Sunday, December 6, 2009

Dead Week Game Plan

The week preceding Finals Week is collectively referred to as Dead Week. I am not exactly sure of the reason for this macabre nickname, but I have a few guesses.

Many classes are canceled this week, so the campus might seem a little less populated than usual. Even the people who are on campus often times seem to be preoccupied with finals. The overall feel on campus is one of dread and dismal acceptance of the imminent academic rigor. An almost palpable feeling of somberness is evident.

One silver lining that is present this week is the fact that there are many Christmas parties happening that I will be attending. Monday evening there is a Christmas party at one of my jobs (the OU Communications Center). Wednesday one of my professors is taking our class out to lunch. Friday for lunch the Prospective Student Services offices will be getting together for a delicious catered lunch. Friday evening the sorority that I am a house boy for will be having a Staff Appreciation dinner. So this week there will be lots of delicious meals made available as I prepare for my examinations.

I only have three exams I will have to take during finals week, but they are all in the early part of the week. I have two tough projects due during Dead Week that I need to go work on, but this projects are in lieu of an actual final examination. Monday afternoon is the final exam for Freedom in Greece, but I have done well enough on the first few exams that I have some breathing room as far as what score I need to secure to clinch an A for the class. Tuesday afternoon I have a final exam in Systems of Criminal Justice. Similar to Freedom in Greece, I have an A already. All I have to do is avoid a colossal choke on this non-cumulative final and I will lock up the A for the course. Wednesday morning is my last final, and it may prove to be the most contentious. The class is History of Journalism. I have an A in there, but it is not a very high A, and the final is weighted pretty heavily. I will dedicate a lot of this week to preparing for this exam and hopefully a 4.0 for the semester.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Post-Thanksgiving Post

Last week I drove home Tuesday for a eagerly anticipated five day weekend. No family came to visit, so this year it was just my mom, my dad, and me. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at home. I definitely got caught up on rest. I watched a few movies with my dad, and I got my review for Funny People published, which can be found here.

I really enjoy that movie and definitely recommend it. Jason Schwartzman plays a really funny character in the movie, and he also contributes some songs off of his 2009 album Davy to the soundtrack. After preparing for the review, I just couldn't get some of his tracks out of my head. I have been meaning to pick it up for months, but this finally convinced me to purchase the album, which is by Schwartzman's one man band, Coconut Records. It is a fantastic album. Clocking in at just under a half hour, I have listened to the entire thing, start to finish, multiple times since buying it. It is definitely an outstanding album, top to bottom.

Thanksgiving itself was great. My parents prepared a delicious feast, which comes as no real surprise. We drank some good wine and enjoyed spending time together. I definitely came away from this break only anticipating the month long Christmas break that is so close yet so far away.

A friend of mine from high school who attends another university came over on Friday afternoon. We played video games and commented on how much we were looking forward to the break. Over the course of the break we will definitely be spending a lot of time over at my house doing just that.

December 16th is my last final and December 18th is when I will leave Norman for the month-long furlough. I have to finish strong.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thanksgiving Post

This Thursday is Thanksgiving. I usually enjoy this holiday. As a child I remember waking up and watching my parents bustle around the kitchen, preparing a feast. I would watch the Macy’s Parade with my sister. One year I remember playing board games with the parade on the television in the background. I really have no idea why this memory has stayed in my head, but one Thanksgiving morning I distinctly remember participating in a heated game of Battleship.

My junior year of high school was definitely a unique Thanksgiving. A few days before the holiday that encourages feasting, I had oral surgery. The removal of my wisdom teeth happened to come mere days before Thanksgiving, thus eliminating any possibility of me enjoying a good Thanksgiving dinner. Instead of my usual feast I managed to barely get down a meager serving of jello amidst all of my medical woes.

This Thursday I am very excited to watch the Green Bay Packers play the hapless Detroit Lions in Detroit. The Packers won today against the San Francisco 49ers. Last week the Packers beat the surging Dallas Cowboys in Green Bay. If the team can put together this three game winning streak successfully, they will have a legitimate possibility of winning their way to a wildcard slot in the playoffs.

