Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pickin' Pigskin: Week 8 (and rallying for sanity in D.C. and Tulsa)


Bob: Well, it's that time of the week again. Sorry we're sending the picks in late--we just got back from the Rally to Restore Sanity. Let me just say this: I haven't seen DC this crowded since the inauguration. Since this was a fake rally for no real issues, I don't really know how that makes me feel. Except to say that I'm pissed that I couldn't get on the Metro. We tried to get on at about 12:45 p.m., and we were told by people on the absolutely full train that they had all gotten on at the FIRST STOP on the Metro. So we took a cab.

The rally had lots of good signs and stuff, but we couldn't hear a thing from Stewart/Colbert. They clearly weren't ready for a crowd that size (and neither was the National Park Service, which had fenced off portions of the Mall that the crowd ended up knocking down. The amazing part was when we decided to split, and downtown D.C. was basically shut down because the crowd had overflowed. There were a bunch of people dancing on some kind of dragon float. We ended up having to walk about 15 blocks to find a place to eat (where we proceeded to wait about an hour to eat, because they weren't ready for a crowd at 3 p.m.).

On the way back, I smartly looked into the Metro station before we went through the turnstiles, and saw the platform was packed. So we walked from downtown D.C. back to our condo, which in itself was a trek because we had to go through Georgetown, which is the place to be on Halloween. Even as we walked across the bridge out of D.C. at 6 p.m., traffic was snarled getting out of the city. So today will be known as the day that Jon Stewart broke D.C. (with help from people going out for Halloween).

-----

Kristin: Hey,

I'm sleepy after our big day on the mall. If you're interested I'm gonna post some pics on Facebook. So this is all you get this week.

-----

Matt: I'd like just to take this moment to plug Tulsa's win over once-mighty Notre Dame (last mighty in the 1980s). Though our coach inanely and repeatedly called it the biggest win in the program's history, this isn't the case. Not to say that it isn't a big win, and I don't love that we beat the so-called elite.

But I don't think it's a bigger win than, say, beating Oklahoma on the road in 1996. Or of any of our bowl wins when they meant things, like beating Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl in 1945. I mean we were the first school to be in five consecutive New Year's Day bowl games. We've won conference championships. We hold the record for largest margin of victory in a bowl game in history from 2008. It's degrading to the program's history to call a win over an exceedingly mediocre Notre Dame squad the biggest win in the program's history.

-----


Steve: As y'all can probably tell from my posting time on this, I'm exhausted, and this whole "launching a site" thing is pretty time consuming. I promise to not mail it in next week. And, I'm secretly very envious of you, Bob and Kristin, for attending the rally. And I'm sure all three of us are envious of Matt, since we all went to the University of Rhode Island, which hasn't had a good football team in years.

Anyway, everyone went 8-6 last week. This week's picks:






















































































Steve Bob Kristin Matt
DEN (+2) at SF SF DEN DEN DEN
JAC at DAL (-6.5) DAL DAL JAX JAX
MIA (+1.5) at CIN MIA MIA MIA MIA
BUF at KC (-7) KC KC KC BUF
WAS at DET (-2.5) WAS DET WAS WAS
CAR at STL (-3) CAR STL STL STL
GB at NYJ (-6) NYJ NYJ GB NYJ
TEN at SD (-3.5) TEN SD TEN TEN
MIN (+5.5) at NE NE MIN NE MIN
TB at ARI (-3) TB ARI ARI TB
SEA at OAK (-2.5) SEA OAK SEA OAK
PIT (+1) at NO PIT PIT PIT PIT
HOU at IND (-5.5) IND IND IND HOU

Friday, October 29, 2010

This comic makes me smile wistfully.


No, it wasn't drawn by Bill, but I think this comic is really well done. I found it while looking online for some photos for the school paper I'm laying out. It brought a smile to my face, since it seems appropriate for the tone of the strip, if you fast-forward 20 years into the future. Calvin was a bit of a troublemaker, but in a gentle, awesome way.

I got the image from this site here, who got it from somewhere else as well. Probably that picture site in the bottom right, but I have no idea who the original artist is.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sing it girl - blah blah blah.


I don't really have anything to say tonight. My brain is all frazzled and I'm running on an octave slightly more than empty. (I don't think that makes sense, either.) As Ke$ha would say, blah blah blah.

And by the way, why all the hatin' on Ke$ha? Sometimes I wake up in the morning feelin' like P-Diddy as well. It happens to the best of us. It's not her fault she makes hit records with auto-tune and sick beats... Well, I suppose it is kind of her fault. But I feel compelled to defend a fellow dirty blonde, even if she is dirty blonde on two levels as opposed to my single one.

Hell, imma do this, and post two Ke$ha videos:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

No, I haven't watched Glee yet.

My love of Glee is now widely-known, which is somewhat concerning because I am a 26-year-old man. It's sad enough that I love the show, but it's worse when everyone knows and one of two things happens:

1) They razz you about liking it. Typically, my defense is that it is so different from everything else on television that it appeals to me. I am also a sucker for harmony and (some) pop songs, and I especially like when they do covers. I love listening to covers, whether they're by Richard Cheese, The Dan Band or Me First and the Gimme Gimmes.

2) They keep asking if I've seen the latest episode, since they're a fan of the show too. This normally isn't TOO much of a problem, but this week, I've been ridiculously busy with work stuff and other stuff. As a result, I've barely had time to sleep, never mind watching Glee. I might try to sneak it in tonight, but I have to lay out a 12-page high school newspaper and then I have a meeting for coffee tomorrow at 9:30 a.m., followed by police coverage and another meeting at 2 p.m.

Soooo... things are pretty tight for me. And I really want to see them do the time warp again - it's just a jump to the left, and then a step to the right, after all.

p.s. Drew Carey totally did it first.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Dear guy on a pole, thanks a lot, jerk.


This great picture of the jerk on the pole comes from this
site, which has a really good sum-up of the whole thing.

Although the title suggests something really lewd, that is not the case - Sorry to all of you fans of men on poles out there. I don't mean some sort of sexual joke with the title, I mean that literally, a guy climbed to the top of an electrical pole in Philadelphia.

