The Future is a Fast Ball and I’m a Rookie Hitter

Do these body parts represent the senses? The mind? How people may see the world? A lazy platform to play out some terrible word play? Just a very uncomfortable image to look at? Well, it’s up to you.

I can’t tell if these blog posts are getting easier or harder to write. Time should have made this into a habit, but yet. Let’s continue this pattern and let’s go through some questions!!!!

I don’t know what I’m going to be in my future. There’s just a lot to worry about and everything seems so far away yet close at the same time. How can I squish my fears into nothing?

-anonymous

Wow! That’s a lot but yeah I get it? I don’t know what I’m more stressed about the past or the future. I am haunted by the thought of both. It’s like getting chased by a murderer but there’s another murderer just around the corner ready to stab me from the front. A constant feeling of stress and actually I have no advice on this because I am just as terrified. The future is scary and the past has me haunted, what am I supposed to do? If you have advice you should tell me what to do because I am worried. My eyebrows have been furrowed for so long I just look like a concerned muppet. So the table has been switched. I’m turning the game around. Give me your advice, because I don’t know!!!

Send me your advice at  https://goo.gl/forms/CnhEXlDVKpOvuAkF3 Thanks. 🙂

“keep it 10% freezy and 90% freaky”

-ab-so-lutely

 

 

 

The “Penalty” Box… Or maybe not

Hey Everyone!

Today we will talk about the most hated and most wanted to be avoided cars in the country of America. The subcompact economy series. The weirdest thing about this series is that it tends to be highly expensive at rental car companies compared to some other bigger cars, mainly for its high gas mileage and easy to use interiors. Most sales are through rental car companies as most consumers would rather spend the same amount of money for a compact car or a 3 year old BMW 3 series sedan. As a car enthusiast myself, I am not the biggest fan of the segment, although I really have a soft spot for a couple of these entries.

The party consists of entries from most regular brands. The list goes Chevrolet Sonic, Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit, Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio, Mini Cooper, Nissan Versa, Toyota Yaris and iA, Volkswagen Beetle. Since there are so many I will list my top three.

Third place goes to the Toyota Yaris iA. It is pretty much a rebadged Mazda 2, a subcompact car in other parts of the World. The regular Yaris is a totally different car, and it did not make this list because of how unrefined and how expensive the car is for the money. The Yaris iA was a pleasant surprise to the American market, even though it only makes 106 horsepower, it tends to have sporty characteristics and a very upscale interior for a subcompact car with navigation as an option. It also has low speed pre collision system which will stop the car for you. This car has very good value.

The Ford Fiesta takes second place, although practicality and reliability are both concerns, it has the most luxurious interior in the class and has a good amount of engine choices. It also drives very well, with a lot of personality as well as having a very high fuel economy when you opt for the 3 cylinder model. When it comes to features, it has creature comforts like heated seats, Sony speakers, smart key access and many more.

The Honda Fit wins my ratings and mainly because of how consistent it has been. The magic seats are the biggest plus about the car, and I really enjoyed the new sport model they added this year. The Honda Fit also has pretty good power out of its 1.8 liter four cylinder.

These are the subcompact vehicles and I hope you all have a great week before mid winter break!

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Downtown Disney District

It’s Fastpass Master here! Two weeks from now I’ll be heading to California for a week, mainly to explore colleges and visit my aunt and uncle. But luckily, we’re going to stop in the Downtown Disney District located near Disneyland and California Adventure. I  wanted to spread some time talking about the Downtown Disney Area in a blog post for those who don’t exactly know what is it.

Located right outside of Disneyland and California Adventure, the Downtown Disney District is a shopping center with restaurants and many Disney related stores. One of my favorite places to shop is the biggest Disney store I have ever seen in my life. World of Disney sells everything from attire to Chip mugs and Mickey Mouse cookies cutters. If you’re a big Disney fan like me, or are looking for some Disneyland inspired clothing, I definitely recommend checking this place out. Many of the items there are also located in Disneyland; if you don’t want to waste your time standing in line to buy merchandise, check the store in Downtown Disney. I also highly recommend checking out the Lego store as there are often huge Disney-inspired pieces that are amazing. I find it very fun to look around the shop’s of Downtown Disney because you never know what you might stumble across.

