MMLP2 Review


Photo from Big Ghost

Rapper Eminem (A.K.A. Marshall Mathers, Slim Shady) released his eighth studio album last tuesday titled The Marshall Mathers LP 2.  Being my favorite rapper and one of my favorite music artists in general, I bought the album the day it was released and listened to it all the way through.  The first time through I wasn’t sure how I felt about it but every time through I love it more and more, and I’ll tell you why.

To start with a little history lesson, Eminem became a celebrity with the release of his album “The Slim Shady LP” in 1999 and its hit single “My Name Is.”  While this album brought Eminem to fame, his 2000 release “The Marshall Mathers LP” really stapled his fame and is still today considered his greatest album by many.  Throughout his career he has dealt with many different issues and had many different styles of songs, and this album is a sort of declaration of going back to the Marshall Mathers LP (MMLP) days.  While he isn’t as explicit or inappropriate in his lyrics as he once was, he more so revisits the past while keeping the style of music modern.

The opening track “Bad Guy” is a sequel to his smash hit “Stan” from MMLP.  Stan was about an obsessed fan who killed himself over Eminem not responding to his letters or calls.  Bad Guy takes a new twist on the song, but I won’t ruin the surprise.  “Berzerk” was the lead single from the album and I believe it was the first song released to declare the revisit to the past.  By sampling Billy Squire’s “The Stroke” and some Beastie Boys quotes, Eminem was preparing his listeners bring back their past memories of when he was coming up and blowing up in pop culture.  Another song that stood out to me was “So Far…”  Marshall raps an extremely humorous song comparing all aspects of his life from his fame to his age to life in a trailer park over a twangy guitar instrumental.  “I’m hiding in Kroeger buying groceries [a fan] just had front row seats, told me to sign this poster. Then insults me “wow, up close didn’t know you had crow’s feet!” This line not only shows Eminem’s humor but also his rhyming ability which is present across the entire album.  The third single “Rap God” proves Mather’s fast rapping ability while he attacks a lot of past aspects of his career.

While my opinion may be biased because I am such a big fan of Eminem, I do honestly believe it is a phenomenal album well worth the $13-$16 spent on it.  Its been spinning in my car since I purchased it and playing on my iPod every day in the gym.  I highly recommend buying this album, and not downloading it illegally.  Support the artist!

Spring Break: Start Your Workouts NOW


Photo from rabeachgetaways

Going away for Spring Break is pretty popular in college, and almost everyone who goes wants to be looking their best in their swimsuit or itty bitty yellow polka dot bikini.  The problem with this is many people believe they can start working out on February 1st and be in supermodel shape by March 1st.  This can only work to an extent with extreme dieting and exercise, but a month of over-doing it will leave you tired and stressed.  I hope to encourage all of you Spring Break-goers to begin your routines now, even if it is baby steps towards a new routine.

This week me and a couple guys in my fraternity (Kappa Sigma) started a boxing and cardio routine to get in shape for Spring Break.  As I mentioned before with baby steps, we’re starting out with light cardio and some shoulder-endurance workouts such as kettle-ball lifts.  Since none of us have really done cardio since High-School sports, its going to take a little while to build up our endurance.  As we go on, we are going to incorporate more heavy bag workouts and sparring to get more endurance-intensive training in.  If we started in February, we would make minimal gains and probably wouldn’t benefit our health too much.

Last year for Spring Break me and two of my buddies created a slap bet for who could get the best abs for Spring Break.  Our mistake was that we started about mid-January.  The next month and a half was hell for me.  In fear of getting slapped I ate primarily fruits and vegetables and hardly any carbs.  The only meat I would eat was grilled chicken.  While I did lose a lot of weight and got great abs, I was miserable for that month and a half and still got slapped (only once though, I came in second out of three people, so the guy who came in last got slapped two times).  In this case I lost weight in an unhealthy fashion too quickly.  However, creating fun bets and goals with your friends is definitely a good method of sticking to a workout routine.

In conclusion, starting early and taking your time will prove best for your physical as well as mental health while trying to get your Spring Break body.  Also make monthly or even weekly goals to keep track of to watch your progress!  I hope everyone has a fun and safe Spring Break, even if it is four months away.

My First Football Game


Photo from RamsGab

I just now returned from attending my first ever professional football game.  Tonight I watched the Seattle Seahawks defeat the St. Louis Rams 14-9.  While some may argue it wasn’t a good game, the end was definitely a nail-biter that kept the crowd on their feet.  I also sat next to my friend that I was facing off against in fantasy football this week, and we both had players in the game that would decide the victor.  Regardless of the fact that I lost the fantasy game, and that I’m not a fan of the Rams or Seahawks, I had a great time at the game tonight.

