Friday, May 29, 2009

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

We Have Fence!

So, how was your holiday weekend? Mine was spent -- starting Friday night and ending Monday around 9 PM, building our massive fence. Here's some before/after snapshots. I should also note that ,my job was that of unskilled laborer. Carrying concrete, placing posts, etc. The actual layout and stringing was done by my neighbor. I am not that handy.










A view from the back of my house after poles were set but prior to the real work.










The right side of our land -- that's our neighbor's house (the goat story neighbors)











Monday night and the right side is done.











Monday night -- pic from the back. Our neighbor is going to keep horses in the back half.










Left side of the property; we still need to add the gates.

All in all, a great feeling getting that done over one long weekend.

After 3 years we now feel like we have a big yard rather than a house in the middle of a field.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Buffy Relaunch? This Must Be How the Trekkers Felt

I’ve been mocking the subset of Trekkers (note the differentiation between them and Trekkies) who’ve gone all apoplectic over the Star Trek relaunch. I mean like the new flick or not, I find it hard to stomach the notion that its existence somehow ruins the existing history, when said history is right there for the watching on any number of mediums.

Today, though, I have to eat my mockery (just a little bit, though) because my gut reaction to the following news is probably very similar to what these people felt when they heard Abrams was tapped to re-launch Trek: Vertigo Entertainment, along with the rights holders to Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Fran and Kaz Kuzui), intend to relaunch it in the hopes of establishing a new film franchise. Fran Kuzui was the director of the original crappy movie (which Kaz “developed” from whatever Whedon originally produced) and he’s tapped as the one to make make this one. Classic Buffy TV characters like Willow, Xander, and Giles are, evidently, not on the table and Whedon, up to this point, is not involved. (Linkage here.)

To say I hate the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie just as much as I adore most of the TV series would be an understatement. And yes, I know Whedon did author the original movie script, but whether the results of it are his brainchild or not, it was, quite simply, bad. (And for what it’s worth, the Wiki to which I linked above claims Whedon’s original vision for the movie was much compromised.)

In any case, as much as I think it’s unnecessary to relaunch Buffy at this time (the series hasn’t been gone that long and the Season 8 comic is going strong) I wouldn’t mind someday seeing a complete Buffy relaunch… that is if I had any faith that it would actually be good. But you combine the lack (so far) of Whedon and the presence of the two people most directly responsible for making the movie and there’s little reason to think whatever they produce is going to be worth the time or money it’ll take to go see it. This feels like a cash grab. Though, if the flick happens, see it I most likely will. I never said I had any integrity with regards to such matters.

Nonetheless, to quote Han Solo, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”

Oh and one last thing as long as it’s on topic. I got back around to re-watching Season 5 of Angel on DVD –which, so far and with a few episodes excepted, isn’t nearly as good as I remembered it- and I just got through watching the final episode to feature the character of Cordelia Chase. I’m continually amazed how much I grew to adore that character. She really turned out to be one of the great female heroines and her final episode got me all misty at multiple points despite the fact that the director/producer shamelessly had her leave the top three buttons of her shirt undone so her cleavage could make its own appearance…  in every. single. shot. Hey, I like tits as much as the next guy, but gimme a break.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

It’s Time for an Epic Star Trek Movie Round-up

Yee-haw!

…or something. Also, beware, here there be spoilers.

Over the last two weeks I’ve made a point of re-watching all the original Star Trek films that featured the original cast. No, Generations does not count. I also managed to catch an IMAX showing of the new Star Trek film (OMG! IMAX is teh shizzle!). I’ve included that flick in this list, which is ordered from worst to best.

In the midst of this, incidentally, my video projector’s dilithium-based drive system (a.k.a. a DLP color wheel) decided to fail causing a massive rip in the time-space continuum (i.e. – this is where Todd goes berserk), so I had to resort to watching the sixth movie on my 30” tube TV like some kind of hobo. (Yes, I’m being ironical with that statement.) But seriously, 94” diagonal down to 30”? That sucks.

Anyway, grab a chair and some coffee (and possibly a vomit bag and a gun loaded with a single bullet pending how you feel about these dissections of mine)…

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. Really, was there any doubt as to the all-time worst Star Trek movie? Even if you throw in the ones with the cast of The Next Generation this would still be worse than the abominations that were Nemesis or Insurrection. I still remember, as a kid,  opening the paper the night my dad was taking me to see the movie and seeing the headline for its review: “Fool’s Frontier.” I scoffed.

