My Top 5 Music Bands

When I was in college I worked at the campus radio station and I had a blast there because I was given the late night classic rock show that was hosted by an older alumnus for a long time. I went in the stacks and found a lot of great classic rock albums from rare and established rock artists and it was during my time at the station that I developed a liking for all kinds of classic rock bands. Over the years I purchased albums from artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Moody Blues, The Doors and Fifth Dimension. Altogether I have about thirty albums in my basement and I’m always on the lookout for unreleased material from legendary artists online or at local record stores. Here are my top 5 music:

  1. Fleetwood Mac. I must say at the start that I mainly enjoy Fleetwood Mac’s music from the years before the late 80s because I feel that by the time the late 80s rolled around, the group lost their edge with sappy songs such as “Big Love” and “Tell Me Lies” although those songs sounded okay. This group started out as a bluesy rock band in the mid 60s and by the 70s they created their signature slick yet still raw sound, especially the popular 70s album Rumours, which I play all of the time. In fact my mom, who was a hippie college student in the 70s, gets a kick out of how I listen to Fleetwood Mac constantly. She even sings along with every Fleetwood Mac song with as much joy as she did back then. On the other hand, my girlfriend hates this group. She even tried to throw away my “Rumours” album at one point but I forgave her for that.
  2. Steely Dan.  This classick rock group may not have the “in your face” lyrics or the heavy drumming and wild guitar riffs like some other classic rock bands but this group sounds great because they have some of the bluesy and at times gritty sound that I like in rock music. After all we wouldn’t have rock music if hadn’t been for blues and jazz that preceded it. Returning to why I like the group Steely Dan, I enjoy the fact that they sing about some of the harsh realities of life as seen in their album Royal Scam. This group can also pump out love songs although I think they sound a bit corny. I think Steely Dan’s music fits well in either a smoky bar or at a popular coffeehouse where the wannabe hipsters hang out sometimes.
  3. Santana. I think it’s so funny that Carlos Santana is now getting into the shoe business with his line of beautiful women’s shoes when I think about his longstanding rock career as the leader of his group Santana. I like how he infuses funk, jazz and blues into his songs and when I think about the group Santana I think about idealistic and zoned out youngsters at Woodstock. His guitar riffs are filled with so much passion and serenity at the same time and I feel this is why he has maintained his popularity and influence. He has a ton of albums that I love but my favorites happen to be his rare albums that are not discussed often by rock music critics. These albums tend to be experimental and less commercial and the songs are even longer for my enjoyment.
  4. Jimi Hendrix Experience. Jimi Hendrix Experience was a classic rock group that had most if not all of the standard elements of what rock music was all about back in the day. Jimi Hendrix had his own  individual way of playing the guitar and his singing style was a neat mixture of blues and rock spices that screamed to audiences and everyone else through his albums. Even his wardrobe was matchless in that it was eclectic and eccentric at the same time. There is one artist that comes somewhat close to Jimi Hendrix Experience in my opinion and that is Prince and the Revolution. Like Jimi Hendrix, Prince is is own artist and believes strongly in
    maintaining creative control over his music.
  5. Avril Lavigne.  Avril Lavigne is not your run-of-the-mill pop star; she is one of those slender body bad girls of contemporary rock who reminds me of Joan Jett, Pat Benatar and Blondie during the early 80s. Avril Lavigne has a bold approach to her music and she could care less for candy coated lyrics and syrupy mentality that dominates today’s pop music scene. I like how she deals with complex relationships in her songs and she dresses in an edgy way.

My Other Rambling Thoughts on Classic Rock

Sometimes I wonder what’s up with the committee who picks people to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of  Fame. Other rock fans have felt that there are certain rock artists who deserve to be inducted but who have yet to be inducted and that there are other rock fans who feel that the ones who are inducted should not have been chosen in the first place. A friend of mine and fellow classic rock fan told me that he wasn’t pleased with the fact that Nirvana was chosen into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame because he felt that although this band contributed to the grunge scene in the 90s, they didn’t have nearly as much of an impact on rock as Led Zeppelin or Jefferson Airplane.

Conclusion

Classic rock laid the foundation for today’s rock and pop music but I’m not impressed with today’s rock  music because it’s so far away from what rock used to be about. How did we get from Jimi Hendrix to this corny group Hansen within a period of thirty years? Just like a mass of people turned their backs on disco and embraced punk and new wave in the 70s, I wouldn’t mind leading a charge to turn our backs on Katy Perry and One Direction.