The greatest possible outcome imaginable would be for the Packers to defeat the evil Minnesota Vikings in the playoffs. While unlikely, this scenario would mirror the 2004 season. The Packers beat the Vikings twice during the regular season, but they lost when it mattered most during the wildcard round of the playoffs. The Packers have lost both games to the Vikings this season, but history has proven that it is extremely difficult to beat the same team three times in one year.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Spiraling Towards Semester's End...

There is only more week until classes are canceled for a long Thanksgiving break. I am very excited to go home for an extended amount of time and prepare for the final home stretch before my final exams. This semester my finals week could potentially turn out to be the best schedule for finals that I have ever had. I will look ahead to finals week and see what sort of academic rigors lie ahead.

During finals week, I have a test Monday afternoon at 4:30 for Freedom in Greece. I really enjoy that class, and depending on what my score is on the essay test I took in that class last Thursday I should have a low to mid A going into the final. The final is weighted slightly (it counts as two tests, basically) so I will need to do well on it, but an A is definitely attainable. Last semester in Freedom in Rome the final was Friday at 4:30. It was literally the last final on the campus. This was absolutely terrible. Having the final be on the first afternoon of finals week rather than the very last one is a major improvement.

Tuesday afternoon I have a final in Systems of Criminal Justice. However, I might not have to take this final. Depending on my grade going into the final, (knock on wood, fingers crossed) I might be exempt from taking this exam. Needless to say, this would be absolutely outstanding. I have a paper due in that class this Friday. I need to get a good score on this paper to keep the hopes alive of not taking the final.

Wednesday morning, bright and early at eight, I have the final for History of Journalism. This is not a cumulative final, so that is always helpful. I need to do well on it, but I definitely believe I will end up with an A in that class.

There is not a final exam for The Wire class or Intro to Professional Writing. I have some projects to turn in for both classes, but I think that on the whole I ought to be finished with these classes by the time the week preceding finals rolls around. Hurray.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Last night on network television, Fedor "The Last Emperor Emelianenko" defeated the previously unbeaten Brett "Grimm" Rogers in the second round of their heavyweight battle. Fedor is widely considered the best heavyweight mixed martial artist of all time. This was his first fight inside of a cage and only his second fight in America (in October of 2006 he triangle choked Mark "The Hammer" Coleman in the first Pride show to take place in America). Despite Fedor's thrilling victory, I am still unsure of how he would fare against the large, wrestling behemoths that comprise a good deal of the heavyweight roster in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Rogers busted Fedor's nose with the very first jab that he threw. He also managed to avoid several takedown events by the veteran Russian, and once Rogers even managed to sweep Fedor from the bottom. It would appear that Fedor had a little bit of trouble adjusting to the massive size of Rogers. Brock Lesnar, Shane Carwin, and Cain Velasquez are all potentially dangerous match-ups for Fedor. These physical specimens might have the tools to take Fedor down and hold him there. Of course, Fedor's defensive guard from his back is one of the most dangerous in the heavyweight division. So Fedor might be able to throw up an armbar and submit any one of these challengers. This is why these compelling fights need to happen.

Unfortunately, at least for the time being, Fedor is locked into an exclusive contract with Strikeforce. This means we will not see him inside the UFC octagon for some time. Even when his Strikeforce contract expires, it is doubtful that the much sought after Russian will lend his talents to the UFC. Negotiations have fallen through on multiple occasions to sign the talented heavyweight to the UFC. Dana White, the President of the UFC, has been very vocal in his dislike of the business tactics and outrageous demands of Fedor Emelianenko's handlers. Only time will tell what will happen next.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The First of November

Today is the first day of November. As this penultimate month of 2009 begins, I am completely shocked at how quickly this entire fall semester has flown by at rapid speed. I really have enjoyed my semester. In fact, I am worried that this semester has been so fantastic that I have no place to go but down next semester. I may have inadvertently set the bar too high.

I only have three semesters of school left. Of course, my long term goal is to attend law school. So that would tack on several more years of education. But as far as my undergraduate pursuits are concerned, I am fast approaching my conclusion. I am having some difficulty grasping this concept.

Tonight there is a free Owl City concert in the McCasland Field House. I have never really listened to Owl City much. But the most downloaded song on iTunes is by Owl City, so I feel like this is a rather big deal. I gave to go help the bands load in a few minutes. I know Owl City is not a traditional band with lots of members. There is just one guy. But I am so unfamiliar with Owl City I could not be able to identify the guy out of police lineup.