I was wrong. That title about sums it up.

Upon this re-viewing I initially had hope that the passage of time would reveal a passable movie. It didn’t. The opening scene in which we are introduced to Spock’s brother (whose name escapes me) is, sadly, probably the best part of the film. It introduces an interesting character with an interesting twist (an emotional Vulcan with empathetic super powers) and said character has a master plan of dubious intent. Rock on. Then we move to a scene in which Kirk is climbing a ridiculously high and steep rock wall with no safety gear of any kind and he, of course, falls and must be rescued by Spock, who is wearing what are surely Syndrome-designed rocket boots. Kirk’s explanation for this idiocy? “Even as I fell I knew I wouldn’t die. I’ve always known I would die alone.” This is the film attempting to be deep. It failed. Follow that up a minute later with Kirk, Spock and McCoy singing Row, Row, Row Your Boat around a campfire and you know a mere 10 minutes into the film that it’s time to head for the exits. What follows is just pure, liquid misery that is so bad that I simply should not go on… but I will.

The pacing is terrible, the dialog (especially for the Klingon villain) is the worst kind of cliche tripe and the notion that Starfleet officers will mutiny to follow a deranged emotional Vulcan to the center of the galaxy (the Great Barrier? Really? Jesus.) just because he “took my pain away,” is a concept so laughably bad that I’m honestly amazed it –even by Hollywood’s standards- was ever greenlit in the first place. And don’t even get me started on what they do with the starship Enterprise itself. If you haven’t seen this movie, consider yourself lucky.

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Two movies into this list and we have what will surely be the first controversial placement. Yes, I know a lot of people love this movie. I am not one of them. This is another one that, upon rewatching, I expected to end up thinking better of. Not so much. Now, hear me out. I do think there is some good stuff in this film. The concept is great. The themes of overcoming past prejudices is fertile ground for a Star Trek film to explore. I love the scene in the council room at the beginning between Kirk and Spock. I get that stuff and I like that stuff. But the rest of the film is just awful. First of all, I hate, hate, hate Kim Cattrall’s performance as a Vulcan turncoat. I am told that in the original draft the character was supposed to be Lt. Saavik, but that Cattrall didn’t want to be the third actress cast in the part. The character, and the movie, would’ve been far more interesting had it been Saavik, but ultimately she was just a horrible casting choice no matter what her character’s name is.

Beyond that, the characterizations for the rest of the cast is too frequently miserable to give this movie any kind of fair shake. Seriously, at what point did we decide Scotty was only good for comic relief? Ha, ha! He has a funny accent, let’s make him hopelessly dim and klutzy. Fuck that.

All those amateur detective shenanigans onboard the Enterprise after Kirk is arrested by the Klingons would’ve been cool if the dialog hadn’t been so god-awful throughout. Also there’s serious timeline issues that just bug me. Kirk and McCoy are arrested, put on trial, sentenced and transported to a prison world in what? Does even 48 hours elapse?

Finally, there’s the whole ship that can fire while cloaked. Bugger that. Spock and McCoy’s half-assed “surgery” on a magic torpedo just made me want to cry as did the torp’s meandering flight to its target. Could we please just have an honest to goodness space battle between big ships? Also, if I ever have to hear a Klingon quoting Shakespeare again I may just drop into instant convulsions.

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. Alright, I know that there is stuff in this movie that is every bit as bad as the worst of Undiscovered Country. And, to be honest, I used to hate this movie. I thought it was bar none the second worst Trek film (behind the fifth one). This one, in my eyes, time has saved. It’s flawed, but I can’t help but like it.

To be sure, there’s a lot of really hinky science with the Genesis planet and its affect on Spock’s shell that is best just not thought about. Kirk’s lamentations about his son while on the bridge of the Enterprise is also cringe worthy. (“Klingon bastard!”) I don’t care.

