Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ro-cha-cha bound

Posted by Craig on 10/30/2008 0 comments
In just a few hours, I'll be making my first return to Western New York since arriving in Chicago in early September.

Tomorrow night I'll be headed back to visit with my girlfriend in Rochester and (hopefully) my family. I won't have the opportunity to stop in Buffalo, sadly, but my parents and sister are going to try to stop up to Rochester to visit. Hopefully they can make it! :-)

I'm really looking forward to seeing loved ones, but I'm also ecstatic about setting foot in WNY again! I heard they've been getting snow the last few days, and I've been jealous. No snow here. It was 51 degrees today and it's supposed to crack the 60's this weekend.

Also, Bills play on Sunday against the Jets (in Buffalo), and I heard Time Warner will be airing the games again, so I look forward to watching it! It'll be the first one of the year that I'm able to see from start to finish. Then it's back to Chicago on Monday morning, and of course - the election on Tuesday! Can't wait.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Twitter opens up a whole new world

Posted by Craig on 10/27/2008 0 comments
August 23rd, 9:30 p.m. EST. That's when I officially joined Twitter.

I was still in Buffalo at the time, just a few weeks away from arriving in Chicago. I was watching CNN. Rick Sanchez said he wanted reader feedback on Twitter.

It wasn't like I hadn't heard of Twitter before. I knew it was some odd phenomenon with all these characters @ and #, and I could never make out what a Twitter profile actually meant. It looked like a bunch of jibberish.

I was bored, so I figured why not? I signed up for the site and plunged into the new environment. I played around. I did some test tweets. I messaged Rick Sanchez.

Since, it seems I've learned something new about Twitter every day. And it's been such a fun thing to learn on the fly. Tonight I learned a new word: tweetup. It's a real life meeting between people who met on Twitter. There's tons of other little buzz words like that associated with Twitter (some call it Twitter lingo). This presentation shows you some of them.

When it comes down to it, Twitter opens up a whole new world. It opens up this unknown can of worms each time you log on, and you never know where it'll lead you (and when you have a bunch of links all over the place, no wonder that happens). It's a fun phenomenon, especially the fact you can find people like you and with similar interests. If you're not on Twitter yet, I recommend you at least give it a try.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Live blog a success

Posted by Craig on 10/26/2008 0 comments
Thanks to everyone who visited my Chicago Blackhawks-Detroit Red Wings live blog at last night. The ticker for the blog is at 380 reads right now, and I thank every person who was part of that.

It was a great success. I've done some live blogs in the past, but nothing like this, as it was a marathon that went all the way to a shootout.

I did updates every 2-5 minutes throughout the game, but it was sure tough to keep up at the end with the shootout - they go so quick. For that, I stuck to two shooters per post and I think it turned out OK. It was definitely a good time.

It was definitely a lot of fun and I plan on doing more live blogs in the future. Thanks all.

In other news, an update on visitors to my Web site. I now have had visitors from 34 of the 50 states. Still waiting on Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, and Wyoming! Hope to see folks from these states soon. :-)

And I have to give a quick shoutout to the Buffalo Sabres, who are 6-0-2 in their first 8 games. At home against Ottawa tomorrow. Keep it up, guys!

Friday, October 24, 2008

What's this redesign all about?

Posted by Craig on 10/24/2008 0 comments
Friends, family, and colleagues, by now, you've probably noticed some major changes to my website.

Why the redesign?

For one, I never fell in love with my previous home page, which I've tweaked with but has been pretty much the same since my site launched last June. That's needed a facelift for a while, and I finally got around to it.

The flash at the top of my previous home page was cute, but it was kind of weak and amateurish in my opinion. Woo, I can do animation. Big deal. All the important stuff was buried underneath. It was cluttered and sometimes hard to decipher.

So, first and foremost I needed a better navigation system. I think I've found it with the new three-column layout. Boom - the main sections for the site. Boom - links to my blogs. And Boom - all the social networking you could ever want to get in touch with me. I think it's a big improvement.

Also, and something that's really bothered me, the coding was terrible. It was way too complex when it didn't need to be, and if this was something I submitted to my professor for my Web Design class back at Fisher, it would surely get torn apart.

Now, the coding is simple, clean, and easy to follow. I created some fun graphics and gave the home page some real energy, thanks to Illustrator and Photoshop. It was a big facelift and one that I felt was necessary. Looks like I'm in the 21st century now.

Would love to hear feedback and thoughts on the new design! And if anyone finds any broken links, please report them. Could have had some problems switching over to the new site. Thanks!

Old site

New site

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Funny game show moments

Posted by Craig on 10/22/2008 0 comments
Who doesn't like game shows?

I got on a bit of a YouTube tangent and found these hilarious clips from Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, Family Feud, and Millionaire. Let's just say these aren't the brightest contestants in the world... Enjoy!

