Tag Archives: FSU

Incongruity

Perhaps this is just the Seminole fan in me talking, but all this hype about Tim Tebow NOT working out at the NFL Combine this week is making me a little sick.  I’ve said it all along and I’ll say it again: Tebow won’t do anything of note in the NFL at the quarterback position.  Defensive players in the NFL are too fast and too strong for him to escape like he did regularly in college.  And now he’s working on a new delivery and his footwork.  As Mike tells his students about practicing aural skills, “You can’t fatten the calf the day of the market.”  Yes, Tebow was a great college player.  It pains me to say that, but it’s true.  He won often and he won big.  Fact.  But, as many a Gator quarterback has proven, the NFL ain’t college.  What he’s been doing for four years in Gainesville can’t simply be unlearned and reprogrammed in less than a month before Pro Day (17 March).  As another adage goes, “Old habits die hard.”

On the other hand, Myron Rolle from FSU has been getting a lot of attention lately because of his unique combination of brains and athletic talent, and rightfully so.  He’s a brilliant guy whose future is amazingly bright, both on and off the field.  However, there are some in NFL circles who feel like his mental aptitude will hinder his NFL career.  I just don’t understand how people think that being intelligent and having aspirations IN ADDITION to NFL success can be hindrances.  Um, what?  The way I see it, his mental acuity can only HELP him, especially at the free safety position.  He’s the last line of defense: he has to read the whole field and react accordingly, which takes both athletic talent and intelligence.  Whatever team drafts Myron will be lucky to have him.  As he did at Florida State, he’ll represent that organization well in every aspect of his life.

Throughout their college careers, there was a gross incongruity in press coverage between Tebow and Rolle, due, in part, to Tebow’s success on the field.  Despite some of the NFL cynics, I’m glad to see some of press finally recognizing Rolle.  I’m looking forward to watching how these two men develop, both as players and as humanitarians.

Wrong…Again

The NCAA rejected FSU’s appeal regarding the decision to strip Bobby Bowden of 14 wins because of a cheating scandal.  I realize I’m biased because of my fan loyalty to THE Florida State University, but this is NOT right.  Bowden was the head football coach, so yes he is responsible for his players’ actions…to a point.  There was no evidence that Bowden, or any of the coaching staff for that matter, had anything to do with some players cheating on a test.  So, I don’t see why the NCAA is penalizing Bowden.  The University already punished those students and TA’s involved, and the NCAA revoked some scholarships as well.  FSU even took the high road and reported the incident to the NCAA itself before it leaked out through the media.  The way I see it, this is the NCAA trying to make a statement, using one of the game’s legendary figures as an example of what NOT to do.

Psssst…Hey, NCAA…I’ve got a dirty little secret for you:

CHEATING EXISTS EVERYWHERE, especially with major sports programs.  Duh.  Now, understand that I do NOT, in any way, condone academic dishonesty.  But, let’s be honest and get real for just a second here.  FSU is not the first school at which athletes have cheated, nor will it be the last.  I appreciate the NCAA taking a firm stand to curb it, if not prevent it.  But punishing the coach for something he had no part of is wrong.  The NCAA was wrong about the whole “Seminole” mascot thing and it’s wrong about this.  Wake up, NCAA, and smell the Icy Hot.  Of course, I shouldn’t really expect anything different.  After all, this is the same organization that is contemplating paying student athletes and determines its national football championship using a computer.

December 2008 12 of 12

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6:13am – The weather outside had been crappy for the past few days.  Today was no exception.  Little did I know it was going to affect my day so much.

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6:47am – Since the weather had been so grey lately, I decided to dress brightly for the last day of classes.  All for naught, however…

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6:52am – The view from my car’s driver’s side window.  The water from all the rain had frozen into a sheet of ice.  Lovely conditions, really.

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7:20am – Driving HOME from school.  Yup, that’s right: driving HOME.  The severe weather had caused campus-wide power outages.  So much for the orange brightening my students’ day.  Note how the only lights in the picture are the headlights from oncoming traffic and the flash’s reflection in the windshield.

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9:58am – UML’s text about campus closing finally reaches me…three hours late!

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11:43am – Working in Finale, editing a portion of one of my finals I’m giving next week.  Mmm, part-writing.

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1:47 – While preparing my first-ever batch of homemade chicken noodle soup, I decide to put on a little John Mayer.  I haven’t to listened to this CD in a while: I was reminded of how good it is.

