Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Mario Kart Wii

I apologize to my two loyal readers that I was unable to come up with a decent blog yesterday, therefore, did not write one at all.

I am back today, though, as I had more of a chance to play some of Mario Kart Wii to give a better review of the game.

It's odd to be so into video games again. I am not going to lie, but before I got my Wii for Christmas, I can't even remember the last time I had played my PS2. It might have had something to do with the fact that my dog ate my RCA cables on two separate occasions, or the fact that I did have a young child running around the house - but, for whatever reason it was, I had not played many video games in a long time.

Since my wife gifted me the Wii, however, I am back into video games full-force. I was first into the Super Mario Galaxy game pretty hardcore until Super Smash Bros. Brawl came out in March. Since then I have been playing that game pretty much non-stop, with the exception of the week or so that I was playing GH:3 with Erika.

But now, Mario Kart Wii was released this past Sunday and I feel I might be into that for quite awhile. Like Smash Bros. before it, Mario Kart has unlockable characters, as well as new tracks, bikes, karts, etc. to be unlocked with certain things finished.

When we first purchased the game, Erika and I played the 2-player races against the computer and ourselves. The starting roster gives you 12 characters (Baby Mario, Baby Peach, Mario, Peach, Bowser, Toad, Koopa Troopa, Donkey Kong, Luigi, Waluigi, Wario and Yoshi) to choose from and four different races (with four race tracks apiece). We played that for the first night we had the game - and started to do the same on Monday.

Afterwards, however, we went online to play against others throughout the world. I wasn't sure what to expect, because when I received Smash Bros. Brawl the online capabilities were pretty lacking. I wasn't able to find just random brawls, and even when using the friend code, there was a lag - which has improved. But, on Mario Kart it was flawless throughout - it was quite nice.

Yesterday, Erika and I tried the battle mode a little bit. It's not as fun as the actual racing, but it's a nice little bonus that you can do. The battle zones that they have are also pretty amazing.

I would give Mario Kart Wii a solid 9/10. I have been a fan of the series since the original on SNES, but of course I haven't played any of the newer versions until now.


Aside from the 12 characters you can race with when the game starts - there are actually 12 other characters you can unlock, plus two Mii bodies as well.

So far I have unlocked Rosalina and King Boo, but also unlockable are: Baby Daisy, Baby Luigi, Birdo, Bowser Jr, Daisy, Diddy Kong, Dry Bones, Dry Bowser, Funky Kong and Toadette.


Another good thing about Mario Kart Wii is that my wife actually enjoys playing it. I have always felt guilty/bad when playing Smash Bros. when she is around, because it is not really her type of game - although she has played it with me, which I appreciate. But, she thoroughly enjoys Mario Kart, so it's something else we can do together.

That's it for now - I will try not to miss any other weekday blogs. And I am always looking for hints on topics. I enjoy doing lists and having certain annual topics (like the Random Netflix Movie or Watch From Wherever Series) so if you have any, give me a shout.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Walking Weekend

Well, another weekend has come and gone. This weekend was more of an extended weekend for me as I took Friday off - my first day off in a long time.

So Friday I spent the day at home with Kasey. We had a pretty good time, and I managed to get a few things done at the house.

On Saturday, Erika, Kasey and I went down to the Base Oval to 'Race for Stace'. This was setup for a schoolmate of mine, Stacey Frechette, who was killed last year in a car accident. It was a pretty good turn out - and the weather, despite being windy, was pretty decent. The 'Race' raised money for a scholarship being raised in Stacey's honor for high school gymnasts.

Sunday we did it all again. This time it was the 'March for Babies' also at the Base Oval. The walk was a little different, but still a few miles long. Our group managed to raise over $1,300 this year, surpassing our goal. Mark, Dee, Jack and Katy joined us for the walk - as well as Erika's friend Lorie and her mother. Afterwards, we went over to Mark & Dee's for pizza ad to hang out.

Also, Mario Kart Wii came out on Sunday (we picked that up before heading to Mark & Dee's), but we didn't get a chance to play until late last night. We went through the starting characters and stages - and it's pretty fun - I know Erika seemed to like it too.

Finally, the NFL Draft also occurred this weekend. The Steelers, in my opinion, had a pretty strong draft, despite not really filling their needs for offensive line help. They first drafted Rashard Mendenhall, a running back from Illinois. The Steelers are pretty strong with Willie Parker, but when he got hurt last year the drop off was pretty significant. Nowadays you basically need to have two talented running backs, so this fits the bill. In the second round, the Steelers drafted the player I have had my eye on for a few years now. I was a huge Plaxico Burress fan when he played in Pittsburgh, due to his height and speed, and thought the Steelers had been missing that big receiver since he left. So I really like the selection of Texas' Limas Sweed (right). I will probably be picking up his jersey when it comes out.

All-in-all a pretty productive and busy weekend. Hopefully things will slow down, but I doubt it. It's nice to have things to do - and next weekend looks to be pretty busy with work around the house. Oh well, it has to be done.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Random Netflix Movie #3: Buying the Cow

I have some good news. D.J. Qualls was not in this viewing of random Netflix movies. The rumor of my love for him can now officially die ----- I hope.

Anyway, on to the task at hand. I was able to jump on Netflix again today to check out yet another Random Netflix Movie. Today's winner was Buying the Cow.

