Archive for the ‘Ramblings’ Category

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)

He’s Got An Awesome Mustache

March 10th, 2010

Billy Crudup as Russell Hammond in Almost Famous

If you recall a recent snide of mine, you will recall that I was going big, bushy, and walrussy with my beard.  Well, now that March has rolled around, it is Mustache month.  I recently shaved my beard down into a mustache for the month.  I wasn’t sure what to do with my sideburns at first, so I decided to just keep them long and bushy.

I think I resemble a little,  Billy Crudup.  A little bit like when he plays guitarist, Russell Hammond in the band Stillwater,  in the movie Almost Famous.

But I especially think I look like him when he played Steve Prefontaine in the 1998  movie, Without Limits.  Without Limits follows a couple of story lines, including the invention of the shoe brand Nike.  But the main story line is of the life of Pre.  Pre was a world class runner, that refused to follow your typical trends and protocols when it came to sport.  He competed furiously in the Olympics and for University of Oregon.  His life died before he was able to fulfill his tremendous talents.  If you have never seen the movie, you can borrow it from me.  I highly recommend it.

Billy Crudup as Steve Prefontaine

I don’t want to turn this snide into a review and campaign for this movie, but the truth is, is it is a very inspiring movie.  Here are a couple of great quotes:

Bill Bowerman: Running, one might say, is basically an absurd past-time upon which to be exhausting ourselves. But if you can find meaning, in the kind of running you have to do to stay on this team, chances are you will be able to find meaning in another absurd past-time: Life.

And in another point of the movie, Pre says:

Steve Prefontaine: I don’t want to win unless I know I’ve done my best, and the only way I know how to do that is to run out front, flat out until I have nothing left. Winning any other way is chicken-shit.

Ok, now lets get back to the main reason of this snide, my beautiful mustache.

And now for a very catchy mustache song.  Make sure you watch till the end, as the best part is at the end when they say “he’s got an awesome mustache.”

Empire State Of Hackers

February 3rd, 2010

I came into work on Monday morning, and I had an email waiting for me from my web hosting company.  It read:

Please be advised that your account, andymorales.com, is approaching one or more resource allotments. Details are provided below…In the last 30 days, your account used 73GB of 75GB. If, on 02/26/2010, your rolling 30-day bandwidth total exceeds your bandwidth allotment, you will be automatically billed $12.00 for every 1GB over your allotment.

I was caught off guard.  My website, though it is very robust, does not take up a lot of space on my server.  I also don’t have many items on my site that could be downloaded or that could cause that much traffic.  So I examined my stats, and it appeared that I was getting slammed.

I first looked up the stats from the previous day, January 31, 2010.

Mixture of stats from January 31, 2010

85 Thousand Times!

The first thing I noticed was the amount of KB’s transferred.  That is a ton!  Other stats that I found interesting were that the majority of people were using the outdated and troubled IE6 browser.  I clicked on the link in the stats for the top two referring sites, to only get blocked at work by Websense, for “mp3 file sharing.”  And then I saw what was being transferred–Jay-Z.  Now its a great song so I certainly don’t blame them, but cmon, almost 5 thousand downloads in the one day!  Why is China, chinese search engines and file sharing sites locking on to me and a song that I had on my site.

I then reviewed my stats for the past month, and not just the one day.  The Jay-Z song was downloaded 85 thousand times.

Every fews months I put on my home page 3 songs that I have been listening to often.  It is a way to share both my musical tastes with people,  but also an easy way to listen to the song when away from my ipod.  A user can go to my home page and click the play button and find out what I am currently digging.

If you go there currently, you will see that I removed the mp3 files, and that if you currently click on play, nothing will play.  I had to do this because of this traffic issue, and these sites.  Hopefully I can figure out an alternative way to post these items since this has been one of my favorite features of my site.

Im not sure what was sadder though.  The fact that I got slammed by China, or the amount of times the different songs were grabbed.  Jay-Z was grabbed almost 5 thousand times.  Phoenix only about 600.  And sadly, Belle and Sebastian only about 60 times.  Poor Belle and Sebastian.  Its a genius song however.

