it'll soon be summertime, and we'll sing again

Because of my move to Texas on Monday and my subsequent frantic search for a job, ouranophobe will be on hiatus indefinitely. Thanks for reading, and I'll try to update every now and then until I'm back for good.

For now, I leave you with the immortal words of Mungo Jerry:

"In the summertime when the weather's high,
you can stretch right up and touch the sky,
when the weather's fine,
you got women, you got women on your mind.
Have a drink, have a drive,
go out and see what you can find.

If her daddy's rich, take her out for a meal.
If her daddy's poor, just do as you feel.
Speed along the lane,
Do a ton, or a ton and twenty-five.
When the sun goes down, you can make it,
make it good in a lay-by.

We're not grey people, we're not dirty, we're not mean.
We love everybody, but we do as we think.
When the weather's fine
we go fishing or go swimming in the sea.
We're always happy,
life's for living, yeah, that's our philosophy.

Sing along with us, dee-dee-dee-dee-dee.
Da-da-da-da-da...Yeah, we're happy happy,

When the winter's here, then it's party time.
Bring a bottle, wear your bright clothes.
It'll soon be summertime, and we'll sing again,
we'll go drivin' or maybe we'll settle down."

Have a great summer, everyone.

05-31-2003 8:01 PM - comments (1)

just a small oversight

On President Bush's recently passed tax cut, meant to stimulate economic growth (from the New York Times):

"Because of the formula for calculating the credit, most families with incomes from $10,500 to $26,625 will not benefit. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal group, says those families include 11.9 million children, or one of every six children under 17.

'I don't know why they would cut that out of the bill,' said Senator Blanche Lincoln, the Arkansas Democrat who persuaded the full Senate to send the credit to many more low income families before the provision was dropped in conference. 'These are the people who need it the most and who will spend it the most. These are the people who buy the blue jeans and the detergent and who will stimulate the economy with their spending.'"

So let me get this straight ... Democrats are the ones who don't understand economics?

05-30-2003 8:56 PM - comments (8)

last minute

It is probably not good that I have developed an insatiable appetite for Papa John's Grilled Chicken Alfredo pizza. I also just realized that most people use the term "insatiable appetite" for concepts or activities (i.e. "I have developed an insatiable appetite for sleeping." Always use examples from the heart, people!) Unfortunately, most of my insatiable appetites deal with actual food.

I've been feeling extremely heartachy. It dawns on me in small spurts that I'm leaving Columbia forever Monday. Acting like I'm going to be here forever means I won't be maximizing the amount of Shakespeare's pizza I could be weepily chowing down. This is not helping matters.

I AM THE MOST ACCIDENT-PRONE HUMAN BEING EVER IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD. On average, I run into furniture three times a day. I knock a drink over twice. I have more bruises and carpet stains than should be legally allowed.

For everyone to whom I owe e-mails, phone calls, undivided attention, bail money, etc.: I promise, promise, promise to be in touch with you by early next week. Also, I've finally updated my links page.

05-30-2003 11:05 AM - comments (0)

a byline is worth a thousand words

In a magazine writing course I took in college, we were exposed to a great deal of "literary journalism." I'm not sure if there's an industry standard for such a genre, but I think a good summary would be non-fiction, journalistic pieces in which the author uses sensory language and narrative techniques to tell a story. In other words, it's a style of journalistic writing that doesn't see much merit in objectivity. Gary Smith, Susan Orlean and Rick Bragg are some examples of journalists who write in the literary or narrative fashion for high-profile news sources.

In that magazine class, I greatly enjoyed reading the pieces in "Intimate Journalism," a compilation of literary journalism edited by celebrated journalist Walt Harrington. I saw what it was like for Susan Orlean (who penned The Orchid Thief, which was loosely adapted in the movie Adaptation) to hang out with a 10-year-old. I was intrigued by how Gary Smith was able to "recall" specific details from the childhood of the subject in his piece, "The Man Who Couldn't Read." And I wasn't the only one. Classmate after classmate of mine gushed over the vivid language and the brilliant prose of these renowned--no, celebrity--journalists.

The problem? It made me sick to my stomach to call what we were enjoying "journalism." It was entertaining, moving and captivating, certainly. Some of it even Pulitzer Prize-winning entertaining, moving and captivating. But it was not journalism. It was mere humans who saw themselves as storytellers recreate scenes they had no possible way of accurately recreating. Simply put, it was subjective, speculative and egotistic. It was not journalism. It was, and is, like calling Dali's infamous portrait of Picasso a photograph. And much like a photograph may never be able to capture every detail of a person's visage because of the camera's inherent technical flaws, "objective" journalism may never be able to present the entire truth of a situation because of circumstance and other variables. But at the very least, journalists who believe in objectivity make a concerted effort to be accurate, fair and balanced, and that should be commended.

