Battle of the Broadcasters

Saturday, 29 August 2009
Post-game interview

The team on the field.

Yay for the girls! Heather and Renee work at other T-V stations in town.

Dirk, Nick, Brian, Al and me - all KVAL on-air talent.

Chilling in the dugout of Civic Stadium

Television versus Radio

We played a great game tonight. We raised money for the charity Kidsports and had fun doing it. Radio literally paid the umps cash (it's for the kids!) and had a couple of extra runs batted in. They took home the win.

KVAL's Nick Krupke had a wrap-up on Saturday's KVAL News at 11.

Spice it Up

Spicy Bean Chili - This is a simple, easy and delcious dish. Add a little spice to fall football games with this wholesome and filling meal. It takes less than 5 minutes to make.

1 14.5 oz can great northern white beans
1 14.5 can diced tomatoes with olive oil, oregano and basil (Italian style)
3T Saucy Mama Hot Wing Sauce
1c grated cheddar cheese (optional)
Sea salt (to taste)
Fresh cracked pepper (to taste)
Fresh basil
Fresh oregano

Mix beans, tomatoes and Saucy Mama Hot Wing Sauce in large glass bowl. Microwave 4 minutes on high (or heat on stove top until simmering). Dish into bowls and top with fresh basil, oregno and cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Do you have a good chili recipe? I want to try it!

The Media and Ted Kennedy's Death

Friday, 28 August 2009

I usually learn of breaking news first on Twitter. Then, to confirm something I've read in a tweet, I'll log onto CNN's website or do a quick Google search to see if other news agencies are reporting the same thing. Wednesday night, I found out about Senator Ted Kennedy's passing from ABC Network on television.

The network broke into programming and was already running a special report before even one news outlet (even those that only exist on Twitter) had sent out a tweet. Keep in mind this is MY experience so it is possible someone else had the news circulating before ABC. With ABC reporting the news, we checked CBS and NBC - no special reports or crawls on the networks. I looked at CNN, FOX, and MSNBC's websites to see if they had posted the breaking news NOTHING! Since I was at work, I also checked the AP wires, national wires and international wires. Not a word.

Television won getting the news out to the nation first. I find it amazing that they beat Twitter and news web sites. Clearly, ABC had an inside source who tipped them off immediately so they could get into place, cue the obit piece and go on the air. It was at 10:15 p.m. Pacific when all of this happened so they had to call crews together, and an anchor at 1:15 a.m. Eastern. They moved quickly. It is not common in this day of instant communication that television wins in the fight to be first. But ABC did pretty well in this case.

How did you hear about Kennedy passing away? He died after a year long battle with brain cancer at the age of 77.

Homeless Getting Out of Hand?

Thursday, 27 August 2009
This is the scene just down my residential street in Downtown Eugene at 11 a.m. in the morning, just two blocks from where I live.

Just this week a man stabbed a homeless man to death in Downtown Eugene.

Earlier this summer, I came home from work to find a group of transients on my porch drinking and they would not leave. They ripped up my flowers, stole my wind chimes AND were back the next morning sitting on my furniture again. The police were involved in my case but the perps were given a citation that meant nothing - because they'll never pay the fine.

I was so frustrated over the situation this morning, I drove over to the local market to see if I could witness intoxicated homeless people buying beer. Before I could even get out of my car, a women was aggressively asking for a dollar. She would not get out of my face or move away from my car. Here's the video after she asked for the money. The camera sent her on her staggering way.

I like living within walking distance of restaurants, coffee shops and theaters but things are becoming unsafe and quite unpleasant in my neighborhood.

Facebook Pet Peeves

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Disclaimer: I'm not so great at FB etiquette, I'll be the first one to admit it. I'm also guilty of breaking some of my own pet peeves such as 5, 7 and 9. But here's my take on annoying behavior on Facebook. There seem to be dozens of these lists floating around. Please - share your pet peeves too! We can make FB a better place, one peeve at a time.

