In doing this interview, Mike and I discovered our relatives may have served together in World War 2. What a small world.
We are joined today by our fearless leader mikeville. What aspect of the job has surprised you the most since taking over?
fizzle it is good to be here. Thanks for doing these, I think it's a neat feature.
Concerning RCT, I don't know that I have been surprised by anything. I thought it would be a lot of work, and it is. Maybe the average reader/commenter has an idea of how much time goes into a "good" article, but then again, maybe they don't. Hint: It's a lot. So I guess if I was surprised by anything, it's that I no longer have the time to free write as much as I used to. Like, I wish I could have done a better job on the fantasy football recaps this year. My contribution to RCT is mostly the daily N&N, setting up gamethreads and recaps, and what I refer to as "site maintenance." Maintenance could be anything from editing other writer's articles (spelling, punctuation, grammar), site/article layout, ensuring proper article placements in sections and hubs, and that sort of pretty boring stuff. So while I do wish I would write more, my wife already thinks I spend way too much time on here than I should.
Any major plans or direction you want to take the site?
I'm not really sure about how to answer that question. I know some of the more senior members of RCT haven't been thrilled with the direction of RCT, beginning with the redesign (which I wasn't around for). It's my understanding that after the redesign, some members even left completely. And yes, I'm trying to push content, as per my SB Nation overlords. But the last thing I want to see is for RCT to turn into "clickbait." To do that, one of the first things I wanted to do - and did - was increase the number of writers. I know that sounds counter-intuitive on its face, but hear me out. I remember when I was just a reader, and I always wanted more from RCT. I think the best way to maintain quality is to have a large group of writers posting once or twice a week, as opposed to a small number of writers posting five or six times a week. I think this approach leads to less "filler" and helps keep RCT fan-oriented, because the best thing about RCT is its "For the Fans, By the Fans" mentality. So yeah, we're pushing content and pushing FanShots and pushing Facebook in an attempt to get more clicks, but that's kind of the method behind the madness. (And FYI, we are always open to new contributors.)
The overall nature of the site is what brought me in (more on that later), and that's what I'm striving to keep - or bring back, depending on your opinion. The opinions, the analysis, the FanPosts, the comments that aren't total trash (like Yahoo or ESPN or any of the local newspaper sites) - RCT is a really amazing spot on the internet, especially for KU fans. And I do NOT want that to change.
It's not a job that I wanted or expected. I was never trying to push Owen out (and I hope he - or anyone else - doesn't feel that I did). All I wanted was some help. I even told Owen immediately after it happened, "I don't want your job." I had no idea SBN would do what they did. Maybe I should have - if so, that's on me. I felt horrible when Owen "resigned" and if he wanted to come back, I would do it in a second. That said, I also didn't want SBN bringing in someone from outside to run the place, either (and you know I can't trust that shady "misterbrain" character, that guy is always trying to conquer the world). So here we are.
As for future plans, I know I've been slacking on the T-shirts, but I really want to get those going. And I'm thinking I'd like to do a tailgate at, say, the football Homecoming game this fall. I think that might be fun. (Actually, after going back and looking, Homecoming 2015 is vs OU on Oct 31, so maybe one of the earlier games.)
I have always enjoyed your writing style. What sort of writing background did you have before starting at RCT?
I feel like I've always been a decent writer. For sure, I'm able to express myself much more clearly when writing than thinking on my feet, which is why I'm thankful for the other folks around here that do Podcasts and radio spots. And when I do the interviews you occasionally see on RCT, those questions are written out days in advance. I've never had any formal writing experience. I never did Yearbook or anything like that in high school. Although I couldn't diagram a sentence to save my life, I've always been pretty good with spelling and grammar. I even got second place in the Harper County (KS) spelling bee in sixth grade. Then one day on RCT I started doing Fanposts, and I would have to say that honestly, RCT itself helped to shape my writing style, everyone from Owen to fetch to you, fizzle. But that's pretty much the extent of my experience.
Backing it up a bit, lets explore the early mikeville days. What did your folks do? Any siblings? What were you like as a youngster?
