Sunday, January 29, 2012

Thank you to several friends of the blog Part II

I think it's weird when someone says "friend of the blog" until I realize that I used that term myself in a post about a year ago where I thanked several people who have been influences, inspirations, and help to me:

I'd like to update that list a little with a few more names:
I recently wrote about many twitter friends I've made including my favorite grammar nazi Christine  Becker, eternal Community fanboy Noel Kirkpatrick, rapping bookworm Ellen Wernecke, and the AV Club's budding star Rowan Kaiser. All of these guys continue to provide support and ideas to bounce off.

I'd like to also give thanks to some other friends I've made through twitter that I missed last time:
Kenny Herzog is a guy who's given me advice and is kind enough to talk to me despite being wayyy more successful at what he does than I am. He said to me once, "Hey man, us freelance plebes all gotta stick together." Great words to live by.
Kenny Herzog is currently published nearly everywhere in the Western Hemisphere (he is currently looking to get in the door at the Trinidad Press for the trifecta). Rolling Stone, Spin, Time Out, MSN, New York Daily News all bear his name. Rumor has it that he freelance wrote some chapters of the King James Bible as well.

Kenny Herzog's work can be found at

Cory Barker is a guy who in my early days of twitter (remember kids, these were different times. Think back to November 2010)  when no one was following me, I emailed this guy in a huffy-puffy snit over why he wasn't following me. Since then, he's been a guy who's done an admirable job of tolerating me in our storybook twitter friendship (Disney hasn't yet bought the rights to our story, but we're holding out). Cory's love of TV criticism borders on masochism. He insists on watching pretty much every show on TV and reviewing it all. Look at his end-of-the-year list and you'll see he's watched some 20 million shows in 2010 and apologized for the 4 he didn't have the time to watch.

Les Chapell is a person I met when LA Times Critic and AV Club chief TV writer Todd van der Weff was compiling a crowd-sourced sitcom and Les and I agreed to share a $10 prize to type up a transcript.. Since then, Les and me have fed each other publishing tips and shared advice on how to improve each other's pieces. This is the perfect relationship a freelance writer needs and I highly recommend you all go out and find your own Les (not my Les, though, I've snatched him up). Les's work can be found at

Speaking of Todd van der Werff, who once deemed himself the 17th most prominent TV critic in the nation (how cool is it, mom, that I have the 17th most prominent TV critic in the country on my email queue?!) also played a major role at the beginning of my writing career: Namely, rejecting me as a writer for the AV Club when I was unemployed in directionless in the Fall of 2010. More specifically, Todd's biggest contribution to my writing career was taking two weeks to reject me after looking at my work, rather than just flat-out looking at my work and rejecting me outright. .

The mere mention that I applied to the AV Club and was under consideration had a few facebook friends to get real excited for me. In an effort to keep my doors open and clean up my work for when Todd would eventually take a look at it, I applied to more things in that two-week period that either accepted me or, at the very least, gave me hope to keep writing.

More than that, Todd's contributions to my career haven't been accidental. In addition to hopefully paying the $5 he owes me (and $5 to Les if he wants it), he was encouraging and kind upon rejecting me, and he regularly is kind enough to respond to me on twitter. I know that's not much, but Todd is patient enough to respond to some of the dumbest things I say on twitter (I'm not sure why he doesn't respond to smarter tweets), such as getting the number of seasons of a particular TV show wrong or assuming Davy Jones of the Monkees was dead when Todd, in fact, was standing in a room with him. Todd's writing (or the writing of the writers he hires) can be found at

I also have to thank Eddie Rodriguez for assisting me in being published on cracked and offering to include me on other pitches. Neither me nor Eddie had been published on cracked before when Eddie volunteered to jump on board the idea of an unpublished writer like me and bring it to fruition. Since then, Eddie's had phenomenal success on cracked with 6 or 7 pieces to his name last I checked. Thanks also E. Reid Ross over at cracked for helping to work with me on pitches as well and volunteering to troop on through my examiner recommendation..

In the world of print, I have been lucky enough to be published in 4 different print publications over the last 12 months*-Sun Gazzette, Connection NewspapersFalls Church News Press, and Washington City Paper, in addition to, gunaxin,,  and and thanks to all the editors at those places and anyone on staff who helped me. I wouldn't want to mention any of them by name because that would make it look like I'm sucking up to them for more articles but I would like to thank one of them, Philip van der Vossen, for his transparency and his interest in hearing writers' opinions and suggest to freelance writers that, while not necessarily the most profitable place on the web, is not a bad place to consider because its editor-in-chief is a trustworthy and fair guy.

At Connection, I had the opportunity to work in an office setting with a number of interns and other freelancers who were great company and inspiration. Maya Horowitz, an intern-turned-freelancer, worked side by side with me for quite a while and has been a source of support even after my leaving the Connection. To see Maya's exploits at the Connection and to learn what it's like chasing local leads for a community newspaper, she can be found at

A special thanks also to aspiring editor and Connection intern Edison Russ for helping me tremendously in terms of teaching me how to write better and self-editor (this blog entry was live for half a day before I recognized that mistake. That's how badly I need Edison) . He stayed behind on the last day of his internship just to help me with my grammar. He also looked at my blog recently and tried to compliment me on my ironic misspellings of certain words, unaware that I didn't misspell those words on purpose. I would highly recommend Edison to anyone interested in hiring him as a rearranger of words in (that mistake took an extra two run throughs for me to spot. Read every other entry of this blog to see how much I suck at grammar and self-editing) and inserter of punctuation marks (I guess that's what they call a copy editor?). I almost had an opening for Edison at and he was a good sport when it fell through.
Edison's collegiate portfolio can be found at

Thanks to all the interns I worked with at the Connection who made last summer more exciting for me and for making me feel important because I wasn't the lowest person in the office. Thanks to Isabelle for keeping me in the loop about the high school running scene, Adam for being the rounder-up of lunch-going and thanks to budding journalist Abigail for completing her fine article for me at which allowed me the opportunity to say I successfully hired and supervised another journalist.

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