Friday, August 29, 2008

LWITM: Twister

Every so often, when I have no other things to write about, I look into older-type films for a high quality cast. Not just those at the top billing, but diving a little deeper to see actors, who at the time weren't as well known, but now have become a little more well known.

I have done a pair of these in the past with Can't Hardly Wait and Remember the Titans.

This time, however, the casting is not quite up to par as those I have done before it, but still a lot of actors that are known (just not maybe as well known).

So, for the third LWITM (Look Who's In That Movie) I have selected Twister.

The movies top actors at the time were Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton.

Hunt was riding pretty high with the success of her television show Mad About You. She has been pretty under the radar since then, with just a few top-tier movies since the end of Mad About You.

Paxton, however, has continued making large-scale movies, albeit in usually a secondary role. But, he has also hit it big with his Showtime hit Big Love.

Diving a little deeper I have found the following actors in Twister some of which I didn't even realize were there.
  • Cary Elwes: In the film plays Dr. Jonas Miller, a rival storm chaser who is 'in it for the money' according to Paxton's character. Elwes was known pretty well before Twister as Westley in The Princess Bride and Robin of Locksley in Robin Hood: Men in Tights. But, he hadn't exactly been getting A-list material until a film entitled Saw hit it big.
  • Jami Gertz: Gertz was Paxton's future bride, Dr. Melissa Reeves, until she realizes that Paxton still has the hots for his former brider, Hunt. Gertz's biggest role before Twister was as Star in The Lost Boys. She had a pretty successful show called Still Standing for a few years, and has been pretty quiet the past two years.
  • Alan Ruck: 'Rabbit' Nurick, a fellow storm chaser on Hunt's team. Ruck will always be known as Cameron Frye from Ferris Bueller's Day Off. He has also been a star on the hit show Spin City as Stuart. Since then, he has been pretty busy with smaller roles in movies and guest spots on tv shows.
  • Joey Slotnick: Joey, also a storm chaser. Although not particularly well-known his face certainly is. He has had a recurring role on the television series Nip/Tuck and has kept busy with bit parts and guest spots on tv shows.
  • Jeremy Davies: Laurence, yet another storm chaser. Davies had a big part in the movie Saving Private Ryan with Tom Hanks. He has been pretty busy with movies since then, but has really made a name for himself again this past year with his portrayel as Daniel Faraday on the hit show Lost.
  • Anthony Rapp: Rapp played Tony. You may recognize Rapp as Tony from Dazed & Confused. He also had a role in Road Trip and has become rather large again with success of the broadway show and movie Rent.
  • Abraham Benrubi: Berubi played Bubba. Not a really recognizable name, but his face and rather large body easily make him recognizable. For years Benrubi played Jerry Markovic on the hit show ER. He has also played Dennis in Without a Paddle and most recently been on the show Men in Trees.
  • Jake Busey: Busey was a mobile lab tech in the film. Best known for being Gary Busey's son, Jake has been pretty busy as well in both film and television.
  • Alexa Vega: Vega played a young Helen Hunt in the opening sequence of the film. Vega has grown up pretty well on camera, as she starred in the trilogy Spy Kids and has remained in films pretty consistently ever since.
The biggest name, however, to come out of the Twister film is Philip Seymour Hoffman. Hoffman played Dustin Davis, a pretty out there hippie, who loved the rush of storm chasing. He probably had the funniest character in the film, channeling his inner-Jack Black (before Black became Black). Since, Twister, Hoffman has become an A-list actor with such films as Charlie Wilson's War, Before the Devil Knows Your Dead and Mission Impossible III. Not to mention an Oscar winning performance in the movie Capote.

So, there you have it, my third film in a string of "Look Who's In That Movie", not as big as some of those high school/college movies have become, but still a lot of well-known actors - including one being thrown into Oscar winning roles.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

College: The Return

Well, I am now about a week into my second stint as a college student. Last week I finally got registered for the three classes that I am taking - Environmental Science, Children's Literature and Finite Math. I, of course, got enrolled on Wednesday with the final day being Friday - I am always pretty late when it comes to those things.

Anyway, I am taking my Environmental Science class and Finite Math class online, so I technically only have to go up to school twice a week for my Children's Literature class.

My online classes didn't get going so well, as it took a few days for my login to actually start working. And when I got into the website, I only had my math class available. Once they added my science class, I again couldn't login. But, they fixed it again and so far I have been able to login everyday with no problems - keep your fingers crossed.

The online classes are pretty nice. They have all of your assignments mapped out for you, so you can take them at your leisure as long as they are in by a certain date. So far, I am caught up on most of my online classes, but I purchased the wrong lab notebook, so I have not been able to do my first science lab yet - hopefully this weekend.

