Archive for February, 2007

Rebuilding Afghanistan

February 28, 2007

Brent Cannon

I hope you have had a chance to watch some of our Moving Pictures reports. They are each unique and each tells a very interesting story. I did one about a Bay Area man named Budd Mackenzie and the work he is doing to help a village in Afghanistan. I met Budd about a year and a half ago when he was a guest on our 10am newscast. There was so much to his story and his efforts that we could not cover it all in that one segment. A few months ago, we were all asked to submit the names of people to whom we would want to give a camera in order for them to tell a story. I immediately thought of Budd. We gave him a camera and he got us great stories from the village of Lalander. Each picture told a story. Once again – there was more than we could cover. So, this time we focused on how Bay Area students are helping to make a CD to help kids in the village learn about English, and how Bay Area students are communicating with the kids in Afghanistan through drawings – since there is a language barrier. In my “Rebuilding Afghanistan” story, we focused on how Budd and the people involved in his project helped open a school. How kids are learning. How girls are being allowed to attend class. Under Taliban rule, girls who go to school can be killed. But the people in Lalander believe so much in educating girls that the people of the village have taken up arms (see picture) to guard the school and make sure nobody hurts the kids. We also touched on how women now have a bigger voice. We got pictures and video of them – which is significant because women are often not allowed to be photographed. Budd says he was overwhelmed when he started. He has had to learn a little about Afghan culture and how their leadership works. He has had to learn about water supplies, farming, education, medicine and a variety of topics he never imagined he’d be involved with. Budd is an amazing man doing amazing work. His story is so compelling and his effort so noble, I am sure we have not heard the last of him. I hope to be able to share many more of his stories and inform more and more people about his work and the difference it makes, and how others in the Bay Area can get involved.

Brent Cannon
NBC11 Anchor

Watch Brent’s Moving Pictures story by clicking here.

Flight of the Raptor

February 23, 2007

Laura Garcia Cannon

I love animals. Anyone that knows me well knows it. I feed the birds outside my house, take careful steps to correctly mix the proper amount of sugar water for the hummingbirds, and of course cater to my puppy Chip who I often write about in my blogs. But I haven’t given due time to the other furry face in our household and that’s our cat… named Mouse. He got the name when a weatherman and photographer at the station we worked at in Phoenix found the little guy and 4 other 3 day old kittens on the rooftop of our building. They were up there to do a live report on a big storm moving in, and heard a faint cry of kittens. They found them behind a air conditioning unit. Sopping wet. Everyone figured the mother cat gave birth up there because it was safe, far way from a nearby field where a fox would prowl.

The crew brought the kittens down to the newsroom and plopped them down next to me. “Here, take care of these,” they said. I love animals but I’ve never owned a cat. I didn’t know the first thing to do! Luckily we had a humane society person who regularly visited the set who gave us all advice on how to care for these tiny little beings. Five of us decided to do our part and make a difference saving these little kittens. None of us knew we’d keep them!! I never had a cat, always declared myself more of a ‘dog’ person than a ‘cat’ person. But this little sopping wet grey helpless face looked up at me that looked more like a ‘Mouse’ — thus the name and I caved in to help.. I bottle fed him, set the alarm every 3 hours to feed him, taught him the things his mother would have taught him and tried to provide a shot at life for him… little did I know he would grow on me and eventually become part of the California Cannon clan.

Fast forward 7 years. The fact that we invited a ‘wild’ animal into our home is becoming crystal clear. Brent and I recently installed new chandeliers and ceiling fans in several rooms of our house. You’d think they were wild raptors!!! Mouse freaked out! He won’t go into the room where they are, gets wide eyed, darts around avoiding them and burrows into the closet under Brent’s shirts. He wouldn’t come out for days – we had to take in his food, water etc… Is this a blog or an advice column? I think the latter… what do we do? Even our puppy can’t coax him out. What happens when summer actually arrives and we want to… pause for dramatic effect… TURN ON THE FANS!!!! Then I’ll be looking for advice on how to give CPR to a cat. Ugh.

Laura Garcia Cannon
NBC11 Anchor

What’s in a Name?

February 22, 2007

Mike InouyeThe Today show ran a story and had a discussion about how a child’s name could affect their life. Now, their discussion revolved around the last name and confusion created/averted but touched upon the first name as well.

First names are the “given” name and last names are not so “customizable” I suppose. This reminded me of a story my wife had heard years ago about two brothers: One named “Winner” and the other “Loser.”

Here’s a link to the story as reported back a few years: http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/07/31/1027926917671.html and another more pop culture resource called Wikipedia for its consolidated info on this story as well.

