Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tim Tebow Proposes

Tim Tebow found time to propose marriage... for some other guy!

PS: The guy in the video is clearly overachieving!

LOST: The Package

How did Jin end up in Rocky's meet locker? Will Jin and Sun reunite? Will any of this show finally come together and make total sense? Let's see:

- Starts off in night vision, so that's good. Seems like Widmore is surveying the scene at the MIB camp.
- Locke is talking to Jin- trying to butter the Korean guy up now. He says all the candidates must leave together for anyone to get off the island.
- Now Jin and Sun are checking into a hotel in sideways land. The airport security took all the money in Jin's suitcase. Crooked ass cops. Checking into separate rooms? Not married, eh?
- Now Locke's camp is dropping like flies from poison darts. Just like shooting fish in a barrel. Zoe from Widmore's camp brings the nerd patrol to get Jin.
- Dharma playing cards- love it! Somebody hook me up with those!
- Now everyone is fighting in Camp-Jacob. And now Sun is freaking out- and apparently going back to her original garden. I love how they are going back to the original places that were big in the first two seasons.
- Sun tells Jack to go away and leave her alone. She sounds a lot like Jack used to sound when talking to Locke.
- Sun and Jin are talking in Sun's hotel room. Looks like they aren't married, but they're still doing the nasty!
- Locke is over at the garden all of a sudden. He's trying to convince Sun to come back to his camp. Sun books it like a less athletic version of Usain Bolt. Great name by the way.
- While running she looks back and runs into a tree. Awesome.
- Now back in the Sideways world, Jin and Sun are in bed and Sun wants to run away together. A knock on the door can't be good. Uh oh, Keamy is back up in the mix. He's one bad mofo. Probably the best villain on the show.
- Ben found Sun and Sun reports the bad news. And now Locke is back with his camp and everyone is unconscious. Locke askes, "Where is Jin?" Great question.
- Answer: a trap from Saw VII. Real answer- Room 23 - The Brainwashing Facility.
- Zoe is being weird and tazed Jin. No idea if I spelled "tazed" correctly. Don't taze me bro!
- She wants him to help her with some Dharma maps. Jin says "take me to your leader." He's in luck.
- Claire is still nuts and Locke somewhat gives the ok for Claire to kill Kate later. MWUHAHA!
- Locke is going to get Jin- using the outrigger boats. One has to wonder if that is the boat that Sawyer's crew saw while they were time traveling last season?
- Back in the hotel room, Keamy is asking Sun about the cash. Now Omar is up in the mix. These dudes are badass. Jin is about to get beat down.
- Now they're going to get Mikail! No patch over his eye! Nice!
- Keamy only cares about one thing: dollar dollar bills ya'll!
- Sun can only speak Korean now. How convenient. Also convenient, Richard and Hugo are back to the camp.
- Locke is at the beach, and Widmore has a sonic death fence.
- Widmore and MIB are staring each other down. War is coming- correction, it just got there. Sweet.
- That was an impassioned speech by Sun. Too bad no one has subtitles on the island.
- Sun's account was closed by her father. I have a feeling he did it Keamy and Omar would kill Jin.
- Yep, Mr. Paik set him up and Keamy is supposed to kill Jin. Yikes.
- "Some people aren't meant to be together." Keamy is a savage.
- Widmore gives Jin a digital camera with pics of Jin's daughter that he's never seen. He's getting as emotional most males when watching the end of "Field of Dreams."
- The Package is not a what, it's a who. Could it be Desmond? Hopefully.
- Now Jin's back in the meat locker, Sayid is probably close to saving him.
- Sayid gives Jin a box cutter to free himself. Damn, Sayid! Help a brother out!
- Mikail has Sun and they're seeing the damage that Sayid has brought to the kitchen.
- Jin did escape and now he's got Mikail at gunpoint. Well, that's how Patchy got his eye shot out in this universe. Looks like Sun got shot as well. Yikes.
- Jack says Sun can probably write rather than speak. It's going to work. Mrs. B. called this early on in the episode. She's so smart, ain't she?
- Jack is starting to embrace his leadership role. He's even growing his crazy beard again. Or at least he's growing a Jacob-esque stubble.
- Locke is back and apparently he sent Sayid back to check out what was in sub. As predicted it is Desmond. He looks like they gave him enough horse tranquilizer to... uh... tranquilize a horse.
- I love Sayid coming out of the water like he's in Apocalypse Now.

This episode was good, not great. It was another set up episode, but I did fully enjoy it. I'm interested to see where they take Desmond from here. Great show.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

How To Play Crap: The Basics

It's quite common for people to not know how to play Craps. I myself did not learn how to play until my friend's bachelor party in April of 2008. Since then, I've enjoyed a few of the greatest gambling nights of my entire life. It seems like I can occasionally do better in Craps than Poker, which seems ridiculous as Poker does take more skill, but I digress.

Here is the basic premise of Craps for anyone who does not know how to play. I'll add in a few tips to get you started and then you can learn the rest as you play at the table.

The First Roll of a New Shooter: The game begins with the designated shooter rolling once. Before that first roll, you'll want to put the minimum bet on the Pass Line. If you can, put the chip over the "P" and you'll get the "Ass Line." How fun is that?!

The roll has three possibilities in regards to your initial bet:

1) 7 or 11 - You win $5 immediately
2) 2, 3, or 12 - You lose your $5 Pass Line bet
3) 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 - The button is laid on whichever number that is rolled, your $5 stays on the Pass Line.

Assuming Option 3 had come up, and the button was laid, the next goal is to roll the button number BEFORE a 7 is rolled. If a 7 comes first, you lose. If your number comes first, you win. It's that easy.

However, before the next roll you are now able to back up your bet with odds. YOU ALWAYS WANT TO DO THIS!!! All you have to do is put chips in the space behind your Pass Line bet. This is how you make money. Sure, you have the possibility of losing faster because your place more money on the table, but hear me out.

Most Craps tables are 3x-4x-5x max odds tables. This refers to how much money you can put behind the pass line. For example, there are three ways to roll a 4 (1,3) (2,2) (3,1) and there are six ways to roll a 7 (1,6) (2,5) (3,4) (4,3) (5,2) (6,1). This means there is a 2 to 1 chance that you'll roll a 7 before a 4. If you have a $5 bet on the Pass Line to start, you are allowed to put 3x that bet if the button is laid on the 4. Your max bet is $15 behind the initial $5 (risking a total of $20 on the next set of rolls.) If a 4 comes before a 7, you will get even odds on your Pass Line bet ($5) and you win 2:1 odds on the money you back up ($30). So you risked $20, but ended up winning $35. Odds for the different button number are as follows:

4 or 10 - 2:1

5 or 9 - 3:2

6 or 8 - 6:5

Now, one strategy I learned early on, was to just buy either the 6 or 8 if the button is set on 8 or 6. I will never do this ever again. You don't really get the same type odds as a Pass Line bet, so it's not really worth it. You would need to hit that number at least once to just break even. That's not what we're looking for. The solution? Play the Come Line.

The Come Line works the exact same way as the Pass Line, except it starts the initial roll whenever you place the bet. It's a game within a game, if that makes sense.

Essentially, walk up to the Craps table, put the minimum bet on the Pass Line. Once the button is set, bet the maximum behind your original Pass Line Bet. If you'd prefer to not bet that big, then at least match your Pass Line bet with backed up odds. NEVER bet more on the Pass Line than on your odds. I've seen people do that and I think "that person has no idea what they are doing." After that, just wait for your number to come up before a 7. That's pretty much it.

There are a lot of fun bets to make in the middle, but ALL of them are sucker bets. If you're gambling and having a fun time with friends, the middle of the table can be temping, but you'll probably end up wasting more money than you win on the middle of the table.

Hopefully this has been helpful. Please feel free to ask any questions, and I can clear up any confusion. It's an easy enough game to start playing, but tough to know all the in's and out's. Have fun and remember to gamble responsibly.

Monday, March 29, 2010

A Case of the Mondays: Back to Work

Having an entire week off is damn-near the greatest thing ever. When that vacation includes a trip the Peppermill, two men's league bball games, a poker night at my friend's house, a show at the Boxing Donkey, and tons of NCAA basketball action, you know it was a great time.

- Poker night at my friend Mike's house was a great time. Regardless of my cards getting me into trouble, it was still fun to hang out with the group that got together. My game is suffering from an in between phase where I'm going from a super tight player to a more creative player, but when I make a sizable bluff, I need to be more sure that someone doesn't have me crushed (or I need to push them off the hand no matter what they have.) I'm sure this will come as I practice, so I'm not terribly worried about it.

- The Boxing Donkey was great the other night. People were ready to sing-a-long from the get go. One of my favorite groups of people that come in from time to time was there, and getting things rolling. They immediately asked me if I could play Tenacious D's "F*** Her Gently." I replied, "You put some money in my tip bucket and we'll see what I can do." Normally, if there's any haggling, the tip can get up to $5, but they went straight to the top. "I'll give you $20!"

