Category Archives: media

interview with scott

For my next interview, I chose a volunteer who I didn’t really know. Scott is a person I “know” through Twitter. We follow each other because of our mutual friend Joe. Scott drives a semi around the country and brings bags of potato chips back for Joe. (Joe has a weakness for potato chips. I am not sure if he’s looking for the perfect chip or just enjoys trying all the strange flavors that are available all over the country. My favorite chip is Chile Limon by Lays-pairs well with string cheese. I’m classy like that.) Scott and I had our first real conversation sitting at the high top at Liberty Market about two weeks before this interview so I could get a better sense of what kind of questions I wanted to ask him.

JM: Tell us a little about yourself.

SK: I am an East Coast (Florida-born, North Carolina-raised) Arizonan.

I am 29 (soon 30).

I am the oldest of 4 children (I have 2 sisters and a brother)

I drive a semi.

I LOVE music and I also write everyday (with the rare exception) and also take a camera (cheap point and shoot) with me wherever I go just in case I find something interesting to photograph. I also enjoy Twitter too. And things that have good design.

JM: You are a truck driver. I think that actually sounds romantic-driving the country, listening to music, eating at diners, meeting interesting people…tell us more about it and how you got into it.

SK: I got into truck driving only because I got bored with what I was doing (being a student at ASU) and was tired of not having money and bills for things I didn’t want to have to wait to pay without high interest payments, so I decided that my Plan B (school) was just not working and to go with my original plan (truck driving). I had decided a few years before what I liked and didn’t like and at least wanted to try for an education first. (I do have an Associate’s). But, that didn’t work, so I went to trucking. And that’s what I’ve done for around 3 and a half years now. It’s an okay job. Not too romantic as it IS a job with pressures and deadlines, MOUNDS of paperwork. It’s also essentially a retail job too in the sense it is all about customer service and the irregular odd hours I work. It is a good job though with pretty good pay for what I do. I could say I am proud of what I do, although, there is a few caveats. The stereotype of a trucker does hold true in some respects and it’s a strange culture too. The food is mostly fast food now and a lot of the truck stops are corporate chains. It’s kind of sad in a way.Tthat being said, I still like to find the few not corporate truck stops as often as I can. Usually, they’ll have different or regional food that I’m out looking for. That is why I like my job, I really do like it because I get to visit a lot of places most people don’t. America is a big beautiful place. It has everything. It really does. I’ve been nearly everywhere too, with the exception of Maine and Rhode Island. (I only drive 48 states.) I’ve seen some amazing things too. Lots of sunrises and sunsets. Seen lots of wildlife (a bald eagle in the wild!) and the changing of seasons too, although I don’t like driving in the winter. I’ve also been able to use what I do to visit places too like New Orleans and Salt Lake City and Santa Barbara and go enjoy a few baseball games (both major and minor league) in other cities too. I do like what I do. I’ve seen a lot.

JM: Have you made any friends in the trucking industry? Do you have a “handle” on the CB? (Is that what it’s called?)

SK: Not really. Trucking is still kind of like a brotherhood/camaraderie kind of a thing. Other truckers do talk with one another and usually it’s the same story (management/government regulations/complaining). That has also fallen by the wayside too. No, I don’t have a CB (and yes it is still called a handle). Reason why? There is honestly nothing good to listen too unless if you like listening to misogyny/xenophobia/homophobia/racism. It’s. Awful. When I did have one, this is all I heard. Just terrible. Thankfully, it shorted out and I never got one again.

JM: I’ve heard you’re supposed to flash your brights when passing a semi. Is that true?

SK: Yes and no. Depends on who you talk to. Cars do this if the person is impatient and don’t think I know they’re there. Trust me, I have 6 mirrors, I KNOW you’re there. Trucks do that (or dim their lights) to let the other truck has enough clearance to safely pass one another.

JM: What is your favorite part of the country?

SK: Ah, my favorite place(s) in America? It really depends. My favorite region of the US, by far, is the Pacific Northwest because of the beauty that is up there, particularly the Spokane, WA/Coeur d’Alene, ID area. It’s a perfect balance of city versus rural. Plus it’s green, all four seasons and weather is temperate enough and so are the people. I love it up there. But I’ve also enjoyed driving though the Bronx and watching the Sun start to rise through that part of NYC. It was almost like watching a movie. I also love driving along the Plains and being able to see “forever”. It’s an amazing sight. I also like being on the coast (Pacific, East or Gulf) and the smell of it. I love the smell of the ocean.

JM: You love music. How was that developed in your life? Who are your favorite bands?

