Sunday, December 27, 2009

my hair is gone, and so is my christmas

i cut off nine inches of hair recently. i haven't had the shocked reactions i was expecting. i always thought cutting off that much hair would lead everyone who ever met me to gasp and say something immediately. but frankly, even some of my closest friends didn't even say anything. that means one of two things. it means that a) the haircut suits me, or b) the haircut was looooooong overdue. Maybe both.

the other bit of news is that my christmas events are officially over. all the various family dinners have been eaten, the gifts have been opened, and i had a chance to spend time with most of my friends that were in town. and now it's sunday and I have to work and i don't wanna. I'm feeling particularly bratty about it considering I have all these gift cards that i want to use IMMEDIATELY at j.crew and best buy. but instead, thanks to another needlessly early deadline for the paper, today is essentially my monday and i have stories to finish and dummies to draw. i'm not looking forward to it, mainly because we had so little time to compile this week's stuff.

wish me luck. i'm going to need it. because i'm probably going to end up at j.crew and then go into work panic mode later this evening.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

christmas couldn't come sooner.

if for no other reason than at least that would mean i'm not working.

but, alas, it is not yet christmas and thus i am still working. constantly. i never really had much of a choice on the matter, considering newspapers must come out and early deadlines must be made. i'll be ready for that break when it gets here.

today basically amounted to me feeding a petting a cat that i'm taking care of for a decent period of time this morning, followed by interviews and some work at borders all afternoon. then chris and i did some holiday shopping, of which we were very successful and efficient. then i watched a holiday movie and now it's 7 p.m. and that shocks me. i figured it would be later. i might be a little disappointed because that means i actually have time to finish the work i haven't gotten to yet today.

i should probably do it too because tomorrow will be just as busy. more work, groceries, craft day at the stewarts, and more work. sounds fun.

on a more exciting note, the reviews for the avatar movie (which i've been following for nearly a year now.... that's right A YEAR) and everyone seems to be losing their minds over it. chris and i intend to attend the imax 3d version on dec. 23rd. i'm pretty stoked.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

it happened. officially.

That thing that happened (officially) is actually two things. The first thing is good. The second this is bad, but it was inevitable. Alas, I have survived both.

The first is that my first edition ( came out today. This is a major career marker I suppose, and I was elated that my peers and friends thought it was a major success. They patted me on the back and all that stuff. It felt really nice, and I was happy with my first try. I was even happier knowing that the next edition is going to be even better and I'm feeling pretty good about what I want to try to do with it.

Then that second thing happened. That thing that I wish never happened. I got the first angry reader phone call.

And let me tell you.... it was a doozy.

First I have to say that this goes with the job. It isn't necessarily an attack on me as a person (so they say), but more a gut reaction from someone who is unhappy. It's like having a conversation with those mean (and albeit ridiculously unreasonable) bloggers over at the website. But it still stinks. The worst part, however, was that I sort of agreed with her.

She screamed at me for a full five minutes (that of which I inserted zero dialogue because I wanted her to get it all out of her system) about how sports was only three pages this week and only one of them was manchester specific and I should be ashamed of myself and yadda yadda.

You know what lady? Touche. I'm totally with you... except for the ashamed of myself part...

Unfortunately, I don't get to make that call. The sports editor (not Ed Patino, mind you) is supposedly in charge of deciding on a page count for the sports section and I fill everything else. I don't really agree with having the smaller sections and I get why she would be angry. I mean I'm coming from writing sports in Saline and Milan. I get it. I've been there. But on the other hand, our poor sports editor was covering for someone and was responsible for four sections this week. He didn't really have a choice.

Basically I had to tell her that I get where she's coming from (I do), I want it to change (I do), and that I will do everything in my power to make the Manchester Enterprise better than ever (the verdict is still out... but the incentive is there).

So that's where we're at right now and that's going to have to be enough, because that's all I can muster. I'm going to exercise my muscle on my new baby chair of power and see how far it goes.

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

omg look i'm doing it, I'M DOING IT

I did it.

I put to bed my first edition at the Manchester Enterprise last night. It was a long day, but it went much smoother than I expected. Some really great stories in there, particularly about a local legend with a biography coming out. I think I did pretty well for a first run.

Still, I'm adjusting to the learning curve at a reasonable pace and already know what I would have changed. Twice as much stuff is planned for the Christmas Eve edition, and those leads are being more cooperative. Next week will include a story on a local girl running a half marathon for leukemia and lymphoma, a story on the Manchester school's budget after a sit-down with Shawn Lewis-Lakin, a feature on the reopened Black Sheep Tavern, what Manchester residents like most about Christmas, and the token picture of the absolutely adorable child.

Also, I hate spam and junk mail, and thanks to editors of the past our editor@manchesterenterprise email is the most spam-laden e-mail in the world. While building pages yesterday, I gathered roughly 70 spam emails. Roughly 9% were about terrorism, 40% was about our senate and house representatives, and the other 50% were for magazines that I've never even heard of. The other 1% was a repeating foreign email... those ones where they say they have millions of dollars waiting for you in a bank account. And its YOURS, just as long as you hand your life and credit card numbers over. No thanks.

But anyway, mission accomplished. Mailbox has been cleared. Calendar has been updated. Paper has been finished. That means it's a typical Wednesday. Fortunately that means I only work half of it. Unfortunately, it means the other half is spent cleaning my apartment (why does it never STAY clean), paying bills, and general errand-like housekeeping.

