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Goodbye ‘09

I love top ten lists and New Year’s Eve day is a great time to make one for the past year. Although this won’t be a top ten list, just a bunch of my favorites and surprises from 2009. I promise, this will be random and all over the place.


Favorite Scott Joplin Rags this year:

It’s a tie between Bethena and Palm Leaf Rag. I’ve always known of Bethena but after being featured in the movie ‘Curious Case of Benjamin Button’ it breathed new life into the piece for me. I love to fall asleep to it. I got the sheet music for my mother to teach me how to play it, now it’s just a matter of finding time to learn it! Palm Leaf Rag is a late entry that I have been digging on for the past month. Very light, simple makes me want to blow bubbles and touch the air with my fingertips.

Surprising new entry into my musical library:

Muse. I’ve known about Muse for years but have never paid any attention to them. I heard plenty of their radio hit ‘Uprising’ , downloaded it, dug the message and it ended there. That is until Tony came along and said ‘ZOMG DUUUUUUUUUUDE!!!!!!!!!1!!1!! I freakin’ love MUSE, here have more of their songs!!!!!!!!!’ I listened to more and more of there stuff and realized it filled a void in my music library. Sweet.


Favorite 360 game:

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

This one surprised me for sure. I really liked the previous Call of Duty (World at War) that is set in WWII times, until one day I completely hit the wall with it and was sick of it. Usually my interest declines on a slow fade but not with that game. So when yet another Call of Duty came out
I wasn’t as excited as most of my friends. The single player turned me around and the multiplayer keeps me coming back for more like a truck driver at a buffet line. The single player (although extremely short) is top notch, I never once felt bored with it or annoyed, it kept hooking and pulling me along. The multiplayer is for the most part very well done but I really have a love/hate relationship with the online play. Never have I cussed so much at a game nor have I ever heard Phil and the other boys cuss as much as when we play that game. It draws us in so deeply we feel the highs and lows of winning and losing. We don’t like losing.

Honorable Mentions would have to go to Borderlands  for sure and possibly Dirt 2. I shouldn’t give Dirt 2 any mention just for having such a horrible name (what’s next, name games after parts of the car? Tires 2, Exhaust Pipe Extremezzzzz, Headlight Beams) but the game is really slick and loads of fun. The in car view looks amazing on my 42″ and my car barely keeps on the road as I speed through jungles, blaze through open trails and hang on the edge of cliff. It really is a great time, and I speaking of a great time this video makes me smile every time I see it.

Borderlands is a loose RPG that has tons and tons of weapons upgrades. A decent story with a disappointing ending but the gameplay itself is quite a bit of fun. Add a friend or two and everything becomes even more challenging. This is a worthwhile purchase for sure.

Favorite throwback game:
Super Mario Brothers Wii.

Even though I have only played through a couple of levels on this game it is SUCH a great time. The ability to play with up to 4 other players on the same screen adds a whole new dimension to this time-tested side-scroller. Also jumping off of your friend is sweet because it allows you to get to those hard to reach areas, I also hear that throwing a red turtle shell at your friends is fun too.


Favorite Handgun to shoot:
Without a doubt the Beretta 92FS I received this year. I have always wanted one and now that I have it I can honestly say it is as good as I had hoped. 90% ambidextrous and all metal makes it sturdy and a straight shooter. Perfect trigger pull and a breeze to clean, it just fits.

Favorite Rifle to shoot:
The Mosin-Nagant M44 Carbine. There is something to be said for an object that can make me smile and groan all at once. This WWII Russian rifle is heavy, kicks like a mule and blasts like a cannon (see pic, not me). I smile when the huge fireball bursts forth from the muzzle and groan when I feel my bruised and newly dislocated shoulder. Awesome. It is especially impressive to stand next to someone shooting the M44 and feel the concussion blast coming off the rifle. To get an idea here is a video, please note the gun in the background is an AR-15 the type of gun our military currently uses…what a difference.