"Dumb Girl" - And Alex rubs it in at the end!

Wheel of Fortune
Really out of it contestant...

Trying to solve the puzzle

Family Feud
Dumbest family ever?..Fast money round

Stupidest contestant ever? He quits his job, and you can watch what happens next...

Monday, October 20, 2008

A chance to meet Donna Brazile

Posted by Craig on 10/20/2008 0 comments
Well, I didn't officially "meet" her, though we did make eye contact a few times! She saw me nodding once and nodded back.

I could have stuck around to chat with Ms. Brazile, the former campaign manager for Al Gore in 2000 and perhaps best known for her frequent appearances on CNN, but it was getting late and I had to head back downtown. That's cool with me, no hard feelings.

She gave a fascinating address, a riveting speech about the importance of this election - now just 15 days away. I took some notes and here's a few quotes from her this evening:

"I never thought I'd see this day - on the verge of making history."

"This election is not over...This race will tighten, and it will come down to a handful of states."

"We won't have any time to play partisan games" (once someone gets elected) .. "Washington D.C. is broken."

"We have to learn to believe again (in this country)" .. "We have no time to wait."

I sat in the front row - rather, the front pew, as this event was held in a church (St. Vincent de Paul in Lincoln Park). It was an enjoyable experience and I'm glad I went. Here's a few pics I took from my vantage point:

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The beauty of Google Analytics

Posted by Craig on 10/19/2008 0 comments
I can track who's visiting my Web site - when they visited, how they got to the site, and my personal favorite: where they're located in the world.

Funny thing is, a lot of times you have no idea who these people are. I don't recall knowing anyone in Beaverton, Oregon; Southport, North Carolina; Lexington, Kentucky; or Hennepin Co., Minnesota...yet I've had visits from those places. And I'm really curious who visited my site from Seoul, South Korea - could it be my long-lost friend Kyung-Hoon You, who I lost touch with when he went back to Seoul?

So when you visit, anyone, I'd love to hear from you - a comment on my blog, an e-mail message, or a guestbook message - so I know who's visiting and how you found my site!

Anyway, I've had visits from 31 of these United States (click the map to enlarge it):

Here's the states that haven't visited my site yet:
New Hampshire
New Mexico
North Dakota
Rhode Island
South Dakota

I've also had visits from 10 countries in all: Australia, Canada, Croatia, France, Germany, Israel, South Korea, Syria, UK, and USA.

Of the countries, USA is obviously number one in my traffic. Canada is number two, with most results from Ontario, and some others from Alberta and British Columbia.

To those 19 states above, I hope to see you on my site soon! That includes YOUR state Gov. Palin, and YOUR state Sen. Biden.

Thanks to everyone who's been visiting!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A visit to Obama's Illinois Headquarters

Posted by Craig on 10/16/2008 4 comments
In a lot of ways, this is where things all began for Barack Obama: in Chicago. How awesome that I had the opportunity to visit his Illinois Headquarters this evening, right by the Chicago River.

The excitement was booming here, as volunteers and campaign workers enthusiastically spoke about "being a part of history" and the fact that the election is just "19 days away." Wow, it really is.

This headquarters is where all the nitty-gritty grassroots work is done. Phone calls, signing up volunteers, getting out to reach young voters - they spent plenty of time talking about the youth vote -, and raising money and sparking interest in Obama in the online world, Facebook and the like. In addition to its work in Illinois, the headquarters here works intimately with the get-out-to-vote efforts in Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Indiana, and Missouri.

The one difficult part of this trip for me was hearing everyone talking about the primaries over and over and over. Way to open old wounds for this Hillary supporter, who now - after much deliberation - has decided to support Obama. It hurt - seriously, it really did, to hear these people talk of their jubilation on the night of the Iowa caucuses. They all spoke about the experience and in great detail - where they were when they heard the results and what the victory meant for the Obama campaign. Iowa this, Iowa that. It hurt.

But it also offered me a chance to hear a different perspective - a very different one, obviously, one I had never heard or understood completely before. When I really thought about it, it really was a historic occasion, and it was all grass roots, they told us - knocking on doors, just what Sen. Obama believes in, dating back to his days as a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago.

This experience also offered a glimpse into why Obama decided to run in the first place. A friend of his since 1997 and now a part of his national board of directors recited the reasons for us, and I found this part most interesting. A series of events:
(1) his Daley Plaza speech against the Iraq war in 2002, at that point he first pondered the thought of running for the highest office in the land;
(2) when he met a veterans group in Evergreen Park, a group that had suffered missing limbs and so on; "that really moved him";
(3) he saw the major problems this country was facing and thought "let me at least give it a shot;
(4) the influence Abraham Lincoln has had on him, his interest in Lincoln in an historical context and how Lincoln didn't have much experience to be president either;
(5) visiting his grandmother in Hawaii, and she suggesting it was a good idea;
(6) Michelle, and maybe one of the biggest influences on him to finally declare he was running - always a "wise council," and she said "maybe you should do it."

