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It’s a good job you don’t count on me.

August 23, 2009

NOTES FROM INDIANA, DAY 3

Aug. 21
6 p.m.
Dinner with a few friends I’ve made here — writers from Arizona and New York and an editor from California. Between the four of us, I think we have every major region of the country covered (especially since California dude is from the northern half of the state and not SoCal). Arizona and New York dudes are most highly opinionated and seem to find it existentially prohibitive to ever stop talking about any aspect of newspapers. We’re at a bar with Brett Favre’s first start with the Minnesota Vikings playing, the little league World Series, a few baseball games… and certainly not minding the fact that we’ve already been talking shop all day, these guys just forge right ahead with it. This kind of disappoints me, and I revert to that state that all my close friends hate about me when I’m at bars… idly agreeing to whatever’s being said while my eyes stay fixated on any nearby television. If they didn’t think I was rude, then certainly they thought I’m not cut from the proper journalistic cloth, but… meh.

9 p.m.
Dinner having ended, the four of us revert to our hotels, but I pop back out and head out to a local nightclub called Harry & Izzy’s where I find tons of my other journalistic colleagues, very few of whom seem to be talking about newspapers. Whatever newspaper chatter is going on then drops off completely when Peyton Manning and his personal entourage enter the premises. A lot of people freak the hell out. I don’t. I don’t know why, really. Probably because I have no affinity whatsoever for the Indianapolis Colts, but I think more because this is downtown Indianapolis. This is very likely the only place in the entire state where you can find a hint of action at night, so it seems like good odds that the most popular guy in the state would show up around here sooner or later. I do love the fact that journalists — national ones, mind you, the ones that are supposed to be infallible in any situation — all stand around mouths agape and looking at each other with “OHMIGOD DOYOUSEEWHATISEE?” disbelief as they scramble for camera phones and whatever loose scraps of paper or napkins that might be autographable. Good note to end Friday night upon.

Aug. 22
8 a.m.
There’s something really inhumane about making journalists convene for a panel discussion at 8 a.m. on a Saturday. That’s all I’m saying. Of course I lose sympathy for a lot of my colleagues who all seem to rant “I don’t have to be in this early on NORMAL days.” Punks.

12.15 p.m.
Lunch and a panel from writers in New York, Illinois and South Caroline who all had some great gubernatorial stories to cover over the past year. Le sigh. I wish my governor was grossly corrupt. No, not really… or do I?

6 p.m.
All panels/sessions having ended, it’s time to soak up the free booze for happy hour, dinner and the awards banquet. I put a lot of wine down my neck. I’m easily the most talkative I’ve been all weekend, but everyone’s laughing at my jokes too. If I weren’t as smart as I am, I’d say this could be the trigger to problematic behavior from here on out. But I am as smart as I am. Of course, they all say that, don’t they? Whatever. I won a t-shirt at the banquet and started screaming “OHMYGOD! OHMYGOD!” Big laughs. Then an AP writer won a book a few goes later and did the same thing. Not as big a laugh. Originality, folks. Originality.

It’s Sunday morning now, and I’ll be heading to the airport. I must say, when I started all this on Wednesday night, I figured I’d be a lot more unimpressed with the city than I was. Thank you Indianapolis, for giving me the best hotel room I’ve ever stayed in, and a marginally enjoyable downtown life. Don’t get too bigheaded, though… I’ll still take Madison as a place to live and a whole slew of other capital cities to visit next time out.

Paul Weller & Graham Coxon – This Old Town
I still prefer this to Ocean Colour Scene’s reading of Weller’s first incarnation of this song, “For Dancers Only,” cos I think Coxon brings a little more rock angularity to the verses. Plus, who can argue with a rhythm section of Zak Starkey and Mani?! Anyway, I’ve never been able to suss out if this song is a positive or negative view of the town in question. It’s good, but it’s not all good. And it’s bad, but it’s not all bad. Much like this old town here…

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