The food in Downtown Disney is also great. I’m a sucker for beignets, and luckily, Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen sells the same one that they do in New Orleans Square!! I recommend going to Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen express if you only want to get beignets or are looking for something quick to eat. Downtown Disney also has a churro cart that not only sells that classic Disneyland churros, but also many flavored ones including pineapple whip (dole whip!), strawberry cream, and my personal favorite, Oreo, which is stuffed with Oreo cream. Marceline’s Confectionery also sells many sweet treats that are available in the parks, such as the beautiful caramel apples found in Disneyland. There are many great restaurants in Downtown Disney, my favorites being Taqueria at Tortilla Jo’s and Naples Ristorante e Pizzeria. I also adore La Brea Bakery Cafe, and their express service is great for a quick breakfast before you head into the parks.

Downtown Disney also has the ESPN Sports Zone where you can play arcade games while watching your favorite games on TV. Downtown Disney is full of many other various activities, such as ice skating in the winter, that make it a great neighbor to the Happiest Place on Earth.   

Also, side note, I’ll be going to Disney World next Spring break!! I actually started crying when my parents told me, frightening I know. But I might start dedicating some blog posts to Disney World because I have been doing some research on the park, especially discovering all the food, that I would love to share! So stay tuned for a shift in parks!

And remember, “To all those who come to this happy place: Welcome.”

~Fastpass Master

Will your hunger for young adult novels ever die Hollywood?

Have you recently been trying to find a good movie to watch at the theater, but all you could find was a biographical film about some random person you’ve never heard about? How about scrolling through IMDB to find that perfect date movie, but just end up scratching Tom Hanks’s name into a mental hospitals walls to try to write it more than the recent releases page?  Well I have a little theory but I think Hollywood loves money but doesn’t like putting effort into a original script. do you think that Bridger General Zebulon pike (look him up) did a good job in the war of 1812. well now there is a 50,000,000 dollar film about him winning a single battle then dying.

With the average studio film costing upwards of 100,000,000 ,these historical films are a “cheap” way to budget even bigger cash grabs. these bigger movies are usually based on a novel, or a remake of a 40 year old property that no one actually remembers . however while the big studios are busy making the next cinematic universe, the indie scene is booming right now. If you are craving something good and original go visit your local art house theater and check them out

Little bit of peace

We live on Earth. And it rains, and it storms and it straight up hurricanes,but it also shines. The sun shines, and it still may be raining, but learn to love the rain. Rain feeds the flowers, and flowers are beautiful.

We humans always focus on the negative. It is just how we are. A thousand wonderful things may be happening, but the second one thing goes wrong, that is what we remember. The sun may have been shining, but once the rain starts falling, we cower back.

And once we encounter a negative thing, we start living our lives to avoid that thing. Yes, avoid toxic people and the situations that will cause hardship. But don’t be afraid of living because these things will be there, because they will be there.

You just have to figure out how to deal with it, and not let it bring you down. There isn’t enough time to let those little petty things bring you down. Be better. Live better. Love harder than them. Don’t let anything put out your passion, because it is yours.

Sometimes, we must suck it up. It turns out better in the end, because it all comes around, and karma is a-

Karma sucks. Have class, keep your head up, and give yourself good karma.

Have a good day and keep moving forward:)

Always look up. There is so much to see and so much to come.

The Microcar… (or city car)

Hey Everybody!

Today I wanted to talk about a very unique segment in the automotive world, the microcar segment. This segment has some of the most quirkiest and interesting cars in the United States.

All over the world, the micro car is incredibly popular. Since gas prices are atrociously expensive in foreign countries, having a tiny car really helps to save money. In fact in Japan, they have a class called a kei car, which has a 0.6 liter engine with around 50 horsepower, which is the definition of weak. Besides the point, city cars in the States grew in popularity when the Smart Fortwo debuted back in 2009. All of these have around 100 or less horsepowerAfter these years, the American automobile world has seen plenty of these.

