Friday, December 21, 2007

Oh Brian Williams...


Did you see him on SNL back in November? I did. I loved every single minute of it. It is the first SNL episode that I have saved on the TiVo and have watched repeatedly. It is just awesome that a major news anchor did something like this. You would never see Peter Jennings (although legend goes he was quite a funny man), Tom Brokaw, Ed Bradley, Edward R Murrow or any other newsman on a comedy show like this. They all seem to stiff and proper to do such a show. Also, it is just not what they do. Newsmen do not show their real personality. They are to just read the news and go on with it. However, maybe things are changing. As the Baby Boomers, Generation X'ers and Millenials get older, the news industry has to adjust to these populations. As a Millenial myself, personally, I like to see the personality of the people that are telling me the news. It is nice to get the impression that the person you see on TV in the suit and tie is a real person and not just some robot who is paid some large sum to read news from a TV screen. I want some personality. I think that all 3 of the major network anchors, Williams, Katie Couric, and Charles Gibson, have the personality and we all have seen it in action.


Couric and Gibson are products of network morning shows. Couric from NBC's Today Show and Gibson from ABC's Good Morning America. With these types of shows, you have to have a personality and also be really good at what you do. You have to be able to go from extremely serious by interviewing the President of the Free World and in the next minute, go to light hearted when you interview some kid who won a worm eating contest. There are also segments that involve cooking and sometimes during the holidays, you will have to participate in some kind of activity. On NBC's Today Show, the main personalities would participate in a costume contest each year on Halloween in which one year Katie Couric dressed up as Donald Trump.


While Williams does not have the experience with the morning format, his appearance on SNL was a good opportunity for him to show his personality. He even made fun of himself several times. My favorite skit is the Digital Short that he did which showed a "behind the scenes view of NBC Nightly News". It is hilarious! He also shows a little bit of himself in his newscasts when he reads letters from the public and issues a response.


Others are starting to like him more too. And it may be in connection with his appearance on SNL. According to the Quick and Entertainment Weekly, Williams' NBC Nightly News won the November ratings sweeps. His viewership was an average 9.3 million viewers, 438,000 more than Charles Gibson's World News Tonight on ABC. Was it his stint on SNL that helped him or are viewers geniunely turning the dial just because they prefer his style of reporting? We may never know, but I like to think that it is due to his stint on SNL.
P.S. Williams' hosting gig was not his first appearance on SNL. He made an appearance on Weekend Update when he first got the gig at NBC Nightly News. I cannot find a clip, but here is a story about it.. http://www.indy.com/posts/1114

Attention DFW Rock Fans!

The Eagle is back! 97.1FM KEGL is now a hard rock station again. I say again because in 2004, Clear Channel in its infinite wisdom chose to change the format from Rock to ACH (Adult Contemporary Hits) called Sunny 97.1. I welcomed this as I really enjoy the Sunny station in Houston (Sunny 99.1/KODA-FM), however, the year range spanned from 1960-1980 and they played a lot of stuff that I did not know and it was really different from Sunny 99.1 in Houston. In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, there is a really strong hold on the Adult Contemporary Hits format via 103.7 KVIL and 98.7 KLUV. With these 2 CBS O&O stations, the format is extremely competitive and there was no room for another station.

After the trial with the Sunny format, Clear Channel execs moved to an All-Spanish format, similar to what happened in Houston to 101.1 KLOL (a Rock station that converted to All-Spanish format that resulted in rage from listeners). Obviously that did not work out because now they have converted back to the old format of Rock music.

I know that there are a lot of people who are excited that the Eagle is back. I have listened to it for a little bit and it is not necessarily my cup of tea, but I am glad that I have another choice available if I am in a Rock mood. Currently, they are running a DJ-less, commercial-less operation, so if you are in a continuous Rock mood, definitely check out the Eagle.


or

On-Air : 97.1 FM

CAW!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Cali Day 2 and wrapup


Day 2 consisted of going to Disneyland. And that was a day onto itself. You really need the whole day to see everything. We went to all of the major parks within the park and went to almost all of the rides that you could possibly ride. And I actually rode some rides. I rode the Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean, the Train ride, and a car ride. On the car ride, it was pretty sad. It was not scary, but it did a bunch of stopping and going and it did get petty high. There was a small drop and I screamed. I think that I was the only one who screamed on that ride. Even the little kids in front of me didn't scream. I felt like a looser afterwards, but it was still fun. The Train ride went pretty high and it did go fairly fast, but it did not have any big drops, so I really liked it.


We ate at some good places while at Disney. One was an Italian place inside the park dedicated to the future. I had some pasta with sausage tomato sauce and it was great. It was a big plate but it was $8.99. I thought that was a little much, but it is an amusement park. For dinner, we went to an American themed food venue and it was great as well. I had Pot Roast and it was delectable. A big slab of meat and some potatoes and wax green beans. Needless to say, I left that place full, and again, $15 dollars lighter.


The day was pretty nice, but as the sun went down, around 4:30pm, it started to get cold. It was manageable though and not windy, so that helped. The rides and the buildings helped too.


We returned to our hotel at 12:30 am, so needless to say, I was dead by the end of the night. I passed out right as we walked into the door.


The next day, we had to get ready early, so I had to get up at 8 am to pack and whatnot. Amazingly, I woke up and was not tired. We took the rental car back to Advantage and rode to LAX. I don't know why, but LAX made me really anxious and I was kinda nervous while going through security. There was no need for me to be nervous, but there was a really long line, and it was a new airport, so I don't know what happened. Once I got through, I was ok. It was just going through the process that was a little nerve wracking.


The flight was a little bumpy as we were crossing over weather as we came back, but not a bad flight over all. This was my first time to take a Southwest flight outside of the state of Texas, so that was pretty cool. On the way, we stopped at Albuquerque, NM, and it was really dusty. The airport was pink! I hear that it takes the southwestern theme to the extreme. It would be nice to go back and actually see the city, although, from the sky, it didn't look like there was much to see.


All in all, it was a good trip. I can now cross Los Angeles and #2 DMA off of my "Must go to" list. Next is Chicago....

Sunday, December 09, 2007

A Fresh and Easy Trip


So yesterday while I was in California, I put on my "tourist to-do list" a visit at a Fresh and Easy store. This is the US version of the UK's Tesco store. I shopped at Tesco's while I was on my Field School and I was really excited to hear that Tesco was going to enter the US market. As we started to drive up, I was really excited. I started taking pictures, and people were probably thinking that I was crazy. I just wanted to have photographic proof that I was there.

We walked in and immediately I was reminded of the Tesco. They had all of these cold cases up at the front and it was laid out similarly to a Tesco. One thing that I did notice that was different was that they did not have any cashiers. They just had the U-Scan machines, which was ok because it is not that big of a store, and the average consumer of Fresh and Easy will only be picking up a few things, not usually doing their whole weeks worth of shopping.

They had many of the national brands that we are all familiar with, so that was great, but they also had many Fresh and Easy labeled items. Most of these items were organic or had attributes about them that were either guaranteed to be fresh or from products that had no extra fillers or crap in it. This is something that is carried down from mother Tesco because Tesco has a policy about providing the most natural foods possible.

The prices were amazing! Boxes of tea were $2.00, a small bottle of Fiji water was only $0.99. Many of the food stuffs had great prices. Fresh catfish was $2.99 a pound and ground beef was about $1.99 a pound. Fresh and Easy would definitely be a store that I would shop frequently.

I was hoping to see some Tesco branded items or other items that they could import from the UK, but unfortunately they did not have any. It totally makes since because it would just confuse the consumer and it would also increase the prices of the goods and would be an additional cost to the company.

