Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Every ONCE in Awhile

Three things right off the top:

1) Yes, things have started to get busy for me and no, that's not the reason I haven't been posting. More often than not, it's because I get to the end of the night and just don't feel like putting my fingers to the keyboard. Sue me.

2) I know what you're already thinking, and no, this post will not mention my beloved PHOENIX SUNS beyond the following statement: We're fine. Don't agree with me? That's just ok with me. I'm a die-hard and you're not. Again, sue me.

3) Please don't sue me. I'm an engaged college student doing my best to just get by.

- - - Ok, so now that that is out of the way - - -

I'm just gonna fly through my updates as quick as I can, mostly because it's getting pretty close to the end of the night. And you know what that means :)

And away we go. . .

- I watched most of the Oscars on Sunday night. It was not as necessary for me to follow as closely as I did last year (you remember the running diary, right?) because I had to write two articles for the AVC Examiner the day after the broadcast. And I did. But this year, it was strictly pleasure and my hope that NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN and, more importantly, the Coen Brothers left the show victorious. And they did. But it was three moments in particular that had nothing to do with NO COUNTRY or the Coens that actually, in all honesty, made yours truly tear up. One was of course the inclusion of Heath Ledger at the end of the classic In Memoriam montage. It still gets to me that he's gone. The second was the performance by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova of their song "Falling Slowly" from the brilliant film ONCE. That performance can be seen here:



And then the third was the absolute best part of the show. By now I'm sure you have heard that they won the Best Song award at the Oscars and then Hansard gave one of the most humble acceptance speeches ever. But it was the moment when Irglova was not allowed to speak because the music guy played her off the stage that it got sad. How could they do that, right? Well a few moments passed and then a commercial happened. Then Jon Stewart did something that the Academy has now taken down from Youtube. So I'll just explain what you probably already know. He brought out Irglova to have her moment instead of riffing on something that he had pre-planned. And then she brought the heart just like her comrade and proved that people who love what they do and that work hard at it do win some of the time. And that, my friends, is what it is all about! O, and go rent ONCE. It's amazing!

But you knew that. . .

- School has been going well and now it is starting to roll even quicker now. Had a test today and got at the very least a B but probably an A. Have another one Thursday. It's school alright. . .

- I had a $1500 sale today at work and now have $3000 for the week after only two days. I still have three more work days this week and I'm gunning for my best week ever. Wish me luck!

- Heather and I went and saw DEFINITELY, MAYBE last weekend and it was actually quite good. Ryan Reynolds is a great talent who I am glad to see getting away from the likes of VAN WILDER. He has a bright future. Great cast all-around and I'm glad that romantic comedies are getting wittier and more guy-friendly. Good stuff. (GRADE: B)

- I saw this online on a Myspace that asked me to be their friend. It just makes me warm all over:




. . . I love it . . .

- I just finished going through the whole series of STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP again. It's just brilliant.

- I will post again this week (before March begins) and I do know that I haven't posted an "Ass of the Week" column in some time, but I'm gonna get all of that up soon. I'm trying. Work with me here. . .

O and the more comments I get, the more I post. So if you like reading my thoughts, my concerns, my plans, and most importantly, my RAMBLINGS, then give a little click click to the comments button at the bottom of this post. . . Just a thought. . .

Thanks as always - - -

Until later - - -

Saturday, February 09, 2008

A Saturday Grab-Bag

I have been planning this post for several days now as a Mid-Week Grab-Bag but now it’s Saturday and I was in a bind to do it before the weekend and my new “Ass of the Week” column which should go up tomorrow night (yes, I know it's a day late - sorry). And as always, I welcome ideas for that column there. If you hear something in the news or read something on the internet that you think is worthy of this esteemed web site (and really, what isn’t) then either comment on the most recent post with a link, or you can always e-mail me at gottjustin@hotmail.com and I will be happy to give you credit for the find. . .

But that’s neither here nor there. So much has happened over the last week or so and I realized that I haven’t updated you out there so much on my school (which is not overly difficult, but that drive 4 days a week is killer!) or work (well that there just gets me upset) or engagement plans (don’t circle any dates on your planner just yet) or movies (don’t see THERE WILL BE BLOOD – trust me on this one) or, of course, the SUNS (you thought I forgot, huh?). Well all that is coming in the following paragraphs in all of its non-chronological goodness. I do hope you enjoy as always!

And away we go. . .

- So I’ll begin I suppose with the news that you all heard and immediately thought of me after: the SUNS, my beloved team, traded 4-time All-Star and SUNS-lifer Shawn Marion (we drafted him) along with our back-up left bench. . . I mean point guard. . . Marcus Banks (don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out!) to the Miami Heat for veteran center Shaquille O’Neal. I’ll let that simmer for a second. . . Ok, so now that I’ve begun to boil, here’s what I’m thinking about the whole thing. I am extremely skeptical. In fact, when I initially heard that we were even discussing such a trade, I got upset and claimed that I would cry if we made the trade out of anger and frustration. Shaq is old. Shaq is slow. Shaq is the anti-Sun! Why would we take on this giant (literally and figuratively) contract – 2 more years at $20 million each – for an aging big man that has a questionable amount of gas left in the tank?

