Saturday, December 19, 2009

it's a blizzard, woooooohoooo.

I'm sitting by the fire right next to the christmas tree. I just felt the need to write and get some thoughts off so here goes. I left Clemson last week and headed to Mississippi to see Virginia. I miss Jackson a lot, we always have the best times there. I got a chance to see Virginia, Micah and Anna, then Bryson, Danielle and Josh, Caroline, and Penny Lane. I finally got to eat at Julep with a signature dish of theirs which was rated top 10 dishes in the nation by USA Today. It was that good. We all went out to eat at the Auditorium which was really cool and I got a chance to see little Aili too. I babysat with Virginia for a little and realized how hard little kids are—really makes you appreciate parents with multiple little kids. After MS, I made the trek back to Clemson and got to see Scott, Alan, and Hector. All those kids were graduating and taking that next step in life, that same step I'll be taking in May. I planned on leaving early to come back home but didn't hit the road until noonish...Well, bad idea. It poured for the first two hours, then when I hit NC, it started to snow and as I got further it kept coming down harder. Once I reached Virginia, it was an absolute blizzard. It took me almost 3 hours to go about 25-30 miles and my journey finally ended around 11. We got about 6-8 inches of snow before I was home and woke up this morning to find we have over 18 inches now with more coming. I stayed at James house last night and had a few drinks with the boys and played video games and pool. I made it home this morning and hung out with the fam all day. Mom was cooking all her holiday favorites, Josi was reading and my dad was outside shoveling. Josi and I decided to get outside and enjoy the snow. We bundled up and created a snowboard path from the top of the backyard—winding all the way down to the bottom of the yard. The first couple runs were unsuccessful but a few changes to the route and we were cruising. I had so much fun outside, it brought me back to my kid days and all the fun we used to have at our old house.
Christmas time is always my favorite and sitting by the tree, watching holiday movies, drinking chai tea, and listening to christmas music — you just can't beat that. We'll be snowed in for a few days, so hopefully I can be productive and get a lot of things done while I can. I have a lot on my plate right now and some exciting things are happening. I just hope that I can achieve what I set out to and I thank god for being blessed with all the wonderful things I have in my life.
Merry Christmas.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Hey, say Thanks!

Another Thanksgiving, another time to remember what I'm thankful for. This year was a little different, we all went out last night and I got to see people I haven't seen since middle school. I agreed to run the Turkey Trot this year which is the annual race located downtown Fredericksburg. They have a 1 mile race early in the morning and then a 5k shortly after that. We decided to run it as a family this year and although my body hates me now, I'm glad I did it and enjoyed running. Sanford, Lapp, and I all ran together and came in at about 22 minutes which isn't to bad for not running in a long time. We ran back to walk the rest with Josi and my mom and then when we all finished we snapped a group photo. Then it was back to the house to start the cooking and watch the Packers play the Lions. Each and every year these holidays come up and I sit back and really try to think about how lucky I am and what I am blessed with. It's hard with everything happening so fast — but with a holiday that is dedicated to being thankful, it's nice to be able to sit back on this day and really think. I just finished making sweet potato buttermilk pie with my mom's assistance and it puts a smile on my face knowing how lucky I am. In a little while, we'll head over to my grandparents house for our Thanksgiving feast. This semester has definitely been a lot different from the ones in the past but each and every day I wake up, I try to make myself a better person and continue to learn things — it's a tough transition right now because I only have one semester left of being a kid and being in this college life style. But soon all that will be in the past, and I'll move on to the next chapter in my life. I'm scared, I'm nervous, I'm excited, and I'm ready to see what comes next.

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving and try to remember what you are thankful for and tell someone how you feel about them today :)

Happyyyyyy Thanksgiving!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Wow, it's mid-October already...I can't believe how fast this semester is going. I guess it always feels like that but thisss one feels real fast haha. I had such an awesome fall break, I had a chance to go to Mississippi and I always love it there, and always have the best time. Then Bryson, Addison, and I headed back to Georgia and stayed in Addi's house. We grilled out steaks and went in search for horchata (Which we are still in search of). In the morning we headed to Addison's lake house in Clayton, Georgia. It was exactly what I needed, the leaves were changing, we had a bunch of friends there, and got a chance to go out on the boat on the most gorgeous day this year. We blasted music in the boat and dance and sang for hours. We would dock at a certain spot, throw the anchor down and turn up the music, hang out for a little, then pick a new spot. repeat. I'll never forget playing Arcade Fire - Wake up and closing my eyes and singing at the top of my lungs the lyrics which I don't really know. After the lake house it was back to Clemson.

Football season has been wild. Packers haven't been playing up to expectations but put in a good performance against the dreadful lions. The Redskins are awful. Drew Brees is lighting everyones D up. Favre looks like a serious MVP contender.

Life without being on the soccer team is completely different and it stills feels weird not grabbing lunch and heading up to the training room for a little treatment before practice and preparing for those big friday night games.

I miss my family a lot, I feel like I haven't got to see anyone in forever. Thanksgiving is on it's way and I can't wait to see everyone and have a family cookout.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Feel the beat

Do you ever listen to a song one day and you have certain feelings about it, then a few days later, you hear that same song again and it moves you a completely different way? It's crazy to me how just being in a different room can change how I feel about a song. Little things like the lights being on or off, rain or shine, night or morning...All these things completely change how you feel about music. One of my favorite ways to listen to a song is to turn it up, close my eyes and immerse myself into the song. If you've never done this, you should try it. It changes everything.

Jay - Z released the Blueprint 3 a week or so ago and it's probably my favorite album out right now. I haven't gotten a new rap cd in the longest time but this one is legit. It's taken over for our late night DJ parties and usually is my album of choice when driving around. Something about the beats and his lyrical ways are incredible. If you don't like rap, you should still scope it out. If you do, then you probably already have it.

The next album is from a new band called Paper Route. I've never heard any of their stuff so I decided to check them out. It's a perfect album to pop on and not have to change a song because every song is sick.

I also got a new song by Kid Cudi ft. MGMT. It is probably my favorite song right now, 5 star rating on itunes for sure. It always puts me in the best mood...check it out.

That's it for now. I'll post some other new stuff I got when I get a chance.

Close your eyes and feel the beat.

Monday, September 14, 2009

the NFL is backkkk

I spent this past weekend in Chicago and I really enjoyed it. It's so shiny,clean and new looking. About 40 of us from the GC department all departed ATL on Friday. Bryson and I almost missed our flight but luckily made it with a few minutes to spare. We got to Chi-town later afternoonish...and didn't have any obligations with school so we all just walked around and found a place to eat then went out on the town that night. Saturday we all attended the Print 09 conference. It was the largest building I had ever been in. I went on a boat tour of the architecture around the city which was amazing. Then we all went out Saturday, dancing and singing all night. Sunday more Print 09 and just like that we were heading back to Clemson.

Finally, it's here...The NFL is back. Week 1 is in the books and what a crazy week it was. Starting with games on Thursday night and ending with two Monday night games. The packers came out with a victory at the end of the game while Cutler threw 4 INTs. The game was on TV but I didn't get a chance to watch it because we were on the road back. I was watching the stats on my phone but it's certainly not the same. Rodgers had a great play fake on 3rd and 1 and threw a bomb to jennings for a TD to seal the deal. Apete looked unstoppable going well over 150 yards with two scores. He looks like he's on another level than everyone else. Tom Brady escaped a near loss to the Bills. He threw for 2 TD's in the last two minutes of the game and once again showed he is one of the best, if not the best QB in the league.

But with football comes fantasy and this is our second annual family fantasy football league. This year we all put in 20$ and there will be a nice little pay out at the end of the season. It makes all the games a lot more fun to watch. Cheyenne beat me in the first week so i'm 0-1 to start the year off :)

Back to school, tests and quizzes are already starting up, cluggg. School makes me laugh and I really do wonder what I'm doing in class sometimes and if I'm even learning anything or is more about the experience of things that I'm actually learning. I know the knowledge that is getting passed along to us is valuable, but I always feel like whatever I learn in school I don't really want to know, I'd rather choose my own curriculum. That would be nice.

