Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Wonderful World of New

There are lots of things NEW for yours truly at this time. Lots.

So let's get right down to it:

- This is a NEW post! That, of course, is something that has not been seen since last Tuesday (and I am very sorry about that!). . . I've been hella busy (as always) but that is really no excuse. I've really just been lazy about blogging : ( Sorry

- I officially have a NEW job! This is not a replacement job though. No no. This is a secondary job (but it will actually act, at least monetarily, as the primary). An "on the side" job, if you will. That is, if "on the side" means literally "smothering into respiratory arrest". Does it? It might. . . Anyway, onto the new job. I was hired today at BJ'S RESTAURANT AND BREWERY as a Server Assistant, which is essentially a "glorified busser". We do everything that a Server can do except take orders and put them into a computer and give the check to the table. But we might. Essentially, each of us on will be assigned about six Servers and we stay in that section. We get drink refills. We ask"Is everything ok?". We help run food. We clean the table off and reset it for the next party. . . Whew. I'm back in the restaurant world! Oh, crap!!! Well, at least it will help the ol' bank account. I think I'm getting $8 an hour plus the tip-outs from those Servers we are assigned to. Sounds good to me!

- I have a NEW toy! This toy is. . . an IPOD!!! No joke. I was at work on Monday and Manny tells me that neither him nor Jenn are using his 30 GB Video IPOD. Do I want it? Do I want it?!?!?! Absofrickinlutely! He offered it to me for $100, which included headphones, a protective case, the USB cord, and an arm band for working out purposes (which I will probably be offering to Heather). What a deal! This here contraption retails for $250 plus the ol' tax and I am so very stoked with my new toy. I started syncing all my music to it and then started investigating Podcasts and I have already subscribed to two free Podcasts (Kevin Smith's SMODCAST and Pardon the Interruption!). . . I'm finally cool like everyone else!

- I have some new shoes! However, one of the pairs of shoes were free (yes, that's an excuse). My one pair of newer shoes are my new basketball shoes, which also happen to be the best-looking basketball shoe to come out in some time. These are the KG Bounce, the new Kevin Garnett shoe. This is what they look like (and the writing on the bottom of the shoe are all the names of people that KG loves or something - - boy has pull with Adidas!):

I love them! I have already played in them once and they rock. Great buy! Now these free shoes. Yeah, well, these were offered out as a promotion until April 22 and I couldn't say no, even though I would never buy them to be begin with (they retail for $40). But they're free, and all I have to do is wear 'em to work! Sweet!

- I have a NEW review that I have written. This one is for 300, a film that I found tremendously entertaining, no matter how inaccurate (or retarded, if you will) that it might have been. Who knows? But I liked it! So here (and this is what I will close with for tonight) is my review for 300:

(Still No Title - - I'm looking for something witty!!!)
By Justin Gott – Senior Writer

Frank Miller’s “Sin City” graphic novels were adapted into the obscure, sexy, and brilliantly dark film of the same name in 2005. 300, also based on the works of Miller, is a violent swords-and-sandals epic that acts as an entertaining tribute to the impressively built warriors of ancient Greece.

300 tells the gruesome tale of the Battle of Thermopylae. This 480 B.C. battle was fought between the menacing Persians and the freedom-loving, finely-toned Spartans led by their king, Leonidas (The Phantom of the Opera’s adequately-oiled Gerard Butler).

With 300, director Zach Snyder (of 2004’s Dawn of the Dead remake) has created a beautifully grotesque tribute to Miller’s material. He does so by featuring countless scenes and images pulled directly from the original sources that inspired this breathtaking film.

In the film, Leonidas leads his three hundred finest soldiers to meet the overwhelming throngs of invading Persians. Though severely undermanned, Leonidas is confident in his army’s superior fighting skills and rightfully so.

For example, when the heroic Spartans clash with the Persian warriors known as “Immortals,” they never back down, despite the intimidating nickname given to their fearsome opponents. Consequently, Leonidas and his men “put [the Immortals’] names to the test.”

