Thursday, March 31, 2011

Before Rebecca Black, there was Stone Temple Pilots

Almost a decade before Rebecca Black was auto-tuning about the days of the week, Stone Temple Pilots was rocking out like only they can. Here's "Days of the Week," from their 2001 album, Shangri-la Dee Da.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The SGA's anonymous complaint

The blogger platform I post my blogs on has a feature that helps filter spam comments. One of the positives of this is that people just trying to sell you random stuff or infect you with viruses cannot post on your blog. The negative is that sometimes real comments are incorrectly regarded as spam and are thus not posted on my blog.

Usually, this is not too big of an issue as I check the comments fairly regularly and keep up with this kind of thing. This week, however, was Spring Break at West Virginia University, which meant that my girlfriend was in town for a week. Concord University's Spring Break was the week before, so between class, work, and spending time with Candace, checking my blog's spam folder was not a priority.

Finally doing so, I found a comment by a person going under the name "Anonymous X." This person left a comment on last week's blog about the 3/16 meeting of the Student Government Association. His or Her comment is below, in italics.

Greetings. You don't know who I am but then again no one will. Why? Because it is as you said the Executive Board is like a clique and when one of the members is in danger of being lost from their clique they protect them. That is why they shot that complaint down with such …..emotion.

I’m sure they will say that oh a complaint about an Executive member has to be too sent to the Attorney General and for it to be valid a name must be attached to it. It happens and why shouldn’t it that is the proper way…isn’t.

Now I did not attend the meeting. Why? I was busy. Even if I had I would not have stepped up. Why? I much prefer the Executive board to be mad at me. All I want is things fixed. They know what is incorrect and that what is occurring goes against the constitution and bylaws. If they could have disputed it easily then they would have instead of what they did. Couldn’t you hear the faint undertone of fear that was covered up by The Presidents anger as he called me a coward, or cowardly for not giving a name or was that just me? How gentlemanly of him.

Oh wait how do I know the tone…. I have my tricks. Now just so everyone knows I will let this matter drop if and only if the complaints are fixed. You know what they are and you know they are true. Heck I even told you how to check if they were true or not and if you were to find them false I’m sure great pleasure would have been taken in announcing the falsities. Since you did not that is all the confirmation I need. I’m not looking for anyone to step down or get in trouble I just want this fixed so that Concord can be a better place because Concord deserves a better place. Come on. It’s not that hard a thing to fix…

Anonymous ________X________

* * *

What this Anonymous X is talking about is the anonymous complaint that was filed by a person against an Executive Board member of the Student Government Association. Here's all I wrote about it last week - "The Ombudsman received an anonymous complaint about an SGA Executive. The complaint will not be investigated until somebody steps forward and takes credit for writing it."

The reason I didn't write much about it is because I have no idea what is going on. From what Anonymous X left on my blog, it would appear that he or she filed the complaint against the SGA member. What was the complaint? I don't know. Who was it filed against? I don't know.

I wrote in the last blog (and have written about it for years in various forms) about the SGA turning into more of a clique with the wrong kind of attitude. What I wrote last week was that I sensed this year's SGA having that clique mentality, but that it wasn't a bad thing yet. They still seemed to be getting things done.

I'll use this complaint as an example of that clique mindset. President Matt Belcher brought up the complaint and how it was cowardly to not stand up and sign your name to it. When mentioning the complaint, he never once mentioned what it was or who it was against. The way he spoke about it, I got the impression that most of the people in the room knew what it was.

I have a few questions and I'd like to use my blog as an open forum for this. What is the complaint and who is it filed against? If the complaint has no merit, then there should be no problem with letting people know what it is. If it has merit, then the student body of Concord University needs to know about it.

To Anonymous X, I'd like to apologize for not filtering your comment out of spam in a timely manner. If you'd like to add anything to this discussion, here is your chance.

If anybody else wants to get involved, feel free. Why did the SGA President mention the complaint but not say what it was? Why did it seem like other people in the room knew about it? These are all questions that need to be answered.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

3/16 Student Government Association meeting

With the exception of maybe two weeks, I have had every Wednesday available this semester. However, this is the first meeting of the Student Government Association that I have attended since the Sept. 22 meeting last fall. Why haven't I attended any meetings this semester? I don't know, honestly. Am I going back next week? I don't know.

