Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Media musical chairs

So here's a fun story:

Six years ago today, I ended my seven-year relationship with WLVL in Lockport. I walked into the office around 9 a.m. as always and was called into Dick Greene's office. He told me they were "going in another direction."

So ... unemployed. Ugh. My Facebook status was a simple "ouch."

Later that same day, Eric DuVall, editor at the Tonawanda News, sent me a message on Facebook asking if I wanted to reprise my column for publication in the News. Of course, I agreed. It didn't pay much, but it kept my name out there and made job hunting easier.

I had some radio interviews including WJJL and WBEN. But nothing came of them.

A few weeks later, Tim Marren, editor at the Lockport Union-Sun & Journal asked if they could also run my column. Of course, I agreed. It meant getting paid double for writing one column and it got my name back out there in Lockport, where I was most well-known.

That continued for about a year ... until a full-time job opened up in the Lockport newsroom. I took that job of city editor, replacing Karen Keefe, who took Marren's job as managing editor. Side note: I got my original job at the US&J taking over for Karen's husband as city reporter in 2000.

I kept the city editor job until 2014 when I left the US&J to take the position of news editor at East Niagara Post, where I was reunited (professionally) with Heather Grimmer, who had left her freelance photo job at the US&J in Oct. 2013.

January of this year, the Tonawanda News stopped publication and Eric DuVall moved to WLVL to take over as news director and talk show host — my old job.

ENP has grown considerably in the past year and now has six former US&J peeps (Heather Grimmer, George Root, Craig Bacon, Jill Keppeler, Howard Balaban and me) — and two current ones (Steve Wallace and Bob Confer) on its list of contributors.

And Friday night, we start broadcasting hockey games live via the Internet.

None of which would have happened if six years ago, Dick Greene hadn't decided to go "in another direction."

Saturday, February 21, 2015

So ... um ... it's been a while

I got a letter from the government the other day ... I opened and read it ... it said they were suckers.

No. Wait. That's not right.

I got an email from my website domain host the other day. It said was going to expire soon and I should renew it.

My first thought was, "No! I lost that stupid domain name once. I'm not losing it again." My second thought was, "I wonder when was the last time I updated that site."

So first I renewed ... and then I sat down to type a short note of what's been going on in my little world.

In short ... a lot. Since my last post (waaaay back in April of 2014) I made a pretty major life change ... in the form of a new job. Living such a public life, I feel like most people know this already but I run into people all the time who ask me how things are going at the Union-Sun & Journal ... which I left in June.

Rather than editing the US&J, I now write for and edit East Niagara Post, an online media company based right here in Lockport. Rather than working 4 p.m. - 1 a.m. each day, I now work 6:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. ... or something like that. I'm still writing columns — at East Niagara Post.

I've also joined the board of directors of the Lockport Business Association and joined the city's Sesquicentennial Committee, which is planning 150 events for the city's 150th birthday. And I'm helping my friend Rick Cohen with publicity for his 1,034 mile walk up the east coast to raise money for an Ohio drive-in.

Basically, I'm a pretty busy guy. But that's no reason to neglect my website. So ... hi. How ya doin'? Sorry it's been so long.

Friday, April 18, 2014

So I'm doing the whole 'wear a dress for charity' thing again

Three years ago in March I was at a bar in North Tonawanda with Heather when I got a message asking me if I'd dress in drag for a charity event. Mildly unnerved, I shared it with her and asked her what she thought about it.

For all intents and purposes, we had just started dating and she liked to embarrass me at the time (you should see the things she used to write on my Facebook when I left my phone unguarded), so she encouraged me to do it. After checking with the morality police at work, I agreed — somewhat reluctantly.

Three years later, I'm signed up again to be part of the Peaches & Creme Fashion Show, a charity event benefitting Relay for Life. This will be my fourth time in drag — well eighth, really if you count the fittings that come about a week before the show.

You see, all us guys go to Maurices, the main sponsor of the event, to pick out a ... wardrobe? ... costume? ... Um, I guess we'll just say "dress." We also get to pick out some accessories like jewelry and scarfs and whatnot. Then the night of the show, we put them on. Maybe some nail polish. Maybe a wig. Whatever makes us pretty.

I mentioned this is for charity, right?

We model our dresses for the crowd at the Palace Theatre and have a lot of fun while doing it. There's also a talent contest which I have heretofore avoided but am considering doing this year if my favorite Lockport bartender (Simon Chavers from the Pleasant Valley Tavern) will join me in making a fool of myself. He's signed on as a "model," but hasn't fully committed to the talent part yet.

Anyway, it's coming up on May 10 and it's going to be a lot of fun. I have tickets for sale for $10 each if you'd like to come out and see me in drag in person. (If you just want to see a picture I'm top left in the photo above ... and there's a few shots on my Facebook page, too.)

So ... yeah ... that.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

How 4/10th of a mile in a Timkey Cab cost me $8

Heather talks with Lockport Economic Development Director
Chuck Bell and his wife, Katie at Saturday's Niagara Wine & 
Beer Tasting Fest. This conversation lasted longer than the 
Timkey Limousine $16 cab ride to the Kenan Arena. 
I'm not usually one to publicly bash or berate local businesses. Today is different. And the business deserves it.

I'd been looking forward to the Niagara Wine & Beer Tasting Festival at the Kenan Center for weeks now. I bought our tickets early online. Planned out what to wear. And carefully constructed a timeline that would allow Heather and I to have as much alcohol in our allotted four hours as possible.

At $25 a ticket and a total of 23 wineries and breweries to sample, it was really a great deal. And I was pretty sure we were going to get legally intoxicated and then some. So ... we decided to do the responsible thing and take a cab.

