10. i get around.

Continuing my long-standing tradition of ignoring Facebook memes in favor of posting them here, today I present: The States To Which Uncle Crappy Has Traveled.

travelmap

That’s the same map that’s been popping up all over Facebook in the last few days, courtesy of Defocus Blog. Here’s the key, based on the specs of the creator:

  • White: I haven’t been.
  • Red: A brief stop or a drive-through.
  • Orange: Spent a day or two.
  • Blue: Multiple trips.
  • Green: I’ve lived there, stayed there for more than a couple weeks or taken multiple multiple trips.

Naturally, I have more information:

Greens:

  • Ohio: I was born and grew up in Columbus. Athens is my spiritual home.
  • Pennsylvania: Uh, I live there. Here. Whatever.
  • Kentucky: I lived there for just over two years, while stationed at Fort Knox. If you haven’t heard it already, ask me to tell you my Kentucky Derby story.
  • Wisconsin: I spent several summers at the lake houses of Dr. History’s family, on a chain of lakes between Woodruff and Minocqua. Love that area.
  • Florida: This is perhaps a borderline green state for me, but I’m including it because of our nearly annual trips there to spend time with my sister’s family.

Blues:

  • It’s interesting to see how many of these are included in the list because of Grateful Dead, Phish or other miscellaneous hippie-band touring over the years. Several — Indiana, Georgia, Virginia, New Jersey and probably New York — were bumped up from Oranges or Reds because of the shows I’ve seen.
  • Texas: The result of the residence of my mother in law and her husband, and a long family vacation that led to the discovery of the Whataburger chain. That was the same trip when I thought I’d be good an order a water at a restaurant in Nuevo Larado, Mexico; my mother quickly told the server that I would have a Coke instead, leading young me to believe that Mexico was the coolest place on the entire planet.
  • Colorado and Utah: Ski trips. And I need to go back soon.
  • Michigan: The State Up North would have made the list for several ski trips to Boyne, but there have also been football games at East Lansing — a good one — and two trips to that other college town. Those weren’t so good.
  • Hawaii: A family trip — the one that led to our brush with Pele, the state’s goddess of fire — and our honeymoon. The family trip also led to my only appearance in California; our flights to and from the islands both went through LAX.

Whites:

  • Man, I need to spend some time in New England.

that’s the news.

Given that it was never supposed to happen, I guess I can’t be too unhappy that it’s over.

I wasn’t ever supposed to be the host of Newsbreak, the daily webcast we’ve produced at my paper for nearly as long as I’ve worked there; I was just going to fill in on occasion. And I don’t think anyone — especially not me — anticipated that Newsbreak would morph from a fairly straightforward news cast into … uh … whatever it was that I changed it into.

Regardless — Newsbreak the show, along with my six-year run as its primary host, is over.

I did my first Newsbreak on June 4, 2007, filling in because its regular host was on vacation and the fill-in host was off sick. It was … OK (that’s the first one above). We used a studio and a green screen back then, a set up that I was never really comfortable with. It didn’t take me long, in fact, to ask the producer at the time if we could tape my clips at my desk, a format that I largely stuck with for the rest of my time as host. Jen, the show’s original host, had already started to move away from the straight-news approach of the show to something that was a little snarkier, a change that I embraced wholeheartedly.

Jen and Kristen, the other Newsbreak hosts, eventually moved on, but I saw no reason to not continue doing the show. Jacki, easily my favorite producer in that six years, was moved out of the newsroom, so I started working with our then-new video guy. And when he quit abruptly, I was left with a snap decision — give it up, or learn how to do it myself. Jacki had already given me some crash courses in video editing — something that has continued to serve me very well, professionally and personally — so I jumped in, writing, shooting, editing and posting, nearly every day.

It was hard. It burned up a lot of time every day. And it turned out to be one of the most fun things I have done — or ever will do — in my professional life.

I was fortunate that my colleagues in the newsroom have been mostly willing to participate when I’ve had ideas that really required their participation. For example:

Twinkie crisis.

And, the best one we’ve ever done — Steel vs. Cheese.

Why is Newsbreak done? If I’m being honest with myself, I’d have to admit that the show was for a relatively small group of people — my colleagues, my friends and family and, uh, me. In an era where my industry must do whatever it can to maximize its revenue, Newsbreak would be kind of a tough sell. We’ll do a daily newscast again at some point, but someone else will be doing that show.

