Wednesday, September 30, 2009

B-Day Present

The padres split the cost of it with me. It's pretty...and it's twice the size/power of the little Fender midget thing I've had for a few years. Keep checking the blog, and I'll post my eviction notice.

Thanks, mom and dad! And all you guitar people, (OK...pretty much just you, Grant), come over and let's make some noise!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

More Stafon Coverage

The hard work he did ended up being what saved his life. Wow.

Stafon Johnson's fitness saved his life, doctor says

Stafon Johnson's fitness saved his life.

The USC running back was able to survive a weightlifting accident because the muscles around his neck helped him keep open a breathing passage, Dr. Gudata Hinika, trauma director at California Hospital Medical Center, said at a news conference today.

"Had that been any one of us, meaning me, I would not have survived," Hinika said. "His neck was so solid and so muscular, that actually helped maintain his airway."

Johnson was injured Monday during a weightlifting session. He was performing a "bench press" lift when the bar apparently slipped from his hand and landed on his throat. Initially spitting blood from his nose and mouth, he was rushed by ambulance to the hospital, where he underwent more then seven hours of surgery.

Full article here.

Article of the Day - SJ to Make Full Recovery

USC football: Tailback Stafon Johnson's prognosis for full recovery is good

September 29, 2009 | 6:37 am


As The Times reported Monday night, doctors do not expect USC tailback Stafon Johnson to complete the season, but his prognosis for a full recovery is good after undergoing more than seven hours of throat surgery after a weightlifting accident.

Johnson, a senior, was injured while performing a bench-press exercise in USC's weight room below Heritage Hall. The school said an assistant strength and conditioning coach was acting as a spotter for Johnson, but the bar accidentally fell on Johnson's throat.

Full article here.

Far and away the best birthday present I could have gotten!

Monday, September 28, 2009

You Never Know...

Once upon a time, I was an athlete. I played baseball in college at USC and in the summers in Duluth, Minn. While it made sense to me that fans in Duluth (where I actually saw the field) would ask for autographs and high fives and such, I never understood why anyone cared about someone who lived in the virtual anonymity that I did at SC.

Until this happened to one of my favorite players today. Then it made sense.

Fans identify with athletes for different reasons--not always associated directly with on-field performance. Stafon Johnson happens to be an outstanding running back, and I would argue the best of the bunch at SC. I am, however, nowhere near impartial. He's my favorite player, but his on-field performance is only a small part of that story.

When I was in school at SC being the anonymous student-athlete that I was, I spent Friday nights during the fall covering high school football for the Los Angeles Daily News. As a matter of convenience, whenever one of the teams from the DN's coverage area (the valley) would play Dorsey High School, I would take that game since it was right down the street. My junior year at SC, I watched Sylmar get shredded on the ground by a running back tandem that included a polite, otherwise unassuming sophomore running back--Stafon Johnson.

When I was trolling the sidelines before games when teams are warming up and doing their thing, I would talk to players when I was able to do so without being a distraction. Some were rude. This one wasn't. Maybe it had to do with the fact that he was a sophomore on the varsity club. Maybe it was because I was a reporter, and he thought I would give him some good coverage in the paper.

I don't believe either of those for a second.

I believe Stafon Johnson is a good kid.

It's been well-documented that he had some struggles at SC when he wasn't getting many touches as a freshman, and he was discouraged. Who wouldn't be? He went from being the man in high school to being a face in the crowd (and seemingly on the fringes even at that). Oh yeah, the opening day starter that year was a kid from the same Sylmar team he had run wild on in the game I covered in 2003--C.J. Gable. That's tough on a kid trying to transition into life in college and living in the fishbowl that is the USC athletics department.

He didn't pull a Whitney Lewis and fade into obscurity or quit (or whatever the hell happened to Whitney Lewis).

He didn't pull an Emmanuel Moody and transfer.

He worked harder, and he kept at it until he became one of the go-to guys. What a cruel irony it is that he sustains a horrible and life-threatening injury from a freak accident doing exactly what it was he did to achieve his goal of being a top back at USC--working.

I had extremely limited interaction with Stafon Johnson on the field at Dorsey High School in 2003, but he earned himself a fan for life. I realize now that this brief interaction with that anonymous beat reporter on that anonymous fall day was why. I guess even from anonymity can come an enormous impact.

There are a number of elements in this story that hit close to home with me. Obviously there is the USC student-athlete connection, but the story outlined above is one that no one really knows. I am praying that Stafon Johnson is able to fight on and battle through adversity. After all, it's nothing he hasn't done before.

Monday, September 21, 2009

(Lots of) Things that are Underrated

Haven't done this since one of my very first posts, so there are a number of things that I have come up with in addition to my shoe polish, Thermos beverage bottles and cruise control posting. Here they are (in no particular order):
  • Dry erase boards/markers
  • Refrigerator magnets
  • Rice
  • Pears
  • Jet Dry
  • Ziplock Bags
  • Tupperware
  • Funnels
  • Garbage Disposals
  • The state of Minnesota
  • College baseball
  • Dryer Sheets
  • Speed dial
  • Paper clips
  • Post-it notes
  • Midwest girls
  • Sports Illustrated
  • String cheese
  • Thin Lizzy
  • Mark Knopfler
I'm sure there are more...feel free to add.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Things that are Overrated

In honor of the upcoming baseball playoffs, I decided that I would mock up my own playoff. I've arranged things that are overrated into the Food League and the Pop Culture League. Each division has five "things" in it. Not all of these things completely suck (although many do), but they are all overrated. A lot.

