Trip of a Lifetime! (Part 1)

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(Preface: I probably should have written this either during my time in Iceland or shortly after I got back from Iceland, because everything I’m saying will be based off of memory and not really “in the moment”. With that being said, I won’t be able to remember everything exactly (luckily I have pictures to help out with remembering exactly what we did and when we did it), but I shall try my best! Be sure to check back for the next part!)

Way back in January, New Years day to be exact, I was awoken by a phone  call pretty early in the morning. After having to pry my eyes open with wrenches due to the alcohol consumed the night before, I noticed it was a call from my Aunt. Now, given the state I was in and time of the morning it was, I most likely would have ducked the phone call. But, for some reason I answered it, and I’m so glad I did.

“How would you like to go to Iceland?”

Wait, WHAT?!?! I think I found something that wakes you up easier and faster than coffee: ask people life-altering questions. After a brief conversation with my Aunt, my girlfriend and I were one step closer to a trip of a lifetime. A string of emails back and forth between my Aunt and me over the next couple of weeks resulted in my girlfriend and I booking our flight to a country we never would have thought of going to: Iceland.

Six months go by and our dream vacation is right around the corner. Now, I’ve only been out of the country once, and that was to the Azores two summers ago, so I’m nowhere near the traveling veteran my girlfriend is having lived the first half of her life in Paraguay. Traveling internationally to me has been slightly tainted by living off of my dad’s and brother-in-law’s clothing for three days while in the Azores. Can you guess what happens next? Yup, you got it. We arrive at Keflavík International Airport to find out our luggage was never transferred to our flight in Toronto. No matter what you tell me, I’m placing the blame on the Air Canada lady at BWI Airport who repeated THREE TIMES our luggage would arrive at our final destination. Anyways, our trip wasn’t starting off the way we planned, but we were too sleep deprived to really care (plus, our luggage was flown on the next flight over, so we got it the following day).

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(Our cottage in the valley.)

Day 1 – Arrival Day

After finding out our luggage didn’t make it, we we’re off in our rental car to explore the south-western coast of Iceland. (Speaking of rental car, it was good that our luggage didn’t make it, because we had just enough room for six people and the luggage that did make it.) The weather that day wasn’t very welcoming (rainy and 45 degrees), but it was pretty typical for that time of year in Iceland.

Too be honest, there wasn’t very much to see along the south-western coast. Apart from the fact that it was so hazy, the land surrounding the roads was nothing but volcanic rock fields with the occasional jagged trenches. We made our way around the land similar to the way the vikings did around the year 1000: Mapquest. While fighting sleep deprivation, I couldn’t help but notice how eerie the area was. We probably saw three cars the whole time we were exploring, and every residential area we past through was a complete ghost town.

We made a couple of pitstops along the coast at some scenic viewpoints and at some natural hot springs before arriving at an Icelandic grocery store. It’s always fun going to foreign grocery stores and seeing what it is they have in stock (I say that like I’ve been to so many of them). Apart from the typical Icelandic brands they had, they also carried things like Lucky Charms and Mountain Dew.

There isn’t much to go off on the ride to our cottage, because the whole drive felt like a dream. As a matter of fact, my uncle who was driving admitted to dreaming while he was driving, which we all thought was hilarious. After finally making it to our cottage, we fought off sleep as long as we could in an attempt to salvage our sleep schedule. Let me tell you, it was one pathetic fight. Once my head hit the pillow, I was asleep. It was 5:30pm.

(Side note: we were in Iceland during the summer equinox, so it never got dark. Each night our room progressively got darker as we put blankets and towels in front of it to sleep.)

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(Stokkur Geyser erupting from atop of a mountain)

Day 2 – Haukadalur Valley and Gullfoss

After 15 hours of sleep the smell of pancakes filled the cottage, leading us out of bed. We figured since the previous day was such a struggle, we would explore the area surrounding to cottage. Finally getting our luggage back, everyone got dressed for the day and we took the shortest drive of our trip down the road to Haukadalur Valley to see the geysers.

A steady drizzle of rain and fog filled the air. Combine that with a cool, brisk wind, we were deep in the true Icelandic experience. Upon arrival to the geyser fields, the scent of sulphur filled the air, which, by the way, isn’t the greatest of smells. The steam from the boiling water waiting to erupt caused visibility to be even more obstructed, but we were able to get an up-close-and-personal look at some of the eruptions, as seen below.

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After being on the ground for a few eruptions, we decided it was time to hike up the mountain that overlooked the geysers. The mountain we climbed up looked tiny from a distance compared to the surrounding mountain ranges, but when you’re at the bottom of it you’d think otherwise. It took us 30-minutes to hike to the top and get a great view of the geysers and the valley where our cottage was, which seemed a little long, but steady drizzle caused the ground beneath us to be slick with mud.