Favorite Airplane to fly:
The Trojan T-28. It has been a great year for airplane flying! After barely getting my feet wet two years ago with a crappy, underpowered, no-steering plane I thought flying wasn’t in the cards for me. Fast forward two years to this last May when I started to get the itch to fly again. I mentioned something to HES and she said “I’ve always wanted to try one of those little planes!”. Her approval and knowing that she wouldn’t think I was a total dweeb was all it took to launch me into getting one. I started out with the Hobbyzone Super Cub, which btw is an excellent plane for ANYONE to start and learn on, durable easy to fly, the thing practically lands itself! But after approximately 60 successful flights in only a month I was ready to move on up to something bigger and more powerful that had ailerons just like a real plane. Enter the Parkzone T-28. This plane has been so good to me and withstood a few crashes and midair collisions and yet keeps on flying high. My first day out I managed to get it stuck in a tree, but thereafter it has been smooth sailing.

Favorite Plane Crash:
Most definitely Dave’s Maiden voyage of his Corsair. Oh man. That was epic, but I was told I couldn’t blog about it. He’s crashed that thing so many times since then I think that ban should be lifted. Long story short, he spends a pretty penny, taxis the plane on the field, gets it up in the air for maaaaybe 10 seconds and then SLAMS into the ground hard. The result? His plane lays dead in pieces. We picked everything up, rushed to my house and epoxied the whole thing back together. He couldn’t let his wife see the damage or she might’ve killed him. It was dark and somber at the time but it’s damn funny to me now.

Favorite Guitar to play:
Sweet Sweet Gretsch. Still.


Biggest Surprise on a TV show:
Dexter. Without a doubt.

Newest Shows I am impressed with:
The Middle and Modern Family. Modern family is great and quirky, and done in a mockumentary feel. The Middle I just discovered a little over a month ago when HES kept talking about it. Since then I’ve watched the whole season and I really like it. It’s just funny and interesting enough to keep my interest.


Favorite Movie(s) of the year:
This is really a tie for me. I don’t watch many movies (as my friends will tell you) but I did see a few this year. I thoroughly enjoyed ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button‘ and ‘Inglorious Basterds‘. I’m not fully sure why I liked Benjamin Button so much, maybe it is because it is a ifferent story, but I found myself wrapped up in it and thinking about it for weeks. I think I’m the only one. I was blown away by IB. It was definitely Tarantino and I think it’s funny how he re-writes history to how he sees fit, but that makes it more fun. Loved the opening scene with the Farmer and the Nazi, great acting, wonderful tension building for nearly 20 minutes that you’re ready to pop at the end!


I have been completely wrapped up in ‘Meditations on Violence‘. This book is a complete wake up call for anyone that trains in martial arts/self defense. In fact it really is a wake up call for anyone that is alive right now. Most people don’t want to think or talk about it, but the book pops much of the ‘dojo fantasy’ people have in their minds of how it will all go down if they were ever attacked and fighting for their life. It also highlights the fact that we are surrounded by a mere illusion of safety. This point was very dramatically increased when recently my Krav Instructor who happens to also be a Police Sergeant for the county emailed all of us students about ’safety’. He said what I had thought for a long time, that there is so much more that goes on that we’re not even aware of. Only the big stories or the stories that make a great headline make the news. For each armed robbery, assault there are 10x more that happen then ever gets reported by the news.

Most Frustrating Moment this year (outside of Call of Duty):

Reading the news and seeing the song and dance in our government. Seeing the bailouts, seeing the golden parachutes, the misuse of money, the printing of money and seeing the main offenders get no punishment for their crimes. I am appalled and now more then ever my eyes are open to how those in charge act and how un-trustworthy they really ALL are. FTW.

Biggest Accomplishment this year:
Going through and passing my Phase A Krav Training, and losing even more weight.

