Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Jack Bauer Interrogates Santa Claus

Thanks Shamus for the video.

I enjoyed this so I thought I'd share with you all, because sharing is good and helps keep me from beign placed squarely on that Naughty List I have worked so hard to avoid.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas From Us, 2009

Consider this your digital Christmas Card from us, because that is exactly what it is.

Merry Christmas!


John and Sierra Cory

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I Love The Muppets. That Is All.

Merry Christmas, everyone!
"Ringing of the Bells"

This one is a bonus. It has nothing to do with Christmas. So sue me.
In all honesty, this video makes me so happy I want to cry.

Here is the real video for "Bohemian Rhapsody" in case anyone was wondering how closely the Muppet version parodied it (and yes, Freddie Mercury does indeed look like the lovechild of Cleopatra and a wolf in this video).

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Some Pictures Of Us

I never post any pictures of us on this thing. That is mostly because I blog while I am bored at work and I don't have our pictures loaded up there. Well, tonight is your lucky night, America and some parts of Australia. Tonight I remembered to get on here and load some. So, without any further ado...
Taste this Cory action!

1. The picture on the left is of our two-year anniversary. Sierra is totally kissing me.
2. The middle picture is from our Anniversary Trip back East. This is at the memorial in Salem, MA, for my boy Giles Corey (just a little ancestor of mine, no biggie. Actually, this picture might be the one of his wife Martha. It is too stinking small for me to see for sure, but I got a pic next to them both cause I don't discriminate).
3. The picture on the right shows us working it on Times Square, which we were told is some sort of important gathering place in some small village just outside of Newark, New Jersey. I don't know. Everything over there just feels like a suburb of Newark to me.

These two last little nuggets are from the Santa Run last Christmas. Sierra ran it and I learned that even with a beard my lovely wife is still freaking hot. Look at all them Santas.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Save The Date

Well, thanks Jen Hunt (formerly of Spooner fame) for the link to this amazing Engagement Announcement video. To answer your question, Sierra and I did not announce our engagement like this. Had our love been as pure, as potent, as...primordial...as that couple, we certainly would have. Alas, theirs is a love that exists outside of the bonds--the chains--of reality. I hereby raise my glass in toast and honor of Dan and Jen... whoever and wherever you both may be. May your children be numerous and your foreheads grow as the mighty oak.

Google Wave

This is a test of Google Wave's embeddy thingie. Feel free to ignore or ask what on Earth Google Wave is (if you don't already know).
Testing begins... now (ow ow ow ow ow ow ow).

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Fun Quotes

My sister posted a collection of quotes that she had come across over the past while and enjoyed on our family site. I thought I'd share them with you all here. Enjoy.

You’re only young once, but with a little luck you can be immature forever

Babies are such a great way to start people

I coo, I poo, that's all I do

Everyone has a photographic memory. Some, like me, just don’t have any film

You’re not old, you’re chronologically gifted

Remember, as far as anyone knows, we are a normal family

You’re never too old to play dress up

I don’t think getting old is a big deal, really. But I guess you would know more about it than I do.

I’ve been a key figure in the history of chocolate. If chocolate comes near me, it’s history!

Grandparents are just antique little kids

How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are? –Satchel Paige

All my life, I always wanted to be somebody. Now I see that I should have been more specific

I’m not a complete idiot. Some parts are missing

Old is the new new. See? We’re right on trend

The car? It’s just one giant purse on wheels

Trying to look young is really getting old

When I have a problem, I listen to my gut. It usually tells me to eat chocolate

You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf

You don’t have to drive me crazy. I’m close enough to walk

Dance like no one is watching. We could all use a good laugh

God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage

God said it, I believe it, and that settles it

God watches us at all times. Let’s try to be entertaining

Here’s to another year of bad habits

I drive way too fast to worry about my cholesterol

If we can’t laugh at ourselves, let’s make fun of someone else

If you can’t be a good example, be a dire warning

We’ve been through a lot together, and most of it was your fault

Who were you before you put yourself last?

I tried to contain myself, but I escaped

In story books marriage is a happy ending. In real life, it’s a happy beginning

If you want to hear God laugh, tell Him your plans

The best lessons aren’t in a book, they’re from my dad

Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you’re a mile away and you have their shoes.--Jack Handey

Eagles may soar in the clouds, but weasels never get sucked into jet engines

Women are meant to be loved, not understood --Oscar Wilde

Sunday, December 06, 2009

HP7 Special Sneak Peek

A special sneak peek at Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. Man, am I excited or what?

Dh Preview One - The best bloopers are a click away

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Harry Potter And The Muggle Struggle Part Seven: Uncle Ben's Uncly Wisdom

It is arguable that the most moral lesson taught in the series is one that we already mentioned: choice vs. ability. This lesson is illustrated time and time again in the stories. As mentioned before, Harry has tremendous power and ability, and thus he is given a great responsibility. Harry must learn to control himself if he wants to become a great wizard that helps mankind. His emotions, passions, desires, and actions often go against what is considered good. Self-discipline becomes a necessity for Harry. The effects of a lack of self-control are shown throughout the story also, and help teach children the danger of recklessness. Harry learns to contemplate issues, ponder information, trust others' wisdom, and make informed decisions that will lead to the greater good. Harry has already witnessed his own ability to think under pressure and come out on top, but now he has to learn to do it when others' lives are at stake. He can't just rely on his own abilities anymore. He must make moral choices that will affect him and those he loves.

Previous: Part Six
Next: Part Eight

Sierra With The Assist

Last night we went and played soccer again for the first time in quite a little while. It was nice to run around again.

Anyway, I just wanted to use this public, heavily-trafficked blogsite to give my lady some props for her wonderful assist last night. She normally plays defense (instead of "normally" read "always") and in a rare occurrence, she made a run forward along the side of the field. She sent off a beautiful pass to another girl whose name is Gabby (I think) and Gabby calmly put that little mother away (instead of "mother" read "soccer ball"). Needless to say that Sierra was ecstatic and I was proud of my baby.

Good job, honey.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Harry Potter And The Muggle Struggle Part Six: Harry Luther King, Jr.

Continuing on with the hope of ending this project soon...

The series also stresses the importance of acceptance and tolerance. Hogwart's school is divided into four houses: Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff. Each house values different traits in its students, and thus every student is sorted into the different houses by a hat. Every year there is a friendly competition between the houses based on athletics (on the quidditch field), academics, and behavior. Over the centuries, this friendly competition has grown into a very heated rivalry between the houses, especially between Gryffindor and Slytherin. Deep feelings of distrust and animosity exist between the two houses and are displayed at times through physical--or perhaps better said "magical"--fighting. As Voldemort returns to power and prepares to wage his war, these houses will have to learn to put aside their differences and unite or they will crumble. Great emphasis is placed on this theme throughout the story. Slytherin believes in a Nazi-like pure-blood society where only magic wielders who ancestors were magic users should be allowed into the school. These "pure-blood" magic families are extremely proud of their heritage and feel that they are superior to the half-bloods (who have only one magic parent) and mud-bloods (whose parents are both non-magic folk). All sorts of symbolism can be extracted from this. Racism would possibly be the most obvious interpretation. Acknowledging the fact that there are many out there who feel that racism is good, I still will assert that it is NOT. Our society has made great leaps and bounds towards equality for all, and the best place to ensure that these steps continue is through educating our children to the ridiculousness and harm of racism. The Harry Potter series quite eloquently and vividly portrays the harm of racism, by drawing a parallel that is very easy for a child to understand. In teaching equality, Harry Potter is a great source of morality.

