Friday, March 31, 2006

The Day Daredevil Brad Died

Back in the day I used to be reckless. I used to be a daredevil. I'd jump across or down from anything. Fireworks were more fun when aimed at people. I covered a little bit of my daredevil ways in this post. One day in 1986 my daredevil life came to an end.

My Dad, my brother and I had moved back to Ohio. With no woods to explore or burn down, my brother and I had to get a little more creative. We had wrestling matches in our new big house. We tried playing cops and robbers in the neighborhood. That came to an end when my brother nearly got shot by a police officer. I had the basketball hoop outside, but there was no thrill, no danger in that. Unless you count the strong layups where you often face planted into the garage door. I needed to fill that thrill vacancy. So, I decided on skateboarding. I could ride it around the town, and get my thrills with jumps and tricks.

I convinced my Dad to buy me a skateboard. I didn't know any skaters, and therefore had no clue about what made a good skateboard. This meant we went to Toys R Us and bought a skateboard that I thought looked cool. There was another flaw in my decision making. Wheels and I don't go together. With the scoliosis and one leg shorter than the other, I have the balance of a toddler. So why did I think I could possibly learn to skateboard. I have no idea.

With my new skateboard fresh out of the box, I went to the back alley to pull off some tricks. I was one of those kids who ignored the idea "crawling before walking." My little brother was out back to watch me. I think he still looked up to me at that point. Anyway, I placed the board down and stepped on it to go zooming away. My great sense of balance kicked in and nearly fell. After a few more tries, I could stand on the board. Then I decided to go fast. Placing my foot firmly on the board, I pushed off hard. Off the board went at a zippy clip. I on the other hand was a few feet in the air above the board's point of launch. I put my left arm out to break my fall, and snap. I jumped to my feet, and looked down at my forearm of which half was jutting out at a 50 degree angle. Seeing the carnage, Ben immediately began crying. I don't know why but I immediately snapped it back into place. It would turn out I did a really good job of snapping it back. If I hadn't, I would've needed the whole screw and plate ordeal. The one drawback was that my Dad didn't think it was broken. I should've pointed to Ben and said I don't think he'd be crying like that over a sprain. Anyway, It turned out I had completely broken the ulna and there was only a sliver connecting the radius. I felt bad for my Dad as my step-father showed us the X-ray. But how could he have known. With it snapped back it didn't look broken at all.

Call it luck or providence, but I had never broken a bone in my previous 16 years of living. I had bruises, scrapes, burns, and other ailments from living the life of a daredevil, but nothing as serious as a broken bone. After the arm healed, I tried going back to the daredevil life. It didn't take too well. Then after the back surgery I was pretty much done. Now I'm scared to death of heights. I'm struck with paranoia anytime my nieces or nephews go down stairs or near railings. I'm a wimp now, and all because I broke my arm.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

It's Now an Epidemic!

Thanks to an entertaining email conversation between me and my siblings another family member has joined the blogging community. Ben K has started a blog. Sure that's big news and reason to go check it out. The breaking into the middle of American Idol news though is that Bulie will be posting as well. Bulie is "a spirited 20-week old fetus with a penchant for swimming and an overly active exercise life." I'm going to take the credit for recommending that Bulie start blogging. As to what I'm hoping we will read from Bulie, I leave you with what I suggested in the email:

"I want the day to day life of Bulie in the womb. 'Mom, this kick is for eating Indian food last night.' 'I'm floating! I'm floating! This is just like 2001.' 'Coldplay...again?' 'Geez it's getting cramped in here.' That's just a sampling of what I'd like to read. Or podcasts from Bulie would be cool too. Just a few ideas I'm tossing out there. "


I apologize for the small gap between posts. I got a new cell phone and I have been distracted with creating ring tones out of my MP3's. It's a very daunting task trying to decide what song fits each person in my contacts. I'm currently debating between "Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang" and "Copacabana" for MOL Jr. Thanks to the freeware Audacity the actual editing has been pretty easy.

I have also been distracted by the constant barrage of close games that have taken place during March Madness. Of course George Mason sank any chance I had of winning the office pool. I was so close. I just needed UConn to win out. That's all I needed! Alas it was not to be. I was torn between rooting for the underdog and rooting for some extra spending money. Anyway, every time I sat down to write I'd hear the announcers scream about something, and of course I'd grab my Tivo remote to see what happened. Then I'd get sucked into the game and end up watching it till the end. That's excuse No. 2.

Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector made a little over $7 mil on its opening weekend. Why and How? Come on people, you must know better. Of course this is coming from the guy who is going to pay money to see Slither. Maybe I should just shut up. I am also really looking forward to Brick which opens in LA and NY this weekend. That should be able to balance out Slither.

Another big weekend is coming up. I have another fantasy baseball draft, but there is something bigger happening this weekend. Wrestlemania! It's the only time I click the "buy now" button on my remote. Usually, it's not worth it even though it is the Super Bowl of wrestling. I will say I'm looking forward to the "Money in the Bank" ladder match. Watching the elderly Findlay and Ric Flair have to climb ladders could be highly entertaining or very frightening.

I've been playing Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence for the PS2 off and on. I've always been reluctant to pick it up because I'm not a big fan of the stealth games. But with it getting a crap load of great reviews I decided to pick it up used. I'm pretty impressed. There are still times that I just want to stop crawling in the weeds and shoot everything. The story and its characters are weird enough to keep me involved. I really didn't mind spending nearly an hour and a half trying to snipe one of the bosses. Especially since you are able to snipe the guy's parrot if you can find it.

One thing I still marvel at is how more open I am to other foods. Up until grad school I wouldn't think of eating Indian food. Now I can't get enough. I credit both my job and my selection in women. Being as accommodating as I am, I could never say "no" to where they wanted to eat. It kind of forced me into trying new things. Better than looking like a schmuck. I still may not like sushi, but I've tried it.

How long does balsamic vinegar dressing keep? I just realized I have two unopened bottles sitting on the shelf. They've been there almost a year and a half. That's probably not good.

I should probably take down my little Christmas tree too.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Shield Season Finale

Spoilers! Spoilers! Spoilers! Spoilers! I waited a day to do a post on season finale of The Shield for a couple reasons. First, I wanted to at least give people 24 hours to see it. Second, I needed to watch it for the third time. You see FX always re-airs the episode right after the original airing. Most fans tend to watch the episode again right after. Well, at least Bob and I do. After watching the season finale, I was frustrated all day because I couldn't talk with anyone about it. I had to discuss the genius of that episode and the season as a whole. Eventually, I had the time to call Bob after work. I knew he wouldn't let me down. I often go overboard in proclaiming the greatness of those things I love. Yes, I'm still buzzing on the season finale, but I don't think I'm going overboard.

The Sopranos? Lost? ER? NYPD Blue? 24? Six Feet Under? The Shield is better. The Shield is probably the best drama on TV since Homicide in my opinion. I will admit that Homicide is better. Those first four seasons of Homicide is some of the best television you will ever see. But this post is about the Shield.

Last night finale showed why this show is so good. Everything from the past couple seasons has built up to this point. You see the characters in this Shakespearian tragedy work with and against each other to cause the death of the one true good guy, Curtis "Lemonhead" Lemansky. Was he innocent? No, but he realized his mistakes and was willing to step forward and answer for them. Unfortunately, he never got the chance to clean his conscience. The "good" guys lied, schemed, and made deals with the devil to catch the "bad" guys, the Strike Team. The Strike Team, Lem's family, ended up sacrificing him because not only were they unwilling to answer for what they did, but they didn't trust Lem. How could they not trust Lem? Lem had given up everything to protect them. He was going to jail so they wouldn't have to. He was going to answer for everything he did, but never rat on his family. The problem was that they didn't trust themselves. This fault was most evident in Lem's best friend Shane. Shane, who was once tempted to kill Vic to save his own life. He knew what he would do in Lem's place. He would break. But is that why Shane killed his best friend? Because, he couldn't understand why Lem wouldn't run when the Strike Team had the whole plan worked out? Not in Shane's mind. Shane didn't kill out of hate. Shane saw killing his best friend as mercy and sacrifice. Watching this scene play out you actually see a near mirror "Of Mice and Men." Heck, the previous episode was titled "Of Mice and Lem." Lem was going to die in jail anyway with IAD making a deal to send Lem to the same prison as Antwon Mitchell. Antwon would've killed Lem. Only way out for Lem was to give up the Strike Team. Lem was blind in his pursuit of confession. He thought he could pay his own price, but they were all connected. But did Shane have to take the coward's way out when he killed his best friend? No quick and easy bullet to the head. Shane had to use a hand grenade and run. He couldn't even give his best friend a quick death.

