Saturday, December 29, 2007


I got back from a quick trip to San Francisco last night. Out hotel didnt have wireless, so I wasnt able to provide any updates! Here is the top 10 movies list. Hopefully I can get sometime later today to go over Christmas and San Fran...until then, enjoy!

Top 10 Movies 2007
1. Dan In Real Life
Steve Carell turned in a surprising performance in my favorite movie of the year. This was a funny movie with a great story line. Even Dane Cook was good!
2. Juno
I had very high expectations for Juno and I was not disappointed. A great soundtrack and great acting made this a personal classic.
3. The Bourne Ultimatum
A fantastic end to a great franchise. The fight seen through the slums of Morrocco may be my favorite part of any action movie.
4. I Am Legend
Again, high expectations for me on this one. Will Smith turned in an award winning performance. The special effects were amazing and even though it was a sci-fi storyline, it didnt seem over the top, like War of the Worlds.
5. Hairspray
I dont know if I have ever laughed harder in a movie than I did during John Travolta's dance solo at the end of Hairspray. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this movie.
6. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Through 5 films, they are finally figuring out how to make a Harry Potter movie. The actors are getting more mature and have really become their characters. The whole Deparment of Mysteries scene was fantastic!
7. Transformers
Judging by the trailer, I did not expect much from this movie. Little did I know it would be fantastic. Shia Lebouf is becoming one of my favorites.
8. Blades of Glory
Behind Anchorman, my favorite Will Ferrell movie yet.
9. Disturbia
Again, I had low expectations for this Shia Lebouf movie, but I was wrong. Well written, with an actual story line, which is weird for a horror movie.
10. License to Wed
The Office cast has been well represented on this years list. A great chick flick.

Honorable Mention
Spider-Man 3
American Gangster (Judging by the trailers!)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Next Top 10...and other stuff

It is the day before Christmas...I dont know where the last year has gone! I was talking to Shaylee last night and she asked me about the differences of being home for Christmas and being on a mission. My answer surprised me. I think it was easier to be on a mission around Christmas because you really appreciate it for what it is. In Brazil, Christmas is not nearly as commercialized as here in the US. Even the most affluent families only get their children one or two presents. Also, as a missionary life is a lot simpler. Because of the work we were doing, it was much easier to focus on the whys of Christmas than what comes from it. Although, nothing can replace the joy that comes with being together as a family during the holidays.

Jake spoke in Church yesterday. He did a great job. I really liked the sports analogies he used. They had a little get together at his house afterwards, which was fun.

Now on to the next Top 10 list. This one will be my favorite songs of the year. Here it is.

1. So, In This Hour... - The Rocket Summer
My favorite song from my favorite CD of the year. One of the highlights of the year was seeing The Rocket Summer. Since this was a newer song I wasnt sure if he would play it or not. FInally, he came out for an encore and satisfied me.
2. Rollerskates - Treaty of Paris
Just an upbeat, fun song to listen to.
3. Song In My Head - Sherwood
Even though it has such a catchy melody and upbeat sound, this is actually a downer of a song. At one point, it was the best way to explain what was going on in my head.
4. Roc Boys (And the Winner Is...) - Jay-Z feat. Kanye West
My favorite rap song of the year. It doesnt take much for this position, but lyrics that talk about Black Bar Mitzvahs are hard to beat.
5. Light Up the Sky - Yellowcard
The first time I heard this song, I was sitting at work. Near the end, there is a big drum solo. After hearing it, I had to walk out to my car and listen to it louder to completely appreciate it.
6. Realize - Colbie Caillat
Sometimes we just need to take a second and look around at what we already have before wanting more.
7. The Shade of Poison Trees - Dashboard Confessional
I still have no clue what this song means, but I like it a lot.
8. Imagine - Jack Johnson
A great cover of a classic song. Personally, I feel it is better than the original. Everything Jack touches turns to gold in my book!
9. Stay Close, Dont Go - Secondhand Serenade
This song was included on the re-release of their first CD. I could see myself singing these lyrics on a regular basis.
10. Thriller - Fall Out Boy
How can I keep a song with an intro by Jay-Z off this list? Not only that, but the Jay-Z part was probably my favorite ringtone of all time.