At least this time I didn't sleep through the first half of the day. I stand a chance.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ah yes. The Pivet questionnaire...

Since starting my sort of new job at the Manchester Enterprise... it has become necessary for me to write one of those "intro to me" columns. You know, to make the village feel all warm and fuzzy about my being there... and to generally assure them that I'm not a loony.

So how better to introduce myself than with a good old-fashioned Pivet questionnaire... perhaps better known as the awesome 10 survey questions dished out by James Lipton on Inside the Actors' Studio. Epic interview. Not AS epic as the Proust Interview... but same general idea. I'll follow up with Marcel Proust's version at a later date.

But for now, here are the questions and my answers. I get to actually answer the swearing question honestly online. I can't do it in print. I don't swear in print. Mom doesn't know.

1. What is your favorite word?
Vivacious. It sounds sexy, and the letter "v" is the most underrated of the English alphabet.

2. What is your least favorite word?
Whatever. Anyone who says that word instantly infuriates me. Even the most blase people must be required to do better than that. Coming in at a close second is the word "no."

3. What turns you on?
A huge coffee on a rainy day and Van Morrison's voice

4. What turns you off?
A bully.

5. What is your favorite curse word? (hurray!)

6. What sound or noise do you love?
Laughter, and rain on a roof.

7. What sound or noise do you hate?
A ringing cell phone.

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Film director

9. What profession would you not like to attempt?

10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
"Van Morrison saved you a seat."

Monday, December 7, 2009

so, apparently fans can go too far...

... as if we didn't already know that.

Still, just in case you missed it, the word on the street is that cardboard Edward Cullen cutouts could actually be posing a health risk. While I don't think the swine flu is as big a deal as some people believe it to be and I'm pretty tired of our media (my colleagues included) running stories about clinics, there is at least some amusement to this story. Give it a read for a chuckle. Then go over there to the sink and wash your hands. If you've been groping an Edward cutout, then you really have no idea where your hands have been.

Now the real question is, would you be worse or better off if you groped the real thing?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

what to do, what to do

To my extreme disappointment, there is no snow on the ground this morning. I was really thinking that watching holiday movies last night and putting up my Christmas tree would do the trick. I was so, so wrong.

So now I really only have two options. I can go running in the frigid (but snow-free) cold, and possibly give my lungs frostbite. Or I can do some housekeeping with some laundry, cleaning, bill paying, and writing.

Neither sound that fun, which makes me really just want to sit around all day and procrastinate my last sports column and maybe read some more blogs. But that's certainly not helping my gut and it's helping my state of mind even less. Borders, maybe? Some coffee and pick-me-ups? If I go I'll end up buying a book. There's no way around it, even though I don't NEED another book. I have plenty, and they're all over there waiting to be read. Right now I'm getting cheery or something on Dickens' Christmas Carol. Good shiz.

On an unrelated note, I read a movie review by Heritage's 12-year-old movie critic, Ryan Michaels. Technically I think that makes him my work colleague. But he trashed New Moon, and pretty much all of Twilight. I wouldn't go so far as to say he's a Twilight Hater, but he definitely misjudges the influence the series has on a large group of people. So as a closeted (who am I kidding?) Twilight fan, it is my job to educate him. I'm going to write a rebuttal review that will finally hold this middle schooler accountable. Just because you're cute, kid, doesn't mean your reviews don't have to be good. The bliss period over your uniqueness is over. Now you answer to me...

To be continued...

Friday, December 4, 2009

holiday time!

It is OFFICIALLY December, ladies and gentlemen! That means it's time to break out the Christmas decorations! YayyyyY!

I already have a roughly 7-foot fake tree for our little apartment home and plenty of ornament bulbs and crafty ornaments that I made last year. All we need now is a place to hang stockings, some nice window stickers, and some cute little things for the kitchen table and such. And maybe some holiday pillows, blankets.

But what we REALLY need are to get into the Christmas movies. ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas has officially begun and I'm stoked out of my mind. I love it, almost as much as I love their 13 days of Halloween. I'm also hoping I can have my friend Tom over for some Elf movie viewing and snowflake making. In college, the winter holidays officially began with the Victoria's Secret fashion show. We would watch it while cutting out snowflakes, then we'd pop in Elf and watch that. The snowflakes we made would be hung from the ceiling as decoration for 1125 White Street's annual Winter Prom. It was sweet and I miss those parties.

So yeah, I'm excited. I also saw my first snow flurries yesterday while coming home from a Sharon Township meeting in Manchester. They were slight, but they were THERE!

Any chance we'll get blankets soon for a White Christmas? Here's hoping...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

new job, new job, new job!

Sort of, kind of. I'm still doing essentially the same things with newspapers, but covering different topics and for a different community. Starting on Dec. 10, I will no longer be covering Saline and Milan sports... which means I'll also no longer be paginating the sports sections/sports tabs for Saline, Milan, Chelsea, Dexter, Ypsilanti, Belleville and Manchester.

My new position will be the copy editor of the Manchester Enterprise. I will be the editor and main content writer for the village's paper, mostly covering the school district, the chamber of commerce and the various township council meetings.