Previous: Part Five
Next: Part Seven

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Live And Intimate Episode 9: Rivers The Conductor

All right. Let's have some fun, eh? I stumbled upon (by seeking for it...conundrum?) this little gem of a Youtube page. Videos from a show that Rivers Cuomo (of Weezer fame) did with his "friends" at the release for Alone II: The Home Recordings. I specifically chose two songs from Pinkerton both because they add fun elements and because I freaking love that album still...after all this time...

Please. Enjoy.

Rivers Cuomo and friends - "Across the Sea"

Rivers Cuomo and friend - "Butterfly"

Last Episode

Harry Potter And The Muggle Struggle Part Five: Moral Disobedience

Yep. I went and did it again. Here is the next installment of that old essay of mine.

Also, in case you have not been following along from the beginning or if it has been too long for you to remember what you have previously read and you want to freshen up the old memory bag, here is a link to the first part of the series.

Next it is important to look at the story itself and see what morality may be found there. One of the complaints against Harry is his disregard for rules. That complaint is extremely credible; Harry and his friends are constantly breaking rules throughout the stories. However, Dan McVeigh argues that "to break a rule, leading to demerits for your house or a dangerous attack by a troll, is both a reflection of real life and a part of growing and learning" (204). Harry also demonstrates an understanding of "higher rules"--such as fairness and honor--when he knowingly breaks a tournament rule by giving an opponent information that will equal the odds for all contestants (McVeigh 205). Harry's rule breaking isn't as motivated by self-indulgence as it is by the sense of responsibility he has to save others' lives. In a Christian light, Harry's disobedience shows a deeper understanding of and respect for higher laws. Which shows the greater morality: obedience to man-made rules (such as a curfew), or obedience to eternal or higher laws (such as saving the life of another)? McVeigh argues that "wise adults...understand that for Harry to break a Hogwarts' rule for a larger purpose, and at serious personal risk, is no more to practice self-indulgence than if he were to cure a paralytic on the Sabbath" (205). So the question is whether or not Harry's rule-breaking is moral. Many would argue that under no circumstances is it moral. They wouldn't be the first in history to argue that. The Pharisees argued that same point against Christ when He broke their incorrect interpretation of Sabbath Law and morality to cure the paralytic. The point here is NOT to compare Harry Potter to Christ; instead it is simply to say that perhaps there is a time and a place for rule-breaking when lives are at stake. Harry and his friends show a far greater respect for the rules than do many others in the story: the Weasley twins, the villains, and--perhaps most importantly--than even Harry's own father. The Marauders (Harry's father's group) showed little respect for the rules for no better reason than they were bored and wanted some fun. Harry and his friends on the other hand, usually only break the rules when they are trying to stop whatever evil is most recently plaguing their school, and are then willing to accept whatever consequences follow. Their motives are very moral; they don't want people to get hurt. The rule-breaking in Harry Potter is very moral in that sense, because it teaches us to value life more than man-made laws and rules.

Previous: Part Four
Next: Part Six

Friday, October 02, 2009

The Widow

This may only be exciting for like 4 people on Earth (so if you are not one of those 4, don't get your hopes up too much, savvy?).

Here, some random person plays The Mars Volta's "The Widow" on his home keyboard. It is cool to here the song interpreted like this, but what makes the video enjoyable to me is how fast that guy's hands get moving during some of the cool "solo" sections. Matt, Steven, Alex, and Ryan...this one is for you.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Beer Brats!

Happy International Beer Brat Day everyone!

(today I had my first beer brat and I gotta say two things: looked terrible; tasted GREAT!)

That is all.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter

Sweet beef, baby. I will end up wasting so much money on going to this place.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Theme Park Fly Through
A Map

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Theme Park Map

Happy Chinchilli Day!!!

So, I just found these awesome ads from Vegas.com. It confirmed my suspicions that Fist (Burke and Germania's pet chinchilla) is actually a terrorist who is infiltrating our government. Now his plan is coming all too clear; he is here in Vegas where they celebrate the victory over the chinchillas. None of this making any sense? Just watch the video.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Office Pranks

One of my favorite things about The Office are Jim's pranks. There is something so absolutely hilarious about a practical joke that is pulled off well (but I will add, that some jokes are pointlessly mean and my heart screams, "No!" even while my mouth makes laugh).

This office joke is pretty dang cool.

More DIY videos at 5min.com

For a fun read of pranks that you can do to your office chums...check out this link right HERE.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Who Sucked Up The Video?

I have listened to Superdrag's album In the Valley of Dying Stars almost 10 times through now and it is excellent. Especially the song "In the Warmth of a Tomb." When you get the chance to check out Superdrag (which band has been around for quite a long time now) you should take it.

I now give you the music video to the song that made me want to look into this band, "Sucked Out." I love this song, but the music video is a little disappointing. There is just not much going on in it that makes it worth watching. Ah well.

Superdrag - "Sucked Out"

Papa out.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Harry Potter And The Muggle Struggle Part Four: Humble Little Harry

Well, back by popular demand (technically only one person asked about when I'd get around to completing this little project, but one person can be popular, no? Wouldn't that make her demand a popular demand? You do the math.), is another edition of that old essay of mine. Good luck trying to remember everything that came before. Heh heh...suckers...

This goodness doesn't come from a lack of temptation to turn bad, though. Harry is a very powerful wizard with great abilities. Most of his peers are incapable of the level of magic he can do. In fact, Harry often out-performs many of his superiors. He is able to perform a defensive spell, called the Patronus Charm, after his professor warns "that the charm might be too advanced for [Harry]. Many qualified wizards have difficulty with it" (Rowling, Prisoner 237). It is the cause of much doubt and confusion for the young wizard, especially when his powers closely parallel those of his enemy Voldemort. He learns that his ability to speak with snakes is very rare and usually only possessed by dark wizards like Voldemort (Rowling, Chamber 196). Harry has often pondered his resemblance to Voldemort and has feared that he was headed down the same path. That is one of the great lessons of the series. As headmaster Dumbledore teaches Harry, "It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities" (Rowling, Chamber 333). Edmund M. Kern mentions how Harry "...meets circumstances beyond his control with resolve and accepts that he must maintain his inner goodness and direct it outward in order to act on behalf of others" (15). Harry is constantly placed in situations where he must choose between right or wrong, good or bad, to save himself or to save others. Sometimes he is aware that he is facing a decision between good and evil; other times he's not. Yet, consistently he chooses the side of good.
That is where the morality of Harry's character comes most heavily into play. Here is a boy with tremendous potential, and a great deal of power. He is extremely talented at quidditch, a game that resembles soccer and is played on broomsticks, and is the youngest seeker in over 100 years (Rowling, Sorcerer's 152). He is undoubtedly the most powerful wizard in his school, he's very intelligent (even if his grades don't always reflect it; it's tough to get straight A's when you're saving the world), extremely famous, very wealthy, and to top it all off: he's a good-looking kid. Under those circumstances, it is quite normal for a teenager to get a big head and start to feel pretty superior to the "little people" who adore you. Yet, Harry hates the limelight. He avoids it at all costs. He doesn't like being put up on a pedestal or having fans. He's just as scared of girls and love as anyone else. He could use his powers for personal gain, and to mock those less fortunate than himself, but instead he is always sticking up for the little guy and helping those less fortunate than himself. If that's not a good role-model, than I don't know what is.

