Archive for Entertainment

Dear Dad, I Love You! Your Son

By · August 11, 2017 · Filed in Entertainment, Personal · 1 Comment »

With apologies to mom(I’m gonna write one for you as well) I felt inclined to write this open letter thanking my dad for everything he’s done. I want to let the world know that I love him. It’s funny because I have a memory of watching the following Chris Rock bit with he and my brother Jeff. In it he discussed how mama got all the songs, praise and love while all daddy got was “the big piece of Chicken(warning graphic language):

 

I don’t even know where to start, but I have so much to thank my dad for starting with quitting the corporate world to be home more to help raise my brother and I and teach us to be independent from a young age. I liken it to Jim Carrey’s commencement speech from 2014. Thankfully he quit instead of “being let go” like Jim’s dad.

My dad also taught me as Jim’s dad did that “you can fail at what you don’t want so you might as well take a chance at doing what you love”. Sadly I feel I let him down for all the things I loved that I quit before giving a full effort… first it was baseball, then it was acting/modeling, then it was the dream to be an engineer for Porsche. All of these childish decisions to quit at the first sign of adversity were moments of failure that led me to where I am now. I am glad to say that I failed at all those ventures because now I got to start a business with my dad and moved across the country to do so.

On the road of life – behind the wheel of a Porsche 911 C2S with dad

It was actually a combination of the struggle he was going through coupled with my frustration working an “Office Space” type of job shortly after college when I finally made a decision to quit and come down to AZ. Shortly after I quit and before I was ready to move I got a call that he was in the hospital and had a medical emergency. It was partly due to being overworked at the business he was at and I dropped everything to come down here.

I once told myself I’d NEVER sell this car

 

 

A few months later I sold off all my most prized possessions including my Honda CBR and my Mitsubishi 3000GT VR4(a car I once told myself I’d NEVER sell and also a car I worked on for months on end with the toolset he got me for my 16th birthday which I still have). Our goal was to start a business and as they say “keep it in the family”.

I was disillusioned with working for someone else and felt that I was devoting too much time to people who only saw me as a number vs. devoting myself to those most important to me. The past 7yrs have been rough and I have still fallen into the trap of going back to work for employers including building a career in logistics management the past 5yrs to help supplement our small business.

Dad and my adorable niece Avery in late 2015

In my most recent job I had another experience like the one in April 2010. It was December 2015, I came home from work like any other day and had got the crushing news from my wife that my dad was in the hospital again. Instead of dropping everything to help I lost myself in work. I felt it was the best way to help support and not be a burden during his rough time. It was the wrong decision. I even broke down and cried in a management meeting because I had enough of all the pressure from work while daily wondering if my dad was ever gonna get better.

Thankfully he did, but it’s still a long road to a full recovery. I am now at a point where at age 33 I need to be the rock for this family. Ironically it’s the same age my dad was when I was born. Before we got to today though I had one other life-changing experience that should’ve been the tipping point.

Little League – thanks to dad

 

 

 

 

My dad raised me to be a baseball fan, namely a Chicago baseball fan. Since my mom was from the South Side and he was from the North Side he never gave me that ridiculous “you have to be a Cubs fan or else” edict. In fact, he took me to as many Sox games as Cubs games as a kid despite him growing up 1mi from Wrigley Field. Here’s a picture from a trip to Vegas when I was 14 that shows how little he cared who I rooted for:

Confused kid – but dad didn’t care. He just wanted me to love baseball

 

 

 

Yes back in 1996 I was a Cubs fan, Sox fan(I liked Albert Belle) and Braves fan(solely b/c of Greg Maddux) so he didn’t care that I could rock a Braves hat with a Cubs shirt one day and that same Braves had with my prized Albert Belle jersey the next.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shortly after that he took me to my first playoff game, Cubs vs. Braves in the 1998 NLDS. While it was a loss(and a sweep) I’ll always remember “Good Riddance, Time Of Your Life” by Green Day blasting on the speakers, picking up free Oh! Henry Bars(it was a custom when Henry Rodriguez got a hit for fans to throw these on the field), but most of all being there with dad. Ironically the matchup was Maddux v. Wood and earlier that same year he took my niece Julia to her first game which just happened to be Kerry Wood’s 20K game.

