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St. Pete wrap-up.

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agentwhale007 View Drop Down
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    Posted: 21 December 2009 at 2:41am
I know you all are probably tired of me making threads about my trip, so this will be the last one, chronicling everything into one nice thread about my journey.

Abbreviated notes from the trip:

St. Petersburg is a very pretty city with tons of awesome local restaurants. However, the road layout is confusing as hell, so getting anywhere requires about 20 extra minutes built in for error. I used the GPS on my phone pretty much all day. It is one of those cities with numbered streets and avenues of both north and south, so giving anyone directions is hell.

Twice on the trip we ended up going the wrong way down a one-way street.

The media hotel was quaint but nice. It did, however, have crazy-ass green carpet with pink and white zig-zag walls. I have no idea what feeling they were going for.



Our room had shells all over the wall. Very Florida:



It would seem like this would be a vacation, but we spent 10+ hours a day doing actual work, between covering the team's pre-bowl events, practices, coach pressers, alumni association events, writing pre-game matchups and previews and columns.

At any point in time, our hotel room had four laptops up in little mini work stations with piles of stats and papers and binders around us.

One of the pre-bowl festivities was a visit to the All Children's Hospital.

That was a bit of a gut check, because players and cheerleaders walked around the intensive care unit of the place giving out posters, shirts and other UCF stuff. It was hard to see some of the stuff there. I've been in plenty of hospitals before, but seeing nothing but kids hurting kinda kills the soul a little bit.

However, seeing the kids smile when a mascot was in the room, or when people are visiting and paying attention to them, that made it all a little bit better. I got through covering that with my eyes still dry, barely



Oh, by the way, I interviewed that dude on the left there without knowing who he was at the time. I just thought he was some guy who gave money to the hospital or something.

Turns out his name is Mike Alstott, and he is a pro-bowl former NFL player who helped take the Tampa Bay Bucs to the Superbowl. I had no idea.

That's what I get for not watching the NFL.

More time than I would have liked was spent dealing with this piece of crap:




Our parent company loaned us a pretty expensive video setup with that thing, two stick mics, a mounted light and some cordless mics to do interviews and live shots with.

It recorded on DV tapes, which we have no ability to edit, so they also gave us this portable hard drive to carry around connected to the camera that would make .omf files that could be easily transferred to my laptop to be edited on Final Cut Pro.

Or so I was told the morning I left for St. Pete, because I got the camera that morning with no time to prepare or get used to the damn thing.

So, I spent a lot of time looking like this:



You can see the frustration on my face if you look carefully enough, as I fiddle with the converter.

The worst part was that I couldn't even edit the files. My copy of Final Cut wouldn't import the files.

So, after a day lost because of the camera, one of my sports editors, who has a contact with this place (largely regarded as the holy grail of innovation within journalism)....



(Yes, that is me taking a picture with my cellphone of their front sign like a dork)

....We ended up going over to use one of their labs to see if we could get the thing to work.

After hours and hours lost to fiddling, we couldn't make anything work right, so we gave up. Ironically, if we would have just shot on tape, the Poynter Institute could have helped us.

I made the decision after that to shoot on our backup video camera, a tiny $150 Panasonic hand-held. And, sure enough, the sound and picture quality was awesome.

I shot this video of the UCF and Rutgers marching bands battling and everything came out perfect. And I didn't even need Final Cut. I did everything in iMovie.

Suck it, multiple-thousand dollar camera.

We took out our frustrations with alcohol. Yuengling is really cheap, as it is bottled in Tampa Bay, which is only a few miles out from St. Pete.

At the end of the night and by end of the night I mean about 2 a.m as that is when we got all our work done we usually settled (snuck) into the hotel hot tub with two 12-packs of Yuengling cans stuffed into a hotel room trashcan filled with ice and a bottle of coconut rum.

That was one of the more enjoyable parts of the trip. In a quiet spa, hot bubbling water contrasting with the cool Gulf Coast night air and polishing off cheap beer and doing shots of rum, all while plotting out the next day's adventure.

The life of a reporter.



Even though my team got all but murdered by Rutgers, I had a pretty good time.

All-in-all, myself and my crew pushed about 12-14 articles, galleries and videos in four days.
"So when Romney wins in a landslide, what will the liberal media do?"
This Ma**edited**hine Kills **edited**as**edited**ists.




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ParielIsBack View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ParielIsBack Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 December 2009 at 3:00am
a) Rutgers would have really fat chicks in their marching band right behind the cheerleaders.  I'ma have a talk with them about that.

b) Looks like it was pretty interesting beside technical issues.  Getting a little addicted to sports coverage, eh?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Frozen Balls Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 December 2009 at 4:42am
More pictures!

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pntbl freak View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pntbl freak Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 December 2009 at 1:13pm
As I was looking at the pictures I got to the one with the mascot and said..."Hey! Thats Mike Alstott."

(I dont know what hes doing in a UCF shirt....he played at Purdue!  He holds the record for most rushing yards in a season and I believe he has the record for career rushing yards Wink)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Benjichang Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 December 2009 at 1:18pm
I've been a fan of your hair for quite awhile, Mr. Riley.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote High Voltage Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 December 2009 at 1:56pm
Neat stuff. I nominate Whale for best T&O beard.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tical3.0 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 December 2009 at 3:01pm
Wow UCF cheerleaders are lacking in the chest department. Whale, it blows my mind that I am older than you and look atleast 10 years younger. That is one epic beard my friend. As for the kids hospital I am surprised you made it out without a tear. I visit Sick Kids here in Toronto quite often with my cousin who does alot of charity work for them and everytime I set foot it that place it really makes me relize how lucky we are. The fact that you can put a smile on there faces is an amazing feeling though.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote agentwhale007 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 December 2009 at 4:05pm
Originally posted by Tical3.0 Tical3.0 wrote:

Wow UCF cheerleaders are lacking in the chest department.


Pretty much any female cheerleader at any university with a competitive cheer team is super small all around. It makes them easier to throw in the air and easier to catch when they come back down.

It's kind of weird being in a room with them, because the tallest girl on the UCF competitive squad is about 5'4"

Originally posted by Benjichang Benjichang wrote:

I've been a fan of your hair for quite awhile, Mr. Riley.


It is waaaay to long for my liking. If it would keep from getting tangled it would be fine, but I end up looking homeless at about lunch.

Originally posted by pntbl freak pntbl freak wrote:

As I was looking at the pictures I got to the one with the mascot and said..."Hey! Thats Mike Alstott."

(I dont know what hes doing in a UCF shirt....he played at Purdue!  He holds the record for most rushing yards in a season and I believe he has the record for career rushing yards Wink)


He was actually wearing a "Mike Alstott Foundation" shirt. I think he gives a crap-ton to the hospital every year so they invite him to come along with all the charity things that go on with the hospital.

Originally posted by ParielIsBack ParielIsBack wrote:

Getting a little addicted to sports coverage, eh?


I've come to the realization that if someone offered me a job, even at minimum-wage rates, to cover college football the rest of my life, I would do it.


"So when Romney wins in a landslide, what will the liberal media do?"
This Ma**edited**hine Kills **edited**as**edited**ists.




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