Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Years Day

I'm working New Years Day. Ok, so I'm working the early morning of NYD. So, I'm anticipating the numerous car accident calls that involve drunk drivers. I'm also anticipating the DUI checkpoint or two to get video of.

So anyways, I hope to you dear readers and fellow photogs, Happy New Year. I wish 2007 to be a wonderful year for you.


This morning, I covered a police chase that resulted in the bad guys going to jail and one police car flipping and sending the officers to the hospital in critical condition. We hustled and were first up live at the scene which was great. Afterwards, I was reeling up my cables and stowing the mast on my live truck when a detective from the AIU came over and asked it I had a light he could borrow because they left their high powered light back at the station. I retreived our high powered light gun only to find out it was not charged and wouldn’t work.

After the officer left, I got in my live truck and left the scene. Later on my way home after my shift, I got a call from the desk telling me that a photog from Channel 8 was bringing my tripod back to the station.

OOOPS!!! Apparantly I left my tripod next to a traffic light control box. I just plain brain farted when the officer came over and asked for the light. That hardly ever happens. I think they’d rather eat dirt than ask the media for a favor. That’s what threw me off kilter and I forgot the tripod.

Thank God and thank Mark from Channel 8 for looking out for me..!!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas To All !! Zzzz......

Zzzzzzz...huh, whazzit?? Oh sorry..I fell asleep. You would to if your precious children had waken you up at 4:20 a.m.

Yes. 4:20 a.m.

Screw it...Merry Christmas. I'm headed back to bed..

Friday, December 22, 2006

I Got Mine Today

Yep, I got my fatal holiday fire over with early. It happened around 2 a.m. in East Cleveland this morning. A fire in a vacant apartment building which claimed the life of a homeless man. He and a woman were staying in the place trying to keep warm when a fire started and quickly got out of control. As I was close by the area checking out reports of an MVA, I got there when crews had just started to enter the building. It was just thick smoke but as the smoke became thicker, the air horns on the pumpers blew signaling to the fire fighters inside to evacuate the building. The apartment building was over 100 years old and decrepit.

It didn't take the firemen long to find the victims body and bring it to the front door. It also didn't take the apartment long to become fully involved. I watched the progression from thick smoke to full blown inferno in about an hour. Water issues were hampering the firefighters efforts to contain it to a basic fire.

So, anyone else get their Christmastime fatal fire today?

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Stewart Meets His Doppleganger

A few of us bloggers who genuflect in the greatness of one of our own, the end all of photogs that blog, Lenslinger, donated a few bucks to Chris Weaver, another blogging photog who is amongst the great ones as well. Weaver thought up a wonderful surprise for his co-worker and brother videojournalist : Let's get him the War Journalist action figure! He has wanted one for a long time so, what better gift than a mini-me for Christmas? So with a little subterfuge, plotting, planning and the inclusion of their respective wives, this is the outcome.

Merry Christmas Lenslinger.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Bracing For It

They say a storm is coming. They say that we'll get at least a foot of snow. Do I believe it? No. Will we get snow? Sure we will. We Usually do. But the fact that we went into "war" mode about snow once again really has me baffled. You'll never convince me that anything less than a blizzard is cause for wall to wall "team" coverage of snow. Why? Because in winter, it snows here. I know, call the media....err..wait, don't call us. We'll be out covering the flakes calling it the worst snowstorm since '78.

I agree that we do need to cover it. Put one reporter on it, have them cover it. Put the other reporter on GA. Let it go. It's snow. It's winter. It happens.

All I know is, I'm sure to be sent straight from home to drive all over God's green white earth. to shoot the stuff as it falls to the ground overnight tonight.

To quote Monty Python's Flying Circus, "My nipples explode with delight!!"

/end sarcasm mode.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Found on You Tube

You Tube is amazing. I know that we've all come to that conclusion but what I stumbled across hit home to me this morning. The video below is from the early 1980's. It involves a local Cleveland legend of a reporter, Leon Bibb when he worked at my station,WKYC Channel 3. He's now at WEWS Channel 5 here in Cleveland. I can't identify the voice of the photog but it really a classic example of what our job entails.

This is what we as news videographers and our reporters encounter in a big city. We encounter the public. We get to meet nice gentlemen like the man in the video. So here is the video from YouTube entitled, Get Off My Property!!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Sadly, I've Crossed Over

I am now officially a mini-van owner. I am no longer in control of my life. My life is controlling me. The fact that our family SUV, a 1998 Explorer, is becoming a money pit. It has upward of 215,000 miles on it. The fact that it lasted that long is remarkable in it's own right. It has served us well. Now it is our second car and last resort vehicle. Enjoy Semi-retirement old friend. You've earned it.

We're now driving a 2006 Dodge Caravan. It's not the car we wanted but it's what we could afford and it has 19,000 miles on it. It also has SIRIUS radio with it so we're happy with that too.

I'm no longer Newshutr, cool news videographer. I'm

God, I'm sad right now..

Saturday, November 25, 2006

My Real Black Friday

Black Friday. The word strikes fear into my heart. Well, not fear per se. Just a nausea that won't go away. I dislike Black Friday with a passion. The people that line up are just crazy. Their cries of "Hey..put me on TV!!" or "Can I be on TV" get under my skin easier on this day than any other day.

My Black Friday started off with getting stuck in a back up of traffic for 50 minutes. I was sent from my house to a local outlet mall that opened at midnight. I live 15 minutes away from the mall so getting there usually isn't a problem. We were told a few "select" stores would be open at the mall. Well, virtually all the stores were open. People were gridlocked trying to get there. Fifty minutes while in my news unit. I had already started to hate the people surrounding me for trying to shop at midnight.

I got to the mall, found a parking spot luckily and got my video and sound. Heading away from the place I sighed as a wave of relief spread over me. I headed back to the station only to get a call to check out a scene where a nine year old was shot and killed by his 10 year old cousin accidentally. It's not in a good neighborhood for starters. Plus tensions and emotions always run high when a child is shot.

I get to the area and there was no scene. No cops, no tape, no nothing. I tell the desk this and they say it happened at 10 p.m. so there might not be a scene anymore. That upsets me because we have crews available at that time. But maybe they were busy with other stuff.

Getting back to the station, I'm told that I'm live at a mall for more shoppers. Great. My ulcer just formed.

Live shot time comes around and for once things aren't going too badly. No tension, shoppers are very polite for the most part and the Sears store we're at is cooperating fully with us. Life is good...


Our 6:26 a.m. hit is coming up and I get ready for it. I shoulder my camera, put my eye to the eyepiece right eyeglass lens pops out and falls to the floor with 10 seconds till our hit. I switch to my left eye but that's horrible because my eyesight is just as bad with that eye. We finish our hit, thankful it was short. I try frantically to find the lens and little screw that holds it in place but I can't find the tiny screw. A woman overheard me say I couldn't find the screw and came over. She hands me her little eyeglass kit complete with screwdriver and extra screws !!! Sadly, none of the screws were the right size but she gave me hope in holiday shoppers. God Bless her. I even tried the old paper clip fix and that didn't work. Damn!

