Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year, New Job and I'm Gonna Get Mine

Today marks the close of another year and the birth of a new one. I've said in previous posts that at the beginning of each year, I always say the same thing. This is the year that I'm going to get mine. And while I've said it in vain everytime before, THIS year, I really am going to get mine. I know this because of my anger level. A lot of times, for whatever reason, whether it's genetics or my upbringing or just my stupid self, when I get angry, I tend to withdraw rather than explode. I withdraw and I fester and nothing good comes of it because I'm just choosing to be mad at the situation instead of doing something because that is much harder and the first thing is much easier. But no more of that. I'm so tired of hating myself for not being better and not going out and taking the things I want in life. My anger is finally moving me to action and while part of me wonders if I'm lying both to all of you and to myself, this anger really does feel like it is here to stay until it is finally sated.
I am going to start a new job on Monday. I have mixed feelings about it. It's another temp job at Lovelace Health Plan which is where I worked before I was let go. They liked me so much that they wanted me back even though they obviously didn't like me enough to pay me more than I got last time especially considering that I'm taking on more responsibilities this time. I was hesitant to take it because I kind of just feel like I've moved on now. I'm not the same person I was when I left that place. But at least I'll be making money again and being more productive. I still plan to continue looking for a better job while I'm there as well and this time, I really am going to stick with it whereas other times I said this but usually gave up after a few tries.
I don't know what'll happen but I'm tired of sitting around waiting for life to come to me. I've wasted too much time doing that and I can't waste anymore. I'm also considering looking for a job out-of-state which is something I've never considered before. I still love Albuquerque but staying here just isn't as important to me as it used to be. I'm growing up and I've changed and I'd rather live somewhere else with a job I love then live here with a crappy one. It's taken me a long time to learn that but I'm glad I finally have.
So, here's hoping that this is the year that I get what's mine. I hope the same for all of you.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

One year, more refined...

Today is my wife's birthday. She is 27 years old. She's having a hard time with the age but I keep telling her that she might be one year older but she is also one year more refined than before. We plan to go get sushi later with a couple of friends to celebrate. She actually was born on Thanksgiving, the year that she was born and her Mom and Grandma always call her their "turkey baby". So, happy birthday Stace-Ghost! I love you!

Friday, November 20, 2009

What's Going On

I figured I should write a quick little post about what's going on with my work situation. I recently decided to start temping again because I couldn't take the sitting around anymore. After bugging them and bugging them, they finally gave me an assignment for data entry at $13/hr. I was excited by the prospects. It was supposed to start two weeks ago but the Friday before, they called me and told me that the project had been pushed back a week. I figured that, while it sucked I couldn't start work immediately, I figured at least I would be able to spend time with my Dad for the couple of days he was in town. So, this past Monday, I got up and drove to the place where I was working (which turns out is in the warzone in Albuquerque, right next to the base), and I was trying to find out where I was supposed to go because the directions were quite confusing. I called my temp agency to ask them and they said, "Oh, the project doesn't start today. It had been pushed back. We don't even know when it will start." I told them that they had told me that it had been pushed back only a week and it started today but of course, they didn't remember telling me that. So, I'm back to square one, in the job market again. The whole thing makes me really not want to temp anymore. I'm really going to try hard to find something myself. I got sick on Tuesday and Wednesday so I haven't looked much this week, but for those of you in the Albuquerque area, like you have been doing, if you know of any place that's hiring, let me know. I really do appreciate all the love and support from everyone.

Monday, November 16, 2009

5 Stupid Characters That I Support Anyway

This is a piece I wrote a month ago on the website, Game Informer, and is the most read thing I've ever written. To date, it has received around 3,500 views and it is still climbing. I thought I would post it here as well, so all of you could read it, even if you don't understand all of the references.

In the world of gaming, one comes across tons of stupid characters.  While most will always be stupid in every subsequent iteration, I have compiled a list of characters that I believe that we should support or try to love despite their downfalls.



 


 


 


   1.    Tingle (The Legend of Zelda series)-  His name is Tingle and he's a flamboyant map-maker.  He claims to be a fairy (maybe in more ways than one) and his strange ways often feel a bit out of place in the Legend of Zelda series. The prices for his services are always exuberant just like his outfit.  Introduced in Majora's Mask, he kind of seemed like a creepy child molestor, a middle-aged overweight man, strangely dressing up like a fairy and living in the woods and talking to Link all the time (who was just a kid!  Yikes!).  And did I mention how strange he is?  Therein, however, lies the reason we should try to like him.  He provides enough humor and uniqueness that he really stands out from the rest of Link's friends. Even with the groan-inducing, rupee hunt that he made Link do in Windwaker, it was also really hilarious.  It was actually this appearance in Windwaker, that changed my feelings toward him (he came off way too creepy in Majora's Mask).  I'm not sure why he insists on saying, "Koo-loo Limpah" all the time but as far as I'm concerned, Tingle can keep making his stupid maps.



2.  Toad (various games with Mario)-  Toad was first introduced as the annoying guy that kept deflating your hopes that you had finally saved the princess in Super Mario Bros.  You would navigate obstacles and treacherous ground only to hear, "Sorry, Mario, but you're going to have to get yourself killed a billion more times to save our harlot of a princess."  Ok, he didn't really say that.  If he did, he wouldn't be on this list.  And what's with his head?  You have to wonder what would happen to Mario if he took a big 'ol bite out of it.  Despite all of his stupidity, however, none of that matters once he gets behind the wheel of a go-cart (or perhaps, go-kart?).  He might be nice and obedient in other games, but in the Mario Kart series, he is fast and ruthless, sometimes yelling out a "yeah" in his stupid voice as he slams you with a red shell.  Or maybe he just laughs maniacally as you slip on one of his banana peels.  Getting hit with anything in Mario Kart is bad news, but it's easier to take when it's done by Mario or Bowser.  When you get hit by Toad, however, it's enraging, which is why he belongs on this list.


3.  Peppy Hare (Star Fox series)-  Peppy has been the ass of so many jokes and YouTube videos with his catchphrase, "Do a barrel roll!" being known to most gamers.  The reason for these jokes stems from Peppy's persistance in using the phrase.  Get hit with a laser blast?  "Do a barrel roll!"  Fly under a bridge?  "Do a barrel roll!"  Do a barrel roll?  "Do a barrel roll!"  He also loves to be the downer by constantly reminding you of your father who tragically died by saying things like, "Your father once saved me like that too!"  or, "You remind me of your father."  Or, my favorite, "Your father showed me the dangers of stupidity and even then, I was too thick in the head to fully understand it!"  (Ok, he didn't really say that, but he should have).  Peppy proves to be somewhat useful though.  He is the veteran of the Star Fox team and can take care of himself most of the time unlike Slippy.  That fact alone, makes him deserve our respect.



4.  Zhang He (Dynasty Warriors series)- Basically the "Wolverine" of the Three Kingdoms dynasty, Zhang He's weapon of choice is two claws that fit onto his hands.  Sound awesome?  It is, until Zhang He speaks.  He is obsessed with dance, as he lets us know by working it into almost every sentence he speaks.  Here are some gems taken from his dialogue:  "I will dazzle the battlefield with my exquisite dance!"  "To dance is to live."  "Behold, my dance of death."  "Victory is ours.  Show your joy...not with your blade, but with a dance!"  But like Tingle, he is strange enough to make you take notice and become more interested in him over a slew of carbon copy characters that the game presents you.  Not to mention that he totally owns on the battlefield, mostly because (at least in the 3rd installation) he's one of the few characters that has an instant death ability on his 4th weapon.  I wouldn't necessarily call it a dance but there is certainly a lot of death that follows him on the battlefield. 


