Friday, August 29, 2008

Well, it's Labor Day...


...And you know what that means: it's the unofficial end of summer. After this weekend it's time to pack away the grill, for women to stop wearing white, for me to have a shirt on more often than not, and to start staying inside on the weekends playing video games, watching movies, and reading. Or is it? As I find myself in the DMZ of my life known as "Young adulthood," after I'm done with school but before I have kids I begin to realize that summer doesn't end just because school is starting up again. September is no longer a sad time, because there's still plenty of beautiful weather to enjoy and things to do. Over the next couple weeks I'm going camping up north, going to a Brewer game, doing a 4 brewery tour/boat ride, going to Blair, WI for Cheese Fest, and then attending a surprise 50th bday party for my godfather. Summer doesn't die until I say it does! So here's to a 5 month long Summer, and many happy returns.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Odd Jobs #1: Gravedigger


My grandparents on my dad's side, Vic and Delores, were a very religious couple. Vic was the chairman of the St. John the Baptist's cemetery in Edgar, Wisconsin for as long as I can remember, and because two of his sons had inherited his other business (the lumber yard), they also inherited the job of digging graves for the parish. And wouldn't you know it, I got dragged out to the cemetery on many occasion throughout my youth to help them out. It started innocent enough, with me helping him measure out where new graves would be dug. There are ancient cement pins stuck in the ground all over the cemetery, and in order to figure out where everyone's burial plot is you need to measure from those pins. A simple job, but one that I enjoyed helping my dad with. We'd look at the old blueprints for the cemetery (made out of parchment), then have to poke around where we thought the pin would be, because grass and weeds often covered up the specific spot. Then we'd measure it out with the 100 ft. rule, and put stakes in the 4 corners of where the hole would go. Sometimes we'd come out there with buckets of dirt and steel poles, and then use blocks to prop up sagging headstones while we put more dirt under them to straighten them out. It makes the graveyard less scary if all the headstones are lined up like good soldiers.

When I got a little older, probably around 13 or 14, I began helping them actually dig the holes. Someone would drive the backhoe up to the cemetery while someone else, usually my brother Kevin, would drive up the ancient GMC dump truck. We'd lay down some sheets of plywood to put the dirt on, which made it easier to clean up afterwards, then the backhoe would start digging the hole. Once it got down far enough, we'd have to hop in the grave and square it off so that it looked nice and was even enough for the casket to cleanly fit into the hole. A rectangular frame was used to make sure a normal casket would fit. Then after the funeral we'd come back and put all the dirt back, except now there would be a casket in the hole. We'd always pile the dirt up above ground level, because it would settle down over time.

If it was late in the winter, when the ground was really frozen hard, we'd shovel off the spot first, then put a half casket made of sheet metal over the top with a hole on the bottom end. Then a makeshift flamethrower was inserted into the hole, and turned on. This would heat up the ground below the sheet metal, thawing the ground and allowing the backhoe to dig through the earth.

Just another one of those odd jobs I've had.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Unbreakable


I've never broken a bone in my body. Through all the years of climbing trees, playing football, rough housing, biking down steep hills, jumping off rope swings into rivers, etc, I've never had to have anything casted or set, which is kind of a miracle. I've sprained everything I possible could ( to the point where my left thumb is now double jointed) and dislocated the very tip of my middle finger on my left hand (football practice in high school), but other than the two stories below, I just don't get hurt very often.

Two of my worsts were actually both this past summer. I was walking down the steps at a local bar before a softball game when I misjudged the number of steps and rolled my ankle. I heard a crunch, let out a yelp, then hobbled over to the bar and ordered a beer. Unfortunately everyone thought I was just being a goof and acting like I rolled it, so no sympathy was thrown my way. I elevated my ankle on a bar stool, but it swelled up real fast, and I figured I'd broken something. I played the game, and it actually felt decent when I was running around. However, it remained rather swollen and purple for a week or so before finally healing up.

Then this past week I went for a jog after lifting, and pushed myself a little harder than usual because I hadn't worked out in a while. Then Saturday I had a kickball tournament, and my left leg, right below the kneecap started hurting halfway through the game. I stretched some more whenever there was a lull in play, figuring it was just from not stretching enough beforehand. But then it started hurting in the same spot on the other leg! I hobbled around between innings, figuring I'd given myself shin splints from pounding the pavement so hard on Wednesday. They still hurt a little bit a few days later, but I looked up shin splints on webmd.com, and I don't think that's the issue (apparently shin splints hurt the whole way down the shin, not just right below the knee). Anyways, my goal is to not do any running until softball starts up again on Tuesday. I may be unbreakable, but good golly I'm not invulnerable.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Brick by Brick


Just found out today that the LEGO minifigure turns 30 this year. As a child of the 80s and 90s I religiously played with LEGOs when I was a lad. I remember building boats and Ice fishing shacks of out LEGOs with my brothers and playing on the cement of the basement floor during the winter months. Right about then I started getting my own sets of LEGOs. One Christmas I got a Police semi with trailer AND a Police boat (which had a compartment to put batteries in it that make the lights work....very high tech for 1993). Years followed and I accumulated darn near every type of LEGO set you could think of, from Pirates and Under Sea Explorers to Knights and Lifeguards. I even was a member of the LEGO club, receiving their magazine bi-monthly and getting all excited for the coolest new sets coming up (Ninjas! Time Travelers! Neato!). I think the best part of LEGOs was just how they allowed a kid to expand his imagination anyway he wanted to. My stories always tried to encompass all the different sets I had into one gonzo time travel story that brought these characters to the present to protect the world from evil forces. Anyways, I tip my hat to you, Mr. Lego Minifigure, for giving kids 30 years of joy and happiness. Though you may look different now (we didn't have ones that looked like Indy or Batman when I was young) keep on keeping on my little yellow skinned, c-shaped handed buddy. (BTW, the blue spaceman on the left side was one of the first non-Town based minifigures we ever had. I used to love that guy.)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

'Til Death?

My mom told me last night that by friends from Edgar, Brad and Krystal, have set a date for their wedding. I graduated high school with Brad, which makes him also 23 years old. 23!! Now, we may be at different points in our lives (he's have a longtime girlfriend, and both of them have kids from previous relationships), but I still think 23 is too young to get married, for darn near everyone. According to http://www.divorcerate.org/, the age group with the highest divorce rate is 20 to 24 years olds, at 36.6% for men and 38.8% for women. And divorce rates goes up for every marriage you have. According to that same site:
The divorce rate in America for first marriage is 41%
The divorce rate in America for second marriage is 60%
The divorce rate in America for third marriage is 73%

Gah! That's ridiculous! Makes a guy not ever want to get married, just so that he doesn't become a statistic. I wonder if the divorce rate has always been so crummy. And if it used to be less, did that just mean that people stuck through crappy marriages more often?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Things I Love #3: Stick It

Probably my biggest Guilty Pleasure is this movie about gymnastics. Other than the obvious hot girls in spandex factor, there is NO reason I should like this movie, yet I've seen it probably 4 times already. I discovered it on Starz last year when I was home at my parent's house with some time to kill and no one else around. I don't wanna go over the plot (cuz I'm afraid to gush about it) but the characters are perfect, the casting is great (even though I'll always see Jeff Bridges as The Dude.), and the humor and "action" are good stuff. I'm a sucker for inspirational sports movie, I eat up Major League, Remember the Titans, and Little Giants every time they're on, so seeing the same story engine applied to a nontraditional sport that I don't know much about is kind of neat. The main actress, Missy Peregrym, hasn't really been in much, which is surprising considering how much depth she shows in the movie. It's also weird that she's older than me, considering she was playing a high schooler in the movie, but Hollywood is weird like that. Now, you might be skeptical about the movie, and you might think less of me because I enjoy it, but seriously: Give it a try, if you haven't seen it already. If you go into it with an open mind I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Financially Stupid


I'm a big fan of the book Freakonomics, but even more than that I'm a big fan of the writers blog which is here on Nytimes.com. One of the posts really caught my eye: This one, about the financial stupidity of Americans, got me to thinking. We had a very basic Personal Finance class back in High School, plus I took another class that dealt with doing business type things that included balancing a check book, but I really went into college with no idea of budgeting. Luckily I'm a naturally stingy person by nature, but even then I felt the crunch of not knowing nearly enough about my finances all throughout college. Things are even more compounded now, just because I'm officially "on my own" and I've got to start saving for retirement, paying all the different insurances, stuff like that. I'm putting away into my 401k through work already, and my plan was to save up $10,000 as an "emergency" fund before I started putting money away into a Roth IRA, but this summer of excess really put a hampering on my savings plans. It's hard to sit inside and not spend money when there's so many things to do and places to go out there. The good thing is that I'm not big on material possesions, so I won't be making anymore big purchases in the upcoming months (other than some more clothes for work, and a wireless card for my computer), but I still should budget my "fun money" a bit better than I have been. Winter is typically my hermit phase of the year, where I spend most of my time inside reading, watching movies, and playing video games, so maybe I should focus on saving as much money as possibly during those months, then relax a bit during the summer. I'll have to give that a test run this summer and see how it works.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Well, I'm Back.

And just like that, I'm back in Wisconsin. The last few days of the trip were essentially uneventful (other than the pictures...once I talk to Charlie I'll get those posted), with us making our way through Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and sleeping in our cars in Colorado. Then on Friday we continued through Colorado, Nebraska, and Iowa before finally reaching Madison at 2 in the AM.

All in all, I'd have to rate the trip a B+. I really wish we had more time to see and do everything (didn't surf or bungee jump), but it was amazing to see so much of the country in such a short time. No major mishaps, though we had some close calls with the car overheating and hotels being nearly booked. Some facts from the trip:

  • Miles traveled: 4,778
  • Total money spent on gas: $794.82
  • Total money spent on lodging: $261.96 (sleeping in the car, plus staying with friends/relatives really helped)
  • Total money spent on food: $490.90 (took the rough total of what I spent, multiplied times 2)
  • Total money spent: $1547.68
$3.08 a mile to see that much of the country? That's a steal! Now next summer a roadtrip (on motorcycle, perhaps?) down to Florida to visit Charlie, Marcus, and Chad is in order. No more roadtrips until then, though......I'm pooped.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Roadtrip Day #8: California Love


We slept in at Steve and Brittney's place, then had an amazing breakfast at Denny's. Afterwards we got some advice on what we should do for the day. We made our way back up the Pacific Coast Highway to Newport Beach, were we swam and soaked up the sun for a while. The water was cold, but clear, and even though it wasn't super sunny it was still a nice day at the beach. From there we made our way up to Venice Beach, where we walked the boardwalk (staring at all the crazy people and odd shops) and then ate at Danny's. Two of the walls there were covered with paintings of famous people who had a part in Venice life (including Jim Morrison, James Dean, Arnold Schwarzenegger and more.) An amazing plate of nachos, delicious sandwiches with french dip sauce, and a Coke float make me content and full enough to continue the journey up to Hollywood Blvd. Unfortunately my car started overheating from all the stop and go traffic, so we had to pull into a parking lot near then and while we waited for it to cool down we walked around and looked at the stars on the sidewalk (while humming "Celluloid Heroes" by the Kinks). Charlie spotted a Pepboys, so we picked up some coolant and filled up the car. And thus we started making our way home, through Las Vegas. We sweated the 4 hour drive through the desert (it doesn't cool down nearly enough at night) and snagged the last room at a Holiday Inn Express, and crashed for the night at 2 in the morning.