As the Spartan narrator proudly claims, “We did what we were trained to do. What we were bred to do. What we were born to do.” These men are simply natural born killers.

The narrator (The Lord of the Rings’ David Wenham) also remarks that the Spartan army has “no place for softness or weakness.” The same can be said for 300’s audience, which is presented with battle sequences not for the squeamish.

Bloodbaths and massacres ensue. Legs are severed. Plasma spurts from former appendages now lying on the corpse-covered battlefield. Although the violence is at times overwhelmingly graphic (injuries include impalements, decapitations, and other involuntary amputations) there is something savagely poetic about 300.

The script is filled with militaristic clich├ęs to pump up the troops (and presumably the audience) but the filmmakers never patronize the viewers. It is evident that Snyder and his crew had as much fun putting their vision together as the film’s main demographic will have viewing it.

300 was shot entirely with the use of a “green screen,” meaning that the actors were filmed on an empty stage and the stunning locales were added in digitally in post-production. The editing is seamless and the video game-like graphics neither distract from the action on the screen nor discredit the reality of the ongoing conflicts.

Despite what many critics are saying, this film is not making a political statement. Zach Snyder, who also co-wrote the screenplay, simply wanted to create a visually stunning account of the brave Spartans that stood strong in the face of adversity.

Through 300, Snyder has successfully constructed a downright entertaining (although not entirely accurate) history lesson of a time period that most assuredly fell on deaf ears when it was taught in history classes.

Ultimately, the stars of the film are both the impressive images and the “eight-packs” featured on every Spartan warrior. These blatantly cut soldiers march around clothed in nothing but crimson capes and leather briefs that only serve to exaggerate their defined pectorals and abs.

Not negative in any way, the atmosphere of the film is solidified by the exploitation of these well-built men of war. By this token, 300 serves not only as a spectacular piece of entertainment, but also as a motivational tool to begin doing sit-ups every morning!

(Grade: B+)

- And that's all for now. But I'll post again this weekend - - or tomorrow! There's an idea!

Have a nice sleep everyone! Talk at ya later!


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Weekend Grab-Bag:
The "Long Time, No See" Version

Good evening ladies and gentlemen - welcome to A RAMBLER'S RAMBLING!

It's been since Thursday of last week that I blogged as I have been preoccupied since Friday night. You see, my wonderful Heather came home on Friday night! It had been two weeks since we had seen each other, but the last two time we have seen each other were for merely hours at a time. It had been about a month since we had had any quality time together and both of us had displayed our displeasure about that fact over the previous week or so.

But this weekend I was the happiest person there could be as Heather made it home and we were able to spend most of the weekend together. She got home later Friday night but we hung out almost all of Saturday and Sunday (including a viewing of 300 and long periods of doing nothing!) as well as Monday night and this afternoon (my Racism 101 class was cancelled again!).

Let me just tell you right now (if you haven't noticed it already) - - I truly yearn for only a few things. Counting down:

3) A Phoenix Suns NBA Championship

2) To become what the media calls a "household name"

1) To get to stand up in front of family and friends and publicly express my love and commitment to one Heather Lynn Acuff and spend the rest of my breathing hours dedicated to making sure her life is one filled with joy, security, and most of all, love.

(Yeah, that's marriage. . .)

I can't wait to spend forever with her. I get a taste of it on weekends like this when we get to spend extended periods of time together as well as wake up next to one another (she is the only sight I want to have when my eyes open up). It's the best! I highly recommend finding someone that you care for more than anything material.

So I guess this is not as much of a GRAB-BAG as it is a declaration of my love. Heather headed back to Pomona this evening and I immediately entered "wreck-mode". I eventually got some work done (my review for 300 is just about polished enough to print) and was able to fully enjoy my SUNS dominating Minnesota tonight (about damn time!) to earn their third straight division title. . .

But Heather. . . I miss you!

And. . . I love you! See:

The beach says it all. . .

Goodnight everyone - - -

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Thursday? More Like Worse-day.

I really don't like Thursdays. I always end up in a bad mood by the end of them.