5Jason Flemming (Shadow Complex)- Jason Flemming is   presented as a grown man that apparently still has daddy issues.  Trained by his father in    various forms of combat and espionage, Jason has for whatever stupid reason, decided to take the higher road and "doesn't want to fight anymore."  (a legitimate reason why he doesn't want to fight anymore is never presented).  On a backpacking trip, he manages to lose track of his girlfriend in a mere two minutes and then goes after her.  While he should be commended for not leaving the poor girl (although I have heard there is a secret ending where he does leave her), he is too thick in the head to realize that (SPOILER) she is actually working for the government and has brought him here to stop the threat.  Yeah, because that makes sense.  "Hmm, we could get a small group of special forces to infiltrate the facility and nullify it.  We could just annihilate them with a bomb.  Or I could pretend to be interested in this random, douchey guy and take him on a backpacking trip, get captured, have him save me and then nullify the threat-all by himself!  That sounds like a great plan!"  (Orson Scott Card, your story is horrible and you should feel horrible).  (END OF SPOILER).  But, despite all of these downfalls, Jason Flemming proves that he is a badass by outsmarting and fighting off the entire Restoration.  Though he lacks common sense, he proves that he is at least smart enough to solve puzzles that are throughout the facility.  And who knows?  Maybe if he is given another iteration, he might not be such a douche.  Maybe.


Do you agree or disagree with these?  What stupid characters do you support and why?  Who knows?  They might end up in a subsequent iteration.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Video Game Paraphernalia

I love most things that have to do with video games. I really would love to have little things throughout my house that allude to certain games. Here are some of my favorites that I have come across on the internet.

The Metroid Coaster


This coaster is in the form of a metroid from the popular video game series. Even better is that they only cost $2.50 a piece so you could easily get enough for your whole house.

The Pacman Beanie




This beanie hat is from the video game Pacman and is reversible to represent the enemies of Pacman before and after he eats a power pellet. Even better, it'll only run you $6.75.

The Freeman Shirt



Let me tell you something about gamers. We love to be snobby. And by that, I mean we love to understand references to things that no one else gets. Hence, my love for this shirt, which references very cleverly the Half-Life series of video games. The main protagonist's name is Gordon Freeman who starts a resistance movement against his oppresive government. I also love the style of the shirt, so that helps. This will run you $22.

The Vault-Boy Bobblehead



Video game publisher Bethesda was to smart to package this in the collector's edition of their video game, Fallout 3. The reason that they were so smart to do this is because collecting bobbleheads is one of the many missions your character must do in the game. So, if you collect them in the game, why not collect them in real life? Not only that, but collecting these in the game provides a very significant boost to your character's abilities which only adds to why a person might want to have one in real life. Out of this whole list, this is the only one I actually have and my wife will attest to my love for this little guy. The game deals with what the nation's capital might look like after a nuclear blast and the radiation fallout (hence the title) that comes with it. Vault-Boy was a promotional figure used by companies to get people to buy fallout shelter's in a psuedo-Cold War era. This guy will run you $12.50.

The Master Sword



Do you ever wish you were Link from the Legend of Zelda? Yeah, me too. If you are willing to shell out $77, you could get his famous sword. My nerdiness only goes so far. This would be for display purposes only.....most likely. (I couldn't find an image small enough so I posted the video from the maker).

The 8-Bit Tie



I really love this tie. It's not from any specific video game but is just meant to show what the tie might look like in an old video game. Very clever. Even better, it only costs $15.

The 1-Up Mushroom



Having a hard day at work? You need a pick me up? How about just an extra-life? This mushroom from the Super Mario games don't really do anything except look really cool, sitting on your desk. But that's enough. It's $7.

Well, that's it for now. I had a lot of fun putting this together so I might do this again sometime.






Thursday, October 22, 2009

Howard Beale from the movie, Network

Below is one of my favorite movie quotes of all-time. It's from the movie, Network, and I recently came across it and thought it was very befitting of our times. I also found a video of it on YouTube if you would rather watch it.

I don't have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It's a depression. Everybody's out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel's work, banks are going bust, shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there's nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there's no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TV's while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that's the way it's supposed to be. We know things are bad - worse than bad. They're crazy. It's like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don't go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, 'Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won't say anything. Just leave us alone.' Well, I'm not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get mad! I don't want you to protest. I don't want you to riot - I don't want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn't know what to tell you to write. I don't know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you've got to get mad. You've got to say, 'I'm a HUMAN BEING, Goddamnit! My life has VALUE!' So I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell, 'I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!' I want you to get up right now, sit up, go to your windows, open them and stick your head out and yell - 'I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!' Things have got to change. But first, you've gotta get mad!... You've got to say, 'I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!' Then we'll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it: "I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!"

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Pop Culture: Your Weapon When Disaster Strikes

Yeah, this pretty much sums it up.

I'm waiting for the time I can save my own life or the lives of others with my knowledge of pop culture. I am positive this will one day happen and I have been studying vigorously my whole life so that when it comes, I will not fail. Sure, it seems implausible that Al-Qaida will one day threaten the world unless I can name the villain in the 1986 movie, Labyrinth, played by David Bowie (the answer is Jareth) but honestly, I rest all my hopes on this. Otherwise, I've wasted a large portion of my life learning random, little facts for no apparent reason.


Jareth, the Goblin King. Fear him. Or you could just tell him that he has no power over you. It's your call.

Sadly, this is what pop culture expects from us. It wants us to care about it so much that we sit around and memorize every little minutiae till it's seared in our brains. When we've done that, then we have to go out and tell every other poor bastard about how Morgan Freeman didn't really catch his big break until he was the age of 50 or how Anthony Hopkins supposedly reads all of his scripts 250 times before he performs them (two facts I find fascinating, by the way). We use this knowledge to jockey our position in the world, sure that if we prove to our friends and colleagues that we know more than them about the Star Wars films or all the places those important numbers pop up in the show Lost, that we are somehow smarter than them or at least more observant. Our power is our knowledge. But after we've bored them with all of our facts about how many times Anthony Kiedis has fallen off of the sober wagon or our fascinating insights into the deeper meanings of Lil Wayne's "Lollipop", where do we go from there?

No one is more lonely than the man on top. The only logical way to find purpose then is to save the world with your knowledge. Yeah, you could become a journalist (Chuck Klosterman is the owner of my heart), or a film maker (Quentin Tarantino loves to bore show us his knowledge) or a hundred other careers that find a use for that knowledge. They would make you happy. But you would ignore your higher calling of being a Pop Culture Warrior. We do not do it for money (although if we entered the World Series of Pop Culture, we would surely win it without a struggle). We do not do it for fame (although being known as the Master Samurai of Pop Culture would be totally awesome). We do not do it because pop culture controls our lives (.....hopefully). We do it because we love it. We love every stupid, little fact about how all of the great rappers in history have had an album cover of theirs adorned with a baby picture, or how many great legends of rock have perished at the age of 27 (Jimi, Janis, Jim, Kurt and others). We love it because we love to see little snippets of coincidence, miracle, happiness or tragedy. We love it because it is our lives through a filter of unadulterated rock n' roll, graffiti art, wardrobe malfunctions, celebrity weddings, celebrity breakups, celebrity deaths and the people who profit off of them (::cough:: Joe Jackson ::cough::), cooking shows, the making of cooking shows, the making of the making of cooking shows, violent video games, comeback roles, and all the other different colors, coincidences, and ironies that make up the gamut of popular culture.

Yeah, this pretty much sums it up.

We love it so much that eventually we become a part of it and that is really what it is all about. Except of course, when we have to save the world with it. You are laughing now. But when Al-Qaida calls you and threatens to blow up your toilet unless you can name the rock star who had a brief cameo appearance in Back to the Future 2, you better be ready.



Learn it. Know it.

Monday, October 5, 2009

2 Years And Counting...

Today is my two-year wedding anniversary. I am so happy that I've been married to this wonderful woman for that long. This year has definitely not been easy but we have worked through it and become closer because of it. In all this time, however, I have always felt inadequate. Inadequate to be with her, inadequate to be around her, inadequate to cook for her, inadequate to see her sleep, inadequate to see her dance, inadequate, inadequate, inadequate. I will always feel inadequate which is why I'm the luckiest man on earth. 2 years and counting...

