Un-scientific Poll on Local News Viewership

Wednesday, 30 September 2009
I asked on LinkedIn: How often do you watch local newscasts? 17 people responded which makes me thing the next poll should be along the lines of: Do you take polls on LinkedIn? I digress.

Here's the breakdown:

35% say they watch a local newscast once a week
29% say they watch a local newscast once a day
23% say they *never* watch a local newscast
5% say they watch a local newscast more than once a day
5% say they watch a local newscast three times per week

What are journos supposed to take away from this? Not much, really. Remember, this is a informal poll. However, trends show less people are getting their news from the television. This is because of commitments outside of work, being away from home and not in front of the tube during the 5-6pm traditional news hour.

The company I work for is doing some innovative things to adapt. Just this week we are launching KVAL Communities (already in play in Seattle), websites that function like mini-blogs for different neighborhoods of our viewing area. We hope viewers will go to the web to learn specifics about events in their part of town and also tune in to our newscasts to hear more.

Do you watch your local news stations? If so, how often and are you pleased with the coverage?

Turning the Page

Tuesday, 29 September 2009
Aches, pains, no energy, sleeping for 10 hours straight and waking up tired? That's me and it's getting old. To fill the time between checking Facebook, making tomato soup and staring at Kingsley on Skype, I've read a couple of decent books:

Passive Aggressive Notes by Kerry Miller (excellent for a good laugh when you're feeling low). Kerry started her website and book after a first date where the guy told her about the notes he was getting from his roommate. Kerry started her website and uploaded a few real-life examples of passive aggressive notes. Then, more examples started pouring in from all over the country and even from other countries. Her book is a compilation of the best ones. My favorite are:

I couldn't help but notice you haven't washed dishes once. Is it b/c you don't know how? I'd be more than happy to show you. -Emily

Dear Fellow Christian,
The lawns of homeowners on this street are not public parking. Please "love thy neighbor" by getting off my grass. Thanks.

Dear #2534,
If your dog continues to bark past midnight, I will break into your home, steal it and feed the little f---er to the homeless on Pearl Street. Happy Holidays!

And another light-hearted read is Cats in May, a memoir written by the late Doreen Tovey about life with her two Siamese cats in a village in Somerset, England. She and her husband lived in a 250-year-old cottage in a community where everyone knows everyone else's business. Tovey writes about her life in a comedic voice and you laugh along with her as she shares tales of raising a squirrel, helping a bird get the energy back to fly after a bad fall and her two gorgeous, famous cats that drive her and the village crazy.

Up next we have Child of Steens Mountain, a memoir by Eileen O'Keeffe McVicker, Building a Home with My Husband, a memoir by Rachel Simon and a novel, It's All Right Now by Charles Chadwick.

What are you reading?

Falling Out of Love with Football?

Sunday, 27 September 2009

There could be something VERY wrong with me. Certainly if my dear younger brother reads this post, he will think so. The truth is, I'm not too jazzed about football season this year. Gasp! (I have been known in the past to wear temporary tattoos with a team's logo on my face.)

I noticed the Colts were playing tonight on the tube while I nibbled on a lovely Pad Thai at Sweet Basil Thai in Eugene and I could care less. What has happened? I used to be enamored by Peyton Mannings' skills but now? Meh. Beyond that I must confess, I did not watch the University of Oregon game this weekend. More than one person asked me and I said "No, but I heard the score on the radio." What kind of poor answer is that? It is football season and the beginning of fall which in the U-S means: Game On!

Instead of watching the U of O game, I hosted a yard sale (yay $127) and then read from cover to cover The God Child by Paul Sayer. After that, I tucked into my covers some more and watched Kill Bill 1 and Kill Bill 2 staring Uma Thurman.

Kill Bill 1 came out in 2003 so I am embarrassingly behind the times here but I don't see what all the fuss was about. When it first came out, I remember the uproar from cinematic followers concerning the violence. The movie is not violent it is theatrical. The slicing and dicing leads to limbs spraying red paint. It is not realistic in the least. It reminded me of old plays where ketchup doubles as blood. Would I want my young children watching it? No way! However, it is clearly made for an adult audience and I enjoyed it.

Kill Bill 1 is much better than Kill Bill 2 without silly dialog that goes on for ages at the end. Bill is un-attractive and quite old. The casting department could have chosen someone who would be believable for women warriors to fall for and fight over for the span of two movies.

