Monday, March 18, 2013

Living the Dream: CMT, STL Rams, Cabela's and Liz.

Matthew 17:20 If ye have the Faith of the tiniest mustard seed nothing shall be impossible unto you.
As I have tossed this article around in my head the last few days this verse rings out in my mind. Calls to me as only a few biblical verses I know well do. The wisdom in this Matthew verse is one of dreamers. One of go getters and achievers who hit walls and climb mountains and fall down. It’s a verse of those who get up and brush themselves off and don’t ever give up.
We all know dreamers. We all are dreamers however few of us  know someone who has dreams that we imagine only in our personal world (actually most of you reading this I’m assured will know her). Dreams outside of our day to day lives of just wanting to get by, have a good life, a good love and a wonderful family. Few know those who reach for the stars let alone those who walk with them.
Especially in small towns like where I come from. In technicality it’s a village, it no longer has a school, just a post office two churches, two bars, and a post office along with a handful of other home business. Population inside the village limit doesn’t reach much higher than 300 people. Or even in our local county, that hosts only one high school do we find these kinds of people. Those who have left the home nest and have chased and caught dreams while still holding true to their family and their selves.
I grew up knowing of Liz Duggan. She was a few years older than me but like I said it was small town and everyone knows everyone else. By my freshman year of high school her younger sister had become one of my best friends. So constantly being at the Duggan household, even with Liz away at school, she quickly became someone I admired and liked and then became envious of.
So in short- this article is really all about her and a recently interview I got to conduct with her, because 1: she’s interesting as all get out and 2: she’s letting me practice on her for my writing and interviewign skills. ( =] )
Unfortunately she was unwilling to share information pertaining to Luke Bryan’s contact information, hotel room numbers, personal schedule etcetera. So sorry ladies!
Moving Up!: “Can you give the readers some background on what you do for these companies, your degree (because my sister has been nagging me to ask)  and the like?”
Liz: “College- University of Illinois, Springfield (Highly recommend this school. I went to SIUE my first year and it was just too big for little ol’ me.)
Degree- Business Administration, Minor in Management Information Systems
Cities Lived- Springfield, IL; Nashville, TN; St. Louis (Brentwood), MO; and soon to be living in Denver, CO
Position at each company-
2010 CMT: I was an intern for Special Events Management from Jan-June. I was then hired on for freelance through the end of the year.
2011-2012 St. Louis Rams: Account Executive
2013 Cabela’s: Brand Experience Specialist”
Moving Up!: “What has been your favorite company/position so far?”
Liz: “Interning for CMT was the best thing I have ever done for my career. It was a big leap of faith because the internship was unpaid but I believed in myself enough to take that risk (Matt 21:22)
(Moving Up! Note: Matt. 21:22 reads “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in brayer, believing, ye shall receive.” KJV Did I not say that Matthew was for the dreamers?)
Liz continuing: “It gave me great experience and was a big reason I was hired for my current position with Cabela’s. I really love my current position because I get to enjoy the outdoor world and the country music world all at the same time. If I could write the perfect job description for myself it would be for my current position.”
John Anderson
Moving Up!: “Have you ever been ‘star struck’ and by who?”
Liz: “Not really... At each of my jobs I have been around and worked with celebrities but I have a very different way of thinking about it. To me, they are just my co-workers. Although, backstage at the CMT Awards I did pass John Anderson in the hallway and that made my night.”
(Moving Up! Note: John Anderson is a REAL country music star and classic country music he has over 40 singles on Billboard in his 30+ years of music including songs like “Swinging” “Wild and Blue” “Straight Tequila Night” For more modern music lovers he co-wrote John Rich’s 2009 hit song “Shutting Detroit Down”.)  
Liz continuing: “A quote that really helps puts things in perspective and that I love from C.S. Lewis is, “He who has God and everything else, has no more than he who has God only.” With that said, I can appreciate someone’s talent but I’m never going to be a person who idolizes celebrities. I just figure, most of us have to work for a living so I might as well do something with my career that I’ll enjoy.”
