Tag Archives: College

The Roads of Life

I never really expected myself here at this point in my life. I always had this picture of what I’d be like when I got older. I would be off at some amazing school somewhere with a great group of friends and a handful of opportunities knocking at the door. I never gave much though about everything else because up to a certain point, my journey was smooth sailing. I had hit cruise control and was just enjoying the scenic views. Unfortunately, the road got a little bumpy. When I tried taking control, I realized my brakes were out and swerved off my preplanned destination. Now it seems like I am deserted on the side of an unused road just waiting for help.

Now that I’m twenty-one years old, I am not in school and have no idea what I want out of life. The one thing I was passionate about was wrestling but my days of competing are long over. A torn meniscus in my knee and a blown out shoulder really crippled my career. I still find myself going to matches and being involved in the sport as a fan. I’d love to help out and coach on the side, but I don’t know if I could ever see myself doing that as a career.

Another thing I have found myself doing more often is watching vlogs on Youtube. Usually it is couples that film themselves everyday and put it out for the world to see. They always seem to be having fun and doing cool, quirky things. I could watch them just shopping at a grocery store and won’t find myself being bored. If there is one thing I could do, it would be able to film myself and put it on Youtube. I’d love to try different, crazy things and share my life experiences with the internet. I have a lot of ideas for funny videos and it’d be awesome to collaborate with other Youtubers. I think the past part would be able to capture my life for everyday and always have that memory to look back on. That is probably one of the most rewarding parts of doing it besides sharing your crazy journey of a life for others.

Even people who seem to have it all probably feel a bit lost in life sometimes. If you are feeling this way, it is most likely other people have dealt with it as well. While I am still on the side of the road waiting for some assistance, it is nice to have some time to think about where I am going.

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Lying Through Texting

I know many people have been caught lying by texting someone a message meant for another person. Maybe you lied to your parents telling them your sleeping over your friends when you really at that party you know you can’t miss. Or maybe you just are a liar. But I think we can all be labeled as fibbers of the truth when it comes to sending those fake abbreviations in a text message.

How many times have you put a “HAHA” in a text just to send something during that awkward moment when you have nothing else to say? The message you probably received wasn’t funny, so why would you deceive someone by telling them they are humorous. Or what about the message that starts out with “LOL. I highly doubt you are laughing out loud to a reply of a simple “WHATSUP”. If I was a parent and heard my child laughing in their room with no television or actual talking conversation going on, I would think they have a serious problem. But the most abused line of all is “ROFL”. There is no way a text message is that funny that your body goes into an uncontrollable fit on the ground as you laugh so hard it brings you to tears. I hate when I just say send a normal text to keep the conversation going along and I get that obnoxious reply. If my monotonous “NMJC” is so hysterical to you, then you shouldn’t attend any funny movies or stand up comedy. I wouldn’t want to see  or be anywhere near your reaction to that.

While abbreviations can be fun, it doesn’t give you the right to abuse them. They need to be handled responsibly because one misplacement of a “HA” or a “ROFL” instead of a “LOL” can cause catastrophic events in the realm of texting.

End of the Weekend

Nothing much really happened today. I woke up pretty late this morning. Last night, I went to see ten p.m. showing of the movie Safe Haven. It was good, but not anything up to the quality of work Nick Sparks has put out in the past. I will say the ending of the movie totally shocked me to the point all the hairs on the back of my head stood up. Besides that, it has been pretty much a boring day in my life.

I guess Sundays are really the finish line of the week or the home stretch. You finally get a chance to relax after a long week, and then Sunday hits. It is still part of the weekend, but it has that bittersweet feeling. You want to soak up every last bit of fun the weekend has, but you feel the reality of the week starting to creep in.

I hated it, especially in high school. It would be Sunday, but I’d find myself working harder on this day than school days during the week. Cramming everything in and trying to get ready for Monday. I think Monday gets a bad rep from the following Sunday.

Anyway, I am going to milk every last second of this weekend. I am going to sit in my bed and just relax. Probably watch some television and then pass out. And then the monotony of the week starts all over again.