The whole first 45 minutes of the film is a worthy continuation of Star Trek II. Enterprise plodding its way home. Kirk’s scene with Sarek. McCoy’s bar scene is hilarious, as is the scene in which he’s sprung form a Federation holding cell. (The sound effects on the sabotaged Excelsior, however, are a nightmare.) The battle scene between Enterprise and bird of prey is too low budget to be visually memorable, but it’s a great back and forth and shows two competent starship captains matching wits, which is more than can be said for the final battle in The Undiscovered Country.

I like this movie.

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. I used to have a lot of love for this film. I still do. But there’s no denying that I didn’t enjoy it this time around nearly as much as I expected to. It gets the nod ahead of Search for Spock mostly because that movie still has too much awful in it and this one is just so damned funny. (“Spock, where the hell is the power you promised? / One damn minute, Admiral.”) The problems are two-fold. One, the whole save the whales premise is just not something I think belongs tied to a Star Trek film. It’s a fun effort, but no. Just no. Two, as great as it is at points, they went overboard with the comedy. Trek can and should be fun and lighthearted, but there’s a line between humor and just silly silliness and this film crosses it a few times, especially where some of Chekov’s scenes are concerned. This is underscored by the inane soundtrack that would’ve been much more at home in an actual comedy, like “Planes, Trains and Automobiles.” (Awesome sound editing, that.)

Still, Spock mind-melding with a whale? Kirk’s “pocket pager?” “I think he did a little too much LDS.” “Double dumbass on you!” “Dialysis? What is this the dark ages?” I may want to mock these things, but they end up putting a smile on my face every time. Plus, at the end, Kirk gets busted back down to Captain and there’s a nice scene between Spock and Sarek. This remains an enjoyable, fun movie that made the most of what was clearly a limited budget.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture. I know. It’s boring. It really is. I can’t deny that. Doesn’t matter. This is what Star Trek on the big screen should look like (only with the crimson uniforms from the rest of the movies). It’s a movie that takes its time, explores its characters and lets them breath a little, has at least a casual nod to hard science behind it, and has no real villain. Spock and Kirk undergo personal journeys. McCoy is exactly the kind of foil he should be. Scotty isn’t a dumbass. And even if they spent way too much time showing us their jaw-dropping (for the time) special effects, VGER is just an awesome “character.” It’s not a movie that can be watched over and over again, but it’s a good film that deserves more respect than it gets. 

Star Trek: The New Hotness. (Sorry, it needs a subtitle.) I reserve the right, upon subsequent viewings, to move this one down the list, but right now, it edges into place as #2. Don’t mistake this as an endorsement from me that this was remotely a perfect film. It’s not. The science in it, in particular, is as much a paper thin disaster as the behavior of the Genesis planet in The Search for Spock. Seriously, just don’t think about it. It will only end in tears.

There’s a scene on an ice planet that is pointless and just not well thought out at all and there are various other issues that strain credibility, like how the cast ends up getting into their respective positions on the Enterprise by film’s end. (Admittedly, a tough feat to convincingly pull off.) Also, the movie just moves too damned quick. I know we’ll never get anything as plodding as The Motion Picture again, nor would I want that, but there’s a happy medium out there that isn’t consistently struck here. Case in point, the final scene between old and young Spock begs for the camera and the actors to just take their time. Instead it’s a lot of hard cuts after each hastily delivered line of dialog and it robs the moment of some of the real impact it could’ve had.

There is a lot to which you must turn a blind eye. But unlike, say, The Undiscovered Country, this was a film for which I was happy to turn the other cheek.  The simple fact of the matter is that this film is fun. It got my first smile just a few minutes in and I’ll be damned if my goofy grin didn’t hang in there through most of the rest of the film.

Not everyone will like the notion of Jim Kirk as egotistical douchebag, but I thought Chris Pine’s Kirk was great. He’s the smartest fucking guy in the room and he knows it. You don’t have to like his attitude to follow him, you just have to know that he’s twelve steps ahead of you and that he’s here to help. Not everyone will like Spock as emotional roller coaster, but I think that’s exactly what you need from a half-human young Spock put in the situations he’s placed. He’s far more interesting this way. Karl Urban as McCoy is McCoy. All the hype is 100% dead-on balls accurate. He’s simply perfect. Simon Pegg’s Scotty is still there too much for comic relief, but at least this Scotty is once again frigg’n brilliant. I’m calling that a win. I like the actress for Uhura (name?) and I’m glad her character finally got some legitimate screen time, but I would’ve preferred that more of that time went to showing her as exemplary officer instead of being the supportive girlfriend to one of the other characters. The villain, Nero, as seen in the film, is a bit weak. But, if you read the comic book prequel, Countdown, you’ll get much more background on him that makes him, his crew and his ship much more satisfying.

