Friday, May 28, 2010

Birthday Wishes


I hope I don't get 15 Clappers since its the only affordable thing on there...hahaha.

* I would like the USA to beat Solvenia in the World Cup that day.
** iTunes, Costco, or other gift cards are always welcome.

My Birthday is coming up June 18th and I usually don't have any idea what I want...except I do this year! The only problem is that I feel bad asking for stuff, especially when it is expensive stuff. So that is why it is just a wish list.

1. The MyTouch Slide from T-Mobile. My phone is almost 2 years old and it is time for an upgrade. Its probably not something you can buy for me because I am sure I can get a better deal by talking with T-Mo myself.

2. The Clapper/Smart Clapper. I used to have one for nearly 15 years but it shorted out on me last year and I haven't gotten a new one yet. I miss it so much!

3. A Gold's Gym Membership. Let's face it, I'm fatter then ever I need to get my weight loss on. I'm also as broke as ever and can't afford a gym pass on my own.

That's all I got for now but check back in case I figure out some other things. :)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Songs from the Past, Presently

I was just listening to some songs off the old iPod and I find it amazing that a song can bring a specific and often distant memory to the forefront of the mind. So with that inspiration I am going to rattle off a few song that, every time I hear them, bring me to some place or some person somewhere in the past.

Lydia O – Milkshake – Kelis I don't know how this came to be but with out doubt Lydia pops into my mind. Maybe its the video... On occasion I will send her a text when it comes on.

Brooke T – Right Thurr – Chingy I was waaaaay into this girl and during that time period this song became popular on the airwaves. At times when we were together we would hear this song and just dig it together and laugh at the lyrics, “Gimme what you got for a pork chop, she threw it at me like I was short stop, twerkin in a fatty girl halter top, then she backed it up for and let it drop.” IT still makes me laugh a little when ever I hear it.

Brooke Reeve Sampson – Look Away – Chicago On some ski lift when I was about 8, Brooke and I were alone on the lift. This song was a smash hit but our comedic genius and maybe somewhat inspired by Weird Al's brilliance and popularity came up with alternate words to the chorus. “If you see me walking my dog and it goes poo-pee on me, run away, baby run away. Because the smell is so intense, it will drive you into a fence, run away, baby run away. Don't come near me, I don't want you to smell me this way.” Amazing I know.

Kacie C – Groovy Kind of Love – Phil Collins Kacie was one of the first girls I actually REALLY liked when I got home from my mission. She was a local Orem girl that had some sort of spell on me. I once took her to the top of Squaw Peak on a date and watched Gone in 60 Seconds on a laptop in the back seat of my Jeep. Maybe influenced by Jim Lee's Tactics of Awkwardness (he should write a book) it was my goal to NOT make out with up there. And I didn't! I don't know how this song and this girl came together but there you have it.

Nicole S – Dusk and Summer – Dashboard Confessional I have posted about her in the past and specifically mentioned this connection before. The story can be found here and the poem inspired by the song here.

Sara B – Saints and Sailors – Dashboard Confessional Sara was a girl from back home around the way. She was a few years younger than me and went to a different church ward and school. We never really got acquainted until after my mission. She came out to Utah and I fell for her. She inspired several poems after I felt she made me feel like I was only the guy that was there to get her acclimated to the area. She had a hold on me though. “ You smile like a saint but you curse like a sailor and your eyes say the jokes on me.” That's how she was and I loved it.

Dalee M - Freak Like Me - Adina Howard, This song comes on now and again on my iPod and this one time it came on and a wife of one of my best friends heard it and was totally singing along and told me how she and her girls used to love this song back in the day. What makes it memorable is that I never expected her to have that background in music. I think is surprised her hubby too. Either way its funny to me and it deserves to make the play list.

Family Trips – Milli Vanilli, George Micheal, Abba's Greatest Hits Volume 2 and Eric Carmen's Make Me Lose Control. Family vacations took place regularly at my house and so many times music was involved in the car ride. Milli Vanilli was on a road trip to Bar Harbor Maine. George Micheal was the 1988 Reeve Family Reunion in Missouri. We'd sing all his songs that came on the radio (which was ALL THE TIME), we didn't complain, just sang along. Abba, there isn't a specific trip in mind but needless to say it traveled with us on more than one occasion. Make Me Lose Control was Branson Missouri...maybe 1988 again. I remember hearing this song on a tree covered winding road on the way to Silver Dollar City (had to look it up).

