Thursday, May 31, 2007

Whaling and Gnashing of Teeth

One of my biggest pet peeves as a photographer is not having my stuff hit the air. I'm not talking about a small piece of video gets bumped because of something huge has happened and makes my video pointless I'm talking about hard work thrown away because the producer would rather run a story about how Anna Nichol Smith is still dead. It makes me feel like all the work and time I spent is for not and nobody really cares.

I get to work about 5 minutes before 3pm and I am immediately shuffled off to the far reaches of the county for what I am told is "a man in a ditch." I'm thinking great a guy has fallen and everything will be gone when I get there in a half an hour. To my surprise I see a fleet of fire trucks and yellow tape across every road and walkway with in a quarter mile radius of a large dirt pile. Come to find out it was not just a man falling into a ditch it was more like a 10ft hole collapsing on three guys. Two made it out but one was no where to be found. I start rolling, taking pictures on my cell phone to send back for the web and call the station to let them know I am on scene. I even called five minutes later saying we need to send a reporter and a live truck. I get the live truck but no reporter I am told that Boston is already on a story and that I am getting an intern. I shoot as much as I can I even get an interview from the Public Information Officer before the truck arrives. I go into a Wendy's grab some food sit down and pound out the video and even cut 4 pieces of sound so they will have a choice and all of it will help give them information so I don't miss something by calling back with what I know ( thought that was a pretty heads up move on my part.) Well the 6pm show only wants video and after some wavering the 7pm finally took my sound.

I'm told to stick around to get the body being pulled out. Mind you we can't show that, but they want me there for it. I move to truck to the "staging area" so I can talk to the PIO. He keeps giving me info and I keep calling back to the station to give them the new info. Was any of it worthy of an interview... not really, the stuff I got earlier from him was the meat of the story. I get a call that they want to anchor package the story so I need to send more video so the editor can cover the story. I can't send more sound because, well all I have is the PIO. In between shooting people walking around the ditch and a back how moving a large steel box so the workers won't have the same fate as the trapped guy I cut some new video with each shot lasting longer than I would normally send... you know to be nice to the editor. I send that back and continue to wait.

It's now after 8pm and I am tired of waiting around. I get the PIO and ask how much longer. "Oh this could take hours." His inflection was of one past midnight and probably not till early in the wee hours of the morn. I call in and they insist I stay there, "just in case." I'm the only TV station left, hell the only one to send someone on the ground was the state's cable news station and he left at 4:30! I then get another call wonder about the sound I sent. I info them I only have the PIO. Somehow the producer has the impression I have weeping co-workers and family. With total shock, I tell her I only have the PIO I NEVER mentioned I have co-workers or family. I get off the phone and ten minutes later the PIO brings over the fire chief, SCORE another interview to spice up the anchor pack. I ask a few questions and head over the truck with the now screeching carbon monoxide detector. I had to take my laptop away from the truck because I fear passing out and dying. I risk my life 10 minutes later to feed the new sound with "new" night video. I've now feed back over 8 minutes worth of stuff.

I finally get the green light to leave, well only after the local ABC station leaves (they finally showed up at 9:50, I guess they need something other than copter video.). I walk back to the truck to catch the end of some sound from the PIO... wait, that's not a package. THEY CUT IT DOWN TO A VO/SOT! For the non-TV people a package is a longer story with multiple clips of people talking about one given story with the anchor/reporter talking in between each piece of sound. A VO/SOT is very short video that the anchor talks over and one piece of sound from an official. Oh and the video and sound was what I sent at 5:30!

I did triple the amount of work I would normally do because I was by myself (well, with an intern) and the same 30 seconds repeated three times. I am fuming and I have never done this, but I am going to management. I usually refrain from this, I'm always paranoid about management and I'm somewhat fearfully that everything will be turned back onto me and I get the blame. I can not handle another night of miss communication and general lack of concern for the product. I wonder how can this continue to happen at every station in the country, seriously the news business has the worst level of communication and we are in the business of communication! For some I may sound like the J-dog of old, and I'm hating my job and nothing has changed. I still love North Carolina, it's just that TV in general is this way and from time to time it gets to the point of idiocy and something needs to be done and for the first time I hope that I will be able to make something happen, that's the difference.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Down Goes America

It now after 10pm and I am trying to finish my package that was shot last week by myself and an intern, the reporter has not seen the video till two hours earlier and I'm havign trouble trying to remember what I shot. I hear a loud gasp then an out break of laughter. "I want to see that again!" Is screamed through out the news room. My first instinct is to run out of my bay and see what is going on. I have to make myself stop and continue on. I know if I stop i will have problems making my time slot. The laughter continues as I struggle to finish, with 10 minutes left I finish and want to see if Boston wants me to make changes. This is my first opportunity to find out what was so funny. "Miss America fell on her ass!"

NBC is showing the Miss Universe Pagent and while walking down the isle Miss America stepped on her dress and landed on her backside. I hate to say it, but it was funny has hell. These women are suppose to be the opitamy of grace and falling is the least graceful thing you can do, I should know I fall down enough to know. As I grab Boston the news room is a buzz over what question she will be asked. "I hope it's what in your life would you change." Announces the desk girl. Slater from Saved By the Bell pulls the number of the judge Tony Romo and he asks "What in your life would you change." She gives her stock answer and the news room turns on her. We all wanted her to acknowlege the fact she fell. The concensus was to mention I'd like to change what happened five minutes ago, get a laugh and then give your stock answer about Oprah. Needless to say she finished fifth and we blamed the fall and the answer.

Now in my world here is how her the question section would have gone.

Tony Romo: "What moment would you change in your life?"

Knowing the padgent was not hers

Miss America: Well, with seconds remaining in the NFC Wildcard game I would not fumble the hold on a field goal that would have won the game. You know how it feels to fall down in front of millions of people Tony.

Then grabbing a chair and wacking Miss Japan in the head. I need to stop with the wrestling comments within my post.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day

Memorial Day has for the most part turned into a nothing more than a day to cook out. As I scanned the newspaper and all the local news for a parade I noticed that, well there wasn't one. It seems the thing in North Carolina to do is have a observation ceremony. I grew up in a town where memorial day was well an event. Back in 1868 the town of Ironton decided to celebrate what was then known as Decoration Day with a parade. Every year since then the town has had a parade rain or shine, which has given the town a the distinction of having the longest continuous Memorial Day parade in the country.