Then, there’s Leonard Nimoy’s role. He’s just great. This guy has always deserved a better rep as a great actor. (One of the things that has stuck out to me while re-watching the movies.) And he brings this wonderful chemistry to the screen with Pine’s Kirk and Quinto’s Spock. It’s just plane fun to watch. And, really, there seems like there’s great chemistry between everyone in the cast. The notion that we could get to see a new telling of the forging of the bond of friendship between this Kirk and this Spock is really enthralling. It was, in a way, not unlike watching Heath Ledger’s Joker, I simply could not get enough of those two being on-screen together.

I do love that they’re taking advantage of this reboot to really muck with the status quo. I’ll avoid further spoilers here, but they do something to the galaxy in this movie that is truly status quo changing, and no, I’m not talking about the fate of Kirk’s daddy. There’s lots of questions being asked about where it goes from here. Do they, for example, bring back the Kahn storyline? I think that would be a catastrophic mistake. You’ve got a fresh start here and an opportunity for a younger generation to have “their” version of these beloved characters. Unlike some, I don’t have any problem with that. The original Trek is still out there (on Blu-ray, no less!). It’s not going to disappear. I don’t see the harm in embracing a new take, so long as they continue down new paths, as they’ve done here. There are implications to the events that occur in this film that need to be explored. Doing so would make for a much more interesting sequel than retreading old ground with new actors. Paramount, Abrams and company must not waste this new beginning.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn. Was there any doubt as to this film’s status as the single greatest Trek story ever told? Every time I watch it I wonder going in if I’m still going to think that it’s as good as what I remember and every time it’s better. Every single time. This is just a perfect Star Trek film. It’s non-stop vintage character moments from beginning to end, it’s got wonderful ship-to-ship combat with starship captains that are genuinely playing a high-stakes game of chess. The stuff in the Genesis cave. Everything from the big death to the scenes that follow it; the scene between Kirk and David, in particular. I really don’t even know what to write about this flick because anything more I could write would just be more gushing. I honestly have no complaints about this film, except, possibly, that it’s not six hours long. So, instead, I’ll just throw some of my favorite moments out there…

“I’m not a drama critic.”

“This is not about age, and you know it. It’s about you flying a goddam computer console when you want to be out there hopping galaxies.”

“You are my superior officer. You are also my friend. I have been, and always shall be yours.”

“According to myth the Earth was created in six days. Now, watch out! Here comes Genesis! We’ll do it for ya in six minutes!”

“I did nothing! Except get caught with my britches down.”

“A rescue may be possible, in two days. By the book, Admiral.”

“Suppose they went nowhere? / Then this will be your big chance to get away from it all.”

“Khan!!!!!!!”

“Can I cook, or can’t I?”

“I don’t believe in the no-win scenario.”

“I exaggerated.”

“The energizers are bypassed like a Christmas tree, so don’t give me too many bumps.”

“He’s intelligent, but not experienced. His pattern indicates two-dimensional thinking.”

“Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels… his was the most… human.”

"Also that I’m proud, very proud, to be your son.”

“It’s something Spock was trying to tell me, on my birthday.”

Seriously, I could go on all day with this stuff.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Mallard Invasion

So, ducks.

If you read this blog from time to time you know that I moved to the country about 3 years ago after growing up in classic USA suburbia, going to college in the city known as the OSU campus and then moving to upper Columbus to what could only be described as "a place not terribly safe to live."

So moving out to basically the middle of nowhere was something I was all for. And I still am -- I love it out here. Todd's been here on many occasions and he can attest to two things:
  • We're in the sticks
  • It's quiet
Two things that I absolutely demanded when we decided to move and that my wife wholeheartedly agreed with -- as long as we could find a good school system, we were leaving city/burb life. We have well water with a $3,000 softener system so we can drink the stuff, a leech bed and about 2 1/2 acres of land with horses behind us and on our flanks and now we have two bulls, yes bulls, living across the street.

