Archive for the ‘Blogging’ Category

A Changing of the Guard…

As I mentioned the other day, any of you that have regularly read Gate 21 have probably notice the deafening sound of the silence here for the past month or so.  That silence was prelude to this post.  There is no better way to say it than to quote the words of the legendary John Ward:

It’s Time…

I started Gate 21 in 2007 not really knowing what I was getting myself into.  I really had no concept of what it was that I wanted to do with the site or, in fact, how I would do it.  I just decided one day that I could write a blog as well as the next guy and within 10 minutes, the original version of Gate 21 was live for all to see over at WordPress.com.  Within 2 months, I had over 10,000 visitors and had taken the site to a privately hosted (i.e. I had to pay for it) server and debuted the cartoonish looking site that hung around until mid-2009 when I overhauled the site once again.  You are looking at that version now.

Since that less-than-auspicious beginning in 2007 I have spent literally thousands of hours writing, designing, re-vamping, updating, and otherwise working on producing and publishing Gate 21.  Along the way I have had had the help of many, many, people.  These would include writers HomeSweetHome and VolAmbassador, who have both made major contributions to the site over the past several years.  Then there were others across the blogosphere who have both assisted and collaborated with me on articles, memes, roundtables, Power Polls, BlogPolls, and running jokes.  These would include folks like Ghost of Neyland, MoonDog, LSUFreek, Will, Hooper, and of course—the best of the best—Joel at Rocky Top Talk.  These are but a few of the many with whom I have interacted and with which I have had the pleasure to become acquainted.

Then there are those of you out there across the blogosphere and the wider arc of the internet that have visited my humble site and read a bit of what I had to say.  There are even those of you who have taken the time to leave a comment here and there.  To each and every one of you I offer my sincerest gratitude for more than 2 years of interaction across the divide that is the internet.  I have not always been right about things, I have not always been seriousI have not always been couth, but I have always tried to be honest about my views and perspectives on the world around me and my love for the Tennessee Volunteers.  All I can say is that these last 2 1/2 years have truly been a pleasure.

All things, however, must come to an end…

Thus, while it pains me on many levels, this will likely be the last post on Gate 21, at least for the foreseeable future.  And, now it is time for the Gate to close.

The thousands of hours that I have spent on this site have been a labor of love, as blogging always is.  While I may have advertisements here on the Gate, the fact of the matter is that I have lost money on this endeavour from the outset.  The cost of hosting the site alone has been substantial.  Yet, this exploration of “Life, the Universe, and the Bounce of the Ball” (Thank you Douglas Adams) has been a welcome and wonderful creative outlet for me, and one which has been far more “therapeutic” than I ever imagined.  And to those of you who have visited and taken the time to comment all I will say is that you never know just how much a single sentence left in the comment box or via Twitter really means to folks like myself who are blogging their lives away.

There’s really nothing that makes a writer feel better than knowing what they wrote was interesting enough that someone felt compelled to respond…

Now, however, the demands of my “real” life are such that I simply cannot maintain the Gate in the way that I have in the past.  It is hard enough to run a site with substantial help and a bevy of free time.  It is next to impossible to do that alone while trying to maintain a job, a family, and some semblance of sanity.  As I have said before, the informational cycle on the blogosphere lasts approximately as long as the attention span of a hyperactive 4-year-old who just ate 5 bags of Skittles and washed them down with three cans of Red Bull, and I simply cannot keep up with that.  My lack of timely comment over the past football season stands as a testament to that reality and one which I simply can no longer ignore.

I know, Frank, shocking isn't it?

These sorts of conclusions are not always fun, but they are necessary.  I think Lieutenant Frank Drebin probably said it best:

A Spoonful of Drano sound bite

Okay, enough of the depressing stuff, now for the good news…

For those of you who have enjoyed my writing—though I am certain there aren’t that many of you—take heart!  I am not abandoning my devotion to Tennessee athletics only to go gentle into that good night.  While I may not be able to justify continuing on here at the Gate, I fully intend to continue writing about the Vols.  Why?  Because, in the words of Clay Travis, I simply cannot imagine not doing it.

VolNation Thus, it is my distinct pleasure and honor to announce that, effective immediately, I will be joining on as a writer for the VolNation Blog.  Thus, any of you who wish continue to read my mindless prattling, I’ll still be around.  I cannot overstate how lucky I feel at having the chance to jump on board at VolNation, and I hope to see some of you over there in the near future.  While my time at Gate 21 is now at an end, I am extremely excited about what the future holds in store for me at VolNation.

