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Will Ferrell

By M Davies   /     Dec 22, 2014  /     Mommyhood, TV Rants  /     11 Comments

In tonight’s awkward parenting moment, my son asked me if I ever met Will Ferrell at my current job.  I have to assume it’s because he and Gabby watched “Elf” for the first time over the weekend.  I caught bits and pieces of it in my various levels of lucidity with my early AM weekend work shift.  It is a cute movie, but for the most part, Will Ferrell’s humor is ehhhh at best for me.  There were some good moments and some awful moments I’ve seen out of him.  Personally, my favorite Will Ferrell moment was when he impersonated Harry Caray on SNL.

 

I had a friend going through a rough patch and was in rehab at the time these skits were on SNL.  It was one of the few things that kept him going and laughing.  To this day, we still joke about it.  “If you were a hot dog and starving…would you eat yourself?”  Hilarious.  I won’t name who it is, but if you are on my Facebook, I just posted one of these videos to the person’s wall.

 

But anyway.  No kid, I never met Will Ferrell at my job.  Sorry to disappoint.  This is Northeast Pennsylvania, not 30 rock.

 

The closest I’ve ever come to “meeting” Will Ferrell was when I was in the same room with him at the Ed Sullivan theater in NYC.  I was in the audience for a taping of “The Late Show with David Letterman”.  Twice.  Once was right after I graduated High School.  Once was right after I started @ epix Internet Services.  The only proof I have of this are some pics I took outside of the theater (no flash photography is allowed inside, probably some union rule) and a t-shirt that I bought at the CBS Store down the street.  The store which was located at the corner of Broadway (53rd) and 7th now appears to be closed.  Boooo, CBS.  🙁

 

The first time I went to Letterman, I went with “Frog” (aka Mike, aka my prom date).  We got our photo taken with Rupert G from the Hello Deli.  The guests on the show that “night” (the show is taped at approximately 4pm EST…ahhhh the magic of TV) included the Piedmont Bird Callers and June Carter Cash.  June sang “Ring of Fire” with an autoharp.  I am blessed to have seen that as she died a few years ago.  Also, after watching “Ring of Fire” and “Walk the Line” and learning the story behind how her and Johnny Cash’s lives together came to be is incredible and should be a model of what true love really means.  The show aired on June 30, 1999.  I graduated from High School on June 6, 1999.  Season 6 / Episode 181 / Episode 1246

 

Here are some of the pictures I took that day:

 

The second time I went to Letterman wasn’t until the next year.  I started @ epix Internet Services on 4/3/2000.  I was stuck at a desk taking calls when suddenly one came in that I not only wanted to take, but NEEDED to take.  It was from the Late Show staffers.  They had tickets and I wanted them.  I knew that Ben Folds Five would be playing on an upcoming show due to my awesome newsgroup (DATING MYSELF HERE) alt.music.ben-folds-five.  I made sure to get the ticket reservation for that day.  Little did I know Will Ferrell would be there as well.  After the show had ended, me and my boyfriend at the time, Rich (now my husband), rushed outside to catch a glimpse of Ben before he got back on his tour bus.  Everyone else crowded around Will Ferrell to get his autograph, but I wanted to see Ben.  Going back in time, I still don’t think I would have changed anything knowing how successful Will has become.  The date was July 19th, 2000 which also is the date of my parents wedding anniversary.  Season 7 / Episode 179 / Show 1441

 

Here are the few photos and mementos I have from that day:

 

Yeah, I sent the photo into the Weekender.  That was before the Weekender went to a pile of shit.  Sorry, I’m not sorry Mom and Dad about saying that, but that’s a blog post for another time.

 

So back to the story….no kid.  No, I didn’t meet Will Ferrell at my job.  But I was in the same room with him.  Once.  I could have met him and got his autograph.  Once.  But I didn’t, and even if I could go back and change things, I still wouldn’t.

 

I just watched the end of the Craig Ferguson show.  I never really got into the show, but when I did catch it – it was gold.