Food League

Seasonal Division
candy corn
pumpkin pie*
conversation hearts

Restaurant Division
In & Out*
Baja Fresh

Side Dish Division
potato salad
macaroni salad
sweet potatoes
cranberry sauce

Pop Culture League

Music Division
The Doors
"American Pie"
Katy Perry

Movie Division
Wedding Crashers*
The Notebook
He's Just Not That Into You

Jessica Simpson
Angelina Jolie#
Megan Fox*
Jimmy Fallon

*Division Winner
# Wild Card Winner

Per the rules in baseball, a division winner will not face off against the wild card if it comes from the same division. Since there are no records from which to draw on this, it is my opinion on how overrated each item in contention is, and I will power rank them accordingly.

Food Division
1. In & Out
2. Pumpkin pie
3. Stuffing
WC. Starbucks

In & Out sweeps stuffing 3-0
Starbucks upsets pumpkin pie 3-1

In & Out wins the Food Division Pennant 4-2

Pop Culture Division
1. Megan Fox
2. Wedding Crashers
3. U2
WC. Angelina Jolie

Megan Fox beats U2 3-1
Angelina Jolie pulls an upset sweep over Wedding Crashers 3-0

Angelina then turns around and knocks off Megan 4-1 to claim the Pop Culture Division Pennant

That brings us to the World Series of overratedness. While these were all strong candidates, as a kid who grew up in southern California, I am supposed to think In & Out is the greatest thing ever. I am also supposed to worship celebrities. I do neither. However, my disdain for pretty much all things pop culture and entertainment pretty much keeps it off my radar. I love to eat.

Congratulations, to In & Out for being the most overrated thing in the world, according to the DL! (Bring on the hate mail.)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Articles of the Day - AirHop Coverage

AirHop Communications got some good press today on their first announcement. They're still stealth mode with respect to product stuff, but there has been some good coverage in key pubs today. Looking forward to building on this momentum this week. Also, as soon as I have a better grasp on exactly what a "self-organizing network" is, I'll be sure to pass it along.

AirHop Adds $1M Investment and Expands Team to Pursue LTE SON Market

Posted September 14, 2009

San Diego, CA – September 14, 2009 – AirHop Communications, a developer of systems software that enables the deployment of high performance and highly differentiated 4G wireless networks, announced the close of a $1 million financing from a syndicate of wireless industry luminaries and the addition of several industry veterans to its management team. The company also announced several additions to its board of directors (see separate release).

Read more:

AirHop Nabs $1M

San Diego-based AirHop Communications announced this morning that the firm has raised $1M in a financing round, from unnamed-wireless industry executives. The firm said it is developing systems software that enables the deployment of 4G wireless networks, including the LTE SON Market. As part of the funding, the firm said it named Garrett Choi as its Chief Operating Officer, Jerry Hall as its Vice President of Marketing, and Anand Parikh as Vice President of Business Development. Choi comes from Continuous Computing, Hall from PriveSec, and Parikh from Cartiza Networks.

LTE Startup AirHop Debuts, Adds Execs

SAN DIEGO -- AirHop Communications, a developer of systems software that enables the deployment of high performance and highly differentiated 4G wireless networks, announced the close of a $1 million financing from a syndicate of wireless industry luminaries and the addition of several industry veterans to its management team. The company also announced several additions to its board of directors (see separate release).

Read more:

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Article of the Day - 9 Ways to Celebrate 9/9/09

And though the date lacks the pizzazz of the lucky sevens (07/07/07), that isn't stopping marketers, mathematicians and the marriage-minded from dressing it to the nines.

Hotels are offering discounts, couples are wedding in droves and "9/9/09" was among the top 100 search terms on the search engine Google on Tuesday.

Lottery users will undoubtedly try their luck by playing 999 Wednesday, and a lucky mother might see herself profiled on the news should she give birth at just the right time: 9:09.

So why not get in on the act?

After all, you're unlikely to experience another single-digit date in your lifetime. The next one won't roll around for 92 years -- until 1/1/2101.

...or you could not celebrate it because it's a stupid distinction. The choice is yours. Choose wisely. At least they got the baseball thing right.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Article of the Day - AP Poll (Week One)

NEW YORK (AP) -- BYU jumped 11 spots to No. 9 and Alabama received two first-place votes Tuesday in the first regular-season AP Top 25.

The Cougars pulled the biggest upset of the opening weekend of the college football season, beating Oklahoma 14-13 on Saturday. Sooners Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford was knocked out of the game with a shoulder injury late in the first half. Oklahoma dropped 10 spots from No. 3 to No. 13.

Florida was still an overwhelming No. 1, receiving 56 of 60 first-place votes. Texas held steady at No. 2, with two first-place votes.

USC will be No. 3 when it visits No. 8 Ohio State on Saturday in one of the biggest nonconference games of the season. The Trojans moved up a spot this week and the Buckeyes fell two after withstanding a strong test from Navy and winning 31-27.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Video of the Day - Happy Football Season!

If this doesn't fire you up, you're either a bruin/irish supporter, you hate football or you are dead. Fight on, y'all!

Addendum: If you listen carefully during "Tusk" you can hear the student section version of the words that includes the "U-C-L-A SUCKS" call. I love it!