I find it pretty remarkable that so many well known actors can make so many not-so-well known movies. Buying the Cow is just another one of those examples. The movie stars: Jerry O'Connell, Ryan Reynolds, Bill Bellamy, Ron Livingston, Bridgette Wilson and Alyssa Milano.

O'Connell is the main character of the movie, David Collins. Collins has been dating Sarah (Wilson) for five years when one night he gets a phone call from his friend, Tyler (Livingston), that he just met a remarkable woman and he is getting married. Tyler before this was the groups born to be a bachelor for life.

So anyway, this news basically throws his relationship with Sarah into a "shit or get off the pot" moment, as Sarah now wants to get married. She gives David a two month window - where she will be in New York on business - and when she returns he would need to know where he wanted the relationship to go.

The title of the movie comes from the line "Why by the cow, when you can have the milk for free". So, although David is nowhere near ready to get married, he must make the decision to do it or lose Sarah forever.

Reynolds plays Mike Hanson, another of David's college friends, who has a pretty interesting lifestyle as well. He is the guy who can get any woman he wants, and usually does. There is a pretty interesting subplot with him as well - which is pretty hilarious. Also, for those who like Reynolds - you can basically see him naked for most of the film - if you like that sort of thing.

Bellamy and Milano are also characters in the movie, but their roles aren't as significant as the others.

There is a large plot to the story that I am not going to go into in the review, but it is pretty important - and makes the ending, well, kinda creepy.

I still, however, would give this a 3/5 ranking. Not a band watch, and pretty funny at times. I have always been a fan of both O'Connell and Reynolds - and I love Livingston in Office Space.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Double Monitors

I am a pretty big technology buff - although I don't get too crazy into things. I just love how far we as a society have come in such a short time. Now I wasn't around when we just had black-and-white televisions, or hell just radios, but I was around when there was no internet, no iPod, no CD's/DVD's, no digital cable, etc.

It's hard to imagine a life without these things nowadays. I can't really imagine myself growing up in the 50's knowing what is going to be available in the future. We complain so much today about doing things (and believe me, I may be one of the worst), but imagine doing them in the 50's or even the 70's - things would have taken forever: like book reports, laundry, the dishes, etc.

I am glad I am living in the technological boom age. Although my paycheck does not allow me to partake in a lot of the things that interest me, I have been able to sample a few things here and there. I am now the proud owner of the Wii, and it's amazing - I just wish there was more time to play it. I have had an iPod for about five years now, and recently purchased the iPod Shuffle for working out - I can't even imagine grabbing a Discman anymore.

The whole point of this story is to let you know my amazement of my new double-monitor computer. Since coming to work at my new job, a lot of my estimating jobs get taken off via-computer. However, the way my office is setup - I have not been able to view my computer monitor while working on drawings, which is pretty much a necessity. So, we recently purchased a double-monitor card and a second monitor for my office, and my friend Mark installed it for me on Monday.

Technically I am still not all the way setup yet - as a shelf will have to be built near my drawing table for the new monitor to be placed, but already I can tell how much easier my work-life is going to be. It's amazing. Just another technological breakthrough making people's lives easier.

I know we have given up a lot of things in our lives that children, young adults of yesteryear have truly cherished - but I feel the good definitely outweigh the bad when it comes to technology. Heck even my father owns an iPod, an HD television w/surround sound, and he even played a Wii game with us a few weeks ago - and hell didn't freeze over ---- yet.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Top 10: Comedy Characters

I have to admit, the situation comedy of years past as all but been erased in today's television. With the limitless amount of reality television, and spin-off after spin-off of crime dramas - the comedy has sort of whithered away.

There are still a few gems out there if you look in the right place. Even had a difficult time coming up with a handful of comedies that I will watch on a regular basis. Comedy is probably my favorite type of movie to watch, but for some reason (and perhaps it's the lack of quality) my DVR is mostly queued for the crime dramas as well.

But, I have come up with 10 characters from comedies on television today that usually have me laughing each and every episode - and here they are in reverse order.

10) Josh Gates - Destination Truth
Though technically on a reality show (I told you it was hard to find good comedies in today's television), Josh displays a very good sense of humor. His humor is not unlike my own - and usually has a quip or two during each and every show.

9) Bert "Sock" Wysocki (Tyler Labine) - Reaper
Sock is also technically not on a comedy, more of a dramedy, but his character is hilarious. He is the buddy to the main character, Sam, who is forced to capture escaped souls from Hell due to his parents selling his soul to the devil before he was born. Sock, and other friend Ben, help Sam capture these souls - with Sock usually being the comic relief throughout. His comic style reminds me a lot of Jack Black.

8) Stewie Griffin - Family Guy
Family Guy is pretty well known nowadays, especially after being rescued from cancellation thanks to positive DVD sales. Now most people are Peter Griffin fans, but the true comedy on the show comes from Stewie. He is the devil-baby that is constantly trying to rid himself of his mother, making fun of his brother and sister, and making life hell for the family dog. Although years ahead of others his age in development, it's the times where he shows his true innocence that stick out the most.

7) Darnell "Crabman" Turner (Eddie Steeples) - My Name Is Earl
This was a pretty hard decision to make, the true brilliance of the show My Name Is Earl is its ensemble cast. Each member brings something to the table, and without even one of them the show might not be as funny. But, I twisted my own arm and in my opinion Crabman has probably made me laugh the most. He is definitely smarter than another other character on the show, and because of that his comments can totally throw you for a loop - and of course you can't forget his love for Mr. Turtle.

6) Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) - Big Bang Theory
This is a new comedy I found on CBS that leads into How I Met Your Mother. It's about a pair of geniuses who live across the hall from a gorgeous, normal girl. Howard is one of the pairs friends, who wears unbelievably dated clothing, is constantly pining after beautiful women he can't get, or throwing out hilarious one-liners. Shelden, one of the two main geniuses, also is very entertaining and I am amazed at his ability to keep a straight face - but I have to give the edge to Howard on the laugh-out-loud quality of his humor.

5/4) Johnny "Drama" Chase (Kevin Dillon)
& Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) - Entourage
This listing is a combination. You can't have one without the other, it's like Laurel without Hardy or Peanut Butter without Jelly. Turtle and Drama from Entourage are what make that show hilarious. I love it when they stick the two of them together for some silly reason, because you know you are getting good laughs. Turtle will be making fun of Drama for some various reason, and of course Drama will snap back at Turtle the only way he knows how. The pairing is magical together.

3) Homer J. Simpson - The Simpsons
To me it's amazing how The Simpsons was once focused around Bart. Although Bart is a great character - there is no other animated character like Homer, and that may never be matched. Homer is a simple minded man, who will do anything he can to help out his family - as long as it doesn't get in the way of eating, watching tv or drinking beer. Over the years Homer has developed into more and more of a simple man - but his thoughts are hilarious (when spoken, or when just inside his head).

2) Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris) - How I Met Your Mother
It's pretty interesting that a gay man can play such a womanizer so well, but it might only be able to be done by the great Neil Patrick Harris. Barney is the glue that holds How I Met Your Mother together. His 'bible' of life is legend(wait for it)dary. He constantly suits up and ever since getting dumped by his one true love - has become a womanizing mad men, who makes up stories to either get in bed with a girl, or get out of seeing her again. But it isn't just comedy for this guy - he actually cares about his friends. Even though by showing it, he is in some way, shape or form setting up some hilarious line.

1) Janitor (Neil Flynn) - Scrubs
The top spot goes to the most hilarious person on television - on what has possibly been the most hilarious show on television for the past seven years. The Janitor, as he is only known, is one of the most original and comedic characters ever created - and he is played fantastically well by Neil Flynn. The Janitor has chosen Sacred Heart doctor J.D. to be his dart board - the person he is constantly picking on or doing things to. He is dedicated to making J.D.'s day at work (and sometimes beyond work) impossible. The dedication is what makes it so great - as he was put on this earth just to make J.D.'s life miserable.

Well, there you have it - My Top 10 comedic characters on television right now. Sure there were great one's in the past (although it's tough to crack the top 3 of this list). Comedy may be on it's way out in television, but these characters will always have you smiling.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Summer-like Weekend

We had a pretty eventful weekend again.

The weather was more than amazing. It was mid-70's the entire three days (and it looks to be continuing that way) so we were able to spend some time outdoors this weekend.

On Friday after work I stopped in at the Press-Republican with Kasey to say hello to a few former co-workers. It was good to see them, and I still miss the environment - and of course writing for the paper. The sports section was gearing up for the spring season, so John Coryer was getting the annual spring previews in order. I definitely miss parts of the sports writing business.

That night Erika, Kasey and myself took a little walk around Rouses Point and stopped at Gino's for some ice cream. Gino's has a boatload of flavors to choose from. Last year, however, they didn't get these flavors until at least May or June - but luckily they had them from the get-go this year, so I was happy.

On Saturday, we all made the trek to Plattsburgh to Lowes to purchase some things for the house. We managed a pretty good spending spree (ugh), and got ceiling fans for both Kasey's and our room, an air conditioner for Kasey, new light fixtures for basically the entire house, some new things for our downstairs bathroom - and other various things. We will probably be doing the installing in a couple of weeks.

When we got home, I hit the back yard to clean up the winters-worth of Abby droppings. Although most had already been dried up. Erika hit the front yard and cut down three of our prickly bushes. That night we again hit Gino's - it's addicting.

On Sunday, softball season officially started. Erika and her parents play on a coed fun league softball team. And last year my sister and dad joined the squad. I had never been able to participate due to my work constrictions, but this year I will be able to make most of the games (unless they fall on a day I am playing basketball). So, we went to the park for some batting and fielding practice. Today, however, I am a little bit sore.

After practice my dad got some pizza and wings for us to enjoy - and we did. We went home and conquered a few more household chores. I got the two A.C. units out (not Kasey's yet) and put them into the house. Also re-attached the hose and cleaned up the grill. And got to use the grill for the first time this year. I have grown pretty fond of the grill - and from what I hear, am not too bad at it.

That was basically the weekend. Always seems to be something going on, and I may end up more tired after the weekend, than I am going into it. Kasey was pretty good most of the weekend, but decided he didn't need to take a nap on either day, so by 6-6:30 he started to become a monster each night. Hopefully that doesn't become a habit.

Oh well - four days of work for me this week, then a 3-day weekend.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Rensselaer and 21

I'm back.

I'd hate to disappoint the dozens of loyal fans (or maybe it's just one) my blogs - I know they get you through the day.

Anyway, I spent the last three days in my companies home office of Rensselaer in a training session. I learned a lot that should help me in my job - although it was pretty boring, and cramped, at times.