SK: Music. Hmm, I’ve always been surrounded by music ever since I was little. Growing up as a kid in the South, it was mostly country that I listened too (we had 6 radio stations) and also growing up in a Christian household we listened to a lot of Christian music too, mostly contemporary Christian music, although my dad still had his record collection which was a lot of party-like 45′s (think Purple People Eater) and Stevie Wonder and his favorite country artist, Ronnie Milsap. Also, I did learn music as a kid, took piano lessons and I can still read (or at least figure out) musical notation. I’ve also taken guitar lessons at least 5 times, but it’s too time consuming, I’d rather enjoy music. That being said, I do enjoy it a lot. I’m always listening to something whether new or old. I’ve been collecting records (CD/vinyl) since about the time I moved here, about 13 years ago. I still love buying CDs mostly because it’s something you can hold onto, there’s artwork, liner notes. It’s much more than just a commodity or something you can download. It IS art. I really do love music though because of the way it can feel and make you feel too. See, I am more of a person who likes how a song is constructed (produced/mixed/built) versus what most people look for in a song (vocals/instruments). I look for what the music through its production and how it was produced is trying to say, what the underlying emotion is. And with that, a lot of the songs I enjoy are by artists who do it themselves or those who do a majority of their song craft themselves. I don’t really enjoy watching some corporate crap like “American Idol” because it is exactly what I hate about the modern music industry. Because there is no talent there, it’s all fake. Too me, it’s dehumanizing. It’s taking the person who has a great idea and warping it into a moment that maybe someone will remember for a few moments and then be forgotten. It’s sad to me. I like music that has more meaning and a lot less steps. I like the artist who shares his demos that he just recorded this morning just to see what other people think. That’s what I like.

JM: Who are some of your favorite musicians?

SK: Some of my favorite musicians/bands are Damien Jurado, Richard Swift, Starflyer 59, Radiohead, but generally I’ll listen to almost anything. *Almost*.

JM: Would you like to share an internet link?

SK:

Here’s my link(s): http://decknetwork.net/

It’s for The Deck, “The advertising network of creative, web and design culture”.

This is my link because I also like well-designed things and to me the websites served by this ad network are the best. My particular favorites are: kottke.org, waxy.org and themorningnews.org.

Also related: layertennis.com which is also brought to you by the same people who run The Deck. Layer Tennis is a great game of design. See the website for more information. It’s really neat.

Thank you to Scott for volunteering! Please feel free to ask him any questions you have in the comments below!

interview with erin

Erin and I met in high school. We were in some of the same classes; we also both hung around the drama room. (She was much more into the debate scene though). We shared many of the same friends, but I don’t think we actually became good friends until college. She ended up leaving the state, and returning to her southern roots to attend some random Oklahoma university. I still have no idea how she ended up back there-maybe that should’ve been an interview question, eh? We’d always make a point to hang out when she was in town, and she eventually moved back .  She hosts an annual party involving the Salt River and karaoke; she makes all her friends come and bring her presents. This year’s party was held at the most podunk bar I’ve ever been to. No really. When I walked in, there was an old man with no teeth trying to sing and dance with Erin.

JM: Could you tell us a little about yourself?

EM: I am sort of a non-interesting, interesting person….like I believe most of us are at heart. I am judgmental and curse like a sailor. I used to be a card-carrying member of the NRA as well as the ACLU. I reflect on the past far more than I ought to. I read every book I can get my hands on, as well as watch far too much television. I love political discourse but deplore name-calling. I think I am kind while being not at all selfless. I believe that civility is a lost art form that may never make it’s return. Assimilation has always made me fearful. I fall down a lot (literally and figuratively speaking). I would make a horrible crime scene detective but an awesome motivational speaker. I love the Counting Crows and hate Creed. I coulda been a contender….

JM: You love movies and television but also books. Talk to us about what draws you to both.

EM: I love a good story, even going back years and years to when I was a child. I like to hear stories. I often thought I would make a good biographer. I have a tendency to lose myself in fiction . I love the written word because when someone writes a story, most often, the author comes out in the pages, even if the book is a new subject matter that the author has never experienced. I love the investigation of people – whether it be the character or author — I love the nasty bits I feel like I wasn’t supposed to know, like I have uncovered a great secret that deliciously is mine to keep or tell. I also love reading a writer’s interpretation of emotion — easily the hardest thing to convey on the page. TV and movies are different…everything is in front of you, sometimes just a few feet from you on the screen. I become the voyeur.  This is a much more intimate place, watching the actors . The writing has to be succinct (unlike my ramblings), as the emotions and feelings aren’t described for the audience — this is why solid acting is key – it has to be believable. I have to immediately be invested in the outcome. In books I can imagine anyone I want to. On the screen it is already there. The page offers the starting point for imagination. The screen, if done correctly, allows you to be part of the drama. And, I love good drama.

JM: Are books always better than the movies?

EM: Oh God, yes! Well, no…well, most of the time. OK, yes, with the following notable exceptions:

- Fight Club – Book by Chuck Palahniuk

- Children of Men – Book by P.D. James

- Last of the Mohicans – James Fenimore Cooper

JM: Recommend one movie every adult should see.

EM: I hate this question. I have 25 movies that every person should see. But to name one? One? Ugh. I won’t give you my favorite movie as the answer (which is The English Patient) nor will I give you my favorite movies as a child/teen (Reality Bites, Dazed and Confused, and Pump up the Volume). I also won’t share my favorite TV shows of all time (Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The West Wing). Oh wait…i just did….oh well, deal with it. Here are 3 (sorry, best I could do).

