Archive for June, 2008

Relay for Life

June 30, 2008

Laura Garcia CannonWhat an event filled weekend! When Brent and I aren’t coming to you live on air Monday through Friday, often times you can find us out in the community hosting events sponsored by the station and serving as master of ceremonies. I got to do just that on Saturday morning for the Almaden Relay for Life. Who knew what would start as a “station appearance” would end up being such a personal moving experience, leading to wonderful new friendships and a lot of support.

I don’t talk a lot about my very personal life, it’s not news, it’s well, personal. But to the group I was talking to on Saturday, I needed to. You see, the Almaden Relay for Life is put on by the American Cancer Society. Teams of walkers sign up to walk around the clock for those who have battled cancer, those who have lost their lives to the disease, and to fight to find a cure. The event raises awareness and funds to help those touched by cancer and empower people to fight back against the disease.

I hosted the race last year when I sadly informed the crowd that cancer hit close to home for me too. My mother was diagnosed in the spring of 2006. Two years to the day she was diagnosed sadly enough, we had her funeral. She passed away on Valentine’s Day earlier this year. It is such a great loss in my life, it’s until now can I even blog about it. But after this weekend, I now understand how important it is to let others battling this disease and their friends and families know that you are not alone.

I did well up a bit mc’ing the event, telling many in the crowd who had heard about my personal journey against the disease that it had claimed the life of the woman who gave me life. But little did I know, the incredible support I would receive from complete strangers. A hug, a pat on the back, kind words, true understanding for the incredible loss, because many in this crowd had been through the very same thing.

I made some wonderful new friends at an event where I just thought I would be making an appearance. A complete stranger asked if I would round the laps with her relay team. One lap became two, two became three and so on and so on. She had lost her father two years prior. She shared her pain, I shared mine. We talked, we cried, we laughed. It’s odd to think it was actually cancer that bonded us… If you’ve lost a loved one to this horrible disease, you are not alone. If you’re fighting it, give it your all. Take it one day at a time as my mom used to say. If you’re a caretaker, family member or friend of someone fighting, make every day count. Be there for them.

Thanks to the great people that put on the event, and for the beautiful Luminaria Ceremony. At dusk they line up luminarias enscribed with peoples names that are fighting the disease or those that have lost the battle. They are left burning throughout the night to remind participants of the incredible importance of their contributions. Thanks for letting me write my mom’s name on one. The light she gave me in life will never go out. It was a fitting tribute. The event ended up being one of the most personal I’ve ever attended. Thanks to all those involved.

Laura Garcia Cannon
NBC11 Anchor


Unmask The Mysteries

June 26, 2008

Craig HerreraWhat a night! Performers in stilts, dancers twirling batons on fire, amazing costumes and all for a great cause… to raise money for nine Bay Area agencies fighting HIV/AIDS.

Unmask The Mysteries was Saturday night, June 21st, Downtown San Jose. It is put on by some amazing people (Ray Mueller, Eddie Gutierrez, Wim Roelandts and Maria Constantino-Roelandts) at AIDS Coalition Silicon Valley and every year it gets bigger and better!

It’s a fun night to get dressed up and hide behind a mask while having fun meeting old friends and making new friends too. I didn’t win any of the items I bid on, a tie signed by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, a family pack to the Children’s Discovery Museum in San Jose for my nieces and nephew, or a beautiful necklace, but it was fun trying. In all, over $100,000 was raised and it will be split between nine Silicon Valley agencies that help people living with HIV/AIDS. NBC11 is a proud sponsor and I was honored to be the emcee again this year. I was the emcee three years ago, but missed last year because I was on the AIDS/LifeCycle ride. So it was great to be back with so many fun and dedicated people!

And this year I made a mask and titled it “Legally I Thee Wed.” I took newspaper clippings from June 18th, all of same-sex marriages, and glued them on the mask. I sealed it with an acrylic paint and added two tuxedos and two brides veils to it. I think it was a hit… I hope it was anyway. I had fun making it and I really enjoyed watching people glance at it, take a second glance, then realize what it was and study it!

Two awards were also given out Saturday night. One of The ACSV Roelandts Awards of Distinction went to Dr. Michael Harbour, who has dedicated his life and career to help those with HIV/AIDS from Silicon Valley to Boston. The second award, and The Annual Organization Honor, went to the Los Altos Rotary Club. The Los Altos Rotary Club educates the public, changes attitudes about the illness and supports those that are afflicted with the disease by producing the video “The Los Altos Story.”