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Hiking down was just as challenging as hiking up, but once we were safely back down we cleaned our shoes in the runoff of water from the geysers, which was probably frowned upon (oh well, we’re American, what do you expect?) and headed off to see what is said to be the largest waterfall in Europe: Gullfoss (translated – Golden Falls).

Gullfoss got its name because on a sunny day, the water tumbling down the three tiered, staircase falls truly appears to be golden. Unfortunately for us, the weather was very gray, but the sight was beautiful nonetheless. The roar of the water approaching the falls then free falling some 34 meters down to the bottom was almost as mesmerizing as the sights of the falls itself.

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(Gullfoss on a clearer day of our trip)

Our time at Gullfoss came to an end and we decided to call it a day. The little activity we did over the course of the day seemed extreme due jet lag. We drove back towards the cabin, ate some dinner, and wound the night down with a relaxing hot tub session and Icelandic beer. Ahhhhh, what a great night that was.

Overall, the first two days were amazing, sleep deprivation or not. As stated before, I never thought I would have gotten a chance to travel to Iceland, but thanks to my family I was able to do exactly that. From the moment we landed in Iceland to the end of day two, I already knew this trip would be life-changing. Be sure to check back soon to see what we did the next couple of days!

Puppyhood

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This is Zoë (be sure to follow her on Instagram! @zoe_the_auz). This little bundle of joy has graced my girlfriend and me with what hopes to be a lifetime of memories and laughs. So far? The laughs seem few and far between.

When we were in the beginning stages of puppy scouting, we were thrown all of the typical new puppy-parent questions: the ever infamous “are you sure you want a puppy?” as if we were telling our friends and family a joke, just to see what they said; “do you know what nurturing a puppy consists of?” as if we were being introduced to the dog species for the first time; “are you ready to take her into considerations when making plans?” as if we have the schedule of Kanye West, etc. All we were thinking of were the nights cuddling her on the couch watching a movie, enjoying a nice adult beverage; the cute puppy-kisses waking us up at a reasonable time in the morning; the easy-for-you-but-impossible-for-her tug-of-war games we’d play with mommy’s socks. Then we woke up…at 3:00am.

I’m here to give those of you who have ever considered getting a puppy some classified information on what puppyhood really consists of. If I wanted to be like everyone else and say, “it’s a lot of work”, my blog post would end here. Lucky for you, I’m not like your mom/dad/sister/brother/friend/garbage man/mailman/dentist/financial advisor or even Mary down at the gourmet donut shop. This is first hand experience.

Say good-bye to your sleep schedule

We were prepared to be woken up early in the mornings to take Zoë outside for the good ole’ one-and-two combo. What we weren’t prepared for were these awakenings to occur every three hours. I would love to see the security camera footage of our zombie walks at 3:00am, while Zoë is prancing around, squatting down to say “these four strands of pine straw belong to ZOË THE AUZ! ‘psssssssss’ ” then darting in and out of the bushes.

Then, when you finally bring her inside, be prepared to a) play with her for a little while, hoping the three rounds of stuffed-toucan fetch tires her out (it won’t), or b) try to sleep through the screeching howls and screams of her in her crate.

Best thing to do before bed? Make sure your soon-to-be pile of fluff doesn’t nap before you’re considering going to bed. Try taking him/her on a nice long walk before settling down. (Be sure to have a fast enough pace so they can run, ya bums.)

Crate-training is worse than wet socks

The first night we brought Zoë home, we were already in fear of putting her in the crate that night. We were told to section off the crate with a divider, so she only has room to sleep and not move around as much (i.e. pee). We tried to make it as comfortable and appealing as possible with pillows, blankets, and toys.

Out go the lights, and in comes the loudest, most bloodcurdling screeching and howling (and other noises we still can’t put into words) we’ve ever heard. It literally sounded like the divider fell on her and she was being pierced by the hooks. (That may or may not have happened, minus the piercing, due to faulty configuration…) The sounds were so loud, my girlfriend and I were expecting to hear a knock on the door and be taken to puppy-jail for being complete idiots.

Tips for crate training? Introduce your soon-to-be puppy-scent puppy to their crate as soon as possible. Try putting little treats in the crate, and having them eat and finish it while in there. Then, open the door and let them out, giving them soft compliments. Keep doing this until you deem it necessary. Oh yeah, and make sure it’s sturdy and configured correctly.

You don’t need a “Kanye West Schedule” to feel the pain of planning

Need to go to the bathroom? Make sure you know where your puppy is. Need to take a shower? Make sure you know where your puppy is. Need to close your eyes for just a second because you got 2 hours of sleep last night? Make sure you know where your puppy is.

Wait a second…Kanye West does these things too! I’m pretty much Yeezus!

These were the things Mary from the donut shop was talking about. You don’t have to have meetings scheduled with Adidas, nor be consumed with ACTUALLY keeping up with the Kardashians to experience the drawbacks of having a puppy. Simple, everyday things are harder when you’re a humom or a puppy dad (dad’s don’t have cool pet names).

Tips for scheduling around a puppy? Feel free to leave them in the comment section below. Thanks!

Nothing is safe come teething time

As I sit here and write this, I can see Zoë chewing on the hand strap of my monopod I used at the beach yesterday for taking pictures. I had to stop her because she moved onto biting the foam handle off in little pieces. When I got up to take it away, she ran straight to her crate. Yay crate training! Here’s a treat!

Puppies will chew on anything that isn’t one of their toys: shoes, blankets, any type of strap/string, wires, their crate, any part of your body, you name it. I even saw Zoë chewing on the couch one day. Not something chewable, such as the corner of the couch, but the side paneling of the couch. How she’s able to position her snout and actually get a tooth on the couch panel is something only Einstein himself could solve, but he’s dead, so it will remain a mystery.

Tips for teething puppies? When you see your soon-to-be cuddle-butt chewing on something they aren’t supposed to be chewing on, simply clap loud enough to get their attention (try not to startle them). Then grab one of their chew toys and calmly let them know this is what they should be chewing on.

You may want to invest in some rubber boots

Your soon-to-be mommy’s little angle will pee in your house. I’m not going to sugarcoat it. I don’t care if you’re Cesar Millan himself, it’s going to happen.

We have hardwood floors in our apartment, and it’s kind of bittersweet in the sense that it’s an easy cleanup, but you can’t see any of these treasure puddles pooling in the one spot you’re about to step in unless you’re at the right angle. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve walked to the fridge to grab something to drink and stepped in a cold puddle left behind by Zoë, and wet socks are worse than crate training, as previously explained.

Tips for potty training? Whenever you see your puppy start sniffing around as if you dropped a piece of food somewhere, stop what you’re doing and take him/her outside. Chances are your puppy is ready to mark their territory. Congratulate him/her with a pat on the head and a small treat, while acknowledging what he/she did.

Now, I’m going to sound like a complete dad, but even with all of the hassles I’ve encountered in the two-plus weeks of having Zoë, I wouldn’t change it for the world. Being able to see her grow up and be a mature, smart dog, accomplishing all of her life goals of barking at squirrels, fetching tennis balls, and running behind me while I skate is going to be awesome. So, go out there and get that pup you want. Even though there are a lot of troubles that come along with pups, you’ll be happy you did when you see them sleeping peacefully next to you. Also, you can use some things to your advantage!

  • Having the worst dream of your life? Only three more minutes until little Daisy will wake you up to tell you she has to pee!
  • Stuck on the phone listening to your mom talk about holiday plans? “Damn it, Rover, don’t pee there! Sorry, mom, gotta take Rover outside!”
  • Can’t go out on Friday because you have no money, but too embarrassed to admit it? “Sorry, man, can’t come out tonight. Gotta be here for when Buddy has to pee!”
  • Conversation getting awkward with Mary at the donut shop? “Sorry, Mary, gotta go. I don’t want Lucy to pee in your shop!”
  • Blog post dragging on? “Sorry, guys, Zoë just woke up from her nap, gotta take her to pee!

I’m sensing a peetern here…

Why You Gotta Do Dis to Me?

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Before I get started, I would like to talk about my last post. That post was a result of me spending way too much time on this reading scary stories to pass the time at work. I thought to myself, “hey, I can write stories like these!” so, voila! I may continue it, I may not, you’ll just have to come back and see. But, since I haven’t been on that subreddit since starting that story, you’ll have better luck putting your money down on California Chrome winning at Belmont June 7th, to complete the first Triple Crown since the product of world-renowned(?) breeder Harbor View Farm’s very own Affirmed won it 1978. Anyway, on with the show!

Graduating from college is one of the most depressing things a human being could ever endure. One day you’re waking up at 2:00pm from a night of drunken embarrassment, just to stumble your way to your only class of the day – Underwater Tech Decking 576, 2:30pm (that’s right, you read that correctly, that, my friends, is an advanced class) – and the next day you’re in the real world, begging for a job like the desperate girl who wants to fit in so badly she stumbles her way across the Quad to her 2:30pm advanced Tech Decking class (obviously all the cool kids are taking it, so don’t tell me you wouldn’t risk your life to get to that class). It’s such a dramatic change, no wonder people prolong it and go to graduate school.

