Sunday, December 12, 2010

My way...

As I sit and enjoy the last ten minutes of my birthday, I'm listening to Frank Sinatra's, "My Way."

Ol' Blue Eyes would have been 95 today; a man with "many sides" as described by Bill Gallo, in the NY Daily News,

"He was brash, good-natured, shallow, deep and poignant, angry, happy, funny, classy, unpredictable, steady and always on time, a slang-talking street guy, with diction so precise and clear that it complimented the English language."

Frank Sinatra is a legend. His songs are timeless. His voice is "The Voice." I can only dream of leaving such a legacy on the world.

I do hope that when I reach the end of the road, I can confidently say, "I faced it all and I stood tall; and did it my way."

How we live defines who we are and how we're remembered.

No one is perfect. We're all messed up, and we're living in a world that's just as screwed up as we are. But no matter what life throws our way, we must stay true to ourselves, never compromising what we believe in.

In the end, it's not the fall that makes us an inspiration to others, but our faith during the fight to get back up.

So, say the things you truly feel and show the world your "many sides." As Sinatra once said, "dare to wear the foolish clown face."

Birthday card from the parents

Friday, December 10, 2010

Living the dream

CBS News Correspondent Kelly Cobiella 
Miami, FL


Life's full of inspiring moments...

                   watching someone 

live their dream 

is one of them. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

"This is a school, not a corporation"

UF Rally Against Block Tuition 11.17.10
Photo by: Diana Moreno 

On the steps of Tigert Hall, a large group of students protested block tuition, which is most likely going to be a reality at the University of Florida come Fall 2011. 

After a UF administrator addressed the crowd, one kid screamed out, "this is a school, not a corporation!" and for some reason his words stuck with me... 

Some of the images I tweeted from the protest:

Friday, November 12, 2010

Seeing Ester and Murray

Grandpa Murray and I
Giulia Lewis Memorial Dinner

Giulia was an adventurous child. I remember when were ten-years-old, her grandparents took us to a church carnival. Giulia begged me to go on "The Zipper," which, if you've never heard of it, is the WORST carnival ride ever invented- a small cage... of death. I still to this day, get sick just looking at. Anyways, she convinced me to suck it up, and go on.

I remember trembling as the ride operator strapped us in. I looked over at Giulia and she was smiling from ear to ear, swinging her feet in excitement. As soon as the ride started, it took about five seconds for me to start screaming bloody murder. After two minutes of hell, the operator let me off. I ran to the back of the ferris wheel, and puked my brains out. The funny part about it was, Giulia was cracking up.... just laughing the entire time. 

This past weekend at Giulia's memorial dinner, her grandpa Murray started talking about that night at the carnival. I've blogged about Giulia's grandparents before, and keep in touch with them through letters and phone calls, but this past weekend was the first time I've seen them in seven years.

As much as we need to move on from tragedies that have touched our lives, we must not let time erase those memories that keep who, or what we've lost... alive.

I'm comforted to know that Giulia's grandparents can still hear her laughing behind the ferris wheel... because if I close my eyes, and go back to that night, I can too.

Ester and Murray 

Awkward Kristin

My friend Andi decided to advertise one of my most awkward moments on Facebook and YouTube. You would think a stunt like the one captured above was done on purpose--but as the girl in the Florida sweatshirt behind the printer, I, Kristin Giannas, can promise you... this was real life. I'm really just that awkward.

So on the day of the above video, I was in the basement of Weimer Hall, and had locked myself in a dark, cold, editing cave to work on a project for one of my TV classes. Judging by the fact that I look like the Crypt Keeper, I hadn't seen the light of day for some time.

Make a long story short, in my zombie-state I left the edit bay and moseyed over to the printer to pick up some papers. I remember staring into a bright light.... and it took me a few seconds to realize that light was atop a camera feeding a newsroom live segment INTO OU NEWSCAST! Once this all clicked, I had seconds to make a decision and, being so quick and smooth on my feet, I decided it was a good idea to, elevator-style, drop it like its hot behind the printer.

I'm jealous that David can blame the dentist.

Friday, November 5, 2010

15 C

I just boarded the plane that's taking me to New York for Giulia's memorial dinner, and I'm sitting in seat 15C.

Giulia was killed seven November 5th's ago.

She was 15.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, I'm not a fan of the number 5.

Friday, October 8, 2010

"Everyone was where they were supposed to be"

I've learned that sometimes, you're at the right place at the right time....and when you're at the wrong place at the wrong time,  all you can do is trust that God knows what he's doing. 

Uncovering truth.

