08.15.13

Indecent Proposal…?

Posted in This & That... at 8:20 pm by Justin

So I was talking to a co-worker yesterday, and we got on the subject of pay – wages, raises, etc.  Nothing was said about the exact amount that either of us were making, but he was telling me about some of our new hires – that they’re making more than I am, with less education, less general electronics field experience, and just as little (if not more, now) experience in the field of semiconductors (what I’m working in now).  I’ve got to say, it really did piss me off a little. 

For one thing, I know that talking about your pay to your co-workers is taboo, and I can see why.  The one guy (not the one I was talking to), apparently, is going around announcing to the world what he’s making….and while it’s not significantly more than me, it still chaps my ass a bit.  What really chaps me though, is that our newest hire, is making more than him!  I guess I’m a little confused about how they determine what to offer you when they extend an employment offer…  Was I supposed to negotiate?  If so, I wasn’t aware – not to mention the fact that I was hard-up for a job and didn’t want to chance them telling me to piss off.  Admittedly, I was a bit put-off when they made their offer, but I figured because I was new to this industry, that I had to suck it up and start from wherever they determined.  If I could’ve negotiated for a higher wage and gotten away with it, I certainly would have…after all, I feel that I’m worth more than what they hired me for.  But like I said, I couldn’t afford to be picky, so I just went with it.  Now, I’m stuck with this huge pay cut compared to what I was making when I left the Navy, and to boot, guys coming on after me are making more….with less experience and education.

Another subject that came up was pay raises.  We just had ours last month, and while I got double the average company-wide raise rate, it ended up being significantly less than what my boss was making it out to be.  What really sucks, is he acts like he did me some huge favor or something…  Again, maybe I’m a little unrealistic here, or my perceptions were way off.  Either way, yesterday’s conversation got me spun up a bit…so I felt the need to vent.  But as always, I welcome your input, so feel free to leave comments.  Thanks for reading!

– J

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08.11.13

Do Me a Favor…

Posted in Photography at 12:18 pm by Justin

No, I’m not actually asking for a favor…well, maybe I am…kinda.  I’m looking for people to weigh-in on something – it’s a topic that I’ve had to deal with before, but it’s about a long-standing rule that I’ve followed when it comes to photography.

Let me back up a bit…

About 10yrs ago, I read a post on a photography message board (I think that’s where it was at) when searching for an answer to whether I should photograph a relative’s wedding or not.  The answer I came up with, was somewhat of an unwritten rule – maybe more of a guideline – that it’s never a good idea to photograph a family member’s wedding.  The reasoning behind that is that if things were to go horribly wrong, or you had an ‘off’ day, pictures didn’t come out, etc…..you weren’t turned into a pariah for fucking up the cherished memories of said beloved family member.  That answer led me to adopt this rule and decline shooting my step-sister’s wedding.  What ended up happening though, was the day I showed up for the wedding, I found out a few hours before the ceremony that the photographer had canceled and I was the only one there to shoot the wedding.  GREAT.  Needless to say, it was the first wedding I’d EVER shot and I only got a couple of decent shots.  My family didn’t shun me for it, but I was never happy with the results.

Since then, I’ve shot two more weddings – both of whom are pretty good friends, and the outcome was vastly more favorable.  At least one of these friends I consider family, so a question I could pose to you, dear reader, is did I break my rule by shooting these weddings?  I’ve been asked to shoot other weddings since, and I’ve declined – one of which was my Mom’s wedding a few years ago – and stuck to my guns.

Now, fast-forward to today.  My little sister is getting married next year, and I’ve been asked – by both my mom AND my sister – to shoot her wedding.
So far I haven’t flat-out said ‘No’, but I don’t really want to chance screwing something up and ending up with a whole bunch of photos that may or may not be able to be saved.  As of now, Mom has been trying to guilt me into doing it, and has even said that I have really hurt my sister’s feelings.

So now I pose the main question (and whole point) of this blog post to you…

Do I cave-in and shoot my sister’s wedding?  Or do I stick to the ‘rule’ and decline?

It’s not really a matter of my skill that’s in question here, but everyone has an off-day…or equipment malfunctions, etc.  My gear is getting up there in age (it’s over 10yrs old now!), and while it takes pretty good shots still, if I were to shoot a wedding again, I’d want something a little newer and more capable in lower-light situations (such as a church, chapel, or wherever the ceremony will be held…it’s sure to be dimly-lit though).

I welcome feedback from everyone, but my target audience here is primarily other photographers or those in the ‘industry’.  Thanks for reading, and please weigh-in.

