Sunday, December 31, 2006

99 Reasons to Anticipate 2007

So here's the deal:

In 2005, I posted 99 times (although I started in August, so that's a pretty big accomplishment, I think). So far, in 2006, I have posted 98 times. I find it funny that after an entire calendar year, I am only one post behind my total from the previous year. Either way, that leads me to do only one thing: Post for a 99th, and final time for 2006. I will begin fresh in 2007 and see if I can pull out 99 more posts before (gasp) 2008.

So do I really have 99 reasons to anticipate 2007? Well you're just gonna have to find out!


99. New Year's Eve this year is going to be fun. I guess this still is in 2006, but it's going to be an unofficial 2007 date. The plan is to go to Manny and Jenn's friends' Jeff and Jules' house for a, get this, party! I have never rung in the New Year in a party setting (where I'm actually partying, that is) so I'm excited! I'm sure there will be drinking (only by the legal ones though) by others, but I'm still gonna enjoy it because I'll be there with Heather and some friends (Cy, Justin, Emily, Mallory, Manny) and you can't not have fun with that right? Right!?!?!?

98. I have some new sweatshirts (a SUNS one I got for Christmas and two NIKE fleeces I bought on sale at work) to wear during the cold first couple months.

97. The NFL season of 2006, an absolutely mediocre season for prognosticators everywhere, will be completed. I officially have no shot of getting in the top 3 in my pool and I resorted to have Heather, a person with no knowledge of the NFL's teams, do my Week 17 picks just to see how she could do. She did win Saturday night's game (NYG over Redskins) and I would have picked the Redskins. Huh. . .

96. This is the SUNS' year! It has to be!

95. I'm enjoying my job at the FL. Even the worst day is better than the best day at JC. The only thing that I'm worried about is the amount of money I want to spend with my 30% employee discount! Either way, I'm excited for the possibilities that this job is going to bring me. Get this: a barely-18-year-old girl who has worked there for a year has just finished her assistant manager training. I'm almost 20 (which is old for the employees there - - a lot of my coworkers are 16-18 years old) so I feel like if I can learn a whole bunch of crap really fast that I have some potential here. We'll see. . .

94. In January, Heather and I will be celebrating our 3rd Anniversary

93. In May, I'll be 20!

92. In December, Heather will be 21!

91. My numerous gift cards that I received at Christmas will be used (among the places I will be spending money: American Eagle, Best Buy, Cinemark, Jamba Juice, and Baja Fresh).

90. My Guitar Hero skills will improve! Aimee and I got both GH1 and GH2 for Christmas (a combo gift for the siblings) and played most of Christmas morning. Look out! The Gotts are coming for ya!

89. Heather is moving to Pomona tomorrow (that's not happy for me, but it is for her) to begin the schooling that she really wants. Among her classes are large animal handling and companion animal care. She's excited! She's also nervous, but who wouldn't be? I know she is going to do great and I can't wait to hear all about her new knowledge.

88. Basketball season (high school, that is) will be kicking into high gear here in a couple weeks and I'm excited to see how league turns out.

87 -37. Movies. I saw 49 movies that were released in 2006 during 2006. That's almost one a week! I might watch one more before the day ends (who knows!) so that would give me 50 for 2006. I'm hoping that 2007 will be another good year for movies (it should, since the Spring alone has me excited about quite a few films - by the way: the FIRST THIRD MOVIE PREVIEW will be posted sometime during the first week of the new year - sorry for the postponement)

36. I got some bowling shoes for Christmas (from Heather, Chels, and Barbara) and that will only further my interest in the sport. I got a new high last week when I went (219!!!) and my average that night was 167! I'm getting better and since I'll be taking Intermediate Bowling during my last semester at AVC, I'm only gonna get better! Look for updates throughout 2007.

35. A year without Saddam Hussein! (Well actually, did anyone really feel safer after he got hung the other day? I didn't. Nothing has changed for me. I'm not sure if that old fart was worth all of this. . .)

34. A year without Britney Spears' panties! (Probably. I'm just assuming, seeing that the now-grossest woman in the entertainment world - beating out Paris Hilton just barely - can't seem to find her undergarments anywhere.)

33. A year without Charlie German! (That was my JC General Manager)

32. I will be defending my 3-point championship at the Men's March Madness Breakfast. And I'll be defending it well.

31. The possibility of winning $250,000 at the World Series of Pop Culture!

30. I will be learning more about the production of a newspaper this coming semester and I'll assuredly be published many more times. It's very exciting stuff!

29-06. Another year with Heather!

And now, the top 5 (I guess - it just ended up that way!)

05. A family trip to Lake Powell over Spring Break. It will be for Mom-Mom and Pop's 50th Anniversary. My aunt and uncle from Maryland (my dad's sister) as well as their two boys (Travis and Josh, both in their 20's) will be there. It should be fun, but it will ultimately be a great source for stories for the future. Looking forward to it!

04. Aimee will be 15 and Caleb will be, get this, 6! Aaahhh!!!!!! My siblings are growing up so fast and it's really scary. Why can't they stay at an age?!?!?! (And yes, I realize that I'm getting older too and that my parents would say the same about me, but this is my perspective!)

03. Throughout 2006, I met (or saw up close) many famous people: Bill Simmons, Kevin Smith, Jack Nicholson, among others. What will 2007 bring????

02. 2007 ultimately leads to 2008, which is the year that I get to finally go to Viva Las Vegas and play some real live poker! I can't wait for our road trip in May of 2008!!!

01. The beginning of my future. This year is going to be the most changing year of all. If all goes according to plan (and you really never know), at this time next year, I will be blogging from either a house or an apartment in the Los Angeles area (probably Valencia, but maybe Northridge). I will have completed my first semester at Cal State Northridge. I will have been moved out of my parents' house for a half a year (the tentative moving out period is June). I will be living with some friends (among them will be Chels, the future sister-in-law) and enjoying every minute of it (even if there are feuds!). I will be closer to Heather (only 50 miles between CSUN and CPP). I will be closer to marrying Heather (every year that passes is another year closer to us getting married)! All in all, I will be beginning to move towards my life and what I will become.

I really can't wait to see how this year goes. And just know that I'll be letting you know what is going on every step of the way. Thanks to all my readers and I hope you all stick around (and maybe even let someone else know about this site - - they don't have to know me to read about what's going on to me!) until New Years Eve 2007.

Have a great, fun, and ultimately very safe night everyone!

Happy 2007!

Yours through blogging,

Justin (The Rambler)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Pumpkins, Presents, and Proclaimed Ex-Prisoners

Hey everyone - - -

It's Wednesday afternoon and I work at 1600 tonight, so I'm not all that interested in doing anything productive before I head in. I have to work til close so it's going to be a long night. I might be somewhat bummed about that (read: Heather will be home tonight to begin her 11-day Christmas vacation), but I just began my Christmas shopping yesterday and I already have spent $200. I would say I'm about halfway done with my shopping. Yeah. I need to work. . .

Yesterday (Tuesday) was dedicated to Christmas shopping, my Suns, and R&B. Aimee accompanied me to Palmdale for my shopping. We went to Best Buy (where I got a lot of the presents) and then braved the Mall to get a few more things. We had a lot of fun, too. Aimee and I get along really well and I don't think there is another person who laughs more at the things I say. No one is going to take my moving out harder (yes, even my parents) and it does suck that I won't be around the familia as much as we are used to. But, back to the point. Aimee and I had fun shopping. We now have been blessed with several inside jokes ("It's coming," Hallmark and its stuffed animals, and those uncomfortable leather chairs our Mall has) and I also got some of my Christmas shopping done. . . Good times.

My Suns went for their franchise-record 15th straight win last night at home against Toronto. . . And got it! I said before the game that if we didn't win by at least 15, then we should be embarassed. We won by 17. I was happy, to say the least. I watched the entire game, and this team is fun to watch. Period. Not only that, we're starting to come together and it's awesome! Amare was fantastic last night (nearly with a double-double at halftime), Steve Nash had 13 assists (at halftime! - he finished with 15 in three quarters played), and I was happy to finally watch Boris Diaw play like he did last year. He shot his 17-footer last night and it looked nice and it went in! He made a couple passes that only him or Nash could have made. I am excited about my boys. We should easily get to 18 straight (we have Denver tonight - no AI yet and no Carmelo cuz of the suspension - followed by Washington and Portland) and then have a tough road game at Dallas. We then play at home against the Knicks (another win) and then another tough roadie at Detroit. After that, January looks like a late Christmas present! We have 16 games in January and all of them are very winnable. If we did anything less than 13-3, we should be embarassed. That would put us (giving us a 1-1 in those tough games at the end of December) at 36-10 going into February. After a 1-5 start, that's an incredible job by my favorite team and I can't wait for the postseason. This is our year!