Which other movies front the hunted heroine as the character everyone roots for? Wonder Woman? Kill Bill 1 was amazing in that it broke the norm for American story lines. The woman is physically more powerful than the men who seek to kill her. Her raw skills with a sword protect her from her predators. The Black Mamba was the main character and she was to be feared. Her mission to kill the people who tried to kill her dissuades peace but that's the point. Beatrix Kiddo is like a Rambo, she'll fight to the finish and win back her loved one.

The closing scene in v 2 was well-acted and realistic. The hard woman finally had a moment to decompress. She mourned for her days lost fighting but she laughed out loud over the joy of gaining back the daughter she thought was taken from her forever.

Do you remember the Kill Bill movies? Love them or hate them? Are you just as gun-hoe about football this year as ever before?

Loving the Weekend

Friday, 25 September 2009
What are you up to this weekend? It is officially Autumn and we are going to have 80s in Eugene for probably the last weekend this year. I would adore going camping and spending some time in the great outdoors before the rainy season comes. There's no said plans to do so but a girl can dream, right?

My entrepreneurial self is also considering doing a clean-out and a yard sale. I have accumulated so many extra things in the last two years and this warm weather is perfect for a outdoor sale. Plus, the kiddies are moving back into Eugene for the next year of college at the University of Oregon, and they're looking to fill their apartments and dorms.

Any plans for you?

Fast Food with a SMILE!!!!!

Tuesday, 22 September 2009
Late Sunday night, I made it home from a two-week, blissful trip abroad. Since I had nothing in the fridge and nothing in the cabinet, I couldn't pack my lunch for work as I normally do. That meant I had choices for dinner on Monday evening.

I was producing the FOX newscast and didn't want to be gone too long so that meant picking up something quick and heading back to the station. As I drove down the hill, I just couldn't muster the energy to go grocery shopping and then prepare something after I got back to work so, fast food was it. Looking to see if anyone would recognize me, I slid my Jeep into the drive-through at Taco Bell, hoping to get in and out quickly. Not a chance.

At the drive-through:

Operator: GOOD EVENING!!!!!! Welcome to TACO BELL. Hope you are having A GREAT NIGHT. HOW ARE YOU??????
Me: (Leaning away from the screen, a little scared.) Um, fine, thanks.
Operator: THAT'S GREAT TO HEAR!!!!!! I'M READY TO TAKE YOUR ORDER whenever you are ready - but there's NOOOOOOO RUSH so you can TAKE YOUR TIME!!!!!!!!
Me: (Still shocked...) May I please have a Cheesy Bean burrito and a small Coke?
Me: (Looking around to see if this is a joke..) Uh...no, thank you.
Operator: YOU'RE WELCOME! Let me just get your total for ya...hang on a sec... THAT'LL BE JUST $2.68!!!!!!! You can just drive on up to the first window. THANK YOU FOR CHOOSING TACO BELLLLLLLLLLLLLL!

Whoa. What was that? I think to myself: this woman is clearly on crack or something but that's to be expected, I'm eating fast food for goodness sake. The worker turns out to be a young woman who is just as CHEERY and LOUD when I pull up to the window. Mind you, I did take the time to dig out exact change before I approached her because frankly, I was a bit afraid.

I don't mean to sound ungrateful for your energy and friendliness but please, don't be so cheery when I roll through TB, I feel guilty enough already.

How Often Do You Watch Local News?

I've posted a poll on LinkedIn about local news viewership and would love to have your answer. Please vote here.

Innovative Tapas at Bilbao Berria

Monday, 21 September 2009

Located at Placa Nova 3 near Salvidor Dali's museum, is a Tapas joint muy bueno. We found it on a recommendation from a local. The Bilboa Berria offers a modern approach to the traditional Spanish tapas and the place was buzzing. We weren't sure how the system worked so we went in, took a seat and watched the locals. You approach the buffet style tapas selection, and pick out the tiny bites that you would like to try. There's everything from fresh bread, cream cheese, sardines and tomatoes to salty parma ham with eggs. Interesting mix.

Then, you head back to your table where a waiter takes your drink order. You can re-visit the buffet several times. The most important part of this innovative way of dining is you must keep the huge "toothpicks" that hold the tapas together. There are small troughs on each table and at the end of your meal, when you are ready to pay, the waitress comes by to count your toothpicks and then tallies up your bill. Diners were moving through quickly and the food was divine.

There was even a lovely selection of dessert tapas and Kingsley and I shared a chocolate square with walnuts. Tasty! We had the energy we needed to next tackle the museum filled with the work of Salvador Dali.

