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.

Friday, February 20, 2009

No Weekend Highs

Well, I know it's Friday, and hopefully this weekend works out better, but last weekend there was no high. It was all low. As you may have read on Brandy's Facebook or MySpace her uncle that helped raise her and was like a father to her died very suddenly of a heart attack on Saturday evening. Everyone was quite shocked by it, and we are all still recovering. Ugh.

I suppose that the only (kinda) high of the weekend was my work. On Monday when I told them about it they agreed to give me Bereavement Pay, when, really, they didn't have to. So that was nice. Everything else, not so much.

Here's hoping things get better...

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Weekend Notes

Another week, another weekend:

The High: Going line dancing Friday night. Have I mentioned that Brandy and I are learning line dancing? Well we are. A local club gives lessons every week, so away we go. And they have $0.50 draft beers, so...
Anyway, we've been going for a few weeks now, enough for me to know about a half dozen dances or so, so I was able to actually go out and dance! It was very enjoyable, I can' t wait to learn more dances so I can go dance to more songs.

Also, on Monday I beat the game BioShock, so I'm pretty pleased about that. That game deserves its own post, but needless to say that if you enjoy first-person shooters (and even if you don't - I don't!) this game is very good, and very, very creepy.

The Low: So, technically, this happenned Monday, but it was kinda on the weekend as well, so I'm including it. Lakers Center Andrew Bynum is out with an injured knee for 2-3 months. He got hurt over the weekend. You may remember that something similar happened last year, and Bynum didn't return until the beginning of this season. You may also rememeber that a large resaon we lost in the NBA Finals was because he was hurt. So he heals slowly, may not be back until April/May, and we can't win in the Finals without him. Yeah, we're screwed. I'm a little frustrated because, once again, the injury bug may keep us from winning a title. I'm beginning to switch to "Not Boston" mode again. *Sigh*

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Tales of Berkeley

I can't believe I lived in a city with a "Peace and Justice Commission." And here's the latest from the People's Republic of Berkeley:

Berkeley's public library will face a showdown with the city's Peace and Justice Commission tonight over whether a service contract for the book check-out system violates the city's nuclear-free ordinance.

The dispute centers on a five-year, $63,000 contract the library wants to sign with 3M, an international technology company based in Minnesota, to service five scanner machines library patrons use to check out books.

But 3M, a company with operations in 60 countries, refused to sign Berkeley's nuclear-free disclosure form as required by the Nuclear Free Berkeley Act passed by voters in 1986.

As a result, the library's self-checkout machines have not been serviced in about six months. Library officials say 3M is the only company authorized by the manufacturer to fix the machines, which were purchased in 2004.

The library asked the Peace and Justice Commission for a waiver, but at its Jan. 5 meeting the commission voted 7-1, with two abstentions, to reject the request. The library is now appealing the decision to the City Council...

The Peace and Justice Commission does not see it that way. Commissioners said the library should try harder to find a company that complies with the Nuclear Free Berkeley Act.

"We really mean it when we say we don't want to be part of the nuclear machinery," said commission member George Lippman. "The act is meant to be a blow against nuclear war. We're serious about upholding that."

*sigh*. What do you say when you really can't parody a city anymore?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Weekend Highs & Lows

Well, following the spirit of a local rock radio station I thought I would tell everyone what my weekend highs and lows were each Monday. Theoretically, this will keep me posting at least once a week. We'll see. Anyway, for this past weekend:

The High: Double Experience Weekend on City of Heroes!! City of Heroes is a MMORPG (Massively Multi-Player Online Role Playing Game, for the uninitiated). Think of it like World of Warcraft meets comic books. You create a hero, with special powers and the like, and then go stop bad guys. The more bad guys you stop, the more powerful your hero becomes. In any case, you gained double the experience points this weekend while playing, which means lots-o-fun!!!

And while that High may sound kinda lame (and it is, even by my standards), it's because of...

The Low: I was sick all weekend. Yeah. There's nothing better than spending half your weekend feeling like you don't even have any energy to enjoy Double Experince Weekend. Ick. I blame Brandy.

Other highlights include: Re-vamping my Facebook (I have a whole list of reasons why Facebook is better than MySpace, but that's a post for another day); Line Dancing with Brandy Friday night (yeah, we're learning to Line Dance, there's another post I need to write about!); and watching the Lakers kick all kinds of Spur ass.

