Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Brittany squared makes Glee awesome


Please don't pull out all my teeth - When I smile, I'll look like an adult baby with boobs.

I've been waiting for a Brittany-centric episode for almost a year now, and wow, it didn't disappoint. She had lines in practically every scene she was in, and all of them were great, like the one above. She's hilarious! She needs more air time!

"... Are you a cat?" "I would just like to say that from now on, I demand every solo in Glee club." "I'm more talented that all of you, I can see that clearly now. It's Brittany... bitch." "I fed the snake."

And obviously, from the photos, beyond being funny she is also... uh... a tremendous dancer. Obviously. Unlike some of the other past "theme" episodes Glee has done, I felt that they integrated the music in better, thanks to the dentist dream sequences. Spears also took part in the episode, but only two scenes, so it helped to establish that the episode had her "blessing," if you will.

One other random thought I had while watching about Brittany / Britney: She sure is tall. However, according to this site of celebrity heights, she's "only" 5'8". Maybe it's just that other people on the show are shorter? She's frequently seen next to Santana, who according to IMDB is three inches shorter, and Lea Michele (Rachel) is 5'2", and Dianna Agron (Quinn) is at 5'6".

However, on the negative side, I'll say that I am officially effed out on Will and Emma's thing. Whatever chance that had died to me when he showed up in that fancy car to impress her, and then his ex-wife got into a fight with him. (By the way, wtf? Where the heck did she come from?) Emma and Will getting back together just seems too implausible at this point, even for Glee. Please just give him a new girlfriend, creators.

Likewise, I don't care much for even more Rachel and Finn drama (even if she was incredibly hot in this episode), or Artie trying to win back Tina, because hey, Artie WAS a huge jerk to her. And by all accounts on the show, Mike Chang is a good guy (who just happens to have perfect abs).

He's also another character that could use his own episode, as opposed to obsessing so much over the Will-Emma, Tina-Artie and Rachel-Finn pairings. I need to see more about Mike Chang, Puck, Kurt's awesome dad Mike O'Malley, Principal Figgins and a baby-less Quinn. Let's give the mainstays of the show a bit of a rest.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Baggage Game - Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Welcome to The Baggage Game! As usual, you can find the video linked at the bottom of this entry. Unfortunately, the Excess Baggage for the show is down right now. Sorry!

Today's dater is Tracy, a business owner from Tuscon, Arizona, who looks like she has been cast in an adult movie as a schoolgirl. She's wearing a sort of gray vest with a white blouse, but a really short black skirt. Tracy looks a bit like a bustier, older Anna Kendrick. She wants an artistic guy "who can kiss good." Why, heavens! (Note: Tracy is really, really good looking, since Anna Kendrick is currently in my top three.)

Mark is the first candidate, and he's a financial planner from Houston, Texas. He loves music and road trips. He's looking for a girl with class in public, but a wild side behind closed doors. He kind of looks like that loser Jake from The Bachelor. Next up is Eric, a fitness trainer from New York City. He has really cool facial hair, and he looks like he could be a linebacker for the Giants. He's also a massage therapist, which gets an ooo from the crowd. Finally, we have Andrew, a social worker from Chicago. He's really, really normal looking and seems a bit timid, so I'm betting he's the "freak show" candidate for this game.

First Round

Mark: I own 250 pieces of hamburger memorabilia. (Jerry says, "That's a whopper.")
Eric: I used to be a stripper.
Andrew: I always use coupons on dates. (Jerry says, "I use coupons to buy prunes, but not dates.")


Mark's baggage is... weird, but not that unusual. Eric says he hung his G-string up a while ago, so if that was a female, that wouldn't bug me so much. Meanwhile, Tracy rightly points out that she doesn't know nice restaurants that accept coupons. I'm with her on this - a coupon on a date is just kind of tacky. Boo!

Second Round

Andrew: I'm a paying member of nine dating services.
Mark: I share a credit card with my former girlfriend.
Eric: I have a collection of stolen women's panties.


Well, there is the obvious "go home" here - Definitely the panties guy. That's just weird and freaky, dude. Overlooking this obviously horrible thing, the credit card thing would be the next-worrisome thing. And I'm confused as to how someone can be a member of NINE dating services. I'm on two, and neither cost any money.

Tracy hesitates for about half a second before eliminating the panties guy. You go girl! This turns out to be Eric the Stripper. He says it's "a nice, clean collection," and does explain that the girls left them behind at his house. This makes me wonder what kind of women he's "dating," if that's the proper term. I've never had any panties left at my place, ever.

Hot spot time! Mark's most treasured possession is his dog (which he shares with his ex, by the way, and hence the shared credit card), women like his charm, he won't have sex on the first date, and the strangest place he's had sex was the front yard of someone else's house. Andrew gets in the mood when his girlfriend cooks, he'd ask a genie for good health, he fantasizes about Megan Fox, he listens to a woman to make her feel special (Jerry says, "What's that like?"), and the wildest thing he's done in bed is take directions (???).

Final Elimination Round

Mark: I keep hundreds of nude photos from ex'es.
Andrew: I've gone to Russia three times to find a wife.
Eric (eliminated): I love drinking breast milk.


Wow - It would be awesome if Mark's ex-girlfriends were watching the show. He said it's mostly because they're from long distance relationships, which makes it worse to me. He sounds like a womanizer and sexual freak. Meanwhile, Andrew is on the other end of the spectrum. Even when he talks, he sounds nebbish and not confident with himself. No wonder he wants to settle down, like now, because I can't imagine he's had sex yet.

Given the baggage, I'd eliminate Mark, just because he's sleazy. Neither one of them seems like a great guy though, so I almost wonder if Tracy would rather have Eric the Stripper and Breast Milk Drinker back. She goes back and forth a bit on them, and rightly says about Andrew, "He seems so desperate that I think he'd settle for anybody." She then eliminates him, which makes sense to me. Tracy's baggage is one of these three things:

- I'm currently on parole.
- I'm a topless magician. (My guess, but not a strong guess.)
- I pushed a boyfriend's car off a cliff.


Tracy hasn't shown a ton of personality throughout the game, so I don't have a good read on what her baggage could be. Of these three, the parole thing would be the most worrisome, depending on what it's for. Drugs, or a third DUI? Ick. But if it's just some minor crime, then it would be game on. The topless magician thing would be weird, but meh, whatever! It's a living. And the car thing, I would just assume the guy was a dick.

Mark says he would be most concerned with the car off the cliff, because "I'm a big car guy." However, I bet it's because most of his relationships end badly. Her actual baggage is the topless magician thing though, which gets a loud cheer from the crowd. Of course, they have a picture of it, and she looks GREAT. Mark takes about half a second to accept her baggage, and they get to go to a fancy steakhouse for a date.

And, after doing some snooping, it looks like Tracy might be Tracy Dali - You can see her IMDB here. If not, the resemblance is striking. She has been in a surprising number of films, although I'm a bit miffed that her baggage was the illusionist thing, considering that she is apparently Playboy's most downloaded lingerie model.









Monday, September 27, 2010

Family Guy gets real in season premiere.


I love me some Family Guy. Although I feel like it should be required watching if you live in Rhode Island, it's still funny if you don't. I can understand how others might get sick of the show and its somewhat formulaic humor, but hey, what else am I gonna watch? And as Peter Griffin would say, what do you want me to do, read a book? ... you go read a book.

