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 Deadspin.com, 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')