Thursday, October 29, 2009

Joyless Ride

So newspapers are going down in flames it seems, best exemplified by our speaker in Advanced Newswriting: Multimedia class today who stressed, among other things, to "have a backup plan" because the future is so bleak for journalists today. This coming from a guy named Don Himsel, who has worked as a photo editor and staff member at the Nashua Telegraph for more than 2o years. However, Himsel fails to realize there will always be a ridiculous craving for news and a dire need for writers who can tell a good, newsworthy story. Just look at the latest New York Times series: Held by the Taliban. It took me more than an hour to read the whole thing online but I was so hooked I couldn't stop. It's true the Times and pretty much every other widespread newspaper in the country has cut staffers and slashed circulation numbers, but I just can't be pessimistic with some much reporting out there for the taking. Once newspapers find a way to move from print to online in an effective, efficient manner for business, jobs will be plentiful again. As Ray Liotta said in Blow, "When you're up it's never as good as it seems, and when you're down you feel like you'll never be up again, but life goes on." My future is coming at me; I have no choice but to jump in headfirst.

So that was a long introduction into what I wanted to do, which is try out a few hundred words for my Boston Globe internship application that needs to be on a) a memorable moment in my life, b) my favorite story I've written and why or c) someone who has influenced me greatly. I figure I'll try the first one because it gives me the most room to write how I want, and you readers (if you still exist out there) can comment and let me know in the next couple days what you think. I would appreciate any and all feedback you can give me.

A) A memorable moment in my life.

We had the keys. The cool air whisked past my overgrown hair as I whipped open the passenger door. My cousin Ezra and I, both 15, slumped into the Ford Taurus awkwardly. We were told to lock the car and grab my sister's headphones; we had something else in mind.

Ez pulled the shift in gear. Drive. He released the brake and stepped on the gas. Go.

I sat frightened and excited, watching the trees and suburban homes roll by. We barely touched the speed limit. Chico, California in late November is beautiful. We turned down side streets and let our minds wander. After what seemed like hours, we pulled into an empty parking lot.

Shit. This was a bad idea. I said it to no one. Ezra already knew. My heart started pounding in my throat. A cop drove by. We ducked and covered like schoolchildren.

"Do you have any idea how to get back?" Ezra asked, nerves and puberty present in his voice. Yeah, I think so, I lied. I took the wheel.

I had no idea where I was going. Our directions could have reinvented the compass. Every street had the same strange, unfamiliarity to it. San Ramon Drive. Glenshire Lane. Manor Circle. We knew only one thing: Uncle Peter's house was on Verde Court. A bead of sweat slid down my side as my white knuckles gripped the steering wheel. There's no way they don't know we're gone by now.

Panicked thoughts began racing through my mind. It was nearing mid-afternoon: Thanksgiving dinner would be ready soon. My dad would use that turkey knife to skin me, I was sure of it. My mom would call me Cameron, the full name that emptied my stomach. I needed to find a way back now, or else Ezra and I might have to interrupt Thanksgiving dinner with a call from jail.

Phew. North Avenue. I remembered that one from when we drove in. Verde connected directly to it. And not a moment later, there it was. We were saved.

Oh. No. Our hearts screamed as we saw familiar faces. The entire family was out on the front lawn, awaiting our return. Angry parents. Smirking sisters. Grampie's mouth wide as the open road.

I coasted in and jerked the shift in park. The car doors flew open and we were yanked out of the car before either of us could stammer an apology. Questions flew at us like bullets, each stinging with an embarrassing, overwhelming sensation. Busted.

We were told to rake the leaves in the backyard for the rest of the afternoon. A ball and chain would have been lighter on my conscience, but the punishment was mild. The guilt was a much heavier burden.

I eat Thanksgiving dinner with Ezra and his family every year. In the six years that have passed since that November afternoon joy ride, the story is still as fresh as the day it happened. They love telling it as much as we hate hearing it, but somehow I don't think Thanksgiving would be the same without it.

OK, that's 515 words. It needs to be 400 or less. Help me cut it down, please. I'm going to bed. Goodnight, and a Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

October Check-In

So the Wings played bad against the Blues, decent against the Hawks and Caps and terrible against the Sabres. Who cares. The Wings will end up in the top three by season's end, and I'm plenty happy watching hockey from a distance right now. The Franzen thing isn't even all that worrisome to me, since I assume he'll come back just in time for his February to March craze of goals. That knee will heal and he'll be better for it.

My training for the New York City Marathon is coming to an end...only 17 more days before the big 26.2 through the five boroughs. I'm confident I can do it, but I must say I've been pretty lazy about my running this month. Only 10.3 miles through the first two weeks, and sometimes I run four times that in a single week. Yikes. We'll see if it matters come November.

I don't have much to report; I'm really only updating the blog for the sake of updating. I don't like to see it get all dusty in cyberspace. I feel like Yzerman Is God when that happens. Man, for a blog with such a sweet header graphic, wouldn't you think he'd update that place with a post more than twice a year? Oh well. Not everyone can be as consistent at Animal Drew or the Chief or Snipe Snipe. I honestly don't know why news outlets don't hire bloggers, since The Triple Deke and the other aforementioned bloggers write funnier, more entertaining and overall better stuff than most of the boring briefs I read on Freep or the Detroit News.

Yeah. So I haven't done much with those photoshop renderings I promised, but at some point I'll make another glorious one featuring the wunderkind Cindy Rosby and his merry men Geno Malkin and Maxime Talbot. Ooh, the internet might not even be able to handle that one. I'll have to tone the hate down for viewer's sake.

Now, I hate to disappoint the tiny following I have here at the blog, but this lack of timely posting will continue for a while with the GREs in a month, the newspaper to run and internship application deadlines inching closer. I tend to enjoy having a life, and while writing is a huge part of that, I haven't felt all that inspired recently. The Wings and Wolverines often fuel that inspiration, but at the moment I'm just not feeling all that compelled to put legitimate energy into a post. I'll definitely have somethin' sweet for you after the marathon on Nov. 1, but until then I can't make any promises.

This rambling probably wasted your time, but if you made it to the end here's a great video for your troubles: