Blogging, Concrete, World Cup

1,000 Views

Well I’ve reached over 1,000 views a month after I started my blog. I had a head start on posting, but I didn’t publicize the existence of my blog until May 26th. I had almost 250 views that first day and I’ve had days with less than 10 views since. There’s always gonna be ups and downs. I haven’t written as much as I’d like to or networked on WordPress as much as I’d have liked to, but I’m still getting views and more followers from time to time. I’d blame the fact that I’m practically worthless after work some days for my decreased activity. I still enjoy the process though. You have to remind yourself that slow progress is still progress. A lot of people don’t understand that, but I think it’s important. You could use it as an excuse, but I’m just saying slow growth doesn’t mean you should stop. I still like to think that my writing consistently gets hundreds of views a day somewhere down the line. On another note I don’t exactly see myself doing concrete work further off into my future. It’s not all bad, but I hope for something else for myself. Sometimes I’m not stoked to be up at 5 in the morning, but I am getting really good at telling the time by the sun’s position in the sky. Unless obligated, sometimes even opposing social norms, I don’t wear a shirt so I’ve managed to avoid a concrete worker’s tan. In case you didn’t know a concrete worker’s tan is very similar to a farmer’s tan only with the addition of pale hands from extended glove use. I plan to have the world’s strongest back by the end of summer with all the shoveling I have to do. A new kid started yesterday. We’ve actually been working at his house for a while now and I guess bossman asked if he wanted any work. He’s a few years younger than me so I’m not longer the new guy or the youngest. He does total new guy things like ask a ton of dumb questions and follow me around. I’m just giving him a hard time, I was doing literally the same thing a few weeks ago. Now that I’m not the new guy I’m brimming with confidence. I do more on my own without asking questions and I even get to give orders from time to time. It’s a lot better than answering to absolutely everyone all the time. I’m a natural born leader… or something. On another note the US finagled it’s way through the ‘group of death’ into the round of 16. Finagled isn’t the perfect word here by definition, but by sound it is, so I’m going with it. Unfortunately with the 12 o’clock start times today I didn’t get to see any of either game, but I checked my phone the few times it was possible. Ronaldo didn’t even look happy when he scored his goal. He was like whatever there you go USA that just about seals it. Well thanks anyway CR7. We’ll play Belgium next game who I had beating us and making it to the final against Germany in my early predictions, but I think we just might have a chance to play more than one extra game. If you ignore how the two teams should play based on stats or potential, I think the two teams are competing at similar levels. The US played pretty solid soccer against Portugal and Ghana and while I didn’t see the game, a 1-0 loss to Germany isn’t terrible. Belgium really hasn’t played as well as I had expected them t,o not looking as potent on the offensive as I predicted they’d be. Nothing too exciting to write about right now, but things are looking up. Hopefully I have another snake encounter over the weekend.

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World Cup

USA 2 – 2 Portugal

Getting the point was crucial, but we all know it should have been three. My reaction to Varela’s last second header was very similar to my reaction to Austin River’s last second three to beat UNC at the Dean Done in 2012. I’m not one much for screaming or fanatics. I’m an internalizer. I made my lunch for today, took a shower, and went to sleep. Used as few words with my parents as possible. I hadn’t been so frustrated about a sports result probably since that February night after the basketball game in 2012. I still remember turning off the tv, walking past my parents without saying a word, and lying face down in my bed until I ultimately fell asleep. It’s funny that I had to look up who scored that goal for Portugal because all we heard about was Cristiano. It was a nice ball. I thought the US played exceptionally well overall. Only two big mistakes. The problem is you can’t make big mistakes in the World Cup. The first one is obviously don’t let the arguably best player in the world have the ball for like 20 more seconds and we’re on to the knockout round. Second, the whiff of a clearance that lead to Nani’s early goal. Howard seemed to go down early in anticipation of a low shot to the far post which opened up the goal about as much as it possibly can be while still having someone in between the goal and the ball. I really wasn’t worried about that goal though. You never want to give up a goal, but I remembered how I felt after Dempsey scored so early against Ghana. They were going to start bringing the heat. We were the better team both halves. I refuse to describe Jones’ goal as anything less than a wonder strike. It was one of the nicer goals so far this tournament. From just outside the box, his ability to hit it with pace as well as curve it around the defender and have it come back to side net was beautiful. I’ll remind you again that I said Zusi would be an important player for us. I absolutely thought he was putting to ball on frame, but the chip pass to Dempsey was fantastic for the second goal. Besides the goals, Dempsey is the man. He’s the most talented player on our team and he’s just a no nonsense, hard worker. Obviously I wasn’t happy with the outcome, but a win against Ghana and a draw against Portugal is already way more than many expected out of the boys of Stars and Stripes. Funny enough after that finish last night, US supporters will find themselves cheering for Portugal against Ghana although a tie is preferred for less cardiac stress. The game against Germany should be more than interesting. Both teams advance with a tie. Even the simultaneous group matches can’t prevent collusion. I’m not suggesting anything of the sort will happen, only that in this case I’m more than welcoming of a 0-0 tie. Last night’s match was the most viewed soccer game in the US ever. It’s really fun to watch so many people get behind this team and I think United States soccer will be something for other countries to fear in the not so distant future.