That's all for tonight.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Back in Tiger Town

So today concludes the end of my first weekend back in Clemson. I haven't been to school since Last December and I wasn't sure how it would feel when I got back. But as I got off the last exit, and saw the sky painted in Orange and Purple, it put a smile on my face and it felt like I hadn't missed a day. There's something about this place, 4 years into it, I still haven't figured it out. I don't know if it's the people, the city, the skies? I don't know...but something about Clemson always makes me happy. I'm not playing soccer anymore, so waking up that first day for class, and ending at 12:15 with nothing to do for the rest of the day was a little weird. Sooo, I headed over to practice with the guys. Being out on the field but not really being on the team definitely felt weird. I saw the freshman running as hard as they could, nervous from the pressure but excited for the opportunities ahead. I can't believe 4 years ago, I was a freshman, 18 years old and sitting out the first few days of preseason because I was ineligible. Then zooom, four years later, I'm out just knocking the ball around with Bryson and Hector and my career here is over. I thought I'd be sad about it all, but I don't think it will really hit me up until I'm sitting in Riggs Stadium and watching that first game, instead of playing.

I'm excited to be back, to see all the guys on the team, my friends that are still here and all my favorite professors. This semester should be interesting and I'm looking forward to it.

I'm back in Tiger Town.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Goodbye San Francisco

Tonight is my last night in San Francisco. Just like that it's over, back to the east coast. Back to school, back to reality. My experience here was incredible. The relationships I made, the experiences I had and the people I met were amazing. I didn't think I'd actually make it out here, but I'm glad I did and I always told myself when I was younger that this is what I wanted to do. My mom sent me a quote book when I was in college and I'll never forget this one line. It read:
"Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel."
I always wanted to do that, but I never thought it was possible — just because of money, housing, school, etc. But I decided that I really wanted to go to NY to get the whole feel of the city. Then I figured I was half done with something I truly wanted to do, so why not take a chance and go out west. So I did. And here I am, coming back home, so many things have changed since that first day I read that book but the experiences in NY and SF were one of a kind. I really figured a lot of things out about myself being out here. It taught me the true meaning of friendship, and happiness and once again how some things just aren't the same by yourself. It's about sharing the moment, and sharing the happiness. When I left the office today, I embraced some people that truly made an impact on me and watching tears roll down someone's face really made me think. I flew almost 2500 miles across the country for an opportunity to work for an advertising agency, and by doing that I met some people that have impacted my life greatly. Those people weren't in my life 3 months ago and by chance we happened to cross paths — me, chasing a dream and a quote...them, who knows? But the fact is, how many people are out there that you just barely miss crossing paths with? How many people people out there could of had a negative effect ? It's crazy to me to think of the possibilities but also makes me so thankful for what I am blessed with. My family and my friends mean the world to me and being in California might of softened me up a little bit, but it sure did make me realize what is important. Maybe I should of listened to that special someone in the first place :)

Back home to Fredericksburg tomorrow, then off to School.


Monday, July 27, 2009

keep on keepin' on

So a few weeks ago, I started a little small journal made of pictures I draw throughout the day, words I like, lyrics, quotes, places I ate, etc...Flipping back and seeing the stuff I write down and the things I'm feeling really help me remember how my days are pieced together. So many little things happen throughout the day that just slip my mind as the days go by. The journal is smaller than my hand and slips right into my front pocket. I got a sweet .005 point pen so I can write extra small in it. This little journal has most of my thoughts/ideas written down in them and is sort of why I stopped blogging for a little. Well and I didn't have internet for a few weeks and I just didn't feel like it.

I was looking at a calendar the other day and realized how big one day actually is. The way relationships change, the music that you listen to, the moods that you are in. With each day things change drastically, you can't see them, but I promise you go look at a calender...look back two weeks previous and think about what has changed during that time. For better for worse, who knows...But it's amazing to me how one day seems so short in the big scheme of things but when you piece together those few days, and that week or month. You realize that each day is such a huge opportunity. A chance to make a difference out there, a chance to chase your dreams, a chance to make new friendships that will last a lifetime, or make friendships that will last a week. Each day gives you an opportunity to move one step closer to what you are pursuing, or take you one step back. These days allow you to understand what you miss, what you love, what you need. I've never thought about a day like that, but it really struck me while looking at a calendar. Try it. It's crazy.

So each day I wake up, I try my best to take advantage of that day. Wether it be cloudy or sunny, sad or happy, stressful or easy-going...I've been trying to make a difference. It's so hard to not just pack it in some days, or just say today sucks...I give up. Or today I'm in a bad mood because I miss someone so bad so I'm gonna be a jerk all day. Or while getting ready to head out of work at 5:29 and someone comes to my desk saying, can you stay and help us...Two hours later, you're still there. Yeah all those times suck. But I heard someone say this to me the other day and I'm sure it's been tossed around many times but "keep on keepin on" — sort of like my dads quote to me..."Keep working hard son, and good things will come." I like that, and I try to live like that. Smile. Live. Laugh. Love. Oh and Dance and Sing...I like those too :)

So tomorrow I'll pretend like Monday is the new Friday, we'll see how long that lasts. But atleast I'll be trying.

Goodnight to all.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Color Fight

Finally posted my animation I've been working on for the past couple weeks. Shoooweee, it's done. Hope you enjoy.

As for everything else...Once again time is flying by here, I love San Fran, the weather, the people, the food, the music, the area. I only have one month left — so I hope I get to enjoy it and it doesn't go by as fast as everything else does.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

It's meant to be shared

Bryson moved here on Saturday and we've done nothing but just explore the city of San Francisco. Last night being the most interesting outing yet. I got off work around 6ish and met Bryson over at the Trax little did we know the rep this place has. But the cheap drinks were to enticing to pass up. I grabbed a beer and we kicked it for a while and noticed some people sitting next to us having a good time. So we introduced ourselves and told them our story and asked them what they were doing know a/s/l — old school style. Well not so much the gender part because, well, that would be weird. Anyway, turns out these people were friends via Craigslist. The girl and her brother had rented an RV in Canada and were headed towards the states, they posted an ad on craigslist asking for some possible traveling mates. They got a few hits and turns out they scooped up two more people on the way. All four of them were hanging out in this bar, three Australians, one kid from Switzerland — all traveling in an RV. Listening to their plans and their journey they've been on was absolutely amazing. They haven't had jobs in forever, they're just traveling, sleeping on couches, picking up jobs left and right just living by the penny. But they all seemed so happy, and so excited about the future. They spoke of their travels to Asia, France, Germany, Italy, and more...then about Vegas, LA, San Fran, Texas and more. They said everywhere they've been they've met the most amazing and friendly people and they wouldn't change it for anything in the world.

It was hard and it sucked without showering for weeks, and barely eating but in exchange they've seen a lot of this world that some of us will never see. I would love to travel, maybe not that much because I love being around my family too but geez how awesome would that be to see all those places and not have anything to worry about. I've been able to travel a little bit with my last two internships which is really nice but someone said this to me a few weeks back, "It's not really about what you have and where you are, it's about the people you're with and the person you're with...and if you don't have anyone to share that happiness with, then it means nothing." I definitely agree with that, I enjoy being by myself on occasion, it's a nice break from everyone else. But sharing these moments with people that you care about the most is one of a kind.

So with my usual philosophical ending to my posts, here goes — keep your loved ones close, travel, but find someone you can share that happiness with because it really does make a difference. Life isn't all about money and jobs and all that stuff, it's about who you're with and love that really makes it worth while. Faith. It's all about faith :)

Everyday I wake up, I realize this more and more and even though I've thought about this before, things are really starting to sink in and make sense. Shoo, another serious talk :) San Francisco is amazing...

p.s. we saw UP in 3D tonight and it was the shiz twiz.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Make a difference

On the way home from work I got a text from Kathi, who I'm living with at the moment. She invited me to go out to dinner with her and Dan. First off, about three weeks ago I had no idea who these people were. Not a clue, to be blunt, I didn't know they existed. Anyway, fast forward a couple weeks, they offered me a room in their beautiful house located in the heart of the Marina District in San Francisco, California. I was introduced to them through one of my best friends, David Sanford, whose mom is friends with Kathi.

At some point in their lives, David's mom made a difference in Kathi's life and they became good friends. Many years later, Kathi offers me a room to stay. At first I was a little scared about coming into a strangers house and not knowing anything about them. It turned out to be exactly what I needed at this point in my life, not only have they made a difference on my life, they've taught me some valuable lessons that I will take with me for the rest of my life. They've been through what I'm going through right now, they've completed the goals and dreams that I am pursuing. They are much older than I am but as every day goes by I look forward to coming home and listening to them talk about their lives. They made a difference on me, they left their footprint with me, and I hope that one day I can pass along my life experiences and make a difference in someone's life.

