Monday, December 31, 2007

on fatherhood.

So, I thought I was done for the year with my pseudo-best of list, but I just can't let this sleep. For a long while now, I've been reading Fistfulayen, the blog of Ian Rogers. I've tried to Wikipedia him, I've done only a little bit of research on the Google, but I don't really care who he is, to be honest. His blog is funny, clever, honest, almost always on the right side of tech issues, and oftentimes heartfelt and touching. His latest post details how his little girl loves Cheech Marin. It's hilarious but beyond that, it's an inspiration for how I want to be when I eventually have kids. I don't know how much money this guy made in the past, if he's a semi-millionaire and doesn't have to worry about too many things now, but that's beside the point. He's still in to good music, he seems like an actual person, and he takes care of his kids. What more can you ask for in a parent?

I oftentimes tell my sisters that lots of books will be written about their generation and how they're changing the rules for parenting. My mom's cool as hell, but I don't remember her being even half as "with it" as they are. Maybe it's the fact that I'm older and able to see it, and their kids won't remember them being this way, but I just don't see them changing that much in the future. It's great to see that parents are increasingly becoming people, as opposed to...well, the opposition. The closer the relationship, the better chance for success, I think. My sisters (and their husbands) and Ian Rogers at Fistfulayen give me hope that this isn't just a shot in the dark, but something that is actually happening.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

on the good and the bad.

Well, I'm going to try to wrap up my year here, and good and bad for me, I got one item for each list today. Let's start with the bad:

Worst of 2007

I don't have enough hatred (nor enough breadth of knowledge) of all the things that came out this year to compile lists of movies, books, music, political events, and general events individually, so they're all gonna get lumped together for this batch. We'll start with the most recent, and probably the most hated.

Spider-Man - One More Day - I don't know where to start with the hate on this item. First of all, a minor quibble: the whole arc is named "One More Day" and it consists of Mephisto making the offer that we all knew his was going to and then Peter and MJ having one more day to make that choice. (Oh, dramatic!) However, the one more day (of the title!) is depicted in the comic as sixteen panels! Nine of those are almost exactly the same as each other and another four are almost exactly the same again! Keep in mind this story arc ran four issues. And yet, the one more day takes place in less than one-tenth of the total time taken to tell the story. The total effect of the story is something I disagree with, it was so poorly done, and it's so drastically out of line with what it seems like most fans want that I feel I'm left with no choice other than to do the unthinkable: I'm going to drop Spider-Man for the first time in my near-15 years of comic book reading. Very sad.

The assassination of Benazir Bhutto. It's not exactly clairvoyance to say that I knew this was a big deal as it was happening, but I'm sad to report that I'm not sure this is being taken seriously enough in the world media. And that's saying a lot, because there has, in fact, been a lot written already about this. But it's damn near the worst thing this year.

Spider-Man 3 wasn't really that bad of a movie, but when compared to the other two, it's just so hard to say that it was any good. And that made me sad.

Same for the fourth installment in the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. It was a good young adults novel, but compared to the raw emotion of the first three and the thrill of discovery of those, the fourth sat kind of pale, trying to live up to the previous installments and trying to fit in a nice "conclusion" all at the same time. It wasn't terrible, it was just one of the worse novels that I read over the last year.

The ending of the first season of Heroes. Atrocious.

The Best Reading

On the other hand, all three of the other Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants were simply amazing. Well-written, they progressed as actual young women do, from juvenile adolescents to mature young women talking about real things that people do.

The DC Universe and it's continuing expansion. There were things I didn't like (such as the continuing carnage wrecked by Superman-Prime and some of the scheduling issues between Countdown and the Sinestro Corps War) but overall, I think this is the year that DC overtook Marvel in my mind. Not the least because of the Spider-Man nosedive, but also because I see a cohesive universe forming at DC, something I've longed for in comic books forever. Special strong notes go to the Teen Titans, Green Lantern, Batman and Blue Beetle (both of which I'm not reading and regret not doing so) while a special bad notice goes to the Flash: way to stand out for sucking in a year when you had so much potential and the rest of your universe rocked. It wasn't naturally the fault of the Flash, what with all that happened, but it was pretty terrible.

I read a short story by Avi called "What Do Fish Have To Do With Anything?" that was simply amazing. It could be used in college courses. I felt lucky that I got to read it and I laughed at my 7th graders for not realizing how lucky they were.

Best Visual Art

There were at least three thousand forty-six movies that were well-reviewed that I didn't get a chance to see. That makes me sad. But these were the best movies I saw.

The Departed
American Gangster

Best Auditory Experiences

In a year full of mediocrity, only a few things stood out to me. Maybe that means that I'm getting old or maybe it just means that I'm listening to less music than I was in the past. These are in no order.

Rilo Kiley - Under the Blacklight - Early reviews said it was about the trouble of living in L.A., but there's no way it's not a breakup album. And maybe the best one of those. It's wrenching to listen to.

Kanye West - Graduation - Ahead of its time, but, unfortunately, not the future of rap like a lot of people wish it was. Kanye's not the future, but only because people are scared of mavericks.

Radiohead - In Rainbows - The best album of the year? For free? The success of the new Radiohead album doesn't really depend on whether the music's any good, but rather is necessitated by the fact that they changed the game in one fell swoop.

Wilco - Sky Blue Sky - A return to forms where Jeff Tweedy actually sounded happy. I thought more people would like it after they flipped out for Yankee Hotel Foxtrot but it kind of got slept on, unfortunately.

Honorable Mentions: Jay Z - American Gangster, Nine Inch Nails - Year Zero, Arcade Fire - Neon Bible, and Fall Out Boy - Infinity on High, easily my favorite album when the year began, and still not ashamed to admit it.

Best Experiences in General of 2007

Amazon trying to take the competition to iTunes. The more the better.
The flinching certainty of Hillary being the Democratic nominee - the more actual choice we have, the better.
The near-certainty that no matter who the GOP nominates, they're going to get beat.
Last but not least, Lost is coming back!

Friday, December 28, 2007

jack bauer = batman.

So, I'm in the midst of my end-of-December marathon-ing of 24 with my Dad. For the last six years, for Christmas, I've given my Dad the previous year's season of 24 on DVD and we've obsessively watched it while I was on Chriastmas Break from school. (It worked out perfectly that I became a teacher because now I still have Christmas Break.) So, we're watching season six of the show which, from the little information I've allowed myself about it, people seemed to hate. We're a little more than halfway through the show now, and I gotta say: I love it. Way better than last season, where we had the crazy President Logan - and his definitely-equally crazy wife. I know it's kind of crazy what they've done in this season, especially in the beginning of the show (phrased ambiguously so as to avoid spoilers for anyone who's not seen) and with his Jack's family members, but I acknowledge that they need to up the ante on a show that's consistently been over-the-top.

24: still good for me.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

on the holidays.

For a while now, there has been talk of a much-vaunted culture war being waged between left and right, Democrat and Republican, liberal and conservative, etc.. Some people think it originated in the 1960's, but seeing as this is a country founded by traitors and free thinkers, I think the likelihood is much stronger that things have been distraught in this country for a lot longer than just the last 50 years.

Recently, however, things have gotten a lot uglier. First, Hillary Clinton claimed that there was a "vast, right-wing conspiracy against her husband Bill, while all that stuff was going on. (You know...that stuff.) However, as we all know, I'm not about to harp on people for calling it like it is.

What I don't think is "calling it like it is" are Bill O'Reilly's constant claims about the sides of the culture war - and what they're all responsible for. Bill O'Reilly claims that liberals hate Christmas and that their insistence upon using "Happy Holidays" is a form of discrimination.

Lately, these types of stories have seemingly been contradicting those opinions and proving that liberals (you know, those type of people who stick up for people getting picked on) actually do care. You would think that this might lead Bill O'Reilly to apologize, but if you know Bill, you know that's never going to happen.

So what are we left with? A constantly widening culture gap where one side hates the other side because they think that the other is wrong in every single aspect of their points of view? That's a terrible world. I'm not sure that's a world I want to participate in.

I guess what I'm saying is that I want this to stop. It shouldn't be that one side hates the other side. It shouldn't be that either side thinks the other side is always wrong. We should be able to get along.

