Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Thrown into the fire ... and liking it

I started working at the Daily Herald on Monday. It wasn't one of those things where the whole day is filled with listening to orientation and mindlessly filling out paperwork. In fact, as soon as I entered the building I was given an assignment for a story. I was to write about a new show to air on BYU Television called "Real Families, Real Answers." I spoke with the program's producers and the article made the front page of the paper the following morning. Click here to read it.

Here's a promotional video for "Real Families, Real Answers."

Also on my first day of work, they had me do the Daily Wrap, a short video with descriptions of some of the day's top stories. Watch it here.

Since then, I've also been assigned some other stories, which were deemed interesting enough to put on the front page. One was about an upcoming expansion project for I-15, and another was about the Utah Flash (a minor league basketball team) owner planning to build a new basketball arena, hotel and residential units in Lehi, Utah. The project's architect is Frank Gehry, who designed the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Experience Music Project in Seattle and more.

I actually had turned in my portfolio to apply for work at the Herald in May, but there weren't any openings, and it sounded like there wouldn't be for the foreseeable future. The boss said I could leave my portfolio there and if/when there was an opening they would have my contact info. I considered just picking up my stuff, but decided I would leave it for a while just in case something turned up.

Last month, I was contacted about an opening. After a pair of interviews and a little bit of waiting, I was offered the job, and that's where we stand now.

UPDATE: I'm adding links to more articles that I wrote during my first week at the job. I may just do a post every week or two listing what I've written. That would make it easier for people - including myself - to find the articles.

"Real Families, Real Answers" TV show
Daily Wrap video
I-15 expansion
30-year-old Utah Flash owner Brandt Andersen teams w/architect Frank Gehry in plans for large development ALSO: check out this TrueHoop article about Andersen, where he discusses taking his team to Iran
Plans for hiring new Utah Valley University president
Rowley's South Ridge Farm and Red Barn
APX Alarms employees volunteer for trip to Galveston to help Hurricane Ike survivors
I also contributed to this sad fatal car crash story

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Why would someone change their last name to Ocho Cinco?

Cincinnati Bengals star Chad Johnson wears the number 85 on his jersey. He's referred to himself as "Ocho Cinco" - Eight Five. He seems to have fallen in love with the nickname so much that he wants to legally change his name to Chad Ocho Cinco. Seriously. And now he has succeeded. The state of Florida has granted Chad a legal name change. All of this, just so Johnson can have his preferred alias on the back of his jersey. So, besides the fact that he wants "Ocho Cinco" on the back of his shirt, why would a person do this? Here are three main reasons:

3. He's Crazy. You'd have to be at least a little loco to do something like this, wouldn't you?

2. Attention. Some people are always starving for attention, no matter how much they are in the spotlight. Chad Johnson is the prototype center-of-attention wide receiver that has been so common in recent years (think T.O, Moss, et al).

1. He wants to stick it to the NFL. Mr. Johnson Ocho Cinco does not want anyone - not even the No Fun League - to tell him what he can and can't do. If you can't beat the system...find another way to beat the system!

Finally something related to BYU football

Now that BYU has a 4-0 record and has outscored their last two opponents by a combined score of 103-0, it's about time I mention them - and put in a plug for True Blue Magazine. I wrote a preview for the issue that came out last month, researched the experts' preseseason rankings and bowl predictions for the team and proofread several articles as well. Pick up a copy at your local newsstand. You can check out some excerpts from this issue at the True Blue site (Rumor has it Madonna is also a fan of True Blue).
In the latest AP and coaches' polls, the Cougars have moved up to No. 11 - their highest ranking since 2001. The last time BYU finished a season in the top 10 was their 1996 season (No. 5). This year, the biggest regular-season roadblocks during their Quest For Perfection should be road games against TCU (Oct. 16) and Utah (Nov. 22), both of which are undefeated and ranked nationally at the moment.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

My Wife, the TV Star

Patricia was shown recently on an episode of BYU Weekly. The department she works for, Global Service Desk, was spotlighted for one of the show's segments. I've had difficulty uploading the video directly to this post, but I have found a link you can use to watch the video. Just click either of the hyperlinks in the previous sentence. When the Web page appears, there will be a green area that says "stories" in the top right corner. From the list of stories, scroll up from the bottom and click on "Global Service Desk" (about 1/5 of the way up). Click on the video in the green "Feature Stories" section. Patricia shows up at about 1:04 of the vid. She also is in the background at 3:17 (with pink shirt, and white coat on chair).

