Sorry for the late posting, but the reason for my delay is actually the subject of my blog this week.
Late last night, I returned home from a week in Hawaii with my family. This trip was organized as my sisters wish from the Make A Wish foundation (she has been in remission for her leukemia for the past 2 years in case readers didn’t know). We arrived on Maui Tuesday afternoon, and stayed at the Grand Wailea hotel. Man, that place was nice. To kind of illustrate the place this was, I am quite happy with the 2001 Accord I have. One of the guests in line at the valet in front of us was telling the person his “was the new red Lamborghini”. Suffice to say it was a classy place.
The weather (obviously) was gorgeous. The water was nice and cool, and so clear you could see the bottom from the plane at some parts…just beautiful. We rented some snorkel gear our first day, and I used it as much as I could. The hotel was right on the beach, so a 30-second stroll and I was swimming with the fishes, but thankfully not in the mafia sort of way. The hotel had a bunch of slides, pools, and lawn chairs. When I wasn’t swimming, I was reading (and finishing) the second Game of Thrones book. Oddly enough, the only time I got sunburned was when I was out of the water. That’s a first.
We also played tourist pretty well. We went on a ship that took us snorkeling out on this reef on the other side of the island. If you have never been snorkeling in Hawaii on a reef, do it. One of the most beautiful sights you will ever see. On the way back, we saw a number of Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles, which were pretty big. For their size, they can hold their breath between 20 minutes and 2 hours, and swim up to 20 mph. Mother nature never ceases to amaze. We also went to a Luau at Kaannapali, which was amazing. The food was to die for, just incredible. And the performances were just great. My two favorites were the Maori and the Polynesian fire dancer. The Maori were a very warlike island tribe, famous for their savagery and cannibalism. If you want to know more, they were featured on an episode of Spike’s Deadliest Warrior, which was super cool and remains one of my favorites. Their dance was a pre-war dance, and it just radiated strength. The fire dancer totally lived up to my expectations: swallowed fire a few times, incredibly complex patterns, the whole nine yards. Just incredible to see.
If you want to see pictures…be patient. I will be posting all my pictures from the whole summer on this blog soon. But what you want see in those pictures is how it felt to be in Hawaii. Between my TA position, soccer, and concerts, even my summer was busy. So just sitting in the sand, reading a book with my family was amazing. Just to relax, take it all in and enjoy the moment. Perfect way to end summer. I spend the next 3 days flying between LA and Ohio to move my sister in to Ohio State, then back to Turlock. It may sound weird, but I can’t wait to go back. It’s going to be a good year.
Hope summer is going well for all of you, see you next time!
So as some readers know, I am a pretty big movie person. Between Netflix and the theaters, I have seen a few movies that deserve to be mentioned, for better or for worse. The first one I saw was Ted, the teddy bear movie from the creator of Family Guy. I was really optimistic about this, because Mark Wahlberg is a pretty funny actor in addition to his chops as an action star. When I actually went to see it, I was pretty disappointed. The funniest moment was a scene at the end, and all the other good ones were shown in the previews. A couple cameos from the likes of Joel McHale and Ryan Reynolds seemed like they could add a lot to the movie, but sadly both actors were very limited. My suggestion: redbox or Netflix it. Not worth anything more.
Another movie I saw was The Avengers. I was super excited about this release. Despite a (in my opinion) mediocre Thor movie, various versions of The Hulk, and a lukewarm Iron Man 1, Avengers totally delivered. Joss Whedon, the director, is a master. If you liked the verbal banter, check out his other work, namely the show Firefly (which can be streamed on Netflix). This movie also totally convinced me that Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye) was ready to take on the role of a Treadstone agent in the upcoming Bourne movie. No complaints about this one, looking forward to the next one.
And of course, I had to see The Dark Knight Rises. A phenomenal ending to Nolan’s trilogy, this was the epic film it needed to be. The scale of this movie was HUGE, even more so than when Gotham got cut off by the League of Shadows in Batman Begins. The main returning stars of Bale, Freeman, Oldman and Caine are supported by a great cast, such as Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Arthur from Inception), Tom Hardy (Eames from Inception) and Marion Cotillard (Mal from Inception). I just realized the massive actor overlap as I type this haha. But Bane was a great villain, the fights were incredible, and Batman/Bruce’s overall journey from the first scene to the last is very compelling. Overall I loved this movie, but I personally liked Heath Ledger’s Joker a little bit more than Bane. Just something unsettling about that Clown Prince of Crime.
