Category Archives: RDC News & Updates

Year One at the Red Dirt Chronicles: Committing a “Take Back” on the Editor’s Choice Essays

This is the office scene of which I am a part most every late night and sometimes early in the morning.  It’s where I do my editing work for the Red Dirt Chronicles.  And, where I write. And where I follow up on work from my days in Stillwater that might not be quite finished.  It’s also where Mick checks out the news headlines when he comes home from work, where Rylee’s boyfriend interfaces with his home computer when he’s visiting and where our family gathers sometimes for impromptu hang-out sessions.  My home office gets lots of miles.  However, it’s gotten more than I’ve wished for since I’ve been on vacation.  Why?  Because I’ve been trying to create a “RDC Year-One Top Essays” list for a solid seven days…on and off.

I hate this job.  Who gave it to me?  Me.  Who’s going to take it away? Yep – me.  Why?  Because I can and I don’t want to do it any more.

For the past four days, all I’ve wanted is a “take back” like Will challenged Skylar about in Good Will Hunting. (about 3:30 on the link; rated R dialogue) Continue reading Year One at the Red Dirt Chronicles: Committing a “Take Back” on the Editor’s Choice Essays

You Know What Really Grinds My Gears?

I just got an e-mail from someone who has been a member of our church since before I began attending there, and I’ve been going to the same church for 26 years.  Jerry Radar is a friend of mine, he’s in my Sunday School class. I went to church camp with his children and played in the praise band with his grandson.  Jerry Radar lost his first wife to cancer about five years ago, and remarried about two years ago.  He married someone he had known from his own Bible college days.  She happens to have a son who is physically disabled, possibly from cerebral palsy.  I’ve never asked.  All I know is that I watch his wife patiently work with her adult, disabled son every single Sunday.  And, I’ve heard Jerry’s voice shake with emotion just the tiniest bit when he talks about the extraordinary patience and love his wife has for her son.  These are good people, and this is why something is now “Grinding My Gears.”

Continue reading You Know What Really Grinds My Gears?

The Red Dirt Chronicles: A Year in Review Plus Our Top 25 Most-Read Posts

Photo by pilgriminprogress on Flickr. Click photo for photographer's page.

Dear RDC community and occasional or first-time readers:

Monday, August 1st, will be our official “Red Dirt Chronicles” first birthday.  What began back in May of 2010 as a small individual project, was turned into a group contributor project just twelve months ago.  So much has happened since then; so much writing has taken place, decisions to grow or change the way we do things, and our second website is – at this very moment – getting its third set of upgrades.

A few of those upgrades you’ll notice immediately, but some of them will take a few weeks to work themselves out.  For example, if you read the RDC on your mobile phone, you might have noticed an RDC Mobile version available at our website.  That is…IF you have an iPhone, an Android, or a few other styles.  However, we’re still working on the Blackberry upgrade.  Technical details take patience and much debugging.  I truly appreciate our web developer, Maria Yuliana, for the work she does behind the scenes.

Another special announcement is that last night we surpassed the “100,000 reads” mark.  As editor, I was keeping my fingers crossed to reach that milestone before our first birthday.  And…we did it, with two whole days to spare!

Our contributors and our readers, and the connection and feedback between them is basically all that the RDC comprises.  Therefore, I want to first thank all our contributors who have labored, thought, written and thought some more over this past year.  In fact, Continue reading The Red Dirt Chronicles: A Year in Review Plus Our Top 25 Most-Read Posts

Wanted, Alive & Kicking: RDC Intern

We knew we were going to need you sooner or later.  And SOONER, as in…NOW, is the operative word at the Red Dirt Chronicles (RDC).  We would like to hire one bachelors or master’s level business, marketing, creative design, art promotion, event management or a combination of something-like-those-three areas for the Fall 2011 semester.  We would prefer this student have access and time within one of our two major metropolitan areas (OKC or Tulsa) at least two days per week.  There is much going on at the RDC and we need help; we’re willing to provide a great experience, excellent mentorship, goals construction and support reaching those goals, and potentially a stipend or share of revenue generated by your efforts.

