Friday, March 13, 2009

Big changes!

Folks, it's been a busy week around here.

I haven't posted as much on this here blog or kept up my Entrecard drops as much as I should because I've been extremely busy this week. In fact, I may slow down on blogging a bit because of the events of this week, but I'll get to that later.

First of all, I headed to the northeastern part of Arkansas on Wednesday as I was invited to be the keynote speaker cat at a meeting of the Jonesboro Young Professionals Network. As I've mentioned a time or two here, I'm a public relations guy in the real estate industry and was asked to come visit with the group about what's going on in the residential market.

I even got a plaque for my efforts (dig my reflection in that) and had a heck of a time. It was a bit of a sobering experience, however, as I'm pushing 40-years-old and there wasn't a person in that group past the ripe old age of 35. I do hope they got something out of my presentation.

So, there was a day of blogging missed there. I also missed out on Tuesday and most of Monday as I was finishing up a freelancing editing/writing job that I do about four times a year. And, speaking of freelancing, I got a hell of a gig this week that pays well and is a lot of fun -- writing real estate stories for The Daily Record in Little Rock.

I'm excited as can be about that gig because I've been asked to write three stories a week indefinitely. I view that arrangement as the best of both worlds, actually.

Why? I enjoy public relations as it does allow me some creativity and pays quite well. However, I also miss being a reporter and have for some time. Through the Daily Record deal, then, I get to do some honest-to-goodness reporting and still keep my full-time job in the public relations field. And I'll pick up some extra money for doing something that I absolutely love.

Not bad, huh?

Ah, but there's a point to all this. A couple, in fact. First of all, I've noticed that journalism is like anything else these days -- a rotten economy means that a lot of newspapers out there are struggling with finances. So, a good number of papers are reducing editorial staffs and are looking for skilled freelancers to pick up the slack.

For those of you bloggers out there who have thought about entering the great field of journalism, this is a great time to start checking into freelancing for local publications. Give it a shot if you're so inclined. For those of us who like to write, there are few things more satisfying then getting paid for following local news and reporting it.

Second, journalism is changing quite a bit, what with the easy availability of reliable information on the Internet at all. Regardless, there will always be a demand for news and people will be needed to report it. I truly doubt Americans will be content with simply relying on "official sources" for their news.

There is something to be said for people who legitimately attempt to report the facts of matter impartially and I do believe there will always be a market for journalists. How will the news be delivered five or ten years from now? Who knows? But you'd better believe journalism won't drop dead as a field in spite of some predictions about that happening.

Of course, I'll be doing my freelancing on my own time as my employer likely won't appreciate my writing a bunch of stories on their dime. With a full time job and kids, I am fairly busy and those free hours are few and far between. So far, I've filled up a lot of those hours with posting nonsense on this here blog. Now, I'll spend a lot of time filling up those hours with my freelancing gig.

Something will, obviously, have to give somewhere. In order to keep up with the freelancing stuff and do a good job of it, I may slow down on blogging a bit. In other words, I figure on updating things here every other day or so instead of daily.

Now, there's one more thing to mention. There's been a lot of talk about throwing caution to the wind and spending money like maniacs in order to help the economy recover.

To hell with that. I've done my part by picking up a new Toyota Sienna for my wife last month, buying a house a mere three years ago and purchasing a Toyota Matrix a few years ago. I'm keeping my mitts on that freelancing money by sticking it in a savings account in case things absolutely tank and I need a nest egg.

Now, of course, I might run out and pick up some new, snazzy saddle shoes from time to time, but I'm more than a bit suspicious of a government that believes that it -- and all of us -- can spend every dime we can get our hands own, borrow more cash and magically wind up with a strong economy. Isn't that the kind of thinking that got us in this mess in the first place?

Congratulations, Crotchety!

Folks, a milestone worthy of being celebrated has been reached -- the Crotchety Old Man has posted over 500 pearls of wisdom!

We at the Natural State Hawg are thrilled that Crotchety has stuck it out this long and is still going strong.

Actually, I should say that I am proud that Crotchety has stuck it out this long as is still going strong as this blog is a one-man show. However, "we" just sounds better, doesn't it?

At any rate, I feel compelled to mention that I've only been blogging away since July. Crotchety runs one of the first blogs I ran across that caused me to keep visiting. Why? He's a hoot, that's why. And he's OK for a Yankee.

He's so OK, in fact, that he holds down the New Jersey Division of the All Arkie Army. He's so OK that I'd be proud to treat him to a dandy slice of pie at the famed Ed & Kay's here in Benton, Ark., if he ever gets down this way.

