Archive for December, 2008

The Goat That Brought Two Anchors Together

December 23, 2008

Brent Cannon:
Brent CannonScott mentioned a website the other morning – universalgiving.org – and mentioned how he could jokingly give a goat to his sister for Christmas via that site. He then showed a picture of his sister, as well as the little goat.

goat

The goat caused me to have a flashback of my fist date with Laura. So, now I have to explain.

Laura and I met while working for competing stations in Fresno, which is a whole story of its own. We exchanged phone numbers, and I decided to ask her out. But I wasn’t sure about a big, serious date. I thought I’d make it something more casual and fun – take the pressure off by doing something a little less formal. So, I asked if she wanted to go to lunch and the zoo one afternoon.

Laura worked in the ABC station’s bureau in Visalia. So, she drove to Fresno and I drove to lunch and the zoo.

On the way to the zoo, I asked how long she thought she might be there. I meant, how long did she anticipate staying in the Fresno/Visalia market. My thinking was that if the date went well, should I pursue things? If she was trying to advance to a larger market, it might be a waste of time to attempt building a new relationship. But, she took my question to mean how long she was going to stay in Fresno that afternoon – as if I was already wondering when she might be leaving to return to her Visalia apartment. She thought I was already getting bored or something, and I was figuring out how to spend the rest of my day.

Anyway, we got that squared away and continued to the zoo. One of the stops was inside a little petting zoo area, where they had cute little goats, which looked just like the one in Scott’s story – hence the flashback.

Anyway, the rest of the day went well and we had fun. Obviously, there were other dates and well – the rest is history. We got married, moved from the Fresno market, and here we are anchoring the morning news – going on nine years in the Bay Area. And a little black billy goat is part of the story.

Brent Cannon
NBC Bay Area Anchor

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‘Tis the Season to Run the Gauntlet

December 15, 2008

Brent Cannon:
Brent CannonThe holiday season is in full swing – especially the shopping. I know what they are saying about the rough economy, but I have been to the mall, and from what I can see, there are plenty of people out there. Maybe they are not buying as much, but they sure are shopping.

Holiday crowds are a notorious turn-off for some shoppers, but the thing that bugs me the most is having to run what I call “The Gauntlet.” That is just walking from store to store, trying to dodge those people manning the kiosks. Malls didn’t used to have kiosks, but now they are jammed with them.

Most people working a kiosk are not horribly invasive. But an increasing number of them are becoming downright annoying. I just want to shop. I just want to go from place to place without being hassled. But it is getting insane. They stand in your way. They holler greetings, and try to hand you things – anything just to engage you in a conversation so they can try to make a sale.

And you can see it coming. You are walking towards a kiosk and you can see them already picking you out. You try not to look them in the eye – but they come right up and engage you anyway.

They say things like, “Can I ask you a question?” Lame. And yet we fall for that all the time. I guess our natural reaction is to respond to a person who wants to know something. But the only thing they really want to know is if they can con you into buying something you do not need or want.

How about those people who work for the kiosks that sell those warm wrap things. You know – the beanbag things that you heat in the microwave and put across your shoulder. If you don’t virtually sprint past these people, they’ll have one of those things around your neck before you know what hit you. Just try getting it off! They can put it back on faster than you can take it off. All the while they jabber their sales pitch. You can feel like a little gnat, trapped in the spider’s web – and the spider is closing in. You struggle but cannot escape!

Then there is the “hand a person something for free” approach. If you try to walk by – they jockey for position – forcing you to recognize them and acknowledge their wares. You say, “no thanks” – but see – you have engaged in conversation. That is the opening they want. You are in the web!

Others try to “guilt” you into buying. They say things like, “not even for the pretty wife of yours.” Or, “Doesn’t the lovely lady deserve….” In my head I’m thinking, “she deserves way better than what you are trying to pawn off on me.” But I politely try to keep walking.

