Urban Farm at City College Builds Community, Earth Awareness

Two summers ago, San Diego City College partnered with the San Diego Roots Sustainable Project and San Diego and Garfield High Schools to create the Seeds at City Urban Farm. They composted an underutilized campus lawn and turned it into a productive, sustainable farm.

I shot, edited and produced this story on the Urban Farm in late-March.  Since then, I’ve started composting the lawn (grass and weeds) in my backyard with the idea of eating better and connecting more with the earth.  Last night, we ate beet greens (steamed and boiled), roasted beet root, and various lettuce greens, all from the Urban Farm.  (I attend City College so buying produce there from the the school’s farmers’ market every Tuesday is convenient.)  Honestly, I never thought beet greens and stalks could be so tasty, much less edible (they don’t look appetizing at the supermarket).  My family enjoyed the freshness and taste of the Urban Farm produce.

The whole organic farming concept has inspired me to learn more about becoming more self-sustaining.  Right now, I’m reading Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon’s book, Plenty:  Eating Locally on the 100-Mile Diet.”  The idea of understanding where our food comes from, how many miles it must travel from farm to plate, and what impact those choices make on the environment appeals to me.

Thinking about Cameras

I added some more samples to my anchor demo reel.  I had some good performances that were marred by studio camera operator error (shaky camera shots).  We have a lot of new students operating studio cameras for the first time this semester so I have to be patient.   If I’m not on-set, I usually run Camera#1, which is the main camera for the main anchor, lead reporter, Sports and Entertainment.  When I operate Camera #1, I also have to move the camera to the green screen for Weather during the break.  Then I only have a few seconds to focus the camera on the Weather talent when he or she walks from the anchor desk to the green screen.  I like to tell those anchoring (when I’m not), “Hey, I’m running Camera #1…I’ll make you look good!”  Although I’m not scheduled to be on-set today, I may back-up Weather, in case of an emergency or if the assigned talent shows up late.  So my lunch, makeup and suit are ready-to-go…just in case. 🙂

I’ve been thinking of a particular professional camcorder, the Sony HXR-NX5UB&H Photo lists the camera for $3,990.  The thought of going “tapeless” and saving footage on either SDHC cards and/or the NX5U’s HXR-FM128 Flash Memory Unit (128 Gigabytes) appeal to me.  No more digitizing video in real time.  Just drop your video files into the timeline!  It also works with various workflows:  Final Cut Pro, Avid, Edius, etc.  Although I’ve saved money for this little dream machine, I’m thinking (as Apple’s Steve Jobs would say)…”there’s one more thing.”  If you’re a techie, you know you’re going to need other accessories to complement your new toy:  a rugged, video-specific backpack, a reliable (and expensive) tripod, wireless mics, extra batteries, etc..  Add up all the “one more things” and soon it’ll translate to much more money.  I’m not in any rush to buy my NXCAM just yet.

Recent Chilean Earthquake Triggers Memories of Past Quake Experiences

I shot the beach video and reporter standup for Newscene’s Dan Bird story on an evacuation plan the City of Imperial Beach (San Diego County) has for its residents in the event a tsunami or other natural disaster hits the area.  In addition to producing Sports this week, I’m working on a “mini package” on the earthquake in Chile.  I served as a missionary in Santiago, Chile for the LDS Church some 25 years ago so I lived through the 7.8 earthquake in March 1985.  I chatted with my Chilean friends through Facebook concerning the devastation there so I really wanted to enterprise a story about Chile.  For my friends there, the disaster has brought the country together.  There is a strong sense of pride and nationalism.  Right now, the concern in Chile is the aftershocks.  One of my friends in Viña del Mar said she continues to feel the tremors there….I just hope they subside soon.

When I lived in Melipilla, Chile, most of the old, adobe-built homes were destroyed.  Ironically, the small government-built, wood-framed homes in the poor población typically survived such devastation.  (I know…we were visiting a family who lived in such a home when the 1985 earthquake hit.)  My missionary companion and I had room-and-board in a concrete, wood-framed home.  The earthquake spared our mamita’s house, but the adobe homes on both sides of us were on the ground.

So it wasn’t a surprise that Chile was relatively prepared for such a catastrophe; the country has learned from past earth-shaking experiences.  There are questions, though, as to whether the coastal towns in Chile could have received some advanced warning about the impending tsunami.

New Toys for Night Time Running

Eric and I bought some Petzl headlamps for night running.  I can’t wait to try them out on the trails tonight.  I’m wondering what it will be like to shoot video with my Flip camcorder while wearing the headlamps.  The light sensitivity on the Flip isn’t great, but you can’t expect to have everything packed into a $200 camcorder!  Maybe someday, the Flip folks will figure it out.

I shot another Flip Video recently…this time of Mission Trails Regional Park in San Diego.  It’s a beautiful place of historical significance.  Whenever I run here, I think about the Kumeyaay Indians who lived in this area some 200 years ago.  It’s a peaceful place (except for the passing traffic on Hwy 52 or occasional helicopters flying about) and, no doubt, the spirit of the Kumeyaay lives on in the Fortuna mountains of Mission Trails.

Santa Bought Me Glasses for Christmas!

I’m wearing glasses for distance now and I quite like them!  I love the crystal-clear vision I’m getting with my new lenses.  I had LASIK five years ago, which worked for me for a few years.  My vision is 20/40 (right) and 20/70 (left), but I’m not complaining.  The lenses I wear now are super thin and the frame is COOL.

The Job Hunt Begins!

Woo hoo!  I’m burning DVDs, printing resumes and doing whatever it takes to land a TV reporter job.  Okay, so I’m not a “spring chicken” or fresh out of college.  I took a road less traveled, opting to stay at home with my child until he turned 18.  I worked at jobs that kept me close to home:  Fitness instructor (Spin, Hiphop, Aqua, etc.), News/Traffic Radio Reporter, Cross Country and Track Coach, Print Reporter, and more.

My family supports my desire to be a TV reporter/photographer.  The TV program at San Diego City College helps me hone my story telling skills (not to mention my wonderful instructors and fellow classmates).  I will continue to perfect my craft and, hopefully, get better as a reporter as I patiently seek out new job opportunities in the “real” world.  Here’s my TV reporter demo, which changes as I complete more stories.

I finally finished translating 25 minutes of Spanish interviews into English.  The Tijuana-based quartet, Cuatro Para Tango, performs tango music with a fusion of classical and contemporary styles.  Some of us Newscene students are putting together a “Newscene en Español” show in early-December.  I’m working on a story that I’ll track in both English and Spanish, which should be fun!  I’m producing Newscene next Friday before we go on Thanksgiving Break so tune in on ITV Channel 16 in San Diego (Cox Communications).  I’ll also post a video of the show here on my website.