Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Fantasy Football Champion

My bunch of rag-tag grinders actually WON the fantasy football championship this week.  True, I ended up starting Rex Grossman this week (over Tim Tebow, which was a mistake) but it was enough to win by 14 points.  Matt Forte and the Pats D were the two biggest factors in my victory. 

Going into Tuesday night I was up 17 and my opponent (Clarkster's brother) had the Eagles D.  I was a bit worried because I figured that the Eagles would win and that the Vikings would have a hard time doing anything (see last week vs. the Bears.)  However, my fears were unfounded as Joe Webb and the Vikings D came up huge.  Not only did they help me out to bring a fantasy football championship home, their victory also allows the Bears a guaranteed first round bye in the playoffs.  Talk about your 1-2 punch of bliss!  It was a good night! 

That's about it.  My break from work is going quite well.  I'm working out every day and getting things done.  Yesterday, Mrs. B. and I brought our cats to the vet for their shots- how exciting!  As you can tell, things are going well...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

2010 Favorites

I should've thought through this post more deeply, but here are random off the top of my head favorites from the ♪♫Year 2000... and 10. 

Favorite Album of 2010 - Call me bias, but I really love the new Crowded House album "Intriguer."  It's got a different feel from their previous albums, but as a whole it works well.  I'm sure it helps that I saw them live in August and they completely rocked the house.  I highly recommend "Intriguer."  Other great albums- Brandon Flowers "Flamingo," Gorillaz "Plastic Beach," and... screw it- music isn't good these days anyway- Tony Bataska "This Time Around."  Hell yeah it's a favorite- I made it didn't I?!?

Favorite Movie of 2010 - This was a terrible year for movies.  I'm praying that "True Grit" is actually the real answer to this category, but I haven't seen it yet.  Now, I admit I've been watching far less silver screen than in years past, so I'm not sure which way to go.  I think the most entertaining movie I saw this year was "Inception" so we'll go in that direction.  It was the only movie that really deserves a favorite movie of the year consideration, but here are few more that entertained me: "Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows: Part 1," "The Other Guys," "Predators" (entertaining in a dumb fun kind of way.)

Favorite Baseball Moment of 2010 - This one's easy.  I attended NLCS Game 3 and watched Matt Cain destroy the Phillies line up to come out with a 3-0 win.  Sure, the Giants winning is cool and all, but realistically they are not my team so I can't be that excited about it.  My personal enjoyment of being at the park during the playoffs trumps all. 

Favorite Football Moment of 2010 - This moment just happened three days ago on Monday night.  Who would've thought the Bears would clinch the NFC North this year, let alone be the first team to clinch their division.  Not me, not you, and not anyone at ESPN.  In fact, people still doubt the Bears as serious contenders and I could care less.  They are in the playoffs and their defense is savage (besides that time they were surgically carved apart by Tom Brady, but ya know...)  This season has been quite exciting.  The runner up moment is my appearance in the Fantasy Football Championship game this coming week.  We'll see how that goes. 

Favorite Contest That I Won of 2010 - I'm not sure I've ever won a contest before (besides the time in 3rd Grade I was selected as the Napoleon "Snow Prince" only to have my family go on vacation that weekend to Chicago so I couldn't be in the damn parade- it still haunts me to this day!)  Winning the 2010 "Be The High Roller" contest through the Peppermill in Reno was an experience I'll never forget.  Not only that, but there are videos documenting the whole things at bethehighroller.com so I definitely can't forget it. 

Favorite Surgery of 2010 - I only had one and it involved my kidney, bladder, and pee hole.  It was NOT fun.  But since it was a big deal, it gets a mention.  I hope it fixed what it needed to fix- I DO NOT want to go through that again!

Overall, it was a pretty sweet year.  I can't wait to see what 2011 brings, but thanks for reading and I'll see you next year.  (I may or may not post next week- we'll have to see how it goes...)  Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tron: Legacy Review

Ever filled out a fraud report for your credit card?  Well, I just did and it makes me feel like Jodie Foster in "The Accused."  Ok, that's WAY too strong of a comparison, but I do feel very invaded personally.  Apparently, some jerkweed used my credit card number to get a cash advance from a B of A in Southern California.  Considering, I don't bank at B of A, never go to their ATMs or bank locations, and haven't been to Southern California in a few years, it felt none too great that this happened.  Luckily, my credit card company was understanding and gave me a credit and had me fill out the aforementioned fraud report.  I also put a fraud alert on my Social Security number just to be sure.  If I ever catch this thief, I will have my vengeance. In this life or the next!!!

Enough of that.  Let's talk about "Tron: Legacy."  Why?  Well, because I had some tacos and beer from the local restaurant "Tacos & Beer" and then went to see the new "Tron" movie.  I'll keep the spoilers to a minimum- hopefully.

Right off the bat, the absolute best part of the movie is the soundtrack.  Daft Punk created a highly retro but thumping soundtrack that really pits you in the 1982 mind frame.  I don't even typically listen to that kind of music, but I will be acquiring the "Tron: Legacy" soundtrack.  It is quite good.

The second thing on the list of good things about this movie is the immersive environment of "The Grid."  This is where all the famous disc throwing and light bike racing occurs.  The special effects are well done and, to be honest, the color coding of good guys and bad guys made it easy to tell who was who.

The third thing that I enjoyed where the women in the movie.  Excellent job with the casting!  I remember the blond girl from being Vince's lame hippie girlfriend on "Entourage" but she is much hotter in this movie.  I suppose a skin tight suit and no wheat-grass shots helped out quite a bit.  I don't think I've ever seen the dark haired actress that played Quorra, but she was quite hot as well.  Between the ladies and the special effects, this was an easy movie to look at.

Jeff Bridges and Garrett Hedlund both did a strong job with the material they were given.  Of course, we're talking about a sequel to a 1982 cult Sci-Fi classic that is now supposed to be a big blockbuster.  This type of movie could get ridiculous in a hurry, but it was fairly well grounded.  It also helped that about 90% of the movie takes place at "The Grid" unlike the original that takes FOREVER to get to the cool computer game parts.  The movie is a bit cheesy, but if one is looking for Sci-Fi entertainment, this is not a bad way to go.