So, in conclusion to my CBS mid-afternoon family special message, all I want to say is, if someone tells you Merry Christmas, maybe you should just be kind in return. And if someone answers your Merry Christmas with a Happy Hannakuh, maybe you should remember that Jews helped build this country - and are still doing so.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

happy holidays.

A couple quick notes on this wonderful Christmas:

First of all, I've started a Christmas card list, so everyone I know and love should get a card from me sometime in the next two to four days. (All depends on the Post Office - and we've talked about my problems with them before!) If you don't get a card and you want to be on my list, you can comment here and I'll get you a card late here, or I can just add you to the list for next year.

Secondly, it's a glorious basketball day today. While Cleveland is losing right now (down four at the half), I have little doubt that they'll be able to make it back and Miami will ultimately lose this game. Then, the more important game, the Lakers are going to take on the Suns in Los Angeles. I'm not alone in thinking the Lakers should edge this one out (only because they're at home?) and that definitely makes me happy. The third game is a throw away. It was supposed to be Kevin Durant meeting Greg Oden, but all it'll be now is the Blazers running their win total up a little more, shocking more and more people every day.

Third, the earliest political caucuses are very close. We'll soon have a lot more clear idea on who the Presidential nominees are going to be in November, and hence more of an idea of what's going to happen in that contest, and what direction we'll be headed in the next few years.

Fourth, headed back to basketball, the Bulls let go of Scott Skiles. I think it's a heartless move, but the right one. Skiles just isn't the coach to keep around at this stage. He's clearly beefing with Ben Wallace (not to mention Tyrus Thomas) and you just can't take that from a veteran coach and a veteran player. Too much discord. (BTW, discord should have an h in it. It should be spelled dischord. WTF?) I like Scott Skiles as much as the next guy, but I don't think he's the right guy for Chicago right now. I'm happy that they got rid of him, I'm curious as to who they'll bring in (and if it'll be an interim situation or a permanent move), and I'm still very confident that the Bulls will make the playoffs and have a good showing. They've got a lot of ground to make up, though. I won't say that I'm without worry. But I think they can get it done.

Monday, December 24, 2007

link of the day.

Jay Z is leaving his post as President of Def Jam. This is pretty significant news but I'm honestly unsure of what it means. He did a good job while he was in charge, he brought in some hits, but I wasn't exactly overwhelmed. I think it's probably pretty hard to do a bang up job in less than three years. Plus, his own records definitely took a hit. Kingdom Come was less than spectacular and, while American Gangster seems to have turned that around more than a little bit, it's only one in the last three plus years that's been great.

I'll be interested to see if he attempts some kind of reconciliation with Dame Dash, what he does with Kanye, who he decides to put out his music with in the future (I know it says in the article that he's staying there, but that's not necessarily true), and what happens with the Rocafella label in general.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

on i am legend.

Good time of the year to see a movie, so I went out the other night and saw the new one that everyone's going to be talking about: I Am Legend, with Will Smith. Pretty damn good.

I was impressed with Will Smith, who's come a long way since his Fresh Prince of Bel-Air days - and even back then, he wasn't terrible by any stretch of the imagination. Will Smith has always been a solid actor and I always laugh at ... that one movie that I can't remember right now when I think of the in-joke about Will Smith being the client of one of the lawyers and they're talking about how he's going to be a big star. (Did that make any sense? If so, a little help on what that movie is?)

Anyway, other than that, I thought there were some great things that definitely need to be talked about. First and foremost, the good differences between this one and The Omega Man. The big one, obviously, was the absence of any spies sent in to get the goods on the doctor. I like this, because it makes him seem a lot more alone. However, that was pretty much blown by the end of the movie. Now, you'd think that these aforementioned clashes would lead to me being unhappy with the movie, but you'd be wrong. Big time wrong. I thought one of the worst things about Charlton Heston's version was the removal of the "legend" aspect of this book/movie. It's called "I Am Legend" for a reason! He has to be a legend. The first version of the movie, The Last Man on Earth, did a good job of staying true to the text and pretty much left everything as is. And that was good. Now, I'm a fan of the Heston version, but it's not the same type of movie. It's just that simple.

Will Smith, on the other hand, gets to be a legend, bringing the original text back full circle, but in a different way. Things obviously have to be updated and I thought this was a good way to do it.

Secondly, I thought the single best thing about this movie was that there were, at times, doubts in my mind as to whether Neville was actually insane. The trap that he got stuck in near the cab, that ultimately led to his dog's demise? I think he set that. Am I alone in that? I think he set it, forgot that he had set it, and ultimately was caught by himself. I think this is where Will Smith shines moreso that any other actor that I can think of (other than Christian Bale maybe) in this part. He successfully conveyed (to me) that, well, it's lonely to be the last person on the earth.

I think I have more to say about this, but I'm not sure just now. This might be continued...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

on problems with moneyball.

I like the fact that we're trying to break down all the games to numbers. I really do. So don't get me wrong in this argument. I try to apply "Moneyball" type of stats any time I can in an effort to better understand both my individual girls on my team, the groups that I put them in, and why we lose games (when we do) and when we win (which I wish we did more often).

However, all of these numerical bases have never convinced me that I should make a decision based purely on the numbers. It just wouldn't make sense to me. I couldn't see it as being true, and I refuse to see it as the way of the future. Maybe some sort of combination will someday be figured out as a good temper to the "gut instinct" way of coaching/managing, but I just don't think that numbers can be relied upon as well as personalities.

So while I was reading this column by John Hollinger touting the values of Chris Paul (whom I think the world of), I just couldn't escape the feeling that something was dreadfully wrong. Hollinger has a long track record of rubbing me the wrong way and I know I'm not alone. I'm certainly not saying he's wrong - CP3 is amazing, there's no doubt about that. I just find it dangerous to be comparing Steve Nash, CP3, the Answer, and John Stockton, along with Gilbert Arenas, and Kevin Johnson.

I think that Hollinger very much represents this new wave coming over to basketball from baseball, just thinking that everything can be boiled down to a number. And I don't think it can.

(As a sidenote, let me say that I hope I've made it clear that Chris Paul is the guard I'd take next year, if I was starting my franchise from the point guard position. Or maybe the year after that. As it is now, I'd still take Nasty Nash or J Kidd [who gets pretty mightily disrespected in the Hollinger article] over Paul today. It's that whole gut argument I'm making. I trust their decisions and experience over his numbers. At this point.)

EDIT: Upon further following of the links that I posted in this entry as research to try to back up what I'm talking about, I stumbled upon Plissken at the Buzzer's post about this very same thing which summarizes what I'm trying to say in a much more intelligent manner.

Monday, December 17, 2007

(old) link of the day.

The Mitchell Report recently came out and baseball enthusiasts have been quite aflutter with the news of who was named, what's going to happen to those players, and more.

The more has included a lot of talk about Roger Clemens, a lot of talk about Andy Petite, and a handful of admissions from former players.

While I think it's worth noting, and I think that it's probably important to baseball to handle this ugly mark that they've been engaged in for so long, I ultimately think that it will do nothing. The Report itself even says that nothing should be done, no consequences should be enacted, and I'm fairly sure that most of the public won't think of The Steroid Era as over until Barry Bonds is ultimately found guilty. That will be the final nail in the coffin, and I think it's not until that point that people will truly begin to move on, and embrace baseball again.

Will it be soon enough for baseball to be "saved?" I don't know. It's certainly not the most popular sport in America anymore. But I don't think it has to be. It just has to be there for the people who love it. And I think this Mitchell Report is neither here nor there for those people.

Monday, December 10, 2007

is there any place you'd like to work less than msg?

Well, the news is in and the news is that the Knicks have 'settled' their lawsuit with Anucha Browne Sanders for $11.5 million dollars. This requires a lot of thought, so bear with me. I'm literally flabbergasted right now, so some of you who know more than me (which is a lot of you) might have to clear some things up for me. However, these are the details to this point, as I understand them:

Sanders sued the Knicks, MSG, the ownership, etc. for sexual harassment. A judge and jury agreed and awarded her $11.6 million dollars.

The Knicks, MSG, the ownership, etc. (hereinafter referred to as "MSG et. al.") disagreed with the judge and jury and, as is their American right, appealed the case to a higher court.

Now, instead of going forward with that appeal, the Knicks have 'settled' (you'll note the use of the single quotation mark each time that word appears; it's that way for a reason: I can't possibly think of an appropriate way to connote the amount of scorn that my voice would have if I was having this conversation with anyone, except for those marks) the case...for 1/10 a million dollars less.

In the ESPN article that I'm linking to, the experts offer some various explanations why this might have been a good business move for MSG et. al. such as, "By settling, the Knicks avoided paying her legal fees" and... ... ... that's it.

To me, that's not a settlement. There's no way that should be termed a settlement. That's a settlement the same way a bully threatens to beat you up at lunch unless you give him all your lunch money, but then 'settles' and lets you keep a penny. Except in this case, the bully is in the right! And MSG et. al. got exactly what they deserved. Someone who describes this as a settlement is out of their mind. This is as big a loss to their organization as their guaranteed last-place finish in the Atlantic Conference is.

Fun note from this article: From here I learned that James Dolan also owns the Rangers, the NHL team in New York. The Rangers are coached by a guy named Glen Sather, who apparently has done exactly what Isiah did with the Knicks - bringing in bloated salaries for nothing and has gotten the same treatment. Apparently Jim Dolan likes to firmly stand by his pathetic losers. Count me out as a New York-anything fan. At least when George Steinbrenner buys up the payroll he has playoff runs to show for it - and, a while ago, some World Series victories. If Dolan ever gets his hands on another franchise, I will pronounce that the death grip.

Pull quote: Isiah Thomas maintains, "As I have said before, I am completely innocent." Yeah Ike, a jury of your peers just somehow managed to miss your 'complete innocence' for eleven large worth of guilt. Easy mistake.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

election season in december.

According to this press release from Martin Chavez's campaign he will not be running for Senate.

This is only a small surprise to me. I had been betting on this dropout coming for a while, but I guess some people are really shocked.

My only real response here is that I think this is good for both New Mexico and the Democrats. This should firmly put Tom Udall in the seat, and he's a good guy. The Democrats have long needed a united front in order to try something of this order. In Heather Wilson's constant battles for re-election they've always thought that this was going to be the time they got her, but they never did. Why? It might have something to do with the splintering of the Democratic front and it might have to do with the bi-polar nature of Albuquerque. It's an insanely Democratic city, with several pockets of Republican activity.

Point is, with a wave of Democrats to ride, we are in good position to back Tom in his quest against her for the Senate seat. She's giving up her House seat in order to run, so if Tom wins and a Democrat takes her old spot, we'll be in a good position in this city.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

i love comic books.

However, this is just a note to say that in the Justice Society of America that was released today, we get to read DC Nation 90 where they brag about posting Halloween pictures and "how far ahead these are written." But released on the same day we have Justice League of America where we read DC Nation 88. Just gives you a little bit of a taste of the frustration that we comic book fans have to put up with.

If these things are plotted so far in advance and the people are paid to write comic books what's the issue with getting it in when you know you have to?! The ending to Green Lantern 25 has been spoiled for weeks now, not thanks to Internet crusaders or anything silly like that, but because DC's weekly comic Countdown (to Final Crisis, as it's been renamed) has to come out on time. So, what's the point of seeing the fight in GL 25? We all know what's going to happen.

What's so hard about putting out a quality product in a timely fashion?

(That's not to say that I didn't love it when Starman turned to us and said, "Anyone have one?!" Pretty nice nod to what's going on.)

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

i love overtime.

Right now, USC and Memphis are going into overtime! I love overtime! Who doesn't?? I mean, really? It's the greatest thing that can come from a game!

Anyway, here's a link to Will Ferrell's new movie taking on the blessed basketball called Semi Pro.

The news that Hillary Clinton is losing steam is a little concerning to me. I had long ago claimed that Hillary would definitely not be the Democratic nominee, then conceded that she would be, but that she was too polarizing to win, and just most recently, I'd finally both publicly and privately admitted that I thought that not only would she be the nominee but that she'd be our next President. And now I have to deal with this sort of news? It's concerning to me, not only because I like to win, but because I like to know what's going on. If I can't get a good read on the political temperature, I feel very unsure of myself in other areas as well. It's distressing.

It still seems pretty evident to me, though, that none of the GOP is going to be able to topple whomever the Democrats put forth. The initial infatuation the public has had with each and every one of the candidates in the Republican field has quickly and surely worn off for each of them. I believe the public will be quite disenchanted with every single one of the Elephant candidates by January.

Monday, December 3, 2007

the patriots unbeaten season remains.

In the good news, Verizon is unlocking their network for other phones to play on. This is more than a good thing, because it's democratic and it will encourage other carriers to do so. I'm also encouraged to see that it's Verizon doing so, because they've had plenty of other crimes that they're still accountable for.

In other phone news, I want the new Sidekick LX. But, I'm pretty sure that I won't be getting it. I'll be waiting for a phone like it that runs on the Google OS - Android!

The good people at Duke City Fix (which has just set up a new, nice look) are letting us know about a Critical Mass that'll be happening here in town on Friday.

That's about it. I only care about the Patriots because of a bet I made. But I will say that it's made me care a lot. A lot more than I thought I could about non-Denver Broncos football.

Oh yeah, and I won my last game as a coach tonight. Thank God.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

on the continuing case of jared jordan.

So, Rand Richards Cooper, the writer of the article that I linked to about Jared Jordan wrote me a great e-mail telling me a little bit about what had happened to Jared to lead to his current situation and explaining a little bit more about what exactly that current situation is. With his permission, here's some of the comments from his e-mail:


[H]e gets cut by the Knicks on the very last day before the roster announcement, and…


That’s basically it. Europe is still possible. But the season there is already more than a third over, the teams are well established, and nothing has happened so far. There’s also always D-League.


The unfortunate thing is that (in my view) Jordan really never quite got the chance fully to show himself. I still believe he would eventually be one of the league’s premier passers. But his defense remains a big question mark, and he’s not a deadly shooter.


There are still scenarios that lead to him getting into the league… but the odds jump up a lot when you don’t make it on the first pass. Pretty soon you’re reduced to hoping that you’re the next Kevin Ollie. It happens, but it’s one in maybe fifty.



So...what's the hold up? Let's get him to the D-League! It'd be great to have a situation like that, and I'm sure he'd love to play for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. (Really, you ask? Well, they're the team that's furthest east, and it's in close proximity to Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee. Get it?) Of course, they're 0-2, my teams 2-1, and won the title last year.

So...do we want Jared Jordan to come here? I don't know. I'd love to get to see him play in person. Some of the writing that's gone on about him has really been enthusiastic. And that's always a good thing.

But.

In my initial post, I was more curious about what happened with a player's money in the situation he's in. But Rand cleared that up for me, and it looks like it's a simple matter of the poor kid getting some bad advice from his agent. So, really, what more is there from a curiosity standpoint?

His YouTube videos don't look all that impressive, which makes me sad. I'd love to see him play in person. What's going to happen?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

notes on the nba.

In basketball bullets, Basketbawful put up a great, great, great hit piece on the Mavs that has really made me re-think all the respect I give them. I only say hit piece because it points out a flaw that's pretty impossible to ignore. (For a reasonable basketball fan, as opposed to a raving mad Mavs fan.) It's not an unfounded hit piece. But it's a hit piece. And it's the best kind of hit piece, because it's true.

Secondly, TrueHoop has this great analysis of Andrew Bynum's complete and utter failure on the last play of the Nets vs. Lakers game the other night. The best part is the last line. It's worth mentioning here that Bynum's been doing a great job this year, and has been making quite the believer of me. However, that doesn't mean that he shouldn't get flaws pointed out.

Third, this piece on loving the Celtics made me sick to my stomach. I'll be the first to admit that I'm excited to see what they do, but if you find yourself rooting for them, how can you say you've got Lakers in your blood? It still kills me to see those colors, that stupid parquet court, everything about it!

