Thursday, June 26, 2008

Random Thoughts



  • Red Vines are the best licorice ever.
  • I love hot weather, but I really need to have AC in my apartment to survive. I think that summer I spent sweating my ass of at Grandma's House burned out my self-cooling functions.
  • Why didn't I play summer softball during high school? I'm having a blast playing it (even games when I suck at batting) and actually wish I had more than one league a week to play in. Also I need a new sport for the fall....hmm...
  • It's almost July already, though since I'm not in school anymore it's not that big of a deal since "Summer" just started and stretches all the way to September.
  • There are a silly amount of movies based on comic books coming out this summer: Iron Man, Incredible Hulk, Dark Knight, Hellboy, Wanted. Not that comic book movies are a good thing or bad thing (I've only seen Iron Man so far), just interesting that Hollywood is embracing comics adaptations so strongly.
  • Played bags/baggo/cornhole last night and I started off a bit rusty before hitting my stride, even had three in the hole on one round (thus requiring the other team to shotgun beers). It felt really good, back to when we were playing baggo every night back in the dorms.
  • This will be the first year I've gone to more than a 2 days of Summerfest. I'll be talking about all the bands I see in the upcoming week.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Friends Forever?

So raise your hand if you can count someone that you used to eat paste with in kindergarten as one of your best friends. I know I can't. Heck, best friends in high school are people I barely talk to anymore. You know why? Because I'm a different person than I was back then. I moved 3 hours from home to go to college, not necessarily to get away from anything back there, but more to find out who I was. I stayed in contact with quite a few people over the first two years, but since then I only count 3 guys from my hometown as really good friends. There's nothing wrong with this: I mean, it's not easy staying friends with someone when you see them 3 times a year. Just let them glide back into the "acquaintance" area. Now with college over and being in the next phase of my life, I find myself with the same dilemma: some of the people I lived with and went to college with I'll probably never/rarely see again. It's just the nature of the beast, I suppose. There are still those that I'll hold onto during this round of "downsizing." As time goes on you eventually say "these people right here are the ones I want to hang on to forever. The ones I trust with my life, that I'd do anything for." But even then it's not set into stone. Friends start dating. Couples break up and go back to friends. People move, people die, people have kids.
I guess this whole ramble can be summed up by "Don't become too attached to the way things are/were. Friendships change over time, that's the way it is. Everything will be fine."

Monday, June 23, 2008

Brewers!


I read this article this morning about the Brewers and was really surprised. I mean, Milwaukee is the smallest market in Major League Baseball (much like the Packers are the smallest in the NFL). So having the 7th highest attendance out of the National League teams is pretty darn remarkable. It's always interesting to see the highlights from other games around the league and see home runs that fly into empty seats, with no one clamoring for them. It certainly helps that the Brewers have been doing better the past few years (yes, an 83-79 record is considered pretty good when they were 67-94 a few years back). I think another big aspect is that most of the players have been with the team for a few years now. Guys like Ben Sheets, Corey Hart, Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, and J.J Hardy have become the face of the Brewers over the past few years, and the fact that all of them worked their way up through the ranks of the Farm system really helps to bring the team and fans together. Not to mention that Brewers are a big home run threat, which really makes games more exciting, in that the game can be turned around rather quickly.

I've only been to 4 games so far this year, but every time has been great, no matter where we've sat or the outcome of the game. If you're in the area and haven't given them a chance I highly recommend it, they're a great team to watch. And the tailgating is second to none on a beautiful Wisconsin day.


Friday, June 20, 2008

Friday Musings

Today I found out at work that one of the VPs of our division would be leaving the company for greener pastures. As an intern last summer we got the chance to meet many of the VPs, but "Roger" stuck out because he was easily the most outgoing and friendly executive that I've ever had the chance to talk with. Not only did he show up for all of the events (often being the only VP to do so), but Roger took time to talk to all of the interns individually (even ones that were under different VPs). I think it shows a lot about the character of the guy that he took an interest in us and our projects, us being lowly interns doing mostly meniel tasks. Best of luck to you Roger, I hope you continue to positively impact the younger generation.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

East or West



I've been talking about going on a Roadtrip sometime this summer for the past few months. The idea originated with me and Charlie talking about seeing the country, because he'll be leaving for Marines boot camp in September. Since then I've thought about flying to Florida or the Bahamas, but neither of those panned out, so Roadtrip 2008 is back on, and now it's time to start planning it. The first thing I've gotta decide is "Where the frank are we going??" One thing is for sure: I want to go to one of the coasts, either Pacific or Atlantic. So either I want to head West and see Oregon, California, and Nevada, or East to the Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia. Or maybe forgo that and head up to the New England area. Here's the breakdown of the three areas we could end up going:

Northern East Coast

  • Pros: Never been there before. Would probably visit New York City, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Boston, etc. Weather should be decent.

  • Cons: Not much of a "beach" atmosphere. Gas prices are moderately higher. No one to visit.

Southern East Coast

  • Pros: Lots of beaches. Cheaper gas. Would probably visit Charleston, Myrtle Beach, etc Can visit Chad and Bethany. See where Charlie will be training.

  • Cons: Hot as helllllllll. Been there a few times.

West Coast

  • Pros: Lots to do along the way and back. Would probably visit Vegas, Pacific Highway, Portland, etc. Can visit Uncle Ron in Seattle, Amber in San Francisco.

  • Longest trip. Most expensive gas prices. Heat.

Now I've got to find out how many people would be interested in coming, if my car would be able to handle the trip, what we'd do for lodging, etc. Lots of planning over the next 1.5 months.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Easy to Please

I have no favorite food. I know what you're thinking. "Come on, everyone has a favorite food man." But nope, not anymore. I used to love exclusively Mac & Cheese. Now I'll take whatever can be warmed up or assembled the quickest. Steak. Pizza. Shrimp. Chinese. Sammichs. I'm just really not picky. And I really don't care what I do for work, as long as I have something to do. Right now I'm upgrading firmware, which involves me doing the same thing over and over 15 times a day. Not exciting by any means, but at least I'm not staring blankly at the monitor for 8 hours a day. I asked myself the Office Space question (What would you do for a job if you had a million dollars?) and I couldnt come up with anything I'd like to do.* And so I've come to the realization that I'm really mellowing out in my old age. I still get upset about things here and there, or fired up about bad stuff that happens to me...but not like I used to. But is that a bad thing? Am I becoming an apathetic waste of life, who doesn't give a crap about anything anymore? Or am I just "maturing"? Shouldn't I still have the fire of youth to motivate me to do something? I guess it's just that once you hit the working world you really don't have anything big to look forward to. Sure, the things I looked forward to in college were arbitrarily big (Spring Break! Summers off!). I need to take some sort of vacation in early August, this is a fact. The question is do I roadtrip to the East or to the West? I think I'll weigh the pros and cons on that tomorrow.


*Besides two chicks at the same time, of course.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Things I Love #1: Ridiculous Action Movies


I got home from work last week Thursday, and it was just Ivan and myself around the apartment. We were trying to figure out what to do when we decided to get a movie off of Pay-Per-View. Nothing looked appealing until we saw Shoot 'Em Up. "You seen this yet," I asked Ivan. He said no, we both got a smile on our faces and decided to order it. I'd heard a little bit about it from Chad, but had basically had forgotten about it until we saw it on the menu. We cracked open some beers, and decided that we'd drink anything crazy happened on screen. 86 minutes of laughing hysterically, rewinding to watch insane parts again, and then more laughing we were both nearly drunk as skunks. I'm not sure how a crazy movie like that gets green lit in 2007, but may Allah shine upon that brave movie executive.

Now, I like an intellectual thinker movie as much as the next guy, but I love just shutting off my brain for a few hours and enjoying guns, explosions, fights, one-liners, sex, chase scenes....I just eat it up! In the life I lead I find very few opportunities to be out of control, so it's great to live vicariously through the on-screen antics of over-the-top action heroes. So when I want to relax just give me a beer and let me watch Commando, Last Man Standing, Kickboxer, Under Siege, Tango & Cash, or Shoot'Em Up any day of the week.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Father's Day (and Mother's Day)

My parents came down on Saturday for the Brewer game. It had been the first time I'd seen them in about a month, so that was nice. Mom always catches me up on what's been going on with my nieces and cousins, while my Dad talks about happenings in Edgar and when I'll be home to help him with building the new shed, etc. Anyways, since they had come down for Father's Day it got me thinking about what kind of parents they were. As the youngest of three boys I had it pretty good: My parents had their system pretty well down by the time I was born. I had a good healthy fear of my Dad growing up, often being threatened with a spanking or "the belt" when I misbehaved. In time that fear turned to respect, in that I saw the sacrifices they both made when we were young in order to have a good childhood. And even though I was a good kid most of the time, it wasn't out of fear of punishment, but more for the fact that they had instilled in me a good value and moral system. "Be a good person, treat others well, help the less fortunate."
The reason I bring all of this up is because yesterday's Post Secret post had to do with Father's Day, and it dawned on me that I've been very fortunate to receive such great parents. They weren't perfect, but they tried their best to raise a responsible young man and I think they succeeded pretty well. I can only hope to do as good a job on my kids as they did on thiers.

Thanks Mom and Dad, and happy belated Father's and Mother's Day!

Jumping on the Bandwagon #2: Venture Brothers


Nater hooked me up with both seasons of the Venture Brothers earlier this year, and I've finally got around to watching them recently. At first I was a bit skeptical, mainly because it seemed like every other Adult Swim cartoon. However, that turned out to be a good thing, in that I spent half the episode laughing and the other half shaking my head while smiling at the absurd situations and characters. Venture Brothers is a vaguly Jonny Quest-esque show that chronicles the adventures of two dopey teenage boys, Hank and Dean Venture; their super-scientist father, Dr. Thaddeus "Rusty" Venture; and the family bodyguard, secret agent Brock Samson. Beyond them, the show's big stars are definitely the Venture team's associates and villians. From their crazy Necromancer neighbor Dr. Orpheus, supervillian the Monarch, who dressed like a giant butterfly, lovably dorky Henchman 21 and Henchman 24, and the list goes on and on. I just finished Season 1 and can't wait to dig into the second season.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Musically speaking


It's kind of interesting to chart one's own interest in music over the years. I was thinking my musical tastes have been pretty similar for the last few years, but there's always been one constant throughout my life: I'm heavily influenced by what the people around me listen to.
  • Ages 1-10: Listened almost exclusively to Oldies, because that's all my Dad would listen to. Also got into "Pop," thanks to listening to Ace of Base 8-track tapes at various sleepovers.

  • Ages 10-15: Begin to listen to Country a bit, thanks to my brothers. Big fan of "Don't Take the Girl" by Tim McGraw and pretty much any Alan Jackson song.

  • Ages 15-18: Start listening to 3 Doors Down, Oleander, other Soft Rock bands, along with Hard Rock bands like Rage Against the Machine and Metallica. Also get into Rap and Hip-Hop thanks to classmates and teammates. Receive a mix CD entitled "$hill's Ghetto Mix" full of noble poets such as Master P, Coo Coo Cal (Milwaukee represent!), and Lil Wayne. Start (thankfully) dabbling into Classic Rock, discover Led Zeppelin, chest hair hair begins to take root.

  • Ages 18-20: More Independent bands or up-and-coming acts are added to my playlist. Really into Reel Big Fish, Less Than Jake, Alkaline Trio, and Modest Mouse while at the same time expanding my repertoire of Classic Rock to include The Hollies and Jethro Tull (Thanks Paulson!) See my first real concert (Reel Big Fish @ the Rave).

  • Ages 21-Present: Become a huge Audioslave fanboy. Dig deeper into the back catalogs of Classic Rock artists like Gerry Rafferty and the Kinks. Guitar Hero and Rock Band help expand the range of Rock that is enjoyed (The Exies, Bad Religion) while strengenthing my love for Red Hot Chili Peppers, Queens of the Stone Age, and Stone Temple Pilots. Re-discover my love for 90s music, from all genres (I'm looking at you Tone Loc and Oasis.)
The thing is; I still listen to every single one of the bands listed above. I'll still gladly throw in that old "$hill's Ghetto Music" cd when I'm driving, and love when I hear an Oldies song that brings me back to roadtrips with my family. For me, music has always been about connecting with other people, before I even knew I was doing it.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

If I died today...