Anyway, last night's episode was another experiment much like the bank vault from last season. There were echoes of both Clue (which I'm a big fan of) and Twelve Little Indians (which I'm also a big fan of) throughout, so not surprisingly, I liked the episode. And unlike a typical show, there were barely any "manatee jokes," as South Park would say. I counted about four in the entire episode.

The premise: All of Quahog is invited to a late night dinner at a mansion at the edge of town. Once there, Family Guy villain James Woods reveals himself, but proclaims to have turned over a new leaf. The guests are skeptical, and the plot thickets as Quagmire's (very, very ugly) date gets killed during dinner, while Woods is out of the room.

I won't spoil the rest of the episode, since I doubt most of you watched it. However, while I liked the first three-fourths of the episode, the final quarter really fell apart for a variety of reasons. The episode itself it still worth watching because of how different it is from a typical Family Guy, but don't expect any sort of magic at the end.

At least Adam West is awesome throughout. And yes, he is heavily featured, along with Carl the Video Store Clerk (H. Jon Benjamin) and the other popular side characters. They definitely have the funniest lines in the episode.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Dear Lorne Michaels, Kristen Wiig sucks.

After watching the premiere of Saturday Night Live yesterday, I've decided that something has to be done about Kristen Wiig.

Yes, she can be funny sometimes. However, as SNL is currently constituted, this seldom happens. I liked her in the opening sketch as Delware politician Christine O'Donnell. From there, it was a repeat of past shows, as she was unfunny in most of her skits playing the same neurotic, high-pitched character she plays in every sketch. On the whole, I agree with the review of the show by New York Magazine:

[Host Amy] Poehler ably carried the show, of course. Mostly, it was far from her best SNL work, and the return of all those former, funny cast members just made us miss better SNL line-ups, and it almost seemed a little desperate on NBC’s part.
Well said. Some of my friends bring up the point that Wiig is the one woman they can trust in the cast to give a decent performance, as if this is a good excuse. But how is anyone else in the cast going to develop if you keep giving the airtime to Wiig, Fred Armisen, etc.? Heck, Andy Samburg is the most popular cast member, and he was barely in anything last night.

Therefore, I proposed this deal to Lorne Michaels on Facebook:

Dear Lorne Michaels,

I have no idea why you feel a compulsive need to put Kristen Wiig in seemingly EVERY Saturday Night Live skit, but honestly, it needs to stop. Maybe you think it's awesome that she plays the same neurotic character with the silly voice in every sketch, but I'm not a fan.

In April of 1976, Lorne, you offered The Beatles $3,000 to appear on the show. Well, I'm doing the same for you - If you fire Kristen Wiig, I'll write you a check for $3,000. If this sweetens the pot for you, my checks have Sesame Street characters on them, and you can pick which one you like the best.

Anyway, let me know what you think, Lorne. (Can I call you Lorne? I realize I've already done it a couple times in this message.) I'm eagerly awaiting your response.

Sincerely,
Steve

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The group is open to the public, and you can look at it and join the crusade by clicking here. I don't think it'll actually work, but hey, it sure would be sweet if it did.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Pickin' Pigskin: Week 3 (and a probing look at Crystal Light)

First things first, the records from last week, with overall in parenths...

Bob: 7-8 (14-15)
Steve: 6-9 (13-16)
Matt: 6-9 (12-17)
Kristin: 5-10 (14-15)

Unsurprisingly, Bob and Kristin are once again vying for the league title, with me slightly behind. Even Kristin's really bad week couldn't knock her down into second (or worse) place. Meanwhile, Matt is bringing up the rear of the standings, proving that experience matters. (Well, at least so far.) On to the picks for this week!

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Steve: Hey folks - Man, how about that NFL? I have no idea what's going on, week-to-week. I feel like this used to be a lot easier to keep track of, and now, I'm suffering from information overload with how much god damn coverage the league gets. I like the good ole days, when I didn't get injury updates every single hour after a game.

So let me instead talk about a better subject: Crystal Light. My roommate drinks it, and because of this, I have now been converted. Did you know it has like 5 calories a glass??? How does that even WORK? It's crazy stuff, man. I drink it constantly now, along with water and diet soda. (I like to stay well-hydrated.)

None of their flavor combinations make any god damn sense though - I'm drinking cranberry apple, and it tastes like neither. The same thing goes with the strawberry banana orange. How the eff do you decide on those three flavors to combine? Hey Crystal Light, how about you just make strawberry banana like every other company on the face of the Earth and call it a day? Thankfully though, their raspberry green tea is airy and delicious.

Oh yeah - I probably picked all favorites this week. I don't trust any of these teams yet, since they've all played so few games. I will say that my only "upset" is probably Falcons over Saints. The Falcons have looked really sharp this year, and also, I need Matt Ryan to get into a shootout Sunday, so I'm not picking against them.

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Matt: Crystal Light is pretty delicious, though I will say that I don't use any of their weird flavor combos. We just simply purchase lemonade and raspberry lemonade individual packets in bulk from Costco, which provides unending servings of quasi-lemonade at a low calorie level.

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Bob: I have nothing to say about your artificially sweetened “beverage,” since I tend to avoid “diet” drinks. Not because I don’t like the taste—I don’t mind it—but instead I’m convinced it is just as bad for you as regular drinks (studies have shown a correlation between diet soda consumption and obesity, and I have anecdotally found that I lose more weight if I don’t drink it).

Although I have found that Crystal Light is a far better beverage for consumption than alcohol before driving at 5 a.m. I wonder if Braylon Edwards can manage to not drink and drive for a certain period, he can get his punishment reduced like Ben Roethlisberger. Good job not (allegedly) date raping any girls for several months! Chop two games off of that man’s suspension!

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Kristin: No commentary. I’m tired.

Well then, without further adieu, the picks:







































































































SteveBobKristinMatt
TEN at NYG (-3)NYGTENNYGTEN
BUF at NE (-14.5)NEBUFBUFNE
CLE at BAL (-10.5)BALBALBALBAL
PIT (-2.5) at TBPITPITTBPIT
CIN (-3) at CARCINCINCINCIN
ATL at NO (-3)ATLATLNONO
SF (-3) at KCKCSFKCKC
DET at MIN (-11.5)MINDETDETMIN
DAL at HOU (-2.5)DALHOUHOUDAL
WAS (-4) at STLWASWASWASWAS
PHL (-3) at JAXPHIPHIJAXPHI
IND (-5.5) at DENINDINDINDIND
SD (-4.5) at SEASEASDSDSD
OAK at ARI (-4.5)ARIOAKARIARI
NYJ at MIA (-2.5)MIAMIAMIANYJ
GB (-3) at CHIGBCHIGBGB

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Baggage Game - Friday, September 24, 2010

Welcome to another installment of The Baggage Game! As usual, the Excess Baggage is here, and the episode is linked at the bottom of this entry.

Today's contestant is Shelly, a buxom blonde fitness trainer from Hollywood, California. She kind of looks like the blonde whore woman from Sex and the City, except actually in shape. I might also be thinking this because her dress is essentially painted on to her body.

