Preparing For The Cross-Planet Move

the view from my packing position.
The view from my packing position.

So between the last time I blogged and tonight, I was in Cancun with the besties, many of whom were part of The Great Sucia Treinta Cumpleanos Extravaganza, in which Terp was briefly detained by Costa Rican authorities.

Maybe I will get to sharing the photos from that time (which was followed by a terrible bout of Montezuma’s revenge — what a crisis), but tonight I was just feeling reflective after a day of packing for 2015 Cross-Planet Move: Storage, Part A.

In order to move some clutter out of my house, I’ve decided just to call movers over tomorrow and take away as much nonsense as possible so the house can be shown for potential renters. We spent the day packing up mementos, books and a lot of things that were frankly already mostly packed from the last move and left untouched for the last three years.

Among the items, I found the “yearbook” my South Carolina TV news colleagues signed for me when I moved away in 2006. It’s filled with hilarious memories, some of which I’d forgotten. JL‘s was probably my favorite, and amazingly, all true:

all of this happened between 2005 and 2006. because south carolina.
All of this happened between 2005 and 2006. Because South Carolina.

Moving always makes me feel a little wistful. This is my seventh move since graduating from college, not counting this summer, when I helped move all my childhood things from a childhood home, and I seem to have more crap with each move. I love it when old mementos (like above) pop up but it all reminds me of something Chuck Klosterman wrote in Killing Yourself to Live:

“When you start thinking about what your life was like 10 years ago — and not in general terms, but in highly specific detail — it’s disturbing to realize how certain elements of your being are completely dead. They die long before you do. It’s astonishing to consider all the things from your past that used to happen all the time but (a) never happen anymore and (b) never even cross your mind.”

So it’s onward, with the 2015 version of me. I’m definitely less reckless than I used to be (but not so conscientious that I don’t get my purse stolen from my unlocked car as we saw two weeks ago).

SC Hearts Newt

You can recognize that back-of-head from miles away. (Photo by Brad Horn)


Big night for Newt Gingrich, as voters in South Carolina (who have correctly chosen the eventual GOP nominee since 1980) picked him by a large margin. The win has upended and extended this race, making for some fun new drama and unpredictability. He’s certainly a force of nature, the kind that gets me backin’ into walls.

Reunited in South Cackalaka … For A Few Minutes

Ah, South Carolina. What crazy memories I have from those 728 days I lived in the foothills of Appalachia. The reporting assignments in places like Sugar Tit (real name) and Fingerville (yep), the big debate over whether the new Dollar General was going to ruin one of the old mill towns, all the fantastic friends I made that I think about quite often.

It’s also the place the campaign trail could come to a halt for my former governor, Rick Perry. So I contacted one of my fave television photogs, Steve, flew down on Sunday morning and we joined forces, just like the old days, to shoot a political event — Perry’s return to the Palmetto State for a 21 day tour/likely last stand. (See earlier post.)

Grabbed a few behind-the-scenes snapshots from the event, and I want to test out my new slideshow plugin (more on that to come, eventually), so here goes:

Did He Say “Extra Governor?”

SPARTANBURG, S.C. — Dropped in on the campaign trail real quick to get some video of my former governor, Rick Perry, in my 2004-2006 stomping grounds, Spartanburg. This is the same place where my friend Latoya and I met at Denny’s nearly every Friday night for dinner because we didn’t have much else to do. (Or anywhere else to eat.) And the same place that a guy killed his girlfriend by throwing a hot iron at her head and telling the police that all the blood on the carpet was actually an explosion of condiments like hot sauce and ketchup.

Speaking of ketchup, Perry spoke at The Beacon, a South Carolina drive-in-that-doesn’t-have-a-drive-in-anymore and a standby for visiting politicians. Here’s how my colleague Don Gonyea described it:

There’s no paper or computer here — J.C. takes your order, then hollers instructions to cooks in The Beacon’s unique lingo. For instance, a chili-cheeseburger a-plenty means your plate is going to be covered with french fries and onion rings.

The place goes through 300 pounds of chili on a Friday night. Just the kind of crowd a campaign is looking for.

“If you want to be elected for president, you better come to The Beacon,” Stroble says with a chuckle.

It goes without question that all the food here is predictably greasy — cheeseburgers, onion rings, chili cheese. The Texas governor ordered something which I believe was the go-to order, Chili Cheese A Plenty (double or single patty available). But he gave it a name of his own:

Return to the 8-6-4

Deal, Hu, Still
Assignment Editor Kim Deal, me and Andy Still. Had WYFF's then-news director Andy not given me the chance to cover the legislature and campaigns, who knows what I'd be doing today.

GREENVILLE, S.C. — Television news is inherently a team sport. Reporters are nothing without their photographer partners, and the visual stories created in the field are nothing without the teams of producers who craft them into something larger — a newscast, a series, a documentary.

One of the most high-functioning and family-like teams on which I’ve played was in my early twenties, in South Carolina. It was on that team that I was first given a chance to cover politics with regularity. And South Carolina is a place that’s shaped my perspective in indescribable ways.

I moved away five years ago after a couple memory-packed years here, and hadn’t returned until yesterday.

Yesterday would have been the 40th birthday of Chris Gulfman, a talented and reliable photographer who was an even more reliable friend. His gruff exterior masked one of the kindest hearts, a heart that is still beating somewhere, in the recipient of one of Gulfman’s many organ donations after he died suddenly half a decade ago. An undiagnosed brain tumor ruptured in his brain overnight, and more quickly than we could say aneurism, he was gone. Continue reading “Return to the 8-6-4”