These are the micro cars available as of now in the States. The Chevrolet Spark, Fiat 500, Mitsubishi Mirage, Mitsubishi i, Smart ForTwo and thats about it. The surprising part is how all of these passed government tests and are available in the United States.

If there is one car I would not recommend, its the Mitsubishi Mirage. It is actually an old nameplate dating back to around 2003 when it was a decent compact car. Ressurected as a city car, and its one of the worst cars to buy in America. Mitsubishi just did not really spend time on fine details and had a measly 1.2 liter three cylinder engine with 78 horsepower. This combo with a sluggish CVT or 5 speed manual makes this car feel anemic and antequated after 5 minutes of driving. The only good thing about this car is it came with automatic climate control, other than that avoid this expensive car.

The Mitsubishi i has a weird proposition, its just an electric car imported from Japan. While there is not much performance data in America, what I can tell you is the styling is very quirky and its interior does not really suit up to American tastes. Seats are very tiny, controls are small and just does not really fit here.

The ForTwo will always be known as the reason why the microcar class came back, but that does not mean its a great car. It has one of the worst transmissions in all of time, a 5 speed sequential manual, which has clunkly and crude shifting. Its fun to drive though.

The Sparks a korean car dressed up as a Chevrolet and its actually not a bad car, it is probably the most practical in the class and it has a four cylinder which is nice. It feels decent inside and it is roomy.

The micro car to buy is the Fiat 500. There are millions of ways to configure this cute car. You can even get an electric version of the 500 and you can get a hyped up turbo Abarth model with 160 horsepower which makes this car super fun to toss around! I would honestly drive one anyday since you can find one in the used market for a really good price and they are selling like hot cakes so get yours while they last!

Overall other than the 500, this segment of cars is one I would completely avoid if you can, its worth getting a subcompact since you get more for your money. But for now I hope you all have a great week! Stay tuned!

Best Places to Take Pictures in Disneyland

It’s Fastpass Master here! Recently I’ve been scrolling through Instagram accounts of people who go to Disneyland almost every day, or at least those who seem like they do. Some of their pictures are actually breathtaking and I wish I had a plethora of pictures of myself having the best time at one of my favorite places in the world. Or more pictures for the landscape to save as my lock screen. Taking pictures in Disneyland is super fun as the backdrop is truly magical. Although there are some iconic places to take pictures that scream Disneyland, there are also several locations that are not as well photographed. Here are some of my favorite places to take pictures.

  1. The Castle. To me, this is the most iconic spot in Disneyland to take pictures. Whether you’re looking to take a shot of just the castle or get a picture with you in it, this picture is a must do. The fireworks display at night is also spectacular and is great for taking pictures and videos that commemorate your trip.
  2. Any of the entrances of the lands are really cool. One of my favorites is the entrance to Adventureland.  
  3. Flower Mickey right when you enter the park is a prime photo location. In this shot you can also capture the Main Street train station, making a memorable picture.
  4. Anywhere along Main Street screams Disneyland. Try to get Sleeping Beauty’s Castle in the background to get an even better picture. If you’re looking for something fun, sometimes Cast Members let you hold a large bundle of balloons for a color backdrop, if you ask nicely!!
  5. There’s a cool picture where you can get the Matterhorn, Finding Nemo Submarines and the monorail in the same shot. Just head over to the Finding Nemo Submarines and be patient for the monorail to come by.
  6. The tea cups make one one of my favorite photo locations. If you choose to take a picture here, I really recommend getting the lanterns above in the shot as wee; they add a very whimsical and colorful vibe to your picture and definitely scream Disneyland. There is also a stationary teacup nearby if you want more time to pose for a picture that you’re in.
  7. The King Arthur’s Carousel is a vibrant location that is a classic amusement park attraction. Taking shot from behind while riding the Carousel makes a very artsy picture as well.  
  8. Along the Rivers of America rides the Mark Twain Riverboat, a perfect place to take a stunning picture. It’s an iconic scene to capture, and even jump in if you want to be in the picture yourself.  
  9. It’s a Small World wall is a great place to take pictures, but I highly recommend taking a close up picture on one of art deco type walls. These make for really cool pictures that don’t necessarily scream Disneyland but are regardless very fun.   
  10. Disneyland provides the perfect opportunity to take some stunning scenery pics. Some of my favorites include Matterhorn, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Splash Mountain.

