A penguin and a polar bear are sitting on an iceberg. The penguin yells, "No Soap Radio!" They both jump in the water.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Carolinian in NYT

Carolinian News Editor Kathryn Kennedy's news story on the Guilford attacks got picked up by the New York Times online edition, which is just some kind of awesome.

When this story broke last Tuesday, Kathryn and I got an email from Executive editor Chris Lowrance before any news source had an article out. Yes! broke it that night, and the N&R soon followed. Still, no college paper had anything on it, and no one was going to any time soon. Our print edition came out earlier that day, so it looked like we were doing an online update. Kathryn got out to Guilford the next day and busted her ass to get the story in that night. Occasionally hard work pays off.

Hell yes.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

An Ode to Teachers

I'm won over. If this whole writing thing falls through and I find myself in a teaching position - much like the main character in my favorite novel, Sideways, only hopefully minus the alcoholism and self-loathing - I don't think would be such a bad thing. We tend to look at teaching as a profession the way we do because we remember the majority of teachers who didn't care, not the ones who did and make it count.

The other day I finally found the address of my middle school English teacher, Ms. Dennis. She taught the advanced English class I was in all three years of middle school, and I trace this whole writing thing back to her. Every writing assignment or lesson in essay structure we had high school seemed beneath the level Ms. Dennis pushed us to years earlier. Middle school is the last time I remember ever struggling with writing in the technical sense.

The year after we left her class I started my first blog. Eventually I ended up here. Still blogging when I should be doing other things. Actually get paid a little bit for some of my writing.

I'm halfway through a letter to my old teacher. I've heard teachers like getting letters from past students, though I'm not sure if I'm expecting a response. The knowledge that I sent the letter is all I really want. But, if I could choose, I'd like to get my letter sent back to me "Return to Sender" style, covered in red ink marks. One last C+, another essay that could have been better. And maybe one of those scratch-n-sniff stickers that smell like grape.

Latest twists in Guilford case

Joe Killian's latest report on the Guilford attack -- three Palestinian students were allegedly attacked by a number of members of the school's football team -- has a few interesting twists.

- Prosecutors are deciding what action will be taken. Either 1)"Prosecute the case based on the witness statements and the report put together by the college's public safety department," 2) "Ask the Greensboro Police Department to conduct a follow-up investigation," or 3) "Drop the charges."

- The FBI is deciding whether it will get involed.

- A father of one of the players has spoken up with an interesting take.

Tim Bates, who has distributed pictures of a bruised Michael Robert Six, said the Palestinian students started the fight. He offered a picture of Six's back with what appears to be a belt-buckle shaped bruise as the strongest evidence.

"Here's a guy who is supposedly beating someone and he has a whip mark on his back," Bates said. "It doesn't make sense. It shows you who the real aggressors were."

Not only does the story have legs, it's running its ass off. I really didn't expect the "those three kids attacked the at least five and possibly 15 football players" defense. I'm interested to see how that plays out.

One this is for sure: An unseen victim in all of this has to be Joe's cell phone, which I assume hasn't stopped ringing for several days now. At least one drink is on me tomorrow, Joe.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Anyone hear how they cured cancer?

So scientists discovered that a drug already used for metabolic disorders can kill cancer cells. It's also unpatented, so it can be produced cheap and en masse. This sort of seems like the kind of thing that I should be hearing from CNN, not a friend's blog. Hurray for media.

I'm going out for some some cigarettes.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I Can't Believe I... stayed awake for 48 hours

The Carolinian -- Don't let my height fool you, I'm a really just a big kid. And not in that "look how I've kept my youthful vigor" way some people mean either. I've skillfully retained a lot of those habits one should shed before adulthood. Maturing, they call it. My room is as messy as it was when I was six, I refuse to admit when I'm wrong, I still won't take medicine, and to this day I hate going to bed.

It's not that I don't love sleeping. I love it in the same way a child refuses to get in the bathtub and later is having so much fun playing they won't get out. For whatever reason, staying up late is something I've always done. But there are limits to this activity, I've found.

