Monday, September 25, 2006

The Bay of Pigs invasion

Some aspiring scriptwriter needs to write a script on the Bay of Pigs based off the actual CIA-trained Cuban exile's experience. Seriously, what a horrible blunder by the U.S. (or so it appears that way).

I was watching a special on cannibalism on the History channel last week. It spoke of people that resorted to it out of desperation, not the sick/twisted types. Anyway, they told one story about a group of the trained exiles and how during their retreat, they found a boat and about 20 of them or so got in it and sailed out to sea, trying to head in the direction of Mexico (the Bay is on the south side of Cuba). They ended up getting lost at sea with little water and no food. As people died, they would throw them over-board, but eventually a small group of the men decided to eat one of the dead, rather than throw him over (they eventually threw him over when they were done). They survived and made a pact to never tell anyone about it, but someone eventually did.

Anyway, I'm off the topic. I was mostly drawn in as they told the story about how the CIA trained some 1500 Cuban exiles and helped them both parachute and land by boat, into the Bay to over-throw Castro. Well, they said that once they got in, they were supposed to have air support, but the planes all flew away. They were sitting ducks and had to run for their lives. There was some air raids before the invasion, but they were limited and did minimal damage to Cuba's air force (who had hid their planes earlier because they heard of a possible invasion). There was also a force of Marines waiting off the coast, but Kennedy called them off as well. It was an embarassment to these exiles who wanted to help liberate their country (in some way). What happened was Castro was new and fresh and doling out things left and right to everyone. He had the people in his hands, so they did not turn on him, but on those invading (who hoped the people would join them).

Either way, I guess Cubans have a great life now and are loving it. The result was a lot of prisoners, quite a few executions, and an eventual release granted of the exiles. The U.S. gave up $53 million in money, food, and medical supplies to Cuba.

What I think would be most compelling to see is the relationships of the men that were trained and how they beleived they were doing the right thing, and the dramatic failure.

Anyway, if I were much of a script writer, I would be doing my research now. Oh well.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Honor my family

I don't show enough appreciation to my family and how much they do for me, especially my parents. I don't tell them enough that I love them. I suck.

So Dad and Mom, if you're reading this, I love you.

I was going through my digital photo album and came across some pictures I had completely forgot I had. They are of my grandpa Pete (my mom's dad) back in 1942 when he played football in high school. I am fond of these because football is a major part of my life. Sure, it's just a game, but it's something that I identify with on so many levels. From the pure athletic ability it takes, the determination, the lessons learned from teamwork, commitment, how it can often bind together a community that may not normally come together.

Anyway, needless to say I love it. All my siblings love it. My wife and son love it. Being that me and Bobby are the only boys of the family that actually played all through high school (except bobby's injury forced him out of it his Sr year), and being that my dad's experience wasn't too swell as a 6'1" 130 lbs TE/DE who split his lip and knee open on one of the first days he went out, I wondered if I had any other relatives that played the sport. My mom told me her dad did, but I never really dug into it much. It wasn't until a few years ago that my mom had these pictures that actually proved it and I was stoked. I had no idea why, but I was even more proud of my grandpa than I had been before.

This is a man who had two purple hearts from his time in WW2. Who was shot jumping out of a plane on an un-marked island as the plane was shot down just after taking off. He laid in the brush for a few days waiting for a rescue and finally it happened. He spoke so naturally about it, as though it happened to everyone his age. He was a heavy drinker while my mom grew up. Never a mean drunk though, always having a good time. He worked very hard too. After a few arrests and spending time in jail and other long-term facilities, he quit both drinking and smoking and has lived a very healthy life on an acre he is very proud of in Central Washington. He sends pictures to us every year of his property and all the neat things he does with it.

To honor my grandpa Pete, I'm posting these pictures of him during his Sr year when he played football. I know his duties in WW2 are far more worthy of praise, but I have no pictures of that, so I'll post one thing he and I both have/had in common.

Friday, September 22, 2006

My whole intent on starting the last post was

to talk about hip hop. While I think most of it is crap, some of it is genious and is really thought-provoking.

I was listening to Scarface, who was in the Geto Boys. Now, the Geto Boys can be pretty bad (hard-core if you will) and I didn't care much for them, but Scarface has done some great songs.

