Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Clash of Right and Wrong

Right: Heather is home. She stayed Friday night, last night, and I talked her into staying tonight as well since she doesn't have to be anywhere til noon tomorrow. Although we spent the afternoon on opposite sides of my room doing homework (more on that EVIL word later), we were together. Instead of texting her "I love you" and waiting for a reply, I could look up from my book and computer and smile at her, say "I love you" and get an instant reply! It's wonderful. I would challenge anyone to find something better than that. . .

Wrong: Homework. I hate it. There is nothing I want more than to never have to do a version of homework again for the rest of my life. Writing a newspaper column or studying an NBA team the night before I do the play-by-play for the game is one thing. Interviewing a woman who immigrated to the United States after the age of 13 three times at an hour each to write a 10 page, single-spaced term paper is another, completely hellish thing. Watching the week's new cinematic release and writing a 500 word review under the gun or interviewing the potential NBA rookie of the year is one thing (well, actually it's two things. . .) whereas creating a Media Deconstruction regarding the role of Women in today's media (yeah don't worry - I don't understand it either) is the exact opposite. I'm done. I'm only five weeks into the first sixteen weeks of my last four semesters of college (did you follow that) . . . and I'm done! I'm already checked out. School sucks - I don't like it. The worst part about it is that I have to drive an hour each way to get to a place that I don't want to be. The only class that I think is truly going to be helpful is the one that is requiring me to do the most work - and it's a lot. I'm really struggling right now. . . Since I got my raise at the FL, it's been even harder to resist becoming complacent and content with what I have. It's not like I could be rich or anything (not even well-off) if I stayed with the FL for a long amount of time, but any job that I get out of college is not going to pay me that much more! My field (journalism) is one of the lowest-paid fields out there, and also one of the most demanding time-wise. So do I really want to do it. . . I DON'T KNOW!!! I'm so frustrated - - -

Right: On a lighter note, I picked a couple upsets this week (Oakland over Cleveland, Jacksonville over Denver) and won my goal of 10 games with Monday night's game to be played.

Wrong: I lost five games, including stupid San Diego falling to the Packers (who I ALMOST picked, I swear!) and Detroit getting blown out by Philadelphia!

Right: Great television shows like THE OFFICE and HOUSE are beginning again this week! Woohoo!!!!!!!!!!!! Plus, Chef Gordon Ramsey (of Hell's Kitchen fame) has a new show called KITCHEN NIGHTMARES that is really good and tonight's episode of FAMILY GUY was one of the funniest episodes ever (they did an homage/spoof of STAR WARS that was spot-on!).

Wrong: Crap like that Caveman show (inspired by those Geico commercials) and HEROES (ok, so I haven't watched a single episode, but it looks terrible to me) are going to be on TV while quality shows like STUDIO 60 and ANDY BARKER: P.I. got canceled after only one season. . . O well. . .

Wrong: Heather has to go home in the morning and God knows when we get to see each other again.

Right: I get to sleep next to her tonight. So really all is well and more things could be wrong. . . See what having her around does to my morale :)

With that I say. . .

Goodnight all!!!

Until later,

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Surprises, Scranton, and . . . School

So I'll begin with the concert since that's the last thing that I mentioned before:

It was. . . AWESOME!!!

Like I said before, I had seen his concert already on HBO, so there were no surprises when it came to his song choices, dance routines, etc. That part of the show was cool live, of course, but it was also predictable. . . except for following his second song when he said he had a surprise since he was back in Los Angeles. After that, his band begins playing the opening music for Kanye West's single, "Stronger" and then Kanye himself gets brought up from the center of the stage (they had one of those stages that has the part that descends below the stage and the performer gets on it and it raises up)! Then Kanye and Justin sang "Stronger" together, which was freakin' incredible. He followed it up with a freestyle for about a minute (Kanye, that is, while Justin beat boxed in the background). I was so excited I stood up while they performed haha - - Heather actually made fun of me later for it, but whatever :)

Also among the highlights were a half-hour set by Timbaland (during the intermission for Justin - he sang "The Way I Are" which delighted Heather!), "Cry Me A River," and the fact that our seats were better than Manny and Jenn's, who were also there! They had been bragging about their "Great seats" and that kind of jazz and it turned out that we were in the section next to them but in the front row, while they were at least five rows back. It felt kinda good. . . that's all I'll say about that.

