Saturday, August 30, 2008

Bookended by Hurricanes

Three years ago, when I first set foot into a classroom at Mississippi State University, Hurricane Katrina was taking aim on the Mississippi gulf coast.

This weekend, Hurricane Gustav again threatens the gulf coast, though likely further west than the track Katrina took...but with the possibility of another major hurricane, in Hanna (currently located southeast of the Bahamas), affecting the gulf coast soon.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Back In Town, Making My Own Way

Back in Starkville as of last Monday and back to work at the restaurant.

I'm very much keeping an eye out for any opportunities that may present themselves between now and graduation, especially local (or semi-local) opportunities. But I've also decided to try to make opportunities for myself.

Surfing around the web the other day, I noticed a semi-local affiliate, about 2 hours away, does not have a weekend meteorologist and may be using one of their reporters to for that and fill-in work during the week. I'm going to speak with my professor (hopefully this week) and put together a resume tape to send over to the station, just to see if I get any nibbles.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Final Week

Going into my final week, here in Nashville.

I'll probably have more to write, later on, after some reflection. But at first blush, this has been the best summer I have had in many many years - I could not have asked for a better internship experience. The folks I have worked with this summer are truly some of the most professional and down-to-earth, folks I have ever encountered.

Like I say, more later after some reflection.

Other news: got a new laptop, to replace my old desktop. Yay me! So, I was able to get some new videos posted under my youtube profile. They are about two weeks old, but I don't think I'll be able to get anything more recent before the week is out. Maybe later on in the fall, but we'll see about that.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

My Most Embarrassing Moment

It was bound to happen, and today it did.

I overslept.

I remember my phone, which I use as a back-up alarm, going off about 10pm and me turning the ringer down in case it went off again. My primary alarm, which has an actual bell instead of a electronic chirp, has never failed to wake me up. Apparently it did its job this time, but I flicked the switch, turning it off (instead of hitting the snooze). I don't even recall hearing it ring.

I woke up and looked at the clock and thought "Crap, it's twenty after one and I need to get in the shower." Then in horror grabbed the clock again and realized "Oh, s***, it's five after four!"

I had not overslept by a meer 90-minutes, no, I had overslept by four hours!

So embarrassing.

I called the station and talked to Jeff, but despite his reassurance It will be hard getting over my embarrassment.

Friday, July 18, 2008

My Computer Died, but the Week Finished on a High Note

Thursday morning, 8:00am, my computer was working just fine. By 9:30am, it had breathed its last breath...or, maybe, processed its last gigabyte, is a more apt description.

To be honest, I don't quite know what happened. My friend suggested it may be a corrupted windows XP file. Geek Squad seemed to think my motherboard was fried. I'm leaning more toward the fried motherboard...the computer (not my fault!) was quite dusty on the inside. The last person who owned it was a *heavy* smoker and a dusty housekeeper. So, who knows. I'm going to have another friend take a look at it tomorrow afternoon, we'll see.

Aside from that, my week finished on a high note. I went to Murray, Ken. yesterday to pick up a syllabus for a newswriting class I took 12-years ago at Murray State that Mississippi State does not apply toward my degree. I'd really rather not take it again - mostly because I've heard that both instructors for the course are not very good. But seriously, how many different ways are there to teach newswriting? Has the craft changed suddenly in the last 12 years (well, aside from some television newswriters dropping verbs)?

While there, I had lunch with a good friend. He had been my boss, and the news director, at the public radio station the university owns, while I was a student. He had been an immense help during a rough patch in my life and I've always respected him for being there as a friend. He now teaches ESL at Murray State and it was nice to reconnect with him for the afternoon.

This morning, in addition to my usual recordings, one of the news interns wanted to record a couple newscasts segments and they asked me to help out. It was set up like one of the morning newscasts - she did her intro, tossed to me for a quick weather tease, then back to her for the stories. Later I got to record another full weather segment.

It was something I was hoping I would be able to do this summer and will be helpful in showing personality and interaction between myself and an anchor. We are going to do another couple of these recordings on Monday and Tuesday.

I do have some copies of my most recent weathershows, but don't know when I'll be able to post them. I'm using my dad's computer and don't have a program to convert them for uploading to youtube. If/when I do I'll let yall know here.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Siberia: A Journey into the Heart of the Frozen Tundra

Okay, well, maybe I'm exaggerating. But that's what the hallway feels like: Siberia. It's freaking cold out there, much colder than the studio (which makes sense considering all the lights and equipment). I miss being in the studio terribly, but someone needs to be out running the computer...just glad I was here to help. We've had a few minor miscues but they haven't been bad overall.

The engineers just moved the main weather graphics computers out to the hall and left the radar computer in, apparently the station is not getting the radar suite, that comes as part of the new system, quite yet. I've been watching some tutorials online this week and seeing what kinds of things can be done with the new system. The department at Mississippi State has this same system, but I've only just played with it briefly and don't really know my way around it very well...but over the next three weeks (the station is scheduled to go live with the new system on July 24) I should be able to learn quite a bit about it from working with XXX.

XXX is also going to have me work on some projects on the radar system. That system can also be used to create weather graphics, but the company is mostly known for its superior radar program and not the graphics. Nonetheless, XXX said any experience I have on it will be helpful in the future. By the end of my internship, I'll have experience (albeit it minor) on three weather computer systems. Talk about a head start!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Out To The Hallway

The station is in the beginning stages of transitioning from one weather graphics system to another, and is expected to go live with the new box on July 24th.

Tomorrow the installation begins...but that means the Storm Center will be temporarily displaced to the adjacent studio and/or hallway/loading dock area (actually I'm not quite sure of the exact set-up...I just know we will not be working out of the newsroom until the new system goes live and also we'll be short some of the additional components we usually have).

Which means no more fun for me - I love being in the newsroom during the newscast! As I've said before, I literally sit less than 10-feet away from the anchor desk and most times less than a foot from XXX's stand-up mark. So while XXX will be in the studio during the morning newscast, it's going to be a stretch for us to pass information back and forth.

He may end up just doing nothing but the weather (chroma key) wall for his hits, since (A) the Doppler computer will also be displaced (it is a separate system from the weather graphics computer) and (B) he can be closer to the temporary weather office. Who knows, though, but I bet tomorrow's show is a bit rougher around the edges than normal.