I’m Going Nowhere Lately

February 2nd, 2010

I have been feeling a little bit like Ray Lamontagne lately.  Maybe a little bit of Dave Grohl (that dude is extremely talented, btw).  Although I have made an effort this year to be more pro-active with my guitar playing and learning, that is not the similarity to these rockers that I have been feeling.  I decided to grow a beard.  San Diego doesn’t get that cold in winter, but its a fun thing to do to try and stay warm.

Growing hair is an ocean wave that tosses between tediously annoying, and exhiliratingly fun.  Sometimes you have to wade through the annoying and ugly times, to enjoy the fun trancedent times.  Maybe this is too philosophical for a snide about facial hair.

The last time that I grew my face out, I trimmed my mustache so that it would remain above my lip.  This time I decided for the walrus bushy look to my mustache as I have let it grow as long as it can, and it covers both of my lips even.  This has caused some difficulties.  When I sip water from a stryofoam cup while at my desk, minutes later I will feel water dripping down my lip and chin.  The mustache just gets in the way.  I will go out to a neighborhood bar for a Guinness and I will have a beer lip from the froffy head of the delicious beer.

But far and away the most difficult part is when I have to open my mouth wide to take a bite of something, most often, a delicious sandwich, or a rustic salad.  I will open my mouth, go to take a bite, and as I bite down I will grip my mustache hair between my sandwich and my sharp teeth.  As my teeth dig into the sandwich, my hair will tug from my upper lip.  This is quite painful.  But like how I treat life, I pride myself on endurance, longevity, loyalty and dedication, and of course stupidty.

I started growing the beard in November, and I hope to continue through to April.  Some people declare March as Mustache month, so perhaps I will shave down to just the stache then.  Though, maybe I will still be loving the poetic rocker look and continue to go Eddie Vedder on my face.

My beards in the past, have been multi-colored.  They have been like the United Colours of Bennetton.  They have been mixtures of brown, black, blonde and oddly, red.  However this time there have been some strands of grey.  You can’t really see them in the pictures that I put here, cause there are only a few.  What you think you may see in the pictures is just odd lighting.  But yes, my beard now even has some grey.  I am older, wiser and more mysterious.

And yes, I just did a long obnoxious post about my facial hair.

Another Year, Another Knee

February 2nd, 2010

It was almost a year ago, to the date, that I made a Snide with some images of a knee surgery I had last year on December 30, 2008.  Well, this year on January 19, 2010 I had the same type of surgery, but this time on my right knee.  They went in and cleaned out my shredded cartilege.  Hopefully I will be back to sport much quicker than last time.

I was very nervous due to the issue I had last time with the anesthesia.  I watched them shave my leg and I told them of this fear.  They told me they would be gentle, and the next thing I knew was I was out.It was much rougher coming out of it all.  I was coughing, sneezing, and had a blistering headache.

My Mother took good care of me for the week I stayed at their house, and I watched movies and t.v shows–some that I love, and some that I would not typically waste 2 hours on.  As I laid in bed, with my leg elevated the laptop was my best friend.

The pictures do not look as bad as last time, and the healing has been going much smoother.  However the doctor did say something concerning about a “divot” they saw, but I haven’t been able to ask more about this yet.  This time there was video, although short snippets.

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8CxI9FoGaE&feature=player_embedded

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2cDEI17a2E&feature=player_embedded

 

Click on an Image below for a slideshow.

I Forgot My Keys

December 29th, 2009

So I had a reaaaallly odd dream last night.  I do not know what it means.  But it is so odd, I thought that I would post it here.

I was at work, but it was in a different office building (the outside was Painted Rock Elementary), and the building was close enough to my home that I could  walk home from work.

They had moved our desks all around, and now mine was out in the open, next to the presidents office in a classroom sized room.  My desk was like teacher school desks,  and not cubicles.  I had people all around me at their desks.  I was feeling the stress of ALWAYS having to be on my game with people looking over my shoulders at all times.

