The World’s Greatest (Non) Job Interview

People were feeding the squirrels with impunity. The squirrels were so docile some people were actually petting them. Yuck!

As soon as I found out my contract wasn’t being renewed I began to reach out to TV stations in-and-out of Connecticut. I knew I’d be in Florida and California (two places I’d enjoy living in) so I ‘carpet bombed’ news directors in those spots hoping for a nibble. Sure enough I soon got this:


What day works for you?

It was from a news director at a station in San Diego. I was excited… very excited until he added in a later email

Monday Jan 17th at 1pm is good – what is your cell?
FYI I do not have a position for you but would love to meet you.

I did the math. This would be five hours of driving from L.A. with no upside. I started to think of excuses to pass on the invite.

I mentioned this to a few friends and they all said the same thing, “Go!”

I did. They were right. It was one of the most uplifting TV days I’ve had in a long time!

Helaine and I decided we could shorten my drive by spending last night with relatives in Orange County. She’d never been to their home (which she now considers perfect for us… can we move in there now… there’s a vacant unit down the block) and, as it would turn out, it gave her a day to spend with my Cousins Melissa, Michael and Max.

Google Maps said my trip would take a little over an hour. Nicely done Googleboys.

Unfortunately, I didn’t trust California traffic and left myself 2&#189 hours. I spent a l-o-n-g time parked up the block and out-of-sight from the TV station.

I would have been even earlier, but there was a scenic overlook on I-5 north of San Onofrio inside Camp Pendleton.

Of all the scenic places I’v seen in the last week this was the least! The stretch of Pacific Coast was pedestrian. The view to the east was worse. The most interesting feature was something that should not have been! Just beyond the “Do Not Feed The Squirrels Or Birds” signs was the largest scurry&#185 of squirrels I’ve ever seen!

People were feeding the squirrels with impunity. The squirrels were so docile some people were actually petting them. Yuck! The whole thing was weird.

I got back in the car and headed south.

I’m not going to name the station nor the news director I saw, but at this moment I would crawl over broken glass to work for him. I am assuming he does not read the blog, so this is not a suck-up… though I am not above that if I thought it would help.

He was supportive of his people, embraced technology and never once cried “woe is me” over the sorry state of TV in general or TV news in particular. He was genuinely proud of what they were accomplishing on a daily basis.

The news facility was recently built from the ground up. It looked comfortable. Being in San Diego some of what went on-air was actually being done outside. There was even a chromakey wall out there large enough park a convertible in front of. It looked like a drive-in theater!

He pointed to an area where the reporters worked in close proximity and talked about collegiality. Be still my heart.

Do I wish there was a job? Yes, of course. Even without one my visit restored some of my boyish enthusiasm which has been partially ground away over time.

To my friends who suggested I go–thanks.

Postscript: Not one cloud all day. Not one.

&#185 – There is some dispute whether there is or should be a name for a group of squirrels. Experts say they are solitary animals. It didn’t seem that way to me. Scurry is the accepted word by those who are willing to look past the solitary nature of most squirrels.

From 37,000 feet

I’m writing this while flying over Colorado. We’re at 37,000 feet.

On my way west, we were averaging a bit under 400 mph. With the wind at our back, Flight 265 is doing 570 mph! The pilot says we’ll be 20 minutes early to Midway.

Back at LAX, the gate agent called “boarding in five minutes.” I shut down my laptop and began to pack. My laptop had other ideas.

Without warning I was installing update 1 of 6!

Please, don’t turn me off until I’m done, my laptop screamed in big letters from a font I’d not chosen. No one asked me. If they had, I’d have said “later.”

I semi-closed the lid, slipping my finger between the keyboard and screen to keep any switches from killing the power. That’s the way I boarded the plane. Helaine and Stef, reading this, are glad they weren’t around. Another embarrassing Geeky Greg moment.

This flight is around half full. My rowmate, A middle-aged woman, is dozing in the aisle seat. I’m at the window. I chose the right side to see any prettiness associated with the sunset, which should soon be happening.

Our country is beautiful from this altitude. Yes, the sophisticated traveler takes the aisle seat to have easier bathroom access. He’s too cool to look out the window. I need the scenery.

We took off from Los Angeles and headed out to sea. After a few miles we turned north, paralleling the Pacific Coast toward Malibu. There was fog this morning. It covered the ocean near the shoreline, penetrating inland to the first foothills. Things must be slow on the PCH today.

Inland, a layer of haze made the ground a little less distinct. I could also use the “S” word – smog. There’s some of that too.

Already above 10,000 feet, we made a sweeping left 270 degree turn, finally heading east. A few minutes later I started seeing snow capped mountains. They weren’t far from LA.

Nearly all that’s between Los Angeles and Las Vegas is desolate. Sometimes you’ll pick out a road etched into the vast expanse of dirt. Cryptically, every once in a while a geometric pattern shows up. Are they housing tracts, surveyed but never developed? Way out in the desert, it’s easy to wonder why this land would be considered for anything.

I saw Lake Mead, but not nearby Las Vegas. The Grand Canyon appeared out my window, just a bit south of us. A few minutes later, I saw the bane of my last trip west. It was the gigantic Navajo Power Plant near Page, AZ. Close by was the Glenn Canyon Dam. Have I really been here enough times to start picking out landmarks from above?

I shot a few photos of Monument Valley, looking south from the Utah side. The plane wouldn’t be there long. We were heading toward Colorado.

There is plenty of snow out here. Originally, I thought what I saw was a light patch. Then I realized the trees and bushes poking through the snow was why it never looked solidly white. The slopes of the Western Rockies looked like chocolate cake with powdered sugar sprinkled on.

Below me now, the mountains have disappeared. It’s Kansas. It’s flat. As far as the eye can see, there are rectangular fields. Sometimes the fields are interrupted by perfectly round patches where an irrigation system rotating on wheels or tracks has made its presence known.

I’m not sure where the water comes from. So far, the vast majority of river beds I’ve seen have been dry.

I’m tired. I’ll be exhausted by Hartford. I’ll need the rest of the weekend to recuperate from my vacation.

Blogger’s addendum: When first published, this entry was full of typos and poorly formed English. That’s what happens when you write against time, trying to finish before the battery gives out. Writing offline without a spell checker didn’t help either! It’s mostly fixed now

The Problem With Being Quoted

Abe Katz wrote a winter outlook story for yesterday’s New Haven Register. I was one of the ‘experts’ quoted.

Let’s just say my quotes weren’t the ones you’d put in the first paragraph.

What does this mean?

Not a whole lot, said Geoff Fox, meteorologist at WTNH. “I’m a real non-believer in long term forecasts,” he said.

My problem, however, comes with a quote deeper in the article. I’m not sure whether I was misquoted or just didn’t say exactly what I meant.

There are two problems, Fox said: The forecasts are not accurate, and people live day to day, not season to season.

“If someone said it would be 3 degrees below normal for three months, how would that change your life?” Fox said

What I meant to say, or possibly did say, was:

“If someone said it would be 3 degrees below normal for three months, how would that change your life day-to-day?”

Adding day-to-day makes all the difference, because you would notice a season that’s three degrees below normal. That small temperature difference would take marginal rain days and make them snow days. Your heating bill would be significantly higher. You just wouldn’t notice it on any particular day.

It’s a tiny difference in meaning, but a significant one.

Continue reading “The Problem With Being Quoted”