Archive for the ‘Ramblings’ Category

Feeding The Cancer Of My Intellect

January 25th, 2015

These are the songs, the emotions, the quotes I have been thinking about a lot lately. I call this section my “Songs on Repeat.” You know, the songs that you keep hitting back on to listen to one more time.

U2SongsOfInnocenceEvery Breaking Wave
Songs of Innocence
U2

I can swim in the sea, but that does not mean I need to chase every breaking wave.

I have been thinking a lot lately around topics of insecurity, love, loss, confidence, and success. Heavy topics. This song seems to touch each of those. Am I ready to let go of my fear of both failure and success? Am I ready to stop chasing after the wind, because in the end it is all meaningless pursuits. Can I release myself of all my thoughts that inhibit growth or change, and be open to be swept off my feet?

I think I am often fearful of success, and that defeat is more manageable. This needs to change. I deserve this. I know my shit. Own it. Be bold.

If you go
If you go your way and I go mine
Are we so
Are we so helpless against the tide
Baby, every dog on the street
Knows that we’re in love with defeat
Are we ready to be swept off our feet
And stop chasing every breaking wave

…And we know that we fear to win
And so we end before we begin

Every Breaking Wave by U2 on Grooveshark

1200CurfewsLove’s Recovery
1200 Curfews
The Indigo Girls

My head often gets in the way, as I feed the cancer of my intellect with thoughts of insecurity, and the questioning if love is worth desiring. Does love endure? The older I have gotten and the more I have dated, I have come across more people that are divorced. I don’t blame them. This isn’t about that. Every person, every situation is unique and sometimes a separation of a marriage might be the best possible thing. But it makes me wonder if ever-after exists? If I will find someone that will love me, and fight for me when things are bleak or dire. I want to believe that sort of persistence still exists.

Feeding the cancer of my intellect the blood of love soon neglected
Lay dying in the strength of its impurity
Meanwhile our friends we thought were so together
They’ve all gone and left each other in search of fairer weather
And we sit here in our storm and drink a toast
To the slim chance of love’s recovery.

…Rain soaked and voice choked like silent screaming in a dream
I search for our absolute distinction
Not content to bow and bent
To the whims of culture that swoop like vultures
Eating us away, eating us away
Eating us away to our extinction

Love's Recovery by Indigo Girls on Grooveshark

Somewhere Under WonderlandPossibility Days
Somewhere Under Wonderland
Counting Crows

If you know me, you know that the crows get me. I am haunted by feelings of slipping away and the crows explore that in this track. Every day is a possibility of change, growth, attitude. But ultimately will it be a good day or a bad day? Can I live intentionally?

Annie Dillard, one of my all-time favorite authors says “How we spend our days, is how we spend our lives.” As we carry the burdens of all of our days, can I focus instead on just one of those days at a time? Can I focus on the moment, the 24 hours that are given to me, the interactions that are fated, the emotions to feel – sad and happy – and can I mentally seize them. Good days will slip by. Bad days will slip by. And it is ok. What painting did your day create in your timehop of life?

And the worst part of a good day
Is knowing it’s slipping away
That’s one more possibility day
That is gone

Possibility Days by Counting Crows on Grooveshark

Commissioning A Symphony In C

January 1st, 2015

I place stock in songs I hear randomly. There was that time where I heard the Screaming Trees sing Nearly lost you that came on during the car ride to a break up. Then there was the time that a song triggred an emotion, which triggered yet another song. We all have songs that take us back to a person, or a moment. There is Crazy 4 u by Madonna. There is the Dog Days of Summer by Florence and the Machine. I remember vividly 5th grade and doing homework in the laundry room and talent show tryouts anytime I hear Paul Revere by The Beastie Boys. I think of my junior/senior year in high school when I was trying to determine what college to go to, and therefore the rest of my life, while Disarm by The Smashing Pumpkins played. The Sarah’s, Adam’s and Michael’s of the music world are the Sextons, Yeats, and Shakespeares of our time and I apply their words, knowledge, and emotions to my life.

The first song I hear in a new year when I press shuffle, is a sign of how life will transpire in the next 365 days. There is a lot of pressure to this fate. But is it fate or ordained?

Today is January 1, 2015 and I went for a run, as people are want to do today. Or at least the day after. The passing of a year brings with it reflections, regrets, hopes, depressions, and a flurry of nameless emotions. New Year’s eve always brings me a strange level of reflection (and typically some Counting Crows). You may be many miles away (or sometimes even in my own city) but I miss you. What would you change in 2015 from your 2014?

there’s things i remember and things i forget
i miss you
i guess that i should
three thousand five hundred miles away
but what would you change if you could

Today is January 1, 2015 and I went on a run today. When I run there is clarity of mind, levity of thought, and words that are dying to exit my mind’s trap. I don’t write much on this blog anymore, as the guards have made the trap more difficult to escape. I wish there was a clearer path, route, existence. Anyway circling back yet again, I put too much faith and fate in the lyrics I hear, and their timing. Today when I pressed shuffle and began shuffling my feet down the sidewalk in this cozy RB town, the song Commissioning a symphony in C by Cake came on. And now I am left to decipher its meaning for my life.

