Sunday, December 6, 2009

Jonesin Some Intros

So how should I introduce these fine pieces of work that I have so masterfully crafted over the course of this semester?

I think a great collective idea, that could definitely work for all of these projects, is for each intro to take on the approach of "Everybody's an idiot except for me." It encompasses me being an asshole and me being a know it all, which was what I was going for in my basketball blog to being with. Little did I know that all 4 projects could be done with the same mindset.

Enthusiast Blog -- How could any of you think you know a damn thing about this sport?
Wikitravel -- Do you people REALLY want to know what's going on in this town, instead of listening to some moron?
Web Redesign -- Look at how stupid these Surf Club people are! Their website absolutely sucks! THIS is how it's done...!
Ning Cause Site -- You morons have got to stop getting screwed by these scams. Let me step in and teach you a few things.

I could roll with that for the whole portfolio. Easily. I get cocky when I write (if you haven't noticed). The problem could come about during my presentation -- I don't know how to exactly ACT like this asshole persona because I'm not totally like that. I mean I could, but I don't think I want to. I'd attract such hatred from the crowd. Plus the presentation is on my birthday, and it's hard to be pissed off on your birthday. AND it's my last final! How am I supposed to be anything but a bubbly, charming young man up there?! Ah, such decisions to make in this final week.

Good thing I don't have much work to do in my other classes. Yes, that was a joke.


Looking at all my process blog posts, I realized something. Well, I re-realized it because my mother brings this up all the time, but... anyway... I'm a big time hater. I hate on innocent things, guilty things, normal things, you name it. I enjoy insulting the authors of some of the articles we're supposed to read. I also like to make fun of whatever subject our project is on (ex./ social networking ewwwww).

Basically, this whole process blog makes me come off like a real asshole. I say some really mean things in some really mean ways. Tada, there's an idea. Why don't I base my entire portfolio around me being an asshole! Brilliant!

1.) An angry, in your face person. How can I translate this into an actual THEME? Well, I'd probably try to emulate the types of themes that many stand-up comics use. Guys like Chris Rock, Lewis Black, Denis Leary... these are entertainers that have made careers off "no holds barred, telling it like it is, vulgar, controversial" rhetoric. I feel like I have much the same thing going in my blogs. Somehow, I'd like to center my aesthetic and reflective intros around that.

2.) A lighter take on the whole 'mean guy' thing -- how bout a seemingly angelic, innocent boy (yes, that's me), who unassumingly has the most rotten, foul-mouthed things to say? Sort of like a Stewie Griffin. Or like Cartman when he's faking nice. For example, writing my reflective intros with a gentle tone, only to throw in an F-bomb and a vulgar reference here and there, so as to keep the reader on their toes. How would this translate visually? Beats me, I'd have to play around with that.

3.) Sort of relating to my enthusiast blog would be that of a physical basketball player. I could use a theme much like my 'Broken Ankles' blog, and write everything with an intense tone and tie everything together with basketball. Problem with that would be that it could be a stretch for ALL of the projects (esp. site redesign and the SNS) to be relating to basketball. Oh well...

Ideally I'd like to take things from #2 and combine them with #1 to make my theme. The only problem I feel like I'd run into would be design aesthetics. Nothing is coming to mind for color schemes, fonts, etc. Like I said, I guess I'll just have to play around some.

Friday, December 4, 2009

What I'm Gonna Change

Well, after much consideration (good joke, it was easy), I've decided which two of my projects that I'm going to tear into and revise for the final portfolio.

My Enthusiast Blog
First of all this was my favorite project, and I think I might continue to expand it even after this semester. It has the most potential for improvement, simply because it has the most content. A lot of my posts were real lengthy and sometimes incoherent early on. I feel like in my later posts I really honed in on the type of style that I originally intended to evoke. I think if I take what I've learned from repetition and apply it to those earlier posts, then the blog as a whole will be more complete. Also, as my lovely professor suggested, the blog definitely has room for some more diverse media (aka YouTube videos!). I tried to embed a video into a post the other day, but couldn't really figure it out. I think with a little more focus and time I could throw some good shit in there, though. When it's all said and done, the blog will be the one piece that really MAKES my portfolio.

Wikitravel Site
I'm also going to revise the Wikitravel entry I handed in for my hometown of Rockaway, NJ. I felt rushed on this project -- maybe I didn't give it its due focus, I don't know. Either way, it could use some visual imagery, and the markup isn't exactly correct as it stands. Plus there's tons more content that I've thought to add since the project was due. So I think this would stand to be significantly improved upon.

So those are my choices. What are the similarities between the two? They're MINE, all mine! No pesky group members' messes to clean up. On a serious note, I wouldn't feel right tweaking what other people have done, because that's their product and I wouldn't feel like I had the right to touch it. So I'm focusing on me and what I've been responsible for. Hopefully it all comes together well so that I don't have to take this course all over again...!

Kimball Slice

Soooooo this article was about what makes up a GOOD web portfolio. Apparently this Kimball character is some kinda expert on the subject. I wonder what his credentials for advisement are. Do you think he went to school for that? Ah, I'm just being a prick. He's probably very well-qualified. Anyway, let's take a brief look on what this herb said...

-- Collection... in that it shows the author's body of work
-- Reflective... in that it explains the context of each piece and the process of it all
-- Purposeful... in that all the pieces encompass one goal; they're in there for a reason
-- Audience... in that the author has a specific audience in mind

A couple of more interesting points I stumbled upon...
-- Portfolios are good because they give you the freedom to emphasize your talents and the skills you've picked up as an author. As opposed to that of an exam, where you're only allowed to show what the question dictates to you.
-- A good advantage to creating a portfolio on the web is that you have a REAL audience... anybody can see it.
-- Subtlety, clarity, and consistency -- the keys to the design aesthetic of a web portfolio
-- The author's self-assessment of his/her work is paramount to a revealing and engaging portfolio.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Discussion Forum Topics

1.) Personal Experiences from Real Scam Victims
2.) Anybody Know a Person Who's Been Behind a Scam or Identity Theft Program?
3.) Examples of Scams in the Movies, TV, or Other Media

3 Potential Blog Post Topics

1.) Hints to Help Identify Scams Before You Get Trapped in Them
2.) Common Types of Online Scams
3.) How Identity Theft Has Increased in Recent Years

Monday, November 16, 2009

Compare + Contrast

The gist of Danah Boyd's article:
Social networking sites cause attention whores to be hypocrites. Everyone is in their own little world where they are all-knowing and all-powerful and it is complete BS. Women put up slutty poses and then talk about their deep concern for the environment -- how can they be taken seriously?

The gist of Lance Bennett's article:
Social networking is the new form of being a dutiful citizen. While some may say that us younger civilians are not as involved in these causes and less likely to join activist groups, they are merely ignoring the new medium for doing such things -- the Internet. Its time for these old bastards to wake up to this changing phenomeonon, take the reins off and let the young'ns go nuts because they are capable of great things.

The winner of this argument? Danah Boyd. I really believe that the main purpose of SNSs is for people to create their own ideal identity. These Facebook causes don't actually make any difference in the world -- they are simply a way for its users to say 'Hey, look at me... I care!' I think Mr. Bennett came off as overly optimistic on this one, while Boyd got at the larger truth.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Social Networks

Boy am I sick of social networking sites. I thought going away to college provided me with the opportunity to leave all the people from my hometown behind and start to meet some new and interesting people instead. Now, in this age of social networking, not only can I not escape these douchbags, but they know everything about me! They know where I went last night, because some dumb broad snapped 1000 pictures and posted them already. They know who I'm talking to, the inside jokes that I have with my REAL friends, and everything else in between. A huge part of me wants to rid myself of Facebook and all of the other online bullshit that's a complete invasion of my privacy. But I can't do it. Why? Because it's an enormous part of society. No Facebook is comparable to no cell phone, no debit card, no driver's license... NO IDENTITY. So that's out of question.

But getting to the article here, I liked how they broke everything down. Every definition and explanation they gave was extremely detailed, and although it became tough to decipher everything with one read-through, when you picked out key sentences and read them over again, there was some great information there. I even learned a bunch of SNSs (ooh, how trendy) I'd never even heard of before. When you take a look at the history of it all (mostly from the Mainstream MySpace section to the part about the emergence of Facebook), it's extremely interesting at how this whole phenomenon caught fire. These networks caught on so fast that it's difficult to document off the top of your head all the changes that took place. Facebook went from uppity Harvard pricks to college students to high school kids to now my freakin mom and all her sisters stalk all my pictures. How awesome is it when your Mom knows that you're going on a drunken bus trip to Providence before you're even sure you are? Good joke, it sucks. Thanks pop culture.

My only question: What's next? The landscape of these social networking sites is so fast-changing that it's tough to say. As they say in the 'Future Research' section, the discussion is ongoing and extremely difficult to quantify. All I know is that eventually it's going to get to a point where I'm gonna lose my mind. When I kick the addiction, I'll let you know.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Issues & Causes

I'm not your typical kid when it comes to opinions, viewpoints, etc. By reading some of my comments and blog posts, you may have noticed that by now. Either way, when it comes to listing issues that concern me, just know that these probably aren't going to be common answers. A lot of 'popular' causes that pop up (abortion, animal rights, Liberals vs. Republicans), in my opinion, are just ways for people to bitch about nothing. Some people live in a fantasy world, and when you hear them talk about these 'causes', it's quite evident. Did Michael Vick deserve two years in prison? I sure don't think so. But doggies are so cute!

This is not meant to undermine or disparage the upcoming project (I actually think it's gonna be fun to do), it's just my two cents on these common activist causes. So without further ado, my picks:

1.) Fatherless Homes -- Do you know how much more likely it is that a kid (boys mostly) will grow up to be a fuck up if his dad is not a part of his life? I've seen so many examples of this, and it bothers the hell out of me.

2.) Reverse Racism -- Due to the fact that white people are continuously playing catch-up with black people, some of the ways blacks blatantly discriminate against US go completely unnoticed. Trust me, I played high school basketball in northern New Jersey for 4 years -- you should hear some of the things East Orange fans would say to us when we walked into their gym. But hey, slavery/civil rights/Rodney King/affirmative action gives them the right! Yeah right, what the fuck did I have to do with any of that?

3.) Corruption -- The rich fucking people over to get that much richer. Bernie Madoff. Enron. Local governments. Judges with lifetime tenure. The whole thing is just sleazy, incredibly unethical, and it'll never stop.

4.) Age Discrimination -- Prime example: The town of Narragansett, Rhode Island. Not only do 19-22 year olds keep the entire town's economy afloat during the fall and winter months, but they feel the need to create bogus laws to squeeze every remaining dime out of us that they can. And what are we gonna do about it? Nothing, because I'm 21. So that gives them the right to fuck me over. Makes perfect sense.

5.) Unemployment -- Everybody should have the opportunity to earn a living and support themselves. Not everyone has the drive to sustain it, but they should at least be given a chance. Hey Rhode Island, if your unemployment rate is so high, why don't you start turning some of your gas stations into full service? I know Steve my alcoholic neighbor wouldn't mind pumping gas all day for $9 an hour.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

I Learned Something Today

So the project's done. The URI Surf Club website has been dissected, criticized, trashed and brought back to life in a matter of two weeks. It was a long and trying journey. Students who had never met one another had to come together on a number of ideas and work to achieve the goal of a more improved website. So what's the moral of the story here?

It ain't that hard to make a good website.

I think what we've learned here is that effective site-making, while there is a lot of technicality to it that takes a hell of a long time to learn, is theoretically simple. You need varying sizes of text to effectively emphasize things. You need your color scheme to be aesthetically pleasing and clear. You need a menu that's easy to find and access. And you need to simplify your organizational hierarchy as much as you can. Images, videos, anything else that enhances the site -- that all depends on the subject and the creator. It varies. We're not talking about being spectacular. We're talking about being EFFECTIVE. And sticking to those main points will most likely assure that a site will come off as effective.

Now if the URI Surf Club is halfway intelligent, they'd take a few pointers from our project. But based on their current website design, and the fact that they're surfers, they probably won't do anything to improve it. Goddamn kids...

Jazzin' Up a Site Map

So back when it was a class assignment to do your own site map, I took a glance at what everybody had brought in -- just to compare them to mine, see if I'd done the right thing, ya know. And much to my surprise, my shitty little sketch with arrows and scribbles everywhere turned out to be pretty nice by comparison. Everyone's looked a little sloppy, to be frank. So once I was assigned to do that for my group, I immediately decided that I was going to have to differentiate mine from the chicken scratch that everyone else was probably gonna hand in.

