Musical Duos

Twenty | One | Pilots
I have to start with the band that inspired the post. The band currently consists of Tyler Joseph (piano, ukulele, vocals) and drummer Josh Dun. I have been on an absolute binge of these two, on par with my recent Phish and Pink Floyd binges if not worse. Their single Holding Onto You hit it big and now they have a few popular songs from their album, Vessel. The album only has 12 songs so I can literally listen to it four or five times a day while at work (and then another one or two when I get home/go running). They’re a little more electronic (think AWOLNATION) than my normal tastes but the constant use of piano and ukulele gives it a great sound. Initially I was not a huge fan of some of the rapping Tyler insists on doing (Ode to Sleep, Migrane) but it’s growing on me. Out of the 13 songs I have by them, there’s only one song that I would say is 3/5 (Truce) while the rest are categorized are 4s or 5s. They’re also awesome to run to because most are upbeat and hit a great climax (specifically Trees). My recommendations would be The Run and Go, Migrane, and Car Radio.

The Black Keys
I wrote a post a while back about the Black Keys already but they’re certainly worthy of being in this post. The band is currently Dan Auerbach (guitar, vocals) and drummer Patrick Carney. These guys have been around for a while and again, the way I would describe them is just pure rock. I saw a Facebook status the other day that said something like “For two white guys, the Black Keys play with an incredible amount of soul” which I 100% agree with. I haven’t heard much from them recently but they’ve established themselves as a very good band. In all honesty I haven’t listened to that much of their stuff (I probably should) but the ~10 songs I know are top notch.

Hall & Oates
Daryl Hall and John Oates obviously weren’t too creative with their band name but these guys are good. I can’t explain why, but on Sundays in college when Mark and I would say “Alright, let’s just clean the room and get it over with”, I would turn on You Make My Dreams on full blast and it honestly made cleaning fun. Rich Girl is another hit and Pat’s go to song for a guitar sing along and I didn’t realize how good it suits that until he played it. They’re also from Philly which moves them up.

The White Stripes
I’ll start by saying I don’t know that much of the White Stripes but what I do know is very good. The band is Jack and Meg White, who initially claimed they were brother and sister before eventually revealing they were married. It’s impressive that they continued to make good music for years after divorcing. The obvious #1 hit is Seven Nation Army which is often in ‘top song’ and ‘top guitar riffs’ lists, the riff is unforgettable. I’m also very fond of We’re Going to be Friends which was introduced to me in my music class at school. It’s funny how such a simple song can be so good. Jack White is a bizarre guy but obviously very musically talented.

Flight of the Conchords
Brit and Jamayne (Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement) are a musical comedy duo from New Zealand who had a TV show on HBO that I watched all of. The fact that their show and live performances are comedy based makes most people think they’re not really that good of musicians but they actually kind of are. Their songs are catchy, their lyrics are funny, and their accents are legit. Most Beautiful Girl in the Room, Bret You’ve Got it Going on, Cheer up Murray, and Leggy Blond are among my favorites. I also find this clip from the show hysterical.

Feel free to share your favorite musical duos.

Sam’s First Trip to D.C.

Normally when I go a few days without posting it’s NOT because I’ve been super busy. However, in this case, I have been busy which prevented posting.

On Thursday I attended the NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Children) conference in D.C. for work. I woke up at 7:00, took a train to 30th street, and then another train to D.C. I arrived at noon and spent the next six hours at the conference which was actually a pretty good time. There were thousands of people and although I couldn’t really help people out if they came to our booth, it was still a very good experience.

All expenses were on the company which was very nice. Naturally I forgot to get a receipt for the very first purchase I made (A sizzli and a water), so there’s $5 down the drain. There were four others from the company there and after the conference we went out to an extremely nice dinner at Cuba Libre. There were appetizers, beer, mijitos, steaks, and desserts all over the place. It was hands down the best dinner I’ve had in as long as I can remember.

After dinner I met up with Dale who happens to live in D.C. which was nice. We went out to a few bars, got decently drunk, and hit McDonald’s before heading back. Dale had three different burgers on the dollar menu on top of a 20 piece nuggets which made me look like a poon eating my bacon egg and cheese muffin. We wandered around for a while but arrived safely at his apartment and were ready to sleep by ~1:30. I had an 8:40 train to catch the next morning. You know where this is going…

We woke up at 7:45 and were out the door by 8:00 leaving plenty of time to drive the five miles to the train station. Long story short, that wasn’t enough time and at 8:42 I got out of Dan’s car in my button down, khaki pants, and dress shoes carrying my suitcase to begin my 400 meter sprint to the train station. I was full sweat running through the station like a chicken with it’s head cut off. I didn’t know what gate my train was and by the time I found it, the train had departed. Fuck.