Did you know bulls are loud? These things are always pissed about something and they let out this moaning roar...sometimes at 3 AM. But at 3 Am would I rather hear a pissy longhorn or semi automatic gunfire and search choppers?

I'll take the bull.

This life is not for everyone, believe me, but I really enjoy living where I can see the stars (really see the stars), listen to animals being animals, and the only home invasion I need to worry about is via raccoon.

We're still country novices. I still hate the music so I'm not fully indoctrinated. We have a garden that bats about .500 on actually producing anything, and we still don't have many animals. Just the two dogs. But the fence, which we start doing tonight, may lead the way to having more animals around.

My neighbors have oodles of animals of all shapes and sizes -- including about 100 ducks who live on their pond. Well, this spring a mama mallard decided to make her nest right underneath our front window in our flower garden. One day I was outside pulling some weeds and ...hey -- a duck!

So we let her nest there for the full 26 days and 2 days ago I was outside about half awake checking to see if the frost had decimated our annuals and the mama duck waddles right past me. Being out here -- I'm still not used to that. But the ducklings were hatched and huddled in a corner. About 12 of them.

Cute little buggers.

Judy, our neighbor, always collects the ducks because if she lets them follow the mom they are sure to die from hawk attack, snakes, etc. Of the 12 ducks 2 may survive, so they always raise them in a safehouse (barn) until they can manage on their own. Well, they have 100 ducks already so I was asked if Ashley would like to raise them in our garage.

It was at this point that hilarity ensued....

More on that later. I need to get to work.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Another Reason Why ESPN Sucks

It should be no secret or shouldn't be any huge stretch of the imagination to proclaim that ESPN is a cess pit of sports journalism.

There are a myriad of reasons for this from shows like The Sports Reporters (which used to be at least semi-watchable when Schaap hosted it) and Around the Horn (which has never been watchable and is the equivalent of a sports version of The National Enquirer).

ESPN, I would argue, has done more harm to the world of sports than it has done good -- especially in the last 10 years when t he network decided it was bigger than the events it was trying to cover.

And now they keep slapping Pat Forde, their college football writer, on the Thoroughbred racing beat. Why? Um..well I have no earthly idea.

But if you watched the Preakness yesterday you saw something special -- Rachel Alexandra is a brute. A freak of the sport. 3 year old fillies rarely do that. I still think this year's Triple Crown field is terribly weak but all a horse can do is beat who's in the race.

Anyway back to Forde.

Everyone latched onto the whole "Borel on the rail" mantra from the Derby.

"Calvin loves the rail!

"How did he DO that?"

It's like no other jock tries to save ground -- only Calvin.

Case in point is today's article from Forde where he blithely says, "

But he came charging in the middle of the track under replacement jock Mike Smith this time, not saving ground on the rail under Borel as he did in an unforgettable Derby trip.

That change in path proved to be the history-making difference. Mine That Bird was too late, losing by a length.

If Borel were on Mine That Bird, we might be talking about a Triple Crown bid. Instead, we're talking about a Calvin Crown bid.

If Borel could have ridden both horses, we likely would have had a photo finish.
This is stupid -- no -- ignorant -- on a variety of levels. Forde makes Smith sound like an 18 year old apprentice jockey -- he's a Hall of Fame rider, Pat.

Borel saved ground in the Derby because other tiring horses started to 'float' -- it was a gutsy (and dangerous) move but the hole was there and Calvin ran through it. It wasn't like Borel had a megaphone and told the other jockeys to make a hole so he could run Mine That Bird through it. Believe it or not, Calvin Borel is not the only jock that knows "the shortest path to the wire is on the fence." Those other guys -- they're pretty good, too.

Now watch the Preakness and Smith comes in about 4-5 wide at the top of the lane. The novice fan (or reporter) will immediately assume that this is what cost Mine That Bird the 2nd jewel of the Triple Crown.

But that's not true.

Smith rode a suspect ride but not because he wasn't glued to the rail but because he allowed his horse to get bottled up -- steadying him on the far turn, losing his momentum and causing Mine That Bird to slow down and have to get back in gear again -- a tough chore at the top of the stretch in the Preakness.

