Monday, March 27, 2006

Fun Times in Sickland

Sorry I haven't posted in a bit. I went to University Chicken (which I still highly recommend) after the Salam Pax speech at City Hall, and promptly got violently ill from what I believe was food poisoning.

I refrain from saying "I know" it was food poisoning as I could be sued for libel. I <3 lawyers.

Get to the Speech Already!

Back to the speech though. It was very well done, though different in both content and form from the speech in MLK Library. Mr. Pax professed that he is "no politician", though his message was highly political, and very emotionally charged.

Of course, it would be surprising if it wasn't given the topic. I can't imagine many Americans refraining from making political assertions if the US were on the brink of civil war.

As promised, here are the links to the complete speeches/video files on Google Video. (MLK Library Speech, City Hall Speech)

Feel free to post them on your sites; the internet is a beautiful thing (any SJSU staff reading this? Educational benefits... anyone, anyone... saves money... anyone, anyone... no, just me?).

Break... Time to Forget All You Learned... Assuming You Learned Something(J/K).

As it is currently spring break, I won't be posting again till next Monday. I will post on -30-, my other news site this week. Look for updates there.

When I get back on campus Monday I'll write more about the SJSU elections, and what they mean/meant for SJSU students.

P.S. WTF on only one position having two candidates running - I thought we cared about our money and rights at SJSU. Anyways, I'll get into that when I get back as well as why the Spartan Daily didn't run much on the candidates.

Enjoy your break and stay halfway sober - completely if you're underaged.
Be safe.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

More Salam?!

Salam Pax - Take 2!

I am currently at San Jose City Hall, preparing for Mr. Pax's second speech.
Image hosting by Photobucket
image taken from

The first one was good - why not?

I was wondering if the topics or responses would change, and considering I don't have class tomorrow, well, here I am. I don't know if I was supposed to or not, but I got in with the rest of the camera/tech people as they were setting up.

I think they thought I was press; don't rat me out though, I'm at least in the major. ;)

Again, an officer is positioned at the door (though it's much more an everyday thing at City Hall - a school campus is a different story)

So about that (Some Random Thoughts on Liberty While I Sit and Wait...

It reminds me of a post though Mr. Pax posted a ways back, where he compared America to the Green Zone in Iraq.

I know it's not a great comparison in this situation, but the arming of America with security makes me pause for thought - are we keeping terrorist from getting in, or ourselves from getting out?

What do you think?

Another half an hour, and the speech will start. I look forward to hearing him again. (Google Video will have the video by tomorrow, fyi)

image taken from Googel Images

Maybe that's too extreme, but sometimes I wonder if we're locking the house in the middle of a fire.

Salam Pax: The Baghdad Blogger

Oh God - it's God Again!

"You have to be someone you’re not in Iraq” said Salam Pax, the internationally reknowned blogger.

He wore a green-striped, collared shirt with a blazer and short, buzzed hair. A manicured beard rounded his face slightly, giving The Baghdad Blogger, as readers know him, a warm presence.
Image hosting by Photobucket
Good Muslims are supposed to have beards – I don’t know why,” he jokingly added.

Mr. Pax spoke at SJSU in MLK library today about his experiences in the war-torn country and about his book, The Baghdad Blogger. The book is a printed collection of his online posts.

His recollections and comparisons were a welcomed treat for me, though not altogether comforting.

Image hosting by Photobucket

image from Google Images

"The more choice they [Iraqis] get, the more to the right they go,” Pax said with a negative tone.

I don't know why, but it sounded oddly familiar...anyways.

Who Gets to Kill Him First?

Mr. Pax also spoke about Saddam Hussein, and the problems he foresees Iraqis facing shortly.

image taken from Google News

Iraqi's expect an execution according to Mr. Pax, which he says won't settle well with the Kurds who want to see Mr. Hussein tried and convicted for the 1987 gassings for which Mr. Hussein was responsible.

Under the rules of the new Iraqi courts, any execution must be carried out within 14 days of conviction, said Mr. Pax.

That doesn't leave enough time for any other convictions.

Mo' Problems

Mr. Pax also addressed the war itself, possibly the most moving part of the presentation.

Three of his cousins have been taken hostage, one of which was killed after the kidnapper(s) had already received payment of tens of thousands of dollars.

When asked bluntly whether the US forces should withdrawl, Mr. Pax replied, “a rapid withdrawl would only plunge us (Iraqis) deeper into the darkness.”
image taken from Google News

“I’m afraid if the invader goes, I am left without a country.”

Iraqis, "made a deal with the devil," to get rid of Saddam Hussein, said Mr. Pax. Now they are at the mercy of the US and other foreign forces.

When asked if he was for or against the war, he added,
“I will never answer that question… it is not that simple.”

The presentation ended with a book signing, as two police office looked on in the back of the room. Their presence had been requested by the Center for Literary Arts to be there would be no interruptions.

Waiting for the speech/lecture/interview to begin...

