Saturday, September 17, 2011

Homework nighmares...

I still dream about homework. I haven't been in school in about 3 years, but apparently, that still haunts me to this day. I dream that I am in class, and the professor asks us to turn in our homework, and I totally forgot that we had homework....

Sadly, it was a very, very common occurrence when I was in school. It wasn't so much that I didn't want to do it, or that I consciously decided against doing it. It was more along the lines of "I am not thinking about school when I am not in school" so I would totally forget that homework was to be done by a certain date. So yeah, it was a terrible feeling! "Damn! Not again!! I really have to get more organized, and schedule a time to look over school stuff and see what homework needs to be done..."

Not my homework exactly lol but I had to put a picture!

Needless to say, that never really happened...and apparently, my brain is still thinking about that, while I sleep.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Life without a microwave oven...

...is good. I thought it was an essential appliance in the kitchen. I never thought I would have to live in a house without one. But then again, it had been there my whole life, so I never really thought about microwave ovens ever not being there.

Since we moved to England almost a year ago, we haven't had one. We didn't get one when we moved here because we were uncertain of whether we would be staying past the year. And stuff, whether getting rid of it, or taking it with you, is a huge hassle. So we have done without it this year. And to be honest, I haven't missed it. I thought we would, but it turns out it isn't quite as necessary as most of us think it is.

When we moved into the house here, there was an electric kettle. And that little device is very handy and definitely made a microwave seem less necessary. What does it do? Boil water, quickly.I hadn't even seen one of these until we moved to England. I think everyone has one here.



Popcorn? We make it on the pan(we used to do that even when we had a microwave)
Ramen? Kettle does it even better. Boil water > add to ramen > let it sit a minute > eat
Warming up food? Use the stove. Really. It isn't that bad.
Oatmeal? Kettle again....
Tea? Kettle!

Was it used for anything else?

So yeah, no microwave + kettle = Don't need a microwave oven.

I don't think I will buy one, even when we have a house. One less appliance to buy...that's a good thing.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Boredom is something I do not understand....

I don't understand how people have the time to be bored. How are they unable to entertain themselves? To keep their minds occupied? How do they not have a massive list of things to do that constantly get pushed to a later time? I don't get it. I don't think I am exaggerating when I say that I don't think I have ever really been bored. There is so much to do, to see, to learn, to enjoy, to hear, to make, I really don't get it. I know we live in a world where over-stimulation causes us to never feel satisfied. But it doesn't take much effort to see through that and be able to mentally adjust.


I could make a list of things to do when there is danger of boredom. Actually, I will. And I am confident that virtually anyone can find something to do on this list that would instantly end any potential boredom. Some are chores, some are geeky sure, but many should be universal, no matter what you're into...


1. Read a book. I know, I used to think reading was lame, and a waste of time. Now, I don't have enought time to read all the books I would like! Seriously, just try it...pick up a book on a topic that interests you. Pick a topic. There's a book on that. You can probably read it for free. You know, that socialist institution called a library. You're paying for it already. Use it.


2. Take a walk. Seriously. Leave the car keys at home, it's okay. Just take a walk. No real direction if you don't have a place to go. Just walk. Think about things. Or watch the people around you. Listen to the place.


3. Bike ride. Obviously this doesn't apply if you don't have a bike. But if you do and never use it, there you go. Check the tires, pump some air. And go. Just to feel the wind in your face. Just because it is something you don't usually do. Why not?


4. Get lost in an album. Everyone claims they looooove music. They can't live without it. It is the soundtrack of their life. They love their iPod. You get the point. So how can you be bored, with music around? Lay down, play your favorite album, louder than usual, preferably in some awesome earphones or isolating headphones. Stare at the wall(or close your eyes), and just listen! If you need suggestions, Pink Floyd's 'Animals' is perfect for this! Tool's 'Ænima'! Radiohead's 'Hail to the Thief'! You get the point...don't just hear it, listen! Absorb it! Submerge yourself in it! 


5. Watch a documentary. In the age of netflix, youtube, vimeo, PS3, and countless other ways to stream video, you don't even need to leave the house to find something to watch. And why not learn something new? 


6. Stargaze. You don't even have to have a telescope. Binoculars will do nicely. Even nothing is fine. When was the last time you actually looked at the night sky? Most cities are light polluted, but you can still google what planets are visible that day and those are usually bright enough to be spotted with the naked eye. If possible, get away from the city lights. In El Paso, that is not difficult. The northeast and east side are close enough to the outskirts to escape the lights without too much difficulty. It will be worth it. The night sky is spectacular...


