Monday, December 27, 2010

hometown feeling


As the cookies settle, the trash bags fill with wrapping paper, and the Christmas music fades—another year has come and gone. But this last year was special, it was different. Half of it was spent not being in college anymore, pretending to grow up, and beginning this real world phase that everyone talks about. Well here we are, January is about to begin and a new year is almost on its way. I was extra thankful that my entire family was home this time around. My grandparents house is so special each and every year. I feel so incredibly lucky to have such an amazing family and actually get to spend time with them during the holidays. We all got to put our phones away, turn the TV off, and just talk. Even though we tell the same stories every year and we laugh at the same jokes—it doesn't matter. I love it. That feeling—being back where I started.

Every year Dad gathers sticks and some big ol' logs and we all invite a few friends over to enjoy the fire. I'm so glad I got a chance to take a break and relax with my family. Nothing beats it. According to my age, I keep getting older but every time we sit down on the deck it feels the same. The love. The memories. The hometown feeling.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Hello December

I told myself today that I need to write a post to start December off and I just hit my dashboard to check the calendar and it's already the 8th. I could of sworn it was the first or second. Hmm? Well November sure did fly by, I'm so glad I got a chance to go home and see my family. My life has increasingly gotten busier and busier and the more we do as a company the more that has to be done. I'm meeting people everyday that are impacting my life in different ways. So far things are going great for LifeKraze and I can't wait to see what the future holds.

Christmas is fast approaching and this year we cut down a tree for the office, hung lights, and decorated. I always love Christmas time, it's something about the spirit, the lights, and just that feeling in the air. It's Christmassssss time.

I hope this month goes as well as last and maybe a little better :)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

We all held hands and bowed our heads. Gooze blessed the food and gave thanks to God for bringing us together. He always says the blessing before we eat and somehow every year I laugh after we say Amen. There is a sense of calmness when he talks, it makes you feel like everything is perfect, and he always lets us all know how lucky we are to have such an amazing family. So this is another Thanksgiving, another lazy Thursday filled with lounging around, laughing, and of course stuffing our faces with turkey, sweet potatoes, and broccoli casserole. So thank you little pilgrims, and thank you to my amazing family for being so..well, amazing.

Last night I got a chance to see a lot of friends from high school and even middle school. Each year the night before Thanksgiving is always interesting. Everyone packs into the same place and it seems like deja vu. It's always a blast getting to kick it with my hometown friends. I didn't get a chance to run the turkey trot this morning, but I did go for a little run by myself around the neighborhood.

Goodnight and Happy Thanksgiving to all!

This is the turkey that my incredible mom made out of apples, cheese, grapes, and more.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

friendship

Today I posted a status about my surgery and after a few hours I had so many comments from friends out there from all over and I don't know why it struck me so hard but it made me feel so good. I don't know how many people truly cared about my stupid finger but so many people wished me luck, sent prayers, messages, phone calls and on the way to the hospital all I could do was smile (although my finger was about to get a metal rod drilled through it).

Fast-forward a few hours of excruciating pain from my surgery and I was back at the office and looking for hotels to stay at in NYC. I made a call to a buddy of mine that I played soccer with at Clemson and he offered his apartment to us for 3 nights...no biggie. We also got a free flight through another friend of a friend. How awesome is that?

The power of friendship is amazing to me and today was just a normal day that turned into an amazing day all through a status update.

So to all my friends out there...THANK YOU!

Goodnight.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

moving on

I'm in Chicago right now and preparing for a big meeting tomorrow morning. I can't stop thinking about the past couple months and even the past few years. God has an amazing way of making things happen and moving things along. Every day brings new challenges, new people, and new meaning. Some of the relationships I have formed in these past few months have taught me so many valuable lessons and opened my eyes to things I've never experienced before. Family has always meant so much to me but as you get older you just keep realizing how much more important they are. You lose touch with so many people for so many different reasons and it's a hard pill to swallow. But you learn really fast who is important to you when you leave college, you learn who is real, and who was true. Life is like one long class, some lessons are boring, some are decent, and some are amazing—but no matter what...the clock keeps ticking and you keep moving on and keep learning.

Chattanooga has been amazing. Things are so different here but there is something about this place. It's vibrant, young, and just unique. I've been to so many different places and who knows what the future holds but where I was a few months ago compared to now is night and day.

Life is good.

I've added formspring to the right of this message, if anyone has any questions then please ask me, I'd love to answer anything!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Malcolm Gladwell speaks in Chattanooga

Tonight I listened to Malcolm Gladwell give a lecture on the financial crisis and the battle of Fredericksburg. He arrived at the Fine Arts Center earlier tonight and graced Chattanooga with his presence for an hour or so. He is one of my favorite authors and every single book that he has written has completely changed the way I think about life. His inspiring, passionate, and brilliant views are shaping the way our society evolves. I sat in awe tonight listening to his intellectual thoughts on many different topics. Here is a list of my favorite quotes from him tonight. Enjoy!

  • financial crisis is a failure of experts
  • the consequence of having too much information is confidence, not competence
  • miscalibration refers to the difference between how good we are and how good we think we are
  • our confidence in our abilities can cause us to make big mistakes
  • incompetence annoys me, overconfidence terrifies me.
  • we are profoudnly conflicted about overconfidence.
  • when you are in the grip of overconfidence, the world can change and you won't see it.
  • who would be chasing quails?
  • we depend on the humility of our leaders
  • the demands of character are greater today than in the past
  • informed. passionate. involved.
The lecture was captivating. I hope I get another chance to see him speak. 

Chattanooga has been awesome, time is flying but things are great. 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

the wind at my back

I've been in Chattanooga for about 3 weeks now and I couldn't be happier. Each day is filled with new obstacles and tasks but I'm doing what I love and no matter what happens I'm happy at the end of the day (unless I forgot to eat, which keeps happening). I love it here...The sounds, the weather, the people. Something about this place has a special vibe and it's contagious. I've met some amazing people thus far and everyone has been so helpful.

