London II Part 2

29 11 2011

Part One is here.  The concert went well, although there was literally just 5 people in attendance.  Oh well.

Tom and I stayed at Paxman’s for a bit, looking at music, horns, and just basking in the awesome.  Afterwards, we walked around the South Bank.  From the area we could see the Shard London Bridge, the new skyscraper that, when finished, will be the tallest building in Europe outside of Russia.  For size comparison, it will roughly be as tall as the Chrysler Building in New York City.

Shard in the background

Then, we decided to cross the River Thames.  It’s a big river, and where we crossed it looked to be the size of the Mississippi/Missouri convergence in St. Louis.  From the bridge, we could see various parts of London, including the London Eye, the huge Ferris wheel that is a tourist attraction despite its outrageous price of admission.

The Thames, under stereotypical gray English weather

If you were wondering, the Th in Thames is a solid T, not like the beginning of the word therapy.

Eye see you

We walked across the bridge and along the road next to it.  Tom, a law student, took me on a tour of a mostly un-touristy place:  Temple, the heart of law in London and the United Kingdom.  Within are the two of the Inns of Court, the professional associations of barristers.  Also within are the various offices of solicitors (in England, lawyers are divided into barristers and solicitors).  It’s a very cool place, and it is essentially very much like a University, with buildings surrounding courtyards, and gardens.  Also within Temple is the Temple Church, featured in the book/movie Da Vinci Code (apparently, I’ve never seen it).

Of course, travel issues rose again.  Only one entrance was open, apparently unusual according to Tom.  We spent 10 or so minutes going to every other entrance before leaving the way we came, which was not where we wanted to leave from.  We then walked along Strand, a street that runs from Trafalgar Square into The City (the central business district of London and its historical core area).  Along the way, we passed the Royal Courts of Justice, a phenomenal building that houses the second-highest court in England.

League of justice

We also passed an outdoor ice skating rink with many ice-skaters.  I haven’t been ice skating for a very long time and hope to go to the rink at Crown Center in KC this December.  There was a gorgeous tree by Covent Garden we passed by on our way back:

Happy Christmas, as they say here

By this time we had been walking for a very long time and had covered several miles of ground.  We were ready to catch the trains back.  Of course, the tube had a different idea for us.  We finally got to Covent Garden Station, which was closed due to overcrowding.  Right.  “Closed due to overcrowding” is ridiculously counterproductive.  Logic stands that, if there is a demand for something, you keep that thing available.  It would be as if I was eating and said, “I’m going to stop due to over-hunger.”  Absolute failure, English logistic people.  So, we had to walk another 10 minutes to Leicester Square.  Finally, we got on the tube toward King’s Cross.  We had another scare there, as it briefly showed that our train to Cambridge was delayed.  It turned out it wasn’t.  We got back to Cambridge at 5:00ish.  Tom walked towards his college and I tried to find my bike.

It took me a good 6 or 7 minutes to find it.  Finally I rode back to Homerton, glad that my transpertation woes were over.

 





London II Part One

28 11 2011

Saturday, my friend Tom, a fellow horn player who also goes to the University of Cambridge, and I went down to London for a bit of tourism/walking around/things.  We had been trying to get the entire horn section from the orchestra to go with us, but alas, it did not occur.  So Tom and I decided to go down by ourselves.

Little did we know, the day would be filled with transportation issues galore.  It was horrendous.  It started off badly; we should have known that it was going to be a bad day.

I learned the previous week that it was merely £14.50 with a Railcard for a round trip to London from Cambridge including tube transport (this time of year at least).  This is a good deal, as it included for us that day two train rides and 4 or so trips on the tube for just under $23.  I thought Tom had bought his ticket online–I showed up a good half hour before the train from Cambridge left to buy my ticket.  Tom, underestimating the very long line, arrived 15 minutes before the train left.  We got on less than 2 minutes before it left.  And we had to stand for 45 minutes because the train was completely full.

Train Station, Cambridge

After arriving at London King’s Cross a little after 11, we made our way to its tube station.  We attempted to figure out what tube line to take where, as it turned out that one of my assumptions was incorrect.  After much confusement (which isn’t a word, I know), we were unable to go anywhere as we were kicked out of the station with the rest of the passengers due to an ’emergency’.  Tom said that it had never happened to him before, and was just as clueless as I was.  It turns out that the tube station closed down due to overcrowding and a CCTV failure.