The episode ends with the court culprits standing around the aftermath of their lies and schemes. They all had a hand one way or another in Lem's death. Lem, who worked in Juvie when the Team broke up at the end of season three. Lem, who was always first through the door with the battering ram. Lem, who saved Kavanaugh's life even though his death would've kept him out of jail. Now Lem's dead. It's the first major casualty for the wrongs they committed. Next season is the final season. Next season, everyone pays.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Must Resist...Must Wait...Must Hold Out!

The flood gates have opened and the rumours and news have come pouring in about the upcoming Playstation 3. From the 60 gig HD to the Xbox live like network to a differt controller (thank goodness) all of it has tempted me to throw myself into the same turmoil I experienced when the Xbox 360 came out. Again the Playstation is scheduled for "early" November with a world wide launch. Will I have learned my lesson on the Xbox 360 and wait? Right now the answer seems to be "No."

Maybe I Should Cut Back on the Video Games

I had another one of those crazy dreams last night. Yes, it involved video games. Now it wasn't me trying to escape some blue ghosts while I gobbled yellow pills. I wasn't avoiding barrels while I climbed scaffolding. I also wasn't blasting the Covenant with double SMG's. In fact it really wasn't based on any game at all. Well, maybe Resident Evil, but not really. The only similarity between my dream and RE is that it had zombies in it.

It began with me and a girl (I assume she was my girlfriend. It's my dream.) in the bottom floor of this mall with a pistol in hand. I didn't know why until a zombified security guard stepped out of the shadows of the decrepit mall. After dropping him with a bullet to the head, more and more zombies started creeping out of darkness. I quickly ran out of bullets and dragged my lady past the shoe section. I don't know why I distinctly remember the shoe section. Anyway, I hid my girlfriend. The rest of the dream consisted of me scouring the mall for weapons in an attempt to stay alive. That's what was made it so much like a video game. I would be running through the mall and stumble across a gun and ammo just sitting in the underwear section. There was a revolver, a shotgun, and a machine gun. I should also mention I must have been playing at the highest difficulty level because the number of bullets I would get was very small. The last weapon I found before I woke up was the grenade launcher. Of course the shells for it were on the other side of the mall. A nice touch that I seemed to add to these grenades was that they were on timers. On the back of each shell was a dial to the timer. It resembled one of those cooking timers. So, you'd set the timer and then shoot it into a wall that the zombies were congregating and run before it sent the whole floor crashing on you as well. Before I woke up, things got pretty hairy. I think I got rid of them all.

My point of this dream? I don't know. It means probably one of two things. Either I play too many video games, or I should've gone into developing video games because I can do it in my sleep.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Early Favorite for Classic Song of 2006

It's only March, and I think I can safely say we already have a champ for Classic Song of 2006. Actually, I might not have the song, but I at least have the band: The Grass Roots. I'm really leaning towards "Temptation Eyes" which kick started the trip down memory lane when the DJ played it at the Twilight Singers show. I'm pretty sure they have the same DJ at all thier LA shows. At least it seems like it because at every show I end up hearing an "I Completely Forgot About That" song. I always leave with at least one song or artist scribbled on a napkin or something for me to download when I get home.

Anyway, I don't see "Temptation Eyes" being over thrown at any point this year. Though there is another Twilight Singers show coming up in the Summer. There are five Grass Roots songs in the player on the right.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Ramblings (TV Edition)

Remember the days when you couldn't wait till September or October because that was when the new show would debut? You would get all excited seeing ads for new shows and teasers of the new season of your favorite show. It hasn't been that way for awhile. Sure, I was anticipating Lost, but that's about it. I guess due to my contract I have to put CSI: Miami in there. But that's really about it. The Shield and 24 don't start till January. Rescue Me is a summer show. This got me thinking. Why can't the new TV season start in January? Clearly the old belief that nobody watches TV during the summer is incorrect. What else comes out during January and February? Nothing. It's a dumping ground for movies. Maybe one or two decent albums are released. TV should take full advantage of this and start shows mid January. I realize with the industry there would be a big hubbub raised about not getting their summers off. My answer is that they can still have the same shooting schedule just don't air them till January. This way we don't have to have extended runs of repeats. Most of the shows will be in the can, and they just have to shuffle them out. 24 should be the production model for TV shows. They start production early and air their shows back to back. No reruns! I realize this wouldn't be possible for all shows. I'm just getting tired of having one new episode a month for shows like Lost. Maybe the best would be to break the year into two seasons?

Anyway, let's catch up with what I'm watching and what you should be watching. For all you Tivo people who wait months till watching the episodes there will be spoilers for the following shows: The Shield, 24, Lost, etc.