When I was a senior in high school, I dropped my 1st period advanced biology class so that I could take freshmen word processing instead. Why? Cuz fuck it, that's why. I wasn't gonna waste my time studying about cells and plants during my last year of HS when I could just smoke pot before school and race a bunch of 14 year olds in WPM every morning. I even convinced my two best friends to switch in with me. It was awesome -- we must have looked like such scumbags, but we ran that class.

But the point of this story is that I actually benefited greatly from taking word processing as a senior. I learned so many different little tools and tricks for Microsoft Word that I've been using all the time in college. I'm a friggin master when it comes to Word. I can format that shit like no other. So when it comes to drawing and putting symbols and creating something like a site map on the computer, it really comes easy to me. It looks SO much neater and more professional. Anytime a situation presents itself in which I can gain a leg up by using all the different Word features to impress a teacher, I jump on it. This was one of those situations.

The Dynamics of a Group Project

So for our website redesign project, my group decided to completely split our tasks up (definitely the right decision). Everybody is responsible for their own thing, and based on my perception of my fellow group members' competencies, I'm not worried about a thing. Since this is approximately my 547th group project of the semester, I've grown accustomed to distrusting these random johns that I'm forced to work with. Maybe it's because I'm in the business school, where being a lazy piece of shit is apparently a requirement for admission. But in this case, I got paired up with some people that are really on the ball. Becca and Christine have really done a fabulous job with doing the major site redesign -- we collaborated on a plan, they communicated it, and they executed it very well. Matt talked about his skills in persuasive writing, and based on the proposal memo he brought into class on Wednesday, my man was right on about that. He did a great job. As for me? Well, since I was apparently able to grasp the concept of a site map, that became my responsibility. The feedback was good on what I prepared for Wednesday's peer review, so I'm gonna keep rolling with it. I trust that when our project is complete and handed in by Monday, it'll meet all the requirements and turn into a good grade. I just feel fortunate that this process of group work was tremendously less painful than most of my experiences. Was it the luck of the draw with my partners? Was it Sakai? Was it the layout of the project? Don't know, and quite frankly, don't care. As long as everyone has the same goal and can produce, it works out for everyone in the end.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Palmquist Talkin Websites, Woo!

This article was a very structured and very detailed overview of all that a website actually constitutes. I don't think they missed a beat here. The article was very well organized and easy to view -- which I liked, because in this case, they practiced what they preached. The author had said to do the same thing with your website.

I thought the section about navigation tools was particularly interesting and applicable. This is something that I as a website viewer don't often consciously notice, but when it's brought up, I realize that some of my favorite websites really suck at that. I'm all about side menus and quick links, and this article stresses the importance of those, which I like. Out of the organizations they talked about, I'm more a fan of the interlinked organization than the hierarchical organization, because I'd prefer one click and I'm there, rather than having to get into the right category to find the page I want.

I also love the design checklist at the end. I think it covers all the necessary bases for how a website should look, and I definitely plan on consulting that a number of times in this upcoming project.

I couldn't write an entire analysis without complaining though, so here's my only beef... I don't know when this article was written, and although it doesn't show too many signs of age, some of this information might be a little outdated in this current web landscape. Basically, with the emergence of blogs, social networks, streaming digital media, and all of the other crazy shit that's booming online these days, it's hard to apply each and every one of these guidelines today. I mean, who cites their sources nowadays? Is it really necessary to have contact information? Those are the negatives that stood out to me.

Moving on, I went through my bookmarks and found a couple of sites that are relevant to this discussion. A site that I think does an awesome job of navigation, design, organization, etc. is the almighty There's a detailed, interactive menu on each page. There are links everywhere that point you to relevant information. Graphics, fonts, titles, subheadings -- all of that stuff stands out and is aesthetically pleasing. I know they are a mega website and a mega company with tons of employees maintaining that thing around the clock, but they do a damn good job.

A site that needs work is a smaller one that I frequent. It's a website about hip-hop that has sponsored links and a pretty large following. I wouldn't say it's a blog, though some people would. It's actually just a list full of links for users to illegally download songs. has a no nonsense title -- you know exactly what you're getting. But there is no menu, there are randomly placed graphics everywhere, the fonts are bland and small, and with so much content on one page, it's really difficult for certain things to stand out. This dipshit puts "HOTTTT" next to like 5 of the songs he posted every day, and most of them are far from "HOTTTT" -- in fact, they blow. I mean, the least he could do would be to archive his posts somehow. Maybe categorize the songs a little. Make the titles stand out. I don't know, something! With a domain name like that and ready access to free songs, his site definitely has a lot of potential, but that completely inadequate design just holds the whole thing back.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

My Final Thoughts

I am just completely up in the air about the project I just submitted. I have no idea if I did the right thing. I'm not even sure as to what the fine details of the actual project were. All I know is that I used plenty of resources, tried to figure out the right directions, and put my best effort forward to describe my hometown to this site. I think it's a really good description, but the question lingers... is it what I was supposed to do?