Today the Green Bay Packers play the dread Minnesota Vikings. This game will be played in the fabled Lambeau Field in Green Bay. The last meeting between these two heated rivals was contested in the Metro Dome in Minnesota, and unfortunately the noble Packers were felled to a superior opponent. I feel as though the Packers are going to really play with a rare intensity in this game though. Brett Favre is making his return to Green Bay, suiting up in the visitor's locker room for the first time in his illustrious career.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

First Post in So Long

I have unintentionally neglected this blog for quite some time, and for that I apologize. I will try to be more thorough about getting new posts up, but as the semester continues to grind along I am getting busier and busier with various projects.

I am continuing to review products for, and I have actually fallen a little behind in my reviews. I have two television series I need to publish a review for, in addition to several documentaries. I also some products I need to review in other publications. I plan on writing for the local campus newspaper, The Oklahoma Daily.

I watched the movie Paranormal Activity yesterday at the Warren Theater in Moore. This movie has received a ton of buzz after a fantastic marketing campaign that features the terrified reactions of audience members. Also, the movie's budget was a paltry 15,000 dollars.

Whenever I watch a movie that has such a vast amount of hype behind it, often times I leave the theater disappointed. Sure enough, the same amount of people told me that Paranormal Activity was overrated as those that told me it was positively horrifying. I was extremely excited to see the movie, but after getting some lukewarm feedback I tempered my expectations slightly.

The movie ended up being very frightening. The story is told in a pseudo-real manner, and no credits run (except one, to establish copyright). The entire movie was filmed in just one week. I really enjoyed it, but I fear that a whole slew of copycat movies will flood the theaters now because this low budget horror movie has become such a rousing success.

Next week is homecoming, so I expect I will be rather busy with various school-spirit-motivated deeds. I hope that the weather is nice for the parade on Saturday. I'll check in with a post-homecoming update, for sure.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Great Lake Swimmers Concert

Friday evening a band called Great Lake Swimmers performed a free concert in Meacham Auditorium in the Oklahoma Memorial Union. This band is not merely a local act desperately seeking recognition. Rather, Great Lake Swimmers are a Toronto based band with multiple successful albums who are leaving to tour Europe (again) next November. Fortunately, the University of Oklahoma has been privy to many fantastic concerts by amazing independent bands over the last several years, and there is no sign of this changing anytime soon.

In a few weeks, the hugely popular Owl City will perform on campus. Last year, Manchester Orchestra and Amos Lee played shows on campus. The Rocket Summer has played here on several occasions since I've been a student. There is ample opportunity for someone to see a great deal of really good concerts as long as they stay abreast of what the Campus Activities Council Concert Series Executive Committee is doing.

The Concert Series Exec is a group of students who schedule, promote, and work concerts that happen on OU's campus. From hanging up posters to chalking to carrying equipment to purchasing food and drink for the green room, Concert Series does the majority of the behind the scenes leg work that goes into making a show come to fruition.

I have been on this Exec since the first semester of my freshman year. As such, I have worked numerous shows. Each one is different, and new challenges constantly present themselves. I always enjoy being tasked with purchasing food for band members, especially when they request some obscure organic dish that is nearly impossible to track down in Norman, Oklahoma.

I am in no way complaining--I love being on this Exec. I am a big fan of music, so this is very fun for me. As the semester progresses I will post updates of upcoming shows and maybe even relay some entertaining behind the scenes tales, depending on if I will violating any statutes of limitations on outstanding warrants.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Agony of Defeat...

Last night the University of Miami defeated the University of Oklahoma by a single point in a nationally televised football game. This marks the second defeat in four games for Oklahoma; the Miami team lost last week for the first time.

This loss upsets me because it essentially eliminates OU from playing in an illustrious bowl game at the season's conclusion. Instead, OU will most likely play in a mid-tier bowl against a decent opponent. If recent history is any indicator, the team will probably lose the bowl game too. (I realize I'm being overly pessimistic. Just give me some time to mourn.)

Tomorrow night, my beloved Green Bay Packers will take the field against bitter division rivals the Minnesota Vikings. This game is even more important than usual when you consider that current Vikings quarterback Brett Favre made his career with the Green Bay Packers for over a decade. Now he is wearing the purple and gold, and Packers fans across the nation all feel as if Mike Tyson circa 1987 personally punched them in the stomach.