I know I have missed quite a few good movies, so fill me in! What did you see? Was it good? Did I give fair reviews? Hope to hear some feedback
On another note, it’s good to see our athletes doing WORK at London 2012. Especially pulling for Kerry and Misty, Kessy/Ross, Men’s and Women’s indoor volleyball, Rosenthal and Gibb, and of course the Women’s National Soccer team! USA!
It’s that time again. I absolutely love the Olympics, and every time they come around I am like a kid in a candy store. Obviously I am a fan of the soccer tournament, especially because it is so different than normal international soccer. For the Olympics, you can only bring 3 players over the age of 23 to the games, so success is reliant on a strong youth squad. Point in fact: Spain. 2 consecutive Euro Cup titles, current world cup champions….2 losses in 2 games, without a single goal so far. Such a surprise. My prediction: Brazil takes the gold.
I also love watching volleyball, both indoor and beach. I have been watching our men and women play last couple days, and they seem to be doing pretty good for themselves. I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it must be to be that good at beach…2 people covering the entire court, while trying to jump and dive in sand? It seems like nothing big until you try it, trust me. I love watching May-Treanor/Walsh-Jennings do their thing. I’m hoping they can get that 3rd gold, they deserve it. Rosenthal/Gibb and Rogers/Dalhausser are also some family favorites. USA women for volleyball are MONSTERS. I wish I could hit half as well as these girls. You know they are serious athletes when one of the hitters was also a NCAA High Jump champ.
And of course, no Olympic season would be complete without LOTS of swimming and gymnastics. For myself, I am still a Phelps fan. Lochte is a great swimmer, but Phelps’ 8 medals last games are too much for me to forget after dropping one race. Lochte poked the bear, and now we will see what happens when the bear wakes up. Gymnastics is also pretty amazing to watch. I can’t even imagine how much training they need to do in order to make their bodies do what they do. I really like the High Bar, Parallel Bars, and Uneven Bars the best, mostly because they are the ones where the athletes do flips and all that other stuff….at least more than the other events. The way those men and women move…I am firmly convinced that in years where there are not Olympics, they make their living as professional assassins. Think about that when you watch them and tell me I am wrong, I dare you haha.
I am also excited for track. If you watched last time, the name Usain Bolt should ring a bell. Jamaican sprinter, broke the world record without even going hard the whole 100 meters. He is injured this time around, but I expect we will still see him put on a show. I hope so, if only to see his victory pose. I do appreciate a good showman haha.
And as I write this, I have seen 2 world records in swimming broken. That kind of thing never gets old, no matter how many records go down.
GO USA! BRING HOME THE GOLD!
For the last few weeks, I have been re-discovering something that I used to do all the time as a kid: reading. It started with just a random book I got to occupy in the airports during long layovers. I surprised myself and finished it before I even landed in Ohio. To hold me over, my mom and I made a trip to the local bookstore, where I picked up a couple books.
The first was I Am Number Four, which I did not know was a book. When I first saw it, I thought it was one of those book adaptations of a movie, but apparently the movie was based on the book. I burned though Number Four in give or take 36 hours, and enjoyed it so much I went back to the store and found its sequel, The Power of Six. This again hooked me, and I finished that one within 24 hours. If you have seen and enjoy the movie version, I highly suggest the book. The main essence is there, but they expand on a lot of it.
The other book I got was the first book in the ‘Song of Fire and Ice’ series, better known as Game of Thrones. This one was written at a higher level, and was much longer, so it took about a week and a half to finish, but was phenomenal. After finishing the book, I found the first season of the TV show and watched it, because it was the buzz of the TV show that got me to read it in the first place. I have to say that the TV show is arguably one of the most loyal adaptations I have ever seen. They add a few scenes here and there, but it sticks to the book down to the dialogue.
So now I am reading A Clash of Kings, the sequel to Game of Thrones and waiting for the third book in the Number Four series to come out mid-august. This has really reminded me how much I enjoy reading, and I am planning on bringing some books back with me to school. I am planning on reading The Secret Speech, a crime novel set in Soviet Russia, and Interview with a Vampire, the first in Ann Rice’s Vampire saga.