Here’s what really rubs me the wrong way about the application process: you’ve done all you can do – submitted application after application, tweaking your resume and cover letter to the job description; watched all of the interview videos your post-college career brain can handle on YouTube; got your suit pressed for the time your interview comes; etc. then comes the worlds longest waiting game. All you’re hoping for is to hear back from that one company who noticed one of your accomplishments is taking home Gold at the 2013 U23 Tech Deck World Championship (finally, all those late night study sessions paid off!) and thought, “Hey! I’ve never seen that before! Let’s bring this young-buck in!” But, in today’s world, where it’s not really what you know, it’s who you know – i.e. no stranger is worth anybody’s time, because time is money, and money is the most powerful thing in the world (hey! What about social media? – any millennial you’ll ever speak to, ever) – you’ll be waiting longer for that email/phone call to come than that girl who got stood up in that one movie about the thing, you know…the one you’re currently thinking about.

Shortly after you apply, you most likely get an email stating they got your application and someone from HR will review it and get back to you within three weeks. So, during those three weeks you begin to paint a picture of yourself sitting in the new age, modern office, equipped with the top of the line iMac’s, where everyone is dressed in the newest fashion trends you find on Urban Outfitters, and you can’t help but to get your hopes up (I mean, that IS one appealing picture, amirite?). You mark off on your calendar 21 days to initiate the countdown, and the closer you get to that date without receiving anything from Mr./Mrs. HR, a little piece of your heart breaks off. You then come to realization your email never did make it to HR, the stupid fucking algorithm that sends out automatic replies is a pathological liar, and you start that process all over again; this time, more depressed than ever.

Excuse my French, but is it that freaking hard for someone to stay true to their word and reply back to you, even if you don’t get the job, within the given period of time? It literally takes less than a minute for someone in HR (hell, utilize the intern) to draft up something along the lines of:

Dear Mr. Aponte (enter x2) Thank you for applying for the [insert job title here] position at [insert company of your choice]. Unfortunately, we have found someone else whose qualifications better suit the job description. We appreciate your time applying and will keep your resume on file for future positions. (enter x2) Thanks and good luck, (enter x1) Sandra Dean.

Even receiving an email as simple as that mends a few pieces of your heart back together after suffering through the countdown. Never in your life will you be somewhat relieved to have gotten bad news, simply because you have evidence stating your application and resume were actually reviewed (even if it was just another pathologically lying algorithm).

For all of those virgins-to-the-real-world who recently graduated and don’t have anything lined up yet, I seriously encourage you to A) go back in time and fail your finals, B) start passing out your resume as if you were a Lady of the Night who is 5 jobs away from her monthly quota with only 3 hours left, or C) strongly consider graduate school while you’re still in college mode. It’s a pretty rough life out there.

Good luck,

Ms. (soon to be Misses!!!!11!1!111!) Dean.

Human Resources (BITCH) Rep.

The Never Ending Night

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There we stood holding our breath, as the only source of sound came from the wind forcing its way through the broken shutters, whistling like a janitor waxing the floors at the end of the work day. Darkness filled the house around every corner. I’m not talking about the darkness you have when you turn your bedroom light off to go to sleep. You know, the kind where you can maneuver your way to the bathroom if you need to, thanks to your alarm clock illuminating just enough to make out the door. I’m talking about the darkness you get when you close your eyes, not even able to make out your own hand three inches in front of your face. “So, this must be what it’s like to be blind” I said, attempting to lighten the mood, but failing miserably. “Shut up and turn on the damn flashlight” directed Sarah. I reached for the flashlight I had in my back pocket and turned it on.

The house was just like the kind you see in horror films: old, Victorian-styled house with rotting wood panels somehow keeping the house upright. Shutters hanging on by nails that, if pierced your skin, would have tetanus coursing through your body almost instantly. Layers of dust so thick if you breathed in too heavily, you might literally cough up a lung. There were stairs that ran along the left side of the house, leading the way up to three bedrooms on the second floor. To the right of the front door was a room occupied by a grand piano. If you walked further down the hall you came to a formal dining room with a chandelier not even the heirs of oil-tycoons could purchase. Opposite that was an office occupied by a large oak desk, stained with a blood-red finish, facing a wall filled with every type of book you could imagine: medical, law, economics, even taxidermy. At the end of the hall was where you found a large living room and kitchen, as open as the Great Plains. The living room floor was filled with furniture resting peacefully under bed sheets and broken glass. On the walls hung picture frames and mirrors that were turned around, so the only thing showing was the back of the wooden frame. In the kitchen lied the most profound smelling foods, rotten to the core.

The beam of light pierced through the darkness, revealing the back door leading to the deck. I turned to the right towards Sarah, only knowing she was in that vicinity due to her snark demand. She raised her hand to block the light from her eyes and groaned, “are you trying to make me go blind?” Chuckling, I turned and shown the light to my left where David stood facing the wall. “Well, this is embarrassing…I thought I was facing you guys”, he said. He turned around, grinning from ear to ear, “so, now what?” As we stood there, contemplating the next move, it hit me like a ton of bricks. “Uhhh…guys? Where’s Elena?” Fear struck Sarah’s face as she began yelling Elena’s name. “Elena! Elena! Where are you?!” Sarah’s voice bounced off the walls, filling every room in that house. She stopped, pausing for a response, but received nothing.