My Children's Literature class meets on Tuesday and Thursday during my lunch break from work. So far it seems pretty good. I am, of course, one of if not the oldest person in the class. Today we had our first group assignment, where in the past I have been pretty hesitant, but today I felt right at home.

I think this is going to be pretty decent as long as I can continue to find time to work on my studies, and stay motivated - which my wife has already shown me she is going to keep on me to stay motivated. These two semesters will be the toughest for me, as I need to get either an A or a B in two science classes and two math classes - and a C or better in four different literature classes. But, I think it can be done - and should be smoother sailing once I am finally in the master's program.

Week One is pretty much in the books, and I feel pretty confident. I was a little nervous on Tuesday - or maybe I was just winded from climbing four flights of stairs - but I felt a little better today.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Fall Television

Each year when the Fall television schedule is finally announced I quickly go through the list of my returning to favorites to make sure there isn't too much of a drastic change in either time or airing date.

This happened a few years ago when Grey's Anatomy which started out on Sunday, was moved to Thursday nights at the same exact time as CSI. So, I was a bit peeved, but luckily my DVR (one of two in the home) records two shows at once, and I was out of my predicament.

So, with the release of the Fall television schedule, I make a list of shows on each channel. Then I start to plug them in to what shows my wife and I watch as to record on the DVR. Hopefully, if all works out, each of our favorite shows can fit into the schedule without any complications - and it worked out again this season (so far).

After the schedule is made there are also holes. These holes are where a show is not being recorded. So, it's here where we look at the newcomers - the new shows of the season. Unfortunately, if there is a new show we are interested in, but it doesn't fit, it sometimes goes unwatched. We have our favorites for a reason.

Last season, despite the writer's strike, we managed to pick up a handful of new shows that we watch regularly now. The all-too underrated comedy called The Big Bang Theory and the new Terminator series.

Despite not having the CW Network anymore, my wife has also grown pretty attached to Gossip Girl and I to Reaper. Our only way to watch these, however, is through the website - and it is usually a few days after they originally air.

And, thanks to the writer's strike I guess, we are also watching Ghost Hunters and Destination Truth. Shows that we started watching because there wasn't anything else on, and we became attached to them.

This season, the main show that sticks out to me is Fringe. It comes from the mind of J.J. Abrams, who also gave us the awesome show, Lost. Fringe also stars The Mighty Ducks and Dawson's Creek alum Joshua Jackson. So, I will checking that out as well.

Dollhouse from the mind of Joss Whedon (Firefly) has also struck my attention, but does not get going until the Spring schedule.

So, a few other shows that were not definite watches on our part have squeaked through for what I call a screening. If we like it after the first few episodes it can stick around - if not, it gets the axe. Life on Mars which appears to be a cop show about a man in modern day, who somehow gets knocked back into the '70s. He has all the knowledge of a modern day cop, solving crimes in the '70s.

My wife has also chosen The Ex List and Kath & Kim. The Ex List is a show about a woman who after going to a fortune teller learns she has already met her husband - so she starts going back through the men in her life to try and find him. Kath & Kim looks to be a comedy that stars Molly Shannon and the lovely Selma Blair.

I am looking forward to the upcoming season, especially the return of Heroes which is one of my top two favorite shows - it hasn't been on since last fall. Unfortunately, Lost, Reaper and Scrubs have all been saved until the spring.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Happy Birthday, Sean Connery!

Don't have too much to say today, so:

Happy 77th Birthday Mr. Sean Connery. Hoo Rah!

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Future

Well, I made a pretty important decision about my life over the past few weeks. I have been thinking about it for awhile now, and finally this week I took the plunge.

I have registered for a few classes at Clinton C.C. in order to get the criteria needed to get into the Plattsburgh State elementary education master's program. Yes, I am planning to become a teacher.

I have already graduated once with a B.S. in communications mass media and a minor in professional writing. And, I absolutely loved writing for the local newspaper (loved the writing part, hated everything else about it). But, my family always comes first in my life, so when it became apparent that my night hours was wearing on my family I took a day job in the mechanical contracting field as an estimator.

There were rumors that I would be groomed to take over the office down the line - so I was kind of excited about that. But, nearly a year since changing careers - I have come to realize that there is no way I can do the job of my boss - nor do I even want to, this job is definitely not my cup of tea.

So, for most of the summer I have been researching and talking with numerous people to figure out if I should get into the teaching field - and I am pretty excited about it. It's been nearly five years since I have taken an actual college class, so I am a little apprehensive, but I think I will do alright.

Anyway, wish me luck as I journey into my new career.