How do I feel about this? I’m nursing a slightly bruised ego, but mostly I’m happy I had the chance to do this for as long as I did. I can’t really be angry at an employer that gave me the time, the resources and nearly total freedom to do these shows for six years. I wouldn’t have had that opportunity anywhere else.

That’s the last one. I probably shouldn’t have even done the episode, but we’ve done those Pirates picks for such a long time that I thought this fall I should definitely close the loop.

And that’s it. I should thank Jen and Kristen for letting me serve as a fill-in host while they were away in June 2007, Jacki for serving as the greatest producer ever and Evan, our current videographer, for giving me a hand when I got in over my head.

And you guys. Thank you for watching Newsbreak. I’m Mike Pound.

annual kick in the ass.

Leave it to Podcamp.

My involvement in Podcamp Pittsburgh 8 was a bit limited — no volunteering, attending one session and sitting on a panel of another before I had to take off. But it was enough to send me back here for the first time since June.

it was in my buddy Mike’s session on SEO (which, sadly, wasn’t Mike talking about his time in Athens; that might not make for a good Podcamp session, but it would be entertaining as hell) where I got my annual Podcamp Kick In The Ass. Munz does that stuff for a living, and he wasn’t so much talking about personal web spaces when he was cajoling the group about posting fresh content.

But the context didn’t really matter. He asked us, “Can you manage two new posts a week?”

“Yes. Of course I can,” I thought.

And this, boys and girls, counts as No. 1.

we have aaa winner.

Best dunk I've ever seen.

Best dunk I’ve ever seen.

No matter how much I complained about it last night, I’m happy I watched the championship game — it was the best title game I’ve seen in years.

I don’t know if Aunt Annoyed Angel watched last night’s title game, but I guess it doesn’t matter; by virtue of her eerily accurate tiebreaker choice, she’s the winner of the Eighth Annual Uncle Crappy NCAA Final Four Challenge (Brought To You By Bocktown).

AAA was one of eight people — including My Mom, who apparently is some kind of college basketball savant, having one our family’s Clark Kellogg Trophy for the third straight year — who finished with 12 points by correctly picking Louisville as the eventual NCAA champion. But her tiebreaker of 157 was just a single point off the actual total of 158 points, and she is our EAUCNFFC champion and winner of our generously donated Bocktown gift card.

I will admit to being nervous as I scanned the tiebreakers from our 12-Point Club, because two of  you — Casey and Calipanthergrl — each picked 142 points. I had flashbacks to last year’s tie — until I saw AAA’s entry.

As I mentioned before, this was a rough year. And that makes me that much more appreciative of everyone who participated, whether as a contestant or as  a sponsor (by which I mean Bocktown’s Chris Dilla). You guys are what makes this fun — well, that and the actual basketball — and I can guarantee we’ll be back again next year for NAUCNFFC.

meet Andy.

His grandfather says he already knows how to tie a bow tie.

His grandfather says he already knows how to tie a bow tie.

After three weeks of labor — or maybe it just seemed that way — our friends Abby and AJ welcomed their son Andy to life outside the womb this morning.

And that means Derrick is the winner of our Kuftic Baby Pool.

Cindy and Jaci both came up with Tuesday morning entries, but Derrick’s pick of 9:30 a.m. Tuesday was just an hour a day off Andy’s 10:30 a.m. Wednesday arrival. For his correct pick, Derrick wins $22, or half of the pot to which you guys so generously contributed.

The other twenty-two bucks? That’ll be on its way to North Carolina shortly, perhaps to cover a portion of a case of diapers, which, I’m told, aren’t exactly cheap.

Or perhaps for a nice bottle of wine for Abby, because it sounds like she could use one in the very near future.

Thanks to all of you for playing along. Congratulations to Abby and AJ. And welcome to Andy, from all of us.

UPDATE: As Derrick pointed out on Twitter, I pretty clearly don’t have any idea what day it is. Fortunately, my confusion didn’t change the outcome.

UPDATED UPDATE: Derrick also said he’s giving Abby, AJ and Andy his share of the pot. Hey, that’s an entire case of diapers! Or TWO bottles of wine! Thanks, Derrick.