Adjusting to a new sleep cycle (or a lack of one)

Sleep is fantastic! To me, sleep is the equivalent of the Oregon Ducks in the second half of any game this football season. Oh how pleasant that sounds this morning at 9 AM…

Having been awake now for more than two hours I am asking myself a very important questions: why did I not go to bed early last night? Why did I not go to bed at a normal time? and why did I not fall asleep until after 3 AM?

All of these questions should have answers relating to homework, exercise, prep-work for my internship, or searching for a job…but these are not correct answers.

Instead of being productive, I do what all college students do, sit around on the internet, watch television, and listen to music. I find this to be a perfectly acceptable way to spend a Tuesday night, however, doing so for longer than you anticipated can have some negative consequences when you have to be at your internship at 8 AM the next morning…

For ten weeks now, I have been at my internship at least two days a week from 8 AM till 5 PM. It is the best internship I could ask for, and if I was staying in Portland past this fall, I would love to continue at it. But with that said, I cannot adjust to getting up at 6:45 AM, I have decided that it is a physical impossibility!

Getting up for class in Eugene has always been a struggle, but having said that, I have never had an 8 AM class, especially not one that lasted for nine hours at a time. If I had, I would probably have looked a little something like this:

So because of this, I have some questions for anyone who has been in the workforce for an extended period of time: when does it shift? When will my brain (and body) adjust to having to get up this early? Would getting up this early everyday expedite this process? and most importantly, how long can I get away with getting less than four hours of sleep per night before I literally cannot?

As I said before, I love this internship and everything that it has and will bring me in the future, but I am afraid my body disagrees and will eventually…………..(asleep at desk)……what was I saying? Forget it, gotta get back to work.

Big Balls Chip Kelly!

Without overselling the genius that is Oregon’s football coach, Chip Kelly, he is far-and-away the greatest football mind and innovator in the history of football!

The Michael Jordan of coaching, Kelly has lead the Oregon Ducks to an unprecedented 9-0 record and a number one overall ranking in the BCS rankings for the first time in school history!

Not only does Chip have the team playing beautifully, but he has the captured the love of every red-blooded student who has a pulse with his innovative and dominating spread offense. But behind his offense is a swagger and a confidence unheard of in college football.

Kelly has earned the moniker, “Big Balls Chip,” this season because of his fearless play calling, particularly on fourth down, even inspiring a Facebook page of the same name. This past week I asked lifelong Duck fan, alum, season-ticket holder, and fellow Congressional staffer Ree Armitage what he thought the likelihood that Chip would go for it on fourth and 20 in a close game, his response, “First the Ducks would have to be in a close game, and second, if Chip believes it’s the right call, then I believe!” Fourth and 5? Not even a question. Fourth and 20? Come on now. Chip is going for it whenever he believes, which is always!

Blowing out opponents this season, Kelly’s Ducks have outscored opponents 87 to 7 in the fourth quarter alone and have earned praise from just about every media outlet around for the frenetic pace that the offense plays with.

Having gone from being an offensive coordinator at University of New Hampshire (a division 2 program) only four years ago to being the head coach for the top football team in the nation is a tremendous feat and one that Kelly understands is unique and does not take advantage of for a moment.

After Kelly’s embarrassing debut as head coach of Oregon, an upset fan sent him an invoice, demanding Kelly pay him $439 for the disappointing performance by the Ducks in the season opener. Kelly’s response? A personal check for $439. This lead to Sports Illustrated’s Ian Thomsen nominating Kelly for Sports Illustrateds’ Sportsman of the Year. This type of admiration is not exactly unique as Kelly led the Ducks in his first year as head coach to the prestigious Rose Bowl while also earning Coach of the Year honors in the Pac-10.

Kelly’s response showed a humility that is unheard of among college football coaches and does not end there!

Kelly’s willingness to dress up and pal around as the beloved mascot Puddles and fearless play calling has made him more than just a tremendous coach, but a living legend around Eugene and around the country.

While Kelly’s head coaching career is only 22 games old (including that Rose Bowl appearance), he has already won an astounding 19 games! Maybe Kelly’s style is unorthodox, but when you have the most innovative football mind in the world, you do not complain.

With Chip at the helm, the national championship game is looking closer than ever! So all there is left to do is stand up with the rest of the student section on fourth down and chant, “BIG BALLS CHIP!” as he once again keeps the offense on the field to convert yet another fourth down!

Jake Locker: A True Politician

For two years, Washington’s quarterback, Jake Locker was considered the consensus choice as the number one overall selection in the NFL draft.

Scouts praise Locker for his sub 4.4-speed, strong arm, and creativity.

