Friday, December 31, 2010

Indian Education

The nice thing about attending a liberal arts university is you get the chance to take classes outside of your major. This past fall I took my first Native American Studies class and while it was a challenging the course was rewarding. The class dealt with the post-reservation era in Montana and taking this class was partially for enjoyment. I also took the class to explore the complex issues affecting Montana tribes and this will hopefully make me a better rounded journalist.

Dr. Beck, the chair of the Native Studies department, taught the class and his wealth of knowledge made learning very interesting. We explored the history of each Montana tribe and the contemporary issues playing a role yet today. It was nice to spend time on each tribe and I was surprised at how complex many issues were. Issues relating to water rights and tribal self-determination were especially complex.

During the semester our class gave team presentations on each reservation. We had the individual responsibility of covering an issue unique to our specific reservation. I addressed the epidemic of Indian suicide on the Fort Peck reservation, which is located in Northeast Montana. It was difficult subject matter to tackle but I felt it was a critical issue to understand. My research was quite extensive and this allowed me to put together an awesome PowerPoint.

There are few classes I hate to see end but this was certainly one of those. I learned an incredible amount and have a much greater respect for American Indians. This spring I’m taking another Native Studies class and it deals with the portrayal of Indians in American cinema.

I want to wish everyone a very Happy New Year and all the best in 2011! The year ahead looks to be very exciting and I look forward to sharing it with each of you.

Peace… Mark

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!

You may have thought my blog was lost in the digital abyss but it is very much alive! The busy fall semester of 2010 is in the books and it was a satisfying experience academically. I’ll begin things here by recapping my start in the professional program at the UM School of Journalism.

I was excited to begin my foray into online reporting but the prospect scared the hell out of me a little too. The class turned out to be a great experience and I had the opportunity to work on a collaborative project for Our class explored food/agriculture issues unfolding in the Rocky Mountain West during the semester. The group I was part of tackled agricultural decline and attempts to revitalize the current situation.

I covered the history and impacts of agricultural decline in eastern Montana and Colorado. It was a daunting task to construct this story but I had tremendous luck in gathering informative sources. The whole story process was invaluable and I was quite happy with how everything turned out.

Our class had five groups that explored different areas of the food economy and our work will appear on, an online news source covering issues in the Rocky Mountain West. It’s exciting that NewWest is giving us the room to run a 5-day series on their web site. I’ll put my story up here when it appears.

My other journalism class was less exciting but it taught the basics of print editing and the extensive AP style method. The experience was tough but in the end I developed skills that will serve me well in the future. I learned that editors do a ton of work and it is something I respect but really don’t have a passion for. Personally I find reporting to be where I would like to focus.

I took a Native American studies class, which I thoroughly enjoyed but more on that after Christmas.

Recently I discovered a new social media tool that is a cross between Facebook and Twitter. It’s called Tumblr and I really like the simple format it uses. I’ll use my Tumblr page to put up stories & photos I find interesting along with some lighter stuff as well. You can view it by visiting:

Well that’s it for now but I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas! Have a safe weekend and I will return in a few days with a wrap on the rest of the fall semester.



Friday, August 27, 2010

Birthday bash

Every once in awhile we get to have those perfect days. Days where all is right with the world and nothing can seem to go wrong. I was lucky enough to have a day like this twelve days ago when I celebrated my 35th birthday with friends and family.

My parents planned to be in Missoula this year for my birthday and I thought it would be fun to have a get together while they were in town. Theresa and I planned a picnic for my folks and many of our Missoula friends. It ended up being a fantastic event and a chance for people to gather before fall arrives.

We had ribs, chicken, salads, along with some great adult libations. Not to worry the kids had soda and water to drink ☺ Theresa thought she was being quite funny by putting a sheep on my cake as you can see in the picture HA HA HA There is a story that goes along with my cake motif but you’ll have to ask Theresa about that!

It was awesome having T’s grand daughter Aleah and our nurse Casey’s kids in attendance. They are all so cute and man are they getting so darn big. Aleah was kinda shy but Casey’s boys sure warmed up to everyone.