The parade is not why I am posting, since it is a day or remembrance, as I watch Band of Brothers I am remembering my Grandfather Everett Eaches. Just this past week he has turned 93 years old and this will be the first that he will not be able to go to the parade. Back in January as the Chicago Bears found their way into the Super Bowl I call home with joy. My dad seemed a little out of sorts and I asked if I could talk to mom. "She's at the hospital right now." After some prodding I find out that paw paw (as we all call him) had a nasty fall in the parking lot of a tire shop. The worst par was he was having problems remembering where he left his car and how he got to the hospital. This scared me the most, a few years back I lost my grandmother to Alzheimer's and the day she forgot who I was still haunts me.

Luckily he recovered, but we had to do something none of us wanted to do, we put him in a nursing home. For paw paw this was the worst thing in the world. The one thing he had left was his independence and now this was being taken away from him. he rebelled as a scorned teenage, but slowly he has started to settle in. I don't think he will ever get us to it, but that is his nature.

He is a man that has done some much with so little. He grew up in the era of the Great Depression and was born in the small blip on the map known as Superior, Ohio. It's so small most Ohio maps don't even have it listed. He dropped out of high school during his sophomore year because a fellow classmate stole his shop project and that was going to make him fail. So he thought, I might as well drop out. Then came WWII, he enlisted and served time in Korea as a cook. One of my favorite stories was about a typhoon that hit and all they had to eat for a week was strawberries and bananas, to this day he refuses to eat either.
After the war he found his way into the local Oldsmobile shop as a mechanic and worked his way to head mechanic. One of the best perks was going to Detroit to see the auto show and look at all the new cars coming out. Then the city of Ironton came calling, they needed a new head of the city streets. He was now in charge of all the streets, the city fleet of cars and trucks and since Ironton sits on the Ohio River he was in charge of the cities flood walls. I still remember a call not to long ago, where the city contacted him because there was no one who could remember how to set up the walls so they called the man who knew them best, mind you he retired back in the mid 70s.
While I was in college I remember my grandfather getting a physical. Something he did every few years. They put him on a treadmill and had him walk. He was suppose to tell them when he got winded or tired. After 10 minutes they ask him if he wants to stop, "No I'm fine." they kept going "Are you out of breath?" "No, I'm still good." as he continued to walk. Finally they made him stop. They asked what kind of exercise he did every week. "Well, I mow the lawn twice a week, I play golf three times a week." For a man in his 80s they said he was fit as someone twenty years younger.
To see this great man no be able to do as he wishes is hard. I know he's 93 and will not live forever, but if one man could I'd say it is Everett Eaches.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Live Window Over Terra Haute

One of the biggest events that I miss not being at The Network is the Indy 500. We would go for a couple of days and do stories around the teams and drivers that had an Ohio connection. Even though I did not get to visit the track this year, I am still very hyped up about the 500. For some strange reason my southeastern Ohio family always watched the race. If it was a rain out on Sunday we would watch it on Monday after the Ironton parade. It's something we have always done. So I'm going to attempt to Live blog the race and some of the pre-race.

12:03 I get home from church, turn on the TV... Is that Jeremy Irons voicing the intro?

12:04 There Oh No there is rain at Indy, but looking at the weather radar there is a window over Terra Haute. There is an inside joke with M T my former sports director (and good friend) that every year there is weather problems they mention Terra Haute. If the weather over Terra Haute is good that means it's on its way to Indy so the saying goes. There's a Window over Terra Haute, and every time I went to Indy I tried to get that phrase in. The best was when I went with DJL and we met a sports guy we knew and it was pouring outside. Sports guy mentions they are going back to Toledo because of the rain. "Well, I heard there was a window over Terra Haute." I thought DJL was going to choke on his sandwich.

12:08 First mention about three women racing

12:16 ABC just asked Micheal Andretti if this is his last race. I hate athletes that will not retire in a timely fashion. Don't retire, come back and say this is my last time and then come back a year later... leave it!

12:18 Second mention about three women into days field.

12:23 Hey did you know there are three women in today's race? They just interviewed Mila Duno, she's hot, smart (4 freaking masters) and I have no idea what she said. I think it may have been Charo.

Sarah Fisher pops up. From past experience I never liked her. She was always stand-offish and not friendly to the media. She left and how, she has done a 180. I've heard she can race, but never had the sponsors backing and that was her down fall. Hopefully she can now do well.

12:25 OK I get it Danica is big. I am not a fan. She has Sarah syndrome, she is a bad interview, very hard to get a solid answer from her. For a woman she is very monotone and puts you to sleep. I think the early part of this year she showed her true colors with the rants and team fights. Team Green is finding out how Diva she is. Everyone is hyping her to win. I'm thinking DNF or 15 at best.

12:40 Who the hell is this clown singing? Stop it! IT sounds like a cat in heat. One note about the race, Tony Kannan seems loose as hell. I"m putting Tony in my top five right now.

12:53 Once again Jeremy Irons... I'll admit, he has an awesome voice. That is not the main reason for an update. Here are my top drivers of the day I'm going with Sam Hornish, Helio Castronevas, Tony Kanaan, Dan Wheldon and Scott Dixon. I know I'm not that bold with these picks, but hey who am I going to pick A.J. Quatro?

1:05 Ladies and Gentlemen, START YOUR ENGINES! I am geeked and ready for the race... no more Musburger!

Secondary note, why is Patrick Dempsey in the pace car.... Bad news, Helio's car won't start not a good sign, but it's early and he can still get the pole... WHAT A wing problem? Crap... he's done.

1:11 Al Unser Jr is still racing? Why? Your a legend... give it up. Wow I'm bitter today, not a good sign for this post... happy thoughts, happy thoughts.

1:12 We are green!

1:21 First caution of the day. John Andretti lost a mirror, how do you loose a mirror? Your going 220MPH and oops, you lose a mirror. I guess he might have to find some super glue.

1:31 HAVOC!!! We have a pit crew down, we have a pit crew down. Quatro's right rear tire guy got clipped by another car. Now the team is scrambling for a tire guy, I say find this guy.

