What's Up

What's Up!September 17, 2012

THAT'S THE WAY I SCROLL


I've recently seen something that was simultaneously exciting and underwhelming. That's a rare feat indeed, but that was the sensation I experienced when I finally saw fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Yes, those Dead Sea Scrolls.

Unlike the Rosetta Stone or the Spice Girls in concert in person (both of which I've seen), where it is blatantly apparent at what you're looking at, the fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls are so unassuming that you would have no clue as to what they are unless you had a museum display telling you.

We discussed it a little on the Solid Cat podcast (Episode Five), but I felt I should elaborate on it a little more here.

The Dead Sea Scroll fragments were the centerpiece of a travelling exhibit, entitled "Ink and Blood." As described on the www.inkandblood.com website:


"Ink & Blood: Dead Sea Scrolls to Gutenberg" is the largest collection ever assembled chronicling Western Civilization as seen through one of its most prominent and carefully preserved "objets d'art" - the Hebrew, Latin and English Bible.

The collection includes authentic Dead Sea Scrolls, 5,000-year-old clay tablets, Hebrew Torahs, ancient Greek texts, Medieval Latin manuscripts, pages from Gutenberg's Bible, and rare English printed Bibles.

In addition to the more than one-hundred authentic artifacts, the exhibition includes a working replica of Gutenberg's printing press featuring live demonstrations of incunabular printing.



How cool is it that pages from a Gutenberg Bible aren't even the headliner on this act.

Now, if you're a complete rube, go to Wikipedia and read up on the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Gutenberg Bible. I'll wait until you're finished.

(We good? OK)

To actually see these artifacts is impressive. Seeing pages and a working model of the Gutenberg Bible is impressive because we all know what that advance meant, not only to the Bible, but to books, printing in general, and the world as a whole. The fact that you're reading this website... directly a result of Gutenberg.

The Dead Sea Scrolls are impressive because outside of clay and stone tablets, written documents from 2,000 years ago have long since vanished. To have writing samples from that time is practically a time capsule. Coupled with the fact that it contained, in its fragments, biblical texts that predate by 1,000 years what we believe to be the first record of a bible... simply amazing.

You might be asking, "Why is it so underwhelming then?" Let me show you the pictures.



If you came across these in a museum, and without any narrative or advance context, they just appear to be charred pieces of parchment. And I can't lie, when I hear that parts of the Dead Sea Scrolls on display, I knew better, but I still was expecting something like this.



Obviously, the parchment is fragmented because it's old. And due to exposure to the elements after being tucked in caves for over 2,000 years, that's why they blackened. It actually required ultraviolent light to read them.



Now, by no means should you interpret this to mean that you shouldn't see them, or this exhibit, if you have the chance. You should.

For example, in this exhibit you'll learn a little about Stephen Langton. Who's that? As the Archbishop of Canterbury, he was the first to put chapters in the Bible (what, you thought the Bible always had chapters?), and also wrote a little document known as the Magna Carta.

Ya, the Magna Freakin' Carta. Why isn't this guy getting more historical press and love? Seriously. I have a degree in History from a major university of international renown and this was the first time I've ever heard of the guy.

The Dead Sea Scroll fragments are cool for two major reasons.

1) They're old. Magnificently old. Outside of natural wonders, what's the oldest thing you've seen? Some things were built to last (Egyptian, Ancient Greek, Roman), but documents rarely hold up. For researchers and scholars to be able to puzzle piece over 100,000 fragments together into viable texts is truly awe-inspiring.

2) The Dead Sea Scrolls are considered by many to be the single most important archaeological find of the 20th century. They have enabled scholars to gather an immense amount of information about how the Bible was written and how it was transmitted from generation to generation.


Fun fact: currently, the Dead Sea Scrolls are being prepared for publication by Oxford University Press in what will eventually be a forty-eight volume series entitled "Discoveries in the Judaean Desert." These volumes will form the basis for all future translations and studies of the scrolls.

So in a nutshell, people much smarter than me (yes, there are few out there), have deemed this Scroll fragments important. I would be a fool not to be excited, encouraged, and impressed by seeing pieces of actual history with my own eyes... even if to my naked eyes, it looks like an art project my four-year old did that went awry.



url: http://whatsup.dmounited.com/x/2012-0917.html





What's Up!July 2, 2012

SOLID CAT IS COMING


Solid Cat is coming.

