Monday, July 30, 2007

Summer Infestation

Every year during the summer most TV stations are crawling with and infestation... interns. This year I have never seen so many interns, I think we need to call the Orkin Man. It's not that I hate interns, it just for every one that gets the idea of news and knows what they need to do, you have 20 that are clueless. The biggest complain with the interns this year is that they have to do it for free, or as a couple have put it "pay for it" because it's a class. You know what interns, we all have done this for free and we really don't care. You put in the time to learn, I know you have a job, but I don't care. I don't have time to drive you back to the station in between assignments, I'm getting paid and I'm not missing my work for you.

The reason I'm writing about interns is because my station, for some ungodly reason, has decided to make all interns create at least three stories and tryout for the "intern newscast." You wouldn't think that is may effect me, but we have a unique editing system that the interns have no idea how to use. I have been asked so many freaking questions and seen so many poorly edited pieces I have started to have nightmares "No no you can't put a dissolve there, stop stop the audio is all wrong, where is the channel with wireless mic.... AAAARGH!" That's when I wake up in a cold sweat. Also they tie up every edit bay in the station, I usually kick then out, but we have also hired a lot of people as well and half the time I can tell who is an intern and who is new.

The one interesting thing about interns is how they dress, it usually ranges from over dressed to what they wear to the clubs. I don't mind the later, but come on kids, this is a profession, pick a happy medium. A nice pair of pants and for guys a polo or a button down shirt, if you want me to shoot a stand up bring a coat and tie. For the ladies, don't wear anything too tight, and if you want to do a stand up... look around the newsroom and wear something like the other reporters. If you want this for your resume tape (in all honesty I don't care about) then look the part.

I'm just gald summer is almost over and soon we will be back to normal, well as normal as TV new can be.

Friday, July 27, 2007

17 Years In the Making

If you could go back in time to January and said "I could only see one movie, what would it be?" It would not be Harry Potter, nor any other movie sequel that came out over the summer, I wouldn't even say Transformers. I could give you an answer in a blink of an eye. It is The Simpsons Movie. I've mentioned in the past my love of these lovable yellow cartoon characters, but really can't tell you how much joy they give me. As a young kid my dad HATED the Simpsons (Well, because Rush Limbaugh told him too) but I would sneak up stairs on Thursdays and watch.When they moved to Sunday nights I tried my hardest to get out of going to Sunday night church, even though it would be done by 7:30 I knew we would go to Bob Evans or Shoney's afterward, and I would miss something funny.

I still remember a time in Toledo when you could get 2 and a half hours of the Simpsons. 4:30 and 5:00 the CBC, then 5:30 till 6:30 on the local Fox station. I even remember when Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie actually beat every news cast at 5:00! I use to have a Krusty the clown doll in my news truck until the bastards in West Virginia made me take it down.

For months Shawn and I planned on seeing the movie on opening day. It looked like our plan was fading away when he was shoved of nightside to midday, but fate stepped in and I screwed up my thumb and it was on! Shawn, Melissa (his wife, my friend) and I (The Wife had to work) get our tickets, eat a burrito at Moe's and head into the theater. My biggest fear was that if was going to be like reason years. It seems The Simpsons have lost subtlety and well crafty stories and quick humor and has more of a hit you over the head with humor. I blame shows like South Park and Family Guy for making the Simpsons change, are the other show times, but with the Simpsons it's too much.

I learned everything I needed to know about the movie in 5 minutes. They give you one of the best supporting characters, Ralph, right of the top doing the 20th Century Fox theme, launch into a great Itchy and Scratchy bit and then Homer insults the audience... This was classic Simpsons. As with the show you get great comedic moments, touching moments and a good story. With this being a film the constraints of TV were lifted and they pushed farther than they every could... all I will say is Homer... middle finger. With most films they put all they funny parts in the trailers... I will tell you the bits in the trailer are the least funny moments, it's a joyride that ended to soon.

The one thing I can not get out of my head is the damn spider pig song. Spider pig, spider pig, does what ever a spider pig does, Does he swing from a web, no doesn't because he's a pig, watch out, for a spider pig. The big is great and steals a few scenes, but the greatest moment about the pig for Shawn, Melissa and myself is during the credits they play a supped up spider pig song and we hear a child in the front of the theater say. "Whatever happened to spider pig?" I nearly fell out of my seat laughing.