The leaves are beginning to change, the temperature is dropping, and the holiday season is fast approaching. Football season begins today and the college season has already started. It feels strange not to be thinking about going to class tomorrow, or checking my calendar for when homework is due. I miss college. I really do but at some point you're forced to move on and make the most of what you have!

As I was searching around this weekend for some music I stumbled upon one of Kings new songs and I am so pumped about their new album coming out. It's hard to think that they can keep getting better but...they do.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Chattanooga - the beginning of my next chapter

Being home for a few weeks with my family and friends really allowed for some of these thoughts that have been circulating in my head for some time to actually settle in. College is over, I knew that a while ago, but seeing status updates and pictures from people at Clemson really made it stick. It's done. A few weeks ago I accepted a job at LifeKraze—a new social media company helping us reshape the way we live. I took another leap of faith and decided to do it. Just like I made the leap to Clemson— Now I've made the move to Chattanooga and here I am with a few days of the real world under my belt. I couldn't be happier, it's something I dreamed of doing and it's here now and I'll make the most of it.

I wanted to surround myself around happy people, a creative vibe, young and talented individuals who have a great outlook on life. Being here in Chattanooga, I couldn't ask for more. It's been an incredible blessing to have this opportunity and to translate one of my favorite sayings to my situation— I took a leap off this cliff and I'll learn how to fly on the way down. I've already met some incredible talented people here with a positive vibe and passion about them that is so unique it's contagious. I can't wait to see where this thing goes and I'll do whatever it takes to make it successful and then some.

I love the fact that I'm close to my family here as well, that was another blessing in disguise. Somehow the one thing I wanted to do, the opportunity that presented itself happened to be right smack in the middle of where the majority of my family is from. High five for that.

I'll try to keep updating my blog as I learn to fly, but if anyone has some tips I'd love to hear them :)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I feel home, and that's just what I feel

Our travels home went pretty smooth and all I did was watch movies on the way home to pass the time. When I stepped foot off the plane, a nice smack in the face of mr. humidity was waiting for me. I almost turned around and begged the pilot to take me back. I can't stand the humidity here, it's brutal.

Europe was amazing, I've always said I wanted to go and I'm so glad I got the chance to do it. It opened my eyes up to different cultures, different people, different rules, and a different feel. The whole time I traveled around I kept seeing things in different cultures that I loved. It made me think, I wish I could have my own culture and bring all these incredible ways into one. I would take the siestas and tapas from Spain, the beaches and nightlife from Portugal, the architecture and crepes from France, the canals and bikes from Amsterdam, and finally the history and gelato from Italy. That would be my culture! Oh and throw in the free bathrooms, organization, and accessibility from the States and I think that would be a nice way to live.

The people I met along the way is what changed me the most. Everyone with their different views on life in general, and how you should live it. Sometimes I feel close minded when I think about life, but meeting so many incredibly unique people allowed for me to just open up and let their thoughts in. Now my views on life will forever be altered because of what I experienced in Europe. It was life changing and I would recommend it to anyone and everyone contemplating a trip.

Which leads me to being home. When my parents picked me up from the airport, that feeling of home consumes my body and puts a smile on my face. My country—where I was born and raised, the reason I am who I am today. As much as I wanted to stay and travel Europe, there was something about just seeing familiar faces, and being back in my country. It made me realize how many things I take for granted—using the bathroom for free, water for free...also the fact that I can only speak one language when the majority of people I met can speak multiple. I'm so blessed to be in this country and to have the friends and family that I have and being in Europe helped to realize that more than I have ever done before.

adios. tchau. au revoir. vaarwel. caio. bye.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Italiano

After the Cinque Terre we visited Rome, which was beautiful. We walked for three days straight from about noon to sundown. Italy has some of the most amazing architecture in the world and we definitely took it all in while we were there. After Rome we got on a cruise ship and setted out to Barcelona. Our boat was 6 hours late so we just hung outside and read books and listened to music. We finally made it to Barcelona and walked and walked until we finally just got a cab to our hostel. Really cool hostel with a lot of people, but getting in Barcelona that late on a Sunday night was a little strange. We met some italian kids from our hostel and all went out to a few places, then went to the beach and stayed until 7 AM. It was so much fun, then we got back, woke up in the morning and switched rooms. Went sight seeing for a little bit and ate probably one of the best meals I´ve had while I´ve been in Europe. Flautas, cheese quesadillas, a passion fruit margherita, and passion fruit water. It was amazing. Last night we went out to a few more places with some kids from the Hostel and now we will take a bus from here to Madrid for our last night in Europe.

I´ll be back in the States tomorrow. By far the best decision I ever made in my life to come here. I´m so thankful I had a chance to do it.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Lisbon to Amsterdam to Milan to Genoa to Cinque Terre

So, I'm being charged per minute for this internet, cluggg. Anyway, a little catch up of what I've been doing.

