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Yesterday, was my first day driving for Lyft and Uber.  I had some speed-bumps but by the end of the night I felt like I was playing Daniel in France’s hit movie Taxi.

With my first attempt of the day, I tried to go to the Milwaukee Airport to get a passenger but failed.  I logged-in on my apps but I wasn’t collecting any requests. I quickly gave up and texted one of my friends who has experience driving.  He told me about this parking-lot at the entrance of the airport which is GPS coordinated where all drivers must go in order to get a “queue” line-up for an airport pick-up a passenger.

After lunch, I returned to the airport and joined the airport queue.  After waiting a few minutes, my phone dinged and a ride request from Ana appeared.  She was in town from San Diego for her grandchild’s baptism and of course to see her daughter (a Marquette Alum).  I informed Ana that she was my first ever passenger—she was excited.  Right off the bat, I had issues with Waze and my GPS navigational system.  Thankfully, Ana was very patient with me as we made our way to Wauwatosa.  She wished me luck in my job search and tipped me five bucks!

Another passenger was very happy despite just finding out that it may be two months before he can move back into his house after he suffered a fire last week. He was a big hockey fan and immediately commented on my Alex Ovechkin jersey that I was wearing.  He spent much of this five minute ride explaining to me why he despised the Chicago Blackhawks—needless to say, it was very entertaining.

My night concluded giving back-to-back-to-back rides to three separate ladies.  The first was from a young lady named Megan who was impressed with my 5-star rating.  She only requested a ride because “her feet hurt.”  So, our ride together was literally 6 blocks.  My next ride was for a UW-Milwaukee Finance Professor who appeared she could pass as a student herself.  Turned-out she was only 27 years young!  After dropping of the Professor, I picked-up a UWM-Student.  I jokingly told her about the young-looking professor I just met and she told me that she had a young Asian looking professor last semester for her Finance class—imagine if she was her student—small world!!

Anyways, this UScreen Shot 2017-04-18 at 1.01.47 AMWM student requested a ride to the Irish Pub in the Third Ward.  She voluntarily divulged that she was nervous on what she was getting herself into.  She apparently dated her best friend who she broke up with; but surprisingly she was able to salvage her friendship with him.  Now, she is dating one of her ex’s friend’s; and tonight will be the first time they will all be hanging out together…

Let’s see what today holds!

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It has been years since I’ve written a post but in my defense it’s been difficult with my work schedule as I work nights in the Casino & Hospitality industry.  When I’m not working, I’m spending my free time at the BMO Harris Bradley Center supporting my beloved Marquette Golden Eagles or going to watch former MU greats Dwyane Wade, Wesley Matthews, Jimmy Butler and Jae Crowder take on the Milwaukee Bucks.

(Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports)

(Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports)

On Saturday, March 7, 2015 I had the opportunity to see the Washington Wizards play the Bucks. Being from Arlington, VA you would think I’d jump at the chance to see my hometown play.  However, I opted to skip the game and sleep instead. That being said, I will never  pass-up seeing the Wiz Kids play ever again; thanks to NBA Champion, Paul Pierce and John Wall, the 2010 1st-overall NBA Draft Pick.

I was lucky enough to sit  at a bar in Milwaukee, WI when the “The Truth” came out. First, Paul Pierce, nicknamed “The Truth” by Shaq was sitting alone at the bar, smoking a cigar and drinking a ginger ale.  He was focused on reading the captions from the soundless special which FSN was airing about Kevin Garnett–Pierce’s former teammate and close friend.  KG recently returned to the Minnesota Timberwolves, the team that originally drafted him in 1995.  In 2007, KG was traded to the Boston Celtics, where he joined Pierce and the two went on to win the 2008 NBA Championship. Pierce started laughing out loud when FSN showed the same video that I posted on my facebook page, 4 days earlier.  I personally thought, it was so cool witnessing Pierce watch this clip.

Shortly after, two-time NBA All-Star, John Wall and Pierce’s current teammate walked up.  They started talking about their 91-85 loss they had suffered hours earlier.  Pierce was giving “JW” some constructive criticism by telling him to attack the paint. by saying “You sets too many ball screens, you’re the point-guard JW, you don’t set screens, you go around them.” Wall responded by saying “I got you but it doesn’t help when he (Gortat) is always standing at the elbow instead of under the basket.

(L-R) MU Players: Steve Novak, Jimmy Butler, Lazar Hayward, Wesley Matthews.

(L-R) MU Players: Steve Novak, Jimmy Butler, Lazar Hayward, Wesley Matthews.

Then walks-in another Wizard and former Bucks player, Drew Gooden along side a “jersey chaser.”  When Gooden walked-in he started talking to “P” so I started small talk with JW telling him that I was raised in the DC area in Arlington.  Pierce overheard me and joined the conversation saying he lives in McLean (the city next to Arlington). P asked what brought me out to Milwaukee? I replied by saying I went to school at Marquette which opened the door to a three hour conversation with these three players. I told them that I was huge fan of teams with former MU players like Wesley Matthews (Portland) and Jimmy Butler (Chicago).  At which point, Pierce said “It’s a shame to what happened to Wes,” who suffered a season ending injury (torn achilles), two days ago while playing for the Portland Trailblazers.  Then I mentioned that it sucks Jimmy Butler is also currently out with an elbow injury. Pierce jokingly replied “…and (Dwyane) Wade is always injured!”  I laughed, and stated that I have Wade’s college jersey signed and framed in my apartment.  I said I had all former MU players currently playing in the NBA jerseys signed, except for Jae Crowder.

I transitioned the conversation to March Madness and asked Wall if he thinks his Kentucky Wildcats were going to run the table and that sparked the debate of “The greatest player to play at Kentucky.” The debate was between Rajon (Rondo), Wall, and Anthony Davis.  Pierce teased and but I think he seriously meant it when he said Rondo. “Rondo has an NBA Championship and all you need is one of those under your belt and you’d be the best.”  Gooden said Wall has the potential to be the best especially because “you lead the league in minutes played.” However, Wall ended the debate by saying “AD brought a championship to UK and he has a Gold Medal from the Olympics.”

(L-R) Wall, Rondo, Davis.

(L-R) Wall, Rondo, Davis.

Pierce and Gooden both attended Kansas University and they joked saying its clear championships matter because when they enter the practice facility in Lawrence, the player with the biggest picture on the wall is Mario Chalmers.  Gooden laughed as he said he’s played in the Finals in high school, college and the NBA and lost all three times.

Then I looked at my phone and saw that Randall Cobb, WR for the Packers and agreed to re-sign with Green Bay! Wall asked if I was a Packers fan?  I said yea, even though I was raised in DC my Dad raised me as a die-hard Cheesehead.  He replied by saying Cobb, was his friend because they attended UK together.  I said that Cobb agreed to a 4-year-deal for $40 million, $17 million guaranteed.  I asked Wall who he supported, to my shock he said the “Cowboys.”  I told him not to ever mentioned that out loud in DC.  I inquired more to why he was a Dallas fan, since he’s from North Carolina.  He replied by saying “I’m a momma’s boy.” — I laughed.  I asked Pierce who he supported– Well “I’m from LA and since we don’t have a team, the Pat-riots” he replied.  Gooden chimed in saying “The Rams will be moving to LA soon.”

Again, I changed the conversation by asking Wall what city was their favorite to play on the road?  Wall responded by saying “That’s easy NYC or LA.”  I turned the question to Pierce (excluding NYC & LA) and he answered “Toronto. The people are friendly, the city is beautiful, the restaurants are delicious, and the city is diverse.”

Then Gooden randomly changed the subject back to the Wizards current state-of-play saying he wishes “Head Coach Wittman would take a page out of future Coach Pop (Gregg Popovich – Spurs) and quit running so many plays in practice.”  Wall and Pierce, both agreed saying that it’s exhausting as they play so many games and Pierce pointed out again that Wall leads the league in minutes played.  Not following the Wizards at all, I’d still agree with the players considering the players play so many games! They (the players) clearly know how to play but it has to get exhausting traveling and playing back-to-back nights.

The night concluded when I requested we change the TV Channel from FSN to ESPN to watch Sportscenter.  When the bartender changed the channel, a March Madness commercial was shown and there was John Wall in his Kentucky uniform hoisting up a three… The clip showed Wall releasing but not the finish, and I assumed the shot went in but Wall yells “BRICK!” indicating he hit the back of the rim and missed the shot.  Then he fast forwards to the end of the commercial, and say’s “watch me tackle my teammate at the end” and we all start laughing as he tackle his Wildcat teammate to the floor, at the end of the commercial.  When I think back about when Wall was in college, I picture his dance moves… which he brought to the NBA Rookie Photo Shoot:

Prior to departing with their driver, the three players thanked me and let me know that they enjoyed our conversation.  Needless to say, never it a million years did I think I would be able to have a conversation like this but hey it’s March so let the madness begin!!