He also became a season ticket holder in 2003. The biggest year of heartbreak. We went to Game 2 of the NLCS together, the one blow-out, the Cubs won 12-3 and we saw both a monstrous Sammy Sosa HR and the most freak blooper ever where the Marlins pitcher had the ball slip out of his hand and fly into their dugout. We thought this a was sign that it was finally “the year”. We all know how that turned out 🙁

The now infamous “hop” after the biggest HR he would ever hit in his career

PS- I never did and never will blame that poor fan BTW… it was a combo of bad coaching by Dusty Baker and a botched play by “sure handed” Alex Gonzalez that lost that game, not to mention, they still had Game 7. I was there on Waveland and remember how they held a 5-3 lead as late as the 5th inning before the bad bullpen and not using Matt Clement.

 

Remember Giants fan and Bay Area Native Steve Perry celebrating with the Sox to their rallying cry “Don’t Stop Believin”?

Sadly 2yrs later the White Sox won in 2005. It was then that I let peer pressure get the best of me and say “I’m a Cubs fan, I can’t enjoy this”. In reality the only opinion that mattered was my own and the only person whose validation I needed was his.

Thankfully 11yrs later was finally THE YEAR. Sadly, I was stuck at work in Arizona and my dad was in Chicago when Bryant to Rizzo sealed 108yrs of waiting. I will always remember this moment that I shared with one of my drivers but deep down I was hurt that I couldn’t be there with dad. Even worse is I was stuck at work and in the warehouse away from a TV for the only time in my 2yrs at the current employer. It was only when I said “seeing this moment was more important than getting yelled at or even fired” that compelled me to go to the drivers lounge(where I spend 99.9% of my time at work) to catch the final inning.

via GIPHY

via GIPHY

In closing I’d like to share my favorite lasting memory of the fateful 2016 World Series Champs and a song dedicated to dad. I know we have plenty more adventures to come. I can’t watch this without getting goosebumps when they cut in Joe Buck’s final out call. In fact whenever I listen to this song I add it myself… even if I’m in public on my Ducati. Probably because dad taught me not to care what others think if you’re having a good time.

The lyrics say it best:

One day my father—he told me,
“Son, don’t let it slip away”
He took me in his arms, I heard him say,
“When you get older
Your wild life will live for younger days
Think of me if ever you’re afraid.”
He said, “One day you’ll leave this world behind
So live a life you will remember.”
My father told me when I was just a child
These are the nights that never die
My father told me

Symphony – Finding Beauty and Meaning After A Painful Loss

By · August 4, 2017 · Filed in Entertainment, Personal · No Comments »

After a restless night I had to lose myself in some music and ironically there’s a line in this song that goes “and now your song is on repeat and I’m dancing on to your heartbeat”. These past few months I have had several songs on repeat(this one included) to deal with the loss of a member of my extended family who I never got a chance to meet to suicide as well as several celebrity deaths that have hit me hard and reminded me of past losses/pain and heartache I’ve dealt with in my own life.

One of which was the loss of Nicky Hayden. While I had met him for a moment last year at the WSBK races at Laguna Seca I admit I never got a chance to truly know him. How his death really affected me is it had happened just as I started riding my bicycle to work as a way to both save gas and try to get an elusive workout in. After hearing that Nicky had been in a severe bicycle accident I gave up riding on the street. It was hard to take that someone who had spent their life “living on the edge” and even winning a world championship riding motorcycles at speeds over 200mph could lose their life while training and traveling at speeds a fraction of what he was doing on the racetrack.

The muse for the composer in this video loses his life in a bicycle accident as well. The pain and heartache that the composer goes through can be seen in both his moments of reflection while also finding meaning in writing his greatest symphony as a result.

Back to trying to find beauty and meaning through personal loss, ironically, I have yet to lose a friend who rides despite all the horror stories people tell me. I did however lose my grandpa in a traffic accident when I was too young to even understand loss(it was the first death I actually remembered and can still place myself in the spot/location I was when I first heard the news at age 7). The lasting memory of my grandpa was his stern warning prior to a moment around age 5 when I was riding my bicycle in the rain shortly before I crashed into a mailbox, split my chin open and needed to go to the ER for stitches.

