Archive for the ‘Top 5’ Category
My brother turned 21 on Tuesday and today I finally got to hit the bars with him! Here’s a Friday 5 full of photos.
Top 5 Photos From My Brothers First Bar Nite
1. Happy hour at 2865 Brewhouse. His first legal beer was only $1.25!
2. Tallboys down by the river
Hanging out with my cousin Jimmy in town from Florida. I remember coming home from Florida on vacation wanting to see river
Had Paul grab a few tall beers, threw rocks in the Missouri.
Paul thought the geese were funny. I told him to try and kick one. His dumbass started chasing them and slipped on the wet grass. It was hilarious.
3. Improv Night
We took a break to head to a student improv night being hosted by my other brother at his high school. Here’s Paul with Charlie right when the show started.
4. This actually is his first rodeo
After the show we went and hit up the local Casino. I had Paul pose like the giant cowboy for obvious reasons.
5. Adding to the club
I have another male relative in his twenties to go out with! And I have another one coming soon!
The end is near! Today is the final look back at my break, once again in a convent #Friday5 post.
Top 5 Highlights From The Rest Of My Break
1. Modern Rock 13
I missed discussing the 13th edition of my yearly best of discs! Here are the track listings in case you were curious.
It was a good year for music and a great year for Modern Rock. Every year my distribution list gets longer, and this year it was a downright beast. Between ordering the tracks, burning the discs, printing and cutting the inserts
And stuffing the mailers
I spent probably a good week on sending out my pics this year. No complaints thought, it is truly a labor of love.
2. Club Senn Ugly Sweater Edition
My buddy over at Tales From The Fjord throws an X-mas party every year, but 2013 was something special. The theme was ugly sweaters, and it did not disappoint.
With Senn providing the logistics and Ford providing the crazy guests, it was definitely one to remember. Well done fellas.
3. Meg dominated the Oscar pool this year
Every year Meg and I have a friendly competition with my buddy Grellner on our Oscar pics. Grellner has traditionally dominated this event in the past, but not this year. Meg correctly picked 22 of the 24 categories, good for a 92% success rate. That kind of supremacy is impressive.
Granted, she had some help from me this year since I managed to find a copy of every nominated films online. But still, one hell of a performance. Well done Meg!
4. I picked up trash
I’ve been really enjoying Creve Coeur Park for the past four years, so much so that I’ve been wanting to give back to the place that I love. I found a great opportunity to help clean the park by volunteering at the Confluence Trash Bash. Meg, me and a coworker spent a couple of hours on a Saturday morning removing trash from the shoreline of the lake by our house. What I thought would be a fun way to give back was actually a pretty grueling job. Between the three of us we filled 3 trash bags full of mostly glass and plastic bottles. We even found an abandoned trashcan! It was a lot of work, but it was the best kind of work. We plan on making this an annual event in our house.
5. My baby brother turned 18
And finally, my youngest brother became a man. It’s hard to believe that my kid brother is 18 now. I was 17½ when he was born, so he is now older than I was on that day back in 1996. And if that isn’t making me feel old already, my brother Paul turns 21 in a little over a month. Damn these kids grow up fast.
It’s the fifth and final day of Kauai week! Here’s the rest of the fun stuff from the trip in another well timed Friday 5
Top 5 Bonus Bits From The Kauai Trip
1. I spent a nite in LA on the way to Kauai
Getting to Kauai is always a bit of an ordeal; it’s in the middle of the Pacific Ocean! We’ve found that planning fun little layovers really helps break up the long days of traveling. On the way to Kauai we spent the night in Los Angeles at a nice hotel near LAX. I had not been in LA in over ten years, so it was awesome to see a bit of the town again. Also interesting was some of the responses I got while in town. Apparently all the Dodgers fans were still pissed off about losing in the Playoffs in the previous month. Let’s just say my Cardinals gear did not go too well with the locals. Ha!
2. On the way back I spent a morning in Seattle
We had a fun West Coast bookend both ways! We booked a midnite flight out of Kauai so we could sleep the majority of the way across the big ocean. I was asleep sound asleep until we touched down on a rainy Friday morning in Seattle. A planned five hour layover gave us a couple of hours to run around town. Seattle has wonderful light rail system that starts at airport and ends downtown. I had never been to Seattle, so it was a great way to quickly see the sights. Although I definitely wasn’t ready for the weather transition from warm and sunny to cold and windy! But it was still awesome to be a tourist for a couple of hours. We went to Pikes Place Market, of course
And Meg got to visit the very first Starbucks!
