Finally after all of this time, researchers have confirmed that “texting” may be more beneficial than originally determined.  However, don’t expect the police to stop writing tickets to the dare devils who break the law and text at the wheel.  A recent study suggests that tailored text messages can help overweight and obese teens lose weight.  The study appeared online recently in the journal “Obesity,” claiming that text messages can be a good way to help teens adopt lifestyle changes. Text Messages Offer Weight Loss Advice

After skimming this article I became curious about the types of text messages being sent out to teens.  Apparently the messages offer testimonials, meal and recipe ideas, targeted tips, reflective questions, feedback questions and tailored messages.  I could be wrong, but I thought there were applications already available to smart phones that provide similar weight loss advice.  I can see how text messages may be more accessible and consistent, but nothing guarantees that the individual receiving the message will actually make use of the advice.

Kids are starting to use cell phones at a younger age and researchers believe text messaging can help obese teens lose weight. Photo credit to DJ King.

Throughout the short life I’ve lived, my weight has fluctuated depending on the time of the year, and the activities I’m currently participating in.  In preparation for the summer I spend an increased amount of time at the gym and follow a strict eating regimen.  There are days when I lack motivation to workout, which I’ve discovered is a common excuse for a lot of people.  Why do you think people spend thousands of dollars on personal trainers and gym memberships?  To MOTIVATE themselves.  I have a hard time believing that a simple text message can motivate an individual too permanently adopt lifestyle changes.

I don’t mean to be a “debbie downer,” but it’s just not that easy.  If someone has to rely on a text message for the motivation to work out, something tells me they’re not that serious about losing weight.  An individual must have a burning desire to get in shape because ultimately it is their responsibility to maintain a workout schedule.  I’m not a personal trainer or a fitness expert, but I have experienced how difficult losing weight can be and trust me, it’s hard.

There was a time in my life when I was nearly 30 pounds overweight and my diminished self-confidence was the outcome.  It wasn’t until I couldn’t stand to look at my own reflection in a mirror that I decided it was time for a change.  I committed myself to a new lifestyle and set personal goals in order to help me monitor my progress and achieve overall success.  After three months of hard work and dedication, I lost almost 30 pounds and rejuvenated my self-confidence.  Some days were harder than others, but the motivation to achieve my goals was what fueled my ambition.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is that a text message containing weight loss advice can only do so much.  If an individual lacks the motivation to achieve significant weight loss, then a text message is worthless.  Inspiration must come from within and even though a text message can offer beneficial weight loss advice, a commitment to losing weight must be self driven.

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Victims Of The System

Posted: December 6, 2011 in Uncategorized

Remember this past summer when a bill was passed allowing police departments on Oregon university campuses?  I sure do.  Like many of my fellow classmates at the University of Oregon, I was stunned to hear the bill would permit campus police officers to carry firearms.  After reading about the events that took place on campus at the University of California Davis, I was no longer stunned, but frightened.  A group of UC Davis students were demonstrating their support for the Occupy Movement when a campus police officer decided to take matters into his own hands.  When the students refused to move, the officer proceeded to shower them with pepper spray creating a horrific scene of terror.

Things got even more serious when a video of the incident appeared online, displaying the severe actions of the police officer. (Police officer pepper spraying students) If you watched the video, you can imagine the affect it had on the UC Davis community.  People were outraged to witness college students as victims of violence from one of their own campus police officers.  Not only does the video exhibit brutality, the officer appears to have no restraint from spraying the students.

After watching the incident unravel in the news, I couldn’t help but wonder what might have happened had a similar event taken place on the University of Oregon campus.  It’s hard to predict the same outcome, but considering U of O police officers are now carrying firearms, who knows what could’ve happened.  I seriously doubt anyone would have been shot, but I wouldn’t have expected a UC Davis police officer to act so maliciously either.  Three days after the video went viral, the University announced that two police officers had been put on administrative leave and that there is an ongoing investigation.

The UC Davis campus has been in the public spotlight since a campus police officer pepper sprayed protesting students. Photo credit to Pat Slayton. students

If I were a parent of one of the students pepper sprayed, I’d file a lawsuit immediately and ask for a tuition refund.  The events that took place at UC Davis are a prime example of why campus police officers should NEVER be permitted to carry firearms.  In my opinion, it takes a special type of person to serve as a university police officer because dealing with college kids on a college campus requires a different approach.  You have to have patience or college kids will get the best of you, and clearly that’s what happened at UC Davis.  The officer clearly was frustrated and acted on his emotions, which is exactly what you can’t do.