The reason that I was not as worried as some was because I knew it would never happen. First year General Manager Steve Kerr would not begin his career as a man in charge of a team with a trade that made this little sense, right?

Wrong.

We made the trade and now this is a fact:

But I’m coming around. I’ll admit I was upset that first day. I felt that we had permanently given up a chance of winning a championship during the Age of Nash. But after Shaq’s press conference where he was introduced as a SUN

I began to feel different and now I am border-line excited. Not only will Shaq improve Amare Stoudemire as a player (he will actually benefit the most out of everyone) because he provides Amare the ability to leave the paint without fear of no one in there to rebound. Shaq himself called his time as a Sun as the “Amare Stoudemire Project” so I’m ready for it to begin. We’ll see. As a fan, I’m an eternal optimist, even amongst skepticism (of which, there is plenty), but I still feel we have a chance to do some damage once the playoffs begin. Only time will tell. . .

- The next logical place to go is work. Unfortunately, it is deathly slow at the MW. Our annual sale is over (not that was lucrative) and it is as slow as it has been for the last two months. Unfortunately, this job has not been as financially stable as promised. I say “promised” because it was practically shoved down my throat that I would be completely comfortable once I began to get rolling. However, in a severe twist of fate, I have not had a pay check that exceeded the amount I would be making at the FL in the last two months. That is just plain frustrating and there are no other words to describe it. It’s not the fault of the people who recruited me – it’s supposed to be busier than this. But the amount of people that walk through our doors on any given day is miniscule and a good percentage of those people are extremely cheap, making it that much more difficult to sell enough to make any money at all. You see, the better the sale, the better my commission. So when Joe Nosuit comes in and just buys a $250 suit with nothing else, I make about $7.50. Wow, thanks. Now everything is wonderful!

It’s just really difficult. I was optimistic that this was the type of job that I could have for several years as I move through college. And with what they “promised” me, it was not even an issue. But now it is. And I’m about 2-3 more puny checks away from e-mailing my District Manager (who recruited me) that something needs to change. Unfortunately again, I can’t make more per hour, since every Wardrobe Consultant makes the same. It’s all about my sales. And I’m not having any. . . So, again, that’s nothing but frustration and it leaves me sitting at work, typing away at a blog, describing my frustration. Kinda makes it more frustrating. . .

- Now school. My classes are pretty all over the place. My Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday classes start at 1620 and go til 1850 while my Wednesday class is from 1800 to 2045. I have one class each day. So I drive about two hours each day; about 110 miles round-trip. Times four. That’s a good almost 450 miles a week plus my in-town driving to work and such and I easily top 500 miles a week. I’ll put it to you this way: my new car is about a month old. It already has 2000 miles on it. . . But the classes themselves are mostly interesting, at-times extremely boring, and altogether just a bridge to my future in teaching. I’m getting more and more excited about the prospect of teaching at a high school and coaching the basketball team. That’s a good picture J But here’s a quick recap of each of my classes and what they entail, along with the return of the Justin Teaching Grade Scale (JTGS) , where I evaluate my professor on the really important things. You know, like entertainment qualities.

Family and Consumer Sciences 230: Life Development (Monday)

Taught by Professor Rigney-Hill, this class is a trip through the life of all of us, from conception to coffinization. It’s mostly lecture, with an emphasis on group activities and such, which never excites me, as I would usually prefer to just go to class, do my thing, and get on my way home. And this is even more obvious to me when I know no one in class and I don’t meet anyone in the first couple of weeks that is necessarily worth making them “single serving friend,” to steal a line from FIGHT CLUB. But it’s ok. The teacher is nice and I think she has made a pretty simple class that I should have no trouble getting an A in, but I could easily coast to a B if I chose that road instead (which I don’t plan on doing). She’s got a semi-strong New Jersey accent and is pleasant enough, even amongst all of the Power Point goodness. Overall, just an average class. JTGS: 5 out of 10

Family and Consumer Sciences 330: Child Development (Tuesday)