It was a great little bonus before heading home.
3. The weather on Kauai was challenging
The first two trips we took to Kauai back in 2005 were mostly sunny and warm. That was some incredible luck, as Kauai is one of the rainiest places on earth. This time around we weren’t quite as lucky. We had at least three afternoons cut short by rain. It was much rainier than either trip from 2005. But more rain means more rainbows!
Even with the rain we managed to work around it. For example
4. We hiked to a waterfall on top of mountain
Our second full day on the island was a Saturday and the forecast called for rain most of the day. However, the local weatherman said there would be a brief window of dryness in the morning. We were originally planning a 6 hours hike up Waimea Canyon but had to change plans based on the weather. We found a shorter 3 hour hike around the same area and started out much earlier than planned. Our revised plan worked out well and we were rewarded with some astonishing views.
Highlighted by the waterfalls at the end of the trail
And we managed to make it off the mountain just in time. It was pouring by the time we returned to car and the rain continued to fall hard for the rest of the day. Careful planning and good timing served us well the entire trip, but none more so than on our beautiful hike.
5. Marriage Equality
During our trip the Hawaiian State Legislature voted to legalize same-sex marriage and the Governor signed the bill. How awesome is that?! As a big supporter of Marriage Equality it felt awesome to be present for such a momentous occasion. Proposing marriage in Kauai back in 2005 was one of the highlights of my life, and I’m thrilled to know that every person now has that right in Hawaii. And what a positive way to end Kauai Week; thanks for joining me!
Like everyone else on Facebook and Twitter, I read this article on HuffPo this week about Generation Y and their problems. And then I read the inevitable backlash from people in this age group. Some of the responses were stupid or trite, and some were well put. Fellow blogger ErinEph had a particually good response that got me thinking.
My feelings are split on the GYPSY article. I think that the article doesn’t ring true for a many people in the demographic it defines. It should have instead labeled the intended audience as Generation Y Entitled Idiots And Shithead. (GYEIAS?) I lots of friends in this age demographic and this label doesn’t apply to any of them. However, just because I don’t see it firsthand doesn’t mean it does not exist.
My lovely wife sees the behavior discussed in the GYPSY article on a daily basis. As a program director at a local non-profit, she feels that this definition applies to a majority of the GYEIAS that she manages. As someone who has to directly manage anywhere from 50-100 GYEIAS on a daily basis, she says that an inflated sense of entitlement is probably the biggest challenge to managing young adults today.
The point that I want to discuss today was made in Erin’s blog. She says and I agree that the deck has been stacked against 18-34 year olds and it was done by 50-75 years olds. The old American Dream of an opportunity for education, career, property ownership, and retirement has gone away. As a 35 year old, I consider myself one of the very last people lucky enough to grab the American Dream before it was snatched away from everyone. I have the opportunity to be the Unicorn Belching Rainbow and it’s the subject of this week’s #Friday5.
Top 5 Opportunities I Was Given That Are No Longer Available
1. Free College Education Paid For By The State
When I graduated high school in 1996, I was offered several financial packages to attend college. I was a solid student, but not the first in my class by any means. Accordingly, I chose to attend Missouri State University because I was offered free tuition. And I mean completely FREE tuition. Living expenses were not covered, but a combination of summer jobs and the low costs of living in Springfield, Missouri made living expenses manageable. After five years of college I walked away with a diploma and zero debt in 2001. Graduating college debt free is extremely difficult these days to all but valedictorians, and quite expensive for most kids. My brother Paul just started his second year of college, and I can barely fathom how expensive it is nowadays.
2. Graduate School On Heavily Subsidized Government Loans
While I was pursuing my Masters Degree, I was able to pay tuition and my living expenses using affordable loans from the Federal Government. When I graduated from UMSL in 2006 with my Masters, I did so without any private loans, and a very reasonable rate on my subsidized loans. Accordingly, I’ve never had a problem with making my student loan payments in the seven years since I graduated. Based on the large number of loan repayment horror stories I’ve heard from friends and read online, my experience is becoming increasingly rare.