And last, the Celtics lost for the second time tonight. I didn't get to watch the game, but I was keeping track of it on my Sidekick, and it was the most remarkable thing I've ever seen! I only get to see a little bit of info at a time, but here's what I saw: the Cavs were up, so LeBron went to go sit down. The Celtics opened up the 4th quarter on a 7-0 run, so LeBron comes back in. He immediately makes a 23 footer, and when coming back on defense, Sasha Pavlovic gets a steal, dishes to LBJ, who draws the foul. LeBron gets both of the free throws, so Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett come back in. The Celts miss their next bucket, so LeBron drains another bucket, LeBron gets a steal coming back on D, and assists Boobie Gibson for the bucket. The Celts finally halt the bleeding by drawing a foul off Z, but by this point, it was too late: the Cavs were back up by 2! LBJ finally misses on the next offensive possession, but the game eventually went to OT, and the Celts just couldn't keep up with Mr. Instant Offense. The kid's pretty remarkable.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

on the qt.

So it's been a while, and I'm fearful that it might be a signal of a downturn in my blogging, but, to be fair, it's been quite a week. We've had Thanksgiving where my relatives came into town. (My entire family lives here in town, except for one uncle, who had two daughters. So they got to come in, and that was real nice, and I spent a little bit of time with them, but not as much as I would have liked.) The Lakers have been on a nice little run of their own, which of course makes me real happy. And right now, as I sit here writing this, The Patriots are looking mighty vulnerable! I have no doubt that they'll win this game, but for God's sake, they surely haven't looked like their invincible selves. And that makes me worry more than a little bit. Not that I really care about football or the NFL in general, but I'd like to see some history, make my money on my bets, and see some amazing football in the meantime. And I think the Patriots are my best shot at doing all three.

Also, I read this story on a kid named Jared Jordan touting him as an amazing point guard. I'm quite interested in this guy and the promise that he seems ready to deliver on for (and in) the NBA, but upon following up, it looks like, according to Wikipedia, he was in fact drafted by the Clippers, then traded to the Knicks, and it looks like he's now been waived. What happens in situations like this? This kid's amazing, he was drafted, signed a contract, presumably, but now has been waived. Does he get his money anyway? If so, is that a good thing? I would presume not, at least for him, because he wants to play the game of basketball! So, I mean, yeah, he's got his money, that's great, but I'm sure he'd rather just be playing the game.

There's a lot of money out there in the world and a lot of people who have it, well, some of them don't want it, and some of them don't deserve it. I'm all for getting us some of that money, make sure that we re-appropriate it in the right ways. Hah.

For your viewing pleasure, on an ending note, here's Mark Cuban smoking mad after the Dallas collapse in the Finals. It's good stuff.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

on kindling fires?

The big news of the day is the just-released Amazon Kindle. It looks to me like it's going to be cool. I support these kind of things. However, there have been some concerns mentioned, specifically by Mark Pilgrim.

As we should all know, I'm a big supporter of the anti-DRM movement. I understand and agree with these people and their arguments. However, I just don't see eBooks and dead-tree books as the same. There's a difference between allowing people to borrow your books, copying a couple pages, stuff like that, and making wholesale copies of the digital version and flooding the market with those copies.

I guess my main point is that the more that I'm thinking about this, the more I'm thinking that there might be some room for me to rethink my music thoughts. The same argument that I post above could easily be made for CD's. And I'm a big fan of the physical copy. I used to have more than 500 CD's. It wasn't such a big deal for me to get rid of them because I saw the digital copies as offering much more utility, and the iPod made it easy. I'd have a much harder time getting rid of my books, even though it's been years since I've read some of them.

Monday, November 19, 2007

hereos 2x09 - cautionary tales run through.

Okay, I'm going to try something different here...

First off, okay Hiro, that didn't work so well last time. Are you sure you should do it? Oops, too late. Okay, well, that's cool, now he gets to see Daddy one more time.

Wow, Matt's powers are working a lot more effectively. Very nice. I like where this is going, but I'm worried they may try to make him a bad guy. That would be a bad move.

Are we supposed to be surprised that Suresh is getting teamed with Ell? I mean, did anyone not see that coming? As though this is some shock? Guess what?! There's another generation of heroes! Surprise!

Commercial break.

Claire and her boyfriend are fighting. I'm enthralled in how high school it is. This plotline actually works, but only because she's in high school. This is actually how high school girls kids are. (BTW, he's evil.)

Matt is putting together the pieces. But he's being held down by the system. Pity the poor cop. Uh oh, he's trying to use his powers for evil. And it's working. This is a dangerous path you go down Parkman.

Noah Bennett comes clean to his wife, but that's something that's been going on for a while. The paintings by Tim Sale are amazing and I'm glad they found a way to keep them in the show.

Suresh got called by Fight Club by Ell in the last scene. That's funny 'cuz now he's getting bossed around like Ed Norton did in the movie by Brad Pitt. Ew, seriously, Ell is gross. Veronica Mars is awesome as a bad guy! (Although she just got saddled with some terrible dialogue. As though anyone couldn't see the, "Can I keep him?" line coming?)

Back to Hiro in the past, Daddy's taking Mama Petrelli to task for being such a bitch! Hiro jumps out at him, they're talking, I don't understand. Oh wait, maybe he's a bad guy in disguise... Hmm, all the young kids are losing their moral compass and becoming just like their parents. They think it's okay to use their powers to play God. This is an interesting thread I hope they pursue.

Ah, Dr. Bennett, going to take the fight to the enemy, eh? Ah, too late, he got you!

Commercial break.

Flying boy takes Bennett. Stupid talking, and the kid flies all over, not thinking at all that anyone might ever see him. I mean, he's already been abducted by Noah, doesn't he stop to think that someone else might want him, too? (Oh right, that's because he's a bad guy.) Oh, diss, Suresh, he knows you're lying!

Claire, you're about to get big time jacked.

Suresh, stop talking to crazy Ell. I mean, really, she's crazy.

Hahaha! "You've gone native!" Mohinder sold out to the Company, but it's not like Bennett's exactly golden boy.

Claire sees the painting, this is getting kind of crazy actually. Bob knows Mrs. Bennett, but she doesn't remember anything sinister about him.

Bennett knows there's a super with Mohinder, but that's not going to help him. Only thing that can help him is Flying Boy. Here's to hoping he knocks her out. He did. Bennett changes his fate. Flying Boy talks him down. Wow, Bennett looks like he had a super kick there.

Mrs. Bennett is alone, Claire's gone, Bennett has Bob's daughter. Funny. Interesting. Keeping her in water limits her power? Electrocutes herself. Not that smart. Apparently it is your first day, psycho-Veronica Mars.

Commercial break.

Bennett knows all about Ell. Uh-oh, do they give people powers? She wasn't born this way? That would be a cool surprise. Damn, Bennett's ruthless. I'd be surprised if Bob would be willing to trade Claire for Ell. He doesn't seem to care that much about her.

Hiro and Daddy once again talking about taking things into their own hands. Hiro sees his older self and actually bumps into him! Shouldn't the universe explode or something like that?? Hahaha, little Hiro convinces big Hiro of the things his Dad couldn't. This show is wack. If you take him back, you'd damn well better see who kills him!

West and Bennetts. He's evil, don't trust him! Haha, that was a funny line, he is like her "real" dad. Nathan, not Noah. Interesting parallelism of the N-starting names.

Back to NYC, let's see the killer! Daddy Nakamura looks like he's going to cry. What a wanker! He didn't even wait to see! Now are we going to see a surprise? Man hands! Okay, looks like Hiro's still there. Good, who is it?! Okay, well, that's a big duh. Adam. Takezo. Well, Daddy Nakamura, if you didn't expect it to be him that's cuz you're a moron.

Commercial break.

Yay, Mama Petrelli again. Uh-oh, Matt, you're traveling down this dangerous path. Even Mama Petrelli knows that it's dangerous. Adam's 400 years old, duh, we know that. Who's the woman? His mom? I don't think that could be. Wow, she's bleeding. Good show. Is he going to do it anyway? We'll see in a second. I'm sure it'll flash back to them as one of the last scenes.

Bennett, Ell, and Flying Boy on one side, Mohinder, Bob, and Claire on the other. Bob already has Claire's blood. He's already won, so to speak. The girls walk toward each other. Ell gets Flying Boy and Claire, Noah gets Ell, Mohinder gets Noah. The paintings are all right.

Commercial break.

