Archive for August, 2007

My first video
August 31, 2007

Here is my first attempt at making a video for my blog. Our producer, Maria, thought I was trying to snap a picture. So she kept posing with her food….. The joke was on her (once again) when I told her it was video.

Sorry Maria! Thanks for being a good sport!

Let’s see what I get next time…….

Notes from the newsroom
August 30, 2007

Newsroom Notes:

Jon Greiner has a jar on his desk filled with candy. He invites us all to have some.
I have a bird’s-eye-view of my fellow employees who walk up and take a piece. It is always interesting to hear the comments based on Jon’s inventory. It seems from my very scientific study over the past year…. that chocolate is always best.

Do you ever watch Links n’@ on our website? Becky and Ashley do a wonderful job with it. But here’s what I wanted to tell you: If you look closely, I’m in the background. My desk is over Ashley’s right shoulder. The first time it was posted on the web I had no idea they were taping it. And I was eating breakfast. CHOMP CHOMP CHOMP…. SLURP. I looked ridiculous. Now, I try to pretend to be working very hard on a story.

Since we’ve been in the newsrooom studio (waiting to debut our awesome new set) Sally and I have noticed something. We can hear our cell phones ringing during the show. Actually, they begin to ring as soon as the show starts. There are rings for texts coming in, pictures being sent to our phones, and people just trying to call us.
Does this mean: * People remember they have to call us when they see us on the news?
– OR-
* People don’t want to talk to us and call during the show knowing they’ll only have to leave a message? ; )

Finally, I just got a new digital camera. It’s much much smaller than my old one… so I’m taking it to work today and hopefully will be able to include more pictures here soon. It also records video but I have no idea how to do that and no idea how to post video here. Maybe I’ll work on that!

Another Poem
August 26, 2007

Here is another one of my favorite poems.
Hope you enjoy!

Summer Storm
Dana Gioia

We stood on the rented patio
While the party went on inside.
You knew the groom from college.
I was a friend of the bride.
We hugged the brownstone wall behind us
To keep our dress clothes dry
And watched the sudden summer storm Floodlit against the sky.
The rain was like a waterfall
Of brilliant beaded light,
Cool and silent as the stars
The storm hid from the night.
To my surprise, you took my arm-
A gesture you didn’t explain-
And we spoke in whispers, as if we two
Might imitate the rain.
Then suddenly the storm receded
As swiftly as it came.
The doors behind us opened up.
The hostess called your name.
I watched you merge into the group,
Aloof and yet polite.
We didn’t speak another word
Except to say goodnight.
Why does that evening’s memory
Return with this night’s storm-
A party twenty years ago,
Its disappointments warm?
There are so many might have beens,
What ifs that won’t stay buried,
Other cities, other jobs,
Strangers we might have married.
And memory insists on pining
For places it never went,
As if life would be happier
Just by being different.

Mike Clark’s brother
August 24, 2007

Take a look at a video that Mike Clark’s brother is in:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3pbWZeim2s

The New York Mets had a video competition.
Fans were asked to make a :15 second commercial urging people to buy tickets to a game. Mike Clark’s brother, Tom, and his 12 year old daughter, Hannah, won!

CONGRATULATIONS!

Tom based his idea on the “Field of Dreams” movie ending.
Tom won four tickets to a game, was honored on the field at Shea Stadium before 50 thousand plus fans last night. And their commercial was played on the jumbotron…. as well as the New York Mets Cable station!
Those Clark brothers are really something!


August 22, 2007


For my post today I’d like to give a birthday shout out to our wonderful producer Maria Dravecky. Since I don’t have my camera to take her birthday picture… Instead I’m posting a photo of her darling nephew Logan.

He is almost two years old…. Let me say Maria is much older than that…. but much younger than I.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARIA!

Got One!
August 19, 2007

We got one! And I think I’ve figured out what it is.
It seems to be a Cicada Killer Wasp.


Thanks to everyone who wrote in about this scary looking flying thing.
I got so many responses there is no way to write all of you back…. I’m sorry. I try to respond to as many emails as I can…. but in this case let me just say, I appreciate your help.
Here is a picture of the holes they live in.