There is the well documented case of attempted deception with the names “Greenland” and “Iceland.”

Euphemisms, misnomers, expectations set and missed… That’s a lot of pressure for expectant parents.

This brings a whole new set of concerns to the surface should my cozy little family grow in the future. We have one son who is doing well with our name choice but the “Winner/Loser” thing is really something to think about.

I think, just to be safe, I’ll suggest “So-So” or “Eh…” as our next child’s name. They’re gender-neutral and won’t set up any unreasonable expectations or any unreachable standards.

Of course, remember this is coming from a traffic guy who talks about roads and directions, accidents and alternates, and my name is pronounced “Mikey NO WAY.”

Hmmm.

Mike Inouye
NBC11 Traffic Anchor

Least Favorite Scenes

February 15, 2007

Scott McGrew

I don’t get out to movies very often – I have two small children and if I have any time to spend with my wife, I don’t know that I want to spend it not looking at her. So don’t laugh when I say I just now saw The Pursuit of Happyness.

If you haven’t seen it – and who besides me hasn’t seen it by now – you know it’s the more or less true story of a fellow who lost his wife, job and home and was left on the street trying to care for his small boy. While living on the street, he landed an internship at a stock brokerage and eventually was able to become a successful stockbroker.

I found the movie uncomfortable to watch and thus I can’t really say I enjoyed it. A father not being able to provide for his children is a scary theme when you’re a dad. The film was to me what Snakes on a Plane would be to someone who has a phobia of reptiles.

So my wife and I got to talking about scenes in movies that are so “real” they make us uncomfortable.. and I was able to come up with three.

Titanic
If you haven’t seen this movie since it came out in 1997, you may have forgotten just how graphic it is as the ship sinks (sorry to ruin the ending). There’s a scene where the boat has just minutes to stay afloat and a young Irish woman who has been trapped in third class below decks tucks her children into their beds and begins to read them a story, fully aware that she and her babies are about to die. Makes me mist up just typing that. Watching hundreds of people die is just a movie. Watching that young woman prepare to die actually makes you grieve for the victims of that disaster.

Saving Private Ryan
I’m actually okay with the ultra-violent first 30 minutes. Spielberg needed to show how awful the D-Day landings were and he accomplished it. However, there’s a scene about 2/3rds through the movie when one of the soldiers fights with a German soldier over a knife. The German is able to get on top of the American and slowly stabs him in the heart while gently whispering in his ear. Unlike the fighting on Omaha Beach, this is very close combat and to me is the most violent moment of the film.

The Abyss
This is a James Cameron (interestingly, he also did Titanic) science fiction film from some years ago where a husband/wife pair named Bud and Lindsey – played by Ed Harris and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio – are trapped in a small submarine. (You can find the script here.) Bud is wearing some sort of life support suit, Lindsey is not. The submarine is taking on water, and it becomes quickly apparent that one of them will drown. The decision is made that it makes the most sense for Bud to continue to wear the suit (though not without a lot of argument from him) and then, once Lindsey drowns, he will drag her across the ocean floor to an undersea habitat where, hopefully, she can be revived.

LINDSEY
Listen… will you listen to me for a second!?
You’re for the suit on and you’re a better
swimmer than me. Right? So I got a plan…

BUD
What’s the plan?

LINDSEY
I drown, you tow me back to the rig–

BUD
WHAT KIND OF PLAN IS THAT!??

Bud then watches his wife drown right in front of him. And we watch too.

Now, I’m no prude – I like violence as much as the next guy. I have never caught a whiff of it, but I’m sure I would be fond of napalm, particularly around breakfast time. In fact, in the above three cases, the violence is really quite understated. It’s not cars exploding or buildings coming down, and in the case of the young Irish mother, it’s not violent at all. It’s excellent story telling. In my case, a little too real to watch.

What are your least favorite movie scenes? Let me know. Click on the comment link below.

Scott McGrew
NBC11 Business & Tech Reporter

Motivating Mottos

February 14, 2007

Brent Cannon

I often come up with some sort of kick – my latest trend – or project – or quest. And then I give it a name, or a slogan. For example, a few years ago I turned 40. Yes, I publicly admit it. I not only turned 40, but it was a few years ago. Going from 39 to 40 seemed weird to me. It was no big deal when I went from 29 to 30 – but 39 to 40 was weird. But, I decided to be better and stronger at 40 than I had been in previous years. So, I coined the phrase “fit by 40.” I started a few months before my 40th birthday with the goal to be as fit by 40 as I could be. Keep in mind I have always worked out. I was active in little league sports as a kid – often jogged and worked out at a local gym through junior high (now middle school) and high school. I was an athlete in college. I have worked out, played basketball, lifted weights, played golf, etc. almost on a daily basis ever since I graduated from college. So, topping all of that in my “fit by 40” campaign required a little bit of an effort. But I did it. And I still go to the gym four times a week, and attempt some sort of activity the rest of the days of the week. I keep a log so that I can see if I am as fit – stronger – or slipping a bit compared to previous years.

