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Brew Day 2: Chocolate Banana Porter (AKA "Banana Split") [20 Jun 2016|01:04am]
[ mood | giddy ]

What's going on LiveJournal? Brew day #2 is in the books and I decided to brew a very interesting beer. This is my second brew and my first all grain recipe.

Before talking about the brew day, lets first discuss the difference between all grain and extract brewing. When you make a beer (all grain) you bring water to a certain temperature (between 150-170 usually) and you steep cracked grains for an hour. This is a process to extract all of the sugar out of the grains. You then have a pot of water heated to the same temperature as the water you're steeping in (well, the original temperature, as the heat will lower over the course of an hour. Especially once the cold/room temperature grains are added.) that you pour over the grains to wash as much of the sugar off as possible. In extract brewing, this entire process has already been done for you, and the sugar is sold in a syrup. Anyways, you then take the sugar and bring the sugar water to a boil. When the water is boiling, you then add your first hop addition to bitter the beer. You will typically add a second hop in the middle to the end of your boil for both aroma and head retention of your beer. Then, SOMETIMES, you will add a third hop addition to give your beer flavor. I was always under the assumption that the flavor of beer came from the hops. This is not the case. It comes from the grains. As does the color. You then cool the beer down to under 80 as fast as you can, transfer the beer into the fermenter, then pitch your yeast. You then keep your beer in an airtight container for at least two weeks while the yeast converts sugar to alcohol.

Down and dirty. A trained chimp can do it.

Now, on to brew day #2 (AKA: It's much nicer having help)

The beer that helped me get through my beer was Funky Buddha's Blueberry Cobbler. If you haven't tried it, slap yourself, then run out and grab some. It is amazing.

First thing's first, I'll need a recipe. Luckily, Southern Brewing had me covered. Here's what they suggested:

- 9 lbs Briess Pale Malt
- 12 oz Crisp Chocolate
- 8 oz Briess Caramel 120
- 1 oz Nugget
- 1 oz East Kent Goldings
- 1 lbs Lactose
- Wyeast 3068

Now, of course I suck at pouring grain, so, what I actually ended up with was 9.3 lbs of pale malt, 14 oz of crisp chocolate, and 8 oz of caramal 120. The nugget was the hop addition added at the 60 minute mark (60 minutes represents the start of the boil and works backwards) and the East Kent Goldings and lactos was added at the 15 minute mark.

If there are any people interested in brewing here who are wondering why I did certain things:
- The lactose is an ingredient simply because it's unfermentable and will give my chocolate a little sweetness.
- Yes, I used Wyeast 3068. Reason being, it's used in many hefes. Hefes tend to have a banana flavor. I needed that banana flavor for my beer. Eric at Southern Brewing suggested it.

So, I wanted to start brewing at about 10:00 am, seeing as this is a good six hour process. Unfortunately, I was missing one big thing I needed and had to run to Southern Brewer. I missed them the day before, and they didn't open until 11. Shit. Ok... I can do this. Move brew day back until 12, get everything I need, and get to it. The one stop for cheese cloth turned into another stop at Jug & Bottle and another stop at Publix, and one more stop I know I'm forgetting about. Finally get home and start getting everything set up. My dad had bought a propane burner (with a SIGNIFICANTLY bigger kettle) so we didn't heat the inside of the house like we did last time. Problem is, I don't know how to use it! Guess who's not home. Well, I'm unloading everything out to the back porch and my dad comes home right in time! Go out to the yard, get the propane burner set up, pour 7 gallons of water into the kettle and then it starts raining! Fuck. Ok, move to the porch (which is considered very dangerous) and we Macgyvered the shit out of the porch. The rain stopped shortly after, but I kept it on the porch... Just in case. #FloridaSummers

Now I'm set up and I bring my water to 157 (like the instructions say), lay the cheesecloth down and put my grains inside of it. Now, usually you bring your water to your desired temp, then put your water in a cooler with a false bottom so water can get through, but the grains can't. I don't have such a thing yet, so, we're using cheesecloth and the boil kettle. Put the grains in, and this is around the time Chris shows up. I can't say he was much help during this, but the company was nice as my dad was very in and out. We had a full 60 minutes where we had to watch the grains, stir, watch the temperature... OH SHIT! I was supposed to be at 157... My beer was now at 180. I turned the heat off about half way through and just let the heat come down. Oh, yeah... Did I mention my yeast is a slap pack? This means that you break a bag inside of the bag open and let it mix together for three hours. It's a good thing I remembered to slap it before brew-- SHIT! Run inside, slap it, let it sit, and hope it works well.

Back outside again and it's time to pull the grains out... This should be easy. Remember how I said that the wort (unfermented beer) was at 180? Yeah, so was the kettle, the cheesecloth... The grains. It was a pain in the ass to get out of there, but it finally happened. Now it's time to bring the wort to a boil and start the hop additions. It took a while to bring to a boil, but I was able to bring the temperature down to about 170 while it continued to boil. I added the nugget in right after the hot break and then it was time for some more beer! Chris and I enjoyed a Blueberry Cobbler, then I went inside to prepare the sanitizer. To everybody who doesn't know, once the wort is cool, anything that touches it HAS to be sanitized. Prepare sanitizer, back outside, time to add the east kent goldings and the lactose. Boil is finished and now it's time to put the kettle in the sink and put a ton of ice all around it to cool it down!

Did I mention we got a bigger kettle? I should also mention that said kettle does NOT fit in the sink. Run up to Lowe's, grab a 20 gallon tub, come back home. Put some ice at the bottom of the tub, then put the kettle in, then ice all around the kettle, then water to bring the temperature down even faster. It worked. It worked WAY too well. I was hoping it'd take longer to give the yeast some time to fluff up. Work with what you got. I then bring my bucket over, my dad holds the strainer, I tip the kettle, wort goes into bucket. The reason for the strainer, when you brew beer, there is a thick, NASTY sludge that forms at the bottom of your kettle. You do NOT want that in your beer. Needless to say, the sludge gucked up our strainer, and we had to dump the sludge before continuing. Now it's time to check our original gravity (how much sugar is in the water). Luckily, we just bought a new hydrometer. Unfortunately, I can never figure out how to use the fucking thing as they don't float for me. They sink straight to the bottom. Ok. I wont be able to tell you what the alcohol by volume is. The show must go on! Put the bucket on top of the deep freezer, attach my tube, put the tube inside the fermenter, then open the valve. Let the beer slowly trickle into the fermenter.

This takes a little bit of time, but all is good. I had a sample of the beer from the hydrometer reading and it is INCREDIBLY chocolaty. It's amazing. I can't wait to taste it once the yeast gives it the banana flavor. put the top on, then put the airlock in, and this baby's ready to go. I was warned that yeast has to be at a certain temperature to ferment, and my first batch has been well over that temperature, so that batch may not be very good. Oh well. This new batch I put back in the ice bath, and put it right next to an air vent. This should work out much better. I am REALLY excited for this one. I'm not as excited for the Chinook IPA, but I will have it. I'm definitely throwing a party on July 8 to get rid of as much of this beer as possible so I can brew more beer afterward! You all better mark your calendars.

Next on my list:

- My dad loves this Ballantine IPA and I found a clone recipe online. We'll be brewing that one next.
- I want to brew an American Pale Ale using Citra, Chinook, and Centennial.
- April wants a cider.

Let the games begin! Cheers everyone. Hopefully you have as much fun reading about it (doubtful) as I do living it.

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6/11/16: The Day I Started Homebrewing [13 Jun 2016|11:13pm]
The title says it all. What led up to this, you ask? I mentioned to my dad that we should start homebrewing. He apparently loved the idea as he bought everything we need to brew. Bought a pretty crappy kit off of Northern Brewer with an extract recipe for Chinook IPA. It was my first brew. It's currently fermenting in the red room. We'll how it tastes. I feel like I made a lot of mistakes. I have a feeling these beginner recipes take that into account. Right after putting my wort in the fermenter and pitching my yeast, we went to Southern Brewing in Seminole Heights and bought 11-12 bounds of grain, 2 oz of hops, lactose powder, and a second fermenter. Oh, and hefe weizen yeast. Hello chocolate banana porter! I want to get four kegs, brew four five gallon batches of beer, and serve them at every party I throw. Let me brew this second batch first. Of anyone wants to help out, come by on Saturday. Until next time!
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An Actual Update [07 Jun 2016|08:59pm]
[ mood | grumpy ]

Sometimes I wonder if I'm doing this because it brings me joy or because I'm stuck in the past and just hate change. April caught me lurking on here the other day and exclaimed, "OH. My. God. Are you on MySpace?" Myspace. That is what LiveJournal is how kids who didn't grow up with LiveJournal view it.

Speaking of April, allow me to also state: I absolutely fucking HATE St. Pete. I thought it was a decent place to visit every once in a while, maybe hit a beach, a concert, or get some food I can't get in Tampa. After being here just about every day for the last six months, I can safely say that I have zero desire to be here any longer. Unfortunately, since April's irresponsible sister (since she has two of her sister's as roommates) can't not call into work twice a week (no exaggeration), she lost her job. A friend of her's hooked her up with a bullshit job until she can find a better one. How does this relate to me? Her irresponsible sister has had two cars given to her. She's not only irresponsible because she can't hold a job, she's irresponsible because she totaled two cars. Now, April has loaned her sister her car (because otherwise we'd see a meltdown, god forbid she doesn't get her way), and now I'm playing Driving Miss Daisy with April.

Forward!

So, over the last few years that I've been drinking craft beer, I've been telling myself it'd be fun to try my hand at brewing my own. I mentioned it to my dad to see if there was any interest on his end... Needless to say, tomorrow night I will be the owner of a new Northern Brewer essential starter kit. My dad got the IPA formula, which is cool. The problem is, the kit is set up for extract brewing and I really want to learn all grain brewing. Without being a complete geek, extract means that the grains have already been boiled down into liquid form. After this first batch, I want to boil my own grains.

I've also started becoming friends with the peeps over at Coppertail Brewing. There's Rachel, Jeff, Gary, and Clint. I brought a bottle of beer with me to a trade that I was going to through in as an extra, but I said fuck it and gave him one of the Lonestars that April brought me back from Texas (recipe by Busch, owned by Pabst, and brewed by Miller. And you can taste it.). Popped the bottle, told one of the dudes if he got me some glasses, I'd split it with him. I decided to say fuck it again and offered some to the bartenders. At the end of the night, my $20-30 bar tab was $6. They only charged me for one beer. I easily had five.

Anyways, that's all I got. Until next time.

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End of May [31 May 2016|07:51pm]
And I'm just posting to say that I have nothing to say. Maybe next month will be more productive.
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Back To Bright House [30 Apr 2016|11:57am]
Which means that I'll have to update this using my data! I will never understand how Bright House stays in business. Of course, the internet won't work as I need to study for finals because why the fuck not? On the other hand, I am incredibly sick. April and I went to Cici's yesterday, I had all of about two plates, went back to her place, and instantly started shitting. I was in the bathroom for the next two hours. Miraculously, I made it home without having to stop, then continued on my escapades. But why stop at shitting? I was also throwing up, which is incredibly rare for me. I'll typically throw up once and I'm done... Not Kat night! So I'm laying in bed, feeling like a bus hit me, wishing I could go out... Or at least have internet.

April also works all weekend, then has exams on Monday. My exams are Tuesday and Wednesday. Then she flies out to Texas for five days. I'm also pretty sure that I failed statistics. I really need to take this class by itself. April offered me the money. I may take her up on it.

I'm just ready for this semester to be over. I really don't like USF much, but I'm trying. I tried getting involved in a club, but it's just not the same. I do like the cafeterias though. Some Damn good, all you can eat shit right there. I also had to throw a professor of mine under the bus. She went against university rules and rescheduled her final for 9:30 am instead of 7am like it was supposed to be. After enough people complained, she moved it back to 9. Problem is, my other final is scheduled at 10 and across campus. I warned him that I'd be late, and he told me I had to give him the professors name. Fuck.

I'm ready to feel better and to start my summer break. That's all I got. Until next time.
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Six Weeks Left! [31 Mar 2016|07:57pm]
[ mood | anxious ]

Of my first semester at USF, and I am getting my ass HANDED to me. 69.333 in my Drugs & Behavior class, F in my stats class, and a C+ in my Gerontology class, and I used one of my two permitted drops on Sociology and Sex. What the fuck am I doing? Luckily, my stat professor is working with me on my grade, but I'm not sure it'll be enough. Drugs & Behavior, my grade will go up once I actually attempt to do the extra credit. At times, it feels like I'm drowning. Other times, however, I couldn't give less of a shit. I really don't seem to care about this school, my classes, you name it. I tried going to my first club meeting at USF yesterday. Come Out of the Dark, a small, depression awareness based club. If I thought the Psych Club was the land of misfits, I had NO idea. These are EASILY the weirdest people I've ever met. The VP of the club is a douche who is studying political science (see? Douche!) who wants to challenge the professor over this club (Masters and Ph. D in Psych from Stanford, MA in History from John's Hopkins) every chance he gets. Yes, he does think he's that impressive. I've found the fourth floor of the Marshall Student Center and they have a game room, as in, a room with a ton of TV's to plug your computers/game systems into, plugs for chargers and computers, etc for the students to use. I'm up there now wasting time until it's time to pick April up from work. I don't even have much to say, I'm just updating because I haven't done so in a while.

Outside of school, everything else is going great. April and I are doing well, I now have access to my car whenever I want/need it (and I'm not finding mysterious damages), been catching up on some TV shows/starting some new ones. Most is well in the life of Mark. Anyways, that's all I got. Until next time.

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Halloween 2015 [01 Nov 2015|09:17pm]
[ mood | sleepy ]

What's going on, internet dudes? It's November 1, 2015 which can only mean one thing! Halloween has come and gone. And, to anybody who even slightly knows me, they know that Halloween is by far my favorite time of year. Typically Stormy and I try to hit Halloween Horror Nights as many times as we can during the season, but this year we did things differently. We hit Halloween Horror Nights opening weekend, had fun there, then went on to film Chamber of Terror, then Vault of Souls, then ZooBoo, then Murder House... And I got some clips from Howl-O-Scream, which I actually did want to try this year, but shit happens. I made my list of my favorite Halloween events, which can be seen below this entry, so I wont go into that. There was, however, one event I didn't get to cover so I should probably talk about that before detailing Halloween night.

Guavaween 2015. Guavaween used to be the biggest party in Tampa until a couple of years ago when they moved it from the streets of Ybor into the Cuban Club. This year it was in the parking lot of the Cuban Club. I was fortunate enough to get free VIP tickets which included free alcohol. I don't say I was fortunate because I was able to go... I was fortunate because I was provided with enough free alcohol to make the event tolerable. Everyone reading this will know about the British, French, and US Air Forces showing up already plastered, whipping their dicks out and kissing each other, so I wont go into that. Actually, that was pretty much the entire night. Drink a lot of alcohol, watch dudes whip their dicks out, watch dudes make out with each other, watch a chick pose with some dude's dick in her mouth for a picture, have some dude try to make out with you, watch bro-dudes get kicked out, and keep drinking. Add some shitty cover bands in there and you're golden! I stayed for the entire event, way too drunk to run the cameras, got Chris some drinks when he showed up. He got some footage for me. We came home. There were some cool costumes, but that was about it. Add into the mix Stormy's bitching about being out so late because (despite knowing the plan for a month beforehand), she "had no idea" that it ran that late, that we were staying for the whole thing, that *insert annoying excuse from someone who knew the plan for a month but wants to look like a victim would use*.

Now how did the Exploring Tampa Halloween party go, you ask? Splendid! Everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE who said they were coming ended up backing out. From legit excuses, to them making plans to hold another party during the same time frame as ours, etc. My favorite quote of the night came from a couple we invited out who messaged Stormy to tell her that they had another party they had to go to, but once ours was over, we were free to go to theirs. Yeah, no. Luckily Jordon did show up, mainly because we were dragging him around all day. We went to Huxley's birthday, then went to our comic shop, then home (where we had to battle the T. Swift traffic), then to the brewery. Blue, his girlfriend, and one of their friends took an Uber to the brewery and met us over there. We had fun drinking beer, eating food, and sharing some laughs around the fire pit. One of the managers came out when Blue's girlfriend sent her food back and he bought me a beer. He was my hero! We stayed until close, and then Blue asks if I can take the three of them home. This is what actually pissed me off. There were three of them, there were three of us, and my car can hold five VERY small people. Apparently Uber's rates go up considerably on "event" nights. What didn't make sense to me is that they didn't get there until about 8:30-9:00... Wouldn't the event night pricing already have kicked in by then? He literally showed up and just expected me to shove everyone in my car, after drinking at a bar, and driving everyone down one of the busiest roads in Tampa. I don't want to give the wrong idea, I was not drunk driving, but I didn't want to put up with harassment from a cop either. They claimed they'd wait behind until the pricing went down again and we left. I don't really care how they got home... Especially since they were dead set on Uber and didn't even attempt to call a taxi, or lyft, or anybody else. It pisses me off more because Blue takes advantage of a LOT of people. He'll take money and food from Todd, he had another friend of ours drive out to St. Pete to pick his dumb ass up because he took a bus out there and didn't have a plan to get back telling her he'd give her gas money. She shows up and he offers her $5. He always assumes I'm able to do things for him. And the other day, he had an interview at Citrus Park Mall and, of course, had no way back. He calls his girlfriend and tells her he's at International, they send an Uber there for the driver to tell them there is no Dillards at that mall, they then cancel the Uber and drive to Westshore, where he tells them he is next. Then he texts me, I guess expecting I'd go pick him up, asking what bus he needs to get on to get him. I tell him and am later told he tried walking home from Citrus Park to HCC. This kid doesn't think.

Anyways, off topic. Beer, food, costumes, bullshitting with staff, etc. It was a fun night.

And now, October is over. My YouTube channel has doubled in money, I had the awesome experience of recording all of the haunts in Tampa. I can't complain. And to those of you following my channel, stay tuned for some awesome events coming your way! Until next time.

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Halloween Events [17 Oct 2015|03:15pm]
[ mood | busy ]

October has come, my YouTube channel has EXPLODED, and I have hit every Halloween event outside of Busch Gardens' Howl-O-Scream. It's been busy, but now it's time to slow things down. I had a monetary goal I wanted my channel to hit by October 31. As of today, my channel has hit, and exceeded that goal. I'm starting to wonder if I can make this money every month. I'll be getting paid in no time! Anyways, here's my rankings of the events, from least favorite to favorite. It is important to note that even my least favorite haunts were still pretty good. Unfortunately, lists don't reflect that. Lets get it started in here!

4) ZooBoo Kids: ZooBoo was an after hours event hosted by Lowry Park Zoo. It was significantly more family friendly than the bigger haunts in Florida, however, it did feature some haunted houses that I have heard good things about. Unfortunately, I never hit ZooBoo. Actually, I never really intended to, it just kind of happened. I got media access to ZooBoo and then got a free ticket on top of that. According to their PR person, the houses, while family friendly, were still too spooky for their target audience. This year they rolled out a whole new program. They call it "ZooBoo Kids." The houses are now gone and are replaced with a spooky corn maze, a fun house, a few animatronics, cookie decorating, animal exhibits, etc. It's also no longer an after hours event. It takes place during park hours. It's my least favorite because, well... I'm not four years old. Though it was cool to see the animals. Been a while since I've been to the zoo.

3) Murder House: Being three on the list may look bad. It's not. There were some really good haunts this year. Unfortunately for Murder House, a yard haunt wont be able to compete with a professional haunt or the money from a guy who created Howl-O-Scream. That said, it was a decent little walk through. The cons I'd give it would be the lack of characters, but it was one of the better house haunts I've done over the years. Shane wants to make this haunt a pro haunt next year and this was a strong showing that he'd be able to do it with a little extra help.

2) Chamber of Terror: This is the first year that this house has gone pro. It was a yard haunt for about ten years prior to opening up this year. The house this year is set up in the back of a professional toddler's play room. According to the owner, they did this as a yard haunt for about ten years until about 50,000 people came to their house to experience their haunt. Then the city stepped in. They were required to go professional. His partner knew a guy who owned Playgrounds of Tampa and they worked out a deal and set up in the back. For 25 years, the Last Laugh Toy Company has sat abandoned full of unwanted toys. This year, the clowns running the factory will give you a tour of their facility. This house has scares that you wont see coming. Trust me, I took a tour through this house BEFORE it was set up and even I didn't see the scares coming! This is how you do a haunted house properly.

1) Vault of Souls: I was REALLY debating which event should be in the first place spot. Chamber did SUCH a good job, and it was the best haunt... But Vault is NOT a haunt. It's a piece of performance art with haunted elements. And it works. You will be paying $100 for a ticket and it will last you a good three hours. This is as upscale as Halloween gets. Free snacks, free water and soda, free dessert, free gelato, free coffee... And an escape room. Realistically, the escape room isn't the big appeal here. It's done well, there's a lot of detail in it, and the actors were superb. This is the most interesting experience you will have at a Halloween event. You start off by having your spirit cleansed and then you head into the social room where snacks will come around, there's a mini bar where you can order drinks, and a few couches where you can sit or you can find the psychic. You then wait for your name to be called, and when it is, you're given a white mask and the rules. No talking, no taking the mask off, no touching the actors (but they can touch you). You're then put in the elevator that leads you down into the vault and you're told to find your way out. The vault was a lot of fun, but there was VERY little mystery to finding your way out. I blame a lot of this on fire codes and requiring exits to be marked. That said, Stormy and I did miss it the first time, but found it the second time through. We were able to experience the entire vault in about a half hour. I wished it were longer, but it is what it is. You find the second elevator and you're led to the speakeasy/gin joint with a wise ass door man who plays the part and a 1920's inspired bar with blues music and flappers dancing. They do bring out a piano man at some point, but you'll have to wait for him if that's what you're looking for. You can then take the elevator up to the third floor and enjoy the coffee, desserts, and gelato. It also provides an awesome view of Downtown Tampa, as well as giant couches meant for socializing and jazz quietly playing overhead. This was my favorite room, although people weren't doing much socializing... I was taking advantage of desserts.

And there's my list. Did you guys do any Tampa haunts? Let me know what you thought!

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[07 Oct 2015|10:52am]
It's another one of those days. I just wish that every day wasn't one of those days.
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The Tale of the Teeth [30 Sep 2015|01:08pm]
[ mood | sore ]

So, as all of you reading this know, I've been having some epic wisdom tooth problems. I got one out a year or so back and, since then, the other side of my mouth has been hurting more than I could have ever imagined. That was all to change yesterday. Wisdom teeth are expensive and I needed two. I wont go into information on how I received the funds, but I set up the appointment on Monday and was in the office Tuesday at 4. Actually, I showed up around 3:15 in hopes that they would get me in early (Spoiler alert: They didn't). The time comes and I eagerly walk back, remembering fondly on how quick and easy it was the last time I was there for a wisdom tooth. Drill, crack, yank, done. I walk to the office, they need x-rays. I sit biting down on the block while the machine spins around my head and the image pops up. I leave the machine before it was done and bonk myself in the head. Assistant says, "Well, I can see why they're causing you so much pain! How have you not come in sooner?" I was too embarrassed to tell them because of money and, had it not been the generosity of my parents, I wouldn't be in there. I sit down, dentist comes in with a very young Indian girl (probably about 22) and asks me if I mind her shadowing him. I tell him that I do not and thus we start to bullshit while he numbs my mouth.

While waiting on the cocaine derivative to take effect, he and the assistant start to tell me that my tooth is decayed. I have no idea what that means, but I'm going to assume it means a cavity that gets to the point of destroying a tooth. Based on what Stormy (who saw the tooth) told me. This was the top tooth, by the way. The bottom tooth was decaying, but not as bad. The dentist also told me that my gums were infected. That'd explain the extreme amount of pain that I had. Drugs are in full effect and it was time to go to work. Only, this wasn't the same guy who did my last tooth. I could tell because he didn't use the drill to crack my tooth, instead choosing to yank it out. I heard a lot of noise and it sounded like my tooth was cracking. Apparently it was just the sound of my tooth being yanked from my jaw. First tooth was out. However, wisdom teeth typically only have three roots. This one had four. I half-jokingly asked him if he pulled the right tooth. This led to a good 20 minutes of them making sure they pulled the whole tooth out. They also didn't stitch the top. I'm assuming that's "just in case" there's a root still stuck up in there. He then goes to town "scraping away the infection." Thank you, Sigmund Freud, for your cocaine discoveries. Otherwise, this would have been a LOT more painful.

