August 30, 2004

One bit short of a bridle

SC flag.jpg

A week ago, we had the Page Valley Fair here in Page County. Monday was the rodeo night, and I went to get photos. The rodeo was put on by the Ken Treadway Rodeo Co. out of Laurens, SC. They were here last year, too.

Don't know if it was one too many falls from a raging bull or buckin' bronco, but the crew had some trouble with the SC state flag during the "opening ceremonies." (Or is it some sort of protest?)

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Congrats to recent BJU journalism graduate Jessica Mission on her article "Protesting Protests" in the Aug. 28 issue of WORLD magazine.

Jessica and a couple other BJU girls attended World Journalism Institute in NYC a year ago. While in NYC, they visited our apartment and we showed them the sights of Brooklyn sites--they enjoyed Juniors' famous cheesecake on the Brooklyn Promenade before walking over the Brooklyn Bridge.

My brother reports that Jessica had the honor of further study this past summer one-on-one with WORLD's editor-in-chief, Marvin Olasky.

I hope that she'll be able to build on this: it's nice to have something like that in one's portfolio.

(I didn't have an article, but I did some reporting for WORLD after 9-11. My bro had a photo and I got some credit for helping on the cover story.)

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August 25, 2004

Blogging & the Olympics

Bet at Dappled Things points out an interesting story about the International Olympic Committee and its embargo prohibiting participants from blogging their experiences.

She comments that it sounds pretty un-American to place that restriction. I would take it a little further and say it sounds very European (in the French or German meaning of the word).

I can't find many--if any--real reasons for them to do so. In fact, I think if Olympians were blogging about their experiences, they would be incredibly popular, adding to the already-overblown hype about the Games.

I would also note that the story comes from CBS News not the network (NBC) which is airing the Games.

While you might not see any athletes, coaches, or other lackeys blogging about the Olympics, you can read about some of the photojournalists covering the Olympics at The home page has links to blogs, photos, and other dispatches from Athens, and you might find discussion threads on the forums featuring input from the Olympic media.

So while the athletes are sequestered, the media representatives are trumping their own news organizations--at least by the IOC's thinking.

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August 23, 2004

Eastward migration

We're excited to have some people we know moving "close" to us. There are really not any like-minded people our age here in our part of the Shenandoah Valley.

Saturday, we're helping Darla's cousin Melia (and her husband Jamie) move into a place in Charlottesville, Va. That's about 1 1/2 hours from here. Melia and Darla have been very close, so we're excited about that. Jamie's taking a job with a government contractor and his story is full of exciting details of the Lord's sovereign plan. They move here from Tucson, AZ.

A few weeks ago, another of Darla's cousins (from the other side of the family) moved with his wife to the metropolitan DC area. That's about 2 hours drive, but we make that trip pretty often to get our "city" fix. Troy and Dawn came all the way from Seattle, towing a Mini Cooper with Troy's Jetta TDI. Dawn is a new Navy officer, assigned to an installation in the DC area.

We look forward to getting together as a small group. When winter comes, we'll probably send a delegation to the ski slopes nearby. (And maybe Troy--a VW mechanic--can help me with my Jetta...)

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Participatory sing-along

Sunday a week ago at our church, we had the chance to request favorites from the hymnal for the evening service. We do this from time-to-time, and I enjoy it. The man who directs the singing at church is a great guy, but he's not really a musician--just a simple country guy. He tends to pick from a small portion of the hymnal, missing a lot of the great hymns that I've grown up with.

What he chooses to sing is not bad, but they're kind of light on doctrine and Scripture. So, when we can give requests, I often choose some of the great hymns that he misses. On this particular Sunday, I had some hymns picked because I expected the song leader to be gone, leaving me to fill in. When he showed up and asked for requests, I raised my hand and suggested "Be Thou My Vision."

The pianist began playing the hymn and the congregation joined in. But we didn't even make it through the first line before we crashed and burned.

In the end, I was called up to the pulpit to lead the hymn and Darla was asked to play the piano. Thankfully, we had played such roles in our church in NYC and a few times here in Virginia.

After a little work, we made it through the entire hymn, and I think the rest of the congregation appreciated the words of the hymn. That was my goal when I slipped up my hand to request the hymn.

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Sunday afternoon I sent the special Fall Sports Preview tab (as in tabloid format) to the printer, easily within deadline. It made for a hectic week, but I'm pleased with how the section turned out. Instead of 16 pages, it ended up being 12 pages. As a result, I held one article for use in the Sports section this week.

I had only one real crisis during the project. That was when I went to the photo shoot for the cover of the tab. I was going to shoot an informal group photo of the captains from each sport--from both schools. The shoot was Friday at 8 a.m. at the school 15 miles away. After talking to the school athletic directors and coaches multiple times, I had kids from only one school show up--the kids from the other school. One girl from the delinquent school was there. I snagged a few others who were at a practice, but I didn't have enough to get a usable photo.

