Friday, October 28, 2011

It's here. "Extreme Makeover"

Set your DVRs right now. ABC 8-10pm.

"Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" is airing its Southern Oregon episode. It's a 2-hour special featuring a local family who's given much of their time and energy and love for others. Now, they're getting back some of that devotion.

With cheers and tears, it was a moving moment when they "moved that bus."

It's a two hour special focusing on Sparrow Clubs and Autism. You'll enjoy it.

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Do you live in Southern Oregon? Set it for 6:30pm, too.

We're broadcasting a 30-minute special looking back at the all the work, all the businesses, and the deserving family.

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It was an incredibly special experience to be a (minor) part of the whole thing. It'll be something I remember forever. More on this later.

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Set your DVR.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

One Day 'til "Extreme"

"Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" in Southern Oregon.

Tomorrow (Friday) our 30-minutes special and the two-hour ABC program will air.
Very exciting for a lot reasons.

Yesterday, I posted a link to all of the reports we had covering the "Extreme" build. Today, I'll post a couple of my favorites.

Quick recap of what happens. A lucky and deserving family is nominated and selected to recieve a beautiful, new home. Local companies and builders volunteer time and supplies to do it all in 130 hours. The family is whisked away to a lovely vacation where they have no idea about what's going on. The cameras get in place, Ty Pennington talks with the family, The Bus pulls away and the family sees their home for the first time.
We cut into our normal programming to carry The Reveal live on the air. I was the lucky one who was able to be live on scene, narrating the moment for everyone at home.

A look at the work about two days into the five and a half day build.

It was a stellar experience for a lot of reasons. More on that tomorrow.
Set you DVRs: ABC, Friday, 8-10p. You won't regret it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Extreme Makeover in Southern Oregon

Last month, ABC's show "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" was shooting an episode in Medford. If you've never seen the show, it's magical. ABC brings its stars and designers into town to rally the community to build a new home for a deserving family. Just about everything comes from local businesses and individuals. Supplies, labor, design skills, food-- it's all given.

I've always believed Southern Oregon is a community, and the coming together for Extreme Makeover, was proof.

In two days, what happened here will be shown on your TV.
Friday from 8-10, a two hours special featuring Southern Oregon.
If you're in the Rogue Valley, NewsWatch 12 is airing a half-hour special starting at 6:30.

But right now, you can see some of that magic (our news stories) on your computer screen.

Check out that site, click around, and watch some of our stories. Thursday, I'll feature more of the best stories. Friday, I'll remind you to set your DVRs.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tim Tebow, Converter of the Passes

I've lauded the website before. It's a site blending sports, pop culture, and a bit of scholarly academia. I read its columns, articles, and blogs and watch videos just about everyday. Some are good, some are great, some are outstanding. "Tim Tebow, Converter of the Passes" is one of them.

Tim Tebow is a lot of things. "Other religious players are religious individuals; Tebow is a whole culture."

This article looks at what Tebow means, or doesn't mean, as a Christian icon in the sports world. "Tebow scoring a two-point conversion on an off-tackle power play *could* prove that Jesus rose from the dead on the third day, or it could, well, not."

Does rooting for Tebow mean rooting for Christianity? Or God? Or not? "Since no one really knows whether the universe is meaningless or not, things rapidly grow confusing."

Great article.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pumpkin Pickin

If you don't go to a pumpkin patch in Autumn, then there's something wrong with you. Or you're probably doing other things. It's probably the latter.

Saturday, friends and I made the rounds to one of the nearby patches-- Seven Oak Farms. There were rumbling hay rides, goats to feed and pet, U-Pick pumpkins, gourds galore.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Top of Table Rock

Southern Oregon is beautiful all the time, but it's gorgeous this time of year.

Biting cold mornings give way to warm-but-not-hot days. Hillsides ablaze with yellow, orange, red leaves. People enjoying the sun and warmth before La NiƱa steals it away.

Last Saturday, I took advantage with two coworkers, Sarah and Jessica. We hiked Lower Table Rock. What is Table Rock? Does "Lower" mean that there's an Upper? Was the hike awesome? How about the view?

Old lava. Yes. Very much so. Inspiring, empowering, and peaceful.

The hike to the top takes about 45 minutes of climbing switchbacks, under a tunnel of dying trees, and by dried creek beds and waterfalls. The path spits you out on top of the rock, but on the complete opposite side from the city. In order to get the views you've gotta walk. The flat land on top of Lower TR is 300 acres. It's not a short walk.

