Friday, February 16, 2007

Friday's Off The Wall Blog: Post-Valentine's Day Edition

I hope everyone had a good Valentine's Day. The fact that I'm writing this blog is proof that I did survive V-Day. With that said, I've got to do a normal Off-The-Wall Blog. It's a must. Happy Friday everyone, and away we go...
  • It's winter time folks, be smart and stay safe. A German paraglider obviously didn't follow my advice when she found herself encased in ice after paragliding into a major "tornado-like thunderstorm." I'm happy to report that she survived this, but hopefully this will teach you daredevils out there to be careful!
  • Since I was a child, I always wondered what was the point of the urinal cakes in stalls. Maybe it was just me. Anyway, New Mexico has found a use for these things. A woman's voice activated by a sensor is activated when a man approaches and advises the man to call a sober friend or a cab for a ride home. Statistics say that men are more than three times as likely to be involved in a drunk driving incident than women. Stats aside, it's an interesting use of technology to get into the suggestive minds of drunks. Next, I want it to give me some personal advice. Such as "you should ask for that waitress' phone number" or "be careful with that girl you're dancing with" or even maybe it could be used as another place to promote safe sex (yes, it's still Nat'l Condom Week) maybe saying "use a rubber big boy...double bag it!" Let's take full advantage of our technological advances.
  • Sometimes you have to realize that it's time to hang it up. Other times, you have to realize that you have to put some clothes on when running through a park. A nude jogger in San Jose was recently fined $95 for indecent exposure for jogging in only a pair of jogging shoes. His "liberating feeling" was seen inappropriate by several residents. I hope liberation was worth $95.
  • Unfortunately, or fortunately from what everyone has been telling me, I missed the Grammy's last weekend. From all accounts, it was a lackluster awards ceremony. Here is a list of Grammy winners. Upon looking at the list, I was bothered a lot by several winners. How did the Dixie Chicks win album of the year over Justin Timberlake's Future Sex/Love Sounds or John Mayer's Continuum, both critically acclaimed albums that actually featured good music? How did James Blunt's 'You're Beautiful' lose out to the Dixie Chicks for record of the year? Other notes: My Humps won a Grammy...and i'm not sure how. How do neither Dierks Bentley's Every Mile A Memory nor Rascal Flatts What Hurts The Most win country song of the year? I love you Carrie Underwood, and hope that one day you'd marry me, but I can't get behind you winning over two of my favorite country acts. Now that I take a closer look, the Dixie Chicks won a lot of awards. I'm sure they whored themselves out to someone to win that many awards. On the brightside, my boy JT didn't leave empty handed. His track 'My Love' won an award and he got to go home with Scarlett Johansson. Sounds like a winner to me!
FRIDAY'S FIVE. My Grammy Winner Edition.
  1. What Hurts The Most by Rascal Flatts (Best Country Performance by a group)
  2. Don't Forget About Us by Mariah Carey (Best Female R&B Vocal Performance)
  3. You're Beautiful by James Blunt (Song Of The Year)
  4. Crazy by Gnarles Barkley (Record Of The Year)
  5. The Saints Are Coming by U2 & Green Day (Best Rock Performance By Group Or Duo With Vocal)
FRIDAY'S FIVE. Old School Edition.
  1. Let's Go Crazy by Prince
  2. Bad by Michael Jackson
  3. Jungle Love by Morris Day & The Time
  4. Summer Madness by Kool & The Gang
  5. Where Did Our Love Go by Diana Ross

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Yay! Valentine's Day Is Over!

Let me take this time to rejoice now that Valentine's Day 2007 is in the book.

(Cheers and claps)

Alright, now back to business as usual. I was right in a sense about Valentine's Day, it was just another day. I woke up and listened to the DreX show. Got on the bus at 11:30, as I usually do on Wednesday. Turned my I-Pod to the same playlist of songs that have been put together since I returned to Carbondale in January. And it was another boring day in the classroom.

Wearing black didn't go unnoticed. Two of my friends wore black, to go along with myself. One friend wore it because she (like I) disliked Valentine's Day. My other friend didn't realize he was wearing black and its significance until I had brought it up to him later in the day when I saw him at the apartment. I didn't realize I was wearing black until my friend in class mentioned that I too was wearing reminded me of high school....without the whole idea of Valentine's Day being shoved down your throat.

An interesting note, 7 people wished me a "Happy Valentine's Day" today. I found it odd, seeing as how everyone and their dog knows how much I don't like the day. Still, I was appreciative of all the well wishers today, one in particular, but I'll shy away from mentioning them by name. Take note that I did not say if it was a him or a her. Uh-oh, that might backfire on me. I better tell everyone that it indeed was a HER because I don't wanna get no rumors started about me. No Brokeback!

