For the last few weeks, I have spent some quality time with an extraordinary group of gentlemen.
The Oklahoma City Royals are a group of 75+ senior softball players that get together every Tuesday night to fellowship and play the sport they love.
Sports intern Tariq Lee and I worked on this story together. I produced a slideshow separate from his story and we somehow came out at the end of it with a great package that is featured in the sports section of the Oklahoman and on its very own nDepth page on NewsOK.com.
One of the most profound moments I witnessed while doing this project was when one of the guys pulled out a piece of paper with the name of a condition he had been diagnosed with. He had to write it down so he could remember what it was called and tell the other guys about it.
The condition was polymyalgia rheumatica, a syndrome with pain or stiffness, usually in the neck, shoulders, and hips.
I was inspired by the positive outlook of the players. I won’t ruin any more of the story for you, I’ll just say that I hope I’m this cool when and if I turn 80-years-old.
Since this got removed from my actual story in print, I will say it here.
Noodling is basically one big ‘That’s What She Said” Joke.
Ah! Ok, I can breathe now.
Seriously though, when I got a hold of the noodlers that fellow intern Zach Gray and I would be following around, I couldn’t even imagine what would be in store for us for the weekend. I’ve been to the Okie Noodling Tournament in Paul’s Valley before, but to now be in cahoots with two guys who are allowing us to go watch the process of catching these river (and lake) monsters, I was more than just your average excited.
Zach and I met Tell and Chris in the parking lot of Mazzio’s Pizza in Stillwater, and we set off toward lake McMurtry in Payne County. Arriving just before 7 p.m., which was the start of the actual alloted time for the tournament, Zach and I climbed into the boat set off with Tell across the lake just as the sun was starting to set.
The actual process of getting in the water with thousands of dollars in camera equipment was much, much trickier.
With no water protective housing to aid us except for a camera that wasn’t producing the pictures Zach wanted, we both used the strategy of keeping one hand dry and praying to God that the tricky lakes of Oklahoma didn’t surprise us with some massive drop off.
Only once did things get hairy and that happened when I tripped over a fishing line that was left from a previous fool… but thankfully I had four feet of monopod to hoist the camera into the air while I took in too large of a gulp of tasty Canadian River.
No fish were caught the first night we went out, which was a real shame as the light was beautiful and the water felt great. Upon our return to shore, we struck up a deal with Tell that we would meet him and Chris the next morning in the hopes that we would find an unlucky fish or two along the Canadian River.
The whole experience was amazing and while I was riding in the boat under a setting sun with way too many people in it, all I could think about was how lucky I am to be in this funny profession of journalism where I can go and hang with guys that just like to have a good time and stick their hands in holes so catfish will bite them… seriously they want to do this!
Noodle on noodlers.
Since starting at the Oklahoman one month ago, I have been busy tackling all sorts of stories.
From writing about the documentary made about imprisoned soldier Michael Behenna, to covering the deadCENTER film festival and seeing the crazy awesome Troll Hunter, to traveling to Lone Wolf, Oklahoma and becoming engulfed in the artistic goodness of Quartz Mountain.
But this week especially, the workload has been turned up and the stories are flowing in. I have been writing or working on eight stories this week and I’m absolutely loving every one of them.
One of the week’s highlight was attending the OKC Summer Classic Dog Show on Thursday and getting to interview people who are completely obsessed with their pooch. You have never heard the word bitch used so casually as you do at a dog show.
Slightly unrelated to work but still happened this week was my experience getting to see Doug Benson at the OKC performing arts center. He and Graham Elwood were so stinking funny and the whole atmosphere was pretty spectacular, especially Elwood’s rendition of Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA.”
I don’t get much of a break for the Fourth of July, but I’m going to make every attempt to blow something up and watch Independence Day. Because nothing says I love America more than Will Smith punching aliens in the dome.
WELCOME TO ERF!!!
Happy Fourth everyone!
