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How News Is Really Made Courtesy of Charlie Brooker

January 28, 2010 Leave a comment

Take three and enjoy.

Categories: Humor, Video

A somewhat humorous guide to revisions from a semi-talented writer, who is constantly made better.

January 14, 2010 Leave a comment

Yes, I know you are probably editing the title. Good. That means you’ll laugh at this I hope.

Step 1: Call your mother or most supportive person in your life. Fish for a complement and write it down on a sticky note. Make sure to place said sticky note on your computer screen or printed out article. Refer to said sticky note whenever feeling down.

Step 2: Put on some classical music, but non of that take-over-the-world stuff. Think I-love-my-life-and-just-got-married. Flutes and harps are great for this.

Step 3: If you’re a drinker, put the bottle away. You will need this for when you’re done. If you’re not a drinker, grab a beer. The shock of hops will help subside the red ink flowing over your work.

Step 4: Read the editors comments — if there are any — about how you are on the right track. This will help immensely when reading “rewrite,” and “lame, please do not include.”

Step 5: Look at sticky note and begin.

Categories: Humor, Journalism, Writing

Think TV News Has No Hope? Spend Five And Watch This — You Will Not Be Disappointed

September 5, 2008 1 comment

From the Daily Show last night: Proof that Jon Stewart may be the only guy willing to not swallow the “24-hour forgetful pill.”

http://www.thedailyshow.com/video/index.jhtml?videoId=184086&title=sarah-palin-gender-card

Categories: Humor, Journalism, Video

If you could drop everything what would you do? — My challenge to you

July 30, 2008 3 comments

Answer this: If you could drop everything, without consequence, and follow one dream, what would it be?

Now think about what is stopping you? The barriers that immediately shut down your idealism. Are they able to be breached? Are they materialistic? Are they family based? Are they rooted in fear?

My dream?

The Six Degrees of Separation Project

The Mission: America needs to remember its beauty – The idealism that has captivated millions to risk death just for a chance to succeed. To jump borders. Leave family. Drive a taxi by day, go to school at night. America needs to hear the stories of idealism beyond Disneyesque packaged prime time. The need to see the faces of struggling entrepreneurs. Stay-at-home mothers. Hourly wageworkers. Wall Street wonders. The project will link together, using the philosophy of six degrees of separation, the everyday fabric of our lives.

Execution: I would start out with one person, and listen to their story. That one person would then be responsible for introducing me to the next individual. I would then listen, learn, and document their story. The individual would then be responsible for introducing the next person. The catch, however, is the person cannot introduce me to a person the previous person knows. I also will need to spend at least one night with the selected individual, so I can accurately portray a sliver of their life.

Deliverables: By meshing my love for storytelling with technology, I will produce a variety of multimedia components: video, written word, photography, podcasting, GPS oriented content to name just a few. The project would be available via a website, and social networking tools.

The Crux: Before embarking I would compile a bucket list of goals: be a guest on the Tonight Show, run a marathon in a major city, help a kid learn how to throw a baseball, learn how to sail, and have dinner with the President. That I wish to complete during the trip.

Barriers: Capital. That’s it.

My Challenge to You: If you feel as though reaching your goal is out of reach, help me reach mine. I will make a promise to fulfill on this. All I need is a little help. This does not necessarily mean just cash, though that will put some gas in my tank. A simple introduction may be more than enough.

What would this take? Honestly, I’m not sure. Startup costs would be roughly 5K to get the appropriate equipment and website built. Then it’s a matter of gas, food, and enough cash so when I stay with a stranger I can cook them dinner, or take their kids out for ice cream. Ideally I would start in Colorado, and work east.

It is also important to note that I am not just asking for a handout to travel without risk to myself. I am willing to put my own capital behind this journey, as well as my personal name and time. Several people noted that “this seems a little strange,” and “I’m not sure what my first impressions are,” which is more than reasonable. I will work on answering these questions in a more detailed post shortly, but for now I wanted to just put the idea out there.

Think you can help? Let me know. If I can raise 20k I will hit the road and follow a life-long dream, which will hopefully change one persons life for the better.

Note: 20K is also equal to 200 folks taking a $100 chance. Broken up, anything is possible.

Please feel free to circulate this post to whomever you like.

If you don’t know me and would like to talk, please feel free to give me a ring at 303.406.1876 or email me directly at timshisler (at) gmail (.com) – I will be more than willing to answer any of your questions.

Curb the Bottle Until Noon and Other Advice for Working at Home

July 17, 2008 3 comments

Her advice is sharp: “You can work in your pajamas–If you’re not self-motivated and disciplined, this can be a slippery slope. What’s to stop you from having a beer before noon?”

Humorous: “You can have a conference call in your underwear if you want to and no one is the wiser.”

And wise: “You’re your own boss–there’s no one checking your work, asking you to set goals, giving you raises and feedback, or challenging you to raise the bar, so you’ve got to do all those things for yourself.”

And it all speaks to my current situation: Learning how to work at home, as my own boss, on my own schedule, without the pressure of an on-site manager. So far, so good, but that doesn’t mean I’ve had some problems.

Take last week for instance. My girlfriend got back from Europe late Thursday night and I ended up hanging out with her Friday morning. Or this week when the heat reached 100 degrees and the lack of AC in my bedroom drove me to the local coffee shop where I had trouble hearing folks on the phone. But that isn’t to say it has all been struggles; there have been some good stuff too.

Like the fact I can go to the gym at 2 instead of 6 and miss the rush. Or the fact that I’ve cut about 500 calories of crap out of my daily diet since Backpacker’s infamous black cabinet is no longer in the picture. Or the challenge presented that it’s my responsibility to stay on task, at my desk, working.