 

On May 20, 2015, Letterman will sign off for the last time.  I’m fortunate for these memories that he’s blessed me with.  I’ve always been a fan of his awkward humor as is my Grandfather.  I always wanted to take him to see the show.  I will try once again for tickets and see if I can make this happen.  At this point, with the show being so close to ending, it’s probably going to be damn near impossible.  But all you can do is try.

 

I think the greater story here is that my son and his generation will never truly appreciate Letterman because they will be too busy watching “Step Brothers”, “Blades of Glory”, or even worse “Zoolander”.  With respect to Will Ferrell, of course, those movies just aren’t my cup of tea.  To be honest, I’m lucky if any movie is my cup of tea.  I have the attention span of a fly.

 

So like, how do I even start to tell an 8 year old THIS story?  Ugh.  Maybe I’ll just hand him my blog card when he turns 18.

 

For good measure, I would be remiss without including one of my favorite Ben Folds songs (a duet).  My kids LOVE this song, BTW.  Whenever it comes on in the car, they stop their bickering and sing along to it.  And I’m supposed to believe that cutting back on music programs in schools is a good idea?  Nah.  Try again.

 

 

Wow, this is the first time I’ve ever watched the video for this…HAHA.  Excellent.

Anyway, until next time…thems all I got.

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Bitcoin

By M Davies   /     May 09, 2013  /     Technology Hates Me, TV Rants  /     0 Comment

On April 17th, I appeared on a local cable access technology show, ComputerWise.  The topic of discussion for the show was “Mining on the Internet” with a specific emphasis in bitcoin.  Bitcoin is an open source deregulated digital currency, a protocol, and a software that enables…

 

 

• Instant peer to peer transactions

• Worldwide payments

• Low or zero processing fees

• And much more! (Source: http://bitcoin.org)

 

 

Rich has been reading up on bitcoin for sometime and cramming my brain with information about how it works, who’s using it, what it can be used for and the like.  I thought it was an interesting topic, so I contacted George Roberts, the host of ComputerWise, and he agreed that it would be a good topic to discuss!

 

It’s been a while since I crammed for something, but I worked most of the day on that Wednesday to put together some discussion points to talk about live later that evening.  Powerpoint is how I like to roll, pulling my inspiration for the presentation from the 20×20 format that Pecha Kucha uses.  Here are the fruits of my labor:

 

Here’s the full episode of ComputerWise that I was on (my part starts about 26:00 in):

 

 

I’ve been watching this show for MANY years.  In my experience, the viewers of ComputerWise aren’t necessarily “tech savvy”, so the information that I discussed was a bit of a dumbed down version so that the viewers of the show could more easily understand what was going on.  Here’s a link to show you the demographics of the viewers of the ComputerWise website (most of them are pointed there from the TV show):  http://computerwisetv.com/tvshow.htm

 

The format of ComputerWise is kind of casual.  George is a gracious host and makes you feel comfortable, but he doesn’t really reveal what questions he may ask during the segment.  You have to think about what may be asked and try to be prepared to answer questions.  I’m not going to lie.  I could feel myself not being prepared for a few questions and tried to think quick on my feet by making use of the computer on set or kind of BSing my way through a question or two.  All in all, I think I nailed a good majority of the talking points.  I am always super critical of myself and think I do awful on TV.  It pains me to watch.  I asked a few other of the reporters and meteorologists that I work with how they deal with it, and they feel the same way.  I guess it’s a natural thing.  Every time I get nervous, I think back to Leadership Wilkes-Barre advice on public speaking my class received:  Only you know how you feel on the inside.  No one else can tell you are nervous, anxious or ready to crawl out of your skin unless you make it obvious or mention something about it.  Fake it ’til you make it.  Or whatever.

 

It’s really great being able to educate people about a topic they may not otherwise know about.  This is my fourth time on the show doing such things.  I have already suggested some more ideas to George for upcoming shows.  I would love to some day see a show like this come to NEPA (ComputerWise mainly airs in the Lehigh Valley area, and to those who have Service Electric and Blue Ridge Cable).  Even if it existed in an online format.  Hmmmmm *wheels turning*…..