I also wanted to share some general tips when taking pictures at Disneyland:

  1. Wear ears, wear ears, wear ears. This adds so much to your picture as the Mickey or Minnie Mouse ears are a Disney classic.
  2. If you choose to edit your pictures, take advantage of the color of the park. Turn up your saturation to get the best pictures that emphasize the vivid nature of the park.  
  3. Don’t be afraid of take posed pictures. Seriously. You might feel weird at first, but I know that I for sure regret not taking more for fun with my sister.
  4. Take food pictures and don’t be ashamed. Disneyland has some pretty picture perfect foods that deserved to be photographed.
  5. Look for uncommon/out of the way pictures. There are so many pretty backdrops that most don’t think to take a picture with. Just keep an eye out and you may be surprised.
  6. Get pictures with characters! No matter how old you are, character pictures are always fun and make a very memorable shot.   

Also, if you’re interested in viewing some Disneyland Instagram accounts, my favorites are @francissdominc, @disneylandphotographer, and @sarahsterling! I’ll possibly dedicate a post in the future for the best places to take pictures in California, because there is A LOT. But anyway, I hope you learned something new about taking pictures in the Happiest Place on Earth!

And remember, “To all those who come to this happy place: Welcome.”

~Fastpass Master

Indoor v Outdoor track

Hey runners, I have never ran on an indoor track and am going to tomorrow morning. As with any race I have already gotten a bit of pre-race nerves. This is the first race of the 2018 track season, although as previously mentioned not much speed work has been done. I am competing in the mile for a time indicator, pushing for a very strong time. Previously, I have raced the mile only my sophomore year, delegating all of my races in my junior year to the 800m. I most anxious about the difficulty of counting the number of laps because the track I am racing on is a 307m track, meaning 5.24 laps. I have ran with only one of the runners in my heat, and the gap between the top and bottom of the heat is 30 seconds. I have a race plan, which is important as I have no experience in situations like this. I’m going to explain what I am thinking about the race: -will they have 400m splits -how fast will the race be taken out at -how am I going to handle the temperature -how will my muscles react -can I execute well on my race plan -is my current training indicative of my times -will I be trapped in the inside As you may be able to tell, I could keep listing things for hours, but I will control what I can control and ensure my muscles handle the heat and stress well. I may post and update about how the races went and what happened. Run faster!

broccoli in smoothies

Whoa. Already, that sounds kind of gross. Broccoli in your fruity smoothie? The taste of vegges? No thanks…

Not so quick though! My mom roasted some broccoli the other night for dinner and didn’t use the stems. I grabbed the thick, green, trunks, and asked my mom if I could freeze them. She said yes,so I stuck them in a bag and froze them.

The next day, I put the stems in my blender with some other ingredients to create a creamy, thick pink smoothie full of Vitamin C.

-I had about 80 grams of broccoli trunks

-4 ounces of frozen strawberries

-2 ounces of frozen blueberries

-2 ounces of frozen mango

-80 grams of frozen banana

-Tablespoon of pumpkin puree. (This is optional. It doesn’t affect the taste, and adds a good serving of fiber and vitamin A).

-Vanilla Protein Powder

I blended it up with water and soy milk to make it creamier.

I didn’t add any fats, but next time I’ll add hemp or chia seeds, or maybe some almond butter.

My banana was super ripe, and really made it sweet, along with the vanilla protein powder, so any veggie taste of broccoli was not there. With the trunks being frozen, it made the smoothie way thicker and cold, so I didn’t have to add ice.

It was super delicious and sweet and filling!

so nice and pink! Topped with cacao nibs and coconut:)

 

Mid-Size Crossovers

Hi Everybody!

Hope you all did well on your finals! Today I wanted to talk about one of the most competitive segment in the American car class, the mid-sized crossover class.

As Americans are starting to buy more crossovers than standard cars, many automakers have to make sure they do the absolute best job to satisfy American tastes. Mid-sized crossovers outsells minivans and mid to full sized SUV’s. Most Americans prefer to not have a minivan for the stigma and only the Toyota Sienna offers all wheel drive. And SUV’s have terrible gas mileage.