The Modern Valentine’s Day

Probably one of the most dreaded holidays around has to be the celebration of St. Valentine. It is not because of couples showing their appreciation for each other or people just being affectionate and friendly. I wish we saw this everyday. It would make the world a more enjoyable place to be in. Unfortunately, just like with every other holiday some people don’t celebrate the occasion. But these people take it to a whole new level on V Day. They are single people.

For Christmas, you wake up to find presents under your tree. For Easter, you find that a fluffy bunny left a basket of goodies and treated. For Valentine’s Day, some people will wake up to find a card or maybe flowers. However, before that you are woken up to all the annoying status on Facebook and tweets about how being single is awesome. It obviously isn’t that awesome when two days ago you were saying how miserable it is to be alone. I get it, trust me. Everyone has been that person who may not have a person to enjoy special moment with. I remember all the times I would be jealous of seeing couples holding hands and kissing and wishing it was me. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to fill my friends newsfeed with cries for attention and annoying updates.

It has almost become the opposite of what this holiday is celebrated more. There are more people spreading messages of disappointment and anger than there are people who are showing love. It has become the anti-Valentine’s Day. But what makes this day so special that you need to be this obnoxious about your relationship status. You’re still going to feel this way tomorrow and the next today until you find someone to date.

Because of all of this, Valentine’s Day has really lost it’s hype. It isn’t that romantic holiday of love. It has now become an awkward occasion where you have to walk on eggshells around single people. If you upload one picture of some gesture of affection, you will be instantly attacked by your jealous single friends. It’s already bad enough Hallmark and the department stores are cramming Valentine’s Day down our throat in the beginning of January to buy and buy until we are broke, but then we have a whole other company sending a mixed message: how awful it is to be single until that day when you are miraculous happy and doing the “Single Ladies” dance.

Valentine’s Day should still be a special holiday that can be appreciated for its uniqueness. If you have a loved one, a simple text saying Happy V Day I love you could make their day one hundred times better. I’m sorry for all those single people out there, but you shouldn’t take away from the spirit of the holiday. There is someone out there who probably loves you even if it is a caring parent. And trust me, some people are missing out on the love of a parent and would do anything for that. It may even be a shy person that doesn’t have the courage to say it. Either way, I hope everyone has a safe and happy Valentine’s Day.

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.

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.

Worst Place to Go on Diet

Since I started working out again, I have placed myself on a strict diet. It is one thing to push yourself at the gym, but your body needs the proper nutrition and foods to replenish and stay healthy. I know I am not going to drop any pounds if I stuff fast food in my mouth after the gym. That defeats the whole purpose of even trying to get back into shape. I haven’t dieted since my senior year in wrestling, where I cut close to thirty pounds. It is hard to stay motivated and always remind yourself that the sacrifices you are making are worth it. Temptations are creeping around every corner. Just driving down the road I see all the bright lights of Burger King, Taco Bell, and Wendy’s. I see people enjoying themselves with mouthwatering burgers topped with sizzling bacon. I try to keep my eyes strictly on the road and tune it out with the radio, but then I hear three food advertisements that make me want to dive into a milkshake as I shove french fries down my throat. While these are very enticing, I feel that one place is the worst to go when dieting. It is more seducing than an all you can eat buffet or free burrito day at Chipotle. It is the movie theatre.

Nothing's better than movie popcorn with butter and salt.

Nothing’s better than movie popcorn with butter and salt.

How can the movies be more tempting than actually going to a restaurant. I have seen people just order water at a diner or even a small salad, but I have never seen anyone not get something to eat at the snack bar. Growing up, we all have fond memories of our parents bringing us to the theatre. I remember ordering the huge bucket of popcorn drizzled in butter and coated in salt. The thing was bigger than my head. And of course, you can’t fully enjoy a show without a nice soda to wash everything down. I usually turned down the  caffeinated beverage because I only wanted the large cherry slushy. And if your parents were really in a good mood, they’d let you pick a candy from the theater’s stand that almost rivaled Willy Wonka’s factory. I am pretty sure I have seen every type of candy in a cineplex from Snow Caps to Sour Patch Kids. After all of these decisions, you are ready to enjoy the actual movie. Wait, that seemingly endless tub of popcorn is now finished before the previews are even done. You flash that innocent smile to your parents, and you get another bag. Nothing makes a movie more complete than the full experience.