My Experience With A Technology Exhibit in New York

My Experience With A Technology Exhibit in New YorkIt’s me Morgan, your geeky tech expert and as always I’ll discuss all things technology (which sometimes bores my girlfriend.) Anyway, I want to talk about a technology exhibit I attended in New York City called Gadgets For The Body And Mind. This exhibit lasted a good three weeks but I only attended the first two weeks since I had to return to my video production project that I’m working on for a new client for my freelance business. I saw a lot of geeks there but a few were actually posers because when I discussed technology topics with them, they looked clueless. Here are some highlights of that exhibit.

Someone’s Watching You With Gadgets

I embrace certain conspiracy theories and when I saw a line of popular spy gadgets that law enforcement officials and regular people use to spy on people, I was not too happy. For example, I heard about this super small surveillance camera that can be drilled inside any home appliance or even implanted in your purse or suitcase. In addition to this, an attendant showed me a few GPS systems that look like pocket calculators that can be installed in or underneath cars. I visited a seminar within the exhibit that showcased computer programs that allowed someone to monitor all computer activity and I was really upset when I learned about the latest gadgets in cell phone surveillance.

Gadgets Funded By Crowdfunding

While I was at the technology exhibit I found out that increasing number of gadgets are being created using money that was raised with a tool called crowdfunding. With crowdfunding you sign up with a website that specializes in this and you seek funds from the website’s visitors. You would discuss why your idea is relevant and you would discuss how much money you need to raise. As you receive the funds you can use them to fulfill your lifelong dreams. The Neptune Pine is a smartphone that is funded by crowdfunding and it looks like it will be popular in coming years. This smartphone  is actually a smartwatch since it fits on your wrist and you can operate it like a standard phone.  This gadget operates on an Android system, comes with a SIM card and has 32G of memory, which is good for downloading multiple apps. There is also a type of wearable technology called Ring, which follows your commands through hand gestures.

Conclusion

I had a great time at the technology exhibit and it is amazing how far we’ve come with technological advances. I now have a pair of Google Glasses that I bought at the exhibit, and these glasses let me answer messages, respond to digital reminders and I can set and use voice commands, which helps me multitask during the day. I also bought a few books that went into detail on the newest technology, and all of the seminars were helpful. I’m getting ready to add new songs to iTunes but I’ll write another post soon.

photo credit: CeBIT Australia

Full Body Workout with the Power Rack

So, I was feeling out of shape lately since I have been busy with work. I live in New York City and that should be enough to tell you what it is like living there. Everything is fast-paced with the morning rush, crowds, and tourists trying to get from one notable NYC site to the next. Another thing about New York City is the food. Pizza, hot dogs, and other delectable dishes are easy to get and with the bodegas, there is plenty of junk food to snack on. Anyway, back to feeling out of shape. I figured that I should do something about it. I don’t want to go to the gym, especially since I don’t want to shell out money each month. I heard about a product that can help me exercise and burn the excess fat. So, I hit the sports store and found a piece of equipment that caught my eye.

I saw the power rack and figured, “Eh, why not?” After receiving and putting it together, I wanted to try out some exercises I saw when reading a couple of men’s fitness magazines. I didn’t just want to drop weight; I wanted to add a few pounds of muscles to my frame. Ladies would like to see KnitWit with some bulging biceps and appearing “yoked”. This simple piece of kit for full body workout blew my mind when I started to exercise six times a week, for three months.

At first, I was having trouble getting into it. I’m not used to using a power rack, but after watching a few weightlifting videos online, I became determined to build my dream physique. First, I did the power rack squats. These squats beef up the quads and strengthen the hamstrings and glutes (yes, my butt muscles). First, I put the bar hooks a bit lower than shoulder length. Next, I set the safety bars to a position that would help me squat at a depth of my choice. With my feet shoulder-width apart, I let the barbell sit on my shoulders. It was a struggle at first to bend my knees and make my thighs go parallel as I went towards the ground. Luckily, I had a friend who has experience with weightlifting to spot me. I do four sets of 8 repetitions with a minute to rest in between.

The second exercise I love doing is the power rack bench press. This exercise builds mass on your chest and triceps while working the abdominals.  I simply set the bar to the height I want, lift the bar carefully, and press the weight off my chest. Again, my friend was making sure it was done safely. I do about 4 sets of 6-8 reps with 3 minutes in between.

Some other exercises that I learned were shoulder presses, dips (for chest and triceps), and partial curls for my biceps. I did these exercises and after the first month, I noticed how easy it was to twist a jar of pickles! Okay, I’ve never had problems opening a jar, but all kidding aside, I did notice how easy it was to pick up boxes and carry groceries in a single trip. If you are looking for a piece of equipment to use for workouts, definitely buy the power rack. All I know is the power rack was a great investment for my overall wellbeing.