I'm pretty stoked. In all honesty I don't really know much about the village yet, but I hear it's filled with incredibly warm and local people. They sound great. I'm mostly just excited to try something new. I've been doing the sports thing for over a year now and I think I've come a long way. There are always ways I can continue to improve, but this change definitely came at a great time for me personally as well. I needed it. Bad.

I'm going to be thrown into the water without much time to adjust, as well, because it looks like my first edition as the Manchester editor will be Dec. 10, and then the following week (Dec. 24) I'll be responsible for taking care of Chelsea, Dexter and Manchester thanks to a coworker that wants to use his unused vacation time.

This week our sports editor Don Richter (who will take my place with Saline and Milan sports in the coming weeks) is also on vacation... so I get to paginate AND dummy the other sports sections. He pretty much said, "Hey, good practice for when you become editor." Then he laughed. I didn't think it was funny.

In fact, I assumed the next few weeks would be a breeze, and that they would be a time when I could relish in my final days as a sports writer. Well we all know what happens when you assume...

What happens is the Don vacation thing, along with our seasonal sports preview tab. So I get to do that too. Everyone's copy is due Thursday and we build the pages on Friday I THINK I DON'T KNOW NO ONE TELLS ME THESE THINGS. But it will get done. It WILL get done. I guess that means I have to get started on my preview stories. That will be a fun, awkward conversation.... "oh hai! I'm not covering your team anymore! but give me the lowdown on your drama before I hand you off like an unwanted newborn!" Just kidding... I love winter. Hockey could kick any other sport's proverbial bottom. Just saying..

epic fail on the horizon

So I entered into National Novel Writing Month on Nov. 1, which I had early described as the craziest and most ridiculous idea I've had in a while. Now here I am... it's Nov. 29. I officially have just over one day left and, well, I'm not going to make it.

That's correct. I have epically failed to amass the 50K words necessary to don the NaNoWriMo crown. Granted, lots (thousands, even!) never manage to get there either. I could go into a bunch of excuses as to why I will be short (about 15K short, in fact), and it would probably include things like family emergencies, a new promotion at work, friends coming to town, the premiere of the movie New Moon, and my short hiatus trip to Florida.... but I'm not going to do that. Truth be told, I could have made it if I'd stuck with it. I checked out my progress graph, and basically I was completely on track through Nov. 15. I was only about 2,000 words short of where I was supposed to be according to my 1,667 words/day goal. But then I essentially didn't touch the story for a week. A good, solid week of nothing. Then the following week I wrote probably 3 out of the 7 days to finally get past the halfway point.

So I've decided that I signed up for this stupid contest for a reason... and that even though I might not be done YET, I'm close enough now that I can taste it and will be pushing through December on my own. I will get to that 50K goal before Christmas if it kills me. And then if there's still more to say, I'll keep going.

So maybe I am a winner of this contest. After all, the point of the whole thing is simply to get people writing... so pick up those slovenly waste of space people who dream about writing novels but never do it. I was one of those people, and I somehow managed to pull myself out of it. It feels great, so why stop?

QED, I'm a loser with a winner's heart. This project will get finished by the New Year, and I have NaNoWriMo to thank. I'll definitely be participating in this little contest again next year. With a year under my belt, I think I'll do even better next time. I'll know which non-writing behaviors to avoid, I'll take my laptop out of my home at least once a day if I'm feeling stubborn, and I won't allow myself cookies and cake until AFTER the word count of the day has been reached.

But for now... time to add a few more thousand to my current total. It looks like I'll land at just under 40K. That estimates to roughly 120 pages of a book. Not too bad at all, methinks.

Friday, November 13, 2009

I'm award-winning, yo

You heard it here first. But probably not because I found out like a month or so ago... but now I finally have the official pieces of paper.

I won some Michigan Press Association Better Newspapers Awards. I won four to be exact, and they send you one of those certificates, like the one you get for being an Honor Roll student in middle school. It's flimsy, and I think I have this exact certificate stationary from Staples. I might even be able to fake winning five, or TEN!

So I took first in my class for Sports Column, which I mean, let's be honest, that's the most important category for me... because it's almost like they're judging me as a person. My column is undoubtedly the thing that's the most fun to write, gets me the most crap from people, and exhibits my *true* voice. Blah, blah blah... so the verdict is in and I win.

I also nabbed second place for a sports feature on some Milan ice hockey brothers that are all playing on the same team at once. There are four of them. Then I grabbed first place for Sports coverage of Milan and second place for sports coverage in Saline.

In the scheme of things this probably doesn't mean a lot to people, but I was pretty excited. I have a feeling most people only care about awards when they don't get them, so I'm pretty happy to be in the winning column. Also my resume looks cooler now. Almost like I'm legitimate. Almost.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

NaNoWriMo in full swing...

This is serious business. It does seem to be working though... I'm deep into the National Novel Writing Month contest. My participation success hinges on completing 50,000 words by Nov. 30. I'm a *titch* behind on the daily word count goal... I'm like 1.5 days behind, putting me at about 14.5K. Not too shabby.

It's a good thing we aren't allowed to edit, because I can feel myself doing things that I don't like. For one, I'm usually very cerebral when it comes to character decisions and how the plot moves. But in all honesty, I would never finish this project if I tried writing it like I write everything else. I write for a living anyway, so I really just don't have the hours needed in a day to be able to take a few days to work through an impending decision in my head. I just have to write it.

