Friday, February 29, 2008

Leap Day

nothing much to say here, just that it is a leap year and it only comes once every 4 years. So next time it rolls around my daughter will almost be 6 and my son will almost be 4. Amazing when I say it like that.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

So close...

So our girls soccer team was in the semifinals of the CIF playoffs...I say was because unfortunately they lost yesterday. I gotta give it to them though they worked hard and seemed to overcome a really bad beginning. I have 5 of the girls in my class and know about another 3-4 through them. I was really hoping that they could bring home another title (they won 3 in a row a few years ago).

Funny thing about high school and even college sports is that you are never guarenteed the same team 2 years in a row. Most of the time it's because of graduating seniors, but other times it's injuries. I always tell all of my athletes that they need to embrace the year and never say there's always next year.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

What can brown do for you? Carwash

One of my students favorite things is when I talk about my time at UPS. I was a part time supervisor for 5 years there and have a ton of stories to tell. It seemed like everyday there was some kind of drama going on. It was horrible at times, but looking back it wasn't that bad. I really enjoyed everyone I worked with. So I will have a dedicated header "What can brown do for you?"

So this first story takes me to my first year as a sup. It was just after peak season (Thanksgiving to Christmas) and we were in our Wednesday morning meeting. Now when I say morning, I mean 2:30 or 3 AM depending on our start time. And all the part time sups were there from both sides of the building load-side and sort/unload, about 25 sups. Our acting building manager (because we were in between a building manager a the time) Tom was going over the numbers for our building from last year. He had a page that ranked all the Hubs on the west coast. There were like 30 or so on list and we were at the bottom of pretty much every category. Tom was telling us how we should be ashamed of the numbers and that we could do know the classic speech. So it's pure silence and Tom said "well do you guys have anything to add?" No one says a word until Jordan speaks up and says "well we are #2 in the carwash." Everyone started laughing...even Tom cracked a smile. Tom then called him a smart ass and told him to shut up.

That's when I realized for all the seriousness that goes on in a multi-million dollar company, that it was still ok to have fun. I think I took that a little far sometimes, but there's time for those stories later.

Monday, February 25, 2008

New albums....2008

Is it too early to talk about my favorite albums of the year? I am so impressed by about 3 albums that right now could easily be in my top 10 this year. Protest the Hero's Fortress, Biomechanical's Cannabilised, and from what I have Mercenary's Architect of Lies. And this year we will also see a new In Flames album. I have heard the first song from it and it really didn't hit me like Take This Life did, but who knows right? A new Metallica album by the end of the year.

I am a little disappointed in Bullet for My Valentine's latest Scream Aim Fire. It's ok, but nothing great. A little too commercial sound for me. Ya know. I am also pulling for Guns N Roses to finally release Chinese Democracy. Beyond the Embrace is due for a follow-up to the Insect Song as well.

You might be thinking "that's only 5-6 albums...not even close to 10." Keep in mind it's only February. And these are albums by bands I know. I didn't know about Lazarus before last year and that album is still in heavy rotation on my ipod. Cavalera Conspiracy should be good because I keep hearing it being compared to older Sepultura. So who knows. You never know about music. Keep an open mind and see what comes your way right?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Spotlight: Swedish Death Metal

So after a week from hell, we finally get back to some music. So how did I get into SDM? I really can't remember. I think it was after listening to some Shadows Fall, I was ok with the death vocals. So I read about In Flames touring with someone...can't remember, and I decided to pick up an album. The album I picked out(Clayman) was probably their best album ever... or a close 2nd. Why? Because of the album huh?

Some great songs on this album. In fact, I would go ahead and say there are no fillers on this thing. It's that good. After I got this album, I checked out their others and they are all good albums. I picked up Reroute to Remain last because I read that it was a nu-metal album. Now we will be listening to that album next week, so I will get to that later.

In Flames is releasing a new album this year, A Sense of Purpose. Come Clarity was a great album, better than Soundtrack to Your Escape so expectations are high. Seriously, just watch the video for the first song on the album Take this Life. Fast drums, tight guitar playing, and a catchy chorus. What else could you ask for in a song, right?

