Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Another One.....

I love live in general. It's freaking awesome we all get to live. We get to wake up, eat good meals, enjoy relationships with friends and significant others. We get to listen to music that doesn't suck and sometimes we even get to score! Seriously, even when life sucks, it's really not that bad. Sorry, I didn't mean to get off on that tangent, but perhaps my favorite part of life is the random moments that help you realize there are reasons for everything. The coincidences that keep you thinking for hours, "This is really weird, and really cool."

Last weekend Jennifer and I went to Wilmington for Kelli's birthday. Her age is not significant, but is indeed a milestone. It's great to go to Wilmington. Most of Jennifer's friends are there and they are all super people. Plus, I usually get a chance to slide in and see cousin Lee and family, so I was really happy we made the trip. Kelli wanted to celebrate at Indochine, a pretty good restaurant featuring Thai/Indochinese/Indian/Japanese and probably three or four other kinds of food. It whipped a ton of ass. Good food, cold beer and good people. We had to wait a while in the bar and I thought the manager walking around the restaurant looked real familiar.
I didn't think much about it, but I was pretty sure I knew this guy from somewhere, but I couldn't quite figure it out. We sat down, ordered and he walked by our table. I decided to stop him and ask him where he was from and he had lived in Charlotte for a short time, but as soon as he said that, I realized Charlotte isn't where I first met him. Some of you know I was in real college for a few months at UNC-Greensboro as a vocal performance major. I sang pretty good in a previous life. Anyway, my good friend Brad got an apartment off campus our second semester and had a seriously flaming gay neighbor who was always throwing big gay parties on Spring Garden Street. They were always inviting us over but I was a bit skeered to take them up on the invitation. Mom had always taught me gay people were nice and not scary so I finally convinced Brad's then girlfriend to go over there with me one night. I was 18 and had zero experience around gay people. I was nervous and not sure what to expect but I vaguely remember walking up the stairs and some dude yelling, "Watch out!! Here comes some straight people!!" I felt a lot better after that knowing they all knew I wasn't gay. It was an experience I'm glad I had at that age. I found gay people to be way more entertaining than myself and my friends, and I got to see people doing hard drugs for the first time. This 18 year old was soaking up life, a completely different life than I'd ever been around, and it didn't scare me. The gay neighbor's boyfriend named talked to us for a while and even after that night always spoke to us and was real nice to us. Sure enough, that was Rob managing Indochine in Wilmington! Freaking random!! I'm glad I don't forget many faces and he actually remembered us, too. Talking to Rob brought back some good memories for me, memories I'd forgotten to tell Jennifer about so I was able to do that. Rob moved to Wilmington a few years ago, retired and now has what he described as a short, vietnamese boyfriend and is about to have a child with a woman. I don't know about all that, but it was good to see Rob.
We left there and headed to the Sofa Lounge for a few more drinks. Jennifer, Kate and Kelli talked about something whilst the boys talked about traveling to Wales for the next Ryder Cup and other manly stuff.

We need to make more trips to Wilmington.

Friday, December 12, 2008


I'm not a photographer. It's weird to say that. I'm a pretty comfortable in my own. I rarely feel out of place, but I'm not yet comfortable with not being what I've been for the last ten years. It's not like I got out of the business or anything. I went to work for a cable network that covers sporting events on wheels. I'm not carrying a camera, though. I'm sitting in front of a computer that controls a shit ton of satellites and imports video into a big assed server. I'm not one hundred percent sure I'll like it. In fact, I may be bored with it. I won't hate it, though and I do get to sit in a room with four 52 inch HD flat panels and several other smaller ones. I'll still watch television for a living, I'll just have a much smaller role in creating it. To make a long story short, it's a sneaker in a much higher paying door with a lot of exciting possibilities. While this is exciting, I'll miss my old gig. Not every part of it, but I'll miss knowing what the hell is going on in this town. I'll miss taking trips to small towns ninety minutes away and not being upset about it. I'll miss knowing every street in every neighborhood. I'll miss running into friends in random places and I'll miss asking police officers if I can stand next to the crime scene tape with the other civilians if I go put my camera back in the truck. I won't miss live shots in the rain and I won't miss trying to turn a complete piece of shit into something that doesn't look like a piece of shit. Mostly, I'll miss shooting high school football. By pure luck, twas my last assignment.
News photographers have an astute knowledge of eateries in every town in their coverage area. I could rattle off twenty that make my socks go up and down at the thought of a vittle there, but there isn't a place that I enjoy eating at more on the job than Bridge's BBQ in Shelby. I pull the sat buggy in the parking lot, walk inside, take a seat at the bar and a nice man doesn't ask me what I want to drink. He simply asks, "Do you want a lemon in your tea?" It's that kind of treatment I live for in a restaurant. I effing love it. Last Friday, my final assignment took me to Kings Mountain for a state semi-final football game featuring the Mountaineers and Kannapolis. Luckily, I was able to leave the station early, mount my Sirius Satellite Radio and drive a good twelve minutes past the high school to eat at Bridge's. I ordered my usual BBQ plate with fries and green beans. I know it's weird I don't care for baked beans and slaw, but that's how I roll. Bridge's is the best. I love it and will miss it dearly since there's a good chance I won't be "swinging by" Shelby anytime soon. I sincerely got more sentimental in Bridge's than I did shooting my final night.
I had to put together a package for the game and arrived twenty minutes before kickoff. That allowed me to tune in and snag some quick sound from some drunken Kings Mountain residents before the game. They delivered with some great tape like all small town high school football fans in the fifties do. I grabbed rosters from the press box and made my way to the field where I was greeted with the weird looks I'm used to directed at my hairy legs in shorts exposed to the 38 degree temperatures. It's high school football! You're supposed to wear shorts!!!! Anyway, I had one of the better football shooting nights I've had in my shooting career. Not the best, but I didn't miss anything and I was on target all night. It helps I shoot Kannapolis almost every week. They won, too which was special for me since there's a ton of good people up there who have treated me well for the last several years. I'll miss meeting new people every day.
I got my victory shots, trekked back up the hill to the buggy where I edited and tracked my package. I tracked it sans script since I used to be a sports anchor and wanted to prove to myself I could still track it 'live.' It turned out alright. It wasn't my best package, but it was ok. (You can watch it here if you press play, then arrow right to the second segment. It's the second game in that second segment.) My final assignment allowed me to finish this part of my career doing what I loved most about my job. I got out of Charlotte, I was able to eat at Bridge's, and I got to shoot high school football. Life as a news photographer is a good one. It is one I'll miss dearly despite several parts of the job that truly suck. My new gig allows me to work with some absolutely amazing technology I'm soaking in daily. That's exciting. And I work in a room that producers won't even have access to. How freakin awesome is that?? I could go on for hours about what I'll miss, but it's mostly the people. I'll miss the random folks knocking on the live buggy door with a story idea when you're slamming out television magic. I'll miss the politicians who I've learned a lot from, the other media members who I've learned a lot more from and I'll miss my co-workers who have made work worth showing up for for the last seven years. Thank Jesus I married the hottest one.
I'm not sure what this blog will be in the near future. There's a good chance it will suck more than it has lately. Travel usually brings out my best blogging and I won't be traveling with this job. We'll see how it goes. I'm not sure how the higher ups feel about detailed blogging about the job so I'll likely stick with extra curricular activities which is mostly what this blog is about anyway. Stay tuned.......oh, and shoot some good tape for me, please.