Now I will destroy everything I just said by embarrassing her with all of these pictures. Enjoy!
















Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Pains of Getting Older

The older I get, the more I hate myself. Has aging always been this closely tied to self-loathing? Year after year, the regrets in life continue to pile up and eventually they'll all crush me like an insect. What is a man to do with these regrets? Does he cast them aside and forgets about them? Does he write them off as something that was not meant to be or something that was not possible or prudent at the time? Or does he carry them around, an eternal reminder of where he could have ended up if he had just had a little more __________? Really anything could fit in there, as many circumstances are different and what you need a little more of varies with time to time.
In different times, I have needed more motivation. Actually, in a lot of times, I have needed more motivation. There is no manual to living your life. You aren't assigned homework but I kind of wished it was. If everything good in life came from doing your homework, I'd be living in the Caribbean in a million dollar beach house, one of those lucky few who got to retire at the age of 30. But it doesn't work like that. The most important and rewarding things in life, you have to make happen for yourself. And for me, that has been really hard to learn. I think I'm still learning it now.
In other times, I have needed more courage. I've often heard it said, "A loser is someone who is too afraid to try because they might fail." I am guilty of this. So, many regrets of mine stem from this simple truth, of times where all I had to do was talk to someone, whether it was to ask someone to do something for me or to let someone know that I was angry with them or sad because of them. But I always chickened out because I was too afraid. I've always avoided confrontation. I'm not sure why. But I am sure, that avoiding it has gotten me nowhere, and because I avoided it, I was only more miserable. Courage is something that can be really elusive because when we think of the word, we immediately think of courage in battle. The hardest courage that a person can learn to have, however, is the one that ultimately will serve you best in life. None of us will ever see battle (God-willing), but we will all have to confront people for their wrongdoing or even if we simply need to ask someone for something from time to time.
There are tons more that I need a little more of but I won't bore you with them. I really do wonder where any of us would be if we had just had a little more of that little extra something at the right place at the right time. These regrets are the ones we have to live with. I'm not sure when it happened but somewhere along the line, life decided to step on the gas. Yesterday, I was 19, tomorrow I'll be 37 and by the end of the year I'll be six feet under. I'm absolutely shocked that it is already the fall of this year. I have no idea where the time went. If it gets any faster, I just might never get around to actually living my life.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Weight Of Those Before

Light has weight. Sure, it's small-infinitessimally small in fact-but it weighs down on you, just like cheeseburgers do on your body and regrets do on your conscience. For most of your life you will not notice this. Some of you might still even be silently arguing with me, thinking, "You're lying! Light doesn't have weight!" But it does. And it always has.
If you hadn't known this before, you will definitely notice it now, but not because you actually feel it but because you are expecting to feel it and your mind will tell you that you are feeling it, even though you aren't. I am guilty of this-especially on days when it is surprisingly hot. It feels like the sunglight is just pounding you relentlessly in the face, draining you of your energy. But this is not so much because of the weight of light but because of the heat of the sun rays. The weight of light is something we live with from the time we're born and we just accept it because we can bear it.
There is no weight to a shadow. A shadow represents an absence of light. They are sometimes useful on those really hot days when you find a shadow of a building to cool you off from the sun. But figuratively speaking, the shadows that do have weight, and the shadows which we stand in most of our lives, are the shadows of the ones that have gone before us. Those are the shadows that weigh us down. We don't actually feel it, just like the sunlight, but we think we do. It weighs us down and sometimes it wears us down.
Have you ever been in a dark lit room with another person who is standing far away, with a light shining behind them? Their shadows appear large, too big for any real person to fill. Sometimes their shadows take up the entire room. But if the person standing in the light began to walk towards you, their shadow begins to shrink until when they are standing in front of you, face-to-face, you look back and realize your own shadow is as big as theirs. Sometimes, when its right in front of you, you see things for what they are.
I have heard it said before that, "the rest of those that have gone before us, cannot steady the unrest of those that follow." People all over the world no doubt lose sleep every night, wondering what their deceased parents, grandparents, relatives, dear friends, or even childhood heroes would think of them if they could see how they were living their lives. Like the weight of light, it's a burden we all come to accept eventually. And we accept it because we can bear it. Maybe not at first, but no one is ever resigned to crawling their way through life, the load on their backs forever too heavy for them to carry upright. No, eventually, everyone finds a way.
It seems the closer you are to someone, the further away they are from you in this room of shadows, standing in front of the lights, their shadows bigger than life itself. We try to fill it. We stretch our bodies out this way and that but our efforts are futile and eventually we stop trying. In our minds, the shadows of the ones before us will always be unfillable except by those who filled them. This is something we all carry in one way or another. Eventually, we find a way. And if we're lucky, we might get to stand right in front of them once more, and upon looking back, come to the realization that we were just as big.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Beatles:Rock Band Midnight Release Party

I've written about lots of midnight releases on here before and if there's one correlating factor about all of them, it's that you never know what to expect. I dealt with screaming 12 years olds for Super Smash Bros. Brawl, took pictures of stormtroopers, Boba Fett and Darth Vader for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and stood in the absolute longest line of my entire life for Grand Theft Auto IV (it went from inside the store, out the door, and all the way to the doors of Target which is down quite a ways). For Beatles: Rock Band, I expected quite a few people. I, however, was totally wrong. Out of all the midnight releases I've ever been to, this was probably the weakest. I'd say there was, at most, 20 people there. Quite surprising considering a) the popularity of the Beatles and b) the ridiculous marketing campaign that has accompanied the game. I guess you just never know.

I got there at about 11:15, which is a lot earlier than I normally get to these things. I usually try to stay away until about 15 till midnight but I didn't really have a whole lot going on at home so I thought I'd head over. I chatted it up with one of the Gamestop employees. He was nice and really wanted to talk about games which I thought he'd then turn into, "Oh, you should totally pre-order like a quadrillion games coming out next week!" but he didn't. The only annoying thing about talking to these guys is that they a) Think they know more than you about games and b) They never actually do, at least in my case.

Then they started a Beatles: Rock Band tournament, which wasn't really a tournament at all, but more just a hey! You won. Good job. I volunteered to play, more so that I could just play the game and not really caring about winning or losing. I figured I had a good chance of winning though because I'm pretty good at these types of games. I played a cute girl in score duel, which is basically just where we play the same things and whoever has the highest score at the end wins. You'd think with her being a cute girl and all, I'd be nice and let her win. But, I just can't help myself. I thought, "Sorry, cute girl, I'm totally going to murder you at this game." And I did. We played, "I Got A Feeling" and I doubled her score. She was kind of mad about losing. I thought it was pretty hilarious. I, then, got to win a mysterious prize, which consisted of leftover pre-order items that they were trying to get rid of. Sounds really great, right? No, it's not. Most of the stuff was for games I've either never played nor do I care to play. But luckily, they could see I didn't want anything and dug out some drumsticks for Guitar Hero: Smash Hits, which was good because my Rock Band sticks are getting a little worn down. I felt special with my sticks until 5 minutes later, they just began handing out sticks to everyone there. My small victories in life never last long.

We started standing in line and the local news, Channel 13 showed up. They were doing a piece on the release of the game and were looking for someone to interview. Nobody really wanted to do it. I thought about doing it, and then thought, what the hell would I say? "Yeah, you know, it's the Beatles! I love the Beatles. They've really touched my life and I'm glad I get to play as them in a video game." Even if it is true, that doesn't sound any less retarded. So, I declined, and after some begging, someone else finally agreed to do the interview. I still might be on the news though, because he took a lot of shots of the whole store. I'll be the guy at the front of the line, trying to not look so dang nerdy to no avail. Overall, one of the more enjoyable midnight releases, if only because it was way low on the nerd factor.

