November 2009


With some school work coming up this week, time devoted to writing should be devoted to that so I’ll be skipping over a few days to write a little about this past Thanksgiving before I likely skip another couple days. Jeff was in town this weekend so we had the whole immediate family at home for this Thanksgiving. Mom and Dad spent the morning cooking. We had a nice turkey. Dad made his signature sweet potato casserole and oyster dressing. We also had a corn bread dressing, mashed potatoes, salad, cranberry sauce and probably a couple things I’m forgetting. Everything was delicious, of course. Later in the afternoon we went to visit Aunt Doris and all the people who gathered at her house including Aunt Mimi and Dad’s sister’s family. As usual there was plenty of rowdy talk about indiscretions of youth.I had the day off on Friday and didn’t do much of anything. Late that evening I watched Coraline before bed.

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Po-Boy Fest

Although I should have gone to church this rare morning not following a late night out, I ended up elsewhere. Today was the third annual New Orleans Po-Boy Preservation Festival. This event, a celebration of the locally invented sandwich, takes place on seven blocks of Oak Street from Carrollton to Monroe. Live music stages capped then ends and there were about 40 food vendors and an arts/crafts showcase in between. Several of the Oak Street businesses were open in spite of the crowds, which was nice. Camera in hand, I took a cab uptown and got there about noon. The cabbie dropped me off at Leonidas where the Artist Village was. I glanced at the crafts as I walked by and then up to the stage at Monroe Street to see the band that was playing before wandering around for a while.I’ll have to let my pictures document my wandering in any detail, but I will mention some highlights. At 1:30 there was an “ultimate French bread fight” at the Carrollton stage between a second generation representative of the Po-boy and a robed man representing the sub sandwich. There was verbal taunting and people getting hit with bread loaves… it was quite a spectacle.If I remember right, it was after this that I got something to eat. Every conceivable variety of Po-boy was represented including traditional varieties and some odd ones. No stranger to the local creation myself, I opted for something not found on Mandina’s menu. I had the “premium crabcake Po-boy” from the carnival brands booth. It was quite decent although I wished I had the appetite to sample a lot more. I also tried the “Fried Bread Pudding Po-boy” from Ye Olde College Inn.A while after this I stopped in Jacques-Imo’s to catch some of the Saints game. The New Orleans Saints were playing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Florida this afternoon. Even at this outdoor festival you could not avoid the ongoing game. Aside from all the attendees in Saints garb, you could hear the radio broadcast in places and it was visible on a handful of TV’s outside and in all the bars lining Oak Street. During my respite in Jacques-Imo’s the game was pretty much over as the Saints had a very comfortable lead in the third quarter. The Saints won today with a final score of 38-7.I had to be at work for five and by four o’clock I was a bit weary anyway so I walked up South Carrollton and got a cab to the station, arriving at about 4:45. It was a pretty uneventful evening overall with the Saints win and Po-Boy fest dominating the short newscast. I had very little to do until it came time for the news. Dannah was working today too so I had very little to deal with. She handled the printing tonight rather than contend with John Henry during Final Play.The newscast went well although as John was recapping highlights during the sports block of the news I completely lost my place as he was going through the plays. He was off camera and going from memory anyway but it was still a bit unsettling.I got another crack at it during the sports show, Final Play, and did a bit better. I can’t say the same for the rundown though. The show ran long again and a lot of material got cut. By the time the show close came around, there were only five seconds left to say goodbye.

