Monday, September 29, 2008

Dawgs vs. Tide: The Weekend Travelogue and Gameday Experience, Vol. III

Well, what is there to say, really? Yes, it was good to see my friends and catch up. The weather was cool and we didn’t get rained on. My plane didn’t crash. On either leg of the journey. So that’s all good.

But that brings us to the game. I can’t begin to put into words what a hellacious beatdown that was. That first half was about the ugliest thing I can remember seeing in person, and even though UGA has suffered worse spankings (see Spurrier’s Gators vs. just about any team in the Goof/Donnan era), this one felt so much worse because of the expectations. Preseason #1, and heading into the game with the #3 ranking. Watching USC going down, and fantasizing about the chance to jump back into that top spot. Prime time game. Coming off a sharp performance in the desert. Heisman talk. College Gameday in town. Breaking out the Black. Yes, it was all set up to be quite a show. Except for the fact that we got our asses kicked but good.

You want a pop-culture equivalent of the Bama vs. Dawgs ass-whooping? How about Ed Norton vs. Jared Leto in Fight Club. Arthur vs. the Black Knight in Holy Grail. Ivan Drago vs. Apollo Creed. Obi-Wan vs. Anikan Skywalker. The Code Red vs. PFC Santiago. The critics vs. Plan 9 from Outer Space. The rakes vs. Sideshow Bob. The Aliens vs. Private Hudson. We got dismembered, savagely beaten and left for dead. There are "dawgs" on Michael Vick's property that got treated more humanely.

I could use up half the googabytes on the interwebs listing all the things that went wrong. Hands of stone. Errant passes. Offensive and defensive lines about as sturdy as a damp homecoming streamer. Rampant injuries. (More) stupid penalties. Bad gameplanning and coaching. Punts that apparently had trouble clearing the line of scrimmage. Tempting fate (Mohawks? Really?). But the bottom line is, in one of the biggest games ever to hit Sanford Stadium, the Tide showed up and we didn’t. They bitchslapped us across the Classic City and deserved to win. So tip your cap, lick your wounds and move on.

If there’s anything good to take out of this (and believe me, for a cynical “glass is half empty” sort, there’s not much) it’s this: We still control our own destiny in the East. Which could lead us to the SEC Championship game, which would probably mean a ‘Bama rematch. To not have to count on others to reach that game is a small consolation, but yet there it remains. If you’re going to lose, lose early and build your way back up. A murderous schedule still offers opportunity to overcome. Hey, no more worrying about the lofty preseason expectations and the slighting of the critics!

Okay, with the humble pie buffet sufficiently engorging our stomachs, let’s move on to the tailgate and travelogue portion of the program, shall we?

I probably should have known how the game was going to turn out, reading the tea leaves as events unfolded. But dammit, I was really going to try and give this “optimism” thing a try. However, when Munson suddenly and unexpectedly stepped down, that was probably an omen. My flight was delayed about 30 minutes while they replaced a part. I got the upgrade on the way down, and quickly proceeded enjoy a little brown water while jetting south. Right before landing, as I ordered another whiskey, the flight attendant looked at me sternly and said “you’re not driving, are you?” I think I mumbled “Marta” with all the elocution of Lou Holtz. Still, it must have worked since she brought me another one. Sweet.

It was an uneventful train ride, but the Freebird was a little late picking me up. Not anything terribly inconvenient, but it was the continuation (like the Munson retirement and the airplane part) of a series of events that in hindsight, would seem like Schleprock drops a mirror walking under a ladder while tripping over a black cat in his path.

Heading to Casa Freebird, we decide to get some takeout Mexican food. Miz Freebird phones in the order, and we arrive a little later to pick it up. When we get home and unpack it all, it seems they have forgotten one whole complete order. Oooops. So in what would eventually become a running joke for the next 24 hours, the Freebird sighs, grabs his car keys and heads back into town to pick up the missing dinner. The rest of the evening was a fairly laid back affair, with several cocktails and a viewing of Munson’s Greatest Hits.

The next morning, however, is when the metaphorical storm clouds began to gather. I won’t take you through the entire narrative, dear readers, but over the course of just a few hours:

The coffeemaker malfunctions.

Freebird makes his first trip of the morning, to Mickey D’s to pick up breakfast. Neighbors are working in the yard, and he passes them and waves (both ways). Little did he realize this would be the first 2 waves of an eventual 10.

Miz Freebird leaves to drop off the Wee Freebird with the grandparents. Freebird leaves to go put gas in his car, which we will be taking to the game. (See, there’s a gas shortage in Georgia, with one yahoo even calling for the ballgame to be cancelled because of it. Still, best to gas up ahead of time than be stranded somewhere between home and Athens because the pumps done dried up). An hour and trips to 4 “empty” gas stations later, he returns. With no gas. 2 more waves to the neighbors.

With a late game, we were excited to be using the Slingbox to watch the afternoon games via wireless connection at the tailgate. Freebird is worried because we couldn’t pick up a solid wireless signal at the last home game, but packs the equipment nonetheless. As a backup, he pulls out an XM radio “boombox,” so we can at least listen to the audio of the SEC. Nice thinking. As he attempts to test the set up, it appears the regular AC adapter is missing. He tries to hook it up several times, but each time the makeshift power cables come unplugged. Profanity follows, but the boombox is packed. With batteries, I think.

Miz Freebird calls, and my lovely and welcoming hosts discuss the arrangements for picking up ice and the Subway Sandwich tray we’re taking to the tailgate. At this stage of the morning’s frustrations, I think it would probably be better if Jared Fucking Fogler personally walked it over. However, the Freebird gets back into his vehicle and ventures out. 2 more waves to the neighbors later, he returns with Sonic crushed ice (whee!) and sandwiches.
Since the Cherokee was unable to be refueled, we instead decide to take Pacifica, and pack that up with all the required accessories (or so we think).

Turns out the XM radio in the Pacifica has a problem with the antenna. So no satellite sports on the way down. Hey, I have my iPod with me, full of Southern Fried Tailgate goodness and Munson clips. A perfect fire up for the journey. There is no way, however, to connect the iPod to the car stereo. So we have flip down screens on which we can watch an entire fucking miniseries about that whimpy, bald-headed little communist bastard, but no way to listen to an iPod? Okay. But wait! The Freebirds have one of those cigarette lighter connectors that will broadcast from the device through a vacant AM radio station. Awesome. Oh, but this was an older model. Which requires software to be installed on the PC, and then the PC needs to be synced with the iPod, and just damn. Guess we’re listening to fuzzy top 40 from Atlanta (or one of White County’s many stations that have both kinds of music, country or gospel).

We’re slightly behind our scheduled departure time, but leaving around noon will still put us at the tailgate in good order. We pull out and head to the game, making our 7th and 8th waves to the neighbors, still working in their yard.

