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Thursday, September 28, 2006

New jacket

I bought a new blazer. I saw a Wilke Rodriguez Three-Button, Non-Vented Black Velvet Blazer online, and I just had to go see it. I liked it, so I bought it. Just to add one more to my collection. I now own two suits, two tuxedos, and three blazers. I think that's enough variety for now...


But I still want a white suit... :)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Concert: Los Lonely Boys and Carlos Santana

Normally, I don't enjoy concerts, but Eric W. won tickets, so he asked me if I wanted to go. Being half Puerto Rican, I do appreciate good Latino music. Eric is Chilean, so the Latino "brothers" went to the concert.

I should also apologize for the picture quality. I took them on my cell phone, and I used zoom, which automatically made the quality worse. But it's the thought that counts -- right?

We first stopped at CVS to pick up beer (because you don't go to a concert without at least one beer, much less a Santana concert), and we ended up with two 24 oz Coronas. I then ran into Giant, and purchased a single lime.

We found out there that drinking at the Nissan Pavilion was not allowed, unless you bought the stuff inside. Also, the rules stipulated that beer bottles and cans were not allowed, but cups were. We bought two plastic cups from a couple guys and enjoyed our Coronas outside. Then we went inside.

VIP parking and tickets are very worth it, BTW. VIP parking is a designated lot closer to the Nissan Pavilion with its own security and its own exit. Everything is faster, and so very nice. Plus, you get access to the VIP club, with its own bar, it's own small band area, its own dining area -- all top-notch stuff. Good times!

Of course, everything is expensive. The same beer we bought at CVS for $3 was $11...

Los Lonely Boys, who opened the show, were actually very good. They had a little bit of a blues sound to them early on, but then everything picked up, and they closed on Heaven, which is the only song of theirs that I remotely know. Their live performance of it was great. Most of the crowd was standing and dancing in front of their seats for that one.

Towards the end of Los Lonely Boys, we ordered some food: chips and spinach dip. It was really good. For the price we paid, we also got a lot of chips and a lot of dip. My only complaint, and this is such a little thing, is that it was really salty...

Then Santana came on. His first song started off really cool, and then just went crazy, and I mean in a not-so-good way. It didn't sound like their train had been derailed or anything, and it looked like everything was going according to plan, but I couldn't hear a discernible melody or beat, nor did I recognize the piece. Carlos Santana was directing them from center stage in the end with orchestra hit after orchestra hit. I didn't so much care for it, because it was all just noise. Then they got started on the real music. I could actually identify some of their following songs. Eric caught most of them before I did, but I'd expect that of Eric.

There was one song they did which was awesome. It started with an almost haunting trumpet solo, and then other instruments began to come in, and it turned out to be an incredible piece. I don't know the name of the song, but then again, I don't know a lot of Santana's songs, so it's no surprise. When they started Maria, Maria, the place went up in applause and cheers. Their live performance of it was really awesome. Shortly after that came Black Magic Woman, which Eric picked up before I did, and they closed on another really popular piece, Smooth, which was great as a closer, but just wasn't the same without Rob Thomas...

The concert was very cool, overall. I loved the fact that Santana attracted all ages, not just young punks and not just people who listened to him in the 60's. It was a very un concert. Eric and I had one problem: his preaching. It was all about universal love and compassion and how the truly compassionate ought to be in charge. I agree with the bit on the fact that mankind needs to learn compassion. However, his idea of the truly compassionate were people like John Lennon. Hippies in charge? I think not...

Monday, September 25, 2006

Busy Sunday

Saturday evening, I went to and sang at Vespers at Holy Transfiguration. On the way back to the apartment, I went to Tyson's Corner. Feeling somewhat lonely, I called home, but Mom wasn't there. I then called Elizabeth, my twin sister, but she wasn't there either. I finally called Jane, my older sister, and I started leaving a pathetic message, but then she picked up and interrupted my message...

So, anyway, I walked through the Tyson's Corner Galleria with her in my ears, looking for shoes. I went through Macy's, Jos. A Bank, and a few other stores. My phone started getting some pretty bad reception, so I had to let her go, but Jane said that it was loads of fun going for the ride and shopping. It was better than online shopping, because there was a human being on the other end. Either that, or the human being provided commentary on basically everything.

When I got back to the apartment, Alex and I watched Team America: World Police.

