The year of the celeb divorce

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Nov 292006
 
Authors: Hallie Woods

This year, it isn’t the year of the goat, the year of the ox or year of the rabbit. America has taken over the Chinese calendar and implemented the year of the celeb divorce.

Within the last year, Hollywood has seen more divorces that surprise even those who expect this type of behavior from the stars. Although I never expect a Hollywood marriage to last more than a few years, I am surprised to see the number of marriage splits in one year.

In July, Prince, the man once known only as a symbol, and his wife Manuela Testolini Nelson, finally made public their divorce after five years of marriage. To me, this divorce comes as a shock, because I didn’t even know Prince was married.to a woman.

Uptown girl Christie Brinkley announced her divorce after coming across information about her husband Peter Cook’s affair with his teenage personal assistant.

Eminem, or Marshall Mathers, and wife Kim decided to divorce. This isn’t the first divorce for the couple, however. They split once before and then remarried. The second divorce came after three months of a second marriage.

After 14 years of marriage, Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown called it quits. In the same month, Kate Hudson and Black Crowes singer Chris Robinson divorced.

On Nov. 3, Chris Rock and Malaak Compton-Rock decided to divorce after 10 years of marriage and two children.

Although the couple had been on the rocks since 2004 when Jude Law cheated on Sienna Miller with their nanny, the couple officially divorced only several weeks ago on Nov. 13.

A very unsurprising split occurred early in November when Britney Spears filed for divorce from Kevin Federline under “irreconcilable differences.” While most people were just waiting for Spears to “can his ass,” the couple has two children together. Luckily for Spears, she had K-Fed sign a prenup. Got to give the girl some credit.

Two celebrity couples came as a bit of a surprise to me. The first, Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillipe. Although Witherspoon has always dominated the working world, the couple seemed happy with each other and their children. I actually had a lot of faith in those two.

Another is the split between Paul McCartney and second wife Heather Mills. Judging from his first marriage to Linda McCartney, who died of breast cancer in 1998, I believed McCartney held marriage to its highest regards, sticking with the person he promised his life to. I guess his love for Heather wasn’t anything like the special relationship he held with Linda. Also, Mills did not sign a prenup.

David Hasselhoff and wife Pamela Bach also split this year after 16 years of marriage. This was nothing like the most recent divorce between his co-star, Pamela Anderson and her husband, Kid Rock. The couple, who filed divorce on Monday, were married a mere four months.

Is this recent divorce epidemic a symptom of the Hollywood lifestyle, or does it follow along with the American way of marriage? With divorce numbers increasing in the last couple decades, it’s hard to be surprised when a couple announces their split.

When it comes to Hollywood, however, people are quick to denounce a divorce because of the way star relationships are viewed. But, I ask myself, are they really any different from the rest of America?

Verve editor Hallie Woods can be reached at . The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the individual author and not necessarily those of the Collegian.

Other 2006 celeb divorces

Selma Blair& Ahmet Zappa field for divorce

Matt LeBlanc and Melissa McKnight

Heather Locklear and Richie Sambora

Denise Richards and Charlie Sheen

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Playstation 3 brings new, high-tech games

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Nov 292006
 
Authors: Michelle Zilis

With the rise of new high-tech game players comes new games. Recently, as Playstation 3 has hit the shelves, new games began flooding TV screens everywhere. Check out some of the new Playstation 3 games for more information. The list has been compiled from a variety of gamers’ Web sites.

Resistance: Fall of Man

This first-person shooter sci-fi game takes you on a mission through an alternate world in which WWII never happened and the world is instead being ravaged by a deadly parasitic disease. America and Great Britain must joined forces in order to stop the virus from spreading. The enemy, Chimera, is a rapidly mutating parasite that infects other forms of life, rendering its victims into new Chimera.

Your mission takes you through the urban areas of Great Britain, all based on actual locations. The missions are story-based and single-player. There are multiple levels of difficulty. The objective is to save the world.