It's not that I felt out of place there. That's nothing new. I've always felt out of place at SGA meetings, despite attending them for over six academic years, with near-perfect attendance. The reason I've always felt out of place there was because, despite over six years of attendance, I have never been a member of the SGA. For four years, I covered the "SGA beat" for The Concordian, then I moved over more toward blogging about the SGA after I realized I was no longer wanted at The Concordian.

Here's an example of what I used to do, from October 29, 2009 -

So, I walked into the State Room not knowing what was going on, having not really kept up with things on my own. I can't seem to ever get out of "journalism mode," as I took notes on my BlackBerry. Below is what I got from the meeting:

90 percent of committees were canceled by the committee chairs. Because of this, the SGA members will not be punished for not being able to make it to a committee. Unless the chairperson submits an excuse, they will be counted absent from their committee that week, per Vice President Dustin Blankenship's orders. Blankenship was not present at the meeting.

The Ombudsman received an anonymous complaint about an SGA Executive. The complaint will not be investigated until somebody steps forward and takes credit for writing it.

The Business Manager, Adam Pauley, presented three budgets and asked for approval from the Senate. The amounts were $1500 for the International Club, $1000-something for the Roth 5k Walk/Run, and $95 for Circle K. I don't remember what it was for, but what the $95 would go toward was mentioned by Pauley. I don't believe he said what the International Club's funds would be for. All three budgets passed.

The Concord University Student Affairs Committee (CUSAC, pronounced Q-Sack) met last week. Committee member Adam Pauley said that they were "getting somewhere" with the one-card system. If this comes to pass, Concord would have one identification card that would serve multiple purposes. Pauley said that this has been an issue for a while, bringing up that it was talked about last year when he was a freshman. I'll point out that this has been an ongoing issue since I was a freshman, in 2004.

The Spring Fling schedule will be released next week. Click here and scroll down to #5 to read about last year's Spring Fling.

A "safety walk" with Concord President Gregory Aloia will be next Wednesday, March 23, at 9 p.m. They've done these for the last couple years. They walk around at night and look for areas that could be dangerous.

Publications committee report was given by Crystal Poe. She said that a member of the Safety committee talked to her about looking into ways to get the campus police officers known better to students. She also said she had updated the SGA's Facebook and Twitter regarding the ongoing SGA elections. More on that later...

The Dining committee chair met with Randy Keaton, the Director of Dining Services. She asked about healthier food items. He told her to give him a list. She asked about having orange juice available all day, not just for breakfast. He said he'd look into the cost. On a sidenote, I e-mailed Randy Keaton over a month ago and he never responded to me.

A student was nominated for a Justice position. With Justices applicants, the current Justices give their unofficial verdict on whether or not he would be a good candidate. They said no. The SGA senate members, who have the official word, agreed with them. Kiwa Nadas made a little scene about it, which she tends to do from time to time.

The Senate agreed to the appointment of Brandon Green to the position of Faculty Senate representative.

The SGA discussed whether or not to allocate $10,000 to bring in an architect company to look around the Student Center and see what improvements need to be made. I'll probably look into that more at a later date.

* * *

Those are the main notes from the meeting. A couple obversations:

I've always hated the "Country Club" phrase to describe the SGA at times. What people mean by that is that the SGA is run by the same group of friends/Greek members and has an agenda that isn't always serving in the students' best interest. While that has definitely been the case at various points over the years, I don't like the Country Club phrasing.

Is the "Country Club" effect happening to this year's SGA? Looks like it. Is this a bad thing? For the short-term, no. In the long-run, probably. The SGA group that I saw in the State Room today looked like a "clique" in a way. As long as they're getting things done that will benefit the students, like the Student Center renovations and other things, I don't see a problem with that. It's good to be tight-knit and together on things. The problem comes when people are *too* together on things.

The fact that the justices disagreed on a nominee is very good. It means they're not just saying okay to whoever the President puts in front of them, something the Senate has been guilty of in the past. Hopefully the SGA stays on the same page, but can disagree on things in a healthy and effective manner.

Read the front page story in The Concordian this week. It's by Samantha Ricketts, the Editor-in-Chief, and offers a sort of breakdown on Greek involvment in the SGA. Basically, there are a lot of Greek students in the SGA. Much like the one-card system, that is something that has been an issue since my freshman year. That's a much-more entertaining issue, something I may blog about later (kind of like how I blogged about the 2006 SGA Elections last year).