The situation is unfortunate for everyone, but especially for the University of California Davis.  Universities around the nation can learn from this incident and modify their own procedures to ensure something like this never happens again.  The University of Oregon might want to reconsider allowing campus police officers to carry firearms.  No one wants to be the next YouTube sensation for all the wrong reasons; just ask that UC Davis police officer.

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to talk about basketball and with the NBA lockout officially coming to an end this past Monday I feel the need to address some of the rumors surrounding my beloved Portland Trail Blazers.  If you’re a Blazer fan, Brandon Roy has a special place in your heart.  It’s hard to describe how much Roy has done for the franchise because he has literally done everything right.  Three years ago he accepted his role as the face of the organization and not only did he fulfill all of our expectations, he FLOURISHED under pressure.

Let’s reflect for a moment and look back to the 2004-2005 season when the Blazers went 27-55 and finished 4th in the Northwest division.  In case you forgot, the Blazers employed guys like Darius Miles, Damon Stoudamire and Zach Randolph, all of which played a part in earning the nickname the “Portland Jail Blazers.”  This was a time when Portland fans (including myself) had little to cheer about… other than the season coming to end.

It wasn’t until the 2006-2007 season that Blazer fans actually had something to be excited about when Portland surprisingly had a solid draft.  Somehow the Blazers managed to steal both LaMarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy with the 2nd and 6thpick of 2006 NBA draft.  Roy saw immediate playing time and went on to achieve the NBA rookie of the year award, living up to all of the post college expectations.  The Blazers were transformed into contenders in the western conference and Roy continued to have success, being named to the All-Star team the next 3 seasons.

Brandon Roy was named to the Western Conference All-Star team in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Photo credit to Keith Allison.

As a devoted Trailblazers fan, I was one of many who had been desperately waiting for a player to ignite our franchise and Roy was our savior.  Portland took advantage of having a young talent like Roy and used him to rejuvenate the organization sending a new message to fans: “The future is now.”  The Blazers marketing team saw an opportunity and ran with it.  Billboards and banners were scattered throughout the city featuring Roy and the new statement to fans.

Unfortunately for Roy, last season he was plagued with bad knees and had to sit out nearly half the season.  Now it seems that the Blazers are trying to cut ties with Roy in order for them to save millions of dollars over the next two seasons.  Roy’s knees are supposedly so bad that doctors recommended he stop playing basketball, or pay the price down the road.

I will wrap this up and give you my thoughts on this whole mess.  I was shocked when I heard the Blazers were trying to waive Roy, who has been the face of our franchise for the past four seasons.  I understand the guy has bad knees and that Portland would essentially have to pay a tremendous amount of money to someone who may not have much left in the tank.  That being said, YOU JUST CAN’T DO IT!  There’s no way to predict what Roy is capable of and we all saw that last year during the Dallas series.  If the Blazers cut Brandon Roy before even giving him a chance to prove himself in training camp Portland fans will never forgive the organization, myself included.  I find it truly disrespectful to give up on a Blazer in the way that Portland is giving up on Roy.  Brandon Roy is our Tim Tebow.  Fans love him and they want to see him in a Portland uniform this season.  From a business standpoint, the organization has to do what is best for the future of the franchise.  If cutting Brandon Roy from the squad is truly in the best interest of the team than by all means, go ahead.  However, do so with extreme caution because Blazer fans can’t take much more at this point.

Can someone please tell me what the hell is going on with the NFL?  Some say the game is changing, but I say the game has already changed.  Well, I guess change isn’t always a bad thing, but in this case it is.  Words such as violent, aggressive, fast and competitive are words we associate with NFL football and let’s be honest; that’s why we love it.

Why do you think a mother has such a difficult time allowing her adorable son to sign up for flag football?  My mom broke down the day I told her I wanted to play football because she knew that this was only the beginning.  When you sign up for football as a kid you might not know what you’re getting yourself into, but when you sign up for the NFL the expectations are clear:  Win at all costs.

The integrity of the NFL is defined by the rules and players, which have helped transform football into the most popular sport in the United States.  The great thing about football is that the game is played the same way across all levels, with the exception of a few rules specifically intended for college or professional play.  Recently, the NFL has attempted to respond to the increased amount of injuries taking place on the field by modifying league rules.

The last thing football fans want to see is a player getting carted away or lying on the field motionless.  The safety of NFL players is a problem that needs to be addressed in an appropriate manner and I’m not disputing that.  However, the approach that the NFL has taken in responding to player safety is excessive and unjust.  The league has incorporated a new set of rules that completely contradicts what NFL players are being paid to do.

