My College Experience

Four years ago I made one of the best decisions of my life. I’ve made a lot of stupid decisions in my day, but let me tell you, choosing Oswego is one I will never regret. Two weeks after graduating, I face the reality of stepping out into the real world without a real plan, something that scares the living shit out of me, and I’m looking back at everything I’ve experienced at this school. The good, the bad, the weird, and I wouldn’t trade any of it for anything. The winds may be fierce, the snow may be powerful and the D Bus may have one of the most grammatically incorrect Facebook pages I’ve ever fucking seen, but its all part of the experience. And I had an amazing one.

So why am I writing this now? For starters, I like to write. And sometimes I like to be a little sappy. I also like to reflect on my experiences and how they’ve shaped me into who I am today. Combining all of those things, it just felt right. It’s a love letter to my time at Oswego, and maybe an apology to some (we’ll see once I get writing). It also gives me something to do during this post-grad life, which includes applying to jobs, trying desperately to hang out with the few friends you still have left at home and overall just doing your best to keep sane.

Okay, maybe that’s an over exaggeration. I’ve been doing okay. And maybe, just maybe, this will help someone entering their senior, or even freshman, year who doesn’t have a fucking clue about what they want in life, or someone like me who just graduated who feels the same. And maybe your surrounded by peers who have it all figured out and you’re just sitting there like “wow, I graduate in a year/just graduated, what the hell am I doing with my life?” And you know what? That’s just fine. You don’t need to have already accepted a job to be a success after college. As Nicki Minaj would say, we’re still young, and so is the night. Or something like that.

I came to Oswego after being dead set on going to Le Moyne College. After a visit to Oz, I decided it was the better choice, both financially (not that it really matters because I’M STILL GOING TO BE STUCK IN DEBT FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE) and socially. I knew a few people who were already at Oswego, and by my town’s standards, a few people means roughly 65 percent of the population. I didn’t know whether I would ever see them, but it felt like a safety net, knowing others from my small town made it at this place. This would be the first of many reminders that sometimes good things just magically land in your lap, whether you want to call those things luck or a blessing or fate or what have you is up to you.

I ended up falling into a pretty prime friend group early on freshman year, something not a lot of freshman get the chance to say. They would go on to be some of the best friends I’ve ever had, people I’ll be sure not to lose touch with until I’m old and can’t remember their names anymore. I was a pretty awkward guy freshman year, so I’m grateful. But anyone who says they’re not awkward their freshman year of college is FUCKING LYING TO YOU. Yeah, there may be the guys who seem too cool for school who seem to just have the right amount of “swag” and that base-bumping playlist they want the entire residence hall to hear, but they still wear a fucking snapback.

I would go on to make a lot of different experiences and meet a lot of different people that would end up helping to define the person I am or want to be. If there’s anything I learned in my four years at Oswego, it’s that with every bad thing comes something good. And while it may be hard to remember that in these post-grad months, it’s something I always try to remind myself. While I had my fair share of accomplishments and unforgettable moments, there were also disappointments. The last 9 months have been an up-and-down roller coaster ride. It will continue to be one until I figure out what I want to do with my life in these next couple months.

In one of the final episodes of “Mad Men,” Don Draper is told that there are “three women in every man’s life” (this wouldn’t have felt complete without a “Mad Men” reference, and if you’ve never watched it then what’s wrong with you?) Indeed, a big part of my college career was shaped by the women in my life. I had my ups and plenty of downs, and I’m still learning what it all means. As far as the downs, most of it was my fault, some of it not. Not everything worked out the way I would have hoped, but in the end, I guess that’s part of the experience. I’m lucky to have had a college sweet heart, or the one that got away, or any of the other relationships I experienced for better or for worse.

As for the other experiences, I wouldn’t trade them for the world. I like to think I was involved on campus as much as I would have liked. I became an RA my junior year and as far as great decisions go, it’s up there with the best of them. People can poke fun at or hate on ResLife all they want, but the fact of the matter is that I was doing something that felt rewarding and I experienced people and moments I never would have had I not applied for the job. CAY-WHAT!

