Official Last Request(s)

A few days ago I was driving home from my usual after-midnight grocery shopping. (Side note: I wrote this 5 years ago.) After the stock CD player in my auto went out, I was forced to resort to my iPod and one of those tape-deck converters. I usually play my iPod on shuffle just to mix things up. Anyway, one of the awesomest songs ever came on, and as I was singing along at the top of my lungs, I realized I wanted this song to be played at my funeral. The song? Tarzan Boy by Baltimora.

And why not? Why do funerals have to be all sad & stuff, always playing those songs which make people cry as they remember the person’s life & how they’re in heaven or whatever. Screw that. Not at my funeral. My funeral had better be as crazy-go-nuts as my life. When people remember me, I want them to chuckle, shake their heads slightly and think “man, that was one crazy hardcore awesome motherfucker”. (Or something like that.)

It’s really just a cultural thing anyway. Some cultures really do have parties when people die. Real celebrations, not funerals where people say “we’re celebrating this person’s life”, but you know that’s kind of a lie, because if it really were a celebration everyone wouldn’t be wearing black and acting all sad & shit. Oh, which leads me to another rule: no black at my funeral. I’m serious.

I don’t know why an official-looking piece of paper with some signatures makes something more official than, say, a blog post. So this is my official request for songs to be played at my funeral. Here’s the list:

  1. Tarzan Boy by Baltimora
  2. Dragostea Din Tea by O-Zone
  3. Gummi Bears Theme Song – the one from the TV show “Disney’s Adventures of the Gummi Bears”
  4. Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey – please not the Glee version (Steve Perry and/or Arnel Pineda will be fine)
  5. Deep Folk Song – Deep Forest
  6. Noonday Sun – Deep Forest
  7. Deep Blue Sea – Deep Forest
  8. Enya’s “A Day Without Rain” album – the whole album

As for song #1, please play the extended edition. It’s 6 minutes 8 seconds long and can be found on my Macbook (whichever Macbook I’m currently using at time of death). Yes, it will be a Macbook.

Given that I’ve spent most of my life in the United States, I will understand if the funeral is held there, but I consider it a slap in the face if it’s held in Oklahoma or Idaho. Also, if you regularly drink Budweiser of any type, have truck balls or a Browning buck sticker, or fancy the confederate flag, then you’re not invited.

Ambiance

low-lighting creates a great, cozy coffee house ambiance
low-lighting creates a great, cozy coffee house ambiance

The concept of “ambiance” (or ambience) isn’t very well understood by most Americans today, it seems. Google tells us that ambiance is defined as: the character and atmosphere of a place.

I’ve always stated that there are two main things which make up a place’s ambiance: 1) Lighting, and 2) Music. Art/d√©cor have an effect on the mood of a place as well, but not as much as lighting and music.
A lot of people don’t seem to grasp that, at least in my experience.

For example, I’m currently staying at a friend’s house while he and his family are out of town for a few days. It’s been a great place to get away and just focus on getting things done. But the problem? He has no lamps in his house, at all. Only overhead lights. This totally kills any cozy ambiance that the place could have.

Actually, there is one lamp, but it’s in his 2-year-old’s room. (I turn it on anyway.)

And since it’s just after the winter solstice, the days are short and nights are long, meaning less natural light from the sun.

This is a nice house in a quiet neighborhood, perfect for getting away, and could have a *very* nice atmosphere, but it’s just so… bright. Almost harshly so. The over-bright lights just kill the mood. Ambiance is another way of saying the “mood” of a place.

If you’re trying to create a cozy ambiance at home, low-lit lighting is key (which is to say, dim lamps). Christmas lights and/or rope lights work great as well. Dim lamps along the walls always give a cozy feel to a place, like a pre-industrial revolution English pub. Oh yeah, and candles. Candles are the ultimate tool for creating just the perfect cozy mood/feel.

Of course, “ambiance” could apply to other moods, too. I just happen to like “cozy”. Discos/nightclubs have a different ambience. So do 50’s style diners. It’s all about lighting primarily, and music secondarily.

Just look around whenever you’re indoors. Look at the lighting and notice how it makes you feel. Is there any music playing? If yes, how does that fit in with the general feel & atmosphere of the place?

Restaurants understand this concept. Hotels and lodges have it down. Interior designers obviously understand this, but it seems like the average person doesn’t. But once you start paying attention, it’s hard not to miss.

Photo credit

Lost in Translation

I was reading an article in Spanish on an Argentine news website. The article is titled “The 10 Things a Mate Drinker Should Never Do”, and the original article can be found here (Spanish): http://www.lanacion.com.ar/nota.asp?nota_id=1311281.

Point number 9 used the word “ajeno”, a word I wasn’t familiar with. I looked it up on google translate & it just said “alien”, but many times it’s more accurate to enter an entire phrase to translate so as to get the context. The translation of certain words will sometimes change based on the context.

So when I entered “Nunca chupar el mate ajeno.”, the translation it spit out almost made me spit out my food. I’ve just decided to include the screen shots, because you just can’t make this stuff up.

Excerpt from Original Article
Excerpt from Original Article

and… the translation. Thanks, Google. ūüėČ

Google's Excellent Translation
Google's Excellent Translation

a new word has come…

Stop the presses, peoples! I’m’a call the editors of some dictionaries also, because… I made up a new word today.

The new word is:

grru√©lkananth ‚ÄĒ the sticky unknown substance on the counter that you just want to clean off because it looks gross

The pronunciation of this will probably be difficult for most Americans, so I’m’a ‘splain: You trill the ‘rr’ and make sure and place emphasis on the ‘√©’.