“Resistance” should not be compared to other shooter games, President of Insomniac Ted Price said. “I think that when people play through ‘Resistance,’ and when they experience the story, they’ll discover that there are a lot of big differences between our game and the other first-person shooters,” he said.

http://www.1up.com/do/previewPage?cId=3154210

Call of Duty 3

This game places you on the battlefield of WWII as a historic first-person shooter – as the first two games of the series have done – and gives you the opportunity to take your missions into your own hands. You start fighting during the Normandy Breakout and move toward liberating Paris. Face-to-face combat is very intense and you have the opportunity to choose from a wide array of tactics. Some tactics include sniping, demolition and frontal assault, and you are allowed to pick what route to use on attacks. You have the ability to choose the type of character you want to be as well, such as infantry, scout or rifleman.

http://ps3.ign.com/objects/801/801848.html

Ridge Racer 7

Learn to be a speed driver with the ability to take corners at 160 mph and enjoy the excitement of drifting. The game is modeled after the classic arcade-type racing game. However, in “Ridge Racer 7” you have the ability to customize your own car with over 380,000 different options. In addition, there are 40 different machines and 20 courses. Many of the machines are from previous editions, however. So if you have the need for speed, “Ridge Racer 7” is the game to get.

http://www.gamespot.com/ps3/driving/ridgeracer7/checkprices.html

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance

This imaginary game places you in the world of super heroes and you must fight the villains of the world. You create a power team of four Marvel characters to defeat the enemies you will face. You create a team name, logo and vehicle and set off on your mission. Each mission will be different, and your story plot changes as you battle enemies and interact with the 140 Marvel characters.

http://www.gamespot.com/ps3/rpg/marvelultimatealliance/checkprices.html

NBA 2K7

This basketball simulation game places you on the court in front of huge arenas, in an intense street ball game, or as the general manager of the franchise of a favorite team. With all the options, the game lets you explore the best parts of the basketball world. The game has graphics that make you feet like you really are there and offers complete control over your shots with the shot stick.

http://www.gamespot.com/ps3/sports/nba2k7/checkprices.html

Madden NFL 07

The 17th installment of EA’s longest running sports game makes a splash yet again. In this edition, there is an emphasis on the running game – it promises that no matter what your size or position is, there is a run possible. For gamers, the ’07 edition has put the lead blocker controls back in for better coverage and control of your players.

http://www.1up.com/do/gameOverview?cId=3148426

NHL 2K7

This hockey simulation game focuses on making you feel like you’re really there on the ice. With new skate controls that allow you to glide, crossover and handle the puck, in addition to more control over playmaking, players should be happy with the latest edition. There is also a new lower camera angle to give the impression of the skater’s view. In addition, real rivalries and home ice advantages are taken into account in the arenas and fans. Take your franchise all the way to the Stanley Cup.

http://www.gamespot.com/ps3/sports/nhl2k7/index.html

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07

As you compete for the FedEx Cup on Glen Abbey Golf Course, you are required to play against 15 of the best professional golfers. Fans come out and watch you, and you play side by side with Tiger Woods. This edition keeps many of the favorite features of the series, but it also brings back many of the features the 06 version left out, making it feel better rounded. There is an improved True Aiming feature that makes it more difficult for you to win the cup.

http://ps3.ign.com/articles/746/746320p1.html and http://www.gamespot.com/ps3/sports/tigerwoodspgatour07/checkprices.html

Tony Hawk Project 8

Skateboard your way to No. 1 through crazy tricks as you compete against the top skateboarders in the world. “Project 8” carries on the same traditions as previous Tony Hawk experiences, yet continues to get better as graphics and control over tricks increase. The Sixaxis controller allows you to control tilt balance and steering during manual grinds – a new feature, which is receiving much praise. Also, more experienced players have the ability to find secret missions and goals to play for.

http://www.gamespot.com/ps3/sports/tonyhawksproject8/checkprices.html

Staff writer Michelle Zilis can be reached at verve@collegian.com. The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the individual author and not necessarily those of the Collegian.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Cookin’ with no dough

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Nov 292006
 
Authors: Liz Sunshine

I ashamed to say that despite the fact I’ve traveled in many circles, I know little or nothing about Christmas traditions.

This year, I plan to change that by attending not one but two office Christmas parties. I plan to mingle and chat and spread holiday cheer but am also intent on inspecting the food offerings.

