Monday, August 31, 2009

Fear and Living in Las Vegas

I never post anything personal on my blog, but I'm going to take an entry to do so. A few days ago I received an internship in Las Vegas, Nevada at the Las Vegas Sun. It's an incredible opportunity that I'm stoked about.

There are so many diverse people and stories just waiting to be told in Vegas. However, I'm a little nervous at the moment as to where I'm going to live. It seems staying four months has put me in a bind when it comes to apartment leases. Everywhere I call, the landlord wants a six-month lease and that's just not possible right now.

I found a few places that allow three-month leases, but seem to have a bit of a bug problem. It's a little unsettling when a landlord says "Everyone has bugs. I just don't let me kids eat anywhere except for the kitchen counter."

I think I'll pass.

Another option I came across was a room for rent with two complete strangers. I actually thought about calling but remembered my horror movie knowledge. Moving in with strangers could be a slasher film waiting to happen.

After 20 different phone calls, I came across an apartment complex I really liked. It's called Sunset Winds and looks really clean and safe. Then I noticed the amount for a one bedroom – $710, excluding utilities.

I leave for Las Vegas Wednesday morning. Until then, I have four days to decide where I'm going to live. Things are getting stressful, but it's going to be an amazing journey. I will post updates as much as I can along the way. :)

P.S. Oh and if anyone in Vegas is looking for a roommate, contact me as soon as possible, please.

Teen cries blood

A family in desperate need of a diagnosis. reported that an east Tennessee teen and his family is dealing with a medical mystery.

Calvino Inman, 15, is an average teenager residing in Rockwood, Tenn. Then again, average might not be the appropriate word since Inman cries blood.

Inman said his eyes start bleeding at least three times a day and it can last from a few minutes to up to an hour.

"Sometimes, I can feel it coming up, like a tear," Inman said. "I feel my eyes watering; sometimes it will burn as it comes out."

Inman said he's been called "possessed" by most of his friends.

"I guess I'm used to it now," Inman said to WATE-TV in Knoxville, Tenn. "At first, it kind of hurt my feelings."

Now Inman's family is making a desperate plea for help. Inman's mother, Tammy Mynatt, said she has taken her son to several specialists but still has no diagnosis and no treatment.

"The scariest thing in my life is when he looked at me and said 'Mom, am I going to die?' That right there broke my heart," Mynatt said. "Every doctor tells us they've never seen anything like this before in all their many years of being a doctor."

Mynatt said she is running out of hope and wants somebody to say they've seen this and can help.

"I don't care where we have to travel; I will go wherever we need to go," Mynatt said. "I will do whatever I have to do.

"I just please want somebody to help my baby; that's all."

Friday, August 21, 2009

Playlist for 8/21/09

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Police officer suspended for sleeping on the job

Paul Morgan called Murfreesboro Police and complained that neighbors were shooting fireworks off at his house. When Officer Michelle Ratleph arrived, Morgan forgot about the fireworks and began to worry about Ratleph's alertness. reported that Morgan said Ratleph began to drift off to sleep while filling out the report.

"[I] started looking at her, concentrating on her face and I could see that her eyes were closed," Morgan said. "It was obvious she was going asleep."

Morgan was so stunned at Ratleph's condition that he pulled out his cell phone and began taking video of her sleeping.

"I counted about 14 times that she dozed off and fell asleep," Morgan said.

In the video, Morgan's wife tried to wake Ratleph several times by turning up the volume on the television, but after Ratleph kept drifting in and out of consciousness, Morgan called her supervisors.

"I felt like I was having to call the police on the police," he said. "I was really concerned with her driving, concerned with her safety and the safety of others."

Ratleph's supervisors agreed and wrote Channel 4, saying "she did herself and the department a disservice if she hurt herself or someone else."

Morgan said Ratleph told him she had worked long hours the day before and was working overtime on that day. The Murfreesboro Police Spokesman Kyle Evans disagreed.

"This is an isolated situation," Evans said. "We think this officer has some type of possible medical issue or maybe didn't get enough sleep the night before she came to work."

