Wrestling Awards 2K11 (a la RSPW)

Author’s Note:  The RSPW Awards were the Internet’s Oldest Awards running for 20 years  commemorating the Best and Worse in Professional Wrestling each year.  Sadly the awards were retired after the 2009 competition year.  Each year I would post my picks as submitted on the official RSPW Awards Ballot on my blogs.  You can check out my picks for 2008 here , 2009 here and 2010 here.  For postings from earlier years you’ll need to dig through my old MySpace or Blogger blogs (to lazy to hunt and link it).  Not one to let traditions die (and because I just NEED to share my opinion) here are my picks for the Best and Worse of Wrestling in 2011 as based on the old RSPW ballot.

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Best Wrestler

Award Description:

To be given to the athlete who was the best overall wrestler of the year.  This includes all facets of wrestling: workrate, technical ability,  interviews, charisma, value to his/her promotion, etc. In 1994, this award was split into three: North American, Non-North American, and overall. In 1998, it was recombined into one.

1st:  Randy Orton
2nd:  CM Punk
3rd:  John Cena

Throughout 2K11 no one consistently performed, in my opinion, at a higher level than Randy Orton.  He had a white hot feud with Christian mid-year that produced an excellent series of matches.  Aside from that, he continued to face all-comers in great bouts and as the face of Smackdown helped that brand relaunch in the post-Edge era.

Coming in 2nd was CM Punk.  This was definitely Punk’s year with the Summer of Punk and the AWESOME shoot gimmick and the multiple title reign.  Had his push to the moon started earlier in the year he’d have taken 1st place easily but I guess he’ll just need to settle for an ice cream bar.  🙂

John Cena rounds out third.  The franchise of the WWE needs no explanation rounding out great matches and programs with all comers throughout the year

Best Tag Team

Award Description:

To be given to the tag team who were the best overall team of the year.  This includes all facets of wrestling: workrate, technical ability, interviews, charisma, hot team moves, value to their promotion, etc. In 1994, this award was split into three: North American, Non-North American, and overall. In 1998, it was recombined into one.

1st:  Beer Money — James Storm and Robert Roode
2nd:  Air Boom — Evan Bourne and Kofi Kingston
3rd:   Awesome Truth — Miz and R. Truth

Sure they broke up by year’s end but the fact remains Beer Money dominated TNA for the first half of the year and in many ways was arguably the top act in the promotion.  I think their new singles careers and the company’s focus on them as top singles stars speak to their talent individually and collectively.  In a ho-hum year of tag wrestling Beer Money was still the standard bearer.

Air Boom comes in 2nd place.  A rather randomly thrown together team with a so-so win-loss record, these two guys, both individually exciting and great, do make a great team.  I actually think the pairing works.  It’s not like creative had anything going for either guy individually…

Awesome Truth takes 3rd place for me.  Sure they didn’t really wrestle that much, lost almost as much as they won and spent more time doing promos (hilarious ones at that!) than anything else but that’s good enough for me.  It sure beats the random teams of The Corre (Gabriel and Slater) and Nexus (Otunga and McGullicutty) who actually did hold the belts (but weren’t really over) or the Usos who, despite the awesome new entrance, never really win matches.

Best Heel

Award Description:

To be given to the person who was the best villain this past year. This person should bring out the fans’ wrath. Match quality is not paramount here; this award should be based primarily on how over the wrestler was in the past year.

1st:  Mark Henry
3. 2nd:  R. Truth
3. 3rd:  The Miz/Christian (tie)

This was Mark Henry’s year.  After 15 years in the business he was booked as a MONSTER heel and ran roughshod over the promotion.  He took out other giants and monsters.  He wrestled and had GOOD matches against everyone from Big Show to Daniel Bryan.  He cut EXCELLENT promos.  That’s how you book a monster heel!

R. Truth takes 2nd place in my book.  The heel turn and feud with Cena and subsequent conspiracy/Little Jimmy gimmick was gold as was the team with Miz.  Truth main evented a PPV with the franchise and more often than, on the strength of his promo work, was a highlight of Raw each week.  That easily puts him as a top heel of 2K11.

Miz rounds out the top 3 for me.  He started the year as champ and RETAINED as the heel champ at Wrestlemania.  He kinda floundered mid-year feuding with Alex Riley but rebounded nicely with the Awesome Truth team with R. Truth.  He wasn’t necessarily the focus of the promotion but via the strength of his mic work remained a highlight of the show whenever on and stayed in the top tier of the WWE’s heel pantheon.

Christian’s transition from babyface to cowardly heel was brilliantly executed.  His months long feud with Orton resulted in excellent TV and even better matches.  Christian’s exemplary heel work takes a 3rd place tie with Miz for me.

Best Babyface

Award Description:

To be given to the person who best portrayed the hero this past year. This person should get lots of fan support. Match quality is not paramount here; this award should be based primarily on how over the wrestler was in
the past year.

1st:  John Cena
2nd:  CM Punk
3rd:  Bobby Roode

John Cena remains the top face in the industry.  Sure half the crowd boos him but when it comes to portraying the hero no one does it better than the Franchise of the WWE.

CM Punk started the year as a heel and remained a heel through the summer.  On the strength of his work during the summer he slowly transitioned to Tweener status as the cool anti-establishment heel/Tweener till coming full circle to face status.  The guy is magic beating all odds and all comers since his turn.

Bobby Roode started the year in Beer Money and was out with injury in the summer and came out of nowhere from behind to win the Bound for Glory series and wrestle Kurt Angle for the big gold, choked in the match and goes to win the belt via heel turn on his best friend.  Perhaps reflective of TNA’s directionless booking, but for the brief several month span leading up to Bound for Glory Roode was booked as a perfect babyface and he played the role well.  Since his heel turn he’s also played the role EQUALLY beautifully and is on target to take top heel for 2K12 if things continue down this path.  Roode met, took on and overcame all challenges in his quest for the title as the top face for TNA.  On the strength of that work I give him the nod for 3rd place for 2K11.

Best Worker

Award Description:

To be given to the wrestler with, on average, the best workrate. In 1994, this award was split into three: North American, Non-North American, and overall.  In 1998, it was recombined into one.

1st: Kurt Angle
2nd: CM Punk
3rd:  Christian

Kurt Angle’s an Olympic Gold Medalist and is touted as (and remains) the best worker in the business.  Bar none.  From his programs with Jarrett to Roode and Storm he ALWAYS brought the goods to the ring.

Punk’s excellent in-ring work saw him take on everyone from Orton to Cena to Del Rio to excellent matches all year as he transitioned to the main event.

Christian takes 3rd.  The cagey vet wrestled excellent programs with Del Rio and Orton before injury took him down.

Best Flyer

Award Description:

To be given to the wrestler who did the most and the best high-flying maneuvers throughout the year. In 1994, this award was split into two:  North American and Non-North American.  In 1998, it was recombined.