Taught by Professor Giordano, this class is all about the kids. Three classes in and we are just now on the actual childbirth process. Luckily in this one, there are three people that I could see myself chatting up throughout the semester. One girl named Casey I knew from a couple of my Journalism classes last semester so we started re-living those classes and stuff like that on the first day. I also met another girl named Denise who is pretty cool and actually from Lancaster, no less! So of course we have the evil commute to discuss among other things. The one thing about my three FCS classes is that I am one of only a handful of guys in each of them. So in this one, a guy and I started making life a little more enjoyable for ourselves amongst all of the class discussion about things like getting your weight down after having a baby, the types of foods that you crave during pregnancy and a phrase that I never thought I would ever hear: “Frankenstein Vagina.” For those who want to know what it means, it was in reference to a post-birth mother and the way that her husband might look at her. . . I stayed quiet and just doodled on my note paper! But our teacher is nice, young, and funny and she does make the class enjoyable, even though it’s not her specialty. Again, I could probably get an A, (and most likely will) but a B can be achieved with little to no effort on my part. Overall, it’s one of my better classes. JTGS: 7.5 out of 10

Sociology 452: Sociology of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender People (Wednesday)

Here’s where the fun begins. Taught by Professor DeCrescenzo (spelling?) this class delves into the psyche of each of the communities listed above, as well as other similar types of individuals. No textbooks – only memoirs that have been written by members of these communities and the class time is taken up by discussion on the passages which we have to read each week going into class (on average about 75 pages – not a lot at all, especially since the memoirs are easier to read than text books). We are going to have guest speakers and we also have to lead a class discussion on any topic that we wish in relation, of course, to the topic of the class. Some might immediately ask why I would ever take a class such as this. That is actually the easiest of questions to answer. It would be na├»ve of Americans to believe that people with any of the above orientations have no effect on society and culture today. Having now been in the world of college for almost three years now, I can tell you that people identifying as gay or lesbian are quite common and quite influential. I have enjoyed many conversations with individuals like this and have learned a whole heck of a lot from them. And as far as I’m concerned, these are people. That may seem a bit obvious to some, but for others, I swear, it seems like anyone identifying as gay or lesbian are considered less than human. Again, until we discover that they are all chronic child molesters or are in fact robots, than they deserve the same respect as you want in return. Our teacher is brilliant, funny, and relatable, even to those of us in the class (I would say about half) who are straight. I look forward to the class each week and I’m excited to see my A go in the column at the end of the semester! JTGS: 9 out of 10

Family and Consumer Sciences 320: Family Resource Management (Thursday):

Taught by Professor Schlesinger, (again, I'm not sure about spelling - these teachers have difficult names!) this is my least favorite class. It's supposed to be about how to manage a family and the resources that comes with having one, I suppose. But instead, we have spent the first three weeks discussing, among other things, what values are. We are defining things that need not a definition, since we are all college students and not seven years-old. It's weird. Plus, her voice is literally grating to my ears. The only thing that gets me through the class is a former Desert Christian alumni, Hannah, who graduated in my class. Both her and her roommate are in the class and so we discuss how bored we are throughout the time we are there (which is the whole 2.5 hours - it's a doozy). It will be another easy B, but an almost assured A because of the simplicity with which the class is run. Overall, it will be a bit of a waste of time, but it will be an easy grade. JTGS: 3 out of 10.

And that's really it for school. The drive is tough, but it works. It is something that has to be done and it will pay off eventually. I hope.

- On the movie front, I'm gonna make a couple quick recommendations and a couple "Stay Away" comments for some others. But quick is the optimum word. I promise. . .

GO SEE:

ONCE - the independent film from earlier this year that caught all the critics by surprise is just brilliant. A true musical, I don't need to say anything more than just do yourself a favor and go rent it. It's under 90 minutes long and if this gets you going, then you should absolutely go rent it immediately:



NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN - I saw it again a couple weeks ago with my dad after we both completed the book and I tell you right now: this film is a damn-near masterpiece. The only issues I have with the movie are trivial and are mostly regarding the way the book is brought onto the screen, but overall, it is a perfect adaptation of an intensely strong novel. If you don't have to have hope at the end of a movie to enjoy it (I still love that you hate this movie, Heather!) then try to find it in your theater.

AVOID AT ALL COSTS:

THERE WILL BE BLOOD - My dad and I went to see this after we both thought it had the potential to be a GANGS OF NEW YORK-like film, seeing that Daniel Day-Lewis is in the starring role. A gritty, true historical tale, perhaps? How about a frustratingly tedious mishmash of confusion and absurdity instead. I'm sure it's art to many, and I can see how it is getting the accolades when it comes to cinematography and such, but I cannot see the quality that is supposedly so present throughout the movie. Sorry.

FOOL'S GOLD - No, I didn't see it. Just please don't go. Promise me. My Canadian friend Mike said it best.

- Beyond that, I don't have much more to recap right now. I'm working from 1100-1800 tomorrow so I'm planning on coming home and writing up my "Ass of the Week" then. So expect it up some time tomorrow night!

Thanks as always for reading and enjoy your weekend!!!