As I sat at dinner tonight and thought about all this, I realized maybe that's why we are here on this earth, we're given this great opportunity by God to make a difference. Could it be that simple? To wake up everyday and just make a difference, make tiny changes, use your individualism to change the world. Not only will I be a better person because of them, I can now pass along the valuable information they've given me. They've given me a new focus in my life and now I want to pass the torch and make a difference for someone else. The other thing that made me laugh is, it doesn't matter what age you are, what race you are, your title, your rank, your can simply make a difference by smiling. I got to see Noah when I was home, with one smile, he made a difference in my day. Hanging out with my best friends at 3 in the morning shooting pool talking about our lives, that made a difference. My last cookout with the family, sitting in silence on the carport listening to the wind sing it's song, that made a difference.

I put this picture of the tree I took at the top because it really paralleled what I was trying to get across. A seed grew a trunk, a trunk grew a branch, a branch grew many branches, those branches grew leaves, and with those leaves came life. So plant your seed, make a difference, make a branch, and hopefully your branch will create another branch, and that branch will create a leaf and so on.

I'll go to bed saying this...I hope that one day someone will say I made a difference in their lives. I hope that I can be half as good of a friend, sibling, parent and grandparent as mine are to me and I hope that by making a difference in someone's life that they too will want to make a difference.

Sing in your own voice, dance your own dance, and share it with others.


Friday, June 19, 2009


Today I had a decent day at work, got to work on some stuff for a client and did some action scripting stuff...But I decided I wanted to run after work since I didn't have any other obligations for once (i.e. looking for apartments, etc.) So when I got home I quickly changed and headed out to the path taken by many people that live here — which runs parallel to the pacific ocean. I went left at the stop sign today, which normally I take a right...and I was in utter amazement during my entire run. I don't think you'rse supposed to smile when you run because usually your legs are cramping, or you're breathing to hard and it's just not a pleasant feeling. But sometimes you get that runners high and today I'm not sure what I got but it was something better than that. I ran about 2-3 miles and for the entire run I had the hugest smile on my face — the smile you get on the last day of school, the smile you get when you see your significant other for the first time in months, or the smile you get when you're listening to Kings of Leon (well if you like them) — anyway, to each his own. But you know what smile I'm talking about...yeah, I had that for an entire 3 miles of running.

The breeze, the sound of the waves smashing into the boulders positioned into a tight fitting puzzle that lay parallel to a bike path that stretches for miles and miles, the birds chirping and maneuvering through the sky at ease, the kite runners angling their toy to be taken in the direction of the wind...all these things happening around me, people smiling, dogs running through the sand catching frisbees, groups of friends telling stories while having a beer, volleyball games, soccer games, couples under a blanket enjoying just being together. As I ran through all these things and noticed the sun setting behind the bridge and the temperature dropping to a mild 60ish. The feeling I had was more than exhilarating, it was more than amazing, it was pure bliss. I can honestly say I'll never forget the feeling I had tonight and I've explored maybe five percent of what this city has to offer but I guarantee if you traced my footsteps I took tonight — you'd move here in a second.

Dan cooked Jambalaya tonight and for dessert we had fresh sliced peaches forming a circle with yogurt in the middle and almonds on top. Sooo goood and today marked my 4th day of work and tomorrow is Friday and I'll be finished with my first week of work. I'm here. I made it. I'm in San Francisco and I love it.

p.s. I have altered my routes when approaching dogs...I learned my lesson.

Drift away.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

hm, another welcome story

I usually don't complain on here but tonight I think I will. When I was in New York it took about a month for me to get myslapinthefacehellowelcometoNewYork incident. While being in San Francisco it's been less than a week and I think this is my dontyoudarethinksanfranisgonnaletyouliveherewithoutawelcome incident. So I'm checking out a few places down in the mission, and I notice a basketball court off to the side, so the light bulbs go off in my head and I zoom on over. Well, there is a dog tied up to one of the posts next to the court and I noticed him sitting there but didn't think twice know just a dog hanging out watching some hoops. WRONG. As I walked by he was eyeing me I suppose and right when he was out of my perifeal vision, chomp....His mouth clamped down on my leg like JAWS or atleast it felt like it. SO I'm frantically kicking this dog to stop biting me and as he lets my left leg free (while taking a chunk out of my jeans) he manages to bite down on my right leg. Now these jeans are some new Levi's I just scored from Urban — which I usually don't buy pants unless they are on sale...This being the exception because I liked them so much. Well turns out this dog didn't like them and thought he would make his mark on them. SO as I left mission with two holes in my new jeans, and a gash in my leg, I thought to myself...Welcome to San Francisco. Now I hope that is the last of my welcome incidents for now but I can honestly save I've never been bit by a dog like that and it wasn't a pleasant feeling.

I did come home to a home cooked meal from the people I'm staying with. They've been incredibly nice to me and I talk to them for hours and hours almost every night and it's like having my really good friends here. They are so knowledgeable and have so much advice to offer, I have been soaking up as much as I can because both of them are very successful people and are so happy all the time with what they are doing and what they have done. I'm definitely spoiled being in this situation and one of these days I can only hope to offer as much assistance and advice to someone that sure does need it.

Day 3 of work is overrr. So far so good. I'm learning a little more of the coding/flash/design side of things instead of dealing with print work — which is a nice change. Before I know it I'll be headed back home and I'll be off to school again.

Goodnight to all.

p.s. new iphone software came out tonight and it's dope, also Tweetdeck for the iphone came out as well. I LOVE technology.

Monday, June 15, 2009

east coast to west coast

As I set off to embark on my next trip, I got to the airport with plenty of time to spare. Little did I know I was about to partake in my longest flight/airport experience ever. I boarded my first plane in Richmond, and about 20-30 minutes went by and still no take off. Shortly after the pilot comes on the PA system and announces that we are currently 750 lbs. over the weight limit. Hmm, soo what shall we do? They announced that they needed volunteers to catch another flight. I didn't really feel like switching planes so I just sat there. All the sudden they come out and say "Is there a Brooks on the plane?" I raised my hand slowly, wondering if I had done something wrong. They told me they had a flight for me that would get me there a little later, so I said sure and they ushered me off the plane. Once I got off the plane I waited around for a little, and one of the receptionist came up to me and told me what was going on. They changed my flight to go to ATL now instead of New York...They gave me a meal voucher and I hung out for a few. When I went back up to the receptionist to get my new tickets, they handed me a $400 voucher for Delta Airlines. I sat there in shock and wasn't really sure what was going on, but apparently for my cooperation and the inconvenience of the whole situation — they gave me a voucher to make up for all of it. So I thought everything would be ok after this and I was pretty pumped up about my little voucher.

When I got to ATL I checked the little screens with the departure times and my time of 6:30 P.M was now delayed till 7:30...Hmm, whatever, so I grabbed a bite to eat — and checked back after...Well turns out now it's delayed till 8:30, and this continued all the way till our departure time of 12:25 A.M. Finally, I boarded...nothing could go wrong from here right? Wrong. The lady sitting next to me fell asleep on my shoulder multiple times. She kept apologizing but continued to somehow fall asleep on me. For an almost 6 hour flight I guess it could of been worse but that was definitely the longest experience I've ever had with flying. I got to San Fran about 5:30 EST time which was 2:30 in Cali.

I'm staying at a family friends house for a few days until I find something permanent. I fell asleep as soon as I hit the bed, and in the morning I went exploring. San Francisco is absolutely gorgeous, the first couple steps I took outside the house, I turned down a street and in the distance was the water. I couldn't stop smiling, and walked along the coast line. This is my second day here and so far it's been unbelievable. I don't know anyone here but being all alone out here not knowing a soul is kinda cool sometimes. I think atleast?

I start work tomorrow, I checked out the building yesterday and it's very similar to New York. I can't believe I'm in San Francisco, but then again I couldn't really believe I was in NY and now I'm I'm sure this will fly by just as fast.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

My last cookout

So today marked my last cookout until I return home again. My destination this time: San Francisco. I leave on Friday of this week, with no place to live, not knowing a soul, and about to start a complete different job...I feel a little crazy. But nonetheless, I had to celebrate my last weekend with none other than a family cookout over at my grandparents house. These have been my favorite times for as long as I can remember. Simply going over there and being around all the family brings happiness to me, regardless of how I feel prior to the cookouts.