I grew up in Harper, KS, which is about 40 miles southwest of Wichita. I do have a younger brother; he's two years younger than me. When I was little, my mom was a nurse. As I got older, she switched to teaching nursing, and one of the places she worked was KU Med in Wichita. So, she is who I credit as to why I'm a KU fan (although my folks are the kind of people who "like to see all the state schools do well" - I can't stand it). My dad was a preacher (Churches of Christ) until I was 12 or so, and he still fills in occasionally. (If you have any questions about CofC, just shoot me an email, always happy to discuss!) When he eventually decided that the ministry was not where he needed to be, he somehow got into hospital administration and did that for ten or so years before retiring. He now works on a volunteer basis at their church doing Adult Ministry - even has his very own blog and runs the church blog. My folks live in Wichita, and so does my brother and his family (they have four kids, soon to be five, it's a madhouse).
As for what I was like as a youngster, well, I went ahead and asked my folks how they would answer that question. My stubbornness was the first thing my mother mentioned - I'm sure that's never come through on RCT, right? She also says I was always busy doing something. For example, if I couldn't get anyone to play catch with me, I had a rubber ball that I would throw up against an outbuilding on our property (honestly, for hours on end), or I'd toss a tennis ball for the dog. I made up my own games, I was curious about a lot of different things, I would even read the encyclopedia in the evenings and knew a lot of trivia, especially sports related trivia. All I ever wanted to be when I grew up was a baseball player; unfortunately, I wasn't blessed with a 90 mph fastball or the ability to hit a 90 mph fastball.
How did you become a KU fan? More importantly, how and when did you discover RCT?
Well like I mentioned earlier, I credit my mom for making me a KU fan even if she didn't really intend to. My first KU sporting event was actually a football game - November 6, 1993, and the heavily-favored Nebraska Cornhuskers came to Lawrence. (I was a month shy of my 14th birthday.) The Jayhawks were not great that year but gave Nebraska all they wanted. And when the 'Hawks scored a TD with something like 50 seconds left, Glen Mason went for the 2-point conversion and the win. KU didn't convert the conversion, but they converted me. Of course, soon after that I discovered what an amazing basketball program KU had. Unfortunately, football has always been my first love.
I originally signed on to RCT during the week after the loss to Rice in Lawrence. (I was so pissed about that. Not Grad Rice-a-Roni pissed, but pissed.) I had been a lurker for maybe a few months, tops. I honestly don't remember how I originally found RCT, but once I did, like I mentioned earlier, the overall nature of the site is what kept me coming back. The community is the best part of RCT, and I don't ever want that to change.
I know you went to Emporia State instead of Kansas. Is this something you regret? What was your major in school?
That is correct; I'm a Hornet. I wouldn't say I regret it. I have some great friends from my time there. It really isn't a horrible college town. It's nothing compared to Lawrence, sure, but it's a nice place to spend four years. So no, I don't regret it. My original plan coming out of high school was to go to ESU for a year or two, then transfer up to KU. The primary reason for this was ESU gave me academic scholarships that KU didn't match, plus it was cheaper to begin with. But once the first two years were up, I found it difficult to leave the social circle I had developed (even though the scholarships didn't get renewed), and so I stuck it out. I started off as a history major, but after a year I was like, criminy, what kind of job can I get with a history degree? It's funny because I ended up with a political science degree (I call it a B.S. in BS), but never had any intention of going to law school. I somehow ended up doing banking and trust administration after graduation (which I probably could have done with a history degree, which I probably would have enjoyed more).
How do you pay the bills? Is this something you find fulfilling?
Beware those of you who live in Johnson County, you may want to skip this part. I'm currently a residential property appraiser for the County. I just started this past summer, and so far it's been fun. I fully enjoy not being strapped to a desk and being able to get out of the office. One thing people don't seem to understand is, the appraiser's office doesn't set your taxes. All we attempt to do is determine the fair market value of your property (from which, of course, your actual tax bill is derived). Your taxes are set by the county commissioners and other taxing authorities. So complain to them about your taxes, not to us. Also, when you get your notice of valuation, keep in mind - we're not picking on you, we're not out to get you - we just want to be as fair as we can be to everyone to the best of our ability.