What do you gentiles nosh on before Santa arrives?

I would be remiss if I didn’t admit to knowing a little. Some non-Jews I’ve spoken to say they have traditions with turkey, roast beef or ham on this December holy holiday for Christians.

For Jewish folks like me, December marks a bit of break in the holiest of days. In fact, for eight nights beginning at sundown on Dec. 15, we eat as much fried food as we can possible make and ingest. It’s a party.

Sure, we gather with family and light one of eight candles in the chanukiah – a candle holder similar to a menorah – and say a few prayers. Both children and adults – some for small amounts of money – will play dreidel, a gambling game involving a spinning top and wagering.

When we’re not betting and burning things, we eat. Consider these recipes as tasty items you could serve to any group of people for nearly any occasions. For example, the latke recipe can be altered to be served as an appetizer or a side dish to an entr/e, such as brisket.

The sufganiyot (pronounced “soof-ghani-oat”) are basically killer donuts that can be eaten anytime. Yes, we eat donuts and pancakes for a week. (I’m kidding, sorta. There are a couple of other things we eat, including fried chicken)

As for the tradition behind these dishes, latkes, according to a little Web research, are thought to have originated in Eastern Europe or Germany in the late 18th century. The sufganiyot are rooted in Israeli traditions.

As a child, I don’t remember always having these tasty creations during Chanukah but when they were available, they had often been purchased at a bakery. While I’ve been making the latkes for many years, this was my first attempt at sufganiyot. Both are easy recipes – just be careful with the donut yeast.

Molly Goldberg’s recipe for latkes is the one my family has used for as long as I can remember. I pull out my trusty food processor, toss in my peeled and chunked potatoes, onion, salt, pepper and baking powder and blend until it has a thick oatmeal-like consistency. Then the griddle makes an appearance. Some people deep-fry their latkes but I prefer brushing oil on my griddle and letting them cook like pancakes. Turn the potatoes when the edges start turning brown and let them sit on the other side for about two minutes. I enjoy mine with sour cream and applesauce but both are traditional on their own.

As far as the doughnuts go, my problems with yeast stand true. In this particular recipe the yeast proofs in warm milk. If you have a thermometer, the milk should be 110 degrees. If not, test the milk on your wrist – it should be just slightly warmer. My other advice is to stick the jelly in the middle rather than inserting it on the side, and you may want a buddy to help with this part seeing as holding a recently fried dough ball and warm jelly tends to add to the burn count.

Have fun making these for your friends and family, regardless of faith.

As my Cousin Loren always jokes, we’ve earned the fried food.

“They tried to kill us. They didn’t succeed,” he would say, “so let’s eat!”

RECIPES:

Molly Goldberg’s Latkes

4 potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 onion, grated

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 egg

3 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 cup oil

Combine potatoes, onion, salt, pepper, egg, flour and baking powder in a food processor or blender until thickly blended. Brush oil onto a 350 degrees griddle and spoon out 1/4 cup portions of the potato mixture. Let brown on both sides and enjoy with sour cream or applesauce.

Sufganiyot

6 1/2 cups plain flour

7 tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk

2 oz. Yeast

2 whole eggs

2 egg yolks

5 oz. Butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 teaspoons salt

Oil for deep-frying

Jam for filling

Place flour in mixing bowl, make a well in the center and add the sugar and salt.

In a separate bowl dissolve yeast in the milk, add a pinch of sugar, and set aside until mixture bubbles and rises. Add the yeast mixture to the flour, then add the eggs, yolks, vanilla and butter.

Combine for 5-7 minutes, cover and let sit for 1-1 1/2 hours.

Flour a counter and divide dough in two parts. Roll out each part until about 1/2 inch thick. Cut out circles using about a 2-inch pastry cutter (I used a custard cup). Let rise, covered, on a floured tray for about 20 minutes.

Pour about 12 cups of oil into a large pot. Heat, but make sure the oil is not boiling. Drop risen doughnuts into hot oil and let fry 1-2 minutes on each side.