My dream spanned two days and at the end of each day, when I left work I forgot my keys.  So this second day, I hitched a ride with two women who were driving a blue truck.  They were going to take me to get my keys, which I thought I had left in my hotel room in Vegas.  So they started driving me to Vegas.  We could see the strip, and the freeway back to San Diego was PACKED with traffic.  I said, “doh, I just realized, I had my keys at my office back in carmel mountain ranch.  We didn’t need to drive all this way, but could have just gone a block or two.  They made a u turn, knew a short cut, and 3 blocks later we were back in Carmel Mountain Ranch for my keys.

The end of the story was me telling this story to someone, and that “I needed my keys”  cause ever since the break-ins in my neighborhood, I dont keep a spare key out anymore.

the end

one other aspect, I just remembered.  as I was walking away at one point, i ran into “my baseball team” that was waiting to practice.  and I said surprised to see them,  “I showed up to practice all those times, but no one else was there, i thought y’all had folded”

2010 Goals

December 8th, 2009

Will you be calling it “Twenty-Ten?” or “Two-Thousand and Ten?” or my new favorite, “010” (oh-one-oh).

I have never been a big proponent of New Year’s Resolutions, or more generically of goal setting.  I have learned over the years that life doesn’t always go the way you expect it or hope.  I have adjusted to life by being adaptable, not getting stuck on any one thought or idea, and having the flexibility to change directions.

I have created goals these past few years, but staying with this go with the flow type attitude, I have kept them generic yet worthy.

I have decided that every year I am going to have the goal to get in better shape:  mentally, spiritually, and physically.  This is a generic enough goal, but also a goal that has deep substance to it.  Although pithy, it is a goal that I can always strive for and feel good about.

However, all that being said, I think this year I am going to box myself in a little bit more, and create goals that fall within those categories;  Actual specific outcomes to help  me get in better shape in those categories.  I will try to keep them realistic and reachable, so as to not overwhelm myself and give up.  And the physical goals are dependant on a healthy body (I go in for a knee MRI tomorrow).   Baby steps towards measured life improvement.  Also, since some goals could perhaps be covered in multiple categories, I won’t separate them.

Get in better shape phyisically, spirtually, and mentally-
In no particular order:

  1. Read one book during the year
  2. Read one chapter of the bible twice a month
  3. Go to church one time per month
  4. Post to Snide Remarks two times per month
  5. Go for a run or walk two times per month
  6. Go to the gym two times per month
  7. Volunteer one time for the year
  8. Review my finances two times for the year
  9. Write one card per month to a loved one
  10. Look to further my career once every two months
  11. Practice guitar two times per month
  12. Practice piano two times per month
  13. Do twenty-five push-ups a month
  14. Do twenty-five sit-ups a month
  15. Have a child
  16. Call my grandparents four times for the year
  17. Complete four of my “big” projects for the year – those items I always seem to be pushing off
  18. Donate money two times for the year
  19. Buy one new song a month
  20. Floss one time a week

I have been thinking over some of these for the past few months.  I should have written them down then.  I reserve the right to add to this list if I recall them.

Now The Days Go By So Fast

August 19th, 2009

track_sm

My Grandpa Joe recently came out from Florida for a visit and I enjoyed my time with him.  I had to pull some crazy hours at work to try and fit in all the fun but it was well worth it.  We went to the Del Mar Track one day, followed by dinner at Tony Jacals in Solana Beach.  I blame my Grandpa (and Grandma, but more gramps) for my enjoyment of the races at Del Mar (and maybe gambling in general).  I have vivid memories of walking around on the infield with him, looking at the horses.  He would ask me who I would want to bet on in the next race, and then he’d place a bet for me.  Living in Solana Beach they would go often.  I don’t really know how many times I was able to go with them, but I will always picture myself with him, walking around the infield in what seemed to be the early foggy morning.