– J

Oh – to see the photos of said weddings, go to http://www.facebook.com/JKBPhoto/ and look under the ‘Albums’ page for ‘Ramirez Wedding’, ‘Barrett Wedding’, and ‘Alsbury Wedding’.

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07.27.12

Masters of Photography….?

Posted in Photography at 11:46 am by Justin

I was practically born with a camera in my hand.  My earliest memory of owning a camera was when I was about 5yrs old (give or take a year or so), and that first camera was an old ‘120’ camera.  That camera took 120mm film, which is considered ‘medium format’ in old-school Photography lingo, but I remember having so much fun with that camera shooting whatever my tiny little heart desired.  Thinking back, I kinda wish I knew whatever happened to those photos – but I digress…and I’ll do that a lot in this post.  My point here is that I’ve had a camera in my hand from as early as I can remember, and finally in High School, my Grandpa gave me one of the coolest things ever…his old 35mm SLR camera.  It was an old Nikon EM body, and sure, it only had one lens (the standard 55mm that came with most cameras at the time), but I feel like that is where my skills started to develop.  I learned about ISO speed (film speed), shutter speed, and aperture – all components that are the core of taking a great photograph.  If you flub one, it could ruin the shot by either over- or under-exposing the frame.  I also learned about how aperture plays a part in depth-of-field (how clear the picture is past your focal point…like a face), and armed with this new knowledge, I ended up with a spot on the High School yearbook as a photographer my Sophomore year.

Fast-forward to today.  I’ve been through a few cameras since then (mostly SLR…and still have them tucked away), and gained quite a bit of knowledge since…I’m still not a rockstar like Ansel Adams or Helmut Newton by any means, but I’ve taken my fair share of great photos.  About 10-12yrs ago though, a technological revolution began that changed the industry forever; the digital camera.  Digital versions of cameras, from your basic point-and-shoot to full-on SLRs began replacing their older film counterparts.  This wasn’t so bad in the beginning; digital had a bit of catching-up to do as far as quality was concerned, and then about 10yrs ago digital was finally on-par with film…if not a wee bit better.  Other advantages started coming to light in favor of digital photography – instant review, no more costs wrapped-up in film, development, etc.

Now let’s back up a bit to the film age.  Somewhere in the late-80s to early-90s, point-and-shoot cameras started coming with what I like to call ‘idiot settings’.  These are the settings you set for different environments that you’re shooting in, like at night, sports photography, portraits, scenics, etc.  These nice little features enabled more versatility with your standard point-and-shoot camera.  The problem was that these settings started making their way into SLR cameras as well, essentially allowing you to ‘dumb down’ the camera and allow it to do ALL of the work…basically turning a nice SLR camera into a basic point-and-shoot camera.  Now let’s go forward again, to today.  The technological advancements in digital photograhpy since it’s inception a dozen years ago are amazing to say the least…but with all the ‘automated modes’ and higher ISO speeds (still considerd film speed, even though there is no film…an explanation can be made later) that newer cameras can achieve, it allows a user to take some amazing photographs….without hardly any thought going into the shot whatsoever.  Let me side-step this for a minute and come back to it in a bit.

Over the past year, I’ve had the privilege to shoot many concerts – most local acts, but some were big-name acts (Thanks again Paige Montgomery!).  One reason for diving into concert photography is because I feel that it’s the perfect medium to perfect one’s low-light photography skills…which is an area I’ve always felt that I’ve been lacking.  One thing I’ve realized is that my equipment (while still a great workhorse and takes great photos in daylight) is a bit inadequate when it comes to low-light conditions…especially EXTREMELY low-light.  Sure, I can (and have) use a flash, but a flash tends to wash out the cool stage lighting and highlight all the background stuff you don’t want in the photo, like cables, cabinets, gaffer’s tape, etc…So I bought a faster, higher-quality lens (because the ones I’ve been using so far have been the average ‘kit’ lenses, which are not that ‘fast’ when it comes to light….again, I’m getting into the technical aspects here) so I could try and shoot sans-flash.  It helped a bit, but even in SUPER low-light conditions, the photos aren’t very clear – they end up grainy, or even a bit blurry because of the settings I have to run in order to try and let enough light in.  So I made another realization.  I need a new camera…which brings be back to the ‘idiot-proof’ topic.  It really is a double-edged sword; on the one hand, you now have hardware that allows you to take photographs that weren’t capable with the hardware of even 5yrs ago.

