the rewards of Christmas

For me Christmas was never really about gifts for me. okay that's a lie I've already established that as a child I loved gifts for me. However the older I got the less I liked them. Maybe it was because I couldn't afford to give them to my friends and those that I hold dear to me. Now that I have a solid job (Go Mariners!) I can actually afford to give gifts and feel like I am doing good. I would cite last year as a good year in terms of being able to give gifts but here's the thing - last year I made CD's for my closest friends and I have it on good accounts that at least 2 of those friends have yet to even listen to them once. This is why homemade gifts suck. I put way more thought and effort into those gifts than I would any store bought gift and yet I'm sure if I had just went out and bought them some cheap hunk of crap they would have appreciated it more. Conclusion I am never giving homemade gifts ever again.

Anyway this year I had a plan in motion since some time in October. I had been looking for birthday presents for my best friend Dean on Amazon when I found her absolute favorite TV show Red Dwarf for an insanely great deal. I then start a dialog with her that says something to the effect of I'm sorry I can't get you this for your birthday but since I am saving my money now I might be able to get it for you for Christmas. which because she is an amazing friend she of course told me that was okay and that I shouldn't get it for her since I need to save my money and while it would make her happy to get it, it would make her happier if I was responsible and saved my money. Her birthday went smoothly and I bookmarked that Amazon page.

I won't go into the detail of me watching and hoping for the price to drop. Why you might be asking? Because that was boring and no one wants to read about how I was watching a website for 2 months. So let's get to the action shall we? Dean and I got lunch about 2 weeks before Christmas and a little before the annoying snowstorm hit. I had just gotten my new phone and I was showing her the Hippo I was going to get for her sister Tess to see if she thought she would like it which reminded me - I need to order Red Dwarf for her. I had budgeted perfectly and had more than enough money for it. So while we are eating dinner I ordered her gift and told her exactly what I was doing. Well of course I was met with a chorus of "What did you get me?" as if I would actually tell her. This is when I activate plan throw her off my scent.
"I can't tell you
but I can tell you that unfortunately I wasn't able to get you Red Dwarf. It was just too much. But I hope you like what I got you."
"Oh Allen it's okay I know it's a lot I will get it some day it'll be okay."
"Yeah but I feel bad because I know you really want it."
"No really it's okay I would be happy even if you didn't get me anything"
"Okay I just hope that you like it."

And like that the plan was set. Over the next two weeks whenever she mentioned red Dwarf (and she mentioned it A LOT) I knew I had done the right thing despite lying to my best friend. Then it was Christmas and of course she was snowed in so we couldn't exchange gifts on Christmas or Christmas Eve. The snow finally thawed and we made plans to meet on Monday before I went to work to exchange gifts and get Jamba Juice at my mall. This is getting even better for me by the second - now we're gonna be in public and I am about 50% sure she is going to freak out.

Once we get together I first give her the gift she knew what it was, Lovespell from Victoria's Secret because she had mentioned she was out of it. Then I gave her sister Tess her gifts of a Hippo and an Otter. Then just to drag it out even more I gave her her sister Raven's gift so she could give it to her. then I pulled out the box with Red Dwarf in it. "Oh I think this one might belong to you too." As I handed to her what she would later describe as the single greatest gift she has gotten ever. What I was greeted with when she opened it was this -

Okay maybe it wasn't quite that. But she did scream in the middle of the mall. Anyway that look on her face down there was well worth every single penny and then some. This is why I love Christmas being able to make people forget their sorrows even just for a little bit and be truly happy with the joy of a child.


My New Year's Resolution

Well it's that time again and I've decided to give myself an actual resolution that I can in fact achieve. I am going to watch all of the movies that I own in alphabetical order by the end of 2009. Now I know this sounds very much like a stupid goal especially considering I already watch enough movies but the bottom line is I realized I own a lot of movies that I have never ever seen. Shoot some of them I have never even had the desire to watch them, and yet I own them. I don't know why I own them, most likely they were cheap and I lack self control. I added the alphabetical order thing to make it slightly more difficult but still obtainable. Now I own 117 movies and I will most likely wind up adding more movies throughout the year so I have devised a some rules that I must follow in order to achieve this goal.

1. The movies must be watched in Alphabetical order. (for this purpose it's A-#'s)
2. If I watch a movie out of order I have to watch it again when it comes up in it's order.
3. Once I have watched the movie in order I CAN NOT WATCH IT AGAIN until finished.
4. The exception for #3 is if it is part of a group viewing where I have no control over the movie being played.
5. If a movie is added later in the year when I have already passed it's place in order it is added to the end of the list in alphabetical order.

I still haven't decided if I have to watch the TV shows that I have on DVD as well simply because of the HUGE amount of time I would have to dedicate to watching those episodes. I mean I own 13 box sets of seasons of TV shows. That would add 8,687 minutes or 144.78 hours to my already huge number of hours tied up in watching my movies that I am afraid I would run out of time to watch everything else. Still I am leaving it up to you, my faithful blog readers to decide if I should add the TV shows to my goal. Whatever you decide I will go along with. So all I am asking you to do is comment on this entry if you think I should or shouldn't with a brief explanation why. By January 1st I will close the ballots and post a new entry about my resolution.

The power is in your hands people!

*voting is closed for an update on my resolution please read this*


It's officially Christmas

And I gotta say it would appear I have reached a time in my life where Christmas is just another paid day off. I mean yesterday on Christmas Eve I had dinner with my dad and step mom which was fun. I never really seem to see them despite living so close. Some would call that a crime I would instead call that simply how I have lived my life up until I moved here and to suddenly transition to seeing them all the time just seems weird so I choose to stay away. I received a wonderful Christmas present from them, a Pork Chop from Thundering Hooves. Don't feel bad for me though since they did buy me a new phone for Christmas 2 weeks ago so I did in fact get something awesome from them besides the pork chop. We stayed up until about 11 talking, or rather me listening to my dad and my step Mom's cousin Dan talking. Dinner wasn't anything big, or elaborate and fancy. Nope just turkey, roasted vegetables and green beans, with cider to drink. But it was enough and I enjoyed myself.

Then this morning, as has become a tradition when my step mom goes to have a fun Christmas brunch with her daughters and their families my dad and I go off in search of a restaurant that is open on Christmas so we too can get breakfast. For the second year in a row we have had to settle for IHOP, or as my dad calls it "the international house of cream and sugar". The roads were horrible but we survived our trip there. I had some weird creation of theirs combining coffee cake and pancakes simply because I wanted the large breakfast platter of eggs, hash browns, sausage and bacon that came with it. I forget what dad got. We chatted for a bit, then in search for something to do while we waited for Catherine (the step mom) we went back to dad's and watched an interesting photoshop tutorial DVD that I'm pretty sure only he and I could find interesting. After she was finally done we headed out and picked her up while listening to KEXP's interesting take on Christmas music. Never in my life have I heard such annoying songs in my life. But then again KEXP is the local hipster radio station and in order to be hip in Seattle you have to pretty much drown in irony and sarcasm.

So yeah that's my Christmas. No huge parties. No tons of presents. No children sleeping under the tree. And yet, I kinda like it this way. I mean sure I want all those things, but part of me thinks that the less stressful and busy Christmases help you appreciate the highly stressful ones you have later in life. I know I already appreciate all the ones from my youth that much more that is for sure.

Anyway I just wanted to take this time to wish all of my faithful readers a Merry Christmas and I hope you had one that you will remember for a very long time.


'Tis the Season for Christmas Movies!

Alright so there's a week and a half before Christmas and there is no way to avoid them - Christmas movies. Most of them are HORRIBLE, however I will now be sharing with you my top 10 favorite (in no real order for I love them all the same) Christmas movies of all time. You can argue with me all you want, in fact I enjoy it most of the time, if you think I left one off or included one that shouldn't be there (and based entirely on the events of my Christmas Movie festival a couple days ago people will disagree with at least one of them). Anyway on to the list.

10. Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas
Alright I will be the first to admit that my love of this stems mostly from my love of Jim Henson. Growing up I spent the first 6 years of my life on a steady television diet of Muppets and Fraggle Rock. To me this man is a god and could do no wrong. When presented with the gift of the Maggi as told through Otter puppets I just couldn't get enough. Sure their voices are a bit unnerving when they sing but they're puppets, you can't expect them to suddenly sound like amazing singers. And yes for the most part this has very little to do with Christmas other than being about buying presents for Christmas and taking place on Christmas Eve for the most part, but it has long been a tradition of mine that I simply can't get enough of. Unfortunately my friends didn't think the same when I shared it with them recently, but I guess without a childhood connection maybe I wouldn't have been so easily entertained myself. Still I love it!

9. Scrooged
There are approximately 9 million retellings of A Christmas Carol. i could have gone with a more traditional telling of the story or the ever so popular Muppet version, but I am anything but traditional and I already talked about my love of Muppets so I couldn't bring myself to do so twice on the same blog. No I need my Ghost of Christmas present to be sweet and innocent and then punch someone in the face for no real reason. I need my Ghost of Christmas Future to make me wet myself at the sight of him. Drunken taxi driver as the Ghost of Christmas past? Yes please, I'll take 2. Bill Murray before he got all serious and Indie with his movies, is a Christmas present I will cherish forever. Throw in a wonderfully clever acting job by Bobcat Goithwait and you'll be wanting to staple antlers to mice and be left wondering if that is a nipple or a shadow.

8. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
I LOVE the vacation movies. All of them. I even sat through that Vegas movie that shouldn't have been made. Chevy is a comedic genius when he wants to be and this one just proves that point. The end all be all of horrible Christmas dinners is an absolute blast. And who hasn't wished for some super strength lube to make your sled go even faster down the hill? Throw in the ever classic Christmas blow up and subsequent happy ending and you have the grounds for an instant holiday favorite that is required viewing some time from Thanksgiving to New Year.

7. A Christmas Story
They don't play this thing for 24 hours on Christmas day on TBS for no reason. This thing is a classic. Everyone has had their own variant of a Red Ryder carbine-action, two hundred shot Range Model air rifle with a compass in the stock and a thing which tells time in their past and this is the perfect reminder of Christmases gone by. If you read my last insanely long blog you would know what mine was so I won't go into it again but every single year I love to watch this and remember more innocent times. Where a double dog dare was as good as a signed contract, and you actually cared about the toy in the box of cereal. Someone buy me that leg lamp.

6. Die Hard
Now I know what all of you are thinking, I've gone off my rocker in including this obvious guy film on my list of Christmas movies I love but no I tell you this is a Christmas movie. Sure it isn't traditional, but the story is all about a man visiting his estranged wife in LA at a Christmas party for her work and wanting to get back to his kids alive. You even hear the classic Christmas song "Christmas in Hollis" and other Christmas tunes. Now tell me that isn't a Christmas Classic. Yep just like I thought can't do it.

Just wait until I do a valentines movie list and try and explain why I think Terminator is a love story.

5. The Santa Claus
Okay back to the classics. Commonly referred to the last good thing Tim Allen has ever done Not counting Galaxy Quest. the idea of a normal man becoming Santa is a new and interesting take on the theme of Adults not getting Christmas and needing a child to remind them of it's wonders and the joys of the holiday. Tim is the perfect cranky adult who is bitter and neglectful to his child. That's the problem that the other films in this series didn't get, that's what makes this movie a success - not Tim Allen as an actor but the bitter and angry person evolving into the epitome of Christmas and Childhood joy. Once you lose that, there really is no reason to watch. Which is why I say just like I say with every movie series not a part of the big three (Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and the Godfather) skip the sequels.

4. Love, Actually
If there was ever a movie that epitomized what most everyone I know truly wants for Christmas it would be Love, Actually. The Holiday season is kinda rough without someone to love, and to share the season with and the older you get the less you want that person to be your parents. I mean I love my family more than almost anything but really I've reached that point in my life where I'd like to start traditions of my own and have someone to spend it with that I love who isn't a relative. This movie makes me think it's still possible and that some day I will have what they have. And that it could be anywhere I just have to keep my eye out for it.

3. Elf
The ONLY Will Ferrell movie as an adult that thinks and acts like a child movie I like. I'm just glad they haven't tried to destroy the pleasure I find in this one by making a sequel. I couldn't see anyone else in this role either, I just wish I didn't have to see him in this role while playing other characters in every single movie he makes not named Stranger Than Fiction. This one once again fits into the same position as the Santa Clause, kid(like adult) changes bitter old man for the better. James Caan is always a great idea if you need someone to be angry and look like they will kill you if you look at them wrong, and honestly if felt kinda weird to see him cheerful and happy by the end of the movie. Though I guess that is a good thing for the character since he became someone new and different by the end.

2. Serendipity
If you thought Die Hard was a stretch this one is as elastic as Stretch Armstrong in a sweat lodge. Honestly the connection to Christmas is as simple as the first 20 minutes and the last 2, but I don't care, I love this movie. Cusack and Beckensale have chemistry to spare and I felt for them not being together through the entire movie. Any chance I have to talk about this under appreciated RomCom i will take it. Now go rent it!

1. Charlie Brown Christmas
I wanted to end on a high note, and what better high note than Charles Schultz's holiday classic that combines the qualities I love about almost all of the other movies on this list and throws them into one event that goes above and beyond the gifts and the glitter and gets to the bottom of teaching everyone a lesson and showing them what Christmas is truly about the birth of our savior Jesus Christ. And so I will leave you with this. Merry Christmas all of you, I hope you get everything on your list, and a few things you didn't even know you needed.


It would appear to be kinda like Christmas

1. What is your favorite Christmas song?
I'm not a HUGE fan of the old standards, I mean they are great I'm not debating that. I'm just saying give me an updated version on the classic and I'm gonna be greatly pleased. I'd have to say my favorite would be either "Christmas All Over Again" by Tom Petty or "the Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth" By David Bowie and Bing Crosby

2. When was your most memorable Christmas?
I'm not gonna lie growing up I was very spoiled. I was one of the first kids with a Nintendo. I once asked for an entire collection of toys from my favorite cartoon growing up, M.A.S.K. and I actually got it thanks to my father's diligence and patience. However my mos memorable Christmas was the one where I learned all of that didn't matter. I was 4 and we were having a big family gathering at my Grandparent's place in Chowchilla, CA. Literally everyone was there. Unfortunately on the trip there my parents UPSed my presents so that they would get there. there was a big snow storm and in the confusion my presents were delayed and it very much looked like they weren't going to make it to my Grandparents in time for Christmas. My parents sat me down and explained this to me, and of course I pouted for a bit but I understood that I still got my presents that my grandparents got me, and that eventually they would show up. The day after Christmas my presents arrive and as I had mentioned there were a lot of them. After plowing through all of them in record time I looked up at my parents and asked one question that would drive everyone watching into fits of insanity - "Is that it? Isn't there more?" My parents tried to tell me I had enough, I kindly reminded them that no that couldn't be all of them. My grandpa was amazed at my gumption, and low and behold my Grandma was the one to almost start beating me for being such a spoiled brat the likes of which is reserved for that very special holiday Blossom where the kids learn all about Christmas by feeding the homeless. To this day I contend I only asked because the day before it seemed like opening presents took a lot longer and thus everyone got more. turns out when you're the only one opening them it really doesn't take that long to unwrap 79 hot wheels cars.

3. What is your favorite Christmas treat?
As a family tradition my grandparents send off to each one of their children a pound of Pistachios. And while I am not a fan of them I still look forward to seeing them come because it meant it was Christmas time. Now as for treats I actually eat, Danish butter cookies are AMAZING, I could drink a gallon of Egg Nog every single day, and of course everyone needs to eat 1 sectionalized festively designed tin of popcorn during the holidays.

4. What do you dislike most about the Christmas season?
Honestly, there isn't a whole lot about the holidays I don't like. I mean sure I could say working retail has caused me to hate malls and all things not online shopping related but it pays my bills and allows me to buy gifts for all my friends so I love it. If I had to pick something I don't like though I'd have to go with the length. I mean I know it's stereotypical and obvious to complain about how it seems holidays start earlier and earlier every year but it's just frustrating to have to set your holiday decorations at work before the Pilgrims are even off the boat.

