Tuesday, December 28, 2004

NBA sees the light (for the moment)

The NBA has rejected an offer from EA to be the exclusive video-game licensee for the National Basketball Association. This would have created a situation like EA has created with the NFL, slamming the door on rival video game manufacturers by making it impossible to create competing products.

We'll see if it this holds up through the inevitable second proposal, but for right now the NBA has done a good thing for gamers everywhere.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Hit it wicked ha'd!

Last night I was watching a little bit of Sports Center and Stuart Scott was on—as he usually is Sunday nights now that his Dream Job gig is over until they decide to inflict it upon us again.

(Do you think he cries to himself at night -- "[former Sports Center co-host] Rich [Eisen] is now the identity of the NFL Network and I host a reality TV show on a cable network"? I do.)

Never has one man rode one catch phrase and his perceived "street cred"—most of which is attributed to his blackness—longer than Stu has. I get the feeling that he is trying to create something as enduring as "boo-yeah" without dropping the former from his repertoire. He hasn't come close yet. Using quotes from other sources don't count. Along those lines, last night he worked a Wicked reference into the Cavs highlight, singing no less: "with an assist from James he's gonna be pop-U-lur! He'll be pop-U-lur!"*

But I don't know which is weirder—that he made the reference or that I knew the reference when I heard it.


* hearing Stu Scott warble off key intentionally to a Steven Schwartz tune is intensely traumatic. Avoid doing this yourself at all costs.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Happy Birthday, Corey Haim

The Lost Boys star is 33 today. He doesn't look a day over 40. But alas, rumor has it that his bid to become his generation's Keith Richards is over. I guess not everyone can achieve greatness.

Corey, if Lost Boys 2 never happens, we'll consider you for a role in Showgirls 2:The Cleavage Runs Deep, which is in development.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Christmas is coming early

Last night the Arrogant One gave the Grizzlies their first win ever in LA against the Lakers. Double Joy.

And over the weekend TO got injured and has effectively ended the Eagles title hopes. Joy.

What's next? G5s being tossed out of airplanes attached to parachutes so that they can gently drift to the ground where many Mac enthusiasts like myself will pluck them up and give them warm and loving homes.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Happy Birthday!

Best wishes from all of us at IJAD to cpMaia, whose birthday it be today. She's a fellow Alaska expat, so she's not all bad. In fact, if she were listed in a guide book, the summary would probably be "mostly bad".

In all seriousness, have a happy one! Or two? It's your birthday, why not make it a double?

Postal...

I had to go to the post office this morning to mail packages and buy holiday stamps. T'was a good trip, as I got there with about seven people in line, but the Christmas miracle was in full effect as all three teller stations were manned! I got to the front of the line in good time and thankfully didn't have to deal with a complete idiot. It was actually one of the shorter trips in recent memory. I frequently go to the USPS because the wife and I sell of unwanted cds and more via Half.com.

When I left, the line had grown to enormous lengths, wrapping itself around the building twice and ending in a rather impressive bow. I took this as a sign that this short week will be a good one.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Get that man a barber

Ricky Williams, who is apparently campaigning for the role of uncle Jesse in The Dukes of Hazard movie, has done an interview with that pillar of journalistic integrity, "60 Minutes". In said interview, he claims that he would apologize to is teammates if he understood why he would be apologizing. He doesn't see a reason to.

[insert Lewis Black's stunned noise that he makes, as there is no emoticon that does it full justice]

But he'll do it if someone asks him to.

He says it won't mean anything if he doesn't understand why he'd be doing it.

[insert noise again]

We knew that Ricky was a bit off-kilter. When he first came into the league, he would do after practice and game interviews—without taking off his helmet! Then some yokels gave him some medication, which while he was seemingly no longer so shy, I doubt it really improved his mental state.

But is his cognitive function really so low that he cannot understand the magnitude of what he did? Doesn't he know that the beard makes him look like the black Ted Kaczynski? I guess not. Mary Jane mixed with psychiatric drugs is probably not such a good idea.

If you see him, remind him that:

  1. He screwed the Miami Dolphins by quitting right before training camp, having given no prior indication that he was considering the move

  2. He was basically the offense in Miami and his quitting effectively destroyed any chances his team had of a successful season

  3. His future obligations to the team were so great that an arbitrator decided that he has to pay back the team $8mm—which he probably doesn't even have at this point



I think it at least deserves a "My bad guys. Sorry for blowing up your season."

Or he could at least shave the beard.

One has to start somewhere.

Friday, December 17, 2004

If you want to get me a present...

...I'd settle for this:

I promise not to get any drool on you.

I de-selected the modem since I won't use it ever and figured I'd save you the $29.

It might not arrive in time for next Saturday, but I'll understand.