In all seriousness though, I'm still a bit confused about what happened today. I spent a majority of the day in a good mood. Valentine's Day depression didn't set in until about 10 p.m. and by that time it was too late to have an all day drunk fest. I was sober, and happy on Valentine's Day. I'm sure my roommates were a bit stunned to find me in those conditions on V-Day, I know I was amazed myself.

One thing I'm not confused about was my awesome poem that I presented that won me a $10 gift card. I posted the poem on an earlier blog, noting that the poem was fitting to be posted (and performed) on Valentine's Day. You've got to love the artistic work I come up with when I'm motivated and writing about what I know best....being bitter about my love life.

In the end, Februrary 14th 2007 was just another day. The sun rose, and then set. Between sunrise and sunset I went to ate breakfast, went to class and ate dinner. I had happy moments, I had not so happy moments, I had moments in which I'd rather sleep than be in class. As for my so-called love life. I'm still single. I'm still bitter about being single. I'm still carrying a vendetta that is about a year and a half old.

With all that said, February 15th 2007 is the first day I attempt to move away from that..that...thing. What!?! I don't know how else to describe that situation!

Good night from Carbondale!

Final Thought: I thought it was an interesting question my roommate asked me before he left. He asked me where this Valentine's Day ranked among all-time V-Day's. This was the best Valentine's Day I've had since I've been at SIU. But that's not saying much, especially knowing how the last two Valentine's Days have gone for me.

Final Thought II: I love how I'm using concepts I've learned in my JRNL-310 class to help enhance my blog. Writing in shorter paragraphs (trying at least), providing links (to past blogs, or outside sources for example.) There's no writer more dangerous than I when I use what I learn to my advantage.

Alright, now I can go to sleep!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A Very Fitting Poem On A Day Like Today

Ahh, Valentine's Day is coming to a close. A smile starts to crack my face, but really how can I? It's Valentine's Day, it's the bane of my existence. Well today's Valentine's Day wasn't horrible. Well, it's not as bad as the last two which have been absolute train wrecks for one reason or another. I guess I'll use a little of this space to say thanks to everyone who called and wrote to wish me a Happy Valentine's Day.

With that said, the highlight of my day clearly was winning a $10 gift certificate for reading a sonnet I wrote at "Sonnet Slam" on campus. I wasn't even going to go at one point, citing how I was ill most of the afternoon. In the end, thanks to my classmate Brandon, I stayed on campus and went to the slam and collected the third place prize, finishing behind two very talented writers in the process.

Luis, an award winning good to be true. Anyway, here's my poem, I hope you enjoy it. It needs no explanation or back story, and you'll find that out shortly.

My Take On Valentine’s Day
by Luis C. Medina

I hate the colors red and pink I do,
they bring me to despise this winter day.
You ask me what is love I have no clue,
it’s one day out the year I feel this way.

Flowers and chocolates being exchanged
he spent so much I can’t believe my eyes.
I really mean it he dropped major change,
must be the price to get between her thighs.

I do not want to hear another song
about love on my way to class.
This guy singing he couldn’t be more wrong,
whoever wrote this crap can kiss my ass!

Please excuse me I have just one last whine,
“Screw you true love, I hate you Valentine!”

Wednesday's Off-The-Wall Blog: It's Just Another (Valentine's) Day Edition

I tried getting the point across yesterday, but I guess my words were unheard...evidenced by two phone calls wishing me Happy Valentine's Day already. I guess it's not just another day after all. So now that I'm up and listening to the DreX morning show online, I figured why not do an Off-The-Wall-blog. I've gone back and forth on writing a V-Day OTW blog because of my pure dislike for this "holiday." And since I've found quality material to post on the blog, I figured "Why Not?" So here it is, Wednesday's OTW Blog: It's Just Another (Valentine's) Day Edition.