This very Sunday when I got there, the heat was brutal but I like to shoot some hoops before the food is ready. My grandma came out and played horse with me for a little, then my mom joined in as well. We only played one game and my grandma ended up winning with a little j-hook that I just couldn't match. Then it was time for food, which is always delightful. My grandpa should seriously be on Iron Chef, the things he does with food is beyond belief. Today we had an assortment of things. He usually does the grill stuff and my grandma prepares the rest. My Mom, Jason and Laura usually bring their own addition to the smorgasbord of foods that we pass around for our afternoon/night meal. Today we had ribs, and sausage stuffed with mozzarella, then fried okra, a fruit salad, pasta salad, and pulled pork. To top it off we had oreo pie for dessert (my favorite dessert in the world).

Each cookout that goes by brings our family just that much closer and it's like I told my little sister today, do you ever sit outside and wonder why we can't see things grow. If you stared at a piece of grass for 10 hours, to the human eye nothing would change. But sure enough that little blade of grass is growing. The same with a human being, watching Noah every weekend, I certainly can't see him growing but as the weeks pass and the months go by, the next time I see him I'll say to myself...He sure has grown. Which brings me to how close our family is. Each weekend, each cookout may not seem like we are growing as a family but as I continue to explore my opportunities in this world, and experience new things. That bond that my family has, that loving circle I'm apart of...well, it keeps me coming back home every single time.

So be thankful for your family, even though you may not notice the bonding and the growing of your relationships but many things in life are taken for granted, that being one of them. The one thing that I'll always know is that my family has their arms open at all times, and is certainly always up for one more cookout.

Thanks fam.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

End of the storm

End of the storm, originally uploaded by mjbrooks10.

I left work yesterday and the wind was picking up, the clouds were moving in and it started to drizzle. By the time I got in my car and drove out of the parking lot, the light from the sun vanished, being swallowed by the enormous clouds rolling in. My car felt like it was moving with the gust of wind and by the time I reached river road, the rain started to fall. A little while later, it turned into hail, and this wasn't your normal hail...It sounded like I was driving through a golf range and golf balls were slamming against my car. I actually thought my windshield was going to cave in. I dropped my car into neutral and just coasted for a little while, the windshield wipers were on full blast but I still couldn't see a thing. Up ahead the sun was fighting back, just trying to break through the monstrous clouds, and finally it snuck through. At the end of the road it was like a movie, the light was near, and the storm was almost over. In a matter of minutes it was finished, no more hail, no rain, no clouds...The sun was shining and the wind stopped. When I pulled into my neighborhood, not a sign of rain in sight. But through the trees in the backyard a rainbow appeared and I ran inside got my camera and snapped a few shots. Unfortunately, the quality wasn't that good so I did a little manipulating to bring out the rainbow's hue.

Hope you enjoy.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Closer to Love

New song from Mat Kearney, so good.

She got the call today
One out of the gray
And when the smoke cleared
It took her breath away
She said she didn't believe
It could happen to me
I guess we're all one phone call
from our knees
We're gonna get there soon

If every building falls
And all the stars fade
We'll still be singing this song
The one they can't take away
I'm gonna get there soon
She's gonna be there too
Cryin' in her room
Prayin' Lord come through
We're gonna get there soon

Oh it's your life
Oh it's your way
Pull me out of the dark
Just to show me the way
Cryin out now
From so far away
You pull me closer to love
Closer to love

Meet me once again
Down off Lake Michigan
Where we could feel the storm blowin
Down with the wind
And don't apologize
For all the tears you've cried
You've been way too strong now for all your life

I'm gonna get there soon
You're gonna be there too
Cryin' in your room
Prayin' Lord come through
We're gonna get there soon

Oh it's your life
Oh it's your way
Pull me out of the dark
Just to show me the way
Cryin out now

From so far away
You pull me closer to love
Closer to love

Cause you are all that I've waited for
All of my life
(We're gonna get there)
You are all that I've waited for
All of my life

You pull me closer to love hu huuh
Closer to love hu huuuh
Pull me closer to love
You pull me closer to love
Closer to love oh no
Closer to love
Closer to love

Pull me closer to love

Mat Kearney - Closer to Love

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Name Intro - w/ sound

So this took me about 20-25 hours for 18 seconds... Shoooweee, finally I finished...I had a lot of family time this weekend, the weekend cookouts are my favorite times. Noah is growing up sooo fast, and he's been our entertainment. I'm thankful for having such a great family though — not sure what I would do without them.

Off to bed, rain all next week...sweet.

I'm lost for you, I'm so lost for you.


Friday, May 22, 2009

Chancellor Soccer

Tonight my friends and I went over to Spotsy to catch the district championship for soccer. Chancellor (my highs school) was playing Courtland for the title...I saw my coach before the game, he was doing his pre-game ritual, pacing the field and playing situations over in his head with strategies to conquer the opponent. High School soccer at Chancellor isn't just any ol' soccer. It was a tradition, and to wear the jersey was to honor the players that came before you and play with pride and passion for the program. It was something that was drilled in our heads since we were freshman, but was something I learned to love while being there. Every school envied us, simply because the way our program was run. We had the best gear, the best fans, the best fields and the best coach. We didn't always have the most talented team but we damn sure had the hardest working team and tonight 5 years after I graduated continued that tradition. The game started slow, the play was sloppy in the midfield...Courtland had a few good chances and broke down the defensive at will, but then Chancellor caught fire and had some chances to go ahead. The score remained 0-0 for 80 minutes and then in overtime off of a free-kick the boys willed in a goal where the ball was bouncing around in the box. Chancellor went ahead 1-0 and never looked back as they took the district title and that will add another trophy to Webb's case.

I enjoyed watching the game tonight, and watching those kids get fired up before the game brought back memories of our friday night games, under the lights, big crowd, championship on the line...and to hear that final whistle is a feeling you just can't get with anything else.

So congrats to Chancellor and Coach Webb and good luck in Regionals.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

so long, farewell NYC.

So I was gonna write my farewell New York post as soon as I got back but I didn't want to so quick. I still didn't believe I was gone already, it just felt so fast...My mom and grans dropped me off at my hotel and five months later I was headed home. On the ride home I thought about all the awesome times I had...the late night pinkberry outings, the sunday brunch at double crown, sugars, and public, the basketball pickup games and of course all the city explorations we made. I also thought about how amazing the people I worked with were, and the amazing location I was in. All these things kept buzzing through my mind and I realized how much I would miss it. I'm so glad I took the opportunity and went through all the crap I did to make it there. I was only there for such a short time but I made some really close friends and got thrown into the fire at work and learned more than I ever have. I wouldn't trade my experience for anything and I'll never forget how amazing it was. I will say the first night I got home, I got to drive my car again, and I didn't wake up in the middle of the night to someone barging in the room, and I fell asleep to my fan instead of the sirens and horns of the city. That was the first homey feeling I've had since christmas. When I woke up, I missed my breakfast at work, and going in the retouching room to ask Kris what's going on for the day, I missed catching the train into work and getting to read 5-10 pages of my book. I missed being able to choose from hundreds of places to eat at after work. The chance to catch all my favorite bands were less than a few train stops away, the amount of opportunity there was endless. But I can't say I'm a New Yorker, but I can say that I lived there and I had a great experience. (minus my iphone getting stolen)

My time there was brief, but the memories were vast. Another chapter ends as another is about to begin. I accepted an internship this summer at Ogilvy and I'll be heading to San Francisco in a few weeks. East cost to west coast...I can't wait for this opportunity and I can only hope that I'll have as good of a time there that I had in New York. I'm sure I'll make reference to New York on the reg, but as for now...the page is closed.

I already miss Pinkberry. ahhhhhhhh.

Reid and Pedro — we'll have to meet up at Double Crown sometime down the road, hopefully they'll still have the whiskey french toast.

