Archive for June, 2006

Free Rides! I mean, Spare the Air

June 28, 2006

Andrew ChowOn one of our recent Spare the Air days, I decided to take full advantage of the free rides — by taking a trip All Around the Bay. Some told me it couldn’t be done — but after a day spent riding (and waiting for) trains and buses, I proved them wrong…

10:40am: SJ to Mountain View

A 20-minute wait for the next light rail train. On board it’s standing-room only. Lots of families going to Great America, and lots of teenagers going to work there. They’re all dressed in dark-blue Great America shirts. One lady in particular keeps bugging them about rides, costs, which stop to get off at, etc. As soon as she leaves the train, the kids all start making fun of her behind her back. At the downtown Mountain View station, only a handful of riders join me in making the transfer to Caltrain. Again, about a 20-minute wait in the heat – made more bearable with a soda and a bottle of water that I buy from a hot dog stand. I also end up buying a giant hot dog, peanuts, and fudge cookies. I eat most of it before the train shows up.

Noon: Mountain View to SF

Again, I’m kind of surprised to see lots of families on this train. Two young men with checked-baggage tags on their luggage talk about transferring to BART, to catch their flight at SFO. Later, I watch as they get off the train at Millbrae – then miss the BART transfer and take the escalator upstairs.

1pm: 4th & King to the Financial District

On the N Judah streetcar I overhear a group of ladies fretting about how “We have to pay our fare up front!” – and a few seconds later, after someone tells them about Spare the Air day, “OH, it’s free all day?!” Water is dripping from the air conditioner overhead. It drips right onto some seats. And at every stop, someone sits down in those seats, only to have water drip on their heads. I wonder why no one on the train speaks up to warn them?

2:30pm: SF to Fremont

After lunch with a friend in the Financial District, I head back to the subway station. This time, no waiting for a BART train to Fremont — it shows up just as I step off the escalator. All the forward-facing seats are taken. I hate riding trains backwards. Nearly an hour later outside the Fremont BART station, I’m confused: Which bus do I take to get back to San Jose? I ask a girl, but she says she doesn’t know. Soon a VTA bus shows up – then promptly shuts down as the driver takes a break. Meantime a group of teenagers is loitering next to me, smoking what smells like pot. There’s also a group of elderly people, none speaking English, all standing next to their suitcases. It’s really hot; I wish I had another bottle of water.

3:45pm: Fremont to Milpitas

On board the VTA bus: Very cushy, comfortable seats. The pot smokers take over the back of the bus. I find an empty seat next to a sunny window, and fall asleep as the bus is idling…

4:30pm: Milpitas to SJ

I wake up as the bus pulls up to the Great Mall, and transfer to the light rail to take me back where I began my trip nearly six hours earlier. A successful — if exhausting — way to get around the Bay.

Andrew Chow
NBC11 Producer

Caltrain Sign
Caltrain Palo Alto
Caltrain San Francisco
BART East Bay
BART Fremont

Barefoot and Pregnant – AGAIN!

June 20, 2006

Shannon O'Donnell

My friend Amy Hollyfield is a reporter at KGO, and recently having had a beautiful baby girl, she attended one of the ‘Mommy-Baby Groups’ that have become so popular. She was explaining to one of the other mommies what she does for a living, who then remarked, “I think I saw that weather girl from NBC at Starbucks yesterday, you know, the one that’s ALWAYS pregnant?” A-hem. First of all, after four years of ‘Cloud Physics,’ ‘Differential Equations’ and ‘Atmospheric Chemistry’ a la the intensive program I battered my way through at the University of Washington, it’s ‘Meteorologist.’ And secondly, ALWAYS pregnant??

I know it may seem like I just went through this, with my ever-expanding-belly blocking the view of the weather maps, but in reality, my children will be almost two years apart…if born on the due date, the separation between the two will be about 20 months. A little sooner than we’d expected to have our second, but not COMPLETELY insane. Don’t most people tend to have their kids two years apart?

And it’s not just me…you may have noticed that our weekend anchor Kris Sanchez is pregnant. Additionally, we have three or four other women that work behind the cameras that are also ‘with-child’ these days. Amy has often said that there is something ‘in the water’ at KGO too, as so many women are pregnant there in any given year.