The Shield: The season finale is this Tuesday. Usually in a Shield season the second to last episode is the climax in the arc and the last episode deals with the aftermath. It's different this time around. I have no idea what's going to happen. Someone is going to die...I think. Everything is up in the air. Are Kavanaugh and Acevedo finally going to get the Strike Team behind bars? What is Antwon Mitchell up to? Who's the father of Danny's kid? How is the new recruit, Tina, going to screw up and get someone killed? My biggest question is: What's going to happen to Lemonhead? Is he going to die? Is he going to finally rat on the team? Is he going to make it to Mexico? It all leads to at least him not coming back next season. It's a shame because I loved Lemonhead's tortured conscience and his ulcer. Man I love this show.

24: 24 has become TV's Florida Marlins? They've nixed nearly every veteran of the show. President Palmer, Tony and Michelle, and Edgar are all dead. They even killed Rudy! Only Jack and Miss Potato Face are left. Poor Edgar Stiles. His death scene may be one of my favorites in awhile. No screaming and hollering. He just had that "Oh crap!" look on his face, and then he tumbled over. The thing is we are only halfway through the season. What the hell else can happen? Is Jack going to die? I keep thinking they are cleaning house, so they can start over. Maybe they'll make Chloe the next star of 24? Maybe not.

Lost: If they actually aired back to back new episodes maybe I might start caring. I will give them props for at least giving me a little something to think on with Australian chick finding out what happened to her during her abduction.

Sopranos: Wow! What a dump they took with the second episode. To start off with a death/dream sequence and then scrap it halfway through the episode? I imagine the conversation went like this:

Chase: Hey. How far along are you with the episode?
Writer: Um, I'm about 25 pages in. Why?
Chase: It seems we already did a crappy dream episode last season.
Writer: What?
Chase: It's been two years. I can't remember everything.
Writer: What am I supposed to do?
Chase: Just end the dream sequence now and have the family standing around crying and stuff for the rest of the episode. At least the actors can work on their crying.
Writer: Ok.
Chase: Oh! Oh! Oh! Throw in a terrorist subplot!
Writer: But we haven't set-up anything about terrorists.
Chase: Just introduce some new characters out of the blue. Think of the residuals you'll get when they show up the rest of the season.
Writer: Yeah! Hey. With all the crying do you think we can submit this to the Emmys?
Chase: I've already made room on my mantle.

Also, who's the guy that hung himself and why am I supposed to care?

Thief: I have pretty high hopes for this show that replaces the Shield on FX. It has a solid cast headed by acting stud Braugher. It looks slick. If Thief pans out, FX will be the best network on TV. If they can improve Nip/Tuck, or get a better replacement that will be a full year of quality television. Maybe these 12 episode seasons aren't so bad.

Invasion: Nearly having the same problem as Lost. It makes me think this scheduling is ABC trying to milk as much as they can out of these shows. They are screwing the fans over. New episodes of Invasion aren't going to air till May I think. May! Still, I can't wait to see what that crazy dead girl is going to give birth to.

Finally, I was flipping through the channels Saturday night, and suddenly had an 80's flashback. Saturday Night's Main Event was once again on NBC. What is up? Is NBC that desperate to fill their slots? They even went with the same old school logo. How could I not watch it? Oh the times I'd be so thrilled to have wrestling on NBC at night. It was almost like free pay-per-view matches. Almost. Of course, this is all a build up to Wrestlemania which is two weeks away. The matches were basically all stunt matches. I still got a kick out of Shawn Michaels back dropping Shane McMahon from the top of a ladder into a couple tables.

Sunday, March 19, 2006


We're getting there. The banner at the top is probably going to change. I need to balance out the columns. Any other advice?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

I'm Taking Credit

My sister in-law has now joined the blogging universe, and you know what I'm taking the credit. I know she saw my brother's blog and became jealous. I know Mandy was actually the first in our family to have a blog. I know Anne Marie's blog might not be called a blog since she doesn't blog. I don't care. I'm taking the credit for my family's recent love of blogging. Why? In case you haven't been able to tell, I'm clearly the coolest sibling. I pretty much determine what is hip and cool for my family. I get a car. Everyone else need to get a car. I go to college. Everyone in my family ends up going to college. I start losing my hair. Everyone else has to start losing their hair. (Except for Ben I. Come one get with it.) That's just the tip of how much of a trailblazer I've been for my family. Anyway. My point is that Jaime now has a blog, and like most of them out there it's better written than mine.

Big Ups to Paula Faris!

A few weeks ago I was helping one of the writers hook up his HD set. On the TV while I was checking the picture was the Olympics. It was some spot about these athletes having a shopping spree in Torino. On the fringe of the picture I thought I kept seeing someone I thought I knew. I even mentioned to the writer that I think I might know that person, but she never came on the screen again. Still, she was a sports broadcaster in Cincinnati. I guess they could've sent her for the Olympics, but NBC and national coverage? Anyway, I forgot about it.

Cut to Monday night, and I'm talking to Eric. During our conversation he mentions he's been staying contact with Paula, who I thought I saw at the Olympics. Turns out it was her on TV. She apparently took a new job as a sports anchor at an NBC affiliate in a top 5 media market. Can you guess what city she's in now? That's right Chicago. Chicago! Sure I'm little bit jealous. It's Chicago! Paula also completely deserves it. As Eric stated, she has always worked her ass off. Ever since I first met her at Cedarville she's always worked hard. It's a few months late, but congratulations Paula. You really do deserve it. Now, can you do something about getting Dusty fired?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Do You Know What M.U.S.C.L.E. Stands For?

Way back in October I wrote a post about toys of my childhood. It seems I've forgotten one of my biggest toy addictions in middle school. They where only beaten out by my G.I. Joe and Star Wars collection. What could possibly keep pace with such classic toys? Only those Millions of Unusual Small Creatures Lurking Everywhere!That's right! M.U.S.C.L.E. They're pink, and they're wrestlers, and they're weird. My brother, our friend Andrew, and I collected numerous of these little figures. How bad did this collecting get? Not only did I have around a hundred of these, but I had the wrestling ring. But that's not all! I also had the Nintendo video game.

It blew chunks, but my brother and I played it to death. My favorite part was that sometimes the ropes of the ring were electrified.
So when you threw your opponent into the ropes, he would go into seizures while he was electrocuted. The lame finishing moves were wonderfully awful as well. I think I need to call my Dad and see if he kept any of these.

Monday, March 13, 2006


So Saturday was the Twilight Singers Pre-SXSW show. It was at a small place called The Scene up in Glendale. The place only holds around 100 plus people which isn't bad for a concert like this. Of course there was a moment where it looked like I might not get in because they couldn't find my name on the will call list. I thought there was going to be an opening band, but apparently I was wrong. This meant I had to kill 3 hours in a bar by myself. Bob I wish you were there.

Anyway it was worth it. Dulli and company rocked it like they do. They have a new guitarist. I really liked their last guitarist, but the new guy won me over. Their new keyboardist on this tour Scott Bennett is the musical director for Brian Wilson. Yeah, I don't need to add anything else to that. The two cornerstones, Scott Ford on bass, and Bobby McIntyre on drums were outstanding as always. If Dulli ever replaces them I'd feel a little sad. But on to the important stuff. This concert was a warm up for their SXSW show and to debut songs for their new album. He performed six songs (*) from upcoming Powder Burns album. They all sounded great. My favorites came in the encore. Candy Cane Crawl had Dulli in full on soul man mode. Considering is was in the hospital two days before for some unstated reason, he gave it all. That's the thing with Dulli he will always give you his best show. There were sometimes his voice seemed to fail him, but he still tore through the set like a man posessed. They then went into Underneath the Waves which was a straight up rock n roll. Dulli lead the song off by saying "keep your hands up, you won't regret it." He was right. It should also be noted that they didn't play a single Afghan Whigs song. I really didn't mind not hearing them. The Twilight Singers catalogue has become so strong the Whigs songs aren't necessary. This week I put some of my favorite Twilight Singers songs in the player. They have one of the new songs up on their myspace page.

3/11/06 Setlist-Glendale, CA - The Scene (from

toward the waves*
i'm ready*
esta noche
too tough to die
teenage wristband
bonnie brae*
dream on/love
annie mae
that bird sings
early today(and later that night)
martin eden
decatur st.
forty dollars*

candy cane crawl*
underneath the waves*
the twilite kid

This might be my favorite time of year in sports, with March Madness and the beginning of baseball season. Sunday I had my fantasy baseball draft. I'm pretty happy with it. I am a little short on pitching, but my bench is strong enough that I think I can swing a trade or two. There are a couple new things this year, since I switched over to yahoo. I like the designation of outfielders. You have to pick a RF, LF, and CF, not just a bunch of outfielders. I also like that Holds are being counted, and not just saves. Below is my team. We'll see how this turns out.

C: M. Barrett
1B: P. Fielder
2B: M. Giles
3B: A. Ramirez
SS: J. Rollins
LF: J. Bay
CF: J. Edmonds
RF: B. Giles
UTIL: M. Holliday
Bench: M. Jacobs, N. Johnson, R. Church, M. Murton

SP: B. Sheets
SP: C. Capuano
SP: D. Lowe
SP: A. Harang
RP: R. Dempster
RP: C. Reitsma
RP: S. Linebrink
P: M. Morris

I watched Sopranos last night. The most surprising thing was seeing Axl Rose at the Sopranos' premiere party.

And Corinne Marrinan's week just keeps getting better. After snagging an Oscar, her speech made an appearance on Best Week Ever. Perhaps I would win an Oscar if I didn't watch such pointless TV.

Speaking of pointless TV, I Love Toys ranked the hula hoop as the greatest toy ever. How can hula hoop beat out Legos? What can you do with a hula hoop except swing your hips and nearly choke yourself when you try to swing it around your neck. With Legos you can do anything.

The rest of my weekend was spent trying to find a good pair of earbuds for my Nano. I was tired of the crappy ones they give you. It's like having two speakers out of my '74 Maverick. So, I did a little research, and bough a pair. It's ridiculous how much I spent on them, but they are fantastic.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Blog Family...Family Grows

It seems I've started quite a trend in my family. My sister Anne Marie has now joined the blogging community. With that making three family websites, I can now add another section in my side column dedicated to family blogs and websites. So, go visit. I want to make sure she keeps up with it. I know Mandy has a blog out there somewhere, but she won't share.

Monday, March 06, 2006


I hope this week flies by faster than last week. I have a big weekend coming up. Saturday, I get to experience the genius of the Twilight Singers in their pre-SXSW show. Sunday is draft day. That's right it is Fantasy Baseball time once again. Please try to keep your enthusiasm in check. This year I'm trying something a little different. I'm still doing NL only keeper league, but I'm using yahoo this time. It has gotten to the point that I'm tired of selling out cash to play and never being able to play with my friends. This year I get to play with Bob. We've already set the draft order, and I got the shitty middle position. I prefer the beginning or end of the draft order. Anyway, more to come on how the draft goes, and why they should just give me the trophy now.

With the past week being a frustrating mess, I decided I needed to treat myself with a video game. I decided on Black for the Xbox (also available for the PS2). I bought it for basically one reason it's called gun porn. Basically, you just shoot the crap out of everything. At least that's what I had heard. Don't get me wrong it's a solid game. Actually it's a beautiful game, particularly if you find particle effects and the rag doll physics of a man flying through the air out of the second story window and doing a face plant beautiful. The game is basically you living a five-six hour Bruckheimer film. I do have a couple problems with it. First, it's too short. Second, the guns seemed designed to cause more damage to the environment than the guy you're trying to shoot. There were many times I've unloaded the big daddy machine gun into the guy, and one shell might hit him. But it is pretty watching the dust and bits of concrete wall fly around him. That's why I stuck with the shotgun. Third, the whole destruction of environments that I was being sold on really doesn’t come into play often enough. There are only a few set pieces where you really feel like you are in the shit. For example there is a confrontation with the enemy in a bathroom stall. You can take cover behind the stall walls for only a second till enemy fire completely obliterates it. Once the firefight is finished the whole room is decimated. I wanted that to happen through the whole game. I realize this is limited by the technology, but I would eventually like to see a game with completely destructive environments. When I send a rocket launcher into a watch tower I want to blow out the stilts and watch it tumble. If I fire a mortar and it lands in some woods I want to see those trees coming down. I want to pay the price of having the roof cave in if I'm dumb enough to fire a rocket launcher while inside a building. I would accept a lower frame rate on the next generation consoles if such a game could be made. Still, Black is fun, and there are a few "Oh shit!" moments. I would recommend it as a rental though because it's so short.

Commercial Hip-hop has proved once again their lack of creativity. Remember back in the day when the "fish-eye" lens dominated their videos? Well, now rap videos have their new favorite technique. It's the widescreen/full screen combo. I didn't like it the first time I saw it, and now that every other video seems to use it I detest it. I hate to give even more props to Kanye West, but even though it doesn't always work (i.e. both "Heard Em Say" videos) at least he tries to do something different each time out. I'm currently digging his "Touch the Sky" video where he plays Evel Knievel.

