Sunday, November 6, 2011

Everett, Tom, you boys play nice

Two boys are in the back yard playing football. Things get rough. Boy 1 says something mean about Boy 2's mom. Boy 2 yells back something equally bad about Boy 1's sister. Boy 1 throws a punch and the two are rolling around in the dirt.

The boys' mothers come out and break up the fight.

"Now, Everett, you apologize to Tom!"

Everett, with a smirk and not looking a bit sorry, says "Soooorry, Tom."

"Tom, apologize to Everett."

Tom, with fists balled and still shaking with rage, says "Sorry" through gritted teeth.

"Now you boys play nice."


That's basically what happened this week between North Carolina football coach Everett Withers and N.C. State football coach Tom O'Brien leading up to Saturday's rivalry game.

It started when Withers made some comments on Raleigh sports radio Wednesday about N.C. State's academics. Then O'Brien fired back, visibly upset, at a press conference the next day talking about UNC's academic violations.

Should Withers have said what he did? No. Should O'Brien have fought back? Probably not. But you know what? I love it. As a Carolina graduate, I love seeing the Tar Heel coach openly show his dislike for football rival N.C. State. (Notice I said "football rival.") After four years of watching Butch Davis downplay the game and proceed to lose, I'm glad there's some intensity coming into the game.

Then UNC chancellor Holden Thorp had to ruin it by calling and apologizing. N.C. State chancellor Randy Woodson also apologized. C'mon, guys! This is a big rivalry. This is ACC football. It can use all the excitement it can get.

I believe the reason Carolina lost most of those games was because the State players were more excited about the game that the Tar Heels. Not this time. You'd better believe that the Tar Heels and the Wolfpack will both be fired up and ready to play at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

Dust off your britches, boys, because UNC at N.C. State is going to get rough Saturday and it's going to be fun.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Shorthand > scribble

I've been watching a lot of "Mad Men" recently and it's made me realize several things, like everyone cheats on everyone and I would love to work in an office where people wear three-piece suits and drink scotch at 10 a.m.

I also realized something that's relevant to work. There's a scene in Season 3 (or Season 4 .. they're all starting to run together) where Don Draper gets interviewed for an article in Advertising Age. Don and the reporter are at a restaurant and the reporter has a standard steno pad on the table. There's one quick shot that shows him writing on the pad, and it's all in very neat shorthand.

"Man, I wish I knew shorthand," I said to the dog asleep on the couch beside me. "That looks much easier to read."

I think all journalism students should learn shorthand. It's a lost art. I don't know a single reporter my age that uses shorthand (I'm sure they exist, I just don't know any). The closest thing I have is nearly-illegible scribbling that I can make out only if I look at it soon after writing. I'm sure I still miss tons of good quotes doing that way, even if I do get all the information.

Nearly all of my interviews are recorded now and I hate it. It's nice for an interview that I think is going to be especially long or something I need to save for the future, but it gets excessive when I'm recording post-game interviews because I don't trust my handwriting on deadline.

I think it's a mistake to just rely on recorders and technology for every interview. It's something I'm guilty of and am working on changing. It would be nice to have a short class in journalism school, or, if nothing else, make it a solid portion of news writing and reporting classes.

ShorthandI'm all for journalism moving forward with new technology, but knowing how to use the old pen and paper is important. With just a few shorthand classes, maybe I wouldn't be stuck looking at this:

Monday, September 26, 2011

[The Corey Project] One year later

I was thinking in the shower a week ago (where all my good thinking happens) and I realized an important anniversary was coming up. One year ago this past Sunday, I made a snap decision that changed my life

I went to Walmart and bought a scale and got a couple pairs of gym shorts from the Reebok outlet store. I joined the YMCA. I replaced frozen pizzas with the occasional home cooked meal and -- more often -- with frozen Lean Cuisines.

I dove in head first and, surprisingly, stuck with it. I lost weight quickly, made it through Christmas without gaining weight and donated 90 percent of my closet to Goodwill when I moved out this summer. I am regularly running three miles and planning on signing up for my first 5K race sometime this fall or winter. I've gone down two shirt sizes and about seven or eight pant sizes. When I got refitted for a tuxedo for a friends wedding, my jacket size was five sizes smaller than it was in January.

One year ago, I decided to change my lifestyle. I still have the mentality of a fat kid, but I've managed to temper my cravings. I still love burgers, hot dogs, barbecue, tacos and pizza, but I eat them sparingly.

I still don't see a huge difference when I look in the mirror, but I know I am very different. If I forget, friends and family are nice enough to remind me.