About this time, my reporter needs me to edit and send video back for her next hit. So, off I go into the truck to edit. I'm putting the last edit down when I hear 1:30 to our next hit. I call back and feed forty seconds of video back, punch up my camera, lock the truck and run back into the store with twenty seconds to spare.

After that hit, I head back out to the truck...

and discover that I've locked myself out of my live truck!!! Shit.

Calling the desk, I ask them to call the police and have them bring a slim jim. They were there within three minutes, At least that went my way.

But now, I'm still blind in my dominant eye, I need to do two more shots for our morning show and I'm using my weaker ey to do those. I need to also shoot video after we're done and I need to get my glasses fixed.

Hey, I'm in a mall!! I can get my glasses fixed no problem. Sears has an optical department!! So I head over to it after my shots are over to discover.....

They don't open until 10 a.m.

Ok, no problem....JC Penney has an optical department...

But they don't open until 10 a.m also.

There's an EyeMasters in the mall so I go there...

you sensing a pattern here??? Yup, 10 a.m. !! Fudge...!!!

Ah Hah!!! A Sunglass hut!!! Yes...!! I head there and the girl couldn't have been nicer...or cuter!! She has spare screws and proceeds to try although she's really not allowed to put screws in glasses. Apparently that feat is above Sunglass Hut Employees and says so in their training manual.

She doesn't have the right tiny screw either but I thank her profusely also and head off again. This time I hit a small store that sells chips and pop. I ask if they have eyeglass kits and they say no but they do sell Krazy Glue!! Awesome. I can at least glue the damn lens in!!! So I buy a tube of it and head off to my truck. I pass by a Dakota Watch kiosk. Something told me to ask if they had spare screws. And to my astonishment, they actually had a screw that fit but wasn't long enough to fully close together. Well, heck, I have a screw and a tube of Krazy Glue. I can fix anything!!!

So I carefully take my newfound screw and tube of glue back to the truck and proceed to glue the screw in place while getting a good amount over my fingers and right lens. At least it held!!!!

Praise God. At least I could see relatively well enough to shoot and drive back to the station.

I was able to get a good repair done to my glasses when I got off work and the Krazy Glue removed from the lens.

So, how was your Black Friday?

Friday, November 24, 2006

WKRP Goodness

"As God as my Witness...I thought turkeys could fly!!"

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving To All

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone here. I've just come back from a great dinner at my in-laws house cooked by my wife.

My morning tomorrow will start at 12:30am chasing down early bird shoppers which will gather outside stores in an outlet mall not far from my home. Then off to a mall where more shoppers will gather to grab bargains galore. To my dismay, we won't be outside a Best Buy or Circuit City. We'll be outside a Sears. Yes, a Sears. That's wonderful. If I need a bargain on Toughskins in a size Husky, I'll be as happy as a pig in well, Toughskins.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Who Is This Man?

Just who is this man behind the shades? His name is Barry and he's the other videographer we have on the morning show. Barry is a great guy to work with. Always makes me laugh and is a really good friend. I appreciate having him on the morning show because he makes it tolerable. He's a class act through and through. I'm glad to call him a friend.

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You originally saw him in this picture.

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Well actually this was the back of his head..but you get the idea.

Freaking Huge

I took this picture with my camera phone. I've blogged about the I-X Center before but every time I go to the place, I'm awed by just how huge it really is. These are two of our live trucks at the I-X Center last week during our live shot at the Fabulous Food Show.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

To All Our Veterans

Happy Veterans Day. As time goes on, we're losing the members of the Greatest Generation. Please remember all of our veterans. This video is a good reminder of just how precious they all are. Please watch it the whole way through because it is very much worth it.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Caption This!

Caption This Picture...the best one will win nothing. Sorry, but I'm cheap.

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Oh, by the way on the picture below, see the woman in the red shirt? That 's Jennifer my reporter for the morning. Notice the look on her face? Notice the distance between her and the large snake? Yep..she's not fond of snakes but this was the third time in three weeks she was made to be around them. Have to love morning live shots.

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Hey...that should be my mantra!!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Sky Fell...To Some.

Yep...we did it again. The sky was falling...the skyyyy wassss falllinng..!! Of course it was. Heaven knows that 2"-4" inches of snow in a 24 hour period is enough to scramble the troops, get the animals inside and protect the children for the hideous snow.

Now I know that when I was out looking for snow in the morning, there was about a 1/2 inch covering the ground everywhere I looked but the roads were clear. Didn't matter. Because once again the scare you to death live shot was in full force. We informed people that yes indeed, if you hadn't forgotten, snow does fall from the sky during the winter here in northern Ohio. And you need to go out and face that horrible 1/2" of snow.

Good thing we didn't overreact though.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Priceless....just priceless.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Firefox 2.0

I just dowloaded the new Firefox 2.0 and let me tell you, it's incredible. For those of you who have downloaded it, you know just how good it is.  For those that haven't or are the old IE 6 holdouts, you don't know what you're missing.  Right now, I'm using the new blogging add-on that you can download as an option when you first install 2.0.  

It's remarkable just how good this browser is and the changes, however subtle are very well done.

I'm pretty sure that IE is going off my laptop for good.

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Memories Of The Circus

Yesterday I did a live shot with Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey circus at the "Q" here in downtown Cleveland. I really had a good time but I can't get over the fact that this is still the circus and that the animals aren't kept in the nicest of conditions. Please understand that I'm NO PETA supporter at all. But the way I saw the elephants being kept and corralled really bothered me. Let me put this out first and foremost...I did NOT see these elephants being abused.

I was just bothered by the way they were being kept. A little sawdust and straw to lay on and the electrical line to keep them away from the cage barrier seemed a bit excessive. Kind of disheartening. But I guess that's why we're the dominant species.

Of course I really don't like the circus much anyways. When I was four my parents took me to the circus and I had a really good time until the elephants walked by. One of them took a dump right in front of me. That started me off on a barrage of power vomiting that I still remember to this day.

Ehh...maybe I'll just tuck that memory deep down inside again for another thirty or so years...

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Lots Of Stuff But No Time To Write

Had a busy week but no time to blog about it. Lets just say my week consisted of holding lots of snakes, owls, hawks, falcons, a chinchilla and the obligatory hissing cockroach. I put on TV a lamb's heart, pigs lungs and a cow eyeball. I made snot and almost ate BBQ mealworms.

Ahh...the joys of morning show TV.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Too Damn Early

I was jolted into a depressing realisation when I read Photoguy's latest post CRAP.

Yeah, I second that emotion (apologies to Smokey Robinson and the Miracles).



Snow is expected in our area tonight...and I'll be on flurry patrol.


We Want You To Come....DON'T SHOOT THAT!!