Shout out to the internet and youtube for making it so easy to link to these songs. I was watching War Games last night (1983) and research was so HARD! We have it so easy these days.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Random Humor on the Trip

The ferocious FeMullet was spotted at the Atlanta Airport on my way home and I had to take a picture of it.

This was from a bar outside the Emirates Stadium Underground stop.

And this is the layout of one of the Barcelona Airport Terminals. HA! Its like an Austin Powers joke waiting to happen.

And to continue with the theme for a moment more. This is something that belongs on the Jay Leno show headlines segment.

This was a motorized sweeper that the Barca Airport.

Okay, this doesn't look funny from here there is a story behind it. This is another monument to Christopher Columbus. When we walked by the next day someone had hung a poster on one of the doors of this monument of a Native American with a headdress and everything saying something to the effect of, "you stole my land." Funny because if the 2 weren't paired together there is no humor.

On the tour bus we saw this sign. Apparently you either have to have an entire burger or no burger, just make sure its not a partially eaten burger.

This sign, a few blocks outside of Neu Camp Stadium, is awesome because of its blatant message. Its not saying DON'T play soccer, but that it is inevitable, so be careful.

I thought this was random...why they gotta be naked with the bull? What's the point?

This was great. In the middle of the street at a stop light these two guys got out of their cars to yell at each other. Nobody won and it didn't come to blows but the bus we were on had enough and blasted them with his air horn. You love to see a good argument now and again.

This was supposed to be a picture but I accidentally took video. Either way it doesn't need an explanation of why its funny. The 'oh no' at the end was realizing it was video not a still. Then I forgot to take a photograph of it!

Trip: Barcelona

Our first night and the next day it rained and was cold. It was our first bout with foul weather and after 12 days you'd expect to run into some. We were fortunate however because the rain stopped when we boarded yet another tour bus of the city. I'm telling, this is the way to go. You get to see the city get off the bus when you are interested in something and then get back on when you are ready to roll out.

One of the first stops we made was Gaudi's (Gow-dee) Sagrada Familia. This dude Gaudi was a modernistic fool. He's one of the famous architects that has several “important” works around the city. This one below was one of them. It echos the waves of the ocean.This one in particular, the Segrada Familia he never finished. He died in 1926 with it only partially finished. What makes it interesting is that it is STILL unfinished. He probably didn't get around to finishing it because it is a monstrosity. The church/family that owns it uses the money from ticket proceeds to work towards its completion. Personally I think is it a disaster. I don't see what his vision was. Maybe when it is complete I will have a better idea. But for now there are cranes everywhere working on this thing. Here are some pictures to let you decide.

With the wet weather impeding our adventuring, we stuck to the buses. Circling the city here and there and seeing the sites. The Olympics were here in 1992 as some of you may remember. We drove past the Olympic Stadium and several other venues. They laid it out in the hills on the west side of the city. Lovely views of the city from up there.

When the soccer tickets were purchased for the Barcelona game the match was scheduled for Wednesday at 2pm. My dad was tooling around on the interwebs and learned that the time had been changed to Tuesday at 8pm. We lucked out because it would have been a big let down to show up and learn that we missed the game or come across some highlights on the news. So that news cut our day a little short but in a good way.

We got to Neu Camp, home of FC Barcelona, current leader of the Spanish La Liga. We walked to our seats and found that they were under the 2nd level. This was perfect because if the seats were 3 rows closer we'd be sitting in the rain for the entire game. Instead we stayed completely dry. Another little blessing for us. Neu Camp is an 89,700 seat stadium built in the 1950's.

Barca played Tenerife and won the game 4-1! What a site to see the fans, who were more involved than the Madrid fans, cheer on their players. Here is a video of the first goal that I happened to catch on tape.

Messi with 2 goals, Bojan, and Pedro rounded out the scoring for the home team. What a game!

We took the subway back to the hotel but first stopped in at the local McDonalds. Its good to see what foreign Micky Dees have on the menu. Spain features a burger called the NYCrispy. I had been singing and making jokes about it since Madrid, again to the chagrin of my father. The NyCrispy has bacon, crispy onions, tomatoes and cheese with a bun that has cheese and bacon bits baked into it...I know it sounds good, AND IT WAS! It didn't stand a chance. I wanted to sing more!