Even though I am grown up, I love going to the movies and enjoying the snack stand. Somedays, I just crave theatre popcorn and will see a random show to fill my need. It’s bad enough the prices are jacked up, but not even that will stop most people from buying a large in everything. Since my days as a kid, the snack stand has really revolutionized. It is more than just popcorn and candy, it is a full on food cart. It has hotdogs, pretzels, and even funnel cakes. Some movies even have a dining theatre where you can eat and have a waitress serve you food. If I was a kid now, I wouldn’t be able to make up my mind with all these options.

Going to the movies is one of my favorite things to do. I enjoy nothing more than to get lost in a good movie and find myself wishing it never ended. I’ll admit, I am definitely a long time patron of the snack stand. But I don’t know if I could handle that much temptation. It all looks so tantalizing that my tastebuds are almost dragging me to that jumbo bag of popcorn. And I have been so accustomed to this eating routine when seeing a movie that I don’t think I could sit two hours and just focus on the screen. As a kid, I always felt bad for the people who brought their own snacks into the movies, especially the kids whose parents made them eat fruits and vegetables. I guess some kid will be saying that about me as I dig into some carrots for the next big show.

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.

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.

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.

Shopping with Girls

Every woman’s secret addiction…Shoes

If you asked any guy in America, they would say that baseball or football is America’s pastime. Nothing is more enjoyable than cracking open a few beers with friends on a Sunday as you watch your team march to victory. The best part of it all is when you have your amazing girlfriend right there by your side. Not only does she wear your team’s jersey with pride, but she puts up with all your friend’s antics as they spill drinks on the new coffee table and get crumbs on the ground. And when you’re passed out on the couch after all the excitement, she’s the one who cleans up that night. She might not know all the rules of the game or where your favorite player went to college, but she loves you and loves making you happy. However, all of this fun and enjoyment doesn’t come free even for the most  caring boyfriend. Since she put up with your favorite sport, it’s now time for you to indulge in her favorite pastime: shopping.

The most devoted fan, raging with testosterone can’t compete with a woman getting ready to scope out each store’s new seasonal line of clothing. Right when they take that first step into the mall, a gun shot rings out and they are off on a marathon. Unlike sporting games where the fans are distracted by talking to friends, eating, and drinking; women are focused for every second of this shopping event. They speed walk past on-coming obstacles of people walking slow as they eagle out each store window. While most people have their favorite team, women don’t have a single team they cheer for. They like every store and show their appreciation by going in and looking at every piece of clothing they have. And just like every good team, a woman needs a good supporting cast to help her make the big decision of which outfit to buy. This is where girlfriends come into play. They form a huddle even more intense than a football team down by one point with ten seconds left in the game. They pick apart each detail of the clothing until they are more than a hundred percent sure it is the right fit. And you better hope you don’t get in-between a group of girls shopping over shoes, because they will humiliate you more than a group of angry, drunk fans after their team lost. But what if a girl can’t get in touch with her friends for shopping. This is when she calls in her ringer: the boyfriend.

If you thought a drill sergeant was bad, you have never met a girlfriend shopping with her significant other. She will hustle you around to each store as she shouts out orders. From hurrying up to stop dragging your feet, you will be pushed to your limits. Most men don’t survive the marathon of hauling around bags of clothes for hours or the dreaded sitting on the chair in the waiting room, which has broken down the strongest of soldiers in the past. You will be demanded to critique every outfit as if you work for Vogue and know the latest trends. Halfway through all this, you will be on your last breaking point. Barely able to keep your eyes open from exhaustion, you will suck it all up because you may never hear the end of this if you don’t. Finally, the marathon is over and you let out a sigh of relief. But what about when the tables are turned, and the guy wants to buy something for himself.

This has happened to me plenty of times. I wake up with that confident feeling that I am going to head to the mall and finally buy some well-needed clothes. I call up my friends, but they are either all busy or don’t have any money to spend there. My girlfriend is busy, so this means I need to venture to the mall by myself. It will be simple and easy. I walk into my favorite store and just pick out a couple t-shirts and jeans. I mean it couldn’t be that hard if my girlfriend does it so easily. I park my car and walk through the giant, sliding doors glowing with confidence and excitement.