Normally, I wouldn't care about this. However, because I was in New York City, waiting for a train, this presented quite the conundrum for me. Our originally scheduled train for 7:30 p.m. was delayed until 9:45 p.m. because they had to cut the electricity while they helped down the dumb asshole who shocked himself trying to steal copper wire. (For the record, I voted that I was "furious" about the story.)

As a result, I'm not scheduled to get back into Kingston until 12:45 a.m. Ugh. I was planning on doing some things Wednesday morning, but that time is most likely going to be sucked up with rest and recuperation time. The lights are on on the train, so I can't really get any shuteye.

I also have a pretty full week scheduled - The high school newspaper deadline for the kids is Wednesday, and Friday for me, followed by my site launching Monday, which means a lot of prep work for me. Exciting times, but really busy times, unfortunately. I'll try to keep y'all updated with the blog, but my next couple days of entries will probably be shorter.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Steve and the City II: The Return


Once again, like a couple months ago, I’m on a train. Or as T-Pain might say, “I’m on a train trick!”

As always, like the South County yokel that I am, the mix of people on the train is fascinating to me. Thankfully, unlike last time, there isn’t someone trying to make a baby right near me. Unfortunately, there aren’t two humorous teenage girls either. You take the good with the bad – I’m listening to Eddie Money instead. (I agree with my friend Michael that “Baby Hold On” is seriously an incredibly good song. Check it out on YouTube here.)

Today, the excitement is more muted. It is the little things amazing me. For example, half this train is asleep, draped across two seats, with their shoes off. This was definitely gross when I first got on the train, because it smelled like feet. I can understand sleeping on the train, but it seems rude to me to drape across two seats like it is your goddamn bed. And that goes doubly for putting your stinky metatarsals all over the seats.

Luckily though, my ticket is for business class, where there were far less people comatose. It doesn’t take much to impress, and Amtrak knows the way to my heart – free (non-alcoholic) drinks. Mmm, Diet Pepsi. I only drank two small cans though, because I’m classy. (Also, I had a can of soda before the train ride. If only I had known it would be free! Sigh.)

The reason for the trip to New York City is a work-related conference. I think it’s mostly to meet some of the other people involved in the company on the East Coast, and to learn about some new developments in the field and what not. I’d reveal more, except that’s probably frowned upon. Suffice to say, it’s really cool. As John Morrison and The Miz would say, be jealous.

Typed from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday morning. Because I will be busy the next two days at conferences, there is a good chance that Tuesday’s entry will be delayed. Then again, I might be able to squeeze one out quickly and get it posted…

The picture of John Morrison and The Miz is from this site.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A ho-hum Saturday Night Live with the gorgeous Emma Stone

I didn't realize that Emma Stone was so tall, and had such great legs, until last night's Saturday Night Live. Also, there was a pretty funny sexual education skit in the final 30 minutes - It was much, much better than the lame ones with Kenan Thompson.

And hey, now that I think about it, there were several good moments in Weekend Update. It's silly, but I like the Stefon character. Furkels was great, and made me spit-take a bit. And Kenan was really good as that wacky "The rent is too damn high!" character. And the weird French dancing skit was something they would have done on an old school Saturday Night Live, and very effective.

As usual, anything Kristen Wiig was in made me recoil. And the opening monologue? I bet while Jay Pharoah was watching in the background, he was thinking, "Why does this Fred mother effer get to Obama?" That was long, drawn-out and not funny. Same thing goes with everything Wiig was featured prominently in. Another funny skit, the "my brother is awesome!" show, made that clear to me. Just start putting the new girls in every skit, Lorne Michaels.


Note: Sorry for the brevity of this entry, but I'm doing this, that and the other thing tonight - Packing for a two-day trip to New York, preparing for the initial high school newspaper edition of the year, planning for my site launch on November 1... Being an adult is tough work.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Pickin' Pigskin - Week 7 (and Bob is blind, like Justice)

Steve: First, as always, the standings.

Bob: 42-43 (7-6)
Steve: 41-44 (8-5)
Matt: 39-46 (5-8)
Kristin: 38-47 (8-5)

Well, well, well, Mr. Hanson. Looks like you have someone nipping on your heels! Which one of us will get to .500 first, punk? Just in case you were wondering, here is my answer - ME. Now go wash my car, you flunkie! I'm going to treat you like George McFly treats Biff in Back To The Future, after Marty makes everything "right" again.

Speaking of that movie, Cracked brings up a great point and a gaping plot hole in that movie - Marty's parents don't realize that their kid looks EXACTLY like his mom's old flame? That stretches believability. I mean, as much as that can stretch the imagination in a movie that is all about time travel. Likewise, nobody noticed that he was dropping names like Clint Eastwood and Calvin Klein.

However, the movie is still effing awesome. Every time it comes on television, I watch, and the same thing goes with the sequel, and the beginning and end of the third installment. The third is definitely the weakest though, as large portions of the Old West are just uninteresting. Basically, you should watch up until the point Marty goes into the past, then watch again when he has the duel (and the awesome callback to a Clint Eastwood movie!), and then the ending. Everything else kind of stinks, especially Doc's wet blanket girlfriend.

But oh yeah, football. Uh... I got nothing. Sorry.

-----

Matt: I need to figure out why I'm doing so badly at this when I'm winning my Yahoo picks league. I apparently really really suck at the spread. Which is probably just how Vegas wants me to be. Regardless, I'm trying to pay more attention to the spread this week and factor that in, so I'll either do much better or much worse. We'll find out next week. This is why I mainly only pick soccer matches on CentSports.

Also, because I want Steve to find a picture... Steve, if you are concerned by Mad Men spoilers, you can just Google to find any old picture of Jessica Paré. MAD MEN SPOILERS UPCOMING!

Can anyone really doubt why he picked Megan? I mean, really. The outrage over this has been sort of absurd, and very Twilight-esque (as evidenced by the Team Faye hashtag on Twitter). Also, Megan is really really hot. END MAD MEN SPOILERS!

-----

Matt: Sorry to send a follow up e-mail, but I have horrible news that needs to be addressed. I am outraged at the potential union of Maria Sharapova to Sasha Vujacic. SASHA VUJACIC. A crappy player and a not particularly attractive man! What gives! Really, Maria Sharapova can do far better. This upsets me more than when Adriana Lima eloped with Marko Jaric, who also sucks at basketball. At least Jaric played for the Timberwolves for a while, so there was the possibility that Adriana Lima could be courtside at the Target Center.

