Sunday, September 28, 2008

Well, well, well.

I'm feeling ambitious tonight.

I haven't posted in almost a year.

I've been busy, sleep deprived, busy, chronically sleep deprived, and totally unmotivated at different times over the past year.

So. I feel pretty good right now.

No, I won't be telling any stories this time. But I've been threatening to update over the past several months and thought now would be a good time to start.

Now that I've done this, I'm hoping that I'll feel the pressure to do more.

Have a good night.

Thank you.

Monday, November 05, 2007

The Time is Now

We are inducing labor tonight. Keep up with what's going on over on Erica's blog.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Old School!

It was May, 1988 and I had just gotten home from my first year in college. I needed the car for something so I dropped my brother off for his last day of school. I was aware that St. Mary's was scheduled for demolition over the summer so I gave it a good, long look before driving away. The city of Phoenix had determined the property was way too valuable to be wasted on a small Catholic high school so they swapped some land and took over the campus.

I noticed someone standing over near the front door not wearing a school uniform. This person had a backwards baseball cap and a sweatshirt. A little hot for a day in late May in Arizona. As I drove past I saw the video camera sitting on the ground next to her.

“Hm.” I thought. “One of the stations must be doing a story on the last day at this campus.” As you can tell, I was pretty astute back then.

Later that night I watched the newscasts as best I could, watching for the story. I was lucky enough to catch it at the end of the newscast on channel 12. It was a nice, quaint look at the last day of school, touching on the tradition and spirit of the school and the people. I watch it, enjoy it and soon forget about it.

I finish college where I develop a passion for video and film. I get a job in TV in the Portland market and then get a job shooting in Salt Lake City.

It is now about a dozen years later. I am attending a professional seminar on TV news photography in Utah. One of the speakers is from the Phoenix market so I chat her up and mention that I’m from Phoenix and went to Saint Mary’s.

“Hey I did a story on the last day of St. Mary’s!”

The gears in my head start their usual slow cranking. The doors to the memory sections of my brain creak their way open. I start to remember watching the story. Then I remember seeing her outside the school that morning.

“…Wait a second. I saw that story. That was a great story.”


“I saw you. Outside the school shooting that.”

We kind of give each other incredulous looks for a couple of seconds.

“In fact, I have that story on one of my tapes here,” she explains.

She pulls an old tape out of her bag and we go back to an edit bay and watch the story again. I see people I knew back then, the old stinky gym, the classrooms with the painted cinder block walls. I can smell the campus again. I remember sitting out in the courtyard eating. I see the tree where I found a kitten that became a family pet.

Wow. What an odd set of events that brought me to watch this video again. I pull out one of my tapes and make a dub. Since then, it’s been sitting in a box in my garage. I had to find an old video player that still worked to even view it again. So I made my dubs again and converted it.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

My Other Blog

Since the wife has been pregnant, we've been doing occasional updates on the prescence of a fruitful womb in the household. They are hosted over on her blog but here is a link to my entries.

Mark's Baby Blog

The latest one has some video of Erica shooting hoops at 8 1/2 months pregnant.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Nineteen Eighty-Seven

Or more specifically, Class of 1987.

Yep, that is a picture of me. And, yep, it has been 20 years since I was in high school.

The concept is a bit odd to wrap my brain around. In some ways I don't feel like a damn-near 40-year-old. I'm hip, funny and virile. Completely different from all the adults I knew when I was a teenager.

But in other ways, I do feel like I'm knocking on 40's door. It takes a while for the back and ankles to stop hurting when I get out of bed. There's the extra pounds and less hair. I can't dunk a basketball anymore.

When I think back over the past twenty years, I guess I've done a lot: Two colleges (and one of the most unspectacular basketball careers ever). I have learned, and then have forgotten sign language. I've been to 3 Olympics for work, backpacked the Grand Canyon and gone under the knife for various surgeries 4 times (2 unsuccessfully - thus the sore ankles mentioned earlier).

I got a phone call a couple weeks ago from a classmate who had hunted me down. Renae, sounding just as sweet as she did 20 years ago, filled me in on the details of our class reunion. I had somehow misunderstood that a planning meeting in May was our actual reunion. I was on a plane to L.A. at the time so I figured that I'd have to miss this decade's event and catch up in another 5 or ten years.

So, good news for me, I didn't miss our reunion. Bad news (more just bad timing) for me, the reunion is being held on November 2nd which is the same day our first baby is due. So I miss out anyway.

Too bad, because I've sort of lost touch with everyone I went to high school with.

My folks moved from Phoenix a couple years after I graduated and went away to college. Since it was no longer home for me, I hardly ever went back. I moved on with my life and pursued a career.

Then I went to my 10 year reunion. I got everyone's contact info - phone numbers, addresses, emails, whatever. I went home and on set up a nice little file with everyone's info on my work computer. Unbeknownst to me, I worked at a company that came close to the Nazis in how it treated its employees. They would arbitrarily erase everyone's personal files without notice in the name of 'company security'.

So, one day I go in and all my files are gone. Our IT guy ignored me for about a week until I cornered him and asked what the deal was. He mumbled something about unable to do anything to help me out and said that the server was the property of the company and they had the right to do anything at anytime without notice. Technically, he was right but it would have been nice to know ahead of time so I could save those.

Anyway, I lost contact with everyone all over again. Only a couple of months after getting it all in the first place. On top of all that, I found out later that my company was filtering all emails that weren't work related. So if any of my buddies were sending me emails, they were getting read and blocked by my supervisors.

So all of you people in the Class of '87 at St. Mary's High School in Phoenix Arizona, give me a holler! I won't lose your info this time...and I'm registered at Babies R Us ;)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Making Excuses

All right, it seems that half the time lately I've been making excuses for not posting. I have no excuses other than having some lame version of writer's block. I just think I've just been tired.

I will give a brief rundown of what I've been up to this summer:

1) My wife is pregnant with our 1st child - due November 2nd - it's a girl.

2) I took on some freelance work that ate up a good portion of June and pretty much all of my free time in July.

3) Almost all of August was spent driving two-and-a-half hours each way, every day to Huntington, Utah where those miners were caught in a cave-in.

4) My wife was fired due to "now is a good time to make changes" at the radio station two months before giving birth. So we are making adjustments after losing more than half our household income.

That's me in a nutshell ("Help, I'm in a nutshell!") over the past few months.

If the two of you who read this blog want more recent updates - go to 'My Beautiful Wife' and check out the baby blogs.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

I Reek Of Smoke

I'm sitting at home, it's midnight and I've been given a new set of rules in my house.

"If you cover a fire, when you get home you must take off all of your clothes and put them in dirty clothes. Don't set them on the floor. Do not lay down on the couch. Walk directly to the bedroom and take your clothes off. Otherwise everything will smell like a campfire."

This from my lovely wife after she got home and walked over to her smelling-like-a-campfire husband laying on the couch.

"Oh." I reply. Even though I'm thinking "I know. I just felt like laying down right when I got home...and the Simpsons were on."

Anyway, I've been shooting news for about a dozen years and I've never gotten any good fire video. Granted, I know that getting 'good' fire video means I'm capitalizing on someone else's tragedy. Someone loses a home or a business and I'm there with my camera to cover the story.

But if I'm going to cover a fire, it would be nice to have a real fire to shoot. Usually the video I get is of firemen rolling up their hoses, firemen drinking Gatorade, firemen carrying ladders and equipment back to their trucks. You get the idea.

In the past 10 days I have stumbled upon two roaring structure fires on my drive home from work. I mean the fully-involved, flames rolling into the sky kind of fires.

Tonight I had made a turn on the main road that takes me home from the freeway. A fire engine with full lights and sires went blasting past me. I assumed they were responding to an accident about a mile up in the next intersection where accidents happen all the time.

As I got closer I saw a huge cloud of smoke drift across the road. I pulled over, grabbed my camera and ran into the apartment complex. As I meandered my way through the several emergency vehicles, I came upon this scene:

This building was burning like a torch. Not one of those dopey torches they crafted on the island in 'Lost' but one of those torches they chased Frankenstein's monster around with in 'Young Frankenstein'.

No one knows how it started but there were no fire breaks in the roof so it spread to all the apartments in this building. The wind was blowing embers around the smoke blew close to the ground making visibility low for everyone.

I ran back and forth near this building getting various shots of the fire being fought, of emergency lights blinking in the smoke and people taking their own pictures of the fire. Luckily no one was injured. Everyone in the building evacuated safely.

Being as close as I was to this inerno, I absorbed quite a bit of the smell of the fire in my clothes and hair prompting that conversation with Erica. The overnight photographer showed up to start his shift so I handed over my tape to him. The fire was mostly out by then and I was ready to go to bed anyway so I headed the half mile down the road to my house.

By the time the editors got ahold of the video back at the station, they didn't use the best shots (I'm not quite sure why they chose the shots they did) but the story can be viewed here:

Apartment Fire Video

These photos I used are from the Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune newspapers.