30 June 2011

Summer Mixtape '11

1. Hello - Martin Solveig & Dragonette
2. The Show Goes On - Lupe Fiasco
3. Be Still - Big Boi & Janelle Monae
4. Gucci Gucci - Kreayshawn
5. Price Tag - Jessie J ft. B.O.B.
6. All of the Lights - Kanye ft Rihanna
7. Go - Santigold ft. Karen O
8. Hold On (sub focus remix) - Rusko ft Amber Coffman
9. Make Some Noise - Beastie Boys
10.Man Down - Rihanna
11.Battery Kinzie - Fleet Foxes
12.Rabiosa - Shakira ft El Cata
13.Super Bass - Nicki Minaj
14.Til the World Ends - Britney
15.Please Mr. Postman (cragga dubstex mix) - The Marvelettes

There is it.  Ready to keep you 'poppin' it like a hood' all summer.  The cover art is awful but it's all I had time for.  RSVP if you want a copy.

25 June 2011

Michael Bublé

It has been a LONG time since I've been to a big stadium tour.  When I heard that Michael Bublé was coming to town though, I knew that wanted to be there.  And since homebase is the one who first tipped me off on him, I thought getting us tickets for Mother's Day would only be right.  We did a pre-show meal and drink at Django and it was out of sight.  My drink "The New Frenchie" was marvelous, homebase had champange and I had the "3 Little Pigs", pork tenderloin with ham, bacon, cornichons, mustard and a egg on it.  As soon as we got to our seats my mom runs into a friend of hers from high school so that was a fun start to the night. The show was totally fantastic.  Naturally 7 handled the opener duties magnificently.  There were great to listen to and watch perform.  Check them out.  There was a short break before Michael came and just seconds before the lights went dim, security brought his wife right by us!  We had floor seats right by the sound booth and she was escorted to her seat in the booth.  I wouldn't have known but homebase was quick to recognize her.  And even though our seats were towards the back of the floor, Michael come out and did 3 or 4 numbers from a little stage in front of the sound booth so we were super close for those songs.  It was pretty great. He opened with "Cry Me a River" and the opening of that song is so bad-ass that it almost gave me goosebumps.  He dedicated "Home" to all the servicemen and women abroad and as he finished that song, a picture of the downtown Des Moines skyline shone on the video screen.  It was a cool touch and took everyone by surprise.  During one song, his trumpet player popped up and was spotlighted in the handicapped section to play his solo.  There was an firework explosion, a confetti shower, over-sized beach balls, three short little mini-covers of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean", Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feelin'" and Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" and a shout out to Ferris Bueller's Day Off with "Twist & Shout".  He was very appreciative to the audience and returned for a three song encore, doing "Feeling Good", "Me and Mrs. Jones", and "Song For You."  The coolest moment of the show was during the very last song.  Towards the end of the song the curtain drops and his band is faded out and the lights are all killed except for a spotlight on him.  And he sings the last chorus to the entire house completely un-miked.  Fantastic finish to a great show. (even though he didn't sing my favorite "Lost").

22 June 2011

KC Wedding recap

Last weekend I went down to Kansas City to stand up with my best friend from high school as he got married.  It has been a while since I've been to a wedding and a long while since I've been in a tux.  But it was fun, I always love an excuse to get cleaned up.  It was great to catch up with friends at the rehearsal, from high school, from college and some new ones too.  Once the sun went down and we were able to cool off, it was great sitting outside and relaxing a bit.  Maybe a bit too much because I woke up Saturday with the biggest hangover I've had in years, which sadly made me cancel my BBQ exploring lunch I had planned.  And nothing like standing around in upper 90's heat for 4 or 5 hours to take pictures to help cure a headache. :)  On the positive side, they were blessed with copious sun on their wedding day and I'm sure that made for some good photos.  The groomsmen and usher were all fun guys so it wasn't bad passing the time with them.  The reception was good - very nice place, good food and a fun dance.  The bridesmaids and bride all ended the night with a jump into the pool, which I unfortunately missed seeing.  And then to cap off the weekend, I was woken up 30 minutes after going to bed by a hail storm.  I looked out my window across the parking lot and witnessed the biggest hail I've seen in my life.  Baseball sized chunks and what was amazing was the velocity and power they had when they hit.  It was definitely something to see.  In the morning, people came out to the parking lot and most hadn't seen it happen the night before so they were pretty shocked by what they saw.  Roughly 1 in 3 cars had their front or rear window completed smashed out.  It looked like a vandalism spree had happened and someone just went down the row with a bat, taking out windows.  My Jeep had its front window spiderwebed in three spots but it was still intact and drivable.  It was great to see the small-town community come together and everyone was asking each other's situations and showing concern for the fellow man.  People were offering rides back to those whose cars were not drivable and a couple of my good friends jumped in with us.  It made the drive back home go quickly and made a stressful situation better. 
Overall, a wild, hot weekend that definitely will not be forgotten.

21 June 2011

Goals!

I haven't shared anything soccer related for a while, so here are a few things...
  • I'm excited to watch the USA in the Gold Cup final on Saturday.  They have a tough semifinal against Panama (who beat them a week ago) to get there (which I won't be able to see because I'll be in class) but hopefully they'll win and will have a final against Mexico (who has to beat Honduras).  
  • I watched almost an entire women's game recently.  The USA women scored on a cracker in stoppage time to beat Mexico.  The game was interesting and watchable and has me thinking I may have to follow some of the women's World Cup action later this summer from Germany.
  • This collection of some of the best goals from the English Premier League this past season is good browsing.  There were ~5 or so that I thought were exceptional.  But all of them are trumped by...
  • This piece of poetry by Eric Hassli.  The crazy part...I watched this game and it is from an MLS match between Vancouver and Seattle.  I NEVER watch MLS, but happened to have this game on while working on some stuff on the computer.  This goal is fantastic.

