Sunday, August 30, 2009

I'll Give You Four: Weezer (Red Album)

Today is the first day of my second week of the new semester. This means I have completed my first week. It's not rocket science. . .

Either way, I foresee a busy schedule that will pull me every which way, but I still hope to at the very least post this type of column every Sunday (and as it is, this will be up on Monday). But no excuses, because I was off today, but I chose to spend the first half of my day lounging around, switching channels between the Little League World Series Championship (Chula Vista, CA beat Chinese Taipei to win the whole kit-n-kaboodle; USA! USA!) and the final round of the Barclays Championship, a golf tournament that held some serious dramatics, as a 20-foot putt separated the winner (Heath Slocum, I believe) from what would have been a five-player playoff (that would have included Paddy Harrington, Ernie Els, and the man himself, Tiger Woods). Great stuff on the sports front today. . . (as a footnote, the second half of my day was spent working out - first time in at least a month - walking Leia, straightening up the apartment, and doing some research online - today was a not a wasted day)

But that's not why you are here today (although I do intend to post an NFL preview before the season starts here in two weeks. It's time for my second installment of I'll Give You Four, where I give you four reasons why something that I find entertaining, brilliant, or a mixture of the two, should be viewed, listened to, or experienced by you, my faithful readers. This week, I'll go to something simple and easy for me to advocate for, my favorite band and their most recent album (in light of their new album, which will be released in October).


Weezer's sixth album was released on June 3, 2008. For fans like me, it was excitement-filled, because it was their first album since 2005's MAKE BELIEVE, which wasn't as good as their older albums (although, in my opinion, "Beverly Hills" is still one of their catchiest songs to date and is one of the more fun songs to listen to). The single "Pork and Beans" was a video sensation, as it showcased celebrities of the Youtube community.

But the album did not receive the greatest reviews, and apparently this is a common thing with Weezer. The internet explodes with opinions whenever they put anything out and it's divided down a fine line and usually results in people saying that they have not succeeded in anything since their first two albums (The Blue Album and Pinkerton). As someone who can always find a silver lining in anything that they produce, allow me to turn the tables on all those naysayers out there and show you why Weezer is the best around. Now I am no ROLLING STONE music reviewer and the only instrument I can play is the radio, so my opinion is rooted only in desire to listen to music. I listen to everything from country to rap, but no matter who, what, when, where, or why, I'm always in the mood for Weezer, especially The Red Album, which in my opinion, is their best all around disc to date!


1) Rivers being Rivers

Just like Manny Ramirez, who had that statement practically trademarked for himself (Manny being Manny), lead singer and band leader Rivers Cuomo is a very unique individual. He does things how he wants to do them and his quirks shine through. Again, people quote from the new song (which has a line about wearing "Slayer t-shirts") and say that he is just digging into the well too often and trying to be hip with his allusions to other bands as well as pop culture. But why is this a bad thing? "In the Garage" (from Blue) mentions "my favorite rock group KISS". "Only In Dreams" (also Blue) has a line that says "You say it's a good thing/That you float in the air/That way there's no way I will crush your pretty toenails to a thousand pieces". Not everyday lingo. But that's who he is. I mean, hell, "P,"ork and Beans" itself says "I'm gonna do the things that I want to do/I ain't got a thing to prove to you"! My favorite part of that song is that he says "I don't give a hoot about what you think". Only Weezer brings out the "hoot" instead of the profanity, and maybe that's why I appreciate them. Their vocabulary is slightly bigger than that of your average rock band.

2) Everyone Sings

Every member of Weezer does the lead vocals in at least one song on The Red Album. This threw me at first, as I wasn't sure who I was listening to! But when I listened to them over and over (as I am to do with anything Weezer does) I realized that it changed the style up only slightly and gave it a different breath that I totally enjoyed. In fact, one of the best songs on the whole album is "King" which you can read about in this excerpt from good ol' Wikipedia:

""King" is the last song on the deluxe edition of the Weezer album and is sung by Scott Shriner. In the liner notes for the deluxe edition Scott says that the song was not being voted by the rest of the band but was one of his favorite tracks from the demos Rivers played for the band. One day Scott called up Rivers and demanded the band add the song on the album, Rivers responded by saying that if he [Scott] wanted the song so bad he should sing it, and so he did."

It just adds a different feel to the album. And I in particular found it to be a fun addition!

3) Classic Sound

I remember popping in the CD for the first time and hearing "Troublemaker", the first track, start up. Those first 10 seconds or so sound like classic Weezer to me. I immediately got a smile on my face and said "They're back," because even I, an eternal Weezer optimist, felt like they had taken a step back with their most recent efforts. "Pork and Beans" has a guitar riff that bleeds Weezer sound. And unlike "Make Believe", where they practically used the same music as a previous song (listen to the introduction to "Perfect Situation" and then go back to the Green Album and listen to "Simple Pages" - undeniably similar), they tweaked their classic music just enough to feel like they were doing something new and fresh while still staying true to their roots. "Heart Songs" is a ballad that reeks of Weezerization (just made that up!) with their ode to all the bands that made them who they are (as a sidenote, every single time I listen to this song I get goosebumps when he says "our song come on the radio/now people go "this is the song"" - - Rivers gets that his music is important to people and I know what that means to an aficianado like that because of the way he writes his songs). All in all, I feel that the songs they put together show an updated version of the old-school Weezer, and that's what made the album pop to me.