That says it all.

But what is Solid Cat, and how did we get here? That, my friends, is more of a tale. One that I will share with you now.

For a little over a year, me and the Mrs. have been brainstorming ideas for a new entertainment offering featuring me and/or us and/or a combination of us and some of my associates. Something that we can put together, have it be high quality, and enjoyed repeatedly.

No genres were off-limits. We looked at live theatre, television, radio, web show, podcast, etc. But the medium became less of an issue as we struggled to come up with a premise. What would this entertainment offering be about? How would we describe it to our audience?

As weeks turned into months, nothing made itself abundantly clear as the optimum choice. But that lack of direction ended up helping the process as we realized that this would not be the definitive end-all-be-all offering. If anything, it would be the first of many. So, we decided to get the ball rolling with a podcast.

Not a ground-shaking world-beater of a concept, but still, a viable medium, with a large potential audience, and at the very least (as this would be the first new production for us in years), getting the gears moving and work the rust out.

Podcasts are funny beasts. Some are hugely popular, garnering a large audience. Some are not popular at all, yet are continually churned out though no one listens. Podcasts can cover everything and nothing. There is no limit to the podcasts available. So, while it's possible to get lost in the podcasting tides, it's also possible to be found.

Solid Cat Podcasting works for us as our opening salvo for one major reason: we've done radio.

Granted, we don't talk about it much anymore, but that's because we stopped doing it on November 2004 (can you believe that was 8 years ago). But long time readers of this website know about the random radio show was broadcasted out of Orange County (first Tustin, then Anaheim) and was simulcasted on the internet. We were awesome (even if Val was very leery about going on the air).

The skills from that translate very easily to podcasting, so we won't sound like complete schleps. Well only sound like partial schleps, but that's actually a well-crafted comedy style for us.

That brought us back to the topic of "What is it about?" Well, what worked well for the random radio show was the actual banter between Val and me. But we weren't keen on just re-hashing the radio show for our podcast (though the working title for a while was "random podcast show").

We decided that it would have the same foundation, but be better and more developed. Kind of like that nerdy bespectacled girl who lived down the street, but went to college and came back as a smoking hot woman (who's still nerdy). It would still have a familiar feel to it, but you'd know it was something new.

Now we just needed a name. If anything, this may have proven to be the most difficult part. What do we call our show? What can we call our show? A lot of good names were already taken.

Finally, it hit Val like a bolt. Solid Cat.

Why Solid Cat? Well, youll have to listen to Episode Zero for the explanation (call this my first cheeky plug).

Solid Cat will premiere its first "for real" episode on July 7th (Episode Zero was more of a "Spring Training" show. It doesn't count in the standings), and we'll keep doing the show for as long as we can have fun doing it and its entertaining for you all. Our old radio show lasted 2 1/2 years. Let's see if we can beat that.

So steer your computers over to solidcatdojo.com and see what all the solid hubbub is about.




What's Up!May 15, 2012

BATZ N THE HOOD


I came across the uncaptioned photo on the internet. I decided to caption it with the first thing that came to mind. I think it's a winner.




Wow. Two original internet memes in the span of about 5 weeks. If this keeps up, I might have to make a special page for them.

Share as you see fit.



url: http://whatsup.dmounited.com/x/2012-0515.html





What's Up!April 25, 2012

HOW I SPEND MY WEEKENDS


If there is one thing that I, the Mrs., and the Danger Diva can agree on, in regards to wholesome family entertainment, it's the Tesla Coil. Seriously.

And now for a brief presentation of how we spend our weekends.



Zoe says it looks like a ball with two crayons sticking out of it.




For those that don't know, the Tesla Coil is the principle of wireless electricity, in action. The device was named after its creator, Nikola Tesla.




Wait for it...







RELEASE THE HOUNDS!




ONE MORE TIME! Ladies and gentlemen, give it up for science!



Obviously, the concept of wireless electricity proved to be impractical. And when I say "impractical," I mean that if we didn't have that Faraday cage, we would have been fried.

Isn't science cool?



url: http://whatsup.dmounited.com/x/2012-0425.html





What's Up!April 8, 2012

DON'T USUALLY DO THIS...


