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,


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Bears, Bowling, and Bullets to the Brain

This is gonna be quick. I promise.

Last night was Monday night so it meant bowling!!! Before that, however, I had to endure three quarters of my Super Bowl Bears getting the crapped kicked out of them by the lowly Arizona Cardinals. I got myself ready for bowling and head out. We changed our location because the one on Sierra Highway can go ahead and kiss my left. . . arm and I figured that we should try the one way out in East Palmdale. I listened to the game on the radio on the way there and lo and behold, what do I hear? The Bears have erased a 23-3 deficit and have just run back a punt for a TD that puts them up 24-23. It's incredible! I then listen as Cardinals kicker Neal Rackers misses a gimme (for him, an All-Pro kicker) 40-yard field goal and the Bears win. 6-0. Wow. The best part of it was the tirade that Dennis Green, the Cardinals head coach, went on after the game. (Beware - he uses profanity) Here it is, in all of its YOUTUBE goodness. . . Just click on the arrow to play it right here!

On to bowling. Chris and I bowled eight games in the FANTASTIC lanes out on Palmdale Boulevard. This place is incredible. It's evey adjective the opposite of the crappy one in Lancaster. We've found a new home on Monday nights! Anyway, I bowled pretty good. My average was 148 and my high game was 191, although I could have done better on that one. I left only two open frames but they were both (9 -) and I should have spared both of them. My game would have then been 210, I think, which would have been my new high. Dangit. What could have been. . .

I had class today and then headed to the 1350 showing of THE DEPARTED. I had to do a movie review for THE EXAMINER and of course, as you may remember, this was my most anticipated movie of the rest o' the year! I have not seen a movie since JACKASS, which was two weeks ago. I've been busy, give me a break. I went by my lonesome (not as bad as people make it out to be) and sat down to enjoy the Scorsese goodness. . . Instead of posting my weird grading scale (which, in my opinion now, can be thrown out - it was lame), I'm gonna give you my review that I wrote for the paper. This is an exclusive!!! Let me know what you think! You see, I'm a whore for accolades. I need them cuz after my editor has his way with it, I'll be sullen and downtrodden. . . But I'm getting used to it and preparing for it, so I'm a winner either way! So, without further ado, allow me to present my review of THE DEPARTED:



“I don't want to be a product of my environment. I want my environment to be a product of me.”

Speaking in a dialogue filled with aphorisms like that, Frank Costello, the leader of the Irish Mafia in not-so-long-ago Boston, controls everything. An eccentric, aging man, Costello is played by Jack Nicholson, who is also kooky and getting up there in years. One could think that a movie featuring “the man, the myth, the legend” simply known as Jack, essentially playing a violent version of himself, would be dominated by an over-the-top performance that could ultimately distract from the film’s flow. That almost happens in Martin Scorsese’s “The Departed,” but brilliant performances by both Matt Damon and Leonardo Dicaprio save Scorsese’s return to the Mob genre.

‘The Departed,’ based on a 2002 Hong Kong thriller called ‘Infernal Affairs,’ is being heralded as Scorsese’s best film since his masterpiece ‘Goodfellas.’ I can see critics getting attached to a film like ‘The Departed’ since it features such a strong cast and it showcases Marty in the genre that everyone knows he does so well. But from someone who thought both of his last films (‘Gangs of New York’ and ‘The Aviator’) were fantastic, I think that ‘The Departed’ is a small step down for Scorsese.

That is not to say that the film is not good. ‘The Departed’ is taut and intense. Let’s just say that my fingernails took a toll while I watched the action unfold! There are several scenes that leave your heart racing and your stomach tight. This film is anything but boring. Even at a running time of over 150 minutes, ‘The Departed’ is never tedious.

The film monitors closely the lives of two young men who have joined the Massachusetts State Police. These “Staties” are both trying to make names for themselves and, unbeknownst to each other, are dealing with the same issue.

Billy Costigan (Dicaprio) is the sole good guy from a bad family and is trying to prove it by having a respectable profession. Instead, it is his street credentials and family name that lead his superiors (brilliantly portrayed by Martin Sheen and Mark Wahlberg) to ask him to go undercover into Costello’s regime.

Colin Sullivan (Damon) grew up with the assistance of father-like figure Costello. We see Costello buying young Colin groceries and supplying him with fatherly advice, that is if you consider “We can become cops or criminals. But when you’re facing a loaded gun, what’s the difference?” fatherly advice. When Sullivan graduates from the academy and begins to work his way up the ladder of the unit that is specifically tracking down Costello, good old dad is right there waiting for son to tip him off to what the police is doing next.