Gee, let me think... ummm... ok!

Needless to say, the song got played (which depending on the establishment and time of night, I may be contractually bound to NOT play the song- lucky, not the case in this situation.) I think everyone enjoyed it, and probably learned a thing or two about love-making in the process.

One last thing about the night. I know I've complained about this before, but it seems like I keep running into this situation, so it's worth a mention. Upwards of six different people asked me to either sing in the microphone or play the guitar on Saturday night. The answer is NO. My Gibson J45 will not be played by random drunk strangers ever, and when I'm hired to play at a bar, it's my responsibility to make sure that everyone is having a good time, and part of that is me making sure that everything sounds good. You may be a phenomenal singer- well in that case, why don't you contact the establishment and get a show for yourself? Oh, because you're not actually that good? Interesting...

The point is, I'm a really nice guy, but I'm also working when I'm playing shows. I don't show up to your job and say, "Hey! I'm really good at those accounting spreadsheets your doing- let me do them and turn them into your boss!" This sounds like a great idea until you get fired for me doing a horrible job.

- Nothing terribly exciting to report from men's league basketball. My thumb is jammed, so that sucks. A jammed thumb is literally the wimpiest, most annoying injury. No one cares if you have a jammed thumb because, let's be honest, why should they? And yet, it hurts like hell and bothers you in almost any activity you want to engage in during the day. Another example of this type of wimpy/annoying pain- a hangnail.

- I don't have much in depth analysis for the NCAA tournament. I've enjoyed the games a ton, but I do have to complain about the amount of fouls I've seen on jumpshots. In fact, many of these have been on 3 point jumpshots. Hell, the big man on Baylor got two fouls in 5 seconds and the second of which was a foul on a 3 point jumpshot. Please, coaches, I beg of you, teach your players how to close out without fouling before I throw the remote control through my TV. Please?

I hope everyone had a great weekend, and remember, I'm playing twice this week. The first is Live Band Karaoke on Thursday where you can actually sing with me on stage and it is completely acceptable. Second is Friday when I open for Automatic Rival. Both shows are the G St Pub in Davis at 10pm. Get there!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Still On Vacation

Had a long band practice last night and brought my car into the shop this morning. No time for a quality post today- but how about that game last night? Kansas St and Xavier battled! Great to see.

Have a great weekend, I'm playing tomorrow night at the Boxing Donkey in Roseville if you're interested in coming out to drink and have a great time.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Peppermill Trip 3/21 - 3/23

Another successful trip to the Peppermill in Reno is in the books, and I'm here to give you the summary.

Mrs. B. and I went up with two other couples, Katrina and John, and Jen and Brandon. We tried to get up to Reno as soon as we could on Sunday to have an outside shot of betting on the remaining NCAA games. Unfortunately, we arrived around 2:30 so we barely missed the deadline.

With no bets on the Duke/Cal game, we requested rooms all on the same floor, which they were able to accommodate. Since we're player's card members (congrats to John and Katrina- welcome to the "Bronze Member" family) the Peppermill comped our rooms. We had brought up a few bottles of alcohol each, and proceeded to create an impressive bar in our room. I know we have a picture of it, and I'll put it up once I have access to said picture. We probably could've run a dive bar for a night with the amount of alcohol we had.

The Jack and Cokes were flowing, and John and I were lucky enough to have caring wives who went down to the Sports Deli to get a French bread pizza. This thing is massive. For $8.99, it may be the best deal not only at the Peppermill, but in the entire United States. Maybe I'm exaggerating- maybe not.

Eventually, it was time to head to the Craps table. Brandon had never played, and I wonder if he's hooked now because that was a hell of a way to get introduced to the best game in the casino. We all left session 1 of Craps up hundreds of dollars. Since dinner was a 8:30, we wandered over to the Peppermill's fine Chinese restaurant, Chi, to fill up on General Chicken and Mongolian Beef.

Afterward, it was back to Craps, and the winning just kept on going. I'm going to give everyone some advice right now. Many people don't know or are intimidated to play Craps. Get over it. It's a great game. Furthermore, when playing, think about the odds. When I first learned the game, I would be happy when the button was laid on 6 or 8 because those are the numbers that are most likely to come next (besides the evil 7, of course.) Now, I'm less excited about 6 or 8, because in order to get full value on your odds, you have to back up your $5 pass line bet with $25. Seems a bit rich. However, if it's on 4 or 10, you are only allowed to back it up with $15, and multiplier is such that you win more money while risking less. I know it all evens out in the end based on laws of probability, but at least it is worth thinking about.

Many times I would straight up buy the 6 if the button was on the 8. DO NOT DO THIS. You actually have to hit the number you bought at least twice before you make any profit. A better strategy, you ask?

Play the Come line. It is a game within the game. It's like playing the Pass line multiple times. Obviously, if the table is cold, you lose money much faster, but if the anyone is rolling for an extended period of time, you are more likely to hit points and win with odds included.

I'm done boring you with gambling strategy, if you're interested further, then email me or comment. Otherwise, just know that the table was a lot of fun, we were drunk, and everyone won lots of money.

[Unfortunately, I did end up throwing up at 5am. It was quick, and relatively painless- and I felt better the next morning.]

The best part of waking up at the Peppermill is that you get to go to their signature Coffee Shop. It's basically a Denny's with larger portions and the ability to play Keno. The Huevos Rancheros did me right, and I was ready to place some sports bets.

The Peppermill gives members a coupon book that is very useful throughout any trip up. One thing they do is offer to match $10 of any sports parlay wager. John and I were bored (apparently) so we decided to bet on Spring Training games. He took the A's, Giants, D'Backs and Cubs, and I made the same bet just without the A's. Of course, all the teams won except for the Cubs who lost to the damn Cleveland Indians. To be fair, Fausto Carmona is tearing it up in Spring, and I have picked him up on my Fantasy Team because of it. He's looking like the 2007 version of himself, which could end up being very helpful. Main point- of course the Cubs are the reason we didn't win an easy $110. So stupid.

We also placed an NBA parlay. Going with all road teams that were favorites:

Raptors -4.5 over the T'Wolves

Heat -6 over the Nets

Grizzlies -2.5 over the Kings

The funny thing about sports betting, it makes boring/meaningless games turn into Game 7 playoff experiences. We watched all of the Heat and Raptor games. The Heat game was closer than I wanted it, but they eventually took care of business and won by 10.

The Raptors were livin' on the edge like Aerosmith. They let the Wolves get within 4. The Wolves had the ball and missed a shot. The rebound went to the Raptors and with 2 seconds and change left, someone on the Wolves fouled the guy with the ball. No idea why he did that- and I don't care. Two made free throws later, the Raptors won by 6. Hell yeah.

The Grizzlies were a bit scary as they got down 48 - 32 during the first half, and yet by halftime it was 49-46. We went to eat at Bimini Steakhouse so we were unable to watch the remainder of the game. That didn't stop me from obsessively checking my phone. The Grizzlies easily covered and that is the story of how we turned $10 into $70. Not the best odds because we picked all favorites, but we'll take it.

Last story, we went to the Craps table again, and witnessed the biggest trainwreck of a woman ever. She had a blond mullet. She was chainsmoking. She was dropping her Player's Card, lighter, chips, and cigarettes all over the place. She was tipping the dealers over the amount she'd win on a bet. In fact, I'm pretty sure that was the reason they allowed her to keep playing. After awhile we gave up. Our magic from the previous night was not happening (I was up for the session, but only by $50 or so.) The lady was bothering everyone at the table, so it was time to leave.

Lady, please don't ask if anyone minds if you smoke, then get offended when someone (not any of us) says that they mind. It's a casino, you're allowed to smoke. If you're asking the table if they mind and giving other people the option, someone might speak up. It's stupid, and you're stupid.

I left out my terrible cold decked session of Poker, but overall, including food, room, gambling, etc. I finished the weekend up $210. Not bad, eh? I basically got paid to go to Reno. Fantastic.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

LOST: Ab Aeterno

I'm back in the fine deficit ridden state of California, and I'll be writing about my trip to the fine Peppermill in Reno. Needless to say, I had a good time.