The tide is turning

Last night, on my drive home from work, I happened to turn on a sports station. This is something I had gotten out of the habit of doing, since regional sports stations can be boring if you don't like any of the regional teams (I used to like one of them).

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that all the hosts and most of the callers were expressing great distaste for the antics of the Arrogant One! This was like getting an early Christmas present of the most wonderful kind. Rationality is prevailing, the veil is being lifted. The truth is coming to light.

If the Lakers miss the playoffs this year, I think the masses will fully turn on their Chosen One and his failure will be complete.

Joy to the world...

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

I sense a great disturbance in the Force,

as if millions of heterosexual men with Maxim subscriptions suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly depressed.

It is possible that Anna K. is off the market.

If it's any consolation, you can look for a well-used Britney to re-appear on the market in 6-12 months time. Soon it will be hard to tell the difference between Britney and Tara Reid, who will further confuse matters by co-starring in Showgirls 2: The Cleavage Runs Deep.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

How do I hate the Arrogant One? Let me count the ways...

This morning on my once a week bus ride in to work I was listening to one of the AM news stations here in LA. During the sports segment of the program, they played an audio clip from my arch nemesis, who was commenting on facing Ray Allen for the first time since Allen's (rightly) critical remarks about the Arrogant One's attitude and leadership skills.

Needless to say, the Arrogant One proceeded, much to my delight, to put his foot in his mouth once again. ""When you say something like that, it's not only directed toward me, but it's directed toward our team as well, saying that we don't have a good enough team to step up to the plate (and) we don't have enough good players around here to give me the support I need."

Hmmm...

So the Arrogant One is now trying to deflect Allen's comments—directed squarely at no one but himself—onto his teammates...

So he is thin-skinned to the point where any criticism becomes a personal insult on the same magnitude of saying something untoward about one's mother. But at the same time is so spineless as to also try to shift said criticism onto the undeserving shoulders of his own teammates—teammates on a team that he has built. This is a team of nary a single other star—there are a couple of former All-Stars, but no one who is going to make that squad out here in the modern Western Conference. No, this is the team the Arrogant One built: one superstar and 10 "complimentary" players. This is exactly how he has wanted it. He is the self-appointed leader of this squad, but you cannot be narcissistic, paranoid, and spineless and be an effective leader.

The next 3 seasons cannot happen quickly enough for me. Because I think after 3 seasons without even a sniff of a title the Arrogant One will demand a trade from the team he made and I can have my Lakers back.

How to handle competition: make it impossible for your competitor to legally make their product.

EA has just acquired the exclusive rights to the NFL for video games. The deal, which is with both the NFL and the NFLPA, means that only EA games will get to feature actual NFL players for the next 5 years. This is the effective end of SEGA's ESPN NFL 2K franchise, which was this year actually competing with EA's Madden release, thanks to a lower price point and gameplay that actually was better than Madden for a lot of gamers (and gaming press).

EA has done an end run around SEGA (and ESPN) by doing this. Without trying to make a better game. For the next 5 years, if you want to play as the Manning brothers, Mike Vick or The New England Patriots, you'll have to boot up an old game, or buy EA's newest version, which will cost a bundle, guaranteed. They will have no incentive to innovate as there is effectively zero competition, since most gamers do not want to play with generic teams and rosters, no matter how good the actual gameplay is.

The NFL is also to blame for this--EA is not the sole rat in this pack. I guess they want games to rival NFL ticket prices, for that "authentic" experience.

EA, the NFL and the NFLPA all get spots in hell (link coming soon) for this.

Monday, December 13, 2004

This couldn't get any better if it was scripted

As a Kobe-hater extraordinaire, I find this latest bit simply delicious. I don't know what the future holds for this pathetic saga, but one can only hope it includes an OJ-like ostracizing of the Laker's Chosen One.

Those who aspire to be the next Jordan should take heed of what has happened here: prove that you can win when you're the man before you get involved in extra-marital scandals. Then the public doesn't hate you as much. Oh, and listen to your lawyers when they tell you to not do press conferences.

Does Vanessa have to wait until the 10 year mark to get half? Or does she have a case for it already? I want answers, dammit!

I don't know when the Lakers will trade him, but I think that they will. The day cannot come soon enough, because I would like to resume my role as a Laker fan, something that has been taken from me by the Arrogant One.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Some things are better left uncovered

Sometimes you hear a cover and go to yourself, "hey, that's doper than Sam Perkins at Woodstock." Other times, you wonder (possibly aloud) "that no talent hack! They couldn't even carry [inset original artist here]'s guitar case!" [Ed. note: You should have seen what the author originally wanted to use as the carried item. Believe us, it wasn't a guitar case.]

