A ‘Typical’ Night

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Laptop and notepadPeople occasionally ask me what it is that I do for a living. They know I’m a journalist. They know I write for The Huffington Post. They know I work the graveyard shift from my home in New Hampshire. Still they wonder, “What’s a typical night like?”

Here’s one of the greatest things about my job: There is no typical night.

Working as a journalist on the graveyard shift is very similar to being a firefighter. Some nights you’re busy putting out fires and other nights you’re just sitting at the fire house, honing your skills, waiting for a fire to happen. The key thing is, you’re on duty when the fire breaks out. Or in my case, when news occurs.

During a typical week, I’ll cover one or two big breaking news stories. The rest of the time, I’m updating the homepage, checking wires, filing news stories/features, copyediting other people’s work, posting items to Twitter and Facebook, sending out breaking news alerts, scanning social media and competitor’s sites for interesting content, searching other sections of our site for stories that deserve more play, reading through more than 1,000 emails, coordinating content with other editors, handling any corrections that come in overnight and waiting for news to occur somewhere in the world.

Last week, however, was utterly insane.

Every single evening, a major news story broke on my shift. On Sunday, I handled the North Korean nuclear test and the United Nations’ response. Monday night saw the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. Between the manhunt for Christopher Dorner, the former LAPD police officer accused of committing a series of shooting attacks on police officers and their families, and the State of the Union speech, Tuesday was beyond busy. On Wednesday, Paralympian Oscar Pistorius was arrested and charged with killing his girlfriend. In between all of these stories, I also penned a brief about the president doing an “exploding fist bump” with Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), and an obituary for a man who appeared on several episodes of “Storage Wars.”

I would have covered the meteor that exploded above Siberia on Thursday, except I took the night off to spend Valentine’s Day with my awesome husband. Had I been on duty, however, my entire shift would have been dedicated to covering the 1,200+ people who were injured and the massive amount of damage caused by the space rock.

Light only knows what’ll happen this week.

WARNING: This blog post contains warnings

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I’ve never been a fan of movie ratings.

In America, ratings are designed to aid parents in choosing appropriate material for their children to consume. But the people hired to assign the G, PG, PG-13, R and NC-17 notations tend to be far too narrow-minded and puritanical to provide an accurate overview of a movie’s contents. If I was a mother, I doubt I’d pay much attention to these arbitrary labels.

Now warnings, warnings are a different story. Warnings can be helpful .. and humorous.

“This show contains scenes that some viewers may find disturbing. Viewer discretion advised.”

That’s rather vague. Define disturbing.

“Intended for mature audiences only.”

At what age is one “mature”? I know some 40-year-olds who wouldn’t qualify.

“This program contains language.”

No way!

Monty Python’s Flying Circus had a great one:

“There are scenes of violence, people’s heads being ripped off and their toe nails being pulled out in slow motion. Then there’s a scene where you can see EVERYTHING, but my friend says it’s just all in the way he’s holding the spear.”

This week, I spotted a hilarious warning. It applied to the new teen zom-rom-com “Warm Bodies.” Although the film is rated PG-13 (parents strongly cautioned), the actual contents of the film include:

“Gun violence and mild zombie chomping.”

What exactly is “mild” zombie chomping anyway? Do they just nibble or is actual chewing involved? Either way, consider yourself warned.

Sting v.4

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This is what I’ll be doing on June 20th:

 

 

Now Bangor, Maine, is a five-hour drive each way from my home, but getting the opportunity to see one of my favorite artists in an outdoor venue is just too good to pass up.

The first time I saw Sting perform was at Jones Beach on Long Island, a beautiful amphitheater right on the water. While most of the audience sat contently in their seats, I spent the entire concert dancing in the aisle.

The second time I had the chance to see Sting was during the “Today” show’s summer concert series. As soon as I got off work on Friday morning, I raced over to Rockefeller Center and arrived just in time to hear him sing two songs before the show ended. Although incredibly brief, the performance put me in a fantastic mood all weekend.

The third time I saw Sting in concert was on a hot summer night in Central Park. I managed to arrive early enough to find a decent spot near the stage, and when he sang “Moon Over Bourbon Street,” I was entranced by the both the song and the stunning full moon that rose up behind the stage. I was in the heart of Manhattan, but the combination of the music, the moon, the heat, the humidity, the crowd and the hours of dancing made me feel as though I had been magically transported to New Orleans. It was wonderful.

So even though I generally dread the arrival of summer, I have at least two things to look forward to this year: attending the next Society of Professional Obituary Writers conference in Toronto and seeing the amazing Sting again.

 

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