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2:58pm – My very first pot of chicken noodle soup.  It turned out pretty well.

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6:36pm – While cleaning up the kitchen and making a breakfast casserole for the weekend, I pop on the DVD of U2’s 2005 Vertigo tour from Chicago.  It was a pretty good show, although I like the Elevation tour DVD from 2001 a little better. 

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8:30pm – The breakfast casserole is ready to be put in the oven tomorrow morning.  Thanks for the idea, Mrs. Blessinger (I don’t mean Marty).

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1:01am – Mike and play a three-game series of NCAA ’09.  He tried a new team, Georgia Tech.  It was an ugly win: I managed to squeak out an overtime victory in game 3.

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3:12am – After a long chat with Marty and finally taking Oreo out, I crawl into bed and read a few pages of Eclipse before passing out.

Embarrassing

It’s never fun for me when teams I cheer for lose.  The Cubs’ early playoff exit was brutal (I was going to write a blog or seven about the lack of heart the team showed, but I just couldn’t bring myself to relive it).  FSU’s homecoming loss to Boston College was disheartening.  But yesterday’s Bears loss to the rival Packers was embarrassing.  I realize that many fans play “Monday morning quarterback.”  My thing is, why doesn’t the Bears coaching staff do that?  The Bears’ defensive scheme has come under fire this season for losing late leads or allowing mediocre quarterbacks to have careers days.  The following are mini-letters to members of the Bears team, coaching staff, and front office.  I apologize in advance if I sound bitter, but in light of getting whipped 37-3 and Fox turning to another game with over nine minutes left because “the game [was] no longer competitive,” you guys had to see some of this stuff coming.  (For once, I don’t blame Fox for broadcasting another game.  I felt bad that their “A” team had to call such a pathetic contest.)

* To Defensive Coordinator Bob Babich…your defensive scheme does, in fact, stink.  And here’s why: it doesn’t utilize the players’ skills.  The cornerbacks are ballhawks, yes, but they can’t make plays on the ball when they’re nowhere near it.  Enough of this soft zone coverage with zero bumping at the line of scrimmage.  And please please please please please take Brian Urlacher out of the void between the line of scrimmage and the middle zone, when he gets clogged and taken out of plays.  He’s an athletic freak, blessed with size and speed.  Use him either like an underneath free safety, roaming and waiting, or as another lineman crashing through the line ready to take out the QB.  Is it any wonder that the lone defensive highlight yesterday was his check at the line, followed by his drop back into coverage and subsequent interception?  Briggs and Hillenmeyer and doing fine up front, backing the line.  Use Urlacher’s speed to its potential.  Without someone patrolling the middle, opposing offenses will pick apart that section of the field all game long.

* To the Bears cornerbacks…any time you want to tackle some, it would be greatly appreciated.

* To Head Coach Lovie Smith…please stop babying the staff and the team.  There are problems.  Lots of them.  It does no good to deny that fact.  Say it public, then make some changes.  Big ones.

* To the defensive line…wait, I forgot your names, it’s been so long since I’ve seen you guys.

* To Offensive Coordinator Ron Turner…Don’t forget about Matt Forte and the running game.  Only handing it to him 16 times yesterday was a huge mistake.  Offensive balance is key, but it’s also a matter of calling the right plays at the right time.  The sequence at the end of the second quarter was horrendous, and set the tone for the rest of the game.  The way I see it, Forte has proven he’s workhorse who’s capable of shouldering more than a few carries, despite his rookie status.  Let him do it.  Orton’s bum ankle will thank you, and it’ll open things up for the passing game.  You know this.  Everyone knows this.  So DO IT.  Oh, and use Greg Olsen more.  Lots more.  He’s big, strong, fast, and has great hands.  And another thing: the Devin-Hester-as-wide-receiver experiment isn’t working.  Either make him the centerpiece of the receiving corps or use him primarily on special teams.  Much like Urlacher’s speed isn’t being utilized on defense, Hester’s speed and agility aren’t being taken advantage of on offense.

* To General Manager Jerry Angelo…Talk to Lovie.  And I mean TALK to him.  Like, ultimatum talk.  And draft or sign a strong, fast, big-play wideout.  (By the way, I still haven’t forgiven you for the whole Thomas Jones/Cedric Benson debacle.)