1st: Evan Bourne
2nd: John Morrison
3rd: Sin Cara

They don’t call him “Air” Bourne for nothing!

The Prince of Parkour had a great start to the year with strong showings against Miz in the first main event of the year to the Royal Rumble.  He got buried and lost in the shuffle post-Mania but the fact remains he always put on a great show between the ropes despite being booked as a loser.

Sin Cara fizzled out, botched as much as he hit, got suspended and then got injured but the fact remains he’s a beauty to watch in the ring and when he’s “on” he is ON.  Hopefully he heals up nicely and gets back on track and finds his groove.

Best Technical Wrestler

Award Description:

To be given to the wrestler who has the most technical ability. The number of holds and moves you see this person do and the crispness with which the moves are executed makes his/her matches a pleasure to watch. In 1994, this award was split into three: North American, Non-North American, and overall. In 1998, it was recombined into one.

1st:  Daniel Bryan
2nd:  CM Punk
3rd:  Christopher Daniels

Daniel Bryan spent a majority of the year jobbing.  A MiTB win didn’t exactly help his win-loss record that much but the late year title victory over Big Show and mini-program with Mark Henry did allow him to showcase his EXCELLENT in-ring abilities whether it was winning matches via LeBell Lock, Guillotine Choke, etc.  Matches with Del Rio, Kidd and others on the roster allowed him to show his stuff even in losing efforts.  Hopefully 2K12 lets the new champ showcase his goods at the top of the card in a positive light.

I give CM Punk 2nd place.  The guy fought his way to the top of card this year and his great in-ring work was a big part of it aside from his top tier promo ability.

I give Christopher Daniels 3rd place.  This guy, in my opinion, has never truly gotten his due in the business with a run on top.  It’s very sad as his in-ring work and promo abilities are top notch.  You wouldn’t be able to tell on TNA though as he’s booked as a loser more often than not but good matches with AJ and RVD do allow him to showcase some of his great work.

Best Brawler

Award Description:

To be given to the wrestler who brawled his/her way through the year most convincingly. This award would go to Frank “Bruiser Brody” Goodish if he were still around. In 1994, this award was split into two: North American and Non-North American.  In 1998, it was recombined.

1st:  Sheamus
2nd:  Mark Henry
3rd:  Abyss

Sheamus is our top brawler, again, in 2K11.  He loves to fight and is promoted as thus and fight he did throughout 2K11 whooping anyone who got in his way.

Mark Henry takes 2nd.  You could argue he should take #1 on the strength of his DESTROYING everyone (including Sheamus) but I just think Sheamus, being booked as a brawler, by right should take the win.  In any event, I know **I** would turn and RUN the other way if I saw Henry lumbering my way…

I give Abyss the third spot.  He spent the majority of the year destroying cruiserweights.  How can you NOT give him a brawler award for all those beat downs?

Most Favourite Wrestler

Award Description:

To be given to the wrestler you like the most, regardless of the reason.

1st:  CM Punk
2nd:  John Cena
3rd:  Mark Henry

Punk’s the best in the world.  He has the shirt to prove it.  In all seriousness though, this was Punk’s year.  He earned it. I bought the shirt.

Cena’s still the franchise and I respect his work and bought all the fruity pebble shirts to prove it.

I really enjoyed Henry’s work this year and bought that epic HALL OF PAIN shirt to vote my support for the guy.

Most Improved Wrestler

Award Description:

To be given to the wrestler who most improved himself/herself in all facets of the sport in the past year.

1st:  Mark Henry
2nd:  Bobby Roode
3rd:  R. Truth

How can you not give it to Henry?  The guy really STEPPED UP.  He improved his workrate and promo ability wrestling great matches all year and cutting excellent promos as the undisputed king of Smackdown inducting all comers into the Hall of Pain.

Bobby Roode takes the 2nd spot for me.  He was given the ball and he took it and ran with it wrestling the best matches and cutting the best promos of his career whether face OR heel.  As the year went on he’s only improved and he’s established himself as a top heel in the business (not just TNA).  Here’s to more growth from Roode in 2K12.

Truth is another guy who stepped up his game.  Given the heel reigns he led Raw as its top heel for a brief period hating on all the Little Jimmy’s cutting some of the BEST promo work all year.  He stepped up to the plate as well.

Most Overrated Wrestler

Award Description:

To be given to the wrestler who really has little talent, but has a large place in the spotlight nonetheless. This is a measure of how undeserved a wrestler’s push is.

1st:  N/A

N/A

Best Wrestling Gimmick

Award Description:

To be given to the wrestler who had the best character gimmick in the past year.

1st:  CM Punk, best in the world
2nd:  R. Truth, Little Jimmy/”Joker” Sting (tie)
3rd:  Bobby Roode, selfish generation/Christian, “One more match.” (tie)

Punk’s “Best in the World” gimmick pretty much summed up everything.  He was the best and was held down and called EVERYONE including the Owner on it.  How awesome was that?

I actually LOVED the Joker Sting gimmick.  I thought it was entertaining and hilarious and found it a breath of fresh air to the very stale “Icon” character Sting had been portraying for years.  I’d been calling for Sting to take a backseat to the roster for a bit but had the Joker entertaining enough to where I’d have loved to see it regularly on TV.

Truth’s “Little Jimmy” conspiracy was gold for months and was Christian’s “One More Match” bit.  Sure I hated them making Christian into a joke but it’s better than him fading into obscurity.

For Bobby Roode, at first I was VERY disturbed with the bizarre initial booking of the job at Bound for Glory and subsequent heel turn but I think they’re on the right track and am enjoying the “selfish generation” bit.

Best Wrestling Move

Award Description:

To be given to the move that is just the damn best thing you’ve seen this past year. This should probably be a “finishing” move or something really spectacular.

1st: Mark Henry’s “Hall of Pain”
2nd:  Natalya’s “Tear Time”

While not a traditional wrestling move, Henry’s “Hall of Pain” Vader Bomb off the ropes onto an opponent’s leg trapped in a chair looks EXCRUCIATING.

I personally LOVED Natalya’s “Tear Time” submission/torture that the Divas of Doom used on the Barbie Doll Divas.  Kelly Kelly and Alicia Fox’s sell job of the move (which DOES look excruciating) was PERFECT.

Best Feud

Award Description:

To be given to the feud that gave us the most heated and best wrestling match(es) of the year. In 1994, this award was split into two: North American and Non-North American.  In 1996, due to lack of participation on the non-NA side, it was recombined.

1st:  CM Punk vs. John Laurinaitis
2nd:  Mark Henry vs. Big Show
3rd:  Randy Orton vs. Christian

Punk’s feud with John Laurinaitis (and proxy McMahon and Cena) led to the best storyline and promos of the year.  THAT was your feud of 2K11.

I personally loved the feud between Henry and Show. It dominated the Smackdown storylines in the later part of the year and takes the 2nd place nod for me.