Monday at school was okay, I suppose. I finished my genogram for my Marriage and Family Relations class while in the parking lot before class. So the last-minute homework begins. . . I wouldn't have it any other way! I also stopped at the In-N-Out on the way home (it's on the Sand Canyon Road exit on the 14) and got some grub because I hadn't eaten since lunch before I left. This got me to thinking about Christmas and what people should get me (it's always gotta be on the brain. . .). So here's the potential list of places that I would gratefully accept gift certificates to:

- In-N-Out (for all of my commuting dinner needs)
- Juice-It-Up (it's like Jamba Juice, but it's on campus - and yes, it is national)
- Shell (The damn gas prices are back up over $3. . .)
- IKEA (for all of my furniture for my new apartment, which could happen before the end of the year. . .)

I went 11-5 this week in the football pool, which I don't believe was good enough for the win, but at least I won my 10+ games that I always aim for.

Just gotta keep it up. . .

I spent all of my "free time" today (meaning the time getting ready for school this morning and the time rewinding from school this evening) watching the third season of THE OFFICE, which I just bought this past week. I love this show! It is rapidly ascending my favorite television show list, and just might pass an old favorite like SEINFELD or FRIENDS even. If it lasts for several more seasons like SCRUBS (Which is finishing up its run this year after seven seasons) then I believe that it could challenge for the top spot, which is just crazy! For anyone who doesn't find the situational, awkward moment humor of this brilliant show to be funny, well, I just feel bad for you. This show is one in a million - it has the perfect ensemble and it is consistently laugh-out-loud funny. You can't get any better right now than the Dunder Mifflin Scrantonites :)

An example:

And. . . another:

School is okay, I suppose. . . more on that in the future. Just know that I'm fighting through and trying to keep up despite my heavy workload. . . I think I'm a quarter of the way through the semester. Yes, I'm counting!

Well, it somehow became 0100 and I have to work at 0900, so I'm going to bed. Have a good Wednesday and I'll post again on one of the next two days. . . It's true.

Until later,

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Getting Ready to Bring SexyBack!

This evening is going to be a fun one. I bought tickets on eBay last week to tonight's Justin Timberlake concert at Staples Center. I'm taking my wonderful Heather and as of right now, we are just chilling at her apartment before the show (starts at 2000). I came down here last night, though, because I have off today, which marks the first day I have had off from both school AND work since the first day of school, which was nearly a month ago. . . I needed it!

Heather has not been feeling well, so it's just been a quiet visit, with very little activity. This is fine by me, as I can always use the down time. I have been using my time wisely though, as I have been working on homework that I have due tomorrow and then later this week. Go figure - me using my time well. . . Whatever. . .

So. . . the concert! Yeah, I watched his live performance at Madison Square Garden on Labor Day and saw what an incredible show that he puts on. So I ventured over to his website to see if he was playing locally anytime soon and he had three shows scheduled at the Staples Center, with the first one being tonight. So I hit up eBay and got a good buy (we are in section 306, which is about halfway between center-court and behind the hoop - if it were a Laker game - but in row 1, so at least no one will be in front of us!). The tickets were originally about $70 each and I got them both for $83 total, so I did well by that account :)

So now Heather is resting and I hopped back on the computer to check football scores (don't wanna turn on the TV, since she is sleeping in the same room. . .) and put together a little more homework. I have tomorrow morning before class (I'll be leaving her apartment by 1400 to make it to CSUN by 1600) to finish up anything, but it's best that I get started.

. . .

