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Thursday, September 30, 2004
Adventures in Marketing
I had two job interviews on Monday. One that lasted about a minute and they said they'd call me if interested (big shock: never heard from them again!) and then a second one in the afternoon that went a lot better. At least, that's what I thought until Tuesday, when I went out for my second "interview".

I'd answered an ad on Monster or CareerBuilder looking for someone in marketing/public relations. I've got a background in communications, so I figured this might be right up my alley. And on Monday is was described to me as a marketing position--if by marketing, you mean selling door to door. And if by position, you mean self-employed salesperson living strictly on commission with no benefits and having to work six days a week.

Needless to say, this is not what I was expecting based upon the conversations I'd had Monday afternoon. Of course, looking back, no one really lied to me outright. Sure, they left out large portions of the truth, but they never brought them up and I never asked. Of course, you don't generally think in an interview for a marketing position--hey, I'm gonna be out on the street selling door-to-door.

So, Tuesday morning, I show up at the office and signed away my day, saying that I understood this was a voluntary interview and I wouldn't be paid anything for that day, nor should I expect to be paid. I guess I should've supsected something then, but I'm niave and trusting. Now, I've gone on before about how I find it fascinating to sit back and watch what people who come to an interview or job fair choose as "professional" attire. For men, it's not too difficult really--the hardest choice we have most times is what color tie do we want to wear. Worst case for men: you wear a sport coat and you have to take it off. For women--all I can say is, I have no idea how you do it. So many choices and so many different messages you can send.

I bring this up, because one of the women who was one of the leaders of the second round of the interview is wearing a skirt so short it barely comes down below her behind, a halter top that is ripped open and leaves very little to the imagination. Oh yeah, and she's got a lot of pudge around the middle sticking out. Now, I don't want to appear to hypocritical here, but honestly, you've gotta know your limitations when it comes to what you wear. For example, I wouldn't wear a Speedo as a public service to myself and others. And I wouldn't be caught dead in biker shorts. You gotta work with the body you're given and not try to be something you're not.

So, this girl (who I later find out is named April) goes gets a guy from Kenya as her protege for the day. They head out of the office. Then, I and another girl named Janine are assigned to this guy, who happens to share the same name I do. We head out and he says--hey, this about selling and we're going to go and visit some clients. Are you still in? I figure, why not because as of yet, the whole concept of selling door to door has NOT come up. Mike makes the first of several comments about Janine's shoes (all names are changed to protect the innocent, except mine and Mike's). He also calls her "little lady" for the first of about a million times that afternoon. I am "big guy" and this wears thin after about five minutes. I mean, he's out "interviewing" us and since his name and mine are the same, it's not that hard to remember. You can tell this not bothering to learn her name is really bugging Janine, which I can't say I blame her. I don't think being referred to as "little lady" all day is exactly the most professional thing in the world.

So, we pile into Mike's two-door SUV. Yep, you heard it--two door SUV. And April (she of the outfit) decides to sit in the middle between me and Kenya guy. But wait...this isn't a bench seat back-seat so she's just hovering between two seats really with the seatbelt clicker "going into her butt." I know this because she tells us this at every oppportunity. Needless to say this ride is a bit uncomfortable because you've got three people piled into the seating arrangements for two, Mike has the windows and sunroof open so I can barely hear what he's saying or when he's talking to me and April is almost falling out of her outfit and keeps leaning over to talk to me. Oh yeah, and MIke has music blaring...that makes it so much easier to carry on a conversation.

It's at this point that old line from Star Wars comes up..."I've got a bad feeling about this." April and Mike pull out maps and look at thier assigned territories. I ask what kind of businesses we're looking at today and April looks at me like I've just fallen off the turnip wagon. It's not businesses, though there might be some. It's private residences. Ohhh-kay, I think. I start looking around for the cameras and Alan Funt, but alas, that's not to be. Turns out April doesn't have a car, so she's assigned each day to someone who drops her off in her terrirtory for, say, eight or so hours and then comes to get her. She has some snack food, a bottle of juice and that's it! Oh yeah, and coupon books to sell. Now, these coupon books sound pretty good--it's supposed to benefit children in wheelchairs playing sports such as basketball. But let's face it--coupon books is a pretty competitive business. There's the kids selling them for school, who are far cuter and more adorable than any adult can EVER hope to be, and the Entertainment Book with the card. We drop off April and the guy from Kenya in the middle of a neighborhood and head out to our own territory.

Mike drives around, scouting it out. "This will be the most boringest part of the day," he tells us both since no one is home. You go early, scout out a neighborhood and then do your heavy selling in the mid to late afternoon. The first question that comes into my mind is--OK, so no one is home. Why not drive around your territory quickly, scout it out and the come back, oh, I don't know, when people are home?!? That seems to be a better use of time and resources. (I will ask this later only to get a blank stare from Mike...apparently this thought has never occurred to him). So, we scout out the neighborhood and begin our marketing.

Now, along the way, they've told me that is only 10% of the job....selling. I figure out that the other 90% must be walking around and not having anyone answer the door. Mike also shares insights on how to sell--the books are two for $40, but if he feels he needs to make a sale, they're one for $20. So, I ask him--what's the value of buying two? Aren't they really just $20 a piece? Again, the blank stare. In less than five minutes, I've come up with two baffling questions...not a good sign.

As we walk around, Mike is telling us about the job, his life, etc. He pulls in $50,000 per year but he has to do his own taxes. Also, he makes $13 per every two books sold and he tries to sell 40 books per day. I do the math and this doesn't quite add up in my head. At one point, I tell him my dad sold encyclopedias door to door in college (he did this for two days) during the summer. Mike says what if I told my parents I was going to take this job, what would they say. I reply they'd be supportive of me in whatever I did and would want me to be successful. He asks, would they tell me not to take the job and would I listen. I say, I would use them as a sounding board for my quesitons, but I'm a grown man and make my own choices. He then says parents are full of crap and I shouldn't listen to mine since his mom told him he's suck at this job and he makes more than she ever will.

Still during all of this, he hasn't learned either of our names. Eventually, he makes one sale and I talk to Janine. This is not at all what we were expecting. We weren't told it was this, but again we didn't ask. Also, we were told to "not worry about lunch" because "it would be taken care of." Now, when I hear this, I assume we're gonna eat somewhere or have food provided. She asks Mike about this and again, the blank stare. He doesn't know what she's talking about--he's out here to sell and he doesn't know about lunch. Comparing notes, we find out that while we weren't out and out lied to, we didn't get the whole picture. Heck, we didn't even get one of those magic eye pictures where if you stare at it long enough you can see something.

Mike has told us time and again, if we think this isn't for us, tell him and he'll take us back so as not to waste his time. Janine says she's had enough and wants to go back. I figure it's time to throw in the towel as well and not waste anymore time in my life. Mike takes us back and is a lot quieter the way back. We are dropped off at the office, told thanks and Mike goes into the office. Janine and I head our separate ways. I'm just shaking my head.

Needless to say, it was frustrating. I wasted basically two days of my life in what turned out to be something way too good to be true. And it was.

But, hey...I got a great story to tell out of it. So it can't all be bad, right?

posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/30/2004 10:53:00 AM | |

TV Round-Up
Dr. Cox line of the week: "Oh my god, I could fly to China, adopt a child, raise her and send her to medical school and then teach her to do this procedure in the time it's taking you to finish."

I know we've seen an episode before where the internal monologue focuses on someone else besides J.D.--I think there was a Cox-centered episode a few years ago--but that doesn't make it any less fun or funny. This episode found that perfect Scrubs balance of humor and drama that makes this show so much fun to watch. J.D.'s recording of his thoughts was a hoot and seeing how most of the plots interconnected in a Seinfeld-ian way was a real treat. Man, I love this show.

Smallville: Gone
There was a LOT going on in this episode--almost too much. As always, the most compelling scenes are those between Lex and Lionel. Lionel's telling Lex that Lex won't see the threat coming and must now suspect everything and everyone was just great. However, the whole concept of Lex knew Chloe was in danger, saved her life by having she and her father use Underground Railroad tunnels to escape as the house blew up and has been hiding her out these three months was just absurd. As fun as this is the fantasy world, can you see any good attorney allowing Chloe to just pop up as a witness at the last second after being presumed dead for three months? Oh wait...that's my mistake...I'm thinking way too much in relation to this show and that always ruins the fun. Meanwhile, you've got Lana coming back to town, wacky shower misunderstanding ala Three's Company with Lois and Clark (the scene were Jonathan gets after the two of them was nicely done) and that T2-like guy, who was only in about two scenes and given little or no explanation. Once again, a Smallville freak is killed off before the final act and no one bats an eye as if this is a bad thing--not even Lois, who isn't used to how Clark operates week in and week out.

