Friday, July 29, 2011

Leaving Legacies

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

Okay… I need to get something off my chest real quick. Amy Winehouse died last week at the age of 27. It’s absolutely tragic. However, if you’re surprised about this… you are a f**king moron. Oh… and if you don’t know, Amy is a singer who shot to popularity a few years ago with a few hits… that basically said that she was never going to quit doing drugs… but in a passionate soulful voice… and yeah, I like some of her music… but was it really something out of the ordinary? Adele sounds almost identical… and about a dozen others out there without even looking too hard. However, she was famous for her enormous drug addiction & stint in rehab, rocker lifestyle, you know the drill. The autopsy being inconclusive… I’m pretty sure that the government wasn’t out to kill Amy Winehouse for any reason other than they were tired of hearing about her (Now Biggie & 2Pac, I’m not going to even get into again). So what killed her? I’m not much of a betting man… but I’d bet just about everything I own & whatever I can get on loan on drug overdose leading to cardiac arrest. Like I said, it’s a truly tragic story as she had a lot of talent… but when I hear her mentioned in the same breath as other artists who died at 27 like Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, and the list goes on… and talking about what the world would be like if they were still around… I just have to stop you right there. Allow me to explain.

Amy & Janis probably wouldn’t have gotten along if they weren’t separated by two generations. Why? Because they were so much alike. A few hit records, gritty soulful voices, mythical amounts of drugs, bad relationships, personal issues, both dead at 27 when their careers were taking off. What did they die of? You guessed it – drugs. Jimi Hendrix? He revolutionized rock & roll by playing the guitar like it was a percussion instrument & had a sound that has yet to be duplicated. Technically, he only had one Top 20 hit (google it) but he’s a rock GOD!!! Beyond Amy & Janis of course. What did he die of? Probably a drug overdose while he was balls deep in your grandma & your mother. Jim Morrison? The Doors were another major player in rock & roll with a combination of their unique sound & Jim’s lyrics… and of course his pretty boy image basically creating a perfect storm in the rock scene. What did he die of? Life finally caught up with him… and there’s still some mystery… but again, I’m guessing drugs… possibly balls deep in a French woman. Kurt Cobain? The man who is credited as king of the Seattle Sound / Grunge, again great new sound & lyrics that were both deep & ridiculous at the same time. What did he die of? He punched his own ticket out with a shotgun to the dome. Why? To be the next Van Gogh? Hemingway? Of course not… he was married to Courtney Love. I would’ve punched my own ticket too. Oh & I’m sure drugs were involved too. Do you sense a bit of a theme? Drugs are bad. Unless you want to have you midlife crisis before your 14th birthday, just don’t do them… especially in epic quantities while on tour. Okay… so just now that I differentiated the class of 27 year old dead rockers… allow me to further elaborate on another point.

What would the world be like if they didn’t die at 27? Well… I’m going to probably burst your bubble a bit. The world would probably be EXACTLY the same… except for a few things. Did rock & roll bring down the Berlin Wall? Regardless of what the Hoff might think, not really. It certainly wasn’t the work of the Rolling Stones or anything. So what would be different? Well, Jimi, Jim, & Janis would be approaching their 70’s… and my guess is that they wouldn’t be doing it gracefully (think Keith Richards & Ozzy). Would they still be dropping albums? They might still be touring. Hell, the Stones, the Beach Boys, Smokey Robinson, Eric Clapton, they’re all still going. I’m checking out Steve Miller Band this weekend (though they were over a decade later than these guys). Kurt would be in his 40’s… I mean… I’ve mentioned before thinking about Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Elvis & all of these iconic figures and what they would be if they were still alive. Obviously the reality probably wouldn’t live up to the lasting image. However, don’t you think that Priscilla & Lisa Marie might have preferred having their now morbidly obese Elvis in their life to play with the grandkids than you keeping your image of the hip swinger at the Heartbreak Hotel? I don’t know… maybe it’s just me. We’ve all got our roles in this crazy game called Life… but like I said, there are lessons to be learned.

We all want to be remembered... for whatever reasons, preferably good ones. We all want to have a Legacy, our own little fingerprint on the world of the future... or at least for a few generations. Art, sculpture, the written word, these things are probably the most timeless that will be remembered long after your body rots away. Then again, in any given moment, none of that could influence you like a gentle touch, a kind word, perhaps a recollection of something you said years earlier, even random happenstance. The teaching of the Bible saying though shalt not steal may be forgotten if your family is starving. So what do we do? How are we remembered? My advice... don't worry about it. Live a good life, help others when they need it, teach through example, make smart decisions for the right reasons, make people happy, find what makes you happy, don't waste your time but take time to relax, and if along the way you find something your passionate about... then f**king go for it. Go for your dreams. Go all in if you must. Balls deep. You know... it's your Life, do what you want... but just remember that others care about you. These are just my suggestions. Legacy? Recognition? Glory? Jedi craves not these things. Besides, I already missed my window to go out in a blaze when I'm 27... but be damn sure that I'm keeping a close eye on Bubbles' crazy ass this next year.

Again, I have to emphasize that I’m not dissing on Amy or anybody else mentioned above (except maybe Courtney Love) because they all had talent & their deaths are tragic… but romanticizing their lives isn’t going to bring them back or save future generations of “too much too fast” rockers from repeating their actions. Just keep it real. There are lessons to be learned from these events. RIP Miss Winehouse!!!

Speaking of dreams, I saw a few movies the past few days that are kind of related. Have you ever seen the 1980's movie "Dreamscape" starring Dennis Quaid, Max Van Sydow & Christopher Plummer? No? Have you seen "Inception"? Cuz they're kinda similar. Basically, a psychic (Quaid) is recruited by an agency working with the government that has developed technology that can insert people into other people's dreams. However, the technology may be being utilized for evil purposes... and the President of the United States' life may be in jeopardy because of it. (Dun dun duuuh) Can the psychic save the day? All in all, the movie was pretty good... except the special effects were... pretty ridiculous... but you can blame it on the 80's. If you liked "Inception" then I'd say check it out.

Next up was "Sucker Punch" starring Emily Browning, Scott Glenn, Carla Gugino, Vanessa Hudgens and from director Zach Snyder ("300" & "Watchmen"). This is an adaptation of a graphic novel so it's going to seem cartoony... but that's kind of the point, right? A young woman named Baby Doll (Browning) is thrown into an asylum after a violent dispute with her stepfather left her little sister dead (his word vs. hers). There she meets up with four other girls... and then the lines of reality get REALLY fuzzy. While seated for a frontal lobotomy, she kind of goes into a daydream... where now she's apparently in a depression era speakeasy burlesque show kind of thing... and a prisoner there to some ruthless gangster types. However, she's on an epic journey within her mind to find a way out of the life & get free... with the help of her friends. It's kind of hard to explain... but yeah, there's a lot of dreaming & teleporting between realities in this one... but I actually kind of liked it. Nobody's going to win any awards really... but it's visually striking, great soundtrack (typical new artists doing covers of classics that you expect from Snyder movies), and it's really just for show. Besides... the lasting image from this movie isn't really the brilliant images... but the idea that we make our own reality. We choose how to perceive the outside world. If we think the world is beautiful and just, then it is. If we think it's a horrible sess pool, then it is. We control how we react to everything about this world and within our minds. It's actually a pretty amazing power. I don't want to get off on a Tony Robbins rant or anything... but it's absolutely true. You can basically make anything real if you just think of hard enough & put forth the effort. Anyway, enough about Baby Doll...