Also, my lord, I wish I were an Eastern European basketball player.

That is all.

-----

So many things to reply to, so little time. In order of appearance:

I think the plot hole you identified in Back to the Future is a bit late gaping than you think. I'm not sure how well I would remember what my two-week fling from high school would look like 20 years later. I hardly remember what you look like, and it has only been a year or two since I have seen you in person. I might have an exceptionally bad visual memory (Kristin will attest to this, and I think I have previously mentioned my inability to distinguish Julia Stiles and Kirsten Dunst), but I'm not sure I would wake up one day, look at my 16-year-old kid, and say "AHA YOU WENT BACK IN TIME AND KISSED ON ME!"

As for the difficulty of picking against the spread, I bet you regret your decision to enter this contest now, Matt. Who the fuck do you think you're fucking with? This is the spread, it runs shit around here. You just visit here. Yeah, that's right, you better walk away. Go on and walk away... because I'm going to burn this motherfucker down. King Kong ain't got shit on me.

RIP millions of young boys' fantasy about Maria Sharapova. Actually, scratch that. It's not cheating if it's in a teenage boy's fantasy. That's like the area code rule, right?

-----

Kristin: I will attest that Bob is exceedingly bad at identifying people and
distinguishing between them. There were two girls in our high school class that had him convinced for a long time that they were one person. In reality, they were two girls that dressed similarly, didn't say much, and both had brown hair. Otherwise, they looked nothing alike.

Speaking of recognizing people, Bob and I are always trying to identify familiar looking actors on the TV shows we watch. Some recent good catches of mine include:

1) Identifying Dana Davis from the brief TV show version of 10 Things I Hate About You as a guest star on Grey's Anatomy. This was particularly creepy to me because she went from playing a sophomore in high school to playing an engaged 27-year-old in only a few months. In reality, she just turned 26, so happy birthday Danna Davis! May you continue to play a high school student into your 30s.

2) Identifying Keiko Agena, who played Lane Kim on Gilmore Girls, as the Neonatal Specialist and potential addition to the team on last week's House. She also recently celebrated a birthday. Happy 37th birthday to Keiko Agena - who started playing 15 year old
Lane Kim at the age of 26. Yikes!

-----

Steve: Bob, Julia Stiles and Dunst look almost nothing alike, especially now! Just remember, if it's something good, it's probably Stiles (10 Things I Hate About You, the Bourne movies). But anyway, the picks chart:




























































































SteveBobKristinMatt
CLE (+13) at NONOCLECLENO
JAX at KC (-9.5)KCKCJAXKC
PHI (+3) at TENTENPHIPHIPHI
BUF at BAL (-13)BALBALBALBUF
CIN at ATL (-3.5)ATLATLATLATL
WAS (+3) at CHIWASWASWASCHI
PIT (-3) at MIAPITPITMIAPIT
STL at TB (-3)TBTBSTLSTL
SF at CAR (+3)SFSFSFCAR
ARI at SEA (-6.5)SEASEASEAARI
OAK (+8.5) at DENDENDENDENOAK
NE at SD (-3)NENENENE
MIN (+2.5) at GBGBGBMINMIN
NYG (+3) at DALNYGNYGNYGNYG



The picture of Lea Thompson is from this site.

Friday, October 22, 2010

An inexplicable running diary for Rangers vs. Yankees, game six.

Because I’m watching it anyway, I thought I would do a (delayed) liveblog of the Rangers and Yankees’ game tonight. For the record, I would kind of prefer if the Yankees lost horribly, but that’s the Red Sox fan in me talking.

Two things factor into this. First, the Rangers just seem plucky and spry this year. I like the whole Josh Hamilton story, I like Cliff Lee turning into a poor man’s Sandy Koufax, and I like that former Red Sock David Murphy is on the Rangers too.

And secondly, the Yankees are just so, so easy to hate, between the over-sized personalities, the ridiculous payroll and their success over the years. (The last factor is a hard admission to make, but nobody wants to hate the Pirates or the Orioles.)

… I guess I should get on to the blog! Picking things up from the top of the fifth inning, with the Rangers (momentarily) holding a 1-0 lead…

9:35 p.m. I was just going to type about how Colby Lewis throwing a no-hitter would be the most insane way for this game to be decided. Then A-Rod doubled, and moved to third on a sac fly, so nevermind.

Of course, this being the Yankees, there was a shady play. Nick Swisher clearly got hit by a ball, but he pretends he didn’t, and it goes for a wild pitch that scores A-Rod. Swisher then hits a weak tapper in front of the mound for an out.

The next batter is Jorge Posada, and he knocks a double down the right-field line, so maybe A-Rod would have scored anyway. But still, it seems like the Yankees always have these shady plays throughout the year.

9:52 p.m. After an error on a grounder by Mitch Moreland, he’s advanced to third on a hit-and-run and a ground ball. The Yankees are doing this thing where they intentionally walk Josh Hamilton every time he gets up. Statistically, it’s a silly idea – Someone need to have a .500 OBP to make it pay off.

Vlad Guerrero immediately makes them pay for it by lining a double deep to the center field wall. Hamilton zips around the bases and scores without a throw, giving the Rangers a 3-1 lead. Go Texas! The Yankees are not messing with you, because you’re winning.

FOX shows a shot of Ron Washington celebrating in the dugout. I’m trying not to make a joke about his drug history. (He tested positive for cocaine usage in the off-season and barely held on to his job as a result.)

9:58 p.m. The above series of events chases Yankees start Phil Hughes from the game. Both he and Lewis were coasting along, yet now, it looks like both will be out of the game. David Robertson comes in. I was wondering if we’d see a starter come in, but the Yank-

Oh wow, Cruz just hit a two-run bomb! This is shaping up like game seven in 2004, except well, completely different. It just seems like the Yankees are hanging on by a thread at this point, and the stadium in Arlington is rocking.

The bleeding doesn’t stop either, as the next batter, Ian Kinsler, smacks a double to left. The Yankees send the pitching coach out to stall, since Robertson has faced two batters and given up a homer and a double. They get Kerry Wood going in the bullpen.

