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!!!

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