What I was writing about: August 2006

Things I’m Diggin’

I try to keep this blog as media/writing/creative-geared as possible, but allow me a moment to list some of the things that are making my job easier these days:

1. WMVY streaming radio. I grew up listening to this Martha’s Vineyard-based station, a progressive, album-rock hodge podge of old and new, classic and alternative, well-known and unsigned musicians. WMVY is also home to the Blue Lobster, the station’s logo/mascot, and a great line of hoodies and t-shirts. One more thing: WMVY is a favorite hang-out of islanders the Taylors: James, Livingston, Kate, and little Ben. No, they did not pay me to write this… it’s that good a station. Check it out and make a long distance E-quest.
2. Access to cool creative companies like Veer, and their equally cool line of t-shirts and hoodies in addition to stock photography and graphic treatments. I love the ‘Fancy’ and ‘Creatives Understand’ models.
3. One whacked Web site a day. My friend Nate sends me a link each week to a new portal of the human condition, and it never fails to cure writer’s block or ennui by shocking my system with visible proof of what people are doing with their time out their on the World Wide Web. Some, admittedly, are very cool: check out Oneredpaperclip.com, one man’s quest to trade objects, beginning with a paper clip, continuously until he scores a house. Last I checked, he was pretty close – I think he was traveling to Chicago to trade a SkiDoo for something even larger. Others just leave me speechless, which is an ironically freeing cure for writer’s block (it’s so weird… I’d better just go back to work). I’m not into the gross-out sites, they’re so 1999. But take for instance this gem: Hello, Vader.
4. Chocolate-covered espresso beans. The working girl’s equivalent to street-level crack.

Published: Thursday, 3 August 2006 Tags: veer wmvy blue lobster bali onredpaperclip

AIDS Turns 25

HIV and AIDS are 25 years old … a very petulant, know-it-all age if you ask me. I recently wrote an article looking at the history of the virus and the disease, and I was amazed at how much I learned regarding what is known now and what we knew then.
Take for instance, the acronym ‘AIDS’ itself. The scientific community, when it first started researching the complex, came dangerously close to introducing it to the world as ‘GRID’ — Gay Related Immuno-deficiency Disease. Imagine the social ramifications. Conversely though, vaccines are currently being studied using an interesting kernel of information – some people of varying ethnic backgrounds show signs of resistance to the virus, which attacks healthy cells through three ‘windows,’ as I understand it. In some people, their genetic make-up keeps one of those windows closed, and that finding is leading to some real progress.
A vaccine is still far off, though, and even though many people in developed countries are managing AIDS as a chronic illness on the new drug regimens, thousands of others are still dying. That’s because they can’t afford meds, their countries have banned them, or they’re not adhering to the medication schedule – HIV mutates so easily, taking prescriptions intermittently gravely affects a patient’s health because the virus attacks weaker cells, and becomes gradually resistant to treatment.
The complexities go on and on. But there is one silver lining to this somber birthday — it forces us to think about AIDS and the last 25 years, how far we’ve come, and how far we have to go. Consider this: in the time it takes one person to enter the world, grow up, graduate from high school, maybe college, start a career, and begin to think about adding to the next generation, AIDS has matured as well.
Now that we’re all adults, it’s time for one of us to concede defeat. And I don’t know about you, but I hate a know-it-all.

Published: Wednesday, 16 August 2006 Tags: aids hiv writer journalism


kevin g‘ left this comment on 17 Aug 06
Well, let’s hope that those in the “drug” insdustry finally decide the bottom line shouldn’t be about $, it should be about life!

New Destination? Kipling, Saskatchewan

I’ve written about oneredpaperclip.com in the past, and having just visited the site, I’m compelled to mention it again. OneRedPaperclip is the blog of Kyle MacDonald, a Canadian who traded one red paper clip for a pen one day and formed the goal of tradng up until he scored a house. Last I checked, he was in possession of a SkiDoo.
But now, he’s done it – Kyle MacDonald has traded a role in a movie (it’s bizarre) for a house in Kipling, Saskatchewan, after trading a KISS snowglobe to Corbin Bernsen for said role.
All this from a young guy from Da North with a blog. And now, Kyle’s throwing a big Labor Day housewarming, complete wit live bands, a beer garden, and movie auditions. He has also promised to put Kipling on the map through his efforts. Sounds like an intriguing travel opportunity …

Published: Friday, 18 August 2006 Tags: oneredpaperclip writer travel sasketchewan canada kipling corbin bernsen kiss

Dating Advice from Northwest Airlines

The new travel restrictions have many frequent flyers on alert, but so do the goings-on at Northwest Airlines.
I was feeling a little uneasy myself, with a seat booked on bankrupt NW for my next press trip. But now I’m just incredulous. Fellow travel writer Kent St. John clued me into one of Northwest’s preparatory moves as they ready for strike, lay-offs, or worse: they published what amounts to an ‘Unemployment for Dummies’ guide.
Titled ‘Preparing for a Financial Setback,’ the 150-page guide includes, among other inexplicable directives to employees, a suggestion to “not be shy about pulling something you like out of the trash” and to plan walks on the beach or through the woods as dating alternatives.
IndyBay, the Web site of IndyMedia in San Francisco, also picked up on this… and it’s spreading like wildfire, along with news of other Northwestern woes; according to IndyBay, “the airline imposed harsh contract terms on its more than 9,000 flight attendants last month, slashing their salaries and benefits by about 40 percent. The airline at that point announced it had achieved its goal of cutting labor costs by $1.4 billion annually as part of a restructuring plan under bankruptcy court supervision.”
But on Aug 17, a bankruptcy judge ruled that flight attendants could legally walk out as early as August 25 in reponse to those cuts. My trip is scheduled for September… thank God for travel insurance.

Published: Sunday, 20 August 2006 Tags: northwest airlines travel kentucky writer unemployed strike

Creatives Do It … differently every time

Creatives never cease to amaze me. Not only do we have cool jobs, but the entrepreneurial among us make their jobs even cooler by being, well, creative.
Take for instance caterers and event planners, two of the fastest growing creative careers in America. Apparently their lives are fabulous.
“It’s the HGTV factor,” caterer Michael Sakey told me during a recent interview. People are watching these reality shows on party planning and getting all sorts of wild notions in their heads, and they need a professional to help them throw the gala wedding/awards night/BBQ/letter opening of the year, everything from New York-style lounges erected in abandoned barns to fusion-cooking lessons in the living room.
Sakey said his background in theater has saved him, as he’s now fielding requests regularly that lead him less often to the cook shop and more frequently to Home Depot in search of lighting rigs, fog machines, or slate slabs (one client simply asked for everything to be ‘flat’ – he didn’t say if it was Yoko Ono or not).
In other creative news, Max Hartshorne, editor of GoNomad.com, was giving his two cents on travel safety this morning via the airwaves, and travel writers Janis Turk, George Houde, and John DiScala are readying articles on their recent trips to, respectively, Morocco, Papua, New Guinea, and London, England.
As for me, tomorrow I’ll be rubbing elbows with Jimmy Vivino of Conan O’Brien and the Max Weinberg Seven, so I’m not totally out of this crazy, creative energy burst.

Published: Tuesday, 22 August 2006 Tags: creatives travel writer journalism del padre dvp gonomad johnnyjet michael sakey catering events hgtv

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