On Thursday we played afternoon twilight golf at Carmel Mountain.  The following day, still sore, we played golf out on Coronado on the Military base.  We all played absolutely rotten on the friday at Coronado.  It was during this round that I got to thinking.

group_sm

However, after waking up at 4:45 AM this day, my thoughts were not really sinking in.  I started to think back to my Rhetoric classes and the lesson that I hang onto the tightest.  We studied about making communication effective sometimes requires one to create an illusion of the first or last time experiencing something.  Anytime you do something new or fresh, the experience takes on a more vivid feeling.  Likewise, if you realize that an experience might be the very last time you will experience it in your life, you appreciate every bite, every laugh just a little bit more.  In all, it comes to appreciating a moment more vividly, and creating a deeper sense of awareness of life.

bench_smThe golf course this day was one of those golf experiences where you ask yourself “how many holes left” over and over because you are playing so badly, you can’t wait for the round to end.  I caught myself doing this repeatedly and it was troubling me.  I wanted to break this thought pattern, and appreciate the moment more.  After all, could this be the last time I possibly play golf with my grandpa?  I practically learned the game from him going to the driving range with him as a 5 year old.  I attribute any and all of my golf playing to him, as my teacher and mentor.  Could this be the final round I ever play with him?  How many years of golf does he have left at his age, and with him living on the other side of the country we only see each other every couple of years.   The day before in Carmel Mountain, I think might have been the first time I ever shot a lower round than him.

cart_smI wanted to focus on this, but I was just too worn down and playing so poorly, that I came away disappointed that I hadn’t had that vivid experience that I was hoping for. 

Regardless of these thoughts, I had a great time this week with my grandpa.  I hope and expect that this was not my last time golfing with him, or being active with him.  I’m continually trying to appreciate life each day.  Viva La Vida.  Life goes by way too quickly.  Another one of my favorite bands has a lyric that rings true for me in my attempts to viva la vida, and to experience things through the perception of it being my first or last time:

Now the days go by so fast…
I can’t remember all the times I tried to tell my myself
To hold on to these moments as they pass

I love you Grandpa.

outback_sm

Bite Of Boston

June 30th, 2009

BiteOfBoston1I happened randomly across a new sandwich shop for lunch today called Bite of Boston.  It is a shop that recently opened that is trying to bring New England charm and food to the west coast.  Their website claims that it is the bread that separates the east coast subs from the west coast subs.

As a detailed oriented (aka anal retentive), communication background, ocd-ish person, I of course have some analysis and hypothesis of this establishment and its first impressions on me.

I went to lunch with Joeyand Ray.  The place is decently arranged and has Boston sports memorabilia on the walls including jerseys, helmets, pennants and pictures.  However, out of place were a few San Diego items such as  Dan Fouts framed jersey, a couple of Padres and Chargers pennants, and the strange Arizona State University pennant.  For a place trying to replicate the East Coast and the flair of Boston, this was out of character.

They had artistic and individualized menu boards with clever boston sandwich names.  The boards seemed too particular, and too specific and frankly too costly for a sandwich shop.  Granted, they were cute, and I liked their flair, but for a company that I predict (more on my predictions later) will fail within a year, this seems like too high of an early expense.  A few of their sandwich boards even had color pictures of 2 females (which I am guessing are family members) offering  “Casey’s Buffalo-Chicken Wrap” and “Justine’s Chicken-Caesar Wrap.”

I ordered the sandwich called “North Ender.”  It is prosciutto, sopressata salami, capicola, provolone cheese, roasted peppers, tomatoes, oil and seasoning on sliced Italian bread.  It priced at $7.35  I purchased a soda – they only sell bottled sodas- of which I was also charged a crv fee (yes, three manual entries into the cash register).  My total price was $9.72.

This price seems much higher than it should be.  I can get a really good, customized sandwich, chips and a refillable soda at Submarina for dollars less.  You definitely are paying for the “charm” of this place.