I still have a belly and I'm still technically "overweight," but I'm 60 pounds lighter than the obese Corey of September 2010. 
Taken in October, 2010, about a week after I started the Corey Project. I was about 248 pounds.
Sixty pounds. That's a Gracie and a half. Sometimes in the gym I pick up two 30-pound weights just to see how much 60 pounds really is. I don't understand how my body carried that around.

Taken a couple months ago. 
I'm still not done. My optimistic self thought I would be down to 170-ish at this time, but that's a bit unrealistic. I have gotten stuck in a rut with my weight, but that was to be expected. I'm looking for ways to ramp up my workouts and to control my diet more. I would love to get down to 170. Really, I would just love to get rid of the little belly I have left.

What's more important than the numbers, though, is the change I've made in the way I think about food and working out. I like to run (most of the time). I want to eat healthy. If I have a couple bad meals in a week, I feel like crap. I rarely drink sodas and drink a lot more water.

I refuse to let myself go back to what I was a year ago. Let me type that again, just to reinforce it: I refuse to let myself go back to what I was a year ago.

That's what's important.

Friday, September 16, 2011

My editor would kill me if I tweeted

I heard something yesterday that really bothered me.

I was sitting in a session about social media at the Watchdog Journalism Workshop hosted by McClatchy and Queens University of Charlotte and someone asked the inevitable question about scooping themselves on Twitter.

Why, they wondered, would you post breaking news on Twitter when you're not linking back to your site and don't get the pageviews? Isn't the point of Twitter, he said, to drive people to your site?

That part bothered me enough that I actually spoke, something I normally try to avoid in those situations. But what he said next was worse.

"My editor would kill me if I tweeted."

Even the leader of the session was taken aback and said he hoped that wasn't true. Whether it's true or not, the fact that a reporter in 2011 is scared to tweet or use social media is frightening.

First, he is missing the point of social media, which both I and others in the audience tried to drive home: social media is about building a community and interacting. As a reporter, you build your brand and reputation through social media. Even if you're not driving traffic with every tweet, if the community comes to trust you through Twitter they will come to you both for information -- going to your stories online and in the paper -- and with information, leads and story ideas you can use in the future.

If my followers on Twitter trust me as the go-to source for sports news in south Charlotte, when I tweet something about Providence High football, they're probably going to click the link because they trust me and have interacted with me in the past. If all I do is spit out links, they'll likely get bored and move on.

If there is an editor out there who is so against social media, we need to have an intervention. Reporters should be tweeting. All of them, in my opinion.

Good journalists should engage with their audience and start conversations. It's a big part of what we do. That's why I make a point to respond to every tweet, answer every email and return every call. You never know what may come of it.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

[The Corey Project] Finally ... jeez, it took long enough

This post has been way too long in coming.

Summers aren't good for diets. Or workout plans. Or anything healthy, for that matter. That's why it's taken me more than three months to get to this post.

I could blame it on the fact that I'm getting close to my normal weight and it's harder to drop pounds, but I don't think that's it. I've been going to a lot of cookouts and a lot of vacations. That means a lot more eating out and more fermented beverages. It also means less regular workouts and less regular weigh-ins.

The one thing I can say is that I never gained weight. I didn't lose it very quickly, but I didn't gain anything. And finally, on Saturday, I weighed in at 188 pounds, 60.4 pounds less than what I started.


I'm hoping that August to November I will drop weight at a better weight. Last year, September and October were my best months because of the absence of distractions and holidays. This year should be similar. Fewer trips and no big holidays means I can stick to my diet and make sure I hit the gym five to six times a week.

When the weather finally cools down, I'd like to start a real running program with the goal of running in several 5Ks this winter. I'd also like to push my mileage up to the six-mile range, if possible.

Speaking of running, I finally got some real running shoes and it feels like I'm running on air. I don't know how I managed with the other ones for so long. It was a perfect birthday present from Courtney!

The new shoes

A quick fun story: I am a groomsman in a good friend's wedding this weekend and was originally fitted for a tux back in January. I went back two weeks ago to get refitted, just in case. My jacket size was five sizes smaller, going from a 46 to a 41. The waist size changed slightly, too, but the jacket size was by far the most dramatic. If you ever want to feel good about your weight loss, get fitted for a tux twice. The lady was way too impressed and kept asking me how I had done it.

On another note, it figures that after I write a blog post about quitting cable and trying to blog more that I would go without posting for two months. Sorry about that. Summer gets crazy. Vacations (again), changes at work and I just moved into a new apartment a couple weeks ago, which was so eventful that I could write a series of posts about what not to do when moving. I'll try to get back on the wagon.