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I wanted to write this post prior to Super Bowl XLVI, last night, but I got caught up picking up wings from Hooters and watching the twelve hour Super Bowl Pre-game show.

I’m obviously a huge football fan and am quite disappointed that my beloved Packers did not make it to back-to-back Super Bowls.  The next best thing, besides hoping for a close game, are the commercials.  However, in recent years I have found the ads to be sub par–there have been way to many movie trailers.  Last night was no different.  There were easily a half dozen commercials that were previews for the Big Screen.   In addition, to the movie trailers, there were many commercial duds (Teleflora and Fiat). In my opinion, the worst commercial(s) created was by Coca Cola.  Ironically, my favorite commercial was one of the early aired ads in last nights lineup; created by Pepsi with Sir Elton John and Melanie Amaro, with an appearance by Flavor Flav! 

I also really enjoyed the CRV Honda Commercial with Matthew Broderick based on “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”.

Below are my favorite commercials (by category) of All-Tme:

BEST SUPER BOWL COMMERCIAL EVER – Reebok (2003) – Terry Tate Office Linebacker, my friends brother actually created this add which was originally a compilation of scenes adding up to a total of 20 minutes.   Reebok bought the rights and they came up with this clip 

BEER – Bud light (2007) – No Speak English

SNACKS – Doritos (2007) – Crunchy Crash

CAR – Chrysler (2010) – Eminem Motor City

SODA – Coca Cola (1979) – Mean Joe Green 

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1. God’sgift Achiuwa (St. Johns) – I guess his parents wanted to provide the literal meaning of his name apposed of giving him a traditional tribal name.

2. Sir’Dominic Pointer (St. Johns) – Born and raised in Hockeytown, his parents must be Royalty– having prefaced their son’s name with Sir.  The sad part is that Sir’Dominic does NOT have the best name in his family.  His sisters name is Miz’Unique.

3. Scoop Jardine (Syracuse) – I heard a rumor that his parents founded Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream.  I also came across this soundbite which makes a strong case for Scoop to be #1 on this list–check it out (just click Play).

4. Shabazz Bozie Napier (UCONN) – with a middle name of Bozie… I’d say his parents were sippin’ on too much Booze.

5. Fab Melo (Syracuse) – Honestly, I think his first name is pretty FABulous but he shouldn’t have gone to ‘Cuse with that last name.  They already had a Melo aka Carmelo (who wasn’t suspended for grades)

6. Cashmere A’keem Wright (Cincinnati) – He is majoring in Fashion and if his dreams of playing in the NBA collapse, he would like to open his own store which specializes in selling sweaters, scarfs, and cardigans. I’ve been told he’s a very soft and gentle individual; unlike his teammate Yancey Gates.

7. Kiwi Gardner (Providence) – I guess Oakland, CA can be confused with New Zealand… After all, Kiwi refers to people from the Land Down Under.

8. Ge’Lawn Guyn (Cincinnati) – his name is so Mizter’Unique that on the Bearcats web page they have a section for “Pronunciation”.  Just in case you need to some yard work give Ge’Lawn a call; he’s my guy.

9. Jawanza Poland (South Florida) – Do I want to go to Poland?

10. Junior Cadougan (Marquette) – Tenth place was a toss-up between Cadougan and (number two) Vander Blue, also from MU but I went with Cadougan because of a the video game Street Fighter–sounds to much like Ryu’s special move “Hadouken”

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Cold, snow, cheese, brats, Harley’s.  These are a few things that come to mind when the average non-Wisconsinite thinks of Milwaukee.  Here are a few other terms that I think about when I think of Milwaukee: Festive, tailgate, relaxing, and delicious.

Last night, I went to SummerFest, an 11 day music festival which includes 11 stages with over 700 bands.  The most notable bands in attendance were 311, Maroon 5, Wiz Khalif, Owl City, and Ben Harper.  All these bands and singers performed on eleven general admission, street stages, which cost $15 per ticket.  Artists such as Kanye West, Britney Spears, Toby Keith, and Katy Perry performed in the Marcus Amphitheater which costs a minimum of $50 (lawn tickets) and goes as high as $170 for reserved seating.

Fortunately, my favorite band, Of A Revolution (O.A.R.) whom I saw play, always performs on a street stage at SummerFest.  The best part about last night was the OAR group members meet and greet/autograph session prior to their show.  Having already met Richard On, the guitarists, at a bar in Arlington, VA, I was excited to meet the lead vocalist, Marc Roberge. The crowd was treated to an exciting two-hour performance, including saxophonist Jerry DePizzo, while O.A.R. rocked the Miller Lite Oasis Stage.  O.A.R. played a few songs songs from their up coming (Aug. 2) album “King” including their new single “Heaven.”  My favorite song they played was “Hey Girl” which was the last song of the night.