So you’ll be an Austrian Nobleman
Commissioning a symphony in C
Which defies all earthly descriptions
You’ll be Commissioning a symphony in C

With money you squeeze from the peasants
To your nephew you can give it as a present
This magnificent symphony in C
You’ll be commissioning a symphony in C

Completely filling the palace concert hall
It’s warm and golden like an oven that’s wide open
It has a melody both happy and sad
Built on Victoria’s young triads

You’ve entered the room with great caution
Though no one in the hall is even watching
They are transfixed
They are forgetting just to breath
They are so taken by your symphony…
In C

You’re sitting there thinking your thoughts
They are not about what is but what is not
You are sitting there breathing in your breath
You are seldom breathing life but mostly death

So you’ll be an Austrian Nobleman
Commissioning a symphony in C
Which defies all earthly descriptions
You’ll be commissioning…
A symphony…
In C

I am not going to be an Autrian Nobleman – but maybe I will be doing something important, or something that leaves meaning behind, like a symphony.

Maybe i’ll be a great uncle to my nephew, but maybe I will be using my nephew to hide from my misdoings.

2015 will be a year of both happy and sad melodies. There will probably be tears, laughter, hearts broken, and hearts healed.

I enter into 2015 with great caution indeed. Every year could potentially be my last. There is always potential of the final time.

But it is the last stanza (is that still a thing) that I think i’ll take the meaning from

You’re sitting there thinking your thoughts
They are not about what is but what is not
You are sitting there breathing in your breath
You are seldom breathing life but mostly death

Whether it be new years eve, fresh starts, new jobs, old friends I am often focused on what came before, or what is not. It is my brain’s natural tendency. I have gotten well accustomed to it. As big as a downfall as that might be on my emotional state, it is also a part that stimulates other good parts of my brain. I am well aware of who I am, and this is part of it. Don’t read this and then preach at me. I digress. Sometimes I let this get too much of me, and I then am breathing death.

So for 2015, my resolution is to be more intentional in stimulating thoughts about what is, versus what is not.

The next song that came on was Here I Am by Skid Row

It’s main line is

Here I am
Close your eyes and I’ll be Superman

So it looks like 2015 I become a super hero. So I got that going for me. Which is nice.

Release Me

December 1st, 2013

I need to write more. I need to release the voices in my head. But via what avenue? That is the main reason I have this blog, is for my own personal journal and documentation of trips and events. But we live in an internet world where nothing is private, and everything is accessible. And in that world, perception is reality. I am generally a wear my heart on my sleeve type of guy, sharing every little thought of emotion that comes to my mind. But my mind can be a dark place. Do the words I write, the lyrics I quote, and the pain I let escape define me? In this internet world they might. Do I want a future employer, a future spouse, a future child to see inside that mess?

I need to find an escape soon though, a place to vent these voices. I have been in a dark place lately, a place that does not define me, but does encapsulate me.

Cheaters Never Prosper?

August 29th, 2012

A little disorganized rant:

I posed this statement on facebook the other day:

do the ends justify the means? I love lance for his fortitude in fighting cancer, for his perseverance and determination to raise money thru his foundation. For that, call him a hero if you want. Please do not call him a hero for his cycling. Cheating can be forgiven. But cheating itself is despicable and does not make you a hero. Does the end – all his cancer awareness and funds, justify what it took (and what he took) to be noticed?
http://www.forbes.com/sites/richkarlgaard/2012/08/24/did-lance-armstrong-quit-the-fight-to-hide-more-dirt/

Witchhunt – Cheaters never prosper
Do I agree with the witchhunt to convict Clemens, Palmerio, McGwire, Armstrong, Bonds etc? No. I think the government and these governing agencies have their own vendetta to teach a bigger lesson of “Cheaters Never Prosper.” It was a phrase I heard over and over as a child, as my parents wanted to teach me the value of ethics and honesty. These governing agencies are just trying to spank these cheaters, and prove a lesson to the rest of the world. But the cheaters are prospering How much money and fame have these people gotten? Despite admitting to taking things that improved their performance (sure, debatable), their personal accomplishments are still revered. Thier stats are still held as “records.”

The act of cheating is forgivable. Im not a saint. There have been many decisions and choices and actions that I am ashamed of, that I belive I was wrong for. I am grateful that I don’t have to stand trial in the court of public opinion like these people do. The bible says “all have fallen short…” I am no different than these people, in that I too have made mistakes.

Lance Armstrong was never found fraudlent in his drug tests. Well at least in his tests that were submissable evidence (technicalities). However he recently dropped his fight, conceivably, because of the insurmountable evidence against him, that included many eye-witnesses. It was a good PR move. Quit (he was never a quitter before), when it got too rough, when he didnt want the new evidence coming out, and before his name was dragged thru the press again, this time with the required proof.

Cheaters should not be revered as hero’s.

Lance can be considered a “hero” for all of his work that he and his foundation have done to raise awareness and funds for cancer research.
Lance can be considered a hero for his own fight and victory over testicular cancer (was this cancer caused by PED’s?).
Please do not consider Lance a hero for his cycling or his hard work that he put into his cycling. This was all negated by his cheating.

ryan braun – mvp
arod – former MVP soon to be hr record holder
bonds – former mvp current hr record holder
Mcgwire – former hr season record holder
Clemens – countless cy youngs

Im fed up with people gaining exposure, fame, money, and reverence because they excelled at something, and cheated to do so.