Just as I was typing that, Heather had a cough attack and woke up. I hope I don't get sick - both Aimee and my mom felt a little iffy this week (Aimee actually stayed home from school on Thursday and Friday) and now Heather too. I can't get sick. I can't! I'm still working 30-35 hours each week at the FL (O!!! I got a raise!!! The company gave a raise to all management - I think because of the minimal difference between associates making minimum wage and the managers making a dollar or so more - and it was quite substantial! I will now be making. . . can I tell you. . . ah, what the hell. I am now making $12.70 an hour, which is HUGE!!! And I could not be more excited about it. . . so share in my excitement please haha!)

The one thing I have failed to mention is the return of the NFL season, which is AWESOME! I never think about how much I miss watching football games until they come back every September. The other thing that is back with a vengeance is the football pool that I have been a part of every year. The first week I went 12-4 which was good enough for a first place tie (no money because I was off in points) and this week is promising so far. I went 5-3 in the morning games (but everyone got the Buccaneers/Saints and the Browns/Bengals games wrong - -). Plus, in the six afternoon games, my team is winning five of them and one is tied, so I have potential to go 10-4 at the worst with the two games remaining. Good stuff! And a strong start!!! Just gotta keep it up. . .

I think that's gonna be all for now, but I'll try and post again soon (expect either tomorrow night or Tuesday night) - - and I usually hold up my blogging promises, unlike my friend Cy. . .

So have a good Sunday night and just know that it won't be as entertaining as mine :)

Until later,

Sunday, September 09, 2007

The Road to Nowhere: Part V

For a (much-needed) recap, here are the first four parts:


- - - - - -

Suzanne's eyes had been closed when she felt a rush of air move by her face. One second she was was inappropriately dancing (dry-humping, to be more exact) with a significantly tipsy, extremely attractive guy and all of a sudden the pressure on her hips was gone. She did not have to wait very long to uncover the mystery of the missing dancing partner.

All she had to do was open her eyes.

And when she did, she found herself gazing upon a pair of blood-shot eyes contained within the never-before-seen enraged face of her best friend. These eyes were not staring back at her, though, as they searched beyond her, onto the floor directly behind her. There, holding his left eye and writhing in pain, was the recently-punched Jack.

The music continued to blare. The clubbers continued to dance provocatively. The world continued to spin. But for these three individuals, time stood still.

"What the hell, Mike!" Suzanne yelled, not in anger, but out of shock.

As Michael stood there, seething, the angry shade of green slowly began to dissipate from him, leaving behind the mere mortal Bruce Banner-like man. He looked away from his temporarily fallen victim and set his stare upon his Suzie, the first person to truly befriend him. She had accepted him when no one else could stand who he was. This was the person who had helped him pass his senior English class, and without whom he would have not graduated. But most of all, this was the girl who he knew deep down should be his significant other. No one else knew more about him (frankly, he felt, no one else cared) and no other soul made his so happy.

On the other hand, the suddenly apparent clarity seemed too quick and easy to Michael. One second he is sitting at a table, enjoying his eighth beer (but maybe it was nine or ten), and the next he is committing an assaultive act upon his college buddy, and furthermore, realizing feelings he has for his long-time friend. Was he purely using this new-found attraction as an excuse for his rash decision to deck his frat pal? In all honesty, he had no clue. He realized, though, that he better get a clue fast because not only was Suzanne getting upset, Jack had decided it was time to get back on his feet.

Try as he might, Michael couldn't help but laugh at the situation. He was not a fighter. He didn't punch people, especially the guy who he hung out with on weekends. But here he was, in the middle of a crowded dance floor, with a throbbing fist, displaying a pinkish hue from the contact that it made with the side of Jack's face. Seeing that both Suzanne and Jack would be needing some answers, Michael knew that he would have to come to a conclusion on his reasons behind his violent decision-making. He knew he couldn't say that he didn't know. That would never fly with the two of them, let alone himself, come to think of it.

So Michael stood there, hands to his side, (but at the ready, just in case Jack felt inclined to offer an idea of his own) feeling like an interrogated convict. He really couldn't care less about what Jack had to say, but Suzanne was another story. She looked legitimately frightened by what had transpired and he felt like he should say something, anything, to try and justify his actions.

But just like every time before, Michael had to go and say the wrong thing. . .