Time for the bottom tooth! This tooth wasn't hurting anywhere near as bad as the top. However, for some reason, this tooth was NOT willing to come out. That dentist may as well been standing on my chest trying to yank it out. He literally had to pull as hard as he could, then take his pick and stick it under, and then try to pry while pulling. I really don't know why he didn't crack this one. I was more than willing to allow him. The last time I got a wisdom tooth out, it was MAYBE a half hour appointment. This time, it was a good hour forty five. I did not leave this office until 5:45. I went in at 4! I now had the two most painful teeth in my mouth pulled out and it hurt just as much as it did with them in. That said, once the pain is gone, it shouldn't be coming back.

I am now trying to rest as much as possible while eating nothing more than yogurt and pudding (though I cheated and had some tater tots last night. Suck it.), cleaning out the area with Listerine in a syringe-like thing, taking antibiotics, trying not to take pain meds, and sitting on a prescription for oxy that I wont be using. It wasn't as fun as last time, however, it also doesn't hurt as much as last time either. And that's saying something, given that I had two teeth removed this time.

I should also mention that Stormy was answering my phone during the whole time. I got a call for an interview while he was yanking my teeth out.

That's all I got. I figured we could all share in a few laughs. Until next time.

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Stolen! From Brenton. [22 Sep 2015|02:50am]
[ mood | tired ]

Ok, I don't have any original ideas, but Stormy's passed out next to me, I'm on a binge of very little sleep, and this gives me an update. My Unpopular Opinions. This shouldn't be hard, most of my opinions are pretty unpopular anyways! Lets get it started.

Music:
-Though I'm sure this will be a popular opinion among people my age, younger people will disagree. I don't get dubstep. At all. And I understand that that makes me "the old guy" talking about how "music today" isn't as good as it "used to be." And I get that there was terribly music in the past too. But, come on! And what is the deal with your clothes? Booty shorts with your ass hanging out, the tiniest bra/bikini top you can find, and leggings that make it look like you grew your leg hair out and dyed it a funny color. Just stop!
-Hardcore punk, even today, is still greater than any genre that will ever come out.
-I never understood the appeal of death metal. Playing power chords as fast as you can while a drummer plays a typical double bass beat with a lot of cymbal work /= talent. It's actually really boring.
-Joey Jordison is probably the worst thing to happen to drumming since Travis Barker. Had Slipknot replaced him with Chris Adler, I might actually listen. That said, I have a few Lamb of God songs on my Spotify that I'll listen to if the mood is right.
-After listening to some of their older songs again, Rise Against is nowhere near as bad/annoying as I used to think. I actually quite enjoy them now.

Movies:
-Paper Towns was a cool little movie. It wasn't a "mystery" by any stretch of the imagination, but it was definitely a movie worth seeing once.
-Gone Girl is easily the best movie that has come out in the last ten years.
-Inception wouldn't be as universally panned as it is had Nolan not made the Batman trilogy. It was an ok movie at best. Same can be said for The Dark Knight Rises, except I think "ok" would be an overstatement.
-The Big Lebowski, American Beauty, Requiem For A Dream, and Donnie Darko are the best movies that have ever come out.

Television:
-There was a time when I thought that I couldn't hate anything more than I hated "You Got Served." This was disproven the day I was introduced to "Big Bang Theory." It is so bad, I honestly don't understand how ANYONE over the age of 15 can enjoy it... And yet, everyone I know loves it.
-I have never seen a single episode of Doctor Who. It doesn't even interest me.
-I enjoyed the TV show Heroes and I can't wait to see Heroes Reborn. I honestly think people who bash it "after the first season" are trying to look edgy and I doubt they watched more than about three episodes. To be fair, the beginning of each season dragged, and that was every season. But by the middle of every season, I fell in love all over again. Best characters outside of Lost.
-Lost was one of the best shows ever on TV with one of the worst last seasons. *Spoiler alert*Collapse )
-Six Feet Under was THE best TV show ever created, and the final three episodes have the biggest shocker I had ever seen on TV. How do you give a series finale? Read more...Collapse ) By far better than anything on TV. It's a shame Michael C. Hall had to sink to the level of Dexter to make any money. But Six Feet Under was created by Alan Ball, the director of American Beauty and TV's True Blood.
-Speaking of Dexter, the only seasons worth watching were seasons 1, 2, and 4. After the terrible cliff hanger of season four and the abysmal season 5, I stopped watching. Stormy ended up finishing the series to tell me that he started fucking his step sister.
-I'll never understand the love of The Walking Dead. I couldn't get into the comics and I absolutely hated the TV show.
-If we're talking comedy TV shows, nothing will ever be funnier than Psych. I kind of wish they'd bring the series back and set it in San Diego after the series finale.

Wrestling:
-If I were to name the absolute worst thing to ever happen to wrestling, it would be Hulk Hogan. Maybe he should retire and make a living fucking Bubba's wife?
-If you watch enough RoH, you'll start to see that it is what ECW would have had to become had they survived. After the athletics commission got involved added with the evolution of pro wrestling... And add in that TNA and WWE keep raiding them for talent... And you have ECW 2.0.
-I have never been more disappointed in anything than I have TNA. Or, can we skip the bullshit and just call it WWE lite? Why in the hell would you let AJ, Daniels, and Skipper walk, relegate the X Division title to a joke title (or is it an instant World title shot?)? Why would you stop pushing Abyss in favor of guys who had their chance already and blew it? And why do you have the Hardys if you have no idea how to use them?
-The Dudley Boys are the best tag team in professional wrestling. Ever. Despite Bubba supposedly being an asshole in person.

Comics:
-I said it once and I'll say it again! The Walking Dead sucks.
-Justice League: Dark is the best thing to come out of the new 52.
-Punisher Max is the only true way to read Punisher.
-Preacher is one of the greatest stories ever told. Unfortunately, Seth Rogen will butcher it, as he does every movie he's involved with. He's like the Carrot Top of the movie world, except I can't even manage to laugh at him.

Miscellaneous Crap:
-I am a Tampa native. That's not an unpopular opinion, but it's so rare that I thought I'd leave it here.
-Being from Tampa, New Yorkers annoy me to the point where I don't even want to think about their shit smelling city. And, if everything was so fucking great there, why don't you move the fuck back?
-New Orleans is the most interesting city I think anyone can ever go to.
-If you order your beef above medium, I just assume you have no taste buds.
-While most people would be embarrassed about farting, I am not. I take pride in my stench. And I laugh when you have to smell it. Umad?
-I still have to hit four more states to get to my goal of six states before I'm 30. So far, I have hit Louisiana and Ohio. Next up: Nashville?

And that's all I got. I'm tired and it's time to get to bed. Plus, I can't keep obsessing over my view count. Stay tuned to Exploring Tampa for two AWESOME events coming up!

2 comments|post comment

Sometimes It's Worth Taking The Risk [08 Sep 2015|02:41pm]
In January of 2015, I made a bold move and spent a LOT of money I could REALLY be using right now and put it towards a project I figured would make me some money. I knew the money would be slow... I just didn't think it'd be THIS slow.

The Specs:
Canon Vixia HF R500 video camera
Class 10 64 gig memory card
Crappy $20 microphone from Best Buy
Manfroto tripod (supposedly one of the best)
GoPro Hero HD
All GoPro accessories
Asus Laptop
Adobe Premiere/Photoshop Elements 13
3 clamp lights

As I continue to do these videos, my equipment list will rise. I do want to add a Sony A7s camera into my mix because I do a LOT of low light events and the A7s is, arguably, the greatest low light camera ever created. Unfortunately, it'll set me back about two grand.

After I filmed my first episode, I was positive that I would never film another one. The views grew extremely slowly, the money even slower, and I was extremely uncomfortable in front of the camera. Fortunately, I'm now a little better in front of the camera, I have 40 followers, and my videos now range about... 15 views. Ok, so my view count dropped. Drastically. But, October will save this! Why, you ask? Lets get to the title of this post.

Buying all of this stuff (and, in a lot of cases, getting stuff as a gift) was a pretty big risk. I had NO idea what I was doing and it was obvious. My first few videos (mostly edited in GoPro Studio) prove it. I never let being new hinder me. I never let my lack of connections hurt me. I just kept pushing forward. I figured, if I worked with other start up companies, I'd eventually get bigger. And bigger am I getting. Ready for the list going into Halloween?

Busch Gardens has agreed to send us press releases, and possibly let us use their commercials.
ZooBoo is sending me press releases and trying to get me in to their media event.
The Vault of Souls (a $100+ value) has sent me their commercial, their press release, and is putting me on their media list.
The Chamber of Terror was a yard haunt last year and the city made them go professional. I will be AT their event getting lots of footage.
Murder House is a yard haunt that is picking up a lot of steam. They are allowing me to come in and get a lot of video.
And finally, Guavaween, Tampa's original Halloween party, is giving me media passes and press releases leading up to the event.

Lets see how much money this month brings me! I'm hoping to put out a good number of videos come October, and I want to start promoting them now. I put up a Halloween Horror Nights video on a personal channel, without ads, just to see the interest level. It's at over 400 views now (it's only been a few days). Lets hope Tampa is the same way!

Anyways, that's the end of my rant, and there's my plans for October. I'll be going to Halloween Horror Nights this year on the 19th of September. Since I'm a pass holder, I will get in an hour early and I will be guaranteed three houses. Walking Dead being one. Blah! Until next time.
4 comments|post comment

Another Month, Another Vendetta [23 Aug 2015|06:40pm]
[ mood | cheerful ]

What's going on LiveJournal world? I'm back again to discuss a few different things. Mainly what's been going on in the last month. I've been wanting to update for a while but could never find the time to do so. Lets get it started in here!

So yesterday, Stormy, Chris, and myself attended Creative Loafing's Beer Fest at MOSI. It was a lot of fun. I worked the second shift, which means that I couldn't drink as much as I was hoping to. With that said, I still got to every brewery that was there and had a beer from all of them. I got plenty of beer. It was awesome. My job did get changed around a bit and Chris made us look bad (again). Let me go into this: Think back (and I couldn't tell you when as I had forgotten that I signed up for this), Stormy and I signed up for both first and second shift for this beer fest. We were under the assumption that they would put us where they need us. This wasn't the case. We go to the meeting a few days ago and they explain that we can find people to cover one of our shifts if we'd like. I figured, to make it easier, I'd give up first shift (meaning whoever took that from me could finish their shift and get as drunk as they want). Stormy's mom found someone to cover mine, and Chris Dale agrees to cover Stormy's shift. Ok, we're taken care of. The even gets closer, and Chris starts making excuses as to why he'll be late. Now, the event (as far as I knew at the time, and what I told him) started at 6:30 (it was revealed later that it actually started at 8, and VIP guests got an extra hour...) and that there were two shifts. He should have been able to put two and two together and realize that this event went later into the night. Long story short: He didn't. He gets there, gets his free shirt, drinks a few beers, then asks me how late it goes before essentially telling the woman running the event that he refuses to stay that late. He then does part of his second shift job during the first shift (he was supposed to refill water at the tables and empty the spill buckets, nothing too hard). It was a job that I was supposed to be doing with him, but when he arrived, they told him they needed pourers on second shift. He wasn't at the meeting where they taught us how to pour beer... I was. So, I agreed to switch with him. So, this is how I ended up on second shift beer pouring. And it sounds like it sucked, right? Think again! Remember when I told you that the event started at 8? As soon as second shift started (9pm), all of the lines suddenly tripled. I had the opportunity to try every beer there that I wanted (I didn't... But I had the opportunity to). Around 9, I was told that I'd be pouring for the Stone Brewing table... In VIP. So I really did get the chance to try EVERY beer there. I also got the chance to meet the dude who owns The Refinery and Fodder & Shine and I got to try their mac n cheese and brisket. If you get the chance, go out that way sometime. As soon as second shift started, Chris was gone. So, if you're friends with him on FaceBook, and you see his "stayed out late" post... Yeah, he left at 9. Anyways, the show ends, we have a twelve pack of this Chai Spiced Imperial Stout left, and everyone is saying that last year they were allowed to take the beer. We waited for a while to get the ok and no one showed up to tell us one way or another... So now we are the proud owners of 13 bottles of Stone Chai Spiced Imperial Stout and a bottle of a Rogue beer that I didn't catch the name of. Good times.