Every automaker joined the mid-sized crossover party. Its so large it had to be subdivided into two categories, two row and three row. Nissan currently has their Murano, which is not very attractive in my eyes with interesting cutlines on the windows. Ford has the Edge. It has a bunch of great engine choices but has dreadful reliability. These two choices aren’t awful but it is worth upgrading to get a substantial choice.

The third row class offers stronger engines, much more cargo room and a lot more features. The lists pretty long, with the Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia siblings, Dodge Journey, Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sorento, Mazda CX9, Nissan Pathfinder and Toyota Highlander. In my book, I recommend the Mazda, Honda and Toyota.

The first CX9 was known to have a cheap interior and rather interesting packaging, however Mazda stepped up to the game when it came to materials for this year. Supple nappa leather, authentic rosewood and genuine aluminum accenting the dash. The CX-9 also has the largest passenger volume in the class so everyone feels comfortable. My gripes with this car is the engine, it is only a turbo four cylinder, which only makes 227 horsepower which feels lethargic at times.

Any Honda Pilot is a solid choice. Its always had a great reliability, comfortable seats and always came available with 8 seats. Its always had a very inoffensive, friendly look that attracts families that also has a good sticker price. I only have minor gripes with this car, like how the glove box is not damped on earlier models.

The Toyota Highlander is a great crossover. After 2008, the Highlander tended to win the numbers game in performance. The Highlander also has many different configurations on how to customize this car to make it unique compared to other cars. The Highlander was also the first in its class to offer a hybrid 12 years ago. Now at 295 horsepower, it has plenty of zip to go places. Gripes are that earlier models had a one piece third row, but rectified in 2011.

In conclusion, this segment is gargantuant and is very competitive. And in all honesty, pick any of the three crossovers mentioned and I hope all of you have an amazing week!

 

 

 

Who will Win SB52

The Patriots have been one of the most dominant teams in the NFL in recent years. These are three reasons why I believe they are going to dominate the Eagles

  1. Their Defese Vs. The Eagles offense – The Eagles offense has exploded without Carson Wentz, but rarely against a good defense. They weren’t able to score 20 against the Falcons. The Patriots with a strong Defensive Line and Secondary should be able to have its way with Nick Foles
  2. Tom Brady is The Goat – Tom Brady has it all, and he wants more. He is looking for his sixth ring, and while the Eagles Defense is above average, the Patriots offense just cannot be stopped. Even with a tough first half against the Jags, Tom Brady was able to come back. He should be able to tear up the Eagles Defense.
  3. The Patriots Never Quit – They never count themselves out until they hear the whistle. The Super Bowl of last year cannot be forgotten, and the AFC championship game was also an impressive feat. They should be able to get the lead early against the Eagles, and they shouldn’t lose it.

The Eagles are coming into this game as an underdog, but they have their reasons why they can pull off the upset.

  1. They have an outstanding Offensive Line – While the Patriots are boasting a monstrous defensive line, the Eagles possess an even more developed offensive line that should be able to give Nick Foles all the time in the world against the Patriots secondary.
  2. Nick Foles isn’t alone in the backfield – Nick Foles is not an elite QB (just saying) but he does have two very good Running Backs to help him out, as well as a few great receivers. He should always have his targets and an option to give it to the backfield, hopefully they can tire out the Patriots by doing this
  3. Just like the Pats, their D-Line is outstanding – Fletcher Cox has been the player of the postseason from both sides of the line, he and the rest of the Philly defensive line should be ready to wreak havoc on Tom Brady. The losses Brady has this year are all to teams with great d linemen, and people who could rush the QB.

Hopefully we can have another Super Bowl as exciting as last year. See you next week!

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Is Quinoa Destroying The Environment?

Hey Everyone!

Recently, I was talking to my friend SpiceGirl about her favorite healthy snacks. Although it is always good to eat healthy, it is also important to keep in mind what kind of environmental impacts your food has on the environment. When SpiceGirl mentioned that one of her favorite granola bars contains quinoa (pronounced keen-wa), a grain that has become increasingly popular over the past few years, I decided to look further into how it is grown and produced.

