Saturday, March 28, 2009

What Happens When?

Is your life totally predetermined where each turn you take, each decision you make, leads you to exactly where you are right now, exactly where you are supposed to be? Or is your journey a series of totally random twists and turns, where a left turn can change your life forever, where a thought to stop for coffee can make a huge difference in the end game? This is the question that is posed in the new Nicholas Cage movie “Knowing” and I have to share how going to see that movie yesterday would lead to a very strange series of events playing out in my life.

I work nights and typically sleep most days. Yesterday I went to sleep much earlier than usual when I got home. A contractor knocked on my door a few hours later. Totally unannounced he had come by to see if he could fix a warranty problem in our new home. I got up earlier than usual. My wife was supposed to work on Friday but had taken the day off to visit the doctor. My daughter called from school in the late afternoon to say she was coming home early because she wasn’t feeling well. So we all ended up free to spend the day together and decided to go to the movies. We went to see “Knowing” and although my daughter watched most of the show looking through her fingers (she does that for scary movies), my wife and I enjoyed the show and the very cool special effects.

As we left the movie theatre I wondered to myself whether we should go out for dinner. My wife has been considering changing her job. We had seen a posting for a Thai restaurant looking for new staff. I asked if she wanted to go there to eat and check the place out. As soon as we sat down we were greeted by the restaurant owner. He was very nice and we struck up a conversation. My wife said she was Thai and the owner almost immediately said he was looking for staff and if she knew anyone looking for a job she should let them know. She said she may be looking herself and that led to a long conversation and a promise to go back today to talk some more. It all seemed strange to me, because I had been just as close to going straight home from that movie, as I had been to going for dinner. We had already filled ourselves with popcorn and coke.

You might think this is no big deal. Wait until you hear this next part. As we were finishing our delicious meal and talking amongst ourselves, the guy next to me started laughing. He turned his head and said my name. I looked at him and for a moment had absolutely not a clue who he was. Do you guys ever have those brief moments of anxiety when you think you should know someone but you don’t? Wondering if maybe you have lost your mind or Alzheimer’s has shown up for a visit. 

Then it hit me! It was Dominic …. I remember … my brain still works! I was looking at Dominic or Don as we called him back in the day. We had been friends since grade five, good friends through the teenage years. We used to fish together. I went to his wedding but I hadn’t laid eyes on the guy for over twenty years. The memories came rushing back. It was great to see an old friend. We shared stories about how life had changed. He has three kids now and a salt and pepper hair style, but other than that he really hasn’t changed much. He admitted that I looked different. I couldn’t argue with that. After all, the hair is gone now. I’ve got the groovy bifocals going on and I’m much heavier than I once was.

If this isn’t all strange enough, this was his first trip to the restaurant, as it was ours. He was driving home and fighting off a little sinus congestion. He decided to stop for a bowl of hot and spicy soup hoping it might help him breathe a little easier. So here we sat, after a series of lefts and rights, right beside each other after over 20 years apart. Does life get any stranger than that? Was it totally random or all in the cards? Was it destined to be this way no matter what we did? If you choose to believe in God, I dare say you might just laugh and say he works in strange ways.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Most Media Outlets Now Twitter

A tragic fire has claimed two lives in Toronto. News spreads quickly in a big city with all news radio and 24 hour news television. It was interesting to note that this story hit the Internet via Twitter within minutes, posted by 1010 CFRB radio. Almost every outlet in the city now posts on Twitter. The only one I can’t find is 680 News Radio. I follow just about everyone and when I wake up and start preparing for my nightshift as a TV Cameraman, I always check the tweets on Twitter to get up to date fast. That way I don’t have to visit 10 different web pages.

Twitter is a social network that allows users to post via 140 character text messages, giving up to the minute play by play on what they are doing, or in this case what news is happening. I also tweet through the night mostly just to keep me awake.My Twitter posts are also my Facebook status updates thanks to a add-on application.  Twtter on your Crackberry  My little world on Twitter

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Vault Explosion

Hydro vault explosion at 3650 Kingston Rd. in a high rise building. Hundreds evacuated about 2:30am after two explosions rocked the neighbourhood. Residents report lights were flickering on and off for hours before the fire alarms sounded. Shortly after that two explosions rocked the building. Nearby police officers reported feeling the blasts. One door of the vault was found across the parking lot about 50 meters away. Two vaults have exploded. One at ground level and one inside the underground garage. Hydro crews report heavy damage below ground. Very little visible damage at ground level but you can see the one vault with doors blown off. Hydro will not be restored any time soon. TTC buses brought in for residents. I have several good clips for radio. Video is babies in blankets and seniors being assisted by first responders.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Dude, I'm totally wired right now!

I’m always interested in new things, new ways to keep in touch with friends and family. I also find that on the night shift you need as many distractions as possible. When it’s busy you can just ignore them but when quiet nights arrive they help keep you awake. My latest distractions are social networks. I joined Facebook some time ago but recently with all the layoffs in local television, I find many more people networking and touching base with old friends and co-workers.

A few months ago I started blogging. I have a few friends around the country that read it when they have time. It’s not so much for them as it is for me. I just find writing keeps my brain working and helps me see my place in the world. Last week I joined Twitter. Twitter is like Facebook, in that it is an easy way for friends to keep each other up to date. What makes twitter different is that you are limited to 140 characters of text and most people use Twitter via smart phones or BlackBerry.

After a few days on Twitter I have found it very useful. I follow the posts of various users. Most of them are news related. It seems that just about every news organization in the world is now “tweeting” on Twitter. Right now I keep up to date on the posts of CBC News, Global News, CTV News, CP24, City News, Globe and Mail, National Post, Toronto Star and many others. I also follow a few individual posters such as police officers and other news camera people. Toronto Fires Services also tweet all dispatches. This makes it easy for me to keep up to date with them without making too many phone calls.

I have figured all this out in just a few days. I have now connected my blog, my Facebook page and my Twitter posts together. Here is how it works. When I tweet it gets posted on Twitter and automatically changes my status on Facebook to match my last tweet. The Twitter posts also get automatically added to the side bar of my blog. So when I go to a shoot I will sometimes post a tweet describing the scene or what I’m covering. It’s fun for me, if for no one else, and helps keep me engaged and excited about my work.

And just to prove how extremely wired and hip I really am, I can also share with you that I am now sporting new HD glasses. These amazing HD glasses bring the whole world to my eyes in stunning HD. The great thing is they are also backwards compatible to standard definition. Depending on my needs I can easily adjust the view from stunning HD 1080P back down to standard definition with just a simple tilt of my head. The results are truly breathtaking to behold. Sometimes I find myself just frozen in astonishment, needing to take a few minutes to soak it all in.

Thank God for Bifocals!

Bifocals -
Tony’s Blog -
Twitter -
Facebook -
Twitter for BlackBerry -