  • Today just doesn't mark another Valentine's Day, if you read my Cubs blog, you know that today Cubs pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training. As I've made it quite clear on this site and anywhere else I'm allowed to say my opinion that the Cubs just might be the one true love in my lifetime. That's kinda sad, come to think of it. Anyway, has a nice article where players and fans are asked why they love baseball. Mr. Cub Ernie Banks makes an appearance in the piece. He's got quite a long quote but here's my favorite excerpt, "It creates a lot of joy for people and memories for people who follow it. It's a family. You like it because it's a family. You started with it and know all these people -- it's family, it's friends, it's fun, it's a beautiful game. "
  • Here's something I didn't know, but as a college student probably should have known. This week is National Condom Week and today is National Condom Day. I'm not here to push an agenda or to throw my opinion in your face (not with this issue at least), I'm just here to let it be known that today is Nat'l Condom Day. I'm just going to recommend that if you celebrate today, celebrate responsibly by wearing a rubber. That's it, just a suggestion...take it or leave it.
  • Today's Daily Egyptian, the newspaper here at SIU, has some pretty interesting articles on Valentine's Day. This article talks about people who are against the holiday and references what I would call a semi-Anti-Valentine's Day movement. This next article, is an opinion piece which I'll admit struck a chord with me. Yes, I understand that Valentine's Day is this day where you're supposed to show love to others. But let's scrap the idea of significant others and show affection to those in your life that make a positive impact. With that said, Happy Valentine's Day to my family and friends. My family, who go out of their way to make sure I get Fannie Mae chocolate so I don't spend today completely depressed. And to my friends, who understand my genuine hatred for this day and for the last few years have attempted to help me get through this day with little incident (though that has failed...whatever...good lookin' out folks!)
  • Last year, MSN had a page giving you reasons to not like Valentine's Day. They hit it on the mark, of course....but do not limit yourself to reasons to not like this day. I, myself have several reasons I shun this holiday like a red-headed step child.
  • And finally, when The History Channel isn't busy covering Hitler or World War II, they do good work outside of those two topics. Here's their page on the history of Valentine's Day. Generally, I like history and if you have time and love to read as much as I do, then read some of this stuff. Did you know according to one legend, St. Valentine (a priest at the time) sent the first "Valentine" himself while in jail when he fell in love with a young girl who was thought to be the jail-keeper's daughter. Everyone knows I'm a big fan of legends and tall tales.
It's not Friday, so I can't do a Friday Five. So instead, my version of the 10 Greatest Love Songs Of All-Time (in no particular order):
  1. Every Time I Close My Eyes by Babyface
  2. Anytime by Brian McKnight
  3. At Last by Etta James
  4. Your Body Is A Wonderland by John Mayer
  5. All My Life by K-Ci & Jojo
  6. One Sweet Day by Mariah Carey & Boyz II Men
  7. Truly, Madly, Deeply by Savage Garden
  8. Practice What You Preach by Barry White
  9. Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton
  10. My Girl by The Temptations
It's so hard to limit a 200+ song playlist of great love songs on my I-Pod to My 10 Favorite. That's the best I could do folks.

Now, enjoy the rest of your Valentine's Day....bitches!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

SIU Retains First Place With 51-47 Win!

So a friend of mine that reads this blog casually suggested that I write more about Saluki basketball. He's interested in the #15 squad in the country, especially after seeing their game against Creighton on Saturday. So, I'll try to cater to my readers (all three or now maybe four of you) by writing a post about tonight's SIU game against Missouri State. Heck, maybe it'll help with my future career as a sports writer, who knows?

If my buddy liked what he saw on Saturday, he wouldn't have liked today's game much. SIU did beat MVC foe Missouri State on the road tonight by a 51-47 score, but it wasn't pretty.

This might have been considered a trap game for the Dawgs, coming off of the big win against arch-rival Creighton but before ESPN's Bracket Buster game at #12 Butler University on Saturday. In any case, the game still had to be played.

Missouri State brings a whole heck of a lot of problems match-up wise. They have a bunch of guys who can play a bunch of different positions, like big guards that can play inside or small big men that can play on the perimeter. Still, somehow SIU found a way to win.

Every time SIU plays Mo. St., I call the game "The Me and My Shadow" game. Both teams play similar styles, with equal talent. Heck, they even share the same school colors, maroon and white.

On to the game summary. This game epitomized "Winning Ugly," a phrase made famous by the 1983 Chicago White Sox. In my three years as an SIU student, they've perfected this concept. They've got it down to a tee.

Statistically, the game could have been won or lost in several categories. Mo. State shot 50% (9-for-18) from the field in the second half while limiting SIU to 28% shooting (7-for-25) from the field. However SIU shot 81.3% from the free throw line in the game (13-for-16) while Mo. St. struggled when they got to the line shooting at a sub-par 60% clip (15-for-25.) That's where the game was won. If Mo. St. hits their free throws at a 70% clip, which they usually do, they win the game, it's as simple as that.

The SIU defense was stingy again, holding Missouri State to 47 points, 28 points below their average. That's what SIU does, they stop you from scoring. This team isn't an offensive juggernaut by a long shot, and that 85% 2nd half shooting night might be an aberration, but the defense isn't.

