Friday, December 30, 2011

The "Bobby Roode Era" has begun in TNA

At the end of October, I posted a blog looking at the sudden rise of James Storm to the top of TNA. After winning the World Heavyweight Championship from Kurt Angle, I posted a blog titled The "James Storm Era" begins in TNA.

As of right now, that era lasted only one week, as he lost the championship in his first defense to his long-time friend and tag team partner Bobby Roode. Roode turned his back on his friend, cheating en route to his first World Heavyweight Championship victory.

This blog goes hand-in-hand with a post I have submitted to the Under the Ring wrestling blog, looking at the bigger picture behind the scenes that led to Roode's heel turn and championship victory. Once that goes online, I'll post the link in the comments section.

Below are the three videos that you need to check out, as they see the creation of the "Bobby Roode Era" in TNA. They are also essential in order to better understand the Under the Ring blog.

The first is Storm's first promo as World Heavyweight Champion. He calls out Roode and they set up their match for later that night.

Next, Roode and Storm are in the midst of a competitive back-and-forth match. Having a sudden change of heart, Roode decides to take a shortcut and screw his best friend out of the title.

Finally, cameras catch up with both Roode and Storm backstage after the match. Roode puts down his former friend. Storm is seemingly too mad to speak.

Shortly after losing the championship, Storm received a concussion and was out of action for nearly a month. In his place, Storm's friend (and Roode's former friend) AJ Styles stepped up to the plate against Roode. He was defeated through dubious means by Roode at two consecutive pay-per-view events. He is currently scheduled to face Jeff Hardy at TNA's Genesis pay-per-view, January 8. Storm missed the November pay-per-view, but returned to defeat Kurt Angle (the man he defeated for the championship) in a grudge match at the December offering. A rematch between the two is currently scheduled for January 8.

No word yet on when the next chapter in the James Storm/Robert Roode feud will take place.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Some articles I've written

I've been doing a little writing lately. The guy that covered high school basketball for the Princeton Times newspaper moved away and I've been given some assignments in that area. I also wrote a story about the Brothers of the Wheel motorcycle club, who organize a yearly event to give gifts to needy children. That was fun. That article isn't posted online, but it's available in the current print edition of the Times newspaper.

I haven't written much for the Under the Ring blog lately, but I'm hoping to correct that. As I've mentioned, that's a professional wrestling blog that I contribute to. I wrote a piece the other day looking at Kevin Nash's recent WWE return, after he announced on Twitter that he was retiring.

The basketball article and blog post are linked below. With the basketball story, it was on a pretty tight deadline without much notice and I was unable to get an interview with the Princeton High baskeball coach, so it only includes comments from the opposing team's coach. That was corrected in the next article I'm working on now, as I talked to both coaches.

Princeton Times basketball article, 12/21/11

Under The Ring blog post about Kevin Nash

The Princeton Times is printed every Friday. Most of their articles make it online by Friday or Saturday or so. As those become available I'll periodically post some here. With the wrestling blog posts, I kind of do those whenever. I'm trying to get on a more consistent schedule, and I'll keep you updated on those as well.

Follow my magazine on Twitter, @MountainSlate. If that sentence sounds weird, click here to find out what I'm talking about. I'll post an update on that soon.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Female soldier embraces girlfriend upon return

For the first time to be documented, an openly gay member of the armed forces kissed her partner after arriving home after being stationed overseas.

I tweeted a link to the AP's story through my magazine's twitter account. Yes, that's a cheap plug. Check out the story and my twitter.

RT @MountainSlate: First time seen since #DADT repealed, female soldier embraces girlfriend upon return from overseas -

This is something that is really groundbreaking and amazing. But, the sad thing is that it shouldn't be. It's a woman kissing a woman. I'm very happy that gays are now openly allowed to serve in the military. I just feel like we're still so far behind on gay rights. I just don't understand why anybody would have any sort of prejudice against any sort of sexual orientation.

I feel like gay marriage will be our generation's version of women and black people being allowed to vote. My grandkids will look at me one day and say, "Gay people really weren't allowed to get married when you were a kid?" And I'll respond, "Yeah. That was really stupid."

Hopefully things like the picture above will help desensitize people to the idea that gay people are also people and that there's nothing wrong with them.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Homer buys a gun

If you've never seen the episode of "The Simpsons" where Homer buys a gun and joins the NRA, I feel like you should. It's a pretty good satirical take on right-wing gun ownership and the culture that goes along with it.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

My grandpa's in the hospital, part II

Almost exactly 2 years ago to the day I posted a blog titled "My grandpa's in the hospital." He was recovering from surgery to fix a perforated ulcer. Check the 2009 blog to see what that is. Doesn't sound pleasant.

This is one of those things that makes you wonder if this is related to that, because he's in the hospital 2 years later, recovering from surgery to remove his stomach after finding some cancerous tumors in it.

My mom called me probably a month ago and casually threw this out - "Did I tell you Pap was in the hospital?" I think they wanted me to call him "Papaw" when I was starting to talk, but I only got the first part out.

I said no. She responded, "Oh. He's been in there like 3 or 4 days now. He's okay."

She went on to tell me that he had been feeling weak and went in to see what was going on. His blood count was low or something, so they gave him some blood and he was feeling better. She then said that they had found some "masses" in his stomach and were waiting on more tests to see what they were.