Sounds of Barcelona

Sunday, 20 September 2009
For me, the best part of travel is experiencing another culture through discovery. Culture includes aspects such as food, ambiance, currency, language and music. One day Kingsley and I decided to walk the many terraces of Parc Guell (created by Antoni Gaudi of course) and we were amazed and impressed by the variety of music.

The third music "freelancer" we ran into while exploring played hauntingly good music. After stopping to listen and feeling the breeze coming up off of the hill, we decided to pay the five Euros for a Hang cd. As you'll see from the video, a Hang instrument is similar to a steel drum except it is fashioned with a top. The artist drums on the instrument with his fingers and the sounds is relaxing, soothing and in a way, natural.

As we continued on, closer to Gaudi's house in the large park, we found Flamenco dancers performing without music. They were chanting, clapping and stamping their feet on a platform to create a strong sound. I watched in amazement because the beat was so simple for them to follow. Clearly, they also enjoyed themselves as the crowds watched.

While walking back on quite a hike from the Parc Guell to the beach, we passed another man performing near an old square and I wish I would've taken the time to capture his talent on video. The man played the trumpet with flourish with his right hand and found notes on his keyboard with his left hand. The most eclectic part of this concert? Kingsley noticed it first: the musician powered his electric keyboard with a car battery. Ha!

La Sagrada Familia

Friday, 18 September 2009

La Sagrada Familia is the most fascinating structure I've witnessed thus far in my travels. The church in the center of the Old City of Barcelona, this building began and will be completed as a testament to Christ's life. There are facades surrounding the building that depict his immaculate conception, his birth, his studies, his miracles, his death and resurrection.

The building began in 1872 when a wealthy Barcelonian returned from a trip to Italy with the idea that his city needed a fantastic church dedicated to the Holy Family. He purchased the land and started the foundation. In 1883, Antoni Gaudi (at age 31) was hired to design and complete the church. Gaudi worked on it for the next 43 years and died while crossing a street to go to work. He was hit by a tram.

The detail work is amazing with even the staircases designed like the inside of a shell. Gaudi drew much of his inspiration from nature.

Perhaps one of Gaudi's most noticeable design trends was his fantastic mosaic work. It is imperfect but makes use of all products, even those with edges that are not straight. Also worth noting is the detailing of the many angles in even a final like this. The object is "3d" for the early 1900s.

The spirals that shoot up from La Sagrada Familia (there will be a total of 18 when it is completed in 2030) represent small, spindly pine trees.

The inside of the cathedral area is absolutely amazing. The columns reach toward the ceiling and morph from a round form, to octagonal, to square and end in "branches" which anchor the ceiling.

The facade outside of Christ on the cross has drawn attention from architects all over the world. Gaudi designed the statues using a more block effect and depicted Jesus as thin like a skeleton when he was crucified.

The detail work is something else. When Gaudi designed this massive building, he used strings and weighted bags as his blue prints. The amount of stone work he imagined was impossible to show on a blueprint so he used the modern method of designing in three dimensions.

Even while we were there viewing the church, hundreds of workers were there straining to complete the project. The hope is to open for worship in 2010 with Gaudi's vision completed in 2030.

Fine Dining at Hotel Om

Wednesday, 16 September 2009
Kingsley wanted to have one especially superb meal out to celebrate our honeymoon and our four month anniversary. One of the heads of the art team for the salon Kings works for suggested the Moo restaurant in Hotel Om in Barcelona. Suffice it to say, the place does not disappoint.

We ordered from the tasting menus - which included five courses each. We couldn't miss out on the wine pairing for each dish so we ordered that as well.

I didn't photograph the aperitifs but I wish I would have. The chef prepared sardines with melon ice cream for Kingsley and the waiter served me with a cous cous dish topped with a curl of mint puree. (Both amazing taste combinations.)

Following that gorgeous course came the Golden Egg. This was an egg yolk cooked to the consistency of a custard, coated in a thin shell of carmel, nestled in rye cracker crumbs. The sommelier paired this with a 1976 Spanish vintage and I didn't get the name but it was Kingsley's favorite wine of the meal.

My first course was tomato tartar with creamy, light, slightly frozen mozzarella (which was how it was supposed to be served). The tomato mix included heirloom fresh tomatoes, fresh basil and virgin olive oil. The dish was paired with rocket. With this, I sipped a 2007 Guillemot-Michel, Macon-Villages, Chardonnay. The wine was buttery and brought out the tart, sweet and savory flavors of the heirloom tomatoes.

