London 2012 (08.10.2012) – “This is a lot of shirts!”

Here’s a tip if you ever decide to travel to a big event or vacation in an exotic country, don’t ask your family what souvenirs they want. Especially if you’re like me, who just graduated from college and has no source of income yet.

Inside the London 2012 Megastore. From

I rarely do get enthusiastic about souvenirs or even the thought of giving. How many times have you actually worn that souvenir shirt from NYC? But the excuse that I keep going back to came back again: “It’s the Olympics.”

I was so happy to be at London 2012 and wanted to share that happiness with everyone back home so I posted on my family’s Facebook group, “Let me know if you want souvenirs!” I even said that each family member can have one item on me.

Big mistake. By the time I got around to actually buying London 2012 merchandise, I had spent much of my money on tickets, newspapers and alcohol (quite a combination). And everyone and their mother (literally) wanted a T-Shirt.

This morning, I made the trek to the London 2012 Megastore, right by the “mega” McDonalds and Olympic Stadium. I’ve heard horror stories about the Megastore. Long queues, merchandise all over the place, or just the opposite: sold out.

But by going in the morning, I avoided all of that. All the shirts were where they were supposed to be, relatively light foot traffic and no lines. Time to get to work on my list.

The main goal was to find the cheapest shirt in the right size. The difficulty was that there were so many shirts that I had to buy that I often lost track of who has what. I find myself walking through the store several times. Some gifts were easy to find, like men’s shirts. Women’s shirts were a different story. I ended up just buying smaller sizes of men’s shirts for some of them.

Amid all the searching, I wanted to get something for myself. But not a shirt. I have enough of those, including some of the swag that I get from NBC. Next thing I know, I find this awesome shoulder bag.

My souvenir gift to myself.

I rarely shop, let alone brag about the stuff I buy, especially clothes and accessories. But as a young-looking guy in New York City, every time I wear my backpack in the city, I get the sense that people think I’m playing hookey and should be in school. That’s why you’ll usually find me wearing clothes that a teenager wouldn’t wear to school in the city, like a pair of khaki pants with a shirt and tie.

Why I think that this shoulder bag will solve this problem, I don’t know. But it looks sleek, cool, and I can show off to everyone that I’ve been to the Olympics (as if I couldn’t do that with the two backpacks I already received from NBC and OBS).

It felt good to treat myself, almost like a reward for all the work I’ve done here in London. What didn’t feel as good: opening my wallet. Each scan of the barcode felt like someone was stabbing me in my pocket, letting any loose change and bills out. The swipe of my ATM card felt like a death sentence.

The cashier chuckled and said, “This is a lot of shirts.”

I could not agree more. I think I counted 13 shirts (and if I missed a family member, I could always go to the NBC store at 30 Rock in New York City).

But I left the store and I now owned all the stuff that I purchased, most to be given to family. But after a shopping spree like that, I told my sisters that if you ordered more than one item for yourself, you’re going to have to pay for that. I’m not Santa Claus and as much as I may love you, I can’t afford all this free-giving. Not yet at least.

It felt like I fulfilled my duty of visiting the Olympics. Buying expensive London 2012 merchandise to show off where I’ve been. It’s kind of like when you give gifts for Christmas. Do you want to spend the money? No. But you have to get them something? And in the end, it’s nice to see a happy face after you give them that gift.

Hope they like what I got them.

Beginning of the End

It’s the final weekend of the Games. You can get the sense that things are ending. The TODAY show, our neighbors next door to SportsDesk, started packing up today since they just completed their final show from London today.

Conversations arise of “What are you planning to do next?” and “Can you believe school starts next week?”. Obviously the latter question doesn’t apply to me since I have already graduated. But I have been thinking about what I plan to do after. As I hear of friends of mine back home getting jobs and starting new adventures, there’s a lot of uncertainty ahead. I put off a lot of the panicking that my friends had last May because I knew I had this Olympic experience to look forward to. Now that it’s almost over, I’m not panicked but there’s a lot of soul-searching ahead.

Soul-searching that I’ll leave for the plane ride home. Meanwhile, the final shoots and edits were being done today. But as far as loggers were concerned, we’re practically done. Shoots that we’ve logged were already being used for producers’ final stories of the Olympics.

Taking the lead

One of the producers was working on a profile story of the American BMX riders competing here in London. BMX is a popular sport to watch at SportsDesk, mainly because it’s very visual, especially when there are big leaps in the air or major crashes.

Yesterday, the producer walked by and asked “What is that?”, pointing at one of the monitors showing the BMX competition. Of course, I knew that he knew what was going on but I responded, “The men’s quarterfinals of BMX.”

He was more interested in the awesome-looking replays that the feed was showing, so he asked, “Are we rolling on that?”

I said that we could roll on it. But he declined, saying that he didn’t want to touch the piece since it was almost done. But from the look in his eyes, I figured that he wanted the footage. And as a former producer, I know that if there’s a way that I can make a product better, I’ll find one.

I decide to roll on the BMX competition, even noting down the timecode of the recording whenever an American was competing since that’s the footage he would be looking for. I took the disc, brought it into the edit suite and started digitizing it so that he can access the footage in his editing project. If I needed any confirmation that what I was doing was the right thing, it was when he said, “Is that footage being digitized?” I was already taking the lead.

I wasn’t sure if that footage would be used at all, until I saw the final product. Turns out it was.

Watch the story of America’s BMX cyclists competing here in London.

Thank You, Jimmy Fallon

There was a lot of buzz among the NBC interns this afternoon. Word got around that the Primetime Show was taping a segment between Bob Costas and Late Night host Jimmy Fallon and the producers wanted interns to act as the studio audience for it.

I wasn’t planning on even taking part as I had just sat down with my lunch at the SportsDesk office but the room was getting a bit empty and all the other interns from SportsDesk had left so I figured I’d take a walk across to outside Studio A to see what’s up. Turns out every intern, as well as a few PAs, were waiting around to be a part of the taping. So for the sole reason of peer pressure and that I didn’t want to be the one intern that wasn’t taking part (“taking part” is what the Olympics are about after all), I decided to let my lunch get cold and be a part of this mock studio audience.

So we lined up in the studio, about three rows deep of interns, right in front of the desk. I didn’t feel the need to be on TV at the moment so I stood in the back row. Somehow when my roommate watched the segment back in the States, he found me and was able to take a screengrab.

Somehow my roommate spotted me among the interns taking part in the Jimmy Fallon segment for NBC Olympics primetime.

Fallon didn’t disappoint of course. He did his well-known “Thank You” cards segment and it was a hit with all the interns in the room. Fallon walked into the studio as we cheered and applauded. He gave everyone in the front row high-fives (a fellow SportsDesk intern literally got picked up with a hug). Watch as Bob Costas masterfully plays the piano and Fallon pokes fun at the Games of the XXX Olympiad.

Thank you, Jimmy Fallon, for making interns and America laugh.

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