Monday, April 23, 2012

One Year Later: looking back at my car wreck

April 16, 2012 was a pretty chill day. I had a low-key day at work. Nothing much happened and I had a fairly relaxing evening. It wasn't until I got home later that night and started thinking that I realized that day was the one-year anniversary of one of the most hectic days of my life.

April 16, 2011 was one of the craziest days I've ever had. Driving to Princeton from Morgantown, in the middle of a torrential rain storm, I hydroplaned on the interstate and flipped my car over in the median. I was uninjured, but trapped inside my car. Luckily, somebody pulled over and called 911 and some emergency workers came over and got me out.

That's the short story of what happened that day. For the long version, check out this link to a blog I wrote just a couple days after the incident. It's titled "Wanna know how I spent my Saturday?" - http://chrisslater.blogspot.com/2011/04/wanna-know-how-i-spent-my-saturday.html

I guess the most important lesson that anybody can learn from my experience is to wear your seat belt. I did, and I guess it saved my life. It definitely made things a lot better. As the car flipped over and came to a stop, I wasn't jostled around; my glasses didn't even come off my face.

Only two things of interest happened that could be considered "bad" and that was 1) I got a teeny, tiny scratch on my wrist as I was crawling out of the car (it didn’t even bleed) and 2) a piece on my old, shitty walmart-brand shoes I had bought two years ago broke and I had to stop wearing them.

So, while I was fine, there was one casualty from the wreck - my horrible looking, worn out walmart-brand shoes.

That was a crazy day. It has still sort of perplexed me how I remained calm throughout the entire ordeal of going off the road and flipping over. I didn't scream, I didn't panic. I just sat there as the car flipped over, then unhooked my seatbelt and sat on the ceiling of my car, which at that point had become the floor of my car.

I've talked to a few people about this next aspect of my wreck. I don't think they understand it, and I don't know if anybody else really will. I'm not sure I even understand it entirely.

I have never felt more calm and more relaxed in my life than those few minutes sitting in my car, between wrecking it and getting helped out. I guess it has to do with some sort of survival thing. Sometimes when people flip their cars over they die. I didn't.

It also sort of put everything into perspective. All of my problems in life weren't important, because I was trapped in my car and could have died. I was late for work. My job sucks. I hate my apartment. I haven't graduated from college yet. I don't have enough money. None of that was important at that moment, because I was trapped inside of my car.

It felt so good to just sit there and hear silence and finally relax. It was so peaceful and nice. In the year that has passed, that level of calm and relaxation is what I strive for. I have yet to feel as good as I did for those few minutes sitting in my car. If that wreck had happened at night, I probably would have laid there and gone to sleep.

If the wreck had happened late at night, there wouldn't have been much else that I could do besides curl up and go to sleep. My phone had been sitting in my lap and when I wrecked it went into the floorboard. When the car flipped over, a pile of dirt came through the front window and essentially landed probably no more than an inch away from my chest. And when I was sitting there, I tried to find my phone and realized the dirt was covering up access to the floorboard.

Picturing it all in my head, it's still confusing as to how everything was situated. Literally, take something you're familiar with and flip it over. It messes with your head.

As I mentioned in the original blog post, I wasn't worried about calling for help. People eventually notice cars flipped over on the interstate. I couldn't get out of my car or find my phone, but I knew somebody would notice me and call for help.

I guess this is the journalist in me, or something. I wanted to find my phone and document the occasion. I wanted to tweet, I wanted to take pictures, I wanted to record a video. How cool would that be to go to YouTube and see a video of me covered in mud, sitting in the wreckage of my car and talking about it? I wanted so badly to do that. Picture my narration: "It looks like the paramedics are smashing out my back window. They're putting down a blanket so I don't get mud on myself or get cut on the glass. Hold on one second... Okay, I'm out of my car."

That would have been awesome. It sucks so bad that I couldn't find my phone.