Museums. Great places really. Cleveland has one of the best for art in the country. Their newest show is called Barcelona. It catalogues the art of Barcelona from the 1860's to the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. It features the great artists like Picasso, Dali, Gaudi and Miro. It's only being shown in two North American museums, Cleveland Museum of Art and The Met in New York City. If you're in the area of these two museums or have the time to travel and like Picasso, Dali and others, please see this display. It's remarkable. I was in awe of the Dali pieces. I've always been a big admirer of his.

We get to the museum, run cable up to the second floor and we're told we can't show any of the paintings. We can show the sculptures and some posters but no paintings.

WHAT??? WTF???

Why are we there then? I understand that we don't want to show everything and give the public a free full show, but my God, why ask us to come and show what a remarkable display this museum has put together and then not be able to put it live on TV like we understood we'd be able to.

We run into the same thing at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame here in Cleveland. We can show only certain things. We can show a jacket from a tour the the Who did in 1978 but can't show the handwritten lyrics sheets of The Doors for example. And they'd be both in the same display! I understand the copywrite issues and all but why have us there then?

Ahh, yeah...I remember now. Free publicity.

That trumps all.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Say Wha??

Busy morning today. Drunk guy on a charter plane is refused another drink, gets upset and says that he has a bomb. That caused a diversion of the flight to Cleveland where the SWAT team boarded the plane and took the gentleman to a place with a lot of bars.

After that, I was checking out a fire when I get a call to head to a shooting on Cleveland's east side. I get to the scene and among the flashing red and blue lights, the sound of moaning and muffled screaming is coming from inside the house which is the focal point of attraction. Good scene, I think to myself.

I look at the police and they're standing around just bullshitting with each other. No police tape, no detectives putting down evidence placards. But there's still this moaning and screaming going on. I see a cop friend of mine and he walks over and asks, "Slow night?"

"I thought this was a shooting?"

"Nope. A fight. If it was something serious, you know I'd give you a call."

"Then, why all the screaming and moaning??", I asked.

"It's a group home for the deaf and two guys got drunk and a fight broke out. Guy got beat up pretty bad. The dispatcher couldn't understand the 911 call and thought the caller said there was a shooting.."

"You're kidding."

"Nope. Actually we were talking and we think the caller was complaing that someone had been farting a lot and the call was for someone tooting." Then the cops broke up in laughter...

Ahh yes....cop humor.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Time Marches On

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingI turned 38 yesterday. Blech. I woke up this morning and my knees hurt. My right shoulder hurt and my feet hurt.

I'm shocked I didn't lose a body part in my sleep.

Getting old sucks.

It's.....Uhh..Good To Be Back??

My first day back to work after being off for two straight weeks for vacation and what happens? I get my live truck stuck in an overflow parking lot/grassy field. Yes, my Ford Econoline 350 live truck sank just enough to force me to call AAA and get towed about one hundered feet to semi-dryer land and make a muddy getaway an hour later. An omen of things to come? We'll see.

But then again, some good news. EWINK IS BACK!!!! Yes, he's decided that the cathartic allure of blogging is better for him. And I have to add, it's better for us as well.

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Erin, I'm very glad you're back. The photog blogosphere is better with you around.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Did I Say Reality?

Being on my second straight week of vacation, I thought things would be great. Well, for the past two nights, I've woken up out of a deep sleep in a cold sweat. What has been the trouble? Well, thanks for asking. For the past two nights, I've had dreams I've been at work.

Yeah, I know, disturbing.

Anyways, in my dream, I'm either setting up a liveshot or heading out to a story. But things keep happening to me while I'm in the midst of doing those things. I keep getting sidetracked and I never get a chance to get back to what I'm intending to do. I can't get the live together because of a friend walking up and talking to me, or I keep needing more equipment for the shot and the truck keeps getting farther and farther away.

As for the other dream, I'm usually headed out to a fire but each road I take is the wrong road, even though I can see the fire about a block away.

I'm a troubled man, I know but sheesh, you'd think that that the furthest thing from my mind while I'm on vacation would be work.

Anyone reccommend any good psychotropic drugs??

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Back To Reality

Well, it's been a wonderful seven days in paradise. Our family trip to Nags Head is finally over. We've made the most of what time we had on the beach. My two sons had a blast making sandcastles, playing pirates and running around with the neighbor's dogs. My wife enjoyed the sun and vegged at the beach. I caught up on some sorely needed sleep, maintained my sanity by not watching anything but football on TV and on one occasion last Saturday evening I got completely hammered out of my skull on a rather tasty beer. Ok, so there were atleast 14 of those tasty beers. I did lose count but my wife's cousin said it was close to twenty.

We're now on the way home to east of Cleveland. We've stopped in Frederick, MD for the night. Tomorrow we'll be home but I need to tell you....

I've got another week and a day off!!!

Yes, I'll have another week off to basically do crap around the house that I haven't had time to do when I'm not at work. I suspect the four acres will need a good mowing. I'll also need to get the furnace ready for the cold weather which basically is next week anyways.

And there will be no news watching then either. I need to keep my sanity intact somehow.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Beach...

This is what I'm looking at this morning. It sure as hell beats red and blue lights, crying mothers, yellow evidence placards and other assorted scenes that I get on an almost daily doseage.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

All You N.C. Photogs...

I'm heading down your way. Well, not really in your area per se, but your state. So, hide your beer. Hoard your women. Cage the dog. Take in the WELCOME MAT. BE AFRAID...BE VERY AFRAID.

God, I can't tell you just how much I'm looking forward to the week I'll be down in Nags Head. We're leaving this Thursday night and driving straight down. Working overnight as I do, I'm doing the night driving. We bought a dual screen car DVD player so that the trip will be silent and the wife and I can actually have an adult conversation for two hours at a time. Unless she puts her damn iPod in and zones out.

I'm glad I have SIRIUS Radio.

Baby Watch

Jackie Smith, my early morning partner in crime is due to pop any day now. Her and her husband Dan are having a boy and they've already named him A.J. Jackie called off today because she felt that "she was close" so I hope that she was correct. She needed the day off anyways. She's been waddling around for a long time now.

I'll update as necessary.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Emmy Update

Well, the even has come and gone. Sorry to say that I didn't win. But my wife looked extra hot tonight, so I wound up a winner anyways.

Maybe next year.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Off To The Emmys

This evening my wife and I are headed to our regional Emmy awards. I despise wearing a tuxedo but hey, when you have to...

I'm nominated for an award so who knows what the evening will hold.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Don't You Just Love..

Reporters that insist that your live shot location be moved in between live hits? Then they go an sit down in the truck while you're tearing your shot down frantically??

Yeah, I love it also...blech.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Officer John Schroeder


I'm sure these words yelled over a police radio cause every news photog to pause for a second. It caused me to pause and think to what is ahead in the hours and days to come. I prayed to God that the officer was going to make it as I headed to the scene.

Unfortunately, the officer down did turn into a fatality. Officer John Schroeder, a ten year veteran of the Cleveland Police Department, was struck down in the line of duty early Thursday morning. He was hit once under the armpit, where his bulletproof vest offered no protection. It seems the shot that killed him was a "fluke". The suspect/scumbag fired through a closed door with a .357 magnum at the officers who were trying to serve a warrant.

