Fear + Loathing

I find it difficult to concentrate these days. My mind is wandering back to days gone and forgotten now. The bad old days. When life was more interesting. Seat of the pants.

The first writing professional writing assignment I ever had took me to Louisville for a poetry and writing festival put on by Ron Whitehead.

I went to see Jim Carroll reading from The Basketball Diaries. At the reading: Hunter S. Thompson. In the back. Smoking that long, thin cigarette and drinking out of a martini glass.

But I’ve written this story before and the further I get away from it the less the story entertains me. The years have passed. I’ve put together some good stories. I had a good run through.

But I never stopped to ask myself where I was running.

Until now: when I look around at what I’ve put together. And I feel old.

Not in the way that my body has fallen apart or my mind is gone. I’m young, healthy, vibrant. Mostly. Enough so that I get up every day pretty happy with where I’m at in life.

So not in that way.

But my stories. They are old. They stopped. Somewhere they stopped being new.

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So New: In Which We Have a Night of Dinner and Jazz in the City (37 of 90)

I love jazz.

In every city I’ve lived, one of the first things I do is seek out the jazz clubs where you can have dinner, a few drinks and an evening of jazz. There’s simply nothing better in the world.

I’ve been lax so far but this weekend I re-started the search.

My friend and I headed to First Friday, the monthly downtown art walk, but the snow and cold weather scattered most of the vendors. After a few brief stops, (my art bank Yelp review and my The Frame Shop Yelp review), we went to Agio (see my Yelp review) for dinner. I’d eyeballed the place the last few times I’d been to Massachusetts Avenue. There’s always some torch singers playing and I’m a fan of that. And the interior looked intriguing in a Roaring Twenties way.

The food was okay. The company was wonderful. The best part of the place: the lounge bar with the singer. I wish we’d have just stayed there.

Fortunately, there was more good music on the horizon.

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If you don’t know who Steve Prefontaine is now is the time to find out. One of greatest runners of all, he is also the the standard bearer for all American runners.

But he is far more than that. His attitude about competition – about life – are a road map for success.

Maybe not the kind of success that ends with a trophy (although he ended with his fair share), but a more profound success. The kind that allows you to look others squarely in the eye. The kind that guides you through life. The kind that others want to be around.

Whenever I feel overwhelmed by life or find myself drifting into the world of Eeyore, I remember Pre. Here’s some of his more memorable quotes:

A lot of people run a race to see who is fastest. I run to see who has the most guts, who can punish himself into exhausting pace, and then at the end, punish himself even more.

I’m going to work so that it’s a pure guts race at the end, and if it is, I am the only one who can win it.

Somebody may beat me, but they are going to have to bleed to do it.

And my personal favorite:

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From the Vault: The World’s Longest Outdoor Sale

warhorsesign1 The first three long features I ever wrote for the Cincinnati CityBeat weekly paper were:

  • the story of the American Federation of Riders, a motorcycle club my Uncle helped found (1995);
  • the story of Cincinnati’s attempt to arrest the graffiti artists who were tagging the city (although most of that occurred in the storm sewers) (1995); and
  • the story of the world’s longest outdoor sale, which happens in Appalachia ever year (2001).

The first two were stories I wrote after leaving the newspaper to pursue my freelance writing career. The third story – which I started in 1997 – didn’t see publication until 2001 when I resurrected it from the scrap heap.

It’s important to note: this was reported 2 years into my career, which had mostly been as a freelance writer; it was 2 years after I’d met Hunter S. Thompson in Louisville, Kentucky and decided that I needed to write about the American Dream; which set me off on a quest to read every American Dream author (Hawthorne, the New Journalists, Fitzgerald, ect) and tailor everything I did around that; all of which led me to Berkeley just a year later.

Originally commissioned in 1997 by Axcess magazine out of San Diego, the story never got published as the magazine went out of business. (That happened when I traveled there to meet them. I actually helped them move equipment out of their second story offices.)

You can read the story I wrote in 2001 here: The Lost Highway: A pulp tale of pop culture,an unknown highway, Death Week and the future of Americana, by Brad King. Photos by Monte McCarter.

I’ll publish the notes from my trip later. They need to be cleaned up. But you can enjoy a few of the pictures from our time in Gadsden, Alabama.

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So New: In Which We See The Rocky Horror Picture Show (36 of 90)

A few days ago, I wrote about the special place The Rocky Horror Picture Show holds in my family’s lore. So tonight as my friend Hillary and I settled in to the festivities at the Irving Theater, I was pumped.


But I don’t want to rush through the story, which began during this week’s Glee episode that features seven songs from the movie.

As soon as the show ended, I began searching for places that still showed Rocky in the Indianapolis area. No problem, I figured, since it’s Halloween.

Ball State was having a showing, but I wasn’t too keen on hanging out with a bunch of students on campus this weekend. I posted as such on Twitter and in just a few minutes, a work colleague posted a link to a showing at the Irving Theater. I sent a message to Hillary, who was down for the show and the plan was in motion.


After a great dinner at Capri Ristorante (see my Yelp review), we made our way to the theater. The doors opened at 10:30 pm, but I was told we might want to get there a bit early to avoid the line. So we did just that, where we were promptly marked as Virgins since it was our first time at the show.

(Aside: I have an amazing picture of Hillary that I have been banned from posting. She looks awesome, but you are now subjected to my silly ass picture. I apologize for that.)

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So New: In Which We Get Fancy in Indy (35 of 90)

I’ve come to accept that I’m a little bit snobby.

I don’t know how this happened or why this happened. I only know that it did happen. I’ve accepted it, embraced it and moved along. But I’ve been hard pressed to find people who are willing to join me on these escapades as a Fancy Lad in the City.

Fortunately, I’ve met some neat folks in the area and last night, a friend and I spent the evening bouncing around Indianapolis indulging in such snobbery.

We started off at the Corner Wine Bar (see my Yelp review), a cute little place in Broad Ripple. I’d been through the place last month when I met up with a few Twitter friends in The Wellington, a bar attached to the wine bar.

It really is an amazing little place. I’m positive I’ll be dragging my laptop down there this weekend for some writing. If I can’t be in Europe, I may as well go to Euro-places.

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Glee: Time Warp

The Rocky Horror Picture Show holds a special place in my family’s heart. One of the great stories about my mother and father took place at one of the shows. I laugh inside every time I think about it.

So when my favorite show decided to take on the movie, I was thrilled. The movie – and the show – are filled with unabashed Glee. Here’s the closing number:

So New: In Which I Run 20 Miles (34 of 90)

Thirty-seven weeks ago I quit smoking. Thirty-six weeks ago I started running. In just a few weeks, I’ll be tackling the Tecumseh Trail Marathon in Bloomington, Indiana, which has 3,500 feet of elevation. I’m a little concerned at the moment.

All I can do is train. Today was my first long run: 20 miles.

The day started like all my other runs at the trail head where I begin my runs five times a week. The weather report said the rain wouldn’t come until 4 pm. I took this picture at 1:15. If all went well, I should return just as the rain hit.


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Scenes from TedXCincy

A huge thanks to the photographers roaming the grounds during the TedXCincy event. You can check out the entire group here. Here are a few shots of my stalking the stage:

My opening discussion about how story 3.0: Telling Stories


The beginning of my discussion about the ideas of Vannevar Bush and JCR Licklider, which give us the outline for how modern stories can – and will – be told.

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