7. Take a picture. Or lots of them! Grab your camera, and go outside, or stay inside. But take pictures. Of things you normally wouldn't. Find 


8. YouTube it. Anything. I'm serious. It is probably on there. Think of a song you like and haven't heard in a while. It is on there. Want to learn how to do something new with a program? I am sure it is on there. Photoshop tutorials. MS office tutorials. Computer programming tutorials. You name it. Video game cheats and walk throughs. Stand up comedy clips. Debates on just about any topic. Funny commercials. Sports highlights. Religious debate videos. Political commentary. Just pick something. Watch it. Then that will probably link you to something else you might like. Repeat. For added laughs, read the comments on the videos! This can consume unpredictable amounts of time, so be careful. But then again, you need something to do, right?


9. Call your parents. If you live with them, well this doesn't apply. But other than that, I think most of us don't hate our parents. So why not call and say hi. See how they are doing. Catch up.


8. Wiki it. Similar in principle to the YouTube one, but this is an online encyclopedia. Wiki something you are curious about. A person, place, song, band, device, activity, event. Seriously, almost anything, and something is bound to come up for it. Read it, and it will probably have links to something else, that since you were reading about it, probably interests you, or baffled you enough to click on that. Repeat. You started by looking up the members of a band, and ended up reading about danish pastries. It happens, but in the process, you read something interesting, maybe even learned something. If not, well, at least you killed some time. You're bored anyway, right?


9. Bake something. You obviously have a lot of time that you don't know what to do with. Google some recipes for some cookies, or a cake, or something. Doesn't have to be complicated. Almost everyone has flour and sugar, right? Those are the main ingredients for most cookies and cakes, so google away, find a recipe that sounds good and easy, and feel productive while becoming everyone's favorite roommate. 


10. Clean. Okay, probably not our favorite activity. But usually, the hard part is stopping what you're doing to clean instead, since whatever it is, it is probable more interesting and fun than cleaning. But you're bored, so that's not the case. You kill boredom, and become productive at the same time. Play some music while you clean, that makes it less of a drag for me. 


11. Read the news. At least the headlines. In order for a democracy to function properly, the public needs to informed. Not all news sources are created equal of course, but your local newspaper is a good place to start. Online if you want. CNN. Alternet. Fox news even, if you want to laugh. Whatever. Just listen to the world around you.


12. Cook something. Why not? Google a recipe. See if you have the ingredients. If you don't and you really want to make it, quick trip to the store fixes that(you got time anyway). Who wouldn't like some food instead of some boredom?


13. Exercise. Seriously. It relieves stress, it is good for you, and for some people, it is even fun. Anything. A fast walk, go jogging, dust off the gym card and go use the machines there, go for a swim, gather some friends and play some soccer, basketball, whatever. 


14. Read blogs. You're doing that now, and hopefully not dreading it. There are millions out there, on just about anything. Find one, or several you like, and subscribe. See what others are saying. 


15. Learn something. Anything. Ever wondered why we only see one side of the moon? Find out. Why do (most)cars need spark plugs? A google search away. Why do antibiotics work for bacterial infections, but not viral ones? You can't know if you don't look it up. Why is the summer in the northern hemisphere, winter in the souther hemisphere? You get the point. Just find a question, look up the answer. 


16. Write an email to a friend. You're bored, right? Look through your contacts. Say hi to someone you haven't in a long time. Or to someone you still talk to, but not as much as you'd like. 


17. Call your grandma. Just to say hi. She will like it. And those who no longer have their grandma, can agree that you should. Just because you still have her, and it would make her smile to talk to you for a bit.  


18. Find out who your congressman and senators are. Most people don't know. See what their voting records are on issues you care about. You may not realize how much power they have, and you may find that you really don't(or do) agree with them, and who knows, you might become a more informed and active citizen in your community. You said you were bored, I am just making a suggestion...


19. Donate something. Look through your stuff, fill a bag with thing you don't want or need. Take it to goodwill. You might need to clear some of the clutter anyway.


20. Draw something. Anything. Even if you think you are not an artist. Especially if you think you are not an artist. Just try it. Draw your friends and/or family. Then mail it to them(or if you are into technology, scan it, and put it on their facebook wall). 


21. Watch a movie. On TV. From your movie collection. Go rent one(does blockbuster still exist?). Stream one. 


22. Look up how something works. Interested in cars? Look up how a component works. Or who invented a certain component. Interested in photography? Look up how the modern camera works. How it used to work. Its history. Interested in video games? Look up the first consoles, and how they work. You get the point.