A few weeks later she called me to say that it was cancer and that they were waiting to figure out what the next step was. Throughout all of this she was maintaining a fairly optimistic attitude. And then, the optimism seemed to fade. She told me about the surgery to remove his stomach and strongly implied that I should start visiting him more often.

His surgery was last Friday, Dec. 9. I came in earlier that week and saw him for a couple days. I guess it hadn't really sank in yet. They had moved a bed downstairs for my grandpa because he was too weak to climb stairs now.

When somebody has the flu or something and is incapacitated for a few days, that's what it seemed like. He laid in bed and slept pretty much the whole time I was there. He could barely eat anything and he was looking pretty rough. I guess it didn't fully sink in because I only saw him like that for a few days. But, the reality is he had been like that for a few weeks now and will likely be like that for the rest of his life.

They had the surgery to remove his stomach on Friday. I went back to Princeton on Saturday. My mom called me and gave me the bad news once I got home that the cancer wasn't just contained to his stomach and that they were giving him roughly 6 months to live.

So, that's where we're at with that right now. I saw him once after the operation in the hospital. I didn't care much for seeing him like that, which seems to be a bone of contention between myself and my mom. She wants me to be making multiple visits to the hospital and I'm not really in the mood to be doing that.

I don't know how long he's going to be in the hospital, but I assume he's not leaving anytime soon.

So, I guess I'm dealing with the impending death of my grandpa. Maybe at a later time I'll get into one of those sappy "I didn't have a father in my life and my grandpa was there for me" posts.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Mountain Slate

In a blog I posted a week or so ago I announced that I was Editor-in-Chief of Mountain Slate magazine, a publication aimed at informing and serving a young adult Southern West Virginia audience. Now seems like a good time to tell you a little bit more about this.

I can't tell you exactly what inspired this, but it was around the fall of 2009 that I first had the idea to create my own magazine. I was staying over at with Kelly at her place and, like usual, couldn't sleep. She would fall asleep and then I would usually go into another room and stay up with my thoughts.

I started thinking about the state of journalism in this area and I realized the newspapers around here failed to get a key demographic - the teen/young adult audience. Why? Things that they wanted covered weren't getting coverage and things that they needed to know weren't being presented in an entertaining format.

That led me to come up with an idea for a news magazine that would focus on the Princeton, WV, area. It would cover hard news as well as be full of entertaining features. I was so excited when I came up with the name. I remember when I told Kelly about it the next day -

Me: "I'm going to call it 'Prince' magazine."

Her: "We'll work on that."

That was around the end of 2009. Life and other stuff took priority and nothing of real note happened with Prince magazine for almost a year. I met Candace in the summer of 2010. With both of us having a shared interest in journalism, I felt like bringing up my magazine idea with her. She thought it was a good idea and encouraged me to pursue it.

So now we're at the end of 2010. Nothing new has really happened with this magazine idea. It's buried away under stacks and stacks of other papers. It's something I think about a lot, but I don't really do anything about it. I would joke about it a lot in the first half of 2011, saying things to the effect of, "I've been tired lately; running my own magazine is exhausting" and other lame jokes of that nature.

Things really didn't kick into high gear until the fall of 2011; a full two years after the idea first hatched in my head. By this point, the idea to broaden the magazine's horizons had already been decided. I realized that Princeton was really too small to dedicate a magazine to. A lot of Princeton problems are shared by the surrounding cities/counties, so the decision to focus on Southern West Virginia as a whole came about.

Being the journalism nerd I am, I have always kept a running list of story ideas in the memo pad of my BlackBerry. Any time I had an idea, I would type it in there. In addition to a yellow notepad of story ideas and other stuff I had jotted down, I actually had some interesting stuff that I just needed to sort out.

Prince wasn't going to work as a name anymore, so a bunch of different ideas were bounced around between Candace and I. She came up with Mountain Slate and neither one of us hated it, so that is the new name. So, there's her place in Mountain Slate magazine trivia history.

For roughly two years, all that existed for this magazine was a few pages of drawings in a manilla folder. I still use that manilla folder, but it is now bursting through with roughly 100 pages of documents and other papers. We're getting ready to transition to a new filing system.

There is a twitter account - @mountainslate and an email address - mountainslate[at], which is something I'm happy about. As things progress more, we'll work on a Facebook and Google+ page.

I have assembled a staff of roughly 5 people so far. We're not really at the point now where the staff needs to do anything, so nothing is really too binding at the moment. If anybody is interested in working in any capacity for Mountain Slate, get in touch with me.

I have set up a loose timeline and we are still on track for an April print date for issue 1. That is really all contingent on selling enough ads and raising money. When I told my mom about what I was doing, she said to me, "Are you going to be able to fill all those pages?" And I told her that writing the stories and designing the pages will be the easy and fun part. Raising the money will be a little difficult.

We're in the process of finalizing ad rates. Those should be ready in the next week or so.

That's where we're at for now. I'll be back next time with an interesting story about trying to find out information about ad rates. It was the first major road block that Mountain Slate faced. It kind of made me mad. I'll save that one for next time.

Any questions or concerns, feel free to leave them here in the comments section or shoot me a message.