Monday, March 29, 2004

Mike Hall

Big ups to Mike Hall, who won ESPN's Dream Job. Later that same evening on SportsCenter, he played a trivia contest which determined his starting salary. Starting at $70,000, he answered four easy questions at $5,000 apiece to crank his starting salary up to $90,000. I think a reality show crew should follow him around during his one year on-air contract, just to see if he's up to snuff. It'd be also interesting to see him negotiate his salary next year with an agent.

Mike, if you're googling this, congratulations!

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Picture of Mia

I created a new picture album for my daughter's third birthday party. It was a fun but exhausting day. Mia was really out of it by her bedtime, but she really enjoyed playing with all her cousins and friends.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Dream Job

Yes, I'm a fan of the reality show Dream Job on ESPN (it airs Sunday night at 10 PM EDT). This show is a contest between twelve people trying out for one on-air news anchor job at ESPN. At its core, it's a show about hiring a television newscaster. The cliffhanger element at the end of every episode is that one or two people are eliminated from the contest.

It's very clear that all the participants love sports and all desire to be a sportscaster, but love and desire don't translate to good television without talent, and Dream Job is a talent competition.

Dream Job also reveals that we have certain expectations from our television anchors, and that it is jarring to not have these expectations met. We want our anchors to have a certain look (and nearly all the contestants are telegenic). We want our anchors to have a polished eloquence (i.e. they speak better than we do). We want our anchors to project a certain credibility.

There are only six contestants left: Aaron Levine, Casey Stern, Kelly Milligan, Maggie Haskins, Mike Hall, and Zachariah Selwyn. My money is on Aaron Levine or Kelly Milligan. Aaron is a young kid studying broadcasting at Stanford, whereas Kelly Milligan is a lawyer, trying to do the impossible: break into television at the age of 37. Both of these gentlemen look very convincing as sportscasters.

Six contestants have already been eliminated: Chris Williams, Alvin Williams, Lori Rubinson, Michael Quigley, Chet Anekwe, and my personal favorite: Nick Stevens. Nick is a local product (from Braintree, Massachusetts) and his quirky, wry-delivery worked for me, but alas, not for the judges, who found him too "smug."

When the show ends, I will usually watch the opening segment of the real Sports Center, which immediately follows the show. The contrast between the wanna-be anchors and the "real" anchors is very stunning. The 11 PM Sports Center anchors are invariably highly polished and highly witty. They are on-cut and on-mark. They look great and speak with conviction. If the anchors on Sports Center are a ten on a scale from one to ten, then our contestants on Dream Job are around five or six. It's great fun to see who'll get the shot to become a ten in the future. Check out this show!

Wednesday, March 17, 2004


I don't drink anymore, not like I used to.

In college, the start of my drinking years, I drank beers like soda. By sophomore year, the little refrigerator in my dorm room was jammed with cans of cheap beer, which I consumed as early as lunch. I never felt like I drank too much, but more than once I woke up sick from an evening's excess; more than once I've passed out in some lounge area. I've had grain alcohol, drunk flaming shots, damn near choked while attempting a funnel (only once; maybe twice). I participated in most of the silliness involved with casual but frequent drinking. In my senior year at college, the class gift to the school was a pub and I drank there every night until I graduated. Literally.

Sterling Barrett, one of my post-college roommates, set me straight on drinking. He showed me how to appreciate a quiet drink: gin and tonic, bourbon over ice. He was fond of the Negroni. Even though I didn't enjoy it like he did, I certainly began to enjoy and appreciate this slower drinking.

Tonight I had a Jack Daniels on crushed ice after dinner. I finished it an hour ago, and have been drinking water ever since. I haven't gotten college-drunk since, well, since college. The last drink I had before tonight was probably a few weeks ago, when Jenn and I went out (we had wine).

I sometimes ponder what led me to drink so much back in school. My first attempts to spread my wings while I was away from home? To belong to the "fun crowd?" To escape from my petty miseries? Whatever those impulses were back then, they're gone now. I'm grateful.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Finding Your Voice

Three years ago I started this little BLOG. Sometimes the words flow easily and I can bang out an entry quickly. Other times I get stuck and the whole affair becomes a chore. (I've started an entry a few days ago and I don't know when it will appear on this page.)

At the Beige Tower Webmaster Forums, the subject of BLOGs came up and I made a reference to an essay titled "Finding Your Voice" by Phil Agre.

Phil describes a process by which we (you or I) can find a "public voice". If there's anything my BLOG is about, it's about my own attempts to find and use this voice. I've been doing this experiment for three years running. Let's see how long I can keep this up.

Tuesday, March 9, 2004

A Fundamental Question

I was having one of those inevitable conversations about careers today, when out of the blue floated this point-blank question: "So what is it that you really want to do?"

I distinctly remember pausing. I was struck by the fundamental nature of the question. The answer I came up with then was adequate enough to move the conversation.

But I'm still pondering it. "So what is it that you really want to do?"

Monday, March 1, 2004


For the record, I have not watched The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, which won Best Picture in the 2004 Academy Awards. Nor have I watched any of the other movies in this glorious trilogy, but I do have them both on DVD. I will make a sincere effort to watch these movies this year.