23. Look through old pictures. That's why you took them, right? So what better time than now? For added nostalgia, scan them and put them on facebook, and tag away! 


24. Learn/play chess. Already know how to play? Play people online(chess.com anyone?). Learn if you don't. Plenty of tutorials and other new players online. It is a classic game of strategy. And lots of fun once you get the hang of it. Online, you have the added benefit of just playing strangers. So no face-to-face embarrassment, you can try new things, and learn by losing. 


25. Clean up your PC. You said you were bored, so why not? Most of us never do this(I work in IT, I know!). You don't have to know much about computers. I just mean delete old stuff you don't need, get rid of the clutter. Uninstall programs you never use. You know, what is supposed to be part of "regular maintenance". 


26. Play some video games. I know, at #26?! Well, it only just occurred to me. But there are tons online, or dust off your old console, or if you are a regular gamer, revisit an old game.


27. Look up NASA images. Seriously. Go to the Image of the day gallery. look around. Previous, previous, previous, previous. And be impressed by our universe. Or maybe it's just me...


28. Browse the National Geographic Picture galleries. They are impressive as well!


29. Just browse the web. Seriously. If you can't find something to interest you there, then perhaps you should be bored. If the largest repository of information is not enough for you, then what can I say?


30. Talk to someone. There has to be some fellow humans somewhere near you. Stand up, walk towards them, and ask them something interesting. Not your usual small talk. Especially if you already know them. Surprise them with something they don't usually hear from you. You might need to do something such as #1, #5 or #11 first if you can't think of anything that is not the usual small talk. Or better yet, just listen to what they have to say. 


Okay, you get the point. There are no excuses for boredom. Any. Zero. None. Carry around a tiny MP3 player and a book and you are set, should boredom threaten to invade your space again. If you need more suggestions, I will be happy to oblige. But seriously, how lazy do you have to be to live at this day and age and find this amazing world we live in not stimulating enough for you???

Monday, February 7, 2011

Amazon mind games...

So I have been **anxiously** waiting for this CD that Martha, Mari, and Gustavo got me as part of my gift-day gift. It is Colonel Les Claypool's Fearless Flying Frog Brigade, Live Frogs: Set 2. It is awesome! The entire Animals album(Pink Floyd), played by Les and the frogs! 


Anyway, so I have been waiting for it. There was a shipment delay and what not, which is fine. So the other day I get a package. I hadn't ordered anything, so I was curious. I open it, and um....it is a book. That is not what was weird. I check the book, and it is "The Soulmate Secret: Manifest the Love of Your Life with the Law of Attraction"?!?!


I was thoroughly confused. Did Geli order this?! Is she trying to tell me something?! She wants to divorce me and this is how she tells me?!?! That she is still looking for her "soulmate"? So after being baffled by this, I look at the invoice. And well, it is the packing slip for the live frogs CD!!! What?!?! Now I had even MORE questions! Was whoever packed this on some powerful narcotics? Or half asleep? Does a Les Claypool Cd look an awful lot like a love book?


Perhaps this is their idea of a joke? Or was the packing person that day thinking "This guy has been waiting for a Les Claypool Cd for two months, clearly he needs a soulmate! Here, send him this!"


So yes, Amazon, I still want that CD. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

ZipCars!

As most of you know, we don't drive a car. We walk/bike to most places. I had a moped I use to get to work when the weather was clear and I worked at the data center, about 12 miles away. But anyway, that is not the point!

ZipCars! It is a company that does community car sharing. Similar to car rentals, but a whole different approach. You pay a sign up fee of $50 and then it is $7/hr or $60/day and it includes gas and insurance and 180 mi. We have used it to go to chicago for weekday concerts(have to come back same day) and for going to pick up Geli's work shoes like 13 miles away.

It is painless and simple! We have a car if we need it, and other people use it when we don't. The closest car to us, which is less than a block away, is a Honda Civic hybrid. Even using it many times a month, it would be less than the cost of owning one. Especially once you factor insurance, gas, maintenance, registration, inspection, etc..

Ideally, it would be great not to drive. And we almost achieve that. But this is a good way to not own a car and still be able to get away every now and then. Truth is that this would even work for many people that have no objections to owning a car, if you need it only occasionally. You have it there when you need it, but no car maintenance, payment, insurance, etc. I know it sounds like a commercial haha but it really is that cool and painless.

Oh! And you get into it with a card, no keys!! How cool is that?!

There I am opening the car with the card! haha

And it is a worldwide program, with cars in London, so maybe we'll rent one while we're out there :) I'll have to learn how to drive on the wrong side of the road!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The speed of light!