Did the movie meet my expectations... well not quit, I've been waiting too long and wanted too much. Was it worth $8.50? Yes it was. Will I make The Wife go see it? Oh you better believe it! Will I see it a third time if there is nothing else to do? For a matinee, probably I will, so take that for what it's worth. Go see the movie and relive the glory days of the Simpsons

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Blast from the Past: Luscious Jackson

A few weeks ago The Wife allowed me (yes I am whipped... don't you judge me!) to buy some music on iTunes and while searching for some songs that I lost during the great computer crash of aught 7. While searching, for some reason the band Luscious Jackson popped into my mind and remembered that I had lost one album during a move and a second one was lost in the crash.

Back when I was in high school and working at the Ponda-gross-a in Russell, Ky, my friend Tiffany (see you finally made the blog) kept talking about this band Luscious Jackson that she saw at Lalapalooza (yet again I feel old). Since I knew she was cool I gave them a listen. What I found was an interesting mix of sounds that really does not fit one style of music. They infuse jazz, hip hop, blues, disco, rock, dance and pop into their sound. Plus all four members of this all girl band seemed completely different, but they messed well. Jill Cunniff did most of the vocal work and seemed to be the energy and "face" of the band, to me she always set the tone of the song. Vivian Trimble appeared to be the quiet one playing keyboards and back up vocals. Vivian added the jazz and disco sound created through all of their songs. Gabby Glaser has this smokey voice that sounds hot as hell that made songs like City Song and Strong Man wonderful. She also was a fabulous guitarist she could do reggae, funk, rock and everything else. The backbone to the sound was Kate Schellenbach, who was the original drummer for the Beastie Boys when they were a punk band, her sound is the driving force in every song. She is amazing drummer, she has high energy and I truly believe she is one of the best drummers I have ever seen.
As the picture indicates earlier this year they released a greatest hits album of course I used most of my allotted money on the album. It's a solid album that takes me back to my younger days. Most people are probably have no clue who Luscious Jackson is, and in all honesty they had only one "hit" and that was 1996s Naked Eye. A real shame that only one song made any noise. Most of their last album Electric Honey had a sound that I thought played well to the mainstream and I was a little shocked that the song Ladyfingers never took off. If you ever need some high energy music try listening to Luscious Jackson.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


For those of you who know me, I probably have a slight case of ADD that has never been properly treated. That being said along with the thumb injury, work has no idea what to do with me. For the most part I have been relegated to editing. I do no think editing is beneath me, it's just that I can not stand sitting inside an edit bay for 8-9 hours. Plus, I can not edit as fast as normal. With non-linear computer editing I use my right hand on the mouse and my left to operate the keyboard. Since I can't move my right thumb,it makes that hand useless to editing and everything is done with the left hand, so a story that normally takes 30 minutes to edit now takes an hour and a half.

This is very frustrating, also there have been days where they are not for sure what to do with me. So I try and help edit the new casts, but when I arrive at 11AM there is not much to do until three hours later, then I have been kicked out of the bay for other photographers needing to edit packages, so once again I just sit.

Then you have days like today where there is too much going on that no one has an idea of what is going on. At one point in the day I was suppose to edit 2 sweeps stories, a day turn package, edit 2 hours of interviews for the web and run cable for a event for tomorrow. The biggest problem with all this 1. no enough hours for all the editing and 2. I can't lay cable with one hand. I can pull cable from the back of truck, but to carry it up some stairs, tape it down and things like that is kind of hard with one hand. The worst part of the day is when people were discussing what I was going to do next, five feet from me and then never tell me about it later. This is the worst thing about news, the lack of communicating plans to the people that need to know. How vital was some of this information that I was never told about. One conversation was about a sweeps story that I needed to get finished today was missing a vital interview and would not be shot till Friday. Well, that kind of means I will not be editing that story and yet no one directly told me.

It got to the point today that I was about to call my doctor and tell her to write me a new so I would not have to work. It seems no one understands the work light duty. I'd rather not sit there and do nothing, but at the same time realize that I am hampered by my injury.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Injuries, Let Me Count the Ways

With the recent thumb injury I've had a few comments about how accident prone I could be, it even got to the point where The Wife chimed in. That got me thinking about how many work related injuries I have had and here is a list of all the injuries over the last eight years that required me to go on worker's compensation.

Back injury- While in Toledo on overnights, I was driving to an accident where a semi crashed into and landed onto of the concrete barricade in between both directions. I was new and hauling tail to the scene. I get close and I suddenly notice a car in my lane that did not have any lights on and was not moving, I hit the breaks, but because of ice and diesel fuel from the accident I slid into the car at about 45 MPH. Both cars were "OK," but I hurt my back. I had to go to a chiropractor for a year.