1:39 Sarah Fisher is having some problems and is next to last. Milka is 27th and Danica is 11th.

1:42 CRASH! We ave lost our first car Roberto Moreno smacked the wall. I have no idea who this guy is. If I was a betting man I lost my first; I thought Quatro would be first to crash. Which brings me to the best Quatro moment. Last Year he was sucking ass all day, when A.J. Foyt tells him "If all your going to do is jack around then get in here." Man! your grandfather called you out!

1:47 Well last time I checked it's a bad thing when your car can not take in gas. Helio could not get gas into his car. He finally got gas in there, but is now in 29th. Then Wheldon and Kannan almost hit in the pits. I"m starting to jinks these guys.

1:50 I can't tell... is a race sponsor? I need someone to go out and find this for me. If they are, they need some commercials or something... I know maybe a racer maybe a female racer... that would rock! You better get on this

1:53 Marco Andretti is leading the race. This kid can race I hope he does well, but I didn't pick him so I'm a little mixed. Also this will be the only time Marty Roth can say I am beating Hellio Castroneves.

1:56 You know what this race needs, more lead changes. I mean come on we have had more lead changes in this race than at least 29th other races at their finish... come on guys make it interesting.

11:58 CRASH #2!! It's another shlub John Herb. This was his second 500 and guess what he did in the previous race... you guessed it, crashed.

2:02 Note to Davey Hamilton's crew... righty tighty leftie loosie.

2:13 CRASH #3! Milka Duno is the hottest crash of the day. One lady down, we have two left. I hope they get the post crash interview. I want to see if she actually is Charo

2:19 During the caution and ensuing pit stops, Dan Wheldon jumped 4 spots and is now in first. I can't believe there are this many changes. One interesting sub plot today is the weather. The window over Terra Haute is supposedly closing according to Tony Kanaan's crew, but others think it will hold off till 4.

2:23 12th lead change and a new driver up front and it is Mr Ashly Judd. I will destroy him and be the new Mr Ashley Judd, well if The Wife doesn't mind. Does Utah still have polygamy?

2:28 OK Roger Penske used the old fashion weather check. He sent an airplane out to find it. The race may be in danger and we are 30 laps from making the race official (110). Thigns could get squirrelly out there if everyone is going to try and get to the lead before the rain hits.

2:31 NO NOT SAMMY! Sam Hornish rubbed against Tomas Sheckter. this is not good for my picks. current leading order

  1. Mr Ashly Judd
  2. Scott Dixon
  3. Big Andretti
  4. Scott Sharp
  5. Little Andretti

2:34 SCORE! It is official Milka Duno is the new Charo. All I heard was down force and 22nd and that's it

2:40 CRASH #4 John Andretti with his taped on mirror is now out. It was jsut mentioned he was away from the 500 for 13 years. Something tells me that might be a little to long to be away. The Andretti curse is still alive.

2:46 The race is official and your race leader... Jeff Simmons? Yes Jeff Simmons, so far his claim to fame in racing is being the replacement driver after Paul Dana died in a crash.

2:51 I'll rank Team Andretti Green members on how much I prefer them to win:

  1. Tony Kanaan (deserves it)
  2. Marco Andretti (could be the futureof Indy)
  3. Micheal Andretti (Old guy who has never one it)
  4. Danica Patrick (Personal vendetta)

2:53 CRASH #5 Shlub Phil Giebler just messed this race up, but one good thing did happen. Tony Kanaan is in first place and rain is 10 minutes out.

2:58 Personal dark horse of the race is Ben Stiller I mean Vitor Meira (currently 4th). This guy is Mr #2 in Indy racing, he has never won but has been second numerous times. Look at him... he looks like Ben Stiller and he's a nice guy

3:02 Crap! We have rain and the red flag is out and this sucks, but the good thing is Tony Kanaan would win the race. The radar that I see looks like it will rain for another half hour, so I am going to the driving range. Hopefully I will be back before it is called.

6:15pm The race has restarted, I'm in the middle of cleaning a fish tank and talking to The Wife, so the updates are not happening as fast as I like.

6:16 How good is Team Penske? Sam Hornish had problems and was 19th at one point in time and Helio Castroneves was 25th. Helio is now 5th and Sam 6th.

6:22 How is Jacque Lazier and Darren Manning in the lead? This has become a kind of bizzaro Indy 500

6:26 Rain, rain go away. They are saying 15 minutes till the rain hits... Stupid Midwestern weather

FYI it's now Tony Kanaan and Sam Hornish 1 and 2.

6:28 CRASH #6 It's Richie Rich Marty Roth, he is a shlub, but a rich one. He sponsors his own team and only can afford the Indy 500. I wish I had that much money to throw away.

6:33 Stupid Marty Roth, you cost us at least 10 laps. If it rains and we are 20 laps or more over I'm coming to your house buddy.

6:36 Pit stop time, probably for the last time in the race and lets see who is in the top 5

  1. Mr. Ashley Judd
  2. Scott Dixon
  3. Ryan Brisco County Jr
  4. Scott Sharp
  5. Tony Kanaan

6:37 CRASH #7 A Restart accident involving Tony Kanaan. I beating he is done, he can't win he is now in 17th place, all thanks to Buddy Lazier.

6:43 current standing of my top 5:

2. Scott Dixon

6. Sam Hornish

9. Helio Castroneves

12. Dan Wheldon

17. Tony Kanaan

6:45 CRASH #8 UPSIDE DOWN MARCO ANDRETTI! Wow that was cool, he also took out Buddy Rice. The curse rears it's ugly head and another year with out an Andretti win. Dan Wheldon also seemed to get tapped and is in the pits getting repairs. Marco seems to be to be a little dazed and is asking the crash crew, "which way did he go George, which way did he go."

6:50 They just showed the camera from Marco's car, that was a sweet crash

6:51 It's raining and they are talking to Ashley Judd, who needs not to talk. Just be pretty.