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Lost Week

After taking ill on Tuesday evening, the rest of the week seemed to waste away.Following an uneventful afternoon at the office, I went over to Fox for my evening shift. I was a little nauseous after lunch and didn’t feel too well after four but I assumed it would pass. I was pretty miserable after I started working though. I ran scripts for the five o’clock news and felt quite exhausted by the end of the show.I didn’t know quite how sick I was until about 10 minutes later when I threw up most of my lunch in the bathroom. All I had to eat that day was a club sandwich from Theo’s Pizza. I felt a lot better after I composed myself but by seven o’clock I felt ill again and at 7:30 I was back kneeling over the toilet. I didn’t have the same feeling of relief after vomiting a second time so I left early and went home, where I rested as best I could for the night.I felt better the following morning but took the day off to rest. I did a little laundry but the day was otherwise uneventful. I went to work on Thursday but I still felt a little off and was tired for the better part of the day. Mercifully we left of the day at four o’clock and went home. I had no desire to go to class or ballroom dancing this evening. I ended up going to bed when we got home and pretty much slept until the following morning. Friday was a sufficiently normal day of work. Doc Stephenson dictated some patient reports on tape for me to work on. I haven’t done any patient reports from dictation in quite some time, well over a year I think. I didn’t get as much done as I would have liked but I’ll have time next week.Today, Saturday, I got up around 10. I didn’t do much of anything this afternoon even though I have a lot of clean laundry to deal with. Before getting ready for work this evening I watched The African Queen. I’ve been on my “to watch” list for a while but it’s not on Region 1 DVD. By chance I saw it was airing on TCM a few weeks back and recorded it to watch later. Overall I thought it was a pretty decent film.Dad gave me a lift to the station for my 5-10 shift this evening. As usual there was not much that needed doing until about 8:30. Printing the scripts was no trouble and prompting went smoothly too, although I can tell I still need more practice dealing with the sports anchors. The newscast ended rather abruptly after sports. Apparently there were 45 more seconds of commercials than usual which threw things off.

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Dad and I arrived at the office shortly after 11 this morning. I had a little work to do but nothing of incredible circumstance… had lunch from Subway.I got a lift to WVUE for four this afternoon. I printed the 5:30 show which would have been without incident were it not for the sports block, which will apparently continue to be problematic. I had dinner delivered a bit late so Monica agreed to print the nine o’clock so I wouldn’t be tied up before the newscast. I had plenty of time to eat before heading in studio to prompt the hour-long newscast. I suppose it was a slow news day since our lead story this evening was a possible cat killer in Mid City. We also ran packages on the taxicab bureau and a current dust up between sanitation companies and the city of New Orleans over budget cuts.The newsroom did not empty out until after 10:30 which didn’t leave me with much “alone time” tonight. Luckily the scanners were relatively quiet, another night gone by without waking up a photographer.

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9 – 0

I slept in this morning following a late night last night. I was up I time to see the start of the Saints game versus the Carolina Panthers. It was a good game, but even against the nearly winless St. Louis Rams, they don’t make things easy. The Rams were in the game down to the last play when an incomplete pass in the end-zone could have just as easily been a touchdown to end the Saints’ winning streak. The final score was 28-23.Dad gave me a lift to the station for five this evening. It was a reasonably quiet night with no major news events outside of the Saints’ win. Nicondra picked up dinner for a bunch of us from Hoshun restaurant, a reasonably new place on St. Charles Avenue. I ordered their General Tso’s chicken. It wasn’t bad although I would refrain from passing harsh judgment since it had a long trip.I printed and prompted the nine o’clock newscast without incident. I caught a cab home after 10. I had the same driver as Friday, I think he said his names is James. We had another pleasant conversation on the ride home. I watched some TV before bed this evening.