I enjoy internet memes like the average web surfer, and help spread some viral goodness, but I don't create them. I leave that to those who have much more time than I. However, that has changed.

With the recent mania around The Hunger Games, I'm totally stunned no one went this way with it. So, I decided I was going to flash my creative genius and be one to create this. Enjoy.





If you don't get it, all I'm going to say is... expand your horizons, will ya.

Share as you see fit.



url: http://whatsup.dmounited.com/x/2012-0408.html





What's Up!March 18, 2012

DIDN'T SEE THIS COMING
PART 2


What's Up will deal with a topic it has never dealt with before. A topic unknown to many people, but world famous. What's Up will deal with the legendary Cirque du Soleil. You did not misread that. And interestingly enough, as I was writing, it got so large, I had to break it up into two parts. Part 1 is titled, "The Spark," Part 2 is titled, "The Show." In case you missed Part 1, you might want to start there. If you're all caught up, keep reading. Presenting... Part 2.


The Show
Luckily, here in Los Angeles, Cirque du Soleil opened Iris, a resident show living at the Kodak Theatre (home of the Oscars) in Hollywood. So if I wanted to get into the Cirque, I'd always have a viable option in my backyard. However, also lucky for me, for years and years, Cirque has brought touring shows to the area and they usually perform under a big top. Yes, a legit circus tent. This year, Cirque had brought OVO under the Grand Chapiteau at their usual spot next to the Santa Monica Pier.

So now I had two choices to consider. My choice of show... and my choice of venue. I could choose between an homage to cinema (Iris) or a insect-inspired show with Brazilian musical cues (OVO), while also choosing between an actual theatre (Iris) or a circus tent (OVO).

As I felt that the bug show might be more light and fun, and I as I'd never seen a circus in a tent, OVO would be the show to greet me as a Cirque du Soleil virgin.


Conning the Wife
My wife had not read the book (see Part 1) nor subsequently, suddenly become enamored with the idea of seeing a Cirque show. She was like my former self in that regard. But I felt pretty strong about going and offered to not take her ('tis better to go alone, or with someone else, than a wife who comes begrudgedly). She was a good sport and said she would come and have "an open mind." To be fair, she's not anti-circus, but she's not pro-circus in general, and throw in some of the inherent creepiness some of the costumes and atmosphere that a Cirque show can feature, and you get her general state of mind.

Of course, it wasn't until after I bought the tickets did she ask, "Is this the one with the bugs?" She's not a fan of insects and hearing that's where we were going, her already small enthusiasm was quickly dwindling.

Val: "Why can't we go to Iris?"
Me: "We can. It'll be at the Kodak for 10 years."
Val: "But why do we have to go to the bug one?
Me: "Because A) it's in a tent, and B) it's a traveling show and will be leaving shortly for Australia."

Fact check, it's actually going to Portland, Oregon, first. Then to Australia.

I tried to explain that at worst, it'll be like It's Tough to Be a Bug at Disney California Adventure, except nothing will impale us in the back and may not have catchy tunes like "We're Pollinators!" (that's a solid reference that my Disney readers will catch). That assuaged some of her concern and we were good to go.

The Grand Chapiteau
Lest we forget that Cirque du Soleil is a Quebec-originated product, it's French first, then English. But sometimes, we only get French. Like "The Grand Chapiteau." Sounds fancy. Sounds elegant. Literally means "The Big Top" in English, but somehow, Big Top doesn't do it justice. It has to be Grand Chapiteau.



When I bought tickets online and I was able to select my seats, it seemed like it would be a sizable venue. It was not. The Grand Chapiteau is surprisingly cozy without feeling cramped, and seats around 2500 people. We were three rows from the last row... but 17 rows from the stage. When the tent was filled, it actually seemed larger.


OVO
On to the show itself. The basic premise is such. There is an enclave of bugs. A bug outsider with a large egg rolls in, and slightly disrupts life, but the outsider and his egg are quickly separated. While he's trying to get his egg back, he begins romance the ladybug (see right). There is no complex plot. Just a story to connect all the acts together. It works well.

The acts are everything you've heard of. Wild, dangerous, skilled, artful, and downright solid entertainment. I'm going to touch on a few highlights here.