Although quinoa boasts many health benefits and is a great source of protein, iron, lysine, and other nutrients, its healthy profile comes at a hefty price. In recent years, as quinoa has become more and more popular, Bolivian and Peruvian farmers who grow the grain have experienced major losses. Because of the high demand for the grain and its complicated growing, farmers are struggling to produce enough grain to feed the quinoa-craze. To grow more quinoa, farmers have forced out other indigenous crops and cut down forest areas for more room.

Not only does quinoa require lots of land to grow, it also relies on the natural manure produced by llamas in the region. As farmers have expanded on more land, they have displaced llamas who traditionally provided natural fertilizer and prevented erosion, which has caused farmers to replace the manure with synthetic fertilizers. The absence of llamas depletes the soil and leads to erosion, and the synthetic fertilizers damage insect populations (such as bees) and leads to further species loss.

Overall, I’m not saying that you should never eat quinoa again. In fact, a lot of grains and other crops have a harsh impact on our environment. I just think it is important to be an informed consumer and know how the food on your plate gets there.

Review over the Conference Championships

This week we will have two special blogs, one on a review of the conference  championship games, and one previewing the upcoming superbowl.

The Patriots Jaguars game was a controversial comeback, multiple penalties, and bad luck hindered the Jaguars, and allowed the Patriots to complete another historic comeback. The Patriots came out flat but were able to turn the tide during the second half, when the Jags fell flat. Blake Bortles had a great performance by his standards and was so close to helping the franchise to reaching its first super bowl (which it could have won.) The Patriots will move on to their eight super bowl in history, a chance to tie the Steelers record of 6 Super Bowl Wins.

The Eagles showed they were the better team on Sunday by far. They outplayed the Vikings by a vast margin of 31 points. After the Vikings victory, they came out great scoring on their first drive, but came out flat for the rest of the game and couldnt crawl their way back into the game. The Vikings will not be the first home team in the Super Bowl. The Eagles defense controlled the game and scored as many points as the Vikings offense (six). The Eagles will look to their defense when facing Tom Brady, and hopefully Nick Foles can cook up some more magic and finally bring a trophy to Philly, still looking for their first in franchise history.

Check back here later in the week for a preview on the Super Bowl. This week will be the Patriots, and what they need to do to win, and next week the Eagles

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North American International Auto Show

Hi guys!

This past week, Detriot debuted many redesigns of cars. While most of the cars were not debuted as brand new, they were just redesigns.

The biggest debut for the auto show was the brand new 2019 Toyota Avalon. This replaced the already sleek and streamlined Avalon that ran from 2013 to now. I have one in my garage, a 2013 Avalon Touring, and it drives great. The steering feel is much better compared to the older one, with slightly more feel and nice bolstering extensions. The brand new Avalon delivers higher quality leather on the steering wheel and seats, plus suede on the ultra sporty models as well. The paddle shifters on my Touring model have a very chintzy plastic feel. Toyota offered 5 trim levels in the past, with Base XLE, Plus, Premium, Touring and Limited. For 2019, Toyota made sub categories and decided to make Luxury and Sport trim lines. XLE and Limited, and XSE and Touring for Luxury and Sport, respectively. The exterior creates a much more dramatic stance with a wide grille on sporty end trim lines. The interior materials also got a major improvement. There were bits of hard plastic in the previous Avalon, but they are all gone. Replaced by quilted heated and cooled leather seats, and the fake wood trim and silver tone plastic was changed out for Yahama sourced authentic wood trim and contemporary aluminum trim, respectively. Overall, Toyota stepped up with the availability of Alexa capability, which can do basic functions through an amazon device.

The Volkswagen Jetta finally got a redesign. And it needed one. Gone are the awful cheap, nasty plastics and welcome to the new leather trim and the heated and cooled seats. The interior also got larger with more legroom, and the trunk also was improved. The car now looks Audi like, and it was a pleasant surprise coming Volkswagen.

For now these are the two cars at NAIAS, there will be a couple more out debuting so stay tuned for part 2! Have a great week and good luck on finals everyone!