Saturday, December 26, 2009

Hate Mail

I had a couple interesting comments left in the blog "My unpublished Concordian story." Here they are:

my god, you suck. horrible writer. boring. poor grammar. no style. give...it...up. really. journalist? don't flatter yourself. your unpublished work is your best. you can't sleep, so you blog? fascinating. jesus, do us all a favor and get a prescription for ambien. dude...you can't write. not everyone is cut out for this. your leads are so cliche, so weak. really. you give "journalists" (a tip of the hat to your overuse of quotations) a bad name.


Here's the other:

Yeah, big mystery why they didn't publish your work. You suck. I really hate people like you...hacks who claim to be "writers." You are no writer, sir. Oh, yes, you're SO interesting. Please blog. Do it for the masses. On second thought...don't.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Fuckin' Epic

Neil Young covering the Beatles' "A Day in the Life," joined midway through by Paul McCartney.

Monday, December 21, 2009

My grandpa's in the hospital

My mom called me on Friday to tell me that my grandpa was in the hospital and had undergone emergency surgery for a perforated ulcer. What he went through doesn't sound pleasant, at least according to Wikipedia:

A perforated ulcer, also known as a bleeding ulcer[1] or a perforated peptic ulcer[2] is a very serious condition where an untreated ulcer can burn through the wall of the stomach (or other areas of the gastrointestinal tract), allowing digestive juices and food to leech into the abdominal cavity. Treatment generally requires immediate surgery.[3] The ulcer is known initially as a peptic ulcer before the ulcer burns through the full thickness of the stomach or duodenal wall. A diagnosis is made by taking an X-ray of the stomach area (seeking air under the diaphragm). This is in fact one of the very few occasions in modern time where surgery is undertaken to treat an ulcer.[1] Many of the perforated ulcers have been attributed to the bacterium Helicobacter pylori.[4] The incidence of perforated ulcer is steadily declining, though there are still incidents where it occurs.[5] Causes include smoking and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).[5] A perforated ulcer can be grouped into a Stercoral perforation which involves a number of different things that causes perforation of the intestine wall.

I was told he has to be in the hospital for at least a week, which means he will be in the hospital on Christmas Day.

I finally talked to him today. We only talked for about a minute, because he wasn't feeling very well. He didn't sound great, but I doubt anybody would sound great after something like that.

At 71 years-old, my grandpa has been relatively healthy in his life. He had a bout with shingles in the late '90s, and suffered a heart attack in 2004. Other than that, he's been a healthy and active senior citizen.

Hopefully he keeps that up after his recovery from this.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My unpublished Concordian story

If you recall, I did an interview recently with Kenny Osborne, the women's basketball coach. If you don't recall, click here and see for yourself. I wrote up a story based on information gathered from the interview and sent it in to be published in the final issue of The Concordian for the semester.

Wendy Holdren, Editor-in-Chief of the paper, informed me that there wouldn't be a sports section for the final edition, as my story was the only sports-related story turned in. Realizing a cool opportunity to have something unique for the website, I asked Wendy if we could post it on cunewspaper.com. Wednesday came and it wasn't posted. I texted Wendy about it & she said she'd inform the Web Manager about it...

...Then the power went out on campus for four days.

It doesn't look like my storie's going to make it to the website, so I'm going to post it here. It's not much, but it's something.

Some random trivia ... If my memory serves me, this will be my fourth "unpublished" story that I wrote for The Concordian. Oddly enough, my other three were all for the same issue, in the Fall 2005 semester. It was the final issue of the semester, and I filled 3 "holes" in the unfinished paper, only to have all 3 taken out by the Editor-in-Chief. On the Arts & Entertainment page, I wrote a review of a Johnny Cash "greatest hits" album, I wrote a piece on the Opinions page, and I wrote an edition of my short-lived sports column, the "sportitorial" on the sports section.

The piece on the Opinions page was taken out because there was an advertisement that was supposed to go there. The deadline was approaching and I thought there was nothing for that spot, so I wrote something up really quick. It was a funny piece about my adventure earlier that semester about having to deliver newspapers around campus when the delivery guy called in sick.

I'm not sure why the other two were taken out. The sports column was kind of dumb, so that may explain that. The album review was pretty cool. I wish I still had a copy of that.

Below is my story about the women's basketball team. I mention their 5-0 record and their upcoming game. They won that one and are presently 6-0. They don't play again until Dec. 20.

* * *

Chris Slater

Senior Staff Writer

The women’s basketball team has started off their season on a high note, going undefeated through their first five games.

“It feels good that we’re off to such a good start,” Head Coach Kenny Osborne said. “You know, we’ve played very well offensively. Okay, defensively. We’ve got to get better defensively.”

Osborne, in his tenth season as coach, said that there was not a lot of pressure to start their season that way, but notes that it increases with each additional win.

“Every time you win another game the pressure’s going to mount,” Osborne said. “Because people expect more, other teams start gunning for you. Really, not starting out, but I think as we go along and if we continue to win, more and more pressure will mount.”

At press time, the team has defeated Milligan College, Bluefield College, Davis and Elkins, Alderson-Broaddus, and West Virginia Wesleyan.

Osborne said that last year’s 13-15 record was a rebuilding year, after losing three seniors. Before the 13-15 record, the team had back-to-back 20-win seasons and were regionally and nationally ranked.

Last year’s team lost their point guard to a knee injury three games into the season. Osborne said one of the keys to a successful season is to remain injury and illness free, but also be a little lucky.

“We basically lost a week of practice there at the end of October with the flu, bronchitis, and everything else,” Osborne said. “What I mean by lucky too, if someone sprains an ankle, hopefully there are four or five days before you play again and we can get them back. We need to stay lucky there and stay injury and illness free.”

Osborne lists the University of Charleston, West Liberty, Fairmont State, West Virginia Wesleyan, and Pitt-Johnstown as who he believes will be the five toughest opponents this season.

Osborne said the team’s ultimate goal is to make it to the NCAA tournament in March.

“Our goal, our main goal, is to be playing a lot of basketball in March, which means we made the NCAA tournament,” Osborne said. “You want to win as many games as you can, but I think you want to continue on into the NCAA tournament.”

Osborne said that if his 13-member team can remain injury and illness free, they have a shot.

“I told them, I’d take most of their Thanksgiving Break from them, most of their Christmas Break from them, and if I can take their Spring Break from them - which still means they’re playing in the NCAA tournament - that’s my goal,” Osborne said.

The team next plays Dec. 8, hosting Fairmont State. After a break, they then play their next game, Dec. 20, at West Virginia State.


* * *

That's probably my last Concordian story.

D.C. council votes to allow same-sex marriages

http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/12/15/dc.gay.marriage/index.html

As the link above shows, the Washington, D.C., council voted 11-2 to allow same-sex marriage. The bill now needs to be signed by the mayor - who has said he supports it - and then Congress has 30 days to intervene before it takes effect (most believe the Democratic-led Congress will not intervene). When this passes, D.C. will join Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, and Iowa in allowing same-sex marriage.

