I am losing feeling. The lack of synapse has numbed my heart and fingers. It is another cold November night dreaming of the west coast beneath this midwest sky. But they say home is where the heart is and physically I am in this place. Where the warm sand under my toes has been replaced by puddles where snow and ice once existed before the seasons changed again. I can almost feel the warmth of the sun energize my soul. These are my west coast dreams beneath this midwest sky.


Let's Call This the Comeback

I am back by popular demand (and when I mean popular I mean the two or three people who actually read this damn blog). First of all, let me explain my lengthy absence from the blogosphere. I took some time to find myself by climbing Mt. Everest with only a T-shirt that read "Fresno, FresYes" on it, some Mike and Ike candies (the berry flavored) and a copy of On the Road. After this adventure, I decided to spend time living in the wilderness of Montana equipped with only a hatchet. Once I learned how to fly fish, start a fire with my bare hands, and build a modern day home with only a toothpick and a some cloth, provided of course by my "Fresno, FresYes" shirt, I decided I had done all I could and that it was time to return to civilization.
Of course none of this is remotely true, but is sure sounds a lot cooler than I was just busy. As this semester comes to an abrubt end I decided it was time to return to my post as everyone's favorite resident blogger/magician/GQ Model.
Recently I saw the movie The Departed starring Matt Damon, Leo DiCaprio, The Joker, and Marky Mark Walberg. Now, let me tell you up front that I love ganster movies. Goodfellas is probably my favorite movie of all time. The Departed was a good movie. That's what I will say about it. It was good. Not great, just good. Maybe I have just become desensitized to blood, guts, gore, Mark Walberg cussing and Leo shirtless, but I thought this movie could have been so much more and wasn't. It was as if Scorcesse, who I usually love, was just like "hey, I want to make this movie where nobody has any emotion and dies." In a nutshell, that was The Departed.
This week my music pick is The Hold Steady's Boys and Girls in America Click Here For Album Review. Boys and Girls in America, whose title is taken from Kerouac's On the Road, is arguably the best written album I have heard since Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Now, when I say written I don't mean that this is my favorite album I have heard lately. That place is reserved in my heart for Sufjan Steven's The Avalanche/Illinoise album. But as far as songwriting goes it doesn't get much better than Craig Finn, who vocally sounds like a relative of Jeff Tweedy, at least a second cousin. Songs such as, The First Night, are pop/rock diamonds in the rough. The kind of stuff you know will be on a Volkswagon commercial in say 15 years.
This weeks topic will be Missouri basketball while they are currently undefeated. That's right, the Tigers have almost matched their win total from last year by playing teams such as Coppin St, Edwardsville, and Davidson (actually Davidson isn't that bad and I am surprised we beat them.) The only big win for the new look Tigers is Arkansas and therefore I am not yet sold on Mike Anderson's run and fun system. Granted, this team plays harder and are scrappier than any Mizzou team since I've been in college here but with only one player even coming close to 6'10" we are going to be screwed when we play the big guys such as KU and Texas. Enjoy the winning while it lasts.
Well, that's all I have for now. Join me next week unless I need to go find myself again. I'm thinking maybe a tropical vacation this time to somewhere like St. John's. I hear it's nice there this time of year.

Reflections into a semester that has gone with the wind

In life it is always good to take a step back and be introspective of the work you have done, the life that you live, and the relationships you made and hopefully didn't destroy along the way.
During my brief time in journalism, both academically and professionally, I have come to realize two things are true; 1. The media has more power than politicians in America and 2. The public doesn't believe the media 75 percent of the time and to be honest have no reason to.
Let's face it --we live in a society where YouTube, MySpace, The Facebook, DailyKos, and other random bloggers dominate traditional media such as the NYTimes and USATODAY. Yet these sites leave the passage of information up to average citizens making us all sceptical even if we are the ones spreading the information. Thus far during the "information age", we have seen the power of the media: In 2006, one can argue the media's coverage of Iraq and the examination of how the war has gone ary swung the mid-term elections to the Democrats. We saw a UCLA student being tazzered (don't know how to spell tazzered) by campus police which proved the power of new media. And the new media's darling, YouTube, was purchased for 1.2 billion by Google making it known to all the new media's time isn't coming, it has fully arrived. But at the same time, traditional journalists have lost control.
Audiences are more suspicious of what they see and hear from traditional news outlets than ever before and are going to traditional "credible" news sources less and less.
The question then becomes for officially "trained" members of the media, how do we win back the general public with this new media?
As members of the convergence sequence we have asked and examined this question for two years consistently and although we have equipped ourselves with an abundance of tools I don't know if we have still figured it out -and maybe we never will.
At the start of our election coverage, we tried to figure out new ways to get younger audiences interested in politics, and more importantly local politics, by using new media. Although we did some great things, I believe we failed. It isn't anyone's fault, it's just the nailbitting truth of the situation.
Maybe it is narrow minded and premature, but as journalists from a generation brought up on this new media and who grew up watching and laughing at the Daily Show take jabs at traditional media organizations, how do we get our peers to once again appreciate the news and not just get information from uncredible sources such as friends, family or their My Space and Facebook pals?
Maybe what the news media needs is a news organization or a group that is fresh. As American politics is calling for a new approach from someone like Barack Obama, maybe the media needs an entity who can pull together both sides of the aile, combining traditional "credible" news reporting with new media that will get a younger generation excited about waking up in the morning and receiving their news fix.
Groups such as Current TV, Yahoo News and Newsvine are trying to provide this news in a new way, but the problem is a lack of manpower and original reporting. Until this situation is fixed they won't be able to compete with bloggers or kids with cell phones on any level.
As the first graduating class of convergence I am making a call to arms for us to think of how we can combine citizen journalism with "traditional news" and win back the public and America's youth. Do you think we can do it?


I Was A Lover Before This War

Im back again bringing you a whole slew of new topics to munch on. MMMMMM... So, who is the best team in college football? Not Notre Dame that's for sure. With ND out of the national title hunt -at the momemnt- it looks like a race between Ohio St, USC, W. Virginia and Louisville. I am going to make an early prediction that USC will be playing Louisville in the title game. Call me cray but Booty vs. Brohm is a real possibility.

Best movie this year is hands down "Little Miss Sunshine." This is a great movie that will warm your heart and make you laugh your ass off. Plus it has Steve Carell playing a gay uncle. Lets put it this way, Carell is the best comedic actor out there right now.

Album of the Week: Regina Spektor's "Begin to Hope". Get the Album Here. Check out the song Fidelity. It will make you cry, laugh and sway your head to the infectious beat.

Until next time jamorama!


Feeling Frisky?

All is right in the world again. Roger Federer won the U.S. Open -again- and football has started. Mizzou, led by the diminutive Chase Daniel, is 2-0, and I partied last weekend like it was 2005.
On Saturday night, Jenn, Traci, Rachel and I went to Mojo's to watch a concert and the opening band, Ellie Come Home, rocked. Here is a link to their website. Ellie Come Home Website. They are a chamber indie music group that reminds me of a mix between Tilly and the Wall and The New Pornographers but with a chello.
On Sunday, I watched football, watched tennis, and ate chesse fries, fudgems and chicken wings. I don't think this marathon thing is going to happen.
R-Fed dominated ARod like we all expected. RFed makes tennis look like a piece of art. He literally paints his shots hitting line after line for winners. Will this guy have any competition for the next 10 years? Nadal is fiery but he lacks the consistency of RFed except on clay and ARod is just not nearly as talented. I expect when it is all said and done RFed will have 15+ majors. No joke, he is that dominant.

Album of the week: Due to the rain we have been getting in CMO, I am going with Iron and Wine's The Creek Drank the Cradle. The Creek Drank the Cradle Album. Put on this album on a rainy day and you won't want to do anything but lay in bed and dream about lost love's and love's that could have been.

