Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Rant #1: Foolish optimism is nice if only for a day

Feeling alive. What exactly does that mean for each particular person? Is it feeling good? Normally it goes way beyond just feeling good. It’s a natural high, it’s a buzz. It’s feel zen-like in nature yet childlike in practice. We often hear people say they want to feel alive and if you ask me, it seems like that’s one of the most personal decisions a person can make. To feel good. To smile when things aren’t going the way you wanted. To look the problems in the eye, give it the finger and giggle like a little rascal. It’s not caring about what saps the soul out of our bodies. There’s a lot of those too. But it’s up to us to decide how we want to deal with a situation and how we wish to deal with problems which are just situations we’ve embedded with negative energy. To be quite honest, when you look at every thing in your life, there really isn’t such a thing as a problem because a problem is merely the way we perceive a situation and that’s what some people can’t get past. It’s in the way you look at a scenario that influences not only the outcome, but the whole game.

Am I saying people don’t have problems? Well we all do, but only until we want to change we look at things. Honestly you could say someone has a drinking problem but the reality is that they drink too much. It’s not a problem, it’s something that’s happening. “Yeah but that’s what he does to cope with the problems in his/her life.”

What are his problems? You might ask and the answer to that question could be a series of things. Lets say for instance Jim has a drinking problem because he has a job he hates, misses his family, got cheated on by his girlfriend and has to pay for too many things i.e. car, house, electricity, food and whatnot. Break down the scenario, you have a situation on a professional level where Jim doesn’t feel satisfied with his current employment because it sucks and pays shit. Break down further. The job sucks because of his co-workers, he gets bored with what he’s doing and he wishes he could earn more money for x or y purpose. Ok so Jim wants money to buy more porn and videogames but feels he’s stuck paying things he’s become dependant on or believes he has to pay. Here’s where perception comes in. If Jim didn’t pay for cable or internet and had the cheapest phone plan for the bare necessities he’d probably save at least $200 but lets say $100. That’s an extra $100 he’d have. “But he’d be so bored at home without Internet or TV.” Someone might answer. Why? Because he hasn’t tried anything else or because he has become so dependant on things he doesn’t really need. Then there’s the car issue which is a hassle since gas prices are soaring more and more. You can carpool or you can use public transportation. But… that sucks. You see, the problem with transportation or the biggest problem with public transportation is that most people believe themselves to be above public transportation for x or y reason so they NEED a car. What decent person doesn’t have a car? Feel free to read that last sentence and feel like a jackass for having felt that at some point in your life. So there with that decision you’ve saved about $400 a month. That’s $500 extra dollars you CHOOSE to spend. Then comes food time. Food is so expensive yada yada yada yadaaaaaa. Buy your own food, prepare your own meals and mix it up so you don’t get bored eating the same stuff over and over. Ok but what if he gets bored? If you had cable that means you have a TV and if you don’t have a DVD player you can find one for what you pay for cable in a month. Rent DVD’s when you’re in the mood. Besides, there’s a ton of things you’ve always said you wanted to learn to do. Stop being a lazy ass and do them. Language, yoga, karate, writing that great novel, reading more etc. So in a few decisions, Jim has saved money and become more productive rather than technologically sedentary like someone who for instance has a blog.

Next was the job he hated. Why does Jim hate his job? It’s boring. Here comes the tricky part, define boring and if at any point you say repetition is annoying you have to realize that most jobs have some type of routine you need to follow and if it’s scheduled work hours you hate, there are options where you can work freelance on your own time and though it’s a bit riskier, there is enough business out there to merit looking into it. Is the job a steaming pile because of the people you work with? What makes them so unbearable? When was the last time you spoke to them or even had lunch with them? Your boss is an asshole? Is he reacting to your bullshit Hate mantra or is he really a prick? Be honest with yourself because it’s ok to BS someone else but not yourself. It’s like playing hard to get when you want to whack off. Don’t be an idiot and answer life questions honestly. Do you want to work in another industry? Yes? Why haven’t you tried? Because it’s too hard? Have you tried? Exactly. The worst limitations in your life shall always be the ones you impose on yourself. Get information, become smart at what you want to do and put in the effort. There are mediocre people waiting to be fired if you seem more than worthwhile.