After spending a few days in Lisbon with Pedro(which was awwesssommee) we jetsetted to Amsterdam, arrived at midnight in the pouring rain without a place to stay. Luckily we managed to find this guy sitting outside of his hotel with one room left, go figure. The next night we stayed with Matthias and then got a hotel for the last night. Amsterdam was gorgeous, we got to see the city, we rented bikes, enjoyed the Heineken brewery tour and got a good feel. Next we headed to Milan on a bus. 24+ hours on a bus, umm...I'm not even really sure how to describe it, I slept on and off for most of the time, read books, listened to music, stared at the chair in front of me, sweated, changed positions 3156441387 times and ate a lot of candy bars. We got pulled over on the France border and it took 2 hours to go through all of our bags and do security checks. About 4AM and then we got pulled over again when we crossed through to Italy, that took about an hour. But as we approached Italy we drove past some of the most beautiful mountains and scenery. We got to Milan at about 10 AM and caught a train to Genoa, Italy. When we got there we got another train to Riomaggiore. The train left at 1:55 and as we were running to the train, Bryson got in first, and as I hopped in the door closed and hit my bag, I pushed through and the door closed. We almost missed the train by about 3 seconds. We finally made it all the way to Riomaggiore which luckily we had  hostel booked for three nights. It is gorgeous here, the scenic views from almost every point is stunning. There are 5 little cities that make up the Cinque Terre and yesteday we hiked the 5 mile trip starting from Riomaggiore. It was sooo hard but each time we made it to the top of a cliff and turned around, the majestic view of the previous city was so gorgeous it made the pain obsolete. On the 4th mile a guy in the middle of a cliff was selling hand squeezed lemonade, so we stopped and enjoyed that for a second and then we were off again. Once we finished the hike, we got a train back to our city and cooked dinner with some guys that we met in our hostel. We enjoyed the night just talking about where we've been and how we got there. Good company, good times.

We just booked a boat from Milan to Barcelona, then booked two nights in Barcelona. The trip is almost over, I'll try to write again when I get a chance. Hope everyone is enjoying the summer!

Caio.

Friday, July 23, 2010

oh lagos

We arrived in Lisbon yesterday but I spent the  last two days in Lagos, Portugal. I'd never heard of Lagos but a few people at our last hostel told us it was a must. So we got to the bus station and decided to get the next bus there. When we arrived it was absolutely gorgeous, the weather was about 80 degrees with a constant breeze that put a smile on my face. The water was beautiful, and we met a few guys that already had reservations at a hostel so we chanced it and followed them. Bryson and I got the last two beds in a 6 bedroom appartment. We were in a room with 4 Aussies. (80% of people i've met have been from Australia) They were great guys and  we all had a little stool outside in the street, rocked out to some tunes, and hung out until the sun decided to sleep. We then hit a local food place and then hit the town. This place was like spring break times 10. I've never seen so many people packed into one place. The amount of unique people that i've met has opened my mind up to so many different ´´views.´´ It's pretty amazing to know I'm in a complete different part of the world but still enjoying the company of complete strangers that are also traveling the world. I've only got a chance to hang out with some people for a day or so but it seems like we are all on the same page and have been friends for years.

Traveling is amazing, it allows you to open up completely to anything and everything. I feel selfish for always living in this bubble, I had no idea that cultures could be this different, I've always seen and read about it but it never really sunk in. Traveling has really let it sink in and it's such a good feeling. As the Aussie's would say, it's absolutely lovellyyy.

Lisbon is beautiful as well. We went to see Inception last night and it twisted and knotted my mind to the max. Definitely recommend it to everyone, I was amazed. Today we are going to the beach and tomorrow Pedro has a soccer, or futbol match setup for us. I can't wait!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

la bolsas en Cadiz

So the past few days have been an eye opener for sure. Rachelle showed us around Madrid and helped us get comfortable with ordering food, and having basic conversation in Spanish with people. We thought we had it down pretty well...then she left. Bryson and I explored a few places and went to an awesome looking grocery store, sorta like Whole Foods. We were so overwhelmed at how fast everyone was speaking that we freaked out and couldn´t even order. We ended up just leaving because it was so hard. I´m learning more and more spanish everyday though and it makes me so mad that I haven´t learned it before.

Our adventure yesterday was nothing short of bizarre. We went to the bus station to purchase a ticket to Sevilla. Our bus was leaving at 11 PM, we arrived around 10:30ish and decided to put our bags under the bus. We went inside to use the bathroom and when we returned our Bus was gone, the same bus that had our bags. After a few cuss words and frantically looking around, we chased after a bus that looked like ours. The bus driver rolled down his window and couldn´t speak any English. We ran inside and explained our situation, nobody could understand us. We were hoping that our bus was going to the same place as our bags but that wasn´t the case. We found out that the bus that had our luggage was on the way to Cadiz, Spain and we were headed to Saville. Luckily a guy overheard a conversation and translated everything for us to the bus driver, they told us we´d have to go figure out at the station. Fast forward a 5 hour bus ride, we get to the state in Savilla at 5:30 in the morning. We realize that we can´t pick up our bags unless we actually go to Cadiz, so we purchased a ticket to Cadiz and on our way we went. We arrived there at the wrong bus station, then managed to find anotherb us to take us to this little hole in the wall place. The guy put up two fingers, then four fingers, then a zero. 2:40 we suppose? At about 2:41 a bus rolls up, the driver gets off, the doors open and BAM! There are bags were. So, Cadiz was not in the plans but when we got there we had to kill some time, I must say they had one of the most gorgeous beaches I´ve ever seen. We took a bus back to Sevilla the same night and arrived at our hostel, the Backpackers Oasis. A pool on the rooftop, free drink, morrocan food for dinner and easy access to a lot of other things. We met some awesome people yesterday, some from Australia, India, Texas, North Dakota, Norway, and Japan. WE all went out together as a group last night and had a drink on the water overlooking the houses in Sevilla. It was exhilarating. We arrived back at our hostel at about 5:30 AM and went right to sleep. Woke up this morning for a quick breakfast on the rooftop and then enjoyed a nice siesta. We just purchased another night at this hostel and now we are about to rent a bike and explore the city.

We didn´t expect all that jazz to happen with our bags but I must say it woke me up real fast. I was speaking spanish words I didn´t even know that I knew. I was jumping, waving, and making every hand movement possible trying to describe what happened. It all worked out though. The weather is gorgeous, the people are gorgeous. We have one more night here and then off to Barcelona...I think.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Second Day

Spain is gorgeous, it´s everything I always heard and more. It´s a little hard to type on these keyboards because they are muy different, woops, I´m already speaking spanish =) It´s actually quite easy to learn how to communicate on the simplest form here.