A couple of things bother me about my article. First off, I wanted to add some pictures, because any article (about a small town especially) is really bland without those. Let's face it. Problem is, I could not FOR THE LIFE OF ME figure out how to successfully embed an image into the text. They even had a button at the top of the text box called 'embed image' and I still couldn't get it to work. I'm definitely pissed about that. It takes away from my article tremendously.

I got one peer review, and it was just a snotty, bitchy take on my article that was 10% done at the time. So that was of no help. I just felt rushed by this whole project in general. I'm not trying to complain, because everybody is in the same boat here, but I just felt like the directions were a bit unclear, and I really had no opportunity to seek help once I got to working. Should I have started editing and identified my problems earlier? Most definitely. But that's not how I do things. It's not what works for me. I didn't have the chance to put my full focus into this project until just this weekend due to other academic conflicts that had more pressing deadlines.

So with all of those whiny excuses out of the way, my final take on this project was that it was a shot in the dark. I did put a good amount of effort into it, but I felt like I was doing it blindly. And that could come back to cost me in the end, but hopefully not too harshly.

The Markup

So what's the deal with the Wiki Markup? Is it all it's cracked up to be? I don't know, we made a really big deal about it in class, so when I dove into this project, I felt like it would be something I'd have to study and edit and get used to. But I really haven't, and that kind of worries me. From what I understand so far, it's just a couple of codes here and there. I really don't find it to be that complicated, but based on the time we spent covering it during class time, I feel like I should definitely be doing more with it.

What I've mainly used to guide my entries are the template they gave for "Small cities." That is a very clear, easy to decipher example of what they're looking for -- and I guess what my teacher is looking for. Hopefully if my entry matches that of the example, then I'll be good. But I still have a ringing suspicion that I've totally overlooked something here. All I can do is double check the assignment and my work, and hope for the best once I submit it.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Manual of Style

After going through the WikiTravel Manual of Style, I learned a lot about how the site is built and what goes into each entry. A few things stood out to me that I thought would be important to other readers...

-- There are very specific ways in which they want you to write and format the article. For example, I was surprised at how specific they got when it came to bold/italics and how they should be used. I kind of viewed those as being sort of interchangeable, but apparently, you use bold for titles and theme words, and italics to emphasize points.

-- Second-person pronouns (you, friends, etc.) are OK, first-person pronouns (I, we, etc.) are not.

-- If you're going to write anything about gay/lesbian people, BE CAREFUL. They dedicated a whole section to explaining how information for homosexuals should be presented. Necessary? Well, I read the whole page, and I sure as hell didn't think so. But apparently, anything homo-related is under strict scrutiny over at WikiTravel.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Wikitravel Destinations

I have no particular preference as to what kind of entry I'd like to contribute to. There aren't really too many destinations that I have supreme knowledge on, though there are a few that I could write about for a bit. I could go on and on about several places -- some of which I've visited multiple times, and a few that I've had just one memorable experience with. These are some possible areas of focus, randomly ordered:

-- Outer Banks, NC
-- Seaside Heights, NJ
-- Acapulco, MX
-- Narragansett, RI
-- Long Beach Island, NJ
-- Queechy Lake, NY
-- Newport, RI

I feel like I could easily gather tons of useful information on any one of those places. Some interest me more than others, and obviously some entries will be more developed than others, so that's something I'm gonna have to take into consideration when I ultimately choose. I think once I understand what's required of each entry, then I'll have a better idea of which one I'd want to choose.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


This has got some serious potential. I've never seen a travel site like this one before. I'm not exactly a frequent user of destination reviews, but in my experience surfing the web, I've always gotten lost on sites like Travelocity and Orbitz -- it always seems like they're trying to sell you something. Those may not be exactly the same type of site that reviews things like Wikitravel, but those are really the only big names I'm familiar with.