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Outdoor Adventure

Occoneechee Mountain

All my time on the couch this week sick and home from work had really added up on me by today. Feeling  lot better, I knew it was time to get out and do something. I was familiar with the Occoneechee area, mostly the golf course, but hadn’t ever been there. Turns out there’s a whole Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area.  I decided in the morning that that would be my destination for the day. The area is in Hillsborough and is set around the Eno River which makes its way through much of Hillsborough and Durham. Elevation rises to 867 feet making it the tallest point in Orange County and as it stands out from the greater surrounding area, someone was able to convince someone else that it deserved to be called a mountain. An abandoned rock quarry on one side of the mountain does allow for an overlooking view unique to the Piedmont region. There are several marked trails, but even with an accompanying map I wasn’t certain where I was. Either the map is wrong or the trails are wrong. Fine by me though I just wanted to explore. A nice looping trail made it especially simple to navigate to and from the parking area. I walked for a while, much along the river, before making it to the quarry area. It was pretty steep, but nothing crazy. I saw a sign that said no rock climbing or rappelling, but it didn’t say don’t be there so I decided to scramble my way to the top. Apparently it was much more dangerous than I thought? I think it’s just some of the ‘mountain’ hype. It was nice seeing something new. I say I’ve done everything around the Triangle just because I’ve always lived here, but I think there’s still a lot more i need to see. Here are some pictures I took from today.

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Music

Best New Music

Whether it’s my laptop, phone, or singing in my head I’ve always got something playing. I woke up this morning with The Rock Show by Blink 182 stuck in my head. I don’t remember the last time I heard it and I have no idea how it got there, but I wasn’t exactly mad about it. I’m always looking for new songs to listen to. I have a bad habit of finding a number of new songs I really like and playing them over and over. The good ones I don’t even get tired of, but with even those eventually I realize it’s time to move on. Mostly these days I spend my time on Spotify. I think it’s really fun to see what other people are listening to, I get alerts when new music from artists I follow gets added, there’s a massive selection, I have the ability to make my own playlists as well as listen to others, and the radio option is nice to listen to more music similar to an artist or song of my choosing. There are other benefits of Spotify, but I’m not trying to sell it to you and that list covers how I use the program/app. One problem I have with Spotify is that it doesn’t have everything I want to listen to and because i have the power to build my own playlists, it empowers my complacency in song selection. I find myself listening to the same songs on my playlists all the time and even if I’m happy with it, I’d like to be finding new stuff. I very rarely listen through iTunes these days. I have a lot of music there and they also have the radio option, but there is a very limiting factor to my free music enjoyment there and thus it appears as though I’ve moved on. In the past I’ve spent a lot of time on Hype Machine. I’ve found a lot of good music here, but as of late I seem to have had less luck and there is decreased searchability. One plus is that it pulls in music from all sorts of other music blogs so finding a song you like may lead you to a blog that constantly posts similar music. Pandora seems to be on it’s way out, replaced by Spotify. With so little control, it can be hard to find much of what you want. I will say though, every once in a while you’ll find a station that really hits its marks. You’ll need the all the planets to line up, but I’m saying it can happen. CHVRCHES is a band I’ve taken a lot of interest in and that station tended to do really well for me. Frank Ocean radio had some highlights as well. I’m trying to figure out where my next source or sources of music will be. There are so many blogs and websites out there, I just need to find one that impresses me enough to stick around for a while. My first step should probably be giving one of these sites a chance… For the moment I’ll leave you with a few newerish songs, at least for me, that I’ve been listening to. I’ve been listening to a heck of a lot of Tove Lo the last week or so. Everyone seems to know her song Habits (Stay High), and that was my first introduction to her work as well. Most of her previous success came as a ghostwriter, but Habits seems to have put her on the map and I think she’s looking to start touring soon. She doesn’t have a ton of music out now to my knowledge, but my favorite is Not On Drugs. Alt-J released their first album in 2012, but I wasn’t familiar with them until last year. I really liked the album especially Something Good and Breezeblocks. Very recently they released a single from their upcoming album called Hunger Of The Pine.This is their first music since their last album and I don’t like the new song quite as much as I liked many of their older ones, but I’m still excited to hear the new album. Lastly is a group called Broods which I only just found while writing this post. I found a blog post about their new single Mother & Father which I enjoyed so I decided to look into them some more. Never Gonna Change was my favorite out of the other handful I listened to and the accompanying music video is my favorite kind of weird. Check it out. That’s it for now. Feel free to let me know of any other good sources of music or some of your favorite songs you’re listening to right now. END