I recently read "A briefer history of time" By Stephen Hawking(in record time!), which is an updated and shortened version of his 1988 book "A Brief History of Time". And it was an awesome book! 


But perhaps the part of it that really struck me, was the part where he talks about how we(humanity) figured out that light is not instant. Because, from what we can tell, in our everyday life, light is as good as instant. 


But as most of us know, light, like everything else, takes time to travel, and has a set speed. So this guy by the name of Ole Rømer figured it out in 1676!!! He noticed that the eclipses on Jupiter, were not happening at regular intervals. And as was already known at the time, eclipses always happened at regular intervals. That is how many ancient civilizations, inlcluding the egyptians and the mayans were able to predict eclipses here on earth. They can be predicted because moons orbit their planet at a constant speed, so we can predict their location at any given time. So when he was observing the moons of Jupiter, he noticed they did not occur at regular intervals. It was almost as if they would speed up and slow down at different times. But all known orbits at the time had a constant speed. He realized that as the earth and Jupiter were moving towards each other, the eclipses would 'happen faster'. And as Jupiter and the earth were moving away from each other, the would 'happen slower'. This was puzzling. So he concluded that the reason this was happening is because the light traveling from Jupiter to earth was taking longer to arrive when we were moving away, and less time when moving towards each other! So it wasn't that the moons were speeding up and slowing down. It was that the light had to travel further at times to get to us than at other times. It may sound simple to us now. But if we try to remember that we haven't always known that, it is quite amazing, to me at least. That this guy discovered something that is not obvious to any of us in our daily lives, and most certainly not to any of them back 334 years ago! 


Just for fun, here are some times it takes light to travel from:


Moon to Earth                              1.3 sec
Sun to Earth                               8.3 min
Alpha Centauri(nearest star) to Earth      4.4 years!
Across our galaxy                          100,000 years!
From the Andromeda Galaxy to Earth         2.5 Million years!! 


So apparently, we have learned a lot from Jupiter! I can think of 2 major things right away that revolutionized astronomy. Galileo, in the 1600's confirming that the Earth was not the center of the universe(the catholic church didn't like that!), and that not everything revolved around the earth. He was the first to notice that Jupiter had its own moons, and that they clearly rotated around Jupiter, so clearly, not everything was rotating around the earth. And Ole Rømer realized light was not instant while observing Jupiter. 


So, in conclusion, Jupiter is awesome! I was able to see it when we went stargazing on Saturday Aug 14th to the Bong Recreational Area(that's what the park is called! haha) under really dark skies(for Milwaukee/Chicago area, I remember El Paso skies being darker in the north east and east montana). 


This is more or less what it looks like through my small telescope! 


We looked at it long enough to see one of the moons hide behind Jupiter. And there was some guys there with awesome giant motorized telescopes that had GPS and auto locate objects in the sky! They were awesome! I will get one! Sometime...





Monday, August 16, 2010

I am a dreamer...

As some of you know, I usually don't care much for lyrics. Not sure why. Maybe it is because I have never really liked(or understood) poetry. Or because the music is usually so amazing, that I don't really bother to look into the lyrics. And I am terrible at understanding what the singers are saying usually, no matter who the band is. But there is one song, whose lyrics are so awesome, that I couldn't help but notice. Not just the song, but the lyrics as well. Actually, especially the lyrics. 


Imagine by John Lennon


Imagine there's no Heaven 
It's easy if you try 
No hell below us 
Above us only sky 
Imagine all the people 
Living for today 

Imagine there's no countries 
It isn't hard to do 
Nothing to kill or die for 
And no religion too 
Imagine all the people 
Living life in peace 

You may say that I'm a dreamer 
But I'm not the only one 
I hope someday you'll join us 
And the world will be as one 

Imagine no possessions 
I wonder if you can 
No need for greed or hunger 
A brotherhood of man 
Imagine all the people 
Sharing all the world 

------------------------


I especially love the way A Perfect Circle plays it. I think has a much darker tone, which unfortunately, is more in tune with what reality is. 

Here is a link to it on YouTube...you'll have to put up with the ad if you want to see the official video. Else, just YouTube it, and there are tons of others that haven't been taken down by the record label(yet). 


These lyrics represent a large part of my views. I like that :) And yes, I'm a dreamer...But I'm not the only one. 

Friday, July 9, 2010

Concerts!