Evans said the Murfreesboro Police Department is not understaffed and officers typically only work eight-hour shifts.

Ratleph apologized in the written report and said "it is by no means intentional." As to whether or not Ratleph has a medical condition, the police department couldn't comment.

The Murfreesboro Police Department have suspended Ratleph for seven days without pay. Ratleph will also be under probation for six months.

Canadian University adds "FD" to grading scale

Students know the letter grade "F" means fail, but what about "FD?" reported that Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, Canada is taking punishment to a whole new level by adopting a new grade of "FD," which means failure with dishonesty. This is now the worst possible grade a student can receive.

Rob Gordon, director of criminology at SFU and acting chair of the senate committee on academic integrity, said the new grading is intended to curtail cheating using the Internet.

"What used to be a lot of cheating in libraries has changed quite significantly," Gordon said. "We now have to be concerned about cheating during exams with high-tech devices and the inappropriate use of Internet sources and downloading, including online companies offering services to students that promote academic dishonesty."

Department chairs can impose the "FD" grade if they feel the incident warrants a severe penalty.

Gordon said the new grade will only be used in cases of dishonesty.

The grade has yet to be used in its introductory semester, however, it will stay on the student's transcripts for two years after graduation.

Some students say it's unfair to carry the stigma of the grade into the working world.

"Two years loss of your life is a bit too far," said Olid Amid, Simon Fraser student.

However, some students said they feel the grade will finally hold cheaters accountable for their actions.

Student John Aubrey said the grade "makes it a lot easier for those of us who don't cheat to get good grades and to not worry about the people who are cheating."

Even though this grading system is fairly new, other universities have already began implementing its own system. The University of Alberta gives cheaters an "F8" or "F9," which is reduced to an "F" after three years.

"In our case, we give the students a chance to redeem themselves," Dean of Students Frank Robinson said. "[In] three years they can graduate and have a clean record and get on with life."

I have never been a fan of cheating, which is why I agree with this grading system. There is no excuse for plagiarism or being too lazy to study. If you're in college, then it's time to study. You knew going into it that it wasn't all fun and games.

This grading system should be considered in the United States, especially with all the new technology that makes it easier for students to cheat. However, cheating is a choice and if you make that choice then an "FD" is what you should receive.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Police bust Tennessee family-run prostitution ring

Prostitution is something more common in big cities, but Metro Police detectives and FBI agents busted a family-run prostitution ring in Murfreesboro, Tenn. today.

The ring was run by Teresa Ann West, 45, her son Casey, 20, and daughter Diana, 22. Police said the trio have been using underage teenagers from Middle Tennessee high schools as prostitutes.

After receiving information earlier this year, police began conducting surveillance at a Murfreesboro Motel 6 in early August.

As of now, Metro's Specialized Investigations Division and the FBI have only accused the trio of using one 16-year-old high school girl to perform sexual acts, however, other underage victims are believed to be involved.

Police finally got their chance to question Teresa West after setting up surveillance at a Motel 6 on Chaffin Place. The reported that officers watched West leave a room key card on a wall in the parking lot and leave the area.

A little later, a 16-year-old girl drove to the motel and went into West's room, using the key card. Metro detectives and FBI agents then entered the room and interviewed the 16-year-old girl. The girl said she had had sex for money at the direction of Teresa West about 20 to 30 times this summer.

The victim said that clients usually paid $110 and she gave West $40. She said West knew she was underage but told her to tell people she was 18 if anyone asked.

Teresa Ann West is charged in state court with trafficking for sexual servitude and promoting prostitution. She is also charged in federal court, along with her son, Casey, 20 and daughter Diana, 22, with using a minor for commercial sex.

Casey West is alleged to have driven the teenager to a client and received a $20 fee from her. The girl said she has given money to Casey West on other occasions as well. Diana West, 22, is alleged to have assisted in the operation of the prostitution business.

Parents of teenagers, particularly in the Robertson County area, who are or were friends with Casey, Diana or Teresa West, are urged to talk with their children and inquire whether they have any knowledge regarding the prostitution business.

