London Day 2 – Walk, Walk, Walk, Crawl, Crawl, Crawl

Today we had some pretty cool adventures. Mickey and I spent several hours on a free walking tour where we hit most of the big locations and then we meandered around Piccadilly going into some of the most touristy shops I’ve ever seen in my life. On the tour we heard a ton of really cool stories which I will do my best to capture for you even though I’m pulling them from memory.

I’m going to butcher the names of a couple of these places so be prepared for some silliness. The tour started out at a place called Belushis pub where a bunch of people were gathered up and then herded onto the tube. We came out in a pretty cool park where there were war memorials that surrounded a gigantic triumphal arch. As the tour started they told us all about this giant arch and how the French and English were fighting and during the fights the French started to build an arch of triumph… Then the English won. So because of their victory they were like, “take that France! Now we are gonna build a better arch” but unfortunately they totally failed and theirs was significantly smaller. So then they made a statue that doubled the arches size and it looked hilarious and quite ugly. Since then they’ve made a few changes however and now in my opinion it looks lovely. From there it was a quick jaunt down constitution road to buckingham palace where the changing of the guards was taking place.

We were told of a few different break-ins at buckingham and my favorite one revolves around an Irishman. He made the decision to hop the fence and wander his way over to the palace where he discovered an open window. Climbing in he went down into the basement, and as a notorious drunk, was very pleased to happen upon the wine cellar. He then found a bottle to his liking and went on his merry way. Of course the bottle was quite nice and the guard was unable to discover who had taken it but instead of taking extra precautions they said to themselves that nobody is stupid enough to come back again.

Several months later he had a hankering to see more of the palace and so he hopped the fence again. Instead of going down he made the trek up to the throne room where he hops onto the royal seat and has himself a grand ol’ time. All this while alarms are being set off… and instead of going to look the guard says to himself “no way could anyone get passed the guards and the walls and into the palace, the alarm must be broken I’ll go and turn it off.” The Irishmen decides he’s tired and could use a lay down so he heads to the bedrooms… The queens specifically where she happens to be fast asleep. Upon waking to find a strange man in her room the queen keeps her composure, hits her emergency button (which does nothing as the alarm system is off) and asks how he is doing. They have quite the chat and then when she’s had enough the queen who doesn’t smoke asks if he would like to have a cigarette. She then calls her maid and requests a smoke for the strange man in her bedroom. The maid then raises the guard and he gets wrestled from the building. They wanted to put him in jail for the rest of his life but at the time the palace was public property… So he was unable to be charged with anything.

As this is getting quite long I will omit the other stories and instead list the other cool places we saw. Henry the VIII palace, statue of the Duke of York, Trefalagar square, the Horseguard square (this has a different name but I’ve forgotten) Westminster Abby, Big Ben, and we finished the tour off at a pub called the Old Monk which is rather famous! That evening we went on an adventure of a pub crawl where we met some really awesome people from all over! Bonded with two floridians named Matt and Mike and met people from Australia, New Zealand, and Russia. Mickey and I ruled the dance floors and convince many people that sitting around shouting at each other was way less fun than dancing our hearts out! Included in the pub crawl ticket was a free shot at each bar and happy hour prices on all drinks. So needless to say we were all having a grand time of it. Mickey and I were thoroughly impress with ourselves as we figured out the night bus system which at first glance seems very simple and absolutely is not!

I’ll do my best to update a bit more often but it’s tough to just sit down and write when all this awesomeness is going on. As the bartenders at our hostel say Ta everyone!

Advertisements

Day 1 London – Exhaustion Mixed with Jet Lag… Bad Combo

Sleeping on the plane, when you travel, from what I can tell is probably one of the best things you can do. The time will fly (pun not intended but appreciated) and you’ll land at least a bit more rested than when you started. The problem for my travel companion Mickey and I rests in our lack of rest. 8 hours of fly time from Minneapolis to Paris is a long time but as both of us exceed 6′ in height and aren’t twigs there was very little room for us to be comfortable. Layover in Paris was uneventful although we had to trek through security again and Mickey accidentally brought a full nalgene through and was forced to rummage through the garbage to find confiscated water bottles that he could pour it out in.

We met a lovely young lass from England on the hop over to London who basically planned our time in London for us. Took us awhile to find our hostel, not because it was that difficult to find, but more so because we could barely think straight. After being awake for over 24 hours neither of us were in any sort of mind to understand what was going on around us. Unfortunately we had forgotten that check in wasn’t until 2:00 so we had over 2 1/2 hours to kill. After getting extremely simple directions we immediately had no idea where we were going… But 1 block from the hostel was much to far to walk back to ask for directions again so we just kept on truckin. I’d go into some more detail about this adventure but… Being half awake Mickey and I can’t really remember details. At check in we then immediately went upstairs and laid down in our short, hard beds, in a blisteringly hot room and passed out feeling like kings.

