Friday, December 31, 2010

Ending 2010 with a bang, everyone.

And by that, I mean... I'm doing nothing except plowing through Breaking Bad season 2. I think I'm OK with that... on one hand, I could be doing something interesting, considering that this is one of those days where a lot of people tend to hang out and what not. On the other hand... I don't really care for the new year that much anyway, and the show is absolutely excellent. I would wholeheartedly recommend it... unless you have a low tolerance for extremely dark television. Then I would not recommend it.

*shrug*

I'm glad the year is over, though. It really hasn't been my best.

I think the main problem is that I've become way too complacent about a lot of things, which has affected my overall self-worth probably more than enough. And then of course, I then tend to not break out of that sense of complacency because I typically don't feel too high about myself.

I'm hoping this will change somewhat soon. I... well, I don't want to say that I have a couple of New Year's Resolutions, because from years of experiences I've learned that they're pretty much wishful things you tell yourself you'll do that you never ever end up doing. But I have a plan for the new year, and will just hope that my hesitance to call them resolutions will allow them to actually come to fruition.

Mainly, it all just boils down to the idea that I want to feel better about myself. But of the things to accomplish for next year, I would like to hopefully find a reasonable source of income that doesn't make me hate myself, and I would like to do some volunteer work when the first goal eventually fizzles out (positive thinking is great, I know). Also I would like to write more. These are all relatively attainable goals, I would think. I just have to... you know, *do* them.

In other news... I saw Black Swan the other day. I'm going to go ahead and call it my favorite of the year so far.

I think I loved it more because the score and the camerawork were top notch, but it was suitably nuts. I don't know... after reflection, there were certain aspects of the film that seemed a little trite, but I bought into them anyway, just because of how crazy/campy it was.

I still haven't seen a lot of the Oscar contenders yet, but hopefully will see True Grit this weekend, and then The King's Speech and The Fighter to follow from there. But if I had to rank the actual contenders this year that I've seen, it'd go like this:

1) Black Swan
2) The Social Network
3) Toy Story 3
4) Shutter Island
5) Winter's Bone
6) Inception
7) 127 Hours
8) The Town
9) The Kids Are All Right

The last two I didn't care for at all... I'd perhaps get into it, but... the last episode is beckoning me. So let's go for that.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I'm pretty excited about tonight's Vikings game, if you'll forgive me for writing about sports.

1) Because it's been the most crazy Vikings season ever... and thus, the most fun in a way. Too bad they aren't in the playoff hunt, cause it would be sort of fun seeing how many heads would burst over how our schedule/playing locations have been f-ed around with... plus to see how many people would talk themselves into seeing the Vikes beat a Super Bowl contender with our 3rd string QB...

2) Because I need DeSean Jackson to get about 26 yards catching tonight with no fumbles in order for me to win the Yahoo fantasy league I signed up for.

Now, I'm not really a fantasy guy... my participation in it stems mostly from the fact that I got bored one day in late August, and that I've had a couple of minutes to spare a week to see what was up with the team. But I sort of have a fondness for this team...

My team name is "Soup'R Crackers" (probably because I was watching Party Down at the time I named the team), and I pretty much have no standout guys. My main RB Frank Gore went down to an injury a few weeks ago, and I subsequently lost 3 consecutive weeks. Another RB, Ahmad Bradshaw, started off strong but then started to fumble a lot, and now it's a crapshoot on whether or not he'll actually get enough carries to do much in a given week (and I have to start him nonetheless). My QB was Brett Favre before I realized he sucked, then I switched over to Denver's Kyle Orton... who has pretty much been benched for Tim Tebow. Now I'm starting Josh Freeman, a nobody for Tampa Bay that has somehow done really well.

Also, it's been the most streaky team I could imagine. I started out the season with a loss... but then won three straight, going to 3-1. I then lost three straight, going to 3-4, before winning 4 straight to make it 7-4. I then lost three straight going to 7-7... and yet I somehow still made it into the playoffs. (Not that it's similar at all, since mine is a ten team league and I somehow had the 4th best record... but for comparison, there's a huge stink about how a sub .500 team is going to make the playoffs in the NFC West, and everyone's pretty much clamoring for the NFL to revise the rules to make sure nothing like this happens again) I went into last week's game playing the number one team... expecting to get killed, only to have had pulled off a complete blowout when the first place team had each of their players turn in poor performances.

And now I'm playing against the 2nd ranked team (who is actually ranked first in points, so... really they're the best team)... and I somehow managed to have a 14 point lead going into Monday. Unfortunately, they had Drew Brees for the Saints and Michael Turner for the Falcons still to play later tonight... which meant that in all likelihood, they'd put up massive numbers and I would need Jackson to put up 200 yards and 3 touchdowns or something like that. BUT THEN... Brees and Turner somehow both stunk enough. And now I have a chance to win.

