Monday, April 30, 2007

...but mama that's where the fun is

It's about 3 in the morning our time and Matt and I are killing some time before we head to the airport for our 6am flight. Let me tell you that this has without a doubt been the best weekend of my trip so far. Lots of great stories and pictures will follow tomorrow, but we camped in the rain, saw some awesome beaches, hiked a mountain, saw an awesome sunset, rented a car and drove 5 hours to see another awesome sunset, and so much more. Full details will follow tomorrow after I wake up. Happy May Day!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Off to Melbourne

I'm heading down to Melbourne for the weekend. Decided this morning to fly down with my buddy Matt. Going to be staying with one of his friends who lives down there. Hopefully going to a anational park and the Great Ocean Road. Will be back Tuesday with stories and pictures.

Til then.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Halfway Point

So it's April 22 and I have just under two months left until I head back to the States. (less than that for my birthday) It's been a crazy two months so far that seems to have flown by. I've learned to surf, been to a handful of different beaches on the East Coast of Australia. I've tried more than a handful of Austrlian beers and met people from all over the US and around the world. Overall it's been a great experience. I've said this before, but it's very similar to Freshmen year of college. It's nice and weird to experience this all over again. You go to a place that you aren't very familiar with. You're living with people you probably have never met before. You get along with some of them, you don't get along with others. You're trying to figure out what food is safe to eat and/or what new combinations of food you've never imagined are actually delicious, like a cheese sandwich with pickles, sweet chili sauce, and potatoe chips. You're trying to figure out how professors grade and find that balance between doing work and going out and enjoying yourself. Sometimes going crazy when you realize that you are doing too much of one or the other. When you look back on it it's probably the best time of your life and you probably met people you will keep in contact with for the rest of your life. But there is also a part of me that doesn't miss freshmen year and the stupid arguments and conversations you have when people don't get you or don't get your sarcasm. You spend so much time trying to impress or define yourself to people, and some of which you'll never see again. I came to Sydney so I wouldn't get caught in the trap of staying with 'the group' the entire time. Less people, I thought meant less likely to get sucked into that trap. But I did get sucked in. I enjoyed. Had a lot of fun when we did stuff together like surf camp and exploring parts of the city, but now I'm ready to break free a little. Do some of the stuff that I want to do with different people and go out and meet people I haven't met yet. It just seems like I'm getting critized by the group for it now. They are mad at me because I don't want to spend every waking moment with them. Life is too short to walk on eggshells for other people and these next two months will be the best two months of my life thus far. Lots of trips planned and lots of people out there to meet. Somewhere in the rush maybe I'll find a job. It's kind of sad when you don't even get a call back from Subway :( But I'm out on the prowl again on Monday.

Until later

Monday, April 16, 2007

Tragedy at VA Tech

When I went to bed last night, two people had been killed, but the killer was still on the loose. This morning there are thirty two people dead in the worst mass shooting in US history. It's been 8 years since the attacks at Columbine that left the country in shock and which lead to nearly a dozen copycat attacks. I hope the same doesn't occur here. What would possibly drive someone to kill two people and then continue on to lock a building and kill everyone in that building. I hope that they are able to find some sort of reasoning behind it. If there even is one.

Thoughts and prayers go out to friends and families of the victims.

It's a mad mad world we live in.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Songs of the Week

Here are the songs I've been listening to this week. Just click on a song to hear it. I've mentioned most of the music in previous posts. I'll update every week or so with new songs that are out. The Pink song is one that I've been listening to alot lately. She was just on Jimmy Kimmel Live to perform it, and thanked him for letting her. A lot of radio and TV networks won't let her talk about it or perform it. I think it has a lot to say about where our country is right now in terms of freedom. We are fighting multiple wars to bring other people freedom and we are losing alot of our own freedoms right here. Pink's song is an open letter to the President. Here are the lyrics:
Dear Mr. President
Come take a walk with me
Let's pretend we're just two people and
You're not better than me
I'd like to ask you some questions if we can speak honestly

What do you feel when you see all the homeless on the street
Who do you pray for at night before you go to sleep
What do you feel when you look in the mirror
Are you proud