I guess it’s all in perception, but I feel like while these technological advancements are great for the industry as a whole, I also feel like they’re stripping the skill from the art.  I guess it’s one of those things that’s good in the right hands, but hurts in the wrong hands.  With what’s available today, anyone can take some pretty cool and creative shots just with their smartphone thanks to the software settings available.  You couple that with just these new, entry-level DSLRs, and everyone thinks they’re a pro photographer all of a sudden.  Now you have instances where, instead of hiring an actual photographer (you know, someone that makes a living from it) for things like Senior Photos, Wedding Photos, etc., now people are having just a friend or relative with a cool $300 camera take the shots…and quite honestly, they’re turning out quite good.  This is all due to the settings and controls within the camera that I’m talking about — it allows the camera to do ALL the work, and all the user has to do is point and click.

Needless to say, it’s frustrating and maddening to me, and yet there’s so much more to this topic than what I’ve written.  Anyway, I’ll wrap it up for now, but feel free to weigh-in with comments and opinions.  Maybe I’m getting upset over nothing… *shrug*

– J

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07.25.12

Runaround…

Posted in This & That... at 2:16 am by Justin

I know, I know….it’s been FAR too long since I’ve made an update.  So much for blogging on a regular basis, right?  So much has happened the past couple years – some blog-worthy, some not – but I can/may/may not divulge some/most of that at a later date.  For now, just wanted to touch base and say that part of the reason my blog has been out of commission for so long was due to a server move….which ended up costing me a LOT of sleep trying to figure out WTF was wrong with my page.

It all started about a year and a half ago — I jumped ship from Yahoo! web hosting over to GoDaddy because, well…honestly, I was getting shaken-down every month by Yahoo!, while GoDaddy cut me a rippin’ deal on hosting.  At any rate, I made the foolish mistake of not backing up my blog database (though in my defense, I didn’t even know I HAD a database…just thought the files and folders would transfer over via ftp).  So I transfer my files to the new host, only to find that I have to reinstall the WordPress app…ok, no big deal.  Then the bombshell drops — I can’t restore my existing blog posts…D’OH!  This was when I learned (the hard way) that the actual data was contained in an SQL database, and that I should’ve backed it up before transferring hosts and canceling my Yahoo! account (my bad…).

I tried re-uploading from my offline client, but it only time-stamped the posts with the current date/time, not the original.  And so my blog sat for a year and a half, just taking up real estate on my shiny new server.  Sure, I guess I could’ve cut my losses and kept going from there, but my OCD wouldn’t stand for that….so I said, ‘Fuck it’.  At any rate, fast-forward to a couple of weeks ago…I kind of got the itch to blog again, specifically about the Five Finger Death Punch concert that pretty much rocked my cock off – and I may get to that review still, if I can remember details now – but still held off for a couple more weeks.  Well, the other night I started monkeying around and noticed something; the WP Admin panel allows me to manually change the ‘posted’ date of my blog posts!  So I went in search of my old blog posts again…and found them…buried…inside a metadata file from my old blog at the time of the server transfer. I had to manually copy/paste the text into brand new posts, but with the ability to modify the posted date/time stamp, wasn’t a huge deal.

Now comes the fun part, and the part that I really wanted to share; Now understand, I had my blogs setup with custom permalinks, so that (like now) if you look in the address bar of your browser, it gives it a nice, easy-to-understand url, rather than some gibberish chicken-scratch.  Well, with that feature enabled, I was getting 404 errors – basically page not found/doesn’t exist errors – and it was driving me up the wall.  This is also where the lack of sleep comes in…along with chasing my tail up one end of Google and down the other.  Couldn’t figure out why, tried manually editing the SQL database (thankfully, I remembered to back it up this time before I started dicking with it), restoring it, changing the file permissions of the folder on the server (which was REALLY fun when my whole blog disappeared from the browser, replaced with a 404 error), etc.  Nothing seemed to work, even tricks that worked for others.

So I finally as a last-ditch effort decide to check out my WP plug-ins after stumbling across a blurb in a google search result mentioning switching servers from Yahoo! and shit breaking (literally, only about 20min ago now).  I noticed something peculiar…I had a plug-in for permalinks that was tied to Yahoo!.  So I deactivate/uninstall all plug-ins relating to Yahoo!, log out and back into the admin panel, toggle my permalink settings between default and custom, and VOILA!  I’m back in business, my shiny custom permalinks work again, and all is right in the world…ok, maybe not…but at least with my blog.  So now maybe I’ll feel a bit more motivated and compelled to share my life again…or at least what little of one I have.  Until then, it’s WAY past my bedtime, and I have a lot of stuff to do tomorrow…so I will leave you with a hearty ‘Peace Out, Yo’ and bid the world goodnight….er, morning…?

– J

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11.29.10

Endless Bummer…

Posted in Relationships at 3:19 am by Justin

How does that saying go, “Always a Bridesmaid…”? I know I’m a guy and all, and you wouldn’t think the expression really fits…but I think in a lot of aspects it really does, despite the gender conflict of the statement. Bear with me for a bit while I put my ‘emo hat’ on…I promise, it doesn’t happen often.