This is a trailer for the game. As of this writing, I still have yet to play the game except for the song I played in the store. I considered playing it at my home but figured my wife wouldn't appreciate playing loud rock songs while she's trying to sleep. :)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Obama Poster Parodies

I found a bunch of these and just thought I'd share them. The Obama poster that got cut off says Taupe but I couldn't find a smaller picture.

























Friday, August 28, 2009

1901-Phoenix

This is my favorite song right now. As you can see, it changes quite a bit. The song is so bright, with synthesizers and guitar that really makes you wish that the summer wasn’t coming to a close. I’m actually mad that this song is getting radio play 3 months too late because this is a great summer song. Right before the infectious chanting of “fold it, fold it, fold it”, at the end of each chorus, a synthesizer skyrockets up like an air horn. That’s the sound of your minds being blown. At least it was for me. :) Enjoy. I couldn't find a video of it so I just posted their performance of it on Letterman.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Pitchfork's Top 20 Songs of the Decade

This entire week, Pitchfork, a music review website has been counting down the greatest songs of the decade. Their list is actually 500 songs, but I thought I would just type out the top 20 for my sanity's sake. Do you agree or disagree? What do you guys think?

20. The Walkmen- "The Rat"
19. R. Kelly- "Ignition (Remix)"
18. Hercules and Love Affair- "Blind"
17. Annie- "Heartbeat"
16. The Rapture- "House of Jealous Lovers"
15. The Knife- "Heartbeats"
14. Jay-Z- "99 Problems"
13. LCD Soundsystem- "Losing My Edge"
12. OutKast- "Hey Ya"
11. Gnarls Barkley- "Crazy"
10. Arcade Fire- "Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)"
09. Animal Collective- "My Girls"
08. Radiohead- "Idioteque"
07. Missy Elliott- "Get Ur Freak On"
06. Yeah Yeah Yeahs- "Maps"
05. Daft Punk- "One More Time"
04. Beyonce ft. Jay-Z- "Crazy in Love"
03. M.I.A. ft Bun B and Rich Boy- "Paper Planes (Diplo Remix)
02. LCD Soundsytem- "All My Friends"
01. OutKast- "B.O.B"

It should be noted that Pitchfork is a music site that gears themselves towards mostly underground or non-mainstream music which might explain why you probably haven't heard of a lot of these. It should also be noted that I called half of these songs in the top 20. :)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Harry Patch (In Memory Of)

I stole this idea from Amber. This is my favorite song right now. It's called "Harry Patch (In Memory Of)" by Radiohead. Harry Patch was the oldest surviving combat soldier of WWI and he recently passed away. He died at age 111. He never spoke about the war and what he'd seen there, until at age 100, he started talking about it and became very opposed to that war and all wars in general. All the lyrics of the song are taken from things he said. He lived through the war, lived to see 2 wives and another female companion pass away, and even lived longer than both of his sons. It's a touching song, heavy on the strings and the heart-strings. Enjoy.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus

I decided I'm going to try harder to have more small blogs instead of long epic ones all the time. So, with this in mind, here is the trailer for the new movie called The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus. It stars Heath Ledger (in what I think was his last role), Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, Jude Law, and Tom Waits as The Devil (which is absolutely perfect for him). The visuals look amazing and it was directed by Terry Gilliam. It kind of looks like Ledger, Depp, Farrell, and Law are all the same person which actually might work considering it's a fantasy tale. It was no doubt probably done in lieu of Ledger's death.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

You Gotta Believe in Something



Nene recently posted a blog about movie quotes. Later on, after reading her blog, I was thinking of the predicament that I'm currently in and after thought led to thought, a movie quote popped into my head: "Still, you gotta believe in something." The quote, spoken by the great Alan Arkin in the movie, "13 Conversations About One Thing" is something I've never written down even though I have a personal book of my own where I keep my favorite quotes. I have also only seen this movie once. I remember hardly anything about it. I didn't even think it was that great of a movie. But for some reason this quote has always stuck with me.

It is curious that something so insignificant can come to mean so much to a person. Throughout my life, I've often pondered why people are the way they are, why they do the things they do and more importantly, why I'm the way I am. It's a strain of thought that never has an end because it has no answer. And yet, this quote always comes back to me, "You gotta believe in something."

The more I think about it, the more powerful the statement becomes. Fear can cripple a person and there are different kinds. There's the fear that you could die at any moment. There's the fear that you're doing something that you're not supposed. And there's the fear that you're turning into somebody you never wanted to be. I'm guilty of that one. Fear is not always something that suddenly grabs you. Sometimes it's so quiet that you don't even notice it until you realize you're trapped by it. What can you do? How do you motivate yourself? Well, my friends, you gotta believe in something. Whether it's a religion, a belief in a lifelong dream you have, a belief that the world's gonna end in three years, a belief that money's the key to happiness, a belief in the Loch Ness monster, or just believing in yourself, the only thing you can do is believe in something so strongly that your fear is no longer a problem. You replace your fear with something much more important and it doesn't mean that you're no longer afraid, just that you've realized that you can't waste any more time because your belief is so strong it has led you to action.

In the movie, the quote is nothing significant to the rest of the film. It is spoken simply, without fanfare. I don't remember exactly what Arkin was talking about but I'm pretty sure he was talking about an old friend of his who had found some crazy religion and after ridiculing him and poking fun at his friend, he has the simple realization, "Still, you gotta believe in something." It's a quote I think I will contemplate for the rest of my life. I'm at least going to put it into my quote book.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Rejuvenated

I haven't blogged in awhile as you've probably noticed. I just haven't been that motivated to do it. I actually haven't been that motivated to do much of anything lately. I'm not sure why. But today, I woke up and I just felt like getting things done that I've been putting off.

Nothing much has been going on with me. I had a job interview last Wednesday but I guess I didn't get it because I haven't heard from them. It's okay though. It was a crappy job anyway that I was just going to take just to have something. Stace-Ghost and I spend most of our days hanging out together. We eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner together and we usually watch TV shows that we have on DVD while we do it (watched 5 seasons of the Office, 3 seasons of Arrested Development and now the 2nd and 3rd seasons of Scrubs). Two of my closest friends are back now. It's good to have them back although it's kind of a trade because they come back and now I'm going to lose another friend in September because he's moving to Chicago for law school. But it's good to have them all here for now.

The house is pretty much finished now and it looks really good. I'm just glad to not have construction workers at my house all the dang time. I'm really so tired of living in construction zones and yet my wife tells me that when we buy our own house (which could be in the near future) she would like to buy a fixer-upper and have us fix everything ourselves. UGGGHHHH!

I got to jam with my friend (one of the ones who recently returned) who is also my drummer on Saturday and it was a lot of fun but man was I rusty. It kind of irks me too because I really had been practicing a lot in the past few months. Oh well. We went to see some of our friends get married afterwards and it was a lot of fun. In a former life of mine, I used to love to go to dances. I used to love going with my friends and just being totally crazy for a couple of hours until one day, it just wasn't that fun anymore. Well, at the wedding, I did some dancing and it brought all those memories back. It was great. I also got to see a lot of old friends from high school who I hadn't seen in years and it was really great to see all of them. They did a honeymoon dance where you pay a dollar if you want to dance with either the bride or groom. I paid two dollars so I could dance with both. I told a friend, "It's the only way we get to talk to them!"

Well, thats it for me but I'll try to not go M.I.A. for such a long period of time again.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Ohhhhh I Am Going Back

I've recently decided that I need to go back to school. There are a number of reasons, most of them being money. I haven't decided what to go back to school for, however, I know that when I get out of school this time, I want to have a job right off the bat that makes a good amount of money. I've recently been thinking about doing the following things that each have pros and cons and I want to get everyone's opinion.