As I get to the main hallway, I am quickly engulfed in a crowd of parents pushing around strollers of screaming babies, teenagers howling like banshees, and kiosk workers almost tackling you to get your attention. I am a little overwhelmed so I begin to almost sprint  to my favorite store. I head in there and feel a sense of relief. I begin to sift through all the shirts, but I notice there is nothing really that catches my eye. I hastily grab a couple t-shirts as I proceed to the jean section. I am confused by all the different types of pants. Most of the styles seem like they are made for people with legs as skinny as spaghetti noodles. I can barely find my size until I pull outthree stacks of jeans and find it all the way in the back. Now I rush over to the changing rooms only to find myself waiting in a line. The wait seems like hours as I become more anxious. It seems like everyone is staring at me and judging the options I have chosen. Right before I am about to give up, the employee brings me to my room. Optimistically, I try on the clothes and none of them look good. The t-shirts don’t fit right  to my body, and the jeans that are my size feel like they are putting a death grip on my legs. I put my  original clothes back on and dread this walk of shame out of the changing room. As I hand the employee back the failed outfits saying none of them fit, she gives me the worst look ever. It is almost as bad as when a parent doesn’t say they are mad at you, but rather disappointed. I walk through the store and see all the happy people check out and find the perfect clothes. I couldn’t understand what had went wrong for me.

As I get back to my car, I rest my head on the seat and stare at my ceiling. I feel that sense of failure washing over my body. After that ordeal of shopping, it made me wish I was there with my girlfriend. She would have helped me pick out the right clothes with her eye to detail and attention. As she stands right next to the changing room door, she would tell me what looks good and what doesn’t. Even if we couldn’t find something in one store, she would lift my spirits until we find that perfect outfit somewhere else. It really makes me appreciate everything she does for me, and makes me respect how she can handle all the obstacles and dramas of shopping. It doesn’t bother me if she drags me around to every store in the mall for four hours, and it doesn’t bother her to sit through a whole football game. This is what love is.

Relationships Are Like PB&J

Classic PB & J

 

The Stable and Reliable Peanut Butter

Right around midnight in the middle of me tossing and turning in my bed, I got the sudden urge to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. As I’m spreading the sticky peanut butter over a slice of Wonder Bread, I began to think who came up with this marvelous idea for a snack. Peanut butter and jelly are pretty much the complete opposites, but when you put them together they combine to form a wonderful partnership that make the tastebuds in my mouth dance from happiness.

After I devoured my snack  instantaneously like a bird might swoop in my window and take it , it hit me that a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is exactly like a relationship. Two total strangers that may not share any similarities form this breath-taking bond that cannot be explained by any laws of science or attraction. At first glance you might not see it. But just like after you take that first bite of the sandwich, these two people feel that overwhelming sensation that this odd pairing of opposites unites in perfect harmony.

How can you describe these opposites that attract. One person in a relationship might be the peanut butter. A strong, solid spread that is always reliable. It has a strong taste and always stick to where it is rooted down, even if that loyalty is hard to swallow sometimes. Peanut butter sometimes is smooth with how it handles things, other times it’s chunky and takes it time to sort things out. Either way, peanut butter is always stable and keeps things grounded. Other people are like jelly. Everybody loves jelly because it is sweet and really gives peanut butter that extra kick of flavor. It you spread jelly alone, it sometimes can slide off and is not always as serious as peanut butter. However, when this sweet spread is connected to its counterpart, they cannot be separated and balance each other out.

One last way that this appetizing treat is exactly like a relationship is you never know when you will want one. Some people never want a  PB and J. It might have a left a bad taste in their mouth once or they just might not enjoy it at all. Either way, this sandwich is not part of their diet. Other people need a PB and J everyday. It gives them the stability they need from knowing

 

they can always look forward and rely on this sandwich at any time they are hungry. Then there are those people who get greedy and have more than one peanut butter and jelly sandwich in one day. They give a bad reputation to this delicious meal. Either way, you never know when you might want the urge for a PB & J sandwich, it might just surprise you out of the blue. Maybe even after reading this.

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