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2 sizes too small

Alright, so you want a feel good Christmas post? Too bad. Christmas is when the animal comes out of people, and we all start acquiring a mob mentality that leads to people being hurt, and others getting depressed.

Thats what I would have said the last few years, but this year I have sworn not to be a grinch. This post is for all of the other Grinches out there who need their heart to grow a couple of sizes.

Wow, I just threw you for another juke. I had no idea I started off so many blogs like this…

So the first thing that gets me upset about Christmas? Traffic. I mean people run red lights, hold up intersections, and will flip you off for almost anything! I mean, I cant help but get a little road rage from time to time, but the honest truth is that you have to leave your house a little earlier, plan your trips a little wiser, and make the decision that random bad drivers dont get the priviledge of ruining your Holiday.

Then theres the music. Its the same 10 songs sang 1,000 different ways, right? No! Christmas songs are a piece of history. Songs like “Joy to the World” were written in the 1700s, and they range from then to even the last ten years! Pay attention to the songs, and realize that even though some get played WAY too much, give them memories from childhood (or make new memories now) and get a little cheesy with them.

Still sick of it? Try out the soundtrack for the movie “The Holiday”. It was written by one of the best composers of our time, and it is guranteed to put chills up your arms.

People can also get nasty during the holidays. They camp out all night for the best deals, and will let no one stop them from getting everything on their list. Its quite unavoidable, to be honest. I mean whole movies are written to show how far a parent will go just to get their kid what they want for Christmas. But, before you go “Jingle All The Way” all over someone, make a point to be courteous to others. Yeah some will try to snake your parking spot, cut in line, or grab something out of your cart, but that doesnt require a fistfight to solve!

Heres the basis of it; either your Christmas holiday will be spoiled by strangers, or be enriched by friends and family. Its that simple! Be good to people, and remind them why they are supposed to be happy, and maybe you can make someone esle’s Christmas better for it.

Lastly, a shout out to my family this Christmas: I love you guys, and I’m sorry I cant come out this year. I love you and will miss you all.

There, you feel it? All you haters, Grinches, and Scrooges out there have a warm feeling in your chest. No, its not a heart attack, its your heart growing to normal size. Now get over yourselves and have a Merry Christmas, like it or not (sounds like a new song for next Christmas season).

College Life

So this past Saturday I finally graduated from college. Its been 6 years, but I have been through a change in schools, and three majors since I started in 2004.I’ve taken so many classes that at this point I think that I was about 6 credit hours away from a degree in everything-ology. I have considered dropping out twice, changing schools again, and at times even going to grad school. This post is for all of those who might want to reminisce, learn about, or even try to change how to survive college.

1. College is all about the professor. I know that you will have professors that you agree with, as well as  plenty that you hate. I had a good friend that abhorred his English professor for his ultra- liberal views. The hard part? The fact that he still had to write the guy papers, and this teacher had to aspprove his topic. What did he do? He found common ground with the guy, and wrote a paper on a topic that he saw eye to eye with him. Having a topic that interests the teacher is going to put him in a state of mind where he is willing to forgo some mistakes for the sake of something intriguing.

On the flipside, I wrote one of the best papers of my life for freshman english. We had to compare and contrast two movies, and I had to brilliant idea to use the movies Van Helsing and Underworld. I had some awesome thesis that explained how we have replaced religion with technology in comparing the two, and I was sure to bring this woman to tears as she realized that she worships her computer more than she worships her god/gods. I got a C. I was counted off for things like “too many ‘be’ verbs” and “incorrect gerund phrasing”. Turns out, she was not interested by the subject at all!

Some Professors want you to speak up and ask questions. Others want you to sit back and let them hear him/herself speak. The point is you have to find out what your professor likes, and stay on his good side. This could really mean the difference of a whole letter grade sometimes.

2. Skipping class is touchy. I know that you’re an adult now, and that no one calls your mom when you don’t show up, but there are some people who have skipping down to an art. Every time before spring break, Thanksgiving, or even the Pastafarian holiday “Talk like a Pirate Day”.

3. student loans are not free gifts

4. you can work… and overwork

5. dont be a stereotype

throwback time!

So has anyone noticed the old throwback drinks in their supermarkets? How about the old jerseys in the NFL right now, have you seen those? Well then step into my bubble bath time machine, and  jump on this bandwagon to check out the music from a distant era.

Now step out from my lavender scented tub, dry off and look around. Its not the courtyard in front of your old college, full of stoners with Led Zepplin shirts, we are in the 70s!

Now I never understood why this music from the 60s and 70 was still so big. I mean how many people do you see walking around listening to Elvis or Buddy Holly? Do you see people dressed like these guys walking around the street (if you live in Vegas, then you don’t count)? Then why are there still so many people walking around listening to Bob Dylan and wearing Greatful Dead shirts? So many people write these stereotypes as hippies or stoners, but I have found that there is really so much substance to this music, and in a lot of ways, it parallels us today.

Lets start with the social aspect of this era; music had long been segregated just as much as the black people themselves were. My History of the Recording Industry Professor one told me that by the 1950s, the only real difference between Country music and R&B was the color of the artist’s skin. It was a separation of music that was as obvious as the separate bathrooms. Black artists like Chuck Berry were only able to succeed in white communities because there were no pictures of Berry on the album covers, and because they thought he sounded “white enough”.

But then, by the end of the Civil Rights Movement, the music was growing together too. People started ignoring racial or social boundaries, taking conventional rock and roll with old R&B, and started experimenting with their own style. It began to grow together as a melting pot for the first time in our country’s history. This same professor told me that if old blues artists like Blind Lemon Jefferson and Robert Johnson could have sued guitarists like Led Zepplin’s Jimmy Page, they probably would have won! So this music formed the way that we hear music today.

On a political side, there was a highly contreversial war going on in Vietnam. Now Im not trying to make any parallels with Iraq or Afghanistan here, other than just trying to show some of their basic similarities. This war had been going on for years, and thousands upon thousands were dying each year, pushing many peaceful people to their limits. What made it worst was the fact that there was still a draft, so many of the soldiers were forced into serving this country despite his family or career.

This war greatly influenced people to write and sing too. Many of the lyrics were well thought out, so as to help make their argument more understandable to its listeners. It seems that  when our country has its biggest fires, it draws more passion and strength from its people,  which in great part created this genre. This war brought out sentiments so strong that anti war artists were actually getting play on pop radio too. I mean think about it; do you think that you can see Ke$ha singing “Blowing in the Wind”? Or watching Christina Aguilera sing “White Rabbit”?  Me neither, but good luck getting that awful image out of your head.

So if you take anything from this entry, just give this music a chance. Sure, there were some crazy drugs taking place, and it definitely had its part in shaping the music too, but what you are also hearing is History.

what you arent reading

Ok so this post is for all of those who are reading my blog and are really thinking “Is there anything out there as amazing as this blog that I can read on the other 5 days of the week?” Sadly, the answer is no. BUT if you’re looking for something close to as awesome to read as this blog, then this post is for you!

 

http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/

This is a pretty funny blog about fads and trends that people like. I don’t get why it singles out white people, but its fun to look at our culture and laugh.

http://stuffchristianslike.net/

Even though this blog could be considered a spinoff, I think its fun Christian satire. This guy covers a lot of funny topics like “Asking people to scoot to the middle of the pew”, “awkward prayer requests”, “thinking that the rapture happened every time you are alone”, and “women with really big hats”.

http://foodgawker.com/

This is a great site that links to other food blogs. It pretty much covers everything you would ever want to cook. It goes from native dishes from different countries, to awesome desserts that make you fatter just by looking at the pictures.

http://bodyhobby.wordpress.com/

Ok, so I had to follow this after reading food gawker, to balance it out. This is a Canadian guy who writes on healthy eating. He doesn’t seem to be one of these people who want you to join the cupcake diet, or jump on a fad, he just talks about living healthy.

http://drjoshaxe.com/

Dr. Josh is a doctor that lives here and lives more of an extreme life in terms of diets. He came up with a way of eating foods that helps you balance your body’s PH level. Its really amazing, and he shares testimonies from people who have overcome cancer and diseases with his transform your health eating plan.

http://lifehacker.com/

This is a nerdy blog, I admit. It covers anything to do with computers or electronics. You can use it to break into another computer, find apps for your ipod/phone/pad. Its pretty cool to read if you want to decrease your social skills, and learn how to make anything work for you.

http://caintechnews.wordpress.com/

This is another nerdy site for people who want to know the most random things that their computers can do, or that the internet can do for you. Anyways, if you’re looking to read about viruses, Windows 7, find helpful sites, or get free vector art, then read this often.