Here's why:

My school schedule on Thursdays is 0930-1850. That's a long time. . .

Plus, the schedule is arranged so that my favorite class is first and then it goes downhill from there until my least favorite class is last. I did not plan it like this. At least not intentionally. . .

However, on this particular Thursday, my favorite class (Human Sexuality) was cancelled because my teacher had something else to do or something like that. She told us on Tuesday before we took our first test (insanely easy) so that we could schedule our day accordingly. I slept in. I watched the first half of the early morning NCAA Tournament games. I went to my second class, the school paper. We didn't really do anything today and I was out of there by noon, two hours before my next class. I came home, ate lunch (yummy leftover carne asada from last night), and watched more of the games. . .

Real quickly - I have seven brackets for this year's tournament. However, my overwhelmingly favorite Final Four teams are Florida, Kansas, Georgetown, and Texas A&M. If it's not them in their respective brackets, then it would be Oregon, UCLA, Texas, and Ohio State. There's my Elite Eight. After that, my brackets kinda differ from one another - you might as well if you can have many of them! But my main bracket is 13-3 right now and one of them is 14-2. A good start to be sure. . . Anyway. . .

Back to school at 1415 for Racism 101. The difference now is that my teacher has had an unfortunate circumstance hit her family. Her father recently passed away and so we have had a substitute this week. I like this guy. He's really smart and says pretty much the same crap that she does, but I like him. Either way, class was over and then I headed to Crapspeare for the longest three hours of my week every week. I can't stand this class. . . I just sit there, contributing nothing, and counting the minutes til I can flee the school. Today I actually said something though. We were talking about the similarities between Shakespearean gardens and the Bard's sonnets (don't ask). Well I just thought of the biggest load of bullshit I could and raised my hand. The teacher called on me, shocked that I had some input. "How about this? So the gardens contain grasses and things that have roots. These roots go below the surface, much deeper than we can see from where we are. The same can be said about sonnets. They contain material that is much deeper than what the words themselves have to say. Kinda like an iceberg. . ."

Well not only did she say "I have never thought of that before" but the class seemed to like my answer. Ridiculous. This is what my class is for all three hours. The entire time in the class is made up of us pleasuring Shakespeare through pleasuring ourselves for our brilliance at discussing his works. It's a hopelessly boring class and one that will account for nothing in my future. Nothing.

I always come home from this class a little peeved. I just wasted time in my life! So tonight was no different. I have been in a rough place all evening and I am now really desiring to go to sleep - - we'll see if I even can. I've had major trouble sleeping lately so we'll see where this goes tonight. I am contemplating watching BORAT tonight since I borrowed it from Manny. But we'll see. It's 2300 now. . .

I'm tired.

Goodnight everyone - -

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Best Game Ever (and some Videos!)

Tonight was, in a word, fantabulous.

Yes, I'm aware that is not an actual word. However, I could very easily create a Wikipedia page saying that it was a word and I bet that I would find that site in many bibliographies in high school papers across the country. But I won't.

The Phoenix Suns (my BELOVED Phoenix Suns!!!) had a shot at knocking the silly, overrated Dallas Mavericks off of the top of the ladder known as the Western Conference. They are (or, should I say, were!) 3 1/2 games ahead of us before tonight's game. But after a completely undulated game (both teams held a lead of at least 15 at one time), we came out on top, 129-127 in double overtime! What a game!

The first quarter was everything I could have asked for. We jumped out to a quick lead and finished the first twelve minutes with a 32-18 advantage. The only problem was that our stud center, Amare Stoudemire, had only played four minutes because of two quick fouls. However, we were up by 14 so it didn't look like it mattered.

The Mavs fought back (like a good team should) and ended the first half with not only a seven point deficit, but all sorts of momentum, thanks to a last-second alley-oop from Jason Terry to Jerry Stackhouse (whom I hate!). We took a 60-53 lead into the locker room and I was still quite confident going into the second half.