Links:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/richkarlgaard/2012/08/24/did-lance-armstrong-quit-the-fight-to-hide-more-dirt/

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/sportingscene/2012/08/lance-armstrong-decision-not-to-fight-doping-charges.html

http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/armstrongcharging0613.pdf

http://www.forbes.com/sites/richkarlgaard/2012/06/13/lance-armstrong-hero-cheat-and-tragic-figure/2/

http://deadspin.com/5938299/

Sitting In A Ralphs Parking Lot
Looking For World Peace

March 25th, 2012

I wish there was someone who would understand that they will never understand, and be ok with it. That I’m not someone to be fixed or needs to be.
I am a flower. I’m full of grey petals, or something in-between.
I’d like to make myself forget.
I came here looking for world peace.
I’m not gonna break, but i’m sure I will continue to worry about it. But not the “it” you think.
It’s washing me away. I’m not ready and I don’t understand it all.
The satellites convene in one location. Things like that drive me out of my mind.

{inspired/stolen from: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Satellite of Love, and Anna Begins}

You Hate Me But You Will Respect

January 28th, 2012

I added new songs to my home page under “Songs On Repeat.” I’ve been really digging these songs lately, and continuously hitting back on my ipod or car or itunes (too bad you can’t hit repeat on Pandora). I hope you enjoy them too.

I once again have been dealing with file transfer issues as other countries and websites have been downloading the tracks I have been putting on here. I may have to switch to a soundcloud type solution, but for now, gonna try for one last time, posting on the homepage.

Jill Scott CollaborationsDaydreamin’
Jill Scott Collaborations
Jill Scott & Lupe Fiasco

This song begins with the vinyl like singing from Jill Scott. And then the beat drops. It’s a song that makes me feel like summer time. Its an odd song lyrically, about looking through the eyes of a 40 story tall robot. But I guess when you fall asleep on a beautiful day, and you dream, you dream of big things.

Now there’s hoes selling hoes like right around the toes
And the crackheads beg at about the lower leg
There’s crooked police that’s stationed at the knees
And they do drive-bys like up and down the thighs
And there’s a car chase going on at the waist
Keep a vest on my chest
I’m sitting in my room as I’m looking out the face

Childish Gambino BonfireBonfire
Camp
Childish Gambino

I am on a Gambino kick. I can’t stop listening to him. I recommend the Childish Gambino station on Pandora as well. His recent album Camp, deserves to win any award that might be available. It came out in late November and I think it will be one of the best albums of the year. The track that stands out the most, at least initially, is the song Bonfire.

As a rap/hip-hop song there is language that some may not be comfortable with. Despite this, its difficult to not be impressed with the lyrics that he strings together.

By the way, if you have never heard of Childish Gambino, that is the stage name of actor, comedian, writer, and of course rapper, Donald Glover. He is most well known for his role on the TV show Community as Troy.

Yeah, they say they want the realness, rap about my real life
Told me I should just quit: “first of all, you talk white!
Second off, you talk like you haven’t given up yet”
Rap’s stepfather, yeah, you hate me but you will respect

AHK-toong BAY-biUltra Violet (Light My Way)
AHK-Toong BAY-bi
The Killers (U2 Cover)

If you know me, you know that I am obviously a big U2 fan and have been to many of their shows. One of my favorite albums of theirs, Achtung Baby, recently celebrated its 20th anniversary

As a tribute to the 20 years, an album was put out with all of the songs covered by other artists. One of my other favorite artists, The Killers, performed the song “Ultra Violet.” It is a great mixture of U2 and The Killers.

When I was all messed up
And I had opera in my head
Your love was a light bulb
Hanging over my bed

Colombia 2011

June 5th, 2011

I’m not sure if it’s because I’m a sentimental person, or if it’s cause I watched the Real World finale today (yes, I watch that crap), or if it’s cause I have ovaries, but today I am missing Colombia. It’s the morning after I returned home {at the time of writing} and, yes, I have the post vacation blues. I get this often when I come back from a trip as I remember the fun times, the people I was with, and all of the little minute memories that my detailed brain recalls.

I was in Colombia for a week. I traveled down there with Joey and we were joined from the US by Scott, Christina, Alejandro and Amalia. And once down there, we were surrounded by Juan and Lala’s friends and family. Tons of them. All of them special.

The driving was crazy, as a two way street would quickly turn into a one way street, as cars would decide when and what they wanted to do. Two lane streets, would quickly become 4 lane streets, and cars would be swerving to avoid other cars and potholes.

Apparently I am much more fluent in Spanish when I have been drinking. Good to know.

I ate odd food such as pig intestines, pork belly, and crazy looking fruits. I was also sick to my stomach for a few days. I am not saying those last two sentences are related, because I did love the food.

Nearly everyone has a maid. It was awesome to come down the stairs and be offered breakfast, and to go back up the stairs and our beds were made, sheets were changed, and everything tidy and in the closets. I could get use to that sort of lifestyle.

I will take with me a lot of memories from this trip. But the most memorable will be all of the great people I was able to see, hang out with, visit with, catch up with, spend time with and especially laugh with. Laughter was omnipresent.

