Road Trip Preparation - Trying to cross off # 18

My roommate and suitemate Laura and Lizzie respectively are going to go on a trip with me. And not just any trip. We are doing a road trip across America. And not just across it, but zig-zagging across it. Below is our list of stops!!! We are currently taking suggestions on further stops, places to eat in these cities, and if you know where we can crash for free! We are leaving the 17th after graduation and our stops so far are as follows.

A: South Orange, NJ
B: Ohio State University (Columbus), OH
C: Chicago, IL
D: Kansas City, KS/MO
E: St. Louis, MO
F: Nashville, TN
G: Memphis, TN
H: New Orleans, LA
I: Dallas, TX
J: Oklahoma City, OK
K: Amarillo, TX
L: Roswell, NM
M: Denver, CO
N: Four Corners Monumnet, NM, UT, CO, AZ
O: Arizona State University (Mesa), AZ
P: Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
Q: Las Vegas, NV
R: Yosemite National Park, CA
S: Los Angeles, CA

108 Days of Practice - Photographer Profile

       I am taking Digital Photography this semester (don't take Kulnut if you can help it), and one of our assignments was to interview a practicing/professional digital photographer. I found a lady who lives right in South Orange (via Google) and set up a time for an interview in her home/studio. Her name was Lauren Rutten, and I instantly liked her. 
       She told me about her career and life and how things had changed and where they were now. She was always honest and open and enjoyed talking about every point in her life, even the downturns.  This honesty is reflected in her work as well. Although the types of work she gets may vary, she always makes sure her photographs showcase her subject in an honest and sincere way. Rutten considers her work very spiritual in a non-secular way, and also uses it as her form of meditation. 
             She called it 108 days of Practice. I have seen many photoblogs or ones that post a photo a day, but hers was different. This idea of 108 days of meditation relates back to the number 108 being a very spiritual number repeated often in the world around us. A list of many of the number's meanings can be found HERE.  Lauren is a firm believer that this everyday practice makes her actual career related work that much better, and also allows her to refocus her energy everyday. She says, "my 108 days of practice is a form of meditation. It allows me to appreciate the world around me everyday". She is currently in her second round of 108 days, and inspired me that day to take a closer or different look at the things around me. Her professional photography site can be found here at http://www.laurenruttenphoto.com Lesson Learned: It's not what you see it's how you see it.


#65 Sit Front Row at a Concert - Rush "Time Machine" Tour @MSG

        I have never seen so many middle aged, chubby, balding men doing air guitar in my life. Over 10,000 of them to be exact.  I was extremely fortunate enough to be invited to a Rush concert by my friend Hannah. Her aunt and uncle follow the band around on many of their tour dates and always sit front row. Although the tickets they got us were not front row, they were the third row with no second row in front of us. So it was like sitting second row which is like sitting front row. And it was awesome. Especially being at Madison Square Garden at such a large venue. (notice the lack of space between us and the front row rail. Yeah it counts)
          This concert made me never want to sit in a bad seat for the rest of my life. I might spoil myself from this day forward. It's something about being that close and everything is just so much more epic. I could see Geddy Lee smiling and shaking his goofy hair and it's little things like that that you might miss sitting further. Even just looking around the stadium a couple times, you can just see that the energy of the crowd got progressively higher the closer to stage you looked. So therefore being this close meant we were around a lot of exciting and entertaining people. We had the 40+ year old couple next to us who looked like they were stuck in the early 80s. We also had the drunk guys to our left. White collar looking guys, but the one with the parted hair (yes... parted) could have been Lee himself his "Slapping of the baaassss" was so realistic. There was one guy in front of us who was particularly our favorite. He knew every word and acted like he was dancing in his room by himself with his hairbrush as a microphone. He got so into it and since where we were sitting allowed him a lot of room he made sure to jump around and be super active. Check out him going nuts below.

Another sweet detail from the concert was the lighting set up. I have never seen anything like it. Not only did they have lights all round the stage, and from the ceiling, but also this amazing tarantula looking contraption above the stage. It had 7 arms covered in lights and each arm would lift and rotate and go every which way. It was amazing it watch all by itself.

Besides lighting the stage was also brought to life by fireworks, large cloud of vapor shot into the air, and the heavy use of props on stage. The vapor clouds actually came out of the tops of these themed props. The props all featured a steampunk design with many decorative gears and brass/copper features.

 (pictures courtesy of creativeloafing.com

Rush Time Machine Tour set list:



In the second set drummer Neil Peart did an awesome drum solo. Unreal to be more specific. My dad argues that he is the greatest living drummer in the world. Here's a bit of it that I recorded. A full one can be found on YouTube HERE.
At the end of the concert there was even a short movie featuring the movie "I Love You Man" which references the band throughout. I quickly caught on to how much the band loves poking fun at themselves. It was a great way to end the concert, and the short little movie itself was hilarious. Almost like a deleted scene from the movie.