However, as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end (which I don’t think is entirely true but whatever). During the spring semester I received an internship with Indiewire, one of the most well respected online sources for film and TV. It was bittersweet to leave behind Oswego, Cayuga, my RA position, the Oswegonian, everything, during my last semester as an undergrad. But it was an opportunity I couldn’t really pass up. During that time, I experienced anxiety I’d never really experienced before. It was a rough time making the transition but I think, like everything else, it was an experience that helped shape me into who I am this very moment.

In all, I think that’s the point of this little essay or whatever you’d like to call it. I’ve always believed that people should always be changing, that they ARE always changing. I once heard a quote that said “the worse thing that anyone can tell you is ‘you haven’t changed.’” I don’t believe I’m the same person I was nearly three years ago when I started dating my first college girlfriend. I don’t think I’m the same person I was before I became an RA. I don’t think I’m the same person I was before I got my internship. Every experience has helped form me into the person I am, and while it may not appear to be that way, I think it’s true.

As I sit here typing this, I’m thinking back to the final couple nights I had in Oswego, the night before and the night after graduation. A friend of mine once said “it’s not Oswego that we miss, it’s the people and the experiences we had with them while there.” So those last two nights, I didn’t go to the bars. I didn’t go to Bevs, I didn’t go to the Bluffs or what have you. I stayed in and had one final hang out session with my friends. I got wasted, but that’s besides the point. When all is said and done, Bevs, Old City, the Bluffs, Aztecas, everything will still be there when we’re gone. But our friends won’t be. And my friends have helped me realize a lot of what I’m typing right now.

With that said, I have a lot of decisions to make within the next couple months. I got into a grad program at Oswego and could easily go back if that’s what I decide. Or I can continue to job search if I don’t have one by then. And while I’m terrified at the uncertainty (I’ve never been one to plan, but in this case, it would be nice to know), it’s nice having that option there. Whatever happens, I’m sure it’ll be for the best. I’ve come to believe maybe some things do happen for a reason. Maybe relationships are meant to start, and end, to simply realize we aren’t right for each other. Maybe I’m meant to go back to Oswego. Or maybe a job will pop up and there’s where my destiny lies. Who knows. But it sure is exciting. Horrifying. But exciting all the same. There will still be ups. There will still be downs. But it will all be an experience.

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America’s Favorite National Pastime: Hating Ann Coulter

Before I begin, let me remind my loyal seven readers that this is not a sports blog but an entertainment blog (which, to be fair, are sports not entertainment for those watching? But I digress). For the rest of you who may be reading this blog for the first time, I do not write about sports. I watch sports. I enjoy doing sporty things. But as someone who majors in Broadcasting and knows very talented people who are “sports guys,” I must clarify that I am not a “sports guy.” With that said, I read something tonight that kind of angered me. I must admit, I probably sound a little bias as a quote-unquote “liberal,” but let me be absolutely clear: I’m not writing this as a liberal. I’m writing it as someone who just cannot stand outright closed-mindedness (this, turns out, is a word…moving on). People have their opinions, I get that. Everyone knows I have mine. But for the love of God, can we just find a way to stop Ann Coulter from having opinions?

Yesterday, Coulter posted a column called American’s Favorite Pastime: Hating Soccer ( http://www.anncoulter.com/columns/2014-06-25.html) and now it’s making its social media rounds. At the time of writing this, Coulter was the top trend on Facebook, and I’m sure Twitter will have at it, too. In the column, to sum things up, Coulter basically writes about how much women suck at sports, how much liberals suck at everything, and about how much she herself sucks at finding joy in anything. But I’m not writing this to attack Ann Coulter. It’s merely a reaction post, and if it seems like I’m attacking Ann Coulter, I’m sorry.