So why is it that you can tune into almost any Bay-Area news station and catch a very-pregnant news anchor or reporter staring back at you? I think it’s ‘due’ to the size of our TV market. You probably wouldn’t find the same thing if you were watching in say, Eureka, as that tends to be more of a starter-market where many a newscaster is fresh out of college and not really in ‘baby-mode’ yet. Many of us aspire to make it to a city like San Francisco/San Jose, and at that point, we’re usually in our late 20s/early 30s…the same time many of us are settling down, getting married and, you guessed it, starting our families. With all of the stories we run on fertility problems catching up with you if you wait too long, you know the clock is ticking. So, what can you do?

For your map-viewing convenience, I now usually do the weather from behind the desk. But fair warning…we DO want at least one more…! Maybe at that point you can fairly call me the one who is ‘always pregnant’….!

Shannon O’Donnell

NBC11 WeatherPlus Meteorologist

P.S. In my earlier blog, I mentioned the tendency to wear heels to work…in my current state, they don’t stay on long once at the office. They just get too uncomfortable after awhile. I honestly do walk around here ‘barefoot and pregnant’!

Make Father’s Day Everyday!!

June 16, 2006

Laura Garcia CannonWith Father’s day in mind, I can’t help to think about my dear Dad. The greatest male figure in my life growing up he really helped to sculpt the person I am today.

I grew up in a small town in Central California. One of those main street U.S.A. places where the milk man used to make home deliveries a few times a week, a paper boy made the rounds at homes along with the ice cream man, and everyone knew your name no matter where you seemed to go.

Being on TV in the Bay Area, about 200 miles from my hometown, I’m flattered that people can still call me by name, but there’s something different about my name when I’m here. I’m “Laura Garcia Cannon”, “that TV lady”, “boy are you tinier in person girl!”. All great, all true and without viewers recognizing me, I probably wouldn’t be here, but something about my name changes when I head to the small town where I grew up… I turn into “Mike Garcia’s daughter” and I love it.

My Dad ran a successful retail business in the small town where I grew up. Great for us kids who always had a summer job, but poor Dad always ended up taking the hired help (his kids) out to lunch as well as putting up with us coming in late, and wanting off early to catch a summer movie in the one theatre in town. There was never a stranger to Mike Garcia, whenever he talked to you, you felt like you were the only person in the room. He taught me about relationships with people and why they’re so important. He taught me how to listen, he taught me how to care. He taught me laughter, love and respect and what it means to give to others. He taught me that hard work pays off and to never give up on your goals. He taught me how to make smart decisions, save for a rainy day, and even as a young kid, taught me all about stocks and bonds and finances. He taught me that I could do anything, and instilled family values in me, stronger than virtually anyone I know. He taught me how to tie my shoe, ride a bike, how to put my feet on his, to learn to dance. He taught me how to find laughter in anything and to take care of the ones you love. He taught me to do well in school, to respect God and others and of course the virtual Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them done to you. He also taught me how important laughter is in living life.

As Father’s Day approaches I can’t wait to go home to hug my Dad and thank him again and again for all that he’s done for me. The sacrifices he and my Mom have made to raise 4 children, send them all to college and to be there for us whenever we needed. I remember the day I got married to Brent, my Dad whispered to me as I danced the father-daughter dance, “I guess there’s a new guy in your life now!”. I tearfully replied, “No Dad, no one will ever replace you!” I’ll always be proud to be recognized as “Mike Garcia’s daughter”, nothing can ever change that, or the way I love him.

Laura Garcia Cannon
Mike Garcia’s Daughter
NBC11 Anchor

I Was Moved

June 16, 2006

Bob Redell
My photographer Rob and I went to Morgan Hill yesterday to cover a story about company under investigation by the feds. We did our first live report at 5 and were in the live truck waiting to do our next report for 6. At around 5:25… something started shaking the van. At first, I thought someone outside was playing a prank on us. (This wasn’t out of the realm. Just a few weeks ago, some clowns threw a chocolate shake on our van.) Then I’m thinking maybe someone’s revving their car up against our van. (Again. Not out of the realm. A few years ago, someone rear ended us. Fortunately, no one was hurt too badly.) Turns out it was that 4.7 earthquake everyone was talking about. Fortunately for you, a digital camera happened to be taking pictures as this happened.

