So you think you’re informed?

November 23, 2013

I’m an information snob.

By that, I mean I hate it when my friends try to tell me they’re “informed.” Usually what they mean by that is they watch “The Daily Show” or “The Colbert Report” and listen to NPR every so often. They think that by being on Facebook and following @CNN on Twitter means they know what’s going on in the world.

This drives me fucking crazy.

Granted, I work in news, so my standard of “being informed” skews kind of high. I work with highly informed individuals on a daily basis, and a lot of my daily interaction comes from people who work in government. It’s my job to be as informed as humanly possible. I guess it’s why I’m a snob when it comes to “being informed.”

Case in point: before SCOTUS handed down its ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act, a friend on Facebook had posted a status about how gay people should allowed to get married because love is love. Then he said he was in favor of Prop 8.

facepalm

In case you didn’t know, the California Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in 2008, but a ballot measure known as Proposition 8 passed that fall, which made gay marriage illegal again. So my friend was basically saying he was in favor of gay people getting married, BUT NOT REALLY.

And you know what I ESPECIALLY hate? I hate it when people try to one-up me when it comes to being informed. Old college friends try to do that a lot. They try to tell me, “Oh, I stay so well-informed. I know what’s going on in the world. I understand current events. I think the government shut down was total bullshit. I think the health care roll out is a disaster.”

Yeah, OK. Good for you. You took a cursory glance at CNN’s homepage. Have a cookie.

But here’s a little test I’ve devised to see how truly informed an individual is. When someone comes up to me bragging about how informed they are, you should ask them this series of questions in this exact order:

  1. Who’s the president of the United States?
  2. Who are the U.S. senators for your state?
  3. Who’s your U.S. representative?
  4. Who’s the governor of your state?
  5. Who’s your state senator?
  6. Who’s your state representative?
  7. Who’s your mayor?
  8. Who’s your city council person?

Chances are they’ll know the answer to Nos. 1, 2 and 4. The rest, they’ll be screwed.

Look, everyone and their mother can stay informed of national politics. In this day and age of information and technology, you’d literally have to be living under a rock not to know who the president is. But if you want to impress me by how informed you are, then keep up with LOCAL current events because that is where the majority of shit gets done. The ordinances and state laws that happen practically in your backyard is what affects your life the most. It isn’t Obamacare, it isn’t the government shut down. It’s the municipal government, the county government and yes, your state government.

So when you’re able to answer all of those questions, then I’ll be impressed. But until then, don’t try to one up me in informed-ness, because you’re going to lose every goddamn time.


Journalistic integrity — or lack thereof

June 5, 2012

I’m new at my job. I am. I’ve been working as a government/military affairs/business reporter here for just a few months, and I honestly love it. I really do. I love my job. I love what I do. I love the people I do it with. It’s all great.

But I’m not blogging today to tell you all about how awesome my job is. I’m blog ranting for you today because of the lack of journalistic integrity in OTHER media outlets. Case in point: the local radio station.

<rant>

When I first started working here at this paper, my editor and fellow reporters warned me about the “reporters” from the local radio station. From the way they explained it to me, I kind of assumed it was like a friendly rivalry between news outlets. Like in any big city with more than one paper, there will usually be some sort of competition between those papers to see who breaks news first, who has the best coverage, etc. There’s even a bit of competition between most television stations. But since this is a fairly small town, there’s only one newspaper and no TV stations, leaving us to compete with radio.

Little did I realize that this was not so much a rivalry but a complete lack of journalistic integrity.

My first encounter with this outrageous breach of protocol was with a (pretty major) story about the military post just down the road from here. The post put on a press conference that seemed pretty last minute, so not many news outlets heard about it. Only one other newspaper and a TV station from the big city an hour away were at the press conference with me and we were all gleefully excited about the fact that we had a story that not even the Associated Press could get their hands on before us.

As a quick aside, whenever there’s an event going down on post, the radio station will send a reporter to cover it. Inevitably the reporter will snap a few pictures, record any audio and then split the minute the event is over. It’s not really “reporting” so much as it is “showing up.” Anyway, point is: Radio’s always on post, and the fact that they weren’t that day made my victory all the more sweeter.