Today was an example of the second. Some fool whose name I cannot even spare the mental RAM for, has covered "High and Dry" by the esteemed Radiohead. This is up there. With the worst covers of all time. Some songs just don't ever need to be covered. Like this one. And like "It's My Life" by Talk Talk. But No Doubt did a decent job with that one, although they crapped all over it with that video.

This one today was bad. When you do a cover, you're supposed to bring something to it. Maybe your sound is similar to the original artist's, and you bring a slightly different energy, maybe an updated feel. Maybe you go in an entirely different direction, like the late Johnny Cash did with "Personal Jesus" by Depeche Mode. Great cover. This chucklehead brought nothing to the table. A lot of piano and whining. "High and Dry" doesn't ever need to be covered, but Coldplay would do a better job, since they are apparently from a different dimension, one in which Thom Yorke's eye isn't lazy, and Radiohead did make The Bends II, like everyone told them to. That's what Coldplay is. Radiohead circa "The Bends" from a different dimension.

This screetchingly awful rendition made me think of other covers that were really bad ideas. Here they are in no particular order:

  • "High and Dry" by an idiot
    We need to get some big government grants to develop new adjectives to describe the badness here.

  • "Sweet Child o' Mine", Sheryl Crow
    What. The. Fuck?

  • "Lovesong", 311
    Go back to the skate park anthems.

  • "Landslide", The Dixie Chicks
    It's not good when Billy Corgan sounds better than you do.

  • "Our Lips Are Sealed", Hillary Duff & sister
    Given the nonexistence of vocal talent in the Go-Gos, you would think that this was one of those covers that would be better than the original. You'd be wrong.

  • "American Pie", Madonna
    Um. No.

  • "Take My Breath Away", Jessica Simpson
    You're not doing yourself any favors when you're a slightly talented blonde and you're taking on a song done by a very talented blonde. The comparisons just will not come out in your favor.



Please feel free to add to this list.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

I want my golden ticket. I want it now.

Tim Burton's version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory will be the greatest movie of all time. Sorry, Brian, but the title will belong to The Life Aquatic only until CatCF ascends to its rightful place atop the highest of peaks. It will burn that 70's abomination that was the Gene Wilder version from our collective consciousness. I have longed for such a scouring since before time became time.

If you liked that other version, you either haven't read the book or you like to punch kittens. I am not discounting the possibility that both apply to some of you.

Rest in peace, Dimebag

Some moron shot Dimebag Darrell Abbott yesterday at a show, along with 3 other people. The shooter was subsequently taken down by a policeman.

Dimebag Darrell wasn't my favorite guitar player, but I recognized him as a deserving legend among axemen. When I was really learning my chops as a player in the 90s, Dimebag was one of those darlings of the guitar press, rightly lauded for his skill and contributions to the world of metal. I confess to owning only one of his CDs, Pantera's Far Beyond Driven and I haven't played it in a long time. I will have to bust it out again. He was an innovator. We'll all miss him.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

If you like Radiohead, I recommend this

Highly.

It's a Flash "video" of RH's acoustic rendition of "Creep". It's exquisite. It reminds one of how freaking good Radiohead were.

Not that they aren't still good. They don't suck. But starting with "Kid A", they stoped making the timeless classics that they could churn out like so much lovely butter. If you're into the whole "we're artists and we can do what we want" then fine. But creating songs that communicate to a wider audience does not equal sellout. Releasing songs that are unintelligible, or jamming on an obscure cut for 30 minutes on stage in the middle of your set (hello, Mr. Corgan) is raising a pudgy middle finger to the peeps who made you successful.

If you don't want people to listen anymore, then just stop putting your product out there. It will make it much harder for us to give you money for it. If you want to do it from the get-go, then fine. I won't complain, because I won't know who you are. But when you do one thing and people like it and then you change it so radically that most of those same people now wonder what kind of small rodent has run up your trousers, you should probably take a good look at what you're doing.

Being artistic is fine. Progressing as an artist is to be applauded. But making your art more inaccessible is not.

Monday, December 06, 2004

No one can be told what the Matrix is...

...because apparently the Wachowskis didn't write it. This post is from 2 months ago, you have to see it for yourself.

Thanks to Tycho at Penny Arcade for the linky link.

It's not a steriod if I don't think it is

I was having a chat with someone on the baseball steroid issue. I came across this when I searched for Donald Fehr's (the baseball player's union head) last name, which I couldn't recall. It's old, but still a good read.

Monday Miscellany

The birthday weekend went well. It was not a non-stop party, as you might have thought it was. I actually didn't even make it to midnight Friday night.

Dinners at Buca di Beppo are fun, as long as you have at least one other person with you, and you like Italian food. So I was good on both counts. You've got to love a restaurant that puts large vintage photos in mismatched frames of Sophia Loren undressing in the dining area. Not a look I could get away with at home. I recommend the calamari, asuming of course that you do not have octophobia.