Then there was the girlfriend cheating on Jim issue. Again, this is a situation not a problem; a most unpleasant situation but a situation nonetheless. He has to make a decision, will he forgive and forget, forgive and remind, or forget to forgive and move along? It’s written pretty simple but the biggest thing he has to face is how much did the person mean to him and the repercussions of any decision he makes.

Finally there’s the drinking. Again, this is a rehearsed reaction Jim has adopted because it’s worked so well for people in the movies. Having a beer is ok. Having a beer every day is not super duper but it isn’t unheard of and having a six pack every day is self destructive. Whenever Jim decides to listen to the voices in his head that are telling him he has to make decisions rather than postpone them in favor of a cocktail, he will. But he has to stop kidding himself and stop thinking that nothing has a solution. Every situation has a solution, we just don’t necessarily like the answers we get.

So here’s to looking at every situation in our lives and saying, shit it could be worse, I could have REAL problems.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

My Morning Jacket: Evil Urges

Si estás buscando el próximo álbum bien roqueao de la banda más pompeada del mundo, estás escuchando el disco incorrecto. Para cualquier persona que haya escuchado My Morning Jacket, hay algo que tienen que tener bien claro, esto no es el próximo paso lógico después de Z. Esto es un álbum que parece que lo desenterraron del 1972 y lo lanzaron ahora porque sí.

A primera instancia, lo mejor que tiene este disco es que no hay nada remotamente semejante saliendo a la luz pública en este momento. Jim James y sus falsettos están en primera plana y al que no le guste, pues que cambie el canal. MMJ parece ser una banda que en pocas instancias le ha importado cumplir con los convenios de la música típica y por eso es que todos sus discos ameritan mucho más que una escuchada.

Evil Urges es así mismo. Un disco que te da tres bofetadas, te da un cuajito y no pide disculpas en ningún momento. Esta gente son un chorro de southern boys con mucho rock en ellos y un sentido de excelencia musical bien particular a ellos ya que es más apropiada para un tiempo de Gram Parsons Project, Grateful Dead u otras viejeras viajosas. Pero no te dejes engañar que esta gente son un Lynryd Skynryd ni nada por el estilo. Muy a tono con Kings of Leon, se nota a leguas que esta gente son de uno de los estados del sur de EE.UU pero en vez de limitarse a clichés sonoros o rutas abusadas por otros artistas, simplemente es otro ingrediente para la mezcla de sonidos particular que saca esta banda para su nuevo disco que te tendrá cantando al son de canciones que inicialmente a lo mejor no sepas como digerir.

Esa última oración es el punto más importante en cualquier descriptivo que te encuentres de este álbum. Es más pegajoso que un vate de sirop de pancake y si por casualidad encuentras que tus caderas tiran pa’ un lado o el otro, no te sientas bochorno y gózate el disco que pues, está gran-cabro. La banda hizo un trabajo excelente como es de esperarse de músicos que suenan como si llevan haciendo esto mucho más que diez años. Confía, después de escucharlo una vez tendrás muchos evil urges de escuchar a Evil Urges.

Monday, June 16, 2008

A menudo, compañeros de trabajo nos envían una variedad de mensajes humortivadores que provocan más nauseas que las sonrisas que deseaban compartir contigo. En torno a esos mensajes hice mi versión de lecciones de la vida que seguramente harán toda la diferencia en sus vidas. Disfruten.

He aprendido que el que se llena la boca de mierda, la cagará mañana.

He aprendido a nunca buscarle el colmo a las cosas, porque ese es el colmo.

He aprendido que un comentario mal pensado a menudo se gana una galleta bien tirada.

He aprendido que el que liga, no tiene y el que tiene no liga.

He aprendido que jurar que uno se las sabe todas resulta en la vida enseñándote a las malas que eso no es cierto.

He aprendido a no ser un aprovechao cuando no hay oportunidad, pero que una oportunidad que no se aprovecha es el doble de ignorante.

He aprendido que en el mundo profesional no importa quien es becerro y quien es ganso porque ambos tipos son igual de animal.

He aprendido que a veces el que no llora es el que mama.

He aprendido que tienes que trabajar mucho para un día sin una sonrisa.