The Knee Injury- Still in Toledo I was shooting a story at a high school and as we were climbing the stairs I heard a loud pop and a sharp pain in my knee. I stopped for a minute to figure out what was wrong. I could still walk, but was limping so I continued on and finished the story. By the time we get back to the station the limp was worse and it was starting to hurt. The desk sees that I am limping,but I tell them I should be fine to finish my shift. As usual in Toledo we were short staffed and it is decided that I should go on a second shot, this time on a search for a missing Alzheimer patient with search dogs in downtown Toledo.

Mid-way through my knee starts popping every few minutes, which leads me to grab my knee and scream. My report informs the desk that I am in serious pain, but does nothing to help... no one else is able to shoot. I finally put an end to this and tell the reporter I can't go on. She calls the desk and they finally send another photographer,but here's the catch; they want me to edit the first story I shot, then I could go to the hospital. I walk in and everyone looks at me with a worried look. Later I was told I was ash white and was clearly in pain. I'm sent to the hospital 6 hours after the fact.

I tore the plica and have floating cartilage in my knee. Due to a filing error it takes nearly two months before I could have surgery. This was the most painful injury of my life.

Tendinitis of the Elbow- While shooting a sports story i grabbed my camera and felt a sharp pain in my elbow. I try to rub the pain out and continue to shoot. I think nothing about it till a few weeks later when my elbow hurts all the time. Come to find out that I had a bad case of tennis elbow and a inflamed muscle group.

Back Injury- Once again a Toledo injury (I need to stay away from Toledo), I am shooting file for The Network so if anything happens in Toledo we wouldn't have to rush up there or wait for out affiliate (my old station) to figure find away to get us the video. I'm on Alexis Road at I-75 (Oddly enough 2 miles from previous accident) when a light just turns red, no yellow just green to red. I slam on the breaks and stop just pass the line. "Wow that could have been bad." That's when I hear screeching tires and I get shoved into the intersection. The ramming Astrovan was totaled and my explorer had a dented rear bumper. I had yet another inflamed and tender back. I drive the two and a half hours back to Columbus and see a doctor.

I'm given muscle relaxers and given two days off. I should have taken more days off because I nearly killed Chud, DJL and myself on the way to a story.

The Thumb- just read the previous post and you will get the idea. A close second in the pain catagory.

Honorable mentions (not workers comp related)
The Wife tries to kill me
Fractured a bone in my foot playing basketball
Got poked in the eye playing basketball, causing a blood clot in my eyelid
Sprained my wrist on a Jacobs Ladder
Sprained my ankle playing soccer
In college I flipped over the handle bars of my bike spraining my wrist and hurting my knee

OK maybe I do need to be placed in a bubble or something.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Good News

It's been one week since I hurt my hand and I was happy that today was my appointment with the orthopedic specialist. I was worried about what was wrong, but I just wanted to know how bad it actually was.

After The Wife and I filled out reams or paper work we go back to a room and the doctor decides to see how much pain she can inflict. I scream at least two times, I may have screamed more, but I may have blacked out from the pain. It is discovered that I did not break a bone in my hand and my tendon is not torn. So what happened then? Well the two tendons in question pass through a little "tube" in your hand. I broke the tube and the tendon's popped out then went back in, so I have tissue damage and I now wear a nifty splint and can't lift anything for 4 to 6 weeks.

I am very happy that I do not have to have surgery, but I am a little sad. JDOG-17 did a story about a physical therapy center using the Nintendo Wii for therapy. I was trying to figure a way that I could get one and have worker's comp pay for it. I also will not be getting a helper monkey.

Monday, July 16, 2007

I Need One

As I have mentioned in the past, I love the Simpsons and usually I can think on an episode for any occasion. While bored to death by my inability to, well, do anything; I thought of my favorite Simpsons moment... Mojo the helper monkey.

I have to be a candidate for a helper monkey, I've already started a list of things I can't do. I bet I could even start shooting again. "Mojo, set up the tripod. Mojo hit record. Mojo rack focus... no Mojo 'out' to 'left' field 'in' to 'right'... why can't remember that when focusing." He could make me sandwiches and I'd give him love and bananas. A win win situation, now all I need is the paper work and someone stupid enough, I mean smart enough to realize that I need a monkey.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Stupid Left Hand!