4) "The Greatest Man That Ever Lived" (Variations on a Shaker Hymn)

And this song is the biggest reason for why this is a great album. Constructed of distinctively different parts, it is broken up into almost mini-songs that combine to form what I consider the greatest Weezer song ever. It's brilliance is in its originality and its sound, which is different than anything I had ever heard. The bassist, Scott Shriner, agrees with me about its brilliance by describing it as a "masterpiece that includes ten different styles of music based around a common theme." I have no idea how they created the different sounds within this song (although I definitely hear police sirens at one point) but it never misses. Each part of the song (including a small section where Rivers is really just talking) leads up to a great chorus of "I am the greatest man that ever lived/I was born to give" while a choir of voices behind him echoes his words. What a song to listen to as you head into work and your confidence is a little shaky! I would have paid full album price for this song alone, and yet, there are many others that are almost as perfect as this one (among them, "Dreamin" and "Troublemaker").

- - -

Well I hope I convinced you to go put $10 or so towards a great album that you will be listening to for years to come. One year and three months after its release, five of the songs off this album appear in my TOP 10 MOST PLAYED list on my iTunes account. It is a step above everything else that is out there right now (I can't believe some of the crap on the radio - which is why I don't listen to mainstream radio) and it only gives me hope for their new album coming out in October (awesomely titled "Raditude" - and if that doesn't scream "Weezer" I don't know what does!)

That's all for now - if I don't hop back on this week (I hope to get a movie review of THE FINAL DESTINATION up here soon) then I'll meet you back here next Sunday for the next installment of I'LL GIVE YOU FOUR. . .

Have a night!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I'll Give You Four

So here's my idea:

I'm gonna try this every Sunday. What am I going to try? Again, here's my idea:

Let's say that you like something, whether it is a television show, a band, a movie, anything. Ok, great. Now why do you like this particular thing, or even better, why are you right about this thing that other people are wrong about? Fantastic. "Give me a reason" is what is usually said.

Instead of doing you one better, I'll go ahead and do you three better.

"I'll give you four."

Four reasons why I am right and why others are wrong. Four valid, logical, arguable reasons why you should join me against the grain (or, if in the case of a critical darling, why you should jump on the bandwagon). And that's the idea.

So I'll start with one that not a lot of people are in on, a television show that was cut tragically short by a lack of viewers, which is often the case with shows like this. It's critically lauded (at least by some) and is professionally produced with a top-notch cast and an award-winning creator. And for some reason, it only lasted one season. And that one season, 22 episodes of roughly 40 minutes each, makes this one of the greatest 15 hour movies I have ever seen. Or, at the very least, became one of my favorite television shows (and would be number one, if it had only lasted longer).

NBC aired this Aaron Sorkin dramedy about the life behind the camera of a late night sketch comedy show (like Saturday Night Live) called the same thing as the show that we watch. It is run by Matthew Albie (Matthew Perry - this was my only gripe with the entire show; Perry is fantastic in the role, but Sorkin couldn't have named this character anything else but Matthew?!?!) and Danny Tripp (Bradley Whitford) and contains a cast that includes "The Big Three"; Simon Styles (D.L. Hughley), Harriet Hayes (Sarah Paulson) and Tom Jeter (Nate Corddry). The network is run in part by Jack Rudolph (Steven Weber) and Jordan McDeere (Amanda Peet). Drama, hilarity, and a lot of coincidental occurrences, well, occur.


1. The writing.

This is what Aaron Sorkin is known for. He wrote and created SPORTS NIGHT (another show that might get featured in this spot at another point) as well as the award-winning THE WEST WING (a show that I desperately want to watch - I found the entire series on for under $100 if someone would like to buy it for me). He also wrote THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT, an above average film starring Michael Douglas as the President who has lots going on in his life and then decides to get involved with a woman who also happens to be a lobbyist. The final speech by Douglas earned my vote, that is to say that if a candidate for the president or a sitting president actually gave that speech, I would be on his side.

