Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008? Get the fuck out.

2008. The year that was. Just a really, fantastically awesome year.

Except emotionally. And professionally. And psychologically. And technologically. And sexually. And automotively. And monetarily. And fantasy footballily. And qualitatively. And Willie Martinezily. And any other Lolly, Lolly, Lolly get your fucking adverbs here-ly.

Other than that? Yeah, great.

Friday, December 26, 2008

I'll take potpourri for $4,300, Alex

The brilliant but snuffed before its time Deadwood has been released on DVD. Critic Alan Sepinwall touches on the release here, and offers some thoughts on the extras (including who was to "blame" for the premature axe falling on one of TV's best, and most challenging, shows. Fuck you HBO, you cocksuckers).

Another great reason to always keep a fully stocked bar at home. Ladies!

Critics are savaging The Spirit, which is Frank Miller's take on Will Eisner's seminal comic. As a longtime fan of the comic, I'm not sure Miller was the right guy to try to capture the tricky tone of the original work. But here's a look at crimefighters who share The Spirit's sense of fashion. When I was a kid and writing and illustrating my own comics, I did a Shadow knock-off I called "The Dark." He looked almost exactly like Lamont Cranston's alter ego, except his mask was purple instead of red. And he had a smaller nose. I think I did the whole thing so I could use the trite headline "who's afraid of The Dark?!" Hey, I was ten.

Two of my favorite TV critics have put together their Top 10 lists. Last week, I linked to Mo Ryan's. Here is Alan Sepinwall's. Though I never got into The Wire or The Shield, I agree with most of their choices, and it's cool that they're so similar. So nice to see TNRLM favorites: Mad Men, Lost, Chuck, In Treatment, The Office, Battlestar Galactica, Supernatural, Doctor Who, Torchwood, Burn Notice, 30 Rock and The Middleman (!). I would also add Dexter (which both critics seemed to think had an off year), How I Met Your Mother, and Big Bang Theory.

I twittered about this, but here's visual evidence of "the golden shower."

Thoughts on The Middleman from the creator
(no DVD or S2 updates, sadly), along with an unfilmed scene.

Great summary of the year's best in TV quotage. Also from TVGal, 2008 "Favorites."

Hilariously, and ironically, forwarded from a friend:

A detailed Vanity Fair article on the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special.

Fuck recycling. Build a Battlestar!

The awesome and geek-friendly Dina Meyer will turn up on Burn Notice as Micheal's ex-fiancee.

A day late: misheard xmas lyrics.

I'm not a huge fan of horror films, but here's an interesting list of the 25 best modern horror movies.

Sex In The City + Werewolves = Bitches (who said Hollywood was out of ideas?)

Haven't read the content yet, but how frakkin' hot are Alyson Hannigan's candy striped knee socks?

The AV Club's 2008 in Band Names. Very funny stuff. Personal favorites: Methadone Abortion Clinic, Only Hate Will Set You Free, Post Mortem Bong Hit, Jesus Fucking Christ, Graveslut, Gestapo Pussy Ranch, Anal Hearse, 3 Piston Ass Hammer, Touched By A Janitor, Sleezus Fist And The Latter Day Taints, Fuckstorm, Flock of Steven Seagals, Previously On Lost, Kneel to Zod, Calling Jack Burton, Piss Piss Piss Moan Moan Moan, Bourbon Toothpaste

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Yeah, I ate that

More proof that you should never go to the grocery store when you're hungry:

I'd never seen these before (I think TastyKake is the yankee version of Little Debbie), but DAMN, were they good.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Festivus!

The Festivus season is upon us, so that means it's time for the "Airing of the Grievances." So...

Things don't work 100% perfectly, all the time. Yeah, this is a pipe dream, but it drives me absolutely crazy. I want all software installs to go smoothly, with no problems and no conflicts. I want rain and storms to not affect DirecTV. I want an internet connection that never drops, and pages that always load. I want a home phone system that doesn't decide to start ringing for no reason (this is a new treat. Thank Zeus I use the CrackBerry for everything anyway). I want a vehicle that doesn't require tune ups, new brakes or tires. I want responsive customer service that solves my problems on the first try. I want to connect a new monitor that doesn't require a 2 hour search for the "right" drivers. I want to live in a controlled climate where the A/C doesn't "freeze up" and requires spending 24 hours in a sweltering hotbox and then another 48 with a loud, noisy and barely effective portable unit. I want the high-end TV to automatically switch from 4:3 to 16:9 when I watch a widescreen DVD like it used to.

