Saturday, May 20, 2006

I'm in Oxford, hanging out at The Girl's apartment, so here's something fun while she gets ready:

30 Sports Things To Do Before You Turn 30 (w/ the ones I've done in bold)

1. See the Kentucky Derby. Been to several. It's not as exciting as you'd think.
2. Catch a foul ball.
3. Hole a shot from the fairway.
4. Attend a NASCAR event - You just need to, trust me.
5. Attend a draft - Preferably the NBA or NFL (the other two major sports aren't nearly as entertaining, and if you attend the WNBA draft, don't tell anyone. Ever).
6. Hit the trifecta. I'm assuming this means betting on horses, in which case I've hit pretty much every bet there is (save the Pick 6). Picking up my dad's bad habits finally pays off!
7. Win a title. In anything. It doesn't matter what.
8-10. Witness three championships in person. However you want to break that down.
11. Bowl above a 200 (in one game). It was at the crazy Montevallo lanes with the too short alleys, though.
12. Compete in a triathlon. Marathons take way too much training, and 5K's are too easy. But entering one of the many mini-triathlons that take place over the course of a year is the perfect combination of achievement-without-having-to-completely-alter-your-lifestyle. A reasonably healthy person can, with some basic training, finish a quarter-mile swim, 10-mile bike ride, and 5k run without collapsing at the end like the guy in the Gatorade commercial.
13-15. Witness late game heroics. These are impossible to plan for, so you just have to see enough games to cover your bases here (no pun intended). Put a buzzer-beater in basketball, last-second FG or touchdown in football, and a walk-off home run at the top of your list. A sudden-death goal in hockey is also acceptable.
16. Other baseball abnormalities. Again, nothing you can prepare for, but catching a no-hitter, an unassisted triple play, or a player hitting for the cycle are all worthy feats to aspire to see with your own two eyes.
17. Beat Mike Tyson. Not literally, but in video game form. Punch Out, baby!
18. Shoot par at Frisbee golf.
19. Win an NCAA Tournament pool.
20. Correctly predict the Final Four.
21. Win a fantasy league(Twice).
22. Win a Texas Hold 'Em Tournament.
23. Become the best of everyone you know at something. Best t-shirt printer you'll ever see, bitch.
24. Score a hat trick.
25. See one of the great rivalries in person. Bama/Auburn, Bama/UT.
26. Gamble on sports in Vegas.
27. See a World Cup, or World Cup Qualifier.
28. Visit the various Halls of Fame. If you make it to the Baseball HOF in Cooperstown, NY, I recommend checking out the Broadcaster's Wing. Everyone inducted has a nice picture of themselves in coat and tie, looking professional, except for Harry Caray, who is pictured shirtless and in mid-yell. I kid you not.
29. Spend a weekend celebrating the holiday of college football.
30. See a fight. Take this to mean anything you want. Boxing is probably the easiest to plan for, but if your luck is good, try to catch a bench-clearing brawl in baseball or basketball. Hockey fights can be great too, but they happen too frequently to qualify here. Bonus points if the fight takes place in a rec league or (even better) charity softball game. Saw a bench clearer at the Hoover Met. I don't remember who the Barons were playing, but it's one of the few times I've ever enjoyed baseball.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

So I've noticed that I've been walking around with the muscles in my left hand constricting into a weird claw randomly and it's got me worried that it could be a symptom of a weird, neurological disorder. Anyone know about stuff like that?
Losing my internet over the weekend is probably the worst thing that could have happened to my relationship with The Girl. I had managed to go a whole week without once playing NCAA 2006, but with no internet and nothing to do, I decided to take UAB on a rampage through the Big Ten (sorry Nicole, but the severest beating took place at Camp Randall) and it's rekindled my obsession. Now, via EDSBS, comes the news that I'll be spending July drooling on a PS2 controller and doing my best to remember to eat, shower, and go to work once NCAA 2007 hits.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

New link: The Highland Road Blog. Anyone who says their dream is to play tuba for Rebirth is okay in my book.

Take It to the Street? Chameleon? Tuba plays the bassline? Yes.

Seperated at Birth?

Does anyone know what "hoobastank" means? It's one of the worst names for a band ever, obviously, but I'm curious as to why they chose it since stank just doesn't belong in the title of anything meant to be enjoyed. I'm sure it's probably something dirty, but maybe it's just one of those harmless yet unfortunate titles like Otis Spunkmeyer...

SPUNK does not belong in the title of food that didn't come from an erotic bakery.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou

I saw this when it opened around Christmas 2004, but The Girl wanted to stay in and rent a movie Friday night instead of going to see Art School Confidential, so we went with this. Normally I wouldn't say anything about a movie I've seen before here, but since the first time around I had the same feelings that just about every reviewer had (namely that Anderson had gone as far as he could with the quirkiness and irony and was sliding into vanity) and the second viewing gave me a new appreciation (and because it's 3am and I can't sleep), here goes.

