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.