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This week in ancient history, a pictorial

By M Davies   /     Mar 14, 2013  /     Misc/Crap, TV Rants  /     1 Comment

Yesterday was my husband’s birthday.  It seems every year in recent memory, I’ve been taken away from home on the day or the week of his birthday.  I had to work on his birthday this year, so I wasn’t home, but at least I was in the same zipcode.  As you’ll see below, I’ve been far and wide on this week in recent history.

 

First, I have to start with the obligatory look back at the blizzard of 1993 which happened 20 years ago.  Damn, I feel old.  I was in sixth grade at the time and my brother was in Kindergarten.  I vaguely remember a conversation with my teacher at the time.  It went something like this…

 

Mr. Chig:  Michelle, can you close these blinds for the windows?

Me:  Ok, no problem but, why?

Mr. Chig:  If they are open, the attention is focused on what’s going on outside and not on me.

Me:  Do you think we are going to get out school early?

Mr. Chig:  I’d say there’s a good chance.

 

We did get out early that day.  In my adolescent mind, the blizzard was already paying off!  When my brother and I got home, we watched the news (on WYOU *ahem*) and learned about how bad our backs would be aching after shoveling.  The outlook wasn’t good.  Especially since my Dad had pneumonia at the time.  My Dad was/is a heavy smoker, and got really sick and was not able to do anything strenuous.  That left my Mom, my brother, and I to do all of shoveling in the sub-zero temperatures.  Let’s just say , it wasn’t one of the more favorite times in my life.  I managed to dig up these pictures:

 

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(My Mom’s Dodge Dynasty and my Dad’s Dodge Ram buried in the snow)

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(Russell in the snow pile, my mom digging behind him)

 

3 years ago – in 2010, I was working for Kraft Foods.  I can’t really give the details of the project due to confidentiality agreements, but I was on a team of individuals for support of a project that involved cell phone technology.  There was going to be a big training session in Green Bay, Wisconsin that I was asked to attend….a train the trainer type of scenario.  I always liked the Green Bay Packers so I was excited to go for that fact alone (forget that we were going to GREEN BAY in the DEAD WINTER).  We arrived in Green Bay on the Sunday of Rich’s birthday week and were to depart on Friday.  Welp.  Green Bay was having an unusually warm winter, which was causing thick fog to form.  Our flight was cancelled out of Green Bay and after much shuffling, we managed to get a flight out of Milwaukee on Saturday (Rich’s birthday) in the evening.  This required a 2 hour drive south and another overnight stay.  I think the flight went from Milwaukee to Chicago and from Chicago back to AVP.  The flight from Chicago to AVP was very choppy.  I thought for sure we were going to die. I’ve never seen a flight I’ve been on rock back and forth so much.  I think I got home after midnight that night and had to be in the Wilkes-Barre St. Patrick’s Day parade the next day.  How I managed to function after all of that, I’ll never know.  Here are some pictures from the trip:

 

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(Me at Lambeau Field Gates)

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(This was further back into the stadium at the gates – terrible hair, but the fog was causing 100% humidity, so whatevs)

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(Brett Favre’s Steakhouse – we ate here one night….I had my first oyster.  It had bacon and cheese, so I’m not sure it counts)

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(The coolest jeep known to man)

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(There were a bunch of these statues all over the city – of famous players)

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(Click to expand image…Where’s Waldo?  Somewhere between Green Bay and Milwaukee Wisconsin!)

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(2 days later, at the W-Barre St. Patrick’s parade – this time for Leadership Wilkes-Barre)

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(Here’s an extended group photo – only 2 project groups participated, the BILAA Little League Rehab project and Helping Paws)

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(With Tux and my BILAA Group members)

 

That brings us to 2011.  Another year, another parade.  On Rich’s birthday….AGAIN.  This time I was in the Wilkes-Barre St. Patrick’s Day for Kraft Foods.  We managed to score several “big” vehicles for the parade…including the Weenie Mobile.  There was always a bunch of character costumes we had.  Stuff I’ve never even heard of.  A Polly-O parrot?  A cheesy dinosaur?  I don’t remember any of these characters.  And of course everyone knows the Kool-Aid man.  It was my idea to have the Kool-Aid man jump out of a sheet of paper and yell “OH YEAH!” right in front of the WYLN camera.  It worked out well.  Gabby and I were on a float that was tagging behind all of the characters.  We were throwing Kraft snack packs into the crowd.  Behind us were the Weenie Mobile and a mac truck.  Here’s a picture:

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(Gabby and I and a weenie mobile makes three)

 

2012 rolls around and I have another job in another industry at another company.  Travelocity, to be exact.  The week of Rich’s birthday last year, I was to be in training in Texas at the Sabre Headquarters.  Sabre is the holding company of Travelocity.  The trip was a hot mess from the moment it was planned until the time we landed back on the ground in Avoca.  I’ve been in Texas before.  Navigating the roads around DFW is not a treat.  I’ve driven in a few different states, and Texas by far is the most confusing.  I had a GPS with me and it could not keep up with all of the on and off ramps to the freeways.  I traveled with a co-worker that I barely knew on the flight down and back.  When we arrived to the airport, we were to rent a vehicle to pick up 2 other co-workers at the airport.  We talked through email, but I had no idea what these people looked like.  Imagine how fun it is to pick up someone up at an airport that you are not familiar with and have never met!  GOOD TIMES.  (Can you detect the sarcasm here?)

 

I was able to find Donna somewhat easily (I only had to circle the airport 25 times to find the right gate).  She was from Long Island and had a thick New York accent.  She was very blunt with the way she said things.  I liked that about her.  Kelly was traveling from Nashville and had a southern drawl.  Her flight got delayed and spent all of Monday morning stranded in the Houston airport.  We couldn’t get a hold of her and didn’t know this until circling the airport about 80 times and making numerous calls and texts to her.  We were running late and hadn’t eaten, so we quickly stopped to get a bite on the way to the office.  We arrived 5 minutes late tops.  Our trainer was pissed.  As a matter of fact, she was pissed every time we were more than 1 second late for anything – even coming back from lunch in a building we’ve never been in before.  It was very irritating.  One morning I got unintentionally lost….I think we arrived 10-15 minutes late and the woman looked like she was going to rip out my throat and tap dance on it.  Yeah hi, I don’t live here.  I’m not familiar with roads, jackass.

 

I quickly realized that the training wasn’t geared toward my job function.  It was geared toward the sales managers – I was an analyst.  I spent most of the day on Social Media when the trainer wasn’t looking.  I don’t understand why I needed to stay for the full 5 days, when really maybe 1.5 days only pertained to me.  It boggles the mind.  After Kelly, Donna, Chris and I got better acquainted (days 2-5) we kind of stuck together like glue and went out each night or stayed at the hotel and drank for the rest of the trip.  It was the only way to get through the mind numbing training and maze of roads that I always got lost on.

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(This was from our karaoke night)

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(This is Kelly posing near the wall of Popes at a family style restaurant we went to one night.  She was going through a messy divorce at the time and this trip was a breath of fresh air for her)

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(Here’s a group shot before we headed for our last day of training…we were relieved it was over)

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(This was the first and probably the last time I will drive a Volvo and/or anything with Texas plates)

 

 

Going on at the same time last year — The H&B Expo

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I was trolling Ryan Leckey’s Twitter feed while in training and seen this picture.  It made me realize where I needed to be.  And it wasn’t counting how many bundled or unbundled hotel packages were sold in Orlando the previous week.

 

The truth is, I was keeping a big secret from everyone.  Shortly after I started at Travelocity, I applied for another job.  Few people knew about it – the important ones.  I had an interview for a job at WNEP right before I headed to Texas.  I didn’t know where it was going to go or even if I was in the running or not.  I had nothing to lose by applying and interviewing, so I just went for it.  After visiting WNEP on 2 other occasions and meeting various department heads, I was hired to be the IT engineer there.  For once in my life, everything seemed to fall into place.  For the two years prior to that, I’ve been throwing jobs at the wall to see if they would stick like spaghetti, and so far this one has.  I’ll be at the station for an entire year on April 23rd this year.  I haven’t spent a full year at a job since I left Kraft in 2011.  Can you believe it?  Be still my wild heart or whatever.

 

This year for Rich’s birthday, I was home….I made dinner and had a birthday cake with the kids.  On Friday there will be party for the family.

