Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2010 In Review - Movies

A few things before we get started.

In my music entry I wrote that I probably missed one album, but turned out I was wrong.  I missed two!

Transference - Spoon and The Chaos - The Futureheads.  Not sure how I forgot them as they're still in constant rotation on my iPod, but I'm basically an idiot so....yeah.

Also, for television I completely forgot to mention the 30 for 30 documentary series on ESPN.  Not all of them worked (the fantasy baseball one was nearly unwatchable) but for the most part they nailed it.  The SMU football program, the Esteban soccer one, the race car driver with AIDS (sorry, can't recall his name off the top of my head), and especially (for me) the Len Bias one which - while picking at old Celtic wounds - brought the tragedy to a much more personal level.

I debated even writing this entry since my movie watching habits are a year behind everyone else.  I don't enjoy going to the theater much due to annoying and/or obnoxious people so Netflix has become my movie land.

I reconsidered for what has become my single favorite movie of 2010, however.  Since most of you have probably never heard of it, I wanted to pass it along in the hopes I could convince one of you to check it out.  You can even watch it online if you have Netflix subscription.

Let's get to it.

SINGLE MOST ENTERTAINING MOVIE OF THE YEAR


The Good, The Bad, The Weird:  This Korean homage (the H is silent) to the spaghetti westerns is the most fun I've had watching a movie all year.  Paced like lightning, frequently hilarious, with exhilarating, over the top (do those guns ever run out of bullets?) action sequences and culminating in a chase straight out of a Mad Max movie. Just when I thought it couldn't get any more insane, the Japanese army is introduced.  Do yourself a favor and watch the first 15 minutes of this movie.  If you enjoy the train scene you'll get a kick out of the rest of it, as well.  Even the final showdown between the three main characters contains a punch line that I loved.  My Christmas gift to you.


FUNNIEST MOVIE I'VE SEEN ALL YEAR


The Hangover:  See what I mean?  Everyone else saw this in 2009. I saw this in January, but it still holds the place for funniest goddamn flick I've seen all year.  Rewatchability is off the charts and could be the most quoted movie of our life times.

Runner up

Get Him to the Greek:  While it turns into a bro-mance during the last thirty minutes, the first hour is hilarious.  See it for Sean (P-Diddy) Combs coming out party.  Whenever he's on screen, he's the funniest character.  'Do you feel my dick fucking your mind?'


BIGGEST INJUSTICE


DayBreakers:  How this original, film noirish vampire movie gets over looked for the Twilight saga bullshit is something I'll never figure out.  Extremely violent (especially the spectacular, blood soaked finale) yet haunting and emotionally involving in a way most movies could only wish to be.


MOST REALISTIC


North Face:  The true story of two teams trapped on the North Face of Eiger Mountain while trying to become the first to conquer it.  If you've ever wanted to know the challenges and vigors of mountain climbing from the safety of your living room couch, this is the movie to see.


BEST ACTOR


Michael Sheen:  Not only nailing it in 'The Damned United' (see below), but brought cocky vulnerability and hidden insecurity to his portrayal of David Frost in 'Frost/Nixon'.

Runner up


Timothy Olyphant:  Starred in one of my favorite movies of the year ('The Crazies') and completely stole the show in 'A Perfect Getaway' with his rouge, deranged yet charming performance as a possible serial killer hiking the Hawaiian outback.


BEST SPORTS MOVIE


The Damned United:  Micheal Sheen cements himself as one of the best actors on the globe with his portrayal of egotistical, out of control, selfish soccer coach Brian Clough.  I finally understand what is meant when people say 'a player's coach' because Clough is the exact opposite of that.


BEST MOVIE FROM BOOK


Shutter Island:  Completely absorbing even though I had read the book and knew the ending before hand.  Can't get any more complimentary than that.  Between this and 'The Departed' I think DeCaprio and Scorsese should only work with each other from now on.  And only film in the Boston area.  You're two for two, guys.  Why mess up a good thing?

Runner up

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo:  This Swedish adaptation of the best seller remains faithful to the book while cutting out 100 pages of bullshit.  The rare example of the movie being better.


BEST CAMEO


Bill Murray in 'ZombieLand': 'Just played nine holes on the Riviera.  Just walked in.  Nobody there'


BEST THRILLER


The Ghost Writer:  Starts off harmlessly enough before layering on suspicion after suspicion; building to a climax that is shocking, logical in it's own way and highly disturbing.  This would also win for best ending of the year.  The final shot is still with me.  One other note: that Ewan McGregor comes off as charming and likable as he does here should be further proof that George Lucas is a terrible director of actors.  He barely had a personality as young Obi Wan in those Star Wars movies.


BEST ANIMATED MOVIE


The Fantastic Mr Fox:  Hip, hilarious, intelligent and much more uplifting than the depressing 'Toy Story 3'. Honorable mention to 'How To Train Your Dragon' for the delirious flight sequences.


BEST ACTION MOVIE


Kick Ass:  Violent, funny revenge tale put over the top with the addition of a deranged father and daughter crime fighting duo.  The little girl is as coarse and vulgar as any character ever put to film.  Not for everyone, but I really enjoyed this.


BEST SCENE


500 Days of Summer:  The scene after our male 'hero' exits his apartment after having sex with Summer for the first time.  He gets knowing looks from other women, high fives from random passing men, before the entire city around him breaks into dance routine.  Magic!


MOST DISTURBING


Waltz With Bashir:  While this was great movie making, it's hard to recommend it as required viewing.  It's sort of a documentary, but animated as many of the interviewees didn't want to be shown on camera.  The story involves the narrator trying to figure out why he's lost some memories of war.  The answer is not for the faint of heart (or stomach) and the animated style does nothing to ease the trauma.


WORST PLOT TWIST


Orphan:  Little girl adopted by upper class, annoyingly self centered family gets more than they bargained for when it turns out the 'little girl' is actually 35 years old.  See she suffers from 'dwarphism' so she looks little which doesn't explain why she likes pretending she's 12 and killing people.  Would have been more interesting if she was actually a psychopathic 12 year old.


MOST VIOLENT


Dead Snow:  Nazi zombies come back from the dead (uh...undead?) after their gold is stolen. Decapitations and intestines galore, but it's approached with humor and some legitimate suspense.  Not great, but if you're a horror fan, you'll enjoy this.


SCARIEST


The Orphanage:  You'll never view a game of 'red light - green light' the same way again.

Runner up

Paranormal Activity:  Legitimate frights (esp the footsteps in the talcum powder) as a couple records some strange activity in their house.  Once again, however, the alternate ending works better than the one released in theaters.


and finally....

SINGLE WORST MOVIE I'VE SEEN THIS YEAR


Knowing:  Nick Cage proves he will literally do anything for a buck by starring in this confusing and pointless flick about either A: the end of the world or B: aliens saving the human race.  Both movies suck.

Hope everyone enjoys their New Year's and got everything they wanted for Christmas.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

2010 In Review - Television

One of my favorite shows this year came at the very end and proves - once and for all - that the DVR could be the greatest invention of our lifetimes. 

Here's how it happened.  I get an email from one of my old high school buddies who tells me that there is a new show beginning that is based on one of his favorite comic book series.  Now, granted, this isn't a ringing endorsement for me, but I set the DVR and figured I could take it off if the show didn't do it for me. 

Bang.  I was hooked from the first 10 minutes. 

