Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Just found this while browsing the latest headlines. This truly is the ultimate job.


Thursday, January 8, 2009

This is just too great an article to pass up

Here are the fabled "Bushisms" from BBC. Fantastic.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Quote That Just Blows My Mind

I watched the movie "American Beauty" for the first time ever today and I have to say, that is one screwed up movie. Kudos to the man who wrote the screenplay for that because it is quite the intricate plot. There are so many memorable parts from that movie (and if you haven't seen it, put that on the list for things to do), but there is one line that just blows me away. About halfway through the movie, Kevin Spacey throws a line out there that is absolutely genius. He says, "Remember those posters that said, "Today is the first day of the rest of your life"? Well, that's true of every day but one - the day you die." The morbidity and sarcastic nature of the quote is hilarious but it really brings a lot more to light than just humor.

What does someone really mean when they say "today is the first day to the rest of your life?" Does it mean that what you do in that day will have a resounding impact on the next day and your entire future. Well, I guess it could. In the movie, Spacey is completely unhappy with his life when one day he has just had enough and makes a complete and drastic change. Spacey says about his past two decades, "I feel like I've been in a coma for the past twenty years. And I'm just now waking up." So does that quote really mean that a major event happens that propels you to start anew? He finds himself doing everything he ever wanted to do that he had never done in the past. So I see that quote really coming in to play when you start over in life, so to speak. Maybe that's what it means.

Who knows? Maybe it wasn't meant to be looked at in such a deep way. Maybe the creator of it wanted the statement to be as shallow as an empty glass. The creator may be thinking I'm an idiot for questioning the meaning but it just strikes me as something that should be analyzed. Was it always a statement meant to be portrayed in a positive light? I mean, it is used in this day in age as a symbol of positivity. I don't know.

Maybe I'm just someone who has been up for too long and it has no certain meaning or connotation. But it is still a great quote. Any opinions?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Thoughts on Playing it Safe in Life

Have you ever had that conversation with someone about one thing you would do in life if you had no worries about financial security or future decisions? I'm sure you have. I think I have that conversation with somebody at least once a day. It's one hell of an ice breaker with someone. "Hi, my name is Ryan. What is one thing you would do in life if you had no other life obligations?" Of course that is something that all people light up about and give a great deal of thought. There are so many things that each and every one of us WANT to do in life but somehow those dreams get lost as we get older and gain more responsibilities. I can shoot off a list of about three things right now that I would love to do at this very moment: 1) Go to Europe 2)Go skydiving 3) Take a nice long nap... on a beach in the Bahamas. I could spend all day just daydreaming about all the possibilities. This thought popped in my head just a few moments ago and I must be an idiot because I can't believe that I have never really thought about it before. With all the things we dream about doing, why do none of us ever just go out and accomplish any of those things?!

We spend our whole lives thinking about things that we want to do, but somehow we don't have enough time or we just push the dreams to the back of our minds. Granted, my list would be pretty expensive, but I am just using that as an example. One thing I have always wanted to do since I was about 10 years old has been to write a novel. I have ALWAYS wanted to write a book, and I have even gone so far as to write a few short stories and develop plot lines for my stories. But I have never put out the effort to just get down to it and start writing. That is something I need no money or no set schedule to accomplish. I have just always pushed it out of my mind whenever the urge to create has come on. I always make an excuse for why I don't have the time or the energy. That urge has come on again and I have wrestled with the thought to just go for it. I'm not thinking about it because I would want to profit off of it because I have no desire for that. But it would just be something I would be able to check off the ole "Life To-Do List." I could finally say that I have achieved one of my dreams. Maybe this time I should embrace the urge and just begin writing. I hear from people all the time that say you need to set a plan for a novel or have it all planned out, but I love the advice that Stephen King gives in his book On Writing, where he says that free writing is the best method. He has no idea how his books will end but he just goes the way in which his mind leads him.

So maybe I will embrace the urge and start a little free-writing session. Now I am no Stephen King but I have won awards for my short stories since I have been in college, so maybe I can rekindle some of that magic for this. Maybe I'm just wasting my time, but who cares? I have taken on the mindset that life is way too short to worry about everything all the time. If we worry about doing things that we dream about, we will all grow old and resent what we never did. I want to look back at my life as an old man and be happy that I did what I wanted. I don't want my life to control me. I hope to be able to do the things I dream about in the future.