Another death that has touched me was that of Chester Bennington. Here again was someone I never knew personally, however, his work with Linkin Park was and still remains an “anti-drug” in my life. Ironically, the raw emotion and pain in his voice and lyrics were fueled through a lifetime of pain and even drug and alcohol abuse. At the same time it was this ability to share such raw emotion and pain that I felt I could relate to that drove me back from the edge when I could have easily gone down the path of drug use/abuse or worse, suicidal thoughts/actions. Whenever something in life got me down enough all I had to do was throw on “Crawling”, “Pushing Me Away” or one of the many other phenomenal LP tracks, scream along with Chester and suddenly realize the pain was NOT too much to bear.

This includes the most painful event of my life, losing my best friend months before his 21st birthday. It was at that moment as well as the moment that I heard of Chester’s suicide that I really started asking a lot of questions about the meaning of life. Even before Chester was the news that my brother’s nephew(his wife’s sister’s son) had taken his own life. Much like Chester and even my best friend he was someone who seemed to have everything and so much to live for, but for one reason or another the stress/pressure of life was too much to handle.

In a video of one of Chester’s last interviews he starts with “I don’t know if anyone can relate but I have a hard time with life, sometimes” and goes on to explain the inspiration for the latest LP hit “Heavy”. He also states “a lot of people think if you’re successful you get a card in the mail saying you’re gonna be totally happy and satisfied”. This is scary to know that even after reaching an amazing level of success in both the music industry as well as building a legacy through his own family that he could still have these thoughts. It’s a thought process that can be applied any one of the 100’s of famous people who took their lives from as far back as Van Gogh to Hemingway to more recently Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington.

Back to the video that inspired this post there’s another line “when you’re gone I feel incomplete so if you want the truth. I just wanna be part of your symphony.” This is evident in LP’s response to Chester’s death by changing their logo to an “incomplete” hexagon to signify that the band would be incomplete without Chester. My hope is that the living members including Mike Shinoda(an amazing writer/lyricist himself) who has done great things with his side project Fort Minor  can write their own symphony to honor Chester’s memory.

In conclusion, I don’t know if I’m just rambling now or if any of this makes any sense to anyone but myself. I’ve also said in the past nobody really reads these anyways, however I figured I needed to get some things off my chest and figured writing would be a good way to release all this stress and anxiety I have been holding in.

Until next time, try to find the inspiration for your own life’s Symphony and thank you Clean Bandit and the lovely Zara Larsson for your work of inspiration. Also thank you to everyone who has been an inspiration who is no longer with us.

Everything To Everyone – Not Just A Great Song, A Life Lesson!

By · July 31, 2017 · Filed in Entertainment, Personal · No Comments »

When I was a teenager I instantly fell in love with this “new” offering by Everclear(follow up to their first major hit “Santa Monica”). Granted at the time I was focused on the hot blondes in the school girl outfits I have since grown up and this song/video is more relevant 20yrs later. Man, this song is 20yrs old! Yes, a sign that I myself am getting old.

I know I could probably write a Master’s thesis just analyzing the lyrics or even the visuals, but I figured I would just focus on a couple things and see what you all think:

  1. The video starts with the “spinning room” as a metaphor to going ’round and round trying to find the right social circles. It’s highlighted by all the different people trying to climb the social ladders, whether it’s the above mentioned “hot” girls or the guy and girl in the suit trying to climb the corporate ladder.
  2. The lyric “you said they taught you how to read and write, yea they taught you how to count, I say they taught you how to buy and sell your own body by the pound” is a very powerful metaphor for the education system and how it this all starts early in life. Whether it’s public or private school trying to find the right social circle and falling into order(i.e. trying to get good grades in English, Reading, Math, etc) is the beginning of trying to be “Everything To Everyone”.
  3. The overall song and the band’s performance/antics in the song take something so serious/meaningful and make light of it. It’s a great daily reminder for us to maybe not take things so seriously.

Where I’d like to go with this(aside from writing a Master’s Thesis or book) is an idea I’ve had for a little while about a post called “Be Too Important To Ignore”. In my own quest of trying to be “Everything To Everyone” I’ve found that to some I’m just not good enough and it’s more a result of not having what that particular person wants/needs. At the same time it’s a reminder that to some you won’t have/be anything so you need to focus on who’s most important. Ah, focus, there’s one of the most difficult things to master in this society of instant gratification. If only the guys of Everclear knew what type of technology/trends would come to control our lives after the innocent days of 1997.