Honorable Mention
The Second Coming - Juelz Santana
Movement - The Higher
Underclass Hero - Sum 41
Direction - The Starting Line
Brink of Disaster - Mae
Lose It - Cartel
You're Not a Whore - The Format
I couldnt choose one song from the new Jimmy Eat World album!

Stay tuned for a few special Top 10's to come. Since I missed 2005 and 2006 on my mission, I am going to do a Top 10 new albums and songs from the new stuff I have discovered since being home. Also, a Top 10 movie list is on its way, but I am going to wait and see Juno before making that list, as I feel Juno will end up pretty high!

Feliz Natal para todos!!!!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Top 10 Time

Over the next few days I am going to share a few different Top 10 lists with you. Today I will start with my Top 10 Albums of the year and there will be 3 or 4 more to follow, with my Top 10 Movies of the year as the final installment.

Albums of 2007
1. The Rocket Summer - Do You Feel
For the first two months after buying this CD, I listened to it everyday. At the beginning, I was even considering making it number 1 all time, but it ended up not making it that far.
2. Sherwood - A Different Light
This is what I call happy music. Great to turn on in the car alone, turned up loud and singing at the top of my lungs.
3. The Higher - On Fire
A great sophomore effort from the Vegas boys. By far the best band Vegas has to offer.
4. Colbie Caillat - Coco
This is on many people lists this year. Every song is fabulous, with so much emotion expressed through the lyrics.
5. Yellowcard - Paper Walls
A surprise on this years list. After a dismal follow up to Ocean Avenue, Yellowcard got down to business for this years Paper Walls. Listen to the amazing drum solos on a few tracks.
6. Jimmy Eat World - Chase This Light
I am a long time JEW fan, but have never felt satisfied by their music since Clarity. Chase This Light will be loved by long time fans and new followers alike.
7. Dashboard Confessional - The Shade of Poison Trees
Chris Carrabba surprised the world with this album, announcing it only 5 weeks before the release date. A completely acoustic CD, it got everyone ready for the great solo tour that had been 5 years in the making.
8. Treaty of Paris - Sweet Dreams, Sucker
The first LP release from Andrew McMahon's Airport Tapes & Records label is a fun, upbeat rock album.
9. Paramore - Riot!
This teenagers figured out their sound on this second release. With great melodies, I will listen to this record for a long time.
10. Farewell - Isn't This Supposed to be Fun?
A surprise find from my recent music quest. These guys know how to get your feet moving without using to many computer generated sound. I cant wait to see them live and get the full experience.
Honorable Mention
Angels and Airwaves - I-Empire
The Starting Line - Direction
Cartel - Cartel
Mae - Singularity
Hidden In Plain View - Resolution
Jay-Z - American Gangster
Anberlin - Cities

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

This Fishbowl Life is All They Need

Let me start by saying I am glad I dont live in a fishbowl. If you dont know what I am talking about, listen to Into The Airwaves on my music player.

Anyways, my SLC trip has come to an end. I have had such a good time, but am ready to head home for the holidays. Let me recap the last few days.

Sunday we were able to relax and enjoy life. Keith got a bit worked up by the Miami victory, which was funny for the rest of us to watch. Alec and Janae love to play Pinochle on yahoo games, but Janae doesnt have a great rating. They decided that they would play together, and I would play against them at the same table with someone else. Once the first hand was over, I would quit which means a forfeit, and their ratings would go up. Tiff got a great picture of all of us on the couch with our laptops. That night, I talked Kadee and Troy into coming up and chilling with us for the night. Shaylee came up also and we had a good time playing Guitar Hero and watching The Bourne Ultimatum. I defended my speed crown against Shaylee, which I dont let her forget!

On Monday, I drove up to Logan with Shaylee and her twin Kylee to visit Lindsey and Richard. Lindsey, Richard and I went to lunch at the restaurant where Lindsey works. Her rooommate, Anne, was our waitress. When Richard and I get together, we have a good time, especially at restaurants. Poor Anne got the brunt of our jokes, which included Richard asking her to wipe the ice cream off the sides of his mouth! After, we went back to Lindseys house and watched the Jack Johnson DVD while having a discussion about lifes deepest, darkest secrets. Shaylee, Kylee and their friend Leslie Ann joined us for a while, which somehow led to a discussion about the 7 wonders of the world. We looked them up on Wikipedia (speaking of wikipedia, does it bother anyone else that wikipedia get such a bad rap from educated people?) and found out that there are many more than seven wonders, in fact there is a world panel whose only purpose is to define the seven wonders of the world!

