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fenix1022 Blog

Coming to the End of Another Chapter

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So graduation day has come and gone. I am now a Master of Education. I can definitely say that the hooding ceremony was really nice, but graduate commencement was long . . . The family came up, which was great. We tooled around the area, went out to eat at a couple of nice restaurants and spent time at my cohort party, where they got to meet the people I have studied and spent time with for the past two years. They left earlier today, so now I just have a little more time to say goodbye to the area, my friends and close up this chapter of my life.

When I was at the cohort party, I was asked a question by one of my professors about who I am now after two more years of school. I can say that I am a little wiser, a little more confident and a little more sure of what I enjoying doing and the direction I hope to take. Beyond jumping into the work world, I plan on trying to engage in another area of my life that has been lacking for quite some time. I was in love once and hope to find it again. I want to try and reach out a little more, try to find more meaning in the activities I engage in and the people I spend time with. I hope to eventually find that one person who will make me happy and begin to write that chapter of my life.

This is my story . . .

End of an Era

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It seems that I have reached the end of an era. My graduate program has been completed and all that is left is to see what the final GPA looks like. Graduation is coming up next Friday. I am still not at a point that I am excited or even focused on the joy of finishing something so great, but there are little things that are starting to affect me. I have had a couple of end of the year celebrations that have made me think about the fact that I won't live in Massachusetts a month from now. I have also gotten together a couple of times with people from my cohort and started to realize that I probably won't see most of them again, even the ones I have gotten closer to.

So what is next for me, you may be wondering. I am going to head south and spend a little time at home in Maryland. After a couple of weeks, I will finally transition down to my new home in North Carolina. This is going to be a major move because I will finally be living alone and working a full-time job with few familiar faces around me. Though my move to Massachusetts was difficult, I will no longer have school distracting me from life outside of work and I am going to have a lot of added responsibility on me.

This is going to be one interesting transition.

Bested Again

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Stephen Colbert has once again been beaten by Rain on Time's 100 Internet Poll. Not only did he lose to the pop star again, but both lost to Nintendo's Miyamoto. When Colbert lost to Rain, he created his own Korean pop music video. He has also challenged Rain to appear on his show. What is he going to do now? He could try to create his own mock video game company and sell the concept of motion play. He could create a Mii character and try to take everyone down by dominating the Wiiverse.

I am a fan of Colbert, but he is going to have to take this one gracefully. He was bested by Rain 2 years in a row and has yet to break 1,000,000 votes. I would love to see him bring Miyamoto on the program and challenge him to some WiiSports or WiiFit or WiiPlay contests. Stay tuned to see what his reaction is on Monday and whether he focuses on Rain or Miyamoto.

Long Time Comin'

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So it has been quite a while since my last post, but I thought I would just throw something out there.

Obviously GTA IV has hit the shelves and people have already paid the price. Although I have had some fun playing some of the earlier versions, I just cannot personally get into the craze. Unfortunately, others have seen some of their own craziness on release night. A stabbing and another attack all for a video game. It is almost as if the game is coming to life and people are losing touch with the concept of morality. I am not talking about a dichotomous view of right and wrong but a concept of justice and human relations. You can be passionate about a game without having to attack someone to steal it. And just because you can do certain things in the virtual world does not mean that you do them in real life.

While pointing this out is merely recognizing a coincidence between the release of the game and the incidents on release night, it is pretty telling of some of what's wrong with true video game addiction and/or a lack of recognition for human rights and relations. I do not think people will disagree with the negative evaluation of the incidents, but I know there will be some competition with my connections of video games and violence. I can quote research on dopamine levels, but I will just say that there needs to be a little more education of the general public on human relations.

Guitar Hero Update

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So I misjudged GH III a little bit in the quality of music department. There are still some limitations with ridiculously annoying songs in the main list, but I have discovered a couple gems in the bonus section and the multiplayer section. Here they are:

  • The Strokes - Reptilia
  • Matchbook Romance - Monsters
  • The Sleeping - Don't Hold Back
  • Superbus - Radio Song
  • Kaiser Chiefs - Ruby
  • The Toadies - Possum Kingdom
  • Stone Roses - She Bangs the Drums
  • The Hellacopters - I'm in the Band
  • Bloc Party - Helicopter

Beyond finding these good songs, I have also learned that GH IV is in production. I look forward to some more great songs and hopefully they bring back some good artists and songs. I would like to see more from a range of decades like this last game, but it would not hurt to bring out Stairway to Heaven finally (even if it is the Rodrigo y Gabriela version).

Guitar Hero Comparison

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Now that I have played through each of the Guitar Hero games, I have determined that GH II is the best of the series, at least as far as song list goes. Below are the best songs from each of the games:

Guitar Hero

Boston - More Than a Feeling
Incubus - Stellar
Queen - Killer Queen
Sum 41 - Fat Lip
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Higher Ground
Cream - Crossroads
Stevie Ray Vaughan - Texas Flood

Guitar Hero II

Cheap Trick - Surrender
The Police - Message in a Bottle
Van Halen - You Really Got Me
Kansas - Carry on my Wayward Son
Foo Fighters - Monkey Wrench
Matthew Sweet - Girlfriend
The Rolling Stones - Can You Hear Me Knockin'?
Guns 'n Roses - Sweet Child o' Mine
Primus - John the Fishman
Rage Against the Machine - Killing in the Name
Heart - Crazy on You
Stone Temple Pilots - Trippin' on a Hole in a Paper Heart
The Allman Brothers - Jessica
Rush - YYZ
Lynyrd Skynyrd - Free Bird

Guitar Hero II: Rocks the 80s

.38 Special - Hold on Loosely
Asia - Heat of the Moment
Flock of Seagulls - I Ran
The Go Gos - We Got the Beat
The Vapors - Turning Japanese
The Police - Synchronicity II
Poison - Nothin' But a Good Time
Scandal - The Warrior
The Romantics - What I Like About You

Guitar Hero III

AFI - Miss Murder
The Who - The Seeker
Black Sabbath - Paranoid
Guns 'n Roses - Welcome to the Jungle
The Rolling Stones - Paint it Black
Beastie Boys - Sabotage
Weezer - My Name is Jonas
Pearl Jam - Even Flow
Foghat - Slow Ride
Metallica - One
ZZ Top - La Grange
The Scorpions - Rock You Like a Hurricane
Smashing Pumpkins - Cherub Rock
The Killers - When You Were Young
Eric Johnson - Cliffs of Dover

I hope that a couple things happen in the near future. #1 - The previous songs from GH are available in the new format. #2 - The Wii will have downloadable content. #3 - GH IV is produced. Here's hopin'.

Luck in Music

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I have been getting lucky in finding good music recently.  Part of this is that I have been paying attention when watching shows like Grey's Anatomy and Scrubs for the music in the background, but I also have been browsing iTunes and come across a song or two in the free downloads that have been good.  Here are my recent finds:

Amy Winehouse - You Know I'm No Good

Colin Hay - Beautiful World / Overkill

Lazlo Bane - Superman

Iron & Wine - Such Great Heights

Ivy - Edge of the Ocean

Snow Patrol - Open Your Eyes

Toad the Wet Sprocket - Amnesia

Bowling for Soup - Ohio (Come Back to Texas)

Imogen Heap - Hide and Seek / Speeding Cars / Goodnight and Go

Michael Andrews - Mad World

Bourne - The Guide

Zero 7 - In the Waiting Line

Remy Zero - Fair

Bon Jovi - You Give Love a Bad Name

I am still looking for other good music, so if there are any suggestions, send them my way.  I generally like most music (except country), but I generally stick within rock, alternative and a little R&B or Hip Hop.