The holiday baking has begun. Our fridge thought it was going to get off easy this year, but no, it was not to be. At one point yesterday it was over stuffed with leftovers from Friday night, earlier in the week and 6 different batches of cookie dough. It was raising the white flag. There's some good stuff coming this year, but aything from Tish Boyle's book is good. It has yet to disappoint, and so far our oven has been foiled in its quest to burn everything we put in it. It's currently 0-16 and I think I can hear it sobbing softly to itself even now.

My brother gave me U2's new CD, but I have yet to play it. I will post my thoughts on it when I get a chance to digest its auditory morsels.

Amazon is not working at this moment. I had to get the above link from Google. Could it be a DOS? I find it unlikely in this day of large sites hosting server farms roughly the size of Rhode Island that the most visible and popular e-Commerce site on the planet would be getting slammed to the point of unusability. But anything is possible, I guess.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Dumbass alert level orange

I cannot believe that people are this stupid. Call me crazy, but I don't think it's a sound operating basis to publically talk about potential targets that you "can't believe the terrorists haven't attacked." This ranks up there with the pre-911 science channel documentary that revealed that the way to topple the towers would be to fly a plane into them. I'm pretty sure that some terrorists can speak (and maybe even read!) english.

So he's stupid and/or evil (probably both). I long for the days when the only times we used the term FUD were to describe Microsoft's operations.

Friday, December 03, 2004

30 minus 1

Today is my birthday. Thank you to everyone who has wished me a happy one.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Our next house.

We move in next week. Seriously.

The dots weren't me.

Don't get me wrong, I think Douglas Bowman is a brilliant guy. But I was going to customize the appearance of this page and the dots were just going to require too many changes. So I'm now using this Jeffrey Zeldman (also brilliant) design, mostly because I'm a slut for soft shadows. The band has to go, and the lines as well. I probably ought to just do it all myself, but I'm way to lazy—and I'm trying to finish another site.

Almost going on 30

Me = (30 - 1) in 2 days. Party hats and streamers for all!

Is it still fashionable to stress about turning 30? I'm just not feeling it yet, even though I'm about to start the final one year countdown so maybe something will still click on the stress machine.

I don't think 30 is the point that I'll magically turn into an adult, even though I've by this point been married for nearly six years, I have something resembling a career, I have a mortgage and I'm president of my HOA. But even though I've been an "adult" for 11 years now, I still play video games, listen to all kinds of music, read web comics and act really silly with my wife when no one else is around.

So I've decided to have my cake and wolf it down whole. You can have some if you like. It's chocolate-raspberry.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Monday, November 29, 2004

Natalie Portman has mixed emotions regarding the conclusion of the Star Wars prequels

Which is far more emotion than she displayed when she was acting in the prequels.

But then, anything is more than zero.

I know what I'm thankful for this holiday season: after May, there will be no more Star Wars disasters coming from the addled mind of George Lucas. Unfortunately I know he's going to get my $10 once again. I've come too far to not see the finish, even as bad as the teaser trailer has looked.

If I can...

...smell your perfume (or cologne) for several minutes after you leave the area, I have to assume 1 of 2 things:

1) Your olfactory nerve has become paralyzed by your frequent dousings of scent and you have to use quantities that would probably kill small laboratory testing animals.

2) You don't bathe.

Artificial scents are gawdaful and people who use them have to use more than anyone else can stand, because their nose actually does become paralyzed and cannot smell as well. This includes perfumes, colognes, scented body washes and shampoos. This is your body's way of telling you that artifiicial scents are not good. Please heed it and just say no.

Dryer sheets are bad, too. Especially in a condominium complex. Just say no.

Our noses (and yours) will say "thank you."

Monday, November 22, 2004

Moroccan food is good. Who knew?

If you're looking for something a little different, and you're in the Fairfax district of LA, check out Chameau. It's this cute little moroccan restaurant. It's a little pricey and a little loud, but the food is good and the decor righteously hip. They're serving alcohol these days, contrary to outdated reports that they are BYOB.

Some friends took us there Friday night. The appetizers are to die for. The deep fried mussels with yogurt dressing are sublime.

Eat it, you'll like it.

Friday, November 19, 2004

I hate colds.

The cold is a strange thing. Nothing knocks you on your butt quite like a cold can. Pound for pound it's probably the most effective illness at debilitating you, considering what it does.

And that's the rub, because what are we talking about? Some coughing, sinus problems. It's not like I just tore up my ankle. But this week I stayed home more days than the time I DID tear the hell out of my ankle. Oh well.

I am now on my seventh day of symptoms, although I have been able to work full days the last three.

I hate colds.