Piper, Casey’s oldest boy is six and he lives to play pranks. Well Theresa bought Jelly Belly jelly beans for the party but she bought Piper some “special” look-alikes that were in a word noxious. He laughed so hard giving me these nasty confections. The jelly beans were disguised as normal Jelly Belly’s but they were flavors that included: skunk spray, pencil shavings, dog food, toothpaste, baby wipes, rotten eggs, and centipede. Hey at least I was given some normal ones in between.

Well I’ve rambled enough but I would like to thank everyone who was involved in my special day. Having my parents here was the best birthday present I could ask for. Sometime this weekend I will blog about the rest of my parent’s recent visit.

Peace… Mark

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Wow it’s been a busy but amazing summer and I apologize for the lack of blogging activity. Things are going great in Missoula and I just had a very nice visit with my parents. There will be a blog about that soon but in the meantime here’s one about our first visit to the weekly Mountain Pugs meetup here in town. I hope everyone of you is having a fantastic summer and I promise that my blog will be busy before the start of fall.

The Missoulian recently published an article about Mountain Pugs, a locally based Pug owner group that meets weekly at Missoula’s Bark Park. We got very excited after reading this because we’ve been looking for a way to network with other area Pug nuts for a long time. Well about ten days ago we braved the unknown and under went our initiation in local Pug culture.

Theresa and I pulled up near Bark Park with Sammy and Ugga not knowing what craziness lay in store for the four of us. We turned onto the trail leading into the park and met the owners of Bam Bam, an enormous thirty eight pound muscular Pug. We walked and talked while Bam Bam playfully chased after Ugga. It turns out they were all making their first visit to the group too.

I wound my way to the meeting spot, maneuvering my chair around bumps and low hanging tree branches. We finally arrived at a shady area where all the other members were congregating with their curly tailed furkids. I looked to the right, I looked to the left, and all I could see were PUGS. There were fawns, blacks, little Pugs, big Pugs, young Pugs, old Pugs, and even a few Puggles thrown in for good measure. Ugga was quickly off to socialize with the others but things were quite different with our Sammy.

Sammy is usually if not always Mr. Outgoing at home but in the presence of all these strange Pugs, he became a big shy guy. He initially wanted Theresa to hold him but after a few minutes he cautiously checked out his surroundings. He didn’t venture very far from the security of his mama though. Sammy will definitely be making more meetups so he can learn to better socialize with his furry brethren.

I’ve included some of my favorite pictures from the meetup. The second picture is of a sweet Pug named Polly. Little Miss Polly slowly made her way up to me at first, woofing at the mysterious contraption I was seated in. Her owner then brought her up for a closer look and I was immediately given a few gentle pug kisses. I was sure smitten with Polly and can’t wait to see her next time.

The final picture is of our Ugga. We brought along a water dish for our kids but it didn’t hold Ugga’s interest very long. She was wandering around and thought this dish looked much more inviting than hers. Nothing like your Pug lounging in another dog’s dish. Oh well nobody minded at all because we were all there to get away from the grind and smile at life for awhile.

We had a great time meeting over 50 Pugs and their wonderful owners (or people as I like to say). I look forward to many more meetups in the future and getting to know many new friends both furry and human. My life has been so enriched by these snorty, silly, and bug-eyed creatures and it’s amazing to be around others who couldn’t agree more.



Thursday, July 08, 2010

Slower pace

Life here in Missoula has slowed down after summer school wrapped and I've started enjoying summertime. It feels good to have had a successful summer class and there was so much I was able to learn.

I've attached a copy of my final project and I couldn't be happier with my first attempt at non-linear video editing. The process leading up to the final selected video was pretty intense because we only had five weeks to learn everything. This included many hours gathering video & interviews, researching, and editing it all together. Hope your enjoy the story I was able to assemble.

The best part of the class was working with our professor Kagan. He made the class not only informative but fun too. The real world knowledge we gathered will serve many of us well in our future careers in journalism. Gets me excited to begin the professional program in the fall.

The transition from school to vacation has been fabulous and it's great to unwind a little bit. I plan on enjoying my time off and I have a few plans. This weekend our friend Julie from New Hampshire is flying in for a visit. She plans on checking out the U for grad school and it will be fun showing off what western Montana has to offer. My folks are coming out for a visit in August for my birthday as well. Summer will end on a high note as Theresa, Dustin, and I will catch The John Mellencamp/Bob Dylan concert here in town.