Your winner of the 91st Indianapolis 500 is Mr Ashley Judd Dario "the gentleman" Franchitti

Here is the top 10:

  1. Mr Ashley Judd
  2. Scott Dixon
  3. Ryan Brisco County Jr
  4. Schott Sharp
  5. Sam Hornish
  6. Davey "Righty Tighty" Hamilton
  7. Danica Patrick
  8. Helio Castroneves
  9. Tomas Sheckter
  10. Dan Wheldon

Friday, May 25, 2007

Spanish Inquisition

Remember in the last post I smacked my leg up against a trailer hitch. Well Yesterday it was very sore and I should not have gone into work. By the end of the day no long was my shin the only thing sore, it has migrated to my knee, hamstrings and my foot. I wake up this morning not wanting to go through that again so I do the American thing and call off. I've done things like this before. I'm sore and can't function so I take a day to heal. Well I just found out that I have to go to the doctor for this. I'm "OK" with this, but it technically is a Workers Comp deal, so I need paper work for them to look at it or find a place that will even look at me. With our entire HR department on vacation (she needed a Bahamavention) no one can get me the paper work. I now have to do this on my insurance and pay the co pay. Fantastic, just what I want to do, pay for something that I don't want to do that should be paid for by someone else.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

A Bad, Then Good, Then Painful, Then Meh, and Then the Absuded

For the last two weeks the only work to describe work is well... ass-tastic. One of the big reasons I left The Network was story quality, I was tired of going to pressers and meeting and using file. For some strange reason, the last two weeks I have done nothing but meetings. I've been getting frustrated and then just add in the general stupidity of an ever increasing manager base that seem to not know what they want has brought back angry J-Dog. I do not want this to happen. I was tired of it with The Network and it will only create problems here, even though the entire night side crews feel the same as I.

So I walk into work not happy. A couple other photographers are around and we sit there complaining about the stuff that is happening around up. New job descriptions that make us indentured servants, working late for a live shot even though there are other mid day and night side photographers (including myself) sitting around not doing anything. We have new cameras sitting in a room unused. You know the general things that happen every day.

At this point The Chief walks over and is basically attacked. I lob the question "When the hell are we getting the new P2 cameras." The others jump on like The Chief is chum in a shark tank. He gets flustered, we throw up other things he can't really answer because they are beyond his control and finally he leaves to get "answers" about the new cameras. We go back to our conversations, then we walks back and I think "Why is he coming back for more? He knows we are on the attack." Well he has an answer and it involves me getting a new camera, not just any new camera, the 800 model, the caddy of the new cameras! I go over the tutorial and was informed that if they get my laptop up grated that I will get the camera on Thursday.

I'm in a better mood, when I am formed that I am going to shoot a package with an intern. A local group is building a car that can drive itself. The twist is that it may be an anchor package. I'm not pleased with that thinking. With the addition of a 7pm news the anchors get lunch from 8-9 and that means I won't see a package until 10 and that's if they just do it fast. I'm a little down, but we get to the assignment and we hit the jack pot.

We meet the engineers and students and I see a small trailer with Lotus automotive stickers on it. I ask is the car a smaller model and I get a look of shock. "Ummm, no there's a Lotus in there. A FREAKING LOTUS! They pop the top of the trailer and I see a beautiful car covered with cameras, sensors and other things. I'm not a car guy, but I know a Lotus is a high end car that I will never own or probably never have a friend that will own one. The reasoning behind them having Lotus sponsor them a car was to show they can get all their equipment into a small area and IT'S A FREAKING LOTUS. The intern and I spend the next hour and a half shooting interviews and generic shots of the car. Everyone piles into some cars and one student and my intern get to ride in the Lotus (Damn intern!) We get to the test street. I hop out of the bed of the pick-up. WHACK! Everything turns blurry and I see stars. I feel a sharp shooting pain in my shin and I realize that I just walked into the trailer hitch. Within a minute I start to bruise. That's how hard I hit it. The Adrenaline kicks in and I continue to shoot. We finish the story and leave.

I find out on the way back I have to shoot fresh gas video. I ask "So where is the closest refinery?" I hate blanket statements like this. Shoot me weather, go shoot the wind, find me people doing stuff. Some times the desk does not think what they are actually saying. One thing you can't shoot the wind. You can shoot the effects of wind and what the hell is "fresh" gas video. I know they mean new video of people filling up, why won't they just say that.

By this time the adrenaline has worn off and my leg is pulsating. It's making it hard to drive. I get back to the station and find out we are holding the car till tomorrow. I'm glad, I just want to sit and not move my leg. I realize the season finale of Lost is on and get excited that I may get to watch it live. I pop on a TV and then I hear: "J-Dog can you go to Durham?" Something is happening on the scanners, even though we do not chase spot news, we have been burned of late by some bigger stories that happened so now we are gun shy and any thing that might show interesting we send someone. I get the directions and drive the 30+ minute drive to the not so nice part of Durham (I know, does Durham actually have a nice part?). The cops in Durham won't talk, seriously they have rules that they can't talk to TV. Every market I've worked in cops were not suppose to talk, but at least they would give me a vague idea what is going on. Here... nothing, only the PIO can talk and the PIO won't answer the phone after 6pm. I finally get this bit of information out of someone. There maybe multiple things going on. Wow, that helped, it's a dark street the locals are out and most of the police have left. I call back and let them know that it really is nothing. Come to find out later it was a sting and nothing really happened. I missed Lost, so I was bummed, but I got a nice drive out of it.
I get back to the station and start talking to Shawn and Boston. To the three of us that Boston and I were they only ones night side. We start talking about it when the deskie walks up and mentions that I was the one not on the schedule. I was suppose to edit Thursday and Friday, but The Chief "remembered" that one of the part time editors was going to do it. Well no one put me back on the schedule so no one knew when I am suppose to work. For some reason Boston started laughing hysterically and I thought he was going to need oxygen. Will all the problems we have had with the increasing management structure and our difficulty of figuring out what is going on and who is at fault that just typified our problems and Boston had to laugh. He laughed to the point of coughing. So hopefully when I go into work on Thursday I'll get a new camera and finally figure out what I am suppose to do.

Lost: That's Why I Continue to Watch This Show!

Before I went to work this afternoon I watched the the two hour pilot of Lost and it reminded me of why I really liked this show. It was suspenseful, great characters, it created questions within the episode that you wanted to find the answers for; it was just a great start to the series. Then I started to think about the prior two season finales. If you remember back to season 1 the year ended with Walt being captured, Hurley screaming about the numbers being bad and the Hatch door being blown open. Season 2 ended with a plot to take over "The Others" only to have it back fire with Jack, Sawyer and Kate being carted off to another island while Walt and Micheal get to leave on a boat.