I did get to spend some time with my friend from high school, Zac. We went to dinner in downtown Albany and then he showed me his house. It was good to see him, it had been a long time.

On Wednesday, I managed to find some time - although that time is usually for sleeping during work nights - to sneak off and see a movie. So here is my review.

I went to a late-night viewing of 21 at a very close to my hotel movie theater. It was, by far, the most intriguing of all movies they had showing at the theater - so I grabbed my Goobers and water and went to the movies.

21 has characters that include: Ben Campbell (Jim Sturgess), Jill Taylor (Kate Bosworth), Choi (Aaron Yoo), Kianna (Liza Lapira), Jimmy Fisher (Jacob Pitts), Prof. Micky Rosa (Kevin Spacey) and Cole Williams (Laurence Fishburne).

Campbell is an extremely bright 21 year old, who has been accepted into Harvard Medical School. He is up for a Robinson Scholarship, that selects one student and pays their entire medical school bill. The administer of this scholarship tells Campbell that everyone applying for the scholarship is the top everything in his/her school - to win, you have to do something that really jumps out.

In a class at M.I.T., Campbell impresses his professor (Spacey) and is recruited to join his card counting group, which consists of Jill, Choi, Kianna and Jimmy. At first he is reluctant, but when he realizes he can pay for his own medical school by making money counting cards, he accepts.

The rest of the movie plays out pretty well. Choi, Jill and Kianna each go to separate black jack tables and if a table is hot - flash a signal to either Jimmy or Ben to join in at the table. A quick well placed key word in a sentence, and Jimmy or Ben know exactly where the card count is at when sitting down. They are the big players - the one's that make the money by placing larger bets.

Of course there is the inevitable jealousy that Jimmy soon shows when Ben starts out-performing him, and thus earning Rosa's praise. Also, the attraction between Ben and Jill - and finally the falling out between the players and their 'coach'.

The ending is pretty good. Definitely has some twists that you may not see coming - I figured on a few of them, but was not expecting a couple.

The movie is pretty entertaining. Sturgess is a newcomer that more than holds his own with the veteran Spacey and Fishburne. I was also very impressed with Bosworth - who in earlier projects I have not enjoyed very much.

I would recommend this movie - it is pretty interesting how they can do the counting of cards, and how they signal each other to the hot tables. You never truly lose focus on the film, it keeps you into it for its entire length, which is what a movie is supposed to do.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Watchable At Any Time Series: Accepted

There are very few movies in this world that when you are flipping through the stations, or happen to come across it when searching your guide, that you have to stop and watch. I call these movies the "Watchable At Any Time" movies. The type of movies, that no matter where the movie is during its play, or even what time of the day you come across it - you absolutely have to watch it, no matter how many times you have seen it before.

The first movie in my series, and possibly the newest movie on this list is Accepted.

The cast of this movie includes:
  • Justin Long - Bartleby Gaines
  • Blake Lively - Monica
  • Adam Herschman - Glen
  • Maria Thayer - Rory
  • Columbus Short - Hands
  • Jonah Hill - Sherman Schrader
  • Lewis Black - Uncle Ben
It isn't just the main cast that makes this movie so much fun to watch, but also the tons of 'extras' or lesser cast members. Each one was given a special personality, and most are downright hilarious.

The basis of this story revolves around Bartleby Gaines, whose parents desperately want him to get into a good college. Gaines, however, has received rejection after rejection, until he has come to realize that he is not going to get into college. To please his parents, and all of the others who are constantly asking what his future plans are, Gaines decides to make-up his own college - sending an acceptance letter from the South Harmon Institute of Technology to himself, and Schrader helps him out by making a fully functional webpage for the college.

Gaines finds out that it's not only him that had not been accepted anywhere, but three of his friends as well - Rory, Hands and Glen - so he leases a building, fixes it up and proceeds on with his charade to fool his parents. Now, if you think this is ridiculous - please be advised that each person was given $10,000 for their first semester of college - so it is feasible.

When Gaines' parents decide to visit - and meet with the dean - Gaines enlists Schrader's Uncle Ben to pose as the dean. To further his even more growing lie, Schrader's webpage was not only functional for Gaines' father, but for anyone who happened to stumble across it. So, hundreds of kids who had not been accepted anywhere for college, show up at S.H.I.T. after being accepted - thanks to Schrader's "Acceptance is Just a Click Away", actually being functional.

The moral of this movie is to show just how far, and weird the college system has become. As Gaines tries to learn about his new college, he goes to nearby Harmon College, to see what college life is all about. What he finds are overly stressed students, a classroom that is being taught by a speaker and a student who wants to take an extra-curricular class that their adviser won't allow them to take. So he forms a "What Do You Want to Learn" board that everyone can sign up for classes on. And begins the students-teaching-students.

In all, this would never be able to happen in real life, but it's pretty interesting. Imagine a college where you can learn what you want to learn - and not be as stressed out about notes and tests. The whole situation is very funny, and the characters are hilarious. Very well done. And I can't stop watching it.

(I will be gone until Friday - hope you can get by without my weird blogs)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Haircut Adventure

Last night, Kasey and I went to the mall for what would be his fourth haircut. The first time we did this, Kasey was not too happy, and basically screamed the entire time. The second time, however, we let him hold onto one of the combs while he sat on my lap, and things went very smooth, not one single cry. The last time we went, I got there a little late, and Erika didn't know of the calming comb - so he was already in full cry mode.