Sunday morning, I went to Front Royal for the normal stuff: choir practice, Mass, and select choir practice. After that, the rest of the day was spent with good friends and fun times. I played three games of racquetball with Draper, Francis and Tim (one of Francis's buddies). Then, we played about five games of wallyball (similar to volleyball, but in a racquetball court -- yes, there's a net). After that, I went to Dane's, where he, Jonathan and I played a new card game that he got called Three Dragon Ante. At 6:30 PM, I headed over to campus to help TJ and the birthday singers learn some new stuff. We practiced and critiqued for about an hour, and that was about it.

Upstairs, swing dance practice was going on. I saw Tim again and we got to talking. He really seems to like the college and its traditions. After a few minutes, Michael B. and I headed over to Dane's, and the two of us joined Jonathan, Dance and a small group of ladies who were watching Serenity. (I still haven't seen the entire movie, so I can't write about it yet.) After that, Michael, Jonathan, and I talked and joked around in Jonathan's room while Dane entertained the ladies. When the ladies left, we set up to play another game of Three-Dragon Ante, but this time we invited Tamby to play. She lives upstairs to Dane, so the summoning consisted on banging on the ceiling and then walking outside to talk.

Michael and I left about 11:50 PM, and met up with Joe P. The three of us went to join TJ and the others on the girls' side of campus for birthday singing. I miss the old crowd -- not last year's crowd, the original crowd. The guys my freshman year would gather en masse just for a girl's birthday and, among 20 guys, had an enormous repertoire, ranging anywhere from ballads, to arias, to folk, to rock, to ... basically anything... The current crowd has a significantly smaller repertoire, but that's mostly because they're still learning...

After that, TJ and I hot the town and got some stuff from 7-11. I picked up Gatorades and an energy bar for the drive back. TJ picked up ... TJ stuff...

Knowing that I would get really tired on the drive back, before I got onto 66, I stopped at the Apple House, got out of the car and stretched my legs for a couple minutes, just wandering around and breathing in deeply the crisp night air. Half-way back on highway 66, I got tired again, so I pulled over into a shopping center and took a catnap. I got going again, and arrived back at the apartment. But at that point, I was so tired, that I thought I'd just chill for a moment in my car (it was parked safely in the parking lot, have no fear). I think my moment of relaxation was closer to an hour of sleep, because I walked into the apartment after 4:00 AM, and didn't actually get to sleep until almost 5:00 AM...

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Team America: World Police

I have only one thing to say about this movie. It was pretty funny, but DON'T WATCH IT. Or if you decide to not follow my advice and watch it anyway, OK, but don't say I didn't warn you.

If I tell you it was from the makers of South Park, would that help you in your resolve? Probably not. Well, I've said my piece.

Lazy Saturday...

Thus far today, I've had intentions of getting this place cleaned up. Have I actually done anything about it? Kind of. I'm doing my laundry now. I went to the gym earlier on.

I got a call about 10:30 from Lizzie asking where I was, because people just weren't at choir practice. I guess I made a wrong choice to stay at home today. I just figured that everyone else would be there.

Theoretically, I have to go to Baltimore this evening for the conclusion of the movie I'm in. I just need to call Tremayne later to see if this actually is the case.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Another busy weekend

Marc-Pierre J., Christendom's Man of International Leisure, got married on Saturday. I sang with the Christendom Select Choir (that's the name until we settle on an official one) for that wedding. Fr. Anthony M. flew down NJ to say the Mass, and flew back almost as soon as it was done. I really wish that he could stay for longer, but even if he did, I'd probably not get much of a chance to chat with him. I talked to him for about a minute as we walked up to the church, and that's about the longest that I've talked to him as of late...

The choir then went out and had lunch. It was a fun time -- as usual, we talked about everything from roller coasters (I contributed to that) to intelligent and scholarly things (I did not contribute to that).

That evening, I wanted to go to Holy Transfiguration for Vespers, especially because I missed it last week, but I couldn't, because we had choir practice that evening at Sarah and Christine's. Sadly, the only choir people there that evening were Alaina, Sarah, Christine and me -- we couldn't really do much, mostly because all four of us already know the pieces that we're singing, and also a four-part choir sounds a little funny with only three parts (two soprani, one alto, and one bass). So instead of practicing, the four of us and Ken sat around, talked, acted goofy as all heck, and generally got a good amount of silliness out of our systems. Once we got it out of our systems, that wasn't the end because the silliness was gone -- it was the end because it was past midnight, and I opted to leave. For all I know the silliness continued well after I left...