So what was I to expect with this years dramatic end. I got a lot more than I had expected. One thought that kept popping up was that Jack was going to "Turn Heel" and join Ben ala WWE. With the "flashbacks" of Jack I started to wonder if it was true. With these "flashbacks" I started to get a feeling that something was wrong, I don't know what it is, but something did not jive with Jack's past, I kept wondering if this was a flash forward.

This episode had many great twist that actually forced me to get a chair and put it right in front of the TV. I could not get close enough. The tension was high, you thought that Sayid, Benard and Jin would kill everyone, but no The Others win again. You thought that Ben's order to kill the three was real. I seriously was about to stop watching if they killed two of the main characters, fortunately Tom does not listen to orders and Hurley saved the day. I was shocked to see Jack throw the smack down on Ben. I loved the walkie talkie chat with Tom. "I'm going to get everyone off this island, and then I'm going to come and kill you." YOU GO BAD ASS JACK!

The two biggest moments that do not involve questions were the death of Charlie and Jack storyline. I know a lot of people were getting tired of Charlie, but I still thought he had some great moments left in him. I loved his banter with the two bubble girls, it was a as if he was mocking them because he knew he was going to die. That made me thing, how many shows can kill off major cast members at the rate Lost has, lets go through the big list: Boone, Shannon, Mr Ecko, Anna Lucia and Charlie. In three years that's an average of 1.5 characters a year and you still have a huge cast left. The other big moment was in the Jack story, who was he calling to set up a meeting with. Of course, a lot of people were shocked that it was Kate. Jack basically, could not handle life off the island and went slightly nuts. The big thing now is that the story can evolve off the island. The Chief and were talking about how hard it will be to keep the show going for three more years on the island. Well now we can explore off the island now.

The three big questions from the close of season three will be; is Naomi's ship good or bad. Was Ben actually telling the truth and that Naomi's people will not let everyone off the island or was it another one of his tricks. What the hell is up with Locke? That's all I need to really say because Where the hell did Walt come from? Is he "a special boy" and can appear out of nowhere or has it to do with Jacob. Will Penny ever find Desmond? With those questions gnawing at me for the remainder of the summer, here are the quick points divided into two parts, questions that I need answers for and my usual jackassery.

  • Who the hell died in the flash forwards? I'm wondering if it was Juliet. I had a feeling it was, but I don't know. It can't be Hurley the casket was too small (more on that later), maybe Sawyer and I think that would be it. Maybe Locke, but I don't think he will ever leave the Island.
  • Did Kate marry Sawyer? She mention he is going to wonder where I am.
  • Did anyone else catch this. During the confrontation with the Chief of Medicine Jack mentioned that his father was upstairs. Also tried to forge a prescription in his name. Is he alive?
  • What is going to happen to The Others? They have yet to lose and they are about to be found out to the world, are they going to fight off the incoming people?


  • Could they have found a better beard for Jack? That had to be the second worst beard on the show behind the one Tom was forced to wear.
  • I noticed some really bad TV stuff through out the show that did not involve beards. Did anyone else notice that the shot of the radio toward looked like ass? I mean it was grainy and was lifted from a bad episode of Gilligan's Island.
  • Also I thought they did a bad job on Walt's voice to make it sound higher. The trick camera shooting made in seem talk, but the truth is he is probably 6 feet tall now any ways.
  • Note to self: Do not go around Locke while he has a knife.
  • I so want an iSatellite phone.
  • I felt bad for Hurley. Everyone was cracking on his weight for the last two shows and making him feel like a loser and an out cast. What does he do, finds the Mystery Machine and runs down a couple of Others and wins the day.
  • "Wow didn't see that coming" winner was Ben telling Alex that Rouseau was her mom. FINALLY that is over with. Now lets get to Rouseau flash back and be done with the crazy French Lady.
  • Carol Vessy (Jack's wife) was prego... that has to suck for Jack. Also it's been a while, you might want to update your contact info Jack.
  • Jack likes Nirvana.
  • So let me get this straight. Your airplane crashes on a weird island and you have to deal with a group of hostile natives and all the airline gives you is a "golden ticket" to fly for free when ever you want? I don't think White Star Lines gave surviving members of the Titanic free cruise tickets after they made it to shore.
  • I think more people died on this two hour show (at least 11) than Jack Bauer killed all season on 24.

So now I have to sit and wait for a few months till the season three DVD comes out so I can go back and figure out what I missed. I hate TV.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Hall of Mediocrity

This past Christmas I received a great gift, The Ballplayers: Baseball's Ultimate Biographical Reference. It's filled with about every player who has played in the major leagues. The best thing I have found in The Ballplayers is the random guys that had very little impact on the game but they still put them in there.Since it is spring training and baseball season is around the corner I thought on days that I am a little scatter brained or have nothing of interest to say I'll give you one of the guys I have found. If you know of one of these kinds of players with a weird background post a comment and I'll try to add them in.

Bill Bergen played from 1901-11 for Reds and Dodgers. 974 games .170 BA, 2HR, 193 RBI

The worst hitter to play regularly in the ML, his .170 career BA is 42 points below any other batter with 2500 or more at-bats. His .139 in 1909 is the lowest mark ever for a batting title qualifier. In the lineup for his arm, his 202 assists the same year are the ninth best by a catcher; that July, he set a 20th century record for throwing out seven would be basestealers.

I think I found the Babe Ruth of my Hall.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Lost: Not a Greatest Hit Tonight

After last weeks episode, that I actually had to go back and watch later ,and then tonight's first five minutes was great. Then there was a huge let down for the remainder of the show. I seem to be in the minority here, I like Charlie I think his character can go many different ways. He's been evil at times (fake kidnapping Sun) to random good guy (helping Clare), but tonight's flash backs did nothing for me and did not really drive Charlie's character for me. I liked the self sacrifice aspect, but I think the reflection bit feel a little flat for me.