This bedtime story starts one Saturday after I woke from an afternoon nap. Waking up that late in the day left me no hope for getting to bed at a decent hour, so it appeared that I would be staying up all night. I had some work to do anyway, and staying up so late that no one else is awake is a great way to force yourself to do it. An all-night writing or cramming session is practically the only way I get schoolwork done, or anything for that matter.


The next day I found myself stuck at work longer than I'd imagined. The lack of sleep was starting to catch up with me, and by the time I could get myself out of the Carolinian office I realized I'd been awake for over a day and a half. After a short break it was right back to the office for another all-nighter because, well, I had stuff to do. I try to stay busy.

The timeline is different for each person, but I find it's around 36 hours awake that I start to hallucinate. This isn't a full-blown acid trip, mind you. I start seeing things out of the corner of my eye, for example, only to turn and find nothing. The first time I remember it happening I had to leave my room because a shadow kept creeping toward me. Little things like that. Full article

Jeff Megall: [Talking to Nick on the phone, late at night, his phone beeps] Gotta go. London. It's 7 AM in the Old Empire.
Nick Naylor: When do you sleep?
Jeff Megall: [pause] Sunday.

I don't get a lot of sleep during the semester, that should be obvious by now. Last semester, I got about 4-5 hours a night. That's a ballpark average, since I would stay up all night at least once a week and hopefully end up crashing during a day at least once as well.

It's not hard. You get used to it.

Not sleeping is a non-issue at this point. Except for that painful first half hour or so when I just woke up from three hours sleep, I don't feel tired. Part of it is being 21 and invincible, and part of it has to do with putting it out of your mind and keeping busy. I do sleep, just not on any real sort of schedule, and at this point no schedule is my schedule. It's not that hard.

Like the villain from Die Another Day said, "You only get one shot at life. Why waste it on sleep?"

I get the same reaction from a lot of people when I mention I've been awake since yesterday: "I just can't do it," as if staying up all night were some mystical feat. Maybe they tried it once and got until about 6 a.m., then it was lights out. The morning of my first all-nighter (freshman year, those were the days) my roommate woke me up by yelling at me for over a minute. And when I say "woke me up" I mean he saw me sitting upright in a chair with my eyes open, but completely out of it. Ah, the rookie year. For those that have said you can't, or are attempting your first all-nighter, here's a few tips.

Caffeine is your friend, to a point. As with any drug, know your body type and your tolerance. Sure 5 cups of coffee will keep you awake, but if you're jittery as all hell then you won't be able to focus on that textbook that seems to be shaking across your desk. Worst case scenario: Your heart starts pounding in your chest and you can't do anything except lie flat on your back and hope not to die. Been there. It sucks.

Pick your mode of caffeine well. I gave up coffee and soda. Too little caffeine, it's a waste of time. Energy drinks are an option, though not a tasty one. No Fear's diet energy drink tastes the best (get the diet because it doesn't leave that syrupy residue in your mouth), and it's a 16-ouncer, which means two servings per can. I can't seem to have more than two in a night without getting an upset stomach though.

When I do use caffeine it's just straight No-Doz, which are nothing more than 200mg caffeine tablets. No fuss, no extra stuff you don't want.

Once you're dedicated, don't quit. On an average body rhythm, the body's temperature drops between 3 and 5 a.m.. These are the hardest hours to get through, and there when you're going to want to take a tiny nap before that exam. Past the point of no return (anything less than four hours until you have to be somewhere, and four hours is pushing it for most) you are NOT going to wake up from that nap. Fight through it. Sleep after the exam, not through it.

Recover. There's a thing called "sleep debt." Rack up those waking hours and it takes a toll on your body and mind. The less sleep you get, the more you're going to have to get eventually. Building up sleep debt over time isn't bad in the same way that staying up for a long period of time is bad (you won't go insane, for instance), but it's still something you should worry about. You can't escape this; not sleeping affects everyone.

