Some random bits in advance of the weekend.

I’ve not talked much about school since class started. Things have been going quite well so far. As my professor warned me last fall, the class is very basic and at times a little slow for someone who’s already got a degree. But I have been learning some good rules about print journalism writing that are different from academic writing. As we get deeper into the class, I’m sure there will be more things I learn that are new and useful to me. We’ve written four stories so far, and I’ve been getting 9-10s out of 10 on each assignment. I am reading the paper a little differently than I used to, and am paying more attention to stories about the media than I used to. I was always a big fan and regular watcher of Keith Olbermann’s Countdown on MSNBC, but even more so now that he typically gives a lot of attention to media/journalism issues.

The biggest thrill of class so far, though, was an encounter I had Wednesday. We meet in a computer room, which remains locked between classes, so each day we have to loiter in the hall until the professor comes down to let us in. Wednesday, I noticed a guy was wearing a Kansas shirt and a hat with a Jayhawk on it. I had to go over and see what the deal was.
“Are you from Kansas?” I asked. Even with people who are from Kansas, this isn’t the best way to open a conversation.
“No…I just love their basketball team, man.”

OK, now we’re getting somewhere. I told him that I went to school there back in the day. He asked if I went to games when I was in school, and I told him absolutely. I camped out and everything. He thought that was pretty amazing. I withstood the urge to offer to pay his tuition next semester in reward for his fine taste in basketball teams.

My good friends know I have a tendency to obsess about music that I enjoy. With that in mind, prepare for some obsession over the next 10-15 days. We’re going to see my musical hero Neil Finn and his brother Tim on Feb. 22. They’re coming through town on their current US tour, which will be in a very stripped down format: just the two of them and a bass player. In preparation, I’ve got a fat playlist with all of my Split Enz, Crowded House, Finn Brothers, Neil solo work, and Neil & Friends tunes in constant rotation. I’ve got the Neil & Friends DVD out so M.┬ácan see them as well. As I put this post together, I’m watching the Finns’ in-studio appearance on KCRW yesterday. Prepare yourselves for some remembrances of particularly important concerts in my life, reviews of some of the Finns’ works, and of course an extended review of the concert after the fact.

The big Indy news today is Reggie Miller announcing his retirement at the end of the season. Peyton Manning might be huge now, but Reggie was Indy’s first truly national sports star. He’s much beloved by residents of this basketball crazy state. I’ve made my disdain for Reggie quite clear since we moved here. That disdain has turned into indifference as I’ve become more and more of an overt Pacers fan. I think his retirement is an appropriate and classy move. It would be easy for him to hang on for one more year now that the Pacers have no shot to win it all this season. He’s smartly hanging it up before it’s obvious he doesn’t belong in the game any longer. I think it’s funny that after all his apoplectic yammerings three weeks ago when he said Craig Sager incorrectly announced Uncle Reggie would be retiring, it turns out to be true. He wasn’t mad because the reports were false; he was mad because another TNT reporter beat his sister to sharing the news. Excellent.