Matt Damon is fantastic as the “double-crossing cop”. I would go so far as to say that this is his best performance yet. Damon is a reliable actor who always gives us likeable, yet constricted characters. However, it is the dislike we feel towards his character that makes his performance so great. Clean-shaven, baby-faced Sullivan is so conscience-less that I found myself rooting for him to fail and groaning aloud when he succeeded. His quiet confidence turns into unabridged arrogance and Damon pulls it off brilliantly.

Dicaprio is Scorsese’s new Robert De Niro, as this is Leo’s third straight performance under his direction. I have no issues with their continued pairing, because I feel they bring the best out of each other. Dicaprio gives a painful performance in the heroic role. Scorsese recently told “Entertainment Weekly” that Dicaprio has a “face (that) is a battlefield of moral conflicts” and that countenance is on full display throughout ‘The Departed.’

And what about Jack? Nicholson is everything you would expect and nothing more. His presence gives more credibility to the other actors’ performances because of the rumored improvisation that Nicholson frequently resorted to. Sometimes too over-the-top, Jack does just enough to hang with the young guns opposite him.

Scorsese’s return to the gangster genre is bloody (a Scorsese trademark), fast-moving (the first hour is cut back and forth between the two main characters’ lives), and realistically heart-breaking.

Although it is a remake, I do not find the need to compare it to the original film. This is Scorsese and screenwriter William Monahan’s vision. The Boston setting is perfect and all of the accents are, for the most part, on key.

In ‘The Departed,’ liars run amok, violence is widespread, and priests should not be trusted with adolescent boys. That sounds curiously similar to the real world and it is that cynically-driven realism, plus several powerhouse performances that makes this film an overall success. (Grade: B)

So what did you think???

Thanks in advance everybody!!!

- - - "If you want her to make the meal, you gotta let her buy the groceries."
- - - From last nights's STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP (great episode by the way!)


Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Weekend Grab-Bag: The Backlot Version

Welcome to my backlot, ladies and gentlemen. And for the first time, you will be able to view it up close; like never before. Is this idea being used because I went to UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD on Friday for their Halloween Horror Nights and I got to venture onto their backlot, which was something no guest had done ever, and I saw a neato comparison/parallel between my fave theme park and my own self???

Maybe. . .

So I've got a lot to get through, and not a whole lot of time. . . (and because I'm so envious of Cy and his ideas, here we go. . in an as always non-chronological fashion!)


- If you don't really like sports, skip down until you get to the picture. . .

- I bought tickets for me and George (he needs to pay me back - ha ha) to go to the first NBA game of the season at Staples Center on October 31! The game is between my Phoenix Suns (natch) - o, by the by, "natch" is an abbreviated form of the word "naturally"; it does not rhyme with "watch", it rhymes with "catch" - and George's Los Angeles Lakers (boo that!). We are sitting in Section 301 (dead center court) Row 2 (actually just one row back from where we sat for Game 3 of their playoff series last year). We are both stoked and cannot wait!!!!! (The Suns are gonna win by the way!!!)

- Speaking of basketball, George talked me into joining a FREE (emphasis on the price) fantasy league. I have always heard of the wonders of fantasty leagues, but have never actually joined one. But today I had my first live draft, and I am a fantasy sports virgin no more! My team, you ask? Well, alright then:


- Chauncey Billups (Pistons)
- Jason Terry (Mavs)
- Leandro Barbosa (Suns)
- Ben Gordon (Bulls)
- Raja Bell (Suns)
- Sarunas Jasikevicius (Pacers)
- Bobby Jackson (Hornets)
- Marcus Banks (Suns)
- Steve Blake (Bucks)
- Rajon Rondo (Celtics)
- Francisco Garcia (Kings)

- Dirk Nowitzki (Mavs)
- Boris Diaw (Suns)
- Tayshaun Prince (Pistons)
- Bruce Bowen (Spurs)
- Kurt Thomas (Suns)
- Channing Frye (Knicks)
- Wally Szczerbiak (Celtics)
- James Jones (Suns)
- Rodney Carney (76ers)

So I think I have a good team, but I'm not sure. We'll see. I think I picked too many SUNS (I couldn't help myself) so I'm trying to trade Marcus Banks to another guy in my league for Luke Walton. . . We'll see how that goes. I'm excited to see how this goes. I go head-to-head against George in weeks 2 and 14 I think, so expect bloodshed! And also expect occasional fantasy updates (but only if I'm doing well. . .)

- And continuing on the Sports trend, I have a quick note about the MLB Playoffs. Um, I was wrong! I picked the Twins to win the World Series, so of course they exited in the first round thanks to a sweep by the Oakland A's who immediately got swept by my bandwagon team, the Detroit Tigers (I'm rooting for them to win!). The Tigers are gonna win. That is for sure. I actually thought this thought before posting those previous predictions: "If the Tigers somehow beat the Yanks in the first round, they're going all the way." But I didn't post it, so you won't believe me. O well. . . Go Tigers!

- And on one final Sports note, I went 8-4 today in my pool with an assured victory tomorrow night (my Super Bowl Bears are gonna kill Matt Leinart and the Cardinals) putting me at 9-4 for the week. Meh. I can do better. However, six of the eight morning games were decided by 3 points or less. It was that close. Dangit!!!

- Friday night was one of the most fun nights I've had. That's a picture of me and Heather (supposedly scared. . . I'm not that good of an actor) at the entrance into UNIVERSAL STUDIOS' Halloween Horror Nights. The picutred man behind us is Pavel Pranevsky, a fictional film director that is "running the event". It was really a lot of fun. Let me just say that Knott's Scary Farm (or Halloween Haunt) is better. HOWEVER, the first (and only, in my opinion) attraction we hit up was the "Terror Tram". The fun was that this was the first time that guests were going to be allowed off of the famous tram ride to tour the backlot. And because of fortunate circumstances, Cy, Heather, Chelsea, Joe, Melissa (the latter two are friends of Chels' who are really cool) and myself were on the first tram to depart! We were first!!! Essentially, they set it all up with a video giving us backstory (always a plus in my book) and then let us off at the Whoville Set from Ron Howard's How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Instead of cute Whos, though, there were clowns running amok. Scary clows (which is very redundant!). Then it was on to the Bates Motel from the original Psycho where there was a "sorority party that had gone bad". Then we walked up the hill to the Psycho house (yes, the house!!!) and ran into the director, actually (crazy dude running around with a knife - always scary). We then finished the tour by walking through the new War of the Worlds plane crash set. The addition here were countless zombies limping around looking for food. . . us!!! I was so in awe of where I was ("Tom Cruise was here";" Hitchcock was there") that I wasn't scared at all - it was just cool. We did some more things, but I'll let you read Cy's account of it all here (and if you keep scrolling down you can see a bunch of, albeit blurry, pictures from the night!).

- I had a meeting on Thursday with Mr. Thomas about the basketball season and whatnot. It was really exciting! Essentially, I am going to be an Assistant Coach for the Girls Varsity team and a helper for the Boys Varsity team. I basically get to play with the Boys team at practice, and have all sorts of responsibility with the Girls. T (from now on, Coach Thomas will be referred to as T) said that the Girls Guards will basically be mine. No pressure!!! I'm excited, nervous, scared, and giddy about the season beginning on November 11 (tryouts).

(This has been awhile - -) Um, so a few quick things. . .

1) Very sad story with Corey Lidle, the former Yankees pitcher, flying that plane into the apartment building in New York last week. Very sad. I can't help but wonder if it was intentional. . I would hope not, but you just never know.

2) Roger Ebert is getting better. See, he's kinda back. . . I'm glad that he is healthy. He will probably go down in history as the greatest film critic of all-time, and he appears to be a genuine man that just loves film. I love his work even more because I appeared on his website and I even received an e-mail from him once (no lie!!). Can't wait for you to be full strength Roger!

3) Youtube is amazible! (Yeah, I just created that word. . .) Cy has been putting up some random videos from our Senior year and other things tonight and I've been laughing at some old things. It's fun. We're gonna try to film the film (so to speak) of our performance in THE TOKNIGHT SHOW from senior year to get some of that on the internet. That'd be cool

4) I think teachers who think that their subject is the be-all and end-all of existence need to have a reality check. Sir, Psychology is not the most important thing in the world. Don't pretend like it is. It's just not right.

5) Thoughts on church today: Today was the first time I've been to church since August. I haven't missed it (terrible thing to say, but it's true). I feel so awkward and uncomfortable sitting there - what an indication of what I think of myself!!! I'm perfectly respectful to everyone who wants to listen, but it's difficult for me to get all rowdy about everything that goes on. I certainly believe everything I always have (and have been taught forever), it's just that I'm going through a spiritual dry spell right now. It's just the truth. I'm not gonna be fake and pretend like everything is hunky-dory like I believe so many people to be doing. Hey, sir, I've seen you at Johnny Carino's bitching about your meal being a little late or your plate having something on the underside of it. Don't say "God bless you" to me unless I sneeze. Ya got it? I just don't like fakers. I am who I am, and you don't get anything else. I have a couple good friends, many acquaintances, and more enemies than anything else. I'm cynical. (Quick note about this type of person: Pastor David said the following verbatim: "I'm not being cynical here. I'm being realistic." - I believe that cynicism and realism go hand-in-hand. Cynics have little faith in the people of this world to do the right thing (see: babies left in dumpsters, pedophiling congressmen, massive genocide across the globe) and realists see all that happening and believe that it won't stop because man is so arrogant. See? Very similar.) I'm loving (just ask my family - or Heather). I'm gracious (I could be working at UMEC and making some bank, but instead I'm gonna coach some girls about basketball). I'm a jerk (just ask Cy - he'll tell you). I don't know - - I just feel like I'm just a little too "bleh" for God's taste. I know I'm not (I know the verses, thanks) but it's how I feel right now. Give me time. I'll get over it. . .

- Wow, that was a long thought; it'll probably get me in trouble too. . .

- I finished the fourth season of Scrubs. Good stuff. I love that show!!!

- Thanks to all of you who have given me kudos on my articles from the first issue of THE EXAMINER. Second issue is supposed to hit the campus early in November. I'm working on something like four articles right now, so we'll see how that looks in a couple of weeks.

- O, yeah. I came to this conclusion on Friday night: Cy is my best guy friend (Heather's number one - come now!). Whether or not he feels the same way about me, I don't care. I realized that it's not about what you express to each other or what you know about each other (dark secrets and whatnot) but it's how you feel when you are around them. I had such a blast driving down to UNIVERSAL in Cy's Saturn Vue listening to late 90's pop ballads. We laughed like idiots and reminisced about HS and the like. It was great times all around. I love you bro!

Well if you read all that, then you are a star. Have a sticker. . .


I'm spent for the night. That was one hour straight of typing. I'm tired. Goodnight now - - -

- - - "Do you know what (people) are mostly? Bastards. Bastard-coated bastards with bastard fillings. But I don't find them half as annoying as I find naive bubble-headed optimists who walk around vomiting sunshine."
- - - Dr. Perry Cox (John C. McGinley) on SCRUBS


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

An Irregular Ménage à Trois

Yep, that's not only misleading but it's also kinda redundant (cuz those silly ideas for spicing up love lives are extremely odd in my opinion). No that kind of thing isn't on the ol' noggin or anything. It's just that tonight, in a way, I experienced a night that included three things and that was my first idea for a title. And plus you came looking or kept reading, so what does that say about you???


So the three participants in my evening were Zours, SCRUBS, and pouting, lonely me. Yep. A pretty boring love life no? Not even Zach Braff could really spice up my night (although he does make me laugh. . .).

I worked Tuesday night and I actually had a really good night. That is, until 2145, a mere 15 minutes before our doors locked. You see, we were dead at 2100. I had every table clean (yes, every table) and was beginning my sidework with the assistance of the bored closing servers. I was gonna get outta there at 2015 at the absolute latest. Then, six people ruined my night. A party of four walked through our doors at 2145 and five minutes later, two older ladies came in for appetizers and soup. The party of four did not leave until almost 2300 (yes, an hour after we close!) and I didn't leave until 2315 (after being off the clock for 15 minutes!). How can people do this, you might ask. It's a complete lack of respect for the hard-working individuals who serve you your food (or seat you or cook your meal or clean up after you leave). I have never, and will never, go into a restaurant that close to closing. It's wrong. It's messed up. It's evil (it's gotta be in the Bible somewhere - I'm pretty sure Jesus never went to a restaurant right before closing!). Don't do it. Please.

I slept in this morning and then went to Biology. I don't like this class, but at least my teacher's antics keep me awake. . . I hurried home and finished my English essay (a Formalist approach to the short story The Lottery by Shirley Jackson focusing on the third person objective point of view that she uses - - exciting huh?) before class began at 1545. I made it to class (a few minutes late, though) and we then proceeded to watch HAMLET, but not the one you're thinking about (which my guess was either Kenneth Branagh's version or the one with Mel Gibson). It was the 2000 version starring Ethan Hawke. This is a modern re-telling of the famous Shakesperean play (much like Baz Luhrmann's ROMEO + JULIET). It was supposed to put us in the mood for the reading of Hamlet. Well, it was a weird movie (very hard to follow - I wanted them to start talking normal dangit!) but I could see what they were looking to do. Meh. I like Shakespeare and all, but I just don't get all that giddy about reading it. We have to perform a couple of scenes over the next couple of weeks. However, my group (myself and two somewhat quiet girls) is kinda meh. O well. I'm being optimistic!!!

I came home and was very mopey. The biggest reason, I believe, was because I came home to an empty house. Everyone was out and about and I was left by myself. Now usually I would like this, but I have not seen a whole lot of my family recently with all of our busy schedules, so I was wishing that they would be there. They weren't.

So I resorted to watching my recently purchased fourth season of SCRUBS, my favorite comedy. . . ever!!! I'm already done with the first two discs (there's only three. . .). I love this show! I understand it's an acquired sense of humor (it's pretty goofy and out there, but once you get into the frame of mind, it's just plain hilarious!), but I love it. O, I also bought the new Amos Lee CD (I found out about this guy on the soundtrack for THE LAST KISS, ironically - or not - composed by SCRUBS star Zach Braff) this week. Very good. I love his single ("Shout Out Loud") and the CD can be described as easy-listening. Good stuff.

Furthermore, I love Zours. They are incredible. If you want to brighten my day, give me a pack (or a box - go to Wal-Mart for these :D ). I enjoyed one of these small boxes while watching my SCRUBS. They make me smile. Or maybe that's my jaw screaming because it's too much sugar. . . I guess I'll never know.

So now that it is 0030, I'm gonna go to bed. Busy day tomorrow. I have some exciting news (actually, it's a few things) but you'll have to wait for all of that). Ha! I have power!!!

I apologize for that. . . I kinda lost it for a second. . .

Goodnight all!

- - - "To be or not to be. . ."
- - - Hamlet in Shakespeare's HAMLET


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Week Grab-Bag:
The Optimism Through Misfortune Version

(Note to Heather) There you go, baby. I can be positive. Even through adversity. . . (ha ha!)

Anywho, how are ya? I don't apologize for not posting in a week because I've been pretty doggone busy. But I figured that I would throw something your way before I got caught up in another week. Because you know that it would be next Monday again before I knew it and I would have much to relay to all of you. So, without further ado, allow me to get into the post that you've been waiting a week for. Enjoy the (AS ALWAYS!) non-chronological goodness. . .

- All is pretty good on the bowling front. I still go every Monday night and Chris has decided to make it a weekly thing too. And that's cool. I really like the guy (he's a cool dude), and he is almost as competitive as I am, so it's a rip-roaring good time when we get warmed up. Last week I had an average of 150 and this week it was around the same thing. That means my average is up a good 30 points from when I used to bowl a lot. So, needless to say, I'm stoked. I'm happy that I've found another hobby (besides movie-watching, poker, and blogging. . .) and that I have friends to participate with me. However, last night was the worst night of bowling, but not because of my performance. Not only have they reduced the times (it used to be 2100-midnight and now it's an hour shorter) but the lane was being stupid tonight and the jerk guy who works there was working tonight. Chris and I were pissed at how the night went but we wanted to bowl so we did our thing and left. O well. There's always next week. . .

- I had a poker tournament (which you can also read about on Cy's and George's blog) on Sunday night. There were 10 participants, and I felt like I was one of the top 3 players in the room. I started slow (a bad indicator) but made it to the final table of 5 (I was the short stack at this time, though). I really did not get good hands all night. I had probably three good hands all night. Anyway, I went out in fifth. George won (good job, buddy). I was pissed. I probably looked like such a tool on Sunday night, but I don't care. Anyone who knows me, knows how competitive I am. Plus, there was $20 at stake! So of course I was upset when I got knocked out. I was steaming the rest of the time that they were playing. O well. I guess I can't win them all. . . But Why???

- I worked on both Thursday (by myself) and Saturday (with Chris) nights. And you know what I finally did? I finally put my ego aside and was friendly to my GM Charlie. I even made him laugh a couple of times throughout the night! I felt like this was a huge step! It may not be, and he may just be humoring me to later screw me over (yet again) but for right now, I'm hopeful. You see, this week's TT schedule looks like this: Chris (4 days); Gerardo (5 days); Alfredo (5 days); Justin (2 days). Isn't that crappy!?!?! Charlie took over the schedules from the guy who gave me four days and I immediately went to 2 days. A bit fishy, no??? So we'll see how my new approach to working (sucking up!) affects my schedule. . .