Orton vs. Christian tore up the circuit mid-year with great matches and promo work between both guys.  It was a top contender in my book in the early stretch of the year.

Worst Tag Team

Award Description:

To be given to the name tag team who were the worst overall wrestlers in the past year. Minimal technical ability, lousy interviews, non-existent workrate, the charisma of a rock, and lousy team moves should describe this pair.

1st:   David Otunga and Michael McGullicutty

Sadly, these guys were the tag champs for a spell.  A makeshift team put together during the days of the New Nexus they went on and didn’t overly impress but somehow got the tag titles to give them some “heat.”  Sadly they didn’t do much of anything.  An actual tag team such as the Usos probably could have used the belts more and given it a tad bit more credibility but we are in an “anti-tag team” era.

Worst Heel

Award Description:

To be given to the person whose casting as a bad guy just didn’t work well. Maybe there was just no heel heat drawn or maybe the fans actually cheered this person, but for whatever reason the heel image just didn’t get over.

1st: N/A

Worst Babyface

Award Description:

To be given to the person whose casting as a good guy just didn’t work well. Maybe there was just no face heat drawn or maybe the fans actually booed this person, but for whatever reason the face image just didn’t get over.

1st:  N/A

Most Deteriorated Wrestler

Award Description:

To be given to the person whose skill has deteriorated the most over the past year. This person should be a shadow of his/her former self.

1st: N/A

Most Underrated Wrestler

Award Description:

To be given to the person whose ability merits a far greater push than the person receives. There may be many such people, but the winner of this award should have the most ability with least push.

1st:  Pope D’Angelo Dinero
2nd:  Samoa Joe/Christopher Daniels
3rd:  Daniel Bryan

Pope’s a guy who has ALL the tools.  He has the look.  He has the promo ability (in SPADES).  He has the workrate.  But he’s spent the majority of the year losing to Joe and in a bottom of the card program with Devon.  Oh well, I guess it could be worse.

TNA fans will lament the lack of push for guys like Daniels and Joe.  Joe spent the vast majority of the year in a LOSING streak and briefly came back as a bad @$$.  Daniels had a “I lost my mojo” gimmick for a spell during the year in his rivalry with AJ before being booked as a coward against both AJ and RVD while LOSING.  No one questions their talent but sadly after this many years the ship has likely more than sailed or these guys.

Bryan spent most of the year jobbing but thankfully things slooooowly turned around with a MiTB win and then a world title win in the last week of the year.  Hopefully 2K12 signals the start of something very special for our favorite vegan submission specialist.

Worst Wrestling Gimmick

Award Description:

To be given to the wrestler who had the worst character gimmick in the past year.

1st: N/A 

Worst Wrestling Move

Award Description:

To be given to the move that is the worst thing you’ve seen this year. This shouldn’t be given to a move that was flubbed by a wrestler – the move was performed correctly, but was just too stupid for words. This move should probably be a “finishing” move or something that was meant to be spectacular.

1st: Santino Marella’s Cobra

Sure it pops the crowd and is fun to watch (I mark out!) but much like Scotty Too Hotty’s worm, John Cena’s Five Knuckle Shuffle and the People’s Elbow, this move is just too silly for words to ever work in real life.

Worst Match

Award Description:

To be given to the worst wrestling match you’ve seen this year, either live, on TV, PPV, or in an arena, or on tape. If it took place in the past year, it is eligible.

1st:  Melina vs. Alicia Fox 🙂

Tough Enough joke.

Most Disappointing News item

Award Description:

To be given to the wrestling news item that most disappointed you when heard of it. When you first learned of this news story, you couldn’t believe that it was true, and when you learned that it was, you were bummed out for a while.

1st:   Death of “Macho Man” Randy Savage
2nd:  Edge forced to retire
3rd:

The premature death of wrestling legend “Macho Man” Randy Savage during the late Spring was just shocking and sad having been a HUGE Savage mark as a kid.  Luckily he saved us from the Rapture 🙂

Edge being forced to retire after Wrestlemania was as equally shocking and sad but at least the guy got to go out on top knowing he “won it all” and “done it all.”

Most Obnoxious Personality

Award Description:

To be given to the person who just rubs you the wrong way. This could be anybody involved in the wrestling biz.

1st:   Michael Cole

Easily the worst part of each and every show…week after week…

Best Second

Award Description:

To be given to the manager who outperformed their peers at ringside and behind the microphone in interviews.  This award was discontinued after the 2001 awards and reinstated in 2006.

1st:   N/A

Best Announcer

Award Description:

To be given to the commentator/announcer who makes the most insightful and entertaining comments while pushing his product.  “Ring announcers” don’t qualify here.  As of 1992, the difference between this and colour commentator will be enforced.

1st:   Jim Ross
2nd:  Josh Matthews

More J.R., less Cole.  Heck, more Josh less Cole.

Best Colour Commentator

Award Description:

To be given to the colour commentator who provides the most insightful and entertaining comments.

1st:   Taz
2nd:   Booker/Lawler

I actually really miss Matt Striker at the announcer’s table.  Taz, Booker and Lawler take it by default.

Worst Announcer

Award Description:

To be given to the commentator/announcer who makes the least insightful and entertaining comments while pushing his product.  “Ring announcers” don’t qualify here.  As of 1992, the difference between this and colour commentator will be enforced.

1st:   Michael Cole

Dude is booked to be irritating and succeeds at it.  Don’t know if he deserves an Award for being great at being a douche but I’m over this guy.

Worst Colour Commentator

Award Description:

To be given to the colour commentator who provides the least insightful and entertaining comments.

1st:   N/A

Best Interviewee

Award Description:

To be given to the person who gives the best interview in the biz. This could be a wrestler or a manager.

1st:   CM Punk
2nd:   R. Truth and Miz (tie)
3rd:   Rock and Cena (tie)

Punk got to the top based on his promo work.  Truth and Miz lit up my screen each week whenever they walked out because I knew I was about to be entertained.

Rock and Cena’s dueling promos in the beginning of the year were GOLD.

Best Angle

Award Description:

To be given to the best angle you’ve seen in the sport this year.

1st:   CM Punk shoots on the WWE
2nd:   Mark Henry goes on a rampage inducting everyone into the “Hall of Pain”
3rd:  Bobby Roode turns of James Storm and wins the TNA Title

For a brief month in the Summer of 2011 the wrestling world was ABLAZE with CM Punk following his epic shoot promo on the WWE.  His surprise win of John Cena at the MiTB PPV in Chicago sent shockwaves through the industry and had the potential to revolutionize the business again.

Mark Henry’s ascension to the top of the promotion was textbook perfect booking.  Go out and let a guy KILL people.  Boom.  He took out Big Show, Kane, Vladimir Kozlov and the Great Khali while successfully dispatching folks like Sheamus, Christian and Daniel Bryan.  Textbook perfection.