  • The dragonfly is the first act an does a fanatic hand balancing routine. He was so effortless in his performance, towards the end, I kept saying to Val, "Ok, now he's just showing off."

  • Next come one of my favorite acts, the ants. They are a team of ladies that do foot juggling. Yes, juggling, with their feet. Truly impressive. Of course, as they were "ants" there were juggling large kiwi slices and baby corn cobs. The more impressive part was when three ants were on their backs spinning flat discs with one foot. Then they pushed the discs into the air, another three ants jumped onto the other original ants feet and into the right position to catch the discs are they came back down. Me, and the entire crowd, hooted and hollered at that.



  • Then, we got a pair of air silk performers, as butterflies, doing a very romantic in-flight routine. This was Val's favorite bit. It was a sensual, flowing performance, made more impressive given that the only rigging they were working with was a rope suspended from the top of the tent.

  • The firefly was out next working to the diabolos (you know, the hourglass looking thing that you juggle, toss and catch with a thread between two handles. Ya, I didn't know that was its name). It was impressive watching the guy launch the diabolo into the air like 100 feet and catch it with no effort. Then it was juggling two. Then three. But when it was time to try to incorporate the fourth diabolo, there was a small snafu.

    As he launched one into the air, it seemed like he knew that he didn't get it right, because he let it fall in front of him. The crowd gasped, but he reset to do it again. Let me take a second to tell you that we had a hot crowd in the house that day. As he was resetting to try it again, the crowd started to clap and cheer, in essence telling him, "Hey, you got this." And he did. He launched all four in the air, caught them and juggled them with that string, and the crowd went nuts. I know, as a performer, you hate to flub like that; however, I'm going to say he got a bigger reaction because he dropped it. While we were watching the show, everything looked so easy and smooth. But when he muffed it, it's like the crowd quickly and automatically came to the understanding that this was, in fact, quite difficult, and we were, in fact, being quite spoiled with the talent on display here. Sure, it wasn't perfect, but we all knew he'd nailed it with no issue 99 out of 100 times.

  • To round out the first act before intermission, we get scarabs on the trapeze. I like high flyers. Val can't enjoy them because she's always tense, worried for the performers. This isn't a normal trapeze act like in a normal circus. Here, all the flying is done person to person. It's hard to explain. There is a platform raised in the middle and two platforms on the sides. In essence, a person was thrown from the outer ledges to the platform in the middle, where the were CAUGHT, but two guys in the middle platform. And when I said caught, I mean the flyer lands standing on the hands of the guys catching her. Wild.



  • I've seen some tightwire performances, but this was the first slackwire act I've seen by the spider. It was obviously limp and swayed and flopped like a loosely held jump rope would be, but he had full control. But wait, there's more. Of course there is. Out comes a unicycle. But not just any unicycle. Nope. It's one that gets pedaled by hand. That's right, a guy balancing on his chest, on a unicycle, while he's pedaling with his hands, on a slackwire. The crowd all agreed... well played, sir. Well played.

  • The last act was my favorite, and it happened to be the showstopper. It was the crickets. They, along with a lady spider, where climbing on a wall. Imagine a rock-climbing wall you'd find in a gym, but flat. And they weren't just climbing straight up. They were going up, down, left, right, while positioned upright, sideways, and upside down. They looked like bugs walking on a wall. Their choreography was impressive in and of itself. But then, there were two crickets on top of the wall, they fell backwards on to the stage.... *GASP*.... *BOING*.... and then they were back on top of the wall. ?!?!? Apparently, during the brief transition schtick leading into the wall act, a little bit of misdirection was used to disguise the fact that the stage floor was removed to reveal trampolines, which obviously went unnoticed during the wall dance. Next thing you know, all the crickets are doing routines on the trampolines. Some doing long flip runs, others flipping off the wall on to other trampolines. Just plan awesome.



  • Now, these were just some of my favorite highlights. There were a few more acts there weren't mentioned (still excellent), and the ongoing bug romance was happily resolved by the show's end and the egg returned. Oh, but let's not neglect to mention that there was a legit band playing during the whole show. With vocalists. I figured each act would have musical accompaniment, but I expected it to be just a piped in soundtrack. I was pleasantly surprised that they had the live band.