You know these things already. Sorkin is well-known and for good reason. He writes better than anyone (arguably) and the banter that he creates between his characters makes someone like me just ecstatic. I love listening to his characters talk. And the Ramblerette (which is Heather's new nickname on here - I give credit to people like the Sports Guy, Bill Simmons, who names his wife The Sports Gal, and Fletch over at Blog Cabins, who calls his wife Mrs. Fletch) cannot stand it. I have been watching the series over the past week and a half that I've been on vacation and occasionally (read: rarely) it is on while Heather is getting ready for work or playing on Farmtown (don't ask) and she asks "What are you watching? It's so boring." She complains that it's too much talking. That's what I like about it. What he does is show how you can entertain without a car driving 120 mph or someone shooting another person in the chest fifteen times or better yet, being 300+ pounds and massaging another 300+ person in a hot tub. Because that's out there. None of those things are as entertaining as smart people talking fast and challenging each other with logic, whether or not these people could possibly exist in real life.

2. Bradley Whitford and Matthew Perry.

I could be very generic and give you "The cast" as a reason, but I already gave you "the writing" as number one and I figured that I would be slightly more specific. These two men create characters in Matt and Danny that are at best brilliant and personable, and at worst arrogant and assholeish. Their "bromance" caused me to increasingly cherish the friendship I have with George, my co-creator of "Life 101," the screenplay that we wrote together. I can't help but believe that their relationship is based somewhat on the one that Sorkin and co-creator Thomas Schlamme share, as they certainly have a long lasting one (Schlamme was an executive producer on both SPORTS NIGHT and THE WEST WING). My hope is that there are more friendships in Hollywood like the one personified by Whitford and Perry and that people creating the shows that we watch are at least close to the characters that they portrayed.

3. Reimpactability

Yes it is a word that I just made up. But break it down. The "re" means again. I have now completed the series three separate times (once when it was on television, and twice since I bought the DVD) and I know that this time will not be the last. I pick up on jokes and lines that I had not ever before each time that I watch it. I marvel at the acting skills of relatively unknown and unseen actors like Nate Corddry, who shows both his comedic and dramatic chops throughout the show. "Impact" in this sense is all about the effect that the show has on the viewer. There are several episodes that have caused me to get rather choked up (alright, alright, they make me cry) and this has happened every time I have watched it (The Christmas Show, in particular the last scene, gets me pretty good). The laughs are the same each time. The appearances by guest stars (John Goodman is more than good in his two episode stint - he even got an Emmy nomination for guest star; Allison Janney is very funny as herself in The Disaster Show) are an extra treat in addition to the quality of the cast that puts in "A" work each show.

4. Fearlessness

Aaron Sorkin is a brave man. In certain episodes, executives and presidents of the network are complaining to the television show creators about ratings, advertisers, and more. Sorkin was dealing with this on a personal level. As the season hit its midpoint, there were such vivid parallels to how the actual show was doing on NBC to the "show within the show" that I remember wondering at the time if Sorkin was taking actual conversations he was having with his bosses and putting them into the words of his characters. But he didn't stop. He created a world that was so real that I was certainly convinced that the world of television worked as he was portraying it. Whether SNL or other variety shows are anything like STUDIO 60, I really don't care. This was the behind the scenes of THIS show. And after the pilot episode, I was in. I cared whether or not these characters succeeded or failed in their endeavors. A major knock on the show was that the parts of the actual variety show were not funny. Well, I agree that not everything was shown in the sketches was as funny as the funniest seasons of SNL. But some of the recent seasons of SNL (Horatio Sanz anyone?!?!) were not that funny either. This was not the point of the show (although I would argue that some of the sketches are good ideas and could really make for funny television). Sorkin was showing how this show got made and the characters that make this show come together. And when he wrote about the difficult times, that's when he was at his best, in my opinion at least.

There are the four reasons why you should check out STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP. It's only one season long (again, a tragedy) so not a difficult show to jump into. Give it a shot. Ultimately, its an interesting take on the late night variety show (as a side note, let me include that 30 ROCK came on at the same time and now has lasted much longer and to great success - see: multiple Emmys - and I cannot stand the show. I have given it many chances and it still cannot make me laugh. Sorry. Maybe it is too smart for me. Like Arrested Development, right? Pass!)

So this is my new idea. I have some other ideas lined up and you can expect me to keep up with the new stuff that comes out and about. What do you think?!?!

Here I Go Again On My Own

Ok, so here's the scoop. . . (and yes, I began my triumphant return with a Whitesnake reference)

I am beginning again where I always seem to end up.  I have four posts this year and I really should just put a cork in this thing and call it a day.  

But, it's very possible that I could see a small up-tic in the viewership because of my contribution to a fellow blogger, code-name Fletch, creator of the movie-centric Blog Cabins.  He runs a contest once a week called Tuesday's Twelve Tags where he puts twelve movie taglines on his page and has his readers guess which movies they come from.  He also plans ahead so that there is a theme to all of the twelve films and there is a point value given to that theme as well as one point for each tag that is correctly answered.  The reader with the most points when all is said and done wins. . . well, nothing.  But it's fun.  And I happen to be the reader with the most wins (10) and I have a pretty good lead too (second place has 5.5 I think).