EXTRA: Last night was my last summer basketball game. Our team, which finished third during the regular season with a 6-2 record, won our first playoff game last week. This week, however, we were down two players - and the other team had around 12. So they really ran us down and we fell in the semifinals. Still, finishing in third place isn't so bad with the competition in our league. We shall see if I will continue on in this league next summer or not. Time will tell.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Dream Team Vs. 'Redeem' Team

With the United States men's basketball team finally back on track, there have been some rumblings that this version of the team - who have nicknamed themselves "The Redeem Team" - might be the best since the original Dream Team crushed all who took them on in Barcelona in 1992.

So, it got me thinking, if that '92 U.S. Basketball Team were to take on this current one - who would win?

The quick response would obviously be the Dream Team, but that may not be the case - or at least not as easily as one would think.

Let's run down the team members:

In 1992 the consisted of:
  • Larry Bird
  • Michael Jordan
  • Patrick Ewing
  • Magic Johnson
  • Clyde Drexler
  • John Stockton
  • Chris Mullin
  • Scottie Pippen
  • Charles Barkley
  • Christian Laettner
  • David Robinson
  • Karl Malone
This year's team is:
  • LeBron James
  • Kobe Bryant
  • Dwayne Wade
  • Carmelo Anthony
  • Carlos Boozer
  • Chris Bosh
  • Dwight Howard
  • Tayshaun Prince
  • Michael Redd
  • Jason Kidd
  • Deron Williams
  • Chris Paul
The 1992 team has 10 or 11 sure fire hall of famers on the team. While a lot of the 2008 team have yet to scratch the surface of their talent level.

If I were to match the players up, it would have to look like this (with '92 team going first)
  • Jordan vs. Bryant
  • Pippen vs. James
  • Robinson vs. Bosh
  • Ewing vs. Howard
  • Johnson vs. Wade
  • Barkley vs. Anthony
  • Malone vs. Boozer
  • Stockton vs. Paul
  • Laettner vs. Prince
  • Bird vs. Kidd
  • Drexler vs.Williams
  • Mullin vs. Redd
Now, obviously in this situation the '92 team has the size advantage while the quickness definitely belongs to the '08 team. Try to remember this: Johnson, Mullin and Bird were nearing the end of their careers - in fact Johnson was already retired. This is not them in their prime.

In my opinion, I think if the teams were to play 10 games, that the '92 team would win six. But, that is a lot closer than I bet most people would think. Jordan has that extra something special that made everyone around him play that much better - which I think gives them the edge. Bryant has been compared to Jordan - but he has yet to show that he has that special something.

Either way, I am glad the United States has finally realized that the world has gotten a lot better. There is no way you can throw a group of all-stars on to the court for a handful of practices and expect them to gel in time to win the gold medal. The U.S. finally did something right with the selection process and three year commitment plan. It guarantees that we will at least be players for years to come.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga

So, just after getting my Wii last year at Christmas time, my birthday rolled around and my lovely wife purchased me two games for my Wii system.

One was the Lego Stars Wars: The Complete Saga, which I had seen but never played - but was very interested in getting into.

At this time, however, I was very much engrossed in Mario Galaxy - so I never played the Lego Star Wars game when I first got it. Next came my obsession with Super Smash Bros., followed by Mario Kart Wii ----- and you see where I am going with this.

Well, I actually tossed the game in a few weeks ago, and it blew me away. It is so much fun to play and it seems neverending. I am nearly through the Episode VI and am still only at around 30% complete.

The game obviously revolves around the Star Wars galaxy, and basically follows the movies pretty closely. Throughout the game you slowly start to collect more and more characters from the films in your entourage.

Last night, even my wife decided to play - that may be because I have played the past two or three nights and she wanted to hang out with me, but either way she seemed to have actually enjoyed playing.

I look forward to unlocking even more of the games magic in the coming days. It is certainly holding me over as I wait for Star Wars Unleashed and Guitar Hero: World Tour.

Now, I know this isn't a movie, but the same grading system applies. Just relate it to the gaming world.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008


I have a lot going on today. So unfortunately I don't have a huge amount of time to write a blog.

I am very busy with work - plus another few things that I will most likely be blogging about in the next few days (once things die down a bit).

See you tomorrow - I hope.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Sydney White

My wife has been raving about this movie for a long time. This is another movie (much like Stick It) that she had rented from Netflix and watched on her own.

Well, last night Sydney White ran on one of the movie networks and I found myself with nothing else on to watch. So, the wife and I decided to take in the movie together.

And I actually found myself enjoying it.

The movie itself is an updated version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and it actually worked pretty well. It was also fun trying to see which character was supposed to be which dwarf.

Cutie Amanda Bynes stars in the film as the titular character. Sydney is a college freshman, who half of her life was raised by her plumber father and influenced by his contractor buddies. Her mother had passed away when Sydney was just eight years old.

In order to try and emulate, or become closer to her deceased mother, Sydney decides to pledge her sorority (I believe it was Kappa Delta Nu, but I could be wrong). The sorority is run by Rachel Witchburn (Sara Paxton), who basically also runs the entire school while being student body president.