My sandwich was actually really tasty.  The guy behind the counter – who seemed like the proprietor – was really friendly.  He sliced the bread and came over and asked me if it was too thick or thin for my pleasure.  He chatted up customers as they came in, asking how they had heard of the place.  And he loved saying “the CHOWDER” when people needed a bowl.  Back to my sandwich, it was delicious.    It was a great blend of meats and cheese, and the bread was surprisingly soft and perfect (it appeared to be old and stale upon sight).  The roasted peppers were a great addition to the flavors of the meat, and really gave it a unique taste.  It’s presentation was on a paper plate.  On taste alone, I would definitely eat it, and here again.  However, if you know me, you know that I place a high value on, well, value.  The price of this sandwich seemed rather high to me, and I was frustrated that refills were not available, and even more irritated that I was charged a crv fee.  Wouldn’t it be better to just include the crv cost within the price of the soda so the customer is unaware?

Speaking of the soda situation, a customer came in and asked if they ever forsaw them switching to fountain drinks.  The person who seemed to be the propieter stated that they would not.  That even tho it was much more profitable, it was “messy” to have a soda machine.

Pro’s Con’s
-Good Bread -Over Priced
-Unique Offerings -No Soda Fountain, CRV tax
-Happy Spirit -Inconsistant Design and Theme
-A Good Product  

I hypothesize that this restaurant will not last very long.  I give it 6 months to a year tops.  It will not become a mainstay of Rancho Bernardo.  My hypothesis is not just related to the soda or the price.  I just get the feeling that it is a restaurant that was always someones dream to open, and they threw their passion into their desire, went very specific into many details, but fell short on the details that mattered. 

The decorations are not completely to theme.  The menu boards are extremely customized.  The employee uniforms and hats seem too specific.  They lay claim that their bread comes from a specific bread store in Boston.  They have all these framed jerseys and helmets.  It just seems that they had this vision, this dream and spent a lot of capital up front on meeting these “requirements” in their heart.  Which is great, I am not knocking that.  It just seems like there are some inefficient costs and details that hurt the bottom line.  And in this economy, and to break into the restaurant business, is a detail that cannot be overlooked. 

I love the entrepreneurial spirit, and I love that they are following their heart.  I hope I am wrong in this hypothesis.  For myself, I was frustrated with the designs and the inconsistencies and that I will not eat there again due to the price and the soda situation.

It Was The Sound Of A Crescendo

June 26th, 2009

As He Came Into The Window
It Was The Sound Of A Crescendo
He Came Into Her Apartment
He Left The Bloodstains On The Carpet
She Ran Underneath The Table
He Could See She Was Unable
So She Ran Into The Bedroom
She Was Struck Down, It Was Her Doom

billie-jean-jacksonYesterday afternoon at approximately 3:00 PM pacific time, the “King of Pop” passed away.  Michael Jackson was a tortured soul and must have lived both a thrilling and a stressful, worried-filled life.  While learning his A-B-C’s as a child, he seemed to take no greater joy than being on stage performing.  He was a smiling, dancing, happy kid.

After becoming “King of the World” you could see a person that both wanted to heal the world (perhaps as Captain EO), yet despite his success, he had to retreat and isolate himself.  He would have to remind himself that he was not alone.

He had odd moments with marriages, odd moments with his own children, and questioned moments with other children.

He was both one of the most celebrated and revered musical artists not just of our time, but in the entire history of the world.  But he was also a little off the wall, and confusing to the world.  The part that confused me the most, was the fact that by the end of his life, you really couldn’t tell if his appearance was black or white, human or alien.  He had multiple surgeries on his face.  He just couldn’t help it.  He could no longer recognize the man in the mirror.

mjgloveNo matter your perspective–whether your view of him is of a musical dancing genius, or whether you see him as a bad, deranged man– the fact remains that he was a global icon.  His popularity went further then just the girl named Billie Jean, but stretched throughout the world.  The girls were his, the men were his, the world was his.  At the height of his popularity, he could do no wrong.  He was invincible.  He could even walk on the moon.

He is gone too soon.

News of his death quickly passed around the eInternet and it even caused sites to go down.