What seemed as a bit of a false start with Bobby Roode CHOKING in winning the title off of Kurt Angle and his partner beating Angle for the belt to his turning on his partner to steal the partner has worked out nicely.  I’m a fan of Roode’s new “selfish generation” gimmick and think TNA’s finally on the right track with their booking.  Roode’s evolved into a great heel and I’m enjoying TNA’s booking for the first time in a long time.

Best Organization

Award Description:

To be given to the organization/promotion that has the best product. This is the organization whose TV and house shows you just can’t miss.

1st:  WWE
2nd:  TNA
3rd:  ROH

Best TV Show

Award Description:

To be given to what is on average the best wrestling TV show. In 1994, TV shows and major shows were given separate award categories.

1st:  WWE Smackdown
2nd:  WWE Raw
3rd:  TNA Impact!

Best Major Show

Award Description:

To be given to the best major event. This could be a pay-per-view, a TV special, or any big arena event. In 1994, TV shows and major shows were given separate award categories.

1st:   MiTB PPV

Punk beat John Cena in his hometown with a WHITE HOT CROWD.  Magic moment.

Best Promotional Move

Award Description:

To be given to the best move made by a promotion this past year. This could include giving somebody a push, demoting someone, firing someone hiring someone, or anything of a promotional nature.

1st:   TNA pushes homegrown talent and phases old timers out
2nd:  WWE pushes IWC favorites Punk, Bryan and Ryder, depushes Cena and Orton
3rd:   WWE launches Network

I think both TNA and WWE hit the hammer on the head toward the later part of the year with their decisions to push Roode and Storm and Punk, Bryan and Ryder respectively.

In the case of TNA rallying on old timers like Sting and former WWE talent like Anderson, RVD and Hardy just wasn’t working and would NOT work in the long-term.  In their case pushing homegrown talent like Roode and Storm sent two messages:  1 – they’re building toward the future, 2 – they’re investing back in their own.  They have a long way to go but for the first time in a long-time it “feels” like they’re heading in the right direction.

In the case of the WWE, I think pushing guys like Punk, Bryan and Ryder is a step in the right direction.  They seem to be listening to their most passionate fans in this instance but I think, more importantly, what works out best is they are diversifying their main event talent pool.  Cena and Orton are still the faces of the promotion and the cash cows but they won’t be around forever and adding fresh faces like Orton, Bryan, Henry, Barrett and Ryder in the upper card will only help to freshen up the stagnant “John and Randy” show.

As for the Network, I for one am excited and think it’s a GREAT use of all the valuable assets WWE’s built over the years.  I hope it takes off for them.

Worst Angle

Award Description:

To be given to the worst angle you’ve seen in the sport this year. It may be the worst because of taste or because of execution.

1st:   Bobby Roode loses at Bound for Glory

You build a guy up for months as “the guy” and job him out at the biggest show of the year?  That just irked me to no end.  At least they redeemed themselves a few weeks later with the heel turn…

Worst Promotional Move

Award Description:

To be given to the worst move made by a promotion this past year. This could include giving somebody a push, demoting someone, firing someone hiring someone, or anything of a promotional nature.

1st:   TNA’s haphazard Title booking
2nd:  WWE pushes feuds between announcers

For a while in early and mid-year TNA’s title picture was ATROCIOUS with Sting and Anderson trading the belt.  Anderson for a bit was pushed as the face of the company.  Not a bad a choice.  He’s a decent worker and promo but it felt they never fully got behind the guy.  And when they didn’t get behind the guy they went back to an over the hill Sting.  Oi *face palm* …At least they got it semi-right eventually with Kurt Angle as a transitional champ before hot potato-ing it to Storm and then Roode.

For the life of me I cannot fathom WWE’s obsession with feuding announcers or putting them in the ring.  Cole vs. J.R., Cole vs. Lawler, Booker T. vs. Cody Rhodes.  Announcers are meant to stay behind the booth.  I didn’t mind the novel occasional match featuring J.R. in the ring during swings through Okalohma but to build an ENTIRE program that made Wrestlemania between Cole vs. Lawler/J.R. which would CONTINUE off and on the rest of the year????  Keep the wrestling to the wrestlers!  WWE has TONS of underutilized talent and the top heel in the promotion is arguably the lead play-by-play guy who spends a nice amount of time putting HIMSELF over the actual talent on the roster?  *face palm*

Other Awards:

BEST THEME MUSIC
1.  “Flight of the Valkyries” (remix) — Daniel Bryan:  LOVE the guitar work 🙂
2.  Longnecks and Rednecks — James Storm:  Fits perfect to the character.  Love it!

BEST ENTRANCE
1.  Usos — Sivatau.  EPIC way for them to make their entrance with the Sivatau war chant/dance.  Sadly, it doesn’t seem to do anything for their win-loss record though.
2.  Sin Cara — trampoline diving roll.  I thought is EPIC the first time I saw it with the lights all blue.  Still do.

BEST PROMOS

1.  CM Punk’s shoot promo on WWE, McMahon, John Laurinaitis and Cena
2. Cena and Rock dueling weekly diss promos leading to Mania
3.  R. Truth, Miz and Christian “Jimmy, Riley, Randy” promo

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Year End Donations: 2K11 Edition

As is customary here on the 316 Perspective at the end of each year I always do a post promoting some of the worthy charitable organizations I personally support.  You can check out previous years’ editions here.

For this year’s edition I wanted to highlight not only the organizations I personally support but I also wanted to point out some other organizations some friends/Followers/readers suggested via FB and Twitter.  In addition I also wanted to share my personal philosophy and approach to giving.

My Approach

For me personally, my major giving areas are reflective of my personal values so I always love to give to education, the environment, health and the arts.  This is not to say other areas are not important.  I’m a supporter of social services programs and generally give to those types of organizations during the year, particularly during the annual United Way campaign.  As animal lovers we also give regularly to our local Humane Society or other animal rescue organizations.  For my year-end donations though I tend to try to focus on more “big picture” type of giving and try to frame my donations in an “investment” frame of mind to maximize bang for the buck (since I don’t have that much) as opposed to the “let’s help the poor/needy/save the animals” type of giving usually associated with United Way or Humane Society type of campaign.

Resources

Second, for those of you looking to learn more about the wide variety of organizations out there that you can give too beyond those that simply send you mailing labels or post-it notes in the mail, I highly recommend  Charity Navigator and the American Institute of Philanthropy as sites you can research and learn more about the organizations that hit you up for money and well as learn about other organizations out there that do work in the fields you are passionate about.  These sites share with you ratings about these organizations and give you a breakdown of how and where your money is spent.  It’s a great place to check out these charities as well as learn about new ones that are worthy of your support and hard earned dollar.

Without further ado…

My Picks!

If you’re a long time reader or took some time to browse the archive link at the top of this post there’s no real surprise about who I continue to support so I’ll run down the major organizations and then I’ll list some other organizations I feel are worthy of support in hopes that maybe you too will consider giving.  I’ll break these down by category.