In addition to that, I have contemplated getting a Kindle. I have tried to holdout for so long to the written version of books, but my mom, cousins, and aunt and uncle all have their own and they absolutely love. This is the one area of technology I have tried to resist, because I like having the actual book. Turning the pages, having a big visible library (to make me look intellectual), and try and preserve the written part of the written word. If any readers have feedback on that, it would be much appreciated.
If you have any other reading suggestions, please send them my way! A light semester ahead, and it would be cool to get some reading time in instead of just the same old same old. See you all next week!
Anybody who knows me is quite aware that I am a diehard Ohio State Buckeye fan. My grandmother on my mother’s side is an alumni, and my grandparents raised my mom and aunts to be devout fans as well, a mentality that was passed on to my sister and I as well. So when my sister committed to go to Ohio State not too long ago, our family was ecstatic. Growing up, we would visit Columbus for the 4th of July every year, but we fell out of that tradition when my sister and I picked up competitive sports.
This year saw us return to that tradition though. It was a trip for my sister to go to her New Student Orientation, as well as visiting family I had not seen since before I started at Stanislaus. So it was really cool to visit again and revisit childhood memories.
As I mentioned, power and internet were spotty while in Ohio. This is because a “derecho” had recently blown through and knocked out power to some places. I had never heard of a derecho before, and it is apparently a land-based hurricane. This one wasn’t too bad, not much destruction besides some torn up trees, but it was bad enough to kill power to an amazing local pizzeria. Thankfully, they got power back in time and we were able to savor Tommy’s. If you ever go to Columbus, you have to try it. We also visited Graeter’s Ice Cream. This place is AMAZING. It has been covered on the Food Channel for its unique flavors and outstanding quality of ice cream. I picked up a double scoop of Buckeye Ice Cream. While an actual buckeye is a semi-poisonous nut, this ice cream was chocolate with peanut butter and dark chocolate chunks mixed in. Absolutely delicious.
We also did a lot of our traditional tourist-y things. Watched the fireworks from my aunt and uncle’s porch, visited “The Horseshoe” (the Ohio State football stadium),caught fireflies, visited old parks that my cousins, sister and I would always play at when we were kids, as well as my first trip to some rather unique sculptures. One was this huge field of cement in the shape of….corn. That’s when you know you are seriously in the middle of nowhere is when cement corn statues are a tourist attraction. The other set of sculptures was a trio of giant, metallic rabbits made from scrap metal. It sounds crazy, and it looks just as odd.
If you want to see these pictures, I ask you to be patient. I have this plan of posting all the pictures I take from summer all at once, and I still have 3 more concerts to go to, but after that I will throw them up.
T-minus 12 days until the Olympics! Go USA!
Sorry for the delayed posting, but between internet at home dying and power outages here in Ohio, Internet access has been rather limited.
So the title of this blog was not just a cheap ploy to get you to read this. I really was filmed for a music video. My sister was checking twitter on the way back from warped tour, and we saw that Yellowcard needed extras for their next music video. A short drive and a few hours in line later, we were in the crowd, jumping along with other fans to the band’s next single, “Here I Am Alive”. For what it’s worth, the song is very good and I can’t wait for their album ‘Southern Air’ to drop (Aug 21…but who’s counting?). This was a pretty awesome experience. Met a lot of cool people in line and actually got to talk to the band members. They are all super down to earth, despite their substantial success, especially Sean Mackin (backing vocals and violin). So when this music video comes out, you best believe I will be scouring every shot for myself, or at the very least, my arms in the air.
This got me to thinking about other music videos I have seen over the years and really enjoyed. These are a few of my favorites
“So Far Away” by Avenged Sevenfold
Despite this band’s deserved reputation as a heavy rock band, this song is not their usual cup of tea. Slow, borderline acoustic, and heartfelt, “So Far Away” serves as a testament to The Rev, the former drummer for A7X who died a couple years ago. This was the first album released since this tragedy, and while previous videos hint at the feelings of the band, this lays it all out on the table. A touching video, filled with subtle things as well as the overlaying video clips. Tommy Lee once said that metal is all about being in your face and heavy, but nobody is like that all the time, and if you are, then you are fake. This definitely shows the tender side of the band, and it is refreshing and beautifully done.
