Sunday, October 28, 2012

My coffee pot

I couldn't sleep. Having Saturday off from work messed with my sleep schedule a little bit. It's presently early Sunday morning. I work at noon. I decided that sleep wasn't going to work anymore, so I'm sitting at Starbucks killing some time. Should be an interesting day.

The ironic thing about spending a lot of time at Starbucks is that I don't like coffee. I enjoy the occasional Chai Tea (iced or hot), so at least I have something to drink while I goof off on my computer.

A running joke between me and my grandpa was him always asking if I wanted to drink coffee with him. Around the time he realized I was somewhat of an adult, he innocently asked me one day if I drank coffee. I said no. He seemed flabbergasted that you couldn't like coffee. As a result, every time I came in to visit, he would always try to get me to drink coffee.

When I moved into my first apartment in 2009, my grandpa might have been more excited about it than me and went on a spending spree, buying me a bunch of stuff he thought I would need for the apartment. I think the only thing I actually use that he bought is a paper towel holder. When I questioned the coffee maker he gave me, he told me that he would need it for whenever he came to visit me.

He only visited my old apartment once, and he drank all of his coffee at my mom's house, so he didn't need to open it. So, here we are nearing the end of 2012, and I still have this unopened coffee pot in one of my cabinets.

It's going to stay unopened. My grandpa died in February. I guess if you read my blog regularly you probably thought that, as I wrote a lot in December and January about him having cancer. Then he died. And I stopped writing about him. I didn't really know what to say. And I still don't, so I'll just leave with that story about the coffee pot.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Jim Ross interviews Steve Austin and CM Punk

If there's one way to hype a video game, this is it. The popular "Raw vs Smackdown" video game series is no more, having been replaced with "WWE '13," set to be released soon. Perhaps the most interesting feature to this video game is that it features storylines and characters from WWE's critically acclaimed "Attitude Era." The "Attitude Era" was a stretch of time in the late 1990's when WWE and wrestling as a whole was a pop culture phenom, led by arguably the most popular wrestling star in the history of the sport, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.

If you're a wrestling fan, then you know why the above video is awesome. For those who don't, the current hot fantasy matchup in the wrestling world is current WWE Champion CM Punk versus Steve Austin. Ever since the infamous "pipe bomb" promo of last summer, Punk has been compared more and more to Austin.

This match is looked at as a past versus present fantasy scenario, akin to The Rock versus Hulk Hogan from 2002 (and what WWE tried to do last year with The Rock versus John Cena). You can click here to read a piece I wrote over at Tricycle Offense about Austin versus Punk as a potential WrestleMania 29 (2013) or 30 (2014) match.

It remains to be seen if that match will happen. If you want the full story, read the Trike post. But, those involved - Austin, Punk, Jim Ross - know the potential for the match. All three men have discussed in interviews if a match could happen. It all hinges on Austin's health. He retired in 2003 due to neck problems. He has said that he could come back for a match, but that all the stars would have to magically align.

According to the rumor and gossip mill, it appears as though this match will not happen at WrestleMania 29. I have read online that WWE has been considering starting a small Punk/Austin program that would not involve a match as a way to advertise "WWE '13," which is all the video is doing. As a sidenote, WWE had nothing to do with that. It was from the creative team for the video game company, although it was mostly ad libbed by the participants.

Hopefully something happens. It looks like some groundwork has been laid. When confronting Bret Hart a few months back, Punk commented that he was better than Hart and "that dumb hillbilly you beat at WrestleMania 13, Steve Austin." Coincidentally, day 316 of CM Punk's current WWE Championship reign occured on a Monday a few weeks ago, so he made a few comments that night about being better than Austin (with the popular "Austin 3:16" catchprase being the reason for that).

Again, hopefully something happens with this. The window of time for Austin to compete in a competitve match is getting smaller, as he is in his late 40's. These two can still talk the talk, there is just a small window available for them to walk the walk.

Devil's Right Hand

Sweet cover song from Johnny Cash's later years, during his time recording albums with Rick Rubin. It has an interesting message.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Can good people do bad things?