From Logan, we headed back to Shay's house for her families annual visit from Santa. This was my first time meeting her family and I was very impressed. We had a great dinner and then it was time for santa. He loved giving me and James (Kylee's boyfriend) love advice! Overall, it was a very fun night.

Tiff's little brother Austin flew in yesterday so he has been partying with Alec and I. Today we decided to go to the zoo. Austin had never been and so we went. We actually had a pretty good time. We were one of maybe 10 people in the whole place. Following the zoo, we headed to the Gateway so I could finish up my Christmas shopping. I was able to get everything I needed, which is a record for me because there is still a week before Christmas. One side note on the trip. Alec has gotten me addicted to Sudoku. I got a Sudoku book today because I am hooked.

Tonight, Shaylee and I went to Temple Square to look at the lights. I had not been there around Christmas time for so long! Temple square was decked out and so was the plaza between the Joseph Smith building and the church office buildings. They had a bunch of paper bags with different Christmas related words punched out in different languages. It was really cool. We sat in front of the Christus statue for a few minutes, which I really enjoyed. After we were done there, we went to Starbucks for some hot chocolate. Shaylee had never been inside of a starbucks...what a utah girl!

When I got back to Alec and Tiff's house, we sat around talking for a while. I called Jessica to ask her about the Chris Brown concert and while I was on the phone, Alec started doing different dances. He started out with the Soulja Boy and moved on to different mission inspired dances. He ended by performing a cheer in front of the tv. I was literally on the ground laughing!

I have really enjoyed my time up here. This is really the first time I have been able to spend a lot of time with Alec since he has been home. Also, I spent a lot of time with Shaylee, which has been amazing. She is such a cool girl and I enjoy getting to know her. Hopefully I can convince her to come down for New Years! I cant believe there is only another week until Christmas. I cant wait to go look at lights with the fam. That is one of my favourite traditions, right behind Christmas Breakfast at Grams, but I will save those things for another day.

Remember, its gonna be a hard day, so hang on, dont panic, there simply is no need. We are hanging here.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A Night Out in SLC

I made it safely to the land of the north today. I had to bring my truck up for Alyssa to use since she wrecked her car a few weeks ago. I am so nervous! She better treat it good.

Tonight, Shaylee and I went to dinner with Alec, Tiff, Jake and Amy at Rodizio Grill. The Pao de Queijo was absolutely amazing, as was just about everything else. It was the first time Alec and Tiff had met Shaylee and we all had a good time. I got everyone to try the chicken heart, which is very good when you dont think about what you are putting in your mouth. Shaylee had to get to a family thing, but the rest of us went to see I Am Legend. I saw it last night also, it was great. We had a good time discussing it on the way home! Alec watched the Guy Love clip from Scrubs for the first time. It went over very well! Here are some pictures from tonight.

Tiff giving Alec a dirty look for eating too much

A better picture of the young couple

Me and Shaylee

Jake and Tiff getting ready to try chicken heart

So, I am watching a special episode of "The Soup" which shows the funniest game show moments of the year. It is one of the funniest shows I have watched in a while. One girl on Teen Jeopardy told a stupid story about how she and her family went camping and were scared they would see bear. After not seeing one, they were disappointed so they went looking for one. Then they saw one...the end.

Wow, this is compelling television! Especially after midnight. I dont think it would be nearly as funny in the middle of the day.

I rediscovered the album Ocean Avenue on the drive up there this morning. That was very fun. I think that is one of the more undervalued albums on my ipod. One of my favorite parts about long drives is turning up the volume and really enjoying some music. It doesnt happen enough.

I had an epiphany at dinner tonight...I have been home for over 10 months now. I cant believe how fast the time has gone. Last night, me, shaylee and justin watched the slide show from our Christmas conference last year. Time flies... Christmas is just around the corner and I am still not prepared. I have presents for Jessica, Chase and Hannah, but still dont have everything for Mom, Dad and Alyssa. I have no clue what I am getting for mom. Im sure something will come to me soon.

Stay classy San Diego,

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Mitchell Report

Excuse me while I rant...