Oh diss, Claire, you left your Dad and now he's dead. No powers for him, either, so we know he's not coming back. It's okay, I had no doubt he was dead from the moment I saw those paintings. The paintings are never wrong. (Except when they show nuclear bombs. Or dinosaurs. Damn I wanna see Hiro fight that dragon!)

Hiro finally eulogizes his father. Even though he says he won't. But saying it doesn't make it so.

Mohinder is firmly part of the company now, staring at his gun, Ell and Bob have a little rift, and it looks like Parkman did, in fact, take that last secret from Mama Petrelli. Bad road we're headed down here. And Flying Boy is still there, he's still bad. Hahahah. They're going to bring Noah back to life with Claire's blood! Why you gotta make liars out of me, Heroes?

Preview looks good. Camps are being divided. I'd like to see a lot more of that.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

yes, this is, in fact, the best news of the day.

Barry Bonds has been indicted.

I just started to hear and read about this, but let me say these things now, before any of the other news gets in my way:

Barry Bonds is a dirty, dirty cheater and does not deserve to have the home run record.

Barry Bonds deserves to go to jail, not necessarily for lying to the Feds (I don't care so much about that) but for sullying the game of baseball. I don't even like baseball, but honestly, literally, Barry Bonds makes me sick to my stomach.

Barry Bonds is a clear cheater. This is different than point one, because someone might be a dirty cheater but not necessarily a clear cheater. Barry is both.

I hope that this unties Bud Selig's hands and he doesn't put an asterisk on Bonds' records, but rather just wipes it from the books.

More to come as I read more about it.

Monday, November 12, 2007

on heroes, journeyman, and time travel. oh yeah, and google, too.

So tonight I watched Heroes. It was another interesting episode, the third according to my count to deal with time travel. (If you don't count the ridiculous Hiro-in-ancient-Japan arc as anything other than what it was: ridiculous.) Regardless, after Heroes is this interesting show called Journeyman. It's got an interesting take on the issue as well, and it really reminds me of Quantum Leap right now, without the explicit lesson, the direct thing he's supposed to do. (But it does have another leaper! Let's hope she's not evil.)

Anyway, this issue is huge to me. Time travel is one of those things that I think about a lot, both philosophically and realistically. I think it's not only possible, but I think more than likely it either has happened in the past or is currently happening.

But here's the thing about time travel: as far as I understand it, we'll never know if it's really going on. If someone travels to my past and changes something, it could and should retroactively change my entire life. I should have no different memories, I shouldn't know anything different than anything I've ever known. And what I've always known should have been what I've always known.

This is one of the many reasons that I find The Terminator as terrifying as I do.

Heroes is taking this path as far as it possibly can, but I'll admit that it's very confusing. At least to me. Maybe that just means that I'm not as smart as I think I am, or maybe they're just not doing that good of a job. Either way, I think it's something that should be applauded. Not enough big ideas are being talked about, and with Lost still off the air, at least Heroes is taking steps back in the right direction, instead of just being happy to run literally the exact same season as they did last year.

Oh yeah, my BFF (who's soon to be gone from my beautiful city) sent me this NYTimes link that details a lot of the greatness of the new Google Phone OS. Looks like it's gonna be rad, I have high hopes for the open source future.

(Just as long as it's not constantly changing and no one realizes it. :])

Saturday, November 10, 2007

link of the day.

Just got linked to this from TrueHoop and it's hilarious enough that it deserves reprint here, despite its being four years old. What if LeBron had bought the Cavs upon his entry to the NBA? He clearly would have traded himself to the Lakers, been the fifth Beatle that magical year, and left every other team in the league in their wake.

(Actually, it's really sad how wistful this makes me. I can almost guarantee I'll be having dreams about this actually happening, the team going 82-0 in the regular season, and then crushing the playoffs.)

Friday, November 9, 2007

late to the party.

I'm pretty seriously considering making the leap from my Dell laptop to an Apple MacBook.

If anyone has any great (or terrible, I suppose is just as important) things that they think I need to know about either company, speak now or forever hold your peace.

Also, I'm interested in how I would go about syndicating this blog's feed into my MySpace blog. Anyone have any good words?

GrandCentral continues to not support extensions, therefore being essentially useless to me. Very sad.

Senator Dodd's beautiful campaign has posted this wonderful two-minute guide to a current piece of legislation that's being debated. This piece seems really important, especially considering the zeitgeisty things that are going on right now with Net Neutrality, and the Barack campaign. All good news so far, but the worry is that this sort of thing will slip under the cracks and before people know it, they'll be living in a society where this sort of thing is not only completely accepted, but less known about.

Knowledge is power.

Finally, FreeDarko (which I should have been following all this time, it might be the smartest basketball blog out there) has put up a fun story touting the virtues of my man Ronny Turiaff. I'm a big fan of Ronny, having been served dinner by him late one night at the Cog and I couldn't imagine a player more suited for my love than him playing for the Lakers. Always a good thing.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

on reign over me.

Just watched this movie, and I think there's lots to say here. The ultimate point of the movie, I thought, was the collateral damage done by the terrorist attacks. But I thought it was interesting that they didn't really come out and say it, which plane it was, how his family died, until at least half way through the movie. I thought it was intentional. I mean, of course we understood that it was the 9/11 attacks, but just saying those words gives them a lot of power. It's a very philosophical concept, that idea that naming something gives us some kind of power over it - or, conversely, that we lose power over things we don't know the names of. It's an idea worth exploring, that's for sure.

Regardless, the movie does an excellent job exploring the way everyone connected to this fine point of a tragedy feels its effects in some way. Even Don Cheadle's character, who hasn't seen the Adam Sandler character in years, is affected almost immediately, by the re-entry of this emotional earthquake. That earthquake acted much like all others did and will; it sent aftershocks throughout many others' lives.

Anyway, I'm getting away from the point I originally wanted to make, which is simply this: the movie was a good one. Strong performances and lots of emotional resonance. I would recommend it.

Also, I read this story about Kobe not being worth what we all think he's worth, and I think it makes some interesting points. The overall impression I'm getting on this season is that my original reading was wrong. Big time wrong. I don't think Kobe'll be traded at this point, because I think the Lakers are content with selling tickets. I think they'll make the playoffs (in the 7 or 8 seed) and I think they'll be gone in the first round. I think it's a sad time (and a hard time. God, lots of Kobe haters have really used him as an opportunity to just dismiss the Lakers outright) to be a Lakers fan. But that hasn't stopped me before.

Finally, I think it's worth mentioning that in the last two weeks, I've been literally moved to tears by the words, thoughts, and actions of two separate students of mine. When I get disheartened by a student turning in a plagiarized paper, it's nice to be able to remember that there's good kids out there, who are willing to tell their druggie friends that they're ruining their lives and that they want their old friend back, or that a basketball player is willing to give up his spot in the line-up for the last game for an injured teammate. It's awe-inspiring, really.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

on american gangster.

I got to see the movie yesterday night, with a good opening crowd, the theater was almost full. Cool to see that so many people were interested in it, but not necessarily that surprising.

The flick was great. Denzel did a great job and there were several parts of the movie where his sheer intensity surprised me so much that I actually jumped out of my seat. Minimally, but still. It was great. Russell Crowe did a good job of a sad sack, but I thought the character he was playing could have been developed a little more. Why was he still friends with his apparent mobster childhood buddy? Why wouldn't he take that money? I mean, was there some childhood reason? (Maybe this is the post-modern me talking, but it seems like this guy was way more complex than he was presented...) And what the hell was that about at the end with his complete giving over to Frank? I mean, it just seems that if you're going to be chasing this business so badly you're not gonna be charmed by the guy. I dunno. That was really my only complaint. RZA was great, T.I. was great, and Common is always great.

Having gotten the Jay Z CD by the same name a week ago, I really couldn't listen to it a lot before I saw the movie. But, now that I've seen it, it's practically all I've been listening to. And, I'm going to surprise myself a little bit here, but... I'm not sure I like it that much. There are great songs on here, there's no doubt about that. I think "Roc Boys (And The Winner Is...)" is maybe one of the best songs he's ever done, and if "Say Hello" isn't the next single, he's playing a fool with one of the hottest songs of this or any other year. However, I haven't gotten a feel for the story that he's supposed to be telling with the whole album. I see how it follows a loose rise and fall model, but it's not off the hook yet. Maybe when I have time to listen to the lyrics a little more carefully it'll come to me. Jay's always been one of the better lyricists of this generation, so I like that. Writing this makes me realize that maybe what I'm disappointed in is the production. The samples are sweet, but they could have been a lot better. Kanye would have been a natural fit here and Anthony Hamilton who did a lot of the music in the film would have been an amazing choice for a guest spot.