It didn’t end up being a big deal however. I upgraded to another train at 9:00 and arrived home just fine. It was a semi-irresponsible thing but it wasn’t like I was too hungover and slept through my alarm or something, we just messed up and under estimated D.C. traffic and also had a small mis-communication that cost us about 8 minutes (which would have made the difference).

Overall though, the trip was a resounding success. I honestly had a great time. I owe a thanks to my company for allowing me to go as well as Dale for showing me a good time and giving me a floor to sleep on.

Last night was a welcome home party for Ben so I was out in Manayunk and didn’t get home until 3:30. Needless to say I’m exhausted from the last few days and plan on taking it easy tonight.

The Rob Blog

I don’t know how many of my readers know Rob Kelley so I’ll give a brief background before diving in.

Not quite studs yet

Rob is Satchel’s friend from HS who transferred to Ursinus during his freshman year. We obviously met through Satchel but we were good friends throughout our four years at Ursinus. He skipped class at an incredible rate and his general mentality was “trying hard is for losers”. This is essentially the opposite of myself. Our things in common include picking our noses a lot and saying weird things to girls when we’re blacked out.

I keep in touch with Rob way more than anyone else from school spare Slade & Wacker (they don’t really count). Rob is also, without a doubt, my favorite Tweeter. On average I favorite about 20 of his tweets a month. One day I wondered why these two things were true and I think I’ve figured it out.

What Rob says is not nearly as important as the fact that it’s coming from him. When I know a text or tweet is coming from Rob, I immediately read it with a certain context. If someone else tweeted “jimmy graham lines up at tight end 1% of the time, hes a wide receiver” or “abuds got keys that dont open doors” or “Jean you can’t favorite a tweet from 241 days ago“, it wouldn’t be funny to me. But because I know that it’s coming from Rob and his mindset, I think it’s hilarious.

I don’t think this is exclusive to Rob. I think people do this all the time with everyone. However, the reason it sticks out to me with Rob (and you could add Gourlay or Jonny too) is because this particular context causes me to find all of these ordinary things funny.

Studs

That doesn’t necessarily answer why  we keep in touch via text though. For example, I very rarely text Mark or Satchel who I was just as close with (closer with Mark). When Rob and I text, half of it is talking about funny life situations we get into and the other half is fantasy football and Twitter. I don’t know what would happen if I texted others about my random office encounters, they may respond positively, they may not. I know if I text Rob that he’ll respond positively.

In the least gay way possible, it’s nice to have a go-to person to text when you fart loudly in the stall at work or a girl favorites your tweets.

My First Live Webinar

Today, I was the moderator of a live webinar that over 200 people attended. It was an hour long webinar and my job was to introduce the speakers and the show, as well as close it out an hour later. In the entire hour I would say that I spoke for 3-4 minutes. However, this was a live 3-4 minutes that I could not get back if I messed up (I also prioritized the questions as they came in and assigned them to the proper person).

I’ve attended a number of live webinars since starting work. I’m one of the “show up, don’t ask questions, and leave early” type of people. It never crossed my mind what type of work goes into doing one of these.

We had to find a client to do it with (my job), we had to create/submit all of the ads leading up to it (half my job), create/edit the power point (half my job), and we had multiple ‘rehearsals’ leading up to it. I was decently invested into this webinar and really wanted it to go well after the amount of time we had put into it. I’m making it seem like this was my huge project for the past month, it wasn’t, but there was a decent amount of prep work.

Long story short, it went well. I would even say that my public speaking in college helped me too (I noticed I was speaking too fast in the beginning and slowed down). It was a semi-personal victory that it went well, I was proud.

I’m writing this because now I have been on both sides. On one side I’m a moderately impatient, unappreciative observer who is one of the 200 and will leave early because I feel it’s probably not worth my time. The person doing the intro and assigning the questions is the last thing on my mind, how hard could it be to introduce one of these things?

On the other side, I put a lot of time into something just to talk for 3 minutes, hoping I wouldn’t eff up. The 200 viewers, even if all 200 were like me where they didn’t give a shit, saw a good show.

Now that I’ve seen both sides of the puzzle, I’ll probably pay attention to the intro of the next one and maybe appreciate it a little more. A little bit of perspective is always a good thing.

allofmywat

Giving Back

In the past couple of weeks I’ve donated my own money to two causes. The first was for the 5k I ran two weeks. It was for pancreatic cancer as a woman in my office had been diagnosed recently. I threw $15 on top of the $35 entry fee and didn’t apply for the 80% refund that my company offers because I felt like that was cheating. A few days ago I also donated $25 to a cause that Nick Pane had been supporting. He was running the Philly marathon for a friend of his who passed away and felt it was a good cause.