I have had a Colombian flag hanging in my apartment for the last few years. It always held meaning for me, in that it reminded me of my friendship with Juan. But now it holds more meaning, as my heart has further attached itself to the beautiful country it represents

Some recollections… {editor’s note: I probably should have broken this up into individual posts, but when I started, I didn’t think I was going to do nearly a day to day journal. Its even TLDR for me.}

Arrival

According to Joey, Supermodels work in customs in Bogota. Unfortunately for me, I got the guy that didn’t understand English. Eventually after calling his coworker over, he figured out that I was there for pleasure, and not business. Upon exiting the airport, there were droves of people, crowding, and holding signs and shouting for their loved ones arrivals. I felt like I was on the red carpet, as they were crowding the barrier. Our plane had arrived early, but fortunately we saw Juan nearly immediately.

Bogota Beer Company (Wednesday May 25, 2011)

Bogota Beer CompanyWe left the airport in Mauro’s car, waded thru traffic, picked up Alejandro and walked to the Bogota Beer Company. It was odd entering the bar, having to raise our arms, and be metal wanded. Though, I felt safer because they did. We enjoyed some really delicious appetizers and beer and it was a good welcome to South America.

Gaira Café (Thursday May 26, 2011)

Grammy winner Carlos Vives owns a restaurant, that is located within his mother’s old house. It is a place of live music, and good food and we had reservations. Our driver was late, and therefore we were late to the restaurant. Upon calling the restaurant, they said that if we were there one minute past our reservation, then they would give our table away. We pulled up 15 minutes late, and there was a crowd outside trying to get in. Fortunately we were still able to get in.

FritangaOnce in we ordered a crazy platter of appetizer type samplers (fritanga), and a few bottles of rum. The restaurant was in eating mode. But an hour later, it became theater mode as the workers acted out some sort of story. Shortly after it became concert mode, as a band was on stage playing live music. Shortly after that, it became dance hall, as more musicians were on stage, and everyone was dancing on and around the tables.

I tried all of the different food items, the chicharron, the empanadas, the chunchullo, and everything else on the fritanga platter. Apparently I got liquored up (I do like rum), and didn’t want to leave when it was time to leave. I kept asking for “10 more minutes.” Which became a running joke for the trip as people would not stop giving me crap about it. Of course, I merely laughed it off.

Museums (Friday May 27, 2011)

ArtifactWe visited two museums as well as drove around the city. Driving here is crazy, as I already mentioned. We went to the museum of gold and the Fernando Botero museum. The gold museum was basically a history of Colombia, with all of its old artifacts and descriptions.

The Botero museum holds a collection of Botero’s own paintings, as well as some of his private collection of pieces that included Monet and Picasso. Botero had a unique style that looked almost cartoon like. Most characters were quite large, quite nude, and often there was either a reflection or a little detail poking its way into the background.

LechonaAfter the museums, we had a delicious lunch at Habemus Papa. Ceviche, Empanaditas del pacifico, wine, and with a main dish of lechona.

A quick stroll down the street led us to Conosur, a cone eatery. Everything is served in cones, from ice cream, to crab.

And an odd story to cap this day. I had some night terrors, which in-turn, terrorized Joey who was in the same room. In my sleep, apparently I was shouting “Help Me, Get Away, Help me.” A little bit later, I thought I saw something in the room (I was half asleep), and I started panicking, scrambling, and shouting “Help Me!” again. This time, I shook Joey’s leg and had him turn on a light. It was really odd. I used a night light the rest of the night, cause I’m a little boy.

Wedding (Saturday May 28, 2011)

MatrimonioI expected an evening that ran as late as 4, 5 or even 6am. So I was surprised that this party concluded, and I was back home by 11pm. Although I was exhausted like it was 6am.

We were scheduled to leave with the bride from the house around 10am, so we couldn’t be late. She looked stunning as she came down the stairs in her dress. She rolled to the wedding in style, in an old Bentley. All of the American gringos rode in a separate car, through the rain, and through traffic for an hour and forty-five minutes. Upon arrival to the club, the church was packed, and it was standing room only outside under a tarp. The wedding started shortly thereafter.

After the wedding, the reception was just down the sidewalk at the main building of the club. There were two floors. When you walked in the top floor, everyone was looking over the balcony. You’d have figured that below were the bride and groom. But nope, it was the location of the television screen showing the Barcelona vs. Manchester United Champions League final game (Barca won 3-1).

cupcakeThe reception was a lot of fun. There was a mariacchi band that Juan had surprised Lala with, and there were multiple other bands. All sorts of latin music that was fun to try and dance to. At one time I had to try to resort to my small swing dancing knowledge to try and blend in. Pero, soy torpe. Good food, fun fellowship, and of course the flowing drinks – as they would come around with glasses of scotch and vodka all night.

Juan kept buying extra hour upon extra hour of the band, eventually the party was over. There were promises of an after after after party, but they didn’t occur for us.

I received a ride home from Juan Sr. (Juan’s dad), along with Juan’s step-mom, and his uncle. She made me laugh the whole way home.

Andrés Carne de Res (Sunday May 29, 2011)

No GunsWe headed out around 1pm for a lunch at Andrés Carne de Res. This place is 4? stories of chaos and sensory overload. But worth every ounce of it. Wow! Sadly, I was feeling a little sick from the night before, and couldn’t handle much of the delicious food. However, that did not stop me from trying it.

The restaurant is divided into multiple levels, with names like heaven, purgatory, earth and hell. There is even a children’s romper room area. Think TGIF’s but to the 100th degree. Clowns and musicians and many waiters mull around. If an American restaurant added these devious clowns (think cirque style, not balloon animal style), then clowns could make a comeback.

