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Archive for March 21st, 2007

QOTD: Be prepared to adapt, willing to risk, eager to dream…

Wednesday, March 21st, 2007

“Be prepared to adapt. Be willing to risk. Be eager to dream. If you are, your dreams will surely come true.”
— Bill Frist

I’m a picky eater, what can I say?

Wednesday, March 21st, 2007

J&C staffers rotate writing a weekly column called “The View From Here.” My first column ran in today’s paper. I talked about my weird eating habits. And yes, I know they are weird. Anyway, here’s a link to the column, and here’s the text:

Picky eating habits weird to some


I’m weird. At least when it comes to food.

That’s what Brian, the Purdue reporter who sits across the aisle from me, says every time he brings in a new food I don’t like.

It’s not that he’s adventurous and I’m not. I’m just picky.

First it was the dark chocolate M&Ms he offered me. But lots of people don’t like dark chocolate. I’m more of a peanut M&M girl.

On that note, I like peanuts but not peanut butter, which given the recent salmonella outbreak is probably a good thing.

I also don’t like popcorn, my mother’s favorite food. It has the consistency of Styrofoam when you bite into it, and the kernels have a tendency to get stuck in my teeth.

Brian says that’s the best part. I think he’s weird.

Other “normal” foods you’re unlikely to find me ingesting include fried chicken, lunch meat and pizza. Yeah, pizza.

OK, hating pizza is kind of weird. But I have my reasons. It’s greasy. Plus pepperoni, sausage and whatever else all kind of mix and sit in my stomach.

And if you ever invite me over for breakfast, you should know I don’t do bacon or scrambled eggs either.

My picky eating habits haven’t stopped me from trying new foods. As with everything in life, I have to try something at least once before I’ll write it off.

I’ve forced myself to put the idea of raw fish out of my mind and tried sushi. It was OK, but not an experience I’d go out of my way to repeat.

I’ve crunched my way through dried seaweed that went down like salted toothpicks. I’m not quite sure what ever prompted me to try that delicacy.

But those aren’t the types of things you eat every day.

So, that leaves the question Brian always asks and which my mom tried to answer every night as I echoed the sentiments of the little girl in the Pediasure commercial, “I don’t like broccoli.” That is, “What do you like?”

My favorite food is hard shell tacos, but Mexican of any variety is usually a good bet.

I also love Italian food. My grandma’s spaghetti and meatballs rank a close second on my favorites list.

My mom’s spaghetti isn’t bad either, and it’s the only thing I’ve ever had that actually tasted better as a leftover.

I also love vegetables, but mostly in the raw form. Cooked carrots or string beans, no thanks. But please pass the celery and raw broccoli.

I haven’t found an incarnation of potato I don’t like, yet. But mashed potatoes must be homemade, don’t waste my time on flakes from a box.

Likewise, I love mac and cheese. But if the cheese started the meal out as a powder, leave it off my plate.

This isn’t to say I’m a snob for home cooked meals. Ask my roommates; they use my pans more in one day than I do in a week.

I got through college on half-hour commutes home, Chipotle burritos, Southwest chicken wraps from the cafeteria, cinnamon dolce lattes at Starbucks and ramen noodles — lots of ramen.

Now that I’m six hours away from my parents’ home cooking, and God only knows when the next time I’ll get to sample grandma’s meatballs will be, I may have to take up cooking myself.

In the meantime, where can a girl find good Mexican or Italian food in this town?

Following this, I was made fun of for a good five minutes for not liking popcorn. Apparently, I just haven’t had it made right. Though, as I told them, I didn’t know there was a wrong way to make popcorn.

My editor says he has a pan dedicated solely to popping popcorn, and it’s pretty amazing. He said the microwave stuff is all junk. To which I replied, “Didn’t you read to the end of the column? I don’t cook.”

I used to work at a bowling alley. Part of my job on Saturday nights was to make popcorn. We had this huge popcorn machine — it actually electrocuted me once, which is funny in hindsight but at the time seriously freaked me out as my right arm was numb for several minutes — and I had to you know measure the kernels, measure the oil, put in the right amount of butter. It wasn’t an exact science, but I made pretty good popcorn. I never ate it, but we always sold out, and everybody loved it. I can’t imagine it would have been the “wrong way” if so many people really liked it.

It really is less about the taste of the popcorn and more about the texture, and the fact that it gets stuck in my teeth. Please. Give me some chips and salsa, and I’m more than happy.

A crazy week, and it’s only half over

Wednesday, March 21st, 2007

Sparse updates on here usually means one thing: crazy week. It has been, and I’ve been drained by the time I came home. But it’s good crazy.

It’s a busy news week in Lafayette. The biggest news being, of course, they found the body of the missing Purdue student Monday. Between getting the story and getting it online followed with second day coverage, it was pretty much go-go-go. And I only played a small part. (Imagine how tired my editor must feel.)

I’m not going to talk about any of the content in the coverage itself for obvious reasons. But I will say, I was totally impressed with how it came together and how we quickly got the news out there and followed with impact coverage. The first story confirming the body’s identity was posted about 15 minutes after the press conference began (while it was still going on), with steady updates throughout the day.

No doubt people wanted the news, and they were looking for it at the J&C. Both Monday and subsequently Tuesday set new records for page views on the site. What impressed me most was how there was no question of holding anything back. It was every body and every resource. Photo galleries, video, half a dozen reporters (on a dozen reporter staff). And as soon as we had it, or part of it, it was online, right then.

And that story was only part of the news going on this week. We still covered a lot of other big news events for the community.

I think if I wasn’t a convert already, this week would totally have won me over to the brillance of immediate news online. I’m not even one of those reporters who got into journalism for the adrenaline rush. Hardly. But it’s hard not to get caught up in something that big. If there was anyone in the newsroom holding back — I don’t really think there was; it’s a forward-looking paper that emphasizes and is expanding Web coverage, which was part of its appeal to me — they can’t possibly have reservations any longer. (Disclosure: It’s a Gannett paper, so that whole info center thing, say what you will, it worked.)

I know it might seem like I’m blown away, but take into consideration that this is the first major story I’ve worked on outside of college. (Remember, I graduated about three months ago. The student went missing the same weekend I moved here to start this job.) I got to work on some major stories at Kent State and even direct coverage of some, but this is different. It’s the first real-world test I think we’ve gotten to see of how it all comes together. It’s one thing to talk about immediately posting things online, getting video and photo galleries, setting up forums and letting the communication flow. It’s entirely different to see it, to watch it and be part of it from the front line. And the audience gobbled it up.

All right. Here’s to a few slow news days for the rest of this week, at least until this county can catch its breath. ;)