Could Borel have stuck to the rail and pulled another Derby miracle? Nope. The rail wasn't open.
It just wasn't there. Borel isn't Moses. And horses win ...all the damn time coming out of the turn 2, 3, 4 or even 5 wide. But rarely can a horse steady or check when they are in full gear and be forced to get back into stride and catch a speed bullet like Rachel Alexandra.

But to say that if Borel had been on Mine That Bird that he would have won is so blatantly silly that it once again makes the Worldwide Leader look like the cheap suit that it is.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

UFC 2009

We've got an early review up today for THQ's UFC game. Might be worth checking out if for no other reason than to bash Billy Baroo and Todd.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Fallout 3 Broken Steel Guide

Brandon wraps up Fallout 3. Finally.

What is This?

I have no idea what's going on with NCAA 10.

Does this get you excited? At all? I still have no earthly idea what the theme is for this year's game. I know what Madden's is. But what is NCAA trying to be?

To be fair, this Dynasty post is better in the info dept even though I dunno what I think about this:
Team Prestige is now a much bigger factor in Progression; the quality of your team will influence how fast your players gain attributes.
Is this across the board? Is it still possible for a small school to development a great player? I hope so.

The problem with NCAA's recruiting in terms of player progression is tied to two things:

First, there are too many elite (5 star) recruits which looks to be fixed. BUT the biggest issue is this : these 5 star recruits all turn out to be great players. It made recruiting an exercise in simply getting every 4/5 star guy you could get. Playing with OSU Mo Wells always ends up being a low 90s rated player. Mo Wells wasn't a very good back, though. But he was a big recruit so...he's gotta be good, right?

To have an effective recruiting model you absolutely need to be able to have these two scenarios: and since I'm the Buckeye fan of this here blog I'll use OSU players as examples.

First, there's a 3 star Linebacker recruit from the 2002 class named AJ Hawk.

AJ Hawk was one of the best college linebackers I have ever seen in my life. Ever. And yes, Hawk was a 3 star recruit who was basically ignored by every other Big10 school.

Nick Mangold was an All American center drafted by the Jets. Mangold was a 1 star afterthought recruit for OSU but was an absolute beast in the middle.

On the flip side...

There's QB Rob Schoenhoft.

He was a 4 star Elite 11 QB from Cincy, who transferred because his accuracy was all over the map and now plays at Delaware. OSU even toyed with moving him to Tight End...

Or how about Jamario O'Neal? O'Neal was a 5 star CAN'T MISS recruit for OSU. An amazingly gifted athlete who came from the football factory at Glenville -- the same school that produced Troy Smith, Ted Ginn, and many others. O"Neal was rated the #3 DB prospect in the nation and was the jewel of the 2005 class.

O'Neal just played out his eligibility this past year, and barely played at all his junior and senior seasons except as a special teamer. He simply wasn't good enough. O'Neal was a good kid, and his teammates rooted for him but his 5 star elite status was way, way, way overblown by the scout services. It happens. For every Ginn there's an O'Neal. There needs to be this level of uncertainty in recruiting.

An old coach once said that it's not missing out on good players that can kill a program, it's signing the kids who don't end up being that good that brings you down.

There are a lot of Jamario O'Neals in the college football world -- but they aren't in NCAA 09.

Will they be in 10? I guess we'll see soon enough.

I Forgot...

Just how insane doing the entire E3 schedule can be.

Sorry I have been neglecting the blog this week -- but I've been slammed with working the E3 schedule and by the time I'm done I just want to step away from the computer and start building our fence. This is the first time in years that I have had to do all of the scheduling. Great fun.

Ironic thing is, I do have some stuff I want to talk about, like how awesome Plants vs. Zombies is, an update on the maniacal vet from the goat story, and my complete inability to effectively play Left 4 Dead in Versus mode.

I'm also still actually working out HOW I plan on covering E3 this year.

The GameShark.com readers are an interesting lot.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Blood Bowl = No StarForce

In what seems to be confirmed news, Blood Bowl on the PC will not be using StarForce Copy Protection.

And there was much rejoicing.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Trees!

Well, we just keep spending money like we have it or something.

You know about the $3500 fence. I'll post pics when it's up (a couple of weeks).