One great thing about Tesco and Fresh and Easy is that they are extremely environmentally friendly. One thing that I noticed about this store is that everything was spaced out appropriately and there was no space that was not unused. This is good because it reduces energy consumption. In addition, I did not see any product on their shelves that had was over packaged, thus reducing waste.

I had a great experience at Fresh and Easy and I hope their ventures in the American Southwest are successful so they can explore outside of this region and make their way to Texas. It would be AWESOME!

You can find out more about Fresh and Easy on their website at www.freshandeasy.com. They also have a great blog from one of the Execs at www.freshandeasy.com/blog

Saturday, December 08, 2007

California Day 1


Last night, I flew from Austin to meet up with some friends in Los Angeles, CA. It was a very long day to begin with because it started out by waking up at 4:30 in the morning to fly from Houston to Austin to meet up with some co-workers for a meeting. After the meeting was over, they took me back to the airport where I sat around for a few hours as I waited for my plane to take me to San Jose, CA where I would catch another plane (much smaller) to Los Angeles's LAX.

When I got into San Jose, I was not really impressed with the airport. It was older and it had a small area for the gate that I was at, which I thought was weird as most gates are pretty big. There also was not much in the way of shops that were open either for me to get something to drink as I waited an hour for my next flight.

When I got to LAX, it was an interesting experience. First off, I had to take an American Eagle jet from San Jose to Los Angeles due to the rather short distance between the 2 cities and how American Airlines does thing. I sat in a seat that was next to the window and I was all by my self because the whole plane was only 3 seats wide. Then when we got in, we exited the plane in a small building that was disconnected from a terminal and was actually on the tarmac. We had to load onto a bus that then took us over to the AA terminal. On this bus, we actually drove on the runway and had to dodge some airplanes here and there. Then I had to make my way to the hotel shuttles.

When I got to the appropriate island for the shuttle buses to take me to my hotel, I had to wait for about 15 minutes. While I waited there, I got to look all around me and watch the traffic as it went by. It was a partial culture shock to see the way that some of these bus drivers were driving. There was a lot of honking of horns, fast paced driving and stopping, congestion, and overall chaos. It was crazy. It was just really weird for me to see these drivers acting this way.

When we got up this morning to start sightseeing, we encountered the same type of attitudes towards driving, but it was not just from professional motorists, it came from the average motorist too. The second that the light turned green, people behind us started honking and we hadn't even had the chance to go before we were "reminded" to go. It was just obscene.

I guess that a part of the chaos comes from the crazy roadway situation out in these parts. There are on ramps from other freeways that run into the existing freeways which makes driving almost impossible. There are a lot of cars on the road too, so that is hard to deal with also.

One thing that was really annoying was that there were no left turn green light to help make turns in the intersections. After watching others do this for a bit, we learned that it was required to sit in the middle of the intersection and wait for the light to turn red in order to make the left hand turn. We all were in agreement that Californians have the wrong idea about this and should consider the Texan way about left turns.

When we got to Hollywood, it was a lot smaller than I imagined. The area with all of the movie star's hand-prints and the Hollywood Walk of Fame was in a small area. The Walk of Fame extended all the way down Hollywood Boulevard, but who wants to walk all the way down just to see a name in the cement that the movie star had to pay for just to have that star.

It was also interesting to find out that the Kodak Theater, where they usually host the Oscars, is inside of a mall type building. The Chinese Theater was attached to that same building down from the Kodak Theater.

We also saw USC today, which was a beautiful campus. I had to go to the bookstore to get a t-shirt. In addition, we went to Fresh and Easy (more about that later), Santa Monica Pier, and Century City (where all of the TV/movie studios area). The Santa Monica Pier was beautiful. It reminded me of Kemah. The beach was also beautiful. Unfortunately it was pretty cold and there was a strong gust of wind coming off of the Pacific Ocean (yeah, that's right, I saw the Pacific) so we did not stay out long, just long enough to take pictures and leave. The sand was beautiful and I am sure if we were there earlier in the day, I would probably have seen blue water. I will definitely have come back again to see it in the full daylight (and also a warmer time to be able to stay out longer) to see it in its full beauty.

Over all this was a good first day in Los Angeles. I managed to take about 130 pictures, and with Anaheim and Disneyland on the itinerary tomorrow, I think that I may be able to double that number.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Sittin at the airport


While I am sitting at the airport, waiting on a flight, I figured that I would write a little on the blog since it has been a while since I last posted. This past week, I have been in Houston working on the "Gulf Coast" week TACRAO schedule of College Night programs at local high schools. This week, I visited Deer Park, Victoria, Dickinson, Texas City, Alvin and my home district of Clear Creek ISD. The programs for this week were pretty slow, in that I didn't have nearly the amount of students to speak to that my team had last year.

It was fun to come back though because I know this area quite well, so I did not have to rely on maps a great deal. It was quite nice. What was not quite nice was the smelly Ford Taurus that I had to drive this week. It smelled like somebody smoked in it and then Enterprise tried to cover up the scent with a heavy perfume that over powered the car. It took a while for the 'ole nose to get used to that fragrance.. Now that I think about it, it may have been part of the reason why I had a headache for most of the week.

It was a group travel week because a few co-workers and I were giving presentations to the local area high school counselors updating them on the new things that are going on at UNT. We basically wine-d and dine-d them (except for the whole wine thing) and gave them a presentation while they ate. It was pretty fun. I did my first counselor update presentation in Austin today (where I sit now as I am waiting on my friends at AA to come pick me up) and it was a success. I basically did the presentation and added a little bit of personal experience in it and most of the counselors enjoyed it. We got lots of complements. It was nice.

The recruiting season is now over. That does not mean that the job is done with by any means. Next semester, I will be concentrating on my assigned high schools in the DFW area, giving presentations to them and going to visit during lunch. Also I will have a new responsibility of reviewing files and making the decision of whether a student can join us at UNT or if they will have to be deferred for a period of time.

I just know that I cannot wait until the Christmas holiday break so I can take some extra time sleeping.. For some reason, it is a favorite past-time of mine... :)

Saturday, December 01, 2007

A test of the FCC


In the days where the FCC is only known for enforcing rules against obscenities on network TV, they are facing an issue which is not commonly heard from the average viewer. Residents in New Jersey are complaining that one of the local affiliates, WWOR-TV, the My Network affiliate from Secaucus, NJ, does not include New Jersey issues in the local newscasts. WWOR is in the New York City DMA, which includes portions of Southern New York State, the Northern Half of New Jersey and Fairfield County, Connecticut and only focuses on news about New York. (For a map, see here.) However, in it's city of license, essentially the place where the station originates from, is in Secaucus, New Jersey.


WWOR is in Secaucus because of some financial difficulties that one of the owners had and to over come the problem, they moved the city of license from New York City to Secaucus. The FCC allowed this, but they added an amendment to the approval stating that by WWOR moving to New Jersey, it was required to focus on New Jersey issues and not just issues in NYC or New York state. This is important because besides WWOR, New Jersey does not have any other local affiliates from the other major networks. The southern part of New Jersey is covered by the Philadelphia media market. So you can see why this would be important to the residents of New Jersey.


On Wednesday, the FCC held a hearing to discuss the issues with WWOR. The session hosted 100 people and the concerns were heard.



“I’ve been watching Channel 9 for years, and I was surprised to know that WWOR wasn’t a New York City station,” said Patrick V. Adams, a 19-year-old Rutgers student.


WWOR responded to the critics by showing a video of news stories about New Jersey. However, they were still flawed because their slogan is "My9NY" standing for : My 9 New York. While they were at the meeting, their cameraman had put masking take over the NY on the logo sticker on his camera. The NY Times also reports that they changed the picture on their homepage (http://www.my9ny.com/) from the New York Skyline to the George Washington Bridge which connects New York with New Jersey.