* * *

One last note, and one last link. Before the meeting earlier, I ran into Ashley Hicks. We chatted for a couple minutes about school and then it turned to SGA. I knew the elections where happening, but I had no idea who was running. She told me that all the contests were uncontested and mentioned that Grace Hurney would be the next SGA President, once the formality of counting the votes is completed this Friday and the results are announced next Wednesday.

As I wrote earlier, the Publications committee chair announced that she had updated the Facebook and Twitter with election information. So, I get excited and head over to Facebook after the meeting to find a list of the candidates running, aka next year's elected officials. I scan the page and find... nothing. There's a status update that says there is a note with names in it, but I don't see it.

Who's running for positions in the SGA elections this year? I don't know. Find Ashley Hicks and ask her.

Read this blog I wrote in November 2010 about SGA Transparency. Looks like it still applies -

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Jeff Hardy high on pay per view?

Embedded is the main event of Total Nonstop Action Wrestling's pay per view that was held Sunday, March 13. The match was defending champion Sting versus Jeff Hardy. The video is 10 minutes long, but the actual match itself lasted only 90 seconds. For those who haven't followed this, the story coming out is that Jeff Hardy was in no condition to compete and has since been sent home from TNA.

Nothing is known for certain yet, but if this is true it is yet another drug-related setback in Hardy's career, and the first one to play out live on pay per view.

Hardy started his career in wrestling in WWE in the mid-90s as an "enhancement talent," i.e., a guy who lost all the time to make others look good. It wasn't until 1999, after forming a tag team with his brother Matt, that Jeff truly got a chance to shine and show how talented he was.

Jeff had always been seen as a free-spirit of sorts. It was incorporated into his "dare-devil" type character. He took a lot of chances in the ring and it paid off. He had an uncanny charisma with the fans and people loved him.

Things were going well for him until the Spring of 2003, when he was suddenly released from WWE. It came out that WWE officials asked him to enter rehab and he refused, prompting his firing.

He stayed off the radar until the end of 2004, when he signed with TNA for the first time. He was a top draw and merchandise seller for them, while having good showings in the ring. Then, stories started coming out about him being erratic at times backstage. Then he missed a show. His explanation was so odd that people had no choice to believe him - a snake got loose in his house and he was too scared to leave. Who would make up something like that? Around the end of 2005, early 2006, his behavior got a little more erratic and he missed a few more shows here and there. He was never fired, but his contract was allowed to run out.

Hardy made his long-awaited WWE return in the summer of 2006. He was welcomed back into the hearts of WWE fans around the world. Things seemed to have changed. He did an interview with WWE magazine where he spoke of his past and how drug issues were behind him and he was ready to start over again.

Hardy worked his way up the ranks and won the Intercontinental Championship a few times, in addition to reforming his tag team with brother Matt. In late 2007, Jeff lost the Intercontinental title without warning to Umaga, then disappeared for a month. Nobody confirmed anything publicly, but it was believed that he failed a drug test, which carred a 30-day suspension for a first-time violation.

Again, he came back and worked his way up the card, getting as high as ever - no pun intended - when he received a WWE Championship match in early 2008. As WrestleMania approached, Hardy was again IC champ and looked to play a major role in the biggest show of the year. By this point, WWE's policy was now to publicly announce drug test violations, which is what they did the day after Hardy suddenly dropped his championship to Chris Jericho. On the biggest roll of his life, Hardy slipped up and received a 60-day suspension for his second violation.

Despite losing several opportunities, one thing Hardy never lost was the support of the fans, who rallied behind him when he came back. In December 2008, Hardy captured his first WWE Championship. Things finally looked like they had turned around for him. WWE gave him their full support and officially made him one of their top superstars, even though a third failed test meant he would be fired from the company.

Hardy's past issues came into the forefront when reality mixed with fiction during a rivalry against CM Punk, whose straightedge character did not approve of Hardy's lifestyle. It was one of the more entertaining rivalries of 2009, which only ended when Hardy's contract did. He chose not to re-sign with WWE, noting that he needed a break from wrestling.

