Timeline Flashbacks

Facebook has now added the Timeline feature and it allows you to see your entire history with the site.  Every post.  Every status.  Every tagged or uploaded picture.  I started playing around with it tonight and was blown away by all the old memories.  Most notably, I saw a lot of posts from or related to an old friend, a best friend in fact.  It has been a year and half since we had a falling out and I don't think I am over it yet.  I still think of him and about the whole situation quite often.  I thought I would be over it all by now, but for some reason it lingers with me.  Seeing all these old posts and pictures on Facebook makes the memories that much more vivid, and ultimately floods my mind with emotion.  Anger? Yeah a bit.  Pain? Yes.  Mostly though, I just miss our friendship.

The hard thing is that there is zero chance of reconciliation, if I even wanted it.   Most of me screams against any such notion.  There is no going back.  What's done is done and can't be undone.  There is, however,  a sliver of me, a small part that wants my friend back.  The interests and experiences I shared with this friend are pretty much exclusive.  No one else can replace him.  Now that he is gone, I almost feel like a small part of those experiences are gone too.  Typing that out and reading it sounds weird, but I don't know how else to put it.

I can't help but to think it is really unfortunate the way things went down.  When I say unfortunate, I mean downright shitty.  Its weird to think that because of one experience that a 10 year friendship can be destroyed.  What if things had gone down differently? Who knows?  I don't.  I have definitely thought about it enough.  Its been a year and a half, and I still think about it constantly.  If I am being perfectly honest (which is what we are supposed to be on our blog right?), I have had multiple dreams about a confrontation with him.  When I say multiple I don't mean 2 or 3.  Probably more around 20 to 30.  The entire thing haunts my friggin dreams.  Will I ever get over this?  I hope so.  My sleep depends on it.  :)

For now, it is Christmas weekend and I am looking forward to the time spent around my family, friends, and most importantly, the lady.  I hope everyone has a great holiday weekend and appreciates the family and friendships they do have.

P.S. Sorry for the quasi depressing post.  I think it is just something I have been thinking about for a long time and needed to get out of my head and onto paper(screen).


"No thank you...."

Behold my beautiful wife, Ashley.  I know its kind of a random picture but it is one of my favorites of her.  She is my everything.  I show you this picture so you all can get a better visual of her and also so you can all be jealous that I get to fall asleep next to her every night, not only because she is beautiful but because on occasion funny things happen.   One such occasion occurred a few nights ago.  We had both fallen asleep and in the middle of the night I woke up slightly and rolled over.  As I rolled over (now facing her) I was startled to hear her start talking.  "No.  NO! Absolutely not..........no thank you..."  I don't know how I kept it together.  I'm not sure if my favorite part was the hand wave when she said "absolutely not" or the calm after thought of "no thank you".  What the heck was she dreaming about?  What was going on in that brain of hers?  I asked her this very question the next morning and we will apparently never know.  She couldn't remember her dream at all.  Bummer.

Just a short thought on sleep talking.  I think the weirdest part, or most interesting, of sleep talking is the difference in experience between the person doing the talking and the person listening.  To the person talking, they are obviously having a real conversation with someone, so they act and speak like one would in a real life interaction(versus how one would re-tell a story from earlier in the day).  For the person doing the listening, all they hear and see is the one side of the conversation.  It is a very odd experience hearing someone talk as if someone else is there, and engaging in a conversation you have no context for.  Oh yeah, and it is all happening at 2 in the AM.   A very odd experience indeed.  We have already shared more than a few laughs over the whole thing since, and will continue to for sure.

This picture is from before Ashley and I started dating.  I have always loved this picture of her though.   It captures her personality pretty well I think. Plus I love how tan/dark she is here.  Just wanted to share it with everyone.


Top 10 Albums of the Year

It is that time of year.  Everyone is releasing their end of the year lists.  Here is mine.  I don't profess these to be the best 10 albums of the year, just my favorite.  There should be a little something for everyone in here.  If you are interested in any of them, check out the link.  I picked my favorite song
from each album.  Enjoy.

1. Defeater - Empty Days and Sleepless Nights
    A shocker to myself and probably anybody that mildly knows me.  Somehow, someway, this album was able to top Major/Minor.  Empty Days is hardcore music at its best.  One part The Who's Tommy, one part pissed off late 90's hardcore, Defeater's new album tells a story about two brothers in a post WW2 era New Jersey.  The lyrics are so strong it is easy to get swept up in the story in a very cinematic way.  The ten song album also includes an extra 4 song ep of sorts of strictly acoustic songs.  These 4 songs are phenomenal.  If you aren't into hardcore at least check out the link below for Brothers.  Did I mention they put on a hell of a live show too?  Defeater - Dear Father   Defeater - Brothers

2. Thrice -  Major/Minor
    Most everyone that knows me is not surprised to see this album on my list, however they are probably surprised its at #2.  Major/Minor picks up where Thrice left off with their last album Beggars.  What they have added is more layers and a slightly upgraded production.  Major/Minor is a bit more dynamic than its predecessor as well.  This is an album I would feel comfortable recommending to pretty much any one.  For a more in depth discussion check out the post I wrote about it here.  Thrice - Words in the Water

3. Manchester Orchestra - Simple Math
    Simple Math sports what is probably my favorite song of the year in its title track.  The album as a whole takes the listener on quite a journey.  It is definitely reminiscent of my favorite Brand New album, Deja Entendu, but with more layers and a slicker production.  Some reviews I read were not fans of the string arrangements placed in some of the songs, but I actually was a big fan of them.  If you are looking for a good alternative rock album that is ready for the radio but offers a bit more than what is being offered on the radio then this album is perfect for you.  Manchester Orchestra - Simple Math
4. Nick 13 - Nick 13
    This album is definitely the dark horse in my top 10.  Nick 13 is usually heard as the lead singer for Tiger Army, a punk/psychobilly band.  On his first solo album, Nick 13 offers an album full of country gems that would satisfy any fan of Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, or Hank Williams Sr.  What makes this album stand out is his voice and the stellar backing band.  I don't presume to know anything about country music, but from what I have read, Nick 13 has assembled a who's who of country backing musicians (peddle steal, drums, fiddle) and it definitely shows.  Anyone with an open mind would love this album.  It is a very timeless record and one I will be listening to for years to come.  Nick 13 - Nashville Winter

5. Balance & Composure - Separation
    Oh Separation, this album still confuses me.  I can't decide if it is a rock album with a hardcore edge, or a hardcore album on Xanax.  At times Balance & Composure remind me a lot of the late 90's "emo" acts like early Jimmy Eat World, The Get Up Kids, and Texas Is the Reason. At other times though, Balance & Composure channel their inner hardcore and put up some pretty heavy rock tunes.  There isn't any screaming per se, but it is heavy nonetheless.  I saw them a few months ago and all the songs sound just as good, if not better, in a live setting. Balance & Composure - Quake

6. Touche Amore - Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me
    Talk about emotion.  Touche Amore gives probably the most emotionally draining release of the year.  At its heart, this album is essentially a punk rock album.  As far as I can tell, there is only one chorus in the whole album.  One of my favorite things about this album is that it is 13 songs, but the album length is only a tad over 20 minutes.  That means songs that are short and sweet.  Touche Amore - Home Away From Here

7. La Dispute - Wildlife
    Wildlife might be the most unique album I listened to all year.  The strange thing is that it is vaguely familiar to material by one my favorite bands in At the Drive In.  Wildlife is a concept album where each song is essentially a short story.  This is one of the albums where you want to pay close attention to the lyrics.  The vocal delivery is a large part of the greatness of La Dispute.  Watching them open for Thrice was a treat.  La Dispute - King Park

8. The Devil Wears Prada - Dead Throne
   Heavy.  Not for those with sensitive ears.  The Devil Wears Prada have followed up last years purely awesome Zombie EP with probably their best album.  DWP are doing their best to separate themselves from their peers in what has become a watered-down joke of a metalcore scene.  For those who like themselves from metal, this is an album for you. Everyone else need not listen.  The Devil Wears Prada - Vengeance
9. Make Do and Mend - Part and Parcel
  Talk about your last minute inclusions.  This was barely released at the end of November.  Part and Parcel is an acoustic EP consisting of acoustic versions of 4 previously released full band songs, a cover of a Touche Amore song, and one new song.  I had low expectations for this release for some reason.  I  guess I didn't think they would pull it off.  Boy was I wrong.  MDAM's last album(End Measured Mile) came out in December of 2010, but was not discovered by me until January.  If I was going to include December 2010 in this list, End Measured Mile would have been #1.  I am glad I loved Part and Parcel so much because it gives me a reason to put them on this list anyway.  Make Do and Mend - Unknowingly Strong (Acoustic)

 10. Junius - Reports From the Threshold of Death
   This album snuck up on me in 11th hour.  I just came across it in the second week of December.  That will tell you how much I enjoy this album. Two ways to describe this album.  1.) It sounds like The Smiths if they formed a metal band.  2.) Kind of a cross between the Deftones and Isis.  Either way, its slower, its heavy, and its melodic.  I like it.  Junius - A Universe Without Stars


Darn Kids With Their Darn Loud Music!

A recent musical phenomenon has been racing across the internet and I can't go another minute without addressing my hatred for it.  The phenomenon is known as dubstep, and its terrible.  Think of a guy that has synthesizers taped to his hands and feet, falling down a flight of stairs that is 4 minutes long.  That is what it sounds like.  I like to consider myself as someone who has a large music palette that stretches from punk rock to hip hop to classic rock to electronica and everything in between.  I have often prided myself on my ability to stay with the times and find new music in new genres and sub-genres that I enjoy.  Lately, dubstep has me feeling a bit like a crotchety old man complaining about the loud music the kids these days are playing.  If it gets any worse I'll be yelling at kids to get off my lawn.

There is not one part of this that sounds remotely like music to me.  That is coming from a guy that calls hardcore punk his favorite type music.  Hardcore punk is home to shouted, yelled, or screamed vocals and traditionally basic song structures.  There are of course many bands that have incorporated melodic vocals (Ignite, Rise Against) and/or more difficult song structures (Botch, Cave In, Dillinger Escape Plan), some even mixing jazz into equation (Refused).  While I don't agree with it, some have dismissed this music as "just noise", but to the critics I say, if you are not into the style of music, you can at least appreciate the fact that these bands are playing their instruments,  some very well.  Defenders of dubstep has explained that the song structures are very advanced and use complicated time signatures.  Big deal, it is created on a friggin' lap top.  Part of what gives music "life" is the fact that it is played by actual human beings.  If you can program the bass track to be on a 5/4 time signature, who cares?  Thats very different from a drummer who can play his drums at a 5/4.  This is not to say that I have no appreciation for electronica, because I do.

There is something to be said for a song that you can dance to, or something that simply just sounds cool.  Blink 182 and New Found Glory are the examples of this in the pop-punk world.  Nothing new. Nothing exciting.  Nothing difficult to play. But damn its catchy.  I think there is something to be said about a band that can write a hook.  This goes for a lot of DJ's in the electronica world.  There IS something to be said about coming up with a catchy hook or cool beat.  There is talent there.  All I mean to say is that the complicated song structures in dubstep seem to lose their luster when you consider it is created on a computer.  To me it is more impressive that someone can play a few chords and keep a simple drum beat.

Furthermore, I don't have a degree in music theory.  I admittedly don't have the best ear.  I do think, however, that I have a better ear than most people that aren't trained musically.  I find it extremely difficult to count beats and to break down songs.  If I can't do it, who can? Musicians and people who have studied music in school.  Thats about it.  I often hear people refer to a band as a musicians band.  Like the band Yes.  Most people that like Yes are musicians and appreciate the musicianship in their songs.  Is that was dubstep is?  A musicians electronica genre?  Maybe I am wrong, but I doubt most musicians and people who have studied music would like dubstep.  Its just terrible.  To complete the post, I will leave you with an example of dubstep so you can make your own judgement.  If you are like me you will get 30 seconds in and want to turn the guns on yourself.  Either way, I am curious to know everyones thoughts.


I'm Part of the 300 Club

I hope to look back on this week in a year or two as an important week in my life.  Something was brought to my attention that I can't ignore.  I can't turn and run away either.  Well...I do need to do some running, but actual running, not the metaphorical type.  They always tell alcoholics, or at least in the movies they do, that you have to admit there is a problem before you can fix it.  This is me admitting it to the world (luckily only 12 people read this blog).

I weigh over 300 pounds.  There it is. I said it.  It doesn't feel good, like when they say it in the movies.  I think the weirdest thing for me is that in my mind I am about 220.  Growing up I was always outside riding my bike till the sun went down and playing baseball and football year-round.  I went through a chubby stage in middle school, but other than that I was always in good shape and skinny, relatively speaking.  

I honestly don't know what happened.  Maybe that is problem in fact, that nothing happened.  I stopped playing sports, working out, caring about what I ate, and worst of all got a job sitting behind a desk for 8 hours a day. Not to mention got married (my poor wife).   

Regardless, I am here and I am massively over weight.  I always looked at obese people and said,"How did they let themselves get like that?  If I ever got over 3 bills I would get my ass to the gym and work out."  Well folks, time to put my money where my mouth is (ya know, instead of more food).  Its go-time.  Its get-my-butt-to-the-gym-5-or-6-times-a-week-time.  Its eating-healthy time.  Lastly, its your-muscles-are -going-to-be-sore-for-at-least-2=weeks-straight time.  

What is that?  I mean, I know what it actually is (kind of).  We have all felt it before.  You haven't been to the gym in months.  First time back you go balls out and feel great that night.  Next day you are a bit tender but still feeling like you accomplished something and are being reminded of it with a slight soreness.  THEN, the day after that you feel like you were hit by a train.  WHAT IS THAT?! Is it natures cruel way of welcoming you back into the healthy world? Is your body trying to tell you that the gym is bad and eating endless amounts of mac n cheese is good? Because that is what it feels like.  You'd think that if working out was good for you that your body would feel amazing after doing it for the first time in months.  I digress.