If WWOR does not fix the problem of focusing on New Jersey, then they may loose their license to broadcast from the FCC. If this happens, (the likeliness of this happening is slim) it would be definitely unique and also a first in a long time for a station to loose their broadcasting license. Not many stations these days have problems renewing their license, and if WWOR cannot renew theirs, it would be a wake up call to stations who have such agreements and also would show that the FCC actually does more than just fine stations for obscenities.

I know that this may be boring, but it is not everyday that a TV station is faced with possibly loosing their broadcasting license...

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Romo vs. Favre


They aren't on the field at the same time! That is all that I heard yesterday and today vis-a-vi Jerry Jones and his NFL Network on the radio : "Don't forget to watch Romo face Favre on the field on Thursday night when the Cowboys face the Packers at Texas Stadium." It is so retarded.. It is Romo vs. the Packer Defense and vice-versa. The person who put together that ad must be shot.

The half just ended and the Cowboys are up 10 points over the Packers. Mr. Favre has been hurt, something about his elbow.

I know that the management at KDFI-TV, CH. 27 is loving this. They are the only local station that is carrying the game. Besides 27, it is being shown on the NFL Network and only a select few have that channel due to the fact that only satellite companies carry the station over cable systems. This will probably give them (Ch 27) the biggest ratings that their station has ever had. Nobody ever watches My 27 except for the random episodes of Scrubs that they play every so often. It is not like they are a real network. I mean, UPN, its predecessor was not a real network either and had very little to offer in the way of network programming.

In any event, this is the ultimate game of the season because both of these teams are 10 and 1 for their season and supposedly 2 teams with this record have not played each other since the early 1990's. It is a fight to the death at Texas Stadium tonight. We shall see who can pull it off.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Is Thanksgiving near?


It is really hard to tell as it is only a grand total of 80 degrees outside. Normally this time of year, it is only 64 degrees. I am not sure what is happening this year, I guess it may be some effect of El Nino or La Nina, but who knows. I am sure the media is attributing it to Global Warming, which has not been entirely proven yet. It is a big controversial topic. However, we will get some cooler temperatures. Thursday, a Blue Norther is supposed to come through and bring down the temperatures on Thursday about 20 degrees to a nice, crisp 48 degrees.


It is a little easier to see that Thanksgiving is near because of the amount of traffic and phone calls the we are receiving in the office. It is crazy! Some of the tours that have this morning had about 30 people in them.


I am excited for tonight because on TV this evening, we will have a little we will have some pre- Thanksgiving fun with How I Met Your Mother's "Slapsgiving" in which we get to enjoy a continuing story line from "Slapbet" in which Barney is dreading his slaps from Marshall. We have to savor it now, because it will probably be one of the last new episodes for a while.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Shame 106.1 Kiss-FM, shame....


Did anybody else see the billboards around town says "106.1 Kiss FM will be Flipping on Nov. 15th"? I did. I saw it on IH-635 in Dallas on the way home from a program Monday night. When I saw this, I thought that the radio station was switching formats. Whenever I got home, I immediately went to the Internet to try to see if anybody knew what was going on and which format they would be switching to, but my search came up with no leads.


I got to work yesterday, and went to 106.1's webpage to see what happened because that was supposed to be the big day, and it turns out that it was just a promotion that the were running to give away money. And I don't even understand where the "flipping" part comes into play. It doesn't matter though. It's not that important. I do not even listen to 106.1 much anyways, just only when there is nothing else on. It is hard for me to listen to a station that employs Atom Smasher.


Stupid Clear Channel...

A Beautiful Disaster


Oh thank you to all of those at iTunes who pick the free songs of the week. I happened to download one, and I love it. Every time that I listen to it, I have to listen to it a minimum of twice. It has a nice tune and great lyrics. I haven't quite figured out why I like it, beyond the fact that it is a good song. And it is not even played on the radio yet (to my knowledge)!


The song is "Beautiful Disaster" by Jon Mclaughlin. It is a song about a girl who is sensitive and who is willing to do anything to find a guy who wants her. "She just needs someone to take her home." Check out the music video here on youtube : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ww0kqkX4vXQ


It is an awesome song. I have not downloaded anything else by Mclaughlin, but I am really tempted due to this song.


Mclaughlin only has one CD, "Indiana" which contains the song, "Beautiful Disaster".

Thursday, November 01, 2007

New Fights against Immigration


Today in Oklahoma, House Bill 1804 goes into effect. What is that you may ask? Well, it is a new law that the Oklahoma legislature placed on the books to take care of the illegal immigration within their state. They are now making it a crime for American citizens to help transport, harbor, or conceal illegal residents. The law also denies illegal residents within the state of Oklahoma to receive a drivers license and requires proof of citizenship before state aid is issued.


There is a lot of uproar from people who favor immigration saying that the law is too strict. There are reports already that people are moving out of the state. KRLD-AM and CBS Radio are reporting that an estimated 20,000 illegal residents have already moved from Tulsa, Oklahoma's second largest city.


What does this mean for Texans? Get ready to encounter more illegal residents here in our state. Also get ready to hear more griping and complaining from both sides of the aisle over this law. Texas one of the closest states to Oklahoma so that would be an easy transition and also we are somewhat friendly to illegal residents. Texas does have a large population of Spanish speakers, which in some cases, is native tongue to these peoples. In addition, the State of Texas makes it easy for illegal residents to attend college with the Senate Bill 1528 which allows students who have resided in Texas for 3 years and attended a Texas high school to attend a Texas University or College.


Is this a good Bill? I think that it is. I mean, it is basically upholding the laws that are already on the books concerning this matter. Lets put it this way : If you were caught helping a bank robber hide in the closet or take him to a hotel, you would face the same prosecution. Yes, these people have left their respective homes for a "better life" here in the states. Yes, they do need help with their endeavour. But, is it fair that they are starting their trek by going down the wrong path that happens to be illegal in accordance to the laws that have been written to keep tranquility in the US? I think not. We need to welcome our new members to the American Family, but we also need to encourage them to get started on the right foot and not the wrong foot. If we were to do the same in their respective countries, we would be detained and kicked out quicker than we can say "hello".

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Stats for Central Texas, San Antonio and Houston


Central Texas:


Miles Driven : 474

Gallons of Gas used : 20.189

Days gone : 5

Hotels stayed in : 3

Times eaten out : 2



San Antonio :


Miles Driven : 417

Gallons of Gas Used : 17.025

Days Gone : 5

Hotels Stayed in : 1

Times eaten out : 5



Houston :


Miles Driven : 554

Gallons of Gas Used : 24.463

Days Gone : 7

Hotels Stayed in : 1

Times eaten out : 5

Travel Recaps


Ok... so this traveling thing takes up more time that I thought that it would. It has been forever since I have been on the treadmill and forever since I have been on blogger.


For the past 3-4 travel weeks, I have been to Central Texas, San Antonio and Houston. Next week, I will begin Fort Worth week of travel which will consist of programs outside of Tarrant County. Wichita Falls, Stephenville, Weatherford, Graham and others are eagerly anticipating my arrival. Just kidding...


Austin was fun. I always enjoy Central Texas. I had a bunch of good food, great barbecue and many students who were truly interested in attending North Texas. This week, I had a PT Cruiser, so it was a new car to the inventory of cars that I have driven. Austin Bergstrom International Airport is cool. Right as you get off of the plane, you encounter many stereotypical Texan murals. It was very colorful and bright and also seemed like they had some good restaurants inside the security area (or at least that is what my nose was telling me).