* To President and CEO Ted Phillips…Talk to Jerry.  And I mean TALK to him.  Like, ultimatum talk.

* To Devin Hester…I miss the old Devin Hester.  Please come back.

Six games, three-way tie atop the NFC North division.  There’s still time, but not much.  The margin for error is about as skinny as I am (which is, sadly, very very skinny).

U2 Conference

It’s been a while since I last updated, so why not add to the entry list with a blurb about U2.

As you readers (all 3 of you) know, about a year and a half of my life was dedicated to the boys from Dublin, presenting my Interverse paper all over the country and writing/defending my dissertation at FSU.  Well, wouldn’t you know it, but this coming May, in New York City, there’s going to be an academic U2 conference (right now Mike is throwing up in his mouth a little.)  Here’s a banner to prove it:Print

I’m hoping to present at this conference and meet some U2 fans, scholars, and journalists.  I know it’s a far-fetched fantasy, but I’m not-so-secretly hoping some or all of the band will be there.  It’s not that far out of the realm of possibility; I mean, it’s a conference on them, so the way I see it, it would make sense form them to attend, right?  I guess they’ll be busy promoting the new album and planning another groundbreaking world tour, but it’s in NYC, so I’m going to keep hoping.

I know that there are some out there who are not all that enamoured with U2, be it their disdain for the band’s music or a lack of understanding of Bono’s intentions.  First of all, I think their music is fantastic.  Their hits stack up as some of the greatest songs of all time: “With Or Without You,” “Where the Streets Have No Name,” “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” “Pride (In the Name of Love),” “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” “New Year’s Day,” “One,” “Mysterious Ways,” “Please,” “Gone,” “Beautiful Day,” “Walk On” “City Of Blinding Lights,” and “I Will Follow” to name but a few.  I realize taste in music extremely subjective, and each person is entitled to an opinion.  But if Radiohead, who haven’t been on the music scene even half as long as U2, have a book out on their music (I saw it at the SMT conference this past weekend), then U2 deserves a conference, at the very least.  (That is not to say I have anything against Radiohead or think they’re not worthy of research or discussion.  I’m merely trying to make the point that U2’s longevity, if nothing else, warrants discussion and study of the band).  (As another aside, I hope to turn my dissertation into a book, so if there are any publishers out there who are willing to give me a chance, I won’t disappoint!)

And as I wrote back in a July entry, those who think Bono’s political work is for self-promotion are not getting all the facts or are simply jealous.  He’s got a lot of money, yes, but at least he’s using his cache and financial resources to try to raise awareness for some of the social and economic injustices happening across the globe.  SOMEone’s got to do it…why not Bono?

30 of 30(‘s)

I turned 30 on couple of days ago, and frankly, it was weird.  I’m not freaked out, like some people get when they reach this “milestone.”  It’s weird in that I’m starting another decade of life.  It’s weird how much older 30 seems than 29.  It’s weird because it doesn’t seem any different from age 29, except when I say out loud “I’m 30.”  I used to use the phrase “you’re only as old as you feel” when I worked retail.  I said that to men who would come into the store and hesitate to buy an item because they felt they were “too old for that.”  The way I see it, I certainly don’t feel too old for anything.  In fact, I don’t feel like I’m 30, which is contributing to the weirdness of the occasion.  I still make crude fart jokes, poke Marty incessantly when we’re together, dance around my apartment in a silly manner when I’m giddy, and get excited to play new video games.  Again, I don’t feel like I’m 30, but I am.  So…there it is.

In honor of my 30th birthday, I thought I’d make a list similar to the monthly 12 of 12 I try to post.  This time, however, the list is comprised of things I hope to see and/or do while in my 30’s.  I’ve got a decade to complete the list, so I think I’ve got a pretty good shot at checking off everything.  Here goes (in no particular order):