After all the hassles of the morning, we’re moving at a pretty good clip and things are looking up. However, about 25 minutes from home, the car slows down. We’re not near an intersection or in traffic. The Freebird slowly pulls into a driveway, turns the car around, and says “We have to go back to Cleveland.” Instantly, the missus and I know what’s wrong. If we had forgotten the ice or the beer or the whiskey or our black baseball caps or the trash bags or the sandwiches or the fruit tray – any of these items could have been picked up along the way or in Athens without doubling back. Nope. Freebird Forgot His Tickets.

Do you go to the OK Corral without a gun?
Do you go to play golf without your clubs?
Do you go to an orgy without your cock?
Do you go to the airport without your ID?
Do you go to a wedding without a divorce attorney?

There are some things that are just absolutely crucial to the process.

Now, if this had been the Central Michigan Game. Or the Vandy game. Or almost any other game all season, this might not have been such a big deal. Someone would have had extras, or you could have scalped some for the cost of a tank of gas (presuming, of course, that you could find some place to fill up with gas in the post-apocalyptic world of Georgia, where Mad Max hunts aboriginal gangs in his dusty police cruiser). But no, this was Back In Black: The Sequel and a Top 10 clash under the lights on national TV with College Gameday.

Conservative estimates the week prior had tickets going for upwards of $500 each. So we turned the fuck around and spent a very, very quiet 25 minutes retracing our steps back to Casa Freebird. We pulled into the neighborhood, and waved to the neighbors for the 9th time. Turned into the driveway, parked and retrieved the tickets from their resting place. Which was in the glovebox of the other car. Now, I can understand that keeping the tickets in the car so you won't forget them isn't a totally horrific idea. If you only have one car. Or always, without exception, take the same car. But that's not the case in this situation, though I will say, in the Freebird's defense, that he did have a stressful morning and that up until the situation with the lack of available fuel, we did plan on taking the vehicle with the tickets. But I felt compelled to relate the story for several reasons:
  • It truly set the tone for the on-field carnage that would follow later.
  • The consensus at the tailgate was that despite the attempts to impose Chinese journalistic standards and censor the story, the truth must be blogged.
  • Said ticket-forgetter openly and derisively mocked me for making checklists for all my travels and endeavors. (Of course, I've never forgotten to take something I intended to on a trip, either).
We finally headed to Athens (for the last time that day) and waved to the neighbors for the 10th time. I'm not sure what the hell they thought was going on. Perhaps the guy up the street was taking every beer in his cooler to Athens individually?

Look, there's that VFW. And that Bingo parlor. And that vegetable stand. And that truck on blocks in that field. And that place with two refrigerators on the front porch. This all looks very familiar.

On the way, Miz Freebird sent a blanket text message to all the tailgaters indicating that we were at DefCon1, and please don't call or text – we'll get there eventually. Poor Hank was left in the lot alone for a while, with two Bama fans (granted, they were family) and the camo-wearing, football-throwing rednecks to the right of him. All things considered, the Freebird handled this dramatic setback pretty well. Or, as one caller on Sunday pointed out, with "maturity, wisdom and fortitude." He didn't even get pissed off and throw his (blue) hat in anger.

You'd think the clusterfuck of a day would stop there. Of course, you'd be wrong.

Despite concerns of a less than powerful available wi-fi signal, we did bring the laptop, monitor and Slingbox accessories to watch all the day's high profile football action. We never got a chance to test the signal. Because the extension chord wasn't packed. Those checklists are handy, I guess.

The rednecks who tailgate beside us did set up the whole DirecTV dish and TV (coaxial cable, receiver and dish were probably on their checklist). So we got to watch the Florida – Ole Miss game. Or at least most of it. Because at the very crucial end of the game, their generator ran out of gas. So the entire crowd moved en masse over to our area, where we had the XM boombox (remember that? Hey, we had batteries!) tuned the game. We kept listening while the dudes got the generator filled up and started again. Florida eventually loses the game, and a cheer breaks out through Athens. And while we were all thrilled with the Jorts spitting the bit, it did start to be cause for concern. USC and now Florida. Uh-oh. Is this one of those weekends where upsets are more contagious than a Columbus high-schooler back in the 80s? Turns out, yep.

Freebird somehow wound up cutting his hand. I never got the full story on how it happened (though I do know it wasn't a paper cut from a list entitled "Important Things To Take To The Game On Saturday"), but he spent several hours with paper towels wrapped around his left thumb.

And then there's "The Whitney Factor." We have a fraternity brother whose Zelig-like presence at big games spells almost certain doom. I'm not sure of all the examples and corollaries of The Whitney Factor, but perhaps that's something to sort through at the next tailgate. However, even though we know he's attended Falcons, Braves and Dawgs games where we didn't see him, or only saw him briefly, there's a very good chance that an extended sighting will inevitably cause the catastrophic collapse of the team in question.

The other thing going on was just a palpable sense of ennui regarding the game. Maybe everyone was wary of getting too drunk and too fired up too early, and not making it through the game. But I can't recall a single "call the Dawgs" cheer during the many hours we were tailgating. At the special request of The Candidate's wife, we broke out the Bulldawg Bites.

But when it came time to drink a toast, it was just lackluster. Sure, we tipped one for Larry, and 24 and 7 and CMR, but the enthusiasm just wasn't there. Had the bad karma of the day overcome us? Did we know, deep down, that we were lambs being led to the slaughter?

When we got to our seats, I will say that the pregame spectacle was quite good. The site of the stadium almost completely "blacked out" was a thing of beauty, and I think collectively we may have actually been even louder than we were for Auburn last year. We started off with a rare good kickoff, but then it went all downhill from there. That first half was about as demoralizing a two quarters as I can recall, and that includes the West Virginia Sugar Bowl (of course, I spent that game trying to figure out which random dude my purported girlfriend was going to be fucking later). To the fans credit, we stuck it out in the second half and tried to will the Dawgs back into it, and for a while, there was a faint glimmer of hope that we could make a game of it. But there were just too many mistakes, too many injuries, too many poor decisions, too many bad plays and too much bad karma to overcome against a very, very good 'Bama team. We came, we saw, we got our asses handed to us on a platter.

I think I summed it up on the walk back to our vehicle after the game: "This is the best cigarette ever and I hope the cancer kills me before we get to the car."

Friday, September 26, 2008

I'll take potpourri for $3,000, Alex

We didn't see it because of the unbearable bloat caused by the reality show host trainwreck, but Buffy won the voting for TV's most memorable moment.

Speaking of the Emmys, other than some of the awards themselves (yay Mad Men!) and Ricky Gervais and Don Rickles, that show was disastrously free of highlights. Josh Groban (!) did a polarizing medley of TV theme songs that people loved or hated. Personally, I thought it was great (he does Cartman, y'all!), but check it out for yourself.