Until later,

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Super Bowl XLII: The Live Blog

This is my second go-around at the live blog, with my first being the live blog during last year's Oscars telecast, which was met with quite a nice reception, so here we go again, this time as the Super Bowl captures the attention of millions across the world.

So join with me as I enjoy the game, (which I predicted to result in a Patriots victory last night - - but really, who isn't picking the Pats!?!?) - - I hope I can help you enjoy it more!

And away we go (keep refreshing for constant updates!):

3:03 pm - For the record, I can't stand Joe Buck. My friend Joseph and I could broadcast this one with much more panache than Mr. Buck there. In the words of Joseph, "Stick with the St. Louis Cardinals, Joe." Indeed.

3:05 pm - I'm surprised that Troy Aikman can still carry on a conversation, let alone hold his head up after all of his concussions. And of course, that doesn't affect his decision to broadcast next to Buck. . . o no, he really enjoys that. . .

3:07 pm - The first set of commercials, kinda. The real big money spots happen after kickoff, but it's still exciting to see what the ad-wizards out there have in store for us. . . If that commercial where the animals jump in the car and start singing comes on more than 3 times, I just might turn the whole thing off!

3:10 pm - American Idol now has instruments! That just might get me back to watching the show. But not really. . .

3:11 pm - I like Eli Manning. He's a good quarterback (some of the time, at least) and a nice guy, based on his personality from his many commercials with big brother Peyton. Too bad Peyton is better. And the team he is about to lose to, yeah, they are pretty darn good too. . .

3:12 pm - The Giants just came out to Kanye West's "Stronger," which is a good choice actually. The Pats should come out to Queen's "We Are the Champions."

3:13 pm - A little Ozzy instead, huh? That works for me. . . But what exactly does the "Crazy Train" refer to for the Patriots. . .

3:15 pm - This VANTAGE POINT movie looks inventive, if nothing else. I'll probably go with Heather, who is infatuated with Mr. Matthew Fox, of LOST fame. Apparently the scraggly good guy (his character, at least) is attractive. On an unrelated note, I'm growing out my chin hair. . .

3:17 pm - These SYNC commercials are the best! My favorite is when the lady walks into the glass doors though. Nothing better than coffee going everywhere!

3:18 pm - Nice to see that Tom Coughlin's face looks better than it did last week. Man, I thought he would have permanent frostbite after that game in Green Bay! . . Keep your fingers crossed for Arizona's own, Jordin Sparks. Just don't say the wrong line. . . She's got a good voice, that one.

3:21 pm - And. . . goosebumps

3:23 pm - It's nice to see Owen Wilson back up and moving after the whole attempted suicide thing a few months ago. . . but not in that P.O.S. movie. Come on Owen!

3:25 pm - The game is gonna be in the dome exclusively. Now it's really over. The Pats are the new "Greatest Show on Turf." I wouldn't want to defend Randy Moss on any surface, let alone turf. . . Those are some great 49ers right there. That is the reason why I grew up a Niners fan. But once Rice retired, that was it. He is the greatest. No questions.

3:27 pm - The Giants won the toss. That will be their last victory of the year.

3:28 pm - Looks like my favorite show HOUSE is gonna be awesome tonight. Too bad I'm an episode behind on my TIVO. . . Hmmm. . . decisions decisions

3:32 pm - First play will be a run up the middle. . . and I'm right.

3:33 pm - I was concerned about Eli's first pass. But that was a good one. It's easier when Plaxico Burress is your receiver - the guy is huge!

3:36 pm - I said Patriots 34, Giants 21 before the game. I'm sticking by it, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's a bit more high-scoring. . .

3:37 pm - Fire-breathing commercial gets an early lead on best commercial of the night. . . and Audi and their beautiful sports car? Well, amazing car. Not so good commercial (really? a Godfather reference?)

3:39 pm - First HUGE play of the game with this 3rd and short. . . I'm thinking Jacobs running up the middle. . . I was wrong, it was to Bradshaw. Either way, the Giants are running a nice drive here. I still think it ends with a field goal. . .

3:44 pm - Buck just said something that the Giants just want to keep the ball away from Brady. That's too defensive of a game plan, in my opinion. You have to go for the TD as well as keep him off the field. And now they have to settle for a field goal. . . Giants 3, Pats 0. Here we go!

3:47 pm - Pepsi is on its way to worst commercial of the night with the "What is Love?" one (is Chris Kattan supposed to be the celebrity in that one? Or is it LL Cool J?).

3:48 pm - Just what Tom Brady needs: good field position.

3:49 pm - Well done, Bud Light (the "Wine Party" commercial). And if it was Under Armour's intention to scare the crap out of us, then they did a good job.

3:51 pm - I'm rooting for the Patriots. I want to see history made here tonight. But I really like that Steve Spagnuolo, the defensive coordinator for the Giants. I hope he gets a good head coaching job over the next season or two.

