Hallowed institutions

March 11, 2011 1 comment

Trinity College Library in Dublin, Ireland

When I was a kid, going to the library was an awe-inspiring event.

I grew up in a logging family, which means that we didn’t have much in the way of funds over the years, though the lack of a savings account was more than compensated for through the love of my parents and a work ethic that is just short of fanatical. So, when we were lucky enough to have time to make a swing to the library and get some books to use as entertainment, it was something to be excited about. I was always wide-eyed with wonder at the sheer number of spines and book titles that would greet me when I’d walk through the door. I’d pick out two or three and then check them out. The most amazing part was that we didn’t have to pay to use them–we just had to bring them back.

Unfortunately, in my lifetime, libraries of that sort may become a footnote in the pages of history. More and more small cities and towns are being forced to close their libraries due to funding issues. Here in the Upper Peninsula, some have already closed due to a lack of space to house them, while others have cut their hours and staffs so dramatically that you are hard pressed to be able to visit if you have an ever-changing schedule like I do. Read more…


Back to my gaming roots

March 8, 2011 1 comment

So it’s been a good decade since I did much PC gaming. College and my subsequent low-income years as a reporter didn’t allow me to maintain the kind of computer you need to play real PC games.

The closest I had to a functional PC was my 2002-school-issued laptop, which was decidedly underpowered and could barely run the last generation of PC games, let alone the gorgeous creations on the shelves now. At home, I’ve run Mac desktops mostly, and limped along with the laptop for work.

Instead of the PC games I played when first getting into the gaming world, I made the switch over to various consoles, with a few second-hand Xboxes, Playstations, then the 360 and the PS3 that we have now. And I love console gaming as much, if not more, than I ever did computer gaming. Still, I have a special attachment to the old games that first drew me into gamerdom, like Alpha Centauri or Myst.

You can imagine, then, my out-of-my-head, little-kid excitement when I got an actual modern-day, dual processor laptop this week, and Civilization V to go along with it.

I should probably explain to those who have no history of PC gaming — the Civilization games are turn-based strategy games that have been around since the 1990s, and each iteration of the game has been successively prettier, fuller-featured, and more gamer-friendly. I’ve played each one and loved each one… until Civ V.

When it came out last year, the aforementioned lack of a computer able to run the massive new game was just something I had to resign myself to. I consoled myself with Civilization: Revolution on the Xbox, but it just wasn’t the same.

I longed for the complicated menus and tech trees, the minute attention to detail that Civ demands, the complex interactions between cultures. It’s one of those games for me that I can spend days straight, eyes fixed on the screen, fueled by energy drinks and not much else. Of course, life is different now, and I’ll have to restrain myself to playing until it’s time to pick up the kiddo from school today. (They frown upon leaving them there…)

But for a few hours I’ll be blissfully back in the Civilization world, ruler of all I survey. Excuse me, but I think the opening movie’s starting! See you later, much later!

Shoot the ball and buck

March 1, 2011 Leave a comment

I’m not the kind of person who peruses the Internet in hopes of coming across a website that I can hurry up and show to all of my friends before someone else does. In fact, it’s rare that I do much more than work, the occasional tweet and some Facebook while I’m online.

So, what is about to follow is rare. Maybe it will happen again, but it likely won’t.

One of my clients (the folks who have me writing about hunting, usually) asked me to write up a post for their site about a company in Boston called Buck and Ball. As always, I readily accepted the assignment, even when they told me it was an apparel store. I had figured (i.e.: assumed) that the apparel would be directly related to hunting. After all, that’s pretty much all I have ever written for this client.

I was wrong.

Now those of you who know me are well aware I am pretty darn bullheaded. Just because something wasn’t going to be as smooth as I originally thought definitely doesn’t mean I won’t still do it. This was one of those cases. Instead of just going back to the client and explain that writing about a men’s fashion storefront was well outside of my normal boundaries, I decided to make it work. And, you know what? I’m glad I did. Read more…

Oh, the (in)humanity!

February 25, 2011 Leave a comment

I don’t usually read the news too much anymore. First and foremost, the bias that is on every single major media outlet’s website is blatantly clear. Second, I find some of the topics their writers choose to be weak, at best, and other times simply a cry for attention from sympathetic readers.