Well, today we went back to Fackler's and bought a Red Horse Chestnut tree and a Red Oak -- which will grow to be as tall as the Sears Tower. (Ok, well, either that or 60-70 feet.) We need trees in our back lot as the wind is just devastating in the winter. And we need some shade help in the summer. This was all part of the deal when we decidesd to build a house in the middle of what was a corn field.

But those two trees plus delivery and installation (doing this myself in clay soil..um, no) has run us another $700.

Yikes.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Star Trek: Food for Thought

There’s, of course, two metric tons of Star Trek reviews floating around the past week or two. Ain’t It Cool News has had a plethora of them. (Or was that pinatas?) But this one, from a gent who goes by Merrick, is a particularly great read as it’s from the perspective of someone who is truly a hardcore trekker.

I glanced around the theater, eavesdropping on numerous conversations of a similar nature. It was in this instant that I realized something had happened which I'd never before experienced in the franchise's long history. Abrams and his gang have accomplished what even STAR TREK's own creator could not - they've fashioned a STAR TREK for everyone. Young and old, newbie and veteran. A STAR TREK for fans of action, lovers of drama, and folks just looking to kill two hours on a hot Summer afternoon.

Part of me is sad to see the TREK I once knew go the way of the dinosaurs, and it does sting a little to see all that I loved morph into something so different. But a bigger part of me feels certain this is what TREK should've been for a long time now, and begrudgingly realizes that this is what I've always wanted TREK to be...even if I couldn't articulate as much over the years.

So on this day, when Geeks far and wide are holding their breath...waiting to see what fate has in store for the good ship Enterprise...and preparing to assimilate newly minted nerds into their ranks...I guess I'm saying "goodbye" to STAR TREK in a way, while at the very same time offering an unconditional, and enthusiastic, "hello"

Note that I am a fan, but I am far removed from the hardcore. I own TNG and most of the movies on DVD, but I’m not obsessive about them… except for Khan of course. That movie rocks my world every time. But I digress. My point is that it’s so, so encouraging to read this kind of perspective about the flick. I don’t think I’ll be getting out to see it this weekend, but I will have by the end of next week fo sho.

As a further side note, I sat down last night to watch the original Motion Picture. I know people think that is one boring ass movie, but I genuinely like it. There’s lots of effects porn over the starships and VGER that goes on for way too long, but I love the character interaction and the final revelation at the end. Also, one of Kirk’s final lines, “Correction. They’re not casualties… List them as missing.” Great moment.

Anyway, the cool bit last night was that about ten minutes after I started it Kyle comes bounding out to say he can’t sleep (something he does every single night now). Usually I send him packing, but on this particular night I let him lie down on the couch with me. I mean he’s four and it’s Star Trek (and the movie is G-rated, after all). It’s time. And I’ll be damned if the kid didn’t just sit there completely transfixed for about 90 minutes or so before deciding to retire back to his bed. He was in absolute awe of all those shots of the Enterprise in space dock, especially it’s departure and the first time it goes into warp. It was a great moment for me as a father. My son’s first exposure to Trek. No, he surely didn’t get much of it, but when I asked this morning if he liked the movie and watching all those big spaceships he got a big smile on his face and was like, “Yep!”

That’s my boy.

More Lawsuit news: This time -- it's NCAA Football

Say it ain't so?

Sort of a dick move, eh?

Lord British Files Suit

Oh man...this is not going to end well.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I’m Getting Really Sick of the NHL’s… (NSFW)

Alright, I said I was on a break, but when shit like this happens, something must be said. Even if it has no force or effect whatsoever.

It should go without saying this post is not work safe.

Here’s the thing. I can handle things. I make my jokes. Tell my long-winded stories. Support indefensible positions, like throwing octopi on the ice during stoppages of playoff games. But at the end of the day I consider myself a reasonable guy. The Lions went 0-16 last season for god’s sake. Did I pop a cork? No. I sighed, drank a lot, kissed my $200 to DirecTV goodbye and moved on. (Though, I still hate you, DirecTV, for not offering me refund. Man up, chuckleheads.)

This, though… can someone please explain to me why I should ever watch another NHL game again after watching this?

If you didn’t watch the video, what you didn’t see was a game tying Red Wings goal being waved off in the final minute because the ref intended to blow his whistle before the puck crossed the goal line. Again, I say INTENDED to blow his whistle. You watch the video. The whistle sounds after the puck crossed the line. Nevermind the fact that the jackass never should’ve blown his whistle in the first place. Oh, and why is there no replay rule for this? I’ll tell you why. Because it’s the NHL.