Officer Schroeder leaves behind a wife and a ten month old baby boy.

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Rest In Peace, Officer Schroeder. May God bless you, your baby boy, your wife and family and your fellow Police Officers who put their life on the line every day to protect us.

Please visit The Officer Down Memorial Page. Please keep these officers in your thoughts and prayers.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

What?? You Actually Believed It?

Did you ever get a press release from a Public Relations person and believe what was written on it? If you do, you're either new in the news business or a very trusting soul. Either way, you're in for a big let down. You aren't going to get what you read about. It's like when a package at the grocery store says "New and Improved!!" so you buy it and then when you get home you notice that they've put less in the box and you've paid more money for less product.

So, where am I going with this? Well recently I was sent to a location for a live shot where we have been before. I wrote about it here. It's the house that was used in the movie, A Christmas Story. Basically, a guy bought the house and was renovating it to look like the house did in the movie. He's looking to turn it into a tourist attraction and museum. Well it has been nine months since we were last there and now, the day has arrived. To quote the press release, "The house used in the popular holiday classic, A Christmas Story has been restored to it's original 1983 movie appearance."

I get to the house to set up the shot and am just stopped in my tracks by what I see. It is incredible. Remarkable. Astounding. I can't find my thesaurus to come up with more words to describe what I saw. So I'll let the pictures I took show you the house in it's glory.
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And now, onto the inside. It was just amazing how good it looked. They did a hell of a job.

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Yeah, it's a beautiful renovation alright. We were handed chicken shit so we made chicken shit sandwiches and fed it to the public. I can't begin to tell you how upset I was at having to do the live shot here. My reporter felt the same way. I swear, if I'm ever given a press release for a live shot at this house, I'm heading out ASAP and eyeballing it.

And if you ever believe a press release from a PR person again, I have a bridge in Brooklyn for sale.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Are We There Yet???

A total of 190 miles traveled total today, including a trip on the Ohio Turnpike to look for a semi-tractor trailer that was supposedly pulled over with a "suspicious" cargo. It was not to be found however. It was cleared up by the time I got there.

I did come through with fire video of two vacant businesses. Woo Hoo.

Sometimes it's just nice to get out and drive especially when the weather overnight is clear and cool.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

What's That Boom?

I had ended my shift without a lunch and headed home. It usually have a forty-five mile drive home. Luckily, traffic is mostly going against me and I get home within an hour. I usually take 480 East to 422 East. I drive this almost every day. As I'm getting on 422 from 480, traffic suddenly comes to a stop in front of me. I hit the brakes and as I do, I hear a muffled "boom" in the distance. I knew it had to be a car accident. I flip on my scanner and as I'm sitting in stuck traffic, I hear the Warrensville Heights dispatcher calling police to a car vs. semi accident. The accident happened pretty much right in front of me.

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I hear sirens behind me as all of the drivers try to get over to let the emergency responders get by. A guy in a pickup crossed a grassy median, clipped two cars and hit a semi head on, doing around 70 m.p.h. Witnesses said the pickup literally exploded and the engine flew into the air landing about 50 feet away from the pickup. The driver of the pickup was killed instantly.

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I haven't been getting much spot news lately. I was beginning to wonder if people had stopped getting in car accidents, killing each other or starting fires. Ok, not really. I just was in a drought for the spot news. It was refreshing to get into the middle of the action again. Especially when it happens right in front of you.

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Sunday, August 13, 2006

What's Going On?

We lose Jorge Guapo, Ewink and now Smitty?? What in the world is going on??

Saturday, August 12, 2006


After spending the whole of Thursday morning at the airport telling people about the foiled terror plot, I felt a little tired and so I went to get a cup of coffee. Luckily, about seventy feet down from one of our plug in boxes is a Starbucks. So, I go over and decide on something with a little kick. Coffee with a double shot of espresso.

As I watch the barista make the coffee and add the second shot, she is asked a question and walks off, leaving my coffee sitting there. Another clerk comes up and asks if that was my coffee. I answered in the affirmative and said it was a double shot.

The second clerk proceeds to add two more shots of espresso to my already caffeine injected brew.

Do I raise a finger to stop her? Nope.

Folks, let me tell you that this was the stupidest move I think I've ever made.

I take back my hazardous waste Venti and proceed to drink it at a moderate pace. It was as if I'd shot it straight into my jugular. A quadruple shot espresso/coffee mix coursing through my veins made me a little, uh...manic hyper. I could feel my eyeballs jumping.

My heart was beating faster than I think it ever did before. And my right hand started shaking with tremors. Only my right hand. My drinking hand. It shook like it wanted to jump off my arm and strangle me for putting it through all that caffeine.

Thank God, I didn't need to shoot off the shoulder because I couldn't have held it still if my life depended on it. I couldn't sit still for the next three hours.

Worst. Experience. Ever.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Overnight Fun

When I worked overnights in Pittsburgh, I was taught something. It wasn't necessariy bad per se. It was a bit juvenile but not evil. The overnight videographer I was filling in for told me about a little trick he knew.

On the north side of Pittsburgh, there was a Brownstone home that was distinguished by two Mustangs parked outside. As for most urban homes, it didn't have a garage so on street parking was the rule. The Mustangs were each different colors. One was pastel yellow and the other one was purple.

It was discovered by accident that the car alarms were triggered by the transmit frequency of our 2-way radios. I was told if I wanted a laugh on a quiet night, I could drive by and just one click of the radio would set off both alarms.

Now to a young kid starting out in TV, this was pure gold entertainment. I'd park the live truck along the park that bordered the home and one click the radio.

WAHH WAHH WAHH get the idea.

The light in the house would go on and the car alarms would go on for about a minute before being shut off from inside. The light would go off and then I'd wait..

10 minutes later, "click"...WAHH WAHH WAHH WAHH

Same thing..light on, etc..etc.

20 minutes..."click"

This would go on for a good two hours if it was a slow night. What my goal was, was to get the guy to come out of his house and disable the car alarms manually. He'd come out all frustrated and open up the hoods on both cars and pull a wire.

This was especially fun when it was raining or snowing heavily.

Yeah, I know I'm a shit. But when you're young and stupid, things are funnier.

And when you were as stupid as I was back then, the world was a funnier place.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Standoffs. I hate them. Usually we're never allowed near enough to get any good video in he first place. Plus, nine times out of ten these things resolve themselves without bloodshed and the person willingly gives up or isn't in the house to begin with. This morning I found myself on just such a scene.

It's very muggy out and dark. The suburban Cul-de-sac is dimly lit by house lights. I'm standing in the middle of the street about 100 yards from the closest cop as I was asked to stay back. A man was barriaced inside his house after shooting his wife in the foot during an argument and the police are waiting on SWAT to show up. I can't see anything because the road curves off around to the left and the house is on the end of Cul-de-sac. I have to shoot on Hyper-gain to see anything.

I can see the stars when I look up. It's a beautiful sight with no street light glow to obscure the view. It's also very quiet. No real insect noises tonight. Just calm and still tonight. If it wasn't for the police at the end of the street, one would never know anything was going on.

Almost as if on cue in this serene moment, a doe walks out from behind the house I am in front of. She's looking around and then slowly walks across the yard and down into the street. She stops and looks at me. She's about ten feet from me and looking at me. I'm perfectly still because I know any movement will spook her. She looks around and then starts to slowly walk towards me. She gets within three feet and then stops. Her nose was twitching as I guess she was getting my scent. I could see her dark eyes and her ears were on alert. She stood there for about a good minute just looking a me. Then she turned and walked across the rest of the street and into the yard on the opposite of the street.

I've had my share of run-ins with wildlife. I hit a deer recently with my news unit, heading back to work, after covering a fire near my house. I also had a run in with a skunk at a decrepit cemetary casuing me to scream like a girl and punch a hole in the air, when it brushed against my ankles.

This time though, it was a nice encounter with nature. The doe put a smile on my face. It made for a good night.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

I Can Make It.....Oh Crap..!

Lots of flooding here this morning. A foot of rain fell in six hours which averages out to 2 inches an hour. The water had no place to go so it flooded many many roads and houses. Lots of people rescued, one person dead when he tried to save his boat from floating away from a marina.

What gets me is how people think they can drive though water like it's nothing. Sure it looks passable but you never really know how deep it is. This morning my reporter Jacque and myself held our live shot position on high ground near a flooded intersection. We watched fourteen cars stall out because of the high water that they "could make it though". FOURTEEN OF THEM!! They all ignored the city worker who was telling them to turn into the parking lot, to go around the intersection.

Their error. My favorite line was, "But I need to get to the Speedway because it's an emergency. I'm outta cigarettes!!

Some people should be slapped. Hard.

Monday, July 24, 2006

People Are Just Plain Stupid

I was sent out to a pedestrian vs. train accident this morning. In most cases, as this one was, they turn out to be a suicide. More often than not, they're successful in their attempt as today's was.

I'm at the scene and people are driving by, slowing down and asking me all kinds of questions I have no real answers to.

"How do I get to Route 83?"

"How long will the road be closed"

"Someone get hit by a train? Were they hurt bad?"


Hell no!! They're fine. The train's engine was damaged beyond repair though. Guy just took off up into the sky. Had a big "S" on his chest. Should've seen it.

(I'm omitting the obligatory Here's Your Sign Reference but I'm really tempted.)

Ok, that's what I wanted to say. All I really did was stare at the guy asking the question until he got the answer..

"Uh..yeah..I guess it was bad, huh?"

As the onlooker walked off, a cop comes up to me and asks, "Did he just ask what I think I heard?"


"People are just plain stupid.", said the cop.

You know, some of the time, yeah they are.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

What I Love #2

Shootng rain just because it's raining. Not flooding, just rain. No drought and this is not the first rain in a long time. It's just rain. Ordinary rain.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Baby Brain

This morning, after a long drive to Akron to do a live shot on an ordinance that targets people who get repeated police calls to their house, my reporter in her report says this..

And I quote,

"Repeated violaters of this ordinance will be subject to many different charges, including disorderly conduct, which means.........(baby brain hits now)...uh........................well, um, that's pretty self explainatory..."

I closed my eyes and bit my cheek trying not to laugh while the live shot was still active. I also tried to keep my convulsions to a minimum while she was talking. I wasn't that successful in that endeavor.

I should explain, the reporter I work with is pregnant. I have to believe that "baby brain" hit at that exact moment. For those that have gone through this with a pregnant woman in their life, I need not explain. For those that haven't had the pleasure, I shall condense it down to this. "Baby brain" is the medical term for a pregnant woman who loses the useful part of her brain due to the baby in her belly sucking out all the active brain cells and leaving her pretty much with an momentary I.Q. just this side of jello.

Effects are temporary and brain damage is minimal at best.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

What I Love #1

I just love being sent to shoot an abandoned house, on a dark street at 3:00 a.m. I'm sure my next assignment will be to shoot a black cat in a dark room.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Why Me?

Why is it on such a constant basis that I get hounded by homeless people on live shots for money? I mean I can see once in a while but today I had three....THREE come up to my truck and beg for money.

One guy I did really feel sorry for. He looked as if he had been in a fight recently. He had a hospital I.D. bracelet on his wrist, his left ear looked as if it was put into a meat grinder. He had scrapes all over his face and chin. He spoke very slowly and with most of his teeth missing he desperately tried to inform me that he was mentally retarded and needed money for a room at the YMCA. He also said his name was Robert. I usually don't carry much money on me while I work overnight. Just a few bucks but I had spent them already this morning.

This man had the audacity to ask me to go to a machine and withdraw money and bring it back to him. I guess when you need money and are that desperate, you'll ask anything. I offered to have call the police or EMS to help him get to a shelter but all he mumbled was, "All drug addicts there and the cops will put me in jail."

After he wandered away I kept asking myself, why me? Why am I always the target of their mooching attempts?

Oh well, back to the old grind.

Happy 4th everyone!! Especially you, Robert. Please be careful out there. And God, please watch over him.

Monday, July 03, 2006

That Was Too Close

Went out to a reported shooting of a woman a couple nights ago. It was in a really not so nice area of town which kept me on my guard. I was about a half a block from the street when a group of twenty or so urban "utes" ran right in front of my news unit causing me to slam on the brakes and leave a good ten foot trail of rubber. They were all running from someone or something.

After that little scare, I get to the scene of the shooting. I see EMS and police at site. I open the door to get out and get my camera. I no sooner put one foot on the road when less than fifty feet from me, two very loud handgun shots are fired off.


I jump back in my car and lock the doors. My phone call to the desk went like this:

Me: Ummm..hey ummm...they're still shooting out here!!! Pretty F*&%*@G close to me!! I'm staying in the car until I feel safe!

Desk: (Laughter) problem. But when you're done dodging bullets, I need you to go to another shooting..

Busy night.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

I Shall Call Him...


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Yes, I buckled and got one. What can I say? It's not a cool robot like LLR's but I swear it does bear an uncanny likeness to one photog that will not be named.

Anyone have a lock of un-named photog's hair?

Man....I am in soooooo much trouble for this post.

ON EDIT: Since so many people are asking, I found Little Stewart on ebay. I searched for "WAR JOURNALIST" and found him. Was about $62.00 with shipping. It came directly from the People's Republic of China, so it took about three weeks.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Update To A Bad Day

Updating the Bad Day Post:

Live truck + extremely low hanging phone line + 23 mph + SBC's failure to repair said line on "priority call" from the day before = dish and pan/tilt head on ground and broken.

A Lot Of Water

It's been raining here a great amount. My adventures started off even before I left the house. When I called in to the desk this morning, I was told to head to I-90 eastbound. Seems that because of all the heavy rain that a small portion of the interstate had flooded and caused a four car accident. Sounded bad for an interstate to flood so when I got there, I was shocked to discover that it wasn't from the heavy rains that the highway was covered with water but from a broken watermain. The South Marginal road borders I-90 for a small stretch and the watermain flooded the Marginal road and then the water went on to the interstate, flooding all eastbaound lanes and two westbound lanes.