I'm sure most of you have seen this story on the autistic kid who plays his first high school basketball game after being the team manager for years. I think every station including ESPN has done a piece on it. In case you haven't read the story and watch the video here. Also, compare the first clip "Autistic Teen's Hoop Dreams" to the third related clip called "Hoop Dreams for Autistic Player." The first piece works much better than the third one. I think it's because it follows the whole progress of the final minutes of the game. I get dust in my eye when you see the coach point to put the kid in. I'm also sure Disney is salivating over the rights to the kid's story.

I admit it. I'm a closet Buffalo Bills fan. I didn't always though keep my love for the Buffalo Bills such a guarded secret. After the Music City Miracle I decided to place my Bill fandom in the closet along with my wrestling videos and Journey box set. Why do I hide it? Because I'm a Cubs fan. It became fairly annoying when I would admit my love for both the Cubs and Bills, and people would view as some kind of sports masochist. How much sports pain can one fan endure? Apparently a lot. Here's the thing: I might actually be a masochist.

I always watched football, but growing up in Columbus football came in only Scarlet and Grey. Eventually, I came to the decision that I needed to pick a NFL football team to follow. This is where the masochism could come into play. I basically picked the Bills by looking at the 1986 USA Today pre-season rankings and selecting them because they were near the bottom of the list. Like I've said before: I like the underdogs. Jersey, team history, and other factors went into play as well, but mainly I consciously picked from the bottom of the barrel. We all know what happened after that. Four straight Super Bowls: One "wide right" field goal attempt in 1991, two blow outs in 1992 & 93, and then a promising first half in 1994 only to see it come crumbling down. Some would point to the come from behind win in the 1993 wild card playoff game against the Oilers as a highlight. I would look to it as the crest of a wave before it crashes against the rocks.

Now add all that up with the years and years of misery as a Cubs fan, and you can see why some would think I was a sports masochist. Some would say that I might in fact be the curse for both teams and should retire my fan membership for both teams. To those people I would like to point out the 2002 BCS Championship in which my Buckeyes won. Some will debate that the refs won it for them.

Finally, watching the Oscars proves once again that Nicholson will always be the coolest guy in the room.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Big Ups to Corinne Marrinan!

I personally know an Oscar winner! Congrats to Corinne Marrinan who produced the winning documentary short "A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman Corwin."

Joy On Celluloid

Last night I saw the movie The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada. I highly recommend the film, but I want to tell you about another movie. Waiting in line to buy my tickets, I noticed a couple debating on what to see. They were talking to one of the movie employees asking about Dave Chappelle's Block Party. The employee hadn't seen it, and gave complaints he heard from other people. After he left, I felt I needed to step in. Throwing out my fear of talking to strangers, I told them, "It's a great movie. I saw it last night. Chappelle's funny and the live performances are outstanding." They didn't listen. I hope they will eventually change their mind and see this movie. If they don't, they will miss out on one of the most joyful films I've seen in awhile.

A month after signing his $50 million contract with Comedy Central Chappelle organized a block party in Brooklyn. This is the documentary covering not only the concert, but organizing the block party, and Chappelle in his home town passing out tickets to the party. Now I should let you know that Chapelle grew up in Yellow Springs, OH which is maybe five miles from Cedarville. So, I got a personal kick out seeing him walk around places I recognize. The personal highlights for me being him at Ha Ha Pizza talking about how you used to be able to order "special" mushrooms for your pizza, and offering a trip to Brooklyn for the Central State drum line. The same drum line I would go watch every now and then.

There are two stars in the movie. The first obviously being Chappelle and his easy going manner with everyone. Everyone loves Chappelle and it's clear why. It's not just because he's so damn funny. The second star is also the live performances which show the power and what the good in Hip-hop. Chappelle has recruited his favorite acts that include, The Roots, Talib Kweli, Kool G. Rap, Cody Chestnutt, Dead Prez, Mos Def, Erykah Badu, Bilal, Kanye West, Big Daddy Kane, Jill Scott, Common, and a reunited Fugees. My one complaint is that the performances are cut a little to fit the film. This isn't just a bunch of bands playing their hits and leaving. This is a democratic concert. All the groups work together to show the genius and passion of live Hip-hop. The biggest goose-bump moment was having Kanye West in the throws of "Jesus Walks" while the Central State drum line backs him up. This is what hip-hop is, and it's not what you see on MTV.

Joy is seen in the faces through this whole movie from Chappelle hanging with kids at a care center, to the audience, to those visiting New York for the first time. Those aren't the only faces that will be smiling with joy. Yours will too.

Watch the trailer here.