Some people have mentioned that I was very lucky in that no other cars were on the road at the time of my wreck. As I have pointed out, I wrecked about as well as you could. I was the only one involved and I didn’t get hurt. It could have been a lot worse.

I try not to think about the "what could have been" aspect of wrecking my car. If all that dirt that came through the window had come in a couple inches more it could have hurt me. What if there had been a stick or something poking out of that dirt pile? Who knows.

While I'm fine from the wreck from a physical standpoint, I would say I'm still having some emotional issues a year later. I still don't like to drive in the rain. Every time I hit a bump when it's raining I tense up and expect the worst for a second. Then it passes and I'm okay.

Every so often when I'm laying in bed at night I'll close my eyes and recreate the wreck in my head, only with much worse results. I don't want to think about it, but sometimes it's hard to get those images out of my head.

Car-wise, I drive a 1999 Cougar now, after wrecking my 1996 Cavalier. After the wreck, my mom's boyfriend let me borrow his jeep until we found a car for me. A week or so after the wreck, my mom found a used SUV for sale. She really liked the SUV, and I've always liked her Cougar, so I bought the SUV and we traded cars.

And, so, that's where we're at one year later. I haven't been involved in any wrecks since then. Hopefully I never will again. I'll check back with you guys in a year and we'll see how I'm doing 2 years after my wreck.

Below are some pictures of my car a couple weeks after the accident.







Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Tearjerker



One Hot Minute, the 1995 album by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, doesn't seem to be a popular one among hardcore fans. It was released between the 1991 mega-hit Blood Sugar Sex Magik and the 1999 comeback album Californication.

Why was Californication considered a comeback album? Because after Blood Sugar Sex Magik, guitarist John Fruscante abruptly quit the band. Former Janes Addicition guitarist Dave Navarro replaced him and he is featured on One Hot Minute.

I think a lot of people don't like this album for two reasons. The first reason is because Dave Navarro is not John Frusciante. Some people just won't give it a chance because of that. The second is because the music is angrier and darker, likely a result of the drug addicitons within the band at the time. Both Navarro and frontman Anthony Keidis were battling drug addiciton during the album's recording. Keidis goes into detail about it in his autobiography.

I like this album. It's definitely not their best, but it is a lot better than critics say it is. I enjoy dark music and this album was created during a very dark time for the band.

One of the saddest songs on the album is "Tearjerker." It was written in memory of Kurt Cobain, who was a friend of the Chili Peppers. Cobain died April 5, 1994 and his body was found April 8. Click here to see what I posted last year around this time about Cobain.

Daniel Bryan's WWE Saga

Last week, I blogged about the awesome Daniel Bryan moment that took place after the April 2, episode of WWE's Monday Night Raw. The crowd was expressing its displeasure with Bryan losing his World Heavyweight Championship in only 18 seconds at WrestleMania 28. They expressed that by cheering loudly for Bryan throughout the entire night, even when he wasn't there. It all culminated in a wonderful moment after the show ended where Bryan addressed the fans. The video is embedded in the blog I linked above.

Since CM Punk broke out last summer and became the superstar that everybody expected him to be, I've been blogging a lot about the two wrestlers. A lot of other people have, too.

I was watching SummerSlam last August with my girlfriend. Daniel Bryan had a match against Wade Barrett. When Bryan came out, I got very excited. That prompted Candace to ask a question that I have been trying to answer for nearly a year: "Why do you have such a hard-on for Daniel Bryan?"

Basically, what I said then was that I wasn't the biggest fan of WWE's "Daniel Bryan" at the time, but more of a Bryan Danielson fan and, more importantly, a fan of what I knew he could and should achieve in WWE.

Daniel Bryan tweeted an article titled "Daniel Bryan's WWE Saga" earlier today. I read it and was blown away. First of all, I was amazed that Bryan would post a link to an article that is almost anti-WWE at times. Secondly, I was amazed that the author did such an amazing job explaining why I (and so many others) love Daniel Bryan. The link is below.

http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/7782963/daniel-bryan-john-cena-indie-wrestling-taking-center-stage-monday-night-raw

Read it. Absorb it. Understand it. It's great.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Movie Review: American Pie

American Reunion, the fourth movie in the American Pie series comes to theaters April 6, 2012. I saw the trailer and was instantly excited for it. The gang from the films are back in town for their high school reunion. And, I assume that hilarity ensues at some point.