One thing that I've never understood with the same-sex marriage debate is the huge amount of opposition to it. I just can't comprehend why it is such a big problem for two men or two women to get married to each other.

I guess a lot of it has to do with religion. The majority of people against same-sex marriage are usually conservative, Republican types, and those types tend to be religious. The Bible states that marriage is between a man and a woman. These people base their lives around the Bible, so that puts them against same-sex marriage.

I found the following quote a week or so ago and I think it is very fitting:

"Rational arguments don't usually work on religious people. Otherwise, there wouldn't be religious people." - Doris Egan


That makes so much sense. The idea of God and religion is just so hard to believe. I can't understand how people can base their life on something that has a huge chance of not being true.

Jesse Ventura said it best, and this is one of my all-time favorite quotes:

"Organized religion is a sham and a crutch for weak-minded people who need strength in numbers." - Jesse Ventura


It's mind-boggling how people turn to God when they need to make a decision or need a way to live their life.

Probably the worst aspect about most religious people is how they refuse to allow themselves to think that they may be wrong, to question what they believe.

In my English 203 class, we were reading the epic Gilgamesh. Our assignment was to write about anything from the epic that appealed to us. The first thing I noticed about that story was that it mirrored the story of Noah's Ark. There was a flood, a guy built a boat, put a bunch of animals and shit on it, and had a bird go out and get him a twig to signify the end of the flood. So, I wrote about how this demonstrated the possibility that God may not be real, that the Bible may be a work of fiction.

We did an activity where the professor took up our papers & passed them to random students in the class a couple times and they left comments on your paper. The comments I got, you could tell that I had threatned these peoples belief systems. You could tell that they were offended by the comments they left. It's weird.

Back to the subject at hand, there is nothing inherently "wrong" with same-sex marriage. The only reason there is any opposition to it is because the Bible tells you it's wrong. The only real thing I have to say about this issue is that it's stupid. It's just so stupid to not allow people to have certain rights just because of their sexual orientation.

I don't know. That's a few thoughts I felt like throwing out on the subject.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Instant Karma

Don't have much. Just wanted to note that the anniversary of the murder of John Lennon was Dec. 8. Twenty-nine years ago, last week. Below is one of my favorite Lennon songs.

Interesting fact about this song - it holds the record for fastest "turnaround" in the music industry (before today's instant download world). It was written and recorded on the same day and released as a single only a week later.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Bored, can't sleep...

As the title states, I am bored and can't sleep. When I can't sleep, I tend to blog. I guess I'll throw some random stuff out there and see if any of it sticks.

The fall 2009 semester at Concord is nearly over. In terms of grades and classes and whatnot, I'm going to consider this semester to be a disappointment. Coming off of the really good semester I had in the spring, I didn't follow that up with a great showing this fall. I'm not sure why, but I tend to do better in the spring than in the fall. Maybe it's the weather. I don't know.

The power went out at Concord today. Well, actually, the entire town of Athens. As of the last time I checked, power is still out in Athens, which has resulted in classes being canceled for Thursday. Normally, that would be good, but for most classes, this Thursday is the last time they meet before finals next week. I'm still not sure what's going on with making up that day or whatnot. I'm sure the "higher-ups" at Concord are figuring something out.

There were reportedly 50 mile-per-hour winds going through the area, which some say may have caused the outage. I didn't measure the winds, but they definitely felt strong. I also saw a tree fall down, so it was definitley windy.

I was in the Rahall Center computer lab when the power went out. I wasn't too concerned, since I was just there hanging out with Kelly. But, she and some other people in there were doing online finals. They were upset. Me? I was reading http://garfieldminusgarfield.net/, so I wasn't affected that much when the power went down.

A while before the power went out, I read an interesting story on ESPN.com about brain damage in athletes. I've been following the issue of brain damage in athletes after the Chris Benoit double murder/suicide incident from 2007. It came out shortly after that his brain had considerable damage and the scientists involved believe that may have been the reason he did what he did, as opposed to the common "roid rage" theory.

After the Benoit study came out, I looked into this a little bit more and realized that a lot of football players had this condition too - chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which basically means "a lot of hits to the head."

The article that I read notes that former wrestler Andrew "Test" Martin had his brain examined and he suffered from CTE. Test is the second wrestler to have suffered from CTE, with Benoit being the first. They're also the only two wrestlers who have been examined.

The findings today prompted Chris Nowinski to issue a statement. Nowinski is a former WWE wrestler and Harvard graduate who was forced to retire due to issues stemming from post-concussion syndrome. He wrote a book about concussions and founded the Sports Legacy Institute. The SLI found the link with CTE and Benoit. They didn't take part in the study with Test. Nowinski's statement is below, in italics -

To the professional wrestling community:


I was saddened today, but not surprised, to learn that Andrew “Test” Martin was suffering from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive degenerative brain disease caused by repetitive trauma, when he passed away. I had the honor of wrestling Test on multiple occasions and he had my respect both as a performer and as a person.

Most wrestlers and wrestling fans are aware that since retiring from WWE due to multiple concussions, I have dedicated my life to the study, treatment, and prevention of CTE. Our non-profit Sports Legacy Institute (SLI) was responsible for the diagnosis of CTE in Chris Benoit in 2007, the first professional wrestler diagnosed with CTE. In 2008 I teamed up with the top researchers in this field to start the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy (CSTE) at the prestigious Boston University School of Medicine. Along with Dr. Ann McKee, Dr. Robert Stern, and Dr. Robert Cantu we have now analyzed the brains of over twenty athletes, and are beginning to develop an advanced understanding of this disease.

More importantly over 225 active and retired athletes have volunteered to be part of a longitudinal study on CTE. By enrolling in our CONTACT study at the CSTE at Boston University School of Medicine, they will be committing to donating their brain to CTE research after death. CONTACT members also agree to update their medical and trauma histories annually with the CSTE by phone. This study will enable the CSTE to obtain more accurate and detailed histories of donors and compare them to future pathological findings, eventually allowing us to understand the specific risk factors and clinical course of CTE.

Over 20 wrestlers have already enrolled or recently pledged to join the study, including Rob Van Dam, Matt Morgan, Lance Storm, Ken Kennedy, Molly Holly, Tony Garea, Antonio Thomas, Dawn Marie, Kevin Fertig, and other big names who at this point choose to remain anonymous. The only group of professional athletes so far with a greater commitment to this research is NFL players, with over 60 current and retired players involved.

Considering how the CSTE’s research combined with SLI’s advocacy were able to convince the NFL last month to completely change their approach to both concussions and lower-impact repetitive brain trauma, Test’s tragic death provides an opportunity to create change and to prevent this from happening to others.

I would like to encourage current and former professional wrestlers to become part of the research that we expect will eventually lead to treatment and a cure for CTE. I am enrolled and will be donating my brain to help my former colleagues. I hope you will choose to join me and over 20 other members of our fraternity in this important endeavor.

Chris Nowinski
cnowinski @ sportslegacy.org


I guess that's enough wrestling talk for right now.

We're at about the one-month mark of me and Kelly living together in our new apartment. That's been fun.

