Thursday, June 24, 2010

I know it's been a while....

Annie and I have done so much in the past few months, it's overwhelming to think about sometimes. So while we try to blog it all, I thought that I would post something interesting that I read this morning.

Most of you know that in recent months I have decided to redirect my academia toward Chiropractic medicine. It has been an interest of mine for quite a few years and I just recently decided to pursue it more seriously. Earlier today I was reading an article posted on, a world news website. The article was titled "HIV Therapy Hope Through Viral Protein" and it detailed the studies that are being done by the United Kingdom's National Laboratory to better understand HIV and HIV treatments. One area that they have looked into is alternative medicine.

According to the article half of all patients studied use alternative medicine as a viable treatment. One of these areas that they have tested is chiropractic medicine. The article states, "Clinical trails done and monitored by the Rand Corporation and conducted at Life University, state that chiropractic care has great possibilities to boost immune function. Another study done by Patricia Brennan Ph.D., stated chiropractic mid back adjustments increased immune functions. Patients showed a 200% greater improvement than those who did not receive chiropractic adjustments."

What I think is most important about that statement is that chiropractic can not only benefit those with immune deficiencies. Chiropractic has produced those same results for people without HIV.

Another important thing to point out, is that those studies were conducted at LIfe UNiversity in Marietta, Georgia, the school that I will most likely be attending a year from now!

I know this post is a little dry, but if you made it this far, thanks! More interesting posts to come, so stay tuned!


Monday, January 25, 2010

Goodbye Conan

The removal of Conan O' Brien from the Tonight Show is probably not news to anyone that owns a TV and so this post is not about that. I don't care anymore about whether or not he was slighted or prematurely removed from the airwaves. He is gone, and instead of ranting about how much I hate NBC or Jeff Zucker, I want to write about my memories of his original show, "Late Night with Conan O' Brien".

My earliest memories of Conan, were in 1993. I was 10 years old and although I was never awake late enough to watch Late Night with David Letterman, I do remember watching his lead in, "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson". I remember when Carson retired and passed the show down to Leno, and I remember hearing the controversy when Letterman left to CBS. His leaving left an opening for a new host to take the helm. The show was passed on to a writer for Saturday Night Live, a relatively unknown man who had only been in front of the camera as an extra on SNL. I never saw Conan's first shows, but remember only hearing his name from the news.

I began watching his shows more regularly in 1996, when my bed time became more relaxed. To me this was some of the best of Conan's career. I remember vividly, seeing Amy Poehler appear in braces as Andy's little Sister, confessing her undying love for Conan. It was around this time that Carl "Oldie" Olsen started making appearances on the show and I remember watching the show in 1998 when he died.

Andy's Sister (1998)

Oldie Olsen tribute (1998)

But my love for Late Night became obvious to me on New Years Eve 1999. My family had rented a time share in Park City to celebrate the new year (and possibly to get out of the town in case Y2K really triggered the end of the world. That Friday night there were parties in the streets of downtown Park City. My family and I were joining the crowds in celebration and all I could think of was being home for Conan's opening monologue.

This is not from that night, but close.

For a very long time I had wanted to go to New York and be in his audience. I was always so jealous of the audience members. I wanted to be them, I wanted to scream Conan's name in the middle of his monologue or catch a tube of Preparation H from Preparation H Raymond. I told myself that if I could attend one of his tapings I could die happy. In 2006 I spent a few days in New York with my sister Shannon and good friend Sarah. We were unable to get tickets before hand so we had to try and get standby tickets. On our first attempt we waited at the very end of a huge line for over an hour before we were told that all of the stand by tickets had been given out. So for our second attempt we got there much earlier and waited much longer. we were right in the middle of the line and I had a reoccurring thought that they would run out of tickets right as we were approaching the front of the line. So I made a pact with Shannon and Sarah, "If all of us don't get tickets, then none of us get tickets". I didn't one of us to get a ticket and then the other two half to sit it out. We all wanted to go and it wouldn't have been fair. They agreed and as the line began to move closer and closer to the interns handing out tickets I realized that their stack was getting smaller and smaller. Finally, it was our turn for the tickets, I was first and I received a little blue piece of paper with instructions on where and when to meet for the stand by line. For a brief moment I could see it actually happening, I could picture myself in the seats, my stomach tight with anticipation. I was holding a ticket that would get me into the audience of Late Night with Conan O'Brien! But I heard a voice behind me saying something to Shannon, Sarah and everyone else behind me in the line "Sorry, that's all of the stand by tickets. Better luck tomorrow". My stomach sank and I remembered my pact, I had to give the ticket away. I looked at Shannon and Sarah, hoping that they had forgotten about our deal. They hadn't and I was faced with a moral dilemma, keep the ticket and lose the friends or keep the friends and lose the ticket. Friends come and go, but memories last forever, right? No. I couldn't do it, so I passed the moral dilemma on to the group standing behind me in the line and put the thoughts out of my head. We watched that night from our hotel room and tried not to let envy curdle our blood. At that time I made a promise to myself, that one day I would travel back to New York and finish what I started.