Baby Name Update - Jacob, Ethan and Michael were the top boy names in 2010, while Isabella, Sophia and Emma were favorites for girls but celebrities are exerting a big influence of what parents chose to name their newborns… and that scares the hell out of me. An analysis of 23 million page views of individual baby name pages on a baby names website shows that celebrities have a big impact on name selections. "Five years ago, I might have said that the biggest overarching factor was personal meaning, now the biggest factor is celebrities," said Pam Satran, the developer of the website. She added that the number of searches for a particular baby name is a good indicator of how people will behave when the time comes to actually name their child, as opposed to data from the U.S. Social Security Administration, which tracks the numbers of babies with a particular name (which would be a REAL number you could base something like this on). The name Pippa, she explained, came to sudden prominence after Pippa Middleton caught the world's attention when she was the maid of honor at the wedding of her sister Kate to Prince William in April. Little know fact: Her fully name is Pippa Potamus Longstocking-Middleton. Okay, that’s a lie… I think. "She seems to have the power of celebrity propelling her name and style," Satran added. Other unusual names also seem to have a celebrity link. Elula, the name of the daughter of actress Isla Fisher and actor-comedian Sasha Baron Cohen (REALLY? They’re a couple?), was not in the database in 2010 but is the 38th most searched for name in 2011 so far, largely because the celebrity couple chose to not publicize the name until well after the child's birth, according to Satran (suddenly my idea of Lelu isn’t so crazy). "There is a culture of the celebrity baby. The whole world goes on name watch. By not telling the name, it becomes a big news event." Other celebrity-inspired names this year include Hadley, from the bestselling book "The Paris Wife", and Mila, which Satran attributes to the success of actress Mila Kunis over the last year (but I attribute to Milla Jovovich). Another popular baby name is Flynn, which was chosen by actor Orlando Bloom and his Australian model wife Miranda Kerr for their son (oh, it’s a boy, I was way off). So yeah, just thought that I’d let you all know what… some website person thinks about trends in baby names… because everybody’s not naming their kids Elula… but they’re looking it up online. I’ll bet if you looked up the name "Porn" you’d find that it’s among the top three baby names searched… in a constant struggle with "Google" and "The". Anyway, into the world of real news…

Where the Streets are Paved with… Gold? - A city in northern Taiwan is trying the Midas touch to persuade reluctant residents to clean up after their canines: offering a chance to win gold bars to anyone handing in bags of doggy deposits. Starting from August 1st, dog owners and other residents of New Taipei City, bordering the capital Taipei, can hand in waste to government cleaning teams in exchange for tickets to a lucky draw. The prizes: three gold ingots worth T$60,000 ($2,100), T$18,000 and T$12,000. The number of draw tickets is unlimited, and the winners will be named in October, the city government said in a statement. "We are hoping the draw will attract a wide participation, especially as the gold price is rising," said New Taipei City Environmental Protection Department official Chen Chao-ming. The city will give free garbage bags to would-be collectors. It is also beefing up more conventional measures, including rewarding people for photographing dog owners leaving mess uncleaned, and stepping up its own poo patrols in dog haunts. That’s right… poo patrols. But it will be hoping for better results than the central city of Taichung saw in 2009, when its offer of T$100 shopping vouchers for each kg of excrement collected yielded little more than criticism and ridicule. Yes, there’s far less chance of that happening this time. The one question that I have is… how can you really tell if it’s man poo or Scooby doo? Some dogs are pretty large… and Asian people can be pretty small. What’s to stop them from just collecting massive quantities of human feces and turning it in? Just my thought… and there’s plenty more of jokes in this news reel… but yeah, can’t wait for this to happen in the states. I can see neighbors narcing on neighbors about their dogs leaving nuggets (yes, it’s a gold poo joke) on lawns… and a special unit within the police force lovingly referred to as “Doody Duty” for all the rookie officers, making their rounds and collecting freshly squeezed coils. Oh yes… that’s my idea of comedy gold right there. Good luck Taiwan!!!

Anyway, that'll do it for today. I've got to get packed for my Tahoe trip in the morning... of which I've already mentioned that I'm super excited for. I'll be sure to have plenty of pictures when I get back. Have a great weekend everybody!!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Basketball's Christmas 2011 - 5 Weeks Later

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

Been a slow few days… but really excited for Lake Tahoe this weekend. Gretchen’s clean, full tank of unleaded, stopping by the store tonight to get road trip supplies, overnight bag ready, Steve Miller Band tickets in pocket, hotel reservation for one-bedroom suite, plans to meet up with family & friends, even sunscreen AND jacket ready to go… because there may be some isolated thunderstorms. I’m good to go… even if solo.

Last night, I played a few pickup games… and had a pretty good run though I still get down on myself when I make silly mistakes (a lot more than I used to). I did dunk it twice yesterday though. Once to end a game to 30. Great exclamation point to a close game too. Did okay, mostly tip-ins offensively. I guess, I don’t know, maybe it’s me. The feet seem heavier than they used to. When I was playing all the time, I had a bit of a light footed, dare I say prance in my step. Now I’m a little more solid… but that may just be because I don’t run nearly as much as I used to. I’m starting to get there though. Obviously I’m dunking again… but not hitting my head on the run like I used to. By the way, I know it’s about a month late… but here’s my take on this year’s NBA Draft… aka Basketball’s Christmas. Even if there’s not a season (there will be though), here are some thoughts that I had & takes that I have on certain players and situations:

2011 NBA Draft

1. Cleveland – Kyrie Irving – PG from Duke – First & foremost, I find it HILARIOUS that the first pick of the NBA Draft has the same first name as my niece (Kairi, but both pronounced Ky-Ree). It’ll be a running theme for a first dozen picks or so… but that’s more of a baby naming update than anything. Anyway, he played just over 5 hours of college ball (which a few walk-ons do) before injuries ended his season, but apparently was the best player of this year’s draft. I’ve never seen him play, only a few highlight reels… but Cleveland needed a franchise player… and hopefully they got it. It’s hard to knock a Duke guy. Coach K knows what he’s doing out there when he has time… but he didn’t have much with Kyrie. We shall see. I wish him & the city of Cleveland the best. He draws a lot of comparisons to one of my favorite guards that never made it, former fellow scoring point guard from Duke, Jay Williams. Word of advise, Kyrie... STAY THE F**K AWAY FROM MOTORCYCLES!!! (Sorry Jay, that's tragic what happened to you) Not sure what they were thinking with the number four pick going to forward Tristan Thompson (sounds like a supermodel) from Texas… but hey, maybe they saw something in workouts that I didn’t in the game that I saw with him losing to Arizona.

2. Minnesota – Derrick Williams – Forward from Arizona – I REALLY liked this guy in the few spots that I’ve seen of him. Is he a polished nugget? Of course not, but you & I know that the Draft is all about potential nowadays, not immediate talent. This guy would’ve been my #1 pick… but hey, again maybe Cleveland saw something that I didn’t. The thing is… I don’t know what it is with GM David Kahn and drafting all the same position every year. Two years ago, it was three point guards in the same draft (one of which may come to the league this year). Last year, it was small forwards. This year, it was power forward because he drafted Williams… and then Donatas Motiejunas from Lithuania, who’s obviously a project… but you can’t teach big. Combined with my brother from another mother, Kevin Love, my dealer Michael Beasley & Ricky “El Pistola” Rubio finally coming stateside, the T-Wolves can get back into contention… oh wait, there’s still a lockout… and they don’t have a couch since they axed Kurt Rambis… and it’s still cold as f**k in Minnesota. Good luck, guys!