Before we go any further, please disregard the ridiculously drunk guy in the red jacket. In the far left of this picture is Ron Williams. In the far right is Justin Havens. I had met Ron maybe 3 or 4 times and thought he was an okay guy. Justin had been a good friend and co-worker of mine for going on 9 months.

Both were arrested last week on a myriad of charges, including burglary, grand larceny, armed robbery, and conspiracy. Click here to read a report from local newspaper the Bluefield Daily Telegraph.

With Justin being a friend, obviously this was a big subject of discussion among those of us who worked with him. The general mood was that of shock. How could somebody who was such a nice guy do something so horrible?

We all know the answer, and it is not an uncommon one in this area - drugs. Drugs can make good people become somebody who they are not. They can make people do bad things for what they feel like they need. Drugs made Ron and Justin stage a robbery. According to the article, Justin and a woman were hanging out together when a masked man robbed them at gunpoint. After their arrest, they apparently confessed to Ron robbing them and then splitting the "loot" with Justin.

I first met Justin in late January or early February. I instantly liked him. He was very charismatic and helped me out with my new job duties. Fairly early on, though, I noticed that he and a few others around me had some issues with prescription pill abuse. It happens. Recreational drug use is something that seems fun at first. I've tried it. Snorting a pill up my nose wasn't as fun as I thought it would be, so I stopped after a few times. So, I understand why people will try it. Curiosity and boredom can be a dangerous mixture.

There were more than a few occasions at work when somebody would come up to me and say, "Am I the only one who notices how fucked up Havens is?" And then I would study him for a second and see the glassed-over eyes and a body seemingly running in slow motion. So, I saw him at what looked like his worst. And I also saw him at what I thought was his best - a funny, nice, friendly, happy guy.

What is most troubling about all of this is that Justin looked like he had been doing better with his issues. He started hanging out at the bar more often with us, something he didn't do as often (because you don't need to drink if you're on other stuff). He had started working in an assistant coaching capacity with his local high school football team. He loved talking about working with those kids and I could tell that he genuinely enjoyed it.

I tweeted a few weeks back that I had one of my top 5 favorite days of work ever. The reason for that was largely due to Justin Havens. It was a slow work day, so myself and my usual gang of friends were goofing off. What made it different was that Justin was involved in the shenanigans. Seeing him, for lack of a better term, act like us was hilarious and made for a memorable night.

What troubles me is that while he was helping me have one of my best days of work ever, he was allegedly helping orchestrate a string of robberies throughout the area to help support his drug habit. It's such a positive memory somewhat tainted by negative thoughts.

A question that comes up a lot is whether or not good people can do bad things, or if they're just bad people. Do bad people exist? Or are they just good people under bad circumstances? Do I still like Justin Havens? Yes, I do. He's my friend and you don't stop liking somebody just because something bad happens. Do I trust him? I don't think I do right now. He was doing some bad things behind our backs.

Is he a bad person? It depends on where he goes from here. I would like to see he and Ron come out of this situation for the better. What they did was wrong and I'm sure they both know that. From what I saw of Ron, I liked him. I really like Justin a lot. I want them to both be okay and hopefully they will be.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Thoughts from the 10-10-12 Concord SGA meeting

I'm a little late with some thoughts, as I was busy during the last week. But, I attended the 10-10-12 meeting of Concord University's Student Government Association. Here are some notes:

The student representative to the Faculty Senate, Greg Stamp, gave a rundown of the last meeting that he attended. He noted that some "computer people" (my words, not his) had been hired. Concord is also advertising for a new web manager. I asked somebody who I thought would be qualified, but he wasn't interested. There was also a proposal to make a minor wording change to the Concord University mission statement.

Josh Hanna, SGA President, discussed the extra Monday issue. He spoke with Dr. George Towers, associate academic dean, and fostered a discussion with those present at the meeting. Dr. Towers assured Josh that part of students Thanksgiving Break will not be taken away in order to create an extra Monday for classes.

Hanna said that he and Dr. Towers discussed having classes on Labor Day, but would have to look into the state policy regarding the legality of that.

Another issue discussed during the meeting was the possibility of adding an extra 5 or 10 minutes to classes. It seems like a small thing, but adding 10 minutes to each class would allow the semester to finish in 12 1/2 weeks instead of the required 15. People against that idea brought up the fact that students still have to stay in class for 15 weeks regardless. And, the scheduling of classes would have to change, as there needs to be a 10-minute window between classes.