If you like In Flames, Soilwork is a natural fit as well. The two bands are pretty identical except Soilwork uses more keyboards and super clean/catchy choruses. I got into them from A Predator's Portrait on. All the albums are pretty similar, which can be a bad thing, but not if it is done right. And Soilwork does it right. Sworn to a Great Divide came out at the end of last year and I haven't had a lot of time to check it out...unfortunately.

For me Swedish death metal is different than Gothenburg metal because of the use of keyboards. Some say a band like At the Gates or The Haunted play the same style of music as In Flames...uhhh no they don't.


Playlist for the week:
Monday(last week): Warpath, Fearless from Virus by Hypocrisy
Tues./Wed.: Take This Life, Dead End, Vacuum from Come Clarity by In Flames
Thursday: The Flameout, Nerve from Natural Born Chaos & Stabbing the Drama by Soilwork
Friday: My Sweet Shadow, Only for the Weak, Touch of Red from Come Clarity, Clayman, and Soundtrack to Your Escape by In Flames.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Another sad day...

Sometimes I can't believe what my wife goes through. Last night she found out her friend from her old school district passed away from pneumonia...pneumonia. She was only 31. Let me say that again, 31 from pneumonia. You don't hear stuff like that. She was a super healthy person too. What's sad is that she had two children 5 & 3. My heart aches for those kids and for her husband. The thought of losing my wife is something I can't even think about. It's just a very tragic situation. And I really can't do much to help her out except comfort her.

My wife has had 2 rough pregnancies. With our first, her elementary teacher, who she kept in touch with her whole life, passed away. This is that special teacher that you all remember. She saw every graduation my wife ever had, from elementary to high school to college. She was even at our wedding. This teacher even wrote a book based on my wife. After her teacher passed, my grandfather also passed away. My wife knew my grandpa for almost ten years. She didn't remember much about her grandpa and kinda latched on to mine...not that it is bad. I enjoyed watching them interact. But I think she was torn about being happy about being a mother, but having to mourn.

Now with this pregnancy, she had to whole bus incident, our cat Charlie dying, a friend of hers having a miscarriage, and now this. I feel so bad for her. I just want her to be happy. I wish there was a way I could take away some of her pain. I love her so much it breaks my heart to see her sad.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Sun Always Shines on T.V.: "And I'll form the head..."

for those that don't remember that line you missed out on one hell of a cartoon. I am of course talking about Voltron. Back when I was a little kid afternoons were filled with cartoons...not Oprah and Dr. Phil. I remember coming home on a Monday and watching this cartoon about 5 guys (why is it always 5?) finding keys to "awakening" lion robots to form Voltron.
Now the thing I liked about the series looking back was the fact that you didn't get to see Voltron in action from day 1. You had to wait a few days to see them find the lions and get them to work. Nowadays it seems like from the beginning heroes can do no learning curve so to speak.
Voltron was a great show, I remember when the writers had Sven leave the show because of injury. Unheard of at the time because most heroes just healed and went back to work...similar to Robotech with characters dying.

Read more about Voltron HERE and HERE.

BTW, the reason I am writing this is because Voltron is abck on Boomerang at 7:30 EST/10:30 PST. If you have directv, watch it at 7:30 it's worth it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

It's My World ver. 2.0?

no more like 1.1. I finally got that banner up that I have been meaning to put up there for awhile now. Also added a "album quilt". Funny to see all of those metal bands and then Tatu pops up with Kelly Clarkson. I might be adding some more stuff who know.

As for the family, everyone is doing better. My daughter is feeling great and running around again. My wife has a bad cough, but that's it for her too. I say that's it, but for anyone that's had a cough knows how crappy it can be. Me? I'm ok minus my back. I slept on it wrong and it is still bothering me...suck it up right?

Back to some Swedish death metal this week with smoe In Flames and Soilwork.

Friday, February 15, 2008

crappy week

So no spotlight this week...why? Well, let's just say it was a challenging week. My 18 month old has a seizure and my 29 week pregnant wife has come down with the flu. Pretty bad...I know. I'm pretty tired right now and am trying to get back on track. My daughter is doing better and so is my wife minus her bad cough. I feel so bad for her because she had 5 months of morning sickness and now this.