It's easy to look at this and think that Anderson was on auto-pilot during production; the quirkiness and characterizations are almost formulaic by now, but that's become part of the appeal. The only real criticism that can be leveled at Anderson is that he showed up at prom two years in a row with the same dress but, damn it, he still looks better in it than all the other girls.

Paying closer attention to Murray as Zissou was the key to unraveling the real beauty of the picture. Zissou is a perpetual adolescent oceanographer of dubious skill who funds his childish lifestyle and fascinations by making movies. He can be a spoiled brat; He always insists that things be done his way, pouts and retreats to a corner to smoke pot when it doesn't, and generally preens and showboats throughout the entire picture despite looking like a total buffoon at every turn. But he's also a leader, taking a group of "strays" and forging ahead from one adventure to the next while inspiring loyalty and confidence in his crew. In short, he's Wes Anderson.

Anderson's movies have all had a childlike fantasy quality to them. The sets and costumes are dated to the period of Anderson's childhood, despite the stories being set in modern times (look at the dates on the headstones in The Royal Tenenbaums if you don't believe me) and the visuals have an almost 2D, storybook feel to them (major points to The Girl for noticing and pointing that out). The themes that run through all of his films have focused on childhood, childishness, and the burden of growing up, especially when concerning the main or dominant character. Bottle Rocket centered around three young men who share a childish fantasy of a life crime. None of them want to grow up, all of them want something better, and in their immaturity becoming criminals is the only logical step to avoid having to get real jobs and live in the real world. Rushmore brings us Jason Schwartzman as Max Fischer, who Anderson also seems to have a lot in common with, a kid who's too smart for his own good and is constantly on the verge of failing out of school because he would rather focus on a plethora of disparate extra-curricular activities, including writing and producing his own plays, than his studies. He befriends some of his classmates' father (Bill Murray in the role that would set him on the road to being a serious actor) and subsequently engages him in constant oneupmanship for the affections of a teacher at the school. The Royal Tenenbaums focuses on a dysfunctional family who's patriarch abandons his wife and children in pursuit of his own interests while the children, once considered geniuses, languish in obscurity as their talent and drive are nullified by the passing years and the onset of adulthood.

Which brings us back to The Life Aquatic. While a lot of it can be seen as the same old same old, this time around Anderson shows more maturity in his scripting and characterizations. Murray's performance hits all the right notes, balancing precariously between his childlike wonder and fantasies and the burden of becoming an overgrown brat. Anderson himself, in interviews and DVD featurettes, comes off as the same kind of guy. Making movies is the ultimate method of putting off adulthood, and Anderson knows it. That's why he does it, and that's why his movies have that certain feeling to them. But at the same time it's a serious business and with his continued success and growing budgets he has to grow more and more responsible while still keeping that sense of childish wonder. I'm sure it's a burden to have to grow up while not growing up, and in Zissou we see that. The responsibilities and consequences of that life are clearer in this picture than in any of the others, and it gives it a more introspective feel and a sense that Anderson is growing inside of his own world. There's still plenty of Wes Anderson here, but, as the closing shot of Murray hoisting a young fan on his shoulders and carrying him along perfectly symbolizes, there is an older, wiser, and, sadly, wearier Wes Anderson supporting it.

Monday, May 15, 2006

You know I'm pissed when watching a fat kid cry can't cheer me up. So mostly I'm pissed because it was the Birmingham PD that pulled me over. I hate the Birmingham PD with a godly passion. As many dealings as we've had with them at work (break ins, parking issues, etc.) I can say that, without a doubt, it's a retard academy. Seriously, it's like all the idiots too stupid to be real police come to Birmingham to get a badge.

The jury has found you guilty of being a redneck, whitebread, chickenshit muthafucker...
On tonight's episode of "No Good Deed Goes Unpunished," our hero gets a bullshit traffic ticket for "running a stop sign" from Birmingham's finest after meeting Lee to hook him up with some boxes for his move. Seriously though, I know everyone bitches and moans about traffic tickets and how the cops singled them out, but this is a total bullshit ticket. I've gotten plenty of tickets for speeding that I totally deserved, but I am crazy about stopping for stop signs and I know damn well I came to a complete stop, looked both ways, and then pulled off. The guy knew it was a total bullshit call, too. I know when I'm being lied to, and when he said that I "ran right through it" then I knew he was just pulling me over so he could write a ticket. If he had said I rolled it then it would have still been crap, but at least I might have thought "well, he wasn't looking when I was stopped and thought my pulling off was me still rolling." But instead I get to be pissed off and pay the city a ridiculous amount (I haven't called yet, but I'm sure it will be in excess of $100). Seriously, I was planning on updating a bunch of stuff tonight, but after my cable people totally screwed me this morning and now this, I'm just too pissed.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Last week was unbelievably busy. The first 16 hour day rolled around to officially kick off "the busy season," and then a storm managed to fry my alarm clock, dvd player, and cable modem. The clock and dvd player have been replaced, but I won't have internet at home 'til tomorrow. Look for some good updates then. For now: