Archive for October, 2007

Daylight Saving…D-OH!

October 29, 2007

Rob Mayeda

Ah modern technology. Sometimes we take it for granted how our lives have become so automated. Case-in-point my self-adjusting alarm clock that at some point overnight *reset* itself back one hour thinking Daylight Saving Time had ended.

Technically, it was correct, given it was the last weekend in October. One problem though, this year, that time has changed so to speak and it’s actually *next* weekend on Sunday, Nov 4th.

This wouldn’t be a problem for most folks, but for a certain NBC11 weather forecaster it meant waking up and wondering how it was suddenly 30 minutes before his first Today Show weather forecast instead of the hour and 30 minutes like he had planned the night before.

As I go shopping for an old-fashioned wind-up alarm clock this week, let this serve as another reminder that Daylight Saving Time does indeed end on Nov 4th. That’s next Sunday despite what your PDA, ATM, PSP or computer-brained device may tell you.

Enjoy your extra hour of sleep. I didn’t have time to.

Rob Mayeda
NBC11 WeatherPlus Meteorologist

"Extra Special Trick or Treater"

October 26, 2007

Laura Garcia CannonWith Halloween just around the corner and kids scrambling for costumes to wear, I remain puzzled at the superstores and aisle upon aisle of ready made costumes to buy. At the risk of sounding like “when I was a kid we used to walk 10 miles in the snow…” I have to say when I was a kid, we used to just hunt in the closet to see what we could find and use our creativity to make up a costume to wear. Granted, my Mom did sew a few great costumes for me. In fact, I think she still has the Little Red Riding Hood cape and hood she made for me when I was about five. It’s hard to also forget the year my cousin and I wore matching clown outfits expertly sewed by Mom and Aunt. But I have to say, for the most part, I just remember scrambling in the closet looking for anything I could label an outfit that would get me a stash of candy!

I think it’s pretty obvious through this picture. I still laugh when I see it, I think I was about 8. Can you tell what I was? Yeah that’s right, a fat cowboy. Isn’t that at the top of everyone’s “what I want to be list” this year? Forget Jack Sparrow kids, just get yourself a pillow, Dad’s old shirt and boots, find a bandanna and hat and you’re on your way to candy heaven! Ok, what was I thinking??? Seriously, can you imagine I actually called that an outfit and went on my merry way? I think I got extra candy that year from the neighbors thinking I was a charity case. Oh that poor little Laura! The thing is, I think I thought I looked pretty good. I do remember just scrambling in the closet, and finding a pillow, shirt, hat etc… Look, I even modeled it at the front door with my kitty bag ready to fill it high and plenty with candy. Trick or treat! If I could even say it through my mustache! What really cracks me up is my scrawny arms attempting to hold my pants up. The best part of this picture is on the back, you can’t see it, but hand written in my Mom’s cursive it says…”One of my extra special trick or treaters.” Awww she even underlined ‘extra special.’ Isn’t that a love of a Mom?

Happy Halloween whatever you decide to be, as for me, I gotta go raid the hall closet…

Laura Garcia Cannon
NBC11 Anchor

Less Wind but Plenty of Smoke

October 26, 2007

Rob Mayeda

The gusty winds here in Southern California are gone. Temps are still in the 90s though. The ash, dust are unkind on contact lenses and allergies and I’m sure those with respiratory issues.

It’s really amazing to me how the firefighters down here did so much with so little. Resources were stretched thin by multiple fires breaking out all the time and maybe only 1-5% of all homes threatened actually burned? Amazing work given the worst of all possible conditions/situations.

Today’s sky — still health advisories due to PM – particulate matter ash/dust — not your average “smog” or ozone-based alerts.

Though we are still talking smoke which is one half of the ‘smog’ word equation of smoke/fog.

Crews are cleaning things up now that the winds have stopped and less danger to work under these things.

This “branch” is actually about 70 feet long, 2-3 feet thick and as large as many trees around here. The scale of the work crew vs. the size of the chopped sections should show you how big that thing was.