Tonight's LOST should excellent. At worst, it will be waaaaaaay better than last week's weak episode. I hear we have Richard Alpert-centric episode that- if my calculations are correct, should reveal some juicy stuff about the island. Let's check it out:

- Starts off back in Ilana's flashback from the Season 5 finale. It's amazing her face doesn't look like Mel Gibson in "The Man Without A Face." She needs to protect the "candidates." Sounds like a tougher job than Frodo bringing the Ring to Mordor. Yep, nerdiest reference yet!
- Too bad Ilana has no idea what to do. Richard is supposed know, but he laughs it off. Looks like the mayor of Gotham City is going Joker-crazy.
- Richard just says that they're all dead and that the island is hell. That seems to be way too easy and convenient of an answer to the entire show. Not to mention we have many hours before the end, so why give it away now? I'm calling your bluff Richard.
- I totally forgot that Jack has no idea about the fake-Locke running/smoking around the island.
- Hurley is talking to a ghost in Spanish. This may come up a bit later. Vamanos!
- Ben is finally explaining a bit about Richard, and here we go to the first flashback. It feels like Christmas... to the Canary Islands we go! Can someone Google those and tell me where the hell they are?
- Richard is looking after his sick wife. His beard is quite dashing, though his hair is more homeless transient.
- Looks like she is dying. When is Jacob going to make him an offer he can't refuse? I suppose never.
- Richard barges in to some rich guy's casa. Richard can't afford the medicine, but he does the obvious thing and murders the mean doctor. That was a very similar accidental murder to when Desmond killed Kelvin Inman on the island.
- His hot wife is dead, and the authorities captured him. Now he's in prison, and reading the Bible to teach himself English. The priest won't forgive Richard for the accidental murder. I've got to be honest, this priest looks like the last person I'd ask for forgiveness from. The priest mentioned that the devil awaits him in hell- well, that's where Richard got that whole "hell" thing from.
- It seems like they're going to stick with Richard's flashback throughout the entire rest of the episode. I'm ok with it. It's been interesting so far.
- This scene has a Braveheart execution scene feel to it. Richard is asking for forgiveness. Captain Magnus Hanso buys Richard for his slaveship- the Blackrock. Love seeing this. The statue is off in the distance- looks like the ship actually crashed into Jacob's statue. Weird. That doesn't seem right, but whatever- there's a Smoke Monster for goodness sake so I guess the physics of a ship crashing into a statue is the least of my worries.
- What's up with the One Musketeer stabbing everyone? Good thing I hear Smokey killing everyone on the upstairs area of the ship. Not Richard though? I wonder why? It left him alive for some reason.
- A blue butterfly was at the center of the camera's attention coming back in. The butterfly flew into the ship- could that have been Jacob? It rained soon after which would probably help to get Richard some water. Or maybe I'm reading too much into this show.
- It is taking him awhile to get out of the chains- and now there's a boar in the ship. Dinner time? Nah, the boar bounced. And Richard's hope seems to be dwindling. Good thing this is a flashback, so he'll obviously live.
- His wife is on the island and tells him that they are both dead- she leaves and seems to have been taken by the Smoke Monster. I literally have no idea what this means. In fact, it's getting downright confusing- ha! LOST confusing? Noooo...
- The Man In Black is now giving Richard water. What the "hell?" He says that Richard is in hell. Man In Black is offering Richard quite the "devil's deal" by asking Richard to swear loyalty.
- The Man In Black says "there's only one way to escape from hell, you're going to have to kill the devil." I guess he means Jacob, but this seems like similar tomfoolery that we've seen at the end of Season 5 .
- Richard and MIB are eating and discussing how Richard is going to kill the devil. VERY interesting conversation- I'm going to have to re-watch this a few times. MIB repeats word for word what Dogen told Sayid about killing FLocke. I almost wonder if MIB and Jacob takes turns in their roles, or if it's even more complex than that.
- Awesome shot with the statue in the water.
- Richard approaches with the knife drawn. Jacob beats the shit out of Richard and now he's dunking him in the water. Seems like a baptism if you ask me. Jacob was crazy in that scene. Again, I literally am quite confused- in a good way.
- Alright, now Jacob is talking to Richard- and they are drinking red wine? Blood of Jacob anyone? He's not the devil, so he says. I have to believe him- I mean, he is wearing white.
- The island is a cork keeping the MIB from the rest of the world. Great explanation.
- Basically, the Smoke Monster is actually an evil genie. He turns into smoke, grants wishes, and is kept imprisoned. Good thing he's not as ADHD as Robin Williams.
- Some of the best information ever on this show. Looks like I'm going to have to work overtime tonight.
- Now Richard gives MIB a white rock. That's literally like Jacob talking smack. MIB has Isabella's rosary for Richard. Well played. This dude is the DEVIL.
- Looks like we're back to present time and Richard is wandering around the island. Looking for the rosary he buried over 150 years earlier. It's still there.
- Richard changes his mind? He's about to make a deal with the devil.
- Hurley has obviously been talking to Isabella- she wants to make sure that Richard doesn't stray from the path.
- Her spirit is right next to Richard. This is such a great episode. This is beyond emotional. Nice work LOST folks.
- Hurley saves the day, but has some bad news. Richard has to some the Man In Black from getting off the island- or else they all go to hell.
- And we even get a nice conversation between Jacob and MIB. Jacob gives him wine and tells him that it is something for him to pass the time. Apparently Jacob has also been to Reno.

That episode was awesome. Really informative and gives us a much bigger and better idea of what the island is, and what is at stake. Well done, LOST. Well done.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Inconsistent Postings This Week

Hey Folks- I'm off work this week due to furlough/holiday (Caesar Chavez Day)/vacation, so I may be pretty inconsistent with the posts. I am also going to the Peppermill today, so depending on how that goes, hopefully I'll have some good stories to tell.

Matt Boulin is playing horrible today. WCC player of the year? Really? Then do something!

Ok, talk to you all soon.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Oh Cubbies...

I know I should be talking about all the awesome NCAA basketball action that went on yesterday (and how my bracket is not doing terribly well, but I digress.)

Apparently the Cubs are working out a sponsorship deal with Toyota to hang a 16' x 22' sign above the left field bleachers of Wrigley Field. Here we go again with these guys.

Does the actual sign bother me? No. Does making more revenue for the team make sense? Of course. Do I really think this is a good idea? Not in the least.

Toyota, in case you've been living with the monks from the temple in Ace Venture 2: When Nature Calls recently, has been in trouble these days with many of their cars' accelerators getting stuck and causing horrible accidents. They've been making advertisements to say how sorry they are and that they appreciate people who've stuck by them during this difficult time. Sounds like a Tiger Woods-ish apology if you ask me.

Anyway, the Cubs are going to have a tough time this year. Their team has a chance to be very good, but with the Cards' combination of Pujols and Holliday, not to mention their other combo of Carpenter and Wainwright, it stands to reason that winning the division is going to be tough.

The Cubs have overpaid veterans, inexperienced youth, and depending on some of the free agent signings, maybe some holes around the field. Could the current roster provide a division championship? Yes- but only if many of the question mark players that I could see going either way trend upwards. Aramis Ramirez needs to be healthy and hit. Ryan Theriot needs to be a productive lead off hitter. Alfonso Soriano needs to not strike out every time someone is one base (he must have the most solo home runs of anyone ever.) Randy Wells needs to not have a sophomore slump (I keep hoping he pitches like last year, but I can't convince myself that this will be the case.) Carlos Marmol needs to be effectively wild rather than just completely wild. You see where this is going.

For a team that won 97 game two years ago, only to be swept out of the playoffs by the 84 win Dodgers, the Cubs have found themselves back in the middle of the pack with no clear path to a World Series. Why frustrate fans and ignite Cubs' haters by aligning a sponsorship deal with Toyota. Any other car company would be fine. Ford, Dodge, Honda, or even Kia.

I understand baseball is a business, but it gets to a point where you have to realize that the only reason the Cubs make money is because loyal, punishment accepting fans like myself. Either win in the playoffs, and then feel free to do whatever you want sponsorship-wise, or stop doing stuff to frustrate fans by reminding them that their team is nicknamed "The Lovable Losers."

Thursday, March 18, 2010

How Dare They?!

Ron Washington, manager of the Texas Rangers, admitted to using cocaine (mostly because he got tested soon after he had done the drug- so yeah, he got caught.) There is outrage in the baseball community because a 57 year old manager did cocaine for what he claims was the "first and only time" he's ever done it. Is there anything funnier than someone getting caught with drugs (or steroids or cheating on their wife etc. etc.) and then saying, "It was the only time I've ever done it." Riiiiight.

I have two things to talk a bit about, neither are mind boggling, but we lose sight of them as a collective society often. First, athletes, actors, musicians, state workers, restaurant owners, cab drivers, Blackjack dealers, garbage men, stock investors, and pretty much anyone that breathes is not perfect. Did you hear that? Zero people are perfect. I know we love to hold celebrities up on a pedestal, and cheer them in the media as model humans that our children should be able to look up to, but guess what? That is a horrible idea. Literally, allowing celebrities to be role models, then being surprised when they are caught doing something improper is like buying a ticket to Saw 6, and then being horrified when you watch the movie and realize it's quite violent. You've seen the story before, don't fall into the trap again.

But you must be wondering at this point, Tony, Ron Washington is barely a celebrity so why even bother mentioning him? Is it funny that he looks like a 57 year old version of Tyrone Biggums? Is it because he is supposed to lead his players, one of which is a former drug addict (Josh Hamilton)? Or could it possibly be that for whatever reason, more people seem to care when baseball as a sport is outed for having a drug problem? Yes, the last one seems really odd, and that's where I'm going.

