Archive for February, 2012

Monday Catch Up….
February 27, 2012

Love Jean Dejardin!!

OK , I got to see The Artist…the silent film that won Best Picture Oscar last night, just under the wire before Sunday night’s Oscars. It’s still playing at The Charles Theatre downtown.. one of my fav places to see a movie, but it’s a bit more of a challenge to eat dinner, since the Zodiac closed a couple of year ago. Sure, there’s Tapas Teatro which is wonderful…but even though we arrived at 6…were told there was a 40 minute wait for a table(a problem, obvie, when your movie starts at 6:50). Sophie’s Crepes was standing room only(that doesn’t take much of course as it is tiny), and my daughter had told me the Diner on the corner was good. So we traipsed over there…sign on the door says “closed for renovation“. Hmmmm, you never know what that means, except that you’re NOT having dinner there. But the sign also said the Club Charles next door was now serving some of the much missed Zodiac favs.

Let's be honest looks like a dive bar...

So we tentatively open the’s locked…they have to buzz you in, which the girl at the bar does. It’s dark inside, with kind of a 1940-ish, hipster/creepy/cool vibe…..there is one lonely other couple in the room, seated in the corner. And it is silent as…a… tomb. Not a good sound for a bar. But we’re hungry, and thirsty. So after dropping some money in the jukebox so things aren’t so depressing(yes they still have one) , we sit at the bar and ask for menus. Sure enough, the Zodiac pizza is there!!….With smoked mozzarella, chicken and caramelized onions…it’s a no brainer, and a winner. I get a glass of  sauvignon blanc(for $5 believe it or not)…and we chill. Bottom line, the drinks were cold, the music personally chosen, and the pizza fabulous, we made the movie…and we will be back. Don’t let the skeezy looking exterior put you off…push the buzzer..and come on in.

Working the night shift…
February 23, 2012

Here we are, making tv widgets.....around the clock...

Most of tend to think of people who work shift work, as perhaps factory jobs, where things roll around the clock…or maybe a 24 hour restaurant. My Dad worked over 40 years at a place that made cast iron pipe in Birmingham, Alabama. He would change shifts every two weeks as I remember. Imagine, for two weeks working 3:30am-noon, then two weeks day shift, and then two weeks 8 pm to 3:30 am….it must have been brutal, a continual sort of jet lag.

AC yes, but we didn't have a clothes dryer for years!

That was why we got air conditioning back in the day…he was trying to sleep during the hot summer months with 3 little girls running around screaming outside the windows. Yeah.

And as I’m sure some of you have noticed, I am now on the night shift. Television is also a business, like hospitals or factories, that operate 24-7. And those shifts have to be covered. So I’m working mid afternoon until after the 11 pm newscast. A man I saw at Whole Foods tonight said, “Wow, I see you on the 11 o’clock newscast. I know that’s tough.”

And while there positives and negatives  about everything…here’s the positive I have found in this move.

I have yet to achieve this look....

-I have time for all kinds of appointments! Hair, doctors, yoga class…running errands…You have good quality daytime hours to do things, and when your off hours are at night, many things aren’t open, or you don’t have the energy after work.

nap like a rock star...

Naps. I try to take a little while before I get ready for work to lie down for a little while, and maybe even take a nap…which I love. The nap is a much underrated pleasure.


-Feeding the cats. OK, that sounds truly weird, but Muffy is a grazer, and weighs almost nothing…that’s because  when I feed the cats in the morning, she nibbles and then wanders away, and Baby Girl gobbles everything she left. So now I feed Muffy several times a day, and she is actually gaining a little weight. Score!

People on the night shift. Rod Daniels(who brings in Big Pup Bandit every now and again), Kai Reed, Gerry Sandusky, Tom Tasselmyer, Jerome Chester , Sheldon Dutes…all great people I enjoy being around very much. And working on a shared project….a terrfic 11 pm newscast…is something we all share and craft together.

So it’s all good…much to my surprise, I’m enjoying being on the night shift…more than I ever thought I would. Now what has taken a beating is this blog, because I haven’t quite found the groove that allows me to do it as often. But I promise to put out a blog at least once a week. And maybe I’ll find the time to do more than that.

Someone asked had I deserted the blog for Facebook….no…but a Facebook post takes a few minutes if that, and a blog takes a block of time. If you aren’t on FB and Twitter, I encourage you to try it…you might find it much more rewarding than you think. On Twitter, I’m @donnahamiltontv, and on Facebook Donna Hamilton WBAL-TV. And it’s easy. Really.

A day on the ranch…..with LBJ
February 7, 2012

This was a common sight at the LBJ ranch back in the 1960's....

Ok, last week in Austin…I rented a car one day, and decided to make the trek out to the old LBJ ranch(now a national park)…for those of you under a certain age…LBJ is Lyndon Baines Johnson. The man who took over the helm after President John Kennedy’s assasination. The man who steered/bulldozed civil rights legislation through Congress.

LBJ called it "Air Force One-half"....

The runway on which Air Force One landed was just a strip in the middle of a field (which is still there), and it landed there pretty often, as LBJ spent 1/4 of his time at the White House, in Texas on his ranch.

Lovely shot of LBJ and Lady Bird....back in the day...

It’s where he and his grandparents and parents before him were raised, on the Pedernales River….out in the beautiful Texas hill country.

The entrance to the ranch that LBJ designed.....

And the entrance that LBJ added(always a flair for the dramatic), included a trip over/through the river, and while the roadway through the river is still there, no one drives over it, but this is what it looked like when you did…

Actually looks like fun, doesn't it?

And while the first lady Lady Bird Johnson had a guest book…the President had a different way for his guests to be remembered at the ranch..they signed their names in concrete.

Astronauts Gus Grissom and Alan Sheppard.....

The house has been preserved just as it was when the Johnsons were in residence…he donated the ranch to the National Park Service, to go into effect after Lady Bird died(in 2007).

LBJ's presidential office on the ranch, just as it was...

It’s a fascinating glimpse into the 1960s, and the volatile, crazy time it was, with civil rights, assassinations and the Vietnam War all playing on stage. I didn’t realize that Johnson died when he was only 64, just a few years after announcing that he would not seek another term in office.  He’s also buried at the ranch. The park service does an amazing driving tour(diy-you get a cd and it tours you around with commentary and info. If you ever get out that way, don’t miss it!