A little about a lot

Thursday, September 29, 2005


I smell like barbecue and I'm SO SICK OF WRITING.


Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Down comforter

This morning I woke up surprised.

Has that ever happened to you? I was asleep and all of a sudden, I was awake, sitting up - looking around for the person who woke me up.

Where am I? I thought.

I squinted at my surroundings and found my clock, which is getting more and more difficult to read in the mornings.

I'm in the city, and it's 8:30.

What day is it? Am I going to work today?

It felt like a Saturday, but really it was Wednesday.

I believe all of this confusion was caused by my very comfortable down comforter that I recently replaced on my bed because it's finally cool enough to do so.

It makes sleeping so wonderful, but the waking up part is kinda surprising, like "wait, waking up is not an option, here. Why am I awake. Who cares about work, I have a down comforter."

Monday, September 26, 2005

It runs in the family

I am a list maker.

I love lists - the more categories the better.

Throw some dates and times into a to-do list and I'm a happy girl.

Last night I made a list of all the stuff I need to do before I move from one apartment to another. Then, I organized all of that stuff into the weeks that it needs to be done. Then I did a lot of underlining and now I have a folded up version of my life safely tucked into my purse.

But then I realized that there are so many other things going on in October that I need to put on a to-do list that have nothing to do with moving. So, do I put those things on my beautifully organized moving to-do list, or do I make another "just life stuff" to-do list?

I don't like the idea of having TWO to-do lists - that just seems silly.

Maybe I'll make two, but I'll staple them together.

Oooooooooo, maybe I'll write the "just life" to-do list on the BACK of the moving to-do list.

If anyone ever wondered whether or not I'd be neurotic, now they know.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


Do you ever look in the mirror and think, "Do I really look like that?"
Not as in,"wow, I'm a hotty," or "wow, it's a good thing I have a good personality," but just - "wow, I didn't think I looked that way."

I just had one of those moments. It seems the way I think I look and the way I really look are at odds with each other. I still see myself the way I looked when I was ... about 20, I think.

Early college - before long days and late nights at the Collegian erased anything that resembled pretty. I just look so much more grown up now.

This probably wouldn't be a problem except that I don't feel grown up. There are still so many things I don't understand that "adults" are supposed to understand - like car insurance and how to make a caserole.

I'm still scared of ghosts, even though I don't believe in them (figure that one out) but I'm also scared of evil. I think it takes a little bit of maturity to realize that evil - not just people who had bad childhoods - exists.

So I think my mind and my heart are younger than I really am, but maybe my spirit is older than I am. I wonder how that happened.

Nanaw and Par called me at work today to wish me a happy birthday - except that my birthday is Saturday. Whoops. I told them I'd just start celebrating now. :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

In my first year...

The College Media Advisors, a national organization that trains college journalists and college newspaper advisers, had planned to hold its national convention in New Orleans Oct. 27-30.

With Hurricane Katrina, they've moved the convention to the city and have asked my paper to help present the seminars. More than 2,700 students adn advisors are expected to attend.

Because of the support CMA showed Ron, I wanted to do whatever I could to return the favor, so I volunteered to teach a seminar.

I just heard that I will present "What I learned in my first year of journalism."

Let's see ...
1. ask questions, verify; write, verify; edit, verify. Yeah, it's important to do it in College, but even more important in the real world. Even if Mr. Humanitarian seems like the nicest guy in the world, if you don't verify his claims, it could mean you get fired or your paper gets into trouble. Take the Cap-J incident.

2. The real world is soooo much easier than college - at least if you were a Collegian editor. Forty hour weeks are a breeze compared to 50 or 60-hour weeks, there's no homework that you don't get paid for, and people actually return your phone calls. But, it's important to use the extra time to your advantage - work on different writing styles, take on a huge project, kill time by writing on a blog. Whatever.

3. Working for old people is a lot of fun.
My first boss, Yoda, has become a mentor, and I think he always will be. Those many years of experience not only make real-world editors amazing at condensing your copy, but also it helps them guide young reporters through sticky situations. Loren has been at this paper for probably 30 years. He's seen it all and that helps me become a better reporter.

4. Developing relationships with the photo and design people is important. Respect their art and their talent and you will almost always like the way a story package turns out. THIS IS NOT JUST AN EDITOR'S JOB. IT's the reporter's job, too.

5. Don't be afraid to shake hands with the big dogs. They might not remember your name the first time, but most of them were struggling journalists, too. That is before they won their pulitzers and became EIC of the paper. Most remember what it's like to be in your position and they'll be kind to you.

6. If you don't know something, ask. Who the frick knows how a bond issue works? Who can explain how cities handle their debt service? What is debt service?
It might seem like everyone but you knows what these terms mean, but that's not true. Start asking.