Television seems to be getting better and better lately.  I dare say the there are more quality television shows than there are quality Hollywood movies.  Yeah, I went there. 

Ok, let's get to it.  I'm going to try to put the correct channel and time the show is on to get you to set your own DVRs but I have a hard time figuring out when things are on.  I usually just hit 'My Recordings' and select the show I want to watch.  It really makes life so much more enjoyable. 

BEST OF THE BEST

The Walking Dead (AMC, Sunday 10pm):  This was the comic book show my friend alerted me to and I will be forever in his debt.  Sadly, there were only 6 episodes in the opening season but that also makes it easy for you to catch up on.  Maybe Hulu has the episodes? Yes, it's gory and there is one scene that is easily the most disgusting series of events (it involves masking human scent with zombie) ever put on television but it's the characters and acting that put this over the top.  The season finale had me rooting for the survival of characters I didn't even know I cared about.  Kudos to everyone involved in this violent masterpiece. 


The Good Wife (CBS, Tuesday 10pm):  I've written enough about this here already, so just friggin' watch it, will ya?  Each episode perfectly balances a stand alone court room trial with the ongoing ripple effects of a father/husband political scandal on every member of a family.  Last week's death trial episode is a great example:  how the decision of the trial changes the religious life of the daughter.  Interesting, too, that this is the first drama I can remember that has characters feeling apprehensive about religion.  Intelligent, funny, superbly directed, must see.

 
Modern Family (ABC, Wednesday 9pm):  I mentioned this to several people who all say the same thing: 'I don't watch it regularly, but when I do it's really funny'.  Well, watch it regularly then.  Why deprive yourself of the funniest show on network television since 'Seinfeld'? 


Community (NBC, Thursday 9pm):  While not as funny as the first season, this still provides plenty of laughs with pop culture references and satire riffing on all sorts of movies.  The episode where Troy and Abed built a fort, which becomes a college fad across the country is a highlight.  Although, frankly, the jokes come so rapid fire at times they can get lost unless you watch it again. 


30 Rock (NBC, Thursday 9:30pm):  Somehow this show keeps getting funnier.  To be fair, though, this could just be better with the subtraction of the god awful Julianne Moore character.  Twenty years ago, who would have ever predicted Alec Baldwin would be the funniest guy on TV.


Boardwalk Empire (HBO, Sunday 9pm):  I had my doubts after the series opener, but this show built on each previous episode like a mammoth feature film.  Stellar acting from everyone, story arcs that are engrossing, violence, sex (fairly certain every female in the show is naked at some point) and character turns that are shocking even if - in hindsight - we should have seen coming.  Special shout out to the actor portraying Al Capone who brings vulnerability, humanity and humor to one of the most notorious gangsters in history.  Also intriguing is how the show treats the quiet trauma of the recently ended war.  Back when nobody 'discussed' bad things, physically and emotionally scarred men litter the shadows of every corner. 


Terriers (FX, Wednesday 10pm):  An alcoholic ex-cop and his low life former criminal/now best friend, inadvertently become private investigators and slowly uncover an enormous land grab scandal that has yet to play out.  Unpredictable, often funny, always human and - at times - uncomfortably real.  Didn't realize how much I looked forward to watching this until FX was gone from Dish Network for a few weeks.  Thought maybe it had been cancelled or was a short run series and was very happy to have everyone back in my life. 


HONORABLE MENTIONS

Cougar Town (ABC, Wednesday 9:30pm):  I know, but it's actually sort of strange, ensemble comedy that has two to ten great laughs an episode.  The title has little to do with what the show is actually about as the men are what makes this show hilarious.   

Detroit 187 (NBC, Tuesday 10pm):  Standard police drama that took a huge leap forward it's last few episodes which address the racial scars left behind from the riots of the early 70s.

House (Fox, Monday 8pm):  I had my doubts when Cuddy and House became lovers and 13 disappeared without explanation or follow up, but I rather enjoyed the breaking in of newbie (Joan of Arcadia) and the dismantling of her 'always tell the truth' philosophy.

The Office (NBC, Thursday 9pm):  Agreed, it's nowhere near as good as it's greatest seasons, but it still provides laughs and the snowball fight episode was it's best in a long time. 


GUILTY PLEASURE

Jersey Shore (MTV, on constant rotation):  Watching scumbags, douchebags and tramps frollic around should never be this entertaining.  That I find myself actually liking a few of these people is a testament to how well this show is put together. 


WORST SHOW OF THE YEAR

Outsourced (NBC, Thursday 9:30pm):  Really, NBC?  I couldn't get past ten minutes of this disaster. 


MOST FRUSTRATING

The Event (NBC, no clue):  Made it through four episodes before ditching.  Confusing, slow moving despite the constant 'action' scenes and improbable escapes in nearly every episode.  If this conspiracy has been so effective for decades how can they not stop one 20 something moron from mucking up the works.  Just shoot him in the head already.  By the way, my theory was that group of people are time travelers from the future.  Thus they can't say anything to anyone for fear of messing up their own present.  Butterfly effect, if you will.  Fortunately, I don't care if I'm right or not.  I'll just take comfort knowing my theory is probably better than what is actually going on. 


JUSTICE SERVED

Lone Star:  Despite rave reviews and a non stop promotional campaign from Fox, the show was canceled after three episodes.  I caught the first one and was left unimpressed.  When you ask viewers to sympathize with a con man living separate lives you better make sure you cast the perfect actor for the part.  Flashing an 'aren't I good looking?' smile does not equal charisma. 


MIGHT BE TIME TO SAY GOODNIGHT

Bones (Fox, Thursday 8pm):  Still better than most shows out there and I'll keep watching, but the love triangle is tired and the charm of the relationships seems forced.  Every now and then an episode captures that old magic which just makes the other shows pale in comparison.

American Idol (Fox, every friggin' night for eternity):  Does anyone outside of Fox think this show can work without Simon?  He was the reality check and I sure as hell don't think Steven Tyler or Jennifer Lopez is willing to carry that torch for him.   My only hope is a sex scandal involving Tyler and/or Lopez and 15 contestants. 


MOST SCHIZOPHRENIC

V:  What started off as a disturbing, fast paced allegory about terrorism and civil rights quickly veered into camp during the second half of last season.  I knew things somehow went wrong when I was rooting for the aliens (esp that hot, blonde one) to finish off the annoying human rebels. 

With that, my friends, we head into a new 2011 year.  I'm guessing there will be some new shows that we'll be discussing next year.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

2010 In Review - Music

Another year has blown by.  Why does time seem to go quicker the older we get?  My eldest will be in middle school next year.  I don’t feel old enough to have a kid in middle school!  I’m certainly not mature enough. 

While I can’t stop the flow of time, I can revel in what it provides.  2010, if nothing else, gave us some great music.  I dare say it was one of the best years for tunes in a while. 

Without further ado, my favorite music from the year winding down.  These are in no order if you’re wondering.  I’m never that organized.

BEST OF THE BEST

Arcade Fire – The Suburbs:  When 2020 rolls around this will make many Best of the Decade lists.  I don’t care how many artists release great albums over the next ten years; it’s going to be nearly impossible to top this one.  A cohesive release from a band hitting their creative and musical stride.  Not a bad song to be found. 

Buy it for:  Just freakin' buy it already.  


The National – High Violet:  I’ve never been a huge fan of these guys until I heard ‘Bloodbuzz Ohio’ and Pacing the Cage posted one of their live videos on his blog.  Their earlier stuff was always a bit dull to my ears.  Not this one.  They still adopt a minimalist bent, but by no means is this boring.  They also provide the most wryly hilarious lyric of the year with ‘I’m a confident liar – I’ll have my head in the oven so you’ll know where I’ll be’. 

Buy it for:  ‘Bloodbuzz Ohio’

Keep it for:  ‘Little Faith’; ‘Conversation 16’; hell - take your pick…


Male Bonding – Year’s Not Long:  Raw, energetic, while being shockingly melodic.  It sometimes seems the band is playing one song while the lead singer is singing another.  Somehow the pieces fit together in a fun, 1990 college radio way.  Yes, that’s a compliment. 

Buy it for:  ‘Crooked Scene’

Keep it for:  ‘All Things This Way’; ‘Weird Feelings’


Bad Religion – The Dissent of Man:  The veteran punk band comes back to show this generation’s young posers exactly how it’s done.  The energy and sound has barely changed, which, in this case is a very good thing. 

Buy it for:  ‘Turn Your Back On Me’

Keep it for:  ‘Devil in Stitches’; ‘I Won’t Say Anything’, ‘Ad Hominem’


Black Mountain – Wilderness Heart:  Shades of classic Black Sabbath, Cream and a host of other classic rock bands influence – but never over shadow - this release.  There is something inherently sexy about a woman’s voice singing over hard charging, aggressive rock music.  I have no idea what the co-lead singer looks like, but I’m in love. 

Buy it for:  ‘Let Spirits Ride’

Keep it for:  ‘The Hair Song’; ‘Old Fangs; ‘Buried by the Blues’


The Black Keys – Brothers:  Yet, another old fashioned, yet never stale, rock/blues hybrid from a bad that deserves more recognition then they are receiving.  Considering the already impressive amount of quality music these guys have put out it is well past time to pay attention. 

Buy it for:  ‘I’m Not The One’

Keep it for:  ‘Everlasting Light’; ‘Tighten Up’; ‘Howlin’ For You’


The Black Pacific – The Black Pacific:  Black is apparently the color for 2010.  I have no information on these guys or where they came from.   I can only tell you they tear through their instruments like Metallica while singing like Smash Mouth.  On paper it sounds strange; to my ears it sounds like nirvana. 

Buy it for:  ‘The System’

Keep…   At your own risk. 


These New Puritans – Hidden:  Beautiful, haunting, slightly deranged, and could be the start of a beautiful relationship between us.   While I’m no musical expert, I keep being drawn back to this over and over.  It could be the soundtrack to my dreams if I ever remembered them. 

Buy it for:  ‘Attack Music’

Keep it for:  ‘Orion’; ‘Canticle’; ‘We Want War’


Two Door Cinema Club – Tourist History:  Take a large scoop of Phoenix, add a dash of Vampire Weekend, sprinkle in some Bloc Party and you have created a heaping pile of toe tapping, addictive awesomeness.

Buy it for:  ‘Cigarettes in the Theatre’

Keep it for:  ‘Undercover Martyn’; ‘I Can Talk’; ‘What You Know’


Ray Wylie Hubbard – A: Enlightenment B. Endarkment…:  More rock then country but more blues than rock.  Whatever the fuck you want to call it, just know it’s a musician forging his own damaged legacy as we listen and enjoy. 

Buy it for:  The same reason you will listen to it over and over - every song on here. 


Menomena- Mines:  Quirky, off beat, yet highly accessible.  What I would imagine The National would have been if they injested massive doses of LSD. 

Buy it for:  ‘Queen Black Acid’

Keep it for:  ’Intil’; ‘Killemall’; ‘Five Little Rooms’


Killing Joke – Absolute Dissent:  Classic, metal rock sound that adds moodiness and some electronic elements while retaining an angry edge.  I just picked this up last week and can’t stop listening to it.

Buy it for:  ‘Endgame’

Keep it for:  ‘Honour The Fire’; ‘Here Comes The Singularity’; ‘The Great Cull’


The Flatliners – The Calming Collection:  This has been on constant rotation since I bought it back in June.  Nothing fancy here – just straight ahead rock and roll from Canadians who seem much too angry to actually be from Canada.  Don't be fooled by the title, there is nothing calming about this.  For adrenaline junkies only. 

Buy it for:  ‘Count Your Bruises’

Keep it for:  ‘New Year’s Resolutions’; ‘He Was A Jazzman’; ‘Monumental’


HONORABLE MENTION

Local Natives - Gorilla Manor:  Indy rock at it's finest.  A bit rough in spots, but can't wait to see what they do next.  

Citay - Dream Get Together:  A modern take on Fleetwood Mac laced with trippy California feel good vibes.  

A Day To Remember - What Separates Me From You:  Whoever fucked these guys up should be very afraid.  Combines hard core metal with pop punk with surprisingly strong results.  

Fang Island - Fang Island:  Instrumentally, these guys kick some ass while trying to make themselves accessible to the masses.  

Far - At Night We Live:  Veteran band that influenced Thursday and Blink 182 (among others) returns to prove age doesn't matter if you're still pissed off at the world.  Also contains the best cover of the year.  

Guster - Easy Wonderful:  Another band that gets little fan fare despite their consistently strong body of work. 

Fitz and The Tantrums - Pickin' Up The Pieces:  Throw back to the Motown days with modern sensibilities to give it that push towards originality. 


BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT

Kings of Leon - Come Around Sundown:  Why does this always happen?  A band hits it big with a song then tries to recreate that same song over and over again in a lame attempt to recapture that magic.  Of all bands, I thought for sure the Kings of Leon would avoid that trap.  Sadly, no.  Even they can't escape their own success.  


STRANGEST ATTEMPT AT HITTING IT BIG

Stone Sour - Audio Secrecy:  Slipknot members without their masks as far as I can tell.  What amazes me is they nearly pull this off.  'Say You'll Haunt Me', 'Unfinished' and 'The Bitter End' kick ass.  But missteps like 'Hesitate' where they explore their sensitive, power ballad side sound forced.  Not terrible by any means, but they should stick with what they do best.  


BIGGEST SURPRISE

Idlewild - Post Electric Blues:  I had completely given up on this band after they ditched what made them great ('The Remote Part' is still one of my favorite albums of all time) and tried to jump into the mainstream.  Members have left and others added and they turned offensively bland.  So imagine my surprise when they emerge with yet another new lineup and crank out their strongest material in nearly a decade.  Welcome back.  


SINGLE WORST SONG I'VE HEARD THIS YEAR

Owl City - Fireflies:  For the life of me, I can't figure out how songs like this get constant radio play.  I hate this song with everything I am and will ever be.  If someone ever figures out time travel, I will risk my life to go back in time and stop this song from ever being recorded.  


BEST DISCOVERY

Legalsounds.com:  A strictly MP3 download site that charges about a buck an album and takes power away from iTunes.  It's a bit cluttered (although a recent upgrade has made things much more pleasant) and you need to know what you're looking for, but it's constantly adding to the library.  Even better the site will track your purchases so if you ever have your hard drive wiped out you can go back, login and re-download all the music you've bought through them.  How has iTunes never considered this?  Once again, a simple, convenient, customer friendly aspect from a competitor makes me realize how suck ass Apple really is.  