San Antonio was mediocre. I stayed at a Hampton Inn off of IH Loop 410 and they had some good food for breakfast. Also, I was next door to a Marie Calendars. In addition, I drove a Pontiac G-6, so that was pretty awesome. My first Pontiac experience. Those things were it about the good things. The traffic and construction sucked. It was worse than Houston. On every major interstate highway that I got on, there was construction. It was also freaking HOT! I went to 2 programs in a row where there was no air-conditioning in the room where they had the reps and it was ridiculous especially with the amount of people in the room. Needless to say, that day was one in which I had to go back and change my shirt and take a shower before my evening program. I had some good food here too. I also met some cool counselors too.


Houston this past week was good. I stayed in the Galleria area for the week. Before it started though, I got to spend time with my family. That was pretty cool. This week was a little messed up due to state testing (TAKS) so I had a bit of free time. I took that and walked a lot. I walked around the Galleria, contemplated Ice Skating at the Ice Rink but did not have appropriate socks for the job, and walked around Memorial Park, the infamous runners park of Houston. I also met up with a friend while I was down there, so that was pretty cool. The only thing that sucked about this week was that my flight was delayed on the way home, so I got home at 11pm. This week I drove a Pontiac Grand Prix and determined that I am not that fond of Pontiacs. They are nice cars, but their buttons and knobs for the windows are confusing. They do love to get up and go and I really do like that (it is especially needed in Houston).


This week is a little break. I am actually home and get to eat my own cooking for a change. Which is really good if I do say so myself :) I can actually sleep in my own bed and take a shower in my own tub. Who knew that such things were so valuable? This week, I am hosting kids on campus and visiting Irving tomorrow for a presentation to Seniors who are interested in UNT. This weekend will be one of relaxation and nothingness.


Have a good week!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Panhandle Week Stats

Total Miles driven : 864.5

Total sit down meals eaten : 2

Total Fast Food meals eaten : 4

Total trips to Gas station for fuel : 4

Total Schools visited : 7

The Amarillo Wrap Up


Days 3 and 4 were busy ones. Obviously, I did not have too much access to Internet nor time to really do anything. On day 3, I did a little triangle drawing starting my day driving to Borger, TX to Frank Phillips College to do some recruiting. For those who do not know, Frank Phillips is the same Phillips of the Phillips 66 gasoline company. There were quite a bit of oil rigs and refineries in Borger, so knowing that Phillips was from this area helped make since of all of the oil machinery.


From Borger, I ran north to Perryton, TX. This is about 15 minutes from the Oklahoma Panhandle border. I met a girl (who happened to be my hostess) who was really interested in UNT. She really wanted to come join our Photojournalism program. That was really cool. In the past, we have had some great interest come from Perryton. From Perryton, I shot down SH 70 to Pampa. That was a beautiful drive because it went through a few canyons and I got to see the "Grand Canyon of Texas." It was beautiful. There were also so many colors too.. I wish that I had brought my camera so I could take some pictures, but next time though.


Pampa was a slow program due to church and "Saw you at the pole" activities (this is what the program's host called it, but it is actually "See you at the pole".


I then drove through the rain from Pampa to Childress, stopping in between at this odd gas station to devour a sandwich at the obscure Subway shop inside. The lady inside peered all through my cup to make sure that it did not have a hole in it. Fortunately it did not have a hole, but it did pick up a few germs as she put the cup open side down on her counter that she probably hadn't wiped down in a few hours.


I continued on to Childress where I was hit with the powerful mixture of smells of cow patties and petroleum. It was AWESOME! I stayed in a podunk Best Western who has a history of screwing people (they charged me for a stay before I even made it to Childress) and left immediately first thing in the morning.


After my Childress program where the TX Army National Guard guys held a concert playing the rock music so loud that I had to yell to talk to students, I made a pit stop at a Kettle restaurant, ate me some vegetable soup and Salisbury steak and drove the 4 hours back to the Metroplex.


The Panhandle was a good trip. It was pretty cool because it was my first long term (more than just driving through) trip to this region of Texas. There was a lot of cool scenery. I definitely want to go visit the Palo Duro Canyon State Park sometime so I can see more of this beautiful scenery.
Photo Credit: This is a picture from Palo Duro State Park.. A small sample of what I saw while driving around the Panhandle.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Day 2: "More Cattle per capita than people"


Today I visited Hereford, TX, the county seat of Deaf Smith County. It was a cool little country town, lots of farm land, they actually had a few restaurants, and a Wal-Mart. Oh, and they have cows. And LOTS of COWS. As the title says, more cattle than people. On the farm lands, there were lots of cows. There were even cows on the "Welcome to Hereford" signs.. Nice.. And the sign for the water system.. It was "Acceptable". In most North Texas and Gulf Coast cities, this sign usually says "Superior". This means that the public water system meets certain requirements based on the TCEQ or the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality states. Needless to say, I tried to stay clear of their water and ice. I guess I shouldn't have had that slushie after all.. Oops.. The most likely reason that the water system was not up to par probably stems from the cows and the run off that they produce. All of that ammonia and fecal matter that they produce, including all of the medicines that the cows ingest from their meal to keep them strong and ready to eat that do not automatically disappear like everybody seems to think.


Upon returning from Hereford, I tried to eat at this Health Food store / restaurant that Nathan suggested to me from his cross country trio, but by time I drove around the block 5 times trying to find it, the lady told me that the restaurant closed at 4pm (I got there at 4:15) and that all they had left over was sandwiches. That made me a little frustrated. I was curious about this place and what they served because they are a specialty health food place, but I guess that I will never know. Instead, I ate at Whataburger out of frustration of not finding any place else that I could sit down and eat at.... I should have waited like I really wanted to because upon arriving at the Civic Center for the next program, I found out that they had food.. It was sandwiches, but they still smelled good..


My night time program was at the Amarillo Civic Center and it went well. It was actually more busy than I anticipated. After talking to the citizenry here, there are a lot of cousins, brothers and sisters that attend North Texas from the Panhandle region than I thought.


Tomorrow, I will be doing a northern tour of the panhandle with stops in Borger (with the hard "g" like bor-guh-er, not bor-g-er as I have been pronouncing it all this time), Perryton (about 10 minutes away from the OK border) and Pampa. From Pampa, I will be making my final pit stop in Childress where I will stay the night, do my program Thursday morning and head back to DFW Thursday afternoon..


Now it is time to code cards and do reports.. YAY!! :)


P.S. Hereford has a population of 14,531 as of 2006, so it is not like it is a really small town or something like that...
P.S.S. WTAMU, has an awesome college radio station that totally gets me.. They tout themselves at the "Station for your generation" and it totally fits. They play alternative music and good stuff like Oasis, Chelsea Dagger and Kaisers and so much more.. It is now my #1 favorite Amarillo/Canyon station!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Adventures in recruiting : Panhandle Day 1


Well it all started out with a delayed flight. I was supposed to leave DFW at 815, but we did not end up leaving until 9. And the plane was really cramped... This will teach me to fly a regional jet with American Eagle. It was literally a sardine can.


However, when we got to Amarillo, the weather made up for it because it was nice and crisp which is something that I cannot say about the weather in the Metroplex.


I picked up my car from the rental company and it was a Kia Rondo. It wasn't quite what I had envisioned, but it works. I didn't think that Enterprise would carry foreign cars (although Kia's are pretty cheap which may be the reason that they have it). So after getting my car, I went to the OTHER Hampton Inn in town because I had inadvertently given the front office staff the wrong address to ship my materials to. I had to wait in line for 10 minutes to get my stuff because the receptionist was booking some major party or event of some kind.


