21 March, 2006 Weather: Sunny and just above freezing. Snow is melting.
The Baron and I got an early start this morning. After a sleepless night, I slammed down three cups of strong coffee and we hit the road at five a.m.
We had a date with WCCO-TV, to wrap-up the Minnesota Winter Scooter Commuter story for local viewers. On the way to the Nicollet Mall, I found myself wondering whether that lady who watched us crash last Monday was going to be among the audience for the channel 4 morning news. Wouldn’t that be ironic? I don’t know if that would change her low opinion of me, but it might lend some legitimacy to my efforts out there, if such a thing is possible.
We rode the normal route to Minneapolis, and then took a left on Portland Avenue towards the maze of skyscrapers and one-way streets which make up downtown.
During my long, insomniac vigil, I had run Google Earth and Mapquest on this trip, to make sure that there would be no repeat of my criminal sidewalk-riding performance from last time. I hear that surveillance cameras see everything that happens in this part of town nowadays. That kind of television exposure is a Bad Thing. Best to try and keep it legal.
When we rolled up to the WCCO studios, my videographer friend Tony Peterson greeted me from amidst his array of high-tech TV toys. He is the guy who followed me to work for that first news story, and I was happy to see him there for the conclusion of our Winter adventure. It just seemed… right.
After I parked the Baron in a telegenic pose, we shook hands and spent some time catching up on the “howyadoin’s”. Then I watched the high-powered anchors reading their teleprompters into the camera while Tony fixed a glitch with the microphone. Suddenly it occurred to me that, as long as I was being shot at dawn, I might as well shoot back! I went to the Baron and got my camera out. Then I backed off from the scene until I could capture all the elements in one wide-angle shot.
You can see Tony there, exercising his super-bright TV light. There’s the feedback monitor (is that the right term?) and the camera on either side of him. Anchors Karen Leigh and Bill Hudson have their backs to us in the shot, and you can see the big satellite dishes over on the left. The Baron is lit-up like the monolith on the moon in the movie “2001…”.
(Click on this thumbnail, so you can see the details.)
Okay look, I’m not sure if you people even care about this stuff. I feel like a jarhead writing home about meeting a big star at the USO show. Even though I am supposed to be a jaded moto-journalist, this big media machine still holds a certain fascination for me. I’m not going to pull an attitude with you here and pretend that I wasn’t impressed by the whole thing. Why do you think I couldn’t sleep last night?
I suppose I could sum it all up by saying, “A funny thing happened on my Ride to Work this morning…”.
Karen Leigh is delicious to look at. She even smells good in the frozen air of a Minnesota Winter morning. I’m going to get in SO much trouble for writing that here. But when she came outside and we met face-to-face, I was stunned. It was very hard to stay on-message, but I managed to plug Ride-to-Work dot org once during our very short interview.
I looked like a beached Killer Whale next to the lithe and lovely Ms. Leigh, but that was better than the gnarly gnome act I pulled next to Brian Gotter, the last time I stood in the glare of these bright lights. Let’s face it, I look terrible on TV. I will never seek the camera’s cold gaze again, as long as I live.
For those of you who want to see this comedy, I sincerely hope you can link to it here:
I don’t know how much longer it will be up, so check it out soon. You have to sit through one of their banal commercials first, of course. Sorry.
The next entry will deal with The Ride again. My fifteen minutes are over.