Wednesday, December 15, 2010

With paper airplane in hand

More Schwartzman gold: "Quiet! Your mother and I are trying something in the other room." Plus, his lion face is fantastic.

Hi, I'm Jason Schwartzman. Welcome to my bed.

There's no doubt in my mind that Jason Schwartzman is someone I'd like to party with. Best comment on this video: "i wish jason schwartzman would introduce me to his mustache. intimately." — lucyvolcano

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Blue Ridge Mountains

The Fleet Foxes are great, in the sit-down-with-a-cup-of-something-hot-and-just-listen sort of way. Best heard in the winter.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Boss is coming; be cool!

Back at the Star we'd tell each other to shut up and "Be cool; be cool!" when we spotted an editor coming our way. (We also once speculated on the viability of an inter-office raid.)

Now that I'm my own boss, I have to figure out new ways to have fun around the office, so I've been generally bossing myself around — which often leads me to dawdle and steal supplies from work just to spite me. I've also realized the comedic potential of personal-info headlines. Case in point: "Local self-employed man spends most of day bossing self around to keep up appearances."

Here's another wonderful mental image: While at home, I've also been shouting, "Let the great experiment begin!" all day. Of course, most people somehow delude themselves into thinking this might help them be productive, but...but it might work for me.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Here's a spin-off of David Mitchell and Robert Webb's hilarious sketch, Numberwang. Mitchell and Webb are the evil British comedic duo also responsible for Peep Show, a fantastic series about two mates who are detritus, except they also win at times...albeit the most minor ways possible. It's filmed from the actors' points of view, so it takes some getting used to, but it's worth the time investment. Anglophilia helps too.

Best part is, there are six whole series and part of a seventh waiting for you. Lucky you. Except, in some cruel twist of British programming, there are only six episodes person season.

Also check out Das ist N├╝mberwang for the "Great Escape" reference.

Murder in the City

Monday, December 6, 2010

I'm taking my talents to North Shore*

We're Chicago-bound.

Monster/Brother and I are making the big move to the Windy City. He says he's going for "work," but his tweets would indicate that the only real work he's doing is trying to win us NBA Jam for our apartment. Speaking of which, housing plans are still finalizing, but we've got our eye on a couple of good locations including a place just down the street from a new-ish Brit-style gastropub with a brew called "Two Brothers' Bitter End."

Perfect, right?

As for me, I'll be cannonballing into the world of freelance magazine writing. After working at newspapers in Kansas City, Mississippi, Columbia and Joplin, it's time to get on with the 'zines. Problem is, there aren't a lot of staff writing positions, so I'll be cobbling projects together. (I just hope I won't be making soup from vitamin tablets or filing features from my iPhone. [Although it wouldn't be the first time.])

Until the move, I'll be suckling from the parental teat for food and shelter for a couple weeks or three while I try to line up revenue streams and regular clients. Things are already taking off, but I'll try to keep the business-speak to a minimum for interest reasons as well as contractual issues.

There's a lot to be figured out though: everything from LLC vs. sole proprietorship to tax management for self-employed dummies. Better start Googling.

Oh, and remember that one time I said I'd be jump-starting this blog? Well, recaps of Argentina, Mississippi and Kansas City are coming. Hey-oh.

*Thanks, Lebron.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

AP Part Two

Shortly after I got the call from the AP, I found out they had picked up another story over the Fourth of July weekend. It turns out they don't call every time they decide to run a story. In fact, if your paper subscribes to the Associated Press, it can run anything the AP selects and vice versa. It's all very ho-hum, but for a young writer, it's a rush.

CRAWFORD, MISS.—Jerry Hairston Sr. stood in an empty field in southern Lowndes County on Monday.

As he stepped into the grass, he lifted his hands to grasp an imaginary bat and took a swing at a baseball only he could see.

With his imposing athletic build, the 58-year-old man knocked the invisible ball out of the park. He watched it sail over the imaginary fences.

He was back at his roots, back where his father's story began and where it will continue.

Jerry Hairston's father, Sam Hairston, was born in Crawford in a small house on Plum Grove Road, a meandering one-and-a-half-lane street that winds its way through county fields. He came up through the Lowndes school system, and he loved baseball. (Read more at the Commercial Dispatch.)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Picked up by the Associated Press

I got a call about a month ago from Rogelio Solis, the staff photographer at the Jackson bureau of the Associated Press. He talked fast, but he said he liked my pictures from a recent story I did on a rope swing in Caledonia, Miss., and that the AP wanted to run them and the story. The AP has a really strict policy on timeliness, so he was trying to make sure the photos had been taken within the last day or two.

This was the first time I found out one of my stories had gotten picked up, and it felt good.

