Wednesday, April 30, 2008

blogging 101

To the right is a picture of me on a ferry from Nova Scotia to New Foundland, obviously prepared for dehydration. I embedded this photo without even going to my blog's posting page. Flickr allows you to create blog posts, using your pictures uploaded on Flickr, and it automatically posts on your blog.
You can also click on the picture to view the rest of my set of pictures (I wasn't the only one on the ferry).

Also, flickr has a very nice looking slideshow of your set, and you can throw a link to that on your blog post.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

19th century attraction

I've been reading Les Miserables for some time now, as some of you might have noticed on the left side of this blog. Unfortunately, my copy is now drenched in sweat, due to how much hard work it has taken to get as far as I have. The book is good, no question about that. Many of the scenes have been suspenseful enough to glue my rear end to the very edge of my leather recliner. But I just have a sense that Hugo wasn't that concerned with keeping his reader's attention. To make matters more difficult, I have recently noticed that the copy I have been struggling through is an abridged version! No longer does finishing the book mean I can stand it up next to my U-10 soccer trophies as a personal intellectual achievement.

But there are scenes that keep me interested. For example, Jean Valjean's adopted daughter, Cosette has recently come into her own as a grown woman (16 years old), and the 19th century Parisian men have started to take notice. Cosette has fallen in love with a young gentleman named Marius; and by love, I mean the two sat in the same section of Paris and nervously glanced at each other every day for about a quarter of a year, never speaking. But, alas, Jean Valjean became jealous of this obvious love, and asked Cosette to go to a differet part of town on their daily walks, resulting in Marius not knowing where to find her, resulting in Cosette becoming angry with Marius:

One day she suddenly thought of Marius: "Why!" said she, "I no longer think of him."

Oh, young love! It didn't take long, however, for Cosette to notice another strapping young man on the streets of Paris. Here's what she liked about him:

That same week, she noticed a very handsome officer of lancers, with a wasp-like waist, a delicious uniform, the cheeks of a young girl, a sword under his arm, waxed mustaches, and a glazed schapka, passing the gate. Moreover, he had light hair, prominent blue eyes, a round face, was vain, insolent and good-looking; quite the reverse of Marius. He had a cigar in his mouth.

This passage brought me to a new level of understanding. Here I am, a college-educated, 23 year-old man, and I'm still single. Of course, this has led to daily hour-long mirror inspections, as I try and figure out what is wrong with me. Why don't the ladies take my bait? Hugo's scene comforted me: I was born in the wrong century! If this was 1831, I would be a hot commodity. I don't know when waxed mustaches, wasp-like waists, and having the cheeks of a young girl went out of style, but I have certainly felt the consequences.

With looks as good as Gillenormand's, you can understand his reaction to his comrades' chiding(/jealousy):

"See here!" they said to him, "there's a little creature there who is making eyes at you, look."

"Have I the time," replied the lancer, "to look at all the girls who look at me?"

While it is comforting to have understanding, it is unsettling to wrestle with the truth that I was born two hundred years late. Hopefully, like clothing, retro standards for attraction will come back in style some day.
And I will be laughing... as I powder my girlishly red cheeks and cinch up my corset. Now, if I could only find that buffer so I can glaze my schapka...


Millencolin and No Use For a Name just put out new albums and they haven't changed a bit. You'd think not selling out would have kept me listening.
Thanks, Andy Jenkins.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

my name is url


I will be changing my blog url from to:

(you know you like it)

tomorrow: April 25, 2008

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

almost winning

In a mere hour spent with Steve Walsh, one would most likely hear no less than five carefully recalled quotes or one-liners, all verbatim. Some of these quotes he's adopted into the "daily use" column; for example: "because that's the kind of guy... (knocks on closest hard surface twice) ...I am." One quote he has recently adopted is from Grantland Rice, an early 20th century sports writer: "The tragedy of life is not in losing, but in almost winning."