3. Utah – Enes Kanter – Center from Turkey – I LOVE that there’s finally an Enes in sports… no longer just the guy from Dukes of Hazzard. Okay, this is the seven-footer who was going to play at Kentucky, but got PAID in Turkey… so he couldn’t play college ball for a year… and now he’s going to get PAID in Utah. Basically he’s going from a very religious part of the world with beautiful women… to a very religious part of the world with beautiful women. The change should be minimal… and he’s more than welcome in Slick City, I’m sure. With the 12th pick, they also picked up two-guard Alec Burks to help with their outside shooting, so hopefully the Jazz can get back on track. They just kind of fell apart last year after trading away a LOT of their players.

5. Toronto – Jonas Valanciunas – Center from Lithuania – You can’t teach tall… but I hear this guy has game. Toronto is also proving itself as the NBA’s only “international” team by filling its roster with international players. I like it… but unfortunately it hasn’t turned into wins for them as of late.

6. Washington – Jan Vesely – Forward from Czech Republic – Now this guy… I have a soft spot… for MANY reasons. First and foremost, he’s from the Czech Republic aka the Mother Country. Secondly, the guy looks a LOT like I did at his age in my early college days – tall, skinny, lanky, big nose, scraggly hair, etc. Thirdly, he plays like I did too… where he can jump out the mother f**king building!!! The guy has some hops… and puts some great emphasis on his dunks as well (like I did & am trying to get back into). It should be exciting with him in the nation’s capital with last year’s number one pick John Wall. Oh… and fourth, he's a true romantic, not unlike myself. Have you seen his smoking hot girlfriend? No wonder the man has the swagger to be called the European Blake Griffin or my favorite... the Dunking Ninja!!!

7. Charlotte – Bismack Biyombo – Forward from the Congo – When you draft on potential, there’s a HUGE change of either boom or bust. This guy… is the perfect example. What does anybody know about him? Not his age apparently. They’ve seen him play a handful of scrimmages against teenagers where he was able to pick back in a few rebounds and use his go-go-gadget arms to swat away shots. He’s about 6-8 with the wingspan of a f**king gorilla. They know he can’t shoot. Like at all. Does that really matter though? As long as he can put back in those rebounds after grabbing a few, play some good defense without fouling out, that’s really what a good center needs to do. Seriously, what centers in the league do more? Dwight Howard puts in 20 points a game? Who else? The Bobcats also drafted a shooter like Kemba Walker from UConn so Bismack can just clean up any misses and put them back in. I like it. Ballsy pick… but this is a game of balls.

10. Sacramento – Jimmer Fredette – Guard from BYU – Sigh… the guy can shoot… but he’s not going to save the franchise. Period. A lot of hype can work wonders for you though. I know I have to represent for Utah & all… but I just don’t see it happening. The Kings will be moving to Anaheim soon… and Jimmer may not make the trip for them. I see him as Adam Morrison a few years back… but a little more level headed. Oh… and unless Isaiah Thomas from Washington turns into Isiah Thomas from the Bad Boyz Pistons days, I don’t see the Kings in the playoffs any time soon. I like the youth & talent on the team though. They may surprise folks.

11. Golden State – Klay Thompson – Guard from Washington State – Never heard of him... but his dad was former #1 Mychal Thompson (about 8 inches taller & in 1979). I have to root for my new home team… since I did buy a shirt for them this past weekend… but I have to question their decisions a lot. They picked a shooter. They have shooters, plenty of them. They need a defensive presence ANYWHERE on the court. Basically, what I see this pick as… is a way to trade Monta Ellis for a possible frontcourt presence… but we’ll see. WARRIORS!!! COME OUT AND PLAAYAAAAY!!!

15. San Antonio – Kawhi Leonard – Forward from San Diego State – He may look mopey in most of his pictures... but he's my pick for STEAL OF THE DRAFT!!! How he ended up with the Spurs, I don’t care… but I like it. Great defender, athletic, projected as high as a top 5 pick on some draft boards… but falls to #15 and the Spurs traded for him. I really like it. GO SPURS!!! They also picked up point guard Cory Joseph from Texas late in the first round… and he may be able to replace George Hill in the backup role… but we shall see.

That’s pretty much all I have to say about it this year… and I know that you cared. Anyway, put it in stone… and we’ll revisit it in a few years, see how I did. Been pretty good so far. That’ll do it for today. Trying to figure out when my mom can come to visit with the niece, nephew, brother & possibly my buddy C-Rock from Slick City. We shall see though. I’m excited about the idea… but yeah, still tentative. Have a great day everybody!!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Redwood & Blues

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

This weekend was pretty good. Saturday, I spent the afternoon at the Blues & BBQ Festival in Redwood City. Twas a beautiful sunny day, great atmosphere, free parking, and the air was filled with great blues & hickory smoked flesh from all over the animal kingdom. Seriously, I just about had a food-gasm with some of the stuff there. I tried ribs, pulled pork, chicken, but the thing that REALLY got me… was the bacon & chirizo baked beans that I got from some place. Oh Lordie! Bacon & pulled pork does a fine meal make… and I washed it down with some Shiner Bock. I also stopped by a stand for the Golden State Warriors where they were selling T-shirts and stuff… but also had a few of the cheerleaders there for autographs. Well, I bought a $5 shirt and got to spin a wheel for prizes. So I took my turn… and I won a cutting board… a little one with a Warriors logo (GG bridge style) burned into a little corner of it. I liked it. The cheerleader said, “Oh, you can take another spin if you don’t cook or whatever.” “Nah, that’s great. I’ve got some cooking skills. Maybe I should show you sometime.” Oh yes… your boy, $teve made a move on a Warriors cheerleader. Then she flashed the ring. DAMMIT!!! That was a fairly decent one too. Wasted. Oh well… the festival was still a lot of fun.

That night, the Bee Master & I watched “The Lincoln Lawyer” starring Matthew McConaughey, Ryan Phillippe & a pretty amazing ensemble cast including John Leguizamo and the seemingly ever-hot Marisa Tomei. It’s the story of a lawyer (McConaughey) who gets a big budget defense case for a wealthy man (Phillippe) suspected of mercilessly beating a woman. The defendant says that she’s just doing it for the money because she’s a prostitute… but not everything is adding up. Furthermore, it seems that this may not be the first time… as the situation bears a strong resemblance to a case that the lawyer did a few years earlier. I’ll leave it there… but for a lawyer flick, I kinda liked it. Little bit of comedy, little bit of bending the rules, little bit of campiness, pretty good. Not spectacular.

Sunday was a day for catching up on errands… and then… my first recreation basketball league game in nearly a decade. I got there early to watch the first game and warm up a bit… but apparently what that meant was suiting up for another team that only had 4 players and playing the full first half before their guy showed up. My stats for one half that first game… 8 points, maybe 5 boards, a few assists, nothing major. The points were from two tip-ins, two free throws & one 15-foot jumper. We obviously had never played with each other before & didn’t really have a strategy. The other team did… and they were hitting everything from outside. I contained the inside pretty good though. We lost pretty badly.

The second game was for my team… and we had a little bit of a strategy going in with regards to defense… but not really offense. I would ask if they wanted to come up and set a pick & roll situation up or what… but they wouldn’t go with it. So then I say, do you want me to post up? Basically it was me trying to set something up down in the paint because they were just lofting threes and I’d be trying to out-rebound 3-4 guys on the other team the first half, so we got down quick. I had four points from two tip-ins late in the half, a few boards & a few assists popping out for open threes. We started working together in the second half and bringing it close… but in the end, I was standing on the sidelines for the last part because they just wanted to shoot threes to get back. Apparently they didn’t know that I could rebound AND pop threes if needed. It was starting to get a little chippy with the other team too… so it was probably a good thing. Some guys take this thing really seriously. I had fun though. Just need to get my wind up and we should probably get a decent strategy going. We did alright though, I think. Definitely not my best day… but certainly not my worst.

