Newspapers on my Nook Color

 

Here is how I've been reading the newspaper of late -- on my Nook Color

 

I have pretty much always loved newspapers. When I was very young, I would lie on our living room floor and read the sports page in front of me. I read about the Twins more than anything. And I’m talking about the mid-70s Bombo Rivera, Lyman Bostock, Craig Cubbage Twins.

My first “job” was delivering the West Central Tribune. I started on the first day of school in fourth grade. Obviously it became what I did for a living for a long time. I don’t really remember a time when I didn’t get a newspaper delivered to where I was living. When I was traveling, I was the guy who would buy multiple newspapers at every stop just to see how different papers were doing things.

But now a couple of months into an experiment of not reading an actual hard-copy version of the newspaper. This past fall, I purchased a Nook Color, the nifty e-reader from Barnes & Noble. It’s really an e-reader plus, but I will get to that in a later post.

I initially started getting just the New York Times delivered daily to my Nook Color. It was, and is, great. One of the best things about my previous job in higher education was that I could pick up the NYT on campus for free. I find it to be a joy to read as there are always interesting stories. I would bring it to lunch, find a table by myself and read while eating lunch.

With the Nook Color, I get the benefit of getting a much later edition of the newspaper than the national edition — yes, there are actual sports scores in there — while also not being overwhelmed with unread sections of the paper piling up each day.

Starting around Christmas, I added the Star Tribune to my Nook subscription list. I wasn’t sure if I would be comfortable getting my primary newspaper electronically. But I figured that since it is available for reading at work as well that I would give it a chance.

The bottom line is that I really like it. I usually get through the main things I want to see in the Star Tribune before I leave the house or right when I get to the office. I mix in some of the NYT in the morning and look at more of it at lunch. There are some days when I don’t get to as much of that as I would like.

Here’s a quick look at pros and cons (and some photos) of my move toward a paper-free life.

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My new favorite bad team

I am something of a contrarian when it comes to sports teams. I don’t like the overdog or the heavily exposed. I hate that national networks seem to show one of about six or seven teams in every broadcast.

I don’t get too excited about watching the Yankees, the Red Sox or the Phillies. A NBA game with the Celtics or Heat or Spurs has me at least considering an immediate channel change.

If it wasn’t clear previously, I have the NBA League Pass for the third consecutive year. I’ve grown into a NBA fan/junkie, something that wasn’t the case or an option when I was covering college hoops. I have a far greater appreciation for the NBA than I ever have. The players are huge and can do crazy athletic things. Everybody can make open shots. And there no bad teams. I’ll take a bad NBA game over a college game between a good team and some hyphenated or directional school.

Maybe it was because I covered the Big Ten for so long — you know, a league where too many games are 62-58 — but I love offense. I want to see points scored. I like watching teams get up and down the floor. I also tend to watch more NBA games from the Central, Mountain or Pacific time zones, it’s just the way it has worked out. It has started to change a little bit as I enjoy watching the Knicks, but that is probably another post for another day.

So who do I watch? I started watching more Phoenix than anybody else, but the Suns aren’t what they were before D’Antoni left. I like watching Oklahoma City, though I enjoyed watching the Thunder last year a little bit more as they weren’t quite as popular. I’ve been known to watch Portland, but the Blazers play awfully slow.

So where does that leave me? For much of the past two years, I have been a sucker for the Golden State Warriors. Let’s be honest, the Warriors aren’t very good. They don’t really defend and didn’t have much in the middle before signing David Lee. But I love watching Monte Ellis play. He is so fast, he’s fearless, he plays so hard. And he’s good. Steph Curry is very fun to watch because he’s such an interesting complement to Ellis. While Ellis plays pedal-to-the-metal, Curry is much more calculated. He changes speeds, he understands how to get open, he can get his shot off in a hurry.

And I love the Warriors new uniforms. I’m convinced they are among the very best in the NBA.

But of late, I have a new favorite team to watch. I am now part of Clipper Nation, and this move happened long before the Clipps toyed with the Wolves on Wednesday night.

I didn’t really know what to think of Blake Griffin heading into this season. He was obviously good, but I wasn’t sure where he would play. Could he play center if he had to? Was he big enough? I had some of the same questions about him that I had with Kevin Love.