All I know is that I am going into BEAST MODE for a while.  I can't say for how long, but it will be long enough so that when I am done you won't recognize me.  Here's to me and my health.  To not getting Diabetes before the age of 30.  To being able to climb some stairs without getting winded.  To being able to shop at Urban Outfitters.  To fitting back into my old clothes (I have a couple pairs of Seven and Diesel jeans just wasting away in a my dresser).  Here is to sticking to the plan.

By the way, I hope some of you didn't continue reading this post hoping to hear about me walking around shirtless wearing nothing but a loincloth and an oversized red cape. 

I also added a little poll on the right hand column regarding whether you guys want to hear about my journey or not.  Truth be told its also a way to gauge how many people are reading.  If you don't comment, at least take 2 seconds to answer the poll question.  Much love.


Obligatory Thanksgiving Post

I suppose it is customary to write a post about what I am thankful for on Thanksgiving.  With so much going on in our lives, it is nice to sit down and reflect upon all the blessings we have.  This blogger especially,  has a lot to be thankful for.  First and foremost, the lady I get to fall asleep to every night and wake up every morning to (except when I snore, then I am banished to the couch).  I love my wife immensely and try to tell her that every day.  A lot of people use the cliche "I don't know where I'd be without her".  I know exactly where I would be; single and miserable.  I was just thinking the other night how a lot of my friends that I hung(hanged?) out with before I was married are still single. When I was single I always thought that I would be the last one to get married. Weird how that works out. It has been a year and a half of marriage so far and I still miss her while I am at work and can't wait to get home to see her.  I know when we get ready to make the jump that she will be the best mom.  I can't begin to express what she means to me.  I guess I will put it simply and say that I love her and am thankful for everything she does and is. 

That was the easy one; the no brainer, if you will.  The next thing I am thankful for would be my faith.  My relationship with my God means so much to me.  It is something that is constantly on my mind and something I try to improve on a regular basis.  I will be perfectly honest and say that I usually fail.  I am very rough around the edges and would surprise some if they found out how important it is to me, although at the same time I feel that is part of my charm.  I am so thankful for the relationship I have with the Savior and with my Heavenly Father.  I don't like to get preachy, especially on the internets (please disregard my semi-religious rant from a month or two ago, I admit it was a mistake) so I will leave it to that.  

Thats two.  Hmm, what is next? Ah yes, my job.  Despite the minor issues I have with my current place of work, I am very thankful to have a job that lets me pay my bills and get sushi now and again.  In these economic times a lot of people can not say that.  I suppose this also includes and goes hand in hand with my education.  I wouldn't be able to have a job like my current one with out my education.  I like to poke fun at accounting, but I am so thankful that I have my degree.  So many people are going through tough times and it is a gigantic blessing to not only have a job that pays the bills, but to enjoy your coworkers (generally speaking, not specifically. I work with some weirdos) and the work environment is a pretty sweet bonus.  Did I happen to mention that I work less than 15 minutes from my home?  Quite the oddity here in SoCal.  

I suppose I could go on but when your iPod is #4 on the list do you really want to hear about the rest? I think not.  I hope everyone who reads this has a fantastic Thanksgiving and remembers all the blessings in their lives.  For those who don't read this, I hope you all have a terrible holiday weekend.  Just kidding.  :)

FunFact: I was friends with Charles Schultz's grandson in when I was in Chicago.  I met his mom and asked her what it was like growing up with Charles Schultz as a Dad and all she said was, "Wah wah wah whah Wah wah." 

PS Black Friday is for chumps.  I am staying in all day.

Forever the Saddest Day

Thrice on Halloween
Today I got some terrible news that absolutely rocked my world and inevitably ruined my morning and day.  My favorite band, Thrice, will be (kind of) calling it quits.  I say kind of, because in a message to the fans, lead singer Dustin Kensrue starts off by saying "Thrice is not breaking up."  He then follows it up with a long soliloquy(probably not the best word to describe but damnit its a great word) about how they are no longer going to be a full time touring and recording band.  He apparently has 3 children all under the age of 5 and is having a hard time being away from them.  Their other guitar player, Teppei, also has similar concerns.  They will also be stepping away from the band for awhile, even in a part time sense.

Ugh.  While I can understand and appreciate the idea of wanting to be with your family, I can't help but to be sad at the lack of new Thrice material and live shows on a regular basis.  All I can think of is another favorite band of mine, Hot Water Music, and how they did something similar.  After their last album in 2004, one of their 2 frontmen left the band and started putting out acoustic albums touring with folk artists.  The rest of the band forged on as The Draft.  While both projects were noteworthy, especially some of Chuck Ragan's solo stuff, it was never as good as Hot Water Music.  (Update: recent news have HWM reunited and putting out a new album in early 2012.  Excelsior!)

I'm sure Thrice will continue to put out music in some form, but I will miss these heydays of the last 13 years I have been a fan.  Dustin has released 2 solo albums already that I love (one being a great Christmas album if you are looking for some good Holiday music),  and other members have released a few smaller samples of what might be coming in the future.  I can only hope that these somehow tide me over in the absence of my favorite band.  For now I feel like this little girl.

If you are unfamiliar with their work check out the links below to become acquainted with what I consider one of the best bands of my generation.

Thrice - In Exile - A great song for everyone. Off the album before the one that was just released.

Thrice - Promises - This is the single off their new one.  I like this lyric video better than the actual music video.

Thrice - Digital Sea - This is off their Alchemy Index series.  This song blew my mind the first time I heard it.  So different for them, especially at the time.

Dustin Kensrue - Pistol - This is off of Dustin's solo album. The lady and I danced to this at our wedding reception.  Ah memories....


Far From Interesting?

I have been visiting quite a few different blogs lately in effort to expand my fan base, or should I say CREATE my fan base.  I'm not exactly sure how many people are reading right now, but I do know that most readers are either to shy (I refuse to think lazy) to comment, or my writing isn't good enough to warrant commenting.  That last thought makes me want to kick rocks.  For the few that have been reading, you know that I have only been back blogging for a few months now (not exactly sure how many months. No more than 6 though).  Since I have been back, I haven't felt "in the zone" like I did during Round 1 of this blog.  Round 1 took place my senior year of college (end of '07 and beginning of '08) and in my opinion was a lot better of a read.  Use your own judgement on the definition of better.  That might have been because my life was more exciting then, but I think a large part of it had to do with being in school and using my mind in a critical way on a daily basis.

