Archive for May, 2007

Party Planning

May 30, 2007

Laura Garcia Cannon

Remember when you were 6? It’s a long time ago for me, but I got to relive some of those childhood memories at my nephew’s recent birthday party. My sister called me to ask if I could help her out. I was quickly put in charge of ‘entertainment’ for a pack of 5-6 year olds. All boys. All charged up with energy and ready to go. Boy do you have to be prepared! As soon as one game was over, I had to have another waiting in the wings. I decided to incorporate some old games, with modern twists… instead of pin the tail on the donkey, it was put the sticker on the superhero and the one with the most points wins. The thing about this group of little boys, everyone was a winner. They didn’t really care who won, they were just ready to play, and play and play and play… oh my gosh did I have to keep the entertainment moving!! We were barely done with tossing a “hot potato” (which was really a water balloon) when we had to move on to the egg walk (which ended with one little boy randomly handing me an egg yoke and saying “I’m done with this” – “Oh thanks” I said, not really expecting anyone to actually EAT the eggs we were playing with!) We had a piñata, (which I was sure someone was going to get smacked in the head as they ran for the candy so we had to keep the kids at bay- oh that’s easy) A hidden treasure hunt – (of which they started finding the stuff before the party even started!) They were just on high octane and sugary cake running around and around. So, I kept them running – playing baseball, dodge ball, you name – it – ball! In all – I think they did have a ball, and all probably slept really well that night. I know I did! As soon as the party was over and we cleaned up a bit, hot dog buns found strewn below the table, a little left over cake here, gum wrapper there, the best find of all, was the ear to ear grin on my little nephew, Matthew. He had a great time, and although exhausted, so did I… I’d do it again in a heartbeat, but I’m glad I have a year to recover!

Laura Garcia Cannon
NBC11 Anchor


Making Mustakes

May 30, 2007

Scott McGrew

I got a call the other day from an upset viewer who was quite sure I was wrong with my report that the one day gasoline boycott wouldn’t lower gas prices. She was VERY upset. I kept trying to get a word in edgewise but she wouldn’t stop yelling long enough. I wasn’t going to defend myself — if I’m telling the truth, I don’t need to defend myself. I was actually trying to politely suggest to her she email my bosses to complain about me; that complaining to me wouldn’t really accomplish what she was trying to do. Though I’m not quite sure what it was she was trying to do. I understand her angst over high gas prices, but angst doesn’t change the economics of fungible commodities

Do you think it’s strange I would want someone to complain to my boss? I think it’s just the right thing to do – a viewer’s complaint either had merit, or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t, then my boss will ignore it. If it does, it needs to be corrected.

I do make mistakes. Recently I voiced a story about a company called Planktos which plans to spread iron powder into the ocean in order to stop global warming. (If you’d like to see it, you can subscribe to our TechNow podcast and watch it either through iTunes or your video iPod.) There’s a mistake in the script, however. Can you spot it? (we write tv scripts in all capitals)



An attentive viewer wrote in to ask me if I had created a new dimension (50 by 50 is by definition a square measurement. adding “square mile” beyond that makes it a cube, I suppose) and said that I should at least have a basic understanding of how things are measured. I wrote back, sheepish, and explained it was extra embarrassing because I was tutoring my junior high aged son on geometry.

For my dumbest mistake, you can check out my biography.

Scott McGrew
NBC11 Business & Tech Reporter

Night On the Town

May 22, 2007

Laura Garcia Cannon

Boy we had a pretty exciting weekend, went to the Northern California Emmy Awards at San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts where NBC11 picked up 14 Emmy Awards over all! I am always so proud of our morning team who picked up the Best Daytime Newscast award. I was really excited to win for the 10am newscast with Brent, Mike Inouye, Lisa Bernard, Craig Herrera, and Kellie Onaga, and our former producer and good friend Kristi Lawley who flew in from Denver for the event. She gave up the not so glamorous world of tv news to be a full time Mom.. she deserves a gold statue just for taking on the hardest job in the world!! Oh yeah and I was really excited to win a statuette for a story I did on De Marillac Academy in San Francisco. The only private Lasallian school in the Tenderloin reaching out to underprivileged kids. What a difference they are making to lives there!

I didn’t mean to go on and on about the awards, but it kind of leads up to what I really wanted to blog about, my dog! Ha Ha. I know every other blog is about our dog Chip, but this is kind of funny. You see, when we were heading up to San Francisco, we wanted to make a night of it and knew we’d be out for the Emmy event which is traditionally very very long. We didn’t want to leave Chip in a hotel room by himself, and he’s still too little to be left at home (ok and a little to destructive or maybe a better word is unpredictable..) so we checked him into that brand new San Francisco Wag Hotel. Oh my gosh this place is awesome! Controlled filtered air is flushed into the place every so often, the pets sleep on plush down-like pillows, some even have plasma TVs in their rooms!! Brent almost just stayed too – ha ha… Chip went to a few playtimes and walked up on the roof of the building on 14th and Harrison which is covered in artificial turf. It gives the dogs fresh air while protecting them from the wild city streets of SF. Every dog bowl is sanitized, there’s a swimming pool, massage therapists, even blueberry facials for the dogs! Chip didn’t go for that, just a lot of playtime and pampering. It was surprising he even came back home with us when we picked him up!! Anyway, it’s 4 paws up from Chip Cannon… I see another night out in our agenda soon…

Laura Garcia Cannon
NBC11 Anchor

The Road Home

May 21, 2007

Mike Inouye

Traffic matters if it’s between you and your destination. For commuters that means the road to work and the road home.

As many of you know, my personal road has its origin right here in the Bay Area. This IS home. This has always been home for me and for many generations of my family. Recently, I had an opportunity to share some of that path through a special NBC11 project called “Dreams to Dust: Americans Interned,” an hour-long documentary with roots in the personal stories of NBC11 Reporter George Kiriyama, NBC11 Weather Plus’ Rob Mayeda and me. We all have parents who were forcibly evacuated from their homes to relocation camps after Executive Order 9066 was enacted during World War II.

I was honored to share in this project and to help some former internees share their stories beyond the sterile data. Most of us have read these fact and figures, dates and numbers as written in our U.S. History books.

This project was different… it wasn’t written.

Instead of using a script and a narrator, our story is told through the combined voices of those personally touched by it. Each with a very different point of view, each contributing to a fuller more experiential picture.

These are the roads that fascinate me. These are the journeys I like to share. These are the occasions when I enjoy the unexpected twists, not knowing what’s around the blind curve and when I totally approve of spectator slowing. That’s not traffic, that’s life.

I talk traffic in the mornings on NBC11. You can check your route home online at I appreciate you checking with us during those times. Enjoy the ride.

Mike Inouye
Traffic Anchor

For more info on this documentary please click here to visit the website. I encourage you to add even the smallest note to the “Your Stories” section of that site.

Running On Top of the World

May 18, 2007

Laura Garcia Cannon

I hope you get a chance to catch my latest Moving Pictures story for NBC11. I interviewed an amazing Bay Area athlete named Bobby Bostic. The thing about Bobby is he’ll say he’s no athlete, just a guy who loves to run, and boy does he run!! Competing in more than 60 marathons, Bobby decided to do something he had never done before. He took on the challenge of running a marathon at the North Pole! That’s right the freezing, bone chilling North Pole. He faced negative 25 degree temperatures… I know you build a little body heat running but come on!! I was truly inspired talking to him, and his energy is contagious. He’s just one of those really fun upbeat people you meet and I was happy to be able to do this piece highlighting his trip. He took some amazing pictures we feature in the story, and tells us what inspires him to run. You can watch the entire story by clicking here.