Some of the bad things I won't mention because they are pretty deep into the movie and I don't want to give anything away.  Let's just say there is an unjustified change of heart by one of the characters that makes no sense near the end of the movie.  It doesn't kill anything for me, but I definitely thought, "That's odd..."

They also build up what they define at the beginning of the movie as "The Miracle" and talk about how it will change politics, religion and the very fabric of humanity.  Pretty bold statements for something that will never even be close to being explained during the movie.  My problem is that they mention it multiple times, almost beating the audience over the head with this idea, and the movie makes never had any intention of answer or even hinting at how this was possible.  I know the script writers also wrote for LOST, but damn guys- so many questions with no answers doesn't work as well in this type of a movie.

Overall, I would say I was entertained.  My BIGGEST gripe is not with the movie, but with the movie industry.  I saw the movie in 3D.  I paid the extra surcharge for the glasses and was it really worth it?  Not at all.  2D would've been fine.  By the way, thank you for encouraging me to "Be Green and Return My Glasses After The Movie."  SCREW YOU.  I will not.  And do you know why?  If you really wanted us to "Be Green," there would be a way for us to buy our own 3D glasses, bring them to the theater and avoid the surcharge.  Since you FORCE the audience to buy the glasses every time, I will not be recycling my glasses.  Once you stop this money making scheme, I will be more than happy to bring my own glasses and enjoy a "Being Green" discount.  Jerks.

TRON: LEGACY final grade: B+ (Entertaining, great special effects, decent story- unnecessary 3D.)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Fantasy Football Playoffs: Update

Well, well, well...

In the land of the blind, the man with one eye is king- and in the land of Fantasy Football- apparently the Bears Defense can lead you to a date in the championship!

I won my match-up with what could be the most stacked Fantasy Team of all time by the score of 76-72.  I was down by 23 points going into Monday Night.  My opponent had AP and I had Forte and the Bears D going.  Obviously, I was helped massively by the fact that AP was ruled out late and there was really nothing he could do about that.  What he could've done, though, was play Vincent Jackson over T.O.  That would've gotten a "W" in our match up.  Fortunately for me, that was not how it shook out and even 40 of the "Dog Murderer's" points could overcome the stout Bears' D.

I figured that Matt Forte would have to have a huge game for me to win.  While Forte was ok with 9 Fantasy Points, it was the Bears D with 18 points (5 turnovers, 4 sacks) that really got it done for me.  Not only did they help me, but they helped the world by hopefully ending Favre's career.  I'm not even really trying to be that much of a jerk about the Favre thing- it's better that he retire now before this guy gets killed on a football field.  I listened to his press conference yesterday and he was very concussed.  Sure he said some smart things, but there were a few questions he stumbled through like he was a Finnish immigrant that barely speaks English.  He needs to retire so that he doesn't die on the field.  Think about how awful Corey Wootton would have felt if he killed a guy last night.

So I'm now matched up in the finals with a team that goes like this:

QB Rivers
RB Moreno
RB Hillis
RB/WR Garcon
WR Bowe
WR Santana Moss
TE Boss
DEF Browns
K Hartley

He has a few good bench players like Donald Driver, Johnny Knox, Big Ben, Toby Gerhart, etc.  So we'll see how this shakes out.  But here are my main decisions going into the championship:

QB Kerry Collins, Sexy Rexy or Non-Sexy Carson Palmer?

RB I'm more than likely sticking with Turner and Forte, but LT at flex?  Ugh.  Who are some sleepers I should pick up?  I already have some waiver claims that should go through tomorrow, but I can't give those away just yet because ya never know who reads the ol' blog.

WR Colston and Hines Ward- sound ok?  Thoughts?

TE Screw you Dustin Keller.  I will find someone else.

DEF Patriots at Buffalo or Bears at home vs. the Jets???

K Vinatieri over Mason Crosby.  I think that's happening.

How on Earth did I make it to the championship game with this team?  I have no idea- and I don't care!  I'm enjoying this one.  I'm also enjoying the Bears Division Championship!  Sorry Packers- you better beat the Giants next week or you're in big trouble...

Football is fun!

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Case of the Mondays

Let's stick to a mostly NFL Football recap today.

First, if you read Friday's post, you know that I was going up against Michael "The Dogkiller" Vick in Fantasy Football this weekend in the semi-finals of my ESPN league.  In fact, I would argue that I'm actually going up against the greatest fantasy football team ever assembled- but I digress.

The NY Giants defense was a collection of heroes during the first half of this game.  They held Vick to ZERO POINTS.  However, the dam caved in during the second half in what could only be described as a lack luster effort both the Giants offense and defense.  How are you going to blow a 21 point halftime lead AT HOME?!?  It makes no sense!  Justin Tuck can bow all he wants after sacks in the first half- he still needs to finish the damn game, which he did not.  That's right Giants D- you allowed 40 fantasy points for Vick in the second half of the game.  This is not helpful in my quest to win a fantasy championship. 

I'm now down 23 points going into tonight.  My opponent has Adrian Peterson.  I have Forte and the Bears D.  I'm thinking the scenario I need is 21-0 Bears win, and Forte has 2 touchdowns.  I'm not sure how likely that is based on Forte being horrible and Chester Taylor stealing all of his goal line touches (not to mention the field being a virtual ice skating rink) but we'll see if it's possible.  I wish I would've sacked up and started Rex Grossman- he was on my bench in favor of Kerry Collins. 

Jets vs. Steelers - I watched this entire game.  I actually went to the gym during halftime and spent an hour doing cardio in front of the screen.  Is it too much to ask for that LT score a TD?  How about Dustin Keller?  Hines Ward?  No?  None of them?  I could've cared less who won this game, but the guys I was cheering for were awful.  I know this because I almost lost control of my elliptical machine when LT gained 6 yards on a run.  6 YARDS!  I know- it was amazing he got all those yards at one time.  This future hall of famer is just a shell of himself at this point.  Between him and Matt Forte, I have two RBs that get the most 1 and 2 yard gains in the league.  So ugly. 