Essentially this new set of rules describes the difference between a legal/illegal hit, which is so minuscule that a hit must be shown in slow motion to define the difference.  The consequences for a hit termed as “illegal” are not forgiving, and depending on the circumstances can cost a player anywhere from $20,000-$100,000.  Doesn’t sound right does it?  College football players are rewarded for this same style of play, which in essence is what got them into the NFL!  NFL Fines

Roger Goodell is changing the way football is played and the players are worried about the future of the game. Photo credit to Jake Swan.

I get what the NFL is trying to achieve here but I think it’s a sneaky move.  The NFL wants to attract people to a sport based on violence; they just don’t want to promote it.  I imagine the management team responsible for the NFL’s image suggested they adopt a strategy that appears to promote player safety.  That way if a player is every seriously injured, the NFL can say “hey, we covered our ass.”  The attempt made by the NFL to protect players was nothing more than an attempt and in reality, more of a publicity stunt.  Where I come from that’s what we call damage control, or as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell might put it, good PR.

 

There’s No “I” In Team

Posted: November 27, 2011 in Uncategorized

In this week’s “Linky Loves,” I found a lot of truth in the article: “How Creative Thinking Gets Killed by Team Members- 8 Fatal Blows.”Students in the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon have come accustomed to working in groups for projects and assignments.  However, don’t be fooled.  Most students will agree that group projects are not only inconvenient, but are a disadvantage to the individuals who put significantly more effort into their education than their fellow classmates.

The reality is, working in groups is a fact of life and there’s no getting around of it.  Journalism classes at the University of Oregon offer students a preview of what the real world holds and if group projects seem frustrating now, what can one expect in the future?  Apparently it only gets worse. “How Creative Thinking Gets Killed by Team Members – 8 Fatal Blows”

Working in groups is an essential part of running a business and a college education is a preview of what comes next. Photo credit to Toby Bradbury.

I consider myself as friendly and outgoing, but I’ve come to the realization that no matter how good of a person you are, working in groups can be an eye opening and frustrating experience.  One of the most difficult tasks in working in groups is establishing a mutual agreement amongst team members.  Imagine the complexity in trying to incorporate eight different opinions on one single task.  Hell, I have a hard enough time trying to agree with my roommates on what we should eat for dinner.

Most of the time working in groups requires cooperation amongst strangers, or people we hardly know.  It’s important to respect each team member’s opinion, which can be tricky when two people disagree.  Imagine having to reject a stranger’s idea without hurting their feelings, or causing tension amongst the group.  For example, there have been times when I wanted to voice my opinion, yet I was hesitant to share my ideas because I didn’t want my group to reject them.

Differences in opinion amongst team members is as tricky as scheduling work sessions that the entire group can attend.  Students have different classes throughout the day, which makes it complicated to accommodate everyone’s schedules.  This isn’t necessarily a problem when the entire group is employed by the same company, but when referring to a student group project time management can be stressful and frustrating to everyone.

So the question remains:  Do group projects restrain individuals from creative thinking and planning?  I would argue, yes.  I would much rather rely on my own responsibilities than put faith in one of my team members to complete what they promised they would.  When my grade is determined by the amount of effort another individual is willing to put in to a group project, it’s hard for me to endorse working in groups.  I’ve been the victim of this scenario and I assure you it’s not a pleasant experience.

Look Good. Feel Good. Play Good.

Posted: November 27, 2011 in Uncategorized

Every year at the beginning of the football season, Duck fans anxiously wait to see the years’ latest fashion statement.  The first game of the season against LSU Oregon fans were introduced to a fresh new set of uniforms that resembled a similar design to the Ducks 2011 national championship jerseys.  The Ducks uniforms are so innovative that a few years ago Sports Illustrated ran a feature slide-show containing the large variety of Oregon’s uniform combinations.  18-slide “uniform” feature on Sports Illustrated.com.

 

The Oregon Ducks football program has revolutionized uniforms in college football.

Oregon has become the trend-setter in college sports apparel.  Teams throughout the nation are constantly turning to Oregon for the latest fads, often finding themselves inspired to reconsider their own appearance.  Ask any current or former athlete; most will confirm that if you look good, you feel good, you play good.  Oregon’s success as a top tier athletic program is closely related to the exceptional uniforms and athletic gear provided to the athletes who decide to quack and become a Duck.

Let’s be honest:  How else could Oregon continue to bring top recruits around the nation to little ol’ Eugene without some sort of incentive?  They couldn’t.  Darron Thomas, Eddie Pleasant, and former quarterback Jeremiah Masoli had a hand in developing the most recent “winged” uniforms.  Nike Vice President for Design and Special Projects Tinker Hatfield said that the ability to help design new uniforms with Nike is a selling point used in Oregon’s recruiting efforts.  It’s working.  Rivals may make fun of our uniform ADD, but while they’re laughing, we keep reeling in top flight recruits … and winning!