After I grabbed my 8 boxes of stuff, I headed to the big town of Dalhart. This is in the northern part of the TX Panhandle and it approximately 15 minutes away from New Mexico. (Side note : I totally wanted to go to NM, but I told the dude at the car place that I would not take the car out of state and I only got about 2 hours of sleep last night, so I figured that I would go back to my hotel so I can just relax because this will be the only day like this that I will get to hangout for the night and not have any night programs.)

On the way to Dalhart I encountered a lot of hills and red dirt. Supposedly this area is hilly and contains plateaus... It was very nice.. Very picturesque of a desert. I think that I did more 'sightseeing' than actual road watching.


There were 3 schools in attendance at the program. The genius staff at Dalhart High School, the host school, thought that it would be a 'good idea' to have their kids have the recruiters sign a piece of paper saying that the student 'visited' with a recruiter and gained some knowledge about the college admissions process. Well they were wrong. Students just came up to me and said, "Would you sign this?" I replied with "Do you have any questions about UNT that I can help you with?" and they replied, "I don't know" or "No." This was frustrating because it was waisting my time and the time of the other recruiters who were talking with students who really cared about college and weren't just "trying to get the grade."


So after I left the program, I decided to take a different way back to Amarillo to see some other places and I got to drive through Dumas. This is a small to medium size town and it actually had stoplights. It was the only one that I encountered besides Amarillo with stop lights. It was cool seeing Dumas because my roommate for Orientation at UNT was from Dumas and now I have an appreciation of where he was coming from.


Upon arriving back to my hotel, I watched the local NBC station's 5 PM newscast. It was definitely different than a large market newscast. They did the whole weather cast within the first 5 minutes of the show, whereas others will save it for 15 minutes in the show. And the weatherperson had no flow. She was about as bad as me when it comes to speaking. She kept stumbling across her words and would loose track of what she was trying to convey. **There is going to be a cold front coming through tonight so it will get even cooler. Tomorrow, it is not supposed to get any warmer than the low 80's and will be in the high 50's at night time!! Can you say "sweater weather?"


Following the newscast, I went over to Cracker Barrel by myself for dinner. It was tasty. I had meat loaf. It just kinda sucked because I didn't have anybody to talk to, but I don't know the other recruiters here and I haven't seen any of my friends from last week, but maybe I will run into somebody tomorrow.


I then checked out the local grocery store. Here they are called United. It is a locally owned chain similar to HEB. I bought some "Dr. U" and some Root Beer. I just had a root beer and it was pretty good. Not as good as HEB, but it can have a spot up there.. It is cool to go into a grocery store because it can tell you a lot about a community. It tells who lives in the area and what the income range is. This store had a lot of Hispanic fares which I did not expect from this area because it is so far away from the border. They also had good prices on produce. A head of cabbage was $0.49 a pound, whereas that would be $1.69 a pound in the Metroplex. Milk prices were comparable to the Metroplex, $3.89 a gallon. I think that will be a constant trend as milk prices everywhere are expected to rise.


Tonight I will do my report and probably go to bed after the News at 10 to try to catch up on some lost sleep.


Tomorrow, I will be heading south to Hereford and I have to run by Amarillo College and then hangout at the Amarillo Conference Center for another program tomorrow night.


Off to the ironing board.. Literally, I have to iron my clothes for tomorrow.. :)


Photo Credit: This is from the Cadillac Ranch to the West of town. I passed this today on my way to Dalhart.. It was pretty cool. Just random cars sticking out from the ground.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Running Update: It's going...


So the running thing has been ok.. I have been running for about a week now, but I have not made much progress. My body is doing a bit of resisting, but I think that I can work through that. On Monday and Tuesday, I ran a total of 2.75 miles, so I think that is a nice start. I took yesterday off because I was really tired and had to sit in meetings all afternoon. Today, I am still a little tired, but I still plan to run tonight. (Only after the LIVE DOUBLE Eviction on Big Brother 8, I am sorry to say this, but goodbye Eric and Jessica) After all of that drama, I probably will need to run off some sorrow for my 2 favorite players in the Big Brother game.. I am aiming to run at least 4 days a week, so with tonight and one more day this week (most likely Friday or Sunday) I can meet that goal..


I bought the September edition of RunnersWorld Magazine and I enjoyed reading it. It was very inspiring and had a lot of good tips in it. It also has a lot of dates for competitions and races which will be helpful in the future. I just sent out my postcard requesting a subscription, so I will be eagerly awaiting the next edition.


But anyways, it has been good so far. It has been a good opportunity to get back to my iPod and the great music that it has stored on it. It is also a good excuse to buy more music from iTunes to put on the iPod. ;)


Side note: The new iPod has been announced, and it is just like an iPhone, but without the phone. This is really cool, especially with all of the future traveling I will be doing :)

Welcome Jack, Welcome Jack, Welcome Jack


Houston now has its own Jack Station! He booted out the Classic Rock station and moved into his new headquarters at 103.7 on the FM dial. This has some Houstonians concerned because they are down to one classic rock station now (KKRW, Clear Channel's The Arrow 93.7FM). They may not have to worry long though because according to Mike McGuff 95.7 The Wave is on "life support due to low PPM ratings".


This new Jack station is a great addition to the Houston airwaves. The DJ-less format will be a nice welcome to Houstonians who just want to listen to good music during the long drive home. There has not been another station like it on the non-HD airwaves before (106.9 the Point which was similar to Jack format but with just 90's music).


A little oddity though is that this station is owned by Cumulus Communications (same as 104.1 KRBE). Most Jack stations are owned by CBS Radio, especially big markets (especially Houston). The Jack station in Dallas is owned by CBS Radio.


I listened to the new 103.7 Jack-FM online yesterday and it was just like I was listening to my DFW Jack station but with Houston commercials. Even Jack's voice was the same, which is cool. They are using the main logo, so it blends in well with all of the other Jack Stations.


So when in Houston, lend Jack your ear. Just be sure to not tell him what to play 'cause he plays what HE wants...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

And so I begin.. the first goal = a 5K...


Last night, after watching Anchorwoman and blogging about it (I couldn't help it, I was too excited about it) I went to the little gym that is at my apartment complex. It is nothing compared to the Rec Center at UNT as the gym equipment is a bit older, but it gets the job done. I did 20 minutes on a slider stair type machine (I have no idea what it is called) and then did about 20 minutes on the treadmill. After that, I stretched and remembered that I did not do that before all of that running. It is ok though because as I read more today about beginning running and whatnot, I have found that it is just suggested that you do some brisk walking prior to your workout opposed to formal stretching as a warm up. That is fine with me because when I was in High School, the warm up would take up all of my free energy. I think that it is still a good idea to stretch during some point because it is good for the body and also improves flexibility, and that can never hurt.


Today, I brought my 3 liter bottle of water to work because the water in Denton is nasty because the lake is turning and tastes like dirt. I have learned in the past that hydration is key, so it is my goal to drink as much water as possible during the day in order to properly hydrate my body. Usually, I would not have a problem with this, but getting up every 20 minutes to run to the bathroom is not pleasant. :)


Tonight, after the Big Brother eviction (most likely Jen), I will probably hit the gym again for another 40 minute session.. Maybe focusing more on the treadmill because I really enjoyed that part last night.
My first running goal is to complete a 5K run. This is should be an easily obtainable goal. Right now, I am just going to focus on getting my body in shape and ready to do all of this work. I think that there is a Turkey Trot on campus around Thanksgiving and if I am ready, I may try that... But for now, I am just going to start working on establishing a routine.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Anchorwoman - Season Premiere review

Wow.. What a show. After watching the first episode, I am excited to see the rest of the season. I laughed the whole way through the show. I love it.. I can't believe that I am about to say this, but way to go FOX! Who knew that the show was going to be this entertaining?
Anchorwoman takes place in Tyler, TX at CBS 19 KYTX. At first I was a little skeptical I still am a little skeptical. I don't know how this type of show and stunt by this station cannot affect its reputation in the community and also their journalistic credibility. They have only been in the Tyler/Longview market for only 3 years, so they have a lot going against them as it is. The station and its General Manager claim that they are using Lauren to boost their ratings.