1. TMI (too much information) – potty training your child step by step?? Yuck. And we don’t want to hear about you trying out a stand-up urinate device for women in your shower. Disgusting!

2. Friend request – just because I may have known your name from college or high school doesn’t mean I want to be “friends” with you on Facebook. I am not in a race to get to 550 friends first so please, don’t take it personally and don’t send me repeat messages asking what I have against you. Do you really care that much if someone doesn’t add you on a social networking site? Follow me on Twitter.

3. Poke? Does anyone really still do that anymore?

4. I’d rather you not upload grainy, yellow photos of me from 10 years ago and tag me. Feel free to tag yourself, though.

5. Facebook users should be allowed to update their status once every hour. No one really cares about: “Sipping an iced-tea on the deck. Going to iron my outfit for tomorrow. Getting a shipment of makeup in the mail tomorrow, need to be home to sign for it. Thinking of making roast chicken for dinner. Price Is Right is on TV. Anyone know how to clean the cracks between tiles?...” Come on. TRY to be interesting.

6. Every time you sign onto FB and see that I’m on FB, resist the urge to send me a “S’up?” chat message, please. Sometimes folks just want to veg and not have to type back and forth about nothing.

7. We know you think you are smarter than everyone else. Problem is, your know-it-all attitude is tiresome to others and YOU don't notice it. Attorneys, journalists, doctors, professors... really think they are the cream of the crop but please, know that your opinion is just that - an OPINION. It would be nice if you could back off a little when I post things on my page for people to think about. You have your own page, yeah?

8. If you have especially extreme political, cultural or religious views, do you have to propagate on FB? Start a blog so people have a choice of whether to log on and see your ridiculous hatred. De-friended? Yep. (And yes, I realize you can just as easily de-friend me.)

9. The “like” option is adorable. I “like” it. I don’t like people commenting on my pictures or status with only a smiley or frowny face. That’s what the “like” is for.

10. Please don’t Invite me to join generic causes or groups. I appreciate that you want to start a movement against those who wear perfume that is not organically constructed but FB to me is a place to see pictures and find out what my friends are up to - that’s all. I use LinkedIn as a professional networking site and Twitter is fun to randomly spew the day’s going-ons.

Sesame Ginger Tuna Salad

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

I am one of 25 lucky contestants in a food blogging contest put on by Saucy Mama Extraordinary Condiments. The company sent out condiment packs with several products - all delicious - might I add. The contest centers around a challenge to create easy, tasty recipes using the Saucy Mama line. Here's my first recipe: Sesame Ginger Tuna Salad which is easy, affordable, fresh and delicious for the end of summer, early fall. The best part? The sesame ginger flavor gives bland tuna an exotic taste. Yum.

1 can 5 oz. light chunk tuna in water, drained
1 can 15.25 oz. sweet kernal corn, drained
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
2 medium dill pickles, chopped
fresh cracked pepper
fresh sea salt
fresh oregano leaves, washed, dried
3T Saucy Mama Sesame Ginger Dressing

Mix tuna and corn, add onions, pickles and Saucy Mama Sesame Ginger Dressing. Make sure ingredients are coated and then add salt, pepper and oregano to taste. Serves 2 as a main course.

Would you like to try some of the Saucy Mama products? I have 2 free Saucy Mama Lime Chipotle marinades that I'd like to send to bloggers. Email me at and tell me why you like to cook. I'll draw two names from entries on Friday, August 28th and send them your way. Good luck and don't forget to include YOUR ADDRESS!

Monday Meltdown

Friday at the Lane County Fair

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Welcome to the Lane County Fair! I met my friend April and her two sons there on Friday night. We had so much fun and the weather was gorgeous.

April's son, who is only 6, took this picture - nice job!

Look at the sweet little "kid" curled up in the food dish.

I have never seen a pig this large in my life.