So I offered to create one of these tests for him.  He's going to put it up on his page (which has many many more readers than this site ever had) in a week or so and I am gonna go ahead and start working a little harder to make sure there is material (good or otherwise) on the site so that if some of his readers happen to become my readers, then there will be contemporary news and information.

The other bit of information is that I have to post more than just updates on me because, well, I'm just not that interesting.  So expect more movie stuff (especially with Fletch's audience being interested in that sort of thing) and sports stuff as well (just because I like that sort of thing and the NFL and NBA seasons are just around the corner - at least that's what I keep telling myself).

I have some posts in mind already and I have a couple of new weekly column-type things on the other side of my mind as well.  Add that up with the fact that my vacation ends today (oh yeah, I was on vacation from the MW for 12 days - fantastic amount of time) and my second to last semester begins Tuesday (I'm still in denial) and I have a lot on my plate.

But I'm here for you.

I leave you today with a picture of the newest addition to my family, my little Leia (as in Princess - see: Star Wars).  Heather and I bought her from a breeder almost two months ago and she has been a perfect addition. She is playful and fun and sweet.  She is a Miniature Australian Shepherd and is just short of six months old.  She is our baby.  Enjoy (and yes that's a real picture and not a stock photo of her breed, as has been suggested):

Talk to you again soon - - This time, I promise. . .

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Road to Nowhere: Part VI

Does anyone remember when I started this story. . . back in July 2007?!?!?! That was two flippin' years ago! But I remember it all like it was yesterday. And so, on this, my day off, I'm going to get to you the long-delayed penultimate part of my story (with a title that now has more meaning than before!). . . . .

You're probably gonna need to update yourself, so here are the links to the first five parts of the story:


And here is Part VI:

"What the hell, Mike?!?"

Michael heard it again. Suzanne's shriek startled him, and this time he had a response.

"What the hell? Suzanne, I was thinking the same goddamn thing! What are you doing grinding on this Joe College Douche?!?"

Jack was now on his feet and was uninterested in their childhood drama.

"Who are you calling a douche, douche!?!"

Eloquent as always.

"Jack, I'm sorry I hit you. Just step off for a minute. I need to talk to Suzanne."

"No, you need to talk to me."

Jack stepped forward and attempted to land a rather awkward punch to the face of his weekend warrior college buddy. Michael, still not close to sober, watched in slow-motion as the fist hurtled towards him. It was at that same moment that a monster of a man, a 6'5'' 300 pound behemoth, walked in between the two college kids, not knowing what he was getting in the middle of. Jack's fist hit the giant in the ribs, causing a hush to fall on that side of the dance floor. On the other side, the bass continued to pound. The strobe lights continued to flicker. The twenty-somethings continued to live.

Goliath turned and stared Jack down. He then looked at Suzanne and then turned and faced Michael. All three gave him back the same look: eyes wide, mouth opened, body clenched. Goliath peered back around at Jack, but the clean-cut Mama's boy was already racing towards the door, forgoing his coat at the table, with only freedom on his mind.

Usually, Michael thought to himself, something like this escape attempt would cause Goliath to chase after his college buddy and beat him to a pulp. But that didn't happen. Instead, Goliath just stared at the two lifelong friends and in one word, gave them directions as to their next step of the evening: "Get".

Michael and Suzanne made their way to their table (curiously missing Allison, who undoubtedly ran off when she saw Jack fleeing the scene), picked up their items, and made for the door. It wasn't until they were just far enough out of reach of the booming music that Suzanne broke the silence.

"I can't believe you punched him, Mike. What came over you?"

Words flashed through his mind. Apologies. Justifications. Jokes ("Now is not the time!" he told himself, the filter finally flicking on). But as many times before, the filter only worked temporarily.

"Let me take you home."

They were silent the entire way back to Suzanne's house. When she got out of the car, Michael stared straight ahead, mind racing, and yet he couldn't bring himself to say a word. Suzanne, on the other hand, tried something she hoped would work to save the friendship.

"I wasn't gonna do anything with him, Mike. We were just dancing."

"Suzanne, it doesn't matter. You don't listen to me. You wear stupid shirts and dance with stupid guys. ."

"That you invited! To dance with me!"

"I didn't think you would be so proud and public about it though. You're my little Suzanne. You don't dance like that out in the crowd."

"And that's where you're wrong, Mike. I'm not yours. We're friends and that's it. Nothing else. What, just because you saw me naked at age 7 you think we are meant to be together?"

"It's not like that. It's just that lately. ."

"No. I don't want to hear the end of that sentence. I'm going inside, going to sleep, and then we can talk tomorrow."


Michael sped off, blaring his music at nearly midnight. Suzanne watched for just a moment and then turned towards her house and walked inside. What was Michael thinking? Them, together? It was something she had never thought of before. Who were they, Ross and Rachel?

She chuckled aloud, but her mood was not that way. Her pink pillow became a tissue for her tears as she laid on her bed, alone on another Friday night.

She was almost asleep when her phone rang. It was Jack. The night had only just begun. . .

