Volume One Contributors

writers, photographers, artists

Beth Czech


Content By This Contributor:

Wheeling & Dealing

nothing drives me crazy quite like driving

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Beth Czech

Raise your hand if you have family or friends living in the Twin Cities. OK, keep your hands up. Now, raise your hand if you have family or friends living about two or three hours from the Chippewa Valley. Good, just keep those hands up. Now, if you find it kind of annoying to visit those ...

6 Horrible Ways to Park Your Car

honking a metaphorical horn at all you awful parkers

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Beth Czech

It will surprise you to learn there are things at which I am slightly below average. For instance? Frisbee golf. I am not so good at that. Waterskiing? Just awful. C++ computer programming? Laughable. Freestyle rap battling? Don’t get me started ...

I Hate My Stupid Whatever

if you’re looking for a quick pick-me-up, try constantly complaining

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Beth Czech

Here’s my promise to you: I won’t waste a single paragraph’s worth of well-crafted sentences complaining about the weather. It’s the least I can do for all you people out there who don’t give a damn about some random guy’s opinion on that we cannot control ...

Miss Direction

hey, not all those who wander are lost (almost)

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Beth Czech

My wife is so good with directions it frightens me. On the other hand, I’m so bad with directions it frightens her. If you were to superglue a blindfold onto my wife’s eyeballs, throw her into a helicopter, fly her into the heart of the Amazonian jungles ...

So Very Cold: You may have noticed that wintertime is now

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Beth Czech

It was 19 degrees this morning, so I opted to put on a thick flannel shirt instead of a coat. “A coat?” I thought. “Let’s not go crazy here. I mean, it’s only going to get warmer as the day goes on, right?” So I left my coat hanging there by the door ...

Me and Santa Claus

rough patches in my relationship with the jolly ol’ elf

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Beth Czech

Well, Christmastime is here. It’s time for joy. It’s time for cheer. It’s time for sugar plum fairies to flit about your dreams, sprinkling your sleepy time thoughts with glitter and cinnamon. And of course, it’s time for Santa Claus. And speaking of Santa Claus, that cheery ol’ fat man always reminds me of a wayside bathroom nestled alongside Highway 53 between Eau Claire and Rice Lake – in the summertime.

8 Snow Sculpting Tips

V1 Staff, illustrated by Beth Czech

We got some frosty advice on sculpting snow from local snow sculpting team The Starvin’ Carvists – the reigning US champions in the chilly art form!

What Happened to Our Neighbor-stores?

a dwindling handful of properties deep within our neighborhoods still allow commercial use

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Beth Czech

So I was out for jovial walk with the family one evening, and while we merrily strolled through the neighborhood, I was struck (as I often am) by an all-encompassing urge. I wanted a tasty coffee-based beverage. Unfortunately, we were upon ...

Cool Memories

when a sno-cone isn't just a sno-cone

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Beth Czech

When I was growing up on Eau Claire’s west side, my house was within walking BMX stunt-biking distance of not one, but two different corner grocery stores. I probably only visited them a handful of times, but when I imagine my childhood ...

8 Tips On Snow Sculpting

frosty advice from local snow sculpting team The Starvin’ Carvists

illustrated by Beth Czech

Start with a well-packed mold, formed by 4 big plywood walls that come apart to reveal the packed snow ...

Travel Story: Tiny Town Tripping

Cornucopia, WI: the appetizer in a trip around Lake Superior

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Beth Czech

Raise you hand if you’ve heard of Cornucopia, Wisconsin. OK, all three of you can put your hands down now. For the rest of you, I can assure you, Cornucopia does exist.

Fighting the First Wave of Christmas

I’ve seen decorations up before Halloween. Why, dear god, why?

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Beth Czech

People – even people who wait all year for Christmas to come with candy canes tightly grasped in their bemittened hands – need to chill out.

Swamp Things!

when I go hunting, I find a lot more than deer

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Beth Czech

First of all, let me say that, for those of us with active imaginations, walking through a swamp on the way to your deer stand at 4:30ish in the morning is an experience somewhere between spooky and crap-your-pants terrifying.


the defining holiday in a young boy’s dorky life

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Beth Czech

Halloween gives us that strange and amazing mixture of fear and excitement that can only happen once a year when we’ve eaten enough sugar to kill a zebra.

A Bat Story

it’s a good time of year to talk about bats. so let’s do that

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Beth Czech

I calmly turned to my wife, and in a calm voice I calmly said, “Get out of the room. Now.”