A few more pics from tonight's excursion.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Adobe package has arrived

Posted by Craig on 10/13/2008 0 comments
My Adobe software package is here. It officially arrived Saturday, but I had a good amount of homework this weekend so I haven't done much with it yet.

I did install it though, and it's definitely exciting to now have Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Flash, etc. I should get a ton of use out of it as time goes on - it should come in handy for school in particular and hopefully it'll be useful for my career too.

I reckon I'll have a lot of fun with it too, working on various creative projects.

Friday, October 10, 2008

And Buffalo wins

Posted by Craig on 10/10/2008 0 comments
Thank God Playstation was wrong.

A solid, character 2-1 shootout win over Montreal tonight in the home opener. Reminiscent of two years ago, when the Sabres started the year at HSBC Arena with a shootout win over the Habs, 5-4, minus all the offense. I was at that game!

Of course Buffalo went on to the Eastern Conference Finals that year.

It is only one game, as they say! But definitely a big win tonight over a team many are picking to go to the Stanley Cup Finals.

I was able to watch the game online at They have a free preview weekend and they're streaming games live. Unfortunately, the Sabres next game is Monday afternoon, so I may not get to see any more games (though I'm going to their Dec. 22 game vs. Pitt, and Jan. 14 right here in Chicago). No NHL Network, VS, or anything like that in my cable plan.

I WILL be listening to Buffalo's games on the radio though, and I'll follow them closely online. Let's keep it up and have a good year---Go Sabres!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Prediction: Sabres season opener

Posted by Craig on 10/09/2008 0 comments
I always enjoy playing out big Sabres games just before they take place on my PS2...sort of "predicting" if you will. I set the rosters up so that they match the Game Day rosters, and I go at it.

Historically, I'd say I pick the winning team about 75% of the time whenever I do this, so it's pretty accurate. In fact, I've done playoff games in the past in which I get the score exactly right, even the goal scorers right's scary sometimes.

Of course, with the Sabres season opener against Montreal - in Buffalo - less than 24 hours away, I had to play this game out. Bad news unfortunately, and I hope it's a different result on the ice...


It's a heartbreaker, I'm afraid. Sabres storm the Canadiens in the first period, outshooting them 18-4 in the frame(!), but Carey Price stands on his head and somehow Montreal skates out of the period with a 1-1 hockey game. Derek Roy opens the scoring 8 minutes in and on a nice pass from Thomas Vanek. Guy Latendresse ties it for the Habs with 1:19 to play in the period on a softie Miller should have had!

2nd period. Alex Tanguay pots a power-play goal nine minutes in, immediately making his presence known in his first game with his new team - 2-1 Montreal. But guess who answers? Craig Rivet in his first game as a Sabre - on a breakaway no less - two minutes later! Montreal was caught on a line change and a weird bounce let the Sabres captain get away. He went up high to beat Price. 2-2 after 2.

3rd period. Maxim Afinogenov shows he's back for 08-09 with his first goal of the season! Vanek another nifty pass for another assist. Goal came with 8:59 left in the game. Then the terrible happened. Montreal got a power play with 3 minutes to go in the game. They pulled their goalie and tied it with 1:36 on the clock. Then..even worse..Andrei Kostitsyn on a terrible Tallinder turnover beats Ryan Miller five-hole with 56 seconds left in regulation. Buffalo pulled their goalie but couldn't notch the equalizer. And so, a 4-3 loss. A wasted, quite good Sabres effort, actually, as they outshot Montreal 41-26.

And there you have it. Gee, I really hope that doesn't happen. But I'm real excited for the actual game, just a few hours away, and for 08-09 to finally begin! It's been a long offseason. Let's Go Buffalo!!

Free ice cream

Posted by Craig on 10/09/2008 2 comments
What better way to start your day than a FREE ice cream sandwich?

Two chocolate wafers with vanilla in between, that's how I began today.

Funny thing is I have no idea what it was for. Sponsored by the local colleges with something to do with today being an international ice cream day?? I don't know, but they were being handed out so I got one.

It was good. Can't think of a much better way to start the day, actually.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

New recorder has arrived

Posted by Craig on 10/08/2008 2 comments
My new recorder is here and it works awesome! It's technically "used" and "reconditioned," according to eBay when I bought it, but it looks brand new, feels brand new, and even SMELLS brand new (you know that smell of a new product?). So obviously I'm ecstatic. Even came with a new pair of earphones - I needed that.