Sometimes you just need to make a change in your life. Moving into this apartment has been one of the best decisions I've made in a long time. I was ready to move out on my own for a while, at least several months. I wasn't very happy as the time went on and I was getting no closer to moving out. But, I made the move and my spirits picked up. Speaking of earlier in this blog, maybe that was one reason I didn't do so well this semester. Not being happy is not a motivator for doing homework. Hmmm...

The move still isn't 100% finished yet. Right now, my room is mainly being used for storage. I operate out of the living room and sleep in Kelly's room. I can't get Internet in my room, so I'm usually in the living room. It just works out better.

Kelly put up a few pictures of the apartment recently on her MySpace. Click here to see them. She took most of them last Sunday, when 3 inches of snow came down in a matter of a couple hours. It was pretty crazy. There are a couple from before.

On the subject of the apartment, click here to read the latest edition of "Communication Breakdown," my weekly column in Concord University's newspaper, The Concordian. It's kind of a "part 2" to a previous piece I did. It's also partly inspired by a comment from Eric Proffit. I sent out a "tweet" from my twitter page asking for column ideas, and Eric said I should write it about my experiences as a Pizza Hut manager. That got me on the subject of "responsibility" and whatnot, which served as a sequel of sorts to a previous piece I did.

About the website looking like shit, I sent the Editor-in-Chief a text about it and she said that the Wed Designer was going to work on it... but then the power went out in Athens. So, the site was going to be fixed, it's just going to be delayed for a little while.

And, yeah, that is another guy's story on the same page as mine. My basketball story also isn't on the website. It's actually not in the paper, since that was the only sports story for the week. It was supposed to be put on the website today... but, that power outage deal. Click here to read the Q&A I conducted for that story.

While we're talking about The Concordian, I've had some people ask me if I'm going to be on the staff again next semester. My answer to that is... I don't know.

From a student standpoint, I also think writing for the paper may have affected my classwork. So, I have three reasons for why my grades fell this semester, and next semester two of them (the weather, hating where I live) are automatically knocked out. Does that leave enough room to write for the paper? Or should I give that up too and have an even better shot at better grades?

Or, should I take a page out of Kelly's playbook and take the spring semester off, like she's doing?

I don't know. I guess we'll see what happens in the spring. I enjoyed writing for the paper. I wasn't a fan of everything the paper was doing, I didn't necessarily agree 100% with the editorial stance of the paper. I felt like there was way too much "fluff" and not enough "real" content in the paper. I enjoyed doing what I did, though.

It was weird, kind of. I felt like there was the staff of the paper, and then there was me. I didn't feel really connected to the staff.

Will I be back? I don't know. Go under the assumption that the answer is "no." That way, it won't come as a shock in the spring if I'm not back, and it will be a pleasant surprise if I am on the staff.

So, that may be the last edition of "Communication Breakdown." My last story may be a yet-to-be-published women's basketball story. If that ever pops up, I'll post a link.

That looks to be about everything I have. I'll leave you with a random, funny YouTube video. Enjoy.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Interview with Kenny Osborne, women's basketball coach


Interview with Kenny Osborne, women's basketball coach (12/04/09)

Chris Slater: How long have you been at Concord and how long have you been coaching the team?

Kenny Osborne: Okay. Tenth year as women’s coach and my twelfth year at the school all together.

CS: What were you doing the other two years?

KO: I was the Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach.

CS: How did last year’s season end?

KO: We went 13-15 overall, and 11-9 in the conference.

CS: How has the team been ranked the last couple years?

KO: Well, the year before that we had back-to-back 20-win years. We were regionally ranked and nationally ranked.

CS: The team’s been doing pretty good the last few years?

KO: Yeah, yeah. Two years ago, we lost three really good seniors. So, last year we were kind of rebuilding. And, then we lost our point guard, after the third game, to a knee injury. So, we were just trying to get things straightened out. And, we did. It got to February and we won six in a row.

CS: How many players do you have on the team this season?

KO: Ummm… Thirteen.

CS: Is that how many you usually have?

KO: Yeah, anywhere between thirteen and fifteen is the normal.

CS: How many returning players do you have this year?

KO: Let me try to think here. It’s always easier to think of the new ones. [pauses] We have nine returners.

CS: How are your practices structured? What do you do?

KO: A lot of defensive work, a lot of offensive work. We break it down. A lot of time segments - fifteen minutes doing this, fifteen minutes doing that. Fundamental work. Team stuff. It’s a variety of things.

CS: How often do you guys practice during the week?

KO: We’ll practice six days a week. NCAA rules says you have to take one day off and it can vary from week to week, but we go six days a week.

CS: I checked the website and you guys are currently 4-0 on the season right now. How does that feel?

KO: Well, it feels good that we’re off to such a good start. You know, we’ve played very well offensively. Okay, defensively. We’ve got to get better defensively.

CS: Who were your victories against?

KO: Milligan College. Bluefield College. Davis and Elkins College. And, Alderson-Broaddus College.

CS: When is your next game.

KO: Tomorrow, at home, against West Virginia Wesleyan

CS: How many games do you play in a season?

KO: Twenty-seven. Plus, our conference tournament. So, twenty-seven regular season games.

CS: Is there a lot of pressure on the team to start a season with a lot of wins like that?

KO: No, but I think every time you win another game the pressure’s gonna mount. Because people expect more, other teams start gunning for you, so. Really, not starting out, but I think as we go along and if we continue to win, more and more pressure will mount.

CS: Who are some of your bigger challenges for the season?

KO: Do you mean opponents, or…

CS: Yeah, opponents.

KO: Well, you know, University of Charleston, West Liberty, Fairmont State, West Virginia Wesleyan, and Pitt-Johnstown. Those will be our five toughest opponents, I think.

CS: Maybe to go the other way with this, what are some of your biggest challenges this season?

KO: Well, I think, one, you’ve got to stay injury and illness free. We basically lost a week of practice there at the end of October with the flu, bronchitis, and everything else. What I mean by lucky too, if someone sprains an ankle, hopefully there are four or five days before you play again and we can get them back. We need to stay lucky there and stay injury and illness free.

CS: You mentioned you lost the one player last year, but overall, have you been good to stay injury free?

KO: Yeah, for the most part. But, that was just a freak injury and just happened. But, she’s our point guard and that’s one of your most important positions. Luckily, it happened in the third game, so she got the year back. So, she still has this year and next year to play.

CS: What would be a successful season for you, in terms of goals you set out for the team?

KO: Our goal, our main goal, is to be playing a lot of basketball in March, which means we made the NCAA tournament. You want to win as many games as you can, but I think you want to continue on into the NCAA tournament. I told them, I’d take most of their Thanksgiving Break from them, most of their Christmas Break from them, and if I can take their Spring Break from them - which still means they’re playing in the NCAA tournament - that’s my goal.

CS: Looking at the team right now, do you think you can do that?

KO: I think so. I mean, if we’re a little lucky, and injury and illness free.

CS: Who are some of your star players?