First up is Ian, a "legal researcher" from Washington D.C. He looks a bit like Worf from Star Trek: The Next Generation. And I don't mean the actor, I mean he looks like Worf. Up next is a real estate financial officer from Santa Monica, California, named Derek. He has on a pink dress shirt. And finally, we have Adam, a songwriter from Ventura, California. He mentions that he is into tantric sex - all class. And also, Shelly is WAY better looking than all of them.

First Round

Ian: I don't believe in tipping. (Jerry says, "You wouldn't want to go back to the same restaurant.")
Derek: I collect my navel lint.
Adam: I used to wear lip gloss, lacy tights and a G-string.


Man Ian, what a dirtbag. Who are you, Mr. Pink from Reservoir Dogs? Derek says belly buttons are like black holes, and thus, they fascinate him. I threw up a bit in my mouth though. Adam sounds like he was in a hair metal band, and he reveals that he was indeed a lead singer in a 1980s hair metal band. (I'm so smart!)

Second Round

Derek: I've had conjugal visits with women in prison. (Jerry says, "Maybe he likes woman in orange." Shelly adds, "Maybe he likes women in handcuffs.")
Ian: I drink seven nights a week.
Adam: I disowned my parents.


Okay - The first two things are equally concerning to me, in a bad way. You're either so trashy, you don't care that you're bangin' women in prison, or your judgment is horrible and you're hooking up with felons. Drinking seven nights a week seems a bit... extreme. At one point in college, I decided to have a beer every night before bed, and even then I felt like a bit of an alcoholic. However, I actually view the parent disowning as a positive thing - No doubt they are nutty and chaotic. Push coming to shove, I'd get rid of the prison dude.

Shelly's dealbreaker turns out to be the same. "Why are you visiting a woman behind bars and not at the bar?" Oh, how clever of you to say! This turns out to be Derek-the-navel-picker anyway, so no great loss. Adam says that his dad re-married a horrible woman, and his mom is "beyond words," hence his no contact. Ian has some convoluted reasoning about his drinking, saying that studies have shown a drink or two at night prevents binge drinking in the long run. (This sounds dubious to me, especially since he's slurring as he's talking.)

On to the Hot Spot! Ian likes bare feet over stilletos and boots, he's most obsessed with his hair, he used to be a floral arranger and the worst injury he has sustained during sex is a crook neck. Adam thinks All The Right Moves describes him on the dance floor, he would build a shrine to Madonna in his living room (if he had to build a shrine), his voice is his best feature, and he wants to hear "more" during sex. (Jerry wants to hear, "This one's free.") Adam then sings a bit, and honestly, his voice is a little pitchy, dawg.

Final Elimination Round

Ian: I have the worst credit score possible.
Adam: I believe I'm the descendant of aliens.
Derek (eliminated): I think I have three illegitimate offspring.


Man, too bad that Derek is gone, huh? Ian's baggage is pretty bad too, and I'm not a fan of Shelly response, "How can he buy me the things I want?" I say FEH to you! Shelly thinks the alien thing is a little weird, and I agree, but at least Adam isn't destitute. Adam just thinks everyone is descendant from aliens, not just him, if that makes it better.

Ian has too much baggage for me, and Shelly as well, and he's sent packing. Her own baggage is one of these three:

- I slipped my ex a sleeping pill on his wedding day.
- I make S&M fetish videos. (My odds on favorite for her actual baggage.)
- I make my man pay my credit card bill.


Oh geez... Well, #3 would definitely be a dealbreaker. I have a new job, but I'm not rich or anything. If Shelly is still doing the fetish videos, then that's a dealbreaker, although I'd at least think about it if it was in her past. And likewise, if the sleeping pill thing was a lonngggg time ago, then it might be game on. But if it was like, last year, meh to her.

Adam says he would have the biggest problem with... Well, he doesn't really expand on his thoughts. But I'm totally right! Shelly does the videos, and said she needs a man who will support and encourage her while she whips and chains dudes. Adam says that's "pretty wild," but it's a fake-out and he rejects her! Zing! And Jerry reminds us at the end, "Love is a journey, so travel light." Wise words to live by, of course.









Thursday, September 23, 2010

Glee returns with a splendid episode.

People thought I went on vacation, but actually,
I spent the summer lost in the sewers.

Ah - Loony quotes from Brittney signify the restart of Glee. I was worried that the show might jump the shark and go the way of Heroes, but the second season premiere brought the funny in all of the aspects involving the New Horizons kids.

The odd thing to me was where the episode fell flat - Will and Sue torturing the new football coach, and the adults in general. First off, it looks like the new football coach is just the old one in drag, which would be humorous to me, but I don't know if this is actually the case. Second, Sue just came off as mean-mean, as opposed to funny-mean, like she normally is with Will. She still had some great lines at least. And third, where the heck was Jayma Mays??? She was the most surprising absence, and I hope she hasn't been downgraded to just a guest star for the season.

However, every scene with the kids was great. (Although, I did question the "Santana has breast implants" thing, for the simple fact that her breasts did not look any bigger.) I loved that Quinn and Sue cut a deal for her to regain her status as the top cheerleader, and the scene with Brittney, Sue, the football coach and the doll were hilarious. (Also, Quinn once again looks stunning, which can't be underestimated in terms of keeping my attention on the television set. I am a boy, after all.)

I do kind of wonder where they go from here, of course. Are we going to have another season of Rachel desperately trying to protect her grasp as the top singer on the club? I realize she's the closest thing the show has to a "star" after Jane Lynch, but I feel her character is dangerously overexposed already. I'm still hopeful for some Britt and Santana-centric episodes, since that would really help break up the focus on the four "mains" of the cast - Rachel, Finn, Sue and Will.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Baggage Game - Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Excess Baggage is here, and as usual, the episode is linked at the bottom. If you didn't know, well, now you do.

Today, we have Daniel. He's a life coach from Marin County, California. Apparently, that is a full-time job, so kudos for him! I'm guessing he doesn't need to partake in his own services. He's look for a Renaissance woman that will appreciate the arts, and who has a spiritual side.

For the daters, we have Keri first, a marketing consultant from Los Angeles, California. She is hella pale - Like even paler than I am, and I'm pale. Next is Amy, a legal assistant from St. Louis. She is wearing the most ruffled blue top ever; even Princess Toadstool would be impressed. Finally, we have Cameron, a make-up artist from Santa Monica, California, and self-described "party girl." She loves to put latex on any part of her body she can, which is weird.

First Round

Keri: I haven't missed my soap opera in 30 years.
Amy: My dog and I wear matching outfits.
Cameron: I sleep with a bite guard.


Regarding Keri, and the others, this is a bit of an older group than usual - Closer to 40 than 30. She lovessss her Days of Our Lives. With Amy's baggage, you can tell she's attractive, since ugly girls don't seem to match their outfits with their dogs. (I'm a master of probing psychological things like this.) Cameron's baggage is so meh and minor. This whole round is a bit of a disappointment so far.

Second Round

Keri: My boyfriend MUST become a vegan.
Cameron: I attend spiritual sweat lodges every week.
Amy: I stole $10,000 for an ex. (Jerry says, "At least you know she's got money.")


Vegan girl, you can GTFO immediately. I love meat far, far too much to ever become vegan. Heck, I could conceivably be talked into going veggie if I liked the girl enough, but vegan, no way. It limits you way too much in terms of food. The ex thing is somewhat worrisome, but I bet he was an ass anyway. And the sweat lodge thing actually intrigues me; I like hearing about quirky stuff like that.