Okay, so these are a couple months late, but I still wanted to say something about them! So here it goes:


Porcupine Tree - 4/30@The Riviera Theater in Chicago


Wow...Mind blowing! They played the whole "The Incident" album, which took about an hour. This was the 1st half of their set. And I have to say I really like seeing an album live, performed in its entirety! Not only does it bring up memories next time you hear it, but it gives you a whole new way of 'looking' at the album. This album is a great one, and seeing it performed live was impressive! After this, they took a break. 


Porcupine Tree


They returned to play a mix of their older songs. About another hour. They did not play 'Arriving Somewhere But Not Here' my favorite song of theirs, off the 'Deadwing' album. But that is the only thing I would change! 


The set list:



First Set: The Incident
Occam's Razor
The Blind House
Great Expectations
Kneel and Disconnect
Drawing the Line
The Incident
Your Unpleasant Family
The Yellow Windows of the Evening Train
Time Flies
Degree Zero of Liberty
Octane Twisted
The Séance
Circle of Manias
I Drive the Hearse


Second Set
Hatesong
Lazarus
Russia on Ice
Anesthetize
Stars Die
Normal
Bonnie the Cat


Encore:
Blackest Eyes
Trains


All in all, mind blowing concert! To this concert I went with Geli and my work buddies Matt C. and Kevin(who we kinda dragged to last minute haha). Oh and parking was like $2(meter parking, and you can pay with a credit card!) hahaha fools are those that pay astronomical amounts for parking! We had to walk a couple blocks, but we never mind that. 


Them Crooked Vultures - 5/18@The Aragon Theater in Chicago


So this one was a special one. I have been a Dave Grohl fan for as long as I have been into music and hadn't seen him live! I thought back in 2002 that I was going to! He did the drums for the Queens of the Stone Age 'Songs for the Deaf' album and I went to go see them, but he did not drum for them during the tour(it was nonetheless one of the best concerts I have been to!) So this time, when I heard that Dave Grohl on drums, Josh Homme(QOTSA) and Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones were teaming up, I had to check it out! I bought the album and really really liked it. So when they were coming to Chicago, it was a no-brainer! We had to go! We bought the tickets over a month ahead of time, and Geli got a job and started 5/17 once we had the tickets and this was in Chicago! But we decided this would be worth not sleeping well....


Dave Grohl pounding away!


Them Crooked Vultures


The performance exceeded my expectations(as if that means anything! haha). They are technically a 'super group'. But in their dedication to what they do, they are a world apart. These guys reminded me what passion for what you do is! You could tell from the way they were playing and enjoying the show that this is what they want to be doing! It was great! They only have one album. They could have just played that, collected their cash and taken off. But they played for about 2 hours! Extending songs, jamming, and just enjoying themselves musically. It was a very enjoyable performance to witness. John Paul Jones is an integral part of this band, he even played keyboards and sang a song on his own at some point. A very interesting show. And I finally got to see Dave live! So much energy to his drumming! 


Setlist: 



No One Loves Me & Neither Do I 
Gunman 
Scumbag Blues 
Dead End Friends 
Elephants 
Highway One 
New Fang 
Bandoliers 
Interlude With Ludes 
Mind Eraser, No Chaser 
Caligulove 
You Can't Possibly Begin To Imagine 
Spinning In Daffodils 
Reptiles 
Warsaw or The First Breath You Take After You Give Up 


This time it was just Geli and I :) and we took a ZipCar to Chicago! Parking again was only a couple dollars at the meter! 

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Intense concert week! (Triple concert review!)

This last week was full of concerts!!! We had not been to a concert in over a year probably! Although we had seen some comedians(like Eddie Izzard), but no musicians. And just this last week(in 8 days, to be precise) we saw 3 unique and awesome concerts, all in their own way.

Friday March 26th, 2010 - Stone Temple Pilots at the Eagles Ballroom in Milwaukee, WI



