Monday, July 30, 2012

The Mailman, He Cometh

Even the camera failed to keep up with my swift packing!
Actually, that title is a big, fat lie.  The mailman was nowhere to be seen.  I suspect he may have been hiding.  As a result, I had the opportunity -- nay, the honor -- of loading over 2,500 Lake Shelbyville Visitor Guides for bulk mailing.

I suppose the moral of the story would be "don't smile and agree to do something without actually understanding what the task entails."  With that said, I was glad to help.  It wasn't really all that horrible.

It was, however, very surprising.  I wasn't aware of the sheer amount of mailing that needed to be done.  And anyone who has ever needed to move any great distance knows one of the worst things to pack: books.  A magazine is just a really thin, glossy book, and let's be honest, a book is just thinly-sliced bits of tree.  Trees are heavy ... writing interns are wimpy.

Still, there's something to be said about this very practical, mundane task.  Thus far, most of the work I've done has been electronic. It's involved communication, social networking, or writing.  It's been communication, contacts, and e-mail.  This was a nice wake-up call, to be honest.  Sure, the point of the internship is to help develop professional communication skills, but it's easy to forget that the physical, mundane aspect of mailing is still just as important as its electronic component.  Tweeting, Facebooking, and e-mailing is well and good, but it doesn't help much when you have a couple thousand mini-tree slices to send all over the place.  And yes, while many publishers are opting for wholly electronic publication, there are still plenty of people (myself included) who prefer something to hold.  Until we develop molecular teleportation, that means bulk mailing.

I didn't actually fall asleep, but it was a fun photo to take
There's always going to be something surprising in any given job.  If the purpose of an internship is to prepare one for the professional world, I think it's equally important to learn to prepare for the unexpected.  Well, that and to develop a spontaneous case of the flu when mailing day rolls around.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Lake Shelbyville Photo Contest

2011 Grand Prize Winner
I'm terrible with a camera.  I'm surprised most of the pictures I take don't cause the lens to shatter in protest.  Fortunately, there are a lot of people in the community who are capable of taking some pretty gorgeous photos.  And even if you're not, why not give it a try?  The Lake Shelbyville photo contest is rapidly coming to an end, and I always find it fascinating to see the kinds of surprising moments that people can capture.

Don't wait until it's too late!  The last day to submit your pictures is August 3, 2012.  Online voting will begin pretty shortly thereafter, so it's important that you get these to us as soon as possible. 

I know I'm looking forward to seeing all the entries, and I also know that many people tend to be too hard on themselves.  Don't be!  Perhaps I'm being a bit of a hypocrite, especially considering the first five words of this post, but that doesn't change the fact that I want to see your pictures.  Yes, you, John Aldridge.

(Okay, I admit, I don't know anyone named John Aldridge.  But it would have been really awesome if someone with that name had read this post.)

Even if you're not named John Aldridge, be sure to get your pictures in ASAP.  Don't make the new intern cry.  That would just be a shame.

To download the contest submission form, click here. 
To see previous winners (along with other great Lake Shelbyville pics) click here.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

WCIA Swings By Shelbyville

Ah, television.  Now, I don't generally spend a lot of time in front of the tube (though I am guilty of the occasional Burn Notice or Castle marathon), but even a media caveman like myself can appreciate the excitement of being on the news.  It hearkens back to my younger years, when getting  my picture in the paper was automatically fridge-worthy, even if it was something relatively innocuous: Sixth-Graders Eat Cake.  Cat Found Living With Squirrel.  Man Walks Down Street.  Still, news is news, and televised news is a whole different monster from paper.

When I heard WCIA was going to feature Shelbyville in their upcoming "Our Town" segment, I was thrilled.  My inner seven-year old immediately began planning the best ways to sneak in a surprise "Hi, mom," complete with a frantic wave and overenthusiastic smile.  Thankfully, the adult part of my brain managed to distract it with shiny promises of candies and kittens.

The project was a massive undertaking, but what impressed me most had nothing to do with the final product (even though it was fantastic; check it out for yourself by clicking here).  I was most impressed by how such a varied crew -- composed of volunteers, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers employees, camera crews -- was able to come together so swiftly to ensure the program ran without a hitch.  Though the heat was murderous, attitudes remained positive and participants did what was necessary.

Even handing out hot dogs and lemonade.

Alas, our Tourism display did not end up on television.
My prime-time breakthrough will just have to wait ...

I wouldn't have imagined that handing out snacks in the summer heat would have been enjoyable, but it truly was.  Don't underestimate the power of a cool glass of lemonade handed out with a smile, especially when the sun decides to crank it up into the triple digits.  The advantage of such a position is it allows you to meet people from all facets of the project.  It doesn't matter whether you're a cameraman, Corp worker, or visitor -- everyone needs a drink.  And while there were those who simply smiled and returned the "hello", content to grab a snack without conversing, many of them hovered by the table to talk, if only for a short while.  Local artist Dan Modzelewski stopped by while I was restocking.  Putting a face to the name I'd known since first encountering his paintings drove home the sense of small town community that I've grown to love.

Though I don't have time to go into all of what WCIA covered during their stint in Shelbyville (check the links!), I will say it involves snakes, bobby pins, and farmers.  Not all at once.  That would be awesome -- and would probably involve the folks from Guinness or Ripley's Believe it or Not.  Still, despite the disappointing lack of record-breaking, bobby-pin eating snake farmers, it's worth checking out.

Thanks to everyone who made it all possible!

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