So, we had to walk to Euston tube station, a 10 minute walk away.  We did pass by the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel, though, which was worth a picture.  Absolutely huge building.

This is only a small part of it.

When we arrived at Euston, we found out that the Northern Line was closed for maintenance.  This was bad, as we intended to take it to Paxman’s, our main event for the day.  So, we had to scramble to find out what the heck we were doing; we decided on lunch first (Chipotle, naturally).  We eventually decided to take the Waterloo line to Oxford Circus and hop on the Central line over to Holborn.  Turns out that the stop that we should’ve gotten off at was Tottenham Court Road–but I didn’t know that and am not a London expert by any means.  This meant we had another 10 minutes of walking to get to Chipotle.  We arrived at 12:15 or so, completing a 1-hour + journey that would have taken us 20-25 minutes under normal circumstances.

We sat down and ate.  I decided on Chipotle because I wanted to introduce Tom to the restaurant.  He quite liked it, and was impressed.  It is impossible to dislike Chipotle.

After eating, we decided to go to Paxman’s.  We had to decide what to do, and we decided on going to Charing Cross station and getting on the Bakerloo line to Waterloo.  I asked Tom why ‘loo’ was stuck on the end of words in England.  He did not know.  It’s a little odd, being as ‘loo’ is slang for ‘toilet.’  Like saying, “I’m going to Watertoilet today!”  But I digress.

We walked to Paxman’s.  Now, Paxman’s was described to me as ‘Ollivander’s for horns.’  If you don’t know, Ollivander is a shopkeeper in Harry Potter who has a huge shop devoted to the sale of wands.  I was stoked by the idea of this, and as two horn players, Tom and I would enjoy this sort of thing.  Paxman’s is an unassuming shop set in the basement-like area of a building.  Outside is a sign that simply reads “Paxman.”

Outside

So I walk in, and go down the stairs, and then OH MY GOODNESS HEAVEN.

So much beauty...

Horns, mostly of the Paxman brand (The store is the mains store for the London horn manufacturer), but also with some German-made Alexander horns and old-school horns thrown in, line three of the walls (picture is only one of the three walls).  There are also horn mutes, music, and recordings of horn ensembles.  It’s quite a place.  A young dude in his late teens was there with his mom and horn teacher picking out a horn when we arrived.  Tom bought some music, and I looked at the mutes but ultimately did not buy one.

Tom. And more horns.

We then played a couple of the horns.  Tom, owner of a Paxman horn himself, wanted to play the Paxman 20, their flagship professional-level horn.  It was priced, I believe, in the £5000-6000 price range.  It played nicely, but I am already a happy owner of a good horn.  My horn is a German-made Hans-Hoyer.  It is a large horn with a great low range.  Furthermore, some of the best horn players in the business play the exact same model.  Consider this horn solo, played on the same instrument as mine.

However, I did play a triple horn for the first time at Paxman’s.  A triple horn has two triggers instead of one–the second trigger’s use is to play high notes extremely accurately and easily.  And boy, is it awesome.  But it will be a very long time before I own another horn.

Part two will come out soon.  Probably tomorrow.  For now, I have some eating to do before rehearsal and a concert.





LaMar’s Guide to Arguing

23 11 2011

The year is 2011.  Next year is 2012 (if either of those statements made you confused, either you need to get your time-machine lag worked out or you are actually reading this in 2012 or later).  One of next year’s happenings is the absolutely ridiculous theory that the world will end in December of 2012.  This is because the Mayan calendar ends.  This is flawed for so many reasons, but there is one very simple reason why this isn’t a big deal: wouldn’t you be more freaked out if the calendar didn’t stop, like, ever?  News flash:  scientists discover infinitely big stone that allows us to roast marshmallows on the sun!  No.

What will happen next year, barring an unfortunate and apparently early destruction of the world, is the U.S. presidential election.  This is sure to cause lots of groaning and unfortunately sincere hyperbolic statements of “Yes the world WILL end if _____ becomes President.  News flash:  200+ years of Presidents and we’re still here.  Probably not going to happen.

World might end of awesomeness if Spidey becomes President

So, in preparation for this, and in preparation for cordial encounters for the rest of your life, I present you:  LAMAR’S GUIDE TO ARGUING.  I can guarantee you now that you have failed one or more of these points in an argument.  I know I have.  Here we go!

1.  Know what you are talking about

This kinda goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: don’t argue about something in which you know less about it than Canadians know of warm weather.  You don’t have to be an expert–most people aren’t experts.  But at least know something.

2.  You probably aren’t 100% correct and neither is the other person(s)

This is really hard to swallow for most of us because we are naturally prideful.  If we come to a conclusion, we usually assume that EVERYTHING about it is correct and EVERYTHING about the oponent’s view is therefore incorrect.  For everything except the absolute simplest of issues, this isn’t the case.  There are elements from both sides that are usually useful or correct.

3.  Assumptions are bad

If I say the word ‘pitbull’ to you, you probably think of a large, angry, mean dog who likes to hug anything and everything very tightly with its teeth.  This is an association, an assumption, a stereotype.  These kind of assumptions are extremely counter-productive when it comes to arguments.  We immediately associate things with opposite parties, be they atheist or Christian, Jewish or Muslim, CEO or professor, or Republican or Democrat.  We assume things about them without knowing who they are before they even open their mouth.  In the case of the opposing party, one usually assumes, “Oh, they’re an X, which obviously means they are incorrect and are this type of person.”  More insidiously, we also assume other unrelated things about them that are not necessarily true and, in addition, are often irrelevant to a particular argument.  So if you’re arguing with the person who’s an X, you probably also assume that they have a particular view on an unrelated thing and take that into consideration in your argument.

Most likely, after telling you to think of a pitbull, you probably also thought of a spiked collar and a mean, gruff, possibly slobby/creepy male owner without me even telling you to.  Assumptions are often times hurtful and counter-productive.

Not a pitbull.

4.  Keep an open mind

We fail bigtime at this.  None of us really have an open mind.  We go into a debate or argument looking to prove the other wrong and/or to show that you are right.  This closed mindset is awful, particularly in politics:  politicians refuse to accept that the other party might have a good idea.  I think there are good ideas from both Republicans and Democrats; anyone who would be honest and keep an open mind would agree.

5.  Leave your emotions out of it

It’s perfectly fine to be passionate about something; chances are that’s why you are arguing in the first place. But leave the emotions aside for a moment and discuss the issue.  Hot heads are never good in an argument.  It results in feuds, fights, and other nasty things.  Don’t do it.  Try not to get offended by something the other person says:  if they are critical of your view, offer a rebuttal.  If it doesn’t make sense or adequately address their criticism, maybe you should reexamine your view and see if its correct in the first place.  You can, however, get offended if you experience my final point.

6.  DO NOT ATTACK THE PERSON

Address the issue at hand.  Logically.  Do not, under any circumstances, attack the person you are arguing with.  This happens all the time in political discussions; be aware of how many people call the opposite party (or individuals within) ‘stupid’ or ‘idiots.’  You do this, you look like a gigantic, self-centered, righteous jerk.  I am extremely critical of this because it is directly opposed to good discussion and argument.  Don’t assume that someone is ‘stupid’ for holding a certain belief or idea that’s not your own.  That view–that’s what is stupid.

Don't attack people in an argument.

Bad reasoning or a fail argument isn’t just relegated to message boards, people.  On facebook, I saw that a person had commented on another person’s link.  The link was to a news article about a politician’s statement.  This politician suggested that low-income children should be given jobs in place of expensive, unionized janitors.  This politician theorized that this would give low-income children an incentive to continue to go to school.  Interesting, for sure.  An argument that could be made by anyone.  This is what was said on facebook by a person who I know is on the other side of the political fence:

Oh wow. He’s a truly insightful [politician]. Child labor laws are the root cause of all of our problems in Amurrca. Right behind giving women the right to vote…

Though not exactly an argument, this statement would fail numbers 3,4, 5, and 6.  The sarcasm suggests the person was not open at all to the thought.  Assumptions were made about this candidate being inherently wrong. Emotions were likely a reason…how else would one explain women and voting?  Completely irrelevant; it seems this person had a reason to bring it up.  It can also be seen as a vague attack on the politician.  Even smart people, like the person who responded, fall victim to arguing pride.

Here’s a summarization in one sentence:  Calmly articulate your view to the issue at hand using only logic and reasoning, keeping an open mind to the discussion and being prepared to admit when you are incorrect or un-knowleadgable.

Cheers.





London.

20 11 2011

This week just hasn’t been a good combination for blogging.  I was very busy at the beginning of the week, and later in the week I was tired from doing stuff and had time to lounge around a bit, which I did.  Besides, I haven’t had very many exciting things happen–school as usual.  So I apologize if you were personally hurt by that.