“Make It Stop” by Rise Against
No matter your political orientation, this video is promoting a message that should be supported. Rise Against definitely champions liberal causes in their music, but the prevention of suicide is something that all sides of the political spectrum should be able to agree on. Something to note is that these men are not using their stage as a pulpit just to say something for the sake of saying it: the gym where you see the band play is actually where Tim (the singer) went to high school, where his best friend committed suicide as a result of being bullied over his sexual orientation. This video provides a great message of hope set to one of Rise’s best songs in a long time. Worth sharing if you know someone going through a tough time. The song is subtitled “September’s Children”: if you do not know why, Google the names spoken midway through the song
“I’m Made of Wax, Larry, What Are You Made Of?” by A Day to Remember
A band notorious for hilarious music videos, this one does not disappoint. If you are not a fan of screaming, I still suggest trying to tough it out. It adds something to the video, which is overall one the funniest I’ve ever seen. If kickball was anything like this, I think I would have enjoyed it much more. Sit back, and just enjoy the shenanigans.
“Closer to the Edge” by 30 Seconds to Mars
It’s hard to describe why this video gets me. I think part of it is that it comes as close as any video I have seen to capturing what it’s like to be at an actual concert. Part of it is easily Jared’s showmanship and energy, but what else can you expect from an actor turned rock star? But I think what it really is the way it captures the whole culture of this genre of music and the people who listen to it. The things shown in this video are one of the main reasons why this band is very near the top of bands I want to see live.
“All The Small Things” by Blink 182
The masters of pop punk, of hilarious music videos, and arguably the biggest band this side of 1990, Blink 182 are in peak form with this song. Immensely catchy, a video that is funny on its own, made even better by parodying the boy bands from the time, and the degree to which the guys sell it make this video a classic. Words can’t do this video justice, so just enjoy!
Quite a solid top 5 if I do say so myself. I will try and make sure you don’t have to wait as long for the next post. Greetings from Ohio, and a VERY begrudging congrats to Spain for winning Euro….i hate you for it.
See you next time!
So I have talked about music and concerts a lot here. But I am going to be a little more specific. In the last 5 days, I have gone to 3 dates of the Vans Warped Tour (the title is from a Blink 182 song, ‘The Rock Show’. If you don’t know it, go listen to it).
Warped tour is the longest running annual tour in history. This marks the 18th consecutive year that the tour has crossed the country. While some people may call it just a concert, this is not the most apt title. At concerts, you go, you stand in the crowd, the bands play, and that’s about it. They usually go for about 4 hours or so. Warped Tour, on the other hand, is a festival. Doors open at 11 or 11:30 AM, with the last band not stepping on stage until 8:00 PM. Bands play shorter sets, but there are over 30 bands playing every day, as opposed to maybe 4 or 5. In addition to just the music, there are tons of other things going on at Warped. PETA always has a tent, as do many other activist groups trying to spread their message.
My warped experience this year has easily been one of my best. I saw all of my favorite bands, got some very cool band shirts (a necessity for me at concerts), held hands with vocalists from Of Mice & Men, blessthefall, and received a call out from blessthefall’s bassist. As if all of that was not amazing enough, I got to see a guy I played soccer with in high school play with his band on a real warped tour stage. That is pretty cool for a guy who is 20 to already be playing Warped alongside some of the biggest names in this music scene. But the icing on the cake this year leaves all that behind. There is a tent called Bandhappy, who organize tutoring by professional musicians for a small fee. For anyone who knows me, I am always drumming. But not with real drums. Fingertips, pens, pencils, or simply air drumming is pretty normal for me. So at this tent, I took advantage and got a lesson from Longineu “LP” Parsons III, drummer of Yellowcard. If you don’t know who that is, youtube “Ocean Avenue”. This was such an amazing experience, and he was a phenomenal teacher. Even though I am a long ways away from being an accomplished drummer, LP gave a lot of pointers that will help me get used to the mental part of drumming even without using an actual kit.
3 days of total bliss. Great music, great friends, amazing memories. Warped is always a highlight of summer for me, and I can’t wait to continue this tradition.
