Remind Me Why I Love My Job

Ah, yes. I love my job because sometimes I get to write articles with fascinating story lines, long-ish word counts, and fantastic pictures. Like this one for the New York Times Autos section, on the Allure of the Automobile at Portland Art Museum this summer.

The cars themselves were great, beautiful, worthy of art museum treatment. But the really interesting part came in talking to Don Urquhart, who was in charge of the logistics of bringing in some of the largest, heaviest passenger cars ever built. Also some of the most rare and expensive vehicles on the planet. No pressure.

I got to report this story in the way I like best. I did preliminary research and interviews to make sure I knew what I was talking about, then hung out at the museum for something like seven hours the day the first eight or nine cars were moved in. I watched Steve McQueen’s racing Jag drip oil onto the cardboard placed on the museum floor and heard the Le Mans-winning Ferrari get fired up. I watched a guy’s hand get pinched between an expensive outdoor statue and a more expensive 70-year-old tank of a car. I heard his friend make fun of him.

I had written a draft with 400 words too many the week before; when I got home that night, I had to add the precise details I had witnessed that day and cut lots of extraneous bits. I turned it in that night (only 200 words over my assigned count), it was on my editor’s desk in New York the next morning, and it was online — along with a gorgeous slide show by Leah Nash — by Friday.

New NY Times article

Here’s a link to my latest New York Times article, about the Isuzu Trooper that runs on wood chips. I’ll get a PDF in my clips sometime in the next couple of days. It took almost a week’s worth of edits and rewrites and expansions, but I’m happy with how it turned out. What started as a 350-word sidebar became a full-fledged article.

Wood-chip powered SUV in the NYT

I just finished (I think) the last round of edits for a story I did on Robert “Chip” Beam’s wood-chip-powered Isuzu Trooper. It’ll be in the Sunday New York Times, probably in just the metro edition. But you can always look it up online at, and I’ll post it here on my Clips page.

Upcoming story in the NY Times

I have another article in the Sunday Times this week, this time on EV dealerships. It will run in the New York metro area edition, not the national edition, but it will be on the Web site, available everywhere you can get an internet connection. Oh, and I think you still have to log in. Check on Sunday (or any day after that) to read about the latest in auto dealerships.

NY Times on Sunday: 11/25

I just got the PDF proof of my latest article for the New York Times, and it looks pretty good. I’ve been working on this article, about drag racing electric vehicles, for a couple of months, so I’m glad to see it hit print the weekend after Thanksgiving. Also, this article will be in the national edition, not just the city edition, so anyone near a big bookstore or Starbucks should be able to find me and some of the guys of NEDRA on page six of the Autos section.