Monday, January 28, 2008

Once Was Enough...

I covered a bridal show for a class video/photo project today. It was fun, but not nearly as fun as the crazy martini slide at Signature Grand when we were planning our wedding! Still, planning one wedding per lifetime is more than enough. I definitely remembered that today!

Here's some pictures I snapped at the show:

Awwwww...

Don't they look excited to be there? I thought this picture said it all!

Happy to be putting the show to bed!


Here's the video I took for class. It didn't turn out as well as I would have liked, because there was so much background noise and I couldn't quite establish a complete theme, but I think it's still enjoyable. I definitely learn a lot everytime I take video for a news assignment. Hopefully they'll keep getting better and better.

Enjoy!


video

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Bouncing Baby Bryce...

We have a new addition to the family! My "big sis," Alex, gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, Bryce William Manwarren, Monday afternoon!

As you can see, he's a handsome little guy! He clocked in at 7 lbs., 10 oz., and is 20 inches long.

Here are the proud parents, Alex and Adam Manwarren, with their new little man!

And here's happy big brother Tyler celebrating with a bath!


Congratulations Manwarrens!!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Ski Follies...

Jeremy nicely covered our ski follies on his blog, but I thought I'd add a few extra pictures.

Here's us huddled up before hitting the slopes:


Josh looking confident before flying down the slopes on his face:

Me finishing my first successful run:

And Jeremy and I after completing many successful runs:


We went down the slopes about 8-10 times, and we were out there for 3 1/2 hours. It was freezing, but we didn't notice after the first couple of times down the slope, because we were completely numb!

I was proud of myself for going all the way up to the top and going down without falling once! Of course, I went at snail speed, but, hey, it's a big step for me!

Anyway, everything hurts today, so we'll probably spend the day acting like zombies in pajamas. Hey, that would be a good name for a band!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Fun Fight...

We had a great snowball fight with some of our neighbor's kids:

video

What is This Strange White Stuff?...

We woke up this morning to discover a winter wonderland in our backyard. It was the first real snow for the puppies, who enjoyed running around and eating the snow!

Here's Nacho taking in the scene:


Oscar enjoyed himself as well. He even played some football in the snow and make Josh fall every time he chased him!

It was a beautiful sight, seeing the snow hanging from all the trees in our backyard.

And lifelong Floridian Jeremy saw his first snowfall in 20 years!


Check out Jeremy's blog for more coverage: www.fourthestater.blogspot.com.

Dancin' Bowl...

Josh, Jeremy, and I went bowling with two of our fellow students, Anne and Andrea. We had a great time goofing around. We danced, we drank, and we even bowled a little!

Here's Josh showing us how it's done:

Jeremy's not happy with his score:

Anne explaining the logistics of bowling to Andrea:


And then, the dance lessons began...

Here's Josh teaching Anne and Andrea the "Soldja Boy" dance:

And now, a priceless video of Andrea and Anne learning "Soldja Boy" from Josh. Needless to say, my brother is always the life of the party:

video

Friday, January 18, 2008

Joshua on Ice...

My little brother, Joshua, arrived late last night, and we've already had a great time.

Today we went to Mount Cheha, Alabama's highest point at about 2,300 feet. Here's our little family at Bald Rock -- the nicest view in the state!

Here's Josh taking in the scenery, balancing precariously on a pile of rocks.

We actually found some leftover snow from the light dusting we had the other night.

Here's Josh engaged in a snowball fight with me:


Oscar hating his first romp in the snow:


Josh strikes a pose:

And Nacho isn't digging the cold ice on his paws, either:

We stopped and took some pictures during our little hike back to the car. Here's Jeremy at a large rock:

And Josh and I sitting on a pretty rock!


We are supposed to get some snow tonight and tomorrow. Here's the forecast:



More on Josh's visit later this weekend!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Nevermind...

Jeremy and I saw snow! Visit his blog for pictures and details: www.fourthestater.blogspot.com.

It's Raining, It's Freezing...

We got a little snow nearby Anniston today. Unfortunately, all we've seen here today is freezing rain. Yuck.

Here's the "breaking news" from The Anniston Star:

Sleet and snow flurries began falling in Anniston around 1:30 p.m. today. Reports from Wedowee and Mount Cheaha said it was snowing heavily in those places around 1 p.m. All precipitation was melting as it hit the ground.

Mount Cheha is about a half hour drive from here, and it is the highest point in Alabama.

Even though we missed it, it appears we may have more chances for some snow:


Meanwhile, here's what we've got going on right now:


Blech!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Leadership and Research and Management, Oh My!...

As of today, our Knight Fellowship class has attended one of each class we will take this semester. And I must say, yikes!

