Volume One Contributors

writers, photographers, artists

Ian Kloster

illustrator

Content By This Contributor:

Nest in Peace

cohabitation with some feathered friends

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

I try to see it from the opposite perspective, I really do. I try to sympathize. I imagine myself, snuggled in all cozy upon the couch, doing the things I like to do at home while snuggled upon the couch ...

Steak and Fake Lobster

breaking bread with my family supper club style

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

Poor man’s lobster. It’s more than a great name for a funk band. Poor man’s lobster is what my mom usually ordered when ...

A Season for Smashing

memories of late winter walking across thin ice

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

It’s a time-honored tradition passed down through generations of whiney Wisconsinites who were never taught to dress in layers and buy water-proof shoes.

The Horror

without VHS tapes and HBO, my childhood would have been a lot less traumatic

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

For a moment, allow yourself to consider the noble VHS tape – the bygone ruler of home entertainment. The black plastic exterior of this rectangular icon has housed a collective eon of visual delight ...

Autumn’s Up

It’s a pumpkin spice world. We’re just living in it.

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

Yes, I agree with you. There are far too many pumpkin spice-flavored novelty food items in our grocery stores, many of which barely make sense. Pumpkin spice coffee? That’s expected. Pumpkin spice breakfast cereal? Fine. Pumpkin spice Triscuit crackers?

It’s a Yard Knock Life

as spring arrives, frozen shame begins to thaw

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

Huzzah. Spring is all but here. The snow will soon be gone. And like most of you, I long for warmer weather. I can’t wait to slip on my very masculine sandals, and the prospect of busting ...

Why the Hell Would I Drive to Chippewa?

maybe it’s time you explored the rest of the Valley

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

The other day I was trying to figure out what you call someone from Chippewa Falls. I settled on “Chippewa Fallsian.” Sure, it sounds like a rebel assassin from Star Wars, but I think it works. We’ve been ...

Worth Its Weight in Cold

this winter still has a lesson or two to teach

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

I took my kids to a playground near our house on a Saturday towards the end of February. In most seasons, the playground is a little dead on Saturday afternoons, and we’ve usually got everything ...

Steak and Fake Lobster

Breaking bread with mom and dad, supper club style

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

Poor man’s lobster. It’s more than a great name for a funk band. Poor man’s lobster is what my mom usually ordered when dad took the whole family out to eat on a Friday night, back in the day. This is a seafood dish that usually comes with its ...

Game of Phones

summertime family reunions are not what they used to be

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

Family reunion season is winding down here in Wisconsin. The days of sitting in a half circle of creaky lawn chairs as you balance a flimsy paper plate overflowing with questionably ...

There’s Always a Bigger Town

why are so many people always picking on Altoona?

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

Growing up, I remember my older sister referring to the fine town of Altoona. as “Tunaville.” This is one of the nicer names I’ve heard over the years. But it seems like there’s always a name. None of my sister’s friends, none ...

The Prodigal Sun

it’s nice to see the sun finally doing its job

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

So, the Sun came back and that was pretty cool. Yes, the Never-ending Winter of 2013 still had a few snow squalls to squeeze out before it officially (for real this time) called it quits, but the Sun did show up again and deemed us ...

Nest In Peace

my cohabitation with some feathered friends

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

I try to see it from the opposite perspective, I really do. I try to sympathize. I imagine myself, snuggled in all cozy upon the couch, doing the things I like to do at home while snuggled upon the couch. I imagine myself reading a classy, thought-provoking novel...

The Hole Shebang

golly, have you noticed how many potholes we’ve got?

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

It’s getting hard to describe the potholes around here. We’ve been talking about them for months and we’ve simply run out of good adjectives. We can’t even call them “potholes” anymore. Instead we say “sinkhole” or “crater” or “axle breaker” or “The Gapping Maw of Hell Itself.” Because they are getting big. And deep.

Snow to Anger

fostering a true appreciation for the noble snow day

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

OK, so I haven’t been keeping count, but the Eau Claire School district has had roughly 27 snow days this past winter.* Give or take. It seems like even the tiniest hint of snow sets off some sort alarm throughout ...

Let the Chips Fall

the annual battle has commenced and it’s time to break some ice

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

Right now, I can hear it. Echoing down the chilly streets. Bouncing off the backyard fences. The chipping. The sharp, staccato hammering. It would appear as though the people of our city have made their decision.