Not me though.

Failure to Communicate: Solitaire, minesweeper, and the art of looking attentive

The Carolinian -- This August all fulltime freshmen entering UNCG will be required to purchase a laptop, and I fully expect professors to start complaining about it by early September. UNCG really hasn't thought through the ramifications of force-feeding new computers to thousands of freshmen.

This laptop initiative is another one of UNCG's power-trip ideas, and it's a bad one. Why? Because if you want or need a laptop and can afford a laptop, you'll buy a laptop on your own. If you don't want or need one ? you see where I'm going with this. None of that matters now, of course. UNCG made your decision for you.

It's kind of a bum deal for students who already own desktops but have to buy laptops anyway. It's not so bad, aside from the university forcing you to shell out a couple thousand on something you plainly don't need. The only possible reason for this requirement is that they want us to carry our computers to class, and therein lies our drama.

Last March June Entman, a University of Memphis law professor, banned laptops from her class, claiming students "were focusing on trying to transcribe every word that I was saying, rather than thinking and analyzing." Never have I had a professor complain that I was taking notes too well. I guess that's what Provost Edward Uprichard meant when he called the laptop initiative "technology-enhanced learning".

Be warned UNCG professors, this is about to happen to you. It's not our fault. Blame the university.

Paying too much attention is a problem, apparently, but some of us very much prefer to pay none, and our university overlords need to understand this fact right now: "Technology-enhanced learning" walks hand-in-hand with technology-enhanced goofing off. Full column

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Oh yeah...

Makes me happy every time I see this

Friday, January 12, 2007

Now that classes have kicked in, that sounds about right

Monday, January 08, 2007


I have been awake since 7 p.m. Saturday night. It is now 7 a.m. Monday morning.

I have been working in the Carolinian office since sometime around 5 p.m. Sunday. I repeat, it is 7 a.m. Monday morning.

My iPod just died, and the only music on this computer's iTunes is Tori Amos, The Rolling Stones, and Hanson.

There is a God, and he hates me.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

New favorite actor

Up at eight in the morning, watching Inside the Actor's Studio on YouTube when I should be working, I saw this exchange during the end bit when Lipton asks everyone the same series of questions. These are the best answers, or at least my favorite, I've heard yet.

Lipton: Johnny, what's your favorite word?
Depp: Why.
Lipton: ...What is your least favorite word?
Depp: No.
Lipton: What turns you on?
Depp: Breathing.
Lipton: What turns you off?
Depp: Not breathing?
Lipton: What sound or noise do you love?
Depp: My daughter's voice.
Lipton: What sound or noise do you hate?
Depp: Vacuum cleaner.
Lipton: What is your favorite curse word?
Depp: Boy, this is a real opportunity here.
Lipton: Yes it is.
Depp: I don't want to mess this up. I think the most expressive would be shit. Shit works a lot. . .
Lipton: . . . What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
Depp: Writing, I think. Writing.
Lipton: What profession would you absolutely not like to try?
Depp: President of the United States.
Lipton: Johnny, if Heaven exists what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
Depp: "Wow."

During the audience question section, a Romanian student asked Depp about a period in his past where he mentioned living with Romanian gypsies. Depp said they taught him "great lessons in life. These guys really know the definition of living, you know, and I don't mean that in terms of a constant festival or a constant party, I mean these guys live every single moment, and when James asked me what I, I think it was one of my favorite things to do or something, I don't remember, but I said "breathing." We forget what a gift every single breath is, I mean, that we're given. Every breath that we take is a great gift, and we never pay respect to that, you know. And those guys, my gypsy brethren, appreciate every single second of every day, every moment, every breath they take, every...well you know the song."

I'm sold. New favorite actor. Christopher Walken just got bumped to number two, where he's still battling Denzel Washington.

The episode starts with part one here, and parts 2-5 in the side bar.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

How do you make hate crimes funny?

Make "MBop" by Hanson the theme song.