Never before have I been so disgusted by ESPN as I am this morning. As many of you know, the Mitchell Report comes out later this afternooon which will basically show that baseball knew that its players were taking steroids and HGH but just looked the other way because of the huge numbers being put up. Huge numbers = more publicity and income. Thats all that matters to Bud Selig. People say Gary Bettman ruined the NHL, why does Bud Selig get a free pass?

Anyways, it came out this morning that Roger Clemens will be named in the report as someone who received steroids. This is huge news, because he is one of the best pitchers of all time, as well as one of the biggest D-bags of all time. Well, Peter Gammons, who was a Red Sox beat writer when Clemens was there, came on to talk about how big this is. He started off saying something that almost caused me to throw my tv through the front window. He said that we are dealing with an interesting situation because of the mitchell report. These names were given by talking to general managers, trainers and clubhouse attendants among others. Basically, people that could get steroids to players. Gammons stated that we need to take this news remembering none of these players actually tested positive, so we dont know for sure if they took them. Where has this statement been for the last 3-5 years that steroid use has been coming into public knowledge? People like Paul Byrd, Rick Ankiel and others who have been linked to buying steroids were in the same position that Clemens is going to be in!

Here is a disclaimer. Barry Bonds is my all time favorite baseball player. Never before has he tested positive for steroids. Do I think he took steroids? Yes. Was it against the rules of baseball at the time? No. If I was in his position, would I take them? I think I would. Bonds is a scapegoat for the whole steroids issue because he is so apathetic towards the media, which is understandable. Gammons went on to say that he believed the whole Game of Shadows book, loosely based on Bonds' alleged steroid use, but would take the Mitchell report with a grain of salt! This is ESPN's number one baseball analyst! He will believe a book written by a biased reporter looking to make money, which it has with movie rights being bought by HBO recently, but will not trust a 20 month investigation by a former senator? I understand Mitchell was contracted by MLB to investigate the situation, but from what has come out, he is saying MLB is partly liable for the whole thing, therefore he comes to a somewhat unbiased conclusion.

I do not completely disagree with the point Gammons made, it just bothers me that it took the connection of one of the 10 best pitchers of all time* (if Barry's home runs have an asterix, anything related to Clemens should too) for him to express that opinion. We will never know for sure who took steroids until these players come out and say so. The best scenario for MLB would have been to give players a one month window to come out and admit they were using steroids before it was against the rules without any chance of suspension or fines. Too bad Bud Selig doesnt have the balls to open up the game like that. For now, we will have to trust these reports linking players to steroids. Personally, if they are buying them, they are using them. At the same time, these guys make millions and millions of dollars in a very competitive market. If it were me, I would use every advantage I could within the rules to get a leg up on the competition. I dont blame these guys for using steroids. I blame baseball for not changing the rules because they are a greedy, moneymaking machine. Enron had the same thinking, lets hide everything and tell everyone business has never been better, but we will leave out that it is artificially enhanced! Sometimes I wish MLB could go the way of Enron...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Halfway there

2 Down...2 to go. I finished my first two finals of the semester this morning. Sadly, they were the two I was least worried about so it doesnt take away from much of my stress. Hopefully the next two days will go as smoothly as today...

It is freezing today! I enjoy the snow, but not everything that goes along with it. Shoveling the driveway, scraping ice off my windshield, these are not fun things to do when it is 12 degrees outside. It is amazing how fast you start to lose feeling in your hands! Only a few more days of this until I can enjoy the wonderful Las Vegas winter, which includes none of the above scenarios. I just dont understand how there can be a cloudless sky, yet it is still below freezing.

I got some great pictures of hannah and dad in New York. I am so jealous! I have only spent a day in new york and know there is so much more for me to discover. Not only that, they get to see The Little Mermaid on broadway. It was only a few months ago that Lindsay Egbert and I were scheming on how we could get to see that! I love my dad, he takes such good care of his kids.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Musical Thoughts

Over the last few days, my mind has been playing musical chairs. This isnt what you think. The music in my head never ends, but each chair plays something different. For some reason, maybe the amount of studying/downtime I have enjoyed, my musical preferences have been going crazy. As most of you know, I dont have a condition I call musical ADD. This is an affliction many people has that shows itself by not being able to listen to one song or artist before skipping to the next one. I take pride in the variety of my musical catalogue, but when I am listening to something, let me listen to it!