The Day Boynton Called

a random phone call from a kind-of-famous writer

Mike Paulus, photos by Ian Kloster

So, about a month ago, something exciting happened at the office. Free donuts? Free beer? Free beer-flavored donuts? Nope, better.

You're All Invited to the Nerd Party!

people need to share, not hoard their nerdy, nerdy love

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

I like knowing things. Yep, I’ll just go ahead and admit it. “My name is Mike and I like to know things.” To be clear, I’m not talking about the general pursuit of knowledge. I like that, too – it’s a noble and worthwhile pursuit, and it’s the ...

Steak and Fake Lobster

breaking bread with mom and dad, supper club style

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

Poor man’s lobster. It’s more than a great name for a funk band. Poor man’s lobster is what my mom usually ordered when dad took the whole family out to eat on a Friday night, back in the day. This is a seafood dish that usually comes with its ...

Serious Like an Art Attack

that funny feeling we feel when we try to talk about art

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

I have never received any kind of training in art appreciation. When I see a piece of visual art that I enjoy, for whatever reason, on whatever level, I don’t take the time to really analyze the situation. I don’t say much. I don’t explode out ...

Letting It Slide

good reasons to brave the slippery slopes

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

After a recent snow day home from school, my 6-year-old daughter informed me that her sled was “broken.” I said, “That’s too bad. Sometimes, sleds get really cold and the plastic breaks.”

Sounds of the Season

it’s beginning to sound a lot like lo-fi Christmas

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

Here’s a startling confession for you. I’m not really into stereo systems. I’m not an audiophile. I don’t geek out over sound reproduction equipment – not for music, not for TV or movies, not for NPR live streams featuring that foxy Jean Feraca ...

A Christmas Story Story

please don’t shoot your eye out with this holiday classic

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

We’re about halfway through November, so have you watched A Christmas Story yet? No? Did you hear that we’re about halfway through November? You better get on that. Make some popcorn. Call some friends. Make a ho-ho-holiday night of it. I'll pass.

No New is Bad News

we owe it to ourselves and the human race to never stop learning

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

Consider this: Scientists around the world tell us that children have a 500% easier time learning a second language than adults. Furthermore, they say children can acquire basic verbal skills in a secondary language roughly 6,000 times faster ...

Surfing the Park

thou shall not judge the laptop-using park lover

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

It recently came to my attention that one can use wireless internet in a large portion of Carson Park. This is awesome. I think it’s a fantastic amenity, just like the water fountains, bathrooms, and picnic tables. If we can’t have the rocket ...

Four Chippewa Valley Places I Love to Visit in the Summer

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

... In late summer when everything’s all overgrown, the farm fields along County F would be bursting with green and the clouds were just white! and the sky was just blue! ...

Once Burned, Twice Awesome

somewhat true adventures in yard work and skin damage

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

On a cool and pleasant Saturday morning, I found myself toiling away in the ol’ backyard. I was finally tackling some projects that’d been nagging at me for weeks. For example, I cut dead limbs from a tree. I used large, sharp tools to do this ...

Down Under

digging in the dirt to find a brighter tomorrow

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

Lately, we’ve heard a lot of talk about redevelopment. People want to tear up old streets and construct new ones. People are dreaming up riverside parks and pedestrian malls and plazas and mixed use whatchamacallits. Engineers are churning out ...

The Swing of Things

the utter importance of the humble swing set

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

It’s easy to forget how hard it is to swing on a swing. You need to pump your legs. You need to get the timing right. You need to harness gravity. Once you do, eureka, it’s the most obvious thing...

Mow to Anger

exactly what does Mother Nature think she's doing?

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

As I write these words, I’m faced with a stark decision. I was hoping to have put off even thinking about it for another month or two, but the forces of nature have conspired against me, and now I am compelled to act. This early spring has forced ...

The Great Revelation

the #1 story pitched to Volume One over the past decade

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

We still get emails pitching the story. All the time. It began after Volume One’s first issue was published, and over the past 10 years, the phenomena has endured – like a relentless, though well-meaning, neighbor knocking at your door, once a ...

What's in Store

making friends and enemies while you buy groceries

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

You know what I just love? Being friendly. I love running into friends and neighbors and chatting it up. I love catching up and reconnecting and staying in touch and sharing precious moments. Especially in places like the chips aisle of ...

A Season for Smashing

memories of late winter walking across thin ice

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

Late February is usually the time of year we stop complaining about the snow and cold so we can free up more time to complain about how dirty the snow has gotten and how wet the cold air is feeling. It’s a time-honored tradition passed down ...