Last night, Kasey, my parents and I went to the mall around 5ish, and we had dinner. Which was also pretty cool, because Kasey drank out of the straw for the first time - a pretty big accomplishment. Anyway, our appointment was scheduled for 6 p.m., or so I was told. Apparently, the lady who took our appointment down said six, but put us down for 6:30, so we had to venture through the mall until it was our turn.

Kasey, by the time we got into the chair, was already a little fussy and getting tired. He started off ok, but our hairdresser caught a snag in Kasey's hair and things went downhill from there. But, we managed to get through it unscathed. He went off with grandma while I got my haircut.

I was hoping he would have gotten used to getting his haircut by now, but he is still a little apprehensive. Hopefully next time he won't have any snags in his hair.

That was basically my night last night. We got home around 7:20 and Kasey got to stay up a little later so he and Erika could spend some time together. We watched Destination Truth, Survivor and My Name Is Earl - then I caught Scrubs before heading to bed.

Have a good weekend - see ya on Monday.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Last fall I was excited to see a new show on the CW Network called Reaper. I was very fortunate to see the first two episodes of this entertaining show, but for some reason we have lost the CW Network in the Rouses Point area.

So I can't really tell you to watch this show, because technically, I am not watching it either - at least not on television. I have, however, been able to catch all the episodes online at

The show is based around Sam (Brett Harrison), who is a bit of a slacker that never went to college after high school, is still living with his parents (until recently) and works at the Work Bench (a Home Depot-type store). Well, on Sam's 21st birthday he finds out that his parents had sold his soul to the devil before he was born. The Devil (Sam Wise) has come to collect his bounty on the day of his birthday, but there is a catch, he doesn't want to take Sam to hell - he wants him to become a bounty hunter, and catch the souls who have escaped hell.

Each week offers a new escaped soul that Sam, and his two Work Bench buddies Sock (Tyler Labine) and Ben (Rick Gonzalez), have to figure out how to track down and catch. There is also a 'vessel' that used to store the soul until it can be returned to hell. The 'vessel' changes for each episode, and the gang must figure out the best way to use it to capture the soul.

Sock is a pretty interesting character, and is used mostly for comic relief. Ben is a very noble friend, that puts his neck on the line to help Sam out, and most of the time ends up getting hurt. Another side story that occurs on Reaper is the story about Sam and Andi (Missy Peregrym). Sam and Andi have been friends forever, but Sam has other ideas about their relationship - and has desperately been in love with her forever. But, Andi (for most of the first season) has only wanted to stay friends - sort of even blowing Sam off, telling him nothing will happen.

I have never officially gotten into Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel or Charmed, but I am told that fans of those shows are also fans of this show. But, if you like a little bit of science fiction and a lot of laughs - and you are lucky enough to have CW - then check out Reaper. Even if you don't have CW - check it out online like me.

As of this moment, however, Reaper has not been picked up for next season - nor has it officially been axes - so if you can watch the last few episodes this season, perhaps that could help propel it onto next season's fall schedule.

Here's hoping.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Random Netflix Movie #2: I'm Reed Fish

I ventured into Netflix again today, and watched another random movie, so here is my second entry in the Random Netflix Movie journal.

I'm Reed Fish is a movie with a lot of recognizable names in its cast. The main character Reed Fish is played by Jay Baruchel (Knocked Up). Kate is played by Alexis Bledel (Gilmore Girls), Schuyler Fish (Orange County) plays Jill, Katey Sagal (Married With Children) is Maureen, and for the second Random Netflix Movie in a row, D.J. Qualls (The Core) plays Andrew.

I know what you're thinking, I have some fetish about D.J. Qualls, but honest to God I had no idea he was in this movie, nor the one I watched before. Just proved to be coincidence.

OK, on to the movie. Well, I'm Reed Fish is a pretty odd tale. There is a pretty random twist which you find out right away, that the story being told is, in fact, a story. Reed Fish made a movie about his life, and is showing it to the town in which it took place. So this is a movie within a movie (do ya understand?).

Anyway, Reed is from a very small town and is the local radio personality, along with Mayor Maureen (Sagal). Reed's father was the voice of the town before Reed took over. His parents were both killed in a car crash, along with his fiance's mother. Reed's fiance in the movie is Kate (Bledel).

This is sort of a Sweet Home Alabama-type movie, but played in the opposing viewpoint. Instead of seeing the person coming back from the 'big' city, you see the person who never left be infatuated with the girl who did. Jill (Fisk) is a girl that graduated high school with Reed, but moved away to go to college. When she returns, things sort of get thrown for a loop, as Reed starts to realize that his life has sort of been planned out for him due to his father's death.

In a drunken moment, one night, Reed plants a kiss on Jill, who returns the favor. It is sort of to be expected, Reed had never seemed like he wanted to get married to Kate anyway, but was just going through the motions. Well, after telling Kate, she ended the wedding - and due to the small town they lived in - Reed became hated by everyone.

But, who would Reed end up with in the end? The girl he had been friends with all of his life (Kate), but accidentally ended up hurting. Or the girl who woke him up from the already-picked-out life he had been leading?

That's up to you to find out, if you wish to check out the movie. The whole movie-within-a-movie thing kind of confuses you a bit, because you associate Bledel as Kate and Fisk as Jill. But, they are only actors in Fish's movie. Kate ends up being Valerie Azlynn in the end of the movie, and the 'real' Jill is played by Shiri Appleby - confusing? Yes, but it all sort of makes sense - I promise.