Seth Putnam/Dispatch Staff

CALEDONIA -- It's an oasis on a sweltering day. With a dearth of water-based options in the Golden Triangle, it's no wonder people flock to the Buttahatchie River to play on the rope swings at the Lawrence Bridge.

On a given afternoon, someone is always there. On the weekend, the place is crowded; the wait in line for the swings is sometimes as much as 10 minutes.

"People chill out in the water all across the river," said Thomas Kimbrough, 20, of Sulligent, Ala. "It's always packed out. We come out here every day and stay the night on the weekend."

It's a place where teenagers go to share cigarettes, and if they're lucky, sip beer an older sibling or friend has provided.

"Ain't nothing but a bunch of rednecks!" Kimbrough grinned as he stepped up to the swing.

Read more at the Commercial Dispatch.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

One with the animals

Here's one of my recent stories from The Commercial Dispatch, the daily-except-Saturday newspaper where I'm working in Columbus, Miss. More on that later.

Kelly Tippet photo/Dispatch Staff

COLUMBUS, MISS.—Caring for a family of 300 isn't easy, especially when they act like a bunch of animals. But that's life for Kay McElroy. The 66-year-old is the owner of Cedarhill Animal Sanctuary.

Although Cedarhill was founded in 1990, the story really began a few years earlier. In 1987, McElroy read an advertisement in the newspaper for a six-month-old cougar cub. The seller wanted $1,000. Curious, she went to visit and found a malnourished animal in a small kennel intended for dogs. The man had been feeding the cub canned cat food from the grocery store, and McElroy could see its ribs. It had been passed around from owner to owner, and its paws were infected from someone's attempts to remove its claws. She offered the man a 1947 Farmall D tractor, but he was only interested in money. Two weeks later, however, he showed up at her house with a trailer for the tractor. The cougar was chained in the front seat of his truck.

Read more at The Commercial Dispatch.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

While I hop in the Delorean

I graduated.Oops. That's high school. Ah, here it is. Proof.

Now I'm out there in the hot workplace. In the words of talented children's author H.E. Hastings, "Leaving la-la-land."

In the spirit of all the recent unveilings (iOS 4, the iPhone 4, the Droid Incredible, the HTC EVO, the first private space orbit, the Good Men Project Magazine, etc.), allow me to unveil the refined focus of this blog.

I'm going to deviate slightly for the next few posts and take a more personal tone and touch on a few things going on in my world right now. This blog is still, as it always has been, more for me than anyone else, and its main purpose is to provide me with a way to produce content regularly.

I've wondered in the past if a writer revealing aspects of his or her personality is an effective way to establish a relationship with the audience and develop a sort of brand loyalty. It's now occurring to me, though, that perhaps maintaining an element of privacy is just as (or more) effective because it keeps the audience coming back and wanting more. But, since I'm more focused on creating a relationship with a prospective employer at this time, I'm going to let that whole debate slide for now.

So, here's what I hope this blog becomes:
  1. A way to develop voice.
  2. A medium to share what I'm curious about.
  3. Regular. (If I'm not writing for myself often, what the hell kind of writer am I?)
  4. Edited opinion.
  5. Concise.
In an effort to make sure I follow through with this whole "regular writing" idea, I'm going to address those new things in my life in separate posts. That'll also ensure this one doesn't wander on and on and on. Here's what can be expected over the next week or so:
  1. My latest job in Mississippi
  2. The plans for
  3. Thoughts on a daily media diet
  4. Thoughts on running without shoes
  5. Thoughts on life organization, material minimalism and personal inventories
Buuuut, it is my game, so I get to make the rules.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Schoolhouse Rock!

Most mnemonic devices, although catchy and memorable, are annoying jingles that don't seem to have that much thought put into their melodies – like a lot of Christian music, oddly enough. There's one great learning program, though, that sticks out. Schoolhouse Rock was wonderful, not just because it had an incredible series on grammar, but because a lot of time, effort and talent went into the program. Even if you don't like the "genre," the music is well done, and the stories are compelling. Have a look:

Rufus Xavier Sasparilla

Unpack Your Adjectives

Mr. Morton

And even though original episodes stopped airing a couple of years before I was born, it inspires an interesting sort of nostalgia for two decades I never fully experienced.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A life story in under a minute

Best advert from Super Bowl XLIV. A complete life story via Internet search.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Days without an accident: 0

I got six stitches in my face. While I was on the table with the doctor's needle in my chin, it struck me how resilient the human body is, and I wondered what a blog would look like that chronicled the accidents a body endures. Maybe that will become another motif for this blog. Maybe not.

The day after that, a ditch hit my car. These things usually come in threes, so stay tuned for what happens next.