Friday, March 30, 2012

On The Way to Rancho Cucamonga

This week we lost another member of the CBS2/KCAL9 family. Chuck Hollis passed away and even though he'd been gone from the newsroom for a number of years, I always half-expected for him to just show up for work one day and start doing his job again without missing a beat.

Chuck worked on our assignment desk for a number of years and he was legend long before I got to work news in Los Angeles.

There are people who could do a much better job of eulogizing Chuck Hollis than me. Many of the current managers working at our station started out learning the ropes from Chuck and he had more than a few photographer drinking buddies.

I'm just thankful for having had the opportunity to work with him at all.

Having worked in the field as a reporter, Chuck brought a wealth of knowledge to his job on the assignment desk that you just don't see much of anymore.

Like Jack Nicholson or maybe Bill Clinton, he's just one of those people who had such a distinctive voice that anyone talking about him wouldn't simply repeat what he said, they'd try to do an impression of him.

To have Chuck send you to an assignment and have his personal knowledge of how to best get there was simply a joy that sometimes rose to a poetic level.

"Take the 101 and exit at Broadway.  Drive two blocks South and you should see a woman with a shopping cart, her name is Betty.  Turn right into the driveway just past her and in that lot there, you should be able to find a parking space.  Cross the alley at the back of the lot and you're gonna come up on a wooden fence.  Should be a couple of boards missing.  Pass through there and you'll be in the courtyard where the press conference is supposed to happen.  Just spray the press conference, I got another thing at 1:00 that I might send you to."

Also, I don't know that he ever actually said it, but at the mention of Chuck's name to anyone who worked in news and knew him, you're also likely to get this quote:

"Scott Moulton, how long will it take you to get to Rancho Cucamonga?"

There are sure to be better detailed remembrances of Chuck Hollis in the coming days.  With his passing, these were just my first thoughts that I wanted to share.

Like I said, there are people who would be better at eulogizing Chuck Hollis, I'm just one of the many working in news saddened by our loss and maybe one of the few who might help bring out a smile reminding people of the happier times in his life.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Suspect Killed OIS

The day started out pretty easy.  My reporter and I were doing an oh so light and fluffy story about Katy Perry being invited to a high school prom in Santa Clarita.

Nothing to it.  Wouldn't be winning an Emmy on this one, but still doing a competent job was a priority.

We were done and heading back to the station early.  No live shot and a strong possibility I could be home sipping a beer while ordinary mortals were gnashing their teeth in traffic.

I was almost giddy, but then the reporter mentioned how easy the day was going.


It's the same in a lot of other jobs.  It's a universal truth that you never never never NEVER comment out loud on how easy a day you're having.

We made it back to the station, but got hustled out the door on a breaking news story.

To make matters worse, the breaking news was a fatal officer involved shooting.

I needed to check my frown and wrap my head around the fact that somebody was having a way worse day than I was having.

Yeah, I know I'm still being flippant even though a guy was killed.

It doesn't really matter that it was a bad guy and he had hurt people in the course of meeting his own destiny.  Some people might even say, he got what he deserved for the choices he made that day.

I'll leave that particular opinion to those other people.  For myself, I'll just try to remember it's still a tragedy that someone lost their life.

I got home late.  We were live and then had to wait for a night side crew to come out and take over the story.

I gnashed my teeth in traffic on the way home, but still had an ice cold beer.  I needed it and was thankful for it.

The day didn't end as well as I'd hoped.  Still, I know it could have been worse.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Apple Valley?

Where am I going to be today?

That's a question I can't answer.  Most days when I'm leaving out the door and heading to work I'm as much in the dark about where my assignment will take as anybody who might ask me that question.

If there's a big news event happening, I might have a pretty good chance of being assigned to it.  Lately though, my days have been more random than even what I've gotten used to.

So that's why it wasn't much of a surprise when I was told we were heading to Apple Valley.

If you've ever made the drive to Las Vegas from Los Angeles, then you've passed through Apple Valley.  It's South of Barstow, but I'd have to look it up tell you anything more about it.

My story that day was about an incident at a local grade school.  A group of eight students had taken prescription medications that one of them had brought to school from hiome.

No live shot, just a straight package.

Yes, it seemed like a long way to go for that particular story, but that was the best we could find and, hey, you got to cover something, you know?

Our mountaintop microwave receiver crashed and caused us to have to scramble to a secondary feed location.