Many of the other employees at KYTX made the claim at the beginning of the show before Lauren Jones, our Anchorwoman, arrived that this was a bad move and bad for the station. I agree with them 100%. It damages their credibility and also, she does not have that much experience, so there will be a lot learning that Lauren will have to do before she is ready to take this gig on full time. I bet that the people from the competitors are having a field day(KLTV-ABC 7 and KETK-NBC 56) with all of this. KLTV has been having a field day with this situation before the show ever hit the pages of the TV Guide.

Entertainment wise though, it was knee slapping good. Give me more!

This is also pretty cool because you get to see the in and outs of a broadcast news operation. Its awesome because not many people get to do so. That is unless you know people who will give you some inside info or find stuff online like Mike McGuff, the Insite or others....
Here is a review from Newsday... They didn't like it.. But they are media, so they are a little biased...

So I have been thinking...


Wouldn't it be cool to run in a competition? Something like a marathon or a mini-marathon. I have stumbled across a couple of blogs that I have been reading here lately, mainly PinkGuruGal, who participates in Triathlons. That consists of swimming, biking and running and is about 70 miles in total distance. There is no possible way that I could do something like that. Maybe if I follow through with training and running, maybe in the future, but right now, not so much. I think that it would be cool. It has been interesting just reading about all of the training that she does for the competitions and I am wondering how she is training, working a full time job and having a life too. It is just crazy. But I think that it could be fun.


I have had an interest in running. I ran track in Intermediate school and during my freshman year in High School. I was not a wonderful athlete, but I did not quite hold up the end. Running is also something that can be easily done by a beginner with no athleticism whatsoever. You are not required to have a special skill to run. As long as you don't trip over your feet, you will be fine.


It is just a thought. I think that it would be a cool way to meet people and get out and about and to try something different. It is time that I did something like that. I am too dull, so this is something that I could add to my radar.


We shall see what happens...

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

She has finally made it..


Our second teacher in space has finally made it. At of 5:45 pm CST, Endeavour has seperated from the fuel tank meaning that the Astronauts are safely in space. This is a bittersweet moment for the NASA community and those who were alive when the first attempt to put a teacher in space faced a great tragedy with the loss of the Challenger and her 7 person crew, including Christa McAuliffe, the first teacher in space. Our teacher now, Barbara Morgan, was Christa's backup for the Challenger mission.

Barbara and Christa were chosen for the Teacher In Space Program by NASA in the 1980's. This was a program initiated by NASA to get America's attention back to space exploration and to excite young students to go into the fields of study that relate to Space travel, including math and science.

As I stated earlier, it is bittersweet. It is happy in the fact that the Teacher In Space program can now get off the ground and students can now interact with a teacher in space. This is something that will excite many science students around the country. It is sad though to think about the program as it was 20 years ago and those that were lost inthe Challenger disaster. The tragedy was not in vein however because NASA learned a lot from that incident and made policy changes to prevent something like that happening again in the future.

Many people across the country will be watching this event and remembering that fateful day in 1986 and looking forward to the reports from Barbara Morgan and her fellow crew on STS-118.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Way to go Dow Jones!


They caved in. Yes they were already distanced from the company, but they caved into a property hungry media mogul who does not care about "fair and balanced" news as one of his flagships claim. He is actually more interested in promoting his own personal views. Yes, this media mogul that I am speaking about is Rupert Murdoch, the crazed conservative Aussie who is out to take over the media world as we know it.


Yesterday, the Bancroft family, which held the majority of the voting power of the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones agreed to be bought out by Murdoch's News Corp for a large sum of money. Now everybody is wondering what he will do with the paper? Will he turn it into a propaganda mouth piece? Will he just leave it alone and un-touched? Who knows. It is definite that he wants to use it as a source of content for his new business channel that he wants to launch later this year that will rival CNBC and the Bloomberg Channel.


The big thing in this is that the Wall Street Journal has a 200 year of history of being owned by the Bancroft family, so that in itself is a big thing. Another thing is that it has the largest readership among the business papers. It has been called the "required reading" of the business class. How will they react to this change?


Me, I think that it was a bad move. Once again, why does a big corporation have to go and buy another one. Why can't there be lots of different corporations out there owning a couple of things opposed to one corporation owning millions of things? I guess that is life.. Maybe we all can soon be owned by News Corp or Wal-Mart. I can't wait!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Geek trys out Frat Life in ABC Family's Greek


ABC Family has a new series and they are taking college life by storm. It is called Greek. It is about Rusty who is a new Freshman from Chicago who is trying to "start over" and stray away from the geek community and to do that he wants to join the Greeks. (Did you see how I did that, it just shows that I am still a geek) His overly religious roommate thinks that Rusty is not making the right choice, but Rusty does not care, he is bound and determined to succeed.


It is only 3 weeks in, but I have been hooked since episode 1. I don't know why I like shows like this. Maybe it shows me what I missed out on, but I know that it definitely reminds me of the good times that I did have in college, especially while I was living in the residence halls.


There are a lot of twists and turns, so if you watch, you will definitely need to back track to catch up. Some of these include Rusty's sister, who is in a sorority (Zeta Beta Zeta) and at first denied Rusty's existence. Rusty is currently dating the president of another frat (Omega something) and her first love is the president of the competing frat (Kappa Tau). Lots of other things happen, but my brain is a little fried right now, so I can't think clearly.


There are a couple of Metroplex connections to this show. The guy who plays Casey's (Rusty's sister) boyfriend is from Dallas, his name is Jake McDorman and the guy who plays Cappy (Casey's first love), Scott Michael Foster is from Collin county and performed at the Quad C Theatre.


Greek is on Monday nights at 8pm on ABC Family.

Feeling Lighter at 103.7 Lite FM


I am loving this station! I have it programmed into my car radio, but I have not really listened to this station. They play a great mix; a little bit of everything, which is funny because you would think that the Mix Station would do this, but it seems like I keep hearing the same things over and over. Anyways, I needed something to listen to yesterday, and I was trying to think of local stations that I could listen to. With all of the events that were happening yesterday with the Fox 4 helicopter (which contained the traffic reporter for KRLD and KVIL) I was checking out their website to get information to see if Julie DeHarty was ok and I just took a chance and clicked the "listen now" button and I am glad that I did. I have heard a lot of songs that I have not heard in years like Bryan Adams' song from Robin Hood and many others that I cannot think of right now. They even mixed a bit of MercyMe into the repertoire and that was awesome.

This is kinda weird because it is NOT a Clear Channel station, it is actually a CBS owned and operated station. I was thinking about it yesterday on a slow drive to work and I found that I have an even amount of Clear Channel/CBS stations in my radio presets. 3 are Clear Channel (102.1 FM, 102.9FM, and 106.1FM) and the other 3 are CBS (100.3 FM, 103.7 FM and 107.5FM). First off, how does that happen? Secondly, who thinks that way? If I were in Houston, it would be filled with 60% of Clear Channel stations (96.5FM, 94.5FM, 99.1FM) and Cox Radio owned 106.9FM and Cumulus owned 104.1FM (I only had 5 presets in my old car).

I have grown up with Clear Channel stations (and 104KRBE) and that was what I was used to. When I moved to the Metroplex, I immediately sought out the Clear Channel because as we all know, Clear Channel stations are all "formatted" and are virtually the same in the major markets so it would be easy to find.


