So New: In Which I Party Like It’s 1999 (26 of 90)

My friend Reagin arrived on Friday night for three reasons:

  • attend the alumni awards dinner with me (for Faculty Homecoming King purposes)
  • hit The Vogue in Indianapolis for a Prince Tribute band
  • attend the Homecoming football game

We’ll get to the third later and the first isn’t important for these purposes. But the Prince Tribute band. That is important.

We had to slip out of the alumni dinner a bit early (just after we’d eaten dinner and I’d been announced) so we could get to Indianapolis before it was too late. Mind you, we still arrived at The Vogue Nightclub (see my Yelp review here) at 10:15 pm. Which is ridiculously late for the two of us.

We were each, I believe, hoping the other would insist we were simply too tired to go out.

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So New: In Which I Survive TedxCincinnati (25 of 90)

I wished I had Brad King as a professor in journalism school. The Ball State University professor is a fellow researching how new technologies impact story-telling. He reminded the crowd that no one is a digital native. — TEDxCincy showcases think power, Laura Baverman in the Cincinnati Enquirer

Tedx_Screen2

It was a good day at the TedxCincy conference.

There’s simply no way I can thank everyone, but I’m going to start at least: the awesome crew who made this event happen (Mary, Michael, Emily and David), the volunteers, the other speakers, the Ball State University Center for Media Design folks, my students and former students (Rhett, Becky, Logan), my friends (Kevin, Dacia, Elizabeth), plus all the wonderful people I met (Katie, Suzanne, Meredith).

There were truly amazing speakers, people who just simply blew my mind. Here are my top 5 in no particular order (leaving out Dhani Jones, who was also spectacular):

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So New: In Which I Officially – and Formally – Leave Media and Technology Behind(24 of 90)

Tedx_AranoffSeating

Tomorrow I will give a talk in the Aronoff Center for the Arts about a topic I know very little about.

This is a new experience for me. New in the sense that I haven’t really had this feeling in years. I’ve spent the better part of the last 15 years working with emerging media and journalism, a field that’s roughly 15 years old. (And I’ve been on the Internet since 1985…which is the kind of math I don’t much care to do.)

I’ve been about as expert-y in the field as one can be since the time this was a field that people talked about.

I couldn’t tell you the day I became one of those experts. I can only tell you that I am one. (Whether you chose to believe that or not is inconsequential to the reality of my premise.) At least I am for one last day.

Tedx_Screen

Because tomorrow – Wednesday, Oct 6, 2010 – I’m going to reboot my world, and I’m going to do it in front of 1,000 people. No more news and technology. I know about as much on this topic as you can functionally know. I’ve built my legacy and it’s time to move on, to let the next generation of news and technologists do what they will.

For me, the next phase of my career is strictly storytelling: building transmedia stories that use fiction and non-fiction while blending real life and cyberspace. That teach, that immerse and that persist all around.

Go big or go home because failure is an option, I tell my students. And I’m going to live that particular mantra tomorrow sometime around 10:30 am.

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So New: In Which I Become Faculty Homecoming King (23 of 90)

Today is an entertaining day in the Arts + Journalism building at Ball State University.

Not for me, mind you, although I do enjoy the smiles and giggles that surround me as I walk through the hallways. Today the glee is for my friends, former students and others who conspired to elect me as the Faculty Homecoming King.

Of course I’m duly horrified at this, which has only excited my friends and students even more. Not because I dislike celebrations. I quite enjoy them. I simply prefer the idea of celebrating work and achievement.

But my upbringing didn’t allow me to beg out of this student-led event. My father (a man of few rules) had told me on more than one occasion that he had one particular rule he always tried to follow with his kids: whenever my sister or I called, he would answer the phone because he figured if we were coming to him for help, we must need something. And, he said, he never knew when that would stop and he didn’t want to miss anything.

I’ve adopted that philosophy in my teaching career as much as I could: whenever my kids do something or need something, I try to answer.

This includes participating in Homecoming.

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So New: In Which I go to Angels in America (22 of 90)

I’ve been aspirational with Something New.

With every event I’ve lined up (save the ones that involve much personal embarrassment, such as tomorrow night’s crowning of the Faculty Homecoming King and Queen), I’ve purchased multiple tickets. I’ve done so to ensure that I don’t flake out and that I remind myself that life is about the people around me, not the things I do.

This weekend, the Ball State University theater department’s Fall series opened with Angels in America. Since I’d purchased season tickets, it seemed a good time to re-connect with an old college friend Steph.

She’s a busy little bee and we don’t get to see each other often, but she decided to drive up for the night.

Normally she’s sporting her Wee Beastie, but the content of this particular play wasn’t suitable for a kid so we decided to make an adult night out of it.

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So New: In Which I Go To First Friday (20 of 90)

FirstFriday

I’ve always lived in cities where artists were everywhere. Austin, San Francisco and Boston. I’ve even arranged most of my big travel around the writing and art.

And yet. I’ve never really indulged in the artiness of the towns I’ve lived in.

