Friday, 12:40 PM ET
So I didn't blog as much as I would have liked to during the trip, but I did tweet a lot. Check out http://twitter.com/stevefullhart for a better view of the trip.
I would like to say a big thanks to the folks with the Chamber who put up with us following them along. They continual tell us that we're not a burden or a bother, but I wouldn't doubt that we step in their way a bit at times. So thanks to them.
In case you don't know, these folks on the trip pay out of pocket to do it. This year's delegation was smaller than normal, likely due in part to the economic woes the country is facing. We're not as affected in our area thankfully, but I wouldn't be surprised if that was the reason. Nonetheless, those that did go (a still sizable group) went to make an impact, and likely did.
Of course, I also should thank Jordan for all his hard work. His secretly-hidden rant below is a pretty good indicator of what we go through, but that's our job, so we do it as best we can. Hopefully we provided some insight and information on how our community has changed and could change in the future. Jordan did great labor- and time-intensive work that deserve a lot of appreciation. He's got mine.
And to Blue Man Group...wow, that was unexpected. Thanks for stopping by.
(like they'll read this...can they read?)
Wednesday 1:27 AM ET
Okay, so I'm going to throw this out there, without trying to form a pity party -- this trip isn't easy. This post might give you a little insight into what we do while we're working here, but is secretly hidden as a rant.
Steve and I are often up very early in the morning (5-6 am), walk a minimum of four miles on Capitol Hill lugging about 20 pounds of gear each, and turn around at least two stories by deadline (before 6 p.m.). Then after dinner, we're usually up until at least midnight or later, posting pictures, web stories, and of course blogs so that everyone can participate in what the Brazos Valley leaders are trying to accomplish while they're in Washington D.C.
Of course, being a few thousand miles away opens the door for a few problems to pop up, that may or may not be able to be solved by Steve or myself.
Tuesday night, we ran into one of those problems.
To feed back the stories we shoot and produce while we're here, we have to use a FTP site (file transfer protocol), which is connected through the internet. Last year, we had few (if any) problems with feeding back stories in a timely manner. Tonight, everything was not quite as timely.
While feeding the 5 p.m. story, we noticed the transfer rate had significantly dropped. A previous story of similar length had taken only 40 minutes. Suddenly, this story of equal length was going to take almost 2 hours. Other internet sites were loading very rapidly, which led us to believe that perhaps the hotel saw us transferring out large files and decided to decrease our bandwidth.
Well of course, after conferring with many smart minds at KBTX, we decided to seek the help of the front desk. Now mind you, most people don't understand the time frame of a news deadline. We work under a little tighter schedule than most. When the 6pm news hits air, either the story is ready or it isn't. There is no extension, or "it's okay, finish it tomorrow" that some people get.
Another qualifier here before I continue this blog post disguised as a rant -- most of the folks at our hotel have actually been quite hospitable. They open doors, and even offered to carry the camera up to the room just because I looked tired.
But tonight, the front desk assistant, was less than able to assist us in our problem. His simple answer was, "Well, you said it's sending right? I mean, if it's sending, it's sending." Obviously, this was a young man that did not understand our news deadline. While technically he was correct that our file was sending, that did not solve the fact that it was sending files at almost four times the normal amount it has taken us to send previous stories. His other offer to help was "the IT guy will be in about 9ish". Not 9. Not 8:30. 9"ish".
Rant over, the news will go on, and so will our coverage from Washington D.C. But if you don't see a few stories, you now just might know that simply put, this trip isn't as easy as it seems!
MONDAY, 10:30PM ET
Well, we've arrived, obviously. I've tried to tweet a bit (http://twitter.com/stevefullhart), both about the big issues that will be brought up this week and about our experiences.
This evening was a free one for all the delegates. Many split up and went to a variety of places. Myself and Jordan went out to dinner with my parents at my favorite restaurant, Hard Times Cafe, a place world famous for chili. Then, Mom and Dad were kind enough to drive us around a rainy Washington so Jordan could check out some of the monuments.
Save for a couple of dinners, the rest of our trip will be filled with work. Tomorrow morning, we're going to try and pull off a tricky maneuver. Senator John Cornyn is having a coffee that the Chamber normally goes to. Well, not many members are planning on going from what I understand. The senator is meeting with the delegation Wednesday about 4:30 p.m., which is really pushing it to get something done for the news that evening considering time it takes to send video back. So we're going to try to do what we did two years ago and interview the senator at the coffee. Could be a complete bust...we'll see.
Wish us luck!
Monday, 12:00 AM ET
While riding the metro subway this afternoon to The Capitol, I noticed something strange -- people really aren't quick to jump up and give their seat up to women.
The interesting thing about this is, in my two years coming to Washington, D.C. I haven't really encountered a rude person. But when it comes to getting on the metro and getting a seat, it seems like a free-for-all.
I remember my days riding the bus to Texas A&M's campus, and if a female set foot on board and a male instantly didn't hop up, he received glaring looks from everyone around him or sometimes was told he needed to get up by another male.
Today, an older lady stepped onto the red train heading to Union station. I jumped up and offered my seat. Two things were accomplished from this -- 1)she told me that was the nicest thing anyone had done for her in a few months, and 2)I saw a few people that had remained seated taken aback from what they had just seen. I might not be able to pass a bill through the House or Senate, but maybe -- just maybe -- I made a difference in Washington, D.C. for a few people.
Maybe the next time they're on a subway and a female gets on board, they'll give up their seat. But then again, this is a different town. After all, a politician once said "Friendliness isn't something that is in deep supply in Washington."
Another random thought as we get ready to embark on the next day's adventure -- this is the second year in a row that it has rained on the first day. Typically, the first day we are in town is the only small window Steve and I have time to do any sightseeing. And generally we have to do that later in the evening, after we've sent back stories, arranged our itinerary for the next two days, grabbed a bite to eat, and unpacked our clothes. I bet it's nice to see Washington, D.C. when it's actually dry here....maybe our luck will be better next year. Check out some of the pictures we snapped on day 1 in the "Eye On You" section.
Check in regularly as News 3 reporter Steve Fullhart and photojournalist Jordan Meserole leave their thoughts on the Chamber of Commerce's trip to Washington, DC. They'll provide a behind-the-scenes perspective on the trip.
This is Fullhart's third time to Washington to cover the delegation's trip. For Meserole, it's his second year.