I never had a chance to go back after that week. I got married a few months later and moved to southern California. Now it seemed less likely than ever that I would make it back. But still the thought was always in the back of my mind. And it was the first thing I thought about when it was announced that Conan would be moving to LA to take over the tonight show. You'd think that I would jump for joy at the thought of Conan being brought to my doorstep, but I didn't. The promise that I made to myself was that I would go to New York City and see a taping of "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" not the Tonight Show. I didn't want that. But I did get over it eventually and it wasn't long before I started planning my trip to Universal Studios. It wasn't Late Night but it was better than nothing. To me it was like seeing Elvis, not young heart throb Elvis, but fat Vegas Elvis. I knew that he would have to dumb down his humor and lose his offensive sketches in order to appeal to a broader audience. He was still the king of late night, but he wasn't at his potential.

On August 31st of 2009 I visited Conan's web site and entered my name into a lottery that would either add to an already long list of Conan related disappointments or give me tickets to see a taping of "The Tonight Show". Fortunately for me it was the latter. I received the following email from on September 16th:

On October 8th, 2009, we went to Universal Studios and attended a taping of "The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien". It wasn't what I had originally been hoping for, but it was just as magical. We were sat about four rows back, but directly in above the cameras filming Conan during the monologue. This gave us an elevated an completely unobstructed view of Coco himself.

He was funny, courteous to the audience and to his staff members and performing at 100%. That day I was able to remove one item from the proverbial bucket list.

Watching Conan O'Brien has been one of my favorite and longest traditions and although I always knew he would leave someday in the future, I never anticipated that it would be so soon and under such unfortunate circumstances. I am hoping that he will be picked up by another network quickly and without any more trauma to him or his staff. He may have 30 more years left in him, but for me his best work was at Late Night. I decided to wrap up this posting with a list of some of my favorite sketches he featured during his stint at Late Night.

-In the Year 2000
-Actual Items
-Celebrity Secrets
-Conan O'Brien Hates My Homeland
-Desk Driving
-Triumph the Insult Comic Dog
-If They Mated
-The Walker, Texas Ranger Lever
-Preparation H Raymond
-Andy's Sister
-Old Timey Baseball
-Conan Sings a Lullaby
-Crooner Ghost
-The MB
-Dudez-A-Plenti (Conan's By Band)
-Conan's trip to Finland
-Pimpbot 5000
-Unknown Colleges' Team Mascots
-The More You Know with Max and Joel Godard
-Andy and Conan's Staring Contests
-The String Dance
-Vomiting Kermit
-"Keep cool, my babies!
-His Nerd Impression
-Awkward moments with Max Weinberg
-Ginger, NO!
-Conan saying, "This Show Will Not Air"
-The drop down screen with Arnold Schwarzenegger and George W. Bush

And my all time favorite:
-The "I'm-a Gonna Go to Hell When I Die" song!

"Cause it's so Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday..."

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I guess I just have one of those faces

Yesterday the cashier at a music store asked me, "has anyone ever told you that you look like the guitarist from Atreyu?" I haven't heard that one yet, but it got me thinking about the many times I have been in similar situations. So below I posted pictures of all of the famous people that I have had people I resemble (including the most recent picture of myself).

Me in November
Travis Miguel of Atreyu
John Mayer

Jordan Pundik of New Found Glory
Chikeze Eze from American Idol

Robert Pattinson (Edward)
Will Smith (Hey, I never said I agreed with these,
I'm just telling you what I've heard)
Joshua Jackson

Obviously I'm not trying to prove how amazingly good looking I am, in fact I think that only maybe on my best day I might look like these guys on their worst day. I do think it's funny to hear who people think I look like and it's probably going to lead to a huge identity crisis.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My Day in Boston

A few weeks ago we all decided to be impulsive and drive to Boston. None of us had been there and we were obviously in the mood to do something blatantly irresponsible. We left on Saturday night at 1:30am and arrived in Boston that morning around 6:00.

Our first stop was to the legendary Fenway Park, where the Boston Red Sox play. We got there just before 7am, so there wasn't much happening (except for them setting up for the Phish/Dave Matthews concert). We walked around the ball park took some pictures and left.

*Note: My spell check had a hard time with me spelling Red Sox with an X. It didn't believe me that that was how it was spelled. So I started wondering why it was spelled that way, and ended up reading an article about it. Here is a section that explains the origins of the alternate spelling. Read it if you want or skip it if you don't care.