Ooh, It's So Good

the humble church cookbook contains many hidden pleasures

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Beth Czech

I like to invent stories about the people who seem to contribute most of the recipes to church cookbooks because they’re an overbearing, frilly blouse-wearing, control freak church ladies. I’m talking about you, Millie Knutson.

Complexly the Best

given the right parameters, I’m often the best at certain things

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Beth Czech

When people learn about how good I am with my thumbs, they often say I should enter international videogame tournaments or high stakes twiddle-offs. (You may be thinking the very same thing right now.)

I Never Did Homecoming

maybe I was wrong to avoid that big parking lot party

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Beth Czech

I never did a lot of the “normal” college stuff. I never lived in the dorms. I never played Ultimate Frisbee. I never “studied all night long” so I could “get good grades.”

Twitter Is Not Dumb

most people talking about Twitter don’t seem to get it

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Beth Czech

The internet has been making masturbatory self-aggrandizing as easy 1-2-3 for over a decade now.

Washing the Wastewater

a fascinating trip into the world of local sewage

Emily Kuhn, illustrated by Beth Czech, photos by Andrea Paulseth

Last year, the City of Eau Claire’s Wastewater Treatment Plant treated 2.06 million gallons of your, um, used water.

My Hipster Backlash Backlash

Making Fun of those Idiot Hipsters is so Mainstream

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Beth Czech

"Bashing hipsters is just like bashing goth kids or emo kids or Young Republicans. People do it because they’re easy targets."

A Trip Down Festival Lane

he who has the cheap plastic carnival prizes has the power

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Beth Czech

We had that one booth where kids scare the crap out of a table-full of goldfish by repeatedly pelting their little glass bowls with ping pong balls.

No Cluckin' Way

are backyard chickens a good idea for the Chippewa Valley?

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Beth Czech

The intrigue ended in the very first sentence: “You will need to be OK with gutting a chicken.”

Out of This World Garage Sales

planet-sized garage sale memories and well-informed tips

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Beth Czech

Dolls always sell well. Convince your children they’d rather have $3 than some stupid doll.

Reading Something Into It

ah, the library – that electrifying mistress of knowledge

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Beth Czech

While the other boys were playing sports, I was checking out Agatha Christie novels.

Beer, Here

Wisconsin taught me to love beer (one guy’s story)

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Beth Czech

I can remember the first time I went out to a bar and ordered a drink.

Not So Super ... Market

loving and hating the Chippewa Valley’s grocery stores

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Beth Czech

One thing I love about grocery shopping is pushing the grocery cart. It’s an art form.

Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

I’m so bad with directions, it’s practically almost not even funny

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Beth Czech

Fact: It will never take you more than twenty minutes to get anywhere in Eau Claire.

Better than Being in a Rock Band

lay off the minivan-driving parents (they’re busy with important work)

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Beth Czech

Any of you guys have any experience cleaning spaghetti vomit out of a mattress? Anyone?

The Cold

something strangely chilling about this year’s winter

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Beth Czech

Usually, I look down on Wisconsinites who complain about snow and cold weather.

Shovel Versus Shovel

why do my neighbors have to be so friggin’ nice?

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Beth Czech

At times, I swear they purposely try to beat me to the sidewalk. But that’s crazy right?

On New Year's Eve

I ate some crackers so now I’m ready to predict stuff

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Beth Czech

I predict that your favorite ethnic restaurant will close and you'll be very, very pissed.

Everybody Hates Homemade Christmas

the eternal family struggle of crafting your own stupid holiday gift

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Beth Czech

Back in the old days, you had to go out and slaughter a goat to make a towel rack or something.

Santa and Me

rough patches in my relationship with the fat man

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Beth Czech

Santa Claus makes me think about a wayside bathroom nestled alongside Hwy 53.

Making a Neighborhood Happen

you can’t just sit back and hope your neighborhood stays cool

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Beth Czech

I grew up on Eau Claire’s west side. When we first moved ...

Going the Distance

my idea of competition doesn’t involve a whole lot of running

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Beth Czech

Before blowing her whistle, my teacher asked us what kind of car we wanted to be.

I’m a Twig Fest Fan

quaint, small-town festival knocks the snark right out of me

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Beth Czech

A big ribbon-wrapped barrel of kitsch with the word ‘cherish’ hand-painted on the side.

The Other Side of Autumn

everyone likes fall, and perhaps that should change

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Beth Czech

Everyone likes fall, and perhaps that should change.

Running for the Borders

hitting the “non-local” book shop for some non-local fun

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Beth Czech

My family and I are struggling to live a “local life” just as much or more so than most people.

Drama Downtown

why a downtown theater and Harrison Ford are a part of my childhood

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Beth Czech

Basically, I got into an R-rated movie before I was old enough.