As of now, nothing is official and people are still discussing things. Greg Stamp brought up forming a committee to discuss this further. The SGA President did not seem to be interested in that. He said if anybody would like to discuss it further with him, they could see him during his office hours. He did not list what those were, though.

I agree with Greg Stamp. This SGA seems uninterested in committees because they don't really know what can and should be accomplished in them. Committees are for brainstorming and coming up with ideas and potential solutions to solve problems.

The people who complain about how long the meetings last should push for the committees to be formed and accomplish things, that way they wouldn't have to be discussed during the meeting. I doubt this semester we will see a motion for "informal discussion." The reason for that is because the whole meeting is nothing but informal discussion.

In related committee news, the Vice President announced that committees will finally be formed at the 10-18-12 SGA meeting. The committees that are supposed to be formed within the first couple weeks of the semester will finally be formed in the middle of October.

Again, a big reason I think forming committees wasn't seen as something that needed to be done was because I don't think a lot of people understand what they can accomplish.

We'll see what they can get done in the next few weeks. Hopefully I'm proven wrong and these committees are actually used to the fullest of their potential.

Somebody will need to tell me if anything fun or exciting happens at the 10-18 meeting, as I won't be present. Real life has gotten in the way of blogging and I have to work. Maybe the technology committee will get formed and update their twitter and facebook so I'll know what happened...

I'll also miss seeing the third issue of The Concordian, as it's now bi-weekly and will be printed this Wednesday. I'll have to track down a copy and check it out. If I can offer anything to the Editor-in-Chief or Adviser, or anybody on the staff who cares... If somebody criticizes the paper, whether constructive or not, I think the writers should be held to a certain decorum and should be advised against ending a rebuttal by calling somebody a "self-entitled baby." It doesn't make them look good and, by proxy, it doesn't make the staff look good. Click here and read the comments if you don't know what I'm talking about.

That's it for now. If you'd like to add anything, feel free.

Here's my disclaimer:

I import these blogs into Facebook. That gives me the option to "tag" people, sending them an e-mail notification. I tag people for two reasons - 1) if I mention you by name & 2) if I think you will find this interesting. If you are tagged and don't want to be, let me know. If I don't tag you & you'd like to be tagged in the future, let me know.

There is a comment feature on this blog & I don't mind if you use it. It's cool to disagree, as long as it's kept civil. Anonymous comments are allowed, as long as it's relevant & mildly profanity free.

Book Review: 50 Shades of Grey

For a while now, I had been hearing the hype. Everybody was reading it and falling in love with it. The story, the plot twists, the... sex. Not just sex, but crazy, hardcore, tie-you-up sex. You know, the good stuff. So, curiosity got the better of me and I bought "50 Shades of Grey."

First released in 2011 by literary newcomer EL James, "50 Shades of Grey" is the first in a trilogy exploring the relationship between young, naïve, recent college graduate Anastasia Steele and millionaire entrepreneur Christian Grey. Set in a first-person narrative, it follows Anastasia as she meets Christian and is introduced to two new worlds - a lifestyle of the rich and famous, and as a shy virgin, an exciting world of sexual discovery.

The genre of "erotica" or romance novels (of which Ren from "Ren and Stimpy" was fond of reading) have been around in some form for approximately 40 years. "50 Shades of Grey" falls into that category. Most do not get as much mainstream attention and become as popular, though. It looks like "50 Shades of Grey" became popular for two reasons - first, it is a good story and secondly, the sex scenes - the "romance" aspect of the romance novel - are of a taboo variety.

Character-wise, the story is developed nicely. Anastasia Steele is very easy to relate to for nearly anybody. Not a single physical characteristic about her is mentioned; that way, girls reading it can see themselves in her. All that is really known about how she looks is that she doesn’t like to dress up and she likes Converse shoes.

She is a late bloomer sexually, as she is in her early 20s and has yet to have a boyfriend. That’s not for a lack of suitors, as she has a couple guys in her life who have crushes on her. But, she has yet to feel that way about a guy yet. That is, until she meets Christian Grey.