I thought he would be solid, but not like this. Dude has been just incredible. He plays super hard, he’s athletic, he overpowers defenders. He has become one of the NBA’s must-watch players. And I’ve been watching. I love how he doesn’t back down and mixed it up a little bit with the Lakers earlier this week.

He’s also really helped the Clippers get better. With the amount of attention he draws inside, he’s given Eric Gordon more room to operate on the perimeter. He’s also helped to somehow keep Baron Davis interested in this season. I realize they are the Clippers and things always go south with the Clippers, but they’ve been winning games like crazy. Wednesday’s win was the 11th in 15 game games for the Clipps.

I’m kind of worried that I’m too late to this party. And instead of being ahead of trend, I’ve become a bandwagon jumper. I’m going to try not to think about that for now and just watch the craziness.

The guys on the Wolves broadcast tonight said that Griffin has become the most-searched athlete on YouTube. Don’t know the parameters of that (there has to be some), but I’ll leave you with some Blake Griffin internet goodness.

 

 

I’m a bit too excited for this video game

I arrived at the office on Tuesday morning, logged into Twitter and one of the first things I saw was ESPN.com golf writer Jason Sobel tweeting how Augusta National Golf Club was going to be in the new Tiger Woods 12 video game.

I was stunned. And amazed. And thrilled.

It was a few hours later, when my friend Ryan tweeted:

“How many nights will @jeffshelman be camping out at Best Buy to get this copy of Tiger Woods 2012 w/Augusta National?”

I’m not sure that I’m going to camp out (though I won’t completely rule it out), but I will be getting the game.

I realize that I’m closing in on 40. But I am awfully excited about this development. Probably too excited.

I am not a huge gamer. I had a ColecoVision when I was a kid (to you youngsters, Google it and then laugh at the primitive video game culture of the 80s), but after that I didn’t play for a long time.

It was only about four or five years ago when I took some fantasy football winnings (thanks to all those NFL writers who let a non-expert win) and bought an Xbox 360.

I pretty much play sports games. Tiger Woods 07 or 08 was the first game I bought and I’ve purchased every version since then. I’ve several NBA games (both EA and 2K), I had one NHL game, a couple of MLB games, two NCAA Football games and the last two FIFA games. I’m not big on shoot-em-up games, but I do love playing a game or two and seeing what I can do.

That said, the Tiger Woods PGA Tour franchise was getting a little boring. There were small tweaks each year and some new courses, but the year-to-year changes were pretty small. Putting has improved greatly since the first game I purchased and the distances that the ball goes isn’t nearly as unrealistic as before (back when every par 4 became driver-wedge and every par 5 was reachable in two). Even though I like the Ryder Cup format on the newest game, I haven’t played it all that much.

But the Augusta feature is very exciting. I thought Hazeltine National Golf Club being added to the game for TW10 was very cool as I worked there in college for a while and have probably played the course 75 times. It was so cool that I wrote a freelance piece for the Star Tribune about Hazeltine being in the game. But this is a whole different level.

In April 2009, I attended a Masters practice round and it is one of the coolest things I’ve done. I walked every hole and wanted to get a great sense of the elevation change, the crazy movement in the greens, how little rough there is out there and the like.

I get that people might not like that ANGC is totally a good-old-boys kind of place or don’t like the stuffiness of the Masters, but the golf course is super cool.

Just like when Hazeltine joined the game, when Target Field was available on MLB2K10 and TCF Bank Stadium being part of NCAA Football 11, there is no question that I will buy Tiger Woods 12 on March 29, the day it is released. The only real question is whether I get it on a midnight store opening at GameStop, whether I buy it at lunch or whether I get it on my way home from work.

Assuming that we don’t get to play real golf here in the Twin Cities again in March (doubtful considering the amount of snowcover we have now), this game will certainly help get me through the end of winter.

If you can’t get enough, here is Bubba Watson playing a demo of the game. And here is Sobel talking about the game and touching on why ANGC is finally participating.

I don’t think I’m alone in this. There was much Twitter buzz on the topic yesterday and there was a pretty good-sized thread on Golf Club Atlas about the game.

I guess this means that I need to dust off my copy of TW11 and get practicing. March 29, after all, isn’t that far off.

UPDATE: Golfweek checks in with an interesting story featuring a little more background on how the game was made, etc.  Worth a click.