KO: We’re going with the “Sister Act” combination, because you’ve got Jolysa and Sierra Brown. Jolysa was the Player of the Week last week. Sierra is a senior, Jolysa is a freshman, sorry, a sophomore. They play in the post for us. Sydney Lindsey, a freshman from Narrows, Virginia. Camisha Alexander, sophomore, transferred to us from Youngstown State. She’s from Beckley. We’ve got another set of sisters who have played a lot of minutes - Emily and Sarah Blevins. Sarah’s a junior and Emily’s a freshman. Two more, Meghan Cole and Holly Bibb, they played a lot of minutes for us last year and they’re both very good shooters. So, I think, you know, we don’t really base on a “star system,” never have. That’s why we have different people leading us in scoring. That’s why we’re a success, it’s not a “star,” it’s a “team” approach.

CS: Who are your assistant coaches?

KO: Jamie Cluesman, Wes Aldrich. That’s it.

CS: How long have they been here?

KO: Jamie’s in her second year, Wes is in his third year.

CS: Wes was third year, you said?

KO: Yeah.

CS: She used to play for the team, right?

KO: Yeah, yeah.

CS: I’ve been here for a while, I recognize her [laughs].

KO: Yeah, she got her masters and we finally got a full-time position, so yeah. She’s full time. Wes is like, retired part-time volunteer, that type of thing.

CS: I know the football team had a turn-around this year and set off a new wave of “school spirit” around campus. What are your thoughts on some of the extra attention the sports program has been receiving?

KO: Well, I think one of the things, and the football did, I felt energy and enthusiasm here on Friday. I was at Glenville back when Rodriguez was there and you’d feel the same thing. I think it helps lead the school year, gets us off to a good start. What people don’t realize is that successful sports program is a lot of free marketing and publicity. You have sports pages, you have TV. I think it helps school spirit, I think it helps student enrollment, student recruitment, fundraising, whether it be general school or athletic. I think all those things come into play.

* * *

Notes: The story I wrote from this interview will appear in the Dec. 09, issue of The Concordian, which is the last of the semester. The interview was conducted as the team was 4-0, and they are now 5-0. In the picture of the team, Osborne is in the back row, second from the left. Click here for more information about the women's basketball team.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Wrestler Umaga dead at 36

Eddie Fatu, most-well known as Umaga in World Wrestling Entertainment, died Friday, Dec. 4, 2009. He was apparently found unconscious in his living room Friday morning and it is believed he suffered a heart attack. Shortly after being taken off of life support at the hospital, it is being reported that he suffered another heart attack.



The match embedded above is one of Umaga's best during his WWE run. It was a "Last Man Standing" match from the 2007 Royal Rumble pay per view against WWE Champion John Cena. It is arguably one of both Cena's and Umaga's best matches.

2007 was the peak of Umaga's career in the WWE. He initially began wrestling in the early 2000's in a tag team with his brother. They were known as the "Island Boys." They debuted in WWE in 2003 as "3-Minute Warning," henchmen of "WWE Raw" General Manager Eric Bischoff. Fatu was known as Jamal then and was released from WWE later that year.

He re-debuted in WWE the night after WrestleMania 22, in 2006. Now known as Umaga, he portrayed a Samoan Savage, who couldn't speak English and could only be controlled by his "handler," Armando Alejandro Estrada.

The second half of 2006 saw him go on a huge undefeated streak, defeating several undercard wrestlers and a few "bigger" wrestlers. This led to his challenges of John Cena at the beginning of 2007, and culminated with him representing Vince McMahon in a special challenge match against Donald Trump (who was represented by Bobby Lashley) at WrestleMania 23.

By the fall of 2007, Umaga's career was stagnating a bit. Things didn't pick up until the late spring of 2008, when Umaga was drafted to Smackdown. A long-awaited matchup with The Undertaker was stalled due to an Undertaker injury and Umaga's own momentum was stalled shortly thereafter by a knee injury.

Umaga returned to action full-time in 2009 and quickly began a program with CM Punk. It lasted all of two pay per views, as Punk defeated Umaga and days later it was announced that WWE had released Umaga from his contract. It then came out that Umaga had failed the WWE Wellness Policy (a drug test) for the second time, and refused to enter a rehabilitation facility at the company's request.

Speculation began as to what Fatu's next career move was. He shocked some people by not immediately signing with Total Nonstop Action and instead joining up with Hulk Hogan's Australian "Hulkamania: Let the Battle Begin" tour. The tour lasted for two weeks in the second half of November. He mainly wrestled former WWE star Ken "Mr. Kennedy" Anderson during the tour, but he did get involved against Hulk Hogan at one point. The TMZ cameras also caught him hanging out poolside with a few other wrestlers during the tour.

Statements and memorials poured in shortly after the announcment that he was in the hospital, and even more after his death.

From the Anoia family (Fatu was part of a large wrestling family, as his father, uncles, brothers, and cousins are all wrestlers):

On behalf of the Anoai Family and front office of WXW C4 it is our sad duty to announce that earlier today, December 4th, we lost another member of not only our wrestling family, but immediate family.

Eki "Umaga" Fatu passed away today in Houston at the age of 36. While we mourn the passing of Eki, we also remember all the good times that we were able to share with him and the smiles on the millions of fans faces around the world when he walked to the ring to do what he loved most: wrestle.

During this difficult time, we please ask for the fans and the press to respect the privacy of his family during this tough time. When there is more information to be made public, his family will do so. The worst thing that could happen would be to have false information about this horrible situation out there, only to make the situation even worse.

We'd like to thank everyone for their sympathy and prayers and ask that everyone celebrate the life of Eki Fatu.

Statement from World Wrestling Entertainment:

WWE would like to express its deepest condolences to Mr. Fatu’s family, friends and fans on his tragic passing. Mr. Fatu was under contract with WWE at various time periods and most recently performed under the name "Umaga." Mr. Fatu's contract was terminated on June 11, 2009.

The "Twitter-verse" was buzzing about Umaga's death, as "RIP Umaga" was a trending topic for several hours after his death. Several wrestling personalities sent out tweets mourning his loss:

Paul Heyman: The world is minus one very cool Samoan tonight. We offer our most profound condolences to the Fatu Family.

Maryse: prayers for UMAGA and all his family!

Howard Finkel: I am saddened by the passing today of Eddie Fatu, a.k.a. Umaga. My sincere condolences to his family and friends.

Tara: Rest in Peace Umaga We will love you always and we will all miss you.

Jeremy Borash: RIP Eddie Fatu

Matt Morgan: Me and my family’s condolences to Eckie(Umaga)’s family. This just plain out SUCKS! Yet another great guy taken from us too early.

Gangrel: Have a good journey ecki see you soon you where a ray of light in dark time one love uce

Bobby Lashley: Very sad day today. A good friend is gone.

Steve Keirns: Our deepest condolences go out to Eddie “Umaga” Fatu’s friends, family, and fans during this time.

Hurricane Helms: http://twitpic.com/s5mm7 - Adam, Big Uce, Matt & Shane.

John Bradshaw Layfield: Had a ball tag teaming with Eddie Fatu (known as Umaga in WWE) in some of my last house show (non TV) matches, I will miss my friend.