Tonya Miller

Evidence bag containing father's belongings

Inside father's wallet, Clifford's Meridian appointment card

Appointment cards found in father's wallet

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Demeatrius & Tonya Miller

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."
Hebrews 11:1

Have you ever had one of those, "God" moments? It's a step past goose bumps and the chills... where you feel an unexplainable presence around you. You can hear the beating of your heart as your mind seems to drift for a second, but you know you're exactly where you're supposed to be...

I guess the feeling is hard to describe, but if you've ever had a "God" moment, you know what I'm talking about.

I had one tonight, and it was when I decided to put down my camera, and pray with a family broken by tragedy.

"We cannot attempt to understand how Clifford junior became so disconnected with reality, that he was able to harm those he loved most. We are extremely sorry for the pain and grief ripping the Gainesville community, and we can only hope that time will begin to heal the wounds so deep. Six families including ours, have been affected by this unthinkable horrific act. Please continue to pray for all families involved, as the community rely on our faith to heal."
Miller Family Statement

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My Hawaiian Breeze Candle

I bought a Glade Hawaiian Breeze scented candle a few weeks ago, and I lit it for the first time tonight. It's crazy how one candle can make you forget where you are. It's only been burning for about 20 minutes, and my entire house smells like Hawaii... I guess I've never been to Hawaii, but regardless, the $2 candle has transported me to paradise, and inspired tonight's blog post.

As I was pulling into work this morning, I saw the red light on my blackberry flickering. It was an email from a good friend. The subject: "You and worry..."

At the very top, a question, "What Happens When You Worry?"

As I kept reading the message, one sentence struck me... "Worry doesn't take the sorrow out of tomorrow-it takes the strength out of today."

I wasn't expecting this "self-help" email from the friend who sent it. Regardless, I was appreciative and grateful, because despite some of the life-altering experiences I've encountered in the past year--realities that have shown me the value of today and the uncertainty of tomorrow-- I still find myself worrying about the future. My worries are generally about my job, and where my career is going.

It's been almost five months since I graduated from UF, and through my occasional "Facebook stalking," I've learned that several of my classmates have landed some sick jobs right out of college. I've got friends working for the network in NYC, others are reporting in top 50 markets...I can't help but look at myself--reporting for Gainesville's local ABC affiliate-- and not be anxious about where I stand in the world.

It's been five days since I interviewed Pastor Terry Jones, the man behind "Burn a Koran Day." I never expected that I'd be covering an international story during my time at TV20.

Although my coverage wasn't featured on CNN, or picked up by a big city ABC affiliate, I'm still grateful for the experience. For the first time in my young career, I was thrown into a media circus, where I was setting up my tripod and camera next to network news corespondents, BBC reporters, photographers that have been around the world and back... 

I saw first hand, the effects of social networking--- how Pastor Jones' message crossed oceans, and brought journalists from around the world to the front lawn of his small Gainesville church. I saw a clear illustration of traditional news media losing it's power. Journalists are no longer gatekeepers of news and information for the public... editors and producers no longer the sole judges of which stories are appropriate, which sources are credible, which quotes are valuable... 

Here was a story that, in my opinion, was made newsworthy by the people....the tweets, the Facebook groups, the YouTube videos-- the news media only added fuel to the fire.

The story opened my eyes to some of the realities of this changing industry... and it happened right here, in little old Gainesville. 

I know in my heart that God has put me here for a reason. I've also learned that much like my two dollar Hawaiian Breeze candle, a story can make you forget where you are- a story knows no boundaries- a story has the power to touch lives around the world.

In both my life and career, I can't worry about tomorrow. I need to save my strength- keeping my passion and fire burning for the story today.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pastor Jones, all you need is LOVE!

Interviewing Pastor Terry Jones

Wall decor inside pastor's office

"John loved and prayed for the human race. Please tell people to pray the same for him. Remember that he had deep faith in love and that, though he has now joined the greater force, he is still with us."

Yoko Ono, December 1980

If the bible isn't teaching Pastor Jones about love, peace, and understanding....perhaps he needs to listen to The Beatles.  

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A dark cloud...

Noon: Interfaith Prayer Service....Holy Trinity Episcopal Church...Downtown Gainesville

People from all walks of life came together, to pray for peace.

A moment of silence for those who lost their lives on 9-11-01

Gainesville Mayor Craig Lowe

2 PM: I took a drive to the Dove World Outreach Center, where Pastor Terry Jones was addressing the media.

As I was pulling away, I took a picture with my phone, and posted it on twitter.

The dark cloud over the Dove World Outreach Center made me wonder what God thought about all this...