Archive for January, 2008

No ZZZZ’s For Me

January 29, 2008

Bob Redell

In bed, I’m a pillow hog. But this week, I’ll be a pig. Specifically a guinea pig – with no sleep. As if I weren’t sleep deprived enough, my bosses would now like me to get rid of the zzzz’s altogether. 2:19 on Tuesday morning will be the last minute of shuteye I get for the next three days or so. When I wake up for work that morning at 2:20, I’ll be checking myself into a Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic for a 2 night, 3 day stay. A doctor there will be monitoring me and testing my motor skills. We want to get a more scientific understanding as to how sleep deprivation affects the human body / mind / soul / psyche.

Most adults require 7 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night. But 40% of Americans get less than that. Me: I average about 4 or 5 hours which I realize is very unhealthy and will some day catch up with me, if it hasn’t already. (The upside is I’m home with my girls and get to work with a great crew on the morning shows.) I wouldn’t be surprised if many other workers in the Bay Area are sleep deprived. The commutes here are longer which means less time to sleep. Tune in to catch me live Wednesday and Thursday morning with a live special report Thursday night at 11. You can also find updates throughout the whole process on my Facing Fatigue blog. Sleep tight.

Bob Redell
NBC11 Reporter

Snack Strategy

January 28, 2008

Brent Cannon

I got in my glove compartment the other day and found a half eaten bear claw pastery. My lovely wife had stashed it there. I had to laugh because she squirrels away food in funny places. Both our cars have little snacks – like travel-sized peanuts – in the side compartments of the door, or in the glove box. She says it’s for an emergency if we ever get stranded.

Like so many things, she did not finish the bear claw. Which is something I have taken into consideration when we order at a restaurant. Let’s say there are two items I might order, and I cannot decide. I always let the ladies order first – which means Laura sometimes orders one of the two items I was pondering. So, knowing she will not be able to finish hers – I order the other item. I eat mine – and then finish hers. Except she eats like a chipmunk. Let’s say we have an oversized muffin. She can’t finish it. But she knaws all the way around the edge. Same thing with toast. She’ll nibble all the way around the crust – then offer me this tattered piece of bread to finish. A hamburger bun could be totally mangeled by the time it comes my way.

But more and more we are splitting a single order. Restaurants serve such large portions, and we are cutting back – and we find we can often split a single order and be just fine.

Well, gotta go. I’m getting hungry. I think I’ll check the trunk and see what we have to eat in there!

Brent Cannon
NBC11 Anchor

Reluctant Actor

January 25, 2008

Laura Garcia Cannon

I was sad to hear of Actor Heath Ledger’s passing this week. I interviewed Heath when he was an up and coming star prior to the release of his first starring role major film “A Knights Tale.” Brent and I went to a private screening of the film prior to the interview. It’s common for studios to set this up or sometimes send us the dvd copy of the film to watch at our home before interviewing the film’s stars. It gives us an opportunity to know more about the actual film, the stars, if it’s even good etc…

What I really remember about Heath was how young he appeared, and really so nervous. It was his first major press tour and he really seemed a bit overwhelmed with the whole experience. At one point in the interview I kidded with him, asking if maybe we got him up too early, he seemed so overwhelmed by everything and had a tough time promoting his own film. I think this was all so new to the actor. Interestingly enough, I heard the same comment from another reporter. How Heath appeared uncomfortable, nervous, calling him a ‘reluctant actor.’ I think he was just young, it was all new, and no doubt overwhelming. At just 20-21 he was probably just beginning to find himself. It is sad to think he may have still been on the road to finding himself, dying at such a young age of 28.

Laura Garcia Cannon
NBC11 Anchor

Two Cents on Incidents

January 24, 2008

Mike Inouye

I usually spend my days scouring the accident reports, online, by radio or phone.

Last week, however, when I was out of the office and sick at home I got an unexpected accident report. My wife (Mrs. Traffic) called me while on her way back from an appointment and calmly told me her car had been hit.