Here are the pre-quake pix of me and Rob:
And here are the post quake pics:
Bob Redell
NBC11 Reporter

My Very Scary Morning

June 13, 2006

Shannon O'DonnellSo I almost went ahead and just HAD the baby this morning (several weeks early), I was so worked up and upset! We live in an ‘okay’ neighborhood that separates a super-expensive housing area from a crime-ridden one…and often some of that crime spills in our direction. My car has been broken into several times since we moved to this locale two years ago. Often my husband will be up late at night working in his office, and he’ll see guys ‘casing’ the cars parked on our street at odd hours–he’s even witnessed one guy breaking a car window and pulling out a computer, then running down the street lickety-split. And this was at 8:30 in the morning in broad daylight! Once in awhile, I’ll step out of my house in the middle of the night on the way to work, and I’ll run into one of these fellows myself…such was the case this morning.

Here I am about 7 1/2 months pregnant, in heels (of course! At 5’2″ I just can’t give them up!), walking down our front steps balancing my purse, lunch bag, and of all things, a full-length mirror that I’d long ago promised to bring into the weather center (not really smart in the first place!). Across the street I notice a young guy with a big winter jacket and a back-pack on, checking out my neighbor’s car (wonder how many ipods and laptops he had in there?). Obviously this guy is up to no good, and has no business being there at this hour of the morning other than to cause trouble. He sees me so begins to walk on, but keeps looking back at me as I teeter down my stairs with my arms full. At that point he gets out of my line of vision and I’m not sure what to do–do I run back inside? Is he harmless or really a thug? Had I not had that darned mirror I would have been able to just jump in my car. I loaded everything in as fast as I could hoping he wasn’t coming up behind me, then I got in and started to drive away. At that point I see he has crossed the street to come over to my side, and is watching me leave the house.

Now I’m thinking, “oh great, he’s seen me leave, and he’s going to skip the car thievery and break into our house instead!” So I immediately call my husband and try to wake him up and warn him to keep his eyes open and ears peeled. No answer, so I call again. And I call and I call and I call. I have a very long commute to work, so I called his cell phone and our house phone repeatedly for that entire 45-minute span. No answer. Now my husband can be a very heavy sleeper, but this was ridiculous! Could he be snoring that loudly that he wouldn’t hear a single call? And wouldn’t our 18-month-old son awake to all of the commotion and start crying?

Wild things are running through my head by now. I’m assuming this robber-guy has my family tied up and tortured–or worse. I promised myself that if I got all the way to work and nobody had answered, that I’d call the police to go and check things out. So upon pulling into the station, I went ahead and called 9-1-1, apologizing for “probably being crazy”, and explaining the situation to the operator.

As you can probably guess, my husband WAS finally rudely awakened…by red flashing lights in our driveway and cops pounding on the door asking if everything was all right in there! My husband, of course, thought I’d been in a terrible morning accident and the officers had come to break the sad news. It just about scared him, AND our poor baby boy, out of their wits.

But better safe than sorry, right? And as (Traffic Guru) Mike Inouye assured me, at least my calling the cops will make them more aware of the car-casing that goes on in our neighborhood. Maybe we’ll get an extra patrol or two out there and I won’t be so scared to venture out a few steps from my home in the middle of the night!

Shannon O’Donnell
NBC11 WeatherPlus Meteorologist

I’m Not Responsible

June 9, 2006

Mike InouyeWhoa. Hold on. This is not a comment on my abilities as a father, husband, employee or general member of society.

News is an odd thing sometimes.

Weekday mornings Brent and Laura bring you the news from around the Bay Area, and around the world. Victims, suspects, crimes, punishments, happy occasions and sad, they bring it all to you. They tell us about it, but they’re not directly responsible for it. People understand.

Scott brings you news of the business and technology sector. Stocks are up, or stocks are down. Companies grow and downsize. Gas prices dip by a pennies or soar out of control. None of this is Scott’s fault. We all wish he could control these things but (so far as he tells us) he can’t. We understand. People understand.