Some Background

Today I'm going to blog on the Salam Pax presentation being given on the 2nd floor of MLK Jr. library. Pax is a reknowned blogger, and a bit of a statesman if you ask me.

He is also outwardly gay, which is a heoric thing to be open about where he comes from (especially in today's conservative Muslim environment).

Noteriety=Notorious (in Iraq)

He has been outwardly critical of sectarianism in the new Iraqi government at his own peril, known internationally for his allias, The Iraqi Blogger.

Tonight he will appear at San Jose's City Hall for a second presentation, where he will be showing a piece he did with the BBC (a videoblog).

Pax has offered a unique perspective - that of an Iraqi citizen before and after the US led invasion.

Today he'll speaking about his book, "The Baghadad Blogger". Should be interesting; I'll post the video and interview after on Google Video, and link it here.

image taken from Salam's profile on
Image hosting by Photobucket

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


As I mentioned in my earlier post, podcasting/class-casting/whateveryoucallit-casting is the wave of the future.

Rough video meets retro-love for learning! Google Video can help out with unlimited video hosting. Check out what's possible (on the low end). These videos were recorded by me two weeks ago at a guest lecture given by Jerry Ceppos, the former VP of KnightRidder (the former owner of The San Jose Mercury).

Class videos from Dr. Stephen Greene's Journalism 132A Class can be found here.

Just a peek at what I think is the future... wouldn't you agree?
P.S. The QuickCam® Messenger that I used for these videos is quite old; today's cameras are admittedly far superior.

Image hosting by Photobucket
image from


The world is obviously changing, but SJSU doesn't seem to be getting it.


Take blogging and internet technology for example. Right now, I'm sitting on the 8th floor of MLK Jr. Library, typing on my labtop computer. I'm looking down and watching people on the bus go by - taking pictures with my webcam that I carry along with me pretty much all the time.

I have instant access to a plethera of information in the form of google, lexusnexus, factiva, wikipedia... oh ya, and the library books next to me!

Now how many classes have I taken which emphasis the use of these tools, which I guarentee are the future of all enterprises? Two... and I'm a junior.

Get with It, Stupid!

Instanteous communication has to be adopted by mainstream education (ahemm, SJSU), to save it from itself!

Podcasting entire classes that take little hands-on teaching can free up space for more classes, which means you can hire more teachers and attract more $tudents.

Think of that - affordable education that is time convenient for everyone... woah (Keanu Reeves, eat your heart out)!

Imagine a school that allows single mothers to download class lectures at night and watch them at their leisure - interact with other students on Usenet (Google Groups for those of you not familiar with Usenet ), and blog about their frustrations or confusion in a way that teachers can respond as their schedules see fit!

I hope that I haven't blown your mind yet; you haven't seen nutin' yet.

Email programs like Gmail Notifier could then be used to alert students when they have new messages. Programs even exist that alert people by phone when they have email, so the students would really have no excuse for checking their messages.

image from

WTF SJSU, LOL, J/K... N/M, You'll Get It Eventually, Hopefully.

The greatest obstacle to this is, as Dr. Stephen Greene, a teacher of journalism at SJSU is found of saying, is the faculty!

As I'm typing this on the internet right now, I realize that I'm probably preaching to the choir, but teachers need to get with it. The fear of learning or using new technologies is an ignorance that should not and cannot be accepted at any institute of learning.

How are students supposed to learn the skills they will need for tomorrow if their professors don't know what happening or how to use the skills of today ?

Slow Don't Chief

Obviously their has been some progress made in this area (the labtop project comes to mind, and the Econ Department's use of Aplia), but more has to be done, and fast.

Other schools that are training students to compete with SJSU students are not being so timid.
image taken from

MIT has lectures posted online for everyone to see, with fascinating links and interactive material that challenges students to learn and expand their minds.

Saint Anselm College, as well as a growing number of others, use programs such as Blackboard to compliment classroom lecture time.


This is my first post for this blog, which I must admit I've been thinking about writing for a while, but haven't until now because I had questioned whether or not it would fall on deaf ears or float lazily through cyberspace, never being heard at all.

I have several other blogs, most notably -30-, my current events/political blog which is also linked to the right.

I wanted this blog to have a little more focus however, with more of an immediate impact or at least perspective. So the first thing I am writing about is the mailboxes on the SJSU campus.

For whatever reason, the only place to drop off mail on campus is in the bottom of the Student Union, which is a bit of a walk from both the mailboxes (for students living on campus) and the on campus housing for students.

This doesn't make sense to me.

Some will say I'm making a mountain out of a molehill, but if SJSU (and San Jose) say that they want to really connect San Jose to the rest of the bay area, then creating an atmosphere of connectedness and ease would do a lot to further that end.

I'm a print journalism major, soon to be a journalist by trade, and all I hear about in all my classes is that the future of mass media, and the world for that matter, will be in delivering services to people in a way that is convenient to them.

Food for thought; the more comfortable students are, the more likely they will be to speak well of SJSU to others. This in turn could spur growth and student participation on campus.

The little stuff ain't so little.