To be fair –but only for a second- here’s the NHL position on this bullshit:

“First off, as any of us watch on a replay, it’s easy to make the correct call. In the case tonight, the official was down along the goal line. He was moving forward toward the net to try to get a look at where the puck was. When he couldn’t see the puck, all referees’ instructions are to blow the whistle and blow the play dead. A combination of the black puck and the black pants may have been a factor. But when he didn’t see the puck, he blew the whistle.”

Um. No. Well, I mean yes, if the puck is buried under the goalie (hence you can’t see it) you are supposed to blow the whistle. I get that. I do. But the fucking puck WASN’T under the fucking goalie. You can’t claim black puck, black pants when the puck was on the ice next to the goalie. It was right there in the motherfucking crease you horde of mindless Bettman automatons! Use your fucking eyes!

I swear to god, the NHL can just go suck it. I’m tired of this. I’ve put up with years of watching lost playoff games in which the team for which I root has hopelessly outclassed its competition only to lose in OT (or double OT, or triple OT) to a hot goalie and some bad bounces. It’s sports. It’s hockey. It happens. I’ve put up with the Wings being saddled in the Western Conference and continually having west coast playoff games starting at 10:30 at night and ending slightly before dawn. But I will be goddamned if I’m going to fucking kill myself staying up to the wee hours of the morning to watch games like this, see a huge call get blown about as badly as a call can be blown and then have the league say anything other than:

“We sincerely apologize. We blew the call.”

I mean just say that for the love of Christ. Bad calls, as horribly inane as they may be, happen in sports. It’s the cost of doing business and, given time, reasonable fans can let that sort of thing go. But do not defend the indefensible. Mr. Bettman, your official fucked up. You, your chief of officiating, and the official in question should each stand in front of a camera and say exactly that, apologize and then we can move on. Any other response deserves a firm, "(blankety, blankety, blank)." Period. End of story. End of debate.

NHL? You are not only on my On Notice list, you’re going straight to the f’ing top of it. Congrats! (Yes, I have edited a couple of curses out of the last two paragraphs. Even for me that was overdoing it a bit.) 

Was that too much?

Doesn’t matter. I feel soooooo much better now.

Plants vs. Zombies

I think I really need to play this.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Endings and Beginnings

I’ve been making a lot of posts here regarding my lack of posting of late. Time to come clean a bit. My marriage has been on the rocks for a long time now, but the past month in particular has seen the tank run dry. Yesterday we decided it was time to take the rings off. It wasn’t even an argument, just an acknowledgement of reality. Obviously, I’m not going into details here. Suffice it to say that there’s plenty of blame to spread around. Ultimately it comes down to the notion that we just didn’t fit anymore and haven’t for a long time. As hard as it is right now, there’s no doubt in my mind that, long term, this will be best for both of us (and for our kids).

In the meantime, there’s lots of details to sort out. I’m not abandoning blogging here by any stretch, but I don’t anticipate posting much, if at all, this week. Hopefully next week I’ll be in a better state of mind, but ultimately I’m gonna take it week-by-week for awhile. I will be back posting here regularly once I get my feet back under me and start doing things again that are actually fun to write about. Surely the upcoming release of the new Star Trek movie will provide some fodder. Goddam am I looking forward to that. In any case, even in a worst case scenario, I plan to be back in some kind of blogging groove by the time E3 comes around the first week of June. (I am well and truly excited about making this trip!) In the meantime, you’ve got Bill to kick around.

And because I hate to leave anyone reading on a down note, and because it’s been way, way too long (months even?) since I embedded it…

Friday, May 1, 2009

Um.

No words.

This is Absolutely Brilliant

As I have said here before, if you aren't a Club Trillion reader, you ought to be.

Mark's blog is required reading for me and this latest antic is just classic.

The NBA actually told Mark Titus to remove his name from NBA Draft consideration. Folks, that's infamy. Think the NBA takes itself a bit too seriously?

Nah.

GTA Chinatown Wars

Brandon's guide to 100% completion for GTA Chinatown Wars is live today. I should play this, methinks.