Stillwater’s Other Lives apparently impressed Mates of State when they opened for the group during a show in Norman this past spring.
Other Lives is set to open nine shows for the San Francisco native Mates of State, starting with a show in Columbus, Ohio in October.
For a full list of shows with Mates of State, click here.
Those shows will come after the band plays six shows with Indie Folker Bon Iver in September.
Plus, the band made perhaps one of the greatest music videos in the history of music videos that take place in space… (Probably only edged out by Michael Jackson’s Scream video. You just can’t beat Pong in space.)
I first cracked open my copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone on a lazy summer day in 1999. I had just recently graduated from West Nichols Hills Elementary and was preparing for the jump to middle school at Classen S.A.S.
The parallels I found in Harry Potter could only be described as magical (sorry to be lame, but it’s true.) and the fact that I was reading a book could also be considered some form of sorcery as I was much more inclined then to sit around and play Playstation (Crash Bandicoot for life!).
But as I opened up the book with that red tinted cover with a picture of a peculiar looking boy riding a broomstick with his broken glasses and messy hair, I was blown away by the sheer entertainment of word on paper. The immersion into a ridiculous world where pictures moved in newspapers, where giants existed (and half-giants; you’re my boy Hagrid!), a world of flying broomsticks, spellbooks and huge fire breathing dragons; I was hooked.
It was announced this morning at 7 a.m. ( and yes I set an alarm so I could watch the announcement because I’m a huge, lame 23-year-old nerd) the revealing of J.K. Rowling’s newest project Pottermore!
Rowling starts off the video by telling everyone how passionate Harry Potter fans are and how she hopes the love affair will spread to a new generation with this new project.
“Thirteen years after the first Harry Potter book was published, I am still astonished and delighted at the response the stories have met,” she began.
Rowling said the introduction of Pottermore will be an “online reading experience unlike any other.” Pottermore users will be able to choose a username and be sorted into a Hogwarts house, as well as upload drawings, comments and other feedback.
I AM SO STOKED!!! Can I make it into Gryffindor? Or will I be embarrassed and sent to Hufflepuff?
Rowling went on to say that she will also be releasing content that she has been hoarding for years, which makes me think that this could be the release of the much anticipated Harry Potter encyclopedia.
“The digital generation will be able to enjoy a safe and unique online reading experience built upon the work,” said Rowling. The site will be an “exclusive place to purchase digital audio books and, for the first time, e-books of the series.”
The website won’t go live until October, but Rowling said a few lucky fans will get a chance to get an early sneak pick and help by giving their input on what they want to see out of Pottermore.
I practically crushed my rememberall in excitement for this site! Alright, gotta go re read all the books for the 34th time in preparation.
Watch this video and visit Pottermore!
Note: This story ran in daily on Tuesday, July 13.
Men and women cannot live on bread, food and water alone. As it turns out, people might need more Vitamin D than previously thought.
Human bodies require exposure to sunlight to react with cholesterol in the skin to produce vitamin D. As a result, many Americans are missing the nutrient because they live and work indoors and because vitamin D is uncommon in our food supply.
Recent research has raised concerns among doctors and dietitians that the amount of vitamin D the medical community recommends isn’t high enough.
Hollywood filmmakers David Mueller, Bob Hicks and Lynn Salt wisely chose deadCenter Film Festival for the world premiere of “A Good Day To Die,” their documentary examining the rise of the American Indian Movement and its intrepid co-founder, Dennis Banks.
“We feel that (Oklahoma) is a very appropriate place to unveil the film because this is Native American country,” Mueller said.
Appropriate indeed, because the film — which premieres at 5 p.m. today at the Kerr Auditorium — promotes awareness of the little-known movement that eventually secured a better future for American Indians everywhere.
Produced in just over two years, “A Good Day To Die” combines archival footage with interviews documenting both the rise of the American Indian Movement (A.I.M.) and the life of Banks, its co-founder and leader.