Daniel kicks the vegan girl to the curb, because he is sensible like me. This turns out to be Keri - Maybe if she had some meat, her skin would tone up a bit. She's bitter on the way out, but seriously, even some god damn meat. The two remaining girls snipe at each other, with Amy claiming that she was justified taking the $10k because her ex-BF was a freeloader.

Hot Spot time! Amy likes to have sex "any time," she'd like to be Hello Kitty, shopping is a vice, she likes Daniel's smile, and she once left in the middle of a date because the guy was a jerk. Cameron is obsessed with sugar, she's been skydiving, she'd buy Daniel "whatever he wants" with $1,000, she wouldn't have anything done if offered free plastic surgery, and size "always" matters to her. So far, Cameron is my favorite, since she seems like less maintenance than Amy.

Final Elimination Round

Amy: I hooked up with a judge to win a pageant.
Cameron: I slept with an ex two days before his wedding.
Keri (eliminated): I'm a hypochondriac.


Man, Keri sounds like a bit of a freak, huh? Amy is quite bragadacious about sleeping with the judge, and it was just a freakin' Hawaiian Tropic contest! Meanwhile, I was with Cameron at first - I figured, well, it takes two to tango, and the guy wanted to cheat. But then she reveals that it was more of a closure thing for herself! Holy heck! So neither is high on my list, but Cameron seems more artsy-slutty than money-slutty like Amy, so I'd go with her.

Dan ponders it for a minute... And sends Amy home! Even though he has a silly job to me, I feel like Dan and I could hang out and have a beer. His baggage is one of the following three things:

- I donated my seed to three women.
- I live in my van.
- I faked a terminal illness to break up with a girlfriend.


Okay, to me, the terminal illness is by far the worst. It shows a lack of character and nerve; just break up with the person! (Note: If he was 16 to 21 years old, then it's a little scandalous.) The van thing is bad if it has been going on for a while, understandable if it is a short-term thing. (And if he doesn't live by the river.) Meanwhile, the seed thing is just weird - Dan isn't super dreamy or anything. I'd probably give him a pass on that.

Cameron said she would have the biggest issue with the van thing, noting that it's "tight quarters." Dan reveals that his baggage is... living in his van! (By the way, reminder: He's a LIFE COACH.) And it gets worse, as he says it is totally by choice. And even worse, they have a picture of it, and it looks like a child molester van. Cameron does not really seem pleased about this at all, and asks where they would cook, to which Dan suggests her place. Shockingly though, she accepts his baggage anyway, which also seems to surprise Jerry.









Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Steve Around The House - A room finally clean (kind of).


So, after actually living here more than a month, I've finally gotten rid of the moving boxes in my room (except for one) and gotten most everything on bookshelves and my desk. Want to see? Well, I know you did. (And besides, you don't really have much of a choice if you're reading this. I mean, I've already gotten your page hit - You don't mean much to me now. mwhahaha. Take that.)

Anyway, the above picture is of my bed. Nothing really that special. The sheets clash with my plaid quilt, but that quilt is so god damn comfortable that I'm never giving it up. It came with the "URI Starter Bed Kit!", for lack of a better term, but it's the greatest thing ever. Please also note all the pillows - I like options. Please don't note that the pillow cases are different colors, even though I have enough of both colors to just have one color on the bed.

To the right, please note my wonderful bookcase. This is the one that I bitched complained about in the past, because it was such a chore to complete. However, it now holds all the trappings and distractions of a growing boy, such as myself.

The top shelf has a bunch of rec basketball trophies from when I was 10. I'm not sure if it's sad that I have them there, but they're nostalgia-inducing; it feels wrong to just throw them out. For now, please also note the old school "Now you're playing with power!" poster on the wall, and the (now) vintage Sir Charles poster under it. Under the Sir Charles poster is my breadmaker box, which is full of random cooking crap I haven't moved to the kitchen yet, and a George Foreman grill.

Taking a closer look at the shelves of the bookcase... To the right, gander upon a bunch of my (really geeky) Playstation 2 games. Sure, there is some legitimately cool stuff there, like the Time Crisis games. (And yeah, I have the gun to play them with; best $20 I ever spent!) But for every socially-passable game like Madden, there is something like Shadow Hearts or Magna Carte or the dot hack series to balance it out.

I also have a couple systems on the shelf, because there currently isn't room for them on my system switcher connected to my television. (We will get to that in a second.) Here, you can see my Nintendo 64, Dreamcast and Super Nintendo, along with a bunch of controllers and a SNES mouse next to them, and various game boxes next to them. I have no idea I had this much accessory crap, to be honest. Go me? Almost all of it was scooped up when various Gamestops and Funcolands were trying to clear inventory.

However, none of this is as sad as the fate of one of my systems...


Yes, that is a thick layer of dust you see on my Atari Jaguar. Yes, the system really does suck as much as the Angry Video Game Nerd says it does. The best part of the system? The comical "Rawr!" it makes when you turn it on. I have a couple games, but most of them are just bad ports with better versions on other systems, like DOOM.

The lone exception is Attack of the Mutant Penguins, which is a quirky if not exactly fun game. The title really sells the game, and it's one of the few Jaguar games actually worth playing. I have the box and manual for it too, so it's one of the few semi-rare things I have. Moving on...


This is my closet. Yeah, it is full-length, and takes up the entire wall. For me, it is mostly full of junk, my old desktop computer and monitor, my winter clothes, and the few shirts I have to hang up. There are a few goodies hidden inside though, like my shoes and sports stuff [right] and a NES Power Pad on my top shelf, underneath some duck-design pillows my little sister made for me.

Some random things to round out the room...

- My CD rack is missing a bunch of CDs. See that big stack to the left of it? Those are all cases with missing CDs. The duck on top of the rack was supposed to be guarding them, but obviously, he isn't doing a very good job.

I also somehow have three copies of Ill Communications by The Beastie Boys, and two copies each of Dookie and Insomniac by Green Day. I'm not really sure how this happened, since I don't recall buying multiple copies of any of them. Unfortunately though, they're all so badly scratched that I don't feel comfortable selling them on eBay.

- This is a secondary bookshelf for me. It's at the foot of my bed. I mostly just use it for any book or product I've put on Half.com or eBay. As you can tell, people aren't exactly jumping at the bit to purchase The Foundations of American Democracy, which was out of date when it was my college text book in the fall of 2002. Hey, it's only 99 cents! Help a brother out.









- And finally... The top is a pennant from the Red Sox 2007 World Series championship. Below it is a Red Sox license plate thing my grandfather gave to me when I was a kid. To the right of that is a printed list of every the nicknames for every Rhode Island high school sports team. And to the left of that is Danielle Membrino's postcard advertising her art exhibit.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Baggage Game - Monday, September 20, 2010

Time for The Baggage Game! You can find the Excess Baggage here, and as always, the full episode is linked at the bottom of this entry.

Tonight the dater is Vince. He looks pretty normal. He's a financial consultant from Newark, New Jersey. He's looking for a girl "as smart as she is sexy" and that can keep up with his "rock star lifestyle." What the eff? You're a financial consultant! Jerry also points this out, to which Vince replies that he expects his lady to be able to drop everything and come out with him if he calls. How lovely.