 

Anyway, back to the opening statement; story of my life it seems…just hear me out and I’ll explain. More often than not in my dating history, it seems like I’ve been passed up for another guy. The story is usually the same — things going great, we’re into each other a lot, then BAM! Suddenly I’m left standing in the cold while she walks off with another guy. It feels sort of like being hit in the head with a baseball because nobody warned you it was coming straight at you. I can pretty much name every instance where this has happened to me, and I can never for the life of me figure out why it happens!

The reason I’m bringing this all up is it seems to have happened yet again…that’s right, I got passed up yet again for another guy…and quite frankly, I’m getting a little tired of it. I know that being a guy, I’m supposed to not really worry about any of this crap and take a c’est la vie attitude, but honestly…that’s not the case here at all. I’ve been single most of my adolescent and adult life; mostly because I’ve never been very skilled in the social arts, so meeting women has been my biggest hurdle. When I do meet them and date, it’s a rare thing indeed. I’ve tried internet dating, friends hooking me up, clubs and bars, etc., most being more unsuccessful than not. At any rate, as I’ve said — I’ve been single most of my life, and really I wouldn’t mind finding a great girl that I click with and really seeing what the other side is all about…the only problem is, every time I think that’s starting to happen, I have the proverbial rug pulled from under me out of nowhere. I’ve only really had two serious girlfriends in my life, and both lasted less than four months; the rest…mostly just a string of short ‘dating’ runs or ‘FWB’ scenarios with a sprinkling of one-night-stands.

Some of those girls were nice girls – crazy – but nice. Clingy – but nice. It seems like the girls I usually attract are the bat-shit crazy ones; you know, the stage-5 clingers and what not. Either them or ones that I really wouldn’t be attracted to, either physically or mentally/emotionally. The ones that I seem to be attracted to on the other hand, either don’t last long, or are for some reason or another unavailable – either emotionally or otherwise.

I really don’t know what to make of it all. This last girl really had an impact on me…I mean, we weren’t dating or anything, but we clicked so well and I could see myself dating her…part of me was hoping that it would eventually turn into that, but I wasn’t so completely naive to think that it would…just hope. Recent circumstances in her life were reasons we were just hanging out and why I wasn’t actively pursuing a relationship with her, even though I wanted to; I was being respectful of the situation though, and things were going great…or so I thought. Apparently a couple weeks ago, I stuck my foot in my mouth and didn’t realize I was chewing on shoe leather… When I talked to her earlier tonight, I asked her what killed things between us, and I’m sure I got about as straight an answer as I’ll ever get out of a woman being asked this question. This comment I guess, even though I’m absolutely sure was said in a joking manner, is what shot me in the foot and is at least partially responsible for her shutting me down and opening the lane for another guy. Note to self: be more mindful of your thoughts and words, they can easily be taken out of context or trigger the wrong reaction…

So now I’m left high and dry again, with empty promises of ‘Maybe later on down the road’ and ‘I’d like to pursue things with you at some point’, but in all honesty I’m not going to hold my breath. I don’t see that happening anytime soon because A) I don’t plan on putting my life on hold just for the hope of a ‘maybe’ that I might get a real shot with this girl, and B) Well, ‘A’ pretty much just covers it nicely… The pisser of it all is that I don’t think I’ve been this worked up over a girl since my first girlfriend broke up with me, which is weird…at least I was actually dating her…

I think the most frustrating thing about this whole situation is not that I wasn’t the one chosen, but the way it all went down. Two things I demand from anyone I interact with on a personal level – friends, family, lovers – are truth and respect; and those two things definitely weren’t adhered to in this situation. If she would’ve just given me a ‘heads-up’ and been up-front with me, sure – I still would’ve been disappointed – but it wouldn’t have hurt as much as it does, and in the end, I would still know that she respects and trusts me — and she would still completely have mine. As it stands, I understand why things happened the way they did, but even with that understanding, respect and trust points are still lost toward her, and it’ll take a while to regain what is lost.

While writing this blog, I realized something; I think the reason being blind-sided like this hurt so much is because it’s reminiscent of what happened with my first girlfriend, and even of the girl I dated for a bit after I put myself back together after that fiasco. In both those first two instances, shit went down behind my back and I was completely blind-sided when I found out the truth. While this latest fiasco isn’t quite the same, the feeling of betrayal and lack of trust and respect echo those past experiences a bit. Perhaps you’re wondering, will I forgive her? Probably — someday… After all, I’ve forgiven the others; but it will take a while. Maybe not as long as it took to forgive the first or even the second (which was a much shorter period than the first), but it will take a while for me to get over it and forgive.

