Saturday, June 28, 2008

Harry Potter, Euro 2008, Persepolis, and my friends from the Islamic Center

It’s been a little while since my last post so I decided to give a commentary on my last few weeks.

First of all I re-fell in love with the Harry Potter movies as my good roommates (for the last two weeks) Anthony, John, Brendon, and I held a Harry Potter marathon at the Mooney household, where we have been sleeping the past two weeks. There's just something about those movies. They keep you on the edge of your seat and by the end of the movie you feel so happy. Harry's goofy little smile cracks me up every time. Honestly, if you haven't noticed it, the kid has the goofiest smile within the Western Hemisphere.

Onward to Euro 2008. My most recent entry covered the remarkable story of the Turkish national team and their journey to the semi-finals of the Euro Cup. I have been a fan of international soccer for the past few years now and I have never seen anything like it. If you haven't already heard, their Cinderella run through the tournament was ended by a 3-2 loss to Germany. What you have to keep in mind though is that 9 Turkish players couldn't play due to suspensions, yellow cards, and injuries yet still almost pulled off another win. Incredible. My pick for Champion is Spain with a final score of 2-1.

Back to movies...I recently saw two great movies this week. First was "Everything's Illuminated", starring Elijah Wood. The film is a story of a young man from America traveling to Ukraine to learn about his family’s descendents. The movie is both hilarious and moving at the same time. Check it out, like the next time you rent a it. The next movies was a new French film called "Persepolis" that tells the story of an Iranian girl during the revolution years there. The whole story is in animation. It’s an extremely visually pleasing movie that gives the viewer a unique perspective into Iranian life and history as well as the struggle to keep in touch with your roots and history as the society continues to change and progress. After you watch "Everything’s Illuminated", rent "Persepolis" immediately after. Ah...ah...just get it done.

While visiting with friends at the Islamic Center of Riverside this past Friday night I finally got a lead on a Middle Eastern restaurant in Riverside that serves food the way they do in the Middle East, or so I was told by a Middle Easterner. The place is called "Mr. Kebab's" and supposedly its the real deal. So for all of those who have been searching for such as place, as I have been, there you go.

Friday, June 20, 2008


If any of you saw the Turkey/Croatia Euro Cup quaterfinal game today I don't really have to say anything more than the title of this post, if you hadn't here's what happened. 0-0 Extra time literally maybe a minute left until the game goes to penalty kicks. Turkey's goalie makes a huge mistake and Croatia scores on a header. All of Croatia rejoices and the announcers are calling the game over, literally seconds later Turkey scores.Turk's go crazy. I go crazy.Croatians all over the world are pulling their hair. On to penalty kicks. Turkey wins in penalty kicks! If you haven't jumped on the Turkey bandwagon already, you might as well. Their journey through this tournament had been incrediable. Earlier in the tournament they were down 2-0 to the Czceh Republic and scored 3 goals in the final 15 minutes of play to win.They had 3 games,3 comeback wins. These guys are in a league of their own when it comes to clutch.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Album Review on Coldplay's new album "Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends"

Here is my album review, track by track, of the new Coldplay album.

Track 1- Life in Technicolor- I know this first track is just instrumental, but this track got me pumped when I first heard it last night. I felt like it was setting the atmosphere, in a way, for the rest of the CD. If you have ever been to a concert you probably understand what I'm talking about. Usually before a band takes the stage they might have music or a beat of some sort that you can hear faintly in the background the band takes the stage and joins in with the music as it grows louder and louder until the band exsplosively or gracefully plunges into the first verse of the song. Long explanation I know, but I feel it was neccessary.

Track 2- Cemetaries of London- Already you can tell that Coldplay is using a type of different sound when this song begins. Love the "la la la la la yey" part and the clap noise in the background. Interesting lyrics, CD sounds good so far.

Track 3- Lost!-Wow, this is a different sound. Is that a hip hop beat I hear? That it is. The start of this song doesn't sound like a Coldplay song at all. Love the lyrics on this one though. I call a Jay-Z remix in the near future.

Track 4- 42- This whole song seems very experimental, which I feel is something you wouldn't have heard or seen in the previous albums. This song starts out slow and soft than half way through the whole tempo and sound of the song changes and sounds like something you would hear from Radiohead and than changes into something you might hear from Tegan and Sara, yeah that Tegan and Sara...this is definitly a Brian Eno produced album.

Track 5- Lovers in Japan- The intro just plain makes me happy. Has a U2 type sound but also a very unique sound to it as well. Like alot of songs on this cd the song has a piano, but it doesnt sound like your normal Coldplay piano. The song stops half way in and switches tempo and sound. The piano on this part is just so peaceful.

Track 6- Yes- I love the sound effects they have in the back ground.Chris's voice is sooo low. I mean this really doesn't sound like a Coldplay song. I love the Asian sounding strings in this one mixed with a southern rock sound. Once again this song stops half way through, changes sound and tempo...and your left with a great exit out of this song that sounds more like Yo La Tango then Coldplay, as my good friend John put it.