Imagine my surprise the next day when I see the story up on their website ANYWAY. And guess what? They plagiarized a sentence from my story. They actually lifted an entire sentence from the story wrote about this event and stuck it in their own crappily written thing (I can’t even bring myself to call it a story), and passed it off as their own.

OK. Whatever. It was a fairly big story and considering that the writing skills of their reporters is subpar to nonexistent, I could sort of understand why they plagiarized. I mean, I didn’t like it, but it was a bit flattering.

But my next encounter with this bullshit was far less welcome.

Yesterday I attended a board of education special meeting. The board was convening to discuss applicants for the open superintendent position and per state law, they were allowed to convene in closed session. None of the news outlets heard about the meeting until Friday afternoon which means A) it was scheduled last minute and B) the board is flailing. But in the press release sent out, the board said straight up that it was going to be a closed session so they could discuss candidates.

Well that doesn’t mean that I’m not going to go. So I went, and I was the only representative of the news media there. The meeting started as an open meeting at 2 p.m., and pretty much immediately the board made a motion to go into closed session. So they did and they stayed in closed session until 5:30 p.m.

So I sat there. I chilled (literally because that room was FREEZING) by myself for three and a half hours, waiting for them to come out of closed session in the vain hopes that they would be able to answer some of my questions afterwards. Well, they didn’t, and I went back to the newsroom feeling like a failure. Fortunately for me, my editor was awesome and helped me turn a seeming non-story into a story. PLUS the simple fact that I showed up to this closed session meeting indicated to the school board that my newspaper was dedicated to covering this story from beginning to end, without skipping any steps in between, unlike the radio station.

Well imagine my surprise when the stinking radio station has a story up on their website about it ANYWAY.

This time, I was livid. I was steaming, fuming, red-faced mad. How dare they make it look like they showed up? How dare they try and profit off of my hard work? How dare they try to make it look like they care when really they’re a bunch of journalistic hacks that can’t be bothered to wait during a meeting?

And what’s worse: They don’t even ATTRIBUTE any of their information! They didn’t say that they got their information from me. They made it seem like they actually went out and got it themselves which is complete BULLSHIT because they didn’t!

I now completely understand this “rivalry.” It’s not so much a rivalry as it is a leeching. They’re profiting off of the hard work of our reporters and passing it off as their own because they’re a bunch of lazy asses who wouldn’t know how to report with integrity and respect to save their lives.

Ugh. OK. I’m done.

</rant>


Wedding Bell Blues

June 5, 2011

It’s wedding season!

My good friend Caleb got married this weekend and I went up to Minnesota to attend and take photos for him. And the ceremony was beautiful. I never understood why people cried at weddings until this weekend. I was lucky that the priest kept the blessings concise otherwise I would have been weeping like a maiden.

It was also my first foray into wedding photography. I have a Nikon D60 with two different lenses and I usually just like taking photos for fun. Then Caleb asked me to be the photographer and I happily accepted. I wasn’t sure what I was going to give them as a wedding gift, so this was a perfect gift.

To be honest, I was pretty nervous. I’ve never been in charge of event photography like that before and really I’m more of a hobbyist than an expert. Luckily for me, Brooke and Caleb got married in an absolutely gorgeous church on an absolutely gorgeous campus. And they’re both absolutely gorgeous people, so it all worked out very well. Not to mention I took a quick look at all my parents’ wedding photos so I had an idea of what to take.

Overall, I think I did pretty well for my first wedding. With a little more practice, I might get really good at it.

Now the hardest part: photo editing. But I’m pretty confident about that.


For everyone I’m leaving behind

May 6, 2011

Soon my blog’s header will no longer be relevant. But that’s beside the point.

Wednesday night was pretty emotional, for those of you who were there. The CSA had our last SteerCo meeting ever, and we affirmed our graduating seniors. And let me tell you, I never cry. I don’t like crying. Stuff starts flowing all over your face and it’s gross, and in the wise words of the Jersey Shore cast, it’s just not a good situation. But despite my dislike for allowing viscous fluids to stream down my face, I cried. People were saying stuff about one another and about me that I never thought about.

But I just want to impart some thoughts to everyone who wishes that I would stay.