Our weeks begin with the most difficult and challenging class: editorial leadership. In this class, we will be required to write no less than 20-25 editorials, op-eds, columns, and reviews, plus we must coordinate a public forum on some community topic. This is a lot of work. Jeremy and I had lunch with our department chair today, and even she seemed amazed by the workload in this class.

Our first assignment, due next Friday, is a 1,500-2,000-word op-ed piece (40-50 inches for you journalists out there; for you regular citizens, that's an article that takes up more than half a newspaper page, with no pictures). I can honestly tell you, I have never seen an op-ed piece that long in my life -- not even in the New York Times or The Washington Post. Nobody will read a piece that long. What's worse: the piece is on economic development.

Yawn!


For those of you wondering what an op-ed piece is, I wish I had a good answer for you. Our professor defined it by what it is not: "It is not a feature story, and not a full-on editorial." It is an opinion piece, normally contributed by a community member or leader. Normally it doesn't include quotes or a significant number of interviews, but ours, for some reason, do. I'll be sure to post it here when I'm done. I'm sure you're all waiting with bated breath.

Anyway, after that, we have a one-hour course, grand rounds. Last semester, this course consisted of us going into the community, familiarizing ourselves with a different beat each week, and subsequently writing a three-page page on the same subject each week. It was a lot of work for a one-credit course.

This semester is no different. We will be expected to produce a multimedia piece (a video or slide show) every other week with an accompanying PowerPoint presentation outlining our reasons for chosing the topic we did and providing background information not included in the multimedia piece. For those of you who have never produced a three-minute video, I can assure you, it is no simple task. The work we are talking about here is a minimum of five hours every other week (including the reporting). Again, quite substancial for a one-credit course.

Tuesdays we will have research methods, a very challenging, yet beneficial course. We will learn much about statistics, have exams on termanology, and be expected to produce a group project for publishing in an academic journal and a proposal for our masters project (which we complete this summer in lieu of a thesis). I really enjoy the professor, and am looking forward to the project.

Wednesdays will present another interesting course -- media management. We will learn about newsroom things, such as advertising, circulation, and production, normally avoided by most journalists. Unfortunately, things like advertising and production play into some editorial decisions more than they should, so it will be interesting to see things from the other side of the table and watch how decisions made on the other side of the newspaper office affect the newsroom.

One pitfall of this class: We will be required to assist on a newspaper delivery route from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m.

In January.




By the way, in case you forgot what January in Anniston looks like:





Yikes...

Wish us luck!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

I Can't Get Up, Ralphie!!...

My little brother, Josh






(who always reminds me of Randy from A Christmas Story),















is coming to visit on Thursday. Here's what we might have in store for him:


Meanwhile, the rest of the week is looking just as frigid for this Florida boy:









Better kiss those shorts and that T-shirt goodbye, little bro!

Walkin in a Winter Watershed...

Jeremy, the puppies, and I enjoyed a wonderful winter walk yesterday at Coleman Lake, about 45 minutes from our house.


The temperature was perfect. It was in the 50s, and it felt a bit cool when we started, but it was really nice the whole way through.

The walk circumnavigated Coleman Lake and covered the watershed area, which consists of the streams that feed into the lake.


We brought the puppies on the walk, which clocked in at about 2.5 miles and took 3 hours.


Oscar pulled us along the trail the whole way, but was happy to be picked up when we had to cross through a briar patch.


Nacho tottled along the whole time, and squirmed when he had to be picked up. He had enough energy left over to run a marathon!


The pups even made a few friends along the way. This is Ollie, a 2-year-old yellow lab mix. Behind him was Dakota, an Australian sheppard, who walked with a volunteer.


We also enjoyed the view of a small waterfall.


Some of the kids from the group ran all around it, which was cute. They were a little wild, climbing all over tree limbs and stuff, but I guess having them run around the woods expended some of their energy!

Overall, it was a beautiful day, enjoyed with my wonderful little family.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The cheese to my macaroni...

Jeremy and I saw the movie Juno tonight, and it was fantastic. So good, in fact, that I had to write a list before writing this post so I could remember all of the movie's excellent attributes.

First, a plot summary: Snarky teenager, Juno (Ellen Page), and her geeky, awkward best friend, Bleeker (Michael Cera), accidentally get pregnant. Juno decides to give the baby to yuppie couple Mark and Vanessa (Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner). It's a creative coming of age story, advancing the plot of a teenager who thinks she's mature, a man who knows he's not, and lots of little treats along the way.

Now, onto my list of many positives:

* First, of course, is the acting by Page and Cera.


The pair is wonderful. Page flexes her acting muscles with this multidimensional character. Definitely expect to see more of her in the future. Cera plays the perfect wimp with a soul. The goofy chemistry of their undefined roles plays perfectly. Page comes around from bossy know-it-all to mature and vulnerable, while Cera excellently depicts a character caught between boyhood and manhood.