(1) Yes, individual achievement does play a big part in sports. Why else would we select MVPs? The ego is both a splendid and treacherous thing, and it can often get in the way or drive someone to victory. Egos are sometimes just as big a tool to athletes as talent, motivation and hard-work, and some things exist to reward those egos. But since when does “individual achievement” make a sport a sport? Hell, we’re still trying to figure out whether cheerleading is a fucking sport and they have to trust others to literally throw them in the air and make sure they don’t hit the floor in a mess of blood and broken bones.

If Coulter wants individual achievement, she can find it in Landon Donovan in the 2010 World Cup. She can find it in Cristiano Ronaldo, who basically advanced the US into the final 16 this year’s World Cup, and he plays for Portugal. Individual achievements in sports give fans a posterboy they can look up to and a topic at the water cooler (i.e. Twitter). They drive the sportscasts-your Lebrons and your Mannings. But at the end of the day, nearly two weeks after the Spurs beat the Heat in game 5 of the NBA finals, no one is saying that Lebron lost and Tim Duncan won . The Heat lost and Spurs won.

Individual achievement plays a large role in sports. But it doesn’t make a sport.

(2) If a woman wanted to play American football, the school would probably have to let her. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a school with a woman’s football team. The majority of the time, if a woman wants to play football in this country, she’s playing with men. What was that about co-ed sports? I wonder if Coulter even stopped to think about the fact that football is the only sport, that comes to mind, that doesn’t have male and female teams. Probably because she didn’t even think about the prospect of a woman wanting to play football in a school setting. But that’s not the point. The point is that Coulter thinks that girls and boys can’t even play a sport together when they’re still pissing their pants.

(3 & 4) “t’s a lot harder to score when a half-dozen 300-pound bruisers are trying to crush you” says Coulter, referring to American football. She seems to have this idea in mind that a sport has to physically hurt you in order for it to count. Blood has to be spilled. While that makes it more exciting, and while I love football as much as the next guy (it’s actually my favorite sport, whodathunkit), that’s not the case. Unless a golfer hits someone in the face with a club, people are rarely getting hurt in golf. But that’s not to say injuries don’t happen in soccer. It’s a contact sport, and while people aren’t getting pummeled to the ground because that’s the name of the game, serious injuries do happen.

And if a sport isn’t hurting you, it has to at least humiliate you. I hope Coulter doesn’t have children.

(5) No, you can’t use your hands in soccer, “eliminating the danger of having to catch a fly ball.” Wow, thanks for clarifying that Ann. That’s the whole point of the game. A sport is supposed to challenge the body (all those injuries, remember, Ann?), and what better way to challenge oneself than to take away their ability to use their hands. I feel like professional baseball players don’t really find catching balls all that “dangerous” unless it was with bare hands. But soccer players still have to let a ball the size of their face bounce off their head.

Before I move on, please note I’m not trying to eliminate the strengths of any particular sport like Ann is. I can acknowledge that catching a baseball can still be dangerous even in MLB. But I don’t think it’s a fair point on Coulter’s side.

(6) Girls and Beyonce are fucking fantastic.

Anyway, people don’t have to endlessly remind us why American football is exciting because it originated here. There is an immediate conflict between American football and soccer because the rest of the world calls our soccer football. And a lot of Americans feel the need to be offended by that for some reason. In all honesty, American football is to a capacity “more exciting” but that shouldn’t take away from soccer.

(7) I think Ann Coulter trying to sound like the voice of African Americans speaks for itself.

(8) Why does she keep equating “liking soccer” to “being liberal?”

(9) I’m not going to pretend like I’m an expert on whether soccer is “catching on” or not, but if social media is any indication, it does seem to be impacting a large population of Americans. Whether that will stick or not after the World Cup remains to be seen. I can admit I don’t watch soccer any other time, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t enjoy the Cup. It’s like the Olympics–when else do you watch gymnastics or volley ball or ice skating unless you’re a die hard fan? Never. But it’s the Olympics, so we watch it. And this is the World Cup, and that means being a part of something much bigger than just a puny debate over whether soccer is “exciting” or not. It’s about rooting for your country in a sport that we don’t by any means dominate in, but this Cup we can say we’re still in it.

