Friday, September 29, 2017

STONE HORSES

Image result for stone horses bandImage may contain: 4 people, people standing and sunglasses

STONE HORSES is a new band local to the DC/Baltimore area.
They've recently had an EP come out, and tonight is actually my first time listening to it because I'm an awful fan. But I gotta admit, I'm impressed. A great band of guys with some great new music.
Most of the band is comprised of members of Charm City Devils, a relatively well established rock band, so it's no surprise the album literally rocks. But (again because I'm an awful fan) the new album really did impress me and go above my expectations.
The album is made up of 6 songs (at $5.99 that's less than $1 a song - what a deal!), but I'm just gonna talk about my top three.
My number one favorite on this EP is Flirting with the Devil, track five. Honestly it sounds like a The Pretty Reckless (my favorite current band) song, and in fact I started playing "Take Me Down" (The Pretty Reckless) on top of "Flirting with the Devil (STONE HORSES) and I think I made something because it's insanely good and works together extremely well. Okay, let me specify - not the entirity of "Take Me Down" just the beginning of the "sign with the devil" part until the end over just before the 3 minute mark of "Flirting with the Devil". Don't go stealing my ideas now, though. But yeah, it works and it sounds good and usually I get really mad when songs are too similar, but in this case I really like it. Maybe it's because I love both bands (my uncle calls me a groupie for both of them, but if ya look up the definition of a groupie I am not). But no matter the reason, "Flirting with the Devil" is definitely a great song. So kudos to the band.
I can't quite decide on the order of the next two in terms of my favorites, but they sound quite different from each other, which showcases the band's range and flexibility quite well. So I'm just going to go in order on the album.
Up first is track number three, "Weiland". I'm guessing by the title it was probably inspired by Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots, but I have to admit my STP knowledge is extremely lacking so if it really is I couldn't tell ya. However, I absolutely love the rhythm of it. It's just a fun song. It reminds me of the early 2000s but a lot of times when something reminds me of something everyone else doesn't see it so take that with some salt. I don't wanna use the term vibes because I'm going to use that in my next song analysis but it really does just have some great vibes that, like I said, are just fun. It doesn't sound like anything else on the album (in my opinion), which is another reason it immediately stood out to me. I dig it.
The other song I really liked was track six, "Roads". "Roads" is the last track of the album and it's a song that I would totally jam out to in the bath. Like some snake charming, totally relaxed hand feeling the music waves in the air type stuff. Also, fun fact, when my dad first bought the album (way before me because I suck) he played all the song previews and the dog even really felt this one. So I guess more of a dog charming than snake charming song, but still it just gives out those vibes. This is a song you have to close your eyes and just go with the flow. Let the music move you (and your head). Unfortunately, because of how intensely the music chills (relaxes) you, it kinda makes the lyrics and vocals tune out a bit but the instrumental vibes more than make up for it. Now that I'm typing all this out I think "Roads" is my second favorite as it moves you. Isn't that what music is supposed to do?

You can buy the EP on iTunes and check out STONE HORSES on Spotify and other streaming sites. Don't forget to request them at your local rock radio station as well! They've also been featured on Sirius XM Octane and the Nikki Sixx show!
Want to see them live? Here's some of their upcoming concert dates:
September 29, 5:30pm Breakaway Sports Lounge, Hagerstown, MD
October 6, 8:30pm, Metro Gallery, Baltimore, MD
October 8, 4:20pm, Fells Point Fun Festival, Baltimore, MD

Check them out on social media at the links below.
www.stonehorsesmusic.com
https://www.facebook.com/StoneHorsesMusic/
http://instagram.com/stonehorsesmusic
https://twitter.com/StoneHorsesBand
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjD-FxijX7B9iCHdA6Eim8g
http://bandsintown.com/stonehorses

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Unraveling of Avery Snow

The Unraveling of Avery Snow (Past Lives Series Book 2) by [Sloat, Christy]

