I Feel Like I’ve Been Losing You

April 19, 2010

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve failed miserably at maintaining this site in 2010. The lack of updates can be attributed to many more important time consumers (work, wedding planning, general exhaustion)…and at the end of the day, it’s much easier to shy away from spending time on longer digital contemplations.

Thus, I started a new companion site about a month ago intended for more frequent, concise updates on all the things I’m enjoying these days. I can’t bring myself to tweet, so a Tumblr account felt like a slightly less narcissistic way of keeping friends and family updated.

I still love WordPress and plan to update here whenever I have the time and energy to post something of substance, but in the meantime, I’ll still be trying to find truth in words, in rhymes, and notes in all the things I wish I wrote (with a little more brevity) over here

Words To Live By

January 25, 2010

Feels like just yesterday I was writing about my excitement for a new era in Late Night, but maybe Bobby Frost was right. Nonetheless, these past seven months have only reaffirmed what a genuine, intelligent, inspirational CLASS ACT the man is. I hope to see you again in September?

Only Call It If You Need Me

November 20, 2009

I’m 100% positive that Jason Segel and I could be best buds. He’s one of my favorite Hollywood celebs, because he seems like a regular dude. Freaks & Geeks and Undeclared put him on my radar back in the day, with Forgetting Sarah Marshall and How I Met Your Mother eventually solidifying long-term trust in the actor.

As many know, I’m kind of a The Swell Season fanboy as well. Last night at the Wiltern in Los Angeles, a perfect storm emerged as the two joined forces to perform a new Jason Segel original inspired by advice from Marketa. Glen Hansard (another down-to-earth guy) has voiced his admiration for Freaks & Geeks on more than one occasion, so the collaboration makes perfect sense:

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As much as I would have loved to experience this moment firsthand, I’m still much happier with the show I was attending that night instead. Bruce literally played for over 3 hours without taking any breaks. Eight of those songs were Born to Run in its entirety. Plus, this happened.

Insert Lee Greenwood Lyrics Here

November 11, 2009

I’ve received some flack for my lack of up-keep over the past month, but I feel comfortable attributing my absence to some exciting recent developments.  While in Atlanta for a Regionals tournament during the first weekend of October, I was offered a Nashville-based client services management position at Mozes…and I accepted.

Paraphrasing our CEO’s words, Mozes aims to connect its customers to their audience at the point of inspiration through great mobile experiences. As the mobile phone becomes everyone’s most important device, the company creates billions of trusted connections around the world between people and the things they care about. As a Client Services Manager, I’m responsible for providing strategic services that help clients execute their mobile marketing strategy. Additionally, as live event point person for the company, I also lead all logistics involving the facilitation of in-venue services for live events, conferences, and tours around the country.

Being back in the occupational swing of things has coincided with more travel and less free time.  Over the course of my first month, I’ve already flown to company headquarters in Palo Alto, as well as the Billboard Touring Conference in New York. Both trips provided fantastic means for catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. The New York trip was especially appreciated since I was fortunate enough to celebrate Championship #27 in Times Square with thousands of fellow fans. When not traveling, I’ve been catching up to speed on the company platform by day and moving into a new place by night (pictures coming soon).

The job opportunity initially became available as a result of the current manager needing to deploy to Iraq for duty. Thus as one can imagine, the first few weeks with Brian still in the office were paramount to learning as much as possible while he was still accessible. Last Thursday was Brian’s last day at Mozes, so I’ve officially been “on my own” for a week now. Given the circumstances, I figured it was only appropriate to finally update everyone on Veteran’s Day.  Plus, I was inspired after seeing the following reunion video of an excited dog greeting his returning owner:

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I can’t begin to imagine how hard it would be to leave my family for months at a time, especially if my destination was a war zone. The reunion above was successful at two things — making me teary-eyed and increasing my desire to own a dog as soon as possible.

I’ll proudly stand up with the classic Mr. Greenwood to thank all the men and women out there like Brian (and Pat Tillman) who volunteer their services to help protect our country and way of life.