And heres a few other helpful sites

http://www.truecar.com/

This is an average of how much cars are bought and sold for, so you know that you got a good price.

http://www.cse.unsw.edu.au/~geoffo/humour/flattery.html

This is for those who are feeling down….

My life in a pie graph.

 

Ok, thats enough links for one day, see you Wednesday!

Pet Peeves #4

This is a multiple part pet peeve. Since they fall under the same general subject, I think that its a good idea to make some pet peeve parallels.

So we all have become a culture dependent on our cell phones, right? Just ten years ago, when I liked a girl, I had to call her house phone and hope that her dad didn’t answer! Now they just text all day without even having to hear each other’s voices. I’m not saying that having your phone on you all the time is a bad thing, necessarily. Its great for emergencies, and for people who travel for their profession; I mean its a pretty fantastic invention when you really think about it.

But we become addicted to things. Its what we do. If we like coffee, we drink it till we have the jitters, if we enjoy a meal, we eat until we can’t move. Its not like we are alcoholics, but we just get dependent on anything from asprin to pepsi to the internet.

So I have some caricatures of cell phone addicts for you that really get under my skin.

This first one is for anyone who has had to work at a register. A man walks in on his phone, going on and on. You watch him as he talks and talks, thinking “I sure hope whoever is listening is getting paid to listen to this man”. He approaches the register.

“Yeah, and so I told him I can’t sell it for anything less than fifty thousand! I’lltakeanumberonenopickleswithcheeseandadietcoke – I know, I mean I have a business to run, and we need synergy if we want to….”

Did he just order? I could have sworn that he said something about pickles… “I’m sorry, what was that?”

“Thats why I hired Terry Tate, he has been a huge boost to productivity- numberonenopickelswithcheeseandadietcoke Yeah, he has really brought us closer to the tipping point!”

It is now clear that you don’t deserve his attention for even a fraction of a second. Hes sending you the message I am more important than you. These people sincerely believe that they are so busy, that they cannot set their phone down for about 30 seconds just to give you the dignity and order. I have seen a sign hanging in a few independent cafes and shops that simply says “we will gladly help you with your order when you are done with your cell phone conversation”. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, its about like saying “we will gladly give you desert after you eat all of your vegetables”, but some people really just have no manners at all.

Then theres the guy who talks so loud, you wonder if the person listening is hard of hearing or working on the runway at the airport. You will find this guy is very important; he goes on and on about everything he can do for his friend, and how he is going to help. Do you care? No, but he will sit in the chair next to you and talk so that you can hear how benevolent he is with his advice. Is there anyone on the other line? Probably not, but you would be smart to leave before he puts his phone down and starts trying to help you!

Next is the guy girl (lets make it a girl this time) who is in your circle of friends. She wants to be entertained. She can’t wait to see you and hang out with you! You make plans to hang out a week ahead of time, and she knows just how to show you how much she missed you; minimal eye contact, and texting on her phone. It doesn’t matter if there is a movie going on, a birthday party, if its the 4th of July, or if its her own dad being pulled out of a Chilean mine, she is texting on her phone.

Sure she thinks shes being social, but later she will wonder why no one calls her to hang out anymore. Its cause shes sending out the message whoever I am texting is more important than you are. Now granted, maybe she has Katy Perry’s number, and they are secret friends- or Shaq is asking her out on a date. Maybe its Steven Spielberg, who wants her to star in his next film, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

Heres the honest truth: we are too dependent on our phones these days. If someone doesn’t return your calls, you don’t think that their battery died, you assume they are in an awful, fiery car wreck on the interstate! I think that the cure isn’t to end your contract with AT&T and toss your iPhone in the trash, but to realize the message you’re sending when you are on your phone, cause I have news for you; if you don’t know anyone that fits one of my caricatures, it might just be you!

