Monthly Archives: July 2011

A Stranger in the Hometown

Now that summer is winding down I’m finally making preparations to decamp Madison, where I returned to in May intending to remain for a only week or two. As it happened, I was asked by my editor to poke around the life of a guy who’d recently hung himself in the jail here and ended up writing a 3,100-word feature on the guy’s bizarre legal odyssey. Then the editor left the paper and I was asked to assist in filling the news hole while they searched for his replacement. Nearly an entire summer later, the new news editor has a… Continue Reading

The Miserable Life of Rajib Mitra

For those of you wondering what I’ve been up to in Madison, here’s a sampling. It’s an article I wrote for Isthmus newspaper about a guy who, after a series of misfortunes and unfornunate decisions, decided to check out of life. Enjoy! The first letter to Fundamental Pete’s Ass-Jammery arrived in late September, but sat in the WSUM studio’s mailbox for several weeks before the show’s host, Pete Hnilicka, got around to opening it. It was a response to a choose-your-own-adventure bit that the college radio talk show had recently aired. The adventure left off with Hnilicka and a co-host… Continue Reading

Killing Time in the Dells

A wax depiction of a technique developed in ancient China where rats are encouraged to eat people alive. Wisconsin Dells, WI – Normally I’m not keen on tourist towns, with their bubble-gummy aesthetic and overpriced fare, but there are exceptions, of course. Wisconsin Dells, where I spent my Fourth of July, is one of them. And though I’ve visited dozens of times over the years, it still holds a secret or two. Located about 50 miles north of Madison, along Highway 12, the city, along with nearby Lake Delton, attracts more than five million visitors annually. Famous for its massive… Continue Reading

Comp Time with Marcus the Karcus

One day in the mid-1990s, Marcus the Karcus, then 16, was flipping through a magazine in an underground bookstore when he came across some pictures of people hanging from hooks. Having always been drawn to the macabre, young Marcus was instantly mesmerized by the photos. “This is the world I wanted to be in,” he recalls thinking. “It seemed like one of those things that only went on in big cities, not something that was accessible to me.” Nine years later, Karcus, as he’s generally known, began exploring body modification. One day while getting pierced, he noticed a picture on… Continue Reading

Operation Stash Recovery

Residents wait in the brutal heat for the fire department's okay to retrieve belongings from their apartment. Madison, WI – Yesterday morning I received a text from my friend Nick Mortensen telling me that his apartment complex was on fire. After waking to a knocking on the door, he saw the the fire trucks outside, but didn’t hear any smoke alarms. No one even yelled ‘Fire!’ Nonetheless, he grabbed some things and went to the club for a workout. By the time he returned, flames had engulfed the roof of the building. One of the things I like most about… Continue Reading