Category Archives: Uncategorized

Late Night Post

Tonight I’m posting a little late. I had a pretty hectic past couple of days. I got an offer to do a job so I have been focusing on that for now. I have been feeling like I am running out of good ideas to write about. I really find it awesome that some people can write full blog posts with thousand words everyday about a new topic. I’m going to try to refocus my attention on my blog more after I get adjusted to this schedule. I have to say I am disappointed in myself because I haven’t been hitting the gym like I planned I was going to. I guess every once in awhile I am going to fall down but I need to pull myself back up. I think of the best things to do is to revaluate situations and see where I need to put more time and effort. Tomorrow, I will look at my situation and try to come up with a new game plan. If anyone has any suggestions or tips with blogging, working out, or even life in general don’t feel shy to comment.

Insomnia Is My Best Friend

I have the worst luck when it comes to sleeping. I toss and turn in my bed all night just hoping when I open my eyes it’ll be morning. Instead, I look at my clock to find only two minutes have clicked away. I have tried everything from drinking warm milk to counting sheep. But nothing seems to help. I have been battling with this problem for most of my life. My days are just filled with tiredness and anticipation to come home and pass out. The earliest memory of this problem is most likely junior high. I was the biggest nerd when it come to school. I’d stay up all night just memorizing every line in my text book to the point I could recite every word. I’d do great on my test, but I would find myself passing out right when I got home. This set up a horrible sleep pattern for me where I would stay up the rest of the night after my nap, and then be tired throughout my whole day. It was destroying me and even crippling my ability to stay focus and interact with people.

Fast forward to now and I am still having this problem. I can’t force myself to sleep at the right times so I find myself awake until bout five in the morning. To get back on a regular sleeping pattern, I need to make myself stay awake that whole day without sleep. Usually, this is unsuccessful  and I pass out at some irregular time. I feel like insomnia is a huge problem in the world and we don’t have the answers to help correct it. It’d just be easier if our bodies didn’t need sleep and we could be active all day long.

Two Taylor Swifts: Old vs. New

Life changes every single day. One minute can turn a person’s entire journey upside down. As we get older, it is only natural that we grow. We mature physically, our likes and dislikes become different, and chapters close and new pages open in our book of life. We may not notice these differences because we are the ones experiencing them. It is much easier to see how other people grow and mature. One of the best examples of this is celebrities. They can’t go out the door without a paparazzi calling out that they are wearing a new designer shoe. Their whole lives are captured frame by frame as the world sees a close timeline of their journey. It is obvious to see how certain celebrities break away from where they began to where they are now. No one is a better example than Taylor Swift.

I still remember the first time I heard of this blonde hair, country singer who strummed her guitar as she sang about relationships, breakups, and love. I was driving home from school one day and the radio played her single “Love Story”. I was instantly hooked by the storyline and metaphor. She was in love with this guy that she knew her parents wouldn’t be happy with. So they kept their love a secret until her father finally approved. Not only were the lyrics catchy but her voice was so smooth and beautiful. I wasn’t posting statuses about my new favorite artist in fear of being judged by my friends, so I secretly just played the song on loop for a good few months on my car drives.

She wasn’t just a one hit wonder either. I downloaded her two albums Taylor Swift and Fearless and couldn’t stop listening. Every song seemed like it was written about another memory of my life. I don’t know how she did it but she was so honest with her lyrics that it felt like she stole they from your life. She didn’t hold anything back and wrote the more personal moments in her life like her album was a diary. There is no way that anyone could say that there isn’t one line that they can’t relate to in any Taylor Swift song.

The innocent singer has now broken away from her country image and turned to a more modern look. She still puts her true emotions and stories into her lyrics, but is far from the beginning singles like the song “Tim McGraw”. She has added a more pop beat into her music and with some electronic beats. A lot of people are complaining that they miss the old Taylor who sang with her guitar in music videos wearing blue jeans and cowboys boots. It is still the same singer, she has just matured. You can see her progression through each album. Her debut album was that country singer with nothing but a hope and dream pouring her emotions into every word in her lyrics.  She has still kept that truth in her songs, but has evolved from the more pop album of Speak Now to the modern sounds of Red. The point of being an artist is to progress and show her maturity. I admit, I was a little taken back when I saw the video for “We Never Getting Back Together” with furry animals. But after listening to the album a couple times, I have fallen in love. I still can relate to her messages. If she didn’t grow as an artist, then everyone would be complaining that she is just writing the same material.

Taylor Swift is definitely not the same girl we first fell in love with. And this is a good thing. She has given us classics, but also matured to give us new music that we enjoy and appreciate. Because of her status as a celebrity, everything she does is captured and put under a magnifying glass. Yes, she is a young woman and will meet guys and become involved with them. But imagine for the past five years that every person you have talked to and been together with was publicized for the world to know. It would probably be a bigger number of people than you would expect. So instead of attacking everything she does, we should enjoy her growth not only as a person but as an artist. It is nice to finally see someone that has accomplished so much and not faltered from her true self.

Movie Review: Side Effects

Reluctantly, my girlfriend dragged me to go see the new Channing Tatum movie Side Effects last night. I saw the preview a bunch of times and wasn’t that impressed. It just seemed like an uneventful, suspense drama about a girl with psychological problems that no one could explain. I didn’t know who the leading actress was, but I noticed that the preview showed flickers of another famous actor Jude Law as the doctor. Besides his role in Sherlock Holmes, I can’t remember the last time he was ever in a movie. I guess the big draw for this motion picture was the presence of Tatum.

As the open credits began to roll, I noticed that this was directed by Stephen Soderbergh. I really didn’t know the movies he has done before, but his name rang a bell and gave me a bit of excitement. The first few minutes were pretty slow, but I was already getting drawn in by the love relationship between Channing and his wife Rooney Mara. It started to pick up soon after, and I have to say I was on the edge of my seat for the entire time.