Education

As an educator I of course wholly support and believe in education, the dissemination of knowledge and the exchange of ideas.  As such, some of the organizations I fully endorse are the following:

The Wikimedia Foundation

Wikipedia:  Most folks know it as the site you go to look up obscure info on the web.  Many folks aren’t aware this site is ran by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation (although Jimmy Wales and team have done a GREAT job of raising awareness the past few years with the “Jimmy Wales is WATCHING YOU POOP!” campaign.)  Many of us turn to Wikipedia daily to look up something so if you’re a regular user please by all means help chip in and sustain this valuable resource for all of us.  As Jimmy points out this year, if all users chipped in $20.00 it will sustain the site for a year.  $20.00 doesn’t sound like a bad price to pay for access to such a wealth of information!

Ke Alii Pauahi Foundation

As a graduate of Kamehameha and a Native Hawaiian I am eternally grateful to the vision of Bernice Pauahi Bishop to educate future generations of Hawaiian children.  Ke Alii Pauahi is the non-profit fundraising entity dedicated to developing funds to extend the reach of Kamehameha to fund education opportunities beyond those of just the three Kamehameha campuses.  Some of the things the foundation funds are scholarships for college, support for Hawaiian charter schools and Early Childhood Education.  For myself, I donate twice a year:  once on Founders Day (in December) and again in May (in honor of my graduation from Kamehameha).  I typically designate my support to Early Childhood Education or Charter School Support.  I firmly believe in Early Childhood Education.  The sooner we can help our children build a solid foundation in life the better off we ALL are in the long run.  I also firmly believe in the vision and mission of our charter schools and the valuable work they do in offering alternative forms of education for our children that are more appropriate to specific learning needs/styles.  Many of these organizations operate bare bones and the faculty, staff and students of these schools are more than worthy of our support.

The University of Hawaii Foundation

I am a proud alum and employee of the University of Hawaii system.  I earned an AA from Honolulu Community College where I spent 15 years of my life first as a student then as an employee.  I also earned a BA from UH Mānoa’s School of Communication (then just a department), an MBA from the Shidler College of Business and an M.Ed from the College of Education.  I donate at the end of each semester to the UH Foundation to support my alma mater:  each December to the School of Communication (I was a Fall graduate) and each May to Honolulu Community College, the Shidler College of Business and the College of Education to commemorate my graduation from each of those programs.  For this year, I’d like to point out and encourage donations to Honolulu Community College’s Native Hawaiian Education Enrichment Fund.  This is the fund I personally set-up as my going away gift to the college upon my departure from service.  The purpose of the fund, as the name implies, is to support Native Hawaiian Education at the college and specifically support Native Hawaiian serving programs at the college, in particular the Native Hawaiian Center and the Hawaiian language and Hawaiian studies programs.  Most departments within the University operate bare bones on state appropriations and are reliant on either donations or grants to truly offer high quality services to students.  Please consider giving to this fund if you are a supporter of Native Hawaiian education.  If that’s not your thing, do consider a donation to your own alma mater and pay it forward to future generations of students following in your footsteps.

The Environment

The Environmental Defense Fund

There is no shortage of organizations dedicated to protecting our environment.  In the past I’ve donated to the World Wildlife Fund and the Nature Conservancy.  Unfortunately, you can’t support everyone (unless you’re in the 1%).  For me, a few year’s back after discovering Charity Navigator I discovered the Environmental Defense Fund.  After reading up about them I really enjoyed their approach to advocacy and conservation and find them to be the best organization to funnel my support of the environment through.

Health

The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health

Disease is a part of life.  Many of us are susceptible genetically to a variety of chronic illnesses:  diabetes, heart disease, cancer, lupus, etc, etc, etc.  In the past I’d given to organizations such as the American Heart Association, The American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen, Children’s Cancer Research Fund, Lymphoma Society, etc, etc.  As with our environment though, you can’t support everyone (and all of those orgs are definitely worthy of support).  Many of these organizations focus on research to fight the disease, some of them provide support for patients and their families.  For myself, my approach to supporting health and finding cures for disease is to invest my limited funds with the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health.  The NIH is a government agency dedicated to scientific research to find cures to diseases as well as advances in medicine, new forms of treatment as well as training and education for medical/health practitioners.  The Foundation works with and provides additional support to the NIH.  In my opinion, supporting the Foundation is the best way to be able to support the overall work going on to find cures for ALL the diseases that we and our loved ones suffer from.

The Arts

I LOVE the arts.  In my bio I taught myself as a Patron of the Arts.  I love theatre.  I love dance.  I love music.  For this area my support is purely local as it should be.  Arts are something we enjoy here in our local communities.  Sadly during tough economic times support for the arts is the first to go thus it’s up to us patrons to pitch in and support our local artists whose work we love.  Here are some of the great organizations and troupes locally you can support and or check out a show at 🙂

The Actors Group:  Local acting company that produces a great season of plays each year.  No huge broadway or off-broadway style productions, but very entertaining, thought-provoking and artsy.  100% non-profit.

Diamond Head Theatre’s Youth Education Program:  DHT is Hawaii’s premiere Broadway theatre but they too are a non-profit organization that offers an outstanding performing arts program for youth and adults.  Your donation goes to support arts education in Hawaii 🙂

Hawaii Arts Alliance:  They support arts education and promotion here in Hawaii Nei.  Most importantly to me, donations to Hawaii Arts Alliance can be designated with help in finding a new home for my beloved Laughtrack Theater.

IONA Contemporary Dance Theatre:  Hawaii’s premiere contemporary dance theatre.  They BEAUTIFULLY fuse Western/Eastern/indigenous dance styles into truly spectacular shows.  100% non-profit.

Kumu Kahua Theatre:  Kumu Kahua stages plays about Hawaii and/or the Pacific written by local playwrights.  Support LOCAL theatre at its finest 🙂

Other Picks

Though not within the scope or premise of my Year End Donations piece, here are some other organizations we support locally:

Kanu Hawaii:  Hawai’i’s grassroots sustainability organization.  Take the challenge today!

Hawaii Dog Foundation:  Hawai’i’s no kill dog rescue organization.

Oahu SPCA:  O’ahu’s rescue shelter for our canine and feline friends.

That’s it for my picks.  Here are some of your picks not already mentioned earlier as reflected by my friends/Followers on FB and Twitter.

