But starting in the first part of June my title will be Executive Vice President of Marketing and Outreach.
I know, right?
For real, though, I've accepted a new job. I'm going to be the Executive Vice President of Marketing and Outreach for a sincerely fantastic non-profit organization called Modest Needs.
Modest Needs is a charity that, rather than getting people out of financial trouble, prevents them from getting into that trouble in the first place. Modest Needs is the only charity that allows you to donate to individuals on a one-to-one basis--choosing the person or organization that you directly want to help out. It's a lauded organization started by a former professor at my university. In fact, when he launched Modest Needs eight years ago I put a link to the venture on Metafilter. I've been a cheerleader for Modest Needs since Day One (save for that single dubiousness I expressed to the founder when he initially ran the idea by me--sorry for being a Debbie Doubter, Keith!)
This means that I am no longer going to be a news blogger, blog producer, professional blogger, or however you want to describe what I have done for about five years now. While I will be blogging for Modest Needs as part of my role, the position of EVP of Marketing and Outreach will encompass a whole lot more. I will be in charge of promoting Modest Needs primarily online, but also offline, to the best of my abilities. This means I get to decide how best to use the internet to spread the good word about a charity that I fully believe in--the sky's the limit in terms of how I do this or how far it goes. To say that I am excited and overwhelmed by the prospect would be a vast understatement. I get to work from home, make my own hours and work toward promoting something that makes the world a better place.
Am I sad that I will no longer be blogging from a newsroom? Yeah. In a way. It was how I started this career that has suddenly taken a new trajectory, and it has served me well. Recently, before I knew I'd be leaving news blogging, a doctor asked me if I liked my job. I blurted out almost immediately, "I love my job." And that is the truth. It is a blessing and a joy to do what I do day in and day out.
That said, I'm tired. The constant 9-5 publishing of content--even content that primarily links to others' content--can be draining. It will wear you down. It is safe to say I got burned out on news blogging.
That doesn't mean I am not forever grateful to both WKRN and KPIX for allowing me the opportunity to do something not many others get to do--sling opinion and links without an editor. Both stations put a lot of trust in me, and I won't soon forget that. WKRN gave me my break, and KPIX moved me out to my new home in California. Thank yous will never be enough.
My last day writing Eye on Blogs will be Friday. Then I board a plane to Tennessee to see family and friends for a week. Then I fly back to San Francisco the following Monday to unpack, then repack, because on Tuesday I will be in Manhattan for 6 days for my initial week at Modest Needs.
It's all too much, but I relish every morsel.
Onward and upward and all that stuff.
UPDATE: I will have lots, lots, lots more to say about all this, but if I said it all now this would not be a blog post it would be a non-fiction tome. More to come for sure.
It is very concerned with image. And differences. And the more you embrace diversity, the cooler you are, which is cool, I guess, but in trying to be inclusive and edgy and a worldly person of concern it creates a distance between the people who live here.
The city is full of pods of particular types of people. The city loves recognizing this aloud and often.
Her legs were crossed in the aisle, her hands primly folded in her lap. Her head hung, but her chin did not rest on her chest. Instead her skull bounced around with each bump the bus took like an apple attached to the end of a pipe cleaner. Long strings of drool slipped from her parted mouth and onto her blouse.
"Is she okay?"
A young man in a worn Red Sox hat was asking the bus driver about the young woman. The driver waved his hand at the Sox fan. I couldn't hear if he responded.The young man took his seat all the while shaking his head.
I watched more saliva fall from her face.
The half a dozen passengers on board all looked in her direction from time to time to see her head springing around on her neck.
She was far, far away. Her legs and hands were still crossed when I got off.
Left on Funston and to the park. Cool and breezy, my run left me with just a smear of sweat. After the time was up I walked to regain my breath and saw the prettiest pastel sunset, a western San Francisco tableau come and gone.
"It's beautiful, isn't it?," a woman asked without waiting for an answer. She rode a bike with a basket filled with flowers, and she didn't seem real. "It is!," I called after her, but I am certain she did not hear me.
And then it was over, through, off to prepare to do it again another day.
The 38-L and I met at a very opportunistic time, and I boarded a very, very crowded bus. I stomped out a spot with my giant overnight bag looped over my head and grabbed a bar. It was going to be a bumpy ride.
At Presidio a man in a truck drove alongside the heaving bus, a cat in his lap. At first I thought I had been mistaken, but no. That was a cat. Sitting in the driver's lap, its head out the window, whipping around, taking in all the sights.
"That is a cat in that person's lap."
I had to say it aloud.
A blonde girl with round cheeks did not look at me, but said, "That is a cat in that person's lap."
"I just had to say it out loud," I repeated verbally.
"I used to live in San Diego and there a man would ride his bike along the beach with a cat just CLINGING to his back. The cat always looked miserable, but it was out there every day."
I imagine the cat was indeed miserable.
At Divisadero more people climbed on at each entrance, the bus swelling with riders.
"I am not going anywhere until that back door is closed," said an exasperated driver. "I will sit here all day."
Someone's mom, no doubt, started barking orders. "Move up, move back, move up, move back," until the doors finally closed. "Cool!," she shouted, once the bus lurched forward.
An old man coughed and spit on the floor.
This morning I found all the places in SF that offer specials or mayoral freebies, and before I could make a list, Sugerman was rushing me out the door.
"We are gonna go get the mayor, let's go."
"Yeah, we gotta hurry, he's at Mojo."
Mayor Newsom was at the public groundbreaking for a new parklet on Divisadero. (Check me out in the last picture of the post I just linked to, posing for the cameraman to my left [your right] as if I belong there.) Since one of the big features of Foursquare are the mayorships you can earn from checking in, Sugerman thought it would be humorous to introduce me, the Mayor of Hamburger Haven on Foursquare, to Gavin Newsom, the Mayor of San Francisco.