Please e-mail your resume to: by August 5th, 2011.  We will respond to every inquiry, and will schedule interviews after that deadline.  We will confirm the position with our selected candidate well before the Fall semester begins.  We look forward to meeting you, and think this position will provide you with a set of newly developed skills to prepare for your first post-graduate professional position.  So…do it now – send your resume in.  We want to meet YOU…because you’re cool. And we need you.  And you’re cool.


Editor – Red Dirt Chronicles

RDC Editorial: Whatever is Good, True & Beautiful

As acting editor of the Red Dirt Chronicles, I try to fly relatively under the radar when it comes to taking some sort of stance about issues in my community or in in our state through a written post.  That’s because this venue isn’t about waving the issues flag.  It’s about serving as an incubator for contributors who have a connection to the State of Oklahoma in order to highlight the regional culture.  The “Red Dirt” nuances that run through our veins, if you will.  In fact, I recently had a conversation with one of our contributors where he talked about a discussion in which he was involved; a discussion over the notions of that which is Good, True and Beautiful.  Those concepts, I believe, are like guidance beacons for what it is we do.  And while I’m certain that not all Red Dirt Culture is positive, shiny and includes a happy ending tagged on the end like a pretty bow, I assure you: our work will never intentionally be deployed to play up shock value or to harm those already hurting.

This was not the case last night, however, in a report filed during the 10:00 p.m. news hour by KFOR (Channel 4 in Oklahoma City).  Continue reading RDC Editorial: Whatever is Good, True & Beautiful

All Quiet on the Western Front

A few days ago, I recieved a message from one of our fourteen contributors: “Hey Kelly, I’m helping someone write a book and I have ten special letters to write for a ceremony over the next two weeks.”

Then two days later from another contributor: “This is such a busy time of the year.  I think I’ll need to write ahead so I can take a break over the next few weeks.”

Then, another writer: “Hey Kelly, ___ is filling in for me because we have to leave for Dallas at 4 in the morning.”

All these quotes are paraphrased, but I think you get the picture.  Collectively, our team was experiencing more stress than usual, they have been turning out posts (some of them) for almost nine months.  Two of them have written more than 30.  We won’t talk about my numbers.  I was feeling it too.  The last two weeks in Spring simultaneously represent final homework to submit on my part, final grading, finishing preparations for summer interns, guiding the completion of those who served in the Spring, the final weeks of legislative session, etc.  “Et Cetera, Et Cetera, Et Cetera!” Continue reading All Quiet on the Western Front

RDC News and Updates: 4/7/11

Good morning, dear friends and readers of the Red Dirt Chronicles.  Occasionally we publish a highly intriguing informational piece about RDC stuff in general.  If you feel you may fall out of your chair because newsletter-type posts are simply too much to handle, please put precautionary pillows on your floor.  We would like for you to have a soft landing.

Okay, now that we have the safety-first message out of the way, here is a short list of what we have going on, coming up, and thinking about…

1) The most recent addition to our contributor group is Nancy Osborn.  She’s now written two “Red Dirt Dives” posts and has another one in the works.  She and her friends have a penchant for checking out Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives-style restaurants across the state and sharing what they found with you along the way.  You can find her first two posts by simply selecting “Red Dirt Dives” in the category box on the right hand side of our site.