I had an interview the other day. No, really. I got a phone call saying, "Hi, I'm from Tropical Smoothie, remember applying for us?" The answer was no, but I replied with, "Of course!" Interview was scheduled for 10 am, I get there with a few minutes to spare and head inside. Tell them I'm there for an interview, a manager comes out and tells me he just needs to unload his truck and he'll be right out. Half an hour later (yes, seriously), some other dude comes out to do this interview. It was full of "fuck this" and "shit that" and "god damn!" and their printer also ran out of ink, so the majority of the interview was asking me things they could have read off their computer. And what interview wouldn't be complete without an angry rant about illegal immigrants? This was, easily, the most unprofessional interview I've ever been to. Ever. Did I mention that the dude interviewing me also didn't work for Tropical Smoothie? He worked at Nathan's Hot Dogs, which is apparently owned by the same guy, and he knew absolutely nothing about Tropical Smoothie. However, he was also looking to fill a few positions over there. If it works out, great, if not, great. I don't care one way or another. There's a World of Beer hiring over by USF that I need to go over to and try to get in there.

Speaking of USF, I have finally turned all of my paperwork in to be a student. I should be attending there come January, given financial aid and everything else works out. I have also been accepted into my first club (despite not yet being a student), Come Out of the Dark. I am still trying to get them to show up for Mental Health Awareness Day and their faculty adviser is the dude who spoke at MHAD last year. Needless to say, I am beyond ready to start a real university and to move on with my life. I was looking through some of their psychology classes and saw quite a few that I want to take.

Exploring Tampa is also doing well, and getting bigger than I thought we could get this soon. Right now, we will have a podcast with former local radio personality Jesse Kage (who asked to move the date to sometime in September), Guavaween asked to get in touch with me to discuss their upcoming festival, and I am awaiting to hear back from ZooBoo at Lowry Park Zoo. Also confirmed, we will be showcasing Chamber of Terror and Murder House. This is all coming up in the next two months! That said, if you ever feel generous, be sure to share either my YouTube channel or FaceBook page to your friends and family. I wont complain ;).

Speaking of YouTube, I do intend on starting a second channel. Mark on Psychology, or something equally as lame. I was a tutor for HCC for a while and I have a gift of explaining different concepts in psychology that others have trouble grasping. Speaking of psychology, did I mention that the dude interviewing me doesn't know how to spell it? Even after I corrected him. The first time he spelled it, it was "Phyc" and a bunch of scribbled letters. I then tell him, "It's p-s-y-c-h-o-l-o-g-y." He then writes, "p-s-y-h-c-." and says, "Lets leave it at that." Poor bastard.

Anyways, I think that's all I got for you for now. I'll be sure to update again eventually.

2 comments|post comment

Prepare For Something Amazing [20 Jul 2015|03:10am]
[ mood | exhausted ]

Before I even get started, is it my computer, or does my fucking layout change every time I view my journal?

What's going on, LiveJournal? It's your hostess with the mostest and self-proclaimed fearless reader. And today, I just feel like venting every fraction of frustration I have. The last few weeks have been getting to me, and I've been holding it in and bottling it up, and honestly, I can't do it anymore.

Actually, as of RIGHT THIS SECOND, 3:06 am, my Uncle Mike, the uncle who has been battling ALS for the last six years, has finally passed away. My mom just called me. My post was going to circulate around all of the stress that this was causing, but it's not right to bring up right now. Let me cut this off here. I'll discuss everything in a future post.

R.I.P. Uncle Mike.

Until next time.

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Stolen From Brenton [08 Jul 2015|03:58am]
[ mood | bored ]

This survey looks like one I did back in the day, but I can't find it in my archive, so I'll do it from scratch! Sorry, no retro repost today. Thank Brenton for posting this a few hours ago.

GENERAL...
(01) Your gender?: Male
(02) Straight/gay/bi?: Straight
(03) Single?: No
(04) Want to be?: Want to be taken? Is this a serious question?
(05) Your birth day?: November 17, 1987
(06) Age you act?: I'd like to think older, but I know I act much younger.
(07) Age you wish you were?: 28.
(08) Your height?: 5'10. Yup, I got hit with the short stick.
(09) The color of your eyes?: Blue.
(10) Happy with it?: Yup.
(11) The color of your hair?: Dark brown with a healthy supply of grey.
(12) Happy with it?: If I wasn't, I could always dye it.
(13) Left/right/ambidextrous?: Right
(14) Your living arrangement?: Living with my parents for the time being.
(27) Your family?: My, dad, younger brother, two dogs, and a cat.
(29) What's your job?: Aspiring YouTuber. AKA Unemployed.
(30) Piercings?: I'm pretty sure all of them have closed up.
(31) Tattoos?: Both shoulders, calf, ankle, and chest.
(32) Obsessions?: Getting my AA.
(35) Do you speak another language?: I am the worst Floridian ever. I really need to learn Spanish.
(36) Have a favorite quote?: "The enemy of my enemy is my friend," "I disagree with what you say, but I'll fight, to the death, your right to say it."
(37) Do you have a webpage?: I have a YouTube, a Tumblr, Twitter, and FaceBook. Unfortunately, websites kind of died out.

DEEP THOUGHTS about life and you in it...
(38) Do you live in the moment?: I try to. With that said, not usually.
(39) Do you consider yourself tolerant of others?: I am probably the least tolerant person out there. Mostly with the uneducated though.
(40) Do you have any secrets?: None that I haven't probably shared with somebody.
(41) Do you hate yourself?: No reason to. I'm awesome!
(42) Do you like your handwriting?: My handwriting is terrible. Luckily I have a computer.
(43) Do you have any bad habits?: Quite a few.
(44) What is the compliment you get most from people?: "I love your eyes."
(45) If a movie was made about your life, what would it be called?: Mark Livingston: A Swashbuckling Tale of Suspense. Ok, I just wanted to use the word "Swashbuckling."
(46) What's your biggest fear?: Killer spirits. I don't even believe in the afterlife, but Sylvia Brown scared the shit out of me when I was younger. I still, to this day, find it difficult to walk in the dark late at night.
(47) Can you sing?: LIVIN' ON A -- No.
(48) Do you ever pretend to be someone else just to look cool?: I'm wearing my Fonz jacket now.
(51) If you were another person, would you be friends with you?: Depends. Who would I be?
(52) Are you a daredevil?: I see this question and think about the time I jumped off the RV, or the time we set my "ring" on fire and ruined my brand new Steve Austin shirt and want to say yes. The real answer is no. I've gotten much older.
(53) Is there anything you fear or hate about yourself?: I'm getting to the age where I start to fear letting out a fart because I'm never sure if I can trust it or not.
(54) Are you passive or aggressive?: I'm trying REAL hard to be the Sheppard.
(55) Have you got a ?: Every computer I've ever come across has a question mark. I'd be worried if yours didn't.
(57) If you could change one thing about yourself?: I'd get rid of my plantar fasciitis, then get laser eye surgery on my eye.
(58) There are three wells, love, beauty and creativity, which one do you choose?: Where's wealth?
(59) How do you vent?: I hold it in until it becomes a tumor.
(60) Do you think you are emotionally strong?: Not as strong as I should be.
(61) Is there anything you regret doing/not doing in life?: What would life be without regrets?
(62) Do you think life has been good so far?: No, but it's gotten much better over the last few years.
(63) What is the most important lesson you've learned from life?: Every woman will lie to you, you wont be where you think you'll be (and that's ok), going to college later in life was the best thing for me.
(64) What do you like the most about your body?: I don't know/care.
(65) And least?: I don't know/care.
(66) Do you think you are good looking?: The best looking!
(67) Are you confident?: Very much so.
(68) What is the fictional character you're most like?: I always did relate to Kyle Rayner (Green Lantern).
(69) Do people know how you feel?: Not usually.
(70) Are you perceived wrongly?: All the time.

DO YOU...
(71) Smoke?: No.
(72) Do drugs?: No.
(73) Read the newspaper?: No.
(74) Pray?: No.
(75) Go to church?: What do I look like? An idiot?
(76) Talk to strangers who IM you?: I answer calls from spam phone numbers.
(77) Sleep with stuffed animals?: I do have a stuffed Ninja Turtle next to me.
(78) Take walks in the rain?: No.
(79) Talk to people even though you hate them?: Unfortunately.
(80) Drive?: As often as I get the chance.
(81) Like to drive fast?: Usually.

HAVE YOU EVER...
(82) Liked your voice?: I listen to my voice and sound country as hell.
(83) Hurt yourself?: Probably.
(84) Been out of the country?: Yes! I've been through Alabama.
(85) Eaten something that made other people sick?: Probably. I eat a lot. It comes with the territory of being fat.
(86) Burped?: Nope. Never.
(87) Been unfaithful?: In the past.
(88) Been in love?: Yup.
(89) Done drugs?: I did pot once in high school and hated it.
(90) Gone skinny dipping? Yup. Almost got caught too.
(92) Had a surgery?: Yes.
(93) Ran away from home?: It used to be a nightly occurrence.
(94) Played strip poker?: Nope. To be fair, I don't even know how to play poker.
(95) Gotten beaten up?: Probably.
(97) Been picked on?: It stopped after middle school from what I remember. But, come to think of it, high school didn't have administrators who allowed bullying.
(98) Been on stage?: Yup.
(99) Been so drunk that you know you're supposed to go out on a date with someone, but you can't remember with who or when and that you faint when you look at yourself in the mirror in the morning, not to mention your breath?: I've never gotten drunk before a date, so no. That said, it is my goal to get Brenton drunk!
(100) Slept outdoors?: Way back in middle school. It was miserable. I wont do that again.
(101) Thought about suicide?: I used to obsess over it.
(102) Pulled an all-nighter?: I have indeed. Once to do a philosophy paper I thought I had another week to do. It ended up saving my grade.
(103) If yes, what is your record?: I think my trip to New Orleans takes the cake.
(105) Talked on the phone all night?: The good ol' days with Heather...
(106) Slept together with the opposite sex without actually having sex?: Yup.
(107) Slept all day?: Yup.
(108) Killed someone?: Is anyone really stupid enough to admit this on LJ?
(109) Made out with a stranger?: Yes.
(110) Had sex with a stranger?: Define "stranger." I'm pretty sure all of my sexual encounters were strangers at the time we had sex.
(111) Thought you're going crazy?: I didn't think I was. I thought I was normal and everyone else was crazy. Once I pulled myself out of that slump, I realized I had lost myself.
(112) Kissed the same sex?: No.
(113) Done anything sexual with the same sex?: No.
(114) Been betrayed?: Most definitely.
(115) Had a dream that came true?: More than likely.
(116) Broken the law?: I used to quite frequently.
(117) Met a famous person?: A few smaller celebrities and local politicians.
(118) Have you ever killed an animal by accident?: Nope. #NotThatRedneck
(146) Stolen anything?: Wal-Mart will say I did.
(147) Been on radio/TV.?: Nope.
(148) Been in a mosh-pit?: Just a few.
(149) Had a nervous breakdown?: No.
(150) Considered religious vocation?: I don't consider religious ANYTHING <--- I agree with this.
(151) Been criticized about your sexual performance?: Yup. But, well... She slept with a lot of people.
(152) Bungee jumped?: No, and I will not.
(153) Had a dream that kept coming back?: None that I can recall.

CLOTHES and other fashion...
(154) Shoe brand?: New Balance.
(155) Brand of clothing?: Arizona Jeans.
(156) Cologne/perfume?: I need to up my game. Next on my list: Spicebomb.
(157) What are you normally wearing to school/work?: Jeans and a T-shirt.
(159) Wear hats?: No.
(161) Wear make-up?: Nope. I should for my camera though.
(162) Favorite place to shop?: Target.
(163) Favorite article of clothing?: Fun psychology experiment: Did you know that you can feel your shirt touching your skin? You do now! You're welcome.
(164) Are you trendy?: I start trends! I'm credited with starting the anti-trend.
(165) Would you rather wear a uniform to school?: Nope.

BELIEFS...
(166) Believe in life on other planets?: After taking astronomy, it seems like it's a guarantee.
(167) Miracles?: No.
(168) Astrology?: No.
(169) Magic?: No.
(170) God?: No.
(171) Satan?: No.
(172) Santa?: When my mom told me Santa wasn't real, I cried. Yes, I admit it.
(173) Ghosts?: No.
(174) Luck?: No. And there's an interesting show on YouTube to disprove luck. Look up Darren Brown The Lucky Dog (I believe is the title).
(175) Love at first sight?: Who knows?
(176) Yin and Yang?: Somewhat. I do agree that there's a natural balance to the universe, but I wouldn't credit that to supernatural forces.
(177) Witches?: Just stupid kids who practice bullshit.
(178) Easter bunny?: No.
(179) Believe it's possible to remain faithful forever?: Possibly.
(180) Believe there's a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?: Does anyone older than about ten believe that?
(181) Do you wish on stars?: No.

LOVE, and all that...
(182) Did you get frightened or uncomfortable seeing that as a section title?: Why would I?
(183) Do you remember your first love?: Yes.
(184) Still love him/her?: No.
(185) Do you consider love a mistake?: No.
(187) Turn-on?: Boobs, duh!
(188) Turn-off?: Fake boobs.
(189) Do you base your judgment on looks alone?: I should.
(200) If someone you had no interest in dating expressed interest in dating you, how would you feel?: I haven't been in that situation.
(201) Do you prefer knowing someone before dating them or going "blind"?: Blind. Dating someone I know would be weird.
(202) Have you ever wished it was more "socially acceptable" for a girl to ask a guy out?: No.
(203) Have you ever been romantically attracted to someone physically unattractive?: Story of my life.
(204) Do you think the opposite sex finds you good looking?: They should!
(205) What is best about the opposite sex?: I'll let you guess.
(206) What is the worst thing about the opposite sex?: Bitches. I'll stick with that.
(207) What's the last present someone gave you?: Don't know.
(210) What would you do if you were walking down the street and saw some hot guy/girl standing on the sidewalk?: This actually happened to me. It was awesome.

WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON...
(211) That haunted you?: Nobody.
(212) You wanted to kill?: You see, filling in answers like this get words like "predetermined" thrown around in court.
(213) That you laughed at?: I couldn't tell you.
(214) That laughed at you?: I couldn't tell you.
(215) That turned you on?:
(216) You went shopping with?: Stormy.
(217) That broke your heart?:
(218) To disappoint you?: Having a girlfriend is a great way to be disappointed frequently.
(219) To ask you out?: It's been so long I couldn't tell you.
(220) To make you cry?:
(221) To brighten up your day?:
(222) That you thought about?:
(223) You saw a movie with?: Stormy
(224) You talked to on the phone?: Chris.
(225) You talked to through IM?: People still use IM?
(226) You saw?: Stormy is in my room.
(227) You lost?:
(229) You thought was completely insane?: I would've said Jean, but I think he likes people to think he's crazy.
(230) You wanted to be?: Myself.
(231) You told off?: The security guard at the TNA PPV.
(232) You trusted?: Trust no one!
(233) You turned down?:

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU...
(234) Smiled?: What kind of stupid ass question is this?
(235) Laughed?: Today.
(236) Cried?: A while ago.
(237) Bought something?: I haven't had money in months.
(238) Danced?: I don't dance. #WhiteGuyProblems.
(239) Were sarcastic?: I'm never sarcastic. Ever.
(240) hugged someone?: Never.
(241) Talked to an ex?: When I ran into Holly... And Stormy left me stranded.
(242) Watched your fave movie?: I wish I could watch movies right now. Unfortunately, my PlayStation needs to be cleaned and I don't have the disk for it.
(243) Had a nightmare?: I woke up the other day due to an unsettling dream, but I forgot what it was.
(245) Talked on the phone?: Today... To set up a dentist appointment. #AdultLife
(246) Listened to the radio?: It's been awhile.
(247) Watched TV?: Earlier tonight. Scream the TV series.
(248) Went out?: Yesterday!
(249) Helped someone? I don't help.
(250) Were mean?: Every day.
(251) Sang?: In the shower. Ok, not really.
(252) Saw a movie in a theater?: A week or two ago. Jurassic World.
(253) Said "I love you"?: No idea.
(254) Missed someone?: Never.
(255) Fought with a family member?: I fight with my idiot brother all the time.
(256) Fought with a friend?: I'm a lover.
(257) Had a serious conversation?: I'm never serious.
(258) Got drunk?: This weekend. I took the CCB Brewery Tour.
(259) Had sex?: Not that long ago.

And there you have it! Enjoy.

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The Most Awkward Moment Ever [27 Jun 2015|03:05am]
[ mood | intimidated ]

February 27, 2011: Holly and I broke up. I had talked to her exactly once since that time. I blame her solely for getting me stuck in Brandon. I blame her solely for getting me stuck at Blockbuster. And I blame her for a lot of the bullshit I put up with during the three years we were together. It was miserable. Once we broke up, I'd never have to see her again, right? I mean, I saw her dad a few times while I was at Publix, but I moved to Tampa shortly after. I would never have to see this bitch again! Ever!

Until today (yesterday now).

So, Stormy and I go to see Jurassic World (Which is good if you liked the first movie), and then we got lunch at Panera. I was pretty tired after that. Stormy says she wants to go to Publix to buy lunches for work. Cool. No problem. We go into Publix and Stormy weaves through a few aisles. Out of the corner of my eye, I see someone at the very end of the aisle who looks SOMEWHAT familiar. Definitely didn't get a good enough view to be sure. It was more of a "It's not her, but lets play it safe." Stormy goes to go down the same aisle and I yell, "NO!" She's like, "What?" I'm like, "I'm not sure..." I look down the aisle and see the same woman with a man who looks a LOT like Holly's dad. Stormy goes down the aisle just after their's and starts walking in the same direction they would be. What are the chances that this is ACTUALLY Holly and that they will walk down the same aisle AND that they will recognize me?

In this one, specific case, 100%.

We walk to the end of the aisle as the man who looked like her dad from the back rounds the corner, and I see the arm tattoos. "HEEEEY! I haven't seen you in a while!" I am in COMPLETE disbelief at this point, as all I can manage to say is, "What are you doing all the way out here?" where he retorts, "Shopping!" and Holly chimes in in a voice that is COMPLETELY unrecognizable, "I live out here now." That was about all that would be said between us as I caught up with Stormy, who left me to fend for myself. Though no more words were spoken, we still passed each other a good five times. Luckily, beer was on sale. I came home and chugged down a Cigar City Hotter Than Helle's Lager to calm my nerves, then Stormy and I had sex.

Then I get a phone call from Jordon telling me that Blue is threatening suicide and I figure I should go over there. Talks were to be had, laughs were shared, we all visited Stormy (including Jacob, who never comes out), I dropped them off, then I went home. Now I'm typing this.

I should ask now: What is the most awkward situation YOU have ever been in?

Until next time.

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RETRO REPOST: TOTALLY Stolen From Darrell [06 Jun 2015|08:50pm]
[ mood | nostalgic ]

(I want to update, but I have nothing original to post. How about a simple retro repost from June 5, 2005? Enjoy the memories. Have in on the laughs. I'll try to be just as humorous as I used to be. Promise.)

full name: Mark Livingston
birthdate: 11-17-87
state born: Florida
zodiac sign: Scorpio

FAVORITE...
milkshake: Vanilla
soda: Can't drink soda. (Liar! You can drink soda, it just makes you feel like shit. You will go back to soda eventually... And then stop drinking it again!)
candy bar: Butterfinger (If only Snickers Almond existed back then...)
color: Black (LIAR! Orange has always been your favorite color. Fuck what everybody thinks.)
shoes: Skate shoes (New Balance as they're the best on my feet.)
movie: The Crow (Donnie Darko, Requiem For A Dream, and American Beauty.)
song: "Franco UnAmerican" by NoFX (Tie between "GM Vincent And I" and "Wake The Dead" both by Comeback Kid.)
football team: OHH! The one that wear the tight pants and bend over in front of each other! (Yeah, I still don't give a fuck about football.)
animal: TIGER BABY! (A tiger... Because it's ORANGE YOU DIPSHIT!)
kind of food: The kind I eat. (Pizza and Chinese are two of my staples.)
drug: I haven't done them all, YET! (Shut the fuck up, you moron. You've only ever seen pot.)
game: Final Fantasy X (Infamous, Battlefield 4.)
shape: Uhh, don't know.
cigarette: Menthal. (Menthal, eh? It was menthol. I quit smoking when I started college.)

WORST...
jellybean: Black I think it was. (Yup. Probably still my least favorite. Dark red will always reign supreme.)
alchohol: All of it. (And yet, when you wrote this, you were anti-alcohol. Nowadays, if I'm not drinking beer (Cigar City's Hotter Then Helle's) then I prefer a nice vodka drink. As for the worst, Jager and Fireball are two of the dumbest alcoholic creations in existence.)
chocolate: Dark. (Milk chocolate is still the best!)
sport: Soccer! Or football! (So edgy! Soccer is pretty easy to avoid. Football? Not so much.)
season of the year: WINTER!! I hate it! (Still holds true. Although, in Ohio, Spring is apparently 59 degrees!)
music: Jazz. (Nu metal, anything with a "core" after its name.)
bodypart: Don't know. (Feet. Mine always hurt.)
haircolor: Blonde. They're usually stupid as fuck. (I learned from experience) (What the fuck experience did you learn from? Red heads can steal your soul!)
shape: Darrell's sister's boobs! (HA! Ok, that was a good one.)
fruit: Uhhhhh... (Bananas are some of my least favorites. With that said, I'll still eat them.)
old cartoon: Inspector Gadget.
condiment: Mayonaise. (Mayonnaise)
cheese: Old cheese.

do you...
do drugs: VERY rarely. (How about never? You've done pot once. Idiot.)
have sex: VERY rarely. (There's nothing rare about it now.)
lie: Only when I HAVE to. (You lie to yourself all the time.)
steal: not usually. (At this point, have you ever stolen anything?)
take showers: Yes.
clean your room: Yes.
brush your teeth: Yes.
wear make up: All the time ;). (Still a favorite past time. Would you fuck me? I'd fuck me!)
wear nailpolish: Nope.
masterbate: All the time. ("masterbate" the survey says. In the good old days before grammar nazis.)

ARE YOU...
homosexual: FUCK no. Faggots need to be gassed like jews. (SO edgy! Shut the fuck up you 17 year old shit.)
stupid: Nope.
ugly: You judge.
a virgin: Nope.
single: Yup :(.
bored: YES!
hungry: Not really.
sober: Yup.
on a diet: Nope.
happy: Nope.
crying: Not yet.

HAVE YOU...
showered with best friend: Nope. (Really? Explain this:)

took a shower today: Yup.
smoked today: Nope.
pissed someone off: Yup. Stupid Christians. (Not yet. Day's still young.)
done crack: I want to. (No, you don't, you stupid fuck.)
picked your best friends boogers: Nope. (I've picked Stormy's nose. Does that count?)
taken it in the but: FUCK NO! (What what? In the butt.)
had an orgasim: Sure? (orgasim. This survey maker speaks Engrish very good.)
broke a bone: Nope :(.
had stitches: Yup. BATTLE SCARS!
had staples: Nope :(. Always stitches.