So what all of this basically means is that I can almost guarantee that the rewrites alone will alter about half of the book. But that's what December is for, editing... or so I'm told.

Right now I have several characters going that aren't coming off the page well. They are lacking physical description, emotional tendencies and a general persona to fill up their own space. My lead is still a tad too self deprecating. But the hooker? She's a complex little thing. She might be my favorite character so far, which actually is good because a character like that needs to be likable.

I went out and bought a mini notepad to keep my NaNoWriMo efforts more organized. I read that someone else who's doing this keeps pads of paper all over the house for when an idea creeps into their head. I thought that was great because I can always remember those moments when I think of something but might not think it's important enough to track down paper for. Then after it's gone from my memory, I'm pissed. This will hopefully curb some of that.

Other than that it's been more of the same... working lots, but not more than usual... keeping my little apartment life in order (or trying... that monthly massive clean is looming...) for Chris and I... and trying to stay in contact with friends, family, etc. Now I know why lesser mortals who obsess over their work have no friends or family. It's a job in and of itself to keep your relationships strong when you work as much as I do. I suppose I can sleep when I'm dead, but I may very well die on Dec. 1 after this is all over.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

on the eve of a massive project

So either I'm crazy, self medicated, or extremely motivated... because I just signed up to be a participant of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) for November. Every November for several years now, a non profit has been organizing the masses of writers who always talked about writing a book and never found the time to actually do it.

AKA from Nov 1 to Nov 30 it is my responsibility to grab my dream by the balls and write 50,000 words. That comes out to about a 175-page book. It sounds like a lot, and in reality it is, but it's doable. About 1,667 pages per day. In fact, I calculated that at my current job for the newspapers I write about 25,000 words each week... so twice that in four weeks is a piece of cake IN THEORY.

I sort of have never been much of a planner. I don't really outline or do character sketches before I start writing. So what will probably end up happening is I'll brainstorm and widdle down the few story ideas I have that are new (this is a rule of joining) and select the one I like most. I'll spend a large portion of Sunday writing some pages for that piece and then I'll get into the details and planning. It's just my process. I can't plan unless I know a certain idea translates.

So tonight I'll be freaking out and spending a lot of time taking notes and sorting through my psyche in my journal. Could be fun... could be a nightmare. We'll see.

I also joined the Ann Arbor region group. You're supposed to join regions near you so that when you feel like quitting you have a support group. Sort of like Alcoholics Anonymous. We have group therapy sessions renamed "write-ins" where we meet and hopefully do some writing but most likely procrastinate. In total there are about 750 people in Ann Arbor that are doing it. Surprised me how many of those are young people... as in younger than me, the 23-year-old journalist. There are totally kids in high school and college doing this. The college kids don't surprise me as much because I was writing screenplays and short stories at that age, but the closest I came to writing anything in high school were my mini assignments in my creative writing class. But a 175-page novel? Nope. I was too athletic and stuff. These kids have plans.

I will try to update the blog with some excerpts from time to time. It will be my method for maintaining some accountability. Plus I told a lot of people so they can pressure me into not being a loser and quitting too soon. OR SO THE PLAN GOES...

Also some things developing with work that I can't discuss yet. But things might be changing for me in the coming weeks... we'll see what happens.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

mental anguish and busy-ness

So life has been hectic lately. Some personal troubles here and there, and then work has gotten busier with fall. Plus I just moved in, and I don't know why but I feel like my home life is busier living with Christopher. I don't know maybe it's the cooking and stuff. I definitely cook way more now that I have someone I can feed. Living with Rachel it was easy to skimp if I was feeding just me. But I want Chris and I to both eat healthy, and I love cooking, so I've been grocery shopping for specific meals to cook every few days. We're eating excellent, but I may have to organize this into once a week shopping excursions instead of twice-weekly sessions.

Also I feel like work is busier than it was last fall. Oh, wait, because it is. Now I'm writing more feature things for more papers, and I paginate everyone's shiz. That makes for less time to actually go see games, which I don't like, but if I'm going to have a life of my own that's the way it has to be.

Unfortunately life of my own hasn't included anything of consequence as of late other than trying to hold it together, attempting to find time to read and scrapbook and read magazines and do, more, more MOAR! It never works out, obviously, and I have "projects" that are sitting around incomplete.

But at least I'm remembering to pay bills on time. That's the crucial thing, right? And earlier this week I finally paid off the last of my utility bills from the old place AND somehow managed to earn a security deposit return. I really didn't see that coming... not that we killed the place, but the deposit was only $150 and I figured, oh, well that's a throwaway. So yay for me.

I'm also getting pretty revved up for October and Halloween mania. Plus a Halloween USA just opened near Best Buy and Meijer's and I plan to hit that up soon, perhaps. Pottery Barn would be way too expensive and their holiday stuff isn't even that great. I might have to check out Home Goods and Target too. It's going to be a freaking nightmare in here, literally but cuter. I already bought a fall wreath from CVS for cheap, but I can't find the over the door hanger thing. I used it at the old apartment for the Christmas wreath, but after moving OF COURSE I don't know where it ended up. And between my parents cars, Jon's car, my car, the Uhaul and chris's car... there's really no way of knowing if it's even actually IN THE APARTMENT of course. I'm about ready to fold and just buy a new one, but I'm really really trying to be frugal atm.

