Monday, January 23, 2006

Warning: Tech Heavy Post

It started out as a simple CPU upgrade. It turned into a major overhaul.

Back in my college days, 1996-2000, I joined the Houston Federal Credit Union while working for Compaq as a temporary laborer. It was factory work, allegedly to build computers, but I guess they saw a 6'3, 200 lb., 20 year old and thought I'd be better placed in packing at the end of the line. This meant a 12 hour day of constructing boxes and filling them with computers. Not terribly taxing work, and it paid well for a college student with no debt and a full ride scholarship.

When I finished that summer of work I had a bit left in the account, so I left it until I came back next year to work again. My television career began the next summer and I never went back, so that money became a fall back account; mad money to pay for some unexpected expense. It's been eight years and I have finally closed the account. With my excess spending money I decided to finally upgrade my computer. It's been 4 years since I built it, why not?

I started shopping. My first stop was Newegg, highly reputed in the tech world for it's ease of use and customer satisfaction and support, not to mention low prices. A few clicks informed me that I had gotten a bit behind in my plan to upgrade a piece at a time. I could get a new CPU, but the one I wanted might not work with my current system. It would seem that a new avenue must be explored.

After searching around I settled on a new processor, motherboard, memory, power supply, and video card. Oh, and just because it was part of a combo with the processor, I threw in a DVD burner. Now I'll be able to capture and edit video, then burn it to DVD. I'll also be able to record TV to my hard drive. For those who got lost in this paragraph, I basically just rebuilt my entire computer. I have the technology. I have the capability to make it better than it was before. Better, stronger, faster, and it didn't cost me 6 million dollars.

Nothing like a simple upgrade for the new year.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Goose Hunt

I broke one of my cardinal rules this week. Next time, I'll just leave the reporter.

The day started out well, then I got to the station. It actually wasn't that bad, but it would be the start of a half-day hunt for the ever-elusive gooose. Kenny P, who some might know from my trips to Cameron, informs me that I'm the lucky guy who gets to work with him, which is a dubious honor in our shop. It could mean a great story, or a really long day.

As we board our rusty chariot he tells me to head out of town. We're going to pick up a radar for a story on speeding in a local neighborhood where we covered a fatal accident last week. Actually seems like a pretty good story to me, since the residents say that people regularly speed through this area. The locals were wrong, at least today. So we get pulled from that story to check on a few other things. Does anyone hear that honking sound somewhere beyond my hood?

Two blocks from the station, and a chance to fill my stomach before it eats itself, the Nextel crackles to life. There's been a shooting in an all too familar area across town. For a little history, check out Turdpolisher's story. This murder happened 50 yards from the last murder a week and a half ago.

The rule I spoke of earlier is that I never leave the scene after the police. I see them preparing to leave and realize that KP hasn't attempted to talk to the greiving family members. "Uh, Kenny, I think we should be going now." "We've gotta try to talk to the family, first." I hate this part of the job, but it comes with the territory. "Make it quick." My photog sense is tingling. We do our interview, and now I think we can go. By this time I've got warning klaxons going off in my head. It could have something to do with the large crowd that is still in the street, and the two groups yelling at each other. Fists start flying and I start rolling, but I hang back just in case something else fills the air. Now Kenny is ready to go.

Twenty-four hours later one of my coworkers is looking at the video I shot while he cuts the follow-up package. In the video he sees one guy pull a gun from the pocket of another, which I caught, nearly perfectly framed. Showing this to KP I say, "This is why I don't hang around after the cops leave."

Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Forgotten

I've been patiently waiting for inspiration to strike. Well, strike it has.

As those who have read the archives here know, I grew up in Cameron parish, which was ravaged by Hurricane Rita. Because no one died in the storm and no one is publicly crying about not having a place to live, the residents of this coastal community, not to mention the storm itself, have been forgotten by the media. One week ago the evacuation order was lifted for the areas south of the Intracoastal Canal, so Wednesday we made the trek to southwestern Louisiana to illuminate the plight of its people.

Our first stop is the temporary post office in Calcasieu parish. Three ZIP codes come to this central location to get their mail. What they also find are friends and relatives that they haven't seen since their exodus began. It has become a place for many to begin the long process of healing wounds that cut to the core of their being, and whose scars will forever remain. From there we made our way south, toward the coast. These once familiar surroundings are now a desolate waste, my vision haunted by the shades of structures that no longer stand.

The town of Cameron is eerily empty. It takes and experienced eye to identify the progress being made, and only someone who has tromped these trails before can know how much work has truly been accomplished. On my first visit water covered these streets and I had to detour around demolished domiciles to find my parents home. Now those same streets are dry and cleared of debris, but still lined by homes that are nothing more than shattered shells and crumbling construction.

Our story can be found here:

Monday, January 09, 2006


I'm sorry for the lack of an update. I usually only write when I'm moved to do so. I began a post and spent the better part of two hours working on it. It wasn't any good, so I won't waste your time with it.

Thank you for viewing, and if you haven't read all of my previous posts, please do so.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Photographic Evidence

I have been a technophile since an early age. Recently reclaimed photographs support this fact without a shadow of a doubt.

In one of my parents' recent expeditions to their former domicile, my father excavated some Polariods that had been unknowingly left in Hurricane Rita's tender care. For the most part these frozen moments came through with little damage. Their subject is me, with a few of my sister, in my early years. I was an amazingly cute child, if I may say so myself. It is a wonder to this day that my parents didn't exploit that by putting me in magazines and commercials. I could have sold a ton of products and be retired at the ripe old age of 27. Woe is me, right?

But I digress. Among these snapshots, captured for posterity, is my bare posterior, hanging out from under a t-shirt. Who's parents don't have one of those? What makes this one relevant is that I was too enraptured by my dad's stereo amp to worry about why I felt a bit more of the gentle caress of the wind than usual. And so began my infatuation with consumer electronics.

(Picture to be posted later)

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


It would seem that I've finally been discovered by the Lenslinger. I guess this means that I've got to start posting more regularly.

As a beginning photog it was suggested to me to check out I was told it would be a place where a seedling like myself would find the nutrients needed to grow in this career that I had chosen. What I found was an invaluable resource for new and old photogs alike. B-roll is a community where someone can ask just about any question and someone else will have the answer. It's also a place to share ideas and inventive ways of performing our craft.

I made my small contributions, and took the sage advice of the more experienced craftsmen to heart. I also began to look forward to reading the rollicking exploits of one particular lensman with a penchant for prose. After a while he began his blog and just posted teasers linking back to it. This became a model for one of my co-workers who was feeling a case of burnout, and he began his own blog as a place to vent.

After Hurricane Rita I needed a way to express the emotions I was feeling, so I started this one. It has been a great experience and an exercise in creativity that will continue for as long as the words come to me. My hope is that I can also develop better writing skills to delay my departure from this life behind the lens.

Thank you, Lenslinger, for following your dream of writing, and so inspiring one who reads, to become one who also writes.