After the game, I met up with J-Mo and some of his friends to watch “Captain America: The First Avenger” starring Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving & Tommy Lee Jones. For those of you who aren’t comic book nerds, this is the origin story of the superhero Captain America (Evans) from a tiny good-hearted kid from Brooklyn who takes part in an army experiment to turns him into a superhuman Nazi killer circa WWII. Well, with him being an experiment, they make him more of a traveling symbol of America to help raise bail bonds… but before long, he joins the fight to save his buddy & his nation. Meanwhile, there’s also an evil offshoot of the Nazi empire called Hydra let by Red Skull (Weaving) who is harnessing the power of the Gods (I think it’s a Thor reference) to take over the world… but he’s not Hitler… he’s Hydra. I can see where at points in the movie it would get confusing… but still, you get the jist. Anyway, it’s actually a pretty good movie. You would think something so obviously pro-America & dated might be done in a really bad & campy way… but this was done very well… and J-Mo & I are already talking about seeing if “Thor” is still in theatres because that’s the only one of the Avenger movies that we haven’t seen… and the collaboration comes out next year. It should be awesome. Anyway, here’s some news…

Putin: He Makes Politics Sexy - An online campaign has been launched in Russia urging young women to support Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in a presidential vote by taking off their clothes, a lawmaker's site showed Sunday. Called "Putin's Army," it features a video of a blonde student called Diana who struts along Moscow's streets in high heels and a black suit before scrawling "I will tear my clothes off for Putin" on a white top in red lipstick and starting to undo her clothes (giggidy). Inviting girls to strip off for Putin for the chance of winning an iPad2, the campaign comes ahead of the March 2012 presidential vote. Putin was president between 2000-2008 before handing the reins to his protege Dmitry Medvedev. Widely seen as Russia's key decision-maker, Putin may return to the Kremlin next year. "The goal: For Putin to be president!" said a statement on its page on social networking site, Russia's answer to Facebook. During Russia's Soviet era, nudity in advertising was taboo but has since become widespread, a fact which has outraged Russian feminists who say it only intensifies an already sexualized culture where prostitution is common. It is unclear who orchestrated the campaign which was posted on the blog of parliamentarian Kirill Shchitov, from Putin's ruling United Russia party (that might be a hint). In October, a band of journalism students posed in lingerie for a calendar for Putin's 58th birthday… if you remember. I’m all for this kind of media outcry. I don’t expect too many volunteers to join the cause… but it’s good to see young women getting involved in politics for the right reasons… to gain support for a leader that you feel can make a difference. Eat your heart out, Obama Girl! Let me know when you’re in an upcoming issue of Playboy to show your support. Now for the end of the world…

Apocalypse Update - Hawaii has been largely successful in preventing snakes from entering the island paradise over the years and avoiding the grave danger they present to tropical birds, colorful plants and the vibrant environment that draws millions of tourists to the state each year (as well as staving off the impending Apocalypse). But the recent capture of escaped pet snakes (illegal in Hawaii) and the infestation of Guam by brown tree snakes, which could easily make it here via cargo ship, have alarmed wildlife and agriculture officials. Without any natural predators, authorities say it wouldn't take much for snakes to take root and multiply, potentially killing off endangered birds and flowers that make the islands special… and then of course having to move to the humans who may be left. Hawaii, home to more endangered species per square mile than anywhere else in the world, could potentially face the same fate as Guam, where brown tree snakes overran the island following World War II and wiped most birds from the skies. "It has a high potential to be devastating to Hawaii," said Earl Campbell, assistant field supervisor for the Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "I would look at Guam as the template for what could happen in a range of tropical Pacific Islands that have no snakes." Hawaii is so serious about keeping snakes out that the fine for possessing an illegal animal can reach $200,000 and up to three years in prison. But snake owners are granted amnesty if they willingly turn their pets over. Residents who unlawfully keep snakes as pets create a giant risk when the reptiles escape or are released into the wild. A 9-foot boa constrictor and 7-foot albino Burmese python were captured this month. "No pet snake is welcome because all it's going to take is the next earthquake, tsunami or hurricane to blow open all those enclosures and introduce to the islands all those pets that were being kept in a house," said Fern Duvall, a wildlife biologist for the state Division of Forestry and Wildlife on Maui. "It's really a grievous problem." Besides the snake pet threat, environmentalists also fear that snakes could find their way to Hawaii by hitchhiking on cargo ships (yup), undetected by short-staffed agriculture inspectors. If snakes nested and reproduced, it would quickly be too late to stop them and the Hawaiian islands would be changed forever, said Christy Martin, spokeswoman for the state's Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species (tehehe, C-Gaps). "It's our moral responsibility to try to keep them out for as long as possible. I don't look forward to future generations saying, 'They really dropped the ball on that one. There used to be birds in Hawaii,'" Martin said. The number of snake sightings fluctuates from year to year, but they've been steadily rising, said Carol Okada, manager for the Hawaii Department of Agriculture's Plant Quarantine Branch. There was a yearly average of nearly 24 snake sightings reported statewide between 1990 and 2000, according to a 2001 study titled "Risk to Hawaii from Snakes" published in Pacific Science. Okada said there were 36 snake reports in 2008, with data from other recent years not immediately available. "We don't want the trend to continue," Okada said. "In Hawaii, with all its lush vegetation, you don't want to be worried about snakes while you're hiking." A snake invasion would have far-reaching effects on the islands, permanently changing its landscape, Duvall said. First they'd eat bird eggs and small birds, including 34 species of endangered forest birds found in Hawaii such as the Maui parrotbill, crested honeycreeper and Hawaiian crow, he said. Spider webs would drape trees and darken forests without birds to kill them. Insect populations would boom. Power outages would increase as snakes hung from electricity lines. The economy would collapse. Pineapples will be called Snakeapples (which kind of makes sense). Entire buildings will be swallowed whole. Children would be taken in the night… or at the very least sacrificed to appease these serpent overlords. Violent crimes such as murder & rape would skyrocket. Citizens would revolt, possibly leading to genocide. These consequences have already occurred on Guam, according to Campbell (okay, everything before the economy collapsing), saying the snakes there established themselves across the landscape in about three decades. In this month's captures on Oahu, the snakes appeared to be pets, agriculture officials said. The docile boa constrictor was found by pig hunters on a dirt road, and the python was retrieved from a home after police received a tip. The black market pet trade is largely responsible for snakes finding their way into the islands, Martin said. Snake enthusiasts find dealers through the Internet and ship baby snakes by mail to Hawaii in small boxes, she said. Legitimate pet stores won't send snakes to Hawaii, she said. With only 50 agriculture inspectors statewide, down from 95 in 2009 because of budget cuts and layoffs, the state has a hard time catching snakes when they're mailed in, she said. Efforts to prevent snakes from escaping Guam have been more successful, and only one brown tree snake has been found in Hawaii since an inspection program started on Guam in 1994, Campbell said. Organizations including the Hawaiian Humane Society help rid the islands of pet snakes by picking them up from homes with no questions asked, said spokeswoman Jacque LeBlanc. "In the case of the boa that was found, that boa was big enough to eat a cat or harm a child," LeBlanc said. "They're dangerous to people and other animals." See? My rantings about snakes bringing on the Apocalypse are shared by my Hawaiian brothers & sisters… and we have what happened to the Guamish to remind us. Never forget! By the way, is it Guamish? Guamese? Guamanian? Guambats? Guami Bears? Anyway, that’s not all…