Why do we care so damn much whenever anyone involved with baseball is caught with any kind of drug? Baseball is a fun sport. I love it. But let's be honest, it has a sorted past. I mean, Ty Cobb was a damn good player, but I know two things about that guy. One, he loved sliding into second "spikes up." And two, he was a huge bigot. Even in the early years of baseball, it was not as pure as many fans want to believe.

Baseball players took amphetamines for years and years in order to prepare for gameday. Since banning those substances, the number of late 30s, early 40s players has diminished significantly. My point is, Ron Washington did coke, probably more than once (I obviously am just speculating on that point) but really, who cares? No one cared when Shawn Merriman tested positive for steroids. Is that because he's a football player and we, for whatever reason, hold baseball players to a higher standard? That is absurd.

We need to stop acting like a surprised child who happened to google "does santa claus exist" and start acting like rational adults. No one is perfect. Can people make mistakes and learn from them? Sure. Should we believe the childish excuse of "I only did it once?" No, we shouldn't.

I know ESPN and other sports networks need things to talk about, and I'm not against reporting these things, but we need to realize that our "heroes" aren't really heroes at all, and that baseball players/associates are just as flawed as players from any other sport.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

LOST: Recon

It looks like Sawyer is returning after his hiatus of a couple weeks. I hope he does something important, or at least takes a swing at Jack to make things interesting. Let's do this:

- Sawyer is camping out at what looks to be Claire's place.
- Sawyer is with Locke, but he makes a promise to Jin to not leave with Sun. That should be pretty easy to go back on later, eh James?
- Kate uses her trademark "Hey" to start the Sawyer seduction all over.
- Sideways: Sawyer is pulling his old con on the chick from "She's All That." Shouldn't she be making out with Matthew Lillard instead?
- She pulls a gun on him and calls him out. Wow- is Sawyer really a cop in this land? Or is he conning? Yep, he is. And "LeFleur" is the secret word.
- I am loving that Miles is Sawyer's partner. They should just start up a spin off of Miles and Sawyer cop show. The sad thing is, it probably would have a consistent 15 million viewers.
- Claire vs. Kate - This could be the Cal vs. Stanford rivalry to Jack and Sawyer's UNC vs. Duke.
- Claire is making sure Squirrel Baby is still in tact. Don't worry Claire, your baby is made of sticks and bones.
- FLocke gives a pep talk to his flock. He's a regular William Wallace.
- Kate asks Sawyer if he's with Locke- his response- he's not with anybody.
- LA X World- Sawyer is working real hard to find Anthony Cooper. I wonder why... did Cooper still con his mother causing Sawyer's life problems.
- Miles has set James up with a girl. Miles knows Sawyer is lying about Locke's pops.
- FLocke is leading folks, and Sawyer is calling him out about when they are gonna get off the island. Private talk time.
- Locke admits to being the Smoke Monster. He wants Sawyer to go to Hydra island and look at the Aijira flight. Is Locke's plan really to just jump in the plane and leave? I know he can float around as smoke, but does he really know how to pilot a commercial Boeing? Doubtful.
- Sawyer is at what looks to be a high school reunion. Well hello Charlotte Staples Lewis.
- She's still an archeologist. She's exactly like Indiana Jones? No time for love, Dr. Jones!
- Sawyer was either going to be a criminal or a cop, and he choose cop. And now he's getting on with the dirty red-head. Snap!
- He's reading Watership Down. That's pretty cool.
- Charlotte found the Sawyer binder. Looks like Mr. Cooper was still up to old tricks. And Sawyer kicks the red-head out. Well, that's one way to keep thing casual.
- Island Sawyer is back by his old cage. He's looking around and things look empty. Yet, he does find Kate's dress and remember getting it on in the cage with her. This guy easily gets the most action on this show.
- Sayid is looking more and more evil. Now Claire has a knife to Kate's throat. Luckily FLocke picks her up and smacks the taste out of her mouth. Damn Ike! Leave Tina alone! (This would work with Bobby and Whitney as well.)
- Sawyer found the Aijira flight. The plane is still in decent condition. How they hell did it crash anyway? Magical forces? Black smoke? Force field?
- Is there anyone left? Well, besides all the dead bodies.
- Who is this lady in the glasses? "I'm the only one left." Riiight. Seems fishy to me. Sawyer should probably just seduce her and murder her at this point.
- Liam Pace is at the courthouse looking for Charlie- to bad, so sad.
- Miles is pissed about the Charlotte debacle. Oops, wait, he's mad about Australia.
- Miles just broke up with Sawyer- not partners anymore. Sawyer punches out a mirror. There is some serious symbolism there. Each sideways flash has had a mirror involved.
- Zoey seems lame. I'm getting over this episode real quick.
- Kate is crying, and here comes FLocke to spew more evil venom. He's like Wormtongue from Lord of the Rings.
- Kate is showing some serious stones in this conversation with FLocke. I like how Kate doesn't take FLocke's hand.
- What's this? ANOTHER group of folks on the island? I suppose these are the Widmore sub crew, right?
- FLocke likes to have deep conversations with pseudo-answers. He is talking about his crazy mother. If this dude's real name ends up being Esau, then that would make a lot of sense (Jacob and Esau are brothers in the Bible.)
- Sawyer is going into the Submarine. Hopefully Widmore is hosting a dance party down there. What song would play? "Return of the Mack" for sure.
- Sawyer is back in the Sideways world watching Little House On The Prairie. It's talking about how people the people who die are really gone.
- He tries to win Charlotte back with his little sunflower move. Denied.
- Well, at least he's allowed to go into the creepy sub.
- That's a lot of LOCKS on the door.
- Widmore is creepy and playing mind games. These two are conning each other big time. I literally have no idea who to trust on this show.
- Safe passage back off the island? I doubt Widmore is ever going to live up to that bargain.
- Claire apologizes. But she is bat-shit crazy. Take a shower hippie!
- Sawyer reports back to MIB all the info about Widmore. More importantly, Widmore has sonic pylons? Awesome.
- James admits the whole "Sawyer" thing to Miles. Like Borat would say, "You're boring!"
- Honestly, this might be the worst episode of the season. Go on, advance the plot and let's get this over with.
- Kate crashes into Sawyer's car. Fate is a cruel mistress.
- Kate is eating rabbit? I wonder if that's good.
- Sawyer is pretty much setting up the battleground and he wants to jack the submarine.

Worst episode of the season. Holy boring BS, Batman! At least the preview for next week look awesome.

I will not be going back to proof-read or add in anything witty. This episode doesn't deserve it.

EXTRA THOUGHTS - After giving the episode another look, and some more thought, I'll give it slightly better marks than "terrible." It was a set up episode, and while it was not even close to the most entertaining of LOST episodes, I don't exactly know how I would change it to make it better.

How about this for a quick theory:

The Smoke Monster/MIB/Locke is afraid of and can be harmed by fire. Evidence?

- In "Dead Is Dead" when Ben goes into the Temple to be judged, he is carrying a torch. The torch is blown out before the Smoke Monster approaches him. Not enough?

- The Smoke Monster has a strong aversion to ash. Still not enough?

- Widmore's freighter folk were there to "torch the island." Last night when talking to Sawyer, Widmore stated, "It's sad how little you know" when Sawyer says the freighter folks were there to kill everyone on the island. They were probably there to burn up the island, thereby killing Smokie. Need even more?

- Ilana's group found the cabin that hadn't been used by Jacob for a long time. Once determining that MIB had probably been using it, they set the cabin on fire. Frank is wondering why no one is worried about the fire from the cabin burning up the entire jungle. Maybe Ilana's crew really didn't care because all the ash would create a safezone or just kill MIB outright. One last one?

- Smokie kicks Jacob into fire with a sense of satisfaction that feels like revenge. Maybe Smokie's form is a result of him getting "burned" by Jacob.

There's probably more evidence, but this is what I have off the top of my head. This has been Tony's quick LOST theory of the week.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Got Rough Mixes Of The New Album

Not much to report today- I got rough mixes of every track from my new album. I'm going to be listening to it a ton, and so that will be my distraction for the day. I honestly don't have much else going on- so I'm at a loss for what I should even talk about. I did play hours and hours of online poker last night with great, then bad, then decent results. I also watched 24. Not a bad episode by this season's standards (that may not be saying much.) I can't imagine they would do another season, though who knows? Maybe Jack Bauer will keep keeping dragged into anti-terror scenarios that take exactly 24 hours for the rest of time.

I'm well-aware of the lameness of this post

Monday, March 15, 2010

A Case Of The Mondays: Down the Rabbit Hole- Kind Of

I had a busy weekend- that is, if you count laying around on the couch and watching TV a busy weekend. I mean, there was a lot of basketball to be watched and very little time! I should've taken notes, because I know I'm going to forget something...