Laura Garcia Cannon
NBC11 Anchor

Scott Loves Gansta Rap and Chick Flicks

May 15, 2007

Scott McGrew

Do you recall the idea a few years back where your TiVo made strange assumptions about you?

From the normally staid Wall Street Journal:

Mr. Iwanyk, 32 years old, first suspected that his TiVo thought he was gay, since it inexplicably kept recording programs with gay themes. A film studio executive in Los Angeles and the self-described “straightest guy on earth,” he tried to tame TiVo’s gay fixation by recording war movies and other “guy stuff.”

“The problem was, I overcompensated,” he says. “It started giving me documentaries on Joseph Goebbels and Adolf Eichmann. It stopped thinking I was gay and decided I was a crazy guy reminiscing about the Third Reich.”

That was a few years ago. A new problem with technology: My iTunes thinks I am a gansta rap fan with terrible taste in movies.

The gansta rap thing is easy enough to explain. My junior high aged son likes hip hop, so occasionally he will yell down the hall “Dad, can I buy an iTune?” To which I will respond “yes, but not an explicit track.” You see, iTunes flags songs with vulgar content with a bright red “explicit,” but usually there’s a safe, edited version of the same song. So a song with the lyrics “Gonna #$%*@ your !*$& with My %%$#@” becomes a lot shorter.

Anyway, iTunes sees that I buy rap, or at least someone using my account does, so it develops automated recommendations for me. It cheerfully suggests “You also might like ‘ $#@) your #*$! ‘ by the artist Lil’ $*#”

My songs lean more towards “Fly Me to the Moon” by Frank Sinatra or “Carry On Wayward Son” by Kansas, songs I’ve had on a hard drive or CD for years. But even that causes problems. When you load the .mp3 file into iTunes, the program helpfully fetches the album art for the track, files the song under the album name, and places a picture of the album cover on your iPod when that song is playing.

Trouble is, it seems to fetch the most recent album on which that particular song was published. So, in the case of “Fly Me to the Moon”, my iPod displays the album art from the soundtrack to the Ewen McGregor movie Down with Love because the song was apparently in the movie far more recently than it was published on an actual Frank Sinatra album.

Spinning through my iPod’s album list, I see “The Soundtrack to Happy Gilmore” listed. “The Soundtrack to Happy Gilmore?” I ask. “Who the $@%# loaded that on my iPod?” (I need to listen to less rap).

Turns out the movie used the song “Carry On Wayward Son” in its soundtrack, so iTunes figured that’s where the song came from, and duly lists the album accordingly. For the record: they apparently used songs from the Kinks in the movie Hot Fuzz. I did NOT buy the soundtrack to that either. Also, “Sweet Home Alabama” may have been in the Reese Witherspoon movie by the same name, but I’m sure I originally got it from the Lynyrd Skynyrd album “What’s Your Name.”

Gotta go, my TiVo apparently thinks I’m pregnant, and I really don’t have the hard drive space for all those Lifetime movies.

Scott McGrew
NBC11 Business & Tech Reporter

Unlucky Hole in One?

May 14, 2007

Shannon O'Donnell

You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have…a broken leg?

Every so often, we air ‘too incredible to be true’ hole in one stories on our newscasts. Just this April, you saw the one about 102-year-old Elsie McLean accomplishing this feat. Shortly after, we heard about two San Jose brothers making back-to-back aces in the same round. Golf Digest said the odds of two players in the same foursome doing this is something like 17 million-to-one. So, I’m wondering what the odds of sinking that shot AND breaking your leg in the same weekend might be, especially when that hole-in-one inadvertently CAUSES the broken limb…

My husband knows a thing or two about this, because it happened to him. It was May of 1999, and we’d been dating for a few months. He took in the usual round of Saturday golf at a local course in Seattle, and voila! A hole-in-one. Boy was he excited, especially when he found out it was in print in the Sunday edition of the Seattle Times. We were supposed to get together for a movie that Sunday evening, but my newish boyfriend didn’t show up. I waited and waited and grew pretty tired of it–how dare he stand me up! This was before the days of widespread cell phone use (isn’t that funny–even in 1999, it wasn’t as if everyone had one like they do today), so I couldn’t call him to see what the hold up was. However, about an hour later, I head a funny sound outside my house…

Looking out the window, I see my then-boyfriend Peter, red-faced and in anguish, hopping along on one foot. He sits down on my porch as I come out to see what’s wrong, and he tells me he was run over by his own car!

