Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Top Ten Recent SNL Sketches

Saturday Night Live has up and down cycles similar to the economy, and I would say that those two things are going the opposite directions these days. The current cast has really come into their own. Here are some of their best sketches:

10. Sir Mix-a-lot's Photoshop - I love this sketch. Keenan Thompson has been doing a decent job recently, in fact, so good that I've almost forgotten about Good Burger. Ok, maybe not that good.



9. Wii Guys - Alec Baldwin is always a fantastic host. This combines Baldwin with a some solid dirty humor. Playing the Wii really is that satisfying.



8. People Getting Punched In the Face While Eating - I have no idea why I love this digital short so much. Could it be the Bon Jovi or Foo Fighters cameos or the fact that it ends with a Zombie dance? Who knows?



7. Mark Wahlberg talks to Animals - Another random sketch that Andy Samberg owns. He's been killing it recently.



6. Vincent Price's Halloween Special - Bill Hader is one major reason why SNL is watchable once again. His Vincent Price impression is spot on and Fred Armisen's Liberace is hilarious as well. All of the VP sketches are great- check out the other ones as well.



More tomorrow!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Ryan Moats' Police Issue

Quite the controversial topic today. Ryan Moats of the Houston Texans was on his way to see his mother-in-law on her death bed when he ran a red light and was followed by a police officer to the hospital. The video is here:



I'm not going to pretend to think that being a police officer is an easy job. It puts your life in danger and many times being decisive and acting with your gut is the only way to stay alive. In this situation, I have a hard time believing that the police officer acted in a correct manner. While Moats' wife did leave the scene and did get a chance to see her mother before she passed, Moats was not so fortunate. The officer held Moats long enough to rob Moats of seeing his mother-in-law one last time.

When a family member is dying, people do not typically stay in a rational state of mind. The expectation of the officer was that Moats was giving him attitude for the sake of giving an officer attitude (which happens A LOT, I'm sure.) However, Moats was in a heightened state of urgency and was not prepared to have any conversation, let alone a legal confrontation. A very easy solution could have been to escort Moats and his wife into the hospital and verify their story with a doctor or nurse. Getting any necessary information (insurance, license, etc.) could have been obtained easily after Moats was able to see his mother-in-law. The officer could've played the hero rather than the villain.

The officer at one point claims that if his mother was dying, he would pull over if a cop was trying to pull him over. I don't know about that mister big shot. Not to mention, that not everyone would act the exact same in such dire circumstances, I have a hard time believing that the officer would honor this claim. At some point, police officers need to remember that they are "Officers of the Peace" rather than dictators of their sector. For those that truly go about things the right way- I commend you. Dealing with rational officers that don't strictly deal in black and white is excellent and leaves me feeling alright. Dealing with officers like the one in the video continues negative stereotypes that are sometimes put on officers.

I hope there is a lesson to be learned nation-wide from this situation. The officer was suspended with pay pending an investigation, but even more I hope that all officers take note of how situations like this can get out of hand without a couple extra levels of rational thought.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Lost "He's Our You"

I'm going to try an experimental blog post. While watching "Lost" I'm going to post reactions to the action. I'll only try this once if my commentary seems pointless or mundane. Be warned, if you haven't already watched all the episodes up until now, this will contain SPOILERS. And so it goes:

- From the previews, it looks like we're going to get a lot of Sayid and Ben information this episode.
- A flashback to Iraq shows that Sayid has broken necks even before breaking that Other's neck on the beach in the Season 3 finale.
- Young Ben visits Sayid again in the Dharma prison- even as a kid Ben was a scheming bastard (could be read as a good or bad thing.)
- Flash to Moscow- no idea what year. Sayid breaks in and kills a Russian dude with a silenced pistol. Back to the time between 2004 and 2007 when Sayid was an assassian for Ben. Ben tells him he's "done" and killed everyone in Widmore's organization. Very awkward conversation.
- Horace cuts Sayids binds in Dharma 1977. Horace threatens Sayid with a not so subtle way of saying "you better talk or you're gonna get tortured."
- Juliette calls out Sawyer and says "it's over isn't it?" Worried about Sayid talking. Horace comes in and tells Sawyer that he wants to have some dude have a go at getting Sayid to talk. Sawyer goes to Sayid and lets him know he has to cooperate and live in "Dharma-ville" or he's on his own. Sayid being the badass he is, says he's on his own. Plus we're going to want to watch him get tortured.
- Surprise, surprise. Hurley is working in a cafeteria. Hurley just broke the news to Kate that Juliette and Sawyer are lovahs. Kate doesn't look to be taking the news too well. She seems like a homewrecker by nature.
- Ben Linus' dad, Roger, is talking crap to Sayid. Ben is bringing Sayid another sandwich and his dad is none too happy. He throws Ben up against the cell bars. No wonder this kid ends up smoking out his pops.
- Ben visits Sayid in Santo Domingo. Ben lies his ass off to get Sayid back to the US and killing folks. Ben spins his words about Sayid being a killer by nature. Clearly Ben's reverse psychology got him back to LA to kill the watchman outside Hurley's mental institution. $5 says Ben planted that man there.
- Sayid - "Don't taze me bro!" He didn't say that, but he did get tazed.
- Some crazy dude in a tent has been pointed as the island torturer. Sawyer says, "He's Our You."
- They just put something really bad in Sayid's mouth. Looks like he gave him a truth serum of some sort. Where's Wonder Woman's lasso when you need it?
- Flashing back to being on the dock and Ben saying something about going back to the island. Now Sayid is at a bar drinking Scotch- $120 a glass! I love Scotch- Scotch, Scotch, Scotch- down into my belly!
- The US Marshall strikes up a conversation with Sayid. She suckers him into buying him a glass of scotch before apparently getting him on a plane.
- Back to the 1977 present. They are asking him questions and he is answering ridiculously truthful. Also blowing everyone's cover. Telling them all about the different Dharma stations. This is sweet. He just told them they are all going to die.
- Sayid- nice creepy laugh! No one believes he's from the future- what idiots! Hi-oooo!
- Looks like Kate and Juliette are about to have passive agressive conversation about Sawyer. Expect some serious drama soon...
- Radzinsky wants to kill Sayid. Is Stu unstable enough to shoot himself in the face with a shotgun?? Yep.
- Amy agrees on the subject of killing Sayid. Sawyer is the only one not voting to kill Sayid- oops- looks like he just agreed grudgingly.
- Sayid went home with US Marshall lady in 2007/2008 time. Nice knee-high boots! Well, there's a kick to the face! She's a bounty hunter! Well Boba Fett, now it's off to Guam.
- Sawyer offers to let Sayid escape and Sayid doesn't want to. Sayid says there is some sort of purpose to this, but he doesn't elaborate in true Lost fashion.
- A Dharma van on fire just crashed into a house. Looks like a distraction so Young Ben can get Sayid out of prison. Sayid agrees to take Young Ben to "his people" if Ben sets him free. Sayid says that is "why he is here." So many lies and tons of posturing. Awesome.
- Sayid realizes they aren't going to Guam in the airport. Sayid sees Ben on the plane and gets emotional.
- Young Ben let Sayid go and Jin finds him. He takes out Jin and then SHOOTS YOUNG BEN! Now obviously, "Whatever Happened, Happened" so I don't think Ben is going to die, but damn, that's a pretty awesome way to end the show.

Well, we found out a little bit more about Sayid, how he got back to the island, and also more about Ben's past. Overall, a pretty awesome episode and I can't wait for next week!

UPDATE: I've noticed on some message boards that people are debating whether Ben is dead or not and what that would do to create a paradox in the show. Let me save you the suspense- he's not dead. This parallels when Ben shot Locke and left him for dead in the Dharma grave (Season 3.) When Locke shows back up, Ben says something like "I should've known the island wouldn't let [Locke die.]" The island won't let Young Ben die- trust me.

Top Ten WWE (WWF) Wrestlers (Part 2)

5. The Bushwackers - The Cinderella of the list are Luke and Butch of the Bushwackers. These bald-headed New Zealanders were hilarious. They acted stupid and you'd never know what they'd do next (besides lick each other and do their trade mark walk in and out of the ring.) I could find a video of the reason why I put them up this high, but one of my favorite moments in wrestling was during the 1991 Royal Rumble when Luke came to the ring. He was announced, came out from the back walking fast (again using the trademark Bushwackers walk), jumped in the ring and was immediately tossed over the top rope by Earthquake. Barely breaking stride, he continued to do the Bushwackers walk out of the arena. Most wrestlers would've been upset to get eliminated in four seconds, but not Luke. This is why they're so high up on the list.

4. The Rock - The Rock probably could've been higher on the list if he hadn't pursued acting instead, and where would the world be without Race to Witch Mountain or the Game Plan? The Rock's charisma oozed out of him as he used many gimmicks to put him on top of the wrestling landscape. The People's Eyebrow, the People's Elbow, the Rock Bottom, Pie or Strudel?, and always speaking in the third person are just some of the things that made Rock the People's Champ. One great moment: The Rock MCing "This is Your Life" for Mic Foley. Awesome.

3. Ric Flair - The Champ - WOOOO! I was not as big a fan of WCW (which is why this list is pretty much limited to WWE folks, but being that Flair wrestled a lot in the WWE, he makes the list of all time greats. Maybe the best promo guy in the history of wrestling. It's tough to describe, so just enjoy the greatness of this clip:



2. Hulk Hogan - Hulk Hogan is an all time great. It's really tough to debate that. His signature move was the Big Leg Drop, so he obviously had to use his persona to carry his massive army of Hulkamaniacs. I remember as a kid being pumped everytime Hogan came on TV, I even watched his lame cartoon show. His major signature moment was when he bodyslammed Andre the Giant at Wrestlemania III.

1. Stone Cold Steve Austin - This guy was the man. Just totally entertaining. As both a Face and a Heel Stone Cold was awesome. I caught 30 seconds of a recent TNA Wrestling show and Kurt Angle was talking on the mic. The crowd still heckles him with Stone Cold's "What!?" inbetween his sentences. Austin drank beer, handed out stunners, and generally didn't care about rules. His matches with Vince MacMahon were awesome. Damn near everything he did was entertaining. The new generation of wrestlers can definitely learn a lot from this Stone Cold and the rest of the list. You can definitely argue with the order and I probably left many old school guys off, but all ten of these wrestlers were/are some of the best entertainers in their profession.



Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Top Ten WWE (WWF) Wrestlers

Now that we're getting the hang of this Top Ten thing- I'll say for possibly the last time, this list is based solely on my own utility of whatever I'm ranking. You can argue or add your own favorites in the comments, but this is a 100% dictatorship. Basically, I also want people to know that I understand that these Top Tens are not exhaustive- I'm well aware I might omit highly popular or deserving items. "In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king."

10. Shawn Michaels "The Heartbreak Kid" - Once a member of the Rockers with Marty Janetty, HBK has made his way to the top of wrestling one "sweet chin music" kick at a time. If Michaels is Paul Simon, Janetty would be his Art Garfunkel. Michaels was also instrumental in bringing Dengeration X to the WWE. I don't watch WWE all that often these days, but I'm pretty sure HBK is still mixing it up. Classic/Messed up moment: Pinning Brett "The Hitman" Hart in Brett's final WWF match when Brett was told he was going to win.

9. Bret "The Hitman" Hart - I know many girls that wish they could've been the one to receive Bret's sunglasses before he entered the ring. His sharpshooter submission move was deemed unbeatable back in the day (now people "know" how to get out of it) as Brett dominated the early '90s wrestling scene. Awesome moment: Bret taking out Diesel for the WWF Championship at Survivor Series.

8. Mr. Perfect - Curt Hennig's persona was one of cockiness and, dare I say, perfection. With his Perfectplex (another seemingly unbeatable signature move) was a star from the early 90's. This is the first deseased wrestler on the list, which is unfortunate, but the "Perfect" persona will live on in every cocky wrestler for generations to come.

7. Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase - Everybody's got a price. Truer words have never been spoken. Dibiase took the "heel" to a new level by saying that people would do anything for the right amount of money. Recently, I heard an interview where he confirmed the story that he said he'd pay a kid $500 to bounce a basketball 15 times. The kid started going and the crowd was getting into it- "ONE! TWO! THREE!..." When the kid got to fourteen, Dibiase kicked the ball into the crowd! What a great gimmick! He later admitted that they paid the kid the money, but the persona he gave off was excellent. Also, check THIS OUT.

6. The Undertaker - I still remember when the Undertaker came to the WWF. He dominated. Andre the Giant was probably the only wrestler that has ever been as feared as Undertaker (it's also harder to pull off this kind of thing now-a-days.) Undertaker's entrance pagetry was excellent (until he started coming out to Kid Rock's awful "American Badass" song- sidenote: can't believe he ripped off Metallica in that song- Kid Rock is up there with Nickelback as hack musicians I can't stand.) Anyway, Undertaker in his finest form involved Paul Bearer as his manager and buried alive matches.

Top 5 coming in soon...

Monday, March 23, 2009

Great Long Weekend!

- Thursday & Friday were consumed with tournament watching. Utah St. vs. Marquette was one of the most entertaining games I watched while Cal vs. Maryland was like watching videos of Enya's greatest hits set on a basketball court. Of course, the game I really wanted to watch was Gonzaga vs. Akron, but I was playing music through most of that game. It was on a couple of the TVs, but I didn't get a good look. I'm glad they came on strong against Akron and then came out on top against Western Kentucky. The Zags need to make some legitimate noise in the Tourney now that they're considered a major college basketball program. I'd love to see them take care of UNC. At least that would help out a couple of my piss-poor brackets that are floating around.

- Saturday I went over to my friends' Matt and Brian's houses (that is some ridiculous puncuation and I hope I got it right!) Matt's daughter Heidi turned 1! Congrats and Happy Birfday! Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate and the party was not in the park, but the blow-up bounce-house was moved to the house and all the kids (and some adults) had a great time! Of course I did enjoy some adult beverages and some cake (which was delicious.) Once the party was dying down a bit, we went to the neighbor's house and I got my first real taste of the game Rock Band. That game is awesome! People couldn't believe it was my first time playing (because I love and play music- not because I was especially good.) I can't believe they have the Timmy and the Lords of the Underworld song on there! That's hilarious!

I also saw the movie I Love You, Man. It was funny. I'll give it an 8.5 out of 10.

- Sunday I made it into the studio for a few hours and did some bass and back-up vocals. The album is getting ever-so-closer. One thing I learned Sunday is that I suck at vocal harmonies. I have to work on that aspect of musical abilities. It's a struggle.

- Last, today my left forearm was feeling tingly and hot from a spider bite. I texted my fiance to let her know and she texted back with "Can you cast webs from your wrists? Climb up walls?" This is just one of the millions of reasons why I'm marrying her.

I'll be back tomorrow with a solid and highly debatable Top 10.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Top Ten NES Games (Part 2)

Alrighty then- before we get into the top 5, let's go over some honorable mentions that didn't quite make it: RC Pro Am, Wrestling, Kung Fu, The Legend of Zelda, Ice Hockey, RBI Baseball, Tecmo NBA Basketball, Tetris, Castlevania 2: Simon's Quest, Gunsmoke, Life Force, Mega Man 1, 3, and 4, Excitebike, and California Games. And on with the main event:

5. Metroid - After discussion about this topic at Trivia night tonight, I re-thought my number five and am going with Metroid. The downfall of this game is that there is no direction whatsoever as to what to do. However, as a child, I wandered aimlessly though creepy sub-worlds of the planet Zebes and eventually came across the Mother Brain (also featured in the cartoon series Captain Nintendo: The Game Master.) Easily the most adraline-inducing game on the list (or at least adrenaline inducing for a young boy) so it gets moved up to number 5. Sidenote: the JUSTIN BAILEY cheat code was off the hook!

4. Tecmo Bowl - Yep, I put this in over Tecmo Super Bowl. I only did this for nostalgic purposes. TSB has all the NFL teams with NFL licences, as well as 8 plays to pick from per team rather than 4. BUT- Tecmo Bowl is the original classic game that started it all. It had all the teams that mattered (Chicago, NY Giants, Washington, SF, LA Raiders, Vikings, etc. and best of all- NO PACKERS.) I can't even tell you how many hours I played this game. I'm pretty sure this was the main game played if there was a snow day in NW Ohio when I went to the babysitters' house. Walter Payton was unstoppable- and I hate anyone who played with the Niners (three pass plays! Unfair!) Anyway, I will play Tecmo Bowl right now if anyone wants to bring over the original NES.

3. Contra - Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, B, A, Select, Start. That rockets you into the most kick ass two player game of all time. It also may have led to physical, real-life fights over the Spread Gun, but I digress. Contra was an impossible game made possible by the addition of 27 extra lives using the code above. It is an amazing game about two soldiers who attempt to stop an alien take over and inexplicably have weapon capsles fly over head that they must shoot to release an icon that looks like cheap pilots' wings that then give the soldier a new gun. Ridiculous, right? I know. But it is still an awesome and classic game that is still fun today.

2. Mega Man 2 - I love Mega Man. While the rest of the games in the series are great (most of them anyway) Mega Man 2 is off the hook. The eight bosses in this game are very well-made and each level is very fun (except for Quick Man's level- that one was always a major pain in the ass!) The game has great replay value as it is difficult enough to not beat it too easily, but it is not impossible either (I know, because I beat it as a fourth or fifth grader.) Many could easiliy argue that Mega Man 3 is better than 2, but 2 will always hold a special place in my heart.

1. Super Mario Bros. 3 - This game has it all. SMB3 was the first game Nintendo really tinkered with the idea of Mario gaining ridiculous amounts of powers. He could become a flying racoon, a frog, a guy who shoots fireballs, or a smash brother (one of those turtles who threw hammers.) It also was featured in the movie "The Wizard" with Fred Savage (yeah, nice advert for the Powerglove- that thing was a piece of crap!) As far as ingenious levels, gameplay, and lasting appeal go, I have to give it to the best game for the NES- Super Mario Brothers 3.

So there you go. Disagree with me? Let me know what I should've included. I will say that it was a difficult field to narrow down. Happy Hump Day (Friday for me!)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Top Ten NES Video Games

In continuing with my ever-so-often Top Tens, here are my Top Ten favorite Nintendo Entertainment System Video Games. We're talking old school, 8-bit games here. Similar to my Top Ten bands, I'm going with whatever games gave me the most utility personally. A good indicator would be the number of times I skipped watching TGIF on ABC with Step by Step and Family Matters to instead play a particular video game. Anyway, here we go:

10. Zelda II: The Adventure of Link - A VERY underrated game. They use the top-down view from the first Zelda for traveling, but once you reach your destination it switches to side scrolling action (for fighting or talking to people, etc.) While the top-down view has become the standard for Zelda games, I actually enjoyed this game more than the original. I remember it taking forever (maybe a day or two) to beat my own shadow at the end of the game. The game is very entertaining and I'm putting it on this list because I had a lot of fun playing it, and I don't think it has gotten the credit it deserves.

9. Super Mario Brothers 2 - Another game that uses a completely different format from the rest of the series, SMB2 is original and very entertaining. The bad thing is that it is a one-player game where you can pick between Mario (average ability), Luigi (ridiculous jumping ability), Toad (very fast, no hops), and Princess (slow but can magically float). It definitely didn't lend itself to playing with another person, but overall the game provided so much entertainment that you didn't need friends! As a side note- I hated those weird floating masks that would chase you around when you needed to take a key to unlock a door. Those guys were ruthless hunters! What a stressful life I lived as a third grader!

8. Mike Tyson's Punch-Out! - Forget the later version with Mr. Dream, it's not legit unless Iron Mike himself is the final fighter in the game. I'm pretty sure I still remember the cheat code to get to Tyson (007-393-5963- something like that.) With characters like Soda Popinski, King Hippo, Super Macho Man (there is nothing macho about his vibrating pecs), and your trainer Doc, this game was filled with classic moments and great gameplay. Later in life, we had a Nintendo in our college apartment. One of my favorite college moments was coming home from the downtown bars and challenging Iron Mike to a fight. Some of my friends (could've been as many as 2-6) gathered round and watched me dominate Tyson. I later tried to beat him sober, and I couldn't do it. I don't think I'll ever be able to explain that phenomenon.

7. Super Mario Brothers - I spent HOURS playing this game. I may have taken the occasional Duck Hunt break, but this game was off the hook. Highlights include using the Warp Zones to go quickly to level 8, breaking bricks and jumping through the ceiling to breeze through levels (specifically 1-2), and trying to jump on a turtle shell over and over at the end of level 3-1 to get unlimited lives (that was DIFFICULT!) I've tried to beat this game without warping, and let me tell you- it is no small feat. Great gameplay, good replay value, and a classic at every level.

6. Baseball Stars - I will credit this game as the first game to use "franchise mode." It's the first game I can remember that would allow the player to develop a team and players all their own. The drawback was that they didn't have a major league baseball licence, but the gameplay was rock-solid, and I can't tell you how many games I played just to earn money and give my players stat points. Last note on this game was that it taught a very important lesson: Spectators would pay a lot of money to watch me mercy-rule a team of women that were throwing games worse than the 1919 Black Sox (based on me controlling them with the second controller.) If you've ever played the game, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

So there's the first 5- how am I doing so far? Any of the above belong in the Top 5? I'll be back with the rest...

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Case of the Mondays

- Friday - Mixing beer, jager, and sake together with a small amount of sushi is not the best idea. I don't recommend it.

- Saturday - Huevos Rancheros however, is an excellent choice for the morning after a night like the one just mentioned.

- Saturday - Home Goods stores have too small of aisles. I know this because I constantly felt like I was in everyone's way while inside the store. Also, a Home Goods worker was pushing a normal size cart and managed to knock over a display shattering a table and a dish. I don't blame her though. The size of the aisles made it more difficult to safely navigate her cart than successfully completing many of the shortcuts on Mario Kart 64.

- Saturday - I was at my friends' engagement party in San Jose Saturday night (congrats Harrison and Vanessa!) Two of my old college roommates and I showed up wearing argyle sweaters. We didn't plan it, and I'm pretty sure none of us have one other article of argyle clothing.

- Saturday - There has been a running joke within our friends about how much I hate Nickelback. The joke doesn't really get old because I really, really hate them. After ranting about how terrible their music is, the conversation got quiet for a couple seconds, and my friend Jenny said quietly, "You really don't like that 'Rockstar' song?" The group burst into laughter.

- Related: Here's a quote from the website fmylife.com:

"Today, it was my birthday. My girlfriend bought me a Nickelback CD. F*** my life."

- Sunday - I've got my kitten Juliette comfortable to walk around in a harness. We've now progressed into having her walk around on a leash in the courtyard of the apartment complex. She was a little timid to start, meowing a lot as she explored the courtyard, but I have a feeling I'll be walking her around very soon.

- Sunday - As we can tell in the picture above, I need to lose a few pounds. I got to the gym on Sunday and had an extended run on the tredmill. As a bonus, the Big Ten championship was on TV and Purdue's defense was excellent motivation for me to keep running. Those dudes work hard on defense.

- Sunday - Speaking of College Basketball, the St. Mary's Gaels got jobbed, and were left out of the tournament. You may remember them as the team that was beating Gonzaga in their own gym, when their best player and Olympic athlete, Patty Mills, broke his hand. Without their best player, St. Mary's faltered, but still should have gotten a bid. Arizona basically stole their bid by losing 5 out of their last 6 games. That's pretty clutch. The bright side of this was the yelling match between Dick Vitale and Jay Bilas on ESPN right after the Selection Show. The best part was when Dickey V sacrastically gave up on his argument, "You know what? You're right, I'm wrong. St. Mary's didn't make it so no amount of me talking about it will change anything." It was a cutting remark meant to scorn Bilas as if they had just gotten into a lover's spat about who was supposed to do the laudry. Priceless.

I've got Thursday and Friday off this week, so I'm ready to watch ridiculous amounts of basketball. I already feel like a kid waiting for Christmas to come around (because the days go by so slow.)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Best Fights Ever!

This is 3 minutes and 16 seconds of pure enjoyment. I have no idea how I stumbled upon this gem, but watch and be entertained:



Now I've got to add this one too!



See ya!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Silliness

I'm braindead today, and I'm going to attempt a showing at the gym momentarily so here are a few random thoughts to keep my blog alive... barely:

- The phrase "Do you have the time?" is obsolete. Just about everyone has a cell phone, so everyone knows the time. Not to mention clocks are everyone. There's a clock on my computer, on my TV, on the aforementioned cell phone, and in just about every public establishment I can think of. If someone asks you for the time, tell them it must 1996 since they don't have a cell phone. You probably didn't want to talk with them anyway.

- Gray GAP shirts are bad luck? I've bought the SAME gray t-shirt from the GAP twice. In both instances, I put the shirt on for the first time and the shirt was ruined. The first shirt has a puncture in it from my newly acquired kitten. The second, I got today, and had a dirty knife slide off the table at dinner and fall directly onto the shirt. I'm trying to "Shout the stain out" but we'll see if I have luck. I'm beyond mad about this.

- People often ask me how long it takes to write a song. Some songs take weeks, months, or years to finish. Others, like one today, take (I kid you not) 5 minutes. It just spilled out. I love it when that happens.

- One of my main issues with the Bible is the lack of dinosaurs. I feel like Genesis would be a lot more fun to read with Velociraptors or T-Rexes running around.

- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that he's relieved Joe Mauer's injury is "just trying to get him back on the field, rather than him dying." Is that being a little overdramatic? The last thing I need is my number 1 fantasy pick dying on me! Seriously though, that would actually be my second fantasy baseball player to die over the years- I had Darryl Kile on my team when he passed away.

- No Lost on tonight! Don't start this again! The worst season was Season 2 when they were on and off showing episodes with no deciphered pattern. They were either trying to create a metaphor for the show, or more likely stalling us out! I actually like shows like Family Guy less because I can't figure out the new episode schedule (I'm pretty sure Family Guy is the absolute worst- they'll throw one new episode at you, then take 3 or 4 weeks off at a time.)

- St. Mary's got T'ed up for dunking in warm-ups the other night. Didn't you guys learn in high school not to dunk in warm-ups? I mean, really. There's no time in your life that it has been ok, so why try it in the WCC Championship game? It doesn't make sense. Obviously the 1-0 Gonzaga lead to start the game made no difference as St. Mary's was drilled by 25.

- I'm going to leash train my kitten. Seriously. If you thought a guy walking a tiny poddle was hilarious- then look out for me with my cat!

Ok, time for the gym. Catch you later.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Joe Mauer's Sideburns

Joe Mauer and his sideburns have come to my fantasy team this year, and I'm already concerned. The number 2 pick from his draft class (Mark Prior) tanked my fantasy team a couple times, and I don't need the number 1 pick to do the same.

The talented catcher of the Minnesota Twins had kidney surgery in December and apparently he still has back pain that is limiting him. He's now going in for another procedure to find the problem and I'm a bit worried. When healthy, he wins batting titles and the Twins have fake-sideburns-give-a-way days. When unhealthy, he'll lead me to losing my mind over another terrible fantasy baseball year. I'm starting to get the feeling that the "curse of the goat" has actually bled over into my fantasy baseball team as well as the team I root for.

Three years ago I picked Eric Gagne first (keep in mind this is the equivalent of the seventh round) and two years ago I picked Ben Sheets. Both of them quickly were injured, ineffective, or both. Last year I went offense with Ichiro and that yielded better results, but not enough to get over the hump. I figured getting the best offensive catcher this year would be a steal. It may already be the downfall of my year.

Anway, here's to hoping Mauer ends up being healthy and ready to hit by opening day. If not, I might have to pick up Greg Zaun or someone terrible like that. I suppose I can't complain too much- anyone who has A-Rod is probably worse off in the injury department anyway.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Weekend Activities

NCS Basketball Championship - I attended the Northgate Broncos/Hayward Farmers game at St. Mary's College on Saturday, and unfortunately, the result was less than thrilling. In a rematch of last year's playoffs and a championship rematch of 1994-1995, the Broncos and Farmers have actually had a decent rivalry over the years. While Northgate beat Hayward earlier in the season, Hayward was out for vengance on Saturday.

The Farmers out-rebounded, out-shoot, and ultimately out-hustled the Broncos. Jack Cartwright did his best to keep Northgate in the game (29 points), but in the end there was too much of a defecit to overcome. If the two teams end up meeting in the NorCal Championship, I would advise the Broncos to stay low and box out to extreme degrees. I'm talking about getting your backside into their bigger guys' knees and pushing them out of the key. The second and third shots got out of control! For the NorCal playoffs, The Broncos' first game is against St. Francis of Mountainview. Should be a challenge, but good luck!

The Watchmen - I never read the comic, but I was interested to go see The Watchmen. Many people were saying it was "GREAT!" and some were being uppity and saying "It's not as good as the comic, therefore it sucks!" In this case, I have no basis for comparison, but what I've noticed is that NO MOVIES ARE EVER BETTER THAN THE BOOK THEY ARE BASED ON. Really great (or at least entertaining) movies are not better than the literary counterparts. Jurassic Park? The book is better. Lord of the Rings? The book is better. Dracula? The book is better. I've heard maybe the Godfather could be an exception, but I haven't read the book, or watched the movie in a LONG time, so I'm not qualified to speak on that. Main point: Books are typically better than movies.

That being said, I fall somewhere in the middle. I would give The Watchmen a solid 7.5 or 8 out of 10. It's a good, entertaining movie with an original concept. I will not be putting any spoilers here (making it somewhat difficult to talk about why I find the concept original) but I thought the movie was good as a whole. Comic book movies have been raising the bar on themselves recently, and while that is a good thing, The Watchmen may be hurt by that a little bit. Here are movies that I find to be better than The Watchmen:

The Dark Knight, Iron Man, Spiderman 2, X-Men 2, and Batman Begins

Here are movies that I find to be worse than The Watchmen:

Spiderman 3, The Incredible Hulk (either one), X-Men 3, and Fantastic Four 1 and 2

To boil everything down simply, the movie is good, not great, but falls in the upper-eschlon of comic book movies.

Fantasy Baseball Draft - Here's my team (this is a keeper league where we keep 6 players, my keepers are marked with a *)

C Joe Mauer
1B Adrian Gonzales*
2B Brian Roberts*
SS Miguel Tejada
3B Ryan Zimmerman
OF Ichiro Susuki
OF Carl Crawford
OF Ryan Braun*
U Jose Lopez (2B) or Chris Young (OF AZ) or Milton Bradley (OF)

SP Jake Peavy*
SP Felix Hernandez
SP Derek Lowe
SP Chris Carpentar
SP Gavin Floyd
RP Jon Papelbon*
RP Brian Wilson*

SP Oliver Perez
SP John Garland
SP Andy Pettite
RP Brad Ziegler

So there's my team that I acquired on Sunday. Pretty well rounded. I picked up Joe Mauer in the first round (equivalent of the seventh round) which is who I was hoping to get. As he is one of the best catchers, I should be getting a lot of value with that pick (plus his sideburns are phenomenal!) My team name is still Thuganomics, and until I can think of something better it will remain that way. Leave any ideas in the comments and have a great day!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Friday Tidbits

- Here's a quote posted by Tim Dierkes on MLBTradeRumors.com:

"On this date 36 years ago, Yankee teammates Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich made it known that they had traded their families. Seriously. Their entire families including wives, kids and dogs. Kekick and his new "wife" broke up shortly thereafter while Peterson and his new wife may still be together and may have four kids of their own."

What the hell?

- Last night I played a bunch of new cover songs including "Don't Stop Believing," "Viva La Vida," "Against All Odds," and a different version of "Don't Look Back In Anger." It was fun. I also ridiculously thought my PA powered mixer was broken. I had dropped it a few weeks ago and in the back of my mind felt like it might break soon. None of the first 6 inputs were working so I plugged in the mic on input 8, turned down low and played "unplugged" with my acoustic guitar. It carried fairly well, but I was bummed at the possibility of buying a new mixer.

After my break, I decided to investigate further and see if I could fix it. Sure enough, a little red light on the far right side was on. I wondered, "What is this?" Well, moron- it's the STANDBY button that mutes the first 6 tracks! I'd say that I was/am embarrassed, but I'm actually just really happy that I don't have to spend the extra money to get it fixed or buy a new one.

- T.O. is not a fit on any team. I was never sold on him ruining teams, but I've got to buy in now. Good luck to any team that picks him up.

- My fantasy baseball draft is Sunday at 3:30pm. I CAN'T WAIT!

- My brother Matt is playing in the NCS Championship for basketball at St. Mary's tomorrow- i hope he stays focused and beats Hayward!

Have a good weekend. OUT.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Top Ten Favorite Bands (Part 2)

In continuation of yesterday's post...

5. Radiohead - They've been called the Pink Floyd of their generation, and I think that's unfair, because they are way better than that. The first time I saw the video for "Just" I was hooked. From the simplicity of "Creep" to the more complicated Kid A album and beyond, Radiohead has made some of the best music of the last two decades. Also, similar to Oasis, Radiohead's B-sides from the Bends and OK Computer are amazing on their own. Highlights: The Bends, OK Computer, Kid A, In Rainbows






















4. Muse - This is without a doubt the most rockin' band I've ever seen live. I once thought of Muse as Radiohead imitators, but I was very wrong. Matt Bellamy actually has more range than Thom Yorke, and each one of Muse's songs sound like anthems. As a three-piece band, they use heavy MIDI arrangements to give their live performances a massive sonic-scape that is like chocolate to the ears. Highlights: Absolution, Black Holes and Revelations, Origin of Symmetry

3. Wilco - I once saw Wilco three times in a little over a week (UCSD, Coachella, and the Vic in Chicago.) The current incarnation of Wilco has members that are amazingly talented as pure musicians as well as songwriters/arrangers. If you've never seen "I Am Trying To Break Your Heart" I would highly recommend renting it (Netflixing it these days.) It's a black and white documentary about the band making their "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" album. Each album is different in theme, and you can see Wilco transistion through the years from Alternative Country/Americana to something much more grand today. Highlights: Being There, Summerteeth, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Sky Blue Sky

2. The Beatles - I'm not saying anything original. The Beatles are so good that they are overrated by definition. Many people consider them the best band of all time, and it's hard to argue against that statement. Because so many people love them, they may even get too much credit for everything the Fab Four did. One thing is certain though- they changed the music game forever. 13 albums in 8 years, each representing a jump in maturity and style- what's not to like? Lennon and McCarntey get most of the credit but George Harrison was an amazing songwriter as well. The sports equivalent of the Beatles would be like having a team with LeBron and Kobe running wild, and also having Dwayne Wade on the bench to play limited minutes. Their entire catalog is filled with highlights, but here's the best I can come up with: Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Abbey Road, The Beatles (White Album)

1. Crowded House - Many of you might think, "What the hell? Didn't they have one hit in '87 and that's it?" Nope. Neil Finn and Co. have put out a number of scrumtrulescent albums since the mid-80s. They have a massively loyal cult following in the US, and are well-respected around the world. Seeing them with my fiance last May at the Fillmore in SF was one of the highlights of my 2008. She was not even that familiar with all of their songs, and she walked away saying it was the best concert she'd ever seen. With comical quips, friendly attitude, and such well-written and melodic songs there's nothing to not like. If I could pick one person to meet and play music with, it would be Neil Finn- hands down. Highlights: Temple of Low Men, Together Alone, Time On Earth, Woodface, Crowded House (self-titled), Try Whistling This (Neil solo)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Top Ten Favorite Bands

This one is going to be a chore. It will also be fun, but very difficult to slide all of my favorite bands into the Top 10. Being a musician myself, I might feel pressure to throw in bands that would make me look "cool" or "cultured" or "not a sell-out" but I promise to be as honest as I can be. I'm going with the bands that give me the most utility (however I personally define utility.) For example, if I am hypothetically ashamed that I listen to Ace of Base all the time, I must be honest with how much that guilty pleasure would affect my overall enjoyment. If I'm still stoked off them, and they fall in the Top 10, then I promise to include them. Lucky for me, I never listen to "The Sign" or "All That She Wants" so I don't have to include them at this time. (It is a bit fishy that I can name those songs though, isn't it?)

The other rule is that if a band gets mentioned, then all the solo artists/other projects (or more probably the lead singer) are encompassed in that placement. So Death Cab For Cutie and the Postal Service could have joint placement because Ben Gibbard is the lead singer of both.

10. Nine Inch Nails - I started liking NIN in middle school, much to my Mother's chagrin. I couldn't help myself though. That music is powerful, dirty, beautiful, emotional, and complicated. Trent Reznor was a classically trained pianist and it shows in his work. To be honest, I LOVE the instrumental Ghosts I-IV album as well as the full-throttle angst-ridden earlier stuff. It's hard to pick my favorite albums, but let's say the highlights are: Pretty Hate Machine, The Downward Spiral, and The Fragile.

9. Nirvana - I owe a lot to Nirvana. I used their Nevermind Tab book to teach myself A LOT of guitar technique (espically Bar Chords). I remember crying the day Kurt Cobain died. I still wish the world could've seen what else he was capable of because I do think it would have been amazing. They fall lower on the list because their catalog is not as big as it could have been. While I don't listen to them all the time, an urge to listen to a lot of them always comes back around. I also love putting the stereo on the liner-notes suggested settings to listen to In Utero (+5 Treble, +2 Bass). It makes the drums pop! Highlights: Nevermind, In Utero, Unplugged In New York

8. Blur/Gorillaz - Damon Albarn is the man. The range is ridiculous. He went from being in a spunky Brit-Pop band (Blur), to making Hip-Hop and cartoon characters (The Gorillaz), and then back to a more rocking British band (The Good, The Bad, and the Queen.) There is not one single album I don't enjoy out of the bunch and the styles of each album vary vastly. I could probably go on for hours breaking down each album because they are so different, but instead I'll give the highlights: Blur (Self-titled), The Great Escape, 13, Gorillaz (Self-titled), Demon Days

7. Bright Eyes - Conor Oberst is weird guy. He's been writing songs since he was really young (I think he recorded his demo at age 13.) When I first listened to his work, I wasn't into it. I thought it sounded like "a whiner version of the Cure, and worse." And yet, the more I listened, the more I understood what he was doing. He doesn't have the best singing voice, or the most talented musicians, or the cleanest recordings, but that is not the point. He writes unbelievably smart and relavant lyrics with excellent melodies. Everything he does is, in some way, the messy work of a genius. Highlights: I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning, Digital Ash In A Digital Urn, Lifted or the Story In the Soil

6. Oasis - I love Oasis. No matter what kind of a-holes the Gallagher brothers are, it doesn't matter. It doesn't affect my enjoyment of their music. They can rip off the Beatles all they want as far as I'm concerned- as long as the results continue to be excellent. The crazy thing is, that many of their B-Sides from the first three albums make a phenomenal album in their own right (these songs were mostly released on "The Masterplan.") Liam's drone is second to none, and Noel is excellent singer on his on (please release the Unplugged show where he filled in for an sulking Liam!) I heard an interview once where Liam was asked "If you weren't in Oasis, what would you do." He replied, "I'd be a fan of Oasis- the best band in the world." Highlights: (What's the Story) Morning Glory?, Definitely Maybe, The Masterplan, Dig Out Your Soul, Be Here Now

I'll finish the rest tomorrow... here are some honorable mentions that fell short:

Elliott Smith, The Streets, The National, Stone Temple Pilots, John Mayer, Dave Matthews Band (BARELY hanging in there), Weezer, Coldplay, Our Lady Peace, Matthew Good Band, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, and the Killers

Simple Math

Jason Giambi ($5 mil) + Orlando Cabrera ($5 mil) = Edgar Renteria ($9 mil)

Billy Beane > Brian Sabean

Monday, March 2, 2009

Go Cubs Go Peavy!

I missed this report awhile back, but apparently Jake Peavy was singing karaoke to the song "Go Cubs Go!" in Vegas during the Winter Meetings. He does deny this report, as he must, because he is still a member of San Diego Friars. The best part about the report is that Astros pitcher Roy Oswalt was with him and singing back up! This might be like A-Rod leading a group of Red Sox fans in "Sweet Caroline."

[As a side note, I wouldn't be shocked if A-Rod did that, he doesn't seem to be getting much right after having his cousin that supplied him steroids pick him up from practice! I'm all for second chances, but c'mon man! Be smart!]

Anyway, Peavy denied the story at length the other day when he started against the Cubs. Don't worry Jake, hopefully the Cubs can acquire you soon enough and you won't have to be a closet Cub fan much longer. I believe I speak for all Cub fans by saying WE WANT YOU IN THE ROTATION!!! We want Peavy in the rotation, more than the crowd wants Jake to finish that bottle of Jager! (pictured )

Ok, back to saving money to buy MLB Extra Innings next month!