This allows people to write reviews on ANY destination with the same familiar and awesome interface that Wikipedia has. The searching and the organization of the site are top notch. But unlike with their encyclopedia, I do see a problem with letting the public edit the entries -- you don't really get the full picture.

I checked out 3 destinations that I'd been to in the past year -- Acapulco, Mexico; Seaside Heights, New Jersey; and of course Narragansett, RI.

A common theme that I found was the lack of negatives in each of the descriptions. Everything was informative, but had a positive tone. They didn't talk about the deficencies that any of them had -- the things that really bothered me about each place. Acapulco was an awesome place, but sketchy as hell for tourists. Seaside Heights is littered with crime, mischief and completely family-unfriendly behavior around every corner -- yet none of that was mentioned. Hell, even Narragansett can be as boring and gay a town as you'll find in New England, but since it was written by a lifelong resident, everything was just glowing in its profile. Well I know a lot of people who fucking hate Narragansett AND Seaside Heights AND Acapulco, yet none of their opinions are reflected in each of these reviews. That makes the site sugar-coated and phony, and thus, shitty at this point.

So to recap -- Love the concept, but it needs some serious work. When it's repaired, I could definitely see this site taking off exactly as Wikipedia has.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Reflecting on My Mess-terpiece

Well, the blog has begun. "Broken Ankles" has launched and I've already written a massive NBA preview. I'm not sure how I feel about it though. There are certainly I want to change about the blog, but at the same time, don't have the heart to.

My posts are pretty friggin long. That was pointed out to me by my partners in peer review, and I totally agreed with them. But I just can't say what I want to say so concisely. I need to add jokes, obscure references, curse words, complaints -- all that shit. I love listing things. It's part of my style. I think?

My About Me sucks too. I can't find a way to describe myself as this blog writer without sounding like a cocky prick. What credibility do I have as a basketball critic? I played for awhile, I watch it a lot and I think I know mad shit about it. That's pretty much it. Does that sound credible? Hell no. But I guess there's not much I can do. I fluffed it up the best that I could. I'll roll with it, get some feedback and make the necessary tweaks.

Other than that, I'm just playing by ear. I've always wanted to write a blog like this, but I never really had the balls to do it. This is very experimental for me, but at the same time, extremely enjoyable. I'm my own biggest critic, so hopefully that trait will make this blog reach its full potential.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Why Me?

So what's so good about me -- why am I the guy that readers should be looking to for their basketball viewpoints and information? Well first off, I watch a ton of that shit. I love nothing better than going to a game (NBA/URI/HS, etc.), and when I don't get a chance to do that, I'm watching whichever game is on TV that night. I'm constantly analyzing, criticizing, and hypothesizing in my own mind on each play. I play ball myself all the time -- 3x a week at least I play pickup with my buddies, and most of the time, I love nothing better than just shooting around... just me, a ball and a hoop. It's kind of like a therapy outlet for me. I use playing basketball as a way to get my mind off of something and just relaxed. It's constantly refreshing.

I am big on statistics as well. I've read the sports page EVERY DAY since I was 6 years old. That's no bullshit man, you can ask my parents, aunts, uncles... anyone who's known me since I was a little kid. I'm constantly looking at stats, averages, and box scores and comparing them to what I think they should be. My father and I have played/coached together for over 15 years, and since we're best friends, we are always talking about the game. He played on the college level, and has passed much of his knowledge onto me. I've seen enough teams succeed and enough teams fail to know how to effectively play this game. I think once people see that I am extremely analytical, but at the same time competent enough to see the purity of the game, they'll recognize my credibility as a writer. I'm also a good communicator through writing, and I don't usually write my opinions -- I just use other fans as sounding boards. Writing will allow me the freedom to draft my analyses exactly the way I think of them in my head, which is an advantage I don't often have. I'm excited to see how it will translate -- I'm expecting good results.