But it's a beautiful walk.
The flat top of the TR is a pretty special place geologically and biologically. The rock has not eroded because it's andesitic lava rock and is impermeable. Rain and snow collects in vernal pools, doesn't seep into the ground, eventually evaporating in the Spring. Those pools are home to some crazy flowers and tiny animals. In April and May, wild grasses and flowers bloom, but they dry and turn brown. It looks like an African savannah up there. You half expect to see antelope leaping in the distance. In other areas the lava rock prevails and looks like the surface of the moon (debatable, but I stand by my comparison).

At the far end of the TR is a vantage point of the Rogue Valley-- half a dozen cities, orchards and irrigation ponds, roads cutting through the anti-metropolis, and the meandering Rogue River lazily rolling on. Sublime.

We sat on the edge of the cliff-face and talked and marveled for well over an hour and a half. Talk of work, winter adventures to come, guesses at how the TRs were formed. There was a quiet buzz from the roads below us and the occasional series of cracks from the shooting range.

And there were quiet moments of reflection.

I felt on top of the world. I think we all did.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday -- Blue Whale

Kayaker spots a blue whale next to him, and dives in for a crystal clear, underwater picture. Producer Jessica saw and called dibs on this great video earlier this week.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


As long as I can remember, I've been a Stanford Cardinal football fan. There were good and bad years. In 2007, Jim Harbaugh took over as head coach and in three years of fired up coaching took the team from 1-11 to 11-1.

He left for the 49ers this Spring.
Heartbreaking for the Cardinal fan in me, heartening for the Niner fan in me.

Now, the team is 4-1. Harbaugh's inexplicably turning heads again.
He's doing in San Francisco what he did in Palo Alto.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fear Friday

Halloween's coming. Haunted houses are popping up. And people going in, have their eyes popping out of their skulls.

Found this entertaining collection of pics of people jumping out of their skin, getting scared in a haunted house. Take a look, have a laugh, and happy Friday.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Why Do Movies Suck?

I love film. I've always fancied myself a Director or Cinematographer. I love studying the intricacies of script, acting, composition, editing, sequencing. Films are beautiful. Or, they can be.

I hate crappy films. Boring premises. Flat characters. Simple shooting. Predictable dialogue. I think they're such a waste of time, money, talent.

I want to be completely engrossed in the story. I want to feel something when the movie's over. I recently re-watched "Chinatown." It's one of my favorite films. Layered like an onion. And just as smelly. I felt completely depressed at the end of the movie. And I love it.

A column this week featured a movie producer trying to answer the question: Why Do Movies Suck? I thought it was a pretty good read about a question I ask fairly often.

I still want to direct a film. Probably a documentary. Films have a large, captive audience and can get a message across in an artful way. They have power. And responsibility. I want more films to live up to that. And be an active part in that.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

...and All That Jazz

Live music is about a million times better than recorded music. Energy, passion, improvisation. Music that I normally wouldn't listen to on the radio or iTunes, sounds fantastic in person.

I like jazz anyway, but when it's performed live it's unbeatable.

This weekend was the Medford Jazz Festival. I covered it Friday afternoon and got to sit in on a few minutes of a performance for my story. Used a lot of nat sound, fun soundbites, and music puns. Really happy with the way that everything turned out. Hope you enjoy it, too.

Monday, October 10, 2011

"War on Weed"

Smoking pot is legal in Oregon. Kinda.

Medical marijuana smokers in Oregon say the Federal Government is starting a war on weed.

In the Beaver State, about 40,000 people are legally prescribed marijuana as medicine. They grow and smoke it under state law. But the Federal agencies do not recognize weed as legal. One plant, one ounce is illegal.

In the past two weeks or so, two large and seemingly legal (under state precedents) grows have been raided by the Drug Enforcement Administration. About 800 plants in total. Affecting 150 patients.

You may have heard that the Federal Government ordered medical marijuana dispensaries in California to close or face prosecution.

It seems as though state and federal laws are clashing. And the battleground is right here in my (and your) backyard.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


One of my friends from work, Sarah, is moving. She lived with a roommate in Ashland, which is a great city, but it's a 25 minute drive to work and to hang out with friends. And since Sarah is also an overnight producer (working from 11p-8a), that's about 40 minutes of commuting she could spend sleeping. Her roommate wasn't awesome either. For all of these reasons, Sarah pulled the trigger and moved to Medford on Saturday.