Yesterday we went to the park and just laid in the grass forever. Our friend from Clemson introduced us to some of her friends and we all enjoyed some wine and cheese watching the sunset over the horizon of Madrid. I´ve had an absolute blast so far, minus my whole flight/bag situation. Hopefully it will all work itself out soon. So far I´ve had my first semi conversation with someone in complete spanish, I´ve enjoyed their authentic cuisine including Paella, croquetas and a few other things. The coffee here is amazing, when the waiter approached today I said cafe con leche por favor. It was so much better than any coffee I´ve ever tasted. I´m not sure what we´ll do today but if anyone has seen a big red bag, send it my way :)

Adios.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Day 2 and we haven't made it out of the states just yet. Patience is a virtue? Hmm, sure is. Last night we were stranded in the airport with a meal voucher and no place to stay. After a little verbal argument with the lady at Bill Bateman's we were planning on finding the best place to sleep in the airport which managed to turn into an igloo after our flight was cancelled. Luckily my best friends came to the rescue, David Seay and Gear live about 45 minutes outside of bwi so I called Dave and told him we were stranded, without hesitation he said we're on the way. So our friends saved us from having to sleep on the airport floor. Thank goodnessss.

Now we are back at BWI, our first flight is already delayed but with the sun emerging from the clouds hopefully we can make it out of here today.

Fingers crossed. We will see.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Not a good start

Sitting in the airport waiting for our departure time provided a gradual excitement as the minutes crept closer...that was until the loudspeaker clicked on and the ever so kind lady informed us that our flight had been delayed. We waited about an hour for the decision and sure enough our flight to Atlanta is now cancelled,so we missed our flight to Madrid and now don't have any flights or a place to stay. Shoooweeee what a start to our trip.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

proud to be an american

I got a chance to watch USA play Ghana today at a bar in New York City. We got there a little early to get a good seat. There were about 20-30 people there and we were sitting at the bar awaiting the opening whistle. As game time crept closer, my nerves took over. I was scared, nervous, excited, and jacked up. As the whistle sounded, the bar became packed with people full of red, white, and blue. The spirit engulfed The East End Tavern as the players began moving around the field. Like a chess match, each team made their moves only to be countered by the other. Soon after the start, USA made a mistake in the back and Ghana went up 1-0. For the rest of the game we chased, and chased. As the minutes passed, I felt more and more involved in the game, suddenly I was breathing harder as players were making long runs, my heart was beating faster as we got closer and closer to scoring. The thought of us losing was becoming apparent, but then, Dempsey managed to beat one defender, beat another and then was brought down in the box. The referee awarded a PK for USA. Donovan, down on his knees awaited the whistle to advance. The whistle blew, he took a few steps and buried it off the post into the net. USA 1 Ghana 1. The place went nuts, drinks were spilled, hands were raised, people were jumping up and down. We did it, once again—America had come back to even the score. Now can we do it again?

Ghana's goalie kept coming up big with miraculous saves on point blank shots. Jozy and Findley were both robbed with good saves. Ghana kept fighting, but USA kept fighting even harder. They wore their hearts on their sleeves and the nerves began to show from Ghana's team. As the second half seemed like it took days to finish, the final whistle blew. Overtime. Here we go.

Once again, another mistake in the back and Ghana out of nowhere sent a ball down the field, the striker hit a left footed volley straight over howard in to the back of the net, just like that—all the fight, all the heart, defeated...2-1 Ghana. We could of gave up, we could of tossed in the towel but we didn't. We got the ball off the kick off and connected a few passes and here we go chasing the game again. We had a few chances but each one was squandered. As the time passed, I still believed, America believed. They kept zooming in on each player and you knew that we had the heart, you knew we could do it. The seconds ticked, the minutes passed and before you know it we were in the second overtime with only minutes to spare. Tim Howard came rushing up from the goalie for a chance to even the score. Ghana's goalie came up big again and with seconds to go Ghana carried the ball into our half and the whistle sounded. Game over. Ghana beats USA 2-1 to advance to the next stage in the world cup.

What a game, what a run for America. Too little too late. But I know one thing, I've never seen so much heart in a team in my life, it reminds me of when I played at Clemson and everyone doubted us except for us. There was no doubt this year, not this time around. America believed and from here on out they have a following, not just soccer fans, not just sports fans, but millions of Americans that don't even know what offsides is. They are believers and that is the most liberating feeling you can have. Bravo USA. Keep working hard, keep believing and I can't wait to watch you in Brazil.

I'm proud to be an American.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

back to back champs

So first off I want to say congratulations to the Lakers, a well deserved back to back title. Next, I want to say I am not a fair weather fan, I grew up watching Magic and listening to my dad talk about Jerry West and the great lakers players. It was his favorite team his whole life so naturally it's the only NBA team that I followed when I was a kid. I love the lakers, I get jacked up when they play, and I'll argue to the end about each and every one of their players (well maybe not Ron Artest) but everybody else. My dad's favorite player was Jerry West, he could tell you every stat about him throughout his career and the impact he had on basketball in general. Down the road when I tell my kids about basketball I'll talk about Kobe, and I think a lot of people my age will do the same. Which leads to the ultimate debate that will never be answered, MJ or Kobe?