I love each and every one of you. Nothing you could ever do or every say would make that change.

I’m so grateful for each and every one of you. I’m grateful that God has put you in my life and I’m grateful for the plan He laid out for me by bringing me here. Looking back at my life thus far, it’s so easy to see where the Holy Spirit has been nudging and pulling me. God brought me to Mizzou so that I would establish ties with an amazing group of people. He brought me here so that I would find a family that constantly brings me closer to Him, and to allow me to do the same for them. He brought me here so that I could learn a trade, become sufficient at it and eventually use it to change the world. He brought me here so that I could learn about myself, and learn about who I was in Him. But now that I have done all of this and learned all of this, He’s calling me to move on.

Newman’s Lenten theme this year was “Transitions,” which was appropriate for all of us, and it meant something very special to me. God had been using the time to prepare me to leave Mizzou, because only He knows just how difficult it was going to be. But just as He’s been preparing me for life after graduation, He’s been preparing the rest of you as well. Just as I can’t stay in this moment (as much as I wish I could), neither can you.

I’m going to move on and it’s going to be sad for all of us. But next year, new freshmen will come in and it will be time to minister to them. And more people will graduate and more people will come in. Nothing is ever going to be like this moment right now. And eventually, Newman will forget that I was ever there, as it should be. I have served my purpose. It’s time for others, now, to fulfill their purposes.

I’m not worried about any of you. All of you will be okay because God’s got you in His hands and He’s raining down every blessing upon you. So don’t be sad, and don’t be afraid.

And I’ll always be with you. No matter where you are or where I am, I’m there, loving you and praying for you. I’m just a phone call or a Facebook message away. And I’ll definitely come back to visit.

So I won’t cry, because I know that you will be okay. And please don’t cry for me, either, because I’ll be okay too.


My name is Carla, and I’m addicted to the Food Network

March 29, 2011

I have a horrible confession to make.

I am…addicted to the Food Network.

Hey, the first step to solving a problem is admitting it, right?

Honestly, I can’t help myself. Every time I turn to the Food Network, Giada’s smiling into the camera and she’s spooning out ricotta cheese by the heaping spoonfuls and whatever she’s baking/frying/sauteeing/blending just looks so damn amazing that I can’t look away. And before I know it, two hours have passed and Alton Brown is explaining how to make the perfect cheesecake in his characteristic, scientist-y way.

I love pretty much everything about the Food Network. I love Paula Deen and her adorable southern drawl. I love Throwdown with Bobby Flay (I especially love when he gets his smug ass handed to him). I love watching how things are made on Unwrapped. And God forbid they show a Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives marathon because I will sit in front of the TV until it’s over. Not even kidding.

But here’s where the problem comes in; every time I attempt to make a semi-homemade meal with Sandra Lee, IT NEVER TURNS OUT THE SAME WAY. I always try to keep up, but inevitably my water doesn’t boil as quickly as hers and I end up missing an ingredient or I wait too long and I turn around and my tilapia has gone up in smoke. Literally.

After thousands of attempts at a Rachel Ray-sanctioned, 30-minute meal, I’ve finally realized the whole gimmick. The food looks delicious, yes, but it’s a long way between point A and point B. First of all, the personalities on Food Network have been at this for years, so naturally they chop onions much faster than I can. Second of all, they have top of the line appliances and utensils that never stick and never dull. Third of all, they have expensive, quality ingredients. They don’t ever have to substitute heavy cream with 2% milk or a ciabatta loaf with Wonderbread.

So after I burn my roux for the six millionth time, I shake my fist uselessly at Guy Fieri and blame him and his perpetually lobster-red face for all my kitchen problems. Then I turn off the TV in disgust and vow to never again watch the Food Network because it results only in disappointment and heartbreak.

But then the very next day when I turn on the TV, it’s still set on the Food Network and inevitably they’ll be playing Ace of Cakes. And I’m sucked in once again.


They should call it the judgment room

February 11, 2011

All right, girls, we gotta talk about something. Raise your hand if you feel uncomfortable going No. 2 in a public restroom.

Yeah, I thought so.