Hope you liked this post. Even if not, please drop a line in the comments below and let me know what you think. If it’s blatantly offensive or spam it will be filtered out, however, I do invite constructive criticism or even the feather in my cap of some praise for my writing. Thanks in advance!

Derrick Rose = Chicago’s Hope!(Video)

By · March 15, 2012 · Filed in Entertainment, Sports · No Comments »

The videos included are from last year, but after yesterday’s triumph over the Heat without him and mostly led by 3rd string PG John Lucas III, there’s a ray of hope that this is the year for the Bulls!

In order to continue the success through the playoffs they will NEED a healthy D-Rose and probably the rest of the starting 5: Noah, Deng, Boozer and Rip. Thankfully they have the deepest bench in the instance that anyone does go down. Personally, I would not be able to stomach a repeat of last year’s Eastern Conference Finals where the Bulls were cruising through the first quarter of Game 2 only to fall apart and hand the series to the Heat. Granted, I gotta give credit to Lebron for actually stepping up his game when it counts, however, Lebron’s triumph was aided by the Bulls collapsing.

Anyways, without further ado, I give you “Chicago’s Hope”, Derrick Rose. Both of these videos are property of the NBA, their respective editors and YouTube, however, I love the background tracks. First is “I’m Coming Home” by Diddy Dirty Money and the second is “Remember The Name” by Fort Minor:

Shinedown: Proof That Rock Music Is Not Dead!(Video)

By · March 13, 2012 · Filed in Entertainment, Personal · No Comments »

True story… back in 2004 I was HUGE fan of Tantric and had the opportunity to see them live. There were 3 opening acts. One was a local band. The second was Silvertide, led by an eccentric lead-singer named Sebastian who was compared to Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes. The third was Shinedown. I didn’t know who they were beforehand and instantly recognized them when they played the following hit song:

45 by Shinedown

Before the show, which was at Pop’s, a small bar in Sauget, IL(across the river from St. Louis, MO), I ran into a group of guys standing by a tour bus. I had Meet N’ Greet passes for Tantric and did not know if it was before the show, between sets or after the show. I even called the venue and they didn’t know. Finally, I decided to ask the guys standing by the bus for more info on the Meet N’ Greet as they looked like “roadies”. By this I meant they looked like musicians, however, I knew they weren’t in Tantric and I didn’t recognize them. The response I got was “Sorry man, we don’t know.” Those “roadies” ended up being the members of Shinedown! They put on an AWESOME show which included a call to “pull out your lighters” when they played “45” and I got to meet Tantric between sets which was a great experience in and of itself.

Since then Tantric has changed lead-singers and haven’t quite achieved the commercial success they deserve while Shinedown has gone on to be one of the biggest names in modern rock.

Here’s my favorite Shinedown song:

 

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Motivational Music – Have A Nice Day by Bon Jovi

By · December 20, 2010 · Filed in Entertainment · 1 Comment »

When it comes to motivational music you can pretty much insert any Bon Jovi title, however, this one is especially true and relevant right now. The song is about when it feels like the world is against you and you’re ready to break, you just stand tall and say “Have A Nice Day”. I especially love the “evil smile” logo Bon Jovi uses not only as the cover for the album(also titled “Have A Nice Day”), but also as an image displayed all over the video:

A few lines that also hit hard for anyone else who grew up in a typical middle/working class household: “My daddy lived a lie it’s just the price that he paid, sacrificing life just slaving away” OR “Momma can you help me try to understand, is innocence the difference between a boy and a man?”

Motivational Music – Carz by Sir-Mix-a-Lot

By · December 10, 2010 · Filed in Entertainment, Vehicles · No Comments »

He once said “have it goin like a Turbo Vette.” Now he tells us that we need to drive those Turbo Vettes, Lambos and every other exotic you could think of like the freakin’ exotics they are and not like some museum showpiece(like Cameron’s dad in Ferriss Buehler’s Day Off):

Enjoy!(I sure did!)