Rob Mayeda
NBC11 WeatherPlus Meteorologist

Shout Out

October 25, 2007

Mike Inouye

This week we launched a new feature for the NBC11 Morning News…

“Mike’s Morning Shout Out”

Many folks ask what a Sig Alert is and I’ve explained it in previous blog entries (click here or here).

Others, now, are bound to ask what a “Shout Out” is.

Pop culture resources agree that a shout out is an acknowledgment of someone or something. In our case, my morning shout out is to acknowledge birthdays or anniversaries that our viewers are celebrating.

What better way to wake up than with a message of congratulations coming at you over TV… right after you find out about slow traffic flow along your commute. šŸ˜‰

All you have to do is send a text message (from you cell phone) to us at 229-11 during our two hour broadcast, 5 a.m. – 7 a.m., Monday thru Friday. Tell me the occasion, who it’s to, who it’s from and your city.

I’ll try my best to get it on the air.

And, remember, if you tell me your age, I’ll say your age… if you don’t, we just might make it up. (just kidding)

Mike Inouye
NBC11 Traffic Anchor

Eight Minute Flight

October 24, 2007

Brent Cannon

Laura and I were in L.A. this past weekend. Saturday evening, when we returned to our hotel the winds really kicked up. In fact, the windows rattled all night, and my first thought was about the fire danger. I woke up Sunday morning and could see a plume of smoke billowing to the west. It was the Malibu fire.

Our flight out of Burbank was to leave later that afternoon. The only fire I could see from where we were was the one in Malibu, but as we left for the airport I suddenly noticed a new plume of smoke to the east. It was dark and thick and I knew a big one had erupted, and with the high winds it would spread quickly.

By the time we checked in ā€“ the new fire was massive. We were set to board, when the ticket agents said there were problems taking off. Due to the high winds and safety restrictions, the plane had to be lighter. That either meant kicking people off, or dumping a lot of fuel. Since all other flights that day were already at capacity ā€“ they didn’t want to kick people off and cause them to be stranded.

So, they decided to lighten the plane by carrying less fuel. But that meant we would not have enough to get to San Jose. So they decided to have us fly from Burbank to L-A-X. We could refuel there, and since they have longer runways the safety restrictions are different. We took off from Burbank, made an eight minute flight to L-A-X, “got gas” ā€“ and headed to San Jose.

Once in the air we began to grasp the scope of the fires. Smoke filled the air as far as we could see. In fact, at one point we were engulfed in smoke – making it impossible to see the land, the blue sky above, or the Pacific Ocean. We were in a cloud of dusty, orange brown. I wanted to take a cell phone picture for NBC11@veeker.com ā€“ but we were not allowed to have them on at that point.

I feel so badly for the people in Southern California, but also very blessed that the Bay Area has been spared.

Brent Cannon
NBC11 Anchor

Flying Over the Fires

October 23, 2007

Rob Mayeda

What an interesting flight into Burbank today. All of SoCal awash in veils of smoke of different colors and thicknesses. Going from the Pacific blue skies over San Francisco to a steady descent into more and more smoke – you may find these photos of interest.


Gorgeous shot of San Francisco as seen shortly after takeoff to Burbank


Santa Barbara area off in the distance – smoke from the Malibu fire and Castaic (I-5/Grapevine) area fires combining for hazy skies.


Over Ventura County, about an hour’s drive west of Los Angeles, the smoke turns noticeably thicker.


Looking into and through the smoke, everything starts turning shades of tan and orange.


This smoke is coming from a brand new blaze called the “Magic” fire near Stevenson Ranch. As its name would suggest – it started near the Magic Mountain amusement park near Valencia.


Strong turbulence over Box Canyon heading into the West San Fernando Valley. We’re surfing some very strong winds on approach to Burbank Airport. Somewhere in that haze is my parents’ house near West Hills.


Finally, some breaks in the smoke. A water-dropping tanker plane just disappeared in the top right corner of the photo on another run to the front of the fire.