Previous: Part Three
Next: Part Five

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Who To Play Mr. Bilbo Baggins?

This is such an important choice to me. I am torn between getting someone new who won't carry the baggage of superstar celebrity, or going with a nae that we can trust, because we have seen this actor play a character with depth before.

Anyway, you can go here to see some options that Reelzchannel has come up with. I especially like options 4 & 5 (although more because they are funny and less because I actually think either would do all that great a job).

That is all.

UPDATE: I just corrected the link. Sorry about that... (giggle giggle). Here is the link to the other article anyway, because it might be helpful to someone out there.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Live And Intimate Episode 8: Ben Kweller's Family Tree

Ben Kweller. I love this man. Here he plays "Family Tree" off of his first album Sha Sha for a little live, in-store performance at the Zia Records in Tucson, AZ. For some reason I wasn't invited.

Please do yourself a favor (if you have not already) and go get any of this man's albums. His newest one, Changing Horses, is much more twangy/country than previous ones (which were more of a folky/country). So maybe don't start with that one. It is excellent, but it is a departure from his previous sound and feel.

Last Episode
Next Episode

The Time Has Come

I have held off making a decision long enough. I think I hesitated partly because I didn't want to get hurt. The other part of my just didn't want to influence all of you--my loyal followers--in your own decision; I used to feel that this was a personal decision that each of us should come to on our own. Now I know different. Too much is at stake.

That is why I have decided to formally announce that I have indeed chosen a side and it is time for you to do the same. Granted I can't force your hand (if I could I would, trust me), so I will have to settle for simply pleading that you follow my lead and join Team Jacob.

Yes. I am Team Jacob.

Join me, and together we can rid the world of Team Edward scum (and by rid the world I really mean just snicker about them when we are quite confident that they can't hear, because I don't want to be responsible for hurting anyone's feelings).

Go Team Jacob. Go.

Monday, August 17, 2009

My Nephews Strike Again

I love these guys. They are hilarious. Anyway, I am going to steal from my sister-in-law's blog and just post the funny conversation that she overheard between two of her boys earlier.

Grant- Did you know Jedi's don't have to go potty?
Spencer- Yeah they do.
Grant- Nuh uh. Then how come they never have to go potty in the movies?!
Spencer- Nobody uses the bathroom in movies.
Grant- I want to be in a movie!!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Very Potter Musical

I don't know how Megan stumbled upon this, but I thank Zeus for her finding it. She and I just watched the first two parts of it (I should explain for any who are confused that I work with Megan and we share a prison cell of a cubicle in the back corner) and I can't wait to get off of work so I can finish the whole thing. Anyway, it is too good for me not to share it, and, given the Harry Potter theme today, it seemed more than fitting.
I give you... A Very Potter Musical pt. 1 (go to youtube and search "Very Potter Musical" to find all the rest of it).

300 Dollar Bill, Y'all

That title is so totally a shout out to my boys in Limp Bizkit. This post has nothing to do with them, but earlier this month I was messing with my iTunes and stumbled upon their second album Significant Other. I recommend going back and listening to an album that at one time you thought was stinking awesome, but then you stopped listening to because you realized the band is terribly lame. It was a strange journey that night = total acid trip without the acid or the trip (I pretty much just sat there in my chair).

On to more important things: this is the 3ooth post! Hot dang! It has been a while since I last posted, so I didn't know how to celebrate this day. I didn't want to come whimpering back with some lame post, so I had to find something good. Then, yesterday... it fell into my lap. Many may have seen this already (I know Steven, Jenna, and Sierra certainly have), but even we who have watched it once already should give it another go. We can make this happen people. We can make Quidditch a reality.

Thank you Steven for this amazing gem.

I now give you: Muggle Quidditch.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

"Lost" In The News

This cracked me up so much. Thanks for sharing it with my Brett in a Sweet Cream of Tweet that could not be Beat.

Bolivian TV airs photos from LOST as photographs from a French plane's crash. You can't get better than that. I love that Paolo gets credited for them, too. Awesome.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Live And Intimate Episode 7: Jesse Lacey Forgets Himself

I can attest that sometimes shifting from a full band to a smaller, more intimate, acoustic performance can mess up the mojo flow. The rest of the band isn't there to cover up your mistakes, and you tend to feel much more... naked. Jesse Lacey of Brand New proves this in this episode's video. Here, he and guitarist Vincent Accardi decide to set up a somewhat spur of the moment acoustic show in Seattle (when their full band's show in Alaska gets canceled). I'm glad though, because it provided me a good hour+ of entertainment watching all of the youtube clips that sono23 put up after the show. Go check them out.

p.s. I really, really, really love this band.

Jesse Lacey and Vincent Accardi (Brand New) - "Luca"

Last Episode
Next Episode

Friday, May 29, 2009

MySpace To The Rescue

Recently, Matt and I were talking about Ben Folds (and his Five). Matt asked me which was my favorite BFF album. At the time I really couldn't answer. I sat there knowing that it is either Whatever and Ever Amen--the album that introduced me to BFF, the one I have the most sentimental attachment to, and the one that I have listened to the most--or The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner--which took me much longer to get into, but once I did I grew to absolutely love and be amazed by. Now, I can say that I know, and it is all thanks to MySpace's relatively new feature caled Front to Back (where they have artists/bands play an album in its entirety from front to back). As far as I know, they have only done one of these shows, and they brilliantly began it by inviting Ben Folds (who then called up Darren and Robert) to play Reinhold from front to back. I just watched it finally today (it happened back in September of last year, I knew about it then, and yet I still somehow forgot to watch it until now), and I can now officially say that Reinhold is my favorite (although after I listen to Whatever again...my mind can often be a fickle thing). Watching them play that album is amazing. I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to make time this weekend to sit down for 53 minutes and 15 seconds to watch this amazing show.

MySpace deserves credit for doing something right finally and getting this band back together for even one show was the right thing to do. Plus, mixing in little interviews in between the songs really added a tremendous amount of feeling to what is going on onstage.

One last note, if you haven't listened to Darren Jessee's new band Hotel Lights, I really recommend them. Here is the video for one of the songs from their new album Firecracker People.
"Blue Always Finds Me"

"Lost" Spinoff Show

Read all about it here folks.