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Rest O' The Year Movie Preview 2.0


Ok, so here's the thing. . .

My original list for the upcoming Fall/Winter season of movies was 25 films deep (plus one wild card, as always). However, as trailers began to hit the internet, I noticed that some premises had not been carried out very well (or at least that I had no desire to find out). So I began to look at my list. . .

Even though I had numbered them out 1-25, it seemed to me that there were films in the teens that I would either a) gun-to-my-head rather see than some in the top 10; or b) end up seeing instead of some in the top 10 because of my usual company at the movies. Understand?

So I went through my list and I circled the top 10 films that I want to see. These are not necessarily going to be the best films of the next four months. These may not even be the most enriching films, either. But these are the 10 films that I hope to see over the next four months (which, seeing my busy schedule, would be quite an accomplishment). Please enjoy as always. . .

O wait!!! Those other films - - -

Well you see, I had all those other films taken down because they do interest me, but they just don't crack the top tier. So here is just a list of the notable films that are releasing during this Fall/Winter (or THE REST O' THE YEAR) that didn't quite make the top 10 (in order of release date):

- The Hunting Party (09/07)
- King of California (09/14)
- The Kingdom (09/28)

- Michael Clayton (08/05)
- Lars and the Real Girl (08/12)
- 30 Days of Night (08/19)
- Gone Baby Gone (08/19)
- Rendition (08/19)
- Reservation Road (08/19)
- Run, Fatboy, Run (08/26)
- Saw IV (08/26)

- Martian Child (11/02)
- Lions for Lambs (11/09)
- No Country for Old Men (11/09)
- Beowulf (11/16)
- Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium (11/16)
- Hitman (11/21)

- Leatherheads (12/07)
- National Treasure: Book of Secrets (12/21)
- Aliens Vs. Predator - Requiem (12/25)

- - - - - -

Now that's a lot of films - - which is why I had to cut the list down. Those films all interest me in way or another, but the following 11 films (there's always a tie somewhere!) are the gotta-see films coming up. For me. But I don't see any other writers. . . So away we go!

(tie) 10. SWEENEY TODD

TODD stars Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Sasha Baron Cohen, and Alan Rickman in the film directed by Tim Burton. The dark (of course, it's a Tim Burton film!) musical adaptation is promising inasmuch as it brings former collaborators Burton, Depp, and Bonham Carter together again. And for me, as long as Depp is not playing Captain Jack Sparrow, I will get excited. After having been extremely disappointed by the final two PIRATES movies, (I refuse to even acknowledge their existence) I feel like Johnny Boy owes us Depp-fans a wonderfully twisted performance a la Ed Wood or Ichabod Crane. Here's hoping he avoided the rum in this one. . . (12/21)


WAR stars Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts (in her first film since having some kids), and good ol' Philip Seymour Hoffman in a film written by Aaron Sorkin, the brilliant mind behind TV's SPORTS NIGHT, THE WEST WING, and STUDIO 60 (call me a fan!). Acclaimed director Mike Nichols is directing this adaptation of a book about the CIA's largest and most successful covert CIA operation: the arming of the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan. . . confused? Yeah, me too. And not that interested, right? Well the star power alone is what is going to get me in the theater! I figure, Tom Hanks made CAST AWAY interesting, and Hoffman is the best supporting actor in Hollywood (yes, you can quote me on that). So, yes, I'll be there. . . (12/25)


When I heard about this movie, I thought it sounded like absolute crap. Girly and/or little kid crap. But then I saw the trailer. Amy Adams (quite possibly the next Julia Roberts) plays a Cinderella-like animated princess who ends up in the real world after falling through some sort of tunnel. New York City sets the scene for a romantic triangle between the princess, the prince who follows her to NYC (James "Cyclops" Marsden), and a charming divorce lawyer (Patrick "McDreamy" Dempsey). The riffs/spoof of the classic Disney tale make this film look extremely smart and witty, which are two things that will always get me to put my money down. And I'll be doing that here for sure! (11/21)


