Monday, March 14, 2011

I'll add a title later...

You know, I’ve never considered myself a very good student.  Once I left my private, Catholic grade school to the public school for 7th grade I realize it wasn’t as difficult as before, and realized I didn’t have to try as hard to get by.  I never recovered that sense of motivation and cruised through both Junior High School as well as High School doing the bare minimum of work that was required of me. I don’t know if this was the beginning or even if it has anything to do with my now pronounced routine of procrastination.

I have a bad habit of putting schoolwork of till, oh I don’t know, 3:43 a.m. the day its due. Why? I don’t know, I am distracted very easily and I’m pretty sure I have at least a mild case of A.D.D., though I’ve never been tested. I always manage to find better things to do instead of homework.  Whether it is browsing Reddit, playing Halo, watching TVs, or even finding food, anything sounds better than doing homework.

This whole procrastination setting that I find myself in so often is the reason I had a marathon blogging session today. Let me tell you, it wasn’t one of my best days.  I realized that I was never cut out to be a “blogger.” I have a hard enough time finding things to say in everyday conversations and having to think of 350 words about an obscure topic was daunting to say the least. To repeatedly do this all day was rough, but I finally reached the end.  One would think that days like today would help me stop procrastinating and actually start doing work at a reasonable time, but it has had no effect thus far, hopefully a change will come at some point because this gets old rather quickly, and it ends up taking a much longer time then it would if I just sat down and got everything out of the way in the beginning. 

Lent! - Dun Dun Dunnn

As you may or may not know, I was raised into a Catholic family.  This means that this time of the year is Lent for my church.  Typically, practicing churchgoers give something up for Lent that they would normally indulge in on a regular basis.  The idea is to realize what you take for granted, so that when Easter rolls around you realize what you have and learn from it. This also helps people improve their lives or diets in some way.  Not eating so many sweets, not drinking alcohol, and quitting smoking are a few examples of what one could give up for Lent.  It is a period of 40 days from the beginning of Lent till Easter, when it ends.

Last year, I gave up soda, which I was drinking in excess.  It went especially well, as I became especially fond of the school cafeteria’s lemonade and flavored lemonade.  I made it through the 40 days without much of an incident and even continued to drink less soda afterwards.

This year I decided to step it up a notch. Soda. And Candy. That’s right that’s two things I’m going to try to go without for the duration of Lent. Some of you may be thinking, “Okay, what’s the big deal?” If you know me at all you know that I LOVE candy. Absolutely love it. For Valentine’s Day, my girlfriend literally gave me a bag full of assortments of candy. Best. Gift. Ever. That candy didn’t last very long. It’s going to be interesting as to how I do with this addition. I’m fairly confident that I wont have any serious repercussions from it, and maybe I’ll even learn to cut back on my sugar intake for a while. Regardless, it will be a test of mind and body, well, mostly mind I guess, I’m not entirely dependent on my Skittles.



The picture above is one I did recently.  It is from a picture I found online of a Spartan from Halo. I used the picture online to freehand the drawing. I really liked how it turned out, and its one of my favorite pieces that I have done to this date.  It took a while to make, but I feel that the end result was worth the effort.  My favorite part of this particular drawing would have to be the armor/helmet.  I really like how it came together.  One thing that I found wrong with it would definitely be the sniper rifle.  It isn’t exactly straight towards the end, and is shorter than it should be. Overall though, I was thoroughly pleased with this piece, and hope to do similar works in the future.

This is also a very recent work.  I am a very big fan of dragons, so this one was perfect for me.  The dragon in this sketch is Shenron, from Dragonball Z, an animated TV show.  I loved the show growing up, which is just another reason I wanted to draw this particular dragon. I really, really like how it turned out.  I put a lot of effort into this piece, as it was a very detailed picture. I used the same strategy as the previous picture, using a picture online as a reference to create it.  The “glow” around him with the background shading was my personal touch. This is definitely one of my favorite pieces that I have done, because it turned out so well. I even recolored it in Photoshop numerous times, which gave it a really cool effect.  You can view the different colors in the pictures below!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

My Fight With Food

For as long as I can remember I have been the pickiest eater that I know. I thought it’d be interesting and different to talk about some of the food that I hate, and also some that I enjoy.

It is pretty common knowledge that if a food is green, I probably won’t touch it. I don’t know why I hate vegetables so much, but the only one I will ever eat is a potato, and I love potatoes. I do a little better with fruits, as I’ll eat apples, bananas, and grapes, as well as the occasional pear. This means that I don’t like salad, which a lot of people do.

I have discovered over the years that I dislike certain foods that most people love. One such example is peanut butter. I. Hate. Peanut butter. I don’t know what it is about it, but any time I try to eat peanut butter I gag, and the smell alone sickens me.  This caused some problems when my parent would make lunches for us because I wouldn’t eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Along with this, I don’t find nuts tasty at all.  This eliminates most candy bars from my diet, such as PayDay’s, or Baby Ruth’s, or 100 Grand.  As if this didn’t eliminate enough candy bars, I also don’t like caramel, which clears out most of the rest.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, I find it extremely hard to drink milk unless it is chocolate or in my cereal.  I also don’t like macaroni and cheese, which most people seem to love. Another food that I won’t eat is seafood.  Fish, shrimp, crab, you name it - I probably wont eat it.  This has made it very difficult for my mom to cook at home as she wants to make stuff I’ll eat, while making her favorite foods as well. All because of my pickiness.