In the meantime, the Gate will not be disappearing (though, after the next few days, I really won’t be monitoring comments any longer).  It will still be here and you will still be able to send me hate mail via the contact form here on the site, at the email address listed in the sidebar and on the Ushers page, or via Twitter.  For those of you who have subscribed to the RSS feed here at the Gate, you can now follow me via the feed at the VolNation Blog.  The Gate will now take its place among the so-called “dotsam and netsam” that floats across the web.  Everything will stay right where it is—most notably, my tribute to Sam and Andy’s.

As for me, I am on to a new home on the web and new challenges.

So, for the last time, I bid you farewell from Gate 21.  To each of you out there with whom I’ve come in contact as a result of my time publishing Gate 21 over the past 2 1/2 years, I say thank you for reading, best wishes, and Godspeed.  Now, more than ever, I suppose my signature “tagline seems appropriate.  Thus, I will end this final post as I have ended those that came before it.

Until we meet again … Go Vols!

– So it goes …Email lawvol No McAlisters

Clay Travis’ “On Rocky Top”: Beautiful Agony

Shoutin Out | Gate 21

On Rocky Top After living through the unmitigated disaster that was the 2008 football season for the Tennessee Volunteers, I was not so sure I was prepared to take a stroll with Clay Travis down memory lane via his new book “On Rocky Top.”  The 2008 season was the most gut-wrenching experience of my sports-watching life, one which Travis himself likened to having your arm amputated without laudanum.  It was truly painful and not merely because the Vols lost seven games.  Losing comes with competition, I can handle losing.  Watching an entire program, an entire fanbase, an entire state devolve into a constant state of turmoil, however, was the part that made it an experience that I was more than ready to forget.  Even  after nine months of good vibrations—buoyed up by the hopes and energy of new Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin and his band of invincibles—assuming that I was prepared to join Travis’ on his retrospective journey through the 2008 season, I wasn’t really sure I wanted to make that trip into the past.

I suppose, I was just ready to move on.

When first I saw that Clay Travis had written a book on the Vols 2008 football campaign, my reaction was that he picked one hell of a bad year to write about Tennessee.  I knew Clay was a fine writer, having read his work for CBS Sports.com, Fanhouse, and his book Dixieland Delight.  Still, I remember thinking to myself “Man, that really stinks for Clay—all that work to write a book about a 5-7 season.” After all, who wants to read about a team that loses, and loses a lot?

You do.

Clay Travis’ new book “On Rocky Top” is one of the best sports books I have read in a long time.

Read the rest of this entry

Headlines, Links & Lies: “Shystering is Hard Work” Edition

Headlines, Links & Lies | Gate 21

Lovin’ ‘da Law

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been a bit scarce lately.  Such is the nature of a lucrative, overly time consuming, and somewhat sketchy litigation practice.  For the record, if taking 14 depositions in 16 days is on your list of things to do, take it from me: skip it.

There have been a lot of things going on lately, but, in light of my near-perpetual absence over the last fortnight, I’ve had little to no opportunity to say one thing about any of them.  Thus, here are a few items of interest I felt like passing along:

bullet Clay Travis’ “On Rocky Top” is Released:

You’re going to be hearing a lot about this book, including my own review which I hope to post later this week.  In short, Travis’ new offering is outstanding.  I have read a lot of sports books over the years, and this one is one of the best.  What’s more, you do not have to be a fan of the Tennessee Volunteers to enjoy this wonderful look at SEC football and—more importantly—SEC fandom.

You may remember Clay Travis from his days at DeadSpin and as a contributor on CBS Sports.com.  He is also the author of “Dixeland Delight” and “Man! The Book” as well as a contributor to the “Rocky Top 2009” annual published by Maple Street Press (to which I also contributed).

Seriously, if you are a fan of SEC football, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Travis’ new book.  Trust me, you will be glad you did.  “On Rocky Top” is now available at bookstores or through web retailers such as Amazon.com.

I’ll be offering up a little more on this one in the near future…

bullet The 2009 CBS Sports College Football BlogPoll

Yes, yes, friends and neighbors, once again the powers that be have elected to allow yours truly to participate in the CBS Sports College Football BlogPoll.  All I can say is that I am truly honored to get the chance to cast my weekly vote for the Top 25 college football programs and to be counted among some of the best of the best in the blogosphere, and, yes, there are a bunch of great blogs involved, including my brethren at Rocky Top Talk and 3SIB.

The format for the 2009 BlogPoll will be the same as in the past.  Each week, I will post a Draft or Preliminary Ballot after the conclusion of the week’s football frivolity (usually on Sunday night or Monday morning) for those of you out there to attack and destroy with all your gusto and might via your comments.  Please, feel free to try and convince me that I am wrong or flame me for being an idiot.  Interaction with the fan community is a core component of the BlogPoll philosophy.  I promise that I will consider all comments.  Thereafter (around Wednesday-ish) I will—at least in theory—post a revised ballot noting any changes made as a result of your insults input and epithets suggestions or based upon other developments around the world of college football.  From there, the collective will of blogosphere will be posted for all to see at CBS Sports.com, along with an analysis of the week’s balloting by the BlogPoll Illustrious Potentate, Brian Cook of the venerable MGOBlog.