That’s the LA skyline way off in the distance. LA is never known for having “good air quality” but all that smoke is adding up around here. What looks like dust blowing around is partially tiny white flecks of ash that drift down and coat things left outside for too long. Today, it’s not a bad day to have a rental car in white.

Rob Mayeda
NBC11 WeatherPlus Meteorologist
Southwest Airlines Flight 61 Oakland to Burbank

Hazardous Lights: Shannon’s Power Struggle

October 22, 2007

Shannon O'Donnell

While I’m in the midst of a three-part blog series on my ‘Adventures in the Equatorial Pacific,’ and Iā€™m sure you’re waiting with bated breath to hear the final chapter (where I’ll detail the hazing I endured for crossing the Equator for the first time, and like my fish story, I have the pictures to back it up… they’re worth waiting for!), I had to take a detour from my blog plan to tell you about the harrowing week I recently had.

In terms of electricity, the force just hasn’t been with me. I believe it all began with a trio of king crab legs I picked up for my husband. He is crazy about crab roasted in lots of butter, onions and garlic (a specialty you’ll see in many San Francisco restaurants for exorbitant fees, so I’ve learned to replicate the dish at home much more economically), and I attempted to prepare this for him for his birthday on Sunday night. Our 25-year-old oven, of which I’ve been hoping to give the heave-ho to for some time, just would NOT heat up. You’re supposed to roast the crab at 500 degrees, but the not-so-trusty ancient oven just wouldn’t get there for me. At one point I tasted the crab to see if it was good and roasty-buttery tasting yet, and Pete shrieked, “what are you doing, it’s not done yet!”, but I knowingly informed him that crab always came pre-cooked. Famous last words.

Before I tell the rest of THIS fish tale, let me tell you that I’m not one to buy the, “oh I can’t come in because I have food poisoning” excuse. At my first TV job, one of the other weather guys called in sick EIGHTEEN times in one year–he drove me bananas! About every fifth time, he blamed it on ‘food poisoning.’ Yeah right.

Anyway, I woke up at midnight just not feeling quite right, and went outside to ‘get some air’… I’d forgotten that I’d eaten the questionable crab, so just assumed that it had been too buttery and rich for me. Waking up again at 2:45 for work on Monday morning, I was DEFINITELY ill. But at that point of the morning, it’s just too late to call in sick in my opinion, so I braved it and headed in to work. Uggh, big mistake. I haven’t been that sick since eating at Wendy’s in South Korea. I mean, crawling on the floor, head between my knees ILLIN’. At any rate, my husband didn’t get it (he didn’t try the crab until it had roasted, 500 degrees or not, for some time) and my kids didn’t get sick, so I think it was definitely some seriously disturbed seafood that got to me. Problems with power, part one, of the week. That darned oven.

My second electrically-challenged-incident occurred on Thursday morning. Leaving my neighborhood on my morning commute, it was so dark that I nearly took out a parked car. “Gee, what’s the deal?”, I thought, navigating my way through the pitch-black, narrow streets. My windows were really foggy and dewy, so I attributed my temporary blindness to that and headed onto the freeway. Yowza, I could barely see a thing! BOTH of my headlights were out! What were the chances?

I remembered getting my headlights changed out earlier this year… I went in to get one replaced, and the technician said he’d just change both bulbs as the other one was going to burn out soon anyway. I guess getting two bulbs put in at the same time means there’s a chance they’ll go OUT at around the same time, but this was ridiculous!

Not only am I sure that going on the freeway without properly-powered headlights is highly illegal, but highly DANGEROUS as well. Needless to say, I didn’t think I could AGAIN call in sick to work on such short notice, so I went the entire way with my hazard lights on, praying the gigantic semis swerving down 101 would be able to see me and not deliver me into the barrier. Yet another example of electricity just not being on my side lately.

Now with the fall stormy season on the way, my headlights are working and my oven seems to be on the mend. But with a chance for lightning in the mix, maybe I should take a lesson from Ben Franklin and get out my kite and key… just to be sure the lights don’t go out on me again.

Shannon O’Donnell
NBC11 WeatherPlus Meteorologist

Rules to Live By

October 18, 2007

Scott McGrew

I can’t recall if I’ve posted my rules of life before, but here they are.