Anyone with additional information is asked to contact Metro SID Detective Chad Holman at 615-782-3301. Underage persons involved in this matter are considered to be victims.

PSA: Texting While Driving

This PSA is intense! It makes you think twice about texting while driving.

Florida man spends three months in jail for possession of breath mints

Donald May is suing the Kissimmee, Fla. Police Department for his arrest over breath mints that were thought to be crack.

May was originally pulled over for an expired tag, but police officers thought the mints were an illegal substance and arrested May. reported that May told Eyewitness News that police wouldn't let him out of jail for three months until the tests proved the mints were candy.

May said he was just driving home from work when an officer pulled him over. He said when the officer walked up to him, the officer noticed something white in his mouth.

"He took them out of my mouth and put them in a baggy and locked me up [for] possession of cocaine and tampering with evidence," May said.

The officer said he field-tested the evidence and it tested positive for drugs. He said he saw May buying drugs while he was stopped at an intersection. In the police report, the officer said May admitted to buying drugs. May said that never happened.

"My client never admitted he purchased crack cocaine," said Attorney Adam Sudbury. "Why would he say that?"

Regardless, May spent the next three months in a jail because he was unable to pay his bond. He was released when he received a letter from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the State Attorney's Office that test results showed no drugs were found.

"While I was sitting in jail I lost my apartment," May said. "I lost everything." reported that while May was behind bars, the Kissimmee Police Department towed his car and auctioned it off.

May said he also lost his job and was evicted. Now he is suing the city for false arrest and false imprisonment. He wants to be compensated for the loss of his car and job. May's attorney and the city of Kissimmee discussed a possible settlement last year, but failed to reach an agreement.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Playlist for 8/14/09

Here is the full playlist for this week. If you have a request for next week, let me know!

Also, I had to edit Sarah McLaughlin's "Building A Mystery," so I've included that file below. Enjoy!

The Summer of 69: Woodstock Turns 40

I can't believe I forgot to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Woodstock. Better late than never.

If you like the video, you can also follow the creator on Twitter @musicjunkie6301

Lady Vol recovers after brain surgery

Lady Vols forward Amber Gray, 19, is now in recovery after undergoing surgery for a brain aneurysm. She walks with a limp, her left eyelid droops almost shut as a lingering effect of a stroke, and her left arm is in a sling. However, she said she is determined to play basketball again for the Lady Vols.

"I'm not sure of the timetable ... but I definitely will play again," she said Monday as she prepared to leave a long-term rehabilitation facility to continue her recovery at home in nearby Mason. "As soon as they say I can go out on the court, I'm getting out there.

"I'm still working on my walking," she said. "I do eyebrow raisers every day."

Unfortunately, Gray will not be able to play this year, but The Associated Press reported that she did play in 27 games her freshman year. Gray was also voted the top girls prep basketball player in Ohio a year ago and was recruited by all the top college programs.

Doctors first discovered the brain aneurysm after Gray had shoulder surgery in July. She then underwent a 12 1/2-hour procedure that may have saved her life.

The Associated Press reported that Dr. Mark Goddard helped oversee Gray's rehab at Cincinnati's Drake Center. He said it was lucky the aneurysm showed up while Gray was hospitalized.

"Whether you call it serendipity or divine providence, they noticed that something wasn't right," Goddard said. "She probably had this all along, but people don't generally notice it until their '30s and '40s."

Goddard said Gray had successful rotator cuff surgery on July 2 in Knoxville, Tenn., and the aneurysm was unrelated. Goddard said that within hours of surgery, Gray's lungs filled with fluid and doctors performed more tests to get to the root of the problem.

The doctors spent days searching for the cause of the stroke. Finally, a broken blood vessel showed up. During this time, Gray was transferred to University Hospital Cincinnati for neurosurgery. She was then transferred to the rehabilitation center on July 23.

"Amber's strong will, positive attitude and determination, coupled with the excellent work of her medical team, has allowed for her release 2½ weeks ahead of schedule," Tennessee coach Pat Summitt said. "The Lady Vol basketball family continues to keep Amber in our constant thoughts and prayers.