Remove with a slotted spoon and let sit on paper towel. Before serving inject warmed jam into the doughnuts and sprinkle with sugar if desired.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

New Concert: Don’t Miss the Photo Atlas

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Nov 292006
 
Authors: Matthew Azrael Martin

Smile And A Shoeshine is Sam Graf, vocals/guitar, B.J. Buttice bass, Dominic Buttice, drums, and new member Chris Love on keyboard

Grungy Nirvana, U2 (the earlier album “War”), Drama Rama and Cursive all give Smile And A Shoeshine its sound and offer the bulk of this band’s influence.

The beginning of December will be hot if you make it to the Aggie early enough to see the second act: Smile And A Shoeshine. This six-year-old Fort Collins act has a new member: Chris Love.

I asked Love, who plays the keyboard, how he felt his addition to the band changes the sound of Smile And A Shoeshine.

Chris replied, “It pretty much makes it 10 times better, I think. . It adds an element of class to the music.”

Drummer Dominic B**** added, “It just fills it out more.”

The Aggie will host three awesome bands and a solo show on Dec. 1. Headlining is The Hot IQs, and next up is The Photo Atlas in the middle of this sexified gooey sandwich. The night finishes with Smile And A Shoeshine. And of course, the opener for this kicker is solo artist Jon Yeager.

This line-up seems like an Arcadefire-esque dance rock show, and for the most part it is. The Hot IQs is definitely a clap-along dance band and The Photo Atlas is probably one of Colorado’s best dance bands.

But then there is Smile And A Shoeshine on the bill. Smile is there offering a slyly juxtaposed addition; they are not dance band and the keyboard may throw one off, but they are still ROCK and nothing else. Find this Dec. 1.

Staff writer Matthew Azrael Martin can be reached at verve@collegian.com. The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the individual author and not necessarily those of the Collegian.

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CSU student produces wacky character in new book

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Nov 292006
 
Authors: Aaron Bell

Although it’s fiction, CSU undergrad Grant Williams says his first published book, about the life of a man who exists in both reality and a fantasy world in his mind, is partly autobiographical.

But, in a recent interview with the Collegian, Williams certainly makes several statements that would leave some people wondering.

Williams asked to be described as the new young author who arrived for the interview drunk and wearing an eye patch. In reality, the senior speech communications major showed up at a table next to Carl’s Jr. in the Lory Student Center wearing jeans and white T-shirt, looking like an average college senior.

Yet, the character in Williams’ book, “Spaceman,” is anything but normal. In fact, to describe the main character or the plot, is quite difficult.

According to AuthorHouse Book Publishing Company, the publisher of the just-released book, this is the most efficient summary of a plot line that is tricky to describe:

“Throughout most of his life, David Ford had lived in places his mind had created, while simply existing in the real world. He tried desperately to combine the two, and create a life with which he could live. But his mind began to cave in on him, and things that happened in his own world began to foreshadow events that would happen in his real life. Events that would lead to his end,” according to the Web site.

Williams’ explanation of the book was simpler.

“It’s about a crazy guy doing crazy things,” says Williams. “He’s got his own life in the real world, and a completely different life in his head.”

Williams says that “Spaceman” is not science-fiction in spite of the title, though he didn’t place the book into any other genre.

Williams says that the story is mostly funny.

“You’ll laugh and you won’t regret reading it,” he says.

Williams found time to write “Spaceman” while studying full time at CSU and working 30 hours per week at the Hilton Hotel across the street from campus.

In spite of the challenges, Williams says that holding the book that he wrote in his hands was worth the effort.

While many professors and faculty members have books in the bookstore, few undergrad students have been published.

“I don’t think that’s very common,” said Fran Wilson, administrative assistant at the CSU Bookstore, of Williams’s book. “It’s a big deal in my opinion.”

Staff writer Aaron Bell can be reached at verve@collegian.com.

_____________________________________

The book costs $13.40 on the publisher’s Web site, authorhouse.com.

“Spaceman” is available in the CSU Bookstore. It is also available online at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and authorhouse.com.

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A “Royale” flush

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Nov 292006
 
Authors: Jeff Schwartz

Casino Royale:

****1/2 out of *****

Bond films have always been formulaic. With their supervillians, Bond’s numerous sexual conquests and the action set pieces from which the double agent always emerges unscathed.