We all have to appreciate the opportunities we have in life and embrace our dreams. Playing it safe in life may lead to good things, but it may not lead to complete happiness. We get one chance to do the things we want in life so why not make the most of it.

I hope that this may put some thoughts in your head about maybe accomplishing things that you want to do in life. It could be as extensive as backpacking through Europe or as simple as joining a gym or trying new foods. As for me, I guess I may give the novel writing another chance when I have time here or there. Maybe, just maybe, you will all have a chance to read it and criticize my horrible work (just kidding!).

So go out and experience your dreams. I'll be here fulfilling my dream, beginning with page one.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Rise and Fall in Hollywood

I just finished the documentary "Overnight." Now if you have never heard of the film, I suggest you go watch it. It blew me away and now I can do nothing more than think about it. "Overnight" is a documentary about Troy Duffy. Troy Duffy is a loud, arrogant man from the streets of Boston. Troy has a dream to make it big in the world of music with his band "The Brood." Their dream is so big that they decide to put their normal lives on hold and move out to Los Angeles, California - where all dreams are made. Right? Well it really started out that way for the Duff-man (sorry, couldn't resist a Simpsons reference). Troy gets a gig at an LA biker bar called J. Sloans. While he is out there, Troy gets the idea to begin writing a screenplay. He writes the screenplay during breaks between his shift at the bar. He names the screenplay "The Boondock Saints." Ever heard of it?

Well as the documentary depicts, Troy is discovered by Harvey Weinstein, one of Hollywood's most powerful movie men. Actually, he may be the most powerful movie man in the business. Harvey digs the script and offers Troy $300,000 for exclusive rights. Sounds like a sweet deal? It gets even better. Harvey also wants Troy to direct it. Even better, Harvey wants to buy the bar that Troy works at and they will be partners profiting off the ole drinking hole. That is a fantastic deal! But wait, there is even more! Troy's band is also getting the rights to create the soundtrack for this mega-movie. It seems that nothing can go wrong for this guy. His first script ever written is picked up and all his music dreams are coming true.

Of course, this is not how it will stay. As things have it, the deal falls through and his band is left without a deal. Troy is left fighting to make his movie. He ends up making it with an independent production company. More things go wrong and his movie is only shown in five theaters in the U.S. for a week. The home video sales kill though, with over six million sold. But in his deal with the production company, he sees no money from these sales.

So what this documentary shows is the fastest rise and fall of anyone in the history of the film business. A guy that had it all lost it all just as fast. Although he had some bad breaks, his attitude through it all as well as his unbelievable ego burns plenty of bridges. If you have dreams of going to Hollywood, take a look at this documentary. It is the ultimate what-not-to-do when you get there.

This film really put a lot of ideas in my mind. I think everyone has that dream from time to time to just screw it all and move to Los Angeles. Everyone has had the dream to be a famous actor or a highly respected director. As a journalist and a lover of writing, I have had the dream of writing a screenplay. Nothing would be more amazing than to see my own thoughts on a big screen. Watching something like this makes you step back a little bit from the dream and see what the reality of the situation can really be. Many production companies will buy a script just to make sure that no one else can buy it. They will then just put the script on the shelf and let it collect dust. Nothing would be more degrading than that. I respect Troy and his ambitions to push his movie but he did it in the ultimate bonehead way. You can never disrespect big movie studios like that, because they can make sure you have no future in the business. They did this with Troy. Troy has not been linked to another movie since "The Boondock Saints."

It just goes to show you just how difficult it can be to make it in the business. I daydream all the time thinking about new ideas and things that could be liked by masses, but I never really take the time to envision just how hard that dream could be to achieve.

In the end, "Overnight" offered a first-hand view of the Hollywood business. There are definitely more hardships than I would have thought. But what would I know - I'm just a college student from Ohio.

If you are interested in "Overnight," you should definitely check it out. I have embedded the trailer on here so go crazy:

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Evander Holyfield to fight again... REALLY?!