7. Let no one despise your youth .... Know your place - realize you have a lot to learn, but NEVER tell yourself you CAN'T do something because you're the new guy. Jump in with both feet and knock their socks off. Journalism is the same everywhere, as far as I'm concerned. If you can write a story for your college paper, you can write one for a professional paper.

8. Puke and go on. You're gonna screw up. You're gonna show your ignorance. You're gonna write corrections. Don't let it paralyze you. Puke and go on.

9. "F*** the readers" DOES NOT FLY in the real world.

10. There's no excuse in the real world to get scooped. It's your job to scoop other people. You can't say "Well, I'm a full-time student and I had to go to Media Ethics, so I didn't know." It's your job to know.

OK, that's 10 off the top of my head. Fellow graduated journalists - anyone wanna add their thoughts?


Sunday, September 11, 2005

And you can pee in the pool

I want to quit the real world now.

I like being a reporter, but I'm just so so sick of putting on CLOTHES and MAKEUP every morning, and if I have to be nice to one more ignorant idiot, I think my brain is going to explode all over my computer.

So, I'm quitting grown up life to go back to lifeguarding. It seriously is the best job ever.

First off, you never have to wear clothes. I hate clothing. I would rather be naked - unless it's cold in which case i'd like to wear only flannel pajamas.

Instead of waking up 45 minutes before I need to be at work to shower and pick out something to wear and put some make up on and try to do something to my hair, I would just roll outta bed, take off my pjs, put my suit on, put back on my pjs over top, brush my teeth and go. This is considering that I didn't sleep in the suit, which I've found to be a pretty bad idea.

Also, I wouldn't REALLY need to shower unless I had to shave my legs because I'm just gonna go disinfect myself in the chlorine anyway, and then I'm going to put back on all the sunscreen/tanning oil that I would wash off in the shower in the first place.

AND it's STUPID to do your hair or wear make up to the pool - so I wouldn't have to do that.

OHHH! Also, you don't have to wear SHOES!

So, now I've bought myself at least 40 minutes of more sleep and it just keeps getting better.

At a swimming pool you don't have to be nice to ANYONE. Lifeguards are supposed to be mean and the fact that we sit in the sun all day gives us a really good reason to act crabby.

Also, we get to walk around in spandex all day, which, after you get over the fact that you don't look very good in spandex, is really comfortable.

If you get tired, you jump in the pool, it wakes you up.
If you get bored, you jump in the pool, there's lots to do.
If you need a workout, you jump in the pool and swim laps.
If you get frustrated, you jump in the pool and hide at the bottom.
If you get angry at someone you grab them and jump in the pool.
If you have to pee, you jump in the pool, but try not to jump in very close to anyone else (unless you're mad at them.)

Friday, September 09, 2005

Better than fist fighting

I think it would be nice to have the abiltiy to put curses on people. It would be way better than a yelling match or calling someone a name or even a fist fight.

Some curses I would cast would be:

May Steve Schueler's fingers cramp up every time he tries to "fix" mom's computer.

May misinformed, ignorant people get an electric shock everytime they try to call me.

May architects, engineers and finance directors get a cramp in their little toe every time they use jargon in an interview.

May the people who drive in the left lane at the same speed as the people in the right lane be doomed to stand in long, unmoving lines in the heat of the day wherever they go.

May anyone who utters "It's all the media's fault" be forced to sit through a budget meeting when no one has an idea for an editorial board topic.

May the rear-ends of the women who go to the gym to pick up grow in porportion to the amount of perfume they put on in the locker room/the amount of time they spend looking in the mirror in the locker room.

May towels fling themselves at the women who run around butt naked in the locker room for no reason.

May the people who do water aerobics/water walking/ let their kids "play" in the lap lanes in the pool while I'm trying to swim become alergic to chlorine.

May anyone who hangs up on me have a chihuahua come out of no where and bite them on their nose.

Whooo hooo this is fun. :)

May Todd Simon's socks never stay up but always slouch down around his ankles

Brother has a top 10 list of his college experiences.
They involve his best friends, guns, pliars and, the inevitable, alcohol.

I think he had a lot more fun in college than I did - but that's good because he doesn't get to have very much fun now. He's a lawyer. And he's married and old. And his friends do yoga.

I was going to do a top 10 list but mine wasn't at all funny.

But, since I'm here, I'll list my most memorable moments - both good memories and bad.

6. Chocolate milk in the mornings with Sarah.

5. A 2 a.m. run through the big sprinklers on Kimball.

4. Evacuating the newsroom because someone threatened to bring a gun and start shooting us.

3. Life in the newsroom: pole dancing and other antics, screaming at some Pakistani guy who was screaming at me, sleeping on the black couch.

2. The assistant dean of student life offering to walk Katie, Sarah and I across the street after the first Black Student Union/Collegian meeting because he was worried about our safety. This is the same man who later said the meeting didn't get out of control.