And here’s the correct pronunciation (you can right-click, save-as if you want to download the MP3 file):
Pronunciation of Grruélkananth

photo credit

fireflies

I just saw a firefly outside.

Here is some useful interesting info on fireflies.

Apparently the taillight contains two rare chemicals, luciferin and luciferase.

update: 2011Mar28: Oh noes, a broken link!! Here’s a shittier article about fireflies from the same domain as the initial good link. It has no picture, no pretty url and nothing about luciferin or luciferase. If this one ever breaks then I’ll just link to the Wikipedia article.

a typical day in the life…

07:15 ish – wake up, check email/twitter/facebook, shower, check email/twitter/facebook
08:15 ish – eat one of the following:

  • Clif Builder’s Bar
  • Ezekiel 4:9 cereal or Nature’s Path granola with 1/2 cup soy or almond milk
  • oats, almonds, flax seeds & blueberries

08:25ish – go to work

09:30ish – go to Kennedy Coffee for a 16oz black coffee in a 20oz cup, and a splash of soy milk. it’s usually about 1/2 cup soy milk.

11:45 – home for lunch. check email/twitter/facebook, eat 1 Brazil nut & one of the following:

  • quinoa, onions & red beans, curried
  • steel cut oats, almonds & flax seeds
  • Clif Builder’s Bar
  • Ezekiel 4:9 cereal or Nature’s Path granola with 1/2 cup soy or almond milk
  • banana

12:45ish – check email/twitter/facebook & back to work.

16:45ish – home. check email/twitter/facebook

18:30 – 20:30 activity
depending on the day, either: weightlifting, Parkour class, or Salsa/Bachata lessons. when preparing to work out, I generally rock out to either El Corazón del Guerrero or Legendario, both by Spanish heavy metal band Tierra Santa.

19:30ish – 21:30ish
back home
check email/twitter/facebook
shower
check email/twitter/facebook

21:00ish – usually starbucks

22:00 – back home. check email/twitter/facebook

22:05 – any combination of the below:

  • read
  • work on blog
  • review online business case studies
  • watch sweet Parkour vids on youtube
  • any outstanding work tasks

23:30ish – sleep.

repeat most weekdays.

for better or for awesome…

So, I initially started this as a personal blog about the things that interested me most:

1) technology,
b) languages,
and c) international travel.

I still love these things, but seem to have trouble coming up with good material (actually, I’ve got a lot of old stuff, but not much new). Hence the grand total of 3 blog posts in almost 2 months.

Health and fitness have surprisingly become a big part of my life now, as well vegetarian/vegan eating habits (I’ve been straight up vegan for about 2 months now), purchasing organic foods, a newly reinforced hatred for Wal-Mart and being more “green” overall. I’m basically turning into a hippie. Minus the tie-dye and herbal supplementation.

But seriously, I think becoming a vegan was probably one of the best decisions I’ve made in a long time. I feel great physically, never bloated or “full” like I did during my pre-vegan days. I’ve also lost about 25-30 lbs in the last 3-4 months and now have to purchase new clothes because both my shorts and pants are all falling off my waist. (A good problem to have!) Of course I’ve been hitting the gym about 4-5 times a week as well, so not all the fat loss can be attributed to the change in my diet. I say “fat loss” instead of “weight loss” because there’s a difference. But no need to get into semantics right now. Maybe in a later post. ūüėČ

I’ve also dived into Parkour pretty hardcore lately, joining a local class and registering for a nationwide seminar in Ohio that will take place next weekend.

Basically, I’ve stated all this in order to say that, like life, the direction of this blog will probably change to feature more personal development type posts, just as I’ve changed my lifestyle quite a bit lately. And it’s not really that hard to change the direction of the blog, since it pretty much didn’t have any with which to begin.

I’ve also changed back to the default thesis design since the design up with which I had ended was pretty much crap (yes, I intentionally wrote the sentence that way in order to not end the phrase with a preposition). And I like the rotating photo box a lot more than a blank layout with no photos. And I really haven’t had the time to scour the net for CC Attribution License photos or free stock photos.

Oh, and though he probably won’t read this any time soon, I’d like to say a special “thank you” to Karol Gajda of Ridiculously Extraordinary. His writing on that blog inspired me to get off my ass and start making positive lifestyle changes, and was one of the biggest influences on my decision to become vegan. So check out his blog if you aren’t already familiar with it. I guarantee it’s worth your time (or your money back!).

Ok, bye.

dreaming of Andalusia… Oklahoma

On or about Nov 09, 2010 at 02:30 am I awoke from one of my most crazy-go-nuts dreams ever. The part I remembered wasn’t very long, but it was pretty intense. For whatever reason it must have spooked me enough to send me quite forcefully into the realm of consciousness, because I was coherently able to type all this into a text file on my Macbook at 2:30 am.

I dreamt that I was riding through Jerusalem on a white horse looking at all the Spanish architecture. Only for some reason, it looked exactly like the city park in Laverne, Oklahoma, the town in which I grew up (and haven’t visited for 12 years… no clue).

I had just reached up and taken a mango off a live mango tree in the park (easy to reach since I was on a horse) when I was attacked by another horse!! He was a crazed SOB, he kept charging me straight on. The only thing that saved me was my own horse, since he was loyal & stuff, and he didn’t fancy us being charged by Crazy Horse. CH kept trying to push us into the cactus (no clue as to why the Jerusalem landscape was so much like the american southwest), but my Faithful Horse kept kicking back, and I think mine was more powerful. Then I rested FH on a picnic table, and jumped onto the table to try and kick CH in the face myself, but he charged and I couldn’t get any good kicks in, so I re-mounted FH and about that time is when I woke up.

photo credit