Omar Gallaga fell into both categories today when I took a moment to scan CNN.com. His article, Why I can’t Get behind ‘Dead Island’, was basically a whine-fest about the video game trailer that has been getting rave reviews from bloggers and gamers alike. The reason Gallaga can’t throw his support behind the game? Well, there’s violence happening to a child. If you haven’t seen the trailer, then check it out. Read more…

Long time, no blog

February 25, 2011 1 comment

The other day Kim and I were finishing up some freelance work when she turned to me and mentioned this blog. The question, it seemed, was why we weren’t writing in it anymore.

“Ummmmmm… because we already work 70 hours weeks?” I responded, though without the confidence I would have needed to shut the door on the subject completely. Instead, it turned into a discussion, and the decision that there really isn’t enough going on that we shouldn’t be able to post on here once a week or so.

So, we’re back. Well, technically speaking, I’m back. Kim is showering right now and will be headed off to a 90-minute massage soon. Me? Well, I have to work, which is why it’s nice to take a few moments and do some writing that isn’t deadline driven or forced at a maddening pace.

Since the last time we posted, a lot has happened. We’ve picked up a lot of freelance work (hence our absence) and we manage a couple of sites for Issue Media Group, namely UP Second Wave and Northwest Michigan Second Wave (we manage Mid Michigan Second Wave, too, but we’re in the process of finding a new editor to keep tabs on that one). Needless to say, that takes up a bulk of our time. In addition, Kim freelances for the Marquette Monthly and I am freelancing sports for weekly papers in Northville and Novi.

We also moved into a new house, which is pretty cool. It costs far less than our old apartment and we will outright own it in less than four years. Pretty good choice, hey?

Outside of that, for the most part, it’s been the same ol’ life here in the Upper Peninsula. Of course, we’re not complaining about that.

Let me wrap up this quick post by saying that we apologize for not being around more, but want to make a concerted effort to change our ways. Look for new posts at least once a week and let us know if you have any comments or questions.

Hard to believe…

It’s hard to believe that it’s been three weeks since I last posted. That’s how crazy life has been around here lately.

Everything went well with my mom’s shoulder surgery. Thanks for all of the words of support from the readership out there. I have to say I was impressed with the number of messages I received. I didn’t know you guys cared so much.

But, I digress. Things have just been a little out of sorts when it comes to getting scheduling down pat. School is coming to an end around here, so that’s been a little crazy with the kiddo and all. I started a new managing editor job for an online e-magazine, and that’s a ton more work than I had originally pictured it to be in my head. To top it all off, we’re signing on our house tomorrow and there have been hoops after hoops for us to jump through.

We’ve jumped though and, in the end, it’s worth it.

But, honestly, I just wanted to take a moment and apologize to everyone. I promise that starting this week things will start to get back on track. I’m starting to feel like life is a little more under control and that I have a grip on all the work I have on the table right now. Once it all starts flowing smooth and I’m out of that “new” mode where I’m struggling with everything, I’m sure I’ll have just as much time as I used to have.

In the meantime, I hope everyone has been having a great spring. It’s been hot here (a little too hot at times, reaching into the 90s in the Upper Peninsula in May!), but it’ll seem like a distant memory come November when there’s a few feet of snow on the ground.

Thanks for sticking around and for checking back in. Like I said, things are getting back on track and I’ll be posting regularly again beginning this week.

Unplanned absence

May 18, 2010 Leave a comment

I just wanted to write a quick note of apology and explanation to all who have been reading — We love you but we’ve had to put the blog on the back burner for a little while. I went on vacation for a week right after we launched a new web site, which you can find at http://up.secondwavemedia.com. Getting that straightened out plus other work commitments, family medical issues, and getting very close to being homeowners (shooting for June 1, wish us luck!) have all conspired to make blog posting a thing only dreamed about. We hope to be back in the saddle soon, but in the meantime, read some of our work for U.P. Second Wave in the link above; Geek Girl on the Street, found in the blogroll; or Northeast Hunting, also in the blogroll. And happy summer! It’s actually warming up around here and it’s delightful.