I was very excited to find out Stone Temple Pilots was back together, on tour, releasing a new album(out in May), and coming to Milwaukee! I have liked them for a long long time. They were never one of my favorite bands, but I have always liked their music, and they were gone for years, and what seemed like it would be forever. I had even seen Army of Anyone, which was the Deleo brothers from STP + the singer from Filter in El Paso and that was cool, but it was no STP haha. So this was something I was definitely looking forward to. "Tab the Band" was the opening act. And they were good, best I can describe them is a 50's Rock and Roll band with a modern sound. It was enjoyable. Then STP came out. Here is the set list they played:
  • Vasoline
  • Crackerman
  • Wicked Garden
  • Hollywood Bitch
  • Between the Lines
  • Hickory Dichotomy
  • Big Empty
  • Sour Girl
  • Creep
  • Plush
  • Interstate Love Song
  • Bagman
  • Huckleberry Crumble
  • Sex Type Thing
  • Dead and Bloated (Partial)
  • Lounge Fly (Partial)
  • Trippin' On A Hole In A Paper Heart
It was an awesome concert. Scott Weiland was talking gibberish and mumbling in between songs, but I had never seen him before, so I didn't know if that's just how he was. For the most part, he sang well and I didn't think much of anything was wrong. Then Dead and Bloated started, and it all went to hell...They must  have been about a minute and a half into it, and then Weiland was just lost. He kept singing the same verse over and over, even when it was time for the chorus. The sound man tried to fix it by lowering the volume of his microphone, but there was no hiding it. The Deleo brothers kept trying to go back to the part Weiland was singing, but they lost Eric Kretz(drummer) in the process. They even completely stopped to see where Weiland was at, and then tried to play to what he was singing! Weiland was completely oblivious to any of this(or so it seemed) he just kept on singing and dancing like nothing was wrong.The band just gave up...The band(except for Weiland) was clearly pissed. Robert Deleo removed Weiland's ear monitor and yelled something in his ear, and then they started 'Lounge Fly'. It started well. But then again, about a minute into it, Weiland got lost again, and just kept on singing. The rest of the band desperately tried to salvage the song. The Deleo brothers stopped playing, and let Eric try to find where Weiland was at, and then they tried to play along to weiland, but it was a disaster. The band left Weiland on stage, and he kept on singing like they didn't just destroy two songs that they have been playing for almost 20 years!! Finally Weiland got off the stage, and I don't know what they did back there, but they came back on and played 'Trippin' and they played it pretty well, especially considering what they had just done to the previous two songs! This is just sad and pathetic, all at the same time. I mean I feel bad for the rest of the band that they have to deal with this at this point in their careers. But at the same time, they should not be putting back together a band that cannot deliver. We must have spent over $90 on the 2 tickets, and while they did give an almost complete concert, a professional, international band should not be doing this. It is unprofessional and unacceptable. I really like STP, and Weiland is an awesome singer, but man, what a loser. You have one of the dream jobs of the world. Lead singer in a world-class rock band, and you can't get your shit together. I mean, he is no kid, he must be well into his 40's...but anyway, enough about Weiland. Despite the mishaps, it was an overall great concert! I am really glad that I got to see Stone Temple Pilots :)

Tuesday March 30th, 2010 - Puscifer at the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee, WI

Okay, this was a show that we decided to go to because we were curious. We were almost not gonna go. I had heard a few of the tracks on their website, and it was interesting. I noticed my taste in music is beginning to broaden. On the album, they have a lot of electronic sounds and samples. Something that would have immediately turned me off from the band a few years ago. But I would listen to their music they have up on their website at work while I was working and it grew on me. We ordered their CD, and gave it a listen. I still had no idea what to expect live. Just Maynard with a keyboard/synth and a DJ? A couple musicians + Maynard? I really had no clue. And I was in for a surprise. Neil Hamburger opened the show, a comedian(anti-comedian actually haha). And his jokes were so abrasive and tasteless that it was funny. He must have done 15 minutes of RHCP and Anthony Kiedis jokes, a good 5 minutes of Courtney Love jokes and he also had the time to do some Madonna, 311, and I don't know what other jokes. And he also destroyed anyone's attempt at heckling, this guy was something else haha I have never seen anything like it. Then Puscifer came out, and wow...






It was like a huge Saturday Night Live show, but with a band playing to most of the skits. There was 7 musicians total, of which there was usually 4-6 playing at one time. A female singer that took center stage with Maynard, the Primus drummer, and some other musicians that I was not familiar with their other bands. It was almost as if there was a movie/skit going on and they were the soundtrack to it. There was a couch and tables, and a laptop on stage(front and center) that the musicians that were not playing during a certain song would sit at and drink some wine.
And the TV that Maynard and the girl would sing behind were really cool. 






The music was just amazing. I would never have guessed it, but this is one of the best concerts I have ever been to. It was that good. In Maynard we trust lol. What a contrast from what I had just seen the previous Friday. At least when it comes to being a professional.