Ken Anderson: I'm very thankful to have had a private closed-door conversation with Ecki prior to our match a few days ago in Sydney. He insisted that we ... go out and tear the house down. We both had something to prove that night and in my opinion: Mission Accomplished! Our thoughts and prayers ... are with the entire Fatu family. Ecki absolutely adored his wife and was extremely proud of his children. I have so many amazing, funny, and ... heartwarming (sometimes gut wrenching belly-laughing) memories.

Matt Hardy: Just landed in Shreveport to go to work tonight-I'm very saddened to hear about Ecky (Umaga) & his family-please keep them in your prayers.

Shannon Moore: R.I.P Ecki....Mad love and respect.We will miss you and I will cherish the times we had togeather.

Dixie Carter: On behalf of everyone at TNA, our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Fatu family.

Chavo Guerrero Jr: Thank u 4 your prayers 4 Umaga. He will be missed!

JTG: RIP MY FRIEND

Michelle McCool: My heart & prayers go out to Umaga's family & friends....he was obviously loved by many!

Candice Michelle: My Prayers are with Umaga and his Family!

Torrie Wilson: http://twitpic.com/s5vns - Much love my friend. Much love

Lilian Garcia: Just heard news about Eddie aka Umaga. So sad. Loved him. Prayers 4 him & family. http://twitpic.com/s7bd8

Maria: So sad. Eddie was a friend. He loved wrestling and was a great entertainer. My prayers go out to Eddie's beautiful family. A great loss.

Chris Jericho: Eddie Fatu was an awesome guy and one of the brothers. I trusted him and that's a rare thing for me. I am devastated. Safe travels Oos...


It is too early to speculate on a cause of death, but obviously a lot of people are wondering how a 36-year-old athlete has a heart attack. That speculation is fueled even more by the fact that he lost his job with WWE after refusing to enter rehab after failing his second drug test. All that's really known right now is that Eddie Fatu had some sort of issue with drugs as recently as earlier this year. Autopsy reports usually take a few weeks to come back, so I guess we'll all know what happens around the beginning of 2010.

It's sad that a husband and father had to die. From a professional standpoint, it's sad in the fact that he was a highly-skilled professional wrestler. I don't think he'll ever go down as one of the "All Time Greats," but in terms of "big man" wrestlers, he was definitely one of the better ones. For a man his size to move around the way he did and execute some of the manuevers that he did was very impressive.

It's just a sad situation. If it were drug issues, it will likely open back up the debate about drugs in the wrestling industry. But, again, it's too early to speculate about any potential causes of death.

I just thought I'd post a few thoughts and some "tweets" from other wrestlers. Click here to see Umaga's "Alumni" page on WWE.com. It features photos and videos from his 2006-2009 WWE career.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

12/02/09 SGA meeting notes and some other discussion

There was a lot of initial buzz about this week's issue of The Concordian. That was because of two pieces on the Opinions page, one by myself and the other by Ashley Green. They were both about the Student Government Association. I think this helps prove a point that I have been trying to make for years - the Opinions section is one of the best tools to get attention to the paper. Use the "controversy" and "personality" or whatever is featured in the Opinions section to get them to pick up the paper, then use the great features and excellent reporting (that should hopefully be in the paper) to get them to continue reading.

I don't know. That's just a former Editor-in-Chief of The Concordian throwing a few thoughts out there. Take it for what it's worth.

Next week will see the final issue of the fall 2009 semester. So, if anybody has any pressing issues that they would like to have looked at in the Opinions section, now is the time to send them in. E-mail all submissions to concordian @ concord.edu. Try to keep them around 500 words.

This semester has been a real growth period for The Concordian. I haven't been pleased with everything that I've seen in the paper, but it's better than it was last year. So, that's good. Hopefully any mistakes from this semester can be analyzed over the break and fixed in the spring.

This week, there was some good stuff to read. I'll filter through the paper and give you some links to check out -

Construction projects, renovations on campus ... Wendy Holdren wrote this piece, focusing on University Point, new telephone poles, and repairs to the steps in front of the library.

Salvation Army angels snatched faster than ever ... Another piece by Wendy, this one looks at the Christmas tree in the Student Center. Sweet story.

Student Activities Committee changes name to Student Operated Activity Planning ... Samantha Ricketts wrote this piece about how SAC is now SOAP. Both names are dumb, but at least now I can't make as many crude jokes about the group's name.

"New Moon" pleases fans ... Samantha Ricketts went to see the latest "Twilight" movie and she was impressed. I saw it, too. It was okay. I left a comment on the story as a joke. Check it out. Click here to see a picture of me at the "New Moon" midnight showing.

Weekly Dose of A&E ... I'm getting tired of the '80s nostalgia kick that the kids all seem to be on these days. I remember the '80s not being cool when I was growing up, and even a few years ago that was still the case. I don't like cliche '80s movies, but Jessica Fowler does. Most of you probably do, too.

Black Friday shopping: This is madness! ... Wendy describes her visit to Walmart the morning after Thanksgiving. It was crowded.

SGA amendments deserve discussion ... This is Ashley Green's letter to the editor about the SGA amendment that was voted down without allowing any discussion of it to occur. She was not pleased about that. Keep reading the next sections of the blog for more about this.

Communication Breakdown ... My weekly column, taking a look at the same amendment as Ashley Green. I talk about why I don't like it, and what I see as being the two biggest problems in the SGA - apathy and ignorance.

[On a side-note, while I understand why "Communication Breakdown" is a cool name for a journalism column, I wish I could have named it after a Led Zeppelin song I actually like. But, calling a column "Hey Hey What Can I Do" or "Tangerine" or "Going to California" doesn't really work.]

Twitter: "More of a nuisance than a means of communication" ... Samantha Ricketts, the News Editor of the paper, is on here a third time, now with a piece where she discusses why Twitter is pointless (with a couple exceptions).


I'll discuss this column as a segue into the next part of my blog. As we all know by now, I'm a huge fan of Twitter. There were people from Concord already tweeting by the time I signed up for Twitter, but I do believe I'm one of the people who helped popularize it around campus. I made it a point to mention Twitter in my blogs and help spread the word out there. While it's not a huge deal yet, there are a lot more Concord "tweeters" now than there were at the beginning of the calendar year.

To me, this seems like an instance of the old "I don't understand it, so I don't like it" way of thinking. Samantha thinks Twitter is pointless. She doesn't say in the article, but I'm guessing that she doesn't have a Twitter account. I have one and I don't think it's pointless. Click here to see a shirt she'd like. And, yes, that is a photo-tweet. And, yes, it is at Pizza Hut.

The attitude of "don't tweet because I think it's pointless" would be like me telling an artist "don't paint that picture because I don't want to look at it." Just because you don't care doesn't mean other people don't. I think John Meadows sums it up great in the comments section of the article. Also, as a cheap plug, check out his Vlog here - http://www.youtube.com/lifeofjohnmeadows. Maybe he'll mention the Twitter article in a vlog...