These donations, though small, made me feel good. Giving back is a good feeling. My thought process is this: Donating money to a given cause is almost always going to be a better use of money than however I would have spent it. I have a good amount of disposable income so it’s not like I’m giving away rent money. Plus, it actually makes me feel good about myself.

I use this logic towards my father too. He has money that he insists on spending. I figure him buying two pizzas for me and my friends is almost definitely a better use of his money than what he would ordinarily do with it.

To go along with this theme, I just finished Lopez Lomong’s book Running For my LifeThe idea that if I gave just a small percentage of my paycheck to a family in Sudan, it would have a hugely positive effect on their lives, is a cool one. The amount of good $20 will do for me is nothing when compared to what it will do for them. So why not give back?

Well, I may, but I think the saying “out of sight, out of mind” plays a part here, but perhaps not in the way you might think. I wouldn’t NOT donate because they’re so far away and I don’t care if their life sucks. The reason I wouldn’t donate is because I wouldn’t be 100% confident that I was making some difference unless I actually had a family or something I could speak to and know that I was making a difference. If I donate money, it may make a difference, it may not, how do I know? I would want someone on the other end saying “Yes, this money is a huge deal.” Then I would feel like it’s actually worth it.

Anyway, I say this now because I just finished this book and have enjoyed giving a small amount in the recent past. In all honesty I highly doubt I’ll sponsor a Sudanese family. HOWEVER! I will not hesitate to donate to local charities or people supporting a cause.

The GOATS

People like when other people have strong opinions about something. In this post I’m going to give my generally uneducated opinion on GOATs from a variety of different areas. I’ll try to keep these relatively short. Feel free to be critical and call me out for any of these decisions, as I said, some are uneducated.

Sports

Basketball – Michael Jordan
In my mind it’s between Jordan, Wilt, and Russell. Wilt holds a ton of records but only won 2 NBA titles. Russell was the anti-Wilt. He doesn’t hold that many records but has 11 rings. The guy was a winner (and an extreme racist). But Jordan was a mix of both, putting up incredible numbers (#1 all-time PPG) and winning 6 titles with 6 finals MVPs. He realistically could have won 8 straight titles if he didn’t retire for baseball (what a bonehead) in his PRIME!

Football – Joe Montana
I’m picking Montana over Rice and others for one reason. The quarterback position in the NFL is THE MOST important position in any of the four major sports. Montana obviously had help with Jerry Rice, the GOAT wide-receiver, but winning four super bowls is NOT easy even with good players (just ask Brady). For the record, I would put Brady #1 if he had won even one of those two against that scrub Eli and he very well may end up being #1. Also, you could argue Peyton if he wins one with Denver.

Baseball – Ted Williams
His accomplishments on and off the field seal the deal for me (He also has the same birthday as me). This goes a bit against my previous two picks because Jordan and Montana big-time winners. Williams didn’t win a single World Series and only appeared in one. He was a two time triple crown winner, two time MVP, 19 time all-star, CAREER BA of .344, batted over .400 for an entire season, 521 homers, etc. However, the craziest thing is that, like Jordan, he left the game for four years while in his prime, but not to play baseball, instead to be a pilot in WWII. Imagine if Lebron or A-Rod or Brady left for four years to fight in Iraq.

Hockey – Wayne Gretzky
I know next to nothing about hockey but I’m most confident in this pick. Apparently it just wasn’t fair because he was too good and that no one would argue with this. I’ll take it!

Running – Haile Gebrselassie
Ah, you all knew it was coming didn’t you! This is only distance runners (though I’d pick Bolt as my sprinter). There are realistically four choices for this: Haile Gebrselassie, Bekele, Zatopek, and El Guerrouj. I choose Geb. He held the WR in the 5k, the 10k, and the marathon. He’s been world class for literally 20 years. He has two Olympic golds and four WC golds. No one has had his range (~3:30 1500!) and done it for as long as he has. If Bekele goes sub 2:04 in the next few years, I would be forced to move him ahead of Geb.

Music

Band – The Beatles
This almost isn’t worth posting and it’s such an obvious choice but I do believe this is indisputably the right answer. They changed music. Every band you’ve ever heard since 1970 of any genre can almost definitely be traced back to the Beatles in some way. There will never be another band as huge and revolutionary as the Beatles.