A sequel to Unbreakable? Hmmm, a recent Shaymalan movie I might watch.

Hard to punch it into the end zone against 12 men. Pac 10 refs. Sheeesh.

Great bulletin board material for the Dawgs. Maybe not a funeral, but I'm gonna drink like it's an Irish wake. And here's a hysterical "reality show" reaction to those comments. And former NBA coach Eric Musselman talks black jerseys here.

I stopped watching Grey's long ago, but I might have to check this out. I know a lot of Alias fans hated her, but I think she's scorching hot (and she was great on In Treatment, too). Perhaps I just have a thing for foreign chicks with great lips and overbites (see Piper, Billie).

If Josh Groban's song medley and Melissa George are polarizing, the new detective on House was as well. House's seasonal "foils" can be that way (I hated Vogler, loved Stacy, hated Tritter, loved the "survivor" competition and Cutthroat Bitch) and Lucas follows in that tradition. Personally, I found him funny, quirky (in a good way) and entertaining. If indeed he gets "spun off" into his own show, I'd check it out.

How could anyone actually live like this? Hell, I know someone who actually tried to "raise" four kids in an environment like that. On a related note, in Columbus, this might have been called "the kiddie pool."

Damn, Joanie heated up the Emmys, no?

Beaver Fever! Damn. I watched some of that while I was falling asleep after a long day. Then I woke up after a bizarre dream (Sam and I were in a football stadium being attacked by alien spaceships) to find that the closing 3 minutes of the game were airing on ESPN. Life lesson: even Trojans aren't safe from an angry beaver. Given this stunning upset, could the Dawgs jump back to #1 with a win Saturday night?

Don't forget, Dexter returns Sunday night!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

If you don't love the Buffster, we may be done

Last night, I caught up on Monday's season premiere of How I Met Your Mother, and it was de -- wait for it -- lightful. Both the A and B stories were funny and character-driven, and it was great to have this group of television friends back.

One of the plot points revolved around Ted worrying that his new fiancee, Stella, might not like his favorite movie (Star Wars). IO9 has a take on it here.

This struck a chord with me, as I've long contemplated the "pop culture relationship deal breakers." For some folks, it can be politics, sports or religion. (For the record, I've dated liberals, conservatives, jesus freaks, atheists, Gators, Vols, Bugs and even folks who don't think of football season as the High Holy Days). Or in Ted and Stella's case, it was a movie. For others, it can be music.

But my pop culture world revolves around the tube, and I've even kept a list on my CrackBerry, entitled "TV for S/O." (That would be Television for the Significant Other). I understand that not many chicks are going to be geeky enough to know the difference between a Romulan and a Klingon, or be able to explain the alien conspiracy on The X-Files. Hell, I can't even explain the alien conspiracy on The X-Files. Nor, apparently, could Chris Carter. But there are some shows that are just so transcendent and so important that it's critical your long-term significant other develops an appreciation for them. Perhaps they've never had a chance to view them. Or perhaps they've been turned off by a "silly" title (*cough* Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Battlestar Galactica *cough*), without ever watching the show with an open mind. However, if they've been exposed to your favorite shows and still don't feel passionately (or even positively) about them, it would make me wonder if there was something fundamentally wrong with them, and that we wouldn't be compatible in the long run. I've got scores of TV shows on DVD, about 50 season passes on the TiVo, and have seen every single episode of literally hundreds of different series. But here are the TV dealbreakers for me:
  • Lost
  • Arrested Development
  • Buffy
  • Angel
  • Firefly
  • Battlestar Galactica
  • Mad Men
  • Veronica Mars
  • Dexter
What about you, TNRLMers? What are your TV (or Pop Culture) Deal Breakers?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

And the mic goes silent

Stunning news out of Athens: Legendary UGA broadcaster Larry Munson has retired, effective immediately.

For many Dawgs fans like myself, we grew up with Larry, listening to the games on the radio long before we walked through the arch to get our degrees, and headed over 'tween the hedges on Saturdays. Larry provided a soundtrack and narration to the fall, and his voice will be truly missed.

A good roundup of reactions can be found at the Georgia Sports Blog.

I hope the university and/or the fans can come up with some type of tribute to Larry for Saturday's game vs. Bama.

Best wishes to Larry Munson, a Damn Good Dawg, on his retirement.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Emmy Picks

If you want a recap of my thoughts on the nominations, you can check that out here. You'll find more in-depth discussion about the categories, with suggested line ups of how the categories should have been comprised. But we got what we got, so....

Following is a Should Win / Will Win for the major categories:

Best Drama
Should Win: Really, I'd be happy with Lost, Dexter or Mad Men winning (or hell, even House, which I thought had a strong season with the search for the new team, and capped with a spectacular finale). Forced to choose, I'd go with Dexter or Mad Men, with the latter slightly ahead.
Will Win: The Sopranos connections don't hurt, and I think the voters will actually surprise us and give it to Mad Men.

Lead Actor, Drama
Should Win: Byrne carried 40+ episodes of sitting around talking, no ordinary accomplishment, but Hall, Laurie and Hamm all made us love and be fascinated with dark, complex and somewhat less than heroic central figures. Any of those 4 would represent a solid choice, but I'll go with Hall.
Will Win: If they don't inexplicably give it to Spader again (an entirely likely possibility), I'd like to think Laurie might finally break through.

Lead Actress, Drama
Should Win: Hunter is spectacular in a show I can't stand, and Sedgwick anchors a terrific and enjoyable ensemble. I'll go with Kyra.
Will Win: I think the movie star luster of Close will get her the trophy.

Supporting Actor, Drama
Should Win: Slattery or Emerson
Will Win: Emerson

Supporting Actress, Drama
Should Win: Wiest or Griffiths
Will Win: Wilson

Best Comedy
Should Win: Comes down to a choice between 30 Rock and The Office. 30 Rock had a brilliant first half and a terrible return from the strike, while The Office was more even overall. 30 Rock had more consistent laugh out loud moments, but I would probably award the consistency of The Office.
Will Win: But voters react to a few, selected episodes, so 30 Rock will take it.

Lead Actor, Comedy
Should Win: Baldwin doing "therapy" with Tracy Morgan was the single funniest thing on TV this year.
Will Win: If voters can ignore Baldwin's deplorable personal behavior, they will give him the trophy.

Lead Actress, Comedy
Should Win: Applegate, Parker and Fey all did good work, though Applegate did more complex work (playing two sides of the same person) on a lesser show.
Will Win: Applegate's compelling personal story, combined with her good work, should get the win here.

Supporting Actor, Comedy
Should Win: Harris, no contest.
Will Win: The voters for some reason don't love HIMYM like they should, but I think they might actually give it to Harris anyway.