How do you sleep while the rest of us cry
How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye
How do you walk with your head held high
Can you even look me in the eye
And tell me why

Dear Mr. President
Were you a lonely boy
Are you a lonely boy
Are you a lonely boy
How can you say
No child is left behind
We're not dumb and we're not blind
They're all sitting in your cells
While you pay the road to hell

What kind of father would take his own daughter's rights away
And what kind of father might hate his own daughter if she were gay
I can only imagine what the first lady has to say
You've come a long way from whiskey and cocaine

How do you sleep while the rest of us cry
How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye
How do you walk with your head held high
Can you even look me in the eye

Let me tell you bout hard work
Minimum wage with a baby on the way
Let me tell you bout hard work
Rebuilding your house after the bombs took them away
Let me tell you bout hard work
Building a bed out of a cardboard box
Let me tell you bout hard work
Hard work
Hard work
You don't know nothing bout hard work
Hard work
Hard work

How do you sleep at night
How do you walk with your head held high
Dear Mr. President
You'd never take a walk with me
Would you

Jimmy asked her if she expected a response. She said "yeah through eminem". I guess we will just have to wait and see.

The Don Imus situation is an interesting one as well. Not as out there as Howard Stern, but still a shock jock, Imus and his producer made an on air comment about the mostly African American Rutgers basketball team following their lose in the NCAA Championship. What started out as a two week suspension, has now become his firing. While what he said was completely inapproriate, it still brings into question the idea of freedom of speech. As a student of the media, it was really interesting to watch. Those of you who live in the capital region and listen to the New Edge radio station (104.9) may have noticed last week that Darwin and Cat were suspended for a week after a comment they made caused some controversy as well. While were talking about radio, anyone who may have been listening Friday night your time to Fly92 at 9:50 may have caught my cameo appearance. If you did, don't worry, the story was exaggerated for radio purposes.

I have also gotten my hands on some audio software and have been messing around with some songs and mashups etc. I may also be recording a podcast for you all in the next week or so depending on how much time I have. A podcast is like an audio file where I can record a blog or journal entry and save so you can all download and hear it. I've been trying to call people when I have time, but there are just so many of you, so this will be like a one sided phone conversation. So I'll work on that.

Hope you are all having a great weekend.
Til Later

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Easter Week At A Glance

So this week has been a week off and it's really nice. The weather has been absolutely beautiful. Temps in the 70s and not a cloud in the sky. The nights are cool and if it rains at all it rains in the middle of the night. I talked to the girls a couple days ago. They are up north and said that it rained the first two days of their spring break and they actually had to cancel a couple of their planned events. I've been playing poker every night this week. Most pubs have free tournaments. First night I finished 12, second night 5, and last night I finished 16th. We'll see if I can win tonight.

The past two days I went to the beach and spent the day in the sun. It's a little breezy so even though it's hot in the sun, the breeze and the water tend to cool it down. Yesterday I walked from Bondi to Bronte which is about a 3.5km walk (2miles) and took a whole bunch of pictures. I'll post the pictures later tonight or tomorrow. Today I just went out for a walk. Was going to head over to the Harbour because it was another nice day out, when I came across the Sydney Entertainment Centre. Tonight is the John Mayer concert and I swung by to see if I could hear soundcheck. We didn't hear anything, but I hung out for another half hour or so. Then we figured out why we couldn't hear anything, he wasn't there yet. Around 3:45 a van pulled up with the band and John himself. He signed a few autographs and took a picture or two before heading into the venue. I got a picture on my cell phone, but I don't know how good it came out. Even though I'm not going to the show here, it was cool to meet him. No Jessica Simpson, although she is in Australia. Definitely want to go to the show at SPAC.

So supposed be another nice weekend. There is a big fair going on in Sydney that I might try and go to. I also am still trying to get to the zoo or aquarium this weekend. If I do, you'll definitely hear about and see pictures.