2) We have several series going on right now, and they all are unique and speak nicely to their particular topic: First, on Wednesday morning one of our Man Cave authors, Michael Mitchell, is writing a series about his “Non-Negotiable, Unalterable Terms” or N.U.T.s. These can all be found in the “Man Cave” category.  Following that up on Wednesdays at noon is The Imaginary Family Project – 2011, managed by Quentin Bomgardner.  With a photo to stimulate their thinking, authors across the state and nation write what they dream up about the image they see.  This project is approximately one-third complete, and with each week comes a new take on a vintage photograph.  Simply click “The Imaginary Family Project” to pull up the complete series.  Dallas Caldwell is working his way through essays he’s entitled “Barbershop Theology.”  The life lessons he picked up around Apache, Oklahoma while working in his father’s barbershop are being turned into moments for spiritual thinking.  You’ll find these under our “Faith” section.  Julie continues her work out on the Ranch and shares it with us every week in her “Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch” series and I’m growing a garden, as well as checking in with local producers in “My Little Victory Garden,” both released on Mondays.  Finally, Mark has begun a series entitled “Music for the Man Cave.”  He’s having all kinds of fun with that one!

3) And speaking of “series” work – We recently began rolling out a new category of podcasts called “The Sports Void.”  These are released late every Monday night and recap the previous week’s sports news, and include questions, harassment and banter with our two sports guys, Rob and Troy. Continue reading RDC News and Updates: 4/7/11

RDC Contributors Christmas Questions & Answers

In the spirit of having a little Christmas fun and introducing you to our authors in a different way, Joey prepared five Christmas questions for our contributors to answer.  This was a last minute effort so not all of them are represented, but you’ll get to know a few of them just a bit more. If you can’t recall who is writing the answers, just check out the Contributor section on the front page navigation.  If you “hover” your mouse over the photos, you can then click any of the information about them, including a locator link for their work.  Enjoy the banter…enjoy the Day!

1. What is your favorite Christmas song?

Julie-Christmas music drives me insane unless it’s Bruce Springsteen or something else from A Very Special Christmas.

Jani-“Here Comes Santa Claus” by Gene Autry

Whitni- Carol of the Bells

Kendy-  I never met a Christmas song I didn’t like, but I think I’m partial to “O Holy Night.”

Kelly- Bing Crosby’s “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas,” played on a record player with a slightly scratchy quality.

Jennifer-My favorite Christmas song is “O Holy Night” by Martina McBride. That girl has some pipes!

Joey- I have a lot of favorites, for the past few years though I think “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” as sung by Barenaked Ladies has been my favorite. I love songs that tell the Christmas story in them.

Rob- O Come, O Come Emmanuel – maybe not mainstream, but my favorite hymn.  If this isn’t sung at Christmas Eve service, I’m very disappointed.

2. What is your favorite family Christmas tradition?

Julie- We play Bingo with a theme of gifts up for grabs. The Wine Gift theme was especially fun.

Continue reading RDC Contributors Christmas Questions & Answers

“Hay,” RDC Community, “Wishing you a great afternoon!”

In 1978, I evidently decorated a cake in honor of my Grandpa Yate’s 80th birthday.  This was taken the summer after my 8th grade year, so I had not yet been through the cake decorating curriculum in my Home Economics classes! However, because I just love hay, (not convinced? look hereor here!...OR HERE!) and because it’s RDC’s Half-Birthday Week, and because my dad e-mailed me this photo yesterday afternoon and I thought it was funny, and because it’s clear that even in 8th grade I liked corny jokes scribed into history by icing-in-a-tube, and because who can ever get enough reminders of Charlie’s Angel’s hairstyles?,  I just thought I’d use an entire post to say:


Love and kisses…all scented with freshly cut HAY,


Happy Half-Birthday, RDC!

It’s been six months since I began my “Red Dirt Kelly” blog that very quickly turned into what you now know as the “Red Dirt Chronicles (RDC).” Here are Julie, Jen and her team at the Consumer Credit Counseling office, plus Kendy and I in a “home movie” wishing the RDC a happy six-month birthday.

We are thankful for your participation in our project as readers, thinkers, commenters and encouragers…and we hope you’ll join us in wishing the RDC another great six months, with many birthdays to come!