I can’t wait for next year, hmmm, how should I decorate my mask?

Craig Herrera
NBC11 WeatherPlus Meteorologist

Salt Water Fuel?

June 25, 2008

Brent CannonThese high gas prices take some getting use to. And I don’t just mean the shock of filling up at 75 and 80 dollars a tank full. There are subtle lifestyle changes too. I remember the days when, if you were a little low on petrol and a little short on cash, you could swing in a station and just put a couple of bucks in. Back when gas was less than a dollar a gallon – in the olden days, like about 1979ish – a couple bucks worth could give you half a tank of gas. Now, it won’t even get you half a gallon. It barely moves the gauge. If your gaslight comes on – a couple of bucks worth isn’t enough to turn it off.

And what about the way the pumps are setup? Many places have a $50 limit. Not long ago that would accommodate most folks. Now, you have to do a second, maybe a third transaction. Gas stations have to evolve with the times. We now need a $100 limit at least – just to get on our way.

I saw the below clip on YouTube of a scientist who has found a way to burn salt water. He was doing research on cancer, but stumbled on a way to use radio waves to ignite common seawater. The heat can run an engine.

This could be the answer to everything. If they can harness this technology, we can use ocean water for our cars. Global warming is causing ocean levels to rise – but if we burn seawater, perhaps we can help reduce ocean levels – reduce greenhouse gasses – end dependency on foreign oil – and we could stop paying such high energy prices… unless “Big Oil” buys the patent and sits on it until we are depleted of fossil fuels.

Brent Cannon
NBC11 Anchor

What Are You Searching For?

June 20, 2008

Scott McGrew
I put together a little website for parents like myself who want to show their kids a good time in San Francisco. Hints on how to have a fun day fishing for crabs (totally fun) or riding your bike across the Golden Gate Bridge. I won’t mention the address here, as I’m not trying to plug it or anything (I’m not even done with it yet), I just thought I would share something from behind the scenes.

If you have a website, you can look under the hood and see how many people visit (not that many) and how long they stick around. You can also find out HOW they found your website, as the site will capture the search terms people use. I find these fascinating, as I’ve always wondered how people find my little site.

Some are totally logical: “fun for kids this summer in San Francisco” someone typed into Google.

My wife does this – totally long search terms. She writes things in the Google search box like “I have this stain in my good blouse, the blue one with the Peter Pan collar? It may be red wine. I don’t think it’s blood.”

I would just write “dry cleaners 95131” but that’s me.

Another Googler found my site with “swimming for children in SF” – boy are they in for a chill.

There’s also “Is jogging the Bay Bridge safe?” I have no idea why that search term would lead to my website. But no, it would not be.

“Stores that sell special bait to catch crabs with” was written by someone who enjoys dangling both crab traps and participles. And crabs will eat anything.

And one person found my website with just one search term: “Tounge.” This has me mystified.

Scott McGrew
NBC11 Business & Tech Reporter

Looking Back and to the Future

June 19, 2008

Rob MayedaThe recent fire at Universal Studios brought back the Summer of ’90 to me. Nearly 20 years ago, as seen here in this embarrassingly 80s-style young actor’s photo, I once worked at Universal Studios’ former Moulin Rouge Restaurant now the Jurassic Park shop area. (No, that’s not “Zoolander” – that is actually me circa 1990) My main worry back then was the cash count at the register at the end of the day and telling tourists to lay Evian bottles flat on their trays at check out. Many explosive spills taught me this early on.

That was the bad, but the good included all the restaurant’s employees getting to be stand-in/extras as “Beverly Hills 90210 ” was shooting “EXTERIOR – France street scene” just across the street on the upper lot.

Another interesting part of the job was my restaurant manager’s connections with casting directors down on the back lot. That’s where I’d get sent running errands from time to time while getting to see all those ingenious sets up close and personal. Thanks to the ultimate stage crew – it was interesting to see what you’d find each time you were down there. Cities and centuries could literally change overnight.

I also have that restaurant manager to thank for my break into the young actors voice-coaching workshop (cue embarrassing photo again). It was here you’d also find fellow employees who portrayed “W.C. Fields,” “Marilyn Monroe” and “Frankenstein” around the park during the day working out of costume to focus on their acting skills by night (including yours truly, the Moulin Rouge cashier/waiter).

We got to know each other pretty well as scene partners in scripts from commercials to shows like “Major Dad” and “Quantum Leap.” While none of us actually made it onto one of those shows, years later we all lived out our dreams in different ways.