Story of the week: Lonely Girl15 is not real! NO, say it isn't so Bree. I am going to miss our time together when I thought you were real and we would talk for hours. Actually, you just talked and I listened... really listened... to an actress. Lonely Girl Story.

This is Shawn signing off...


Marky Mark Admits Mistake

Haha, poor Marky Mark and the funky bunch over at the facebook are now admitting they really screwed up the news feed idea.Mark Zuckerburg's Blog Which is true... they did. As a person studying the new media field, I am filing this one as a lesson learned for the new media industry. What is the lesson you ask? Don't assume that people of my generation wan't full access into their friend's life. Sure we all want to socially network, but I don't want to know what Tom, Dick or Harry are doing 24/7. Maybe the overconsumption of instantaneous "news" has finally reached its limit. Naaaa.

Dude is a worse babydaddy than KFed




Sunburned and Bruised

This Labor Day weekend I went to the Lake of the Ozarks with my roomate Josh, his girlfriend Libby, Jeff (Josh's high school friend who sadly goes to KU), and Josh's brother Michael. As I write this post, I am sunburned, my elbows are skinned up and I think I still have lake water stuck in my lungs. In honor of the weekend, I have listed the top 10 things that are unnacceptable in normal society but perfecly normal at the Lake.

10. Not wearing underwear.
9. Drinking for breakfast. I reccomend a malt beverage to get the day going such as a Spark.
8. Not wearing a shirt into a restaurant. No Shirt, No Problem is the motto at the Lake.
7. Looking at girls with binoculars. Ummm....
6. Peeing in public. Don't say you have never urinated in a lake before because if you do you are a liar.
5. Listening to Country Music. I will admit that Kenny Chesney is good lake music but this is the only time you will ever catch me saying this so copy and paste.
4. Tying yourself to a moving vehicle while going 50 mph. So much fun...
3. Wearing sunglasses at night. Despite that one song, you can only look cool wearing sunglasses at night if you are at the Lake.
2. Drinking Lite Beer. One of the only times I can stand drinking Bud Lite, Coors Lite, or --dare I say-- Miller Lite.
1. Male Suntanning. Despite the metrosexual movement of the early OO's, I say male suntanning should be restricted to a lake or beach.

Album of the Week: Death Cab for Cutie's Transatlanticism. Transatlanticism

Story of the Week: Sophomore Chase Daniel winning Big 12 Player of the Week props for his five-touchdown performance in Mizzou's win against Murray State. Question is, can he do this against a real college team. Although, there aren't many of those in the Big 12 North.

Until next time, peace out and keep on keeping on.


My Return to the Mundane Midwest

The title of this post is not an intentional dig at the midwest, its just that since I have been back in Columbia, MO I have been in a funk. For some reason, I miss the pace of working a 9-5 job, dealing with traffic, and grabbing a beer after work with the guys (and gals). There is something about the vibe from the coasts that you just don't or can't experience in Missouri, or any other midwest state probably. The West has that laid back chill sensation while the East has the ambitious attitude and class. Im not getting either of this at Good 'Old Mizzou.
OK, I am not saying I don't enjoy -or haven't enjoyed- my college experience. After all, I've done it all; fraternity boy, boyfriend, scholar, causual "guy friend" (you get my drift), writer, leader of campus organizations, roommate, and friend. And maybe this is the problem...there is nothing left to be done. Maybe my lifespan in college has hit its expiration date. Not only do I feel ready for the next step, but I feel like I am 21 going on 30. I am thinking about a career, a wife and a family when I should be thinking about what bar I am going to hit up tonight or how its fun to go to class in slippers. I need to figure out if this is it or not. I hope this isn't how senior year is going to be.
Sorry to start this post on a sour note. In other news, I have a new job --I am now a Barista at the Artisan Cafe, a localy owned coffee house here in Columbia. The Artisan.So far, this seems to be the best college job I've had yet. I get to listen to good music, make good coffee and meet a lot of indie girls (which I've always had a soft spot for).