First up is Brooke, a massage therapist from Austin, Texas. She is really, really attractive, which makes me wonder if "massage therapist" is code for something else. She wants an active guy that can keep up with her. Next up is Darcy, a nanny from Minneapolis, Minnesota. To be mean for a second, she looks like she might be pregnant herself. And finally, we have Mara, a legal accountant from Winnepeg, Canada. This is odd to me because that's the last name of my roommate, and because this girl has dyed platinum blonde hair, which is completely unlike my roommate, her younger sister and her mom, who are all like chestnut brown. Mara is quite attractive, despite the super-dye job and an odd plaid shirt.

First Round

Brenda: I always crack my wrists, neck, feet and knuckles. (Jerry says, "As long as she's not cracking nuts, you're OK.")
Darcy: I never sleep more than three hours.
Mara: My dog has 36 outfits and 12 pairs of shoes.


Brenda's baggage isn't really baggage, since most people have a quirk like that. Meanwhile, Darcy (who isn't in Pride and Prejudice) is writhing on the bed like an addict and not sleeping, and Mara is spending god knows how much on crap for her dog. Hey Mara, it's a dog! Not a baby. Dogs don't need shoes, that's why they have paws.

Second Round

Brenda: I'm a real-life Runaway Bride. (Jerry says, "You'll wanna elope.")
Mara: I have no female friends.
Darcy: I use my viberator four times a day. (Vince says, "Is that really baggage?," and I'm with him.)


Man, this is another weak round by Baggage standards. #2 and #3 are fine in context. The runaway bride thing is the only serious issue, so I'd send that girl packing. I don't need that sort of drama. Vince agrees with me, and as a result, Brenda is going home. (It seems odd though, because she says it was just one time.)

Mara says she went to an all-girls Catholic school growing up, and as a result, she doesn't like how catty girls can be. She seems like an absolute sweetheart, and is slowly winning my heart, since Darcy seems a bit... off.

Hot Spot time! Darcy is proudest about getting her Master's, she'd use a superpower on Vince to "make him scream my name," if she could have a threesome with a celebrity couple it would be Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie because "they seem like they'd be fun," she doesn't go home with a guy on the first date, and if money wasn't any object, she'd be a psychologist. Mara sees herself as rich and famous in 10 years, salad is the best thing she can cook, she watches porn once a week, she prefers successful men to generous men, and she does an impression of Betty Boop. (Vince says afterward that Mara seems like a gold digger; what a dude!)

Final Elimination Round

Darcy: Only women can give me orgasms.
Mara: I keep a portable urinal in my car.
Brenda (eliminated): I'm an exotic dancer.


Wow, I called the Brenda thing. Go me! And Darcy's baggage isn't THAT surprising to me, since she seems kind of... off. I'd find it more worrisome than Mara's baggage. Mara says it's because she has a really small bladder, and she gets stuck in L.A. traffic all the time. (I'm assuming she wouldn't be doing it in front of me, and therefore, I'm cooler with Mara overall.)

Vince slags on both women a bit, which seems silly to me, since one of them still has to pick him after hearing his baggage. He eliminates Mara - Boo! She has a good zing on the way out though: "Good luck on someone who needs four settings to squeal." Speaking of Vince's baggage, it's one of the following three...

- I was arrested for streaking at a baseball game.
- I'm clinically diagnosed as a man and a woman.
- I cheated on my girlfriend with 15 different women.


Of these, the cheating would be an absolute dealbreaker. Seriously, 15 different women? That's just pathologically bad. The "man and woman" thing... Having kids is big to me, so it would hinge on that. And the streaking at a baseball game thing sounds like one-time, drunken behavior, so meh to that. That wouldn't affect my decision-making at all.

To Darcy, the man and woman thing would worry her the most, which Jerry notes would seem odd given her proclivity for both sexes. However, Vince reveals his actual baggage, which is the cheating thing that bugs me the most. He says it's in the past now, and that he wouldn't go looking for it, but as soon as he told ladies this, they would go after him. What a sleaze! Jerry picks up on this immediately, and sarcastically notes, "The burdens of being a man." Darcy enthusiastically shuts the case on Vince, who slithers away. Nice goin', Darc!









Sunday, September 19, 2010

Steve Around The House - Cleo The Cat

This is Cleo the Cat. In the past, I've blogged about Minnie, who I refer to somewhat derisively as The Kitten. This is because Minnie is still a kitten, and as such, she doesn't realize that it hurts when she bites me, and scratches at my ears and the back of my head.

(At least, I don't think she realizes... When I was playing Guitar Hero the other week, she did jump up at me and scratch hard enough to draw blood. I'm now worried that, like any B-movie, that she has acquired a taste for it and will be unable to stop attacking me as she gets older. Then again, The Kitten also tries to lick from pots of boiling water, so it's an open question how much longer she'll have all of her nine lives.)

Anyway, I don't talk much about Cleo because, well, she doesn't really do to warrant talking about. All she does is hide around the house, sleep in my bed, cuddle with me and get harassed by The Kitten.


This and the first shot in the entry are the only two photos I have of Cleo that came out relatively OK. See, her fur is so dark that she blends into practically anything. In the picture to the right, she's actually in the middle of that quilt. But you can't see crap.

Because of this, Cleo basically hides wherever the eff she wants, whenever she wants. I've found her under my bed, under my roommate's bed, on the top shelf of our closets, behind my computer desk, under my covers, on every chair and windowsill in the house, and on my DVD shelf, which is also black. She uses this to her advantage in the middle of the night, as she sneaks on to my bed while I'm sleeping and curls up on me.

This camo serves her well against her biggest danger in this house - The Kitten. See, Cleo is de-clawed, but The Kitten isn't. Meaning, The Kitten will pounce on Cleo and cause her discomfort. (The Kitten finally caught on to the fact that Cleo doesn't have claws.) Also, Cleo is like seven or eight years old, and much like Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon, she's too old for that shit The Kitten is into. She has no interest in being chased at 2 a.m.

She does still love to attack spiders though. This is her greatest passion in life, even beyond sleeping, hiding, and falling asleep in her hiding spots. Once a night, she creeps into the living room and carefully watches the door to the cellar, where they climb up from. She stares at it intently, for hours sometimes, although sometimes The Kitten will chase her away. Finally, she pounces, kills and eats.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Pickin' Pigskin: Week 2

Because Kristin didn't have any wonderful, funny commentary this week, instead please accept this picture of Katie Aselton. She plays the wife on The League, and she's really... talented. OK, she seriously is, but she's also a former Miss Teen Maine and some other good stuff. Good for her!

It is a bit of a half-assed week for all us, since Bob had to submit his picks really early and I've been busy with work stuff. However, without further adieu...

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Bob: This is a tough week for picks. I'll let you kick off the commentary again, but I wanted to bank these just in case.

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Matt: I should probably get around to doing the picks now. Message for posting as follows. P.S. - I'm too lazy to verify if they're still correct, so I'm just using the lines as Bill Simmons posted them on ESPN. Hopefully they are similar to the ones that we're using:

Usually when people screw up things like NFL picks, they have a ready-made excuse: "I over-thought it." They then go on to explain how they talked themselves out of picks using things like sabermetrics, injury forecasting, game temperatures, home-road splits since 1996, and the amount of third-person references that Deion Sanders made in the pre-game show. I'm here with a quite different excuse: I under-thought it.