However, yesterday I took my first trip to London.  After coming in to Heathrow Airport and getting on a bus to Cambridge at the end of September, I had not left this very small area near the center of Cambridge.  I got my first glimpse of the rest of England Saturday.

The reason why this was happening now was because I finally had my first horn lesson.  I had been desiring a horn teacher for a while but didn’t know anyone.  However, at the last orchestra concert I asked the conductor (who is a former horn player) if he could suggest a teacher for me.  He got back to me and suggested Simon Rayner, and gave me his number.  We set up the lesson for yesterday at 12:30.  I was looking forward to it, as I have had a grand total of two horn teachers in the 9 or so years I’ve played the horn–one for the last 8.

First, I needed to get there.  I biked over to the train station a couple minutes away and bought a ticket.  A week or two ago I bought a Railcard, which gives a discount of 1/3 off any train ticket.  Being as I will use the train a fair amount over the time I will be here, I bought one.  So, with my Railcard, my round-trip ticket price was 14.50 pounds.  Even better was that it also included any tube/underground travel for that day (the London subway).  So, at about $23, I got all the travel I needed.  The train to King’s Cross station in London (of Harry Potter fame) took an hour; there were 5 or so stops along the way.  Then, clear signs directed me to the tube.

Tube Stop

Classic-style tube sign

I took the tube from King’s Cross to Covent Garden Station; not too long of a trip.  10 minutes or so.  My lesson was at the Royal Opera House right outside the station.  I met Simon outside one of the doors and he took me through the back parts of it (the ‘bowels’ of the opera house as my dad would say) to a practice room somewhere.

Main entrance sign.

I’m thankful that, as a music student of Homerton, I receive 415 Pounds to use towards music lessons.  Otherwise I would not have made the trip; the price for an hour with Simon was 60 pounds.  Not a typo.  Sixty.  The dude’s making roughly $100 an hour just doing lessons.

There’s a reason for this.  The reason is that this guy is a horn deity. Simon is the principal hornist at the Royal Opera House.  Now, the Royal Opera House is essentially London’s main opera company.  I can’t stress just how awesome you must be to become principal player at such a high-quality establishment.  So, essentially, it was as if I took a pitching lesson from Zack Greinke or a tackling lesson from Tamba Hali (to use KC sports figures).  The guy could flat out play, and I found out this immediately when he played his first note to demonstrate something for me.  I’ve known a lot of good horn players, but Simon takes the cake easily.

The lesson itself was very good.  He pointed out some things that I didn’t even know I was doing, and was helpful, precise, and encouraging.  In explaining nervousness in regards to horn playing, he essentially read my mind, right down to how it felt and why it did, and I didn’t even bring it up.  It was uncanny.  Hopefully, I will be able to have a couple lessons per term with him–perhaps three a term.

Afterwards, I walked to one of the two Chipotle restaurants in the entirety of Europe–less than 10 minutes away.  I finished by walking around a bit, soaking in the city and atmosphere.  London, as you can imagine, is a very full and bustling city.  I don’t have an equivalent for it, as I have never been to New York or Chicago–but London is immense and a nexus of humanity of all types.  I basically walked to Trafalgar Square and back.  Here are some pics:

Stereotypical London taxi

National Gallery and centerpiece of Trafalgar Square

Fountain in the Square

Big Ben in the background. Most of 'tourist London' is in a small area.

Coming back from King’s Cross took only 45 minutes because Cambridge was the first stop.  Before I left, Harry Potter fans, I took a picture of a real life area between stations.  I did not get to see the Platform 9 3/4 exhibit, but I hope to sometime.

Platform 4 1/3 doesn't quite have the same ring.





Switchfoot in Cambridge: A Review

12 11 2011

Last night, I went to see my favorite band Switchfoot at The Junction here in Cambridge, which is literally a 6 or 7 minute walk from my doorm, which is very nice and convenient.

When I came over here, I was aware that I would miss out on the inaugural season of the Harriman-Jewell Series at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.  I was also aware that I would probably miss out on other concerts as well.  This is indeed the case, as I am notably missing a MercyMe/Sanctus Real concert that I would have loved to attend.  So, Switchfoot’s UK mini-tour and their stop in Cambridge was a welcome event, especially for me because I have not left an area the size of 3 or 4 square miles in 7 weeks.  I desperately want to do something; after all, I’m in ENGLAND for Pete’s sake.  I didn’t think I would come here and do absolutely 0 visiting in almost two whole months.  Ridiculous.  Anyway, rant over…I was happy that Switchfoot arrived to bring me out of my restlessness for a bit.