I watched two movies last night: IDLEWILD, the Outkast film from August that sorta skipped in and directly out of theatres, and HUSTLE AND FLOW, one of the best films of 2005. IDLEWILD was pretty good. I did not expect much, seeing that it starred the two-man R&B group Outkast. Terrence Howard, the star of H&F, also plays a big part in IDLEWILD. That guy is going to be HUGE in Hollywood in the coming years! Anyway, the music was pretty good, although I thought there would be more songs from the accompanying album in the film. Either way, it was entertaining, and you can't ask much more than that. (Grade: B-)

Monday night was a lot of fun. Chels, Kimmy, and I met Heather and Chels' friends Joe and Melissa (a very cool couple who I have met several times) at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood to see TIM BURTON'S NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS in 3-D. I was kinda skeptical going in (my experiences with 3-D have been limited, but never incredible) but I was pleasantly surprised. The film was beautiful to watch on the big screen, and the 3-D worked surprisingly well. We went to Johnny Rocket's before the movie (I like that place!) but before that, Chels, Kimmy, and I had been waiting for the others to get there outside of the famed Kodak Theatre (it's where the Oscars take place!). While standing, we were approached by a scraggly, unkempt man. His opening line was a doozy: "I just got out of prison. Would you have a dollar for me so I could get on a bus." Yeah, I know, crazy! I said sorry and walked away. He then went into a nearby Virgin Records store and on to the next person. Who does that!?!? It was pretty weird, but ended up being funny, because when we went to Johnny Rocket's (then all six of us) he came in to ask our group the same question. When he saw me, he turned around, saying "Never mind" and walked out disgusted. I laughed :D O how odd people are!

O yeah, I have a couple of quick things for you:

- Late Christmas gift ideas for me: SEINFELD Season 7; gift cards (Finish Line - I know it's my work, but that is more reason, I think; American Eagle; Best Buy); anything SUNS.

- I'm picking Green Bay over Minnesota (Nailbiter) in the Thursday night game and Kansas City over Oakland (Walk in the Park) in the Saturday night game. The rest of my picks are still to come. . .

- I want to recommend the following CDs to rock fans everywheres: 30 Seconds to Mars (A Beautiful Lie); The Red Hot Chili Peppers (Stadium Arcadium); Audioslave (Revelations)

- And let me distribute a couple of videos for you courtesy of everyone's favorite video superstore, YOUTUBE:

- The cast of SCRUBS does an old holiday favorite

- Legends of the Hidden Temple Intro

- The Knicks/Nuggets Brawl and ESPN coverage

Alrighty then - -

Have a good Wednesday and I'll get back to ya maybe around the weekend. We'll see :D

Until later,


Monday, December 18, 2006

The Weekend Grab-Bag:
The Veg-Out Version

Happy Monday everybody! I have today (and, happily, tomorrow as well) off from work and practice (the two teams have off this week from all practice) so I'm heading directly into veg-out mode for these next two days. Why? Well I've had a pretty darn busy last four days and I'm physically and mentally spent. You wanna know all about it now, don't ya? Well alright then. . .

Enjoy this Grab-Bag, folks.

Enjoy it in all of its non-chronological goodness :D

- I worked at Finish Line (from now on referred to as the FL) each of the last four days. Thursday was my first day! I got there at 1200 and spent about three hours doing orientation things. I watched videos (among the titles was DIVERSITY, a look at how to not be a bigot at work), did some online reading of the employee handbook, aced some quizzes, and received my FL t-shirt and lanyard (we wear a lanyard with a placard attached to it - it's our nametag). I took a break (I ate at GREAT STEAK: Mmmm!) and came back ready to see what else I needed to study. Well, my manager (his name is Jose and he is a really laid back guy with a great attitude toward his employees) told me to go out on the floor! I was so scared! So I went out there and the dogs ate me up right away. I spent the next three hours getting shoes for people and trying to find them in a quick manner. Altogether, I enjoyed myself and met some cool new people (the other employees are all really cool). I worked a total of 20-some hours over the last four days and I am getting better every day. Yesterday was the craziest day yet. I worked from 1000 (when we opened) to 1800, with a half-hour break around 1400. I don't know how much I sold, but my guess is somewhere around $1500. I was doing really good and I enjoyed myself for the most part. I'm liking this new gig, and I'm forever grateful to Manny for giving me the opportunity to get the hell out of JC and into a new place of work. I work Wednesday-Saturday of this week and we'll see how it goes from there! Come see me :D I might just convince you that you need those shoes you try on!

- Final grades came out on Saturday for the semester that just ended and mine were exactly what I had guessed. I have 3 B's and 2 A's and that is just peachy with me. It makes my cumulative GPA a 3.67, which is pretty darn good if you ask me :D

- I went to Alumni Chapel on Friday. It's a tradition at DCHS that on the last Friday before Christmas vacation they have a chapel that invites all of the alumni back to see what has been going on and whatnot. I did not attend last year (for several reasons, one being that I just didn't want to) but I did go to this one. Aimee was singing with the choir and I had yet to see them perform this holiday season. I also wanted to be there since I have been coaching recently and wanted to see if people would go to the game on Saturday. Either way, chapel was kinda weird (it has been a really long time since I've been in Chapel!) but I was glad to have gone. The game on Saturday was good. Both teams won handily and it was all-in-all a fun time. There are only two more games left before league begins, so I'm excited to see how the season turns out!

- I have prepared my FIRST-THIRD MOVIE PREVIEW and it will appear here before the year ends. It has 25 films on it, but could really only be about 15. We'll see if I go through with all 25. I'm REALLY excited about 9 of these films and so FANTASTICALLY EXCITED about the TOP 5, that I might just say that these 5 films outweighs the Summer films (well, maybe not Spider-Man 3. . .) that are coming up as well. I hope you all enjoy this movie preview :D

- I forgot to get my football picks up before yesterday, but believe me when I say I went 10-5 with the big Cincinnati/Indianapolis game tonight (I picked my on-a-roll Bengals) to be played. I'm so close to the top 3 again, but I, being a very cynical person, believe that I'll finish just out of the money yet again. But we'll see. . .

- And now for the biggest news of the month (I suppose): THE WORLD SERIES OF POP CULTURE, a television gameshow event that had its first season about a year ago, is having auditions for its second season in January and February. The Los Angeles audition is January 26-28 and guess who has an audition? Yep. Justin, Cy, and I will be heading to Beverly Hills that weekend to hopefully earn a spot on the show, which would be taped (in freakin' New York City!) in March. Head to the link above to get more info (I won't bore you with all the details here) but I will tell you what the ultimate winner walks away with: $250,000!!! Yep, that would be split four ways (the three teammates and Uncle Sam) but it would be incredible to walk away with all of that! Wow!!!

- O and I still haven't gone Christmas shopping yet. . . Uh oh!

- I already used my employee discount at the FL! I bought a couple pairs of shoes for myself (I know, I know, but there was a sale going on) and they are pretty darn nice. Plus I spent about $70 total for shoes that would have run me almost $120. A pretty good steal if you ask me!

- What do you think???

Alright folks everywhere, that's the GRAB-BAG. I hope you enjoyed it and I hope that you come back to read my upcoming posts. There will be four more before the end of the year (that's a promise - I'll explain why later) so check back frequently for updates on everything going on in my world.

Happy Pre-Christmas everybody!!!


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Month Grab-Bag: The My Terms Version


That's all I really have to say about how long it has been since I have done this. It will be a month tomorrow since I have blogged (although it will actually only be a day since I have last blogged tomorrow since I'm blogging today, but you know what I meant). The last month has been, in a word, exhausting. It has also been exciting. And lesson-bearing. And interesting. And helpful. And strenuous. But never monotonous (that is, if we are not talking about some of my classes. . .). So what I'm gonna try to do is give you a quick review of all (or some) of the things that have happened to yours truly, the deeply apologetic Rambler, since the 14th of November. And believe you me, there has been much to report on!

So, here we go!

- Let's start with school, shall we. I'm done! My Fall semester (the third of four at AVC) was officially over as of Thursday, December 7th. I don't get to find out my grades until Saturday, but I believe they are as follows: History (A); Journalism (A); Psychology (B); English (B); Biology (B). That would be good for a 3.4 GPA, which is about where I've been in all three semesters. The last three or four weeks of school were extremely hectic! I wrote so many papers (the page number total has got to be close to 30) that I started going a little nutty there towards the end. Either way, I finished it all out strong and I believe that I got the grades I deserved. I didn't work as hard as I could have, but as long as the GPA is good, then I'm happy with my performance. And hey, at least I'm consistent. I enjoyed a lot about the classes I took, but I also disliked some elements as well. I am so glad to have met some new people (especially Gary Carter, my Journalism teacher who I will be taking again next semester, and John Toth, my English teacher who challenged me very often to do better - I was lazy in English - talked with me a lot about sports, and even went so far as to compare me to Oliver Miller, which was a brilliant comparison at the time - non-sports fans, don't worry about it!) and I can't wait to see what next semester brings! I'm off to my final semester! Wow, time has sure flown by! It seems like just yesterday I was pleading with my fellow graduates to go and be the best they could on a Thursday night in June. Now it's December of 2006 and I'm already working on plans to move out in (gulp) June of 2007! That's only six months away!!! Don't tell Aimee, she's not all too happy about that :D