I've been in countless arguments over this sore topic and first things first, it's almost a comparison that should never be made but because that would be too easy for the media to dismiss, we live in an age where comparisons are the norm. My 100% belief about the entire situation is that MJ revitalized and gave life to basketball, he brought it back and provided viewers an incredible show each and every time he played. He had a swag about him on the court and off the court, he'll be one of the greatest players EVER to play the game. He has 6 championships, all 6 were with Phil Jackson. Kobe now has 5 championships, all 5 with Phil Jackson. They have very similar resumes, the same determination, motivation and love for the game. They have the same turn around fade away jumper. They have the same smile after pulling off a miraculous shot, the same passion. MJ was more of a media guy, he would smile and laugh and everybody loved him. He could do no wrong.

Kobe on the other hand went through a bad situation that was amplified by the media, the same media that is now saying Kobe will never be in the same boat as Jordan. Maybe he did himself in, but as far as basketball goes he is special, very special. Kobe had shut out everybody throughout the entire playoff series, every post game conference I watched I didn't notice Kobe smile one time, not once. He spoke with truth, he was blatant, and he didn't fake anything. After having a horrendous shooting night, Kobe managed to help his team out by grabbing 15 boards and nailing a jumper at the elbow to keep the lead at 4. He provided his team with a boost in ways that aren't statistically recorded. His passion, his determination spoke volumes in game 7. You could see it in every single player on the lakers. They were playing for the team, for Phil, for Kobe and that proves to me how important and how amazing of a player Kobe Bryant is. Not one game in the playoffs did he shoot that bad, I'm not even sure if he shot that bad the entire year. But hey, everyone has a bad game right? He just kept believing, not only in himself but his teammates. Guys like Derek Fisher hitting a HUGE 3, Pau Gasol dominating the boards and Ron Ron doing all the dirty work. Even though I thought Artest almost lost us the entire series, he came to play game 7 and I admired his work ethic and performance that night. I can't say if I think Kobe or Jordan is better, but I do know I think Kobe is the best basketball player of his time and that if he wins another championship there is no reason for him not to be in the same boat as Jordan. As for next year, I think Kobe works that much harder in the off season to get his boys back and I can only hope they win again.

Watching Kobe play this year really made me appreciate how good he really is. Ask coaches, players, former players about him and you'll hear compliment after compliment. He is one of the few athletes in the world that actually make me laugh at how good he is, because it just doesn't make sense. He's in the same category is Lionel Messi, Roger Federer, Tiger Woods, Brett Favre, and Albert Pujols. He hits shots that I've never seen people make, he sees things that nobody else sees, he wants the ball with 5 seconds to go, he laughs at the face of defeat, and he puts his team on his back and carries them to where they need to go. He believes...in himself and his teammates and he's never afraid. His confidence shines a light on everyone else and provides them with a sense of calmness. I wouldn't feel too bad at the end of a game knowing I had Kobe Bryant on my team. He is one of the best players of all time and just like Brett Favre I hope he plays forever.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

World Cup Fever

Yesterday was the 2nd day of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. USA played England which had been hyped up as one of the most important matches of the World Cup. England has solidified themselves as a powerhouse in the world of soccer and USA has been fighting to earn some respect as a squad. They were looking to paint over an embarrassing canvas of past performances to earn some credit across the world. Following the swirl of news about team USA's preparation before the world cup only made it that much harder to wait for this match to finally take place. We went over to Friends Cafe to watch the game and before I could even settle down and get comfortable Gerrard came streaking through the box unmarked and buried a wonderful strike past an outstretched Howard for the opening goal of the match in the 4th minute. I sighed and thought, here we go again, another bad performance, another dismal outing from USA. But then, a few minutes later things just seemed different. We were connecting passes, making dynamic runs, going at defenders, and most importantly getting stuck in. Wait a second, this isn't normal? Double teams in the corner, tricky flicks, through balls on a rope, taking shots from distance...WHERE did the old team USA go? Who knows, but yesterday was a great beginning to what looks like a new and improved American team.

For most of the first half USA dominated in possession and looked like a team that was rolling on all cylinders. In the second half England dominated for spurts but USA came right back at them with plenty of chances. The goal that USA scored came off great skill from Dempsey, a decent strike from distance which Greene made an absolute awful attempt to save the shot, it ricocheted off his hands and rolled into the goal. Altidore missed a chance later, and Tim Howard made some HUGE saves. Overall, I was in awe at their performance. Did we look like a powerhouse that could win the world cup? No...but what we did look like was a young, passionate team that has prepared for the largest stage in the world and we competed. We competed against one of the best squads in the world. And with that, I'll be chomping at the bit until Friday's next match.

Monday, May 24, 2010

we are all one drop in this ocean of life

I've been at the airport for roughly 4-5 hours now. Each time I experience the whole flight process my mind goes off the deep end with thoughts of what is actually happening. I sat on the runway in our boeing 757 and stared out the window as we took off from Ft. Lauderdale, as we rose through the sky I turned around and watched the large buildings, the thousands of cars, and the area I was in turn into what looked like a microscopic little city the size of a frisbee. People looked like ants, cars looked like colorful drops of paint, huge buildings looked like little legos. Flying absolutely amazes me. Two hours later I land in Atlanta and I parked myself by a window just so I could soak it in a little more (well I had to wait anyways, but it sounds better like that). I wonder what is next, we fly places now and it takes a few hours to fly hundreds and hundreds of miles. What next?  I watched a plane take off and I stared at one of the windows, that was me just a few hours ago, I wonder if someone was looking down at the window I was looking out of. Where were they going? What were they thinking? I still can't grasp the thought of it but I'll just add that to my list.

Dave's wedding was awesome, seeing all the boys again is always a blast. Solid weekend. Back to reality, err, well I don't have a reality right now, so back to my ongoing vacation.