I was saying earlier, I wonder if the Yankees will use a starter, except they don’t really have anyone to use. Pettite is tomorrow’s pitcher, C.C. Sabathia hasn’t been that effective, and A.J. Burnett isn’t walking through that door anytime soon. Robertson gives up a 350-foot foul ball to Murphy, but then finally induces a grounder to get out of the inning.

10:14 p.m. The Yankees go meekly in the top of the sixth. Womp womp womp. Derek Jeter sure has looked old lately.

10:26 p.m. The stadium goes deathly quiet as Lance Berkman smacks a double past Josh Hamilton in center, and Hamilton trips. But he’s all right, and Nick Swisher flies out to left to end the inning.

10:32 p.m. Kerry Wood is now in the game, and Michael Young hits a grounder past a diving A-Rod into left on the very first pitch for a double. Shockingly, even though there are no outs, the Yankees refuse to pitch to Hamilton.

Vlad bunts them over to second and third, and then amazingly, we have ANOTHER international walk. Seriously, you’re loading up the bases, Joe? This seems foolish. Joba starts to warm up for some reason too. I’d probably just go to Rivera at this point, and ask him to work the rest of the seventh, eighth and ninth. No use saving him for a game that might never happen.

Anyway, Kinsler lifts a ball to left, but Gardner is positioned perfectly. Young tags up and scores, and it’s first and second with two outs. Murphy smashes a ball, but it stays in the park, and they only get that one run. 6-1.

10:44 p.m. Holy shit, Colby Lewis is still pitching in this game, in the top of the eighth. He has been sharp outside of that one inning, and now, he’s reaching back and still hitting 92 on the gun. Meanwhile, Darren O’Day and Darren Oliver are warm in the pen, just ready to pounce if Lewis does have an issue.

Lewis strikes out another Yankee for the second out – his sixth of the night. His stuff still looks sharp, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he went the distance. He walks Gardner, but then strikes out Jeter. Suck it, captain.

10:54 p.m. Rivera comes in. Ron Washington hugs Lewis in the dugout, and Feliz is warming in the pen, so Lewis’ night might be done. (My buddy Tom jokes that Washington probably already has a couple lines setup in the clubhouse. Ba dum ching!) Anyway, it takes Rivera a while, but he eliminates the side in order.

11:02 p.m. Time for the top of the ninth, and Feliz is pitching. He blows away the first batter. He induces a grounder from the second. And the third batter? Alex Rodriguez, scum of the Earth.

The first pitch is a 99 mile per hour ball, but Felix whips the next one by him, and A-Rod fouls the next one off. Finally though, the game ends as Feliz makes A-Rod’s knees bend with a nasty hook, and he goes down looking.

Through the course of writing this, I think I realized another reason why I like the Rangers – They’ve never been to the World Series before, and you can feel it reverberating through their fan base. That matters when your dog isn’t in the fight anymore. Watching the fans freak out and celebrate? That’s sweet.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pearls Before Swine - Now animated!


I'm a big, big fan of Pearls Before Swine, a sardonic comic strip that runs mostly in West Coast papers. I have all of the treasuries, and I sincerely wish that The Providence Journal or some other paper would start running it. That alone would make me subscribe to the paper again. (hint hint... oh never mind, they're not reading this anyway.)

Anyway, Pearls is now online in an animated form, which you can see linked above. I think they've done a smashing job, and I like the little 25 to 50-second cartoons they've made out of some of the more popular strips. They're very easy to digest. I highly recommend that you check some out!

(Note: Yup, this is a pretty short post. To get a little "inside baseball" for a second here, my site for Patch launches on November 1, so I'm pretty busy in the preparation for that. This isn't even including the two days next week that I have to be in New York City. So, until things calm down, you'll probably see a lot more 1) shorter posts and 2) obviously evergreen or time delayed posts that I did well in advance. Hence why you haven't seen any Baggage this week, since I'll probably save it mostly for next week.)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dear FOX, stop letting monkeys plan your television schedule.


Generally, I like FOX. Well, not their news product, or their tendency to cancel great shows even if their ratings haven't caught up to where they should be. (I did think that Alyssa Rosenberg brought up a good point on her blog when she noted that FOX gives chances to a ton of weird shows that the networks don't want to touch, so they are going to have a higher cancel rate as well. I'm not sure when she said this, so instead, let me just plug her blog in general here.) But in general, I like several of their programs.

I do not like their scheduling habits though. I'm not sure why, but they consider it a good idea to air a couple episodes, then take three weeks off. I imagine that this practice started because, back in the day, FOX aired a lot more live sports in the middle of the week, when they had less live programming. They still don't run a full programming slate, since they aren't active in the 10 p.m. hour, or late night.

Also, this practice was more defensible in the past because it allowed people to catch up on shows if they missed some episodes. For example, if you did miss the wonderful first four episodes of Glee this year, they are being replayed in repeats now. However, you could have just watched them on Hulu or downloaded them from iTunes or... uh... other sources. In this wonderful digital age, you don't really have to wait for shows to be re-broadcast.

With that in mind, FOX, here is what I suggest - Just run shows in order from start to finish. The only exception should be if there is a holiday, in which case, sure, run a repeat or a holiday special. Let me actually see new episodes of Family Guy, The Cleveland Show and Glee in proper order instead of breaking them up with repeats. Thanks!

Note: I included random pictures from Robot Chicken because I like Robot Chicken. Deal with it!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Buy My Crap - More books! BOOKS! BOOKS!!!

I'm attempting to clean out my room a bit. See, I thought I had reduced my sizeable book collection to two bookcases - The big giant one that I struggled to put together a couple months ago, and a smaller one [right] that I could use to put books I currently had up for sale on Half.com. However, I popped my trunk the other day and found TWO boxes of books that I had neglected to move into the house, and thus, they somehow must fit on the bookcases.

(Note: Yes, that is a Maxim magazine on the top of the small bookcase, the aforementioned subscription that I can't risk canceling. I don't know what to do with them. I am a bit of a packrat when it comes to books and magazines, and I feel odd just throwing them out. I think I might put them up on eBay to see if some poor desperate soul wants them, and then I won't ever think again about why some dude would want 24 old issues of Maxim. ick.)

Anyway, I don't really have anything too fascinating for sale. There were some minor items of interest - an anthology of Super Mario Bros. cartoons, for example - that moved quickly, but most of the books are selling sluggishly.

