Jul 31, 2015

I'm "pulling back the curtain" to some extent with these posts. This one was done via email. The same idea applies as the text message posts. Though, with an email, I have more space than 160 characters to write. I can even add a title were I so inclined.

I've already talked about how amazing this level of technology is. Really, technology in general is pretty sweet. Every now and then, I will make a similar remark in mixed company and usually end up being the butt of a joke. It makes me think I am old...
I'm excited to use this function during the Epic Challenge, or at least attempt to use it. I feel like it will start well, but end terribly...
These last two posts were done from my cell phone. Blogger lets me send text messages that appear as posts which allows me to blog on the fly if I am covering an event.
I like the fact that I can blog even if I'm away from my computer. Blogger is very good about allowing connectivity across multiple platforms.

Jul 29, 2015

Luke's Story

The director of the Academic Center for Writing at Mountain View Colleges is a difficult guy to pin down. Ask him about his daily schedule and you’re likely to hear a response describing the multitude of meetings he has. Quite possibly, he is about to be late. “I’m on so many committees, some I started myself” he says. That is quintessential Luke Story, a man who is dedicated to his job and passionate about the students he serves.
With a Masters in Rhetoric and Composition as well as years of experience teaching English and ESL, Story was looking to make a career of educating others. However, he hasn’t always found work in education. As late as 2012, Story worked in the business world as a Financial Analyst, a job he did not like. Story recounts that he worked “long enough to know it wasn’t for me.”
Story tells the tale of a significant phone call he received from the former director of the ACW, Kevin Williams, while on his way to work one auspicious day. The anecdote goes that Mr. Williams contacted him about his interest in a part-time tutoring position. It was an opportunity to get back into teaching and education. He accepted immediately and hasn’t looked back.
The draw of his initial position as a Writing Specialist was the concept at the foundation of the ACW, enhancing students’ ability to write. “The appeal was to make better writers” he explains. The concept resonated with him and he wanted to dive in and get right to work. “I saw it as a place for unlimited potential” Story says. Now, it’s his job to put the ACW in a place to maximize that potential.
The passing of Kevin Williams was a devastating blow to Mountain View students, faculty and staff. In the aftermath, there was a void at the position of director of the ACW, a vacancy that Story felt he could fill. “It was the hardest decision to make, applying for the Director job” Story says.
Story is reflective about Kevin Williams, choosing his words carefully. Sitting in Mr. Williams’ old office, Story’s 6’4 frame seems cramped.
“Kevin was my mentor” he says. There is a noticeable pause. “Everyone loved Kevin; those are huge shoes to fill.”
  Yet, Story is more than equal to the task. He has a plan to expand the reach and breadth of the ACW through programs, publications and activities created to meet students where they are and help them improve.
From the student-centric literary publication, Lion’s Roar, and the Kevin Williams Writer’s Lounge, to the Culture of Writing Festival that took place during Spring Semester, the horizon is bright with potential.
As Story lists off the events and activities he has planned, a palpable energy radiates from him. His passion is obvious and his vision reflects that passion. “Our resources are phenomenal … there is so much more that can be done” he says. He is correct even though it will require long hours of work. Though, if Story sees it that way, it doesn’t show.
“I like to stay busy. Now, I stay busy doing something I love” he says

Jul 28, 2015

Random Thoughts - NFL Suspensions Edition

I don't normally use this space to talk sports, but with the recent news concerning Tom Brady's four-game suspension being upheld, I find myself in an odd position. As an ex-(sports)journalist, I must maintain some level of objectivity. In earlier reports, the NFL's investigation found that Brady was "at least generally aware" that footballs were being deflated. It was never proven that he was the individual directing the two Patriots employees to deflate footballs.

The question becomes how is his behavior construed and what category does it fall under? Some say that deflating, or otherwise tampering with game footballs falls under the category of attempting to gain an unfair advantage which ruins the integrity of the game, blah, blah, blah. Okay, sure. In that regard, tampering with game footballs is similar to Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) which carries a suspension penalty of up to six games depending on the severity.

If we are comparing Brady's activities to PEDs, It is important to establish what level of severity deflating footballs is. According to his suspension, it is akin to taking a steroid or other banned substance (four-game suspension) But, I'm doubtful that his actions were that severe.

Some may recall that the deflated footballs were identified at the end of the first half of the Patriots-Colts playoff game. At the start of the second half, new, un-tampered footballs were put into use and the Patriots proceeded to score twenty-one points in the third quarter. So, the during the game when the Patriots were the most prolific, they were using regulation-sized footballs.

If the deflation of footballs had no effect on the game wherein they were discovered, how can the League rightfully suspend Brady for four games? If anything it should be a two-game suspension. Now, if the NFL is suspending Brady for being "uncooperative" that is different. While, that feels generally unfair to me, I suspect there is some elastic rule in the NFL Personal Conduct Policy that allows the League to come down on Brady and other players who damage the integrity of the brand through an unwillingness to answer questions.

That word "integrity" keeps coming up. Still, when I think about this as a "level-headed," and "logical" journalist, the facts don't seem to add up. Four games seems a bit much for being "at least generally aware" of tampering.

As a fan, I'm raging a bit.

This is, yet again, another attempt by the League and Goodell to tear down the greatness that has been established at Foxboro. Haters will call the Patriots cheaters. It's gamesmanship. We're better at it than you (Ravens). Deal with it. Don't be mad because your sorry-ass team didn't make the playoffs, or made the playoffs, but wasn't competitive (Colts). Or worst yet, was the height of arrogance when your coach decided to throw the ball on the 2-yard line instead of run it in with Lynch (Seahawks). Stop crying because we keep winning. We are a good team, with good players who play well together. That's what it takes. But go ahead and let everyone know how much you think we cheat, and how you "totally called it" in the comment section of all the stories out today about the suspension being upheld. Brady will see the NFL in court.

Sorry, where was I... Oh yes, my thoughts, random as always.