    The Future
    When it reached the intermission, I turned to Val and said, "I'd do this again." Val seemed warm to idea. After the show, I reiterated, "I'd definitely do this again." She, as well, was willing to see another Cirque du Soleil show.

    So what shows would I see next? Well, TOTEM, a Native-American themed show, is in San Jose right now, but coming to San Diego in a few weeks (but now appears to be here while we'll be out of town). I have Iris right here in my backyard, and the Michael Jackson IMMORTAL World Tour is coming in August to Staples Center (it did play Anaheim a couple of months ago), though I'm leery of doing Cirque shows based on musical acts (the aforementioned MJ show, The Beatles LOVE, and Viva ELVIS).

    Of course, there are seven resident shows in Las Vegas, and Kooza is coming to Phoenix for a date. How many different Cirque shows are there? Would you believe there over 20. About 9 of them are resident shows like Iris, and the other 12 are touring shows like OVO.

    After all this, what's left for you, the What's Up reader? Well, there are two morals to this long, drawn-out story. 1) Go see a Cirque du Soleil show. It really is fantastic and highly entertaining. And 2) If you find yourself in a rut or a down spot, do something you wouldn't normally do. Branch out and explore and experience the world. It may not necessarily involve a circus, but your new adventure might just be thrilling.







    url: http://whatsup.dmounited.com/x/2012-0318.html





    What's Up!March 12, 2012

    DIDN'T SEE THIS COMING
    PART 1


    What's Up will deal with a topic it has never dealt with before. A topic unknown to many people, but world famous. What's Up will deal with the legendary Cirque du Soleil. You did not misread that. And interestingly enough, as I was writing, it got so large, I had to break it up into two parts. Part 1 is titled, "The Spark," Part 2 is titled, "The Show." So get cozy, you might find this to be a fascinating read. Presenting... Part 1.


    The Spark
    I was in the Santa Fe Springs Library, as me and the fam are known to do, with Zoe in the kids section, and Val perusing her trashy romance novels selection (why does Jude Deveraux sound like a non de plume... because it is. Her real name is Jude Gilliam), I was left to wander aimlessly through the stacks.

    As I had to keep an eye on Zoe (help minimize collateral damage), I was near a section that we'll call the self-help/inspiration-but-not-religious section. Usually, it's all trite schtick (typically written poorly and talking DOWN to you), but there have been the occasional gem here and there, and I did find one called, Cirque du Soleil: The Spark - Igniting the Creative Fire that Lives within Us All. On a whim, I pick it up and start reading. Typically, I can tell within the first two pages if should keep reading or put it back. Ten pages later, it was apparent that I was completely engrossed in this book. I always appreciate a well-told story, and I had one here. I checked it out.

    To be honest, it's best to describe the book as a semi-fictional story that disguises the fact that it's a self-help book. I honestly can't tell you if the story is a dramatization of a real series of events experienced by the co-author with Cirque du Soleil, or a completely bogus story from start to finish; to me, it didn't matter. The story is presented well and I was willing to go along for the ride (though some are upset that it may not have been real. Whatevs).

    Now here is where a little bit of disclosure has to come in. I was, how shall I put it... vehemently opposed to anything Cirque du Soleil related. Why? I don't know. Was I against fine theatrical entertainment? No. Maybe it was a creepiness factor. To the uninitiated, Cirque does seem dark and foreboding. Maybe it was because Cirque du Soleil was considered hip and edgy by many, and I typically rebel against those adjectives. Maybe it was just that I had an unrefined cultural palette. The fact I picked up this book in the first place sort of stunned my wife.

    After reading it, I find that my vitriol (ok, let's say active dismissiveness) was horribly misplaced. Cirque du Soleil was not dark and foreboding, it was uplifting and positive. It could be dark, but only if the show narrative needed to go there. It wasn't "hip" in the street vernacular sense, but it was edgy in the fact that they try to push boundaries in their shows (so while I'm anti-hip, and I am pro-pushing limits).

    Cirque du Soleil wasn't just a circus, it was a production that includes art, theatrics, music, showmanship, and an aesthetic that was outside normal. Those are all qualities I enjoy (and exhibit), and I regret that I hadn't given Cirque a fair shake. I was committed to seeing a Cirque show in person. We'll discuss that in detail in Part 2.