And you know, the more the show goes on, the more you begin to feel like Lex is the victim here. Think about it. Clark is mad because Lex lied to him, but hasn't Clark beeing lying to Lex since day one? And he continues to do so. And how long before Lex or Lois or Chloe or Lana goes--ya know, that Clark sure can run fast. It's amazing only Pete has figured out Clark has powers since Clark uses them willy-nilly and all the time around everyone. How anyone is not going to remember all this when Superman eventually pops onto the scene is just beyond me.

The Apprentice
I know, I know that with reality TV, it's all about the editing, but is it just me or do the women just seem a bit more bitchy this time around? Every week, they're fighting amongst themselves instead of coming together and trying to win the task. Also, the whole idea of pulling names of a hat--for both teams--as project leader is just stupid. Last night with the restauarant business wouldn't it have been best to find out who had restuarant experience and then have them be team leader? Just a thought....and a far better way of choosing a leader than random chance working in your favor.

I will admit, I was kind of glad to see Jennifer C get the boot. Seeing her just hanging over the tables just made me cringe. She just didn't quite get that in life, no matter what you do, some people aren't going to like who you are and what you've done--such as with the two older ladies who came in to dine. Sometimes you chalk it up to experience, cut your losses and move on. I think had Jen not hung over all the tables she was served, the ratings might have been higher. There's a distinction between good service (as in the serverer who makes sure you water/drink glass is always full, is visible if you need them, etc) and hovering over someone. Jen seemed more like she was desparately trying to win approval and that may have turned a lot of her customers off.

And she claims Elizabeth had a personality change?!? (Hey, I'd cry too if I felt I was set up to fail and be the scapegoat for the team!) What about her? At first, she seemed like a strong, business-woman who was strong-willed but determined. But over the past few weeks she's seemed more like one of those popular girls from high school, instead of how she was originally portrayed on the program. And after spending the first week not talking or making any blip on the radar, Stacy R is really making her presense felt.

Also, you gotta admit that the guys' team actually put some thought into the whole idea. Hiring the cleaning crew was brilliant and they just seemed to be better organized. Also, I hate to say it, but Jen C should've let some of her crew stay behind to sleep so they could be on the top of their game for the restaurant opening. Having the whole team battling exhaustion isn't gonna cut it--and you've got to wonder if the all-nighter isn't going to impact the team in future challenges.

It was nice to see the Donald actually fire someone who deserved to be fired. Jennifer C didn't have the foresight and leadership skills for the task. Also, how great was it to see her "ally" Sandy turn on her in the board room. As Bill pointed out--this isn't a game, it's business. Also, I think Jen's big mouth got her in more trouble. Her comments about the two old ladies were totally out of place and she constantly interrupted everyone, esp. in the boardroom. I think her mouth won her a few enemies and few friends.

One final thing--we've seemed to spend a lot of time focused on the women's group. Outside of Raj, can anyone really say much about any of the other guys on the team this year?

posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/30/2004 08:28:00 AM | |

Big Orange Survivor Mangolia
Week three's contest is up over at Magnolia Glen. Check it out and get your votes in!

posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/30/2004 08:01:00 AM | |
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Which Movie Hero Am I?

All I can say is--cool!

Tip of the hat to Chastity for this quiz.

Word of warning--the web site to take the quiz requires a fast Internet connection and that you have Flash 5.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/29/2004 05:05:00 PM | |

In his never-ending goal to provide the best college football coverage around, Kevin Donahue posted an article about this month's Girls of the ACC pictoral in Playboy Magazine. (Warning: The last two links are taken from Kevin's article and are what I'd call "at home" links...meaning visit them from work at your own risk.)

Man, sometimes journalism is a thankless job...

Speaking of journalism being a thankless job, there are a couple of articles from the University of Maryland's student paper about the recruiters from Playboy's visit to campus last spring. The first is one that's a "general" article about the try-outs and then there's an interesting one by city editor Jamie Malarkey, who went inside and gave a first-person account of the experience. (BTW--these are both PG articles and should be safe for "from work" reading...)

And then, here's an artcle about the cover girl, signing issues in Raleigh.

Reading about this set of photos reminded me of when I was at UT and it was the year for a Girls of the SEC issues. I seem to recall that Sam Venable wrote a column forecasting how each team in the SEC would do based on how much was bared by their representatives in the issue. Does anyone else remember this or is my poor old memory just playing tricks on me?

posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/29/2004 01:08:00 PM | |

In celebration of Banned Book Week
USA Today's Pop Candy columnist Whitney Matheson (who for some odd reason I think went to UT about the same time I did...) posted a column this week about her top five banned books.

Her question to end the article is an interseting one...what kind of things did your parents "ban" you from as a child? (If you want, leave your thoughts in the comments!)

I sent in a response that when I was younger, my mother heard a report that a young child accidentally hung himself after seeing something simliar on an episode of Scooby Doo. So, I was banned from watching Scooby Doo, Where Are You for a while.

I kind of wish I'd remembered that when I actually watched Scooby Doo 2 last night. The only good thing I can say is, thankfully, I checked the DVD out of the library so the only loss was the ninety minutes of my life I'll never have back. I don't know why I'm shocked. The first one wasn't anything to write home about. In fact, I only got it on a free rental becuase it had Sarah Michelle Gellar in it. (She retired from Buffy and the genius that is Joss Whedon to do pablum like this?!?) Honestly, the concept of the movie had potential. It tries to pay homage to the cartoons by having a vertiable rogues gallery of the villains from the show all come to life via the wonders of CG. Visually, it's kind of fun. (In fact, at one point, the gang drives up to a house that looks just like the one in the opening credits for Scooby Doo, Where Are You, complete with bats flying out of it.) Just too bad they didn't get an entertaining story to go with it. I can accept that since this is Scooby Doo, that the mystery is gonna be pretty paper-thin as it is. But there's nothing really fun or entertaining to the story. Also, it's hard to take characters based on cartoons and make them any less one-dimensional than they are on TV. But somehow this movies succeeds.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/29/2004 10:45:00 AM | |

Feeling Lost?
USA Today has a quick series of questions related to the new ABC hit show, Lost. It's worth reading if you missed last week's first half of the pilot and want to start watching tonight. Or if's also helpful if you're like me and just wonder about some of these things...

On a completely non-related note...
Bets may reveal 'Apprentice' finalists
OK, let me ask this--who the hell votes on the results of reality television?!? And why?!?

posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/29/2004 10:38:00 AM | |
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
Random Act of Kindness
Yesterday, I was pretty excited that the latest (and sadly, final) installment of Stephen King's Dark Tower saga had come in at the library (I placed it on reserve months ago as soon as it came in the computer system. Obsessive, maybe...but then again I do get to read it fairly close to when it was published!) If you've seen it, it's quite a thick book--weighing in at just over 800 pages. It's also what's called a "high demand" book which means that instead of getting it for two weeks, you get it for only one. Which, ya know, not a big just means I gotta read it in a week, I'm thinking..but at least I get to read it for free. (Sorry, just can't afford $35 for a novel right now!)

But, that was before the random act of kindness. The librarian went back, got the book and as she was checking out my books (I was gonna say checking me out, but that sounds like we were exchanging pick up lines such as "Wanna browse under my cover, baby?") when she stopped and looked at it. "That's a pretty big book to read in just a week," she said. I figured she'd say--but you can put it on reserve again if you don't finish it when she said, "I am going to extend it to a two week check-out so you won't have to hurry too much."

I thanked her profusely and said if I did finish it before two weeks were up, I'd return as soon as I could so others got dive in and enjoy. She said that was generous of me and I thanked her again and then almost skipped out of the library with happiness.

Now, I can enjoy the book, savoring this final installment and possibly King's last published novel. Of course, now that I have it for two weeks and the pressure is off, I've read close to 200 pages.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/28/2004 04:49:00 PM | |

Some 24 news.
I don't know why I'm feeling withdrawals for new 24 since FOX never starts airing the show until November anyway.....but I am. Anyway, I found this little tid-bit over at TV Guide On-Line and figured I'd share since I know a lot of my fellow bloggers are also 24 fans as well. It might be a bit SPOILERish, but not hugely so...
TIME CHECK: Carlos Bernard has finalized a deal to return to Fox's 24 during February sweeps. (The show's new season premieres in January.) When last seen, Bernard's character — CTU chief Tony Almeida — was being carted off to prison after committing treason. The fate of Almeida's wife, played by Reiko Aylesworth, remains up in the air

posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/28/2004 10:19:00 AM | |

TV Tuesday

Favorite Channels

It's true that human's are creature of habit and we've all got our favorite shows, celebs, movies, etc, so this week we're going to examine your favorite channels! :)

1. It's off to an easy start, what's your favorite channel?
I'm not really sure I have one that 's my "favorite" though I do have a couple that I'll flip to when I'm bored or channel surfing. Among those are ESPN, ESPN2, HGTV, TLC, Sci-Fi.