Title:
The Unraveling of Avery Snow

Author:
Christy Sloat

Series:
The Past Lives, book 2

About the Author (Amazon):
Christy Sloat is a SoCal born girl who resides in New Jersey currently with her husband, two daughters and Sophie her Chihuahua. Christy has embraced the love of reading and writing since her youth and was inspired by her grandmother’s loving support. Christy passes that love of reading, writing, and creativity to her daughters, family, and friends. When you do not find Christy within the pages of a book you can find her being mommy, wife, crafter, and dear friend. She loves adventurous journeys with her friends and can be known to get lost inside a bookstore. Be sure to venture into her Past Lives Series, The Visitor’s Series, and watch for many more exciting things to come. 
Check out her website www.christysloat.com
Blog http://christysloat.blogspot.com/, Facebook: Christy Sloat Author www.facebook.com/christysloatauthor. Twitter: ChristySloat

Book Summary (Amazon):
As Avery Snow settles into her life and relationships with those around her, she fights to forget her past lives. All of which she spent with Landon, who still has no recollection of who she really is. It seems better that way. Even though she still feels a draw to his soul, she chooses to ignore it.

For now everything is fine. Her boyfriend, Dallas, has opened a new restaurant. Her friends, Ianni and Kerri, are settling into their lives as well. But when news of a new Dark Guide is revealed, Avery is forced to start thinking about the life she truly leads. One that is very abnormal. One she is desperate to forget. This Dark Guide is determined to make Avery pay for the death of someone she held dear.

Now Avery’s life has gone from seemingly perfect to falling apart. What will be at stake next? Her life? Her love? And who will be there in the end to help her up off the ground? 

Even the strongest love can unravel. 

Will Avery be able to hold it all together, or will she just let go?

I'd Recommend to:
7th-10th grade girls, Hallmark fans

My Rating:
4/5

My Thoughts:
Well. Although the last book (see my review of the first book in the series here) did have it's fair share of romance, it had an even amount of paranormal. I'd say about 35/65, romance/paranormal for the first book. This one, however, did a complete turn around being about 70/20/10, romance/paranormal/boring fluff. That's not to say it wasn't a good book; it just went in a different direction than the first.
In fact, it was such a good book that last night it (or the heat) kept me up so I gave in and just finished the book. I spent $4 to finish the book in a day. Oh well, guess it was one I couldn't put down.
I also realized that the reason the first book had some errors and the overall style/flow was juvenile was because this book (and series) was purposefully styled that way to better give off the impression that you are directly in Avery's thoughts, like I sometimes do with my blog posts (especially on my travel blog). I'm not sure why I didn't quite realize that in the first book, but as it became apparent to me in this one it made more sense and bothered me less.
In terms of the story line, you can tell from the beginning that Dallas and Avery's relationship is falling apart. Honestly, I was rooting for Landon since Avery met him and it was about time Dallas and Avery realized they weren't meant to be. If you're reading this book, I assume you read the first and know that Dallas is the reincarnation of Garrison, a man that killed himself in Avery's past life because she chose Landon over him. I thought that the reason Avery was staying with Dallas in this life was to make sure he didn't have the same reaction, so when they finally ended it, I was relieved. Many events led up to that though that had me pretty mad at Avery, so much so that I almost started with a review last night while only halfway through the book (I didn't though and now I've forgotten what I wanted to type). But the ending honestly did surprise me so that's a good plot twist, since I could pretty much see the other ones coming from a mile away.
It was a good ending though. I am pleased. Hopefully I will get to sleep tonight.