With traffic, sometimes it’s a non-issue. Roads are clear and everyone’s happy.
Sometimes, though, traffic is bad. Sometimes horrendous. THIS is when I get calls, Email, stopped on the street. We in the Bay Area are passionate about our commutes and the time they take. When things go bad, we all want someone to blame. Unfortunately, even though I report them, the traffic conditions are not under my control. People just have to understand.

Now, regarding the weather… you’ll have to talk to Shannon about that! 😉

Mike Inouye
NBC11 Traffic Anchor/Messenger

Apple Forgets Its Own History

June 9, 2006

Scott McGrewBecause I work with many corporations when covering business news, I spend a great deal of time dealing with public relations agents. Some are very helpful and media savvy, others don’t seem to understand what purpose they serve. Either way, in big companies they are the first people I have to deal with before talking to the real story makers. Getting past them is critical.

A few years ago, The Wall Street Journal had an excellent “behind the scenes” article about its reporters trying to deal with PR offices. I have Googled it but not found it. The gist was their reporters did a very complimentary article about one car rental chain — and ignored its competitors — simply because a helpful PR office said “you can talk to whoever in the company you wish.” The competitor never returned phone calls.

Truly one of my most unusual experiences dealing with PR involves Apple Computer.

I had been writing a story about a garage band, and thought it would be fun to point out that in Silicon Valley, we’re better known for starting companies in garages, not music groups.

“HP” I wrote, “started in a garage in Palo Alto. Apple started in a garage in…” Huh. Cupertino, right? Or was it Sunnyvale?

I called Apple.

“We don’t know” was the response.

“What do you mean?” I asked, confused. “That doesn’t make sense. Surely, someone there knows in what city the company was founded.”

“We will get back to you” I was told.

The next day I got an email that read “Scott, our corporate timeline does not show the location of the garage. We are sorry we could not provide more details.”

That email got printed out and for years enjoyed a prominent spot on my cubicle wall.

Scott McGrew
NBC11 Business & Tech Reporter

Perfect Birthday Meal

June 4, 2006

Brent Cannon

I recently celebrated another birthday and that got everybody talking about what their perfect birthday meal would be. Laura says, her mom’s tongue. I better explain. The homemade “lengua” (beef tongue) that her mom makes. Shannon likes her mom’s homemade flank steak – or maybe fondue. Mike and I were talking, and we had the same perfect birthday meal. Here it is: We begin with fresh, hot French bread and butter, then a cup of the best French onion soup you can get. The main course is a New York strip steak (a porterhouse is even better) with fettuccini alfredo. For dessert – cherries jubilee prepared and flamed tableside. Mike and I agree that bananas foster is also exquisite, and maybe the top choice, depending on your mood. Scott was thinking along the same lines. If it’s eating out he likes Outback Steakhouse. If he’s eating at home for his birthday he likes some sort of b-b-q. So, what’s your favorite? I’m getting hungry!

Brent Cannon

NBC11 Anchor

Blogging Battle

June 1, 2006

Laura Garcia CannonBrent and I are often asked what it’s like to work side-by-side as a married couple day-in and day-out. Well, here’s an example of how it affects us so much we even think alike! I was going to write a blog about our 10am newscast winning an Emmy award for Northern California’s Best Daytime Newscast and he stole my thunder! He even had the same picture I picked posted with his blog.

I wanted to write about how unfortunate at times I think it is that you see our two mugs on the tv all the time – when the entire behind the scenes crew should be showcased. They are a talented bunch and without them we’d have nothing.. but he said that too!! I guess that explains what it’s like working with your mate day in and day out – we think alike, we can finish each others sentences. It’s great as a morning anchor team because that’s exactly what we are – a team. He watches out for me, and I watch out for him. I think you can probably definitely see it on air sometimes, as I am often stopped in the mall or out at the grocery store by people who say, “I love your chemistry,” “I love the way you look at him” ha ha – I guess it must be a ‘wife’ look – you know the ones – either “boy you’re great” or the look you give the husband when it’s time to leave the party? Well, I can’t fault him for this one… we need to give our crew as much credit as we get – they’re the best and if they’re reading this, guys and gals – we really appreciate all you do to make us look good!

Now, about those blogs Brent, I beat you to talk about the inspirational luncheon we hosted! The race is on buddy!

Laura Garcia Cannon
NBC11 Anchor