To conclude, I have a much greater respect for Rush than I already had. Because like I stated in my previous blog post about Bombay Bicycle Club, you can tell a lot about a band by the way they perform live. I, along with the thousands of 40 year old men at MSG air guitared, jumped around, and sang along to Rush for 3 hours of awesome music. Lesson Learned: There are tons of old guys out there that can definitely rock way harder than I can. WAY HARDER

Rock on older dudes....Rock on

April 15/11 Cleveland, OH Quickens Loans Arena
April 17/11 Detroit, MI Palace of Auburn Hills
April 19/11 Hamilton, ON Copps Coliseum
April 20/11 Montreal, PQ Bell Centre
April 22/11 Baltimore, MD 1st Mariner Arena
May 4/11 Helsinki, Finland Hartwall Arena
May 6/11 Stockholm, Sweden Globe
May 8/11 Malmo, Sweden Malmo Arena
May 12/11 Dublin, Ireland O2
May 14/11 Glasgow, Scotland SECC
May 16/11 Sheffield, UK Motorpoint Arena
May 19/11 Manchester, UK MEN Arena
May 21/11 Newcastle, UK Metro Radio Arena
May 22/11 Birmingham, UK LG Arena
May 25/11 London, UK O2
May 27/11 Rotterdam, Holland Ahoy Arena
May 29/11 Frankfurt, Germany Festhalle


Bombay Bicycle Club - concert

This is a post long overdue, but since it was an awesome time I think it is worth writing about. After spring break Lizzie and I went to the cheapest concert I have ever been to ($23 I think). It was Bombay Bicycle Club a group from England and they were playing at the Mercury Lounge. It was also the smallest venue I have been to. A sign said there was only a capacity of like 275 people. Lizzie and I quickly positioned ourselves right in front to the left side of the stage.

The opening band was good as well and their singer was this very quaint chubby guy who could really hit some notes. Their name I can not remember, but you can refer to Lizzie's blog "Music Gigs and Festivals" for more the more detailed information that I can not give. The crowd was mixed and kinda old! Few guys in suits that looked like they came after work, couples, even tweens who were being chaperoned by mommy or daddy! Regardless of age, everyone there was quite enthusiastic when the feature band took the stage.

Bombay was a group that I was not familiar with until Lizzie had already bought the tickets and told me I was going with her. It was only then that I started you tubing their songs and getting into them. Think of it like research before a test (haha). Either way I always look forward to hearing bands live because i love to see how good they really are. I think concerts are the true test of credibility for a band. You find out if they live up to their own sound, and can inject an audience with energy. The concert was awesome. Not one of the most exciting ones I have been to but very fun and I felt the band delivered well to the audience. Afterward lizzie even got to meet the drummer and bassist.
Below are some of my favorite songs by them. Enjoy and remember to check out Lizzie's blog for another review.


Why the Dodgers are AWESOME and why YOU should think so too

So although it's April Fools Day, there will be no jokes here. I understand that while you are reading this you might already have an allegiance to a specific team, but I implore you to Think Blue and step into the magical little world of DodgerTown (the stadium has its own zip code 90090).

Opening Day at Dodger's Stadium was finished with glorious 2-1 victory over the Giants (march 31st). The World Series Champions are looking to defend their title, so it was nice to make them start their season 1 step behind us.  What I'm about to spit is straight facts and heavily researched data. It is a common statement that "The Dodgers are the greatest baseball team ever!" end statement. So now let's look at some reasons why.

The Dodgers Love
      That's right we love. We give back and love and share all our Dodger magic everywhere we go.Young pitcher Klayton Kershaw (23 years old)is donating $100 for each of his strikeouts during the 2011 season to Arise Africa, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping end poverty on the continent.   Now that is a quality player. I would rather my players spend their money helping the world than getting spray tans(shout out to A-rod). Oh and P.S. Thank you to the Giants for donating $900 to Arise Africa last night. KKKKKKKKK

We are True Blue
      Dodgers are a franchise seeped in tradition. When it comes to being an O.G. Dodgers are a team that should come to mind. We have one of the oldest stadiums in the the league (behind Fenway Park in Boston and Wrigley Field in Chicago,) and is the largest ballpark by seating capacity.  Our uniforms have also stayed consistent for over 70 years. We also still have an actual organ player in the stadium Nancy Bea Hefley, who has been with the team for over 20 years. None of that recorded crap here. Last but not least Vin Scully. The talk of our town. The voice of our team. He has been calling Dodger games for over 60 years. Long story: Tradition runs deep throughout the franchise.

