Archive for September, 2008

Lobos Alumni Enjoy the Heat

September 29, 2008

Craig Herrera:
Craig HerreraHeat from the “Land Of Enchantment” in our Bay Area… heat on my tongue anyway!  Do you have any comfort foods that remind you of a special time in your life, maybe your childhood?  For me, one type of comfort food is green chile from Hatch, New Mexico, specifically the smell of roasting green chile.  Once I smell that chile roasting I eagerly anticipate that spicy flavor on my tongue! If you’ve ever been to New Mexico and had southwestern cuisine, you know what I’m talking about.  If you haven’t, what are you waiting for, you’ll have to try it sometime!  🙂

I recently joined about 50 people, most of them fellow alumni from the University of New Mexico (UNM), for a great green chile roast in Briones Regional Park.  That fresh scent of green chile being roasted in a steel drum filled the hills and it was like a bit of New Mexico in the Bay Area.  It was a beautiful day and we had so much great food to share while roasting our chile and sporting UNM Lobo Polo’s and t-shirts in our cherry and silver school colors.  It’s an annual event hosted by the UNM NorCal Alumni Chapter which has members spread all over the Bay Area and Northern California.   We had fun, ate great food and raised money to help fund scholarships for local students who attend UNM in Albuquerque, NM.

This was the third year I attended and every year the gathering grows in Alumni attendance.  This year I ran into a friend I had not seen since 1995, I met a woman who grew up a few miles from my hometown of Pojoaque and I made a lot of new friends.  And our chile orders are getting heavier too!  In all, we ordered more than 700 pounds of green chile which was sent to us from Hatch, New Mexico.    I roasted 50 pounds myself, 30 pounds for me, and 20 pounds for some friends who could not attend the picnic.  It’s like green gold for anyone who has sampled the flavorful pepper.  My freezer is now stuffed with that green gold and by this time next year that will all be gone!

I love to eat that green chili in the cooler months with chicken soup, or on my eggs in the morning or maybe on my chicken for dinner.  I’m no chef, but I can make a mean green chile chicken enchilada!  And if I ever feel a cold or a bug coming on, I just have some green chile on toast or in my stew and I feel so much better instantly.  Aside from the spicy kick I get when eating the chile, it has a lot of vitamin-C.  Maybe that is why I think of it as a comfort food, it reminds me of staying home sick and my mom making green chile stew for me.  Thanks mom!

It’s so much fun to be a part of this annual event with so many fellow Lobo Alumni!  And for me it’s a piece of my upbringing, my history, in my home… the Bay Area!  Que Bueno!  🙂

Craig Herrera
NBC Bay Area WeatherPlus Meteorologist

Gadget Friday: Pinnacle USB PCTV HD Mini Stick

September 26, 2008

Scott McGrew:
Scott McGrewWatch Gadget Friday Video

Pinnacle USB PCTV HD Mini Stick ($119)
Cost: $119
More info on Pinnacle’s web site

Here’s an unusual device for you: It’s a small stick that goes into the USB port of your laptop or desktop and – using a collapsible antenna – can receive live television signals. Included software means you can record TV, much like a TiVo.

The picture is quite clear, as the device uses the new digital receiver technology (and thus will be usable after next February) and if your computer’s display is up to it, the image will be high definition.

Reception in our tests was spotty – the local public television station came in beautifully, but we could not see several other major network stations. This is less the fault of the device and more the vagaries of television signals. You can, if you wish, hook the USB device right into your home’s big rooftop antenna, if you still have one.

The device can also be attached to a digital cable signal, but not analog cable or any satellite service.

After testing the Pinnacle USB PCTV HD Mini Stick for awhile, I can’t help but wonder WHY you would need it. Let’s say, for instance, you wanted to watch “The Office.” You could insert your Pinnacle device into your laptop on Thursday night at just the right time, or just watch it on the excellent web service Hulu, on Netflix on Demand, or on iTunes.

Sure, there might be situations where you needed to watch live television – our morning newscast comes to mind – but otherwise there are so many wonderful ways to watch TV on your computer, it makes watching actual broadcast TV a bit silly.

Scott McGrew
NBC Bay Area Business & Tech Reporter

Hair Raising Situation

September 24, 2008

Laura Garcia Cannon:
Laura Garcia CannonI was in the makeup room the other day when Scott McGrew walked in, looked in the mirror and said, “Boy I need a haircut.” My first instinct was to offer to cut it. What was I thinking? I have zero haircutting experience. It made me laugh thinking of the same offer I made to my brother when I was about 15. He said he needed a haircut, and I jumped into action and said, oh let me do it! As if I had gone to beauty school! What is worse, that I offered? Or that he said yes? It would probably be the latter as I snipped a little here, snipped a little there. Oh no, I think I just made a hole. Uh.. Let me snip this part too so it’s not as obvious. .. Snip snip, snip.. Oh gosh this is getting worse. Then suddenly I exclaimed, “Uh… all done! And um, I have to go,” I had to get out of there before my brother could actually look in the mirror! I didn’t know I could run that fast! He didn’t have time to remove the makeshift ‘cape’ towel I put around him, before his sylist was out the door.

Recently my brother was visiting. He said, “I need a haircut.” For a second, I thought he was kidding and asked if he remembered my little ‘haircutting incident’ all those years before. Being either a good sport or just the wonderful brother that he is, he said no. But that got me thinking, maybe it wasn’t as bad as I thought! So yes, Scott McGrew, let me cut your hair! My salon is open and ready for appointments!

Laura Garcia Cannon
NBC Bay Area Anchor

Time to Walk ‘N Wag

September 22, 2008

Craig Herrera:
Craig HerreraGrab your leash, your dog(s) or cat and your walking shoes, it’s time to walk and wag… or let your dog wag anyway. 🙂

As many of you know, I love pets! I have two adopted dogs and the unconditional love each gives is
just incredible, and I just can’t imagine my life without them. So, I walk for their friends needing loving homes.

Walk ‘N Wag will happen in San Jose on Saturday, October, 4th, 2008. It is a 2K walk through Kelley Park and History San Jose and it is sponsored by the Humane Society Silicon Valley. I have the honor of walking with all the participants and making a few announcements this year. I’ve actually been an active part of the Walk ‘N Wag for the last three years and every year I walk away with so many new friends… two and four-legged friends! By the way, NBC Bay Area is a proud sponsor of this event. Aside from the walk, they have a “pet-owner look-alike” contest, dog games and so much more!

The work the HSSV does is incredible and every dollar raised from this walk goes to help support the pets that need loving homes. It always breaks my heart to see those pets waiting for a family to take them home, but knowing that the staff and volunteers at HSSV is providing care and love for each pet is comforting.

HSSV was established in 1929 and has placed more than 500,000 pets in loving homes around the Bay Area. It’s also an exciting year for HSSV as they are now building a brand new 48,000 square foot “green” facility in Milpitas called the Animal Community Center. The Center will include:

* Adoption Galleria with home-like habitats for dogs, cats and rabbits
* Boarding facility
* Doggie daycare
* Grooming center
* Dog park and training center
* Pet store
* Pet-friendly cafe
* Education center
* Indoor presentation area
* Medical center with an affordable spay/neuter clinic
* Veterinary hospital with a public viewing room

The facility is also designed to help reduce pet illness and reduce stress for the animals waiting for homes. If you’d like to walk or just learn more about Walk ‘N Wag or the work HSSV does, you can get more information at http://www.nbc11.com/community/1490247/detail.html
or http://hssv.convio.net/site/TR/WalknWag/GeneralWNW2?fr_id=1040&pg=entry

I hope to see you there!

Craig Herrera
NBC Bay Area WeatherPlus Meteorologist

Gadget Friday: TrackStick

September 19, 2008

Scott McGrew:
Scott McGrewThe TrackStick ($180) is one of those “we know what you will use it for but we’ll ignore it” type devices. It’s a small GPS recording device that can show you where something has been. Stick it in a car, a purse* or anywhere else, and it will record its position over the course of several days.

Note you can’t track in real-time. It’s a recorder – you download the data to find out where it’s been.

Now, California law is a bit hazy on whether you can track someone without his or her knowledge. However, California has a very powerful “catch-all” privacy law that says essentially if something violates an adult’s privacy, it’s illegal.

So from a LEGAL standpoint, the TrackStick could be used in just a few ways; you could attach it to your backpack to see where you hiked. You could put it in a child’s car and make sure he wasn’t breaking the speed limit. You CAN’T (legally) put it in your boyfriend’s car to see where he’s been, um, hiking.

*generally the device needs to have “line of sight” to the sky to work. It may work (inconsistently) in a purse or other container.