His song, "Damn it feels good to be a Gangster" is a great song. It's not for those that don't like foul language, but it's a great because of the message it tried to send to all those wannabe gangster dudes. Dudes that just decide one day they're going to get a gun, sag their pants, and start flexing their muscles, and pull a trigger. He talks in the song about how REAL gangsters don't have to flex their muscles, because they know they got them. He talked about how calm quiet, and collected REAL gangsters are and how they go out and help their community.

However, he then released another GREAT song called "Now I feel ya". It's a long song (about 7.5 minutes), but it's a great song about growing up, learning about past mistakes, being thankful for what you have, over-coming advsersity, etc. It's a great song:

"Now I feel ya" by Scarface
(warning, some hard language in some parts)

A new day, brings a new problem to a brother
and all I gots to say is thank god for my mother
cause without my mommy dear my life would've been joke
either locked up playin' dead and still slangin' dope but nope
The lord he had a plan for me
and with his help, my mother made a man of me
didn't blindfold me to the world we was livin' in
taught me how to save my little dividends
so when I graduated I'd have a little school money
but in the sixth grade I wanted to be the school dummy
and flunked outta school with the flag pole
and left my mother dear at home with a sad soul
because my mother worked the fingers to the bone
cause we was alone, and me I brought an "F" home
My real pops he broke out with the style
so I respect my stepdad, for raisin' another nigga's child

So now we livin' comftable
taught me the game and how to be responsible
But back then I couldn't see it
I wanted to be a grown man at fourteen so the kid's leavin'
and ended up in a big fight
and told me not to come home until I got my shit right
So now I'm livin' at my grandma's home
my grandma's strong, she's got nine kids of her own
and keepin' me ain't no big deal
but now that I'm much older I see just how the shit feels
being kind-hearted, not wantin' to tell me no
even though my grandfather just had a stroke
and now the money's low
and pretty soon a brother's gonna have to go
or either try to find a job so I can help out
I'm in the ghetto, I gots to get myself out
and when I get out I gotta try to pave the way
so my family can have a better place to stay
I'm losin' all hope, a brother's fallin' short
I can't cope, so now I'm slangin' dope
and now my granny knows I'm doin' wrong
she just prayin' for me heavily
take care of her grandson
and the lord must of heard her prayer
cause he made me get a grip
and got me on up outta there
I heard my mother say them streets is gonna kill ya
you couldn't have told me nothin' back then
but now I feel ya...

I'm eighteen, and now I'm havin' big fun
my baby's mother just had my first son
May eleven, I never will forget the day
A star's born, let's name him little Scarface
My first born and yo I'm a proud father
I gotta son, I gots ta be my son's father
and sellin dope ain't the way that I can get ahead
but what the hell, I gots ta keep my baby fed
I buy him milk, and pampers tryin ta do my part
and he's my son, I gots ta try to make him hard
I buy him clothes, and jewelry not the Tonka toys
because the Tonka toys will only punk my boy
and I don't want my son to look at life
through a replica of reality tryin' to make it life-like
but yet and still I let my son be a kid
just give him up the real, exactly like my momma did
So when he gets to be a man he'll appreciate
the game I gave him way back when he used to roller skate
and now my son is four years old
I really gots to give the real and try to play the father's role
because these years he'll remember most
so it's all about little Marcus and me becomin' close
but I got a buncha obstacles
if it ain't my line of work it's the girlies on my popsicle
Now everybody's got my baby
wantin' to have their hands in my pocket tryin to drive me crazy
"It's your daughter, don't she look like you?"
I just can't tell, why don't you take it to ma momma dukes
because my mother knows the real deal
all these hoochies poppin' coochie tryin' to get a free meal
So now we in and outta court
tryin' to get mo money, braggin' on the child support
Tellin' her friends that she's breakin' me
now eveybody knows, that she was just fakin' G
Come to find out, the girl never had me
she's the baby's mother but me I ain't the baby's daddy
and biological tests done proved
you gotta get up off of me and go after the other dude
but now I finally got a real daughter
no need for the testin'
I know that I'm the baby's father
I heard my daddy say them hoes will try ta kill ya
you couldn't have told me nothin' back then
but now I feel ya...

I feel ya...