Monday, May 17, 2010

another chapter closed

I just got back to Clemson but this time it's different. I am no longer a student here, I'm an alumni. How weird is that? It's so weird that I don't even feel the slightest change but what I do know is I don't have any more classes, tests, or papers. I just spent a week at home with my family and had such an amazing time. Bryson came to Fredericksburg for the first time and I showed him around and we tried to hit all the fburg musts. I always enjoy going home because I'm lucky enough to have most of my family all in the same area which means cookouts, dinner outings, and constant gatherings of some sort. Cheyenne got a chance to come home for a little bit, Josi was home, and I was home. It's rare that all three of us are there together but when we are it's always so much fun. A lot of things are changing right now but family is one thing that never changes and that's what I love about it the most. Josi just moved to Colorado this past weekend to work on a ranch where the electricity cuts off at 11 every night. She said it's absolutely beautiful there and already made friends with a horse named Scooter. I hope she has the time of her life out there and maybe I'll get a chance to visit. My older sister is back at her old apartment which burned down a few weeks ago and she is still trying to get everything back to the way it was. I just started my own soccer camp and some individual training back at school and then I'll be heading to Europe for a month or so. I can't wait to go but this next month or so I'm going to focus on learning as much as I can. I want to learn more about Final Cut, Animation, and I want to read...a lot. So that's what I plan on doing.

I can't believe 5 years of college is over, just like that, done. It was an amazing ride, and I wouldn't change anything if I had to do it all over again. The world moves so fast and sometimes it's nice to sit back and take a deep breath instead of trying to keep up. I can't wait to see what the future holds for me and I'm ready to take another leap and see what happens.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

crimson aura


crimson aura, originally uploaded by michaelbrooksjr.

I went for a run last week on the dikes that overlook Clemson University. I brought my camera and after my run I decided to head down by the water. I got this picture as the sun was going down and I think it's one of my favorite shots I've ever taken. I hope everyone else enjoys.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

re[laxing]


re[laxing], originally uploaded by michaelbrooksjr.
today I barely did anything and I decided that I wasn't going to let the whole day go to waste. So, right before dinner I decided to go for a quick run. I ran down the driveway at an exciting pace (I had so much energy that needed to be used)...once down the driveway I took a slight right and headed down keowee trail. After running a mere 20 steps, I felt this warmth, this light...it was like I ran straight into a sea of energy. I took a quick glance to my left and off to the horizon the sun had a warm cast on the trees and was reflecting ever so perfectly on the water. I asked myself a quick question in my head...should I turn around to get my camera or just keep running? Knowing that in a matter of seconds that image I just saw would be gone, I decided I was going to try to make it back for my camera and catch that same moment I had just witnessed. As you can see in the picture, the sun had already hid behind the trees...but I still managed to capture that peaceful, relaxing feeling that this image shows and I'm glad I turned around. I hope you enjoy.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

One Hundred

November 6th, 2008 is when I first decided to start this blog. Today marks my 100th post on here and it's pretty cool to look back and see how different some things are but how some things just haven't changed. Click here for my first post. It's been over two years since I first started the Wayward Walk and it has been one of the best decisions I've ever made. Sometimes when you have thoughts, feelings, and emotions they stay inside your head, well I decided to start a blog so I could throw all my thoughts down somewhere. I wish I wrote more because a lot of those feelings and thoughts go to waste because I don't put them anywhere. I never really thought about it like that so that's why I've been trying to write even more so I can express myself more, express the way that I'm thinking. Not that anyone else out there cares, but I enjoy it. Anyway, I'm supposed to be studying for finals right now, my last week of college ever and I'm writing instead of studying. If I knew that this stuff I was studying actually mattered to me and I wasn't just memorizing it so I can regurgitate it all tomorrow then I might actually care a little more. But, unfortunately that's not the case.

Ok, so I just freaked myself out and I'm going to study a little now, or pretend to at least.

In honor of my 100th blog entry I wanted to post this video I saw on the internet today. By far one of the coolest things I've seen in a long time.

Music with shoes. Bravo Nike.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Wintersleep - Weighty Ghost


I found this song while I was in San Francisco and I can't tell you how many times I listened to it. I probably played it atleast twice each day on the way to work. Stride for stride, I smiled as I was walking to work...I don't know if it was because I was in San Francisco or the song is that good—maybe a mixture but nonetheless I love this song. Here is a nice little video to go along with it. The opening line "I got out of bed today" always pumps me up for some reason. Hope you enjoy.

Friday, April 9, 2010

surreal tranquility

Sometimes you watch videos that pump you up, sometimes make you laugh, and sometimes make you tear up. Well this video is something different, it just provides you with a sense of calmness and with everything in our world going so fast, it's nice to sit back and relax for a little.

Full screen this, sit back, relax and enjoy.

Kuroshio Sea - 2nd largest aquarium tank in the world - (song is Please don't go by Barcelona) from Jon Rawlinson on Vimeo.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

music soothes my soul

I stumbled out of bed this morning and came straight to my computer, I woke it up from sleep and went straight to itunes. I didn't hesitate and went straight to Tokyo Police Club - Breakneck Speed. It's their new single on the well anticipated album release of Champ that is being released in June. This has been my routine for the past week or so. I can't get enough of this song, and I am obsessed with all of their music. I went to see them in NYC about a year ago and this is the first new song I've heard from them in a while. (click here for the video I took in NYC) I haven't gotten tired of their old stuff but hearing a new song is definitely a fresh breath of air. Something about that song just starts my day off right, gives me a good smile, and baammmm son, I'm ready for the day.


The song is available for a listen and a free download here.  

music soothes my soul. it moves me. it makes me.



Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Will the Redskins actually be good this year?