She brought boxes of clothes, lamps, and other knickknacks, but her small car would't be able to take the big stuff. That's where Nick and I (and our cars) come in. A queen size bed, box spring, and frame, and a dresser.

She was convinced that moving those two big items would take one trip. I was not.

Saturday afternoon we got there and spend time lifting, sliding, pushing, turning on end, and jimmying the furniture through the stairway and hallway. Once we got it all out of the apartment, it was time to figure how to get it in the S10 and 4Runner. More pulling, hoisting, and shoving to make it work. Well, we did. Dresser in the 4Runner, all the bed pieces on top of the cover of my truck bed. Strapped down with more than a hundred feet of rope and half a dozen bungie cords.

Where bungies connected with other bungies and the metal could scrape against the truck and scratch or chip paint, I covered them up with socks. Yeah, I had old socks just sitting in the truck. Don't ask.

It did not look like the most secure thing ever. And it probably wasn't. But it held through 25 minutes of driving, I-5 speeds, and city intersections. It held.

We unpacked and shifted everything where they were supposed to go. Nick built the TV stand, Sarah ordered a thankful pizza, and I set up the TV. We ate, watched a movie, and fell asleep in the evening.

Sarah's closer to work and friends (and actually shares a wall with Kristin and Nick, close friends from work). And we made it all happen in one trip. She was right.

Friday, October 7, 2011

This Week's Stories

It's been a weird two weeks including working Saturday and Sunday, having two separated days off in the middle of the week. But I've had some cool stories come out of it. Hopefully you like them, too.

Mon 9/26 Spanish Scrabbler: Ashland man looks to be "numero uno" in the World
Wed 9/28 $300 Million worth of pot pulled in Northern CA
Sun 10/2 Rogue River looks like Chocolate River
Mon 10/3 What caused that Wonka-esque river color change?
Thu 10/6 "War on Weed": Feds vs. Legal Growers

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs

Like the death of a religious leader, the news of Steve Jobs' passing spread like wildfire on TV news and social media. It led our 5 newscast, less than 45 minutes after learning of the news. One friend wrote, "How is it I'm so sad about the death of someone I've never met?" She then answered herself, "Steve Jobs seemed like a truly incredible man- full of knowledge and wisdom."

What I was most fascinated by was the sweeping messages and momentos that were spreading on Twitter, Facebook, and at Apple stores across the world. Makeshift memorials and gratitude for iPods, iPhones, and laptops.

Jobs once said Apple was where Technology intersected with Liberal Arts. It seemed like every college student and professor, coffeeshop screenwriter, and tech-savvy-parent-to-be had a Mac and loved it. It helped them turn what they envisioned into something they could hold and showoff.

Jobs gave the Commencement Speech at Stanford in 2005, touching on mortality, chasing passion, and encouraged grads to "stay hungry, stay foolish." It's an inspiring, rousing 15 minutes speech and is worth the watch.

AP reporters made a plea via twitter for people to share the impact Jobs had on their life. At first glance I thought this was weird. After a moment, I realized Jobs created the easy-to-use personal computer, the basis for the software we use, and technology that redefined and pioneered several industries. Then, I thought Jobs's products did have a huge impact on me. Not because I couldn't live without my laptop or my music player. It's something deeper, I've used Apple computers almost exclusively. Apple's focus on media enabled my passion to develop and turn into a career. When I was in high school, iMovie taught me how to edit slideshows, then video. In college, Final Cut Pro opened up the world of video production. Both of those proved my passion already existed, and helped show me that I could do it day in and day out and be paid to do it. It's something I choose and wouldn't have known that I could without his innovations.

I think he's a technological legend.
But I don't know if I'd call him a hero (I've got plenty of family members who qualify).

"Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle."

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I'm a (news) Junkie.

What's wrong with me?

I've been in the TV news biz for 15 months. I guess the changes have been gradual, but they're there. Today, my actions confirmed it-- I'm a junkie.

When I go home and head out to a Bay Area bar for a bachelor party, I am drawn to the TV for a live report by the ABC station.

On my days off, I constantly check the newspapers, websites, and TV stations to find out what and how each outlet is covering.

When I get home from work, I'll go A-block surfing; that is, flipping back and forth between to see what each station leads with and who they talked to.

I live near a fire station. This morning I heard at least two engines sirens blaring, and screaming down the street. My first move is to go to the county's dispatch website to see which units are being called out, where they're going, what the call is, and to listen in on the police and fire scanner.

Yes, I have the website address memorized.

Yes, I'm an addict. A junkie.

But I'm not horribly concerned.