Saturday April 3rd, 2010 - Judgement Day at Ronny's in Chicago, IL

We first saw Judgement Day open up for Dredg last year here in Milwaukee at the Rave and it was nothing short of mind blowing! They were impressive, and different. They are an instrumental trio. Violin + cello + drums = greatness! They just released a new album that they put out themselves(check them out at stringmetal.com, like really, go!) and were on a national tour. So we decided to get some bus tickets and make the trip to Chicago to go see them. These guys are not on a label and from talking to Anton(violinist) at the show, they are not looking for one, which was very interesting. This show was at a local bar, your normal local venue. I had not been to a local type show since I was living in El Paso over 2 years ago and played w/Scenic Drive. It was cool to see another one again. A girl singer/guitar player opened up. Then there was a band called Girls in Trouble from Brooklyn, NY which was very interesting. They had no drums(except for a bucket bass drum), a stand-up bass, an accordion, and 2 girls that would play violin, guitar, and these little bell/xylophone type things. What I found most interesting was the subjects of their songs! They wrote their songs about the atrocities that happen to women in the bible(Judges 11 was one of the stories). I mean, that sounds like something I would write about! I never expected to find a band fronted by girls that wrote about that! Then this local band whose name I do not know played, and reminded me of Alphabetter a little, except much heavier. And then Judgement Day came on. And wow...they are such an awesome band. 




I really wish they had more of a following wherever they went, they really deserve it. But we can't even get Mari and Sergio to go to the show in Las Cruces!! So I can see why that happens...they didn't play as long as I would have liked, but it was an awesome show nonetheless!


Here are a few videos of the show as recorded from our camera haha









There was an couple issues on this Chicago trip. One, it was raining when we left Milwaukee, so we changed into our waterproof/snow boots(something we never needed in El Paso lol). And well, one of my boots had a malfunction and a part of the insole gave my foot a blister so it made it uncomfortable to walk haha. But we still walked the 10 or so miles around Chicago. The other issue was the hotel...we finally made it to a hotel near the downtown bus station around 3am and the hotel that Geli got an online rate of $80/night for was actually $125...this was after stopping at a couple more on the way that were also outrageously expensive. We were way too tired and decided to pay it anyway. It was Sophie's birthday on Sunday and we didn't want to be completely exhausted, sleepy, and moody on her birthday. It still feels like such a rip off since we were out by 9am. But oh well, it was still an awesome trip! 



As far as restaurants go, we ate at 3 places. One was Karyn's on Green which was awesome! An all vegan fancy restaurant! It was delicious. Then the after the show plan went awry when the restaurant we were going to eat at was closed. Well the place was open as a bar, but the kitchen was closed.  And vegan in Chicago is a common term, and even those restaurants that are not vegan friendly are familiar with the term, which is more than can be said of El Paso for example. When you go eat in El Paso as a vegan no one has a clue what that even is! It is funny and sad. But at J. Wellington's in Chicago they were very nice and despite not having anything but fries that was vegan(they also had a tofu burger, but the breading was not vegan)they offered to cook something up for us. They ended up making us some sauteed tofu that was not breaded with onions and tomatoes. It was really good. In the morning, we were too tired to look for a restaurant and we were short on time, so we just got a veggie Mediterranean sandwich from Panera and a couple bagels. Then off to Milwaukee we were :)

These last 8 days were awesome! Concerts we will never forget! A nice break from routine is always welcome. And now, we have Porcupine Tree on 4/30 and then Them Crooked Vultures on 5/18! Those should be stellar performances as well!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Finally...

It took me a long time, but I finally feel like I know what I want. I feel like I finally know what I want to be when I "grow up". Like I finally know what I should have been looking for in life all along. Like I finally know what questions to ask. I feel like I finally know what I am passionate about...


Okay, so I'm "grown up" already, at least physically I am. And some of these are obvious to some people. But they were not to me. I had to search and learn to find what really interested me. When I was younger I was really into music, but I did not see a stable future there. I was good at math and science, but nothing was overly interesting. I really don't think I cared about much. I was just cruising by. What a waste of time(at least academically) that was...


So where do I start? Well, the easy one. What do I want to be when I "grow up"? Quick answer, a scientist. An Evolutionary Biologist, to be precise. Science enhances your life everyday in countless ways. I want to be part of that discovery. Researching what we don't know, or learning more about what we don't know much about. Astronomy comes a close second. But I think despite both being fascinating, Biology is still a bit more interesting to me. What can be more fascinating than the study of life?! Haha, I know most people don't agree. But that's the whole point, now I know what interests me.  