Friday, May 1, 2009


I have one week left in New York City before I peace outta here, I'm not sure where I'll be this summer but I sure will miss the nature of 'the city.' Instead of feeling scared and embracing for the real world, I'm relieved to know I'm heading back to school for two semesters. The status updates that read "It's over, I'm done with college," or "nooooo..I don't want college to be over," are terrifying to me, but thankfully I'm not in that boat just yet. But on this bleak day in New York I took the time to hit the rewind button and fast-forward through my memories was exactly what I wanted it to be. And as the days wind down, I am scared at the fact that I'm leaving. Bereft—but knowing a new chapter is about to begin makes the whole transition bittersweet. 

So I will embark on my time here in more detail when I finally leave but a simple intro to my final week here was needed. 

and...I know this book came out a while ago and the bandwagon is out of sight, but I'm reading Kite Runner and it's effin fantastic. 

Monday, April 27, 2009

time will tell

This past weekend marked the annual NFL Draft, the draft consists of seven rounds where NFL teams choose players from the collegiate level for a chance to play on their squad. Generally the players in rounds 1-5 make the team and compete for a spot to play, players in the later rounds rely on their ability but also need a sprinkle of luck for a chance to play. Some of the best players in the league today have come from the 6th and 7th round, but the majority of players who make a difference on their team are drafted on day 1. I love the draft though, especially back in the day when I would go over to my grandparents house, and all the guys  would kick back and relax, while eating home-made wings with different sauces. Todd, Jason, Gooze, Joe and I sat an entire day watching each pick, and pondering what the upcoming season would be like with the rookies (with ranch dripping down our faces).

Generally I enjoy watching the first round to see all the up and coming players and all their combine numbers, and the highlights of the college career. I am no expert but I usually mumble comments as teams pick certain players. This draft was no different, when the Raiders were up to pick at the 7 spot, they elected to go with a WR out of Maryland, Darrius Heyward-Bey — who Mel Kiper had rated as the #30 best player on the board. The guy is fast, but he was honorable mention in the ACC, now time will only tell if he will pan out, but Al Davis, are you serious? Michael Crabtree, one of the most prolific college football players ever to play the game was still on the board and rated by many as the best player in the draft. Who knows, the guy could be a bust...but if I'm paying someone 60 million dollars, he certainly should be a little better than honorable mention in the ACC. Then as if the first pick wasn't bad enough, they end up selecting a safety, Michael Mitchell, who didn't even have video, the guy was rated 70 out of 72 safeties in the draft and the raiders took him with their second pick. Sigh. 0-16 for the raiders??? Anyway, I'd like to reflect a little on the packers draft, which I was thoroughly impressed with. 

Ted Thompson isn't your typical GM, he allowed Favre to leave the packers, he rarely makes free-agent moves but I will say, his crackerjack way of improving the team through the draft is quite stellar. Nick Collins and Greg Jennings, both have outperformed projections and both went to lower end schools. Neither of them were highly rated but good ol' Ted took a chance and has reaped the benefits. I hope that his unique approach to this years draft will work out like it has in the past. 

With their first pick, 9th overall, they selected B.J. Raji out of Boston College. After watching highlights and listening to analysts, he seems to be the real deal. With a healthy Justin Harrell and the packers changing to a 3-4 I think he can be a huge force on the inside, a Gilbert Brown type of player. With their second pick, they traded a 2nd round, and two 3rd rounders to move up to the 26th pick to nab Clay Matthews III out of Southern Cal, who I think might be one of the biggest surprises of next year. He can flat out fly as a linebacker and his ball-hawking ability will fit-in nice with the likes of A.J. Hawk and Nick Barnett next to him as well as Aaron Kampman coming off the outside. With the rest of their picks, they picked up two nice offensive lineman that can step in right away, a solid fullback from LSU, and a few more defensive players to fill in some holes and provide some depth on special teams. Overall, I felt good with this years picks, and I really think the packers have something to prove next year. They have one of the youngest teams in the draft and Aaron Rodgers will continue to improve on a great first year performance.

A few other notes about the draft: I thought the Redskins got a steal with Orakpo, he looks like he'll be a force for many years on the outside and hopefully will provide some defensive improvement to the redskins poor defensive line. Teaming up with Haynesworth could create some havoc and leave many of the opposing teams QB's on their butts. I also was impressed with the Dolphins taking a risk on Pat White, I think he'll turn out to be a good fit with their wishbone style of play. 

Some other notable players that I think will do good, Mark Sanchez(best QB in the draft IMO), Patrick Chung, the safety out of Oregon — went to the pats. Michael Oher out of Ole Miss (awesome story about him growing up) and Jeremy Maclin from Mizzou going to the Eagles, I hope all the rookies do well, but as you all know, there will be plenty of busts, just hopefully not any on the packers :)

Only time will tell how these new young bucks will do.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I'm backkk in the city

After my five hour delay I finally reached it back to my ever so big hotel. My weekend was splendid, not like the splendid sweetner, just because that's bad for you but you know what I'm saying. I got into Atlanta Thursday night and met up with Bryson, we caught a show at a local bar and then headed home. We went to breakfast at a pretty sweet place called Flying Biscuit, and the biscuits were delicious, imagine that. The trip into Clemson was gorgeous, the weather was perfect, the windows were down, the music was blaring, and I was on the way back to my school. The banquet, well...the banquet was quite like the last one, and the one before that...and yep, the one before that. I'm so glad I got to see all my old teammates and friends, I felt a little weird not being on the actual team anymore. They spoke of the future and the game plan for next fall and it was a little odd not being a part of that future, or that game plan.

I got to see my family for a little bit and spent some quality time with my girlfriend :) We all went to spill the beans (yummm) and did some catching up. Downtown Clemson was still the same, all 4 or 5 bars jam packed with people. I miss that atmosphere, and got to see a bunch of people that I haven't seen in a while.

Fast-forward and bam, the weekend was gone. Virginia and Penny lane dropped me off at the airport, and saying goodbye is always the worst. I sat in the airport for close to five hours waiting for our plane to depart. We actually boarded the plane only to find out minutes later that the pilot request that we (un)board the plane. That was a first. I did get to finish my book, Lullaby, by Chuck Pahlaniuk — I'm still not sure if I liked it better than Choke, but his twisted, clever, yet addicting style is always worth the read. He puts his own sauce on things, sweet sauce that is. I'm looking forward to getting one of his other books.

I missed everyone a lot and I'm so glad I got a chance to see everyone. I have about 2-3 weeks left here and I'm ready to make the best of it. My future is still up in the air for the summer, I'm playing the waiting game. My fingers are crossed, and my bags are about to be packed again.

spokoinoi nochi.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sweet you rock and sweet you roll

Last night I was lucky enough to go see Dave Matthews at Madison Square Garden. Now I think I missed the boat on Dave when I was younger, I just wasn't into him that much. I'm sure I wasn't the only person that ideated a view about Dave. While every person in our high school jammed out to his stuff I only knew a few songs and that's because B101.5 played them on repeat, or atleast it seemed like it. I guess I just never really gave them a chance and now I feel stupid but through the years I kept getting more and more of his stuff. My girlfriend had loads of dmb songs on her computer so I figured I would see what I was missing. Now don't get me wrong, I knew all his big time hits back in the day, and have got a few albums here and there but I was never a huge DMB fan. I've always heard how amazing he is live and bla bla bla. After last night I am now right there with everyone else, he really is amazing. His entire performance was outright stupefying. I honestly had chills during the entire show, every word, every riff, every movement was perfect. The thing that amazed me most was the majority of the things they do are not staged, they're not written down, it's all 'in the moment.' When they played #41, I videotaped for about 9 minutes, now the version I have on my ipod is about 5 minutes, and the live is about 9, so I stopped videoing not only because I thought it was almost over but because my hand was tired of holding my camera up. Ten minutes later, they were still playing #41 and rockin' out to a version I'm sure nobody has ever heard, even them. I was in awe. Pedro and I couldn't stop describing how good they were, we ran out of adjectives throughout the show to even attempt to explain it. So towards the end we just kept, or oh my god...But my favorite thing was when he held the mic up to the crowd, and let them finish the lyrics. Not just a few people joined in, the entire crowd did. I can't imagine the feeling that you get when thousands and thousands of people are singing your lyrics back at you at the top of their lungs, jumping, and screaming in ecstasy. The word successful would be an understatement.

So to wrap things up, I'm obsessed. If you haven't ever seen him live, go...Now. Book tickets NOW. Virginia gets to see him soon, and I'm jealous, so maybe she'll be a guest blogger on here about her experience and my little sister is going to see him this weekend, i'm sure she'll write about him so I'll post a link to it as soon as she does, then you'll be convinced to book your ticket.