2. What shows are on your favorite channel?
This time of year--UT football, Titans football and Redskins football.

3. Does your favorite channel change often or are you a loyal watcher?
Like I said, I don't really have a favorite channel, so I guess you could say I'm wishy-washy in my channel selecting.

~Bonus~ How much of a creature of habit are you? Do you have a daily or weekly viewing schedule? Is your TV or Cable programmed to switch channels even if you're not there? LOL
I've got a weekly schedule of shows I like to catch, especially when there are new episodes. If I'm not around to see them, I usually end up taping them and viewing them fairly soon after I've taped them.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/28/2004 10:09:00 AM | |
Monday, September 27, 2004
Just another Manic Monday...
Ah, the joys of job interviews.

Last week, I decided to be totally insane and tweak my resume a bit and re-uploaded it to certain web sites that help you find jobs (or at least this is their claim). Of course, I immediately got 15,000 (OK, not that many, but it sure seemed like it when I was deleting them all) message saying they had the perfect business opportunity for me, if I'd only call RIGHT NOW! I was so amazingly qualified for this position--what with my ability to exchange carbon dioxide and oxygen so successfully for so long.

Among those zillions of junk e-mails that are funny to read but don't really merit a response, I got one from a local company who actually felt my skills met with the requirements they were needing. I think I may have actually sent my resume to them, figuring--what the hell, what have I got to lose besides a few electrons?

So, they contacted me last Friday, but I didn't get the message until after offices had closed so I called first thing this morning. I didn't actually get to speak to the person who contacted me, but she was least according to the people I spoke with. They had been forwarded my resume and I was exactly the person they needed, so when could I come on in for an interview. Now, just some background--I had an interview scheduled for today as well and I'm kind of persnickity about these things. I don't mind two in one day, so long as there's enough space in between them so I can make it calmly from one to the next. I got a time that seemed early enough (due to overwhelming response they were working me in) and then got directions of on Yahoo maps and MapQuest from home to interivews and back again. So, off I set.

Well, I got up to first interview place a few minutes early. Not a problem really as I'm obsessive in the whole I'd rather be early than late category. I'd stopped by the post office to drop some resumes in the mail and also by the library to pick up the new Dark Tower book. Since this was an office building, I picked a spot out of the way, in the shade, looked at my notes and mentally prepared myself. Then, I started reading the new Dark Tower novel to kill a few minutes.

Honestly, after going to the interview, I should've just spent the entire time in the car, reading the book as it would've been more productive.

When it was about ten minutes before my appointment, I looked at my notes again and went inside. I found the office and since I had seven minutes, took a moment in the restroom to make sure my hair hadn't done anything insane since I'd last looked (you never know!). I then went in and was greated by...a whole lot of waiting. Seems the guy who was gonna interview us all was running behind in a meeting from somewhere else in the city and there was a pretty bad wreck on the way in, so he'd be a bit late. Well, this was fine, at first, because I had built in my cushion and according to both Yahoo and MapQuest, I only needed 30 minutes to get from interview a to interview b. So, I sat....and sat...and sat. After I filled out some paperwork--which was pretty much name and address and then a questionaire in which there are no "right" answers but your preference. Basically, this is to see if you're enough of a go-getter to be in this marketing position.

I fill both out and turn 'em back in and sit down. I then wait for about 45 minutes, as does everyone else there. Lots of people are coming in, but no hiring person. Finally, he shows up. I'm not quite sure if he was in traffic, but the fact that he had a full cup of coffee from the Starbucks I passed on the way mad me think--ya know, maybe he wasn't as delayed as we thought. Either that or he just felt the need for coffee and by golly, we could all wait. After all, we'd waited this long!

But, boy was he proud that his office had magazines. You could read old issues of Time, ESPN the Magazine, Forbes and Maxim. Maxim?!? I wonder if this is put out there as a test of some kind. I've seen Maxim in barber shops, but not in offices where you expect a pretty good cross-section of men and women. That struck me as odd--but no more so than the four guys who pounced on them like they'd never seen them before. I alternated between looking around and trying to strike up conversations with those around me to flipping through old issues of Time. All the while watching the clock and wondering---who am I behind in line and how close should I cut it before I bail out here and go to my other interview.

But these interviews are going very fast. Sort of like when I applied to work at one of the local banks and after taking the test for two hours, we were all put back into the waiting room together and people went back one by one and then quickly left as they didn't pass the test. I wonder if this is a good or a bad thing. Finally, it's my turn and I go into the office, where I'm given the ten-second overview of the job, asked to describe myself quickly and asked what I bring to the job. I then am given a speech of how this is an initial interview and they're very busy because there are so many qualified people. He makes a few marks on my resume, circles some things, never ASKS me about any of them, says they'll get back to me if they're interested sometime today between 3 and 4 p.m. If they don't call, it was sure great to meet me and have a great day. I'm quickly ushered out.

So, needless to say I'm walking out figuring a couple of things. First is--I have no shot. I didn't make the first impression he wanted and so I was brushed off. I'm not too upset because, honestly, when I tried to ask specifically what the job was, he was evasive as hell. Second of all, I feel as though I got a short-end of the stick. Namely, the office stacked up a bunch of interviews for one guy who ran behind schedule and so we were all given a brush off. I'd be intrigued to know who, if anyone, from the group that interviewed gets a callback. Honestly, my interview was the norm, not the exception. I'm not sure you can make a hiring decision based on conversations that we were told would be about 15 minutes in under a minute.

Needless to say, I ain't holding my breath for a call back.

The second interview, I will say, went a lot better. Not sure if it's exactly what I'm looking for, but at least I got to spent more than a minute with the person interviewing me.

So, we'll see.

UPDATE: Huge shock...they didn't call. Guess that one-minute interview didn't impress 'em much. Not really a bad thing, long run. I kind of feel sorrier for some of my fellow interviewees--some of whom drove from places like Knoxville, North Carolina for an interview. How ticked off would I be if that happened to me?!?

posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/27/2004 02:52:00 PM | |
Sunday, September 26, 2004
Vols 42, La Tech Bulldogs 17
The link above will take you to an article I wrote about the Vols' big homecoming win over La Tech last night. If you can't get to the link from above, here it is again.

And as I sit here--the Texans have just upset the Chiefs 24-21. Wacky day in the NFL.

Still doesn't excuse the Titans losing, though.

UPDATE: I've just posted some comments on the Vols' game that you can read here. Hopefully, I won't stir up as much controversy as I did last week about the Vols big win over Florida.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/26/2004 03:30:00 PM | |

Jags 15, Titans 12
Home field for the Titans just ain't what it used to be....used to be, we were virtually unstoppable at home, even in close games. But not so much anymore.

A couple of reasons as to why we lost this game...
  • Scoring less than 20 points for the third week in a row. The offense just looks letheragic at times and Steve McNair looks the polar opposite of the co-MVP he was last year. It wasn't until late in the 4th quarter with the game on the line that we saw flashes of brilliance with McNair taking the team on his back and trying to carry them to victory. For all the hype in the pre-season, I am disappointed with the Titans offense so far this season. Three games, only three touchdowns, so far. And please don't give me the Tyrone Callico missing is making all the difference arguement that I've heard on a lot of call-in shows around here. They need to find a way to make plays, Callico or no.
  • Calls are too conservative on offense. Fisher and company did a great job calling the first drive, having the Jags on their heels, until McNair throws in interception and we retreat into our shells. Yes, Chris Brown is a great runner, but we were beating them early by a good combination of run and pass...but yet we quickly abandon the pass, going to the run almost exclusively, especially in the second half. (Well, at least until the drive in the fourth quarter)
  • Doing the small things wrong. We missed a 2-point conversation (I'd argue because McNair was hurt since Derrick Mayson was WIDE OPEN for the two-points), we had dumb penalties on the last Jags drive. And don't get me started on the last play of the'd think maybe, just maybe we could all be on the same page here. Instead, we get a poorly designed played where no one seems to know what's going on. Not that it would've mattered--we had to get a HUGE chunk of yardage even to get into field goal range and a five-yard dump off to Chris Brown ain't gonna somehow magically get you the other 75 or get you in range in less than five seconds. Bad, bad call.
  • Our defense. The defense just got pushed around late in the game and looked poor. Albert Haynesworth did well, but he's shown this tendency with the Vols to be able to turn it on and off when he wants to. He was apparently slighted by the Jags for not picking him, so he played a heck of a game. He used to do the same thing against South Carolina at UT. Our defense had some good plays, but we also had a lot of missed tackles, a couple of dumb penalties I alluded earlier and it just doesn't feel like we have any intensity. In fact, the whole team doesn't feel like we've got any intensity.
I am beginning to wonder if the loss to Indy has been a bigger blow to the Titans that we thought. Looking at that game, Fisher and company gambled everything on it, changing the game plan to have an early lead on the Colts in the race for the division. Now we' re two games down and looking up at both Indy and Jacksonville. Forget the division crown, I'm wondering--will we even contend for the playoffs this year?