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Departures and Arrivals

Hello all, and welcome back.

The reason for my recent shortage of new posts (well, it's been a week and a half) is very simple. I have moved. I am presently typing from my completely furnished and ready to be viewed apartment. Anyone and everyone should let me know when they want to come see it!

Just gotta make sure I'm here though. . . I haven't been able to enjoy the new space as much as I would like because I have been so busy this last week. Want to know how? Here goes nothing. . . (oh and each topic I discuss will either be about a departure or an arrival - those of you who have read me in the past know that I always make sense of my titles!)

The Big Move (Arrival. . . obviously)

Heather and I are enjoying our 840 square feet of freedom. We even made our IKEA trip and got new stuff (lots of new stuff) in the form of a kitchen table, chairs for that table, an end table for our couch, two bedside tables, a couple lamps, and a big plant (that is her new "pet" until we get a more mobile one). We set up all of that last night and threw away all the cardboard box remains this morning and are all set up except for the pictures on the wall, which is always the last thing to do anyway. Everything fits and the complex continues to make me happy each day. We both said that working out will resume this week (and it will) and I can totally see an absolute blast of a summer approaching. I have finals this week and then I am out of school for nearly three months (!!!) so I can truly enjoy all that the new area has to offer me! Pictures are coming soon. . . I just have to take some!

Scrubs (Departure. . . sadly)

A brief note about what will go down as my favorite television show of all time (sorry, FRIENDS). What a great ending! The final hour was everything that the series was as a whole. Serious, but funny. Bittersweet. And in the end, it showed the characters exactly how I wanted them to be (e.g. Dr. Cox revealing his true feelings for J.D.). I'm going to miss new episodes and I hope that the rumors of it coming back in the form of an "interns" type show with a couple of the main characters returning is ok by me, but I hope they don't. Scrubs was about J.D. and the people that were around him. Without him, it just won't seem right. However, if Dr. Cox is on every episode, you can bet I will be turning in!

Reseda (Departure. . . YES!)

On Thursday, in my two hour window between classes, I went to my apartment in Reseda for the last time. I spent about an hour vacuuming and cleaning the kitchen tile floor and cleaning the bathroom and all the jazz that goes along with moving out of an apartment. I gave my keys back to my manager and said my good riddances (not goodbyes. . . those are reserved for places or people I will miss). It was a necessary evil, a place that I can look back on as my first place outside of home. I did it on my own for seven months and could have kept going, but it just wasn't safe and secure, and I kind of like those things to describe the place that I am living!

Spring Semester 2009 (Departure. . . finally!)

It is officially Finals Week (as it nears the midnight hour turning into Sunday) and I couldn't be happier about the end of a semester. It has been a stressful one, mainly because of all my personal drama and my increase in hours at work (an average of 42 instead of 36, plus a longer drive at five times a week adds up too). But right now, I'm thinking I have a guaranteed A in my Lab (only one unit though) as well as one other class (granted I get at least a B on the Final). I have two B's for sure in two other classes (although they could end up being A's, which would be awesome) and then I have one other class. The number to the class is 170, which means its my last G.E. class for my Major and it just means that it is filled with Freshmen and it is absolutely ridiculous. The teacher likes me and told me on Thursday that "I'll be fine" as long as I take a make-up quiz that is available online until Monday. I'm not sure what "fine" means but if it is at least a C, I will be content. Then I'm down to two more semesters and I will have graduated! Four years down, one to go.

Spring (Departure)

It is officially summer in Southern California as the weather has certainly turned to the warmer, getting up to just shy of triple digits this past week. I do have to admit though that I love the mornings and evenings here, you know, when it cools down to the 70s and you can just enjoy the weather instead of feel the weather? Yeah, that's why I live in California!

Summer Movie Season (Arrival)

With last week's WOLVERINE release (not gonna see it, even if you pay me), and this weekend's STAR TREK it is offically the Summer at the Box Office. I have only seen four movies this entire year (crazy, I know) and I have a pretty good batting average right now (really enjoyed TAKEN, dug WATCHMEN despite not knowing anything going in, absolutely loved I LOVE YOU, MAN and was bored to almost-sleep by ADVENTURELAND). As a note to you, these are my top 10 most anticipated movies of this Summer, in order of least to greatest (and my next post will be all about why they are where they are on that list - for now, enjoy the list!):

10. UP










And finally. . .

21 (Departure)

In one hour, I will be 22. (Well, officially, it's not until 9:57 p.m. on the 10th, but I say it works). I'm excited to not be 21 anymore, if only because now I can scoff when they check my ID. What?!?! I'm 22 dammit! Haha. . . Either way, it's another in the long list of big steps on my way to getting older and more established. And I am excited to get older. I know people tell me that one day I will regret wanting to get older, but that's fine. For now, I want to be older. Let it be. But more importantly, it's Mother's Day, so give your mom a hug and tell her you love her. Because without her, you don't exist, and that's just science : )

Well that's it for tonight. Gonna go eat a late-night dinner that Heather just made for me (benefit number 6,783 of living with her - she can cook!) and cuddle up with a movie until we go to sleep after the midnight hour (gotta stay up til my birthday!). Have a happy Sunday and a Mother's Day and I will see you all here again very soon. That you can count on!