The sororities brother fraternity is head by Tyler Prince (Matt Long), who takes a liking to Sydney thanks to her knowledge of sports and cannon-like throwing arm. This, unfortunately, is the downfall for Sydney as Rachel, in her 20-year plan, believe her and Tyler will be together. So despite being a legacy - Sydney goes through rush only to be humiliated beyond belief, especially during the pinning ceremony where Rachel informs her she will not be joining the sorority.

Also on "Greek Road" is a shack-like, should be condemned building known to all as The Vortex. This is a place where the people who have no where else to go live - also known as 'the dorks'.

The Seven Dorks allow Sydney, who has been kicked out of the sorority house, to stay with them. It is here that Sydney decides things need to change at the school - and it all starts with the removal of Rachel from student body president.

The Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs theme is all over this movie, and it was pretty fun trying to find out the various things that go with that (I am going to put down a bunch of those now, so if you would like to find out for yourself, please don't read the bullets).

  • Sydney White = Snow White (obviously)
  • Tyler Prince = Prince Charming
  • Rachel Witchburn = The Witch
  • Seven Dorks = Seven Dwarfs (Terrance=Doc, George=Dopey, Lenny=Sneezy, Jeremy=Bashful, Spanky=Happy, Gurkin=Grumpy, Embele=Sleepy)
  • Virus on Apple Computer=Poison Apple
  • Kiss to Wake Up by Prince=Kiss to Wake Up from Death by Prince
  • "Hot or Not" List=Mirror on the Wall
I was sort of split on this film before watching it. I do like me some Amanda Bynes, but she does so many of these type of movies now. My wife, however, insisted I would enjoy it - and I actually did. I wasn't sure if they could pull of a modernization of Snow White (see Cinderella Story), but they did.


Friday, August 15, 2008

Top 10: Guilty Pleasure Movies

OK. Well, I saw this on a few of my fellow bloggers sites, and have wanted to try and come up with one on my own. I have a pretty extensive DVD collection, so I know I have a few movies that I love that I might not want to admit to other people.

Each time I head home I tell myself to check out the movies, and each night I have forgotten. So this list is coming strictly off the top of my head - but I am sure the list could go on further if I got a good look at my collection.

Anyway, Jason at Invasion of the B-Movies is running a Blog-A-Thon about guilty pleasure movies and has asked all those willing to write up our top 10 guilty pleasure movies.

I never really am sure what a guilty pleasure movie entails: because in my mind these are good flicks. But, I don't really go around bragging about all of them - and you'll see why.

Anyway, here are my Top 10 Guilty Pleasure Movies (in reverse order as always):

10) Clue
Reasoning: Clue the board game has been my all-time favorite board game for as long as I can remember - and I absolutely rule at the game, haha. Anyway, a cast that includes Christopher Lloyd, Tim Curry, Martin Mull and hilarious portrayal of Mr. Green by Michael McKean - this movie constantly leaves me laughing at each viewing. "Is that what we ate?"

9) Moulin Rouge
Reasoning: I am not a huge fan of the old-time musicals, but I was taken to this movie and I can honestly say I was blown away. It was fast paced, the colors were astounding and the music was modern. And I honestly had no idea that Obi-Wan Kenobi could sing as well as he does.

8) D2: The Mighty Ducks
Reasoning: Alright, I was drawn in immediately to the original Mighty Ducks movie. Like I have said in many blogs before this, I am not a hockey fan, but for some reason I totally love the underdog that triumphs movies. D2, however, took the original to a whole new level with the new characters, and playing for their country.

7) My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding
Reasoning: OK, so supposedly this is like the highest grossing independent movie of all-time, but still for a guy to actually enjoy it - is rather odd, especially when admitting it. I find it pretty darn hilarious actually - and quite noble as well. What a man will go through to get with the woman he loves. "Put some Windex on it."

6) Flight of the Navigator
Reasoning: I am not too sure when I stumbled upon this great film, but I do know that my local video store constantly had it rented out - to me. The film shows a boy who goes looking for his brother, but falls down a cliff. When he comes to it's eight years later. This shows his journey to try and figure out what happened, and try to reverse it.

5) The Wizard
Reasoning: One of the greatest video game movies of all-time. The film follows a runaway, Jimmy Woods, who is sort of an idiot-savant, and his brother Corey as they journey to California. Along the way Corey realizes that Jimmy has a gift for video games - and decides to take him to the video game championships to win a little money - all while trying to avoid a bounty hunter out to take Jimmy back to his mother and step-father.

4) I'll Be Home For Christmas
Reasoning: I was a pretty big Home Improvement fan when the show was on the air, so naturally when one if its stars was in a film - Jonathan Taylor Thomas - I had to check it out. It also features a young Jessica Biel as JTT's girlfriend. Each time Christmas rolls around, this film must be watched at least once to make it truly feel like Christmas.