But give Jacksonville credit--they did what they had to do to win the game. Just like the Titans used to do...

posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/26/2004 02:58:00 PM | |
Saturday, September 25, 2004
TV Round Up
Smallville: Crusade
The first episode of season four picks up three months after the events of the last episode and we see not much has changed. Lana is off in Paris, Clark is off somewhere with Jor-El, Jonathan's in a coma, Lionel is in prison, Chloe is presumed dead and Lex is close to death. And into all this comes a new catalyst--Lois Lane. Interesting choice by the producers to throw established Superman continuity to the wind and give us the first meeting of Lois and Clark at this point in his life. It also shoots a giant hole in my theory that Chloe dyes her hair and becomes Lois later in life. This one episode had a lot to clean-up from last season. And it does a pretty good job, even if it does try too hard to re-set things to status quo by episode's end. Martha is given some black Kryptonite by Dr. Swann's lacky, played by Margot Kidder and suddenly Clark is back, Jonathan is healed and things are all good on the Kent farm again. Yes, we still have some things up in the air--such as the fate of Chloe and why Lana has symbols tatooed to her now. About the only one who seems to be suffering long-term consequences of the season finale is Lex. No wonder he turns evil....

Lost: Pilot (Part 1)
J.J. Abrams is becoming the next Joss Whedon--everything he touches on TV just turns out to be golden. Lost turns out to be yet another strong start to what promises to be an intriuging show. It's hard to comment too much on the overall episode, since we've only seen half of the pilot. But I will say this--so far, I'm hooked. I've enjoyed Matthew Fox's work back from his Party of Five days. I'll comment more next week once we've seen the whole pilot...

Veronica Mars: Pilot
I'm amazed at how much I enjoyed this one. It reminds me a lot of Buffy in that it looks like harmless, teen fluff, but instead turns out to have a lot more depth. Make no mistake, this show isn't lightweight by any stretch. And it's set up the central mystery of Vernoica's friend murder, how that relates to why her mom left and what happened to her the night of the big party where she got date-raped. The one drawback I see if how long can we keep up the central mystery before fans start demanding some answers. And if we get answers, how will that open new doors. But, for now, this one was diverting, entertaining and interesting.

Survivor: Vanutau
Interesting to see how Dolly thinks she's the power player on the island, only to be the first of the women to have her torch extinguished. Honestly, if you're the swing vote, it's best to not go around bragging about it. Part of the game is winning friends while not letting them get too close.

Of course, I really think Scout deserved the boot. She really messed up the immunity challenge--her not seeing the last set of pieces in the ocean may have cost the women their chance for immunity. Also, I loved seeing Sarge barking out orders--he was a natural.

The reward challenge kind of favored the women. Most guys I know don't like being that up close and personal with other guys.

The Apprentice
Watching this week's episode, I had to wonder something--if Trump had wanted "proof" of Stacie J's breakdown or change, he could've asked the producers to see footage of it. It's not like it's not on tape. Or does that violate some unwritten rule of the show? And do we really think the Donald didn't know about this before he went into the room? I think the Donald realizes that NBC is counting on him to deliver the ratings and buzz he did last year and has gone more maverick this season. Let's face it--Maria deserved firing for her portion of the project going way over budget. But instead, Trump goes crazy and calls everyone back to the Board Room. Yep, that'll get those people talkin' by the watercooler.

That said, I have to admit I think the guys got a better value for the money creating buzz. They were able to reach more people over a longer period of time. And in the buzz world, it's about getting the word out to as many people as possible.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/25/2004 08:55:00 PM | |

John Kerry: The Video Game
"Kuma War', a first-person shooter (think "Doom") is offering gamers the chance to get inside the shoes of John Kerry. Yes, starting on Sept 3o, if you've got a copy of the game, you can download a "John Kerry level." This level is based on the U.S. Naval notes about Kerry's mission on Feb. 28, 1969. As Lt. Kerry, you'll lead three Swift Boats into enemy fire.
Kerry is unaware of the game and had no comment except he doesn't play video games.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/25/2004 05:41:00 PM | |

Big Orange Michael's Pigskin Picks, Week 4
My picks were 5-2 last week, raising my season total to 13-6. Not too bad, I'd say.

So, this week's picks are...

1. Lousiana Tech at Tennessee (7 p.m EST, Pay-Per-View)
The Vols are coming off an emotional win last week over the Gators while La Tech is coming off a big loss to Miami. It's Homecoming for the Vols, so they should win this one. That said, I think that with this game sandwiched between a huge win over Florida and a big game next week against Auburn, this will be closer than it should. (BTW--close is a relative term here.)
Tennnesee 35, La Tech 17

2. Kentucky at Florida (11:30 a.m. EST, ESPN2)
Kentucky travels to the Swamp to face the angry Gators, who are looking for some redemption after last week's last second loss to the Vols. I expect a competitive game for a half and then Florida to put it away. On a side note--this one was moved up from 6 p.m. EST due to Hurricane Jeanne.
Florida 28, Kentucky 20.

3. Mississippi State at LSU (12:30 p.m. EST, Jefferson Pilot)
Another team looking for some redemption after a last-second loss last week with LSU. Also, I'll admit I find it hard to pick Mississippi State after they lost at home to Maine last weekend. This one could get out of hand early.
LSU 40, Mississippi State 17

4. Alabama at Arkansas (3:30 p.m. EST, CBS)
Alabama has been one of the surprising teams in the West this year, but the loss of Brody Croyle is going to hurt the team. Arkansas played a tough game against Texas. Do they have it in them for a second such game? I think they do.
Arkansas 20, Alabama 17

As for the rest of the SEC, my picks are in bold.
5. Ole Miss at Wyoming
6. The Citadel at Auburn.
7. Vanderbilt at Navy
8. Troy at South Carolina.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/25/2004 08:05:00 AM | |
Friday, September 24, 2004
Big Orange Survivor Mangolia Week 2 Results
The Game:
1. Who will win the Reward Challenge? Women
2. Who will win the Immunity Challenge? Men
3. Who will be voted out? Dolly

Bonus Questions:
4. What will the reward be? Blankets, Hammock, Pillows.
5. Will it rain during Tribal Council? No
6. Who gets first confessional? Travis

And the results for this week are:
Michael: 4/6
Clayton: 3/6
Tudy: 1/6
Vickie: 4/6
Dar: 3/6
Danielle: 3/6
Jessica: 4/6

Overall, the totals are as follows:
Michael: 6/11
Clayton: 4/11
Tudy: 1/11
Vickie: 5/11
Kurt: 2/11
Dar: 3/11
Danielle: 4/11
Jessica: 4/11
Leslie: 1/11
Barry: 2/11

So, it's still anyone's game! Thanks everyone for playing and we'll see you next week. Also, encouarge some friends to join! Everyone is welcome!

posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/24/2004 10:00:00 AM | |
Thursday, September 23, 2004
Another Tennessean on Reality TV
But not for long, it appears.

Nashvillian Melinda Norris was one of the 25 women in the season premiere last night of The Bachelor. But it looks like it wasn't true love for her, since the episode summary on says she was eliminated last night. If you want to find out more about her, there was an article in yesterday's City Paper.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/23/2004 11:42:00 AM | |

Theater Thursday
The big screen.

The very first movie I (Misty) ever watched on the big screen was Home Alone. Now that cute litle boy is being arrested for drug charges.

Do you remember your first time?

1. Do you remember the very first time you watched a movie on the big screen? Describe it.
For my third birthday, my parents took me to see The Shaggy D.A. I don't remember a lot of the experience, except the dog driving the car.

2. What was the last movie you saw on the big screen?
Spider-Man 2.

3. Did you ever like a movie so much that you paid to watch it more than once? If so, what movie?
I've seen Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back more than a few times in the theaters. I also went to see Star Trek: Generations a couple of times in theaters.

BONUS) How much does a movie ticket cost in your neck of the woods?
Matinees are $5.25 and night time is $7.25, unless you want to go IMAX and then it's $11.00.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/23/2004 11:29:00 AM | |

Big Orange Survivor Magnolia, Week 2
Survivor Magnolia/Big Orange Game - Episode 2

Welcome to this week's version of the game. Our players are as follows:



Per the CBS Survivor site:

~ A tribe deals with very grim conditions as one castaway has a tearful meltdown after finding maggots in the tribe's food.

~ A wild chicken wanders into the Yasur camp and sends the hungry tribe into a frenzy as they try to catch the chicken with a machete.

~One Survivor tries to take advantage of tensions between two tribemates after a loss at the Reward Challenge.

~Two castaways think they are the swing vote, leading to a very unpredictable Tribal Council.

The Game:
1. Who will win the Reward Challenge?
2. Who will win the Immunity Challenge?
3. Who will be voted out?

Bonus Questions:
4. What will the reward be?
5. Will it rain during Tribal Council?
6. Who gets first confessional?

Be sure and vote prior to 8:00 PM EST. You can change your votes anytime up until then.