Now, the review part.

The Junction is a venue with three separate stages.  The one in which Switchfoot performed was a very small place; I reckoned there were a couple hundred people at the concert, but no more than that.  Due to demand, Switchfoot had upgraded their venue on a couple of stops in the UK, but Jon (the lead singer) told us during the concert that they wanted to have a more intimate thing in Cambridge.

The opening band, In Case of Fire, was a hard/alternative rock band trio from Northern Ireland.  The lead singer was very Irish-looking and had a discernible Irish accent, which was cool.  In addition, their drummer looked exactly like Joshua Jackson with a mustache.  They were a very talented group; the lead singer had a tremendous voice range and was quite good at guitar.  The drummer was more than proficient as well, and the bassist played some difficult bass riffs with ease.  Unfortunately, the songwriting was subpar, their set was monotonous, and the band suffered from an overly loud and muddy sound mix.  There are three types of opening bands:  accomplished bands who are playing for a significantly larger band, bands on the rise but not yet big enough to sell out a headlining tour, and filler bands.  In Case of Fire was the latter–live shows are vitally important to me.  If you don’t have a good live show, you aren’t a good band…and I will hold to that opinion.

(click on pictures to enlarge them)

In Case of Fire

Joshua Jackson’s Doppelganger?  Yep.

After In Case of Fire came on, there was an unfortunately lengthy set change before the main attraction began.

Nice Banner

Switchfoot rocking it out

This was my 4th time seeing Switchfoot.  Each time has been a treat, as each time I have experienced a different set list and songs that I probably won’t hear live from them ever again.  This time was no different.

Switchfoot opened with “Mess of Me” from their last album Hello Hurricane.  Immediately one could tell the difference in sound mixing:  way less guitar, more (and cleaner) vocals, scaled back drums.  They were still loud, but not unnecessarily loud.  Rock bands need to be loud.  Rock bands should not be unnecessarily loud.  Switchfoot rocked harder than In Case of Fire within the first couple minutes than the previous band did the entire show.

After Mess of Me, Switchfoot launched into one of my all-time favorites:  Stars.  Their next four songs were each from a different album–this made their first 5 songs a sort of democratic representation of Switchfoot’s ‘modern’ albums–2003’s A Beautiful Letdown, 2005’s Nothing is Sound, 2006’s Oh! Gravity, 2009’s Hello Hurricane, and 2011’s Vice Verses.

From there, the setlist goes blurry in my mind.  I could tell you if they played a song or not, but not when it was played or what followed.  Notably, Switchfoot covered Pink Floyd’s “Money,” as Pink Floyd is from Cambridge.  Live classic rock is one of the best things your ear can ever hear in your life.  Switchfoot nailed it.

—-Edit—-

For anyone looking for the setlist (or anyone interested), I can indeed remember which songs they played.  I can remember the order for the first five and the last three.  Other than that, places are irrelevant.

  • Mess of Me
  • Stars
  • Oh! Gravity
  • War Inside
  • This is Your Life
  • The Original
  • Money
  • Your Love Is a Song
  • Restless
  • Needle and Haystack Life
  • We Are One Tonight/Shadow Proves the Sunshine
  • Souvenirs
  • Dare You to Move
  • Dark Horses
  • Meant to Live
  • Where I Belong (encore)
  • The Sound (encore)

There are a couple things that make Switchfoot’s live show special.  First, each successive album they make is high quality.  Their last five albums are all excellent, and it wasn’t until a weird epiphany I had last night that I could distinguish my favorite Switchfoot album (Nothing is Sound).  Second, Switchfoot doesn’t just play their songs and be done with it.  Switchfoot uses audience participation, extended solos and/or choruses, additional elements like drums or novelty sounds, and splices of their songs to make for a compelling experience.  Thirdly, they are just really, really talented.  Some bands or musicians achieve fame with only moderate talent levels.  Not so with Switchfoot–each member is an expert at their instrument and they all gel together to form a very tight, musically interesting band.

All in all, I thought it was probably one of my favorite concerts I’ve been to.  Best Switchfoot concert ever?  I dunno…their Oh! Gravity tour was wonderful.  But it was extremely good.  If you don’t know who Switchfoot is, or haven’t heard their stuff since “Dare You to Move,” I would suggest them as a band to listen to.  Jon’s songwriting is a big part of this; each song is, well, deep.  He has a talent for songwriting that very, very few people in the popular music industry have.  All in all?  Great night.  Here’s some more photos:

Jon banging on a drum in “War Inside”

Yes, I was close…Jon in the crowd.  One of the best concert pictures I’ve taken.