My phone rang and I was told to bring the tape back and head out to Huron County, specifically the town of Norwalk. I was told that they had major flooding issues. A bridge had washed out and many roads were closed. I was told to take a live truck so that I could feed out from Huron County.

Looking overhead and seeing the cloud to ground lightning presented a problem for feeding back anything. Plus, the fact that we can't get a microwave signal out from Huron County was puzzling but I'm glad I took the truck.

I headed off to northern Huron County and when I got there, I couldn't believe what I saw. When the lightning struck, it illuminated the countryside, or really what was left of it. A lot of farmland was underwater. It looked like there were lakes on each side of me as I drove down two lane roads covered with water. I was glad I was in the live truck as the clearance helped tremendously.

Now, I like my camera. I don't love it. It could be better. Heck, it could be a lot better. It just plain sucks in the dark. DVCAM isn't what it's all cracked up to be. I miss my SX camera because that thing ROCKED out in the dark. But there I was, stuck with a half-blind camera in farm country with no streetlights for help. Most of my video I had to shoot either on 18dB or on..yeccchhhh Hypergain.

Let me tell you how creepy it is, stopping on a road that had water rushing over it, in the dead of night, getting out and shooting in the dark. All I had to listen to was the gurgling of the water and the rumble of thunder. It's very creepy because at least to me, my mind started to wonder about how fast the water was rising behind me. Maybe I was letting my mind get the best of me but I left quickly from that road.

After a few flooded houses shot, a few more roads flooding, a mile walk down a closed road to a washed out bridge (under Ohio State Patrol supervision) and rivers of water flowing through front yards, I got back to my truck with relative dryness and safety.

My phone rang again and I was asked if I could do a phoner for our 5 a.m. show. I've never done a phoner before but since it was spot news and I was the only one that was out here from our station, I agreed to do it. Our reporter and other photog were on the way but had stopped to shoot more video from different areas. Not that it would make any difference because they were in a live truck also and the lightning and location hindered our attempts to go live.

After my phoner, I headed back to a place where it wasn't lightning and that I knew we could feed out from. I got our video back in time for the 6:30 a.m. show.

It was just a long day and I didn't want to see another drop of water. So of course, it's thunderstorming again and the whole area of northern Ohio is under a flood watch, so I assume I'm heading out to more flooded farmland in the dark tonight.

I'm bringing my flip-flops and water wings this time.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Bad Day

Bad day. Just that. Bad day at work.

Saturday, June 17, 2006


I forgot that I took this picture with my phone. We're outside the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. The man on the left is our reporter, Obie Shelton. The photog, or the back of the head more accurately, is Barry. The guy in the middle is some weather guesser from New York.

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Cars II: On Fire

See this claw? It's the newest gadget in a reality TV show called, WHEN CAR RECYCLING CENTERS CATCH FIRE. The object is to use these giant claws, moving around tons of charred automobile skeletons to get to the red hot cars underneath that are still smouldering. Sounds like a hit show, right? Ok, maybe not.

This fire at a scrapyard just befuddled the heck out of myself and the Channel 8 photog, Jimmy Holloway. We just could not find an access route to the fire as it was in a very heavy industrial area, complete with abandoned factories and brownfields. The police were nice to us but wouldn't let us near the fire because there may have been hazardous materials nearby.

These pictures are from the early morning. Jimmy and myself drove around for about an hour looking for a place to see the fire clear enough for our respective liveshots. After finding a place that was "near" but not great, I headed back to the station to get the live truck. My phone rang and it was Jimmy telling me he found an access road off some railroad tracks and that there was a great view and plenty of room for live trucks.

He was right, and I was very grateful that he called me. We tend to work together on big stories and Jimmy is one of the best photogs in Cleveland. Plus, he's truly one of those people who have a genuine friendly soul.

We finally were able to see the fire up close and it was pretty amazing seeing tons of junked cars go up in flames. What was more impressive that where we were located, right next to railroad tracks, we didn't stumble upon the carcass of some railroad hobo who'd been gutted with a shim over the last can of beans.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Another Night On The Desk

It's another night sitting at the desk for me. Someone has to man the desk and if I don't sit here and listen to the scanners, no one else will.

Now, it looks like the main room one editor didn't show up tonight. Now the desk is unmanned because I need to fill in, in editing.

Peachy. Thank the Lord it's Friday.

Oh, and Al Roker is in town this morning. I don't think I'm in the mix for that coverage this morning. Too bad.


My morning live was about 1/2 mile away from the Al Roker live. As soon as we (Jacque and I) were done, we broke down and headed over to the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame, where Al was doing his hit from. It's a good thing we did. We got there just before their second and last hit with Al and about one minute before their hit, the station lost the picture. I ran back to the truck and checked all connections and grabbed another a/v pair. I gave it to Barry, my buddy and other photog in the morning, and he got the picture back up with seconds to spare.

Seeing Al again was a great treat. He's always a fun guy and is really a maniac when he's on the air.

Oh, and the other morning editor did show up. She was dealing with a malfunctioning alarm clock.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Now That's A Fire

There's nothing like getting a call from the desk saying, "We just got a call about a HUGE fire in ....." Now to Joe Sixpack, a HUGE fire could mean, my neighbor's garage is smoking or there is a trash can on fire. I always head to one of these with a little aprehension and a rush to judgement before I get to the scene.

I vow not to anymore.

It turned out that the caller was correct. The caller was actually one of our part-time editors and when he said HUGE fire, he wasn't kidding. An apartment complex that was converted into condos was going up in flames. He lives right next door and called in to tell us about it.

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It killed two people and sent more to the hospital, including a police officer who was injured in the process of evacuating people. The fire left many of the residents homeless.

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The pictures are from WKYC-TV, which is my station. The video can be found there as well.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

You Can Lead A Horse To Water But Can He Backstroke?

Friday morning, what a busy day. Apparantly, June 2nd marked the Greater Cleveland hunting season because there were three homicides last night. 2 were "regular" homicides and one was an officer involved shooting in a usually serene suburb where things like officer involved shootings just don't happen. The officer was shot at by a man who "lost it mentally" according to his family and the officer returned fire hitting the man three times.

But my day wasn't over. Well, actually it was. I just got a rare opportunity for overtime on a Friday. My phone rang as I was walking up to the desk to tell the desk girls to have a nice weekend. Lisa, our morning desk manager, tells me to head home. "Oh, and on the way, stop by on Aquilla Rd. There's a horse stuck in a swimming pool."

Now there's something you don't hear every day.

So, I punch in the address on my GPS system and head on out. I didn't get there in time to see them get the horse out, unfortunately. I live forty five miles from our station and this place was about 5 miles away from my house. Morning traffic hampered me along with an Amish buggy which slowed traffic on a two lane road.