Arepa De ChocoloI had my new favorite Colombian dish here: Arepas de Chocolo. It was a crepe/pancake like texture filled with gooey yummy cheese. What is not to like? We also tried fried plantain with cheese (almost like a pizza), great steaks, lulo with spearmint, and an agua aromatica – a bowl of fruit, mint and hot water that acts like a fruit infused tea.

Later that night, we also ordered some pizza. Odd I know, but it was nice to try a different countries version of the Italian/American favorite.

Btw, everything delivers, not just pizza, in Bogota. Kinda like New York. At one time we ordered 3 cases of beer and had that delivered.

Nada (Monday May 30, 2011)

Coffee BagsWe did practically zero, zilch… Juan had some school work to get done, and since we didn’t feel really safe to just go wandering on our own, we stayed around the house most of the day. After feeling nauseous the day before, I didn’t entirely mind. We did make one trek out, about a block away to a mercado/flea market type place. Bought some souvenir gifts and returned home. At night, Juan went out to a birthday sushi dinner for his sister-in-law, and since I was still feeling a little bit sick, Joey and I stayed home. Juan’s sister, Ana, came over to hang out.

Oh, we also went down the street to the grocery store, and loaded up on coffee bags to bring home.When the attendant asked if we needed help out, I don’t think he expected to push our grocery cart up 6 blocks of cobblestone.

Send Off Day, Final Encounters (Tuesday May 31, 2011)

Colombian BreakfastIt was a day of eating, and having final reunions. We started with breakfast at Juan’s mother and sister’s house. Fresh arepa, pineapple, hot chocolate, empanadas, and calentao. Im a mother lover. I love Juan’s mother’s and they seem to love me too. They are sweet, energetic, funny, and always make me laugh and smile. This breakfast was no different. And in regards to energy, Ana ranks up there as well. She is quick witted, and opinionated (I mean this in a positive way). She likes to challenge, she likes to debate, she likes to engage.

Sadly, I could only eat about half of my food, as I was still feeling queasy. They had me take a pill for “tummy pain” this morning and the last night. I’m not sure if that is helping or making things worse. It is a shame to have so many new food options to try, yet feeling unsure about how my body will react.

We had to leave breakfast after a short while, because we had a lunch engagement. Today is going to be a meal to meal schedule.

Juan Valdez CafeAfter a brief stop at a Juan Valdez cafe, we made our way to Juan Sr. and Martica’s house. However, the ruler of the house is their yellow lab, Nala. We hung out there for about an hour, and then made our way to lunch with a few more of Juan’s friends. Still feeling sick and queasy, I had a bowl of chicken broth. Boring I know. But there were big dinner plans that I needed to get right for.

In between lunch and dinner, Joey, Pablo, Angela, Lala and I walked up the street where surprisingly, there was a mall. If we had known, on our nada day, we’d probably have come up here. We bought a host gift, and the rest of them had an ice cream. Pablo was calling his doctor friends, and then running down the escalator. He came back with yet another drug for me to try for my stomach. I took the pill graciously. When I got back home, I looked up the drug, saw it wasn’t approved in the US, and saw that a side effects were the squirts. Uh oh, this might be a long night (since I don’t want you thinking of me, and that, i’ll let you know, it didn’t have that effect on me).

We headed to dinner where we were joined by Esteban, Marcella, Pablo, Angela, Diego, Mauro, Jenny, Juliana and Lala’s parents. El Filetto was the restaurant, and omg, nom nom nom. Still struggling with my stomach, I couldn’t eat a ton. But the wine and the appetizers were delicious. I ordered Juan’s favorite cut of steak – Punta de anca. Wow. It was so good, juicy, tasty. I was sad to have to give half of it away, but was glad that such a great piece of meat did not get wasted.

We went back home where we were joined by Lala’s sister and cousin, who came by to say goodbye to us. We have an early morning coming (4am!!!). I was sad to be leaving, and was thinking I might just stay awake all night. But instead I turned in around midnight.

Leave (Wednesday June 1, 2011)

Arose at 3:45 am, and made our way to the airport. Because Juan was bringing 5 bags, we needed two vehicles to take the 4 of us to the airport. Juan Sr. drove one car, and Lala’s parents were in the other.

Crepes & WafflesAirport checking was both confusing and easy. We now had some time before our flight, and before we went thru security, so we had breakfast with Lala’s parents at the airport Crepes & Waffles. After breakfast, we made our way thru security, the final duty-free shops, and to our gates. Ciao Colombia, I came away more impressed than I expected.

At our layover in Houston, Joey and I went into the Continental President’s club. There was only snack food, and Skinny J wanted a “meal” so we were about to leave. But decided to have one beer first. When we were told the beer was free, our 5 minutes became 90 and we enjoyed a few drinks.

Food and People

I think, when recollecting this trip, what I will remember most is the crazy and tasty food, and the crazy and amazing people. There is a lot of love in this country, and lot of beauty, and a lot of heart. Colombians have a lot of pride in their country, and as it continues to transition itself, it is this pride that shines through. When I first booked this trip, I thought this might be my only trip ever to Colombia. But after enjoying the people, places, sights, and fun, I am looking forward to a return visit.