I don't think I can properly describe how badly I want the Packers to win Monday night. I would classify the feeling as more of a need than a want. With Oklahoma's season in disarray, my one last bastion of football glory rests with the Packers. They lost in week two against the Bengals at home, but they absolutely trounced the Rams last week. A win on Monday night will see the Packers stand alone atop their division, while a loss will see Minnesota remain undefeated and poised to begin pulling ahead of the rest of the teams. in the NFC North.

So Monday night sit back, relax, and watch some intense football action. If there is any justice in the world the Packers will come out victorious, and I can step back from the ledge I will no doubt crawl onto.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Little Bit of Everything

This post will fluctuate and cover many different topics and themes. Try and stay with me.
  • My phone is really messed up. I need to get a new one. On Tuesday I drove forty-five minutes to the nearest store with a phone technician with the understanding that a simple part needed to be replaced to restore my phone to full working capacity. After the man replaced said part, he immediately noticed the continuing malfunctions. Thankfully, I was not charged for the services of the phone technician. The fact remains, however, that my phone is nearly useless. This upsets me.
  • The Green Bay Packers football game is not on television for the second week in a row. This is bad for a few reasons. I really enjoy watching the Packers on Sundays. When their games are not shown, I want to stay abreast of what is happening, which means I usually watch other games and pay attention to the scores from around the league for updates. This actually keeps me from being productive and studying until the Packers game is over.
  • I received the DVDs of the first season of a television program on DVD in the mail this week. The release date for these DVDs is not until the thirteenth of October, but I received mine on Friday. I am supposed to watch the program and write a review for a website. After my review is posted, the DVDs are mine to keep. I think this is a fantastic deal and I'm really happy about this agreement. The show is really entertaining, and the fact that I now have a fifty dollar DVD set that I didn't have to pay for really speaks for itself. Hopefully as the semester progresses I can get more good DVDs and books to review.
Have a good week!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

High School Pal Shines

This has been a fantastic sports weekend. Yesterday the University of Oklahoma beat the oddly singular named Golden Hurricane of the University of Tulsa. The game ended up being an absolute blowout.

I enjoyed Saturday's game for a different reason than just the victorious efforts by Oklahoma. A boy from my high school is on the Tulsa football team. Now, many of my friends went to giant football powerhouse high schools in Texas. To these people, the idea of watching a high school classmate play college football is standard fare. The high school I graduated from, on the other hand, has had a notoriously incompetent football program for quite some time.

This football player graduated from high school the year after me, and he was red-shirted last year. In high school he was a quarterback, but at the collegiate level he has converted to defensive back.

Although he didn't start, my high school classmate saw limited playing time on punt and other special teams during the first half. During the second half, both teams began putting in backup players to give them some experience and to get the starters off the field and reduce their risk of injury.

Everyone within earshot of me had heard me talk about how I attended high school with one of Tulsa's defensive backs, so whenever he came onto the field to play I was very excited. He was involved with several tackles, much to my delight. Little did I know something even more exciting was about to happen.

Late in the game, my high school comrade caught an interception. It was a very poorly thrown pass by the quarterback that hit my friend right in the hands, but that in no way takes away from the accomplishment. At this point I had left the game and was watching the remainder of the game on television. I was very excited for my friend, and even though his team was losing by 40 points he was visibly elated. Good for him.

Friday, September 11, 2009


Today serves as a melancholy reminder of the worst tragedy that has taken place in my lifetime.

Dwelling on the events of September 11, 2001 for any extended amount of time only serves as an all-too-sobering reminder of how quickly things can change and how fragile lives can be. I promise this won't be a melodramatic bleeding heart post, but I'll just offer some food for thought before I change subjects. Be appreciative and don't take anything for granted because the people who went to work and boarded those plans that fateful Tuesday morning didn't plan on never seeing their loved ones again.

In other news, Thursday I saw Jerry Seinfeld perform stand-up comedy at the Oklahoma City Convention Center Music Hall. I have been a fan of his for years, but in December of 2008 I acquired the complete series of his television program on DVD. So in recent months I have gone from a casual fan to a more hardcore Jerry Seinfeld fanatic.