BTW, musically we were going with some Swedish death metal. Hypocrisy, In Flames, Soilwork, etc. I will talk more about that next week. Plus I will probably be going off on Directv, I am so not happy with them right now. Where are you Verizon FIOS?

Here's a fan-made video for Hypocrisy's song Warpath. Killer song.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Spotlight: Protest the Hero

What can I say about this band? Great...that about sums it up. When I first heard Kezia, I was blown away. I had never heard anything like it before, maybe a lighter version of Into Eternity...maybe. The music is chaotic at times, the vocals emo-ish at times, but it works. So much so that I am actually trying to find another band that sounds like them. The closest would be The Human Abstract.
Blindfolds Aside

I'm not really sure of the story behind Kezia, there is one it's a concept album. But like I said before, I am totally blown away by the music. Oh yeah, these guys were about 19 when they wrote this album...not bad.
Heretics and Killers

They just released their latest, Fortress, last week. It's just about the same kind of album as Kezia, which is fine by me, but with a bit more 70's rock influences. An amazing band that every metal fan should check out.
Divine Suicide of K

From their new album Fortress - Bloodmeat

Playlist for the week:
The entire album...

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Lent - Day 1

Well for those Catholic or Christians that practice the season of Lent it begins today. This is the first time I am giving up something for 40 days, so it will be interesting to say the least. I am giving up fast food for 40 days. Now, if you know me, fast food is pretty big to me. I love it and could eat it all the time. I eat a light lunch and breakfast, so a fast food dinner doesn't hurt me that an hour work out a night sort of cancels it out.

I hope I can do this. I think that if I can get through the first couple of weeks I should be fine. The weekends will be the toughest though... we will see.

Music this week is Protest the Hero. I will talk about them later. But I really loved their debut. their new is just as good.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Good ole 90's

Well a little change musically this week. Some 90's alternative music. BTW, what is alternative? I mean can it be alternative if it is mainstream? Who knows. After the whole grunge scene started to die down these alternative/college bands started popping up. Bands like Smashing Pumpkins, Live, Crash Test Dummies, etc. became super popular. Now I am a metal fan at heart, but I know catchy music when I hear it.

Smashing Pumpkins Today was a solid dong with a nice distorted guitar sound to it that caught my attention. Live had some pretty hard hitting songs as well. So for me a metal fan, liking these bands wasn't a far stretch.

We started off with some Red Hot Chili Peppers. Now they really aren't alternative, but they really caught on during the same time. Blood Sugar Sex Magik really put them to the front of the music scene. And they really haven't faded away since then.
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Under the Bridge


Red Hot Chili Peppers - Breaking the Girl


Red Hot Chili Peppers - Warped


BTW, despite what fans think I am a huge fan of Warped and the entire One Hot Minute album. Dave Navarro plays guitar instead of John Frusciante. Different style, but still solid.

Next up we have some Smashing Pumpkins. A love all of their singles. I highly recommend picking up their greatest hits album. Has them all...perfect for the casual fan like myself. The best thing about the Pumpkins was that you had the super heavy songs like Bullet with Butterfly Wings, but then you had the epic feel of Tonight, Tonight. Very nice. Let me also add that their videos are some of the best ever. Do yourself a favor and check them out.
Smashing Pumpkins - Tonight, Tonight


Smashing Pumpkins - Stand Inside Your Love

Finally, Live. What can I say? A great hard rock band. If you haven't heard Throwing it, go get it. Classic album my friends. They are most famous for their song, Lightning Crashes, but this album has more than that. Check it out.
Live - I Alone

Live - All Over You

Live - Lightning Crashes

Playlist for the week;
Monday: Under the Bridge, Breaking the Girl by Red Hot Chili Peppers from Blood Sugar Sex Magik.
Tuesday: Warped, Give it Away, Higher Ground by Red Hot Chili Peppers from Greatest Hits.
Thursday: Tonight, Tonight; Stand Inside Your Love by Smashing Pumpkins from Rotten Apples (greatest hits album).
Friday: I Alone, All Over You, Lightning Crashes by Live from Throwing Copper.