Since I mentioned earlier that this was a segue... here it is - tweets from the 12/02/09 SGA meeting. Myself and several others (but not as many this week) tweet during the meeting in an effort to share ideas and thoughts and (at least I do it) to inform people who can't or don't want to attend of what's happening during the meeting in a real-time news stream.

* * *

Here are tweets from the 12/02/09 meeting of the Student Government Association

I'll start with the list of people:

@chris_slater - Me
@Goodrichk18 - Kelly Goodrich
@lewisb01 - Bill Lewis
@garytuba08 - Gary Thompson
@Rc9000000 - Russell Christian
@Biff359 - Sean Noland
@SigTauGod - Mike Mann
@Babich53 - Richard Babich
@BagNadas - Kiwa Nadas
@Brittacious - Brittany Keys
@boleyn21 - Ashley Green
@grathwohl - Justin Grathwohl

There are a lot of people here who have Twitter accounts, but don't update that much. Most of these people didn't tweet during the meeting, but they were mentioned at one point by me. If their name is in parentheses before a tweet, that means they sent it. For those who don't know, Justin Grathwohl is a former Concord student who was active in the SGA.

Terms:

"RT" means Re-Tweet. If you see "RT" before a message, that means I'm re-posting what somebody else said. You can leave your own comments before the "RT" in the message.

If a message begins with "@_______" that means it is a reply to that person. If I write "@buckskeen," I am sending a reply to Buck. It's still public and people can see my reply.

I'll post my tweets, in addition to everyone elses. Their tweets will have their name in parentheses before the tweet.

The tweets are below. The first one is from me, and was sent out about half an hour before the meeting started. The last two, from Sean Noland and Justin Grathwohl, were sent about 10 minutes after the meeting had ended.

* * *

At the @CU_SGA meeting. Had a couple people tell me they enjoy reading my blog.

A lot of buzz surrounding mine & @boleyn21's pieces about the @CU_SGA. Both can be found at http://cunewspaper.com/

A girl sitting two seats away from me said, "You're the only one who gets it, Chris." I looked at her and said, "Huh?" She was on the phone.

.@Goodrichk18 couldn't make it, so @Babich53 is sitting next to me.

Hmmm... Tweeters in the room so far - @Babich53, @boleyn21, @Biff359. Looks to be it so far. Still 12 minutes to go.

Hey, @SigTauGod just showed up. Nice.

(Mike Mann) Guess who still doesn't have a voting paddle

I keep hearing that the amendment that both I & @boleyn21 wrote about will come back up today

Problem w/ getting this brought back up is that no discussion is allowed. They need to discuss it, though, to get their point across.

Now @Rc9000000, @lewisb01, & @Brittacious are here.

Perhaps @boleyn21 & others in support of this amendment could ask for "informal discussion" to bring up why they are in favor of amendment.

(Russell Christian) i'm back at #SGA fun times...#FML

(Ashley Green) Doesn't think this is going to go very well.

(Russell Christian) Btw all my tweets are from my laptop not my phone

RT @boleyn21: Doesn't think this is going to go very well.

(Mike Mann) People need to make me a paddle.

(Mike Mann) Yes! RT @SigTauGod: People need to make me a paddle.

(Mike Mann) I would raise my paddle. But. Hmm.

A tweet from @SigTauGod set off @lewisb01's phone. He had forgotten to put it on vibrate.

(Mike Mann) Yessssss. I win

(Russell Christian) ...this the song that never ends

I wonder if anybody will use my "informal discussion" idea to discuss that amendment.

(Mike Mann) Metallica song mama said stuck in my head

Curtis Kearns sent a letter of support to the UC Berkley BOG rep. They staged a protest over a 32% tuition increase.

Good tune RT @SigTauGod: Metallica song mama said stuck in my head

If you haven't seen it yet, check out mine & @boleyn21's stories about @CU_SGA on http://cunewspaper.com/

(Russell Christian) who is getting fired i wonder?

Likely Housing Chair RT @Rc9000000: who is getting fired i wonder?

(Mike Mann) Still can't believe dr. Parker was on campus yesterday

What?! Oh man! Wish I had been there... RT @SigTauGod: Still can't believe dr. Parker was on campus yesterday

My mom just called me. I ignored it. I'm busy.

(Russell Christian) i work in the library we need more staff to stay open 24 hours

I keep suggesting to The Concordian to do a story about @garytuba08 & his "green" work around campus, but nobody ever does it.

RT @cnnbrk: The NY state Senate killed a bill that would have legalized same-sex marriage in the state, voting 38-24 http://bit.ly/4CxfoI

(Mike Mann) Pointless.

There is debate on an amendment that would remove power from the @CU_SGA president. I've heard a lot of people are against this.

(Russell Christian) sex and gender are very different things

The amendment (11182009A) was written by @CU_SGA Affairs cmtee chair @BagNadas.

Curtis Kearns is making great points about why @BagNadas' amendment is a bad idea.

The @CU_SGA Prez has power b/c he's the Prez. We need to trust his or her judgement b/c the Prez is in charge.

(Ashley Green) Curtis, bill, and matt never ALL agree. That should say something about this amendment.

Kearns, @lewisb01, the Vice President, and the Business Manager have all spoken out against this amendment.

(Ashley Green) Just pointing it out...nobody likes it, but we are still discussing it.

Exactly RT @boleyn21: Curtis, bill, and matt never ALL agree. That should say something about this amendment.

@boleyn21 Use "informal discussion" to debate why your amendment needs to be passed.

Everybody at the @CU_SGA, check this out RT @grathwohl: @chris_slater I posted a comment on that article. http://bit.ly/7NRngL

(Ashley Green) I have no idea how to reply on my phone...but to what chris slater said about informal discussion..

(Ashley Green) .im not even sure the motion will be seconded by someone who voted against it last time.

The comment left by @grathwohl gives some insight on the amendment favored by @BagNadas & @boleyn21. Comment is on @boleyn21's piece.

.@BagNadas is getting angry while discussing her side in this amendment deal. It's eroding her credibility.

(Mike Mann) Gavin is destroying that gavel haha

Motion to reconsider the amendment @boleyn21 wrote about should start soon.

(Ashley Green) i dunno who follows twitter...but PLEASE vote to reconsider this.

In my plan, they should have waited until "New Business," ask for "informal discussion," talk about it, then "motion to reconsider."

Oh wow. That motion to reconsider failed horribly. Kinda sad.

(Ashley Green) Pretty sure I just lost faith in the senate. They don't even want the chance to voice their own opinions.

Looks like nobody did... RT @boleyn21: i dunno who follows twitter...but PLEASE vote to reconsider this.

RT @boleyn21: Pretty sure I just lost faith in the senate. They don't even want the chance to voice their own opinions.

Amendment was voted down b4 people could see @grathwohl's comment on http://cunewspaper.com/ about ideas for how it maybe could work.

(Sean Noland) I don't understand why people would be disappointed that the org reps voted AGAINST disenfranchising themselves. It should restore faith.

(Justin Grathwohl) @boleyn21 If there's one thing you can count on is that the Senate will not voice their opinions until it involves their money.

* * *

So, there's the tweets. Below you'll find my recap/thoughts from the SGA meeting. It may help explain some of the tweets, or vice versa. The recap will be in sentence fragments, with my thoughts - if any - will be below, in italics.

The meeting kicked off with Russell Christian's Safety committee report ... will begin looking into the inclement weather policy and possibly work on a better one ... meetings are Friday at 3 p.m. in the SGA Office

Dining committee chair Katlyn Amos noted in her report that she had experienced a "significant lack of attendance," and that she was still having regular meetings with Head of Dining Services Randy Keaton ... her meeting time is Monday at noon, in the cafeteria

She's gotten a lot of stuff done so far with the cafeteria. Both myself and Kiwa Nadas have, on seperate occasions, submitted a profile on her and what she's doing with the committee as a story idea to The Concordian. I don't know if that feature ever got done. Would be a good one for next semester.

University Publications committee chair (don't remember who it is) noted that he was looking at getting the SGA website updated, with all the correct information ... after that, would look into a possible redesign ... also looking into creating a SGA handbook, similar to a "For Dummies" manual

University Publications has been one of the most pointless committees in the SGA for several years now, getting very little done. I'm glad this semester's committee finally has an agenda and is trying to accomplish things.

ADA committee chair Jenn Smith noted that a problem with a door behind the Administration Building was fixed over the Thanksgiving Break ... Rick Dillon told her that the two issues that still needed to be corrected (off of a report from some company that she mentioned a while back) had been fixed ... should get another report from those people next semester

Concord University Student Affairs committee chair Karina Rahall noted that in the CUSAC (pronounced Q-Sack) meetings, they had discussed getting rid of the paper Add/Drop slips used for enrolling in classes and just using computers ... Gary Thompson, Green Sustainability chair, gave a Point of Information to note that he had spoken with the Registrar's Office about the same issue and that they were already working on that

Ethics committee report was given by SGA President Jeff Yeager ... noted that they are now starting to plan for next semester ... said the group has a "solid, ideological base" ... said that by March or April, should have some legislation to bring forth

Board of Governors representative Curtis Kearns gave his report next ... the Dec. 16 meeting of the BOG will be a teleconference meeting ... will bring forth legislation to officially name the SGA as the official representative of the students, which would replace the President of the University ... noted that he was on a committee to select a new Vice President and Academic Dean & that there were over 50 applicants ... is going to try once again to become the Chair of the Higher Education Policy Commission State Advisory Council of Students, as he believes he can accomplish more than the current chair ... sent a letter of support to the UC Berkeley BOG rep (I think that's who...) after their protest over a 32% tuition increase ... as a result of the letter, was invited to some sort of discussion panel thing

Ironically, the most interesting thing about Curtis' report is the thing I have the least amount of information about. I'm not sure what exactly Curtis got invited to as a result of sending his letter of support to somebody... but it's cool that it happened. Hopefully I'll have more information about that soon.

Vice President Akeya Carter-Bozman gave her report ... noted that she was displeased with some of the committees this semester ... urged any "slackers" to quit before they were fired ... next semester, said she would try switching around some committee chairs

President Jeff Yeager kicked off his report by noting that he was on a committee to find a head of the Academic Success Center ... Talked about a recent meeting he had w/ University President Gregory Aloia ... asked Aloia about getting replacing the desks in the classrooms with a table/chair setup ... noted that Aloia was receptive to that idea and also about keeping the full library open until midnight ... Jeff is going to appoint a student to serve on a committee to hire a new security guard

The Green Sustainability committee report was inadvertently skipped, so Gary Thompson gave his report next ... his committee recycled roughly 3000 pounds of paper recently ... got University 100 classes to go around campus and collect cigarette butts for a class project, will put them into a display to show how many are littering campus ... mentioned Concord's new hire, Alicia Suka, and that she will possibly have a paid position similar to what he does with his Green committee

Old Business -

Amendment 11182009A was up for discussion. The amendment would take some power away from the President and give it to the Executive Board.

This is the amendment discussed in some of the tweets earlier. The one Curtis Kearns and Bill Lewis agreed on. I don't like that amendment and I didn't hear anything convincing regarding why it was brought forward.

Kiwa Nadas, chair of the SGA Affairs committee, who wrote this piece mentioned that she wrote this because the SGA is a Democracy and she wanted to spread some of the power of the President. Curtis Kearns then explained to her that the SGA was a Republic, not a Democracy, and basically that the President needs to have power because he's the President.

As I mentioned in my tweets, Kiwa got angry at one point while debating this amendment, which really took away some of her credibility. It was a losing battle, and she continued trying to fight it, and it just got sad. It was clear that a majority in the room were not in favor of this, yet she continued trying to prove her point about why the President shouldn't have the power to select a Senator.

It was brought up as a counter argument by a couple different people that the President doesn't actually "pick" the Senator. He selects an applicant and the student senate votes on whether he can appoint that person. It was also brought up that the President can informally ask the Executive Branch for their opinion.

It's up for vote next week. I don't expect it to pass.

Also in Old Business, a motion to reconsider Amendment 11182009B failed. Had the motion to reconsider passed, the amendment would have been brought up for a vote again.

Had that passed, it would have started the 3-week cycle (introduced one week, discussed the next week, voted on the third). The only problem would have been that next week is the last SGA meeting, so it would have had to have been tabled until next semester, when it would have been voted on. That last sentence is a moot point, since it didn't pass.

The problem that some people (most notably Ashley Green) had with this was the fact that it was not allowed to pass so that it could be discussed. There are a lot of people who bring up the point that even if you do not like or agree with an amendment, you should at least allow it to be discussed. That way, you could maybe have your opinion swayed. If not, just vote it down in the third week.

I agree with that line of thinking. As of right now, I don't like the amendment. I said as such in my "Communication Breakdown" (not my "Hey Hey What Can I Do"). But, what if Ashley or somebody could sway my opinion? We'll never know.

Justin Grathwohl, a former Concord student who was active in the SGA, left a comment on the Concordian article about what else would need to be done in order to make this work. He noted that changed would need to be made to the budgetary process, since that's why most org reps show up (to get money). If you get rid of the org reps, you'd have to change the way they get money.

A comment like Justin's would be an example of something that would have been said in discussion. Somebody would say, "Well, my issue is with org reps and budgetary." That's actually what I heard an org rep say about this. Then, Ashley or whoever could say, "Well, here's what we would do about that..." Then, they could collectively decide whether or not to agree to this.

That's my take on it. If you'd like to share your take, feel free.

* * *

That looks like pretty much everything I have to share.


As always, here's the 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.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Remember when...

...Michael Jackson wasn't popular? I'm not a fan of glorifying people after their death and forgetting all the bad stuff from their past, and Michael Jackson's death is a prime example of that. Click here for some of my thoughts less than a week after Jackson died.