Thanks for playing and have fun!

posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/23/2004 09:48:00 AM | |
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Celebrate Freedom, Read a Banned Book

September 25-October 2 is Read a Banned Book Week, sponsored by the American Library Assocation. Cathy over at Domestic Pyschology has issued a challenge for everyone to read a banned book during this week.

Reading over the list of books that are banned, my big questions is--why? OK, I can see that going down the list, there is something to be said for making sure that children are at the approriate age level before reading a book on the list (I wouldn't want a five-year-old reading The Shining, for example). But I don't see the wisdom in banning anyone from reading a book, provided they are mature enough to do so. (Well, except maybe Lord of the Flies but I just hated that novel when I had to read it in high school!).

Honestly, I think it goes back to a general laziness on the part of parents and educators. These groups get so focused on one small aspect of the book that they miss the big picture. I've read all the Harry Potter books and I get really kind of irritated with some groups that want to ban them becuase they have witchcraft as part of the story. These groups claim children will learn witchcraft from these stories and be corrupted by it. Well, you know if J.K. Rowling was including detailed steps on how to conjure these spells up, you might have a point here. But she's not. I no more learned how to cast spells from reading Harry Potter than I learned how to time travel from watching Doctor Who or how to create a warp engine from watching Star Trek. The central story of Harry Potter is good vs evil and the choices made in life in that struggle. Witchcraft and wizardy is part of the setting, the world-building of the story. Just like Middle Earth is part of the world building and setitng for the Lord of the Rings novels.

But there are so many parents and groups that would choose to ban these books rather than seeing it as an opportunity. Heaven forbid you sit down with the kids and discuss the books. You could read the book together and maybe talk about things such as, even though Harry Potter features wizardry, we know that isn't real. Here's what we believe as Christians and as a family.

I guess I'm fortunate in a way. My parents always encouraged me to read. In fact, when I was much younger, I picked up my first Stephen King novel, Firestarter from the young adult area of the library. My mother told me that she'd read it and there might be stuff in there I'd wonder about. If I did, I could come talk to her....about that book or any book I read. I wasn't told to stop reading it neither was the book taken away. I was an appropriate age and maturity level to read it and my mother and father kept the communications doorway open to me should I want or need to talk to them. Honestly, I think this whole banning of the books thing makes the idea of reading it far more interesting. Let's see what's in there that everyone is so afraid of, you say to yourself.

So, celebrate your freedom. Head to your local library or bookstore and pick up a book from the list. I know I'm off to my library to find a book on this list and celebrate the freedom not only to read the books but to make the decision on whether or not I should.

Oh yeah--and I won't be picking up Lord of the Flies...

posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/22/2004 10:10:00 AM | |

The Amazing Race
In the end, the great equalizer of airline flight schedules and reservations proves to be the difference in the race. Chip and Kim get confirmed seats on a flight while the other teams are left stuck on stand-by and eventually succumb to an FAA regulation that you can't check your bags on one airline and then hop over to another. Ah, you just have to love sweet karma when it comes up to bite Colin and Christie.

Anyway, some thoughts from the final legs of the Race.
  • Did anyone else think that climbing the 150-feet up the cliff-face seemed like a bit of an unfair advantage to those teams with a guy? I know that Karen tried her best, but in the end, she didn't have the same strength or endurance the other guys did, nor would many of the other female contestants who started the Race. Though I would've given money to see Charla try it...I mean, she lugged around a 55 pound side of beef. Up the side of a cliff--not really as big a deal, right?
  • Nicole's meltdown on the snow bicycle course was just embarassing. You could almost see Brandon wondering how long after the show he'd have to stay with her before he can break-up with her. And let's face it--Nicole claimed to have grace under pressure--well, you sure fooled me. She was fine with things were calm but any small little stress comes along and she just loses it.
  • Sure Colin and Christie hugged Chip and Kim, but can tell that he was thinking--I should've won, you jerk!
  • Chip and Kim were just as ruthless and cutthroat as Colin and Christie in the last two episodes, if not more so. But they came across as far more likeable. I guess it's because we never saw Chip yelling at Kim for not making it up the mountain. They never got frustrated and just what they had to do to win the game.
  • Seeing Jim and Marsha again at the end of the race, my first thought was still--that Marsha is cute.
Congratulations to Chip and Kim on winning this leg of the Race. Certainly, this adventure made for some fun, exciting and entertaining viewing.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/22/2004 09:29:00 AM | |

First Day of Fall
It's the first day of autumn and that can mean only one thing--any second now the leaves should start changing colors. Actually, this morning's Tennesseean has an article speculating on whether or not we're in for great fall leaves or just so-so fall leaves. Not that it really matters because the first hint of fall colors and it'll take approximately six weeks to travel anywhere in the Smokeys by car...

In related news...
Another "casualty" of Hurricane Ivan was the Spring Hill's Rippavilla Plantation's corn maze. The maze was designed to look was a design of explorers Meriwether Lewis' and William Clark's Trail of Discovery and featured a silhouette of Lewis in the center. The maze was set to open last Thursday when Ivan was dumping a ton of rain on the area. The maze has been cancelled for this year, but there are other mazes around the area. I've never been to a corn maze, but I've always wanted to go. I think it sounds like fun...

posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/22/2004 07:47:00 AM | |
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
TV Round-Up
I'm incredibly behind in my watching of Stargate SG1 and Stargate: Atlantis. I'm slowly trying to play a bit of catch-up here.

Stargate SG1--Covenant
I almost get the feeling that this episode and the following Atlantis episode are going to be a lot more important to the bigger picture as the respective seasons wind along. Not that there was necessarily anything really wrong with either episode, but it just felt like there had to be more to it than we got here. Of the two, I'll give SG1 the edge this time around for being more enjoyable. Billionaire Alec Colson has the goods on the governmental cover-up about the existence of aliens and threatens to expose it on live television if the governments of the world don't fess up within 24 hours. When no proof is given, Colson exposes his evidence in the form of an alien body he grew of aquired DNA. Our heroes then discredit Colson, try to bring him in on the secret for the greater good and end up seeing Colson go down after his buddy cooks the books to discredit him on the orders of the Trust, a shadow organization who is above the law and knows of the Stargate project (Sound much like the Consortium anyone?) The first half of the story was quite good as we see Colson taking steps to expose the project and our heroes reactions. But where it turned a bit was once we figured out that Colson's right hand man was up to something. From there on, it was just a matter of waiting for the other shoe to fall. Again, I think this one is setting up some things for future episodes...

Stargate: Atlantis--Underground
The Atlantis crew realizes that supplies will be limited and has Teyla take them to world of the Genii, who have traded with Teyla and her people in the past. Shepard offs medicine in exchange for food, which the Genii want a high price for--until Shepard shows off how to use C4 to get rid of pesky stumps for planting more food. Before you know it, we find out the Genii have a huge underground bunker system, aren't the tranquil Amish people we thought they were and have nukes they'd like to use against the Wraith. Somehow they were able to bring down a Wraith ship and get a memory core that has revealed where some of the Wraith ships are. Their idea--a coordinate attack using the C4 to set off nukes and take out the Wraith. Again, I had the feeling all throughout this one that the Genii were hiding something and waiting for that other shoe to drop. That may have ruined some of my enjoyment of this one, despite the fact that I was happy to see former DS9er Colm Meaney get some work. In the end, the two sides double cross each other, leaving with an ominous tone from the Genii about not making them enemies. Surely the two should see the enemy of my enemy is my friend but apparently, that is not the case. I have a strange feeling we haven't heard the last of the Genii. That said, this one felt like a lot of set-up but no big payoff. Yes, we find out there are a boatlaod of Wraith ships out there and that we have a new enemy, but that was in the first and last moments of the episode. Everything else felt like a lot of filler.

Listen Up
A couple of years ago, CBS attempted a sit-com based on the columns by Dave Barry called Dave's World. That show was moderately amusing but didn't like up to the source material of Dave's columns. Fast forward a couple of years and they're trying the same formula again--this time around it's from the material of Tony Kornheiser and it happens to feature Jason Alexander, trying desparately to prove he can do more on TV than play George Costanza. Unfortunately, this show doesn't show that. If anything, this is just George with a wife and kids and no Jerry to bounce off of and be funny (Malcolm Jamal-Warner tries but he's just no Jerry or Kramer). The first episode is standard stuff--Tony can't up with an idea for a column until he writes about a feud with his daughter without asking her first. Hilarity ensues until the final, touching moment when we get a Doogie Howser-like image of Tony writing his next column. You can almost here the "awwwwwwwwwww" track. I wanted to like this sit-com, I really did. I like Tony Kornheiser. But I think it might have been better to get Kornheiser to play himself in the role. When I see Jason Alexander in this one, all I keep seeing and hearing is George from Seinfeld.