“It’s a history that hasn’t been told and desperately needs to be told,” Mueller said.
Now retired and living in Okmulgee, the film’s associate producer, Bob Hicks, is of Creek and Seminole heritage and one such beneficiary of Banks’ hard work.
“I wanted to make a contribution in the sense that everything that I saw on the screen dealing with Native Americans was always being played by non-Indians,” Hicks said.
“I thought rather than griping about it, I should learn how to make the movies and make a movie about it.”
Originally from Okemah, Hicks traveled to Los Angeles in 1979 and received a degree from the American Film Institute.
Mueller said that Hicks’ 25-minute student film “Return of the Country” pushed the envelope in filmmaking.
“Bob’s film was an inspiration to me and Lynn, too, because it really broke ground,” Mueller said.
“It was a very progressive perspective at the time. I think it’s a very important film that will be recognized in the future.”
Salt is a 30-year veteran of the movie industry. “A Good Day To Die” is the product of her passions for recording history and championing American Indians in the arts.
She originally wrote the script intending for it to be a feature film, but after meeting with Banks, it was decided to turn it into a documentary.
The trio hopes the film educates the public about a neglected chapter in American history and the figure at the center of it, Banks, whom Salt compares to Martin Luther King Jr.
“He was the most significant figure in starting the American Indian Movement and I don’t think people know that,” Mueller said. “He’s a remarkable human being with a heroic story.”
Rick Goodman watched all sorts of planes fly in and out of Tinker Air Force Base when he attended high school in Del City.
Saturday he’ll be piloting one. And not just any one.
Maj. Goodman will command an F-16 Fighting Falcon as it maneuvers through the air with the rest of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, the headlining activity at Tinker’s Star Spangled Salute Air Show.
“It’s like riding a roller coaster, except three times as powerful,” Goodman said of the force generated by the fighter’s acrobatic power — about nine times the pull of Earth’s gravity.
The Thunderbirds are at the top of the bill for Saturday’s air show, which boasts six hours of flying activities in addition to showings of static craft, ground entertainment and a fireworks show.
Goodman graduated from Del City in 1993 and said the decision to attend the Air Force Academy was heavily influenced by the time he spent at Tinker, where his father served as an Air Force chaplain from 1989 to 1993.
“I spent a lot of time on the base,” Goodman said. “I loved it growing up and so I decided that this was something I wanted to do.”
Now Goodman has returned to Oklahoma as an ambassador of the U.S. Air Force, a Thunderbird pilot.
He looks the part, too, all 6 feet, 3 inches of him, from his dark blue beret and clean-shaven chin down to the shine on his black, government-issue boots. “I’ve worn them so much, they’re about as comfortable as a pair of slippers,” he said.
Goodman has flown in England, Turkey and Kuwait for Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. He was plucked from a position teaching pilots at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas to become a Thunderbird pilot, traveling the country to both perform and educate the public about the field of aeronautics.
Admission and parking is free for the air show, which runs 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
“It’s our way of saying thanks to the community for all their tremendous support over the years, so we have an open house. We invite people out and say ‘Hey, come on and see what your Air Force does,’” said Ron Mullan, chief of media operations at the base.
Tinker public affairs officials said plenty of free water will be available for patrons of the show, but visitors should remember to bring sun protection and chairs to carry around, because of the immense size of the base and a lack of seating.
Listen here to “Power” from Kanye’s upcoming “Good Ass Job”. Suffice it to say that Mr. West is over his “808s and Heartbreak” phase but unfortunately it sounds like there’s no return to the brilliance that was his earliest work.
Also, the suicide chorus at the end kinda worries me. Somebody keep an eye on that kid.
PRYOR — The fourth-annual Rocklahoma music festival proved that sunscreen and going shirtless are as much a part of the rock ‘n’ roll experience as a band cranking its guitar amps to 11.
And they brought friends.