Upon awakening we took off again, this time by the tube, making our way up to Camden Town. Camden was described to us as being very alternative with lots of live music and good ol’ fashioned pubs. We walked up and down the street taking in all the cool artwork on the buildings, the crazy outfits worn by basically everyone, and a crew of roughly 100 rollerblading fiends! Obviously we stopped at a pub called Bucks Head and ordered fish and chips and while there found Mickeys new favorite drink called Ferrari Jack. (Jack, amaretto, and coke) There we just took in the scenery still to tired to join in the craziness. Then afterwords on our trip back we stopped into The Worlds End “probably the biggest pub in the world” for a pint!

All in all a very interesting first day to an excellent adventure!

The reign of the xbox 720 is about to be

The reign of the xbox 720 is about to begin!!! some proof of the new illumiroom tech that will be coming with the xbox 720 (rumored to come out as soon as black friday) There are apparently no special effects in the video which absolutely blows my mind. Check it out and let me know what you think! http://ow.ly/gIiau

Connecticut Shooting: Flags at Half Staff

Please take some time to listen to what our President had to say on this mornings shooting as it is quite powerful to hear him speak not as a politician but as a father. For the facts take a look at this CNN.com article. My heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones and to the children who have had their innocence torn away from them much too early.

You can’t stop people who are crazy but instead you can work to build a society that produces less of them.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis: Taking Your Grampa’s Style

I remember last year when my good friend Joe and I were pretending to both be doing homework in the library when he started laughing. I had no idea that my mind was about to be blown by one of the most ridiculous music videos I’d ever seen called “And We Danced” by a rapper named Macklemore. We laughed at his antics; riding a horse called Tyrone (the only woman he ever truly loved), thrusting in very tight shiny spandex, wearing crazy wigs, and admitting that he “skeeted”, the list can go on for quite some time. After the next couple weeks of showing people how hilarious this video was Macklemore went back to being an after thought in our minds and we went back to bumping the more mainstream crap that is on the radio these days.

Then a few months later while chilling with some of my friends over at Augsburg College I heard someone say that this random rapper named Macklemore was going to be playing at their end of the year party… obviously I showed them the “And We Danced” video immediately and they decided that it made more sense to go elsewhere for entertainment. Man was that a mistake because this guy is so much more than his goofy antics. A couple of weeks ago Joe once again showed me another one of his music videos which absolutely shocked me. Expecting some of the same crazy antics his song “Same Love” off his new album called “The Heist” hit me real hard. The song is all about equality, specifically relating to gay rights, that according to Bob Boilen of NRP Music made not only himself but a room full of people cry. Macklemore puts thought to song creating a message of respect and rights for everyone. In his song called “Wings” he confronts the stigma that our clothes made us cool and that the brand can give us more than just a pair of shoes. While the song “Thrift Shop” continues what I automatically expect from this guy his music is very diversified creating an album that not only makes you laugh but can hit you on a more emotional level.

The top comment on this videos youtube page reads, “A breath of air into the motionless body that is Hip Hop. Hat tip to NPR and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.” -Lewis Bertolucci. This is exactly what I’ve been feeling listening to this music with a mixture of serious soulful and ridiculous hilarity Macklemore is bringing so much to the genre. I know that I’ve become a huge fan in the past few weeks, take a listen and let me know what you think in the comments below!

The Replacements have been Replaced

The touchception event on Monday Night Football created an immediate reaction on the social sphere of the internet. Yeah…Duh… not only was the catch creating waves but Green Bay O-Linemen T.J. Lang broke the twitter retweet record by several thousand within 36 hours. The total retweets continues to grow but as of earlier today it is at 96,340 retweets. Go check out this article giving you a much more intellectual look at what happened and although it does bring up Justin Beiber it is fairly intriguing.

As a football fan and fantasy football addict I must say that this whole thing crashing down on the NFL is just killing me. This past weekend I was at the 49ers Vikings game where I, along with thousands of other fans in the stands, sat for nearly 20 minutes waiting for the replacements to figure out if Toby Gerhart had actually fumbled the football or not. (Apparently he did but who really knows these days) Seeing ball placement off by several yards, essentially 5 time outs called in the second half by one team, and touchceptions becoming football reality I am so overjoyed by the return of the regular referees. While there have been times where the regulars have made pretty major mistakes the other option is much worse. Cheers to the replacements but….

With fantasy football the call last night definitely changed a few outcomes for those who started the Packers defense because in standard leagues the D-fense would have scored 11 points instead of 5.  I know that many people are kicking themselves for drafting Aaron Rodgers with their first pick because of how terrible he has started out but honestly I think that this past game will light the fire of their offense and they will work even harder to ensure that they are never again in a close game situation. Don’t fear Rodgers fans he will be back on top. Be sure to check back by the end of the week for the MUST START players of the week. With that inspirational message here are some of the best Memes I could find about the replacements. ENJOY

My high school gym teacher is located on the right side of this photo

Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Caine’s Arcade: Cardboard Arcade Goes Viral

Being able to see loved ones succeed is a fantastic experience, and in many cases for parents, watching their children succeed is even better than their own success. With this in mind I can’t imagine how Mr. George Monroy is feeling right with all the attention his used auto-parts store is now getting… not from his own business but because of his sons small cardboard arcade.