Monday, September 25, 2017

The Many Lives of Avery Snow

The Many Lives of Avery Snow (Past Lives Series Book 1) by [Sloat, Christy]

Title:
The Many Lives of Avery Snow

Author:
Christy Sloat

Series:
The Past Lives, book 1

About the Author (Amazon):
Christy Sloat is a SoCal born girl who resides in New Jersey currently with her husband, two daughters and Sophie her Chihuahua. Christy has embraced the love of reading and writing since her youth and was inspired by her grandmother’s loving support. Christy passes that love of reading, writing, and creativity to her daughters, family, and friends. When you do not find Christy within the pages of a book you can find her being mommy, wife, crafter, and dear friend. She loves adventurous journeys with her friends and can be known to get lost inside a bookstore. Be sure to venture into her Past Lives Series, The Visitor’s Series, and watch for many more exciting things to come. 
Check out her website www.christysloat.com
Blog http://christysloat.blogspot.com/, Facebook: Christy Sloat Author www.facebook.com/christysloatauthor. Twitter: ChristySloat

Book Summary (Amazon):
Avery Snow led a boring, no thrills life. After her father left the family when she was young, Avery’s mother died when she was only twelve, leaving her all alone except for her Aunt Paulina. Now, at twenty-six, Avery is very used to being lonely.
She enjoys her job at Sunrise Estates, it’s the one place where she doesn’t feel left out. Her boss, Kerri, is her best friend and Lucy O’Shea, a resident at the home, is a good friend to her as well. The night Lucy dies in Avery’s arms she delivers a haunting message to Avery. She tells her that there is a man looking for her from a past life. And he will stop at nothing to have her.

Now Avery is unable sleep for more than a few hours, her dreams are keeping her awake. She is too terrified to sleep for the dreams are too vivid and too real. The only catch? She cannot remember what they are about. Until her Spirit Guide, Ianni, comes to help. Ianni shows Avery her past lives and tells her about the man who is stalking her soul. Now Avery remembers every life she has ever lived and she remembers the man she shared them with. He will not give up until she falls in love with him. The problem is Avery is in love with someone else. Ianni must help keep Avery from making the wrong choice. One her soul doesn’t want. She also must keep her safe from the Dark Guides who are after Avery.
Now Avery must make choices she never has before. This once lonely girl is now surrounded by Spirit Guides, psychics, Demonic Angels and two men fighting for her love.

Do you believe in reincarnation and a love that can last lifetimes?

I'd Recommend to:
7th-11th grade Supernatural fans

My rating:
4/5

My Thoughts:
The storyline in this book was very compelling, and I must admit, after I finished I immediately spent the $3.99 to buy the second book in the series.
There were some grammatical and formatting errors that were a bit distracting, but maybe someone with not as much schooling wouldn't notice.
I have to admit that I have clearly been slacking on my reading for a few years now (yes, it wasn't just the reviews that stopped - the reading also stopped), but for some reason I was drawn to reading this book and now I think I will get back into reading and reviewing; so thank you to this book for helping me remember reading is enjoyable.
Anywhos, onto the specifics of the book.
So basically Avery and Landon are soul-mates that have found each other in all their past lives and have once again, this time due to fate, have found each other. However, in their second lives, they were in love with other people and ruined their relationships to be with each other. This time, Avery is in love with Landon's cousin, Dallas (who may or may not be the reincarnation of her old love from the second life). Together, they must all come together, along with some angels, a watcher, and Avery's deadbeat dad, to defeat the demons trying to take Landon's soul.
Avery is so distraught by her dreams that she doesn't sleep much. Her family and friends are becoming concerned. Then she finds out about all this supernatural stuff and, well, life gets interesting.
The story was relatively fast paced and I read it pretty much all the way through, only stopping to sleep.
What really got to me was the theme that souls can connect with each other in their dreams. I've always believed that and this book, although obviously fiction, laid out a very believable explanation of the paranormal world around us. I won't go into much detail for fear of either spoiling the book or sounding crazy myself, but if you have any interest in that kind of thing, I recommend giving the book a read. It's quick and easy and will leave you wondering.
The ending is not how I would have ended it, but it ended in such a way that I needed to know what would happen next, so I bought the next book. I never buy books; I just collect the free ones. But knowing the next sequence of events was apparently worth $4. Must be a pretty good first book then. Go pick it up.