He aprendido que la mejor inspiración viene de los lugares más inesperados, como un inodoro o un clip de Noelia.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Be a kid again

People are too serious too often. I’m inching my way towards thirty and yes I’m one of those people who work too much but I still try to take care of the inner child that needs some TLC from time to time. Every day I see more of the people I know losing touch with their inner kid and becoming 100% responsible and not enjoying their lives. It’s pretty much professional nature in the 21st century. Work, work, workety work. Look serious, look responsible, huff and puff, get lower back pain and forget that you ever played with toys. I say nay to that and offer a variety of things you can and should do to wake that inner kid who could press charges on you for being such a poor host.

1. Tickle yourself. How long has it been since you’ve seen how much you can tickle yourself? Most people I know have tried it once. It’s stupid, retarded and pointless. It’ll also help you crack down the wall of seriousness you’ve mounted in an attempt to do things that you think will be worthwhile down the road. Take the stick out of your posterior and tickle yourself sonny, you’ve pinched yourself enough.

2. Walk like a total retard. Clasp your hands like a crab, do an Indian rain dance, do a jumping jack every thirty four steps or do jazz hands for 3 consecutive minutes.

3. Put round shaped cereal up your nose. You know you did it and you also know you almost choked doing so, but it was still fun, disgusting and at the very least you’ll laugh your ass off remembering how your parents freaked out when they saw you with two nostril blockers courtesy of Cocoa Puffs.

4. Dress up like a ninja, a cowboy, an Indian or a princess. Dress up, be goofy, say retarded stuff like “Ninja vanish” or “Help me Romeo”.

5. Make drawings of people you can’t stand at work. Put names to them and doodle away. Don’t use Photoshop. Use a #2 pencil and go back to your roots. Be extra mean and let it out of your system, just make sure you don’t do it at work.

6. Do cannonballs next to old people close to pools. The rules you enjoyed as a child are just as fun to break now.

7. Make believe. I’m not talking about role-playing with your significant other though that’s cool if you’re into that. I’m talking about treating your closet like a cave. Try doing this with chores. Imagine you need to wipe out or clean something in your house or else the Plorithians will invade your space time continuum and take your pet yorkie hostage.

8. Ramble out loud in the car. Hey, if people can look schizophrenic with their Bluetooths (Blueteeth), you can always one up them. Make funny voices, change your tone and manner.

9. Read out loud. Do this especially if you were bad doing that as a child. Don’t take something that simple for granted and just do it. You’ll feel silly, but who’s to say that being serious all the time isn’t ten times as silly.

10. Watch cartoons. They are not just for children. Learn to find joy and laughter where it used to be. Things didn’t change, you just insisted on being a tight ass.

11. If you see a puddle, splash in it. Don’t think of avian flu, just get dirty. Actually, if you have a back yard and it’s raining. Play in the mud. It did wonders for people at Woodstock and high class people pay top dollar for what you can get free on a sloppy day.

12. Read Calvin and Hobbes… you’ll notice a slight change in perspective.

13. Read the Hobbit, the Phantom Tollbooth, the Harry Potter Series and comics. There’s more creativity to these works of art than most “adults” give them credit for.

14. Brush your teeth until you have a bunch of foam and then bark like an idiot.

15. Buy cereal that doesn’t have granola in it. The more colorful it makes your poop, the better.

16. Do the Pee-wee Herman dance while trying to keep a straight face.

17. Take a bunch of potato chips in your mouth then say the word fantastic over and over.

18. Play lava… that’s where you have to step inside the lines or else you’ll melt on lava. Climbing up on ledges gets you extra points.

19. Put your hand inside your shirt, under your arm and do an armpit fart. Do a couple dozen.

20. Have a pillow fight. Try and dress up in Spider Man Pj’s.

The point is to remember being a kid. Not sure if anyone is reading, has read, or will read this, but feel free to add any other silly things you can think of to wake up that inner kid that’s been buried in jobs, interviews, meetings and the drab nature of being your average adult.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Portfolio Series

Though I'm far from an elite creative, there are quite a guite a few pieces I've done throughout the years that as any creative, I'm proud of. Here's one I did few years back when I was still a student. We needed to come with a poster/print ad that would talk to a young demographic about the risks of sun exposure.


The real threat is upon you.


Studies show prolonged exposure to sun without protection may cause skin cancer. Protect yourself.

Click on the picture for a bigger view.

Filter: Anthems of the damned

So if you haven't noticed, Army of Anyone was lukewarm at best and "Filter" got back together which means Richard Patrick completed the project he had started up before joining the latest super group to be about half of what everyone expected. I've read a couple of reviews saying that the album is a steaming pile, that it's the greatest thing since sliced bread, youtube and a golden goose combined or that it's somewhere in between. This happens because a lot of people expected something different and possibly an industrial romping like what was found in Short Bus or Title of Record.

