Sunday, September 25, 2011

I'm a Father

For 23 years I've been shirking responsibility. But that ends now. I'm a proud papa.
Of two betta fish.

I've wanted betta fish for about two years now, but could never handle all the duties that came with them. Feeding them, cleaning the tank, teaching them to read. Lots of stuff to do. Couldn't handle it. Now I can. I think.

Meet Ben Linus and CJ Cregg.

Ben Linus is a pretty amazing bad guy from "Lost." Every scene he was on camera, I couldn't look away. He was evil, manipulative, and crazy. And now he's my pet.

CJ Cregg is the Press Secretary in the fictional "West Wing." She's strong, outspoken, smart, feminine. And she's my pet.

I'm excited to watch these guys grow, stay colorful, and maybe learn a trick or two.

Friday, September 23, 2011

"Modern Family" Mom

This Sunday, the Primetime Emmy's were given the tongue-in-cheek name, "The 'Modern Family' Awards." The show took home the most trophies, including Best Comedy series, and matching awards for Best Supporting Actor and Actress.

I was happy about for this. Personally and professionally.

"Modern Family" is one of my favorite running shows. I've watched almost every episode since season one, love talking about it with friends near and far, and genuinely enjoy the jokes, characters, and happy ending/morale of the story. My parents like, my friends like, my coworkers like it. It strikes a chord with a lot of different people. A good chord.

My second favorite character (behind Manny) is Phil Dunphy, the bumbling, well-meaning father of three. He's played by Ty Burrell. Ty is from the Rogue Valley and we've done several stories about his Hollywood stardom.

Monday, after the Emmy's we talked with his mom who lives in Ashland. She's a sweet, warm woman and it was more than a pleasure to talk with her earlier this week, and share her story of the night celebrating her son's victory (and, in part, her's as well).

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Facebook Fury

About 36 hours ago, Facebook started changing its look. It's not the first time, it won't be the last. The social networking site's function is essentially unchanged. No information was lost. Users seem to have access to more information than before.

But many are in a frenzy over the "face"lift. So much so, it sparked a newsroom debate in the first 15 minutes of the day. That debate lured in everyone-- including the middle aged anchor who shuns all social networking sites.

He said, "Is this that big of a deal? Do we need to do a story on this today?"

The answer: a resounding, overwhelming, furiated yes.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Game

"It’s like just falling in love—you want the sensations to last forever. You don’t want to go to sleep because you know that no matter how good you feel, in the morning it won’t be as good as it is right now.” -- Kinsella, W.P., "Shoeless Joe."

The San Francisco Giants' season looks like it's finally out of steam.

One year removed from the magic championship team feels much more deflating than I thought it would. I'm moving on to other sports, leaving baseball behind.

"The play reaffirms what I already know—that baseball is the most perfect of games, solid, true, pure and precious as diamonds. If only life were so simple." -- Kinsella, W.P., "Shoeless Joe."

The leaves are starting to turn in Medford. The outermost leaves on the smallest trees are turning a fiery orange. They darken, die, and fall. But they'll be back in six months, born again, ready to soak up another half year of summer sun.

So will baseball.

"I have to absorb the new season like sunlight, letting it turn my winter skin pink and then brown." -- Kinsella, W.P., "Shoeless Joe."

-- --

An article is sticking in my mind and heart. It tells one of the countless untold stories of baseball. Not of a star player. Nor a player who made it to the majors. It's a 32-year-old chasing down dreams and struggling to find peace.

I'm instantly brought back to one of my favorite video features about another minor league player, Josh Faiola, who has a stay-with-you story of his own.

-- --

"[They'll come] ...innocent as children, longing for the past... Baseball reminds us of all that was once good, and could be again."

-- --

To me, baseball is gone for now.
Sleeping, waiting its turn in the sports year.
Ready to blossom again with a new season's worth of players, stories, and hope.

“If I’d only got to be a doctor for five minutes, now that would have been a tragedy. You have to keep things in perspective. I mean, I love the game, but it’s only that, a game.” -- Kinsella, W.P., "Shoeless Joe."

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Diving Right In

A few weekends ago, I did something that I haven't done in years-- play water polo.

I'm volunteering and helping with the Ashland Water Polo team. Over the summer the team plays "pick up" games and I was invited to get in the pool with them.

I played about half of the 40 minute game, and barely survived. I was sore for days. But loved every second of it.

There's something reassuring about getting back in the water, feeling exhausted. It's like hitting the "reset" button.

And being around the loud teenagers was like going back in time 6 years and seeing myself with my friends. Polo players are fun, chill, loud, goofy, easy going. Good people.

I'm set up to help coach the JV team in October, and may swing by a couple of home games to help out too. Really looking forward to it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


In early May I started something I'd been interested in for a long time-- watching "Lost." I wrapped up the six-season, 121-episode series two weeks ago. I'm still looking to fill the void.