Since I have the albums of most of those in the film, I put them up in the player on the right. I also threw in some other songs that are great. I guess I should also warn you there is some strong language.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Semi-great Achievements (Undergrad Edition)

Since we've hit the low points, let's look back to some of the good things that happened during my years at Cedarville. Just to let you know, this will be the last Cedarville post for awhile.

It took till my sophomore year for me to actually just ask a girl out on an official date. I've gone through blind dates, and other awkward setups. But for this date I actually just asked the girl out. Ok, it was a sort of triple date, but I did straight up ask her out. It was just too bad that she didn't enjoy our idea of a progressive dinner. It may have been mean to ask them to dress up a bit, and then take them to McDonalds for the salad. We did progress on to better restaurants for the soup and main course. I guess she just didn't have a sense of fun. Actually, it turned out she was crazy…literally. But the point I'm trying to make is that I asked a girl out.

I actually graduated. I know I don't usually rank these lists, but this was probably the biggest achievement. You see there is a reason it took me five years to graduate. The first two and half years I did all I could to not graduate. I attribute part of it to ego and a part to being lazy. The reality was that I had a cumulative GPA under 2.0 for about three years. I eventually came to my senses and actually started working. After a couple quarters of 4.0's I finally got it over the 2.0 and could graduate. I'm not proud of the GPA, but I'm proud of what I did those last two years to get it over the hump.

I know I make it sound completely awkward, but this was a pretty big moment in my "romantic life."

Feedback! That was the name of the radio show I co-hosted with Amy Cartzendafner. Other than graduating, one of the reasons I worked to get my grades up was to get back on the student radio. My fifth year I finally got a late night show. Luckily, I had Amy as my co-host, and the characters Buffy and Biff came to life. This is also where the writing bug really took hold. I started writing bits for the show, promos, and commercials. They weren't all golden comedy moments, but it gave me some confidence in writing. It should also be mentioned that through my working on the show and in other facets with the radio station I earned the "Purple Heart" award for dedicated service. Not the best name, but I had made up my mind when I saw the plaque that I was going to get my name on there. In the long run it's not really much. It is though one of those nice set a goal and achieve it moments.

My greatest classroom accomplishment was surprisingly enough Oral Interpretation. That's right it happened in a speech class. In all reality it was more of hybrid of a speech and acting class. You took play cuttings, poetry, or literature and then stood up in front of the class and performed them. Still, me and public speaking do not mix well. There were two types of students in the class: the black sheep broadcasters and the snotty theater majors. I know the theater geeks at first held a little grudge because we were obviously taking the class for an easy grade. What we didn't know was that the professor, Dr. Robey, was not going to let this be an easy class. He consistently tore me apart during every one of my run throughs of the performances. This did kick the broadcasters in gear, and we pretty much dominated the class. My highlight could've been my performance of a scene from "No Time for Sergeants." There I had the audience rolling, and pushed the envelope a little by not cutting a questionable joke in the scene. Ok, it was questionable by Cedarville standards. There was also my crowd pleasing performance of "Puss in Boots." The real highlight though was my "Elephant Man" monologue. After the trial run, Dr. Robey really lit into me and I was pretty devastated. I thought I was screwed. The day of the actual performance I was on the verge of puking. Actually, that happened for every one of my performances. I can't exactly remember how, but I pretty much nailed the performance. It was like Jordan hitting "The Shot," or Ali beating Liston, or Comaneci scoring a perfect 10. I was clearly in that zone. The final result was seeing Dr. Robey's score sheet being handed to me with a perfect score. He only passed out two of those that quarter and got one of them. I came close to repeating with "No Time for Sergeants" but I came up on point shy. Yet, I still hate talking to groups of three or more.

This isn't really an achievement, but getting Rich Mullins to come wake up the boring people during GMA week was kind of cool.

Good Gravy

Well, I planned on posting tonight. This is what actually happened:

-Saw that you could put a music player on my blog. I thought that'd be a good idea.

-An hour later I feel like a moron that I can't figure this crap out.

-I drive home.

-An hour and a half later after downloading two pointless programs I have an "Aha!" moment.

-Three seconds later it turns into a "Mother Hubbard!" moment.

-An hour later later I finally kind of understand.

-Finally I've done it, and realize it's "eh."

Anyway, this will probably be where I will be putting the "Bits O' Music" from now on. No more stupid downloading. They should just instantly play. Enjoy those that care. What's in the player now is a few songs from the Teenline series and some other songs I'm digging right now.