Saturday, January 29, 2011

Follow Friday: Put on your reading glasses

Lots of goodies in this Follow Friday.
I know, I know... It's Saturday. But Friday was a busy day. After working the nightside shift Thursday and getting home at midnight, I had a quick turnaround and was back at work before 9:30. The day didn't end til 11pm after reporting two stories and shooting three basketball games. Boy, I'm tired just writing that.

Anywho... This week's edition of my favorite links are four readers. Blogs and newspaper articles that I really enjoyed for different reasons.

What's the secret to happiness? It's money, obviously. Kidding. It's actually chocolate. Kidding again. It's playing and being a kid. (Silence). Yup, that's what it is. At least that's what some psychologists say. They claim having fun is directly tied to happiness. Makes sense.

Every football season my family and I make picks, guessing who will win each game. We've done this for the past six or so years and I don't think I've won yet.
My favorite team is the 49ers. While I don't always pick them, there's been a few times when I wrote that team against better judgement. Why is that?

I can't wait for summer.
Ok ok, I know I have to and I should enjoy the winter weather and snow and the playoffs and whatever. But I can't wait for summer.
Actually, I can't wait for everything that comes with it: long days, sandals, t-shirts, swimming, sun, and BBQ.

I think my favorite movie this year has been "The Social Network." Critics have said that it's the film that captures my generation; that is, a group of people who have only experienced a society where there are telephone options beyond landlines, internet is an everyday too, and social identities have importance on or near the same level of our real identities. That last claim is a bit hefty and probably could be expounded in a later blog (no promises).

Anywho... "The Social Network." Critics say it captures my generation. And shines a harsh, unattractive light on it. Filmmaker and actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt (pictured right in one of my favorite flicks, "(500) Days of Summer" [See! There's summer again!]) wrote an open letter to one of the aforementioned critics defending our generation and the role of technology.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

State of the Union

What an exciting day. I've embraced my inner nerdiness and newfound love for politics.

About an hour before the State of the Union address, I felt an odd sensation come over me. Excitement. I had a level of anticipation higher than normal. I felt as excited as I did in college on Friday afternoons. Those great afternoons with no homework, no classes, just a killer sunset and the prospect of something good happening that night.

Back in those days, that prospect of something good was a party.
Now, it's a man talking behind a podium for an hour.

My, how things have changed.

I watched coverage on ABC (of course). The intro to the address summed up the importance of the speech. Random people on the street were asked to give direction to the government in three words. Some of the phrases "Bring back America" "Create more jobs" "Make America safe." You could see the emotion and desperation in the phrases they chose and way they looked at the camera. They were looking to President Obama as a leader. As the person who would provide guidance for a nation, supposedly coming out of a horrible recession, but not yet feeling that way. It's tough times, and all eyes are poised on him.

How could this not be exciting?

My story for the evening turned out to be local business reaction to the speech. A small portion was released early. It happened to be maybe the most talked about section of the speech: This is our generation's Sputnik moment.

I spoke with local businesses about Obama's focus on small business, innovation, and investing in Research and Development. Their thoughts echoed his: Money going to R & D will push technological limits and create jobs.

It was a really great story and I'm happy with how the package turned out. Unfortunately, because I used video from the address, we are not allowed to post it online. But you can trust me.

It was a pretty exciting evening. And as a I said before, it's not everyday that listening to someone in a suit talk for an hour is that interesting.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Saturday: Bowling, Pictures, Salsa

Saturday was a day of rest. Kinda.

A few co-workers and I went bowling. I haven't been in about two years, but have had a lot of practice since then. On the Wii.

Bowled a 106, then a 108. Surprised myself.

Since the weather was nice, Adam and I took advantage of it. We grabbed our cameras and snapped some pictures during "golden hour." Golden hour is the time right before sunset when a warm haze makes ideal lighting conditions.

We went to Roxy Ann peak, a small mountain overlooking the Rogue Valley.

Then, we headed to a industrial worksite and took a few more.

After a short nap, went out with a few co-workers for drinks and salsa dancing. Nice!
Thankfully, there are no pictures of the aforementioned dancing.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Follow Friday

Watermelon carving from Vid Nikolic on Vimeo.


"Last Minutes with Oden"

Be sure to have kleenexes near you for this one. Seriously.

Last Minutes with ODEN from phos pictures on Vimeo.


Eight years, one face in 100 seconds:

Living My Life Faster - 8 years of JK's Daily Photo Project from JK Keller on Vimeo.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Monday was a good day

Surprising to say that.
Especially considering I was woken by the Bat Phone only five hours after going to sleep.

Sunday was a fun night of karaoke. Sang "Power of Love" by Huey Lewis and the News. Got home around 1 and hit the hay around 2:30. Five hours later, at 7:30, the Bat Phone rang and I was told I'd need to come in early and work the day shift to cover a sick co-worker. Not the best news ever.

But the day turned out pretty great. I covered a story about landowners who would need to clear parts of their land to make it safer during fire season. After following the end of a long phone chain, I met a very nice man named Bill who showed me around his beautiful, 190-acre property. A creek flowed through the hundred year old trees.
The story turned out pretty well considering many offices and important people were not working for MLK Day. Pretty happy about that.

My live shot turned out pretty well. And I got to chat with Coop, my camera man for the day. It was nice to just talk shop and joke around after the major work portion of the day was over.

We started the 5:00 show with a 30 second clip of MLK's "I Have a Dream" speech. It was incredibly moving to just listen to his words and hear his passion. It made me take a longer thought about WHY the day is celebrated, WHY it's on the same level (federal holiday) as July 4th, Labor Day, Christmas. MLK's work in the civil rights movement, and the civil rights movement, itself, was incredibly important for America as a society. Incredibly important.

When I got home, I made my rounds on the social media scene and saw a number of things.

1.) My SMC Gaels are now ranked #21 in the nation. Not bad. Considering we're 16-2 and score an average of 22 more points than our opponents.

2.) One of my good friends/artistic counterparts/GaelVision buddies made a music video that was released last week that has gone viral. In less than a week, it's gotten 15,000 views. Today, it was featured on a blog on Fantastic work by Devon and Hart Perez.

Me and Devon about ten minutes after walking across a stage wearing silly clothes and hats.

3.) A lot of my friends seemed to be having a good day for themselves, too! One had a job interview that went "SUPER well," Steven Sandberg was named "Favorite Sports Reporter" in the 5th Annual Best of Medford list by the publication Medford Sneak Preview, a friend travelled to the Oregon coast and Redwood forest, Tove Tupper started her new job as a reporter at KREM-TV in Spokane, people enjoyed the day off and spent time with their friends. It seems like everyone is getting a good shake today. I like it.

Add in the facst that the temperature reached 61˚, I was home by 7:00, got to watch sports and TV with my roommate, and I'm planning to be in bed and asleep by 10:30...there's no way I'm having a Monday as good as this for a while...

And if I do, it won't be a bad thing...

Monday, January 17, 2011

Southern Oregon Adventures VIII: Skiing Mt. Shasta

I think I found a new favorite hobby. Skiing.

On Saturday, I hit the slopes on Mount Shasta with a few friends from work. It was sunny, lift tickets were (relatively) cheap, and the company was good, fun. It was excellent.

There's a ski park on Mt. Ashland less than an hour from my apartment, but we made the trek to California for good reason. The runs are much flatter, meaning much less chance for falls and bone-breaking injuries.

It was a clear, rainless, snowless day without much more than a breeze at the top of the runs. So, you could see out over the entire Shasta valley. And if you're not skiing/sliding/falling down the hill, it's pretty quiet up there. The tall trees were a sight to see, too. Deep green towers high above the crisp, white snow. Very serene, very beautiful.

Was it busy? Not especially. The other skiers and snowboarders made the experience better, too. Surprisingly enough.

It seemed like just about everyone was in a good mood. We were all just enjoying the day, enjoying the hill, and happy to be able to do something cool.

The phrases, "bro," "dude," "chill," were thrown around a lot. But it almost felt right. Like every stereotypical California surfer added four layers of clothes and traded in their beach towel for snow boots.

Elementary-aged kids flew down hills with reckless abandon, much quicker than my 22 year old frame could handle. It was the opposite of Disneyland. No crying kids and angry parents. In their place, hip-high adrenaline junkies dreaming of the X-Games.

Cool environment. Pun intended.

The best part of the ski trip was, what else, the skiing. Picking up speed…finding the right way down…not necessarily seeing, but knowing, feeling, where the other riders are and avoiding each other…feeling thighs burn…hearing the cracking of ice under the skis…feeling the cold sting…its all part of the experience. Being in that zone.

I shot this video of Nick and Kristin heading down Cedar Run and Panther Creek:

Did I fall? Yeah, got a small bruise below my knee. But if you're not falling, you're not trying hard enough.

Can't wait to be back in that zone again.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Follow Friday: Going Abroad

I have been inactive on the blog for more than a week. Apologies.

This January has been a bit different from the past few Januarys. One of the best features of Saint Mary's was Jan-Term. What is Jan-Term? It's a one-month intersession, where students take one intensive course. One class, three hours a day, four days a week, four weeks. It's an entire semester of work slammed into one month. The classes are academic, but they're also pretty non-traditional. Some classes offered: Feminism and Mad Men, Slow Food: Sustainable Eating in the Bay Area, and Intro to Opera. I took the last class listed there. And surprisingly enjoyed it.

There are a few travel classes offered, too. I was incredibly lucky and took three travel courses in my four years. Freshman and Sophomore years I went to New Orleans and performed relief work in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. This time last year I was in Satarém, Brazil, a small town on the Amazon river. The cumulative ten weeks I spent out of my typical habitat are some of the best memories I've ever made.