Besides the team defense, shutting down Mo. St. star guard Blake Ahern, limiting him to just 7 points on just 2-of-8 shooting was definitely key to slowing down the Bears offensive attack. In this game, Ahern air-balled an early three point attempt and missed a wide-open three-point opportunity in the corner in the closing minutes that would have given the Bears the lead.

SIU was lead by senior guard Jamaal Tatum, though he wasn't the team's high scorer. Junior forward/center Randal Falker led the team with 20 points to go along with 12 rebounds giving him another double-double. However, it was Tatum's late game heroics that brought the win home to Carbondale. A NBA-range three pointer and two clutch free throws down the stretch pulled SIU to a lead in the closing minutes of the game. Reserve guard Wesley Clemmons iced the game with two free-throws, making the game 51-47.

Tyler Chaney led the Bears with 13 points, while Dale Lamberth provided 11 points and a spark off the bench.

The win moves SIU to 22-5 overall and 13-3 in MVC play, and keeps the Dawgs in sole possession of first place, a full game ahead of Creighton University who beat a slumping Northern Iowa team by 11-points.

SIU's next game is the highly anticipated Bracket Buster game against #12 Butler University, who won their game tonight by a 79-62 score. It will undoubtedly be the first Bracket Buster game that features two top-15 schools. That game can be seen on ESPN2, tip-off around 3:00 p.m.

Valentine's Day: It's Not Just Another Day

I've made no secret about Valentine's Day being my least favorite holiday. In fact, I personally don't see it as a holiday because I still have to go to school and my mom still has to go to work. The only way V-Day becomes a true holiday is if Hallmark's President is elected President of the United States. I'm sure the President of the US has the power to declare holidays. I'm sure it's somewhere in the constitution.

But this post isn't about making Valentine's Day a federal holiday, it's about my hatred for the day itself.

I've tried (unsuccessfully) to ignore and discredit V-Day as much as possible. I've been referring to it as "that day," "that Wednesday" like Bill Parcells talked about Terrell Owens as "the player." I tried looking away, but obviously I failed. Valentine's Day is like a car wreck, it's bad but you can't take your eyes off of it.

My hatred for Valentine's Day traces back to my days as a grammar school student. I never got Valentine's cards from any of the girls I liked. Heck, I was happy to get anything from anyone in those days. Personally, I liked chocolate, specifically Fannie Mae chocolate, which was always my gift from my mother who always knows how to make me happy when I'm sad. I guess that's just what mom does.

That hatred grew as the years went on and I still continued to have a dark cloud over my head on Valentine's Day. No Valentine for me. It grew to a fevered pitch in high school where it was celebrated to the umpteenth degree. People getting gifts before, during and after class. Happy couples all over each other. The hallways decorated in red and pink with flowers and balloons everywhere. It sickened me to the point to where when Valentine's Day game around I would take a personal day and cut school. I know, it's juvenile, but why depress yourself by surrounding yourself in an atmosphere you absolutely hate?

The saddest Valentine's Day was in 1998, when I found out while watching the news, that Harry Caray had suffered a heart attack while having dinner with his wife Dutchie. I knew Harry would pull through, there was absolutely no doubt in my mind that Harry Caray would get out of this condition and find himself broadcasting baseball games as soon as possible. Unfortunately, Harry didn't pull through and died on February 15th.

That was the most heartbreaking Valentine's Day ever. That day was one of the most hurtful days in my life. My idol had died. Kids my age wanted to be doctors, lawyers, actors, actresses....I wanted to be the next Harry Caray. Coincidence or not, Uncle Harry as I called him, died on the day I despise the most. I guess it makes sense as another reason on why I hate Valentine's Day.

I can't say that I've had one happy Valentine's Day. Not one that was completely and truly happy. Something always went sour on Valentine's Day, and it always happened in bizarre ways. Like a girl telling me she wasn't interested in dating anyone, then dating three guys in a span of two months.....two of which were friends of mine. Or what I thought was a well written "love note" getting lost in my backpack and me unable to get the words to tell her how I felt before it was too late and she was dating someone else. Valentine's Day brings out the worst in me.

On a closing note, I won't forget how bad I felt last year on Valentine's Day last year. Last year's bad V-Day feelings dwarf freshman year's classic "I really, really, you" drunken rambling. My ex-roommate's girl had this extravagant plan on decorating our room for him on Valentine's Day and I decided I'd do my part by leaving the door unlocked for her, but I (Mr. Bitter About Valentine's Day) told her that if one decoration got on my side on the room that I wouldn't be happy. When I woke up that morning, I looked around and our room was well decorated....well, his side was. I looked at my side and there was nothing, and I thought to myself "this is sad." I'll be honest, I was jealous. But think about it, wouldn't you if you're roommate had this wonderful girlfriend that was willing to surprise him by decorating his side of the room and giving him nice things on Valentine's Day?