My father purchased tickets several months ago for my 21st birthday present, as the performance took place four days after my birthday. So my dad took the afternoon off and picked me up in Norman on the way to Oklahoma City for the show. We had a fantastic time eating and drinking before the show, and the stand-up act was the most entertaining I had ever seen. If ever I get the chance to see him again, I absolutely will travel a great distance and pay a large amount of money to make it happen.

Upon my return to Norman, the fun was just beginning. I went to The Deli and watched a band perform with some friends! I ended up staying up entirely too late, but I still made it to work on time at 8:30 the next morning. Sweet Victory.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Birthday Post!

Today, I turn 21 years old. At this time in 1988, I was not quite 12 hours old.

As previously mentioned, I have been desperately staving off illness the last few days. With the long Labor Day weekend coupled with my birthday, my mother recommended I come home to both heal and celebrate. Although I was at first reluctant, I did in fact return to my home town Friday afternoon.

My mother ended up being correct, as mothers are wont to do. I had a fantastically refreshing visit, and I have returned to Norman feeling as though I may not fall into the germ-infested clutches of all-out sickness.

I still have to talk about my first radio show, but today is my birthday. I can write a blog post any day of the week, but a birthday only comes once a year. So I'm off to celebrate for the evening!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Potentially Swine-Flu Laden? Yes.

All day I have struggled with a stopped-up nose, mildly sore throat, and that extremely annoying feeling of having to sneeze even though no sneeze ever occurs. Seeing as how my twenty-first birthday is Sunday, I can scarcely think of a worse time I could fall ill.

Having said that, this week has not been all bad. Tomorrow is my first day to host a radio show on The Wire, the campus radio station. I am taking a Journalism Practicum this semester for an upper division elective, so two hours a week I'll have my own radio show all semester long. Thursdays from 11-1, check out

I have grandiose plans of what I want my time on the air to eventually become, but right now I'm planning on starting slowly. Operating the radio board all by myself is quite a tall order. I am definitely intimidated. So tomorrow I plan to mostly play music, with brief, intermittent periods of talking throughout the two hours. I've got some really cool ideas for my show in the future though, so stay tuned for more details once I get my radio comfort level up.

Expect a post-radio show later this week!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Blog revitalization

This blog has been dormant for the duration of the summer. There are several reasons for this. While I was a counselor at a summer camp I had virtually zero access to the internet, save for brief periods on my intermittent days off. I was a counselor from late May until early July, and less than a week after I got home from the mountains of Missouri I boarded a flight for Washington, D.C. I interned with a group for a month, working four forty hour weeks in order to receive college credit. While I had ample time to blog during my stay in the nation's capital, my time was well spent taking in the numerous sights of the District of Columbia.

Now I have returned to college, and the first week of classes is successfully behind me. Not enough time in class has passed yet for me to definitively state how I feel about my classes, but for the most part my early impressions have been very positive. I think that the workload will be challenging but not impossible, and the subject matter seems to be rather entertaining on the whole.

I am returning to work as a campus tour guide this semester. I have not yet given my first tour back from the long summer lay-off. Some of the newly hired tour guides are finishing up their training, so they have been giving all of the tours during my shifts this past week. Thankfully, I was able to observe a tour Friday. Hopefully this will serve as a good refresher. I imagine my first tour I give will begin a little shaky, but after I get into a rhythm all of the rust will fall off and I'll be back to my old form. I suppose I could make an analogy to a prize fighter coming back after an extended break and the perfunctory mention of ring rust that inevitably gets brought up during any sort of fight analysis, but I'll stay away from that for now. My boy Roger Huerta is fighting Gray Maynard in two weeks, and there will be plenty of time to discuss his prospects in the coming days.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Morales vs. Borgomeo Summary

Lorenzo Borgomeo, a lightweight based out of American Top Team, is cornered by WEC featherweight champion Mike Thomas Brown. Daniel Morales, his opponent, began the fight with a two solid low kicks in an effort to chop down his taller opponent. Morales went for a takedown but Borgomeo sprawled nicely. Borgomeo landed a sharp left hook that put Morales on his back. Borgomeo flurries in search of a finish, but Morales regained his composure. The rest of the first round Borgomeo displayed crisp boxing technique as he tagged Morales from a distance. The round ends with Borgomeo getting a Muay Thai plumb clinch and blasting Morales with some huge knees.