I don’t want to ruin the movie for anyone, so I won’t give away any spoilers. I loved the way this movie was shot and have never seen it done like this before. Everything was so clear that you could actually see every detail in the actors’ faces. It wasn’t shot from a far away angle, but instead up close as if you were actually there. It even felt like you were inside this girl’s head and battling all the problems she was going through. The acting was superb and nice to see Tatum in a serious film, since I’m still catching my breath from laughing so hard watching 21 Jumpstreet. Another surprise was seeing Catherine Zeta Jones in this film. Maybe I’m too young, but I don’t remember ever seeing her act except for in the T-Mobile commercials. She nailed her role and put on an amazing performance. However, the breakthrough star of the movie had to be Jude Law. I never really was a fan of his earlier work, but this has now made me be on the look out for his next roles. Maybe it was his British accent or his facial gestures, but I just loved his acting as the shrink. He carried around a very professional demeanor, but then you get to know him personally and see his true self shine through. I hope to see him play more roles like this in the future.

Side Effects should be on everybody’s must see list for 2013. Not only was it shot beautifully, but all the actors were excellent. They made you really connect to not only the storyline but the people they were portraying. I actually believed Jude Law was a practicing psychiatrist and not some famous actor. If you have a feeling of what this movie will be like, trust me that you are wrong. This suspense has so many twists and turns that you will not be able to keep your eyes off the screen until it is over.

Shoveling Snow is The Best Workout

For people living on the east coast, this winter has been one of the worst. Now that everything is finally getting back to normal after the blackouts, gas station lines, and devastating losses of Sandy; we were now hit with the storm Nemo. While I think this is my favorite name for any hurricane, I was anticipating the worst after being without heat and power for almost two weeks from Sandy. Fortunately, Nemo wasn’t as harmful as most people thought. There weren’t any power lines coming down or trees collapsing in the middle of the road. However, the storm did bring the most snow I have seen in a couple of years. It was so heavy that I had to shovel my driveway once at night and again in the morning. When I was done, I showered up and laid back for a a little. I felt awesome with that feeling you get after you had a good workout at the gym. My muscles were relaxed and my whole body was filled with energy. I never realized that shoveling could be this great of a workout.

While it doesn’t snow everyday, I feel like shoveling the driveway is one of the best cardio exercises I have done in a while. Unlike just running on a treadmill, you are putting emphasis one very muscle in your body. You use your arms and chest to push the shovel deep into the snow, and then use your  back and legs to lift the snow up and throw it to the side. You repeat this over and over again as you pump up those muscles carrying a good amount of weight up and down the driveway. Even though this is a simple task that most people do, it makes me proud that I accomplished it. I almost feel like one of the weightlifters in the World’s Strongest Man Competition carrying those 200 pound balls of cement, even though the snow is probably only twenty pounds every shovel.

Another great thing about this task is you can’t focus on time and can only put your attention on what you are doing. One of the worst parts about being on a treadmill is the timer flashing in big lights. You try to ignore it, but it draws your attention like a fly to a light. Not only is it distracting, but each time you count the seconds it makes you feel like you are so far away from how long you want to run. With shoveling, there is no timer or watch. You just keep plowing the snow until you are finished. When you are then, you just realized you finished an hour cardio workout.

I really was dreading the potential of hurricane Nemo. Fortunately, it wasn’t too bad and actually enjoyed my time being snowed in. While I’m not a big fan of the snow, I have to say it did look really pretty outside at night with all the street lights bouncing off it. As I was shoveling, I couldn’t help but to get upset. My neighbors were all easily clearing their driveways with snow blowers. I definitely wouldn’t mind having one of these to get the job done, but the part that really ticked me off is that they offered the machine to everyone except me. As I was grabbing on to the shovel to catch my breath, they were all chatting it up as it only took them ten minutes to get rid of the snow. After I was done, I was actually happy they didn’t come to help me. I felt a sense of pride that I could do something like shovel my driveway without anyone’s help. The best part about it is that I was so bundled up in clothes, I probably burnt off more weight doing that than actually running or lifting. So if you ever want a really great workout, pick up shovel the next time it snows. I guarantee it’ll be some of the best cardio you have done.

Future of Bar Bands

Recently, my girlfriend’s mom took us to a restaurant to see a band play. They were a group of middle-aged men that come together every couple of weeks to cover songs. They mostly did classic Rock n’ Roll like Led Zeppelin, The Police, and as always Journey. I was a little apprehensive seeing a bunch of guys who didn’t realize it was time to grow up and stop pretending to sing like Mick Jagger and play the guitar like Slash. Even though their appearance was what you would expect from a cover band, they actually surprised me and were really good.  The singer sounded better than most of the famous artists his age. I found myself singing along to the words. Halfway through the performance, I thought about how weird it must be for them to see music nowadays. It is totally different from what they grew up with. If music has changed this much for them, what is it going to be like when my generation gets older?

I think it is safe to say that Rock n’ Roll has been on a hiatus for awhile. I don’t even remember the last time I heard a rock song on the radio unless I changed to the oldies. Pop stepped in but even that has now changed from bubbly boy bands to songs with electronic bass lines and sexual innuendoes. Rap is another genre that has taken over. It has gone from meaningful songs about love and life to now repetitive nonsense about drugs, girls, and being rich. The big movement right now is probably the EDM/dubstep genre. It is taking over as clubs and arenas are selling out as people see their favorite Djs. I guarantee that our parents never would have thought music could be as intense and ear popping as a Skrillex song.

I’m not biased to any kind of music. I will listen to anything from country to dub step. Just as with any genre, there will be good songs that has memorable hooks and terrible ones that make you question what drugs the artist was on. As I was sitting in that restaurant, I couldn’t help but think what will it be like thirty years from now. Will there still be bands playing at local bars and restaurants covering classic rock anthems. Or will it be an all out rave with foam shooting from the walls and confetti dropping from the ceiling as your ear drums pop from the DJ’s bass drop. I don’t know what will happen, but I definitely can say I enjoy music now more than ever.

Had a Bad Day

I always want to have the best day I could have every time I wake up. I hope to accomplish something during the next twenty four hours or maybe an unexpected surprise will happen. Unfortunately, reality sets in and somedays will be just boring and monotonous. And other days will be hard to get through because of obstacles and unexpected misfortunes. Everybody is bound to have a bad day once in awhile. I guess yesterday was mine.

Just waking up, I knew it wasn’t my kind of morning. I went to the gym right away and my leg cramped up in within the ten minutes on the treadmill. I decided to skip cardio and just focused on lifting. However, I just felt off like my whole routine was screwed up. I pushed myself through and frustratingly finished my workout. On my way back from the gym, I needed to refill my car’s tank. I couldn’t pull into any gas stations as they were packed around the block. It seemed like hurricane Sandy all over again as people carried five gasoline jugs in both hands. I had to drive about twenty minutes from my house before I could find a vacant pump. After this ordeal, I managed to get home, shower up, and take care of some errands. It was one of those days I couldn’t wait to pass out in my bed.

While yesterday was awful, not everyday is like this. It’s obvious that good days will certainly outweigh all the bad ones. Despite all my problems , I was able to get a good workout in today and now can relax as I am snowed in. Despite being trapped inside my house, I always enjoy some good rest and recuperation from the daily grind. Other people find it so overwhelming when they have a bad day. They just want to throw in the towel or whine and complain. I can barely go on Facebook anymore with all the annoying statuses about how awful their life is. My favorite is when people post about why they have to deal with  so many  unimportant problems. I hate to break it to you, but there are others in this world who have it a lot less wonderful than you do. Yes, people always take things for granted as they become accustomed to them. But just take a second to think and you will realize how good you have it compared to others. And most of these problems you make seem so dramatic with long tweets and cries for attention will probably be forgotten in the next week. If you have an issue with something or want a change in your life, you need to make it happen. If you want something bad enough, you will do everything you can to make accomplish it.

One of my other favorite statuses is how bored people are. I’m pretty sure no one else really wants to read your twenty posts about how lame your town is or begging people to hit you up with your desperate attempts at attention. I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve sat in my room doing nothing. It all seems like a blur that has clouded most of my high school days. I have realized that boredom is only your fault. I can’t stand by being idle in my life. If you have absolutely nothing to do, set a goal and accomplish it. Go out for a late night run or gym lift. Finish your homework that will count for half of your yearly grade. Be productive. All of these things will help you later on in life. None of those high school parties or hang outs with friends will truly amount to anything later on. I am not saying that having friends is unimportant, but being productive with your time and accomplishing things will help you on later in life.

Life is going to be boring sometimes. If it was all fun, then how could someone appreciate all the special moments that happen maybe once or twice. Memories like graduation, prom, and passing your driving tests are occasions that will always be cherished. If we had these event happening all the time, than they wouldn’t be called memories. They wouldn’t be as special.

Dysfunctional Sitcom of Life

Recently, I just watched my first episode of Roseanne. I always saw reruns playing on television but never got around to enjoy it. I was surfing through channels and noticed that an episode was just starting. With nothing else on, I thought this would be as good of a time as ever to try it out. The first scene already had me laughing with the daughter and son arguing like most siblings do. I loved the relationship between Roseanne and John Goodman as they bounced jokes off each other but then made the audience relate to serious situations. It was really well written and captivating as I found one episode turned into a full marathon. I don’t know what it is about sitcoms, but I always find myself mesmerized by the chemistry of the actors. The really good shows make you believe they have known each other their whole life and you quickly connect to them. I not only found myself admiring the characters, but wanting to be part of that family.

Not the typical family, but the Tanners in Full House were always having fun even watching television.

Not the typical family, but the Tanners in Full House were always having fun even watching television.

The first sitcom I was hooked on at an early age was definitely Full House. It was the perfect combination of a responsible dad, funny uncle, rebel uncle playing guitar and riding motorcycles, and three sweet, charismatic daughters. I can still remember Stephanie’s famous “How rude” line and Michelle saying ” You got it, dude”. The actors pulled me in with their funny jokes and story lines, even though I found it strange that Danny let his two brothers-in-law free load off him for seven seasons.They always seemed like they were having fun no matter what they were doing. The Tanner family could be sitting at the table eating dinner, and something spontaneous would happen to turn their boring meal into an epic feast with food fights, jokes, and even a talking beaver puppet. It wasn’t about how much they all cared about each other. I had a loving family that would do anything for me and be there if I truly needed it. I think it was the actual story lines of the show that caught my eye. I wanted to go on a vacation to Hawaii and jet ski, snorkel, and find myself leaving the islands with crazy stories that happened. I wished every problem I encountered would be magically solved at the end of every show.  I wanted every day to be like a Full House episode, but unfortunately I didn’t live in San Francisco or have an awesome red Corvette that played a catchy theme song when I drove it. I was stuck just watching from  the outside as I had to deal with the monotony of school and real-life problems.

Another show I started watching after school was Boy Meets World. In my opinion, this has to be one of the best and most memorable sitcoms from the 90’s. Not only did Cory have this great family, but the of closest best friend on tevlesion Shawn and him were inseparable. Even if it seemed overbearing or too much, they would always be there for each other with advice or a helping hand. Shawn even got along with Cory’s soulmate Topanga, as they all hung out and had a memorable four years at John Adams. While most people grow apart after high school, they remained best friends through college. After graduating eighth grade, I was so excited to move on and have these types of memories. I wanted that best friend that I would go on adventures with and could always call up whenever I needed. I wanted an older brother Eric that taught me about life and told me his stories. I was hoping that my next door neighbor would become a teacher and be in my classroom for the next eight years of my education. While I never had an older brother, a Mr. Feeny, or cool teacher like John that took Shawn in to live with him;  I did have some good memories with a close group of friends. But just like Boy Meets World, all things have to come to an end. High school wasn’t going to last forever, and I never found that Shawn that I could call my best friend for my whole life. (On a side note, I really hope the new spinoff Girl Meets World doesn’t ruin the series.)