  1. Watch the Cubs win the World Series.
  2. Pay off my student loans.
  3. Go whitewater rafting in the Grand Canyon.
  4. Learn Chopin’s “Fantasie Impromptu.”
  5. Write and publish a book.
  6. Meet U2.
  7. Buy a house.
  8. Go to Wimbledon.
  9. Watch the Bears win another Super Bowl.
  10. Learn to write left-handed.
  11. Celebrate Oreo’s 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th birthdays.
  12. Get married.
  13. Add a different stamp to my passport.
  14. See my parents retire.
  15. Win a tennis tournament.
  16. Become fluent in Tagalog.
  17. Learn Spanish.
  18. Get tenure.
  19. Present at an international conference.
  20. Buy a new car.
  21. See a sunset on the beach at Boracay.
  22. Drive on the Autobahn.
  23. Skydive.
  24. Watch FSU win another NCAA college football national championship.
  25. Have a child.
  26. Swim with dolphins.
  27. Visit all 30 (ha!) MLB parks.
  28. See Niagra Falls.
  29. Learn to cook more Filipino food.
  30. ?
You’ll notice that #30 was left blank.  That’s where you, the reader, comes in.  I’d appreciate your suggestions.  They could be silly or sincere (I prefer sincere).  In any case, I look forward to reading what you think I should do in my thirties.

Top 10 things I’ll miss about Tallahassee

My moving trailer arrived Wednesday, so it’s been a packing/loading fest since then.  My mom came into town help and has done a wonderful job.  With the apartment slowly, but surely, emptying, the upcoming to Lowell is, as Marty puts it, “gettin’ real.”  Really real.  I almost can’t believe it.  I’m packing up my computer in a few minutes, so I thought that my last entry as a Florida resident would a Top 10 list.  I’ve spent five good years in Tallahassee, so here are the Top 10 things I’ll miss about The ‘Heez (in no particular order).

1. The ranch dressing at The 4th Quarter.  Ranch dressing is just good in general, but the stuff at The 4th Quarter bar and grill is just something else entirely.

2. FSU.  I met a lot of great people at Florida State and made some really really good friends through the school.  Thanks, everyone.

3. Living costs.  As I quickly discovered, Lowell’s cost of living is dramatically higher than Tallahassee’s, so much so that my apartment in Massachusetts is going to cost me double what I’m paying in Florida.  Ouch.

4. The weather.  I hate the hot oppressive summer temperatures, but I will miss those lovely February days when the mercury hits 73.

5. The sports.  I’m a pro sports guy, but FSU is the first sports school that I’ve attended and it was great.  Gathering at Doak Campbell Stadium with 84,000 other fans was an experience I’ll miss dearly.

6. The hotties.  Tallahassee has an inordinate amount of very attractive people.  I mean, hott with two t’s.  In fact, I’d say the attractive-ness quotient is as high in Tally as it is low in Lowell (how ’bout that).  I guess the good news is that I won’t feel so bad at the gym.

7. The cheap drinking.  $1.75 draft beer for happy hour…how can you beat that?

8. The dog park.  Oreo liked running around unfettered with the other pups at Tom Brown.  Fortunately, Lowell just opened up the city’s first official dog park, so I’m hoping it’ll be a good one.

9. The proximity.  Everything essential is 15 minutes away, tops.

10. The food.  For a city of it’s size, there is a surprisingly high number of good restaurants.

Well, that’s all from Tallahassee, FL.  Another chapter ends, with one waiting to begin in Lowell.  I’m going to miss Tally for sure, but the way I see it, I’m moving on to bigger and better things.

July 12 of 12 (belated)

I was out of town on the 12th, but managed to take pictures of the day.  Here’s my July 12 of 12, however belated.

1:21pm – We ate a late lunch that consisted of my dad’s adobo and sinigang (not pictured).  Yum.

1:53pm – After lunch, my dad started making leche flan for the party later that night.  Again: Yum.

1:55pm – While my dad was making the flans, I helped iron his shirt.  I’m so my father’s son it’s ridiculous.  Notice the new 2008 FSU football “Unconquered” t-shirt.  Go Seminoles!

2:15pm – Marty and I chilled on my dad’s couch and perused The Secret.  This book is, in a word, amazing.  And not in the good way.

3:17pm – Had to check on the Cubbies.  I logged on just in time to witness Marmol blow a 5-run lead.  The Cubs managed to eek out an 8-7 victory and Rich Harden struck out 10 in his Cubs debut, so it was all good.

3:30pm – Marty and I decide to mess with our cameras.  We’re dumb.

6:29pm – I had no idea what to expect for my graduation party.  I should have known it was gonna be huge when I saw the catering van.

6:31pm – We walk into the parish hall and behold the spectacle that is the buffet table.  Holy crap, this is gonna be big.

7:02pm – Mmm, cake.  Congrats, me!

8:13pm – I manage to find a few minutes to eat.  Man, do I love eggrolls.