1. Pharmacy:

Pros: 1. Once I graduated, I would make a lot of money, probably a higher starting salary than the other two jobs.
2. I would be in a job where I am constantly helping people, which is good.
3. There is a huge need for pharmacists, so I wouldn't have a problem finding a job.
4. Though medicine and technology are constantly evolving, my job would for the most part, stay the same, which is good.
5. My work days would be fairly normal, with most weeks requiring no more than 40 hours, and some no more than 50, which I don't mind.

Cons: 1. The program is very long, and it might be 5-6 years before I graduated.
2. The program is the most intensive of the three, and I would have 18 hour semesters for probably the entire program, all while trying to work part-time as well.
3. There is a possibility I might not even be accepted into the program if I applied, because they receive so many applicants that do not have the qualities they're looking for.

2. Law/Business

Pros: 1. If I were to do this program, I would gain not only a law degree (J.D.) but a business degree (M.B.A.) as well. And it would only be four years.
2. I'm sure lots of positions would be open to me by having both degrees.
3. Since I love to write, I think a law degree would carry over well with my ability to write and analyze documents, especially if I specialized in contract writing or something of the sort.
4. I'd have a very nice starting salary, probably somewhere around $65,000.
5. I'd have the ability to help people by protecting their rights within the law.

Cons: 1. It'd be at least four years before I graduated, maybe longer.
2. I might be wrong, but I can see this profession having the most intensive work week of the three, with many weeks of over 50 hours of work or more, which I don't like.

3. Finance

Pros: 1. It'd be the shortest program of them all, and if I hurried, I might could finish within 2 and half years.
2. I'd start out at probably the lowest starting salary of them all, but probably no less than $50,000.
3. This would be the easiest work week of them all, working mostly banker's hours, and very few weeks requiring more than 40 hours of work.
4. By majoring in finance, I could potentially (if I showed a lot of promise) move all the way up the corporate ladder, even all the way to being the CFO (chief financial officer) of a company. It is very unlikely, but it'd be nice to know that there is so much potential ahead.

Cons: 1. I'd be mostly crunching numbers and sitting in meetings. Really, really boring in my opinion.
2. While there are a lot of finance positions (because every business needs a finance person), I think there are less opportunities than the other two careers.
3. I'm still thinking about the mind-numbingness of number one.

4. Something else.

I'm open to the possibility that although I've looked into these three careers, that none of them is what I should do. I really feel like I need to go back to school. I've felt like that ever since I graduated, but I just thought I'd eventually get with a company and go back for something they wanted me to go back for so they'd pay for it and I'd have a job when I graduated. Since that hasn't happened, I'm tired of waiting and I just want to go. The end result of all of this is I want to be able to provide for myself and my family. I want to make enough money to not have to worry about it anymore. I want to make enough money so that I can send all of my kids to college. I want to make enough money so I can travel and see the world, and live a comfortable life and not be afraid to go see a movie, or go to Chili's for dinner because we don't have the money. Money isn't everything, but there is nothing wrong for wanting that security and comfort. Anyway, I'd like to hear everyone's opinions about this. Thanks.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Socail Networking: Your Best Weapon During The Revolution

I've been watching the news closely over the past few days for news about Iran. For those of you who might be out of the loop, basically President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (as I will hereto refer to as Crazy Ahmad) has suspiciously won an election in his country in a landslide. Naturally, after hundreds of thousands of Iranians turned out for the election to vote him OUT of office, they have started protesting. And it's about time.
This has caused Crazy Ahmad and company to fire back by not guaranteeing the safety of his opponent in the election, Hussain Mousavi. The protests against Crazy Ahmad have been going on for days now and basically Iran is staring a revolution in the face. But, as the old saying goes, the revolution will indeed not be televised.
The reason is not because Crazy Ahmad has shut down the media in his country (even though he has) but the word of these protests did not get out through CNN or any other major news company, but from normal everyday bloggers and social networkers in Iran. As one blogger wrote, "Iran is going to crap and CNN is showing a program about dogs." (I misquoted that but it was something to that effect).
As the Iranian government has shut down all media stations and ousted foreign journalists, social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook are the only ways for the Iranian people to get news out to the world about whats going on. It's even gotten to the point that the US State Department has recently asked Twitter to delay an update to their site that would put the site offline to the Iranian people for most of the day. Twitter has since complied with the request stating that they realized how important of a role their site was playing in the grand scheme.
As I heard about this, I was elated. Iran has needed a revolution for quite some time and it was so amazing to know that social networking sites were protesters best weapon against Big Brother. The Iranian government has continued their efforts to silence the protestors but with current technology, they are fighting an uphill battle. Finally, we can be assured that the people, the regular everyday people of the world, have the power.
At least until this escalates towards violence. Real weapons are always the ultimate silencers but the truth about the events that are happening now will stand as a witness against those who will use real violence to silence their people. This government might try to squash the truth, to hide it but the world will know. I hope this protest can end peacefully with real change and freedom coming to the Iranian people. But if that is not possible, we will know. And we will know through tweets and status updates. Welcome to the 21st century. Power to the people.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Elephant In The Room

I've been out of work for quite awhile now. I don't like talking about it mostly because I feel so ashamed of myself and I like to give people the impression that I'm fine. To be honest, I AM fine. But I really do wish that I had a job. I really do like working. There is something that is really unconscious about work, a feeling that you're being useful and contributing that you never notice until it's gone. I've recently been trying to break into a writing career, writing for local newspapers and magazines around Albuquerque but nothing has really happened even though I emailed all of them that I could find. I did get the okay to do freelance work for the Alibi but when I emailed the editors about any assignments they had, they said they didn't have any and that they almost never use freelancers, which is not good for me. I've emailed so many freakin' people about jobs I just want to scream. I keep thinking of giving Accounting Principals another call, which is my temp agency, and telling them I'll do anything they want but it feels like I'd be giving up and raising the white flag if I did that. When I was doing all of those crappy jobs for them, there was not a single day that went by where I didn't feel like I was wasting my time and abilities and that I really needed to leave and find something better. But, I just don't know what to do anymore. I really want to get a career in line so that Stacy and I can start a family and I could support us all. I've fasted and prayed and so has my wife, and many other family and friends. I feel grateful that I've had so much support but I'm sad that I haven't helped that support come to fruition. Anyway, I just thought I should update everybody on what's going on and thank you for all your support.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Milo

This is a video of the aforementioned Milo (see post "E3"). It is both fascinating and frightening. Enjoy.

Monday, June 1, 2009

E3

E3 kicks off today and for those of you who don't know what that is, its the biggest video game conference of the year. E3 stands for the Electronic Entertainment Expo and the biggest video game news of the year is announced here. And after watching Microsoft's press conference, I can say the future is here and its frightening.
Microsoft, after announcing a number of triple-A video games coming to the 360, completely floored me with their announcement of motion-sensing technology. I know what you're thinking, "I liked it better when it was called the Wii" which was exactly what I thought at first. Microsoft's motion-sensing technology differs from the Wii in that you don't even use a controller, and the camera (which you would set on top of your TV) is capable of capturing your full body movements. They showed a demo of a girl frantically trying to kick balls that were flying at her onscreen avatar and it appeared that the camera captured every single movement even down to her little flinches.
The demo continued with the announcement that not only does this technology have motion-sensing, but voice recognition as well. Then ensued a guy who was painting an onscreen canvas with his avatar and simply by speaking which colors he wanted to use, the game recognized it and would change as he painted a picture of a palm tree on a beach.
Then the next part got really creepy. They showed this technology going even further to science fiction level escapades as they introduced a character called Milo. Milo is an actual video game character that a real person can interact with. Using the voice recognition technology, a real person talked to Milo and asked how he was doing and he would even ask questions back. The real person went and played with Milo and fished with him and drew pictures and there was point where the real person drew a picture on a piece of paper and held it up to the camera and immediately Milo had a white piece of paper in his hand as if she had just handed it to him in real life. He looked at the drawing and actually commented on it. I don't know how I felt about this. It was strange and kind of frightening to see a real person interact with a video game character in this way but at the same time, it was fascinating that things like this were possible. Microsoft made no announcements about the price of this technology at this time but I don't see it being very cheap.
It was a hell of a way to kick off E3 and I'm interested to see what the next three days of the conference holds.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

TV On The Radio

This is a concert review I wrote for Randomville. I also included some videos of the band if you're interested. The first is a live version of "Golden Age" on the British show Later...With Jools Holland. The second is a live version of "Dancing Choose" on Letterman. Enjoy.