Jeff Hardy's last match was in late-August, 2009. A couple days before that, Hardy had been World Champion, one of the top wrestlers in the company. September 11, 2009, Jeff Hardy was arrested for a slew of drug charges, including possession of cocaine, steroids, pain killers, and he was charged with an intent to distribute.

Nobody knows much, but those around Hardy admit that while he was arrested, there's a lot more to the story than meets the eye and that everything would be settled once the case went to trial.

With this fresh in peoples minds, Hardy re-debuts with TNA in January 2010. It's looking more and more like Hardy's critics might be proven wrong, as his case continues to get pushed back farther and farther, with the prosecuters saying they need more time to develop their case.

November 2010, Jeff Hardy is given the TNA World Championship. His next court date is in early 2011. December 2010, reports surface during the day of his first pay per view title defense that he is in no condition to compete. Rumors are flying rampant, but the match comes and goes and Hardy competed without incident.

When the story comes out, people give Hardy the benefit of the doubt. Allegedly, he was caught sleeping backstage and caused a scene when somebody woke him up. It was chalked up to exhaustion. His first child had been born just weeks before. He had also spent the two days before the pay per view flying around the nation making personal appearances.

With his past, people said, we all jumped to conclusions. A simliar incident, they said, happened a few years earlier when he was denied entry onto an airplane because he was intoxicated. Being drunk in public, I guess, isn't as big of a deal as it used to be. Nobody made much of a fuss about that and WWE didn't publicly do anything to him.

Hardy's court case is again pushed back. Newspapers report that lawyers are negotiating a plea deal for Hardy. No word yet on if he'll need to serve any jail time. He drops the title to Ken Anderson. His court date is again pushed back. He wins the title back from Ken Anderson.

In February, an ominous video starts appearing on WWE television promising that something big will happen on February 21. Rumors start that it's the WWE debut of Sting, the only big-name WCW star to never sign with WWE. WWE hears the rumors and begins putting red herrings into the next videos, creating even more hype. Sting's TNA contract had expired and nobody knew what was going on. If there were ever a time for him to sign with WWE, this would be the perfect opportunity.

The videos were not for Sting. They were for The Undertaker. TNA, realizing that Sting was very hot right now, brought him back into the fold quickly and booked him as a surprise opponent for Jeff Hardy on March 3. Sting won the championship, which brings us to their rematch on Sunday.

People don't seem to know for sure what is going on. From looking at Jeff's entrance, you can tell that he staggers a little bit walking down to the ring and almost trips going up the steps into the ring.

If Jeff was in no condition to compete, why was the match allowed to take place? Why even risk having him out there at all? None of it adds up. It's hard to hear over Sting's music at the end, but the crowd started chanting "bullshit!" and Sting can clearly be heard saying, "I agree."

Shortly after the match, Jeff tweeted, "Everything is op." Typo? Evidence that he's messed up? Whatever's going on, clearly things are not op.

As of right now, Hardy has been sent home by TNA management. There is no word on when he will be used again. I expect we'll figure out more as the days go by.

Friday, March 11, 2011

A few small blogs combined together

I've wanted to blog about a few different things for a while now, but I've been busy with work and I've been pretty tired lately. Plus, for some reason I had a really bad headache all day Wednesday. I very rarely ever get headaches and when I do they usually don't last very long. So, it was a big adjustment to have my head hurt for over 12 hours. But, I'm feeling better now.

It's Spring Break. How am I celebrating? Working all week. I don't have anything better to do.

I had a couple days free earlier in the week, so I went to see my girlfriend, Candace Nelson. For those who don't know, she lives in Morgantown. That's a 3-4 hour drive, depending on the traffic. The quickest I've ever made the drive was 3 hours and 15 minutes and the longest was a little over 5 hours. The 5-hour trip featured very heavy rain and I could only drive about 40 mph. I usually average around 4 hours.

I left work on Sunday March 6 and arrived in Morgantown that night. I left Tuesday morning, since I had to work at 3 p.m. It's a little rough sometimes driving that much, but I feel like it's worth it. I enjoy her company. I was also there earlier in the week for just one night. She blogs about restaurants and wrote about the one we went to. Click here to read that. It was fancy. Well, as fancy as a restaurant under a bowling alley can be.