Your Picks

Autism Society of Hawaii

Hawaiian Humane Society

Italian Greyhound Rescue Hawaii

Lupus Hawai

Southern Poverty Law Center

If you’ve not done so already and it’s within your means please consider a charitable donation today.  If you have a charity you’d wish to share with us please leave it in the comments section.  Till next year…

Happy Holidays 🙂

The Theatre Blog: The Futrelle-ogy at TAG

TAG’s Futrelle-ogy is a rootin’ tootin’ hollerin’ good ole time!  Don’t miss this great trilogy of plays closing this weekend at TAG, December 8 – 11, 2011!  Tickets available at http://www.taghawaii.net/

Futrelle-ogy

The uber-talented cast and crew over at The Actors’ Group outdo themselves with a trifecta presentation of Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten’s Futrelle-ogy series of plays:  “Dearly Beloved,” “Christmas Belles,” and “Southern Hospitality.”  In putting together my reflections on this current slate of offerings from TAG it cannot be understated that in the normal production schedule of staged theatre it is difficult enough to stage one play but to do three plays simultaneously is nearly unheard of (or at least it is to me anyway as a casual observer)!  Our friends at TAG though pull off this superhuman feat with flying colors as I found each production crisp and refreshingly hilarious and a great way to spend both an evening as well as my hard-earned dollar.

Over the past several weeks I’ve had the pleasure of seeing each installment of the Futrelle-ogy.  I saw “Dearly Beloved” and “Southern Hospitality” back to back on November 19 and 20 respectively a few weeks ago and finished the trilogy off this past weekend on the 4th with Christmas Belles.  (I couldn’t in good conscience watch a Christmas play before Thanksgiving — just doesn’t feel right).

General Synopsis:

The Futrelle-ogy over the course of these three plays follows the misadventures of the Futrelle sisters (Honey Rae, Frankie, Twink and Rhonda Lynn played by Victoria Gail-White, Constance Hassell, Kathy Bowers and Michele Malinda respectively) and their extended family and friends who are all denizens of Fayro, TX.  Comedies at heart it often feels like you’re enjoying something similar to a cross between a sitcom or a series of Hee-Haw episodes.  I know for myself over the course of 3 plays I grew quite attached to our whacky cast of Fayro-ites.

From the TAG website here’s a brief synopsis of each individual play:

Dearly Beloved

Frankie has almost made herself sick with elaborate preparations for her daughter Tina Jo’s antebellum-inspired wedding, and the rumor mill in their small town of Fayro, Texas, is working overtime. No surprise there, the Futrelle Sisters have never been strangers to gossip. After all, they did survive the scandalous breakup of their almost-famous gospel singing trio, The Sermonettes. But Twink’s desperate attempts to get her boyfriend of fifteen-and-one-half years down the aisle, Frankie’s ongoing conversations with their dead mother, and Honey Raye’s tendency to race to the altar at every opportunity have kept tongues wagging for years.

Christmas Belles

It’s Christmas time in the small town of Fayro, Texas, and the Futrelle Sisters – Frankie, Twink and Honey Raye – are not exactly in a festive mood. A cranky Frankie is weeks overdue with her second set of twins. Twink, recently jilted and bitter about it, is in jail for inadvertently burning down half the town. And hot-flash-suffering Honey Raye is desperately trying to keep the Tabernacle of the Lamb’s Christmas Program from spiraling into chaos.

Southern Hospitality

The Futrelle Sisters – Frankie, Twink, Honey Raye and Rhonda Lynn – are in trouble again. This time, the problem is bigger than ever:  their beloved hometown, Fayro, Texas, is in danger of disappearing and it’s up to the sisters to save it from extinction.  Ever since the Super SmartMart and the rendering plant closed, folks have been leaving Fayro in droves, but Honey Raye, with a major assist from her former nemesis, Geneva Musgrave, has come up with a possible solution.

Watching each of these plays the Southern charm definitely permeated each production.  I for one definitely appreciated the efforts of the cast in bringing each of these characters to life and felt like a member of the community by the time the 3rd play started and was indeed a bit sad to let go of the lovely folks of Fayro by the time the final lights dimmed at the end of the third play.

Some of the cast of characters, aside from the eponymous Futrelle sisters, I came to enjoy in particular:

  • Futrelle daughter Tina Jo/Gina Jo (Dusty Behner):  Played to a hilt as the sweet girl-next door/farmer’s daughter type.  I actually really enjoyed Behner’s portrayal and hope to see more of her in the coming year on local stages (she starred as Tina in MVT’s Tony and Tina’s Wedding earlier this year).
  • Futrelle husband Dub Dubberly (Dale Hathaway):  Male patriarch of the family who was incredibly charming in his work.
  • Town preacher Justin Waverly (Tony Nickelsen):  he had a ton of great punchlines 🙂  I also enjoyed Nickelsen immensely and hope to see more of him in 2012 on the local stage.
  • Town sheriff John Curtis (Bob Stevens):  hilarious town Sheriff (think Roscoe from Dukes of Hazzard) who always had me rolling each time he had to draw his gun
  • Town nice guy Raynerd Chisum (John Wythe White):  played to a hilt as the sweet soul of the earth country guy (think Mater from Disney/Pixar’s Cars)
  • Town florist Geneva Musgrave (Mary Pat Sjostrom):  We need a Boo Koo Bouquet, lol

Overall, I highly recommend seeing any and all of these plays this weekend for whatever you can fit in in your schedule.  All shows are very hilarious and very charming.  You’ll get your money’s worth of laughs and smiles much like you would with your favorite sitcom.  Take a trip down south to Fayro, TX this weekend with your friends at TAG.

Dearly Beloved closes on Friday, December 9, 2011, 7:30 p.m.
Christmas Belles closes on Saturday, December 10, 2011, 7:30 p.m.
Southern Hospitality finishes up on Thursday, December 8, 2011, 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, December 11, 2011, 2:00 p.m.
General Admission: $20.00, Senior: $15, Student and Military (w/ ID):  $12.
You can purchase all 3 plays for $45.00
All seats on Thursday:  $12.00

The Theatre Blog: “A Jivebomber’s Christmas” at Kumu Kahua

Kumu Kahua’s latest production, “A Jivebomber’s Christmas”  is just the thing to help you get into that Holiday spirit.  You even get a cookie for your efforts!  (No kidding — read below for more info!)

Jivebomber's Christmas

Here’s a brief synopsis of the play courtesy of the Kumu Kahua website:

It’s Christmas, 1943, but nobody feels like celebrating. The world is at war and the soldiers of the 442nd Battalion are fighting in Europe, while at home, Japanese Americans are being illegally detained in internment camps. A group of kids, raised on jazz and jive, social clubs and swing dancing, decides to raise the camp’s spirits–with a Christmas show.

Filled with song and dance, laughter and warmth, A Jivebomber’s Christmas arrives at Kumu Kahua just in time for the holidays.

The show’s been playing since November 10 and will close next Sunday, December 11 but I couldn’t in good conscience see a Christmas play before Thanksgiving so I put it off till this weekend to finally catch.  In my humble opinion, the show was very much worth the wait and it definitely lifted my spirits and I had a great time enjoying this great show put on by a great cast!  [Note:  I endured an hour of backed up Holiday traffic and road closures in downtown to get to Kumu to see this so that says something as I was pretty amped up when I finally got to the theatre!]