- What about work? Well now, that is an interesting thing to bring up! It is official: I no longer work at Johnny Carino's Italian Restaurant. After nearly 16 months (yep, it's been that long) I have finally had enough of a plethora of things, namely Charlie (my, I swear bipolar, General Manager) and his bullshit. I was sick of it. This is simply my opinion, but I have many people that agree with me on this theory, so go with it: Charlie wanted to fire me. I may have started out a little difficult to deal with and as kind of a thinks-he-knows-it-all, but I realized that I didn't. I turned it all around. I became a hard-working employee who simply disagreed with a lot that went on at that place. A lot of people did. Either way, I was a good employee. I was rarely late, called in sick only once, and was usually available to pick up shifts and was frequently flexible when it came to different scheduling things (I even gave some ideas about the schedule, one of which Charlie really liked). I believe that Charlie just didn't like me (call it personality conflicts) and was honestly partially intimidated by someone who did not back down to him, despite him being about 6'6'' and weighing in around 350 (a guess). Charlie would constantly poke at me, trying to get me to say something back at him, thus giving him a reason to fire me. Once I realized this, I simply returned his remarks with witty remarks that made him look silly, but at the same time were light-hearted enough to not be considered disrespectful. I'm good like that. Either way, a few weeks before I quit, he decided to throw about four of five more responsibilities on the TTs, which were absolutely ridiculous. They would result in us being there way too late and I didn't feel they were necessary. So, I made a decision one Sunday night: I was going to quit. I wanted it to be on good terms (and, more specifically, on my terms) so I would turn in my two weeks notice, work during that time, and then leave quietly, with only hugs goodbye to all those people I will truly miss working with.

So I left. No mas, as they say. I talked to Manny (who, as you remember, works at Finish Line) and he said they were hiring, or at least he thought so. I filled out an online application on Sunday, my last day at Johnny Carino's. Manny called me that night telling me that I had an interview the next day! I went in (dressed all sorts of snazzy and looking a little like Justin Timberlake from his new cd cover) and was told (by Manny) that I didn't need an interview because he had vouched for me as a good employee. That was cool of him! I actually begin work there tomorrow, and I'm pretty darn excited! A new thing for me to learn! I'm looking forward to gaining a new kind of experience in the working world and can't wait to see what pisses me off about this job. . .

- Let's see, another thing I can tell you about is my wonderful Heather. We are closing in on our three-year anniversary (end of January) and we couldn't be happier. Well, actually we could be way happier if we could either be a) Engaged or b) Married. We are suffering from what I refer to as "Futurenow," a disease that affects those young adults who just want to be adults already. You may have heard of it and thought it didn't exist. You were wrong if you thought that. It does exist. And it hurts. Anyways, we have been working on moving her stuff out of her apartment in the LB to prepare for her move to Cal Poly Pomona (referred to, by me, as PoMOOna because of the multitude of cows around) on January 1. She got her dorm room number, roommate's name and number, and all that sort of jazz, so I guess she is ready. I'm excited as can be for her, but I'm still dealing with the fact that she's leaving the LB. I love the LB! O well. Guess I gotta learn a new town!

- Basketball is going very well right now. As you might remember, I am an assistant coach at Desert Christian High School (my alma mater) for the girls Varsity team. We have o so much work to do, but I love the girls and only want them to get so much better. We are 4-2 right now and have a game tonight as well as Saturday night. All in all, the girls seem to respond to me really well and I am enjoying coaching alongside my coach, Mr. Thomas. I am really having a blast and don't mind at all the amount of time that it is taking out of my schedule. Come by and see us sometime! Tonight we play at 1800 and Saturday our game is at 1600 at home as well.

- I got some movie recommendations (and some to avoid) for you all:

Whether You Want To Or Not:
- - - CASINO ROYALE (I've seen it twice and all I can say is "Fantastic!" If you have not seen Daniel Craig do his thing as Bond James Bond, then you need to stop reading this right now and go watch it. You won't be disappointed!)
- - - STRANGER THAN FICTION (one of my top 5 films of the year - o yeah, a list of my top and bottom films of the year will be coming soon - beautiful, odd, and just a lot of fun)
- - - LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN (rent this sucker if you are a fan of witty banter, Tarantino-like violence, and enjoyable movie experiences)

If You Want:
- - - HAPPY FEET (as I said in my review that appeared in the EXAMINER, "Happy Feet is not the greatest movie of all time, does not feature the world’s greatest performances, and will not win any screenplay awards, but I dare you to walk out of the theater without a smile on your face, a song in your heart, and a bad case of the “taps,” a refreshing disease that attacks the feet of its victims." This film is a lot of fun to watch and that is all I can really say)
- - - WORDPLAY (an interesting documentary about the New York Times crossword and those who excel at completing it - not at all boring, actually, and pretty entertaining)
- - - THE HOLIDAY (A true, by-the-book, chick flick with some entertaining moments for the males out there. I liked the teddy-bear-like Jack Black and the end was pretty sappy and good like that. Take your girl out to it and hug her while she cries! You'll get brownie points, trust me ha ha!)

Hide Your Eyes:
- - - MIAMI VICE (call me very disappointed in Michael Mann. I could not even finish this garbage imitating as cinema)
- - - STRANGERS WITH CANDY (I guess it's an acquired taste in humor. I didn't get it.)

Some other entertainment recommendations:
- - - SPORTS NIGHT (I am so unbelievably hooked on this show. I can't believe it only lasted for two seasons! I'm already done with four out of the six discs - thanks Netflix - and I'm looking forward to finishing it up next week. If you need a last-minute Christmas gift for me, go ahead and get the entire series at Best Buy - it's $50. I'll be happy. . .)
- - - THANK YOU FOR SMOKING (the novel and the film - I finished the book a few weeks ago and then re-watched the film. The book is incredible and the film is almost as good. They are different, though, so be prepared for a much different experience with the book)
- - - Amos Lee, The Exit, The All-American Rejects, Justin Timberlake, Audioslave, and Marty Stuart (all of these musical artists have been played thru my computer the last couple weeks).

- Ok, so now realize that the year is almost over and that means several things. But one thing it definitely means is that my FIRST-THIRD MOVIE PREVIEW will be coming shortly. It won't be as long as the others, but it is still coming. Look for it in the first couple weeks of 2007.

- O, my football picks! Well right now I sit in a tie for fourth, just a game out of third. I'm so close, even after a dreadful 8-8 week last week. I only have three weeks left, so we'll see how that ends up. . . And Fantasy Basketball? I'm in first in my league, have won every matchup thus far, and have no signs of being stopped. Which leads me to. . .

- My Phoenix Suns!!! Last time we talked they were struggling at 2-5. They now sit at 14-6 and are going to DESTROY the defending champs (without Dwayne Wade) tonight in Miami. This will be their 12th straight win and with it, the Suns will be in a tie for first in the Pacific Division (Finally!). And you heard it here first: We won't again be in second! The division is ours for the rest of the year - even if the Clippers trade for Allen Iverson, which I don't think they will do. Keep it up boys!

- Well I have some more news (including some AWESOME news about me and my boys, Cy and Justin) and my football picks, but I'll save that for tomorrow or Friday.

I'm back everyone! I missed blogging and I won't be gone that long again for awhile. So check back in every other day or so for the next installment!

Hope you enjoyed it all!

Talk to you again soon (I swear!) - -


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A Couple Things

I know I should continue on my (good) homework trend that I've had this week, but I wanted to present you with a few things that I feel you should know or be aware of:

- I added a new blog to my "Blogs I Frequent". Mike's Bloggity Blog Blob was found by me via Entertainment Weekly's online page. They asked this blogger (since he was a self-proclaimed STAR WARS virgin) to watch the six STAR WARS films back-to-back-to-back-to-you get the idea on Cinemax. He did and presented his report and it now appears on their web page. A big RAMBLER'S congratulations goes out to Mike from Canada - that's cool! I am now going to visit his blog frequently and look forward to what he has to say (it's mostly entertainment-based). Keep up the good work sir!

- Also on Mike's blog today was a video from his friend Travis and it was really top notch. If you have ten minutes, and you enjoy cool fight choreography, then watch this:

- I registered for classes for the Spring 2007 semester, my last at ol' Tumbleweed Tech. I got all of my classes just fine and they complete my work at AVC, so I should be good to go to CSUN in August. Cards are starting to fall, stars are beginning to align, or maybe all my work is just starting to pay off, but it seems that I will, in fact, be out of the Antelope Valley in NINE MONTHS! I'm excited, scared, and filled with every other form of emotion possible. Wish me luck and I will of course be keeping you up to date.

- Basketball has begun (the coaching) and I now have very little free time. As I did in the waning weeks of last semester, my blogs will become less and less frequent, but come mid-December, I should be back to my 3-4 a week. Hang in there!

And. . . .