1) You know how if someone says “it’s not about the money,” it’s about the money? When people say “for no reason at all,” they know exactly why something happened. There was a darn good reason.

2) Never eat Taco Bell in the car. You think you can, but you can’t. Not without getting something on your pants.

3) All movies called “great” by movie critics Sean Edwards and/or Earl Dittman are astoundingly bad. (You can find their reviews on movies that have NO OTHER positive reviews on the DVD box.) This rule is so accurate, they are often doing me a very valuable service at the movie store.

4) When someone says something about their pet, they’re really talking about themselves. “Muffy is SO lonely now that the kids have gone back to college.” Or “Spots thinks the poodle next door owned by that young divorcee who just moved in is very hot.”

5) When making a connecting flight, go immediately to the gate from which your next airplane is to depart REGARDLESS of how much time you have between flights. You’ll find out much earlier the gate has been changed. My kids know this is dad’s number one airport rule.

6) Three “hints” are the same as a fact. If you get three separate feelings or indications your boss doesn’t like you, or your brother is reading your diary, or your kid’s baseball coach is stealing money from the snack shack, you may consider the thought to be true.

7) All doctors have a default diagnosis. If they jump right to an explanation, it’s because it’s their favorite. Get a second opinion.

8) When at the grocery story, it’s not the amount of stuff the people in front of you have that will indicate how long you will have to wait, it’s the number of people. In other words, it makes far more sense to get behind one person with 100 items than 3 people with only a few items, because scanning takes very little time. It’s the transaction that takes forever. You’d think people had never seen a PIN pad before.

9) If you drop something in the bathroom, it will bounce once, giving you the opportunity to catch it, then it will fall in the toilet.

10) As a man, all you have to do is cook to be called a fabulous husband by other women. You don’t even need to cook well. Same for cleaning. Vacuum once or twice a week and you’re the neighborhood hero.

Scott McGrew
Business & Tech Reporter

Shannon’s Scrapbook: Adventures in the Equatorial Pacific, Part II

October 10, 2007

Shannon O'Donnell

It’s well known around here that Brent Cannon is our resident fisherman. His idea of a good time is trekking out into the middle of Timbuktu in a pair of hip-waders and fly-fishing away a perfectly good autumn afternoon (while Laura smartly passes her time with a good facial, no doubt). I’m NOT much of a fisherwoman myself, but I do have ONE fish tale to pull out of the vault that might even rival some of Brent’s. I have the pictures to back it up.

It’s July 1995, and I’m still in the middle of the Equatorial Pacific aboard the NOAA ship Discoverer (see my previous blog). I had hoped to see a lot of oceanic wildlife on my six week journey, but other than a small pod of pilot whales that visited our ship on the second or third day, sea life sightings were few and far between. While whales and dolphins eluded me, I was able to get up close and personal with a few FISH.

Between stops at the various NOAA buoys, the crew would ‘anchor up’ the ship to allow for some sport fishing. Many of the guys were pros, yanking Mahi Mahi out of the sea by the dozens. The mahi were fairly easy to reel in, but once on deck, they fought for their lives. It was hard to watch these gorgeous, shimmery blue-green fish with the big doe eyes thrashing around all over the place–I forever have a different view of mahi as a result.

But watching the guys catch tuna was easier to stomach. Now THIS was a sport–the tuna are much harder to coax onto a line in the first place, and once they bite, the ride begins. Unlike the mahi, which didn’t fight too hard until already pulled out of the sea, the tuna would bite a line, then race in a panic as fast and hard as they could go, deep into the ocean below. The guys’ reels would be spinning like crazy, and the battle to pull in the 50 to 80 pound fish would seem to go on forever. Both fish and fisherman would lay lifeless in exhaust and defeat after the fight, no matter who had won. I had no problem taking in THIS fish fight–watching these mighty 200 pound fisherman sweat and pull and give it their all in the pursuit of tonight’s supper was pure entertainment!