The flashlight began to flicker on and off. I could feel Sarah’s eyes pierce my skin, giving me the sensation of that year I did the Polar Bear Plunge. “Stop acting so immature, Josh. Can’t you tell I’m already freaked out enough?” I banged the flashlight a couple of times on my knee. “I’m not doing this on purpose, Sarah” mimicking the sound of her voice. When the light stopped flickering, David cleared his throat, “I guess we should go look for her, huh?”

We walked down the hall in a single-file line, as if we were kindergartners going to lunch. I shined the flashlight in each of the rooms passing by, but to no avail Elena wasn’t in any of them. As we were approaching the living room we heard this loud crack that echoed throughout the house. We stopped, frozen in our tracks, hearts racing and heavily breathing yet again. “Should we go up there?” I proposed. “If we do, you’re leading the way, Columbus; considering you have our only source of light” David said. I stood there, ruminating about what David just said, but the only thing that kept running through my mind was me reaching the top step and getting hit in the face by a blunt object and never seeing the light of day again. “It was probably just wind slamming a shutter shut”, I cowardly said, “let’s keep going.” When we reached the back room, consisting of the kitchen and living room, the smell hits us instantly. “Oh my god, Sarah, close your legs”, David jokingly said. Another smack filled the air, but this time I think it’s obvious as to who made that noise. “What the hell, Sarah? I was kidding. Relax” David painfully said.

Scanning the kitchen with the flashlight, realizing I wasn’t finding anything significant, I turned to the living room. As I guided the flashlight across the open room I came across Elena sitting in the corner, curled up in a ball. Sarah couldn’t help but scream when Elena’s body filled the circle of light cast by the flashlight. “Elena? Elena?”, I whispered. “Is everything alright?” She raised her head, tears running down her face as if she were at a funeral. She jumped up and sprinted into Sarah’s arms, squeezing her so tightly you could hear Sarah’s spine cracking. “Now that’s what I like to see!” David said, as he raised his eyebrows up and down repetitively. Elena turned to David, giving him the nastiest of looks.

“I thought you guys left me” Elena sympathized. “Did you not hear us calling your name?” Sarah asked. “No. I guess the fact my mind was racing with thoughts as to what was about to happen to me effected my hearing.”

That’s when it happened. A light other than my flashlight seeped through the shutters, filling the living room with a casting lined shadow on all of our bodies. Struck with fear, my reflexes somehow kicked in and I turned the flashlight off. We all stood there hoping the occupants of the car mistakenly pulled up to the wrong house. As the tires rolled across the gravel driveway, the breaks sang the highest of melodies and the car finally came to a stop. The house was once again filled with darkness as the headlights turned off. The door to the car squeaked open, sending shivers down our spine as it slammed shut. Then, silence.

The Best Kind of Compliments

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Disclaimer: I am not racist: (I know, I know – if you have to make a disclaimer, odds are people will disregard your disclaimer and accuse you of the things that follow (kind of like when you say, “I’m not trying to sound _____” knowing that you’ll sound exactly like the adjective within the blank when it’s all said and done). And, because this is about a race other than my own I feel the need to add it anyways, just to make things clear. But, seriously – let’s all try to view this as a comical post and nothing more. You know how my logic works by now, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise.)

Saturday night my roommates, friends, and I went out for a night on the town to bid farewell to my main man Luis during his final weekend in Nova (I’M GOING TO MISS YOU, MAN!). Because I’m the type of person who laughs at everything, and my bladder was to the point where even the faintest of chuckles would have caused a warm stream to run down my legs, I figured I had to do it: I had to break the seal. So, I did exactly what the books tell you to do: I put a napkin over my glass (I ain’t tryin to get roofied again), announced to the table where I was going, and headed off to the bathroom.
I get to the bathroom and notice all of the stalls are taken, so I patiently stand there waiting for one to open up. While I’m waiting, this gentleman of African American decent comes in and stands behind me. As we both stand there I see him look down out of the corner of my eye. Time to go off on a tangent: now, when I was preparing to go to New Orleans in October I did a little research. Apart from reading about all of the violence in that city, which freaked me the fuck out, I read a comment someone wrote that said, “if you drop something on Bourbon Street, don’t bother picking it up: it’s hers.” Back to the story: when I saw this guy look down I wanted to make a joke similar to that, because I wouldn’t have minded making a friend in the bathroom. Unfortunately, I didn’t see him make any movement down so I refrained from doing so. To my surprise, he had actually looked down at my shoes and gave me a compliment. This is where my post gets interesting, with all intentions to be comical:
In my opinion, black people can pull anything off. I mean ANYTHING: e.g. this black guy at school wore this beanie that was the shape of a tigers head and had long tassels. Did he look dumb in my eyes? HELL NO. He was pulling that thing off as if it had been in style for 10 years. If it were a white person wearing it, I would have politely told him he’s trying to hard, and that he needs to tone it down.
So, whenever I get a compliment from a black person about my attire I freak out. It happens every time. It’s almost like black people are the gatekeepers of the fashion world, and they just let this scrawny white kid through to the next round. The last time I got a compliment about my shoes from a black guy I was wearing these at a bar. I literally took them off of my feet, held them up to his face for him to get a better look, and said, “right?! I just got them today!” with this huge grin on my face. Looking back on it I’m only a little embarrassed, because he probably thought, “look at this dumb, drunk white boy”. At that time, I was through to the other world and nothing was stopping me.
There you have it: my not-so-racist-comical-post that involves black people. I guarantee you I’m not the only one who feels this way. I may just be the only brave soul man enough to talk about it.