This movie was not as good as Lone Star State of Mind nor was it nearly as funny. Baruchal, I feel, is not really a leading man, but more a secondary character. Bledel was pretty good as usual, and Fisk really surprised me - I was not a fan of hers in Orange County, but she was a lot better in this one. Qualls was again the comic relief in the movie, but they didn't use him as well, nor as much as they should have.

Until next time.

Walk Before You Can Run

Well, it has started.

I have slowly started to try to get myself back into shape. Last night after dinner at Erika's parents, I headed into their basement and ran a mile on their treadmill. The funny thing was, I probably could have run longer, but the shoes I was wearing were not ideal for running in, surprisingly. So, I was forced to call it quits before I really needed it - but I felt pretty good afterwards, and had a nice sweat going.

My main hurdle in finding my way back to a normal weight and basketball playing shape is, and probably always will be, time. Most of my day is pretty much planned, thanks to work, the commute to and from work, dinner, time with Kasey and Erika, and sleeping. Taking away any of that (although I wouldn't mind losing the work part) is not going to happen - so I need to try and find a way to at least get out for 30 minutes, and allow Erika to do the same.

As of this moment, if it started tonight, I would probably have to withdraw my name from playing summer basketball this year. I am in nowhere near the shape I need to be in to compete with 18 year olds. Do I enjoy it? Absolutely. But, when you were once the best player on your team, to players thinking twice about passing you the ball, it loses that certain appeal.

My goal is to be in playing shape by the time the summer basketball season rolls around - so that give me about a month and a half, which I believe is feasible. There are also two vacations on the horizon for the Kane family, both of which will be in warm climates (THANK GOD), so the goal after getting in shape is to lose the belly, and get as toned as I can. I know it's under there somewhere - I just have to find it.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

March Madness Concludes

The end of the NCAA Tournament was last night as Kansas was proclaimed the national champion after defeating Memphis in overtime.

I have to admit, I did not watch the game. To me the NCAA Tournament is all about Cinderellas, and having all four No. 1 seeds make it to the Final Four sort of took out a lot of the glamor for me. Plus the fact, that I only had two Final Four teams, and ZERO final two. I had a rough going in my picks this year, finishing near the bottom in all of my pools.

Davidson had a nice run, and could have been this years George Mason, but they couldn't get past Kansas, as a jumper at the buzzer didn't land. It would have been a more exciting Final Four had that shot found its way.

I can't speak for everyone, but I find myself losing interest after the first couple of rounds in the tournament. On the first days of the tournament, the Thursday and Friday, I am ecstatic and wishing I wasn't at work so I could watch each and every game. When it gets knocked down to the Sweet 16, I am still enthralled, but not as much as on the opening weekend. And once the Final Four hits, well, I can honestly say I didn't watch an entire contest.

Perhaps it's the amount of time it actually takes to finally get to the final game, almost three weeks in all. Maybe it's the fact that last night's game didn't start to well after 9 p.m. Eastern time on a Monday. But I do know I think I would have been more inclined to watch had Davidson, or Western Kentucky, made it to the final games. Or, of course, my beloved Pitt Panthers.

Oh well, the college basketball season finishes just as the NBA is finishing it's final week, and the NHL is heading into the playoffs - yes I said the NHL, hey the Penguins may actually have a chance this year, so I might watch a game or two.

I hope all of you college hoop fans got a good look at some of these freshman stars, because you won't be seeing them on a campus near you come June. Michael Beasley, Derrick Rose, Eric Gordon, Kevin Love, O.J. Mayo - they are all NBA bound.

The NBA is looking into extending the age boundaries to two years out of high school, which would force some of these players to stay an extra year - which would also allow a college program to develop, and many of these players to actually attend a class or two.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Spring Weather?

Well the weekend started off a bit abnormal for what is supposed to be spring here in Plattsburgh. We were greeted with a nice 60 degree day on Thursday, to being pelted with snow (and I mean pelted) on Friday. Where the hell did that come from?

Anyway, after work on Friday I went to a retirement party for a lady that works with Erika. It was an alright occasion, other than the fact that I knew absolutely nobody there. The food was ok, and the presentation was pretty thoughtful, even though I didn't have any clue who this lady was.

Saturday brought a nicer day, but still not spring weather. I met my family at my sister's apartment early in the morning to help move her and her fiance to their new home. Erika took Kasey to the car show at the Crete, which he apparently loved - although more for the balloons than the actual cars.

The move took a lot longer than expected as things were not quite ready for us to move in. I was planning on being completed by noon, but by two they still had things that needed to be moved in. They did manage to get everything there though; they are still unpacking and such, but they are in.

Saturday night I again played a fair amount of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, as I am still working on completing a lot of the challenges they have set up for us - and believe me it's going to take awhile. Saturday, however, I was able to accomplish a few things in the home-run hitting contest. The best coming, almost near the end, when I was able to pelt the over 1,500 feet hit (something I didn't think I would be able to do). Erika was happy, as I did it with her favorite character: Olimar (right).