Listen, I know my shit when it comes to this topic. I'm catering the blog exactly to my strengths. And to be quite honest, I'm fucking right most of the time with what I say. So yeah, you're goddamn right I'm a credible author. And anyone who doesn't think so is obviously a moron. End of story, let's start the blog.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Master Plan

So after some careful consideration, numerous coin flips, some sleepless nights, about 23 buffalo wings and 6 Dos Equis' (Sunday was a great day... how friggin awesome is Eli Manning?!) -- I decided exactly the type of blog I'd like to start for this semester. Thursday night I sat down and ranked my initial topic ideas, and lo and behold, they stayed exactly the same when it came to the deadline. #5 was a joke (and entirely too common in the faggy blogging community), #4 didn't give me enough quality material, and #3 would be too much of an incoherent rant/ramble. It came down to this: do I want to write about my beloved Yankees or about my unhealthy basketball obsession? Well, the Yanks are entering the playoffs in two weeks, and if their season gets cut short by the fuckhead Angels (which I have an awful feeling that it will), then this blog becomes just depressing for me to do. And if they win it all, I'm just a cocky prick bragging about how good my favorite team is -- that's not a distinguishable topic by any means. Either way, by November baseball is over and there ain't much to write about.

So basketball it is. My life is consumed with this sport. I've played it for 19 years, my dad has played/coached it for 40, and I spend upwards of 2 hours a day gathering information on it (in-season or not). I follow the NBA like a mad man, I watch college ball religiously... shit I used to go to high school camps to see the best players in the country when they were 16. I fucking love basketball and I'm extremely informed, passionate, and opinionated about it. I think discussing it brings out my most honest self and the best in my personality. That's why I'm gonna write about it.

Is my topic too broad? Maybe a little. I haven't quite narrowed down to a T what I'd like to write about. I can't exclude either pro or college ball because I love and follow them equally. What I intend to elaborate on are things in the game that stand out to me and that you might not hear about from the Marc Steins, the Ric Buchers, and even the Bill Simmons' of the world. I value team chemistry, effective coaching styles, glue guys, great point guard play, tough full-court defense, and positive leadership (yeah Kobe, that means the opposite of you). I don't anticipate having any trouble finding material to write about -- the season is just starting, and there are plenty of storylines to both laud and criticize. That's not even including the actual games. I'm getting antsy just typing this shit.

My audience will be the realest of fans -- the ones who genuinely invest an emotional interest in this game. Do most of them know what the hell they're talking about? Hell no. That's why they should read my shit, 'cause I definitely do. And that'll be the tone of my posts. I find it to be a more interesting read if I have a little bit of 'villain' in me. Plus I'm not usually a dick in real life, so letting that devil on my shoulder be my blogging persona could be very therapeutic for me. I'm pretty excited about that. I think that design will take on a life of its own as the blog progresses. I'll obviously be able to tell how comfortable I am in this shell and how effective I am in conveying my opinions after multiple posts. I don't always have a plan when I write... I just usually bang the keys til something sounds the way I want it to. And in the past, that's been an extremely effective method for me. So we'll see where this takes us.

One thing that has changed for me over this past weekend, though, is my preference for a title. Fuck "Sharp Elbows," I'm not cool with that one anymore. It's along the lines of what I want in a title, but it's just not the one. I want it to be a smash-mouth title -- something that evokes a feeling. I envision it to be a true basketball phrase that can also serve a double meaning. So without further ado, my possible title list...

-- "Broken Ankles"
-- "Calling Bank"
-- "The Floor General"

I like 'em all to be totally honest (leaning towards #2). Suggestions? Please, for once, I need them.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Brainstorming for an Enthusiast Blog

Well, well, well... the time has come to choose a topic for which I blog about ALL semester. I put a whole lot of thought into this one, and I think I have some pretty good ideas about which to write about. I think I would enjoy blogging every one of these ideas, but just for fun, I'll rank em from "not gonna do it" to "probably gonna do it."

5.) "Wispy Meadows & Orange Sunsets" -- An enchanting look at nature, a thoughtful perspective on the finer points of life, a broad look at all that is wonderful about religion and art and... hahahahahaaaaaaa I couldn't keep going. That sounds like some bullshit my aunt would follow. I was just fucking around with that one.

4.) "I Spit Hot Fire" -- The best and worst of the current state of hip-hop. The best thing about rap music is its subjectivity... do you believe that Gorilla Zoe's album has been on the Billboard Top 100 for 22 weeks now? Gorilla Zoe sucks! With this blog, I'd intend to post some of my favorite tracks that maybe slipped under the radar, identify a lot of the top artists in the game right now and why they've earned that label, and air out all of the crap that is getting played on mainstream radio and MTV nowadays. It will be an informative and opinionated environment for which hip-hop fans (or non-hip-hop fans) will be smarter for having read.