- Friday is going to be a great, great day because I will be WITH (thanks to Alex for picking up my blunder ha ha) Heather and we're going to see HAPPY FEET at Arclight in the Dome. Nothing could be better cuz she will be happy :D

Hope you all have a great week -

I'll talk to ya when I talk to ya,


P.S. And to deal with my struggling (2-5) SUNS, I found this video from two All-Star Weekends ago - it's from the Dunk contest that Amare should have won. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Swinging Sans Sleep and the Stupid Suns

Who doesn't love alliteration?!?!?!?

That my friends is just two things (actually there are three topics in that title) that I would like to relay to you about my last five days and six nights (I posted Friday evening with a long night in front of me). It's been hella busy and it's been hella fun (a hella shout out to my Northern Cali friends wherever they are!)!!!

So you ready??? I sure hope so! Notice that this is not a GRAB-BAG, but the possibility that this will be non-chronological is very, very likely. But stick around, cuz you never know!!!

And here we go:

- I'll start with some Youtube videos. Enjoy!

Miracle Shot

I Know Them (and it's a parody by the way)

Weird Al's new video ("White and Nerdy")

For Heather (one more week baby!)

Now that you've enjoyed that, let me tell you about my weekend. Holy crap!!!

- Friday night I went to the Laugh Factory. Funny as always. Well, most of it. Tom Papa was first and he was very funny. Then another guy who was weird buy only kinda funny. Then two acts in a row that were terrible. Then Mike Marino, whom I have seen before and thought was hilarious!!! This guy rocks! All in all it was a fun experience. However, I didn't get home until 0200 and didn't fall asleep til 0300. Why was that a probelm? Well. . .

- I was up at 0630 on Saturday morning to begin getting ready for Manny and Jenn's wedding. We had to be at Jenn's house at 0800 for pictures. We were there and did barely anything the entire time! I was a bit perturbed, but hung in there just fine (I wish I had been bribed like my brother - he was the ring bearer and if he was good then my mom told him he could get CURIOUS GEORGE! I want a movie too!!! haha). The wedding began at 1130 and was over lickity split. The reception lasted almost four hours and was absolutely awesome. We danced so much - it was great! Heather and I even swing danced for the first time since our big performance so long ago. It made her day and I was glad to do it :D It was a blast all and all. Congrats Mr. and Mrs. Manny Ferniza - Best of luck and I hope Cabo is treating you well!

- Sunday was the Chargers game. Wow. What an experience that was!!! We had pretty decent seats (on the opponent's side of the field, 35-yard line, lower level) except for the fact that the sun was beating on us for the entire first half! It felt like it was on me, it was so hot! The game was most fun in the fourth quarter when the sun went behind the stadium walls. Then it was cool :D The Chargers won but it was a close game, which made it even better. Lots of stories from that journey - maybe I'll divulge later. . . but my picks were terrible! I went 7-7!!! I now sit one game behind two guys tied for third. I'm close. . .

- The week so far has been ok. Lots of homework for the Rambler here. After tomorrow's classes are over, I will only have four weeks of school left! I'm very excited!

- Bowling on Monday night was awesome!!! Not only did my average for the night (159) exceed my usual average (150), I got a new personal record! In an early game (I wanna say it was the third or fourth game) my scorecard looked like this: 7 /, 9 /, X, X, X, X, 9 /, S8 1, X, 9 / 7 - - - Anyway, that was good for a 216 which beat my old high by seven pins! I only had one open frame (that split in the seventh frame pissed me off so much!) and I had five strikes. I was stoked!!!

- I have continued reading THANK YOU FOR SMOKING and am now almost halfway through it. It's really good - I wanna watch the movie again!

- And finally, I officially am in a state of depression thanks to the horrendous 1-4 start by my Phoenix Suns. We have now lost to the Lakers by 8, Jazz by 4, Clippers by 6, and Spurs by 5 (in overtime). It's terrible!!! We held leads of nine or more in all of those games and we cannot finish strong at all! Boris Diaw is bothering me the most right now. Not only did he come back this season with quite a few extra pounds (put down the Twinkies buddy!) but he seems scared to do anything he did last season. His 18-foot jumper that was automatic last year has been attempted maybe three times, even when he's open. He is scared! What the hell Boris!!! Nash is doing his thing (20 points/12 assists) and Barbosa has been consistent (almost 20 a game) but no one else has been any sort of consistent. They need to get their act together fast!

Well I'm exhausted all of a sudden and am gonna hit the hay. Got a History test in the morning (o, I took a Bio test today and I have no idea how I did - sound familiar?) to study for when I wake up. O, one more thing: A new issue of THE EXAMINER came out this week - AVCers! Pick up your copy - it's awesome again!

Hopefully I can blog again before this weekend, but no promises - sorry folks! Justin's busy!

Until that next post,


Friday, November 03, 2006

A Kinda Grab-Bag: The Rápido Version

Ok, so it's been since Monday that I've posted. I'm sorry.

You see, this has been my "vacation" week in that I have not worked at JC this entire week. So I've been trying to get school stuff done as well as have some good old fashioned fun before I get into my last five weeks of school. And I have done just that. So, here's a quick recap of my week with much more detail coming this weekend after even more events (Manny/Jenn wedding, Laugh Factory, Chargers game) go down. Enjoy!

- Saw SAW III on Monday night. It underwhelmed. Yes, it was a good tie-in to the first two films, but from what I remember (I only saw the first two once - on the last two Halloweens respectively) I was much more impressed with them. This was a fun horror film, though. If you saw and liked the first two, there is no reason to think you won't like this one. (Grade: C+)

- Bowling on Monday night was just ok. I did not bowl very well (my average that night was 130 instead of my usual 150) and neither did Chris (he barely averaged over 100). However, the reason that we were ok with it all was that it was free!!! We made friends a couple weeks ago with some guys who work there and since we were cool (I guess) they offered to sign off our games since we come every Monday night. So we got just under $30 of bowling fun for free on Monday night! Score!

- School was blah on Tuesday because I was so excited about going to the SUNS/LAKERS game. I met George down at STAPLES (the Staples Center, for those who don't know) around 1730 and we grabbed some dinner at the FOX Sports Box place - it was ok. We watched some of the BULLS/HEAT game (a great blowout by the BULLS - it was awesome!) and then headed in to find our seats. They were great (Nosebleeds, center court, row 2 - really good though) and we had a blast at the game. SUNS lost 114-106 - more on my SUNS on Sunday. Thanks George - I had a great time and I can't wait for March (more on that on Sunday too).

- Wednesday was usual (Biology and English) and then I spent most of the night watching my SUNS get their first victory of the season against the Los Angeles Clippers. Not a great day, but at least my team won!

- I slept in on Thursday so I missed Journalism and went just for History. After that, I went home and worked on some homework before Aimee's last volleyball game of the year. They won. She had a great year (for a rookie!) and I'm very proud of her! After her game, I came home and got ready for my exciting night at MULLIGAN'S! Justin set up another bachelor thingy (only guys though) for Manny at the family fun center. We paid $13 to do whatever we wanted as much as we wanted. If you have six guys at a place like that, I don't think there's any doubt where they would end up: the GO-KARTS! There was no one else there, and the guy running it was super cool, so we rode them for probably a total of an hour or more. He would also let us go for up to twenty minutes straight since there was no one else in line! It was an absolute thrill and I can't wait to do that again sometime!

- After Mulligan's, we went back to their house and chilled. I beat Manny at MADDEN 2004 (the first time we ever met he absolutely destroyed me at that game and I was left with no self-confidence - well, since I've been practicing recently, I challenged him to a rematch to regain my dignity) 80-29! I think I got my dignity back! Then we played poker and I won :D A good night for me you could say! I didn't get home until 0200 but went right to sleep.

- I slept in until almost noon today and didn't do much (I watched last night's OFFICE episode though) until 1600. That was the wedding rehearsal. We did that and then went to TEXAS CATTLE CO. for the dinner part. It was yummy! I'm heading out to Hollywood tonight to go to the LAUGH FACTORY with Heather, Chels, and their friend Kira who is California visiting from New York! Should be fun - -

- Recent purchases: MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 3 and TOP GUN on DVD; THANK YOU FOR SMOKING book, new Chuck Pahalniuk book (guy who wrote FIGHT CLUB)

- Football Picks for Week 9 (home team in CAPS) - sorry I don't have time to give you blurbs about each game, but I will provide my forecast:

Atlanta over DETROIT - Barely Breathing Easy

Cincinnati over BALTIMORE - Nailbiter

Dallas over WASHINGTON - Barely Breathing Easy

Green Bay over BUFFALO - Walk in the Park

NEW YORK GIANTS over Houston - Walk in the Park

ST. LOUIS over Kansas City - Nailbiter

CHICAGO over Miami - Walk in the Park (Note: I predicted a 38-9 victory last week for the Bears over the 49ers and it ended up being 41-10. I'm incredible!)

New Orleans over TAMPA BAY - Barely Breathing Easy

JACKSONVILLE over Tennessee - Walk in the Park

Minnesota over SAN FRANCISCO - Barely Breathing Easy

SAN DIEGO over Cleveland - Walk in the Park (I'll be there!)

