I was 12 years old, laying on the floor as the afternoon sun faded away and doing my homework for my 6th-grade reading class for the next day.
The workbook was this stapled-together, quarter ream of light green pages that consisted of various English comprehension skills. I don’t recall it being difficult but do remember having that “big kid” feeling of being proud to have homework for school the next day.
Mike was 26 and talking through a tape recorder that we had started to use to send letters back and forth with. People had been doing that for years, but this cassette was almost two weeks old and from a land that I had a tough time understanding.
My oldest brother was talking about how things were going for him in the UAE.
Some months before that, my dad and I dug into the, dated but still relevant, collection of encyclopedia books in our house that they bought some time before my memories begin. At that point, these books might have been considered to be on the edge of being outdated, but I trusted those books with my fair share of reports that spared me having to go to the library up until that point. And sure enough, those musty books had information about the United Arab Emirates, and Mike was about to be stationed there with his Air Force squadron.
He went to college with the intent of enlisting to become a pilot, and I was always in such awe with all things military.
We have a deep history of people in my family who served in almost all branches of the armed forces, but Mike was the first one in ours.
Growing up as a kid in the wanning days of the Cold War and having other kids in the neighborhood with similar history in their extended families, the threat of conflict was always there. It became a fascination.
In the backseat of the car, Dad was driving, Mom in the passenger seat, 600 WMT on the radio, and the sun well below the horizon on a cold, fall night.
We had made the odd, Tuesday night run into Cedar Rapids to hit Sam’s Club, loading up the trunk with all sorts of bulk goods. Looking back on it now, maybe it was to get their minds off of what was going on that day. Usually these trips were a weekend event.
I can still remember not being very far from leaving the outskirts of the “big city” and going through the darkness of the country. We had been listening to the results come in on the radio the whole way there, but on the way home, the special bulletin hit.
Bill Clinton had been declared the winner and would become the next president.
In that backseat, I felt fear. Staring out into the darkness, I felt dread. My mind spiraled to the point where I felt like the world was going to end. The announcement scared me to my core.
I can’t remember what my parents said to each other about it, but they weren’t happy.
And then I just remember being cold.
I think about that night quite often. I think about those times quite often.
Anthony told the people in the row ahead of him and a few of the people around him that he was going to do it. He was going to do a selfie. And he was true to his word.
I had two nephews graduate from high school recently. They’re in the same grade and same school. Ben was born in the fall. Anthony in the spring.
They didn’t go to the exact, same high school I went to, but we’re all still from the same hometown. I’m proud to be their uncle. And as much as I would have loved to be there as they went through the process of becoming men, at least I was there on the day that childhood ended and real life begins.
With my experience in technical side the radio industry, there’s a subtle excitement that you get from setting up, rewiring, or moving studios around. And quite honestly, there are a lot of details to have in place before going live in a new control room for the first time.
This video was that moment for The Beat 94.5 when the mic went hot from its new studio and over the air.
Project’s not done yet, but getting to this point is certainly a relief.
As hoped, I got to head to Punta Cana with the radio day job as a sequel to the very short trip that Rebecca and I had there in July of this year. This one was for a week, and it wasn’t as much relaxation as I had hoped but still provided some great, warm weather and tropical sun.
I just got through all of my photos this past weekend, so here’s a small collection of my favorites from the trip.
I never like to pass us an opportunity to see some carnage and destruction, preferably that of the controlled type, but this was a chance that doesn’t come along too often.
In my near 15 years of being involved in the radio industry both in the U.S. and Canada, I have never seen a transmitter site have its towers knocked down first hand. Using my Nikon D90 and a cheap tripod, I thought I’d use the opportunity to take some video such opportunity.
To give a bit of back story, this is the now former home of CKST (TEAM 1040AM). Built in the early 80’s, the five tower site has been replaced with a completely new site, not far from this location. This site was slated for eventual demolition, but recent site inspections discovered some structural problems on the base of two towers that the need to bring them down became extremely urgent. In fact, this information was discovered late last week, and this past Monday’s appointment with experts in knocking down towers like this was bumped up.
As you’ll see in the video below, my video techniques are a little rough, but the sound of each, 240 foot tower hitting the ground was impressive. By the time I captured the third tower coming down, I figured out that static shots of each collapse worked much better on my cheap tripod, hence that annoying crunching sound of sorts. Live and learn. Continue reading “Knocking down radio towers”
I’ve reworked the design to my website to challenge my limits in terms of web design. It’s taken me about a month or so to get the overall concept down, but it was time to do something different in order to push my boundaries with what I know and am comfortable with. The various sixty4media projects that we’ve been working on has made me think about this a lot, and a recent project for my day job saw me take the website for one of the radio stations I work for, The Beat 94.5, to a temporary overhaul into a complete WordPress site.
The basic inspiration for this design was a hot afternoon while drinking a Vitamin Water, something that I’ve become a fan of over the past year. Looking at their label, I found myself admiring the simplicity of the design to market their product. When it comes down to it, it’s just text and colors. No fancy graphic logo or mascots. Text was the only thing selling their product, so I found some inspiration in that.
For the most part, this effort was one of design over function. I’ve asked for opinions of some folks that I really respect and taken their feedback, which should never be overlooked. I tried to incorporate how other people felt when they saw it but then tried to one up the recommendation in order to push the personal challenge ever more.
If you find problems with the site, be sure to let me know. Any good web designer will tell you that any project, especially something to do with your own site, is constantly in development. You’re truly never satisfied.
As apart of the day job, I had the opportunity to shoot some photos at the red carpet event for the 2009 Juno Awards last weekend. Some of Canada’s best known musicians and performers came through to talk to members of The Beat morning show, so I did my best to shoot through the thick crowd of fellow media members, such as other photographers, producers, TV cameras, etc.
Here’s a few of my favorite shots.
MuchMusic VJ, Leah Miller and Dallas Green of City and Colour
Mike Reno of Loverboy
Elvis Costello and Diana Krall
You can see all of the photos from that night on Flickr, and I’m fairly impressed with how some turned out compared to others. All of these were shot with my Canon S5IS, and I took some time after this to learn more about my camera in anticipation of having more opportunities like this. You never know what type of situation you’ll be in when you get to shoot events like this, and it really made me feel like a newbie standing there.
People have asked me a few times as to what I thought about the whole experience, and to be completely honest, it was just another day on the job. However, when Elvis Costello walked up with his stunning wife, Diana Krall, I did have a brief moment of where I couldn’t believe how close I was standing to a man of great talent, if not a lasting impression on rock and roll history. That would have to be my highlight of the Junos.
As you may or may not know, I’m a fan of the game of hockey. It’s been a while since your now fabled 50th goal celebration happened, so let’s get a refresher for those who are unaware.
I know what you did caused a big stir within the media, calling your celebration to contrived or premeditated. It was “unnecessary showboating” and “gave a bad image to the game”, and I have to completely disagree.
In the realm of professional sports, you are meant to entertain us. We pay money and dedicate time to give our attention to something we enjoy, and very little of what you do changes or affects the overall history of the world. Sure, you might be the root cause of riots, but the world goes on with or without much thought about what happens in the realm of sport. That’s not to say that sport doesn’t have its place in terms of passion and entertainment, but the point is that you can let this all get you down.
I, for one, want you to be yourself. Forget what the media is saying and keep being your celebratory self where you jump up and down, play up to the crowd, and generally make the fans in Washington D.C. (and fans of the NHL for that matter) love to watch you play. As long as you keep that ego in check and keep making it fun to watch you play, keep doing what you’re doing.
As a fan who is the major part in keeping any professional sports league running, this is all I ask.