In a way, “Casino Royale,” the 21st Bond film, does not break with these conventions. There’s still a maniacal villain to defeat, Bond is still laying beautiful and dangerous women and there are still action set pieces where Bond is the only one left standing.

But in another way, “Casino Royale” is an entirely new kind of Bond film, and Daniel Craig is an entirely new kind of Bond.

Instead of going the obvious route, the creators of “Casino Royale” decided to tell a story about James Bond before he was the suave, daring, expertly-skilled double agent who was just as comfortable making double entendres with beautiful women over martinis as he was with a Walther PPK.

As “Casino Royale” begins (in gritty black and white, no less), James Bond is not even a double agent because in order to be a double agent one must have two kills.

Bond has already killed one man, but he did not die well, a line that Craig delivers with acerbic wit. Bond’s second kill, a very classic shot to the head, goes much better, and with that M (Judi Dench) warily promotes the inexperienced agent to double-0 status.

The remainder of the film is concerned with Bond’s entering a high-stakes game of Texas Hold ‘Em with a man named Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen), a financier for the world’s terrorists, whom Bond must defeat.

Along the way Bond is aided by the beautiful-but-not-in-a-typical-Bond-girl-way agent called Vesper (Eva Green) and MI6 agent Mathis (Giancarlo Giannini).

Daniel Craig, initially dubbed James Bland by the British media, is engaging and riveting as Bond. In fact, at his best, Craig is able suggest a kinship between his character and the tough-talking private eye Sam Spade, played by Humphrey Bogart in the film noir masterpiece “The Maltese Falcon.”

Like Spade before him, Craig’s Bond is can be brutal and callous, but we seem to understand that Bond has demons in his past, though these demons, wisely, remain ambiguous.

What “Casino Royale” does incredibly well are the scenes of intrigue as Bond begins to learn his trade, along with the scenes between Bond and Vesper, who share moments of psychoanalytical verbal jousting that are as well-written and clever as any of the dialogue that’s ever been spoken in a Bond film.

The film’s first action scene goes on a bit too long, but aside from this, “Casino Royale” is everything and more that one could expect. It’s riveting, well-acted, darkly humorous and reinvents the old Bond formulas without completely disregarding them.

A ‘royale’ flush of a film.

Staff writer Jeff Schwartz can be reached at verve@collegian.com. The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the individual author and not necessarily those of the Collegian.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Movie Reviews

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Nov 292006
 
Authors: Jeff Schwartz

Stranger than Fiction

Starring: Will Ferrell, Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson

Rated: PG-13

Running time: 1 hr. 53 min.

Summary: Will Ferrell plays against type in this comedic fantasy as a lonely IRS agent named Harold Crick who begins to hear the voice of an author (Thompson) inside his head. The voice is merely irritating until it unexpectedly announces that Harold’s imminent death is just around the corner. Fans of Ferrell in roles like Ron Burgundy and Ricky Bobby will be surprised that the actor is just as funny delivering wonderfully deadpan lines as he can while “trapped inside of a glass case of emotion.”

Happy Feet

Starring the voices of: Robin Williams, Hugh Jackman and Elijah Wood

Rated: PG

Running time: 1 hr. 40 min.

Summary: In this animated comedy featuring the voices of some very big name actors, a penguin aptly named Mumble (Wood) is born without the ability to sing, which means that he won’t be able to attract a mate when he becomes older. However, Mumble is a talented dancer and so he thus sets out to win true love with his feet rather than his voice. Though this one is primarily for the young’uns, it does feature Robin Williams in multiple roles, which should allow for some more adult humor in and amongst the kiddie stuff.

Fast Food Nation

Starring: Greg Kinnear, Bruce Willis and Wilmer Valderrama

Rated: R

Running time: 1 hr. 46 min.

Summary: In this fictionalized adaptation of Eric Schlosser’s muckraking expos/ of the fast food industry, Kinnear plays marketing executive for the multi-billion dollar company Mickey’s (which sounds vaguely similar to another ubiquitous fast food restaurant chain) who investigates a meat processing plant in Colorado where there is, purportedly, some “fecal matter” in the beef patties used to make Mickey’s hamburgers. This is a film that is sure to make you uncomfortable, both from its stomach-churning implications and from its satiric appraisal of modern America.