I was thinking about this the other day: If I died today, at the age of 23, would I be happy with what I've accomplished in my life? Sure, 23 years might not seem like that long of time, but it's actually 12,088,800 minutes of me breathing on this Earth. Living without regrets is a difficult thing to do: surely we all regret some of the decisions we made in the past. Relationships we did or didn't have. Friends we made or left behind. Jobs we did or didn't get. Adventures we did or didn't take. Looking beyond the regrets, if I had to grade myself on how well I've done over these past 23 years I'd probably give myself about a B-. I've done a lot of things I'm proud of: built houses with my bare hands, skydived, made great friendships, parasailed, jumped off railroad bridges into lakes, held my newborn nieces, seen the sun reflecting off Lake Nokomis as it rises on a Sunday morning, been a good son, graduated college, volunteered for the less fortunate, scuba dived.
But I haven't traveled nearly enough: I've only left the US once. I haven't loved enough. I haven't fought enough. I still haven't found a job that doesn't feel like a job (though a lot of people never do). With so much free time I should be accomplishing more, instead of spending so much time inside. "Get busy living, or get busy dying," as it were.

It looks like I've got some stuff to work on....I'll let you know how it goes.

Bathroom Etiquette


One thing you realize when you work in an office building with too few bathrooms is the bathroom rituals of dudes when they're at the urinal. I've seen people put both hands in their pockets, rest one hand on the pipe coming out the top of the urinal, check their Blackberry with one hand, put their hands on their hip like they're a pregnant lady, and turn with their back to me, like they're afraid I'm gonna look at their junk. Look buddy, we're all adults, this isn't the movie Waiting where you need to be afraid of me checking out your shwantz, just do your business like a respectable human being and I'll do the same.

There seems to be some trouble with people using the toilets, too. People need to eat more fruit or something, because there's an awful lot of grunting and groaning going on sometimes. You can practically hear them sweating it out in there while bearing down on the stall. There's a reason I bring my MP3 player when I take a deuce...

On a side note, they're making a movie based on one of my all time favorite books as a kid,
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. This is rather exciting, might have to pick the book up for my nieces.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Things I do when driving by myself


-Sing every song in a falsetto voice, making up the words as I go.
-In an ominious voice say "GREG YIELDS TO NO MAN" when driving through an intersection with a Yield sign.
-Pretend my car is a manual, making gear shifting and screeching noises as I go.
-Not wear a shirt.
-Have all of the windows down.
-Spit sunflower seeds out the window
-.....which usually fly in through the back window, piling up in my back seat.
-Mouth obsenities under my breathe while smiling when another driver screws up and almost hits me.
-Float my arm out the window.
-Drive like a old person.....the speed limit is there for a reason, dontcha know.

Jumping on the Bandwagon #1: Dexter


When we moved into our place in New Berlin in January we decided that we'd be able to afford a full compliment of cable TV channels, since splitting a $90 bill 4 ways ended up being pretty cheap. Now, I haven't had access to "premium channels" since I was living at home with my parents (and all they had was Starz), so the prospect of watching movies anytime I wanted to was very exciting. Something I hadn't thought about was the plethora of quality TV shows that are on HBO and Showtime.

One show that I had heard about in the past from Jesse and Mark was Dexter. A Showtime series based on the novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay, Dexter follows the story of Dexter Morgan, a blood spatter analyst for the Miami Police Department. However, Dexter has a secret that no one knows: He's actually a serial killer, using his police connections to kill people who "deserve it," but who the legal system cannot prosecute. Dex constantly struggles with his lack of emotions, especially when dealing with his emotionally damaged girlfriend Rita and his sister Deborah. It's a great mixture of action, horror, psychology, and humor, and Michael C. Hall is great as Dexter. He can make anyone sympathize with his mission of ridding the world of bad people, though he himself has demons. Showtime currently has seasons 1 and 2 On Demand, with Season 3 starting on September 28th. Highly recommended.
Oh, and please don't spoil Season 2 for me! I'm only 4 episodes in to it and I want to be surprised. Gracias!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Well here we go...


So this is my blog for when I'm at work. It'll probably be a mix of serious and humor, mostly stupid things that I find funny. Regular updates start tomorrow.