Quite honestly, I freaked out a little. Our son was playing on the floor nearby, Mrs. Traffic sounded fine but… what about the OTHER baby?! (We’re expecting another in the Spring.) Well, the impact was apparently at a low speed, exiting a parking lot and nature’s cushioning system combined with my wife’s car’s insulation kept everything in its place both in and around her. We’ve got a lot of repair work to do for the poor car’s tail end but that’s something we can deal with.

After I got thru my little panicky feeling, and Mrs. Traffic had returned home safely (she was only a few minutes away,) we reflected on the incident.

The person who hit my wife? Well, Mrs. Traffic had just gotten a hair cut, er, had just gotten her hair styled and the young lady who had blow dried her hair earlier was the one who blew into her car. A bit shaken I think, “impactor” ended up being glad about the circumstances. It was her first accident and she openly proclaimed that she had no idea what to do, what info to collect and likely in the process was giving out a lot of info she may not have meant to as well.

I wish all my drivers safe and incident-free travels but given the number of incidents in just the 10 minutes between my reports each morning, I thought it might be useful to point folks in the direction of some basic info should you ever need. The links below are to a couple of sources giving you an idea of info you’ll want to carry with you and info you’ll want to get should you ever find yourself in this situation. Not a bad idea to do a run-thru in your head since you’ll probably be a little less focused should it happen in real life.

From the California Department of Motor Vehicles, a page they call “Accidents! What To Do”

And from the National Safety Council, a more consolidated fact sheet entitled “What To Do When You Are Involved In A Car Crash”

No major drama to report but there are a number of things to sort out in the aftermath. You may never have to worry about this but like your spare tire, this is here just in case you should ever need it.

Mike Inouye
NBC11 Traffic Anchor

Rain Rain Go Away?

January 23, 2008

Laura Garcia Cannon

Rain Rain Go Away… Oh wait we need it, ok stay a while. Seeing all the rain we’ve been having and snow in the Sierra really makes me happy. Not only because we really need it, but I love the snow. Love it when I’m inside nice and warm, love it when I’m bundled up warm and skiing on it. I love California, you could be at the beach in the morning and within 4 hours up in Tahoe enjoying the snow! What a great state!

The series of storms hitting the Bay Area this week is making it tough however, to walk my dog. I know, I know, boo hoo she can’t walk her dog, but I’ve got to take Chip out everyday for at least a 30-45 minute walk or else I’m not getting any sleep at night. That’s what a dog brings to the relationship – high octane energy and I’ve got to work some of it out! They say a tired dog is a good dog. A tired dog actually lets me get a few things done around the house! Plus, it’s good exercise, gets me out the door and it’s a good bonding time for the two of us. So, on this five day forecast of rain, rain, rain, I’ve got to grin and bear it. I look for breaks in the clouds, sometimes I find them, sometimes I don’t. Yesterday, the cloud seemed to find me. Soaking wet, frizzy hair, Chip and I were alone on the trails as neighbors drove by, honked, waved, as if I was a crazy person to be out in the rain. They’re probably right. But little Chip couldn’t be happier, or wetter, or muddier, and I, well, I’m just looking forward to getting a good night’s sleep. Don’t be surprised if I wear a baseball hat on set one of these days to cover up my puffy rain hair.

Laura Garcia Cannon
NBC11 Anchor

Stomping In Las Vegas… Wish You Were Here!

January 22, 2008

Craig Herrera

Have you been to Las Vegas lately? If you go soon, check out a local young man in Stomp Out Loud! No, this is not and advertisement or review, but rather, a story of a local Bay Area man exploring his talents at the next level! His name is Chris Pounders, and his mom Robin, and I are close friends. A group of very special friends and I went to Las Vegas over the weekend to see Chris in the show at Planet Hollywood! Chris was awesome, as was the show! It’s amazing that he graduated from Prospect High School in 2004, and he is already in a world class show having a great time, while learning lessons in life and remaining humble all at once! And it’s ironic that his last name is Pounders since that is exactly what he does in the show… pound on everyday items like trash cans (while suspended from a bungie cord), brooms, a ring of keys, boxes with packing materials and more!