Staff writer Jeff Schwartz can be reached at verve@collegian.com. The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the individual author and not necessarily those of the Collegian.

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A season of volleyball from the sidelines

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Nov 292006
 
Authors: Cole Weinman

November 22. It was 7 a.m. as I was stepping on the plane to Las Vegas. That day also happened to coincidentally be the anniversary of my 21st year on this planet.Naturally, one would assume that I was going out to Vegas to partake in celebration of my newfound ability of legal intoxication. And here’s the part where I tell you that you’re wrong.

You might guess that I went out to see what was one of the best college basketball games of the young season, as Kansas upset defending national champion Florida in overtime. Once again, I would tell you that you’re wrong. You would guess that it was just a Thanksgiving break vacation, to get away from the university and just relax away from home. Wrong again.

I was in Las Vegas for what was probably one of the most exciting sporting events I’ve ever witnessed in my 21 years on this planet. You may ask, “What would this magical sports nirvana be?” And my answer may surprise you.

I was out in Vegas watching college volleyball, and it was amazing. I mean what I just said, and no, I’m not going to take it back.

As the play-by-play voice for the CSU volleyball team, I was invited to go along with the team to the Mountain West Conference tournament. This eight-team tournament saw everything that makes sports great. It saw big upsets, come-from-behind victories, and a scrappy team who most analysts thought didn’t belong on the winner’s pedestal, hoisting the trophy when it was all said and done. And that team was the CSU Rams.

After a four-game victory over TCU in the first round, CSU was expected to take on the Brigham Young Cougars in the semifinal round. San Diego State had other ideas though, and took down the Cougars in a thrilling five-game victory, sending shockwaves throughout the Mountain West Conference.

You might say fate stepped in here, because instead of facing BYU, a team who bested the Rams twice during the conference season, the Rams would now face a SDSU team who they swept during the regular season.

The Rams would make quick work of San Diego State, winning the match in a three game sweep. Meanwhile, Utah had run through their side of the bracket, setting up a showdown between the two of the top three teams in the conference.

Nobody had expected CSU to be here – it was supposed to be BYU and Utah in another rendition of the Holy War, but here they were all smiles and ready to try their best David impression, against the Goliath that was the Utah Utes.

It didn’t start well for the Rams, falling quickly into a two games to none hole, and down by nine in the third game. And then something happened, something that makes this sport great. The light came on for the Rams, the offense came alive, prompting the defense to do the same, and after falling to a 20-11 deficit, the Rams rallied back to a 30-30 tie, taking game three into extra points, where the Rams would eventually prevail 24-32.

After that, it was CSU that looked like the nine-ranked team in the nation and the Utes who didn’t belong. The Rams took game four by a count of 30-20, never looking back after winning game three. The Rams won game four and forced a decisive game five. The Rams took control of the game, and Utah could do nothing but watch as the Rams overpowered them and earned the NCAA berth that comes with the MWC tournament title.

For those who were in attendance, think back to the CSU vs. Utah football game last year, when the Rams won on a last second goal line stand. Now imagine watching CSU come back from a 28-point deficit at halftime, take the lead in the third quarter and stave off the Utes as they did last year in that memorable football game. That is the equivalent of what took place on Saturday night in Las Vegas. Hollywood couldn’t have scripted it better.

Yeah, I turned 21, and yeah, I was in Las Vegas, but watching CSU’s volleyball team provide me with one of the most memorable sporting events in my lifetime was probably one of the coolest things I’ve ever been involved with.

With a victory in the Mountain West Conference tournament the Rams earned a trip to the NCAA tournament. And it just so happens that the Rams will be playing tonight in Boulder. They take on the defending national champion Washington Huskies at 5 p.m. So I would encourage everyone who calls himself or herself a Ram in Fort Collins to venture down south. Forget about homework. The books will be there after the match, so will the TV shows – tape them if you have to. The alcohol will be there after the match too, trust me. After all, I am finally legal.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Rams ready for defending champion Huskies

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Nov 292006
 
Authors: Jeff Dillon

Three years ago, the CSU men’s basketball team made an impressive run to the Mountain West Conference tournament championship and was rewarded with a first-round match-up with powerhouse Duke.