Sadly, I'm sure I missed something.  It happens every year.  I hit that Publish Post button and immediately realized I forgot a great album.  Apologies in advance.  


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Slacker!

Allow me to make the joke for you:

This blog should be renamed ‘BeachBum’s Occasional Diversions’.

Sorry, but I’ve been busy! Not only is work picking up at the exact time of year when things are supposed to slow down, but I’ve been bettering myself through education. I’ve been taking some classes in an attempt to get certified for some technical mumbo jumbo bullshit (what’s that acronym? STMJBS?)

Luckily for you loyal readers (all three of you), I have time to jot down some notes today.


- Let’s start with the news I’m MOST excited about: A certain Adrian Gonzalez becoming part of Red Sox Nation! Theo and company have been after him for years and finally managed a deal with the Padres to get him to Boston. While I’m confused why it suddenly only took 3 prospects to finalize the trade after all this time (what changed with the Padres?) and I spent Sunday bemoaning the rumors that the deal might fall apart at the last minute (ala Mark Tiexeira), I haven’t been this thrilled with a Red Sox move since….

…well, I can’t remember when. When we first signed Manny? Let’s go with that.

Spring training can’t come soon enough!


- I’m also riding high off the Patriots utter destruction of a supposedly championship caliber Jets team. Neither Sanchez’ nor Rex Ryan’s finest hour last night. I always enjoy watching big mouths get slapped around. That it was the Pats doing the bitch slapping made it that much more enjoyable.

I watched some of the pre game hubbub (how can ‘experts’ talk about one game for so long?) on ESPN and our local channel in Boston and became increasingly frustrated with most analysts view of the Patriots defense as one of the worst. Yes, statistically it is, but – and this is where these talking heads miss the bigger picture – this secondary is extremely young and has been playing much better as the season has progressed. With the secondary playing better, the front line is becoming more effective. So yes, the Pats do have a statistically awful defense up to this point, but they have improved week by week and not one person who spent all this time analyzing these two teams mentioned it.


- My crowning achievement this past weekend was scoring a PERFECT gift for Wifey. I give you the ColorNOOK. It’s one of those eReader things she’s been wanting for a while, only it has a web browser (so she can go on Facebook and tell everyone she got a new ColorNOOK), Pandora’s music service, and a number of free apps available from the Barnes and Noble site. That’s right, it’s more like an iPad than an eReader but it only costs half of what the iPad does ($250). Nothing puts a hop in your step than knowing you’ve picked out the exact right thing. And it wasn’t at the last minute for once! Will wonders never cease?


- Eldest son is asking for a cell phone for Christmas this year so tonight Wifey and I are heading to Verizon to see what sort of deal we can get. If we can score him a freebie while changing to a family plan, he’ll think we’re the greatest parents ever. And he’d be correct.


- There is also some controversy surrounding one of his other requests. He has ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops’ on his list and I initially told him he could remove it. I refuse to get a ten year old any game rated M. I allow T (for Teen) occasionally, but never an M game even though he insists on asking every time. Well, this weekend the new ads come in the Sunday Globe and he points out that the game for Xbox 360 is rated T. I check another ad and find it rated M for the Playstation. So what gives? Are there two different ratings for the same game? Does it depend on the system? Are they releasing an M and T rated version? I’m like my father finally: totally confused about what my son is asking for Christmas. Only took 43 years, but I made it.


- I’m considering a Droid. Either the HTC Incredible or the Droid X. Any advice out there on either of these? Currently using a Blackberry but the screen is beginning to flicker and flash.


- Just realized it’s December! Time to get cracking on my annual Year End Review. Unfortunately, I’ll be in DC for the next five days, so I may not have time to get to it until late next week. Stupid work.


- Rumor has it that the Red Sox offered Marino Rivera a three year deal. Can you imagine if they pulled that off?


- Thirty two year old Jason Werth gets a seven year, hundred billion dollar deal for two decent years in Philly? I’m officially putting all my retirement funds on getting my two boys into baseball full time. If I have to move to Texas, so be it.

By the way, this deal will look catastrophic in two years, never mind seven.


- I’ve been away from Saturday Night Live for a few years, but have returned thanks to my DVR. While I’ve only seen a few bits from previous seasons, I think I’m safe declaring this year an unmitigated disaster. Last week wasted Robert Deniro, Robin Williams, Ben Stiller, and an hour of my life. There are sparks here and there, but mostly the skits are dreadful. What the fuck is going on?


- Want another reason to push your boys into baseball? Check out these pics from Big Papi’s charity golf tournament in the Dominican Republic. The first ten in particular show the wives of Papi, Pedroia and Darnell McDonald. I have only two words: Holy shit!


- Apparently WikiLeaks is causing world wide panic with all these confidential documents they’re posting on their site. While I can understand some concern, shouldn’t governments be required to operate with transparency? Democratic countries in particular have a duty to let their citizens know what they’re up to, right? We elected them, we pay their salaries.

Besides, why are they so upset that it’s leaked that Obama was pissed at certain countries because they still fund terrorist organizations or aren’t helping out? Don’t we want to know that stuff? If anything, it makes me feel better that Obama and the U.S. is still working tirelessly to prevent another terrorist attack anywhere in the world. Seems most of this ‘confidential’ information is mostly common sense anyway.


- Put up the Christmas Tree over the weekend and had the boys decorate it. All the ornaments are clumped together from my chest level down. As it does every year, Wifey’s obsessive compulsive disorder took over and she rearranged them all so they’re perfectly organized. Nothing trumpets in the holiday season better than a woman raging against clutter.


- What in holy hell is going on with the Redskins? Shanahan comes in and openly questions Haynesworth conditioning. Things start off ok, but sour when Shanahan benches Donovan McNabb because he was out of shape.  As a reward for getting benched and being out of shape McNabb signs a five year, 70 million dollar extension.

Next Haynesworth doesn’t dress for a game. He says it was coach’s decision or illness depending on who you talked. Now Shanahan turns around and suspends Haynesworth for the rest of the season. Without pay!

If you take into account the way Shanahan left Denver, there has to be some serious appreciation given for his ability to submarine his own team. He did the same thing with Jake Plummer halfway through his last season there and named Jay Cutler starter. Things quickly went south for the team from there.

Putting Shanahan together with Haynesworth probably wasn’t a great idea no matter which way you spin it, but I’ll side with the coaches on this one. Some reports are saying that Haynesworth wasn’t sick but hungover on the Friday before practice which is why he was benched for Sunday’s game.

The only two things I know for certain: Shanahan will not win coach of the year and there will never be another 100 million dollar contract in NFL history.


- Tomorrow night is our company holiday party and you can expect many many many many beers to be consumed by yours truly. Last year there was more money left over than the company expected so a buddy and I ordered a few very expensive shots of whiskey that tasted wonderful. I should be rich. I certainly enjoy the lifestyle.

Until next time, friends. Not sure when that will be, but soon.


Today’s distraction: T-Mobile sponsored some singers to greet travelers at Heathrow International Airport. Further proof that life is better with music.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

NFL and Other Thoughts

Between Vince Young, the Pats squeaking one out against the Colts, and Brad Childress being fired much too late, the alternate working title for the NFL Postmortem this week would have been 'Drama Queens'.

-  Let's tackle Vince Young first (Get it?  Tackle?  Football?).  Here is VY's last season and a half.