Until you loose the ability of you dominate hand, you do not realize how much you use that hand. Every day tasks now become difficult chores that take five times as long. Within the last two days here are the tasks that I now have problems.

Brushing me teeth- Try using you off hand for this. I have to lay the toothbrush so I can squeeze the paste. Then for some reason the normally fluid back and forth motion I use to brush turns into a herky jerky motion. I almost lost an eye yesterday.

Buttoning- Pants are the worst. Since I don't have a thumb, I can't really grab my pants to get them were I need them. Then it took me 10 minutes to button up my shirt today. I know I will get faster at this, but I have to train myself.

Silverware- Last night we went out for Mexican because I thought that would be easy to eat. WRONG, I could not cut my burrito and tamale. The Wife finally had to intervene because I was about to throw my plate... well attempt to throw since I probably can't do that as well. I finally had to turn my plate around and kind of half scoop half stab my now cut food and hope it will get into my mouth. Mexican food should never be that difficult.

Reclining in My Lazy Chair- OK where is the handle... go and look, it's on the right side. Every time I want to recline I have to try and use the club of a right hand to get the chair up. Usually this also creates at severe pain that makes this no longer a lazy enjoyment.

Laundry- I usually do the laundry and for the most part it's not that hard till I have to reach into the dryer with the opposite hand I'm use to.The first few times for some reason I stood sideways to reach in to get the cloths. The hardest part was folding. I gave up and now The Wife have 5 loads of clean cloths to fold.

Writing- Can't do it and I think that's enough said there.

Showering- Since I'm in a cast I can't get it wet, so I now wear a turkey base ting bag on my hand (I'm not kidding). Shampooing was not that hard, I turned the bottle upside down and squeeze a little till I have it my hand. The hard part is getting the bottle back on the ledge without loosing the shampoo. Washing was a little more difficult, I but the wash cloth on my right shoulder, grab the bottle of wash and pour some near the top and hope gravity doesn't pull most of the soap off. Put the bottle back and slide my hand underneath the cloth.

Shaving- I just keep praying that my hand goes up and down and not sideways.

Contacts- Nearly impossible, I wear my glasses at all times.

There are more tasks that trouble me, but my left hand is getting tired of typing. I miss my right hand and I want it back.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Only Typing With One Hand

No you sickos, it's not what you think! As you can see from the picture something is wrong with my hand.

Yesterday I was working with HyPClR yesterday on a story about teaching people English, by having them learn to read and write in their own language first, it's supposedly easier that way. I'm shooting away and I pick up my camera off the table and felt a sharp pop in my hand. It was one of the sharpest pains I have ever felt. My hand started to contort into a strange position. I find HyPCLR and tell him I need to go to the hospital. We inform the station that I'm done shooting for the day.I call The Wife and tell her which hospital I'm at.

About 3 hours later I found out that one of the tendons that goes over my thumb, somehow chipped off part of the knuckle bone in the thumb. I now have to go to a Orthopedic specialist and see what has to be done. Best case scenario is just a case for a while. Worst

I do get a few days off and will probably have to start editing, which will be hard with just one hand. It's taken me 20 minutes to just type this. At least this happened at work, so now I am suckling on the teet of Workers Compensation. Also NO IT'S NOT A STRESS FRACTURE FROM "DOING SOMETHING ELSE." I'm looking at you Wilson.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Hall of Mediocrity: All-Star Edition

So far this season I have only inducted nine members to the Hall of Mediocrity. I thought I would have added at least 15 members by now, but knowing I have very little follow through on some of my ideas I'm actually fairly content. Since tonight was the All-Star game I thought I'd add a few new members and recognize some special members with the first ever Mediocre Stars. New Members will have an * after thier name.

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.

First Base
Bud Clancy * played 1924-30, 32 and 34 for White Sox, Dodgers and Phillies. 522 games, BA .281, 12 HR, 198 RBIs.

Clancy's place in gthe record book came through no effort of his own: he is one of three first basemen to play a full nine innings without a putout or assist.

Second Base
Syd O'Brien * played 1969-72 for Red Sox, White Sox, Angels and Brewers. 378 games, .230 BA, 24 HR, 100 RBI.

A poor fielder, O'Brien played on four clubs in his four major league years. He exemplified the ghastly 1970 White Sox, who lost a club-record 106 games, by committing 23 errors at second and third base in just 111 games for a .948 fielding average.

Third Base
Wally Gilbert * Played from 1928-32 for the Dodgers. 591 games, .229, 5 HR, 55RBI

An adventurous third baseman, Gilbert led the NL inerrors in 1930 and assists in 1931, when he got six hits in a game and went homerless in 552 AB.