Around 4 p.m., I called Timkey Limousine and asked for a cab to pick me up at my home at 5. The woman who answered the phone told me the best she could do for me was 5:30 or quarter to 6. There were a lot of people getting cab rides to the Kenan Center, she said.

Around 5:15, a driver pulls into my driveway and honks his horn. I went out and told him he was early. I said I was told 5:30 or quarter to 6 and had adjusted my schedule accordingly. He said he'd go get another route and come back to take us to the Kenan Center, which he did.

I give you this background to illustrate the fact that the cab company was both busy and accommodating.

Heather and I jumped into the cab en route to the Kenan Center and I told the driver that we had to make a slight detour on the way. I needed cash and the M&T bank on the corner of Pine and Genesee was practically on the way. By practically on the way, I mean it was a few blocks out of the way. In all, it added 4/10ths of a mile to our trip.

The driver warned me that it would cost me an extra $3, which seemed silly to me, but whatever. My $8 1.1-mile cab ride just became an $11 1.5-mile cab ride. Except that when we got to the bank, he informed me that the woman on the other end of the phone told him that it wasn't an extra $3. It was an extra $8. Because it wasn't a stop along the way, but rather a detour out of the way. In other words, it was a $16 1.5-mile cab ride. That's more than $1 per 10th of a mile.

Timkey Limousine charges $8 for anywhere in the city to anywhere else in the city. From the city to the town or vice versa, it's $9. So a trip from the Wastewater Treatment Plant on West Jackson Street to Skateland on Lincoln Avenue (5.8 miles) will cost you $8. But my mile and a half trip was $16 - $20 after the tip.

Now, should I have gone to the ATM and gotten cash earlier? I guess. Except ... no. It's complete bullshit. And someone has to call them on it.

I've known Bill Timkey for years. I've always thought him a decent human being. He's been very helpful for the city of Lockport over the years. But $8 for a 4/10th-mile "detour" is wrong. Next time, I'll find another cab company.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Sometimes I like to sleep

I know that a lot of people like to sleep a lot of the time. Some people, however, only like to sleep some of the time. I fall in the latter category.

I have a friend out of state who would probably make sleep a career if she could get sponsors. She genuinely gets excited about going to sleep.

Me? Not so much. I feel like the hours spent sleeping are completely wasted. I can't read. I can't watch TV. I can't work. I can't talk to people. I can't go shopping or have a beer. I can't do anything while I'm sleeping except ... well ... sleep.

As such, I don't devote much time to it. I get an average of 4-5 hours of sleep per night. Well, technically morning. I usually go to bed somewhere between 4 and 5 a.m. and wake up somewhere between 9 and 10 a.m. Occasionally, I go to sleep as early as 2 a.m. Once in a while I sleep as late as noon. A couple weeks ago, I actually slept until about 2:30 in the afternoon, but that's an anomaly - a very rare occurrence.

I understand that my body *needs* sleep. I just don't like it. That said, when it's time to sleep, it's time to sleep.

Being a "night owl" who doesn't get much sleep, my friends, family and colleagues all pretty much text and call whenever they damn well please. I don't have a problem with this. I'm probably awake anyway.

For example, I got a distressed text message from a friend of mine last night at 1:58 a.m. Wide awake, I responded at 1:59 a.m. and hopefully made her feel better than she did to start out the night. We chatted for a bit but she was tired. I told her to call me at any point in the night if she needed to talk. Had she called, I would have answered.

Based on the missed text message I got at 4:21 a.m., I'm assuming I fell asleep sometime between 3 and 4. That's early for me but not horribly out of character. The text message I got at 6:17 a.m., however, woke me up and resulted in a conversation that went on for about 38 minutes. It took me about another half an hour to an hour to fall back asleep.

It was the second night in a row that a text message woke me up. The night before it was at 3:51 a.m. Two hours and 14 minutes later that conversation ended and I went back to sleep.

I've always said that if a text message wakes me up, I probably wasn't really sleeping to begin with. And I like to be reachable. I have a lot of friends who are at a point in their life where they need an ear. I like to be there for them.

So if you need me, text me. Or call. But if you just read something funny on and you want to share it, I give you the chart below as to when I'm likely to be awake and when I'm not. Try to stick to when the likelihood of my being awake is 80 percent or higher, please.

Time ---- likelihood I'm awake
12 a.m. - 99 percent
1 a.m.   - 99 percent
2 a.m.   - 90 percent
3 a.m.   - 80 percent
4 a.m.   - 50 percent
5 a.m.   - 30 percent
6 a.m.   - 5 percent
7 a.m.   - 5 percent
8 a.m.   - 5 percent
9 a.m.   - 30 percent
10 a.m. - 80 percent
11 a.m. - 90 percent
12 p.m. - 99 percent
1 p.m.   - 99 percent
2 p.m.   - 99 percent
3 p.m.   - 100 percent
4 p.m.   - 100 percent
5 p.m.   - 100 percent
6 p.m.   - 100 percent
7 p.m.   - 100 percent
8 p.m.   - 100 percent
9 p.m.   - 100 percent
10 p.m. - 100 percent
11 p.m. - 99.99 percent

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Something new and different

So apparently I have just too much time on my hands.

See, myself and two friends — +George Root and +Craig Bacon — decided we should start a writing troupe, if you will. We get together once a week and work on some grand projects.

BUT ... once a week just wasn't cutting it. So we started what I have referred to as a "round robin" writing project. One of us starts a short story. Then another adds to it. And then the third adds more. Back to #1, #2, #3 again. And wrapping up with the person who started the story.

We've finished our first one and offer it up for your perusal here.

The fun thing is the writer after you can follow your train of thought or completely derail it. You might think you know where the story is going, but get back something that you never expected. That happened with this first piece.

I hope you enjoy this. You'll see more soon. Very soon.

- Scott