WILL YOU...
ever loose you virginity: Loose, eh? I already Lost my virginity. (OH SHIT! I'm the original grammar nazi.)
do drugs: Already have.
fuck an animal for half a million dollars: You mean I can get paid for that!?! (OH SHIT!)
eat a frog: Yup. (Nowadays, probably not.)
suck toes: Sure, why not?
give head: Uhhh, I'm a dude. No! (Even with a much more liberal mindset, no.)
ever finish this thing: Yup. (Almost there now!)
ever be happy: Probably not. (Liar. It'll take a few years, but you'll get there.)
fall in love: Never again. (Oh boo hoo. The slut dumped you. Move on with your life. There are many fish in this big ass pond.)

WOULD YOU...
lie: Only if I have to. (What the fuck does that mean?)
do drugs: Do you realize you're asking the same five fucking questions?
shut up: Nope.
do something: Like?
quit doing this: No.
quit wasting you summer: No.
stop answering these questions: No.
get off the computer: NEVER!

FETISHES'S... (Before I even get started, a fetish is defined as something that has to be present in order to achieve an... "orgasim." Therefore, the answer to all of these is no.)
toes: Uhh, sure?
bellybuttons: Yes :(.
nipples: YES!
fingers: Not really?
armpits: No.
lips: Yup.
eyes: Not a fetish. OH YEAH! BLINK WHILE I MASTURBATE! (None of these are fetishes, you fucking retard!)

(I believe that this survey was originally done right after Heather and I broke up. Hopefully that explains all of the cryptic answers. If not, oh well. That's all I got. Until next time.)

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Akron 2015 [22 May 2015|05:44pm]
[ mood | calm ]

What's going on LiveJournal. It's May, and that means that I just got back from my (apparently) yearly trip to Akron-- Err, Cleveland... Or is it Akron? Anyways, I'm not sure how meaningful this story will be if you don't know these people, but I'll give it a shot. Here it is, Akron 2015.

Saturday, May 16, 2015: I had packed the night before (a first time I hadn't packed the morning of), I had picked Jordon up a few days earlier, I woke up, everybody showered, we tossed our bags in the back of my dad's truck, we all piled in, and we were off to Tampa International Airport for our flight into Nashville. A girl named Brittany's dad had dropped her off stupid early (something like three hours before the flight) because he had to work and wasn't able to take her any later, which meant that my goals and dreams of being the first one there were shot. That's fine. I was running off very little sleep anyways. I always get anxious before a big trip. Everyone slowly trickles in, check in, and wait a good hour for our flight. That was no problem. I had fun bullshitting with everyone. Time for the flight and it's Jordon and Melissa's first flight. I was in their shoes last year! I sat next to Jordon, the flight takes off, everything was fine. We all had fun. The only downside was, landing in Nashville, I didn't see a city. At all. I saw a lot of mountains and a lot of water... But no downtown. Out of the plane and we have to race over to our next gate as we're now boarding. I was used to this from Atlanta last year. Catch our flight to Cleveland (Yes, Cleveland. 45 mins. away from Akron, but it was the only way to ensure that we all got on the same flight). This flight went fine also, and we come in to Cleveland where I don't see a city... But I did get a view of Lake Erie... And it is MASSIVE. I can't even begin to explain how big that lake looks from the air. We land, get out of airplane, and play the waiting game. Wait for everyone to get off, wait for everyone to use the restroom, wait for everyone to get lost; Wait, what? Yes, we had at least three people leave the group and get lost. It was a pain in the ass. We finally get the group together and wait for the shuttle to pick us up to take us to the rental car place. I never realized that rental cars were separate from the airport. Akron's airport was so small we could walk to the rental car area. At this time, it was time to start driving. 45 minutes towards Akron. We stop at a Target and pick up our shower supplies, then we stop by a local eatery (I can't remember the name, but it will be in the pictures at the bottom... If I can remember to put them up) and I got a big ass chicken sandwich for like $10. I wasn't complaining. We head to the dorms (yes, dorms), unpack, then head to the lounge, BS with each other some more, then crash. It was a busy day full of nothing.

Sunday, May 17, 2015: Wake up at 9:00 am to get ready and go to IHOP. This was the plan, it was on the FaceBook page, we were all excited about it...

A little back story: We got three vans for this trip. Three drivers. Two of the vans went out to breakfast. Last year, Chelsie went behind everyone's back to get to the A.A. house. I thought it'd be a secluded thing. Surely she had no say in this trip, right? Well, yes... I will have to say that she had VERY little say in this trip. It doesn't change the fact that she...

So anyways, the second van was following the first, and I was in the van with Chelsie. I hear Chelsie make a comment about a place that wasn't IHOP... The restaurant we had made reservations for... The restaurant everyone was promised. I was (at the time) under the assumption that plans had changed while I was showering and that everyone was aware of this change. I was wrong. We pull up to Wally's Waffles, get out of the van, and listen to everyone's confusion as to why the fuck we're there. Chelsie walks into this TINY little restaurant and tells them that there are 12 (I believe) of us. They were COMPLETELY unprepared for us. We wait... And wait... And wait... And wait... I head outside to BS with Alex and Jordon. Chelsie eventually makes her way outside and, instead of saying, "I fucked up, lets go to IHOP," decides to get on her phone and start calling other restaurants nearby to see if they can fit us. Mind you, WE STILL HAVE RESERVATIONS AT IHOP! Jordon had called them three times to ensure them that we were still coming. On the fourth call, where he told them plans changed, they cussed him out. We finally get seated and we had to shovel our food down as we had somewhere to be at I believe it was 10:45. We literally paid before our food came out. It was a good waffle, but the service was poor, it was underhanded, and they were not ready for us.

Breakfast ends, and we make it back to the dorms to meet the last van with about two minutes left to spare. We were going to be getting sweaty, dusty, and just plain dirty, so I wanted to change into some other clothes. Thanks to Chelsie, that wasn't possible. Oh well. We go to the Center for the History of Psychology, get a half-assed behind-the-scenes tour, and then get a quick explanation of what we're going to be doing. The museum is going to expand, so they're going to remodel the first floor and move the offices to the second floor. No problem. So, we had to clean out the third floor so they could move all of the clutter from the second floor. We busted our asses for a good two hours and it was fun. They told us that the museum will be closed for our trip next year (due to remodel), and that the speaker we were told was going to be at this speaking series would actually be speaking in October. This wasn't the end of our trip though... We then get food recommendations from the museum, a place called the Barley House. We go to the dorms, shower, get ready, and head out to this restaurant that we made reservations for. They were well prepared (by a good three hours) for a group of almost 20 people, right?

So, we show up to the restaurant, 19 people, they have us set up at a bunch of tables they pulled together. The first thought was that the place was HUGE. There were about five tables seated before us. No problem. We order drinks, some apps, and then our food. Next thing you know, some people are getting their apps and others aren't. Then we realize that they tried to stagger our food so every fifteen minutes, five of us would get something. We had no idea who our waitress was, and every time we asked a waitress for something, she replied that she would "tell [our] waitress" and would then go get it herself anyways. I ordered a spicy burger, and the joke was on me... It was INCREDIBLY spicy. I couldn't eat more than half of it. By the time the checks came out (with 20% off of everybody's bill), there were about three people who had just received their food. Now, there were about five tables seated before us... Their excuse for this atrocity was that they were "backed up" before we had even arrived. I have no idea how that happened, but whatever.

We then decide it's time for some ice cream, so we headed out to the most backwoods part of America I think I've ever seen, where a lone ice cream shop stood (and nothing else nearby with the exception of it being at the edge of a neighborhood). I had to pee like a mother, and had to get the key for the bathroom. Pee, grabbed a milk shake to calm my heartburn. I was messing with the kid and we were laughing back and forth. I asked if he'd get the caramel or the butterscotch. He said he hadn't tried either. So, I order butterscotch. I always do caramel. A few minutes later, another woman (employee) walks by and sees him making the butterscotch and makes a comment about "old people" always ordering the butterscotch. I ask if that's true, and he laughs and says yes. So I then tell the woman that he said it was his favorite and that's why I was ordering it. Joke's on them, that shit was delicious. Anyways, while there, this guy in his old school Camaro pulls up, sees a group of our female psych members, and apparently made a few raunchy gestures. To repay him, Barry Silber rolls his window down (as we were leaving, obviously), puts his fingers over his lips to form a V, and sticks his tongue out as if he's licking a vagina. The guy didn't see him, so we had to swing back around. This time the guy looked, gave an uncomfortable laugh, and then we proceeded to drive away.

Some of us went bowling, some of us went home. I ended up going bowling. It was fun. Then it was time to come home. Hit up a lounge, BS'ed for a while, slept.

Monday, May 18, 2015: This was, by far, the busiest day on our trip. We woke up, showered, got breakfast, then went to the Center for the History of Psychology. Showed the new people around, got some new pics myself, talked with people. Overall, just had a good time. Then we went to the school and had a Q&A with Dr. Levy, head of Psychology at UA. He is always a really cool guy, and was more than happy to answer all of our questions. He then gave us a quick and dirty tour of their psychology department, but we had to be silent as it was finals week for their grad students. I got a card from a professor there who works on psychology of aging. I still need to email here. Barry apparently plays golf with her dad down here. Tour ends, and now this is where we were supposed to get a tour of the campus. Supposed to being the key word. They had told Todd that they couldn't give us a tour, however, we saw many new students getting a full and comprehensive tour of the campus. Well, we have some time to kill. I'm pretty sure we got lunch, but I can't remember where. Then it was time for our talk. Dr. Elizabeth Loftus, who you'll know for her research in memory, and her disproving of repressed memory, was our guest speaker. Now, to say that Todd is her biggest fan is a complete understatement. Todd went online and bought every book he could find of her's, got it expressed shipped, etc. So, before the talk, I'm asking where she is, and someone points to the middle of the room and says, "Right there, red sweatshirt." So, I walk on over. I got lucky, right as I got there, she had finished up a conversation and was just standing there waiting for another one. "Dr. Loftus," I say as she turns her head towards me, "It's a pleasure to meet you. I'm Mark, my club and I flew all the way from Tampa to see you." Now, for as big as she is in the psychology world, she was extremely down-to-Earth. I then tell her that Todd is her biggest fan, and she then utters the words, "Well then, I guess I have to meet him!" Todd will later ask me "what [I] did" to make this moment happen. That is the true story. She meets Todd, signed at least one of his books, took a club photo with us, and took an individual photo with every member of the club. We then sit down, eat our salads, and prepare for the talk. Salad's done, my chicken parm comes out, I eat that. It was ok. Not amazing by any stretch of the imagination. Then I devoured the cheesecake that was in front of me. It was amazing. The talk went into Dr. Loftus' early life, into her study on memory, she addressed her critics, and we had an awesome time. The highlight for our members was when Blue-Eyes (Yes, that is his last name) went to get a book signed by her. She hadn't written it, but her experiment was in it. She simply turned to Blue and told him that the author of this book was full of "bullshit." She told him that she had never met the author before (as the author claims she has) and that none of the interview had actually happened either.

Dorms, get undressed, and head to McDonalds. Well, the guys at least. Ladies (and Alex) went to Taco Bell. So, I've been ignoring a big plot of this story. Jordon has a HUGE crush on this girl named Brittany (Yes, the one who beat me to the airport). So, we've been trying to get him to say something to her. He has NO idea what to say or do. Brittany also knows about his little crush, which became painstakingly clear when, during the talk, she leans in and whispers to him, "I'm not wearing any panties." Yes, he reacted exactly like you'd think he would... Shocked look, no follow up. Well, it came out at McDonalds that Alex also had a huge crush on Brittany. So, we ate, back to dorms, then downstairs in the lounge to B.S. Then sleep... Or so I thought. Apparently Jordon and Alex (along with Brittany) had stayed up all night waiting for the other one to fall asleep so they could try to get alone time with Brittany.

Apparently, while I was sleeping, everyone else decided to have an "important meeting" to hash out all of the problems everyone was having with each other. Ok, cool. It didn't affect me. Until I was trying to find out how this year compared to last year, and one girl comes up and tells me that "we're" no longer focusing on the past. Seriously, go fuck off somewhere. Go shave another side of your head. The adults are talking here.