He's so OK that some of the visitors over at the All Arkie Army had some nice things to say about Crotchety when I mentioned his upcoming milestone over there. The always glib Don from Beyond Left Field simply sends his congratulations -- perhaps he knows that little more needs to be said about such an acclaimed fellow blogger.

Meanwhile, Patricia Rockwell from both Subjective Soup and Communications Exchange was a bit less concise, but eloquent as ever.

"Hey, I am a fan of Crotchety and all the things he yells at," she said. "Including cars!"

Lot 2 Learn from "I will have the...," "Did I miss something?" et al ran across Crotchety in much the same way that I did.

"I found Crotchety when I first joined blogcatalog about a year ago, and since then I have not missed a post," he said. "I love his take on life, and his outlook on everyday events. Great job, Crotchety!"

As for me, all I can say is that anyone who checks out blogs regularly and doesn't visit Crotchety at least once a day (he's a prolific fellow) is really missing out on something. If he's not posting his dandy "caption this picture" feature on Wednesdays he's describing the fine ways he treats Mrs. Crotchety, talking common sense politics, taking swipes at things he hates and generally just being as entertaining as an evening of shooting rats down at the dump.

So, I extend my congratulations to Crotchety, too, and hope he keeps yelling at those cars for years to come. Go pay him a visit, huh?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Musical Monday -- the Gunbunnies!

Here's a video from a band that formed up the road in Little Rock, relocated to Memphis, released one album (The Paw Paw Patch) in 1990 on Virgin records then quickly vanished.

I apologize in advance for the shaky video quality, but this thing is a bit hard to find. The music is great, however, and it's fun to hear the band's unique brand of Southern, alternative pop. Enjoy!

By the way, make sure to click right here to help me collect some comments to acknowledge the Crotchety Old Man's greatness in time for his 500th post! He's one of the finest bloggers around, so let's honor the boy, huh? Oh, and please click right here to go to RafterJumpOn and give my stuff a thumbs up if you have a minute.

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. One simple rule, leave ONLY the actual post link here. You can grab this code at LJL Please note these links are STRICTLY for Music Monday participants only. All others will be deleted without prejudice.

Why I like the heck out of paid posting

It seems like the longer I hang around the Internet, the more complaining I hear about paid posting.

I like the heck out of the stuff, frankly. Why? Because I'm just about to the point on Blogvertise where I can buy a very dandy toy and won't feel guilty about it all.

Anyone who is a parent knows what I mean when I talk about the guilt associated with spending money on stuff. No matter how much money I make, I steel feel rotten when I buy myself something instead of purchasing things for the kids.

I do believe parents are genetically inclined to feel such guilt -- otherwise, our kids would wind up in horrible shape as we adults spent everything on having fun. When I got a fat raise at work, that was money used to take care of the family. I just got a nice, long term freelancing gig with a newspaper and that cash will go to (you guessed it) support my family.

Ah, but the money I make off of this here little blog is different! I can spend the hell out of that stuff with no guilt at all. The best thing, of course, is the money I make through taking paid posts heads right to my PayPal account and just sits there until I find something to do with it.

And I've found something to buy, indeed. When I was a kid, I had the best bicycle in the world -- a Schwinn Mag Scrambler that my parents bought me in about 1978. That thing was the Cadillac of BMX bikes and cost a hefty $200 back then (that was back when Schwinn's were top quality and made in the U.S. -- they're all mass produced in China now). Mine was gun metal gray with red mags and my friends and I ruled the neighborhoods on our bikes.

Those were the days, folks, and I've started thinking about getting a bicycle to tool around on in my neighborhood. Yes, my wife could get one, too, and I could well imagine us getting healthy by riding down to Ed & Kay's, a local restaurant here in Benton, Ark., and getting some of that pie with the meringue that's about a foot thick. I know that doesn't promote a healthy lifestyle, but it's better than heading down to Ed & Kay's in a car, isn't it?

So I'm going to buy a bicycle with some of that "blog money." I'll probably head over to the Chainwheel in Little Rock to see what they have on hand, but I've really got my eye set on the Nirve Night Owl that's posted at the top of this post and is a steal at $349.99 with shipping included from

When you run across paid posts here, then, please bear in mind that they're for a good cause -- money for The Hawg to burn.

Shameless plug!

I went and applied to be a rafter so I can wax poetic about various things. If you have a minute, click right here and give my stuff a thumbs up and leave a comment if you want. Thanks!