Goodnight. . .

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

On the Move

Welcome back to A Rambler's Rambling. This is the new and improved version of this blog that is going to just blow your mind! Well, maybe not, but it's at least going to be updated frequently. Kind of like the way it used to be way back when (we're talking almost four years ago now!). . .

Anyway, my stress level is at an all-time high as I am in the process of moving in the middle of Week 14/16 of the semester, which also happens to be the first week of Prom for the high schools in the Simi Valley area, causing me to have to work a few extra hours at the ol' MW. So not only am I pulling twelve hour shifts (tomorrow, in fact, I will be there from 9-9), getting ready for finals and doing final projects (my last Lab Report is due this Thursday), but I'm busily packing the items that just got unpacked seven short months ago. . .

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

How did I get to some of these spots exactly? Let me divulge, if I can be brief. . .

Back in mid-late September, things were going decently at the MW in Palmdale. I was comfortable in the location and really getting to like the crew there. I was approaching my one year mark with the company (to see my thoughts after my first week there, head here) when Kim, my District Manager who recruited me, asked me if I wanted to go down to Woodland Hills (one of the top two volume stores in our district) and interview for an upcoming opening on their Sales Team. I was nervous, but thanks to her encouragement, I went for it. I got down there, met the Store Manager, Edward, and the position was all but mine, save for one thing. . . Me accepting it. Now, I had wanted to move down that direction for some time (even doing this same interview thing back in May 2008 in Burbank) but it was also a scary idea of having to move out of the nest, which was a rather safe nest at that.

But after much deliberation (and pushing from Kim - she told me that this could be my last chance to get down below, closer to school, for some time) I decided to take it. Ok, great, now you start in two weeks! So within that two weeks, I looked at some apartments in the cities in between Northridge (school) and Woodland Hills (work) and tried to find the best deal/situation available in such a short time. I felt like Goldilocks, where things were either too nice (therefore too expensive) or too disheveled to even consider setting something down for fear it would get taken. I finally found one in Reseda, and the apartment was 3 miles from school and 6 from work. Perfect! It wasn't great but it had a garage that I could share with four other people, so at least my car would be protected. It was a downstairs apartment, so at least moving would be easier. It was a one bedroom, all I needed, with a spacious kitchen and living room. And although the neighborhood was almost Little Mexico (complete with an Ice Cream truck that plays mariachi music), I took it because I could get it on my own without my parents co-signing, a big deal for my first place. So I signed a one-year lease to pay $950 a month plus utilities at the Ambassador Apartments.

Fast forward to today, and I have mixed reactions about my time spent here. It's been seven months, and having served my minimum tenancy of six months, I'm bailing. I gave them plenty of notice, so I will get my security deposit back (a cool $1000 thank you very much), but why leave, you might ask. Well I have had some interesting events occur around here over the last month or two, (don't worry, those stories will make their debuts soon) and my overall safety is in limbo on a day-to-day basis. I don't feel personally threatened or anything, but I just feel ridiculously uncomfortable, a feeling that you shouldn't have at home, or anywhere that you're spending more than $1000 a month to live in.

So I'm moving. Now, common sense says to move to northern Northridge by the 118 freeway, since I now work at the Simi Valley MW (oh, I didn't say that earlier - - sorry, I guess that longer story will have to wait too. Just go with it for now - I got promoted and am now an Assistant Manager II at the store there) and that would be better for getting to work. But, as I said the other day, I am going for happiness.

And the thing, or should I say person, who makes me happiest is Heather. We have now been together nearly 5.5 years (remember from my last post before my big break that we are no longer engaged, but happily moving towards that time - we don't want to get engaged again until the wedding could be in planning mode and we want to be closer to careers before that happens. . . but again, I'm getting ahead of myself) and now that I live down closer to her, our relationship has really hit new levels. We are closer than ever and enjoy spending time with each other more than anything. She gets her Bacherlors degree in June and starts up again in the Fall at Cal Poly Pomona for her Masters degree. Her lease with her three roommates (four girls, two bedrooms, rare visits for Justin) is up in July so we had already began planning a big move when my lease was up in October. However, with me getting out of mine early, she agreed to do the same (while still paying her minimal rent in Pomona) and we began apartment hunting a month ago.

And now we are just three days from moving to Glendale together.

But I think I'm gonna leave it at that for the night. If you got this far, I commend you, and promise that more details will follow. But for now, my bed is what calls me and I must listen, because like I said, a twelve hour work day awaits me.