Sunday, May 19, 2015: Wake up, pack, drop off keys, head into Cleveland. Big plans today. Head to Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. Make it there, phone call to Todd, one of the vans had a gas tank break. Gas was flooding out at an alarming rate. Todd goes to rescue them, we're down a van. Not a problem as one of the people who joined us rented a car. We had a couple of hours to explore the museum. Then Stormy comes looking for me, I jokingly run away, I find her a few minutes later, go to find out what she wanted, she's a complete bitch the whole time. She goes off to do her own thing. Come to find out, "her own thing" included going to see Lake Erie... Without me... With Jordon... Yup, you know... An experience I'll get to have again tomorrow, right? So, after finding this out, I try to get to the lake so I can experience it too, alone... I got about half way there, and then had to turn around. The vans were coming to pick us up. I'd like to say that this isn't typical Stormy, but I'd be lying. She's selfish as fuck, and this is just another example. Head to the airport, check in, get some food, then the flight back home. Want to guess who couldn't respect my wishes to leave me the fuck alone? Got home at around 10:00. Tommy picked us up, took us home. Sleep in my bed. End.

Afterthoughts: Clearly, the University of Akron didn't give a shit that we were coming. Everything we did was an afterthought. The dorms were beat up, the not being able to schedule us a tour, hell, even some members of the museum made us feel sub-par. Dr. Ludy T. Benjamin was a huge figure to us last year. I don't expect him to remember us, but I'm wearing a name tag that even states where I'm from. He didn't remember us. Some of the museum staff did though, and it's those people who made us feel special. The museum was genuinely happy to have us, as was Dr. Levy. Honestly, I thought the museum would've been as exciting as it was last time. Unfortunately, once you've seen it, you've seen it. There was almost nothing new, and everything was in the same place. I was really hoping for an awesome experience, and it was lackluster. I enjoyed hanging out with my peeps, and being on the trip, and the RnRHoF, but the rest was pretty crappy. We'll see how everything goes next year.

And now, for pictures (In absolutely random order)!



This is a picture of Akron from the third floor of the Center for the History of Psychology.



This picture is meant to demonstrate the hills in Akron. At one of the hills, our automatic van started rolling backward.



Shelfie. Yes, one of those books dates back to the 1500's.



And here's the restaurant I couldn't remember the name of: Rockne's.



The next few will just be exhibits at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.





















Me with Dr. Elizabeth Loftus.



A shot of Lake Erie from the second floor of the RnR HoF.



This is as close as I got to Lake Erie.



Gibson Cafe at Nashville's airport.



Me with Stanley Milgram's shock generator.



Stanley Milgram's generator.



Elvis display at the RnR HoF.



Elvis' bike.



Downtown Cleveland.



Downtown Cleveland.



Downtown Cleveland.



This is where the Browns will be taken to the Superbowl.



Me showing the Bobo Doll who's boss.



To those of you who were too lazy to click the link above, this is Barry.



And the single worst restaurant on our trip goes to...

Until next time.

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Stress [14 May 2015|02:12pm]
[ mood | angry ]

What's going on LiveJournal? Stormy's out of the house for once and I finally get the chance to update. Not like her and I do much interacting at the house, but bumping elbows is annoying as hell. Lets get this started.

Semester is over. I got 2 A's and 2 B's. I'm a smart mother fucker! I was under the assumption I was going to hit the Dean's List. Unfortunately, one of my B's was a 4 credit hour class. I was within .04% of Dean's List. Oh well... There's always next semester. The Astronomy final was terrible. Luckily he drops the lowest. He then gave me credit for an assignment I kept telling him I never did and it bumped me up to an A. If that's how he chooses to run his classes, I wont fight it. History of Psych (Todd's class) I got an A in, Psychotherapy was a B as was Abnormal Psych. Now, onto my absolutely last semester at HCC: College Algebra (failed it once, need to make it up. One of two classes keeping me here.), Statistics (got a D once, need to make it up. One of two classes keeping me here.), American Sign Language (I was told I needed a foreign language to get an AA. Apparently, that's not the case. I found out after signing up for classes. I'll need it at USF, so this isn't the worst decision I've made here.), and Anthropology (my "fun class" for the semester. Todd is good friends with the professor and I've met with her as well. She seems cool. We'll see how it goes. If worse comes to worst, I'll drop it. I really only need the math classes.). And there's my next (and final) semester. I hope to have it all finished up and be at USF in the spring. It should be fun!

And yes, I did say USF. I trashed USF for so long and it ended up being the best option for me. I'm comfortable in Tampa, it has a REALLY good psychology program, and I know a few people who are there/will be going there around the same time. For as shitty as I have always deemed USF, most of my professors went there for one degree or another, I get instant access with my AA, I'll be able to boost my GPA while there (shockingly, my GPA's not terrible. 3.14 or so. Pretty much a straight B student.), and I can always look for more impressive schools when it comes to graduate school. It also helps that Stormy will still be at HCC... Significantly longer than I'll be at USF. But why's that?

This brings me to a topic that absolutely pisses me off. Stormy lost her financial aid! How'd she do that? By failing too many classes. In order to keep your financial aid, you have to maintain above a 67% pass/fail ratio. Yes, it's a very generous ratio. Yes, Stormy still managed to get below it. Therefore, now she'll have to pay out of pocket. So, while we were barely getting by on the $20,000 a year on financial aid, we'll now have even less than that! But, as Stormy explains it, since we weren't getting by on $20,000 (which is hilarious, because she's made multiple comments about $20,000 a year being MORE than enough for anyone to get by on) it's ok to make even less than that. You see, since $20,000 wasn't enough, the (maybe) $12,000 I bring in will be! What's her solution to make up the money that SHE lost now? "You need to get a job." So, because I decided to dedicate my time to being a fucking student, and actually pass my fucking classes, I should now have to supplement my time to make up money that Stormy lost. When discussing this with Stormy, all she manages to say is that she "saw this coming." Saw it coming and had ABSOLUTELY NO backup plan. We were supposed to be out of my parents' fucking house by now. There are also things I was hoping to do with this money. I get fucked because she doesn't care. So, no vacation to Nashville like I was planning for my fucking graduation, no Atlanta for my birthday, it's a stretch if we'll be able to afford Halloween Horror Nights, no new cell phone (despite the fact that, if mine's not on the charger, it's useless), no tattoos when the tattoo convention rolls around, NO FUCKING ANYTHING! I never truly understood the phrase "you have to try to fail" until I started HCC. And, honestly, Stormy tries REALLY hard.

This weekend (being Saturday), the Psychology Club is meeting at Tampa International Airport where we'll be flying to Cleveland to head over to Akron to see the Center for the History of Psychology once again. Last year we had 11 people going, this year we have 15! During the speaking series, we will get the opportunity to meet Elizabeth Loftus, a doctor of psychology who went above and beyond to prove that repressed memories are actually false memories. Her experiments are extremely interesting and I look forward to meeting her. We will also be taking a tour of the campus, a tour of the psych department, a tour of the museum, and a top secret service learning project. What that entails, I have no idea. We will also be stopping in Cleveland to see the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as well as a castle. I'm excited, and I worked extremely hard to get here. I deserve this vacation, and I'm sure everyone else in the club feels the same way. And Akron also loves us! The museum donated $1,500 to our trip. This is slowly becoming an important relationship to the Psychology Club.

And, since we're talking about psychology, I should also state that I am joining a committee for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)'s Hillsborough chapter. The president came out to talk to us and gave us all of the information we were looking for. I brought some of my best people. It's like running the Psychology Club again, but from the first semester and on a MUCH larger scale. For some reason, NAMI has been focusing on every city in Hillsborough EXCEPT for Tampa. That makes NO sense and is COMPLETELY unacceptable. So, I am going to help them fix it.

And now for an event that happened the other day that was so incredibly rude that I was ready to slap the shit out of somebody. Jordon gets a bag of school supplies the other day and sees a piece of candy in it. He asks who wants it and I jump for it. Melissa, sitting next to me, says that she loves that candy, so I offer my candy to her. Jordon sees more candy in the bag and hands one to Stormy, and I guess he didn't see me hand mine off to Melissa, so he gives the next piece to Melissa. He then has one for himself. Now, assume you're in my shoes here... What would you EXPECT Melissa to do?








If you said, "open the second piece of candy and plop it in your mouth without even acknowledging me," then you win! Because that's EXACTLY what she did. How incredibly RUDE can one person be? Seriously!

Until next time, folks.

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Retro Repost: New Orleans [01 May 2015|01:12pm]
[ mood | anxious ]

Hello all. I'm feeling frisky and want to update. How about I review my trip to New Orleans last year with updated commentary? Sounds good to me! Lets get this started.

(First, lets start off with the ten commandments of going to NOLA)
-First off, if you've ever thinking of driving from Tampa to anywhere outside the state, don't.
-Second, if you do decide to stupidly drive out of the state from Tampa, then either drive from south to north OR east to west.
-Third, if you do ignore the first two, make sure you have good company who is awake. (IE: Don't travel with a car full of people who haven't slept in well over 12 hours)
-Fourth, do not hit Bourbon Street when you haven't slept for over 30 hours.
-Fifth, no matter what... ALWAYS have crawfish on Bourbon St.
-Six, every street performer on Bourbon St is a hustler.
-Seven, if a said hustler tells you he can guess where you got your shoes at, the answer is on your feet.
-Eight, splurge on the hotel in the French Quarter. It will be cheaper than a cheap hotel and cab fare. And yes, you will be taking cabs. Have fun driving and parking in the French Quarter.
-Ninth, If a restaurant asks if you'd like a balcony seat, you say yes. Always.
-Tenth, even if you're not a drinker, definitely have a New Orleans original.

And those are the ten commandments of a New Orleans road trip, as written by me. Live by it!

Now, before we tell the tale of NOLA and all the fun we all had, lets get some background here. It all started with Brenton moving to La and I was supposed to meet up with him and help him move (Which ended up not happening.). I was preparing my car, which probably wouldn't have made it this far to begin with (It wouldn't have. A few weeks after this trip, my car was down for a few months). I went to my parent's house one day and made mention that we were going to NOLA and my mom's face lights up. "I haven't been there since my teens! Can we go too?" This would mean that my parents would pay for a LOT, so this was a much better deal than going alone. Then my dad wanted to take his truck, because it was "more comfortable" (spoiler alert, it's not). Then comes my brother, who just bought a 2012 Kia Soul. He offered it up and we ended up using that. And it's even less comfortable than the truck would've been. Ok, to be fair, any car would be uncomfortable after the amount of time we spent in it. Thursday comes and Stormy and I wake up at about 7:30 and get ready for school. We do our classes and then we have a Psychology Club meeting. Then I had my job. Then I had to sit through the professor's class for my job. At about 9:45 he tells me to go ahead and go home. They were taking a quiz and he knew I needed to get ready. Stormy and I head home, pack, and then my parents come by (earlier than planned). My dad (thankfully) did most of the driving. We get to NOLA about 8:45-ish in the morning and get to the hotel Stormy booked us. When she booked the hotel, I told her to book the cheapest one she could find in New Orleans. I figured we'd just be sleeping there anyway.

The hotel was something else. No, really... It was a "Budget Inn" or some shit like that. How do I know this? Because they took a banner that said "Knights Inn" and placed it over one side of the old Budget Inn sign. (I didn't explain this part very well. Let me just say that the old "Budget Inn" sign was still up.) Then they had a very small banner on the building that read "Knights Inn." We explained that we had been driving for 11 hours and asked if we could do an early check in, and he told us to give him two hours. "Come back at 11" he said. Ok, that's fine. We talk for a little bit and he says, "Come back at 12!" So, we head out to check out the immediate area and it looked like Katrina has hit it the day before. The area was definitely dirty. I later realized that this area isn't New Orleans. It's "New Orleans East," which is a separate city.) We start looking for crawfish, as I had the craving early on. We stopped at a restaurant that advertised crawfish, and then advertised their new breakfast hours. It wasn't open, despite the fact that it was a few hours after their new breakfast hours. (And despite the fact that it looked like it was stocked. At first my parents had assumed that they were closed.) Anyway, we get back to the hotel at noon and he tells us they're working on the finishing touches, and we'll get a room "soon." Soon turns into about an hour later. We go up to the room, open the door which dragged across the carpet and made opening and closing the door very difficult, and I believe it was my mom who had to pee. Needless to say, the toilet didn't flush. We go down and ask for a new room. It was even worse than the first. (I didn't go into details here either. The beds were broken, the dressers were broken, the desks were broken, the microwave was broken, and the door to the balcony had been sealed shut... However, they left the hole from the lock that they removed) We called Hotels.com and they were useless (More than useless. We explained the situation, told them what hotel we wanted to go to, and they told us that, since it was "more expensive," they couldn't switch us and charge us the difference. They then told us they'd help us find a new one, and then gave us the name of the hotel that we were sitting in. This was after they hung up on us twice.). My dad calls up another hotel we spotted on Hotels.com, somehow gets the Hotels.com price, and he goes downstairs and explains to the guy that this place wont work for us. The guy tells us we'll have to get a refund from Hotels.com, but he wont fight it. We get to the new hotel and didn't regret it a second. (The second hotel was about the level of a Holiday Inn, but after the first hotel, we had low expectations. Once we got to the hotel, they must've thought we were either Amish, or have never been on vacation before. Ever. We were that enthusiastic.)

