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.

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