Spread the GoNomad Gospel

The Big D trip I made a few weeks ago is finally up for review at GoNomad.com! This extensive site attracts adventurous writers and travelers from all walks of life: retired ex-patriots, lonesome hitchhikers, suits looking to let loose, and families opting for more than the artificial world of Walt Disney. Writers blanket the planet, discovering people and places that few travel agencies have ever heard or cared about, journaling their vivid tales and exploits for no more than a contributor’s sign-off. Sharing this vast collection of first-person anthologies is the vision of GoNomad owner Max Hartshorne, a regular contributor to CNN and travel magazines and somebody I hope to work closely with on a 13-episode show idea. To think of all the many past sojourns I took throughout Europe, Mexico, and this country and I could have been, should have been, blogging about it! Well, no matter, I’ve begun the milestone with the Big D and there’s no turning back now..wonder where I’m off to next?

Alcohol & Drug Abuse Series

I’m working on another 3-part series on alcohol and drug abuse among highschool kids for Sweeps month. At first I balked at the unorginality of it but then it became clear that this was not another proverbial news story. Our series starts tonight at 11pm and continues Monday and Tuesday. What’s so revealing is that kids are finally responding to the anti-drinking message because of a recent medical report about brain damage. Most of us have heard of alcohol consumption and ARBI or Alcohol Related Brain Injury. ARBI results in damage to the cognitive part of your brain (memory and thinking abilities) and difficulties with balance and coordination as well as long term neurological disorders. ARBI is more likely to occur if a person drinks heavily on a regular basis over many years but it is possible to develop ARBI if the drinking is aggressive enough, like binge drinking (what teenagers and college kids are guilty of). The hippocampus, the prefrontal area, the cerebellum; I’m working with doctors and social workers on this story so it’s like a crash course in AMA journalism. The new report, published in the journal Alcohol: Clinical and Experimental Research, is downloadable as an abstract at this site – http://www.alcoholism-cer.com Testing on animals proved that young brains under the age of 21 are not programmed to make rational decisions, under the influence or not and when a teenager binge drinks, they are literally causing irreversible and permanent damage to their frontal lobe. I could go on and on and on about this interesting topic, especially since I have family personally effected by alcohol and drug abuse, but then you’d missing my evening series! Can’t have that!!

Murderers, Memorials & Musicians

Everyone should be so lucky to have a job like this. I know I complain from time to time but reflection at the end of the week really put it into perspective. Where else will a hardened criminal pour out his deepest emotions with you on Monday, or a music icon like Mary Wilson discuss the impact the Supremes had on race relations on Tuesday, or a renown Archeologist show you how to unearth the skeletonal remains of a Revolutionary War Hero on Wednesday? Stories of profound and prolific people pepper the political press of Albany, NY, especially during Sweeps. Minus mundane Press Conferences and perp walks, this job is positively provocative and professionally unparrelled! Like in movies or music , there’s always a message in the methods used to manipulate a story. It’s empowering and enriching to be a part of pop culture in that way. It’s equally satisfying – physically, mentally, and emotionally when a fleet of stories like those this week peak your passions! I just hope someone’s watching…

No-Good-Rotten-Scalpers

Scalping concert and sports tickets in Tennessee is legal but this is New York State and it’s not suppose to be! Still my friends are shelling out 2-3 times more to see a “U2” performance because all seats were sold out to Scalpers through internet loopholes the first day they went on sale. It’s an unfair practice but seemingly everyone is getting away with it. NBC covered the story on the National news last week but with few solutions. Here’s the transcript:

LOS ANGELES – The only way you can get to see Bruce Springsteen perform in East Rutherford, N.J. — in a concert that sold out on the first day seats went up for grabs — is to buy tickets at hugely inflated prices from scalpers. And now, the Internet makes it easy for them to nail down the best seats to all sorts of major events. “It’s a constant cat and mouse game of technology, trying to thwart people from getting unfair amounts of tickets,” says Ticketmaster president & CEO John Pleasants. These days, two-thirds of people who attend concerts and shows don’t stand in line, they go online to buy their tickets. When you use the Internet to buy tickets from a company like Ticketmaster and you log on to their Web site, you’re taken to a page with a randomly selected “secret word” that you have to retype. The words are partially camouflaged in a way that’s supposed to make it impossible for automated systems to recognize them. But hackers have come up with software that can read the words and can sign up for huge blocks of tickets automatically. “This software allows the scalpers to do it over and over and over again very quickly,” says Steve Knopper of Rolling Stone magazine. Knopper writes about this in the new issue of Rolling Stone. He says you don’t have to be a big ticket broker to take advantage of the software. “In the age of eBay, pretty much everybody’s a scalper,” he says. “There are fans that buy four seats to a show and resell two of them so they can make up their costs for the first two.” Ticketmaster says it spends a great deal of resources trying to defeat high-tech scalpers. “As soon as you think your system is impenetrable, someone finds a way to get around it,” says Ticketmaster’s John Pleasants. The attorney who represents the group Goo Goo Dolls says performers are angry. “Most of my artist clients really want to make sure their fans can afford to see them and to get to see them, you know, at a price they think is fair,” says Peter Paterno. The high-tech scalpers say it’s all perfectly legal in most places, even if it strikes a sour note with artists and fans.

How The Chaos Theory Really Works

It’s finally raining! Yahhh! That means I don’t have to feel guilty about staying inside and picking up after my messy self instead of being outside when its nice. I start out with good enough intentions at the beginning of the week. My stuff is obsessively organized just perfect –so much so that if you moved my toothbrush an inch, I would notice. But then, as days creep by…things start falling apart at the seams. Monday, there’s 3 hangers on the closet floor, a dresser drawer left open and an unmade bed. By Tuesday, there’s 3 hangers on the floor, a dresser drawer left open, an unmade bed, cookie crumbs by my alarm clock and a dirty bag of gym clothes scattered. Come Wednesday, there’s 3 hangers on the closet floor, a dresser drawer left open, an unmade bed, cookie crumbs by my alarm clock, a dirty bag of gym clothes scattered, candlewax drippings all over diary, 3 empty shampoo bottles left in shower, toothpaste dried up in sink, and an unflushed toilet (gross). Scary Thursday appears and there’s 3 hangers on the closet floor, a dresser drawer left open, an unmade bed, cookie crumbs by my alarm clock, a dirty bag of gym clothes scattered, candlewax drippings all over diary, 3 empty shampoo bottles left in shower, toothpaste dried up in sink, an unflushed toilet (gross), coins and loose cash on hope chest, newspaper clippings, cut-outs and articles from NY Times saved and spread all over the carpet, a wine bottle half empty next to my pillow, and a clogged shower drain. By Friday, well, you get the picture. A F5 tornado aptly called “job-first-house-second” levels my living space and I can’t function like this for another moment! So come Sat, (again after working OT 3am-9a though) I put my sanity back in place and heave a sigh of relief — just in time to repeat the performance for the next week!

The Big Walk

While deleting old email from my inbox today I came across one of Max’s (GoNomad CEO) emails from months ago. Within 5 minutes (no exaggeration) I had my morning story lined up for the evening news. Max’s email had more to do with the Production Company shooting the documentary than the subject but by pure luck the subject was in town for only 40 more minutes. His name is Big John, he’s 34 and he and his big big heart are walking across America to raise $5 Million for Cancer Research and Awareness. He began his journey in Maine 3 weeks ago and, by walking 15 miles a day every day, expects to finish in San Diego in the year 2008. I called him only minutes before he was to leave Albany for Pittsfield. He sells purple ribbons for display on 12 foot banners at $2/ribbon but most people chip in $5, 10 or more. I chipped in because my stepmom nearly died from ovarian cancer a few weeks ago. John’s passion comes from losing both his parents to Cancer before age 10. His fiancee also quit her job, sold her house, and is helping out by driving the sponsored RV ‘cross country with him. For all those interested in giving to this heroic deed — check out his site at: www.bigjohnsteam.org and give all you can!