I thought immediately of Beth Spotswood, wished like hell I could beam her over, then grabbed my makeup bag and phone and hit the van. I Twittered where I was going, and Beth replied, "Give him my sluttiest regards," which gave me all sorts of ideas.
Rick, the photographer drove, I sat in the passenger seat, and Sugerman sat on a not-so-secure chair in the back. To put it lightly. We high-tailed it over to Divisadero to Mojo Cafe, where traffic on one side was down to one lane, and dozens of people gathered around the Man with the Hair.
I snapped a photo of the back of the mayor, because I thought that might be as close as we'd get:
It was very thrilling.
We all parked, got out, and I was given an IFB. I was wearing a dress with no belt to speak of, so Sugerman just clipped the thing to a gathering of the skirt's fabric. Rick the photographer saw the danger in this, and suggested I attach the pack to my boot. I did so, ran the cord up my dress and clipped on the mic. I had done that before, but never in preparation to meet the mayor. Like I said, thrilling.
It was a gorgeous, gorgeous day out--sunny and 70--and so I stood in the street waiting to meet Gavin.
"Hamburger Haven, right?" Sugerman was confirming my mayorship on Foursquare. That is when it sunk in that I would meet Mayor Newsom and be introduced as the head of hamburgers. Momentarily considered backing out.
Everybody and their mama has to talk at these groundbreaking things. Even a four year old got a nod for helping pick the type of trees. While we waited for them to finish, Rick kept pushing me closer and closer to Gavin, whose aura was radiating. He was striking poses for the many, many cameras, and waving at cute girls in tank tops hanging out of bay windows to get a look. He was owning that little parklet with his charisma.
"Stand right behind him and look stoic." Rick was directing me. "Now look this way, and hold it."
Soon he had gotten that footage and I set to taking photos with my phone. I kept clicking away, Gavin always turning his head away at the last second when the photographer said, "Do that again."
So I took another photo of Gavin. He let me finish then looked at me and said, "No, go stand behind him again."
I laughed loudly at thinking he wanted footage of my taking a photo of the mayor, which was laughter that came when the speaker was asking everyone to thank someone for something, and so everyone turned to see who thought that was so funny. Including Newsom. He turned right around and looked at the girl who guffawed.
Soon enough the speeches were through, and right away Sugerman got Newsom's attention.
"Mayor Newsom, I would like to introduce you to Brittney Gilbert, the Mayor of Hamburger Haven."
This was actually happening. I was just introduced to this man as the mayor of Hamburger Haven.
He smiled broadly, probably glad he wasn't getting blindsided by political reporter questions, and said, "Madame Mayor, it's an honor."
He totally played along. He asked me how long it took to become mayor, and how I so quickly won the seat. I told him I had a strong platform of hamburgers and fries, and he said, "Nothing else? No milkshakes?"
It was kind of awesome.
Then he asked me when the next election was, and I told him that by staying on message I had already fought off plenty of contenders. He laughed and shook my hand and was very funny and gracious, with a little smarm thrown in for good measure.
You gotta see the man's hair up close. I bet he has stock in LA Looks.
I parted from him before realizing I had failed to send him Beth's regards, and totally regretted it. I was under the spell of the 'do.
After that we took off to Hamburger Haven where we taped an interview with me over someone's half-full dirty breakfast plates. Mike Sugerman pretended to be my bodyguard and announced me as Mayor to the entire diner.
Beat sitting at the desk all day.[Cropped photo from Streetsblog.]
Cheap dim sum instead of cheap burritos.
Strollers instead of fixed gear bicycles.Asian neighbors instead of Hispanic neighbors.
More car traffic. Less foot traffic.
Beaches and green grass and parks and water instead of concrete and murals and graffiti and grit.
Regular versus Super Hip.
Quiet nights instead of loud ones.
Shorter blocks instead of long ones.Less BART. More bus.
Little yards instead of front door gates.
Some bars instead of tons of bars.
Feeling a sense of place versus trying too hard to fit in.
I did not believe him. Four stories?
Turns out, it was indeed four stories:
I got off the 38-L at Battery and Market, like you do, and waited patiently for the little lighted man to tell me it was okay to walk. In the middle of the crosswalk was a BMW. The driver had tried to make the light, but failed, and was now stranded in the area designated for pedestrians. It happens.
But as those of us on two feet began streaming across the walkway, the BMW began backing up.
Driver people of Earth, if you find yourself embarrassingly stuck in a crosswalk, do not try to make it better by backing up. There are people walking back there, since, ya know, it's a cross walk.
Needless to say at this point, I was nearly backed over by a high-performance German automobile.
So, the high-performance German automobile got a nice fist punch to the side panel. It was a satisfying and life-saving punch.
Still reeling for being nearly run down, I stopped for a coffee at Peet's. I got said coffee, and began dressing it up at the condiment counter. Soy milk, Splenda and a little sprinkle of cinnamon. It was perfectly prepared when North Face to my right grew impatient and reached over me for a napkin, sending my coffee cartwheeling to the floor. It sprayed all over my dress.
He apologized profusely, while I dabbed pointlessly at my clothing with napkins. Staff members came out with clean towels and warm water. One perky barista looked at me with pitiful eyes and said, "I hate it when the coffee fights back."
That's when I knew that they employees thought I spilled the coffee, which pissed me off more than having the coffee spilled.
"It wasn't me!," I wanted to scream.
But there are babies buried in rubble and starving dogs and grandmothers losing their minds, and I was not a pile of broken bones on Market Street, so I just dusted off the shreds of paper napkin from my dress and went to work.