Wednesday, June 14, 2006

In the Can

Yesterday was adventure day for our little troop.

We visited the Kingston television station, CKWS, for Sydney & Georgia to be interviewed by Anthony Agostino. For those of you in our area, their television debut will be tomorrow (Thursday, June 15th) on the 5:30 Newswatch program.

Mr. Agostino was late for our appointment, so Scott asked if someone could give us a look around the building while we waited. In a few minutes, Rob McDonald, the Operations Director, came down to the lobby and gave us the grand tour.

First, he took us through the radio booths. At that time of the afternoon, they were empty. Computers were running the radio. We saw the television and radio creative departments, where the writers and video magicians create TV advertisements and the audio gurus tend the MP3 music and sound library.

After a quick tour through the film library, the editing booths and the control booths, we reached the piece de resistance--the television news studio. Sydney was immediately drawn to the chair in the middle of the news set. Georgia didn't know which shiny, blinking machine to climb first.

They fired up the cameras and we got to see ourselves in the monitors, in front of the Newswatch background. Then, Sydney, Georgia and I stood in front of the green screen for some fun. She did the weather report, and had a little fly around the city of Kingston.

Mr. Agostino arrived with Ray. Scott and Sydney did their interview about Georgia's illness and Sydney's fundraising, with a bit of Georgia thrown in for comic relief. They are also interested in the June 30th fundraiser, where Vic the welder will have his hair cut for the Angel Hair kids wig program, and proceeds will go to the James Fund.

After the interview, the news team was setting up to tape some afternoon teasers--and news anchor Bill Hutchins was so kind to Syd. He had her sit beside him while he did the taping, and she got to push the button to bring the weather forecast up onto the screen. She was thrilled.

Scott was just as thrilled as Sydney by all the activity. Georgia took it all in perfect stride. The best part of the tour, for her, was the ‘wall o’ candy’ machine.

As if a visit to a television studio wasn't enough excitement for one day, last night the local firefighters were doing an exercise to improve their rating with the insurance underwriters (and hopefully lower our insurance premiums). We live in the country, so there are no fire hydrants--fire fighting power is determined by how fast the department can move water from a nearby lake to the site.

The test involved 7 tanker trucks, 5 pumper trucks, lots of activity at 3 locations, lights & sirens past the house and a 600 gallons per minute water cannon across a field--for 2 hours. After Sydney & neighbor April waved at the first few trucks going past, we loaded everyone into the minivan for an impromptu inspection of the proceedings.

At the Loughborough Lake site, we saw a pumper fill a 10,000 gallon tanker truck in 3.5 minutes. And how do they know they're full? When water starts gushing out the top!

We followed the path of the truck to a field behind the local hardware store, where the tankers were emptied and a pumper shot water into the air in a huge arc. We also got to see trucks coming from both directions, and lots of waving fire fighters.

We followed a truck to the other loading site on Collins Lake. Coming over the hill, the sight of flashing lights was spectacular (especially when you know it's a drill and no one is hurting). There were police directing traffic as the tanker trucks turned around and hooked up to the pumpers (1 on each side of the road). All in all, Scott, Sydney & April seemed to enjoy the spectacle. Georgia, again, was a bit blase--but then there was no candy involved, so I can see her point.


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