Supporting Actress, Comedy
Should Win: Poehler's Hillary Clinton is worth the price of admission, and I missed Pushing Daisies.
Will Win: Smart is an extraordinarily talented veteran who should get the requisite votes here.

Reality Shows......who cares.

There you have it.

I always get more excited about the nominations themselves, more so than the actual awards, but I may TiVo the show and fast forward through all the fluff (being hosted by various reality show hosts -- ugh). Mad Men is "dark" tonight to make way for the show, but there is another new episode of the increasingly entertaining True Blood to watch.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

You only have 210 minutes to down your pinot grigio!

Tailgating rules from Arizona State, where the Dawgs will be playing this evening.

So let me get this straight:

Beer and wine is okay for tailgating, but no liquor. So if I want to funnel a box of cheap chardonnay, that's fine. But if I want a whiskey drink, the campus po-po will haul me off to the slammer? Priceless.

You can only set up a tailgate three and a half hours prior to kickoff? You'll spend that much time looking for your corkscrew!

And "no drinking games?" Who patrols and monitors that? So you can chug a bottle of Riesling, as long as you don't keep score? Some games, like "flip cup" or "quarters" would probably be easy to spot. Others, like the "name game" or Thunderchicken creation "jet" not so much. Could you explain a game of "thumper" as an epileptic seizure? I can see some unaware Dawg fan in the Maricopa County lockup, conversing with a fellow prisoner:
"What are you in for?"

"Rape, grand theft auto, intent with a deadly weapon and meth dealing. You?"

"Beer pong."
Those Pac-10 football fans are badasses. Other tailgating rules:
  1. No pork or beef products allowed. Pregame spreads must include sushi, bean sprouts and tofu.
  2. No music (such as the "Southern Fried Tailgate") allowed on external speakers. All Yanni and Zamphir must be played on portable music device with headphones.
  3. All waste material must be recycled on the spot, and turned into playground equipment for homeless children.
  4. All RVs must be powered by electricity or wind.
  5. Tailgaters should purchase carbon offsets to counter the global warming caused by the companies producing their micro-brews.
  6. Don't harrass the brie vendors.
  7. No cheering, chanting or "woof-ing." Polite claps only.
  8. Tailgate areas larger than 10' by 10' must feature a maypole.
  9. Grief counselors provided by the state will be available after the game on the North Lawn.

I'll take potpourri for $2,900, Alex

A fascinating look at the history of internet memes.

Michael Emerson (Lost's Benjamin Linus) talks Lost and Emmys.

5 reasons to be content with carrying a few extra pounds.

This sounds like an interesting mini-series from HBO, with a top-shelf crew of producers.

Another reason to love Maura Tierney.

You have got to be fucking kidding me. Seems like I remember something about tea. And a harbor. If that's "patriotic," then call me a goddamned enemy of the state.

Good roundtable interview with Emmy candidates Michael C. Hall, John Slattery, Rainn Wilson, Mary Louise Parker and Rachel Griffiths. Tomorrow I'll have my "will win/should win" take on the Emmys.

An interesting look at the history of the Cylons.

Speaking of BSG, "Kendra Shaw" will be popping up on Sarah Connor soon. Cool.

Sigh. Seems like I left a friendly place.

Well, I know which one I would choose.

Summary of quotable TV.

13 things you should know about this season of Heroes.

Skiffy greenlights a new X-Files-ish show from Jane Espenson and the creator of Farscape. I'll watch.

As long as they are anti-tax, there are good choices for a candidate here.

Haven't seen the new Coen brothers movie yet, but evidently, this makes an appearance. Oddly, this made me wonder what my movers thought last year.

An apt picture to headline TWOP's list of most egregious Emmy snubs.

An early look at S3 of Dexter.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Passing out grades for the summer TV season

The fall television season is upon us, so it's time to take a quick look back at the boys of summer, television-style.

First and foremost, I'm sure you're probably sick of reading about my undying love affair with The Middleman. Unless, of course, you're a fellow fan of the Middledude and Dub-Dub. I watch a LOT of TV, and this was by far the most inventive, original and entertaining show I've seen in ages. Though not a clone of a Whedon program, it still has the same sensibility, in that it wholly creates its own universe, style and patter, and completely immerses you. It wasn't a perfect fit for ABC Family, and didn't pull the ratings it could (and should) have, so who knows if we'll be treated to another season of one of the most brilliant concoctions to grace the boob tube. If you've ever trusted my recommendations, please treat yourself to a viewing of The Middleman. A+

In Plain Sight was okay. In a summer without much going on, it made for a passable procedural with an intriguing concept, a solid lead performance and a star character in the making (Marshall!). I was bored with the family drama, though the whole "box of letters" bit at the end was a bit heartwarming. And for some bizarre reason, I was mesmerized by Mary's dimwitted, skank of a sister. (Evidently, I just have a soft spot for that type). On a related note, said sister will soon be showing up on Bones as a love interest for Angela. B-

Despite the interesting premise and setting, I still have all the eppies of Swingtown TiVod. Unwatched. Incomplete.

Secret Diary of a Call Girl coasted by entirely on the charms of star Billie Piper. If you're a fan of her Rose Tyler, it made for a mildly diverting 20 minutes. It wasn't sexy enough to be erotic, funny enough to make you laugh or dramatic enough to move you. But if you like saucy chicks with an overbite who once rode in the Tardis, it'll do. C

I'm still halfway through the latest season of Weeds. I enjoy this show when I watch it, yet I don't rush home to fire up the TiVo to make sure I catch the latest ep. Maybe my TiVo is telling me something. Incomplete.

At this stage of the game, I really don't expect that much from Monk. I smile at the fully realized central character, and enjoy his "here's what happened" as much as Columbo's "one more question." However, I think the summer season showed an uptick in the quality of the show, despite the mysteries being even easier to figure out. I was dreading the "Monk is hypnotized into thinking he's a child" finale, which actually surprised me by making me laugh out loud. And the 100th episode, where they revisited his 100 cases solved via a tabloid TV show conceit was particularly inspired. B

Psych strayed from the formula a bit this season, offering more insight into Shawn's background and childhood, and actually became a richer show while still offering the requisite silliness and pop culture riffs. Juliet is an underrated hottie and my only complaint was the lack of screen time for Lassiter. B+

I haven't yet watched the season finale of Burn Notice, so I'm not sure exactly how they wrapped up the season long arc with Six, er Carla, and her machinations of Michael. But the second season built on everything that we liked about the show in the first place (action, droll voice-overs, spycraft 101, deadpan humor, plenty of Bruce Campbell's Sam Axe) and delivered an even better showing. A