Corey and Shawn were always up to something in every episode of Boy Meets World.

Corey and Shawn were always up to something in every episode of Boy Meets World.

I still watch sitcoms but can’t help but feel like they are missing something. I always find myself going back to reruns of my favorite shows of the 90’s. I still feel like they have more memorable characters and relatable story lines, but I think they mostly hold fond memories of my childhood. Now that I have grown up, I actually did live all those episodes I wanted to be in so bad. I have gone through relationships and breakups, good report cards and tests I failed, disappointing my parents and making them proud, enjoying friends and losing them, and even graduating. I got to live my own sitcom and not only connect to the characters but actually care about them. I made up my own one liners and catch phrases and decided how I wanted each episode to end. Maybe I won’t remember every lesson Mr. Feeny said or sit down Danny Tanner had with Michelle, but I will always cherish my own memories longer than any series can be on television.

Old People Are the Best Drivers

As I was coming back home from the gym, I was stopped at a very busy four-way intersection. The problem here is only one road has stop signs as the main road always has cars whizzing around the corner. You begin to inch up as the last car passes, but then another truck comes whizzing by when you’re about to cross. After patiently waiting a couple minutes, I finally had my chance to go. But just as I was creeping forward, I saw a van coming up the road. I was in that awkward situation where I don’t know if I have enough time to go or I should just wait. I decided to be a nice guy and let the car pass. I guess it might have been my quick glance, but I didn’t realize this car was rolling at about five miles per hour. It was close enough for me to wait, but since it was traveling seven times slower than the actual speed limit I could have crossed the road probably three times back and forth. At first, I thought the car was stalling out or something terrible had happened to the driver. As I was ready to get out and help, I quickly realized what was going on: old people driving.

It was a elderly couple peering out the dashboard window. The woman sitting in the passenger seat seemed like she was in pain with a grimace I’ve only seen people passing a kidney stone make. I couldn’t even see the driver, but could tell it was her husband by the cap that just creeped above his steering wheel. I see it all the time with elderly men that operate cars but don’t fix the seat so they can actually see all of the road. This moment seemed like it lasted a week as the couple’s car actually moved in the middle of the intersection to make a right hand turn. They almost clipped my car as they swerved into the street. I was dumbfounded that these people thought it was a good idea to drive. They are clearly aware that they can’t handle all the responsibilities of operating a car.

Hilarious still from South Park depicting exactly what I see when elderly people drive.

Hilarious still from South Park depicting exactly what I see when elderly people drive.

Now I understand some senior citizen are in different situations. They might not have a loved one or any family close enough to drive them around places. It actually made me really appreciate having a car that I take for granted. I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t just pick my keys up and go wherever I needed to without a hassle. It was a nightmare when my car was in the shop for one day and I couldn’t get out of my house. I could never imagine someone knowing that they weren’t fit to drive for the rest of their lives.

It is a terrible thing to have to deal with, but there are also solutions. Hopefully, some retirees have saved enough throughout their life that they can afford a car service to get them to certain places. I’m not saying rent out a limo to drive to Atlantic City every weekend, but there are affordable driving arrangements to help elderly citizen get to doctor’s appointments, grocery stores, and visiting friends/family. And if they really planned ahead and worked on your savings, it’d be possible for retired people to reside in a adult community. I have actually visited one of these places recently, and I was tempted to live there. They have everything you could need from grocery stores, doctor offices, recreation centers, and even a bowling alley. The houses are wonderful and feel like you just bought a brand new place to call your own. However, not everyone sees eye to eye about this.

Now, this post isn’t about bashing grandmas and grandpas. I just feel like safety should be an issue and taken seriously. Some people feel like age doesn’t affect them, when they can barely read the signs and determine if the light is green or red. I have seen elderly citizens drive with their nose on the steering wheel as they can barely see the road with glasses thicker than actual street signs. They don’t want to be burdened with relying on others so they can still feel like they have independence in their lives. It’s probably the worst feeling knowing you are not as youthful as you used to be. But people that are not capable of driving should not be on the road. They not only put themselves in harm, but also can cause serious injuries to other people. The past year I have seen the terrifying videos of elderly people driving into grocery stores at about forty miles per hour crashing into shoppers and even children. I personally think after a certain age that everyone should be retested and given eyes exams. It may be the only way to bring them to the grim reality that their days of driving have come to an end. Hopefully, most people will grow old with loved ones and family they can rely on. While I love driving, I sadly know one day I will have to hang up my keys for good as well.

The Great Debate: Pancakes vs. Waffles

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It’s what could start you off on a good note or make you feel like you woke up on the wrong side of the bed. I know I have a lot more energy and focus when I had a full, hearty meal right after I woke up. The typical early morning foods usually are some form of eggs, bowl of cereal with milk, and toast. If you are on the healthy side, you might have a plate of fruit to go with your freshly squeezed glass of orange juice. Then there are the lucky ones who are privileged to have the royal treatment. You wake up out of bed and your mom or significant other asks if you would rather have a fluffily, delicious stack of pancakes or tasty, crispy mound of waffles. You can already imagine that sweet aroma of pancakes frying or the mouthwatering scent of waffles toasting in the microwave. It feels like Christmas and you are about to be given the breakfast present you have been waiting for. You quickly snap out of your daydream and you’re brought back to the reality of this difficult decision. Pancakes or waffles?

Only one thing can make a waffle more delicious than syrup...ice cream.

Only one thing can make a waffle more delicious than syrup…ice cream.

This dilemma has stumped even the savviest of eaters. There are many factors to consider when choosing the correct breakfast meal. One aspect to think about is the actual cooking of the food. Waffles are simple and easy to make. You take them out of the freezer, pop them in the microwave, and they are toasted and ready to enjoy in about two minutes. Pancakes are a more daunting task.Unless you go out to eat or are lucky enough to have someone make them for you, pancakes are bit more complicated. You need to take out the mix and stir it up with eggs, milk, and butter. After picking up egg shells and cleaning other messes, you need to fry the batter and flip it to even out each side. Finally, you are ready to enjoy you meal. While it is time consuming, the worst part about making pancakes is they might not come out exactly how you imagined. Lets face it, not everybody is blessed with the magical touch of cooking. I definitely will say that waffles are the easier breakfast to cook, especially for anyone in a rush.

Tall stack of appetizing pancakes drizzled in syrup and topped with blueberries.

Tall stack of appetizing pancakes drizzled in syrup and topped with blueberries.

The next thing to consider is the actual taste of each food. Waffles come pre-made usually and have all sorts of different flavors. I’m pretty sure they have even come out with a chocolate bacon flavor recently. They taste delicious after they are toasted, buttered up, and drizzled in syrup. This dish is soft but firm enough to fill any hungry man’s stomach. Pancakes are more fluffy and sweet. I love looking at a tall stack of hotcakes that are dripping with syrup and butter as if I was watching Michelangelo paint the Sistine Chapel. I don’t know if it is the texture or some secret, but pancakes have that taste that make me always crave more.  They are even easier to cut than waffles. Not to mention when you add fruit and whip cream to your stack, it puts it over the edge. Plenty of types of waffles are pre-made with these ingredients, but they lack the natural taste that pancakes possess.

After considering all these options, it’s really a coin choice and matter of personal opinion. Growing up, my family was always big waffle eaters. I can still remember going to my grandma’s house as a kid and she’d make me a big plate of this breakfast delicacy. Even though they were the plain flavor, it still made me excited to dig in and enjoy my treat. Throughout my years, I rarely had pancakes. My house’s freezer would be filled with every type of flavor of waffle you could find. And I might not have complained, but the overload of this breakfast dish always made me secretly want pancakes. Now whenever I go out to a diner, I order a huge stack of pancakes. It could be eight in the morning or two at night, I always had to have these delicious hotcakes with whip cream, syrup, and butter. I still enjoy waffles for my morning meal, but my taste buds will always crave pancakes.

My Eyes Are Bigger Than My Mouth

buffalo wingsMy favorite thing about the Super Bowl besides the actual game is being able to pig out without any judgement. It doesn’t matter if you scarf down a whole bucket of fried chicken using a liter of Dr. Pepper as mouth wash because the person next to you is probably doing the same thing. It’s one of the best days of the years as everyone relaxes and enjoys each other’s company with beer, food, and the pigskin being tossed around on the television. But before the kickoff, your body shuts down and it feels like you hit a wall. You just finished the tray of appetizers but your stomach is throwing in the towel before the best food dishes even come out. The only setback of having all these delicious meals to gobble up on the most sacred days of sports is people usually eat with their eyes and not their mouth.

Worried about having enough food to eat, I decided to make sure I thoroughly was ready to filly myself with snacks and appetizers for the entirety of the pre game, actual game, half-time show, and post game. I called up the local Hooter’s and placed a mild order for twenty pieces of original, buffalo wings. I may have been going big for this epic chow down, but I wasn’t stupid enough to fill my whole  Super Bowl diet with just wings. I needed a variety of subsistence to make this marathon of eating memorable.

I pulled into the parking lot of the restaurant to find myself looking at a line wrapped around the building. Not only was this delay in my mealtime unexpected, but the freezing temperature and ice cold wind would surely make this wait feel like some sort of torture. I headed to the back of the line as I pulled my arms close to my body to keep warm. I could already notice the aggravation on some people’s face, while others exclaimed the amount of time they have been in line for like it was contest to see who has been waiting the longest. The line honestly wasn’t that bad and moved pretty quickly. I found it hilarious to see people carrying boxes and boxes of wings as the sauce dripped onto the asphalt. One lady even had two employees haul out the five boxes of wings she had ordered. I haven’t even seen that many wings in the actual Hooter’s at once, let alone being carried into one person’s car.

One of the classic Super Bowl snacks...pigs in a blanket.

One of the classic Super Bowl snacks…pigs in a blanket.

I finally made my way to the front of the line to see an assembly line of wings being packed and given out that would have made Henry Ford proud. I got my order and was ready to race off to my next food destination. I met my girlfriend at the grocery store, which I was surprised to see was a lot less hectic than Hooter’s. She already had the shopping cart filled with three bags of chips, different dips, and cold cuts from the deli. I soon burst out into a nervous panic that this wouldn’t be enough to occupy me for the whole game. I rushed her around shoving every frozen food appetizer I could find from baby hotdogs to lasagna. After filling the whole cart and even the bottom part under the carriage, I was happy and ready to begin my Super Bowl day.

As I was snacking on some cold cuts and cheese, all the frozen appetizers I had just bought were heating up in the oven and microwave. I couldn’t wait to be watching the game as I savored some nachos and drank a cold glass of soda. The biggest problem would be what order I eat everything in. The kickoff was just about to start when the timers went off. My girlfriend and I laid out everything we had just bought on the table. I didn’t know what to choose so I just shoveled a bunch of everything onto a plate. I plopped down on the couch and  was all set. Everything was in place and ready to be consumed. Just as I was about to bite into a delicious potato skin, something struck me. I couldn’t find the strength to finally enjoy the food I had been craving all day. I didn’t know what it was until my stomach felt like it just did a backflip. I was totally full and there was no way I could keep going on. I started having pains and knew this was it. I put my plate down in defeat and assumed the fetal position on the couch.

Maybe it was all too much for me to handle. I had set my hopes too high just to see them crash before me. The probable answer was I had just consumed close to four pounds of cold cuts along with a bowl of chips and a veggie platter. Instead of piling food into my mouth for the next four hours, I was stuck with my girlfriend rubbing my stomach as I cringed in pain. All of these snacks we had just bought now are sitting in the fridge wrapped in tinfoil. Unfortunately, I must accept my fate as I  eat all these left overs like a normal person pacing myself throughout the week.

Random Thoughts on Super Bowl

Lombardi trphyNothing gets me more pumped up than to see an epic showdown in sports with great story lines. It was the end of a career of one of the most prolific defensive players to ever step on the field. I thought it was funny that Ray Lewis has been playing for so long that his first sack ever in he NFL was against the coach of the opposing team Jim Harbaugh. He has been admired for his eye-catching antics before games and motivational speeches, but that was overshadowed by his personal problems he encountered in earlier years. One of the best safeties in the league Ed Reed might have played his last game in a Ravens’ jersey, even with helping his team to a Super Bowl victory. On top of one player having the possibility of being let go, the MVP and quarterback of the Ravens Joe Flacco will be looking for a big payday on his new contract. His heroics and leadership definitely was a big contributor to the successful season his squad had. However, my favorite headline of all had to be the quarterback situation in San Francisco. Not only did they let go of Heisman winner Troy Smith a couple years ago, but they sat their first round draft pick in Alex Smith to start the phenomenal, rising star Collin Kaepernick. Despite losing, his performance in last night’s game definitely showed there is a lot more to come from this young quarterback. Also, I forgot to mention that the two head coaches playing for the ultimate prize in professional football were brothers! The game definitely lived up to the Super Bowl hype, and I couldn’t have asked for a better performance. Here are some of my thoughts on the game.

  • While I didn’t really have a favorite team playing, I always like to root for the underdog. The 49ers definitely got my attention with the gutsy decision to start a pretty much rookie qb. And the best part of it all was that the criticized choice paid off for them more than they hoped. They also have some of the best players for their position in Frank Gore (very underrated), Vernon Davis, and Patrick Willis. 
  • The first half was not what I had expected at all. I was hoping to see Kaepernick throw a couple deep passes and break away for twenty yard gains. The Ravens’ defense pretty much dominated the 49ers’ offense. Baltimore marched up the field with ease as they built up a 21-6 lead before the half. I was hoping this wouldn’t end like the dreadful BCS Championship game.
  • Despite the first half being one-sided, the most excitement came when a fight broke out among the players. Unfortunately, the NFL had to preserve their integrity and pan away from the action. This really bothered me because I found myself not even paying attention to the game until I heard a brawl had started. I wish it was more like the NHL and just let the players take out their anger on each other.
  • I enjoyed the half time show but I wasn’t really wowed by it. For years, this performance is supposed to be the ultimate spectacle in entertainment. I wasn’t thrilled by the choice of Beyonce either. Don’t get me wrong, she is one of the best artists around and has the showmanship and dance moves to back it up. I just felt like it was short and not as crazy as I anticipated. I loved the stage and the cool images they simulated on the screen as Queen B was shaking it. The fact that she reunited Destiny’s Child for part of the show made it even more impressive, despite the fact it seemed like their mics were turned down to not be louder than Beyonce and they were on stage for probably a minute. Maybe it’s just me, but I always feel like I’m looking for more from these shows and question the choices for the half time performance. I guess nothing can live up to Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake’s memorable act.

    Future of the San Francisco 49ers

    Future of the San Francisco 49ers

  • The kick return in the beginning of the second half threw me back into my seat. I couldn’t believe the Ravens had just added another seven points to their lead. I was hoping for the comeback team I saw in the 49ers with their  come from behind victory against the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC championship. I was ready to pack it in and  start surfing for reruns to watch.
  • Then the unforgettable “Blackout” happened. I don’t think any fan minded a delay in the game because it just meant more time to keep drinking and watching football. But the players were definitely concerned, especially the Ravens since they had the momentum. I don’t know if it was an accident, a planned way to turn the game around, or a unexplained miracle; but it was exactly what San Francisco needed.
  • And then the team that I had known started to come alive. Kaepernick was throwing deep passes, maneuvering his offense, and breaking away on runs towards the end zone. The defense for the 49ers started to show why they are considered one of the dominant forces in the NFL too. They began to slow down Ray Rice and Joe Flacco, and held the Ravens from scoring. The swing of momentum was in the favor for my team, all they had to do was capitalize on this drive in the last two minutes.
  • This play will live on forever in the history of professional football. On fourth down in the red zone, Kaepernick threw up the ball to Michael Crabtree. Any person that wasn’t blind could have seen the Ravens’ defender holding him. I jumped up in the air and screamed, “Yes! The ball is coming back”. I waited a good few seconds and still saw no flag. I couldn’t believe it as I watched the head coach of San Francisco have an aneurysm on the sideline. The refs had been favoring Baltimore the whole entire game, but this play had just proved it. Even though a game as important as the Super Bowl shouldn’t come down to the officiating, it almost felt like they robbed the 49ers of their victory.
  • It honestly didn’t bother me about the end of the game, I was still excited to see the Ravens celebrate. Before the game was even over, Ray Lewis was crying on the sideline. I think that a tissue company should definitely contact his agent and give him a endorsement. I was happy to see Flacco finally get his ring after years of criticism and saying he wasn’t an elite quarterback. And even if Ed Reed doesn’t get resigned to Baltimore, it was great to go out with a victory the last time he wore that jersey. Also, the 49ers might have lost but it shows the true potential they have for years to come. The best part about everything is the Super Bowl lived up to its hype and will be remembered for years to come

    Ray Lewis's next sponsorship deal.

    Ray Lewis’s next sponsorship deal.

Breakfast In Bed

Breakfast in bedOne of the most thoughtful things someone can do for a person they care about is bring them breakfast in bed. The holiday this usually occurs the most is Mother’s Day. The dad wakes up the kids bright and early as they scoop out fresh fruit, scramble eggs, and possibly burn some toast. They get all excited to see their mom’s surprised smile as they hug and kiss her. They place the tray of food that they worked so hard to make and organize on her lap to show their appreciation for everything she does. This gesture is not only for Mother’s Day but other occasions too. How many times has your mother brought a bowl of chicken noodle soup with a warm grilled cheese sandwich to you in bed when you were feeling under the weather? Or how about on a special anniversary or Valentine’s Day when a significant other wakes you up with a tray of your favorite pancakes and vase of red roses. This simple sign of affection can go a long away and really show someone how much you care about them. However, there are some technical difficulties I have noticed mixing food with a bed.