Last season Young gets hurt, disappears, and the Titans put out an Amber Alert on him when he goes missing.  There is seemingly legitimate concern that Young could be suicidal.  He's found safe (although there is some confusion regarding whether he had a loaded gun with him) and he later comments to the papers that he was never suicidal and doesn't know what the big deal is.

Over the summer, Young is the centerpiece of an ESPN the Magazine article about how he's turned the corner, is relaxed and more centered than ever.  He celebrates his new 'centeredness' by brawling for seemingly no good reason with security guards or bouncers at a nightclub (or something).  All of this is caught on film.

Now Sunday arrives and Young, in what seems like an angry tirade, throws his jersey (and possibly shoulder pads) into the crowd after being booed by his home fans and being told he wouldn't be re-entering the game by Jeff Fisher.  Young explains that he was simply handing his jersey to the daughter of a Titans' executive but that hardly meshes with his post game tirade to Fisher when he reportedly walks out on his team and his coach.

And, conveniently, of course, he is now out for the remainder of the season because he needs thumb surgery.

Look, I can't claim to know what Vince Young is like, but all evidence points to him being one of the following:

A:  Severely immature
B:  Pampered since the day he was born
C:  Battling some intense emotional issues that have yet to be addressed
D:  All of the above

If the Titans are smart, they get Young into counselling and make him keep at it until next season starts.  Whatever is going on there needs to be addressed before things spiral out of control.  Maybe Young will refuse, but let's hope he views this as an opportunity rather than an insult.

-  Brad Childress finally paid the ultimate price for riding the coat tails of an aging, egotistical, deluded, interception happy quarterback.  Frankly, this is way over due.  When anyone creates sympathy for Randy Moss (and, yes, Childress handled that terribly considering what Favre puts him through) there is a serious problem.

-  Two of my proudest moments of the football season occurred this past weekend.  I stuck with Ryan Fitzpatrick over Kyle Orton in fantasy and - in a packed bar no less - called the Peyton Manning game ending interception just before it happened.  Love looking smart because it happens so infrequently.

-  Do the Manning brothers practice that 'What the fuck just happened?' shrug?  You know that two arms out  and hands up when they've just thrown an interception?  Is it hereditary?  Anyone know if Archie Manning did it during his playing days?  Was glad to see the Peyton 'unsnap the helmet in disgust' move return Sunday, as well.  Always enjoy that.

-  When you are a parent all sense of self worth and ego are destroyed as soon as your child learns to speak. My youngest son comes up to me, pats my belly and says 'You need to go back to the gym, daddy'.  Fuckin' kids!

-  He is correct, however, as I have been slacking since I broke my toes back in August.  Nowhere near what I was a few years ago, but I'm taking this long Thanksgiving break to get my ass back in gear.  Ass, you have been warned.  You, too, gut.

-  My oldest son wants one thing and one thing only this Christmas:  A cell phone.  Wifey and I have been going back and forth about this since his birthday in June when he asked for the same thing.  He's 10 years old going on 20, so I think he'll be responsible enough with it, I just don't want to spend a fortune on something that he'll probably lose or break before he turns 11.

-  I am in a pickle - a conundrum even - about what to do with Miles Austin.  On one hand he's been putting up decent numbers with Kitna.  On the other he caught 2 passes for a grand total of 7 yards against Detroit, but both were touchdowns.  He's no longer the prime deep threat with Dez Bryant's coming out party still in full swing.  Still, how do I justify starting Austin when he's been targeted only five times in the past two weeks?  It's feast of famine with him, I guess.

-  Can we all agree that Philly is the best team in the NFC?  I actually think they may be the best team in the entire NFL.  They can run, pass, improvise with Vick, and play defense with the best of them.  Going to be tough to take them down.  Good thing Andy Reid is still there to blow the next playoff game.

-  Hey, you think the new Vikings coach will give the ball to Adrian Peterson more often?  Maybe taking the ball out of Favre's hands and putting it into Peterson's would be a good idea.

-  Would it surprise anyone if Favre suddenly went on a tear and didn't throw another interception for the rest of the year?  It's no secret he didn't like Childress, so maybe his play this year was a perverted way to get rid of him.  Nah, chances are Favre just sucks.

-  I would like to thank Apple for once again completely fucking me over with iTunes.  I changed computers because my last one shit the bed.  Since I couldn't 'deauthorize' the iTunesiPod dies, I'm not getting another one.  I'm getting a standard MP3 player and getting out from Apple's thumb for good.  Fuck you, Jobs!

-  Why is everyone so up in arms about this airport security?  I've gone through one of those body scanners with no hesitation and no ill effects.  In fact I got a lovely smile from the female attendant.  For those of you who feel violated or ashamed take the fucking train or drive.  Just don't fly.  This way you won't feel uncomfortable and I won't have pissy people in my way.  It's win - win.

I have a feeling this is - once again - a small but vocal minority making waves about an issue the rest of us couldn't give two shits about.  But, if by some twist of fate, these people really are against this and need to fly, I have a suggestion.  One airplane per day, in every airport around the country will have absolutely no security screening at all.  Just walking through the metal detectors is the extent of it.  No pat downs, no body scans, no back ground checks.

If these people really don't want to deal with the aggravation they can join all the other people on that plane.  I wonder how many would actually get on that plane.

I, for one, just want to go where I need to without worrying about getting blown out of the sky.  For that, I will gladly stand still for 5 seconds to confirm the size of my junk and that I have no explosives shoved up my ass.

-  I've recently switched over to using Google Chrome for my web browser and can't praise it enough.  It's faster, more stable and cleaner than Internet Explorer (which seems to crash on nearly every site I visit now).  How can Microsoft screw up something as simple as web browsing?

-  Word is it the Tigers are going to sign Victor Martinez.  You know what?  I could care less.  He seemed like a decent enough guy and was ok with the bat, but why would you sign a catcher that can't throw any runners out and goes through long slumps throughout the season?  Be curious to see how much he soaked Detroit for.  No big loss for the Sox here.

-  While we're on the subject, anyone else excited to see the Yankees over pay for Cliff Lee?  Should be happening any minute now.

-  Apparently, Joe Paterno is going to coach until he dies in the middle of a game.  My question is who has been waiting in the wings for Papa Joe to finally retire only to be sitting in the same spot for the past 70 years. That has to be frustrating.


Let's wrap this up with some Thanksgiving wishes:

DA, continue on your path to happiness and don't let that new number you arrive at tomorrow bother you.  You still look fab, I'm sure.

Jum, here's hoping the Jayhawks rebound from the dismal showing in last year's March Madness.  That and the Chiefs fire Todd Haley so you can enjoy a live NFL playoff game this season.

10 and wife, cram in as much sleep and sex as you can before your new family member arrives.

Bigs, with Childress gone I can now only hope Favre's arm comes flying off in a bloody, yet satisfying end to his bloated career.  Oh, and 2011 will be the year of the Twins.  I'm calling it now.

Trib, get back on the blogging bandwagon, will ya?  I'll have some new music to discuss next week, as well.

French, sorry dude, but the link to your dormant blog comes down today.  When you hit nearly a year without a new entry, you've depleted even my false sense of hope.  Hope things are well.

AR, I'll be getting that new music to you as soon as I can.  Promise!!!

Everyone else, thanks for reading and have a great weekend.  Rest assured I'll be drunk more than half the time.  That's what happens when I spend a lot of time with family.

