Overexposed?

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.

The unblinking gazeYou 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:

http://wcco.com/video/?id=15464@wcco.dayport.com

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.

11 Responses to “Overexposed?”

  1. Nick Says:

    Awesome Video! Rick Fuentes interviewed me a while back, (about rehabbing an old, abandoned house) and he is definitely not a Karen Leigh. I’m jealous. How does that Replacement’s song go??…..Gary’s got a boner. J/K. Love reading this blog, looking forward to the stories on the KLR. Later, Nick

  2. Dick Aal Says:

    Gary, Good interview. We were able to look back at your writings through the file tapes played in the interview. It was fun. Your blog helped a lot this winter. Your writing brought back many memories of my youth (did I mention that I lived in St. Paul and White Bear Lake when I was little)? I enjoyed your writing and insights on the human two wheel condition and learned some good things about riding in adverse conditions. You have managed to entertain, educate and generate nostalgia all at the same time. Good going and hope you find a new project for next year.

  3. Lev Says:

    Who said you look terrible on TV? I think this interview went fantastic!

  4. Drew Says:

    Gary: Congrats on the second TV spot. I’ve been following your adventures since November, but this is my first time commenting. I’ve been riding since age 9, and am anxoiusly awaiting the arrival of my new Stella. If that doesn’t work out, a Baron is definitely at the top of the list.

    Thanks for bringing exposure (pun intended) to commuting on two wheels. I pretty much gave up in January for several reasons, one of which was the ‘cold Virginia winter’ here. OK, I’m a wuss! Anyway, here’s a hot cup of coffee to you and the Baron! -Drew

  5. Bob Says:

    Gary,

    I just happened to catch you live on WCCO, prior to seeing your announcement that you would be on. Don’t take this the wrong way, but I was kind of surprised you looked and sounded as together as you did. I expected more of a gruff persona, for no particular reason. That’s a compliment. I could see a monthly or quarterly TV stint, maybe a 5 minute segment on Jason Davis’ On The Road (Ch5) or whatever it is WCCO does with Ralph Jon Fritz. Don’t sell yourself short. Aim High…sorry,that’s Air Force, you’re a Marine.

    One thing I like about your style of writing is that you are willing to be open about your emotions and (self-perceived) shortcomings. The mistakes you make, the everyday problems you encounter. Helps me believe I’m not nuts or (too) weird for some of the things I think and do myself. The fact you were somewhat star-struck by the whole WCCO TV experience simply reinforces how much you are just like the rest of us, or at least within shouting distance as you lead the pack, milk crate illuminated by our dirty headlights behind you.

    Bob

  6. Steve Williams Says:

    Like Bob said, you come across great and have it all together. I keep thinking about how GEICO portrays a motorcycle rider in their radio ads—some old gruff burn out.

    You come across as a thoughtful, considerate adventurer. Congratulations.

    You the man!

    steve

  7. mnscooter Says:

    Thanks for all the thoughtful replies, everybody. I guess the fellow I saw on the video didn’t fit my mental image of myself, and that left me a tad bit… confused.

    I think a lot of us have this internal struggle between pride and humility, and I have tried to express that in many of my blog entries.

    Nick, Please don’t cheapen my infatuation with sophomoric sexual references! ;^) She IS a babe though, huh? (Amy is probably at home sharpening the cutlery as I type this…)

    Dick, stick around. This was only the beginning of something which can only get better with practice.

    Thanks Lev. Subsequent viewings have become more palatable.

    Drew, thanks for writing in! This give-and-take in the comments section is as much fun as gathering the material for the blog entries. Please stay in touch and let us know how you like your new ride.

    Bob, you are too kind. And I am, as you note, 100% Human. That’s what makes something like this such a challenge. There are some days when I wake up in the morning and don’t really want to do this. But I always perk up about the time we reach the river. As far as sharing my feelings and faults, well, that’s easy. All I have to do is tell the truth.

    Steve, no… YOU the man!

    Ride well,
    =gc=

  8. bro shagg Says:

    Gary-

    Ditto what Bob said. Also, I think anchor-babe Karen might have a thing for ya! You may want to keep the Aerostitch body armor on until Amy calms down a bit! ;)

    Hope to see your post tomorrow!
    - B.S.

  9. irondad Says:

    Bro,

    Not a beached killer whale. No, more like a Wookie next to Princess Leah ( if the spelling is wrong get over it! ) from Star Wars. But then us hardcore riders are more into milin’ than stylin’. ( think about it a minute, you’ll get it ). I called the Honda shop to get the ST in for another valve adjustment interval. When I told the guy the mileage he blurted out that no grass grew under my wheels!

    Been thing about your blog name. If you were on a big cruiser with the loping motor would you have called it “Rush Hour Rumbler”?

    There are days when the long name should be “Rush Hour Rambler dealing with Rush Hour Bumblers and Fumblers while wishing he had a tank so he could be a Rush Hour Rumbler”.

    Seriously. ( I can be that way, you know, but it hurts ) Today I waved at someone on a scooter as I rode by on the ST. I usually do wave at scooter and moped riders. I find I’m taking them more seriously. Even though I’ve never considered myself to truly be any sort of a snob, I realize I never took scooter people seriously. How could someone on a scooter riding around town be on the same level of seriousness as me doing mile after mile after mile?

    The connection I’ve made with you and Steve through our blogs these past months has left me feeling like I’ve met a couple of good friends. As a bonus, it’s made me think differently about scooter riders. You and I are equally hardcore. We just chose different mounts for the winter. Our protege Steve is coming along. ( good on you, Steve ) Has any of us gained more than the other? Absolutely not.

    I know it’s an old cliche but “It doesn’t matter what you ride as long as you ride”. So true. Like many things I’ve gained through being on two wheels, my depth of understanding about life keeps growing. Thanks for letting a voyeur along on your journey.

  10. mnscooter Says:

    Bro Shagg, I think you may be on to something. She hasn’t answered any of my plaintive emails or voice messages, and everyone knows that a woman only ignores you when she’s totally interested, right?

    Amy is taking this well so far. Which probably means that she is taking her own sweet time in planning her revenge. If this blog suddenly stops, you’ll know why…

    Dan, I think you’re going to like the first post I have planned for the new blog. That’s all I’m saying right now.

    Ride well,
    =gc=

  11. Seagullplayer Says:

    Good job with the interview. Now I know a movie star, cool wait till I tell the kids.

    Rubber down.

Leave a Reply