Now I'm twenty-two and finally got a grip on life
It's nineteen ninety-three, I put away my pocket knife
and got a bigger stick to fight with
I'm young and black so my choice ain't a nightstick
because we livin' in a concentration set
and everyday, we face to face with death
I seen my homies go and come
and judgement day is just somethin we can't run from
so I know my number's comin' up
so I gotta protect myself from suckers who be runnin' up
and even though I hate killin' off my own kind
I gotta be a man and as a man I'm a defend mine
My brother Conners tryin to keep the neighbourhood at peace
don't fight each other, we gots ta stand and fight the beast
so united we stand but we gonna fall quick
because we always tryin to take another brother's shit
and the cops is in the same boat
just because we comin' up quick they think we slang dope
They shootin' ta kill, they gats ain't sparkin' duds
they shot my long time partner Rudy in cold blood
and now the story's all twisted up
and if they gave the cop the chair
I really wouldn't give a fuck
because he left my partner's family with memories
and after hearin' this I know you don't remember me
but yet in still I find it hard for me to stay in touch
I see his parents and then I started breakin' up
because I know what you did was wrong
but you won't realize until you dead and gone
It ain't no justifiable homicide, you never gave a warning
you straight up shot him from behind
but all the cryin' in the world ain't gonna bring him back
you give a gat to a black he don't know how to act
but you gotta tell your story to the judge
not the imitation judge, the judge that everybody loves
and if the man upstairs grants you forgiveness
then in reality you took care of your business
but regardless I know you wanna kill me
but I ain't goin' out like dat
Ya feel me?


Evolution of music for me

Music is pretty neat. I'm sure you will agree with me. As I pick up kids on my football team every day, I can hear the music they're listening on their mp3 players on the way. Not clearly, but I know it's hip hop. I guess that is what all the kids listen to these days. It frustrates me because I want them to learn to be open-minded about music, but then I immediately catch myself and remember I was JUST LIKE THEM when I was their age.

Being that Alene is gone for 2.5 days, I was going to try to stay busy and tile the back room, but I'm too tired to do it. However, my fingers aren't, so I found myself checking my itunes playlists and found my music interests vary. Not that I'm surprized, but it got me thinking about my list of "hip hop", music and how it's likely really out-dated or considered "old school" to the kids I coach. I mean, I have some Kanye West, some Jermain Dupree, and some Black eyed peas, but other than that, I'm still lost as to who is cool these days regarding hip hop.

I'll start with the oldest music I remember: Africa by Toto.

Yes, I said AFRICA by TOTO. No, this wasn't a favorite song, it's just the oldest song I can remember. I remember waking up to it on my alarm clock when I was like 5 years old. The song just kind of stuck with me. I think I had a dream about a girl I had a crush on (yes, when I was 5). We were running and holding hands. I wasn't sure how you go about kissing then, so it wasn't the same kind of dreams we get when we become teenagers :-).

OK, up next, Run DMC. Since I love music a ton and my genre's have changed so much, I started writing a short movie script about my musical interest. It started off with RUN DMC (I forgot about Toto at the time of writing, which was a couple of years ago). I remember the first time I was drawn in, it was seeing the RUN DMC/Aerosmith video "walk this way". I thought it was amazing and RUN DMC was the first tape I bought (and being that I had never purchased a tape before, I had no idea artists had multiple tapes and I purchased the wrong tape, which did not have walk this way on it).

Beastie Boys Licensed to Ill tape was my next favorite. I was in 4th grade and listened to various forms of rap back then.

I went through a short phase of liking the song "living on a prayer" by Bon Jovi, which started my interest in Rock music.

My friend Bear got me into Metal. We listened to Guns N Roses, Motley Crew, Poison, Iron Maiden, etc. I became a white trash rocker for a while.

I soon dumped that scene around 7th grade for the Rap scene again. See, I grew up in a rural area, some would call the country, so Rap wasn't necessarily the music of choice. It was ususally what was popular on the radio, or country music. My dad listened to Country and tried to get me to like it so much, but that wouldn't happen for a long time. I took up the Digital Underground, Young MC, MC Hammer, Vanilla Ice, Milli Vanilli, and Biz Markee scene. Good times. Got into a little Gangster Rap by this time as well and also the political stuff like Public Enemy, which made me realize that Music wasn't just fun, it was stuff that could make you think about issues going on.

All through high school I REFUSED to listen to anything but Hip Hop and I prided myself on listening to stuff that nobody where I lived knew about. I would try to pick up the Bay Area radio station 106.1 KMEL, which was a great hip hop station 3.5 hours away from where I lived. In high school I took a liking to creative types of hip hop, as well as the stuff that was popular like Dr. Dre, Snoop, Notorious BIG, Tupac, etc. The stuff I was quite proud of listening to when others would say "who is this?" are groups like A Tribe Called Quest, Souls of Mischief, Digable Planets, The Pharcyde, etc.