- Friday night, I went out to the Boxing Donkey to watch my friend Adam Donald play some tunes. It was great to see him, and since he and I perform a similar shtick, it is always good to see how other performers play shows. Adam, as always, puts on a great show.

- Saturday, I woke up with severe back pain. Surprise, surprise. I literally can't remember the last time I woke up in the morning and my back actually feeling good. Is it weak? Is it because I sit less than ergonomically correct in my desk? Is it because I play guitar a lot? Or maybe is it because I'm tall and getting old? I have no idea, but I'm seriously thinking about seeing a chiropractor for the first time ever. If I don't, I fear that my rec league basketball career will be over, I will start walking with a cane, and looking like the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

- Cal vs. Washington - I watched the Pac 10 Championship game (or at least much of it.) Washington was decently impressive. At least they wanted the game more than Cal did. The UW defense looked strong at the end, and kept Cal from getting clean looks at the basket. What a horrible year for the Pac 10. Only two teams in the Tourney and they are 8 and 11 seeds? The once strong conference has become the Johnny Depp of college basketball- we'll get to that strong comparison later.

- Ohio vs. Akron - Yeah, I watched the end of the MAC championship. I'm fairly certain Akron was the better team, but once again, they did not look like they wanted it. Akron choked hard at the end of the game, still pulled a jumper out of their collective ass (yeah right, like I know any of these players' names) and managed to send the game into overtime. To Ohio's credit, they still surged in overtime and won. It was a decent little game to watch.

- Kentucky vs. Mississippi St. - That was a pretty exciting game. MSU gave UK all they could handle, and yet John Wall hit some crazy off balance 3 point shot to seal it up. By the way, MSU, stop crying about not getting in. A great run in your conference tourney does not get you to the big dance. You need a better body of work- just ask Georgia Tech. Wait- maybe that was the worst comparison I could've gone with. Didn't the Rambling Wreck finish 7th in their conference? Ah, the joys of living life on the bubble.

- Ohio State vs. Minnesota - It's pretty fun to watch a team shoot 90% from the floor. Isn't that what OSU shot? Ok, maybe 86%? It was something like that. I'm not sure how far the Buckeyes will go in the Big Dance, but they did their best NBA Jam impression of being on fire on Sunday. Evan Turner is legit.

- The brackets, as usual look to have some easy calls and some very confusing portions. I'm looking forward to filling one (or five) out. I can't help but wonder if I'll have that same excitement if they expand the field to 96. I love how the public clamors for a College Football playoff, yet that is impossible to provide. Yet, only a few crybaby coaches complain each year about having their bubble burst, and out of nowhere there is talk of expanding a perfect looking bracket to 96 teams. I love my even looking bracket with no byes. I think 128 might sit better with me, but honestly, can't we just leave this perfect event alone?

- Sunday night, I went to see Alice In Wonderland in IMAX 3D. My review is short and sweet. Visually, it looks pretty slick with some very cool effects. Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter is just ok. Like I said earlier, Johnny Depp was once (and could become again) the best actor around. But currently, I'm sick of his over the top role choices that all seem to be caricatures of previous versions of that character (Willy Wonka, Mad Hatter, and even Jack Sparrow has become a shell of his former cool character.) Johnny Depp is clearly a talent, much the way the Pac 10 is a power conference, but both need to step up their game and regain their rightful place amount the cream of the crop.

Last, the storyline is just ok. It's interesting enough, but let's just say this re imagining (it's almost a sequel of the original work) gives away the end within the first 15 minutes and never does anything interesting to make the viewers think that any of the characters are in any real danger. I need a twist or at least some misdirection to create some tension, and there was none of that. It was a decent visual experience on IMAX, though.

So there you go. I can't wait until Thursday. The tournament is always a reason to be happy/excited. It's like Christmas for basketball fans- almost never disappointing.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Hindsight is 20/20 or A Difference In Terms

I have some friends from college who make fun of me every single time we hang out for the exact same thing each time. I can't get out from under it, even though I've changed my ways from this bad habit. What is it you ask? Well, I used to be very forgiving with my movie critiques. I'd find positive things about even the most wretched movies. I think part of it was that I did not want to pay money for a movie, and then walk out feeling cheated (though now I realize that is bound to happen from time to time - read as: 50/50.)

I used to see most of the movies while they were still in theaters, so my friends would ask- "How did you like Jurassic Park 3?" I'd reply with, "Ah, it was pretty entertaining."

They knew to steer clear of movies that I would call "pretty entertaining." My scale was something like this (from horrible to the best ever):

Pretty entertaining --- Very good --- A masterpiece --- F***ing amazing!

I just couldn't go lower than "Pretty entertaining." I've adjusted that these days to:

Absolutely horrible --- Eh --- Very enjoyable --- Great f***ing flick!

In fairness to Jurassic Park 3, it had dinosaurs in it and was better than the "absolutely horrible" "Lost World." But the greatest example of my horrible movie reviewing came in the form of one of my favorite wrestlers' full length feature debut.

True, the Rock had starred in the "Eh" Mummy Returns (which did have good special effects at the time) but I was excited to go see "The Scorpion King." I wanted to like it. I really wanted to love it. When I left the theater, I felt hollow inside. It was not good at all, and in my soul I knew that. But because I refused to allow myself to believe that a WWF superstar could make a bad movie (I mean, Hulk Hogan made "Suburban Commando!") I went into denial mode. When my friends asked me how it was I said, "It was pretty entertaining." I have never been able to live this down as "The Scorpion King" is one of the worst movies of all time.

Years later, I've actually become a much tougher critic and while I have my guilty pleasures, I fully understand why other people might not enjoy them (Transformers and Saw come to mind.) To be honest, I just don't enjoy movies as much as I used to. I'm pretty sure I've only been to the movie theater once during this calendar year, and that was to see "Avatar." That movie is quite the experience (in 3D) but overall it's not like it's that great of a movie (or at least, I've seen the storyline over and over.)

My point is, that I'd like to be forgiven for past transgressions in the movie reviewing aspect of my life. From this point on, I'll give you honest reviews that can give my personal opinion, but also an unbiased flattened version (like if I were to flatten the stats of a pitcher from the dead ball era of baseball, and then compare that pitcher to one from the current generation.) I feel like Tiger Woods apologizing for cheating on his wife (only my apology is more genuine.)

I always knew that "The Scorpion King" was awful, and I never meant for this to turn into what it has become!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Gorillaz: Plastic Beach

I've been listening to the new Gorillaz album for a day, and figured I'd give you the lowdown on the recently released album.

It feels like it has more in common with the self-titled album than Demon Days. I don't know exactly why I feel that way- maybe because the album feels a bit more sprawling rather than being a more concentrated experience, as Demon Days was.

If you haven't jumped on the Gorillaz bandwagon yet, this maybe not necessarily be the best place to start. Blur frontman, Damon Albarn and artist Jamie Hewlett are responsible for creating this cartoon band back in 2000/2001. It seems as if they are willing to test out any style of music within the albums, but many of the songs are based in hip hop or rock.

This new album does dabble in some symphonic segues, and is pretty heavy in hip hop guests. Snoop Dogg is on track 2 "Welcome to the World of the Plastic Beach" and while you would think that this would be a stand out track, it's not one of my favorites. To be honest, I'm partial to the tracks where Albarn takes the lead and sings over creative beats/arrangements.

Here are my favorite tracks: Rhinestone Eyes, Superfast Jellyfish, Glitter Freeze, Some Kind of Nature, Empire Ants and To Binge.

There are other great tracks, but I do think the album is a little bogged down with less concentrated hip hop cameos. I have a feeling I'll end up liking all of it in time, but some of the rapping is less accessible to the general listener because of the lack of structure. Like I said though, this could be the genius of it all and I might end up enjoying it a lot in the long run.

Embedding is disabled, but you can listen to a couple tracks

HERE (Stylo)


HERE (Super Fast Jellyfish)

Definitely worth the time to check out (if for no other reason than to see Bruce Willis' cameo in Stylo.) Overall, I give the new Gorillaz album an official "thumbs up" and recommend it to anyone who liked the first two albums.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

LOST: Dr. Linus

Is tonight Benjamin Linus' swan song? Could he be thrown off a cliff, shot in the face, get his head ripped off by evil Sayid or thrown around by a giant pillar of smoke? Or will this centric episode of Ben prove just how important he actually is to the island? I honestly have no idea what to expect (however, I do expect at least two funny quips from everyone's favorite pilot, Frank J. Lapidus.)

