Friday, April 30, 2010

There are no words....

There's really not any need for commentary on this. If you're with me, it speaks for itself. If there's anything I can say, let it just be that I wish there was a way to wrap up everything about this concept, this video, and all its wrap them up inside a tortilla of TMZ and Perez Hilton and set the whole fucking thing on fire.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bloop bloop bloop bloop

Have I mentioned that my entire office has the same text message alert tone? I swear it's the sound effect to an old Nintendo game, I just can't place it. Ah well, I get plenty of chances to identify it. About 500 chances a day to be specific.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

It's Over

You know what, I am done with peas. No more peas in my life. They are just too damned small. They're difficult to negotiate onto your fork and the small amount you are able to accumulate for a bite is still too small to give you any kind of real, full flavor. Give me some broccolli, some asparagus, even lima beans, but, please, peas no more.

Still Here, Mixed Bag Tuesday

--I sat on the couch for about two hours Saturday listening to new (to me anyway) music on Itunes. I've said it before, but I'll say it again, Genius is genius! I compiled a list longer than my....well, it was long*. Come to find out my timing could not have been better as Amoeba is having their first ever garage sale! Hooha! It's gonna take a lot of discipline not to blow Frodo and Sophie's college fund come Sunday morning.

--Speaking of music, my buddy T-Bone has started a music blog and invited me to participate. Here's the link. It's basically new album and conert reviews. My first review should be up there shortly. As you can see, T-Bone is fairly prolific so I would imagine he'll be writing the bulk of the stuff. He did a great report on this year's Coachella Festival.

--Speaking of music and record stores, I was down in Long Beach Sunday and, of course, I stopped in Fingerprints. Who should I happen to run into there, but my cousin Ryan. It was really weird because as I was parking, I remembered that he lived down there now and I had a feeling I was going to see him. I went over and hung out with he and his girlfriend at their place and then we all met Cruiser and Jen at Joe Jost's for schooners, specials, billiards, and such jukebox classics as "Night Moves" and "Winds of Change." We had a grand ol' time. It was really cool because Ryan and I had been practically inseperable as kids, but only seen each other every other Christmas or so in our adult years. After Sunday, I have a good feeling that that is going to change. Family becoming friends to boot! Who knew?

--Does anyone else watch "Damages?" Man, what a friggin' great show. This season really blew me away, especially that season finale.

--Still playing tennis, though not as regularly as I'd like. I felt like I was making real progress and then came an unexpected two-week hiatus. Last night I was a mess. Very frustrating. From now on, if Juan can't play, I'm going to the court to hit against the wall by myself.

Well, that's all I got at the moment. Ya gotta ease back into these things.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Tiger Tales

Let me start by saying that celebrity humor, for once, has been a source of great relief for me.

Since The Masters started on Tuesday, I was really surprised and dismayed by the reception Tiger Woods seemed to be getting from the local fans as well as the media. He was quoted as saying how moved he was by the support he got from the fans out on the course, how great everybody was, etc. etc. Apparently the "get in the hole!" sheep were all too willing to start baa-ing for their favorite shepherd once again. And the media coverage seemed to slant the story as a comeback tale, neglecting to rehash any of the most unsavory details of his scandal. It's not that I think they should. We all know by now what the story is and we don't necessarily need to hear it reiterated for what factually amounts to a sports report. It's just that I am entertained by their choice not to do it since it has really become S.O.P. for most celebrity scandals. For example, if South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford were to donate $1 million to a local food bank, the coverage would still go something like:

"South Carolina Mark Sanford was in Columbia this morning to present a local food bank with a personal donation in the amount of one million dollars. Officials say the donation is the largest single donation they've ever received and will feed thousands of otherwise hungry and malnourished South Carolinans for as long as one year. Sanford has come under fire recently for committing adultery, disappearing to South America without notice to meet his mistress, and for using state funds to aid him in his affair."

So to see reporters, FEMALE reporters mind you, simply say how Tiger Woods was back on the golf course looking to repair his image and, hey, he shot a 4-under to boot and leave it at that was a little disheartening.

Now don't misunderstand me yet, because I sense you are about to. I am not getting on a high-horse and saying that Tiger Woods' personal life is any of my business or that he should not be allowed to go back to work because he committed adultery. I don't care what celebrities do in their personal lives. I truly don't. Obviously, cheating on your wife is a horrible thing and I don't want to make light of it, but Tiger's marriage is simply none of my damn business. So this is not about me judging him for the cheating. Who cares.