1K, Baby!!

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Last night, some kindhearted human being graced their presence on my blog and took home the title of being my 1,000th blog view. If it twas you, please come forward and allow me to make one gesture: I would be honored to shake thy hand of thy person who hath viewed my blog as thy 1,000th viewer. I don’t care where you are (please be local), who you are (please be someone I know), or what you’re doing (please don’t be shooting heroin), I want to do it…No, not that “do it”. I want to shake your hand. Unless you’re a hot girl. Then all bets are off, and I may want to “do it”.

In all seriousness, I want to thank everyone who has viewed my blog. Whether you’re a constant reader, or someone who just happens to see it on Facebook/Twitter and you’re bored at that moment; I don’t really care. This may not seem like a huge milestone to some of you, but to someone who started this blog on a whim I’m actually rather ecstatic about this. I’m going to start a new tradition: whenever I reach a milestone in multiples of 500 (1,500th, 2,000th, etc.) I’m going to share an embarrassing story of mine. Unless my blog suddenly blows up, and my 1,500th view is next week, this could be a highly anticipated tradition. (PS – I had the intentions of doing this last night, because I was at 991 before my last blog post. I thought to myself, “I’ll definitely get 9 views…” To make a long story short – I didn’t. That’s embarrassing, right?)

The Time I Forgot My Birthday (As a Freshman in College)

There I was: an 18 year-young Freshman, so cute and innocent, attending one of those stupid Freshman orientation activities the University puts on for all incoming Freshman. On the way to the Student Center, dreading every step I took in my Sperry Topsiders (give me a break; it was a rookie mistake AND I went to school in the South), I thought to myself, “UGH…I’m too cool for these types of things”, but on I tread.

As I got out on to the basketball courts where all of the other Freshmen were, I immediately looked for people who were in my orientation group. Upon finding them, we formed the “clique circle”. You know, the ones you often see in the halls of high schools or at high school football games. And, what did we do in these groups you ask? Complained. Yes, just like high schooler’s (you can’t put on the costume and not play the part).

After a solid 5-minutes of complaining, some guy got on the speaker system and directed everyone to get into groups according to the month they were born in. Instant chaos erupted. Everyone was asking the closest person to them their birthday months, hoping a stranger would become an instant ally. As the little circles began to grow and grow my level of panic began to raise (and I think this is what effected my thinking). For some odd reason I was suddenly born in the month of June, instead of May. I saw my orientation leader holding up five fingers, and as would any reasonable individual I assumed he was signifying month five – May. Well, he wasn’t. I run over to him, give him a high-five out of excitement, and joined the circle. This is where it went wrong.

Once everything settled down and we were all in our birthday group (except for me, unknowingly), the speaker system guy gets back on and yells, “this is what’s going to happen: I’m going to say a month, in no particular order, and when I say it I want that group to stand up and yell as loud as they can!” (Side note: I don’t see how these orientation leaders have the personality to be so upbeat about something you would see in elementary school.) There I was, sitting down thinking about exactly what I just explained in my side note. “November!” “AHHHHH!” yelled the November group. “February!” “AHHHHH!!!” yelled the February group. “June!” This was it. Here comes the embarrassing part. As I’m sitting there waiting for him to yell May, everyone in my group stands up and yells, “AHHHHH!!!!!!!!” I shit you not, I was so caught off guard I jumped.

Due to the fact I was waiting for May to be called, I was looking down at the floor not even paying attention. When everyone sat back down the girl next to me looks at me and asks, “why didn’t you get up?” Instant hot face. Did I dare tell her that I don’t know what month I was born in? I mean, obviously I do, but in that exact moment it looked like I didn’t. So what did I tell her? I said, “Look, honey. When you’re as mature as I am, you don’t take part in these little kiddie activities” and walked out of the gym. (Just kidding. I told her I wasn’t paying attention, and buried my face in my hands.)