On Sunday it appeared that someone remembered that it is supposed to be spring, even in the North Country. We were blessed with a beautiful, warm day outside - and although we weren't able to enjoy it outside, it was still very welcome. We cleaned a lot during the day and had my parents over for dinner, and to talk about the upcoming vacations. Shannon and Cyle also joined us a little later - and my dad played his first game on Wii. I thought the world was going to end, as I think his last venture into the game world was on Pong. But, we played bowling and golf, and I actually think he enjoyed himself.

Well, that is my weekend update - the blogs for the rest of the week should be more entertaining (hopefully). Today we are again blessed with a gorgeous day - something that I am hoping becomes a pattern.

Until next time.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Conspiracy Theory

I don't usually get online much during the weekend, so I thought I would write a second blog for the weekend.

I have come to the conclusion that someone is watching me. They might not be still watching me, but they were at least watching me while I was in college. During my time at college I took a lot of writing classes, especially creative writing classes. Of course in those classes you are forced to be, well, creative. During one of those classes I began a story about a young man with super powers. I named that story Johnny Underpants. In this story, a young man is late for school one day, and with sleep still in his eyes throws on his clothes, mistakenly putting his underpants on outside his regular pants. In doing so, it triggered a power in him that gave him super strength, x-ray vision, super speed, etc. I thought the story was pretty good, especially for something I had to think up on the fly during a college class.

Well, a few years had passed by and I went to a bookstore in Pittsburgh, and what do I find? A copy of a book called Captain Underpants. Now this isn't exactly my story about Johnny, but come on, the resemblance is pretty uncanny. This could have been a book that I wrote. I should be raking in this guys money.

But the conspiracy doesn't stop there.

Just this year it got a little deeper. In possibly that same class, I can't remember, I wrote another short story entitled Bank Jobs. In this story a father and his friend rob banks to help pay for the medical bills for the father's sick daughter. Now, I have not seen, nor do I think I will see, the new movie entitled The Bank Job. I know it may not be exactly modeled after my short story, but it's just another smack to the face. A movie with the title of my short story. I feel like I am living that movie Big Fat Liar.

I don't know what exactly is happening, but I do know that for every other story, script, note that I write I will be keeping an eye over my shoulder. Someone is definitely cashing in on my ideas.

Random Netflix Movie #1: Lone Star State of Mind

I have been a Netflix user now for about 4 or 5 years. It's a pretty decent service for the price that you pay. They send you three movies at a time and when you are finished with them, you send them back and three more are sent to you. If you time things right you could get up to 12 movies a month, plus get newly released movies the day after they come out.

Anyway, about a year ago, with the whole automatic viewing thing going down, Netflix started allowing users to watch movies directly from their website, whenever they felt like it. Now the selection isn't complete, so you can't just select any movie, but when you're bored and looking for something to watch, it's a free movie to watch.

I have not taken advantage of this until recently, so I thought that I would begin a semi-annual blog post about a Random Netflix Movie that I have watched. I just completed Lone Star State of Mind a movie made in 2002 that stars Joshua Jackson (Dawson's Creek), Jaime King (Pearl Harbor), DJ Qualls (Road Trip) and Ryan Hurst (Remember the Titans).

The movie is based in Bennett, Texas and is about Earl (Jackson), whose mother marries Baby's (King) father, played by a surprise performance from John Mellencamp. Anyway, Earl and Baby have been dating since the 11th grade, but now technically he is dating his step-sister, which is a joke throughout the movie.

Baby's cousin Junior (Qualls) is a bit of a dumbass, who is constantly getting into trouble. After getting thrown in jail, Baby makes Earl promise to look after Junior, and make sure he doesn't get into any more trouble - which is where the story really begins.

Junior and Tinker (Hurst) decide to rob a pizza delivery boy one night, which turns out to be a front for a drug dealer. Junior steals a bag out of the pizza guy's truck with a lot of cash and drugs in it. Thinking they hit the jackpot, Junior goes out and buys some expensive boots, and Tinker calls a friend from jail about purchasing the drugs. Earl gets wind of this and gets himself involved.

To sum up the story, Baby and Earl are four days away from moving to LA when all of this goes down. The drug dealers find out who stole their money and, obviously, try to get it back from them. But, the guy from jail that Tinker calls also tries to get the money and drugs from Junior, and thus thrusting Earl and Baby in the middle of a shootout.

I won't spoil the ending, but for a movie that I had never heard of and wasn't expecting much it was pretty decent. The star power was pretty good, with a surprise appearance from Thomas Haden Church as well. The accent used by Jackson was pretty annoying though, but you can get by that. The movie in all was pretty good, and worth a watch. If, of course, you have time and are bored. The movie isn't winning any oscars, but Hurst and Qualls were pretty hilarious in their roles, so for that alone I would recommend it.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Ghost Hunters

A few months ago, during the writer's strike and nothing good was on television, my wife and I stumbled upon a show called Ghost Hunters on the SciFi Channel.

It has since become a staple in the Kane household, so much so that we have changed our usual Wednesday trips to Erika's parents house to Tuesdays, so that we can watch Ghost Hunters on Wednesday night.

The show is about a group of people, who have labeled themselves TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society), headed by Jason and Grant (right). TAPS is notified of a certain home, library, building, etc. where people have claims to see or hear paranormal activity. They then go into the building, with their EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomenons), thermal cameras, video cameras, etc. and try to either debunk (prove wrong) or find proof of paranormal activity.

We have been watching now for a few months, and a handful of times the group will not find anything paranormal in a certain place during one of their sweeps. But, most of the time there is usually at least some proof of activity in the house, whether it be an EVP, a personal experience, or (on rare occasions) an actual image of an entity (or ghost).

