Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


I Am The Teacher

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

BryanI work for a small station. We all wear plenty of hats. Today I was the teacher.

That’s Bryan in the photo. He’s my pupil. He lives in the Coachella Valley and wants to be on TV.

He has great presence. I can’t teach that.

He’s lacking pretty much everything else… right now. He’s smart. He’ll be a quick study.

I make it look simple, but it’s hard to be effortless. That’s the part most folks outside the business don’t see. You need to know more than what you’re going to say!

“If it was easy,” I told him, “everyone would do it.”

Bryan has most of the problems you’d expect of someone new. When he gets flustered he stops to regroup. You can’t do that on-the-air. You’ve got to work your way through unforeseen detours (of which there are plenty nearly every day).

He’ll have to learn how to brief himself on the day’s weather, sight read maps and gain confidence. Practice will shorten the learning process.

Lucky it’s summer in Palm Springs. Temperatures are high and actual weather is non-existent. There’s time to get it right.

I’ve mentored before. It’s a job I enjoy.

Did Mickey Do An About Face?

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

Mickey_Mouse_normalAfter posting my entry about Disney and H-1B visas yesterday, I was surprised to see this update in the New York Times.

In Turnabout, Disney Cancels Tech Worker Layoffs

The story is a little choppy so it’s tough to know exactly how many American jobs will be saved.

You know, I think this Internet thing might be giving common people who band together to fight injustice a little power. Cool.

Here’s To Printed Stuff

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015


My home studio is built around NewTek’s TriCaster Mini. I can’t overstate how important it is. It is my control room.

As with most computer applications, knowing how to operate it was pretty easy. I’m a tech envelope stretcher. It’s when you get down into the weeds that it gets a little more complex.

The TriCaster comes with the manual as a PDF file. I’ve tried to read as much as I could.

Still, I didn’t feel I was getting all that was there. I decided to see if a printed manual would make a difference.

As far as I can tell NewTek doesn’t print manuals, so I went online and found a printer who would… all 529 pages. Printed in black and white the shipping more expensive than the finished manual.

I thought I had explored the manual thoroughly before. Seeing it in print has me convinced otherwise.

I understand why tech companies do this. Why spend money on a manual which will never be opened?

Trust me. This was money well spent. Think of it as upgrading Geoff.

A Mickey Mouse Move From Walt Disney

Monday, June 15th, 2015

Mickey_Mouse_normal“When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires
Will come to you”

Recently the Walt Disney Company wished for lower IT costs. Voila. Wish granted.


At the end of October, IT employees at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts were called one by one into conference rooms to receive notice of their layoffs. Multiple conference rooms had been set aside for this purpose, and in each room an executive read from a script informing the worker that their last day would be Jan. 30, 2015.

They were replaced with Indian workers here on H-1B visas. In order to receive their severance the displaced workers had to train their replacements!

Disney isn’t the only bad actor here.


Earlier this spring, a group of former employees filed suit against Southern California Edison charging the utility with abusing the H-1B program. The plaintiffs say they, too, were laid off and forced to train their replacements.

For years companies have been screaming for more H1-Bs. At the same time older workers have been screaming H-1Bs allow them to be replaced with cheaper workers from elsewhere.

This is not how H-1B is supposed to work.

From the

According to federal guidelines, the visas are intended for foreigners with advanced science or computer skills to fill discrete positions when American workers with those skills cannot be found. Their use, the guidelines say, should not “adversely affect the wages and working conditions” of Americans. Because of legal loopholes, however, in practice, companies do not have to recruit American workers first or guarantee that Americans will not be displaced.

There’s a growing divide between what corporations want and what’s best for America. Disney and Southern California Edison might not care about their employees, but I do. This needs to be changed yesterday.

Worried About The Wabbits

Saturday, June 13th, 2015




There were two bunnies chewing on grass as Doppler and I stepped onto the lawn this afternoon. They really are adorable with brownish grey fur and white accents around their eyes and nose. It’s only when they lift their tails a little, you see a white cotton ball!

The bunnies are out in plain sight all the time. Even with Doppler along, I easily get within eight or nine feet of them before they bolt. They are fearless. Bad idea for wabbits.

Bunnies are not the top of the food chain. We have coyotes nearby. They loved locally sourced meals.

They look so vulnerable chewing away… like bunnies. I want to warn them. I could offer our yard as a bunny sanctuary. They’re not listening.

They’re fun to have around, but for how long?

I Am Befuddled

Friday, June 12th, 2015

I’ve watched the president’s proposed trade deal over the past few months. Much of that time has been spent shaking my head. Why is the president so anxious to get this deal? It seems so unDemocratic (the party, not the system).

