Thursday, May 1, 2008

1 Month Down, 5 more to go for the Giants

Baseball season is back and sure to excite all baseball fans and their favorite teams. However, I'm less than excited about what is happening to the San Francisco Giants. It's their 50th anniversary here on the West Coast and a few changes have happened since last season came to a close. It has mostly been a turn for the worst.

Since last season ended, the main concern for Giants fans has been the end of the Barry Bonds era. Fourteen years of watching Bonds play in a Giants uniform saddens us fans because there will be no one that the Giants will sign that has the same passion for the game and hitting home runs. He is still the reigning home run king with 762 for his career after breaking the record previously held by Hank Aaron. The single-season home run record has also been broken after it was held by the Cardinals' Mark McGuire. In his later years, Bonds won four National League MVP from 2001 to 2004. Since then he has slowed down even though he was on his way to breraking the home run record. He was able to represent the Giants as an All-Star when the midsummer classic was held at AT&T Park. He broke the record in mid-August and was crowned the new home run king, though baseball fans outside the Bay Area didn't approve of what he's done. Like several other players, he is a member of the steroids era in baseball. As the Giants' season ended, Barry Bonds ended his 14-year career with the Giants and hopes to play with another team in 2008, but the question is "who is going to sign him?" So far, nothing new in that category yet.

The 2008 baseball season is currently underway and one month has passed. The Giants are 12-17 going into the month of May. There have been a few cons of the way the season has progressed: 1. key players like Noah Lowry, Omar Vizquel, and a few others began the season on the disabled list and/or made the DL after injuries plagued them during the first two weeks; 2. the Giants' "ace" pitcher Barry Zito is off to a dismal 0-6 start. His poor performance and shorter outings have allowed the Giants to demote Zito from the rotation to the bullpen in order for him to get back the mechanics he lost since signing with the Giants last year. As May begins and the season progresses, we have yet to see how this season will end for them.

Barry Bonds' presence may no longer be felt inside AT&T Park since there is barely anything left to remember him by, but fans have not given up on their team. The Giants have had losing seasons for the past three years. A new chapter of Giants baseball has just begun. Only five more months to go and we don't know how this season will end. The only way to find out is to [in the words of former Giant Jeff Kent] "enjoy the game more!"

Monday, April 14, 2008

Net Neutrality: How I'll Be Affected By It.

Net neutrality is a new subject for me to even talk about. Google defines it as "a principle that Internet users should be in control of what content they view and what applications they use on the Internet" (Google, 2008). It's going to continue to grow as the most useful tool in the field of media. Internet users will be able to use the Internet to their advantage to make their content accessible to other users regardless of whether or not the content is acceptable, common, or offensive. Users will still be able to access the content no matter how old they are, especially if younger kids happen to catch extreme content that may not be age-appropriate.

The future of net neutrality is in jeopardy. Some of the major corporate telephone and cable companies, such as AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, and Time Warner, are working to control net neutrality by deciding the large number of websites to be up and running at the fastest speed and which sites won't run because of lack of speed. It would mean that speed matters when loading content on the Internet and usually the best sites are the ones with the advantage. Slow-running sites deserve better equally with the fast-running sites no matter what sites are popular among users. However, something is being done to keep the Internet in control of the users. An organization called Save the Internet is working to keep net neutrality going if users want to enjoy current content being provided online, including audio, video, podcasts, and others. Most users who run the internet with the content provided shows that the Internet is becoming more of a competitive business just like radio and television. In recent years, the World Wide Web has become a lot more competitive with different websites that have similar features, such as audio, video, podcasts, and e-mail. It is also mentioned that the future of net neutrality is being taken to Congress this year. Congress is currently reviewing a bill known as HR 5353: The Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2008. If passed, then Internet users will have more freedom and control of what they want to get and enjoy online without the help of the major companies that are providing Internet content. Users are going to continue to access their favorite sites for the content they love to see.

While the bill is being reviewed and ready for a possible passing, professionals who are under the study of new communications technology aren't all that skeptical of preserving Internet user freedom. Many believe that the bill wouldn't work in favor of Internet providers whose websites are very well-known becuase of the popularity of content. For example, author Art Brodsky sees the bill as surprisingly deceptive to the American public because he feels that the passing of the bill would require a study by the FCC and that the bill is less likely to pass if rejected by the Commission. It's as if anything that goes public electronically must meet FCC requirements, just as the same regulations set for radio and television broadcasts. Even Robert Khan, who helped develop the Internet a decade ago, decided to go against the net neutrality legislation, calling it nothing but a "slogan" and considers the legislation for net neutrality as a "danger than fragmentation." Khan feels that the passing of the legislation will not improve or enhance the experience of Internet users in the United States. If that's how he feels about it, shouldn't he think how not passing the bill would affect users in a big way? He fails to realize that the Internet is for the public and they're the ones who contribute to the ongoing success of this form of electronic media.