I thought I'd leave the following video as a way to remember how Michael Jackson was looked at when he was still alive.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Break update

As I write this, it is technically Thanksgiving Day. It is around 3 a.m. on Thursday morning. The week-long "Thanksgiving Break" from Concord University is nearly over, and so is most of my "celebrating." I'm not actually going to do anything on Thanksgiving Day itself - I did all that earlier. I spent the last couple days at my grandpa's house in Ripley, WV. It was fun.

As I mentioned on my Twitter account - http://twitter.com/chris_slater - my grandpa bought me a lot of stuff for my new apartment. One of the reasons we (me & Kelly) went down was to pick up all that stuff. The other reason was because my old hometown is a nice, quiet place and I enjoy going back for a visit every now & then. It's fun to show off my old hometown to Kelly.

Click here to see all the stuff my grandpa bought me and Kelly for the apartment. That's a room in his house, and all the stuff is on the bed. The pig-looking thing is a really old "piggy bank" that my grandpa had laying around the house. He told me to put my change in it. He's always worried that I'm not saving any money.

If I can ever get around to it, I'm going to write a Letter to the Editor of my hometown paper. I talked to Kelly about it and then tweeted some details about it. After reading my tweets, I talked about it with my friend Bob. I want to write about what I've noticed every time I go back home to Jackson County (Ripley & Ravenswood).

The county is in such a state of change. It's so weird to see such "old" and "new" right beside each other. When driving down the street with Kelly, pointing things out to her, I will generally say something along the lines of, "That sign has been there since I was a kid. See that, that's older than me. Hmmm... That's only been there about 2 years. That's recent, I don't known when they put that up. Etc..." It will all be on the same street, too. Things are either much older than me, or less than 5 years old. It's like things happened, then nothing happened for about 20 years, and now things are happening again.

It was a good visit with my grandpa. Kelly and I left Sunday night, and came back Wednesday afternoon. As my luck would have it, scheduling a trip messed up things at work for me.

Pizza Hut has a General Manager, Janice. She's leaving soon to run another Pizza Hut. She commutes each day from Beckley and was getting tired of it. Taking over for her will be my friend Bob. Since he's going to be in charge soon, he was learning how to make the schedules. He was making the schedule and I was talking to him about my hours.

Pizza Hut is closed on Thanksgiving. I usually work on Thursday, so we were looking at what to do so I could make up some hours. It was decided that I would work on Friday, a day I usually don't work because of school. So, on Saturday, Nov. 21, Bob and I decided that I would work on Friday, Nov. 27, to make up for losing that Thursday. My last day to work was that Sunday, Nov. 22, so I left Sunday night and decided to come back Wednesday afternoon (Nov. 25), with two days to spare until I worked again.

The General Manager, Janice, took it upon herself to figure that since it was Thanksgiving Break, I would be available to work on Wednesday at 3 p.m. As fate would have it, I had decided to leave Ripley for Princeton around 2:30, so I was already on the interstate when Bob phoned me at 3:15 to let me know I was late for work.

So, that sucked. I was 2 1/2 hours late for work. But, I'm used to those kind of things with her.

She also decided that I could work Friday as well. And, I'm working Thanksgiving Day as well. Sort of. Somebody has to go in and prepare all the pizza dough for Friday. I've been given the unenviable task of doing that. So, counting that Thursday, I'll work 5 days in a row, Wed-Sunday.

I started my break off by doing nothing but laying around at my grandpa's house, and I'll end it by working nonstop at Pizza Hut. It is what it is.

* * *

While I was in Ripley, I thought of some interesting ideas for my newspaper column, "Communication Breakdown." As usual, it's all about me getting the urge to actually write them. Hopefully, I will.

Speaking of The Concordian, I didn't get to link any articles last week, since I didn't write an "SGA Blog." While I have the floor, take a look at the following -

PAD mock trial team takes third place in national competition ... Phi Alpha Delta won third place in the nation for their "mock trial," which is essentially them acting out a play. They won first in the nation three years ago. I don't know how many schools attended this year, but I heard the year they won first, that only about 10 or 15 schools actually participated. Still, it makes for a good headline, and that's what newspapers are all about getting.

Newest officer, Donald Ingram ... Piece about the new police officer on Concord's campus. He works the night shift, midnight-8 a.m.

Jeff Yeager speaks about SGA Presidency ... If you regularly read my blog, then you've likely already read this story and the Q&A session that the story was written for. I just felt like putting it up here again.

Cross Country Q&A: Coach Mike Cox ... A question-and-answer format, kind of like what I would put in my blog with the football coach, with the Cross Country coach, Mike Cox. Doesn't dig that deep and really get "interesting," but for what it is - just the facts, it does well.

Communication Breakdown ... My weekly column, looking at gossip and talking behind peoples backs. Not one of my most interesting pieces, but it's better than some of the shit that's been on the Opinions page this semester.

Rachel's Random Rants ... To put this in the nicest way possible, Rachel has had this problem all semester with oftentimes getting the facts she bases her opinions on incorrect. That happens again here. Read the article and then read the comments on the article.

Parking ticket fury, more spaces demanded ... Jessica Fowler has jumped into the most useless debate on Concord's campus - parking. She also broke a very important rule - it looks like she wrote this piece while she was upset about getting a ticket. Writing while enraged blocks rational thinking, something I have been guilty of a time or two in the past. Some interesting comments are featured below the article.

Both Rachel's and Jessica's article has similar comments on them and I'd like to address that. Rachel is criticized for not doing proper research for her article. Jessica is criticized for poor writing skills. The next comment in both articles is pretty much worded the same; Rachel suggests the guy criticizing her could write a follow-up and (I'm guessing) Samantha Ricketts urges people criticizing the poor writing in the paper to quit complaining and join the staff.

I don't agree with that. In all my years on the paper, I have never encouraged anybody without journalistic aptitude to join the newspaper. That doesn't mean you have to be a journalism major or anything, I have only encouraged people interested in joining the newspaper staff to join.

The "quit complaining and write for us" attitude is something I've loathed for so long. It's along the same lines of the criticism I've received from a lot of people - "How about instead of complaining about the SGA, you join them and try to fix it." That's a faulty line of thinking. That's not my area of expertise. Writing/commentary is what I'm good at. I can notice what I think is wrong with the SGA, but I'm not experienced enough to roll up my sleeves and fix it myself. All I can do is point it out and hope the elected officials can do their job.

Same with the newspaper. Instead of asking this girl to join the staff and quit complaining, why don't we just have the current writers do a better job? I bet if the current writers show a little interest in improving their work, the complaints will decrease. That's just my theory.

Speaking of journalism, check out the last entry I posted - "This is the kind of journalism I want to do..." 

Also, click here to see a Part 1 of a blog I started back in June but never finished. It was from the last time Kelly and I went to Ripley to visit my grandpa. We basically kept a video & photo diary from the two or three days we were there. We had several photos and probably 8 or 9 videos or "vlogs." The reason I never updated it was because I had really slow Internet back in June and it took over an hour to upload that 28-second video. Some of the videos were 5 minutes or longer, and I didn't have the patience for it. Some of the videos are pretty funny, so I may try to upload them in the future. Kelly put most of the pictures up in a MySpace album, so click here to see those.