Here’s the dealio. Boys are notoriously open about bathroom rules. For example, when using a urinal in a men’s public restroom:

  1. You are only allowed to look straight ahead or up.
  2. You are only allowed two shakes.
  3. You are never allowed to talk.
  4. You must leave one urinal between another person using the restroom.

What most people don’t realize is that, while we do not use standing urinals, women’s restrooms are very similarly fashioned. When in a women’s restroom:

  1. You are never allowed to talk.
  2. You are generally expected to leave one stall between another person using the restroom.
  3. YOU ARE NEVER ALLOWED TO FART OR GO NO. 2.

The last one is the most important. The myth goes that women do not fart or poop. Ergo, we must perpetuate said myth, even amongst our own kind when we know that it’s not true. If you have no choice but to poop in a public restroom, you must make sure that no one else is in the bathroom first. Only until you are sure that the bathroom is clear are you allowed to poop.

IF SOMEONE IS IN THE BATHROOM, YOU MUST WAIT UNTIL THEY LEAVE. If you are in the middle of a No. 2 maneuver and someone walks into the bathroom, you must hold it until they leave. If you notice that someone is in a stall, clearly waiting to go No. 2, you must finish your business as quickly as possible and leave.

So what happens if you’re waiting for the person in the stall next to you to finish, but they’re obviously waiting for you to finish?

I found myself in this exact predicament earlier this morning. After my first class I had to go the restroom. Unfortunately for me, the minute I sat down in my stall a group of five or so girls came in and did their business, forcing me to wait until they had all left. When they were gone, only one remained and she was in the stall next to me.

A of all, may I remind you that she CLEARLY broke rule No. 2. B of all, we ended up waiting each other out for ten minutes before I finally gave up and used the automatic flush to disguise my business.

It made me think how truly ridiculous our bathroom rituals are. I mean, really: Everyone poops (even girls). I know it, you know it. Everyone knows it. But why is it so unacceptable for us to poop in one another’s presence? I personally feel that each time I go No. 2 in a bathroom or I accidentally let loose a fart, those in the bathroom with me immediately start judging. They should call it the judgment room instead of the restroom because there is no rest involved.

I’m just saying, I think we, as women, should collectively discard our reservations and be allowed to poop in peace.


Thursday Three: IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!

January 13, 2011

Twenty-two years ago today, I was introduced into this world in a maternity ward in Irving, Texas. I don’t know how much I weighed or how long my mother was in labor, but it doesn’t really matter because I’m here right now 22 years later and that’s all that matters.

1. I’m twice as old today as I was when I was 11

THAT IS BLOWING MY MIND.

There are several things that I’d like to tell my 11-year-old self. First of all, Nsync is and always will be really cool. Never be afraid to admit that you love them. Second of all, your best friend is going to go through some weird goth/punk/Hot Topic-inspired makeover and she’s going to shun you because she thinks she’s popular. Don’t worry about it. She’ll come around eventually.

Also, you’re not hardcore because you listen to Simple Plan. Don’t try to be punk or goth either, because you’ll end up looking like a poser and being hyper all the time is obnoxious. But most of all, high school is seriously not as bad as you thought it was going to be — in fact, it’s going to be awesome. So buckle in and get ready because you’re in for a crazy ride.

2. My best birthdays are not behind me

I’ve been in musical rehearsal for the past week so far and I was at rehearsal this morning and JoAnn came to greet me happy birthday. Then she told me that I was old (which is a laugh because she’s four years older than I am), and that my best birthdays are behind me.

I refuse to believe that. I will make sure that every single birthday after this one will be better and better. My 21st birthday was awesome, but this year it’s going to be even crazier. By the time I’m 50, I’ll be jumping out of planes or body blading. It’s happening. I’ve decided.

3. Apparently I’m a Sagittarius now

I’ve never put much stock in horoscopes or zodiac before because I used to be a Capricorn and the Capricorn description was nothing like me, whatsoever. Capricorns are super type A and that’s not really me at all.

Well I guess Sagittarius is more my personality; according to Wikipedia, Sagittarius is a fire sign which means I’m energetic and I’m also interested in higher education. I’m also supposed to be optimistic, faithful and generally unreliable. I can see that, and that’s great and all…

…but I still don’t care.

Thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes! You’re all awesome. 🙂