News of Jackson’s death spread quickly online, causing many websites to experience technical difficulties under the unanticipated swell of users. Google announced technical difficulties after a sudden swell in searches for “Michael Jackson” led the company to believe it was under attack from hackers, while social networking site Twitter reported a crash after record numbers of users used the site to spread the news of Jackson’s death.  Wikipedia itself had temporarily experienced technical difficulties and crashed at 3:15 PDT reportedly due to excessive edits and user overload. Many news organizations were generally very cautious about the initial reports of his death.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Jackson#2009:_Death

mjleanAs I heard the news, and quickly reflected on his life and death I wondered if he would be remembered as Elvis or Buddy Holly are remembered.  Author Samuel Roy has argued: “Elvis’ death did occur at a time when it could only help his reputation. Just before his death, Elvis had been forgotten by society.”  You could probably say the same about Michael Jackson.  He had become an anomaly to culture.  Hopefully his death will make people remember the time when they danced, sang, and just couldn’t get enough of his music rather than the disfigured man, sharing wine and beds with boys, trying to free willy.  Will Neverland Ranch become his Graceland?

As I contemplated his legacy, I at first thought that although I viewed him as filthy (in the baseball sense–amazingly good), I didn’t have any sort of connection or tie to his music.  But then as I thought about it more, I realized that I have 2 (actually, just thought of a third) vivid memories of his music.

The first was when I was only six years old.  It was late 1982 and my family was renting a winter cabin for a week or weekend in the mountains.  When I was younger this was kind of a tradition.  We had another family come visit and share our time for a few days.  One of my brothers friends (I think it was Tyler Monroe), brought with him the new Thriller album.  We listened to the album non-stop and even pretended we were making a video for it.  I also remember being scared and having nightmares of the title track.  It was really a freaky song for a newly six year old boy in a dark musty cabin.

mjperformingMy next vivid memory (both of these memories I can still see very clearly in my mind’s eye), took place when I was in junior high school.  It was a Sunday morning, and I was waiting in our Volvo (Volvo for life), for my dad to finish chatting with people after church.  It was parked on Martincoit road, along the street, right outside my former elementary school that housed our church.  I was sitting there listening to the radio, and Casey Casem’s top 40 countdown.  The number one song that day was Man in the Mirror.  It was a spiritual moment for me, as I sang and cried to the song.  It inspired me that day, to want to make myself a better person, to want to help people, and to focus on my own problems, rather than the faults of others.  It’s a trait that I have hung onto and grown my entire life–within each problem, fight, scenario that I might encounter, I look to see where I could have blame so that I can attempt to change that pattern in the future.  I think this is sometimes a detriment to myself, as I too often claim more blame than I should.  But overall I think it is a good concept.  Why blame others and hurt them with anger, when I can find and fix the role I played and build up the esteem of the other person?

michaeljacksongloveThe third vivid memory that I have in my photographic memory (or would it now be called a videographic memory?), is my senior year in college.  It was a week before school started, and I was hanging out preparing for the year with the other R.A’s in my dorm–Erin, Erin, Angeline, Rebecca and Jon.  We were setting up our R.A office (does anyone remember “the Dugout?”), using bleach to clean out the mold in the refrigerator from a long summer.  We were setting up our pet miniature illegal turtles (what did we name them?  M.J was one I think), and getting the entire dorm prepared for the rush of students and the new year.  Our dorm,V.K, was shaped similar to how you might view a Motel 6.  It was two stories, rectangle in shape, that all surrounded a large green courtyard with cement walkways.  While we were busting our humps cleaning, laughing and enjoying new friendships and experiences, we were blasting in the courtyard Jackson’s album, HIStory.  We just couldn’t get enough.  It was a precious moment in my life, and along with laughter, love, and hope, Jackson was providing the soundtrack.

There are probably many other moments of my life that Michael Jackson provided soundtrack to.  But these 3 are the most vivid.  I remember them so crisply and can picture them on a loop in my head.  Whether I am 6, 12, 21 or now practically 33, his music and life have been integrated with mine.

Will you (if I have any readers) share any specific memories, moments, or flashbacks that you may have had with Jackson and or his songs?  How did he make you feel?

michael-jackson

mjreagan

President Ronald Reagan and Nancy in 1984 before receiving an award for his contribution to a drunk driving awareness program.

mjthriller

This Week I'm Thinking About: Kari Embree