I am here to admit that, so this week, when I DO over-think my results and post an equally poor record, I at least have back to back different excuses. There are lots of big lines this week, which I don't really like. But I'm going to just go with it and give the ostensibly good teams a chance to see how good they really are. Most of the big lines are still under a touchdown, which is an entirely plausible margin of victory. Look at me overthinking already!

I also feel more strongly about some teams that looked good in week one than others - partially based on their opponents. I hate the Seahawks objectively still, but they are playing Denver and they did destroy SF last week. Then again, not that many teams did look good last week. Anyway.

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Steve: I did crappy with my fantasy teams last week, and in this picking game, but at least I won the family competition for the week. My uncle runs it, and you just pick winners, without worrying about the spread. Sure, it's much easier as a result, but I have no problems with that. A win is a win, baby!

Actually, despite the fact that I have a job that now requires many more hours, and I'm still blogging daily, I've managed to get involved in co-owning two fantasy teams, owning another one solo, and still doing my family picks while nursing along a near-last place fantasy baseball team. How the heck did I get involved with so many leagues??? I'm not even a big Fantasy Sports guy. sigh. The picks chart for all four of us:








































































































GameSteveBobKristinMatt
KC at CLE (-1)KCCLEKCKC
BUF at GB (-13)GBGBBUFGB
BAL (-2) at CINBALCINBALCIN
PIT at TEN (-5)PITTENTENTEN
PHI (-4) at DETPHIPHIDETPHI
CHI at DAL (-8.5)CHICHIDALDAL
TB at CAR (-2.5)*CARTBCARTB
ARI at ATL (-6.5)ATLARIARIATL
MIA at MIN (-5.5)MIAMINMINMIN
STL at OAK (-4)OAKOAKSTLOAK
SEA at DEN (-3.5)SEADENSEASEA
HOU (-3) at WASWASHOUWASHOU
JAX at SD (-8)JAXJAXSDJAX
NE (-1.5) at NYJNENYJNENE
NYG at IND (-5.5)NYGINDINDIND
NO (-4.5) at SF
NONONONO

Friday, September 17, 2010

Inexplicable Movie Review: Se7en

'The world is a fine place and worth fighting for.' I agree with the second part.
- Detective Somerset

The other day, it was dark, rainy and shitty outside, which always makes me think of one movie - Se7en. I first saw it five or six years ago, yet it made such an indelible impression on me that I never forget it when the weather turns. I love the performances in Silence of the Lambs, but Se7en takes that same sort of movie and adds a distinctive style that makes it even better.

I'm not really into gore, so I'm actually glad when the movie shows up on TNT, and I don't even own the DVD version. I'm sure that makes me lamer to say, but so be it! The movie is so dark and stylish that it doesn't even need the gore to be stunning and effective. (Note: It's at this point that I spoil a bunch of what happens in the movie, and if you do want to see it someday, I recommend you stop reading.)

Basically, Se7en works because it is so unrelenting in the darkness that the characters face, specifically Somerset (Morgan Freeman) and Tracy Mills (Gwyneth Paltrow). For the most part, Det. Mills (Brad Pitt) really is the embodiment of Wrath, bouncing around from scene to scene and reacting emotionally. However, you don't realize it until John Doe (Kevin Spacey) reveals it at the end of the movie. Somerset is the true hero of the movie, as you get the feeling that he's fighting against the oppressive nature of not only the city itself, but of his new partner as well. And Paltrow shines, in a literal way, as scenes involving her offer the only sort of brightness in the whole movie.

Part of the plot's darkness stems from how Se7en flaunts traditional movie conventions. Think of how little Somerset and Mills actually accomplish - They manage to track John Doe via his library card, but otherwise, the first victims are already dead and Mills becomes Wrath by executing John Doe. The movie's villain is John Doe, but instead of having him caught at the end, he turns himself into the police two-thirds into the movie, again denying the audience any satisfaction. There is a brief chase through a downpour, but otherwise, there is no action in the movie.

Se7en is just anxiety built upon anxiety, and it's so different to me from the conventional movie experience that it's great. I'm not much for completely experimental independent film - I thought Pi was meh - but anything shot in a different style (everything by Tarantino, Sin City, Scott Pilgrim, Memento) always catches my eye and attention. Se7en definitely qualifies in this respect.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tag Team - Steve and Matt on MLB, NFL, TV and Top Chef

Time for another Tag Team discussion! If you'd like to do one as well, shoot me an e-mail at sgre6768@gmail.com. Today's buddy is Matt, who I knew way back when from when we both wrote online reviews for GameFAQs. Good times, good times - I was like 15 or 16 at the time. We talk about Major League Baseball, the National Football League and totally spoil Top Chef.

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Matt said at 9:18 p.m. on Sept. 7:

Hey,

Hope all is well with you. Figured I would check in with you an e-mail conversation blog entry, which you had proposed earlier this summer. Getting into September with baseball pennant races and Community's fall return seems as good a time as any if you still wanted to. But of course, your blog, so in your court!

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Steve said at 12:42 a.m. on Sept. 8:

Hey, that sounds good to me! Care to start it off? Actually, let's consider your message the jump-off point...

Anyway, I'm annoyed by Red Sox fans. There is a weird sense of entitlement going on. Yes, it's disappointing that the team won't be making the playoffs this year. But Pedroia, Youkilis, Beckett and Ellsbury have all missed significant time, and the Rays and Yankees have both played really well. Who wins the AL East each year is now basically a function of health, since the top three teams are ridiculously good.

As far as the Twins go, I think they easily hold on and make the playoffs over the White Sox. Despite their wicked hot streak, the White Sox couldn't take over the lead. Therefore, I don't think it's going to happen.

How about those Vikings? I find it kind of sad that they again had to beg Favre to come back. And then, they had an odd trade in giving up Sage Rosenfels for essentially nothing. He's at least a below-average to average QB, whereas T-Jackson is just downright horrible. Why not just cut Jackson?

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Matt said at 1:04 a.m. on Sept. 8:

The AL East is always a division where bad luck plays a huge role (unless you're the Orioles, then just being bad plays a huge role). You'd be winning the AL West, and you'd be only four back in the AL Central. And it's generally a given that the Red Sox could win any division in the AAAA NL. At this point, the Red Sox should really shut down some of their older players for the rest of the season and see if they can blood and upcoming people. That might require some maneuvering with the 60 day DL to free up spots on the 40-man roster, but I think it'd be worth it for the long-term health of the team. The Yankees can always sign other people, and the Rays aren't going anywhere.

I realize that Red Sox fans have gotten into this mentality where they feel like they should make the playoffs every year. Twins fans have too, just without the budget to support it. We just have a crappier division to contend with.

I'm thrilled with this Twins season. I wasn't really concerned about the Nathan injury before the season - as far as I can tell, all closers really are replaceable, even the best ones. I haven't really been proven wrong. At most, the Nathan loss swings three games over the course of the season. I'm much more worried about his ever coming back effectively, given his age (36) and his Tommy John surgery. It's one thing to come back if you are Strasburg, but it's another if you're a closer in your mid 30s.