On two very distinct but noticeably happier notes, A) Rachel officially bought the New Moon midnight showing movie tickets for Nov. 20 in Florida, and B) I won some writing awards. To the movie thing, I'm freaking stoked to both see Rachel and to get buck in that movie theatre. We're going to make wolf pack t-shirts and we're going to have our own special names. I haven't decided what mine is going to be yet, but I'm going to be working that over for the next few weeks. To the writing awards, I can't say anything officially yet, but just know that I'm sweet... officially. =)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

the Sunday to end all Sundays

So here is the deal. I have a lot on my plate today, and somehow I'm going to find a way to power through it. Per as usual, I have a lot of work to do... several stories to write and pictures to take for the various papers I contribute to.

But the social life doesn't just stop on a dime over the weekend anytime the work folio goes "hey, pay attention to me" does it? No it does not. Because I'm also trying to not be a lazy arse anymore, so I want to play tennis later and get some cardio... I also want to go to Pottery Barn and use my store credit to get a tray for living room so I don't have to worry about knocking over drinks, dish towels for the kitchen and hand towels for the bathroom. Those are necessities really. I also wanted to get my Mom's butt to Borders because she has no books and we all know she's happier when she does. I'll have to police her down to three instead of 10. Furthermore, this is a big day in TV. The US Open women's finals are supposed to be today, or the semis depending on the rain delays that have been going on... and the VMAs are tonight, which will premiere the newest and longest New Moon trailer anyone has seen to date, and we all know how much I love that. Finally, Mad Men new episode at 10 p.m. Can't miss that. It's my thing with Chris.

And to top it all off, I stayed up WAY past my bedtime last night, and didn't arise until 11a.m. Lost a few very important planning hours. But NONETHELESS I AM OFF to attack the day and get as much done as possible. Wish me luck.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Well that was a long break, friends...

Hey-lo! I haven't written anything in a good month. I've been bad. But in my defense, I did have a lot going on in August. Vacation to Outer Banks... the two weeks leading up to vacation in which I had to do double the work because I'd be gone... spending a week packing to move... moving... spending a week or more unpacking from the move... and more work than usual with fall sports kicking up (previews included). So there you have it. My August in a nutshell.

As soon as I get a few more boxes thrown away/recycled and a few more odds and ends put in their new homes, I'll take pics of the apartment I just moved into with Christopher and post those. We're really liking it so far; it's a great apartment and it's really coming along well.

Also was able to visit with all of my friends last week. Kaitlyn flew in and Kristin drove up. And Beth was around before she headed down to Tennessee for a girl party Hope reunion. It's been a good week... and with some other things going on in my life, it was much needed.

But now on to September!! It's labor day today, actually, and I'll probably be working for most of it. I attempted to do a lot of work on Friday to prepare for the fact that I wouldn't want to work on a Monday holiday... but that didn't pan out as well as I would've hoped, mainly because the coaches went on vacation early and decided to ignore me kthx. So I'll be doing that, and reading my book (The Road by Cormac McCarthy... amazing... Pulitzer Prize winning book...), watching more US Open coverage and maybe cooking something tasty.

Also given that fall is finally back, that means two of my favorite things are also back... college football and good movies. Oh how I love the Oscar-season rush. Bring on the best movies... oooo, and I booked my flight to Orlando in November to see my old roommate Rachel for the New Moon theatre premiere. Totally stoked. Can't wait at all. And I've been reading the Percy Jackson series in anticipation for that new movie to hit the screen. Several others on the horizon that I'm excited about, but that will come...

Also Michigan won... like by a lot. Sure, it was Western, but we looked good. No complaints from me so far.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Tim Burton puts the cherry on my Sunday

As if I didn't already love Tim Burton enough... and as if I didn't already love Johnny Depp enough... and as if I didn't already love Carroll's Alice and Wonderland story enough... they're ALL COMBINING TO BRING ME..... Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland around March of 2010. Depp will be playing the Mad Hatter, while the Red Queen will be portrayed by Burton's long-time girlfriend Helena Bonham Carter. Martin Sheen (Frost Nixon/Underworld) will play the Chesire cat, Anne Hathaway will play the White Queen, and newcomer Mia Wasikowska will play Alice. From what I hear, the plot will go something as follows... Alice is now about the age of 16 and has completely forgotten about her earlier trip to Wonderland at the age of 10 or whatever... she is about to be proposed to and finds herself in desperate need of an escape. She finds herself once again staring down a rabbit hole and plunges deep, back into a Wonderland with some old, familiar (and somewhat haunting) faces.

Man I love Burton. Especially when it's Burton and Depp, because Johnny seems to be the only actor who can match Tim's visual imagination and group it with some fantastical performances. Other things the duo have worked on together are Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, the Corpse Bride, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Sleep Hollow, Charlie and the Chocolate Factor. And of course, my favorite movie of all time, the Nightmare Before Christmas, has the golden stamp of Burton, too.

Below are some images released for the upcoming film, which according to Depp in a recent press conference in California is going to be something really special. Several times he declared shock that he wasn't fired for his extreme character choices in portraying the Mad Hatter. As you can see, the look that Depp helped invent is a bit insane... which is appropriate given the undercurrent of the story. Expect another quirky performance, such as his portrayal of Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean or Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

The photos are property of Disney Enterprise, Inc.

Well, that was weird.