- So Friday night was mine and Heather's big date. And it was, in a word, FANTASTIC! We first went to dinner at a place called Parker's Lighthouse. We had reservations for 1800. But here's where I get romantic points. . . I had checked the weather online and the sun was gonna set around 1830. So I asked when making the reservations if we could be by one of the windows looking towards the West. It was perfect. The sun started to go down right before our dinner came and we watched it set while watching boats come into the harbor (the restaurant sits at the end of a pier on the LB harbor. We left there and headed to the Long Beach Terrace Theater just down the street. As you may remember, I bought tickets for us to go see CHICAGO on stage in the LB. It's a touring version of the play, giving other people a chance to see it without having to go to Broadway or London (Thanks!). We were 13 rows from the stage, but kinda close to the right aisle. I wish we had been more centered, but it was still great. The play caused me to laugh, cringe (just one part), laugh, be awed (the lady who played Mama Morton - Queen Latifah in the film - had a jaw-dropping voice), laugh, wish I was musically talented, and laugh (did I mention that already?)! The girl who played Roxie was incredible and was very crowd-friendly. Our Velma, according to Heather, was a little too dramatic, but she is insanely talented when it comes to singing and dancing. I loved the Amos (Roxie's husband) in this as well. However, the thing that was the greatest of all was the bantering, wise, and quick-witted Billy Flynn. Gregory Harrison (who apparently is in AIR BUD 2!) was great in the role made famous by Richard Gere in the film. I loved how different of an adaptation it was (Although there were many similarities as well). From simple ways of saying a line to dance steps to the long Roxie monologue (one of the highlights of the night), it was a wonderful experience!

- The first issue of the AVC EXAMINER has now been released to the school! For a few of you relatives (I'm talking specifically to you GP and Mom-Mom), I was able to get a copy for you, but until I see you to give it to you, you can go here to see what it looks like (although you are gonna need Adobe Reader to access it. . .). I have three articles in (pages 3 and 9) the issue and I'm really excited! I took a copy to Mrs. Horning, my high school English teacher, and she was so happy it made me even more happy! I know it is not that big of a deal (Well, maybe it is) but I'm really stoked about the whole thing! Stay tuned with this one!

- I have only seen one movie in the last couple of weeks, but it was a great one. JACKASS: NUMBER TWO is exactly what you would expect it to be. It's dumb! It's painful (to watch)! It's naked men! And you know what? It's hilarious! I mean, when you look at this picture, the first word that comes to mind just happens to be jackass!

I mean, more power to 'em! They made quite a bit of money, too! I'm actually glad that they made some money too. It might just mean that there is a JACKASS 3 coming up for us! . . . (GRADE: B+)

- So I went 11-3 this past weekend in the pool. Ya know, that is good, but I'm so upset! You see, I started 11-0! I lost the last three games of the week and really, it all comes down to one thing: "I hate DREW BLEDSOE!" (Cy and George know why. .)

- STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP is now the best show on television. Period. No other opinions will be considered. Thank you, come again.

- Well I gotta work tonight, so I need to get myself ready and all. Hope you enjoyed it all!

Have a good night all,


Monday, October 02, 2006

The Week Grab-Bag: The Novella Version

Hello friends.

I deeply apologize for my lack of posting in the last week. Sure, I posted my (in some of your opinions) good review of LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE on Wednesday, but I actually have not posted a real blog since last Monday. And now it's Monday again. Wow. Time sure does fly!

Well now it is October (yeah, I can't believe it either) and there are, get this, 84 shopping days left til Christmas. Wow again. That actually has nothing to do with anything, except that it's already October and the holiday season is right around the corner. I'm gonna try to recap an entire week, but I'm not sure what I'll be able to recall at this time. Here we go!

And, as always (and it has been always - Cy and I checked out my archives on my initial GRAB-BAG) my readers, the following is entirely the opposite of chronological. Enjoy!