Moving Up!: “Luke Bryan! I know you said you wouldn’t go into detail about the celebrities but how does it feel to be one of the most envied girls in America who gets paid to be around him?”
Well we all just like to look at Luke!
Liz: “Haha! I hear that at every show from the fans I meet. He’s a pretty popular guy.”
Moving Up!: “You are/have worked for three big name companies; did you ever imagine working for any of them?”
Liz: “I always had big goals when it came to my career. I visited Nashville for the first time in my Junior year of college. Before then, I really had no idea what exactly I wanted to do. I saw George Jones play at the Ryman and that was pretty much it for me….. I knew I wanted to move to town. I then set my sights on an internship with CMT. I was chosen by two departments but in the end Special Events seemed like a better fit for me. I got the call late in December on my way to take a final and accepted the position (needless to say, I didn’t do too hot on my final haha). I moved to Nashville 2 weeks later. I guess to answer your question in the longest way possible, haha- I’ve always had big dreams and I just go for them because I don’t ever want to wake up one day and wish I had tried. With all of these jobs, I have no doubt that, God has a plan for all of us. For me, all of these experiences are part of his plan.”
Moving Up!: “What has been your favorite event to work so far?”
Liz: “I would have to say the CMT Awards. In 2009 a few friends and myself went to the CMA Fest in Nashville, which is always the day before or the day after the CMT Awards. After the Fest, we all watched the CMT awards, just like I do every year and have since I was pretty young. So in 2010 I had a moment when I was backstage at the awards and it just hit me- Wow, last year at this time I was in my pj’s watching this show and had no idea I would be working backstage the very next year! Moments like those just make me realize my hard work has paid off and that I am very blessed to be given these opportunities.”
 Moving Up!: “Clearly it’s not easy living away from the Village and the family, but you are moving to Denver for your new position. What’s living in a “big city” in a whole different geological regions like?”
Liz: “I’m not moving to Denver until the end of April. However, I am really excited to meet new people and start a new adventure. Living in Nashville was a great experience. Coming from a village of 300 and knowing the name of every person in town… was a little out of my comfort zone to not know who anyone in a big city (except for Megan Taake’s sister and brother-in-law, Jake Maurer go check out his music- great stuff! Although, when/if I get married and want to start a family I will not be raising my children in a city!”
Moving Up!: “What’s something you look forward to as far as your new job with Cabela’s this year?”
Liz: “We are doing an event in a couple weeks in Vegas for the ACM Awards so I am pretty excited about that. Be sure to tune into the show on April 7th to see the footage.”
Moving Up!: “If Cabela’s is sending you on hunts do you yourself actually get to do some hunting? And if so is there any big game you expect to be pursuing anytime soon?”
Liz: “I do! I’m so excited about that because I’ve never actually shot at an animal, just clays. I believe the first hunt is going to be a turkey hunt sometime within the next couple months. I need to start doing some target practice! As far as big game…. I think I’ll just start with turkeys…. But I do think a big-o deer head would look great in my new apartment!”
(Moving Up! Note: Liz Duggan! How? What?! Why? If I didn’t know better that would have Yuppie girl written all over it! You’ve never shot at an animal… the things you learn! Glad at least Cabela’s can get you to remedy that problem! =] … Also, fans of Duck Dynasty and Phil note that ‘Yuppie’ is actually a real word. I discovered this when Microsoft Word didn’t yell at me with a red squiggly line.)
Moving Up!: “You have worked with a lot of big household names – does it ever become natural? I mean we all assume their people just like us, but are they really?”
Liz: “They really are. Not all the aspects of their lives are as glamorous as one would think. I guess you could say it’s natural. I just try to treat everyone I meet, celebrity or not, with the same respect.”
Moving Up!: “What has been your most horrifying experience working these big events so far?”