Anyways, if you are in the 'plex or need a good radio stream, check 103.7 LiteFM out. If you don't like one song, just wait 3 minutes for the next.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Summer session is dangerous


Summer sessions suck at work. Why is that you may ask? Because I HAVE NOTHING TO DO! I have only done 6 applications today, which has allowed me to surf the web, research random things that pop into my head and maintain this blog (although I have been sucking at that). I have 2 folders full of links in my favorites in Internet Explorer, but I have only 5 or 6 that I check daily and those are my blogs that I like to read. All of my other links are blogs that are not updated daily or just random web pages that I would like to hold on to. I read the newspaper online, The Houston Chronicle because you do not have to login to it like other newspapers *coughs: Dallas Morning News*. After reading the daily blogs and newspaper/local news sites, I try to then come up with something to blog about. I try to find something that is interesting, as you can tell, most times it is not. My research topics are only interesting to me, so for those of you who read this are thinking, "So what?" "What does this have to do with me?" Most times it doesn't, it is just random things that I come up with or just stupid stuff that I research on wikipedia and then produce some paragraphs to try to make it interesting. But when there are no creative juices flowing, like now, I come up with crap like this or nothing at all. I even try to think of interesting websites that I would like to investigate, but I cannot even do that. I have a radio station streaming at most times, and yes, sometimes that does retard thinking, but even pulling it out of my ear does not help. I do work occasionally, but it usually does not take me very long to complete, which them allows me to go back to whatever I was doing.


What do you do when you are bored at work? I know that some of us do not have as much downtime as I do, but it does occasionally happen for some.
Fall session starts soon with the opening of the Fall 2008 application.. That will be an exciting time for Processing...

Exercise and Big Brother


I was bored this Saturday and I have been wanting to get back to exercising regularly. I really need to so I can get healthy and maybe get off some of my pills. Well, last Sunday, Dustin from the Big Brother House led a ab workout with some of the other house guests. Guess what I did, I did the workout with them. It was a non traditional way of working out, in terms of the source of the workout, but it was still good. I still sore from it, so obviously it worked something. It was hard when ever they switched the feeds back inside the house to the other house guests, but fortunately, they did not stay with them long as they were just munching on cookies. It was funny because one of the house guests said that there were probably watching them and doing the workout with them. I was probably one of a couple hundred of those people. Afterwards, I tried one of the more "traditional" workout videos from the Time Warner on demand option, but it was too hard, and I was already pooped from the other work out, so I abandoned it for another time.


Who knew that you could combine reality tv and exercise?

Monday, July 23, 2007

Just nod and shake your head yes..


This is a quick moment of venting.. I just got off the phone with a student who was not satisfied with their situation. They are a major flip flopper about which term they want to start and are mad at me because they have to pay their application fee again. Then the student had the audacity to ask me who I was. I replied with my name. She then was like, "Are you one of those federal work study students?" I calmly replied, "No, I am a full time employee." She then starting asking questions about financial aid and when I said "I don't think that you will have a problem" with that situation, she said "Well I need a definite answer" I replied with, "Then you need to contact financial aid. I do not handle that and I cannot be positive." I then asked her if she wanted to be transferred to finaid and she said yes which was good for her because by that point, I was about to loose it.


The thing that really set me off was her asking me about my job status. I know that my voice is not deep and it doesn't have that "manly-man" ring to it, but that does not give anybody the right to call me out and question my ability to do my job. I gave her all of the right answers. There was no reason for her to question my authority. Even if I was a student, she was transferred to me for a reason, the reason being that I was the best person to help her with her situation. Age does not dictate an ability to do a job. I am 22 years old, why do I still have to deal with this? I have encountered this before, so it is not entirely new to me, but I have the same blood boiling reaction every time. The last time that I really had this I worked at a grocery store and was 16/17 and was young for my managerial position, so that was a little more understanding, but it still hurt a bit. Still yet, it is not an excuse to assume that if someone if younger that they do not know how to do their job.


Sorry, had to get it off the chest. The blood is not back down to 140 degrees from 212, so it helped..


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Big Business vs. the American Dream


Everyday when I get into my car to go to work, it is always time for "Business News with David Johnson" on 1080 AM KRLD. I enjoy this segment because I like to know what is going on in the business world, who is doing well, what sector of business is starting to sag, etc. Lately, everyday David has been talking about mergers. It seems like somebody is always buying somebody else. AlCan and ALCOA USA, IHOP and Applebee's, Rupert Murdoch's NewsCorp and The Wall Street Journal and many others.


It is necessary for all companies to be affiliated or stem from a major conglomerate? I was in my closet this morning getting ready for work when I saw one of my boardgames, "Dallas in a Box". It has a Six Flags logo for Six Flags over Texas and under the logo, it said, "A Time Warner amusement park," or something similar. I never knew that. I knew that Six Flags and Time Warner had some sort of relationship with each other because they use Warner Brother's characters in the park. I researched them just now, and found that this was old, but at one time, Six Flags properties were once a Time Warner property (incidentally, I found out that Time Warner has 50% control of one radio station, one that I used to listen to in Houston a long time ago...werid..).


Just think of the companies that you interact with everyday.. Walmart (a major worldwide chain), Target (Nationwide chain), Old Navy (division of Gap Inc., nationwide chain), McDonalds (worldwide chain), UNT Bookstore (division of Follett Corporation, serving in many educational outlets), Voertman's (owned by Nebraska Book Company), KXAS NBC-5 in Dallas (owned by NBC/Universal, major network) all are a part of a major corporation. Approximately 99.5% of the stores that we shop or the companies that we deal with on a daily basis are a part of a major corporation. Nobody goes deals with small family owned stores or local companies.


A part of the "American Dream" is the ability to own your own business and participate in the capitalist society that we live in. It is getting harder and harder to do that these days because of these major chains and major corporations that divert customers and saturate markets. What about the little guy? Does the "American Dream" today still include the hopes of owning a business? It seems that the only industry where the small businessman can prevail over big chains is in the convenience industry including gas stations and mini-marts, but even that gap is closing in. Yes, many are franchised, but with petrol prices rising and profits soaring, it is just a matter of time when the big oil companies will start turning some stores into company owned & operated stores.


Are all of these mergers in the best interest of consumers? It is definitely in the best interest of the purchasing business (most of the time), but what about the merger's effects on consumers? The Federal Trade Commission is the governmental entity that is supposed to keep that in mind when approving or disapproving mergers, but there are still some that slip through. In addition, they do not regulate where stores go to prevent saturation, that is up to the local city/county council, but those guys only care about the tax revenue that the new business will generate.


I know that in our society today, we do not want the government to be watching over what we do with our businesses and some will say that they are too involved as it is. However, there needs to be somebody to protect the consumers from big business. It is not fair to those who are uneducated and also unfair to those hard working Americans who are trying to take part in the so-called "American Dream" and own their own business and put their hand in the capitalist economy. Many who do this do not come out successful and end up closing shop within a year. Here in Denton, there was a burger restaurant called "Big Time Bob's". They served some great hamburgers, but I was informed recently that they were closed. Why did they close? It is not known for sure, but in front of their store was a Chili's, Black Eyed Pea and across the street was a Jack in the Box. Could this have played a part in Bob's demise? It is definitely possible.


What can we do about all of this? Nothing. I would say boycott by not shopping a big box store, but it is virtually impossible. If one store does not have it, the big box does and they are probably the only one in town that does have that one needed item. There are not enough Mom & Pops out there with all of the goods that one may need. Something that we can do is go to a Mom & Pop shop when you can. We all have seen a locally owned business as we drive around town. Next time that you need something that they may offer, stop on in and see what they have. You never know, they may have it. Making a purchase at that store will give you a good feeling knowing that your dollars are staying in the community. Big Boxes say that most of their money goes back into the community, and some of it does through good deeds projects, but most goes back to the corporate office, most of which are outside of Texas. I know for sure that the local entrepreneur will appreciate your purchase. Your purchase can mean the difference between closing and staying open for that store.