Law & Order: CI had an uneven summer. Some of the plot twists were patently ridiculous and it was clear that the departing Chris Noth was phoning it in. D'onfrio is always interesting, however, and I welcomed the return of the eminently adorable Megan Wheeler as Logan's partner. Next season, she'll be paired with Jeff Goldblum (of the underwatched and underappreciated Raines) who should bring an extra level of quirk to the show. I like the acerbic Eric Bogosian as the captain, and the season finale, featuring the return of Bobby's brilliant mentor and his longtime nemesis Nicole Wallace, was spectacular. B

Eureka, thus far, has been hit and miss. Many have objected to the blatant product placement from Degree, but working in the marketing field, I certainly understand the advantages of having some extra cabbage to support the show, and it doesn't bother me. I adore Ever Carradine, but don't really see what she adds to the show and I've found the whole "corporate conspiracy" with Eva a bit tedious. They also said goodbye to one of my favorite Eureka characters (and his dry, withering wit) Nathan Stark. Still, Colin Ferguson's anchoring performance keeps me tuned in, but I was hoping for more. C+

I gave up on Saving Grace. I appreciate the skill, fearlessness and ferocity of Holly Hunter's performance, but the whole show just kind of loses me. A bunch of rednecks getting drunk and solving crimes, infused with a bit of the supernatural? Damn, it sounds good, but it just doesn't work for me. D

We're still in the middle of Mad Men's run, but Holy Shit! is this show good. Easily among the top five shows on television, Mad Men continues to be a hallmark of stellar and subtle acting, writing, storytelling, directing and production values. A trenchant commentary on social mores, gender relations and commerce, Mad Men is a classic for the ages and absolutely must watch television every single week. A+

The Closer was all over the map this season, and in a good way. (Yes, as a southerner, I'm still bugged by Brenda Leigh's accent). We've had harrowing, heart-wrenching episodes and frothy, funny episodes (like the one with Provenza being hired as an undercover hit man) and they all pretty much delivered a solid, well-crafted hour of procedural entertainment. The ensemble is among TV's best, and I can never get enough JK Simmons on my tube. A

I've always watched the Stargate shows, though I've never been as passionate about them as I am with other genre fare, like Firefly, Trek, BSG, Farscape and the like. Still, it saddened me a little when Stargate Atlantis got cancelled, even though I understand the economics behind it. For an hour of sci-fi escape, you could do worse (Painkiller Jane, anyone? Or Flash Gordon? Arrrrggh). McKay (especially), Keller, Zelenka, Beckett, Ronin and the newly added Woolsey are all entertaining characters, even if Sheppard's hair bugs me (could Footloose's Ren have been in the military? Don't think so. Get thee to an interstellar Flowbee). But the replicator-redux storylines, along with the totally boring villains (how could you make "space-vampires" less interesting?) made this less than appointment viewing. C+

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The most hated man in San Diego is a geek.

By now, most sports fans have heard about the bizarre ending to Sunday's Chargers - Broncos game. A quick recap: with time running down, and Denver trailing by a touchdown, Broncos QB Jay Cutler dropped back to pass and had the ball "fall out" of his throwing hand. The referee blew the whistle, so even though San Diego recovered the ball -- AND it was reviewed on instant replay -- the ball could not be awarded to the Chargers. The Broncos subsequently scored a TD and a 2-point conversion (!) to win the game. Much drama and hand-wringing ensued, which you can read about here. And here. And here.

Bottom line: referee Ed Hochuli made a bad call -- a mistake -- by blowing the whistle. The rules and system in place wouldn't allow that mistake to be corrected, and what should have been a Chargers win turned into a Denver win (Denver still had to score the TD, and still had to win it on a ballsy call for a 2-point conversion, instead of the kick and journey into OT).

That's what's consumed the discussion of the game, and of Hochuli, for the past couple of days. However, I was going to write a blog post about Hochuli anyway -- but BEFORE the Denver - San Diego game. Hochuli is one of those refs that most people who watch a lot of football know by name, or at least by appearance. You see, he's pushing 60 years old, yet still works out like a demon and has a "set of guns." But I heard his name Friday, when I was doing some cleaning up around the house, and listening to the "Lost Podcast with Jay and Jack."

What does a Lost podcast have to do with NFL refs? Well, in addition to being an NFL ref and practicing attorney, it seems Hochuli is also a big Lost geek. The podcast features a segment called "listener feedback," where folks call in and leave messages about the show and podcast. There was a long, rambling and funny message from "Ed," who called to bust the hosts' chops about a variety of topics, including their (in)ability to get into the Lost session at Comic-Con. If I recall correctly, Hochuli and his brother may have actually camped out the night before to make sure they got to the head of the line and got into the Lost session (or at the very least, were planning to that for next year's session). An irony of Hochuli's involvement with the Lost podcast gang is that Jack is from San Diego, and a die-hard Chargers fan.

I'm sure Ed wishes he could turn a frozen donkey wheel right now, or have Daniel Faraday visit him sometime toward the end of the 4th quarter last Sunday and tell him to "not blow the whistle."

Monday, September 15, 2008

We're Number Three! We're Number Three!

No surprise really, that the Dawgs dropped to 3 in the polls behind USC and Oklahoma. The good news is that if this trend continues, and UGA wins out, we could be no lower than number 12.

In all seriousness, the game with the chickens has always (recently) been tough, and any road win in the SEC is a worthy victory. Keep focused on the game at hand, don't look ahead (unlike, perhaps, next week's opponent, ASU. Ooops) and take care of business one game at a time. Win the East. Win the SEC. And the rest will take care of itself, right?

It's a much better feeling to nitpick following a win, but these are the major causes for concern after three games:

  1. Return to the hands of stone. Outside of frosh AJ Green, we're seeing more of the "dropsies" from the receiving corp that's haunted us the last few years. Tripp Chandler, in particular, has resembled one of those statues on Easter Island. Even if you could see the hands, they would be made of stone. Sheesh.
  2. O-Line. Yep, we're injured. But there were fewer holes and more pressure up the middle than we need. Knowshon got every single yard the old fashioned way -- he eeeeaaaaarrrrnnnned it.
  3. D-Line. Are we getting the pressure on the opposing QB? Nope. Sure, we're keeping the scoring low, but the lack of a threatening pass rush could pose more problems down the road.
  4. Kickoffs. The well documented woes continue, and we can't continue to give increasingly talented teams great starting field position.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Who wants leftovers?

Stuff I didn't get to last night:

UGA legend Dan McGill thinks Matt Stafford might have the strongest arm he's ever seen (and "might" throw it 100 yards one day). Three strongest QB arms I've ever seen in person (in no particular order): Matt Stafford, Mike Vick, Jeff George (hopefully, one of these things is not like the others).

SI's Mandel on the "failure status" of Darth Visor.

Two of my favorites: Richard Dawkins on Christopher Hitchens.

"Robin Hood Economics:" Obama's tax plan. Of course, McCain does social engineering as well, proposing reducing the confiscation rate on people who bring more strollers, screaming and mini-vans into the world.