That said, if you had told me that Morneau would miss 2+ months with mysterious concussion-related ailments and the offense would not miss a beat, I'd never have believed you. Prospects have come up and stepped up, Jim Thome has been the elite power threat the Twins have never had, and they've been firing on all cylinders. I expected to win the division at about 85 games. Given how weak our schedule is, we could conceivably make a run at 93-95 wins and contend for the best record in the league, given the 7 games remaining that the Rays and Yanks have against each other.

I couldn't handle the White Sox catching us from behind. I still haven't forgiven them for the ridiculous 2008 decision to let them have game 163 at home despite our having the superior head-to-head. Well, and I hate the White Sox for many other reasons too. Like Ozzie's backhanded compliments. And A.J. Pierzynski's general level of doucheyness.

As for the debacle that will be the 2010 Minnesota Vikings:

This is one of those seasons that is going to roll in as a 7-9 finish despite astronomical expectations, like the Bengals a few seasons ago. I'm thrilled that we have Favre back. I'm thrilled that Peterson has acknowledged he has a fumbling issue and is trying to solve it. I'm less thrilled that we traded a corner for Greg Camarillo when Housh was about to be made available. And then our other corners all got hurt, so we have two corners and Lito Sheppard's corpse in the secondary.

Re: Rosenfels and Jackson. It was a questionable trade indeed. Especially since we gave up our kick returner/4th receiver as well. Given the gaping hole at receiver with Percy Harvin's headaches (ANOTHER mysterious head injury taking away playing time from a star Minnesota athlete this year) and Sidney Rice's secret preseason surgery, why trade more away? Rosenfels is a competent NFL backup. The gamble is that Favre never misses a game, so you won't need to play the backup. Of course, Favre has never been 40 before. Something's gotta give. The real reason that Childress won't give up on Jackson is his shocking degree of pride for a coach who has never won a big game in his life. He traded up to draft Jackson out of a middle of nowhere small college in his first season, convinced he could turn him into the next Donovan McNabb. And dammit, Childress is going to do it, whatever the consequences. Everyone knows that Jackson is incompetent and should be out of the league. Even Childress has to, deep down. But as Childress prides himself on his QB-molding skills, the release of Jackson would emasculate Childress to such a degree, he will not allow it to happen. As soon as Childress is fired - a good bet for this season - Jackson will be among the first cuts by the new coach. Really, it's a level of coach stubbornness usually reserved for aging, formerly elite college coaches.

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Steve said at 12:07 a.m. on Sept. 9:

I'm not even sure who the Red Sox can and should rest at this point. Beltre is a free agent, as is Victor Martinez, so there really isn't any huge penalty to working them into the ground. (In fact, it's a bit of a moral hazard, since the Sox could press them enough to get them hurt, which would then make either one a bit easier to re-sign, potentially.) Pretty much all of the interest and healthy minor league players are up. Lars Anderson got a couple hits tonight, which was nice to see, although I think he and Josh Reddick are more bench types on a playoff contender as opposed to starters.

Nathan is probably done, because as you note, most closers are pretty fungible, unless you're Mariano Rivera or Trevor Hoffman. When Papelbon is a free agent, I imagine that the Red Sox will let him walk, because some stupid team like the Mets will outspend them plenty for him.

I think the White Sox are done. (Note: I have no idea how they and the Twins did tonight.) The only chance they have in my opinion is if they manage to sweep the Twins in a head-to-head series. The Red Sox needed to do that against the Rays last week, and instead, they dropped three of four if I recall correctly. The Twins are a bit odd to watch, because they could be an elite team if they just upgraded some of the gaping holes in their lineup to mere flesh wounds. I'm looking in your direction, the combination of Tolbert, Punto, Harris and others.

Childress, besides looking like a child molester, does strike me as a guy completely overmatched in the NFL. I think he lucked into a contract extension since everything that could have went well for the Vikings last year did, until Zombie Brett Favre finally took over the body of Surprisingly Effective Brett Favre. By the way, as a Vikings fan, how do you feel about him in general? He will essentially be your fandom property for life now, since I can't imagine him being welcome back in Green Bay for a long, long time. Your projection of 7-9 for the Vikings seems about right to me, since they now have to play a tougher schedule this year, at least on paper to start the season.

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Matt said at 12:59 a.m. on Sept. 9:

Danny Valencia has been filling that Tolbert / Punto / Harris hole shockingly well since he got called up in July; he's just hurt at the moment. Valencia has had an OPS+ of 126 this season. Conventional stat lovers can note he is hitting .343. (By the way, the Twins opened it up to 5.5 games today.) Given the rivalry between the two, a White Sox sweep could change the nature of the race, but it seems unlikely at the moment.

By the way, I too am looking forward to the Mets vastly overpaying Papelbon as a rapid recoil from the K-Rod fiasco.

Favre gave us a magnificent season last year, and he's been totally rehabilitated at this point in Minnesotan eyes for his entire career in Green Bay. That said, long term - UNLESS we win the Super Bowl this season - I can't see us being willing to claim him as one of our own. We're actually going through the same scenario with Jim Thome right now, who could be the second most popular player on the Twins after Mauer despite being a part-time DH.

I find the issue of fan ownership to be a really interesting one, though, across all sports. Do Celtics fans feel as though they have equal claim to Kevin Garnett as we do? They may well, and could make a case for it. It's endemic of larger issues of cultural ownership, and it's at a level for which there are no real consequences. But these are the same issues that pop up in the real world as well: do Russia and Ukraine have equal claim to the Crimean Peninsula, given that it was transferred during the Soviet period from the former to the latter essentially on a bureaucratic whim? If both Russians and Ukrainans feel that the Crimea is theirs, does it matter what the Crimeans feel to either of them? Favre will always feel like a Packer, I would imagine, but will that matter to the Green Bay fans?

That said, the issue is most fun when it comes up to choosing players' Hall of Fame caps. I love the arguments. And I find it ludicrous that some players go in with no team on their cap. Be a man. Don't pretend you didn't like one of those teams / fans / cities / public transportation systems better. You did. Just like every teacher has a favorite student. It's all a bucket of lies.

Another area which I find this comes up in is TV shows. When actors are in multiple long-running shows, which show is given "ownership" of them? I think that's part of the reason that the new TV shows that Jimmy Smits and Rob Lowe get every season fail: they can't be disassociated from their roles. It's why Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton's new show failed despite on paper working so perfectly. Alison Janney once described The West Wing as being on the first line of their obituaries. It's part of the problem of getting a good character like that for so many seasons: regardless of how talented you might be (and you need to be that talented to get that deep into a role), it's sometimes not possible to get out of it.

This problem is one of my concerns this fall for Lone Star, which is possibly the only new show I'm excited for this fall. I fully encourage the use of Adrianne Palicki in as many places as possible, but I'm not sure I'll be able to buy her as a wealthy socialite wife in her late 20s after seeing her for so many years as trailer trash Tyra Collette in Friday Night Lights.

Of course, Bill Cosby got around this by just playing the same character with Phylicia Rashad in multiple consecutive sitcoms. Just like Jennifer Aniston and Michael Cera play the same character in every movie as they did in their TV shows. (Unrelated: the casting of Michael Cera as the Facebook guy seems a little bit creepy to me.) Maura Tierney successfully did it with ER and NewsRadio. Current people doing it successfully are a little rare, but I think Peter Krause is doing remarkably well in Parenthood given Sports Night and Six Feet Under, and Alison Brie is simultaneously playing characters on Mad Men and Community that are pretty different. Though she gets the bonus of one being a period piece.