The thing going for this movie: Steve Carell in a dramedy (he definitely has the chops!). Thing going against this movie: Dane Cook. GAHHH!!!!!!!!!! But you know what? In the trailer, he looks restrained; normal, even. So for that reason alone (and the fact that the character Cook plays is in a relationship with CHOCOLAT star Juliette Binoche is just a little interesting, no?) I'm willing to give it a shot. Carell will get me into the theater. Cook will decide if I enjoy my time there. (10/26)


I have been looking forward to this long-winded film (both in its title and running time - it's supposedly nearly 3 hours long) for over a year now, and it will finally see the light of day this Fall. Brad Pitt is playing the famed gunman Jesse James and the brilliant Casey Affleck is taking on the role of Robert Ford, the infamous colleague/assassin of James. A beautiful-looking film (the cinematography looks fantastic!), this JESSE JAMES appears to be giving the western another chance in Hollywood (along with another film, which I'll get to later). Along with Affleck and Pitt, Sam Rockwell and Sam Shepherd provide supporting roles for sophomore director Andrew Dominik. But it's really all about Brad Pitt, who is the perfect fit for one of the most mysterious characters in history. (09/21)


Jerry Seinfeld's first attempt at a film comes to life in the form of this potentially wonderful animated adventure about a bee who ventures outside of his hive for the first time. Seinfeld wrote the script and provides the main voice in what is sure to be a brilliantly funny movie. Among the humans lending their voice are Renee Zellweger, Matthew Broderick, Chris Rock, John Goodman, Kathy Bates, Alan Arkin, and Patrick Warburton. The one thing that I am willing to bet about this "yet-another-animated-animal-adventure" is that it is not going to be just that. It's going to be original. And it's going to be funny. Not that there's anything wrong with that. . . (11/02)


For the record, I am a huge Will Smith fan. I think he is charismatic, funny, and without a doubt, one of the most sure bets when it comes to the box office. Even though it appears that there is little cast besides Smith, I have a feeling that the film won't be harmed in any way. People will go to see this movie about "the last man on Earth" to find out why "he is not alone". . . dun dun dun! A very creepy trailer leads me to believe that this is no INDEPENDENCE DAY or MEN IN BLACK. . . and that this Christmas might just be better off with a scare or two, with much thanks to the Fresh Prince! (12/14)


This film festival darling is being heralded as this year's LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE without the laughs. . . seems like a downer, huh? Well, when you have material like this (a man finds out that his wife has been killed in the War in Iraq and takes his two young girls on a cross country trip to avoid telling them the news) I can imagine it would be hard to fit in some chuckles. However, the brilliance of John Cusack conquers all, in my opinion. In what will assuredly be one of his most restrained performances to date, the whole films revolves around him and the emotions that run rampant on his character. There is no doubt that a tear or two will be shed during GRACE, and that all viewers will be better off for it in the end. (10/05)


I don't need to explain why I want to see this overly violent, sensationalized, basically "let's just see how much shit we can blow up" kind of film. It comes out tomorrow and I will be going ASAP. Love Clive Owen. Love Paul Giamatti. Love mindless (but well-done) action. I don't see how this one can fail. . . (09/07)

02. American Gangster

All you need to know right here is this: Russell Crowe. Denzel Washington. Ridley Scott. . . but if you need a little more nudging, then here's the plot: Denzel is a crime boss in 1970s Harlem and Crowe is an outcast cop who is just brave enough to take down a kingpin. Action, wrongdoing, and no doubt some serious drama ensues. Bring it on, indeed. . . (11/02)

01. 3:10 TO YUMA

No matter how good JESSE JAMES is, it will still only be the second best western of the year, as YUMA is an absolute blast. The action is hardcore and gritty. The acting is phenomenal (the always fantastic Christian Bale is awesome and Russell Crowe - yes, him again - is so deliciously evil as the rogue Ben Wade). What is more, I have already seen it (special screening down at Arclight on Tuesday night), and I can tell you right now that it is unlikely any of these other films will top it. Having spoken to director James Mangold (he was at the screening on Tuesday night for a Q&A following the film - I approached him after and spoke with him for a couple minutes), I can only hope that the film is both profitable and received well across the boards, as he is quite a cool guy (and also the director of two of my personal faves, WALK THE LINE and IDENTITY). I'm contemplating writing a review for it, but I doubt it, with all of the other stuff that I'm writing (plus, this thing here!).

