Volume One Contributors

writers, photographers, artists

Mike Paulus


Content By This Contributor:

THE REAR END: Trimming in the Time of COVID

one of the hairier problems this pandemic has produced

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Eva Paulus

The battle for my face rages on. For over four months now, the precious topography stuck to the front of my head has been an absolute war zone. I fear there is no end in sight ...

THE REAR END: Lean Back to Go Forward

never forget the power of the humble swing set

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Eva Paulus

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 ...

THE REAR END: Salt on Watermelon

and all manner of late night treats

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Eva Paulus

The sky was black and crickets were droning on in the grass just outside the open windows. Grandma and Grandpa didn’t have air conditioning back then, and humid summer air pushed in through ...

THE REAR END: Sweet, Sweet Summertime

time to slather on the sunscreen and Purell

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Eva Paulus

My, oh my, people of the Chippewa Valley. Summertime is here, and it’s time for some good ol’ summertime fun. You know what I’m talking about, right?

Fish Puke

(and wondering what I should remember)

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Eva Paulus

Its vomit was bright orange. I can’t say if that’s normal. But that day in the boat, that’s what it was. I’m sure I held it ...

The Middle of the Road

what your walking says about you

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Eva Paulus

A few short months ago, back when this country’s quarantine was in its toddler stage, I was driving through my neighborhood past quiet houses with dark windows. The sun was ...

A Productive Pandemic

thanks oh so much for all the great quarantine advice!

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Eva Paulus

How’s it going, Chippewa Valley? Anything new happening? Any world-shattering current events affecting us here at home? Any paradigm-shifting incidents gripping the planet, making things weird here in ...

Letters from Home in the Time of COVID

these will be amazing memories ... eventually ... one day ... maybe?

Mike Paulus

How’s it going, Chippewa Valley? I’m fine. Like many of you smart, attractive, industrious people reading this, I’ve been working from home for the past few weeks.

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 ...

Blue Sky Over the Kwik Trip

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Shannon Sorenson

Not everyone coming and going from the Kwik Trip holds the door for me, but almost everyone. I always hold it for people. Or at the very least, I lean back outside a little and keep the door open until the next person reaches out ...

Berating Skating

(I don’t care how quintessential it is)

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Shannon Sorenson

No, dammit – I can’t skate. Not on wheels and not on ice. And besides a brief stint as a hardcore thrasher back in the fourth grade, I can’t even ride a ...

Late Night Fire at The Metro

Mike Paulus, photos by Luong Huynh

The Metro in downtown Eau Claire (201 E Lake Street) sustained some fire damage Monday night around 10pm.

The Dark Side of Winter

how loving winter means accepting the gritty parts

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Shannon Sorenson

Let’s get one thing straight, Chuck. I like winter. I like winter a lot. And I think all you Wisconsinites out there who complain about the snow and the cold and the ...

Iconic Eau Claire Motel for Sale (Free HBO)

Mike Paulus

If you’ve been thinking about busting into the motel biz, now’s your chance – an iconic Eau Claire motor lodge is up for grabs. Listed earlier this month, the Antlers Motel is currently available for $725,000.

Ski Dooing It

aka, the Snowmobile Super Jump Master chronicles

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Shannon Sorenson

Like many of you (the awesome ones), I’m very happy we have plenty of snow this year. I hope we get more. We need it. But not just for our own frosty fun. We need it for an often overlooked, yet crucial ...

Moaning ’Til the Plows Come Home

there’s no good alternative to a snow plow ... or is there?

Mike Paulus

Those of us who grew up here in Wisconsin know the legends by heart. And we know that they are true. Each winter, after the holidays, after the haze of family gatherings and poor eating habits has worn away, once we’ve awoken from our nog-based stupor to find ourselves in January ...

Dive Into an Igloo Downtown

Eau Claire bar adds unique outdoor seats for the wintertime

Mike Paulus, photos by Andrea Paulseth

Downtown Eau Claire’s Dive (aka the bar in The Lismore Hotel) wasn’t about to let its swanky patio overlooking Barstow Street sit unused this winter. Seizing an opportunity to help patrons enjoy Wisconsin’s chillier months ...

Right Before Dark

sitting in the trees and listening

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Shannon Sorenson

Right before dark, things calm down. Out in the woods. All day long out there, you get used to it. The small but explosive chatter of animals smaller than your fist. The clattering of tree branches ...

Local Writer Gets Beastly for Inside Edition

Mike Paulus

This week, Inside Edition – yep, that Inside Edition – ran a great video spot about Rhinelander’s cryptozoological claim to fame, the mighty Hodag ...

October Sky

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Shannon Sorenson

At night. Sometimes I get dizzy looking up at the sky. When I look past the black tree branches and past the moon. When I look up to the tiny grains of light littering the atmosphere ...