The next day the weather cleared and we were off to see the city in the light of the sun. We wandered to the old part of the city and went into I big church but we left because it was being bombarded by high school kids and we decided it was time to leave. More walking aimlessly and to be honest I started to get a little bored. I had done a lot of walking over the past 2 weeks and my ankle was hurting badly. We did find cool street that was divided by a giant pedestrian boulevard. Street performers, newsstands, and even pets, bunnies and birds! I convinced my dad to get on another tour bus and take a tour of the ocean front. This is where the Olympic Village was back in 92. I got close to the Mediterranean Sea, saw the beaches and wanted to jump in.

We journeyed back to the hotel because I was exhausted physically and it was still only 3pm. After a siesta, my dad and I got together to talk some business. I am looking at starting a business and I just need some direction. Who better than a venture capitalist? That's what they do!

Dinner and packing and sleep. The morning came with breakfast and a sad goodbye. Followed with 22 hours of travel from door to door. Safe and sound I finish this from my chair in my room. What a trip! It was so fun! Lots of memories and I am glad there are blogs and pictures to back it up. I hope you enjoyed the journey with me. Thank you Dad, I love you and I am more thankful now than before I left.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Trip: Madrid - Day 3 and 4

Sunday was a lovely day in Madrid. We got a late start because...well, I felt like it and some strategy. I knew that we had a limited amount of things to do and a certain time frame to do them. So we left and went to The Prado Museum.
We saw “masterpieces,” (I put it in quotes because I think rating something like a painting is totally subjective and most times I have a hard time agreeing) by Valasquez and Goya and Bosch. It was lovely, though it became a bit redundant because most of the paintings were of people. I don't know these people. So seeing paintings of them meant very little to me. However, there was this sculpture that was absolutely amazing. I risked arrest, since cameras were off limits, to bring you the picture. Amazing right! In person, you can hardly tell that the veil over the lady is made from stone. I swear you could walk up and pull it right off like it was cloth. It was my favorite piece in the museum.
We roamed the museum for a good 2-3 hours until I had absorbed all the 'culture' I could. We then proceeded to get on a Tour of Madrid bus. You know I love them. This one wasn't as good as the others because we had to listen to a recorded voice instead of someone giving us all the details and inside information. This was a bit bland and mundane but it gave us a broader view of the city.
When that was done we got ready for the Real Madrid game. We navigated the subway with relative ease (mostly following the crowds). We arrived to the Santiago Bernabeu ready for action and boy did we get it. In the end we had 5 goals. 3 for Madrid and 2 for Osasuna. The 2nd and final game winning goal from Cristiano Ronaldo came in the 88th minute. Awesome.
The crowds here were different than the English crowds. Less cheering and WHOLE LOT more smoking. Here in Spain apparently they haven't made smoking illegal...anywhere. We have been to several restaurants with people smoking in them. Its annoying.
After the match we walked to a different subway station because the stadium station was packed. We had a good little walk and made it safely back to our stop. Then nearing 11pm we found a place to eat. Pans was the name and it's basically a Spanish version of Subway.
This morning we packed and headed to check out the Royal Palace. On the way we stopped at the Museo del Jamon, yes, the museum of ham. It's actually not a museum but a walk in eatery featuring...hog. I made up a song and couldn't get it out of my head. I think I embarrassed my dad when I started singing “The Museo del Jamon.” hahaha it was me.
As I said, the palace was closed but I snapped a few pictures while I was in the neighborhood.
There are something like 2400 rooms in this place. You don't realize how big it is until you start walking by it and 10 minutes later you're still walking next to it. Look at the picture below and see if you can find the men in it. That should put it into a better scale. Unfortunately, for the 2nd time the palace was closed, this time because of a private party or ceremony or something.
This threw our plans off because now we had 5 hours to kill with pretty much nothing to do. The cinema was closed, we shopped a little, walked a little, and did our best to waste some time. This is a shot of a street leading to the Plaza Mayor. Thought it was cool. We finally stopped and ate out in the Plaza de Santa Ana. At the plaza they have these little Asian people that come up and try to get you to sit down for a massage. “Massage?” They go to the point of touching you and rubbing your shoulders. “Massage?” Some lady followed my dad for a good 20 steps rubbing his shoulders before she decided it was a lost cause. This time I saw them coming and started massaging his shoulders before the could get to us. They got the picture and I laughed about it.
We sat down at an eatery in the Plaza Santa Ana and ordered some tapas. In between one of the courses some random lady comes by and pokes our uneaten Spanish omelet and asks if she could have if we were gonna eat it after she touched it! So we gave her a bit of our food and she put it in a plastic bag and just walked off.
We ordered some pallea, I think that's spelled correctly, its pronounced pie-ay-yah. The waiter said it would take 30 minutes and it took about an hour. It was REALLY good but we had to eat and run at that point. We got to the hotel and nearly missed our ride to the airport on some timing mix up. Luckily we got there 3 hours early thanks to the travel agent's desire to cover her butt. 3 hours in the airport...ugh. Miraculously, my mind was working and put it together that Spanair and United are part of the Star Alliance...BAM! VIP Spanair Lounge. I took a siesta.
Now we are in Barcelona. Its raining and is supposed to do the same tomorrow. Here are some random pictures. This chick had on hammer pants...not the first pair I had was the 2nd pair. This was a street vendor getting arrested last night at the Plaza Mayor. He put up a good fight.
This was a fat Spiderman in the Plaza Mayor. Can you really make a living like this? Apparently so.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Trip: Madrid - Day 1 and 2

