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.