Everybody Loves Raymond
I like Raymond, but I'm already sick of hearing about how this is the final season for the show and we're only in the first episode. And it feels like this could be a potential jump the shark type of episode--parents move to retirement village, brother and sister-in-law move into old house across the street. Honestly, it felt like we'd slipped into bizarro universe and I kept waiting to see Deborah sit up and curse that it was only a dream. Instead, it wasn't one. I am left wondering if this might not have been a better series finale rather than a season opener.

Two and A Half Men
The sit-com heir apparent to Raymond, but at least it's funny and entertaining. Sure, we're not breaking new ground here, but at least it doesn't feel tired. Charlie's support group was a riot as was Alan's attempts to be part of it. Yeah, it's fun to see Sean Penn and Elvis Costello there, poking fun at their public image, but the real comedy gold is seeing Charlie Sheen and Jon Cryer play off each other. I know this one gained steam over the summer in terms of audience. I just hope they stay around for the full season.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/21/2004 02:01:00 PM | |

TV Tuesday

Spin off's

A great show never dies, it simply spins off into new shows! LOL This week we'll take a look at the ever famous spin off syndrome!!

1. What's your favorite all time spin off? Which show did it spin off?
Angel, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Frasier are three of my favorites. And they were spin offs of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Star Trek (original and TNG), and Cheers respectively.

2. What do you consider the worst spin off ever? Why?
AfterMASH. Because MASH was so well done and this one just felt like a poor excuse to capitalize on the success of MASH without really thinking it through.

3. Is there a show that's ended that you wish they'd done a spin off for? Which one?
I wish they'd done a spin off for the Spike character from Buffy and Angel.

~Bonus~ If you could "end" your current life and make a spin off of it what would you call it? What would be the theme (characters new and eliminated, changes you'd make)?
Heavens...I feel like the past two years of my life have been a spin off in a lot of ways. Not sure I want to do a spin off of a spin off. I'd settle for going back to my old show.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/21/2004 10:44:00 AM | |

I've been watching and really enjoying this summer's leg of The Amazing Race, which concludues tonight in a special two hour episode. But I will admit--there were some things that I was curious about, such as how the plane fares work, etc. Thankfully, USA Today published a series of questions and answers about the race this morning.

And I'm pulling for Chip and Kim to win tonight.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/21/2004 08:08:00 AM | |
Monday, September 20, 2004
Job Predictor
According to the Job Predicator, my ideal occupation (based on my name) is a Bearded Lady in the circus....

Tip of the hat to Danielle for making me aware of this quiz.

I'm now off to grow a beard, get some plastic surgery and apply for the circus.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/20/2004 01:14:00 PM | |

Going to the Titans Game
Earlier this summer, Mom won two tickets to yesterday's big game against the Indianapolis Colts. Mom was kind enough to give them Dad and I so we could attend the game yesterday afternoon.

This is the second time I've been to a Titans game live and in person. They've not won either time I've been. (Didn't mind as much the first time as they played the Redskins, my all-time favorite NFL team). At this point, I figure Jeff Fisher is working on a way to ensure I never go to a game again since it's obviously all about me.

And even though we didn't win, I still enjoyed the experience of going to the game.

I was decked out in my Titans' t-shirt, Titans' hat and had my Walkman radio so I could hear the Mike Keith calls on the radio. I was ready. I also had a small pair of binocolars that Dad loaned me to check out the cheerleaders keep up with plays downfield. We parked not too far from the stadium (parking up close is reserved for season ticket holders who have promised to donate an organ should the team need it during the season...) which was nice. It was a great afternoon for a game--sunny, not a cloud in the sky and not too warm. Very pleasant to be out. We stopped the Purity booth where they were giving away free samples of their new Titans Touchdown Sunday. (Which is really quite good and worth a try if you've not had any yet!) We got into the stadium and were handed a sheet of trading cards. I assume that many of these are now available for sale on E-Bay even as we speak.

We entered by the south end zone and one of the program sellers was kind enough to point us in the right direction of the north end zone, where our seats were located. We walked around to them, passing the swarm of fans in the Titan's pro shop who were spending money on anything and everything with Titans on it. We finally worked our way around to the seats, which were just great. About 12 rows up, on the left side of the uprights for the goal posts. I was near some of the flameheads, and one of the guys you sometimes see on TV who has his face painted and a headdress to look like the Titan's sword logo.

We arrived early enough so I could visit the facilities, get some food and head back to my seat. Got back just in time to hear player introductions and the pre-game festivities.

One cool thing...the Titans were honoring the 101st Airborn Division from up at Fort Campbell yesterday. We had a B52 flyover after the national anthem was sung by Michael W. Smith.

The crowd had filled in and we had a good time. One guy near us was pretty critical of the refs, (we all were, but he took it upon himself to ask if Vegas had paid them off after several bad calls...he wasn't beligerant or rude. He just expresed himself). I high-fived it with several people around me after big plays and was repeatedly asked to repeat things I'd heard on the radio play by play. All in all, it was a good time and the stadium was rocking...well, at least until the fourth quarter when our injuries caught up to us and we let the Colts score 21-unanswered.

But, as I said before, it was a ton of fun. The crowd was a record-setting one for a Titans' game. So, if you wanted, you could have been part of two record-setting crowds in the state this weekend...pretty cool. I admit that going to a pro game is an entirely different atmosphere than college, but both are still fun. I think I'm fortunate that I wasn't near what I refer to as "butt-head fans"--namely those who ruin it for everyone by being over the top. Yes, I admit I was amused by a women a few rows down and to the right who apparently wanted to be a cheerleader but hadn't made the cut, but overall, it was a nice crowd.

I just wish the Titans had pulled off the win. That would have made a great day perfect.

Oh yeah, and I wished I had thought to myself--sunscreen would be a good idea. Yes, the day was not blazing hot and there was a breeze, but I swear there's something about stadiums that just intensifies the sunlight and heat. I wasn't overly warm, but I did get sunburned.

Ah, the prices we pay for fandom...

posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/20/2004 12:44:00 PM | |
Sunday, September 19, 2004
Thoughts on the Tennessee games
Well, the Titans got screwed this afternoon by the officials. Guess we know where some of Peyton Manning's record signing bonus went--to pay off the officials. Bad, bad calls all around. These guys deserve to be fired.

I will say this though--going 1 of 4 on fourth down didn't help either. The Titans didn't help themselves with situations in the red zone early to put the Colts too far out of it.

That said, there were some bad calls and poor spots by the officials as well as two greviously bad reviewed plays. All that led to the Titans losing at home and making next week's showdown with now first place Jacksonville that much more important.

Tennessee vs Florida
I'm still elated about this one. I must brag on myself....if you'll check out my football predictions, you'll see I nailed the score Friday evening. And we all know what this means--this will NEVER happen again.

I've posted two articles over at FanBlogs. One is a wrap-up of the game and then another has some comments by me about the game. Head on over, read 'em and leave some comments.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/19/2004 05:48:00 PM | |

How bout dem Vols?!?

James Wilhout celebrates his 5o-yard field goal that gave the Vols the victory over the Gators.

Vols 30, Florida 28

It's be...a Tennessee Vol!
It's be...a Tennessee Vol!
I said...
It's be...a Tennessee Vol!

Great game, great win...quit yer whinin' you know how we felt four years ago when you got a b.s. touchdown to win in Neyland.

More tickets to Titans vs Colts.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/19/2004 10:11:00 AM | |
Saturday, September 18, 2004
Early SEC game thoughts
Ole Miss 26, Vandy 23 (OT)
Vandy gives up 16 un-answered points to lose. Like I said, they don't know how to close out and win a game.

Auburn 10, LSU 9
Watching this game, I kept wondering--does anyone want to win this one?!? Great defensive battle. Auburn vs UT should be a great game in a couple of weeks.

Georgia 13, Marshall 3
All the pundits are saying how great Georgia is...don't you think it's time they showed it on the field? This lack of ability to play a full game is gonna bite them eventually--hopefully against the Vols.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/18/2004 05:35:00 PM | |

This might not be good news...
Both The Tennessean and Lee Corso have picked the Vols to win tonight. They NEVER pick the Vols to win against Florida....

This might not be a good sign....

But I still believe in the Vols.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/18/2004 03:13:00 PM | |
Friday, September 17, 2004
Thursday Reality TV Round-Up
Survivor: Vanuata
First episodes of Survivor are hard to judge. With 16 people out there, you know we're not going to get to know many of them and it's only strong personality clashes that will come to the foreground. I thought it was interesting to see the tribes welcome the castaways to the islands and to see them climb the greased pole was kind of fun. And just like the last time the women took on the men, the women win. Man, what is it with guys in the game thinking they can just show up and beat the women? You're also seeing the ninth generation playing the game--the guys don't take out the weak link and make the team better. Nope, we take out the strong competition for later.

I still don't have a favorite yet to win. Hopefully next week we get to know some more about who these people are.

The Apprentice
For once, the NBC promos didn't lie...this was one heck of a boardroom and one that won't be soon forgotten.