Rick Bragg is one of those journalists the people I graduated with last week worship. Able to spin the most amazing yarns, Bragg was a fixture at the wounded New York Times. He was suspended last week for failing to credit other people for doing his reporting for him. I'm not totally against established journalists relying on ambitious interns' help for national news stories that appear in places like Time and Newsweek. Those articles (and their potential audiences) deserve complete and thorough reporting, and it's unlikely one journalist can handle the responsibility on a tight deadline.

What I am against is Pulitzer Prize-winning "journalists" who seem determined to get their names in the public's lexicon at any cost. (The term for such a person in Hollywood, I believe, is "fame whore." Unfortunately, journalists like Rick Bragg just don't have that requisite sex appeal, even if they wish they did.) People like Bragg, who briefly visited the towns his stories took place in just to ensure the dateline wouldn't suffer from the much-maligned Jayson Blair syndrome. Bragg had non-paid stringers and interns do the reporting and research for him, while he used his undeniable storytelling ability to put it all together.

Journalism professors across the country use Bragg's (and others like him) high-profile pieces as examples of great journalism. While I see a place for such manipulating of the truth, it is not in journalism. It's in the fiction section of a bookstore. Any David Sedaris or Michael Cunningham can whip out great stories with the right inspiration. But a journalist's inspiration shouldn't be recognition or fame or wealth or the promise of lucrative book deals. A journalist should be inspired (and strictly so) by the "old-fashioned" tenets of journalism: truth, accuracy, fairness and objectivity. If he or she wasn't there, whether it be as a witness to a recent conversation or during a day in the subject's childhood, the journalist has no right to use that information as his or her own.

"Embellishing" details, such as Gary Smith did in "The Man Who Couldn't Read" -- describing the weather with more accuracy than a meteorologist and the specifics of a baseball game, from more than 30 years earlier -- is simply unethical. The only exception is if the subject is quoted or paraphrased as having said those things; even then, it cannot be labeled as fact. It is pure memory, and everyone (well, everyone but literary journalists, anyway) knows memory is faulty and no substitute for the truth. Refusing to establish a difference between fact and fiction is further proof that the journalist in question is out for his or her glory, not for the reader or his or her profession. That, frankly, disgusts me.

It also disgusts me that there are people I graduated with last week who are considered the cream of the crop and the future of journalism who engage in such practices. "He's such a good writer!" I heard peers squeal for four years. We didn't go to journalism school to become writers. We went to journalism school to become journalists. And if the journalism profession doesn't start recognizing the difference between the two, the credibility and honor of the press is going to begin resembling the spectacular reporting skills of Rick Bragg: a mere figment of our imagination.

05-27-2003 3:46 PM - comments (3)

pixie dust

We're going to Shattered tonight. All my Columbia friends should come. It's my last shebang (or "hurrah," as some people would say). At least my last Saturday night shebang.

05-24-2003 8:08 PM - comments (0)

as you might have guessed, all is never shown

I officially turned down the copy editing job at the Amarillo Globe-News today. I really liked my experience there last summer, but in the end, they just weren't offering me enough money. Not enough to uproot me and send me packing to Amarillo, Texas, anyway.

I've already killed off several characters in The Sims for fun and money, but it's getting old. I created a family with a young blond girl named Lolita, but as luck would have it, she only tickles older men in the cute, innocent way, not the sexy, naughty way. I know that's sick, but I'm really bored.

Also, I know Machina: The Machines of God was largely panned by critics and fans and all, but I think some of the Smashing Pumpkins' best songs are on that album. For example, "I Of the Mourning," "Stand Inside Your Love," "This Time," "Wound" and, of course, "Age of Innocence" are some of my favorite songs.

P.S. Thanks for the mix tape, Justin. It was a really thoughtful gift.

listening to: "Company Calls Epilogue" - Death Cab for Cutie

05-20-2003 6:15 PM - comments (2)

gone fishing with divine intervention

I think one of the reasons I watched Dawson's Creek is because I could get my fill of drama, emotion and horse-beaten-dead philosophizing without having to live it myself. But more on that later.

I'm happy to be alive, which is why I'm trying to stop drinking so much.

I graduate on Saturday. I think someone forgot to add the pomp and circumstance, but it's probably better that way.