Ok, so what's the straight and narrow, does it suck worse than a power surged hoover or does it kick ass. Well to answer such a question I think the most honest way to say is that I listened to it once, I checked it out a second time to see if I hadn't missed anything, I hit repeat to see if I found anything special, I listened to a fourth time just to make sure and after about the eighth time listening to the tracks I figured it wasn't that bad since I had been compelled to listen to the album multiple times and was able to make it past the oh so terrible drumming some people rambled about.

So is this the next great American album? Not by a long shot but I do think that it is deceptively good to the point that some people might miss out on the album until they pick it up later and give it a shot. Just in case, lyrics have never been a massive strong suit for Patrick and this album is no different. There are hooks, good melodies, interesting tracks and there's enough to keep you interested if you're a fan of good rock. I'd actually read that Richard Patrick had said that the album sounded like Radiohead, or had a Radioheadish feel but apart from one track's intro, I'm hoping there's some other hidden album because this is nothing like Radiohead and Filter has always strayed far from anything remotely hinted at by Radiohead.

That clearly out of the way, I don't think anyone who has ever liked Filter is going to jump out of their seat in elation or frustration. They should be satisfied for the most part and thankful that they don't have to listen to Army of Anyone though I didn't think that was a bad album either, just extremely subpar to what we were being promised as music fans.

Back to Anthems of the Dead, the album almost strays into a bit of a political dichotomy but comes nowhere near what Rage Against the Machine were to said topic. So if I were to have a rating system, and I were to base it on a 1-10 scale how much would I give it? how bout a 7? Enough to pass the grade but not enough to make people have to buy or listen to it. Check it out though, you might find something you like.

Tracks to definitely check:

1. Soldiers of Misfortune

6. Lie after lie

10. In dreams

11. Only you

Monday, June 9, 2008

Ring Side Scorer: Weekend fights

Here's a recap of what happened in the weekend and what it means in each category.

Matches 1 & 2: Juan Manuel Lopez VS Daniel Ponce de Leon + Paul Williams VS Carlos Quintana.

First round ko's are something of a mixed bag if you ask me, you get the thrill of a decisive victory but you're left feeling empty and wanting more than what you've gotten... well sometimes. These two fights ended in emphatic fashion and I can't say as a boxing fan that I was disappointed with what I saw. In the HBO undercard of the Pavlik main event, there was a bout by highly respected hard hitting Daniel Ponce de Leon, what he wasn't counting on was the right hook of one Juan Manuel Lopez. If you see the first 30 seconds of the roundyou suspect that Lopez is going to have a hard time fighting a tactical battle because it's as simple as him backing up and trying to block a constant onslaught and just when you thought the 24 year old Puerto Rican would buckle under pressure, he reminds anyone watching that a hard counter pouncher will win most times against a whirlwind of punches. Case in point? Juan Manuel Lopez hammered De Leon with a right hook that sent him reeling and from which he never fully recovered. A shaky wobbly eight count later and Juan Manuel demonstrates why he was considered the best PR prospect in the last decade, even surpassing the already impressive Miguel Cotto. What's next for Lopez? Well a couple of interesting scenarios are in play and though the names Marquez and Vazquez were already mentioned, I'd like to see him against some good fighters before heading to the greats that I consider those to be. There are other fighters out there and Juan Manuel just needs exposure and to show what was clear from the get go, that the kid is the real deal. Yes I'm Puerto Rican, but might I remind and insist that I'm a fair boxing fan and I know a good fighter when I see one. It'll be interesting to see what happens in the 122 pound weight division in the coming months because in case you missed it, ladies and gentlemen, a new player has come to town.

Second first round KO, Williams decimating Carlos Quintana. The first fight had Carlos Quintana facing a lukewarm Paul Williams at best. The spaghetti thin punch tornado showed he has more than just a high punch output, he's got a hard hit to his punch and if he catches you, you might find yourself with bells in your ears as did Carlos Quintana. Williams did about as much as anyone could in regards to affirming that what happened in February was a fluke. He not only one against the guy who out hustled, out pointed, and out punched him, but didn't offer him the same kindness of letting the judges decide if he could have his belt back. Note to anyone reading, it'll take a good counter punching body bruiser to take on Williams and put him to shame... wait a minute... there's Miguel Cotto. But before anyone can speculate if a Williams Cotto fight is even feasable, Cotto has a small date with the Tijuana Tornado to see how much control he has over a division that is overflowing with talent.