Coffee Time

Ok, so I am working on a collaborative blog with some of my friends. It is going to cover certain creature comforts that we all enjoy from coffee to restaurants, to wine, cigars, cafes, and more. Obviously, my area of expertise in which I will be writing will be coffee,  some teas, and probably a few restaurants. As a little promotion for our blog, I figured I could put my first post on here.

So how do you drink your coffee? Do you drink what ever the cheap stuff is at your office coffee maker? Something instant that kind of resembles coffee when you think really hard about it? What I’m encouraging you do is drink coffee with the intention of enjoying it, not to give you a little rush to make it till 5:00. Drinking it solely for the caffeine is like using a wheelchair when you roll your ankle. This is why coffee and caffeine get shown in a  bad light; people drink it in excess, getting the jitters, acid reflux, or even ulcers.

Something you may not know about coffee is the good side effects. All of these come from two cups (thats 16 fl oz)  of coffee or less, which I have been told is the most one should drink in a day.

  • Coffee helps regulate your blood pressure; in small amounts, it actually dilates your veins and arteries, lowering your blood pressure slightly. It should go without saying that too much will definitely raise it, though.
  • It helps your short term memory stay sharper; caffeine passes the blood brain barrier, and can momentarily help you with that last minute cramming you do from time to time.
  • Coffee in small amounts can help your exercise. In a test on cyclists, the ones given caffeine went 29% farther than the ones that went without it. (working on citation)
  • It helps you stay “regular”. I dont think you should need any more details.
  • Coffee increases your coolness by at least 79%, just by sitting back and sipping on it. That is a fact.
  • Coffee has no calories! Well thats not technically true, I believe that the ratio is something like 5 calories per 8oz, but hey, compare it to a small can of Red Bull, and the calorie count is 110!

Now that I have you on the coffee bandwagon, there is something you need to understand; coffee drinks such as McDonalds, nescafe, maxwell house, and those pouches in your hotel room are not coffee. Yes, maybe they pass as coffee, because they do technically contain coffee beans, there is not nearly as much quality as needed to make yourself a decent cup of joe. Its like calling a pack of parliament lights cigars; yes there is tobacco, but bring it into a cigar shop, and you will get laughed at. Most of these kinds of coffees do the minimal. They pay the cheapest prices for beans that may not be completely ripe, roast them for a minimal amount of time, or till they reach their first “pop”, immediately grind them for a paper filter, freeze dry them, and who knows how long they stay on the shelves?

So here is what I want you to do; go out and have some real coffee.

I’m not saying that I want you to swing by Starbucks’ Drive Thru and grab a grande drip with cream and sugar, I want you to sit down and enjoy coffee as it should be. If you can, go buy a French Press and a grinder, or else find a coffee shop nearby that will press your coffee for you (most Starbucks will if you ask). Get you some gourmet coffee (preferably a Latin American coffee if you aren’t used to a press).

Heres the simple directions for making a french press;

1. Coffee: 4 heaping scoops of whole beans ground coarsely does it for me in my 8 cup press.

2. Water: as close to boiling as you can get it, coffee brews best in temperatures between 210 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

3. Let it sit for 4 minutes. Dont press the big metal rod down just yet. I know it, its hard to wait, but just hold on. After the 4 minutes are up, press the grounds to the bottom, and…

4. You got the Java!

Don’t rush to the fridge and get your Coffee Mate caramel macciato flavored creamer- give it a try black. Smell the aroma, and let out a big slurp as you get your first few sips. This is how coffee is meant to be enjoyed, not as a stimulant  that you feel needing an intravenous injection. Drink it out on your porch on these fall evenings or on a Saturday morning before you get going.

I hope this is inspiring to you to rethink your coffee addiction.

Other topics I’m working on in the near future: Cafes in Nashville, how to pick a coffee to brew, how to tell if the cafe you walk into is quality, coffee shop 101, and how to drink your coffee(press, espresso machine, percolator,etc),

Nothing on TV

This is for all of those people who think that nothing is on. I know that having 300 channels is overload, but there are some really quality shows out there, and I’m here to list the ten best shows out there right now.

1. The Big Bang Theory: This show is witty on a whole new level. It follows four physicists who are socially inept, awkwardly dressed, and unable to make any kind of connection with the opposite sex. The worst of them is Sheldon (who just won an Emmy for this show), who is more awkward than the rest of them combine. Every episode is an adventure trying to figure out how they get along, and how their (comparatively) normal neighbor tolerates them.