In any event, the BlogPoll is a really wonderful partnership between the traditional media and the world of sports-bloggers (dare I say, “the Fifth Estate”?) and is a lot of fun for voters and readers alike.  Look for the first ballot next week.

bullet SEC Power Poll

In much the same vein, as above, Gate 21 will be kicking off it’s participation in the 2009 SEC Power Poll, which brings SEC sports-bloggers together to rank each of the SEC schools on a weekly basis.  Last year this was a ton of fun.  Just like with the BlogPoll, I promise to consider any and all comments from the peanut gallery regarding my weekly ballots.

Once submitted, each week Power Poll is analyzed and sensationalized by the CockNFire of Garnet and Black Attack and Team Speed Kills.  For me, this is one of the best opportunities in blogging.  As a dyed-in-the-wool SEC fan, there is nothing closer to my heart than all things “ESS-EEE-SEE!”  I have also been known to … err … take a bit of creative license with my analyses of the various team, but I figure, what the hell?

bullet RTT College Football Pick ‘em Pool

Though I had given some thought to creating my own weekly college football pick’em contest, I decided that the best option was simply to ride the coattails of the competent collaborate with others.  Furthermore, I just enjoy it more when there are more folks involved, thus, I will be participating in Rocky Top Talk’s College Pick’em Pool which is hosted at Fun Office Pools.com.  The interface and function is easy to use, and it is just a lot of fun to show the entire world just how brilliant or how stupid you are.  Oh, and did I mention that it’s free?  All you have to do is sign up and you’re good to go.  Be sure to jump in before the season starts.

Oh, and I assure you that the College Pick’em Pool does not violate the SEC’s new Media Policy (which is as laughable as it is draconian).

Yeah, I know, not much in the way of substance, but this lawyerin’ is getting to be like having a job…

– So it goes …Email lawvol No McAlisters


Hey, Hey the Blog’s All Here!

Whew!

After much wringing of hands and a few hiccups along the way, the Gate is now at its new home with Media Temple (who are pretty awesome as those sorts of things go).  Hopefully, everything will continue to run smoothly and we won’t have any major problems going forward.

Be that as it may, if you—our beloved readers—see anything that seems to be acting odd, that looks funny, that appears broken, or that you simply don’t like, please leave a comment or contact me via email.

Thank you for your patience throughout this process.

In addition to the server change, I have also added TweetMeme’s “ReTweet” button which has been taking the web by storm lately.  This little green button (which utterly refuses to speak to my orange-based color scheme) allows you to automatically ReTweet (or “RT”) posts from Gate 21 on your Twitter account to share with others.  For now, this button will be appearing at the top of each post (but it may eventually move).  In that same vein, you can also share content from the Gate on a bevy of other services with a single click via the line of buttons at the bottom of each post.  Finally, just in case you didn’t know, you can also subscribe to both the posts and comments here at the Gate so that all of our Big Orange Goodness will appear on your homepage or RSS reader of choice, or—if you so desire—you can even subscribe by email via the interface near the bottom of the left sidebar.  For what it is worth, I use Google Reader to read all my favorite blogs, sites, and so forth from one easy to access location.  I highly recommend it, it’s a major timesaver.

At any rate, I just wanted to pass along the news that the Gate made the journey to its new home on the web, and let you know that we should be getting back to a normal posting schedule around here shortly.

You may now return to your regularly scheduled web-surfing activities…

– So it goes…About Lawvol


Headlines, Links, & Lies: “I haven’t crashed into anything yet!” Edition

Headlines, Links & Lies | Gate 21

Well, I am almost done with the migration of the Gate from its current location on the web to its new home with my new hosting provider: Media Temple.  So far, I have been nothing but impressed with what they have to offer and I hope that there are many great things to come in the future here as a result.   I anticipate the “flipping the switch” for the change over in the next day or so, thus, my prior warning about the possibility that the Gate might “go missing” stands for a little while longer.  Such is life.

At any rate, due to being tied up with all my hosting-reconfiguration activities, I haven’t really had a chance to finish up the post I had planned for today. Thus, at a minimum I wanted to pass on a few links and what-not that seemed worth giving a look.