They come out when the cicadas are out they kill them and bring them back to their nest to eat.
Here is an article I found from the University of Kentucky Entomology Department.
http://www.ca.uky.edu/entomology/entfacts/ef004.asp
CICADA KILLER WASPS
by Lee Townsend, Extension Entomologist 
University of Kentucky College of Agriculture
 
The cicada killer wasps attract attention due to their large size, the burrows that they dig in home lawns, and their buzzing flights over the lawn. These insects occur in all states east of the Rocky Mountains and prefer to dig their burrows in sandy, bare, well drained soil exposed to full sunlight. The wasps feed on flower nectar while the immature or larval stage feeds primarily upon cicadas that are brought to the burrow by the adult.
 
In spite of their large size, the wasps usually ignore people but they can give a painful sting if bothered. Mating males are aggressive and more easily disturbed.
 
A mound of fine soil surrounds the burrow of each cicada killer. Since colonies of burrows are common, infested lawns usually contain several mounds that can smother the grass. However, they prefer to nest in areas of sparse vegetation, and rarely infest thick,vigorous turf.
 
Cicada killers over winter as larvae in the soil. Pupation occurs in the spring and the adult emerges in mid-June to early July. Emergence continues throughout the summer. Females feed, mate, and dig burrows for several weeks before preying on cicadas. Excess soil thrown out of the burrow forms a regular, U-shaped mound at the entrance.
 

Freaky Insect
August 18, 2007

I need some help identifying this insect.

It’s huge and the sounds it makes when it flys by freaks me out.
It looks like it has a huge stinger but it hasn’t gotten any of us yet. I’m guessing it’s about three inches long.

There are several of them and they dig up big holes in the dirt where they live.
I guess more than needing help figuring out what they are …. I mainly want to know whether they sting…. and how to get rid of them.

Giggling on the Carriage Ride
August 17, 2007

We took one of those horse-drawn carriage rides today.

The owner dressed up in clothes from the 1800s and we all pretended to live back then.
I have no idea how he does it. He wears those hot clothes everyday. And today it was almost 100 degrees.

We had gone about one block when the horses pulled over and relieved themselves along the sidewalk. It sounded like a flood. And I’m not kidding when I say it lasted several minutes. It was so loud and the owner tried to keep talking over the noise which sounded like Niagra Falls.

The kids giggled.
Then I giggled. How could I not?

The more the tour guide tried to shout over the noise…. the more we laughed.

There were a few others onboard with us and I’m pretty sure we ruined their trip. The ride lasted for about an hour and we giggled the whole way through.

I wonder if the kids who lived back in the 1800s would have giggled, too?

Meteor Shower Watching
August 13, 2007

I stayed up until 1:45 to watch the annual meteor shower.
My mom bought a bunch of lounge chairs and my cousin, Lisa, came over (yes the same one from the great Safari park incident of ’07). I let the kids stay up too.
So the five of us laid back with blankets and got ready for the big show.
It was supposed to be one of the best Perseid meteor showers ever because the moon was not out and so the bright streaks across the sky would be bright.
Astronomers estimated we’d see about 60 meteors per hour between 11:00 pm and dawn…. with the best show at 2:00am.
We learned the reason for the shower is because the Earth’s orbit crosses the path of debris thorwn off by Comet Swift-Tuttle. As those fragments enter the atmosphere they burn up in a flash and look like shooting stars. These are some pictures I found online of what we should expect.

In the past, the Perseid showers have produced such spectacular displays that people swamped radio stations with reports of a mysterious light in the sky.
So we were very excited about the possibility.
We saw our first one just before 11:00.
And then nothing for a long time.
By about midnight we’d seen three.
They are best described at streaks of light that last less than one second.
So we all tried not to blink.
By one o’clock we’d seen another three… although some of us missed them.
Then the kids wanted to go inside and go to bed.
We realized the dew had fallen on us and we all felt a bit uncomfortable… and my eyes were getting dry from not blinking.
I gave up at 1:45 and went inside to dry my hair and get some sleep.
Mom and Lisa stuck it out until 2:30.
The next morning I asked them what happened after I left.
Nothing.
So I’m wondering if any of you stayed up to watch them and if the show was any better where you were?