Anyway, the game was awfully exciting and the Jets ended up prevailing.  Many would say "Hey!  It looks like the Jets are back on track!"  I say, if Troy Polamalu played, the Jets would have lost by 10 or more.  The Bears/Jets game will be interesting next week because these two teams will provide good measuring sticks for each other.  Not to mention the battle between LT and Forte on the ground- how exciting!

Raiders vs. Broncos - Didn't see it.  It was blacked out in Northern California.  Thank you Raiders fans- otherwise I would have been stuck watching this game instead of the Jets/Steelers.  It would've been interesting to see Tebow in his first start, but let's keep it real.  The guy is not an NFL QB.  Even his TD pass to Brandon Lloyd looked amateur at best.  He just floated it up there "Three Flies Up" style and Lloyd grabbed it. 

Rams vs. Chiefs - I saw a decent amount of this game.  The only real point I have to make is how BAD the NFC West is.  If the Niners get in the playoffs at 7-9, it may rip open the fabric of time and allow Cthulhu from South Park to begin wreaking havoc on the world.  It would be hilarious to see a 9-7 Bucs team that absolutely dominated the Niners in SF miss the playoffs, while the Niners got in.  It all comes down to next week at the Rams place.  If the Niners win, they have a great shot at ending the world.  At least they will be rewarded by a curb-stomping in their own building by the Saints. 

Tonight's game - The NFL is so dumb for allowing this game to be played outdoors in Minnesota without proper heating under the field.  If they are so worried about the players' health and concussions, then they should realize this is an awful idea.  That being said, this is must watch television.  I have no idea what is going to happen.  Do the Bears dominate the dysfunctional Vikings and their rookie QB, Joe Webb?  Does the weather even the playing field and allow the Vikings to sneak out with an upset?  Does the game end 0-0 with both teams frozen on the field like ice sculptures?  I have no idea.  What I do know is that taking the under is a good idea and that people like watching football in snow.  I also know that the Bears clinch the division if they win tonight, leaving the Packers to fight for a Wild Card spot.  Suck it media "experts!"  Go Bears!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Fantasy Football Playoffs

This blog was almost too little too late.  Almost.  What could have been a tragedy is now a tale of hope.  Ok, enough with the suspense, here's the deal:

My fantasy football team (The Peppermill High Rollers- yes, I am that cool) is in it's second round of playoffs.  With only 4 teams left in the league, I'm trying to grind out a win.  My team is not actually that great, but they've performed when they needed to and have gotten this far.  Last week, I won 107-106 to get to this next round of playoffs.  This week I run into my buddy Mike's team (The Boston Teabags)- it is the most stacked team in the history of 12 team fantasy football (screw that- it's the most stacked team ever.)  The bright side is that I would have beaten him last week if we had gone head to head, so all is not lost.

Before I get into the match up, there is one crucial thing worth mentioning.  Mike has Vincent Jackson on his team.  Yes, THE Vincent Jackson.  Ya know, the guy who scored 31 fantasy points last night.  More specifically, Mike has Vincent Jackson on the B-E-N-C-H.  Thank the fantasy football gods!  That would have been a disaster.  Much like the time I lost a week of fantasy baseball when on Monday my opponent had Randy Johnson who threw a perfect game- week over.

So let's talk about the match-up.  Here's who I have currently starting:

QB McNabb
RB Turner
RB Forte
WR Colston
WR Hines Ward
RB/WR Blair White
TE Bo Scaife
DEF Bears
K Vinatieri

On my bench I have:

QBs - Palmer and Kerry Collins
RBs - Tomlinson, McGahee, Beanie Wells
WR - Earl Bennet
TE - Dustin Keller
DEF - Patriots
K - Mason Crosby

I typically start LT over Blair White, but this week LT is going against the Steeler defense.  Feel free to let me know if there are some other match ups I should take advantage of.

Alright, brace yourselves- here is Mike's team:

QB Vick
RB McCoy
RB MJD
RB/WR AP
WR T.O.
WR Andre Johnson
TE Owen Daniels
DEF Bucs
K Phil Dawson

Yeah, I know.  And this is with Vincent Jackson and Santonio Holmes on the bench.  His moves were smart, but I think his trade for MJD probably should've been vetoed (Tamme and Heyward-Bay for MJD?  C'mon now- what idiot agreed to that?!) (He got AP by trading Drew Brees straight up and he had picked up Vick of waivers- that was all fair.) 

Anyway, my team is going to grind it out until the end.  They have been a resilient bunch, so don't count them out!  Should be a fun weekend of fantasy football!

UPDATE: Apparently Sexy Rexy is starting in place of McNabb- now what do I do?!?!  I'm thinking Kerry Collins- thoughts? 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thank You Notes


















  
Jimmy Fallon's idea made worse on this blog- wanna fight about it?  

Dear Yankees,

Thank you for entertaining the idea of taking Carlos Zambrano off the Cubs' hands.  I mean, there still is that pesky no trade clause to deal with, but unloading Big Z's contract might free up the Cubs to change the roster around.  I'm unsure if this would help either team, but it certainly would be interesting, so rock on Brian Cashman and Jim Hendry- get it done!

Watching with anticipation,
Tony B.

----------

Dear Minnesota Vikings,

Thank you for building your stadium out of what appears to be some metal beams, a parachute and duct tape.  Assuming the Monday Night Game even happens, I'd like to thank you in advance for quitting on each other like you have most of the season.  It will really help the Bears out (and Bears- you guys better be hungry after getting embarrassed last week!)

Probably time to bet the under again,
Tony B.

----------

Dear NFL,

Thank you for putting out the worst clothing line I've ever seen.  Who would wear this?
























I mean seriously???  Unless you were in dire need of sidewalk camouflage, there's no way anyone would buy this horrid looking article of "clothing."

I know you can do better,
Tony B.

-----------

Dear Fast Five,

Thank you for being released.  How can you possibly beat a movie with the combined power of Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Tyrese Gibson, AND the Rock!?  The answer?  You can't!  I didn't even see the 4th movie in this series, but how am I going to miss the highest form of unintentional comedy since Jean Claude Van Damme's finest works?  You all have outdone yourselves this time.  Go see this movie or Vin Diesel might eat your children- he's been known to do that.  Did I also mention that Ludacris is in the movie as well?