So you probably know what’s coming next… one of the guys coaxed me into giving it a try. “It’s easy! All you have to do is hold on!” Of course I succumbed to the pressure, and took over a line that was already submerged. Not a minute had gone by before I felt a strong tugging on the line. Wow, the strength of whatever was on the other end practically pulled me overboard! I held on for as long as I could, but whatever had bitten the bait was REALLY giving me a go. I insisted that I absolutely could not hold on any longer, so the guy smirked and took back over his line. The patronizing didn’t last long, as this feisty fish practically pulled him over the side of the ship too. “See!? I told you it was a big one!”

Two guys were required to pull the giant fish up onto the ship, and it turned out that ‘my’ tuna was almost as big as me! Weighing in at just over 100 pounds it was by far the biggest tuna pulled in on the excursion. Not in personal need of three dozen rounds of sushi, I donated my fish to the ship, and we enjoyed a big tuna BBQ later that night. Delicious. And much better than what I’d find myself ingesting later on the trip stay tuned for round III of my Adventures in the Equatorial Pacific. Sorority hazing has nothing on what you go through when crossing the equator for the first time!

Shannon O’Donnell
NBC11 WeatherPlus Meteorologist

Winning Your Argument

October 2, 2007

Scott McGrew

One of my favorite books of all time is Rules for Radicals. Written many years ago, it’s a guide at how to win an argument or protest. The gist of the book is in order to make your point, you must identify the one symbol or idea that encapsulates your entire philosophy. People, it’s assumed, can’t follow a long detailed argument, but they can understand one simple idea.

A good example of this is global warming. A very complex argument, but Greenpeace hit on a very simple and effective symbol: they built an ark. One idea, that the world’s water levels are rising, encapsulated in a symbol we all understand.

Sometimes, you can use something bad to promote something good. Remember the Livermore Library debacle? The library hired an artist to create a mosaic with the names of famous authors. No one noticed artist Maria Alquilar spelled many of the authors’ names incorrectly. The library then paid Alquilar to come back and fix the mistakes. Paid her? They should have embarrassed her into coming back for free by putting up a sign that said “Kids, come inside the library and learn, so you don’t end up like Maria Alquilar.” How quickly do you think the artist would show up to make a fix then? And no doubt on her own dime. This uses Alinsky’s rule of ridicule. People will do anything to avoid ridicule.

You can draw attention to your cause by making something very simple sound complex and modern. Recently, a school district announced it was going to install “special locks” to protect children’s classrooms during a lock down. These locks are simply dead bolts that you would find on the front door of any home. But the school got news coverage. For putting locks on its doors.

Another tactic: simply ignore that which causes you problems. Just like Kentucky Fried Chicken avoids the “fried,” Hillary Clinton no longer calls herself “Hillary Rodham Clinton” or even “Hillary Clinton.” She just calls herself “Hillary.” Her signs say Hillary, even her website is titled simply “Hillary for President.” Her full name does not appear at all in her official online biography, and the word “Clinton” only appears once, when it mentions the man she married. Even in major position papers, she does not use her own last name. “If the Bush administration won’t, as president and commander in chief, Hillary will end this war” reads her position on Iraq.

And avoid the fights you cannot win. Halo 3 recently sold more than $170 million dollars worth of games in its first day of sales. Strangely, you hear little objection from the usual people who are upset about violent video games. People like Hillary [Clinton], State Senator Leland Yee, and even Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Why? They’re not saying, but I have to believe it’s easier to complain publicly about obscure games that sell few copies than it is to take on the most popular piece of entertainment in the history of entertainment – bigger first day sales than the world’s most popular movie, Spiderman, bigger first day sales than the the world’s most popular modern novel, Harry Potter. The public has let its opinion of the Mature rated Halo 3 be known – it likes it. Yee, Schwarzenegger and [Clinton] may simply know its not a winnable fight.

Rules for Radicals is good for PR folks, for journalists, writers, political operatives (obviously) and anyone else who likes a good argument. It’s out of print, but you can still find copies on Amazon.com.

Scott McGrew
NBC11 Business & Tech Reporter