Denver over PITTSBURGH - Nailbiter

Indianapolis over NEW ENGLAND - Nailbiter

SEATTLE over Oakland - Barely Breathing Easy

- More Christmas gift ideas:

Anything SUNS (gift cards to their online store, t-shirts, jerseys, license plate thingys, anything)

- And finally, a video for you to enjoy:

Happy Friday!!!



Monday, October 30, 2006

Youtube, Yuletide, and Yuck

First and foremost, if you are a sports fan, specifically an NBA fan head to either my buddy George's season preview (if you want partial accuracy haha) or over to mine (for straight up accuracy!). Thanks - we both worked hard on these and would appreciate all the viewings/comments/praises we can get!

Secondly, my weekend. Well I worked Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. I worked 17 hours over those three days. I was at JC a lot. On a good note, the schedule for next week is out and I am not on it! That's good cuz I asked off for the week! The other TTs thought I had done something wrong and gotten fired. Ha! What does that say about my reputation! As I left, Charlie even told me to have a "good vacation". I think he meant it. I'm wearing him down. . .

On another note, I got to spend some time with my wonderful Heather this weekend. She came home for Friday night's Manny and Jenn bachelor/bachelorette party that we had at El Torito. It was just a dinner thing that turned into all the over-21's drinking and us under-21's (including me, Heather, Justin, and Emily) chatting and catching up. It was ok. At least I got to eat my favorite Carne Asada meal! It was yummy :D

Heather and I also resumed our battle from last weekend with the PS2 game (nay, phenomenon) GUITAR HERO. I have watched people play this game since June when I first experienced it in Downey at the JC opening. I have yet to play it though, for fear of, well, sucking. It was something I knew would happen. Except. . . it didn't. I'm actually not that bad. All I need is practice. And that might happen, seeing that Aimee also got to play it and liked it. We're thinking a Combo-Santa gift. . . My plan is to maybe ask for GUITAR HERO 1 (which includes one guitar I believe) and a second guitar for Christmas and then buying GUITAR HERO 2 (which released on 11/07) myself. We'll see.

Now, since I was speaking on Christmas, I would like to display my Christmas list. This is for grandparents, friends, and anyone who was thinking "What would Justin like for Christmas?" Realize that we only have 55 shopping days left. . . The list ranges from the cheap and silly to the expensive gifts that I know I won't be getting. But who's to say that I don't want them! I would like it if I got some lists from people (e.g. Heather. . .) so I can begin planning. November flies by way too fast! So, without further ado:

- An IPOD (everyone and their mom seems to have one of these and I still don't - I know it's wishful thinking, but. . .)
- A Phoenix Suns sweatshirt (calling all AZ residents! I still don't own a sweatshirt displaying my favorite team of all time. My preference has always been the ones that are clingy at the bottom. . . you know what I mean?)
- Star Wars DVDs (they rereleased the movies with the original theatrical versions too - those are the ones I don't have - I also still don't have the new trilogy on DVD yet, but they weren't that good, so never mind!)
- GUITAR HERO! (yeah, I'm hooked)
- Maybe some new cologne (Heather bought me some two Christmases ago and I just finished it. . . not sure if I want a refill)
- A sold VW Jetta (yeah, if you wanna buy my car from me, that would be great!)
- Assorted DVDs (but that list is both lengthy and unnecessary - I think it might be a little ridiclous to continuously get movies and CDs - I don't know)
- Gift certificates are always cool (the movies, Best Buy, restaurants, etc.)
- Photographs of dead presidents on green paper

You know, I'm not good at saying "I want this". It's hard for me. I'll come up with a few more things in the next couple weeks, if you want. Thanks in advance :D

I've also spent some time on YOUTUBE recently and I have a few videos I would like to share with you:

The Officeplace Contraption

You Can't Not Laugh!

Family Guy Top 10!

The Nobody's Watching Guys' version of the "What Happens. . ." (go to their website for more videos and stuff - they're really funny!)

Cy on the Outtakes Video of the Halloween Horror Nights

Us as Seniors! (O, and watch for the classic "Justin thinks you are an idiot" face! - 1:07 in)

Nintendo 64!!!

And the greatest video of all-time!

I'll throw in some more videos for you from time to time. Enjoy!

Well, the yuck part is that I now have to go to school. Have a good Monday and I'll tty soon!



Friday, October 27, 2006

The "IF" Season

Yes everyone, the time has finally come! The countdown is now at four days and it is now time for the best part of the year to begin: BASKETBALL!

Some history:

I love basketball. I have played it since I was five. No joke. I have watched it since then and have also played some sort of video game version of it for as long as they have made them (including the original NBA LIVE's and beyond). It is by far my favorite sport and it is also the only sport in which I am a diehard fan. The PHOENIX SUNS, my hometown team (didn't you know I was born in Arizona? Wow!), is the only team in all of sports that affects my mood. When they lose, I'm upset and when they win, I'm elated. I have, as a SUNS fan, gone through many years of upsettedness (yeah, I made that word up!). However, with the reacquisition of quite possibly our most athletic player (Amare) from injury, we are actually being picked by some people to win the NBA Championship.

But what do I, the huge fan, think of all this? I have to have an opinion right???

Yeah, I do. And what follows is going to be a sports lingo-filled entry predicting the next eight months of NBA activity. And that's all it is: a PREDICTION! Fans of my work (that's you dedicated readers out there) know of my failure as an MLB psychic (hey, I don't watch it ok!) and my competency as an NFL psychic (at least every week you do). So how should you feel towards the following: I don't care. This is another opportunity (much like displaying my football picks of the week) for me to attempt true sports writing. And I'm excited about it.

Indulge me.

And why the title of the "IF" season? Well this season, not unlike every other season, is filled with teams that are hinging on an "IF". You'll see. I'll throw in those "IF"s throughout. . .

So the format of this bad boy is as follows: I have ranked the teams 1-15 in their respective conferences. I will be starting in the East and showing each division separately in the order I think they will finish. In parentheses will be their overall rank in their conference. Got it? Then on to the West discussion. From there it will be the playoffs and my FINALS winner. Casual sports fans, get ready to have your world rocked! Because here comes my inaugural NBA SEASON PREVIEW!


Atlantic Division:

New Jersey Nets (3)
The Nets are an interesting team. They have one of the best point guards in the league (Jason Kidd, still plugging along) and an explosive 2 and 3 (Richard Jefferson and Vince Carter, who is in the final year of his contract, an invitation to have a huge year). I am not impressed with their big men though. Add to that the acquisition of Eddie House from the Suns (fan's note: go ahead and take him - he's so hot/cold!) who subsequently went and got injured and is out for a couple months, and you have a team that can really only underachieve. The only reason they win their division is because it is such an awful division. They can win it all IF Vince, Jefferson, and Kidd all have career years.

Boston Celtics (8)
This is my first of three sleeper teams this year. Anytime you have Paul Pierce, one of the premiere players in the league today, you have a chane to win. I think Wally Szczerbiak is going to have a big year. I also think that Doc Rivers, their incompetent coach, could really ruin their season. But, I have faith in Paul. And in Paul I trust! They can make the playoffs IF Paul Pierce has an MVP-type season and he gets help from his supporting cast.

Toronto Raptors (11)
The Raptors got the misfortune of winning the lottery in a year where there was no clear-cut Number One pick (a la Lebron or next year's Greg Oden). So they selected Andrea Bargnani, a big guy straight out of Italy. He'll ride the bench and learn about the NBA for awhile and only prove to be marginally helpful this season. He may have potential, but he could just be another foreign flop. The acquisition of T.J. Ford was big for them, but him, Morris Peterson, and All-Star Chris Bosh cannot do it all. They can surprise everyone and make the playoffs in the next couple of years IF they get a lot better and a lot deeper (thru a trade of some kind).

Philadelphia 76ers (12)
Remember when these guys were playing the Lakers in the FINALS? Yeah, me too. I can't believe the turn this team took. Once a lock to make the playoffs, they have now become a stomping ground for mediocrity. Chris Webber is way past his prime and may only last two more seasons anyway. AI is still one of the best out there, but he has been getting no love. I'm sad for him that the 76ers didn't trade him like they wanted this offseason. If he had gone to the Celtics like people were saying, he coulda made that team a contender (can you imagine him and Pierce side-by-side?). Dunking sensation Andre Iguodala is ok but you only get two points for a dunk, and in a real game, you have to dribble. Uh oh. They can somehow make the playoffs IF Webber returns to his Kings-form and AI does his usual thing.

New York Knicks (13)
Poor, poor Spike Lee. His Knicks are so bad and yet, look at that roster! Marbury. Francis. Rose. All FORMER All-Stars. They will be better this year, though. Jared Jeffries is a solid player and he was a great pickup for them. I also really like Channing Frye (he's on my Fantasy team). He is there big man of the future. I still think that Isiah is gonna fail just like Larry Brown did and he will follow Brown out the door after the year is over. They can defy the odds and make the playoffs IF all of their shoot-first guards learn how to co-exist.