One of the main problems is actually positioning yourself to enjoy the food you were just surprised with. A bed isn’t like a chair, it is comfortable to lie down in not actually sit up. Most beds have a head rest that you can lean your back uncomfortably on as the wood digs into your spine. Just when you find that right spot, you begin to sink deeper down into your cushy mattress. So every time you take a bite out of your omelet, you have to prop yourself back up. If people are like me, I do not want to be bothered and interrupted every couple of minutes when I am enjoying a meal.

True love can be shown even through food.

True love can be shown even through food.

Another issue with breakfast in bed is sheets don’t get along with crumbs and spills. It’s bound to happen even to the neatest eater that a crumb from your toast will get lodged in between your sheets. It really isn’t a big deal because you can just brush it off the mattress. Unfortunately, the amount of crumbs will slowly build up each time you bite into the golden, brown slice of buttered bread. You may think you have wiped all the debris from your meal away until later that night when you feel the tiny pieces scratching against your skin. You try to furiously clean them off your sheets but each time your hand whacks your bed you are crushing them into smaller and smaller pieces. You can’t even see them now as they irritate you the rest of the night. Not to mention the occasional spill that will stain your sheets orange from juice, this simple meal now turns into a full day of cleaning. Besides the sheets, the person who enjoyed this meal will most likely be forced to clean this mess up and lug the tray back to the kitchen to wipe down. Hopefully, you have a caring significant other that will keep you company as you enjoy your meal and take care of all the dirty work after.

While the meal being brought to bed is a really caring gesture, it might not be the most rewarding gift for the person enjoying the surprise. Even through all the spilt crumbs and spilled juice on your sheets, it is still worth it to know that someone cares about you that much to go through all that trouble to surprise you. They don’t even want anything else in return because the best gift that they could ever get it a smile from you. I know the greatest feeling I could ever have is to see someone else I care about smiling and having a good time.

Love is a Gamble

welcome to vegasHow many times have you seen your friend’s hearts broken from being dumped? Their whole entire world seems like it is crumbling around them. They invest so much time and feelings into this person, only to see it thrown away. Putting  everything on the line, they only hope it works out in their favor. I guess you could almost say that people are gambling in relationships. But isn’t it true that love is as unpredictable and risky as a game of chance?

I like to look at love almost like playing a hand in poker. You have some players put every chip on the table and go all in. They have nothing to hide and make it known that they’re confident with the cards they have been dealt. You could be sitting with two aces, but you don’t know if the player next to you is sitting on a Royal Flush. You see yourself ending up happy and things panning out the way you imagined. But after the last card is flipped and all hands are revealed, you are mortified to see that you didn’t finish on top. You are now left with this horrible pit in your stomach as you watch everything you had and invested in taken from you. And the worst part about is that there is no way to stop this from happening after you lose all your chips.

poker chipsBesides the people that wear their hearts on their sleeves and leave nothing to hide at the table, you have other card holders that are more sly about their plays. They may not be given the best cards in the deck, but they manage to bluff their way to get what they want. Almost as conniving as con-artists, they will manipulate and intimidate others until they have them believing everything they say or do. Some people will buy into all the lies they are throwing out, but the smart ones always pick up on this. The one thing about people who bluff is even behind their poker face and dark shades, you can notice their tell signs. It could be a cough, a nervous twitch, or even pulling at the ear. These signs are typical of players that will lie their way to victory, but a professional isn’t blinded by lights and glamour of the game and will catch on and guard their chips in order to stop from being hurt.

The ultimate hand in poker, just like every person wants that perfect hand in game of love.

The ultimate hand in poker, just like every person wants that perfect hand in game of love.

In this game of chance we call love, you never know where you will be ending up. You walk into a casino hoping to cash out or hit the big jackpot. You may get all sevens on the slot machine or find yourself walking home without a penny in our pocket. Sometimes it is all a game, and you just need to be careful of the people sitting at the table. Either way, each person can’t help the cards they have been dealt in the gamble of romance. Hopefully, everyone finds that Royal Flush after playing a few hands.

Madden Ruined Football

Madden '04 Cover

Typical Playstation Controller after game of Madden Football

Typical Playstation controller after a game of Madden Football

I still can remember that first time I got Madden Football. I ripped off the plastic covering like I was the Incredible Hulk tearing a car apart. I placed the Madden ’04 disc into my PS2 and I never looked back. I would spend countless hours practicing my running, dissecting defenses to know where to throw the ball, and memorizing offensive strategies for my linebackers to counter. I loved playing in franchise mode that started with the great minicamp games and lead to a grueling regular season schedule (unless you stimulated all the regular season games until the playoffs). I won so many Super Bowls that I think I ended my franchise play in the year 2020. Not only was playing with your favorite team great, but you could also create your own super team. I remember me and my friends making ourselves into these unrealistic players that were almost seven feet tall and over 300 pounds with no body fat having 99 stats in every category. No team could touch us as we pounded on every professional player in the game. It might not have been up to the standards of gaming today, but Madden back then was simple and perfect.