As for my floundering love life, who knows what the future really holds… There may be a future with this girl someday after all, or maybe I’ll find another…who knows, really. Then again, people have been teasing me and calling me ‘gay’ for years, including my own family; maybe I should just switch teams and stop making liars out of them all….might even have better luck…

(I’m kidding, Mom — really…)

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11.24.10

Frisky Business…

Posted in Current Events at 3:06 am by Justin

With the onset of the holiday season and travel, one thing seems to be on everyone’s mind — the new ‘Enhanced’ Security screening procedures and body imaging scanners of the TSA. I’ll admit…I’m not a big fan just by the mere mention of what they entail (and I’ll get into that here in a minute), but with my plans actually set for the Christmas season and me flying to Vegas, I decided to do a little more digging. There are always two sides to every story (well…three, actually); but which side is right? One side says that these new procedures are a complete annihilation of a person’s 4th Amendment rights, while the other side says that it’s all in the name of ‘safer’ travel up in the friendly skies…but how ‘friendly’ are you really willing to let them get?

 

The one side cries ‘foul’ and touts that these new scanning and pat-down procedures are a blatant violation of our 4th Amendment rights, and I completely agree with that; however, apparently the two court rulings explained on this website pretty much blow that idea out of the water. It pretty much explains that due to the rulings in two previous court cases (U.S. vs Davis, 482 F.2d 893, 908, 9th Circuit Court, 1973; U.S. vs Pulido-Baquerizo, 800 F.2d 899, 901, 9th Circut Court (again), 1986), the TSA pretty much has a ‘blank check’ to screen as they please and we more or less have to just shut up and take it or leave it. Personally, I agree wholeheartedly with these criers, but apparently our legal system does not. I mean, I’m all for making sure that the plane is all safe ‘n secure, and that Mr. Durka-durka isn’t going to run the plane into the nearest skyscraper or pull a bomb out of his ass mid-flight, but we’re now to a point in society that fear of ‘what-ifs’ rules our decision-making process rather than level-headedness and common sense. One by one, our personal freedoms and liberties are being stripped away, all in the name of a ‘safer and more secure’ lifestyle.

I don’t blame the TSA agents for any of this, they’re just doing their jobs (no matter how uncaring they are). No, I blame society as a whole, and the people they elect into positions of authority. The problem of these new TSA regulations doesn’t stem from some court ruling that strips us of one of our most basic rights (ok, well maybe a little), but it runs from the problem itself through the appointed heads of the TSA and Homeland Security, then through the elected officials of our government, all the way back into the voters, who act upon a societal mentality that is so politically-correct and softened, that most are willing to trade free-thinking, common sense, confidence, and self-assurance for letting someone else making the decisions for them to give them a safer, more secure society where everyone shits sunshine and rainbows, we all love each other, and nobody gets offended.

What they don’t seem to realize is that it’s all an illusion…none of it does, has ever, or will ever exist. It all boils down to laziness and a ‘get something for nothing’ mentality; the root cause of our rights being taken away slowly, piece by piece, is the same reason that kids today are so screwed up and have no respect for others or themselves…but I digress a bit. What then happens is that because society has this lazy-ass mentality, we get politicians that promise us the ‘sunshine and rainbow’ scenario, and we buy into it hook, line, and sinker. Once these people get into office, then they start passing laws and legislature that restricts this, or circumvents that, or hands control of this to them; and they all say it’s in the name of security, and they know what’s best for us….AND WE EAT IT UP! It’s sad, really…

WAKE UP, PEOPLE! How ’bout this — let’s go out, find people with actual common sense and basic human decency, and stick them in office; then they can start pulling the retarded-ass laws that make no sense, and make new ones that don’t put us all on lock-down and treat us like prisoners. While surfing the web doing research on these new scanners and procedures, I read some comments on other sites that were some good suggestions on REAL solutions to minimizing terrorist threats to air-travel…let’s get THEM into office!

I could go on forever about the various problems with society as a whole, but this has gone on long enough for now; I just wanted to voice my opinion on the new TSA regulations, especially since it’s been on everyone’s minds the past week or so. In short, I think the new regulations are invasive and complete bullshit, but until we wake the fuck up and put people in charge that actually know what the hell they’re doing, this madness is going to continue. Hell, I didn’t even get around to talking about the undetermined radiation levels of the scanners…TSA says it’s safe because the FDA says it’s safe (Yeah, RIGHT….like I’d trust those fuckers…), yet you can’t find any actual data on the radiation levels these machines are shooting right at you… Oh, and that reminds me; here’s a pic of what the ‘Porno Machines’ produce on the screen in the other room…

Lovely image, isn’t it? At any rate, like I said — I don’t agree with any of it, but nothing will change while the current clowns are allowed to run the circus. Pretty much the only thing I can do when I fly in a few weeks is to either get cooked like a hot dog in a microwave, or get intimate with Bubba-J, the TSA….guess I should start working on my one-liners to throw out during the pat-down. Oh well, maybe I can talk him into buying me a drink first…

I think I’ll take option 3….HA!