Opening Shot | Aug. 7, 2019

Mike Paulus

EARNING CHEERS WHILE SHIFTING GEARS AND PROTECTING EARS. On Thursday, July 25, the Red Cedar Speedway near Menomonie held its Dunn County Fair 25 Street Stock Invitational, drawing together racers (and racing fans) from all over the region.

Wisconsin State Journal Profile Dives Deep on Eau Claire, Banbury Place

Mike Paulus, Lauren Fisher, photos by Janae Breunig

On July 14, the Wisconsin State Journal dedicated more than 3,500 words to the story of Eau Claire’s economic comeback and artistic endeavors, pointing to a number of developments helping to make it all happen ...

So Much Summer in Store for You

Mike Paulus

Sweet, sweet summertime – it has arrived! The Chippewa Valley Family crew is sending you its warmest summer wishes for a fantastic season of adventure, outdoor hang time, and day after day of soaking ...

HEL-YES-MET: Sacrificing looks for brains

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Michelle Roberts

So I need to buy a bike helmet, and I’m not exactly a helmet guy. I mean, I’m anti-brain injury and all that – I’m totally pro-brain. But helmets are just not for me. I know some dudes actually look good in a helmet ...

Downtown Drama

seeing Harrison Ford in downtown Eau Claire

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Michelle Roberts

In the year 1990, I broke the law. Kind of. Well, maybe I broke the law. Actually, maybe I didn’t break the law. OK, after some quick research I’ve realized that in 1990, I didn’t actually break any kind of law ...


remembering how I used to roll

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Michelle Roberts

Yes, I have read the famous poem about the red wheelbarrow. And the rain water. And the chickens. And how so much depends upon ...

Bright Lights, Small City

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Michelle Roberts

So I thought my life would turn out differently. You probably did, too. By now, you and I were supposed to have moved to a big city, rented an apartment with tall ceilings and at least one brick wall ...

Block and Awe

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

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Michelle Roberts

Looking back, I wish there’d been more stickball. And gangs of 11-year-old kids defending their turf. And little newsie caps. Lots of those ...

Infamous “Walmart House” FINALLY Hits the Market

Mike Paulus

Looks like that old, single-story brick house standing in front of Walmart on Eau Claire’s southeast side is FINALLY up for sale. A holdout from when the area was developed decades ago ...

The Clog of War

stick with it until your worries drain away

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Michelle Roberts

When it was over, relief washed over me like a gush of clear water rinsing the dirty suds from a dinner plate. When it was over, a knot of muscles between my shoulder blades magically untied itself ...

Puddles and Ships

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Michelle Roberts

He picks out a few good peanut shells before I throw the pile into the trash. Five or six large ones without cracks or holes. He wants the seaworthy peanut shells ...

4 Ways to Complain About Winter 2019

‘tis the season of weather-related problems – remember to mix it up

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Michelle Roberts

This winter, as you may have heard, has been bat-crap crazy. Soul-crushing cold gave way to roof-crushing snowfall which gave way to basement-destroying flood water. Any day now, we can expect ice demons to rise up ...

Snow and Behold

this winter has been ... um ... who cares anymore?

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Michelle Roberts

I believe the weather outside has transcended the physical reality we all share and experience here in northwestern Wisconsin. The weather has escaped its normal confines, and it has clearly invaded ...

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.

In the Sick of It

coping with winter sickness, one complaint at a time

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Michelle Roberts

I don’t get sick very often. At least, not in the classical sense. I might have a day or two here and there when my throat is scratchy or my nose is running, and I randomly utter things like, “Ugh. I think I’m getting sick.”

My Best of the Worst

Do you think your struggles are the worst?

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Michelle Roberts

In the grand scheme of one’s life, is this a noteworthy accomplishment? Is this one of the few remarkable tidbits I’d like people to remember about me? Is this a deed I hold dear to my heart? Am I proud of this?

Chain of Reasoning

Why do we take things that don’t belong to us?

Mike Paulus, design by Taylor McCumber

Back in third or maybe fourth grade, I had a chain. It was about 30 feet long. Small links, maybe one inch each. I went outside and played with it when I got bored ...

Twenty-Eighteen Things

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

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Taylor McCumber

Well, what do you know, it’s 2019. To celebrate, let’s look back at a small selection of 2018’s more notable happenings. And by “notable happenings” I mean “the stuff only I care about” because I’m the one writing this ...

On the Paper Trail

a stranger's lost to-do list sparks many, many questions

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Michelle Roberts

Winter is an important time for me. Because wintertime is the time in which I found a handwritten shopping list on the floor of a grocery store. It was late at night, Dec. 13 (a Wednesday), and the store was almost empty ...

Unleash the Extension Cords

’tis the season for judging your neighbor’s holiday decor

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Michelle Roberts

The holiday yard over-decorator has gotten a pretty bad rap over the years. Their plastic-packed yards, while revered by some, are largely considered gaudy and gratuitous. “Why turn your yard into a spectacle?” people ask ...