One Crazy Summer

February 25th, 2011

I last edited this post back in August.  I meant to add more images and post it.  But like the post said, I got busy.  Posting it now, unedited. C’est la vie

I feel like I haven’t really written anything since the beginning of May.  It has been a whirlwind summer marked by spring-time like weather (I think we have only had 1 or 2 days over 90 degrees), fascinating events, and remarkable mini trips.   Ever since, and including, the world cup, my summer living has been quite a busy one.  Here are some of the going on’s, a hodgepodge collective:

Matters of Grey LogoI have been spending any of my writing energy working on Matters of Grey.   MoG is a little project that some friends and I began officially back in January, that we hope to one day become a big project.  As our Facebook description reads:

A geek collective writing about things us geeks want to know about. Whether it be web design, usability, social networking, social medias, SEO, technology, quantum physics, nerd humor, cool ringtones, or about anything that will make us geek out.

I have been mostly writing about happenings in Foursquare, Twitter, Google and other mainstream marketing scenarios.  It has been a really challenging project for me because even though I am highly plugged in, I do not consider myself “geeky.”  It has been an interesting experience trying to find a voice and an angle.  But I continue to try and find things and ways that I can contribute.  It is a good challenge for me.

We have recently climbed over 14K visitors per month.

I had always heard good things about the showtime show Dexter, but never got into the show because I didn’t need another need.  But I have become addicted.  Has anyone ever said a bad thing about this show?  Everyone always raves about it, and now I am one of those as well.

When I had my knee surgery back in January, Joey was kind enough to loan me some movies and T.V shows.  I decided to give Dexter a try.  But I soon saw that he only had season 2 and 3, but not 1.  But it was at that time that I made it a priority.  A few months later, tracked down season 1 and I was ready to begin.

At hour-long episodes, and 4 seasons, it was a nightly occurence to watch 1-5 episodes.  It is a dark grueling show, but it is indeed addictive.

I had been looking for Comic-Con tickets for quite a bit of time, as I thought that it might present itself with some opportunities to spread the MoG name.   All avenues of ticket finding had failed for me.  So I  signed up to go to a networking type event on the USS Midway called the TweetHouse.  Despite promising some A-list celebrities and many connected marketing and social media types, the highlights were brief, including a Hasselhoff sighting.

We arrived and got mistaken as celebrities, so we got a picture on the red carpet.  The place was rather empty.  We chatted with the iamstylin guy, and a few other social media folk.  Greg and I found our way into a VIP area and started chatting up someone that works at Pixar and did some writing on UP.  Other “celebs” we ran into was Red from that 70’s show, Data from Star Trek, and speaking of Trek, William Shatner.

On the Friday of the event, I was given tickets to Comic-con.  I was excited and I had never been to one, so I did not know what to expect.  It was a mass of people.  Random crazy people dressed up as random things.  It was so packed.  As Joey and I waded thru the masses, we found ourselves at the Rock Band 3 booth.  Sweet.  I have been highly anticipating this game, and even writing previews on it over at MoG.  But just as we get there, they start packing up to head to a panel.  We try to follow them and find our way barely into the packed room.  They demonstrated the new game and then, like Oprah, gave us all a copy of Rock Band Green Day.

I was pumped.  Not only was it the main panel I would have wanted to see, but to randomly come across it, get in, and then get a free game, I was like a little school boy.  That was the highlight for me.

I have friar pennant fever.  I have been excited and amazed at how the Padres have done this year.  Like most honest, smart baseball people, I did not give the Padres much of a chance this year.  I even placed a friendly wager that they would finish with worse than a .500 record.  Well, I am sure to lose that one, but as long as they make the playoffs, I will be happy with that loss.

I have been going to games and taking my Shrek Hairston sign.  The players have been noticing me, and even recently got tossed a baseball from Nick Hundley because of it.

With Lisa taking flying lessons and needing air time, and Joey begging me to go see some stadiums on his bucket list, we took a quick jaunt to Phoenix for to watch the Padres vs. Dbacks game.  Joey and I and our parents were paranoid.  But we went for it, as you only live once, and more than likely everything would be safe.

We took off from Montgomery Field around 3:30 pm and arrived in Phoenix just before the game.  We got these sweet seats from stub hub that put us 4 rows behind the dugout.  The Padres owner was sitting a few rows ahead of us and we got him to autograph the back of the Shrek sign.  At one point, a proposal was going on behind us, so I stood up, faced the dugout and held up my sign.  Nick Hundley loved my sign and made me stand up so that he could show the rest of the team, including Scott.

The team lost,  and then we boarded the plane and flew home.  That’s right, we took a flight, watched a game, and turned right around.  Crazy!  So much fun though!  What a way to kick off my birthday weekend.

The next night went with some friends to the Station Tavern and then to Hamilton’s Tavern.  Other than an unfortunate skirmish, had a great time out.  I blame the jalepenos that I put on my burger, and not the beers, but I nursed a mild hangover the next day.

Monday continued my birthday celebration as my mother hosted a mainly family gathering.  We made our own pizzas, and had bday cake.  It was perfect.

Tuesday was my actual birthday and I was able to go out to dinner at Karl Strauss and enjoy some bomb Ahi Poke.  So delicious.

Wednesday of that same week I went to the Padres game and was given a ball by Nick Hundley.  And then Thursday went to dinner yet again.  It was a wild, fun, tiring and very awesome birthday week.

And Away They Go!  I’ve been able to go to the race track on 2 different occasions. And I went to D.C to visit my good friend Josh Weir.