Hope all of you are enjoying summer as much as I am!! See you next time
So my whole ‘album title as blog title’ thing had a good run. But my library only has so many applicable titles.
For the longest time, my phones were about simplicity. When keyboard and sliding phones were in full swing, I was defiantly rocking a Nokia flip phone. Once that died, I had to cave in and get a Pantech Lazer, my first phone with a full keyboard and touchscreen. This phone was as low-tech as I could manage. But alas, that phone died too. And so I finally caved in and converted to the iphone. I can see why people rave about it, but at the same time I am not a die-hard iphone user. I do like the apps though, and there are a couple that have stood out and made me really enjoy my iphone.
Words with Friends- I know I am REALLY late to this party, but I can see why so many people loved playing this game. It’s simple, entertaining, and all the different letter combinations make each play different. If you play, add me! Ksignick14…I get lonely haha
Evernote- a simple, but very helpful app. On the phone, it is similar to other note apps. What makes it really useful is how it works with computers. You download the evernote program from the internet, for free, and sync your accounts. From then on, any note you type up on your computer will show up on your phone, and vice versa. Credit where credit is due…good call Mom
SoundHound- really useful app. Hold it to a source of music, and it will ID the song, artist, and album for you. There are other apps like this, but this one gives you unlimited searches per month. Other apps I have seen that offer this service only offer unlimited searches if you pay for the app. SoundHound also gives you the lyrics to the songs that scroll along with the song, making any song instantly turned into sing-along style.
ESPN Score Center- A must have for any sports fan. You can follow leagues, teams, or any combination. Notifications are customizable, so you can determine what you want to be told about. Makes it easy to keep in touch with sports teams, even if you are not able to watch in real time. The one complaint I have is that some teams overlap, such as United States International Friendly games and United States World Cup Qualifying, and the app doesn’t just let you follow all national team games.
The Football App- In what may surprise some of you, this app is not for football, but for soccer. It uses the European name for the sport, and it makes following leagues very easy. Layouts and schedules for tournaments, friendlies, and leagues in multiple countries, as well as international tournaments are all available. Very helpful during things like the Euro Cup (which is going on now) and World Cup.
Epic Drum Set- As close as I can get to playing the drums. I have tried a few different apps for this, and this one is my favorite. You can play along to music on your iphone, record and playback your own music, which is pretty cool. My only complaint is that for those of us who like heavier music, the ‘ride’ cymbal, which is used in breakdowns, is missing. Other than that, a great app.
So those are my top 5. If there are apps you like that I don’t have, let me know. I would love for my phone to turn into something I can’t live without, which is what many people told me would happen.
Happy Father’s Day…Go Germany in Euro…..and see you next time!
So this week’s title comes from the album by the legends known as The Offspring.
Today, I am going to go in depth about one of my passions. I watched four soccer games today. Poland-Greece and Russia-Czech Republic were the opening games of the Euro 2012 tournament, the United States began their campaign to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil against Antigua and Barbuda, and Mexico had a game against Guyana. All this soccer in one day got me thinking about The Beautiful Game.
The reason I chose this album is because I think it encompasses the spirit of the game. Highs and Lows. Rage: not exactly anger, but passion. A good player takes that energy and controls it, uses it. Grace is that control. Soccer requires finesse. Sure, you need the strength that rage describes, but that fine tuning that grace gives is even more essential.
But that is not all that soccer requires. I have pondered this a lot, and I believe that it is the best sport on this earth. Like I just mentioned, you need strength. Not only mentally. When you are exchanging shoulders with the other player, you need to be strong to get and maintain possession.
Finesse. You can be strong, fast, athletic, and the embodiment of physical prowess. But without ‘soccer IQ’ and what we call ‘touch’, you are a weak link in the chain. The phrase I have heard used that works quite aptly is ‘controlled fury’. Sounds almost artistic.
Endurance. Most games only have a limited number of substitutes available per team, always less than the players on the field. More players play the full 90 minutes than sit, so being able to go the whole way is a very important quality for a soccer player.
Intelligence. Arguably the most important quality for a soccer player. I mentioned this quickly before, ‘Soccer IQ’. This is what really allows somebody to be a skilled soccer player. Knowing when to pass, when to shield, where to anticipate. This goes for any sport at a competitive level, but in my experience soccer has an extra level. Two players 40 yards away can’t communicate as easily as say a basketball team or a volleyball team. That eye contact that relays a message in a fraction of a second is as close to telepathy as I can think of.