After high school I started to realize that it was OK to listen to other stuff. I began to explore country music believe it or not. Now, I didn't go all Cowboy, no worries there, but I took a liking to the more laid back, and almost purity the music spoke of. It was honest and had good intentions. It was a hard working man's type of music (that was, until most of it became what it is today: pure crap). I was first into Garth Brooks (who wasn't?) and his "the hits" album. Still like it to this day. I started to explore a lot of the other artists of the 80's and early to late 90's. I eventually came to the conclusion that I REALLY liked Dwight Yokam and his style. It was classic and twangy, but the artist himself was more of a rock-star type and not the typical red-neck type you see. He got his start playing in honky tonk bars in LA and stuff like that, along side acts like DK, X, and Los Lobos. Pretty cool. Still, his style, his voice, everything sounds so old and I dig it. I respect other classic artists like Clint Black, George Strait (this dude is pure), John Michael Montgomery, and Chris Ledoux (RIP).

Country was on my list now, then I started to get into some music that relaxed me and I found that with........Yanni. Yes "Live at the acropolis", "PBS Special", "Long hair, porn stached" musical composer Yanni. I'm not too shy to say I really like his music. I get made fun of by others, but I know deep down they're all just too prideful to actually give it a try to or to admit they like it.

From Yanni, I began to explore classical composers and have a fond spot for the popular dudes like Mozart (especially after seeing Amadeus, which I know is not entirely factual, but still gave me a cool look at what he was like; he would have been a punk rocker if he lived these days). I also like Beethoven, Pachalbel, Bach, and the others.

Then around the same time I explored Rock music. Again, this all happened around when I was 19 years old. The first kind of Rock music I remember liking was the Ramones (OK, Punk music). My brother Russ was really into the Punk scene, back when I was in my hip hop scene, so as you can imagine, I made fun of him at the time. You can guess how dumb I felt when I looked back on my mis-deeds and realized how dumb I must have looked in his eyes. I probably looked like Jamie Kennedy's character "B-Rad" or Brad, in that movie Malibu's most wanted". Anyway, I listened to varoius music on the local alternative station in Monterey, CD93. It was cool.

Then I attended a Young Single Adults party for my church one evening and found these two dudes sitting with a guitar and singing a cool song I had heard on the radio recently. It was the song "Semi Charmed life" by the band Third Eye Blind. I immediately ran and bought the album and started liking Rock music. From there, I went through all sorts of phases of favorite rock music.

I took a quick liking to Chicago. And again, everyone laughs at me (especialy Alene, bless her soul). What people don't realize is that Chicago has had various phases, much like we have with our own tastes in music. Their music from the 70's ROCKED. When Terry Kath died (their lead guitarist and the moust soulful voice I've ever heard), another style of Chicago emerged when they changed their lineup to replace him. They then became that cheesy band we all know with the 30 some-odd wedding songs or "power ballads". I still cherrish them.

I got into Barenaked Ladies as well. LOVED their music for it being really fun/funny at times, and very serious and emotional at other times.

It was on a trip to visit my family in CA that an obsession with a band spurned. I was riding in the truck with my sister Amanda and she was trying to play the Weezer album "Pinkerton" to me, but the only weezer song I knew of was "Buddy Holly" as I remember their music video and thinking it was neat. I quickly pulled her Pinkerton album out (what was I thinking???) and popped in her blue album, which had buddy holly. The opening to the first song on that album (My name is jonus) struck a chord in my mind that had me HOOKED from the beginning. I was almost crying that I had missed out on about 6 years of this music (it was around 2000 when I first heard it). I immediately went out and bought the blue album and devoured it from first song, to the last. In fact, it ended up that the Buddy Holly song was my LEAST favorite song on the album. Songs like Say it ain't so, Jonus, In the Garage, and Only in Dreams were my favorites. I then met my good buddy Tim on a BYU football road trip. We had an immediate bond when we both found out we were passionate about Weezer. He advised me to give Pinkerton a try and to really listen to Rivers (lead singer) and how much he exposes himself, his thoughts, insecurities, etc. in that album. I did, and it quickly became my favorite. I've liked all their other albums since, but not as much as the first two. Tim and I came to the realization that their later albums "were what they were" in that they were what you would expect from a band that was progressing in different ways.