    But let me finish up about the book. Don't just think The Spark was just some Cirque propaganda piece. It contained some legit advice, albeit framed with Cirque du Soleil examples, that could really inspire and develop your creativity, your passion, your imagination... your Spark. See how it all comes together.

    It's a quick read at about 135 pages, but the highlights to be pulled from the book are great. And for me, being in a creative lull at the time, they were exceptionally educational. Tidbits like: never lose sight of the reason for your work; constraints on time, money, and resources are great motivators; and get out of my comfort zone as true creativity requires an "irritant" (some point of angst, really). Sure, items and lessons you may kind of know already, but the presentation here... better yet, the real-world examples presented really stick.

    I think that was another reason I wanted to see a Cirque show. I needed to get out of my "ordinary," and Cirque du Soleil was outside of my normal world, outside of my comfort zone. I needed to visually see something different, something fresh, something not in my normal field of vision, but was, in a sense, real. Cirque du Soleil isn't an abstract concept... it's a tangible entity, which makes it easier to relate to (though I couldn't do anything the skilled performers were doing in the show... again, teasing for Part 2).

    It's may also be no coincidence that after reading this book (as well as The Nerdist Way that I checked out of the library at the same time. It was quite the 1-2 punch), my little DMOunited Entertainment company is developing and releasing a new offering in the coming weeks.

    Amazing that in a very short timeframe, I went from being stuck in a horrible rut, to moving forward with some projects and dare I say, my life in general.

    And why? Because of FREAKIN' CIRQUE DU SOLEIL!!!

    Who knew?


    (to be continued)



    url: http://whatsup.dmounited.com/x/2012-0312.html





    What's Up!February 10, 2012

    OWN IT


    Editor's Note: I just started writing. No plan of action or topic. So if you like stream of consciousness journalism, you might be in for a treat.

    I understand sports and sports coverage.

    I don't understand celebrity gossip and its respective coverage.

    Ironically, they are both the same thing. Sadly, it's not a good thing.

    Sport is easy. It's a bunch of athletically active men (or women) running around a field/court, emotionally moving spectators to highs and lows generated either by regional pride or the sheer spirit of competition (or gambling... let's be honest).

    Celebrity gossip is hard. People, typically, but not limited to, the entertainment industry, are chronicled and profiled, sometimes with extensive documentation. For reasons (I'm guessing) that may include satisfying curiosity amongst interested individuals. Honestly, I don't know the appeal.

    What's makes them the same? In both cases, the public masses (us) are spending time, energy, and usually money to follow the lives of other people (them).

    Why is this not a good thing? Because the public masses (us) rarely spend any of that time, energy, or money to follow our own lives. It's all being redirected elsewhere (them).

    "Well, they are happy little escapes from our own lives," may be your quick retort. True, consuming various (usually copious) amounts of sports/celebrity gossip does make us feel good/better. Part of it is entertainment, and for that, I have no qualms. But another part, larger and growing rapidly, is obsession. Why? Are the individuals we obsess about and worship worthy of it? Are they that much better than us that we have pray at their altars and cathedrals? Think long and hard before you answer that.

    It is almost like a drug addiction. According to most, Jersey Shore has no redeeming qualities, but remains extremely popular. The same could be said for heroin. Drugs are worthless if no one is using them. For every worshipped idol, there must be a worshipper. Would the Kardashians matter if no one watched their show? Would the NBA matter if no one watched the games? (I think the lockout provided some chilling answers to the league on that one).

    For every two-dimensional Housewife on TV, there are hundreds of legitimate homemakers in the real world who don't get the appreciation or attention they rightfully deserve. Why is that? Because they live in a middle class home in Omaha and only have natural B-cups as opposed to fake DD's? Or is it the simple fact they aren't on TV?

    Are these athletes and celebrities who are the objects of our affection/obsession symbols of hope? Do they represent a goal we would all like to reach? To be fair, who wouldn't want to be famous for being famous and do nothing while getting paid major coin? While they may inspire us to seek a similar status, they can't be role models. And more important, we can't be so completely enamored with their lives, that we neglect our own.