But then the third quarter happened. You see, as a Suns fan, I've grown to expect these lapses in scoring. Quite often, we will go thru droughts. Well the third quarter was one giant drought! They outscored us 38-16 in the third and looked completely dominating. We were down 91-76 going into the fourth and final quarter, and I was not happy. I was still hopeful, but I was not comfortable.

I never lost faith in my team. I never have (even when we were down three games to one to the Lakers in last year's playoffs). Even when we were down 108-101 with fifty some seconds left (we shot the lights out in the fourth quarter and slowly chipped away at their lead), I still felt like we could win. Then the two-time MVP took over. Steve Nash (in whom we trust) scored ten points in the final minute, including a tying three-pointer with three seconds left (thanks to an incredible offensive rebound by the man, Shawn Marion) to put the game into overtime tied at 111.

In overtime, Amare took over. The brute strength of the young man was evident as time after time, the pick and roll worked (thanks to the brilliance of Nash and the athleticism of Amare). We were rolling until the final seconds when Jason Terry tied the game up with a three-pointer of his own. Double overtime began and we owned that extra period too. The Mavs saw a healthy dose of Amare and Nash with the timely Marion bucket thrown in to boot. When Dirk's last second shot went long (Rebounded, naturally, by Nash) and we were claimed victorious, I was yelling at the top of my lungs! I have not been this happy since, well, probably when we won Honorable Mention at the Newspaper Convention. But this was definitely the biggest moment of the season for us and I can't wait to see where this leads us!

(Box Score)

Also, on a non-sports note, the AV Press published an article (though brief) about the Examiner's award at the aforementioned conference. Here's the link to that.

And finally, here are some videos that I found either on Youtube or on TV (and then found them on Youtube!). I hope you enjoy them all!!!



JORDAN XXI COMMERCIAL (chill-inducing)

IN HONOR OF MARCH MADNESS (funny noises - o Gus Johnson. . .)




Have a good first-day-of March Madness!

Peace and love,

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Two Weeks Later

It's been exactly two weeks since my Live Blogging event for the 2007 Oscars and I have been all over the Western coast and some since then.

But trust me on this one: I will not be updating you on everything that has happened the last two weeks. Not tonight at least. . .

But I thought I would at least let you know that I had a safe journey to Phoenix, Arizona last weekend to watch my beloved Phoenix Suns defeat the stumbling Los Angeles Lakers. That was a lot of fun and there are no words to describe the feeling of cheering alongside thousands of your fellow fans. It's incredible! GO SUNS!!! (Note: We get a chance to end Dallas' should-be 18-game winning streak on Wednesday night in Dallas. . . You're going down Mavs!)

Secondly, I had another safe journey this week. This time it was a five-day voyage to the green city of Portland, Oregon for a National College Newspaper Convention put on by the Associated Collegiate Press. It was a blast and I learned a whole hell of a lot! More to come on that later (I'm writing an article about our experience and I plan on posting it here too - along with some pictures!) - - - O and we took home Honorable Mention in the Best of Show award!!! Don't believe me? Check it out!

And thirdly, it's officially March Madness time! The bracket has been done up and I'm ready to do my research to do my picks. (Another note: Yes, I'll be posting my picks here - - I'm nice like that!).

I plan on posting again soon, but I really need to be productive elsewhere this evening.

Enjoy your week (I can't believe it's Monday already!) and I'll chat at you all again soon!

(P.S.: If you are a twenty-something year-old man, go see 300 now! I loved it!!!)

(P.S. 2: Completely sad news from the entertainment world tonight. Comedian Richard Jeni, my second favorite comedian ever - behind Seinfeld - is dead after an apparent suicide. I am still stunned. . . I saw him at the Improv in Ontario on January 21, less than two months ago. I remarked to Heather that he looked really awful and I wondered how he was doing. . . apparently not well. RIP Richard - You were a hilarious individual and I absolutely HATE demoting you to the past tense. It actually pains me. . .)

- - - "The way I see life, it's like we're all flying on the Hindenburg, why fight over the window seats?"
- - - Richard Jeni