So, now my new campaign. It’s called “drawer to drawer.” Laura and I have accumulated a fair amount of stuff over the years. It is usually organized and put away stuff – but it’s still a lot of stuff. And since it’s in drawers or cabinets – we often just add to the stuff – and pretty soon you don’t know what stuff you have anymore. The only way to attack it is “draw by drawer.” Closet by closet. Cabinet by cabinet. This is not a one time, massive project. No. Instead, we take one drawer at a time. Pick one – any one. And go through it. Just one. Then come back another day and do another. Just one. I figure, if we keep it up all year, we’ll eventually get to them all. We’ll find the stuff worth keeping, and weed out the stuff we can do without. The problem I see right now is that sometimes we can bring stuff in faster than we can weed it out. But, we have a start, and hopefully we will keep managing our stuff, so our stuff doesn’t manage us. By the way – we recently had an author on who wrote a book about “fit by 40.” Looks like I missed an opportunity for a book deal. Maybe somebody is writing “Drawer by drawer” right now!

Brent Cannon
NBC11 Anchor

I Love A Rainy Night… Or At Least, I Used To

February 9, 2007

Shannon O'Donnell

(Warning: The below blog has been written by a sleep-deprived, mother-of-two/meteorologist who has been presented one too many perplexing precipitation problems within the last 72 hours)

With a really soggy night in the forecast recently, some of us around the studio were singing (badly, mind you–except maybe for Laura, as I think even Simon Cowell would agree she has a bloody excellent voice) a few bars from the old Eddie Rabbit tune, ‘I Love A Rainy Night.’ I used to just adore that song as a child. Partly because it really was a pretty great song, and partly because, as a weather fanatic from about age 7, I really DID love a rainy night. I couldn’t wait to ‘see the lightning light up the sky’ and all that.

Snow days were even better when I was a child. Growing up mainly in the Seattle area, snow storms were few and far between, but when they DID come our way–oh boy! They TOTALLY shut down the city! No one knew how to get around in such conditions, so everything was immediately out of commission. Including SCHOOL. What fun to stay home, sleep in, play in the snow, watch movies in your pjs all day. Not only did I love the extreme weather itself, I especially enjoyed all the chaos and the break from routine and responsibility that came with it.

I had decided pretty much from the get-go I was going to be a television meteorologist when I grew up… I loved the weather, I loved to talk… how great to TALK about the WEATHER for a living? How perfect was that? I soaked up my math & science courses, I watched the Weather Channel religiously, I majored in Atmospheric Sciences and worked for NOAA, and of course reveled in every storm that came my way.

I finally got my break in TELEVISION weather in 1995 at a new Seattle station called Northwest Cable News, and it wasn’t long before we got to cover our first big storm. NWCN had officially been on the air 6 days when ‘Christmas Blizzard ’95’ hit (you must say this in a big, booming, important-sounding voice… every big weather event has to have a dangerous-sounding title via the News Promotions Department, Saturday-Night-Live style). As usual, the snow shut down the city. There was a foot of snow in downtown Seattle alone, let alone the suburbs and hillsides surrounding Puget Sound. We were on the air non-stop, working 12 to 14 hour shifts, and, so there would be no excuses in our ability to make it to work, the station put us up in the hotel next door.

You’d think I’d have been in 7th Heaven. THIS was what I’d been waiting for, right? The chance to TALK nonstop about all of this weather I loved so much. What a shock to find that this was, well, not completely the case. While everyone else in Puget Sound was able to really EXPERIENCE the snow–playing in it, walking in it, hanging out in the bars all days instead of having to go to work–I was trapped indoors in a room with no windows watching the snow on a radar picture. I could have been experiencing our Seattle snowstorm in the same way from Brazil! All of the chaos and ‘out-of-sorts-ness’ that I loved about the extreme weather was now out of reach to me. The most contact I had with the snow now was sloshing through the parking lot and into the hotel after an exhausting day of non-stop chattering. And truth be told, instead of the temporary absence of responsibility I’d always enjoyed during such storms, the opposite was now true.

