I like writing lists.
It's a tactic columnists use periodically when dealing with divergent topics. It is quick, succinct and saves the trouble of writing pesky transitions.
And, as a means of introduction to this weekly column, it works perfectly.
So, here's what I'm into and what you're likely to read about in the future.
Downtown: When the Vagabond Lofts were built in 2006, it was the first residential housing built downtown in a quarter century.
I was the first to move in. Literally, I was the very first resident in the complex (OK, I had a roommate). I was what then-Fresno City Council member Henry T. Perea called an urban pioneer.
A year before that, I stood outside the old Army Induction Center with developer Reza Assemi looking across H Street at a dirt field. The building would later be torn down to build the H Street Lofts, but at the time, it was an anything-goes artists' studio where my band was sharing rehearsal space. The area was industrial, mostly warehouses and railroad tracks. There was an auto body shop, a few motels. Assemi saw the vision; I did, too.
I fully buy into the idea that a city is only as good as its downtown, and that Fresno's can be (heck, it already is) a vibrant, cultural hot spot. To that end, I'll be keeping up with efforts to get people back to the urban core.
Bicycles (as opposed to cars): There is something to admire about the simplicity of a bicycle. It goes because you do. On a bicycle, you're not locked away behind metal and glass and conditioned air. You feel the bumps and wind and sometimes you get yelled at by passing motorists.
I love that. And I'm not alone. So, I'll be passing along info on the efforts of groups such as I Bike Fresno and The Fresno Bike Party.
Reading: Books are my favorite. That's actual, hard-copy books, the kind with tangible pages made from wood pulp, or whatever paper is made from these days. I just finished reading "Arguably," a collection of essays by Christopher Hitchens, and even in paperback, it was a large book. If this seems a bit stone-age for someone who is supposed to be a blogger and up on his tech, I still listen to music on CDs, too.
Which brings us to ...
Music: Officially, I'm the music writer here, so this is the biggie.
My tastes tend to be hyper-local as of late. OFF! (the new band from punk-icon Keith Morris) has been in constant rotation, and I just discovered an affinity for Rihanna, but most of my listening time goes to the locals. A quick top five (look, another list):
Murder Park (folksy angst-filled punk rock)
General Populus (snarky hip-hop)
Sparklejet (loud indie-rock)
Sunburns (quieter indie-rock)
Mane Horse (noise-filled math rock)
Obviously, this is no exhaustive list of the things I will be discussing. I didn't mention bowling, for example, though I will at some point, no doubt. No, this just a quick snapshot for those I hope will follow along each Friday.
The reporter can be reached at email@example.com or (559) 441-6479. Read his blog at fresnobeehive.com.