  • Silly: Have you ever seen Christine bouncing on a stability ball, wearing sunglasses, and playing Scrabble, all at the same time?
  • Silly: Have you ever seen Ken and me dance like crazed clubbers around either Sarah or Christine (I forget who it was)?
  • Silly: Have you ever seen Alaina in a jingly skirt?
  • Silly: Sarah exists.

  • I spent the night at Dane's, so on Sunday morning, I wasn't too late for choir practice... Mass was as usual, and then I had to run out to town to get some cash. Sunday was Pat's bachelor party, consisting of paintball and a get-together at the McM.'s house, and I needed a little bit of money for the events. But before all that, the Christendom Select Choir had its practice.

    Before that practice, I ran out and changed into an almost-event-appropriate attire: my camouflage pants, green shirt, and green sweatshirt. After the practice, Ryan and I headed out for paintball. Half-way there, I realized that I had forgotten my sweatshirt, so the paintballs would come into direct (and blazing fast) contact with my skin.

    There were close to thirty guys there, all friends and family of the Mighty Pat. I got my gun and joined the orange team, which had the man of the hour on it. Sadly, we won only one out of six matches, but it was still fun. In retrospect, the place was the same one that I went to my freshman year, and, oddly enough, Pat was there, too, and also, oddly enough, he was on my team back then, too. Conspiracy? Probably not, but if it sounds good, then run with it...

    In the first game, I got shot up pretty quickly. It was very reminiscent of the first game I played there. I ran up the middle of the buildings in an attempt to grab the flag, but as I ran into the open, I got shot by about five paintballs all across the front. Only one of them broke skin, and that was on my left forearm. It left a nice little bruise and a couple small holes where I was bleeding, but overall, it wasn't that bad. The other paintballs left some pretty nasty bruises, but nothing else broke the skin.

    I should say that Dane was in an old suit and an old tux shirt. He got shot in the shoulder (yes, with the jacket on), and he started bleeding. I guess that someone had an above average paintball gun...

    After these matches, we all went back to Front Royal where we hung out at the McM.'s house and played some games. Ryan and I teamed up, and we scored a mighty goose egg (that would be a zero). After that, we sat around talking for a while until about 9 PM. I went to Christendom, where I joined a large group of people just in time for a game of Mao. I almost forgot the rules, but they quickly came back to me. Yeah, I got penalized, but hey, it was still fun...

    After that game, Draper and I sang some Eastern Chant for Emily. I then met Miss H., who I had met very briefly in Texas. She looked rather familiar, but I couldn't place her face until she introduced herself...

    Thursday, September 14, 2006

    Buffalo Wild Wings

    Last night, I went out to Buffalo Wild Wings, on a kind of an impromptu, spur-of-the-moment get-together. Ken, Alaina, Sarah, Alex and I had dinner over there. Not too long into the evening, who should show up, but birthday boy himself, Ryan O, escorted by the lovely Maria. We made room for them at the table, and Alex regaled us with stories of his family. 'Twas fun, until karaoke night started. We were all over 21, except Maria, and, thus, she couldn't stay. Fortunately for us, we were all ready to go at that point, especially when the karaoke-ers began crooning their tunes, proving to the world that there are worse singers than I...

    After paying quickly in order to speedily evacuate the premises, we followed through with our plans (evacuating the premises), and stood around outside. Ryan and Maria toked up a couple cigarettes outside, and Alex offered Ryan a real cigarette, a man's cigarette: the unfiltered camel. Maria gave Alex one of the worst looks I've ever seen her give when Ryan commented on how wonderful this real cigarette was, and how smoking the regular cigarettes just wouldn't cut it anymore.

    Peter K. and Denny P. also showed up at BWW's. Peter was on crutches, having twisted his ankle rather badly running down some stairs away from a girl. (She was probably a cannibal and ravenous -- I can't think of any other reason for Peter to run from a girl...) Denny was ... well, I guess he was OK. He was quiet. They went inside a couple minutes later after we all got briefly caught up with each other.