I ate up the show, burning through two or three episodes at a time, needing to know what would happen next and how each's episode's cliffhanger would be resolved. Needed answers to the questions. So many questions.

The thing is that I watched the whole season in less than four months, averaging about an episode each day. Sometimes I went two or three days without one. Somedays I watched four at a time. I'm not necessarily proud of those moments, but I do love the show. It's probably my second favorite, behind "The West Wing."

Plot-driven and always moving forward, seeming towards an important and thematic ending. I was hooked.

Characters brought up questions that had no definite answer. Discussions could not be resolved: Good/evil, Free Will/Destiny, Fate/Coincidence, Motivation/Truth.

I watched the show at about the same time as a co-worker did and we stayed no more than four episodes ahead or behind of each other throughout. Several times, we spend an hour plus discussing all the above themes, which characters were our favorite and least, who we would follow into the jungle, and why they acted as they did.

Discussions are best accompanied by burgers and brews.

Recently, I came to the conclusion (albeit a personal one) that "Lost" is art; that is, it puts forward an argument in the guise of media and each viewer can see something different. The conclusions that I draw from the same 42 minute episode can be completely different from my brother's, roommate's, friends'. You have to make your own kind of answers. That means a seemingly unlimited number of meanings that can be culled from the show. Think of the debates and arguments it could spawn. And did. And does.


In some ways, "Lost" took over a major portion of my life. It was the basis of at least 1/5 of my conversations for a few months. Was that because of a personal flaw? The brilliance of the show? Or the expanse of technology manifesting itself on my couch?

An article from talked about being able to watch the entire series of "Friday Night Lights" online. Many other shows exist in their entirety on Netflix, including "Lost." His feelings are put into words much more eloquently than mine:

I am often perplexed by the modern desire to consume entire seasons of television shows with services like Netflix, Hulu, or even Amazon Gold Box Deals. No longer are we watching last night's episode of a popular series to talk about it around the water cooler at work. The emotional and intellectual journey you went on with a TV show says a lot about the way you interpret the human condition by simulating it thru the content that you spend your time consuming.

Binging on an entire season of a television show without commercial interruption allows you to completely 'immerse' yourself in the world of your new favorite show. You aren't waiting thru commercials or watching the same annoying network promos over and over again. If you were forced to watch the same show week by week, it wouldn't be as meaningful because you allow the show's portrayal of 'real time' to override your personal version of real time. Cliffhangers would be obnoxious. By binge-watching, you are spending quality time with the characters, forming a deep emotional connection with them.

That's exactly what I did-- become good friends of Locke, Sawyer, Juliet, Hurley, and learn to hate Jack, Ben, and Smokey. That's right, I hate Jack Shepherd.

Also, being at essentially the same point in the series with one of my friends allowed me to have those "water cooler" talks. Meaning my addiction wasn't as self-destructive as it could've been.

The end of a 36-hour, seven-episode binge in a Bakersfield hotel.

-- --

There was a lot of buzz about the conclusion at the end of the series. I loved it. I thought it wrapped up everything beautifully. But I have several personality traits that are too personal to delve into here that played a role.

Most everything was well done. But that's only my interpretation of the art.

Monday, September 12, 2011


Sunday this blog hit 10,000 pageviews. Thank you for reading, responding, sharing. I look at my writing here as a bit of a conversation, a bit of a diary, with a dash of scholarliness thrown in. I appreciate you checking it out and coming back.

If you're reading this, chances are you played a part in me getting to where I am now. Thank you for that and thank you for this.

Hopefully, it just keeps getting better.

Welcome back, NFL

I don't think I've ever been as excited for the NFL season to start as I am this year. I've got a good looking Fantasy Team, am learning more about the game, and am getting to share game-watching with more friends.

This year, my roommate and I bought the NFL Redzone package. We get more than a dozen college networks, the MLB and NFL Networks, and the Red Zone channel. It whips us around to all of the games currently playing. No commercials, no boring games. Having that premium channel means people want to experience it with us. Six people came over this Sunday. All of us in our teams' gear: Niners, Cardinals, Eagles, Bears, Dolphins, Vikings. We made french toast, pizza, and just hung out. Looking forward to the rest of the season.

My Fantasy Team is looking pretty good. I won't bore you with the details, but it could pay off nicely if they do well.


Southern Oregon typically has more than a handful of wildfires in the late summer. This year's weather pushed summer, and wildfire season, later than normal. In the past three weeks, I've been out to two wildfires.

I like covering wildfires because there's flames, smoke, danger, homes threatened, crews working. News ready to order. Point, shoot, report.

The first-- North River Road Fire. It sparked just off of I-5 near the city of Rogue River, about twenty miles north of Medford. I went out to the fire Thursday evening when it first caught, covering the nuts and bolts of what happened and how it was being fought. My story ran at 11, and was requested by ABC stations in Eugene and Portland. Some technical difficulties came up, but if it weren't for them my story would have aired in all of Oregon. Cool.

I got home around midnight and went right to sleep, but got a call at 3am... the producers needed me to come in and report for the morning show. Awesome. I got some coffee and reported live over the phone four times in the morning shows.

Later that day, I covered how the firefighters were battling the flames in the wilderness. They do it on the ground and by helicopters. Guess who got to up in the helicopter?

Here's the story:

The Second-- The Dead Indian Mountain Fire, later renamed Little Butte Fire sparked about 20 miles from Medford. I got there at the same time as the media escort and he took me down to the front lines of the fire. I got great video of flames-- a rarity in wildfire reporting. Happy with this story.

Fire officials expect this fire season to last for another month or so. We're not out of the woods yet. So to speak.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11th

I'm not sure that I can add anything to the public dialogue that hasn't already been said.

I, like almost everyone else, can recount where I was and what I felt when each of the dramatic, tragic moments of the day unfolded.

Something else that I'll have with me, is where I was and what I felt when I got to see and touch a piece of 9/11 rubble in Southern Oregon this week.

Friday Nights

High school football is back. And I'm back to covering it.

Two Fridays ago was the first week of games this season. I trekked an hour and a half to Klamath Falls for the game. As long as the drive was, it was equally beautiful. The sunset brought out deep blues on the horizon melting into rose pinks. All of it silhouetted by towering crags topped with trees.

But it was nothing compared to the sight of the high school. Henley High School is on the outskirts of the Klamath Falls, surrounded by ranches, barns, cattle, and mostly open field. As I was getting closer, the lights rose up from the horizon. Standing bright against the drab grasses, the lights stood tall, glowing and attracting everyone in the basin.

Walking on the field, my senses were overloaded. Feeling the cool of the field just by walking on. Seeing the families huddled under blankets on the grandstands. Hearing the high school kids running around, yelling at each other, the benchwarmers laughing about something that happened in class, asking about the bug spray. Smelling the wet, dank field. The smoky ether of grilled burgers. And the sweat of the players.

Then as the game wore on, something different started taking over.
It wasn't what I was smelling, hearing, seeing, or feeling.
It was a feeling.

I remembered all the Friday nights at Pittsburg High with my dad and brother. Sitting in the same spot on the visitor bleachers. Talking about Simonton, Tafoya, and all the other players who seemed decades older than me. The all-orange uniforms that split our family's fashion sense. I remember the marching band taking over the field at halftime.

Today, I know more about football. Understand the intricacies better. Appreciate the effort of these athletes and coaches more.

Last Friday, I saw two things that really stuck out.
1.) A bearded man in his 40s was on the track, as near as he could get behind the bench, yelling at the team. "Second effort!" "Put a block on him!" "Get your team in the game!" His face was deeper red than the team's uniforms.
2.) A father in his late 30's holding his toddler son up to the railing to point out some players as they run out of the locker room.
Immediately, I'm whisked away into a fuzzy, warm place called "nostalgia."

I recognize the games that I'm at are happening in thousands of stadiums big and small across the country. The same exact moments are happening in all of them.

One day that toddler will be ten years older and love the marching band, pretending he's part of them in his own front yard. He'll grow older still and be yelling, joking, or looking for bug spray on the sidelines. Or screaming in the student section. He'll get older again and go to games a decade out of school and see things in the games he's never seen before. Fastforward another decade and he'll have his own toddler he'll be holding. Ten more years, and he'll still be at the game-- red in the face from yelling. Or cheering. And he'll keep going back, looking down on the Simonton's and Tafoya's a generation and a half younger than him.

The 48-minute games take place on a 100 yard piece of grass.
But it happens in places much more far-reaching and eternal.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Old Album, New Favorite

I've been really enjoying Paul Simon's "Graceland." The music is unusual, catchy, a bit African, and summery. The lyrics: sweet, relatable, layered.

"You Can Call Me Al" -- takes me back to PHS football games.
"Graceland" -- a song of redemption, a greater peace.
"Under African Skies" -- a summer bbq song.
"Gumboots" -- the chorus is a kernel of truth for every love story.
"Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes" -- another archetypal love story.
"Homeless" -- relaxing.

All of the others are also good. And I really like this album.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


I haven't updated the blog in 3 weeks. Long time.
I've been busy with work and errands and fun.

At work, I've been sent out to breaking news 7 times in the last 13 work days. 6 of those times I was either asleep or off the clock.

The latest edition is a wildfire that sparked yesterday afternoon. I went to the front lines of the fire and shot my story with flames, smoke, dozers, tankers, and hand crews.

The other stories will be up here over the next week or so.

Also-- I covered another wildfire, flew in a helicopter, bought a new old bike, drafted my fantasy football team, Kevin came to visit and we jumped into Crater Lake, started shooting football again, finished one of my favorite television series ever, made good on a bet that I lost, threw a bachelor party for my college roommate (his wedding is in less than two weeks), played water polo, and hiked the highest peak in Southern Oregon.

All these and stories and more. Coming up.