More to come on the music as I listen to it more, but I'll leave it on the note that on the way home from the movie, a girl got carjacked and threw herself out of the car almost directly in front of our bikes. It was perhaps the craziest thing I've ever seen in real life. Terrible things happen in this world of ours.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

on fantasy busket.

I kind of figure this is going to be a dominant topic on this blog now that the NBA season has opened, and while Kobe's still getting all this press.

But I had a specific thought.

Last night watching the Cavs game, I realized that LeBron and Kobe are both in the same situation: they play on teams that give them absolutely no help. So I thought, what about Kobe to Cleveland? I know Kobe probably wouldn't want to play there (lack of the lime light and all) and LeBron might be wary of playing with such a notorious ball hog, but who wouldn't want to see Kobe and the new 23 running together?! The Cavs made it to the NBA Finals last year with LeBron and the Nobodies! With Kobe by his side, wouldn't they become the favorite (other than the Bulls or Celtics?) to win again? I put Daniel "Boobie" Gibson, Larry Hughes, and Drew Gooden (in that order because that's the order in which I think they'd help the Lakers) through for Kobe on ESPN's Trade Machine and it says it works.

Am I the first person to think of this? Really? How could that be?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

on season openers: lakers vs. rockets.

Just some notes on the season opener for the Los Angeles Lakers:

First of all, I found it encouraging that the first half was a relatively low-key affair. Tied at 49s when the half finally arrived, the Lakers actually led for most of the first half. They played well. (For a season opener.) They seemed like they knew what they were doing, and their defense seemed a little better.

As I was watching, I found myself wishing the Kobe saga would just go away. This is a new feeling for me, even though lots of other bloggers have written about it. I didn't really think it was going to bother me, though, because...I don't know why. I just didn't think it would. However, it is. I find myself tiring of every single reporter leading off with the Kobe issue and I wish he (Kobe) would just come out and say, "It's over, I'm gone," or, "I'm here to stay." That way we could focus on the basketball, which is actually why I like the Lakers.

Ronny Turiaff looks great. I mean great great. I have big hopes for the season for him.

Of course, the return of my favorite Laker of the new school, Derek Fisher is great news for me. He's looking great, he'll be a good distributor for this team, but the problem that he'll face (which is the same problem Kobe consistently faces) is that while he's throwing great passes to a lot of these guys, a lot of the time they won't be nailing their shots. It's frustrating as a point guard to throw good passes to open guys, count the bucket in your head, and watch the shot bounce off in reality. Not something that a true competitor likes to see ever, much less on a reliable basis.

Bynum looks almost exactly the same. He's not good, but he's getting there. I want him to get there more quickly.

Kwame looks a little better. I saw flashes of why people get obsessed with him, but I also saw the same Brown drop a couple perfect passes, as though he just doesn't know how to use his hands. Why does this guy still affect people the way he does? I mean, I understand that a big man is always valuable, but it seems to me that if he isn't consistently showing what he's only flashing right now, people would realize he's not going to develop. He's not going to be the next Magic or Dr. J. Shit, he'll be lucky if he's the next Chris Mihm. (Who doesn't even get a mention in my rundown. So that should tell you enough.)

The second half looked rough, though. Things started to fall apart, as I'm thinking things might quite often this year.

The best line of the night came from Charles Barkley on the half time show. He said, "You're gonna talk about Kobe Bryant again?! I don't want to talk about Kobe. Or the Lakers. The Lakers aren't a very good team. They're gonna take the 7th or 8th seed in the West, if they're lucky. I'd rather talk about the Rockets." This, to me, seems right.

Whether Kobe leaves or not (and I waffled as I watched the game whether I wanted him to or not, despite the writing above and below, as much as been said about this topic), the Lakers just aren't a very good team right now. And that's really the saddest thing for me going in to this season.

EDIT: As the game hits the 4:00 mark of the 4th quarter, it's getting to be a good game again. The Lakers have pushed it close to five points a couple times. They're looking good and the optimist in me wants to stay awake (I will, no matter what) and watch them win. But the realist in me know this is exactly what Charles Barkley was talking about. This team is good. But, to be honest, not quite good enough.

Monday, October 29, 2007

tonight on letterman: torre and seinfield!

Also, my friend from work. And that's about as interesting a hook as I have.

However, I do have this new-fangled list from Time Magazine of the so-called Top 25 Horror Movies, and boy let me tell you: it sucks.

The list is full of terrible, terrible, false accusations, calling several movies "Horror Movies" when they're really just crazy for the time. (For an example of something that's not this, we can look at The Exorcist. Now there's a movie that scared the pants off of those people at the time for a very specific reason [i.e. everyone was going crazy thinking that the Devil actually might possess people, and that the country was losing its religion] but is still scary nowadays. Simply put, The Exorcist has aged well.) On the other hand, calling Bambi a "Horror Movie" is really just silly.

(For what it's worth, I'll say that I think of Jaws as falling on both sides of this debate. It's still scary, and it's held up all right, but I can certainly look at it now and say, "Hah. That's not scary.')

There's no reason this should even be up. The stupidest child who's only just figuring out cinema and figuring out how to use the Internet wouldn't make this deadly combination. But apparently, Time thinks they're smarter than that.

And to them, I say, poor choice.

Here's but one of the wiser choices for your time being spent on the Internet.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

on recent sporting events.

So, over in baseball the team that I've been rooting for (along with the majority of my town, state, and most everyone I know, regardless of geographic location) just got swept out of the World Series. That's awesome. Way to be.

I have to say that this definitely makes all those stories that I read about how remarkable the Rockies are were a little less believable. I mean, sure, it was a hell of a run, but anyone who gets swept is going out like a punk. And that's unacceptable to me in sports teams that I want to like.

Secondly, in the NFL, I read this great story about how next week's game between the Pats and Colts represents Good vs. Evil. And then I watched the Pats today absolutely wreck the Washington Redskins giving another 'F You' to the league.

If anyone wants to take my bet on the game next week, I've got goood money on the Patriots. This is going to mean something.

Finally, in hilarious song form, this guy is begging Dr. Buss to not let Kobe go. At this point, I think it's a moot point, as I've pointed out here earlier, he's gone, but that doesn't change the fact that the video is awesome and that it's amazing that someone took the time not only to write and record the song, but to put together an awesome video that has great utilization of the word "NO". (I'm pretty sure I got this from True Hoop but that might be incorrect.)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

you belong to the city.

The best news is as follows: Jay-Z was so inspired by the new Ridley Scott film, American Gangster, that he went into the studio for two weeks, and now we get a new Jay CD with the same title! Everyone's insisting it's not a soundtrack, and it's not, by any conventional definitions, but this is great. Jay's so interested in this film that it's making him get into a making-music mind set. I love to hear it! I'm really looking forward to the movie (it's The Godfather...with African-Americans [played by Denzel Washington!]...with music coming out by Jay-Z! How could I not be looking forward to it?!) and now I have something new to search for.

Secondly, I've been hardly keeping track of the fires over in California and I feel like a bad friend for doing so. So, this is my belated and half-assed attempt at making sure everyone's okay: Is everyone okay? I've been reading the entries from the main people I'm thinking about, so I guess I'm pretty assured that it's okay. But if I'm forgetting about anyone or anything, don't hesitate to let me know.

In the second-best news, the Miami Heat have now lost every single one of their pre-season games. It's not that I hate Dwayne Wade so much as...I hate Dwayne Wade. A lot of people who think they know me think they can see this as hating on the new Shaq sidekick, sticking up for Kobe kind of. But I don't really have any lovefest for Kobe. It's just that, well, I think it sets a bad lesson for the young people learning how to play basketball when we give DW the trophy for strapping on body armor, going out into the fray and leaping into people, falling down, and going to the charity stripe one hundred and sixty-seven times. (Okay, I'm exaggerating. But not really.)