2. Pawn Stars: This show is so cool, and I would have never thought it. Its a reality show about a pawn shop in Las Vegas owned by three generations of family. Its really great, because you get the craziest stuff brought in there by some of the craziest people. Its really fun, and makes me want to own a pawn shop.

3. Modern Family: This show is too funny. Its shot in a similar style as The Office, but is centered around a grown up family and their kids. This show really is too hilarious to miss, take my word for it.

4. American Idol: I don’t know how many years I avoided jumping on this train, but its a fun show to watch. I think its going to be especially interesting this year, because they are replacing two of the judges  and the new dynamic should be interesting to watch. I mean seriously, if you’re still judging me, at least watch the first couple of episodes. I mean that way you can at least laugh at the pathetic people.

5. How I Met Your Mother: I just started watching this show, but it seems like its Seinfeld for a new generation. Its a funny show for sure, but I havent made up my mind whether or not its as iconic as I’ve heard.

6. Ice Road Truckers: This show is intense. Its another reality show, following truckers in Alaska as they take on a road that is mostly covered in ice. It really is a lot of fun, although its stressful too.

7. Glenn Beck: Oh, I went there. This guy gets called every name in the book, but no one refutes him. Hes the kind of guy you love or hate, cause he does not sugar coat anything. People use hearsay, and don’t give him a chance, but pay attention to him and his chalkboards, and you might start gaining some clarity on whats going on around you. Still judging me? Watch him for two weeks, and tell me what hes wrong about.

8. House: Dr. House is one of the most interesting characters out there. Hes a diagnostic genius, and a total jerk. The writers have done a great job with this show, because they were able to have a show where the characters progress, but you can still watch any random episode and have a good idea of what is going on.

9. Man vs Wild: Bear Grylls is the man. Enough said. If needed to I’m pretty sure he could start a fire with a mean look, and kill a tiger just by growling. The man will go anywhere, eat anything, and make a decent bed out of stone, sweat, and

10. Psych: I saved the best for last. This is the funniest show on TV right now, and hardly anyone I know watches it. Shawn Spencer is a great detective who claims to be psychic (not to be confused with the Mentalist, which apparently ripped the show off). The show is centered around Shawn and Gus as they help solve crimes for the Santa Barbra PD, but its more than another CSI show. These guys will crack you up from start to finish. Its equal parts Scooby Doo, CSI, 80s and 90s humor, mystery, comedy, and wit.

Honorable Mention: LOST. This show was the best show to come on TV. You can’t just watch reruns on a Saturday afternoon while you nap, you have to see the show in its entirety. It is centered around a plane crash in the south-pacific, that ends up becoming more and more mysterious. I cannot express to you in words how good this show is, only that you have to try it out. Just go to your netflix or blockbuster, and try the first season; I guarantee you will be hooked.

I get the news I need

I think of the Simon and Garfunkel song that says “I get all the news I need from the weather report” , and think about how that used to be my old philosophy. When I was a poor, deprived child who had no cable TV (this may lead you to ask yourself “did he even had running water?” Yes, as long as I showered before my sisters.) There wasn’t much of a difference to news stations. There were Channel 5, 8, or 10 news, and they all covered most of the important things by themselves.

When I was in Media Writing, we were told that journalists’ mission was to report the news in an unbiased way. The writer or reporter  was to take their personal sentiments out of the story, give the facts, and give two different views on the story.

We were shown Walter Cronkite reporting Kennedy’s assassination. This was a huge shock, because no one was to show emotion on the television. My teacher told us that people always speculated about his personal ideology, but it was after his retirement that he showed that he had political views that were much more liberal than what most speculated.

What I missed from all of this was why this quality was so necessary. I mean, is it truly possible to be completely unbiased? Would you rather listen to someone who is honest with their views, but still entertains the opposite view? Or is it better that someone places subtle, not always conscious nudges around their “unbiased” reporting?

Even the most brutal murderers were supposed to be showed that they had a rough childhood, and reasons as to why they became they way they were, all with an emotionless face. We all were required to read Grendel, and understand that sometimes society and events can take a place in shaping monsters. I think that its fine to show this side, but to call Charles Manson a sociopath and a murderer does not need any more explanation than to call Snoopy a lazy, daydreaming dog.