So I am not much of the boxing enthusiast these days. I still like to check out the big fights such as the Floyd Mayweather- Oscar De La Hoya fight and what not, but the sport is dying. With UFC and the other start-up MMA organizations, boxing just does not find itself the king of the castle in regards to prime time combat sports. I remember the days when people like Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield ruled the ring. Well, Tyson is gone as is Lewis. But, what about Holyfield? A man who is 46 years old and has career earnings of over $200 million should be enjoying his retirement in a Caribbean island somewhere. Nope, not Holyfield. It's sad but it's true. Holyfield is back for another fight. Here's the link. Read it and let me know what you think about the whole thing: Say it ain't so Evander!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Business Side (AKA the Ugly Side) of Journalism

So it has been all fun and games with my work at The Cincinnati Enquirer but, with all good things, there are some actions that bring the fairy tale back to reality. One event that has put future decisions into perspective are the current cutbacks that are taking place because of the recession we are facing. Of course no business has been immune to the recession, but it seems that no industry has been hit harder by the economy than the newspaper industry. Now, I am not interning with The Enquirer to become a newspaper reporter. I have known since I was in high school that going into that field is a very bad idea. The newspaper industry is a dying industry. Of course, they have made many changes within their infrastructure to become a more digital commodity, but cuts have had to be made in order to grow in this area. I knew that these kind of things were bound to happen, but I didn't know how I would truly feel once I saw these job cuts being made right in front of my face.

I met with the president and publisher of the company and she gave me advice of how to cope with losses of employees and mentors in the field. I was aware that The Enquirer was going to cut 10% of their staff to brace for the trying times they were facing. I let her know that I was fully aware that cuts were to be made and that I would be fine. "Keep your head down and focus on your objectives," is what she said. It really was great advice. In hind sight, I really shrugged off the advice because I didn't think that I would really be affected by the changes. In the end, I was dead wrong.

During the day I went through my normal work. I started the day with a large cup of coffee and looked over the new videos uploaded to Cincinnati.com. Next, I took part in the daily check of all video equipment and met with the video guys to find out the stories to be covered for the day. As I went about going through my editing guide, I was called into my internship adviser's office. Thinking I was going to talk to her about a new project, I went in with a blind eye. What she told me next changed my feelings for journalism forever. The woman, who has been an employee of The Enquirer for almost a decade, told me she had been "let go." I was at a loss for words. Feelings of shock, anger and sadness hit me all at once. And I had known this woman for only about a week. I could not imagine what this woman was feeling. I mean, where is the love, the loyalty for a fellow employee; especially during the Christmas season. It was at that moment that I truly saw what this really was. At that moment, I saw the business of journalism.

We go into journalism because we want to create art for others to view. From writing articles to capturing videos of the community, what we as journalists are creating is art. While in college we dream of becoming an influential journalist whose voice can transcend a community and change the world. What we do not think about is that we can be undercut by the business. We can only do as much as our industry will allow us to do. We dream of being able to write great articles and interview interesting people, but we do not think about the fact that at any point it could all be taken away. We work in a field that does not give tenure to those that have been there a certain amount of time. Instead, when times get rough, many of those people have to stress over whether they will be coming in the next day or if they will have to update the resume for the next job opportunity. It is a scary world we are living in at the moment. As the economy continues its decline, no one feels safe with their job. But it appears that journalists are feeling the worst.

As I watched my adviser pack up her office, she told me to remain positive and continue my work with The Enquirer. Can you imagine that? The woman who has just lost her job is telling me to stay positive. As a veteran in the industry she has become used to the fact that no job is protected and it does not pay to become comfortable in one place for too long. Through school I have told myself that I can not set my sights on one place for an entire career. It has become harder to swallow since I have seen the losses in front of my eyes.

As the president told me during our meeting, the industry will bounce back. It will grow in the digital and multimedia field. Cuts had to be made to grow in this way. As the digital field of the newspaper industry grows, more jobs will be created. The once proud industry may become a proud field again if they can grow with the changing times.

I love what I am doing. I love journalism and having the power to create art for people to view and enjoy. On the contrary, I have grown to loathe the business side of journalism. Yes, I know that this is not a great point of view to have as an aspiring journalist. Even when the economy is good, jobs are never safe. I know that. But when you finally see the losses around you, you get that new perspective that you never had before. Even though it was not an easy thing to swallow, I am glad I was there to see it first hand. We hear about job losses all the time and we don't think twice about it. I now have seen and felt the effects of job cuts in journalism. And I think it has forced me to think about my future all together. I am a junior in college and will soon be looking at the job market or grad schools. These memories will stick with me as I decide what I do with the next two years.

I know that a career in journalism is a roller coaster ride that goes both up and down. After the events of the last week, I am now unsure of whether I will be riding that roller coaster after graduation.