As for me. I spent my Valentine's Day alone in my room. I made myself dinner and cheesecake, then watched SIU lose a pivotal game at Bradley that in the end was one of the reasons they didn't win the MVC regular season title.

So what does this year's Valentine's Day have in store for me? Not much if anything. My mom sent me Fannie Mae chocolate's, so that could hopefully soften the blow of not having a Valentine, again. After that, nothing. There's no girl that I'm crushing over. There's no one that is going to be my Valentine. Heck, there's no chance that my room, let alone my apartment will be decorated.

Once again, Valentine's Day is gonna suck. I'll probably work on some homework, and then do some heavy drinking. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Monday, February 12, 2007

SIU Is Better Than Duke....Yeah, I Said It!

And the funny thing about that headline is that it's true. SIU basketball is better than Duke basketball at this point. SIU (#15 in ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll, #16 in the Associated Press Poll) is better than Duke (unranked in both polls) and that's the end of the story.

Actually, that's just the beginning.

SIU (21-5, 12-3 in MVC) has a better record than Duke (18-7, 5-6 in ACC) and there is no one prouder than I am. Not only am I an avid SIU student and supporter of the basketball team, I am a major Duke detractor. I know, hating something is so wrong but when they epitomize everything evil and everything wrong in college basketball, they deserve it. And it's not like they're the worst program (see any team run by Jim Harrick) but it's Duke. It's like seeing the Yankees lose. Better yet, it's like seeing the Cardinals lose.

I think that Duke is in danger of missing the NCAA tourney. ESPN analysts disagree with me. But think about this. In 2001, UNC (a team with as much talent and tradition as Duke) went about .500 in conference play with 18-20 wins and went to the NIT. That team had more talent than this Duke team currently has....and proved it by winning the 2004 National Championship under Roy Willaims. The core of that team of course was Raymond Felton, Sean May and Rashad McCants. Duke doesn't have that "go-to guy" that Carolina does or that the '01 team had.

So what does this all mean? Who knows? I don't expect the fall of Duke to be prolonged, though I'd absolutely love it if that was to be the case. But Duke will continue to get the benefit of the doubt from a majority of ESPN and media giants of that sort. They'll continue to get All-American athlete's just because it's the tradition of Duke. While SIU continues it's grass-root type climb towards the top of the basketball world, starting with the recruiting dominance of the basketball rich St. Louis-area and Illinois for starters.

I never thought I'd see the day that SIU would be ranked higher than Duke, let alone Duke be unranked. What's next? A top-tier recruit coming to SIU? That'd be nice, but SIU's doing a great job of being a "system team." A team without stars, dedicated to a system that puts team ahead of self.

So I'm just going to enjoy this now while I still can. Thinking about how it can get so much worse for Duke with trips to Clemson, Boston College and North Carolina to close out the year.

To The Idiots That Read This Blog

Alright, first of all, sorry for calling you idiots. Heck, I don't know if anyone reads this blog but it sure as hell is fun to write. I just wrote idiots in the headline to get people's attention. Now that I've got your attention (as I laugh at my own stupidity) I have something (relatively unimportant) to say.

I'm getting that itch again. No! not that itch...though come to think of it....

All jokes aside I'm getting that sports writing itch again. Yes, I know that was the stuff that I used to post on here where two out of my three readers told me to stop posting sports stories because they don't like reading about sports. Hence, why I started the Cubs only blog. But I can't help it, I'm up to my eyeballs in thoughts about sports. I guess that's why the "I hate myself"/"I hate everyone"/"I hate everything"/"I'm depressed" blogs have been steadily on the decline. I have been busy on the other blog writing about the Cubs, one of the few things that (when they're good) brings happiness to my life.

So in the coming weeks you might get a blog on why the Bears should keep Rex Grossman. Or a blog about the SIU Salukis, currently ranked #20 in the country. Maybe, just maybe you might get a crossover blog about the Cubs.

Every teacher has told me to write what I know. That's the most simple advice any teacher can give any prospective writer. I know sports....and I also know about being pissed off. I guess why my blog is the way it is. Wow, this shit's starting to make a lot of sense.

Damn, I gotta get ready to go to class. I don't feel like it, but hey, can't be the next great sports writer without a degree because if I could, I would've skipped out on this whole college thing.....okay that's a lie, I've always wanted to experience college life.

Thanks for reading!