*update* I've added the #41 video to the top, hope you enjoy. I trimmed it down to about 6 minutes. 

Monday, April 13, 2009

time sure does fly

So Bobby, one of my best friends from home called me Thursday night and said, "yooo dude, I'm coming to NYC." I was in shock, because I hadn't talked to him a while and I certainly didn't think he would really come. Fast-forward to Saturday morning, Bobby calls me and tells me he's on Canal Street, it's 7:25 in the morning and I am struggling to open my eyes, I tell him how to get to my hotel. Bobby and I met each other when I was about 9 years old, our parents brought us to soccer practice, and we immediately bonded. We developed this chemistry not only in our friendship but on the soccer field. He knew what move I would do next, I knew what he was thinking, the pass he was about to play me, without him looking, I knew it was coming...The diagonal run that I was about to make 30 yards across the field, yeah, he knew I was gonna do it without even seeing me, and the ball that I wanted 10 yards into space, yep...he would play it. There was no verbal communication, there was just that connection. We used to spend hours and hours playing 1 v 1 in his back yard, come in for a drink, and right back to it. I can honestly say I would never be the soccer player I was without those long days when we were kids. We developed a love for the game, and that love carried me all the way to college soccer in the ACC. It carried him all the way to Old Dominion University where he has one year left. And that love that we developed, the drive and determination we had was all used to chase our dreams.

Reuniting with my best friend from childhood was exactly what I needed this weekend. The weather wasn't the best, but we trudged through it anyway. I got to show him the city as best as I could in the short period of time that we had. But as we walked around and talked about the past, and all our memories as a kid, it still amazes me how long ago that was and how much time has passed since that first night at Loriella park where our parents dropped us off for our first serious soccer team. I had such a good weekend, and on Thursday I'll make my way back to Clemson for an overdue reunion with my team. I'll get to see my family, my girlfriend, roommates, and my teammates.

Happy Easter to everyone, and I have one more month in NYC, then who knows where I'll be next.

Time sure does fly.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tarheels go out on top

Tonight marked the 2009 national championship for college basketball. The tarheels set out on a mission from the opening whistle. They stormed out in front with a large lead and the spartans choked on their dust the entire game. I always envied UNC, something about the baby blue, the talented athletes that played their throughout the years. My screen name when I was younger was uncboy212—real original huh? Anyway, after UNC jumped out to an early lead they cruised to victory, absolutely stomping Michigan State 89-72. MS State had no match for Ty Lawson as he orchestrated through their D with ease, Tyler Hansbrough did his usual thing and Roy Williams coached a perfect game yet again. UNC hit a few road blocks during the season but during the tournament, when it counted, they were flawless. It won't be the same watching them next year without Hansbrough, he'll partake in his next journey to the NBA and hopefully his hard-work will establish him as a top player for many years to come. I watched him these past four years and was in awe at how hard he worked and the passion that he played with. Every young aspiring kid in America should watch highlights of his presence during a game. He gives 110%, plays to the whistle, and motivates the players around him to step their game up. He was an integral part to UNC's success not only this season but the past four seasons. But anywho, they deserved it, they were the best team in the country in my opinion. So kudos to Roy Williams and his boys.
As for other sports tonight, the Yankees got smoked in their opening game. CC didn't pitch to well, welcome to NY buddy...hope he can handle some heat, because New York isn't exactly the easiest place to play, just ask A-Rod...

I drafted my fantasy baseball team tonight, so I'll be following baseball a bit more than last year and instead of just following the yanks, i'll be tuning into many games.


Friday, April 3, 2009

and the weekend begins

I'm going to see Cold War Kids tonight...yep, by myself again. I was thinking about how many shows I've been to lately — all by myself. There is something about seeing a concert alone. You have no obligations to turn to the person next to you and say "this is soooo sick," you don't have to worry where anyone went, and there is no waiting for anyone. Everything is up to you — you simply keep your eyes focused on the band, you move when you want, you sing when you want, and you dance when you want. When I ordered most of my tickets to these shows, I barely knew anyone here and figured...what the hell, just go by yourself. I certainly never thought I would enjoy them as much as I do. Now don't get me wrong, nothing beats the Kings concert that all of my friends went to in Nashville, by far my favorite concert I've been to. So it's almost time to head off to another lonely experience and by lonely I mean it's gonna be awesommeee. 

Another week is gone, and my days here are dwindling away. I'm gonna miss it here, ahhh no need to be sappy just yet. Here comes the weekend :)

p.s. if you haven't yet, go to a show by yourself...then holla at me and tell me what you think

Monday, March 30, 2009

Tiger Woods

So as many of you may know, Tiger Woods is officially back from his injury that kept him away from golf almost an entire year. Well he came back with a vengeance, and played in the Arnold Palmer Invitational this past weekend. It's his third tournament since being back, and being down by 5 strokes approaching the final round Tiger started chipping his way back to the top. On the final hole, he had a chance to birdie a 15 ft. putt to win it all. What do you think happened? The guy is beyond incredible, of course he sank it. As I watched on my small little TV from the 90s I stared in amazement. I actually did a real lol. I couldn't stop laughing because he really does amaze me with his determination and how hard he worked to get back to where he is now.

It reminds me of one of my best friends back at Clemson. Parker went through three knee injuries and each one he came back stronger, maybe not physically, but mentally. I'll never forget those long talks we had in the training room, the topics we discussed, the raps we made up about Matt Money, and the views we gave each other. I'm getting carried away about how much I miss Parker, but the truth is, that determination is so special and it's rare to find it. But my applause goes out to Tiger and seeing him come back and dominate is fitting. He deserves every bit of success that he has had in the past and that he will have in the future.

Which leads me to conclude with this, determination isn't a gift you're born with. It's an attribute that you acquire. I acquired my determination when I was younger, and I did this by watching my parents. My mom is the hardest working individual I've ever seen and my dad — he might actually take the cake by a little. Both of my parents are determined to make the best out of each situation they're given. I watched my dad grow up cutting lawns in the summer to make a little extra money to help our family out and I watched my mom work late hours every night of the week just so she could send me to camps. My grandparents are like second parents to me and they too were hard workers, my grandpa literally built a business from scratch and many years later has developed into one of the most prestigious photography businesses on the east coast. So no I don't believe determination is something your born with but I've been surrounded by it my entire life and I've been lucky enough to soak up those attributes from my family and it's shaped me into being the person I am today.

So I'll close with this, in my father's words..."Keep working hard son, good things will come." I live my life by that saying. So thank you to my family for giving me the drive to follow in your footsteps and thank you tiger woods for exemplifying determination at such a high level.

Determination is contagious, spread it — keep working hard, good things will come.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Bloc Party

So I went to see Cut Copy the other night which I might add was an awesome show...Now so far I haven't seen a bad show while I've been here but there was something about Bloc Party tonight that blew me away. Despite the two ridiculous inconsiderate girls that decided they would use my shoes as their dance floor and jump up and down without ever stopping....yeah despite that, it was an absolutely phenomenal show. Kele Okereke is the lead singer and his british accent provides an amazing sound companied with guitars and drums. I've listened to Bloc Party for quite some time now, but never considered them to be one of my favorite bands. It was just another album that I came across every once in a while and listened to some tracks, knew some words, some melodies and that was about it. But this past week I've been listening to their stuff a lot so I could familiarize myself with it before I went. Their albums don't hold a candle to the live versions. Some of the songs gave me chills (and it felt like it was 90 degrees in there) and I found myself jumping up and down to almost every song they played. I wish I could write a more in-depth review but I just don't know what else to say besides you should go see them play if you can. Amazing.

Here is the lyrics to the last part of the video that I'll post later.

We've got crosses on our eyes
Been walking into the walls again
We've got crosses on our eyes
Been walking into the furniture
We've got crosses on our eyes
For richer, for poorer, for better, for worse
We've got crosses on our eyes
We've been walking into the furniture


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

chaotic hands

chaotic hands, originally uploaded by mjbrooks10.

The crowd applauding Cut Copy on their final song 'Lights and Music.' Added a few things to it, and I was pretty happy with the final outcome. Low lighting doesn't give you many options but this is what turned out for me. Hope you enjoy.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


So I've been reading Blink by Malcolm Gladwell for the past week or so. Though I wish I spent more time on the weekends reading, well—I just don't. The 10–20 pages on the subway to and from work is about all I get. That brief time I spend reading this book has certainly changed the way I think. Here is a short paragraph in the book that really grabbed my attention.