Halo - My Hobby

So, video games.  I loooooove video games.  Especially first person shooters.  These are the games where your view is what it would be as the character. You can only see what you would actually see if it was you.  Examples of these games would include the James Bond series, the Call of Duty series, and my personal favorite: Halo.

Halo is a game set into the future.  It has a campaign mode with a story line about an impending alien horde.  I’ve personally never been a big fan of the campaign because my focus has always been on what made the Halo franchise so immensely popular – the online multiplayer.

Bungie, the developer of Halo, created the pioneer of online gaming through this series.  Now other titles, such as Call of Duty: Black Ops, have taken the world by storm and there are a ton of new games that have online multiplayer capabilities. Most games made for the Xbox 360 today have some sort of online aspect to it, whether it is competitive, meaning against others, or cooperative, such as joining together to help each other out.

One of my favorite things associated with the Halo franchise would be its part in MLG – Major League Gaming.  The world’s best players get together over the course of the season to battle it out, 4 v 4, to see who is the best in the world.  The top 8 teams make it to the final tournament where the winning team receives 100,000 dollars! That’s a lot of cash, especially for playing a video game. 

The tournaments are streamed live over the Internet so you can tune in to watch from your home.  There are even ESPN-style top ten plays put on YouTube.  It makes the game fun play as you aspire to be as good as the “pros.” It is awesome to watch what they can do and see how well they can play the game.

Family Influence

I’d like to use this blog post to talk more about me and where I come from.  Family is extremely important to me and my family is very close. This post will just show what influence they have had on me through sports.

We live down “south,” or so I’m told. I don’t know what it is with people “up here,” but anything south of the suburbs seems to be “in the south.” In reality, I live about two and a half hours south of Naperville, in a tiny town called Morton, which is near Peoria.  No body in Morton refers to themselves as “from the south,” but rather refer to the area as Central Illinois.

My father, Brad, is from Pekin, Illinois, and was the oldest of four children in his family.  He loves sports and is a huge influence on why I love playing them so much.  He always was the coach for me when I was younger for both basketball and baseball and kept me involved in them, so my love for the game grew.  To this day, he still holds open gyms twice a week at the local high school where he plays with other guys.  Whenever I am home I always go play with them and it is an awesome time.

My mother, Michelle, is from a small town near Morton called Washburn. She is the middle child of three, and has two brothers.  She was never a very sportsy person, but as my brothers and I grew up she attended pretty much all of the games she could, which was pretty remarkable looking back. There were three of us and we were all involved in at least one sport at a time.   She always encouraged us to do our best and have a positive attitude the whole time.  She is a very religious person, and keeps us in line, making sure we all attend church when she can control it. She is also very involved in our church’s youth group.

My older brother, Matt, is far and away the most sport centered person I know.  If he’s watching TV, it’s probably ESPN and he loves playing basketball, football, and baseball, among others.  He is currently a senior at Elmhurst College where he played basketball for three years before switching to baseball for what will be his second year this year.  He was definitely the biggest influence on my basketball ability and mindset.  I loved watching him play in high school and college and often times my shot or a move resembles his.

My younger brother, Jake, isn’t as big into sports as Matt, or me but he definitely follows in my footsteps. He loves basketball and video games, which I feel is my doing.  He is also involved in the youth group as well as the high school marching band.  He likes a lot of the same activities I do, and I love hanging out with him and just playing video games.

I can’t wait to see all of them over Spring Break!

Free Shirts!!

Well, as of last week, another intramural season here at North Central is in the books. You know what that means: A new batch of shirts was passed out to all the champions last week!  This season consisted of indoor soccer, wiffleball, men’s basketball, and co-ed basketball. Due to the lack of teams, men’s dodgeball and women’s volleyball were cancelled. Normally I would participate in as many intramural sports as I can. However, seeing as dodgeball was canceled and me not being much of a soccer player, I was left playing just wiffleball and men’s basketball.  I watched some of the co-ed basketball games and I feel like I may try to find a team for that league next year, as it looked really fun.

The wiffleball league was a new addition under the recent intramural management change, and I think it was an awesome sport to add.  We played in upstairs Merner Fieldhouse, in Nichols gym, which is the wrestling room. The mats are down so we didn’t wear shoes.  It isn’t a very big room so often times the ball would go off the wall.  This made the game exciting and somewhat unpredictable.

Our team, “The Frosty Mug Sensation,” had a great regular season record of 5 wins and 1 loss, and received the second seed in the playoffs, which were held last week.  We made it to the championship, where we were squared off against the only team that defeated us in the regular season.  This time, however, fate was on our side, and we wouldn’t be denied our coveted shirts.  This term they are black shirts with “North Central College – Intramural Champion” on the front, and “All I do is Win” on the back. This is the 8th shirt that I have received for an intramural championship here at North Central and spring term I’m looking for more.

Spring term brings back badminton from fall term as well as a few other sports.  Softball is the big draw this term, and the Frosty Mugs are looking strong after they return most of the runner-up team from last year.  We also have a few new additions that we feel will be able to help us bring home a shirt.  Our Frisbee team is getting revamped after getting slaughtered in the championship last year, and feels very confident about this upcoming term. Finally, I somehow got roped on to an outdoor soccer team that is supposed to be pretty good. I don’t know why they would want me on their team, but I’m looking forward to it regardless. Overall, spring term is looking very promising to continue my ever-growing collection of championship shirts.