Now I will learn from my previous mistake and never format the recorder via a computer. It's done on the item itself, and I now have a manual on how to do that too.

I have one more package set to arrive in the next few days. I purchased the Adobe Creative Suite 3.3 Web Premium package, with a free upgrade to CS4 when it comes out later this month. I've been thinking about getting an Adobe package for a while now and finally decided to. I used my student discount to get it, and got close to 75% off the retail price!

It'll come with programs like Photoshop, Flash, Fireworks, and Dreamweaver, as well as a few others. I'm looking forward to getting into it and learning those programs even better. It'll also come in handy later in my grad school program when I use that sort of software for projects.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Power outage

Posted by Craig on 10/06/2008 0 comments
The power went out at my internship today. It flickered a bunch of times, then it wouldn't come back on at all. It sent me home early, and I have to say I can't complain!

It was really random though because it's such a nice day - 60/65 degrees-ish, sunny, etc. - so I have no clue why the outage. A few blocks around the building I work in seemed to be affected, and the traffic lights were out.

Just a very random development, and I'm going to celebrate by taking a little nap right now. I didn't get much sleep last night, so that'll be good. Today's a relatively quiet night for me. I have a little homework to do, but not too much since I was real productive this weekend! The White Sox and Rays play tonight at 4 p.m. and the Red Sox and Angels are at 7:30 p.m., so I'll probably watch those for a bit later.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A little culture

Posted by Craig on 10/05/2008 2 comments
I went to an Arabic restaurant tonight with my friends Youssef and Ericc on the north side of the city.

Called "Old Jerusalem," it's located in Old Town, about 10-15 minutes north of the city by train. It offers authentic, Middle Eastern food.

Unfortunately, I forgot my camera for this venture, so I don't have any pics to share, but it was a cool experience. The workers were from Lebanon, we learned, and they were very nice. I ordered a dessert called 'baklava' and it was excellent! It was a pastry with honey, walnuts, and i think there was some cinnamon in there too - mm, very tasty. Also had some Arabic bread (pita) with the meal and some water.

The other big news tonight - the Chicago Cubs have been eliminated from the playoffs, losing 3-1 to the L.A. Dodgers just moments ago. This comes after they had their best regular season since 1945 and many - including ESPN - predicted them to win the World Series. The first round letdown has people around here just totally distraught; it's not a nice place to be right now because almost everyone is in a bad mood! I think I'll just hide in my room here and gear up for the Bills game tomorrow...going for 5-0 vs. Arizona!!

With that, off to bed for now. Check back later for more updates.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Out with the old, in with the new

Posted by Craig on 10/03/2008 2 comments
My Olympus WS-100 Digital Voice Recorder has been the source of some stress in the last 48 hours!

I accidentally deleted the entire "hard disk" while trying to format the recorder on my laptop, including those essential files it needs to operate.

The recorder had been acting up for a week or so, saying that I had no memory left even though I deleted all the files. So I knew I needed to format it. The problem was - I just formatted it the way I normally would any other external drive - via my computer.

Bad mistake. After I did so, it wouldn't even turn on! I turned to the official recorder manual and read some dreaded words..."NEVER FORMAT ON A PC." I went to troubleshooting forums and learned the sad truth: I had broken it! I needed to send it back to Olympus for repairs.

Being a journalist, and needing that recorder - because you never know when you might need audio for a project - I wasn't too keen on going through the whole repair process, and paying a fee since my warranty is up. But I also love this model, this type of tape recorder. So I got another one on eBay at about half the retail price, and it should arrive tomorrow.

Issue solved. And maybe I can still get the old one repaired and perhaps sell it to someone new...I did write to Olympus about that. In the future, I know to be careful with formatting now! I'll learn from this mistake!

The source of my troubles the last 48 hours, and a valuable lesson!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Lack of updates

Posted by Craig on 10/01/2008 3 comments
I apologize for the lack of updates lately - I'm going to try to change that.

I'm going to aim for shorter, quicker updates in the future. I started this blog pretty good with that, and not sure what happened from there.

Lately, I've been pretty busy with my new internship, working four days a week. Classes are going well and they've kept me busy, too. Had my first grad school presentation last night, and that went good, so I'm gaining some more confidence as this process goes on. I'll say one thing - it's not easy to go to a new school and practically start a new life. But I think overall, I've been dealing with that pretty well.

I'm really looking forward to the VP debate between Sarah Palin and Joe Biden tomorrow because we're going to watch it in class and write a story about it. And the Cubs play tonight and the whole city has gone crazy with that, so I may tune in.

That's it for now. And while I start updating more, I'd appreciate more comments too! I know people are reading this, thanks to stats from Google Analytics, so why not leave a comment? Be my guest! And if you choose not to, that's OK too. Thanks for stopping by.

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