Archive for November, 2007

My Belief In ‘The Other Side’

November 15, 2007
Shannon O'Donnell

I meant to submit a ghostly halloween blog last time, but with all of the thick and spooky fog we’re experiencing, I think the topic is still eerily appropriate.

Scott McGrew was remarking recently about a certain political hot-topic, and added, “well, I guess I’m not surprised given that 37% of Americans say they believe in ghosts.” Hey! I’m not ashamed to admit that I definitely belong to the part of the populace that believes in poltergeists. Well, mainly friendly spirits, really. But ghosts, near-death-experiences, dream communication with deceased loved ones… I don’t know, I think there’s something to it. Call me crazy!

My very first memory is that of a ghost, or at least one I saw on TV (note to reader: never believe everything you see on TV, except of course the weather report). I was about 2 or 3 and was watching That’s Incredible (I must have figured out how to flip it over from The Mickey Mouse Club), and the program featured ghost footage of a semi-transparent woman coming down a creaky old staircase. Hair-on-end and terrified beyond any previous toddler experience, I ran down the hall screaming for my Mother.

However horrifying (and fake) as this may have been, it began a ghost-fascination that is with me to this day. Everyone here at work knows I listen to my ‘paranormal show‘ (broadcast locally on 560 AM in the wee hours of the night) on my morning commute. One of my all-time favorite movie scenes is in The Sixth Sense, where the little boy is in the car with his mother and says, “Grandma comes to visit me sometimes…” It gives me goose bumps and brings tears to my eyes at the same time.

And I’ve just heard too many strange stories that can’t be explained. For instance:

* A friend’s sister was in an almost-deadly car accident, her car crushed almost completely. Barely conscious, she was helped by a woman who got into the passenger seat and soothed her, holding her hand and telling her that help was on the way. She assumed the woman was a nurse because she was wearing all white. Later, when she asked the firefighters “where the woman in white was,” they told her there was nobody else there, and they’d been the first on the scene at the accident. They also told her there was no way anyone could have been sitting next to her in the passenger seat, as that part of the car was completely crushed.

* Many people say they’ve experienced ‘floating above their body, looking back down on themselves’ when grimly injured or in surgery. While some people think this can be explained away as a psychedelic experience created by the brain due to pain or trauma, I just feel there’s something more to it. When highly-regarded members of our society, such as ABC News Anchor Bob Woodruff, recount such experiences (his comments about his NDE while in Iraq during a Larry King interview), it lends legitimacy to the possibility that we are ‘spirits living in the material world’ (as Sting would say).

* Right before I lost my Mom suddenly last year, my good friend had a dream that she was gravely ill and called me to check in. I didn’t check the message until after my Mom was gone. Apparently, this friend has had this type of dream occur twice before, and in all cases the person passed away shortly thereafter.

I also had a dream the week before I lost my Mom… my Grammie (Mom’s Mom) was riding in the car with me in the country, and we were looking desperately for a doctor (at the time, I had absolutely no idea my Mom was so ill… we didn’t learn she had lymphoma until after she was gone). It was more vivid than almost any dream I’d ever had; I felt like I’d really spent time with my Grandma, who had died 8 years earlier. I even called my Mom and said, “I spent time with Grammie last night.” Looking back now, obviously now WELL aware that my Mom was so sick, it just seems very strange to me that I would have such an unusual dream, given the circumstances. I don’t know, I guess I’m just one of that oddball 37 percent of Americans!

Shannon O’Donnell
NBC11 WeatherPlus Meteorologist

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Kicking Off the Holiday Season

November 14, 2007

Laura Garcia CannonOh the weather outside is frightful… ok maybe not… it’s California after all, but let’s bask in the sunshine while we get in the holiday spirit! That’s exactly what Brent and I are doing this week.

We’ll get a jump start when we help light the tree at San Jose’s Santana Row. Join us Thursday at 7pm – there will be music, dancers, and of course the grand Christmas Tree. It actually is a great way to get you in the holiday spirit.