Does this mean that I hate where I am at, or what I am doing? Not at all. I like IT and it is also interesting. And I am doing well in IT. IT is just not as interesting as Biology now is to me. I just wish I would have known this when I was 17! haha But I was a foolish teenager. For some strange reason, I took pride in not reading
I did everything I could to get out of reading, whether it be text books, novels in English class(Cliff notes were enough to pass most of the time lol), or anything really. I did the least amount of reading I could to get by. I am pretty sure that is why I never felt very interested in anything I was doing. And now, I don't have enough time in the day to do the reading I would like to! I spent my whole time at school(minus the last year at NMSU) with the wrong mentality. I will most likely go back to school sometime in the near future. It shouldn't take me a full 4 years to get a degree, considering I have my basics and plenty of math and science courses from my electrical engineering days. Even if it does, I will enjoy learning this time, and I won't fight it, or see it as a drag. I look forward to it. For now, I will continue to learn about Biology, Astronomy, Technology, and whatever else I can. 


I have changed a lot in the last few years in many respects...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Door to Door Rocking!

I'm not sure why, but a few days ago I was remembering how Paco and I came to hear of Tenacious D. We first saw one of their HBO specials and immediately liked them. In case you do not know who Tenacious D is, it is a comedy rock band(more like a duo), consisting of actors Jack Black and Kyle Gass. And the HBO specials is  all we heard from Tenacious D for a long time. I recorded all the episodes on the DVR and we enjoyed watching them a lot! The sasquatch episode was probably our favorite! Paco figured them out on guitar, and he and his friend Greg would go door to door rocking to people's houses! I was never brave enough to go with him. 






I want to guess that this was sometime in 2004 maybe? Paco was developing his drum skills at the time and was beginning to feel confident about his drumming. And in the sasquatch episode, they recruit sasquatch to play drums for them, except he sucks and ruins the songs. And since the way they do the episodes has an autobiographical feeling to it(the D's rise to power, as they call it haha), I think Paco interpreted that to mean that they were seeking a drummer, and they had not succeeded. He was making a plan to see if he could somehow audition for Tenacious D and be their drummer! Since they seemed like a band that was not very popular(everyone we talked to about Tenacious D had no idea who they were), it seemed somewhat plausible that this could be the case. Obviously, we knew very little about Tenacious D at the time!






We really liked them. I am not sure why we never bothered to check to see if they had recorded any albums. I guess we didn't really take them seriously? haha Then one day I was at Best Buy, and I saw that Tenacious D had an album! So I immediately bought it, and started listening to it in the car on the way home. And wow! To my surprise, pretty much all the songs had a full band to them! Bass, drums, the works! I had to call Paco and tell him the this, so I did. He was a little bummed out of course, but what cheered him up was that the drummer they got for their album at least was none other than Dave Grohl!! In case you are not familiar with who that is, he was Nirvana's drummer, and is also the guitarist and singer for Foo Fighters(now he is playing drums for Them Crooked Vultures, good stuff! Check them out). So I mean, to be fair, he never had a chance haha If they can get Dave Grohl for their drummer, they were not struggling to find one, at all. 






I am not sure why this came to mind recently :) good times though!!! Good Times indeed! 

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Moon!!!

So I have known for a while, as most people probably do, that we only see one side of the moon here from earth.






But it was not until last night that I finally "saw" how and why! It was so exciting!! haha I know, I'm such a geek! It was very discouraging at first because I read the 1st sentence about it in an astronomy book we have and it was really hard to picture what the book was saying. Here is that sentence:

The moving sun
Because earth spins on its axis every 23 hours 56 minutes, but also moves more than 2.5 million km along its orbit in that time, each point on our planet's surface must spin a little further each day to return to the same point in relation to the Sun - and as a result, a full 'day' in solar terms takes 24 hours.

This was one of those things where I read it, I understand what the words mean individually, but I do not understand the concept it was trying to explain. But then I thought about it a lot and discussed it with Geli and used a soccer ball and a beach ball as visual aids to act out what the book was saying and it worked! It made sense. I mean, that sentence specifically was not talking about the moon, but it was the key to "seeing" what the book was trying to explain. It is no longer a fact I accept because I'm told, but now I understand why!! It is a very liberating feeling. I understand the difference between an earth day and a solar day now. I will definitely be reading that book now. 






The reason we only see one side of the moon is because it takes the same amount of time for the moon to spin on its axis as it does to complete its orbit around the earth. Again, it is one of those things that, at least for me, I had to use the soccer and beach balls to be able to visualize and understand it. And the reason that the moon's orbit and rotation times have synchronized is because of the earth's gravity constantly tugging at the moon. Understanding this really felt like some sort of epiphany haha. 


the 2 sides of the moon


It is a very satisfying and fulfilling feeling, at least for me, to understand the world around us the best I can, and to continually learn more about our world and our universe.


I hope to be able to use the telescope a lot more this year. We have a lot of things to look at and learn :)