So it has been one crazy summer.  Speaking of a crazy summer, I have always been a fan of the 80’s movie after the same name.  And here is my favorite clip from that movie:

World Cup Memories

July 14th, 2010

The World Cup just ended this weekend.  I am sad.  But my body is rejoicing as that means no more 4:30 am games to wake up for, and the ability to sleep in on Saturday as well.

1994 hosted in USA
The first year that I remember the World Cup.  USA was hosting, and therefore there was TV coverage.  Although, all of the games were not on tv, only a select few.  I remember specifically the game on July 4th.  USA was playing Brazil in the knockout stage.  The USA was wearing these garish blue uniforms with stars all over them, and red shorts.  I believe it was a Sunday and after church, found my seat in my parents room and watched the TV.  It was a 1-0 loss.  I don’t remember much else from that year’s event.  Robbie went to a game in Pasadena (with Lane?), saw Camaroon play.  He bought me a souvenir shirt.  I kept that shirt, and believe I still even have it in storage.

1998 Hosted in France
This world cup was the first time I had watched more than just USA games.  I had graduated from Westmont only a month before, and had been home for only a couple of weeks.  We lived in Green Valley, and I had turned Robbie’s room into my living room.  I had a couch in there, my stereo, my television, and my blue recliner.  A summer earlier, I had been in France and seen a lot of the hype and build up to this event.  Being fresh out of school, I did not have a job quite yet.  This was going to be the summer I immersed myself into the tournament.

The first games of the day were around 6 or 7 am if I recall.  This is very early in the day for a recent college student.  I remember dragging myself out of bed daily, down the hall, and sitting in the recliner with a blanket as I listened to Dave Revsine do the pregame show.  Still to this day, anytime I hear this guy’s voice, I think back to that wonderful summer.

So continuing, I would wake up early, watch the game while half falling asleep, and I would stay in that chair drifting between sleep and awake to watch all the games of the day.  I don’t think I quite watched (or sat there for) every game of the tournament, but I think I came close.  Though, I can’t tell you much about that tournament orther than blue recliner and an announcer, but it was my first full dive into the World Cup.  I will cherish it forever.

2002 Hosted by Japan and Korea
I will consider this the Lost World Cup.  I do not have much reccollection of this tournament.   I know I watched some of it.  I just don’t remember where and when and with whom.

It was the summer after I began officially dating Lisa.  I was working at Tierra.net. Had I moved into 4s Ranch yet?  Or was I still living at home?  Hmmm

2006 Hosted by Germany
This was a really fun year of watching the World Cup.  Other than the summer of 98, probably my favorite one yet!  I was living in RB with Juan and Mike.  I was working at Emerald.

During the day at work, I would have a window open on my computer to TVU.  This is a program that plays tv from around the world.  I would listen to the audio, and as soon as I heard some excitement, I would alt+tab to that window and watch live streaming television of the game.  It was awesome.

Then, for the month long tournament, every weekend Juan, Lisa and Myself would spend the night at the Oceanside beachhouse.  We would wake up early for games, and then nap and hang out at the beach all weekend.  It was like a weekly holiday.  I loved it!  Having beach weekends all month, in the summer, with world class soccer, with 2 of my best friends will always be one of my favorite all time memories of the world cup.

This was also the first time there was a World Cup when HD TV existed.  Fortunately for us, the beach house had an HD tv. I remember the final was played on a Sunday, and Tom and Sue also came out.

2010 Hosted by South Africa
Another fun World Cup.  I nearly watched every game.  But the schedule caught up with me.  The first game of the day was at 4:30 in the morning, followed by 7:00 am game, and then a 11:30 am game.  Some days, I would wake up for the first game, bright and early.  I would shower and get ready for work during halftime.  And then when the game ended, I would go to work so I could be there by 6:30.

I would then try to avoid scores all day, as my work no longer allowed the use of TVU.  When I would go home, I would then watch the 2 games I missed, on Tivo.  But being so tired from the early game, it would always be a struggle to keep my eyes open.  Although, I did.  And then I would go to bed at 8pm if I could.

On the weekends, I would go over to Juan and Lisa’s condo, and watch the first two games.  Then at 9:30 am, would go nap by their relaxing pool.  Then would watch the 11:30 am game after that.

For the finals, we had a little gathering at my parents house to watch the Dutch play against Spain.  Everyone was sort pulling for the Dutch, except Juan and Lala.  Dressed in orange, we had a fun time, and Spain won in extra time.

I look forward to 4 years from now, when the time zone will be a little bit closer.  Brazil 2014.  Where will I be then?  For every World Cup I have watched, I have lived in a different house.  What will change in the next 4 years?

I can hardly wait!

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbn3rOPmR9w

Great Friends, Great Town, Great Food, Great Times

May 10th, 2010

A disjointed recap of my weekend in Santa Barbara, in a nut-shell, with a few pictures, which I randomly decided to put just at the bottom.  Keep in mind that these pictures were all taken with my old crappy cell-phone:

I had a class on Friday (adobe illustrator) that starts really early, and because of this gets out early in the afternoon.  I always feel like I have missed an opportunity if I don’t take advantage of the earlier release, and beat traffic heading out of town.

I thought about going to one of my 2 favorite stand-by destinations, Las Vegas or Santa Barbara, and packed a bag on Thursday night, just in case I had the courage for a long drive on Friday.