He's sleepy!

And the strangest site at the Lane County Fair:

These guys set up their booth close to the beer garden and concert area. The "Are You Going to Heaven?" booth advertised a free test with two questions. If answered "correctly" then you are guaranteed a spot in heaven, if answered "incorrectly" I'm pretty sure the plan was to evangelize.

Afghanistan Media Blackout

Saturday, 22 August 2009
The Afghan people had a chance this week to vote in a democracy. This is the second historical presidential election in the country. The presidential candidates included incumbent Hamid Karzai and challenger Abdullah Abdullah.

Hamid Karzai

Abdullah Abdullah

The Taliban of course did not want a peaceful election so all week they worked to strike fear in the hearts of voters by staging random bombings and attacks. They even spread a quiet message through the streets that insurgents would cut a finger off of anyone who voted. In Afghanistan, citizens who vote have ink on their finger to stamp their vote (much like giving your fingerprint). The violent threats worked somewhat and only about 50% of voters went to the polls. On the day of the elections, 26 people were killed, one election worker was shot and a box of ballots was seized and burned. They had already been tallied, however.

During the election, the Afghan government put a black-out on the media. There would be no election coverage broadcast on television or radio. Leaders were afraid (there's the fear again) that if voters saw the deadly upheaval from extremists on this day, they would just stay home rather than risking death by casting a vote.

When I first read this news, my initial thought was: "How can they block the media from reporting on election day!? That goes against democracy and informing the public so citizens can make informed decisions." I began to consider the tragedy of censoring the media and how that should not happen in a country trying to be open and free. As the day went on and I followed the election coverage on the web, I changed my mind. Democracy means different things for different countries in stages of development. The concept of freedom is not always black and white as extreme thinkers demand it is. The insurgents see the Presidential Elections as a stone wall with barbed wire, a dangerous chance for people to form their own opinions and act on them. In this case, the media should not get in the way.

While I believe it is important to have a free media in the United States, it's different here. We live in a country where lies and truth are both presented and Jane Public gets to decide. We don't have to worry about someone cutting off our finger in the streets while exiting an election poll. I admire the bravery of those Afghan women - and men - who still exercised their right.

What do you think? Is it okay for government in a developing country to censor media coverage?

Taking Up Space

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Okay, ladies. There's no need to be dainty and small while in the work place. I recently read an article on, "Body Language Decoded." The point of the article is that women have it all wrong when it comes to meetings and we should take cues from men.

Women tend to sit down at meetings, neatly arrange their notebook, laptop and smart phone, cross their legs and listen with their hands folded primly in their laps. Neat, quiet, tucked under the table. Jeannine Fallon, executive director of corporate communications at interviewed for the Forbes article. She says during a training course she learned that the amount of "space" someone takes up during a meeting equals the concept of "dominance" to others.

So don't be afraid to look others in the eye, smile, give a firm handshake and let your body language show you are engaged in meetings and presentations. Someone else might sit up and notice.

They're Back

Wednesday, 19 August 2009
On my morning walk, I noticed the wild turkeys are back in Blanton Heights, near where the television station is. Today, after my shift I had to slow down for a turkey crossing. Here's a look -- the babies are growing up!

The Hill

Tuesday, 18 August 2009
It's a real b*tch. Sorry for the harsh language but that's just me being quite truthful. The Hill up to our television station is the steepest grade in Lane County, Oregon but no matter, we are determined to conquer.

My colleagues, Natasha and Annie decided to start walking up and down The Hill last week for some good old-fashioned exercise. They invited me to join them and we walked down and up three times last week. Since I'm on mornings this week, I've been walking it on my own during my early morning lunch break. So far, I've been up and down twice. That's FIVE total triumphs over The Hill.

Here's the view from the half way point:

This is looking up the hill.

And this shot is of what we just trudged up.