2Pacalypse Update - An enormous sinkhole has opened up in the town of Leesburg, Florida… and it's hungry. It's already gobbled up a garbage bin, an oak tree, the back wall of the building housing a salon and racks of supplies. You can watch a video charting its path of destruction above. The chasm that caused Main Street Hair and Beauty Supply to collapse is about 60 feet wide and 20 feet deep. Although the street surrounding the building has also fallen prey to the pit, officials say the hole isn't growing. But the slowly sinking building is sparking growing concern for neighbors who live nearby. The sinkhole started after a torrential downpour at the end of June. The heavy rains lead to plenty of pits opening in central Florida. Since the 1950s, 3,100 sinkholes have been recorded in Florida. The naturally occurring holes open up when acidic groundwater dissolves underground rock formations. At the point, the formations are no longer able to support the ground above them, causing terra firma to collapse inward. A neighbor across the street said he heard the sinkhole before he saw it. He told the Orlando Sentinel, "It woke me up. I heard a crack, a boom. I thought it was a wreck, like someone hit a transformer or something." The pits have certainly opened up interest on the Web. A Guatemala City hole found under a grandmother's bed this week caused lots of speculation. In fact, some sharp-eyed commenters on Yahoo! suspect the hole to be caused by an abandoned well. Lookups on Yahoo! for "guatemala sinkhole," "giant sinkhole under bed," and even "what causes sinkholes" continued to grow. Acidic rain water? Abandoned well? I think we all know the REAL cause of this sinkhole… especially being in Florida… where I’ve been following the Apocalypse for YEARS!!! They’ve finally taken over the underground… and this is a direct terrorist attack… from the SNAKES!!! They’re fighting back… and they’re pisssssssed.

Sin City / Machete Updates – On a much more warm-hearted note, Comic-Con is full swing in San Diego… but the only thing I really care about is what Robert Rodriguez has to say. He waited until Comic-Con to announce that he's planning sequels to "Sin City" and "Machete." He says a script for "Sin City 2" is being refined, and he hopes for two sequels to last year's "Machete" — at least one of which will bring the blade-slinging star into space. "Even if we don't get to three, I'm at least making the trailer for three because it's so good. I would put it even before part two," Rodriguez said. "Machete goes into space! It's like 'Moonraker.'" Yes, so we’re talking about “Machete Kills!” and “Machete Kills Again… In Space!!!” F**king awesome!!! The 43-year-old filmmaker made the announcements Thursday in front of 6,500 fans at the San Diego Convention Center, then celebrated the news at an intimate party at the Hard Rock Hotel across the street. He also discussed his latest film, "Spy Kids 4," which is set to release in "4-D" next month. Playing in both 2-D and 3-D, the fourth dimension is "smell-o-vision." Rodriguez explained that moviegoers will receive a card when they come into the theater that has eight numbers on it that hold scents that correspond with the film. "When a number flashes on screen, you scratch that number and you smell it, and whatever they're smelling on screen, you smell in the audience," he said. "There's sweet smells and bad smells — because we have a baby and we have a dog — and it's really fun." Rodriguez also announced three new partnerships: He plans to develop games and movies with the "Heavy Metal" franchise, create a museum and other media around the fantasy artwork of Frank Frazetta and inspire computer hardware for filmmaking with the tech company AMD. He says a full plate makes him more productive: "You get more done when you're busy. It almost helps you focus on something more when you don't have too much time to overthink it." Don’t I know it. Rodriguez said he kept these announcements quiet until Comic-Con out of his natural identification with pop-culture fans. Said the Comic-Con veteran: "If I'm standing in line all that time, I want to hear something good." True that! Sir, I cannot wait for your films… and I know there’s always rumors about you & Quentin teaming up again… and I’ll gladly watch those as well. Best of luck in all that you do!

Anyway, that’ll do it for today. Have a great night everybody!!!

Friday, July 22, 2011

So Money I Don't Even Know It

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

The past few days have been pretty chill. Played a little basketball at the gym, meeting a lot of people & starting to get my wind and some skills back. Really didn’t realize how average I became without constantly practicing like I did for half my life. Oh well, I’m sure it’s like riding a bike… and the height always helps to bail me out in some situations. “Oh man, you total caught me with a good pick. SWAT!!! Luckily I could recover with the go-go-gadget arms.” I don’t say that out loud obviously… because I’m not a prick. I was just painting a picture for you. Also met some cute ladies yesterday, sisters that we’ll call S&M (it’s their initials, get your mind out of the gutter), and they told me that they’d be cheering for me at my first rec game on Sunday. “Really? Wow, thanks!” “Well… our dad is on the team too… but we’ll be cheering for ya.” “Understood. Well it’s still appreciated.” If I was a little more certain of their ages… then again, I don’t want to be going out with the coach’s daughter or anything like that. Too reminiscent of the dream about bangin’ the coach’s wife… how do I remember this crazy stuff? Yet I forget little things all the time? Anyway, you heard it, first rec game in (sigh…) nearly a DECADE coming up on Sunday. Wish me luck!!!

I’m also starting to finalize travel plans for Tahoe next weekend, Utah in September, Vegas in November and then Utah again for Christmas. Tahoe is set & I’m going to be meeting up with my stepsister and her family, which is REALLY awesome. My niece apparently has missed me a bit… but she’ll grow out of it, I’m sure. Vegas is set, flights are bought, hotels are secured, Jackie D is on board of course, it’s going to be EPIC!!! The only snag is going to Utah in September for the family reunion. Boss Man denied my vacation over that time due to business need… but it actually may work out for the best… because my mama mentioned that she may be coming out the weekend of her birthday in August with the kids (and my brother) so I may just end up taking some time off to hang with them. Saves me a plane ticket & I still get to hang with the family, just not in the desert getting drunk with my hillbilly uncles, which is mildly disappointing but I’ll get over it.

On that note, I’m also trying to set up a doctor here in the area. The thing is… I don’t really care. Obviously I’m not in any dire medical need at this point in my life. I’ve had one physical in the past… seven years or so I think. I eat fairly well, work out, drink responsibly, check myself for lumps on my junk at least once a day (usually first thing in the morning & late at night), but I’m getting to that age where maybe I just need to keep an eye on things. You know… look for signs. Nothing so far… but I figure that I can at least establish a relationship with a physician here in San Francisco (since I plan on staying for a while) and then when it comes to those “awkward questions” then it won’t be so awkward. Besides, I don’t want to be one of the thousands of men each year that die from stubbornness by not getting regular check-ups… and then it’s too late. Since nobody else is going to check my junk for lumps, I figure this is the best route to take. Wish me luck!