Chemistry. In other sports, it is possible to have a relative amount of success with the ‘one man army’ approach. Kobe Bryant, LeBron (with the Cavaliers), some volleyball teams I have seen at Stanislaus intramurals. But with soccer, that simply will not work. One player can’t go against 11 and meet with success.
And that is why the Beautiful Game is the best sport on the planet, as well as the most popular. If you want to see these qualities in action, you are in luck. The Euro Cup tournament is all this month, and some of the best teams in the world are competing. So tune in, pick a team, and enjoy!
See you all next week….and go Germany!!!
This week’s title brought to you by the Flobots. If this name doesn’t sound familiar, youtube “Handlebars” and watch the video. Music with a message is always better in my opinion.
So I actually just came up with what I wanted to talk about just in the last hour. I was watching a movie (which will be revealed later) and said to my dad, “How cool would it be if that was a real thing?” And boom, I knew what I wanted to talk about. So here are the inventions, places, and things from movies I wish were real.
Jack Rabbit Slims from Pulp Fiction. This is the restaurant that gave me this idea. This restaurant comes complete with 5$ shakes, delicious steaks, and servers who impersonate past celebrities. It is pretty simple compared to the rest of this list, but it still seems like an awesome place to grab dinner. And for the dancers reading this…there is a weekly swing competition. Follow in Mia Wallace and Vincent Vega’s footsteps if you win, bring home that nice big trophy.
The Lightsaber from the Star Wars series. If this didn’t make this list, I would find some way to punish myself for such an unforgivable memory lapse. It is the ultimate geek toy. What would I use it for? I don’t know. But it would just be awesome to have a lightsaber.
The Holodeck from the Star Trek series/movies. This room can literally put you in any situation you want. You could be the hero in your favorite movie, the team captain from your favorite sports game, or anything else you want. This is almost like The Matrix, but without that whole ‘slavery for heat energy’ drawback.
Any car from the James Bond movies. It’s a copout to not pick a specific car I know, but they are all just too awesome! Invisibility, ejector seats, and a whole bunch of other gizmos. Q branch always gives Bond the best toys out of any spy movie, and the cars are always the pick of the litter. It’s a shame they never manage to last until the end of the movie.
Neuralizer from Men in Black. Another toy that would just be fun to have. Remember that one really embarrassing moment that everybody remembers you for? Taken care of. Did you see The Human Centipede and wish you hadn’t? Now you might as well have never seen it. Another simple and basically fun toy to have.
Tony Stark’s House from Iron Man. I am including the Iron Man suits in this. A super witty Artificial Intelligence machine to keep my REALLY nice house running smooth so I can focus on the awesome view, huge pool, and playing with my Iron Man suit? Yes please. And this also includes the rest of Tony Stark’s fun little gizmos he uses throughout the movies.
Magic overall from Harry Potter. I tried to pick one thing from the series, but between Howlers, Broomsticks, and just spells in general, I can’t ignore the rest of them. Is this broad? Absolutely. But missing out on the rest of them…I can’t pick!!
The Cornfield from Field of Dreams. First off, if you haven’t seen this movie….go see it. It’s amazing and warms your heart. The Cornfield is where the ghosts, for lack of a better word, of all the greatest baseball players in history all come together and play. Imagine actually being able to see Babe Ruth in person….sort of. For a sports fan, this would be a dream come true. Pun intended.
Speeders from Star Wars. These would be a tough contest with the Bond cars for what I would rather drive. These move and I could just fly over traffic. Plus, off roading would be a piece of cake. Slap on a custom paint job…would love to have one of those in my garage.
The Batmobile from Batman. All Batmobiles are, by default, awesome. I am specifically talking about “The Tumbler” from Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and soon The Dark Knight Rises. Huge, fast car. Turns into a motorcycle. And best of all….people would think I am Batman. Best perk of all.
So this is a list of 10, and I am beyond sure there are more super cool devices you all have seen. I am really curious about which devices you like? Until these actually come around (and I hope they do!) I will just have to make do with watching characters enjoy them.
Even though I am done, Sportscenter…..Go Spurs and Celtics!
See you next time.