Friday came, and I hit the road.  Four hours later I was in beautiful Santa Barbara.  I love this town.  It is very relaxed, easy going, the people are mostly really nice, and it has sweet views, and fabulous restaurants and bars.  Other than its political slant, seedy underbelly, and oil rigs, what’s not to love?  And best of all, some of my best friends still live there.  It is always a blessing to go to Santa Barbara, and always wonderful to be with my friends.

I had a lot of fun, but as usual, could have used more sleep and more time there.  I wish my trips to SB could be longer, as I never get enough or any time with some of my friends there.  But every trip is cherished.

I got up there, and was super tired.  So I went to East beach and napped (or tried to) for an hour.  I love doing that at East Beach because you have an option of watching people play volleyball (they have like 30 nets setup, and last week had the pro tour there) and also, the beach has an incline about 20 yards from the water.  So if you lie there, its really comfortable, and not really “flat” on your back.

I then went downtown, to Borders/Barnes and Noble, and bought the highly recommended book, Predictably Irrational, in case i found myself lying on the beach again this weekend.  I have many fond memories of this Borders.  I can’t imagine however, it surviving much longer.

Following that I met Ryan who had been golfing, at the golf course for a drink.  Ryan, Chase, and their friends whom Ryan had just golfed with, for a drink at the bar that lines the course while watching people play the 10th hole.  Ryan is an easy going guy that I met towards the end of college.  We love to laugh, talk sports, and play golf together.  I had the privlege of being in his wedding, and will always have a special place in my heart for him.

Went home (to the Throops’), showered and changed, and then went downtown for dinner to a steak house.  We went to Holdren’s and there was an hour wait.  Ryan name-dropped the owners name, and we went to sit at the bar for appetizers and wine.  About 5 minutes later, we miraculously had a table.  Great work Ryan!  Boy was this meal yummy, large and filling.   Cajun-fried calimari, bacon-wrapped shrimp, fried jalepenos, twice-stuffed baked potato and a 24 oz. bone-in ribeye.  As we were leaving there, some random foreigners was asking Chase, and then me, if we’d buy them tequila.  I told them we were going down the street to Joe’s for a drink, and if they  showed up there id get them some,.

At Joe’s for a drink, eventually the foreigners arrived and the four of us had a tequila shot (4 patron shots–$40).  Met some people that worked for someone I knew back in college (Maury Hayashida), and one of them knew my sister and had lived on the same floor as her.

At about 11:30 we left Joe’s to go home to bed.  I didn’t sleep great, and woke up tired.

Ryan was going outta town (to see his mom/family), around 7am.  So when I got up around 9am,  Chase and I went to a breakfast place that I had never known of.  This place was right on the beach therefore it was breathtaking, and the food was delicious.

Following breakfast, I packed up my things from the Throop’s and went over to be with Kevin and the Sturm’s (sounds like a singing quartet).  Kevin and I sat around on his recently swept, awesomely self-made patio and talked about life and business and the challenges and joy’s of both.  Kevin was my college roommate for 2 years, and we ran college cross country with each other and have had years of shared experiences, the highs and the lows.

Kevin had some great, fortuitous news that the Wold’s were driving down from the Bay area, to take their children to Disneyland, and were gonna stop by for a couple hours for lunch.  What an added bonus to my trip!.  Although David is a phd, chemical engineer, and a country music loving fan, we will always be close.  I value his insight, his levels of sensitivity, and his deep loyalty.  We had homemade margaritas and sandwiches.  I loved having time with everyone.

After they left, I was pooped so my afternoon was spent half falling asleep, half playing wii with Brody, Kevin’s 5 year old son.

That evening, we went out to dinner where I got the chance to celebrate Kevin’s wife, Chrystal’s birthday.   Following dinner, we returned the two children home, had a baby-sitter arrive, and then went downtown to see the movie, Iron Man 2.  We were about an hour early to the movie, so we walked around downtown and into some of the shops.  One of the stores we walked through, I just recently reviewed on yelp, called Random.  This store name completely fits, as everything in it is RANDOM!  From old doorways and hinges, to neat ceramic olive plates, this store has it all covered.  Iron fencing, leather chairs, old signs, knickknacks.  One of the coolest stores to just walk through and look at things.

We went to the movie at the Arlington Theater.  This theater was built in 1931 and seats over 2,000 people.  It has an old style marquee, and an old ticket booth that leads down a large foye into the building.  I would occasionally attend church in this building back in college, and it hosts film festivals, concerts and movies now.

The movie got out around 12:15 and went back to bed at the Sturm’s.  They had put their 2 year-old (Mianna) in Brody’s room and I had the bed in the Mia’s room. Well, apparently Mia had been causing a stir since 4am.  So at about 7:30 or 8, Kevin woke me saying he had to kick me out of the room–cause they needed for her try her own crib/room.

With Chrystal back in bed, Brody me and Kevin were now up, and off to breakfast at a lil bagel place.

Then around 9:45 am, I started my drive home.  The overall trip in my car was about 440 miles, with about 125 songs played, not to mention the few I kept hitting repeat on.  The drive home was relatively easy, taking me barely over 3 hours.  I didn’t take a lot of pictures on the trip, but the ones I included in here were mainly the ones I had tweeted.

I love my friends.  I love Santa Barbara.

(click on an image for a larger view)

This Week I'm Thinking About: Jason Roth