Lastly, speaking of, I've been busy busy busy with my own basketball practice and I'm happy to report that I think my team's well made up, we've got good chemistry, we've got some ballers, and we're going to win some games. Today was the first great practice I've run, so I'm feeling good right now.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

leading up to the doomsday clock.

Just a quick note to say that when we invented Israel out of thin air a lot of people thought it was a bad idea. (For several reasons. I won't get into whether they were right or wrong right now, but I do think it's a point worth making. Just not for the reasons they made it.)

However, now we've gone over to the other side, with Condoleeza Rice saying that it would be a good idea to make up another country. I'm not here to minimize anyone's struggles and I think the Palestinians have a legitimate beef with what's been happening over in the Middle East, but it's been happening for a long, long time, and the last time we tried to solve it by arbitrarily drawing lines on the map, it didn't work out so well.

Friday, October 19, 2007

floor seats with kiddos.

Yesterday was a great day and it's only going to get better coming up this weekend. Last night, the Utah Jazz came to my town and got spanked by the Sacramento Kings in a weird game. Weird because the Kings are owned by a pair of New Mexico boys and one of the players used to be a star at UNM. Not that any of it was bad weird. Just weird that we have all these connections to greatness but no one wants to give us any greatness of our own.

Regardless, it was a good day, and a good game. We bought the cheapest seats possible and then snuck down to the fourth row, just under the basket. And so it was that while we were down there, we noticed quite a fracas. Turns out, it was DMX! And as we all know, "If DMX doesn't rap about it, it's not important." It was cool to see and he didn't seem to mind too much that there (almost instantaneously) was a mob surrounding him, demanding pictures and trying to touch him. I made a comment that if I was famous, I'd love to take pictures with people and I'd be happy to sign autographs, but if someone put their hands on me, I'd probably lose it.

Regardless, today at work, I mentioned to one of my fellow teachers that I'd seen him there, and she said that the whole crew from the Takeover 2.0 tour had been staying at the hotel she works in. Wow. I'm not sure I'd want to be working at that hotel with that assemblage.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

if you think mj was the best player ever, you're thinking of the wrong mj.

So, ever since Kobe went nuts early in the summer over those four days, people have been wondering what's going to happen with him and the Lakers this season. Phil Jackson seems pretty firmly entrenched in Kobe's camp, knowing that it'd be ridiculous to trade away the best player in the game, and what Phil wants, Phil usually gets. Usually being the key word here.

Dr. Buss has recently come out and said, however, that Kobe's on the table and that he's willing to listen to offers. There's been lots written on other blogs about what this means, and my own analysis won't be all that original, since we can all agree on some basic points:

A. Kobe will be traded some time this season.
B. Dr. Buss, who previously had held Kobe as essentially untouchable (forever) now feels very betrayed by the Black Mamba and is publicly shaming him.
C. Dr. Buss is still a lot smarter than people give him credit for.
D. Phil Jackson will not sign a contract extension with the Lakers.
E. The Lakers should be able to compete for a championship in the next two seasons, if not this season.

Let me expand on this last point, since this is where I figure I lose some people. If Dr. Buss is, indeed, willing and ready to part ways with Kobe, he's not going to make another Shaq-sized mistake. If you're giving up the best player in the game, you're going to have to get the world for him. And so, I think, Dr. Buss is going to move right now, get the world for Kobe, take the risk of sending him elsewhere (even, possibly, somewhere in the same Conference) and make a run right now.

I basically figure that he knows he can either keep the entertainer or start winning. People in Los Angeles expect one or the other. They're okay with making the playoffs but not winning as long as someone's there to put on a show. But if there's no one there to put on that show...they'd better be winning.

I firmly expect to see Kobe in Chicago. It's what he wants the most, from what I've read, and I really think that the Lakers would prefer that to Dallas, so as to limit their post-season meet-ups. Because, let's be honest, when (not if) this trade happens, both teams will immediately be expected to go far in the playoffs. If only Kobe's new team (wherever that is) does, this will be considered a failure on the part of the Los Angeles Lakers and Dr. Buss.

Monday, October 15, 2007

wow, i seriously don't know how i missed this.

The BFF just tuned me into an Internet meme that I'd apparently missed the boat on. It's hilarious.

I present for you...The Dramatic Hamster! It's all about that eye! He's got some gnarly human-like characteristics, and it kills me!

But it gets better! The Kill Bill remix is off the hook! If only Quentin Tarantino knew that people were going to take his fanboy-wanker wet dream soundtrack and use it to back up things like hamsters staring dramatically into the camera. He's enough of an egomaniacal prick that it seriously makes one wonder if he wouldn't have made that fabulous movie.

But wait, there's more! If you have any taste at all, you'll probably agree that Zoolander is quite possibly the funniest movie of all time. And so, of course, we have to have the Zoolander remix. ("One look?! One look?!?")

Seriously, it looks like there's at least five more (including Bond, which was pretty good and I imagine has its own fans) and I'm sure they're all hilarious. How did I miss this the first time around?

I was so on top of badgers and mushrooms!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

or you've got a wicked jump shot.

Remember when LeBron went nuts and single-handedly destroyed the Pistons and subsequently any chance we had for the [L]East Conference to win even one game? Well, the good news is someone made an awesome video game clip of it. The bad news is we might not be seeing so much of that this year. At least not early in the season. (I know they say it's not serious and I know it's just the preseason. But when your whole team is [essentially] one guy, when that one guy gets hurt, even in a minor way, it's a bad thing.)

The preseason of the NBA is on and it's getting close to happy times again. When basketball's on, it seems like everything's just better in general. This happiness dissipates a little bit towards Christmas, but picks up around the middle of March, lasting into April and then exists at a happy medium until reaching a fever pitch whenever the Lakers get bounced. Lately, that's been happening earlier than I'd like. Let's see what we can do about getting that changed this season.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

but love is not enough.

So last night I had the pleasure of seeing Across The Universe. It was, in a word, amazing. I'd been wanting to see this movie since I saw the very first preview for it, but it's been trashed in every single review I've read and that worried me. (Not that I necessarily agree with what the critics have to say, or even read what they have to say all that often, but it was troubling nonetheless.) So, I didn't go opening night, like I had planned to and I'd been putting it off for quite a while. (Some of this has to do with the fact that I find myself moving away from being a movie person, for several reasons. Why pay for something that used to be a product, but is now a service, and the experience in the cinema isn't really all that pleasant anymore.) Regardless, a couple friends from work finally forced me to go with them, and boy were they right to do so. I don't care how many bad reviews you've read, if you have an open mind and you like to see vibrant creativity you need to go see this movie.

As a disclaimer, I don't even really like the Beatles! Their songs are all right, but they consistently get nominated by me as most overrated band ever. So you don't have to be a Beatles lover to love the movie. It helps to know the songs, and you'll catch some of the easter eggs if you know anything about them, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and their last public performance, but it's not required knowledge. The movie's a fun time regardless. Go see it. Now.

Friday, October 12, 2007

this is the future i'm scared of.

So, Wired magazine sent out a supplement with their latest issue, entitled "Geekipedia." (Get it? It's clever.) Anyway, their web site for the supplement is woefully inadequate but in the issue, it talked about something I'd never heard of before. (To be fair, it talked about lots of things I hadn't heard of, but none of them struck my interest like this one.)

There's this idea, in science (exacerbated by science fiction, I realize, but still...) of a technological singularity which is basically a time scale for when mankind will produce a computer (or AI in general) that's capable of superhuman thought. Basically, of self-perpetuation. Of producing computers (or more AI, like itself) that's slightly less (or more?) smart than itself and, consequently, smarter than us.

The time scale for this event, according to the guy who popularized the theory is rapidly approaching.

Now, I know that this seems unlikely to some people and that this may come off as a silly, science-fiction fear, but this is the kind of stuff that honestly, truly scares me. The Terminator movies? Some of the most frightening stuff in the world, IMO. Because, to me, I find that stuff completely believable.

(As a side note, I find the philosophical implications of the Terminator movies to be wonderful things - until the very end, where they basically say, "No, it was all a lie. There really is no way to make your own future. Everything's already set." Truly frightening, but fascinating to think about.)