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Patrick’s 23rd

I slept in this morning following my outing last night. I went out early this afternoon and fit in some chores before leaving the house for the day. I went to Andrey’s house for two this afternoon. He was hosting a birthday party for Patrick. Shortly before I left, the lens I won on eBay this week arrived. It’s the Canon 17-40mm lens. It arrived a little dirty and I cleaned it up before taking it and my camera with me.There were a handful of people there when I arrived. I won’t attempt to document the attendees here. My pictures make enough effort on that front. The crowd grew as time went by. It was the biggest turnout I’ve ever seen to a gathering at Andrey’s place. Some 50 people must have stopped by over the course of the evening. David, Patrick and Andrey were preparing food when I got there. We had kabobs, beef brisket and a few hamburgers. Assembling the kabobs for grilling was the biggest task and a handful of people lent a hand over the course of the afternoon.The food was good, there were plenty of people and since this was at Andrey’s place we also had the ceremonial vodka shot with pickle and Russian rye chaser.At quarter to six I had to take a cab to get to work. I was unable to get any additional hours off of my Saturday shift. Outside of the script printing and prompting the half-hour newscast I was largely unoccupied. I left for the evening at 9:45.Before departing I called Andrey and he invited me back to his place as the party was winding down. There were only a handful of people remaining. Patrick and Erin departed about 30 minutes after I arrived. With only me, Andrey, David, Nick, Andrey’s roommate and neighbor remaining, we went inside to talk and drink a bit more. Later in the evening a couple guitars and a banjo appeared for what have sounded like a painful jam session. I was either very tolerant or otherwise too impaired to be bothered.Before calling it a night, the lot of us walked a couple blocks away for a couple rounds of Schlitz at Snake and Jakes. It went well. Not long after getting back to Andrey’s place I called a cab home. We stopped to drop off David and Nick on the way. I got home around three and immediately went to bed.

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"New" Places

This post will summarize three days and will be consequently abbreviated. I can safely skip over Wednesday as there was nothing really going on outside of a normal day at the office.Work on Thursday was similarly uneventful, although I did eat out at Café Minh for lunch. After work, Dad gave me a lift to class. This evening’s practicum session had a lecture on interview. Afterward I went uptown for ballroom this evening. Thursday night was the second week of Cha Cha and I had a good handle on the material. There was a light crowd of a little more than 20 this evening and a surplus of guys. Late that evening I talked to Ami on the phone for the first time in quite some time. We both had new jobs to talk about.I took the day off Friday. Dad cooked hamburgers for dinner. That evening I went out to meet Aunt Lauren. She is in town with Arien for a couple days to visit. She originally told me to meet her at Le Bon Temps Roule but the band she was expecting was not there so we met at Rock ‘n’ Bowl. The bowling alley / music venue moved recently from its Carrolton and Tulane location into a new building. This was my first time at the new facility and I was quite impressed. There are several homages to the old location including a long entry hallway, much like the photo-lined staircase you used to climb. Geno Delafose & French Rockin’ Boogie, a well-known zydeco group was playing. They took a break shortly after I arrived. I got a drink and waited for Lauren and her friend to arrive.Lauren and her friend whose name escapes me at present arrived about 20 minutes after I got there. The band started back up not long after that. The new location is considerably larger and consequently more conducive to dancing… and plenty of people were. An older gentleman even got Lauren out to dance for a song. While we were there I said hello to Kevin Fontenot, a history teacher at Tulane I had a couple classes with. I’m always impressed that he remembers me.We left Rock ‘n’ Bowl after having our fill of Zydeco. Lauren’s friend parted company with us but Lauren was not ready for bed yet to we went to the Maple Leaf Bar to see Big Sam’s Funky Nation. There was another band playing when we arrived whose name I cannot recall. After the opening act finished, Lauren and I got a spot right at the stage on the left side.There was a considerable wait for the main act to start and when they did we learned out great spot wasn’t so great. It was entirely too loud so we moved to the back where the sound was a lot more tolerable. Later on we moved to the patio in the back for a while before heading out for the evening.Rather than catch a cab from Maple Street, I had Lauren drop me off in front of the Sheraton Hotel on Canal Street. I had not been there in a long while and wanted to stop in before heading home. Unfortunately I arrived just before one, closing time. It took me a minute to realize it. I sat down at the bar and got no attention while I saw the bartenders locking up the liquor.Still not in the mood to go home, I took a walk up Canal Street and stopped in IHOP on a whim. The Canal location is not that old. I ordered a little something to eat and then walked up a bit more to the Roosevelt Hotel, which reopened not to long ago. I just wanted to look around and I stopped in the Sazerac Bar for a drink. I only had time for one round as they closed at two.I hailed a cab home from Canal Street after my drink. I think I went to bed not long after getting home.