1. Missing class for a meeting with the Dean of Arts and Sciences - telling him I was too informed to ever bleed purple.

P.S. May Pat Bosco's mouth be taped over so he understands the importance of free speech.

Peppermints make everything better

Thanks to my genius brother I learned how to change settings so that anyone could post comments on this blog - not just other blog users. So, post away. Just sign in an anonymous and leave your name in your comment. :)

I love peppermints.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Fair and balanced?

Ok, listen up.

Fox News is the Jerry Springer of news networks. The station sensationalizes EVERYTHING.

Because I realized this as a junior in college, I've not watched Fox News since then. Therefore, I can't compare their coverage with what CNN (my station of choice) has done.

So, I enlisted the help of my good friend, Sarah. She may look like a cute little girl, but she can kick anyone's ass when it comes to debates like this one.

Sarah and I both believe that all television news networks are somewhat biased. Sarah points out that Fox News,CNN and MSNBC are all biased simply because of the fact they are owned by corporations that demand ratings rather than focus their priorities on objective news reporting.

Thus, your best bet is always to read a newspaper instead.

But, if you're going to watch television, keep in mind these facts:

According to a Washington Post article (www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/03/25/AR2005032509137.html) Fox devotes 73 percent of their broadcast to “news” that includes opinions of anchors. This is compared to 29 percent from MSNBC and 2 percent from CNN.

So, as Sarah says, "Because of this focus on opinion, viewers get confused. Americans are pretty dumb (as we find out working for newspapers) and they don’t always distinguish from news and opinion. Fox’s “fair and balanced” slogan is essentially a lie because only 27 percent of what you see is actually an attempt to be fair or balanced."

So, if you are satisfied with only 27 percent of your news actually being based only on fact and not on opinion - then Fox News is, in fact, the best place for the "just the facts mama" type of news. However, you would also be an idiot.

Moving on.

In 2003, the University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes examined public misconceptions on Iraq.

"The study concluded, predictably, that viewers of Fox News were more likely to hold misconceptions than viewers of any other news network. Eighty percent of Fox News viewers believed at least one of three misconceptions about the war in Iraq, compared with only 23 percent of the PBS/NPR audience. Among the pro-war biased misconceptions was a belief that clear evidence existed linking Saddam Hussein to al-Qaida."

In terms of Hurricane Katrina relief - as journalists, it's our job to report what people do and say. If the Mayor of New Orleans blames Bush, FEMA or even GOD, it's our job to report it. By NOT reporting that people - many people - say FEMA didn't do enough quickly enough, Fox is editorializing the content by saying "Since we don't agree with this, we won't report it."

Also, Sarah says, "Fox has continually covered looting in New Orleans which included the words “looters and thugs” on the screen..hmm..who else have we heard use the word “thugs”? Also, that angle of the news is being played up – making the poor seem at fault."

As a person, I believe that all these people playing the blame game are idiots. This was the worst natural disaster in the history of the country - of course relief efforts aren't going to run smoothly - we've NEVER before experienced something of this magnitude.

Despite that view, I can't refuse to report others' opinions, and I can't refuse to report when a federal agency - even if it's doing the best it can - fails to respond quickly enough.

If I did that, I would be treading on a principle I hold very dear - Freedom of Speech.

So, how did the diamond-plated armor hold up? :)

Friday, September 02, 2005

Hurricanes and other disasters

Hurricane Katrina is starting to give me the same feeling as Sept. 11. For me, it's that feeling that something is horribly wrong and there's nothing I can do outside of prayer and monetary donations.

This is the first time I've ever wished I was an Army reservist or National guardsman.

I know prayer is the most powerful tool I have in any disaster - on the national, state, local, and family level - but in this instance it doesn't seem like enough.

But, I'm trying to be faithful about putting the hurricane and my other disasters into God's hands - where they belong.

We keep getting updates from Knight Ridder about our paper in Biloxi, Mississippi. I volunteered to go and fill in for employees who are dealing with the hurricane or are missing. So far, the Sun Herald has heard from 70 percent of their employees. They already know they've lost employees' family members if not employees themselves.

Anyhow, so far, my paper hasn't sent anyone, and if they do, it probably won't be me, but maybe I'll get lucky.

We've been trying to do localized stories about hurricane relief efforts and I think one of mine will be in the Sunday daily. It's about a amateur radio operator who is helping coordinate relief efforts through a high frequency radio network called SHARES. It's pretty good. He was interesting. :)

Otherwise, I'm heading home today for a long weekend with people who love me. That's always nice. Linda Jark is getting married Saturday, so I'm excited to go to that and see community faces. Hopefully, I'll make it to Salina Monday to see Allison and Yoda.


Two more things

Very important -
1. It's really freaking hard to drink 64 ounces of water a day. Who came up with that standard? Sheesh.

2. The yolks of hard-boiled eggs are really really hot right after you take the eggs out of the water.