Trish was on some BYU Television International commercial(s) that we haven't seen, but people have told her they saw her in the commercial(s).

Are you a Twilighter?

The series that has taken the New York Times Bestseller list by storm (at one point, the four books in the series were all in the top five) and captured the attention of fans across the globe, including my wife - not to mention friends and family. Normally not an avid book reader, Patricia has had difficulty putting these stories down. It's a good thing she only found out recently about the books written by Stephenie Meyer. By the time she finished plowing through the first three books in a matter of just a couple of weeks, it was almost time for the fourth and final book of the series to be released. Imagine if she had to wait an entire year before each book came out!

In early August, fans anticipating Breaking Dawn were finally able to satisfy their vampire fix. The much-ballyhooed release was celebrated by Twilighters wearing "Team Edward/Jacob" shirts or vampire garb. As for my wife and I, we just stood in line at the bookstore (dressed normally) a little after midnight to buy the book within minutes of its release (I have not read any of the books; it's mainly young adult women and teenagers who have caught the Twilight fever).

Next up: the Twilight movie, to be released Nov. 21. I'm sure we'll be watching it not long after that date.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Recap of a few of the top Olympic performances

Alright, this might be my last Olympic post.

I say "might" because I may have something up my sleeve for another post if I can get some help.

So, without further ado, here are some of the memorable images of the athletes of the 2008 Beijing Games:

Michael Phelps went into China with the goal of breaking Mark Spitz's record of seven gold medals in a single Olympics, participating in five individual events and three relays. Nine days, 17 races and 97 bajillion calories later, Phelps had eight gold medals hanging around his neck, bringing his career Olympic gold count to 14 - and he's only 23 years old.
Michael Phelps won an unprecedented eight gold medals in a single Games.

Usain Bolt was considered a a gold medal contender, but was expected to get some stiff competition from fellow Jamaican and former world record holder Asafa Powell and American Tyson Gay in the 100 meters. However, Bolt turned the sprint events into his personal playground, showboating for the final 15 meters of the 100m - and setting a world record in the process. He went on to win two more golds and set world records in both the 200m and the 4x100m relay. Bolt's 200-meter time of 19.30 seconds eclipsed Michael Johnson's time of 19.32 - a mark that had not even been approached before or after those 1996 Games until Bolt's sensational race. The relay team, with Powell running the anchor leg, crushed the 15-year-old world record by a full .3 seconds, finishing in 37.10 seconds.
Contrary to popular belief, this pose actually was not made while Bolt was still running the 100-meter dash.

While the U.S. men's basketball team was seeking redemption for recent shortcomings in world competition, the women's squad was busy making its fourth straight undefeated run toward Olympic gold.
Lisa Leslie (center) starred for Team USA again and earned a fourth consecutive gold medal (delicious!)
The U.S. and Brazil dominated the volleyball competitions, with the Americans taking gold in men's and women's beach and men's indoor. The indoor team overcame the murder of their coach's father-in-law in China to come out on top. The women's duo of Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor swept each of their best-of-three matches to earn a second straight Olympic gold. The U.S. added a silver medal in the women's indoor competition.
Brazil was golden in women's indoor - piling up a record of 8-0 in matches and 24-1 in sets - while the defending Olympic champion men's team settled for silver. Their men's beach teams won silver and bronze, while the women came in fourth place.
Brazil not only went undefeated in the tournament, they didn't even lose a set until the gold medal match, where they topped the Americans 3-1.
It was an emotional victory in the wake of tragedy for the Americans.

Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopa is the world-record holder in both the 5,000 and 10,000 meters. In 2004, he won gold in the longer race and was outkicked at the end en route to a silver medal in the 5k. Just a couple of months before this year's Olympics, the AP quoted Bekele as saying he did not want to run both races. Turns out, he went on to run - and win - both races in Olympic-record fashion.

Bekele ran for about 40 minutes to win two gold medals. Usain Bolt, on the other hand, ran for about 40 seconds to capture three golds.

And last, but not least, the Chinese national team, which led all countries with 51 gold medals. The host nation put on quite the spectacle with its opening ceremonies, as well.
Gymnastics was one of many sports in which the Chinese athletes made their mark.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day

Is it just me, or is Labor Day the most ironically named holiday?

...What do you think?

Either way, I'm not complaining because I didn't have to work today.