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.