No matter how I see this issue, I believe that net neutrality will affect me in different ways. If the bill fails to pass, I'll be affected individually because I enjoy going to my favorite sites and getting informed, entertained, and educated. As a student, it would hurt because the Internet is the only fastest medium where students can access assignments, lecture notes, and current grades. As a resident of San Francisco and the Bay Area, I'd be one of millions of people affected by it because it's where information technology was created. As a global citizen and human being, it would be meaningful if the Internet remains the way it is for users alike. The Internet belongs to the public and it's up to Congress to keep that trend alive.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Olympic Torch's Hectic Week in SF

Photo Source:

What a hectic week it has been for the city of San Francisco. Our city is the only North American city to host the Olympic Torch relay and people have mixed emotions about it. It all began when pro-Tibet protesters climbed the cables of the Golden Gate Bridge and attached a large message between the cables to warn China of their cruelty of human rights against Tibet. This is likely to be the coolest publicity stunt dealing with politics on a Bay Area bridge compared to Mancow's haircut stunt/traffic tie-up he pulled on the Bay Bridge back in 1993.

What was promising to be a safe and memorable event in San Francisco turned out to be the same result that happened in London and Paris. This time pro-Tibet and pro-China got themselves into each other's faces about the fact that their home country doesn't practice peace at the same time they're hosting a world event. Other than that, more people came out to protest against China's cruelty against Tibet. Did anyone fail to realize that the torch relay was in progress while the war of words between the two groups heated up? Whether members of pro-China like it or not, San Francisco is known for heavy protests against anything that relates to politics. It will be hard for them to realize that the actions of the Chinese government equals all hell to break lose against them for years to come, even after the summer games.

In light of all the protests, Olympic celebration, and politics all mixed up, the International Olympic Committee is beginning to face harsh criticism from demonstrators about what they've done. The torch is always considered a symbol of world peace and harmony while demonstrators worldwide consider it a symbol of the politics of evil. Because of this, spectators were unable to cherish the flame of the Olympic Torch as they were promised. After increasing outbursts and last-minute reroutes, the excitement of the event died down when it was announced that the torch was heading towards SFO.

Like past Olympics that were held in politically driven countries, this year's games should be able to go on despite the scrutiny that the host country is facing. It's also a warning to the IOC about what happens when they decide to host the Olympics in countries with abusive governments.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Predictions for Sunday's Wrestlemania 24

Photo Source:

So far this year, the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl games have passed; the NBA All-Star Game has passed but the playoffs and finals are coming soon; and NCAA March Madness basketball is about to end soon. The NHL's Stanley Cup, MLB's All-Star Game, League Division and Championship Series and World Series, and the BCS tournaments all are a few months away. However one professional wrestling event is coming up, although it's not considered a major sport event like the rest. World Wrestling Entertainment's pay-per-view phenomenon Wrestlemania 24 is taking place this Sunday from Orlando. And I am here to predict the outcome of a few important matches.

I've been mostly keeping up with Smackdown's superstars who are participating in Sunday's "granddaddy" of sports-entertainment. One match that I'm anticipating is the Smackdown main event of Undertaker vs. Edge for the World Heavyweight Championship. Edge has been nothing but THE most hated champion to ever step in a WWE ring and he declares he'll end the Undertaker's 15-0 career winning streak at Wrestlemania. My prediction for this match is no matter what Edge does to retain his title, the Undertaker will likely beat Edge in his usual fashion with his finishing maneuver, win back the title, and extend his streak to 16-0 instead of 15-1.

Wrestlemania's main event comes from Monday Night Raw. It will be John Cena, Triple H and Randy Orton in a triple threat match for the WWE Championship. All three men want to destroy each other for the coveted title. Orton assaults Cena in October before No Mercy, forcing him to miss a few months of competition; Orton defeats Triple H in a Last Man Standing match at No Mercy last October to win the title; Cena returns to action at January's Royal Rumble and wins the 30-man match to be the last man standing in the ring, giving him a championship match for Wrestlemania; Cena and Orton battle for the title before their scheduled 'mania match last month at No Way Out; and Triple H challenges both men, making the match a triple threat match. My prediction is that a bloody Cena will win the match and regain the title by laying his finishing move on either Triple H or Orton.

There are a few other matches set for Sunday at Wrestlemania.

Boxer Floyd "Money" Mayweather takes on the 7-foot Big Show. Prediction: Big Show because he is known for taking out competitors who are half his size.

Ric Flair vs. Shawn Michaels in a career-threatening match. Prediciton: Ric Flair. Lately the legendary "nature boy" was put in this match for a few months and would be forced into retirement if he lost. Nobody wants to see him go yet others want him gone for good.

Batista vs. Umaga. Prediction: Batista because of his power game that Umaga can't match up with.