Until then.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Picture catch-up

Sushi Train at Coogee Beach. You pick what you want as it goes buy and pay 2.50 a plate when you're done. It's quite the bargain and also a fun little idea.
Northeastern Crew at Bondi Beach

Northeastern Crew and the Indiana Boys at Coogee Beach

Alex and I. I sure know how to ruin a picture don't I.
Group shot of the Northeastern Crew. I managed to look decent in this one at least.

Jess, Barbara and I on our Bridgewalk a few weeks back.

Barbara and I in our glory on St Patrick's Day. What do you mean she doesn't look Irish?

So there are some back photos from the trip so far. If the weather is nice I'll have more this week from my adventures of break. And to clarify now and save the questions later...the girls are all just girlfriend. They are all crazy in their own ways so I don't even get involved like that.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

I told you expect a lot of posts this week...

Okay its only been a few hours, but I need to write about this RIGHT NOW. Finally Maroon 5 has released the first single from their long awaited sophomore album It Won't Be Soon Before Long. When I say long awaited I mean it. It has been five years since the original release of Songs about Jane. The album took off slowly and it wasn't until 2004 that the band was honored with a Grammy for Best New Artist and in 2005 for Best Pop Performance Duo or Group.

I had the chance to see Maroon 5 for the first time open for Matchbox Twenty at the Pepsi Arena (now timesunion center) in Albany, NY on May 12, 2003. I had heard a few songs, but these guys absolutely blew me away. There was something about Adam's voice and the bands delivery of the songs taht just hit you right in the gut. The soul and rhythm moved you. I don't think it was a day later that I bought the album and signed up for the street team.

That Fall of 2003 I was in a public speaking class. Our first speech was a persuasive speech. We had to convince the class of something that they would enjoy that they may not have experienced before. While some people chose green tea ice cream or skinny dipping, I chose to talk about Maroon 5. I can remember it like it was yesterday. I was talking about it like they were my best friends and they were on the verge of hitting it big. Like usual I probably had a huge grin on my face and may or may not have done my little white boy dance for the class. When music moves your soul, you have the desire to share it with people. To this day I have people from that class be like "Remember when you told us how big Maroon 5 was going to be. You were totally right dude!" (maybe not exactly like that but you get the idea.

So I did some street team work handing out flyers and single CDs for Maroon 5 and Michael Tolcher(also someone to check out). Oddly enough at the time Gavin DeGraw was opening for the band. As a reward for my hard work, I was offered one backstage pass to meet the band after their show on October 30, 2003 at Paradise Rock Club in Boston. They didn't have any more tickets to the show, but I just had to hand out my singles after the show and then I could go back and meet the band. Well I was the fool and I turned down the offer to meet them, because all I wanted was to see the sold out show, I didn't really care about meeting them. That is one thing I regret to this day.

So now almost four years later they band is finally ready to release the follow up album. The album drops May 22nd stateside and based on the first single "Makes Me Wonder" gives me great confidence that this album is going to rock once again. Check out the single at These white boys bring the soul and the funk. Bob Marley sang "One good thing about music, when it hits you feel no pain".(Trenchtown Rock) Maroon 5 hit hard the first time around and I'm ready for a beating again.

It's weird how things come full circle. This past semester many of you know that I interned for MTV in their music and talent department. At the end of the semester we had to give a presentation to the department on an emerging artist that we thought was a good fit for MTV or one of the MTV channels. Well it took me almost the entire semester to decide on an artist to showcase. Like I said good music is worth sharing and I had a lot of good music that I wanted to share. I thought I might just be the break this band gets if the music is good enough, I just have to set it up. Well as a messageboard whore, I found a guy named Hodges. Rob Thomas was really digging the guy and after a few listens of his stuff there was no doubt that this guy had some talent. I got in contact with his manager learned that he was negotiating a record contract and that things were going well. Got some music samples and I nailed my presentation. Now don't get me wrong I was nervous as hell, but like that time freshmen yaer my nerves were lost when the music came on and I lost myself in it. I couldnt contain myself as I tried to make sure I highlighted all the stuff I wanted to and played the right songs for the right amount of time. I thought it went well and I got some really great feedback from those who were there. Rob Thomaswas working with him as well as Aaron Camin from the calling. The record deal he was working on fell through from what I can tell, but he has since signed with Epic Records. You can check out his stuff on his myspace or at this website

So thats the exciting music news for now. As I continue to explore the world wide web on this rainy Easter Sunday in Australia I'll be writing more comments.