The horse was a little cut up and wet but mostly ok. The horse's owner was more shaken up than the horse was. I'm not even going to describe the pool but let's just say, major sanitaion work is going to be needed.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Things That Go Bump In The Night

For Memorial Day, my live shot was to be at a cemetary where there are veterans from the Revolutionary War to the Vietnam War. The cemetary had fallen into a state of disrepair. There was to be a re-dedication ceremony that afternoon at 1:30p.m. Of course this is 5 a.m. dark and I'm headed to a cemetary.

I arrive there and it's dark. I mean really DARK. Bone chilling dark. Dark that makes you shiver. I'm talking really, really, really dark. I get out of the truck after putting on my high beams, revealing the gate of the cemetary and it's fence. Actually it revealed what was left of it's fence, minus the six foot gaps of missing wrought iron.

Looking up, I saw no above wires and proceeded with the set up of the live truck. I start pulling cables and thats when the noises started. The wind picked up and tree branches rubbed together. Bushes rustled with unseen monsters and zombies looking for braaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnssssssssssss....

As I set up my cables, camera and lights, something ran right past my leg. I almost lost it then when I caught a glimpse of what it was. It was one of Satan's minions come to take me away. Ok, not really. It happened to be a skunk.

SKUUUUNNNNKKK..!!!! I leapt about ten feet into the air (no small feat for such a big guy like me), made a noise akin to what my wife makes to when she sees a spider and punched a hole in the air that would make Chuck Yeager proud, as I ran to the safety of my live truck.

Safely barricaded within the confines of my truck, I called the station and proceded to have my live shot dialed in. My reporter arrived and I told him what happened so now we're both on guard for nocturnal mammals wandering about. Not to mention the undead out for a stroll.

Then it hits me. I need to pee. Badly.

I just want to let you all know that it is not considered desecration of a grave if you pee outside the gates of a cemetary, in the dark. The tree might not feel that way, but I'm sure it'll get over the indignity of my bodily function.

And as I finished, I could swear I heard someone say, "brrraaaaiiinnnssss..."

Friday, May 26, 2006

Pubic Library...Yes, I meant it.

You'll have to forgive me but I'm piggy-backing this blog idea off of the TVPhotogBlog website. Chris Weaver posted this originally and I think it was a great idea. Since it's my station that aired the story by Carl Monday, our investigative reporter at WKYC, the link was posted to I guess I didn't post a link to it because I've seen it a good amount of times.

A lot of people at b-roll are bashing this as trash journalism and such. Yes, it was indeed a sweeps piece. Was the story aired to draw ratings? Of course it was. That's what sweeps is about. But I ask you, in your local market, don't the stations do similar types of stories? Undercover video, confrontational scenes by the investigative reporter and reports of the same genre? If you say a station doesn't, I'm calling bullshit. All stations do it in one form or another and none are above it.

Where's the outrage about Dateline's TO CATCH A PREDATOR? Oh that's right. If it's the network doing it, then their shit doesn't stink. Or course not, it's good journalism? I mean the Cleveland story used a black and white undercover camera. The Dateline story wires a whole house with color cameras and works in conjunction with local law enforcement authorities.

If this was happening in your local library, and don't be pollyannaish as to think that it doesn't, wouldn't you like to know? Wouldn't you like to know if someone like the adult man beating off at the table in the Cleveland story, might be a threat to your children when you take them to the library?

I didn't shoot the story but to ML and Carl, a very good job.

As seen on

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Is It Just Me??

Seriously, is it just me? Am I the only one in the country that doesn't give a rat's ass about American Idol? The hype?? Feh. The bad music? Double feh.

I think I'd rather trim my toenails.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Baby Steps Are The Hardest

Yesterday our station is now broadcasting in 16:9. We switched over for the 6:00pm show. That means now, everything we shoot is in 16:9 aspect ratio. It's a bit discombobulating because after shooting for 15 years in 4:3, learning new habits and having to toss old ones for shooting will be a rough road.

Some of the video shot for yesterdays show was a bit squashed but all in all, it was a good first day. We go t a new graphics package and a new news set and a weather set out of it. It's our first step to true HD by 2009. Now if we'd just get those XD Cam cameras that are ordered rumored to be coming...

Saturday, May 20, 2006

What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate

Friday morning, I waited and waited for my reporter to get her stuff ready for our morning live shot. It was to be on the reaction to the Da Vinci Code movie. Our show starts at 4:55a.m. and it was getting extremely close to 4:30a.m. and we hadn't left the station yet. Jacque, my reporter, walked by me and said, "Go ahead and I'll take my truck."

At least, that is what I thought she said.

So, I ran to my live truck and headed out. Not two minutes later, a very upset reporter called me and asked why I left.

I told Jacque that I thought she said that she was going to drive herself.

Apparanlty I heard wrong. My bad. OOOOPS !!!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Busy Day...

And I missed it. The visit of Dick Cheney and the instalation of a new Bishop for the Cleveland Catholic Diocese.

Both happening waaaay after my shift is over and a "No O.T." edict at the station made it an enjoyable day.

Except this is the fourth straight day of rain which is enough to given anyone the blahs. Hope tomorrow provides a little break in the downpours.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

What I Wish I Could Say

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Friday, May 12, 2006

Who Put THAT There??

This morning I did a live shot at Geauga Lake. It's a local amusement park that has a waterpark that they converted from the former Sea World of Ohio. Well, we're there at 5 a.m. and it's an empty amusement park. It's dark...really dark. Why we're there that early I don't know. I half expected KISS and the phantom to show up. Anyways, as I'm setting up my shot, I took the a/c reel and set it beside the truck. I went back to get the a/v cables and then walked around the side of the truck again and WHAM....

I ran my shin into the metal reeler.

I started cursing a blue streak right in front of the P.R. lady as I hopped on one foot while rubbing my shin with my hands. My God, did it hurt!! Plus it was very embarassing because the P.R. lady was extremely cute.

Now, I'm starting to show a huge bruise on my right shin. Well, I'll call it a battle scar.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Hot Wheels

After getting set up for my morning live shot, I settled down for two hours of live picture bumps. Sadly, I should have know that it was going to be short lived. I did two pictures when my phone rang. "Nice picture you have up. Now break down because you're headed east. We've got a house fire," the desk told me.

Wonderful. It was beginning to rain so driving east would mean that I'd be driving out of it for at least a while. I plugged in the address to my GPS unit and headed east hoping there'd be something left after a 45 mile drive.

After winding my way past the local nuclear plant I came to the fire scene. It was white trash heaven. It was a mobile home park. A trailer had caught on fire and was pretty much a goner in about ten minutes. I shot video of it and then found the fire chief. After finding out everyone was able to get out safely, I asked if the fire may have been meth related. "Why? You looking to buy some?", Madison's fire chief responded. Great. A comedian.

All in all, the estimated the damage done to the trailer at $12. Yep, it was a total loss.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Mobile test 2

Mobile test 2

I'm Just Watering The Lawn

This Sunday morning, I went out to cut the open 2 acres of my back property. Apparantly I, on my trusty lawn tractor, must have kicked up something sharp. A rock, a stick, pruning shears...something.