Liz: “I really don’t have too many horrifying stories…. Although, I had a pretty crazy one. I won’t mention which job it was or any names. It was the day of an event and I had to pick up an important person and take them to the event. A lot of streets were closed off and I had to flash my credential to get into most of the streets. The person I was driving was in a hurry and we were going through very tight spaces in order to get them to the event and they kept wanting me to go faster…. I was only going about 10 or 15  but I was trying to get in between these two big dump trucks. There was a guy who was hopped up on the side of one of them, and was grabbing something out of the back….. well, he hopped down and landed right on my car. Moral of the story is: I basically hit someone while chauffeuring a big shot. I have nervous laughter so I’m sure that seemed pretty inappropriate at the time haha! The dude I hit had dreadlocks all the way down his back. I asked if he was okay and he just said, “No worries”. Haha”
No worries… be happy!

Monday, March 11, 2013

18 & "Who the Hell Knows?"

18 years old means freedom to many. But most importantly it just means we get the hell out of Dodge or in translation- high school graduation. (Which by the way, I don’t care what anyone says, those days are not your best days and you will never just miss them. High school sucks. End of story).
Anyways, leaving high school leaves you with a problem that everyone expects you to be able to answer by the time you toss your hat up into the air at graduation. “What are you going to do with your life?”
It’s quiet funny actually, that the Twilight Saga would give such a perfect example of how most our age feel at this question – “Who the hell knows?” Those were the words that Bella and Edward’s valedictorian ended her speech with and I feel the exact same way.
All through high school I had a plan: go to school in Springfield, IL at Lincoln Land for two years and then transfer to a four year university to finish my degree in agriculture business. Somewhere my senior year that plan changed and I decided to stay home and attend my local community college Lewis and Clark for a degree in business.
But like everyone knows of teenagers- we have a lot of growing up to do- and by the time most of us are a year out of high school, we figure that out for ourselves.
If you have read much of this blog you know of my own background, losing my Jason at such an early age. But I had met him just two days before I started my second semester of college, and my first semester on campus. And in a few months I realized my heart was totally gone and so we had started making plans.
First off, college had to go. I couldn’t just up and quit my job, I needed the money after all you couldn’t get a house and get married and start a family with no money. And of course I figured I needed an education but college was boring me and the thought of spending another few minutes in my classes made me want to shot myself. In all honesty I was burnt out. I had started classes just three days after graduation and had been going without a break ever since. (And I was tired of it taking up time that I couldn’t see Jason).
But I knew I couldn’t just quit college (at the time) so I changed degrees, hoping that by deciding to be a paralegal would be a better choice for me. Community colleges are limited and I wasn’t leaving Jason so I switched programs started doing all my classes online and hoped for the best.
Epic fail.
I detested it and during that semester changed from working at Wal-Mart Sporting Goods to being a teller at a local credit union. Better pay, better hours, hated it more. I remember driving to work one day and seeing a boy I had been in FFA with – and who runs his own haying  business- on his tractor. It was a beautiful spring day, everyone was in the fields or fishing our being outdoors with the critters and I was dressed in fancy office clothes and going to work.
I wanted to cry. And even more so a few hours later when another local farm boy and former blue and gold wearer came in to make his truck payment. He had been in the tractor and was talking about how much he and his family had gotten planted that day. Once again it had been so long since I had been out of agriculture I felt lost in the conversation yet longed to be back there.
That summer I didn’t enroll to take college classes, I didn’t know what I wanted to do and then followed it up that fall by taking another semester off. I had things to straighten out and by that fall had re-enrolled at Lewis and Clark for this spring semester to be in medical billing and coding.
See I already knew I wanted to write and be in agriculture but there were no programs like that around here. I had flirted with the idea of enrolling at the University of Phoenix (and still am) to take courses in communications and journalism later on. But I needed a job that would bring in some half way decent money.
However before I could finalize my enrollment Jason was killed and there was no way in hell I was going back to school less than two months later. It just wasn’t happening.
Now here I sit. Middle of March- four months after Jason died- trying to put my life back together. Trying to find out where I am going and who I will be now that my former dreams are shot to hell. I still don’t have any answers. I just ‘keep on keepin on,’ sound’s good enough for the moment.
And in ‘keepin’ on’ I have been spending more time out with our friends at the bar, where it feels like he still there and alive and well inside his friends who act just as ridiculous as he did. While standing outside the local bar this weekend I overheard part of one of them drunk conversations that sound completely stupid and yet make a lot of sense. One boy was telling his friend that it was stupid to have to know who you were at eighteen and go to college because you were only going to either change your mind a hundred times or be miserable. After all we are still growing up – clearly- and in growing up we change more than we will ever know.
That’s all true. At 18 how are we supposed to know? We’re fresh from high school and are just now getting our feet wet in the real world. Most of us haven’t worked jobs or anything besides food service to know much about what is really out there. If we are supposed to grow up that means we have a lot of changing to do. Interests change and dreams change and lives change in those few short years following high school. Wouldn’t it be a better idea if we all took a two year mandatory break from school and then it be mandatory to go back to college (for at least a year) because then we would know who we wanted to be and would be more likely not to change our programs so many times?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Take Back the Jersey Shore

Rediscovered First Year College Paper
Everyone knows of the Jersey Shore main characters Snookie, JWOWW, Mike “The Situation”, and DJ Pauly D. Even those who don’t watch the show see the names and faces of these people splattered everywhere: talk shows, the news, and on the magazine covers that line the grocery store check-out lanes. The fact that these people are household names poses a problem. While many people follow MTV’s Jersey Shore and addictively watch every episode, not many people consider that the cast’s actions are an embarrassment which should not be aired on television.
The Jersey Shores most embarrassing action is their sex lives. Many parents face the constant fret of their teenage child participating in sexual relations, especially casual ones, before he or she is ready, yet they do not spend enough time protesting the acceptance of casual sex on television. The “smush room” is one of the most wide known pieces of the Jersey Shore cast home and therefore the show. A room that is strictly dedicated to the casual sexual affairs of the casts members that serves its purpose well. The fact that Snookie herself will only disinfect the “smush room” while wearing plastic covering her entire body, including her face, (no one ever said Snookie was smart). Perhaps even worse than the “smush room” is something the creator SallyAnn Salsano said when asked if any of the casts members had contradicted STDs from their loose relations, her response was she does STD tests on the cast members regularly and that the cast is handed Valtrex, used to treat genital herpes, like they are “M&M’s”.
Next, the Shore members are also known for their immense partying, as the entire purpose of the show. The clubbing and often un-responsible drinking are showcased regularly on the episodes and in off seasons in tabloids. Snookie is famous for flashing complete strangers after having one too many drinks. Many of times the girls are caught by paparazzi, in photo shoots, or proudly out in public showing off their bodies in revealing bikinis and sometimes in clothing that is just as revealing. Even clothing lines like Abercrombie and Fitch have offered to pay the star Michael “The Situation” Sorrentino not to wear their merchandise as they feel his behavior would hurt the company’s reputation.
 Also, since Jersey Shore members are considered “celebrities” they are treated as such. JWOWW called off in order to get her nails done, and upon telling her boss this she gets away with it because after all, it’s all on camera. The average American would probably have been fired over this. Snookie was arrested recently following wrecking into a police car. She was not intoxicated at the time but she has been arrested for drunken disorderly conduct on more than one occasion. Ronnie, another cast member, has been arrested for outstanding tickets. The coverage their arrests received only got them more free publicity and the fines are always quickly taken care of and they return to their lives doing exactly what they did before. No amount of fines would change the cast’s unruly ways as the arrests are not uncommon among Shore members.
If parents would be mortified by their children acting like these Shore cast members how do we promote it and allow our children to watch and simply add to the stereotype that American teenagers and young people are just that stupid. When Jersey Shore went to Italy to film I am sure that they even dumbed down our reputation more as the world got a few more laughs at them Americans.