I hate it when that happens.

Nothing could be done for our earlier 4pm show and as I hadn't ever linked in by microwave from any other moutaintop so far out, I was skeptical that I'd be able to feed without driving a lot further South.

We managed to hit the mountain and I fed in my masterpiece of a news story.  Then, done for the day, it only took me three hours to finally make it home.

Yes, I grumbled at the time.  In retrospect, that wasn't my toughest day at work that week.

Not by far.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Housewife Desperation

(sigh) The search for the perfect mobile blogging platform continues. I was using the Blogsy app on my iPad, but they did something and totally "effed" it up.

You probably didn't come all the internet way to my blog to hear me complain about little things (hey, it's important to me) and you would really just like to know if I did anything cool this week.

Cool? No. Exciting? Also, no.


Well, maybe not, but at least I was trying. I'm on a bit of a dry spell as far as covering interesting stories. Maybe I'm just getting old, but my adventurous attitude towards my job has been fairly low key lately.

Could be I'm just suffering from the boredom of general assignment work. It's been a while since I did anything that I felt was worth lugging the still camera around with me.

It almost felt cool that I did find myself at the Los Angeles Superior Courthouse for the Nicollette Sheridan lawsuit.

In a nutshell, she's suing her bosses (ABC Network) for wrongful termination. There's more to it, but I figure you're reading this, you can probably "google" for accurate information.

Covering a case like this is kind of routine. There's one exciting part of it.

It's not the press conference outside of the courthouse. No, that's pretty boring.

It's what happens after the press conference.

I haven't covered this story much, so there was one part still interesting to me. I've been told this is the every day routine. After the presser, Nicollette and her legal team always walk over to a waiting SUV.

All the camera folk follow along. We'll need that video to cover the reporter's tracks in the packages we're putting together.

It's a little bit of an adrenaline rush, but sometimes you need that.

Okay, me, I need that.

Is it awkward to walk backwards carrying a heavy video camera in front of a famous actress who is trying ignore the mob of cameras surrounding her as she walks fifteen yards to her car?

Sure, but at least they pay me to be there.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Welcome to the World

Shame on me for neglecting the blog the last few days, but it's been quite an interesting (busy) week. On Monday, after a being eight days overdue, I had the pleasure of meeting for the first time my daughter's daughter.

Dania Francis and her husband (my favorite son-in-law) Kato Francis brought into the world my first grandchild. Meet Sloan Dellis Francis.

She was born on the 5th of March in Boston.  There are seriously many details which most women are inclined to inquire about which I was told and promptly forgot.

Sorry, but it's my first grandchild.  I'm still over the moon with happiness just from her arrival.

She weighed 7 pounds and some change. I'm sure I can fill in the important details later, but the main thing is that she's a healthy baby girl.

Mother, father and daughter are all doing fine.

The power of newborn babies, who knew?

Being over a week late, I could easily have missed her arrival completely.  I was warned that first borns are notorious for being late, but all I could do was take my chances when booking our flight.

I'm happy I was able to extend my trip a few days and managed to be there for the once in a lifetime (hey, first grandchild) event.

The plan was for my lovely wife to stay in Boston to help out the new momma.  She's still there and isn't scheduled to return home until next week.

I'm able to make good use of technology and have video chatted with her every day since I've been back.

You can be sure it was quite an honor to share her name with the newest addition.  Both Dellis and Sloan Dellis seem to be enjoying the extra time together.

You're right, it was difficult for me to get on the plane and leave to come home.  Gosh, I would have loved to have spent a few extra days with the baby.

We've joked about it and laughed at the absurdity and impossiblity of what I have a sneaking suspicion is likely going to be true.

Dellis Frank ain't coming back from Boston.

Can't say I blame her.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Boston in Color

Well, I've been here in Boston for a week and still no grandchild. My frustrations are very mild. Life is just as it needs to be and I'm blessed with more happiness than sadness. Spending time with my family is all gold.

Getting the opportunity to snap a few pictures is both gravy and icing on the cake.

Mmmm, who don't love gravy cake.

Enjoy the pics and keep a good thought in mind. I should mention that I'm also blessed to be able to afford to extend my trip. My daughter (the young mother to be) was due a week ago and I'm praying the kid shows up tonight or tomorrow.

In the meantime, my batteries are charging and I'll look for a few more cool spots to shoot some pictures.