Buying Sex & Crime - Men who pay for sex are more likely than men who do not pay for sex to commit a variety of offenses including violent crimes against women, according to research conducted in the Boston area. The study, released this week, was based on interviews with 202 men conducted by the nonprofit group Prostitution Research and Education (damn, how do I get on that research team?) and was led by Melissa Farley, a clinical psychologist and anti-prostitution activist (so no bias there?). Buyers and non-buyers of commercial sex from the Boston area were paired by age, education and ethnicity to compare their perceptions of women after voluntarily joining the study. About half the men paid for sex and the other half did not. Men who paid for sex were more likely to report having committed felonies and misdemeanors, including crimes related to violence against women and those related to substance abuse, assault and weapons, the study found. The study was designed, among other things, to test attitudes of men who buy sex. It found that as a group, they share certain attitudes and behavioral tendencies different from their non-buying peers (ugh… like the willingness to exchange money for sexual favors?). Almost three in four of the sex buyers reported they learned about sex from pornography, whereas only 54% of the non-buyers did so. The two groups also held significantly different attitudes regarding whether prostitution was consenting sex or exploitation. Men who bought sex were significantly less empathetic toward women working as prostitutes (DUH!!!). Two thirds of both groups concluded most women prostitutes had been lured, tricked or trafficked into the work. But sex buyers "seemed to justify their involvement in the sex industry by stating their belief ... that women in prostitution were intrinsically different from non-prostituting women," the study's authors said. The majority of both groups, 61% of sex buyers and 70% of non-buyers, currently had a wife or girlfriend. So… I’m not sure if this study really tells us anything. There was a tendency for buyers of sex to have more felonies on their record? No sh*t! Last I checked, prostitution was still illegal in the Boston area… and a felony. Also, they tend to have a different view of women. That’s kind of like saying alcoholics have a different view of vodka than clergymen… or pastry chefs have a different view of cakes from diabetics. I don’t know… I’m sure that there really is a correlation between willingness to break the law to acquire a sexual partner for a brief time and the willingness to break the law for any number of other reasons. I still want to know how I get the government grant money to conduct some of these studies though. Who do I have to know? Where do I have to go? I have theories (and stereotypes) that I just need to bring to the forefront of the scientific community.

GI Joe 2: Cobra Strikes – Like does anybody really want to see another GI Joe movie? Apparently somebody does. The first movie wasn’t total refuse by any means… but hey, just wait for the sequels now. Casting is underway though and "Rome," "Punisher: War Zone" and "Thor" actor Ray Stevenson has been cast as the villain Firefly in "G.I. Joe 2: Cobra Strikes" at Paramount Pictures says Heat Vision. Firefly is a member of the villainous Cobra Organization and is known as a saboteur, ninja master and explosives expert. Yes, a true jack of all trades. Stevenson will next be seen playing Porthos in Summit’s "The Three Musketeers". He joins a confirmed cast that includes Channing Tatum, Dwayne “THE ROCK” Johnson, Adrianne Palicki, Elodie Yung, the RZA (WU TANG!!!) and D.J. Cotrona. The Jon M. Chu-directed sequel begins shooting in Louisiana at the end of summer and hits cinemas August 2012… so keep your eyes out. Oh… and before I forget, Jon M Chu is the director who brought you “Step Up 2 Da Streets” & “Step Up 3D” so… yeah… you’ve been warned. Sadly I think another disaster may be heading towards Louisiana. Too soon? Eh, low expectations may lead to being pleasantly surprised. Too bad that my doppelganger Dennis Quaid hasn’t been asked to come back… but hey, too much eye candy may distract from the integrity of the project. I understand.

Captain Planet Movie – Yup, it’s exactly what you think it is. Cartoon Network has signed a development agreement with Angry Filmworks to develop a live-action feature film based on the environment-saving animated hero "Captain Planet and the Planeteers". The original series was about a group of young people (Planeteers) who combine their special powers (Earth, Wind, Fire, Water & Heart if I remember correctly) to summon Captain Planet, an environmental superhero, to battle the world's worst eco-villains. The show premiered in fall 1990 and ran for six seasons. Producers Don Murphy and Susan Montford now have exclusive rights to develop and package the property and advance it towards production. So what do you think? Will it be a G-rated straight-to-DVD movie? Probably… but it’s a good start to other similar properties being made. I’m not talking about… what I can only assume is a Superman backstory with a green skin pigmentation disorder (never really thought about Captain’s backstory before) but I’m talking about other captains throughout history (primarily the 80s & 90s when I was most impressionable) who have yet to get their movie deals. For example…

Cap’n Crunch – You all know and love the cereal that bears this man’s name… but do you know… the REAL Captain Cornelius M. Crunch of her Majesty’s Royal Navy? I think not. Yet it’s a story that must be told… a story of Love… Duty… Honor… and a Fortitude to stay steadfast, hardy, and dare I say crunchy… even in milk. The only problem is going to be working the early days as a proprietor of lady’s company in the early days and his notorious potty mouth into a PG-13 rating… but I can totally see Colin Firth makin’ the Cap’n happen.

Captain Nintendo – Does anybody else remember Captain N? I feel like it’s Conan & the Hanna-Barbarians cuz very few people remember it. Anyway, I remember it being about a gamer who had a special controller or something (back when it was four buttons – A, B, select, start) and he would put it on his belt buckle… and he could save the day using his gaming powers. You know… like getting Super Mario’s fireballs… or super jumping ability… and stuff like that. It could totally work… on acid.

Captain Power & the Soldiers of the Future – This is the granddaddy of them all. Allow me to paint a picture for you… using what I recall from the show’s introduction. Earth, 2147. The legacy of the Metal Wars, where man fought machines… and machines won. Bio-Dreads… monstrous creations that hunt down human survivors... and digitize them (aaaaah… that was somebody being digitized… but I digress). Volcania, center of the Bio-Dread Empire; stronghold and fortress of Lord Dread, feared ruler of this new order. But from the fires of the Metal Wars arose a new breed of warrior, born and trained to bring down Lord Dread and his Bio-Dread Empire. They were Soldiers of the Future!!! Mankind's last hope!!!

Their leader Captain Jonathan Power, master of the incredible Power Suits, which transform each soldier into a one-man attack force. Major Matthew 'Hawk' Masterson, fighter in the skies. Lieutenant Michael 'Tank' Ellis (played by my favorite bit actor of all time, Sven-Ole Thorsen), ground assault unit. Sergeant Robert 'Scout' Baker, espionage and communications… and Corporal Jennifer 'Pilot' Chase, tactical systems expert. Together they form the most powerful fighting force in Earth's history. Their creed? To protect all life. Their promise? To end Lord Dread's rule. Their name? (EXPLOSION!!!) Captain Power And The Soldiers Of The Future! TELL ME you wouldn’t rather see that then some namby pamby environmentalist show with some flying green guy… I rest my case. Oh, I know I’ve got skills AND passion when it to these kind of things… but nothing like this guy…

Tarantino Update – As usual… the more I hear about a Quentin Tarantino movie in the works… the more I get excited. Hard as steel and still getting harder!!! The latest update… Kevin Costner (“Dances with Wolves”) is in negotiations to join the cast of Quentin Tarantino's spaghetti western "Django Unchained" reports Deadline. Costner is in talks to play Ace Woody, the sadistic trainer of the male fighting slaves who entertain the white patrons of Candyland club and ranch, as well as the female slaves who are forced to be prostitutes. Ace pits the fighters against one another, and has little qualms about mistreating and even killing the slaves who don't measure up (still not as hated as Michael Vick though). Both Costner and Leonardo DiCaprio's role of Calvin Candie, owner of Candyland, are said to be as sadistic as Christoph Waltz's turn in "Inglorious Basterds". Waltz himself, along with Samuel L. Jackson, also star. Jamie Foxx will play the title character, a slave-turned-bounty hunter who must take on those villains to free his slave wife. Shooting kicks off in the early Fall. Oh God… I could cut glass with my nipples right now. DiCaprio & Costner as villains… and Jamie Foxx is coming to save the day… in the Old West… corsets… plus Christoph Waltz & Samuel L are going to be in it? Man, it’s going to be hard walking around with this nerd-rection for the next three years while they shoot this thing. Don’t act like you’re not impressed. What? There’s more???