As mentioned in the synopsis the show captures the trials of Japanese Americans during WWII.  The first Act of the play focuses on life in the internment camp where the detainees lament the injustice of their situation, anxiety over the safety of their loved ones fighting in Europe and the distinct lack of Holiday spirit in the camp.  This is spliced with cut scenes to life in the European theatre as the 442 boys write letters back home to their loved ones in the internment camp.  The internees resolve to put on a Holiday show to  celebrate the season and lift everyone’s spirits.  Probably the most powerful scene in Act I was the character of Jackson, the eponymous “Jivebomber” (played by Chevy Martinez) challenging the unseen camp guard to gun him down.  If I had to describe the first act it would definitely be melancholy yet powerful.

Contrast this to the 2nd Act which was upbeat and FUN!  The entire 2nd Act consisted basically of the planned Holiday show at the camp which I would put right up there with any variety show you’ve ever seen.  The cast sang, danced, joked and magic tricked their way into the audience’s heart.  What made the 2nd Act even more special for me was it’s interactive nature.  During dance scenes the cast would pull audience members out of the seats to join in on the fun.  At one point members of the cast played the role of wait help and came out handing juice and cookies to us in the audience (hey, if you feed me you’re an automatic winner no matter what, lol).  The play wraps up with the cast singing a variety of Christmas carols which we in the audience are invited to sing a long with.  It was just an awesome way to end the show.

Cast standouts for me were definitely Jessica Kauhane’s portrayal of Mitzi Kagayama.  This is my 3rd time seeing Kauhane on stage (previous appearances in KKT’s “It’s All Relative” and TAG’s “Miso”) and she gets better and better each time I see her.  As an actress I just love her delivery and comedic timing (I had a few LOL moments) and in this particular production she had a chance to demonstrate an awesome set of pipes with a few show stealing numbers 🙂  The other cast standout for me was the aforementioned Martinez who also had a ton of LOL moments.  The scene with the guard in Act I was also a standout moment.

“A Jivebomber’s Christmas” closes this week. You can catch it today and next Sun (12/4 and 12/11) at 2pm and Thursday, Friday and Saturday (12/8, 9, 10/11) at 8pm. Tickets and more information at

http://www.kumukahua.org/plays.html

Thanh Apostolides, Jarod Kamamo Bailon, Nahe Bailon, Maka Bailon, Ron Encarnacion, Daren Kimura, Jenny Kimura, Regina Lozano, Mike Malone, Christianne Michel, Royce Okazaki and Henry Zane Gulliver Williams round up the rest of this ultra talented cast.

Highest Recommendation.  Happy Holidays!

Everyday is Thanksgiving: Blessings 2K11

As in years past I always take the Thanksgiving Holiday to reflect back on the year and enumerate all the blessings I am thankful for. This year will be no different as I’ll acknowledge all the awesomeness of life I’ve had the privilege to enjoy over the past year.

As I get older and reflect more though, perhaps especially moreso this year, I’m more cognizant of the fact that EVERYDAY is Thanksgiving (no turkey buffet needed!) Thanksgiving, as we celebrate it, is the day we set aside each year to count our blessings, enjoy the company of our family and friends and enjoy good times. In reality though, is there a day out of the year when we SHOULDN”T be doing those things? Each day I get up I always thank the Lord for another day on the planet and for all the awesome people I have in my life and all the great things I get to enjoy. Everyday is Thanksgiving (just without the crazy amounts of food).

With that said, here’s this years enumerated list of the things I am particularly grateful for this year.

  1. Dad.  Last year brought the complete heartbreak of the passing of my mother.  And while I am forever missing her physical presence in my life I am thankful Dad’s still around.
  2. New opportunities.  2K11 brought the very unexpected opportunity of a brand new job that’s positioned me better for a brighter future.  Though this particular opportunity and path was unexpected I am MOST GRATEFUL for this opportunity, especially after putting in many, many, many years of service waiting for a big break to move up.  While I am saddened to have had to leave behind a workplace and colleagues I truly love with all my being, I am grateful to now have a chance to share my talents and make difference in another venue.  I am proud of the difference in people’s live and accomplishments I had a chance to make at my old job.  I am equally thankful for the chance to hopefully make the same impact at my new job.  I think everyone should be blessed to have a chance to make an impact in multiple places in their lives.
  3. New friends!  The job change has given me a chance to meet a whole new set of awesome people who I am proud to serve with each and everyday I show up at the office as we work to make the lives of our students better and build a better Hawaii and a better world.  Equally, I am very grateful to have met awesome new friends through my hobbies and studies in the martial arts, dance and the world of social media.
  4. Old friends!  Despite leaving my job I am very grateful I’m still able to keep and enjoy the relationships I forged with my friends there.  The thing I miss most about my old job is definitely the people.  With the job change I was sad knowing I wouldn’t be able to see them regularly anymore but thankfully through the power of modern technology I’m glad we can still maintain our relationships and schedules permitting connect for a bite every now and then 🙂  And of course, for all my FB Peeps and Tweeps, you guys make my day everyday just a little more bearable.
  5. My good health (be it as it is)!   I am thankful I’m healthy enough to enjoy a variety of studies in the martial arts and dance disciplines.  This year aside from my studies in kung fu and ecstatic dance I was able to take up some studies in the arts of capoeira, kendo, hot yoga and flamenco dancing.  Variety is the spice of life and I’m thankful I had a chance to try new and exciting things such as this.
  6. Academia.  This year I had a chance to initiate academic studies in Public Administration as well as Peace Studies.  Aside from learning fascinating things through my studies I am thankful to have met a set of AWESOME and brilliant classmates as well as brilliant instructors to learn from.
  7. Travel.  This year, moreso than any other, allowed me a chance to travel very extensively for work and pleasure.  I had a chance to visit  Indianapolis, Boulder and Orlando, three places I’ve never been to before (but hopefully can return to one day).  I had a chance to visit Maui again and will be heading to Vegas shortly.  I’m thankful for the chance to see the world, experience and learn new things and just have fun!
  8. Our passed loved ones.  As in every year, 2K11 saw us bid aloha to family and friends.  Though we are forever sad we won’t be able to see and share more times with our departed friends I am ALWAYS thankful for the times we DID have to share together and I look forward to that one sweet day when we’ll be together again.
  9. Our friends still here.  This year saw some close calls for some of our friends who took ill.  I am MOST GRATEFUL for the restored health of our friends whom we almost lost and look forward to more good times ahead.
  10. Our miracle dog.  I am MOST THANKFUL for the safe return of our dog Pomai who was missing for several months.  Now if we can just get him to behave himself…
  11. Love of family.  I’m thankful for the continued love of family.  Shell, Rocky and Sasha make my day everyday.  Coming home everyday to their unconditional love and support means the world to me and hopefully I hold up my end of the bargain making a living for us to enjoy not only the necessities in life, but some of its finer pleasures as well.