Roadtrip Day #7: Old Friends


We were woken up by the kids again this morning. Robin made up tea, coffee and bagels while we entertained the little ones, then we talked at the kitchen table about when he was a male stripper back during the 70s. Apparently his normal job didn't pay enough to allow him much spending cash, and he loved to dance, so he stripped for about a month before quitting because of all the scratches and bruises the crazy women would give him. What a crazy, unique character that guy was. Afterwards we packed up the Alero, said our goodbyes, then started on our way to Sacramento. We'd only gone about 2 miles when Charlie announced "I've got shit on me." Apparently one of the little ones had stepped in dog shit, and when he picked them up to give 'em a hug they wiped it on his shorts. We made a quick pit stop for him to change, then sped off to meet up with Amber in Sacramento before she had to go to work. Amber used to live up in Stevens Point, but moved out here a few years back, so it was great to see her and catch up (and had some amazing Japanese cuisine to boot). She had to get to work, so we set the GPS for Riverside (near LA) and started heading down there. Most of the trip was arid, dry country, with some vineyards and orange groves to break it up. Once we got into some of the hills and mountains it got much nicer. We met up with Charlie's friend from Marine Officer Candidate School who let us stay at the apartment of him and his fiance. Steve and Brittney were great, and we spent the night out on their porch drinking beer while listening to Steve and Charlie talk about OCS stuff. We finally went to bed around 4:00 AM.

Roadtrip Day #6: Sitting on the Dock of the Bay


It's amazing how a good night of sleep can really get you going for the day. Lucas woke us up around 8:00, so we had breakfast with the kids and Robin, and then he took us on a driving tour of the downtown area, showing us where he used to live, where Little Italy and Chinatown were. Apparently back in the 70s there was a Safeway grocery store that was a singles hook-up area. People looking to hookup would go there with one item in their grocery cart looking for someone to take home for the night. Oh the 70s..... There is also a building down there where Francis Ford Coppola edited Apocalypse Now. Robin dropped us off and we walked around North Point, had a few beers at Kennedy's Pub around 1:00, then had some more drinks down by Fisherman's Wharf. After that we lunched at In N Out (Double Double with grilled onions was real good), Charlie picked up some sandals and we headed to Jack's Cannery, where we started talking with Phil and Emma, a couple on their honeymoon from Buckingham, England. They had spent the past two weeks in Hawaii, were in San Fran for the day and night, and then were off to Vegas before heading back to sunny ol' Britain. Charlie got a call from Robin, informing us that a friend of Robin's would be taking out his sailboat on the San Francisco Bay. We immediately said yes, finished out pints, and headed out to Pier 39 to meet up with Hans, our captain for the evening. Hans was exactly as I pictured: big bushy beard, long hair, chipped front tooth, saying "dude" and "man" a whole bunch. We helped put some lights up on his boat, the "Escape" while he rigged up the electric engine. His friend from New Orleans, Jeb, joined us shortly afterwards. I went and bought some sweatshirts for the ride (it was getting, cooler, and foggy by this time). By this time Hans had the boat up and running, so we started leaving the pier. We only made it about 40 yards when we realized that we'd stopped moving. Charlie and I manned the port side, keeping us off of the giant concrete pier while Hans and Jeb tried figuring out what was wrong with the engine. 30 minutes later they discovered a pin had popped out of the chain (thankfully their original assumption that the propeller had fallen off was incorrect.) With that fixed we headed out for a quick ride, since it was dark by this time. Still it was neat "tacking" and tightening ropes and stuff. After we got back to our slip we thanked Jeb and Hans and headed out to find some beer. We stopped in at the San Francisco Brewery for a few beers, caught the highlights of the Brewer and Packer games, then went on in search of future adventures. Luckily we stumbled upon a strip that had about 7strip clubs in on block, and since Charlie had never been to one we purchased wristbands to get into 4 of the clubs. I bought Charlie a private lap dance in the back (most awkward experience of his life, especially after she swindled $40 more out of him.) After strip club hopping we went for some late night burritos, then headed home and passed out again.

Roadtrip Day #5: California Dreamin'


We woke up at the campground around 8:30, and starting making our breakfast of hot dogs, chips and baked beans on the grill. The campground owner came up on his golf cart and asked us, essentially, what the fuck we were doing. We informed him that we had come in late last night, found a spot, put our money in the Late Night registration box and passed out. He reprimanded us for putting up a tent in a site specifically for campers and asked us to pay the extra money for the site. What a jerk. We made sure to take extra long showers to get our moneys worth. With that we hopped in the car and continued on our way to San Francisco. We came into SF over the Golden Gate bridge, and it was covered in fog, making it look like we were driving straight into hell. There were tons of people walking and biking on the sidewalk of the bridge, which was kind of neat to see. We drove into town and found a place to get some burgers while Charlie called his cousin. His cousin's husband gave us directions to their place, but also told us to go up to Twin Peaks, which gave us a spectacular view of the whole city. After driving through such hot temps the past few days it was a relief to be in 70 degree weather with a strong breeze. Alero was much happier too. We arrived at Terry (the cousin) and Robin (the British husband)'s residence and talked with them for a while before their twin 3 year old kids woke up from their nap. I've never seen two kids with more energy than Rachel and Lucas. They make Charlie look like a sloth in comparison. Terry and Robin gave us a quick tour of their neighborhood while we walked down to get some sweet corn at the fruit and veggie store. The great thing about their neighborhood is that everything they could possibly need is within a few blocks of them: barbers, groceries, restaurants. And it's not a busy, crime-riddled neighborhood either; it's still very nice, with friendly neighbors. Anyways, we came back and grilled up some steaks and corn. After that we played with the kids for a while, talked to the parents, and then headed to bed. Sleeping on the equivalent of a gravel driveway the night before kinda took it out of us.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Roadtrip Day #4: The Oregon Trail

We woke up at the Best Western around 8:30, and while Charlie went to go workout I dropped my car off to get the oil changed on it and started strolling around the town. I stopped in at the Vistor's Center, got a map of the town, and found out where The Goonies house and the Kindergarten Cop school were. We packed up at the hotel, made our way through town, and laughed hysterically when we stumbled upon the school. It looks exactly the same! I can't wait to watch the movie and see other parts of the town, too. Astoria is beautiful, with some neat houses up on the hill, including the one from the Goonies. With that checked off our list we started making our way to California. Charlie has cousins in San Francisco, and my friend Amber is in Sacramento, so those were our destinations. I honestly slept through most of Oregon, but what I saw was rather nice. However, we decided to take a detour to Redwood National Park on the Northwest coast of California, and boy was it worth it. Check out the pictures that Charlie posted, they are amazing. He made the comment that "I'm expecting Ewoks to come jumping out at us", and Erica later informed us that Return of the Jedi was filmed in the same forest we were in! Very exciting for a dork like me. With darkness creeping in we kept on trucking through California along the coast, and eventually stopped at a campground, filled out the late night application, put up out tent and passed out.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Roadtrip Day #3: Joe Montana, Idaho Potatoes, and Denzel Washington

(Pics for the first two days can be found here)

Another morning of waking up in the car. We got back on the road for a while, then stopped at a Flying J to get breakfast, check our email, and regroup for a bit. It's been a week since I've shaved, and I'm starting to realize that I'm incapable of growing a beard; it just doesn't come in thick enough yet. It's also been 50 hours since I showered, and my hair is so oily it's created a hair helmet that even the wind coming in through the windows of the car at 75 mph can't move. We smell terrible, too. Showers at the Flying J were full, so we decided to keep on and shower later on in the day. Montana is some gorgeous country, probably my favorite part of the drive so far. Montana gave way to Idaho, which gave way to Washington. The GPS gave us the directions to Astoria, so I figured we better follow them. The Eastern half of Washington, by the way, is some of the most desolate, barren country I've ever seen. Just miles of sunburnt fields and prairies on each side: It makes South Dakota look like the Rockies. Anyways, we stopped in Tacoma, Washington for supper (sushi!), then made our way south into Oregon. As we got into Astoria we stopped at the Holiday Inn Express, only to find out that they were booked up for the night. They also didn't know any other hotels that had openings. Charlie kept on calling hotels as I drove on, figuring we'd just move on to the next town if nothing else. Luckily, the Best Western had a couple cancellations, so we managed to get a great room at one of the nicest hotels I've been in. Complimentary cookies, juice, and water, 24 hour pool. Not too bad! We found out from the front desk that there was an amateur volleyball tournament in the town over that brought in over 30,000 people. After taking long, long showers and shaving we decided to head out for a beer since it was Charlie's bday. A local establishment was having karoake, so we grabbed a pitcher and watched some drunk locals sing it up for a while. The bar closed at 1(?? Yeah, I was confused too) so we went back and slept in our lovely beds.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Roadtrip Day #2: The Long Way