I just watched this video after having put it together in the middle of the night and realized I was tired…because, it was the middle of the night!  Glad Julie, Kendy and Jen’s group had energy to spare.  Hey, guys…can I borrow some of that!?  Maybe for our one-year birthday I can talk some of our man-authors into actually getting in front of a camera! Have a fun and safe “Black Friday” out there. Let us know if you bagged a bargain…or five!


P.S.  The music in the background of this video is “The Crow” by Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers.  I grew up on Steve Martin’s humor in high school and have appreciated the more developed “Banjo Period” of his artistic life.  Thanks for the birthday song, you wild and crazy guy!  One more thing – we’ve got some extra special posts coming up for you next week to celebrate our half-birthday.  Enjoy!

RDC Facebook Profile Creativity Giveaway: Winners!

If you head on over to our Red Dirt Chronicles Facebook page, you’ll see a little note announcing the winners of our “most creative profile piccy” contest.  The winner was announced last night and will receive a $50 Lowe’s gift card.  Here’s winner Steve Huhn’s profile photo:

Steve Huhn, "Slappin' da Bass." Steve plays with Gypsy Twang as well as Adam Lopez & the Lo Tops

And, just for fun, our RDC photographer put together her own FB profile photo.  Of course, we couldn’t give her a prize, but we WILL give her a little shout out.  Here’s “Red Dirt Racie (prounced Rassy).”  Love it!

RDC Photographer - "Red Dirt Racie"

We’ve got more promotions coming up soon, so make sure the “like” our Facebook page!

Have a great lunch break,

The Red Dirt Chronicles Team

RDC News and Updates: “What’s New” Plus Standards and Practices

Hello there, dear RDC community.  I’m sitting here with wet hair in my big fuzzy bathrobe and no house shoes in a 65 degree house trying to write an entry about “what’s new” when all I can think about is whether or not the hot water on my stove is boiling yet so I can make some tea. I also ALMOST edited that sentence because it was too long.  I didn’t, however, because the point of it and the rest of this article is to share with you just a bit about who we are, what we do and why we do it. And, the fact that an occasional long sentence slips in is just part of how we’re structured right now.

The RDC will be deploying our 200th post this upcoming week.  We’ll hit our 17,000th view sometime on Sunday or Monday and we’ll be giving away more promotions in November and December than the previous four months combined.  We kicked off two new areas of writing this month (a series on “Where the Red Fern Grew” and the “Stockyards City Cookbook Cook-Through“) and have added a few more contributors as well.  Since our last update Kendy, Jennifer, Jani, Whitni, Michael (guest blogger) and Dan have joined our team.  Our “Friends of the RDC” are also growing and we couldn’t be happier; we generally have between 100-250 views per day with some spikes these past few months hitting 600-1100, depending upon what content was deployed.  What this means, however, is that we’re adjusting to that growth.

This week I’ll be talking to someone about managing our promotions and advertising.  We’re going to celebrate our 6 month birthday by launching a new website, designed to be more efficient for someone who might visit us, as well as more visually appealing.  We’re also having a first official “contributor meeting” on December 11th at which time we’re going to make a decision about which way to steer the RDC in terms of a business model.  And, we have a few interviews scheduled for this next month that make me think we’re beginning to get noticed as perhaps a place that has some beneficial contribution.

And, while I’m really happy about all that is going on around here, I also want to let you know that we’re doing our best to keep our side of the street clean.  What that means is that the world of blogging isn’t very well-defined.  If you go to WordPress.Com and simply begin looking through a random selection of blogs you will find some amazing work, and some extremely poor work.  Some bloggers simply post other work they’ve found and would like to share.  That’s fine as long as they are referencing the source, and most do.  Others appear to be writing all their content but sometimes you can’t tell about their images.  And finally, there are those who cite or link to their sources, credit their photos and seem to be doing the best they can to keep their own standards high.