5/18/09- It’s amazing that with all the success TV On The Radio has had over the past few years that I would find them in a place like the Diamond Ballroom in Oklahoma City on Monday night. It’s not that the venue is bad or too small but after being hailed as one of the best bands of this generation by everyone from Rolling Stone to Spin magazine, I expected to find the band in much different circumstances.
The Diamond Ballroom is on the outskirts of Oklahoma City, down the street from a Budweiser factory, and has a dirt parking lot. The inside looks like it was once used as a country-western bar where people would square dance and the stage at the north end of the venue was added as an afterthought. I was highly excited. It’s not that often that a person catches a great band in such a strange and intimate setting.
The opening band was, “Little Dragon”, and though the vocals from lead singer Yukimi Nagano immediately reminded me of Bjork, their music was much more upbeat and danceable-a perfect opening band for TV On The Radio. Their set was heavily driven by the keyboards of Hakan Wirenstrand that always seemed to add that little extra-something to the mix to make them not only fun but interesting as well. Their songs would often devolve into percussion-driven and ambient interludes that always threatened to lose the interest of the crowd before vocalist Nagano would grab their attention with an ear-catching melody. The crowd was very warm to the band, which is always nice to see.
It was close to 40 minutes before TV On The Radio took the stage after Little Dragon closed their set and by that time, the Diamond Ballroom was packed and stifling. Without any air-conditioning and only three exits that were open to the night air, it was damn hot in there. It was interesting to see that the band had no great stage setup, no smoke machines or even great lights. But none of that mattered when they opened their set with “Dirtywhirl” because the crowd immediately began to dance and move and sing along, totally forgetting their previous predicament of being hot and of the band not having a big production for them to see. I was surprised that though the crowd was somewhat small, they were completely dedicated to the band, singing along to all of the songs and clapping when prompted to do so by lead singer Tunde Adebimpe. I loved watching him dance around the stage with so much charisma and passion.
The band played a tight set, playing 10 of the 11 tracks (I don’t count “Silence” because…well, it’s nothing but silence) from Dear Science. Towards the middle of the set, they played fan favorite “Golden Age” and a rousing version of “Wolf Like Me” back-to-back and it was great to hear the crowd sing “We’re howlin’ forever!” at the end of the song. Other great live songs were “Dancing Choose” and “Red Dress” with rhythm guitar player Kyp Malone taking the lead vocals on the latter song and declaring, “I’m scared to death I’m living a life not worth dying for”. It seemed like the night could go on forever,
For the encore, they played a beautiful version of “Family Tree” which is heavily-driven by a string section on the album but was instead driven here by a delay-effect on the guitar of lead guitarist and producer Dave Sitek. The song was intimate and emotional and really calmed the crowd down after all the rabble-rousing of the evening. They closed the show by inviting members from opening band, Little Dragon, and a few other friends of the band to play, “A Method” from their album, Return To Cookie Mountain. The song features nothing but various percussion instruments and a bass and as a stage spectacle, one of the friends of the band poured a full bottle of water onto his giant drum so that water would spray in all directions as he hit it. It was a great closer.
Despite the band having a few sound problems (which I blame more on the venue than the band), the show was absolutely amazing as the songs of the band were really meant to be played live. If this band is coming your way anytime soon, do yourself a favor and go see them. If you’re lucky, you might catch them in an intimate setting like I saw them because it is only time before this band is playing stadiums.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The NINJA Tour

Here is a piece I wrote for Randomville that did not get published because competing sites had already published similar articles.

5/14/09- The NINJA Tour came through Albuquerque this evening on a beautiful night in the desert. The weather was in the low 60s and stayed there through the remainder of the show which I, and the rest of the crowd were very happy about.
I arrived there a little late but got there just as the first band, Street Sweeper Social Club, began to perform. Street Sweeper Social Club is Tom Morello’s new band and they set the bar high for the night with their energy and enthusiasm. You really couldn’t ask for a better opening band. A lot of people are already beginning to talk about how the band is “not as good as Rage Against the Machine”. Who the hell cares? Their lead singer, Boots Riley, might not have the fire of De La Rocha but what he lacks in passion he makes up for in charisma. He was great to the crowd and it was great to see him dancing, and sometimes rolling around the stage. A few songs into their set, they covered “Paper Planes” by M.I.A. and replaced the gunshots on the chorus with distorted guitars and the sound of the cash register with harmonics. It was a great cover. At the end of their set, they offered a chance for a fan to come back stage and meet them by texting “Street” to a number that they then provided. I texted them but was not chosen. I guess you can’t have everything. But it’s not a problem because I greatly enjoyed their set and began to think that they just might steal the show from the two remaining bands. How wrong I was.
I need to take a moment here to applaud the stage crew that worked at Journal Pavilion in Albuquerque because they were hands down the best crew at a concert I’ve ever seen, which is saying a lot. It was only a mere 20 minutes before Nine Inch Nails took the stage and they must have felt the energy from Street Sweeper Social Club because they came out fierce and explosive. On the opening song, a riotous version of “Somewhat Damaged”, Trent Reznor and company did everything they could to trash the stage from throwing mic stands and guitars all over the place. It was great to see. There was no slowing down either. Throughout their 20-plus song set, they never once played a song that you could label as “quiet” or “slow”. Towards the end of their set, they played “Head Like A Hole” and it was wonderful to hear thousands of people scream “I’d rather die than give you control”. Before their closing song, Reznor began to talk about how it was great that so many fans had stuck with the band over the years and that after this current tour the band was going to take an “extended break”. I don’t know what to make of that statement but if this tour is the last the band ever plays, then they must be determined to go out with a bang. I can honestly say that it was the most explosive set I’ve ever seen.
Once they finished, it was only another 20 minutes (seriously, this is unprecedented) before Jane’s Addiction came out. Before they began to play, they showed a clip from the movie, The River Wild, where Kevin Bacon talks to a kid about Jane’s Addiction and the kid remarks, “Wish I could’ve seen them before they broke up”. Perry Farrell and crew came out and Perry Farrell yelled, “Good evening, Santa Fe!” Oops. However, the crowd didn’t mind and Farrell apologized later on in the show. Although people have always thought Farrell to be odd and eccentric, the one thing that I’ve always admired about him is his happiness and enthusiasm, as he’s always smiling and dancing around with the crowd. Halfway through the set, they played “Been Caught Stealing” and a fan jumped on stage and began to slowly dance around Farrell. Farrell yelled, “You better bring it if you’re gonna be up here” and danced around with the man for awhile before security shooed him offstage. The band hasn’t lost any speed, as all the members of the band have seemed to improve at their instruments. It’s still amazing to watch Dave Navarro, Eric Avery and Stephen Perkins play as they’re all virtuosos at their instruments. The highlight for me though, was when they played “Mountain Song” which got a big reaction from the crowd. I think a lot of us were waiting for that one.
All in all, it was an amazing show and it has set the bar high for the rest of the summer. If the NINJA tour is coming through your town, do yourself a favor and go see it. You might not get another chance to see anything like it again.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Food Network Foray