And to see that other people not only believe it to be possible, but have put a time frame on it? Shit! That's insane!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

free things are good.

The good news is that I've gotten free comic books from the PTA at my school. I'm hoping that this will make a difference in my class, as I feel the kids slipping from me a bit. Just wanted to share.

For what it's worth, it'll be used as a complement to Animal Farm. I think the stories are close enough that it justifies getting something the kids will actually be interested in.

The comics will become the property of the school, but it's still a pretty sweet deal.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

radiohead review coming soon.

It's not here yet. I haven't absorbed it enough. In the meantime, link dump:

In the new Smash Bros. you can play as Sonic. This is sweet news to me.

Fistfulayen (from whom I bought a poster a long-ass time ago) is apparently a huge DRM guy. And by DRM guy, I obviously mean anti-DRM.

And last but not least, the worst possible verdict from the RIAA cases. I'll pick more of this up later on.

Monday, October 8, 2007

on a lack of heroes.

So, Heroes is apparently back. I missed the first show (and I refused to catch up on NBC's shitty streaming service), but found myself catching the second show at the very beginning in a freak turning-on-the-TV accident. It wasn't half bad. But it was barely half good. After watching the third episode of the new season tonight, I felt the need to leave some comments.

First of all, the show seems to have lost its way. Are we supposed to be impressed with all the trauma that the characters are dealing with now? I mean, I guess I would be, if the majority of them weren't supposed to be dead! Peter, Nathan, and Sylar, at the very least, should all be toast. Now, I understand they can't kill their franchisers, but it doesn't do a lot for me to see Peter acting all amnesiac, or Sylar freaking out that he's not the ubermensch anymore. In fact, the one that I'm most interested in is Nathan, what with his post-season finale Jack-from-Lost beard going on. But that might just be because Brother 1 gave me a great idea about him.

Secondly, the plot seems to be moving perilously slow. For a show that prided itself on being the "anti-Lost" and giving away answers all the time, what do we get now? Hiro's hero is a white guy? He's a drunk? Who cares?!? Certainly not me. I'm too busy thinking about when Lost is coming back on.

Lastly, and this may be a minor concern, but the show doesn't seem to be advertised nearly as well as it was last season. Like I said, I completely missed the first show of this season. Maybe I'm not watching as much TV, but I find that impossible to believe. It must be some kind of under-promotion from the Peacock. But why? They need this show, don't they?

Saturday, October 6, 2007

fat tire? not that great.

So, I went to the Tour de Fat today. It's a great idea.

It's perhaps the worst execution that I've ever seen. Lines, lines, and more lines. The line we had to wait in to get into the fest was the worst. However, I have to say that it was less terrible than it could have been, due to these fine ladies.

However, once we got in, we had to wait in line again for tokens. Yeah, I get it, it's easier for Fat Tire if they don't have to deal with cash at all the different stations. (This girl was smart. She brought her tokens from last year, got beer, and drank that while she waited for new tokens. Hah!) Anyway, I know it's better for Fat Tire, but it sure wasn't better for me. Or any of the semi-pissed people you can see in the background of any shot.

Then, after getting tokens, we had to wait in line for beer. Yeah, as though we didn't see that happening.

Anyway, there were some good things: rad bikes and a girl in a Lance Armstrong takeoff costume. Good friends to say the least.

The Fat Tire style wasn't the best, but we still had a good time. So thanks, Flagstaff. Even though you're full of hippies and people who think they're cooler than everyone else, I still had a good (if cold) time.

Friday, October 5, 2007

in more terrible news.

So, this is pretty much just terrible news.

I'm not sure how much I really want to say about it, but I think that this just needs to be said: is anyone really that surprised? Marion Jones was a great, amazing runner. She was an inspiration. But. But... But. When it came down to it, there was a lot of evidence against her. Her ex-husband talked a loooot of shit when they separated. And not just, "You broke my heart, here's some mean things about you." But like, some specific, "I took steroids with her," type of shit.

That, to me, is more than just some divorce-hatred.

Anyway, I think it's a damn shame that this sport has to be going down this way. Justin Gatlin, this taint over the whole 2000 Olympics, it's just a shame. And don't get me started on cycling.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

bullets.

First of all, in the most shocking local political story, the lovely Senator known as St. Pete is apparently going to retire after this term is up. If you live in New Mexico, you know that this is actually a really big deal. Pete's been our Senator for 35 years, and he's really a New Mexico fixture at this point. When people have chosen to run against him (and there's been a token challenger every single time he's been up) they've gotten trounced! Whupped bad. Real bad. And now, he's going to step down. He says it's for health reasons and there's no reason not to believe him. The Rethugs aren't doing too well, sure, and he was in a bit of hot water for that silly US attorneys thing (no big deal, right?) but those aren't necessarily new things. Regardless, I'm sure there'll be more to report tomorrow, when he actually makes the announcement.

Secondly, it's a bad time to be a Knicks fan. Kind of like the Yankees, who pay the most in salary, but minus any of the winning. The Knicks haven't been to the playoffs since when? (I actually didn't know this offhand, I'm not ashamed to admit, so I had to wiki it. Only twice since the turn of the millenium says Wikipedia.) It's sad that a player who already had a bad reputation is icing the cake this way. Lots of people who know anything about basketball will tell you that Isiah Thomas was one of the best. But he's never done himself any favors with his personal mannerisms.

Last but not least, I just finished my online class; soon I'll be getting paid to coach little girls in the way of the busket! Hooray!

Monday, October 1, 2007

only the best news ever.

Radiohead is releasing a new CD. They're doing in the best way they can as a major statement on the unnecessariness of the Record Industry.

You can preorder the album today, but you won't be able to download the tracks until next Tuesday. Good news all the way around.

EDIT: I got the e-mail at 6:43 AM MST and the site's been funky all day. I think people are overwhelming it. Also worth noting is that if you have a W.A.S.T.E. account, it's apparently not the same service, so you have to register a new account.

2ND EDIT: The captcha is not working with Firefox. It's been reported as an issue, so I don't think it'll be a problem for much longer, but it's definitely a bug.

Friday, September 28, 2007

for what it's worth.

Come join my run on NikePlus. If you don't have a NikePlus account, just run and keep track of your miles in October. It's fun, it gets you in shape, you look better, you feel better, and it'll be fun to talk shit.

you can't have any pudding if you don't eat your meat.

Just a few, quick links here. We're watching the less crappy version of Animal Farm today in class, so the kids are all aflutter.

First, I thought that this article on Kobe really hit the nail on the head. The fact is that he wants out. Nothing's going to change that. The best thing that the Lakers can do at this point is to start shopping him (hardcore but seriously under the table!) and hope they get the world in exchange for him. I'm torn on this as a Lakers fan: Kobe Bryant is the best player in the NBA right now, there's no doubt in my mind. However, he's always brought serious team-chemistry issues to my team.

Secondly, in more great news the one laptop per child project is now in full swing! You can pay 400 dollars for a well-built, well-functioning laptop and feel great about yourself because your purchase sent a laptop to a kid that would never have seen one otherwise. Great karma and great initiative.

Last but not least is a link I pulled off the Boing about a musician releasing a recording exclusively on a floppy disc. Retro, but not annoyingly so. Very cool idea.

That's it. Time for the weekend.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

the top seven things about amazon's mp3store.

If you don't know, now you know.

1. First of all, it's good for business. Know how I know? Because competition is always good for business! That's why we don't allow monopolies.

2. It will increase awareness as to what exactly DRM is.

3. Hopefully, when people learn what DRM is, they'll learn that it's bad.

4. Most of the songs are cheaper than the other stores, which is something the customer really cares about.

5. They have Radiohead!

6. It goes towards breaking the iPod "monopoly". (While iPods don't legally have a monopoly, it's dangerous when one product controls so much of the market.)

7. It'll make Apple (and Steve Jobs) work harder and make better products.

This was easily the best news of yesterday and I'm sad that I didn't get to blog about it until today. But the fact remains that it's probably still the best news of today (yep, it is), and I'm pretty stoked on this idea. DRM-free music is a good thing for everyone, increasing competition with Apple is a good thing for everyone, and Amazon making this move before Google does anything crazy is definitely a good move.