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08.26.10

Metal, and Mosh Pits, and Tinnitis…Oh MY!

Posted in Music at 4:25 am by Justin

I know, the modified ‘Wizard of Oz’ line bit is getting old, but hey…it works…lol. (For reference to this, see my Foursquare update for earlier tonight)  Anyway, tonight was a PHENOMENAL end to the Summer concert season.  I know Uproar Fest is next month, but like I said….that’s more or less the Fall in my eyes, so we’ll call this the end of summer.  I mean technically, it is for most people…at least those that are in school or teaching school (not at Devry).  Ok, back on-track…  So the concert was one giant metal orgy on the ears, sonically pulverizing one’s eardrums into oblivion, and worth EVERY second of it!  I swear, I won’t be able to hear for a month, but I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

 

We made it to the concert and in the doors just in time, right as Testament started their first song.  By the time I had gotten my beer and Brat from the concessions stand and made it down to our ‘seats’ (and by putting that in single quotes, I mean there were no seats), they were about half-way through the song.  So there I was, standing right at the edge of the GA section munchin’ on a brat and suckin’ down a beer, while everyone else is banging their head and throwing up the ‘horns’….I almost felt out of place at that moment…but it soon passed.  By the time they were into their 3rd or 4th song, I was done with the beer, so I started to really get into the festivites.  I have to say, Testament puts on a pretty good show — they split the crowd in half and got the first mosh pit started of the night, for their last couple of songs.  All in all….a great act that I’d go see again.

After they were done, the crews started setting up the next band — to my surprise, it was Megadeth!  I figured they would have been the headliner and gone last, but I guess I was wrong about that.  It was pointed out to me that the most likely explanation was that Megadeth and Slayer were probably trading off the headlining act on the tour, since they’re both pretty big names in the metal world.  From the second they took the stage and opened with ‘Holy Wars’, to the end of ‘Peace Sells’ I was pretty much constantly thrashing my head and singing along.  There wasn’t any mosh pit that I could see, but there was PLENTY of crowd-surfing going on during their set.  I’ve got to say, Megadeth was the only reason I bought the tickets in the first place, and I would have been completely satisfied if I had gone home after they played their set…but I am glad that I stayed and saw Slayer perform.

Experiencing a Slayer concert really is like nothing else you could imagine — and I DO mean EXPERIENCE.  Seriously, that arena floor was jam-packed with people, and not even 5 seconds into the intro of their first song, and a GIANT mosh pit started going in the middle of the arena floor.  People were so amped up and raging so hard that people nowhere near the pit were getting pushed around like a leaf caught in a rapid.  From star to finish, it was pretty much a constant onslaught of speed metal whipping the crowd into a frenzy not unlike sharks in chum-laden waters.  Like I said….it was an experience.

I think the thing that shocked me the most tonight though was how many women were at that concert….and hot ones too!  I’ve got to say, either I just haven’t been paying enough attention to just how many girls love speed and thrash metal, or they’re all a bunch of closet-metalheads and put up a front around other people about what kind of music they listen to.  It’s crazy, I’m tellin’ ya!  They weren’t just sitting there and lightly bobbing their heads, either….a lot of ‘em were bangin’ their heads with the best of ‘em, throwin’ the horns, and shouting the lyrics; hell, I think I even saw a few thrashing around in the pit!

All in all, it was a fantastic night and well worth the 7-month wait.  I definitely had a blast, and the (almost) painful level of tinnitis in my ears was well worth it….even if I won’t be able to hear correctly for almost a month….HA!