Welcome back!
Tonight I bid you warm hello from Madrid Spain. Our journey left off last in St Andrews, Scotland. Since then we have jumped on a plane and landed in this beautiful city. We are staying right down in the heart of the city in the Hotel Villa Real.

I happened to choose the split suite with the upstairs bedroom and balcony. Its not much a view at the moment as the square below is under construction. Still, it is in a perfect location to everything you'd want to see in Madrid within walking distance.
We got a ride from the airport by a gentleman who was well informed about the city and its history. He talked and talked about different things we would want to check out while we were here. Very friendly and very good spoken English as well.
For some reason that afternoon my ankle was KILLING me. It was not a good feeling. I don't know what happened or why but it caused a bit of a problem. We ordered some room service, hung around a little bit and then I popped some Percoets and decided if it was gonna hurt sitting there I night as well let it hurt walking around.
I'm glad I left. We walked mostly aimlessly towards a couple of squares that were close by. The streets here are narrow but friendly. Its not a crowded or cluttered feeling even though buildings are closing in on each side of you.

We passed through the Plaza de Santa Ana. Its a smaller square but has some personality. We pressed on, limping like a pimp and the swagger of a cripple.
We came to the Plaza Mayor. Awesome. It s full square with several arched entries/exits. The center holds a statue of disproportionally fat horse and rider. I have no history on the man or how the horse got that fat. There are shops and storefronts around the entire plaza. Some are restaurants that serve meals and 'tapas,' basically appetizers. We circled the square, it is full of people and random performers. Lots of stuff going on.
We walked away and my dad asked me if I wanted to buy anything. I told him I was looking for some new shoes, unique ones that people can't get Stateside. Literally within a minute of saying that we turned the corner and there was an Adidas store. Perfect! We went in and I found 2 super-fly pairs of shoes, shoes that I now own and will wear with fond memories.

It was later in the evening, probably 7pm and we made our way towards the Palacio Real (Royal Palace). We found a church and went in and I was thoroughly impressed. Beautiful stained glass arches. I took several pictures so here are a few to look at.

The palace was closed so we decided to make our way back to the Plaza Mayor where we ate tapas and enjoyed the passersby.

The next morning, we got a late start because that's what people do here...and I looked at a watch that was still an hour behind on UK time so I felt no urgency to get out of bed. We ate a small pastry shop and wandered back across the city towards the Prado museum.

The museum was closed because it is Labor Day in Spain, though it didn't stop the construction workers from working on the plaza outside the hotel. We journeyed on to the park. This is basically the Central Park of Madrid. It was very beautiful. Check it out. Here are some of my favorites.

We spent a few hours at the park because Labor Day ruined some of our other plans...not that we had many. After the park I needed to take in the culture to the fullest so we went back to the hotel for a siesta. It was just what I needed. After the siesta, about 6pm, I decided it would be good to go to a movie. Iron Man 2 came out here a week before the US so we found a theater, got some ice cream, and watched a flick.

I liked it just plenty and I feel good that I got to see it before any of you did.
Since 9pm was upon us it was time for dinner. You wouldn't believe how busy this place gets at night.

Here things are just starting at 9pm. We found a place down a tiny side street and I ordered the Ostrich steaks because I didn't know people ate ostrich.

FYI, it doesn't taste like chicken, which was fine with me. I don't want to describe it as “gamey” because I think that is a cop out. Surprisingly, it was a dark meat, it looked like beef and tasted more like veal than poultry.
So at 1030pm with dinner finished we ended up back here in my room. These stairs up to my bedroom have nearly killed me twice.

The steps get really tiny as they turn and I've lost my footing. Luckily I'm curious like a cat and agile like them too and I've saved myself with out harm.