 

And I am finally in the right place.

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WTF is Minecraft?

By M Davies   /     Mar 10, 2013  /     Mommyhood, Technology Hates Me, TV Rants  /     5 Comments

I once called my kids’ Nintendo DS a Gameboy and they looked at me like I had three heads, but sit them down in front of the game Minecraft (graphics created circa 1985) and they’ll play that shit for hours.

 

We *ahem* Santa bought *double ahem* gave my kids a Google Nexus tablet for Christmas to share, and ever since then it’s been Minecraft all daylong every day.  While one kid is playing the tablet, the other kid is on the computer looking up videos on Youtube of other kids playing Minecraft.  Maybe I’m getting old, but I just don’t understand the appeal of this game.  Get off my lawn!

 

As I said before, the graphics are just plain awful.  I’ve seen better animation out of my 8 bit Nintendo.  Think I’m kidding?  Here’s a screen shot from PCGamer.com (by the way, that’s supposed to be a sheep):

 

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Am I missing something?  I asked this question recently on Facebook and Twitter, and received a ton of replies from my friends, who are also the parents of grade school-aged children, wondering the same thing.  Why is this game so popular?

 

According to fellow NEPA Blogger Thomas Tomeo:  “Minecraft is basically Legos meets The Legend of Zelda meets The Oregon Trail. They scrounge around the world for supplies to build buildings, tools, weapons, and hunt for food. Then, when night falls, you have to protect yourself from the various evils that stalk the wilds.  It’s an enthralling experience for children young and old. I love the hell out of it.”

 

I don’t love the hell out of it.  It turns my kids into fighting zombies for hours at a clip.  “MOMMY!  IT’S MY TURN TO PLAY!”  “YOU ALREADY HAD YOUR TURN!”  “I WANT TO PLAY!”  My brother suggested that I buy some legos for my kids to address their need to build things.  Trust me, they have a bunch of sets.  Gabby usually bosses Owen around until it is built and then it’s back to Minecraft.  Maybe the solution is to buy another tablet so they don’t fight as much, since the game seems to be semi-educational and semi-promotes creativity.  I just don’t want to encourage their heathen brattish behavior.

 

Any other parents out there feeling my pain with this one? Leave me a comment to discuss!

 

Hey kids!  You want to build something?  Here’s some 2x4s and some nails and a hammer.  I expect a shed in 12 hours.

 

You want to survive the evils that stalk the wilds after nightfall?  Mommy will bring you to her work to camp out overnight!

 

Problem solved.


 

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Top 5 Christmas Commercials of Yesteryear

By M Davies   /     Nov 16, 2012  /     TV Rants  /     5 Comments

It’s 4am and I can’t sleep.  I’ve actually been awake since 2am, but now since Office Space is over I have nothing to occupy my thoughts.  So here I am.

 

I have been noticing year after year, the same commercials being recycled during Christmas.  I’m not sure what the thought process is behind this for merchants/product manufacturers.  Tradition?  Laziness?  Cheapness?  Maybe a combination of all three.  Here are some of the ones we have become accustomed to seeing throughout the holiday season.

 

Cheerios – Grandma Commercial

This was played the other day on WNEP – I remarked to my manager that this kid must be 20 by now.  I’m not that far off base – this commercial was created in 1990.  The actress in the commercial is Peggy Miley and the baby was 9 months old in the commercial.  This would make the baby 22 years of age today.  Can you believe it?

 

Campbell’s Soup – Let it Snow Commercial

Now granted, I haven’t seen this commercial on the air yet…but it is still early in the holiday season.  I do remember seeing it in frequent rotation last year.  I wonder how old the kid was at the time it was shot.  Maybe 7 or 8?  I learned through another blog that this commercial first played in 1995.  This would put the kid actor in his mid to late twenties.

 

Hershey Kiss – Bell Commercial

I did see this commercial air again this year.  According to a Google Search, the first time this commercial aired was in 1989.  In 1989 John Dunn was Brands manager for Kisses.  A new marketing campaign for Kisses was being developed, sometimes referred to as the Kisses “whimsy” campaign.   Working with Ogilvy Mather, a series of animated Kisses commercials were planned utilizing the tabletop stop-motion animation and CG product photography.  Source.