Watch the Gadget Friday segment on Facebook

For more information: http://www.trackstick.com

Scott McGrew
NBC Bay Area Business & Tech Reporter

Christmas in… September

September 18, 2008

Brent Cannon:
Brent CannonIt is time once again for my annual look at the first time I see Christmas displays in stores. As I have mentioned in previous years, they seem to come earlier every year. I need to actually keep a log. But I have seen my first shameless Christmas display already.

The usual suspects include the major department stores or drugs stores, etc. And I do not count those “all Christmas, all the time” shops – the ones that sell Christmas stuff 24/7 – 365 days a year. This time I was stunned to find a massive display at Costco, done only as Costco could do it. They had it all including those white, wire deer that you stick in the front yard (the ones whose heads move and are framed by little white lights). They had blow up elves and massive boxes of cards (I suppose for people with 700 people on their annual card list). They had rolls and rolls of wrapping paper and of course ornaments. Some of the ornaments were the size of Half Moon Bay pumpkins! What would a person do with ornaments that could double as globes? How big is the tree? I mean, they could use these things at 30 Rock in New York.

Anyway, I was stunned at how early I spotted my first Christmas display this year, so I took a picture of Laura modeling some of the goods just to prove it. And keep in mind, I’ve been sitting on this story a few days, so who knows how long it had been there before I saw it and before I ended up writing about it.

Now usually, the second the Christmas stuff is down, they go with the Valentine’s stuff. So, if Christmas stuff is in the store by September, will Valentine’s stuff show up in early October? And if that happens, what about Halloween? We all know they like to put the Halloween candy out in July so you eat it all and have to go buy more. With all the holiday swapping and early marketing, I can’t keep things straight. Pretty soon we’ll have Halloween in March, Christmas in May, Valentine’s Day in August!

It makes me think that naming it Cinco de Mayo is brilliant. The holiday is the actual date. That way nobody can change it. It wouldn’t make sense to have Cinco de Mayo be November 18th. Then again, it is kind of silly to see Christmas stuff in early September too. Hmmm.

Brent Cannon
NBC Bay Area Anchor

Aisle Get It

September 15, 2008

Mike Inouye:
Mike InouyeI am honored that my wife chose to “go down the aisle” with me. We married after knowing one another for decades, after dating quite some time and after we knew that we complemented one another on the big stuff in life. I would go down that aisle again in a heartbeat. The aisle where we have trouble is in the grocery store.

My wife is a hunter, as in “Hunter-Gatherer society.” She has her list. She targets the items in the store, regardless of order or placement within the establishment, and nabs them one by one, picking items out of the aisles until complete.

I am a “browser,” like a goat. I roam up and down every aisle, knowing what stuff we need but letting the items on the shelf remind me of anything I’ve forgotten to put on the list, or possibly inspire me.

This difference is usually not a problem because we rarely go grocery shopping together. However, on the occassions where we have co-shopped it has caused tension and quite often a less than satisfactory outing.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying either is a better method. Hers is great when we need to shop for a specific purpose; in and out lightning quick. My style is more handy when we forget to put things on the list (especially when we forget to write down “toilet paper” or “milk”) but demands a much more lenient timeframe.

We have learned that although we love to do most things together, there are some things better done separately. Grocery shopping happens to be one of the latter.

And if you’re wondering what technique the product of a “Hunter-Gatherer” and a “Browser” chooses… he’s currently operating under the “Grazing” methodology.

“What’s the difference between grazing and browsing?” you ask.

Grazing is much more destructive.

Grazers tend to go for the better, more tender foodstuff closer to the ground.

That’s been my toddler’s technique since leaving the confines of the cart. I may have picked up an “unnecessary” thing or two in my browsing but that’s NOTHING compared to what that kid grabs off of the shelf and dumps into our cart when I’m reading a label or checking for freshness.

If I don’t keep better track of his grazing, we’ll soon be broke, regardless of either of our styles.

Mike Inouye
NBC Bay Area Traffic

PS. Come to think of it, “browsing” is also how I do my traffic reporting. I go thru every single incident and pick out the items I need to report, depending on how severe and how many commuters it affects. Hmmm. Interesting parallel.