3) Cheaper by the Dozen
Reasoning: Steve Martin has obviously had better films, but Cheaper by the Dozen is a pretty decent movie in my eyes. The dynamic of a household with 12 children is pretty hard to realize - but it's funny to see how a couple tries to maintain control despite being outnumbered - by 10.

2) Jawbreaker
Reasoning: OK, this one is weird. This is one of the first movies that I watched with my future wife. So, it sort of holds a special place in my heart - and the fact that the movie is so accidentally funny is another reason. A group of friends accidentally kills a friend of theirs on her birthday - and try to cover it up as a murder.

1) Stick It
Reasoning: My wife got this movie off of Netflix a long time ago, and watched it by herself. One night I came into the living room and it was on a movie channel and she was watching it, so I finished it with her. I still have no idea what drew me int, but I actually liked the movie - and I have watched it probably 20 times when catching that it is on.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Fantasy Football

I have been playing fantasy sports for a multitude of years. It all started in college when my roommate got me started in a fantasy basketball website - and I was immediately hooked.

Over the years I have tried almost everything: basketball, baseball, football, hockey, car racing, college and pro pick 'em, golf, etc.

But, slowly each one started to fade away. The only one I am truly still engulfed in is Fantasy Football.

A few years back my family started a league - and also we give out a trophy at the end of the season to the winner. The trophy is a miniature helmet with our league name on it, and with each season victory the champion will initial the helmet and place the year he/she won on it.

I was victorious during the first year that we held the league. My uncle (who lives in Kansas City) was champion during year two - his son claimed the title in our third season. And last year, my uncle from Pittsburgh came out of nowhere to grab the title.

Our league is pretty simple - we have two starting quarterbacks, four starting wide receivers, two starting running backs, a tight end, a kicker and a defense.

We held our online draft last Sunday, and I was stuck with the last pick in the first round.

Here is the rundown of my draft picks:

First round, 10th overall: Randy Moss, WR, New England Patriots.
Second round, 11th overall: Marion Barber, RB, Dallas Cowboys.
Third round, 30th overall: Plaxico Burress, WR, New York Giants.
Fourth round, 31st overall: Derek Anderson, QB, Cleveland Browns.
Fifth round, 50th overall: Thomas Jones, RB, New York Jets.
Sixth round, 51st overall: Santonio Holmes, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers.
Seventh round, 70th overall: Marc Bulger, QB, St. Louis Rams.
Eighth round, 71st overall: Chris Cooley, TE, Washington Redskins.
Ninth round, 90th overall: Cowboys Defense.
Tenth round, 91st overall: Bernard Berrian, WR, Minnesota Vikings.
Eleventh round, 110th overall: Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers.
Twelfth round, 111th overall: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers.
Thirteenth round, 130th overall: Adam Vinatieri, K, Indianapolis Colts.
Fourteenth round, 131st overall: Sidney Rice, WR, Minnesota Vikings.
Fifteenth round, 150th overall: Jaguars Defense.
Sixteenth round, 151st overall: Rob Bironas, K, Tennessee Titans.
Seventeenth round, 170th overall: Zach Miller, TE, Oakland Raiders.
Eighteenth round, 171st overall: Ricky Williams, RB, Miami Dolphins.
Nineteenth round, 190th overall: DeSean Jackson, WR, Philadelphia Eagles.

I made a couple mistakes in my draft, however. I did not notice the bye weeks for my two starting quarterbacks - who actually have the exact same bye week - so for that week, I will have to pick up another quarterback.

In our league, if you have a good defense, kicker and tight end - eventually you will only need one. So once the bye weeks finish, the extras are usually dropped for running back, quarterback and wide receiver depth.

I took a few gambles like always: I always select at least one rookie who I believe may get a chance to grab some points. In this draft, I took both Mendenhall from Pittsburgh and Jackson from Philadelphia. Mendenhall should see time as Willie Parker's backup, as well as on goal line plays. Jackson could develop into a go-to-guy for Donovan McNabb, who has lacked talented receivers.

My final gamble was on Ricky Williams. Williams has been out of the league for a long time before finally making his return last year - only to get injured in his first game. This training camp, Williams has been praised for his workouts and play. So hopefully, he will also see some time and prove to be the player he was in the past.

My main concern on my team is quarterback, which it always seems to be. Picking 10th, all the top-tier quarterbacks were gone: Peyton Manning, Tony Romo, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger - so I went with the receiver and then the running back. After another round Carson Palmer, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Brett Favre and Matt Hasselbeck were off the board - so I went with Anderson, who broke out last year. My only hope is that he can repeat that performance - and that Bulger returns to his previous form as well. Rodgers has looked sharp in the early going, but replacing Favre will be hard. He may be a wild card that I was lucky enough to select, because there is some talent on the Packers.