This week's task is to come up with a new flavor of ice cream, create it and sell it. The men come up with a chocolate/vanilla swirl with chunk of doughnuts in there. Also, in an interesting move, they decide to give part of the proceeds to charity--in this case, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. This is an interesting move for two reasons. One, it's a great selling point on the street and two, Kevin's story about how his brother had leukemia gives the group a rallying cry and something to get out there and bust tail for. That's above and beyond the usual getting to stay in the game another week.

The women's team is led by Ivana, who apparently has decided to be the anti-Bradford when it comes to leading. She decides to let everyone have a say and contribute. Honestly, I think it's great to have everyone on the same page, but sometimes a leader has to step up. There has to be a good middle ground between Ivana's style and Bradford's.

Cause in the end, the women's team comes up short. And it's due to lack of leadership. Also, to the fact that they lost three hours while Stacie J couldn't figure out where in NYC she was. I know these things are edited, but Stacie J, you ain't coming across as the sharpest knife in the drawer. You know that somewhere out there, someone who didn't make this show is pissed....

Anyway, the women go to the board room and tempers quickly flare.

And then Bradford goes and does something really stupid. Last week, since he was team leader and his group won, Bradford is immune from being fired this week. That is until, in an impulsive moment, Bradford offers to give up his immunity, thus sealing his doom. Now, fellow blogger Shelley has an interesting take on this, but it's one I disagree with. But I offer it to you to read because it's interesting.

As I said in Shelley's comments, what Bradford does wrong here is he messes with Trump's perception. See, the Donald sees himself as powerful and strong. He's generous--he's given Bradford this huge reward earlier. The other guys seem to get this on some level, as they request all their profits go to Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. It's a good move since $2500 or so is change to the Donald and it makes him look and feel good about doing a good thing. Plus, he gets the credit. I think this gesture also plays a role in Bradford's demise. You're in the Donald's world--you gotta know how to massage the ego.

Bradford tries to put himself above the Donald. "Yeah, thanks but I can make it on my own," is what he says. And the Donald gets pissed. So pissed he fires Bradford when Stacie J or Ivana had really EARNED the firing.

Sometimes in business, it's not about the reality but the perception of it. The Donald has the aura that most of what he touches turns to gold. And he likes that..and the worst way to deal with him is to try and shatter that perception. Yeah, we all know that sometimes the Donald loses, but for the most part, he's a winner. So, let him think that. Bradford missed it...and because of that, he got fired.

Also of interest was the Donald's on-going battle with Jennifer C, who has not endeared herself to him. I have a feeling if she comes up for firing again soon, she's outta there.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/17/2004 09:25:00 PM | |

Big Orange Michael's Football Picks, Week 3
I have to admit I'm surprised at how well how I'm doing picking the winner of these games each week. I went 4-1 against last week, bringing my season record to 8-2, so far. Of course, I'm not a betting man, so this is just all for fun. And if you want to join in, you're always welcome to post your picks in the comments and try for some bragging rights...

Alrighty then, on to this week's games.

1. Florida at Tennessee (Saturday, 8 p.m. EST, CBS)
As if there is any other game this week that really matters to me. This is it--the big game in September that will give the winner an early edge in the SEC East title race. It's been an interesting series of late--the road team has won the last four games. Turnovers have killed the Vols at home against the Gators and we've yet to really take advantage of Spurrier leaving and regularily beat the Gators. Both teams have strengths and both have some definite weaknesses. But I've got this strange feeling about this game--it's going to be close and one of those wacky scores you look at later and makes you scratch your head. If the Vols can win the running game, we've got a very, very good chance.
Tennesssee 30, Florida 28.

2. Vanderbilt at Ole Miss (Saturday, 12:30 p.m. EST, Jefferson Pilot)
Is it too early to call this a desparation, must-win game for both teams? Probably not. Ole Miss is looking for its identity in the post-Eli era and Vandy is looking for, well, something after being man-handled by South Carolina two weeks ago. With all the bowl-hype now died down a bit, how will Vandy respond? My thought--honestly, Vandy hasn't learned how to win a game yet. Ole Miss gets it done at home.
Ole Miss 28, Vandy 13

3. LSU at Auburn (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. EST, CBS)
It's a huge Saturday for the SEC. Two games, both on CBS that will give the winner an inside track to win their respective divisions. Auburn looked good against Missississippi State last weekend while LSU manhandled the cupcake brought in to erase any memories the near loss in week one. Again, I'm giving the home team the edge here in a close game.
Auburn 28, LSU 24.

Honestly, the rest of the SEC has some pretty easy games on the schedule that each team should win. So, here we go with an attempt to pad my stats (and also make AK happy since I'm gonna pick SC to win!) The winning team will be in bold type.

4. Marshall at Georgia
5. South Florida at South Carolina
6. Indiana at Kentucky
7. Maine at Missisissippi State

So, there you have it. And, before I go, let me say this...


posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/17/2004 08:11:00 PM | |

There She Is, Miss America
Bikinis Raise Eyebrows at Miss America
The Miss America pagent is this weekend. Back in 1997, the contestants were allowed to wear two piece swimsuits for the swimsuit compeititon. But it appears this year's two piece swimsuits, provided by Speedo, no less, are raising some eyebrows. If you want a preview of what the bikinis look like here are three photos to help you out:

Miss Florida, Jenna Edwards
Miss Utah, Amy Davis
Miss Louisiana, Jennifer Dupont

Yep, those are pretty skimpy....

All I can say is--it should make for some potentially interesting viewing. Not that I'll really get to watch, since the Vols are playing Florida in prime time tomorrow night....

posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/17/2004 10:36:00 AM | |

Changes to the Star Wars trilogy
Something Awful has posted a couple pages worth of "changes" George Lucas might make to the new DVD editions of the original Star Wars trilogy, due out Tuesday. They're pretty funny.

My favorite--Greedo missing and shooting Jar-Jar...

posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/17/2004 09:18:00 AM | |

Friday's Feast
How are you today?
Not bad. I'm a pretty excited because I have dubbed this weekend Ultimate Football Weekend. I'll be watching the Vols take on the Gators tomorrow night and then I have tickets to the Titans/Colts game Sunday!

Name 3 television shows you watch on a regular basis.
Currently or will watch when they come back?
Currently: Stargate SG1, Stargate Atlantis, The Amazing Race
As they come back for the fall: Smallville, Survivor, Star Trek: Enterprise
When they come back: Dead Zone, 24, Alias

What's the scariest weather situation you've experienced?
When I was in the sixth grade, we lived in Alabama. I'd gone out to eat with the parental units at Wendy's when a bunch of tornadoes came through. The manager of the store kept us all there for our safety and I remember thinking--you know, there are a lot of windows here. If a tornado comes through, that's a lot of glass to break.

Main Course
If you could wake up tomorrow morning in another country, where would you want to be?
I'd love to tour the UK. I think seeing all the castles would be great, plus I could take my tour--the rock quarries of Doctor Who.

What do you usually wear to sleep?
Boxers and a t-shirt.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/17/2004 08:52:00 AM | |

Big Orange Survivor Magnolia Week One Results

1. Which tribe (men or women) will win the first Reward Challenge (1 point)? Women (Yasur)
2. Which tribe (men or women) will win the first Immunity Challenge (1 point)? Women (Yasur)
3. Who will be the first Survivor voted out of the tribe? (1 point) Brook Geraghty

Bonus Questions:
4. Which of the female tribe members will show off her bikini first? OK, next time around, I'll know not to ask such a question in the first episode when it's hard to tell who is who just yet. Thankfully, Vicki at Magnola Glen was eagle-eye watching the episode. We counted four girls in the water and five sitting on the beach, all in their binkinis. So, we'll go with the five bikini slackers for this week: Dolly, Eliza, Julie, Lisa and Mia.
5. Which tribe will get fire first? Neither tribe got fire this time around, though it looks like the Yasur tribe should have a leg-up next time.

And now, the results. Drum roll, please!


Good opening round to everyone! But, I do think it's unfair that Barry didn't even watch the show and tied for the most points this week! And we'll work to get the questions up a bit earlier next week!

posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/17/2004 08:15:00 AM | |
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
Big Orange Survivor Magnolia, Week 1
Last season, Vickie over at Magnolia Glen ran a fun game called Survivor Mangolia.

For the new season of Survivor, which premieres Thursday, Sept 16th at 8 p.m. EST, Vickie has kindly allowed me to co-host the game.

The rules are the same as last time around. A series of questions will be posted about the upcoming episode of Survivor Vanuatu. Just post your answers/predictions in the comments section before 7 p.m. CST (8 p.m. EST) on the Thursday the new episode of Survivor airs. Make sure to leave your name and contact info in the comments so we can post the results each week.

That said, here are this week's questions. We've got three regular questions and two bonus questions to start off the week.

