The End Started in North Carolina

Like many other Millenials / GenYers, when I think about the downfall of the music industry, I think of Napster, Kazaa, Limewire and BitTorrent. And certainly those peer-to-peer file sharing innovations played a major role. But dig deeper and there’s a case to be made that the downfall began in our own backyard. In fact, Stephen Witt, in a longform piece for The New Yorker, makes that very case. I especially enjoyed this characterization of early-nineties life in Shelby, North Carolina:

Glover and Dockery soon became friends. They lived in the same town, Shelby, and Glover started giving Dockery a ride to work. They liked the same music. They made the same money. Most important, they were both fascinated by computers, an unusual interest for two working-class Carolinians in the early nineties—the average Shelbyite was more likely to own a hunting rifle than a PC.

In all seriousness, I had no idea that a small chunk of the ridiculous amounts of money I was spending on music in the nineties was coming back to the North Carolina economy. Had I known that there was a literal hit factory in Kings Mountain, NC, I might have tried to spend my summers working there.

A Force Awakens

I’m not the biggest Star Wars fan in the galaxy; in fact, my fandom really only picked up steam with the pre-release hype of the prequels 15 years ago when I was in high school. Paltry as they were, those prequels were enough to spur and maintain more than a passing interest in the franchise and I count myself among the troves of nerds around the world who are excited to see the Force finally awaken.

Thankfully, the age of the modern Internet has given us sites like The Verge to analyze and rehash every possible detail of every nugget of bone that the new stewards of the franchise care to toss our way. This most recent glut of analysis thanks to SWCA and the release of the latest trailer for Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens.

The reaction to the latest trailer seems to be overwhelmingly positive and I’m firmly planted in that camp as well. I’ll offer my analysis of the trailer by echoing the many voices already trumpeting its merits out on the Net. First, there’s the inspired glance into the J.J. Abrams style of filmmaking. There’s a frame-by-frame analysis and a page full of animated gifs of every scene (which might be a lot of fun to review after watching this). And, finally, there’s this deep dive into how the new trailer fits (or doesn’t fit) into the expanded universe. Whew. I’m tired just from linking all of that.

Photo Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

Caught You at a Good Time

By the time the Wolfpack’s fate was sealed in their Sweet 16 loss to Louisville in the NCAA tournament a week and a half ago, I had seen more NC State basketball in the month of March than I did in the previous five months combined. That’s as much a testament to NC State’s effort to extend their March as it was an indicator of how unsupportive I continue to be as a fan. But I am a fan, and I am so proud of this team. I’m also a little disappointed.

Making it to the Sweet 16 was a great accomplishment for this team, an iteration of an ever evolving program that some have called the most exciting they’ve watched in their lifetime. When I first read that sentiment, it gave me pause. I mean, how could you forget about those Hodge teams or even the grit and grind of the Grundy teams in the late 90s/early Aughts? Or, even more recently, Zo and TJ1? But then I realized those guys were all guards2. While we’ve had semi-athletic or smooth operating bigs in the past, it’s been a while since we’ve had a combination of athleticism and strength in the front court to go along with a cadre of nice guard play in the backcourt. And suddenly I find myself wondering if perhaps this is the most exciting Wolfpack squad we’ve fielded in more than thirty years.

Don’t worry, I’m not making the leap quite yet. It’s just something to consider. I don’t think we’re better than Louisville, and the outcome of the game late last week certainly bears that out – but we were good enough to beat them that night. Louisville stepped up and did what they had to do to put us away. I’m disappointed that we let some solid opportunities slip through our fingers, but I’m excited3 about next year. I don’t necessarily foresee an NCAA title or even an ACC title, but I think next year’s team will be a lot of fun to watch. I may have been late to the party, but it seems I certainly caught them at a good time.

Photo Credit: NC State

  1. Sorry, CJ.  ↩
  2. We’ll call TJ a wingman/really tall scorer.  ↩
  3. Don’t get too giddy, UNC fan. I’m not saying we’re going all the way. I’m not even trying to say we’ll be better than you. Sometimes, it’s not all about you.  ↩