What I Learned from a Martial Art Class

Martial Art ClassYou know how you just tend to put on a few pounds during the colder months? Well, it’s definitely warmer outside now, but I was still having a hard time shedding that winter fat until just recently. Even my girlfriend was starting to comment about it and bug me to do something, so I went looking for a quick way to get rid of those extra pounds. I got a lot more than I bargained for in the process.

I had taken some self-defense classes in the past, but that really was in the past – many years ago, when I was still just a little guy. The Brazilian Jiu Jitsu program I enrolled in turned out to be more than just a self-defense class though. The experience was a highly positive one and that’s why I feel the need to share it with you here. Not only did I get rid of that extra weight, but I got into better shape than I’ve been in for years thanks to that Jiu Jitsu.

I’m breathing easier, I have more energy and my girlfriend and I both notice that I’m generally in a better mood since I started my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu program. I’ve read up on the positive effects of exercise on the body and mind, and it seems like I’m just enjoying the benefits which come naturally with getting up and getting active. At this point, I couldn’t really imagine going back to a lifestyle that didn’t involve some kind of physical fitness regimen.

As for the class itself, I’ve learned a lot already. It started off somewhat slow, but it’s not like you can just jump into some new fighting style and immediately be proficient at it, right? I went down several times in my first couple weeks, but I’m definitely better now than I was then. I’ve learned how to read people in a sense, looking at their body language to tell which way they’re going to move, or which arm or leg they’re going to swing or kick with, and then react accordingly.

I’ve got to admit, it does feel kind of nice having this knowledge about ways to hurt people who might attack me. There’s a certain peace of mind that accompanies being able to handle yourself in a fight. It’s a good feeling, and if that was all I got from my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class, I would still be happy with the experience.

The world is a dangerous place, you know? You never know what somebody’s going to say or do and it’s best to be prepared for a fight or flight situation so you don’t end up being just another victim. Thankfully, I haven’t had to use anything I’ve learned outside of class, but again, it’s better to be prepared rather than defenseless in the off chance that something bad does happen. I know, I probably sound like a Boy Scout right here, but they do teach a few solid lessons.

My Trip To Uncle’s House

Hey guys, it’s me Morgan and in this blog I’ll talk about my trip to my uncle’s house in Colorado. Nowadays his favorite place to visit is the local marijuana retailers and now that marijuana is legal in this state, he buys quite a bit of it. Since I know that marijuana prices would rise as the demand gets higher for it, I suggested that my uncle grow his own marijuana indoors so he can save money on the herb but then he told me, “I have a busy job and I just don’t have much time. You need grow lights to grow marijuana indoors and I’m not always able to buy a lot of grow lights and other necessary supplies. This is why I buy it instead.”

My Thoughts On Marijuana Legalization

I think it’s a good thing that marijuana is now legal in Colorado because the state’s residents no longer have to be criminalized for buying and growing marijuana; they can have better access to the marijuana and for many people this means an improvement in health conditions. For example, my uncle’s twin sons have epilepsy and when they use marijuana they notice a decrease in the epileptic seizures and headaches. My uncle struggles with multiple sclerosis and when the pain gets the best of him, he gets relief from marijuana.

The Neighbor’s Indoor Grow Room

My uncle has this quirky neighbor who lives across the street and  we visited the neighbor’s indoor growing room. The neighbor showed me an old indoor growing guide he had from a few years ago and he served tuna sandwiches to my uncle and I as we discussed tips on growing marijuana in a grow room. The neighbor told my uncle that the temperature of the grow room shouldn’t be too hot or cold and that a fan should placed in the grow room to cool the plants as they grow. My uncle also talked about how all the grow rooms he visited recently contained LED grow lights and how those lights that are energy efficient.

Marijuana Legalization Creates Jobs

My uncle mentioned to me while in Colorado that thanks to the recent legalization of marijuana in the state, it allowed for more people to become small business owners. He said that prior to the legalization, the town he lived in was filled with petty crimes that involved marijuana but now they can earn a living for themselves with what they enjoy. I agree and this could be the start of a new kind of economy in Colorado and posibly the rest of the country.

Conclusion

I enjoyed myself in Colorado with my uncle and as I checked out the marijuana shops and indoor grow rooms, I’m amazed at how far we’ve come over the past thirty or more years. I’m not ready to start my own grow room yet but at least I’ll have the knowledge I learned here to get started when that time comes.