Hope everyone's summer is going great and hopefully I'll be back with another update real soon.


Sunday, June 06, 2010

Adventures in Television

Tuesday morning I wheeled myself into UM Disability Services (DSS) to start work on my first television production project. I met up with my professor Kagan to begin shooting the B roll footage for my final project.

My story deals with the expansion of DSS to better serve students with disabilities here at the University of Montana. The B roll portion of footage I shot last Tuesday will supplement the interviews I will shoot this coming week. I will lastly edit everything together into a cohesive story by using Final Cut Pro. If things go as planned, hopefully it will end up on my blog in a few weeks.

Kagan arrived shortly after I did and the work was set to begin. Before it was time to work though, I had to run through my mental checklist. Operating a television camera is somewhat complex and it requires following numerous procedures. You first have to get the tripod level before attaching the camera or all your footage will be crooked and unusable. Next you have to white balance the camera so your colors will look like they are supposed to. You need to white balance the camera each time the lighting or shooting environment changes. Now the camera iris must be set to let in the right amount of light for the conditions. It’s similar to an f-stop on a still camera so it wasn’t a huge deal to learn. The last thing left to do is focus the camera and adjust the audio levels.

I wanted to get a feel for what was going on around the DSS offices because I felt it was important
to the telling of my story. This involved shooting some of the office staff working, staff moving boxes to the newly expanded DSS area, and the front desk/lobby area. My professor offered me great advice as the shoot progressed and that helped my confidence grow. The biggest hurdle was using the viewfinder of the camera but my professor solved that by letting me use an auxiliary monitor. This allowed me to see the shot and then I could adjust the camera accordingly.

I’m not planning a future career in television but you just never know. My decision to take this class was based on my need to become a well rounded print journalist. There will be few journalism jobs for those of us who can’t write, gather audio, shoot video, and take still photographs. The goal for now is to enjoy the rest of this class and possibly look at taking a professional level television production class. After that anything is possible.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Final project

The ending of my photojournalism class marked the close of an intense challenge for me. I didn't know what to expect going in but at the least hoped to keep up and learn a few things. These things were acheived and I exceeded the expectations I laid out for myself. I will be posting more of my work from the semester but I'll start with my final project which I consider my best work.

The subject for my project was Missoula glass blower Casey Bergschutz. I covered the entire glass blowing process and also Bergschultz's life as a father of two adorable boys. My shoots went well and the toughest task was narrowing down over 500 images to the final 8-9 selections. I'm happy with the results and below are my favorites.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Idaho and Bare Naked Ladies

I set out last Tuesday (5/18) for a day trip to Clark Fork, Idaho with Theresa as my guide. We went to Clark Fork so Theresa could put plants on her parent’s graves and show me around the town she grew up in.

The weather for our trip was cloudy with on and off rain but we weren't going to let that damper the day. We travelled along Highway 200 and went through Plains and Thompson Falls before leaving Montana. Our stomachs were rumbling as we came into Plains and stopped at a great roadside stand. The lunch fare consisted of buffalo burgers and tacos with a chaser of huckleberry lemonade.

We made it into Clark Fork after three plus hours on the road and I received the grand tour. Theresa showed me the house she grew up in, her high school, where certain friends & relatives had lived and of course the local hang outs. It was a nice little town nestled in the Idaho Panhandle and I was very glad to have seen it.

Next on our agenda was a trip to the local cemetery where Theresa cleaned and planted her family's gravesites. It was weird that while we were at the cemetery a wild tom was calling for his mate. He was very intent on noisily reminding us of his presence. Theresa tried to get a picture of the rowdy pair but they were moving a bit too fast.

Before hitting the road back to Montana, we made a brief stop at Lake Pend Oreille. Lake Pend Oreille is massive at an area of 148 square miles and maybe on our next trip we can explore it a bit more. The highlight for me was watching a family of ducks out for a swim on the lake.

I had the bright idea of stopping outside of Clark Fork to dine at the Amber Bear Inn. The Inn was very well advertised but getting there was another thing. We saw the main sign for it along the highway and turned off. We went a short distance and made another turn. I started to worry when after several turns we hit gravel. At this point we were committed and decided to forge on. Well after what seemed like an eternity we came upon a large house in a mountain meadow.