Dude. Michael Jackson died. He friggin' died. And right before he was about to go on a 50-event tour, too. Dang.

I feel like this was probably the weirdest and most shocking celebrity death that could have happened. Mostly because he's had so much plastic surgery and been on so many drugs that I intrinsically assumed he would magically last forever. Sort of like Keith Richards. He's one of those celebs that you can just picture living forever on the fringe and outliving even the cockroaches. I mean no disrespect; he just seemed well preserved.

This whole thing made me come to several realizations, however, most of which pertain to technology. First observation, it's sort of sad when TMZ is your fastest and most accurate news reporting source. They knew what went down WAY before the real news stations even bothered to collect details. It was hours and hours. Perhaps it's because the methodology TMZ uses to collect their news is so disgusting that there's no way it isn't true. They're like the town gossip, who you don't really like, but when they do speak up about an event it tends to be right on. CNN drug its heels and eventually got up to speed. But you have to wonder how this sort of pecking order will continue to mold the news industry. In the days of twitter and camera phones and facebook, news just isn't that hard to transmit to others. TMZ has way more weapons in its arsenal than legit reporting stations who have their so-called hoops to jump through first. And while I appreciate a news source that bothers to confirm details BEFORE broadcasting, there's something to be said about breaking a story.

The second technology-based observation is how our age of technology has transformed what people perceive as real relationships. When I got home from the bar last night, I decided to get on facebook. Well lo and behold, nearly every facebook status in my news feed was either "Michael Jackson R.I.P." or "you will be missed" or "omg my life is over bc MJ died." I'm sorry, but are people forgetting that most everyone pretty much hated this man at the end? Let's not pretend to be all buddy buddy now. If he had died in the 80s at the height of his career, then ok, fine, post your tidbits about how your life has lost meaning. But don't act like you are rocked to the core because of this shocking blow. Shocking, yes. Life altering, no. Reminder: you were not Michael Jackson's friend (excluding all you MJ die hard fans out there). The obsession with celebrities never ceases to surprise me, especially how attached people can get to them and how they begin to feel like they genuinely know them.

As far as I'm concerned, the real Michael Jackson died a long time ago... right around the time he officially made the race change to become a new person. The only remembrance we've had of his old and true self since the new millennium is his older albums. I love Michael Jackson's music as much as the next person, but let's leave fanaticism at the door and simply be appreciative of a good artist. Which most of the bars did because pretty much no matter where you went in Ann Arbor last night, the venues were hopping with MJ's hits. I heard Thriller three times at Babs Underground. (Side note: I did NOT hear Dirty Diana, which happens to be a personal favorite.. and I was quite angry.)

The only thing that could possibly result from all of this that might legitimately effect everyone is that (and I'd bet quite a bit of money on this) a record label will now re-release some sort of greatest hits album. Or perhaps we'll now be offered some never-before-heard tracks that hit the cutting room floor. Sort of like what happened with 2Pac.

On a related note, how much does it stink to be Farrah Fawcett? I mean, the one thing celebrities always have in common is that when they die, they become immortalized and have a day dedicated to remembering their careers and whatnot. This was Fawcett's chance to be remembered and to earn a tiny shrivel of "oh yeah. I remember her. She totally rocked." Instead, her fame and glory was completely overshadowed by the MJ stuff. Too bad...

Monday, June 15, 2009

Summer festivals are herreeee!

I love this time of year. Not only does the weather facilitate happy people and more breathable clothing, but it also marks vacation time and fun activities. One such activity is Ann Arbor's Summer Festival, or more specifically Top of the Park. It launched last weekend and goes full swing this month. I'll definitely be attending Wednesday night with roommate Rachie, because the film they intend to play against Rackham Auditorium is none other than TWILIGHT. omg. Should be exciting. I'm planning to take my camera around and shoot some pics of the area and locals, including those awkward teenybopper middle schoolers who crowd around the fountains and oh-my-god-help-me-now hold HANDS! Premarital touching is the best.

Other days I'm looking forward to are not this Friday but next, June 26, when Diana Krall and My Dear Disco take to the stage. Diana is obviously awesome, but I'm actually more excited for local band My Dear Disco with their uber talented lead singer, their quirky techno vibe, and their lead guitarist Theo, who happens to know my boyfriend and has cool hair. Gotta love a rocker with cool hair. So free flowing and fluffy. The very next day on Saturday, June 27, the Macpodz take to the stage and they're supposed to be very rock out, as well.

The only other night of significance is sometime the week after that when they play the Triplets of Belleville, a French cartoon that won best foreign short film at the Oscars a few years ago. The music in it is supposed to be awesome and quirky and I love movies like that. Also Jose Hernandez is on stage that night, a little-known Swedish songwriter despite his Latin name. He's ah-maze-ing. His songs sort of have the same vibe as British songstress Laura Marling, American songwriter Ben Jelen, Gavin DeGraw and Rufus Wainwright. He plays a lot of acoustic things and somber, but very good lyrically and has a lot of range from song to song. Very much recommended.

Further into summer I'll also be busy attending the Rothbury Music Festival near Traverse City with my friends Beth and Tom. Camping out and listening to bands and concerts all day. The headliners are Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan. The Madpodz will be there too, as well as like 30 other bands.

