Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sunday, November 14, 2010

It's Been A Year?

Really? Holy cow does time fly! Ah well, lots of changes have been going on with me, so this will be the first in a series of posts (hopefully) talking about them.

Reflections on Planning a Wedding:

Planning a wedding is a pain in the ass. First of all, everything is expensive.  Like, really expensive.  Every time we went to buy something, I had to adjust what my opinion of "reasonable" was.  It's like that old joke where a $1 pencil costs $5 at Disneyland; flowers only cost so much, but we'll triple that price if the word "wedding" is used!  Awesome!  It's like the worst type of Monopoly every because no matter what you do, it's always uber-expensive.  There's a Catch-22 of getting married during a recession as well.  On the upside, money is tight for businesses so they offer good deals: for example, the location of our wedding, Etiwanda Gardens, normally charged a 20% service fee for weddings.  For us, it was dropped to 10%.  Nice.  On the flip-side, since it was  a recession and my work had reduced my hours, the price cuts weren't as useful as we were still flat-ass broke anyway.  It's still something to keep in mind though.

Second of all is trying to do it all yourself.  Now, everyone (including me!) will offer to help you do whatever you need, but with very few exceptions, no one will.  And part of that is out of necessity.  When you decide to make all your centerpieces one random Friday night, there aren't always too many people who actually can help.  But just as often, you would ask for help and no one would be able to.  And I understand that.  Everyone has busy lives and other schedules they have to meet, but just be prepared for it.  The exception of course should be your Best Man.  My Best Man was like an extension of my being - about as close to a clone as you could get.  He handled shit.  Especially as the wedding neared, if something needed doing, he was there to do it.  Honestly, I'm not sure I could've survived it without him.  And our wedding went smoothly!  So choose wedding party members wisely, my friends.

The last is everyone's family.  Families are families so they add stress without really meaning to.  Daughters are being married away, sons are getting married, in-laws are being introduced, often family members who haven't seen each other in years are meeting.  It's stressful.  You're going to upset someone - probably lots of them.  Just keep in mind that it's your wedding and if they don't like it they can get married themselves.  Do your best not to piss anyone off too much, but don't sacrifice the wedding  you want just to appease someone.

Overall, planning a wedding only reinforced my belief that weddings should last a lifetime.  I mean, who would want to go through that all over again?  Not me, that's for sure.  Planning a wedding takes about 81,000 little details and despite all the online help and everything available, it's still a huge pain in the ass.  My closing suggestions to anyone planning a wedding: Plan early, plan often, and when you procrastinate be ready to triage.

I'll talk about my actual wedding next time.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The NFL Sucks

Wow.  So I really want to like the NFL sometimes, but damn they make it hard (and no, college football isn't any better, but for multiple reasons).  For example, tonight's Monday Night Football sounded like a great game: Patriots at Saints.  The EVIL Pats against the unbeaten Saints.  Good times.  So I turn on the game toward the end of the first quarter and here, roughly, is what I watched:
  • Tom Brady interception
  • Turnover - commercials
  • Saints run two plays
  • End of 1st Quarter - commercials
  • Saints run two plays
  • Injury time out - commercials 
  • Saints run two plays
  • Touchdown Saints - commercials
  • Kickoff
  • Commercials
And then I turned it off.  When someone asks you what the hell is wrong with football, this right here is it.  I am THE target demographic for the NFL and would want nothing more than to enjoy the game, but the amount of commercials is just ridiculous.  And this wasn't even the end of the half!!  This was just normal, average, ho-hum football the way it is aired today.  And it sucks.
So thank you, NFL, for ensuring that I will avoid televised football as much as possible.  Of the most egregious faults I have with football, this is by far the worst.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Welcome Back, NBA!

The NBA season dawns upon us, and I couldn't be happier. Seriously, the four months or so between the end of the NBA Finals and the start of the season are way too long for me. As we start this NBA season, I want to look at what is it about the NBA that I enjoy so much, and what are some things I like less.