Theresa went up to the door and proceeded to ring the bell. After a few minutes the proprietor finally emerged. She informed Theresa that they had just returned from a grocery run and she supposed she could cook us something. Well geez we wouldn’t want to inconvenience your fine establishment for a meal! She went on to explain they were open mostly for breakfast and lunch but dinner was more of a summer thing. Well don't ya think it would be good to put that on your billboard? She volunteered her husband to carry my very heavy power chair up the steps but we politely declined. Theresa told the gal she was worried about us finding our way back to the highway. Our hostess said we shouldn't have any problem and if we end up in the Diggers driveway we know we've gone too far. That would be fine except who the heck are the Diggers?

We finally made it to the highway and began our long trip home. Dinner had to wait and we ended up eating at the O.K. Cafe in St. Regis. The O.K. Café is good place to stop if you find yourself on I-90 in western Montana. We finally rolled into Missoula about 10:30 that night but it the trip was awesome. I surely won't forget about our trip to the Amber Bear Inn!

I've been a Bare Naked Ladies AKA BNL fan since my Dewey Apts. days back in Jamestown. Their blend of sophisticated pop lyrics and quirky humor drew me to the band. When Theresa said she had tickets I was so excited but a bit bummed because Steven Page was no longer fronting the band.

The concert was fabulous and BNL didn't miss a beat with Ed Robertson at the helm. They had an awesome light show and it was fun to see them engage with the audience. I thought they sounded quite good and they played many of my favorites including: The Old Apartment, Falling For The First Time, Pinch Me, You Run Away, Too Little Too Late, and It's All Been Done.

It was a memorable evening and I'd definitely go see them again if given the chance. Check out BNL if they come to your neck of the woods.

I promised some pictures on my final photojournalism project but I'll be back Thursday with that.


BNL Photo Credit:

Sunday, May 16, 2010

History in the making

Thursday I witnessed the beginning of a new chapter at the University of Montana as the Payne Family Native American Center was dedicated. This beautiful facility will house the Native American Studies (NAS) program and is the first building of it's kind in the nation.

The new Native American Center has a few features that stood out to me. They include:

+The Bonnie HeavyRunner gathering space, a stunning atrium that is the centerpiece of the building.

+Native designs from each of Montana's tribes are inscribed throughout the flooring of the building.

+The Payne Center is the first completely green (LEED certified) building on the UM campus.

+The landscaping uses a combination of native grasses, plants, and flowers that require little water.

+Outside the center are the flags of each Montana tribe and a storytelling area where the oral traditions of the first Montanans can flourish.

I have no native blood in me but seeing the faces of those in attendance at the dedication filled me with hope for the future. This country to put it bluntly has screwed over it's indigenous peoples and treated them like second class citizens for centuries. These wrongs sadly can't be undone but things like the Payne Center can start giving appreciation and respect back to our native brothers and sisters.

As a student journalist, I want to have a basic understanding of the issues related to Montana's first peoples. I'll get a start on that this fall when I take my first Native American Studies (NAS) course. The course will deal with issues Montana Indians have dealt with since the reservation era began. I'm expecting this to be a rigorous class that will benefit me greatly in the future. If this class turns out to be as interesting as I think, there may be more NAS classes in my future.

I failed to mention this but at the Payne Center dedication a very famous Montanan was in attendance. Joe Medicine Crow was born in Lodge Grass Montana and his deeds in WWII earned him the distinction of being the last Plains Indian War Chief. He was awarded the Medal of Freedom (highest civilian honor) by President Obama in 2009. Below is on clip on Joe Medicine Crow from the Ken Burns documentary The War.

I’ll have a post Wednesday on my final photojournalism project and a summary of the semester gone by.


Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Verdict

I've been awaiting a response on my journalism school application and last Wednesday I received a long white envelope in the mail from the university. My heart was racing as my nurse opened the envelope and began reading. She started saying something about congratulations and I let out a yell. I sat stunned in my van while learning I'll be an official journalism student this fall!

Yes there are many questions I have but these will be answered at an early April orientation meeting. I'll begin picking my fall classes soon and then the countdown will be on.

