Driver's side of the truck with satellite dishes in background

New Live Truck!

We got a new live truck at work! It’s kind of a baby live truck, but it’s designed so that a solo reporter can go out in the field and get a good shot out easily, especially in breaking news situations.

It’s relatively simple as live trucks go, but it packs a lot of versatility into what it carries. Although it’s designed so a solo reporter can use it, you’d better believe I’ll be jumping at every opportunity to go out with Natalia Verdina in it!

A Streak Has Ended or How I Cracked My Rib

I made it 31 years, 5 months, 11 days without fracturing anything, but that streak ended last week when I cracked a rib. What’s even sadder is how I cracked it: coughing. Apparently, if you cough hard enough long enough, you can weaken your ribs to the point where they’ll eventually crack (in this case rib number 5). I got sick with a bad sinus infection a couple days after Christmas and it hung on for the entire month of January, eventually transitioning to bronchitis. I felt pretty ok otherwise but was still coughing a lot. The week before my rib cracked my back started hurting, but I figured I was sleeping on it wrong, particularly since since the first day I woke up with my back hurting I also somehow stuck both hands under my back and they both fell asleep. It got progressively worse with each passing day, though. My mom at one point suggested that it was maybe related to all the coughing I was doing, but I thought that sounded kind of crazy. Crazy or not, that’s apparently what happened: I seem to have coughed enough to weaken a rib. Finally I was in my office at work, had a sudden cough, felt something pop in my back and chest and was instantly in a lot of pain. I tried finding some Tylenol but there wasn’t any in the office, so I walked to the grocery store across the parking lot and got some. I took 1,000 mg and still directed the 6pm news (flawlessly, I might add). Immediately afterwards my dad got me to an urgent care, where after a couple x-rays I got the bad news. I still find it kind of crazy that could happen, but the doctor said his wife actually cracked 2 ribs at once for the same reason. There’s not much they could really do other than give me pain killers and muscle relaxers, and antibiotics to knock out the bronchitis so I won’t keep coughing. Wrapping it would just restrict my breathing and make me cough more. I’m actually not in much pain unless I move the wrong way, breathe too deep, try to clear my throat, or cough. Coughing is about the worst. Fortunately I’m not coughing much anymore, so hopefully I’ll finally be over this illness and healed back up soon. The rib didn’t break all the way through, so it should only take about 3 weeks to heal up. That can’t come soon enough.

Laundry

There’s a special feeling when you wash clothes for the last time because you’ve lost so much weight they no longer fit…
…and they hopefully never will.

The Ages of the Founding Fathers

We tend to think of America’s Founding Fathers as all being old men, but some of them were definitely on the young side. Todd Andrlik took the trouble to compile a list of how old various players on both sides of the American Revolution were when the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776. While Ben Franklin was 70 and Samuel Adams was 53, George Washington was only 44 and John Adams was just 40. King George Ⅲ was just 38. The youngest signers of the Declaration of Independence appear to have been just 26 years old: Thomas Lynch, Jr. and Edward Rutledge, although the list doesn’t indicate whether or not they actually signed on July 4, 1776 or were among some of the people who added their names later. Still, our perspectives seemed to have been shaped by how these men looked when their portraits were painted years later, not how they looked during the Revolution.

Matthew Butterick’s Practical Typography

Rather randomly, I have discovered Matthew Butterick’s Practical Typography, an easy read to improve the look of your documents and an interesting experiment in electronic publishing. Butterick covers a variety of topics including spacing, layout, using the correct characters, and of course—what most people think of when it comes to typography—fonts. It’s accessible to novices and corrects many “rules” you may have learned that have no real basis in the centuries-old tradition of typography. Butterick is especially effective at leading readers to overcome traditions that are holdovers from the limitations of typewriters and pushes writers to move beyond the default settings that are rarely very good. He doesn’t just lay out the rules, he explains why they’re the rules. I’ve finally been convinced to stop putting two spaces between sentences, although overcoming nearly a quarter century of habit will be difficult.

As for the interesting experiment in electronic publishing, Butterick has published what he considers a book as a website, and put the entire contents online for all to read through. He doesn’t consider it a free book, though, and asks that readers pay for it by buying one of his fonts, buying the book by paying an amount of readers’ choosing in multiples of $5, or other ways. He followed this up a year after the initial publication with a report on how the economics of the book have worked for him. The Appendix also includes a section on why he published his book as a website as opposed to a PDF or EPUB, and his argument is interesting as he points to what he hopes is a better way forward for electronic publishing. Check it out and see if you find some practical information in it, and see if you think his website book is a potential way for the future.

“Closing Time” Has a Hidden Meaning

More than likely you’ve heard the song “Closing Time” by Semisonic. Like me you probably took the lyrics at face value and thought it was about last call at a bar, but some of the lyrics might have seemed a little odd. There’s a reason for that: the song’s not really about that at all. Check out this video for an explanation from Semisonic’s Dan Wilson:

You’re welcome parents.

I discovered this by way of Nate Johnson who shared this blog post by Kavin Senapathy.

Relaunch

In college I kept a blog for a while. Eventually it fell by the wayside as college got busier, I started working outside of college, and then I graduated and focused on my job and other pursuits. I’ve taken a look back at my original blog posts (I may at some point add some or all of them back in here for archival purposes) and in my original post I stated why I started blogging in the first place:

Often I will see or experience something that I want to share with people, but for some reason or another there is no one to share it with. This blog gives me a place to relate these experiences, share interesting (to me at least) links and stories, or ramble on with a thought or something like this.

Over the years Facebook and Twitter filled that role for me, particularly as we got smartphones and sharing more content in the moment got easier. I still plan to share that content here, but I’ll also show off some of the more creative things I’ve done. I’ve had the opportunity to do some interesting things both professionally and as a hobby and it’s nice to finally be taking some time to share those with other people and show off a little bit. Things have changed a lot with the Internet and WordPress since I started blogging (my original blog was also on WordPress), and I’m excited about the things I’ll be able to show you.