The support that the athletic program receives from Nike has proven to be a substantial contributor in turning Oregon athletics into a national powerhouse.  Phil Knight should be known as “Santa Claus” throughout Eugene.  Where would Oregon be without Uncle Phil?  Since making the Rose Bowl in 1917 and 1920, the Ducks rarely found their way into bowl games until 1989.  Coincidence?  I think not.

However, the University of Oregon is not the only one benefiting from the revolutionized uniforms.  Nike has been able to use the Oregon Ducks football program to market new products and test equipment that hasn’t even been released to the public.  In the last few years, Ducks football has received more publicity than ever before in the history of Oregon athletics.  Some people will argue this is the outcome of winning, which the football team has been doing a lot of lately.  Yet I encourage you to check the top ten teams in the latest BCS rankings and notice which brand name the teams are sporting.  Not one of the teams is wearing anything other than Nike.  Realistically, uniforms and equipment can only do so much, but Nike has me — and nearly everyone else — convinced.

The Ducks football team is just as much defined by their style of play, as they are by their style of uniforms.    Call me crazy, but it’s hard to dismiss the influence Nike has had on the Oregon Ducks football program.  The Ducks may very well be the only team in the NCAA that has a marketing team supporting their cause and here I thought we were dealing with college athletics.  Oh wait, we are.  As for now, may the saying remain true:  You look good, you feel good, you play good.

 

It’s hard to criticize advice when you’re asking for it.  In this case I wasn’t, so I’m using that as my excuse to be a tad bit obnoxious and maybe even snotty.  I just spilled my milk if you were wondering why my mood is off.  I love my milk.  Every so often I see things on the internet that leave me asking why someone would waste their time writing that.  I’m sure I’m guilty of doing the same at one point or another; actually I know I am.  A few years ago one of the first blog posts I ever wrote had something to do with me walking my dog.  At the time I thought it was a good read, until I realized it wasn’t.

I guess I’m just annoyed of the typical blog posts titled “10 things you need to know,” followed by such and such.  Why not try something like “20 minus 10, things you need to know” followed by such and such.  I don’t like that either, but at least it’s somewhat creative.  I’m referring to an article I read recently about what I should have learned in college, but apparently didn’t.  It’s possible my spilled milk is driving my unfavorable judgment towards this article, which is why I’m still debating if I should actually post this.  Eh, why not?

Now that I think about it maybe the title of the post intended to annoy me, which in reality is what inspired me to read it:“What you should have learned in college (but probably didn’t).”  Doesn’t that sound like a challenge?  How the hell do you know what I learned in college? With that being said I probably wouldn’t have read a post titled “What you should have learned in college,” so the author has me there.  However, if a writer is going to use a title that challenges readers you would expect the content of the post to be pretty damn convincing.  Do I look convinced?

As I sipped my milk I clicked on the post to see what I didn’t learn in college.  According to the article there are five essential skills my education failed to provide me with:  Phone etiquette, multitasking, writing, writing and grammar. Here’s the link to the article if I’m not making sense and read numbers three & four to see why I listed writing twice.  “What you should have learned in college (but probably didn’t)”

A college lecture hall has an atmosphere and a vibe that can only be described through expierence. Photo credit to David Gandy.

I won’t waste your time talking about the first two things the author claims most of us didn’t learn in college because it’s true.  Although I’m sure some people could benefit from a common sense course, I can’t think of a college that offers one.  Call me crazy, but I’m guessing most college graduates can hold a professional conversation on that thing they call a telephone.  Let’s focus on the other things we didn’t learn.

The third suggestion made by the author is to use concise, simple and clear writing.  Directly after, the fourth suggestion says to be concise and to the point.  Wait, what?  Oh, and let’s not forget about the fifth suggestion, which emphasizes the importance of proper grammar.  Wouldn’t most people consider grammar as an aspect of writing?  Then again, I’m not exactly a credible source since I didn’t learn any of these things in college.  I’m getting bored writing about this so I’ll wrap things up.

The great (or bad) thing about blogs is that anyone can have one and write about whatever they so desire.  In addition, we all have our own opinions and to say that mine is more worthy than someone else’s would be arrogant and false.  I commend the author for striving to help others achieve success, but I strongly believe the skills you obtain from a four year college education cannot be quantified.  The amount of knowledge you receive from class is only half of what you learn from the overall college experience.  Now that I’ve either irritated you or put you to sleep, it’s time for me to get another glass of milk.

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