Sunday, September 30, 2012

That was the day that was

I thought it would be fun to timeline my day on Friday (I wrote about it here). Why? Because it was insane. And hellishly fun. All at the same time. I've set the 6 interviews in blue. Here goes...

  • About 12:30 a.m. - we pull into the driveway in front of the in-laws' building just outside Montreal. We'd been on the road for a good chunk of the day. Sometimes, you just need to pile the kids into the car and go for a drive, and thanks to life's twists and turns, this was one of those times. So we drove.
  • 1:30 a.m. - the car is unpacked, the kids are slowly settling into sleep. I haul out my iPad and download Bad Piggies, the followup to the Rovio megahit game, Angry Birds. It was launched on Thursday, and it's already #1 in Apple's App Store. It's for work: I'll be talking about it on-air in the morning (I know...crazy-neat), but first I must play it for a bit to get my journalistic head in the game.
  • 1:45 a.m. - Enough play. I suck at it, anyway. Debbie tucks me in. I put my head down for a nap while my wife reads. Why is she awake? Because I'm nervous we'll both sleep through whatever alarms we set. I had originally proposed simply staying up. She proposed this method instead. She's a lot smarter - and more generous - than I am. (Flashback: When we were dating oh so many moons ago, she used to wake herself up at 2:30 a.m. so she could call me to make sure I was awake in time for my 4 a.m. shift in the newsroom. History repeats, and she's awesome.)
  • 3:15 a.m. - She wakes me up, then tucks herself in. I pull out my laptop and write like the wind.
  • 3:58 a.m. - File my first article of the day (exhaustion makes me write faster, apparently. Who knew?) Dump one last round of overnight feeds and research onto my iPad (note to self: Readability rules), then throw both devices into my backpack, toss on my clothes, make myself look as pretty as my Gumby-like hair and off-centre-and-oversized nose will allow and head for the door.
  • 4:30 a.m. - Get into the car. It's clear and chilly, and the gigantic, Wallace-and-Gromit-with-cheese moon is painting the road with light. The air seems to crackle with expectation. I select appropriate tunes for the drive into the city, program the GPS and slowly roll onto the street.
  • 5:16 a.m. - Arrive outside CTV Montreal's studios. Connect with producer and settle into the green room.
  • Just after 6:00 a.m. - CTV's Canada AM - interview with Marci Ien. Video here.
  • 6:25 a.m. - Pull out my laptop again and hammer out second piece of the day, this one for Yahoo! Canada.
  • 7:17 a.m. - Bounce emails back and forth with 570News's Gary Doyle. Book radio hit for just after noon. Pull out headphones and select new playlist to pace the next little bit.
  • 7:54 a.m. - File article 2 - Yahoo! soon publishes it: RIM stock soars but rough ride isn't over. Geek factor: There is no wireless here. I pull the microSD card out of the BlackBerry, throw it into an SD card adapter, pop it into my MacBook, save the article to it, throw the card back into my BlackBerry, then email it from there. Could I have Bluetoothed it? Um, yes. But this seemed more visceral, like I was actually accomplishing something. I make weird decisions when I'm tired.
  • 7:56 a.m. - Switch gears into gamer/Bad Piggie mode. Ironically, on the drive in from London, we got stuck in traffic for a while on the 401 in Toronto. As we slowly idled along in the left lane, a huge truck slid in beside us and kept pace with us for about a half hour. In the back of said truck? Countless baby pigs, their pink snouts sticking forlornly out the too-small slits in the trailer.
  • 8:15 a.m. - CBC Ontario Morning - spoke live with Wei Chen about those frustrating iPad-bound pigs. Audio here. FWIW, I truly suck at the game. It's a lot harder than Angry Birds, and I share my ineptitude on-air.
  • 8:30 a.m. - Close my eyes for a few minutes. With both articles behind me, I figure I can cruise for a bit. My conscience soon has second thoughts...
  • 8:40 a.m. - Realize it probably doesn't look too good for the strange guy to be lying with his feet up on the green room furniture. I make a mug of coffee in a very sweet-looking Canada AM mug. I resist the urge to bring one home. But I do tweet the pic. Tweeting is good for the soul on days like this.
  • 9:30 a.m. - CTV News Channel - interview with Jacqueline Milczarek and Dan Matheson. (Sorry, I can't find the video just yet.)
  • 9:50 a.m. - Wander into the newsroom and Margaret - my den mother for the day who ensures I have everything I need, then produces everything from the remote site before and during my on-air segments - logs me into her own PC and lets me use it. Seriously, how cool is that? We discuss the limitations of Internet Explorer 7 and I recommend installing Chrome and Firefox on every machine she uses.
  • 10:16 a.m. - Bounce email messages back and forth with reporters for upcoming interviews. BlackBerry battery is holding up nicely under the strain, but I brought along a second, fully-charged batter just in case. Also keeping the phone tethered to my laptop to trickle-charge while I work. Scourge of the modern era: Managing juice when you're on the go.
  • 10:42 a.m. - Throw some pitches together on my BlackBerry and send them into my editor. Because freelancers like me are always pitching. It's like breathing.
  • 10:45 a.m. - Pull together showprep - basically notes and links and other resources - for my 1pm segment with CJAD (see below). Coolness factor: They've moved their studios since I was last here, and they're now directly across the street from CTV.
  • 11:30 a.m. - Write this blog entry. From my BlackBerry. Because I like to type with my thumbs.
  • 12:05 p.m. - 570News Kitchener - interview with Gary Doyle. Podcast here. How to describe Gary: Everything I've ever loved about talk radio, he exemplifies.
  • 12:15 p.m. - Finish up showprep, touch base with Margaret to let her know I'm popping out to head across the street.
  • 12:20 p.m. - I'm a bit early. Receptionist says I'm welcome to wait till my producer is off-air at 12:45. I decide to take a stroll through the neighborhood.
  • 12:30 p.m. - I find myself standing under a very large bridge - the Jacques Cartier Bridge. I take pictures with the iPad. Well, first I have to figure out how to crank the brightness on the iPad up because it's really sunny and I can't see a damn thing. I duck behind a rusty Dumpster because I figure it's shady enough there. Somehow, I fat-finger my way through and make it work.
  • 12:35 p.m.  Almost trip over a piece of shattered concrete as I walk under the bridge to compose my next shot. It dawns on me that perhaps I shouldn't be standing in a concrete-falling zone (old bridge + rusty rebar + stupid Montreal maintenance practices = a sudden feeling of nausea as I slowly step back.)
  • 12:40 p.m. - On the stroll back to the radio station, I have to decline another interview request because I'll be completely out of position. I don't like saying no, but at some point, when you're running right near the edge of what most folks would consider sane, you just have to leave some things for another day.
  • 1:00 p.m. - CJAD Radio 800 Montreal - weekly tech segment with Ric & Suzanne (Ric Peterson and Suzanne Desautels). Podcast here. I'd hang out in the studio indefinitely if I could: Seriously cool space. With seriously cool people. Newsrooms have always felt like home to me, and this station gave me my first exposure to this incredible world.
  • 2:15 p.m. - Back at CTV to record clips for the CTV National News. I work with Parliamentary Correspondent Richard Madan, and the report is included in the 11 p.m. newscast. Video here.
  • 2:45 p.m. - After saying goodbyes and thank-yous to the CTV Montreal team - it takes a lot of heart to allow a total stranger to just wander in and consume resources for much of the day - I head down to the car. I get momentarily distracted in heavy traffic and take a wrong turn that sends me over the bridge (southbound...I need to go north.) I eventually straighten myself out, only to run into the kind of traffic that reminds me why I so enjoy living in a smaller city where rush hour is little more than 10 cars at a red light. But I've still got good tunes, the sunroof is open and I'm pretty pleased that I've managed to carve out another pretty unique day. I still don't know where all this is leading, but I'm glad to be on the journey.
Your turn: Crazy? Or what?


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

I HATE when I drive off a bridge!


theMuddledMarketPlace said...

we need these wacky days

Alexia said...


Bernie said...

Yes, indeed, a CRAZY day!!!!

me said...

you are like a nerdy superhero! We want photos!! of you in a cape!!!

Snaggle Tooth said...

Impressive... n you got all that done during my sleep hours...
Sounds like what I have to do with my bitty cam-