But hey - Don't let that dissuade YOU from purchasing some :) You can check out my Half.com storefront here. And to you, gentle readers, I'll extend the same deal I gave to my friend Kristi - If you buy anything more than $1, I'll throw in any other books you want that cost under $1. I'm mostly looking to clear my room of clutter here, as opposed to making a ton of money.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Steve Around The House - The Great Driveway Flooding


I really enjoy my new place. My roommate is awesome, and I'm glad she puts up with a smelly boy like myself, and her cat, Cleo, is awesome, as I've previously established.

However, one looming issue is the huge puddle in my front yard. Every time it rains, the driveway floods, as you can see above. That picture is from Friday afternoon, and it's still here today, Tuesday night. ick. At its deepest point, the water gets mid-calf.

I'm not sure if things will get any better in the winter, either. Sure, it will freeze over, thus preventing my engine from water damage. But since it'll be ice, I'm sure there could be bigger issues. Like me accidentally parking in the puddle, and coming out the next morning to find my wheels frozen in the middle of a puddle. That... would be bad.

A side benefit of the puddle in the front yard is that my basement is dry. Our neighbor has no water in his half of the driveway, but in contrast, his basement gets flooded after even a tiny bit of rain. Then again, our basement is so musky and gross that a pool of water down there might help matters. When we moved in, the only things down there were a dehumidifier, a couple beer pong balls, and some rat poison.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

This week in random Hollywood re-tread news: The Hobbit, Top Gun 2 and Scream 4


I used to do a lot more random "news" and hodgepodge entries. Let's try to bring that back on a lazy Sunday that doesn't feature Chris Parnell and Andy Samburg, since Saturday Night Live was a repeat last night anyway.

- It seems like The Hobbit is back on. This makes me happy, especially since Peter Jackson is attached as the director now, as opposed to just being a producer.

I actually thought it was a bit odd that Peter Jackson started with The Lord of the Rings, as opposed to The Hobbit. In terms of source material, The Hobbit is about 100 times more readable and accessible. It moves at a pretty brisk pace, and there is a lot more action. Also, there is a giant effing dragon in it! That's always a selling point in movies for me.

In contrast, The Lord of the Rings trilogy has lots and lots of talking, along with aborted encounters. For example, the hobbits run into the ring-wraiths in the first book, but they don't fight them. This is a common theme through the series, as they run from the Balrog, the Ents take care of Saruman, and the one ring gets destroyed in a bit of luck, via a misstep by Smeagol. I think the height of the movies / books comes in one of the few confrontations, that of Eowyn dispatching the Witch-king. It was the only moment that made me go, "Wow, that's awesome!" The rest of the movies just featured a deep appreciation for what Peter Jackson had created, but yet, I wasn't spellbound.

- Unfortunately, Top Gun 2 sounds like it's going to suck. Blast is reporting via other sites that Tom Cruise isn't involved, and they haven't lined up Jerry B. as a producer, or other cast members. You can read their news item here. Without Tom Cruise, why bother calling it Top Gun? The movie is all about him!

I suppose they could try to lure Val Kilmer and/or Anthony Edwards back into the fold, and make a true sequel or prequel. But without either one of them or Cruise, it'll just seem like one of those crappy, unrelated movies that just uses an old series title to make a quick buck. (I'm looking in your direction, Bring It On Again and Dumb and Dumberer.)

Therefore, if you're actually going to do Top Gun 2, I think you need to make it into a spoof. I'm talking Naked Gun or Hot Shots or Airplane! style, with completely unawares characters in ridiculous situations. For example, you definitely need to the do the bizarrely hyper-gay volleyball scene again, but up the ante. Repeat it 15 times throughout the movie, or have a whole slew of volleyball players, or just make the whole movie about a big volleyball tournament as opposed to having anything to do with fighter jets.

- And finally, I find it odd that Neve Campbell was the holdout for Scream 4. Hey Neve, it's not like your door is getting knocked down by greedy agents desperate to ink you for your next role. Except for guest spots in some good television shows, her last prominent role was... Scream 3. Whoops.

I will add that Neve was really attractive in Party of Five, and especially Wild Things. Man, Kevin Bacon is probably a happy dude for life because of Wild Things... that son of a bitch. On top of that, he has a fun game named after him! And he's named after a delicious item of food! That sly, sneaky bastard.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Pickin' Pigskin: Week 6 (may or may not be about Jenn Sterger)

Matt: I'm heading out of town, so I figured I'd better get my picks sent off. Basically, I want to give up on our season, but I just can't quite bring myself to yet. Soon.

-----

Steve: Dear Matt,

First off, how about you change the subject line on your e-mail picks? Week five was last week! What do you think this is, amateur hour? Listen, I can banish you back to the minor leagues of game picking if you aren't careful! I'll cut you, fool.

And second, I'd give the Vikings a bit more time to gel into a cohesive unit with Moss. By the way, I used "unit" in my preceding paragraph. You get it? It's a Brett Favre joke! Because it refers to slang for PENIS. (Also, this whole paragraph now gives me justification for including a photo of Jenn Sterger.)

Speaking of Jenn, did you know she once had implants? Actually, I'm assuming she got them out since she did blog about how she wanted them removed. This disappoints me a bit - I don't mind implants. At least, I don't think I do - I don't think I've ever been with someone who has them. But implants in and of themselves aren't evil. I wouldn't rule out dating someone just because they had implants. (Now if they smoked and weren't trying hard to quit? No way.)

I hope that paragraph causes an awkward exchange and distraction in the Hanson household that will allow me to vault ahead of Bob in the standings. In a switch from last week, overall records are presented, with the past week's schedule in parentheses:

Bob: 35-37 (6-7)
Matt: 34-38 (7-6)
Steve: 33-39 (7-6)
Kristin: 30-42 (5-8)

-----

Bob: Dear Steve,

You should know you could never distract me with a picture of Jenn Sterger. I've always said there are two types of people I couldn't date - Republicans and Yankees fans. It is well-known that there is a correlation between being a Yankees fan and a Jets fan. According to the Transitive Property of New York Douche-ery, then, I have no interest in Jenn Sterger. It's not even a matter of just dating - I don't consider people to be worth my time if they are either of those things. (According to the Transitive Property of Republicanism, that means I also can't date racists. ZING.)