In reading these other blogs it made me wonder, do I even want the masses to read my terrible excuse for writing? Some of the blogs I read had snappy names or polished looking titles and backgrounds.  Some were more simplistic and minimalist in nature.  They all, however, had one thing in common: good writing and interesting stories.  I guess that is two things.  I always thought I was a pretty good writer, especially when I compared my writing to my peers in school (accounting majors are surprisingly not well written, or well spoken for that matter).  I am now second guessing myself  and what I am putting out there.  I can see the obvious stumbles, especially some of the recent posts (I learned to never talk about religion again), but do I need fine tooth comb this bad boy before I release it in the wild?  Does that last sentence even make sense? I digress.  Its now 12:30 in the AM and I have to wake up in 6 hours to hit the gym with my brother who is in town from Denver.

I guess what I am trying to say is that I think I need to give this little blog a bit more form.  My posts have always been very erratic and about anything and everything. Maybe I need to whittle it down to a more concise vision.  What do you all think? I promise to think about it and come back prepared for the future.  Your comments are always appreciated and  dually noted.  Also, does Far From Refuge need a facelift?  I somewhat like that basic set up that is going on here but maybe some pop would do it good.


Friend Makin Monday: Dating

I found this thing on another blog (alltheweigh.com) and thought it might be fun. Lets see.

FMM: Dating

  1. What is your current relationship status? (Be as specific as you’d like to be!) Married! Been married for a little over a year now and its glorious.
  2. List a few qualities that you look for in a significant other...Most of the qualities I seek revolve around being able to stand me and my humor, or in my wife's case actually like the weird natural way I am.  I also love a girl who is outgoing and confident.  Tall of course.  Physically I like them curvy. :)
  3. If you could choose to date one character in TV or film, who would you choose?  And which characteristics are most appealing?   Does Kim Kardashian count as a character (my wife is going to kill me)? If not, then I would pick Gloria from Modern Family.  Do I really need to explain why?
  4. How long should you date before becoming exclusive?  The shorter the better in my opinion.  But I guess its up to the couple.
  5. What are your thoughts on public displays of affection? Definitely down to hold hands and some pecking.  Anything past that is a bit much for me.
  6. Do you kiss on the first date? Ask the wife.  :)
  7. Biggest turn-off? Cockiness.  I guess in women it would be referred to as bitchiness. 
  8. What’s the first thing you notice about the opposite sex?  I'll be honest, somewhere between the face and boobs.  I'm a guy.  It just depends on what is more striking.  
  9. How long do you/did you wait before becoming intimate? I am proud to say that the lady and I waited until marriage.  It was a tuff time for sure.  There were some heated make out sessions.
  10. Describe your dream date. I know this is going to sound cheesy (Ash loves that about me), but to be perfectly honest, my dream date would be my wife's dream date.  Not too sure what that is, but whatever would be her dream date would be mine.  I honestly don't think I could enjoy myself to fullest doing what I REALLY love to do while my wife was there.  Let me explain. I love music. Most of it my wife isn't into.  My dream date would revolve around seeing one of my favorite bands live or something with a special dinner.  I don't know, I am not that creative.  But the lady wouldn't really enjoy that, which would make me enjoy it less.  I would more enjoy doing whatever she wanted to do.  Gaga concert and sushi maybe? Who knows. I just like to spend time with her.  That was a longer answer than I anticipated.


Second to One

Tonight was my last softball game of the season and for 2011 (except for the tournament we might play).  With our team, Moose Knuckles, winning the summer league, we had high hopes for this season.  With a win tonight and a loss by the 1st place team we would have captured the crown again.  We put the hurt on  Tiki Bar, the team we played, and won 25-7.  Unfortunately, we didn't get any help and the 1st place team won their game as well.  It wasn't meant to be apparently.  Here is the team celebrating our second place finish at Gina's Pizza in Irvine.

There I am with kiddy cup in hand.  The waitress thought it would be funny to bring me a milk since I was the only one not drinking.  Everyone had a good laugh.


A Bit of Inspiration

Tonight I found myself reading my friend Tim's blog which documents his tremendous journey from being over 400 pounds to his now weight of 245 pounds.  When Tim and his family moved into our ward earlier this year I had the pleasure of helping them empty out their moving truck into their house.  Back then he was still pretty big, although he has told me that he had lost 100 pounds by then.  I remember his first or second week at church someone had confused us and thought I was him.  I think he was probably around 350 or so at the time.  I remember thinking, "Are you freaking kidding me? Dude is WAY bigger than me."  Smash cut to now and Tim is now a slim 245 at 6 ft. 4 in., and still losing.  He told me last night his target weight is around 220.  Meanwhile, I am the same weight I was then, if not maybe heavier.  I would KILL for someone to mistake us now. Haha.  SWEET IRONY!!! 

The best thing about Tim's story is that he is one of the nicest, most genuine people you will ever meet.  He is also one of my favorite types of Mormon, which is the kind that is super solid and emanates what it means to be a Christian without throwing it in your face or coming off as judgmental.  His approach to fitness and weight-loss is very similar to his approach to religion.  If you ask him about it he is more than willing to share his story, secrets, and fitness plan, but he doesn't come off as a fitness/diet no it all that I have run into too many times.  He is truly inspiring, so much so that it is 9:30 PM on a Friday and I am contemplating on hitting the gym.  I think not tonight, as I will most likely lose my parking spot and be forced to park on the street (blasted apartment complex parking), but definitely first thing tomorrow morning.  

One last thing about his blog that made me think.  In one of his posts he talked about when he was obese he would avoid looking at pictures of himself or looking in the mirror.  When he would look at pictures he would think about how this shirt made him look fat or this angle made him look fat, never thinking that it was the 400+ pounds that was making him look fat.  This idea is further expressed by people saying that the camera adds 10 pounds when it is more likely that the people looking at the picture have an image of themselves as 10 pounds lighter.  I couldn't agree more with this. I am often in denial about the way I look.  I think oh I'm not THAT big.  I hold it well.  Or some other lie.  It is only when I really look at old pictures of myself that I realize what I have become. Its time for change.  Tomorrow is a new day.  Time to get to work.  

Here is a link to Tim's blog for those of you who are interested.  I will also add it to the list of blogs I frequent on the right hand column.  


Bane and Defeater @ Chain Reaction

Its been a week since last Saturday's show and my blood is still pumping from it.  It was, to simply put, AMAZING! I couldn't have asked for a better hardcore show.  The show was completely sold out so Chain Reaction was packed to brim of mostly high school and college kids and a few old men like Mike and myself.  We got there early so we decided to grab some grub as we both had not eaten yet.  We started walking down the block and found what we were both longing for; a hole in the wall Mexican joint that made some bomb burritos.  It hit the spot.  After I stuffed my face with what  was sure to be an intestinal disaster hours later, we headed back to Chain Reaction.  As we were walking up to the place we passed a guy unloading equipment from a van.  The guy caught eyes with Mike and said,"Hey man, hows it going? How've you been?"  Mike responded that he was good and we kept walking.  I said,"Do you know that guy?" Yes. "Who is he?" The guitar player for Bane.  He didn't say anything but I saw a slight glint in his eye that spoke volumes.  So proud. haha.  Mike is 34 I think and has been in the hardcore scene for a long time and has subsequently met a lot of people.  Even in my 28 years, I was kind of impressed that he knew the guy.  Bane is from Boston and is pretty legendary in the hardcore circles.