But all I can say is this: go see 3:10 TO YUMA this weekend. It's not a strictly guy movie, as I believe that women will enjoy it as well. O, and look for a phenomenal turn by Ben Foster (Angel from X-MEN 3) as Charlie, Ben Wade's right hand man. He just might have stolen the show from the two big leads. . . Almost :D

. . . . . .

So I hope you enjoyed the preview of the upcoming films. It's after doing one of these posts that I really enjoy comments, so go ahead and comment away :D

Gotta go to bed now - - school in the morning and then work at night. . . I have a long day ahead of me! Have a great Friday everyone!

Until later,

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

A Potentially "Up and Down" Day

Good morning all - - -

My plans for this Tuesday:

- Shower
- Eat
- Read (Homework. . . BOO!!!)
- Leave for Northridge no later than 1215 (Parking is horrendous on Tuesdays!)
- Be in my seat by 1400
- Be in my other seat (Different class) at 1700
- Run for my car when I get out at 1845
- Brave the potential 101 Freeway traffic to get to Arclight by 2000
- Completely enjoy the soon-to-be-released 3:10 TO YUMA, starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale and then kick back as director James Mangold (also directed WALK THE LINE, the Johnny Cash biopic, and IDENTITY, a psychological horror that I totally dig) talks about his new film!
- Arrive home pretty darn late
- Quite possibly type out my REST O' THE YEAR MOVIE PREVIEW: VOLUME 2, which features the aforementioned western (and in a tie for the top spot, no less. . .).

See what I mean? If it wasn't for that whole school thing there in the middle, that's a pretty cool day. O well -- Guess we gotta do what we gotta do. . .

Have a good Tuesday all you internet perusers! I shall do my best to do the same!

Until later. . .

Monday, September 03, 2007

The Calm Before the Storm

In this metaphor/analogy/whatever:

The Calm: The extreme lack of posting on my part over the last two weeks or so.

The Storm: The extreme amount of posting that will be hitting this website over the next few weeks and from there on out.

My goal (Call it a Labor Day Challenge, if you will) is to get on a blogging hot streak here in the near future, despite the fact that my life is undoubtedly going to be CRAZY over the next three and a half months.

You see, school is officially back in session. I am now a Junior (and a first semester Transfer Student) at California State University, Northridge. I commute from Lancaster three times a week (Monday, Tuesday, and Friday) for 14 total hours of classes. If you add the six hours of driving and the prospective amount of homework (say, two hours a week from each of my five classes) to my 35+ hours a week at the FL, I am now employed over 65 hours a week!

But of course I want to blog, too. . .

O and I forgot - - - I'm an adult league basketball team and we have a game every Wednesday night. And I'm still an avid bowler, only I can't find the time to head all the way to East Palmdale to bowl like I want.

But of course, blogging is important too. . .

And of course, I have a family that I would like to spend time with, friends that I wish I could hang out with, and my beautiful girlfriend who still lives 90 miles away (and because of how we feel about each other, there is no amount of time that is ENOUGH time together).

And so now, at noon on this Labor Day 2007, I'm ready to begin a productive day that will include getting some homework done (and maybe even getting ahead. . .) as well as get my work area around my computer in a shape that is productive for my upcoming semester.

I have a lot planned. But you can see that. . .

ALSO. . . . . . . . . .

In the next few days I am hoping to get some posts out there that I have been planning for some time now. I'll throw you the titles to look forward to them:




So if you are still reading - either this particular post or A RAMBLER'S RAMBLING in general - then please hit me up in the comment section about whether or not you are excited about my return to consistent blogging. . . it will only help me in my return to the saddle (that's another one of those metaphor thingys. . .)

Have a good Labor Day everyone! Don't work too hard :)

Until later - - -