My plan is to walk this every week day until my honeymoon. Then, I'll eat loads of paella, seafood and feel not too bad sitting in a swimsuit beside my sweetie along the Mediterranean.

Cooper Mountain Vineyards

Sunday, 16 August 2009

We had so much fun sampling the red flight (for me) and the white flight (for Casey). The location in Beaverton was beautiful, but I'm much more impressed with the wineries near Eugene.

Deliberate Lies or Reckless Ignorance?

Saturday, 15 August 2009
I've been pretty quiet on this health care reform debacle. It doesn't matter if I support the House, Senate or White House version of the bill, and it doesn't matter if I think President Obama is right or wrong on trying to push this through. The deliberate lies and reckless ignorance floating around in regards to what the bill includes DOES matter to me. These lies from extremists such as Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh (or Lim-bo as the BBC announcer said when he played one of Rush's embarrassing rants in the UK) and Sarah Palin always seems to stick to those who have no capacity for critical thinking.

These people (who are mostly uneducated and religious extremists) buy right into it. Can you even believe Palin announced the health care reform plan - which is to help everyone get health care despite pre-existing medical conditions - is "evil?" Someone put a microphone in front of her face again sadly and she said the House bill includes a "death panel" and that babies with down syndrome will be killed. Is she out of her tiny mind? Does she have any folds on her brain left at all? And these are the phone calls that came into our newsroom when we did a fact check and reported that there was no such thing as a "death panel" in any version of the health care reform bill:

Caller - "Why are you a mouthpiece for Democrats?"
Me - "I'm sorry, sir, what?"
Caller - "There IS a death panel and you're just giving talking points from the Democrats."
Me - ??
Me - "No, sir, I assure you, I've read that section of the House bill 3200 regarding end-of-life counseling to terminally ill patients. The sessions would be paid for through the reform and people would get a chance to discuss living wills and their expectations for their last days."
Caller - "How dare you!?" America is going to hell in a hand basket and you side with the evil administration! President Obama pays your salary. (Slams down the phone.)

If that's the kind of nonsense we're getting in Eugene, Oregon - a pretty open-minded city, I can only imagine what people in the Mid-West and South are thinking. I shudder when I watch the video of people standing up screaming and spitting at Representatives in town hall meetings. They are even getting VIOLENT.

I think ALL United States citizens should have access to affordable health-care. (Cut to angry town hall meeting -- over-weight, white man with long beard and overalls screaming at a Congressman -- WHERE IN THE CONSTITUTION DOES IT SAY WE SHOULD HAVE HEALTH CARE?") It doesn't - but does that mean we shouldn't have health care? This is 2009.

My dream would be to some day become an independent, freelance writer. As long as we have the current health care options, my dream will not be realized. Perhaps I would never be accepted by a health insurance company. What happens if I have a pre-existing medical condition? Did your mother, sister or daughter survive breast cancer? If they don't work and their husband left them, they would have to get a full-time job so they could have health care. They could not get private insurance and if they did, they would have to pay THOUSANDS in premiums each year.

In regards to health care, we are slaves to mainstream companies which offer that benefit. Even though I am healthy, I pay a lot of money to be insured. So do you. Add up what it costs a year for your health insurance. Find out what your deductible is if you were to be severely injured. You might be surprised.

Please, please read outlines of the bill yourself. If you hear opinions that sound extreme don't just turn up the volume and ignore your own mind. Think. Would Congress, which is made up of mostly older, white men really pass a health care reform with a bill that kills old people? Would a President who supports diplomacy around the world come up with a health care plan that kills children with disabilities? I can't even believe I have to write a blog post like this.

Sweet, Creamy and Unforgetable

Friday, 14 August 2009

There is a place in Portland that is quite close to heaven. It is Cupcakes Jones. Casey (who came to visit me last weekend) and I discovered it while we were reading a guide about the Pearl District over a Sunday happy-hour near the park. She was nibbling on cheese, I was slurping fresh oysters. Life was good but it was about to get better.