I will, however, be happy to pass a little bit of judgment based on the nature of his affairs, specifically the shit he allegedly said in his many text conversations with these mistresses. Have you read this stuff? Here is a link. Warning: it's extremely graphic. After reading this, I don't feel guilty for saying that it's a fucked up person that says these things to a woman, even one he's having a torrid affair with. This is not just dirty talk that pushes the envelope in the name of sexual excitement. This is sick, sick shit. This is someone who has some issues. I was wondering to myself, how could a person read these texts (which to my knowledge have not been disputed as false) and still head out to the course and say "Go Tiger! Go get 'em buddy!" I'm not saying they should go out there and heckle him or ridicule him. Personally, I wouldn't say anything at all. But, really, "Go Tiger"?

And then the Nike commercial came out. And then the Nike commercial parodies starting popping up. The humor and wit of these parodies and the enjoyment people seem to be getting out of them make me think the "Go Tiger" sheep are a minority and that there are still plenty of people out there that aren't sweeping his transgressions under their mental carpet.

P.S. As I type this, I forsee a huge hypocrisy flag being waved in my face. It's purple and gold in color and bears the name "Bryant" in white letters. To that I say, you definitely have a point. Kobe has never been my favorite Laker, but since the Colorado affair, I have rooted for him on the basketball court. I'd like to think that if these same texts had come from Kobe's phone, that I would not be able to root for him either. After all, like I said, it's not Tiger's cheating that turns me off to the point of not being able to seperate sports from personal life, it's the content of the texts, plain and simple. I believe if Kobe had said such things (to our public knowledge), that I would not be able to root for him. But you what, it's still fair to call me a hypocrite here. I can't say for sure that there is no trace of that in what I am saying.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

The Top 9 Ballparks I'd Love to See

Name: Miller Park
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Home of: The Brewers
Attraction: It just looks awesome, doesn't it? Of course, there's also the slide in left center where the mascot slides down following a Brewers' home run. There's the sausage race during the 7th inning stretch (I believe?). In more recent lore, Bill Brasky has told tales of the 9-9-9 Club Challenge at the park, 9 bratwurst, 9 beers in 9 innings. You better hope the bats are hot the day you try that one. It just seems like a nice, fun park with quirks and perks.
Probability of actually visiting: 9% (it's in Wisconsin, ya see)

Name: PNC Park
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Home of: Pirates
Attraction: I think this is the coolest looking park in baseball. I love the cityscape in the background with the team-colored bridges. It also had an intimacy to it. Look at it, it's a big league park with only two levels! This is actually makes me want to go to Pittsburgh.
Probability of actually visiting: 0.00 %
Name: Wrigley Field
Location: Chicago, I-L
Home of: Cubs, Da broad shoulders
Attraction: Are you kidding me? It's one of the last parks left that actually have some real history! The Ivy! The "friendly confines" moniker! The sign out front! Old Style Beer! The rooftop seats! This is the only park where I'd feel the need to see 2 games there, one inside and one from the rooftops across the street. Not only that, but the surrounding area of Wrigleyville with its many bars and pubs (The Cubby Bear!) filled for hours before and after every game make for an all-day experience that's even bigger than the game itself.
Probability of actually visiting: 83.4%

Name: AT&T Park (as of press time)
Location: San Francisco, CA
Home of: The Giants
Attraction: It's a baseball field on the friggin' ocean. McCovey Cove has to be the coolest single ballpark feature in all of baseball (yeah Fenway, I said it!). Who can forget Barry Bonds crushing homers into the drink, kayakers out there with nets pulling balls out of the water. Say what you will about what may have been helping him do it, but you can't deny it was memorable. I gotta see this place.
Probability of actually visiting: 81%

Name: Coors Field
Location: Denver, CO
Home of: The Rockies
Attraction: The vertical-ness of it. That towering grandstand in centerfield always looks appealed to me. I think it suites the Mile-High City. Add to that the pine trees, the thin air making for many a HR, and the young and talented Rockies and I am sold. Of course, the many bars and restaurants in the upscale LoDo around the park is also intriguing.
Probability of actually visiting: Wayne? Val? 98%?

Name: Doubleday Field
Location: Cooperstown, NY
Home of: The Hall of Fame Game
Attraction: It's near the Hall of Fame. I actually don't really need to see the field at all, I just really reeeeeally want to visit the H.O.F. and this is my way of expressing it.
Probability of actually visiting: I'd like to think 93.5%

Name: The New Yankee Stadium
Location: The Bronx, NY
Home of: The Yankees, a-holes
Attraction: The sheer magnitude of the place. This is the Rome of baseball stadiums and actually cost more than the entire kingdom of Rome to create, costs adjusted for inflation, of course. I hate the Yankees nearly as much as any team, but I am above-all-else a baseball fan and I feel it is my duty to see the new stadium. Then take a scalding hot shower.
Probability of actually visiting: 81.6%