Today's distraction:  Allow me to introduce you to DESTRUTOTRUCK!!!!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Booby Trapped

Here is how the computer situation works in my house:

I get a new computer from work - usually a laptop.  My old laptop filters down to Wifey who - by this point - is in dire need of an upgrade.  In this case her old laptop, which was my old OLD laptop, was so excruciatingly slow I would scream at it in frustration.

Enter my current new laptop with Windows 7 and lightning fast speed.  Exit my old one.  Since I'm handy with technical gizmos, I managed to get Windows 7 on my old one and it's running fabulously.  Everyone is happy.

But, as is often the case, nothing is ever simple.  In this particular case Wifey has approximately two billion digital pictures on her old one that needed to be transferred.   This project was also hampered by Wifey's inability to answer seeming simple questions.  For example 'Well, where are the pictures on the old laptop?'

'I dunno, I just open up the Kodak software and there they are!'

I should point out that Wifey tends to get defensive about things she doesn't know.  As if my simply asking the question is an accusation.  Keep this in mind later in this story.

Off I go searching for the photos.  For a while she had me convinced they were actually incorporated into the Kodak software. 'Wait, did you put them on the internet?  Maybe you just need to login to the Kodak site and they'll be available to you again?'

'Maybe, I don't remember.'

'Do you remember uploading them?'

'No, I didn't put them on the internet because you told me never to do that.'

Note:  I tell her not to put pictures up on Facebook as well, but she throws things up there willy nilly.

Anyway, I spend a few minutes tracking down the pictures, plug in my USB drive to copy them and open up the folder in which they reside.  They're organized by date and equal about 4 gazillion gigabytes.  It might be time to buy her a server to hold all this shit.

I start the copy process and notice - much to my surprise and confusion - a pair of breasts staring me in the face. I double take, blink a few times, rub my eyes, open only to see the same two tits still there.  Yes, they are my wife's.  When you see a set of honkers every day for fifteen years, you know them like the back of your hand.

There was no doubt these were a picture of Wifey's boobs.  Besides, the necklace I gave her for Christmas a few years ago was plainly visible.

As you can imagine, several scenarios jump to mind.

Is she having an affair?  Was this taken for the boyfriend?

Was she attempting to send the pic to me?  She's not the most technological savvy person in the world so maybe she got stuck after the initial 'take the picture and get it on the computer' part?

Was this for medical reasons?

While the other photos copy I debate the wisdom of confronting her.  It is her laptop, after all and she doesn't take to questioning very well.  Besides, do I really want the answers to what I'm about to ask?

Fuck yeah, I do.

The copying finishes, I motion Wifey over and ask simply 'Uh?????' while pointing at her naked chest.

She turns bright red and exclaims 'Shit, I thought I had deleted that!' which really didn't help my frame of mind.  She continues to tell me that Oprah had a show on boobs (my words, not hers) and she suggested that every woman take a photo of their own tits so they can take a good look at them.  Wifey explained to me why this was suggested, but I was staring at bare breasts and only half understood what the point was.

Besides, Oprah, why a picture?  We have these things called mirrors and they've worked very well for centuries.  Not like women's breasts are on their backs!  If they were, men would invest more time into slow dancing.

Some lessons learned:

1:  Wifey will do anything Oprah tells her to do.  This frightens me more than the possibility of her having an affair with some strange, disease ridden dude.  I am now terrified that Oprah's last show will be a command for women to murder every man on the face of the planet.  Men, start taking up arms.

2:  My eldest son could have been traumatized off women forever if things went differently.  He had been sharing the laptop with Wifey for playing games online and could have very easily seen this picture.

3:  I have to admit, I was disappointed the picture wasn't for me.

4:  Wifey still has a nice rack even after two kids and 40 years on earth.

Sadly, I tried talking her into letting me use it for the background on my phone but she was having none of it.

Pity.


Today's distraction:  I just spent the last two days playing my way through this game.  It's called Blosics 2 and it will make the holiday slow season much more tolerable.

Enjoy your weekends.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Beer and Innovation

Last week, while enjoying some deliciously refreshing ice cold beer, a co worker and I had a debate about what we would consider the greatest inventions of our lifetimes.
 
I should point out that we are both over 40 so we decided to include anything invented since 1970.  Nice round number. 

You think that would be easy, right?  Oh, hell no.  The first item on the list provoked more passionate discussion than I would have ever thought.  I’ll leave that item until the end. 

Here is the list:

Personal Computer/Internet:  I argued that we need to include these two as one since each is so much more powerful than they ever would be alone.   Sure it’s great to have a computer to print things and create fancy pictures, but without the internet how much use would a PC really be?  I would say 70% of computer work now involves surfing the internet.  Be it for fun, research, software, or help with some problem, I – for one – am on the internet most of the time I’m on a computer.

The internet is self explanatory as it wouldn’t even exist if the personal computer didn’t come along first. 
I also think the internet will outlive the PC.  With the improvements in smart phones and faster wireless we’re already seeing laptops, Droids, iPads and whatever new gizmo being released next week take over the market share. 


Wireless Communication:  Ties into the item above and is making life so much more convenient.  I just bought a wireless keyboard/mouse combo (typing on it now), have wireless all over my house and have tied into more free (and pay for) wireless hotspots than I care to admit.  Cables be gone!!


GPS:  Some of the people didn’t agree with this one, but I can attest that once you get a GPS unit and it saves you from driving all over hell and back just once, you’ll be sold.  This is especially true in the Boston area. 


Hybrid Technology/Electric Car:  My buddy offered the Hybrid engines as an option, which resulted in an electric car fanatic piping up and arguing that since the electric car came first and ushered in the Hybrid age it should get top billing.  He rattled off stories and facts and I tuned his pompous ass out after a while, but he made a good point even if I don’t know how accurate he was.  I’ll just put them both together to avoid offending any hippies reading.   Hippies can read, right?


Foamy Soap:  My innocent little ‘I love foamy soap; has to be the best invention of my lifetime’ upon returning from the men’s room is what kicked off this ridiculous conversation.  I stand by that statement however.  Leaves no slimy residue after rinsing and actually decreases water use since it washes right off and – as my sons have proven – you don’t even need to water up before you lather.  Really, what’s better than this?


DVR:  This device has become so incorporated into my life that I don’t even know when shows are on any more.  I just hit the ‘My Programs’ button and see what’s waiting for me.  If you can record two programs at once, even better.  Especially since my two favorite shows (Good Wife and Detroit 187) are on at the same time.  It also allows me to keep up with programs I normally wouldn’t stay up for or Wifey doesn’t want to sit through with me.  Like ‘The Walking Dead’ or ‘Boardwalk Empire’.  I love you, DVR.  More than you’ll ever know (because you’re an inanimate object).


HDTV:  I remember back when MTV still played music Aerosmith played an unplugged concert and proudly announced that they were broadcasting the performance in High Definition.  Unfortunately, no sets back then were equipped to see HD transmissions so the technology was met with a collective shrug. 

No longer.  Now every sporting event and television show is HD and it is – quite simply – spectacular.  To the point that going to actual game pales with staying in your warm (or air conditioned) home while drinking cheap, ice cold beer.


And now for the most controversial item on the list. 

Cell Phone:  Granted this is one fancy and time saving device.  Frankly, not one of us can imagine life without one.  With the advancements in smartphones, they’re becoming even more indispensable.  But, one gentleman argued and it is an argument I agree with, they are also creating a generation that is having trouble communicating or showing proper manners in general society.  There is a girl at work who brings her phone to lunch, sits at our table, and spends half her time texting her boyfriend rather than taking part in the conversation. 