The opening bands were actually pretty good.  There was a band named Miles Away, from miles away in Australia, that rocked it pretty hard.  The frontman was pretty insane though.  I leaned over to Mike and commented that he looked like he survived Auschwitz.  Kinda tall and super skinny. He looked like he might have MS or something.  No pictures sorry.  The band directly before Defeater was Rotting Out and they were from San Pedro I believe.  Everyone in the band was Mexican which is odd for a hardcore band.  They are kind of up and coming and the kids went insane for them.  We were both kind of surprised.  Not really my type of hardcore though.  To groove oriented for me.

Defeater  was on next.  Their new album has been in heavy rotation on my iPod for the last 6 months and to say I had high expectations would not be an understatement.  I was not let down.  They played a good amount of songs from each of their 3 releases, and played a good number of my favorites.  My only complaint would be that since they weren't the headliner they only played for about 30 or 40 minutes.  I was good to hear about twice as much from them.

The kids went crazy for them, as you can see in a lot of these pictures.

Mike took a 30 second video of the opening song.  As you can see it gets pretty crazy.  Still pumped up from it.

After Defeater finished, Bane took the stage and tore shiz up!  There is a reason this band has rocking stages around the world for the last 15 years.  I was really impressed with their entire stage presence.  The crowd went insane for them which made it even more fun to watch.  All in all it was a great time and a show I won't forget for a while.  Next up is Thrice and La Dispute this coming week.  Stay tuned for that.


Occupy Mosh Pit

This Saturday I will (hopefully) be in the middle of a crazy hardcore show at my local venue Chain Reaction. On the agenda? Only one of the most influential and epic hardcore bands in the last 10 years or so and one of hardcore's most promising up and comers.  Headlining the show is seminal straight edge hardcore band Bane.  To say I am stoked to see them play is an understatement.  They haven't released an album since 2005 but they still tour here and there.  Opening for them is one of my favorite new bands, Defeater.  Defeater's new one, Empty Days and Sleepless Nights, has been blowing my mind since they released it earlier this year and will most likely land atop my Top 10 list for the year.  It should be a hell of a time.  Luckily I won't have to enjoy it alone as one of Ash's coworkers who has become a friend of mine is coming with.  I almost punched a hole in my wall at work today while listening to Defeater and getting pumped up for the show.  I will try to capture some pictures at the show and post them on here.


A Meal with the Missionaries

Today I took the local Missionaries out to lunch at In 'N Out.  I had a pretty dang good time with them.  They are both greenies (the trainer has been out I think 3 months and his greenie has been out about a month) so it was fun to chit chat with them about mission life and what not.  It is so weird that they are both 19, making me 9 years their elder, and yet I feel like we are about the same age.  On the flip side, I remember being on my mission and being around guys in their late 20's and thinking they were SO much older than me.  Do they look at me that way? Am I the old guy trying to hold on to his youth?  Possibly.

Regardless, I had a good time with them talking about their investigators, their mission president, and just their missions in general.  Even though I have only been home from my mission for 7 years, quite a bit has changed since I was out.  All the teaching materials I used have completely been swapped out for a new system.  New guidelines and new rules have been instated.  Even the overall outlook and attitudes of the leadership has changed.  This is all on top of the change of stance on the use of technology.  Even though there was email, cell phones, internet, and the like when I was out, there was a strict policy against using such things. Only 7 years later missionaries are allowed to email home and use cell phones to help with there work (they can even text!).  It makes me wonder how much more technology will be used in the future. Will every missionary be assigned a laptop/iPad to do all their studying and scheduling on?  Kind of a cool thing to think about actually.

While talking to the Elders I couldn't help but feel bitter about not being able to use all these things when I was out.  We had all the same technology and yet were not permitted to use it.  Its another bullet point in my mind on the list of evidence that NOT EVERYTHING the church/church leaders do is inspired.  The two places I feel like this is apparent most is in the mission field and at BYU.  A lot of the mission rules and BYU rules really make me scratch my head.  When I here some ridiculous rule I think, "Is this really inspired by the spirit, or was it instilled by some crazy hardcore mormon who thinks all their ideas are doctrine (i.e. no beards at BYU)."  I think some of these people mean well, especially in the mission area, but are just misguided in their attempts.  It also creates a problem when people that attend BYU or missionaries on their mission, think that everything their leaders do is right and inspired by the spirit when that isn't the case.  One of the great things about this gospel is that we recognize that not only are the scriptures fallible, but our leaders are fallible as well.  We know that not everything the prophet and apostles say is doctrine and is correct, much less mission presidents, stake presidents, BYU school officials, and everyone below these people (I urge people to read a 1st edition copy of Mormon Doctirne by Bruce R. McConkie for some evidence).  That might sound like a bad thing to some people but I think its a great principle.  We are left to use the spirit and to live the lives that WE want to live.  What is right and good for one, might not be right and good for another.  With the spirit we can discern what is right and good for ourselves and our families, or our missions.

The Art of the Sleep Vuvuzelas

Ok, I might be the only one who does this and am probably setting myself up for humiliation but....does anyone else fart in their sleep?  How do I know I fart in my sleep? Well two ways actually.  First, I believe Ash has told me that I have, so there's that. More importantly though, I have woken myself up multiple time from farting, most notably last night.  I think the funniest thing about it is that when I wake up and realize that not only did I fart, but I also woke myself up with the fart, I am instantly embarrassed.  I think to myself, "Did anyone hear that? Or more importantly, can anyone smell that?"  

The most memorable story I have took place in Utah while I was in school.  I was staying up in Park City with some friends at a timeshare someone's parents had paid for but didn't use.  We all just ended up sleeping on the floor and couches.  On this particular night I had a crazy amount of gas.  I'm talking like "first date with a girl, holding it in the entire night, and letting it go on the way home after you have dropped off your date" type of gas.  All you guys out there know what I am talking about.  After everything settled down we all went to bed with me not getting a chance to "relieve" the pressure.  Oh yeah, did I happen to mention the girl sleeping relatively close to me was someone who I liked at the time and was working up the courage to ask out?  I am sure you all can guess what happened.  I was able to curb the gas while awake, but when my mind went night night it screwed me.  Apparently when you have a large amount of gas it is tough to hold it in when you are not conscious.  This particular sleep fart was not quiet.  It was very loud.  Like air horn loud.  Like those horns at the World Cup. Remember those? Vuvuzelas.  Yeah, it sounded like a vuvuzela.  And it happened more than once.  Three times actually,  if I remember correctly.  Not sure if anyone ever heard it or knew who it was.  I never asked and didn't want to know.  