Name: Busch Stadium (new)
Location: St. Louis, MO
Home of: The Cardinals
Attraction: A really beatiful new park in what I hear is one of the best baseball cities in America. In my albeit limited experience with Cardinals fans, I've been very impressed. Who knew baseball fans could be as passionate and involved as any in the game, yet still nice, reasonable human beings. I gotta go to their home to see it and believe it. Also, Albert Pujols plays here.
Probability of actually visiting: Sadly, 19%

Name: Field of Dreams Movie Site
Location: Dubuque, IA
Home of: the "Field of Dreams" movie site
Attraction: If you love baseball like I do, if you love movies like I do, if you love the idea of something magical and surprising still being possible, then you will understand why this field is like holy ground. Not to mention, it requires a comparable pilgrimmage to get there. Sure, it's just a movie set. But I think a lot of men would understand when I say that this particular movie is as close to my heart as any work of art in any medium. There is a sacredness in that connection, like a favorite song that you feel is your song. What would you do there? a non-believer may ask. To tell you the truth, I don't really know. I imagine I would walk out and into the corn. I'd probably sit in the bleachers and stare for a while. I'm sure I'd recite the Terrence Mann speech from the film. I think the draw for this place is just as it was described in the movie, a place where people can catch a glimpse of the past. I'd even go a step further and say I imagine it to be a place to find a purity of sorts. People will come, Ray. People will most definitely come.
Probability of actually visiting: 100% (what do you have if not hope?)

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Play it again, Sam

Some people don't understand how I (or others) can watch a movie over and over throughout the years. They see it once, they move on, and they can't see any benefit to witnessing a story for which they already know the ending. Last weekend I watched "Before Sunrise" for the I don't know how many-th time and I was reminded why I will always revisit the movies I love.

I hadn't seen it in quite a while. Ever since "Before Sunset" came out, I had sort of gravitated toward that one. I guess I was more compelled by two people seasoned by age, dealing with what might have been than by the romanticism of their one youthful night ten years before. I knew from the opening scene that the revisit was long overdue.

One obvious reason I'll watch a movie again is that I usually catch something new. Maybe it's not that I don't remember seeing it before, it's just that it might stand out to me more the next time around. For example, in "Before Sunrise," there's a scene where Jesse and Celine are sitting at an outdoor cafe talking, when they are approached by a gypsy woman, a fortune teller. The actual palm reading is nothing special (not this time anyway), just your average "you are becoming a woman," etc., but after the gypsy woman has been paid and begins walking away, she gives them a little bonus message, if you will, as she walks away. She says:

"You need to resign yourself to the awkwardness of life. Only if you find peace in yourself will you find true connection with others."

I was 17 the first time I saw this movie. Coming from this kooky gypsy character, I probably paid it the same cynical attention that the young Jesse character does at that time, if I paid it much attention at all. But this time, probably my 19th time seeing the movie, I was so taken by it, I paused the movie and wrote it down. You need to resign yourself to the awkwardness of life...I am still chewing on this one, trying to figure out what it means to me. I like it.

As I go completely off the hippy reservation, let me just say that movies are not like wine. They are completed works, sealed, delivered, and unchanging. Like with any artistic work in any medium, however, the beauty of the art is not just in the color of the paints, the clever wordplay, or the emotional charge of the performance. The beauty is also in how we react to the art, what it does to us, how it affects the way we view ourselves and life in general. We, of course, are always, constantly changing so it makes sense that movies, like any art, mean different things to us at different times in our lives. If I had seen "Before Sunset" as a 17-year-old kid, I probably would have hated it. I would have thought it was a pointless wallow in a poor, cynical choice of a second act in the story of Jesse and Celine. But as an inescapably somewhat jaded adult, it hit home like an earthquake in the middle of the night.

I guess my point is actually really simple. The movies don't change, but we do and so, while we might still know how they end, our evolving perspectives can change what the movie really means to us. And that's what we truly love about movies, isn't it? Not their plots, not their effects, not even their acting. I just think we just love the way they make us feel. I loved "Before Sunrise" at 17 and I love it just as much at 31. It's a beautiful film about the purity and precociousness of young love that exists in the magical realm between realism and romanticism, where you can't say for sure what is real and what is too good to be true.
As I was looking for a picture to post with this entry, I stumbled on another blog where the author(?) was saying if you didn't see this film for the first time when you were 17-22, you missed your chance, that if you were to see it for the first time outside of that window, you would see these characters talking about life and its possibilities and groan at them to grow up already.

God, I hope that isn't true. I get what he or she means, that if we were to listen to our 18-yr-old selves talking about what we found so fascinating back then, we would want to slap ourselves. Believe me, I definitely get that. But I would hope that even if a first time viewer were not exactly bowled over by a discussion about the logistics of reincarnation, that, even in spite of that, they could not miss the heart of the film, which, to me, is two people finding themselves in each other.

False Alarm

Ya know, I have heard more jokes about April Fool's Day today than actual April Fool's Day jokes. I guess people just want to put forth the effort.