Not only do I find it annoying, it’s disrespectful to everyone around her.   On more than one occasion she has focused her attention on her phone in the middle of someone talking to her.  Fucking RUDE!

This doesn’t even take into account the obnoxiously loud talkers or the ones the refuse to end an obviously inane conversation while ordering a coffee or those that set their ring tones at top volume with an annoying song or…..

…yeah, I could go on, but I’ll stop there. 

   Or, more accurately, the cell phone itself is a great invention, it’s just that people are stupid and suck in general. 


Today’s distraction:  A very cool art project that is also promoting sea life.  I find some of these disturbing and wonder if that’s the point. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Week 10 Postmortem

I got my ass handed to me in a variety of ways yesterday. 

Both my fantasy teams are in the process of getting crushed.  Again!

I’m in an office pool in which all we need to do is pick the winners of each game.  The spread isn’t even involved.  I got so killed in it yesterday that I dropped from 5th to 15th place in one day.  I even picked against the Pats thinking they had been exposed in Cleveland last weekend. 

Thought the Vikings would manhandle the Bears.

Thought the Titans would kill the Dolphins.

Thought the Cowboys would continue quitting on the season.

Thought Denver sucking would be verified against the Chiefs.  This was doubly troubling as I had Orton sitting 
on my fantasy bench while watching him throw 3 touchdowns in the first quarter. 

Thought for sure Detroit was going to end their road losing streak against the Bills.

Thought Seattle on the road was the easiest team to pick against the entire day. 

So what did I learn yesterday?   Frankly, I’m not entirely sure.  Let’s run through it and see what we come up with. 

-  If ever there was a statement game, the Patriots shoving 39 points up the Steelers’ collective arses would certainly be the one.  Even I was shocked how easily Brady picked apart that defense.  So the question now is:  Have the Pats set the table on how to beat this Pittsburgh team?  Or was this just a bad week?

What was learned:  Wes Welker can be productive without a deep threat on the same team and someone should have played Gronkowski at tight end on their fantasy team. 


-  I was torn watching the Bills – Lions game.  On one side the Bills deserved a win.  On the other, is this Lions team really deserving of the longest road losing streak in NFL history?

What was learned:  Calvin Johnson may be the best receiver in the game right now and Fitzpatrick won’t put up very good numbers when his running back does what he wants against a porous defense.  Something I really should have known before playing him. 


-  Bears 27 – Vikings 13. 

What was learned:  Several things –

1:  Peterson would be in the running for MVP if Favre wasn’t killing his chances with his LVP performance.

2:  The Bears have to be the worst 6 – 3 team in NFL history.  There is no close second place. 

3:  If ever a look summed up an entire season, it was Mike Martz’s reaction to Cutler throwing in interception in the end zone.  See if you can look it up on Youtube and have a good laugh.  You’re welcome. 

4:  The Vikings have officially quit on Childress.

5:  Cutler is still terrible.  He’s a younger version of the current incarnation of Brett Favre.


-  How in holy hell did Santonio Holmes break free for the game winning touchdown against the Browns?  How? There was only 16 seconds left before a stupid tie became official and the Browns secondary totally botched the coverage and tackle.  Mangini has to be disgusted in how that ended. 

What was learned:  Not much, really.  Sanchez still has moments of greatness followed by moments of suckitude that makes you wonder if he’ll ever put it together. 


-  Watched the ending of the Jaguars – Texans and had to keep rewinding it to watch it over and over.  Just fantastic. 

What was learned:  That even when Houston’s secondary makes the perfect play it will still result in a touchdown for the opposition. 


-  Is there something with the Miami grass that needs to be addressed?  Not one but two of the Dolphin quarterbacks were seemingly lost to season ending injuries in the same game.  And they finally won their first home game all season.  Are there toxins floating around?  Should someone perform an exorcism?

What was learned:  Nothing!  Still can’t figure either one of these teams out. 


-  Not only have I revoked my Coach of the Year nomination for Todd Haley, but I am now convinced he’s trying to destroy his own team.  Two weeks after totally nearly 250 yards, Jamaal Charles has been given a total of 24 carries over two games.  How does this make sense in any universe?  90 percent of the time Charles touches the ball, something good happens. 

This trend was particularly annoying when the Chiefs had a first down and about 2 yards to go for a touchdown.  So, let’s do the math here. 

Two yards to go.  Four tries to get there.  You own the top ranked run offense in the entire NFL (or did until recently).  You are playing the second worst run defense in the entire NFL.  You also possess one of the most dynamic and difficult to tackle runners.  What would you do?

Thomas Jones run for no gain.  Another Thomas Jones run for no gain.  Here’s where I think ‘They’ll put Charles in now to finish this off’.  Nope, incomplete pass attempt from the half yard line (you really have to see this play call to see how ridiculous it was.  Cassel was half a foot from the goal line when he let go of the ball).

Now HERE is where Charles comes in, right?  Going for it on fourth down?  Nope, they go for it with some dude named Battle.  Stuffed at the goal line. 

What we learned:  The Chiefs are regressing at a shocking rate and may not win another game this season unless Haley and his staff stop getting fancy and just go with what works.  This is a perfect example of statistics not telling the entire story.  Cassel – by all indications – had a great day on the score sheet.  But he looked terrible a lot of the time; missing open receivers, taking bad sacks at the worst time.  Granted a lot of this was dictated by the lopsided score, but it’s tough to win when you force throws and go away from your strengths. 


-  Considering how the rest of the day was going, it sure looked like the Bengals were going to test the Colts.  Then Carson Palmer remembered who he was.

What was learned:  Other that if you are depending on Pierre Garcon for fantasy production in any way, you are truly fucked, not much. 


-  Was Dallas whooping the Giants a collective ‘Fuck You’ to Wade Phillips?  I say yes. 

What was learned:  Dallas can actually try and Dez Bryant is going to be a beast next season. 


Fantasy aside:  My five receivers are Danny Amendola, Steve Johnson, Miles Austin, Pierre Garcon and Lance Moore.  Since we use a flex spot (RB or WR), I can use three of them at one time.  Here’s the crazy thing:  At the start of the year I thought I was in good shape with Austin and Garcon as my every week starters.  Now I’m seriously considering Amendola and Johnson as my guys.  Garcon has had one good game all year and Austin has been useless since week 4.  He had good numbers yesterday, but only because he caught a touchdown.  Otherwise he was only thrown to twice all game.  

Would anyone have thought that Steve Johnson and Danny (aka WHO??!!) Amendola would be more viable fantasy options than Garcon and Austin?  This just proves fantasy if gambling in its truest form.  Nobody can predict anything.   


-  Don’t look now but San Fran is 3 – 6, in a shitty division that is still wide open and could legitimately pull a playoff spot out of their asses before everything settles down. 

What we learned:  Since we all knew the NFC West was a shit division, nothing at all. 


Stat of the Week:  If the season ended today, the 7 – 2 Patriots would travel to Oakland to play the 5 – 4 Raiders in the first round of the playoffs. 

Today’s distraction:  Random, strange shots from Google Streets.  Somehow the Volkswagen Bus burning in the street is poetic.  

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Catchup or Katsup?