So I spent the rest of the morning on Plan B, getting sports equipment for a for still-life photo. It all ended up OK, but frustrating nonetheless.

Everything in the tab was my responsibility: the writing, the photos, the layout, even the proofreading. Wednesday was a long day, more than six hours of taking individual mug shots, team photos and making sure I got all the names right.

This being my second year on the tab, I found it a whole lot easier than it was last year. When I did this a year ago, I was meeting all the coaches as I worked on the stories for the tab. And when everything went to the printer and I "debriefed" with my editor, I enjoyed the satisfaction of a job well done.

(Now I've got to come up with some other stories to fill the Sports section. Problem is that nothing's going on.)

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August 16, 2004

Big week

This is the busiest week of my year. I have a deadline this weekend on a special 16-page, tabloid-format section previewing the Fall sports at our two local high schools. The entire section is my responsibility--photos, stories, graphics, layout, cover, etc.

It's a lot of work, although maybe not as bad as it sounds. Most of the pages are half-filled with ads. The articles are rather formulaic, and the photos are boring team portraits. (It's also easier the second time around.)

On top of that, I've to fill the sports pages even though there are no sports going on at the moment. This is my week for my specialty section--the Outdoors feature. This Outdoors section is on a guy who climbed Denali in Alaska. He grew up in town and now lives an hour away. And this week, I'm doing the feature story for our "B" section. I wrote an article and photographed a guy making wood sculptures with a chainsaw. Not a bad feature, if I may say so.

Outdoors is ready to be layed-out and the "B" feature is layed-out by another editor. My sports articles are reported, but I need to write them and lay them out tomorrow.

Oh well, off to get photos of teams practicing. Probably won't be back on here until next week sometime!

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August 11, 2004

Wonders rarely cease

Last week, I walked past a box of old photo prints at the newspaper office. Nothing new there. I've done that plenty of times. But this time, I stopped in mid-stride. Something caught my eye.

I hadn't completely processed what I saw until I did my doubletake. In the corner, on the back of the print was a stamp from Unusual Films. The photo was a scene from Wine of Morning. Apparently, our paper had used the photo at some point. Unfortunately, no date was visible indicating when it ran.

My guess is that a local church gave a showing of the film when it was new, so BJ sent the publicity shot to the newspaper. This is the second time that I've found something from BJ in our paper.

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August 09, 2004

One year

I "celebrated" my first year at the newspaper on Friday. The day saw me in the office for only an hour or two. I had my hours in, plus I had games to cover on the weekend, so I needed to be "off" most of the day.

I've definitely learned a great deal about journalism as the sports editor for the past year. While sports has been my responsibility the whole time I've been here, I've felt lately that I've really taken ownership of the sport pages.

The highlight of my day Friday was loading up my bike and going geocaching. I rode on a jeep trail, then ditched the bike and hiked the remainder of the way to my goal. Found the cache without a GPS. (I couldn't find it at home. LOL.)

It was a beautful--almost fall--day. The view from the peak where I found the cache was breathtaking. I ended up making the 5-mile round trip in less than three hours.

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August 02, 2004

Mysterious ways

Today was Darla's first day at a new job. Once again, we have seen the Lord work in ways we didn't--and still don't--completely understand. Darla started today as an administrative assistant for the regional manager for a well-sized bank.

Seven months ago, before she came to work in the business office at the newspaper, Darla sent an unsolicited cover letter and resume to a local bank branch.

The letter was forwarded from that bank to another local bank. A helpful and friendly employee at the first bank knew that "the competition," where her sister worked had some openings.

Darla soon had an interview for an administrative assistant position at the second bank, and we were prepared for an offer. But we didn't have peace about accepting, and the Lord closed the door at seemingly the last minute. Not much later, that bank tried to interest Darla in a teller position. That did not appeal to Darla at all, so she said no while keeping the door open for the future.

Then the position opened at the paper, where Darla was offered the job with the understanding that she could use the newspaper as a job search platform.

A couple weeks ago, we got a message on our answering machine from that bank, again looking to fill the administrative assistant position. To us, the message was out of the clear blue; this was definitely not like any other of the jobs we've pursued. You never hear back from people; you have to keep contacting them.

Darla interviewed a second time and was given an offer. Through the offer dialogue, it was evident that the company wanted her, so they sweetened the deal. It helped that Darla had made significant improvements to the newspaper's business operation.

In the end, we had peace about the job this time around, and this job will be a much better fit for Darla's skillset than what she had been doing at the paper. She will have to commute to Harrisonburg, which will be a 45-minute drive. Thankfully, though, we have a second vehicle now. And it still beats her 2+ hour round-trip subway commute in NYC. We appreciate a boss at the paper who has been completely understanding and supportive of Darla's career move.

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