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New People

It was well after 11 before we got to the office this morning. I had some charts to work on although I was not as productive as I should have been. I was paying attention to a couple eBay auctions. One was a classic VAIO, a lot of people wanted it more than me. The other was a Canon EF 17-40mm F/4 L lens which I won, a great lens which fits into the “budget L” category. It should complement my 70-200mm lens nicely, especially if I wind up with a full-frame camera someday.I went to Fox 8 for four this afternoon. Lee Zurik, who the Times-Picayune reported landed a job at WVUE today, was at the station getting acquainted with people. Dannah has some practice with the teleprompter so she did the five o’clock news and I did all the script printing. I got a good workout and I was unable to get a couple pages out but overall it wasn’t too much trouble. Shortly before we went on air, John Snell invited me to seek out some writing assignments to get some practice. Obviously writing is a valuable skill even if I don’t make a living out of it. Later on, I picked a short update about a missing fisherman who likely drowned in the Mississippi river while assisting some stranded boaters as Tropical Storm Ida was approaching. I made a couple calls and wrote a few sentences based on that info and an AP story. Around 8:30, John had a look at it and issued some constructive criticism and made changes accordingly.As I was working on my little story after half past the hour, Dannah printed the nine and I prompted. Dave McNamara, also a former WWL-TV reporter, debuted on Fox 8 this evening with his first installment of “The Heart of Louisiana” specials about state culture, history and people. His first package was a lovely piece about Fred’s Lounge in Mamou where locals gather for fun and live Cajun music.The remainder of the broadcast seemed pretty standard, although John and I noticed a bit of an issue. In the prompter, the story I had written was the version I wrote, not the one John revised. He read it as is although his version was better. I suppose it was good enough for the producer, though. I talked to the producer after the show and asked abuot the discrepancy. The revised version was visible in ENPS yet my earlier draft was on the teleprompter. There was no clear explanation.This being a Tuesday, I was on the clock until 12:30. Luckily nobody got killed so I didn’t have to wake anybody up. The cab driver that took me home was a familiar face I saw once not long ago. We had an interesting conversation during the ride. I went to bed not longer after getting home.

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It was past 11 before we got to the office this afternoon. I really didn’t have anything to do this morning… not even busywork. I got a sandwich from Theo’s for lunch before heading to WVUE for the evening. This morning I got a call asking me to come in a bit early at three so I would be ready for the news at four. Now tropical storm Ida was making landfall tonight and they did extended coverage of the storm with a two and a half hour broadcast.Monica printed scripts for what would largely by a live, ad-libbed broadcast. The whole newscast was drawn from “A block” and then the breaks were put in at the producer’s discretion. I ran prompter for the extended newscast although there was no much to do since a majority of the airtime was devoted to Bob Breck and various live remotes from across southeast Louisiana. We had people at the lakefront, lower Plaquemines, St. Bernard, Grand Isle, and Biloxi. Originally they had planned to do three hours of coverage although the weather was not severe in the greater New Orleans area so Mike decided two and a half hours was enough. After the broadcast, I again was largely unoccupied. I had time to update my website. We did not do any additional primetime coverage. We had a regular newscast at nine which went about an hour and 15 minutes. Monica prompted that and I did a little bit of script printing but was still largely unoccupied.A lot of people went home after the broadcast and I was alone in the newsroom until about midnight although Nicondra was in the “weather palace” for a couple hourly updates. There were no major incidents on the scanners, thankfully. I left at 12:30 and got a cab home. The same driver from yesterday picked me up (#220). After I got home I watched The Daily Show and talked to Krystle briefly before bed.