We are slowly moving away from Cronkite-types, and are moving towards commentators. We as a people in general are becoming more educated, and looking for people to help us reinforce our point. We, as Americans, should keep ourselves educated, and come up with our own ideals. I’m not trying to call all journalists manipulators, I’m just simply trying to state that no one can truly be a dispassionate observer. I think that as long as the facts are clearly separated from opinion, we should be able to decide our own thoughts from whoever we get our news source.

What we really need is a news station that is honest with its self. Fair and balanced is necessary to give two sides to the argument, but to think that any news source is really unbiased is as absurd as thinking your grandmas cookies are fat-free. People need to quit concerning themselves with all of the other news sources, and look at whether or not the facts are given, and if there is a reasonable conclusion to take with them.

Forwards and such

So we all get email forwards full of the most awful/amazing things, right?

http://www.hdtrailerz.com/video/the-world-s-longest-basketball-shot

Amazing basketball shot.

corgi belly flop

This can only be described with one word: spiderman.

This lady has a flair for storytelling. She told it so well I kind of doubt that anything took place.

This guy is call the A@#hole, and its just clips of him playing (mostly) harmless, but insanely obnoxious jokes on random people. I bet hes a great sprinter.

http://www.oldspiceguy.com/other/im-in-your/

I love these commercials.

 

Anyways, I know that this is a short post, with little substance, but I am working on more!

Some Epic Songs

So now its time to get back to music. I love music so much it hurts, and I just may go on about it till you hurt too.

I don’t know what brought this on, bit I wanted to tell you about some of the most epic songs in my life. I love all kinds of music, maybe even polka. Maybe. Anyways, I just wanted to hopefully inspire you the ways these songs have inspired me.

There are just some songs out there that do so much more than make you sing ” ga ga ooh la la”. They can take your own feelings and emote them in a way that you never could, or maybe it’s so strong that you feel like they stole it from you.

Anyways, heres my list, it’s here to get that Lady Ga Ga song out of your head, ready or not.

Athlete, Tourist. One of my favorite songs all time, just a great song by one of my favorite bands ever.

Barcelona, Its about time. This is a band that I am addicted to. I hit play and cant turn anything else on for weeks.

Kings of Convienience, Homesick. Like a modern Simon and Garfunkel, I just love to sit back and enjoy them.

Mutemath Noticed. So good! I saw them live a while ago, and they put on the best performance I have ever seen, even better than DC Talk. They are a great band with very moving lyrics.

David Crowder Beautiful Collision. I love this song, and especially this version. If you want to know how I feel, check out my blog on my most influential albums.

TLC Dont Go Chasing Waterfalls. Such a great song from the 90s. I love the message in this song, its like its speaking right to me. I used to chase “waterfalls” all the time, and now that I’m sticking to my rivers and lakes, I feel so much more balanced and happy.

Death Cab for Cutie Transatlanticism. What moving lyrics. I mean how many 7 to 8 minute songs can you listen to without changing the song? It just builds and builds with so much passion and emotion

Regina Spektor Samson. Regina seems to be the child of Elton John and Salvatore Dali. She is so proficient in piano playing, and writes very moving lyrics, yet there is a certain feel of lucid dreaming in her lyrics. Even though her words dont really make sense all of the time, you still get the feel of what she is trying to convey.

South Loosen Your Hold. This is a band that I used to keep secret, cause I wanted to be the only one who knew about them (how uncharacteristically hipster of me), but I hope you enjoy them.

Decemberists Engine Driver. These guys have been transported from the 1800s, brought here to write their era’s music through a modern means. I’m not being metaphorical, I honestly think that they have to be over a hundred years old, and you can’t tell me any different.

Joe Purdy, Wash Away. Listen to this song and try to feel sad. Just try it. You can’t, can you? Well thats cause Joe Purdy Rocks. I first heard him on Lost season 1, but it took me forEVER to find out who he is.

http://listen.grooveshark.com/#/user/thisisdanjones/5429752/playlists  I tacked a few others on here for your enjoyment, I hope you like them!

Also, note that TLC is not on the playlist. Thats cause I was joking.