Let's see where the LOST universe takes us tonight:

- Fun fact, I was just watching the enhanced version of last week's episode, saw Keamy making eggs, and decided I also needed to make eggs. They were delicious.
- Starting out, we see Ben running through the jungle, I guess he was separated from his group. There they are- Miles, Ilana, Frank, Sun, etc. When will Sun and Jin ever meet up? They... will... keep... stalling... this out...
- Ben is teaching his European history class. Talking about meaningless power, how ironic? Uh oh, it's the bad guy from "Real Genius!" "Build me a laser, Val Kilmer!"
- Ben is told to supervise detention. He's not pleased, and he's even less pleased to be hanging around with Arzt. That guy is annoying.
- Ben seems like a decent guy who is looking out for the kids.
- Locke (The Substitute) suggests that Ben should be the principal. Ya know, just like Mr. Belding. "Hey, hey, hey, hey! What is going on here?!"
- Miles is being asked to speak to dead Jacob- it'll be interesting to see what Jacob said before he died. "Linus killed him." Nice Miles, your power has come in handy. Apparently Jacob didn't want to die. He should try to communicate better in life threatening situations.
- "Uh oh." Miles keeps on with his hilarious one liners. I'm pretty sure that's what the freighter crew is good for.
- Back to the beach camp. I like how this season is going back to all the spots we've seen from past seasons. Can we get another polar bear attack?
- Ben is feeling GUILTY...
- Lapidus line #1! "You make friends easy, don't ya?" Great point, Frank.
- Ben is taking care of his sick father. Ironic, eh? Instead of gassing him, he is actually supplying his father oxygen.
- Wow, they actually went to the island and dealt with the Dharma Initiative. But they left! Wow. I wonder how Ben's dad swung that one? I also wonder if Ben was still healed in the Temple (although, in this reality, 815 never crashed, Sayid never went to the island, and never shot Ben, so I'm guessing not. It did form a time loop- like the compass from last season.)
- Alex is a student in Ben's class?!?! This has already been one of the best Flash Sideways so far.
- Ben offers to help tutor her. He's more selfless in this timeline.
- Ilana wants to find Jin and mentions the whole Candidate thing. Only six left, eh? That doesn't add up if Locke is crossed off the list... (unless she's counting both Sun and Jin, I suppose.)
- Hurley and Jack run into our friend ageless eyelined friend Richard Alpert. Going back to the Temple- that seems like a group of three soldiers heading back to Baghdad after a bombing.
- Ben found Sawyer's porno stash, so that's cool.
- Frank admits he overslept and didn't pilot 815. Ben realizes the irony and destiny of the situation.
- Ilana looks like she's going to execute Ben. Or at least to tie him up and force him to dig his own grave. NO chance Ilana ends up killing Ben. That would be too weak of a death for such an epic bad guy.
- Ben is tutoring Alex, and he's giving her quite a pep-talk. Alex mentions that the current Principal is a pervert. Ben's got an "in" to get this mofo fired.
- The Principal was getting busy with the school nurse- and Ben promises not to say anything... I doubt he'll keep that promise.
- Miles is back to taunt Ben while he digs his own grave. Ha! Miles knows about Nikki and Paolo's diamonds! Great reference, LOL. Be careful, the last people to have those ended up dying because of Smoke Monster induced spider bites.
- I also loved the moment that Miles tells Ben that Jacob hoped he was wrong about Ben.
- Richard mentions that everyone is dead at the Temple. Now Hurley is mentioning that he spoke to Jacob. This spooks Richard like a spurned lover. Now Richard needs to go "die." Yeah, riiiiiight.
- Back with Dr. Artz and Dr. Linus. Ben is asking Artz to break into the nurse's email account. Ben's back up to his old tricks.
- Fact: Ben is one of the most devious folks ever on television.
- Richard is at the Black Rock ship. I imagine he came over in it as a slave. I'm not sure we've ever seen the ship without someone then dying (Dr. Arzt/Anthony Cooper.)
- Hurley is in the mix as well. Richard is checking out the dynamite. Richard can't kill himself because Jacob touched him. That didn't work well with Locke.
- Jack is going to light the fuse for Richard. Very Kevorkian of you Dr. Shepherd. Looks like Jack isn't going to leave either. Guess what though? Jack and Hurley have been touched as well! Good luck dying guys, cause it ain't going to happen.
- Jack says he'll be fine. Hurley bounces. Jack is a BELIEVER. That was AWESOME. The dynamite didn't blow. Jack knew it. "Wanna try another stick?" Jack is EMBRACING his destiny. That is soooo cool.
- The Monster is coming to visit Ben. Never been so glad to see "evil incarnate." MIB doesn't want Ben to die- he wants Ben to be the new Smoke Monster. FLocke releases Ben from his binding and gives him all the tools to defeat Ilana. More importantly, MIB tells Ben that Ben is "important." That's what he's been yearning for.
- X-Ben is confronting douchy principal guy. Love it.
- The Principal has the drop on Ben with Alex's recommendation. If this goes like the island, Alex ain't getting into Yale.
- Ben did get the drop on Ilana, but he wants to explain. He lets her know about how Alex was killed, and tells her about killing Jacob. Ilana says she'll have Ben, instead of letting him leave and go to Locke. Ben's redeeming himself in this timeline- let's see how it works in the other timeline. We'll see how long Ben stays around with this group.
- I guess Ben allowed the Principal to keep his job because of Alex. The trend of most people redeeming themselves in the Sideways world continues. Excellent work Dr. Linus. Bravo.
- Ben and Ilana go back to the beach. Miles finds Nikki and Paulo's diamonds.
- We get a slow motion reunion between the beach crew and Jack, Hurley and Richard. We haven't seen one of these since for quite some time.
- And Widmore is in a submarine!!! That was a Sylvester Stallone type Cliffhanger! Could that be who Jacob was referring to? Or is someone else coming to the island?

I loved this episode. Jack embraces his destiny. Ben is either feeling really guilty, or he's even more of a trickster than we thought. Richard isn't dead. And Alex is getting into Yale (ah, who cares really?)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Fantasy Baseball Draft

Our brand new league had our draft on Sunday. This is pretty early on in Spring to hold a fantasy baseball draft, but this day worked best with everyone's schedule, and everyone participated which is clutch to having a successful draft. We have 12 teams in the league, and I ended up with the 4th pick. It's a snake style draft, so I had the 4th, then the 21st pick. I'll give you the break down of the first few picks, then I'll show my current roster.

The guy choosing first took Tim Lincecum. He must be a Giants fan (he's my brother's friend) because not taking Albert Pujols with the first pick just seems stupid. The second pick was Albert Pujols, as it should be. Picking third, the next team took Hanley Ramirez (my preferred pick.)

This left my remaining choices at Alex Rodriguez and Joe Mauer. Both guys are amazing hitters, and represent phenomenal value at their positions. I took the entire time mulling this pick over. To be honest, I was set on taking Hanley because I thought the guy before me was taking A-Rod or CC Sabathia. We're trying to make this a keeper league, so I ended up taking Mauer. I'm partial to him, and believe he will be the best at his position for the next 5 years at least. I can definitely understand if people disagree with my decision, but the Twins' new stadium supposedly has a short porch that will allow Mauer to increase his home run total even more.

The next guy actually passed on A-Rod and went with CC Sabathia. I totally disagree with this move, as I believe a stable offense is probably the best recipe for fantasy baseball championship. Pick 6 went with A-Rod. The rest of the first round went like this:

7. Prince Fielder
8. Felix Hernandez
9. Chase Utley
10. Evan Longoria
11. Mark Teixeira
12. Ryan Howard

My next pick was at 21 and I went with Matt Holliday. I figure he will be excellent in a lineup with Albert Pujols (I know this because, as a Cubs fan, the Cards have a scary offense.) Here is how the rest of my team shook out:

C Joe Mauer
1B Kendry Morales
2B Dan Uggla
3B Kevin Youklis
SS Alexei Ramirez
OF Michael Cuddyer
OF Corey Hart
OF Matt Holliday
U Alfonso Soriano

SP AJ Burnett
SP Jake Peavy
SP Ben Sheets
SP Roy Oswalt
SP Carlos Zambrano
RP Jonathan Papelbon
RP Billy Wagner

RES Kyle Blanks
RES Joba Chamberlain
RES Ted Lilly
RES Kevin Millwood
RES Ricky Romero
RES Bobby Jenks

I feel like I ended up with a good team. My biggest weakness is that I'm relying on a number of pitchers to have bounce-back seasons. Sheets, Zambrano, Peavy, and Oswalt are all studs, but all had horrible seasons last year (injury riddled or otherwise.) I'll also be on the lookout for offensive help.

I can't wait for the new season to start. Only a few weeks away!

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Case of the Mondays: Nut Shot Edition

My weekend wasn't all that eventful. I was pretty wiped out from playing two 3+ hours shows on Thursday and Friday. And yet, the weekend ended with a bang- literally.

- Friday night's show at the Boxing Donkey was great. It usually is pretty fun, but occasionally (near the end of the night) drunk people will get pushy about what songs they want me to play, and I have to get creative on how to a) appease them when I don't know the song or songs they want me to play and b) do it in a way that does not involve me rudely telling them to screw off. Friday night's crowd was excellent. Everyone was pleased with the selections of songs. Even if I didn't know a request, my next song would usually appease the friendly requester. Definitely come up to Roseville for a show if you haven't been yet, it's a solid time.