"Many early baseball teams were named after their uniform colors. In the 19th century, there were clubs called the Red Stockings, Brown Stockings, and Blue Stockings. Newspapers like the Chicago Tribune often shortened these nicknames to "Sox." When Charlie Comiskey founded the American League's Chicago White Stockings in 1901, the Tribune wasted no time in dubbing them the White Sox. Boston's AL franchise seems not to have had an official name during its first few years. Reporters called them different names on different days, including the Americans (to distinguish them from Boston's National League team), the Bostons, the Plymouth Rocks, and the Beaneaters. In late 1907, the club's owner settled on Red Sox." -Daniel Engber
The architecture is what impressed me most about the city. Tall buildings stood next to historic landmarks, integrating the old city with modern growth.

Here are a few of my favorite buildings I saw while I was there, in the first few photos notice the relationship between old and new.






We drove to Boston Commons, an old park designed by Fredrick Law Olmstead,(the worlds first Landscape Architect) who designed a series of parks in Boston called "the emerald necklace" and also Central Park in NYC.

From there we took a tour of various historic sites often referred to as the "Freedom Trail". Our tour guide looked like Geaorge Washington, but he was dressed in a 18th century English Red Coat uniform.


Our tour included 12 of the 16 stops on the freedom trail.
Boston Common
Massachusetts State House
Park Street Church
Granary Burying Ground
King's Chapel
King's Chapel Burying Ground
Former site of the first public school, Boston Latin School
Old Corner Bookstore
Old South Meeting House
Old State House
Site of the Boston Massacre
Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market

It was a really nice tour and it was a great way to see a large part of Boston in a short period of time.

After the tour we drove to a little restaurant along Boston Harbor called the "No Name". It was in an out of the way section of the harbor, in what appeared to be an abandoned building. Truly a dive in every sense of the word, but we heard that they had good Lobster. And no trip to Boston would be complete unless you eat in entire Lobster!


I always find it a little awkward eating an animal while it is looking at me, but for a Lobster I would definitely make an exception. He was delicious!

After lunch we decided that we decided to see the Harvard Campus. And how do you pay homage to a school as prestigious as Harvard? By taking a nap on their lawn, thats how.


Their grass was very soft and made for a very comfortable nap. Thanks Harvard!

Our nap ended around 5:00 that evening, and we decided to drive back to Rochester so that we could get to bed at a decent hour and be rested for work the next day. It was an awesome day trip and if I had a bucket list, I could draw a line right through Boston.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Fire Kites

I am working on a post with the pictures of my recent trip to Boston, but I thought that in the mean time I would post a video that I think everyone should watch. It is a chalk animation drawn by an artist named Lucinda Schreiber and set to the song "Autumn Story" by Fire Kites. Enjoy!


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Road Trip Days 4 & 5

Nashville to Rochester

Monday morning, Annie and I left our hotel at around 7:30 am, it was the last leg of our cross country excursion and we had 11 hours to drive. Because we were only going to be in Nashville over night we didn't have very much time to explore the city like we wanted. Instead, we decided to drive past the Grand Ole Opry on the way out of town and save the rest of the city for another time.

After weaving in and out of small, maze like roads that tangle around the Opryland hotel,we finally saw a sign that said "Grand Ole Opry". The historic theater was nestled beneath several large trees, right next to a "Dave and Buster's" restaurant.
It was a little disheartening to see such a landmark being exploited, but by now I have come to expect it. If there are going to be tourists there, you should also expect a wax museum, a Hard Rock Cafe and a Ripley's believe it or Not. So we took our snapshots from the car and moved on.

Only a few hours down the road was the city of Louisville, KY (pronounced Loo-UH-vuhl). Not trying to postpone our arrival time in Buffalo, we decided to visit only one spot and then move on. The Kentucky Derby had only been 2 days earlier so we decided to stop by Churchill Downs and see what all of the fuss was about. The stadium is huge, much larger than any of our photographs could do justice. We pulled up to the front, next to the newly unveiled statue of Barbaro and grabbed our cameras. This time we actually got out of the car.
After taking our pictures we hopped back in the car, me in the drivers seat and began a nine hour drive to Buffalo, only stopping for gas and to grab some fast food in Cincinnati.

The drive was really beautiful, especially in northern Kentucky. Rolling hills trimmed with tall green trees and a handful of barns scattered randomly throughout. It was probably the best scenery we had seen all week and my 8 hour shift behind the steering wheel went much quicker than I had anticipated. In fact, I would have driven the entire 9 hours, but Annie insisted that she drove the last hour into Buffalo.