For the gleam in someone’s eyes, bring ’em home

Not As Ugly As We Think We Are

October 2, 2009

I think I’ve found my most anticipated film of the fall. I love the tone of the trailer and its Toronto International Film Festival debut has resulted in an abundance of glowing reviews. Regardless of what the critics think, I’ll see any movie with a cast including George Clooney, Jason Bateman, Danny McBride, and Zach Galifianakis:

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While I agree that relationships are the heaviest components in life, I’d contend that monogamy, allegiance, and loyalty are still possible in a world seemingly filled with sharks. To date, my biggest success in life has been the ability to surround myself with other swans. I would be lost without the close relationships I’ve developed with friends and family over the years. They are the brace and support system for the other facets of life that weigh me down.

Maybe we’re not swans, but we are not as ugly as we think we are. Our fathers gave us features that we didn’t want, but our mothers claim those features made them fall in love. We are flying higher than our counterparts, and we’ve got each other. I’d say that’s enough.

Maybe We Ain’t That Young Anymore

September 23, 2009

60 years ago today, unquestionably the most important performer in my lifetime was born in Long Branch, NJ. The late Joe Strummer once said in a documentary that “Bruce is great and if you don’t agree with that, you’re a pretentious Martian from Venus.” He concluded by mentioning that “when the DJ puts on ‘Racing in the Streets’, life seems worth living again.” Although I may have issues with Joe’s choice of phrasing (nerd alert!), I couldn’t agree more.

Bruce knows how to connect — lyrically, rhythmically, personally. His honest themes mirror our own personal struggles while finding a way to inspire and instill hope. As much as I love discovering new music, Springsteen’s catalog is the only soundtrack I’ve truly needed.

His albums provide refuge to the stresses of entering adulthood, and his performances prove that live music still matters:

Happy Birthday, Bossman — I’d be lost without your music. While you may not be that young anymore, here’s to hoping there are still many years ahead. See you November 18th.

I Believe There is Justice in Our Hearts

September 22, 2009

To break from the monotony of job hunting, I sometimes take short recesses to dig into something I find a little more enjoyable and I’ve found that Netflix queuing provides one of the best escapes. For some reason probably attributable to my obsessive compulsive tendencies, I hate feeling in the dark on “important” films that have slipped past my radar, so I frequently research different “best of” lists and award winners to add any glaring omissions to my queue.

Much to my pleasure, I recently discovered that I had the majority of the new-found A.F.I.’s Top 10 lists covered. More importantly, I was reminded of the incredibly relevant closing argument in 1982’s The Verdict while investigating the “Courtroom Drama” section:

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If I could be one actor, I think I’d pick the late Paul Newman. In addition to being the proud culinary owner of a tasty line of salad dressings and pasta sauces (with a mission statement centered around charity), the blue-eyed bedazzler has had a field day with memorable leads in such personal favorites as Cat on a Tin Roof, The Hustler, Cool Hand Luke, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and The Sting.

Most of Newman’s famous roles captured a piece of the underlying theme behind The Verdict‘s final court scene. My parents raised me to always value moral responsibility, and one of my favorite aspects of cinema is that the best performances act as cultural reminders to guide us back on track when we might be losing course.

All the Colors Bleed Into One

September 17, 2009

I fell in love with U2 at a fairly young age in large thanks to my dad’s repeat plays of the arguably perfect Best of 1980-1990 on weekend trips to the lake. The “four Irish boys from Dublin” were instrumental in my early realization that rock music had the ability to transcend and, upon discovering the Rattle & Hum documentary years ago, I’ve been determined to experience them in person. Unfortunately for one reason or another, I’ve had to settle for DVDs and tapes for the past 15 years.

As recently publicized, my much anticipated wait finally ended last Saturday after the opening night of the North American 360 tour at Soldier Field. Suffice to say, I feel confident claiming that I’ll never attend a bigger show for the rest of my life:

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The video above doesn’t necessarily do the much-hyped stage justice, but I loved how Bono and Edge decided to cover Ben E. King at the end of the video. Spotting the top of “the claw” as we approached Soldier Field from Grant Park, I knew the stage was going to meet and exceed expectations. For a better grasp of the enormousness, take a look at these designer fun facts:

  • Designed to support 180 tons, the steel structure is 90 feet tall with center pylon reaching out 150 feet
  • Cylindrical video screen weighs 54 tons opening to 14,000 square feet (as big as 2 doubles tennis courts)
  • LCD video screen is made up of 1 million pieces (500,000 pixels, 320,000 fasteners, 30,000 cables, 150,000 machined pieces)
  • Takes 4 days to build and 12 hours to load in screen, stage, and universal production equipment
  • Takes 6 hours for production to dismantle stage and 48 hours to dismantle and load it out of the stadium

Referred to as “our spaceship,” the stage allowed the band to reach all corners of the stadium, thus eliminating the possibility of having a bad seat in house. I felt like I was on stage with the band instead of just another one of the 65,000 fans in attendance. Without a doubt, the band earned their “biggest band in the world” tag Saturday night.

As we stared and admired the stage monstrosity in front of us before the show, Christina asked if the night could potentially claim the top spot in my personal all-time favorite show list. While the production was certainly the most impressive thing I’ve ever seen, I can’t say that I felt as emotionally connected as I have at Springsteen shows.

That being said, U2 embraces their rock-star status and the live show further amplifies that image, so comparing them to Bruce is unfair. I will always be moved by U2’s powerful messages (especially up through Acthung Baby), and last Saturday night certainly felt like one I will never forget.

Pride of the Yankees

September 15, 2009

When Derek earned his 2,722nd hit at Yankee Stadium last Friday night, it was fitting that the legendary Lou Gehrig was finally surpassed by a Yankee captain equally respected and admired:

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The Iron Horse solidified his spot as my all-time favorite baseball player after reading Luckiest Man. Gehrig started his professional career at a time when players began to be seen as celebrities. Though this bigwig lifestyle suited certain teammmates, Lou avoided the spotlight and preferred to speak with his bat.

Luckiest Man showcased Gehrig’s naïvity and insecurity. He’d cry in the clubhouse after disappointing performances, was painfully shy around women, and remained devoted to his German-immigrant mother all his life. Even after earning the league MVP, he still feared the Yankees would release him. Against the advice of Ruth and others, Lou refused to negotiate aggressively and earned less than he deserved for many seasons. Honest, humble, and frugal, I’ve always looked up to the luckiest man on the face of the earth.

I would have been upset if anyone other than Jeter broke Lou’s all-time hits record, but Derek deserves it. While he may not have the highest team batting average or most home runs and RBIs each season, no one has been more valuable to the Yankees over the past decade. Like Gehrig, I can never remember Jeter embarrassing the Yankees organization and he seems to always take time for anyone who approaches him for an autograph or interview.

Jeter does everything the right way and deserves the acclaim. I would probably forever turn my back on the game if Derek was ever linked to performance enhancers. He is the reason I can continue to root for the Yankees when so many Steinbrenner business tactics make it hard to do so, and we need more honorable professionals like him:

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As Tim Kurkjian alluded, my favorite Jeter attribute is his drive to win. When asked about breaking Gehrig’s record, Jeter simply responded:

I’ve always had a tough time in my career enjoying things as they happen, because I’m always trying to look to the next game. It was devastating and a great disappointment not getting to the playoffs last year. Returning is our main goal now.

It feels so good to be in first place again. The magic number is down to 12 and I can already taste the brisk October nights in the Bronx. While there may have been some Facebook doubters in May, I’m feeling especially good about the team chemistry this fall.

Sometimes All You Need is a Sign

September 10, 2009

The following beautiful short won big at the 2009 Cannes Lions Advertising Festival with the task of positioning Schweppes as the “adult” soft drink of choice. Gently weaving Schweppes branding throughout, Australian director Patrick Hughes needed to create a film that adults would connect with and want to share with others; considering my grassroots discovery through Christina via her cool older sister, I’d say that Hughes did his job well.

I didn’t even realize that the short was created as a branding project until reading up on its awards afterwards. More than anything soft drink related, the heart of the aptly titled Signs focuses on communication and the art of loving without talking:

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Christina recommended watching because she thought I’d try to make something similar with my friends. She also mentioned that the main character reminded her of me, which I guess I can see considering he comes off as an awkward mute most of the film. Nonetheless, I was grateful for the suggestion and would love nothing more than to have the ability to create powerful little gems like this someday.

While Signs may be no Absolut Vodka promotion, I wanted to do my part in continuing to spread the viral word.