Furious,
Tony B.

----------

Dear Minty The Candy Cane That Fell On The Ground,

Thank you for bringing cheer and happiness to the Christmas Season.  Watch this and try to get the song out of your head.  It will burrow like a mischievous badger and never leave your consciousness.



See?

Merry Christmas!
Tony B.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Dexter: Season Five

FULL SPOILER REVIEW - Don't read this if you haven't watched! 





















Season 5 of Dexter was quite the roller coaster ride- and I mean that literally.  It initially started slow with anticipation, and we as the audience were unsure where it would take us.  Somewhere around Episode 5 or 6 the ride begin to quicken with tension creating a highly enjoyable plot line.  And yet, at the end, the very last episode of the season was more of a long exhale rather than keeping us on the edge of our seats.  The roller coaster ride was over and all of the characters in the show were just fine.

Let's look back first at some of the weaknesses before getting to the strengths:

- Dexter is emotionally challenged, but it really felt like he did not grieve over Rita at all.  The first few episodes started slow in order to allow the audience to grieve, yet I don't think Dexter actually did the same.  It was a difficult task since they decided to start Season 5 exactly where Season 4 left off, but I found myself thinking about how little time had passed since Rita's death by the end of Season 5.

- The Santa Muerte case was never actually finished!  Deb shot one of the brothers, but the other guy just disappeared.  I get that this case was setting up Deb to come to the realization that "some people deserve to die" but it was pretty much unnecessary if that was the only function.  I'm fairly certain watching the barrel girls rape DVDs would be enough to justify that train of thought.  I almost wonder if Dexter finds the other brother next season and does what Dexter does best.

- Quinn's investigation of Dexter was quite odd.  He had a feeling about Dexter being Kyle Butler over some black and white sketch that kindasorta looked like Dexter.  Then, once he starts to get real information, he's decided that he doesn't want to know what Dexter is up to because he doesn't want to betray Deb's trust.  Forget the fact that he was actually correct about Dexter being Kyle Butler and the fact Liddy was filtering factual information to Quinn.  There's no follow up to that sentence, the show just decided to forget it.  The only thing keeping Quinn from squealing on Dexter was his love for Deb.  Quinn played a dangerous game of bluffing by keeping his mouth shut once he was arrested for Liddy's murder, and while it did work out, this whole scenario did not seem to match up with Quinn's past as a cop who really looks out for himself.  I'm not saying characters can't change, but I am saying something about this whole character arc seemed pretty convenient and unauthentic.

- Lumen's reason for leaving.  Lame.  I'd probably prefer her to leave, but at least come up with a better excuse (or just have her disappear.) 

Ok, how about the strengths?  There were quite a few strong moments during Season 5.  In no way did I expect them to follow up Season 4 with as strong of a season, but somewhere in the middle I began to believe these two season were on equal footing.  Of course, the lack of a twist ending or great final reveal left Season 4 as the superior storyline, but Season 5 had some strong moments:

- Dexter and Boyd Fowler were brought into the ER after tranquilizing each other.  They lied for each other to the medics both knowing that they individually had something to hide.  Once they both were able to get up, they escaped from the hospital in dramatic fashion.  Of course, it didn't take Dexter long to track down Boyd and slice him up.  This event led to him meeting Lumen- the woman held captive in Boyd's house who witnessed Dexter murdering Boyd.  The season really picked up from this point forward.

- Episode 8, "Take It!" is one of my favorite episodes of the entire series.  In this episode, Dexter and Lumen are now fully partnered up as serial killers.  They go to Jordan Chase's seminar looking to kill Cole Harmon (Chase's bodyguard and also one of the members of the barrel girls rape troop.)  Great moments include Jordan Chase calling Dexter up on stage when Dexter was trying to sneak out and kill Cole, Dexter sneaking into Cole's room because he thinks Cole is killing a women- when in fact, Cole is having violent intercourse with said woman, and Dexter finally admitting to Lumen exactly who he is and what he does on a regular basis.  The pacing and twists of this episode is exactly what I and millions of others love about this show- this episode is "Tom Brady in the snow" great. 

- While I wasn't exactly a fan of Astor showing up out of nowhere, I did love when Dexter beat the holy hell out of her friend's stepdad.  Once he found out that the stepdad was abusing Astor's friend, Dexter cornered him in an alley and called out vital organs as he punched them to incapacitate the stepdad.  It was pretty classic Dexter and gave us a look into the violent side of Dexter without him murdering anyone.

- I actually enjoyed Dexter making incorrect assumptions about who was spying on him.  It's fully understandable that he would think Quinn was spying on him, but in fact it was Robocop (Peter Weller) keeping a creepy eye on Dex.  Their confrontation was pretty tense- especially when Dexter left Liddy's body in the fan (not to mention Quinn showing up at the crime scene and Dexter trying to keep the van quiet so Quinn would leave.) 

- While Lumen's excuse for leaving was pretty dumb, Dexter's reaction to the news was pitch perfect acting on Michael C. Hall's part.  He really is a great actor and does a great job only allowing emotions to bubble to the surface from time to time (as emotions are supposed to be foreign to Dexter.)

So where does the show go from here?  Deb pretty much has to catch Dexter next season.  I'm wondering if Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter's divorce will play into where the writers will go.  Would they be more likely to kill Deb off?  As I mentioned earlier, will Dexter tie up that Santa Muerte case with an investigation of his own?  Will Deb actually learn Spanish?  Will Quinn be an issue for Dexter, or does he drop all of his suspicions due to Deb?  Will Masuka finally be caught for being the sexual deviant he is?  Who the heck will be babysitting the kids while Dexter is out killing- that nanny is already suspicious!  So many questions!

In hindsight, here is how I would rank the 5 seasons of Dexter:

1) Season 4 - John Lithgow was amazing and this was the best season of the show.
2) Season 1 - How it all started.  The cat and mouse between Dexter and the Ice Truck Killer was phenomenal.
3) Season 5 - I fully enjoyed this season.  Johnny Lee Miller did a great job as Jordan Chase and it was interesting to watch Dexter go to the end of his rope to save someone.
4) Season 3 - Jimmy Smits was fantastic in this season and while "The Skinner" had a weird side plot line, this season was still very solid.
5) Season 2 - Lila just doesn't do it for me.  This season was still entertaining, but Lila was annoying and I now miss Sgt. Doakes.  That guy drops the F-bombs in the most appropriate of ways (ya know, forceful like Samuel L. Jackson.)