However, despite Locker’s unique skills, he has yet to translate them into wins for his program. Beyond the lack of wins, Locker also seems to falter under pressure…or avoid it all together.

On November 1st, 2010 ESPN reported Locker would miss the nationally televised game against the dominating, number one ranked Oregon Ducks. The initial report claims Locker was ruled out with a broken rib…sure, ESPN. Where in the recap of the game did it even mention Locker being injured or hurt? Take a look, you won’t find one mention of it!

Locker, who had been a little banged up all season had an embarrassingly porous game against Stanford the previous week could not afford (literally, but I will go into that later) to have another poor game against a top opponent if he wanted NFL scouts to believe that he was worthy of a top draft pick in this April’s NFL draft.

So because of this, rather than suffering through another embarrassing loss, Locker pleaded injury and avoided the situation all together. Going from a presumed top overall pick to a bubble-first round draft pick can make the drop a salary from the guarantee of at least $50 million to under $10 million. While that it is still a substantial amount of money, losing $40 million is too great a risk for Locker to risk on a game against such a rugged and punishing defense.

Locker’s avoidance of this afternoon’s game was a true political move and reminded me of the same avoidance that the Republican Governor Chris Dudley used in addressing his statements about dropping the minimum wage.

The entirety of October I had people calling into my internship asking me about Dudley’s statement about how waitresses should not be getting minimum wage plus tips. However, after Dudley made the statement, he completely backed off of the issue and claimed he was not planning on even attempting to lower the minimum wage, trying instead to highlight his positives and avoid controversy.

As such, Locker is the Dudley of college football. Both suggested to be fresh faces and future champions of their fields, yet both failed to achieve success because they hide behind their shortcomings in the most political way possible.

Political Ads or Class?

I turned on the television Wednesday afternoon right after my internship and what did I see? An advertisement for the governor race, this one “supporting” Chris Dudley…lovely. Within the span of the half-hour show that I was watching (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), I saw six different political advertisements.

While I understand that it is election season and one cannot have reasonable expectations of not seeing this many ads every time they turn on the television, I would like to point out one thing; they are not actually supporting anyone!

Where old ads would highlight certain candidates track record or strategy for the future, new ones simply attack every aspect of the candidate they are against. Rather than rooting for a candidate, they find it better to just degrade and harass the opposition. There is absolutely no difference in this based on party lines or political affiliation of any kind! Every group is making similarly hate-filled advertisements and I am sick of it!

But it does not just end with the race for governor; it goes beyond to metro president, and every other position that is up for election. This is tragic and the public agrees. Working in a congressional office, I often get calls of people complaining about both democrats and republicans making these terrible ads and all I can say is that I am sorry and hopefully one politician will face up and stop with the negativity.

Little did I know that it would be my own boss, Congressman Earl Blumenauer that would be that guy! The day that Earl’s campaign video went up on the internet I received three calls within one hour to tell me how happy and impressed that one person finally decided, enough with the negativity.

I have always been a fan and supporter of Earl, but this ad, in a season full of hate ads made me even prouder to work for him. November 2nd is very close and while I cannot tell anyone who to vote for, I hope that this teaches you to look beyond the terrible advertisements and look at the issues, the results, and what each candidate will really do for your community.

25-year-old geriatric

Meet Emily Hebbron!

Emily is a 25-year-old that graduated the prestigious Cambridge University in 2008. Unlike many other recent college graduates, Emily was able to find a real, full-time job within one year of moving to Portland, OR with her husband. After a few months at a “User-experience designer” for a California-based government contractor, Emily was able to find another full-time job as Casework Manager for Congressman Earl Blumenauer. Emily deals with a plethora of different types of casework; the two most prevalent being unemployment and housing/foreclosures.

As you would imagine, in this economy, she stays quite busy with people calling in about their issues. Despite the rash of calls and emails; many of which are quite angry or disturbed individuals, Emily stays upbeat.

When I say angry or disturbed, I mean “Jackass” level anger.

Despite the craziness of many of these callers, Emily looks beyond them as she understands the severity of situations that these callers are going through. Because of this, she never yells or hangs up on callers, instead allowing them to talk much longer than anyone could expect.

As kind as Emily is, she is equally as old…

25-years-old and Emily is not only married, owns a home, is a vegetarian, drinks absolutely excessive amounts of tea, only an occasional glass of wine or “good” beer. Beyond her eating and drinking habits, Emily stays in just about every single night, would rather drink some tea and read a book than go out to a pub or a bar with friends. She is domesticated and has forgotten her age. At last check, most 25-year-old’s that graduated college only two years ago have yet to meet a mate, either still live with their parents or are renting an apartment, which is being supported by their minimum wage job at a restaurant.