Now, if you want to post a picture of Dichen Lachman, that could be distracting to me. There are rumors that she might be in the new Star Wars television show, and that could be even more distracting. Maybe we can put her in a metal bikini?

As for football... wow, I can't think of a single interesting thing to say about football. I don't care about Brett Favre's penis. Really. I don't. At what point are we going to stop becoming excited about the fact that professional athletes are pigs, just like politicians, businessmen, reality television stars, actors, musicians, and basically any profession someone can be. AOL has a top 10 list of most famous affairs of 2009. At what point does this become old hat? Men cheat, and apparently the best way to do this now is to send somebody a picture of your dick. I'm sorry, allegedly send a picture of your dick.

According to ESPN, I should also care about concussions, minor-to-mid-level important players being injured, and the fact that in the NFL you aren't allowed to tweet too close to kickoff (which is BS). If I was Terrell Owens, I would pay my fine in a jar of pennies.

-----

Kristin: Dear Favre,

If you want to sleep with women that aren't your hot blond brunette wife and mother of your children, giving them the lasting mental image of your penis appearing only the two inch length of a cell phone screen is probably not the way to go.

Love,
Kristin

-----

So without further delay, here be some picks:



























































































Steve Bob Kristin Matt
ATL (+2.5) at PHI ATL ATL PHI ATL
KC (+4.5) at HOU KC KC HOU HOU
NO (-4) at TB NO NO NO NO
MIA at GB (-3) GB GB GB MIA
SD (-8.5) at STL SD SD STL SD
BAL (+2.5) at NE NE BAL NE BAL
DET (+10) at NYG NYG DET DET NYG
CLE at PIT (-14) PIT PIT CLE PIT
SEA at CHI (-6) SEA CHI SEA CHI
NYJ (-3.5) at DEN NYJ NYJ DEN NYJ
OAK (+7) at SF SF OAK SF OAK
DAL at MIN (-1.5) DAL MIN DAL DAL
IND (-3) at WAS IND IND WAS IND
TEN (-3) at JAX TEN TEN TEN TEN

Friday, October 15, 2010

You hate your life if you're not watching Community.

Hey, are you watching Community yet? Sources, specifically Blast Magazine and its television ratings report, tell me that Outsourced has more viewers yet AGAIN. Therefore, the Community posts shall continue!

Last night's episode was a spoof of Apollo 13, I think. I'm not sure because I never saw that movie - womp womp womp. However, it was still hilarious to me. The gang gets trapped in a space simulator, fight with one another and Pierce is actually funny as he has to deal with space madness, Ren and Stimpy style.

But with teamwork and finger-lickin' goodness, the team managed to complete the heavily KFC-branded simulation. It was an especially strong episode for the dean and his gay tendencies, Senor Chang had a great five second cameo, and my love affair with Troy continues. I thought he was hilarious in his role as the captain of the simulator, and I definitely liked the slight tease they had when Brita landed on his lap.


Also, that thing to the right? That's the community college's flag. What aren't you watching this show??? Why do you hate your life and deny yourself this enjoyment? So as a final enticement, here are some quotes that would only be super hilarious if you had seen this great, great episode:

Jeff: Pierce! You're talking to an Atari cartridge. Sit down.

Jeff: Our school may be a toilet, but it's our toilet, and nobody craps in it but us.

Brita: How many schools would let you get a degree in theoretical PE?

Dean: *shows them on the map where the city impound lots are*
Abed: It looks like you circled public rest rooms and truck stops.
Dean: Ohhh, okay... That is a different side of the map, and that is... for... a different project.
Abed: Why do they have star ratings?

Troy: There is a time and a place for subtly, and that time was before Scary Movie.

Pierce: I WILL KILL YOU, SANDERS!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

This week on Glee: Kurt, Sam, Artie, Brittany and scissoring

Oh, Glee. Glee, Glee, Glee. First off, there was an utterly ridiculous scene in the first 10 minutes, as Santana and Brittany were making out and talking about scissoring. Second, Rachel looks great with bangs. Third, it was cool to see Mike Chang actually get involved in an episode besides dancing. (Even if he really can't sing at all.) And finally, Quinn (and especially her eyes) looked great as she was cleaning slushie off the new quarterback, and I loved how tense her scenes were.

Regarding the actual plot itself, I like that they addressed one of my biggest issues with the first season - that everybody but Kurt's dad realize he was way too aggressive with Finn. Kurt's dad nailed him on it, which I thought was an awesome bit of follow-up.

I also like how Sam and Finn were bantering about Rachel and Quinn. "She's a couple inches shorter and she talks a lot more, but I love her." Well said, Finn, well said. I enjoy all the subtle touches like that; they really help to round out the entire episode. Santana is awesome as well, and I like how evil and aggressive she is. And also, why did Quinn wear her cheerleading outfit on her date to Breadsticks with Sam? Why was Brittany wearing hers too? And was it just me, or was Breadsticks an obvious spoof of The Olive Garden?

One thing that is annoying, and that I'm sure they'll address eventually, is Artie portraying himself as a victim at every opportunity. Since Brittany is my favorite character, I'm annoyed that he hurt her. How DARE you, Artie! And speaking of, here are the awesome Brittany quotes from last night:

On Puck getting sent to juvenile hall: "He might be the dumbest person on the planet and that's coming from me."

Will: What's a duet? Brittany: A blanket.

About Artie: "I know, for a while I thought you were a robot."

To Artie: "I just want to get you in a stroller."

To Santana: "I'm mad at you... but you're still so hot."

Artie: I thought I was over somebody, but I still think I have feelings for them...
Brittany: The Clintons?

While about to have sex with Artie: "You're on the football team now anyway, so we would have gotten around to this at some point."

"I was going to order one really, really long piece of spaghetti like Lady and the Tramp... I've been practicing nudging a meatball across the table with my nose."

-----


Danielle: Heyyy, hope you don't read this e-mail before you see the episode!

I thoroughly enjoyed this episode. It brought back all the perfect hilarity and awesomeness while only putting in a few serious moments - Kurt dealing with being lonely, Artie and sex.

I thought Mercedes and Santana's duet was great. And when they were talking beforehand about doing the duet and Santana keeps calling her Weezy.

