Monday, July 27, 2009


Busy at work on the Faroe Islands and having an amazing time. Another big, huge batch of photos has arrived:

Thursday, July 23, 2009


First full day in the Faroes is over. Spent most of the day in Torshavn. The first photo dump can be found here:



Interviewing director of "Buzz Aldrin..." film. More photos and stories later.


Monday, July 20, 2009


I’ve got some friends who post monthly letters to their children. I have neither the skill nor the work ethic of these two, but I can at least muster one letter every year. And this would be the day to do it, my little guys turned three today… Dear Nate and Will:

It’s hard to believe that it’s been three years since the two of you were born. Back then, we were nervous first time parents who had no clue what they were doing and you were little five pound bundles of need who could cry and poop and not much else.
Now look at you. You are both turning into handsome young men before our very eyes. In many ways, you are both typical three year old boys: you love to run and jump and seem constantly to be in motion. But you both have also developed a deep love for books. It’s not uncommon for you to sleep with books in your arms you hope to read when you awake the next morning.

It’s that mix that makes you two fun and interesting. You’re tough, but not hard. This is the age where many little boys shave their heads and learn to scowl. They’ve already put on the mask of faux manhood and believe that being mean is what being grownup is all about.

Not you two. You both trot through life with wide smiles and a sense of wonder and curiosity about the world around you.

But you are tough. So tough it frightens your parents sometimes. Both of you brush off what look like serious spills off playground equipment with little notice of the stunned and frightened expressions of the people around. Sometimes you will run across a field towards each other at full speed, causing a collision that knocks the both of you to the ground. Then you laugh, get up and do it again.
I see more and more of myself in you every day… and I hope that’s not a bad thing. You’ve developed a serious love of music and smile broadly when you hear music you like. You’ve even taken to imitating orchestra conductors when you hear the right kind of music. While this is quite charming at home, it has caused a few disruptions in church.

The other day, we were watching an episode of the Muppet Show together. Danny Kay was performing a song called “Inchworm.” You stood near the TV and conducted the music, but stopped halfway through. You just stood transfixed as a particularly beautiful passage of the song played. When it ended, you looked back at me and you had this certain look on your face. I can’t describe it any other way than to say it was a look of pure joy, and you looked back at me just to be sure I had heard this wonderful thing, too.

At times I’m concerned that my children will inherit all my worst traits. That they’ll become grumpy and picky eaters and talk too much and become overly critical of things that really aren’t important. But Nate, if I can give you one gift in this world, let it be a love of music. It will help get you through many difficult times in your life and bring a special kind of joy even when times are good. When I looked into your eyes after you heard that song, I sensed that you were starting to understand that. This makes me more happy than I could ever explain in words.
You’ve also reached an age where you are starting to develop crushes on girls. This usually happens at the park, and the target is usually quite a bit older than you. (In all fairness, this can hardly be avoided. A sizable proportion of the females in the world are older than you, and many of the younger ones can’t even talk yet.) Your crushes often manifest themselves by you following the object of your affections around the park until she gets unhappy and leaves. Rest assured, Nate, you will eventually find girls who will reciprocate your ardor. Until then, try not to take it personally.

It feels almost pointless telling you anything about yourself because you have become expert in telling us yourself. A large percentage of your verbal communication with us consists of Twitter-like updates such as “Will fall down,” “Will hiding,” and “Will eat fruit snacks.” In the past few months, your verbal skills have grown by leaps and bounds. You take a lot of time describing the world around you, sometimes in English, sometimes in a language only you and Nate can understand.
You also take great pains to let your mom and I know how much you love us. Perhaps the most charming way you do this is by running towards one of us, then delivering a huge hug followed by an “ohhh.” It’s quite cute, although it seems inevitable that you will knock me or your mom over eventually with that trick.
You’ve also developed quite an independent streak, Will. You often seem intent on proving to me that you’re no longer a baby and can do things yourself. You now insist on opening the car door by yourself, putting the Velcro down on your own shoes, and even removing the tray from your highchair.

It all serves as an important reminder to me that, even though you are cute as a button, you deserve respect, too.
Nate and Will, this birthday is a bittersweet one for me. We’ve just finished celebrating with cake and presents and all the things you expect on a birthday. But on Tuesday night, I’ll be getting on a plane and heading off to the Faroe Islands. This is something that excites me to no end, but it means I will be away from you for almost two weeks.

That’s right, for the next 12 days there will be no screaming in the morning. No tantrums over who gets to open the screen door. No inadvertent kicks to my crotch. No diapers filled with the foulest poop imaginable. And I will miss it.

So while I am away, I will look at these pictures of you and think of the fun we will have when I come home. And until then, I will offer you the same birthday wish I offer every year: may you tolerate and even love the deeply imperfect world you have been brought into. May you find a place in this world where you can be happy. And may you have the courage to make this world a better place than those who have come before you have been able to manage.