Because of this musical chairs, I have found myself in the middle of a very hard situation...finding new music to listen to. Even though I have a lot of music, I think I am rather picky when it comes to music that I really like. Maybe I am just picky within a genre. Just because something may "sound like" The Format, doesnt mean I will automatically like it. Yesterday, after studying to near exhaustion, I set off on a grand quest for new music. I browsed the pages of the most recent Alternative Press, to which I will be subscribing very soon, and made a list of potential suitors. Next, I jumped from myspace page to myspace page listening to random samplings of these different groups. Some found themselves immediately removed from the list, others stayed on, while others even got stars next to them. I still wasnt satisfied with what I had found. I spent the next hour or so browsing the sites of my favorite record labels and previewing more music on itunes. In the middle of this stage, I decided that for this music purchase I would support my local music store, Groovacious, instead of just clicking "buy now." Finally, I decided on a few groups who I though would make good purchases. Interestingly enough, of the three cds I chose, one was a compilation CD benefitting the Dear Jack Foundation, the other two were very new releases and were the first albums from both artists.

I arrived at Groovacious determined to find these cds on my own. I really like the owner of the store, but it seems that everytime I am in there something comes up that strikes a chord with him and he rants on and on. After much searching, I could not find any of the CDs I was looking for. To me, this is actually a good sign. For the most part, cds that are out are all established groups that will catch the browsing eyes of someone who is looking for nothing in particular. Finally, I decided I really needed Tim's help on this quest. After requesting Farewell and The Color Fred, he pulled Farewell out from right behind the counter. He then told me that he hadnt ordered any copies of The Color Fred because he didnt think anyone would be interested, but he had received a promotional copy that he would sell to me for 8 bucks. I was fine with that as all 8 dollars would go straight to him and it was cheaper than itunes. Finally it was time to find that compilation cd. I could not remember the name of it for the life of me and of course didnt write it down. Tim checked a few places on the net but had no luck either. I knew I could find it, so I left, promising to call in a bit with the name.

Upon arriving home, I found the name of the CD, Punk the Clock Vol. 3, and called Tim. He told me he would have it by thursday. I sat down to listen to my new finds. It would be an understatement to say I was very excited. It has been a while since I found really good new music on my own. The first was The Color Fred's Bend to Break. Fred Mascherino was the former guitarist/backup vocalist for Taking Back Sunday, which is why I had faith in buying the cd. It did not disappoint! In fact, when I go back to Groovacious on thursday, I will let Tim know that he should push this album on anyone who comes in for Taking Back Sunday album. To me, it feels like a more personal take on Taking Back Sunday. Any TBS fan would love it, and any fan of Andrew McMahon would be pretty into it also. Following The Color Fred was Farewell's Isnt This Supposed to be Fun? From the first note I knew I had found greatness. It is a pop-punk mix that is heavier on the punk than the pop. It is a sound I have been looking for for a long time. The lead singer sounds like the guy from Blink 182, but that isnt necessarily a bad thing. This album is a must for anyone who enjoys Sherwood or early Blink.

This morning was the real test for the music. It is one thing to enjoy the first time through, but can it stand up to my overly critical brain? Obviously by what I have written both CDs passed with flying colors. In fact, I would not be surprised to see songs from both of these albums on my Top 100 Most Played list in the near future. On a side note, Farewell has a song called Hey Heather. Since I have a good friend named Heather, I decided to give her a call and sing her the song. I couldnt sing it because I dont know it yet, so I just read her the lyrics. It was an ironic thing, because I could have written very similar lyrics about how I felt about her just a few months ago!

To cap off my musical journey, I finally got my hands on a copy of the newest AP, with my musical idol Andrew McMahon on the cover. I think his music has influenced me more than anyone else, with Ben Folds and Chris Carrabba coming in a close second and third. I have had a hard time hearing about his recent activity other than rumors of an early 2008 release. It was great to find out what he is doing and hear some early reviews of the new CD, tentatively titled, The Glass Passenger. Since Everything In Transit, he has switched record labels, broken up with then married his longtime girlfriend and overcome very serious leukemia. I cant even begin to imagine how these events will be expressed through music. I am excited, to say the least. Also, we were given a little SoCo update. He said Something Corporate is in "Suspended animation" and even though he says that right now he's "not creatively charged to go do a Something Corporate record; I'm nostalgically charged towards [that]." Jessica, that gives you some hope!