As I understand it, the trade deal is being negotiated in secret. Even Congress has limited access to the details.

Big business has had a big hand in these negotiations. The public has been shut out.

With all due respect to big business, over the past few decades their goals and my goals aren’t usually aligned.

The few tidbits that have come out are scary. I’m sure I’m oversimplifying, but in some cases this treaty will trump or negate American law. If it’s anything like our last few trade deals the American worker and taxpayer will be the loser.

Here’s what Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, a Republican, has to say:

Americans do not want this, did not ask for it, and are pleading from their hearts for their lawmakers to stop it.

The same people projecting the benefits of leaping into a colossal new economic union could not even accurately predict the impact of a standalone agreement with South Korea. The latter deal, which promised to boost our exports to them $10 billion, instead only budged them less than $1 billion, while South Korea’s imports to us increased more than $12 billion, nearly doubling our trading deficit. This new agreement will only further increase our trading deficit: opening our markets to foreign imports while allowing our trading partners to continue their non-tariff barriers that close their markets to ours.

When was the last time I agreed with this guy? Probably never!

Strangest of all the president and Republican majority are strongly aligned. The Dems are mostly against the president’s plan. When was the last time that happened.

The deal couldn’t pass muster in Washington today. A big defeat for the president. Already Republican congressional leaders are looking for ways to try again next week.

There’s more here than meets the eye. What I can see stinks.

The Traveling Relatives Hit A Snag

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

Southwest  WN   542 ✈ 09 Jun 2015 ✈ KSNA   KCOS ✈ FlightAware

We had a great time with my sister and brother-in-law. A long weekend was perfect for relaxation and battery recharging.

Alas, getting home was a problem!

Their flight from Orange County to Denver left on time, but ran into thunderstorms as it approached DEN. They diverted and landed in Colorado Springs to take on more fuel.

By the time they arrived in Denver, Milwaukee was out of the question. The last non-stop had left. There were no good connections.

Oh… also no hotel rooms! They spent the night at the airport.

Originally Southwest wanted them to wait for a flight this evening. Too late. Too long. Too frustrating.

Somehow they found a routing via Kansas City and Atlanta to Milwaukee. I think they’re home now. I’m scared to call and wake them.

So, SNA to MKE is really SNA, COS, DEN, MCI, ATL, MKE!

Is that what Southwest means when they say, “You’re now free to move about the country?”

Hello Blanca

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015


This is sort of weird. Unexpected. Here I am working in Palm Springs, but in my second week talking about a hurricane. Tuesday we get a little touch of Blanca… the ragged little blob of moisture that remains.

Rain is VERY unusual in Palm Springs in June. Since 1893 the greatest rainfall ever on June 8th was a trace! We’ll get some today.

I’ve been looking at the HRRR for the past few runs. We won’t get a lot of rain, but it will be humid and in the low 90s. A very East Coast kind of day in the desert.

I’ve felt pretty confident watching Blanca. I’ve tracked a lot of hurricanes. This one imploded like it was stuck with a pin.

Does Anyone Recognize Me?

Friday, June 5th, 2015

My sister and brother-in-law are visiting from Wisconsin. This afternoon we piled into Helaine’s SUV and headed to Palm Springs. They’ve never been.

While I worked, they explored. This is a pretty area which caters to out-of-towners.

The early evening newscasts are over at 6:30, so they picked me up and off we headed to the Agua Caliente Casino in Rancho Mirage. Casino coffee shop dinner. What could be better?

As we were walking in Trudi asked me if I’m getting recognized here? A little. Not bad for the short time I’ve been on KMIR.

We walked into the coffee shop and before we got to our table a woman yelled out, “Geoff Fox.” Before I could catch my sister’s reaction the woman continued, “from Hartford.”

She lives here part time. She’s heading back next week.

I wonder if this counts for my sister’s question?

I Am The Battery King

Thursday, June 4th, 2015


The decision was made early on. Anywhere batteries were needed in my studio they’d be rechargeable batteries.

That seems like a good decision. I go through batteries like crazy. My wireless mic and IFB system (so I can hear the anchors in my ear) are all battery operated.

My charger runneth over!

I take no chances. Every other show all the batteries get pulled and swapped for fresh ones. No way I’ll wait for them to start running down. Six off the charger. Six on.

I ordered some higher current AAs from Amazon. As far as I can tell they wear out just as quickly as the standard batteries. The only difference was the cost. Live and learn.

It has become a ritual. As soon as my last show ends I pop out all the batteries and walk them to the charger.

What could be worse than having my mic die as I go on-air? Not much. It’s easier to be disciplined about this than to actually check. Probably safer too.

I don’t want to think about how much I would have spent by now on regular batteries. Too much.