Harry Potter And The Muggle Struggle Part Three: Character

First let's examine Harry as a character and as the stories' "hero." In his analysis of the series, Karl Miller calls Harry "a real boy, fully capable of errors, resentments and vexations..." (30). Harry is not perfect. He makes mistakes and suffers for them. Often times, his mistakes cause others to suffer as well. He is brash and impudent at times, and (as will be discussed in greater detail later) he feels an apparent disregard for rules. Harry can be quite lazy at times (especially where school work is involved), and is quick to let his emotions get the best of him. At times, he shows traces of jealousy towards others (including his friends), impatience and mistrust with and for authority, and a sense of superiority in thinking he is always right or at least knows what is best. He is definitely not the typical hero of the fantasy genre. Harry is a normal boy with faults and weaknesses.
A great number of parents feel that Harry is a poor role-model because of these weaknesses. However, many modern literary critics disagree. They see Harry's weaknesses as the real strength behind his goodness. For all of Harry's faults, he still ends up doing what is right and that is what makes him a hero. In his book--The Wisdom of Harry Potter: What Our Favorite Hero Teaches Us About Moral Choices--Edmund M. Kern discusses how Harry is a different type of stoic hero. Kern describes the "old stoic" as unemotional, tediously puritanical, and blindly indifferent to enjoyment and grief (19). Harry doesn't really fit that description very well. However, Kern also mentions other qualities and themes of stoicism which do fit Harry: fatalism, endurance, perseverance, self-discipline, reason, solidarity, empathy, and sacrifice (19). All of these traits are manifest in Harry at different times, and show his quality as a character and role-model.
Besides those listed above, Harry demonstrates many other moral qualities that deserve some attention. One of the most noticeable is loyalty. An example of it is found in the second book, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, when Harry stood facing his nemesis and remained loyal to Headmaster Dumbledore despite the dangerous consequences of doing so. His loyalty was so great that it summoned Dumbledore's pet phoenix to his aid. Afterward, Dumbledore thanked Harry for showing him loyalty for, as he explained, "Nothing but that could have called [the phoenix] to you" (Rowling, Chamber 332).
That sense of loyalty comes from the great love that Harry's has for his Headmaster. That love motivates him to do great things. It also motivates him to risk everything and endure emotional abuse, physical torment, pain, and possible death for those he holds most dear. In the first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Harry risks his expulsion from his school and even his own life to stop Lord Voldemort from returning, because he doesn't want those whom he loves to get hurt (Rowling, Sorcerer's 270). Harry also shows his love for others in the way he treats them. He is kind to others, even when they are mocked and disliked. He accepts people for their inner goodness, and not for their social/political status or because there is something in it for him. He even shows love in the form of forgiveness to those whom he should have every right to hate. In the end of the third book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry learns finds the man that betrayed his parents and was responsible for their deaths. Instead of letting his father's best friend kill them--something that the adults present were all advocating--Harry decides to turn him into the authorities. He demonstrated morality and goodness when others wanted revenge (Rowling, Prisoner 375-376).

Previous: Part Two
Next: Part Four

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Midnight Train Down To Gerogia

I stumbled upon this amusing little video today, and I thought I'd share it for all of those who--like me-- never watch American Idol.

Gladys Knight, Ben Stiller, Jack Black, and Robert Downey, Jr. singing and dancing for charity.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Live And Intimate Episode 6: Ben Folds Likes The Whoosh Sound

I was going to sit here and cry over the break up of Ben Folds Five for a while, but I just don't feel like being down today. Instead, I will say that Ben Folds' solo music is quite enjoyable and Darren Jesse's Hotel Lights is an excellent band. While neither are as strong as BFF, I am glad for the proliferation of good musics.

Here is Ben Folds playing a Ben Folds Five song, "Kate," at some sort of MySpace gig. I crack up every time I see his foot go flying back to hit the keyboard. Enjoy.

Last Episode
Next Episode

Friday, May 22, 2009

Harry Potter And The Muggle Struggle Part Two: The Opposition

Here we go again! I wanted to briefly explain that I will be referencing the quotes and research I did for the paper along the way, with my Works Cited page at the end, because plagiarizing ain't my cup of tea. For any who may not be familiar with what that looks like, quotes are referenced in the parenthesis. One last note: I am not making corrections of any kind to the essay. What I turned in and was graded on is what you get.

Opposition to the series is obvious. On their website, the American Library Association stated that in 2002 the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom "received a total of 515 reports of challenges . . . . A challenge is defined as a formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school about a book's content or appropriateness" ("Harry Potter Series..."). From 1999 to 2002, Harry Potter topped the list of most challenged books. In fact, the series has earned a spot among the most challenged books ever ("Harry Potter Series..."). That is significant considering how new the series is--the first book was published in 1998. To become one of the most challenged books ever in such a short time, clearly illustrates the depth of the opposition to Harry Potter. Formal written complaints aren't the only way these parents are protesting however.
Many other steps have been taken by these parents to protect their children from what they consider to be a very harmful influence. In Zeeland, Michigan, the superintendent of schools banned the reading aloud of Harry Potter books and required parental permission for library use ("Cencorship" 22). In his article for the Journal of Contemporary Religion, Michael Ostling reports "We learned of court challenges in Georgia; of Christian booksellers refusing to stock the series; of libraries pulling the books from their shelves; even--in early 2001--of a church-orchestrated book burning in rural Pennsylvania" (5). Such steps and acts demonstrate the deep resentment many Americans feel towards the series.
What is it about Harry Potter that angers and offends so many parents into actions like these? Many of them feel that the material is too dark for children of a young age to be exposed to and that it undermines family values. Many argue that Harry is a poor role model for children due to his obvious disregard for rules. The main complaint though, is regarding the theme of magic and witchcraft in the stories. Explaining the opposition's view, Ben Hubbard wrote "The books, the parents say, give their children the tools for casting spells and brewing potions and will eventually set them on a path toward satanic worship" (17). Perhaps by looking deeper at some of these complaints, we can better understand their validity.

Previous: Part One
Next: Part Three

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Harry Potter And The Muggle Struggle

Here is something new I've never done before: make some use of my schooling. I jest, I jest; school probably has its uses. Still, I have written tons of essays over the years that, with the exception of the persuasive essay I wrote my junior year of high school about going commando, just sit in a folder and do nothing. So, I have decided to post an essay that I wrote while attending UVSC (now UVU) in Orem, UT. It is the first essay I ever did that was longer than 3-4 pages--a whopping 12. The assignment was to write a persuasive essay and the topic I chose was whether or not Harry Potter should be banned from public schools and libraries (this was not an assigned topic--I had to convince the teacher to let me write on it). I will be breaking it up into segments, because that mother is long. For this first one I will just do the introductory paragraph (cause I already have this introductory paragraph that I have subjected you to and frankly I wouldn't feel right taking you any further... we have to work our way up to that), but following segments wil come in slightly greater...how you say...bulk?

Enjoy or ignore, depending on your choice of lifestyle.

"Harry Potter and the Muggle Struggle" - by me of course

Not too often is a controversial figure a child. Even less often is it a fictional child. Yet, that is the case with Harry Potter. Author J.K. Rowling created the character for her best-selling book series of the same title. The seven part series tells the story of a boy who learns he is a wizard, leaves his obnoxious aunt and uncle (with whom he has been living since he was a baby), and goes to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to be trained. During the series, he learns the truth of his parents' death, of their killer, and of his own future in the coming battle of good against evil. Due to the nature of its context, many conservative Christian parents strongly oppose the series claiming that it will have a detrimental effect on their children. Many have taken steps to prevent their children from reading the books. Although many parents feel that Harry Potter is a poor role-model and promotes witchcraft, the Harry Potter series should not be banned from public school and libraries because the books provide moral lessons for our children.