"We know she will approach the next phase of her rehabilitation with the same strong will, determination and intensity."

Gray's mother, Tonya Carter, said she was afraid that her daughter might never wake up again.

"I've always known that she was a strong person, but she was amazingly strong," Carter said.

Gray said she expects to return to classes at the University of Tennessee in January.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

California student faces 10 years in jail after altering video game consoles

Matthew Lloyd Crippen is a student at California State University at Fullerton, who was arrested Monday on charges that he illegally modified Xbox, Wii, Playstation and other game consoles to play pirated video games. reported that the 27-year-old was taken into custody Monday morning by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. This arrest follows his indictment by a federal grand jury on two counts of violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Crippen is accused of modifying the video game consoles for personal financial gain. Each criminal count such as this, carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, reported.

It turns out that the ICE have been investigating Crippen ever since last year when they received a tip from the Entertainment Software Association. The ICE seized Crippen's home last May and found a dozen Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony video game consoles.

Robert Schoch, special agent in charge of the ICE investigations office in Los Angeles, said "piracy and counterfeiting violations not only cost U.S. businesses jobs and billions of dollars a year in lost revenue, they can also pose significant health and safety risks to consumers."

“Playing with games in this way is not a game -- it is criminal,” Schoch said.

The ICE said that counterfeiting and piracy have grown in recent years. As of now, counterfeiting and piracy cost the U.S. economy $250 billion a year, which equals a total of 750,000 American jobs. reported that some estimates even indicate that 5 percent to 8 percent of all the goods sold worldwide are counterfeit.

Crippen was expected to make his initial federal court appearance late Monday in Los Angeles.

So does this mean that pirated video games have replaced the worry of sharing and downloading music? Are people like Crippen "fixing" games across the country to fit their personal needs? If so, does the company resemble anything like Shawn Fanning's business, Napster?

All of these are questions ran through my head while reading this and the whole music downloading and sharing debacle got me thinking about copyright law and piracy.

Napster allowed people to download music for free and share it with their friends. Moguls in the record company heard about the system and witnessed their paychecks being cut in half. Why buy music when you can get it for free? Outraged, artists came together and accused Napster of taking music and selling it for free without consent.

The Recording Industry Association of America sued Fanning's company for copyright infringement. While Napster users may have thought they were doing nothing wrong, the fact was that they were stealing someone else's copyrighted material. Fanning could not claim fair use either because the value and potential market of the original works were being affected.

I wonder if Crippen's case is common and happening around the country. The music industry cracked down on Napster to where the company is only allowed to "sell" music – not distribute it for free. Will the video game industry do the same when it comes to pirating games and modifying consoles? Only time will tell.

John Hughes dies of heart attack

It's a sad day in the movie business. Writer and director John Hughes died today of a heart attack while taking a walk in Manhattan. He was 59.

Fans might know Hughes' work as the master of '80s teen movies such as "The Breakfast Club" and "Sixteen Candles," but he also continued directing and even worked on "Home Alone" in the '90s. said that Hughes retired from directing in 1991, but continued to write and inspire other filmmakers. Both Kevin Smith and Judd Apatow have said they grew up with Hughes' films.

In fact, Apatow told The L.A. Times last year that his stuff "is just John Hughes films with four-letter words."

"I feel like a part of my childhood has died," Apatow said. "Nobody made me laugh harder or more often than John Hughes."

It's true. Hughes had a special way of relating to young people, and it's something most filmmakers are unable to tap into.

Playlist for 8/7/09

Here is the Playlist for this week. Want to hear a song next week? Let me know!

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Are you a better speller than Diana Taurasi?

Every time I watch this I can't help but laugh. It's OK, Diana. Stick to shooting 3-pointers and we'll all continue to love you.

Oh, I've also included a Grammar Boot Camp Widget below for those of you interested in catching up on your grammar too.

Local Naperville, IL court named after Candace Parker

Candace Parker revisits the court she grew up playing on with friends and family. The mayor of Naperville also presents Candace with a key to the city.