The show airs on SciFi Wednesday nights at 9 p.m., but older shows air in the two hours leading up to the new show. Since we are new to the show, we have also been catching the older seasons as well. Although the older shows are still excellent to watch, due to the findings, the show itself has come along way in its newer versions. One thing I am definitely happy they did away with were the flashing of scary images during the show, ones that had no business being there except for the fact to try and make the show a little scarier. It was unnecessary, the show itself is spooky, especially when actual evidence is found.

Ghost Hunters has actually evolved into another show (sort of like CSI), but this one is called Ghost Hunters: International. A few of the original TAPS members and a handful of others explore buildings, much like in Ghost Hunters, but these buildings are of castles, dungeons, etc. things that have been around for hundreds of years.

Finally, during one of those Ghost Hunters: International shows, a guy by the name of Josh Gates (left) tagged along with the group on one of its excursions. Apparently Josh had a show if his own called Destination Truth, also on SciFi. Erika and I both thought Josh was a funny guy, that actually livened up the Ghost Hunters: International show, so we decided to check out his show as well - which airs in the 10 p.m. slot after Ghost Hunters.

His show is a little different, as he searches for unexplained things, such as the loch ness monster, or other various species that have claimed to have been seen, but not truly verified. His show is pretty interesting, and his brand of humor certainly livens up the broadcast. My only true disappointment, however, is that unlike Ghost Hunters, Josh and his team rarely find what it is they are looking for.

So there you have it, a trio of shows that may spark your interest. Ghost Hunters has truly become a staple in our household, and I guess we can thank the writer's strike for that. Although, we are happy to see our shows slowly working their way back onto the networks.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Dazed & Confused

It's been a few weeks now, but I was surprised one day by wife heading into the back room to find a movie for us to watch together, only to bring out one of my favorite movies of all-time: Dazed & Confused.

Now I admit, the first few (possibly 10) times I viewed this movie was at a party with my classmates. But, over time, it has truly grown on me.

The move takes place in 1976, the last day of school for a bunch of junior about to turn seniors - and also those eighth graders about to make the jump into high school.

Dazed is one of those movies that you love to throw in only to see the star power. A handful of actors in this movie, who were not well known at the time, are not huge Hollywood stars.

Matthew McConaughey is probably the most well-known actor in the movie. His portrayal as Wooderson is a classic. Wooderson is the high school graduate who has never really moved on. He still hangs out with those in high school, and even tries to hook up with the high school girls. -"That's what I love about these high school girls. I get older, they stay the same age."

O'Bannion is a high school senior, who absolutely loves to haze the new crop of freshman. He loves it so much, in fact, that he flunks his senior year - and gets to be the bad ass two years in a row. He is played by Ben Affleck.

Other notable stars, not as well known, are Parker Posey (Best In Show), Jason London (Out Cold), Rory Cochrane (CSI:Miami), Joey Lauren Adams (Big Daddy), Adam Goldberg (Saving Private Ryan) and Milla Jovovich (Resident Evil).

Dazed is in one of my top: Can Watch Anytime, Wherever It Is movies. Meaning that you accidentally stumble across it on TNT some night, and it's half way through, you would still finish it. But, that's another blog.

If you have not seen this movie, or you haven't in awhile, might be time to throw it in the DVD player. It was certainly a present surprise for me, it had been too long.

"Look at the blood stains." - Slater.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Return of Baseball

I have stated in many of my previous posts that I have never really been a fan of baseball. My father was an excellent baseball player in his past and was even a player in the minor leagues. I was a decent player growing up, but it was never a passion of mine like basketball became.

The 2008 baseball season began a few days ago. To me it seems that the 2007 season just ended. Baseball, in general, is just too long of a sport. The season begins when the snow is barely off of the ground, and in some cases still is on the ground, and it ends in November. And it's not just the season that is long, but the games as well. For a nine inning game, you're going to average at least three hours. I can't sit and stare at the television that long for a game that moves so slowly.

Baseball is not a game that is built for watching on television. The idea of a game is to head to the ball parks. One of the best things about living in Pittsburgh was being able to go down to PNC Park and catch the Pirates play. The games were never sold out, so you could decide on a whim to head to the ball game. The ambiance is what baseball is truly about. It's hanging out with your friends, family or significant other, grabbing a soda, hot dog, nachos and cotton candy, and sitting in the stands hoping to catch a foul ball.

Despite not being a huge fan of the game, I am a sports enthusiast, so I must make my picks: National League playoff teams: Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs, San Diego Padres, N.Y. Mets (wild card). American League playoff teams: Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, Anaheim Angels, Cleveland Indians (wild card).

I don't know much about baseball, but my picks are now in stone. Check back to see if I am right (8 months from now!).

First Posting!

Welcome to the wild side. I have really started to enjoy writing down various things on my old myspace page for those that actually read it to enjoy. It might be my way of compensating for the loss of writing at the newspaper since I started my new job.

I have decided to broaden my blogateering and start an actual blog page, which you are currently viewing. I will do my best to remain constant in my posts, will keep everyone updated on my everyday doings, family, music, movies, Wii(ing), sports, etc. So please feel free to stop by at anytime, and don't forget to leave comments when it strikes you to do so.

I will try to repost again today with something. Hope you enjoy.