 

Ch-ch-chia! Commercial

You can count on the Chia Commercial to be back in some form this year.  For some reason the makers of Chia (who coincidentally are also the creators of the Ove Glove, Garden Claw, CSL, and the Clapper), Joseph Enterprises, only seem to ramp up their advertising campaign during the holiday season and during Judge Judy.  I guess that’s when they anticipate people to make the most awful present purchasing decisions.  One month out of the year must account for their entire revenue stream, so they don’t see the need to advertise for the other 11?  I’m just guessing.

 

And last but not least ….

 

Pennsylvania Lottery – Twelve Games of Christmas Carol Spoof Commercial

This commercial first started airing in 1992.  Rita has probably long retired and handed over the reign of her food truck to her children.  I would guess Joe is probably dead by now, but yet the commercial continued to play on.  I always had a problem with giving someone a lottery ticket as a gift for the holidays, unless they specifically asked for one.  Here’s my thought process:  If you give a ticket to someone and it doesn’t win them anything, you look like a cheapskate crappy gift giver.  If you give a ticket to someone and it wins something big, then you are kicking yourself because you just were holding a winning boatload of cash ticket in your hand and gave it away.  Giving is always better than receiving, don’t get me wrong…but when it comes to 100,000 dollars, can you honestly tell me that you wouldn’t be upset?  Please.  I digress.

 

I don’t know if you know this, but the Pennsylvania Lottery actually updated this commercial this year.  There are all new actors.  A new Joe, a new Rita…a new FIVE CASH FIVES soloist.  It’s….odd….see for yourself:

 

I don’t know how I feel about this new commercial.  Maybe it’s time to bring back Gus and Gabby.

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More WVNR

By M Davies   /     Aug 24, 2012  /     NEPA, TV Rants  /     1 Comment

I stopped down the Wyoming Valley Newsroom 3 additional times this week due to computer issues of the reporters and photogs stationed there, so I managed to snap a few more pics of the setup as an addendum to my last post. BTW, you can click any of these pictures below to pop-out a larger image.

 

     

 

Here’s the previous preview picture I posted above a picture I took on Sunday.  As you can see, there are two Newswatch 16 signs on the outside.  One facing the square and one facing those walking into the Bicentennial building.  I’m told they light up, but I haven’t really seen it happen.  There’s also a TV above the doors, although I’m not sure how well you can see it in the picture.  There are speakers mounted outside so that you can hear what’s on the TV mounted outside as previously mentioned.

 

 

When I tell people that I need to monitor what’s on WNEP & WNEP2 all day they tease me saying such things as “MUST BE NICE, YOU GET TO WATCH TV ALL DAY LONG”.  Um, no.  Actually we monitor what airs on TV to make sure none of the paid commercial sponsors that we have air in black.  If they do, we have to adjust their billing at the end of the month.  At the WVNR, there are 3 TVs on the wall in addition to desktop TVs for this purpose.  Also to catch any weird errors that may occur during news broadcasts.

 

 

The last time I was at the WVNR, the signage on the pole (toward the front) was incorrectly placed and was in the process of being removed.  Originally the sign company centered the letters on the pole and in actuality it needed to go only so many inches down from the top (a.k.a. uncentered).  They have been back to fix it and it looks really good.

 

 

One of the cool things about the WVNR, that hasn’t really received enough attention in my opinion, is the mural on one of the back walls.  The pictures on the mural are from all around the area.  Andy Palumbo tells me that a few of his photos are featured on the mural.  This picture does not do the mural justice though, you kind of have to see it in person.

 

 

Something odd…as I was helping the Wilkes-Barre crew with computer issues on Monday, we received a flower delivery.  The address was wrong on the flowers, so the first time the guy showed up we sent him away.  He came back a short time later and showed us the card and we accepted the delivery.  The card had the incorrect address, but was addressed to WNEP-TV.  It said “Welcome to the Neighborhood, From all your friends at Eyewitness News”.  Awkward.  We aren’t sure if this a real thing or someone playing a prank, but either way we all had a good chuckle about it.

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