Fin.

Hope you enjoyed, and I hope you’re looking forward to my next milestone as much as I am. Thanks again!

You Need a Ring for this Club

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One of the most common debates in sports is whether or not athletes who have won a ring are on the same level as those who have not won a ring – ranking wise. Yes – a ring would be nice to have under your name, but is it really a big enough factor to say you’re in a different category as someone who has one? What about when you’re comparing an athlete who has one ring to an athlete who has two? An athlete with two compared to one who has three? Etc. Is it fair to say athlete A is ranked lower than Athlete B, because he has a hunk of metal decorated in the finest of jewels offered? Personally, I don’t think so. At least when it comes to team sports that is (baseball, basketball, football, etc.).

If you’re on a team, there’s only so much you can do as an independent athlete on that team to ensure not only punching a ticket to the World Series, NBA Finals, Super Bowl, [insert championship game here], but actually winning it. There are only so many runs you can drive in, shots you can make, yards you can run for, before you need to depend on one of your teammates to help bring home the W. What happens when your teammates become undependable? Your career ranking shouldn’t be faulted because your double-play partner struck out with a runner on third to end the first, and last World Series Game 7 of your career; especially if you won the Triple Crown during the regular season (led the AL/NL in batting average, home runs, and runs batted in).

Should Matt Flynn be considered a better QB than Matt Ryan (aka Matty Ice), simply because Flynn piggybacked off of Aaron Rogers for his Super Bowl ring? That’s what this whole argument often sounds like. You may be thinking, “you’re comparing a starting QB to a second-string QB, that’s a little unfair.” Let us not forget Flynn is tied with Rogers for the franchise record for passing yards in a game, and holds the Packers record for number of touchdowns thrown in a game (6), so he is a record-setter. And, Matt Ryan is a record-setter himself, too: Ryan is 3rd behind Dan Marino (who happens to not have a ring as well) and Peyton Manning for most TD’s in NFL history by a QB in his first 5 seasons; he has the most career wins, best QB rating for a starter, most career passing yards, and many other records for the Falcons Franchise. But, wait, he doesn’t have a ring; let’s put him behind Matt Flynn.

I’ll leave you with a list of star super-star athlete’s who haven’t won a ring for you all to look over, just as a reminder:

  • Patrick Ewing – NBA Hall of Famer, Rookie of the Year (1985), 11-time NBA All-star, recognized as one of the 50 greatest NBA players of all time.
  • Charles Barkley – NBA Hall of Famer, NBA MVP (1993), 5-time All NBA First Team awardee, 11-time All-Star, recognized as one of the 50 greatest NBA players of all time.
  • Barry Bonds* (yeah yeah yeah, steroids, whatever) – 7-time NL MLB MVP, 8-time Gold Glove winner, 12-time Silver Slugger winner, 762 career home runs (leader), single-season record holder for home runs (73).
  • Dan Marino – NFL Hall of Famer, 9-time Pro Bowl awardee, NFL MVP and Offensive Player of the year (1984), first QB ever to throw for 5,000 yards and 40 TD’s in one season (1984), holds 31 Miami Dolphins franchise records.
  • Ted Williams – MLB Hall of Famer, 19-time All-Star, 2-time MLB MVP, 2-time Triple Crown Winner, MLB All-Time and All-Century team awardee.
  • Ken Griffey Jr. – 13-time All-Star, 10-time Gold Glove winner, 7-time Silver Slugger winner, 630 career home runs (6th overall), MLB All Century team awardee.
  • Barry Sanders – NFL Hall of Famer, 10-time Pro Bowl awardee, 2-time NFL MVP, 6-time First Team All-Pro awardee, #1 Most Elusive Running Back of All-Time (NFL.com), third leading rusher in the NFL. 

Re: What is Money

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This morning, after I slept through five minutes of my alarm because I thought the vibration noise was coming from the basement, I awoke to an email from WordPress. For those non-WordPress users, these emails typically mean two things: 1) you gained a new follower, or 2) someone commented on a blog post of yours. For a blogger fresh in his rookie campaign like myself, these emails often come as quite a surprise and leave a positive feeling raining down on you.

As I wiped away the remnants of beauty sleep from my eyes I opened up the email. To my lovely surprise, an anonymous reader commented on yesterday’s post. Eager to hear what they had to say, I wiped my eyes a few more times and began to read. To be honest – I read the first few words (“money represents material (tangible) objects…) and I stopped, thinking to myself, “wow…some asshole had nothing better to do last night but to give me the literal meaning of money, and make it a blog post in and of itself.” Despite the “ughhhh” feeling I had, I continued to read. Thankfully I pushed myself to read it, because shortly after the first 5 words I knew exactly who Mr. Anonymous was. I wanted to share it with you all, because what he had to say was very, very interesting. I talked to him later in the morning and told him he should start his own blog. If/when he does, I’ll be his first follower!