When you aren’t at SummerFest, “sipping beers and making faces at the senoritas” you can be tailgating outside Miller Park before and after a Brewers game! When driving down I-94 with the windows open, seeing the parking-lots at capacity, you can smell the brats and charcoal burning. Miller Park is a spectacular place to see a ball game (rain or shine) since it has a retractable roof.  If you are a baseball fan, you have to come to Milwaukee to witness the Sausage Race.

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Finally, my favorite place to hangout in Milwaukee during the summer is Bradford Beach!  Yes, there’s a beach in Wisconsin and there aren’t any worries like jellyfish or sharks–I’m talking about Lake Michigan.  If you are the athletic type, you can either go on a jog, or play beach volleyball/soccer in the designated areas.  For the less adventurist individuals, you can just relax and catch some sun and people watch.  My activity of choice was people watching! After spending the day at Bradford Beach, you can conclude your evening at my favorite restaurant Lake Park Bistro which is located just north of Bradford Beach on top of the hill, over-looking Lake Michigan.  Lake Park is part of the Bartolotta family, but it isn’t a chain.  It is a romantic French restaurant that has delicious food and great service.  I either order the steak frites or the entrecote aux Champignons (Steak Ribeye with grilled mushrooms).  A typical meal (for two) costs between $60-115 depending on what you order.  But my motto is “You only live once” and each dollar spent at Lake Park is well worth it!

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It is only fitting that my Grandma, Sue Remington, would pass on the day of the year, where the sunlight lasted the longest of the year–on the Summer Solstice.  She was 89 years-old when she died in her home in Madison, WI.  In this very house on Dartmouth Street, she raised a family of five boys and a daughter.  These same children (my Aunt and Uncles), were along her bedside to show their love and support as my my Grandma peacefully slept away.I was raised just outside Washington DC by my Papa, Michael Remington, who was my Grandma’s oldest son.  Growing-up, we were fortunate to have the means to be able to travel to WI, as a family, to visit my Grandparents (Sue & Frank).  I will forever remember Grandma as a traditional, competitive, and humorous human being.Our family vacations to the Mid-West, consisted of canoeing down the Brule River, fishing for northern pikes, playing king of the raft, eating pie in Port Wing, and me almost biting my tongue off (I have scar to prove it).  In the evenings, when we weren’t exploring the outdoors of Iron River, we had family dinner at the cottage.   Grandma was all about the Clean-Plate-Club. She would say “Food wasters don’t get dessert.”  Dessert normally consisted of a scoop of ice cream from a gallon jug (I have a ton of cousins).In the morning, I would awake to the smell of maple syrup and pancakes on the griddle. According to Grandma, we were not allowed to sit at the table unless we had brushed our teeth and washed our face.  Another rule that Grandma enforced was no hats inside.  When I say she enforced this, she scolded my Uncle Pat, a little over a month ago for sitting down at the dinner table, wearing a HAT when my Papa and I were in town visiting.In addition to being very traditional, Grandma was also very competitive.  She was the biggest Wisconsin Badgers fan that I knew.  She had 50-yard-line seats at Camp Randall during the Fall.  During the Winter, you could find her sitting center court at the Kohl Center.  As you can imagine, when I transferred to Marquette, basketball season became very interesting within my family.  The already in-state-rivalry just became a little bigger to include the Remington Family.  During my first year at MU, the Golden Eagles played at Madison and I requested a ticket to join my Grandma for the game.  Just before the opening-tip, Grandma looked at me and said with a straight face, “Christophe, you are not part of the Remington family during the next 2.5 hours!”  I thought she was kidding but through the game she would nudge her elbow into my side when MU made a good play.  At one point, she told me to “keep it down” when I cheered one of Dominic James’s dunk!  In fact, after the game, I asked Grandma if she would wear a shirt that said “Marquette Grandma” and her response was priceless, “Over my dead body.”  Well I guess, I should go pick her up a shirt from the Spirit Shop (only kidding).Her competitive personality didn’t end with the Badgers.  It was also prevalent at her dinning-room table were Grandma and I competed in a card game called “Casino.”  The point of the game was to get to 21 points first; based on a complicated scoring system.  I was one of Grandma’s toughest opponents.  From what I hear, my cousin Natalie is also really good.  Grandma rarely beat me because she claimed that I was “a little rascal” because I never built any “piles.”However, even though I beat Grandma during the majority of our card matches; she did beat me at something more significant.  One summer, in Northern WI, my Dad, Grandma, and I played 9 holes in at the Poplar Golf Course.  Papa, obviously dominated; but 2nd place came down to the final hole where Grandma beat me by one stroke sinking a high-pressured putt.  Grandma was a gracious winner and that day was one of my favorite days spent with her and my Dad.Grandma was not just traditional and competitive–she was also naturally funny.  She had the most random ideas in the world.  One of which took place during a dinner conversation which I recorded on my camera.  Unfortunately, my apartment in Milwaukee was robbed and the thieves took my laptop which the video was saved on.  However, I still remember this conversation as if it took place yesterday.  This dinner took place about seven years ago, when Grandma suggested that she wanted to open a “Drinking School” she explained that kids need to learn how to drink responsively.  She wasn’t implying that her grandchildren where alcoholics because I asked just that!  She truly believed that it was a good idea to open this school.  When asked, “where will you teach classes?” she said “here” meaning her house.  Everyone laughed.