The first thing is the tempo of the game. In football, there are 40 seconds between plays. In baseball, there's almost that much time between pitches - and that's before the entire Yankees infield comes in to sing a chorus of Kum-by-ah in the rain during the 12th inning! That is just. Too. Damn. Slow. In contrast, sports like hockey and soccer feel too fast and out of control for me. As was said on "The West Wing" once, even the announcers seem surprised when there's a goal! In contrast, basketball is a high-paced sport but one that is under control (mostly). The pace can range drastically from the "Seven Seconds or Less," high-scoring New York Knicks to the slow, deliberate pace of the San Antonio Spurs. And the team that controls the pace has a huge advantage on the game!

The second is the team aspect of the sport. In fairness, other sports have this too, but I like it in those sports also. And for all the basketball haters who argue that the NBA has too many "me first" players and no one really plays "team" basketball, I challenge you to actually watch some good NBA teams. The Lakers won a championship last year playing the Triangle Offense, which is predicated on team play and cooperation. The Spurs, as much as I dislike them, are the epitome of team basketball. Teams that rely on one player - like LeBron James - often are stifled because team defenses are capable of stopping them. Watching an offense like the Lakers' last year is great to watch, as each player fills a role and does their job. It just makes the game pretty to watch.

Third is the amazing individual talent on the court. With only five players on the court for each team an individual player can have a dramatic effect on the game. When certain players (like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James or Dwayne Wade, for example) go into "Eff You" mode and just take over games, it is mesmerizing to watch. These players seem like they are in God Mode for a video game and are just unstoppable. It's a testament to their abilities and determination - and just tons of fun to watch.

So there are some of my favorite things about the NBA. Of course, there's plenty I don't care for, but we'll get to that in due time. For today, I'm just going to enjoy the game.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Iron Man Review

Yes, I saw Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.  Yes, I will tell you all about it.  But, as with any good show, before the Main Event there is always a preliminary event - in this case, my review of Iron Man.

I had heard many good things about Iron Man; so much so, that it created a certain amount of hype that it failed to live up to.  It was a good movie, that I enjoyed, and really want to buy, but it had serious flaws, the most notable of which is that it was an origin movie.  The first X-Men, Spider-Man and Batman movies all suffered of this flaw.  It just can't be helped.  Origin movies are forced to explain a large amount of information which tends to make the movie a little slow and/or boring.  Ideally, a sequel - because it doesn't have as much necessary exposition - can be more exciting.  This was the case in all of the above movie series, and I expect it to be so with Iron Man as well.

As for the movie content, it was - for the most part - very strong.  Robert Downey Jr. was outstanding in his role as Tony Stark/Iron Man.  I mean, just fantastic!  He really controlled every scene he was in - as he should.  In some ways, the characters of Stark and Bruce Wayne (Batman) are similar: both are rich inventors that live almost fake, playboy-esque lives while secretly being superheroes in the background.  In this way I compared Downey's Stark with Christian Bale's Wayne (from Batman Begins and Dark Knight) and Robert Downey Jr. really comes away looking strong in that regard.  He was more believable and enjoyable to watch in that role than Bale, and was clearly the best actor in the movie.  It is no surprise that after Iron Man, Downey's career has been revitalized.

The supporting cast was similarly good to very good.  Gweneth Paltrow in particular stood out as Pepper Potts.  Most of the other cast members played their parts well - or at least didn't hurt the movie.

The effects and the suit were very pretty to watch.  It didn't look overly fake (most of the time) and there was just enough banter in fight scenes to make it enjoyable.  Sometimes too much talking can be distracting.  As for the story; it was a typical superhero fare - and a standard Iron Man origin.  The switch to Afghan terrorists (in the original comic - from the 1960s! - the Chinese had kidnapped Stark and induced him to create his armor) made the movie more modern and easy to relate to and the subtle hints to classic villains and other characters (Mandarin, Jarvis, War Machine) gave longtime fans something to enjoy without taking away from the main points of the movie.

Overall, if you enjoy superhero movies then this is a solid but not great movie.  However, the characters are all well-established and a sequel, either in the form of a second Iron Man movie or an Avengers movie, will really allow for a much better movie.