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8 – 0

This morning was rather uneventful. I went to bed too late to comfortably get up for church. I watched some of the Saints game at home before heading to WVUE for work this evening. The station was buzzing, especially for a weekend. They had post-game coverage to deal with and Hurricane Ida was a big news story. Consequently, just about everybody seemed to be working today. Mike, Nancy and Janette were here and they called in John and Nancy to anchor the nine o’clock news. WDSU was doing wall to wall coverage. We received e-mails pleading us not to break in for weather updates, which we didn’t.I was largely free to watch the Saints game at the assignment desk. It was another close, comeback game for the Saints. Down 17-6 at halftime, the Saints roared back after the break with an early touchdown and went to outscore the Carolina Panthers 24-3 in the second half for a final score of 30-20. The Saints are now 8-0, their best start in franchise history.Still with nothing to do, I went upstairs and watched the live postgame show from the control room. Although this broadcast was not nearly as complex as last week’s pre-game special, I still enjoy seeing a live show unfold. I can’t remember what if anything I was doing between newscasts. As Hurricane Ida was a big story this evening, we extended the evening newscast to a full hour with lots of weather. The script was pretty much done when we went to air and the show seemed to go nicely. Afterward, I also prompted The Final Play. New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma was in studio for an interview. Following the show that just left morning sports to tape and I was free to go home afterward. I clocked out at 10:45 and got a cab home.Late in the evening I watched Curb Your Enthusiasm and started a movie before Krystle called. We talked for less than an hour and then I went to sleep.

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Cafe Prytania

I took the day off Friday, having not had one in a week or so. I spent it relaxing and doing some chores like laundry and cleaning up. This afternoon was rather uneventful. I got a ride to Fox 8 for my shift this evening. I work five to ten on weekends although I am now discovering that the shift is only five hours so PA’s last a little longer. There really isn’t much of any work to do until an hour before we go on air. The rest of the time you can only seek out busy work or maybe hang out somewhere and learn something new.The script was done before we went on air at nine tonight. I was able to handle the script printing as well and run the teleprompter for Shelley. Things went smoothly for me but not so much for everyone else. “Big weather,” the main weather segment, took a minute and a half longer than expected which adversely affected the rest of the broadcast. A couple news stories were cut and sports which is in the final block took the brunt of the damage. Footage from Tulane’s big win over UTEP was cut, the Rummel / Shaw game was cut as was some Saints stuff. There was some talk after the show about how sports always gets hosed because it’s at the end of the show.Just after 10, Andrey and David arrived at the station. I heard from Andrey before nine and he told me about an outing they were planning for late this evening. He agreed to pick me up and asked for a little tour of the station and I obliged him. I showed them the newsroom, studios, introduced Andrey and David to Nicondra and went upstairs to see the control room and other engineering rooms.Following the dime tour we went out to Cafe Prytania, a bar/grill across the street from Touro Hospital. It’s a decent place. There was live music to talk over and beer pitchers. After we were there for a while, Patrick graced us with his presence for an hour or so before departing for the evening.After a while, Andrey and David wanted to go somewhere with pool tables and we ended up at Igor’s Buddha Belly Bar on Magazine. They had a couple tables with a noticeable lean. It was fun to play just the same, even though I still suck at pool. Following a couple rounds there, we went to Rally’s per tradition and ate at Andrey’s house. I called a cab home and arrived at about 2:45. On the way, the cab stopped to return the wallet left in the car by the last fare.

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Cha Cha (Cha)

I can safely glaze over Wednesday as it was rather uneventful… just another day at the office. Work on Thursday was similarly typical. I had the time to handle some things that left my desk clear when we left the office for the night. On the way to school this evening, I stopped at Old Navy briefly to pick up some crew neck tees and at McDonalds to pick up some dinner.During class this evening, Ms. Hart went over our informational interview letters and talked with individually with students about the latest revisions of our resumes. I arrived pretty early and she went over mine well before class started. The only suggestions she had were related to the WVUE internship entry and everything else has been picked over before.Class was dismissed at about 7:30. I went to the uptown campus for ballroom this evening and went to PJ’s. I ran into Caroline there and we ended up talking for a good while. Ballroom started a nine this evening as always. There was a good crowd of about 40 tonight for the first week of Cha Cha. We’ve done this dance style in ballroom before but it’s not like riding a bike. Even so, I did pretty well and was able to pick up the basic steps with no trouble.After ballroom there was a cab waiting at Willow and McAlister by the time I got there. I watched some TV and talked to Krystle on the phone for a while before bed.