Celebrity atheists.

Can you make a Libertarian case for Palin? I'm not so sure.

Scroll to the bottom, and you'll find the insanely catchy soundtrack to Dr. Horrible on the Billboard chart at 39 (even more impressive, since it was iTunes only).

New DVD release for a totally underrated show.

Nice interview with one of the creators of How I Met Your Mother.

If you believe in "global warming," here's an easy solution: 1500 robotic ships cruising the seas.

Tech Porn: evolution of the CrackBerry.

Alec Baldwin (great actor, top-shelf SNL host and real-life nutjob) spews the crazy in an 8,000 word New Yorker profile, and insults My Name is Earl. Earl creator Greg Garcia responds. Funny.

Last week, I read this Atlanta Falcons season profile after a few too many IPTs, and was crying because it was so funny. In the cold, sober light of day, I still think it's a masterwork. Read and enjoy.

TiVos save relationships. I have 4 of them, but did I miss one of their service updates? Or is there a button to delete the lying and whoring?

More on the instant-classic finale of the summer's best show, The Middleman, can be found here and here.

Friday, September 12, 2008

I'll take potpourri for $2,800, Alex

Welcome back, y'all. Not much activity on the old blog front for the past week or so, as I've been slammed at work (wait -- I don't do this for a living? I'm up to $1.47 on my adsense account!) and traveling back and forth to the motherland to follow the alma mater. However, I'm back for a couple of weeks, and can now bring you up to speed on the some of the interesting things around the interwebs:

"Have a baby for love. Not German engineering." Brooke Shields is perfect in these VW ads. Funny stuff.

10 unfinished sci-fi/fantasy series that need to be finished. Though it's not listed in the numbers (but in the opening 'graph), I actually enjoyed Threshold. Carla Gugino, Data and the Dinklage? I watched. I'm not sure about being "finished," but I would enjoy checking in again with Quantum Leap, The 4400, Firefly (yeah, I enjoyed Serenity, too, but really, really wanted these folks on my TV every single week) and V. We were a very "mini-series" watching family when I was young (Roots, Thorn Birds, Winds of War, Shogun, etc.), but V was the first one to hit right in the geek wheelhouse that Sam and I loved.

Thoughts on the new season of Bones
. I thought the London season opener was a bit too silly for my tastes, though I did dig the British cop. The whole Angela/Hodgins breakup seemed shoehorned in and out of nowhere, and I'm not sure where they're going with that. And I'm not entirely happy with the "Zack situation," though I never really liked Zack and think that Sweets is a much better and more entertaining character to get airtime. Plus, the "He can hold his breath for three minutes down there!"quote made me laugh. Tempy, I have the lung capacity of a tubercular hamster, but I'd be happy to spend more than three minutes.

Herbstreit predicts the Dawgs/Poultry game. I hope he's right.

A nugget of proof for the existence of a deity.

A recent Mandel column, in which he discusses SEC fans chanting "S...E...C" at the end of games. Have we been doing this? I'm not sure. It's been awfully quiet at the bottom of my flask. (BTW, I finished his book on the recent trip home. Good reading, and recommended for college football fans).

Uh-oh. Dollhouse shuts down production for a couple of weeks. Signs of trouble with the scripts? Lack of faith by the FOX suits? Normal development? I'd love to play Kevin Bacon and scream "Remain calm! All is well!" But visions of Firefly dance through my head. Shit. I can't take another early cancellation.

As if the Big 10 wasn't humiliated enough by the SEC lately, a Gator skank comments on the viability of Big 10 chicks to grace the cover of Playboy:

In addition to showing up on tonight's summer finale of Psych, Gary Cole will be appearing on Chuck as Sarah's dad. Awesome.

Did Texas and UTEP play a neutral site game in Columbus, GA?

The Vandy juggernaut pwns Darth Visor.

A laugh out loud South Park license plate.

The obvious mistake -- offering a sandwich. I would have gone with Zaxby's chicken fingers or maybe a Bourbon Street steak.

AJ Green is talented. And humble.

The season -- and let's hope not the series -- finale of The Middleman was a geektastic Oreo double-stuffed with awesome. Here's a list of the numerous references for that ep.

Glen Larson seems like a douchebag for not worshipping at the feet of the revived BSG, but hey, he gave us "frak."

The Zack and Miri redband trailer. Yep, I'm there.

9 things you shouldn't buy new. I don't know if I agree with all of those, but I'll never forget the words of a former mentor: "If it flies, floats or, don't buy."

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Dawgs vs. Chippewas: The Weekend Travelogue and Gameday Experience, Vol. II

Welcome to another gameday weekend recap. Sadly, or perhaps fortunately, the weekend passed mostly without drama. The Dawgs took care of business, produced some highlights for the ages (except if you're ESPN*), escaped without major injuries and didn't drop in the polls. I didn't miss any flights, the planes didn't crash, I didn't have to sit by any smelly, chatty passengers on paid or public transportation, pass out in the 4th quarter or get lost in the foilage behind my former frat house. So we can call that a win-win, I guess.

Random musings and observations:

Yes, the Inexplicably Priced Tallboys (IPT) are still inexplicably priced. We all enjoyed our four "free" beers. (But the Freebird informed me that once again, I was geographically challenged. The home of the IPTs is in Dawsonville, not Dahlonega. Go figure. I only lived in the area for 20 years or so).

The Murph picked me up, and had a weekend pass to spend some time enjoying the tailgate. (I'm sad that I missed Miz Murph, but I'm glad that we ironed out in pre-weekend emails that she wasn't avoiding me because I've yet to start writing Buffy/Twilight fan fiction. The teen-vamp drama audiobook is in the queue, but yet to make it to my ears).

Thanks to staying with friends who have spawned, I was able to get all caught up on Calliou and Dora. I got ensnared in these intricate plot threads a couple of years ago during The Dark Time, and was able to ease back into the compelling drama over several IPTs.

The Freebird prepared some salmon in the Green Egg on Friday night, and once again, I ventured into the world of non-shellfish seafood. (I really like seafood, and even tuna, but generally eschew "fish" because, well, it tastes like fish). I tried my requisite accommodating guest single bite, and oddly, wound up eating a far more significant portion than I usually do. I still wouldn't pick salmon over virtually any other protein (give me the cow, the swine or the bird, y'all), but of all I've tried, that was definitely the best. I told the Freebird "I like your fish better than any other fish" and wondered if I'd ever uttered that phrase before.

Speaking of the Freebird, I learned that he can be a closet antiquer, but not on football Saturdays. Interesting. I occasionally punched the antiquing clock on occasion, but only to get laid.