The one big problem with this season seems to be the creation of new questions without giving hints to answers that are already on the table. Tonight was yet another reminder of how this season has not be that good. I'm almost to the point I do not want to know who the two women are in the hatch. Does it really matter? I don't think we will get our answers this season any ways. I know the two hour season finale will probably be great and will have a huge twist (I'm banking that Jake is going to turn on everyone WWE style... well he won't be using a chair on some one's dome, but you get the point. Speaking of points... ON TO THE QUICK ONES!
  • Well Rose and Bernard are not dead. According to Lostedia this is the first time they have been in an episode this season. Come on Lost writers, throw Rose and Bernard a bone.
  • Jake has turned into kind of a jerk since his return. He's pissed about something and wants revenge or at least something... maybe he misses the cheese sandwiches.
  • Rousseau blowing stuff up... priceless. You have to love crazy French ladies that had their babies stolen.
  • What the hell was up with "The Looking Glass" station. Why are there two random women there and what the hell are they going to do to Charlie. The previews show they slap him around a bit, but who knows.
  • Finally Sayid pulls out the maps he found with papa Ben (Roger from the love bug van).
  • The previous point made me think, why is everyone starting to hide things from each other: maps, secret plots about an attack, Rousseau is getting dynamite, charlie is going to die, English broads falling from helicopters, low sperm count... it's just insane people. Secrets only cause problems. I think the island is in need of some Dr. Phil.

That's all I got tonight, I want to write more, but everything I think of is pretty weak. I just hope the two hours next week is a lot better than tonight. It better be on par if not better than the Jacob episode.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Hall of Mediocrity

This past Christmas I received a great gift, The Ballplayers: Baseball's Ultimate Biographical Reference. It's filled with about every player who has played in the major leagues. The best thing I have found in The Ballplayers is the random guys that had very little impact on the game but they still put them in there.Since it is spring training and baseball season is around the corner I thought on days that I am a little scatter brained or have nothing of interest to say I'll give you one of the guys I have found. If you know of one of these kinds of players with a weird background post a comment and I'll try to add them in.

Jittery Joe Berry played from 1942, 44-46 for Cubs, A's, Indians. 294 innings, 21-22 ERA of 2.45

Jittery Joe was a fidgety right hander with a herky-jerky delivery who spent 18 years in the minors before leading the AL in relief wins (10) and saves (12) as a 39 year old rookie in 1944. The 145 pound Berry was once blown off the mound by a gust of wind.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Book Review

I mentioned early in the year that I was trying to read 10 books this year. Well I just finished my third so I'm on average to do 6.5 books. I better get on the ball, but the latest book is what I want to talk about.

Four weeks ago The Wife and I were walking around the Triangle Mall when we past a Borders Books. Just in passing she asked if I wanted a new book. I was not liking the one I was reading and pretty much had not read in three weeks. I say now, but something was telling to do it. We go inside and I was looking for another sports, but I meandered into the Civil War section and found Testament: A Soldier's Story of the Civil War. It's the story of Benjamin Webb Baker, a soldier with the Illinois 25th. He was just a normal farm boy who was against slavery in the new territories and saw a need to serve when the south left the Union.

The interesting thing is that during the entire time he was in the War he was really only in 4 major battles (Pea Ridge, Perryville and Stones River and part of Sherman's March to the Atlanta). The Union Army mostly chased Braxton Bragg around Tennessee and waisted time and men. The Army of the Cumberland just marched and changed leaders constantly.

It was interesting to hear how he dealt with the march and what he thought about the war. The most compelling part of the book was after his brother joined the army and saw his first action at Perryville and was killed. His letter home was heart wrenching. He actually found (his brother) John's body on the field of battle and helped bury him. His letter's home changed from that point on, he seemed more lonesome and sad. Then at Stones River he was injured. He had a bullet lodged in in left shoulder. It took a few months to heal, but he kept telling his mother that he would be better within a month. After that he did not want to go to the front and wanted the war over. It was also at this time that some of the northerners were starting to rally against the war and were tying to cause problems with the draft and with anyone who supported the troops.

Truthfully, I saw a lot of similarities from what was happening in the 1860s to now. I'm not for the war, but I want our troops to be safe and come home as soon as they can and hopefully get Iraq to some what of a sable ground. Do I know how that will happen no, but I can wish. The country was torn and just like now people are trying every means they can to create chaos and want this war to be over. A lot of the people then and now voted for action, but once things started getting real bad changed their minds and wanted it over at all cost.

Overall I loved this book, it only took me three and a half weeks to read which for me is very fast. If you like to read about the Civil War or want to see how things truthfully do not change read this book.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

My Car Hates North Carolina

For the last two weeks I started to notice every time I turn my steering wheel to the left I would hear a little grinding and over time it kept getting worse. Since we are going to be making the usual three Ohio City tour (Ironton, Columbus, Dayton) I thought it would be a good idea to make sure you know a wheel won't fall off and we go over the side of one of the mountains in West Virginia.

I was hoping for just the alignment to be off, but of course not it had to be something else. I get a call at 8:30 this morning, I stagger to find my cell phone and find out that it is the wheel bearing and it is completely worn out. What the hell! Since we have been in North Carolina I have had to replace my breaks, spark plugs (twice) and now the driver side wheel bearings. There could be another thing. They thought the axle was OK, but they would have to check it out. Great an axle replacement! Well if the axle is fine we will only have to pay a little less than $300. I just have to be thankful that we have a credit card that we keep fairly empty. A year ago I would never have been able to do any of the repairs without going into horrible horrible debt and owing a lot more than we do now. I just hope this is the end of repairs for the year.

Lost: Jacob Ladder

I've complained multiple times about this season of Lost, but man are they ramping up towards the season finale. Until the past few weeks I thought this season was a bust. Tonight turned things around a lot. The best thing going on the show is the interaction between Locke and Ben. The interesting thing I thought was the crazy aspect of both characters. Earlier seasons Locke turned into a weird creepy guy that talks about the island and it's special powers. Well come to find out he is not totally crazy and there maybe something to it. Now with tonight's episode there were moments where you thought Ben was totally insane. I'm talking about Jacob's cabin. There is nothing there and the writers had me going there and I thought Ben was just delusional and everything about him was a lie. Then Locke hears "Help me." HOLY CRAP! I almost plotz right there. Then the room goes crazy and you see someone sitting in the chair and all hell breaks loose when Locke brings in a flashlight.