Easily the biggest blockbuster move in the offseason so far has been Donovan McNabb to the Redskins. Well, does it matter who the Redskins get or is it just a black hole for good players? In the past the hype that surrounds Dan Snyder's Football Tycoon is always, well, just hype. They continue to dissapoint each and every year no matter who they hire as a coach or sign in the free agent market. But here I am joining on the bandwagon. With McNabb at the helm and Mike Shanahan as the head coach I actually truly believe the skins will improve this year. As long as they can get some O-Line to protect McNabb, they have three proven RB's and a solid group of receivers. The draft is fast approaching and is one of my favorite things on tv to watch. I really hope the Redskins improve this year and maybe make a push for the playoffs, but what I really care about is the Packers winning the Super Bowl and Brett Favre coming back for just one more year. Oh and if the Vikings win the Super Bowl, I'll be good with that too.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Jason Heyward—remember the name

Jason Heyward began his professional career at the age of 17 with the Atlanta Braves. Three years later he is now in the big leagues. Yesterday was his first appearance on opening day. Bottom of the first inning, two men on base, Heyward steps up to the plate with a 2-0 count, fastball low and inside and with one smooth swing he sent a screamer over the right field fence for a two run bomb. The kid has promise, he looks just like Ken Griffey Jr. and his first at bat was a two run jack. 20 years old, not bad for his first appearance/first at bat. I can't wait to see how his rookie season goes. Here is a video of his first at bat.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Father-Son Duo

Yesterday I drove to my Dad's school for the student vs. faculty basketball game. I was running a little late so when I walked into the gym and saw the entire stands filled with middle school kids screaming I must say I was a little nervous. This is the gym where I grew up practicing basketball. I would come with my dad while he worked and I would practice for hours and hours by myself. I put black tape on the walls and practiced behind the back passes—trying to hit the tape with every pass. It's where I developed my hesitation move, my crossover, and even my buzzer beater celebration. (I only got to use that celebration one time in my life but at least I was ready) I would keep practicing, I would play full court games by myself. I would pretend I was a different person each time up the court, I would block my own shots and steal my own passes. I look back at it now and I used to have the craziest games by myself—Triple OT games and even buzzer beaters with no buzzer. I would practice for hours, go see what my dad was up to and then go back to the gym for more practice. I loved it. I lived for it. Well there I was 23 years old, back in the gym that I grew up in 10 years ago.

The faculty started the game off hot and never looked back. The middle school team seemed intimidated by these huge men bulldozing their way to the basket. My favorite play of the game was when I got the ball off the rebound dribbled down the court did a few moves through the lane and kicked it to my dad on the wing. He pulled the ball up, perfect form(the form he taught me many years ago) and drained the jumper. He looked at me, smiled and gave me the good pass face. I smiled and gave him the good shot face. I turned around and jogged back, laughing the whole way. I never thought I'd be playing in a basketball game with my dad. We ended up winning the game pretty bad but that wasn't what made it for me. It was because I got to play with my dad—who taught me everything and showed me how to do it all when I was younger, the fact that we were playing together...that's what made it so euphoric.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Turn Me Up


Turn Me Up, originally uploaded by michaelbrooksjr.

Just did a little design with two pictures I took in San Francisco last summer. Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

under the lights

Last night the soccer team played Wofford in an exhibition game at Riggs Field. It's been almost two years before I played on Riggs and being there watching instead of playing is always strange. It's also been 4 years since the time we went to the final four. I feel like it was yesterday walking into the hotel room with the Nike rep. He looked at all of us and said each table has a gift on it for you, grab your size and congratulations! I was in awe that day and I'll never forget it for the rest of my life. It's still so weird to even think that I won't ever play a game on that field again. I was just a spectator last night—watching a group of guys going through the same thing I went through. New coach, new players, new style and even new uniforms. Things were different, but being under the lights still brought that feeling of excitement regardless wether I was on the field or in the stands. They played well and actually played soccer. Some of the new guys have a lot of upside and I can't wait to see how things go for them next year.

School is still flying by like always. We have less than 2 months left and I'll be graduating. Who knows where I'll be and what will happen but I'm ready to enjoy my time left here and make the most of it.


Monday, February 22, 2010

motion photography

The other day I was cruisin' the internet like I usually do while I pretend to pay attention in class and I ran across this young kid that is a filmmaker at South Carolina. The first video I watched was this—it actually left me speechless at my computer(well I couldn't talk anyways because I was in class) but I never have thought about doing any kind of film work. I've always been so interested in photography, music, and design. Filmmaking is a way to tie all three of those things together and really tell a story. Dylan Knight is his name and his work is so sick. Go here to check out some of his videos. I contacted him and asked where I should start and he gave me some great advice on where to begin. The coolest thing about technology today is that SLRs have the capability to shoot 1080p video and with a simple switch you can be back to your 18 mexapixel camera for stills. Watching his videos is definitely inspiring and I plan on trying to teach myself as much as I can here in the near future.

I still have no idea what I want to do when I graduate but lately I've been thinking about how exciting that actually is. You don't need to know everything and I certainly don't know what's going to happen but I'm excited to find out.


i'm ALIVE.

I've played basketball my whole life. I've always played for the love of the game and just because I enjoy it. I realized the other day that isn't the only reason I play. Every time I play sports I end up meeting people that have a huge impact on my life. When I was in New York I met countless people each time I made it out to the streets to get a quick pick up game. Same goes for San Francisco and other places I've played. I went up to Fike on Saturday to get a good sweat and once again I met another person that changed how I think. He was a little older than I was and had been stationed in Korea. He said when he got back his eyes were opened wider, his thoughts were different, and the way he lived his life completely changed.