Friday, January 16, 2009


You may have heard that Brandy and I got engaged (Brandy and I both changed our MySpace status to relfect this) earlier this week. I couldn't be happier about it - I am truly blessed to have someone as wonderful as her in my life. I could tell you all about how it happened, but Brandy did a superb job of it herself here with pictures here. Go ahead and go read it and then come back for my thoughts. I'll wait.

*sigh* Fine; too lazy to go click the link? I'll copy and paste it:

My uncle called me a few weeks ago to invite me down for the day so John requested it off work. Little did I know my uncle was in on the whole thing. Anyways, we have breakfast with my uncle and hang out for most of the day. As we were leaving John didn't drive to the freeway, instead he went to PCH. We ended up at a restaraunt called Captain Jacks (which is right on a canal) and he explained that he had some extra money and wanted to treat me to a nice dinner. As we were sitting there at the end of dinner, John told me that he had something else planned right after. Next thing I know we're walking out the back door to the canal where a gondola is pulling up. We get in and start our journey around the canals looking at all the beautiful houses and the stars. Under the 2nd bridge we start kissing and he pulls away and tells me he wants to break tradition for a moment and he tells me how much he loves me and then gets down on one knee and pulls out the ring and asks me to marry him. It was so romantic! Once the gondola ride is over, we leave the restaraunt and start heading down PCH. We get no more than a few blocks away and he pulls into this nice bed and breakfast. We walk up to the door (they hid the key under the mat for us so we didn't have to check in once we got there) and we walk into the room. There were candles everywhere and rose petals on the bed and some wine and fruit on the table. It was absolutely beautiful! We stayed the night there and finally made it home this morning to spread the good news.I hope you all are as excited for us as I am!

So, some thoughts from my point of view:
  • First, it was really hard to not show Brandy how excited I was about this. I mean, when you get engaged it's a life-altering moment, and I knew it was coming, but couldn't show how excited I was! It's like being a kid (or me) on Christmas Eve, but not being allowed to be bouncing off the walls. Especially the day of, I was counting down the mintues until the moment arrived.
  • Of course, Brandy attempted to thwart my plans (unknowingly). She mentioned our overnight stay in Huntington Beach and of course I packed a bag for the night for us. I did this without her knowing, so of course I had to pick shirts and hope that she didn't want to wear them the day before we went (and that they matched whatever shoes she wore that day, etc.). So of course I pick the one shirt she wants to wear the day before we go! FAIL!
  • One picture Brandy hasn't posted, but should, is her steak from our dinner together. Sucker was 30 ounces! Go ahead and look at what FOUR POUNDS of steak looks like. It was huge.
  • I had assumed, once we got on the gondola, that Brandy would be expecting the proposal. So I was (pleasantly!) surprised when I got down on one knee and heard a shocked gasp from her!
  • It's been pretty windy in southern california the last few days, and I was particularly worried about the wind and temperature for an evening gondola ride, but it was quite calm winded and warm with clear skies. All in all, a perfect evening.
Anyway, it's nearly two days later and Brandy and I are still both pretty giddy about the whole thing. I am so completely in love with her and could not be happier about the way everything worked out. I am super excited to start preparing for a wedding, and of course being able to spend the rest of my life with someone as wondeful and amazing as Brandy!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Killing time

So fairly often I find myself at work just trying to kill some time, but not wanting to get too involved with anything. For example, perhaps I just got back from the field and need to hang around the office for 20 minutes to have worked 8 hours; or for another example on Wednesdays we have a meeting at 1:30pm, a half hour after lunch, which is more time than it takes to check how the Lakers are doing, but not enough time to really get involved with anything work-related. So what do I do?

Wikipedia. Specifically, I look at lots of random articles. Why? Well, it takes ZERO brain power to click the button, and every once in a while you learn something new and exciting. Sadly, more often than not, you get the wiki pages for podunk towns or "communes" in France, but every now and then you get to read about something interesting that you would never have thought to look up.

Alternatively, I do what I'm doing now: update my blog via email. And Reva, if that link to Wikipedia works, then that's how you insert links into these types of blog posts. I know you're curious.