Today was the third day in a row Steve has taken me to the Missouri State Capitol for a free lunch. Today was the annual "fish-fry day," while yesterday was "rice day." The day before, Steve and I went to cover a media conference in the Senate Lounge. The Missouri Corn Growers Association was holding a conference to feature a new study, which showed that using ethanol infused gasoline (e10) saves drivers money, but all the corn-talk did was make me hungry. After the conference, the media and legislators were invited to partake in a free lunch. We found the room where corn farmers and legislators were fraternizing over lunch; a pocket in the Capitol just around the corner from the rotunda. To the left there were stacks of Panera lunch boxes, separated by the type of sandwich. There was smoked turkey, ham and cheese, and chicken salad. By this time I was excited; I love Panera. I decided to play it safe and go for the chicken salad sandwich. After getting our free sodas (another plus) we sat down to eat. I saw several others pulling food out of their lunch boxes, and I noticed some were pulling out chocolate chip cookies, my favorite cookie, and favorite dessert (possibly); my excitement reached an all-time high. I ransacked my lunch box, chicken salad flying everywhere, and found my cookie. I almost cried. It was one of those cookies you find in a Christmas tin box, the ones that taste like pie crust (as a Corn Growers employee next to me pointed out). Disgruntled, I ate my lunch and still ate the sub-par desert, because I had no other choice. I had thoughts of standing up in front of the legislators and media and asking if anyone wanted to trade, hoping that all of these gentleman had forgotten middle school lunch economy, where food trading is life or death. But, alas, I ate what I was given.

After lunch, I asked Steve, "what was that quote about almost winning?"

As I explained to Steve that day, I would have rather had a shoddy free lunch than what I got. I almost had the perfect lunch: free and delicious. Of course, I would have paid about eight dollars had I ordered my boxed lunch at an actual Panera restaurant. Steve called me ungrateful, but come on! I almost won!

watch me work!

<--- (now on my sidebar)

I'm doing my best to act like you're not there.

Friday, April 18, 2008

3 months

Just about three months ago, I shadowed Bob Priddy in the Missourinet news room (who, as I'm writing this, just yelled out to the rest of the news room, "we've got the latest Wall Street Urinal here!") during my first week at Learfield. I learned from others that Bob had been working at Learfield for 30 years, and was one of the first Missourinet reporters. Bob asked that I arrive at 5:30am that day; so I got there in my navy blue blazer, kakis, shirt and tie at around 5:40, to watch Bob do... whatever he does. I was in awe as I stood in the recording booth; he recorded his news stories with impeccable timing, recording them at 1:59 if supposed to be under 2 minutes, every time without fumbling even once. I sat there next to him at his computer as he typed up story after story, a routine he had maintained over a quarter of a century, a majority of those years spent in front of a typewriter and microphone, often broadcasting live. Bob didn't talked to me much, despite me breathing on his neck for a good two hours, and when he did talk to me, he maintained his focus on his current project, rarely turning to me. I didn't take this as impolite; I knew the news was always time-sensitive, and I didn't want to get in the way. At around 8 o'clock Bob got a call from one of the other reporters, asking him if he wanted any breakfast from Hardees. Bob told him what he wanted, then swiveled to me, put the phone to his chest and said, "Does the intern want anything?"

"Sure," I said, "a chicken biscuit meal would be great."

"A chicken biscuit..." Bob looked perplexed.

He turned back to the computer, and told the reporter what I wanted.

"The intern wants a chicken biscuit... That's right," he again turned to me, "Brent doesn't think they have chicken biscuits. In case they don't have it, what would you like?"

I was surprised, "Really? Uh, I guess a bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit meal, then." I made sure to get the "meal" part in there. A biscuit, by itself, is rarely satisfying to me.

Bob relayed the messaged, hung up the phone, and returned to his work. About twenty minutes later, a frazzled, bald, bearded man walked in with Hardees bags in his hands. This must be Brent, I thought.

"A chicken biscuit?" he asked, incredulously.

"They have 'em in Virginia," I said.

"I mean, I was like, 'do you have chicken biscuits?'," he said, "and they said, 'they're real popular in southern Missouri, but we don't have 'em here.' I'd never heard of that before, a chicken biscuit; must be a southern thing."

So began what I discovered to be a pigeon-holing of Virginia as "the south." It was also the beginning of what I have come to appreciate as one of the most translatable to sitcom workplaces I have ever experienced. It just so happens that this workplace is also showing me a lot about myself and what I want do with my life.

This morning, Brent asked Bill (the sports director) and I if we wanted to go get some breakfast. We first went to the HyVee (grocery store) to get some Starbucks coffee and food. I was dissatisfied with the selection of food there; so, I decide I wanted to go to Hardees. Brent and Bill agreed to ride along. As we pulled up to the drive-thru menu, I perused each biscuit, only to find an advertisement on the side for a new biscuit: "New! Chicken Biscuit"
I pointed it out to Brent and he laughed. He then told Bill the story of my first week at Learfield.
I then pondered some deep relections about the passage of time, and something about growing up, probably.

I later enjoyed the greasy chicken biscuit at my desk, and am currently awaiting the stomach-ache that never fails to follow it.

Apparently, I'm appreciated here.


remember this?