The other duets were great too - I like that they didn't just do a bunch of typical duets. Kurt's self-duet was very... Kurtish, haha, and I thought Tina and Mike's duet was unique. Rachel and Finn's determination to throw the competition was great too, like when they were getting all fake indignant.

This episode also made me love Rachel again. She was starting to be super annoying the first two episodes, but I just loved her in this episode. That was the Rachel I like.

And of course we can't forget Brittany and Santana making out and bringing up scissoring! Not that I'm completely surprised. I'm glad Artie told Brittany off for treating him the way she did. But the fact that she felt bad was good to see. It was cute in the end when she was moving the meatball with her nose all by herself. I guess also kind of sad, lol.

And Sam! The fact that they made his character a football player but this wicked awkward nerdy guy was great. I hang out with a lot of nerdy guys, so I've been around the cringe-worthy moments when they're trying to be cool and then say the weirdest things. Him and Quinn could be really cute together. When Puck comes back, the confrontation with Sam should be interesting.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pitching Perfect Projects: Bill and Ted... THREE.


Welcome to another installment of Pitching Perfect Projects. In the past, I pitched completely made-up great ideas of mine, like Eating Dinner, Looking for Work, Black Ghostbusters, and Four Lesbians Two Babies and An Elephant. Well, imagine my excitement when I read (a month late) that a third Bill and Ted movie actually has the backing of Keanu Reeves and others!

Even more shockingly, while movie sequels way after the fact are normally derisively mocked on the Internet, all the comments on that story are pretty positive. I think it reflects the original movie series well. Although Excellent Adventure and Bogus Journey seemed like stoner movies, they were both really well-made. Heck, even Ebert gave Bogus Journey three stars in his review.

The question is, what do you do in the third movie? Here is my humble short list of ideas:

- A time wormhole that transports Bill and Ted from the 1990s to present day. There can be the obligatory "fish out of water" adapting that they have to do, like trying to get used to crap like Jersey Shore on television, and the whole concept of computers and the Internet. Their wives - the princesses - could also be a source of comic relief, as they presumably would be in their 30s now. And finally, the plot could hinge on the boys remembering that they had left money in a bank years ago, and now, the interest made them RICH. Or, something similarly cheesy.

- Bill and Ted get transported in the distant future, in order to see how it all ends. I envision something similar to a Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy story, with plenty of loopy dialogue and side characters. (Mos Def, I like your music, but you really stunk as Ford Prefect.)

- The telephone booth can transport them to alternate dimensions, and they have to help additional Bills and Teds fix their respective life situations. This idea would be even better if they could also get Eddie Murphy to cameo as five different characters, although that might be far-fetched with the budget.

-----

Regardless of which way they go with the new installment, I'd definitely like to see some characters come back. First off, Death needs to make an appearance. William Sadler, the actor that portrayed him, is still alive, and I'm sure he's up for the role. If not, then there are other guys who could fill in. You could even go meta and cast Norm MacDonald or Adam Carolla (or both!), two guys who have played Death on Family Guy.

One role that shouldn't be mentioned is Rufus, Bill and Ted's time traveling mentor. He was originally played by the deceased George Carlin, and you don't want anyone trying to fill his shoes. If you absolutely must have a time guide though, I think Kevin Smith in his Silent Bob persona would be a decent choice.

So anyway, what are your thoughts? I think this could do some dynamite business, and be a pretty good flick in its own right, like the first two films are.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Baggage Game - Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ah, time for another edition of The Baggage Game! As usual, you can find the Excess Baggage here, and the episode I'm blogging about is linked on the bottom of this entry.

Today's dater is Anthony, a salesman from Philadelphia. He looks kind of like Dule Hill from Psych and The West Wing. He's looking for a classy lady with goals of her own who isn't stuck up.

The first potential dater is a journalist, Dita, from Tijuana, Mexico. I wonder if she's fleeing death threats from a drug cartel; this might also explain the huge comb-over she has on one of her eyes. However, in this case "journalist" is code for "does videos about hip-hop artists" and doesn't really refer to reporting. You can find her Blogger profile here. She says she won't let anything get in her way of winning Anthony's heart.

Next up is Kim, a saleswoman for L.A. She says she hopes Anthony and her "can take a few steps together" toward reducing their carbon footprint. I have no idea why that's supposed to be alluring. And finally, we have Kia, a researcher from Dayton, Ohio, who bills herself as an independent woman with an active lifestyle.


First Round

Dita: I believe The Bible is a hoax.
Kim: I only have sex with the lights on.
Kia: I must pick out my man's clothing.


Anthony doesn't view Dita's issue as a positive. Dita says there are good lessons in there, but she thinks that parts of it are fabricated. Pretty reasonable to surmise, at least to me. (Random note of Dita: She has a huge tat of something right on her bicep. It is highly distracting.) Kim's baggage doesn't really strike me as baggage, since I don't mind being able to see what I'm doing. Meanwhile, Kia is coming across like a control freak. It doesn't help that she adds, "I like to wear the pants in the relationship, and I like to pick them out as well."

Second Round

Kim: I wear disguises to spy on my boyfriend.
Kia: I won't cook, clean or do laundry. (Jerry quips, "It sounds like she's already married.")
Dita: I cheated on an ex with my employee.


Wow - That first girl would need to GTFO. It just reeks of craziness AND control issues, which is a nice double whammy. The ex is mildly concerning, but it could just be an isolated incident. Whereas the no cook, clean or laundry person, I wouldn't mind that so much, because I imagine she's bringing plenty else to the table to make up for it.

Anthony eliminates the no cooker though, which turns out to be Kia. Well, no great loss there. The two girls snipe at one another, and Kim actually has the wig she used to go spying. ick. And now, we're off to the Hot Seat now!

Dita's New Year's Resolution was to cut down on eating, she suggests the slogan "It's all about faith, baby!" for Anthony, she needs passion in a relationship, when she was five she wanted to be a journalist growing up, and hip-hop defines her style. She THEN adds that she's going commando today (direct quote!) and otherwise, she would bust a move, so instead, she does a rap. ack. Kim's biggest vice is smoking, nothing turns her on more than getting her hair played with, she thinks men don't understand that little things mean a lot, her biggest fear is bugs, and her go-to dance move is a wind.