And oh yea, here’s the lyrics, I bolded the ones that I found most relevant:

Sir Mix-A-Lot – Carz

They call me Mister Lamborghini
See me believe me, we be hittin’ ’em twisties
Y’all can’t believe these crazy SV’s big wings Verde Ithica bright green
Ferrari Scuderia, F1 quick click and see ya
Hot shiftin’ that 60 mills and the prancin’ horse on the fender shields
Maybe you’ll see us, cars and coffee raise up off me
Poppa might get an Enzo, or a black Phantom with the smoked out windows
599 is fine, naught to sixty 3.5
Swoop through, scoop your daughter got a 458 on order
And my cars got miles, garage queens, that’s your style
LP 560, Batman grey with the CCBs
And the LCDs, flash the peace signs cause you can’t catch these

We love these cars, I keep my right foot planted, cops can’t stand it
We love these cars, turn off my phone, hear these tones
I love a car, I like to whip it, I love a car, I like to whip it, I love ’em
We love these cars, keep my suspension stiff I never drift
We love these cars, this whip is clean, watch me sheen
I love a car, I like to whip it, I love a car, I like to whip it, I love ’em

I ain’t no collector, you drive them thangs and I might respect ya
And even though I’m getting older I ride my shit and holla fuck you posers
Rent a car rappers, fuck you posers
Iced out wheels, fuck you posers
Hood long, big coupe but it still got balls
Murdered out black Ferrari 612, scag parties
Out at Tom’s house, he got the big white Phantom chrome mouth
Try to catch my crew, fuck us, fuck you too
Porsche CGT, big pimpin’ at the RTC
Clicked up, whip’s up, pickin’ up D cups, chicks up
The sound of Mike’s Gallardo… sometimes I follow NorthWest auto salon,
Clean the whips, shine ’em and gone, and Benchmark makes it pound
Y’all should hear this fucking sound

We love these cars I keep my right foot planted, cops can’t stand it
We love these cars, turn off my phone, hear these tones
I love a car, I like to whip it, I love a car, I like to whip it, I love ’em
We love these cars, keep my suspension stiff I never drift
We love these cars, this whip is clean, watch me sheen
I love a car, I like to whip it, I love a car, I like to whip it, I love ’em

Carbon fiber, guts fat, SLR in matte black
Couple that with a GT2 and finish my garage with a drophead coupe
My LP 640 goes up when I’m acting naughty
What you know about a Veyron, Bugatti shakes the body like heron
Can you fuck with the SSC, production shit hittin’ 260
And the Yankees come, with the Corvette ZR1
GTC, nothing flows like a drop-top Bentley
CL63, 22s on an MBZ and our everyday an R8, hit the spot and they hate
Aston Martin DBS interior blessed
And even when I’m low key, I’m in a fat S-Class on a HRE
65 AMG push start – fuck the keys

We love these cars, we love these cars
I love a car, I love a car, I love ’em
We love these cars, We love these cars
I love a car, I love a car, I love ’em

We love these cars, I keep my right foot planted, cops can’t stand it
We love these cars, turn off my phone, hear these tones
I love a car, I love a car, I love ’em
We love these cars, keep my suspension stiff, I never drift
We love these cars, this whip is clean, watch me sheen
I love a car, I love a car, I love ’em

We love these cars, we love these cars
I love a car, I love a car, I love ’em
We love these cars, We love these cars
I love a car, I love a car, I love ’em x2

Bottom line- he not only drives his cars, he drives ’em the way they were meant to be driven, not like all the posers out there who “roll up” in an exotic instead of hitting the backroads or hitting the track.

As for cars shouted out on this vid, it’s like a virtual exotic car all-star team:

Lamborghini Murcielago LP-640, Lamborghini Gallardo LP-570 SV, Ferrari F430 Scuderia, Ferrari Enzo, Rolls-Royce Phantom, Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano, Ferrari 458 Italia, Lamborghini Gallardo LP-560, Ferrari 612 Scaglietti, Porsche Carrera GT(one of my two dream cars), Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, Porsche GT2, Bugatti Veyron, SSC Ultimate Aero(my other dream car), Chevy Corvette ZR1, Bentley Continental GTC, Mercedes-Benz CL63 AMG, Audi R8, Aston Martin DBS, Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG.

And while there’s no shout, you can see an Ariel Atom in the video.

In fact the only few cars I see missing from this video are: BMW M3/M5, Audi RS4/RS5/RS6/RS8, Nissan GTR, Lexus LFA, Gumpert Apollo, Lotus Elise/Tesla Roadster, Koenigsegg CCX/CCR, Dodge Viper and probably a few others I’m missing, but you get the point. This video rules!

On that note, on to hitting the twisties on this:

Jack's '07 Suzuki GSXR-1000