Caine is the kind of kid that needs to know how things work, he needs to create fun things, and he wants to bring joy to anyone and everyone he meets. This story of a little kid in L.A. is just plain inspirational and to see what a little bit of curiosity and creativity can become makes me want to do something cool as well.

 

I’ve watched this video several times now and each time it makes me smile. I love that this young kid wandering around his dads used auto parts shop decides to do something fun! This reminds me of those days when I used to make a pitcher of lemonade and bring a table down to the corner. I must say however that this idea trumps mine by far as it is way more original not only that but he’s also making way more money. While I pulled in maybe $5 for an entire day of trying to sell my sugary nectar the foundation that this video has started has raised over $170,000… yeah… that is actually how much has been raised by individual people. The Goldhirsh Foundation is helping out by matching every dollar raised (up to 250k) and that money will not only go to helping Caine get to college but also to help find, foster, and fund other creative young entrepreneurs.

While I’m not sure how Caine’s Arcade plans to help these kids there is a way that you can get involved in helping to ensure that kids are getting a better education and that, my friends, is through the Team NFL & United Way partnership. I hope that this little boy’s arcade gets you excited to help the youth of America and to foster this type of creativity in all. Wether it’s building an arcade or cutting a golf course into your grandparents lawn, (don’t cut it too short or you’ll get in trouble… trust me) kids are creative is so many different ways. Head to either Caine’s Arcade or United Way’s website to learn about donating your money or your time.

Now think back with me to childhood and share some fun stories from when boredom fueled something fun!

Undergrad Business Majors: Are We Screwed?

An article I read for class focuses on the way that business programs are changing to create more innovative, “think outside the bun” type of business students. You can check it out on The Wall Street Journal The title doesn’t seems to completely fit with the article but I really did enjoy the line, “The undergraduate degrees focus too much on the nuts and bolts of finance and accounting and don’t develop enough critical thinking and problem-solving skills,” and while I left out the part about writing long essays (gross) I completely agree with that here at Hamline. While the Hamplan forces us to take a broad range of classes, I would have much rather taken classes that are interesting and relate more to marketing as opposed to say managerial accounting or finance.

“Firms are looking for talent. They’re not looking for content knowledge, per se,” This of all the lines in the entire article speaks volumes for me. I know a few people who’ve been outside the world of academia for a few years who say that they really haven’t used much of anything that their degree taught them in the actual business world. It seems as though most of what we learn comes from the job or training for the job and the rest comes from the talent we already possess. I’m not trying to say that there is no reason to get the degree (I am still here) but more that learning facts and theories can only get you so far and without a decent amount of talent you’ll just stall.

Years back if you had an undergrad degree you got a job… now it’s beginning to look like we need to go and get our masters. Will this soon transfer to the doctorate? I refuse to go through that much school so I really hope this isn’t the way its going to go. What do you think? Are we progressing to a world full of Dr’s?

Facegram… Instabook… How Will the Merger Affect Instagram

There has been quite the explosion over the news that Facebook has purchased Instagram for $1 billion and the majority of it has been extremely negative. I found this article HERE that was both negative and optimistic. I believe this author really hit the nail on the head as far as how Facebook should handle this merger, taking a google & youtube approach as opposed to the many other messy mergers that killed some great products. I don’t yet have an iphone but one of the things that I’m most excited about is the ability to take solid pictures anytime I want and with my current phones camera being broken I really miss the ability.

One thing that really sticks out from the article and from what many people on twitter seem to be worried about is that this merger will cause Instagram to become a cog in the ever-growing machine that is Facebook. I can see where they are coming from but if FB makes sure to keep instagram a separate entity there could be fantastic opportunities for growth with the social media powerhouses resources. With the uproar and people leaving the site so that facebook didn’t have their photos anymore I must say that I think the general public is overreacting. I’m excited to see where this is going and I don’t think that Zuckerberg will screw this up. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!

“Creativity is the Residue of Time Wasted” – Albert Einstein

Thank you Mr. Einstein! I know that the phrase wasting time has some bad connotations that come with it but at the same time there is evidence proving those connotations to be false… well, false in the sense of creativity. Some of the best ideas I’ve ever had have come when I am just “shootin the shit” with friends out to eat, having a drink, playing beach volleyball. When I discuss my schedule with other students in classes as well as with my good friends we have such a difficult time finding a time to meet up. Everyone is way too busy! Ensuring that we have a bit of time to actually follow Einsteins suggestion is the key to not exploding with stress.

When I talk about completely pointless things with my  friends different jokes, stories, and the continuous dishing of crap makes me think of different connections that I would never have before.

‘‘Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences than other people.’ -Steve Jobs

So with this long weekend it is my suggestion to all the students out there to not just participate in Thirsty Thursday with gusto but also to go out and do something recreational. Waste your time! You never know what you’ll come up with.