I love you both so much.

Friday, July 17, 2009


Well, crunch time is upon us. In just a few short days I will actually be in the Faroe Islands. While I won't depart for the islands until Tuesday, my travels actually start later today. The whole family is headed to Phoenix... where it's supposed to get up to 116 degrees tomorrow, thus proving that if you want to get to heaven, you must first travel through hell.

But as long as I'm somewhere air conditioned, Arizona shouldn't be all that hellish. We'll be celebrating some birthdays and generally having some family togetherness.

So while I won't be leaving for the Faroes for another 5 days, I'm already fully packed for the trip. So now the excitement begins and all that's left is to count down the last few days.

For the first time, I'm actually getting a shade nervous about the trip. Last night I even had a dream where I was walking around Torshavn talking to people while they scowled at me and shook their heads with disapproval. Apparently, in the internal logic of the dream, I was doing something utterly unacceptable.

Perhaps I'm a bit worried about accidentally offending people while I'm there. I have always been a notoriously picky eater and it seems almost certain I will be offered a piece of whale meat to eat while I'm in the Faroes. What if I throw up.... on someone important... and spark an international incident?

But despite my paranoid ticks, I'm still beside myself with anticipation. I never thought this would actually happen. But it's going to happen. Just a few more days.


Thursday, July 09, 2009


Someone just hipped me to "Auto-The the News," a feature on YouTube that edits together news clips and makes them sing, literally.

It's a testament to the amazing things that can be done with certain off the shelf technologies and the insanity of the people who use it. And I mean that in a good way.

Friday, July 03, 2009


A few weeks ago, I wrote in this space about the long summer days in the Faroes this time of year. From The end of may to about mid July, there is at least twilight (the light, not the movie) in the sly at all times.

Perhaps that's why these people want to stay up so late. While doing an interview for the podcast, an American woman told me about how late into the night the Faroese like to party. She was at an anniversary party and finally left when things appeared to be breaking up around 3 AM. At the time, she thought she had been pretty daring with how late she had stayed out.

But about a week later, the woman who threw the party asked her, "why did you leave to early?" The hostess went on to explain that the band hadn't started yet at 3 AM. Indeed, the party went on until 8 or 10 the next morning.

I have a reputation for being something of a night owl and am no stranger to the rave scene (or at least I wasn't when I was in my 20s), but this is insane. When to these people sleep?

It appears I will be able to find out later this month. As I've already mentioned, I will be traveling to the Faroe Islands in about three weeks. The first thing I'll do is attend the G! Festival, a three day concert on the beach in a town called Gøta (see picture above). I've been researching some of the bands that will play the festival and am quite excited about the lineup.

I spent some time trying to find a schedule of what bands will be playing when, but I couldn't find one. So I looked at some schedules from previous festivals and was a little shocked by what I saw. The headliners each night weren't scheduled to take the stage until about 1:45 AM. And I'm told it's not uncommon for the final band to start playing well after 3.

I guess I'm just used to Coachella, where stiff fines greet any band caught playing after midnight. As a matter of fact, I thought the music might have to stop even earlier at the G! because the venue is so close to all the homes in Gøta. Nope. It looks like the music plays all night.

This could be an adjustment for my 40-year-old body. I'm going to start taking naps right now.


Wednesday, July 01, 2009


There are times when I miss the news industry, and other times when I don't. Consider the case of the following story from Cleveland then join me below...

This link was forwarded to me with the hopes I could use my news expertise to determine if this was a real story or some sort of parody. After careful inspection, I'm sad to report that this story is almost certainly the genuine article.

In this reporter's defense, he was given an almost impossible task. He's working in a visual medium and he has to do a story about a bear. But there aren't any pictures of a bear. This creates all sorts of problems if you're a television news reporter.

But the solution to this problem may well be worse than the problem itself. Prancing across the woods holding a cardboard cutout of a bear? Really? And that rabbit head is wrong no matter what story you're covering... even if it's a story about rabbit costumes.

Working under deadline pressure, a reporter can say and do a lot of things that may be regretted later. Heaven knows I turned in a couple of stories that will hopefully never find their way onto YouTube. That's one of the hazards of the job, everyone gets to see you fail.

Whoever posted this story to YouTube included a note that said some disparaging things about the story, and not without reason. But the post of this video online looks like an inside job. The version posted above isn't exactly what you'd see on TV. You'll notice there was a long silence at the beginning and 15 seconds of what's called "pad" at the end. There also weren't any graphics in the story. The CGs are added during the live broadcast to keep the video in the story pristine if you have to use it another day. (Click here to see what the story looked like when it actually aired.)

The version posted here is what the story looks like when it's turned in by the reporter. That means the video was likely posted to YouTube by someone who worked at the station where this story aired. That's cold.

I'm glad the people I used to work with would never do a thing like that. Right?

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