  • The Big Orange Roundtable Returneth: For those of you that remember the Vol-blogosphere’s little foray into collaboration from 2008, the roundtable is back.  Thus, the Big Orange Brethren (myself included) kickoff the 2009 Big Orange Roundtable this week with the first installment hosted by MoonDog.  For those of you who were not around for last year’s roundtable, it is a weekly roundtable discussion where a host poses a series of questions to the collective brain-trust of the Vol-blogosphere who, respond with their BS insightful and thought provoking answers.  At the end of the week, the host provides a round-up of the responses and the comments posted by each of the member Roundtable sites, along with a few parting thoughts.  It is a great series that was a lot of fun last season. Go ahead and check out this week’s questions.   I plan on posting my responses in the next day or so.
  • Ray Nettles and the Long Road to Redemption: Ray Nettles was a linebacker for the Big Orange from 1969-1971, winning All-America and All-SEC honors in 1971.  Over the past 38 years since leaving Tennessee he has struggled with his demons and his own brand of inner-conflict.  Now, however, he talks of redemption and finding his way back home from battles with addiction, marital strife, and now cancer.  Throughout his journey he has been supported by his former teammates in ways that even he has a difficult time understanding.

    Video: Ray Nettles Seeks Redemption

    This is a really powerful story of success, collapse, failure, and recovery which I highly recommend. HTVia: Florida Times-Union • HT: The Vol Historian

  • The 2008 Football Season in Seconds: Joel, “the Flashmaster General” offers up a re-cap of the entire 2008 football season in only seconds.   How, you ask? Through the miracles of the Adobe flash player, that’s how.  Check it out, just in case you forgot… HTVia: Rocky Top Talk

  • At least I drive better than this: I am really not sure why this lady was having such a difficult time driving a golf cart. They are fairly simple inventions.  Two pedals.  One steering wheel.  Four tires.  Needless to say, I won’t be riding with her anytime soon.

    Video: How Not to Drive a Golf Cart

    Now I know where personal-injury lawyers get their clients… HTVia: Fandome

At any rate, I hope to have the Gate migrated to its new home and to finally be set for the upcoming football season soon.

Until then, this will have to do…

– So it goes …Email lawvol No McAlisters

Upcoming Maintenance at the Gate

KABOOM Well, now that I have completely remodeled the Gate, I am no longer content to live with the constant issues I have had with my hosting provider.  Thus, over the next few days, I will be migrating the Gate to a new hosting provider.  This entails a number of risky endeavours on my part and could result in a near cataclysmic meltdown of epic proportions whereby Gate 21 simply vanishes into the ether world and ceases to exist (just ask MoonDog if you don’t believe me).

Needless to say, I’ve got my fingers crossed…

Despite these risks, a change in hosting providers will greatly improve the speed, reliability, and overall performance of the Gate immensely.  All of this occurs behind the scenes, but it is the key to making the site fizz.  Think of it as replacing the engine in your car—from thousands of miles away.  Fortunately, I have been been through this before—just not on my site.  I also have an ace up my sleeve in the form of web-guru extraordinaire GrandmasterB, who I may call upon to assist if I screw the pooch.

Why am I telling you all of this, you ask?

I am passing this along just as an FYI to both of you out there who regularly visit the Gate because it is entirely possible (read: “a sure thing”) that the Gate may “go missing” for a period of time while the migration is underway.  Furthermore, any number of web errors of the more hysterical and unreasonable sort may appear when you attempt to visit the Gate over the next few days.  I doubt this will occur until later in the week, but I figured I’d go ahead and spread the word in advance—you never know when I will get some sort of wild-haired notion.

At any rate, wish me luck as I make these upgrades to the nirvana-esque experience that is Gate 21.

Angels and Ministers of Grace Defend Us…

– So it goes…About Lawvol


A few words on things to come…

Just in case you were wondering, I have not abandoned the Gate this week.  In fact, I have been working harder on this joint this week than I have in months.  Unfortunately, all of that work has been behind the scenes…

for the moment.

Let’s just say that I am taking advantage of the current off-season lull to make a few changes around here and to do a bit of remodeling.  Let’s just call it “Gate 21 — 2.0.”  Hopefully, all of this work will not be for naught.  Hopefully, I’ll be done with this marathon soon.  Hopefully, there will still be more than three people around to read once I bring the changes live.  Who knew this whole “blogging thing” would be so much work?

In the meantime, I’ll just leave you with this little visual representation of where this ship is headed.  Trust me, this is but one very small part of what I have in store for everyone in the near future:

The Changing Face of the Gate…

Gate21-Default-Avatar 21-Circle 21Circle-Web2_0-93x95-Shad
November 2007 February 2008

?? July 2009 ??

(I sure hope so)

Hopefully, I will actually get a little chance to write a few things here this weekend which I have had to put off a bit.  Yeah, yeah … excuses, excuses.  At any rate, please bear with us—there are exciting things to come in the near future.

In the meantime, just try to remember that Gate 21 does exist, and check back with us soon…

– So it goes…About Lawvol

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