Marilyn Update - A Spanish collector plans to auction what he claims is a newly discovered 8-mm version of a film purportedly showing Marilyn Monroe having sex when she was still an underage actress known as Norma Jean Baker (oh God, I think I’m going to pass out, blood has completely left my brain). A Marilyn Monroe expert, however, says the actress in the film is someone else, considerably heavier and less feminine than the legendary film star. Mmm… big boned Marilyn… giggidy!!! "That's not Marilyn. The chin is not the same, the lips are not the same, the teeth are not the same," said Scott Fortner, who has a sizeable collection of Monroe memorabilia, including a belt he said proves how much more petite she was. "Marilyn was a tiny little thing. And I know that for a fact. I own her clothing." Well, she may have lost a little weight once she became a movie star. That’s usually what happens... but the real question is… why are you trying to f**k this up for me? Collector Mikel Barsa said in an interview Wednesday that he wants at least $500,000 for the sexually explicit 6½-minute, grainy black-and-white film, which he says was made before 1947, when Monroe was not yet 21. He said it's an exact copy of a 16-mm film discovered more than a decade ago. Barsa brokered a sale of that film to a European magazine in 1997, which he said in turn sold some 600,000 copies before a collector bought the original 16-mm reel for $1.2 million (cha-ching!!!). Copies of that version are still circulating on the Internet. "People with romantic notions have denied that it's Marilyn Monroe, and have invented stories" to raise doubts about the film, Barsa said in his Buenos Aires office, which is lined with pictures from his days as a concert promoter. "This film shows the real Marilyn Monroe — it was only later that the studios discovered her and transformed her." The face of the woman in the film looks considerably different from the Monroe who emerged later as a star, but more similar to the Monroe seen in one of her first movies, 1949's "Love Happy," which shows the actress before she lost weight, added a beauty spot on her left cheek and became one of Hollywood's most enduring stars. Barsa said he has no idea how the two original copies ended up in the hands of the people who sought his help selling them, and he refused to identify any of the principals involved. He said that in the 1940s, sex films were often made using side-by-side 16-mm and 8-mm cameras, since audiences used both formats (you know, before the 60’s & 70’s revolutionized the smut game). The collector said that Mark Roesler of Indianapolis-based CMG Worldwide, which has managed the image and estate of Monroe, threatened to sue after the earlier version surfaced in 1997. Barsa said nothing ever came of it after the owners offered to sell the film to CMG (of course). Roesler didn't respond Wednesday to two emails and a phone call requesting comment. Barsa says he plans to auction the film himself August 7th at a memorabilia collectors fair that he has organized in Buenos Aires, and is hoping for publicity similar to the scandal he generated when he screened the 16-mm version at a similar fair in Madrid in 1997. News coverage of his auction is already creating another buzz on the Internet. His part of the deal is a 10% sales commission, he said. A variety of sexually explicit films and pictures have been attributed to Monroe over the years, fostering a long and unresolved debate. "In the Marilyn community, people have debated this for years and years and for the most part it's widely believed that this is not her," Fortner said. Still, even Fortner said Monroe's image changed considerably as she became a star — that she had some plastic surgery, learned how to hold her face differently in modeling school and adopted a mole on her left cheek. "I actually think it moved from time to time," Fortner said. Monroe died of an overdose of sleeping pills in 1962 at 36 years old… which oddly enough means she’d be in her mid-eighties if she were still alive. Think about that for a moment. Anyway, over sixty years after it was made, an alleged sex tape of Marilyn is out. It might be worth a gander… but hey, there’s money in smut. And celebrity hype of smut. It may be interesting to see how this works out… but hey, I’m already well on my way to another nerdgasm.

Anyway, that’ll do it for today. Tomorrow is a Blues & BBQ Festival in Redwood City, so I might go check that out… and then Sunday is Game Day. Hopefully I’ll do alright & I’m basically where I’m not looking to completely dominate the game… but rather just help out the team in any way that I can & not embarrass myself. I should be able to manage that. I’ll let you know the stats or something if I can keep track… but the final score is the important part. Have a great weekend everybody!!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

This weekend was a lot of fun. Saturday after posting, I did a little walking around my neighborhood (beautiful national park known as the Presidio) and then watched Season 4 of “Dexter” with my roommate Bee Master… and this I found out… ALL THREE of my roommates love “Dexter” with a passion. That’s awesome… because I really like it too… and Season 4 has a creepy John Lithgow… which is just about perfect. So good!!!

Sunday, I woke up early (for a Sunday) and headed to the AIDS Walk San Francisco in Golden Gate Park to meet up with some coworkers & my ex-roommate Carmen, who I hadn’t seen in a while. We had some breakfast pastries there at the start line, introduced her to coworkers, but then by the time the walk started, the whole group kind of got split up… so it was basically just the two of us chatting and catching up on recent travels & adventures. During the six-mile-plus jaunt, there were stations with various treats, water, juices, popsicles, condoms, radio station giveaways, bands playing music, and of course the scenic majesty of the park itself in places that I had never ventured personally, so it was well worth helping raise (a very miniscule) part of the over $3 million that the over 25,000 walkers raised this weekend. Here are some pictures…

Beautiful scenery...

Belly dancers...

Bands... even the trees were dancing...

After the walk, we had a great BBQ lunch with the coworkers… and then we went our separate ways to enjoy the rest of our Sunday… which for me apparently meant taking the bus back to my apartment, taking a shower… and then taking a nap for an hour or so. By the way, I put in about ten miles total on my feet with going to the bus, walking the AIDS Walk & wandering around the events. That’s pretty good for me… especially since this was before the peak of the sun’s day. So yeah… after my nap (very refreshing), I cooked a little dinner (mac & cheese) and watched more of “Dexter” with my roommate. She always seems to pop up when I’m watching that show. Weird… but pretty cool because we get along with our similar senses of humor.

I found out today that I’m going to be able to attend my family reunion the week after Labor Day too. Yes, the camping trip out in the middle of the Utah desert where hillbillies drink, start fires & enjoy each other’s company. It should be amazing as always. I may just be out there for a day or two and then hanging in Slick City for a day or so… but yeah, I’m looking forward to it. Also trying to iron out the final travel plans for my Tahoe weekend at the end of the month, Jackie D’s 25th birthday extravaganza in Vegas in November, Thanksgiving (hopefully my family’s coming HERE) & Christmas. I know it’s a ways out… but that’s how I’ve got to play it to get it approved most of the time. Luckily the work schedule may cooperate too.

Monday, I watched “Harry Brown” starring Michael Caine & Emily Mortimer. It’s the story of an ex-Marine named Harry Brown (Caine) whose only friend Leonard is murdered by some local gang a**holes when he tries to stand up to them. Well, Harry don’t play that sh*t. One by one, Harry tries to take back the neighborhood ala Death Wish style… but with British accents. Detectives (Mortimer) are investigating the mysterious deaths of the gang members… but there’s no way that an elderly man could do this, right? Though it may sound like I’m describing a campy one-liner type of movie… it’s actual done in a very realistic and dark tone way. As usual, Michael Caine rocks the hell out of any role he plays whether it’s Alfred Pennyworth, Alfie, the Italian Job, a promoter of magicians, or an elderly ex-Marine out for blood. I highly recommend it if you’re into that kind of movie. Now… for a little something that you have gotten in a while. No, not THAT. I’m talking about… the news…