So there you go.  That's my review.  I love the show and am glad to hear that Showtime has renewed it for a Season 6.  It does make me wonder how long the show can continue without getting too crazy, but I'll leave that to the writers to worry about.  Until then, I can just be happy that a great show like this exists.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Video From 12/09/10

Here are some videos from our first full band show!  I know you're excited.  Even more exciting?  I won my first fantasy football playoff game 107-106!  On to the next round...

As You Wish:



Astronomy:



50 Stories:



Neon Sign:



Saturday Boy (2nd half of the song):



I thought it went quite well considering it was the first show. Feel free to let me know what you think of the videos or your likely poor opinion of Brett Favre.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Reno: The Santa Pub Crawl Edition

Wow.  What a freaking weekend!  It's going to be hard to recap this, but let's try to do it in a fun but succinct manner. 

The drive up to Reno was fairly easy.  My friend John drove with me sitting shotgun and Mrs. B. and his wife Katrina in the back.  He had to drive his 4 wheel drive truck due to the chance of snow that you can encounter while driving up to Reno in December.  As it happens, the weather was fantastic and posed no threat what-so-ever to our plans.  God smiled upon this side of the country, unlike the Midwest and East Coast- but we'll get to that. 

Hilarity struck 5 seconds after getting out of the car at the valet area of the Peppermill (c'mon- did you think we'd stay anywhere else?)  As per usual, we brought liquor and mixers to build our own bar in the room.  I had purchased four 2 liter bottles of soda (because it was 4 for $.99 each or 1-3 for $1.79 each.)  I threw the plastic bag with the bottles of soda in the back of the truck initially, so when I went to grab them out of the truck the bag was splitting.  They all fell out the bottom and one of the Sprite bottles hit the pavement and exploded turning into a projectile.  LUCKILY, it did not hit another car or person.  It stopped harmlessly in the middle of the sidewalk.  I was embarrassed a little, but once I realized that no one cared and nothing was damaged I thought it was a pretty awesome sight.  I believe there was a video on Tosh.0 once showing the power of a soda bottle explosion- it's nuts!

Anyway, we checked in using our new Gold cards (using the VIP line to the left of all the commoners who have to wait in the regular line- MWAHAHA!)  After getting set and having a few drinks, we went down for some phenomenal Chinese food at Chi.  Even better, we had Miriam as our server (she was our server from the High Roller trip) so it was nice to be recognized and carry over a tiny bit of celebrity into this trip.  Dinner was delicious, but it was on to some serious business- the Craps table. 

John and I posted up for a few hours at the Craps table.  We scraped to make our cash last but it was not happening.  I had brought up some cash, but I inevitably had to go to the ATM to grab more.  I'm not really going to describe this session because it was more or less a bloodbath.  Defeated, I offered to buy John a cigar and we were pretty much going to call it a night. 

We smoked the cigars and felt lucky that our rooms were comped because at least there was no cost there.  After finishing the smokes, we went back to find our wives.  Mrs. B. was at the Craps table.  It looked like she was doing ok.  John and I couldn't control the itch and pulled out even more money from the cash machine.  This was horribly irresponsible- however this was the point where the weekend turned right around. 

John and I grabbed empty spots on the opposite ends of the table and started to play.  I only bought in with $100 and I would not need to put any more down the rest of the night (or morning as it was about 2am at this point.)  The cocktail waitress was bringing drink after drink, the dice were hitting point after point. 

The tide officially turned when a group of people decided to bet the "Don't Pass, Don't Come Line" and cheer when a 7 would clear the board.  I know I've said this before, but if you are a person who would do that, you probably would also murder a kitten and you deserve to rot in hell.  You are like the NFL player that celebrates after you make a decent hit on a receiver that just gained 14 yards and a first down- all the while your team is down 24 points.  You probably cheered for the Nazis to win World War II.  DO NOT CHEER FOR 7'S AT A CRAPS TABLE YOU EVIL BASTARDS!

The guys at my side of the table were pretty cool dudes, and they turned to me and said, "Did they really just cheer when the 7 cleared the board?  Let's over celebrate when every point hits."  I fully supported this tactic, and it lead to one of them rolling for 40 freaking minutes in a row and the rest of the table going on a monster run.  I was howling like a wolf.  I was giving Ric Flair "WOOOOs!" all over the place.  At one point I asked one of the dealers if we could tarp the area around the Craps table and pop champagne like we just won the World Series (or in some cases, just clinched a Wild Card spot.)  He laughed because apparently that was not allowed. 

It was so hot that I was physically exhausted from celebrating by the end of the run.  At one point we were all jumping around like Happy Gilmore when he celebrated with his teenage caddy by throwing him around.  Besides the 40 minute roller, there were plenty of other good rolls at the table and I eventually was too tired to continue (plus, it felt like it was cooling down a bit by 5:30am.)  John and I celebrated with a Coffee Shop meal then stumbled back to our respective rooms.  For just that session, I turned $100 into $1335.  It's too bad about the initial loss, but we more than made up that and set us up nicely for the rest of the weekend. 

Let's skip through to the Santa Crawl.  We caught a cab the next night (Saturday night) and headed to the El Dorado to meet up with Morgan and her group of friends (Morgan was the host of the High Roller videos.)  I, of course, dressed up like Buddy the Elf and while I felt a little ridiculous walking through the Peppermill to get the cab, I fit right in once we arrived at the Santa Crawl location.  EVERYONE was dressed up to some degree.  Mrs. B. was impressed because she thought our costumes were awesome (which they were) but by no means were we the only ones dressed up in full Christmas gear.  I saw millions of Santas, thousands of Jesuses, and another 3 Buddy the Elfs (Elves?) 