The courtship with Christian begins normally enough (well, normally enough for a multi-millionaire who can fly you on his own private helicopter on your first date). Things take an intriguing turn when Christian discusses his sexual interests with Anastasia. He describes himself as being "50 shades of fucked up." As she becomes enamored with him, she acknowledges his unconventional methods and refers to him as her "50 shades of Grey."

As things progress with Christian, Anastasia is torn between what is conventional and "normal" and she is unsure how to feel about her blossoming relationship. She enjoys her newfound sexual identity, her "inner goddess" as she puts it. But she longs for the traditional boyfriend-girlfriend dichotomy that she has never experienced. And that is where the drama in our narrative comes about.

The author did not finish "50 Shades of Grey" as a singular work and then spawn sequels from that. It is written as a trilogy in the sense that if you want any sense of closure, you must read all three books.

If it sounds like something you would be into, go read it. I don’t think the 50 Shades trilogy will go down in history as literary classics; they seem to be a media-created hype story that has gotten a lot of attention, a "flavor of the week" if you will. Check them out if you want to see what all the fuss is about.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

University 100

Something that has become somewhat of a "hot-button" topic at meetings of Concord University's Student Government Association has been needing to add an extra Monday to the semester. There are several options to attempt to fix that, one of which is to start classes on Monday instead of Wednesday. Opponents of this talk about how it will mess up scheduling with freshman orientation and the University 100 class, which basically teaches freshmen how to be college students.

At the 10-10-12 meeting of the SGA, I learned that University 100 was now only being taught for half of a semester, as opposed to the full 15 weeks. The reason for that was because a large chunk of the Monday and Tuesday before classes begin was used for University 100 "stuff."

I'm actually not really sure what all that "stuff" is, since University 100 was not a class at Concord until the 2007-2008 academic year. If you weren't a freshman, you didn't have to take it.

In 2009, I came back to the staff of The Concordian for one semester. I wrote a weekly column. Here's one that I wrote about University 100, using myself as a reason for why the class was necessary. I was saying that if I had been required to take the class when I was a freshman, maybe I wouldn't be in the situation that I am in.

That piece is below. I pose a question at the end of the column. If anybody has an answer, or additional information, I'd like to hear it.

* * *

Chris Slater
Published 2009, The Concordian

Not to sound cocky, but I'm a smart guy. Read some of my earlier work in The Concordian, check out my blog, take a peek at my Twitter feed, you'll see that I can formulate some good thoughts and come off credibly.

I'm a smart guy. But, I'm a horrible student. I have this huge asterisk beside my name that follows me everywhere I go - Chris Slater*

*Sixth-year Student.

I graduated from high school in June 2004. My first semester at Concord began in August 2004. I'm still here. I have completed 10 semesters of college and am starting number 11.

Why am I still in school? The simple answer is because I failed a bunch of classes. The more complex answer is because I never learned how to be a good college student.

Upon entering college, I did not know how to do three important things - 1) effectively manage my time 2) study properly 3) live on my own.

Without any real training or guidance, I was thrust into room 216 of Wooddell Hall back in 2004 and expected to do all three things. I failed horribly.

I quickly fell into some bad habits that I’ve only recently begun to break.

One of the worst habits was thinking I could pass a class without buying the book. My first semester, I managed to get an A in Personal Wellness without buying the book. If part of your curriculum is to run laps around the track, you really don't need a book for that. I can't tell you how many classes I tried to pass without a book after that only to wind up failing.

My other bad habit was to skip classes. It all began in mid-September, 2004. My roommate was Alex Hosseini (before his Tau Kappa Epsilon days). At the time, we were both wide-eyed freshmen. It was 8 a.m. - his alarm clock went off and mine followed a couple seconds later. We both sat up in bed, shirtless and groggy. I can recall the conversation like it was yesterday:

Alex: I don't want to go to class.

Me: Me neither.

Alex: I'm going back to bed.

Me: Me too.

Thus began my descent into bad college-decision making.

What I needed was some sort of class or workshop or guidance in my early days. I was young enough that I may not have appreciated it back then, but it very well could have helped me graduate on time. I can't even begin to image how different things would be for me if I had somebody six years ago to explain how to study and for how long and how to manage living in the dorms and responsibilities and whatnot. I don't know where I'd be now - probably not here, which would be a good thing.