Friday, February 12, 2016

D.M.K.


D.M.K. (Dunbar,Merrill,Karl) is a relatively new rock band composed of singer Scott Dunbar, guitarist Ted Merrill, and drummer Brian Karl, often with bassist Percy Trayanov.

Drummer Brian Karl, Bassist Percy Trayanov,
me, Vocalist Scott Dunbar (from left to right)
 I had the privilege of watching D.M.K. perform last October in Baltimore, Maryland. The energy in the room was through the roof. Unfortunately, it wasn't a packed event, but with the high level of excitement, it was easy to believe it was. Guitarist Ted Merrill is a local Marylander, so that only added to the excitement in the room. In addition to the vivacious audience, the passion and love of music held by the band was unmistakable. Vocalist Scott Dunbar showed more love for his band, supporters, and fellow musicians than I've seen in a while. It is clear he is living his dream and doing what he loves most. Combine Dunbar's spirit with the talented work of the instrumentalists and you get a memorable show with a great band.

Check out their Facebook here, and look for them on iTunes!
D.M.K. performing at Baltimore Soundstage on Oct 25, 2015
For those of you wishing to see D.M.K. perform live for yourselves, you're in luck! Here are their upcoming tour dates, with more constantly being added, so be on the lookout for them. 
2/20/16 with Tester at the Tavern in Framingham, MA
3/3/16 with Y&T at Soundstage in Baltimore, MD
3/11/16 at Gussy's in Astoria, NY
3/25/16 with Danger Danger at Mexicali Live in Teaneck, NJ
4/15/16 with Enuff 'Z Nuff at Elmhurst, NY


Monday, December 14, 2015

Sea-less Surfing



Technology is always evolving; we see it in our smartphones, our electric cars, and our tablet laptop hybrid concoctions. But it's not just our cool toys that are developing technologically, our environment is too. Large ponds that are actually wave pools are popping up with man-made waves big enough to surf. This advancement will not only change the rules of the surf, but could go on to change the Olympics in time for Tokyo in 2020. 

There are three important positions that can be taken when exploring this new trend - technological, business, and the surfer. 
Wave pools are a popular attraction at many theme parks and have been for many years. However, now there is the capability of creating actual ocean-like waves, with no time for flat-spells, constantly and consistently - two things you're not likely to get in the real ocean. Each wave only takes about 90 seconds, so there's plenty of time for plenty of rides. Four major technology companies in this area currently are set to compete for head title of this new sensation within the next two years. Surf Snowdonia and Wavegarden currently lead the pack. 
In August, Surf Snowdonia opened to the public bringing about the reality of this being a serious business venture. They almost reached their maximum capacity every day it was opened for the first two weeks. Drawing in $30-70 a surfer, it shouldn't take long to profit off of the $7 million expense to build the creation. Once they perfect the barrel wave technology, profits and customers will only increase. Another park is planned to open next year in Austin, Texas. 
This idea definitely draws in surfing fans from around the world. It' a great way to learn how to surf for beginners, yet provides constant waves for pros. However, it isn't the ocean. It lacks the saltiness of the sea, the marine life, and the overall depth and danger associated with riding a huge wave in the middle of the ocean, far from land. Paul Evans, editor of Surf Europe Magazine, for example, is not at all excited about the idea of a perfect wave pool. 

What Evans and the article seem to overlook is the fact this could very well be game changing for the world's view on surfing as a sport, as well as giving new hope to land-locked people. With this technology, waves are always available, making it now eligible to be an Olympic sport. People who have always wanted to try to surf yet live nowhere near the water's edge now have the opportunity to learn and try to surf, almost quite literally in their own backyard. This technology has opened up the world of surfing to the entire world. 


Wave creating and wave riding technology has been previously introduced by many parks, but neither have quite perfected it. Thanks to Wavegarden and Surf Snowdonia, we are closer than ever before.