If that was not enough for one episode you find out that Ben was with Dharma in the beginning and he is the reason why the "hostiles" took over and killed the Dharma folks. With how Ben's father treated him and how he was blamed for his mother's death to go out and kill your dad was insane. I'm waiting for the flashback next season to explain what happened from Ben's first meeting with Richard till the mass killings.

So we learn that Jacob is real and how Ben helped to kill everyone with Dharma, but that was not enough. How about Ben shooting Locke and leaving him for dead. I did see that coming once they showed the shot of Locke standing on the edge of the open mass grave. You knew Ben was not going to let Locke ruin everything that he has build for himself. On the Lost messages boards there is a discussion that Ben is afraid of Locke and that he will become the new leader of the Others. He shot Locke to keep his power and he maybe afraid that since they do not need him any more that he would be the one laying on the pile of dead Dharma members. OK now with the quick points.
  1. All the Losties now know about Naomi and seem really worried that everyone thinks they are dead.
  2. Ben had a messed up childhood; He was born early and his mother died 25 mile outside Portland, his father blamed him for her dead, and they are stuck on an island.
  3. How freaking old is Richard! He is older than Ben and looks either the same age or younger. The new theory is you age less on the island and that Richard was on the black Rock.
  4. I think Alex is starting to turn on her father more and more. She knew that Ben was going to try and kill Locke so she brought him a gun. Teen rebellion!
  5. I'm still wondering about Jack and Juliet. I'm waiting for the swerve and I think they are going to turn on the Losties.
  6. Kate is pregnant. I know I said that last week, but I'm saying it till they tell me otherwise.
  7. Man I'm glad Jin doesn't know English or he'd be kicking some formerly sterile ass right now.

I think we are going to get an answer to something soon. Do I think it will be an answer to a question that I want? Probably not, but we will learn a small piece of information and that will be enough to hook me for another year. I'm guessing Locke is not going to die. He is too big of a character on the show to kill off. Without Locke the island mystery bit is gone and it's nothing but the Others verses the Losties and who would watch that. Locke will be saved by Jacob or some other force, maybe the black cloud and will keep me guessing all summer.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Somewhere Levy is Salavating

Today started out like any other day. I feel to lazy to do anything and The Wife has the day off so she feels the same. Then out of the blue I hear "I'm hungry, you know what I want for lunch? It begins with a C." The Wife was wanting Chipotle, if you are not familiar with Chipotle, it is a Mexican Burrito joint that is in one word... AWESOME. In Ohio you could not throw a rock without hitting a Chipotle. In Raleigh, not so much. There is only one and it is a 35 minute drive, and I'm sorry that is 5 minutes too far for a burrito. As fate would have it a new store opened up, and it is only 15 minutes away!

We head that way and upon arriving we see a line out the door. No big deal it is lunch time and Chioptle lines move fast. As we enter we see a manager, "Have you been to Chipotle before." We exclaim that we have and love the place. "We great, you won't need a menu and enjoy your free burrito." DID HE SAY FREE BURRITO? We ask the guy in front of us and it's their grand opening and everything is free. HELL YEAH! I'M GETTING MY BURRITO ON! We get to the front I order my usual burrito, and The Wife gets her burrito bol, that's when my favorite moment happens, well after finding out that the burritos are free. "I'm guessing the Guac is free?" Ask The Wife. "Yes it is, would you like some?" I thought The Wife was going to jump up and down and scream. I'm surprised she didn't ask for a second bowl of nothing but guacamole.

This may sound sad, but I think this will have to go down as one of the greatest 5 moments in my life:

  1. Getting married (had to say that)
  2. Getting 25 free burritos for The Network
  3. Having Coco Crisp interview me as if I was a ball player for the Indians
  4. Defeating the Deadites.*
  5. Getting a free burrito

It may be sad that I have two things from Chipotle in my top 5, but it's FREE BURRITOS! On our way our we hear the manager say they will be giving away free burritos from 5-7 tonight. Well there does all the hard work I've done on loosing weight... It's a free burrito, so it's worth it. Also I have a feeling Levy is jumping on a plane to Raleigh right now so I may see him in a few hours.

*May have happened in Bruce Campbell verses The Army of Darkness.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Big Weekend

For the past two weeks The Wife and I have not seen much of each other. She goes to work while I'm still sleeping and y the time I get home from work she is asleep. Plus she has to work every other weekend so that doesn't help much. We had not seen much of each other fro two weeks so with both of us off this weekend we decided to have a kind of "date day."

It started out with us running errands, but we ate a little Mexican, watched Spiderman 3, went to a downtown Wake Forest fair and ended the day at an auction. The auction is where the day got a little interesting. Wake Forest has Hoy Auction Company and they hold estate auctions every other week. We have been once before so we kind of knew what you can find. There is a lot of old stuff we would never want, old stuff that we know we could not afford to bid on and then there is stuff in our price range. Most of the items that we can afford, we don't want, but the fun part is wondering how much the antiques that we would like will sell.

We look around before the auction and find a few things we like, The Wife finds a lamp, a chest, and a couple of china hutches. I see some milk glass items (my family has a small collection) and a few mechanical banks, except for the hutches, nothing that will break the bank. The bidding starts, some items are very old and go for over $500. That's when our day changed, The Wife sees a china hutch that see wants. Ever since we returned from our honeymoon she has wanted a china hutch. Why? I have no idea, but she always lights up when talking about them.

The bidding starts at $500, with auctions they start high and slowly drop the price till someone bids. The price finally dropped to $50. With a look of excitement she wants me to bid. By the time I raise my number it's up to $75. I'm fine with that, it looks old and I know we would pay at least $400 or more if we bought it at a store. We continue to bid; $95, $115, $135, $150 and that's when I start to think I need to back out. The other guy hedges for a second and we decide to go no higher than $175. It's now at $175 with his big, we look at each other with the look of lets stop. "You will not find a finer piece this cheap any where else." The auctioneer informs me. I raise it to $185. It looks like we have it, then he raises and now it to me for $205. We back out that second. We really can't afford $185, we would have to put it on the credit card.