3.) "Rhode Island Profilin' " -- Every single thing that sucks about the state of Rhode Island on a daily basis. I'm a college student who lives in the town of Narragansett -- the town in which nothing runs accordingly. Everybody drives like a senile 89 year old woman (aka a fucking idiot), the only action the police ever get is writing bullshit tickets to 19 year olds, and every single employee in a convenience store, auto shop, Dunkin Donuts, etc. is a complete douchbag with no sense of customer service principles whatsoever. As you can see, there are several things in this town that really grind my gears... and instead of stewing about it to my friends and fellow students, I feel that it would be more constructive to blog them. Then maybe the world will realize how fucking stupid this place is.

2.) "The Bronx Chopping Block" -- Where Yankees fans go to get their daily complaints from the average fan. Baseball has a long season, which leaves a lot of time to be pissed off about what your team is doing on the field. This blog intends to be the sounding board for everything that's going wrong with that lovable pinstriped team from the Bronx. Anytime Girardi puts in Phil Coke in a bad spot, I'll be there to bitch about it. Anytime a pitcher can't locate his fastball and gets shelled, I'll be there to bitch about it. And anytime A-Rod strikes/grounds/pops out in a big spot, I'll be bitching about it and THEN some. Get the picture?

1.) "Sharp Elbows" -- A comprehensive basketball blog with an edge to it. I look to write about pro ball and college ball from a hardcore fans' perspective. There will be commentary related to the X's and O's, the life of the players off the court, the scummy executives who write their paychecks... but mostly I will tackle topics about the heart and soul of the game. The passion that a great players brings to the floor, the intangibles that a team needs to succeed, the coaching style that a head coach utilizes to lead his team. I plan on having a section for good beats to ball to, and a weekly 'glue guy' (one of those dudes you just need on your team to win). Should be informative, should be edgy, should be everything that a big-time hoops fan would like from a blog, and I look forward to starting it.

So those are my rankings... any input as to which blog would be the most fun to read for YOU, please please please holla atcha boy.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Rebecca Blood - Weblogs

Reading Rebecca Blood's essay about the history of blogging, you'd think that her description of this online phenomenon was written within the past year or so. When I realized that the date of this publication was marked as Sept. 2000, I was even more impressed at how on-point her post was. She starts by giving a brief history of how blogs started, and then explains their appeal and their importance to the online community. A major point that Blood makes is that blogs act as a filtering tool for web surfers -- the bloggers themselves pick out the articles and pieces of info on the Internet that are of most interest to their audience, and they compile that data into one easy-to-manage post and replicate it in whatever fashion they please.

A particular line that stood out to me in her article was this: "Their sarcasm and fearless commentary reminds us to question the vested interests of our sources of information and the expertise of individual reporters as they file news stories about subjects they may not fully understand." That line pretty much sums up why I trust certain blogs over more acredited news outlets for my personal information seeking. For instance, I'm a BIG sports fan and I love to know everything that's going on in sports on a daily basis. The major media outlets, such as ESPN, are easily accessible and have a lot of ways to get news stories, but they have biases and relationships within the industry that affect the way that they report. Sometimes they won't throw an athlete or a team under the bus when they should, and other times they will over-sensationalize a certain story for the sole reason of getting attention to their site. An individual reporter might blow something completely out of proportion just so that they can gain personal notoriety for breaking that news. They're not giving me the real story, and that, quite frankly, pisses me off. Oftentimes I turn to blogs, such as, for the true version of the story, because there are no censors or higher-ups telling these reporters what to say or how to say it. They do an excellent job of 'filtering' the useless language/information, and I, as a fan, really appreciate that. The freedom that blogs have is a great tool because it sets them apart and creates an appeal that can't be matched by the more powerful media outlets. That's basically why I'm an avid reader.

Friday, September 11, 2009

What is Writing?

Writing is the most well thought-out, well executed, and purest form of expression and communication that we have.  The ability to edit, erase, and think beforehand helps produce the best version of what we as people are trying to say.  In stark contrast to verbal communication, writing gives us a chance express everything we'd like to, without the extraneous details that might hinder our purpose.

My most frequent writing environments:
--  Online (posting funny messages to my friends, arguing with people on message boards, etc.)
--  Text Messaging
--  Leaving handwritten notes for family/friends
--  Writing assignments in class (locking myself in my room with a laptop, banging on the keyboard and getting 'in the zone')