I would like to thank anyone who has supported me over the years, especially my mom, dad, and sister. You all are so important to me and I'll try very hard not to let you down. Special thanks must go to Theresa, Dustin, and a few incredible nurses. You guys have been beyond amazing and are the reason this dream is a reality! I can't thank you enough.

There still is a semester to complete so we will have to continue this journey later. Hope you will enjoy joining me on this ride because I have a feeling it won't be a dull one :)


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Portrait pressure

A couple weeks ago we were given probably the hardest assignment of the semester in our photojournalism class. My mission whether or not I chose to accept it was to take thirty portraits of total strangers in a week.

Needless to say I was a bit panic stricken at first but it wasn't too bad once I got underway. I must say Missoula is full of cooperative souls and I only had a few refusals. The hardest part of this whole thing was the editing process. I'm still new to Photoshop so it took some time to edit thirty photos but I made it through.

I couldn't put all my portraits up here so I chose a few favorites instead. Hope you enjoy!


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Chilean Heroics

I've been slacking with the blog lately but school has been keeping me busy. My friend Marsha brought this video to my attention and I just had to share. It speaks to the good of humanity and also the bad.

These two women are heroes in the truest sense of the word. Their actions were unselfish and show the love these two have for their fellow human beings. As for these cowardly nuns, they sicken and disgust me. How can you pledge to take care of these people and then bail on them in their hour of need? Hopefully karma will catch up with those two very soon. I'd continue on a further rant about organized religion but I'll step off the soapbox for now :)

I'm curious to what other's think so please feel free to comment on this post.


Friday, February 26, 2010

The Waiting Is The Hardest Part

Well the time has finally come for me to formally apply to the UM School of Journalism. My application has been submitted and hopefully I will receive the much awaited decision around the end of March. I feel pretty confident but you just never know about these things.

I have been a fan of CBS's Steve Hartman for awhile now and love his unique style of reporting. Being it is the winter sports season, I thought I'd share the story of Wil and his passion for skiing. Enjoy and I'll share more of Hartman's gems from time to time.


Monday, February 22, 2010

Depth of field

Here are a few of my shots from an assignment dealing with depth of field. Depth of field is a term that deals with how much of a picture is in sharp focus. I took the pool ball shot with a wide aperture and this gave me a shallow depth of field. The shallow depth of field brings the 5 ball into focus but blurs most of the remaining picture out. This shot worked out pretty well for my basic level of skill.

The other two photos were taken with a very narrow aperture and this brought the entire image into sharp focus. I've really enjoyed learning the basics during this class and it is a great pastime for me to pursue. There will be many more photos upcoming here and this spring I hope to travel a bit and shoot the beautiful scenery of western Montana.


Friday, February 19, 2010

Portrait pics

I'm really getting into my photojournalism class and last week we worked on depth of field. It was fun to experiment with a few different types of shots and I felt things went well. The photos need to still be converted to jpeg but I'll put them up here on Sunday.

The above shots were taken by my classmate Micheal and I felt he did a great job. I really like the tighter shots he took and hey I didn't even break his camera :)

Things will get crazy this week as we head out into the field for a major portrait project. It's been a blast so far and I've learned so much already about the intricacies of photography. Can't wait to see where I can take my new knowledge.


Monday, February 15, 2010

disAbled in the media

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When I began my pursuit of a journalism degree, I wondered how many others with disabilities had taken a similar path. Yes there are examples like my friend Scott in Florida who graduated from St. John's and there are high profile examples in people like John Hockenberry. Beyond the few examples I can cite here, I wonder why there aren't more of us in this field.

Now I'm not naive to think there aren't reasons for this. Yes it's a challenging endeavour and there are more times than not when you have to flat out work your ass off. The feeling I get though from working on a story makes up for the effort expended. It may also be there is little money in the bulk of journalism. Yes there is money in the upper echelon careers but very few of us will become the next Katie Couric or Brian Williams. Being happy in a profession is more important to me than raking in the dough.

These reasons are valid but I'm hoping I can inspire others with disabilities to take the plunge and I'd be satisfied if it's even just one. The video above should be all the proof needed to show that it can be done. We as a community need to take an active role in the world around us and perhaps even to be the storytellers of important events. I'd like to wish the good folks in Chicago well as they work to inform their community. Just think of the potential if more of us got involved all around the country. It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

First photos

I had my first shoot last week and here are my best photos. Not bad for my first attempt but there is much to improve on.