5. What do you like best about the Christmas season?
Call me crazy but I absolutely LOVE Christmas movies. So much so that I have been found to watch Scrogged in July. After the movies comes just the general feeling of the season. Now no one with any sense will compare Seattle to other big cities like say New York when it comes to hospitality, but still 10 months out of the year I'm convinced everyone around me who I don't know on a personal basis are the scum of the earth and deserve nothing but sweet sweet death. Then suddenly it's the Christmas season and I smile more, I talk to strangers without the slightest hint of disdain. Sure I'm still sarcastic and snide but I'm still happy about it.

6. Who is the hardest person to shop for on your Christmas list?
Honestly I don't have a hard time shopping for anyone. I find that this time of year is where my observational skills really come into effect in finding that perfect gift. take last year for example and my step mother, a notoriously hard gift to place. I had recently moved out and I knew they make a lot of salads to go with their meals and I was working at Pottery Barn Kids at the time and so I got a discount at William Sinoma as well and so I went there and got her a new salad washer from OXO. It was a bit bigger than the one she used that was breaking but it was also sturdier and quite easy on her hands. Well when I gave it to her of course she acted like she liked it just fine, but she really liked the one she had. My dad had even tried to get her the same one awhile back only leading to it being returned. She promised to try it out though and 2 weeks later she was in love with the new one and thanked me oh so greatly for the gift. Sure I still ask people what they want but generally that is and always will be greeted with the sentence "Oh you don't have to get me anything", but as I've learned people like presents and it's always nice to show your appreciation to them when you're usually mean to them.

7. If you could receive one gift without money being an issue, what would it be?
the price of the gifts has never really been an issue for me throughout my life to be completely honest. I mean sure I ask for expensive things (just click on my Amazon wishlist to the right for confirmation on that) but at the same time the things I really want never really have a price tag. In fact right now I think the greatest gift anyone could possibly give me would be a cure for MS so that my mom could be healthy enough to loose weight on her own instead of thinking surgery was the answer. I want nothing more than for her to live the life her mind thinks she can instead of the one her body won't allow. Though if you can't do that I'd take a Lego Millennium Falcon.

8. What is your idea of a perfect Christmas Eve?
My perfect Christmas Eve probably doesn't really make sense to most people, but then again maybe it will. What it entails is a nice dinner with my wife and my 3year old child, who's all excited for their first Christmas where they actually "get it". I'll tuck them in extra early and then get to work on the little one's presents once they are fully asleep. Staying up extra late to put together their new bike or some other newfangled gadget that I will need to put together and get on display for them so they can play with it right away. Stuffing their stocking with peanuts and oranges and other little trinkets. Getting the finishing touches on everything just in time for the little one to wake up and run downstairs and play with their toys the next morning. The sense of joy on that child's face the only thanks I get for all the effort to make things perfect is all I need.

9. Which do you like best, eggnog, or hot chocolate?
Finally a question I can answer without running on like an idiot! The answer is simple - Egg Nog. It's not that I dislike hot chocolate, it's just you can have that any time of the year. If you want Egg Nog in June you have to make that stuff yourself!

10. Do you prefer a fancy Christmas tree, or one decorated by the kids?
Honestly I haven't had a fancy tree. growing up my tree was covered in cheesy plastic apples and red bows. In fact those decorations were still on my tree until I was at least 20. At some point we adopted some small ornaments my Grandmother who has sense passed painted, and some that I did in like the 4th grade. Sure once the apples and bows went away much to my great pleasure as I loathed those apples and bows, we got some shiny balls and such but we kept the hand painted ornaments too. And honestly I don't know what Christmas would be like without them.

11. What is your favorite family Christmas tradition?
The older I got the more and more Christmas just became another day to me and my family. The only tradition which has stayed since I was a kid was that I would wake my mom up extra early to open our presents and then I'd stay up while she went back to bed. I think towards the end of us living together it just got to the point we were both up at midnight, and then at 12:01 we opened our presents. And then of course there was the tradition of making a full Christmas dinner for just the 2 of us and having leftovers for the next 2 weeks. That was a good one too.

12. Do you like fruitcake?
I've honestly never had fruitcake. though I can say it doesn't look very appetizing.

13. Do you prefer skiing or snowboarding?
Fat people don't ski or snowboard. It's just not right.

14. Are you dreaming of a White Christmas, or do you say “Bah Humbug” to snow?
If I don't have to go out in it or drive anywhere I love to sit and watch it snow. there is just something so peaceful about watching it glide it's way down from the sky with such ease that puts your heart at ease and eliminates all burdens in your life. However people in Seattle can't drive on the stuff so if you're on the road be prepared to be thoroughly annoyed and all those burdens are right there on the road with you.

15. What was your favorite gift from Santa when you were a child?
My loss in faith in the existence of Santa came ridiculously early and at the hands of culprits you would least expect, my Mother. I only tell this story because it ties to my favorite gift of all time. M.A.S.K. (Mobile Armored Strike Kommand) was big when I was a kid though it didn't stick around for too long. It was an odd combination of GI Joe and Transformers where a team of good guys had masks with special powers and cars that turned into other vehicles that also had super powers. It was a cartoon that could only exist in the 80's. Of course with any good cartoon we were inundated with commercials for the toys so much so that I think collectively I saw more minutes of commercial than cartoon. That year for Christmas I was still asking big. I wanted the ENTIRE collection of MASK toys. I had maybe 2 of them before Christmas and it was at least an 30 piece collection. I woke up Christmas morning and low and behold they were all there. Every member of Venom, all the MASK team, even their mountain base which doubled as a storage container. I was in absolute heaven. 3 weeks later they were all broken and a mess on my floor but I loved those toys. To finish my story my mom discovered all my broken toys that my dad had put a lot of effort into collecting for me on my bedroom floor while I was at school. After picking me up at school she proceeded to berate me for breaking my toys and being so lackadaisical about it. "Santa gave me those toys" I reasoned. I mean once they were given to me clearly they were mine to do with as I deemed necessary. And if I broke them they were conjured up with magic by elves so really what's the loss on elvish magic? "WHO DO YOU THINK SANTA CLAUS IS?!?!?!?!" was my mother's reply through her teeth. I was grounded for the next month, but I think my real punishment was an early loss of Christmas spirit.

16. What is your favorite Christmas movie?
Alright I've got a couple favorites so I think I will once again have a long rambling answer here. Growing up I would always watch "Emmett Otter's Jug Band Christmas" a movie I still love to this day. It was done by Jim Henson before I was born and it's kinda a retelling of the Gift of the Maggi with Otters. Really cute and great musical numbers. Of all the Christmas Carol type movies I would have to cite Scrooged as my favorite. It's a classic and Bill Murray has never been more perfectly suited for a role before or since. And then of course there is the reliable and classic National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and A Christmas Story. Not a single Christmas can be complete without a viewing of both.

17. Have you ever eaten snow?
Absolutely! Though I do have a rule. Only fresh snow can be eaten and it must be high enough that you can't see grass. That way you know you won't get any dirt. And of course no yellow snow is an obvious comment that really shouldn't have to be said.

18. Who do you wish could be with you this Christmas?
I've never had a big family growing up so aside from that one Christmas when I was 4 at my grandparents I've never had a huge Christmas full of loved ones. I guess it's because of that that I wish I could just once have all my friends and loved ones together for Christmas in one place. I don't want anyone to feel excluded because I left out their name so I won't name specific names but you should know that if we've ever been close in my entire life, I want you there. Every extended family, every adopted family, all of my best friends throughout the years, I want you here for Christmas. we simply don't see enough of each other (except for you Kurt and Mark, I see you guys all the time) and you really do mean that I wish you were here.

19. When do you put up your Christmas lights and decorations?
Right now I'm waiting patiently for me to get some money so I can go out and buy a real tree for the first time in many years, however I have a Christmas party at my house on Sunday so I'll probably wind up busting out my tiny fake tree one more time this year and spend my post Christmas shopping buying decorations and a tree stand for my live tree next year.

20. Real or artificial Christmas tree?
I've always been a proponent for the artificial tree with the lights already built into the branches, but lately I have been really wanting a real tree, I'm not sure why. I haven't had a real tree in at least a dozen years but now I really want one.