Those travels were more than just touristtrips, they were
immersions in another culture, challenging mentally, emotionally, and philosophically. We were thrown into other-worldly situations: clearing out homes that hadn't been touched for more than a year after being underwater during the post-Katrina floods, teaching English to children who only speak Portuguese, and building homes for people returning to New Orleans. As I said, they were challenging. But they were also, very rewarding.

Each class was led by the same professor (though she preferred to let the class run itself, like a democracy), Shawny Anderson. She is a great woman and advisor. She's a big reason for some of the success I've had.

Now, she's taking another class on an incredible journey. There are 15-some students and instructors going to the Dominca islands in the Carribbean. They have been living and working alongside the people in the Carib Territory for about a week and will be doing so for the next two weeks.

In their new world, they are updating a blog everyday with videos, photos, and insightful text. Read it, watch it, experience it here:

The class is a beautiful experience, and the blog is a direct line to their experiences. I hope you enjoy it.

Friday, January 7, 2011

You know it's a good day when...

It's a good day when the News Director and a 25 year veteran of the TV industry say, "nice job." I had a very quick turnaround for a story on Thursday.

At 4:50 we heard call of a structure fire over the scanner.
I jumped in the car and went out there.
Got info at the scene of the fire, and called it in to the station.
Shot video and grabbed an interview with the Deputy Fire Marshal.
Was on the road back to the station at 5:40.
Arrived at 5:55.
Wrote the script, with help from Danielle.
Danielle cut most of the video, with a little help from me.
Attached the video to the digital VCR.
Fronted the story at 6:30.

it wouldn't have happened without the help of my co-workers.

That whole chain of events, earned the compliment from two of the most respected people in the newsroom.
It's not very often compliments are doled out in the I'll savor this one for a while.

Follow Friday: Homage to the past

A few songs and videos that pay tribute to years and moments passed.

Simple song with a simple message.

Everyone has a special age that lives in memories with a golden hue. Could be college, could be young childhood, could be first job. For many, it's playing high school sports, namely, football.
This ESPN Documentary is about high school football. And all the emotions swirling and embedded in the sport at that age.
It's shot and edited beautifully. But what strikes me most is how resonant the messages are. The whole film is an hour long, but here's a short excerpt.

Odd name, right? It's an homage to 1929 film, "Man with a Camera." Obviously, this film's got much better technology

It was shot in NY during the crazy blizzard just after Christmas. People here get excited over the prospect of an inch of snow. Not sure how they would survive in this storm. Let alone shoot amazing video.

Roger Ebert, the film critic, loves this piece and says it deserves an Academy Award for best Short, Live Action film.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Friend Time

One of my good buddies from college, Brian House, visited Medford today. He was home in Washington for the holidays and drove I5 to get back to Moraga. The drive is long, so he broke it into two days and spent the night at my place.

We caught up and had beers on Wednesday.
Thursday morning we went to breakfast.

Breakfast at Black Bear with Brian.
It gets three thumbs up.

He was only here for about 12 hours, and we were sleeping for 8 of them, but it was beyond great to hang out with him. To see my one of my college buddies, put me in a great mood.

Brian and Bryan.
Circa May 2010

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Lost in flames

Tuesday January 4th, I reported about a fire that completely destroyed a century old building. Before it was burned to the ground, it was a church. Before that, a home. Before that, a school.

It's sad to know that a building is completely gone. But it was more than a building. It was a local landmark. More than 100 years old and served as a place of worship, shelter, and education.

When the flames took the building, it took just about everything physical from that space.
But it can't take the memories or feelings.
The education and wisdom taught and learned in the small classrooms.
The love of the family that used that quaint building as their home.
The collected worshipping of the Unitarian church that gathered there every other Sunday.
The marriages that began under the steeple.

One woman who went to church there, took something from the burning rubble. She took a board that had been spared any charring. She plans to use it in the new structure that will be built in the church's place.

The congregation seems as if it's already looking ahead.
Looking ahead to rebuilding the church.
And rebuilding hope.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Drunk Driving on New Year's Eve

Not me. But a lot of other drivers did.

Many people ring in the new year with a glass of champagne. Medford Police performed high-visibility saturation patrols, making sure drivers knew they were out in the streets, enforcing the law.

I had a ride-along with a Sergeant from Medford PD. As he talked me through the symptoms of drunk driving, he found someone showing those signs.

He flashed his lights and blared his sirens, but the car didn't stop. Finally, when the driver did pull over police drew their weapons, yelling "Put your hands out the window!" "Face away from me!" "Keep your hands where I can see him!"

I was rolling the whole time. It looked like an episode of "COPS."

I asked the Sergeant how often a situation like the one I had witnessed actually happens. Casually, he said, "Maybe department wide...if you're looking at 24 hours...over the course of a month, maybe 1 or 2 times."

1 or 2 times a month? And I just happened to be in the car of the officer who initially pulled the driver over?

"You must be a lucky charm," he said. Maybe he's right.