Although I am underselling how old Emily true is in my description of her “old people tendencies,” I feel like most of you get the idea.

She is an astonishingly happy, upbeat, and productive person and I greatly appreciate all that she has done for me. She is a lovely individual and while I occasionally bother her about her “oldness,” I don’t think I would want it any other way!

For a little bit more about Emily, here is an article from Willamette Week a year ago about her job pursuits.

Democrat = Republican

I mentioned in my previous blog post that I attended a special event where the President of the United States spoke. While hearing the man speak in person and shaking his hand were incredible, the things that I heard in-line and throughout the event were appalling.

All my life I have grown up as an extremely liberal person, with strong beliefs about fair wages and preferences towards a more community-like form of government. That said, for the past few years as I have become more active in understanding the government, I have found that the differences between the two major parties is less about changes and more about bragging rights.

While I am admittedly a die-hard Democrat and have no intention of ever changing that, I do have a problem with one aspect of the political arena, especially when fighting between Democrats and Republicans comes down to: “They are so illogical and not looking at the big picture,” versus, “They have no morals and are creating too much paperwork.”

I am not going to get into this in a larger form at the moment, but I will explain what bothered me about the event that I attended and how it relates to this issue:

1. Hyperboles! People on both sides make the leaders of the other parties out to be terrible human beings, fictionalized characters, and people who are entirely ignoring the greater good of the United States.
2. Hate Groups! The people that think it is more productive and better to put other candidates and groups down rather than trying to find a common bond. Also included in this is the countless number of campaign ads run by politician’s every-single year spewing all the negative things (and some made up ones) that their opponent has done in both their personal and political life.
3. Having only a political agenda! People who see an issue like abortion and decide that it is a hot-button enough of an issue that they want to attach it to a political party like Republicans as a way to gain support from more people, despite the fact that it has no real connection to the people involved.

George Bush was not someone who wanted to end America, Barack Obama is not attempting to destroy the economy by increasing the richest two-percents taxes, and Bill Clinton did not ruin the economy, in fact, he had a rather successful term in terms of economic growth for America.

People will always complain about politicians and that is there right. I work as an intern for a politician, so I am no stranger to these complaints, even with one of the most popular politicians in Oregon’s history. But we need to focus less on unrelated issues, negativity towards one another, and instead focus on the issues and how we can combine both parties ideas (your opponents have some good ideas as well!) and toward cumulatively to create better communities, a better America, a better world, and ultimately, a better world!

The President of the United States gave me a cold!

On Wednesday, October 20th, 2010, I was given a special ticket to attend a special event at Portland’s Convention Center. The event was set to start at 4 PM and unfortunately; I was set to work until 5 PM at my internship. Luckily, the tickets were not only from my bosses at my internship, but I was allowed to leave early in order to attend the entirety of the event.

Leaving work at around 3:30 PM, I stood in line, waiting to get into the event; I stood in a line that was filled with Democrats awaiting an event that theoretically will be a heavy influence on the upcoming election to elect a new Oregon Governor.

Two hours later and we were all inside the Convention Center and waiting for the event to begin. What were we all waiting for? President Barack Obama!

Yes, that is correct, we were awaiting the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama. Obama was set to attend and speak at the event in order to build some excitement and momentum in support of Democrat, John Kitzhaber, who is currently running for Governor of Oregon against inexperienced-Republican, Chris Dudley.

As if the hours of being crammed in a crowd to sneak my way into the first two rows of the events border surrounding the podium where the President would speak was not enough, the entirety of the event was filled with people screaming and yelling for the President suggesting that he had actually arrived at the event…He had not.

At about 7:30 PM, four hours after I had first arrived at the event, the man we had all come for was finally here. The entire place erupted in chaos as hands waved, flashes boomed, and screams bellowed. I attempted to take photos from my phone, but unfortunately most of them were not exactly the best quality.

At the end of his speech, which was beautifully prepared and quite inspiring, I had learned quite a few things, but most importantly; Obama is a fan of both the number one college football team in the nation, The Oregon Ducks (GO DUCKS!), as well as his brother-in-law’s school Oregon State, he was fighting a cold, and that he believed in our future and that if we continue to fight together, we will succeed.

Two of the three things were quite inspiring, the one that was not? The cold, because only minutes after his speech ended, he was within a foot of me as he reached over and shook my hand…I shook President Barack Obama’s hand…Half a week later and I am still in a bit of disbelief, but for the rest of life that will resonate as one of the most incredible moments of my life.

Did Obama actually transfer his cold to me? No, I am fine and hopefully he is as well, but it is incredible to think about the fact that if I did have a cold I could blame it on the President of the United States. That is something very few people have ever been able to say!