After sleeping in our car at a rest stop in Wyoming, we realized that we were only 30 miles away from Devil's Tower. We made a quick run up there, took lots of pics, had some bfast, then got back on the road. The GPS was telling us to take I-90 into Montana, which seemed sort of silly considering we wanted to go into Yellowstone, so I made the executive decision to take US-14 instead. Good news was that was we traveled through some amazing mountains on the way out there, but it also took us 5 hours longer than it should have to reach Yellowstone. My car started over heating from the constantly having to go uphill in the mountains, so we stopped by a guy selling Elk and Buffalo jerky out of his camper. Real, real good stuff. Also the grasshoppers were crazy up there, making "snapping" sounds. Coming down out of the mountains the temperatures started hitting the lower 90s, but with the windows down and shirts off it was still decent. We got to Yellowstone around 6ish, then promptly realized that Yellowstone is freaking HUUUUGGGGEEE. Seriously, it could be it's own state. We traveled through it, keeping an eye out for animals when the car in front of us slowed way down for a coyote on the road. It was surprisingly cute, not the mangy theives you expect them to be. Next we saw a pack of buffalo out in the fields, but they were too far away to get many good pictures. Luckily around the bend of the road was a lone buffalo that was not more than 10 feet off the road. Definitely one of the highlights of the day. Unfortunately it started to rain, and we had to make our way to the southern part of the park to see Old Faithful. We got down there at nearly dusk, waited for Old Faithful (which isn't as faithful as Full House would lead you to believe) and then cooked up some hot dogs and beans on the grill for a 9:00 pm supper. We started heading back north through the park when blue and reds started flashing behind us. Charlie pulled over, swearing and asking how fast he was going. When the Ranger came up to the car he asked some questions, Charlie handed him his Military ID and told him about his previious speeding tickets. After giving him a stern lecture about pulling his Military ID on an officer ( a big no-no, apprently), we were back on our way. We headed back up through the park and out into Montana, found ourselves another rest stop and packed it in for the night.

Roadtrip Day #1: Looking California, Feeling Minnesota

(I'm typing these up the day they happen, and then posting them when I get internet access)
As to be expected we did not leave on time this morning. Charlie and I went out in Madison last night with Derek and Christiana. Brothers has some absurd special on Tuesday nights, $1.50 import taps and $1.00 rail drinks. We expected to be up and at'em at 8 this morning, but hangovers and dehydration made it so that we didn't leave Madison until 11. No worries though, we made excellent time through Wisconsin and into Minnesota. Though I'm pretty sure I've been there before I've gotta mention just how gorgeous the bluffs on the border between Minnesota and Wisconsin are. I can see why Danielle always complained about flatness of Whitewater. However the bluffs and hills quickly gave way to the boring ass flatlands of Minnesota. I-90 through Minnesota is straight as a arrow, East to West, surrounded by cornfields. Minnesota flatlands gave way to South Dakota flatlands, but as I write this we're entering an area of the Black Hills, which Charlie took pics of. We stopped at a gas station somewhere in South Dakota and here was the scene: A fancy gas station/souvenir shop, with kids running around everywhere in it. (This is 11:00 at night, btw) There's an outside bar FILLED with people. The areas around the gas pumps are filled big bugs of all sorts, to the point that the roof of the car is nearly covered by the time we get back to the car after using the bathroom. We GTFO of there as quick as we could.

Some things of note from the trip:
-Spitz Sunflower Seeds suck. They don't sell David's out here, apparently
-I think there should be a parody of the Bon Jovi song "Bad Medicine" called "Bad Venison"
-Minnesota had barely any construction, which is surprising considering Wisconsin is in a perpetual state of construction.
-This is a great way to realize just how big America is...there's just miles and miles of hills and fields out here.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Road Warriors

So tomorrow is the big day. Below is the basic map of how we'll be going. We might go up through North Dakota and Montana instead of through South Dakota and Wyoming. Since Charlie is bringing his laptop I'll try to blog and post pictures here whenever we can find some WiFi.