It seems all the time he spent on his drum set with the great Wally Schnalle, an extremely talented jazz drummer from the Bay Area paid off! And it doesn’t hurt that he just has a love for music. He even taught himself to play the guitar. And Chris has a group called the Pounders, imagine that! 🙂

And it’s great to note that Sunday we all went to church to see him play with the praise choir team. WOW! He and the band were incredible! It’s great to see a person chasing a dream, yet being true to himself.

A reminder that life is short, chase your dream and live everyday to the fullest!

I also have to say that this was the first time I left Las Vegas wishing I had more time, it was simply an eye-opening trip filled with fun and inspiration!

I’ll end this blog and leave you with this… no matter your age, make the most of everyday and always be true to yourself!

Craig Herrera
NBC11 WeatherPlus Meteorologist

New Year New Resolutions

January 14, 2008

Laura Garcia Cannon

Lose weight, work out, eat healthy, these are just some of the most popular New Year Resolutions out there. Studies show it takes 21 days of repetition for something to become routine. Now it doesn’t mean that if you fall off the horse after 20 days you’re bound to fail, just get back on the horse again! I’m not a huge resolution person, but I do like to think about ways to make my life better everyday. Make the most of every day. I’ve always been this way, I think it’s the way I was raised. This year I want to be more thankful. I’ve resolved to end my day by recalling five things in every day that I am thankful for. It’s a great way to end the day on a positive note and reflect on what is good in your life. It’s the perfect way to drift off to sleep on a positive note. Even if you felt you just had a rough day, it forces you to look for the good. Bring some things into perspective. If it’s a great day, then it’s easy to recall the best things, in fact there could be more than five things on your list! It’s been a great practice to help me realize all the little things in life I’m so thankful for. The adoring affection I get from my little puppy, the sound of my mother’s voice when I talk to her on the phone, the sun, the rain, the great people I work with. See?.. It’s easy and it’s infectious. Try it. Be thankful.

Laura Garcia Cannon
NBC11 Anchor

I Remember When…

January 11, 2008

Craig Herrera

I remember when I turned 10, the double digits, my first big birthday party… what a fun time. I remember when I turned 18, off to college, my first birthday away from home… oh what a scary feeling. I remember when I turned 21, yes, I remember, and yes it was so much fun! I remember when I turned 25, the quarter-century mark and I was invincible, at least in my own mind. I remember when I turned 30, and one of my joints made a loud popping sound when I bent my knees. I used to laugh at “older people” whose bones made loud noises when they bent over. And I remember when I turned 35, thinking I was supposed to have a mid-life crisis or something, but it didn’t feel that way. Well, I decided to treat myself to a haircut Thursday, January 10th… the day before my 36th birthday, and ah, well, just as as I was about to leave… “Oh my Craig” is what I heard from Christian, (the artist who makes my hair look good) which he said rather quietly. I said “what?” And he grabbed the scissors… (snip, snip), and it was a white hair! Yup, my first sign of gray! I laughed, and said… ok, now I’m ready to have my mid-life crisis. Sports car anyone? I’m kidding, besides, 36 is the new 25 right? I hope not, the 20s were great but the 30s are so much better. And besides, if 40 is the new 30, and I’m having so much fun now, then I’m happy to live it all over again! AND, I’ll have something to look forward to, right? And what’s more, Mike Inouye’s birthday is Saturday, January 12th. Nothing like sharing a laugh and a joke with a fellow Capricorn! Any more Caps out there sharing in a birthday this month? Let me know! Have a wonderful 2008!

Craig Herrera
NBC11 WeatherPlus Meteorologist

Going Green

January 10, 2008

Brent Cannon

I’m going green. I’m a green circle kind of guy these days. I used to be a double black diamond guy. But now – green circles.

