Monday, December 17, 2012

Goodbye to Big Blue!

It's like losing an old friend. The station is selling off two of our satellite trucks. If you've followed my blog, run you might be familiar with Big Blue and the Ice Cream Truck (or as some called it, Little Blue).
To the right in shot above is the new SNG unit that's replacing our oldest two trucks.
Big Blue was the first satellite truck I ever learned to operate. I solo'd on the Robert Downey Jr. trial in Palm Springs back in 2001.
Seems like I've been driving SAT trucks for much longer than that, but heck, them some hard miles behind the wheel.
Little Blue went through a major reconfiguration at one point, so it's like I had to learn to operate it twice. Fun stuff for me.
To the left in the shot below is Jeff Mailes. He's one of the guys like me, who had the pleasure of operating Big Blue and is also a little sad to see it go.
The other SNG guys and I have had many an adventure covering breaking news, major court cases, snow storms, wildfires, hurricanes, oh, and don't forget the many runs to Las Vegas and the list just goes on.
I remember how complicated running the SNG truck seemed when I was first learning how to fire up and find birds.
For me, it wasn't exactly fun to drive, but I love having driven it. You haven't lived until you've
wheeled a big truck halfway across the country (2005 Port Arthur, Texas for hurricane Rita, two weeks post Katrina).
The day of the big truck is over for now. I may never see another "Big Blue" (or little blue) in my career.
Parting is such sweet sorrow.
It helps to share the last shots I have of my first SNG vehicles. As always, I'm looking forward to the next time I have to put someone on TV (maybe in a hurricane, maybe in a snowstorm).
Man, I love what I do.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Monday, December 10, 2012

What We Do

They sometimes tell us we're going somewhere far away as a joke. If you're in the middle of a slow news day, on some level you know anything is possible. It still comes as somewhat of a shock when you're handed an assignment and a city like Lancaster is on it.

Oh, hell.

It's a pretty long drive, made even longer by evening traffic.

At some point between the station and the assignment's location, I'm able to put it into perspective.

It might not be an assignment I'd hope for, but anything that's serious enough to pull me so far away into the outlying parts of our TV coverage area, well, somebody is probably having a worse day than me.

The only details I have are on the assignment sheet. A high speed police chase ended in a collision when the suspect vehicle hit another car and possibly a pedestrian.

Selfishly, I'm hoping the scene is cleared by the time I arrive and I'm concerned when I get there and find that it isn't.

That's usually a sign that the scene isn't just an accident scene, it's a homicide scene.

The streets are shut down and yellow crime scene tape mark a wide area. I navigate a route behind buildings, through alleyways and parking lots to get closer to where the accident actually happened.

I park and grab my camera, tripod, microphone and game face.

I'm met by people who are morbidly curious, but nobody who actually witnessed the accident.

One other station has managed to make it out before me. In my head I note that second on scene isn't bad. First is better, but it beats being last.

A Sheriff's department PIO comes over and gives us a quick run down of what they know so far. I'm thankful for the information and surprisingly we get no grief from the crowd standing just behind us. Sometimes the "put me on TV" morons won't even behave for law enforcement and there's not a lot that can be done.

The crash is pretty horrific. Details are still kind of confusing for me, but I don't need to immediately make sense of it.

What's clear is that the suspect's vehicle at high speed hit the car of an innocent person. The innocent person, a woman, and her passenger, her two year old daughter, were transported to a local hospital.

Both in critical condition.

The suspect suffered only minor injuries from the crash.

My thoughts and prayers go to the family and friends of the victims. The two year old girl later died at the hospital.

I guess that's the part that never really makes any sense.

It's Monday morning right now and I have to begin a new week. I hope today is a better day, but at least I can put it into perspective. Not just for me, for everyone, I hope it's not a bad day.

Trying to not make it sound trivial, but again, I know what a bad day looks like.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Canon EOS-M riding a 70-200mm 2.8 L IS lens. #blog #EOS-M #Canon

via Instagram

This is a Test!

Testing the new Blogger app on my iPad.

I'm not sure how you're supposed to work with images. Once they're loaded, I couldn't seem to move them into the post.

Sure, once it was saved as a draft and reopened, they popped up and I could edit the text between the HTML code, but there doesn't seem to be any sort of live preview mode.

Maybe I'm missing something.

Grrrr. I really wanted this to work, but it looks like the search continues.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Oh, The Places You'll Go!

My daughter and my daughter's daughter came to visit us for Thanksgiving.  They live on the East coast, so we can't be there for every step of our granddaughter growing up and just really appreciate when they come for a visit.
It melted my heart to see her and to see my daughter in her role of being a "mommy".  I keep telling people (and I'm only half joking), I'm always surprised when I come home and my wife hasn't bolted to go visit them.
You know, I never wanted to be that person with kid pictures in their wallet taking up someone else's time with never ending mundane stories about what my child (or grandchild) did today (as if no child in all of history ever did the exact same thing).
Could be that's just how some people are wired.  We want to share the things that make us happy.
At least I'm putting the choice on the kind folks who follow my misadventures in social media.
But then, I've always shared some parts of my family life online and I think some people are interested in us.  There's a risk in that, but I take the chance and have faith that nothing bad will come of me showing some of the better parts of my life.
With everything negative that I see and experience as part of my job, it's always nice to have some few things go towards balancing it out.
I'm not sure where "feeding time" falls on the whole balance thing, because I'm not gonna lie, there are parts of dealing with an eight month old that have scarred me in ways that working in news never could.
All joking aside, it is the smile and the laughter that always hits home.
I miss her already and--  Hey, has anybody seen my wife?

Sunday Morning Hero

It's getting really close to the end of the year and I feel like I made some forward progress in 2012.
Nobody in their right mind is going to mistake me for a biker, but I am firmly on the "guy who owns a motorcycle" side of the fence.
It's nice that a few people have even seemed to understand that it's not a sign of mid-life crisis.  I don't think it is.
It's not.
You know what? I worked hard this year. Maybe physically harder than I've ever worked in news.
I got to cover some great assignments this year, but the overtime and travel always seems to take me away from what I want to do.
Plus, not all of it was voluntary, but it all goes with the job and I still love the job.
So, I spend a great deal of time working long days.
A couple hours a day, a few days a week. Ka-ching, it adds up, but it also takes a toll.
Not being able to do everything I want in the time I have available, never means I shouldn't or can't do some things.
For at least a decade, I've been telling anybody who would listen what I wanted: I wanted to learn how to ride. I wanted to have my motorcycle license. I wanted to own a motorcycle.
Heh-heh, on those three points, check, check and check.
So, now I get to enjoy the benefits of my efforts.
The garage opens, I pull out the bike. I start it up and ride off. I still have a ways to go, but so far you gotta know: It. Feels. Awesome.