3:54 pm - They have completely overkilled the Brady-ankle injury thing. He's playing. He's fine. Leave him alone. . .

3:58 pm - That penalty will come back to bite the Giants. They would have had a stop there and it would have been just a tie game going into the second quarter. . . Instead, the Pats have 2nd and goal on the 1-yard line as we begin the second. End of the first quarter now - Giants 3, Patriots 0. But not for long. . .

4:02 pm - And once the game is over, don't forget it's almost SUPER TUESDAY!!! I'm leaning more towards Barack Obama every day actually. . .

4:03 pm - See? Not long at all. . . Pats 7, Giants 3. O and this WANTED movie? Yeah, it is gonna be freakin' awesome!!!

4:04 pm - Good call Danica. You think they made life difficult for you in the car racing world because you were a girl. Yeah, the whole "Exposure" thing with Godaddy? Not gonna help. . .

4:06 pm - And there are several great commercials!!! FedEx (scary carrier pigeons), Cars.com ("Ring of Fire"), and Tide ("The Talking Stain"). Well done to you all. . .

4:09 pm - Anyone betting against Jim Carrey as one of the luckier men in the world? Actually, now that I think about it, I'm gonna go with Tom Brady. . .

4:10 pm - Here comes another Giants field goal. . .

4:12 pm - There's the first obligatory sight of big brother Peyton. You know he wishes it was him out there, thus sayeth my father.

4:13 pm - See, I was wrong. No field goal. Just an interception that was not Eli's fault. Bummer.

4:15 pm - Budweiser played their cards right with a "Rocky"-inspired commercial, and then we got our first TV spot for this summer's to-be blockbuster IRON MAN. One word: HellYeah!!! (You say them together when you are as excited as I am!)

4:17 pm - Surprising call on the 3rd and 1 by the Pats. I would have preferred a 4-wide receiver set with a throw of some kind. But I'm also not paid to make decisions, so there's that. Giants ball near their own 40. Let's see how Eli reacts. . .

4:20 pm - Funny Toyota Corolla ad (the "Badger" one) as well as a funny TV spot for this spring's LEATHERHEADS, which I mentioned in my movie preview from a couple weeks ago. Smart placement there, seeing that it's a football-central movie and all. . .

4:22 pm - Buck just said that him and Aikman aren't the best announcers around. Finally, something out of Buck's mouth that isn't complete nonsense. . .

4:23 pm - Tough series for the Giants. Without a TD on that first possession and a couple letdowns (the interception in the red zone, a terrible drive that went for -6 yards), the Giants should be careful here. . . Watch out for Moss going deep on this drive. . .

4:25 pm - More bad commercials!!! Just what we spent millions of dollars on! Careerbuilder.com (the heart quitting), some sort of Life Water or something (the "Thriller" dancing lizards, etc.). It's just crazy the type of stuff that gets on television. . .

4:27 pm - Wow. . . that Giants defense showed up right there. That was impressive.

4:30 pm - As soon as I saw Carlos Mencia, I had to simultaneously bite my tongue and push every throwable object away from me so I didn't hurl it at the TV. O, yeah, I can't stand him. . .

4:33 pm - Here comes another Giants field goal. . .

4:35 pm - I don't get how this is a half of football that Giants can be happy with. I mean, I kind of understand. But are they winning? Is there intention in this game to play close with the Patriots, or is it to win?

4:38 pm - Just as a warning, I will be taking off the live blog during halftime. These last two minutes are gonna produce some excitement, I have a feeling, so I'll stick around til then. But as soon as Tom Petty shows up, I'm done blogging. . .

4:40 pm - Good ads this time around. Planters showed some guts with that unattractive woman getting guys to make fools of themselves (physical humor is easy) and the Fave Five with Charles Barkley making me laugh like always (Except when he is saying bad things about my SUNS). Pepsi and Justin Timberlake is always a good combo as well. As for that NARNIA movie: Meh. The first one was pretty underwhelming and I probably won't be seeing this one in theaters at all. . .

4:45 pm - Huge first down. . . But you knew that. . .

4:47 pm - I'm gonna save all of my analysis once the half ends, but Brady is getting roughed up and that is never a good thing if you are the Patriots.

4:49 pm - That was pure New England Patriots football right there. They will score on this drive. . .

4:50 pm - Maybe not. . .

4:54 pm - And that's the half. Patriots 7, Giants 3. I gotta give it up to Steve Spagnuolo and the way he prepared his defense. They seem extremely ready for the long haul of the Super Bowl and they are certainly getting in Brady's grill nonstop. I don't think that the Pats should be concerned just yet, though. They get the ball first in the second half and a score there makes it potentially a two-possession game. I still like the Pats to win by a couple scores, but the confidence level has certainly dropped. Enjoy Tom Petty and I will go enjoy some food from the refrigerator. See you in a little bit!!!