Ray Oyler * played form 1965-70 for the Tigers, Pilots and Angels. 542 games, .175 BA, 15 HR, 86 RBI.

The archetype "good-field, no hit" player, Oyler relinqished the Detroit shortstop to centerfielder Mickey Stanley to strengthen the Tiger offense in the 1968 World Series. Still, Dick McAuliffe called him "the best shortstop I ever played with." Seattle Fans, feeling Oyler was the Pilots most needy of support, organized the "Ray Oyler Fan Club" in spring training. Oyler almost ruined it by homering to win the Pilots' first home game. He was suppose to be an underdog. He ended up filling the role perfectly, batting .165 as their regular shortstop.

Danny Ainge
played from 1979-1981 for the Toronto Blue Jays, 211 games, .220 BA, 2 HRs, 37RBI
A basketball star at Brigham Young, the fiery Ainge was a 6'4" infielder-outfielder with the Blue Jays. After Three Years of failing to hit major league pitching, he quit baseball to join the NBA Boston Celtics.
Fred (Fritz) Odwell * played 1904-07 for the Reds. 411 gmaes, .258 BA, 10 HR, 168 RBI.
Odwell hit only one home run as a Reds rookie in 1904, but his nine the next season led the NL. Teammate Cy Seymour, with eight homers and the league batting and RBI titles, missed the Triple Crown because of Odwell's home run chanpionship. In two more ML seasons, Odwell never homered again.

Jim Delsing * played 1948-56 and 60 for the White Sox, Yankees, Browns, Tigers and A's. 822 games, .255 BA, 40 HR, 286 RBI.

The Browns' pinch-runner in 1951 for midget Eddie Daedel, Delsing hit .300 several times in the minors and made teh Northern League, Pacific Coast League and American Association all-star teams. His top ML BA was .288 with the 1953 Tigers. His son Jim is a member of the PGA Tour

Starting Pitcher
Taylor (T-Bone) Phillips * played 1956-60 and 63 for the Braves, Cubs, Phillies and White Sox. 439 innings, 16-22 with a 4.82 ERA

Hard-throwing and wild Phillips ranks as the fourth worst-hitting pitcher (minnimum 100 at-bats) in ML history, going 6-113 (.053). He was 7-10 on the mound for the Cubs in 1958, his most active season.

Relief Pitcher
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.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

It Will Be Awesome and You Know It!

As DCZ has already mentioned this month will be awesome because we have the full length The Simpsons Movie! I was in junior high when The Simpsons first hit the air waves. I loved it and my father hated it. "It's tearing apart the American family." So I wasn't allowed to watch, well at least not in the living room. I usually went up stairs and watched it in their bedroom. I have actually spent WAY too much money and currently own the first 10 seasons on DVD. I've had conversaions that were about nothing but The Simpsons I probably can figure out a Simpsons reference to any situation in life. While in college I created a theory that the Simpsons' made a money reference every fifth episode, I almost turned that in to a college paper (Thank you Bowling Green for having a Popular Culture department).

I may sound like a geek, but this show makes my day a little better. So while at work the other day it was mentioned that if you go to the Simpsons Movie website you can create a Simpsons' character. HOLY CRAP THAT IS AWESOME! I first made one that sort of looked like me, but I hated it so I started to create really stupid looking ones. My favorite is "what the average fan in line will look like the night the movie opens" guy. I know it's harsh, but you will probably see this guy at any theater you will go to. So go to the and make your own character... and ok here what I might look like and yes I made my self a little slimmer... don't you judge me!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

The Aquafina Stock Just When Up

Yesterday was the start of my 7 day work week and of course it's suppose to be the hottest 7 days of the year. As I'm getting ready yesterday The Wife mentions I should take a cooler full of little water bottles. I balk at the idea I would rather take one large bottle and just fill it up through out the day. Since she's The Wife I finally lug out the cooler full of bottles to my truck.

I'm glad she made me take it. By 1:00pm it was already in the mid 90s and the heat index was oer 100. Of course I was sent to every festival or outside event in the triangle. The largest was what I called hippy-fest or more accurately the Eno Festival. It's a watershed that leads to the Nuese River and that's where most of the area gets its water. I walk around getting video of people in tye-dye and listening to their folk music and poems then I shoot some booths about how bad Bush is, why you should not eat meat, 9 booths about bio-diesel... serious 9 booths! I'm not a Republican, but I just hate hippies. I see a group setting like this and all I can think of is "Hey man, Bush is the devil and we need to impeach the man. I would have voted for Kerry, but I don't vote. You see the man wants you to vote and that's how they get you... voter registration!" Grrrrr just pisses me off.