In case you’ve wondered in the past, we write all our own content.  We shoot all our own photos or credit the source from which they were derived.  If there’s no credit, then we purchased the license for that image from a photograph company.  And, we link to all our references or sources whenever we feel you might need further context or the original source supporting what we have created.  Right now, I do light editing for every release except sports.  Rob is our sports editor.  And, when I feel like I need to make a decision about something I’ll bounce a question off Julie (she was my first co-contributor) or send it out to our whole team.

I’m sharing this information, in part, because of a very unfortunate copywrighting issue that came out on the Reddit and Facebook communities this week.  This link pretty much explains just how bad theft can get when it comes to plagiarism and blatant use of what was deemed to be the fact that “all content on the internet is public domain.” Cook’s Source Magazine royally ticked off “the internet” and they’re paying for it handily.

So, everything in this letter (except for the previous immediate paragraph) pretty much sums up the way we do business.  But we also “do business” on a volunteer and for-a-hobby only status right now…which is why I’m in my bathrobe writing to you this morning.  After December that might change, but for right now all you see is simply because of the heart of those who write it.

Have a wonderful Saturday in Red Dirt Country.  Y’all come back now, ya hear?

How About a Sneak Peak At The New Site We’re Building?

Born as the “Red Dirt Kelly” blog on May 20th of this year, the Red Dirt Chronicles is happy to celebrate our official five-month birthday today!

We now have ten contributors on our team with two more coming on board next week, have had just over 14,500 total views and will be rolling out our new site very shortly.  Here’s a sneak peek!…

Okay, that’s all you get right now.  We can’t give away the whole reveal before it’s ready, right?

What we can “give you,” though, is a visual of some 5 month birthday Apple Cake for our nice fall weather.  We covet your good wishes and support, and always look forward to hearing from you. Feedback is really important to us!  Don’t forget our giveaway this Saturday – each comment on a blog post earns you one name in the drawing!

Looking forward to “The Big Reveal” in about a month!,

Kelly, Julie, Rob, Mark, Joey, Lamar, Kendy, Jen, Dan and Michael (new contributor/partner as of today).

P.S.  What’s your favorite kind of birthday cake?

Saturday Morning RDC News

Dear friends,

I’m in Atlanta at a conference this week.  Kendy’s been soccer-momming, Rob: coaching, Mark: geoteching, Joey: thinking and writing, Julie: teaching and farming, Lamar: holding his beautiful baby girl, Josh: advising, and Rachel: studying.  I share these “every day life” details about our contributors because I’m just really grateful for our team of volunteers and what they do.  None of them have to write, yet all of them do…thanks to all of them!

In about eight weeks, our website will have a new look and will be easier to navigate.  There will be “one-stop-shopping” in terms of pages and categories, and the design will be customized just for us.  I’m already looking forward to it after seeing the new masthead…eee!  We should probably have a launch party…

We were chosen for WordPress.Com’s “Freshly Pressed” feature Thursday morning.  Our site received one-third more views that day than our historical highest.  It’s kind of like the weather in Oklahoma…we have a record lows, and that was certainly a record high.

In closing, I wanted to tell you about a funny interaction I had in the Starbuck’s line at the Marriott Marquis yesterday morning.  As I head downstairs each morning I make mental bets with myself on how many people will be populating the line.  I was thinking “12” in my head.  There were 15.  About five minutes into the waiting-to-order process, I engaged the girl in front of me by saying, “So – this line is generally long all day, isn’t it?”  What followed was just downright weird.

She looked at me as though trying to focus, looked down at her phone, and in broken English replied, “This doctor has made a bra that serves as a gas mask.  My friend sent this to me, would you like to see it?”  Baffled at the bizarre response to my attempt at conversation, I took her phone and glanced at the screen.  The only thing showing on the screen was this word: “EBbra.”  I handed the phone back to her and said, “Well, yes, that is an interesting invention.”  She looked at me with the gaze of an innocent child and said, “Yes.  A very helpful invention for our society.”  Then she turned back around and didn’t say another word to anyone else in line.