My Estimates for the Trip:

  • Mileage: 7,500 miles.
  • Days of Travel: 12
  • Estimated time spent driving: 150 hours.
  • Hours per day driving: 11
  • Money spent in gas: $1,000.
  • Number of times we almost crash and die: 8 times while Charlie is driving, 1 when I am driving.
  • Number of times Charlie yells at me and questions my age, moral terpitude, and sexual orientation because I'm driving too slow: 36
  • Number of people that make fun of our Wisconsin accents: 8, all of them from Oregon or California. West Coast jerks.....
  • Number of times I wish I had gotten the AC fixed on my car: Probably everyday......

Monday, August 4, 2008

Jumping on the Bandwagon #3: Arrested Development


Another series that Nater lent to me, you'd have to be under a rocha to have not heard about Arrested Development the past few years. Another one of those shows that never really caught on with audiences, AD was canceled in February 2006. AD is the story of the terribly dysfunctional Bluth family, all held together by the middle son, Michael. The show reminds me of The Office, in the way that it is filmed and the same dry humor, which is definitely a compliment. One thing that really pushes the show over the edge is the way certain plot points weave through the entire episode. In one of the episodes on Season 1, Key Decisions, the Bluth family is left with a stair truck used for getting on their sold jet as their only form of transportation. The stair truck pops up in all 3 of the main siblings stories, from getting the activist down out of the tree, to taking Marta to the ceremony. Little stuff like that cracks me up. Just like any show it seems to take a few to hit its stride (and admittedly I'm only on the 7th episode of Season 1), but I'm really liking the show so far.
EDIT: I mix up "lent" and "borrow," every time.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Top 5 Songs

This was the hardest one, easily. There are SO many songs to pick from it's kind of hard to pick just 5. I went with 5 songs that I've liked for years, songs that I could listen to on repeat over and over again and still never really get sick of them. Click the links to go to Youtube and watch videos of them in action.
  1. "Hurt" by Johnny Cash. My first introduction to the Man in Black, Hurt's video is what really gets you. Even Trent Reznor, whom Cash covered, that "...I just lost my girlfriend, because that song isn't mine anymore…" Listening to this song got me into the rest of Cash's catalog of music, and culminated in me dancing to "Ring of Fire" last night at the fair...hahah. Anyways......one of the best videos ever, check it out.
  2. "You Know You're Right" by Nirvana. The last official single from Nirvana, released after Cobain had died, this is one of the first songs I ever downloaded (Using Kazaa......aaahh, memories!). I'd always been a big fan of Nirvana, but there's something about releasing new music after an artist has died that adds a poignancy to it. While there are some other phenomonal Nirvana songs ("Breed", "On a Plain"), I've been a big fan of this song since it came out, and it's not one of their more popular songs.
  3. "The Ocean" by Led Zeppelin. Picking just one Led Zeppelin song is real hard, but "The Ocean"'s great guitar riff is too good to pass up. Another lesser known song from a fantastic band, it's signature Zeppelin all the way (OooooOoooo Yeah!). And the bridge, the bridge! Aaahh, it's music to my ears, literally.
  4. "Where Have You Been?" by Reel Big Fish. Chad introduced me to Reel Big Fish back during freshmen year of college, and it honestly took me a while to appreciate them, mainly because it wasn't like anything I had heard before. A rock band, with brass instruments? What is this? They're one of my favorite bands now, and I've managed to see them twice in concert, both being great shows. My favorite song of theirs is this one, mainly because I sing along as loud as possible whenever it comes on. It's just one of those songs.
  5. "Everlong" by Foo Fighters. My favorite song (I'm not the only one, check out the bottom of the page), by one of my favorite artists. My buddy Nater said he'd want this as his wedding song, and you know? I approve. The original version is pitch perfect, but the acoustic version would make a great wedding song. I love me some Everlong.

Honorable Mention: "Pardon Me" by Incubus, "Shadow on the Sun" by Audioslave, "Apeman" by The Kinks, and "Baker Street" by Gerry Rafferty.