Track 7-Viva La Vida- If you didn't already know, this song is about Napolean. I love the lyrics as they are presented from what would be Napolean's perspective, looking back on his life. This song is awesome, end of story.

Track 8- Violet Hill- This song also seems to have some political, historical significance. Very rocky sounding.

Track 9- Strawberry Swing- This song has a very folkie sound to it. This might be an early canidate for my favorite song on the album. This is another one of those "make you wanna dance" songs.

Track 10- Death and All His Friends- This one reminds me of the Arcade Fire a little. Southern Rock sound to it once it gets goin, then regresses into atmospheric sounding stuff. Song ends with the same intro music we heard at the begining of the album, but this time we have vocals. Love the ending of this song, makes me want to listen to the album again, go to sleep, or go do something bold.

Track 11- Lost?- This is another version of track 6. Just as good if not better.

Overall Impression: I actually didn't really know what to expect from this album. We have all heard the "this is going to be Colplay's rockier cd" before as we did before with "X&Y" and before this album. After hearing the early releases I had hope that this was really going to be a different Coldplay. After listening through the album for the first time I actually was blown away how seriously the band took the idea of experimenting with new sounds and I though in doing so they walked away with an extremely good album. You hear some of the influences the band has been talking about have influenceing their new album the past year or so such as the Arcade Fire in this new album. I think this album will change the way people look at Coldplay and will strengthen the bands chances of being a "world renown band" for years to come. I warn you, this is not the Coldplay you are accustomed to, but give it a try and I believe at least over time you come to really enjoy this album.

Monday, June 16, 2008

...Napoleon in rags and the language that he used.

The new Coldplay album comes out at 12:01am Tuesday!
If Violet Hill and Viva la Vida are any indication of whats to come, the emotions of anticipation and excitement in which I wait for the album will be truly warrented ones.

Album review later this week.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Get in the Hole!

I have a confession to make. The past two days Brendan, John, and I have watched multiple hours of the PGA's US Open. Honestly, none of us were avid watchers of golf before this weekend but we were drawn in to the action(if you can call it that) in a hurry. On Saturday Tiger Woods was doing terrible, than he hits shots from the sidewalk, the side of a hill, and like a 60 ft putt to take the lead at the end of the day. On Sunday he starts off terrible again and than hits a shot from the ruff and another long put to face a playoff on Monday, it was crazy. But probably the most entertaining part of this whole thing was how whenever Tiger Woods hits these shots the crowd in the background goes straight stupid! Folks jumping up and down with their hands in the air in utter jubilation, even though they've seen Tiger do this stuff like a zillion time its still the same reaction. Even more entertaining though is that consistantly after every putt he takes, right as the ball moves away from his putter, there is always the guy that yells "Get in the hole!" , the phrase delivered in such a way that one may suspect the man's very life balances on whether or not the ball falls in the hole. Its absolutely breathtaking, yet halarious at the same time. Frankly, I suggest you all should try watching some golf, I could almost guaruntee that its a stress reliever.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Jordan Trip Part II: "Ah ah ah...."

The 2nd half of our trip consisted of a whole lot of productive hanging out. We studied Arabic and than hung out at the University of Jordan. Our days would consist of hours of basketball in the U of J gym (the competition was actually very strong), pool at the pool hall,and chillin' with our local store owners ( for the guys) The girls days on the other hand would consist of walking on campus and literally being swarmed by girls wanting to talk about...what girls talk about I guess. We also did alot of work handing food out to Palestinian refugees living in different parts of town. The latter project was one of the most impactful ones. We were invited into homes, met families, and heard some pretty amazing stories. We were also impacted by a trip to an orphanage we took. Here are some more pictures documenting our journey.

This night was alot of fun. Us with our friends Rita and Leen.

The girls and one of their many entourage's

Kelsey giving rides at the orphanage.

With the Angel kids

Guy with grill cheese... Jordanian style

Monday, June 2, 2008

Jordan Trip Part I: "They just don't give those Phd.'s away"

At the begining of our journey to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan we did some site seeing, visiting the Baptismal site, the Dead Sea, Mt. Nebo, and Petra. We were also blessed to have our friend Robert E. Wallace traveling with us. An expert in biblical history, Wallace's commentary on the land we traveled through made the experience extra special. It was crazy walking around such places were biblical events took place. Here is the begining installment of my photo journal.

First stop.

Shelby getting baptised in the Jordan River.

Me standing behind the Plains of Moab.

The Team at the Dead Sea. Quick fact, the Dead Sea is over 100 times more salty than the Pacific Ocean,thus reflecting in the bouyancy we humans have when swimming in it. You can literally be in 20ft of water and be standing straight up and not sink. Its incrediable!

The view from Mt. Nebo. This is where Moses was shown the promised land by God in Numbers 27.

Petra. This is the area where the Edomites come from. Also the inspiration of notorious rap song "Shawerma"

More Petra dwellings.

Kelsey and Shelby on camels.

Thank you Mr. Wallace. You will be missed.