I caught “W.C. Fields” a couple years ago ago in a role for a Ron Popeil pasta-making informercial. “Marilyn” went on to Italy to shoot a film. “Frankenstein” is doing well in bank commercials these days. Even Moulin Rouge cashier guy got his act together eventually.

Though we’re scattered all over the place now, I had to wonder if we all thought the same thing watching the breaking news. No doubt Universal will rebuild bigger and better than before. That doesn’t make it any less sad to see an original part of it burned away.

Rob Mayeda
NBC11 WeatherPlus Meteorologist

Good Deeds

June 18, 2008

Brent CannonSo often we focus on the bad things that people do that I wanted to share a couple of stories about good things people have recently done. These people will not be on the news, or make headlines in the paper, or a big splash on YouTube. They did something nice to a total stranger – just because.

One story involves a 70 something lady who was traveling alone. After collecting her bags at the airport, she boarded a shuttle bus that would take her close to her home. She got off the bus, only to find that one of her bags was missing. Turns out, the bus driver had left it on the curb back at the airport. She was distraught to say the least.

Lucky for her, somebody nice came along. He was a TSA agent, about to take that same bus on the return trip to the airport to begin his shift. He saw how worried she was and told her he would escort her back to find the missing bag. Not only that, but on the way he began working his cell phone – calling fellow TSA agents – telling them they may come across an unattended bag, and that he knew who the owner was. He also began to call various security offices at the airport, asking if a bag had been turned in.

By the time they had arrived back at the airport, the agent had located the bag. But instead of pointing the elderly lady to where she could get it, he decided to personally escort her. She thanked him for all he had done, and told him she could do the rest on her own. But he would not have it. He wanted to finish what he had begun. He reunited the lady with her bag AND made sure she and her bag made it back on the bus.

Here is another story. The other day I was at the grocery store, when an elderly lady came in, telling clerks she had just lost her wallet. One of the ‘sackers’ was tasked with helping the woman. This ‘sacker’ was also training what appeared to be a new employee.

The ‘sacker’ did not complain. Instead, she went into action. I was standing next to her, and she turned to me and explained how she hated to see people lose their wallet or purse – especially older people. She was concerned about what the poor woman would have to go through to cancel credit cards and get new ID etc.

The ‘trainee” then came over, and the ‘sacker’ said, “Here is what we are going to do. At our store, we help people. That’s what we do. So, we are going to go through all the shopping carts, and after that we will have her retrace her steps through the parking lot. We are going to help that poor lady get her wallet back.”

I was really impressed – in both accounts. I wish I knew the names of the two good Samaritans. They deserve credit for their deeds. But I know the Big Man upstairs knows exactly who they are and what they did.

Brent Cannon
NBC11 Anchor

Ditto, Bob

June 17, 2008

Mike InouyeLast Friday I heard the team chatting on-air about the Bob Redell’s blog entry (yes, I watch nearly every morning even out on paternity leave) and checked it out as soon as I was able to jump online Friday morning.

Thanks for the props, Bob, and you’re doing an outstanding job running with things and allowing me to be at home tending to the homefront as we adjust to the new addition to our squad.

I also want to say “ditto, Bob” on the feelings he’s had getting up to speed in the traffic gig. I’ve experienced a similar two weeks getting up to speed on the homefront.

Just after I called in on the morning show when our second child was born, Bob said that having two kids isn’t twice as much work as one, it’s more like twenty times more work.

He should know. Bob’s got a beautiful family with two kids and has been managing wonderfully for years. While he gets the feel for the joys and challenges of doing something I’ve become comfortable doing, I’m here at home trying desperately to get a feel for the joys and challenges of being a dad of two, like him.

Sunday was my first Father’s Day as a Double Daddy. We’re just getting over one major hump, getting sleep wedged in between a toddler’s schedule and a newborn’s lack of one.

I’ll try and drop y’all another line soon.

Mike “One Swaddler, One Toddler” Inouye
NBC11 Traffic Anchor

Go Elmo… and Super Grover!

June 16, 2008

Craig HerreraI’m so excited my god-daughter is here visiting from Denver!  My cousins and little Elli arrived Thursday and the first few hours home were all about a DVD with Elmo and Super Grover.  Now I understand why parents know all the latest nursery rhymes and hip new characters.  It was so much fun watching SUUUPPP-er Grover and Elmo, even though we watched it over and over again.

