Thursday, October 28, 2004

Pigs are flying, hell froze over, and Boston won the World Series. What???

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Tuesday, October 26, 2004

TECHNOLOGY HATES JOSH! Listen up as to how I got screwed over once again...

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Why doesn't my vote count?

In case you haven't been conscious lately, there is a presidential election in eight days. Every political outlet and every representative for every party is calling this the most important election in our lifetime. Everywhere you turn, it seems that someone or something is reminding you to use your right to vote. A few weeks ago, it was: Don't forget to register! This election is very important. If there is a hermit living in the mountains in Wyoming who hasn't left his cave in 50 years, he's climbing down the mountain to vote November 2.

I am registered in Dallas and sent in my absentee ballot two weeks ago. It's just too bad that my vote doesn't count. Well, I'm sure it will be counted, but I can promise it won't matter. I voted for John Kerry. I am not a fan of George W. Bush. I haven't been for a while. Texas is, however, an extremely Republican state, and with the Electoral College in place, votes for democratic candidates don't matter.

Texas' electoral votes have gone to the Republican candidate the past six elections. This year, Texas' 34 electoral votes (second only to California's 55) will go to President Bush. Why should I even bother voting? What was the point of taking the time out of my schedule to register, get an absentee ballot, vote for Kerry, and sent it away? I could have voted for USC Head Football Coach Pete Carroll; it would be the same result: George W. Bush receiving the Lone Star State's 34 electoral votes.

Posted by Hello(map courtesy of
Texas' 34 electoral votes make up an eighth of the 270 needed to win the presidency. It's been 28 years since a Democrat last won the Lone Star State.

Texas has never awarded its electoral votes to a Democrat in my lifetime. Texas has only once awarded its electoral votes to a Democrat since 1972 (to Jimmy Carter in the '76 election). So what was the point of me voting? Why was it so important?

This is the problem with the Electoral College. Candidates can win the popular vote but lose the election (just ask Al Gore), which really doesn't make sense. Winning the popular vote - having the country choose that candidate - and losing the election is ludicrous. The majority of the country can choose a candidate to be their president, but because of how state borders are drawn up, that same candidate can lose the election. That tells me something is wrong with this system.

The Electoral College is the BCS of politics. It has good intentions, but it doesn't always work.

When the votes are tallied Tuesday evening, mine won't count. Maybe if I had registered in Ohio, Pennsylvania, or Florida my vote could make a difference. Maybe four years from now I can help choose the next president of the United States. Maybe.

Monday, October 25, 2004

cans for cash

As I came back to my apartment from class this morning, a homeless man was digging through the Dumpster looking for cans and bottles. This happens almost every day, and honestly it doesn't bother me at all. As I approached the gate he opened it for me seeing that my hands were full, and I couldn't easily get out my key to open it. "Thanks," I said to him.

No big deal.

Usually, I'll go back to my apartment, drop off my backpack, grab a few of our empty cans or bottles, and bring them out. Hey, the guy's at least making an effort. I don't see a problem with that. Regardless of whatever put him in that situation, he's doing what he can to cope.

Today something different happened though.

As I walked past him toward my apartment, I passed two girls who I heard say something to the effect of, "Ugh, why's he digging through the trash?" Here's a hint...cans and bottles can be traded for money! The sound of disgust from these two girls really irked me. Maybe it's because that imparticular man digging through the garbage was actually working to earn money, rather than sitting on the side of the road just begging.

For many, these prove to be a source of income. Posted by Hello

I've noticed this a few times. People giving weird looks to the homeless people who dig around in the Dumpster outside our apartments. Yes, I agree that on a typical day, I don't go digging through the Dumpster, but I'm fortunate enough not to have to trade cans for cash. He's making an effort; I'm going to help him out and give him whatever cans I have. If I have an extra few bucks, maybe I'll give him that too. People don't have to respect that sort of lifestyle (I know I don't), but I do respect the fact that he was going his part to earn a buck or two.

Maybe it's his fault he has to live that lifestyle and maybe it isn't his fault. I don't know. I didn't ask. I just said "thanks" before going inside and grabbing some cans.
Could you go from having it all to digging through it all to have anything?

It may not be glamorous, but it's better than nothing.Posted by Hello

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Happiness can cut it

There's something to be said for happiness. You have to enjoy life. You just have to. If you're not having fun, change things up.

I have always defined success as being happy doing what you're doing. Even if that job, or task, or responsibility doesn't seem like much, if you enjoy, stick with it. That's how I became a journalism major. I wrote for my school paper since I was in sixth grade because, let's face it, at that age, I liked seeing my name in the paper. I didn't care that it was only in the byline. My name, as a sixth grader, was in the school paper (the middle school section, but the paper nevertheless). Over the years, I discovered my passion for writing the news. It may not be the most glorified job or the best paying job or the most respected job, but damn it I enjoy doing it.

Some people don't get it. I have a friend who's a business major that wants to go to business school because he truly believes that it's the only way to make money...Which clearly buys happiness. Now, I'm not saying I would decline an opportunity to earn more money, but I'd want to be happy while doing it. To me, enjoying life is worth more than dollars.

Some people go to certain schools because of the success they expect with a degree from that particular institution. I don't deny that USC is a great school and takes care of its graduates with the Trojan Network, but in all honesty, I didn't know anything of the school's legacy before I got here. I'd never heard of the Trojan Network. I couldn't name the school's biggest rivals. I couldn't tell you where the football team played its game. The truth is, I visited June 3, 2002 (a day that I will never forget) and fell in love with this place. I told myself: I could have fun here. That's all I said. I could have fun here.

When I started the college process, my dad freaked out about me finding a school and if it would be the right school. He sat down and talked to me about the importance of the college application process. Knowing nothing about where I was going to school, I just shut up and listened. After a while, I told my dad, "Look. There are 4000 schools out there. There's gonna be one that I like and that likes me. I'll go there." I didn't know it was USC. I can't honestly say I'd heard of USC outside of the realm of athletics.

I lucked out. USC became the place for me. As if the Annenberg School wasn't enough to further my passion for writing, this school had the intangibles. The school spirit. The active campus life. Everything. I'm happy here. If I wasn't, I'd transfer. If there's one thing my best friend has taught me, it's that if someone isn't happy at the school they're at, they will in fact leave to go somewhere else...twice. **cough** Andrew **cough**

Have fun doing what you do. If you don't like it, change it. Don't complain and think that there are no options. Hell, this summer, I was going to work where. I didn't have a plan. Maybe I was going to be a counselor at my old high school's camp. Maybe I would work at a sporting goods store. I just knew that I wanted a job that I would enjoy and, rumor had it, those were taken. I ended up getting a letter in the mail from some marketing corporation and decided to give it a shot. The letter didn't say what the job was, but I was up for anything. I decided that I'd go to the interview, see what the available position was, and if it sounded like fun, I'd do it. If it sounded stupid, I'd walk out.

Vector Marketing Corporation hired me to sell knives. I spent my summer selling knives. KNIVES! Despite taking loads of critcism from friends and family, I enjoyed the job. I had fun working, and I liked the people I worked with. I didn't have bosses and managers as much as I had friends who worked with me. That was the nature of the job, and I enjoyed it. I didn't sell knives because I want to be a professional knife salesman. I did it because I had fun doing it, and I was good at it. You think any idiot can deal with customers and sell knives? It wasn't easy. If you think you can top $33,137 in sales in two-and-a-half months, be my guest.

The plaque, two trophies, and five-foot sword I won by having fun and working hard this past summer. Posted by Hello

I'm not saying that I was born to do that job. I'm saying that I enjoyed doing it, so I worked harder at it. The harder I worked, the more fun I had. In the end, it became a pretty profitable summer. I didn't take the job entirely for the pay, because commission isn't always the best way to make money. This summer was one of the most memorable ever for me simply because of my job. I was the best sales rep in the best office in the entire region, and I was damn proud of that. I can guarantee that I would not have taken the job, which has opened many doors for me and padded my resume, if I didn't think I'd enjoy it. And if I didn't enjoy it after the first few weeks, I would have quit.

If you truly enjoy doing what you do, you can make it worth it. I can't say I will never hold a job that I don't want, but I do know that if there is something else available out there I'd rather be doing, I'll make that move the first chance I get.

A curse not yet reversed

Congratulation to the Boston Red Sox. Could it be true? The curse is over?

I would like to make one thing perfectly clear: I hate the New York Yankees. Now, while I have not suffered like a Red Sox fan for 86 years, the Bronx Bombers did knock my Texas Rangers out of the playoffs each of the three years they won the AL West. I am happy to see that 'The Boss' did not buy another championship. I am looking forward to seeing the Sox in the World Series for the first time in my life (because I can't say I remember the '86 WS, but then again, no one in Boston really wants to remember it either).

Just a warning to Red Sox fans: you still have one series to play.

It boggled my mind to hear some of my Red Sox fanatic friends saying that because they beat the Yankees in the playoffs, the curse is over.! There was a reason that the entire Red Sox nation wasn't celebrating until they recorded the final out. Even in the botton of the ninth with the Sox up seven, when the Yankees got two hits - not two runs, but just two hits - Sox fans became a little anxious. Fortunately for the Red Sox, the city of Boston, and Yankee-haters alike, the Yanks didn't make a comeback, and Boston is going to the big show for the first time in 18 years.

I argued with my brother tonight about the true meaning of "The Curse." Does a Red Sox win over the Yankees automatically nullify it? I really don't think so. Yes, this is the first time the Sox have beaten the Yankees in the post-season, but it will mean nothing without four more victories. Enjoy this win, Red Sox fans. It was something special. You know this. You've waited for this a long time. No one had ever come back from a 0-3 series deficit in MLB history before you. That represents a great deal of heart from the Red Sox and a great deal of SUCK from the Yankees. If the Sox want to complete the deal and kill the curse, four more wins is all it will take.
Will the Sox reverse the curse? I'm not going to say yes or no. I won't make a prediction if even one team has a 3-0 lead in the World Series, because after this ALCS, clearly nothing is impossible.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

driving on THE interstate

Even though I've lived in LA since August 2003, there's one thing that I only recently picked up on. One month ago I got a car out here (and let's face it, without one, you can't go anywhere in this town), and I began to notice many differences between driving back home in Dallas compared to here in Los Angeles.

I was getting driving directions from a friend, a Los Angeles native, and she told me to take the 10. The 10? The 10? What is that? For those of you from Los Angeles, or maybe even California in general, you probably have no idea what I'm talking about. I guess I'll just have to tell you because I doubt you'll understand what I'm getting at.

Why do you have to say "the" in front of the number of the interstate. Why does it have to be "the 405" and not just 405? I've never heard this before. If someone is from anywhere else in the country besides California and you refer to your interstates as "the #," please let me know. Back in my hometown of Dallas, I would take 635 to school nearly every day. I did not take the 635. I took 635. When I went to work over the summer, I drove north on 35. Not the 35, but 35. The only exception to this in Dallas would have to be "The Tollroad."

I would drive on 35, 121, 635, 75, 20, 30, Loop 12, but never on the 183. I did drive on 183, though. Now that I'm living in LA, I drive on the the 10, the 110, the 405, the 5, the 105, and it's both literally and figuratively driving me crazy. If I was at home driving to my old high school to watch a football game, and my dad called my cell phone asking where I was, if I told him I was sitting in traffic on the 635, he'd go into my room at home and search for pot!

Do people out here think that the "I" in I-10 stands for "the" or something? What's going on out here? Why do you people do this??? You don't do this for normal roads. I don't drive on "The Figueroa" to go into downtown. I don't exit the 10 onto "The Hoover" to get to my apartment. I guess I'll just have to accept the fact that interstates here come with a prefix. All I know is that I can't wait to make the drive home this summer, back to a land where we don't throw "the" where it doesn't belong. It should be weird, though, starting out on the 10 and ending up on 635.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Bye Bye Brown

I would like to take this opportunity to say 'farewell' to UT's Mack Brown. I just don't see him coming back next year. It's not that he's done a bad job (59-18 from 1998-2003, and a 4-1 record this year), but UT's football program requires more than Mack Brown has delivered.