Of course, I'm liking my chances... since the Vikings suck against the pass and there's a good chance Jackson will get a couple of looks. But of course, what will happen is that he'll somehow get completely shut out, or he'll get a 24 yard reception to start the game... only to come up injured on the play, just making me fall short of beating them.

Essentially, I'm expecting the worst. But I really want to win. One, because obviously who wouldn't, and two, I'd rather win it all after having a lackluster season all year long only to somehow do enough to eke it out every game... rather than, you know, having an actually good team and winning by dominance.

Friday, December 24, 2010

I feel like an old person.

It's Christmas Eve, as you might guess. Everyone is pretty much just winding down their nights at the moment, so I've been sitting around on the internet... waiting for my nephews to go to bed so I can Santa Claus the living room. Pretty sure they're out by now, but I'm too lazy to actually get up at the moment.

Things were kind of stressful around here the past week or so--someone caught the flu at some point, which I then inevitably caught. I'm almost fine now, thank you very much, but it rendered pretty much both Sara and I out of it on what was our anniversary. So... that sucked.

Also had to brave the traffic and the crowds yesterday in Christmas shopping. Not that I would be stupid enough to not get my Christmas shopping by this time (of course, I'm not saying that if you do wait till the last minute that you are stupid... actually, yes I am. You're stupid. The traffic is terrible and there's too many people and you should have figured out how to avoid it by now), but there was a bit of a snafu with my brother's present. My sister ordered this really big present with my mother's credit card, and I got to wrap it yesterday. It was a bunch of DVDs--a 5-pack, as it was advertised--but they were all copies of the same DVD. Apparently she didn't read the product info, where it said nothing to the sort that they were 5 separate DVDs included. Just the one...

I don't know where I was going with this...

*shrugs* We do our little Christmas gift exchanging Christmas Eve, by the way. We have lasagna for dinner (which I've made for the past eons...), and then open stuff afterwards--after I organize the presents by recipient so the order in which they open it isn't all over the place. I think one year when I was super hardcore about it, I had every present for every person assigned to a number, so I could then have everyone open each present in an exact order (so... you know, you don't open the Xbox 360 before the pair of socks or whatever). I don't know why I usually take it so seriously... I just do. I would probably buy all the presents if I could as well...

I did get my fair share of gifts for others, though. Actually it sort of seemed like it was the first time the amount I spent on others matched what I got back in return. Which is totally cool and all... I mean, parents probably spends thousands on their kids and what not and are just grateful when they get a nice sweater or something. But... I don't know... that must mean I'm getting old.

Obviously.

I was really into the Christmas season as a kid... and still am. But I guess it's just a little disappointing that the excitement keeps declining. I don't know. I guess I try to make the whole season a little more enjoyable for everyone, but I guess I feel as if that isn't being reciprocated wholly by everyone else. Which is OK. Not really anyone's fault... I just expect the same enthusiasm and thought from everyone that I do from myself... and I take it too damn seriously anyway.

This might all sound incredibly vague. I don't know. It's late. I had a good day. I have to wake up early tomorrow.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I watched Scott Pilgrim for the second time today... count me as someone who's in favor of it.

I thought it had a couple of flaws that I can see people not being able to get over... some of the jokes tried way too hard (i.e. Vegan police), and the heavy reliance on referencing video games--while didn't bother me-- it sure isn't going to change the face of moviemaking (at least that's what it seems like some people assume...). But... I mean, it features Michael Cera using random superpowers fighting dudes who come out of nowhere and sometimes have a choreographed song and dance number for the occasion. So I can't not enjoy it.

The reason I'm taking time to mention this was that I found Michael Cera surprisingly tolerable in this.

I probably got sick of him around the same time everyone else did, which must have been around... hmm, apparently he played a young Sam Rockwell in Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind--that's pretty cool... I don't know, 2008 or so. Which I think might have been a reason why this bombed at the box office--cause if you're basing a movie off of name recognition alone, he's going to create quite a tough mountain to climb.

But here he was... not annoying. I mean, he's still playing a variation of himself essentially, but it's one we haven't seen before--and it's probably closest to his actual personality anyway. He's still kind of a dork, but... people seem to think he's cool to be around. He's most likely not a virgin (I mean, he has had multiple girlfriends... don't think he's ever started with more than 0). Most of the conversations he has are not completely overwrought in awkwardness. This is a good thing.