Next: Part Two

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Gospel Talk: The Voice Of The Lord

I wanted to share a talk that has meant a great deal to me. Gerald Lund gave this excellent talk (entitled "The Voice of the Lord") at a BYU Devotional in December of 2007. I highly recommend either listening to it at LDS Voices or reading its transcript here. (As an interesting "tid-bittal" side note, Elder Lund is my sister's husband's father, which of course really means nothing, except...that President Hinkley went to my sister's wedding. What? You didn't see me in the wedding pictures? Oh. That's right. I was on my mission. Aaargh. (I'm glad you got married when you did, Ali, despite it meaning that I couldn't be there.)

Moving on... The talk seems to me like the skeleton for his book Hearing the Voice of the Lord, which my lovely wife highly recommends (I haven't read it, yet). What stuck out to me was when Elder Lund asks everyone in the audience to be as silent as possible and listen for a few seconds. He then asks how many could hear the soft humming/buzzing: a soft buzzing that was present in the room the entire time, but which no one had heard because there was too much noise. He then likens this to the way that we often are unable to hear the Spirit's whisper, because we surround ourselves with too much "noise." This caused me to spend a great deal of time thinking on the "noise" that keeps me from hearing the voice of the Lord in my own life.

The noise is ANYTHING that blocks out, impedes, or even interferes with my ability to hear, feel, and understand the Spirit. Obviously this includes sin, but what I realized was that my life is completely filled with more subtle noises as well: distractions (music, movies, TV, sports, computer games, my random projects to clean up my iTunes, etc.) and my own desires. To clarify, what I don't mean is that these things are literally too loud or raucous (although some of them arguably fall into that category) for the Spirit to be heard; I had stopped watching rated 'R' movies and listening to more "questionable" music for some time. What I mean is that my mind and heart are so focused on them that I can't hear the Spirit whispering as much as I would if I were more "silent" or focused on listening. They pull my attention away from focusing on the Spirit, because I care too deeply for them.

To be honest, this has nothing to do with whether or not these things are "good" or "bad." Watching movies, listening to the amount of music that I did, playing computer games, and wanting to write music did not make me feel guilty. In fact, I felt pretty dang good about where I was in life and the spiritual development that I had already been going through; I felt sincerely happy. Yet, I was struck by the notion that anything--good or bad--that blocks my ability to hear the Spirit is noise that interferes with my potential spiritual learning and progression. What I came to understand was that cutting out the noise would enable me to hear, feel, and understand the Spirit even more than I already did. Letting go of my desires would enable me to not just feel the Spirit every once in a while, but to, as the sacrament prayer promises, have the Spirit with me always, because I would be always remembering Christ.

What I needed to do was let go of all of my plans, dreams, desires, and distractions so that I could re-evaluate each in the context of what will and will not bring me closer to Christ. In a sense it was like emptying out a garage full of stuff so that I could weed out what is worth keeping from what is not. Then, I would bring back in those things of value and discard those things that are just taking up space. I actually sat there thinking of the desires (like someday travelling to Scotland, going to a World Cup in Europe, and even owning an old school pirate ship in which I can sail around the Caribeean and Mediterranean) I have and the multitudinous distractions (my current James Bond-a-thon, movies and TV in general, songwriting projects, story ideas, book series I want to get to, themed music shuffles and mixes, etc.) and coming to terms with the thought that I could let go of these things--never accomplish them--and be happy. It was both difficult and immensely freeing (some of my projects are things I started years ago and have always held on to, feeling like I HAD to finish them or I would never be complete. Letting them go felt like a massive weight of my own making was taken off of my shoulders).

I have been terribly imperfect at times in my efforts to keep only the things that help me focus on the Spirit, because I still like these things. Every once in a while, as I am rooting around in the "garage," I will stumble upon something that I could have sworn I'd thrown out already (if that reference is not clear, I mean that I will still find myself holding on to things that I thought I'd already given up). That is ok. I don't need to feel bad or guilty for not being perfect in this, yet; just making the attempt brings a constant flow of blessings. Even in moments of frustration, when I either feel like I could do better or wonder why I can't seem to figure out if something is worth keeping around or not, I feel a peace and happiness that I did not know was possible. I feel happy, because I am more focused on my Savior, and I know that my Father in heaven is pleased with my efforts, though they be imperfect.

Monday, May 11, 2009

New Thrice

This is the first taste that I have found of the new album. Pretty much you just hear a new song (tentatively titled "Shuffle" from what I could discover) playing in the background while the members of the band talk about what it is like playing a new song live for the first time. The song seemed to be a logical step from Vheissu and Alchemy but did have at least one subtle interesting departure for the band; the guitars seem to be experimenting with some discordant wails (noticed later on in the video). I'm very interested to hear what they come up with for this new album.

Untitled from Thrice on Vimeo.

Fun Pics

A couple of pictures that have made me laugh today. The first is a campaign flier that my cousin Jason made back in high school:

The second one really doesn't need any introduction:

Gradutation Glee

So this is pretty cool. Go to the UNLV slide show for the Review Journal's (a major newspaper here in Las Vegas) photo coverage of the graduation ceremonies. Check out picture 18 and read the caption. Ha!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Monday, May 04, 2009

I've Got Some Awesome Nieces And Nephews

My brother Cal and his wonderful wife Bethany have three boys named Spencer, Grant, and Dallin. Every once in a while she posts some hilarious stories and quotes from them. I thought I'd share her latest with you all.

Visit The Cory Clan blog peeps.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Movie Trailers: 2 Childhood Faves (that is short for "favorites")

Two trailers were recently released for films that I am very excited to see.

First up: The Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen
Sadly, I couldn't embed it on el bloggito, so you'll have to go watch it here.

Second: G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. I gotta admit, the movie certainly has a different feel than the old cartoon that I used to watch, but it did have at least somewhat of the same vibe I got from the recent reincarnation of the comics.
G.I. JOE trailer in HD

Live And Intimate Episode 5: Looks Like Nate Ruess Is Not The One Who Does Not Get It

I love The Format. If you haven't heard them yet, please do yourself the favor of getting their album Dog Problems as quickly as you can. Then, listen to it. A lot. It starts out excellent, and it gets more enjoyable with every single listen.

Here are the two "driving force" members of The Format (singer Nate Ruess and guitarist Sam Means) performing an acoustic set for what is called "The DL Show" (I am not sure why though, yet).

First up: a song called "She Doesn't Get It"

Next, a song that was written for a film starring Jon Heder and Mila Kunis called Moving McAllister. I saw this film. I was not impressed. Here is the song "Swans"

Last Episode
Next Episode

Gospel Talk: Weed Your Spirit, Grow Your Garden

As I said a little while back, I listen to the LDS Voices podcast every day, because I love the little spiritual boost that it gives me to start off my day. Recently I have had a few strike me more profoundly than the others, so I have decided to share a little bit (what struck me and/or why) with you guys. Usually things strike me profoundly when I have a personal application for it (strange I know <-- sarcasm), so please know that if I put something up here it is not because I'm trying to make a point to anyone about what I see that they need to work on. I put it up because I see the need for it in my own life.

This morning I listened to a talk--given by John Bytheway at BYU Education Week in 2008--called "Weed Your Spirit, Grow Your Testimony." Click here to listen to it (it's 51 minutes 24 seconds in length) if you so desire.