What draws me to this conclusion? There's a four inch gash in the side of our above ground pool and currently 12,000 gallons of water are flowing out and watering my back yard the hard way.


Friday, April 28, 2006

What's A Guy To Do?

Yesterday there was a fatal shooting at Cleveland Hopkins Airport. An irate man with a rap sheet about as tall as I am tried to buy a ticket to Chicago at the Delta Airlines counter. Well, for sme reason, they refused to sell him a ticket. He was upset enough that when he left to go to the United ticket counter, Delta called the police. United sold the man a ticket and then a police officer arrived. A scuffle broke out between the officer and the irate man in the terminal.

A second officer showed up as backup to the first officer. The two officers are now struggling with this man. The three of them fall to the ground in a tangle of bodies. Reports say that the man bit the hand of the second officer, taking his service weapon and fired two shots into the chest of the first officer. The first officer falls back, wounded. He wasn't wearing his issued vest as he is required to.

A third officer shows up just in time and shoots the man dead. The first officer survives with a couple of broken ribs and a punctured lung. He now has a bullet in his back which they probably will not remove.

Now why did I tell you all this? Because it happened right after my shift was over and I was pulling into my driveway when I heard it going down on the radios. Now, this morning, I'm sent to the airport to wait for the re-creation of the incident by the Cleveland Police Department's deadly force team.

So there I am in the airport at 1 a.m. waiting for this to happen.

And I wait..

And wait...

Aaaaannnnnndddd wait...

It never happened. I didn't mind staying there. I chatted with a nice lady from Delta who is flying back to Atlanta. It beat falling asleep in an airport.

What I did mind....there are two Starbucks in the airport that weren't *^%$#@!&((%*(!!!! open!!!


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Maybe Next Year

Reading Lenslinger, LittleLostRobot and FTOJRLST combined posts from NAB 2006 makes me a very jealous man. I think I need to go next year.


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Oh What A Night

Working overnights as I do means that when our overnight desk guy, Russ, takes a week or even a day or two off, they never replace him. So, usually no one is on the desk overnights until at least four a.m. I usually take it on myself to sit at the desk and listen to the scanners. It's not my job. It's not my jurisdiction (different union) but I feel like I need to because I can't stand the fact that we might be missing something.

So as I'm sitting on the desk last night, I hear a call for a house fire. I tell our E.P. that I'm heading out to it because it's a worker. This means that our E.P will have to keep an ear out on the scanners and produce the five a.m. show also.

So I head to the fire.

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While here, I find that the fire is a garage on fire. No big deal. Then my phone rings. It's our E.P. calling to tell me that he heard an officer calling "SHOTS FIRED..SHOTS FIRED...MAN DOWN!!!" He tells me it's at E.71st and Mound. That is south from where I'm at and a good ways away. Still in the city of Cleveland though so, off I head.

I arrive at Mound Ave.

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To find.....nothing. No activity whatsoever. I drive all around the area looking for anything and don't see a blessed thing. I call back and talk to my E.P. telling him I don't see anything. I ask him if he heard it right and he screams at me...."I KNOW WHAT I HEARD!!" So, I drive around the area some more. I've spent about 15 minutes looking so I call him back again. This time he says he'll call the police and find out.

Then he calls me back twenty minutes later and says, "Ok..E.71st and Superior." So I head there.

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Notice where it is? If you need to, go back and look at the first pic. I'll wait.......

Ok, back? It turns out it was E.71st and Myron, not Mound as I was first told. See how close I was to the shooting when I was at the fire? I was at least six blocks or less. And now I was about 45 minutes behind the action.

It turned out to be a good story. A car with some bad guys chase another car, firing at it with an automatic weapon. The bad guys take a turn onto E.71st from Superior and hit a cargo van head on. The bad guys back up and speed off. The car that was shot at turns the same corner and stops in front of the van. Two guys fall out of the car. One is wounded in the head and another is shot in the chest. A cop is coming down E.71st and sees the car shot to hell and the guys laying in the street bleeding profusely.

I just hate being sent on wild goose chases. I didn't miss the story but I could have been there to get the victims and the scene when it was hot.

I was that close. Oh well.

Stuck On You

What is this stuff, you might be asking yourself. Or you may not. Well, I'll tell you. It's glue. Industrial glue to be precise. It leaked from a tanker that had just left the plant where it's made. The driver of the tanker truck pulls into a Speedway station to fuel up. He notices that he's leaking a good amount of the glue from his tank and calls his boss. His boss tells him to return to the plant and they'll take care of it.

So, instead of staying put like any sane person would do, he decided to drive back to the plant and have it looked at, thus putting about another mile and a half of glue down on the road AGAIN.

Image hosting by Photobucket So, after spreading glue over three miles on a round trip drive and causing a few cars to slide and spin, the company calls the police.

It closed the street for about six hours as the fire department and an enviromental cleanup company tried to get the glue off the street. I'll avoid the obvious pun about it being a sticky situation and just leave it at that.

TAXI !!!

The other day I was sent out to a huge fire at a cab company. They once ran their cabs on propane but they were pretty much converted back to normal gasoline by this time. They still had a few cars in their fleet that ran on propane and they still had a 30,000 gallon tank of the stuff on their property. And the fire was raging out of control.

As I'm headed that way, the desk informs me of the tank and the potential explosion hazard. A half-hearted "watch yourself" echoed in my ear as I arrived on the scene.

I had to park my live truck two blocks away as the Cleveland Fire Department had sealed the area off pretty well. I got out and looked up to see no wires overhead, set the mast heading up and started to pull cable. I ran the cable down the street and around the corner and ran into a mass of people headed towards me. A firefighter is herding people in a mass away from the fire. "Keep moving!! The tank may explode!! Keep moving! " I stop dead in my tracks and wait for the people to go by. The firefighter looks at me, nods his head in a quiet hello and says, " You can keep going..."

Image hosting by Photobucket Yeah...this thing is going to explode and he tells me that "I can keep going.." Riiiiiiighhhht. So, what do I do like a dumbass with a death wish?? I keep going down the street and set up my shot. Thankfuly the CFD had pretty much isolated the tank from the flames but smaller tanks inside the garage that had propane did set off small explosions that could be heard from about a mile away.

Turns out that the fire was set by an arsonist. There were two homes torched in the surrounding blocks a couple of days before this fire. Looks like we've got a firebug in the area and we'll be busy until they catch the little pyromaniac.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Quote Of The Day

My 5 year old yells to his 4 year old brother while getting ready for their bath...


Saturday, April 15, 2006

Yet Another Fatality

I was sent down to Akron a few days ago to cover a fire. Turns out it was a fatal fire. Seems like careless smoking was to blame. The fire started in a couch on the first floor. Couches don't seem to spontaneously combust that often

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An elderly man died. Another person and 5 dogs were able to get out.

If I'm keeping count on the fatal fires, this is at least the sixth this year.