OK off the tangent and back to me and water. I could not find a person in charge and after 45 minutes of shooting and lugging around nearly 50 pounds of equipment I find some one who gets me the leader of the festival. By this time I'm having trouble catching my breath and I notice I'm sweating more. Crap I'm getting heat exhaustion. I've had this a couple of times and the signs are not very obvious. I start to sweat, I get a little short of breath just walking around, I start to sweat even more than normal, my legs start to not respond and I can't walk a straight line, I stop sweating, I can't think normal (I know I know, I don't think normal to begin with) and then comes the shaking. I was up to the shaking when a couple of volunteers hand me a large water I chug it down. I know I knock hippies, but everyone in charge of the Eno Festival were very nice... damn them for challenging my stereo-types. We start the interview and I finish up fast, I know I need to get to the car. I stagger across a large field and get in. I open my cooler with 5 16.9 oz bottles of water and down #1. I call in and I have to stop talking to the desk because I'm shaking so I down a second. I finish up my call and head to the next outdoor assignment, while chugging a third bottle a 12oz can of Coke Zero. I kept drinking non-stop for the next hour and a half. I get sent to the USA v Japan game and I need more fluids. Here is the count of Saturdays in take

1 32oz fountain drink (coke)

2 16.9 oz bottles of water

1 12 oz Coke Zero

1 20 oz Gatorade

1 32 oz Gatorade

1 12 oz lemonade (ball game)

1 12 oz Mountain Dew (ball game)

1 cup of water (guessing 16 oz)

And I was still thirsty after all that. Then Sunday was a repeat.

6 16.9 oz bottles of water

2 20 oz glass of tea

1 12 oz can of lemonade (ball game)

1 32 oz Powerade

so over all this weekend I drank around 350 oz. I believe that's nearly 3 gallons over two days and as of 10:30 Sunday night I'm still thirsty. I know North Carolina is hot, but I'm going to struggle for the rest of the summer. I just hope I can carry enough water to get me through the day. The one saving grace is the fact that I am nightside so it is a little cooler. Not by much, but I'll take any small victory.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Random Thoughts: International addition

I have a lot I want to write about so tonight, but I do not feel like writing an epic blog because

  1. I worked 13 hours today.
  2. I get bored when a blog entry is long, so why would I torture everyone with something I hate.

So I will just write about three things in this post and oddly enough everything has an international flair.

Children Of Chernobyl

Since moving to Raleigh we found a church called Lifepointe and they love the fact that I can actually use a video camera. When any project pops up I'm at the top of the list to shoot or give ideas. I truthfully don't mind, I have more energy and I feel like I can handle it... most of the time. This past Friday I was asked to shoot an interview for the Children of Chernobyl. If you don't want to go to the site a quick summary is that it is an organization to help an orphanage in the town of Rudnesk, these are children the state wants to hide. They are usually children with some abnormalities like MS, Down syndrome, mild retardation and crazy as it sounds cross eyed. Most are children of prostitutes, drug addicts and alcoholics, their parents don't want them so they ship them to Rudnesk.

I was asked to interview Mama Luda a woman who saw these children and felt it was her duty by God to help them. She came over to America with three of the orphans and the director Valentin. I was leery of the interview, but she answered my questions so well I only had to ask two follow ups. She gave me everything I needed. I interview the director (through the translation done by Mama Luda) and he was wonderful. Even the two orphans we that were there did a wonderful job.

I know it touched The Wife, if you did not know she spent many years in foster care and finally ended up with The In-Laws when she was 12. She has always wanted to do a missions trip but doesn't want to go and do heavy lifting and hard work in hot weather. She found her trip and wants to go to Belarus and help the orphanage. It even touched me and we are going to sponsor a child. It only cost $20 a month and hearing the stories of how the orphanage survives only because of the money sent from America made my heart grow three times it's size. I know we have it too good and we waste a lot of what is given to us.

So if you can find an extra 20 and give, if not we may becoming to you within a year for help with our trip. You have been warned, but seriously these kids have nothing and their government would rather they go away and never be heard from again, they need all the help they can get.

Hotel Rwanda
Yes I know this movie was released in 2004, but I saying I'll rent it later. Well later came in the form of Blockbuster and it finally was shipped. It took two more weeks of sitting there, but I finally watched it and I should have watched it back when it was first released.