Well, wish me luck. It' s been three seasons since I have had the coveted trophy. And it would sure look good on my desk again.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

No. 100

I have been hoping for a brain wave for the past two days. I was hoping to have something special to put here for the 100th blog.

But, I had no such brain wave. So, I did a quick search of the No. 100 and found this clip on YouTube using clips of movies counting backwards from 100-to-1.

Hopefully, now that this 100th blog is finished I can get back to writing what is on my mind - instead of trying to force something special.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Breaking the Habit

I guess I have been lucky. I have never been addicted to anything that is too bad for me.

I am not innocent, I have tried cigarettes. I have tried a couple of different drugs. I even started drinking at parties at the age of 15.

Lucky for me, though, I didn't enjoy smoking cigarettes. Drugs just never worked for me, in fact they were pretty much worthless. And I pretty much got drinking out of my system by the time I turned 21.

There has always been one addiction I have had that, although not terrible, is difficult for me to give up.

My name is Keith, and I am a sodaholic.

I don't enjoy drinking water, and making iced tea is always such a hassle. So, I drink soda. And I love drinking soda.

However, I have noticed a rotund object growing around my body. Oh wait, that is my body. Yes, I have gained a little more weight than I would have liked to.

So, in an effort to drop a few extra pounds I have decided to give up my precious soda. I gave myself an out as to not give it up cold turkey: I can drink soda during football on Sunday, and on that day only. But, if I am doing well I may try to steer clear of falling off the wagon even on that day.

After my trip to Outer Banks finished, I swore of the golden nectar and have been clean for a week and a day so far.

It's pretty difficult to do when you think about it. I go out to lunch every day for work - and usually have a Pepsi with my meal, but I have been searching for alternate methods of thirst quenching. I have even surprised myself and been drinking a lot more water than I am used to - and so far it isn't so bad.

I know this is by far not as bad as battling cigarette, alcohol or drug addiction - and my prayers are with those people trying to kick those habits - but for me this is a difficult process, one that I hope I am able to conquer. At least until I feel a little better about my weight.

NOTES: Just wanted to say how saddened I was about the loss of Bernie Mac. I never really got into his show, The Bernie Mac Show, but I really enjoyed his character Frank Catton in the Ocean's Trilogy as well as his bit part in Transformers. Another talented actor lost way before his time. R.I.P.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Williams lands in exile?

I am a pretty big sports fan. I absolutely love the NFL, but my favorite sport since the fourth grade (the day I started playing) has been basketball.

I am not what you would call a tall person, 5'10", so throughout my basketball career I have always been a guard. So naturally, I have always gravitated towards guards in the NBA as my favorite to watch.

When I first got interested in basketball, the Chicago Bulls were on top of the world thanks to Michael Jordan. But, everyone was a Jordan fan - and if they weren't then it was most likely Scottie Pippen. I, however, noticed the short point guard who was nailing all of the 3's - B.J. Armstrong. So, for a good while, Armstrong became my favorite NBA player.

When Armstrong retired it was right around the time that a pretty exciting player was entering the league for the Sacramento Kings - Jason Williams.

I had seen Williams a few times when he played for Florida, but was not fully aware of his capabilities until his rookie season for the Kings. He was like a breath of fresh air. His moves were absolutely amazing. He was like an artist with the basketball, and could see the entire court, which made for excellent and pretty crazy passes.

Williams landed in Sacramento the same year the Kings landed Chris Webber and Vlade Divac, and for the first time in awhile Sacramento was a challenger in the NBA's Western Conference.

Williams lasted four seasons in Sacramento, the Kings started to believe that due to Williams' sometimes erratic play that he could never lead Sacramento to an NBA title - so he was traded to Memphis for Mike Bibby (who also never led the Kings to an NBA title).

While a Grizzly, Williams, along with Pau Gasol and Shane Battier, actually made the team relevant for the first time in franchise history - even winning 50 games one season and claiming the sixth seed in the playoffs. They got swept each year in those playoffs, but for a team that had never been there - they were actually respectable.

Finally, Williams was again traded, to the Miami Heat - and teamed up with Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O'Neal to win his first NBA title (as a starting point guard - didn't think it could be done Sacramento?) in the 2005-06 season.

Williams has fallen on hard times as of late in the injury department, but has still been plenty productive - finishing last season 12th in steals per game and eighth in assist/turnover ratio.

The Heat, who completely fell apart last season, have decided to go in a different direction - so it was unsure whether Williams would return, or where he would end up.

I frantically have been checking the transactions, but no deals for Williams have been listed - until last night. Williams has signed with the Los Angeles Clippers. Yes, the Clippers.