The second round opened with a heroic salvo by Morales. He rushed out at the bell and threw some bombs at Borgomeo. Borgomeo weathered the storm and began to really work the Thai clinch. One of Borgomeo's knees hit Morales below the belt, and the referee separated the fighters briefly. Lorenzo took the round based on decisive clinch work, despite the early flurrying by Morales. The third round began with Morales seeking a knockout. He threw big looping shots, but none landed. Both fighters were visibly winded, but Morales got a much-needed takedown. Morales was unable to get any offense going other than a haphazard ankle lock attempt, and Lorenzo reversed to top position. He dropped some big hammer fists before locking in a rear naked choke. Morales tapped out at 3:46 of round number three after a gutsy battle.

Morales vs. Borgomeo play-by-play

Round 1

Morales lands a few good low kicks to start the fight and attempts to close the distance, but Lorenzo pushes him away. Lorenzo lands a short left and drops Morales. Lorenzo follows up with strikes but can’t capitalize for a finish. Morales goes for a takedown and the fighters clinch against the cage. Lorenzo shows great takedown defense. Lorenzo backs up Morales with strikes, his reach advantage really becoming clear. Morales can’t seem to find his effective striking range. The fighters exchange, but no big shots are landed by either man. Lorenzo is getting the better of the exchanges. Lorenzo is showing better technique throwing straight punches, while Morales is throwing wide looping shots. Lorenzo gets a Muay Thai clinch and hurts Morales with a big knee and some follow up punches to end the round.

10-9 Borgomeo

Round 2

Morales comes out aggressive and lands a good right hand. He is backing up Lorenzo and then clinches briefly. Superman punch by Morales. Front push kick by Lorenzo. Lorenzo grabs the Thai plumb clinch and blasts Morales to the body, but then lands an inadvertent low blow. The referee separates the fighters. Morales rests for a moment. Lorenzo continues to pepper Morales with jabs and straights. He grabs the Thai plumb against the cage and knees the body again. He is really going to town with the knees to the body and head. Morales is in trouble and is clinching out of desperation. Lorenzo absolutely tees off with knees. Morales puts Lorenzo against the cage. Both fighters look tired. Lorenzo grabs the clinch and continues to pile on the knees. Borgomeo is cut as he walks back to his corner.

10-9 Borgomeo

Round 3

The round begins with Morales throwing big looping shots. Lorenzo once again returns the knee assault to the body. Morales needs to finish his opponent in order to win. Lorenzo uses a front push kick to back Morales into the cage. Brutal low kick by Lorenzo. Both fighters are exhausted. Morales catches a kick and takes Lorenzo down, but doesn’t inflict all that much damage. Lorenzo uses a really high guard, but Morales drops back for an ankle lock, which fails. Lorenzo reverses position and gets Morales’ back. He quickly locks in the rear naked choke and induces a fight-ending tapout.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Perfunctory Extra Credit Post

Friday, April 10th, the University of Oklahoma was the site of the 40th annual John Jacobs Invitational.  This high school track and field meet featured athletes from all over the state running, jumping, throwing, and vaulting against one another in search glory and locker room immortality.  

For some, the thrill of victory led to great celebration:

(picture NOT taken at the John Jacobs track meet)

For others, the agony of defeat was the cause of great sorrow:

(again, picture NOT from the John Jacobs invitational)

I went to the John Jacobs track around 11 on Friday morning to meet up with some of my high school friends.  I ran track all four years in high school, so being back on the high school track meet scene brought back a flood of memories.  While I was searching for people from my high school I snapped this action shot of the beginning of one of the girls' 100 meter dash races:

All of the girls seem to be coming out of their blocks at close to the same speed.  However, I would have to say the two girls on the far right seem to be a little quicker.  I wish I would have paid attention to who ended up winning.

I eventually tracked down one of my old teammates.  He was a freshman while I was a senior, so we ran together for one season.

This photo was taken minutes before he competed in the two mile.  I watched the race and cheered enthusiastically.  He ended up with a time of  about 11:39, which he was pleased with.

I also got to catch up with my old coach.  

We chatted during the two mile race.  The day before the track team had competed at another meet in the town of Marlow.  He said that they treated that meet basically as junior varsity.  He wanted the team to be well rested for John Jacobs, which is a much more prestigious meet with a lot stiffer competition.  