There comes a time in every unemployed person’s unemployment when things take a strange turn. For bizarre and often unknown reasons, the person always begins to create a routine that becomes more important than everything else in their life. By keeping the routine, they create a sense of normalcy when what is actually happening is far from anything normal. They need the routine. It means everything. It is everything. This is how I came to know the answers to all of the great questions of life by religiously watching the Food Network.
While that statement might be a little hard-to-swallow, it is easier to see once you have watched it as closely as I have. There are statements throughout the various shows of the Food Network that could apply to all of the great questions of humanity. Why are we here? According to Marc Summers’ Unwrapped, there is a company that now makes organic cotton candy. This could also be read as: We are here to help create a utopia where people can strive to not only make things better but to learn from the mistakes of their past so that they can create a better future. This is why organic cotton candy not only tastes better but is also better for you rather than enlarging areas of your body that you do not want to enlarge. What are the most important things in life? According to Sunny Anderson’s Cooking For Real, it is fun, time and flavor which could also mean: It is important to enjoy life and experience all the ups and downs of life before our time is up. Who knew that food could be existential?
Whether I’m watching Guy Fieri eat cheeseburgers the size of his head or Alton Brown explain the science of the steel in common cutlery, there are always lessons to be learned. Duff Goldman has taught me that anything is possible, specifically in regards to making amazing cakes but also to other once-thought impossible challenges. Will America ease tensions with North Korea? All Kim Jong-Il needs is a large cake from America based on some aspect of his life portrayed through cute fondant caricatures. It could show him ordering people around, acting totally insane, etc. He’d love it. Will humans ever have world peace? Yes, provided that there is a cake as big as the moon that incorporates a fountain, staircase or some kind of moving element, preferably a spinning penguin. Will humanity ever repair the tear in the Earth’s atmosphere? Yes, provided that there is a crap load of fondant.
Though I’ve spent every single night for the past few months watching various Food Network shows, it never makes me any better at cooking. As the wonderful cooks and chefs offer loads of tips and tricks in the kitchen, I always think to myself, “Huh, I need to try that” before getting up and going to Wendy’s to order a spicy chicken sandwich. I can’t even begin to count how many times I’ve watched informative shows on how to cook healthy meals while surrounded by leftover bags and large, empty cups from a plethora of fast food restaurants. They're like empty but all-too-present vessels of failure.
So, what does this tell us? Cooking food can offer the secrets of the universe as long as those secrets don’t have to do with actual food. Sure, they offer useful information but unless you are sitting with a pen and pad, furiously scribbling down extensive instructions, or if you happen to have a memory like Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man, there is no way that you will remember it all. Instead, you get different pieces to hundreds of different puzzles that you will never be able to put all together. I’ve learned how to put a rub on ribs, but know nothing about what to do after that. I’ve learned how to sear a steak, but do not know how to add flavor. And while this is unfortunate that I could learn everything but still know nothing in regards to food, I’m much more interested in learning about the universe. Or maybe I just want someone else to cook.
Whatever the reason, the next time you are wondering about the world around you, don’t pick up Kierkegaard or Socrates, Nietzsche, or Kant. Turn on your television to the Food Network where the real philosophers reside whether it’s Paula Deen, Bobby Flay or the earthly angel, Giada de Laurentiis. I might be crazy to think all of this nonsense about food and existence but…..another episode of Iron Chef America is coming on and I’ve been desperately wanting to know when human beings will be able to fly. And if Masaharu Morimoto has anything to say, it’s probably soon.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Don't Let Me Down

I was kinda down yesterday and I decided to watch some videos on youtube and I came across this video and I love it and I can't get it out of my head so I thought I'd share. This is a song called "Don't Let Me Down" by the Beatles and as you see in the video, it was one of the songs from their famous rooftop performance. Even though I have almost all of their albums, I had never heard this song before. I guess it was a b-side to their Let It Be album and was released on the Let It Be Naked compilation. I love seeing them play together cuz you can just see how much they liked to do it, how John and Paul always look at each other and smile. Its good to see and makes me reminisce about playing with my band. It really helped cheer me up so maybe it will do the same for you. Enjoy.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Because Boxes Make The Best Forts

I've been feeling nostalgic for the good ol' days when everyday was funny back when I was a teenager so I thought I'd tell you a story from those days.
One day, I must have been 16, my friends and I, bored with the summer days and tired of the same old stuff decided that we wanted to build an amazing fort like we did when we were kids. This sounds more difficult than it sounds because you can't just use anything. You need big boxes and to make your life easier, finding big boxes that are all the same size is a good idea. We had no idea where to find these but since my friend's parents worked at Wal-Mart, we thought that that'd be a good idea of where to start.
We went to the Wal-Mart and found out that they DID have boxes and they were free but that we had to come at 6 in the morning and you had to just take what they gave you (meaning they would be all different sizes and shapes). Disappointed but not yet dissuaded by the idea, we thought well, we'll just buy them, I mean, how much can a box cost? Actually quite a lot, which we found out quite quickly. I think it was around a dollar and thirty cents a box, and to make a really good fort, we needed at least 30 boxes. Being poor teenagers, we decided that this would not work either. We didn't know what to do and were about to give up when my best friend all the sudden said, "Wait. I know what to do. Let's go back to the van and I'll tell you what to do."
In those days, my mother had a purple mini-van which I drove everywhere. I didn't have a car and my friends didn't either so my mother's purple mini-van was our only mode of transportation. We were so cool.
So, we went back to the mini-van and my friend instructed me to drive around to the back of Wal-Mart. He pointed to a storage closet that was on the outside of the building. He said, "I remembered that they store boxes over here that they plan to re-use. When I say go, me and him (my other friend) will get out and grab these boxes and we'll jump in and you hit the gas." I started laughing and I was about to protest the whole idea but we were already to the closet and before I knew it, my friend had yelled, "Go!" and jumped out and started throwing boxes in the car. They couldn't keep it together though. All three of us were dying of laughter and the two throwing the boxes couldn't even get any boxes cuz they were laughing so hard. They finally finished and jumped in and yelled, "Go! Go! Go!" to which I slammed on the gas and sped off.
I realized pretty quickly though that nobody had saw us so I slowed down and went the normal speed. I kept it that speed all the way back to the house. When we got home, we took all of our boxes to the back yard and began assembling. They were easy to put up because they were all the same size but we realized pretty quickly that it wasn't going to work. We didn't have enough boxes. The dream had been to build a fort big enough that I could walk through standing up straight. Being that I was 6'2", we needed quite a lot of boxes. We barely had enough for one wall. So instead, we set them up and then jumped into them.
But it didn't matter. The fun was in the journey. I really think that even if we had had enough boxes to finish the fort, we would have got bored with it pretty quickly. We were 16 years old. What were we going to do in a fort?
We were so happy with our victory. All we had REALLY wanted to do was to do something different and out-of-the-ordinary, to break from the norm and the beaten path. We had achieved that and to this day we all still remember it vividly.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Prayers Answered

I woke up this morning and looked outside and saw a whole bunch of snow clouds in the sky and realized that it was freezing outside. I got online to check the weather reports and saw that it was snowing over where we were supposed to have our campout tonight. Even more important was that the roads were getting bad. I called my partner and we decided to cancel the camping trip. Honestly, its a bit of a relief. I was worried about my car making it because its kind of old and beat up so I'm glad that I don't have to forge icy roads and whatnot. Thank you for all your prayers and support! Apparently they worked, in one way or another.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Say A Prayer

I need everyone to say a prayer for me. Tomorrow, I'm taking four 11-year old boys camping for the night. I'm the assistant scout leader and my partner will not be able to go so I have to take them. Luckily, three of the four boys' fathers are coming so that will be nice to have some help. We're going to Bluewater Lake which is about an hour and a half outside of Albuquerque. I'm just hoping my car can make it and that we can fit all of the boys and the gear inside. It'll be tight. I'm worried about so many things but I'm trying to reassure myself that everything will be okay. If anything does go wrong or we forget something, we just have to suffer for one night, right? Anyway, do me a favor and pray for me. Pray with all of your fervor. I'm gonna need it. I'll report back afterwards.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I Dreamed A Dream

My wife showed me this yesterday and I saw it again today and thought I'd share it with you all. Some of you have probably already seen this but for those of you who haven't, its a real treat. Such a beautiful song too. You'll have to follow the link because they disabled people's ability to embed it onto their pages. Anyway, enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lp0IWv8QZY