If you do not know the movie imagine if you took Blood Diamonds (minus the diamonds) and Schindler's List and made one movie, you would get Hotel Rwanda. It's the story of Paul Rusesabagina the hotel manager at a Belgium passed resort in Rwanda. When the country was turned upside down during a revolt he helped save over 1200 people.

Rwanda is basically split between two groups the Hutu and the Tutsie. The two for the most part got along, but when trouble started to form it got ugly and part of the Hutu people thought the only way to solve the countries problem was to kill every Tutsie. It was a massive genocide of nearly a million people. It wasn't even killing people it was killing them not with guns, but with machetes, hatchets and any other sort of sharp object. It was bloody and violent and the dead was strewn about the country. In one scene Paul had to leave the Hotel compound for supplies when it was still foggy and the road was getting bumpy, he thought they were running off the road. Little did he realize till he got out of the truck was that the road was full of bodies.

To put the slaughter into perspective imagine the entire population of Franklin county Ohio, Columbus, Dublin, Groveport, Dublin... you get the idea, all dead. In North Carolina the population or Wake, Durham and Orange counties all dead. The most shocking part of the movie was not the killing, but the fact the world did not care. Paul was a man that tried to make connections and had many so that if he needed a favor he could help his family. When the killing started everyone abandoned him and the country of Rwanda. I remember hearing about the genocide while in high school and truthfully I never got how bad it was till I was Hotel Rwanda. A must watch movie.

Domo Arigato Japanese Pitcher

Now that I made everyone horribly depressed with their lives I'll do a 180 to end the post. In Durham the USA college baseball team faced off against the Japanese college baseball team. I haven't had a chance to go till today. I was asked if I could work late and I thought hey a chance to watch some international baseball, why not. I find out that we are interview a guy who is huge in Japan. He was the one that pitched against Dice-K in that 17 inning game back when he was in high school. The thing not mentioned is that he pitched all 17 as well. He was a pretty cool guy, we had an interpreter and we talked about baseball, Dice-K and the kid who pitching against the USA on Friday Yuuki Saitou. I guess he is good in 6 2/3 innings he only allowed 2 hits and 1 run in the Japan win. It's interesting to see how many Japanese media crews came over for this series. The station that is using our satellite PUP has over 15 people and there were still photographers everywhere. It's so crazy over there that Yuuki has magazines devoted to nothing but him. Imagine something like Tiger Beat magazine, People and Us Weekly devoting every page to Tom Brady or Alex Rodriguez.

We finish our shot and time to play a little bit. We are near the area where kids can see how fast they throw. Well this guy through a pitch 114mph. We think it was a little off, but wow the ball left his hand fast. We end the fun part of the day and get down to business. The USA is losing the series 2 games to 1 and if they do not get the win on Saturday it will be the first time that the USA has lost a series on American soil. Japan gets out to an early lead by playing small ball. Get a man on first, bunt him over to second. Get a hit or a fly out to send the man to third and then hit the ball and send the runner in for a score. Some how the USA can't handle that style of play. Team USA goes by the philosophy of "chicks did the long ball" and swung for the fences at every at bat and pretty much never made it to first. By the time we left it was Japan 3 USA 0 in the 6th and we left, we had enough of the ass whooping. So much for baseball being America's past time. Maybe we can take curling away from Canada for a new past time... or corn holing.

Tuesday, July 03, 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.

Al Papai played 1948-50 and 55 for the Cardinals, Browns, Red Sox and Braves. 240 innings 9-14 record with a 5.37 ERA.

Papai was one of the 29 players to pitch for both St. Louis teams. In 1949, one of his two full ML seasons, he appeared in 42 games for the Browns, going 4-11. He once tripped over the chalk line on the way off the field.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

I really like baseball, to be honest as a kid I thought baseball was OK, but the older I get the more I like baseball. I've caught myself recently listening to the Durham Bulls radio broadcast. Why would I do this? Well, besides the fact that I hate the radio down here, it's because I enjoy it. So when the Toledo Mudhens came to town this weekend we had to go.

Durham Bulls Atheltic Park is a nice new stadium and since there were fireworks tonight it was nearly a packed house. We got two tickets in the outfield, the seats weren't too bad, but The Wife was worried about home runs and I was told "You are to protect me!" Of course I am wearing my Mudhens jersey and well, I'm the only Hens fan in my section and well the next section and maybe the section... OK I think I was the only person in the outfield with a Mudhens Jersey, so this will be fun.