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Steve said at 10:49 p.m. on Sept. 15:

... And since we last messaged, the Twins' lead has swollen to seven games. Yikes! I think the conventional fan underestimates that teams that go on a hot streak and STILL don't wind up with a healthy lead are at a disadvantage. Because of regression to the mean, you figure that the streaking team will eventually fall back a bit. If you streak in September or October, then cool, but otherwise, you have to figure the team will revert to its pre-streak level. Which, for the White Sox, is a .500 team.

I know nothing about the historical territory issues that you propose, so I'll stick to the sports issue. I think at this point, it wouldn't be surprising if Garnett is associated more with the Celtics. He won one championship, and made it to the finals another time, and probably could have gone the year before this one if he had been healthy. (Although, that's a big "if" at this point in his career.) In Minnesota, he put up the majority of his impressive numbers, but only won a single playoff series, right? I don't know how the Basketball Hall of Fame works in terms of the teams, but it wouldn't surprise me if he had either cap on.

I definitely think that if an actor is talented, they can rise above whatever character role they started in. You mentioned Tierney and Brie, who are good examples, but if you want to go to mega-superstars, Kevin Spacey and Tom Hanks have had really different kind of roles throughout their career, and they've been successful.

And I guess we do need to touch on this Top Chef business! Actually, I view the entire finale tainted because, inexplicably, Tiffany got eliminated. She won like 40 challenges, yet somehow, she seemed to get bounces on a fringe competition. What gives??? Kevin has no business being in the finals, since he was in the bottom for seemingly 50 challenges.

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Matt said at 12:06 a.m. on Sept. 16:

The Twins have essentially wrapped it up now, which is nice. As for Garnett, the Wolves did make it to the Conference Finals in '04, so he won at least two playoff series.

I agree that on the balance of the season, Kevin had no business being in the finals. That said, I knew he was going to win the second Tom mentioned that he had done the best job showcasing the ingredients that they picked. If there's one thing that Tom and Padma love, it's following instructions. (If there's a second, it's simple food, so Ed was doomed.) I also enjoyed the Ilan sighting, he was one of my favorite winners.

Tiffany was pretty amazing throughout, so it was disheartening to see her not make it. Personality wise, she was by far my favorite this season. The elimination order this season was pretty strange. Kenny seemed to be set up for a showdown with Angelo from the start and then vanished partway through. Angelo started out really annoying me with his arrogance, but then he kept revealing creepy details about himself (that he had crabs, that he had a Russian mail order bride) that just made him unintentionally hilarious. His creeping on Tamesha also made for good theater.

This wasn't the best season of Top Chef, not by a long shot, but it had its moments. For the record, Season 4 is the pinnacle of Top Chef seasons, as it had some of the best characters of all with Richard, Spike, Dale, and Lisa, lovingly referred to by New York Magazine's Grub Street blog's episode summaries (http://newyork.grubstreet.com/) as "The Gorgon." The best chef on the balance of the season did not win, who would definitely be one of Tiffany, Ed, or Angelo, but Kevin had a solid last episode and played by the rules.

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For the record, I totally thought the first season of Top Chef was the best. But the fourth wasn't bad either.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Baggage Game - Wednesday, September 15, 2010

If you don't know, now you know... person. Excess Baggage is here, and as usual, you can see the complete episode at the bottom.

Today's contestant is Christa, a very tall "spray tanner" from Firecrest, Washington. Ironically, although she presumably works at a spray tanning place, she is pale and looks kind of Keri Russell. She wants a man with success and "smartness" and dance moves. She wants a guy who can "dance his way through life."

Up first is a security guard from Orlando, Florida - Allen. He's bald, and immediately does a one-hand dance move thing, which immediately impresses Christa. What a ringer! Next is Josh, a pasty white executive assistant from Detroit who inexplicably likes the Buffalo Bills and Phish. And finally, there is Tom, a biological specimen collector from Miami who looks exactly how you'd think he looks.

First Round

Allen: I require three "guy nights" a week. (Jerry asks, "Have you ever had a three-guy night?")
Josh: I got my roommate fired.
Tom: I love smelling my ear wax.


Josh said the kid really rubbed him the wrong way, so he didn't give him a message that wound up with the kid getting fired. Meanwhile, Tom proves that sometimes looks aren't deceiving. He remarks to Christa that he'd love to "smell her ear wax," which sounds as bad it is. And Allen comes off as a bit of a pig.

Second Round

Josh: I pretend to climax. (Jerry says, "I don't know what the point is.")
Tom: I polish my toenails and fingernails.
Allen: I was in a Caribbean jail.


How and why the heck is a dude pretending to climax??? What a useless skill. However, the polishing thing is so weird that I'd probably ditch him, even though it's kind of a minor thing. The Caribbean jail thing is mildly concerning, but I imagine it's for a minor thing as well.

Christa eliminates The Pretender though, which I can't blame her for. His explanation makes him sound like a douche - Sometimes your partner finishes before you and you just want to roll over and go to bed. Tom continues to prove that he's a weird mofo, and Allen explains that he "got into a scuffle" while vacationing.

Hot spot time! Allen would go to a dance club, he has mancrushes on Michael Jackson and James Brown, and his secret sexual fantasy is "a girl that smells good around the neck area." (He does several dance moves during this, which impresses her.) Tom's sex life is best described by Cougar Town, the coolest thing he owns is a car, he likes licking girl's teeth (???) to get them in the mood, and he would take his pants off if he was alone in her house.

Final Elimination Round

Allen: I used to be a pimp.
Tom: I gambled away my college tuition playing online poker.
Josh (eliminated): I destroyed a car and blamed it on a hobo.


Holy heck, that's surprising for Allen. He adds that it did teach him how to "properly treat a lady." But it's not as sad and pathetic as Tom's overall package, so there is no way that I can see Christa picking him. With his baggage, Josh seems like a cartoonish character from a TV drama. Too bad he's gone. Womp womp womp.

And, this is legitimately shocking to me - Christa sends Allen home! Wow! They exchange a biggggg hug on the stage, and she cracks up and pretends to pick his ear. Maybe she has more of a sense of humor than I initially thought. You go girl! Anyway, her baggage is one of these three:

- I was one of seven sister wives in a polygamist family.
- I attacked my ex with a chainsaw.
- I've never gone all the way.


Christa looks to be in her late 20s, so the virgin thing wouldn't bug me enough to not date her. However, attacking her ex with a chainsaw? Being a polygamist wife? Both of those are potential dealbreakers for me, depending on the circumstances. (Tom laughs about the chainsaw thing and says, "Nice!")

When queried by Jerry, Tom says the virginity thing would bug him the most. "I like to get down and dirty," he said. And of course, that's her baggage. (This suddenly makes more sense about why she's not so into Allen The Pimp.) She comes across as humble and sweet while explaining that she's waiting for the right guy, which makes me like her more. (She's gone from a C- at the start of an episode to an A- now to me.) Tom accepts her baggage anyway though, and they hug nice and tight. (Tom still seems like a creepy rowe-butt.)









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