- I worked on Thursday night and Saturday night and made significant bank both nights. I actually walked outta there with $100 cash both nights! I worked my ass off, but I also made some good money. My GM (good ol' Charlie - not!) has decided to screw me again, dear readers. Apparently, the manager who is doing the TT schedules submitted a schedule with yours truly carrying four days a week, much like the other TTs (no one would have less than 3). However, Charlie has taken a little power trip and reduced my schedule to two days! The three other TTs have either 3 or 4 days! If it wasn't for Jennifer (my great manager) and Chris (my fellow TT who has really become a good buddy of mine), then I would be stuck with that awful schedule. Because Chris has 4 days, we have agreed that we will alternate Tuesday nights. That way I can have 3 days a week at least every other week. That will help a bit. Thanks bud!

- Last night was a marathon of a night for myself, Cy, Justin, Emily, and Manny. We were all over at Justin's house and began a poker game a little after 2200. Why so late, you might ask. . . Well, Emily was watching stupid DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES and did not want us to start without her. We're nice, so we didn't. We started and it was good fun. However, it turned into a crazy-long game that looked like it would have no end in sight. Instead of knock-outs, there were 3 double-ups in the latter part of the first two hours. Cy did get knocked out first around 2330 and became the dealer (you lose, you deal is the unwritten rule). When Cy began to deal, I began to come back to life. I had been low in chips, and I started to work my way back up the ladder. I got pretty high, but I came crashing down on one ridiculous hand. I was in the small blind and called Manny's big blind with a JACK/SIX of HEARTS (J/6 is unofficially my favorite hand). Emily was also in. The flop came down with three hearts, giving me a flush! I slow-played it, checking when it was my turn. After the turn (which put two QUEENS on the board) Manny bet (as usual - he is quite aggressive) and Emily called. I saw this as a great opportunity and I went ALL-IN (thus putting Manny ALL-IN and challenging the chip leader, Emily). Manny called and Emily folded. Manny turned over a QUEEN/TEN, giving him three QUEENS, but I had the leading hand. The only thing that could beat me was the fourth QUEEN or one of three remaining TENS. Manny had an 8% chance to win the hand. When Cy turned over the TEN of CLUBS on the river, I was absolutely stupified. I was pissed, actually. I was left with what we began with at the beginning, and I would have to begin working on improving my chip stack. The only problem was that I was on TILT. I folded two straight hands (once when I could have checked - I didn't care) and had to step outside for a minute. When I came back in, I preceded to fold the next ten hands or so. I was not only still upset, but I was on a cold streak with cards. Either way, I worked my way back up (and watched Justin finally go out around 0030) and was the chip leader again. Emily and Manny took me down a little bit, but when I took down Manny (revenge was o so sweet - I got QUAD ACES!) Emily and I were almost even. By the time I actually flopped anything (I had been playing well HEADS-UP, my favorite time to play!) I was really low in chips. I eventually went ALL-IN, got called, and Emily beat me with her gigantic stack. This was the first week I haven't won in a long time, so I'm ok with my second place finish, although I always want to win! Good game Em. I'll win next time :D

O, and I didn't get home until 0200. Yeah.

- My LB day was great like every other. Heather and I ate lunch at Mimi's Cafe, a really cool, laid back restaurant in the LB and then soon headed to San Clemente to see her dad and his wife Claudia. We got down there earlier than when they were done with work, so we parked down by the beach (their house is less than a mile from the shore) and walked near the waves for almost an hour. We watched these birds called Sand Pipers, which were probably the second cutest things I had seen all day (the first being my wonderful counterpart. . .). When our walk was done we headed to their house and sat in their kitchen (at the counter, or whatever) and chatted with her dad while he cooked dinner. You see, whenever we go down there they either take us out to a nice restaurant (one example is a French restaurant that's pretty dang good) or they make us dinner (the usual decision). Now, this is not a microwaved dinner or anything like that. O no. Dinner usually requires a three-hour long process that results in something very very tasty. Friday night was no different. We ended up enjoying Tri-Tip, twice-baked potatoes, and asparagus (that is not my favorite - in fact, I really don't like asparagus, but like a trooper, I ate most of it). It was really good, my friends. Very good indeed.

- Saturday morning meant the tux fitting for Manny and Jenn's wedding. As I may have mentioned here before (It's hard to recall what I write all the time) I am a Groomsmen in their wedding on November 4th. AND, my little brother Caleb is going to be the Ring Bearer! So we were both there to get our measurements done for our snazzy tuxedos. It was quick and kinda fun. The wedding should be really nice, and I'm excited to be a part of it all!