Vick Update – As you know… I have had a soft spot for Michael Vick over the past few years. Yes, the whole dogfighting thing was pretty bad. I know that I made light of it… but that’s just how I do. However, is it worse than vehicular manslaughter? Not at all. I’m just saying. The guy served his time… learned his lesson… and has moved in a positive direction. You have to respect that. I don’t care how cute you think puppies are. The man lost two years of his life AND at least $100 million. I pray that none of you make a mistake like that. I'd like to see how some of those people think chicken farmers should be punished for what they do on a daily basis to feed people around the world. Then with Vick signing with the Eagles two years back, that was awesome… and I knew it was going to be a great move for the franchise (so much that they’re shopping Kevin Kolb pretty well for there still not technically being a future in the NFL). Even better now though… he’s getting back a little of the endorsement cash. Earlier this month, Nike signed him to an endorsement deal… two years after they dropped him like a hot potato. Earlier this week, he went before Congress to help pass legislation that would make it illegal to ATTEND dogfighting as well. That's right, my dogfight watching days may be quickly coming to a close. Luckily, there's always Thailand to see my muay thai kickboxers duel to the blood. On Wednesday, Vick became an equity partner in Double Eagle Holdings, Ltd., the parent company of Fuse Science, Inc. And as part of the agreement, Vick will endorse Fuse Science and its line of sports nutrition vitamins and minerals. “Fuse Science has game-changing technology and an incredible team of scientists and business leaders to bring it to market,” Vick said. “I believe these products will revolutionize how athletes provide their bodies with nutrients and medicines, changing what we have come to accept as normal.” Vick, who led Philadelphia to an NFC East title last season, signed his first endorsement after being released from prison on Jan. 27 with Unequal Technologies, a company that produces football pads. And then on July 1, he returned to Nike, a company that had previously dropped him. “He’s a changed man,” Fuse Science CEO Adam Adler told The Associated Press. “As part of that change, he’s becoming a business man and not just a football player. He’s the hungriest athlete, he’s the best athlete in any sport and it was a no-brainer to bring Michael in and build around him.” Vick was the AP Comeback Player of the Year last season after having the best all-around year of his career. He started for the NFC in the Pro Bowl and was designated the franchise player by the Eagles before the NFL lockout. Vick’s image has dramatically turned around since his release from federal prison in July 2009 after serving 18 months for dogfighting charges. He’s won over many fans, and is a well-respected team leader on the Eagles. Companies have noticed Vick’s rejuvenation, and are turning to him once again to sell their products. “Michael wants to partner with a select group of companies,” said Andrew Stroth, the Chicago-based attorney who negotiated Vick’s deal. “Fuse Science has game-changing technology and is a good strategic fit with Michael’s brand.” Congratulations Michael!!!

Also, a happy premature birthday to Bubbles as she is leaving for a trip to see her sister in Seattle and get some R&R (Rum & Refills?). She’s been a good friend of mine for over five years now and she’s been really working hard the past few months too… so she’s deserving of this getaway. Have fun!!! Have a great day everybody!!!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Jesus, We're Out of Sushi!

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

First & foremost, a happy birthday yesterday to my baby brother Kiel who turned 28. Also, today is my stepmother's birthday, so send them all your well wishes!!! The past few days have been busy at work... and a little on the rainy side outside... but hey, how can I possibly complain with weather in the 60's in July and a little rainy... when just about everywhere else in the States it's 100 degrees and humid as a Turkish bathhouse? It just wouldn't be proper... and I like this kind of weather... like... more than a friend. Anyway, tomorrow is the SF AIDS Walk in Golden Gate Park and I'll be meeting up with some coworkers & Carmen for the journey through the beautiful recreational area... with breakfast before & a BBQ lunch afterwards. Then... if I'm feeling saucy... there's the Salsa Festival out on Fillmore Street too. Or maybe I'll get bored and go hit that up later today. Honestly it... kind of depends on the weather for the festival... but rain or shine, I'm walking to show my support for the cause. Anyway, checked out a few movies... so here you go.

Okay, so... remember about a month ago when I was talking about the worst movies ever? And I made a list of five that I kind of wanted to see, just to see if they really were THAT bad? Well... first up was "Battlefield: Earth" and it was... so now I'm continuing the list. Next up... was "Repo! The Genetic Opera" starring Paul Sorvino, Paris Hilton, Anthony Stewart Head (Giles from "Buffy") and directed by Darren Lynn Bousman who brought you a couple "Saw" movies. Now... the story is basically the same as "Repo Men" was... in the near future, organs are financed out to patients in need of them... and if they don't pay, they get repossessed in very gruesome ways by repo men (Head). Well, this movie throws in an extremely powerful & irritating family that controls it all (Sorvin & Hilton among them)... and a twisted tale of Love, betrayal & honor that I just didn't quite grasp... and the feeling & scenery of the movie was... I don't know if they just covered the lens in petroleum jelly but with everything being dark, it just wasn't the best quality... and the thing that catapulted this into one of the worst movies ever made for me... was that it was a ROCK OPERA MUSICAL!!! And not a good one at all. I don't believe that anyone anywhere has the soundtrack to this movie... if it was ever released. I just couldn't get into it at all... but hey, I had to check it out, right? Oh... and I didn't make it all the way through... about 2/3 of the way before I declared that I don't care how it ends, I just want it out of my ears.

Next on the list of horrible movies that I wanted to see... was "Freddy Got Fingered" starring Tom Green, Rip Torn & Eddie Kaye Thomas. Wow... this one took only about ten minutes for me to just turn it off. No joke. See, I never liked "The Tom Green Show" on MTV... and I don't think he's particularly funny, especially when he's raping dead mammals or sucking off cows. It's just not my bag. Well, this movie started out with that... and him being an absolute childish prick... and I was fairly certain that nobody was going to kill him in the next five minutes... so I decided that I didn't care. I really can't even tell you the plot of the movie other than he's a 28 year old cartoonist with horrible ideas, a serious burden on his parents & brother, but he moves to Hollywood to make it big & work at a cheese sandwich factory and then... the TV turned off. Maybe it gets better... but I doubt it.

After that, I had to find something better... or at least potentially better... so I watched "Red Riding Hood" starring Amanda Seyfried & Gary Oldman. It's a retelling of the classic children's tale... but from the director of "Twilight" so... you can guess that there's a lot of teenage romantic angst and jealousy. So it's set back in a medieval European village somewhere (was totally expecting an ending similar to "The Village" for some reason) and there's a monster that the villagers have been making offers of livestock... but it's now gone back to longpig (aka manflesh). It's a werewolf... and they call in a specialist (Oldman) and his team to hunt and kill the werewolf before it completely eradicates the village. Throw in a "whodunit?" aspect of who the wolf might be, teenage love story, grandmother played by Julie Christie from "Dr. Zhivago", and you've got a movie. Not great by any means... but not horrible either. If you like Twilight, you'll like this. Gary Oldman is a God. Period.

Lastly is "The Alphabet Killer" which I gave a chance on Netflix... because it stars Eliza Dushku, Cary Elwes & Timothy Hutton... and was even surprised by a cameo from Michael Ironsides. Who's he? If you don't know, google him, you know. It's based on a true story in Rochester, New York where there's a serial killer targeting teenage girls... and a pair of detectives (Dushku & Elwes) are investigating. Well, one of them (Dushku) is manic-obsessive... and eventually when no leads are found, she basically snaps & ends up in an institution for two years. Then she comes back out to a desk job with the department... but the killer is striking again... and she wants to help in any way that she can... but can she control her obsessive impulses & avoid another breakdown? It's actually a pretty good little flick where you don't really know what's real & what's imagined... and there are a few points where you question, well everything the main character does... but I actually enjoyed it. I say give it a shot if you like detective stories about tracking serial killers. It's no "Seven" or anything... but it's pretty good.

Anyway, I've got a weekend to enjoy & a stepmother to wish happy birthday to. Have a great weekend everybody!!!

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