I will also be a multimedia producer for a special 2006 Missouri election guide produced by KOMU, KBIA and The Missourian. Should be interesting, so check in for updates.

Here is an update on some music to check out:
Copeland -- more alternative rock mixed with punk. They got some good songs and In Motion is their best album. Click the link to listen to more --
In Motion

Sufjan Stevens, arguably my favorite singer songwriter at the moment, released an album consisting of cuts that didn't make is Illinois album called The Avalanche. There are about 5 songs on this album that may be the best songs of his young career. Check it out: The Avalanche

Until next time, I wish you all well and remember to keep it real.


Shawn Lost in America: A Tribute to Where's Waldo

My life has consisted of many crazy journey’s, but none will ever compare to my trip this week coming back to Columbia from my internship in D.C.. When I woke at 8 a.m. I had no idea what this day, which was a Saturday by the way, would involve. Let alone, the crazy characters I would meet. I am going to attempt to summarize the events as they occurred and will ignore any unnecessary details. Remember, all of this is true and nothing is embellished, which is something I have been known to do.

The drive from Washington D.C. to my apartment in Columbia, MO is approx: 990 miles which also appox: takes 16 to 17 hours based on speed, bathroom breaks, food breaks and how many times I decide to stop and observe to beautiful American landscape.

A week before I left D.C. I had my car checked because it had been overheating on drives to Baltimore, so the shop had a look at it and made a few changes. I know, nothing too exciting so far.

Everything was going great on my drive so far until I approached a town about 90 miles from D.C. called Cumberland. That is where my car began to overheat and this journey of epic proportions began. First off, let me explain something about Cumberland, MD. Cumberland is sort of like Pleasantville in the movie with the same name except its in color and the women don’t look nearly as hot as Reese Weatherspoon. In Cumberland I had my car looked at a local gas station while I ate at Wendy’s (their new Wendy’s melt is delicious, I recommend it). By the way, there probably wasn’t a Wendy’s in Pleasantville but there should’ve been. Thinking my troubles were over, I continued on and got 20 miles when my car started to smoke like a NYC waitress on her lunch break (insert laugh track here).

I pulled to the side of the road and noticed green radiator fluid was splashed all over my car. The engine had burnt out, and the worst part was I had no idea where I was. In fact, I didn’t even know what state I was in.

Luckily, before I had left for college my Mom had given me her AAA card and said, “Shawn, you will need this one day.” Mom’s are always right. I gave the company a call and found out I was located in Maryland and that a tow-truck would pick me up in 30 minutes. So there I sat on the side of interstate 68, which among other things consisted of large beetle-like butterflies, rattle snakeskin’s, rude passerby’s and afternoon heat. The only thing keeping me from running into the highway and getting struck by a vehicle to prematurely end my life was listening to the audiobook version of Chuck Klosterman’s Sex, Drugs, and Coco Puffs on my ipod.

After three and a half hours (yes that was 3 and half hours, no typo) of waiting for the tow truck to pick me and my dilapidated car up, they finally came. I don’t want to talk too much about what those three and half hours consisted of because I would just assume forget about and never bring it up again.

The tow-truck guy was named Eric. He had the largest Adam’s apple I had ever seen.
Words don’t do this thing justice. It was as if a bee was stuck in his throat and consistently stinging him to inflate this thing. Anyway, Eric was so skinny he looked malnourished, smoked Marlboro reds, was wearing a T-shirt that had an American Flag and bald eagle on it, talked with a back-woods southern accent, and wore a trucker hat (since he was an actual trucker this means he wasn’t going for the KFed-Britney Spears look.)

Eric told me I had two options. Option 1 was to backtrack to Cumberland, MD and wait for them to look at my car while option 2 was to head 30 miles to Morgantown,VA. Going to Morgantown was the logical choice since it was in the direction I was going in. So, Eric loaded up my car lit up a cigarette and we were off. On the way, Eric told me about his band, which he said, “sounds like Metallica, but in the early years man.”

