What's going on

Been a while so I think it's time to check in...

Since getting laid off in Yuma, Ariz., it's been a bit of a roller coaster. Worked odd jobs in San Diego as a rock n' roll super star until it was time to move back to Ellensburg, Wash., but this time for work, not to go to school and sleep in.

I've been the Design Editor at the Ellensburg Daily Record for about a year and a half now. It's stayed very fast pace and I've taken my design skills to a new level. I'm in charge of almost all of the special publications including the quarterly Kittitas Valley Living magazine which has been a blast to design. I've also continued to write, winning an award for my profile on a local music professor.

 Like any newspaper it's never boring, but like any newspaper, times are tough. But until the next opportunity comes, I'll be designing my heart out.

Finally a real journalist

For some strange reason, even though I'm going on my fourth year of writing in newspapers, I've never really felt like a real journalist.

Sure there have been brief snippets of hope here or there with certain stories, but the moments were always fleeting, as if I was only interpreting the craft like a bad impersonator. Maybe it's my own self doubt or insecurity, but ever since I completely flipped my life on its head, I've constantly been weary of my own ability, no matter how it is praised.

But when I sat in that conference room that felt more like a cold-war bunker than an office environment, I felt like a journalist.

I'd figured out the publisher's game. I'd figured out my editor's game. I'd put the pieces slowly together as the events unfolded the day before, and though I was in a little bit of denial, as soon as the publisher opened her mouth, I already knew what was coming. I was a journalist after all.

As the words, "This is your last day at the Yuma Sun," sank in, my eyes immediately darted around the room like a lawn sprinkler. Heartbreak, absolute terror, unbridled uncertainty washed over the faces of my colleagues. Some had been there over 40 years, some over 15. I'd only been there nine months.

I didn't feel bad for myself, I was hopeful. Hopeful to get out of a market where there is nobody exists between the ages of 20 and 60. I'm young, I have options. But the people around me had settled down. They had spouses with jobs in Yuma, they had family in Yuma, they didn't have their heads in the clouds while their hands were meeting deadline.

I'm not sure what comes next, if it's newspapers, wonderful, if it's online, great. Hell, if it is anything, terrific. All I know for certain is that when the man told me to pack my things, I'd finally felt like I'd made it. I'm a journalist.

Favorite Issaquah Press stories so far

Just doing some spring cleaning around the site, thought I'd post some of my favorite stories I've written the past few months while working at the Issaquah Press.

Issaquah Indians baseball team comes up short in state
This was pretty much your run-of-the-mill gamer, but the coach was pretty candid about the condition of the field they were playing on, which made for one of my favorite game stories I've ever written.

Lakeside Recovery pitcher Brandon Mahovlich gasses competition
I first saw Brandon Mahovlich pitch for Issaquah High, and he was two outs away from a no-hitter. He throws some serious gas and it was really interesting to get his take on what it was like to go from average pitcher to throwing 90 MPH in one off season.

Return of the freak show as Tim Lincecum makes pitching debut at Safeco Field
This was probably the most fun story to write so far, if only because of the free hot dogs associated with it. Tim was a great interview and it was cool to see a two-time Cy Young winner get excited to talk about KingCo playoffs.

Former Issaquah basketball star’s University of Washington Swagga looms large
A former Issaquah and current UW student started a company that makes glorified snuggies. If they made any Central ones, I'd be on board.

Isabella Gomez, fourth-grade snowboarder, shreds competition on slopes
If I was half as cool as this little girl when I was in fourth grade, I'd probably be really rich by now.

Well those are my favorites so far, if you want more, mosey on over to www.issaquahpress.com and you can read more thrilling summer community stories! *Sigh* I never thought I'd be so excited for high school football season.

Details on Mike Blowers DUI

First of all thanks for visiting MattCarstens.com. This site is where I am going to take on some independent reporting projects, integrate my thoughts into those projects and  post stories I've written for other news outlets. Make sure to comment and enjoy!

As most of you probably know Mariner color commentator Mike Blowers was arrested a few months ago for a DUI in Peirce County. The reports came out nearly a month after the incident occurred with KING 5 getting the scoop.

The next day Geoff Baker did his due diligence with a little tidbit at the bottom of his Figgins to 3B story where the Mariners media relations staff told him they had no plans to punish Blowers and that he had learned his lesson.

About 20 days after that the M's were hit with another DUI case, this time non-roster invite Adam Kennedy. Kennedy, however didn't hide from the arrest.

Kennedy called nearly every Mariner beat reporter and gave them all individual interviews. He came surprisingly forward which I think a lot of people appreciated. That is the kind of behavior I would have expected from someone that is a long time part of the Mariner family, not a non-roster invitee.

Since there wasn't much looked into Blowers' case I thought I'd order the police report and find out some of the details.

Blowers was arrested Dec. 2 at 12:55 a.m. According to the police report he was traveling eastbound on SR 512.

"I observed a vehicle ahead of me (approximately 1/2 mile) traveling in lane two of three, suddenly began swerving into lane three then back into lane two," Officer Sherman J. Fox said in his police report. "As I closed the distance between his vehicle and mine, I observed the vehicle (I was now close enough to identify the vehicle as a black Chevy Tahoe) continue to swerve into lane three. As we approached the Golden Given underpass, I observed the Tahoe swerve almost completely onto the right shoulder (the driver's side wheels were on the fog line), and traveled there for approximately 1/2 mile before drifting back into lane one. At [12:57 a.m.], I activated my emergency lights and the Tahoe pulled over on the right shoulder at the Golden Given Underpass."

According to the pre-arrest observations Fox noticed Blowers had bloodshot, watery eyes with an obvious odor of intoxicants on his breath.

After admitting that he had been drinking, Blowers was placed under arrest 1:08 a.m. and was taken to the State Patrol office in Tacoma.

At the office Blowers called his lawyer and his lawyer told the police that he would not be answering to any more questions, but would submit to the blood alcohol content (BAC) test. Blowers was administered the two tests at 2:03 a.m., one registering at .140 and the other at .139. He was then picked up by a friend 40 minutes later.

According to Ellensburg Police Captain Dan Hansberry the typical range for BAC during a DUI arrest is between .08 and .16. As a quick reference here are the affects of a .13 to .15 BAC courtesy of Oklahoma State University:

"Gross motor impairment and lack of physical control. Blurred vision and major loss of balance. Euphoria is reduced and dysphoria."

As mentioned above Blowers has not issued a statement. The Mariners have just mentioned that he expressed regret.