Friday, April 11, 2008

social injustice 2

I don't mean to be irreverent here, but one of the most wide-spread consequences of 9/11 is the security lines at airports. I don't disagree with the raised caution airports have taken; I think they're completely necessary. But no one likes to wait an hour, only to completely undress at the end, in front of security guards, whose job is to be skeptical of your patriotism. The blow to the self-esteem is compounded by the random search. It's already uncomfortable to undress in front of a crowd, but it's even more uncomfortable to undress in front of one individual; not to mention the hassle and inconvenience of possibly being late to your flight. And if you're running late, you'll probably show your anxiety in the security line with jittery mannerisms, and your constant checking of pockets, cell phones, and watches. If I was a guard, I'd definitely pick the guy who's sweating and constantly checking his watch for the "random search" rather than the calm average joe. Random searches are certainly good precautions, and I don't think they shouldn't be administered; however, the 21st century has become the century of airport-dread, something that, I think, can be addressed.

As a child, I never understood how others dreaded the dentist, especially the adults. I always loved the dentist, and would always choose a dentist appointment over school, if given the choice. Now, I sing quite a different tune. I hate it. Why the change?
Maybe dentists are more aggressive in their work towards adults. Maybe if the gaping mouth at their disposal is 30 years old rather than 9, they'll go for that extra piece of plaque behind that molar.
But I think it was the prize chest that changed everything. My Dentist would have a chest of toys and trinkets that I got to choose from once my teeth were cleaned. Obviously, there were those useless orange plastic fish all over the place, but if you dug deep enough, you might find a mini-plinko or a squirt gun.

Here's my idea: give those chosen for random searches a chest of prizes to choose from. The chest might need to be updated for adults. Instead of a chest of plastic fish, maybe a chest of candy, and not the "fun size" bars, the real ones. Maybe a table of magazines they can choose from: MacLife, the Economist, US Weekly, etc. Maybe a little gift certificate to be used at the food court. Maybe even a thumb drive (hey, welcome to the 21st century; and those things are a dime a dozen nowadays anyway).
Think about it; the security lines of anxiety will be replaced by lines of excited people raising their hands to be searched. The whole experience will change. Airports will no longer be dreaded, and Americans will be happier. The power of the prize chest.


I've never seen a commercial that made me so happy. Truly Totoro-esque (you can quote me on that).

Friday, April 4, 2008

Ben Stein gives me fifteen minutes of fame

Fifteen minutes, just about literally.

Yesterday I was able to stalk Ben Stein (with the rest of the media) as he walked around the Missouri State Capitol, after he was featured in a press conference promoting his new film about Intelligent Design. As one of the missourinet reporters (Brent) and I worked in our office in the Capitol later that morning, Brent asked me if I would write the story, as well as edit and publish the video I'd taken (something I do regularly). I was excited to accept. I had written several stories for the missourinet website previously, but they were mostly just turning already broadcasted stories into prose for the site. This was to be my own story. Had I known I was going to actually write the story, I might have covered Stein differently, but, luckily, as lovable as Ben Stein is, I was spellbound by just about everything he did and said; so, I was prepared to write it. My story was completed and published at 7pm last night (much later than intended) as the top story on the website, a place it held for about four minutes, when it was then kicked out of the top spot by a story about superdelegates.
I had begun to edit the video at around noon, but through a series of technological mishaps (through no fault of my macbook, as it never is. my precious...) the video wasn't ready to be embedded until 7. The day turned from a jovial morning into a tight-fisted, teeth-clenched , "serenity now" afternoon.
Hopefully, this won't mean "insanity later."

I didn't make the connection until after about an hour of watching legislator after legislator get their pictures taken with Stein; I carry Clear Eyes with me everywhere I go:

As he walked by me (and out of my life) in the hallway he said, "bye bye" like a little kid. Down the hall he turned around and said, "Keep using the Clear Eyes!"


My video was quickly found and embedded on the blog Upright Alice. I don't think they like Ben Stein anymore over at Upright Alice, just a feeling.

The contrast between Upright Alice's take on Ben Stein's press conference and my story exhibits the differences between mainstream media and the blogosphere. Missourinet's own Steve Walsh blogged about these differences on the official Missourinet blog, citing sources from all over the spectrum. One particular agenda-driven blog named Fired Up! Missouri didn't take kindly to Steve's assertions and so began the blog-battle. They accused Steve of being just like them, citing a pretty minor cases in his writing (even showing a picture of Steve). Steve responded by asking the writer of the Fired Up! Missouri blog to reveal his identity. Fired Up! toned the hostility down in their response, well aware that they had to maintain anonymity.

The comments could be the most fun part of the blog-battle. (see Steve's first post again)