I've heard conflicting reports about how effective Concord's "University 100" class is. At its core, University 100 is a class that teaches college students how to be college students. It's taught by several different teachers and administrators.

I've heard rumblings from freshmen over the last few years that they don't like the class and that they think it's pointless. I'll take that for what it's worth - just about every class seems pointless when you're taking it. It isn't until after the fact that you begin to appreciate things.

This is the third year of University 100 - I'd be interested in seeing some retention rates of students who took this class. It would be interesting to see how many students who were incoming freshmen in the fall of 2007 are still here today.

Does University 100 work? It's impossible to tell for a few more years. The class gives students the information, but University 100 will only be a success if the students use that information. It will be a success if we see fewer dropouts (like a lot of my friends) and fewer sixth-year students (like me).

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Went out last night...

Last night I received a text message from my friend Kayleigh stating that she was in town. This was cause for celebration, since she had moved away a few weeks earlier after getting a job in Charleston aka "the big times." Click here to see a picture from her going-away party. I'm the drunk guy in the front row.

Anyway, I went out. It was a pretty good time. I ran into a lot of people I knew. It was at Leo's, a bar on Athens Road, on the way to Concord University. It was only my second time going there. Had Kayleigh not said she was there, I likely wouldn't have ever gone back.

The first time was not very good. It was pretty busy, so there was a crowd around the bar. My friend was in line ahead of me and ordered his drink and mine. The cost was six dollars. A little pricey for beer in Princeton, but not too bad. I went up later to get our second round. I ordered the same two beers. The bartender looked at me for a second before saying, "Seven dollars." So, we were playing that game.

I didn't want to say anything, because I wasn't sure how he would take it. I didn't know if he would pull a Soup Nazi on me - "No beer for you!" - so I didn't bring up the beer gouging.

The second time was a lot more fun. There was a live band, good friends, and a lot of people that I hadn't seen in a while. One of the funnier aspects for me was that during the course of the night, I had five different people tell me that they liked my blog and read it a lot. I even had one guy ask how the Mountain Slate project is going.

The biggest thing with starting anything is money. I need that start-up fund before I can start up. I'm talking to a few different people and exploring a few different avenues. People probably think nothing is happening, since nothing is actually happening. But, good things come to those who wait.

So, as of right now, Mountain Slate exists on twitter and a little-used blog. I had a lot of ideas for sort of making that into a mini-magazine, but life and shit got in the way of having extra time for that. Plus, it's a wordpress site and I haven't figured out how to use it fully yet. These kids and their newfangled blogging technology...

Within the next month, I will either have good or bad news to report on trying to acquire funding. Something will happen, I'm just not sure what yet.

I ran into Scott Noble, the Editor-in-Chief of The Concordian. We had a quick drunken conversation about the newspaper and whatnot. I've had a chance to look at the first two issues. If anybody on campus hasn't seen them, go look for them. It's in your best interest to keep up with stuff.

If I can give the staff of The Concordian any advice, it is this: With a bi-weekly format, the newspaper is not where people go for news anymore. Any breaking news will no longer be breaking after a 2-week period. Informative features, well-thought-out opinion pieces and editorials, bright attention-grabbing pictures, and sports features are what people need in a bi-weekly paper.

I've said for years to anybody that will listen that the sports and opinions sections can be the two most popular areas, only if they are properly promoted and encourage readership. Interesting articles that are provocative and touch a nerve will get eyes on them.

An example of a bad opinion piece was the thing from issue 1 where the guy talks about an unprofessional professor. He is so vague and trying not to cause a stir that it's pointless. It reads more like he's talking about the idea of an unprofessional professor as opposed to him being fed up with the one he deals with. You read it and don't care. Name names. Be specific. You might create enemies, but you might also walk into a bar and have 5 drunks tell you they love what you write.

I've also said this for years, but nobody really cares. I hate the color maroon, despite it being Concord's main color. Change the flag at the top of the newspaper back to the old one, instead of that shitty maroon block. Or create a new one. Since it debuted in 2008, I have hated it.

There's that. I'll probably write more about the newspaper at some other point.