The reason for attending tonight’s game was extremely spur of the moment.  Due to the Ram’s unsuccessful season so far and the World Series baseball game in the Cardinal’s Busch Stadium, tickets for 400-level seats to this Rams game started at SEVEN DOLLARS.  That’s right.  The same price as a fast food meal at Wendy’s.  Being from Chicago, Bears tickets never go for anything less than $60 and most of the time that’s out of the budget.  Even though I’m a raised Bears fan and a newly-adopted Ravens fan, I respect the game of football very much and enjoyed this game a great deal.

With The Ram’s starting quarterback out and the Seahawk’s star running back only playing half of the game, nothing extremely exciting happened throughout the duration of the game.  There weren’t too many big plays, but it was still enjoyable to watch.  However, the game spiced up at the two minute warning.  The Rams were down 14-9 and had the ball on their own 30.  They manage to drive down the field and reach the opposite one yard line with four seconds left on a fourth-and-one opportunity.  Despite a successful running game, the Rams decide to throw the ball into the corner of the End Zone.  The pass is incomplete, resulting in a Seahawks victory and a very anti-climactic ending to what could have been an amazing comeback by the Rams. Also, due to Marshawn Lynch’s poor performance, he only scored me three fantasy points on the night and cost me my fantasy game of the week.  While it seems like I’m being quite negative about the outcome of the night, I definitely had an amazing night with my friends at my first NFL game and I cannot wait to attend another game in the future.

Find a recap of the game here

Dance Marathon!

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Photo from Dance Marathon

Coming March 1st of 2014 is Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s second annual Dance Marathon.  Dance Marathon is a 12 hour celebration of a long-term fundraising effort that we encourage participants to start now!  The fundraising is done for the two children’s hospitals of St. Louis, Cardinal Glennon and St. Louis Children’s Hospital.  I am the Event Operations Chair of Dance Marathon and I could not be happier to be a part of this team!

The fundraising is done by both the committee members and the dancers (people going to dance marathon).  How the fundraising is done is through personal web pages that can be donated directly to online.  So when someone registers (for a fee of $15), they are given a fundraising page and will be given a t-shirt at the event.  We also highly encourage competition between student organizations to win prizes for highest fundraising accomplishments.

The event itself is a 12 hour celebration that’s themed around “standing for those who can’t,” making all participants stay on their feet for the entire 12 hours.  Every hour has a different theme to it with different events, such a a sports hour with tug of war or a rave hour with neon lights and glow sticks.  There are also families that attend the event who have kids in these hospitals.  The families tell their personal stories and then explain how important Dance marathon is to them.  The entire experience is very rewarding and I cannot wait to attend!

Last year, as the first ever Dance Marathon at SIUE, we raised just under $11,000 between the 247 attendees!  We were extremely proud of that amount and this year we are aiming for $25,000, so come support Dance Marathon and the kids of the STL area!

Here is my personal fundraising page

And here is the Official Dance Marathon Website

“Well I Guess This is Growing Up”


Photo from The Adventures of Growing Up

Typically I am a very confident person. I do not get frightened, upset, or angry easily and I can keep a level head about nearly everything. Having the mindset “it could always be worse” and avoiding unnecessary drama in my life has made me one of the most rationally-minded people I know, and I am almost always in a positive state of mind because of it.

However, recently I have had to face some extremely important decisions in my life and I have never felt more vulnerable than I do now. Fighting between following my head or my heart and fear of growing up have been circling my mind for a little while now. I just recently planned out my class schedule for the rest of college, which was extremely weird to look at.  Seeing all of the management courses and business courses that I will be taking was extremely intimidating and I started second guessing myself if I will be good at the path that I choose. I have very good connections in the business department and better grades than a lot of my peers, so I’m not sure why I’ve begun to second guess myself. I’m sure it is a phase that I will eventually get past, but right now it sucks.

The second thing on my mind is an internship opportunity I was offered. The internship is through the Young Entrepreneurs Across America and it entails running my own painting business under an advisor. The chance to be able to run my own business with no personal liability is an amazing opportunity that I could gain a great amount of experience from. However, the time commitment is large and I would have to stay down here at school in the summer. This is another instance where my fear of growing up comes into play because I realize the amazing opportunity that is in front of me, but part of me wants to go home for the summer to see my friends. I have been best friends with my friends from home for so long, some since before I can remember, and I love my hometown so much that I’m not sure if I’m ready to leave it yet. 