Snow Day

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So last Wednesday, it snowed like crazy.  One of my friends stayed over a little late and almost got snowed in.  We didn't end up getting that much, but there was enough snow and ice to make the roads difficult and the wind on Wednesday made the ice so painful that it felt like sand smacking you in the face.

I ended up not doing anything for the day.  I sat around playing games, watching movies, though I actually ended up having one meeting with one of my staff members.  I was happy because I wasn't ready for my class that day.  I would have tried to study up.  Oh well.

I spent part of the day getting used to Wii Play.  It is not a horrible game, considering that it is really only $10 + the $40 controller.  I like the billards, Find Mii, shooting, air hockey and tank games.  They are really good in two-player as well.


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I am going to Florida State!

I got the call on Tuesday from FSU and let them know that I needed a little time.  I was still trying to figure out the start and end dates and whether other schools were still interested.  I originally had FSU as my number 2 choice because the experience would be similar to schools I had already attended (2 large state institutions) and the timing wouldn't really provide for much of a break between the end of the semester, the internship and training back at UMass.  After some thought and some poor communication on the part of other schools, I decided that FSU would be an awesome opportunity and they obviously were interested.

I ti almost fate because the person who did the reference checks knew all three of my references and two of the professors in my higher education program.  I have also received a number of emails welcoming me to the FSU team and letting me know that if I need help with anything, I should just let them know.  I feel like this summer is going to be an awesome experience and now I just need to figure out the arrangments.

Superbowl Sunday

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Tomorrow is a national holiday in the eyes of sports fans across the country.  Even those who don't like football watch for the humorous commercials (that have disappointed me in recent years).  It is time for predictions and discussions of who you think should have been here and what you think should happen.

As for who made it, I am glad that Colts finally have a shot, but I was so hoping the Chargers would take it all.  They had the talent and the drive to win everything, but they collapsed against the Patriots.  Come on, Tomlinson needs to touch the ball at least 30 times a game but preferably more.  As for the NFC, I was surprised to see the Bears make it (not after they got to the championship game though).  Of course playing in Chicago gave them a huge advantage against the Saints, but I was hopinh someone else would have taken them out earlier.

So now let me suck it up and look at the current matchup.  The Bears actually are a good all-around team.  On offense, their passing game may not blow people away, but Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson are two solid running backs.  Grossman will have to control himself and not get excited when under pressure.  The defense is obviously great, but they have played a little soft in more recent games.  They have given up close to 24 points/game to teams like Green Bay, Tampa Bay and Detriot.  Still, their special teams may make the difference.  Hester is one of the best return guys in the league. 

The Colts are another story.  Their offense has the ability to be explosive, but they have also found ways to win without blasting 30-40 points on the scoreboard.  One of their best wins was against the Ravens when they could not even score a touchdown.  Manning connecting with Harrison and Wayne is just a dynamite situation for a win.  As for the running game, Addai and Rhodes have been able to find holes and really take off.  The defense is interesting because they have given up an average of 22.5 points/game and still manage to give their offense enough breathing room.  In the playoffs, it has been the stellar play of their defense providing opportunities for the offense to score that has put them in the Superbowl.  And I can not forget to mention that Vinatieri is automatically a scale-tipper in favor of the Colts.

As for how the teams will actually matchup.  The Colts offense can break the Bears defense.  They just need to mix it up and keep hammering with the run to setup the pass (obvious I know).  It is just that the games where Manning takes everything on his shoulders have been the ones they have had trouble in.  The defense can also disrupt Manning easily.  Send in the rush early and often, but keep a eye on Harrison, Wayne and Utecht.  Now for the reverse . . . the Bears offense can find success, but they need to rely on the running game.  Assuming Sanders comes back and Jackson/Doss are healthy, they are going to be looking for Grossman to make a mistake.  Both running backs have great speed and change of direction.  The Colts defense just needs to watch Grossman's eyes and follow the blocking patterns.

Score prediction: Colts win 34-17 due to the explosive offense and 2 interceptions on Grossman.

I love football!