Without further ado, I present to you the longest comment 1) I’ll probably ever receive, and 2) I’ve ever personally seen. I hope future blog posts of mine will spark the same interest in your mind as it did his!

money represents material (tangible) objects, like shirts, cars, skateboards, and bangin ass celebrity delly sandwiches. translated differently, money also represents necessity, like materials to keep you warm, modes of transportation (whether it be a personal vehicle or public transit), things that bring you joy (a person can’t live life without moments of happiness), and ways to get the proper nutrients in your body so you maintain a heartbeat. important to note, any necessity you need in life can be facilitated without money, however, who really wants to go make dough, kill a turkey, skin it, and then cook it to make that turkey sandwich?

money represents a lot of things depending on perspective, some people say its a drug, others say it’s time, momentary happiness, experiences (you can’t realistically float to europe…technically you could), wants/needs, turkey sandwiches, etc etc.

money does absolutely nothing for the intangibles in life; the intangibles represent true happiness for me. sure, anything can be bought — you can buy a golddigger, you can buy a friend, you can buy respect, you can buy a position of power, etc. what’s lacking is authenticity. any friend that can be bought, is a material object that can be replaced; same as any golddigger, any position of power, respect, etc. true happiness, comes from surrounding yourself with authentic intangibles, things that cant be replaced, that are not bought, but earned.

all in all, you dont NEED money, but it makes life a lot simpler since you dont have to david boone it 24/7. safe to say the vast majority of the population WANTS money, and for whatever reason they’d like to have it, and by whatever means they try to get it, more power to em! personally, going to a job that you’d do for free, would be a dream; very few people get to experience that in their lifetimes, but it’s definitely a standard to strive for — “if not you, then who?” is my motto. however, a person currently at job they “dislike,” should look at the glass half. had that person been at a job they did like, they wouldn’t have been able to find time to share some very interesting points of view on a blog, or express their creative/satirical/theOnion-esque writing capabilities, or start building a portfolio of articles to showcase to a potential new boss, or discover the value of having free time to explore one’s mind and the millions of thoughts that run through it on a daily basis :)…emphasis on the “free”; time is money eh? money is money, time is time. #JwillstillusesChrome #icanridemybikewithnohandlebars #toleaseorbuy? #COACHHHH

The Real World (Not the MTV Show)

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Earlier this morning, while I was making myself look busy at work (don’t judge me, we all do it), I had an epiphany. Now bare with me, because this may get strange. When one is given enough time to let their mind be free and wander the mysteries of life itself, one may often be hit with the most bizarre propositions ever; even if those propositions are pretty far fetched. Let us take a ride into the depths of my mind. Buckle up, because…well…click-it or ticket, right?

Rewind to a few nights ago: My roommates and I were having a family dinner and talking about how much we despise our current employment situations and how we would much rather be doing something else. But, you can’t get picky with jobs now-a-days, because it’s hard as hell to get one, and any experience is better than none. Many reasons were being thrown into discussion as to why we aren’t fans of our jobs, but one that we all seemed to agree upon is that we’re sitting behind a computer screen 95% of the day. I mentioned to my roomies that whenever I go to the bathroom and check myself out look at myself in the mirror, my eyes are always bloodshot red, and I’ve come to conclusion it’s because of the aforementioned reason we all agreed upon: I stare at a computer screen all day.

Fast forward to this morning: Here I am at work, letting my mind wander, when BOOM – it hits me. You know when you were younger and you used to get yelled at for sitting too close to the TV? Kind of like, “Manny – scoot back! You’ll fry your retinas!” (yeah, Mom. As if 6 year old me knows what retinas are…) Well, why should 6-year old Manny back away from the TV, MOMMMMM? He’s just going to grow up to sit behind a desk and stare at a laptop screen/computer monitor two feet from his face for the first couple of years of his employment career. (Don’t worry, guys. I’m working on something that’ll probably put me behind a computer screen for only 70% of the day, but it’ll be something I enjoy.) Try to be optimistic about it and think, “maybe he’s just preparing himself for the real world…he’s such a smart boy!”

So go ahead and sit as close to that TV as you want, child. And, if your parents give you a hard time for doing so, simply show them this. After all, they’re probably sitting closer to a screen than you are, AND for a much longer period of time.  

I don’t want it to sound like I’m bitching about my current employment situation, because that was not my intention with this post. I’m thankful to have any job. My intention was to give you a sneak peek at how my mind works in a lighthearted, humorous way – if you haven’t noticed already from previous post’s. How I was able to correlate what happens to a majority of people who work in today’s world to getting yelled at for sitting too close to a TV as a kid is pretty fascinating, no? You don’t think so? Well – your opinion sucks.