This project called for us to be paired with a classmate and to take pictures of each other. My partner was Michael, a foreign exchange student from Australia. It was a good experience and a fun beginning project.


Monday, February 08, 2010

Super Saints

It's a sad day today as the realization sets in that there will be no football until next fall. I must say though that the Superbowl was a fitting way to end the season.. Congrats to the Saints on their Superbowl victory and on being an inspiration to your city. Job well done.

Here's a few of my favorite commercials from yesterday. Enjoy!

Friday, February 05, 2010

Beautiful boy

Boy this week flew by and I'm spending my day off getting some notes transcribed. School is going well and tomorrow I have my first photo shoot. My photojournalism class has made me a bit dizzy but this should get better as I practice more. Hopefully I'll get some pictures up here next week.

We are a proud household this week as our Sammy won the Forever Pugged Beautiful Black & Fancy Fawn contest. He's quite the funny little man and is such a charmer. Congrats to Molly as well :) Such a cute squishy face she has.

Well it's back to work for me but I'll be back this weekend with another post.


Sunday, January 31, 2010

Back to School

I find it funny every time I think an easy semester is upon me, it turns out to be the opposite. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to be done with break and I look forward to the endeavors ahead. The new semester will continue to teach me many things and it should put me in good position as I apply to the professional program

Monday evening kicks things off with my oceanography class. This is an interesting and laid back class and it appears that the prof will make the class enjoyable. I liked the first lecture on the history of oceanic exploration. Class is held on Wednesday evening too.

Tuesdays and Thursdays will be my busy days as I have International Relations and Photojournalism. I've always had an interest in world events and my International Relations class should further my understanding. A big part of this class is reading and analysing international issues in the NY Times. The lectures are captivating but my caregivers probably will dispute that :)

Photojournalism will be my big challenge but I'm optimistic that I will become a decent photographer. We'll be spending the beginning of the semester learning the technical aspects of what our DSLR's can do and then this knowledge will be put to the test out in the field. I'll blog some of my images throughout the Spring.

Lastly, there is my Current Events class which I haven't been to yet. We'll be reading several articles weekly in The Economist and getting testing on that. There will be team multimedia presentations but I'm not sure how that will pan out.

Well that's my next few months in a nutshell. I'll try to keep my blog current and 3 weekly posts sounds doable but I will see how things go.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Favre's Secret

Well tomorrow is the day that the Vikings can take one more step towards a long awaited Superbowl appearance! I'm hoping the boys in purple will be able to notch the victory in front of a raucous NeHere's a report from ESPN's Kenny Mayne on a special Favre secret Orleans crowd.



Thursday, January 21, 2010

Frosty Photos

Thought I'd share some photos my mom took of a recent frosty day back in my hometown. These appeared in Logan Adams's "It's Good to Be In North Dakota" blog. You can view them at Great job Mom!

I've been enjoying my last few days of break before the grind resumes on Monday. Hopefully Sunday will a perfect end to my break as the Minnesota Vikings face New Orleans in the NFC title game. The Vikes have had a stellar season and it would be awesome to see Brett Favre lead them to the promised land. I'm excited already :)


Monday, January 18, 2010


There are many things people admire about Martin Luther King Jr. but sacrifice is what I think embodies King best. He used his life to speak out on the worst injustice in our country's history. It dismays me that the color of someone's skin has ever been used to judge a person's character but sadly racism still exists. King set the standard of what our country's potential could be but he realized the long road it would take. His dream lives on through the generations and hopefully in my lifetime we will see a totally inclusive society.

Non violent civil disobedience has been a powerful tool to correct many social injustices. It certainly was instrumental in the civil rights movement of the mid 20th century. I along with my brothers and sisters with disabilities continue to use civil disobedience in our fight for equality. Our community must use this to gain attention of our elected officials and to give voice to the voiceless. I long for the day when we no longer have to fight for our place in society but until then I remain committed to doing whatever it takes. So when you think of Martin Luther King Jr. think not only of what he helped achieve but what he has done to inspire others.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Uncle Sam

We recently found out that our little black boy Sammy became an uncle. Sammy's brother Lucky who lives with our breeder Julie in North Idaho had five little girl pups. They are absolutely adorable and the spitting image of their dad and uncle.