Third Fight Mora VS Forrest.

What can I say, The Contender became the champion... no pun intended... or maybe a little bit. Sergio Mora's performance was described as gutsy, hard worked and countless other descriptions... but what it was would best be labeled as well deserved. He said it and I agree, he worked hard for that win and he deserves to be the champion. Vernon was just not in any type of a rhythm and he found someone that took him completely out of his game. Congratulations to Mora.... was it a clean fight? Heck no, but we're not here to judge how clean it all was, but who was the better man and survey said and many agree, it was Mora.

So that's all for the second installment of Ring Side Scorer. See you next match.

Ring Side Scorer: Pavlik VS Lockett

For anyone looking for an exciting fighter you really shouldn't miss out any chance you get to see him, jot down this name. Kelly Pavlik. Last year might have begun what might very well be the closest thing to Marvin Haggler's dominance over the Middleweight division during his prime. By the way... I still don't know who won the Leonard / Haggler fight and I've watched it plenty of times. But Marvelous Marvin aside, Kelly Pavlik seems like the real deal where he has taken out legitimate prospects, dangerous punchers and elite fighters in this weight division.

Is this post leading into slightly overlooking Gary Lockett? Quite possibly but in the Welshman's defense I think a fight between him and Edison Miranda would be compelling and much more to his benefit than the Everest he was asked to climb in 12 rounds. That being said, there were a variety of things left crystal clear.

1. He hits hard.

2. He is methodical but knows how to close the show.

3. He is vulnerable.

Pavlik showcased brilliant right punches to the body that I haven't seen in a while and there's something about a knockout guy committed to breaking his opponents ribs with his fists. He threw hooks, uppercuts, stiff jabs, that great crisp right hand and every punch had two things going for it. They looked relaxed and they looked like they hit hard. True to form, if you saw him throw a punch it didn't look like a haymaker, but when his punches hit, you saw the reaction not only from Lockett but from the guy's body. Ripples of energy and heaving thuds thundered with every punch the guy connected only to max out at 55% connect rate of his power shots.

Three rounds it lasted, and three rounds Lockett got offered vivid examples that he was a stepping stone on the way to Kelly's desired path. TKO offered in thudding fashion. He knows when to step it up, he knows when to slug it out, he knows when to counter and if you didn't notice, his defense is negligible on occasion, not constantly and that makes for exciting fights.

Now it is his job or duty to clean up house. The Middleweight division awaits. Will he be the working class hero he's being built out to be? Will he clean shop? Will he be as marvelous as one of his great predecessors? Only time will tell, but I for one can't wait to see the next ghosting courtesy of Mr. Pavlik.

Yup another blog is born

So who am I? What am I up to? What's the purpose of this blog? Well, I'm not really sure. About the blog that is. Of course I have a name and I have a decent idea of who I am, but regarding this blog, I just felt the urge to open one up. Not much else to it. There's much to share, many random musings and of course, this is the beginning. Is it a good beginning? An ideal one? A perfect beginning? I don't think anyone could really tell. At least I can't. But it's honest, and that's what this blog is about.

I love writing and there are a myriad of things I'm interested in. Then again, there's also another detail. Soy de Puerto Rico, escribo en Español y en Inglés y mi cerebro constantly switches back and forth. You see, esa es la cosa conmigo, I have a language flip switch that constantly shifts and turns. A veces lo controlo, otras veces no soy responsable de how often I switch. All I really know is that I love to write about pretty much anything that comes to mind and this blog shall deal with everything I can think of or that triggers a response.

Themes will vary of course, I go from boxing to drinking wine to video games and everything else that can inspire me. Pero esa es la cosa con la vida, cualquier cosa nos puede inspirar. A word, una descripción, un libro, an album, an inspiring fight. Any and everything can inspire and who knows, maybe this is my attempt to show that such a statement is true rather than pure BS.

Regardless, I hope you enjoy, espero que me refieras and well, lets see where this leads to. All the best, hasta la próxima and just remember, inspiration is there to be caught, you just need to bait yourself just right. Oh and remember, if you gotta go... go with a smile.