    There are sports networks aplenty, and the number of outlets for celebrity gossip is astronomical (and this isn't even counting the interwebs). Do we need that much escape from our lives?

    If you do... maybe you don't need escape. Maybe you need a new life. If that's the case, make it happen. Whether you're on the You Show, or playing for Team You, the key is YOU are the star. Be the reason you no longer need an escape. In fact, maybe you can be the inspiration for someone else to be the star of their own life.

    Now, if you've gotten this far on this diatribe, you may ask, "What a minute. Don't you love sports? Why are you dissin' it?" It's true, I love all sports and have favorite teams in every league. But in retrospect, what has this allegiance gotten me?

    I've felt the highs of watching my favored teams win championships and I've felt the lows of watching said teams suffer embarassing losses. And some 37 years later, what else do I have? A string of quasi-fond memories in my past, but none that really defined me or shaped my upbringing. I can't even imagine how a celebrity watcher would examine their lifestyle in retrospect.

    You can sit there and say I'm just a husband and father who's going through a mid-life crisis because fame and fortune had eluded me. Possibly, by that doesn't mean fame and fortune isn't just down the road.

    You can sit there and say I'm just an unhappy troll spewing hate. That I know is not true, because I'm quite happy. I do have a loving wife and a spitfire of a daughter which alone makes me happy. But there is so much more good in my life, and I just can't be unhappy.

    You can sit there and say I'm bitter because I'm not rich. True, I'm not wealthy, but that's no one's fault but my own.

    And maybe that's the point. We live in a society where "it's not my fault." We eschew responsibilty while demanding entitlement. No one is owning up to their lives (both their wins and their losses). We focus on others (in the aforementioned fields of sports or celebrity gossip) because if we looked at ourselves, we might come to find we're not perfect. For some, that is unacceptable.

    If you genuinely like your life, fabulous. Good on you for liking who, where, and what your are. However, if you don't like your life... fix it. Change it. Improve it. But most importantly... FUCKING OWN IT!

    If you have to (or need to) look at and compare yourself to the Octomom so you can think, "Well shit, my life ain't that bad," that's a total cop-out. She made her decision and she's living with it. You have either not made your decision, or you're choosing not to deal with it. Because of course... it's not your fault.

    Nothing is insurmountable people. Before you come back with any excuse, read that last line again. For every, "Oh, my back hurts" or similar bullshit reason you give for not taking charge of your life, know that there is a guy with NO FUCKING LEGS trying to earn a spot of the South African Olympic Track & Field team (someone can check me on the country, but he's running with prosthetic legs).

    You're not as young as you used to be? Hell, Colonel Sanders didn't start lighting people's belts on fire with his Kentucky Fried Chicken until he was an old man.

    For every lame-ass excuse you can come up, there is someone out there in the world who beat it, surpassed it, and blew it out of the water in their own lives.

    Now, if you want to read your People Magazine from courtside seats at the Lakers game to feel better about yourself (or perhaps appear more important), then by all means, you have the right to do what you want. I'm not here to be anybody's killjoy. However...

    ...if you're tired of trying to escape your life, then get up and legitimately break free and start anew.

    It's your life... it's your day... it's your moment... OWN IT!



    url: http://whatsup.dmounited.com/x/2012-0210.html





    What's Up!November 21, 2011

    Ten years ago, the "News" section of WorldOfDemosthenes.com was reborn as What's Up.

    If you look at the very first edition, I talk about Harry Potter, Peyton Manning, Tiger Woods, debt, and The Hives. That's right, that was 10 years ago. Amazing how little changes in the world.

    I can only hope that my musings have been as entertaining to read as they have to write. If not, no worries. Move along.

    Friends, here to 10 years of our past... and to at least another 10 years of our future.




    What's Up!October 30, 2011

    IN THE SHOWER


    My mind is a whirlwind. And more often than not, it's a whirlwird of nonsense. Prime example: the other morning in the shower, while I'm lathering up, my mind drifts to how divisions would realign in the National Football League if Los Angeles would get a team.

    Seriously.

