hmm, not exactly sure where I was going with this, but there wasn't a lot of thought I could put into it in thirty seconds.

By the way, that was Suraya Fadel with me in Norwalk last night.

Our story was the one about Christine Daniel being arrested for scamming millions of dollars out of cancer patients.

Now, I know we shouldn't really convict people before the've had their day in court, but come on, she claimed to be curing cancer.

Curing cancer?  I don't have a fancy medical degree, but I'm pretty damn sure she wasn't.

We talked to an 85 year old woman named Eugenia Vigiletti.  She was one of Doc Daniel's patients and she believes Dr. Daniel ripped her off of thousands of dollars.

Stealing from cancer patients?  Hmm, how low can you go?

It wasn't a huge story, you know, as far as news stories go.  I just kind of dug giving an 85 year old an opportunity to vent about the karmic pay-back Dr. Daniel is likely to get.

Time constraints and story telling prevented us from airing most Eugenia's comments, but I think we should make a dub for Dr. Daniel and send them to wherever she winds up.

Eugenia:  I hope she likes the food.

You really had to be there to get the full weight of her words, but I could tell that she really really meant them.
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Monday, October 05, 2009

I hope he brings his sax.

Bill Clinton is expected to make an appearance today at LA City College.

Something about running for govenor.

Not Bill, of course, but that would be kind of cool.

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October Photography Mayhem.

You know that candle that some busy people burn at both ends?  Yeah, well, mine is fully engulfed in flame.

Busy, busy, busy.  That's every day of the week it seems, but I keep telling myself that it'll all be worthwhile.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed.  I wish I could give you a detailed rundown of my weekend activities.  Heck, I wish I had time to fill in some of the gaps from work last week.

All I can do is just toss up a few pictures from the photo shoot I had on Sunday and hope I get to work on time.

I wish I had time to come up with some words of wisdom to go along with the pictures, but really this is just about me doing what I've been trying to do for the last several months.

I'm trying to be better at something I enjoy.  I'm trying to be better by jumping in with both feet and just doing the thing that I want to do.

We're talking about still photography.

I'm juggling a lot these days and my free time is being spent with a lot of research and studying.  I'm chewing through stacks of books, magazines and websites on photography.  If I could take a class or seminar, I would.  If I could pay someone to teach me I'd do that.  If I could volunteer to learn from someone who knows what they're doing, that would also be something I'd consider.

My life just never seems to work very well with set schedules and appointments.

I lost $40.00 a couple of weeks ago on a seminar that I had to miss because of a schedule conflict.  Ouch.  That stung, but it would have hurt me greatly if it had been one of the more expensive ($300-$2,000 dollars*) photography seminars I've considered recently.

So, I just do what I can.  I take pictures.  I take a lot of pictures and I'll keep taking pictures.  Every now and then, I take one that somebody looks at and says, "Wow."

That feels pretty good when that happens.

Someday I hope I can make that happen more often.  Until then, I'll just keep doing what I can do.

My thanks to Katy, Rosie and Michelle for modeling and also Shahada for the makeup and James for helping out.  It all seemed to go well and I appreciated everyone taking part.

I've got a long way to go and I'm not sure where I'm going exactly, but I certainly think I can get there.

* Yeah, I think we all know that $2,000 dollar seminar wasn't really a serious consideration.
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Friday, October 02, 2009

It's Hornet Time!

I'm taking out a small hybrid vehicle that we're testing. It's like a "mini-me" version of our full size microwave trucks. . .

. . .and it's green.

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