*This post was originally published on my Info System class's blog

Thursday, December 10, 2015

SkyTruth leads to SeaTruth

Image from Wall Street Journal via Google Images

Illegal fishing, sometimes referred to as pirate fishing, is a huge problem throughout the world, but with new satellite technology, it is becoming easier to catch these criminals at sea. SkyTruth has come up with a way to determine if vessels tracked via satellite are illegally hunting fish.

Image from dw.com via Google Images
National Geographic gives readers an insight on the history of SkyTruth, the technology behind it, and the limits or problems the technology currently faces.
In 2012, SkyTruth used satellites and radar to find the ship responsible for an oil spill off Angola by noticing a white dot at the end of a black stretch on the images. Eventually they realized they could use this same detection system to look for pirate fishermen, and teamed up with Pew Charitable Trusts to help. This partnership ended up involving Google and Oceana as well, creating a website called Global Fishing Watch, allowing advocacy groups, fisheries, and governments to view the same information as SkyTruth.
This data is made available because of the Automatic Identification System, or the GPS used by the ships. Originally, this data was intended just so ships wouldn't run into each other or could help vessels in danger. SkyTruth figured out the normal patterns of a ship's movement and can therefore now determine what a given vessel is up to - including illegal fishing.
Unfortunately, there are some loopholes. Some vessels only send up a signal when they are halfway through their voyage, and some transfer their illegally caught fish to other vessels. Some avoid the Automatic Identification System completely! These activities limit the complete accuracy of Global Fishing Watch and allow some ships to slip under the radar. Because of this, SkyTruth is now working on an even more advanced tracking system, a "vessel story", similar to a credit card log. Until then, they are still advancing the Global Fishing Watch website, and hope to make some of its information available to the public in the future.

The article also mentions drones are being used to also collect data and track illegal fishermen, yet they never dive into the drone aspect. It also mentions the White House plans to do something about this, but doesn't mention what. That would be an interesting and informational addition to the already informative article.

According to National Geographic, 20-32% of the wild-caught seafood imported into the United States ends up coming from pirate fishermen. This makes the information relevant to readers; it's where a lot of seafood is coming from! To bring this attention to more readers, this should have also been developed a bit more so more people understand the importance of this issue. It provides a serious question to ponder as well. If illegal fishing stops or is no longer as common, will people in the United States still have the same amount of seafood available to them?

National Geographic Article

*I originally published this article on my Info System class's blog

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The2Tails Mermaid Tails

 Have you ever wanted to be a mermaid? Don't lie; I know you have. Or at least, you know someone who has. Still does even! But...how? Isn't it impossible? After all, at first glance, you do appear to be...a mere mortal...a human. With legs. Yuck, what good are they? All you want is a beautiful tail to help you swim in the sea. Well my dear, your wish has been granted.

 For a while, I searched near and far for affordable mermaid tails. I was fine with not necessarily buying one of my own, so long as I got to spend a day as a mermaid somewhere. Turns out, buying my own was actually the cheapest way to go! The2Tails.com provides affordable, swimmable tails for all mermaid fans! They have a variety of sizes, from children to curvy adult. Oftentimes, they have sales and giveaways on their Facebook page as well.

Send in your pictures of you in their tails and you might even be featured on their sites!

Of course, the pictures weren't the only thing that interested me about my mermaid transformation (although, let's be honest, they played a major role). I am also a huge water baby, so getting in the water and swimming around was pretty much a must. As a child, you often swim like mermaids or dolphins, imagining what it'd be like to swim under the sea and live like that.
Thanks to the monofin-ed tails, that experience can be a reality. Like flippers, but together as one, the monofin provides powerful kicks to those who try it. It's really quite amazing. One kick can save so much energy and propel you so far, it's an amazing feeling. But be careful, though helpful, they are not a magical device that can make the non-swimmers professional. If you cannot swim, DO NOT try swimming in your fin as it will only be more difficult for you and could end in disaster.

*Photographs taken by Helios Photography