    I'm fighting for consciousness, staving off sleepiness and grogginess, and instead of mentally trying to get revved up for the day, I'm worried about division realignment. (for the record, if the Raiders, Rams or Chargers moved, there would be no change. If the Jaguars moved west, I think Kansas City gets shifted to the AFC South. If the Vikings move, I think St. Louis swaps up. If the Bills move, that's more complicated. it makes sense to shift Kansas City to the AFC North, and then Baltimore up to the AFC East, but would the NFL break up the Pittsburgh/Baltimore rivalry?)

    Thankfully, I didn't nick myself shaving while I graphing out that map in my head.

    On the drive to work, I figured I would share this with y'all since I haven't written an issue of What's Up in a while and this is going to be as good as anything else. But then I thought, maybe I'll just throw out everything else in my head just fill space here.


    Safety First
    Pulled this off of Adam Savage's Twitter feed. Sad but true, this is the world we live in...



    Dynamic Duo
    You know what might be the best thing is entertainment. If I did a podcast, or TV show, with my old friend, Matt Walker. His Twitter feed (@funnymatt) is ripe with slick social commentary. Really, Matt is like me... but with more initiative... but more offensive... but more ginger...


    Zoe is Go!
    A lot of people like to lament that I've haven't been keeping up with regular postings of Zoe on her website, zoeisgo.com. Well, little did I know that Zoe is Go would be an apt descriptor of my daughter. See, when Zoe was younger, she wasn't as mobile as she is now, so I could park her somewhere or strap her into a stroller, etc., and take photo after photo. Now, I have to run after her (seriously, she's a sprinter) so I can't take many photos, mainly because I can't be weighed down by my camera as I pursue her.

    I'll do what I can people, but you gotta realize I've spoiled you before, and now, I'll give you updates at a more realistic pacing.

    But here, let me throw you a bone...



    My New Favorite Thing
    So at Whole Foods, they have a delicious treat is the loose, bulk candy section. Chocolate Toffee Almonds. How good is it? It's "will go to Whole Foods just for it" good. I think I'm going to call it the best confection I've ever had. I think the key is that it's coated with powdered sugar to boot. Yum-freaking-O.

    I was going to take a photo of them, but they didn't survive the trip home.


    1.21 Gigawatts
    Looks like Target is now selling Flux Capacitors. Sweet. I guarantee you, those that bought these, were not born in this century.




    Remember New Coke
    Oh, Gowalla. What have you done? To loop everyone in, Gowalla is an app for your smart/mobile device allowing you to check into places that you're at or visiting. If you use Foursquare, it's the same basic principle (if not the same thing), but Gowalla was much prettier, more intuitive, elegant throughout the app and website, and just a better app overall. Well, it was.

    Gowalla recently released their latest version, V4.0. And it isn't a update... it's more along the lines of a new app. They took away all the cool little things that made the app worthwhile and replaced it with... nothing. Instead, they've reformatted what was left behind and are pitching it as a social media travel/city guide. And instead of "checking in," you tell a "story." For most of us, the story was, "Hey, I checked in here."

    I could go on and on, but I'll just sum it up like this. Before the new update, I used Gowalla regularly. After the update, I've only used it very sparingly (sometimes not at all for days at a time) and judging by the reviews in the iTunes Store, I'm not alone.


    Halloween Hijinks
    On the search for Halloween costumes, we came across this gems...
    It's DJ Lance Rock from Yo Gabba Gabba, and I totally would have gotten this, except it didn't come in my size. I was seriously bummed by this. Although, it turns out that my friend Shaun Gray wore this costume in some photos he put on Facebook. Imagine if we showed up at the same party dressed the same? How embarrassing.
    That wig looks nothing like a Michael Jackson coiffure. And why is the on-package model a white guy.... oh, right... never mind.
    Actual conversation with my wife...
    Me: "Say, if I were to wear this, would it make me irresistible to socially-inept women?"
    Val: "You already are... I've seen your ex-girlfriends."
    Me: "WOW!"
    Target wants us to call this outfit a "Treasure Hunter." The rest of the world call it a "pirate." Way to wuss out, Target.
    Unfortunately, I could not find this costume for Zoe or I would have gotten it for her.



    Bonus Goodies
    Let me leave you with these gems I found on the internet. Embrace your inner nerd...

    He looks a little like Borat, no?



    If this one stumps you, ask your local nerd




    url: http://whatsup.dmounited.com/x/2011-1030.html






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