1. Which tribe (men or women) will win the first Reward Challenge (1 point)?
2. Which tribe (men or women) will win the first Immunity Challenge (1 point)?
3. Who will be the first Survivor voted out of the tribe? (1 point)

Bonus Question:
4. Which of the female tribe members will show off her bikini first?
5. Which tribe will get fire first?

Here's a link over to the Survivor Vanuata web site to help make those predictions for the week. Also, Vickie had some great graphics last year to post on your blog and tell your current score. I'll try to work on those in the next couple of days or get her to post them here and in her blog.

Good luck and have fun!

posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/15/2004 02:41:00 PM | |

Is It Traumatic?
I watched the new Steve Martin version of Cheaper By the Dozen over the weekend and something about the movie just struck me. In the course of the film, Steve Martin's character of Tom Baker (not to be confused with the actor who placed the most popular incarnation of the Doctor on Doctor Who) is offered his dream job. Only catch is--he's gotta move the entire family to the big city of Chicago.

After discussing the decision with his wife, they sit down and tell all eleven kids who are still at home about the decision. Of course, the kids are dead-set against it and vote not to go. Tom and his wife, Kate, overrule them, which leads to lots of sulking, protests and general bratty behavoir by the kids.

Which leads me to my question. As I've stated before, I was a military brat and so, for me, moving around every couple of years was just part of life. You just accepted the fact that you went where Dad got stationed and while you were sad to leave where you'd been, you also kind of looked forward to the new adventure of where you were going. It was never very traumatic for me. Which leads to me ask--is moving really so traumatic for kids?

I had a roommate in college who had lived his entire life to that point in one small town. As a military brat, I couldn't really imagine living my life in just one place, going to only one school, knowing all the same people growing up. I feel fortunate to have moved about. I've met a wide variety of good friends, I've seen a lot of our great country and I've seen and experienced things some people might not get to necessarily do in a lifetime.

So maybe that's why it bugs me to see movies or TV shows where moving is presented as the most horrible thing ever. I keep wanting to say--get over it and look at the good side. Because just like all of life there's good and bad associated with moving.

On a related note, Ashton Kutcher has an appearance in the movie as the actor/boyfriend of the oldest Baker girl. At one point, Kutcher's character says something like, "I am cast for being good looking, not because I can act." Anyone else thing art is imitating life just a wee-bit here?

posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/15/2004 11:25:00 AM | |

The Amazing Race
Poor Chip and Kim. They make a strategic move to help eliminate the biggest threat in the race and level the playing field a bit and while it does put Colin and Christie behind the eight-ball, it doesn't actually put them out of the race. And despite the fact that the other teams left in it agreed to use the yield card, it's Chip and Kim who put themselves out to be picked off and bringing about the wrath of Colin.

There was a lot of wrath of Colin to go around this week. But it was nothing compared to what a lunatic Christie became when they are suddenly bumped into last place. Her telling the tax i driver just to run people over so they can get back into the race? You know, when it takes Colin to calm you down and look rational, something is seriously wrong. And then--at the plowing detour, she does nothing to help. Never crosses her mind that maybe she should help lead the ox through the field. Colin's meltdown was pretty much predictable (his comment that his ox was broken was hilarious) but totally understandable since Christie was next to useless in the task. I have a feeling the two gave up a lot of the relationship ground they gained last week when Colin admitted he should let Christie read the map and he should drive.

As for the bowling moms, I have to admit Karen isn't portrayed in the best light here. She seems a bit whiny in the car after the arguement with Linda about reading the map. And it is just me or does Linda seem to do most of the road block challenges?

All I can say is--all these pent up hostitilities between teams should make for one entertaining season finale next week.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/15/2004 10:19:00 AM | |
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
Sports Fan Gone Wild
Pitcher Arrested After Oakland Brawl
I'm sure most of you have heard about this one by now...

Last night, Texas Ranger's reliever Frank Francisco threw a folding chair into the stands in the late goings of a game between the Rangers and the Oakland Athletics. He hit two spectators in the head, causing one female fan to have a broken nose.

Now, I'm not here to defend the pitcher. Throwing a folding chair into the stands wasn't the smartest thing in the world. But how much you wanna bet some of these fans provoked him just a bit?

Not exactly behaving like good sports, are they?

When you go to a game, you certainly have the right to cheer for your team, scream your lungs out, clap, make noise, boo your team, etc. Heck, I think you've even got the right to boo the other team as they come on the field or even engage in some good natured mocking in the stands. For example, a couple of years ago, at a UT/Florida game in Neyland, the crowd would break out into cheers of "Errrrrrrrrrrrric! Errrrrrrrrrrrric!" for then player Eric Rhett, who had made some disparraging comments about the Vols in the papers. But, this was not a personal attack. We didn't call use profanity, we didn't bring up facts about his family, etc. We heckled him a bit. And it wasn't a persistent attack on him.

But what you don't have the right to do is be ugly. I think that verbally abusing the other team is out. Using "colorful metaphors" as Spock puts it in Star Trek IV has no place. (OK, maybe the occasionally "crap!" when your team makes a bad play). Also, like the beer commerical says, "Know when to say when." There's a line between loving your team and pulling for them and being overboard.

Let me say a UT fan, I am not a big fan of Alabama or Florida. When it comes down to it, if UT is playing them in anything, I want the Vols to win. I will cheer for the Vols to win and be happy if they do. (OK, eccstatic if they do). But that doesn't mean I wish ill upon their fans. I've been to a game in Alabama, wearing my orange and white and treated with respect. After one defeat to Bama during my time at UT, some friends and I saw some Bama fans and congratulated them on winning and we said we hoped to play them again in the SEC Championship Game. We didn't threaten the fans, stalk the players, etc. We behaved like sportsmen. I like people who are Alabama and Florida's just one Saturday in the fall, we are gonna disagree on who should win. Hopefully, I'm right, but it doesn't matter in the long run.

See, I've been on the other side of ugly fans. Sorry, Georgia fans, but I'm gonna call a lot of you out. A lot of you can't handle losing and you sure can't handle winning. I lived in Augusta, GA last year during the annual Tennessee/Georgia skirmish. On the day of the Georgia game, I wore my usual orange and white, drove around in my car with the large power T on it, etc. I was verbally abused left and right--by people who went out of their way to tell me where I could go and what I could do when I got there. One or two, I figured--you got those in every crowd. But when it got into more than ten people doing this and something is wrong. Now, don't get me wrong--I knew some good UGA fans who only good-naturedly harrassed me after the game, but they were the exception, not the rule. The worst was driving home from work a day or two after the game, when a car is streaking up behind, blowing his horn, flashing his lights. I stop at a light, thinking my muffler is dragging behind the car since this guy is trying so hard to get my attention. Nope...turns out he wants to give me the double finger-salute and point to his UGA hat.

Yeah, really classy there, man.

Anyway, what I'm trying to get at here is the idea that we should all remember that while we love our team and we have the right to root for them, we don't have the right to be ugly about it. In a lot of ways, this type of action is exactly what Barry over at Inn of the Last Home talks about in his great post earlier this week. In fact, his post almost seems prophetic since it was posted before this whole ugly incident occurred.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/14/2004 04:48:00 PM | |

Football Wrap-Up
Tennessee Titans 17, Miami Dolphins 7
There's the old saying that an ugly win is better than a pretty loss, which pretty much applies to this game. An old-fashioned Titans game--play defense and don't blow it on offense to win the game. It wasn't pretty, but it got the job done. That said, this type of game will NOT get it done against the Colts. Honestly, I felt like Jeff Fisher and company were pulling a Fulmer here--don't show a lot in the first game of the year because a big game is coming in week two. And becuase I attended a Ministries by Strength class on Saturday, I had to watch the game on video tape delay and listen to the CBS announcers instead of Mike Keith. Dear heavens--who lost the best and send Dan Dierdorf and Craig Blackledge for this one?!? They are c0lor guys and decent at it, but Dan Dierdorf stinks as the main commentator for a game. I hope this duo was only put together for this game due to the re-scheduling. I can't take any more of listening to these two!

Washington Redskins 16, Tampa Bay Bucs 10
Thank you FOX Sports for making this game you're featured game for the early slot and sending it out to 61% of the U.S. I was happy to see Joe Gibbs back on the sidelines. And we got off to a good start--strong running, great defense. The one negative is that we let the Bucs hang around too long. We should've put them away 14-0 early and not had to hang on for a 16-10 win at the end. But it's the first game and hopefully we can build on--especially when we face the hated Cowboys on MNF in a few weeks. Also, while I love Joe Gibbs and am glad he's back, I hate all the bandwagon jumping done by some sports call-in shows. Suddenly, Gibbs is loved by everyone and the Skins are a sleeper team, yada-yada-yada. Well, I don't want to be a wet blanket, but it was only one win. I love the Skins and I'm optimistic...but not so optimistic I think we're gonna win it all this year. That's what next year is for...

posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/14/2004 09:30:00 AM | |

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