Up next for me was this course of beetroot, liquorice and grapefruit. The dish also included blackberries, blueberries and bay leaves which gave a lovely flavour. The chef drizzled some type of amazing balsamic vinegar on top. Yum. This was paired with a 2007 Cotes du Rhone, made from 100% Grenache grapes.

Check the presentation on this dish! My favorite out of all the tasting courses, this is basil cannelloni with fresh vegetables. The foam on top was amazing with the soft pasta. With this, I drank 2006 Pezas da Portela, Godello. I forgot to photograph my next course of Seitan Rice served with a red wine, 2005 Marti Fabra, Emporda but the dessert was certainly the best.

Look at that beauty. This was summer infusion with fruits and herbs. As you can see, it was served in a bowl made out of ice but the most interesting part was what happened just before digging in. The waitress poured hot green tea onto the fruit and it quickly gelled with the herbs. I've never had anything like it. The wine on this course was also tasty as well. It was a 1998 Maximin Grundhauser, Riesling.

We loved every minute and the atmosphere was amazing in the restaurant. Art on every wall, interesting sculptures on each table and three people waiting on us. Even the white cloth napkins were presented to us on a platter. Certainly a memorable moment for our honeymoon.

Hasta Luego Barcelona

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Goodbye paella, sangria and sand. Time to head back to double decker buses, cobbled streets and the pub culture. We've had a lovely time and now it is back to jet setting! More posts on dinner at Hotel Om, the Salvador Dali museum, Park Guell and La Sagrada Familia to come.

Gaudi's Works en la Passieg de Gracia

Sunday, 13 September 2009
La Passieg de Gracia is a main street in Barcelona, although not as well-known as La Rambla. On this street, you can find two of Antoni Gaudi's most famous works, La Pedrera and Casa Batllo.

La Pedrera is an apartment block with customized metal work on each balcony and an amazing wave pattern to define the facade.

Kingsley posed at one of Gaudi's many lamps in Barcelona. Gaudi was skilled with metal work and mosaic art which joined for modern pieces that inspired artists in the early 1900s.

Casa Batllo was also an amazing feat. Notice the haphazard (seemingly) mosaic work on the facade which also includes impressive metal work and balconies that resemble skulls. Gaudi took many of his models from nature: the human form, trees, vines, stones, shells and the ocean for its waves.

He seems to also be fascinated with the mouth. Many of his designs including La Sagrada Familia (huge church in Barcelona) make use of the form of an open mouth to show importance or bring focus to a piece.

At the end of a long day of sight seeing (we walked at least 6 miles round trip), we rewarded ourselves with cerveses in the plaza outside the Barcelona Cathedral. I ordered the beer and thought we were getting a pint each. Instead, I had asked for a LITER each. Sometimes the language barrier can cause minor problems. Thus, I had to drink my beer using two hands. Ha!

Placa Reial and La Boqueria

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Walking through the Barri Gotic (the oldest part of the city established by the Romans in 210 B.C.), we stumbled onto Placa Reial (placa in Catalan is a square such as piazza in Italian) and admired the famous black fountain and lamps designed by Antoni Gaudi. They were his first commissioned work and are still standing in the square.

We wandered to La Rambla, the most famous street in Barcelona and found the market pointed out by Robert Hughes in "Barcelona, The Great Enchantress." The Mercant de la Bouqueria was established in the 1700s as an open air market along the city walls. I've linked to the market's website and its history which is fascinating.

The selection of fruits, veggies, nuts, meats, cheeses, eggs and pan is absolutely amazing. We bought a plate of melon to share that was sweet and juicy.

Also along La Rambla, tourists see a line of pet stores which run like refreshment stands. You walk up, select a bunny or chicken, parkeet or hamster and take it home. (Don't worry, the animals were not being sold for meat as far as I know.) I couldn't believe it, though. Where's the demand for so many pets? There were probably 10 stalls lined up, one after the other.

Come On In, The Water's Nice

We've been spending half the day enjoying the sunshine and sand. I was pretty shocked when we first walked down and I saw an older woman standing on the boardwalk without a top on. About the same time, a policeman on a bicycle rode by without looking twice. Kingsley explained the beaches are topless in Barcelona.

Kings loves to swim so he's in and out of the water like a turtle. The water is warm so I also enjoy a swim.