Several of the usual suspects were missing from the tailgate this weekend due to prior commitments (is a kid's soccer game really any less manly than DragonCon? Just askin'), but we had a couple of guest stars. Of course, there was the Murph, who seamlessly blended back into the fold. And then there was Kevin, who pops in occasion. No one made a drunken ass of themselves, though Kevin, while presumably completely sober, did test the efficacy of a long grill lighter by sticking his hand over the (barely visible) flame. Yep, it worked. Just because you can't see it, doesn't mean it doesn't burn. Good reflexes probably prevented an extra-cripsy tailgater.

I know we recognized this previously, but damn, was it hot. Like tailgating on the face of the sun hot. No shade to be found, which is not good for a late afternoon kickoff. We tossed around the price of an EZ Up tent and I even checked it out online (thanks, CrackBerry! -- $210) but just decided to melt and take occasional respites in the shade of the parking lot while the Freebird discussed real estate with nudists (over the phone -- it was a tailgate sans actual nakedness). But next time? I'm thinking there should be a tent in our future.

As I've mentioned before, Miz Freebird isn't a UGA grad. And not particularly a die-hard Dawgs fan. (Truth be told, she's a fan of the orange safety vest wearing inbreds from Knox-Vegas and the North Avenue Trade School). But in an adult, committed and reasonable show of affection and partnership, she goes to the games (or at least, all of the tailgates and most of the games) with us, but forgoes wearing red and black. The trick for her is to wear something that doesn't resemble a tacit endorsement of the Dawgs, yet doesn't appear as enemy colors. This weekend, we could feel reasonably safe that the Chippewas wouldn't storm the field at Sanford Stadium wearing blue and brown plaid. And if they did, I feel comfortable saying our margin of victory would have been more significant.

During the game, there weren't any meaningful interactions with our "neighbors." There was a guy with a tax deduction in front of us who couldn't control his fidgety one time sperm, but he didn't turn around when I burst out with the occasional "What The Fuck!" (Luckily, the game didn't require that many profane utterances. Not that I would care. Expanding your vocabulary is a crucial part of intellectual development in the young). And for a couple of quarters, I felt really, really old sitting next to a young Lindsay Lohan lookalike, complete with gravity defying frontage and a low cut top that made me wonder if it was really 95 degrees in the stadium.

By now, everyone knows what happened in the game. We kicked ass, and pretty much clicked on all cylinders. We shut down "Tebow-Lite," ran and passed at will, and won a game that we should have, convincingly. The only area of concern coming out of our epic clash against the Chippewas was our continuing problem with kickoffs. From a pure talent standpoint, The Blair Walsh Project obviously has the leg. But he put them high and short and out of bounds, and at this stage, it's difficult to tell if the problem is strategy/coaching or inexperience or coverage or perhaps a combination of all the above. This didn't kill us the first two games, but as we head into the meat of the schedule, it does loom as a troubling chink in the armor for facing teams with much better athletes returning kicks and more powerful offenses getting a short field. At least we acknowledge the issue, and may try something different.

As everyone has seen by now (unless you watch ESPN), the highlight of the game was Knowshon's superhuman hurdle over a hapless Chippewa.

No, it didn't go for a TD (and in reality, wasn't as impactful on the game as his 50+ yard scoring run) but HOLY SHIT was that awesome. We all said "that's a SportsCenter moment" in the stands, but damn, if ESPN didn't show it on ANY of their weekend SportsCenters, nor on that college recap show with Mr. Potatohead and Granny Clampett (and Rece Davis). Richt, in his aw-shucks way, took some umbrage. But I guess the powers that be at the WWL were too busy gargling with Tebow's man-juice and reporting on his flat-earth brainwashing and third-world cock-snipping to notice.
*However, it should be noted that my favorite WWL personality, the always awesome Scott Van Pelt, addressed the issue on a Dawgs message board. You rock, SVP.
All in all, it was a good game and a great weekend. Between a flask-emptying game (or really, 3 quarters -- welcome back, liver!) and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles colored margarita at the post game feedbag (what the hell was that, anyway?), a good time was had by all. This week is a road game, so I'll be enjoying the action here in the mid-Atlantic, listening to the mellifluous strains of Vern Lundquist, smoking when I damn well please, hoping for lots of visor-tossing and not peeing in the shrubs during the pregame. But the tailgate crew will be sorely missed.

Go Dawgs!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

"I didn't get there by just eating mooseburgers and popping out kids!"

In the midst of all the partisan hysteria (on both sides) about the Republican Veep pick, I stumbled across this and it made me laugh out loud. (Probably NSFW with sound up).

"Hey, can you pitch?"

Featured in the story of another Braves loss is the attendance for today's game in Miami against the Marlins: 600.

This reminds me of the old joke about the Braves even more horrifically inept days when Ted Turner first took over the team, and put them on WTCG (before it became a "superstation").

Man is interested in attending a Braves game at Fulton-County Stadium. So he calls the ticket office and says "Hey, what time does the game start tonight?" The response comes, "Well, what time can you get here?"

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Dr. Horrible Soundtrack just as brilliant as expected

I was doing some housecleaning tonight (and frankly, recovering from the holiday weekend), and put on the newly purchased soundtrack to Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. A few things that struck me listening to the tunes, without watching the show:
  • All the singers are spectacular. NPH is awesome, of course, but watching the show, I didn't get a total feel for the quality of Nathan and Felicia's singing. Felicia is wonderful and sounds even better melding her tone with someone else's in a duet, and Nathan was so adept at "acting" the obliviousness and self-absorption of Captain Hammer, you lost sight of his vocals. He's damned good.
  • The "Bad Horse Chorus" (both versions) still makes me laugh out loud.
  • You also get a better feel for the lyrics and just how incisive, witty, poignant and character/story driven they are. You can read them here.
  • The songs are endlessly re-listenable. I cycled through them twice just now, and was entertained the entire time.
  • And did I mention the "Thoroughbred of Sin?" Hee. That still cracks me up.
Purchase yours today and enjoy.

Dawgs vs. Eagles: The Weekend Travelogue and Gameday Experience, Vol. I

Not gonna have a lot of depth on the whole Gameday experience this week. I think the holiday weekend, plus a burgeoning cold and a sunburn, should serve to make me less loquacious than usual. However, here are a few random observations and thoughts from the first weekend of the college football season.

Oh, because you were all worried about it all weekend, the extra battery arrived and functioned perfectly when charged. No CrackBerry meltdowns necessary.

On the plane down, a guy was wearing an Auburn shirt. I, of course, was representing my alma mater. Brief deplaning exchange: “I hate your shirt.” “Yeah, I hate yours too.”

Another random plane conversation. Guy talked to me as we were walking toward baggage claim (I guess the earbuds weren’t quite the deterrent I thought they were). He was wearing red, but with no visible UGA logos. Said he was a fan, and going to the game. I asked him when he graduated, and he said he’s a UGA fan because of the football, but went to the North Avenue Trade School because he wanted to get “an education.” I stared at him blankly, stopping in my tracks, and suggested that the days of driving through town and getting a diploma thrown in the window are over. And as a product of one of the nation's finest journalism schools, I was slightly offended. Sigh. I faked a trip to the bathroom to maintain some semblance of manners. Fuckwad. If that’s the bandwagon, get the hell off, ya know?