Eventually we reached Morganstown, home of the University of West Virginia, basketball legend Jerry West, and a lot of students who like to burn couches (see new Cingular commercial to see what I mean.) We went to the Honda dealership, but since it took so long for the towing service to find me it was now 6 p.m. and the service mechanics were all gone. The only person at the dealership, in fact, was J.B.. J.B. is a salesman, maybe in his 40’s or 50’s, uses a strong scented hand-lotion and listens to modern pop music such as Taylor Hicks and every other musician that makes my ears bleed.

J.B. offered to give me a ride to find a hotel in his burnt orange Honda Element. Don’t you think if you were a salesman at a Honda dealership and could have your choice of vehicle you would chose something better than an Element? On the way to finding a hotel, he told me about how he used to be in law enforcement until some amateur photographer took a picture of a buddy of his throwing cash and drugs into his patrol car one evening. To say the least, I thought this was a weird thing to say to a stranger, but then again it was West Virginia and J.B. was the type of guy who loved to tell stories, and he told me loads of them. In a span of 20 minutes, J.B. told me his life. How he went to WVU during the “crazy hippie years”, how one of his roommates had a girlfriend who was a hooker and the money she made paid for their parties, how he became the first man to teach woman’s studies at WVU, how he has two adopted kids and one is “flamboyant” and gets weird looks outside of Morganstown, and how his team of salesman each made over 75K last year and spend their Sunday’s out on the lake drinking beer. He asked if I wanted to go. I firmly declined.

Finally, after getting severely tired of J.B.’s stories and his music, I checked in at a room at the Econo Lodge for two nights since the dealership was closed on Sunday. By the way, I should mention that the receptionist at the EL had a mustache thicker than mine, and that they still used keys, not card keys. This means anyone could make a copy of the key and come into my room and steal all of my shit or kill me. This probably was not the best place to stay, but like I said it was this or J.B. and I chose the EL.

I am hoping my car will be fixed by tomorrow and I can continue my trip back to CMO. But something tells me this epic journey has just begun and that this won’t be the last blog entry of Shawn lost in America. Until next time, keep fighting the good fight.


Margaritas, Ambassador's, and Marketing Oh My!

Have you ever been in the position to meet one of the most influential people in the world and made a complete ass out of yourself (sort of like when Forrest Gump pulled down his pants in front of Nixon to show he had been shot in the butt.) Because I have. Here is the set-up:

Last night I got home to my humble basement at around 9 p.m.. After I got off work I had decided to go to the gym and workout. Following my chase for that never possible six pack, I had a craving for some pita bread and hummus (my new food of choice.) So, as I walk into my house my focus is on the pita bread and hummus and nothing else. To my surprise, the family I live with was not alseep, but instead the husband, Homer, was dressed in a tux and his wife Zeyneb was in a party dress. There was another couple sitting on the couch enjoying some fine wine and were probably shocked to see a 21-year-old kid who had his tie half-way undone and smelled like he hadn't taken a shower in two weeks (hey, I have!) walk into their friend's home acting like he owned the place.
Obviously surprised at what I saw, and still focused on that pita and hummus (oh and now an ice cold frosty beer), I turned to Homer and said, "Oh I didn't get the invite to the party." (I thought it was funny and charming but the look on everyone else's faces indicated otherwise).
Homer then preceded to turn to me and tell me the man sitting on the couch was the ambassador of Turkey and the woman his wife.
"Ah," I said. I then shook hands with the ambassador and his wife and feeling like an ass went down to the basement and had a Corona Lite with my pita bread and hummus and watched two episodes of The Office.

By the way, if you haven't seen the follwing PSA announcements from The Office click the link. The Office Clips

Currently, I am spending some time in the marketing dept. at USATODAY.com and would tell you what I've been doing except I haven't done anything yet.

Going out for margarita's tonight for a farewell party for one my fellow interns. If you ever wanted to know who invented the margarita click the link. My Margarita

Before I leave here are some more words of wisdom from yours truly.
"In order to go forward you have to comeback to where you started."
Read that, taste it, chew it, enjoy it.