Peace and Love and Easter Eggs

Hair today...gone tomorrow

Well after three weeks of enjoying my constantly growing blonde hair, I pulled a Britney Spears and shaved my head. (No I didnt go crazy, I just got tired of having to wash it and putting gel in it) I also cleaned up the dirt on my face (which most people would be able to pull off as facial hair)

It's Easter morning here. 60 degrees and overcast today. I was hoping to be able to go to the beach today. We'll see what the day brings. I have lots of Cadbury chocolate to eat, the Easter Bunny made a trip around the world just for me :). The girls from Northeastern headed north towards the Great Barrier Reef for the week. We have the week off for Easter Break. It's funny how much of the city was closed down all weekend. Most restaurants and bars were closed and the city was really quiet. I have no big plans for the week. Probably just explore some more parts of Sydney that I have yet to see. The Royal Botanical Gardens and the Aquarium are on the top of my list. I may also try and squeeze in the zoo, but we'll see.

After talking about my travel goals last post, I had the opportunity to meet a woman who had visited all seven continents. My friend Matt's cousin came over last week and Friday night I met them for drinks. We got to talking and Australia was her last continent, she had visited the other 6 all in 2003. It was pretty crazy to hear her stories about all the different places she had been to and lived/worked in a couple of them. Makes me realize just how realistic it is to get to these places...even Antartica.

Well anyways I'm going to get my day started. I hope everyone has a great Easter and I'm sure you'll hear from me a lot this week because I'm around all week long.


Monday, April 2, 2007

I put the Funk in Dysfunctional

I never realized just how hectic my life has been the past few years. School, working, internships, fraternity stuff, and all take up a lot of time. For once, here in Australia, all I have is school. While it’s really nice to be able to sit back and relax, it gets boring pretty quickly. I’ve walked from here to the other side of the continent it seems to keep myself entertained and as I have previously mentioned my current addiction (in the true sense of the word, I had to take a break just to write this) of Solitaire. Sometimes I switch it up and play clock or just play with real cards, but always Solitaire.

In addition to perfecting my card skills, this trip has really given me an opportunity to think…a lot. Sometimes it drives me crazy and I get a headache from worrying about stuff, but other times I come up with really great ideas or I really feel like I’m figuring out who Shawn Wolfgang is. Its nice to be around people who don’t know you because it’s a fresh set of eyes and ears to tell you what you are really like. (I’ve been getting asshole a lot lately, but just because I like to push the girls buttons and give them a hard time about absolutely everything.) It’s also good to see a new set of people and get some different perspectives on life. I was watching TV the other day and a talk show host (yes I was sitting watching Oprah the other day, shoot me I was killing time) had a bunch of people on that basically supported the idea that mind over matter exists and if you set the goals you can achieve them.

I don't think that I have set too many goals in the past, and the ones I have, I tend to give up too easily on. I like when things come to me and are right in front of me for the taking. I say that I love a challenge, but really I love a challenge when I know there is not a chance in hell that I am going to fail at the challenge. I wish that I had applied to a few more colleges. I love Northeastern don’t get me wrong (even though I haven’t been there in a year), but I just have met a lot of people that go to great schools like Princeton or UPenn, or just big schools like Wisconsin or Indiana. I am pretty confident that I could have gotten into those schools, but at the time I applied to schools that I could get into with no problem. I love Boston, and I love all the people I have met, but it just makes you think what if I had taken that risk and applied to some different schools? But I digress, and what ifs would drive you crazy if you thought about them all day. I had a kid on my floor freshmen year that had "what if?" tattooed on his forearm, because he spent nearly everyday thinking about what if he had done something different.