“Jerome…you can play Skyrim later…”





The End of an Era

9 11 2011

I just finished the book Inheritance half an hour ago.

For those of you who don’t know, Inheritance is the fourth book in the Inheritance Cycle which began with Eragon and includes Eldest and Brisingr.  At another time, I might joke about how stupid the name ‘Brisingr’ is for a book (because it is) regardless of its importance in the story.

As I said before, I was not a part of the Harry Potter generation, as I had only read the existing books a few weeks before the 7th came out.  Though I participated in the excitement of the release of the 7th book, I did not experience all of the book releases.  The Inheritance Cycle–that was a different matter.

I read Eragon and Eldest in a week as a freshman in high school.  I gobbled up the story and could not wait for the next book to come out.  Unfortunately, this was to occur two and a half years later.  In the meantime, Paolini announced that the series, previously a trilogy, would expand to a four book cycle.  This made me both excited (because there would be more story) and disappointed (another long time to wait).  I read the 3rd book, Bfoiehwgi…no wait that’s not right…Brisingr, while in my first semester my senior year of high school.  Again, I read it extremely fast, and was again stunned by the events that transpired and wanted the final book IMMEDIATELY.  But this was not to happen.  Three years later, I sit in the United Kingdom, studying music at one of the best universities in the world for the entire school year.

Six years is a lot of difference when one only has 20 of them under the belt.  I am a fundamentally different person now than I was as a scraggly high school freshman.  I have become an adult…a frightening fact to some of you, I’m sure.  It is difficult to describe what how it feels to grow up with a story, and it is odd to describe how it feels now that its at an end.

I would like to thank Mr. Christopher Paolini for the impact that he has made on the millions of readers because of his stories.  He followed his heart and started Eragon when he was 15 years old.  Forgive me if I’m sounding mushy (I’ll make up for it in my next post I promise), but there is something unique that happens when you experience something like this while growing up.  For those of you who have experienced it, you know exactly what I’m talking about.  For those of you who don’t–you can still read the books, for they are darned good.  But it won’t be the same.

Congratulations, Chris. You earned it.





Tomorrow: Super Exciting Day

7 11 2011

I didn’t really fall in with the Harry Potter crowd back in the day.  I didn’t take part in each new release, reading it super quickly, and then fantasize about what would happen.  I didn’t ‘grow up’ with Harry Potter and his pals.  In a way I wish that would have happened to me; it is a unique experience that happens once in a rare blue moon.  I did eventually read the books, all 6 of them two weeks before the 7th’s premiere–one of the many legacies of my late grandmother, whose love for books was well known in our family.

I suppose a similar thing to what the Harry Potter series was to many kids my age was the Pendragon series.  I jumped in (again due to Grandma) in 2003, after four of the 10 books were finished.  From there, the author slowed down, and I essentially participated in the excitement of a new Pendragon book every year until my graduation in May 2009.

However, the closest thing to my ‘Harry Potter series’ was Eragon.  I read Eragon and Eldest very quickly.  I had to wait two-and-a-half excruciatingly long years for the third book, Brisingr, to be released.  That was in 2008.  It is 2011, and after three years of waiting, the final book COMES OUT TOMORROW!

Finally...

I just had to tell the world this.  It’s so exciting.  I am going to bike to the city and buy my copy in the morning.  The day is as good as gone.   It’ll be weird seeing it end…almost 6 years have passed since I read the first sentence of Eragon.  A lot has happened in 6 years.  Just another example of my childhood ending.

I know, I wrote a blog post yesterday too.  Forgive me.  But I’m going to make it up to you by giving you some cool links and stuff!

First, awesome Battlefield 3 Simulator:

Sometimes music videos are awesome.  Especially when they are accomplished on a limited financial budget, and only have creativity.  I suggest watching this fullscreen and in the highest possible definition, if your computer can cope.

Also, here’s some really cool and up to date news for you:

http://www.galacticempiretimes.com/2011/05/09/galaxy/outer-rim/obi-wan-kenobi-is-killed.html

And finally, if you ever wanted the Bible to be acted out by Lego figures, you know have your wish fulfilled:

http://www.thebricktestament.com/