On the way to my house, he’d stopped at a 7/11 to get a few copies of the paper, so he could save a few, plus mail the ‘hole-in-one’ excerpt to his relatives. He was driving his Dad’s old MG Spider at that time, and he’d neglected to properly engage the parking brake when he jumped out of the car. Apparently, he was opening the newspaper box and looked up, only to see his car rolling down the slight incline of the parking lot, straight at him. Not to mention, straight at the glass windows of the 7/11!

In a split second decision, he dropped the papers and jumped in front of the slowly rolling car, trying to stop it before it crashed into the store. He succeeded, but got his foot stuck between the curb and the car in the process… SNAP!

After a long night at the ER, it was determined his leg was indeed broken. Yes, in life you take the yin with the yang, the bitter with the sweet. Would he take that hole-in-one again, knowing the price was a broken leg? Doubtful!

Shannon O’Donnell
NBC11 WeatherPlus Meteorologist

Class Act

May 9, 2007

Brent Cannon

I recently interviewed Drew Barrymore about her latest film “Lucky You.” I wanted to write about it because she has to be one of the most down to earth big stars I have talked with.

It was a satellite interview, and before we got going she took a drink of what appeared to be an iced mocha or Frappuccino from Starbucks. So, I kidded her about it. You never know how a star will react to something like that. But she just laughed and said “Oh, you saw that?” I told her I was jealous because I had not had a Starbucks lately. She said she is addicted to caffeine. I said I understood, being a morning anchor.

We talked about the film. She sings in it – and said she was scared to death. Again – not something many stars will admit. In her words “I felt like throwing up every day.”

I then mentioned how she recently made the cover of People magazine’s most beautiful people in the world. Many stars get annoyed when you talk about such things. Or they become very braggadocios. Not Drew. She said, “Are you kidding? With all the great looking people in the world they put me on the cover? I’m milking this for all I can get.”

We didn’t break any big stories, or get any big scoop on some deep dark secret. I just wanted to tell people that Drew Barrymore was one of the nicest and down to earth big time celebrities I’ve spoken with in a long time. Hats off to her.

Brent Cannon
NBC11 Anchor

See You Soon!

May 9, 2007

Lisa Bernard

I have started to emerge from the haze that arrives with the birth of a child—my third child in four years. I am preparing to return to work at the end of the month and I am thrilled about it. It has been an intense few months of caring for my baby girl while still attending to the needs of my two other children and recovering from a C-Section. I feel great about the time I spent at home, but I am eager to hit the streets again and report the news of the Bay Area on NBC11. Here are some photos…see you soon!

Lisa Bernard
NBC11 Reporter

Paper or Plastic?

May 3, 2007

Brent Cannon

San Francisco is going plastic-less. They banned plastic bags at large grocery stores and pharmacies. I guess people are concerned about how non-biodegradable plastic impacts the environment. Most stores say they will probably stop offering plastic bags and just go with paper. So, here’s my dilemma. When I was a kid there was no such thing as plastic bags. We only had paper. Then, along came plastic, and people trying to save the trees said we needed to use plastic instead. Opponents argued plastic takes like a million years to decompose. But people just kind of went – whatever – and plastic became the “thing.” Now, plastic is bad and stores are going all paper. I know the goal is to get stores to provide bags made of other fabric – but stores say it’s too expensive so they’ll offer paper. Go figure. Back to square one.

Brent Cannon
NBC11 Anchor