Southeast Division:

Miami Heat (2)
The defending champs are bringing out the same bunch from last year and hoping that no one else improved, I suppose. The problem is that D-Wade is tired (a FINALS run last year followed by the World Basketball Championships) and Shaq is not the dominating Shaq of old. I am saying he has a maximum of three years left. Jason Williams was never a starting PG in my opinion. I always thought he would be a good Sixth Man. I still think that once they get into May and the playoffs begin, the refs will allow the Heat to go further then they really should. D-Wade has begun getting Jordan calls and that's a scary thing, if you ask me. They can hoist the trophy for a second straight time IF Wade isn't completely fatigued by June and Shaq can still pick his legs up at that time.

Orlando Magic (6)
This is my second sleeper team. This is a strong, young core group led by Dwight Howard, a force underneath the basket. This youngling is ready to show what he is worth (although he certainly gave us a taste in the WBC). Grant Hill is rumored to be healthy. We'll see how long that lasts. The wildcard on this team is Darko. The much maligned second pick from 2003 (ahead of Carmelo and D-Wade) is finally getting an opportunity to show his stuff. However, I think it is backup PG Carlos Arroyo, the same guy who was torching the Americans this Summer on the national team from Puerto Rico, that will make a difference for this upstart team. They can go deep into the playoffs IF Howard is just that good and Hill stays healthy for an entire year.

Washington Wizards (7)
I'm just not expecting as much out of them this year. And sure, if All-Star (and truly awesome player) Gilbert Arenas read that, I'm sure it would motivate him to do even better. I just don't like his supporting cast. I've never thought Jamison was all that special and they are not deep at all, especially since they have lost Larry Hughes and Jared Jeffries in each of the last two off seasons respectively. I feel a letdown in our nation's capital. Sorry Travis and Josh (my cousins from Maryland who are big fans). I hope I'm wrong here. They can make the playoffs and win for a change IF Arenas is off-the-charts like usual and someone unexpected steps up big time.

Charlotte Bobcats (14)
The group of young guys (including rookie Adam Morrison and second year guys Raymond Felton and Sean May) will try to assist star Emeka Okafor (also a youngling) as best as they can. I think they are too young to do anything special. Maybe in four years. Maybe. O, and Morrison will not win Rookie of the Year. Just thought I'd get that out of the way here too. They can shock the world and make the playoffs IF Morrison is just that good and Okafor is productive in his return to the lineup.

Atlanta Hawks (15)
O the awful Hawks. As a fan, I have no pity whatsoever on Joe Johnson, the former SUNS guard who left us to be a one-man team in Atlanta. Instead of him, we now have Boris Diaw, the Most Improved Player from last year and a future All-Star. Instead, Johnson is the main guy on a team that I don't think can win 25 games. They're really bad. Plus, Marvin Williams, their one young bright spot, just went down with a wrist injury and is going to be out the first two months. That doesn't help either. They can win over 30 games IF Joe can play like he did last year and get a lot of help from Josh Smith.

Central Division:

Detroit Pistons (1)
Yes, they lost Big Ben Wallace in the off season. Yes, the new "Whining Rule" is a direct stab at Rasheed. Yes, the other teams are getting better and LeBron is breathing down their necks. But last time I checked, they still have four All-Stars in their starting five and a healthy Antonio McDyess coming off the bench. Chauncey Billups (my favorite non-SUNS player in the league) is still the second best PG in the league and Richard Hamilton is one of the most reliable players out there. I do not think they will win it all without Ben, but I still think they will have the best record in the East at season's end. However, they could win the championship again IF Nazr Mohammed provides a little something extra and (huge) acquisition Flip Murray comes off the bench and gives them what he gave the Cavs last year.

Chicago Bulls (4)
They are not this high because of Ben Wallace. Although Big Ben was a huge pickup, I don't think that he is going to be the key to win more games this year. Remember, he is a liability on the offensive end and makes Shaq look like Rick Barry at the free throw line. The maturation process of Kirk Hinrich this summer at the WBC and Ben Gordon turning into a late-game force is what makes this team so feared, I think. They also added P.J. Brown to bang around under the boards and rookie Tyrus Thomas could prove to be a big help at the end of games when Ben has to sit out because he can't hit a 15-foot shot. They can advance deep into the playoffs IF Big Ben proves he can play offense too and Hinrich and Gordon really did mature into smarter players.

Cleveland Cavaliers (5)
This is the problem with LeBron: He is not Superman. Yeah, sure, we are all witnesses or whatever, but I am waiting for the day when he comes down awkwardly on his ankle and is out for a couple weeks. Then how awesome is he? His supporting cast is no better this year (although Anderson Varejao has improved a lot) and even if he is the second coming of Jordan (which he is NOT), I don't see them winning the division. Playoffs are a different story. Once LBJ gets there, the refs will allow him to manipulate his way as long as he can. Along with Wade, he is getting Jordan calls, and they don't deserve it yet. I think LBJ will win the MVP this year, and it will be the first of many in his career. I don't think he'll have a ring, though. At least, not in Cleveland. They can advance further in the playoffs IF King James is incredible again in May and if either Larry Hughes or Drew Gooden give him some relief.

Milwaukee Bucks (9)
Although they still have Michael Redd, I think the loss of T.J. Ford will be what brings them out of the playoffs. A good PG is hard to find. Big men (like Charlie Villanueva, the guy they got for Ford) are interchangeable. Bogut is hurt to start the season and they are not that deep at all. My boy Steve Blake will get some minutes this year (much like he did last year in Portland) and they will make a push towards the 8th spot, but I think they will fail in their attempts. They can return to the playoffs, though, IF Mo Williams proves to be a good replacement for Ford.

Indiana Pacers (10)
A lot of analysts still like the Pacers to do well, and I can't see why. Besides Jermaine O' Neal, they do not have another All-Star caliber player on their lineup. While Al Harrington was a nice addition (you Laker fans wanted him, I know), the whole Stephen Jackson debacle is only going to hurt you and I have never thought Jamaal Tinsley was that good of a PG. Watch for backup guard Sarunas Jasikevicius to play some good minutes and surprise some people. They can make the playoffs IF there are no arrests of a Pacer from Halloween to Memorial Day.


Southwest Division:

San Antonio Spurs (2)
You know what's scary? Tim Duncan is rested. The Big Fundamental spent the off-season getting his feet healthy (he suffered from Plantar Fasciitis all of last year) and getting into better shape. Plus, he is still accompanied by Tony Parker (Mr. Eva Longoria to you), Manu Ginobili, and Bruce Bowen. Michael Finley is still on the bench waiting to hurt someone with a three-pointer in the waning minutes. They look scary this year, and no one is talking about them. I am. Look out for the Spurs. They can return to the FINALS and win it all IF Duncan is healthy all year and their age does not show by the end of the year.

Dallas Mavericks (3)
The defending Western Conference champions still have the most difficult man to guard (Dirk) and a supporting cast of great athletes (Terry, Howard, Stackhouse). The addition of Anthony Johnson was a big time deal, but I don't think they will be as powerful this year. The Spurs are better this year and the Mavs will once again not have home court against the Spurs in the second round. Another classic series will ensue, but I think the Spurs will win this one. However, the Mavs can return to the FINALS IF Dirk is the MVP and his supporting cast doesn't let him down this year (I'm talking to you Jason Terry).

Houston Rockets (6)
This team is loaded this year. Along with a supposed-healthy T-Mac and Yao, they added veterans Shane Battier and Bonzi Wells to their explosive lineup. They will have PG issues (Alston is not all that great) and their success will ultimately come down to T-Mac's back. As T-Mac goes, so goes the Rockets. They will finally make it back to the playoffs IF T-Mac stays healthy. That's it.

New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets (7)
My third sleeper team of the year is the one run by up-and-coming PG sensation Chris Paul. Wow, is this guy good! The guy is a Nash in the making, if I do say so myself! The addition of an aging Peja Stojakovic and an overrated Tyson Chandler can only help, and David West is going to have a huge year. You heard it here first! They can make the playoffs this year IF Paul is better than last year and Peja's veteran wiles lead them in the clutch.

Memphis Grizzlies (13)
O, how things change. One second Pau Gasol is leading Spain to a possible WBC win and the next he is down for the count with a foot/ankle injury and out til almost January. Ouch. They will be relying on young talent (Hakim Warrick, Rudy Gay, Mike Miller) to get them through the Pau-less times, but I am not sure that he will return to form even when he comes back. This year will be a failure for the once resurgent Grizz. They can return to the playoffs IF they can keep it together until Pau returns and he is 100% when he does come back.

Northwest Division:

Denver Nuggets (4)
They only win this division because of Carmelo. He showed me a lot this summer at the WBC and he looks like he could finally become the leader the Nuggets have been looking for. They still have Andre Miller and Kenyon Martin, although not of a great frame of mind, is still K-Mart. Marcus Camby is a beast under the hoop and itty bitty Earl Boykins always comes in and gives good minutes. They will beat up on the crappy division and do enough to win it outright, becoming the only team from their division to make the playoffs. They can emerge past the first round IF Carmelo becomes LBJ-like and carries the team on his shoulders.

Minnesota Timberwolves (9)
I feel so bad for Kevin Garnett. He has always been a favorite of mine because of his passion for the game. Well last year, he looked like he had lost that passion. Hopefully, the addition of Mike James (a solid PG) and rookie Randy Foye will renew his desire to win. I don't think they'll make the playoffs, but they could definitely do some damage to contenders at the end of the year. They could return to the playoffs once again IF Foye is better than he should be as a rookie and they make a trade to pick up some more help for KG.

Utah Jazz (10)
A lot of analysts have the Jazz making the playoffs by winning this division. Truthfully, it's anyone's division to win (except the next two teams ha ha!). The thing with Utah is that I don't buy into them. Sure Kirilenko is a great player, but Carlos Boozer has never impressed me, they have no real three-point shooters and their PG is still improving himself to make a name. I don't know. I'm just skeptical is all. Maybe next year, like the T-Wolves. They could make the playoffs (and only by winning the division) IF AK-47 stays healthy all year and someone steps up to help him.

Seattle Supersonics (14)
Ray Allen can only win so many games for a team. This team, which looks to be on its way out of Washington state (and probably headed to Oklahoma City), is a recipe for disaster. They have some nice young talent (Nick Collison, Luke Ridnour) but there is no way that this team will get near .500. It just won't happen. They could do the unthinkable and get to .500 IF Rashard Lewis finally proves to be a worthy sidekick to Ray Allen.

Portland Trailblazers (15)
There is not a whole lot to say about the Blazers except they always have young talent. And how do they continually have young talent? They are always at the top of the Lottery every year because they did so bad the previous year! They will challenge the Hawks for worst record in the Greg Oden sweepstakes (although a team featuring him, Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge, Juan Dixon, and Jarrett Jack sounds kinda scary). They will win more than 25 games IF they move Brandon Roy (my pick for Rookie of the Year) into the starting lineup.

Pacific Division:

Phoenix Suns (1)
You can call me biased. You can call me a homer. You can say all sorts of things, but you cannot say that the SUNS are not great. Led by two-time MVP Steve Nash and Shawn Marion, the fast-paced Suns are welcoming back Amare Stoudemire back from his year-long absence. Also coming back this year is Kurt Thomas, a huge addition to the post game and on the defensive end. Another huge year is expected out of recently-signed-to-lengthy-contracts Boris Diaw and Leandro Barbosa, both of which played well in the WBC (especially Barbosa). It all revolves around Amare and how he returns though. And as a diehard fan, I can only hope that his jersey switch from 32 to 1 says it all! They can bring the first NBA championship ever back to Arizona IF Amare. That's it. Just one word is enough to explain it all.

Los Angeles Clippers (5)
A perennial constant in the playoffs, the Clippers are led by Elton Brand. This man impressed me so much last year in the playoff series against the Suns. He is a guaranteed 23 points, 12 rebounds guy. Every game. They are returning pretty much the same team with the addition of Suns playoff hero Tim Thomas, who in my opinion, will not be as big of a helper as they think. Without Nash, Tim Thomas will not flourish. They did lose Vladimir Radmanovic to the Lakers, but they can do without him. Look for them to again make it into the second round of the playoffs. They can go deeper than that IF Tim Thomas is heroic in a Clippers jersey too.

Los Angeles Lakers (8)
Kobe and Phil alone could make the playoffs. But only barely. Injuries have ravaged the Lakers (almost everyone on their team has missed time this preseason) so far, and that is never a good sign. I think Kobe will get them to the playoffs, but that's about it. Look for Luke Walton to have a much improved season (and be in the running for Most Improved Player) and also look for the benching of Smush Parker at PG for rookie Jordan Farmar. The kid looked good in preseason and I'm impressed. Let's leave it at that (I'm resenting the Suns for not getting him and having Nash train him). They could move deeper into the playoffs IF the injuries don't hurt them later in the season like they have early on.

Golden State Warriors (11)
Talent can only get you so far. And yes, they are led by a guard tandem that many teams would kill for (Baron Davis and Jason Richardson), but other than that, they have very little to offer. New coach Don Nelson (yeah, that Don Nelson) will try to get more out of his guys, but will fail like all of the recent Warriors coaches. Like Sports Illustrated said, "No matter how committed they are, they'll be sitting at home" for the playoffs. They could surprise us all IF they picked up another scorer before the trade deadline.

Sacramento Kings (12)
I do not buy into this team like many do. Bibby is hurt to start the season and Ron Artest can only do so much (although we know he can do more than just play ball!). I miss the Kings of old actually. Remember when it was Bibby/Christie/Peja/Webber and that whole group? That was fun. Yeah, this season will be constantly looking back at what used to be because it will be so rocky for the Kings. They could do the unthinkable and make the playoffs IF Artest is just that good and all his rapping and fighting distracted us all too much.

Well that's the individual team reports (o, and click on the team name to get linked to ESPN's team report - notice some of the differences). Onto the playoffs!


(1) Detroit over (8) Boston (4-1)
(2) Miami over (7) Washington (4-1)
(6) Orlando over (3) New Jersey (4-3)
(5) Cleveland over (4) Chicago (4-3)

(1) Detroit over (5) Cleveland (4-2)
(2) Miami over (6) Orlando (4-2)

(2) Miami over (1) Detroit (4-2)


(1) Phoenix over (8) L.A. Lakers (4-2)
(2) San Antonio over (7) New Orleans (4-1)
(3) Dallas over (6) Houston (4-3)
(5) L.A. Clippers over (4) Denver (4-1)

(1) Phoenix over (5) L.A. Clippers (4-2)
(2) San Antonio over (3) Dallas (4-3)

(1) Phoenix over (2) San Antonio (4-3)


(1) Phoenix over (2) Miami (4-2)

THAT'S RIGHT!!!!!!!!! I say that my very own Phoenix Suns are going to win it all this year. They will finally be able to beat San Antonio on their way there, thus killing two birds with one stone. I'm so excited for this season and I hope that you enjoyed this thing here. I know it's long. I typed it :D

Thanks for reading it all. I appreciate it.

Much love and GO SUNS,


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Extended Weekend Grab-Bag:
The It's About Time Version

Real quick set-up for this one:

Every section will be preceded with an assumed "It's About Time. . ." Got it? Consider this post one giant imperative sentence, except it'll be "It's About Time" instead of "You". Ok? Ok.


- That I'm actually blogging. I know that was the first thing you thought of. I know you!

- That I finally did well on a Biology test. On the third test, which I got back on Monday, I received a 43 out of 50, good for my first B. That brings my overall grade up to a 79.3%. I'm close to that B!!! Plus, if you throw in my Lab grade (which, I'm assuming, is a high B or low A) to create my overall Biology grade, then I definitely have a B. Good stuff!

- That I got a desireable schedule at ol' JC. FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY!!! Remember how I told you that I had been nice to Charlie a couple weeks back. Well, my schedule for this week is exactly what I want. Coincidence? I think not! The schedule is Thursday night by myself (a guaranteed $75 in tips, but usually more), Saturday night with Chris and the new TT Gabriel (a very easy $60 or so) and then Sunday morning with Chris (but it's actually 1230 so I can go to church with the fam, which is better news for my madre then me - she likes it when I'm there!). Chris still has the Tuesday night, so on the weeks I work it (we are still alternating Tuesdays) like this week, I get four days! It's a beautiful thing. I only have one worry: I am taking off next week (10/30-11/05) because I have quite a few events that week (LAKERS/SUNS game, Manny and Jenn's wedding, Chargers game) and I didn't wanna have to worry about having people cover shifts or whatever. My fear is that I will lose that schedule when I come back (or that I won't get the days off that I need, which would actually be worse, cuz then I would either have to wheel and deal really quick-like, or call in sick, which would not be a good thing). We'll see. But for the time being, all is satisfactory on the JC front, just because it can never be outstanding!

- That I can begin wearing Cy-shirts again! It's starting to cool off, slowly but surely, here in Lancaster and I broke out a long-sleeved button-up today at school. Good stuff! I like this weather. You know the kind where it's not that cold to where a jacket isn't necessary but it's still cold enough that a recommendable way to stay warm is snuggling? Yeah, it's like that right now :D

- That THE PRESTIGE, my number three movie on my REST O' THE YEAR MOVIE PREVIEW, came out! I went last Friday night with Heather to go see the first movie I've seen in a long time to meet every one of my expectations. That doesn't make it the best movie I've seen this year (that position is still held by LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE), it just means that it didn't disappoint me. If you want to go see a great movie, go see THE PRESTIGE. All hail Christopher Nolan!!!

- That the NBA season is coming! Just under a week left til gametime for my PHOENIX SUNS! (O yeah, click that link for a really cool musical intro to their page - I love it!) I'm preparing my season preview. . . It's coming. Don't worry.