Until now. Tonight I went to First Friday, the art galley walk in downtown Indianapolis on Massachusetts Avenue, one of the main hipster streets in the city. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. But it turned out to be amazingly fun.

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So New: In Which I Complete My 1/2 Marathon (17 of 90)

February 4, 2010.

That’s the day I quit smoking. Thirty-three weeks, 2 days, 9 hours and 52 minutes ago as I write this.

I was tired of feeling sluggish. I was tired of being a fatty. I was tired of not feeling my body. I was just tired. So I decided it was time to quit.

I knew I needed to two things to succeed: Commit lozenges and an exercise regiment. The lozenges were easy. Just go to Wal-greens. The regiment required a bit more mental toughness.

Fortunately, I was an athlete of some sort in a previous life so I feel comfortable in the gym. Unfortunately, I travel often and didn’t know if I’d stick to my routine as I jetted across the planet. But I did. Nearly every day I was supposed to run, I did. In Texas, Iowa, Nebraska, California, Ohio, Indiana. In Berlin, London, Sheffield, Northampton and Brighton.

And that’s when everything changed.

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So New: In Which I Head to Ft. Wayne to Run a 1/2 Marathon (16 of 90)

I’ve got my game face on.

Or I had it on earlier today as I was preparing to leave for Ft. Wayne (a city I said I’d never visit for some personal reasons that I’ve clearly since left behind) and the Fort4Fitness half marathon tomorrow.

I’ve been looking forward to this particular race since I signed up for it a few months back. It’s the first timed race – the first chance to see where I stand in terms of my time and training – of my emerging running career.

(I figure since addicts refer to their drinking days as the drinking career, I can refer to my running as a career too. It seems only fair.)

I’m not sure I’ll be able to hit my goal tomorrow – 1:47:00 for 13.1 miles – but I’m going to do my level best and that’s all I can really do. I have a secondary goal in mind but there’s not way I’m going into this with that on my brain.

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So New: In Which I Meet Twitter Friends at The Wellington (15 of 90)

Throughout the past few months, I’ve met a random assortment of people through the magic of the Internet and networking.

I’m actually quite comfortable in cyberspace. Twenty-six years online will do that. (Great gobs! That’s a lot of years.)

It’s one of the main ways I find new friends and make new acquaintances as I move through life. So tonight was fun for me: I had the chance to bring together three of the folks I’ve met at a great little place called the Wellington Pub down in Broad Ripple.

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So New: In Which I Go To The Jazz Kitchen + The Hoosier Park Racing & Casino (13 + 14 of 90)

Last night, I journeyed into the city to catch some swing music at The Jazz Kitchen, a cool little dinner/dancing joint on the edge of Broad Ripple.

I’ve been stoked about visiting here since I came across it a few months back (before my 90-in-90), but the timing wasn’t right. Also: while I love jazz, I find it hard to really motivate myself to get out and about for it.

When I saw swing music nights on Tuesday, though, I jumped at the chance. I’ve oftentimes felt I was born at the wrong time. I would give anything to be 20 in 1920, although I suspect I’d have ended up on the wrong side of the law.

But that’s neither here nor there. I even convinced my friend Megan to join me for the evening. We spent the hour drive chatting and laughing, the 2 hours at The Jazz Kitchen noshing on great food and plotting, and on the way home I convinced her we needed to do one more thing.

We live about 15 miles from The Hoosier Park Racing & Casino complex, a weird mix of electronic gambling and the ponies nestled into the God-liest part of area. I find that hilarious. For many reasons. And I simply must support that. (Although I don’t spend money gambling so my support is more of a theoretical one.)

On the way home, we stopped off for a quick look-see around the place. It’s hard to describe the place in any way that makes sense, but let me just tell you this one thing:

Megan and I were the only ones smiling. (And not just because there is free serve yourself fountain soda available throughout the place.)

The night was definitely full of win on so many levels. We had great conversation, the music rocked, the food was pretty good (especially the fruits and cheese) and the casino was a definite topper. There is almost no doubt I’ll be going back to watch some sporting event there at some point.

(You can read my Yelp review of the Jazz Kitchen here.)

So New: In Which I Attend a HS Football Game as Part of My 20th Reunion (11 of 90)

Twenty years goes by quickly. More quickly than you might imagine.

I’ve lost many of those years to alcohol. That’s not a particularly telling insight. It’s not even particularly unique, either. We all lose track of what’s important from time to time.

Mine just spread out a few extra years.

But I’m trying very hard to put those days behind me. To re-make my life the way I’d always intended it to be. And that means re-connecting with my past. The me of 20 years ago. The fresh-faced kid from Loveland. Before life and the world came calling.

I’ve stayed in touch with many of my friends from school, which to be honest is many of the people from my class. We were a small, tight-knit group. I wouldn’t begin to have enough time to talk about all of the people who – after years of sporadic talk – offered kind words, time, or written notes in the earliest and roughest days of my alcohol recovery.

No matter where I go in the world or what I do, Loveland is a part of my soul. Burned into the fiber of who I am. As are the people who made up the town.

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