Two differences between Maryland and Georgia you can instantly spot walking through the airport: the South has far more hot chicks than the Mid-Atlantic. And Southerners like to eat more. (Happily and Sadly, respectively, I can testify to both).

This was the first trip back to the motherland since I became iPod savvy, and I can tell you it makes all the difference in the world. Not only was it great to have background music of my choosing while reading on the plane, it was also fantastic for killing time on the Marta train out to the North Point station. Whereas last year, I just looked around and tried to avoid eye contact and conversation with the huddled masses while reading a magazine, this year I plopped down and watched Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog for the 12th time. Awesome.

On the way in, we stopped at the Dahlonega liquor store and once again found the Inexplicably Priced Tallboys. Price of 12-pack of Lite, 12 oz: $9.99. Price of 12-pack of Lite, 16 oz: $9.99. Why on earth would anyone buy the 12 ouncers? That’s basically 48 oz of beer – four full regular cans – for free. I do not understand the pricing, but at this point, I’m not questioning it either. I just quietly enjoy my extra ounces.

Thank Georgia's state government for the low price of smokes back home. For the next few weeks, I'm going to be a tobacco mule.

Speaking of the inexplicable, I’m fairly handy with technology. At work, I’m known as “the geek squad” because I can generally solve most computer problems that arise, and I definitely know my way around operating and programming software and various consumer electronics. However, the programmable thermostat in the Freebird’s basement remains a malevolent Hal 9000 for me. One time last year, I erroneously put it on "heat" in the middle of a hot September night. This time, I didn’t wind up a c-store rollerdog, but I didn’t put the cooling down in my usual comfort zone of high 60’s/low 70s, and somehow switched all the metrics to Celsius. Nice. They always said that the metric system would catch on.

There was a bit of the morning Bickersons on the way to the game, but nothing particularly antagonistic, and fortunately, no pedestrians were run down and left for dead.

Once we got to the tailgate, most of the usual crew was there. Given the early start, there wasn’t much set up and take down. No Bulldog Bites, no slingbox and game watching. Just a little chit chat and catching up, and quaffing of sudsy beverages.

We did, however, have time to conduct the first annual Geek-Dawg Trivia Challenge. The Freebird completed a clean sweep, winning top honors in the UGA category, the geek category and the overall combined score. (He actually tied with Scrat and The Candidate for the UGA category, but convincingly won the tie-breaker, coming within 15 yards of identifying Herschel’s all time UGA rushing yardage). And while she didn’t actually compete in the event, Gordo’s wife (in a quick post-match quiz) was surprisingly strong in the geek category. I think we may have a sleeper for next year. This year, however, The Freebird’s iTunes account will celebrate his trivia mastery.

I can say with certainty that despite pouring myself some regular cocktails at home, I was definitely not in gameday shape. Perhaps it was the temperature and humidity for a 12:30 kickoff, or assuming that 8 Chic-Fil-A nuggets was a good “base” for the first tailgate, or enjoying one too many pregame Inexplicably Priced Tallboys, but I didn’t make it all the way through the first game flask. Nor apparently, did I make it all the way through the first game, at least coherently. Hey, at least I didn’t continue last year’s bizarre trend of wandering off during the 4th quarter, like someone’s deranged grandpa at the mall. Nor did I show up lost in the shrubbery, screaming for a rescue, when I was on the road behind the frat house where I spent about 5 years of my life. (Google maps on the CrackBerry should prevent that this year).

Someone should probably take my phone away from me sometime in the third quarter.

As nice as it was to finally hear the intonations of the legendary Larry Munson, he did make a few glaring errors (more so than usual), especially calling Kris Durham "Wes Durham." (for the uninitiated, Wes Durham is the play by play guy for the archrival Bugs – but a nice guy and solid broadcaster nonetheless). However, as the Freebird and I were discussing, Larry can misidentify every single player on the field, never get the down and distance right and STILL keep that job until he A. doesn't want it anymore, or B. heads off to the hedges in the sky clutching his microphone in one hand and a coed in the other.

New Game Day Commemorative Cups! I picked up two, one Uga (the pooch) and one Sanford Stadium.

The new "non-smoking" policy for the stadium is all kinds of angst-inducing. Someone should set up a stand to peddle nicotine patches, or at the very least, those old bubblegum candy ciggies.

I have mixed feelings on the game itself. If we weren't ranked #1, I would be extremely pleased about the showing, with the exception of poor Jeff Owens season-ending ACL injury. We took care of an opponent we should have. As is Richt's way, he called off the Dawgs early in the game, once we were comfortably ahead (38-0), and got some work for some key reserves. (While many – including me – often complain about the early insertion of the backups, when you think about what’s happened to Sturdivant and Owens, the strategy seems to make a hell of a lot more sense in terms of getting folks ready to step up when called). He didn't run up the score when he clearly could have. Both Richard Samuel and Caleb King got to strut their stuff with a game well in hand. We put up 45 points.

However, you look around the "ticker" for other scores, and see The Condoms and The Jorts and The Sooners putting up a 50-spot. Will "on the fence" voters be more impressed by a score that starts with a 5? Will they hold a couple of Georgia Southern "garbage time" TDs against us? I'm sure they will, and USC's ass-whipping of the Cavs (after traveling cross-country) was duly impressive, even if Virginia comes from a conference that should now be relegated to Fox Sports Net broadcasts available only on the interwebs.

Same goes for Stafford. Yardage wise, it was his best day ever. He had some impressive frozen ropes down the field. Yet he underthrew and overthrew a few balls, too. First game rust, or ominous portent of things to come?

Frosh kicker Blair Walsh put the first kickoff deep in the end zone, and drilled his first FG attempt from 52 (and that would have been good from Dacula). From this brief sample, he looked to continue the UGA legacy of kickers. (However, his subsequent kicks didn’t really pin anyone back. More of this “directional” stuff? Tired from the heat? Not sure). And every time you hear his name, does anyone else think of this?

Watching games the night before, it was awesome to see the “1” on the ESPN scroll just before "UGA." Last time that was possible, I don’t think the ESPN “bottom line” had been invented yet. However, the new polls are just out, and we won't be seeing that again for a while, since USC leapfrogged us to become the new #1. It was really only a matter of time anyway, as the winner of the USC/OSU tussle was going to get that huge bump eventually.

Hey, the good news is we get to turn around and do this whole thing again in just 3 days! Until then, Woof, Woof.

Head to iTunes!

The Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along Blog soundtrack is now available for purchase!