Monday, November 28, 2005

Monday Off To A Bad Start

I was woken up early this morning by my work cell phone going off. "We need you to head to Painesville. There's a fire at a trailer park and they're talking about removing a victim from the trailer."

"Ummm..uh...whazzit? Oh, OK", I stammered and tried unsucessfully to focus on the alarm clock. I tried to turn it off so it wouldn't wake my wife but wound up turning it on by accident. I get dressed in semi darkness and head downstairs. When I get downstairs to brush my teeth, I find I have mismatching socks. Great.

I get to the fire without incident and drive right up to the trailer. I shoot video and no one tries to stop me. I thought the trailer park was private property but no sign was around to be seen so I slipped in behind the fire trucks. I quickly fired off a few minutes of video and got out.

On the way back to the station, I stopped off at Taco Bell because at 1:00a.m. they're still open and a 7-layer burrito would be my lunch. So, on I go back towards Cleveland, pretty happy. I've got my fire video and my 7-layer burrito. Could life get any better??

Nope. That was about as good as my day would get.

I get back to the station, get out of my news unit and step into a pile of mud that had fallen off a previous news unit. Crap. Ok, well, I can live with that and I head into the building. I enter our photog lounge and get ready to ingest my video. I take my Mini-DV tape and put it in the machine...

And hear the groaning and creaking of gears and tape as they're stretched and pulled in opposite directions. A message pops up saying, "Deck in an unknown state."

What state? Delaware? I hit eject and it didn't want to give up the tape. I hit stop and then hit eject again and the machine finally relinquished it's death grip on the mini DV tape.

I slowly pulled the tape out of the slot and along with the case, came about three feet of tape out of the machine. Sadly, my tape was eaten by an apparantly hungrier tape deck.

That has to be the worst sound imaginable.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

A Christmas Story..Unfinished

Anyone recognize this house?? Granted, it's dark and the flash didn't work from all the way across the street. It's the house from A Christmas Story. The holiday cult classic starring Darren McGavin and Peter Billingsley. Parts of the movie were shot here in Cleveland and this house was used as the setting for Ralphie's childhood.

The house was put up for sale on E-Bay and was purchased last year by a San Diego man. He wants to make it into a museum about the movie. He needs a lot of work to catch up and renovate it to the movie specs.

Here is the only other identifier that would make this house recognizable as the Christmas Story house.

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Yes, the leg lamp in the window. The Major Award, as it was called. That's the only thing that lets you know that this was the house.

We were there for a live shot in the morning to basically say there's a fund-raiser to help with the renovation of the house. Right now, the house is in desperate need of repairs. Believe me, it's old. Built in 1895, the house only has really two rooms that are somewhat refurbished. Bare wires hang out of the walls and the floors are unfinished and need carperting. Walls need painted and papered. A kitchen sink needs to be put in. And while the guy who owns the house was trying to cut a hole in the wall, he cut through the thermostat line.

This house was cold. And to make matters worse, we had five hits at this house to try and come up with things to show. We had to make do with the lamp and stills from the movie. Oh well, when you have to tap dance, right?? It's a shame that we didn't couldn't mention what one of the former cast members, Scott Schwartz who played Flick in the movie, did later in his career.

He did a little acting in porno movies...shhh.

The guy who bought the house also makes the leg lamps as a way to raise money for the refurbishment of the house. If anyone would like to take a look at his site and maybe order one of the lamps for the one that you love, hate or want to get even with, here is his web site. or you can contact Mr. Jones at

Also, you can visit his web page for the house at

Ok, the last thing I'm going to say is that we had a "leg" up on the competition that morning.


Sunday, November 20, 2005

Impressing A Cat

Today we got our newest addition to the family Newshutr. He's a 6 year old Siamese named Buckley. We had just lost our oldest cat, Cleo, to lung cancer. She was 13 and my wife's cat. She had her before she met me. We had Cleo put down and were a two cat family.

