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.
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.
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.
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.
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.