Photo Credit : Boston.com

Why do we love reality?



What is it about watching people living their lives do we find fascinating? We live similar lives as them, eat mostly the same foods, encounter the same problems, have friends or ourselves act the same way as these people "picked to live in a house," what is it?



The reason that I did not blog yesterday was that I was totally consumed with this year's newest season of Big Brother. This is my first season to watch Big Brother and I cannot seem to get enough. The production company gives us unlimited access to the "house guests" via video streams online and also limited access through Viacom's Showtime 2 Monday through Friday from 12am - 3 am, which means 9pm - 12pm Big Brother time. With all of this access, you can see much more than what is shown on the regularly scheduled programs on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Because I was not satisfied with Sunday's episode, I went on a search for more video and more content and found a plethora of videos on You tube. Now I am content with hearing stories and knowing what has already happened in the BB house that will be airing on CBS tonight.



It was so weird because I could not pull myself away from it yesterday. Even when I went to lunch, I could not stop thinking about it. I am almost at the end of a really good book and the whole time I was reading it, I was still thinking about what I had just learned from the Big Brother house. Once I had finished watching all of the videos available, I asked several co-workers if they watched BB so I could have somebody to talk to about it, and could not find a soul who did. By the end of the day, I was still wanting more.



The whole thing about this is that I watch other reality programming and have not really acted this way before. I watch the Real World and Road Rules and other similar shows. There is information on the Internet about these shows, but I don't find myself searching all over the Internet for information about their newest seasons. Maybe this is because they are really tight lipped about their new seasons and they are not "as live" as Big Brother, where BB airs a live House guest eviction on Sunday nights.



Overall, do I relate somewhat with the characters? Definitely. And the thing is that if I were ever to meet any of these people, it would be such an awkward encounter because I would know so much about these people and they would know nothing about me. I would ask them specific questions about their life that I learned from the show and they would give me a look of "you don't know me" and be really hesitant to respond. The moral is, we cannot make friends from TV. It is hard to invest time in a show and get to know about people and receive nothing but a passage of time and some entertainment in return. Maybe this is the psychological response to Reality TV.



I guess that it also speaks a lot about the person. If you can watch the show and just live your life ok without watching it one day, then you are ok. There are no. You are not crazy. If you find yourself not being able to function without knowing what happened on the latest episode of your favorite reality show or how a character responded or need that daily dose of your favorite character, then I would think that some life changes would need to be changed. Go outside and play. Go meet up with some friends. Make your own reality show.



With that said, do I need to make some life changes? Yes. Is it going to happen immediately? No. Will it be easy? Definitely not.


Photo Credit : CBS

Friday, July 13, 2007

The countdown for Troy has begun


Troy Dungan, our faithful News 8 weathercaster will be stepping down for good this Wednesday, July 18th. He has been with Channel 8 for 31 years, informing Metroplex viewers about the weather and calming us down in those severe weather events. He has had a great run with the station and other events, including the Santa's Helpers Toy Drive at Christmas time. Channel 8 is giving him a great sendoff with providing us with memories of Troy from the past 31 years each night at 6pm. Pete Delkus, who has been gradually taking over the weather center with the 5pm and 10pm weathercasts will now take over the 6pm as well on Thursday, July 19th.


When I first came into town, I did not watch WFAA much in the beginning. My loyalty was with another station. After a while, I did make the switch from that station to Channel 8 because I could not take the hype from their news department anymore. I came to like the way that Troy presented the weather because it was very clear, slow and precise. There was no fluff, just the essentials. He also showed a lot of confidence in his forecast and relayed that confidence to the viewer so you could actually "Trust Troy" as Channel 8 wanted you too. Troy will be missed in this market. He has provided a great service to this area and he has definitely made his mark.


Troy will still be around. He is contracted to have at least 25 days on-air (most likely when Pete needs a vacation) at Channel 8 and will be helping out with Santa's Helpers. He has mentioned writing a book (not about weather) and maybe putting together some pieces for the station.
You can watch some goodbyes from Troy's on-air co-workers at his website. It is cool to hear some of the stories that his fellow staff have about him "behind the scenes".
Picture from WFAA

Thursday, July 12, 2007

KTBZ and KLDE did a flip too...










Last night as I was thinking about other things to write about, I remembered that I could write about another radio change that I vaguely remember. Back in 2000 in Houston, 2 radio stations swapped frequencies due to a merger between Clear Channel Radio and AMFM, Inc. Both 107.5 KTBZ (The Buzz/same as the Edge) and 94.5 KLDE (Oldies) were owned by Clear Channel and with the merger, the FCC said that Clear Channel had to dump a station. They chose to get rid of 94.5 KLDE and sell it to Cox Radio. Included in the sale was the frequencies. So they started to advertise the swap. I remember commercials all over the radio and on tv. It was pretty cool. Initially, it was said that KTBZ (The Buzz) was going off the air. This caused outrage by the public because there were a lot of new alternative listeners out there and there was/is not another station like it in Houston. Clear Channel even held a press conference about it and started a campaign to "Save the Buzz". It was later leaked that the swap was going to happen and the campaign sizzled away with the Houston heat.

On July 18th, 2000 at 8 pm, the swap happened. Each station was unique with their transfer. KLDE chose as "space" theme where the DJ's took a space ship up the dial from Oldies 94.5 to Oldies 107.5. KTBZ took a different approach and threw a party to celebrate their new frequency. They enlisted the help of the Stone Temple Pilots at the Ariel Theatre (Now Verizon Wireless Theatre) and just played countdown music as they faded away from 107.5 to 94.5. They broadcasted the enitre concert as their introduction to the new frequency.

You can find some cool audio with all of this action at FormatChange. I found these earlier and downloaded them from another website, but this one includes a statement from KTBZ's general manager from the period where they were still campaigning to "Save the Buzz". It is pretty cool and like I said yesterday, it is not everyday when radio station change formats, so take a listen.
Today, things still are the same over at 94.5. The Buzz still lives there and is as strong as ever. Over at 106.9, they have changed things up a little bit and are now 107.5 KHTC, K-Hits playing 60's and 70's music. The old KLDE staff is gone and is now staffed by old friends in Houston radio including Scott Sparks formerly of KRBE (104.1), Dave E Crockett of KKBQ (92.9) and KIKK (95.7) and Paul Christy of KHMX (96.5).

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

More terrorism in the states?



Today on Good Morning America, they reported that the possibility for more terror attack within the United States is possible and that this may be the calm before the storm. The Department of Homeland Secretary Michael Chertoff says that he has a "gut feeling" about possible terrorism in our nations future. There has not been any reports of any specifics, but with the recent events in the UK with the attempted car bombings, they are definitely on alert.

My question is : As a nation, are we ready for another attack? I know that it is not something that you can necessarily prepare for, but unfortunately in this day in age, we have to know that it is possible anywhere. Our police force and military are doing a great job to protect its citizens from terror, but sometimes somethings slip through the cracks. Can we, as citizens, react in a way that will not give into the terrorists desires or can we have an attitude that some of the British have adopted where they just take things day by day and live vigilantly without letting terror run their lives. I know that with the way that our media treats us, there will be some who totally freak out and say that the sky is falling, but can we as a whole react with vigilance and not let it affect our everyday practices?

What do you think? Can we be like the British and not let it affect our daily life or will it be another nationwide attack of daily practices?
Image : Department of Homeland Security