Some of the Crawl was a blur, but involved a decent amount of walking, at some point we found a more open area with a bar selling cans of Bud Light with a shot of Jameson for $6 each.  That pretty much made me a happy little camper for the remainder of the night.  It was fun hanging out with Morgan and her husband Kevin along with the rest of their group of friends.  Overall, it was a very fun event. 

Around midnight, we found our way back to the Reno sign and took some pictures (as seen on Facebook) and found a cab back to the Peppermill.  John and I tried to recapture the magic from the night before (and actually from the afternoon session where we won another few hundred bucks) but it was not to be.  I lost around $300 during that session to bring down a bit.  As other expenses were cutting into my cash (food, cabs, drinks, I gave Mrs. B. some money to gamble with) I calculated that I was up around $300 for the trip by the end of the night.  I was going to let myself be up and be happy with that...

I was content... at least until my childhood friend, regular commenter, awesome blogger, and humanitarian G$ texted me around 9am.  The text in fact woke me up out of bed and it said, "Bet unders in the midwest and east coast today... bet them big."  I had asked him for advice on Saturday, but the last minute advice Sunday morning stoked a fire in me and I decided to go big or go home (well, I was going home either way after the 1pm games, but you know what I'm saying.) 

I looked at the games that would be affected by the AWFUL weather on the Eastern side of the country and would also involve teams that are offensively challenged.  I put $75 each on the unders of Browns/Bills, Redskins/Bucs, and Dolphins/Jets.  G$ had also mentioned that he liked the Jags over the Raiders by 3.5 so I put $75 on that (I do love betting against the Raiders.)  This added up to exactly $300.  The amount I was up.  I was either going home up or even. 

The Jags/Raiders game was awful for the first half.  It looked bleak until the Jags made some halftime adjustments and came back out ready to play.  In winning by 7, they covered (in dramatic fashion) and I was stoked.  The Browns/Bills game was never a problem, and the Redskins/Bucs game got a little dicey at the end, but realistically, I had that game at under 40.5 so even if the 'Skins had tied the game at 17-17 to send it to over time, another 6 would have made the total exactly 40, so I would've still won.  3-0 for the morning games, so all I needed was a massive slop-fest for the Dolphins/Jets game and that's exactly what I got.  My friend John played some parlays and actually followed my bets Sunday morning, so he in fact threw $20 on those four bets and won $240- winners all around!  Thanks G$- you can expect me to click through some ads on your site to repay you a few nickles for your advice.  In all seriousness, when are you starting your own phone line or betting site? 

So in the end, I won around $600, had our room comped, dressed up like an Elf and we drove home safely.  That's what I call another magical trip to Reno! 

Friday, December 10, 2010

G St Pub 12/9/10

What a great show last night!  I'm not sure what my expectations were for our first full band show, but they were exceeded.  I felt like we were fairly confident and tight as a band.  This is not to say there is no room for improvement- there always is- but this was a great first show.  Here was the set list:

AS YOU WISH
ASTRONOMY
50 STORIES
SHALLOW WATER BLACKOUT
SECOND RATE SONG
KIDS PLAYING GUNS IN THE STREET
WHAT'S THE PAST GOT IN STORE
SO FAR AWAY
NEON SIGN
SATURDAY BOY
THIS TIME AROUND

I'll tell you one thing, this show lightened my mood quite a bit.  Between having the flu last week and feeling less productive musically, this really gave me some tangible results.  I'm not even sure I've actually been less productive, I've just had less actual shows making me feel less productive.  This band has been in the works for months now and it was finally a relief to get it out to the public.

My next effort is going to have to be learning some Christmas songs for next Friday's show in Roseville (Boxing Donkey @ 9:30pm.)  Any suggestions?  Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmas Time?"  Michael C. Hall's version of "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town?"  "Jingle Bells" but the "Batman Smells" version?  Let your thoughts be known!

Lastly, today I'm going, going back, back to Reno, Reno.  It is my return to the Peppermill since the whole High Roller experience.  We are going to be hanging out at the Santa Crawl which is a Pub Crawl through downtown Reno tomorrow night.  I have a very special costume so I'm sure I'll post pictures.  If you thought my Guido/Situation costume was super-weak for Halloween, then you'll be pleasantly surprised by this gem.  The effort for Halloween was less this year because we knew we were going up to Reno for this fantastic event. 

Have a great weekend and here's to hoping we see plenty of Lovie Smith smiling this weekend!

Thursday, December 9, 2010


















Jimmy Fallon's idea made worse on this blog- wanna fight about it?  

Dear MLB Winter Meetings,

Thank you for occupying my thoughts for the last few days.  The coverage on the MLB Network makes it all too easy to waste a few hours at night watching unsubstantiated rumors while waiting for a big announcement.  I must say, this year's Winter Meetings did not disappoint as there was at least one blockbuster trade (Adrian Gonzales) and plenty of big name free agents getting signed.  I'm sad that it's over but at least that frees up part of my days!

You will be missed,
Tony B.

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Dear Michael C. Hall,

Thank you for your awesome rendition of "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town."  Check it out:



Well done! He has a surprisingly good voice and his delivery of the last line is on point.

See you Sunday,
Tony B.

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Dear Carlos Pena,

Thank you for signing with the Cubs for $10 million.  Now if only we can do something about that .196 batting average from last year.  It's odd, if I did less than 20% of my work successfully, I doubt I'd be getting a raise.  Gotta love the baseball free agent market! 

Let's go Cubbies,
Tony B.

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Dear LeBron James,

Thank you for comparing yourself to Brett Favre so that the rest of the world's comedians, media, and hack bloggers like myself don't have to.  Inferring that the people of Green Bay are over Favre's departure because they have Aaron Rodgers now seems like an interesting comparison to the people of Cleveland.  Unfortunately, you're missing a few facts- 1) the Cavs don't have their Aaron Rodgers.  2) A lot of people in Green Bay still hate Favre for leaving.  3) Favre was traded to the Jets originally, you left on your own and used "kids" as the excuse to stomach punch the city of Cleveland on the way out.  Like Chandler from "Friends" would say- "Can you BE any dumber?"  Nope. 

Sick of your face,
Tony B.