* Another acting highlight was the writing of the character Leah, played by a dynamic Olivia Thirlby.


At first, you get the impression Leah will be a valley girl, irresponsible teenager. But her character surprises you with depth, as the cheerleader cool girl stands by her quirky, unpopular best friend all the way into the delivery room.

* The relationship between Juno's dad (J.K. Simmons) and step mom (the always fabulous Allison Janney) is a key element in the movie.

Though, like many elements of the movie, the importance of the dynamic of their relationship is only softly touched upon, the conversations between them and their support of and fun ribbing at Juno help develop the main character more than is obvious at first glance.

* Bateman and Garner nail their characters perfectly, and writers did a great job evolving them and the audience's perception of them throughout the movie.


* The thing I like best about all of the actors is they make completely unbelievable characters seem believable. With the exceptions of Mark and Vanessa, none of these characters could really be found in your average American town. Yet, the acting done makes you want to believe these people exist so that you can root for them (or boo them, depending on the case).

* Above all else, the movie was fantastically written and directed. I loved the way much of the story develops off-screen. When Juno leaves a room, the audience leaves, too. Surprisingly, there are no holes as a result of this, and you actually get a better, more realistic feel for what is happening when you don't see the conversations that occur after the door closes.

* The language used in the movie is incredible, and it is one of the elements that define the characters. I called it "intellectual slang." In the same sentence, Juno uses the words "for shizzal" and "cavalier" in the same breath. Very creative.

Also, the movie has some incredibly funny lines, including, "He is the cheese to my macaroni," and "I don't think the baby is going to march in here tomorrow demanding dessert-colored walls." The jokes are high-brow and add to the quirkiness of the characters.

* The director also paid great attention to detail, placing seemingly inane things in a scene that actually help the characters define themselves and the audience define the characters. Such was the case with the car bed in Bleeker's room, the runners constantly entering and exiting the shot (particularly in the end, because there is a noticeable absence from the pack), and the mini van set against the background of the ritzy, upper class neighborhood.

* The best feature of the movie, by far, was the music. The very odd, off-beat music playing throughout the movie is a character itself. It is quirky, fun, and very much representative of the mood of each scene. A highlight -- the closing song sung by Page and Cera, "Anyone Else But You."

The thing that really makes this movie worth talking about long after you've left the theatre is the fact that you are not beaten over the head with the plot. The fun part is finding meaning in the subtleties that seem pointless while you're watching the movie, but all come together long after you've left your seat. Definitely bring someone with whom you can coverse on the way home.

I give this movie two big thumbs up! I recommend it to anyone and everyone. If you don't want to spend money at the theatre, you can come over and watch it with me and Jeremy when we buy it on DVD!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Travelin' Coxes Part II...

On Christmas Eve, we journeyed south to Pembroke Pines to fulfill a series of Christmas Eve traditions. We drove around the block singing "The 12 Days of Christmas," poured some cocktails, wrapped gifts, and watched the Christmas Story marathon.

The next morning, we celebrated a wonderful Christmas.

Here's James and Nacho overseeing the gift unwrapping:

Dad enjoyed his new Appalachian T-shirt and season 1 of "The Sarah Silverman Show."


James liked his iPod recording device...


And I think it is safe to say, Josh enjoyed his gift...

A plane ticket to visit us in Anniston for five days!


Jeremy got lots of books and clothes, including a peacoat and bath robe.


I absolutely loved my beautiful heart necklace that he got me!


We spent the rest of the day relaxing and visiting with extended family and puppies.


Later in our travels, we took in a Florida Panthers game. The game didn't get interesting until the thrid quarter when the Flyers finally scored. The Panthers, unfortunately, never did.


We had a nice New Year's playing cards with family and friends. We spent my birthday on the 3rd enjoying a wonderful dinner at The Melting Pot.
I was very excited to learn my birthday present from Jeremy was two tickets to see Movin' Out with Jeremy in Huntsville in March!


We traveled back to Melbourne with help from our new friend, Tom Tom, which was a birthday gift from Dad and Mindy. Then, I went on a shopping trip with mom for my birthday, which was fun.

We finished the evening with cocktails and dinner at a place called City Bistro. It was delicious.

Now, we are back home, and preparing for class tomorrow. This semester, we only have classes on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday! WOOHOO! We have editorial leadership and grand rounds Monday, research menthods Tuesday and newspaper management Wednesday.

Oh, one more thing: Jeremy and I both got our history research papers selected to present at a conference in Panama City in February, which is almost as good as getting them published! We are very excited! It's a great opportunity to network and great for our resumes!

Wish us luck on a great semester!