SGA meeting notes [10-03-12]

I attended the October 3, 2012 meeting of Concord University's Student Government Association. The meeting was about an hour long and a few budgets being decided were the main happening.

It looks like the budgetary process is being done differently from previous years. In the past, the Budgetary committee would be formed, all organizations would turn in their budget requests, then the committee would meet one night (usually a Monday) and decide all budgets, with voting taking place at that Wednesday's meeting. Now, it looks like they're doing it on a come-as-they-go system, which doesn't seem too bad, I guess. Four budgets were passed at the meeting:

The game room received $350 for pool table equipment, video games, and etc... (that's what I wrote down; don't remember if more stuff was said). The Student Center, where the game room is housed, also chipped in $350.

The Film Society received $1500. Dr. Charles Brichford, faculty advisor to both the Film Society and the SGA, remarked that Concord has "one of the best film collections in the state," noting that there are a lot of obscure indie and foreign films in the collection. They show films weekly on campus and all films are available to be checked out at the library.

Phi Sigma Phi received $650 to cover fees relating to registration for a leadership convention they attended over the summer. Richard Babich, the attorney general, noted that he had been absent from the SGA for a year or so and asked when the SGA began covering things like this for Greek organizations. Vice President Chelsea Rowe said it began last year.

Student Support Services, which provides free tutoring for students, received an allocation of $3000 ($1500 per semester). This was just part of the money this group needs, and they are getting the rest from other sources. In the past, SSS has requested $8000 from the SGA.

There is $30,500 left for allocations for the entire school year, with $14,000 being left for this semester. If you are in an organization that would like to request money, budgetary forms are available at the SGA Office, on the third floor of the student center (formerly the computer center offices for those who have been at Concord forever).

One thing I'd like to address from the meeting is the Phi Sigma Phi allocation and the Attorney General asking a question about it. When everybody thinks the same way and acts the same, that's called a clique. A clique can be good or bad. If you're all focused on the same good things, it's good to have a tight clique of friends. If you're focused on getting your own agenda across, then surrounding yourself with your clique is not good.

This SGA looks like they have the best interest of the students at heart, which means they're doing a good job. But, they're veering dangerously into clique territory, which could become a bad thing. When Richard asked that innocent question (which I was also wondering) - when did the SGA begin paying for Greek organizations to attend conferences - you would have thought he picked up a kitten and punched it, given the negative reaction he received.

The reason for all of that negative reaction was due to the high Greek numbers in attendance. Richard questioning that allocation means he's indirectly questioning their allocations, and they did not like that. Instead of simply answering, "It started last year," the collective Greek community got defensive. And that's not good.

Years back, in my heyday covering the SGA, the Budgetary committee created a question that applied to giving money. If the answer was good, they would receive their allocation: How does this benefit the Concord community? Students use the game room, so there's money for that. Students need tutoring, so there's that. Students can benefit from having a diverse collection of films in their life. And that's why Greek organizations used to not receive money for things like that. The reason given was that it was a leadership conference, and those who attended can use those skills in other organizations. That seems valid enough, I guess.

It all comes back to what the student representatives in the meeting want to do. The Budgetary committee just recommends an allocation. It does not become official until it's voted on by all those present with voting paddles at the meeting. They can move to strike down the budget, to give more or less money. The voting members hold all the power, and one of my biggest problems with the SGA has been apathy and ignorance on the part of those voters. They are important and a lot either don't realize it or don't care.

We'll come back to that topic later, maybe... In other news:

The Vice President apologized for scheduling issues with the Monday and Tuesday Homecoming events. Apparently the Tuesday events happened on Monday and vice versa.

The SGA President said he had emailed Dr. George Towers about the Monday scheduling issues he spoke about last week. He is still waiting on a reply and will update everybody when he gets one.

It was announced that the library will now be open until midnight on Monday nights now. I'll give you more information if I get any. That was something that former SGA President Jeff Yeager tried to do, but after a trial run it proved to not be popular.

To bring up Richard Babich again, he came up to me after the meeting and gave me an update on the @CUSGA twitter issue. He said that the account is under the control of the Technology committee, but since committees haven't been formed yet, nobody is running the SGA twitter. If anybody at The Concordian staff interviews the SGA President for a big feature (hint, hint, story idea...) ask him about the committee thing. Ask him a lot of other, more positive, stuff too. But ask that one.