Also the Ann Arbor Art Fair is in July, which as always is a great time to live near Ann Arbor, despite all the parking hassles. Then in the beginning-middle of August I'll be basking in the sun in the Outer Banks of North Carolina with my darling Christopher and his family. Great timesssss. Summerrrrr~!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Work, work, rain, work

It's a rainy Thursday, which I love... but I'd be loving it more if I still had a window to look out of at work. But I don't because....

BIG TIME OFFICE MOVE this week. The Saline Reporter is now playing house to ALL the Southeastern Michigan Journal Register Co.'s weekly newspapers. That means the people from the Chelsea, Dexter, Manchester, Ypsilanti and Belleville papers are all here. It also meant I had to give up my office upstairs by Michelle and move downstairs into a large room with all the other sports writers. We're all crammed in the dungeon, as it will from here on out be called.

BUT, joy in small things. I have probably one of, if not THE, best desk. And I'm facing a wall. And TRUST, that is a good thing. It means I'm not facing a bunch of other writers. So I have my Twilight poster, just so, right over there. And I have Don Draper decorating the right side of my wall, just so, right over there. I've got my desk feeling homey, and everything is in its proper spot. Now I just need to get the rest of the room to feel that way. I may end up setting up a partition so that I don't feel like the sports writer sitting behind me is constantly gazing down my butt crack or over my shoulder at my Twilight blogs. That would be nice.

Mostly I just hope the transition goes smoothly. Which it won't, but hope for the best, right? Now my Saline pages are going to be down, down, down. I usually have 4-5 pages for sports in Saline. Now I'll have 2. I'll have 2 for Milan, as well, but I've always had 2-3, so that isn't critical. In the fall, there will be four additional pages added to each sports section, but that will be regional content that I'm not in charge of handling. That now falls to Don Richter of Chelsea, who is taking the sports editor position.

Which brings me to the next thing, that I now have two bosses. Since I'm still writing sports and still writing news features and whatnot, I have two editors. Technically Michelle is still the highest person in rank for me, because she is the main editor of all the papers now. BUT, I am reporting stories to two different people. We'll see how this all turns out.

Never a dull moment.... never ever..

oh yeah and I almost forgot about the awesomeness that is UP. Yeah, I finally saw it. It was great. Especially the dog, Doug. What a cutey. He had the exact personality that I feel all dogs inherently have, down to the body language. Interestingly enough, Pixar was very adept at creating a bit of a sob story, too, because I teared up a bit in the first five minutes and continued to at various points throughout the movie. Good to know I still have some emotions left that produce actual tears. None of the water left my eye, though. (Crying equivalent of "but I didn't inhale")

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Ahhh, thursdays...

I have to admit, I enjoy peace and quiet at work sometimes. I'm usually the first person to get here on Thursdays because we publish this day and people are recovering from their busy deadline days and sleeping in a bit. Sometimes there's nothing better than a coffee, bagel and morning to yourself in your music-filled office.

In other news, I purchased a new iPod. It's the silver iPod classic. I had one of the older iPod versions. The color clickwheel one. But it broke, and this was about the fourth time it has done so. Plus, I was almost completely maxed out on space, because the older iPods could hold 20 GB. My iTunes has about 18GB of music. So basically, I'm enjoying the added space of my 120GB iPod and have finished syncing it and updating and whatnot. This was actually quite a process to be honest. Because I couldn't just go out and buy an iPod when mine broke originally. I didn't have the most up-to-date version of iTunes on my Powerbook... which a new iPod would require. But I couldn't update my iTunes because I didn't have a new enough software version. So basically I had to spend an entire day backing up my Mac to my portable hard drive. Then another few days were spent updating my software to Leopard. Once that was done I could update my iTunes and other applications. And finally I could buy an iPod, which obviously was followed by the four-hour charge time and data transfer. But now I'm finally set. I have a new music device. My iTunes has a functional Genius, which has created just masterful playlists for me. And I'm happy. It's exciting.

I also bought a pair of Ed Hardy's that I've been wanting. P.S. those are shoes. Sort of like Converse, but typically more artful and colorful. My pair has an asian art sort of tiger drawn on. They look cool. I'm so very pleased with myself.

I also have to admit I'm not that sad that I don't have a show anymore. I used to watch House, Mad Men, American Idol and such. But all those shows are done at the moment and I've had way more flexible free time. It's sort of depressing that we dictate our life schedules around TV programming. So I feel sort of relieved to get back to what life used to be for me before I got hooked on something. I'm still reading a lot, still writing, still trying to write other independent things, and getting back into music. I've missed music a lot and wonder if I should consider buying a French Horn. Instead for the moment I'm getting back to teaching myself guitar and considering piano lessons. I'd enjoy if I had the capacity to write songs, and I think playing piano would be really helpful. I actually have a full-on keyboard that is really nice, but we'll see. I should have had Jeff Wenzinger teach me while I lived with him junior year. The kid is crazy talented and probably would have been a lovely little mentor.

So that's what's up in life right now. There are also massive amounts of changes coming with my newspaper that aren't announced or official yet. I'll know officially and be able to post something about it on Monday. Should be excitinggggggg.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Not sleeping sort of catches up to you.

That's something I've learned over the past few days. I've been going hard for some time now, staying really busy with work, and it isn't doing my health any favors. I'm doing a better job of hydrating though and eating well. Now the trick will be to get more exercise and more sleep. Then I'll be solid and re-energized just in time for summer.

I never seem to have enough time for everything, though. I have all these movies sitting on my floor that I've either rented or purchased that need to be viewed, and I have eighty thousand books on the floor waiting to be read. On top of that, I have a lot going on with work and feel like I could better organize my time in order to improve myself and the experience I give others. In short, it would be nice if working 24/7 and reading/watching movies 24/7 did not detract from my mood or health. But it does.

But one day at a time. Tonight's plan is to relax, read my book, watch a movie, and watch the season finale performance show for American Idol tonight. I think I want Adam to win, but I'm just as likely to buy an album from Kris... so who knows. I caught a break today because I didn't have to drive to Pontiac, so I actually had a spare afternoon to watch some baseball and take down some stats. It felt really nice to be able to do that and get back to the fun part of the job. I haven't been able to physically attend as many games this spring as I did in the fall and winter because my job responsibilities have grown. And while I'd like to be able to attend more games, I don't want to attend them by working over 50 hours a week. So something had to give. Maybe I'll write up some coverage from the game tonight and post it online on the paper's website tomorrow morning.

Also started gathering together my favorite clippings today for submission in the Michigan Press Association competition. I'm submitting things for sports coverage, sports column, sports section, sports photograph, and MPA Rookie of the Year. Hopefully I have a chance at a few of those things. Probably not, but one can hope.

ALSOOOOOOO. For all those out there nerdy like me... the New Moon poster was released today in newspapers and online. And snippets from the movie will be shown at this year's MTV Movie Awards at the end of the month, hosted by Andy Samburg. Check it out. It comes to theatres in November, I believe.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Ah, Sundays...

Glorious days, Sundays. Almost the best day of the week, but not quite. I lounge a lot, do some knee-injury-appropriate exercises, drink tea over my morning paper, do way-too-old-for-me things, etc. etc.

So far the morning has been nice. I made a blueberry smoothie and toast for breakfast, and caught up on all my Ann Arbor News reading. Now the plan is to mail some bills, get some laundry started, and watch "S. Darko" which I rented at blockbuster a few days ago. Apparently it's a follow up movie to "Donnie Darko" that deals with Donnie's sister in the aftermath of his death. Chuck Bass from Gossip Girl is in it, so I said why not? It can't be much worse than Bride Wars, which I also rented.

But eventually, hopefully by midafternoon I'll get around to writing some stories for the paper so my Monday and Tuesday go easier and I'm not stressed out about my deadline. Goal: write two features and my column and gather stats for all the weekend games. It can be done. But it will suck.

Hopefully I can get some exercise in there as well before heading off to Chris's house this evening. It would be good considering the shit I put in my system last night at the bars. However, I now have to nurse a bruised arm, a scuffed knee and a bruised knee cap in addition to the injured left knee I was already nursing. Having tripped on the stairs in a parking structure at 2 a.m., I am now a walking injury. But the worst part of all that, is that I actually touched the ground of the stairwell with bare hands. Ewwwwww.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Home sweet home, for now

I have moved every year once a year since I started college, which means I've spent time in college dorms, college apartments, student off-campus housing, and now adult off-campus housing. Needless to say, my current digs are the nicest yet, and I really like the grounds. So here are a few pictures of my apartment and the community I call home, complete with swimming pool, tennis courts, walking paths, hot tubs, party rooms, a workout facility, and more.

Not so beautiful to most, but I'm not most...

Today it's quite rainy and overcast here in Michigan, which is frankly just something you have to get used to when living here. I for one have always enjoyed the rain. Either because it makes me more productive and usually results in me writing a lot and drinking tea (when combined, the ultimate activity) for the remainder of the day. But it also creates my favorite smell of all, ozone. I love that smell. So my plan is to get some exercise and document my neighborhood in the coming hours.

Also, I'm pretty stoked about a recent DVD purchase I made. I bought season 1 and 2 of the XMen comic cartoons. I get 33 episodes of Wolverine, Beast, Cyclops, Storm, Jean Gray, and, eventually, the Phoenix. I'm freaking stoked. I used to watch this show every day after school... that and Aladdin the show on Disney Channel. Good times.

Other DVD purchases I recently made which have resulted in me banning myself from any electronic-related store include: the Underworld trilogy (even though I already had the first one... but they came in a combined set), Corpse Bride (I love me some Tim Burton), Once, Pan's Labyrinth, and the Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

I also have a large group of books piled up next to my bed. I don't know why I keep them there. I have a bookshelf downstairs, which actually happens to be sort of full... but could easily be rearranged to include some books from my bedroom. But for some reason I like my little (not little) pile of books by my bed. Some of them I've actually finished, but they're my favorites so I keep them close. But there are 27 books total stacked next to my bedside. I read a book a week, or two weeks if it isn't particularly gripping for me. I just like the look of a mound of books. It gets me going in the morning. (That's what she said?) Anyway, the reason I brought this up is that I'm also not allowed into Borders anymore for a long time. Because I obviously don't need to add to the growing pile, no matter how fast I read.

Hi =)

So while I'm not actually new to this, I am new to this particular blog. Other blogs I have are either work related or were made to engage other writers in a productive way. Here I just want to help myself document my everyday life... who is in that life, what I do, where I live, what I enjoy, etc. etc. I'm sure some writing will crop up in here, as it always does. But only if I'm proud of something I want to share. This will be my journal blog. So yay =)