"A person watching a silent two-second video clip of a teacher he or she has never met will reach conclusions about how good that teacher is that are very similar to those of a student who has sat in the teacher's class for an entire semester. That's the power of our adaptive unconscious.

You may have done the same thing, whether you realized it or not, when you first picked up this book. How long did you first hold it in your hands? Two seconds? And yet in that short space of time, the design of the cover, whatever associations you may have with my name and the first few sentences about the kouros all generated an impression — a flurry of thoughts and images and preconceptions — that has fundamentally shaped the way you have read this introduction so far. Aren't you curious about what happened in those two seconds? "

So yes, I was certainly curious, hence why I continued to read and why I'm writing about this now. Some of the facts that Gladwell speaks about are utter brilliance. I've never thought of things like that, and the subtitle of the book is "the power of thinking without thinking." It sure does make you think. Some of the experiments that he does almost begs you to repeat them yourself. Some of the concepts are so simple but I never thought of them because they were hidden by my preconceived notions. The main focus on the book is namely our ability to make snap judgements, also called thin-slicing. He mentions how accurate our snap judgements really are, and the ability to solve problems using that ability.

Well I'm writing as if I finished the book but—truth is, I haven't. But what I can say about the first uhhh—150 pages? that it's very entertaining, and quite humorous because of the relativity of each experiment is so spot on to our every day life that it's amusing. But to top line the first half of the book - it's well worth the read.

I'm off to bed. Gone are the nights at college where I only needed four hours of sleep to function. Sigh.


Sunday, March 8, 2009

The happiness of making someone happy

This weekend was by far one of my most memorable weekends since I've been in the city. Friday night I went to dinner with some friends at my favorite sushi place, and the manager and waiter/waitresses are so friendly and treat me like family. Everytime I walk in I make sure to greet them and have a conversation, I always tip well, and try to show my face atleast a few times a week. They have definitely been so nice every time I come in. Anyway, friday was nothing short of a usual night there. A free appetizer, great service, and sometimes a free dessert, but friday - two desserts. Henry, the manager is so personable with every customer there, yet he makes you feel like you're the only one there.

On Saturday... Reid, Pedro, Laura and I headed to Central Park on such a gorgeous day, it was 60 degrees in New York City which was a first since I've been here. We got off the train and entered into the park, we approached the basketball courts which were packed with people of all ages. I thought maybe since I was in the city things might be a little different, but sure enough, everyone was just out to enjoy the weather and wanted to have a good time. Well, minus the group of kids that tried to fight, nothing but words were exchanged but I actually stood in the middle and asked what was going on, and yes, I did feel pretty badass, but they were 13-15 years old...I shoulda left that part out because then I could have looked real tough. But anyway, Reid, Pedro and I shot around for a little but it was way to busy to get a game going. So, one of the courts were occupied by some youngins probably all between 10 to 15 years old, so I went and shot around with them. I asked if they wanted to play a game, and they quickly accepted the notion. So we picked teams and here I was, 22 years old playing in a pick-up game with little 10 year olds. Pedro on one team helping the kids out and me on the other. I can honestly say I haven't had that much fun in a long long time. I was teaching the little ones how to cut to the basket, come off screens, and lots of movement always helps. And after about 20-30 minutes it was a whole new game, the kids were setting screens, running all over the place working for each other. We probably played for a solid hour and Eric and Jake were two little boys that were on my team - they both got so much better as the game went on. Jake in his dress shirt, khakis, and dress shoes and Eric with his black shirt and his very shy personality both turned into stars of the court. All because we gave them a little confidence, helped them out a little, showed them how to have fun, how to move, and how to score easy points. As people crowded around it was obvious that some older guys wanted to play, so we wound up our game. After we finished an older man approached me on the middle of the court and held out his hand to shake mine. He thanked me for being such a good presence on the court and helping his son learn how to "play" the game. He said hes never seen his son play like that and that him and his wife sat in awe on the sidelines watching their son have such an amazing time. I laughed and told him that Eric was a great player - which he was and told him when I was young I was given that same treatment by my dad, and he showed me how to "play". As I turned around and walked off the court, a lady approached me, this was Jake's mom - she too said the same thing to me. She thanked me for being so positive with her son even though he was throwing up air-balls left and right, that to him he didn't care because the boys out there accepted him because of how Pedro and I encouraged them. She had the biggest smile on her face and said I had no idea how thankful she was for bringing him out there that day. Those two comments made my day, it made my weekend...hell, it made my entire time here worth it. Just to see how much fun those kids were having, and remembering those days that I played basketball with little kids, and being so nervous and scared when older kids were around. But to give them that same lesson that my dad gave me 10 years ago was surreal.

So yeah, that alone made my weekend amazing...But the fact that I got to go to John's pizzeria with my favorite people, then red mango, a movie on the 16th floor, sugars cafe, clemson basketball game, and chipotle...Yeah - it was a great weekend for sure.

Monday is back again, ahhhhhh.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

longg week

I haven't written much in the past few days but honestly, I've just been exhausted. It's been one of those weeks, I keep trying to get a little more sleep but I just feel more and more tired. It doesn't help that I keep getting woken up in the middle of the night but that's another story. Tomorrow is friday atleast. This week has been reallyyy long. I've been working on my resume all week at work. Everyone there has been giving me a lot of help. So hopefully everything will look good soon. I can't believe two months have gone by already. I've had so much fun here and I've learned way more than I ever thought I would.

On a side note, TO got released today. I didn't even realize he was second in the NFL with most dropped passes. I suppose he deserves to be cut, but I'm sure he'll go somewhere and score touchdowns and cause more drama. I just hope he doesn't go to the packers.

I went to dinner with Tardy tonight - we went to Dishes. It's pretty amazing if you ask me. But were trying to get dinner atleast once a week. So far were two for two. I'm really sleepy, so I'm off to bed.


Monday, March 2, 2009

Saint John The Divine

Saint John The Divine, originally uploaded by mjbrooks10.

I got a chance to attend a service at Saint John The Divine tonight, I went with Reid and Laura, and we sat in utter amazement. We toured the place once the service was over, and I just can't wrap my mind around how amazingly intricate the architecture is. The fact this was built so long ago with such precision and such beautiful symmetry is breath-taking. The echo of the preachers voice tonight sent chills down my spine. I felt important sitting in that church and realize all the people that have sat there before me, and the people who will sit there tomorrow, next week, next year, hundreds of years from now. I'm glad I got to embrace that euphoric feeling for just that short amount of time.

Goodnight - Monday awaits us.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

feel good doing good

The past few days I've really been thinking about just doing good stuff for people. Sometimes even the simplest things can make someone's day. I realized this a few times today and the past couple days. I'm sure I've realized this before, but I didn't think to much about it nor did I have a blog to write it down. I was sitting on the train and saw an older woman approach the door, she barely made it in and obviously would love to sit down. The E train was packed tight - as it usually is. I made sure to get her attention and offered her my seat. Now this is where it gets twisted...a younger woman who had been standing actually jolted towards the seat and cut this lady off and sat down - with no regret. I was so angry but luckily the lady acknowledged me and another person gave her a seat. Now don't get me wrong, I don't feel great because I gave an older lady my seat - your supposed to do that. It's not some big feat, but it definitely made me feel good and she smiled, which you don't see to many smiles around the city. 

Anyway today I went to Barnes and Noble with Reid and Laura, we dispersed throughout the store and agreed to meet up in a little. A little turned into an hour, but nonetheless, the feeling of being in a bookstore and enclosed with endless knowledge is warming, but it also lets you know how much is out there, and how little you know. I am always drawn to the design books and I usually strike up conversations with people that are looking at the same stuff. Today I attempted to ask someone if they were learning After Effects - well, he didn't answer me. So I asked answer. I tried one more time and still no answer, finally the guy looked at me and signed to me that he was deaf. I could tell he probably gets that a lot and probably thought I would just turn around and walk away. I sort of got nervous, because I took two years of sign language and don't know much at all but I figured if I turn around, he will have missed out on meeting someone and talking to a stranger. So I quickly cycled through all the sayings I learned and tried to remember just anything I could sign to him, I got his attention and signed to him if he was trying to learn after effects. The smile that came upon his face was amazing. He seemed so happy and quickly put the book down and signed very slow for me - he said he was trying to learn but it was so much information.We had about a 5 minute convo and he thanked me for talking to him and I told him it was good talking and have a good day. I felt so good walking away but wished I would've known more so we could of continued to chat. 