When I close my eyes sometimes, I see fishbones swimming. Not realistic looking ones, mind you, but those cartoonish ones with the swishing tails. Most likely, God hates me.

05-15-2003 3:12 PM - comments (4)

tonight, the arching feeling (Xs over your eyes)

"It will burn the whole thing down," you warn, scraping truth from fiction. Sideways glinting glances meet the cynical tapping of ivory, the frantic rubbing, the mouthful of sulphur.

Project that glaring light again. Take off that peeling skin. Stop squinting and start sleeping. The detached ones survive the flames if only because (they always say) soft bodies and closed eyes make for a fortunately crumpled landing.

(I know, I should stick to journalism. I'm trying to appease my mood.)

05-14-2003 10:37 PM - comments (0)

spicy and sweet at the same time

Zadie Smith's White Teeth is a beautiful book, and it is being turned into a very interesting miniseries.

"In a novel, one scrabbles in the dirt for motivation or stretches for decorative language to hide the lack of it. In film, no such disguise will be tolerated by the viewer. When we watch a man do something on screen, our guts much more than our brains will tell us the truth of the gesture, the action. It cannot be fudged."

-Zadie Smith, from the Times article

05-14-2003 12:03 PM - comments (2)

do it without the magic this time

Is it terrible that I felt exhilarated when I quit my part-time job today? I'm not sure if it's that I have a nonexistent work ethic or if I just haven't found a satisfying use of my time yet. Whatever it is, it's really not helping pay my bills.

I rarely talk on the phone anymore. I think it's one of those things people do obsessively in high school, but as soon as graduation hits, all we can muster is awkward small talk and implausible excuses for why we need to be doing anything other than talking on the phone. Tonight I talked with my friend Derek for more than an hour. Weird because of the aforementioned reason, but also because we live in the same town.

I'm having trouble falling asleep. When I do sleep, I have troubling dreams about someone I know. I wonder if the person knows I have dreams about him. I wonder if anyone I know ever dreams about me.

05-14-2003 12:30 AM - comments (0)

grindin' with the ladies? totally like matlock

"Home and Dry" - Pet Shop Boys
"Blinded (When I See You)" - Third Eye Blind
"Back in the Day" - Missy Elliott feat. Jay-Z
"Angel" - Massive Attack (the beautiful song played during last week's West Wing)
"Pimp Juice" - Nelly
"Crazy Beat" - Blur
"I Miss You" - Aaliyah
"Fighter" - Christina Aguilera
"Well Adjusted" - MXPX
"Rock Your Body" - Justin Timberlake
"Emerge" - Fischerspooner
"Such Great Heights" - The Postal Service
"The Gold Finch and the Red Oak" - Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
"Fake Pixies Song" - Liam Lynch (it's a dead ringer)

Yeah, I'm feeling unnaturally Top 40/ultrapop this week.

Other music news:

1. The new Blur album, Think Tank, is great. I listened to it all the way to and from St. Louis this weekend.

2. In regards to R. Kelly's latest masterpiece, "Ignition": What the hell does R&B's favorite pedophile mean by "It's like Murder She Wrote"? How is an old lady who rides a bike, solves mysteries and writes novels anything like having sex in a car? On second thought, R., don't answer that question.

3. Scoff if you will, but both Third Eye Blind albums are good from start to finish. I'm hoping their third one (Out of the Vein, out Tuesday) is as good.

05-11-2003 11:24 PM - comments (3)


I've added some webcam photos (they're the first nine in the series).

05-08-2003 12:07 AM - comments (3)

you know you have it bad when...

...getting an e-mail from him seems like the best present in the world.

Also, on a completely different topic -- promise -- I've got the strangest song stuck in my head.

"Don't be so quick to walk away
(Dance with me)
I wanna rock your body
Please stay
(Dance with me)
You don't have to admit you wanna play
(Dance with me)
Just let me rock you
Till the break of day
(Dance with me)"

Whenever I hear this song, I think I hear my cell phone going off, even though I know it's just part of the music. Every time I hear it, I look around for my phone, even though my ring is nothing like the ring in the song. Every time.

Anyway, there is one really good (okay, great) part of that song--when Justin "I Might Sound Like the Big MJ, But I Don't Consider 'Blanket' to be an Acceptable Name for a Child" Timberlake does that whole human beat box thing. Sexxy. (Confidential to Klein Oak people: Nothing like Omar E. human beat box sexxy.)