We talk a lot about gaining a testimony in the Church. Brother Bytheway points out that the scriptures don't talk about gaining a testimony; they talk about growing a testimony (he references both the parable of the sower and the seeds and Alma's chapters on planting the seed in fertile soil). A testimony--as much as we want to treat it as such--is not something that comes once and then BAM... you're saved. This ain't Glen Lerner's "One call, that's all" program. It takes work, watering, clearing of weeds, etc. to grow and cultivate into something that can blossom and bring forth fruit.

Another thought that impressed me is that if you want good things to grow in your garden, you have to put them there; they don't just magically show up after you clear the land. Similarly, if you want good things to grow in your heart, you have to put them there. The weeds of a garden and the weeds of life will show up on their own--you don't have to go looking for them--but expecting a strawberry patch to sprout up in your backyard (especially here in Vegas) without you having first looked for, found, and planted the seeds is silly beyond all measure.

A third thought that impressed me was that all we have to do to lose our testimony is nothing. The weeds will come and choke out our garden if we are not proactively working to grow what we have planted.

The next Gospel Talk will be about a talk that has really shaken some of the foundations of my life (and in the best possible way). Today's talk, by old Johnny B., is an extension of the thoughts from that other talk: What are we bringing into our gardens and how well are we recognizing the weeds from the good things we are planting?

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Jabberwocky

We are doing group presentations on poems in one of my English classes, and today a group did theirs on Lewis Carroll's "The Jabberwocky." What a fun and strange poem! I really like it. Give it a read below and then answer the following questions (if you want... I'm not the boss of you):
Was Carroll merely swapping out real English words for his made up/jibberish ones, or do his words carry a new meaning that either exists in their own space or as combinations of words (and thus somewhere in between two words' meanings)?
Using made up "nonsense" words would certainly seem easier in rhyming than "real" words; can a poem filled with nonsense words be considered great when compared to a poem existing solely of real words?
Should I read Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland" or whatever the actual title is?
After the poem, enjoy watching The Muppet Show's rendition of "The Jabberwocky." It is fun.

"The Jobberwocky" - Lewis Carroll

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand;
Long time the manxome foe he sought--
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

"And, has thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!"
He chortled in his joy.

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

New Dredg

Dredg has put up a new song called "I Don't Know" on TheirSpace. It is from their soon to be released album (June 9th) The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion. Go. Go listen. Go listen and enjoy.

As I went to put in the labels for this post, I realized that I have never talked about Dredg on here before. Shame on me. I have never been so impressed with a band seeing them live without having heard them before. Everyone catch that? I saw them open up for someone (I believe it was Coheed) and was absolutely blown away by them. The music was blow-your-mind fantastic, they sounded amazing live, and their stage presence was incredible. Two things that immediately interested me: 1.) the singer was playing a weird instrument on a table (which I later found out was a slide guitar, like many country artists use, only this guy had some sweet effects pumping through it that gave it some strange sounds) and 2. the drummer was playing the drums and the keyboards AT THE SAME TIME. That is so impressive I can't even begin to do it justice.

Anyway, they are consistently brilliant on each album (this new one will be their fourth studio album).

Papa's Poem Corner Episode 33: Yub For The Sake Of Tub

Excellent news cats and jammers. A longtime friend of the blog, Mr. JC 2 Smoof, has contributed to the poetry with a new flow of his. Instead of a long intro by me, I'll just quote for you what he wrote:

"Dis here's a little song I been workin' on. I ain't got no music for it yet, cause times dey tough, and dis brotha can't afford no studio time. Look fo' it to drop someday in da future. Also, fo' all ya'll haterz out der, lemme just say dat if you don't think rap and poetry belong together, dey do. Dey go together like two things dat are similar but not exactly da same thing and yet still somehow dey better coupled up wit' each other. You dig? Like a Jumbo Jack wit' cheese and bacon (and some dat secret sauce) and two tacos for 99 cent. See? Dey similar--both is food--but different--talkin' hamburgers vs. tacos here ya'll--but better wit' each others' contrasting deliciousness. Any questions?"

He also added a post script, which I will also include:

"Peep dis: wit' dis economy, it's gettin' hard ya'll fo' a brotha to make ends meet. Dat's what dis song be all about: gettin' paid. I'm startin' to think dat those Roots boys ain't got it so bad no mo'. I strung dem up fo' turncouts, but dey showin' to be real smart now ain't dey wit' dey steady gig and all. Gotta git me some dat steady income. It's da bizniss."

With that, let us move on to the song lyrics that Mr. 2 Smoof has so graciously shared with us.

Dees Checks

Take dat noose around my neck,
and throw it to da fishes
cause it's time to git respect
I ain't gonna do no dishes.
I'M A MAN (i'm a man)
I'M A MAN (i'm a man)
and I'm gittin what I can
e'ryday wit' my gameplan.

I keep rolling in dees checks
I'm talking' 'bout my cashflow
rollin' wit dees Czechs
cause dey lookin' mafioso
(rollin' in dees checks)
gotta git my gurrl's respect
(in dees checks, in dees checks)
Yeah, I'm rollin' in dees checks.

We talking quality control
control da quality of life dat I'm livin'
can't have my wife bein' da one dat be givin'
me my cashes e'ryday
(fo' my lunch moneys) I gotta git paid.

CHORUS (repeat)

You know I'm hungry like Dommer
and da only thing I know dat make me calmer
is a wallet full of Lincolns (and Jacksons)
fo' when my little tummy gets so hungry, wants some action
Come on gurrl, git me some bread up in dis basket.
You dig?


Thanks again to JC for sharing with us. It has been too long since we've heard from him. Good luck with the job hunt, friend.

Could I Love This Band More?

Yesterday I purchased my first ever album on vinyl. Which album did I buy? Why, Clarity of course. I found it at Zia's for about $23.00, and I have no intention of ever opening it. In fact, inspired by Steven's intelligent design (for some reason it makes me happy that I worked "intelligent design" into this post, so I left a surprise to any who click on that link) of framing his Rush albums and pasting them to his wall, I shall get a frame for Clarity and put it on my own wall. Eventually when I have made enough money or have had enough time, I will have a studio and this album shall be hanging upon its wall. For now, it'll go up in the "music room" (that is actually the guest bedroom of our new apartment until we fill it with a child--DISCLAIMER: we are not preggers yet my anxious and impatient friends--or guests).

Thus begins a new obsession for John: vinyl. I feel absolutely no rush to run out and drop tons of cash on albums (I don't even have an old school record player, yet), so this will be a slow build over the rest of my life. The other night though, we played poker over at Luke and Megan's (goodbye Steven and Jenna... *sniff* *sniff*), and Luke showed me his delightful collection of vinyls. While we played he put on an old Elvis album. There was something different about listening on vinyl; it just felt cool. In a faint way, it almost felt like being transported back in time or something. John likey. So, after I found Clarity, I perused the inventory over at Zia Records and discovered that vinyl is back, baby. They had TONS of used albums for a few bucks a pop. The new ones are much more expensive (you definitely pay for the higher quality of the vinyl), but, aside for decorative purposes, I don't desire to purchase new albums on vinyl so that shouldn't be too bad. I'm totally happy with CD quality, plus I can load them onto my iPod, which thing I like even more. Mainly, my vinyl purchases will be of old albums that I love but don't want to go drop some serious cash on getting. For example: The Carpenters, The Lettermen, Elvis, The Beach Boys, The Sound of Music, etc. These are great albums that I would love to have access to but don't want to spend $8-15 a pop in purchasing. Now, I can get them for $1 - $6 a pop and I'm good to go. Plus, you can find some great deals (like 3 for $1) at thrift stores and even Zia's. Nice. Another bonus is that I can finally check out some older artists that I've always wanted to hear, but never wanted to pay to hear like Neil Diamond, Elton John, The Who, and even classical music. There is a whole world of music out there for me.