Apologies for my lack of entries.  There are several factors for why I haven't had much time to write.  Shall we count the ways?  Oh, we fucking shall, my friends.

1:  I've been sick as a dog since last Thursday.  Not sure if it's old age or more potent viruses (I say the latter), but colds and flu's just don't go away like they used to.  Normally I would be fully recovered after 2 or 3 days.  Lately it's been 4 or 5 or 6 days before I start feeling normal* again.

* Normal in this case involves normal for me.  Not normal for the rest of the human population.

2:  Since it's near the end of the year, but before the start of the holiday season, work has been kicking my ass up and down the corridors of my office.  Seriously, why does everything suddenly need to be completed in less than 24 hours?  What happened that everything needs to be done in warp speed?

I know the answer to that, by the way:  Email.  Since everyone has adopted email and Blackberries/iPhones/Droids your company and friends now expect to be in constant communication with you at ALL FUCKING TIMES!  Have you ever waited to respond to a text from a friend for more than an hour?  They act like you've slapped their mother in front of the rest of their family.  Nothing personal, friends, I just can't be at your beckoning 24 hours a day.

3:  Our furnace suddenly started vomiting ink black smoke into our house and out of our chimney.  Our house looked like a turn of the century factory until I turned off the heat.  Have you ever smelled burning oil?  It's not a good smell.  It makes you feel nauseous and toxic for days.  Since I have two children under the age of eleven, I thought it would be a good idea to get this fixed as soon as possible.

4:  We just refinanced our house at the ridiculously low rate of 4.3%.  We had done that five years ago at 5.8% and never thought we would get the rate low enough to make it worth our while.  Live and learn.  We wound up refinancing for 80 grand less than our house is worth, paid off our kitchen remodel loan AND have enough to pay off a few other things.

Like say a new furnace.

5:  Daylight savings time ended and - for reasons I can never explain - it takes me weeks to recover.  Yes, I know I gain an hour of sleep but I still lose energy and motivation for weeks following the change.  Maybe it's never seeing the sun or that fact that the temperature is 30 degrees colder than I've been used to for the past six months.  Perhaps it has nothing to do with DST and more to do with my annual winter depression.

Seriously, fuck winter.  I hate it.

Still, I always make time for my loyal readers.  Which reminds me, DA, we're over due for our monthly call.  Huh, that sounds strangely like a euphemism for pregnancy.  'My monthly call is over due, but don't tell anyone until I'm absolutely sure!'

Some random thoughts to carry you through.  Since I didn't have time for the Week 9 Postmortem, I'll include some football thoughts.

-  Last year my company replaced our CIO with some new, hip, cool, younger, highly educated CIO.  This new, hip, cool, younger, highly educated CIO just announced that he's outsourcing a majority of our department.  Well, fuck you, too.  Not sure how exactly this will affect me, but the signs aren't good.  Time to check out Monster and get my resume together.

-  Two Sundays ago Jamaal Charles combined for nearly 250 yards; most of those (180 or so) were rushing.  Heading into week nine against the 28th ranked rushing defense of the Oakland Raiders I thought to myself 'Holy shit!  Charles could top 200 yards on these guys!'  I was excited, I'll admit it.  What do the Chief coaches do?  They run plays for Charles 10 times.  Yeah, as in TEN.  Ten rushing attempts for the guy that went wild the week before.

Needless to say the Chiefs and my fantasy team went down in flames.  I officially revoke my Coach of the Year nomination for Todd Haley.  What's really frustrating is Charles still averaged over 5 yards a carry in the game.

-  My ten year old had basketball tryouts last Monday and Tuesday and - at the risk of sounding like an obnoxious, boastful parent - I couldn't have been more proud.  He aced all the drills, seemed to have fun and scored two baskets in the scrimmages.  Even better he spaced things out properly and didn't force any shots.  He had one that he held back because he was tightly guarded.

So what happens?  He doesn't make the team.  Which is fine.  It was his first time trying out and I had warned him that it's tough making it your first time.  Coaches don't really know you, you're running the try out drills the first time, etc.

What isn't fine is hearing who did make the team.  Including two boys who couldn't dribble to save their lives and another that shot the ball every single time he touched it.  I can't stress this enough, he shot (and shot it badly) every...single...time.  Including one moment where he was on the right wing at nearly NBA three point range.  If the ball hit his hands, he launched it.  I kept thinking of 'Seinfeld' and 'the chucker'.

You can say this is fatherly bias all you want, but his 10 year old friend who did make the team said to him the next weekend 'How did those guys make the team and you didn't?  Those guys are terrible!'  If a ten year old can see a problem with the team, why can't the coaches?

Because those kids were related to the coach.  That's why.  As I said to another mother 'If that's the case, why even have try outs?'

-  Wifey told ten year old he didn't make the team on Friday.  He was PISSED and seems to have inherited his father's passive aggressive tendencies.  He disappeared into the playroom to play XBox for a bit.  When he emerged an hour later he told me 'I was playing my war game and pretending all the people I was shooting were the coaches.'

Well then.

-  My biggest challenge as a father is holding back my own anger regarding injustices such as this.  I'm trying to install good sportsmanship into both my boys but it's difficult when you know things are unfair.  While I put a good face on the basketball try outs, I unleashed with Wifey as soon as they were in bed.  F-bombs were flying and things were very close to getting ugly.  Granted, it's just a sport, but he DESERVED to be on that team.  I'll get over it soon.  Promise.

-  Can't say I'm terribly surprised the Patriots lost to Cleveland.  Seems like they've been winning with smoke and mirrors.

-  I'm currently 1 - 1 with Ryan Fitzpatrick as my starting QB.  I would have won last week if Pierre Garcon had more that 2 catches Sunday night.  What a joke.  Four different Colt receivers had at least ten catches.  FOUR!  The one guy I have on my fantasy team - the number two receiver on one of the most offensive minded teams in the NFL - had two.

-  On a gamble I started Jonathan Stewart thinking he would kick ass after his Week 8 lackluster performance.  In the first quarter he had 30 yards and I was looking like a genius.  Concussion, out for the rest of the game and this week.  Insert frown face here.

-  Text from my buddy on Sunday: 'Why do I play fantasy?  It's not fun.  I am not having fun'

-  If you haven't caught up on 'The Walking Dead' I strongly suggest you do.  Only two episodes in and it's already on my list of the best shows of the year.  Fair warning:  It's violent as hell but there is a method to it's madness.  Love the twist that there is some shadow of the person left in the zombies and many are begging to be killed (or re-killed as the case may be).

- I can't be the only one enjoying the Cowboy implosion, right?

- Would it be the ultimate F-You to the Yankees if the Red Sox managed to sign Derek Jeter away from them?  It would definitely top the Yanks signing Johnny Damon, that's for sure.  By a hundred fold.

That said, I wouldn't want him in Boston for the price they'd have to pay.

-  Cliff Lee may be another issue.  He's in his early thirties and conventional wisdom says you'll be over paying for his services for too many years.  However, someone like Lee who currently has no major health issues and keeps himself in very good shape could easily pitch until he's 40.  Right?  Would a five year deal at 20 million per be THAT much of a gamble?

- Prediction:  Papelbon will not be with the Red Sox in 2011.

Signing off for now.  Let's touch base later in the week, ok?


Today's distraction:  Dude makes his own Iron Man outfits and wears them around.  These are pretty cool, actually and, since my youngest went as War Machine on Halloween, this one is for him.