Final Elimination Round

Dita: I've been arrested for shoplifting.
Kim: I participate in sex auctions.
Kia (eliminated): I'm a cheater and I've never been caught.


Well, uh, I guess Kia won't be showing this tape at get-togethers... Dita's baggage is pretty mild as far as the final round goes, so she would definitely be my choice. (This also makes me feel better about posting the link to her profile up above.)

Meanwhile, Kim, good lord. Anthony says he doesn't even know what that is, and I'm with him. Kim says that you go to an auction, and people bid on having sex with you. She let herself be bid on, and the winning price was... $300,000??? What the hell! I have NO idea why anyone would pay that much for her. She looks like a female version of Webster. She further explains that it was "for charity," although I wonder how the hell a charity writes off a $300,000 donation from a sex auction.

Kim sounds like a complete nut show, and Dita seems pretty normal, so I wouldn't hesitate in eliminating Kim. Anthony thinks it over though, and does the complete opposite! Anthony, you scum bag. Sigh. Anyway, his baggage is one of these three...

- I hire a prostitute every year for my birthday. (My guess.)
- I went to the prom dressed as a woman.
- I've had several high speed police chases.


Given how he's willing to accept Kim's sexual baggage, I'm assuming that Anthony's baggage is the prostitute thing. All three are kind of weird and/or gross to me, although the prom thing is the least worrisome. I could see plausible explanations for that.

Kim says she would find the birthday prostitute thing the most concerning. However, Anthony throws both of us for a loop, and reveals that he has been in several high speed chases. And that they never caught him! He did this because his license was suspended. Well, that's awesome Anthony. However, Kim the Sex Auction Bait says she likes fast cars, and she accepts his baggage. How sweet, I guess.








Monday, October 11, 2010

Denzel (and Jay Pharoah) make SNL tolerable

My buddy Tom and others have suggested a way to save Saturday Night Live that I'll sign off on - Just have Jay Pharoah in every skit. A blog at The Wall Street Journal is singing his praises (eerie fact: It's written by Christopher John Farley), and I will second them. He's only been in three skits so far, but he's been great in all of them. Much like when Eddie Murphy joined the show in 1980 and put it on his back, I think Pharoah should do the same with Andy Samburg.

The best skit this past Saturday featured Pharoah as a pitch-perfect Denzel Washington. He was immersing himself in his role as a worker at a customer service desk, and angryly cajoling a customer (a disappointing-as-host Jane Lynch) for trying to return a BLACK hand bag. "Is there something wrong with the color of this bag?" He completely nailed Denzel, and the clip is in the WSJ article linked above.

Unfortunately though, the rest of the show felt lackluster, as you can probably guess from my comment about Lynch. They showed glimpses of promise, like when they had a pretty funny skit about Glee...


... Only for the whole thing to be derailed with the inclusion of Gillie, the horrible character played by Kristen Wiig that almost nobody likes. (Sorry Picosita. And also, my 10-member anti-Wiig Facebook group can still be joined here!)

The skit was going along fine, not hilarious but still funny, until she came on my screen. I instantly cringed and found something else to busy myself for the next couple minutes. Once she made an appearance, the only other funny part of the skit was the introduction of gay Kurt's dad.

I don't understand the thinking on involving Gillie at all. By itself, Glee is incredibly easy to mock, and they were doing a good job of that. You simply don't need to include a tired Kristen Wiig character. Is it in her contract that she has to be in 10 skits per week? Does she give head writer Seth Meyers a handy each time she makes an appearance?

Anyway. Outside of that horrible-ness, there was a funny bit or two. The FB application for mom-proofing your profile was pretty good, even if it didn't make logical sense, since there are plenty of privacy tools already to keep people out of your FB. I was also a big fan of the New Boyfriend Show, featuring Samburg as a kid who interviews his mom's boyfriends in the morning... and who gleefully tells today's guest that he's on the 100th episode.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Why Community is better than your show: Completely hidden plotlines

Dear viewing public,

I know many of you still watch The Office. It's okay - I do too. I mean, this is the last year with Steve Carrell, so there is a good chance this is the last year it will be even remotely funny. However, it's shocking how fast the show has gone downhill, and I'm someone who still likes Pam and Jim, and didn't think the show jumped the shark when they got together.

It's just been a steady decline since, of all people, David Wallace left the show. It's not so much that he was a lynch pin cast member or anything, but his leaving and the selling of the paper company represented a turning point in the show. They were the sane, by-the-books corporation that a lot of Michael's humor flowered against. Now, he has some Paula Dean-esque boss, and her idiot son is in the office too.

So please, instead of watching The Office, please give Community a try for the next couple weeks. Remember before The Office got really popular, those first two or three funny seasons? You know, you initially resisted, because only your hipster friend Byron liked it, and while he liked it, he mostly just complained that it wasn't as funny as the British version.

Well, Community doesn't have a British version! So, no worries there. But I know you aren't watching it because of the latest TV ratings report. The Office is still pulling a 3.4, which is DOUBLE the audience of Community! That's an outrage, and apparently plenty of you aren't even turning the television off, since Outsourced is pulling a 2.5, despite being horrible.

Y'all should be watching Community - It's hilarious. I mean, even beyond the usual plots of each episode, there is stuff hidden in the background. For example, the pictures from this entry are all about Abed, who has about two lines in the entire episode. Yet if you pay close attention to the background, you can see him:

1) Rubbing a pregnant woman's tummy.
2) Getting into an argument with the woman and her boyfriend.
3) Delivering the baby in the couple's car!

The only reference to this? Near the end of the episode, Shirley says, "Oh Abed, we haven't seen much of you this week! What have you been up to?" His response: "Not much." And that's it!

Community is ridiculously great like this. The episodes weave plots and characters together, and none of the gags are cheap, and they refuse to go into tired sitcom cliches, like actually having Jeff fall for one of the women on the show. Please start watching and supporting it now, otherwise, I might actually have to start watching Outsourced instead. What else do I need to tell you to start watching? That it has funny comedy guest stars, like Betty White, Patton Oswalt and John Oliver?


What else do you need? T&A? Because it has that too:



EDIT - Thankfully, someone has made a YouTube compilation of this entire plot with Abed! If you want to see it, look below:

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