I am not sure how to take this. Obviously, Williams is going to be the backup point guard to newly signed Baron Davis. But, the Clippers have had like one decent season in a decade. There looks to be some promise on the roster, but are they a playoff team?

I guess we will just have to wait and see. I am happy, however, that Williams landed with another NBA team and didn't take a deal that would have him playing overseas - which was apparently offered.

Good Luck in Clipperland, Jason. I hope to see you in the playoffs.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Top 10: Marijuana Films

Due to my not really having an idea for a Top 10 on Tuesday, I skipped it. I have noticed that it is pretty hard to come up with an idea each and every week - so I have decided to curb the every week idea - and just do one when it comes to mind.

So, with the release of The Pineapple Express yesterday it got me to thinking about the stoner comedy. And with that came this Top 10 list about films that use marijuana. A few notes first, I have not seen any Cheech & Chong film, so I could not include any of them in my list. I have also limited this list to the 'dumb' comedies, so some others may not have made the list due to those guidelines.

Here is the list (in reverse order):

10) Grandma's Boy

9) Detroit Rock City

8) PCU

7) Super Troopers

6) Friday

5) Fast Times at Ridgemont High

4) Knocked Up

3) Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle

2) Half Baked

1) Dazed & Confused

I have set aside a special section for the Kevin Smith movies - I could not include just one on the list, so I have made a "lifetime achievement" award or something for the films that introduced us to Jay & Silent Bob: Clerks, Clerks II, Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back, Chasing Amy, Mallrats and Dogma.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


I found myself yesterday with a whole lot of free time and a free movie ticket. I had a basketball game at 9:45 last night and did not want to have to drive all the way home and then back again - so I went to the theater to see what movie would fit both my time schedule and was accepting the free movie passes.

So, I went to see Hancock.

I'll admit, I went in a little skeptical. A few of the reviews I had read were not too kind, but I had no other choice (and my movie ticket expired on Friday).

The movie stars Will Smith as John Hancock, a reluctant superhero who does most of his crime fighting hungover or drunk. When Hancock makes good, there is usually a large bill that the city will have to pay in order to fix all of the damage.

Hancock's reputation has been tarnished - instead of being loved by everyone, they loathe him. When along comes Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman), a struggling PR executive. Embrey, on his way home, get stuck on the train tracks and is saved by Hancock. Hancock, however, gets harsh criticism from the onlookers - and Embrey breaks it up by announcing that he had just saved his life.

Embrey then takes Hancock under his wing and believes he can clean up his act and make the people of the city not only long for him - but love him.

I knew that there would be a wrench thrown into the gears by reading reviews of the movie - but I was unaware exactly how it would happen. Here is where I think the movie got a little sidetracked - and those of you saw the movie know what I am talking about.

Hancock had the potential to be an excellent movie - and if there is a chance for a sequel perhaps it still could be - but the change in directions that the movie took (despite me knowing right away what was going to happen) didn't seem absolutely necessary.

The performances of both Smith and Bateman were excellent as always - Charlize Theron plays Mary Embrey, or Rey's wife and was also very good in her role.

The roles of the 'villains' almost seemed secondary to the theme of the movie - although I think the movie may have been even better with at least a viable villain.

Overall I think this movie was decent - though it had the potential to be something special. The idea was great, but I think they took a wrong turn somewhere in production. But like I said, if there are plans for sequels things could be even better because the character of Hancock was a good idea.


Monday, August 4, 2008

12 Movie Meme

So, while I was away on vacation Nick at Random Ramblings of a Demented Doorknob tagged me for a 12 Movie Meme blog. The idea came from Piper at Lazy Eye Theatre, who then chose five others to participate, including Fletch at Blog Cabins, who then tagged five more, including R2D2, who tagged me.

Apparently, I am supposed to act as if I am in charge of a movie theater for a six-day period. In those six days, I am to play 12 movies in total. Here are the 'guidelines'.

1) Choose 12 Films to be featured. They could be random selections or part of a greater theme. Whatever you want.

2) Explain why you chose the films.

3) Link back to Lazy Eye Theatre so I can have hundreds of links and I can take those links and spread them all out on the bed and then roll around in them.

4) The people selected then have to turn around and select 5 more people.

So, I have given it some thought and did a little bit of a theme night. Here are my picks:

Monday: College Night

The greatest college movie of all-time Animal House, must launch this six-day film fest. That film would be followed by what I would consider the best college film of the 2000's, Accepted. Each film is based around a single incident, and the characters from the lead all the way through the background, each give the movie something special.

Tuesday: Family Night

Tuesday will kick-off with one of the greatest films ever made, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. That will be followed by The Wizard of Oz, the mack-daddy of fairy tale stories.