Included in his 59 wins is only one win against arch-rival Oklahoma. Also, in Mack Brown's 21 years of cocahing college football, he has ZERO conference championships. Not National Championships, but whatever conference he's in, he's been no better than second best. He's had some damn good players and some fantastic teams, but it still seems that every year UT ends up at the Holiday Bowl or at the Cotton Bowl - neither of which are BCS bowls.

I'm not saying it's right. Hell, UT is lucky to have someone who can keep there program at such a high level. The only problem is that Bob Stoops is keeping OU at that a level one notch higher. Stoops has a recruiting edge of Brown because he can simply say to recruits, "UT's great, but wouldn't like an opportunity to actually win a National Championship?"

This year's Red River Shootout was the "Mack Brown Bowl." If UT won, he would stay. UT lost 12-0 to the Sooners. This may just be the end of the road for Mack Brown in Austin. I'm sure he'll go on to land another coaching job somewhere. He'll take a team and make them a winner...just not a winner of anything meaningful.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Stupid HSOs

tI consider myself to be a sports fan. I am from Dallas, and have followed the Cowboys, Mavericks, and Rangers my entire life. When the Stars arrived in Big D, I was cheering them on, too. All major sports are in Dallas, and for that reason, I've follow all major sports for as long as I can remember.

Last year, I came to USC, and college football joined the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL. I watched SportsCenter religiously as my beloved Trojans fought their way to a National Championship. (ESPN's Sunday Night Football's Mike Patrick said it best last year: They should take the 'C' out of 'BCS' because that's what it is.) Regardless, I became a college football fanatic.

Now, while I admit to being a homer (one who frequently roots for his home team against all odds), it's difficult to accuse me of thinking the Cowboys of the early 90s would win every game only because they were my team. They were DAMN good. Aikman, Irvin, Emmitt, Jimmy, Dieon, Jeffcoat, Kenny Gant...all of 'em. They were my boys. I wanted them to win every game they played. I also thought they could win every game they played. Why? Not because I just wanted them to win. Look around!!! Who was going to stop them? The niners? Bullshit. The Bills, no way. The 'skins? Yeah right. They were legitimately the best, so why not think they would do so well.

A decade later, I find myself in the same situation. Not with the Cowboys (although with the Tuna's help, Jerry will collect a record sixth Lombardi trophy for America's Team). The USC Trojans are the best football team in the country. They've been ranked #1 since the end of last season. They've won their past 13 games by an average of more than 24 points. 12 of those 13 were by 10 points or more. Nine of those twelve were by 20 or more. USC dominates opponents. This is not my opinion. This is a fact.

This morning, someone chose to ignore this fact. Instead of revealing this person's name, which would no doubt leave him ostracized from the USC community, let's just refer to him as Larry Mobbins. Larry chose to ignore logic, common sense, and rational by saying that Cal would defeat USC this weekend, 31-24. Why? Are you kidding me? Where is this coming from? That'd be a great HSO (hot sports opinion) if it was supported by even the notion that Cal would provide this weekend's upset special (which, by the way, will be Texas beating OU in Dallas at the Red River Shootout). But no. This was a lonely prediction supported by NOTHING!

Well, maybe Larry has the qualifications to tell me Cal will win. Maybe Larry is a college football analyst. I don't think he is. And guess what? I'm right. Larry is in actuality a disillusioned Red Sox fan who truly believes that an 86 year old curse will be lifted. C'mon buddy. They haven't won the big one since September 4, 1918. And you think this is the year? I have no doubt the boys from Boston will make it out of the first round, but winning it all? I don't think so. So where is your credibility? Why should I believe you, Larry, when you say Cal 31, USC 24? Where do you come up with this stuff?

Perhaps Larry is right. Perhaps Cal might pull off the upset special. There's only one problem. The only way Larry will see that happen is if he gets in his time machine, travels back to September 27, 2003, and watches last year's game. Figure it out, Larry. This is USC. The University of Southern California. I don't think USC will win because I'm a student here; I think they will win because they are a stronger team with more talent, better coaching, and a sold-out Coliseum that will be give Cal hell every snap they take.

Fight On, 'SC. Beat the bears.

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