5:23 pm - And. . . we're back. A couple notes about halftime: 1) Tom Petty is old. And is that really what we want? Apparently! Consider some of the most recent musical guests during the halftime shows of the past few Super Bowls: U2, Prince, Aerosmith, and the Rolling Stones. It sure seems like we like to see old guys coming back to play songs that were popular back in the days of people like my friend Manny and other late twenty-somethings (there's your shout out, sir!) or even before that! 2) After some more thinking, I'm even more sure that the Pats come out and put up at least 21 points before the game ends. The Giants will continue to struggle on offense and may not break single figures. I'm going with 24-9 as my new final. 3) I'm fed up with Joe Buck. Just one more half. . .

5:29 pm - All Brady needs is a little bit more time. The more time he has to throw the ball, the more he will begin to pick apart the Giants' secondary. . .

5:32 pm - I like those Cars.com commercials with the whole "Plan B" thing. On the other hand, I hate those Salesgenie.com ones. Really? Chinese panda bears selling bamboo? And don't get me started on Shaq's ad with Vitamin water. If you can't step foot on the court, you should not be able to do ads, especially ones that have you horse racing, or at least pretending to do so. And even if you weren't hurt, you are still not as big of a name as you once were. . . sorry

5:36 pm - Cavemen humor is still not funny. Neither is Carmen Electra (pretty? Yeah. Funny? Um, no). And if I have the choice between swerving in the road and running over Richard Simmons, well, let's just say there's a reason that I'm not the driver in that commercial. . .

5:38 pm - Another huge break for the Patriots! Wow, what a challenge!!!

5:39 pm - Is anyone really going to go on Myspace to re-watch commercials? I think not only has the quality gone down in them across the board, but really the excitement over them has dropped as well. With internet advertising being as big as it is, I don't think that it's worth all of the money that these companies pay for these ad spaces.

5:41 pm - That was the biggest play of the game so far (the Kevin Faulk reception for the first down on 3rd and 13). I actually yelled out loud when he made it over that digitalized yellow line!

5:43 pm - I'm not sure about that call to go for it on the 4th down. It would have been a 49-yard field goal which is long, but not too long for Gostkowski, I think. But again, I'm not the one getting paid for that decision. . .

5:46 pm - WALL*E is going to be absolutely amazing. We're talking RATATOUILLE amazing. And that's pretty, well, amazing!

5:47 pm - Having your knee reconstructed is not something that sounds good. At all.

5:50 pm - I like seeing the Giants going for that TD there. It shows they see a chance to actually win this thing and that they want it. So far, I've only seen that desire in the defense.

5:52 pm - Another missed opportunity for the Giants. Until they can get a good drive going, I don't like their chances. And I don't like our chances of seeing an exciting game, as we are just a couple minutes away from going into the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl with a score of 7-3!

5:53 pm - No, I'm not interested in JUMPER, and no, the E*Trade commercial with the baby talking with a man's voice was not funny at all. Bud Light continues its hit-and-miss night with another funny ad featuring a flying man getting sucked into the airplane turbines. Again, physical humor like that cant miss. However, I have yet to laugh out loud at any of these, so it's still not a good night commercial-wise. . .

5:55 pm - I just wanted to take a second and congratulate Steve Spagnuolo on his new job as the Washington Redskins head coach. . .

5:57 pm - A box of bananas was reportedly taken to the Giants locker room at halftime and then to their bench now. This is considered investigative sports reporting, by the way. Aren't we excited that Pam Oliver and Chris Meyers are our sideline reporters for tonight's game?

6:00 pm - Wow. This has to be the most unbelievable score ever! Patriots 7, Giants 3 after three quarters!!! This fourth quarter is either going to be extremely exciting or extremely boring. Either way it's going to be EXTREME! (A little Harold and Kumar humor for those of you who like that sort of thing. . .)

6:04 pm - I still don't understand these Propositions (94-97) about the Indian gambling or whatever. At all. Except that one side is supposed to be "greedy". . . Right, like that clears thing up!

6:06 pm - I had Stewie as the prohibitive favorite to get that Coke balloon. Then the underdog. . . no not Underdog. . . Charlie Brown came out of nowhere and picked up the victory!!!

6:08 pm - There's your big play. Wow. . . But even still, here comes another Giants field goal.

6:10 pm - How many times are they gonna show Peyton up there? Leave the man alone!

6:11 pm - Giants 10, Patriots 7. Just unbelievable. . . I'm still not worried for the Pats, but now you have to score (obviously) and that hasn't happened since quarter two. But the Pats aren't the best scoring team of all-time for nothing. . .

6:13 pm - Kudos to both James Carville and Bill Frist for participating in that Coke commercial. Good stuff all around. . .

6:15 pm - Can we all just agree that Adam Sandler is no longer funny. . . thanks.