IKEA

Holy jeez, over a week since I posted.  Excuse parade:  I wrapped up the last week of my job, was gone for a wedding over the weekend, have been busy busy with work for my last master's class, have been messing with car/insurance stuff among other things.
So quick recap of a day trip across our nothern border to IKEA that I took with homebase about 10 days ago.  Even though the one thing I specifically wanted and was at the top of my list, a hammock, was sold out, I still had a productive trip.  A dish drying rack, a step stool for sitting in the kitchen, a 4x4 storage cubby to go with the bigger one I already had, some plastic food containers, dish scrubber, an in-sink strainer that I'm excited to use, a couple baskets for my storage cubbies, and the thing I've been most thrilled with so far...a new pillow!  I love the density of this guy.  It is not very tall, which is good and I love the two different heights of support it provides.
I was also able to do some shopping for a friend, which was fun.  Nothing like spending someone else's money! And homebase picked out some fun items too.  One thing I love about IKEA is how, even if you aren't looking for anything, you can find lots of great items for not ridiculous prices.

13 June 2011

Garden 2011: update

Lots of rain and 3 bouts of hail in one day beat up my tomatoes a bit, but I think they'll be fine. Rabbits, though, are the leading suspect in a beet genocide that occured over the weekend.

 The hot pepper plant is looking good and has a couple of blossoms on it.
 The cilantro is looking strong but I think I already screwed it up by not harvesting it.  The new growth leaves look a little too bushy and not like normal cilantro leaves.  I need to see if I can salvage it.
 The red bell pepper plant is looking great and has a few buds at the top (along with a little insect.)
 The is the scene of the crime.  This used to be a strong row of beets.  I came out over the weekend to see that they had been massacred.  Not a single one left intact.  I am very sad.  I am also considering buying a BB gun and going Elmer Fudd.

12 June 2011

New Header

It'd been too long so I wanted to get a new header up.  I kept it simple: two images from a good website that has a library of texture images, one of a color grid and one up-close of a paper towel.  Adjusted opacity and saturation and that's that!

Shadow networks, courtesy of the U.S.A.

I loved "U.S. Underwrites Internet Detour Around Censors" from today's NY Times.  This goes right along with what I was talking about in my post in February about the 'Facebook Revolutions' from a few weeks ago.  I liked the point the article made about how this role of providing networks and access to them in oppressed areas is like an updated "Voice of America" being piped in during WWII.  I think it would be fantastic to be working in this area and helping with these operations!

Somewhat related sidenote:  I also read an article a week or two ago about Chicago Public Schools making an agreement with Qwest (I think) to provide low-cost high-speed internet to families whose children are on the free/reduced lunch list.  Internet for $9.95, no install or set-up fees.  And Dell is going to offer refurbished machines to them, starting as low as $150.  Getting assistance from private-sector corporations is the right move instead of drawing more money from state budgets.  And I'm sure cable companies can afford it. I'd like to see more deals like this.

10 June 2011

Dam to Dam '11



57:31 for the first 10K, 56:27 for the second 10K for a total of 1:53:58.  (Average 9:10 splits).
247 of 596 in Men 30-34, 1378 of 3276 overall Men. 
I was very happy to be in the upper half of my age bracket and to cut four minutes off my time from last year.
And after looking at the splits, I was surprised with how consistent we were.  If you through out mile 1 (which you can't do much about due to the crush of people on the dam) we were didn't stray from our average by more than 13 seconds the whole way: 1=10:01, 2=9:09, 3=9:10, 4&5=18:10 (9:05 avg), 6=8:57, 7=9:22, 8=9:13, 9=9:10, 10=9:05, 11=9:19, 12=9:04.
This picture shows how I felt at about mile 11.

09 June 2011

Rangers Make Strong Draft Choices

I don't blog about professional baseball very often...actually this may be my first one ever.  But I thought this story was worth it.  The Texas Rangers drafted a baseball player from the University of Georgia who was paralyzed in an on-field collision in March.  In the 33rd round, they selected Johnathan Taylor, who is showing improvement in his rehab.  A classy move by the Rangers, who also happened to have drafted with the 37th pick overall, the other player involved in the collision, Johnathan's teammate & closest friend.
Tip of the cap, Rangers.

07 June 2011

Irish Soccer Hitting Their Stride

Even though it was only a friendly, Ireland's 2-0 win over Italy was still pretty exciting.  It is the most recent effort in a nice string of results (four straight wins!) for the Irish squad.  They are sitting tied for first in their Euro qualifying group with 13 points.  And they are playing well, incorporating new, younger players and showing some promise!

02 June 2011

Ballboy VIP Room

This is the kind of journalism that makes me love the NY Times.  "Room Has a View at Roland Garros"
How cool is it that these kids not only get these incredibly fantastic seats for the biggest matches, but that they are completely exclusive and out of the public eye?!  And I love the part about their self-composed 'rules' and the graffiti wall.  Fantastique!

01 June 2011

Garden Project, update

Lots of rain the past few weeks and more coming this weekend has kept me from having to water my garden much.  I think I've only had to do it twice actually!  There wasn't much growth for those first few weeks after planting but just this week I noticed that things are starting to take off.  The peppers and tomatoes are looking good and I had to stake up a couple of them.  The cilantro in the garden is looking very healthy, while the cilantro plants in pots look fine but aren't growing nearly as fast.  Both basil plants (in garden and in container) don't seem to be doing much yet.  One row of beets (pictured) is growing nicely and looking strong.  The other row is almost non-existent.  Not sure what is going on there.  Lots of little weeds trying to come up too, but I've been hoeing them up or pulling them so things are looking good.  Now if only our lawn service would come and mow the place!!