I can’t even believe Thanksgiving is next week! I have to go find a turkey and the trimmings… It’s not quite time for our decorations, we usually wait until after Thanksgiving at our house. In fact, I still have a pumpkin bowl out full of Halloween candy. Guess I’ve got to get with the times, out with the orange and black and in with the silver and gold and red and green! But first things first… Christmas tree lighting at Santana Row. Sounds backwards I know, but it will definitely kick off what we’ll call the ‘Holiday Season.’ Hope to see you there, come say hello if you go!

Laura Garcia Cannon
NBC11 Anchor

Look Up

November 8, 2007

Scott McGrew

I hope you can take a moment out of your evening in the next few weeks and look up – there’s something really neat to see. A comet has exploded above your house! And you can see it with the naked eye.

If you’re not much familiar with the night sky, it can be intimidating to try to read a star chart or otherwise try to figure out where to look. So I’m going to keep it simple. Honestly, this will work.

  • go outside around 9:30-10pm
  • face east, and give your eyes a moment to adjust
  • now look up ’til you see that little cluster of stars all smushed together. Those are the Pleiades. You’ve noticed these before.
  • now move your eyes left – that would be towards the north – until you see three “stars” in the shape of a large triangle.
  • the star that makes the lower left point in the triangle is not a star, it’s a comet.

You won’t see a tail like you do with most comets. Comet Holmes seems to have ejected a great amount of material in all directions, and sort of looks like a fuzzy tennis ball. It will look like a smudge instead of a star if you’re looking with the bare eye. Use a good set of binoculars and you’ll see it much more clearly. A telescope is actually too powerful in most cases, in my experience, as the close in look lacks any perspective.

If you know your night sky (and don’t get all freaked out if you don’t) then look in the constellation Perseus. It’s just to the right of Cassiopea and to the left of the Perseids, directly above the star Capella.

Scott McGrew
NBC11 Business & Tech Reporter

Battle of the Bulge

November 7, 2007

Brent CannonIt is that time of year again – when food is everywhere, and fighting the battle of the bulge goes to new extremes. Another year older and it becomes more difficult not to put on the pounds. Just look at a chocolate cupcake and I could gain two pounds. Halloween just ended, but the remnants are all over the place. People have candy by the plastic pumpkin bucket full. All that candy that used to be in the grocery store has moved. It is now dispersed in homes across the country – including mine. Free candy permeates the newsroom. People are getting smart. They realize there is way too much candy at their house – so they bring it all to work – where we all gorge ourselves with a little snack here and there. Candy, candy, candy. Nothing but temptation everywhere I look. A person can consume 500 extra calories without even batting an eye. And it will not get any easier. It could easily take a month to clear out the Halloween goodies – and by then – guess what – it is time for Thanksgiving. And people get in the baking mood too. There will be Christmas cookies and brownies and homemade fudge in all the same places where there used to be Halloween candy! And after that the holiday parties begin. You know what that means – food and drink beyond what you can possibly burn off in a decent work out. Yes, the next two months are a time only the most disciplined will survive. The rest of us will succumb and will resort to the annual stand-by solution – the New Year’s fitness resolution. It could take me to July to recover if I’m not careful. Alas – what is a person to do? Anyway – I gotta go. There is French toast in the station cafeteria – Laura has three kinds of cookies to go with a little coffee – and somebody just brought in a new pack of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. So much food, so little time.

Brent Cannon
NBC11 Anchor

Hair to the Throne

November 2, 2007

Mike InouyeYou’ve all heard of “Take Your Kid to Work” day but I thought it might be fun to have my kid actually take over doing the work for me. Okay, not just “fun” but actually “easier” than me getting up every day. I decided that the first step in his training was to walk the walk. That’s right… the look.

He and I busted out his khaki pants, his blue shirt and one of his old man’s ties but something wasn’t quite right. Ah-HA!

We marched into the bathroom and squeezed a random amount of hair goop into Daddy’s hand and “voila”!

In preparation for the successor to take over the map clicker, I quickly found a set of pajamas for my late morning lounging (the kind with the no-slip footies) and we were set.

Though not great with his freeway numbers and barely able to put two word phrases together, he shows great promise with the “pointing to things” part of the job. We’ll keep you updated as the training continues.

Mike Inouye
NBC11 First Generation Traffic Anchor