I glanced over the word "cupcake" while reading and my eyes quickly shot back.

Me: What's this?
Casey: What's what?
Me: This...
Casey: (Leans in...) Cupcakes!
Me: Should we go?
Casey: Wonder how close it is...
Me: (Consulting the map of the Pearl District).. We could easily walk there...
Casey: Well, call. It might not be open on Sundays.
Me: (We both hold our breath as I dial...) Hello? Yes? How late are you open? Fabulous.

We hit a shop on the way there so as not to appear too eager. The shop was adorable inside and for only $3.25 each here's what we decided on:

Casey went with the chocolate chip cookie dough cupcake with butter cream frosting, cookie dough in the middle and a choc chip cookie on top. She loved it and even got icing in her hair while enjoying the treat.

I enjoyed the red velvet cake cupcake with cream cheese frosting, vanilla bean filling and a sugared pink rose petal on top. Once finished, Casey had to help me wipe cake off of my chin. We loved every minute.

The Results Are In

Wednesday, 12 August 2009
Remember the Monday Minutes drawing? Annie, my KVAL 11pm producer drew the name out of a hat for us last night and WE HAVE A WINNER! I'm just holding the name for a couple more hours until I can get home and post the video of the drawing. Sorry to keep you waiting.

12:29am: Here it is! The drawing...

Congrats to Laura! Thank you so much for playing. Next up? Another fun giveaway that has to do with food! Details coming to a fun blog near you (here) soon.

P.S. When I say "me" on the video that's for "Mii" a contestant, I wasn't in the drawing.

Monday Minutes 5

Monday, 10 August 2009
This is your last chance to get in on the $25 drawing. Post your "Monday Minutes" below and I'm going to create one entry for each post over the last five weeks and have someone draw tomorrow. I will create a video so you can see it isn't rigged!

Monday's Highs: I got to have breakfast with my best friend, Casey before I took her to the airport. Free USA Today.

Monday's Randoms: Looking up and reading the small difference between "homicide" and "murder." Murder is a charge for intent to kill. Homicide is a charge for someone who is at fault in a death. Stumbled onto my friend's pregnancy blog and found out she is having another little boy! I've eaten at the same restaurant where Bill Clinton is celebrating his birthday in Vegas (Craftsteak).

Monday's Lows: There's no green tea left in the break room! I'm kinda feeling sick and hope I don't have a virus.

The End of the Rope

Saturday, 8 August 2009
We had another great "talker" on KVAL News at 11 tonight. Someone video-taped a mother dragging her child through a store on the end of a child leash. The kid was throwing a tantrum and she just dragged him through the store. Police got ahold of the video after it was posted on the internet and she is facing felony charges (not just a small crime). Here's the video and you tell me what you think. Should the mom be charged with child abuse?

I'll give you my initial reaction to the video and maybe I should be ashamed but, I laughed! The second time I watched this I laughed again. Why? Because the child is clearly in control of the situation and is making the mother look like a lunatic. This is not a baby. The kid is likely 4 years old and he knows he's being difficult. Is it child abuse? Possibly. The story doesn't say whether the child was injured or what happened later. But thank goodness she wasn't just beating the kid like I've also seen in public many times.

What are your thoughts?

Only in the U.S.

Thursday, 6 August 2009
I ran across an interesting story today. My producer, Annie, asked me to write up a 25 second VO (voice over) on this:

What - you might be asking - is that? As much as I would love to leave the pic and ask for guesses, I'll cut the suspense. That, my friends is pork, dipped in chocolate. Yep. Chocolate-covered bacon.

The new treat seems to be a hit out of the park at the Wisconsin State Fair. Vendors sell chocolate-covered bacon on a stick, two for $3.

And folks dare to ask why Americans are obese. But still - would you try it?

Is Talk Cheap?