I am looking forward to checking this movie out because I feel like American Pie was one of the best in the "silly teen sex romp" genre that became popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In anticipation of the latest film, I recently viewed the first three films in the series: American Pie, American Pie 2, and American Wedding. I will be posting my thoughts on all three and will then eventually watch American Reunion. Here are my thoughts on part 1.



At its core, American Pie is a story about a group of high school friends who all try to lose their virginity on prom night. The film came out in 1999. They were high school seniors. In 1999, I was preparing to enter high school. Without going into a lot of detail, let's just say that I related a lot to the premise of the film when it first came out.

What makes American Pie more than a bunch of filthy jokes is the heart and warmth that comes through. The core group of friends, Jim (Jason Biggs), Oz (Chris Klein), Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas), and Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) all have a chemistry together that draws you in. Throw in Sean William Scott's Stifler character for comic relief and you have a complete package.

The heart is there, but, of course, filthy jokes do abound. Jim's innocent mind gets warped when he is told that "third base" feels like "warm apple pie." Perhaps the most famous scene involves Jim's "alone time" with an apple pie his mom baked for him. Jim's dad, played to perfection by Eugene Levy catches him and, looking out for his child, says in his classic deadpan delivery "We'll just tell your mother we ate it all."

And, of course, there's the flute. Alyson Hannigan plays Michelle, an awkward band girl who starts every story with "This one time, at band camp..." which finally culminates at the end with the flute incident.

The Internet was just starting to become mainstream around the time this movie came out. Technology wise, American Pie doesn't really hold up too well, as most movies featuring computer screen shots don't. The 1999 Internet looks a lot different than 2012's Internet. When Jim is going to have uber-hot Nadia change clothes in his room after her dance practice, the idea is hatched to broadcast it over the Internet. Some watching the movie for the first time now may snicker as Kevin lets out a bewildered "You can do that?" But, it was a fairly novel idea at the time.

What really stands out in American Pie is the soundtrack. There is a lot of quality music, from a wide variety of artists. Watching the movie, you will hear Third Eye Blind, Tonic, Blink-182, Oleander, Harvey Danger, Hole, Dishwalla, Everclear, Norah Jones, Fatboy Slim, and Etta James to name a few. "Laid" by the band James has become the unofficial theme song of the film franchise, as it features prominently in them.

As a final note, I'm not sure if they created the term, but I do know that American Pie is where "MILF" first became popular, due to several of the guys having an infatuation with Stifler's mom.


American Pie is a great film. Like a lot of great films, a sequel was made. American Pie 2 was released in 2001. I'm not a huge fan. But, we'll get into that later.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Awesome Daniel Bryan moment after Monday Night Raw goes off the air



It's not the best quality, but the emotion is still there if you watch closely. The night before, Daniel Bryan shockingly lost his World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 28 in under 20 seconds. The next night on WWE Monday Night Raw, the crowd chanted his name throughout the show and also chanted his trademark "Yes! Yes! Yes!" at various points.

The WWE audience respects hard work and dedication. They enjoyed seeing one of the hardest-working wrestlers earn his spot at the top. While just about everybody expected him to lose the title to Sheamus at WrestleMania, nobody was expecting the match to consist of "Bryan turns around into a kick, gets pinned, loses title."

The above video was from after Monday Night Raw went off the air. They usually have a match or something for the audience to enjoy after the television show is over.

It makes me feel good to know that even if some higher-ups in WWE may not understand Daniel Bryan or fully get behind him, the fans are there for him. Hopefully reactions like tonight continue for Bryan and WWE makes him into the legitimate top star he can and should be.