Traveling is a pain in the ass. Yes, of course, it's nice to get out and about for business and pleasure. But why the fuck are there so many toll roads in the northeast, when we're taxed within an inch of our life? And I'm so sick and tired of the "take off your belt, take off your shoes, take everything out of your pockets, unpack your laptop, put everything back together" dance at airport security. Not to mention that you could fall out of the sky at any moment.

Still in the dark. Still no explanation, still no apology.

Same old politics. The political process is so polarized now, there's no room in the middle. I follow the stories closely, and it's all "us and them." There are only two parties, and I can't identify with either one. I don't understand the left's fascination with socialism and stealing the money of the successful and giving it to people who make poor choices, and I can't understand the right's belief in the supernatural and imposing their ridiculous theology on the whole of society. A new "regime" promises "change," but I'll believe it when I see it.

TV Viewers are stupid. How can we live in a world Pushing Daisies gets canceled, The Middleman is in limbo and Mad Men only draws a couple of million viewers, yet The Hills and Keeping Up With the Kardashians even exist?

Willie Martinez's job performance. I won't go crazy and call for the man's job. Yeah, there were numerous and significant injuries. But how the fuck does an entire defense so completely shit the bed for a full half of football three times in one season? And lest we forget WVU, this isn't the first time this has happened.

Fantasy Football. I stopped logging in to even check on my team around week 12. I stayed sober during my draft this year, and boy, that helped. Last year, I drank way too much and don't even recall who I wound up with, yet won my Super Bowl. My liver should tremble in fear awaiting next year's draft.

Not having a garage. Since I'm currently in apartment purgatory, I don't have a garage (much less two) connected to my dwelling like I did for many years. Sure, I'm somewhat fortunate in that I have covered parking in a deck, but there are still steps and a walk involved, and it's a pain the ass. I often find myself at the grocery store limiting the items I pick up, just so I won't have to make two fucking trips from the car to the door when I get home. "Do I really need that 12-pack of beer or that detergent? Well, I can't put it in a bag and hook it on one finger and get it inside on one trip, so I'll just drink that rubbing alcohol and wash my clothes with Joy in the sink."

Annoying commercials. Maybe it's just what I watch (usually news or sports) when I'm not TiVoing , but I really don't want to ever see another NutriSystem commercial. Nor have Beyonce imploring "Lemmee upgrade ya."

Comcast. My problems with Comcast have been well documented, so much so that I created a blog label for "Fuck Your Mother, Comcast." There's the poor customer service. The spotty performance. The barely functional products. But to top it off, my internet service went down Tuesday and didn't come back up until late last night. Can you imagine me without access to the internet for 48 hours? I called repeatedly, but all I heard is that there was an "outage." No explanation why. No estimated time of repair. No outbound notification (via phone, or text, or email) on when the problem would be resolved. And every time I called to check on it, I had to go through some labyrinthine menu asking me moronic questions about how "I" attempted to resolve the problems thus far. Fortunately, I was able to get all my webby access via the CrackBerry. But have you ever read 600+ Google Reader items on a tiny screen? It's like they always say about masturbating -- do it too much and you'll go blind. Fun fact: Google "comcast sucks" and you'll get 32,000+ results. A specific query of "fuck you comcast" gets over 1,000. Guess I'm not alone.

Nails. Do I live on a construction site? No. But in just about a year, I've had three nails in my tires, requiring two patches and one purchase of a brand new tire. Even though I have a 4WD, it's not like I'm going off road or driving through the carpentry section of Home Depot for crissakes.

Where I am. No one says "y'all" or "honey" or "sugar" or "darlin." Everything is overpriced by at least 40%. There are no real suburbs. No one is friendly. I'm geographically impaired (though fortunately equipped with GPS now in the car and on the CrackBerry) and this is unbelievably confusing. There's never enough parking, no matter where you go, and the spaces are as tiny as the seats at Neyland Stadium. There are no Zaxby's here. None of my friends are in driving distance. The local paper is awful (half the sports section is about college lacrosse!). It sucks.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The future is barren

One of the many downsides of the holiday season is that there is absolute CRAP on TV.  I looked at the "To Do List" on my TiVo, which extends out for at least 10 - 12 days, and saw that there was basically NOTHING scheduled to be recorded. 