Compare it to something like Youth In Revolt (which wasn't very good...), where he's playing two characters--one of which is just Michael Cera, the other the COMPLETE OPPOSITE OF ALL OF HIS CHARACTERS EVER... and it just rang as a little bit forced to me. He couldn't pull off the suave ladies' man because he isn't that type of guy (or at least his onscreen persona isn't that type... I'm sure in real life he has absolutely no problems), and in the end the same old Michael Cera character wins out anyway.

I don't know. I'm always going to be more of a fan of guys like Bill Murray who essentially play variations of himself rather than the Sean Penns who will play everything just to prove they can pull it off. Not that I'm equating Mr. Cera with anyone, but... I know everyone's sick of his persona, and I can't say that this movie changed my overall apathy for his film career, but he should stick to what he knows, instead of trying to go against type just to stave off critics.

Just maybe don't always take the role where you're the most awkward person on the planet.

Friday, December 17, 2010

An afternoon listening to KOOL 108 while sitting in traffic on 94...

... which is a pain, by the way. I know it's the holiday season so people are going out shopping... and I know it just snowed a ridiculous amount, but it feels as if it's twice as slow as it should be taking into account those things.

Anyway, most of that was spent listening to KOOL 108, because they had Christmas music on... and I am a Christmas kind of person. They're decent for a nonstop holiday music station, but I have a few complaints, and I am going to list them right here... because obviously station heads check random corners of the internet on suggestions how to improve their Christmas playlist:

-Please stop playing whatever the hell the Christmas song is called by The Eagles. I know that by going to all Christmas music, you have to account for the fact that your listeners expect your playlist to be 25% Eagles... but haven't they released another Christmas song or two?

(Apparently not. I typed in "Eagles Christmas" into Google... the top ten results for videos are the same song... the other two aren't actually Eagles related... also I'm going to post the videos, because in order to get my suffering, you might need to listen to this song about 12 times in a row...)



-Also, less Bruce Springsteen's version of Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town. I heard it three times in the span of two hours. THERE ARE OTHER CHRISTMAS SONGS.

(This video somehow manages to be more annoying than the one I've heard millions of times.)



-No Carpenters. For the love of God.

-This song:



Apparently it just won "most annoying Christmas song" according to a poll in Bulgaria. You'd think radio stations would want to appease their Bulgarian demographic.

-The Vince Guaraldi stuff from A Charlie Brown Christmas is good... but if you're insisting on putting certain songs on constant repeat, throw in a little of this. Also, I have heard You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch exactly once over the course of a month.

Also... anything from the Phil Spector Christmas album needs to be on constant repeat. Actually, just play this song:



Honestly, you could play that song maybe once every 20 minutes and I wouldn't tire of it.

Hell, here's more from Phil Spector. Just ignore that he's a crazy murderer and try to enjoy the warm Christmas-y feelings you get from these:








Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Today has been a good day. I got most of my Christmas related stuff done--need to wrap a couple of presents and buy a few things, but then I'm going to be in the clear. Not that this is the reason that my day has been good--I was just writing. I don't know...

Been listening to a lot of Motown, and I'm just going to post some YouTube clips here and expect you to watch them all, because it's obviously some quality stuff:













Sunday, December 12, 2010

I must be late to the party, but...

I was out Christmas shopping today, and I saw this:



This is a gift card for all the Beatles albums, all the songs, from the Apple iTunes store.

Now, I suppose I don't really know how the world works, and I suppose I could see someone buying this as a gift for someone they don't actually know how to shop for... but isn't this kind of pointless?

Surely pretty much everyone out there has at least a couple Beatles album and could easily procure the rest for cheaper if they wanted to? Or at the very least, people have the greatest hits album and really won't need to have "Beatles For Sale" taking up hard drive space. PLUS... the CDs are probably much cheaper if you can find them in the right places...

So of course people are buying s***loads of this.

I really don't understand anything anymore.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Monkeees were f*****' great

Way back when I was in college, and taking random courses because I didn't know what else to take, I took a history of rock & roll class. The Monkees were a frequent target for mimicry while the teacher raved on and on about bands like Led Zeppelin... who, you know... "rocked" and stuff.

I would probably take the Monkees over Led Zeppelin any day.

Which would result in a lot of people deciding to never befriend me, but whatever.

The reason I'm writing this is because Daydream Believer came up on a playlist I'm listening to. And... I mean, I know that the band was essentially a front to cash in on the popularity of the Beatles, and that when any music label does this nowadays, I hate it completely. But... it's so happy. And catchy. And no one could possibly ever hate it. Well, maybe some, but they've already decided against life, so screw them.

I'm going to counterbalance with a song by Led Zeppelin that I don't really like, so you will be inclined to side with my line of thinking (although I think this is actually a popular song, so there's no way this won't backfire):



Reaction: *bliss*



Reaction: *shrugs*