Today, I literally had the following conversation with a guy in my office.  I don't know his name(I've never talked to him before and he works in a different department) so we will refer to him as Bob.  He sits next to the copier which I was using to make some copies.  The conversation went like this:

Bob:  So who are you taking tonight, Chicago or Detroit?
Me:  Chicago?(confused tone)
Bob:  Yeah Chicago or Detroit?
Me:  What do you mean?
Bob: The Bears and Lions, Monday Night Football.....
Scott: OOOOHHHHH, football. I thought you were talking about baseball.  I was thinking, "Chicago isn't in the playoffs." So yeah, umm I don't really care.  I'll be watching baseball.  

Talk about awkward.  I guess what are the chances that the Detroit Lions would be playing a Monday Night Football game the same night that the Detroit Tigers would be playing in the ALCS? At least the Lions weren't playing the Texans (the Tigers are playing the Texas Rangers in the ALCS).  That would have been really confusing.  

I now realize how much of a baseball nerd I am.  I honestly couldn't care less about anything that has to do with the NFL, much less the NBA.  Which is weird because growing up I liked baseball, but football was the sport I loved.  I loved playing it and watching it.  My love loss with football probably began when both the Raiders and Rams skipped town for greener(St. Louis) and greyer(Oakland) pastures.  Not having a team to root for makes it difficult.  I have tried to do the fantasy thing in order to find players to root for but my teams have gone largely unattended in the past.  

Going back to the conversation...I don't know what it is about me that I can't just follow my confusion with something like, "Oh Detroit for sure.  Aren't they 4-0 so far?" No, I have to make it even more awkward by saying I don't care about football and that I'll be watching baseball.  There is something in me that says, "Be honest! Tell him exactly what you are thinking."  And before I know it I have said something that I instantly regret.  My mind cannot keep up with my mouth.  It happens quite often.  I think I get it from my pops.  Thanks Dad.  :)

Google it!

Tonight I decided to Google myself for fun and see what came up.  I found out first and foremost that I HAVE A WIKIPEDIA PAGE!  Didn't know I was that famous.  You can find it here :


According my wiki page I was a ragtime composer.  Hey now! Pretty cool.  I was also black.  Like African -American black.  Don't believe me? Take a look at my picture below.

That's right boys and girls.  I was a black ragtime composer.  Pretty good looking chap if I do say so myself.  How exciting to have my former self be connected to music.  My love of music must come from my name.

Other than that little gem I didn't really find anything else to exciting.  Some other chaps with my name on linked in, facebook, and twitter.  Various other things.  

I Love Baseball

I have had baseball on my mind a lot lately.  The last day of the regular seasons was one of the most incredible and momentous days in baseball that I can remember.  I sat in awe on Wednesday night as the Braves and Red Sox completed two of the most historic meltdowns in baseball history and as the Rays pulled off probably the most inspiring comeback I have ever seen(Red Sox in the 2004 ALCS probably beats it but whatever).  In the top of the 8th inning the Tampa Bay Rays were down 7-0 to the Yankees in what was a must win game for the Rays if they wanted to go to the playoffs.  They had the exact same record as the Boston Red Sox and if both teams won or lost their last game they would have a one game playoff the next day for the AL wild card spot.  At that moment the Red Sox were in the middle of their game against the Baltimore Orioles and up 3-2, looking like they were going to the post season.   The Red Sox went into the bottom of the 9th inning with that same score and against the Orioles who are a vastly inferior team to the Yankees, who the Rays were playing.  In that 8th inning of the Yankees/Rays game, the Rays began to show signs of life.  After loading the bases with no outs, the Yankees gifted the Rays 3 runs by walking the next batter, hitting the one after that, and allowing a sacrifice fly after that. The Rays best hitter, Evan Longoria then came to the plate with 2 runners on and blasted a home run into left field making it 7-6 and putting the Rays back into the game.   The Yankees ended up closing out the inning without anymore damage.  In the bottom of the 9th, the Rays were down to their last out and their last strike.  Pinch hitter Dan Johnson was at the plate and promptly smoked a ball to right field, barely clearing the fence.  I was by myself at home, cheering out loud.  Im not even a Rays fan but it was so exciting.  It was probably the most exciting thing I had seen outside of a Dodgers or Angels playoff game.  It was still only tied up.  Back to the Red Sox/ Orioles game in the bottom of the 9th.  Boston brings out their closer Papelbon (super douche) to finish the game, or so they thought.  Baltimore ended up coming back in the bottom of the 9th to win the game and leave Boston hoping the Rays would lose so they could playoff the next day for the wild card spot.  Less than 5 minutes after the Orioles walk off win, Evan Longoria came to the plate again and sent another ball over the left field fence AND THE RAYS WIN THE GAME!!  This would have been exciting enough had it not involved Boston, but the fact that it was them that collapsed and gave up something like a 9 game lead in less than a month makes me so happy.

I have now copped a squat on the couch and am watching the Phillies/Cardinals ALDS Game 1.  I am being reminded of how great post season baseball is, and at the same time happy that my Dodgers aren't in it this year. That might sound a bit odd but let me explain.  Being a Dodger fan, I am naturally rooting for the Cards to win this game (after the Phillies destroyed our pennant hopes in both 08 and 09 I can never root for them).  In the first inning I saw Lance Berkman absolutely crush a ball for a 3 run homer.  Oh how exciting, I thought.  Maybe the Cards can pull this off.  Smash cut Ryan Howard of Philly hitting a 3 run shot, followed by Raul Ibanez hitting a 2 run homer, putting the Phillies back on top.  Follow all that with another rally in the following inning and the score is now 9-3 Philly.  Ugh.  It sucks to be a St. Louis fan.  I just don't think I could handle that if it was the Dodgers.  Watching them fall apart both in 08 and 09 was heartbreaking.  I don't know how the Sacramento Kings fans did it all those years where the Lakers kept knocking them out of the playoffs.

UPDATE:  I apologize for the boringness of this post if you are not a baseball fan.  I realize it isn't very entertaining.



I want a dog.  Let me rephrase.  I REALLY want a dog.  I think I am beginning to understand a fraction of what women go through when they go baby crazy.  I am beginning to notice little puppies everywhere I go.  I even noticed the cute doggy sitting on the couch in the cars.com commercial.  The dog was about .000001% of the commercial, which is about as important as a painting hanging on the wall or a magazine sitting on the coffee table, yet somehow it stuck out to me.  Sheesh. It really makes me hate living in an apartment.  A couple weeks ago I couldn't sleep so I inevitably went out to the living room and hopped on  the interwebs.  I soon found myself on a Jack Russell terrier adoption website.  OMG!!! "Why do I do this to myself?" I thought.  I must like to torture myself.  Is there anything is this world so cute as this little guy?

Luckily Ash is on board with the dog idea, but we can't seem to agree on breed or age.  I want a puppy because who the hell doesn't want a puppy? Ash apparently.  Too much work.  Too many messes.  Blah blah blah.  Yes they are a lot of work and you have to train them right, but I think there is more of a bond when you get a dog as a puppy rather than when they are 4 years old.  I would be open to getting an adult dog, however, if I got to choose the breed.