We don’t get too many snowy nights in the Bay Area, but we do get our share of rainy ones. Again, as a TV meteorologist, I don’t feel the quite the same affection for them as I used to. As the rain begins to pour down, the worry begins: will my 3am commute be dangerous? Will I get to experience the clean ‘rainy air’ smell myself, or just tell other people about it via the roaming radar? If I do get to work safely, I’ll no doubt get bombarded with rain questions and commentary all day (how much fell in Santa Rosa between midnight and 5? Is it ever going to rain in the South Bay, too? You said it was going to rain for my commute, but I didn’t see a single drop! What time do you think the Russian River will go over its banks? Just WHEN, to the minute, will the heavy rain start to fall?). As my husband says, instead of just enjoying the rain, I’ll have to “analyze the h%$@ out of it” (though this term usually refers to other things in our lives… maybe I’ll write a future blog about that).

Now don’t get me wrong, I still DO love my job. I can’t imagine doing anything else–TV weather is plenty of fun. I’ve been in this profession now for over a decade, and I hope to keep at it for many more years. But part of me is looking forward to the time when I’ve moved on from this career… when the rain will start to pour on down, and like most everyone else, I can get into some cozy clothes, have a warm cup of tea, curl up on the couch for a movie, hear the thunder, and watch the lightning light up the sky. When I’ll get to just plum enjoy that storm, flooding or not, record-breaking or not. When I won’t have to analyze the h^$% out it. When I can once again sing along to ‘I Love A Rainy Night.’ And mean it. Completely.

Shannon O’Donnell
NBC11 WeatherPlus Meteorologist

Moving Pictures

February 9, 2007

Laura Garcia Cannon

It’s not often enough that I get to get out of the anchor chair and go out and report. It’s where I got my start in this business and I think it’s important for every anchor to get out of the building and get into the community. I was excited to participate in NBC11’s Moving Pictures project.

My interview allowed me to spend some time with a woman named Tova Yaron. You may have seen her name on the spa she owns in Saratoga, but there’s far more to this woman than facials and pampering. Through her pictures we got a great look into her busy life. A life she created through a lot of hard work, determination and strength. Late in life she left her native Israel with three teenage kids to completely start her life over in America. What will. What determination. As an immigrant she came to this country with little, but now she will be the first woman to ever open her own spa within San Jose Fairmont Hotel this spring.

When I met with Tova she brought pictures of her previous life in Israel. A place she says will always remain in her heart. She shared her story of a wonderful childhood and giving two years of her life in the Israeli Army. I learned where her strength came from, and the lesson that you can achieve anything in life if you put your mind to it.

Laura Garcia Cannon
NBC11 Anchor

Watch Laura’s Moving Pictures by clicking here.

Go Ahead, Bowl Me Over

February 2, 2007

Mike InouyeAs intended, these Blogs are a great window into the lives/personalities of our team. This one may help explain a lot about the way I think. Sometimes it can be kind of random. Purple. See?

The Super Bowl.

There’s just about as much hype and talk about the game as there is about the commercials, how much sponsors are willing to pay for spots, product placement and the like. I started to wonder how much it would cost to just sponsor the whole sh’bang. You know, like the “Tupperware Super Bowl.” Then I pictured a stadium with a removable roof, that you had to press to seal.

Or maybe the “Campbell’s Souper Bowl” for a little change. We’d have to spell it differently but the homophone would still flow off of the tongue.

Now, college bowl games are already sponsored, for instance the “Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.” While that particular pairing is perfect, I got to thinking…

With all due respect to the current sponsors, the bowl participants, and anyone else involved in putting together these events/partnerships, I would like to offer just a few suggestions of more interesting sponsor/event pairings.

Nutrasweet Sugar Bowl Played on artificial turf. Get it?
Splenda Sugar Bowl This is a newer, more current alternative to the option above
Apple Orange Bowl No comparison. (The players could further brand their shoulder and hip protection as iPads. Marketing!!!)
Gatorade Gator Bowl Refreshing, no?
Bad Boy Bailbonds Liberty Bowl Freeeeeeedooooom!
Sun Sun Bowl …or more ironic, the “Microsoft Sun Bowl”. A new battleground for a decades-old battle over operating systems.
SanDisk Alamo Bowl Since SanDisk makes flash memory, they would help you “Remember the Alamo Bowl.”

Now, admittedly my background in technology and the fact that I’m a Bay Area boy have given those examples a more Silicon Valley bent to them. I look to you and your friends for inspiration and a wider pool of options.

Click on the link below to add Comments to and add yours or to read what others have to suggest.

I’ll check in and read them too but for now, I gotta go get some Buffalo Wings for the game.

Mike Inouye
Master of Marketing
NBC11 Traffic Anchor