Second Slant summer issue

Our second summer issue is now online, and this time I did write for it. My contribution is a little bit, well, different from what we normally run. Unlike some of my other Slant articles, this one does not have elements of autobiography. So please, don’t infer any secret dreams or fears from this one!

It’s an edited and slightly expanded version of something I scrawled in 5 minutes at a creative writing group I visited while in Spring (the town where I live, not the season). It’s called Creative Stretchers and that’s an apt name: it challenges writers to be creative by giving unusual prompts and just a short time to respond to them. It may be a long time before I can go back, which is unfortunate because it’s good practice.

Also in this issue, Tim Boyd reveals my “unbridled hostility” to Harry Potter. Is it really due to me not getting the role, or is it just my envy of guys with British accents?

Gone to D. C.

About 8 hours from now I’ll be on my plane to D. C. (actually Baltimore, then a train to D. C.) for the IHS conference, etc. I should be able to check e-mail and maybe even post to the blog while there, but if you want to reach me the cell’s the best way (832-326-6593).

Back in TX evening of July 5, back on the road to MI morning of July 7.

Trendy on the Net

I’ve decided to add another sidebar topic to the left – “Trendy on the Net.” The sites themselves may not be trendy, but they track trends on the Internet in various ways and sometimes they come up with something interesting. Here are three worth taking a look at to kick off the new section.
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A select, targeted audience

I’m surprised and pleased to note that just 18 days into June I’ve already had more unique visitors to this site than I have in any other month – 137 so far. That’s pretty good for a personal page that just started in May. A few of these visitors are robots/spiders, but most are actual humans.

What brings them here? Once again, the number one search word to call up my site is “condom,” as in the Condom Sense store in Dallas, TX. Of all the content here, that one mention of the store in the Deep Ellum tale brings in the most traffic (7 results).

Equally amusing, the second most popular search word is “slant.” Nope, not the humor paper I wrote for. This is people searching for slanted beds (4 results). I at least hope they find the experiment educational.

Conclusion: the people visiting my site who don’t know me are into condoms, slanted beds, or both. Not the audience I was going for, but I guess that’s how the Internet works.

Vacation plans

From June 28 – July 4 I’ll be at Georgetown University for the IHS summer seminar on Globalization and Poverty. The one I attended last year (Liberty and Current Issues) was fantastic, so I’m very excited about this — especially since I’ll get to see some friends from last year there.

I’m flying into D. C. a few days early to look for an apartment. Hopefully I’ll have an internship at Cato and spend the fall semester there. In any case, I’ve already signed a leave of absence from Vandy, so I need to find some place to be and Washington is easily my first choice. Anyone has an apartment lead, be sure to send me an e-mail.

The seminar ends on July 4th, but I’m staying to celebrate that night in the city. I fly back the 5th, then probably on the 7th drive off with the family to Les Cheneaux, MI (taking my sister Casey to see some colleges along the way). Lots to do there this year: tennis, golf, two big sailing races, and my 21st b-day.

Yeah, it’s going to be a fun summer. It’s a good thing I’m taking off school to work in the fall or I might be feeling a little guilty.

Currently reading

For what it’s worth, I’ve added a “Currently Reading” section on the left.

TNN buffs up

TNN just can’t keep one name to itself. Originally The Nashville Network, it changed its name to The National Network. Now its owner, Viacom, is changing it once again to Spike TV, the “first network for men.” They’re marketing the change to appeal to “unashamedly male” viewers with new shows like “Stripperella,” a cartoon starring Pamela Anderson.

While no one is about to mourn the old TNN, the network’s announcement has provoked controversy. Which of the following is suing Viacom, and why?

a) The National Organization for Women (NOW), for discriminating against female viewers.

b) ESPN2, who already has a copyrighted volleyball show called “Spike TV.”

c) Director Spike Lee, for using his name without permission.

Continue to get the answer…
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Profiling Chad Wilcox

Continuing my campaign to make Chad Wilcox famous, before leaving Nashville I suggested that the next issue of Tunnel Vision (Vanderbilt Student Communications’ new alumni magazine) include a profile about him. VSC agreed and asked me to write it.

That issue is now online. Unfortunately the article had to be cut down considerably for space considerations, but Wilco fans will still want to take a look. Tunnel Vision is in .pdf format and the story appears on page 7. The cover story reprints a recent article from The Scene about Vanderbilt’s growing student media.

Summer cell phone

I’m entering the 21st century now, but only for a month: I’ve started carrying a cell phone this summer, number 832-326-6593. That will last till sometime in mid-July, when the family and I become temporary Yoopers (Upper Peninsula of Michigan –> U. P. –> Yoopers = the bacon-eating inhabitants of the U. P.) and will probably not be able to get service. I’ll then get a permanent number in August and post it here.

Vanderbilt Alumni Website

I got an e-mail today from Jon Weindruch, who graduated from Vandy in ’98 and is now in the MBA program at Owen. He has started a new website for Vanderbilt alumni at www.vumba.org. It’s open to all alumni and, says Jon, “the goal is to help facilitate strong relationships among Vanderbilt alumni and assist alumni in their professional endeavors.”

The site is not affiliated with the university, which could have its benefits. If you’re interested, visit the site here.