I’m talking about skiing. Laura and I spent time with family over the holidays and took the niece and nephews skiing for their first time. I started them on a hill in front of the lodge, then graduated to the bunny hill, and finally to a mild beginner trail.

Along the way, I learned something about how my own style of skiing has changed. When I was growing up in Colorado we went skiing all the time. By the time I was in high school and could drive, my friends and I went almost every weekend. We were ski nuts. Two of my friends were ranked #3 and #5 in the country in freestyle skiing. Another buddy was a fanatic, and had to be the first one on the lift in the morning – and last one off at the end of the day. We would ski as fast as possible to see if we could break our own record for number of runs in a day.

I remember death defying runs on trails named “The Plunge,” “Henry’s Holler,” and “Mach I.”

I remember moguls so big a friend could disappear from sight on the other side of it.

I remember skiing in white-out, blizzard conditions, with a wind chill of minus 80 degrees. The mountain closed soon after we made a run due to dangerous conditions.

But not anymore. I like green circle runs – beginner runs. I like working on form. I like going slow enough to able to actually discern between individual trees. I like not falling so hard my limbs flail about like a rag doll tossed out of a speeding car.

Blue squares are good too. When beginner runs get too boring, I’ll step it up to an intermediate slope, but very seldom do I see myself on black diamonds, or double blacks.

I guess you could say – it is easy going green after all.

Brent Cannon
NBC11 Anchor

The Digital Switch

January 7, 2008

Scott McGrew

We have posted a lot of information about the “digital switch” on our website (you can find it here), but I thought I would take the more casual tone the Breakfast Blog affords me and give you a thumbnail sketch of what’s going to happen.

In February of next year, terrestrial television stations like this one will switch from an analog broadcast signal to a digital broadcast signal. Only TV’s with a digital tuner will be able to receive this new signal.

Now, if you have a cable or satellite box hooked to your TV, you have nothing to worry about. The cable or satellite company will deal with this problem for you.

If, however, you get your television signal from an antenna – rooftop or rabbit ears – you will not be able to receive this new signal. There are a couple of solutions, the most obvious one being to buy a new TV. TV’s sold these days will include the digital tuner. The second solution is to buy a digital converter box, which will take the inbound digital signal and convert it to an analog signal your old TV can understand.

Common questions:

I have cable, but no cable box. What do I do?
It’s likely your cable company will contact you – they will probably switch you to digital cable and will give or sell you a cable box.

So if I get one of these converter boxes, will I get high definition (HD) TV?
No. All high definition television signals are digital, but not all digital signals are high definition. Your analog television set is not capable of displaying an HD picture.

Will I have to change my antenna?
Possibly. All current TV antennas can (in theory) receive a digital signal – radio waves are radio waves, regardless of what information is contained within. Some companies are selling digital TV antennas that they claim are better able to pick up the new frequencies, which is probably legitimate – differently shaped antennas receive different wavelengths better. But try using your original antenna first.

Will I get more channels?
Yes. Most TV stations plan to carry several different subchannels on its frequency. So, for instance, on Channel 11 digital, you will get 11.1, 11.2 and so on. What will be on those channels is up to the TV stations. They could be the same TV show in a different language, full time weather coverage, etc.

I have trouble receiving channel X right now. Will that be easier when Channel X is broadcasting in digital?
Maybe. The digital transmission will be “cleaner” and less vulnerable to interference. However, digital reception is an on/off proposition. You will either get the signal or you will not. You will not get a faded signal or a ghosted signal. It will either be there or it will not.

How much do I have to pay?
TV received by antenna will continue to be free. You do NOT need to pay anyone to receive a digital signal. You do NOT need to pay anyone for the extra channels. You do NOT need to pay anyone for an HDTV signal (assuming you have a TV capable of displaying HD). If you need a converter box for your old analog TV set, you will have to buy one, but the government will issue you up to two $40 vouchers to help pay for them. More details
here.

Scott McGrew
NBC11 Business & Tech Reporter