If goosebumps were dollars…

Howdy.

So I said no weekend posts, but I don’t really have too much to do this time because my direct deposit never went through. It’s the fourth of July weekend, so there’s no one in the HR department at work and the bank is closed. I’m pretty much SOL. Thankfully, I let my mom know about this on Friday when it suspiciously didn’t show up, so she had time to lend me a quick hundred bucks that I promised I’d pay back once we get this thing figured out. It’ll get me through the weekend for sure, but I’ve gotta sacrifice going out pretty much until Monday. Drinks are so god damn expensive here I can pretty much only afford one day, and of course, that’s going to be the fourth. I was planning on having a cold $800 (give or take) on my card, so it was going to get pretty rowdy. Unfortunately, that won’t happen. Maybe that’s good though, I’m sure I’m going to find it easier to hold onto cash when it isn’t a big party weekend.

I worked my balls off this week (46 hours). I’ve got friends that claim to log 50 hour weeks doing landscaping or moving or whatever, but I feel that my job can hold a candle to those. Sure, I’m inside and I get to enjoy the luxury of air conditioning, free vending machines and cold beer starting at 3 on Fridays. However, it’s not all daisies and daffodils; being a journalist is hard. I never walk out sweating or sore, but my mind does for sure. I feel like I make it a bit harder for myself, too, because I’m so young and I have this ridiculously huge opportunity at such a big publication. I’ve made friends with reporters that have worked for places like the New York Times and Vibe magazine, which means I have to be hauling ass at ALL times so I leave these people with a good impressions. I pretty much almost shit myself when I heard that I’d gotten an internship at Huffington because I’m so young. If I continue to work harder than every single intern in the office (which, not being cocky, but I’m pretty sure I’m doing) I might be able to come back next summer. If not, I’d have a handful of people who I’ve worked with that could hopefully tell their old editors at other publications about me. HuffPo is an absolutely massive publication (Arianna, my boss, sold it for $315 million to AOL) and that’s a crazy name to have on my resume, and as long as I impress my editor and Saki, I’d win the trust of other publications. This job isn’t just re-filling coffee pots and shining shoes; I’ve got to outwork every single person there to make sure this isn’t just a one-time deal.

So that’s basically why I haven’t been as consistent in updating my blog in the past week. I can’t promise I’m going to get better at it though, because things are going to pick up starting Tuesday.

My job, technically, is to help Saki with whatever he wants. I mentioned that I’m helping him with a severely sketchy story recently…sketchy in the sense of I was willing to do the days of research and withhold my byline just because I didn’t want to get thrown in the line of fire. There’s been a dramatic turn of events behind the scenes of this story — a very exciting change of events. I spent about three days chasing down sources and gathering research (which, after you read the story, you’ll realize the details are VERY difficult to understand) until we finally found our golden ticket. To be honest, I didn’t think we were going to find a source like we did, but we did. These people are insanely hard to get in touch with (not even kidding, I’m sure I could have found Jesus Christ’s cell phone number and bank statements easier) but I made a lucky phone call and the man directed me to the right guy; a guy who personally knows EVERYONE we want. I’m still a padawan though, so Saki’s going to take the reins from here and I’m going to help when needed and watch the process. After this all happened, we went to some Swedish or German (I don’t know, but it was pretty fucking European) dive bar for a beer after work. He explained the direction he wants to take with our angle now, and I’m so excited. I couldn’t have been assigned to a better reporter, either. I have never savvied myself as a newspaper reporter because I feel like I’ve always excelled in telling very in-depth and thought-provoking feature stories, profiles or “think-pieces” (I’ve made an Almost Famous reference in like 20 posts so far, why stop now?). This is EXACTLY the kind of story I want to be involved with; an 8,000 word hair-raising, white-knuckle, pen-still-writing-as-bullets-whiz-by story.

The initial reason that I was so scared of having my name on this piece was because I knew that we were surely going to get a few things wrong (because we couldn’t talk to anyone involved), and you do NOT want to piss these people off. We’re going to have concrete facts straight from the horse’s mouth — and even if we don’t talk to some of them — we’ll still be able to say we tried and they won’t be able to justifiably get pissed. Plus, I’ve given so much time and effort to this thing, I feel like I’d be shooting myself in the foot if I pussed out and pulled my name. I just don’t think I was actually ready (even though I always said I was) to be looking down the barrel of the investigative journalism gun. I’d be a god damn moron if I backed out of this one, because this is what it’s all about.

Disclaimer: I’m still very sorry that I can’t tell you what this story’s about, why it’s dangerous, what our new angle is, etc. I hope you understand, but I do want to make something clear before it comes out. I’m very good at hyping things up just as I’m doing for this. There will be very few of you (probably just my Dad because he’s the only person I know that will understand all of the details of the story) that will legitimately find this story hair-raisingly compelling. It’s going to be long as hell, but I hope that my thoughts leading up to its conception will help you understand it better. My goal is to build this thing up for everyone so those who don’t care about the topic (I can’t even say exactly that I would read this thing if I hadn’t helped write it) will know what went on behind-the-scenes. Hopefully that makes it a bit more interesting, because frankly, this whole topic is so gripping to me because I’m personally knowledgeable about its danger. Saki and I are tackling this thing with a very specific game plan: “take a story that has been very widely covered, but without much depth or even quotes, and make it relatable to the average person.” Hopefully it will do that for you, and I can’t wait to tell the whole story after it gets published and we don’t have to be secretive anymore.

Felt like I owed you an explanation. But that’s enough about work.

"Hey, you in the black and white blouse...lighten up, will ya?"

I went to Times Square today (because I had nothing to do; they closed the gym for the whole weekend, which is bullshit). What a tourist trap…never again. I saw this guy too…I can’t decide whether to be mad at him or not:

You're wearing that on 4th of July weekend? Come on, vato.

Chicharito (The first Mexican ever to play for my father and I’s beloved club, Manchester United) is my new favorite player in the world, for sure. He has such a good attitude and smooth technique, but he plays for the Mexican National Team. I’m half-mexican, don’t get me wrong — and that’s why my dad and I love this guy — but I don’t like El Tri unless it’s the World Cup and the U.S. has already been eliminated (or we’re in another group). Mexico just shat all over the US a week ago, so I’m still bitter about it. But, it’s Chicharito…I don’t know. I’m just going to forget about it.

I really, really miss the midwest this weekend though. Every time I see one of those douche-y eurotrash hipsters wearing a deep V-neck and cut-off jean shorts (with the bottoms rolled up above the knee) I wish I was back at home lighting off a whole bunch of dangerous shit and sipping cold ones with the friends and family. I’m no country music connoisseur, but growing up in the BV area acclimated me to the beauty of it. I’ve been listening to it a lot lately, considering it’s America’s birthday. It reminds me of home, too, because they don’t like that stuff here.

Here’s a solid one for ya. Even if you don’t like country, I have a feeling you’ll dig this song (as I do).

Speaking of fireworks, look on the Huffington Post frontpage on the Fourth of July. I’m going to get my first frontpage story ever (I only got one in high school…I don’t count it…). Look for “Booming Business” and click on it. That’s it.

 

All the best
AJ

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