Gadget Friday: Tivoli NetWorks Radio

September 12, 2008

Scott McGrew:
Scott McGrewTivoli NetWorks Radio: Nice but expensive
Price: Starting at $599
Company website: http://www.tivoliaudio.com/home.php?cat=271

The NetWorks Radio from high end radio maker Tivoli Audio is an FM radio with a neat secret:  it’s also a WiFi device.  Plug it into a power socket, turn it on and it finds your WiFi signal.  Use the included remote to tell the radio your WiFi’s access code (if you have one) and it will stream Internet radio stations from around the world.

There are other devices that do this (for a lot less than the whopping $649 price Tivoli wants), such as Logitech’s Squeezebox.  However, the Tivoli looks much nicer than the Squeezebox, and eschews the “high tech” factor:  it doesn’t look or act high tech.

Instead, you treat it much like a regular radio, “tuning” it to various radio stations that stream over the Internet like the BBC, the excellent WGBH in Boston, and hundreds of others.  While you can’t tune into any station, if the one you like is missing from the comprehensive list, you just send Tivoli an e-mail and they’ll add it.

I like the device because it is not intimidating.  I could, for instance, set it up for my non-techy parents and just tell them it’s a very good radio – they would never have to know, or be intimidated by the knowledge, that it’s really an Internet WiFi device.

Complaints: There’s a cheesy plastic volume knob on the top – I would have liked to have seen a more obvious power/volume knob.  Maybe even a “tuning” knob where a non-techy sort of person could spin from station to station without using the remote.  And the price is ridiculous.

Praises:  The remote has “quick tune” keys that you can set as easily as a car radio.  The styling means it would look just fine in an upscale living room.  A neat server trick (transparent to the user) adds podcasts on demand.   Audio quality is excellent.

Scott McGrew
NBC Bay Area Business & Tech Reporter

Badge or No Badge?

September 11, 2008

Laura Garcia Cannon:
Laura Garcia CannonIt’s funny the differences between the tastes of men and women. I bought a new jacket the other day and wasn’t too sure if it was going to work on air. I decided to model it for Brent. He immediately said… what’s your rank? The blazer has a big crest on it and I can tell that is the first thing he didn’t like about it. He said I looked like a police officer. I thought, well he might have a point. I carefully snipped the crest off, put the jacket back on and thought… BORING! It just looked like a plain off white jacket with black piping. So, I pinned the badge back on and wore it

Funny thing, when I got to work the staff had the same reaction. Scott McGrew said I was the commodore, Mike Inouye saluted me, my Executive Producer John Peck wanted to know where I got the badge? Ha ha.. But all the girls said, oh love the jacket, love the crest, leave it on! So, I wonder.. Are badges and crests a gender thing? Here’s a look at both looks…. Which do you prefer? We’re taking a poll… leave a comment.

Laura Garcia Cannon
NBC Bay Area Anchor

Itchy Secret

September 10, 2008

Brent Cannon:
Brent CannonI was on vacation last week, and when I returned, Laura wanted to pick me up at the airport wearing full hazmat gear! I’m talkin’ the space suit, rubber gloves, mask – the whole nine yards.

It all stems from a bad decision on my part. Two weeks ago, I was fly fishing near Downieville, CA. I hiked down to the river, but just a few yards shy of the water the trail ended and there was a thicket of bushes. I did not want to go all the way back and try to find a new way. The water was within a few yards of me. So, I went through the brush. Bad mistake. Turns out there was poison oak in there. I was in shorts and it got all over my legs. I didn’t even realize it at the time. I knew I got scratched up a bit. I had a first aid kit and used an anti-bacterial cleanser. But I didn’t think I got poison oak.

A few days later, I left for Denver. I soon noticed a rash had formed. I went to a doctor in Colorado and found out I had poison oak.

Over the next few days, it really got ugly. Surprisingly, it doesn’t itch that badly. It flares up from time-to-time, but overall it isn’t that bad. It just looks bad. And Laura thinks I have leprosy or something. She thinks it is contagious and she can get it by coming within a few feet of me. (I am being only slightly sarcastic).

It was weird getting on the plane. I had to wear shorts to prevent long pants from rubbing my legs and causing them to itch. Plus, the ointment they gave me is greasy and I didn’t want it to get on my slacks. I was worried people would see my legs and freak out. I thought for sure nobody would sit by me, or that I’d have my own row on the flight back.

They say it might take several weeks to clear up. So – a little secret – I am now wearing shorts below my suit jacket while on the anchor desk. I kind of like the look. Even after I heal, I might keep that look going. Hmmm…

Brent Cannon
NBC Bay Area Anchor