So to figure what I want from life I’ve started a list of what I don’t want first. I don’t want to just get by. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life in Albany, NY (sorry, don’t hate me). I don’t want a 9-5 job that pays well, but I don’t enjoy it. I don’t want to live my life based on the past or worrying about the future. I don’t want to spend my life playing solitaire, by myself, on the other side of the world (had to throw it in there, anyone who reads this should email me once a day or so and make sure that I’m not playing solitaire, or suggest another game...maybe I'll buy a puzzle)

That was the easy part. I’d like to consider myself a glass half full kind of guy, so now it was time to tackle what I do want. I do want to be successful. I want to enjoy what I do in life and I want it to let me live the life I want to live. I want to be able to give back to everyone who has given something to me. If you are reading this right now, you have given me something trust me. You have given me my love of music and movies, my love of the ocean, my brains, my will and determination, my love of games, my gambling, my work ethic, my morals, my humor, support (every sense of the word), leadership skills, drive and motivation, my love of books, my imagination, and so much more.

I want to be able to give some of that back and of course to be able to pay it forward. I want a career in the music industry. My experiences at Fly92 and MTV have given me a taste that I can’t get rid of and I am really missing for over here in Australia. I even listen to Fly92 on the internet here. (Albany will always have a place in my heart). I want to learn to play an instrument. Another example of a challenge I gave up on, I bought a guitar senior year of High School, four years ago…and I haven’t played a full song yet.

I want to see the world. Australia has made realize that the world is so much more than Albany or New York or the United States. I want to visit every continent at least once (maybe not Antartica, but maybe). I want to visit each of the 50 states. I want to run a marathon and then a triathalon. I want to go skydiving and I want to go bungee jumping. I want to see the Great Wall of China and the Eiffel Tower and I want to see a concert at the Gorge in Washington State and at Red Rocks in Colorado. I want to see New Orleans.

Most of all I guess what I want from all of this, is I realize I just want to be the best person I can be and not let stupid things hold me back. The more people I meet the more I realize that everyone has problems; everyone has issues that they have to deal with. It is how you deal with those problems and how you resolve those issues that make you who you are and hopefully make you a better person. I want to learn from my mistakes and from my successes and continue to build on them and become the best damn Shawn Wolfgang that I can, because I can. I can be anything I want. I want to be a person that leaves a positive impression on people and someone that people want to be around. I want to make a difference.

So that is what my last week has been like. A lot of down time and a lot of self reflection. Classes are classes. I have my first paper due on Friday. Just a 600 outline for a midterm essay due after Easter. I have a week off starting on Thursday for the Easter holiday. I’m staying in Sydney for most of the week and then possibly heading down to Melbourne with a couple of guys for the World Surfing Championship. The girls are heading north to Cairns for a couple days then doing a sailing trip down the East Coast of Australia. I’m looking to go to a few more concerts while I’m here so I’m trying to nail down plans for those. I played in my weekly poker tournament last night at Landsdowne. Didn’t even make top 6 this week which was disappointing for me, because top 6 a $10 meal voucher. But I won two weeks ago and got free entry into a tournament on April 23rd with a prize pool of $1000.

While I’ve been listening to a lot of Bruce Springsteen and Counting Crows during my time of introspection, I’ve also been listening to Amy Winehouse who has a really great old jazz feel to her. She’s a little bit of a partier and it’s gotten her into some trouble. Her songs include “Rehab” and “Addicted”. The girls make fun of me because I only know the first line of “Rehab” even though I listen to it probably 15 times a day. For the younger ones, I’m also addicted to the newest Fergie single “Clumsy”. Something about it is just very catchy. The same with the new Timbaland, Nelly Furtado, and Justin Timberlake. Has a great beat and to hear Justin Timberlake make a few stabs at Janet Jackson and Prince is funny. Music is pretty much up to speed here. On the radio I hear stuff that either just came out or came out right before I came over here. Movies are sometimes like that too. “Reign Over Me” the new Adam Sandler/Don Cheadle movie came out here the same day it came out in the states. I really want to go see that and may try and do that sometime this week. Bruce fans, know that Adam’s character has his headphones on and is constantly listening to the entire River album and I hear there is a scene where Adam and Don sing “Out In the Street” together.

Okay well that is enough for now. Now that you all know my hopes and dreams…hold me to it.

Peace and Love

Currently Listening to: Ben Lee “Catch My Disease”