2K11, though there were a few snags here and there, will probably go on record as the best year I’ve had in my life thus far.  Between the career advancement opportunity and the extensive travel it is very hard to beat this year in terms of the blessings that came my way.  I’m curious as to what 2K12 has in wait for me.  One thing is for certain though, despite whatever challenges or successes come my way each day I am ALWAYS thankful for the things I have.  Sure, there are always things I wish I could have but more often than not receiving more of my wants is something beyond my control.  I focus my energies on just being grateful for what I have and maybe, just maybe, with some hard work and a ton of blessings some of my wants can manifest themselves.  In the meantime, I thank God for what He has given me and simply enjoy the ride He takes me on in this life.

Happy Thanksgiving 🙂

Example: Registration Starting Soon

Author’s Note:
This post is done as an example for a Social Media workshop. None of the content in here should be considered accurate or be used for decision-making purposes by students.

Attention Social Media majors!

Registration for Spring 2012 semester is coming up very soon. If you need to meet with an Advisor to register for classes feel free to visit the Advising Center in the Student Services Building.

Admin/Student Services

Counseling Desk

If you need an Instructor override to register for class you can get the Override authorization form from the Records office.

Forms Table

Quick reminder that all registration is done online via Portal. If you need a refresher on how to use Portal, you can view the tutorial below.

screencastdemo

– Jon
Social Media Advisor
Hawaii State University

iThank Steve

Every person is special and unique. Each of us has a special calling in life and a role to fulfill and throughout our life’s path we all have a chance to touch the lives of others. We inspire each other. We make a difference. For the vast majority of us our reach and contributions are limited to our specific network of family, friends, colleagues, clients and communities.

And then there are those special, rare folks whose contributions are global in influence. These folks, through their work, profoundly change lives, change society and ultimately change history. Steve Jobs, co-founder and former CEO of Apple Computers and Pixar Animation, was such an individual. Today he passed away following complications from a 7-year battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 56.

If there was ever a life story that was the model of the American success story, Steve Jobs’ story is it. A technology entrepreneur he co-founded Apple Computers in a garage with two friends and within 10 years had shepherded it into a multi-billion dollar company with a few thousand employees. After a very public ousting from the company he founded he went on and launched two additional start-ups, NeXT Computers and Pixar Animation. Eventually Apple would buy out NeXT which would lead Jobs to return to the helm of the company he originally founded and would captain until shortly before his death. All told, Jobs’ work with Apple Computers revolutionized generations of folks in how we looked at and took to technology and through his work at Pixar he revolutionized the way an entire generation of families looked at the art of the animated feature film.

For those of us who grew up following the technology or business sector over the past 30 years the name Steve Jobs is nearly synonymous with technology entrepreneurship. Perhaps more telling though as word of his passing spread today to me was the number of folks who asked, “Who’s Steve Jobs?” As I explained to folks, “He’s the guy who founded Apple Computer and created the Macintosh, iPod, iPhone, iPad and the guy behind Toy Story, Cars, Finding Nemo, A Bug’s Life, Incredibles, Monsters, Inc, Up, Ratatouile, and Wall-E” the sheer impact he’s made on society over the past few decades clearly becomes immense as these folks who’d never heard his name before went, “Wow.” For the average person, just being able to lay claim to founding a successful film studio that boasts a string of hit movies is a huge accomplishment alone. But his vision in helming the success of Apple Computers and it’s various products is a tremendous accomplishment in the way it has defined and continued to redefine the way we view technology and the way it’s helped us to shape and interact with the world around us.

I never had the privilege of meeting Steve Jobs in person but being both a tech person and a former business major (MBA, Entrepreneurship focus) I ALWAYS admired Jobs and the Apple story and Jobs story was one of the many case studies we looked at during my studies.

How did Jobs influence me personally? Growing up in the 1980s our school system fostered us as the Apple generation. My elementary school was one of the fortunate ones that was able to build a computer lab and offer a computer education. I got my first exposure to computers at the tender age of 10 learning on Apple IIes and Apple IIgs. My early computer education would stick with me the rest of the my life to this very day where I’ve parlayed it into a successful career doing technical training and media production work. Over the years as my career developed I had to go on and gain some expertise working with Windows and Linux systems being a tech person but I have ALWAYS considered myself a Mac person first and foremost and consider it my base system. For the past several years my primary system has been my trusty and reliable MacBook Pro which has seen me through 2 graduate school degrees and the apex of my career following me from meeting to meeting whether I’m in a room full of students, fellow colleagues, senior executives, the Governor of our State, in a classroom, in a boardroom, in an airport or a hotel room across the country. My trusty Mac very much is my companion.

Apple has always marketed itself as the platform of choice for educators and media production professionals which fits in exactly with what I do. The past several years have been exciting for those of us in education with the rise of the iPod, the iPad and the various iLife Suite apps which has made it extremely easy for us to share and document our lives in pictures, movies and music. In more recent times with the rise of mobile devices the new suite of mobile apps continues to help us redefine not only the way we teach but the way we live and interact with the world.

Apple products have been the backbone of my life for the past several years. My iTunes holds thousands upon thousands of songs. My iPhoto is the gallery of the past decade or so of my life. Thousands of the greatest moments of my life were edited in iMovie and posted to YouTube. My iPod (when I had one) accompanied me for hundreds upon hundreds of miles and hours jogging or working out in the gym and my iPad traveled with me across the continent and back keeping me company with various eBooks, Netflix movies and time killing games. Had we been AT&T customers the iPhone would have been a huge part of my life all these years (we’re T-Mobile people so I’ve been an Android person since day 1).

Steve Jobs has passed on. Those of us familiar with his work know the amazing story of a man who dreamed VERY big and changed the way we all live and interact with the world on a daily basis. Without Steve Jobs a generation of kids in the 80’s would’ve learned computers on those horrible DOS machines without the beautiful Apple GUI. Without Jobs the current generation of kids would not have grown up in the digital world of iLife. They would not have touchscreen devices, phones or tablets. There would not have been an “App for Everything.” Most definitely I know **I** probably would not be the same person had there been no Apple to get me started down the technology path back in the 80s.

For those folks out there who had not heard the name Steve Jobs before today, while they may not have known the name of the man, they most DEFINITELY knew of the things in our lives he was responsible for. Unless you’ve lived under a rock it’s impossible to think you’ve NEVER heard of or used an Apple Computer — or an iPod — or an iPhone — or on iPad — or scene a Pixar film.

It’s a tragedy for sure that Steve Jobs has passed on at the young age of 56 and we definitely send our condolences to his wife and children. We also mourn the loss of a great American hero and one of the most innovative, brilliant minds this planet ever saw. But I like to think that in his 56 years Steve Jobs was able to accomplish and contribute more than what many of us would take many, many, many lifetimes to accomplish. We was a RARE breed of human blessed with God-given talents. Those of us in this generation and the succeeding generations were all the more blessed for his sharing of his gifts with us in this lifetime.

iThank You Steve. Rest in peace.