 Best Fans in the League
       Lets talk about fan base. We rock at getting people to come to our games. We set a franchise record in 2009 with over 3.8 million fans in attendance that season. That year we led the MLB in total attendance.  We have had 15 consecutive seasons of over 3 million fans a season (longest streak in the MLB). Dodgers were also the first team to reach 1 million fans in a season and we did it 3 times before another team even did it once. This relentless and loyal attitude comes from fans like Nettie Berkson.  A 95 year old lady who has been to more baseball games than double the number of years you've been alive! She has gone to every Dodgers Opening Day game since 1962 (that's 53 years). That is what you call love!

 Remember I speak from the heart not the stats sheet. I never said we were the most winning-est team in the league, the fact I am stating is that we are a team that is awesome, should be respected, and should be feared.  Lesson Learned: Think Blue!


Homemade Sushi

I have made homemade sushi in the past but only with the help of my mom. I wanted to make a spicy tuna, avocado, and cucumber roll. Looking back I would have loved if I had some sesame seeds in there too. I went to a local gourmet grocery store and bought my ingredients. Although seemingly very difficult, the hardest part is the rolling of the sushi.

You need:
-rice cooker
-sushi mat
-sharp knife

Sushi Ingredients:
1/2 lb of raw tuna
4-5 nori (dried seaweed) sheets
1 cucumber
1 avocado
Sriracha hot sauce

Ingredients for rice:
-3 cups japanese sushi rice (short grain rice not long grain)
-3 1/4 cups cold water
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt

For the rice, put rice and water in the rice cooker to cook while you prepare the vinegar mix and other ingredients. For the vinegar mix that goes over the rice after it is done cooking, combine vinegar, salt and sugar in a small bowl or cup. Stir until dissolved. While your rice is still cooking you can start to cut up the ingredients that will go into the roll. Slice tuna into thick strips wile cutting cucumber into thinner strips and avocado into slices.

After the rice is done drizzle the vinegar mixture over the rice while slowly mixing it in. Let the rice sit until it is cooler, preferably room temperature. Now you have to prepare your work space for rolling. I like to wrap my sushi mat in plastic wrap so that the rice does not stick to it and make a mess. (ewww.) Place nori sheet on wrapped sushi mat making sure the shiny side is face down and the lines (creases) in the sheet are running up and down. Have a small bowl of water set to the side to dampen hands to spread sushi rice. Work the sushi rice over the sheet until there is a thin layer being sure to go all the way to the edges. Place your ingredients in a line at one end of the rice. (you can maybe see it in this picture)

Rolling sushi is the hardest thing ever!!!! I really can not give you too many tips on it because I suck at it. But I will try and explain my horrible process. Where to start.....let's see...ok I just rolled it as tight as I could. No other explanation needed
Once rolled you need to slice the rolls. Wet your knife and cut it once down the center. Place the two halves side by side and then cut those halves into thirds for a total of 6 rolls. I had trouble with this because of my super dull knife    -______-   meh it sucked!

You get the idea. Well I have no pictures of my completed project, because I literally ate them all as I made them. The rolls never touched a plate because as soon as I would cut one I would eat it. Although it might seem expensive and tedious at first it will become less expensive the more you do it. The initial cost of some one time ingredients like nori and rice vinegar become minimal because next time you make it you will have these items left over from your first time. The tuna was only $7 and the rice and veggies wee fairly cheap as well. So, the only stuff you might have to restock up on next time you make sushi is rice, fish, veggies, and the nori. That would probably come out to be around $12 dollars. That is not bad and it makes about 4 rolls. Lesson learned: homemade sushi, although difficult at first, repays you by being easy on your budget. Arigato<3


The Butterfly Circus

Another short film review. The previous one I watched was dramatic and action packed. This one is feel good and insightful. "The Butterfly Circus" was written by Joshua and Rebekah Weigel, a couple dedicated to the creation of meaningful and inspirational films.  It was shot in only 12 days and focused on the struggles of a limbless man named Will. Who is played by Nick Vujicici, who is not an actor, but travels the world as an inspirational speaker for his non profit organization "Life Without Limbs". Will is befriended by the Butterfly Circus ring leader, played by Eduardo Verastegui. Verastegui's previous work includes "Chasing Papi" and "Bella". I love this film because it is a simple concept, and I have also found I am fond of short films. The butterfly circus is only 20 min long.

Clint Eastwood Filmmaker Award - 2010 Carmel Art & Film Festival
Grand Prize - 2010 Doorpost Film Project
Best Short Film and Audience Favorite - 2010 Heartland Film Festival 
Best Short Film - 2010 Feel Good Film Festival
Best Short Film and Best Actor - 2010 Method Film Festival
Best of Show - 2011 Fargo Film Festival
Best Short Film and Audience Favorite - 2011 Sedona Int'l Film Festival

I highly suggest you watch this film. It is very feel good and inspirational and fully worth your time. I wanted to take my lesson from the movie... but then I would ruin it. So instead, Lesson Learned: "Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them.” - Albert Einstein


#9 - Go to DisneyWorld

Growing up in Los Angeles, DisneyLAND was a staple. I would go 3-4 times a year easily. But, Disneyworld was never of interest to my family, so trips east to Florida were never planned. Beyond the lack of interest from those around me in CA, I have always wanted to see many of the Disney parks around the world, especially Disneyworld.Therefor this trip has been on my bucketlist since day one. This is the first list item I get to cross off and share with you all this year!

I prepared by making a special top for the adventure featuring mickey ears on our school's mascot.
So this is the rides we went on and their comparison to the equivalent ride at Disneyland
Splash Mountain - no difference from DL
Space Mountain - 10x better than DL (seemed less outdated. faster?)
Mad Teacups - no difference from DL (still same sickness)
Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin - much more lame than DL (DL has different point levels for targets and easier guns to shoot)
Peter Pan's Flight - no difference from DL
It's A Small World - DL kicks DW's butt with this one (the It's a Small World skyline at DL is majestic, also the ride at DL features many favorite Disney characters added to the scenes in the ride)
Bug Thunder Mountain Railroad- no difference from DL
Pirates of the Caribbean - no difference from DL
Haunted Mansion - slighty better than DL (it had all of the detail of DL but a few extras that made it special)
Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress - Better than DL (at DL there is a rotating feature ride like this but it is called Innoventions. A completely different setup featuring the future of technology)

For a short trip Disneyland is better and is more bang for your buck. You can thoroughly see both Disneyland and California Adventure with a park hopper pass. These two parks together feature almost all of the ride that all 4 Disneyworld parks feature but in closer proximity and for less money.

For a longer (1 week) trip. Disneyworld is the way to go. You can spend your time exploring the entire world (all 4 parks). You will spend more money especially with a resort package and all of that food you have to eat. But it would make for a very memorable trip.
This concludes my review and comparison of the two parks. Everyone I was with at the time got especially sick of my constant comparison. So I am officially through being a Disney critic. But I will say..... Lesson Learned: I'm staying biased. DISNEYLAND ALL THE WAY!


Fairways and Greens

SPRING BREAK!!! Music to every college students ears. No school means more time for sunburns, warm weather, beaches, pools, and golfing 8 hours a day. Yes, golfing. The Seton Hall Women's Golf Team traveled down to Port St. Lucie, FL for a spring training trip (notice the lack of a 'break' in that phrase).  We played many country clubs and got to practice at PGA village many days. My favorite was Bear Lakes in West Palm Beach, FL. It was the prettiest course I have ever been on, and regardless of the number of golfballs I lost, it was a memorable experience and the weather was perfect. We also visited, Jonathan's Landing due to the gracious invitation by a prominent Seton Hall alumnus. It was much more community oriented and less... ummm... "prissy" and what I believe an easier course to play. At PGA village we played the Ryder course two days. Once for practice, and another for a relaxed match play competition versus Rutgers University. Loved the course both times. Fairways in Florida seem wider than those in New Jersey. Our team was supposed to play the Jupiter Country Club but ended up getting rained out. Since we were unable to play we instead went to the Justin Bieber movie, Never Say Never. I must say my opinion about him has completely changed and am now a huge fan, and currently following him on twitter (@justinbieber). Reasons? Why Justin? watch the movie and I guarantee you can NOT help but love him!

Ok back to golf. I am not the best on my team. I am honestly probably the worst. But I loved this trip because it let me bond with my teammates, get lots of practice in and have fun. My coach helped me out a lot and I made a lot of breakthroughs in my swing. I learned that I love to learn and love to get better, even if the outcome is relatively minor. My goals remain a big deal to me regardless of how small they seem to others. This was a spring break that was inspiring and relaxing.
Lesson Learned (From both Justin and Spring Training): No matter what your goals. never lose your dreams, never lose your hustle, and NEVER SAY NEVER!


Your Lucky Day

"Your Lucky Day" written and directed by Dan Brown (no not the guy that wrote the DaVinci Code). This Dan Brown is a new director and this is his first film. I watched this movie for the first time in late 2010, and after re-watching it today had the inspiration to share it with you all. It is a little over 15 minutes long, but is just as creative, dynamic, suspenseful, and exciting as a 2 hour box office thriller. I do not think this movie received enough credit, nor enough publicity. It premiered at the 2010 Seattle Film Festival. Somewhat predictable, it is still a very captivating 15 minutes of action.  You might even recognize the bad guy as Rider Strong orrr ever better known as Shawn from Boy Meets World.Besides Rider, I do not recognize any of the actors in the movie. But, back to Mr. Dan Brown, he is a Seattle-based film maker and did the opener for the television series House MD. He did some other stuff for the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, and also some short commercials for Nike and Microsoft. This is definitely a director to watch!
Lesson Learned: 2 hour movies are over-rated. 15 is the new 120 minutes