I often think about what it used to be like stepping onto a car lot. They used to swarm a person – and then give the hard sell. But these days, it seems most sales people have learned the soft approach. They are not so invasive – so intense – so “in your face.” I wonder how long before some of the kiosk workers evolve to that same point? And how about the malls – I know they are making money by jamming as many kiosks in as they can – but do they realize the hard sales approach can actually be yet another incentive for shoppers like me to stay away?

Oh well, what can I expect, after all –‘tis the season.

Brent Cannon
NBC Bay Area News

Gadget Friday: BackTrack

December 13, 2008

Scott McGrew:
Scott McGrewBushnell BackTrack ($74)
http://www.bushnell.com/gps/gps_backtrack.cfm
Watch video of Gadget Friday Segment

The Bushnell BackTrack is a GPS enabled device that allows you to set three points of interest and then find them again. So, for instance, you could mark the place you parked your car and then consult the device when you return to the parking lot.

Holding it horizontally, an arrow will indicate what direction your car is, and the distance in yards to it. Just follow the arrow and you’re back where you parked.

It only works outdoors (which is generally true of all GPS devices) and is a little large for my tastes – about the size of an Olympic medal. So, it’s not something you’ll carry in your pocket. But it might be nice to carry in your glove compartment for the next time you park in overflow parking at the Giants game.

It also works as a digital compass.

Runs on two AAA batteries, not included.

Scott McGrew
NBC Bay Area Business & Tech Reporter

Chip Steals the Show

December 8, 2008

Laura Garcia Cannon:
Laura Garcia CannonOh what fun it is to ride… in a convertible classic cherry red Ford Mustang! Brent and I were treated to a ride in one of the classic cars from the South Bay’s Mustang and Thunderbird car club this weekend for the San Jose Holiday Parade. brent-laura-paradeIt’s always a fun event and this year the weather was great! Brent and I bundled up and headed out the door a little earlier than usual because we had a little guest, our dog Chip joining us. When I went to his little cabinet drawer where I keep his food, treats, sweaters, he knew something was up. I pulled out a Santa outfit and he started running around like crazy. He knew we were going somewhere. We piled in the car and before you knew it we were downtown where we greeted the rest of the morning crew – Scott McGrew, Mike Inouye with his son Mason and Craig Herrera with his dog Sasha!

We were all quickly shuttled over to the HP Pavilion where we got into our appointed cars and waited for the parade to start. Wfloathen it did – I don’t think Chip knew what hit him! So many people lining the parade route… And screaming his name! His little puppy head was whipping back and forth, right and left ever time it was shouted. It was really funny, but I think he was wondering where in the heck we brought him. It was the perfect medicine for a hyper little terrier. Dancers, balloons, floats, Santa. By the time we got to the car he was ready to conk out. He was so tired. It made for a perfect afternoon for us to put up the Christmas Tree. No little puppy getting in the box of garland, he was asleep!

Laura Garcia Cannon
NBC Bay Area Anchor

Holiday Parade

December 4, 2008

Brent Cannon:
Brent CannonIt is time once again for the San Jose Holiday Parade. It is Sunday, December 7th in downtown San Jose.

The South Bay has something special. This is rated one of the top 25 parades in the country. They get great local marching bands, an assortment of giant balloons and usually a national celebrity or two.

NBC Bay Area has been a part of the event for many years now, and several of us will be there once again this year. Plus, we’ll televise the parade as well.

Laura and I will be there, along with Mike, Craig and Bob. They always have a convoy of classic cars, and we will each ride on those this year. Laura and I also plan to bring our little dog Chip. I am not sure what he will wear. We may just wrap him in a blanket to protect against the cold morning air. Since he is a little dog I notice he gets cold and shivers. He is no hardy huntin’ dog. Or, Laura might make him wear Christmas antlers, or maybe a Santa hat. He will not like either option.

I think the weather will be great. We have been lucky the past few years. A few times it has been cold to start the day – but no rain to speak of. I think it will be another fine morning for a parade Sunday.

We look forward to seeing the thousands of people who will come out to watch. I know it is an annual holiday tradition for many families, so we look forward to continuing that.

See ya out there!

Brent Cannon
NBC Bay Area Anchor