The first picture is of our Sam followed by the proud papa. It amazes me how much these two look alike! The last two pictures are of the little ones. I may be biased but there's nothing cuter than a litter of baby puglets :) Thanks to Julie for these great pics.

By now many of you are aware of the recent catastrophe in Haiti. I'd like challenge each of you to make some kind of donation to the relief efforts. The easiest method I've found is donating online through the Red Cross. You can do this by visiting


Monday, January 11, 2010

The Truman Show

I was in a documentary watching mood this weekend and the vast library at Netflix fit the bill. After a brief search, I settled on one covering the life of President Harry S. Truman.

Initially I knew little about Truman except he succeeded FDR and ended WWII with the dropping of the atomic bomb on Japan. This particular documentary brought to light many things I didn't know about our 33rd President. Here's a few interesting facts I discovered.

Truman was a Missouri farmer and haberdasher who served as a military captain during WWI. Truman is the only President in modern history to not have obtained a college degree.

President Truman had a long courtship with his wife Bess and she turned down his first proposal. Bess was the only woman that President Truman ever dated.

Truman left office with an approval rating lower than President Nixon's but with the passage of time he has become quite a popular ex-president.

When President Johnson signed the Medicare legislation in the 60's, he gave Harry and Bess Truman the first two Medicare cards.

I could go on and on but I think you get the picture. Digging into history has been a favorite pursuit of mine and it's great to learn about the rich history of our country.


Thursday, January 07, 2010

Muslms In Missoula Project

During my print journalism class we were assigned several stories relating to the perceptions of Muslims in the media. It was quite interesting to gather people's opinions on this often misunderstood group in American society.

Our professor, Clem Work assigned us a final group project relating to Muslims living here in Missoula. The stories covered a wide range of subject matter and I was assigned the task of gauging the amount of knowledge UM students had about Islam.

The stories were gathered and placed into a blog that I designed. I would like to invite you to peruse the work that our class assembled for our final.

Visit the Muslims In Missoula Blog

I appreciated the opportunity to learn more about this fast growing religion and hopefully our work will clear up some of the numerous misconceptions surrounding the Islamic faith.


Tuesday, January 05, 2010


We've said goodbye to the naughties and ushered in a new decade. I'd like to wish you all the very best in 2010 and in the coming decade. May you be happy and healthy in the year ahead!

I said in my last entry that there would be changes ahead for my Mark in Montana blog. No worries about my blog ending but steps will be taken to keep things fresh. Starting this Thursday, I'll be doing briefer blog posts 3-4 times a week. This will make it easier for me to maintain my blog and at the same time allow me to cover a wider range of topics.

The other change I'm making is the end of sending out mass emails when I have a new update. This will save me a considerable amount of time with the planned increase of blogging. There are two alternative ways in which you can keep up with my blog.

Your first option is to become a follower of my blog. This means that Blogger (the host of my blog) will update you whenever I post a new entry. TO BECOME A FOLLOWER, SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM OF MY MAIN BLOG PAGE AND CLICK ON SUBSCRIBE TO: POSTS (ATOM).

If you don't want to become a follower you can email me at and I'll add you to my notification list.

I recently received my fall grades and I managed to get a 3.76 GPA. I'm really pleased because I had some pretty intense classes this fall. My best grade came in my reporting class and it should help greatly as I apply to the School of Journalism in March.

The break from school has been great and it feels good to be free from deadlines. I've been spending time catching up on movies, listening to some audio books, and of course enjoying our Pugs. Time is flying by and soon I'll be resuming the grind.

This spring will provide a diverse range of classes but I'll still be continuing my journalism education in earnest. My classes will include: Photojournalism, Current Events, International Relations, and Oceanography. I'm looking forward to getting my camera out and do some shooting. Last fall left me with little time to work on my photography.

Well it's time for me to ready for bed but before I go I'd like to thank you all for your continued support. It's hard to believe that this project is entering it's 6th year and the experience has been amazing! Here's hoping that 2010 will be the best yet.

To be continued...