Well, there were 2 episodes of PTI, which I will watch, of course.  There was an episode of the now-canceled Eli Stone. And I think the S2 premiere of Secret Diary of a Call Girl, which was inexplicably boring despite much Billie Piper cheekiness and nakedness.  But other than that, nada.

To get me through these dark days, I do have some eppys saved up in the "Now Playing" bank, as well as S1 - 3 of Supernatural (which I just discovered, and which you should be watching if you're not already) on DVD.  Oh, and there are probably some bowl games.  I foresee lots of bloody marys in my future.

Oh, but here's a Festivus miracle:  the sheer beauty of the "remote DVR Scheduler."  While I was at work today, I saw in the paper today that The Soup is doing a year end special tonight.  While I was outside (freezing my arse off) having a ciggie, I brought up DirecTV on the CrackBerry, and "told" my TiVo to record it:

How awesome is that?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Head just 'sploded

Check out this awesome chart at io9.  I think my xmas break may be consumed with figuring out all the connections.

Note: it's kind of a geek version of the Tommy Westphall Multiverse. Which also makes my head hurt.

Win and in!

Thanks to an epic FAIL last night from Jessica Simpson's boyfriend and his overrated, whiny, batshit narcissist WR (with god looking down through the roof!), the Falcons control their own playoff destiny just one year removed from losing their dog-killing QB to jail and having their limp-dicked coward of a coach quit on them during the season, all while starting a rookie signal caller, with a first-time head coach on the sidelines. AMAZING.

The hapless Rams are the last game of the season (at home) for the Birds, so that makes today's tilt against the Vikings a virtual play-in. Critical game against the Vikes? Bring back any memories?

It probably does for the patrons of The Walleye.
"99 NFC Championship Game?"
Slams fist on bar.
Sadly, I couldn't find any pictures of Robin Scherbatsky in a Vikings jersey.

Don't forget your toothbrush! Or the tickets!

I think it's well established around these parts that your humble TNRLM editor is a bit OCD, and that making lists is the Sun around which the Earth revolves. (Unless, of course, you take it on "faith" that the Sun revolves around the Earth).

There are lists for all the logical things, like the running list of things to purchase at the grocery store. (Everyone keeps a running list, right? Rather than creating one from scratch right before the trip to the store? So when you run out of -- or run low on -- an item, you just add it to the list as you go? Maybe not? Chaos, I tells ya). Or the list of things to pack you make when you go on an out of town trip. Or the wish list at Or the Outlook Task List for things to do at work. Or the Google notebook list of things you want to reference for a "potpourri" post later that week. You get the idea. Lists are good.

We got into a debate of sorts around these parts earlier this year, when one of my compatriots forgot something that might have been helpful, or even necessary, when attending a major college football game: the tickets.

Back when I was one of the primary drivers and organizers of the tailgating expedition, I developed a handy pre-launch checklist that looked something like this:

And when I travel, I use a checklist (that's both on the PC and the CrackBerry) that looks something like this:

But for those less inclined to generate their own lists, there's a great service that will help you create a travel checklist, called "Don't forget your toothbrush."

All you do is create a quick user ID and password, and the service will walk you though developing a comprehensive list. It's mainly designed for our of town travel, and has some awesome features. Of course, there's the "check off items you want to pack" part. But it also systematically asks you about other pre-trip preparations you might want to make (arrange for a babysitter, what to do about the pets, check your passport to make sure it's current, charge all your batteries, stop the papers, pay bills that will come due while you're gone, empty the fridge of stuff that will rot, turn off the pool heater, adjust the thermostats, set the alarm and lock the doors, etc.). At the end, it will generate a printed checklist for you for all the activities and packing you need to do, AND email you reminders (with associated activities) leading up to the departure date.

Some folks I know might want to add signing up for this service to their To Do list.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

I think I've become Rupert Giles

Quick, when you think of Giles, what image comes into your head?

For me, it's probably something along the lines of this (from S6's "All The Way"):

Buffy : Is that why you're always cleaning your glasses? So you don't have to see what we're doing?