We arrived at Annie's sister's house around 8:30 that night. She made us a delicious dinner with Chiavetta's chicken and corn on the cob. After catching up for a couple hours, we went to bed.

I still had an hour to drive to Rochester so we planned on going out to breakfast the next morning and then parting ways. Me to Rochester and Annie back to California that night. For breakfast, Annie's sister Kari took us to a restaurant called "The Pancake House". I ordered something off of the menu called a Dutch baby, which I was told was like a German pancake. When it finally came out I didn't recognized what I ordered and it definitely didn't look like the German pancakes that I had at IHOP.
It was a large concave crater of egg and bread filled with butter, confectioner's sugar, lemon juice and fresh strawberries and covered in a thick strawberry syrup. There is no way that you could go wrong with a combination like that, it was awesome.

After breakfast, Annie emptied a few of her things from my car and I set out to Rochester. The drive was a little less than an hour to my apartment and it felt like half that. I unpacked all of the stuff from my car and only had a few minutes to rest before I had to get ready for work.

Annie and I had a lot of fun driving across the country together. We knew that another opportunity like this may never present itself, so we should jump on it and see as much of the country as we can. I'm really glad that we did. There is so much to see in this country that is constantly overlooked and it is waste of our time on this earth if we don't take every opportunity to see it.


Sunday, May 3, 2009

Road Trip Day 3

Little Rock to Nashville

Today was the third day of our road trip and we planned to a shorter drive so that we could spend more time visiting the spots we wanted to see. Memphis was only two hours from Little Rock, so we took our time leaving the hotel and arrived in Memphis around 2 o' clock in the after noon.

The first stop on our agenda was a visit to Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley. Neither Annie or myself were even a little bit tempted to spend the $30 per person to actually go inside, so we just stood at the gate with the other cheapskates and took pictures of Elvis' lawn.

And what visit to Graceland would be complete without the mandatory picture by the gate?
I know that there are some Elvis fans out there that are probably saving every penny so that they can make their pilgrimage to the final resting place of the King, so in that respect I feel like we did a slight injustice to the memory of Elvis Presley by not going inside. But $60 is a lot of money for a couple of people that simply don't care.

However, our next stop was something that Annie and I were more than willing to spend time and money on. We visited the Lorraine Motel where civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated.
In 1991, a few years after the Lorraine was foreclosed in, the motel was converted into the National Civil Rights Museum. The museum was very impressive and extremely thorough, giving a full account of the struggle to equality of the African American people over the past 150 years. There were recreations of the bus that Rosa Parks refused to sit in the back of, the prison cell that MLK Jr was kept in and story after story that expressed their hardships. Annie and I were glad to have gone and we highly recommend it to anyone traveling through Memphis. Outside of the museum they have maintained the original appearance of the motel from the day the shooting took place, adorned with a wreath on the balcony that has been there for over 40 years.


We ventured to a part of Memphis known as Beale Street,which evidently refers the name of the street that it is located on. It's basically a really big bar with a lot of drunk people walking around drinking beer out of giant buckets (not kidding). But after about 10 minutes of walking around in the rain, Annie and I noticed something really odd: everyone was wearing rain ponchos and galoshes. I am not exaggerating either, literally everyone was dressed this way. To prove that I am not exaggerating I took a picture. How many pairs of galoshes can you count?
Its like everyone planned it, but then purposefully forgot to tell us so that we would look stupid.

For dinner we decided to try this place in downtown Memphis called Rendezvous that came highly recommended by a television program. It boasted original, Memphis style barbecue served out of the same alley since 1948. Something else it boasted? Not being open on Sundays! Oh well, the sign made it look delicious though....

Instead of Rendezvous, we decided to go with our back up eatery called the Cozy Corner which was only a few miles away, which ended up being closed as well. So this time we decided to call #3 on our list instead of driving there. Turns out they are closed on Sundays too! But lucky for us, our 4th option was a delicious Memphis style rib joint run by a bunch of heathens that keep their restaurant open on Sunday. It was called Leonard's and has been open since the 1920's. The sign depicted a lovable cartoon pig named Mr. Brown who is dressed up in a top hat and coat and spinning a neon flashing cane (I guess that's what you are supposed to do when you go "to town").

We ate some very delicious pulled pork shoulder and smoked ribs. Just the kind of meal that we needed to tide us over for our 3 hour drive to Nashville in the pouring rain.

We arrived in Nashville a little after 9pm and after we settled into our hotel, we went back out. Annie was craving a hot fudge sundae so we found a little ice cream shop in downtown Nashville and ate our dessert while it rained out on the streets. Shortly after, we returned to our hotel and called it a night.

I really had fun today and I'm glad that we were able to slow it down a little bit and enjoy some of the great parts of the country.