9:33pm – Oh yes, those are Filipinos line dancing, to Latin music nonetheless.  Apparently, it’s the thing to do.

10:05pm – The party’s winding down.  My mom planned a lot of it and worked really hard to make it a fun evening.  Thanks, mom!!

June 12 of 12

What better way to kick off Friday the 13th than with 12 of 12.

My life’s pretty quiet now.  Translation: I’m bored out of my mind.  I didn’t leave the apartment yesterday (again), so several pics are of the TV screen.  God I love TV.

10:02am – Amy and I are trying to live a more eco-friendly, organic lifestyle, so she recommended this organic peanut butter.  I did a side-by-side taste test and the results are in: the MaraNatha peanut butter is delicious.  It tastes freshly homemade.  Amazing.

10:22am – They’re doing some renovations and repairs around the apartment complex, so I didn’t have water to wash my dish.  So to pass the time…

10:23am – I continued my Seinfeld-watching.

10:48am – As you can see, I’m making progress, moving on to the second disc of the penultimate season.

11:15am – I get an email saying that my dissertation has been approved by the Office of Graduate Studies and will posted online.  Horray!

11:23am – As I continue my morning online routine, I request official copies of my transcripts from my three schools.  Northwestern is the only school that has my mail a request form in by snail mail (thereby slowing the process).  Thanks to Loyola for sending transcripts for free.

11:24am – The transcripts I requested from LUC, NU, and FSU are all going to the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at UMass Lowell.  It’s part of the “making-my-hire-official” process.

12:47pm – Givin’ Oreo some love.  She loves those nubby gloves I got.

2:25pm – WGN celebrated its 60th year of broadcasting Cubs baseball with a “throwback game,” which featured both teams wearing 1948-style uniforms and a black-and-white telecast complete with graphics of yesteryear (just for the first two innings).

8:10pm – I cooked dinner for myself, which is a rarity these days.  It looked better in person, and it tasted even better.

9:52pm – The way I see it, since I was feeling domestic, why not continue the trend?  Iactually washed my dishes.  Recognize the hat?

10:31pm – 2nd place in the 100cc Special Cup in MarioKart Wii.  I was leading the standings until the final race.  Two words for you: Rainbow.  Road.  God I hate that course.

It’s official

Well, it’s official.  The wait is finally over.  My job search is complete.  I am the newest faculty member of the University of Massachusetts Lowell Department of Music.  More than anything, more than happiness or joy or elation, the biggest emotion I feel right now is relief.  I smiled a lot when I accepted the position, but the big sigh of relief I let out afterwards is perhaps the most memorable reaction.

It’s been a strange process, this whole getting-a-job thing.  I was so excited last fall because it seemed like just about every school out there had an opening and my chances of landing a gig were great.  So I applied to numerous places, thinking I had a shot to land a pretty good job right off the bat.  But as the school year wore on, and I didn’t hear from anyone, I started to get a little worried.  There was a little lull in job openings, but kept my eyes and ears open, sending out my materials when I could.  Then, one weekend, out of the blue (while I was in Maine with Amy, of all times!), I was forwarded a job posting for a position up in Massachusetts.  “Lowell, MA??” I thought.  But I looked it up and it sounded great, so I sent off my materials.  Lo and behold, after a couple of phone interviews, they wanted to see me live and in person.  After scrambling for two days getting together a lesson plan, I flew up to Lowell, gave my teaching demos, met with the Dean and the search committee, flew back to Tally, and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Now, it was only about a week and a half that I waited to hear from them, but it seemed like much longer than that.  I thought I nailed the interview, and since their school year was coming to a close, I knew they didn’t have that much time to interview other candidates and needed to fill the position.  Plus, I’m an impatient person by nature: I wanted to know, and I wanted to know ASAP.  So I waited (not so) patiently until the phone rang last week.  Awesome.

I think the most relieving aspect about this job is that it’s tenure-track, so I won’t have to go through this whole interview process again at least for a few years.  *WHEW*  The way I see it, I got lucky.  Very very lucky.  UML was looking for someone and one of the profs just happened to be talking with a prof at FSU.  My name was among those mentioned, and a month later, the job is mine.  The saying goes, “It’s better to be lucky than good.”  Amen.  I mean, I think I’m pretty decent, but in this case, Lady Luck was on my side.

Go River Hawks!!