- That a week in the NFL season was filled with miracle finishes and upsets. Bummer part was that it was the week I didn't pick them. I went 7-6 last week, which was respectable against my competition. The week winner went 9-4. Wow. I'm only two games back of third place and three back of first. I'm coming for you guys!!! And speaking of picks, here goes this coming week's picks (I know they're early, but I just did them - and for a little added fun, I'm throwing in the type of game it will be, with my choices being NAILBITER (0-7 point win), BARELY BREATHING EASY (8-14), and WALK IN THE PARK (15+ point win):

(home team in CAPS)

GREEN BAY over Arizona - Barely Breathing Easy
(Favre is playing better and Arizona might have had the biggest letdown ever losing to the AWFUL Oakland Raiders last week. I'm going home field on this one.)

CINCINNATI over Atlanta - Barely Breathing Easy
(My Bengals pulled the upset last week over Carolina and this week they put the hurt on the Falcons and overrated Michael Vick. I'm also predicting at least 3 TD passes for my boy Carson Palmer.)

NEW ORLEANS over Baltimore - Nailbiter
(The edge goes to the Saints who don't feel it necessary to lose in the renovated Superdome.)

Houston over TENNESSEE - Barely Breathing Easy
(The Texans proved something to me last week: they can fight. The Titans suck. There you go.)

Jacksonville over PHILADELPHIA - Nailbiter
(I still think the Eagles and Donovan McNabb are overrated. Last week was just a hiccup for the Jags. They'll win a close one.)

KANSAS CITY over Seattle - Barely Breathing Easy
(No Hasselbeck, no win. It's that simple for the Seahawks against a Chiefs team who shocked the Chargers last week.)

CHICAGO over San Francisco - Walk in the Park
(The line should be somewhere around 21 for this one. I'm gonna say final score: 38-9)

NEW YORK GIANTS over Tampa Bay - Nailbiter
(The Barber Brothers face-off and Tiki will score the winning TD for the surging Giants.)

SAN DIEGO over St. Louis - Nailbiter
(If it was in Missouri, I would pick the Rams. Upset possibility here!)

Indianapolis over DENVER - Barely Breathing Easy
(Although it'll be an almost Walk in the Park. Peyton will show up the great Bronco defense because he is the best QB out there. A 2 TD win for the Colts.)

New York Jets over CLEVELAND - Walk in the Park
(I told you last week, and I'll tell you again: the J-E-T-S are good! They have six gimme wins the rest of the year, which would give them 10 for the year. If they can upset Minnesota or New England, look for them to snag a Wild Card bid)

Pittsburgh over OAKLAND - Walk in the Park
(Big Ben or no Big Ben. The Raiders got lucky to play the Cardinals last week after their tragic letdown against the Bears. Even Charlie Batch at QB will destroy the Raiders.)

CAROLINA over Dallas - Walk in the Park
(Sinking Ship Alert! I don't see the Cowboys finishing over .500 this season. Poor Tony Romo. . .)

New England over MINNESOTA - Barely Breathing Easy
(The Pats have quietly moved to 5-1 and could coast to 12-4, which would be good enough to outlast the Jets. They're good. Watch out Indy.)

- That I finished that part. I like doing that now. It's fun. I feel like a real sports writer!!!

- That I bought some new shoes! I finally purchased the JORDAN CLASSICS, a casual shoe made by NIKE. They're nice, and since I bought them through Manny, I got a discount. Even better!!! I think they'll be my official coaching shoe. . .

- That another issue of THE EXAMINER is on its way out. Look for it around campus the first week of November folks!

Well, that about does it for tonight. Please give me some feedback on my blogs - I am more motivated to keep doing it when I know that I have people reading them and getting something out of them. Thanks to all of those out there who have kept reading!!!

Goodnight all!!!

- - - "Are you watching closely"
- - - Borden (Christian Bale) in THE PRESTIGE


Friday, October 20, 2006


I wanna say this is my first Friday post since the beginning, but I doubt it. The reason I'm doing this is because I'm waiting for my wonderful Heather, who just got home, to get herself together before we go out gallavanting around the town. We have dinner plans as well as tickets to go see THE PRESTIGE tonight at our Cinemark 22. I can't wait!!!

But as for the last couple days, well, I'm just glad they're over. I did not have a very good week (neither did Heather) so we are both stoked that is Friday and we can both see each other and enjoy each other's company.

On Wednesday I had a BIO test and that went as good as can be expected, I guess. I probably got a 78. That's my prediction (you see, I did not study for the first test and I got a 78 and I did study for the second test and also got a 78 - I studied a very little bit for this one. . .) for that. I also had English on Wednesday. We're in the middle of a HAMLET unit, so that's kinda tedious. I like Shakespeare, but not for three straight weeks. . . (Note: yes, I've acted in a Shakespeare play - Twelfth Night - so I can handle lots of Shakespeare. I guess I don't really like Hamlet all that much. Meh.)

I spent almost three hours on Wednesday night looking on AUTO TRADER. I looked at over 2500 cars!!! The thing that sucked was that probably 75% were either Ford Focus, Ford Taurus, or Nissan Sentra in nature. I don't want any of those cars. You can see my frustration. . . Of all of those cars that I looked through, I found 10 that interested me and saved them. I hope that one of them works out. I really want a new car!

I got a call from Chelsea late Wednesday night asking me if I could take Barbara to work Thursday morning. You see, Barbara has had some medical problems in the last six months or so, and cannot drive for awhile. So, Chels needed to do something else on Thursday morning and so I was the only person she could call on short notice. I agreed, and was at their house at 0745 to pick her up, despite getting around five hours of sleep.

I went to JOURNALISM and HISTORY and then I vegged until 0300 when I went to the high school (DCHS) to watch Aimee's volleyball game. She is on the JV team, and she is really doing well. I'm excited to watch high school sports instead of playing them. It will be a totally different experience. However, I certainly would not mind playing again. . .

After their game (they won!) I hurried home to take an online exam (my PSYCH class). I was on question 36 out of 50 when I lost my internet connection and got kicked off the website. I was fuming! I e-mailed my teacher asking him unlock the test for me so that I could try it again. I had to go to work at 1800, so I left before getting a reply. I was hopeful. . .

Work was pretty good. We weren't that busy, but we were steady enough that I was always doing something. I got out of there around 2330 and was home before midnight. I had a new e-mail from my PSYCH teacher and he said that he had unlocked my test, which would allow me to retake it. Very exciting!

I woke up this morning around 0900 to go to breakfast with my parents and grandparents (mom's mom and stepdad) who are here this weekend. We went to CRAZY OTTO'S. I'm still full now :D Conversation was good, too. We talked about minimum wage (and how I think it should be raised - the federal one - and why they don't agree with me), college, next year, the past, and the future. Good times. Good food. Just plain good.

Something that worries me is my renewed affinity for MADDEN on PS2. I popped back in the game the other night and now I seem to be playing it during my down time. If this habit continues, things could get ugly for me!

A couple sports notes, and then I'll be done:

- TIGERS/CARDINALS in the World Series. I'm bored already (go Tigers!) - - Prediction: Tigers in 5

- Basketball time is right around the corner (11 days!). Expect my NBA preview next week sometime (SNEAK PREVIEW: Suns win it all???)

- Very funny piece in Bill Simmons' article from today about this weekend's Jags/Texans game:

"According to STATS, Jacksonville ranks second in the league in opposing time of possession (26.32); Houston ranks 31st (33.31). Jacksonville ranks second in fewest first downs allowed (70); Houston ranks 28th (119). And Jacksonville has given up the least number of drives that lasted 10 plays or more (two out of 61 potential drives) and Houston has given up the fourth-most (12 out of 50).

(Translation: I think Jacksonville will have the ball more than Houston in this game.)"

I love this guy. He's a great sports writer/blogger!

- You want my picks for this week? Well ok then! (trying it out - let me know what you think.)

(home team in CAPS)

CINCINNATI over Carolina
- (upset - kinda - of the week)

NEW YORK JETS over Detroit
(I like the J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS - They're pretty good)

Green Bay over MIAMI
(I don't pick a team with either Daunte Culpepper or Joey Harrington starting at QB - Unfortunately, those are the only two options for the Dolphins)

Jacksonville over HOUSTON
(not much to say here - almost a sure thing)

New England over BUFFALO
(might be closer than you'd think)

Philadelphia over TAMPA BAY
(Eagles are upset after last week - blowout!)

Pittsburgh over ATLANTA
(Two teams going opposite ways)

San Diego over KANSAS CITY
(Chargers just might be the best team in the AFC without Peyton Manning as a QB)

Denver over CLEVELAND
(just call it now - why do the Browns even try?)

Arizona over OAKLAND
(Just what the Cards needed after last week's stomach punch loss to the Bears! The Raiders!)

SEATTLE over Minnesota
(It's in Seattle. It's over.)

INDIANAPOLIS over Washington
(Peyton off of a bye week. Hmmmm...)

New York Giants over DALLAS
(tough Monday-nighter...)

There you have it! Root hard for me huh?

Well I'm gonna skidaddle. Have a great Friday night everybody and enjoy your weekend. I'll holla at you either Sunday or Monday with a GRAB-BAG. We'll see. . .

Until later,