While playing my favorite video game, I picked up on a quick trick that made me impossible to beat. I had always settle for a solid team that had a quarterbacks with a reliable arm. I realized that if I never had a open receiver, the defense would break through my offensive line and swarm the quarterback. It happened over and over again and was so frustrating. I didn’t know where to find an answer to my dilemma, but the solution was staring at me the whole time. The case of Madden ’04 had Michael Vick on the cover. What most people don’t know is Vick in ’04 was as close to having a made-up, 99 stats player than any other person in the game. Not only could he quickly out run everyone trying to tackle him, but he could throw bombs farther and faster than all the quarterbacks. Besides having Vick, the Falcons were loaded with other stars. Once my playbook showed the quarterback icon as red meaning the defense was focusing on that player, I could quickly switch to running with Warrick Dunn. He was almost as fast as Michael Vick and I could maneuver him in and out of the defense. He sliced through holes smoother than cutting butter and would break away if you ran him outside. Let alone having these track athletes in my backfield, I had the amazing presence of the wide receivers Michael Jenkins, Adam Jennings, and tight end Alge Crumpler. They pretty much could catch anything thrown to them, even from halfway across the field. I was unstoppable with this team and putting up scores that were only Madden-like. My friends would give up and some even throw the controller in frustration like a baby when I was leading by forty points. I loved seeing their faces as I broke their linebacker’s ankles or made their cornerbacks eat turf as they tried tackling my wide receivers. Gaming was good and Madden Football was close to my heart. I thought I was invisible, but even the mighty shall fall.

After a hiatus from playing video games, I bought an Xbox 360 for my freshman year in college. I refused to buy Madden because I knew it wouldn’t feel the same as playing with a PS2 controller. My biggest fear is I wouldn’t be as dominant as before, especially it being years after the infamous ’04 Falcons. So I decided to wait on buying a copy. But I started to get that urge to run my quarterback to the end zone as I juke out defenders and even throw a couple unbelievable passes from fifty yards away to my wide receivers. So I drove to BestBuy one night and  picked up Madden ’13. I knew I’d be a bit rusty and it might take some time getting back into it, especially playing on a Xbox 360 instead of a PS2. However, I was in for a bigger surprise than I thought.

I looked at the cover of my new purchase and already had a bad feeling in my stomach. I don’t what it is but the picture didn’t give me that same excitement as the old fashion game I cherished. After unwrapping the case, I put in the disc and held my controller in anticipation of getting back into some football domination. After exiting quickly through a couple developer logos and the cheesy intro, I finally got to the start screen. I was then proceeded to a update alert that made me wait a few minutes until it was done downloading. Funny, I didn’t remember Madden ’04 having to download more content for ten minutes. Shouldn’t it already be in the disc? The download didn’t phase me really, but I was thrilled to have to quickly skim through the ads for a second time. Once again I am back at the start screen, and it feels like my Xbox 360 is spamming me. The screen is flashing with redeem online code and update rosters and ten other different options. I just want to play the game, not fill out a resume to work with Madden. I figure out how to exit out of all this junk, and I finally press the start button.

The original Madden would just load to a classic start screen where you can scroll through all the options. It would have some sliding images of relevant players in the NFL with modern pump up music to get every gamer in the mood for football. Madden ’13 brought me through this three dimensional worm hole that felt like I was riding the Fireball at the carnival. The vivid colors alone could have sent a kid into a seizure besides me now having the feeling I want to vomit. I am now brought to a screen that looks like I am watching a news room’s broadcaster or the stock exchange board. I am pretty sure there is even a ticker of stocks strolling up at the top. I am all for modernizing the game, but it is too much being thrown at once. After  my eyes adjust, I realize where the play now option is and click it.  I choose the Philadelphia Eagles only because I know Mike Vick in on the team and I can use him to my advantage. Picking the options for the play now aren’t that difficult and I am finally ready to start my next chapter in Madden Football.

The screen now turns to Lincoln Financial Stadium, and I must admit that the graphics are pretty impressive. Even the commentators look like their real selves. I win the coin toss and pick receive. The Giants kick the ball off and I am ready to run this back for a touchdown. However, I notice something strange about the running feature. I couldn’t pinpoint what it is exactly but it just seems off. The runner feels like he is a weeble wobble or something as his body dips side to side. I can’t really explain what bothered me about his running but it doesn’t have that classic Madden feeling to it. It didn’t matter because now Mike Vick is up and I know I am running straight for the outside. He gets the snap and immediately I break free. There are no defenders near me, I am running this  no problem to the end zone. I then notice that out of nowhere the defensive linemen outruns Vick and tackles him to the ground. I couldn’t believe what I saw. I tried it again and the same exact thing happened twice. How is it possible that a bulky line men is not only going to keep up with Vick but actually outrun him. The guy ran a 4.33 for his 40 yard dash at the NFL combine, which is the lowest for any professional quarterback. I shrugged it off and decided they lowered his stats from nine years ago. I guess it’s time for me to pick a new team.

I then tried out the Washington Redskins because they have to have the fastest quarterback in the league with Robert Griffin. Unbelievably, the same exact thing happened with him. Linemen that could not even come close to his acceleration and speed were able to catch up to him and tackle him. Not only was it bothering me that every player seems to have the same speed, but the juke and spin seems all off. In Madden ’04, I was flawless with my ground and pound moves. You can’t even juke one player in this game, yet alone spin around them and watch as the defender breaks his ankles. You can barely even time the jukes for your running back it seems you are controlling an awkward kid that just learned to run, Besides all this, the way the player moves is just frustrating as he sluggishly sprints and never breaks free. What had happened to the Madden game I fell in love with. I understand they are trying to make it more realistic and modern, but I’d rather take simple substance over all these flashy add ons. Football is a realistic sport, but Madden is a game and should be kept in its original, well acclaimed form.

Maybe I am just being too harsh on Madden. He is trying to keep this gaming series going and I guess modernizing it seems like the solution. Making it more appealing and flashy can help it contend with the heavy hitters like Call of Duty and Halo. However, I have talked to my friends and they agree with what I said. They don’t like the way the players handle and the feel of the game. There is just too much crammed in there, even for one play. I don’t even see them buying the new Maddens anymore, and have now turned their attention to the Fifa franchise. It’s sad to see this happen to a game I have so many memories of. Staying up late with friends as games came down to the wire or even the infamous blow outs where your team would score a hundred points. No longer will there be domination, the breaking of ankles, or bomb passes. The game has tried to revolutionize itself by becoming more realistic. Maybe next year Madden will install a feature so you can feel the actual hit from Patrick Willis on your quarterback. I’m sure that’s the next step for Madden ’14.

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