The main thing he talked about is the way we live our life here is just so different. We are greedy, we are stingy, and we are so unaware of what else is out there. He said each and every day he was there, he was amazed at the interaction he had with people there. They were always so happy he said, some without any shoes, with no iPods, no video games...nothing. But everyday they are thankful for just being alive and being able to enjoy just that was something that he took from being there. We get so caught up in our gadgets, our social networking, our outfits, our appearance, our money, our status, our things...and we don't take the time to get caught up in just being ALIVE. The happiness level comes within and you create your own happiness. That is something that a lot of people have trouble doing, their happiness comes from other things...food, relationships, music, etc. But true happiness comes from within and your way of making that happen is to just thank God for being alive and having an opportunity to live. Don't get me wrong when an Angels and Airwaves song comes on and I'm blaring it in my car with the windows rolled down, I can't help but to smile and be happy. But those gloomy days where no song changes my mood and I'm feeling down in the dumps...those are the days where you can find happiness within and realize that those kids in Korea would give anything to be in the position that we are in.

So once again, I keep thinking about this stuff and I keep trying to implement all these stories into my life. I've definitely done a lot better lately and I continue to try and get better at that.

I'm ALIVE.

Monday, February 1, 2010

runnin' up that hill

Another weekend completed. Another week of school finished. Another day has come to an end. I'm still running up that college hill and I'm almost at the top. Each day comes with answers followed by more questions. These new questions have no answers for now but soon they too will be answered and followed by more questions. The cycle will continue. I feel like my life is the epitome of a LOST season. Each episode I learn something else and go Ahhhhh that makes sense now but then I ask myself what does that mean now? I keep trying to grasp each moment and really soak it in as they say. It's just something I don't think you can do too often. You can only look back and wish that you would of soaked up that moment more. But each moment is miniscule at the time but when we get a chance to hit the brakes and look back at those moments—that's when we realize how important those times were. I keep looking back to junior year, freshman year, high school, and all those little chapters are filled with miniscule moments and those moments as a whole are something that nobody will ever be able to take away from me. It's my memories, my moments, my time. The only way we can actual soak up those memories is by continuing to make them so that we can look back and remember them. So all I can say is keep making memories.

Tomorrow is Monday which is the beginning of another new week. What will this week bring me? What will I bring it? I don't know but I'll wake up tomorrow realizing how grateful I am to even be alive to offer something to this world. Goodnight.

keep runnin'.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

as she sways


as she sways, originally uploaded by michaelbrooksjr.

and here is the other.

Shhhh


Shhhh, originally uploaded by michaelbrooksjr.

I posted two new images on my flickr website today. I was going through some of my old images that I forgot I even took and decided to adjust them a little bit so I could post them on my website. I have thousands and thousands of images that I've never posted and they just sit in little folders and I completely forget about them. One day I'll go through all of them and sort them and hopefully make books out of them so I can remember all the amazing times I had the past few years.

Here is one of them.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sunday Sunday

It's January 24th, 2010, I just fixed my resume and applied for a few more jobs. This last week I've been thinking about how my life will be completely different after this semester and I can't help but to just wish I knew what I would be doing. But at the same time by not knowing where in the world I'll be is a pretty exciting feeling. I don't have the slightest clue and I've always known where I'll be. I still remember my first day on campus here and my first class...my first soccer game and all the other firsts while I was here. Now as I embark on my last semester I can't help but to think about all the lasts that I'm doing now. It's a bittersweet feeling and I'm trying to embrace each and every day I have left here.

It's Sunday and their are two playoff games today. Jets vs. Colts and Vikings vs. Saints—I'd love to see Favre win a superbowl but I wouldn't be disappointed to see the Saints win one so Scott and the entire city of New Orleans could enjoy it.

Technology in 2010 is definitely taking off. On Wednesday, according to the rumor-mill, Apple will release it's next big thing. It's supposed to be a tablet which will provide a unique experience and I'm sure will take the industry lead for tablets/e-readers. I'm excited to see what it is and maybe, just maybe an early birthday present for me?

I've been reading System Busters by Philip Paul Beyer and although it's a must read for our class I really am enjoying the information that I'm learning. It's for any aspiring business person that either owns or plans to own a business. It's all about a system and following that system to ensure efficiency and consistency. Interesting read for sure.

That's my catch up for the time being.

Cheers.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The last lap

Today was the first friday of my last semester in college. I took a second today to let it sink in that I have this semester left at Clemson University and then I'll be taking the next step in life, starting yet another journey—only this one won't have a class schedule, days to sleep in, final exams and goodbye to the semester setup. I won't to enjoy this last semester as much as possible, but I realize that now is the time I need to start setting myself up for life after college. A lot has changed in the past few months and I've really set out to change some things about myself as well. I enjoyed my Christmas break because I got to see my family and spend a lot of time with everyone. Chey and Jos were finally home at the same time for Christmas and that made the holiday that much more enjoyable.
I started p90x four days ago and can honestly say I feel a big difference already. The main focus of the program is muscle confusion which pretty much tricks your body into a continual muscle gain as well as an increase in endurance and it basically gets you cut and in the best shape of your life. Today was yoga day and I had no idea it would be that intense. I'm a pretty flexible guy but some of the things they were doing on there were absolutely absurd.
My classes this semester are definitely not a breeze. Good ol' Accounting 202 and a bunch of graphics classes, not exactly an easy last semester. I'm also trying to get a job to have a little cashflow on the side.
Last semester I probably cooked at home less than five times, so we all went to the grocery store a few days ago and decided we would cook a lot this semester. So far I've been waking up and making breakfast along with some freshly brewed coffee. Going to classes, coming home and making lunch, then doing p90x and then cooking dinner. Once I get into a routine I usually follow it pretty closely. I think I just like routines or maybe it's just because I've been in one for my entire life, always being on a schedule and 'having' to do things—when I'm not doing that it feels weird.
I look forward to seeing what this semester has to offer and I plan on working really hard at finding a good job and getting better at a few things. Especially reading and writing :) I'm trying to read at least 2 books a month and once again I'm going to try to write more.

Happyyy New Year, I can't believe it's freaking 2010. Blows my mind.