They say things happen for a reason. Well, my wife went to work on the day we put Cleo down. The co-worker next to my wife asks her if she knows anyone who would be interested in a Siamese cat. Funny how things work, huh?

Anyways, my wife jumps on the offer and we were delivered a big Siamese cat.

But before we got the cat this morning, while my wife was at work, I was busy redding up (Cleaning for you non-Pittsburgh raised people). I dusted, vaccuumed, washed, folded, spindled and mutliated everything in sight.

All for a cat.

I actually stopped mid-vaccuum and realized what I was doing (this being four hours into the cleaning). I just had to laugh. But I was on a roll and I figured why stop now. Even my kids got into it.

And was Buckley impressed?? He sniffed everything, hissed and growled a few times and generally hid behind the futon for a long time. He did finally come out but it will take a little time for the cats to get to establish thier hierarchy.

Overall, I think he liked my efforts. I did get a Siamese meow and then a deep growl.

I think he appreciated it.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Put Up or Shut up

I will hardly ever, repeat ever talk politics on this blog. I just wanted to post this..


Monday, November 14, 2005

The Lightning Live Shot

It was bad weather coming through our fair area of Cleveland a few days ago. Thunderstorms actually, which was a stunner because it's November and we usually get snow here about this time. A warm front came through and with the cold air made quite the storm and with it, a nice light show.

I was called out an hour before my live shot to a house fire. While my reporter and I were driving to the fire, the storm started. Lightning was streaking through the sky but there was minimal rain. High winds also were in abundance.

After driving around looking for the fire and not finding it, we found out we were sent to the wrong area and that we were about seven miles south of the fire. Oh well, no loss. The fire was a vacant house that some homeless were squatting in. Nothing one dead.

We had to hustle back to our live shot because it was the morning after Election Day. Luckily all I needed for a backdrop was a city shot because Cleveland had elected a new mayor. As we were driving to our location, the storm kicked up a notch and lightning criss-crossed the sky.

Of course I didn't put my mast up. I'm dumb, but I ain't stupid. Radar showed the storm moving out fast and the wind and clouds seemed to confirm it. There was talk about us heading back to the station and scrubbing the live. I said, I thought we could wait it out and my EP said told me it was my call.

I had set everything up and I thought we'd wait. And wait we did. We missed our first hit. But it had been about 20 minutes without rain or lightning and we were nearing our 5:30am hit. All I needed to do to get a signal was lift my dish. I had line of sight with my recieve horn so putting my mast in the air was not a problem and since the lightning had stopped.

I got a call just before out hit. Our EP wanted to know if we were going to come back. I told him that we were good to go. No lightning for about 25 minutes and clearing skies. I could even see the stars a little. Which was pretty good since the light from the city usually prevents you from seeing the stars.

My reporter and I set up and were waiting our cues. Then we were on. Our hit was going flawlessly. My reporter reaches her tag and a bolt of lightning shoots between two buildings in the distance. I saw it and puckered a sensitive part of my body. I wasn't the only one that saw it. Our anchors saw it also.

This caused a scene back at the station between one of our anchors and our EP. During the break, a shouting match ensued between them. Apparantly our female anchor was concerned for our safety and felt that our EP was forcing us to do the shot while lightning was about. All was explained that it was my call and we weren't forced to do the shot. We were given ample opportunity to kill the live shot. But given the weather conditions and the lack of lightning for 25 minutes, I felt we were in the clear.

It was the only lightning we saw the rest of the morning. But it scared the crap out of me.

Although, it's nice to know that there is concern for us out in the field.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Quick Update

My son Josh, is out of the hospital. They have him on so many medications for Asthma, it's ridiculous!!

Oh well, at least he's home and on the mend.

Thanks for the well wishes.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Annnnd Once Again...

My oldest son, Joshua, is in the hospital with pneumonia. This is getting ridiculous. The doctors are going to check his auto-immune system to figure out why this keeps happening. This shouldn't be happening to a 5 year old..