So Weezer is on top of my list, but I still have a few other bands that I've grown passionate about. Modest Mouse is the most underrated band in my opinion. Eagles of Death Metal are great if you're looking to just worship at the church of rock. The white stripes are great rock too. Smashing Pumpkins rock. So does Mellowdrone. I also took on listening to a lot of the great classic rock bands like Zepplin, The Who, Iggy Pop, Jimmy, etc.

Anyway, I also learned to appreciate smaller, local talent as well. Alene is my muse of sorts for finding cool music. Most of the time the stuff she finds is small-time, then get's bigger in a few months. She's got cool style. Tim has also been one I rely on for music that may not be quite popular yet, but on their way.

There is so much great music out there and it's exciting to think of what will come next. I love that I have so many genre's to listen to and I hope everyone will be open to listening to other things. One thing I remember fondly was an interview that hard-core rapper (now actor) Ice-T was doing. He said something about always being opened to other genre's of music. He said he even listened to Country (this was when I was deep into my hip-hop style) and it totally shocked me. I was almost upset thinking that the dude had sold out. He hadn't sold himself out and I WAS selling myself out by not being more open-minded.

Playlist I'm listening to right now? Country: George Strait and "I get carried away".

Monday, September 18, 2006

I'm quite proud of the FB team I coach

We're 3-0 and doing very well. We have a very good chance, or, should I say, WE SHOULD go un-defeated and win the whole conference.

I've been tinkering with the blog I set up for them and I've been able to include video highlights, stats, and standings. I'm going to add pictures soon as well.

Check it out when you have time:

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Blog Blog Blog.....

I've been so friggin' busy. Not much time to blog. It's getting a little slower for me though, so I'll have a good 10 minutes to collect my thoughts and write them down.

Most of the summer I've been REALLY busy with work and a construction project (re-model) of our floor that I supervised. It was hectic, but worth it as we have a VERY nice facility here now. We spent close to $400k on it.

Since that though, I've been busy through most of August and this month coaching my football team (the link is at the right of this blog). We're 2-0 right now, despite the fact that 12 of our kids decided to play up on the Sophomore team this year (which is 0-3, so I'm sure some may be regretting it). We have a good group of kids, I just get frustrated because they still have not learned the lesson of "practice/play to your potential" and I don't want it to hit them when they're graduating HS, that they could have worked harder.

Anyway, I've tried to get out whenever possible with the family. Alene and I did a trip to SF/Bay area. That was fun. We went camping to Joes Valley Reservoir.

I also bought a motorcycle (street bike) to help save on gas, but I've had problems getting it to pass safety inspection (it should pass today though), so I don't feel completely comfortable riding it. It's an older bike ('79 Honda), but it get's the job done. Eventually I want to get the seat re-covered and get a few mechanical things fixed on it, but it will do for now.

Alene is still working her tail off with school and work. She'll be done with her MBA by the end of November, so that's exciting. She basically has two classes left and is in the middle of one of them right now (then there is me, I'm still one class away from my......AS :-).)

Caiden started 1st grade a few weeks ago at a new school, which is closer to his grandmother's house. I had a scare with him at last weeks game as he was with me on the sidelines and a tackle was made out of bounds in which the players all ended up on top of him. He came out with a few scrapes, but was OK. He cried, but I think he was mostly just scared. I felt bad for him, but I wanted him to not over-react to small little scrapes, as scarey as it would have been to see 3 14/15 year old boys in FB pads coming right at him. I honestly don't think he even saw them coming.

Anyway, I'm trying my best to commit to being a good husband and father. I fail at it a lot, but I REALLY am trying to make it more important. There is no reason why it shouldn't be. I love my wife and I love my son dearly. They are all that I want in life, so I'm going to show it.

I've had some new additions to the family as well. 3 of my sisters had babies (Julie, Janna, and Amanda). They are all so adoreable and bring such a joy to the family. It's fun getting together with the family to just hang out and shoot the sh*t.

Oh yeah, I got released from my calling in church (Young Men's President). That was a relief as it was REALLY getting tough to do. I feel sorry for the guy they called as he is really on his own (his councilors aren't as available as they need to be, but it isn't necessiarly their fault).

Anyway, that is about it. I'm going to do my best to keep up blogging about everything I can.