How has married life been treating you? Can we expect a little mikeville along the way soon?
Married life is great, actually. The last six months have been amazing. Shoot, the last three years have been amazing. And no, there are no plans for any mini-mikevilles. I mean, ever. Neither the wife or I are interested in having kids - and we're OK with that (and yes, we're both healthy and, uh, "fully functional"). Besides, all of our friends who have kids are lame - they don't go out anymore, they can't do things on weekends, they're just lame. And we don't want to become lame. And no, we don't care what you think. We also don't need to hear about how having a child will make us better people. There's no doubt in my mind that I would be an amazing dad and that she would be a great mom. It's just something that we're not interested in. Plus, my brother has four kids (almost five), and my wife's sister has a pair of kids, so we're all covered in regards to the grandmas and grandpas. So now all we need to do is pick out a favorite who will take care of us in our old age, right?
Name you biggest success and your biggest regret you have experienced so far in life.
What can I say, I'm healthy, happy, and can pay all my bills. I call that a success. As for regrets? Probably wrecking my first car, a '66 Ford Galaxy 500. That thing would be pretty sweet if I still had it today. (If anyone knows of one sitting in a little old lady's garage, let me know. Seriously.) I also wish I had stuck with the history major in college instead of changing to political science. I don't think it would have changed my career path, but I think I would have enjoyed my studies a lot more.
If I came and visited you, where would we go and what would we do?
What do you wanna do, bro? I know I've already promised to buy my man fizzle a beer whenever he gets to Lawrence. So let's head over to the shores of the Kaw, check out AFH and the national championship trophies. If it's a Friday you can be an honorary captain on my softball team, and afterwards we'll head down to Mass and check out some of the local establishments.
Anything else we might not know about you or something interesting.
Well, I've spent plenty of time talking about myself, but I guess one more thing (or two or three) won't hurt. I've always been a history buff, and I think that comes mostly from my mom's family. My grandfather was a marine in WWII, saw action on Guam and Iwo Jima, where he took some shrapnel from a Japanese mortar in his arm - took him 50 years to get his Purple Heart - literally. Both of my mom's brothers served in the military as well. One was a paratrooper in Vietnam (with the 173rd Airborne). He doesn't talk a lot about it, but I know he saw a lot of combat, including Hill 875 near Dak To on Thanksgiving Day. My mom and her sisters still talk about how awful that Thanksgiving was because of the live reports coming in on TV, and they knew their brother was in one of the units that was in that battle. The other brother served in Korea (after the Korean conflict) and worked for the U.S. prison bureau afterwards. He was present at the last hanging administered by the State of Kansas; Richard Hickock and Perry Smith (of "In Cold Blood" infamy) were hanged on April 14, 1965, in Lansing, KS. You can see my uncle in the very last picture at the bottom of the page, escorting Hickock and Smith to a court hearing in 1963 (he is on Smith's left).
Age - 35
Height - 6'1"
Where do you live - Shawnee, KS
Facial hair - Not usually
Any pets - Nope
What kind of car do you drive - '11 Chevy Malibu
Corrective lenses - Nope
Hair style - Short
Favorite movie - Office Space (nsfw, language)
Favorite tv show - Can't do just one. Out of current shows, I'd say South Park, Family Guy, Big Bang Theory, Vikings
Favorite old tv show -Malcolm in the Middle, King of Queens, Coach, Dinosaurs!, Darkwing Duck
Favorite beer - Blue Moon
Favorite band - Cowboy Mouth (see them live if they're ever anywhere near you)
Favorite food - Pizza
Favorite non KU team - Royals, Braves
All time favorite KU player - Todd Reesing (nsfw for Missouruh fans)
First concert - Weird Al Yankovic
First w-2 job - bagging groceries
Best athlete seen play live - Bo Jackson