So what is the point of all this? Soccer and football don’t need to be at odds with each other just because one is “foreign;” liking soccer doesn’t make you a liberal pyscho and it doesn’t mean the end of mankind if America does like soccer, even if only for a short time; Ann Coulter will devour your children; and there’s nothing wrong with rooting for your country and experiencing something bigger than oneself. I’m sure a conservative like Ann Coulter can at least respect that if nothing else.

2014 Oscar Predictions

BEST PICTURE: 12 Years A Slave If you thought last year’s race was unpredictable, think again. It was pretty certain that despite its snub of a best director nomination for Ben Affleck, that “Argo” was going to win best picture. This year, though, there are still categories that could be anyone’s for the taking. And while I’m very certain that “12 Years” will win the big award come Sunday night, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t still have competition. “Gravity” is hot on its heels…

Could Win: Gravity; Should Win: 12 Years A Slave (even though I won’t be dissatisfied if Gravity takes it)

BEST DIRECTOR: Alfonso Cuaron …but it has a better chance of winning Best Director than picture. One will find similarities in this year’s winners, primarily in the fact that the director of the visual spectacle (last year it was Ang Lee’s “Life of Pi”) will win over the director of the epic historical drama (this year sees Steve McQueen with “12 Years;” last year we had Spielberg’s “Lincoln”). Cuaron is more than deserving, though; “Gravity” has to be seen to be believed.

Could Win: Steve McQueen; Should Win: Alfonso Cuaron

BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE: Matthew McConoughey McConoughey has completely transformed his career within just a year. We saw him briefly in “The Wolf of Wall Street” and even then he stole every scene he was in. But the real stand-outs are his turns in “Dallas Buyers Club” and HBO’s “True Detective.” Is it possible that he could win both an Oscar and Emmy in the same year? Yes, you best believe it is. 

Could Win: Chiwetal Ejiofor; Should Win: Leonardo DiCaprio (if only to stop the memes)

BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE: Cate Blanchett She’s won pretty much every award there is to win at this point. Not even the Woody Allen controversy will stop her from taking home her second Oscar Sunday night (she won for 2004’s “The Aviator”). This is a no-brainer in a contest that is lacking them.

Should Have Been Nominated: Emma Thompson

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Jared Leto It might be strange to see “Dallas Buyers Club” take home two Acting awards Sunday night even though it doesn’t have any chance of winning Best Picture, but it will happen. 

Could Win: Barkhad Abdi; Should Win: Michael Fassbender

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Lupita Nyong’o And here we are. The most competitive race of the year. Will the beloved Jennifer Lawrence take home her second Oscar in a row, or will the break-out star Lupita Nyong’o steal it away? It’s rare for an actor to win two years in a row, but it’s also rare for one to win both the BAFTA and Globe and not win the Oscar. Lawrence falls into both categories. However, Lupita won the SAG and the Critic’s Choice award, and in such a competitive race, I think those mean more than a British award and the Oscar’s little brother. 

Could Win: Jennifer Lawrence; Should Win: Lupita Nyong’o

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Her Another highly competitive category, it comes down to “American Hustle” and “Her.” Will the Academy finally reward David O’Russell or will the creative “Her” take it home? “Her” won the WGA and the Globe, and while “Hustle” may have won the BAFTA, “Her” wasn’t nominated. I think “Her” edges it out, if only slightly. In fact, I feel “Hustle” has been slightly losing its edge as of late. 

Could Win: American Hustle; Should Win: Her

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: 12 Years A Slave If “12 Years” is Best Picture bound, then it will have to win the adapted screenplay award. If anything else wins this Sunday night, then the game will change dramatically, and I will be biting my nails in anticipation for what will take home Best Pic.