- Julius Peppers to the Chicago Bears! I like it. This obviously doesn't solve their offensive line issues, but Peppers will improve their defense immensely. Keep in mind, Brian Urlacher will also be coming back this year to sure up the linebacking core that was left vulnerable last year (Nick Roach? Ugh.) I know that the Packers and Vikings will both be good this year, and that the Lions have done well in free agency, but the Bears will be a force to be reckoned with as well.

- Did anyone see Jimmy Fallon on Friday night? Didn't think so. He couldn't get the Saved By The Bell reunion together, but he did manage to get together the cast of another "great" show:

- Well, as many of you could have seen on Facebook last night, I got smashed in the nuts playing basketball. I currently am still queezy as this was the most devastating nut shot I can remember in my life. Basically, I had my arms up in the middle of the key, took a charge, though the guy going through the lane came through with his knee up. I liken it to the Tiger Knee that Sagat did in Street Fighter II. His knee hit my balls flushed. Like a baseball bat hitting a ball squarely on the head of a bat. Ouch.

- Tomorrow we'll talk about my fantasy baseball draft. I think I did fairly well, but I'll let you judge for yourself tomorrow. See you then.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Going Into The Weekend

We had Live Band Karaoke last night at the G St Pub and it was a lot of fun. It was uneventful in the sense that I have nothing to complain about, but I notice our band is improving. We're still not flawless in our execution, but there's definitely a better chemistry building.

Since no one in the crowd did anything drunkenly idiotic, and most of the song went decently well, I don't have many funny stories from the night.

I have another show tonight in Roseville at the Boxing Donkey. It starts up at 9:30pm and the address is 300 Lincoln. If you want some Irish Pub drinking action then you'll definitely want to come out.

In other news, the new FM radio station in Sacramento is off the hook. 94.7 is already my number 1 preset. It plays all 1990s and 2000s rock. The interesting thing here, is that this station is awfully similar to the old KWOD 106.5. That station became "The Buzz" where you risk hearing Nirvana followed by Salt-N-Pepa. You'll rock along to some Stone Temple Pilots, then get ambushed by Boyz II Men. I don't mind the occasional 1990s dance/R&B/rap song, but when it is on the radio when I'm not in the mood to hear it, it's a problem.

94.7 pretty much makes up for The Buzz and plays mostly songs that I really want to hear. I heard The Bloodhound Gang "The Bad Touch" yesterday- when is the last time you heard that song?!

They have their playlist on their website:

Pretty impressive stuff. Have a great weekend, and I'll see you on the flip side.

PS: Julius Peppers to the Bears? Yes, please.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Sensative Ref

This guy does not deserve to be post #400, but I'm still pretty mad about this situation that arose on Tuesday at our Men's League Basketball game.

Our team shows up ready to go, and the other team was running late. Only one of their players was in the gym just two minutes before gametime. Eventually, the rest of their team showed up and we got the game going. The older, larger ref was at center court for the tip. He says, "Alright guys, here's your warning, I don't want to hear any complaining."

I thought he was joking because as we all know, there will inevitably be at least a small amount of complaining during a basketball game. You can't please everyone all the time, and when two teams are competing against each other, the sides will see things differently quite often. I replied, "Hey, I'll take another warning later as well," and I smiled to indicate I was joking.

"I'll give you a warning," he retorted in a straight faced manner. Apparently this guy could not take joke or recognize common social cues. No big deal, right? Just go on with the chlorophyll...

So the game gets going, and at this point the details get a little fuzzy. I know there were a couple missed calls both ways and a bit of complaining from both teams. At one point, the ref stops the game and warns both teams.

"You guys want to complain? Fine. I can call all the ticky-tack fouls. I'll just call everything."

This is red flag numero uno for a referee. A ref should NEVER adjust his call of the game to react to or punish teams complaining. If a complaint is coming across as wildly inappropriate or aggressive, there is this little thing called a "technical foul" that the ref has at their disposal. I don't know if everyone has heard of it [yeah, that was massive sarcasm], but a "technical foul" or "T," as the kids call it these days, is used to reward the other team two free throws (or in some men's leagues, automatic points) and the possession. If you get two technical fouls, you get thrown out of the game (and in some leagues, like ours, you would be suspended for the next game.)

Essentially, the "T" has a magical way of making people shut up. A ref should warn someone if they are complaining a couple times, if it gets worse, can "T" them up. At NO POINT should the ref do what our ref did next.

At some point (it could've been when a guy on the other team intentionally pressed his elbow into my spine and I asked the ref to watch for things like that), he deemed me a complainer and began to call the game against me. I know players may think refs are out to get them occasionally, but this guy actually had it out for me. Here a few examples:

- The guy I guarded most of the game was a pretty good shooter. He was hitting from the outside. At some point, I jumped to help inside, the ball was kicked to the corner where my man was. I went to close out on him, but I was clearly too late. I put my hand up, drifted to the side of him and literally did not touch him. He missed the shot, and all of sudden the whistle blew. I was called for a foul, and he got three foul shots. I swear on my Gibson guitar I did not touch him. I looked at my opponent, and slapped me five and said, "Sorry man." Even my opponent was shocked that the ref called a foul. Of course, he wasn't going to argue with the ref, nor should he. He's doing everything to win, and I would have done the same.

- During the free throws, the ref stood right next to me on the block. I noticed he was standing in play during free throws (I'm fairly certain the correct placement for a ref is out of play on the baseline, but I digress.) In this case, he was inches from me on the block. I honestly felt like he called a phantom foul, and then stood right next to me to goat me into saying something, so then he could "T" me up. A referee's job is to call the game fairly their way, and not instigate situations with players to get them to complain. The sensitive ref believed I was a problem, and now he was intentionally trying to get rid of me. This is infuriating, and has the potential to cause a far worse problem than when a normal ref calls a "T."

- One of our players noticed that the ref's ear was bleeding slightly. He said, "Hey ref, your ear is bleeding." The ref checked, saw the blood, and said, "Oh, I think #24 scratched me." Who's #24, you ask? Take one guess. Now this jerk is blaming me for a bumbling injury that I had nothing to do with. My blood is boiling just thinking about this guy.

I kept my mouth shut the whole second half because I figured that this guy was out to get me. One other terrible thing this ref was doing that more to do with his inept reffing rather than how he was conspiring to find an obvious way to kick me out of the gym was when players would drive the lane and get fouled going up, he would call a foul and say, "On the pass- take it out on the baseline." Yes, I understand that if you murdered going up, someone may also hit the ball so that it does not go toward the basket, but that doesn't mean the player wasn't going up for a shot. This happened over and over. Just another horrible move by this guy.

In case you're curious, we ended up winning the game in overtime. No amount of shoddy reffing could stop our team in the end, but it was damn frustrating. The worst part is, the second ref on the floor is one of the best refs around. He's reffed a number of our games, and he's great. Calls everything fairly both ways, is confident in his own style, and never takes anything personally. Exactly the way a men's league referee should call a game.

I'm not asking for refs to be the butt of abusive comments, but in comparison, when I play a gig at a bar where I'm playing tons of cover songs, I understand that I get paid a premium to take a bit of flack from a drunk sorority girl that wants to hear "Sweet Home Alabama" or a guy who wants to tell me all about the time that his band had one gig and they used to play one of the songs that I just played. I have to let that roll off my back, and explain in a funny or non-confrontational way that that song is horrible or about how interesting someone's story is. I would not continue to get gigs if I got angry, told these hypothetical examples to shut up, and then called over a bouncer to remove them. I have to act a certain way because I'm paid to.

Refs are paid to not only control a game and preserve it's integrity, they are paid a premium to let harmless complaints roll off their back. This guy was not able to do that, and it made him the worst ref I've come across in many, many years.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

LOST: Sundown

As usual I'm expecting a phenomenal episode from the best show on television. It's a watchable novel, and people who are into it sound crazy when they talk about it around people who don't watch- officially making it the best. Last week, Jack was staring at the ocean, Jacob essentially misled Hurley into doing his bidding, and Claire axed a black dude (this isn't a horror movie, why are all the black people dead? i.e. Michael, Matthew Abaddon and the dude with the ax in his chest.) [Sidenote: why do black people always die in horror movies? Freddy even calls Kelly Rowand "dark meat" in Freddy vs. Jason insinuating he prefers killing black folks. It ain't right.] Aaaaand scene:

- Sayid in the Sideways world, and look who it is... the love of his life, Nadia. Are those yellow roses?!?! Yellow stand for friendship in rose colors. His brother is married to Nadia? I love my brothers, but they better not even think about stealing Mrs. B. I'll stab somebody!
- Maybe he just said "brother" like Zoolander says brother.
- Uh oh. Sayid is showing that he cares for Nadia.
- Sayid on the island is now in Dogen's chamber and asking tough questions.
- Dogen's speech about "the scale" is probably important to the overall theme of the show. Nobody is really all good, or all bad. But they can choose a side.
- Sayid and Dogen are fighting like crazy people. I haven't seen ass kicking like that since Chris Farley's skit on SNL where they secretly give him decaf coffee.
- Apparently Dogen just heard whispers "to build it" and "they will come." Or maybe he just likes baseball, because that the baseball falling seemed to stop the fight.
- Claire is chatting with Liar Locke about getting her son back. How are you going to get her her son back Fake John? Cart him on a puff of black smoke from LA?
- Flashing back to X-Land, Sayid is napping on the couch, and Nadia's husband and wakes Sayid. He needs Sayid to pretty much kill people he owes money to. It is what Sayid does best...
- Ah, don't help him Sayid... he's playing the "if you care about Nadia card." What an a-hole. You can't use another man's love of your wife to get him to help you. Weak sauce.
- Back at the Temple, Sayid is talking with Miles. I hope Miles goes with him because everyone at the Temple is pretty much Drew Barrymore in Scream dead.
- Claire busts into the Temple and askes Dogen to go outside to meet MIB. Apparently Dogen didn't realize Jack and Hugo were gone, and now he needs Sayid. Claire is now in the hole- doesn't sound like a fun place.
- "Evil incarnate." MIB sounds like the devil to me. Maybe Sayid is the loophole to MIB much like Ben was a loophole to Jacob. Dogen gives him a knife that Crocodile Dundee would be proud of and tells him to kill Fake Locke.
- I do like the parallels of Sayid being asked to kill people in both Sideways and Island storylines.
- Sayid is crossing the street with Nadia's kids... he does better than the last time he crossed the street with someone. (Remember, Nadia was struck by a van.)
- Nadia asks for help. They go to the hospital and sees none other than Jack Shepherd.
- Nadia tells Sayid not to retaliate. Doubtful this is going to happen.
- Sayid now sees Kate outside the Temple walls. I like how the Temple people just let folks in and out of the gate. Ridiculous. Knock knock. Who's there? It's Kate. Kate who? The Kate that you've kidnapped multiple times and now is escaping then coming back... and repeat.
- "Sawyer sent you packing." Miles is great with one liners.
- Claire is back up in this, and Miles informs Kate of this. Mentions that she's "still hot, though." He must like the ladies dirty.
- Sayid is playing the part of horror victim in the jungle. Holy SHIT! Sayid stabbed Fake Locke in the chest and it literally does NOTHING. That was probably the best moment of the season thus far. No blood or anything.
- FLocke looks pissed, but offers the knife back to Sayid. FLocke feels sorry for Sayid. And explains that Dogen wants someone else to kill him and that Sayid was tricked. Wow. This guy is a smooth operator.
- FLocke offers him ANYTHING if Sayid delivers a message for him. Sounds like devil talk to me.
- Sayid is back in the X world. Nadia wants to be with Sayid also. Ok, so it really is Sayid's brother. Sayid says he's trying to wash his hands of all the horrible things he's done. Maybe he should go on a race around the world like Desmond did.
- Sayid is delivering the message- it is NOT a peaceful message. Everyone dies at sundown if they stay in the Temple.
- Kate is searching for Claire. Lennon takes Kate to her.
- Kate using the word "took" again. Claire is going to kill her. Rivalry of the women begins. Claire is acting like a creepy kid from an Asian horror flick. Lots of horror movie comparisons tonight, but I think that is what they were going for in this episode. Very Season 1 of the writers/producers.
- Back to the Temple, people are panicking big time. Cindy and the kids are bouncing. Somebody's overconfidence isn't showing through at this time- who's staring at people in cages now?
- Back on the mainland, Sayid is meeting up with the freighter mercenaries. Keamy is back up in this bitch. He is one bad dude.
- Keamy is eating eggs and threatening Sayid simultaneously. That's like juggling a few chainsaws.
- Sayid just killed the other two guys, and Keamy is now laying down like a little puppy. What's that? No heart monitor to blow up the freighter this time? Oh well, you're dead now. Savage Sayid is the best.
- Wow, Jin is in the back Rocky Balboa type meat locker! He's beat to shit and still can't speak English. Very interesting.
- Dogen and Sayid face off once again. Sayid asks why Dogen didn't just kill him himself? He explains with an off-island story.
- He killed his son in a drunk driving accident, then a man comes to him, offers to save his son's life, but then Dogen would have to come to the island and never see his son again. That man? Jacob. He drives a hard bargain.
- Sayid says he'd like to stay, and then he drowns Dogen in the murky water. Uh oh.
- Lennon's freaking out, imagine there's no heaven- oops, I was going to make a joke, but Sayid just slit Lennon's throat. What is this, did we time travel to December 8, 1980?
- The Temple is getting jacked up. Miles and Kate better break out of there fast!!!
- Miles is up out! He hides in a room, and someone is trying to break in.
- Ilana, Lapidus, Sun and Ben break in to the Temple.
- Kate avoids the the Smoke Monster by hiding in Claire's hole. Uh huh huh huh.
- Ilana knows a way out, and luckily they aren't bringing crazy ass Sayid with them. Nice burning cross, can this show get any more racist?!
- Kate, Claire, and Sayid are in the courtyard and everyone is dead.
- FLocke gives crazy eyes to Kate. This ain't good. He's recruited a ton of people and is off into the jungle. That's a hell of a cliffhanger.

I totally loved this episode. MIB was badass. Sayid is going crazy. Kate is in a really bad position. Dogen dead. Lennon dead. Ben's crazy look at Sayid near the end has me really uneasy. It seems like some of the fractured character groups are merging, so that should make for more action packed and coherent storytelling. What a damn good show.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

When You Don't Have Something Worth Saying...

Don't say anything at all.

Seriously, if I blog today, it will either be uninteresting or blatantly angry and get me in trouble. I'm going to have to take a pass. If I think of something later, I'll post it, but for now, I've got nothing.

Monday, March 1, 2010

A Case of the Mondays

This was a short weekend for me as I had to work late on Friday and all day Saturday, so that limits the amount of interesting things that I have to talk about. However, I'll do my best to figure something out.

- I watched the US/Canada hockey game. It was a pretty great game, and unfortunately, did not end with the result most of my American comrades would have liked. The US team has nothing to be ashamed of as they played hard and really gave Canada a top-notch challenge. As I see it, this is probably a double win for Canada. Their national sport gets a boost in worldwide interest, and they win the gold. It's really too bad hockey can't be more interesting to people all over the world. Why not you ask? Well, mostly because there is not ice everywhere, so unless Rollerblades make a massive comeback sometime soon, most kids (and people in general) won't be playing any pick up hockey games any time soon. Football and Basketball succeed because any person of the general population can participate in a game as long as they have a ball (flag and touch football work quite well if you don't have the full outfit of pads.) Even baseball allows people to play catch as long as they have a ball, a glove, and a friend (who also would need a glove, I suppose.)

The loophole to my argument? Why is Soccer not more popular? I honestly don't know. It's one of America's mysteries, like Big Foot, that we may never fully become enlightened. I guess it has to do with the lack of scoring during a normal game 90 minute game. I definitely enjoy World Cup Soccer, and can't wait for it later this year.

- Speaking of playing sports, I also had a men's league game Sunday. Our Sunday team seems to be overmatched for the league we're in, but it's still fun to get some run on the court. That is, until I start getting threatened by some ghetto dude who has no idea what he's talking about.

I'm guarding #12 and he slashes to the hoop (I think he was attempting to get an offensive rebound.) I was late on the box out and we got tangled up. To be honest, my shoulder could've been seriously hurt as he was going up, so my arm had to fly up in a circle so that it did not dislocate. #55 on their team finds his way over to me and says, "Wrong guy to mess with. If you hurt him, you'll have some prowlems!" [Prowlems=Problems to us people who actually speak regular English.] Of course, #12 wasn't mad at all and neither was I, so it was just #55 acting overly tough and subtly threatening me with gang warfare.

Unfortunately, our team was not quite good enough to overcome their aggressiveness and the fact that they are playing in a rec league and have a coach, but this was EXACTLY the type of team that my high school team would have beaten by 30 and put in their place. Much like Al Bundy, I miss the old days...

- I saw the movie Couples Retreat over the weekend (as you can see, I'm reaching for things to talk about at this point) and it was decent. The only thing that is interesting is that Vince Vaughn plays what I can only assume is himself in every movie he's in. Whether he's swinging, crashing weddings, a married man, or in the worst Spielberg movie ever (I'll give you a hint, it involves dinosaurs and Jeff Goldblum) he seems to play the same fast talking character over and over and over. It works well in most of these movies, but it's pretty tired because we've seen him play this schick all too often. Oddly, his co-star in this movie, Jason Bateman, is getting dangerous close to doing the same thing (only he plays the unsure of himself goof, that doesn't always have things fall his way.)

Maybe an imbalanced athlete could do something crazy (c'mon Milton Bradley!!!) that we can talk about. If not, I'll be back tomorrow to talk about something less interesting.