Giles : Tell no one.
I've worn glasses for years now, and for the life of me, I can't keep them clean from minute to minute. I must have at least 20 of those microfiber glasses cleaners stashed in every conceivable place: living room, bathroom, office, car, briefcase, kitchen. And it seems that I'm pulling one of those out to wipe them down every 10 minutes. I should probably go to Sam's Club and buy the lens cleaner in 55 gallon drums. I have no idea where all the glasses schmutz comes from. It's not like I compulsively decide to poke myself in the eye, with only the lens to protect me from becoming a cyclops. (Or Xander in S7!) I always take them off and put them on by the frame. I don't spray when I talk like Lou Holtz or Bill Cowher. I don't use them as protection when I'm dissecting corpses in the crime lab. I don't run out onto the balcony and stare at the sky during heavy precipitation. Yet I constantly see some type of smudge or particle on the lens that bugs the fuck out of me and I have to wipe it off.

I'm probably one psychotic break away from purchasing these:

I'll take potpourri for $4,200, Alex

Okay, I'll admit it. I had these as a kid. But sadly, I was too young to have someone in a Leia metal bikini to roll around them with me.

A Horrible gift to give. And I may have sent this to someone who hasn't yet experienced the magic.
Speaking of which, here's a completely unbiased review of the DVD.

Jane Espenson says chillax, everything's fine on Dollhouse. And FOX execs talk Dollhouse, among other things. And someone else who has seen the new pilot. An interview with the lovely and talented Amy Acker. Part 1. Mark Sheppard, of BSG, The Middleman, Firefly and Dollhouse and many other things, has an interview here. And another great video interview here.

The Periodic Table of Awesome.

Say what you will about his efforts on MNF, but Uncle Tony is great on the radio. Sadly, he won't be returning to that medium for a while.

I didn't need to read the rest of the article. I was hooked at the headline.

Who wants to work in the Death Star or the Enterprise?

Because really, that's where you go to find the best and brightest.

SlingBox on your CrackBerry
? Should we go ahead and add the CrackBerry to Maslow's hierarchy?! And then there's this. Wow. that's a tough choice. With the CrackBerry, at least I can get it anywhere, anytime and for a long as I want. And I don't have to worry about catching a "virus" or spawning small, expensive and noisy BlackBerries.

Advisors suggest Sam Bradford -- and Matt Stafford -- should stay in school another year.

Check out the last item here. Damn, someone's not a Mark Richt fan.

What's Carly Smithson been up to? Still love her.

Read through the first few pages of this recap of the Heroes "volume" finale
. Of the myriad problems with the show, characterization is first and foremost, as you'll see.

Sarah Michelle Gellar's Maxim outtakes. Time for a cold shower.

Sent to me by a former honey. Guess she knows me, huh?

Visitors to Bryant-Denny will now get in the proper mindset. Brilliant.

More ridiculous Batman 3 rumors. But I like this one. Meow.

Obviously, kids inspire bloodlust.

This should be posted in every office breakroom.

21 unnecessary sequels that were great anyway.

Mo Ryan's Top 10 shows of 2008. An excellent list, including the "runners up."

TV shows that more people should have watched. Yeah! for 7, 6, 5, 2 and 1. And The Middleman should be on that list, too.

The Big O really represents "change," eh? I made a note of this earlier in the week when it was first announced, and since then it's blown up into a big -- and legitimate -- controversy. Flat earth, theocratic politics as usual. Inclusive my ass. Why is this even necessary, particularly with someone so bigoted and intellectually dim? Of course, Hitchens has a take.

Say what you will Barry, but here's an interesting look at the development of his logo.

Robin was right about "entertainment" north of the border.

Friday, December 19, 2008

We have to go baaaaack!

Can you believe the season premiere of Lost is actually drawing nigh? Lots of goodies have surfaced recently, including:

New awesomely retro looking official posters (click for 5 more beauties):

Sneak Peek of a scene with Jack and Ben:

Sneak Peek with Kate and Aaron:

An unfuckingbelievable new trailer, that we'll all have to analyze frame by frame:

A "Lost Xmas" with Damon and Carlton answering questions:

And this isn't new, but as a refresher, a theory on Lost's time travel.

January 21st can get here fast enough.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

But does it come with a label maker?

Much to my surprise, I opened up a UPS package this morning to find the following:

One of my BFFs sent me this (along with a delightful card). Too funny.