From this video above, you can witness Grandma’s great sense of humor.  You can also see her fierceness doing a fist bound, as well as her love for dogs.  Present in this video are myself, grandma, my cousin Frank, and my girl friends dog, Maisy.

Grandma will be survived by 20 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.  But more importantly, by her only daughter Ann and her five sons Mike, Jim, Tom, Pat, and Frank as well as their spouses.  We will forever remember Sue Remington as a caring and loving grand/mother.

FAMILY PHOTOS (Click here)

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Who doesn’t like music…? Simple answer–No one! Music gives people a sense of therapy, a way to connect, but most importantly, it’s open to interpretation.  I tend to listen to every sort of genre, minus classical but if my classical radio station started playing cover songs by violinists’ Eric Stanley or Josh Vietti, I would definitely tune-in.  My favorite genre of music is Country music because I enjoy the story-lines in the lyrics.  I also like Hip-Hop because I believe rappers are the most creative and talented singers in the music industry.  The way a rapper matches their rhyming lyrics to a beat is just dirty!  However, this post is only going to depict music that is instrumental.

While exploring YouTube in search of great instrumental and cover bands I came across some fascinating, talented, and gifted individuals.  The first individual that I found was Eric Stanley, of Richmond VA, a violinist who turns pop songs into instant classics. According to his web site Eric would define his music “more as world music mixed into modern.”   

The next musician that I came across was David Sides “D-Sides” a talented pianist who lives in California.  D-Sides took the internet by storm with his piano cover of OneRepublic’s “Apologize.”  However my favorite cover he composed was “Buy U A Drank” originally by T-Pain & Yung Juc.  According to David’s web site, “His personal renditions of today’s popular songs are truly a work of art.”

The third musician I found was another violinist named Josh Vietti who started out as a street “Mall” performer in Santa Monica.  Josh made his national debut performing in the 2010 NBA-All-Star commercial.  Josh may be my favorite musician on YouTube.  According to Josh’s website, his music “is an urban blend of hip hop/jazz violin and will make you want to dance, bob your head and leave you wanting more!”

The next talented pianist that I found was Neal Kern who was covering “Shattered” by my favorite band OAR.  I was unable to find a web site for Neal Kern to provide additional information about his background.  But, I did find under his YouTube info, that he has a son who he loves dearly.  He has studied music earning his Masters in Jazz from North Texas.

The last musicians that I discovered were twins Janice and Sonia aka Jayesslee.  These two adorable sisters were raised in Australia by Korean parents.  According to their YouTube site, they “have always shared a passion for singing and now, they are set on pursuing music.”

Finally, I discovered this band two years ago and just wanted to add them to this post because I think they are super talented.  They are called Boyce Avenue “B-ave”.  They started off covering bands and became a YouTube sensation covering songs by Oasis, Boyz II Men, Journey, Chris Brown,  Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, and Michael Jackson.  B-ave has now come out with their own album that can be purchased on iTunes.  They are so successful that they are touring nationally.  In fact, they are coming to Washington DC and performing at the 9:30 Club on October 10, 2011.

Like I said in my into, music can be interpreted however the listener wants.  These musicians took the work from famous artists’ and turned them into their own works of art.  I hope you realize that it takes creativity, hard work and talent to compose music.  So please continue to show support for musicians across the world by purchasing legally and going to shows or in Josh’s circumstance, stopping at the mall and  just listening.

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