How do kids do it, they love to watch those DVD’s over and over.  I don’t mind because she is my god-daughter, and she said “more peez,” how could I say no?  And it was funny and quite amusing to watch SUUPPP-er Grover as he attempted to fly and kept stepping on his cape.  He tried to “get up, up ,up” but that cape was just in the way!  Elli and I kept laughing and laughing as SUUPPP-er Grover kept falling, picking himself up and trying again.  She is going to be two years old in July, and we laughed and laughed.  Me laugh?  🙂

It was a great bonding moment and one I will always remember.  It’s amazing how the simple things in life can make us smile and laugh, like SUUPPP-er Grover!  Here’s to the good things in life that make us laugh and the sweet innocent children that help us see it all… over and over again.  I’m looking forward to a wonderful week with my family and Elli.

Craig Herrera
NBC11 WeatherPlus Meteorologist

Tough Traffic

June 13, 2008

Bob RedellI’ve been filling in for traffic anchor Mike Inouye on the mornings since he’s on paternity leave. I gotta tell ya, this gig is a tough nut to crack. Normally, I’m out reporting news in the field (which means culling together three reports for use during our two hour morning show.) It is generally a very low stress assignment. Traffic on the other hand requires you to go on air with the latest on the roads every 10 minutes. I don’t mind the extra work. It’s the “culling together” the information that has freaked me out a couple times.

To figure out what your commute is going to look like, we rely on several sources. We’ve got access to two web sites: one run by CHP, the other by a private company called Traffic Pulse. We also use another computer to create the animated maps you see on air. Several traffic cameras throughout the Bay Area help us as well. And Chopper 11 is a terrific roaming source for live pictures and information. It’s great to have all this at your fingertips, but to the newbie traffic dude, it can be overwhelming, especially when you have less than 10 minutes to prepare between each traffic report.

On more than one occasion, I have literally ran up to the camera with zero seconds to spare to deliver my report. (The time just snuck away from me.) I could feel my heart trying to break through my rib cage as my lungs gasped for breath. That is not what I call cool, calm and collected. (A fickle clicker we use to change the traffic maps on air has also given me the joy of experiencing a couple mild heart attacks.) This is not at all meant as a gripe. I just want to give major props to our man Mike for making it seem so easy. (I was also asked to blog about my traffic experience and figured I it’d be more interesting focus on my “challenges.”)

Bob Redell
NBC11 Reporter & Traffic Trickster

LATE BREAKING TIDBIT: I must say I’ve found my comfort zone over the past couple days and have grown to enjoy the assignment.

Too-MAY-to, Too-MAH-toe

June 12, 2008

Laura Garcia CannonWhen the first salmonella scare came out this past weekend about tainted tomatoes I must have been on a plane, in the air, returning from a week off on vacation. We knew the cupboards were bare at home, so we went out to lunch. Ordering a salad, I didn’t complain to the waitress, but the first thing I noticed was, where were my tomatoes?!? Perhaps they forgot. Then my sandwich came. No tomatoes! I still didn’t say anything, no big deal, but I did notice, the red ripe culinary treat I love were missing.

I love tomatoes. I could eat them like apples. Sliced, salted, lovely. One of my definite favorites. When the bountiful harvest of the jeweled treats arrive in farmers markets and grocery stores, I’m the first to fill my cart. I even take on the challenge of growing a different variety every year. My Dad always had a garden when I was growing up and I remember closely inspecting the tomato vines learning when they were ripe for picking.

So this year, when the salmonella scare eliminated some varieties except for cherry, grape, those with the vine attached, and homegrown tomatoes, I knew I was safe! I had my trusty vine in the backyard to check. Except… it was gone! I think Brent thought it was a weed! Out trimming a few weeks ago he yanked it. It reminded me of when we were first married he decided to go out and trim what he thought were hedges. They were gardenias that I had been fertilizing with zillions of buds ready to burst into the beautiful fragrant flowers reminding me of those I carried in my wedding bouquet. No more blooms, the plants were now cut into little round balls. When Brent called me into the yard to show me how proud he was of his ‘trimming’ I was at a loss for words. He was so excited, I was so sad. But it was hard to criticize the guy who was filled with the good intentions of just ‘tending to the garden.’ He was being a good new husband. We laugh about it now.

I haven’t mentioned to him that he pulled up my tomato plant yet, or the oregano or thyme. I’ll just head on over to the farmers market, and he can be proud of his ‘trimming.’

Laura Garcia Cannon
NBC11 Anchor