Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Today, the Bridesmaid

Today, I received good and bad news. The bad news is that I pretty much came in second for a great job in Burlington, Vermont. The good: they really liked me but opted for the person with more experience. It's a great feeling being told "you did everything right." Basically I came in second in a height competition, and as you know, height is something you can't teach or earn.

I'm a little disappointed and actually sad, because the people there would have been great to work with and who knows what the future holds. Another great part is that I can finally exhale. Monday was filled with utter nervousness and trepidation. So much to the point, that my girlfriend encouraged me to drink a fine brew of cider and wonderful Kentucky bourbon. But as I've learned, all bourbon is from Kentucky.

On very rare occasions does the woman in my life plop down a glass of 80 percent booze and tell me to get to work. She could see my nervousness, especially after I turned down the dessert with pumpkin in it and a night out filled with baby bottles full of beer and chocolate cake.

So, does rejection sting more when you don't get a phone call or come so close to getting the job? I'm not telling.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Skill Set

In a perfect world, the wisdom of Yoda would hold true and we'd all be walking around speaking in inverted sentences. "Need breakfast I do" would be a popular saying in my domicile. The reason I respect the little green bugger so much is that he definitely had a plan, even if Luke Skywalker couldn't see it. Luke probably didn't think that wearing a blindfold and trying to slice a robotic floating orb would pay off later.

The same went for me about a decade ago while I was covering a fire in Boonville, N.Y. ruining a $100 pair of pants from the Gap because I was too close to the smoke. But instead of swatting a robot, I was learning how to talk to people and negotiate tight situations. There's a certain gross pull when you have to write a story about a shop owner who just watched his entire life go up in flames.

It all adds to your skill set, no matter what road you took to get there. Last week, I had two amazing interviews for a PR gig in Vermont, and it seemed that my skills culled from the journalism realm really meshed well with what they're looking for. I didn't realize how much I learned from being in the media for a decade. But when you're doing something every day of your life, very rarely do you stop and look around.

Maybe Ferris was right.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Up For Breakfast

Breakfast as a freelancer tastes different than being a full-time newspaper employee. When you're honed on a diet of granola and Mr. Goodbar every day for three straight years, you develop a yearning for eggs. Particularly the ones that come from chickens with large talons raised in the Northeast.

A few days ago, I decided to drive to Vermont for breakfast with my father. Not just because his mother just died, but also because Vermont is rife with great breakfast options and a flair for local products. If I learned anything from Michigan, it's not just that Pabst Blue Ribbon is still consumed in mass quantities; it's to appreciate local products. Growing up in Upstate New York, I didn't see any local products except the illegal stuff smoked by thrash metal fans standing next to bike racks.

After a few hours on the road, my father and I stopped in Manchester, Vermont, an oasis in the middle of the rugged Green Mountains and throngs of moose crossing signs. My girlfriend and I have developed a fondness for anything with a moose on it from shirts to mugs and snow globes. We once drove to Vergennes to buy socks with moose on them. Hey, we're dedicated.

In Manchester, there's a place called Up For Breakfast, serving up the best in local fare with some of the best coffee I've ever had. Driving three hours is worth it when you can munch on a Brie omelet with fresh apples and bacon. Every week during my former life, I reviewed a different restaurant, but I never experienced a place with food so fresh and diverse. I’ve never seen my father eat more food in one sitting, even during Christmas Eve of ’89, when he was pumped because the Browns made the playoffs.

I should have taken a video with my phone and put it on Youtube and used tags like “eating clinic,” “eggs” and “pancake demolition.” It might not have turned up on many searches, but true seekers with a penchant for savory pancakes and syrup sweeter than a cherry Lifesaver dipped in sugar would understand.

Our trip lasted nine hours as we drove up the left “coast” of the Green Mountain State. We basically ate our way up and down Vermont, munching on huge chocolate chip cookies and donuts culled from small shops along the way. And on the way out, we stopped for a Moose postcard and sent it to my girlfriend. It said simply, “we wish you were here. We wish we were here too!”