A similar thing is happening to CSU volleyball this season. The only difference might be that the volleyball team has a very legitimate shot to win.

After achieving a fourth Mountain West tournament title last weekend in Las Vegas, the Rams must face the defending national champion Washington Huskies today at 5 p.m. at the Coors Events Center in Boulder.

Though unseeded, CSU (20-9) is one of only 10 teams who have advanced to the past 12 NCAA tournaments.

Washington (25-4) is seeded sixth in the tournament and ranked third nationally. The Huskies finished second behind Stanford in the Pac-10 Conference this season and are in their fifth consecutive tournament.

An emerging volleyball power, Washington’s resume boasts seven wins over ranked teams. All four of the squad’s losses also came against top-25 opponents.

Senior outside hitter Katherine Whitney believes the Huskies’ biggest strength is their ability to avoid mistakes.

“They don’t make errors,” she said. “We don’t make a lot, either, but we have to be able to hang in points as long as they do.”

Washington is led by Pac-10 player of the year Christal Morrison. A senior outside hitter, Morrison leads the Huskies with 4.80 kills per game and hit 27 aces on the year.

CSU must also deal with one of the nation’s top setters in senior Courtney Thompson. Thompson is averaging an NCAA-best 14.92 assists per game and set the Pac-10 record for career assists earlier this season.

Statistically speaking, Thompson has a very strong group of hitters to work with, along with Morrison. Washington’s hitting was the best in its conference this season with a .292 percentage and an average of 17.34 kills per game.

In comparison, the Rams hit .237 and averaged 15.99 kills per game in the Mountain West.

According to Head Coach Tom Hilbert, the Huskies’ style of play may remind the Rams of a Utah team they just found a way to beat on Saturday.

“They are a lot like Utah, only stronger and better,” said Hilbert. “They run the same system as Utah does but they are solid in every hitting area.

CSU also has an impressive lineup of front-row players. Junior right side hitter Tonya Mokelki (2.87 kills per game) and sophomore middle blocker Mekana Barnes (.288 hitting percentage) were each named to the all-Mountain West team last weekend.

In addition, the Rams have the MWC tournament MVP in Strauss, who is hitting a team-best 3.49 kills per game. Whitney is also a threat, having posted 306 kills in total on the year.

Despite all of the encouraging statistics for the Rams, the thing that may help the team the most today is the knowledge of what’s coming.

CSU was eliminated from the NCAA tournament last season in a second-round sweep against Washington. It was a match that, according to Strauss, the Rams “made a ton of errors” in.

But with more experience and consistency, she thinks this year’s result could be very different.

“We’re a better ball control team this year,” said Strauss. “We don’t make as many mistakes. At this point, anyone can win.”

“It’s just whoever brings it tomorrow at five o’clock,” added Whitney.

Whoever does will face the winner of Colorado-Boulder and 19th-ranked New Mexico State on Friday at 7 p.m. in Boulder.

Volleyball beat writer Jeff Dillon can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

On the Air:

Every NCAA match for the Rams, including today’s against Washington, will be aired both on 90.5 KCSU FM as well as Yahoo.com.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

RamTalk

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on RamTalk
Nov 292006
 
Authors:

Did anyone else see a photographic opportunity provided by the shopping cart frozen in the lagoon?

Have you ever noticed that to get a comment published in Ramtalk you either a.) have to complain about something or b.) write a dumb comment about squirrels.

You know that girl you’ve been eyeing the whole semester? Yeah, her. Don’t let her be the one that got away. Make a move before it’s too late!

Whoever does the horoscopes is amazing. On the day I had five stars I got one block from my house before I crashed my bike and fell into someone’s retaining wall. It was awesome!

As it seems the Chuck Norris jokes are waning, I propose a new man for the spotlight: Billy Joel. And here’s the first one: Billy Joel’s songs are so good, that when Christ was born, Mary and Joseph asked the minstrel to play “We Didn’t Start the Fire” and the North Star soon became “The River of Dreams.”

 Posted by at 5:00 pm