No Power
August 10, 2007

Well…. I am one of the many people out there with no power right now.

It went out at three right when the tornado warning hit… and it may not be restored until Saturday at noon.
Life is tough without power.

Everything is so quiet…. everything except for that loud generator running behind me. I’m very jealous of the family who has it. I went for a long walk early this morning and found the generator. I wondered what their reaction would be if I knocked on the door and asked if I could plug in my hair dryer for a few minutes.

Instead, I got ready for work and went to Starbucks hoping a Soy Latte would make me feel better…. I did find consolation in that I wasn’t the only one in line with wet hair.

Your Pictures
August 9, 2007


What a storm this morning!
I had some water creep into my basement…. but that was nothing compared to what happened to others. Flooding all around the region… lightning caused a fire that destroyed a home… people were trapped in their cars…. and now, communities are trying to figure out how to deal with the disaster.

Thank you to all the viewers who sent in pictures and videos to us. If you ever have a photo you think we should put on the news… please send it in! All pictures should be sent to: photos@thepittsburghchannel.com …. and videos should go to: videos@thepittsburghchannel.com. Or you send them right to me and I’ll pass them on to where they need to go.

Good Poem
August 9, 2007

A guy stopped me in the grocery store yesterday and told me he often read my blog. But he said he wanted me to start including more things about my personal taste rather than just letting you know what events I attend.

He said he’d like to hear more about what restaurants I liked, favorite movies, and he wanted some more dirt on my coworkers.
Sooooo… while I decide what dirt to share ; ) …… here are some restaurants I enjoy: The Frick Cafe, Eleven, La Casa, Ibiza and La Feria.

For now, I’ll include a poem I like.
Since it’s hard for me to pick a favorite poem…. I will post a few more over the coming days.

SOYBEANS
by Thomas Alan Orr

The October air was warm and musky, blowing
Over brown fields, heavy with the fragrance
Of freshly combined beans, the breath of harvest.

He was pulling a truckload onto the scales
At the elevator near the rail siding north of town
When a big Cadillac drove up. A man stepped out,
Wearing a three-piece suit and a gold pinky ring.
The man said he had just invested a hundred grand
In soybeans and wanted to see what they looked like.

The farmer stared at the man and was quiet, reaching
For the tobacco in the rear pocket of his jeans,
Where he wore his only ring, a threadbare circle rubbed
By working cans of dip and long hours on the backside
Of a hundred acre run. He scooped up a handful
Of small white beans, the pearls of the prairie, saying:

Soybeans look like a foot of water on the field in April
When you’re ready to plant and can’t get in;
Like three kids at the kitchen table
Eating macaroni and cheese five nights in a row,
Or like a broken part on the combine when
Your credit with the implement dealer is nearly tapped.

Soybeans look like prayers bouncing off the ceiling
When prices on the Chicago grain market start to drop;
Or like your old man’s tears when you tell him
How much the land might bring for subdivisions.
Soybeans look like the first good night of sleep in weeks
When you unload at the elevator and the kids get Christmas.

He spat a little juice on the tire of the Cadillac,
Laughing despite himself and saying to the man:
Now maybe you can tell me what a hundred grand looks like.

Eating for your blood type
August 8, 2007

My friend is reading that book about eating right for your blood type.
She’s promising to let me read it when she’s done.
I’m an O-negative blood type.
Have any of you out there read that book? Any thoughts on whether it works?

Bridge Collapse
August 3, 2007

It seems like a normal morning here.
Zach has pulled up an OnDemand Pitt Panthers basketball game to watch a player shatter the backboard. He loves it. He’s watched it many times already.
Ally is eating pancakes and trying to get Zach’s attention but he just wants to watch basketball.

I am in the small room just off the living room on the computer. I wanted to check the lastest on the bridge collapse.
I am doing my best to keep the kids from seeing what happened in Minneapolis. So I wait until they’re interested in something… and quickly come see the latest update.
It would have a major impact on them. It is having a major impact on me. I just can’t believe it and can’t imagine what the families are going through there. How horrible.
While my day is starting out rather routine…. I know so many families’ lives have been drastically changed and will never be the same. Again, I just can’t imagine.
My thoughts and prayers are with them.