6:19 pm - Another turnover on downs for the Pats. Just shocking. . .

6:20 pm - Babies speaking with an adult voice has not been funny since Adam Sandler made a really funny movie. That would be The Waterboy. . . and actually, it wasn't funny then either. I just thought I'd slam Sandler one more time. . .

6:23 pm - Nine minutes left and the Giants are up by a field goal and have the ball. No one saw this coming.

6:25 pm - That tackle by Rodney Harrison just might end up being the biggest play of the entire game if the Patriots are able to score here on this drive.

6:27 pm - So that SEMI-PRO movie with Will Ferrell seems to be ANCHORMAN: THE BASKETBALL VERSION. Which is fine by me. ..

6:28 pm - Who could possibly be the MVP of this game? Can the Giants defense get it collectively? Can it be Steve Spagnuolo? Of course, if Mr. Brady there orchestrates a comeback then we all know who gets the trophy. . .

6:30 pm - I wonder if the Pats wish that they had kicked that field goal earlier on that 4th and 13???

6:32 pm - I'm telling you, it's all about time! Give Tom Brady an extra second to find his receiver and you will lose. That's what is happening on this drive. . .

6:34 pm - You had to know this was coming. . . the Giants D is good, great even! But even the greatest get tired. . .

6:38 pm - A TD here would be huge, of course, but you have to make sure a FG is possible at least. Be careful, if you're Tom Brady. . .

6:39 pm - There it is! You KNEW it was coming!!! He was going to Moss all the way!

6:42 pm - That's a football hit!!!

6:44 pm - I just don't want to see Eli throw an interception. . . a turnover on downs or a fumble by a receiver. Just no pick Eli!

6:45 pm - There's the two-minute warning. Pats 14, Giants 10. Here. . . we. . . go!!!!

6:46 pm - Amp (an energy drink of some sort I guess) worked it with that fat man dancing commercial. You can never go wrong with fat men dancing! And kudos to Big Ben, the quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers, for singing solo on an American Idol ad. Good stuff.

6:47 pm - Huge huge fourth down. . . run up the middle, I say. . . yep, it was.

6:49 pm - Eli better be careful if he decides to do that again. . . slide earlier, sir!

6:51 pm - I don't think they can score a TD here. Not against this team.

6:52 pm - If the Giants DO win this game, that will go down as one of the greatest plays in the history of the Super Bowl. . . simply amazing, young Manning.

6:55 pm - Heart pounding. . .

6:56 pm - Unbelievable. . .




6:57 pm - Keep in mind that the Pats have all three timeouts left and only need a field goal. Just a thought. . .

7:00 pm - That was the entire game in one play. Brady pressured and goes down. That's what has been the difference tonight. . .

7:03 pm - This is it. . .

7:04 pm - Wow. . . The Giants actually did it!!! Hey, hats off to them. They played a great defensive game and did just enough on the offensive end to warrant them a victory. Congratulations to the New York Football Giants! You are the winner of Super Bowl 42!

7:05 pm - And now, four hours (almost exactly) from the moment this all began, the Live Blog from Super Bowl XLII is absolutely done. Give me a hand, huh? But either way, the NFL season is officially over and will be until Labor Day. And that means only one thing, since we know that Spring Training isn't for another couple months. . .

IT'S ALL ABOUT THE NBA!!!

And with that, I leave you for the night. Hope you enjoyed the game and the live blog, which I hope to do again if the Academy Awards happen later this month. Please take the time as well to scroll down and read my brand new "Ass of the Week" which I posted last night and comments are greatly appreciated as always!

Thanks as always for joining me here at A RAMBLER'S RAMBLING. And take care!

Until later,

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Ass of the Week 2

Well, here we are again. It's Saturday and it's time again for my brand new column (how long is something new, by the way?) entitled the "Ass of the Week." Last week's edition saw me rip John Gibson of Fox News fame a new one, but it's not like more people hadn't already done so. That was a little bit obvious, I would say. But beyond that, it was really enjoyable to do (it's always nice to go off on someone you not only don't know but don't like based on their just plain awful actions) and I got some cool feedback from people I had no idea even read this thing. So I must continue on with the idea, seeing that it is, as previously mentioned, Saturday once more.

This week's was a little bit more difficult to come up with, to be honest. And I probably would have just searched the news archives on any news-gathering website for some ignorant individual who mouthed off this week had I not experienced something tonight that was not only life-changing for some and thought-provoking for all, but frustratingly upsetting for me. . .