Of course Ash wants something lame like a cockapoo, labradoodle, or some other ridiculous cross breed with a stupid name.  On the flip side, I of course want something that she would hate like a bulldog, bull terrier, or any other manner of manly dogs.  My compromise? The little guy pictured above.  Yes, they are super energetic and need to be excercised regularly but they have an awesome personality.  Have you ever met a Jack Russell you haven't liked?  I haven't.  I got the go ahead a few months ago which made me very happy.  And by "go-ahead" i mean a conversation not unlike this:

Me: "Hey babe, what about a Jack Russell (picture me with a big dumb smile on my face as I show her a picture on my laptop)?

Her: Sure, ok (absolutely no feeling in her voice as she was checking her facebook or something else that she cared about more than what I was saying). 

Me: Sweet! (Even bigger dumb smile on my face)

You all can probably guess how long that agreement lasted.  So sad.  If we had a house and yard and some real estate the decision would be really easy for us.  I think both would want a labrador or retriever of some sort.  Probably a black lab like my beloved Chester, God rest his soul, if I had my way.  But alas we don't have anything close to a house.  Actually, we still live in an apartment complex that doesn't allow dogs.  Why the hell am I evening putting so much sweat into this?  Because I like to torture myself.  GAH!!!   


Major/Minor - Thrice

Thrice rarely, if ever, disappoint.  I can't honestly say where my expectations were with this album.  I loved their last one, Beggars, but I have also loved everything they have put out since Vheissu (for the record I have always been a fan but Vheissu turned me into a super fan).  When they announced that the title of the new album would be "Major/Minor" I was a bit confused.  "What a random album title?" I thought.  One must admit that it doesn't roll off the tongue very easily.  Once I gave the album a once over, I completely understood why they gave the album that name and thought that it was very fitting.  Apparently the name references the back and forth nature from major chords to minor chords, and back again.

The album starts off with "Yellow Bellow" which sports a riff that is dirtier than a hobo's underwear.  I can't say enough about how well this riff sounds against Riley's drum beats.  In fact that is the case with practically the entire album.  I have always been a fan of Riley's drumming but he has definitely taken it up a notch this time around.  It really drives the entire album especially on tracks like "Promises" and "Call it in the air" (the little bridge after the first chorus sports some of my favorite drumming on the album).  On "Call it in the air" the major/minor back and forth is really showcased.

There are a number of little gems on this album that make so much fun to listen to.  I never in my life thought Thrice would write anything that sounded like a Fugazi song and yet they do here with "Cataracts" and pull it off gracefully without it sounding like a rip off.  The opening riff on "Treading Paper" sounds like something off of a Pink Floyd record and yet doesn't sound out of place with the rest of the song.  Of course there is also "Blur" which is easily the fastest and most aggressive song on the album.  "Blur" is also propelled by Ed's bass lines.  The slides he does in the chorus really give the song a bit of heaviness that would have otherwise been missing.

The strongest song on the album would have to be "Words in the Water" which is the closest thing that Thrice has ever gotten to a power ballad.  If modern radio was what it should be, this song would be a #1 hit and Thrice would selling out the Honda Center instead of playing two shows at HoB Anaheim.  The thing about pretty much every Thrice release though, is that even the pedestrian songs ("Blinded" and "Listen Through Me") end up being better than most bands best songs and sometimes end up being my favorite listens on the album and/or live ala "Lost Continent" from The Alchemy Index.

The album closes with "Disarmed" which was an excellent choice.  The song closes out Major/Minor in a similar way that "Red Sky" closed out Vheissu, with a very epic and cinematic finish.  The lyrics that Dustin has written for this song really mix well with the movement of the song itself.  The song is about how death is not the end and that we will see our loved ones again.  Teppei's riff on the bridge after the second chorus, which turns into the outro, is one of the most beautiful moments on the entire album.  When listening to this song, one can't help but think of the loved ones that have been lost.  The song is a tad dark, but ends very hopeful.  That being said, I think the difference between a Thrice album, and most other music out there, is that it makes you feel something.  Yes, Dustin's lyrics speak to me personally and one can't deny his unmatched delivery, but the voices of the other three band members can be heard through music both as a whole and individually.  They are a perfect example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.  It is not a show of each person's chops, but you can also hear the expertise of each  member in parts that compliment the song.  The result is not only an album full of great songs, but it is a bunch of great songs that make up a cohesive album that is an enjoyable from start to finish.  As stated earlier, if the world was fair this album would start out at #1 on the charts and the band would be rock stars.  They will most likely have to settle for critical acclaim and year end top album honors.  As for this guy, the question isn't where does this album fit in with other albums this year (its clearing the best album of the year), it is where does it fit in with the rest of their catalog.  Vheissu has long been been favorite album by Thrice, but Major/Minor is making its case for being #1.


For the Record

A few days ago I received the new Thrice record Major/Minor in the mail. When a lot of people say record, they actually album or CD. In this instance when I say record I mean an actual record, vinyl, if you will. I pre-ordered this bad boy about 2 or 3 months ago and have been not so patiently awaiting its arrival. I have bought records in the past and have a very very small "collection" of both LP's and 7 inches (what my parents refer to as a 45, only it has the small LP hole rather than the bigger 45 hole). Of the 50 or so records I have, about 10 of them are Thrice records that I cherish very much and have actually become pretty rare/expensive, according to eBay. Now this new record is important, not only continue on the collection(I think I have all their vinyl except a 7 inch single for All That's Left and the LP of their second album that I am waiting to find on yellow vinyl of which their are only 500 made), but also because the vinyl was released 2 weeks before the actual digital and CD versions are released. Furthermore, they shipped the vinyl early so I actually had it in my hands about 3 weeks before the release date on 9.20.11.

This is both awesome and terrible at the same time. On the awesome side of things, I get to listen to my favorite band's new album 3 weeks before pretty much everyone else. Of course I think that is the cat's pajamas. There is, of course, the other way of looking at things which is, this sucks that I CAN ONLY LISTEN TO THIS BEHEMOTH ON A DAMN RECORD PLAYER!! I know what you all are asking yourselves and the answer is yes, I do have one of these ancient devices called a record player. I honestly don't know how people in my parents generation did it back in the 50's, 60's, and 70's. Don't get me wrong, there is a lot to appreciate about vinyl. It has superb sound that is unsurpassed by CD's and most, if not all, digital media forms(as far as I know). Not to mention that a record is much "cooler" than a cd and it actually physically exists unlike an mp3(read: it has stuff I can nerd out on like pictures, artwork, lyric sheets, even thank you lists, yes i am huge nerd and read all that crap). One other cool thing about records is that a lot of times nowadays they will include extra songs or features that the CD and digital versions don't. This record, for example, has liner notes on every song from all 4 members of the band talking about how the song was written, in depth discussion on the lyrics, and other fun stuff about the writing and recording of the album. That all being said, you can only listen while you are at home. WTF? Then, to make matters worse, you have to keep flipping the damn thing over. Major/Minor finds a way to worsen the deal by being a double album, meaning that the album is split between two physical records. So now I have to not only flip the record, I have to change it out for a whole new record halfway through? Damnit. How is one to right an enlightened blog posting when he is constantly having to flip and change out a record? I have always kind of known that these drawbacks have existed because like I said I have a few other records that I DO play from time to time. The reason it is becoming more apparent to me now is because this is the first time I have ever been anticipating an album coming out and my first listen has been on vinyl with no other option of format. I so badly want to put this album on my ipod so I can listen to it in my car and all day at work. How does one fully drink in an album when it is chained to a record player? I have had the record for 3 days and I have only listened to it twice all the way through. If I had it on mp3, I would have listened to it 10 times at least in the first day. 9.20.11 can not come soon enough. Maybe it will leak on the internet and I can download it beforehand so as to have it on my ipod as soon as possible. If not, I will continue to devote whatever free time I have to enjoying this materpiece, and it is a masterpiece, on my record player while nerding out with the liner notes.