Although I would have loved to spend the rest of the afternoon with the track team, I had to leave to go to work and then class.  I was glad to be able to go to the track meet though.  It served two valuable purposes.  First, I was able to talk to some old friends and catch up.  Second, it provided me an extra credit opportunity for JMC 2033.  It is safe to say that two birds were slain, while only one stone was spent.

Scanlan's Hotlists: if by "hot" they mean defunct...

I am supposed to include in this blog "an entry of my choice".  However, I have been instructed that this entry must pertain to the JMC 2033 class and must also include a link.  

I thought that the main text for the class, Reporting and Writing: Basics for the 21st Century by Christopher Scanlan would be a good source for my class-pertaining blog.  
Little did I know that utter frustrations awaited.

The book, which will be referred to as Scanlan for the rest of this post, was published in 2000.  Although nine years does not seem like a long time, for the subject matter of this particular text it is an eternity.  The technology-fueled field of modern journalism is changing at break-neck speed.  A text book nearly a decade old is guaranteed to be full of glaring holes, and Scanlan is no exception.

At the end of each chapter, Scanlan lists links under the heading "Hotlist".  These links are printed in their full HTML form.  For example:

(Hint: It leads to nothing.)

Despite the onslaught of official-looking forward slashes, this link is, in fact, dead.
Unfortunately, "links" like the one above seem to be the norm rather than the exception in the many Hotlists of Scanlan.  

I tried in vain to visit around ten of these sites Scanlan insists are hot, only to be met with numerous variations of the "web site not found" message.  I even received a classic "HTTP 404 error" screen, which brought back memories of modems and dial-up internet from the mid 90's.  

had not been updated in over six years.

Yes, on a website that Scanlan promised would offer me "information about the history and function of grand juries", under the heading "What's New on the site?" the most recent date was 2/26/03.  

So while my post began as a summary of one of the helpful links made available in my text, it ends in a brutal condemnation of the book and a long-overdue cry for it to be replaced.  This is simply unacceptable.  

What makes a blog "powerful"?

This article is titled the "The world's 50 most powerful blogs".  It lists 50 blogs, widely varied in content, and has a paragraph-long blurb explaining why each particular blog deserved a spot on the list.  

The blogs on the list are widely varied.  Blogs about politics, celebrity gossip, photographs, traditional diary-style confessional outlets, and even a blog dedicated to a computer game all make the list.  There are blogs geared for lesbians and blogs geared for the technology savvy.  I would venture to say that the list might just contain something for everyone.  

However, I did notice a few areas that seemed to be underrepresented.  There was one blog devoted to European football, but other than that sports blogs were noticeably absent from the list.  There was a blog dedicated to popular music, and several were solely focused on reporting on every insignificant detail of the lives of famous celebrities.  But blogs about other aspects of entertainment were missing from the list.  Where were the blogs about movies and television programs?

Also, the very name of the article bothers me.  "Powerful" is defined as "having or exerting great power or force".  Blogs do not exert force.  Sure, they may influence a few thousand readers on a regular basis.  So why not name the list the 50 most influential blogs?  Calling them powerful is ridiculous, especially when one examines some of the blogs on the list. is the epitome of sensational journalism.  Legitimizing it by calling it "powerful"
 only cheapens the word.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Texas once again displays true class...

Last Saturday, the University of Texas Longhorns football team held their annual spring game.  Nothing out of the ordinary came out of the scrimmage, except Texas claiming a title that doesn't belong to them.

The reporters who were at the spring game noticed an 2008 Big 12 Conference championship display with an asterisk inside the Texas training facility.  

The University of Oklahoma beat Missouri for the Big 12 championship last December after using BCS standings to break the tie with UT.  

The Texas assistant athletic director for media relations, John Bianco, told the media that Texas head coach Mack Brown "wasn't aware of the Big 12 title listing and will have it fixed."  

University of Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops, ever the classy sportsman, said, "It doesn't matter to me at all.  I know there isn't one (as asterisk) on ours.  I know where the trophy is."

University of Texas really comes off looking foolish in this one.  Sure, they had a tough break last season.  They had a great team that won a lot of games, and they did not receive an invitation to play for the Big 12 championship despite having beaten both teams playing for it.  

However, this does not give UT the right to go around re-writing history to suit their own pragmatic tastes.  OU beat MU for the title.  End of story.  Cry me a river, Bevo.