The Soundtrack of My Life

Have you ever wondered what your life's soundtrack would be? In every movie there is music playing in the background that is supposed to fit the scene. In the scenes of life what music would be playing for you? For me I honestly am not sure. I mean would it be the music you listen to most? For me that would most definitely be hip hop, but honestly I'm a middle class white kid so why would songs about struggle and turmoil in slums and ghettos fit my life? It wouldn't so that couldn't be it.

Your favorite song at that moment perhaps? If you are anything like me your favorite song changes just about every couple of days. One day it's "Thug's Mansion" by Tupac, the next it's "Tiny Dancer" by Elton John. Except if you look at a movie's soundtrack there is very little variety in the sound. It sticks to one genre and then hits different points within that. So clearly that theory is out.

So after a lot of thought and scouring my iTunes music I have come up with the soundtrack to my life, enjoy. Perhaps you'll see something you'll want to hear that you hadn't thought about before. Also included is a brief explanation as to why the song was included.

1. Dear Life - Anthony Hamilton. It's the sound of it that I absolutely love. That smooth jazzy music and Hamilton's bluesy vocals. The lyrics are simply genius as well.

2. In this Diary - The Ataris. Now I am already breaking the rules for what makes a soundtrack by picking a rock song after a R&B song, but honestly I couldn't think of a better song to capture my teenage years. Because after all, being grown up isn't half as fun as growing up.

3. Knocking on Heaven's Door - Bob Dylan. Sure this song has been covered by about a billion people ranging from Bon Jovi to Avril Lavigne but nothing can compare to Dylan. This is the song I want played at my funeral. How often have we felt like the pressure is too hard on us to continue and like our life is coming to an end only to overcome it and move on and learn from the lesson? For me it's far too many to think.

4. If You Think You're Lonely Now - Bobby Womack. Quite honestly it never gets better than Bobby Womack. Only he could make a song about getting fed up with your woman and walking out on her sound like a wonderful love song.

5. Buddy Holly - Weezer. Quite simply Weezer is amazing. While I may not look like Buddy Holly, this is still the perfect courting song, and if anyone of you have read my blog for any length of time you would know I do love me some courting.

6. The Girl All the Bad Guys Want - Bowling For Soup. Let's be honest now here guys there will always be that one girl in our past that we tried too hard to impress to no avail because she was into bad boys. We do some stupid things and this song is the epitome of that era in our lives.

7. I Can't Make Me - Butterfly Boucher. At the same time there will also be that amazing girl who you know would do anything for you, and will love you unconditionally no matter how often you screw up that you just can't bring yourself to be interested in. She's your Duckie.

8. The Light - Common. This song helped me understand exactly what love is supposed to be and how to make a relationship work. It also contains my absolute favorite lyrics ever, here's just a sample - "If relationship is effort I will match your work/I wanna be the one to make you happiest, it hurts you the most/They say the end is near, its important that we close../.. to the most, high/Regardless of what happen on him lets rely."

9.Your Precious Love - D'Angelo & Eryka Badu. Another smooth R&B joint. It's a throw back to those classic Temptations and Supremes songs with a contemporary feel. I simply love this song.

10. Passenger Seat - Deathcab For Cutie. I don't know exactly why but every time I hear this song I think of my dad when I was growing up and trips up to my Grandparents home. We didn't spend a whole lot of time together then but when we did it is some of my favorite memories of growing up.

11. Father of Mine - Everclear. Like I said we didn't spend a whole lot of time together.

12. Land of Confusion - Genesis. Okay sure I am picking this mostly for the music video but honestly considering the political climate of most of my life, first with Regan and continuing all the way to Bush Jr. this song perfectly fits my feelings of how we have carried ourselves and how we need to fix it.

13. Cheeseburger in Paradise - Jimmy Buffett. Let's be honest here everyone loves a good burger. And this song is just fun.

14. Hey Mama - Kanye West. What playlist of mine would be complete without an ode to my mother. She's the most amazing woman I have ever met, and the model I use to decide if I a woman is worth my time. I would of went with Tupac's Dear Mama but this one is more positive and fits my mom better.

15. Love Me Or Hate Me - Lady Soverign. Honestly there isn't a better song to describe how people view me and my personality. Sure I am a lovable person but at the same time when you first meet me chances are you will hate me. Once you get past that first impression you will see just who I am and you will love me, but there is no middle ground.

16. Wanna Be Startin' Something - Michael Jackson. The final track on my soundtrack would have to be Michael. The man simply dominated my early childhood. I remember how absolutely horrible I felt when I accidentally left my Thriller LP out in the sun and destroyed it (that feeling only increases every time I think about how much that thing would be worth right now). The man could simply do no wrong at that point. I may not like the man now, but his music is undeniably perfection.

Well there you have it. I think I managed to follow the soundtrack rules, with a few exceptions but then again my life has always been full of exceptions so why should this be any different? So what's your soundtrack look like?


My Christmas Wishlist

I want...

a new phone.
books, lots and lots of books.
movies, lots and lots of movies.
toys to play with.
my computer to have sound again.
a new iPod that can actually hold all of my music on it.
to see my mom.
for my friends to know that I love them.
to know that my friends love me.
to make everyone smile a genuine smile.
to not have to be the man in charge.
to have the respect of the man in charge.
a kiss that means something.
to hear him say "I'm sorry".
to have an understanding of money and not run out.
to lose more weight.
to not get frustrated as easily.
to understand I am not the only one trying as hard as I can.
to help Mark find something else to say besides "that's what she said".
to cook for other people more.
to watch every movie I own that I haven't seen before.
to not be so judgmental of others and the trials they are going through.
to get more friends from Seattle to follow me on Twitter.
to remember what it was like to be a child.
to stay that way.
to be loved.


trapped in a box

You are trapped in a box. inside said box is everything you could need to lead a peaceful existance. However over a loud speaker you hear a voice. "There is one thing wrong with this box. Fix it and you will be able to leave and experience wonderful happiness unknown to you inside the box. You may not ask any questions as to what is wrong and I will not tell you. Punishment for asking is to be punched in the face repeatedly."

How do you get out of the box?


My interesting Thanksgiving

Alright so everyone has their own Thanksgiving stories. Some are funny, some are sad, some are weird, some are pretty boring. I honestly am not sure where this one falls but I'm gonna share it anyway.

Alright so my thanksgiving story actually starts a couple months ago. I work out in Bellevue and since I don't have a car I ride the bus every single night. A couple months ago I actually started paying attention to my commute home instead of the usual listening to my far too loud ipod and falling asleep and I noticed something. Specifically I noticed that there was this cute well dressed blond girl who got off at the same stop I did and walked in the same direction of me afterward until I turned up Roosevelt for the 30 minutes walk home.

Naturally I exuded my usual level of confidence and started talking to her. Oh wait no I didn't. Instead I just kept walking and kept wanting to talk to her. And then a weird thing happened a couple weeks later, SHE started talking to me. Nothing beyond getting to know you stuff or talking about work but still she was talking to me.

Alright so fast forward about a month or so and it's now Halloween time and I'm trying to figure out how to make my John Belushi from Animal House costume work and turkey is the furthest thought from my mind, and she starts asking me about my Thanksgiving plans. Slightly distracted and confused why we are talking about this over a month in advance, I tell her that I won't be going home for Thanksgiving because I knew my luck and I figured I'd wind up working on Black Friday and a trip to the Tri-Cities would just be silly if it's just for less than a day. Then she did the unexpected - she invited me to her house for Thanksgiving. I'll be honest I REALLY wanted to say I couldn't. I mean we barely knew each other, why was she doing this? I didn't even know her last name, you would think that kind of information would be something you would want your holiday guests to know. However, it's October. I had no other plans yet (my step mom is notoriously last minute with inviting me and wouldn't get around to it until 2 days before Thanksgiving) and I didn't want to lie to this nice girl so I said yes.

The weeks went by and for the most part I didn't tell people about my plans, if for no other reason than I already knew the only two responses I would get. In the red corner of this discussion you have the people who think that clearly I will be spending my Thanksgiving making out profusely with this girl and she likes me and knew I am a coward so she took the first step to get with me. I didn't fall into this train of thought because of all the things about her from the months of talking I distinctly remember her mentioning a boyfriend once. I didn't remember her name half the time but I knew she had a boyfriend. Then we have the blue corner. These people thought she was going to kill me and bury me in the basement, or in the instance that she lacked a basement she was going to go cannibal on me and I was going to become thanksgiving dinner. I refused to believe this one too if for no other reason than she seemed too nice, and I'm far too fat to make for a delicious meal. I know fat is what makes it taste good but you're still gonna want a lower percentage of body fat if you're gonna eat someone. I just innocently enough thought she was being nice, thought I was funny and wanted people like that at her meal, especially if they aren't going to be spending the holiday with family.

The more I started talking to people about this though the more my mind started to wonder, mostly about the red corner's argument the blue corner is just silly. And honestly the more I thought about it the more I wanted out of this meal. However every single time I saw her she would remind me and make sure I was still planning on going. I was stuck and I figured I might as well have fun with this and enjoy myself the best I can.

She even gave me a small invitation. Nothing big, it was hand written on part of her schedule (alas not the part with her name on it, I checked as I was kinda getting tired of calling her Ann Taylor girl) but still it was a legit invite. I was obligated. On the invitation she said to bring something and the only thing I could think of were these delicious cheese biscuits my "mom" makes all the time. So I called her for the recipe. She laughed when I told her the story and then gave me what wound up being the easiest recipe ever. Bisquick, cheddar, water. I wound up making way too many of them and making them way too big. I forgot most people aren't like my family.

After I made my biscuits I threw them in a bowl and headed out to catch my bus. As is only natural for me I missed it by three minutes and started walking down Roosevelt carrying a giant bowl of biscuits. With my luck I wound up walking past at least 3 homeless people. I regret not giving them one but I was in a hurry and I wasn't sure if I was going to have enough. Or at least that's how I justified it in my head. I still should have given them one.

Dinner was at 4:00, so I left at 3:30 and magically even though I was walking I made it on time. Not even a minute late. I was impressed. Though my biscuits which I had purposely waited until the last minute to make so they would be warm were now quite cold, and not nearly as good. There was a total of 7 people including me there including Ann Taylor girl (her name is Britney but it's a habit) and her boyfriend. So it was clear early that the red corner was wrong. My eyes immediately started to dart around the room looking for the turkey to make sure the blue corner was wrong as well. Unfortunately it was in the crowded kitchen so it took me a few nervous moments to discover Ann Taylor Girl's boyfriend Alex carving the bird. Needless to say I was relieved but then I realized he had sharp instruments that could be used to inspire death and I remembered what my boss told me "If my girlfriend invited some strange guy she met on the bus to Thanksgiving dinner I'd be pissed. I'd probably stab the guy." I spent the rest of the premeal enjoying the room far away from the boyfriend with the knives.

Thankfully Alex, and the rest of the people there (I'd use their names but I really feel bad for the roommate and her boyfriend who's names I forgot. Maybe I do care a lot less to remember girls when there isn't a chance they are into me.) were really cool and seemed glad that I was there. We ate a lot of food, they talked a lot about people I had no idea who they were, I sat silently laughing when everyone else did and interjecting some to the conversation when it seemed to fit. Thankfully it seemed all of the guys did this.

I wound up with two delicious plates of food, and a helping of both desserts. Traditionally I keep myself as a just a pie guy for Thanksgiving. I mean you don't get pie every day. In fact I feel lucky when I get pie. Meanwhile most other desserts are available year round, for some reason I think this makes pie more valuable where the only time it's popular to have a pie is Thanksgiving, Christmas, and a couple days in the summer. Oh sure you CAN have it whenever but socially you're not going to bring a pie to say your St. Patrick's day company party. Anyway they had one pecan pie and then a rather laboriously crafted trifold. So Laboriously crafted in fact that it deserves it's own paragraph of story.

So one of the roommates, Karen, has a gluten issue. And by issue I mean she can't have any. So in her quest for the perfect gluten free stuffing recipe I guess she found a great gluten free brownie recipe for dessert since she also unfortunately can't have pie. When she made them they came out too soft and moist and fell apart on her. The frustration with the lack of perfection caused her to break down into tears while I was up getting my seconds. Everyone assured her that it would be okay and they could salvage it and it would be delicious. After about 30 minutes of calming her down and finishing eating it was decided that the brownies could be salvaged by making them into a trifold. One layer brownie, one layer whipped cream, one layer chocolate sauce and so on and so forth until it was complete. there was talk of adding more things to it but it was decided that simpler was better. Now while the whole thing didn't come together exactly as it should Karen was happy and this potential disaster was adverted and turned out really delicious.

After dinner and desert we spent plenty of time just lounging around trying to decide between playing a game or watching a movie. Movie won out simply because it involved less work. Originally they were going to watch episodes of Entourage but my immense hatred of that show and the Thanksgiving miracle I was praying for saved me from that disaster and we wound up watching The Incredibles and so many commercials for Desperaux that I thought we watched that one too. Seriously it was ridiculous. After The Incredibles there was an episode of the Office that Karen DEMANDED we watch even though it was a repeat and she was the only one interested in watching it. I know this is sacrilegious for me to say in my circle of friends but I don't watch the Office. I think I have seen 3 total episodes and quite honestly I fell asleep during the first 2 so I'm not sure they count. However this one was actually kinda funny and though I am still not a huge fan of the awkwardness of the show which near as I can tell is it's bread and butter, I did enjoy myself. Maybe it will grow on me but honestly if I'm not hooked right away I find it hard to get excited for a show.

By the time The Office was over it was getting late and everyone was going to bed. So at about 11:30 I left, and of course I missed my bus and got to walk home carrying my bowl of left over rolls and some leftovers. This time there were no homeless people for me to give my food to, but i swear I would have.

All in all what could have been a really REALLY awkward experience turned out to be a lot of fun where I made a lot of new friends. I'd like to thank Ann Taylor Girl (Face it you Brit, I know you have a name but you'll always be this to me) for making all this happen, and I'd also like to thank Alex, Karen, Vicki, Amy, and Vicki's boyfriend (I REALLY hate that you're the only one who's name I have forgotten) for being so nice and cordial to me and letting me feel comfortable when you could have excluded me and made me feel weird. You guys are the best and I hope I will be allowed to hang out with you guys again sometime soon.


Lyrics to my soul

Every so often you come across a song that touches your heart and reaches into your soul and speaks for you when you don't have the words to do it yourself. Thank you Common.

THE LIGHT by Common

Doo-doo-doo, mmm-mmm-mmm-mmm-mmm..
Doo-doo-d-doo, diggy-doo

I never knew a luh, luh-luh, a love like this
Gotta be somethin for me to write this
Queen, I ain't seen you in a minute
Wrote this letter, and finally decide to send it
Signed sealed delivered for us to grow together
Love has no limit, let's spend it slow forever
I know your heart is weathered by what studs did to you
I ain't gon' assault em cause I probably did it too
Because of you, feelings I handle with care
Some niggaz recognize the light but they can't handle the glare
You know I ain't the type to walk around with matchin shirts
If relationship is effort I will match your work
I wanna be the one to make you happiest, and hurt you the most
They say the end is near, it's important that we close.... to the most, high
Regardless of what happen on him let's rely

There are times.. when you'll need someone..
I will be by your side..
There is a light, that shines,
special for you, and me..

Yo, yo, check itIt's important, we communicate
and tune the fate of this union, to the right pitch
I never call you my bitch or even my boo
There's so much in a name and so much more in you
Few understand the union of woman and man
And sex and a tingle is where they assume that it land
But that's fly by night for you and the sky I write
For in these cold Chi night's moon, you my light
If heaven had a height, you would be that tall
Ghetto to coffee shop, through you I see that all
Let's stick to understandin and we won't fall
For better or worse times, I hope to me you call
So I pray everyday more than anything
friends will stay as we begin to lay
this foundation for a family - love ain't simple
Why can't it be anything worth having you work at annually
Granted we known each other for some time
It don't take a whole day to recognize sunshine

There are times.. when you'll need someone..
I will be by your side, oh darling
There is a light, that shines,
special for you, and me..

Yeah.. yo, yo, check it
It's kinda fresh you listen to more than hip-hop
and I can catch you in the mix from beauty to thrift shop
Plus you ship hop when it's time to, thinkin you fresh
Suggestin beats I should rhyme to
At times when I'm lost I try to find you
You know to give me space when it's time to
My heart's dictionary defines you, it's love and happiness
Truthfully it's hard tryin to practice abstinence
The time we committed love it was real good
Had to be for me to arrive and it still feel good
I know the sex ain't gon' keep you, but as my equal
it's how I must treat you
As my reflection in light I'ma lead you
And whatever's right, I'ma feed you
Digga-da, digga-da, digga-da, digga-digga-da-da
Yo I tell you the rest when I see you, peace

There are times.. when you'll need someone..
I will be by your side..
There is a light, that shines,
special for you, and me..

(I'll) take my chances.. before they pass....
pass me by, oh darling..
You need to look at the other side..
You'll agree..


Does not work well under pressure

When I was a kid I would play football almost every day with my best friends Shawn and Tyler. It was great. Shawn was always the running back, Tyler since he was the only nonfat one of the three of us played Wide Receiver. That left me with the ever important role of Quarterback. Now I will be the first to admit I don't fit the traditional role of QB but I still loved to play that position. I grew up idolizing Joe Montana and Steve Young and I would often pretend I was them when we played. Anyway there is a point to this little trip down memory lane I promise. As we got older I noticed that my throws were lazy and too short when I didn't have a pass rush. And yet when I had to react quickly because of the impending blitzer (always 5 Mississippi ALWAYS) I was usually on target and the result was a completion. For some reason the pressure helped me to succeed and develop as a player.

Now fast forward to present day. Due to a recent lay off of our Assistant Manager, I am now the second in charge at my store. I owe a lot of my success and knowledge of how the store runs to Brent and without him I'm not sure of myself. I feel as if I lost my number 1 compatriot out there. And while work is rather slow I still find myself feeling vaguely lost and unsure of my decisions. Slowly I am adapting to my new role and growing into the person both Wes and Brent know I can be. Slowly I am becoming comfortable with my role and knowing what it is. Slowly I am believing I can do this and succeed.

My boss leaves for Mexico on Friday and he's gone for an entire week. That leaves me as the one in charge. The one everyone turns to when they need help. the one that makes the decisions. The one that has to make sure everything gets done. On Friday I become The Man. It's my show. I won't have the time to grow into the role. I won't have Wes in my ear telling me how good I'm doing. There will be no texts telling me how awesome my close was or how he wishes everyone would work as hard as I do. There will only be fear. There will only be stress. There will only be doubt. There will only be me.


Looking for a good scare?

Alright so in an effort to blog more I have decided to take one of my favorite subjects, movies, and apply a holiday twist to it and create a list. So here are my top 10 favorite scary movies. As far as I am concerned these movies are guaranteed to score you some quality cuddle time with pretty much any girl, which let's face it is the only real reason to watch a scary movie because it certainly isn't for the acting or the story.

#10 Jurassic Park
Alright so first things first you are absolutely LYING if you say Jurassic Park isn't scary. I know it isn't a slasher flick or a blood and guts torture porn flick that seems to crowd the movie theaters every Halloween lately but that definitely does not mean it isn't scary. All I need to say to prove my point is you take one look at the scene when Nedry dies and it's perfect arch of ealiviating all tention when he goes from a state of complete fear to letting his guard down (and the audience does as well) only to be shocked and scared when it turns out that little adorable creature he was just playing fetch with is a violent creature with a thirst for fat antagonist blood. The absolute best part of this movie though is that for the uninitiated to how scary it is you can totally pass it off as an action adventure movie and then *BAM* your date is in your lap begging for you to protect her from the scary dinosaurs.
#9 Misery
Kathy Bates is not allowed anywhere near my person EVER. it is really no surprise to anyone to say that Stephen King books make the perfect transition to the big screen and if I had to chose a personal favorite it would be Misery. The sense of helplessness that you feel for James Caan as he lays in that bed unable to call for help and at the mercy of the incredibly creepy Kathy Bates is just too much for me to handle sometimes. Throw in the sheer gruesomeness of the hobbling scene and you have yet another scarefest that doesn't require blood and gore to get it's scares in. And I for one appreciate that in a scary movie.
#8 Jaws

So every single Halloween I seem to find myself wanting to watch Jaws. I'm not entirely sure why as again while it is certainly scary it isn't your typical Halloween viewing choice. Generally it seems those are slasher flicks featuring human bad guys with knives hunting and murdering helpless humans much to the dismay of local authorities. Okay now that I wrote that I think Jaws pretty much is a slasher flick without the slasher. At my latest showing I actually had 4 people get up and leave due to the eating of a child. I would call these actions a success for any scary movie worth your time when the leaves are turnign orange.
# 7 Saw

Unlike the Saw movies that followed this one actually told a story and didn't overly force it's gore on the viewers so it is defiantely a favorite of mine. Is it gory? Yes. And while that usually is a big check in the "don't watch" collumn for me, the gore serves a purpose so i am more than willing to give this one a pass. Also the ending will absolutely blow your mind and on that alone I am saying watch this one this Halloween.

#6 Poltergeist
Another PG horror movie for me and this one I really do love. I mean not only is it scary to think about but it also serves as a warning against allowing the Television to take over your life and take care of your children for you. Maybe if Craig T. Nelson ahd been a better father the ghosts wouldn't have had the oppertunity to attack the family becuase the TV would have been off and he would have been playing with his kids. As a child raised by television I have to say that the notion of your TV coming to life and trying to destroy you is the scariest thing imaginable.

#5 The Omen
This just in: Children are scary. It's their natural state. overly stoic children are even scarier. Throw in the name Damien and I'm pretty sure you have nightmare fuel to last a lifetime. Especially if you happen to be a nanny or a maid for a family with a child named Damien.

#4 Evil Dea
Death can be funny. Death by tree rape is definately funny. Granted I am saying that as a man so maybe ladies don't find the idea of being violated by an Oak as hilarious as I do but that's okay because that means you think it's scary. Also do not get tricked, Evil Dead 2 is just the same movie with more of a budget. If you want a true sequel check out the incredibly awesome army of Darkness. Seriously if it were possible I would have Bruce Campbell's babies.

#3 Scream

So you have a scary movie with a big name actress Drew Barrymore in it. She's even on your poster so clearly anyone who has ever seen a horror movie knows she's your scream queen and she's gonna live forever. And then she gets gutted by the garage door before the openign credits. Wes Craven throws everything you know about the horror Genre in your face, explaining every twist and turn directly to you, AND HE STILL MANAGES TO SCARE YOU. Congratulations Wes, you certainly deserve every ounce of fanboy worship you recieve.

#2 Alien

So every single time I mention how much I love this movie my dad tells me the same story. When my parents were still married they went to see this movie due to my father's unantural love of all things Science Fiction. He left with bruises that perfectly matched my mom's hand on his thigh that lasted for 2 weeks. Now while it is true my mom scares pretty easily the mood and the damp dark nature of the spaceship only adds to this being the prefect scary movie. Any woman out there willing to watch this with me has my respect and will always have a date for Friday nights.

#1 The Exorcist
A few years ago they re-released the Exorcist in theaters for Halloween and I got very excited. I had never seen it before but it had so much hype behind it and so much praise everywhere I turned I had to see if it could live up to it. I went to a midnight showing all by myself. the theater was packed and everyone was ready to be scared, well except me. For some reason when something is hyped up so very much I imediately assume it's BS fanboys who have no clue what they are talking about and that it can't possibly live up to it all. I am proud to say that The Exorcist not only lived up to the hype but it exceeded it. I left the theater with chills and a distinct fear of something I don't even belive in. Success was made and a new fanboy was born. Also I got a little chuckle out of the fact that someone had vomited on the sidewalk outside the theater for some reason. This is quite possibly the only movie on this list that i would actually have to think long and hard about seeing again, not because it wasn't amazing because it was, but more because it scared me that much.

Alright so that is my list that I managed to finish 3 days late for Halloween. Now I am fully aware that all lists are subjective and you may disagree with it. That's okay. Feel free to voice your opinion in the comments. In fact please do tell me where I messed up. I want to know what you would take off the list and what you would put in it's place.


8 Is A Magic Number

8 Things I am Passionate About:
1. Sports
2. Music
3. Movies
4. My Family
5. My Friends
6. Seeing others happy
7. Making people laugh
8. trying to find that perfect outfit for every occasion

8 Words or Phrases I Say Often:
1. Bellevue Square mariner Team Store this is Allen how may I help you?
2. You bet.
3. Really? REALLY?
4. That's what she said (thanks Mark.)
5. She's cute.
6. No we don't sell any Seahawks stuff.
7. I'm updating my Twitter.
8. No really she's cute.

8 Things I want to do before I Die:
1. Get married
2. Be happy
3. Figure everything out
4. Tie my tie right the first time
5. Lose myself in myself
6. Finally make sense of why I do the things I do.
7. Make you smile just by walking into a room.
8. Stop saying stupid overly romanticized things like "I want to make you smile just by walking into a room."

8 Things I Have Learned From my Past:
1. If a girl will talk to me and feign interest in me, she clearly wants me.
2. Sometimes, you don't have to be funny.
3. I have a grumpy face, and I share it with people A LOT.
4. Hugs aren't bad.
5. There is more to life than cheering for your favorite sports team.
6. Always keep some sunshine on your face.
7. Richard Pryor was a genius.
8. I am an idiot for thinking #1.

8 Places I Would Love to Go or See:
1. My grandparents on Christmas day
2. 1986
3. The arms of someone who loves me.
4. Safeco Field
5. Candlestick Park
6. My happy place
7. the temple
8. My childhood home

8 Things I Currently Need or Want:
1. My friends to be happy
2. Acceptance
3. Change
4. Growth
5. Control
6. Happiness
7. Strength
8. Attention


I know a good Bargain when I see one

Okay so this deserves a bit of a back story. About two weeks ago I was walking home and I pass by my favorite mom n' pop video store here in Seattle Scarecrow Video and I noticed in their window a flier that said "Huge DVD blow out sale" with a list of prices and whatnot. Quite honestly they had me at Huge DVD blowout sale. So I go in and look around to see if there is anything I want and can't live without. I wound up buying a total of 8 movies. The first three Harry Potter movies, the first 3 Saw movies, Made and Swingers. Now of these movies I will be honest and tell you I have only seen 4 of them, the first Saw and Harry Potter movie and then Made and Swingers. Still the deal was too insane for me to NOT buy them. 8 movies... $22. After tax. I decided I was gonna come back on payday and buy some of the movies I saw on sale for $30 that were regualrly $59 that were still out of my price range pre payday.

So it's the day before payday and I look into Scarecrow's windows to make sure the movies I want are still there when what do I see in their window? Why yes it is another flier. This time it reads "Even BIGGER DVD sale! All DVDs $4 or less! starting this Saturday!". Okay so I now know how I am spending my Saturday morning. There is ZERO way I am passing up this deal. There is one problem though - I lack any type of self control. My only solution was to bring someone in on my trip to the center of my wallet. I wound up recruiting Kurt to join me partially because he loves a sale perhaps more than I do, and partially because he knows my financial situation and wouldn't let me get in over my head.

Well Saturday comes and it would appear I wasn't the only one to see the flier and have the idea to come wait for the store to open to insure I get the movies I wanted. I get there right as it's opening and there are at least a dozen middle aged men there with all sorts of packaging materials from large bags to oversized boxes. Not surprisingly there isn't a woman in sight except for the ones working there. So it's pretty much a mad dash to the used DVD sections to try and get what I want and wouldn't you know it plenty of other people wanted just want I wanted (3 DVD box sets of 9 James Bond movies a piece AKA the best bargain there) and I missed out on all of them. Still I am determined to get some good movies. Before getting there I set my budget at $40 before taxes, meaning that if I assumed everything was $4 then I could get 10 items. I was content with this plan and I stuck to it until one fatal sentence was over heard by Kurt... "Pretty almost all the single DVDs are ringing up as $1, though not all of them so don't assume". I was pretty much lost from that moment on. Crap I haven't seen, and have no intention of ever seeing is now in my hand under the guise of "eh it's only $1." I went from 10 tops to just stopping once my arm felt like it was gonna fall off from holding them. one hour looking at the same 7 shelves of overstuffed used DVDs later and I came away with 26 movies which I will list later.

Anyway now with DVDs in hand I decide it's time to check out and I make my way to the counter and the wonderful young woman behind the counter takes my cases and heads to the back. I immediately felt sorry for all employees of Scarecrow video today. See the way they do it is they put empty cases on the shelves for you to bring to the front and then they go back get the disc and put it in the case. Now this isn't that big of a deal if you have one or two movies, but when 26 is deemed a SMALL stack of movies this suddenly became a daunting and annoying process. 20 minutes of looking in the back she finally found all my movies and took me to a register to check out. Now Kurt remembered the lady's dictation that some of them were $4 and not $1, so we devised a plan thanks to the intelligent plan of the old gentleman buying handfuls of used porn in front of us in line. We had them tell us how much everything rang up as so we could decide if the movie was worth it. My girl was okay with this and quite cheery through the whole process, Kurt was less lucky and it would appear his lady was definitely on the rag as she constantly lamented how much this sucked and how he should just grab the ones he knows he wants so she doesn't have to do her job.

So anyway my lovely and wonderful scarecrow rental associate, let's call her sally, makes two separate piles of DVDs for me, one pile is the $1 you might as well buy it it's so danged cheap pile, and the other is the $4 let's think about this before we go spending our life savings on this stuff pile. Thankfully I only wound up with 5 or so in the $4 pile and with a grand total after tax of $47 I was allowed by Kurt to make my purchase (he later told me $51 would have been too much over for his liking). In the middle of checking out a customer that was clearly impatient and ignorant to the intricate workings of a line cut in front of me to ask a rather simple question, and much to Sally's credit she helped him without making me feel like I was being ignored in order to appease captain jerkface. I loved Sally and I wish more retail workers were like her.

Alright so I will now be providing you with a list of the movies I bought along with their original sticker price and a ()'d price showing how much I paid for it, simply because I REALLY like bragging about how much money I saved.

1.Blade Runner $7.99 ($1)
2. The Waterhorse $9.99 ($1)
3. Eddie Murphy's Delrious $10.99 ($1)
4. Borat $9.99 ($1)
5. Saw IV $9.99 ($1)
6. Goldeneye $8.99 ($1)
7. Deja Vu 7.99 ($1)
8. Eragon 7.99 ($1)
9. Charlie And the Chocolate Factory $9.99 ($1)
10. The Ten $9.99 ($1)
11. TMNT $11.99 ($1)
12. Alvin and the Chipmunks $9.99 ($1)
13. Fastlane: The Complete Series $34.99 ($4)
14. Bee Movie $10.99 ($1)
15. The Italian Job $5.99 ($1)
16. The Others $6.99 ($1)
17. Cloverfield $9.99 ($1)
18. The Game Plan $7.99 ($1)
19. Reign Over Me $9.99 ($1)
20. Open Season $9.99 ($1)
21. 24 Season One $17.99 ($4)
22. American Gangster $12.99 ($4)
23. I Am Legend $14.99 ($4)
24. Man With the Golden Gun $8.99 ($1)
25. AVP Requim $12.99 ($4)
26. Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie For Theater For DVD $13.99 ($4)


My soundtrack of Summer

Okay so I have so many blog ideas, and so many half written blog posts that will never see the light of day, and so what do I do? Come up with another one. And this will make 3 in a row of music related posts. What can I say? Clearly music on some level dominates my life.

Anyway, recently I joined a group of friends in a CD exchange program. The way it works it every so often you are given a theme and some loose rules for your playlist. You then make a CD and share it with everyone else in the group. It's a great way to get new music and to meet new people. The first theme I had was the theme of Summer. And below you will find a listing of all 21 tracks I put on my Summer playlist and a brief writeup as to why that song made the cut.

1. Another Brick in the Wall (part II) - Pink Floyd
Alright so if anyone doesn't see the connection to the Summer you deserve nothing but death. I can not remember a single Summer from 6th grade on where this song wasn't blared all through the last week of school to ring in the end of school and the beginging of the awesomeness that is Summer. I couldn't think of a better opening track.

2. Heart of Hearts - !!!
So there is really no reason for the inclusion of this song other than I saw them in concert at Bumbershoot this year and I fell in love with them.

3. Summertime - DJ Jazzy Jeff And the Fresh Prince
Alright so while it is true I have never experience summer in Philly which is most definitely the subject of this song, it still transcends into the heart and experiences of all the summers of our youths.

4. M79 - Vampire Weekend
I'm not sure why this song makes me think of summer but my guess is it has something to do with the warm and cheery horns and strings throughout this song. Throw in lyrics about playing in the park and you've got yourself a picture perfect summer song.

5. Raspberry Swirl - Tori Amos
I make no qualms about it - I am a straight guy that loves Tori Amos. And while her haunting melodies on Crucify are more my style the playful nature of Raspberry swirl can't help but remind me of Summers gone past. It also doesn't hurt that my friend Jes introduced me to Tori over one Summer many moons ago.

6. Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy - The Tams
If there ever were a song that captured the essence of a youthful and successful Summer, this would be it. You most certainly will never fail to have a great summer if you follow those three simple steps - be young, be foolish, and be happy.

7. In Your Eyes - Peter Gabriel
We've all had that wonderful Summer romance that begins in June and ends in September. It seems almost to be as sure as death and taxes. For me, this song symbolizes everything about a good Summer love should be about. It doesn't hurt that it was predominately featured in the quintessential Summer Love movie "Say Anything...".

8. My Drive Thru - N.E.R.D.
You can thank my love of this song on Converse. It was featured in one of their commercials and now I can't get enough of it. (can you tell this is the point I kinda got tired of writing this?)

9. Rollercoaster - MC Chris
Amusement parks are fun during the summer.

10. Paper Planes - M.I.A.
How could I not include the one song I heard approximately 9 million times this summer? And that doesn't include the times it played on my ipod. This song was EVERYWHERE!

11. LDN - Lily Allen
Despite being a depressing song if you listen to the words the happy fun beat and sound was enough to make me think of summer.

12. Sunshine Lollipops and Rainbows Everywhere - Leslie Gore
Oh come on this one is a given for why it got included!

13. The Outdoor type - The Lemonheads
Every single Summer without fail I go camping. I hate camping. Like I loathe it and everything it stand for, and yet I go. Why do I go? Some girl with zero interest in me that's why. This song is an ode to those mistakes.

14. Margaritaville - Jimmy Buffett
Jimmy Buffett and Summer go together like Margarita's and Salt, like Cheesebuergers and Paradise. Like Pina Coladas and another thing he sings about in that song.

15. Travelin' Thru - Dolly Parton
Everyone (but me it seems) travels over the Summer. Dolly's song from that one transexual movie TransAmerica is the perfect ode to that right of passage.

16. Let the Drummer Kick - Citizen Cope
The perfect Summer cruising song.

17. Val Kilmer - Bowling For Soup
Movies are big buisness over the Summer and quite honestly, I just couldn't resist including a song that talks about a supersoaker filled with pee.

18. Lovely Day - Bill Withers
Seattle looks like hell on earth 9 months out of the year unless you are one of those freaks that love overcast weather and rain. There is a reason we are the suicide capitol of the world. This is my ode to those 3 months when it doesn't look like butt outside and you can actually love the fresh air.

19. In This Diary - The Ataris
Just a great song about capturing all the memories from one Summer, kinda what the entire purpose of this playlist is. Plus I love The Ataris.

20. Take Me Out To the Ballgame - The Andrews Sisters
Baseball = Summer that's just simple fact. Especially because I work for the local baseball team I will forever be attached to this wonderful sport.

21. August is Over - We the Kings
I will be honest here - I picked this one for the title. I could have gone with that Green Day song but let's be honest here Summer ends in August.

Anyway that's my list I hope you enjoyed a look into my mind. Now let's see yours.


Just to let you know I'm alive

I have about a million half written blogs that I promise will eventually see the light of day if I ever can get back into the mood of writing them but this one is just to tell you my faithful one reader that I am still breathing and thinking weird things. that is all.


It's that time of year again

Bumbershoot. I go every year and every single year I enjoy myself. This year is a little different for me though as for the most part I am a paying attendee. In previous years I have managed to get in for free by volunteering usually ushering at the Charlotte Martin comedy stage. However due to an over abundance of acts I actually want to see outside of the comedy world I decided I needed to pay this time. So as with previous years I have decided that I am going to blog about each day separately and this time I'm even going to include my schedule in case any of my readers (all none of you) would care to track me down and enjoy a show with me. So without further adieu here is my Saturday schedule.

12:30 - 1:30 @ the Fisher Green Stage - The Staxx Brothers

So I'm not gonna lie, I was looking for something early in the day that I would enjoy in order to kill time before my comedy show of the day. I generally do find myself at the Fisher Green stage due to it's proximity to the Charlotte Martin so I tend to check there first. Well I found these guys and started listening to their Myspace page and well I was hooked. They are the perfect blend of funk, soul, hip hop, and the best of all they are local. They are very reminiscent of the Roots except with more singing. I would strongly recommend these guys to anyone with an interest in something funky and fun.

2:00 - 3:00 @ the Intiman Theater - Hannibal Buress, Karen Kilgriff, & Doug Benson
Alright well yet another Allen Bumbershoot tradition is see Doug Benson Perform. He seems to ALWAYS be on the comedy lineup somewhere, and there is a reason for that - THE DUDE IS FUNNY. I honestly am not too familiar with the other two comedians but I can say this much I have never not been satisified with any of the comedy shows I have seen at Bumbershoot they always bring the funny. I will admit that Doug is a little dirty at times but it's also a 2 o'clock show which means there will be kids in the audience which means he MIGHT clean it up. Either way it will be funny. Also Doug has a new CD out so the chances of him signing it is so very high (much like Doug will be) it's ridiculous.

5:00 - 6:00 (though I will leave early) @ EMP Sky Church - PWRFL Power
Alright well this guy doesn't have a picture but that doesn't mean you won't love the heck out of him. If you loved the Juno Soundtrack you will love this guy. I'll probably only be able to catch the first half of this show but it should still be worth it.

5:45 - 6:45 @ Fisher Green Stage - Estelle

Alright well I fell in love with Estelle after hearing her collaborate with Kanye West for her hit single "American Girl" and let me tell you the rest of her album is just as good. If you love R&B and Soul check her out.

7:30 - 8:45 @ Memorial Stadium - Band of Horses

So I found out about these guys thanks in a large part to another Bumbershoot performer I will be talking about in my Sunday or Monday preview, Greg Behrendt. Seriously I love these guys.

9:15 - 10:45 @ Memorial Stadium - Beck

If you people need me to tell you why you should see BECK I really don't think we should be friends. It's BECK for goodness sake! Just GO!!!


If your life was a movie, what would the soundtrack be?

I absolutely love these things if for no other reason than it gives me an oppertunity to showcase my insanely random iTunes collection. Anyway here are the details on how it's done in case you are unfamiliar with the details of the "Let's play with your iTunes under the guise of being clever" games as found on Facebook and MySpace.

How to do it:
1. Open your music library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc).
2. Put it on Shuffle.
3. Press Play.
4. For every question, type the song that's playing.
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button.
6. Be honest.

(note to be fair to myself I added another half dozen songs right before starting this so I could have something new on it. Granted I had just over 7,000 songs to begin with but still I wanted to see if one of the new songs would show up.)

La Di Da Di - Slick Rick The Ruler (Live Version)

Baby - Angie Stone

Kiwi - Maroon 5

Autographs and Apologies - Motion City Soundtrack

My Tourniquet - Evanesence

Instinct Blues - The White Stripes

Never - Jahiem

Carbon Monoxide - Regina Spektor

Your Girl - Mariah Carey

Bouncing Around the Room - Phish (Actually makes sense, interesting)

The Lady In My Life - Michael Jackson

Just Lose It - Eminem (Edited Version)

Irresistible- Jessica Simpson Feat. Lil' Bow Wow (Remix)

So High - John Legend (Nothing says battle like a soulful Piano Ballad about being happy)

Jimmy Newtron Theme - Bowling For Soup (Okay the last one was a bullseye compared the sense this one makes)

I Don't Want To Say Goodbye - Teddy Thompson

Moan - Cute Is What We Aim For

So in conclusion I start my life with classic Rap and end it with Pop Punk. If that isn't an interesting journey I don't know what is