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Social Media

Social Media Burnouts

I could write about the World Cup every day, but I’m gonna try to keep things fresh around here. It only takes one post to become Vine famous these days. You can go from nobody, to internet famous, back to nobody in just a few weeks. Some people hang around at the top for a while and some people never make it there. It works the same on other medias like Twitter and Instagram, but Vine seems to be the most volatile. Honestly it scares me a little. Some of these people on Vine have insane cult followings, mostly adoring teens and tweens, but you may be surprised about the number of older people using the app. You see vines dedicated to other favorite Viners or compilations of their favorite vines from a certain Viner. It can get really, really intense. I started thinking about some of the younger users who have found continued fame at such a young age. I began to wonder how far they can take their vine success and how long it lasts. Some Viners have developed incomes through touring or advertisings other apps or products through their vines. If their success doesn’t last, and they don’t move on from their Vine glory days, is their short lived social media celebrity simply breeding more child celebrity burnouts? Kids who can’t figure out life after fame. I’m using these terms similar to child movie stars who have trouble growing up. Some of them make too much money for their own good at a young age or get introduced to the Hollywood fast life before they are able to handle it. Macaulay Culkin is documented as having a handful of troubles following his career as everyone’s favorite forgotten child in Home Alone, including issues with drug addiction. It is a bit of a dramatic thought, but I do wonder how many of these vine famous characters have much talent or ambition outside of their ‘vine talent’. For those who don’t find incredible success outside of vine, who previously reveled in the fame and glory that being internet famous is, how do they react to a life no longer full of likes, comments, and revines? Kids are finding fame and even income in accounts on other media like Twitter and Instagram. Looking at it from another angle, instead of simply breeding a generation of kids who can’t do anything but play on their phones, maybe the successes of these Viners, Tweeters, and the like is a sign of exactly what’s to come. People have been making money with YouTube accounts for years. Selling advertising space or doing product reviews. These newer social medias offer many of the same opportunities. Someone with an old school point of view may think it’s absurd that one can make a living off of an app. An old iron smith won’t think making money from silly videos is a man’s work. (I don’t personally know any iron smiths) Well someone who had watched these medias be created and evolve may understand that social media will only continue to grow and become more common of an income source for people all over the world. I’m not certain these vine famous people are already there, but honestly I’m not certain some of them are that far off. In the end it will never be one or the other. I do think that the success of some of these younger kids on social media will increase the number of children who grow up thinking all the knowledge they need to succeed is how to work these various apps or websites. There’s an ‘it’ factor and sometimes you just don’t have it or don’t get it. Social media doesn’t work for everyone and it shouldn’t be relied on. On the other hand I do believe that social media will become more significant and a valid working income for those who can understand it and keep up with its day to day evolution. And that’s what I thought about while I’m home sick from work today. END.

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