I've read three books lately that I felt like writing about. I'll give a brief rundown of them. All three are professional wrestling related.

The first is Batista's autobiography. I actually don't want to talk too much about that, since it was pretty average as far as books go. It was cool in that he was pretty open about some stuff, like people he didn't like and stuff. If you're a really big wrestling fan, read it. If not, you're not missing much.

The reason I was kind of excited about Batista's book was because it was the first book that I've read electronically. I downloaded an e-reader app to my BlackBerry and read it from there. That was pretty cool. I'm not quite ready to jump into the whole "Is the book industry dead?" debate over e-readers yet. I need to check out a couple more books before I get into that. And, plus, I'm not even really using an e-reader. I read the book on like a 5-inch screen. More on that subject later.

Next is "The Death of WCW," which was an interesting read. The 10-year-anniversary of World Championship Wrestling's death as a wrestling company is approaching at the end of March. I'd say the exact date, but I don't want people to make fun of me for knowing the exact date. And, of course, when I say "death," I mean when WCW was bought by Vince McMahon and the WWE.

This was a good book for both the casual and hardcore fan. It charted a rough history of WCW, from the late '80s until the last episode of Monday Nitro on March 26, 2001. (Oops, now you know that I know the exact date.) For the casual fan, all of this information is new and mind-boggling in a sense. For the hardcore fan, it's a fun - and mind-boggling - trip down memory lane.

Chris Jericho's "Undisputed: How to Become World Champion in 1,372 Easy Steps" was an amazing book. One of the reasons Jericho's first book was so great was because the backstory to Jericho making it to WWE was so interesting. The places he wrestled - Canada, Germany, Mexico, Japan - before making a name for himself in America made for a unique story that not many others had. His second book picks up right where his 1st book left off - his WWE debut. He goes into backstage politics he experienced: how he offended The Undertaker, how Triple H tried to hold him down, how Vince McMahon would explode and yell at him sometimes, and more. He writes about his music career, his 1999-2005 WWE stint, his attempts at acting, his mother's death, the night he spent in jail, and much more.

One of the funnier entries in Jericho's book is the "Bonus Foreword." The regular foreword was written by NY Times Bestselling Author Mick Foley, but Jericho notes that WWE wrestler Zack Ryder jokingly mentioned that he would write a foreword and post it on Twitter. Ryder did and Jericho notes that he thought it was very funny and oddly touching, so he included it in the book.

We'll use that as a segue to one of the more entertaining wrestling-related things I've stumbled on lately - Zack Ryder's YouTube channel - For somebody who doesn't follow wrestling, he has a very Jersey Shore-ish character. He's actually been doing the character since before the show started, though.

He's had the YouTube channel for about a month now and he's got a good sense of humor and is very entertaining. It's not a side of him that WWE audiences get to see that often, as he's not featured very prominently on WWE programing as of now. And, when he is featured, he's usually losing. CM Punk, one of the top stars in wrestling right now tweeted recently "It's embarrassing that WWE writers don't have @ZackRyder on raw more. They're dropping the ball. Go watch his YouTube videos. ENTERTAINMENT." His first video is embedded below. There are three others. They're all pretty good.

Friday, March 4, 2011

"Bad Bad Man," John Cena

I mentioned in my last blog that John Cena released an album. It was called You Can't See Me and was released in May, 2005. It debuted at number 15 on the Billboard Top 200 chart. Above is the first single off the album, "Bad Bad Man." The video is based off "The A-Team."

I feel like it gives you a good idea of what his range was as a rapper. I don't feel like he was an athlete who tried to rap. I feel like John Cena can be accurately described as both a rapper and an athlete. If he weren't a professional wrestler, I think he could have a fairly successful career in the music industry.

I remember when this album came out. It was barely a month after Cena won his first WWE Championship at WrestleMania 21. He was one of the hottest-rising stars in professional wrestling at the time and was really popular with fans. I went to Walmart with Dave White, a friend from back in the day, and he bought the album. We listened to it that night. Overall, it's not too bad. A couple songs are kind of cheesy, but he has talent and this is a good effort from him.

I wrote a couple posts back about WWE's transition from a TV-14 to TV-PG product. You can tell that this was released back in the more "risque" era, as evidenced by the track "Don't Fuck With Us." Could you imagine today's John Cena saying something like that?