Song – Stairway to Heaven
I know Tom did something about the best songs and also put this as #1. That’s because it is. It’s an epic, it starts slow, it builds and builds to arguably the greatest guitar solo by arguably the greatest guitarist and finishes with the definition of a Rock God’s voice in Plant. Sure certain songs fit certain situations better than others, but strictly as a piece of music, I put this #1.

Guitar Solo – Comfortably Numb
I said Stairway had ARGUABLY the best solo, but I wouldn’t argue that. Gilmour gets more feeling and emotion out of his guitar than anyone I’ve ever heard. He doesn’t “shred” like Hendrix or Page but by god you can feel he’s pouring everything he has into both solos in this song.

Movies

This is too broad so I’m going to narrow it down. These are also not what I think are the greatest because I haven’t seen enough movies to make that claim. These are just my personal favorites.
All around – Good Fellas
This is stupid because I haven’t even seen the Godfather but I love Good Fellas. There’s a lot to follow and you’re never bored watching. A full movie with a bit of everything through and through.

Comedy – Dumb & Dumber / Office Space
D&D is a classic from my childhood so I’m bias. Hopefully the sequel isn’t a disaster. Office Space has increased dramatically in humor since I’ve started my job. For such a bland movie I find it absolutely hilarious.

Animated – The Iron Giant 
I rewatched it recently and was near tears at the end. How can you not love the Giant by the end? It also does a great job of making you HATE Mansley.

Scary – 28 Days Later
This movie doesn’t “scare” me that much necessarily but I just think it’s an awesome movie. Less action than 28 Weeks, but all around better. These aren’t pussy zombies (cough Walking Dead cough), these things are legit and when they’re chasing people full speed your heart rate triples.

 

Surgery Success

The surgery was a success. I’m in an oddly familiar place with an oddly familiar feeling. Does it suck? Yes, it does. Do I regret my decision? Not one bit. The next 2 months will be bad (actually, inconvenient more than anything), but I’ve done it before so I can do it again.

This time around the doctors gave me percocets for pain. Last time I was given a script for 30 vicodin but lost it and never got the script filled. This time I had had my mother go to the drug store and fill it.  I’ve never had perks but didn’t expect much. I’ve had vicodin dozens of times due to my oral surgeries and I never noticed anything when I would take them. I’ve since learned that perks pack a bigger punch.

My weekend will be boring and hopefully I can get a few posts up. However, this was strictly to get a post out there so naturally I’ll end with some funny gifs.

doggie owned

cereal fail

 

cya fuckin later

 

dancin win

10 Reasons to Love a Nerd

nerd

Someone posted this article on Facebook from Cosmo (gaye) about the 10 reasons you should date a nerd. I didn’t think much of it but clicked to see the 10 reasons. I was shocked to see that I kind of fit the bill for most of these. Here they are and my 10 thoughts related to me on them. Also note, running will be involved in this a lot.

  1. “Nerds have one or two things that they absolutely love at any given time.”
    -Running has been a love for a number of years and all through grade school it was whatever video-game I was into at the time. These loves go deep.
  2. “Nerds know that the thing they love might be weird, so you don’t have to be self-conscious about the weird thing you love.”
    -This one is self explanatory. Off the top of my head, none of the girls I’ve dated had any unusual loves that I can think of (other than myself you could argue).
  3. “Nerds have constructively addictive personalities.”
    -“Constructively” is questionable, but my and my family’s addictive personalities have been well documented, for better or for worse.
  4. “Nerds don’t play games. Well, they might play Call of Duty or D&D. But in a relationship, it’s straightforward.”
    -Only the girls I’ve dated can attest to this and of course I’m going to say I’m straightforward.
  5. “Nerds are self-aware… Taking what could be a stigma and wearing it as a badge of honor is the sign of a cool person.”
    -I almost always wear short-shorts (for comfort preference). They are my badge of honor that people think look stupid. I lost my self-consciousness years ago.
  6. “Nerds love to solve problems, both on their own and with others.”
    -They were referring to relationship problems, I always tried to go by the motto “don’t go to bed angry” so this somewhat holds.
  7. “Nerds love technology.”
    -As in, they will fix your technology problems and keep you updated on certain things. I can fix the problems my parents have with technology but can’t go too far beyond that.
  8. “Nerds like to be best at things.”
    -Obviously. I don’t play Candy Crush or Guitar Hero because it’s fun. I playeCC to get on a higher level than my friends and played GH because Rob Lavin said he was better than me. This one goes hand-in-hand with the addictive personality so we easily get carried away.
  9. “Nerds are major assets in the event of a zombie apocalypse. They have read every related comic book, seen every related movie, and played every related video game.”
    -A definite no on the comic books, but I have seen my fair share of zombie movies and played a great deal of Resident Evil and Nazi Zombies.
  10. “Nerds are comfortable in their own skin. Unabashedly loving something, even in the face of societal scorn, is a major positive.”
    -This one is pretty similar to the “wearing short-shorts as a badge”. I would say not giving any quas, which I try to do, makes me comfortable in my own skin. They didn’t call me shorts and sandals kid for nothing.