That's all I've got. If anybody wants to chime in, feel free.

Here's my disclaimer:

I import these blogs into Facebook. That gives me the option to "tag" people, sending them an e-mail notification. I tag people for two reasons - 1) if I mention you by name & 2) if I think you will find this interesting. If you are tagged and don't want to be, let me know. If I don't tag you & you'd like to be tagged in the future, let me know.

There is a comment feature on this blog & I don't mind if you use it. It's cool to disagree, as long as it's kept civil. Anonymous comments are allowed, as long as it's relevant & mildly profanity free.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Some sort of headline about blogging

That title is in reference to probably the biggest blunder I was a part of during my 4+ years on the staff of The Concordian, Concord University's newspaper. I'll tell that story later. I just couldn't come up with a title and thought of that story. I'll save that one.

For now, a collection of thoughts:

I'm growing my beard back. I went roughly (or smoothly...) 3 1/2 weeks without any facial hair. I just got tired of shaving. I have to shave every 2 days to be clean-shaven and I'm lazy, so we know how that worked out.

The first time I decided I was going to grow a beard was the summer of 2003. I was 16 years old and mentioned it to my grandpa. He seemed astounded: "You can't grow a beard!" he said it almost as a challenge, like he didn't think my body could produce one. A couple weeks later, he told me he'd take me shopping for a beard groomer.

* * *

I had been wanting to make note of this observation for almost a full year, but I needed the proper segue. It's finally happened. Disregard this paragraph and continue below.

The National Basketball Association today issued a ruling that they are going to start punishing players for the act of "flopping," which means they intentionally fall on the ground and pretend another player pushed them. Flopping became popular around the mid 2000s and became a key way for teams to get free throw opportunities and put other teams in foul trouble.

I began covering high school basketball for the Princeton Times last December. I went to most of Princeton High's basketball games for over 2 months. The biggest thing I noticed is that they will attempt to flop on nearly every play. Unlike their NBA counterparts, they are all horrible at it and so obviously flopping that it never once worked out for them.

One a related note, I was at the library a few weeks ago and a man walked in that I thought I recognized. I stared at him for a moment and realized that he was the stepfather to a friend that I used to work with. Then I looked at him again and realized that I actually knew him better as the head coach of Princeton High School's basketball team. By the time I made that connection, he had left.

* * *

I blogged previously about dreams that I have, how they're usually just mundane happenings involving me going to work. I'll dream about having a boring day at work, then wake up and go to work. I had a nightmare for the first time in a long time; longer than I can remember.

I had a nightmare in the sense that something scary happened and I suddenly woke up, still scared. I do not remember the last time something like that happened to me. The reason I was still afraid when I woke up was because of how eerie it was.

The way my bedroom is set up, if I'm laying in my bed on my right side, I can look at my bedroom door, which is usually open. I was dreaming that I was laying on my right side, looking at my bedroom door. A woman suddenly started charging at me with a knife. I woke up and nothing changed. The background in my dream was the same background once I was awake. I was dreaming that I was laying on my right side looking at my bedroom door and I woke up on my right side looking at my bedroom door.

* * *

I was looking through some files in my computer and I noticed that I have a lot of unfinished writings. I typically write something in one sitting and - mostly for blogs - very rarely go over it for a second draft. I get in a creative mood, start tapping my fingers on the keyboard, and then *VOILA* something is written.

If I get out of that mood, I usually just save whatever I have and leave it alone. I have posted two such articles here in my blog, an Editorial I never finished for The Concordian and also a Political Commentary I started writing in 2006 & never finished...

I have like 8 of those in my files right now. It's an eclectic range of articles, everything from a memorial to my hamster that died, a partial review of Andre Agassi's autobiography, discovering pop music when I was 11, and a crazy story about smoking marijuana in 2009 to name a few.

I might post some of those here if anybody wants to read them. We'll see.

Where is my mind?

I couldn't get this song out of my head the other day while I was at work. I was performing all of my job duties but couldn't get the song and words "Where Is My Mind" off my mind. It got me thinking... I'll come back to this topic later...