3. Paid Internships
By pursuing my Masters Degree a few year before the Great Recession hit in 2008, I was lucky enough to find not one but two(!) paid internships. During the summer of 2005 between my first and second year of Graduate School, I had a summer internship that paid me and counted as class credit. After graduation in 2006, I moved to Florida to take a yearlong internship that paid well and gave me extremely valuable experience in the career I was pursuing. Since 2008 paid internships pretty much no longer exist.
4. A Career With Generous Benefits
When the financial crisis hit five years ago in 2008, I was a in a job that was about to be downsized. And then I hit the jackpot by finding my current job. The first real day of my career started in January 2009, and it’s been smooth sailing ever since. Right when the Great Recession started I somehow found an ideal job with extremely generous benefits. Not only do I have a great medical insurance, I have an actual pension. As in a full retirement package that is 100% paid for by my employer. This is pretty rare for someone my age; I don’t know a single person under 40 who will be getting a pension at retirement.
5. Owning A Home
While owning a home isn’t all that uncommon among my peers, I was one of the lucky ones who received considerable incentives to own a home. On top of the low interested rate I received on my home loan, I was given $8,000 for free by the Federal Government when I purchased my home in 2009. Like everything else on this list, I’m fortunate to have got in during a narrow window that has since closed.
I feel like one of the last people to be given a realistic the chance to achieve the American Dream. Granted, I had to work hard to get where I am today, and I will have to continue to work hard for the next few decades. But so many of my peers will have to work just as hard for a fraction of the benefit. I am equal parts grateful for the chances I’ve been given, and troubled that so few others are being offered the same. I’m proof that America can be the land of opportunity. I just hope that I’m not one of the last.
Assuming that the Mayans were wrong about 2012, this year looks to have plenty of great things in store. For this week’s Friday 5 I thought it might be enjoyable to look ahead at what I am most eagerly awaiting in 2012.
Top 5 Consumable Media I Am Anticipating In 2012
1. Book – The Twelve
This one is a no-brainer. My favorite novel of 2010 was The Passage by Justin Cronin. His post-apocalypse-vampire-zombie thriller was the quickest 900+ pages I’ve read in years. Part of what was made the novel so exciting was knowing that it was the first in a planned trilogy. The second book in the trilogy, The Twelve, is scheduled to be released in summer 2012. The wait is almost over, so if you haven’t read The Passage yet, better get to it soon!
2. Film – Moonrise Kingdom
My most anticipated film of 2012 was a real toss-up. I almost went with The Dark Knight Rises, because this trailer makes it look pretty amazing.
But truth be told I think that Director Christopher Nolan might unwisely be trying to recapture the magic of the last Batman film, and at this point I honestly don’t think it can top The Dark Knight. Moonrise Kingdom, on the other hand, looks like a triumphant return to form from the director of my favorite film. Wes Anderson tried different genres with his last three films with varied results. Moonrise Kingdom looks like he’s sticking with what he knows – a coming of age story. I might be wrong, but I think at the end of 2012 this will be my favorite film of the year.
3. Television Series – Mad Men
This selection is completely conditional on one main factor – whether Breaking Bad returns for its fifth season in 2012. At this point I’m betting that it will not come back on the air till 2013, mostly because I don’t think star Bryan Cranston has enough time in his schedule to film it. So with that in mind, I went with the show that will definitely air in 2012. It’s been two years since I last spent some time at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, but I get the feeling that I will fall right back in with the gang in March.
4. Video Game – Grand Theft Auto V
The other no-brainer on this list is GTA V. It’s been four years since I’ve spent weeks at a time playing in the sandbox of Liberty City, and I’m ready to move back. This time the action shifts from New York to L.A., or Los Santos as they refer to it. From what I’ve seen from screenshots and the first trailer the game looks to be massive, perhaps the largest in the series. Whenever they finally commit to a release date, expect me to be missing in action for at least a month.
5. Album – Fiona Apple
This selection is the biggest crapshoot on the list. I would’ve never guessed at the beginning of last year that my favorite album of 2011 would be from My Morning Jacket. For 2012 I was tempted to go with the upcoming album that the reunited Ben Folds Five is currently recording, but I have no idea if the guys will be able to recapture the magic. So I decided to go with the safest bet, Fiona Apple. Her record company has confirmed that they will definitely release her new album in 2012. This would mark only her fourth album in fifteen years, and her first since 2005. But Fiona has shown that her music is worth the wait, so I’m hoping for big things from her.