Money-in-the-Bank Ladder match. Prediction: Chris Jericho. He nearly won the WWE title last December at Armageddon shortly after his comeback. Another perfect opportunity lies ahead for him.

Finlay vs. JBL in a Belfast Brawl. Prediction: Finlay. While JBL is known for beating up Hornswoggle and being too patroitic, Finlay has the advantage because he gets to use his shillelagh all he wants.

These are my predicitons for Sunday's 'Mania. But anything can happen in these matches much to the delight of the WWE fans.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A change is coming to The City's southern sector

Photo source: San Francisco Examiner (online).

I've lived in The City for a long time. My neighborhood is near a community that consists of old, run-down housing developments where high-crime activity takes place. San Francisco's Cow Palace, a livestock and rodeo arena, sits near that area also. It is the only nearby state-owned public facility outside of downtown San Francisco. For almost 70 years, the Cow Palace was the place to go to for any events, although major indoor sports events have come and gone. A nearby drive-in theater/flea market was held near the facility but is no longer there. A condominium near the Palace used to be a bowling alley but was closed down due to increasing crime activity. The Cow Palace stands alone as the only public facility with so much parking spaces. However, a change will take place in that area.
According to Monday's Examiner, the Cow Palace would be bought by the city of San Francisco from the state. The City's acquisition of their age-old arena also promises a neighborhood grocery store at a portion of the Cow Palace's parking lot. There hasn't been a grocery store in the area since the old El Rancho Market went out of business years ago. Along with the grocery store, more housing, currently under construction, and a shopping promenade would help serve the needs of residents in the neighboring communities, including San Francisco's Sunnydale, Visitacion Valley and Bayshore, and Daly City's hilltop housing communities on San Bruno Mountain.
This kind of change would help improve the image of some of the neighboring communities. It would also bring jobs for neighbors who struggle to make a living. I believe it would also make it safe for more Cow Palace guests to attend any scheduled events. But we have yet to see what the result will be from this change.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

What I thought of "Dexter"

Photo source:

Cable television has been out of my reach for almost two years and I lost touch with what is airing and coming soon. Sometimes shows from cable TV are accessible on broadcast or syndication (i.e "South Park," "Reno 911," "Chappelle's Show," and "Stargate: Atlantis"), but then again I never have time to watch them because they're on at midnight or later. Lately, one cable show that I was able to watch for the first time this past Sunday was the Showtime suspense drama Dexter, which is about a forensics expert who secretly kills people who commit great injustice. As of last Sunday night, it will be airing on CBS.
If you're familiar with the show, or watch it at all, the storyline is interesting but the images I caught while watching the pilot episode make it look frightening. Even though "Dexter" is a good series to watch, it can push the limits to what's acceptable to watch. I remember watching an episode of "The Sopranos" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm" for BECA 370 and noticed that shows like these heavily use foul language on the pay-TV networks. The same could be said about "Dexter." However, since Showtime is a CBS network, the show had to be edited for language for its upcoming airings on CBS this spring.
Frightening or however you want to call it, I think "Dexter" is somewhat interesting to watch. While the current season on Showtime is on hold due to the Writers Guild of America strike, it joins other current CBS crime-detective dramas, such as the three "CSIs" and "NCIS" among others. Several major newspapers with critic's reviews believe that "Dexter" is worth watching. I agree with the critics and that's why, despite the graphic nature which freaks me out, I plan on watching the show's entire first season on CBS.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Another issue regarding the 49ers' new stadium plans.

Photo source:

The San Francisco 49ers' plans for a new stadium was brought up again last week. I read an article from sports writer Glenn Dickey in last Friday's Examiner newspaper and it looks like team owner Dr. John York once again is failing to cooperate with the city of San Francisco on talks of building a new stadium on the former Hunter's Point Naval Shipyard.

Rooting for the 49ers as my home team has declined since 2003. When it was announced in November 2006 that the ownership wants to relocate the team to a new stadium in Santa Clara, that's the time when I started to lose faith. As the news headlines of the stadium plans continued to come up in both the Examiner and the Chronicle, I decided to follow along with the stories. I would like to see the 49ers play in a new stadium in San Francisco. Right now that realization is on hold because of what is transpiring between the 49ers' ownership and The City. So much for the new stadium set to be built at Candlestick Point. In 1997, voters approved a $1 million bond measure to build a new stadium near the old facility. However, nothing happened since and I found out a few years ago that the previous owner was involved in a gambling scandal that cost him his ownership of the franchise. Since then The City and the 49ers continued their talks about the stadium plans up until November 2006, when news broke out that the team decided to relocate south to Santa Clara, where their current training facility is located.

Right now I am on the side of The City, Newsom, Feinstein and Migden, and it is up them and the NFL to keep our hometown team in San Francisco, playing in San Francisco. If the 49ers do play in Santa Clara, not only will they lose more home games but they will lose a huge percentage of their fan base and the battle to Feinstein if they misuse The City's identity in Santa Clara.