So here we go:

This week's "Ass of the Week" is whoever is responsible for this group to feel any pain:



And especially the kind of pain that I learned about this evening. Starting this past Wednesday at the Desert Vineyard Christian Fellowship in Lancaster (it's the church that my parents attend weekly and when I actually go, it's where I go as well) and going through this coming Monday, WORLD VISION's "Step Into Africa" Experience brought the tragedy of AIDS to the forefront of the thoughts of Southern Californians. The way it works is that you are outfitted with small iPod (Heather and I debated whether or not this "personal audio device" was of the Shuffle or Nano variety) and a set of headphones where an African woman narrates a story to you about a child affected in some way by AIDS. The story is told as if you are the child and are walking in their footsteps, which you do, in a way, as you enter little rooms decorated to look like the homes and surroundings of these native Africans.

And it's heartbreaking. The mere thought of the powerlessness that we do have (because even if we do the whole "Support a Child" thing, there are millions who die every year that cannot be helped) is almost more frustrating than the stupid teenagers who were acting as they are defined (they were the runners-up this week - these kids were distracting, annoying, and just plain rude, which is really not cool when it comes to something so potentially impacting, like this event).

And as Heather and I headed back to our warm place of shelter for the evening (in this case, my house) in my comfortable new car, we discussed the things we had just heard, seen, and experienced. Heather was more affected like my sister and mom were (both were able to take part earlier this week) in that they were saddened to the point of tears, for which the World Vision people are perfectly prepared for, thanks to the Kleenex boxes lining the wall under the pictures of the hundreds of hungry children. And yes, it is sad. Devastatingly so, in fact. But for me, the response I had was of pure anger.

Heather made an interesting comment on the way home. She said "It's just the cards that they were dealt." And she could not be more right. These kids (and their parents, for that matter - and their parent's parents, and so on) have been dealt the shittiest of shit hands (think worse than seven-deuce off-suit). So my problem is a) Why them? and b) Why at all?

I understand the world is a fallen and sin-filled place. That's what I'm told and it's clear that there is plenty of evil running around the world today. But the thought of kids like this:



getting intentionally dealt hands of a life filled with AIDS-stricken homes; hunger-filled days upon days; a complete lack of safety (the girl whose story I heard had to hide in fear since another young girl about the age of 10 had been kidnapped and subsequently raped every day for an entire month!); and eventually a death that if not physically painful, is certainly emotionally dreadful, just plain pisses me off. It's true that not nearly enough effort can go to solve the problems that AIDS has brought to the far reaches of this giant world. The U.S. alone pledges over $10 billion to aide groups like World Vision to try anything to get a step up on this tragic disease.

And I, The Rambler (if you will), am left with this empty feeling inside of weakness and rage. I don't frickin' understand how kids like that can live such a (I'm sorry) pointless life. They are born into starvation and disease-ridden families. They watch their siblings and parents suffer through some sort of illness, if not deal with it themselves. Then, if they are fortunate enough to make it to a child-rearing age, they themselves get to have children who are more than likely to contract the AIDS virus as well. And then they are told to have faith that a "Shepherd" is watching over them and that God protects them. And they believe. Some, at least. And that makes them much better individuals than me. . .

And maybe that's why I struggle so badly with this. I have been getting more and more upset each week at work because I am making less at the MW than I would have been at the FL, even though I was told specifically that I could potentially make TWICE as much as I made previously, but certainly more, in either case. Well for six straight weeks, I have made less. And it's not me. My stats are great and I tackle each sale with the same aggressiveness as the last. But we don't get customers. I was at work on Friday for nearly 8 hours and sold one scarf. . . That's it! So you could see my frustration. . . And of course I bitch and complain about it (more to myself than anyone else) and can't figure out how I'm going to get by with a measly $250-$300 a week. Flash over to this kid I just heard about whose entire family survives on $1 a day! Maybe I should evaluate myself before I go calling a higher power an Ass. . .

And I've thought of that, of course. Have been for some time, actually. But I'm not in a place right now to watch disasters like Hurricane Katrina and hear about children like the young girl who had to watch her mother die of AIDS and be without both parents at the age of 11 and turn and worship a gracious and loving God. Because it just doesn't seem fair. And life's not fair. I get that. But I have too much and I complain. And I don't have that much, actually. So take what you will from that. . .

So who is the "Ass of the Week" this week? I guess it's a toss-up from me and it's up to you to decide who it is for you. It could be me, in fact - an almost 21-year-old college student with a whole life ahead who wants to shake his fist at God for all the wrong in the world. It could be that God, who allows these things to happen for reasons that I'm not sure we will ever understand. Or maybe it's just the plain evil in the world, that without which we may never be able to see the infinite wonders of God and all the blessings that He delivers. . . or so I'm told.

Sorry for the downer this evening - just wanted to get some stuff off my chest. . .

. . . . . .

And on a completely random note:

Super Bowl prediction:

New England Patriots: 34
New York Giants: 21

. . . . . .

Enjoy your Super Bowl Sunday everyone!!!!!!

And thanks for reading as always :)

Until later,