So my point is, you don't need to know sign language to do good, but if we try and do good, it's usually reciprocated, and that good is contagious. So do more good, and feel good doing it. The more we try to be nice, the more people will be nice. It's the little things that count, as cliche as it sounds, it really is. Simple things like holding the door, picking up something someone dropped, giving your seat up, striking a conversation, smiling....the good words are endless. 

So the next time your out, feel good doing good. 

Just try it.

Monday, February 23, 2009

St. Patrick's Cathedral

St. Patrick's Cathedral, originally uploaded by mjbrooks10.

I got a chance to attend mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral this weekend. The architecture inside is absolutely amazing. The service was fairly short and they allow visitors/tourists throughout the mass. The cathedral is amazing and if you've never been there, you should go.

The cathedral ranked 11th out of 150 buildings in the recent list of America's Favorite Architecture. Hopefully I'll have another chance to go back.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Good Enough To Eat

My Grandpa sent me an email this morning telling me about a place to eat that he saw on the food network. So I went out, freezing rain all up in my face, but that didn't stop me. I headed over to amsterdam ave, and found this little place. People were lined up outside the door waiting to be seated. The atmosphere was very homy, and the service was great. I ordered an omelette and customized it just because I always do, annoying as it is, I always want something substituted out or something added. Anyway, I got an omelette with granny smith apples, home cooked sausage, mushrooms, and goat cheese. Sounds disgusting, but let me tell you, it was incredible. The coffee was really good, and they served hot biscuits with a strawberry spread. The atmosphere and experience reminded me of pancake pantry a little bit. That link is to the post I wrote about pancake pantry before. It wasn't as good nor was the experience but it certainly lived up to the hype of being great home-cooked food. So thanks Gooze. 

Tomorrow is Monday - blahh.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Nico Vega

Nico Vega, originally uploaded by mjbrooks10.

I'm up way to late, but I had to finish this. Ahhhhh my eyes are closing. Goodnight. This week flewwww by. This is the girl that was the lead singer in Nico Vega, they opened for The Von Bondies on Monday night. Her voice could do all sorts of things. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

to the guy in the green jacket

February 16th, 2009 - 60th St. Park Avenue - New York City - 4:00 P.M.

That was about the time this happened. See what happened was I was standing in the middle of the street at a crosswalk, Virginia and I were trying to find Dylans Candy Bar which was conveniently not located where we thought it was. As I stood there I told her hold on let me check it out on my phone, so I pull out my iphone and pull up google maps and I'm trying to find this place on my phone. There was a group of people standing around me and suddenly I felt this weird feeling, maybe I'm just saying that now but atleast I thought I felt something. I turned to grab Virginia's arm with my iphone in my other hand and before I could turn back around I had been hit with a lot of force on my right arm, and in seconds I realized my phone had just been stolen. The thief took off running down the street...naturally, I took off running right behind him. Now that I think about it, probably not the best idea, but it was all instinct, I didn't think...I just ran. The entire time I was chasing this guy, I kept screaming all sorts of obscenities, and kept telling him he messed with the wrong person. While he was running he kept looking back noticing that I was getting closer and closer. I told myself I didn't care if this guy ran for 25 miles I wasn't gonna stop running until I caught him. We jumped over bushes, ran past cars, and dodged in and out of people. People on the sidewalk were screaming call the police, and old woman were screaming. Guys were jogging to try and watch the chase. I felt like I was on a movie.

Sure enough he tired out earlier than I did. I caught up to the guy in the green jacket, I reached out and grabbed the back of his jacket, and he stopped...we both froze, we were now staring at each other on the corner of the street. We were now a good ways away from the start of all this. We were over some streets and up an avenue but regardless, here we were...The guy in the green jacket and me, a few seconds went by and he decided he was going to fight me. He reared back with all his might and looked like he was about to throw a Mike Tyson punch on me, and for some reason I wasn't scared, I wasn't nervous, I was very calm, but furious at the same time and was gonna do anything I could to get my phone back. As he threw his punch, I ducked it(thank you matt for all those boxing lessons) I lunged at him and hit him in his chest and as he was falling to the ground he took my iphone and threw it down on the cement. He got up and looked back and took off running back down the street. I grabbed my phone, and held it high up in the air and I said some other obscenities. People flocked over to see what had happened and called the police. I was on the phone with the police and I was being treated like I was the thief or something so I hung up on them because I didn't feel like dealing with all their crap and I'm sure that is the least of the worries in the huge city of New York. 

The point is, I'm not sure why I chased him and now that I think about it, my phone is replaceable but my life isn't. But at the time I had no choice, I love my iphone, and ya know I just had to get it back. So finally all that running I did all my life and all those boxing lessons Matt gave me while I was doing my rehab - all that came into play on this very day, which was my 22nd birthday. It was the biggest adrenaline rush I've ever had and I'm glad that everything is ok now. But I guess that was my freshman initiation into the city. I think I did well. 

On top of all that, my phone was cracked but still fully functional. I spent a good thirty minutes on the phone with Apple and finally got to talk to someone high up and because of my story and the fact that I risked my life to get my iphone back they deemed my experience one of a kind and waved all my fees and I now have an appointment on Friday to a brand new phone for free.

So thank you to the guy in the green jacket, because of your stupidity I am now receiving a brand new sleek shiny iphone. Oh and next time try and not steal from someone who can run. Or better yet, don't steal...But then again if you hadn't tried to steal my phone I wouldn't be writing this post. Shame on you. 

I'm off to bed, I'll be sure to hold on to my phone a little tighter.

And thank you Virginia for handling the whole situation like a tough little girl :)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Three Day Weekend

So this weekend felt like an entire week, I got to do sooo much. My girlfriend came to visit me on Friday and she arrived in the evening. We went to a wine and chocolate bar called Ayza, it was so good and the atmosphere was really cool. We ended up getting 6 different chocolate truffles after our meal along with 3 sweet wines. I've never been to a place like that which was really cool. 

Then the next day we went to Dishes but unfortunately they were closed. So we ate at a cafe place and ended up looking at a few places over there. Then for dinner we ate at Alpha - which is my favorite sushi place where they all treat me like I am a celeberity. The people are so nice there and are always trying to give me free appetizers and free desserts. After that we took it easy and then woke up on Sunday and headed to Soho. That area is sooo nice, we went to a few places in Tribeca and just walked around and soaked up the city. We went to a few high-end places such as BO where one tv costs 20k. A little off my price range but hey, maybe in a few weeks...? I love that area over there, it reminds me of downtown fredericksburg but wayyy nicer. We walked in all kinds of one of a kind places that you would never find anywhere else. We ate a late lunch at a really cool french cafe that had open face sandwiches. Virginia got a pbj w/ mangos and nuts sprinkled on top. I got a avocado shrimp open face sandwich with fresh mozzarella and cilantro on top. After lunch we hung out for a little and then headed back to my place. We got ready and went to the Minskoff Theatre to catch Lion King. I've never been to a broadway show - and my honest opinion is that show was nothing less than amazing. It blew my mind the complexity of each scene and the timing of movements and the ingenious costumes. The whole experience was one of a kind and I'm glad I got to go, I would definitely recommend that show to anyone. 

The next day was my birthday, I turned 22. I can honestly say I don't feel any different than I did when I turned 18, but who cares. Virginia and I walked around a little bit and went over to Park Avenue, now I had quite the experience over here but I want to dedicate this 'experience' to a post by itself, so stay tuned for that. Later that night we went to Butter - now I heard how amazing this place was but I had no idea that the food would really be that amazing. I ordered a rack of lamb with some yogurt type of sauce and Virginia got filet mignon with potatoes. Both of our meals were so far above any meal i've ever had it doesn't even make sense. Well atleast it tasted that good at the time. We took a cab over to the mercury lounge and caught The Von Bondies, Neco Vega opened for them and the mercury lounge is a little smaller venue but the sound was incredible. I had such a good weekend and birthday. Virginia left this morning , and back to work I went to resume my daily schedule. 

I had such an awesome time the past three days.