My Winter Hit List

these dumb winter drivers shall taste my icy vengeance

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

Everyone likes to complain about other people’s driving. (I know I do.) In the wintertime, there seems to be an extra helping of things to be annoyed about. There are certain drivers who do certain things I just can’t forgive. And those people ...

Fashion Bashin'

a good, hard look in the mirror

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

I have no idea how my wardrobe got to its current state. I really don’t put much thought into it. I trust that the universe will conspire to dress me in as visually delicious a manner as physics will allow.

Twenty Eleven

a look back at stuff that happened in the last 365 days

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

Well, what do you know, it’s 2012. Who saw that coming? To celebrate, let’s look back at a small selection of 2011’s more notable local and state happenings. And by “more notable” I mean “the stuff I care about” because I’m the one writing this.

Ski Dooing It

a fascination with family snowmobiles

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

I’ve always loved my dad’s old snowmobiles. He’s always had one or two for as long as I can remember, and they were a fixture of my youth. My family always had a cabin in the northwestern part of the state, so we always had wintertime access to ...

Every Inch of Christmas

’tis the season for bashing your neighbor’s decor

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

Then there’s the Party in the Front, Party in the Back practitioners. These people have a back and/or side yard with good visibility from a street, so they figure why not put up twice the decorations at only double the cost?

Attention, Please

how do community fixtures become invisible?

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

These forgotten areas have some very cool people working to do some very cool things in them. ... The least we can do is give them our attention.

On the Hunt

killing some basic hunter stereotypes

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

Since this activity resides at the top of a short list of honest-to-god manly activities with which I have experience, I hold it dear to my heart. Without it, my résumé of machismo would only include “building retaining walls” & “backing up a trailer

Scare Raising

tracking the area’s fastest-moving Halloween scene

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

As far as I can tell, the zombies are just gonna keep a-comin’ and there’s little we can do to stop them. The Chippewa Valley’s zombie mania is hitting a bloody crescendo, and it’s been a long time coming.

Boys & Girls

what do you do when your boy acts ... like a boy?

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

Back in college, I had some pretty big plans for my future children. They were gonna be awesome. And smart. And unique. They weren’t going to be like other kids, with their Disney bedroom sets, and their Wiggles CDs, and their SpongeBob SquarePants.

The Best of the Best

the dangerous business of calling something “the best”

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

Theoretically, adding awesome to awesome equals more awesome. But in general, over-comparisons muddle things up and the essence of what makes one particular thing great is easily lost.

Cram Session

sharing wisdom one can only acquire in the school of life

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

Greetings! This one goes out to all you students out there. And by “students,” I mean “those who learn.” And by “those who learn,” I mean “everyone, because life is a journey of constant education.” And by “constant education,” I mean...

Backsliding

recent studies show modern playgrounds have hidden dangers

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

Most complaints I hear about today’s playgrounds can be boiled down as such: They’re boring. However, as a small town newspaper called The New York Times pointed out just last month, a much bigger problem has surfaced for today’s kids.

A Conditioned Position

the cost we all pay for a sweat-free summer

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

I need to find some eco-snuggly ways of keeping cool. But everything I think of requires the Awesome Power of Electricity! And most electricity comes from burning stuff like coal and oil and wood and teddy bears, and that’s just not good.

Drinking at the Movies

arguments against beer-serving movie theaters get a bad review

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

In early June, Volume One’s managing editor Trevor Kupfer wrote a blog post on VolumeOne.org detailing local movie theater owners Mike and Connie Olson’s desire to serve beer and wine at their downtown Eau Claire second-run movie theater.

Troubling Trees

I find myself concerned by the city’s leaf-bearing citizens

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

I have a tree in my backyard that’s damn near dead. Roughly one quarter of its branches are sporting leaves this summer, while the rest are barren and brittle. There’s a huge crack down the trunk and ants have moved into it like ...

Keep Your Shirt On

for some kids, going swimming is no day at the beach

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

For some kids, going swimming is no day at the beach ... "Luckily, I came up with a silver bullet solution: the humble t-shirt. Seriously, why not just wear a shirt while swimming? Yep, genius."

On Facebook & Phones

living in and loving a world of digital doohickies

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

Raise your hand if you’re on Facebook. OK, raise your hand if you have a smartphone. All of you? Good. Now, if you feel kind of guilty about using Facebook or your smartphone, leave your hand up. Most of you? That’s what I thought.