Anyway, I just thought I'd share my new and current obsession. If anyone has any tips on purchasing a record player (what brands, what to look for) then I would appreciate the insight.

In other news, JEW (Jimmy Eat World for any who still aren't familiar with that acronym and were shocked by what seemed like my sudden outburst of racism) recently posted some information about the writing and recording of the tracks of Clarity. A must read for fans of this band. Check out Clarity: Track By Track.

*As an aside, I am not very familiar with intelligent design or what exactly it teaches, so my posting of that cartoon is not a statement on my own thoughts/opinions regarding the matter; I just thought it was funny. If anyone has a great reason for me to agree or disagree with it, feel free to comment. I'm all ears.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Is It Catching Up If I've Never Done It Before?

I never use this thing as a vehicle to update others as to what is going on in my life; it seems to just be a place to share things I like with others. However, I am sitting in class right now, feeling EXTREMELY bored, and I thought I would take the chance to share some of the recent and upcoming excitements of Sierra's and my life (yes, that is right...it is now a life--one, singular life--not two). Also, I am hoping for any insights that others may have, especially regarding the schooling question, found boldly italicized below.

First of all, in August I graduate from UNLV as an English major. I walk on Saturday, May 9, 2009. This thing pleases me beyond your ability to imagine (no offense to your imaginationary skills, but we are talking some SERIOUS please-age here). I initially chose English because I love reading and I wanted to both improve my songwriting skills as well as see if I had any story writing skills. I guess that for most part, I accomplished that mission; I saw drastic improvement in my songwriting, gained some experience in story writing, and read some great (and lame) books along the way. I certainly have my complaints (as I assume all students do), but UNLV has been a good school and I am pleased with the education I received here. UNLV has one of the top creative writing programs in the nation, and I felt greatly blessed to have been able to take a few poetry and short story writing classes durign my time here.

Now, the plan is to go on to law school. From August to December, I will be deeply entrenched in an LSAT prepcourse. I need to rock that test to make up for my less than stellar GPA--it's not terrible but not exactly exemplary either. I will apply to BYU, UNLV, UofU, probably a school in AZ, a couple of schools up in the Pacific Northwest, and at least one school back East. My grandfather, father, and uncle all attended the same law school in D.C.--American University's Washington College of Law--so there is some sentimentality for me in the idea of continuing that legacy. Plus, we'd get to live back East for a few years (which adventure would please me), I'd get to study law in the nation's so-called "breadbasket of law" (so called because I called it so), and, perhaps most excitingly, I'd be able to see my favorite sports team: DC United. However, the drawbacks would be: the cold during the winter (not a big a deal to me, but might matter a little more to Sierra), the higher cost of tuition, the much much higher cost of living (the big beef), the distance from family (although my sister and cousin live back East, and it would be lovely to get to spend more time with them, especially my sister who has lived in the Boston area for WAAAAAY too long--we miss you, Bec), and the high crime rate (again, more of a concern for Sierra than for me but a valid one nonetheless; I can't have my baby feeling unsafe).

Any other law schools that I should apply to? (<--notice the aforementioned "boldly italicized question" being asked here. This is the part where you get excited to post a comment and give an answer) I feel like I'm just not very aware of what is out there. I have felt so swamped with school and work for so long that I just haven't made the time to do an in-depth search. In other random news, the weekend after I graduate, Sierra and I are upgrading from the tiny one bedroom apartment in which we have lived since we got married (almost a year and 8 months), to a two bedroom right across the "road," which really literally means the building right across from us that is about 20 feet away. We'll have a lot more space for jsut a tiny bit more moolah each month, so it ought to work out well. Most excitingly (especially for Sierra--that is not a feminist comment; she really is excited) is that our kitchen will be MUCH bigger. Right now we have a walkway with a stove and a sink. The new apartment will actually have space for me to do sweet spins and counter stalls.

Well, I shall spare you from any more rambling. Thanks for joining in. Maybe I'll get Sierra to hop on here someday and chip in a little magic sauce. Also, please take me up on that offer to post a comment with recommendations on a law school. My current GPA (I still have about 27 credit hours to finish before it is all said and done, so it will change) is about a 3.5, but it will be lower when they average the grades (instead of replacing them, because the geniuses that run the law school admissions board/council decided that someone who retakes a course to replace a low grade shouldn't be allowed to have that first poor grade erased/forgotten about; ALL of the grades should be factored in. Jerks). On the last LSAT practice test that I took back in November, I got a 164. So let's pretend that my GPA stays about what it is right now, but my LSAT score goes up to a 168. What schools would you recommend for THAT range, comrades?

Monday, April 27, 2009

My Stars, What A Deal!

My father recently made me aware of bradsdeals.com about a month and a half ago, when Arby's was having a free sandwich with the purchase of any size drink. I have since added it to my Google Reader just to stay in touch with any random deals that come my way. The truth is, most of them are not deals that I am either wanting or in a position to buy (i.e. the tvs and what not), but occassionally you'll get a gem like this:

Restaurant.com is giving 80% off of their normal price for coupon/certificates to restaurants. The way this usually works is that a restaurant sells a $10 or $25 gift certificate at a discounted price. Normally a $10 gift certificate sells on the site for $3, and a $25 sells for $10. There is usually fine print, like you can't use it on alcoholic beverages, or the most common one, that there is a required minimum purchase (usually around $20 for the $10, and $35 for the $25). Well, with the added 80% discount, what it means is that the $10 gift certificate that is normally $3, now only costs $.60, and the $25 certificate that normally costs $10, now only costs $2. Not too shabby.

Still confused? Let's say that you and some friends want to go to Nikki Lee's to get some pizza. You make a $43.00 order (with all that pizza and wings). Having purchased the $25.00 gift certificate, you end up only paying $18.00. Granted, you did pay $2.00 for the initial purchase, so your totaly actually comes out to $20.00. Thus, you are getting your food for more than half off (excluding tip--one should always tip, you scoundrels).

Got it? Excellent. When you go to check out, just make sure to put in the code LUCKY and double check to make sure that the code is accepted before you check out. I just made my first purchase of coupons today. I bought 7 of them for a total of $130 in gift certificates. It cost me $9.80 (although obviously it will cost more to use them, because there are minimum purchases, and I'll have to still pay tax and tip my server). I'll try to remember to let you know how they work out.

Peace easy.

Google Analytics

Well, Steven just told me about Google Analytics. I have just installing it into my blogging system. The program is supposed to help me keep track of how many visits I get, what areas form the world those visits come from, what the search triggers used to find the blog were (speaking of the random people that stumble upon it and not the stalwarts who check it out of a desire to be close to me online-edly). It is supposed to be a pretty sweet little system. Anyway, I just thought that I'd let you all know that I am trying it out, and that I will a report on how I like it.