Part of my mind is telling me I’m being childish and the other says how I feel makes sense. I’ve never really been one to discuss my emotions, either, and I’m happy this blog gives me the opportunity to do so.  Making important decisions like these is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do and I’m really hoping I get past this stage in my life soon.

Time to Wake Up, September Ended



Photo from Dreadlock Extensions

The beginning of October brings many new aspects of the year, one being midterms.  Students are settled into their classes and are starting to take their first big tests of the year.  For freshman this can be a new and scary concept, and for upperclassman these tests could be extremely hard for courses deep in their major.  Don’t become too stressed, though, as their are many other positives that October brings.

Cooler weather is coming, and that means new wardrobe possibilities.  While more women may get excited over this than men, I know that I prefer wearing long sleeves and jeans over dealing with the extreme summer heat that being completely nude wouldn’t be sufficient to cool off.  Going shopping for new clothes, or simply taking a walk through the cool air, can get your mind off of school for a while and allow yourself to enjoy the outdoors.

While many people have been thinking of this since last Halloween, pondering what your costume will be this year is a fun and creative way to ease your mind.  There are plenty of opportunities and events on any campus to dress up and have a blast with your friends.  There are many great ideas on Bro Bible to dress up and impress your friends!

I also encourage taking up/continuing a hobby.  This can be anything from playing guitar to playing the new Grand Theft Auto Five.  This is all about giving the mind a break from school for a few hours a week and not letting stress levels get too high.  I wish for everyone to do well on their midterms and to enjoy October to the fullest!

The Story of my Stepfather



Picture originated from The Cooperator


I will be sharing a story with you about how big of an impact someone you hardly know or extremely dislike can have an enormous positive impact on your life.  I hope to bring light on the fact that resenting someone is a waste of time and energy, and only the good aspects of their personality should be focused on.

It is dawning on the fifth anniversary since my stepdad, Dave, died of a heart attack.  While I will not get into specific detail, this man was a large factor in my parents’ divorce.  My parents divorced when I was in 8th grade, and my mother remarried by my Freshman year of high school.  My stepdad passed within three months of their marriage, but those three months have affected me more than most parts of my life.

Being 12 years old when my parents divorced, it was a very confusing and hard time for me.  I didn’t completely understand it, but when Dave came into the picture soon after, I quickly put together the pieces that he played a big part of my parents splitting up.  I started off with a very negative bias towards him and it only got worse as I got to know him.  He was extremely emotional and would get upset or mad very easily.  I never once saw my mom and biological dad get into a legitimate argument, but I actually watched my mom slap my stepdad in the face multiple times.  I hated him.  He would come to me, a 13 year old kid, for problems he was having with my mom.  Cops were called to our house on one occasion over an argument.  I wouldn’t stay at the house for nights at a time because I didn’t want to deal with them.  I couldn’t understand why my mom had left my father for this asshole.  Now that I am older and more understanding, though, I have some sympathy for him.

Dave was a police officer in Chicago Heights.  This is one of the worst areas of Chicago in terms of crime, and the cops there are regarded highly by other policemen.  During Dave’s time as a cop there, he saw more gruesome scenes than any man should have to, and I do believe that this played a factor in making him a little emotionally unstable.  He also did mean well with my mom.  I do believe he loved her, but the circumstances of bringing them together payed a toll on a piece of my childhood.  People and feelings change and the situation came at an early time in my life.  In the long run, there are two main aspects of my life that he brought a great deal of good to.

I greatly respect that my stepfather was a Chicago Heights police officer, and because of this I have Police Memorial license plates.  Now not to say I am a bad driver, but I have been pulled over a few times, and I believe this license plate had a large impact on the severity of tickets I have received.  Every time I have been pulled over, the first or second question from the cop was “What’s up with the plates?”  Needless to say, his memory has saved me a pretty penny.

Dave also got me my first job when I was 15.  He drove trucks on the weekends for a local landscaping supplier, Saunoris Brothers.  While he had passed by the time I started, he was my foot in the door for the job that I still have today.  I worked there throughout high school, going through two promotions and a lot of experience.  This past summer while I was home from school, I was even offered a full time spot throughout the summer.  I also have another full time spot waiting for me next summer, and each summer I bring in a couple thousand dollars, which helps a college student enormously.  Being a family-owned business, I have somewhat shadowed my boss and observed how he does business with his customers, which also greatly helps a college business student.  Without Dave I probably would have worked at a fast food restaurant for employment and got none of the great experience that I have received.

I hope to reach out to those who not only despise a close peer, but anyone for that matter.  Please do not waste your time and energy hating a person when there is always good to come out of them.  It just takes a different perspective to see it.