We ran a story tonight on KVAL news about a man who was "tasered" by police three times. The officers responded to a restaurant in Nashville, Tennessee to arrest suspect, Ronnie Irby. The manger of the Krystal where Irby worked allegedly caught him stealing money.

When officers arrived, the suspect ran outside and they deployed a stun gun to stop him. (The man is 300 pounds and 6'1.) He fell to the ground and then got up. Officer fired their taser guns again. Irby some how easily gets up AGAIN and keeps going. You can watch the video on The Grio's website here.

The amazing element of this story to me (as a journalist who has covered many violent and even deadly outcomes to situations like this between unruly suspects and police) is: Irby went back into the restaurant and eventually police talked him out. He surrendered peacefully.

This week former President Bill Clinton traveled to North Korea to meet face to face with dictator Kim Jogn Il. The two reportedly talked for three hours. Not since the year 2000 (Secretary of State Madeleine Albright) has an U.S. administration met with the head of North Korea. Thankfully, Clinton was able to talk him into releasing two American journalists who were to serve 12 years hard labor for crossing illegally into North Korea. Euna Lee and Laura Ling are home with their families tonight. Had Clinton refused to attempt diplomacy, I doubt the journalists would be safe on United States soil.

Could it be? Sometimes negotiation, discussion, listening and diplomacy actually works? It's much cheaper than fighting.

P.S. Dear Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, I'm excited that you are spending a week in Africa to show our support for Somalia and a future of healing and peace. But WHY are we funneling 40 tons of small arms and munitions to the country? Is there a chance at negotiating peace on the ground bypassing the extremists? Might be worth a go... I'm not a full-on peacenik but history has shown when the West gets involved it makes local political and religious angst even deeper.

What do you think?

Monday Minutes 4

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Monday's Highs: I booked plane tickets for our honeymoon to Barcelona. Kingsley and I haven't been on a honeymoon yet and for that matter, we've only spent 2 days together as man and wife so when I travel to London in September, we're going to take a week and go to Spain. I learned how to edit graphics into a package (story) and add the moving KVAL background. Fancy.

Monday's Lows: Had to pay an extra $172.65 on my school loan that I wasn't expecting. Since it is no longer 105F out, the newsroom is back to being very cold. Burrrrr. Two rejection letters arrived in the mail from book agents.

Monday's Randoms: Got a message on Facebook from a cousin I haven't heard from in years. I added a few drops of finger nail polish remover to my favorite color of OPI nail polish hoping it would thin out a bit. Bad idea.

Post your "Monday Minutes" for a chance to win a $25 gift card. The drawing is next Monday after one more opportunity to get in on the drawing.

Here's recent "Monday Minutes" postings with comments from contestants:
Monday Minutes 1
Monday Minutes 2
Monday Minutes 3


Sunday, 2 August 2009

Delta airlines is running a subtle scam on Beware. I attempted to book a flight this weekend for $789.65. Once I got to the final booking page and entered all my payment details and hit "purchase" an error message popped up "System Unavailable." I tried again. No luck. I "chatted" online with an agent who recommended deleting all temporary internet files, opening a new browser and giving it another go. I followed her directions and an hour after attempting to book the ticket still: "System Unavailable."

Arg. So I called the customer service number. I stayed patient waiting and waiting for someone to help me. Finally, an agent came on the line and walks me through the process all over again, even though I've done it 3 times. It still doesn't work. She puts me on hold and I wait and wait. A supervisor comes on and attempts to help me. We go through the process once more and it fails. She then says okay, I'll try to book this for you here. "The best price I can come up with is $859." Wha? My screen shows $789.65. She puts me on hold again and finally comes back to say she can get it town to $830. At this point, I've had enough. This is 2009. You should be able to log onto an airline website and book a ticket without a hassle. If I didn't have a Delta Skylines account then I wouldn't have even bothered.

I was not able to book a flight through Delta for the price quoted online. However, I was able to get a great flight through United and it took 5 minutes to book.