I made a mental note to check “EBbra” when I got back to the room.

The “Emergency Bra” does indeed exist and was designed by Dr. Elena Bodnar.  I think Dr. Bodnar my have Red Dirt in her veins as well.  After all, last Saturday’s essay was about a bra saving my friend’s life (alternative uses for lingerie) and Thursday’s essay was about an alternative use for barf bags, right?  Industrious people, we are, here in Red Dirt Country.  And, clearly Dr. Bodnar is as well.  You can find her demonstrating how to take off, detach into two pieces, and then apply to your face in gas-mask fashion this invention on YouTube.  Click here for the demonstration.

Well, that’s about it for right now.  With this news update I’m sending you warm wishes and hoping you have a safe and happy weekend.

All the very best to you and yours…Red Dirt Kelly

Saturday Morning RDC News: 9/11/10

Good morning:

You might have noticed by now that I schedule our weekday posts to come out around 7 a.m.  I’ll usually try to deploy our Saturday posts by 9:30 a.m. Silent Sundays I create Saturday night, scheduling that post to release for Sunday morning around 7.  We sometimes have additional posts or short messages released during the day, but this is the schedule we’re going to try to stick to so you’ll know when new material or updates might be available.

This pattern allows our contributors to understand when content should be ready and our community to know when their new essays will be available for viewing.  Readership is also higher in the morning and in the evening, which follows a standard work-day pattern in our country.

We have some good developments in the planning and preparation stages.  I’ll let you in on a few of the secrets:

We may be guest-hosting a consistent weekly feed from Finding Manhood for our “Man Cave” section very soon.

We’re working on the development of a female answer to the “Man Cave.”  Potential names are:  The XX Factor, Woman2Woman, or Girl Talk.  Please comment and let us know if you feel strongly pro or against one of those titles.

A friend recently returned from a very special trip to Africa and we’re working on busting up his journal and his wife’s photos for a new series in our Travel section.  There are 2,000 photos and about 10 pages to the journal…so it will take a bit to turn it into readable, bite-sized pieces.  What special people they encountered!

We will be adding another contributor to our group soon.  He will be covering topics such as outdoor life, raising four children, hunting, home-schooling and the perspective of becoming a triathlete and/or runner again at middle age.

We also added our Faith Wednesdays author, Alfred Lamar Jackson, to our group and his first release was this week.  Welcome Lamar!

Josh Bottomly, author of the piece we released a couple of weeks ago (A White-Skinned Father and Black-Skinned Son), is preparing an excerpt from a book he and his wife authored to be released soon.  That may come out next week as well.

Finally, we’ll be providing you with a profile of more every-day Oklahoma people or businesses.  Potentially this week or next is a very unique gentleman who’s humility and intellectual acumen are simply amazing.  We’re also working on a piece about St. Francis of the Woods Eastern Orthadox retreat center and farm in Coyle, OK.

I am becoming endeared to Julie, Rob, Mark and Joey and am already remembering why I loved Lamar.  I hope you are beginning to get to know them through their work as well.

Next Friday we’re meeting with a website developer to help our project become more community friendly.  We would love to have your feedback more frequently and be able to feature our articles for a bit longer.  Our current format buries them rather quickly.

Well, that’s about it in Red Dirt Chronicle land.  Which is your land too.  I’ll end this note to you by mentioning a few things on my heart right now:  Our dear comrades who had their lives changed forever in NYC on this date nine years ago, our dear armed service men and women who have toiled and sacrificed in Afghanistan, and later Iraq, for too many years now, and our friends in Oklahoma who are reminded of our own experience with massive bombing tragedies by dates like today.  Peace, blessings and good hope to all of you.


Red Dirt Kelly – and the RDC Team

P.S.  Please remember to “Like” our Facebook page.  We’re currently at 199 friends and our 200th “Like” recieves a hand-embroidered Tag Rag.  Check out that page for other silliness, and enjoy!