    After that, we all went our separate ways. At that point, I went to go claim my pants from Ken and Alaina's car. Alaina swore that those pants weren't there when she got out of the car. It turns out that I had asked Ken to take a look around for 38x34 jeans, and he had found them. They weren't cargo, but they were carpentar, and those would work pretty well. After picking those up, I went back to Herndon, and fell asleep on the couch doing whatever it was I was doing. I woke up about 20 minutes later to Alex telling me to go to bed. He's a wise man...

    Wednesday, September 13, 2006

    The Washington Capella Antiqua

    I just joined this choir. It'll be interesting getting to learn their style. Most of their music that is sung in Latin is pronounced with the classical pronunciation. That's hard enough to get used to. Also, the music pieces just beg for Renaissance touches: crescendo/diminuendo, increases and decreases in tempo, or other kind of vocal styles. However, that is not how this music was originally sung, so I'm trying to keep it all out...

    It should really get interesting when I have to sing transliterated Russian...

    Tuesday, September 12, 2006

    A heck of a weekend

    Saturday, went to confession first thing in the morning -- I'd wanted to go that day, but I wasn't sure if I would make any of the other times. It's cool going first thing in the morning. It's like a shower for the soul...

    I had choir practice at Christendom at ten -- I was a bit late, but that's to be expected. After choir practice, I worked on getting the Sentra up and running again. Ryan O. joined me, and he actually finished the job when I took off to go see Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest with Jonathan D., Michael C. and B., Daniel C. and another freshman.

    All I can say is that Ryan is the man for actually staying and working on it. He got the Acura that night, but we still have to do the paperwork on it. It's still officially mine, but he's got it...

    The Sentra ran just fine. I was expecting it to creak and moan since it hadn't been run in about three months, but it started up fairly smoothly. The battery was dead, but that's also to be expected.

    Sunday morning after I had choir practice and Mass, Jonathan drove me into town, where I purchased a new battery of the Sentra. That made a big difference in how quickly the car starts. It's pretty nice...

    When I got back to the church, shortly before the select choir practice, I went into the Commons. Emily's parents were in town, and I happened to be the only bass present, so I got called over, and we did a little bit of singing around a table.

    After that was the select choir practice. After that, I went to Old St. Mary's, and sang with the schola there for the 5 PM Solemn High Mass. Fr. Pope said the Mass just like he always does, and he gave a great sermon, even though I fell asleep in it. I know, I know, seems contradictory...

    I stopped by the apartment, and then drove back to Front Royal. I took Lizzie to Ruby Tuesdays, and we chatted for a while. I spent the night in Front Royal and drove in to work with Ken on Monday morning. I needed to call Trevor's Run and get a parking pass for my car before I could park it at the apartments, so I called them towards the end of the day, and got them to put a pass on the outside of their door. That evening, when I rolled in, I grabbed the temporary tag and I put it in my car. It was nice knowing that I would wake up the next morning and my car would not have been towed overnight...

    Monday, September 11, 2006

    Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

    My first reaction to Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest was: "Ooooooooo..." followed by comments on how it's such a great movie, and so much fun, as is usual for me.

    The actors were awesome! As usual, Jack Sparrow was played by Johnny Depp, who is a great actor. Kiera Knightly is the smashing Elizabeth Swann, and Orlando Bloom is Will Turner. It was such a fun movie. I highly recommend it. It was done in a way that had me at the edge of my seat through the whole movie, and it ends on a note similar to Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. It sets you up in such a way that you really want to see the third one, just for the fun of it!

    I highly recommend this movie to everyone, except really little kids. They might be terrified of Davy Jones and his crew, and if that doesn't scare them, the Kraken probably would...

    Of course, none of it scared me, because I'm a great big strapping lad...

    + + +

    Fifteen men on a dead man's chest,
    Yo ho ho, and a bottle of rum!
    Drink and the devil had done for the rest,
    Yo ho ho, and a bottle of rum!

    Monday, September 04, 2006

    A True Statement: Americans Take Notice

    Muslims who want to live under Islamic Sharia law were told on Wednesday to get out of Australia, as the government targeted radicals in a bid to head off potential terror attacks.

    A day after a group of mainstream Muslim leaders pledged loyalty to Australia and her Queen at a special meeting with Prime Minister John Howard, he and his Ministers made it clear that extremists would face a crackdown.

    Treasurer Peter Costello, seen as heir apparent to Howard, hinted that some radical clerics could be asked to leave the country if they did not accept that Australia was a secular state, and its laws were made by parliament. "If those are not your values, if you want a country which has Sharia law or a theocratic state, then Australia is not for you", he said on national television.

    "I'd be saying to clerics who are teaching that there are two laws governing people in Australia: one the Australian law and another the Islamic law, that is false. If you can't agree with parliamentary law, independent courts, democracy, and would prefer Sharia law and have the opportunity to go to another country, which practices it, perhaps, then, that's a better option", Costello said. Asked whether he meant radical clerics would be forced to leave, he said those with dual citizenship could possibly be asked to move to the other country. Education Minister Brendan Nelson later told reporters that Muslims who did not want to accept local values should "clear off ". Basically people who don't want to be Australians, and who don't want to live by Australian values and understand them, well then," they can basically clear off", he said.

    Separately, Howard angered some Australian Muslims on Wednesday by saying he supported spy agencies monitoring the nation's mosques Quote: "IMMIGRANTS, NOT AUSTRALIANS, MUST ADAPT. Take It Or Leave It. I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks on Bali, we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Australians." "However, the dust from the attacks had barely settled when the 'politically correct' crowd began complaining about the possibility that our patriotism was offending others. I am not against immigration, nor do I hold a grudge against anyone who is seeking a better life by coming to Australia."

    "However, there are a few things that those who have recently come to our country, and apparently some born here, need to understand." "This idea of Australia being a multicultural community has served only to dilute our sovereignty and our national identity. As Australians, we have our own culture, our own society, our own language and our own lifestyle."

    "This culture has been developed over two centuries of struggles, trials and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom"

    "We speak mainly ENGLISH, not Spanish, Lebanese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society, Learn the language!"

    "Most Australians believe in God. This is not some Christian, right; wing, political push, but a fact, because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented. It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools. If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture."

    "We will accept your beliefs, and will not question why. All we ask is that you accept ours, and live in harmony and peaceful enjoyment with us."

    "If the Southern Cross offends you, or you don't like A Fair Go", then you should seriously consider a move to another part of this planet. We are happy with our culture and have no desire to change,and we really don't care how you did things where you came from. By all means, keep your culture, but do not force it on others.

    "This is OUR COUNTRY, OUR LAND, and OUR LIFESTYLE, and we will allow you every opportunity to enjoy all this. But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge, Our Christian beliefs, or Our Way of Life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great Australian freedom, 'THE RIGHT TO LEAVE'."

    "If you aren't happy here then LEAVE. We didn't force you to come here. You asked to be here. So accept the country YOU accepted."

    Maybe if we circulate this amongst ourselves, American citizens will find the backbone to start speaking and voting the same truths!!

    Busy weekend

    On Friday, since it was First Friday, there was Holy Hour at Christendom. I actually made it in time for the choir practice and the Holy Hour. It's been a while, and I really needed to get away from the pressures of the world, and escape into the quiet of the church...

    After this, a large group of us went to Spelunkers for ice cream. It consisted of most of the select choir. We got there about 8:30 PM, and sat around chatting and being silly until about 9:30. After that, I headed back to the apartment.

    Saturday was spent prepping for a party. Alex and I had decided that we needed to have a party at the apartment, first of all to get the place cleaned up (because it was a mess) and also show off the new furniture and dishes what we had bought when Pat moved out. Saturday morning, Josh, Alex, and I went to Costco and purchased the food. We basically walked into the store without much of an idea of what we wanted to do. We landed upon a hunk of pork, and built from there. We bought pineapple, BBQ sauce, honey, and some other stuffings. We ordered a pizza for lunch, since we hadn't had anything to eat yet. The afternoon was spent cleaning up the place...

    On Sunday, after Mass and the select choir practice, Josh and I drove back to the apartment. Josh began cooking, and Alex and I made the finishing touches on cleaning up the place. I completely forget to get parking tags, so I had to drive people from a distant parking lot to the apartment. Lizzie and Emma were the first to show up, followed by MikeE, Carissa, Ken, Alaina, and Sarah. We ate, played some videos online, played Apples-to-Apples, and also sat around chatting. The party went pretty late, and the people left (oddly enough) in the same order that they arrived.