Peace easy this fine Monday morning.

p.s. It can be a little tricky to install if you are not familiar with html coding and what not. I highly recommend this page's step by step instructions, which simplify and clarify the whole process so that it takes hardly no time at all and is done correctly.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Lost Lookalikes

A soccer blog that I frequently read--The Best Eleven--has done another one of their "soccer player lookalike" posts. This one they decided to give a theme to: Lost. All of the players pictured (except the final one for Hurley) play or have played in MLS. Pretty fun, eh?

The Sayid/Dwayne De Rosario and Michael/Clyde Simms ones I have been saying to Sierra for a long time now. Some are a little bit of a stretch, but still fun to see.

Which one do you think is the closest?

Live And Intimate Episode 4: Matt Pryor To Catch Us

Somewhere in the back of my head is a list of a few (and I mean a very few) albums that are absolutely pivotal in the development of my musical tastes. These are not simply albums I love or listened/listen to almost incessantly, but they are the albums that permanently changed the way I listen to and approach music. The Get Up Kids' Something To Write Home About is most definitely on that list, perhaps just below Weezer's Blue Album and Jimmy Eat World's Bleed American. Perhaps someday I will actually formalize that list and put it down on cyber-paper, but for now it will suffice to say that this album means a great deal to me.

Here is Matt Pryor singing the last track of that album "I'll Catch You" on his tour after the release of his solo album Confidence Man. Matt Pryor is a special man, because he fronts another of my favorite bands, The New Amsterdams. Enjoy.

Last Episode
Next Episode

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Hunt For Gollum Release

I've mentioned this movie before (check here and here), but now we are here at the moment of the release. On May 3rd, The Hunt For Gollum--a high quality production made voluntarily over the past couple years by fans of LOTR for fans of LOTR--will be released online. Dailymotion will be carrying it. I am very excited about this film. It covers Aragorn's hunt for Gollum, which is canonical but not gone into in the story. Check out theonering.net's write up/preview. Cheers.

Friday, April 17, 2009

New HP6 Trailer

Sweet beef am I excited for this film.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tea Parties

It seems to me, from a few of the conversations that I have had both yesterday and today, that there is a lot of confusion as to why people were gathering yesterday for Tea Parties. Many think it is just about taxes; it is not. Some think that it is just about Obama and/or the Democrats; it is not. Some think that it is just about the "stimulus" plan or the bailouts; it is not. While these things all play into it, it is about a people who are sick to death of being ridiculed, ignored, and/or trampled upon because they are the "silent majority." These Tea Parties are about a people who love this country and do not want to mortgage the future of their posterity for "convenience" now. This is about people who are tired of politicians' selfishness, games/lies, and empty promises.

Last night Sierra and I went to a Tea Party down at the Sunset post office, and, despite what tons of media outlets are saying to paint these protesters as insane, racist, hate-mongers, etc., we found an incredibly friendly group of citizens that are just tired of being ignored. We took a picture with a guy dressed as Ben Franklin (who claims to be a 7th generation direct descendant of Ben's; that is pretty cool). She and I grabbed a couple of signs and stood there waving to cars that drove by (many honking their agreement, others intent on avoiding making any eye contact--either because they were stressed it was tax day or they were in strong disagreement to our presence there). Not only was it fun, it felt good. It felt good to take part in something we believe in. It felt good to gather with others who are similarly frustrated with the direction our government is going and not sit idly by while our nation eats itself alive.

In case, I'm not saying well enough, I leave you with a video of Glenn Beck (at the Alamo) explaining the Tea Parties. Of course there are many in the media who try to paint Glenn as an extremist, as insane, or even simply as just stupid. I'll let you judge for yourself.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Live And Intimate Episode 3: Dustin Kensrue Just Whalin'

Dustin Kensrue of Thrice plays the track "The Whaler" (from the Water disc) off of their latest album The Alchemy Index. John of the Shire likes the use of his propositions.
This looks to me to be a radio performance that he did. Not a very exciting video, but I do love this song, and it is nice to see Dustin hit it acoustic--or "tap" it as it were.

Last Episode
Next Episode

Monday, April 06, 2009

An Amazing Skit

Big thank you to Matthew for sending me a link to this SNL video. Matthew's comments on it ran thus: "I love this one. So simple and hilarious. The calendar had me laughing so hard."
I agree. This is up there with the random brilliance of the Lawrence Welk Show skit (which if you haven't seen, please click the link after you watch this one). Excellent work SNL, Bill Hader, and The Rock.

Friday, April 03, 2009

New Incubus Single - "Black Heart Inertia"

Incubus has released the new single from their up and coming album. The track is called "Black Heart Inertia" and can be found on their website (just click the link and stay where it leads you...the song will automatically begin to play). To be honest I wasn't terribly impressed with the first or second listen. By no means did I dislike it, but it didn't reach out and grab me either. Feel free to go give it a try yourself though. I'm all about sharing these days.

A Little Update On Thrice

Thrice is at it again, recording their followup to the excellent Alchemy Index. I am very excited about this album. I have started listening to the Air and Earth discs of Alchemy again this past week (a lot I mean) and am so impressed by them both. Anyway, this is not news to anyone since I have been somewhat obsessed with this band for a long while now. So I'll just post the link to the article I stumbled upon about their recording efforts for the new album.

Thrice Interview/Article from the OC Register.

A New Career Path For Me?

Last night I had a dream that I had been asked to give a talk at a big church conference of some sort. It was like a regional conference or something, because there were a lot of people from the Vegas valley there who are not in my stake. Not too long before I had to get up and deliver my talk, I looked at the program and realized that they had changed my topic without informing me, and I started to panic. It meant that I had about 15 minutes to come up with a new topic.

I was really thirsty also, so I kept wandering around, looking for a water fountain with which to quench my thirst. I went into a side room where knew one was, but it was filled to the brim with people. I interrupted their meeting (not vocally, but with my presence) as I made my way over to the other side of the room to get a drink. In the end I caused a disturbance for nothing, because peoples' seats and bodies were just too much in the way for me to get to the fountain.

Right before I woke up (and I have left out some of the more strange details) I had a realization IN the dream of what it all meant: I was supposed to change my career. I woke up knowing what my dream had meant and what my new career path should be, but instead of being filled with excitement at the new prospect, I was afraid--it didn't sound like a job that I would enjoy very much. Sierra was about to leave to go to work (she wakes up earlier than I do the little trooper), so I looked at her and told her that I had just had a dream that I needed to change my career. She got a confused but curious look on her face and asked me what it was. I told her, "I'm supposed to become a clothing designer for the Armed Forces."

When I say clothing designer, what that means is that I am to design cool and stylish digs for our service men and women so that they all will be looking so dang the good. Do I believe that the Lord can speak to His children through dreams sometimes? Yes. Am I going to be following this one? NO.

Just thought I'd share. Have a great Friday and Spring Break (for those UNLV undergrads a-like-a myself--although I'll probably be back on here today...I just love the feel of this soapbox).

Update: It just occurred to me that I should ask for cool name suggestions for the Army Fashion Design company I'm not planning on starting (just in case Heather is right and the second half of the dream really clicks and I'm like, "Oh sweet bird, I must follow this dream"). The only one I have so far is Total Hottie Army. What would you suggest?