Photo Credit: Don Graham

My Newest Awesome “Data Center” Video Project

Hello everyone! It’s good to see you all again. I suppose you’re wondering what I’ve been up to since my last post? Well, I will tell you: I have been touring a data center. Real exciting stuff I know, but the thing is there are actually a lot of really cool things to learn about data centers, most of which I’ve tried to include in my newest awesome data center video project. Before we get to that though, let’s talk a little bit about some of the stuff that a data center entails.

What Data Centers Are and Why I Made a Video Tour of One

I have to admit, when I first got the call from a friend of mine asking me to make a video tour of a data center, I was a little confused. I knew that data centers housed computers for businesses, but why would anyone want to tour that? My friend explained to me that some data centers are actually quite interesting places, saying that data centers make things happen, from architecting a concept to supporting the project once it becomes reality. He was able to convince me enough that I thought it might make an interesting video tour, but it took actually going there for myself to see how crucial data centers really are to our society.

Inside a Data Center

At first impression, the inside of a data center is exactly what you would expect: rows and rows of computers. Then the tour started, and I began to see just how much work and thought went into this place. My tour guide explained that since data centers already need immense amounts of power to keep them operating, it was crucial that the entire center was extremely energy efficient. Looking around, I could see why. There were more computers packed into that building than you would find inside a Best Buy storage facility, each one working away at…well, at this point I didn’t really know what they were working at.

So I asked my tour guide. He explained that data centers were used primarily to do all of a business’s heavy computing power. He even said how Google’s data centers were used to store the 20 billion internet pages that they had indexed. For the next few minutes, he went on listing all the various tasks a data center can perform, from architecting a concept, storing information, running simulations, and the list goes on. All in all, I have to say it gave me a knew-found respect for the lines of computers I was walking past.

 

Despite my initial doubt, making a video tour of a data center turned out to be a fun and fascinating project. I’ve learned a lot about just how crucial data centers are to our modern society and gained some insight into the types of tasks they perform. I hope that by reading this post you all are able to say the same. At any rate, it’s been great talking to you! I’m off to put the finishing touches on my newest awesome data center video project.

My Girlfriend Is Into Crossfit But Not Me

My Girlfriend Is Into Crossfit But Not MeThe other day I had a conversation with my girlfriend and although she thinks I look great for the most part, she feels that I should join her in Crossfit as a way of staying healthy and as a way for us to bond over a neat activity. I disagree with her because I don’t think I need a Crossfit coach to get physically fit and I believe that this program is a rip-off because it charges you for doing exercises and adhering to a diet that can easily be done on your own time and at your house. I’ m also not a big fan of going to gyms anyway but my girlfriend has made some friends while going to Crossfit classes. Before my girlfriend started Crossfit, she wasn’t as hyper-cautious about what she ate and how many calories she burned. Now she is getting a little nutty with this program in my opinion although I applaud her efforts.

What Is Crossfit Training

Crossfit is a fitness program where the coach teaches a variety of classes that emphasize strength training, weight loss, muscle toning and maintaining a healthy diet through low carb dieting. You would sign up for classes and you’ll attend a class each week in order to meet your goal. Some of the main exercises done in Crossfit include squats, bench presses, rope climbing, and push ups.

My Girlfriend Still Attempts To Convince Me

Today I picked my girlfriend up from her Crossfit training and she told me that her coach is starting a “mens only” CrossFit training class next week and that I should check it out at least once. I didn’t budge on my belief that Crossfit is not necessary for me and that the men in those training classes are probably somewhat arrogant regarding their looks. However, my girlfriend still thinks that I should join Crossfit because it will add some excitement to my life, and she said that she has lost weight due to it.

A Compromise?

After going back and forth with my girlfriend concerning Crossfit, I came to a quasi compromise. If I will attend some of the training sessions with her, she would learn more about my technological expertise and even get into some of it if she thinks certain gadgets would benefit her. I told her that there fitness apps that help her with Crossfit and she was sold on the idea.

Conclusion

I attended two to three training sessions of Crossfit and even though I’ll never join it permanently, I think compromise is a good thing if I want to make my sweetheart happy. My girlfriend is still excited as ever about Crossfit and I told her she should advertise for the company. Our closet is stuffed with CrossFit gear and other fitness equipment. Needless to say that quite pisses me off. I have been eating a paleo diet with her and I must say that I’m not as sluggish as when I would eat plenty of carbs and high fat foods.

photo credit: midwestnerd