Wednesday: Disaster Night

Wednesday a couple of disaster movies will be shown. The first follows a group of tornado chasers as they search for the true reasoning for a tornado in Twister. 1998 gave us a pair of comet-to-end-the-world movies in Armageddon and Deep Impact. Armegeddon received most of the notoriety due to its stars, but Deep Impact gave a more believable scenario and is my choice to wrap up Disaster Night.

Thursday: Heist Night

I have become a huge fan of the heist films when done correctly. When a group goes in to do a job with their brains instead of their fists. In both The Italian Job and Ocean's 11 the 'thieves' are always two-steps ahead of their victims - and showing exactly how they were able to get away with it is always a fun and exhilarating journey.

Friday: War Night

The Great Escape is not your typical war movie, as there isn't very many scenes that actually deal with the war. For most of the movie, a group of POW's are trying to figure out how to escape from their prison. In Saving Private Ryan, again the focus isn't on the war, but you see a whole lot of it - and in probably the most realistic view of war ever seen in film.

Saturday: Psychological Thriller Night

To complete my six-day film festival I wanted to leave the audience thinking. I enjoy films where you have to follow every last detail of the movie to understand the ending, and The Sixth Sense and The Game are both perfect examples of that. If film is supposed to be art, than each and every aspect of it should be important - and with these two they are.

So there they are, my six-day film festival. Obviously, I would have a ton more choices - I could have a year-long festival I am sure - but I feel this event would be pretty successful.

Due to my not being a full-fledged movie blog site, and that most of the blogs that I read have already done this, I am only tagging one person: Aimee at The Refutation Process. Give it a whirl, it should be fun.

Return of the Kano

It has been over a week since my last posting. I have been away on a much needed and far too short vacation.

Every other year my family gets together in the Outer Banks for a semi-family reunion. I say 'semi' because not everyone is always able to attend. This year my sister and my cousin weren't able to make it because of their jobs.

The house we rented this year was pretty nice, but definitely not as nice as the homes we had rented in previous years. I did enjoy my room and bed, however - despite not having our own bathroom (which really didn't end up being a problem). The bed was very large and comfortable, and for the hours I was able to sleep each night, I slept pretty well.

I thought the overall layout of the house was pretty nice, but a few tweaks may have made the house even better. The pool, for instance, was way too small for the size of the family we have. In years past we were able to jump into the pool, horse around - but this year you would be looking for a serious injury. In fact, I smacked my foot on the ladder once just trying to turn around in the pool.

Also, the night that we all get together two of my uncles head out for a massive grocery shopping. In years past, we have always had an extremely large fridge, or perhaps two fridges. This year, we had one medium sized fridge, which wasn't large enough for everything that we had purchased.

But, those were my only negatives of the trip - that and that it takes so long to drive there and back (more on that in the conclusion).

Kasey had a blast on his first trip to the beach. He truly has no fear - which is nice, but also scares the crap out of me. He ran right out into the ocean each time we took him to the beach. He also believes that the sand is for swimming, because he constantly did full body dives in the sand. When we were in the pool, he loved 'jumping' in to our awaiting arms. Jumping wasn't really the word, as many times it was a side step which almost smacked his butt on the pavement.

He got along really well with everyone there, and I think they all loved him as well. I have another cousin who has a son, Grayson, and my aunt has a six-month old daughter, Kelly. He got along very well with each of them - which delighted me because he doesn't get to be with young children that often.

Kasey was amazing the entire trip, and it just cements how lucky we are to have a kid like him. We had another exciting day where Erika had to go to the hospital, and was diagnosed with a kidney stone - still waiting for that to pass - but she was a trooper and didn't really let it bother her week.

It was difficult to leave as we had a very nice time there - and we both knew that work was lurking around the corner.

We left on Saturday at around 9 a.m. and traveled the entire trip home - arriving at 1:30 a.m. on Sunday. Again, Kasey had a pretty solid go at it - being in the car for 16 hours will make anyone crabby, but for a 21 month old, it could be dreadful. But, he only had a few meltdowns, the last of which was because he was so tired and could not get comfortable in his car seat. The only other setback was that he peed through his diaper twice on the trip back - which also meant his car seat got wet and his pants. But, we made it work and we made it back in one piece. I was so glad that car trip was over.

Overall, the week was amazing. I don't get to see my extended family too often as they have spread out all over the country - I have relatives in Houston, Seattle, Kansas City, Chicago, San Antonio, Pittsburgh and Plattsburgh (us). Also, it was my first vacation in over a year - and it felt great. But, the trip back took a lot out of me so I am exhausted again.

I need a vacation.

P.S. - While I was away Nick at R2D2 has marked me for the 12 Movies Meme - and although I am not a complete movie blog, I do delve into my thoughts on movies from time to time - so I will give it a whirl and have something within the next few days. Thanks for including me R2D2.