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Babs Goes Pro

I've been keeping it to myself for awhile, partly because I don't like talking about myself and partly because I didn't know if it would pan out, but I have gone professional...sort of. I have begun to write reviews for a website called Randomville. It doesn't pay (at least not yet) and honestly, if it never does, I don't really care. The byline with my name on it means everything.
It is a legitimate website and everything I post goes through an editor who I am in constant contact with throughout the publishing process. I will do mostly game reviews since I know so much about the subject and since that is what they will mostly be lacking but my editor is open to almost anything I feel like writing, with the exception of religion and politics. Sometimes, I'll even do music reviews, and even though they don't pay, they'll send me a free cd and I get to keep it!
I know its not really a big deal and I'll only be doing it in my spare time, but for someone who's not had a lot going for him as of late, it is definitely a confidence booster.
If you want, go to the website, randomville.com and see my first review. If it sounds familiar, it is. I posted the review on my blog awhile back. Anyway, I guess thats all. We'll see where it goes.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Everyone Wants To Be In A Movie (Unfortunately)

Throughout my whole life, I've noticed something strange. People often tend to be overly dramatic, over-zealous, and downright stubborn with certain things in their lives. I've known many people who thrive on drama, they constantly hate it publicly while loving it secretly, who can't go on living unless a million different things are going wrong. You can blame the parents, or society, the country, global warming, the Free Masons, Marilyn Manson, the weird spot on your body, or even the scary guy at the park that one time, and you'd be wrong on all accounts. It is none of these things, as treacherous as some may be. The real reason that people are like this is that everyone wants to be in a movie.
This seems like a simplified answer to a complex problem but think about it to yourself; has anyone ever said anything that was a bit strange? I'm not talking about something random or something out of the ordinary but something that you would only expect to hear in....well, a movie!
To exemplify what I'm talking about, I will relate a story. I have a friend who's girlfriend left him. It was not the first time she had done so. In fact, she had left him four or five times previously. In a dramatic flair, she packed up her things and left. My friend was heartbroken. I told him that I was sorry but not to worry because she would probably be back, just like she had all of those other times. In a dramatic flair, he told me, "Not this time." My eyes then proceeded to roll out of my skull in sarcasm. I left him to his pity party only to hear that the following morning, his girlfriend came back.
So, let's analyze this. If I was smart enough to know that his girlfriend would come back, then that means that my friend would too, since he has spent far more time with her and obviously knows how to push her buttons since she left, and how not to cross the line. So, if he knew all of this, why did he act dramatically and tell me, "Not this time" when he could have just agreed with me? It's because he wants to be in a movie. However, since he will never be in a movie, he has to act out his dramatic moments in real life.
In a way, I understand this. There are many moments in my own life, where having that musical soundtrack swell at the right time would make a good moment so much better. I've also always wished for that a-ha moment to come, where the main character of the film is in the dumps, and then is told something wise by a wise and unexpected person and then begins to turn his life around because of it. We also all play our own favorite parts. I'm the good-friend-you-can-count-on-who-tells-it-like-it-is-and-tragically-dies- to-the- detriment-of-all-like-Mercutio-in-Romeo-and-Juliet-except-that-I-don't- dress-up-like- a-woman-at-the-beginning-of-the-movie-because-thats-kind-of-weird. That's my favorite part to play.
The part that most people like to play though is not so much an actual part but more so a scene. And the scene they like to play most is the one-liner-that-sums-it-up. Hence, why my aforementioned friend opted to say, "Not this time". If we had been in a movie, he would have said it with a close-up on his face, staring off into the distance before cutting back to me for a reaction shot where I have nothing to say. The scene then would have ended.
Since we were not in a movie, I ended up wanting to puke at the over-the-top dramatics of the whole thing.
Everyone just wants to say something profound, something that people will remember. They seek to have those moments (or scenes) because they want their lives to mean more, whether to themselves or to others. But in all honesty, I prefer honesty. Why do we need to say something profound? Why do we need to give more meaning to moments that have no meaning? Let's live life in the here and now, and say profound things if we think of them rather than thinking of something clever so we can act in the secret movie that no ones watching or cares to watch. Just live with all of our inadequacies and our troubles. It's better than a movie.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Happy Birthday, Survival Knife!

Today is my brother's birthday. I have some things I'd like to share about him. But before I get to that, I just want to announce that this will be my last birthday post. I like making people embarrassed and appreciated by doing them, but there are some memories I do not want to share, not because they are embarrassing to the person involved, but because some memories are for me. That and, eventually, I might run out of things to tell and then I'd feel really bad. Anyway, without further ado...

If there's one thing you should know about my brother and I, its that we absolutely hated each other when we were growing up. Actually, I don't know if that is true. Let me rephrase that. I absolutely hated him growing up. He would always pick on me and I would bug him or aggravate him to do something so I could fight him or he could beat me up so I could get him in trouble. The only time we weren't fighting was when we would form a temporary truce to battle my sister, Amber, if she was put in charge and had begun to quickly declare her kingdom a dictatorship. He beat me up so many times when I was younger-although I probably deserved at least half of them. I used to swear to my mother that when I grew up, I was gonna beat him up. Now, that I AM grown up, I don't want to anymore. It was a curious thing how it happened. I remember one day being in the kitchen at our house, and I think I was around twelve, which would put my brother at 16. Out of the blue, he just...started talking to me...asking me about things...telling me that he wanted to show me some stuff he bought and was excited about. I was a bit skeptical. Was this some sort of new military strategy he was starting? Was I on new and dangerous and uncertain ground? But nothing happened. He was being nice to me and just kept being nice to me. He had grown up. I was so glad. Now, we are very close, maybe even the closest of the siblings just because we have many of the same interests. He has influenced me in so many ways, I don't think he even realizes.

Even though he might have picked on me when I was younger, he was still my older brother, and younger brother's all think that their older brother can beat up anyone else's older brother. One time, I was getting into lots of fights at school with a certain kid. This was when I was in kindergarten, so I don't think that the fights were very serious. You can rest easy, Mom. Anyway, I would always fight this boy and sometimes I would win and sometimes he would win. Then there was a few weeks stretch where I couldn't beat him, no matter what I did. So, I asked my brother, even though we didn't get along, on how to fight and what to do. He taught me some things, which I was surprised he did instead of just blowing me off. The next day, I got into a fight with that same boy and I won! I was so happy that I had finally won and I was happy that my brother had helped me do it.

My brother knows so much about so many things. He gets that from our father. He is a library of information and I always ask his opinion about things that I'm unsure about. He never thinks I'm stupid for not knowing something and is always glad to impart his knowledge to all of his family and friends.

One of my favorite childhood memories of my brother is one where for some reason, the tv where we played our video games ended up in the room that we shared along with our video games. My brother and I stayed up the entire night. I'm not even kidding. We played video games all night, and when we would get tired of that, we would play with these new cards that my brother had, which were crazy 8's, Old Maid, and a few other card games. We had so much fun. I think my mom knew we had stayed up all night because the next day, the tv and video games were taken out of our room again.

My brother is a wonderful man. I'm glad that we've become so close and I hope that we continue our relationship for the rest of our lives. Happy birthday, brother.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

10 Things That Make Me Feel Good

No explanation is needed I hope. Here we go:

1. The song "In This Home On Ice" by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah


2. Pretty much anything from Keva Juice (although I've heard Wheat Grass juice is disgusting)


3. Jamming with my bands

4. Writing pretty much anything

5. Traveling pretty much anywhere

6. Sushi-the Dragon Roll is to die for


7. Being crazy, which is harder and harder to do, the older I get

8. Watching a movie and knowing in the first five minutes that I'll be a different person when the movie is over (it doesn't happen that often)

9. Dispatching of Ganon in all of his various forms throughout the history of time


10. Intercepting a football in a game