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08.25.10

It’s Been a While…

Posted in Getting to Know You... at 3:11 am by Justin

WOW!  Almost 3 months since I’ve posted anything on here…where does the time go???  Lots has happened in the past 3 months, so I guess I should start chronologically:

 

Finished up the Spring Semester back in mid-June, and headed out on vacation to Vegas and Cali.  I was able to squeeze an extra week of vacation in because I was allowed to take my class finals online, so I took them when I landed in Vegas.  My trip was great, and relaxing for the most part — I helped my uncle during that first week in Vegas with a couple of cabinet installs and I helped him lay his new flooring in his house.  The flooring that we laid was pretty cool; cheap/economical, yet looks great.  They’re these vinyl peel-n-stick planks that have a wood grain pattern on them that you get at Lowe’s.  I call it ‘Linoleum 2.0′….lol.  Anyway, when these things are laid-down and interlocked, they look and almost feel just like a real wood floor, but at a fraction of the cost.  Anyway, had a good time in Vegas, and I got to see Grams at least once, despite her not really wanting to ‘see’ me because of my hair and what not (long story).  I ended up getting a killer deal through Enterprise when I picked up the rental — rented the Malibu/G6 category of car, but since they were out, they bumped me up for free.  I ended up with a Dodge Journey for the duration of my travels.  For a little SUV, it wasn’t too bad; decent power, and as long as you manually shifted the autostick and hit the sweet spot, the shifting was smooth…otherwise, it was a slushbox.

Cali was a great time as well; got to visit with family and friends in San Diego, back up in Ventura, and even way up in Lemoore.  I gorged myself on In-N-Out pretty much the entire time I was in Cali, which was absolutely wonderful…I still say they need one here in Denver.  I swear though, I think I actually LOST weight eating all that In-N-Out….it’s weird.  Even though I didn’t get to see everyone that I wanted, I was able to hit up most of my closest friends out there, and had a great time.  Probably the highlight of the trip was when I stopped in Lemoore.  My best bud works at the flight simulators on the base and he hooked me up, so I got to fly around in an F-18 simulator for about 3hrs just flying around and blowing shit up….definitely an awesome time!  I also have a new-found respect for pilots…that shit ain’t easy!  I knew it was complex, but I really had no idea until I got to try it!

After my vacation, I started up a new semester of school — Transistors/Op-Amps, and Networking.  Pretty fun classes, and I definitely learned some shit….but I was playing catch-up almost the entire time in the electronics class.  Some of that stuff I hadn’t messed with in about 1oyrs, plus I was learning new stuff on top of that.  I took my finals for both classes tonight though, and I think I did pretty well.  The networking final was pretty easy, I ended up with a 90% on that.  The electronics final though, was pretty hairy.  Most of it was ok, I had my notes to help me through it…but the last problem pretty much made me want to hang myself….it was THAT TOUGH!  I think I was on the right track for figuring it out, but I ended up throwing in the towel on that question and just turned the final in.  It’ll be interesting to see how I did overall.  I start my new classes on Monday, Digital Circuits and UNIX Programming (WOO-HOO!).

Let’s talk about entertainment a bit…  Right before my vacation, I had one of the GREATEST concert experiences of my life — Iron Maiden came to town, and my seats were FREAKIN’ AWESOME!  I was about 8 rows back from the stage, and I was rockin’ out pretty much the entire time (actually put this long hair to proper use…LOL!).  Last week, I hit up two great concerts — Scorpions, which was an excellent time, and Rush.  The Scorpions concert was pretty awesome, but the seats were pretty far back, so it definitely could’ve been better…but at least I got to see them before they disband in a couple of years.  For as long as they’ve been around, they can still rock the house!  As for the Rush concert….there really are no words to truly describe how incredible that show was.  Red Rocks, Reserved 1, Row 13, dead-center….awesome seats for an EPIC show!  I’ve been on a Rush kick all week, it’s crazy!  Tomorrow Night (ok, I guess TECHNICALLY tonight) is the concert I’ve been looking forward to since it was rescheduled back in January.  It’s the Megadeth concert that I bought tickets to almost a year ago now.  They were supposed to play back in January with Slayer and Testament, but I guess one of the guys in Slayer needed back surgery…so the show was canceled and rescheduled for August.  So I’ve been waiting 8 long months for this show, and it’s finally here….this show is going to kick some SERIOUS ass, and I think will be the perfect cap on a summer concert season.  I still have Uproar Fest next month, but that’s more or less the fall, so I don’t really count it as ‘summer’…lol.

Movies — Haven’t been to a lot since June.  I saw the ‘Karate Kid’ remake twice.  It was pretty good; I saw it by myself before I went on vacation, then I dragged my uncle to it when I was in vegas…lol.  One thing I did notice though, is that the plot structure follows the original EXACTLY.  Sure, the location and characters are different, but the way the plot unfolds and the events that happen are on pretty much an exact parallel with the original ‘Karate Kid’ movie.  It was a good movie though.  I wanted to see ‘The Last Airbender’ when it came out, but too many people said that it blew.  Apparently M. Night Shamalamadingdong fucked it away, which pisses me off.  I actually watched the cartoon it’s based on, and loved it…I was hoping the movie would do it justice, but apparently not….*rolls eyes*  I did see ‘Salt’, which was a kick-ass flick.  Haven’t seen ‘Inception’ yet, but need to…and I’ve seen ‘Step Up 3′…which actually wasn’t bad.