Urine. You're out.

Just a quick note. Lately at work I have been getting stuck in the bathroom with an odd, and disgusting fellow. He is an aging "hipster" who is probably in his 50's. His daily look and attire starts with his cul de sac hair line and curly red hair popping out the side and back. The there is some kind of pooka shell necklace followed by some sort of floral patterned shirt with cuff links. Then he usually has some sort of jeans that were popular back in '03 with all the crazy rips and wash. Oh yeah, don't forget about the huge plugs he has in his ears. The guy is basically a walking cliche.

So this is the guy that is always in the bathroom at the same time as me. He walks in and then proceeds to piss. Well.....try to piss. Every time I'm in there with him he has trouble pissing. A few drops here. A few drops there. Its SOOOO awkward. After his attempts at what a normal piss should be, he zips up and heads out. That's it. No hand wash? WTF? Ok, I'll admit that I have been guilty of not washing my hands after a short sesh in my own home, but not at work! And in the presence of another worker no less! He has done it more than a couple times too. Just despicable. Eww...


Gettin' Down in Chi-Town

Ooohh Chicago....get ready for a lot of pictures. Last Friday we embarked on our trip to Chicago for Ash's cousins wedding. I had never been before and so we decided to stay a couple extra days to take in the city and celebrate our first anniversary (albeit 2 months after the actual date). The first couple days there we stayed out in the suburbs where Ash's family live. The wedding was a great time and it was great to see all her family and meet the ones that couldn't make it to our wedding last year. One fun fact about Indian weddings: the parents of the bride give cash out to all the immediate family that attend. Since the father of the bride is my father-in-law's uncle, we all qualified. Ash and I both got $50! Hazzah! (I hope its not in poor taste that I just gave that info out. Still new to all of these foreign but awesome customs.)

The day after the wedding, we got to do something I have been wanting to do for a while now. WRIGLEY FIELD!!! That's right folks. I finally got to go to THE baseball stadium. The only other ball parks that even comes close to Wrigley are Fenway in Boston and the old Yankee Stadium which isn't around anymore. Needless to say I was excited. By the way, thanks Tia for NOT getting the Wrigley sign in this picture.

We sat in the bleachers and sweated it out for 9 innings. Oh man was it hot. I literally felt like I was melting. Even though the Cubs lost 9-8 it was still a fun and exciting game to watch. It was nice to see my boy Blake Dewitt (Dodger prospect traded to the Cubs last year) hit a 2-run home run.

On Monday we headed into downtown and checked into our hotel. We stayed in a Comfort Suites since we get the employee rate and it was pretty impressive. This place was right in the thick of things on Michigan street a block or two away from the river. It was far and away the nicest Choice Hotel we both had ever stayed in. We spent the rest of the day bouncing around the city seeing this and that. First we went to the famous bean. The above picture was taking in the reflection of the bean. It was kind of overcast so we ended up going back on Tuesday to take more pictures.
After the bean we headed to these face fountain things. These fountains have a video of a face on them (there are 2 fountains) and then the face eventually makes a face the one below and water comes out of the mouth.

Apparently they filmed over 1000 people from Chicago so its next to impossible to see the same face twice. Next on the agenda was the biggest stop on our tour; literally the biggest. THE SEARS TOWER-OWER-OWER-OWer-ower!!! I like to imagine that in a big echoey voice that trails off at the end. Before I continue, can we talk about how its not even called the Sears Tower anymore? Its the "Willis Tower". Poppy cock. One of the most ridiculous things I have heard. Its like renaming Mount Rushmore and calling it the Famous Amos Famous Faces.
Atop the Sears Tower they have a little diddy called The Sky Deck. The Sky Deck is basically just a glass box that sticks out the side of the building 1450 feet in the air. That's right folks. 1450 f#$*ing feet! Holy moly. Its also not comforting when the little girls in front of you are jumping up and down on said glass. It took a little for me to get out on that glass but not too much. I was freaking out though. I made Ash take the shot below because it freaked me out too much. She did, however, make me look down through the glass before I left. So scary.

After we took the above picture, we left and I got to do what you see in the picture below.

Nothing like some Chicago style, deep dish pizza ala Giordano's. Words can't express how good this pizza is so I won't even try. I'll just use one word: cheese.
Our last day in Chicago was a busy one. We a started it off by taking the Architectural Boat Tour. What a great idea. Tickets were only $26 and they give you a 75 minute boat ride up and down the river while educating everyone on the all the major and minor buildings in downtown. To some this might sound boring but I assure you it was a blast. It was Ash's favorite part of the week and it was my second favorite, behind the Cubs game of course. I took the picture above on the tour. I'm pretty surprised at how sweet it came out. Not bad for a phone camera right?

Sears Tower behind me.
Ash and I at the end of the boat tour. The Wrigley Building is the whitish building behind us.

After the boat tour we walked over to Navy Pier and road the ferris wheel.

Me on the ferris wheel.

After our trip to around the wheel, we were inspired by the beautiful sunny day and headed back to the bean to take some better pictures. Benji, Ash's broher, and Chris met us there. See...much better right?

This last picture was at a fountain in Grant Park. Kinda cool. This was the last touristy thing we did for the trip, unless you want to count a last minute stop at Dunkin Donuts and a train ride to O'Hare. "This is the blue line."

Our last night in Chicago was spent having dinner at a classy joint across from Millennium Park called Tavern at the Park. It was the perfect place to celebrate our first year of marriage. I had the Millennium Burger which was a burger with shredded duck meat, bacon, some type fish egg stuff, and a bunch of other delights. There was so much on it that I can't really remember it all, especially since it all had frenchy sounding names. It was awesome though. Ashley went a little more traditional and decided to get the Chicken and Egg Parmesan over the Lobster Mac and Cheese, although I want to return to Chicago just to go back and try that. We finished it off with a fried banana split for dessert. SO GOOD! It was a great way to end our trip.

All in all, Chicago was awesome. I absolutely loved it and it made me realize even more how much LA sucks. It was great to walk the downtown streets with my lady and see yet another new place.

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