Biggest disappointment this year:
Killing my back after the Phase A and becoming a bit of a slug these past two months negating so much of the conditioning I worked so hard to obtain. :/

What does 2010 hold? I’m not sure, probably more flying, shooting and exercising. I hope I can fit in more guitaring and sleeping but it never seems to work out quite like that. 2009 has been good to me, I met HES got reacquainted with some old friends as well. That is always good. This year I really accomplished my goal of having fun, here’s to more and the best in 2010!

Happy New Year Everyone!

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Krav L.A. Day - 2

Day two down! My body is feeling it, but  I just spent 30 minutes in the hot tub and I don’t feel too bad right now. I turned the computer off last night and promptly went to bed. Sleep evaded me as the guy above me opened and closed drawers for at least 15 minutes. There are only 3 drawers in the hotel room so I have no idea what the hell he was doing! It was driving me nuts, I almost went up there and asked him if I could help him find what he was looking for. I finally fell asleep only to wake up a an hour later with a leg cramp. It has been so long since I have had a leg cramp I forgot what a bitch they can be. I thought my leg was going to pop off, but fortunately after getting up and walking around and putting some Arnica (stuff for sore muscles) rub on it, it immediately went away and I was good.

Even though we had a good warmup today, it was hard to get moving. My obliques and core muscles are sore from all the twisting and punching and I was seriously suffering for most of the day. We worked on many different techniques and reviewed from yesterday. Instead of our scheduled 45 minutes lunch we received a whopping 25 minutes to eat. Late in the afternoon during an extremely intense punching drill I really hit the wall. I could barely move my arms and even keep my hands up for my partner to hit the bags. It was tough.

Tomorrow will be interesting as our main instructor won’t be there for the first few hours. Our class starts with a lecture about warming up, but we were told it’s an active lecture so we will be moving. I have no idea if that means we’ll be doing warm up things like pushups, situps and planks the whole time or if it means she’ll go through a certain routine and we’ll have to mimic it. What makes tomorrow especially tough is that it starts at 8am. If I want to eat anthing I”ll have to get up at 6:45 to allow the food to settle. We’re scheduled to have an 1 lunch from here on out. Let’s hope they stick to it!

Tonight I went to the hot tub and chatted with a bunch of fellow kravers. I think our lead instructor is great and she rarely picks on me. If she tells me to correct something I’ll redo it and she’s usually satisfied. A few of the guys were talking about how ‘nit picky’ she was and they felt that she was relentless on them…they didn’t seem to happy. I kept my mouth shut but I was thinking “maybe that’s because you’re not as good or as solid as you think you are!” Kinda funny if you ask me.

Lastly I am amazed how I can drink a gallon or more of water and electrolyte juice and not have to pee till I finally get home and even then it’s not very much.

Ok sleep time. I hope it comes quickly…thanks for all the good vibes! Not out of the woods yet.

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Art Museum and pool cues

Walking into an art museum I was immediately overcome by the wonderful works of art and sculptures. I walked slowly as I admired the brush strokes and exquisite detail captured on the canvas. The museum was crowded, but not enough to obscure proper viewing. I was surprised to walk into a different room and find a large crowd gathered in the middle. The crowd moved and grew like a pot ready to boil over. People with pool cues began running around the outside of the room, circling the crowd. The curator frantically tried to calm the pool cue toting people down, but they pushed him out of the way. I watched curiously until one of the thugs lifted two pool cues and struck me on the shoulder. It was at that moment I went from curious spectator to fully involved participant. Without a second thought I burst forward with a punch that would make Mike Tyson squeal. The jerk fell flat on his back and all the other pool cue punks looked up and quickly left the museum. I stayed to help the curator rough up an old, drunk biker dude that didn’t understand the museum was no place to act like this.

And then I woke up, trying to make sense of it all….

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New host

Did you notice this this site looks all different and crappy?  Have you noticed that images aren’t working well?  Have you noticed that Micah is only paying $35/year for webhosting now?  That’s because he switched hosts to my (Jake’s) account at!  How exciting and neat!  Please pardon our e-dust while we do construction or whatever…

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I broke my sock…

And then Phil spit water on me. It was awkward for everyone.