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Following an uneventful afternoon at the office I went to the station at four. There was a new PA working her first day today, Dannah. After I arrived I showed her a couple things she would need to know as she was printing scripts with Claudia for the five o’clock. I put some reads in but I was not terribly occupied until 5:00 to prompt the show. This was my first time running teleprompter for a five o’clock newscast with multiple anchors. I was hoping to get in another quiet weekend show before prompting during the week but I had no such luck.I did an okay job but I did make a few mistakes. Well into the newscast, the new sports guy, John Henry Smith came in alongside John Snell and Nancy. One of John Henry’s reads was tagged {JOHN} like John Snell’s reads, A couple days ago when I prompted John Henry’s sports show, his tags were {***JHS ON CAM***} so I was waiting for John Henry to stop talking when I should have been scrolling for John Henry. Luckily even though I dropped the ball, he recovered nicely… so well that the director had to tell me over the intercom I was lost. Later on I was also late scrolling through a package but I think the clip cut off before it should have. Other than that, I did reasonably well. After the broadcast, I got around to entering a big stack of press releases. I think I had a couple other small tasks but nothing I really remember. I ordered pizzas for delivery for myself and two others at 7:30 but they didn’t arrive until after 8:30, not long before the nine o’clock news started. I was not printing scripts so I had time to eat a little before getting to the prompter. The nine o’clock went pretty smoothly by comparison although I think it’s going to take me a few more days to get a good handle on this.After the broadcast, people started going home. John Adams showed me how to post videos to the website before departing for the evening. After he left I was alone in the newsroom to listen to the scanners. Luckily they were reasonably quiet this evening and I didn’t have to call anybody. It was just as well as I was unsure who to pick had I needed to. Claudia called me at about 11 to see how I was doing, which was nice. I made beat checks at 11:45 and left for the night at 12:30. The same guy who picked me up Monday, Saheed, was the cabbie this evening. After I got home, I watched some TV before bed.

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Dirty Bird Gumbo

Dad and I got to the office at quarter to noon this morning. I did not have any patient reports to work on so I spent some time doing some housekeeping to clear files off my desk.At about quarter to four I went to WVUE for the evening. When I arrived they were a couple minutes to air for their two hour special edition of the news live from the Superdome where the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons would be playing a game broadcast on Monday Night Football.There was nobody else to run prompter so I did that for the duration of the broadcast. Jennifer Van Vrancken was the lone in studio anchor who did the “real news” but the show consisted almost entirely of pre game festivities at the Dome so neither of us had a great deal to do. I was free to enjoy the revelry on TV and listen to the incessant intercom chatter that was coordinating all the on-screen action. Among the interviews and features were a Saints-themed wedding that took place among the tailgaters and one man who was cooking up a huge pot of “dirty bird gumbo.”I was largely unoccupied after the broadcast although I did do some busy work. I even had time to update the VAIO wallpaper collection on the website. At seven, we broadcasted game four of the World Series. WDSU was carrying ESPN’s Monday Night Football with the Saints. I was able to catch a vast majority of the game in the newsroom. It was a pretty awesome match. The Saints overcame four turnovers to beat the Falcons 35-27.I was expecting to the World Series game to end after the Saints game and the late news show was originally planned to open with post-game coverage from the Superdome. However, the baseball game ended well before the football game so we went on the air as there were about five minutes left in the Saints match up. We covered the real news of the day in the first block such as the crime camera trial verdict. After the game ended they ran live coverage from outside the dome, some of the press conference and some reaction from the sports guys. They let Monica go home during the show since there wasn’t anything to prompt with all the live stuff they were doing.The station gradually started to empty out after the broadcast ended not long after 11. My shift lasted until 12:30 AM, after the morning show producer arrives. Luckily the scanners were reasonably quiet although we did receive a call about a fatal shooting in LaPlace as the newscast was running. I presumed the morning show would get to that. I got a cab home and finally finished watching Last Tango in Paris before bed.

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