We bid on a few things, The Wife won a lamp for $15, I get the 3 Mild glass pieces for $18 and the bank for $17. Then another hutch comes up. It's a very low standing one with some beveled glass, very nice. It starts at $1000, crap! that's a lot. It some how drops to $50 and we and the same guy starts bidding again. It gets to $185 again and I bid, I thought we had it again, but he pushes it to $200. "I have not seen a piece like this come in here in two years." says the auctioneer. The Wife looks at me and says no. I raise the card and now it's $225. What have we done! Then, at the last second I am out bid. At this point in time I feel like we have spent over $1000, but actually it's still near $50. We kept getting out bid, but in my mind those numbers are still there and I keep thinking we have to pay. I know irrational, but that's how my mind works.

Nearly two hours later most of the big stuff is gone and some of the "regulars" are done bidding. The Wife had been eyeing a hutch on the side wall and they were inching over towards there. "How much do you want to go for that one." I ask thinking she will say $200. "I don't know, lets keep it under $185." The bidding gets down to $50 and the bidding starts. The high rollers are a little tired I thing and don't care any more so it's between me and another guy with his wife. It gets to $125 and the other guy has it. I look at The Wife and we bid one more time. "We have $150 do I hear $175." spews the auction er in his fast taking ways. Sold to number 113. We got it.

Truthfully we did not need it, but she wanted one and May is our anniversary month so this became her gift, and then I decided it was mine as well. I truthfully do not need anything and we can use the money for something else. So happy anniversary baby.

We get the hutch home on Sunday and move things around. It's a six foot tall dark colored wood hutch with a glass front and draws underneath. We clean off all the cob webs and give it a good dusting and cleaning and an amazing thing happened to our living room. It actually looks like adults live in this house. I've always had Pez and other collectibles in my living room. She has had similar things and with the hutch we moved a glass case and her collectibles to the guest room and my items to the office. It only took 31 years, but now we look mature. Of course everyone that knows us will know better, but when we bring new people over we can full them until I do something stupid.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Feeling Old

I know the saying "You are only as old as you feel," but certain things will make you feel old. While working with the reporter who shall be named Hyperactive Pop Culture Loving Reporter or HyPCLoR I mention somethings that made us feel old. These things are items that everyone around our age group knows about here is a small list.

U2's The Joshua Tree was released in 1987... take that in. Where the Streets Have No Name was released 20 years ago! It's almost able to drink!

Pulp Fiction and Forest Gump were released in 1994... making them 13 years old.

Nirvana's Nevermind is 16 years old and has it's driver's licence.

House of Pain's angry white guy rap anthem Jump Around is turning 15.

The sketch comedy show Kids in the Hall was created 19 years ago.

Cult classic and pivotal movie for Bruce Campbell, Bruce Campbell Vs The Army of Darkness is 15. (how does that feel Wilson)

Micah this is for you, Super Mario Brothers was released in 1985... 22 years ago!

That's just the stuff from around high school and earlier. What about things I remember from college.
The movie Se7en is 12 years old.

What about Adam Sandler's movies? The Waterboy is one year away from a decade, Happy Gilmore is 11 (and loves That's So Raven), and Billy Madison is also 12 years old.

The we are women hear us sing Lilith Fair was started 10 years ago.

I wasn't a fan, but Garth Brook's No Fences was released in 1990 making it 17 years old. According to Wikipedia his last gasp of glory was a free concert in Central Park happened almost 10 years ago.

Kevin Smith's black and white art film that was I believe is the lynch pin for most of the post Gen-Xers Clerks is now a teenager at 13, Mallrats is 12 and one of the last times Ben Affleck was considered "talented," Chasing Amy is 10.

I know I am 31 and I am no longer "cool" and the music I like is considered lame by most of the kids today. I remember when my sister Julie would listen to something and I would think, wow that sucks, when I get older I will never listen to crap... I'm going to be cool FOREVER! Well, just like Homer Simpson I am not longer cool. Fortunately, I do not have Color Me Badd rulz tattoo to remind me of my past... I'm looking at you Wilson.

A final stomach punch is Britney Spears' Hit Me Baby One More Time is eight years old. Damn I feel old. If you can think of something that will make me or anyone else feel old post it.

Lost: I So Saw That Coming

Overall I thought tonight's show was really intriguing, the return of Locke and the interesting battle of the wits with Ben, everyone starting to find out about the helicopter pilot and the real non shocker of Locke's dad was the original "Sawyer." I saw this coming quite a while ago. I think it was The Wife who first figured it out last season. With the multiple Locke/Papa Locke episodes this year you could defiantly get the clues, then when Papa showed up on the island, you knew there was going to be a meeting and the reveal. I loved the whole letter bit, I almost forgot about the letter Sawyer had written, but truthfully I thought Papa Locke was a little bit of a dick, actually too much and ruined part of the scene.

Since the beginning there have been Lost fans that believe that the island is purgatory, everyone on the plane crashed and died and now they are waiting for their fate, heaven or hell. I believe the story line tonight was a feint toward the purgatory thinking, but there are too many instances that would make this not plausible. The fact that "The Others" have contact with the outside world and can get video. The fact that Micheal and Walt left the island and when the station when boom it registered at a monitoring station in Antarctica makes me think that they are still alive and my theory from last week still holds. Now to the quick points of the episode:

  • When is everyone going to learn, do not tell Kate anything! She will tell Jack and then Juliet will know.
  • Is Locke some kind of god like figure for The Others?
  • I think Ben set a trap of some sort and let Locke hear the tape and knew he would leak it back to the Losties.
  • The scene with Rousso was an awkward funny moment. "Why are you here?" "I need dynamite. Why are you here?" Sawyer yells at Locke and Locke just sits there whittling.
  • Why does Rousso need dynamite?

Finally they left the episode on a cliff hanger... as usual, but tonight was different. I wanted more, and that is the first cliff hanger in a while that I wanted more and did not want to wait till next week. The big question is what is Jack's secret, is he part of The Others and wants to trap everyone or does Jack and Juliet know about the attack and are going to try and stop it. I believe the second, the reasoning is with tape Sawyer has, he will come in as Jack and Juliet are informing everyone about the attack and Sawyer strolls up and plays the tape, everything will go to hell and The Others will come in and someone will die.