We find our seats and at this point we can tell we are the only ones in the right seats. More people start filing in and trio of people start complaining because someone is in their seats, but live with the ones beside us.

Early on Durham was mowing down the Hens and Yorman Bazardo was all over the place and the Bulls were getting to him. Even with that it was only 1-0 Bulls at the top of the 4th. The Hen's get a man of first and things start to change, Kevin Hooper hits a line drive to center and the Bulls Jason Pridie picks up the rolling ball... or does he? I misses the ball and the man on first is on third and Hooper is on first.

After another hit the game is tied at 1-1 with men on second and third and then the man of the night comes to bats... SLOTH! No it's not really the guy from the Goonies, but Chris Shelton who could win The Next Best Thing as Sloth. At this point more people are coming in, which makes me wonder how can people come this late to a game? It's the fourth inning and you are NOW GETTING TO YOUR SEAT? I could understand if they were visitors to the area and thought, "Hey isn't that the team from Bull Durham? Lets get some tickets!" No, they were local, and personally I hate to miss anything and always want to be on time. I will a little upset at myself for leaving late and missing the first batter, but at least I got their before the 4th! While Sloth is looking for a hit a Bulls Seat Guy asks to see our ticket. I stand up and The Wife and I look for our tickets and that's when I hear CRACK! Sloth crushed the ball over the Big Blue Monster and the Hens are up 4-1. I missed the hit and never saw the ball go over the wall but I knew it did. I cheer, and then tried to find my tickets. We get everything figured out and everyone has a seat.

That was not all for the inning, Jack Hannahan smacks a laser into the outfield one section over from us. Everyone stands for a chance to catch a home run ball and a little boy catches it... with his face. OK if you have a kid your first thought should not be "Hey I'm going to catch this ball." It should be where's Billy. get behind me. I cheer for the homer and then stop because I noticed a bleeding kid. He took it in the nose so he should be OK. Hens are up 6-1

The Mudhens go nuts and for the next two innings the jump all over the Bulls and are up 9-2. Everyone finally realizes that I'm wearing a Mudhens jersey and figures out that I am cheering at the wrong times. Then the fun starts, the trio of people from earlier are now behind us and a 2 and a half sheets to the wind and the college age guy wants to start the wave to "Get the team going.., THEY NEED US." He tries it once and gets it barely out of the outfield. He is crushed and the Hens score again. Some security guy comes over and I'm thinking they are going to throw him out. Excuse me sir, the people in the patio are ready for the wave." Yes, other drunk people send someone over to get the guy to do it again. This time they try to get me to do it. "Come on, we need this." I respond "I'm here for Toledo." with a slight slur "Did you travel from Toledo for the game?" We explain that we are now living in Wake Forest, but I use to live in Toledo. We come to a compromise and the next time I come to a Bulls game I have to cheer for them and I need to do the wave. With goating from The Wife I do it. Amazingly enough the wave went around four times, I was shocked and the wave must be Kryptonite to the Bulls because they allow three more runs.

With fireworks being launched we had to leave our section for "security reasons" or as I like to put it we don't want you to be hit by flaming balls and sue us. We move around the top of the 9th and we find some seats down the first base line. The Hens bring in some kid I can not find on any roster, they must have brought him up after this little fight that left closer Jason Karnuth has his face broken by another pitcher Ramon Colon. With a 13-4 lead he allows them to get to 13-7. The Hens could not get that finally out so they brought in Corey Hamman and he stops the bleeding and the Mudhens win. 13-7.

With the game over it was time for fireworks. For some reason the Bulls brought out a Boston Globe reporter to start the show. I seriously think there was something wrong with Mr Reporter (Glug Glug) the first thing he asks is "Hey, does anybody know the score of the Red Soxs game?" Silence. "No really, I don't know, I've been here all day." Hey moron... so have we, and why would the people of Durham care about the Red Sox. The Bulls are affiliated with the Devil Rays so you might want to work on your opening line.

We finally get the fireworks going and I think someone might have not done their job. They set the fireworks off in front of a new building that is still under construction. Every once in a while a round would hit the steel beams and go off inside the new building. I thought that was the best part. It would give off a weird ecko once it goes off and Vere off in weird direction... usually near the second we had to clear out.

It was a good night, I got to see the Hens play, Sloth crushed one over the wall, we did the wave, saw some fireworks and I messed with Wooly E. Bull.