- Way of the Gun – stylized, gritty, great story. Just a great film for everyone — who doesn’t love a little sex and violence and Violent Femmes, plus I don’t think most people have seen it, and I am always happy to have someone discover it.

- BBC Pride and Prejudice  – I am actually surprised at how many people have not seen this adaptation from the 90′s. Men, if you want to know what women want, watch this film, get a morning coat, and speak with a British accent.

- Lonesome Dove – this is the greatest mini-series of all time – back when mini-series were actually a “waited-for” event. It has everything and everyone in it, and I find it to be a good adaptation of the classic McMurtry novel. This will tear you up.

JM: Recommend one movie every child should see.

EM: Labyrinth – I think we all need to go back and watch a movie that has perfectly respectable CGI for its time, music that everyone loved, and an obscure love story — it’s like Glee, Avatar, and Harold and Maude all rolled into one, right? Perfect for your children. I am not kidding.

JM: you also love politics, tell us how a true third party would change things.  what would the ideal third party look like to you?

EM: Well, call me a pessimist, but I don’t think a third party would change very much. For a multi-party system to really work the current aim of politics (at least in the current state) would have to be redefined. We spend so much time berating and charging others with accusations based on their sound byte-belief system that we rarely discuss the problems of our society. We discuss hot-button issues that have replaced true ideals and passionate party politics. I am all for political parties. I really am. But the “issue of the day” is a product of 4th Estate. The free press has never been free — at least not in a mainstream way.

We all have our agendas. I don’t want your candidates in office so I will do whatever is necessary  to prevent that from happening. Even if it doesn’t work, i am going to do everything in my power to make sure you can’t get anything done once in office (no matter the office). i won’t try to find a way to work on the problems, I am just going to make sure that the problem of “you” goes away as soon as possible. This happens on both sides of mainstream politics, but also agenda/issue-based 3rd parties, no matter the size.

I think for a third party (or, a real multi-party system of actionable people who represent more than one thought and don’t run on the, “I am a former porn-star platform”) to be effective you have to start at the local level. that is where most of the actual work happens. There isn’t as much grandstanding or hands to shake. That is the place to penetrate with multi-parties, but, more importantly, multi-ideas. It isn’t “one size fits all” politics. Politics should be about the generation of ideas to better the community and respectfully debating the ideas and deciding whose ideas seem to better benefit the community. Then supporting each other, even while respectfully disagreeing with it.


JM: What is the 4th estate?

EM: The 4th estate is really any non-elected institution that has power or clout but isn’t really recognized as part of the political process – ie, the media, especially the 24hr news cycle that has made “hot issues” the main story, instead of a byproduct of the real issues. Sound byte edutainment from pseudo-experts who wear too much makeup (speaking about the men here) and rehearse their stories for greater impactful sighs and head nods. These are not my political teachers. These are not well-intentioned patriots. These people not only serve the lowest common denominator, they wallow in it. These are puppet masters…with too much makeup. I detest this type of greedia, er, I mean media.


JM: It’s interesting that you say all the actual work gets done at the local level because no matter who’s president, they seem to get blamed for all that goes wrong. I heard this idea on West Wing, but I kind of liked it: what about a Regent? Someone to be the face of the country while someone else is the President who does the work.
EM: I don’t know if a Regent would be much better in this celeb-u-tant society that has been created. Where did the Regent eat? Who is she sleeping with? Did she get fat? Is he gay? Is he bi? Does he have hair plugs? I keep having this picture of a Kardashian or a Snooki with a sceptor and cape. Shiver. I don’t know if a figure head is the right idea — I think the President, in a lot of ways, is already like that. A mouthpiece. So, the idea is to separate them…and in a perfect world it just may work. However, we then have an elected Regent — who kisses babies (not Snooki, gross) and acts as the glorified Supreme Wal-Mart greeter, and an elected President that does the work. We wouldn’t be able to leave him/her alone to work. We would start looking at them the same way…then the Regent would overstep their boundaries and attend a budget meeting and before you know it “GTL” is the national slogan of the US of A!!! OK, maybe not that extreme, but I don’t see how a separation of duties would really be beneficial. I don’t see American being able to really make that transition. Sigh.


JM: What if the regent was not an elected office but an appointment?

EM: Who appoints? The President? The Congress? It becomes a pissing contest of whose appointment goes through, like the Supreme Court. It is political, even if it is a baby-kissing position. My fear is who is behind the promoting of the appointment. What spin do they want? What is their endgame? Do we start on the role of palace intrigue by having a monarchy? I think not!

JM: Would you like to share an internet link?

EM: For all your bacon needs:

http://www.baconfreak.com/


I want to thank Erin for being an interview volunteer! You’d make her a very happy woman if you asked her a million questions in the comments below!

And by the way, here’s a link to her blog. Maybe the pressure will get her to blog more often!