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Dear ESPN First Take,

Thank you for providing brain numbing programming.  I put it on every morning while I eat cereal and yet the show is never good.  Why do I keep torturing myself?  Is it because there is nothing else on?  Is it because I've already seen every episode of Saved By The Bell, so TBS isn't an option?  Is it because I have a decent amount of self-hate?  Who knows?  I do know that I'm aware of your shifty and horrible show and am getting fed up!

Regards,
Tony B.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Back to Alex Smith- Really?!?

Today is the 30th anniversary of John Lennon's murder.  A sad day indeed.  It's not only a date that marks the world's loss of a legendary musician, but it also means I'll be turning 30 in just over 6 months.  You see, John Lennon was killed 6 months and 21 days before I was born.

If you'd like to check out my Top Ten Beatles' Gems post, you can see it HERE.  I looked back on the list and it still stands up today. 

As another musical reminder (just a horrible and inappropriate segue- didn't I just mention the death of a legend?!) my band will be playing tomorrow night at the G St Pub in Davis.  We'll be playing from 10pm - 11pm so make sure you are on time and ready to have a few drinks.  We're playing most of the songs from my recent album so it will be well worth the FREE cover to come in and hang out.

228 G St, Davis, CA 95616 - DO IT!

And from the sports' world- the Niners are starting Alex Smith this week!  Seriously?!?  Alex Smith?!?  Coach Singletary decided that his Titanic version of the Niners couldn't sink fast enough, so he decided to go back to the guy who is 1-6 as a starter this year.  Troy Smith had been a much better option for the Niners and granted, the last two weeks were not good, but Troy Smith's 3-2 as a starter was much better than 1-6.

So why make the move?  Apparently, it is because "Alex Smith knows the entire playbook and Troy Smith doesn't."  Really?!?  So Troy Smith doesn't even know the entire playbook and he goes 3-2, while the guy with all the knowledge required to "do the job" goes 1-6 and he gets his job back?  One might think that this is all the more reason to leave Troy in there, but I honestly can't figure out Singletary's motivation.  Does he want to make sure he gets fired because he is in over his head?  Getting paid for two more years after getting fired at the end of this season would be a sweet deal for someone who has given everyone in the league a reason to question his head coaching ability.

And what if this actually works?  What if Alex Smith comes in and helps the Niners to 7-9 or God-forbid 8-8?  Would Jed York not stick to his guns and allow Singletary to return and bring Alex Smith with him?  What a crazy thought that would be!  Alex Smith getting another crack at it.  It doesn't just sound crazy, that thought is as crazy as the texts coming from Charles Manson's cell phone in prison (yes, he was found with a cell phone in his prison cell.)

First Alex needed continuity at offensive coordinator.  They gave that to him to start the season (although Jimmy Raye II was fired earlier this year.)  Then he needed weapons.  Enter Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree to go along with Frank Gore.  Davis and Crabtree have been horribly under-utilized this year and that credit goes to Alex Smith.  When do the Niners just cut their losses?

Hilariously, Shaun Hill would probably have this team at 6-6 (at least) right now, even though their defense is worse than expected.  I honestly think that Hill would be a massive improvement over Alex Smith- and this is coming from someone who truthfully wanted Alex Smith to succeed for the Niners.  I really did.  But that ship has sailed and sunk to the bottom of the ocean.

The Niners' fans might revolt if they bring back Singletary and/or Alex Smith next year.  The mutiny could cause low attendance and games to be blacked out locally.  Jed York should be on the phone with John Gruden every day offering him gold plated diapers to coach the Niners.  I guess we'll find out their direction soon, but until then there is nowhere to go but down.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Fantasy Football Tragedy

I've been screwed this year in Fantasy Football.  Surprise, surprise.  I'm beginning to think the Fantasy Gods have it out for me.  It's like I just got pinned by The Heartbreak Kid when I was supposed to win the match.  Here's what went down:

In my 10 team Yahoo league the pack was narrow.  There was an overachieving (lucky) team at 10-2, a savage team at 7-5 (most points in the league by 100), and a whole lot of 7-5 and 6-6 teams.  My team was 6-6 going into this week and I had higher points than most everyone else.  Then things started to get crazy. 

I was getting fed up with Matt Schaub playing like a jerkweed for a number of weeks and figured him verses the Eagles on a short week was a worse match up than Sam Bradford vs. the Cardinals.  OK, I made my bed on this one and I have to sleep in it.  I definitely lost some points on this transaction, but AP kept my team afloat. 

I was up 17 points going into Monday Night with Dustin Keller also active.  My opponent had one player left as well... Tom Frickin' Brady.  At this point you probably see what ultimately happened to my team for the week match up.  They were carved up like Dexter carves up his victims.  I lost by 18. 

The standings now are at 10-3 (this team is going to get smashed in the playoffs), 8-5 (should win the whole thing with Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings), three teams at 7-6, and one team at 6-7.  The three teams at 7-6 all have 100 less points than my team.  The one team at 6-7 who is tied with me record-wise has 74 points more than me.  BAM!  That leaves me out of the playoffs. 

It's sad because I really liked this team.  I had a HUGE pick up of Peyton Hillis early on that helped me quite a bit.  Megatron was huge for me.  Austin Collie's injury set me back and the main weakness was Schaub/Bradford at QB. 

Even if I had started Schaub this week, I would have lost.  It just would've been even more heart-breaking. 

In my other league, I finished 6th (of 12) and play the #3 team in our 8 team bracket.  Should I start Palmer vs. the Steelers or McNabb vs. the Bucs?  I'm currently going with the latter, but feel free to let me know your thoughts. 

I typically call Blackjack "the devil's game" but I'm beginning to think Fantasy Football might be the real devil's game.  I do have a feeling I'll be at least a little bit better next year because of all the Red Zone Channel I've watched this year.  Or maybe I'll get screwed again... who knows?

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Case of the Mondays

That's right, I'm back and feeling 100% better.  I thought this past Tuesday was going to be the end for me.  I'm sure most flu survivors have felt like that as well.  Maybe I should run a 5K for charity and donate the proceeds to the "The Fight To End The Flu" Foundation.   What's that?  This doesn't exist?  Well it should!  Not everyone gets Cancer or AIDS, but everyone has had the flu, right? 