- So while I was watching the last episode of HOUSE (currently my favorite television show but being chased down by the new show STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP), I came to some startling (to me) conclusions. I suddenly realized why I enjoy television shows, movies, and the like. The reason why I continually seek refuge in the entertainment medium finally occurred to me. And what reason is that? Good point. . . Here it is (and beware - it's not all that happy): Dear reader, I'm not happy with what I have right now and so often wish to have what the characters I'm watching have. Do I have an incredible family? Yes. Do I have the best (not to mention prettiest) girlfriend in the world? You bet. Am I currently a college student with only good things being lined up for him with a only a future in front of him. Of course. HOWEVER, I do not want to be in this place anymore. I want to jump ahead about three years. And sure, I know what you're thinking: "When you get passed this time period and look back you're gonna wish you were back there." And you know what? You're probably right! But I really do not care. I wanna be done with this no say, no influence, no money (well not entirely, but basically), no time thing. I want to be working for a living. No mas escuela por favor! I want to be married and share a bed every night with my wonderful Heather. I want a dog (preferably one that will run with Heather so she'll be happy). I want my own entertainment center with only my television shows on the TIVO. I want to invite people over for dinner to my house. I want people to be upset with me for not accepting their work because I know better. I want to know better. I want to make all the right decisions. I don't want to fail. I want to be able to go on a vacation with Heather. Just the two of us. I want to BBQ with my guys and just shoot the breeze over a cold one. I want to be able to go a casino and play live poker. I want to have sex (can't blame me for being honest). I want to know a famous person (someone the public would be jealous of me for knowing). I want to be a famous person (thus taking care of the last one). I want "the good life". And you know what else? All those things could happen. But guess what? Being the natural cynic I am, I truly believe that either they won't happen or if they do, I'm just gonna end up having to wait and wait and wait (and did I mention wait) for all the things that I want. I'm sure that I sound like a complete ______ (fill in the blank with whatever adjective you feel necessary) but it's how I feel.

That's what I was feeling the other day. Kinda depressing actually.

- On Sunday I went into school for two hours to take a look at how the paper was coming along. My articles look pretty good. For those of you who were keeping tabs on it, the Editor-In-Chief and our teacher decided to go with the original reviews I wrote (and edited by them) and left my most recent review out completely. So it's the original INDIE MOVIE MARATHON (with editing), but now it's titled CINEMA DOUBLE FEATURE, I think. Meh. I am starting to get more accustomed to this whole "You have no say and you will like what we do to your stuff" angle. It sucks, but I'm getting over it. The paper comes out a week from today. Pick up a copy if you can (all 3 of my articles are in there!) and if you can't (out of state relatives, non-AVC people) then I'll get you one. Just e-mail me or comment here if you want one!

- Since I'm already in the midst of a novel here, I might as well throw a little sports at ya! I went 8-5 this weekend with the Monday night game going on right now. If Philly holds on (as they should) then I'll be 9-5 which is ok I guess. If you combine that with the 11-3 last week then I'm still averaging my ten wins a week. I'm confident that I'll finish in fourth place again; just out of reach of the money. Again, that's the cynicism talking. Either way, I have to admit I'm impressed with my Super Bowl picks. The Chicago Bears, after their complete destruction of the formerly undefeated Seattle Seahawks, are becoming trendy picks to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. But, dear friends, you heard it here first! My Bengals lost this week, but they'll get it back and come back from their BYE WEEK strong. The MLB playoffs begin tomorrow night, and I have some predictions there for you too!

Cardinals over Padres (3-1)
Mets over Dodgers (3-2)

Yankees over Tigers (3-1)
Twins over A's (3-0)

Mets over Cardinals (4-2)

Twins over Yankees (4-3)

Twins over Mets (4-2)

There you have it! Give the MVP trophy to young Joe Mauer and the World Series trophy to the Minnesota Twins! You heard it here first!

Furthermore, the NBA season is only 28 days away and I can't wait! Expect a complete NBA preview before the season begins (you non-sports fans will want to stay away from that one!). I'm excited baby! This year could very well be my SUNS' year!!!

- Friday is mine and Heather's big date! "Give 'em the ol' razzle dazzle. . ."

Well it's just about bowling time! I'm ready tonight! I had kind of a rough day (lost my BIOLOGY LAB BOOK, found out that my "better" BIO test was really another C) so I'm ready to take out my anger on some pins! Wish me luck!!!

Take it easy folks! I'll talk at ya tomorrow!

- - - "But as the philosopher Jagger once said,
'You can't always get what you want'."

- - - Dr. House (Hugh Laurie) on HOUSE