My Friday Five: More Updates, Homecoming Week & Other Musings

Photo: Chris White
This week's list has a couple more updates, excitement over UNC Football and thoughts on some new music. Enjoy!

1) More Updates

First off, I want to give a big congrats to Tyler Barham, who's been named a Top 10 finalist in the Nash Next contest! But, not only did Barham get in the Top 10, he's in first place! There's just one challenge to go - and this one's a doozy. In the final challenge, contestants are tasked with producing a music video using one of their original songs. Each finalist will team up with a group of computer animation design students from Ringling College of Art & Design to help tell their stories and contestants will also be mentored by Big Machine Records founder, Scott Borchetta. Regardless of what happens in the final challenge, the Top 10 finalists have been invited to go on tour - more details on that to come. Fan voting for the final challenge does not begin until Nov. 23, but you can still help out Tyler by heading over to his profile on Nash Next and playing his music and videos. This helps improve his "Spin Score" which factors into positioning on the leaderboard.

I also wanted to give you an update on my blog. In case you missed it, Twitter has taken my blog URL off its "blacklist" - if that's even a thing - which means I can tweet the URL again! However, I still think that I'll purchase a custom domain sometime in the near future. Additionally, I know this blog design is not the best in the world and I do apologize for that. I don't know if it had anything to do with the whole Twitter/URL thing, but I completely scrapped the last blog design since it was one of those free templates that came from a third party website. I don't believe it was the cause of the Twitter thing but I scrapped it just as a precaution. I know the design has changed some this year but, as long as the content I publish is good and entertaining for my readers, I'm okay with it. There's a reputable company I'm looking at online right now that sells some great, professional-looking blog templates and I found one in particular that looks very nice. Nicer than any design I've had previously. Although all of this is in the thinking/planning stage, I have decided that I'm definitely keeping my blog on Blogger despite a passing thought that I may move it to another host. I'll keep you updated.

2) No. 1 in the Coastal!

North Carolina defeated Pittsburgh Thursday night 26-19 to improve to 7-1 (4-0 ACC) and to takeover the top spot in the Coastal Division. This is the first time since the Mack Brown era that the Heels have gone 4-0 in conference play. Gene Chizik's defense has been stellar, given its his first year as defensive coordinator, and Des Lawrence had a great game. Lawrence recorded seven tackles and four pass breakups in the game, including a couple breakups on a crucial Pittsburgh drive in the fourth quarter. And I'd be remiss if I didn't give a huge shoutout to senior WR Quinshad Davis, who broke Hakeem Nicks' pass reception record at UNC during the game. Up next for the Heels is a huge game at home against Duke Nov. 7 - not only because it's a rivalry, but this game will most likely decide the Coastal Division. I'll be at the game and I'm stoked for it! All I'll say, for now, is GTHD - if you don't know what it means, look it up!

3) Wolfpack Homecoming

Before the pivotal UNC/Duke matchup Nov. 7, N.C. State has a huge game of its own Saturday in Raleigh against No. 3 Clemson. It's also Homecoming for the Pack and I'll be at that game as well - I have dual loyalties to UNC and N.C. State, you know. This will be my first game back at Carter-Finley since being a student and I couldn't have picked a better game to go to. The N.C. State Alumni Association sold ticket packages that includes a pre-game tailgate and the game itself, so I picked a couple of those up. Can't beat getting food and the game for one price! I hope the outcome of the game is positive but, regardless, I know I'll have a good time hanging out with a college buddy of mine and, who knows, I may see some other friends there as well!

4) Props REI

I want to give big props to REI. The national outdoor retailer has taken a stance not only against Black Friday shopping, but this new fad of Thanksgiving Day shopping when officials announced that REI stores will be closed and will pay employees. In addition, REI's website will remain open, but any orders made on those days will not be processed until the Saturday after. I've not really been a fan of Black Friday shopping, but I think that stores opening up on Thanksgiving for shopping is despicable. I even wrote about this last year. Thanksgiving is a time we should all pause and reflect on the many blessings we have, yet some choose to fight to the death over that marked down flat screen TV or whatever. Last year, I made a pledge to not shop at any store for the holiday season that chose to open on Thanksgiving. I stuck to that pledge and still got everything I wanted to give. This year will be no different and I hope you'll join with me.

5) Carrie Underwood's New Album

I've been a fan of Carrie Underwood since following her journey on American Idol more than a decade ago - whoa. The albums Underwood has produced since have all been great. However, "rinse and repeat" is the name of the game for Storyteller, Underwood's latest project. The tracks are just all the same to me. Plus, "Smoke Break" sounds too much like a tune Miranda Lambert would release - whom I've never liked. I don't know, I'm just not a fan of Storyteller at all. Maybe it'll grow on me, maybe it won't.

Thanks for Reading