I’d say I got an 8/10 in terms of matching those. Perhaps I am a “nerd” but after reading that it doesn’t seem like such a bad thing.

Powerball Jackpot

I came across an interesting article from Business Insider regarding the Powerball Jackpot. It essentially crunches a huge amount of numbers to give some information on how many people play at given jackpots, when you should play based on your odds to win versus the value of the pot versus the odds of your jackpot being split, etc.

The thing I thought was interesting was the number of tickets sold in relationship to the size of the jackpot. Here’s the basic formula they came up with:

“Tickets Sold = 217,629*(Jackpot in Millions) + 5,912,850”.

So if the jackpot is $100 million, you have 27.7 million tickets sold.

If the jackpot is $200 million, you have just under 50 million tickets sold.

If the jackpot is $400 million you have 93 million tickets sold.

And if the jackpot is $590 million (the highest it’s ever been) you have 134 million tickets sold.

We can break this down further. The winnings will be closer to half of what is listed because of A) taxes and B) the chances that you split the prize (of the 20 biggest Jackpots ever won, 11 of them have NOT been split).

My question is this. What the hell is the difference between $100 million and $200 million? I would venture to guess that 99.99% of people playing the Powerball Jackpot have less than 1 million dollars in their bank account. Assuming that’s even remotely accurate, $100 million will be almost as equally life changing as $300 million, right? Then how do you almost TRIPLE the amount of tickets purchased because your life will become 1,000,000 times easier as opposed to 999,000 times easier? What is a normal, middle-aged person, who makes between 30k-100k a year, going to buy with $300 million that they couldn’t buy with $100 million?!

You insta-put away like $90 million of it then set aside some college money for your children, buy a nice car, buy a big house, buy a boat if you want, then what? A personal jet? An island? A normal person wouldn’t know what to do with that much money. People aren’t playing Powerball so they can buy an island, they playing the Powerball so they never have to worry about money again and that would be true regardless of whether you win $100 million or $300 million.

What do ticket buyers see in $300 million that they don’t see in $100 million? I don’t understand this.

Evaluating my Current Situation

I’ve heard countless times that I’m “still young”, that I shouldn’t get “sucked into work for the rest of your life”, and that I should travel. I acknowledge this fact but haven’t thought about it deeply or acted upon it at all. I will attempt to do so slightly in this post.

I’m 22 years and 2 months old right now. My income is moderate but my expenses are low, so my net income is higher than it should be. I already have a good amount of money in my bank account and in the short-term that number will increase significantly before I decide to move out. My anticipated date of move out is anywhere from 6 months to one year.

So with that said, what should I do? The first thing to address is my job. I currently have a good job that’s very close to home, pays well, and I enjoy it. Do I see myself there long term? My first feeling is no but I can’t be sure. However, if I do plan on traveling, I would have to leave my job at some point. I have flexibility so that’s a good thing.

The next thing would be traveling. When I do have a good amount of money saved and am ready to travel, where do I go? My most direct/experienced resource on this is my brother Jeff. He road tripped around the US visiting a bunch of national parks for a few months with Mael. Then he went to New Zealand to live for a year. I happen to know that Jeff’s trips were a bit more spontaneous and he had less money than I have when he made his trips.

I would probably want to be somewhere in between those. The road trip would be a bit short in my mind but New Zealand is an entirely different world. Satchel (and soon to be Rob Kelley) moved out the California with no real plan in mind, mostly for a change of scenery. I think California fits Satchel perfectly. I’m not saying I want to go and live in California indefinitely, but that could be a nice place to go for a bit. Would it be crazy to go on a road trip and then live with Satch and Rob for a number of months? I don’t really think so. Would I need to find a traveling buddy? When/how would I decide if going international is right for me?

These are all questions that I don’t have the answer for right now but I have time. I just don’t want to have years go by and have the opportunity slip by. I also don’t think I would regret traveling. I might not be as proactive as Jeff but late is better than never. I don’t mind if I ultimately end up in Philadelphia, that’s fine, but I feel it would be a crime to limit myself to only one city for my entire life.

Any input is welcome.