Best Animated Feature: Frozen

Best Foreign Language Film: The Great Beauty

Best Documentary Feature: 20 Feet From Stardom

Best Cinematography: Gravity

Best Costume Design: American Hustle

Best Film Editing: Captain Phillips

Best Make-Up and Hairstyling: Dallas Buyers Club

Best Original Score: Gravity

Best Original Song: “Let It Go”

Best Production Design: The Great Gatsby

Best Sound Editing: Gravity

Best Sound Mixing: Gravity

Best Visual Effects: Gravity

Best Documentary Short: The Lady In Number 6

Best Live Action Short: The Voorman Problem

Best Animated Short: Get A Horse

2014 Oscar Nominations Predictions

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Oscar nominations are announced tomorrow morning. Here’s the names I think we’ll be hearing. Keep in mind, this is not an indication of my “best of the year” list (I still have yet to see some of these movies) nor is it a list of winner predictions. That will come later. 

BEST PICTURE:  12 Years a Slave, Gravity, American Hustle, Wolf of Wall Street, Captain Phillips, Nebraska, Inside Llewyn Davis, Dallas Buyers Club, Philomena; Possible alternates: Her, Saving Mr. Banks, Blue Jasmine

Like last year, I see the Academy only going with 9 candidates this year when there could easily be the full 10. I predict Her and Saving Mr. Banks will be snubbed, but those are also the two I see having the best chance of proving me wrong. 

BEST DIRECTOR: Steve McQueen (12 Years A Slave), Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity), David O’Russell (American Hustle), Martin Scorcese (Wolf of Wall Street), Alexander Payne {Nebraska); Possible alternates: Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips), Spike Jonze (Her), the Coen Bros. (Inside Llewyn Davis)

Again, Her has a chance of sneaking in there, but I see Jonze having a better shot at the original screenplay category than directing. Last year’s director noms were quite surprising, but the only surprise I’m predicting this year is Payne for Nebraska. If anyone has a shot of proving me wrong, it’s Greengrass and the Coens. 

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BEST ACTOR: Chewetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave), Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club), Leonardo DiCaprio (Wolf of Wall Street), Bruce Dern (Nebraska), Robert Redford (All Is Lost); Possible alternates: Tom Hanks (Captain Phillips), Joequin Phoenix (Her), Christian Bale (American Hustle), Forrest Whittacker (Lee Daniels’ The Butler)

By far the hardest category to call this year. It’s both frustrating and extremely exciting. So much talent this year boiled down to five nominees. Ejiofor, DiCaprio, McConaughey, Dern, and Redford are my five, and it was extremely difficult to leave Hanks out of the picture.

BEST ACTRESS: Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine), Amy Adams (American Hustle), Sandra Bullock (Gravity), Judi Dench (Philomena), Emma Thompson (Saving Mr. Banks); Possible alternates: Meryl Streep (August: Osage County)

Lead actress is more solid than lead actor this year, with Streep being the only possible upset that I can see. But even that’s a long shot.

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BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club), Michael Fassbender (12 Years A Slave), Bradley Cooper (American Hustle), Jonah Hill (Wolf of Wall Street), Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips); Possible alternates: Daniel Bruhl (Rush), Will Forte (Nebraska), Collin Farrell (Saving Mr. Banks)

I don’t see my five being in jeopardy. Bruhl is only a possibility because of the Globe nom and Farrell is a personal favorite, likely not getting any recognition come tomorrow morning. 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave), Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle), June Squibb (Philomena), Julia Roberts (August: Osage County), Margot Robbie (Wolf of Wall Street); Possible alternates: Oprah Winfrey (Lee Daniels’ The Butler), Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine)

Okay, so Robbie is a HUGE dark horse but she was great in Wolf. I get one really big surprise, and that’s mine. 

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BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: 12 Years a Slave, Wolf of Wall Street, Captain Phillips, Philomena, Before Midnight; Possible alternates: August: Osage County, The Spectacular Now, 

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Her, American Hustle, Blue Jasmine, Nebraska, Inside Llewyn Davis; Possible alternates: Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity

Not a lot of room for error in the writing categories this year, but we’ll see if Dallas Buyers Club can possibly sneak in there.

Well, that does it. Did you think I was going to do every award? I took some chances with some picks but we’ll see if it paid off tomorrow morning.