Minor Changes

Some of my intrepid reader(s?) may have noticed a few minor changes on the site, mostly a few advertisements everywhere.  Fear not!  This is simply my feeble attempt to cash in on my excellent blogging skills!  I signed up for AdSense via Blogger, so if any of those ads look neat make sure to click on them so I can get paid!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I was so uber-busy yesterday at work (no, really!) that I forgot to wish a Happy Birthday to my super-awesome fabulous amazingly beautiful fiance Brandy! She turned 26 yesterday, just as I did a month ago.

So a belated blog-wishing happy birthday Brandy!

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Weekend Re-visited

I'm going to go back to trying to evaluate the best and worst parts of my weekend. Hopefully that will keep me encouraged to post. Hopefully.

So the highlight of my weekend was a wedding I went to for a buddy of mine. For starters, as Brandy and I plan our wedding, it is nice to see what others do to get ideas of what we both like and don't like. And as weddings go it was nice enough. The couple is obviously very much in love and so that is very nice to see. I've known the groom for almost 13 years so I'm very happy for him.

The wedding was in Temecula at Calvary Chapel which is in the wine country, so naturally Brandy and I took the opportunity to go wine tasting beforehand. Which was really the low point of my weekend. Not that the wine tasting per se was bad - it wasn't! - but it reminded me of how much I really like to go wine tasting and how much I miss being a wine club member and having the money to buy good wine regularly. *sigh* Ah well.

Next weekend's highlight: Seeing Transformers! WOO!

Update: And also, Happy Birthday to The Reva!!!!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Rocks Haven't Crushed Me!

Sorry for the delay faithful reader(s?) but I have returned and have not been crushed to death by rocks! So what have I been up to?

The most important change has been at my work. Last March (I haven't posted since March!! Ugh! I feel horrible now!), due to the economy, I was changed from a salary employee to an hourly one. Now, in some companies "hourly" isn't all that bad. For example, Brandy is hourly, but her schedule is fairly set, and she knows that she always works aournd 38-40 hours per week, depending on how long of lunches she takes and if she has to stay late or anything of that nature. In contrast, I can only charge for hours where I am billable, as in, working on an actual job, not just loafing around the office. So essentially I go in every morning and if there is any field work for me to do, I do it, and if not, I go home. This has caused a lot of volatility in my work schedule and quite a bit of stress with never knowing if I'm going to be working or not from day to day. On the other hand, given the choice between this and being unemployed, I'll take my current situation.

The other upside to this work situation is that I have occasionally been able to be at home on Brandy's days off and we've started getting some things orgainzed for the wedding. (I may be exaggerating slightly; "we" means mostly "her, with me tagging along and giving my opinion," and "getting...organized" means more of "started feeling extremely overwhelmed by all this crap, debated the merits of eloping and just began suffering through the rigors of planning." It's been fun. No, really, it has!) We've got our choice for location narrowed down, and will hopefully be making a final decision within a few weeks. I'll let everyone know. Once the place is secure we'll let everyone know the date. It's a lot of work, and we're just getting started, but hopefully we're starting early enough so that we don't go bat-shit crazy before the wedding trying to make everything work.

You also may have noticed - if you watch my Facebook page - that Brandy and I have started a diet (well, quasi-diet for me) on . It's a neat website that allows you to make meal plans and fitness workouts to aid you in getting or staying healthy. I would tell you more about it, but I'm hoping that Brandy will read this and be motivated to update her blog to tell you more about it. Hey, a guy can dream, right? Anyways, I joined both to help and support Brandy, as well as to start living healthier myself. I mean, it's not that I'm grotesquely out of shape or anything, but I thought I should get a jump start on changing my eating and fitness habits from "crazy college student" to "responsible adult" before my body begins breaking down.

I wish that I had cool stories to tell... but I don't. I pretty much work during the week and clean/play video games all weekend. I thoroughly enjoyed the beatdown the Lakers gave the entire NBA, though. And I loved the Nike MVP (Most Valuable Puppet) commercials.

I'll try to post more. I promise. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen comes out this week. I should be seeing it sometime before the end of next weekend, so I'll try to post about it's awesomeness.

Monday, June 15, 2009

World Champion Los Angeles Lakers

Wow, it feels good to say that.