I would like to take a second and welcome any new readers (namely, Fletch from Blog Cabins, based out of my home state of Arizona!) who have decided to see what I make of this renewed interest in blogging. I do hope to post things different than updates on my life, but since it has been so long, that's what's going to be prevalent for a couple weeks. Hang tight, learn a little something about me, and when we get to some more "fun" stuff, it will be worth the wait.

I hope.

Goodnight all, and I hope you have a pleasant Thursday - - -

Sunday, April 26, 2009

It's About Time

Well hello there.

Yes, this site still exists. Yes, I still remember the password. And no, I don't think that I'm going to have that much fanfare over this decision to rejoin the ranks of the bloggers of the world.

But I guess I'll just have to find out!

I'm back. Yes, my faithful readers (all four of you!), I have decided to resume blogging on a regular basis. I realized recently that since my last post (some 8 months ago!) that I have moved once (almost twice, but more on that later), completed one semester (almost two, but, guess what, more on that later), been transferred for work twice (and promoted!) and have just about turned 22 (two weeks from today!). All that to say, I have lots of updates and hopefully lots of people who desire to read all about them.

I have big news on several fronts, and all in all, I'm extremely happy and content with the direction I'm heading. Something I have decided is that in order for me to be as happy as possible, others may have to be disappointed. Or bummed. Or upset. But what matters to me is that I am happy, something that I have not always taken into consideration, but am fully aware of at this point. So a special section in each of my posts from here on out will be called "I might offend someone, but. . ." and it will contain either an update on what's going on in my life, a friend's life, or just something I'm thinking about, as I think that is the true nature of a blog anyway. It's saying something that shows who we really are, and what I have discovered over the last couple months is that I am not all that popular. In fact, it has come to my attention that people don't always like me (sense the sarcasm). But I hope that in these few words that you will come to like me and enjoy the things that I say, or at least care enough to peruse through them.

So I'm going to leave it at that for right now. If the intrigue is there after this post (meaning if you the reader let me know that you are in fact there) then I will continue. If not, I will still continue. I need to get things out this way. I have missed it. And I never said I was gone forever.

So, like I said before, I'm back. And it's about time.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The End of an Era

An "era" can be defined in several different ways. I don't think that I know the true, actual definition, but I think I have one that applies here:

"A period of time where something amazing occurred relatively regularly and was observed by a regular audience of tens of people across the world."

The "era" I'm referring to in this instance is the existence of this here blog. Many (George, Tom, Mallory, to name a few) have come and gone in the world of blogging, and yet I have stayed strong up until the last couple months. What happens is by the end of the night, I'm just not ready to relay my innermost thoughts out into the internet world. Plus, I like keeping some secrets. It's kind of nice.

I'm not completely dismissing it altogether. You can expect a post right before the beginning of the upcoming NBA season in November for my annual Season Preview and when I get the urge to write some movie reviews, you can bet that they'll show up here. But you can go ahead and take me off your bookmarks. Because there won't be regular updating. . . as much as that truly saddens me deep down.

I can blame it on so many things. It could be work (where I still put in 38 hours a week, struggling to sell that second tie to Casual Joe) or school (which starts again in - gulp - ten days) or the gym (which I joined last week, and will begin attending 3-4 times a week once I return home from Maryland, where I type from now) or the time I spend with my girlfriend (contentedly no longer my fiance', Heather means more to me now than ever before and we work hard everyday to move closer to a time that we can spend more time together, even in a place that has both our names on the mailbox) or hanging with friends whenever that actually happens (loneliness is Public Enemy #1 for me right now at home, with everyone pretty much either in Los Angeles or in the surrounding areas - but when one shows up in the A.V. you better believe I'm all over it) or ANY NUMBER OF OTHER FACTORS OF MY LIFE. . .

But the blame (not necessarily a bad thing) is only on me, the original Rambler (and as long as I own the access to this site, I will always maintain that pseudonym) and my desire to put my fingers to a keyboard and produce journal entries for both my own pleasure and yours (I presume).

And now on this, my Third Anniversary (wow. . . three years), I shut it down. Like I said, there will come times when I post on here something special but then it will end up being just that: Special. And not expected. And certainly not regular (not that I have been either as of late).

So thanks for reading as always - you consistent readers know how much it meant that you would even take a second to read my Ramblings. All four of you : )

Take care as always and thanks for being a part of something special. . .

Until (much) later,


Tuesday, July 01, 2008


This is post number 299 in the history of A RAMBLER'S RAMBLING. . . I want number 300 to be a big deal, so I have decided to just preview what it will be and let you know that I just got back from a LEGENDARY banzai trip to Viva Las Vegas (prefix courtesy of hundreds of hours of marketing) with my good buddy Cy and I have tons of stories, memories, and money (well, actually, just $50, but for my first gambling experience, I'm stoked to leave with money that wasn't mine in the first place!) from my time there.