Also, does anyone happen to know the name of the song playing during the club scenes on The West Wing tonight? I'm hooked.

listening to: "Rock Your Body" - Justin Timberlake

05-07-2003 11:32 PM - comments (5)

cheaters never win

I feel I should publicize this, for Alex writes memorable posts and has a memorable face, and it does not seem fair that someone out there is stealing both.

Couldn't the thief at least try her hand at Photoshop or change a word or two in the plagiarized entries? In all seriousness, it seems downright cruel to steal someone's thoughts, especially when they have to do with something so terrible.

Alex, I know you're of the pacifistic variety, so instead of beating her to a pulp, I wrote vengeful haiku.

You there with not a
creative bone in your bod*
leave Alex alone

*Not to go all YM on you, but "body" would have made it eight counts

05-06-2003 6:31 PM - comments (2)


...on the Post that Would Not End:

I missed editing today, as I needed to catch up on sleep (I've been sick on and off now for about two and a half months. Nothing life-threatening, but enough to seriously annoy me). Anyway, a trusted friend told me the professor is not making the first class (the one I'm in) retake the final. Hallelujah, logic has prevailed.

05-06-2003 12:31 PM - comments (0)

this weblog is slowly going to hell

I've been neglecting this website recently. All apologies. I'm just trying to survive my last two weeks of school.

Because I'm feeling extraordinarily lazy, my weekend wrap-up:

Thursday night: michael came into town. We went to Steak 'n Shake, and we both caught up on much-needed sleep.

Friday: dragged myself out of bed at 8:00 for first part of magazine editing final. Spent entire two hours' allotted time working on exam. Went to work for two hours. Brought home Subway (student-charged. How I'm going to miss that) for michael and me. Caught up with soaps. Got haircut at Yummy. Sold some clothes to Blackberry Exchange. Went to Dali's for dinner. Saw Identity with michael, Christie and Nas. Received the following e-mail, which sent me into psychotic rage:

>It has come to my attention that a student or students from the morning
>editing lab told another student or students about the content of the exam
>that was taken today. Therefore, some of those in the afternoon lab knew
>which exercise was used for the exam and could have spent additional time
>today working on that exercise (it appears in the workbook) and possibly
>even brought it into the classroom.
>Such behavior constitutes academic misconduct (see syllabus), and I am
>horribly disappointed and frankly shocked by this.
>After consultation with Brian Brooks, associate dean for undergraduate
>studies and administration, I have decided that the tests that were taken
>today are void. All students in the class will retake this portion of exam
>#3 in lecture on Thursday, May 8. This is the most fair course of action
>though it certainly ends up penalizing those who had no involvement in the
>situation. The final exam on Monday, May 12 will remain the same and will
>cover the lecture and grammar portion of the class.
>Any questions should be addressed to me.
>Jennifer Moeller
>Assistant Professor
>Missouri School of Journalism

Saturday: worked on job spreadsheet (I'm trying to be more efficient and organized about the whole thing) while michael took advantage of Free Comic Day. Received expected call from mother, in which she tried to scare me with all of the expenses I'll have when living on my own. Tried to steer me away from working at Liberty Financial. michael and I had long talk about future. Decided we deserve the chance to see what our relationship will be like if we live in the same city.

(New plan: move home on June 1, stay until I find a journalism job in St. Louis. Expected time to move to STL: August 1. After a year of working in the city, will go to grad school with michael in new city. Anyone with information on studio apartments or copy editing/reporting/PR jobs in the area, please e-mail me. It would be much appreciated.)

Saturday continued: Saw X2. Much, much better than Spiderman (though it seems insulting to make the comparison simply because they're both based on comic books). "Huge Ackman" is quite attractive, especially with claws. Went to La Casa Grande, ordered way-too-big margarita. Went home, spent time at party being hosted there. Followed Sally to random Lake of the Woods party, which sucked. Went back home, ordered new Papa John's Chicken Alfredo pizza. Went to sleep.

Sunday: woke up wanting more pizza. Oops, one of the high school students at the party must have stolen it. Thanks, guys. I swear, Nas and Nick excluded, it would be nice if we had some friends our own age. There really is something to be said for the three years in between freshman and senior year. Called mother and let her know about new career plan. Went to Chipotle. Went to Schuncks to get ingredients for chicken saltimbocca (it's about time I cooked for the boy again). Felt sick from the night before. Burned arm while cooking. Took Vicodin for pain. The end.

Real posts to follow, promise. I'm as sick of these wrap-ups as you are.

05-06-2003 9:47 AM - comments (0)