Personal friend and fellow work-at-home colleague Dewey Bushaw, gave me some advice:

“Working from home is all about figuring out what works. From how you dress to where you sit, those decisions are made by the one person whose goal is to look out for number one…You.”

Dewey went on to include a list of pros and cons:

Pros:

  • Your own personal bathroom.
  • Refreshments are just a room away.
  • Need to take a nap? No problem.
  • Blast your music, listen to a movie, or work in complete silence.

Cons:

  • Communication is limited to the digital and analog realm and you might suffer from response delay.
  • Office politics, water-cooler chat, and camaraderie are severely diminished.
  • Degenerative work environment if you do not get dressed and keep your work place tidy.
  • The line between work and relaxation might get blurred and you will not be able to do either separate.

Good points to say the least. But it’s the last one that had me thinking. The line between work and relaxation might get blurred and you will not be able to do either separate. I’m horrible at this. Every time I turn on the computer and scan stories, blogs, twitter feeds, or just play around I’m always working. How can this work for my client? How can I write something like this? Who is this writer? Why can they do this and not me? All thoughts that scream through my head just as fast as the 1’s and 0’s appearing on the computer screen.

“Set boundaries,” professional writer Gina Wagner advised me over dinner. “Set blocks of time for work, and then walk away and get out of the house.” Her husband then chimed in. “You are like me Tim. I go into an office to check my email and emerge three hours later. But you can’t do that. Find a balance and stick to it.”

So maybe that is why I’m blogging more. Now that I don’t have a writing outlet (it was Backpacker the last few months) I need a way to express my feelings and continue writing. The only question is if I can continue to improve my prose without the constant watchful eagle-eye of my past editors.

Delayed: Thoughts while flying

February 15, 2008 1 comment

There is a huge billboard overhead that states, “Visionary,” it has a picture of Thomas Edison and a tagline reading, “What it Takes”. I can’t help but wonder which idiot made that call. “You think they could be visionaries themselves and find their planes,” I overhead. Pure Genius.

I had my first security bag check today. I guess I wasn’t too surprised, a MSR camping stove and water filter were in the bottom of my carryon. “Um sir, we need to check your bag,” the lady calmly said. “And you need to be honest with me about what is in there before I go digging. It looks like a bomb, I need to know.”

Sitting down writing this one of the most attractive women I’ve ever seen sat down next to me. She delicately laid down her Gucci purse, daintily crossed her legs, and then muttered under her breath, “Ah men…always looking at me, never saying anything.” I turned to her a few seconds later and said hi. She shot me the look of death. Guess it’s no wonder she is single.

Fast food is plentiful. Burger King, Panda Express, Dominos Pizza just to name a few. But what would happen if say the airlines got smart and served light healthy food? “I feel so fat,” a young teenage girl told her friend while eating a hamburger. “I know what you mean,” her friend noted. “No wonder I always feel like crap when I fly.”

Customer service in an Airport is like telling a puppy he can’t pie on the carpet; possible, but highly unlikely. Case in point: “Excuse me, I see my flight is delayed and there isn’t a scheduled departure time. Any chance you can give me an idea of what I’m looking at?” “If it isn’t on the screen, then I can’t help you.” “So you basically know as much as we do?” “You’re a smart guy.” – Wow, this chick knows how to sell.

Money does buy happiness. Whoever said otherwise has never seen the express lane for “private executive passengers,” when going through security. Poor = long drawn out lines. Rich = bliss.

Slow people suck. Seriously. We’ve all flown since 9/11. The no liquids, laptop out, coat off, shoes in the bin, rules should be obvious by now.

Categories: Humor, Personal

Think you’re in Shape? Move to Boulder, and then kill yourself

January 9, 2008 1 comment

Overheard while working out at the YMCA.

Ridiculously ripped dude one: “Hey man do you cyclocross?”

Equally Ripped dude two: “No, just ice climb and ski. Going to Jackson this weekend and Aspen in two weeks.”

“Sweet! But you really should try it. Once the road season ends it ‘s a great way to stay in shape. I just did a sick race in Estes Park.”

“Yea? Hard?”

“You know, typical. 30 miles, snow, same old shit.”

“Well I do need a new bike. Maybe I’ll pick one up. BTW, ever want to ride across Colorado?”

“Did last year, it was too easy.”

When I moved to Boulder I was out of shape. Two months on the road had broken me down. I’d run a marathon, competed in a few triathlons and climbed some 14,000 ft. peaks, but besides that the summer had been fairly uneventful.

Back home (Santa Cruz California,) I was the active one among most of my friends. Saturday mornings would be filled with 40-mile rides, 15-mile runs and marathon lap swims.

I would hit the gym at lunch, climb sporadically and hike twice a month.

And then I moved to Boulder.

The town where if you can’t ride a century, run a marathon and bust out a pitch on a gruesome 5.12 all in the same day, you’re mediocre. Worthless. Pathetic. Plane out of shape.

“Just remember,” several people told me when I first arrived. “There is always someone faster, better and more ballsy out there than you. Once you know that, you will be fine.”

I believed them, but it didn’t sink in at first.

My first two months were a blast. Twenty five thousand feet of elevation gain, over 100 miles hiked, a few hundred miles run and even two climbing sessions. I drank beer, lost weight, ate healthier than ever and found myself happier than I’d been in several years.

But as the newness wears off and I begin to become more of a resident in Boulder, the reality is sinking in.

“What are you doing this weekend?” I might ask a coworker.

“Oh you know, same old stuff. Climb a mountain early Saturday, then attend Dave Matthews before heading out to a friends hut trip which I’ll have to ski into at night. Then Sunday ski back, bang out a freelance piece and relax.”

Damn. And I thought hiking 10 miles was cool.