And all that will come very soon - -

Until then, while I was reading Bill Simmons' most recent magazine column, I came across one of the best lines ever about fandom and what it means to truly follow a team closely:

"We'll always find ways to care as much as we always did, if only because the day-to-day process of following a team is such an enormous part of our lives. Losing that passion would be like giving up morning coffee or not exercising anymore; a routine is a routine."


O, and we are T-Minus 16 days and counting to THE DARK KNIGHT. There are no other words to say except:

O yes!!!

See you soon with my Vegas memories : )

Until then,

Monday, June 23, 2008

Entertainment. . . Now

Over the time that I failed to blog (that being the 50 day break that I took) I did not fail to be entertained by all things, well, entertainment. Movies. Music. Television. Lots of new types of viewing or listening pleasure have entered into my life and quite a few of them are top notch, ahead of the curve, overall amazing entries into my Entertainment Interests. So let's just get right to them, shall we? Away we go:


So far, I have seen 15 of the films released in 2008 (although there are many more on the to-be-viewed list) and it is increasing every week as those films that were released in the first quarter of the year are starting to come out on DVD. I'm also trying to make it out to the Cinema in order to take in those large-screen versions. Of the 15, only three have earned the much desired A grade (two of them A-'s), but you'll see that here. Here are the grades followed by a very brief review, in the same type of nature as the internet site, Four Word Film Reviews (but mine will actually tell you whether or not you should see it).


Almost as perfect as Batman Begins


Another raunchy/sweet Apatow-produced home run


Familiar Dreamworks formula. Pixar-level execution.


Worthy of all the hype.


Just good to see Indy again (don't mind the aliens!)


Dumb and hilariously over-the-top.


The rare pleasantly surprising rom-com.


Original story; competent story-telling.

21 – (B-)

Read Bringing Down the House instead.


Simon Pegg should go back to writing his own material.


Decent addition to the college/teen horror genre.


A ridiculous and unfunny "comedy."


I guess Poker can't be funny.


Just watch the trailer instead. Or go to Vegas!


M. Night Shyamalan needs his head examined.

I had planned on doing both music and television this morning too, but now I have to get ready for work - I will attempt to finish that up tonight or even tomorrow morning. But I'll get all the goods on the new Weezer, Coldplay, and My Morning Jacket CD's as well as my thoughts on the new season of The Mole! Until then, have a great Monday!

Until later,

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Exceeding Expectations

I do realize that it has now been 50 days since my last REAL post here on my blog. I needed a break. I paused in the middle (well, almost middle) of my planned 21 TO 21 thing before my birthday for many reasons. School was closing down and I began to desire (more than usual) to do well in my classes. I had coasted to what I would figure to be two A's and two B's, which would be fine (an overall 3.4 GPA) but towards the end of the semester, I decided that that would not be good enough. I actually sought to complete an assignment on time and to the best extent possible. I had myself prepared for tests and my finals as well. And what occurred?

I got the best grades I have gotten since my freshman year in high school. I completed the semester with two A's and two A-'s, giving me a 3.85 GPA and pulling my overall college GPA to over 3.5, which is my goal over the FIVE years that I will spend in college. Yes, five. Through my advisement and my own planning, I have discovered that I will need to spend one more year in college to earn my Bachelor's Degree. This is caused by my change of major between my first semester at CSUN and the one I just completed as well as the transfer from AVC to CSUN that provided some classes the opportunity to not count towards my degree. In addition to that, I would much rather not take more than 12-14 units a semester and I refuse to take summer courses because I want to be a sane individual through my schooling. I just do better when I take less classes per semester (as evidenced by my full point increase from the previous semester to the one I just finished). And I enjoy my schooling more when I can devote more time to the classes I'm taking.

Beyond this, blogging was not high on the To-Do list.

But now, four weeks into my summer vacation, I'm just a working machine, spending 40 hours a week at the MW. And it is going well. Every one of my last three weeks there I have exceeded my "Weekly Goal" and the week that just ended had me selling over $6900, essentially tying my highest week ever. My sales are higher because (gasp!) I'm spending more time there! Shocking that I can actually sell - maybe that's why I'm there in the first place. I love that my total sales over this last month meet or exceed every one of my counterparts. I now feel completely adequate and ready to move into the "Slow Period" of the Summer knowing that I can sell up to or better than everyone else in that store. Just bring on the customers!

The only kicker is that I have not seen Heather in nearly two weeks. . .

And there's actually some news on that front as well, but that will have to come next time as I am heading to actually see that better half of mine. She just got home since she just finished her quarter and has one week off (her "Summer" so to speak). So tonight, that means we get to watch KUNG FU PANDA, which I think will be good. And if not, at least I get to see this in its real context:

O yes! SKADOOSH!!!

Anyway, I'm back. And I'm better than ever. Expect more frequent (well, I guess anything is more frequent than once ever 50 days!) posts and just bring on the comments (Seriously - I need them to keep up my desire to be on here!) and enjoy as always!

So here we go - - -

Until later,