On the Karate front, I’m still going strong there.  Since I started in May, I’m down 12lbs, and I was just ‘recertified’ for my Orange Belt on Monday Night.  Basically, since I started, they’ve had me not wear a belt, since I was an Orange when I was studying with this franchise 19yrs ago.  They’ve been catching me up and even teaching me new material, and I think I’m almost ready to test for my Purple belt.  But at any rate, for the past 2-1/2 months I’ve been not wearing a belt, and Monday Night they finally gave me an Orange.  My thoughts are that it’s in preparation for me to go test for Purple here soon, since I doubt I’d be able to just walk in there and test without an actual belt…lol.  Hopefully soon though, we’ve got a tournament coming up on October 9th, and I think it’d be awesome if I were able to do that tourney as a Purple.  Not really much else to report on that front…

I guess this’ll do for now, so I’ll wrap it up.  This really is a long-ass update…it could probably rival ‘War and Peace’ for length…HA!  So, signing off for now…

– J

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06.04.10

End of an Era…

Posted in Sports at 3:13 am by Justin

A couple days ago, the end of an era arrived as one of my childhood heroes rode off into the sunset.  Ken Griffey, Jr. had announced that he was retiring from Baseball after 22 seasons, most of which was with the Seattle Mariners.  Growing up in San Diego, I was more or less a padres fan, and I even idolized Steve Garvey in my younger years; but when Garvey retired, it left a hole…one that would eventually be filled by Griffey and the Mariners.  I never really stopped being a Padres fan, but with their constant suckfest of a losing streak every season, I kind of started rooting for the Mariners more and more — mostly because of Griffey — and the Padres sort of fell by the wayside in my heart.  When I hit my early teen years, I really started paying attention to Griffey’s swing mechanics and began emulating them.  While others idolized the likes of Gary Sheffield, Tony Gwynn, Jose Canseco, and the like, I proudly defended the position that Ken Griffey, Jr. was the best player in Baseball; this of course was after Bo Jackson was retired after his shattered hip and Deon Sanders started focusing more on football rather than doing both sports.  At any rate, I had always maintained that Griffey was THE Bad-ass of the MLB.  Even when he started falling behind in the Home Run race between him, Sosa, and Big Mac, I still rooted for him every step of the way.  I was a bit disappointed when he didn’t come out on-top for that, but in light of recent events, one could now probably conclude why…

 

That was another thing I was proud about — the article I read the other day mentioned that he never got caught up in the Steroid/HGH scandals like McGwire and Sosa did.  While I never really thought about it at the time, I can now be even more proud of my childhood hero; he was amazing without having to ‘juice-up’ to give himself an edge…he had the natural ability.  It’s a shame he ended up plagued with injury after injury, season after season, because if he could’ve stayed healthy there’s no doubt in my mind that he could’ve at least kept up with Bonds and gave him a run for his money.  I will admit that when he left Seattle for Cincinnati I didn’t follow him much after that point.  I think part if it was because I felt that he BELONGED in Seattle, and part of me probably felt he was selling out.  Also, I just couldn’t bring myself to root for the Reds after so many years of following Seattle…so I started rooting for the Padres again, blown-seasons and all.

All in all, I was sad to read that Griffey was retiring…and not at the end of the season, immediately.  It’s truly the end of an era for baseball, and he will be missed I think.  I do think he’s a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame, and I also think it would be cool if he was brought on as a hitting coach…preferably in Seattle… *shrug*  On that note, I’ll end with one final thought — So long, Junior; it’s been grand!

– J

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‘Cuz I’m Leeeaaaaaavviiiiin…On a Jetplane…

Posted in Sports at 2:39 am by Justin

Well….it’s official, my vacation starts June 15th and ends July 5th.  Destination: Las Vegas, then on to a tour of Cali…  That’s right folks, I pulled the trigger and booked my tickets online; now all I have to do is book the rental, but I can do that later down the road.  I haven’t gotten all the details hashed out yet, but so far the general idea is to spend the first week visiting in Vegas, then head out to Cali that following Monday, staying 4-5 days in each area — San Diego, Ventura, and Fresno…then back to Vegas for a few days for the 4th of July weekend, then fly home.  Where I stop first depends on a few factors, like who’s going to be available (family-wise) and when…but I was planning on San Diego first, then mosey up to Ventura, and then capping it off with a stop in Lemoore before heading back to Vegas.  So to all my peeps in Cali…get ready to tear it up! (OK, that was a bit cheesy…)

 

Anyway, I’ll post later when I have all the details hammered out on when I’ll be in each area.

– J

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