So now we've wasted close to six hours we could have been napping dealing with hotels and my dad looks to us and says, "Ok, what do you guys want to do? We can sleep and hit Bourbon Street later, or we can just go now and worry about sleep tonight." (At the time, I was extremely frustrated to learn that Brenton lived much further away and helping him move would mean that I would waste an entire day of this trip.) We chose Bourbon St. So my dad calls the front desk and has them call us a taxi, and we get dressed and wait. The taxi finally comes and he sounds like he spent the first 40 years of his life in New York. My favorite part of the trip is when he blatantly pulls in front of a cop with lights blasting, my dad turns to him and says, "That's a cop" and he turns to my dad and utters the words that could make Shakespeare cry, "So?" He takes us into the French Quarter and drops us a block away from Bourbon Street. We get out of the taxi, we take a few pics of the amazing buildings, then I find the first restaurant there, and I get myself some fried crawfish and fries, and Stormy got fried shrimp. This was already much better than the food in Atlanta (This isn't saying much. Food in Atlanta SUCKS! I think Akron had better food. At the very least, they'll admit they don't have sweet tea.). It was so good, that I looked for fried crawfish all weekend. Unfortunately, according to every restaurant in Bourbon Street, I wouldn't be able to find it. This is despite the fact that I found it, on Bourbon St, and a day later I found a local fish house selling crawfish. That's another rant though. The sights and sounds and smells of New Orleans are definitely things you don't forget. There are lights everywhere, people everywhere, music everywhere, and fried foods EVERYWHERE! The group of us went to Spirits on Bourbon, which you will know from Bar Rescue if you ever watch that show, and we had a Resurrection. I'm glad I didn't look at the ingredients beforehand, because on paper, this drink looked like shit. It was amazing though. I think we had a few more drinks, went back to the hotel, ordered a Domino's pizza, then crashed. I slept for at least ten hours. It was glorious.

Then came Saturday and we decided to go explore a local mall. It was the most boring mall I've ever been to (Yes, this includes Westshore), but on the way we stopped at a Rouses, their local grocery store, and holy shit! They had a full cafe, a full grocery store, AND a full liquor store all in this place. It was CRAZY! Back to the mall though. The department stores are three stories, but the rest of the mall was only one (To date, one of the dumbest designs I've ever seen for a mall). There were absolutely no stores (outside of J.C. Penney) that I would shop at. I went in to a Teavana and they laughed at how much sugar I wanted in my tea. I thought this was the south? (I used to get a full cup of sugar in my tea. It wasn't until one of the employees told me that I needed so much because no one was letting the sugar melt.) We then stopped at an Italian restaurant right outside of the mall (Which was MUCH better than the Italian restaurant in Akron) where I ate a pepperoni and sausage calzone thing. It was fucking amazing! On the way back, we stopped at one of the famed cemeteries and took some pictures (I highly doubt this cemetery was famous. But it was cool.). My mom really wanted to go. It was cool, all the graves are overground. It was a fun little endeavor. A lot of the graves were so old that the family either died off or they lost touch with their family. There were a lot of people who died in the mid-late 1800's. After this, we stopped at the bar across the street which I can't remember the name of. I ordered a Sam Adams and it came out tasting like complete shit. Like there was still cleaning fluid in the pipes. So, I went up and returned it. The guy was understanding and I exchanged it for a Sam Adams seasonal flavor. (Back before I understood what craft beer was. At the very least it was a Sam Adams and not a Bud) We all went back to the hotel, got ready, and got a taxi back out to Bourbon Street. Stormy and I signed up for a voodoo tour, and my parents went out to the casino. The voodoo tour was awesome. It taught everyone the history of voodoo and why it has the bad reputation it does now. We went to the crossroads, we saw Marie Laveau's house, we learned how voodoo parallels Christianity. (We got to see a career trucker pretend to be a palm reader. We got to watch her embarrass herself.) It was very informative and a lot of fun. I suggest everyone does it. After our tour, we got buy one get one hurricanes at the bar next door. I've never had a hurricane before. This is awesome! We bought our hurricanes, I sucked mine down... And was dizzy as hell. Oh boy. How much alcohol is in this thing? (Answer: Enough to make a very drunk Mark.) Stormy then went to Spirits again and we both got a Resurrection. I sucked this down. Then Stormy wanted a buttery nipple shot. Bottoms up! Then we got a hand grenade, the "strongest drink in New Orleans" and the arch rival of Spirits (And my least favorite drink in New Orleans). If you haven't seen the Bar Rescue episode, the bar that sells the Hand Grenade (I can't remember the name off the top of my head) (Turtle Bay) had three owners. One got bought out and started another bar that was failing miserably and trying to continue to sell Hand Grenades under a new name. Jon Taffer comes in, creates Spirits, then created the Resurrection for them. Anyways, I'm four drinks in, and we're walking through Bourbon Street and I tell Stormy we need to get some food to soak some of the alcohol up. We stop at a place called Willy's (or some variation of that spelling) and I think we both got chicken strips. They were good (in a "I'm drunk and need food" kind of way). The others in the bar were mesmerized by our flashing skull cups and asked us where we got them (There were others drunker than I was. And yes, flashing skull cups are awesome while drunk). We sent them to Spirits. My parents saw us through the windows and joined us. We then went down Bourbon Street and there were Christians preaching on the street. One of them handed me a flyer and I told them I was already saved. He then told me "Well, you have to be reborn, so I highly doubt that." I cut him off and said, "Yeah, I did that too." and he simply said, "I doubt that" as I walked away. I then walked to the guy who was singing on the other end of their group and tried to hand him the flyer. He simply kept turning as I tried to shove it in his hand. I eventually just threw it at him and asked, "Have you heard of Jesus Christ?" This isn't my last run in. (If you thought the Christians in Ybor were funny, these guys upped them by 100. They even brought a mini karaoke machine with them to sing their religious songs.) We kept walking and I had to PEE! So, I see a nearby bar and start walking when my dad tells me, "Mark, you don't want to go in there." I tell him, "I have to PEE!" and I keep walking. (I heard Brenton knows of this bar) I see a lot of good looking men (pretty boys I believe you call them) as I walk into the bathroom. I see that there's just a trough to pee in and I turn to the guy next to me and exclaim, "they have this set up so we can see each other's johnsons!" The guy just looked at me and said, "wouldn't be the first time." (Still didn't take the hint) We leave the bar and go to find a taxi... But not before running past the Christians again. I walk up to one, take a flyer, and tell him, "I just took a holy shit. Am I saved?" He just laughed and said, "I don't think so." I then try to sell the singing man on his bullshit and then I hail a taxi. Hotel. Pizza. Sleep.

Then Sunday comes. We looked to find a Rouses to get some gifts for people, and because I wanted a "gourmet rootbeer" that everyone was bragging about. It was ok, nothing amazing. (We literally spent an hour looking for this store so I could get this root beer... And it was just "ok." We did buy some stuff for other people though. However, I learned when I got back to Tampa, most of the things that were sold in this store are also sold at the Fresh Market down here. Right down to the king cake.) Then we went to the abandoned Six Flags and snuck under the gate. It would've been a lot more fun if there wasn't a security guard. I saw an entrance on the other side of the park that I will use next time I go back. Then we went to the French Quarter (during the day this time) and experienced the street performers. The tin man is one of the coolest things I've ever seen. It was amazing. We go some shopping, ride the street car, and experience Canal Street (One of the most beautiful streets in America, I am convinced.). My dad wants to go to the hotel and I'm hungry. So, we head back, stop at a little fish market that claims to have the "best crawfish in New Orleans" (despite the fact that they were in New Orleans East, and not New Orleans). I go in and tell the girl, "I heard you had the best crawfish in New Orleans!" She scoffed and said, "Who told you THAT?" And I replied with, "Your sign." Then the guy behind the counter offers me one and teaches me how to eat it. It was spicy as fuck and not very good anyway. I order the chicken strips, as does Stormy, and we take it back to the hotel. To say that this food made McDonalds look like a restaurant on Kitchen Nightmares is an understatement! The food was fucking nasty. Worst fries I've ever had, and the chicken tasted like it was fried, frozen, and then refried again (In hindsight, it probably was). My dad wants to stay in for the night, so my mom and dad are looking for some bullshit chain to eat at. I refuse. They go on their own, and I called a taxi. Back to Bourbon Street! We had some drinks and got a table at a restaurant on the second floor. We ate on the balcony. It was amazing. A fight broke out below us (One of the most confusing fights I've ever seen. It was a mini brawl, with about ten people trying to break up two guys. Then two girls started fighting. Then the guys started fighting again. I don't even know what happened.). It was fun. I had a shrimp Poboy (one of the best sandwiches I've ever had) and Stormy had a steak. We head down and the bouncer of the club the fight broke out at tells us that it's free cover. I tell him I just saw a fight break out in there. He tells me that they're gone now. And I tell him, "no." and keep walking. We ended up at a place called "Saints And Sinners" that's owned by actor Channing Tatum. The bartenders were funny, the people were cool, the drinks were... Ok. We all sat around bullshitting, then we walked down Bourbon one last time before hailing a cab and heading back to the hotel. Sleep.

Monday comes and it's time for the LOOOOOOOOOOOO(OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO)NG drive back home. We stopped in Mississippi and went to the Singing River Mall, which is even more dead than the Festival Bay Mall in Orlando (And is now closed). They had a J.C. Penney, a GNC, and a Belk (And now, they've torn it down to rebuild an open air mall in it's place. I'm curious how that worked out, as Festival Bay tried rebranding in the exact same way. I don't think it helped.). The J.C. Penney was closing, and the inside of the mall was blocked off. We ate at the McDonalds across the street (Just for clarity, we actually did this before going to the mall) and went back to driving. We stopped at a Sonny's for dinner (In Ocala, I believe it was), had one of the worst meals ever (With a waiter who thought he was a country Fonz), and that was the last stop we made before heading home. We got home 12 hours later (thanks, Central Time Zone), handed out some of our gifts, then headed to my house and I passed out. Overall, New Orleans is what Tampa would have been if Tampa had ANY drive to be a big city (Well, with Mayor Buckhorn, we're getting there slowly). New Orleans proved that Tampa could be a big city and chooses not to. Was it more fun than Atlanta? That's a loaded question. I got to do everything I wanted to here. Bourbon Street and the French Quarter total are absolutely beautiful. And it's a lot of fun. The bars are amazing, the signature drinks are amazing, and the food is amazing. If you get the chance, go. No question, just do it. Do all the tourist things too. You wont be disappointed. I will be back again soon. In the meantime, Stormy says she wants to see Atlanta. Happy travels.

Since this trip, we still haven't seen Atlanta. I need to get my car up to par before making a drive that far. Maybe I'll rent a car and make the drive. I don't know. I do want to do that trip again. New Orleans is probably the most fun you can have in a city outside of maybe Las Vegas. It started my six states in three years initiative. Next on my list, if all goes as planned, is Knoxville, Tn. Maybe I'll be able to hit Nashville also. It's time I start traveling more. BUT, before all of that, I will be going back to Akron, and we will be stopping in Cleveland (you know, since we're flying in there). We'll be seeing the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame while there also. Until next time.

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