Here is how I felt by Wednesday afternoon:














Don't take eating solid foods for granted!  A big thank you to VitaminWater for helping me survive. 

Friday: Quite a tame day for me as I still wasn't in tip top shape, but let's start by congratulating G$'s Miami (OH) Redhawks for their MAC Championship win!  Amazing that they were 1-whatever last year and turned it all around to win their conference championship this year.  That is quite the achievement.  If nothing else, it was a fantastic distraction for G$ away from his Washington Redskins- who are just terrible. 

Saturday: I was a productive little worker to sanitize our apartment.  Mrs. B. had gotten sick after me, so our apartment was in need of some disinfecting.  Cleaning up the kitchen area, vacuuming, changing all sheets and doing loads of laundry with all the clothes we wore during our battle with the flu.  I swear I got a full work day in with home chores. 

Afterward, Mrs. B. and I went over to our friends' house to hang out.  It was just John, Katrina, Mrs. B. and myself.  John and I played guitar and re-lived the 1990s via our music collections while Mrs. B. and Katrina sat in the sitting room to talk about the recent "Project Runway."  (Editor's note: I don't actually know what Katrina and Mrs. B. talked about- I just picked something that sounded plausible.) 

Sunday: Since John and Katrina have a spare bedroom, we crashed at their place.  In the morning, Katrina and Mrs. B. went out to shop and John and I watched Red Zone all day.  It was glorious.  Here are my thoughts:

- The Bears frustrate me.  Giving up a 2 play, 91 yard drive with less than a minute to go before halftime is unacceptable.  Don't try to compare yourselves to the 2006 or 1985 defenses.  Those defenses would not embarrass themselves like that.  I do think their defense is good, but you can see the letdowns in maddening ways.  At least they get the Patriots on a short week next week- should be a tough one. 

- The Chargers are frauds.  Starting slow every year will have to catch up with you at some point.  Apparently that point is right now.  A team cannot get pimp slapped by the Raiders twice and expect to compete for their division.  The Kansas City Nigerian Nightmares are in control of that division now.  Norv Turner and AJ Smith should be fired. 

- Quarterbacks should NOT know less than me.  This situation happened twice yesterday- once with Carson Palmer and once with John Kitna.  They both needed a regulation score (the Bengals were trailing the Saints, and the Cowboys were tied with the Colts.)  They both completed passes where the runner did not go out of bounds with under 20 seconds left.  They both had 1 timeout at their disposal.  They both tried to run up and spike the ball rather than call the timeout immediately.  They both wasted precious seconds doing so and neither were successful scoring. 

The Carson Palmer version of this was especially awful.  His team was down by 4 points- a field goal would do nothing.  He needed as many shots at the end zone as possible.  Had he called a timeout with 14 seconds left, they could've taken two shots at the end zone.  Instead, he tried to spike the ball and was left with 7 or 8 seconds.  Even worse, the Bengals were flagged for illegal formation because his team didn't get to the line forcing them to use the timeout he was trying to save!  On the next play, Palmer was sacked and the game ended in another loss for the Bengals. 

John and I were screaming at the TV for Palmer to take the timeout immediately as the play was happening.  So I pose the question- why do we know more about clock management than a QB in the NFL?  How is it possible?  Should we be paid to do this brainwork?  If so, can we be on the Washington Nationals pay scale?

- I once thought the Green Bay Packers had the worst uniforms in sports (don't give me the "it's a classic look" excuse- those things are ugly!)  Now I believe they have the 2 worst uniforms in sports.  Those uni-s yesterday looked like Lamar Odom's Kardashian.  Too bad the 49er defense also looked even worse.

- It looks as if Brett Favre is finally done.  This actually is probably a bad thing for the Bears in two weeks.  Am I crazy or are the Vikings scarier with Tavaris Jackson at QB?  They certainly put up 38 points yesterday after Favre was out of the game, so maybe there is something to that. 

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Last, The Walking Dead and Dexter deserve a mention for being fine entertainment.  The Walking Dead was a little weird yesterday, and that was not quite the satisfying conclusion to Season 1 that I was hoping for.  However, the overall entertainment value of the show is through the roof.  I can't believe they are going to make us wait until next October for a proper 13 episode season.  The world may run into it's own Zombie-pocalypse by then! 

Dexter continues to not disappoint.  True, this season took some time to set up.  It was the price they had to pay for starting the first episode exactly where they left off.  Dexter is lacking in emotions, but he at least needed some time to get over the tragic events of the Season 4 finale. 

But now that Season 5 is off and running, it has been fine entertainment.  I'm very interested to see how this all works out.  My predictions?  Well... Dexter is going to kill Jordan Chase for sure.  I'd be shocked if he doesn't.  Many people are posturing that Lumen will take the fall for all the killings and go to jail.  I think it is more likely that Deb figures it all out and lets Lumen go.  Finally, the babysitter will unmask herself as the last friend in Jordan Chase's rape gang!  Just kidding folks- I have no idea what will happen!  But this is as good a place as any to place my theory for a future season:

Dexter pretty much is brought in for murder.  Someone (probably Deb) finds out too much info and arrests him.  Defeated, Dexter assumes he'll spend the rest of his life in prison.  While in holding, Captain Matthews comes to talk with him and explains that before Harry died, Harry explained Dexter's dark ways to the Captain and made Matthews promise to look after Dexter.  Ever since, Captain Matthews has been either turning a blind eye to Dexter's ways or even helping him escape police detection.  Once again, Captain Matthews would help Dexter get out of trouble. 

Anyway, that's just a direction I think the show could take if they want to keep toeing the line of Dexter almost getting caught.  At some point, you need an explanation for Dexter getting out of trouble each and every time, right? 

Enough of my dumb Dexter theories.  It's just great to feel better and even better knowing the Bears will have a winning record this year! 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

No posts this week

I caught the stomach flu.  It virtually crippled me for a few days.  I've barely eaten anything so I've been surviving mostly on Vitamin Water.  I'm behind on my work and behind on my music "work."  Unfortunately, this blog is the victim of the stomach flu and won't have any content until Monday. 

Thanks for reading and go Cavs tonight!