As we know, OCDs come in all shapes and sizes. My particular strain is more "organized" and less "germophobe." I mean, I do keep a pretty "clean" place, but I'm more worried about neatness and everything having a place than I am about coming into contact with germs. I don't have any worries about my cats having complete run of the house, and jumping up on whatever they want (like I could stop that anyway) and I'm fully in favor of the "5 second rule" when it comes to dropping food. But everything in the house (and office, and car, and briefcase, and...) has a distinct and specific place where "it goes." And when it's not in "active use," it goes right back there. Everything should be labeled, preferably with a P-Touch. I compulsively make lists, and have a "checklist" for virtually every type of activity you might want to undertake. Almost every household item has a "backup," and sometimes backups of backups. Needless to say, if the apocalypse came tomorrow, I would probably be well prepared.

Nonetheless, the "action figure" made me laugh. Now I have to find a categorized place for it.

But sometimes the "bad" ones make ya think

In my previous potpourri collection, I linked to one person's take on the "best sci-fi remakes." Here's another perspective on the "10 worst sci-fi remakes." Oddly, you'll notice some of the same films on both lists.

Of the listed "worst" films on that list, I agree with them all. However, when you get into the "runners up," you'll see two movies that I love, Vanilla Sky and Solaris. I'm sure part of the problem many critics and viewers had with both of these is that they are remakes of critically adored foreign films (Amenabar's Abre los Ojos and Tarkovsky's Solaris). Remaking a beloved foreign language film naturally puts you into somewhat of a cultural gutter, as many think you have to "dumb down" the original material in order to appeal to the popcorn munching masses in the US market. And there's probably a kernel (get it?) of truth to that. I've seen both versions of both movies, and though there are some concessions made in the translations, the central ideas and questions posed by both films remain intact.

One of the first blog posts I ever made (back on my old blog) was related to a rewatching of Solaris and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotted Mind:
Watched two of my favorite movies yesterday: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotted Mind and Vanilla Sky. Yes, I know one stars Tom Cruise. And yes, I know he's one llama and a chimp away from being Michael Jackson. But dammit, he still made some good movies before the whole couch jumping and Dark Lord Xenu shit. The fascinating thing about both these movies is that they ask one of the most critical questions you can face: what is real?

Is the person that you love or loved the way you see them or they way they are? Or is it some combination? Much like two different people can look at the same cloud formation, and one sees a bunny and the other sees a cheese grater. Your perception of a person is based on a multiplicity of things: what they tell you about themselves (that you can or cannot verify or trust); what you personally observe; the effect of what they do and say and how it impacts you; the filter of your own experiences and values; what others tell you about this person; your own insecurities, hopes, wants and needs and obviously the affection you feel for the person. And does it have a cause and effect component? For example, does how you view someone make them behave in a way that justifies their reality in your worldview? But what is the real truth? Or even, is there a real truth at all? Is there simply a core that is the collection of our behaviors and actions, and the rest of our essence is the way others view us giving each viewer their own separate interpretation of the same person (you) but therefore creating a number of different yous that all exist in the same time and space? Is it possible to change this person, by changing your own worldview? What triggers this?

The central conceit of both movies is that there is no clear cut answer -- no clear cut you or your other. If you entered an altered reality, would things be exactly the same, or if you knew that going in, could you actually change things? Can you strip away the biases and experiences and ever see anyone for what they really are? Does the love and affection your feel, and the truths you think you believe, prevent you from realizing they are psychotic, dangerous or cruel? Or are they that way because you created them that way? (VS) Or, if you stripped away the memory and experiences that shaped (or created) the person in your eyes, would you fall in love exactly the same way and relive things tangibly exactly the same way again? (ESSM)

What is REAL?

BTW, another movie that expertly, though somberly and with a sci-fi twist, plays with these same notions is Solaris.

Good sci-fi asks the "what if" questions. What if computers develop a personality? What if artificial intelligence aggressively pursues its own self-preservation? What happens if you mess with the time-space continuum? What happens if you have first contact with an alien species? What is the next next step for human evolution?

What I like about the movies mentioned above is that they all wrap their plots in sci-fi trappings and technology, but turn the central questions inward to the human condition. What exactly is real? Are the memories that we recall from the past truly a "recording" of the way events actually happened, or an "alternate reality" created through the prism of our own perceptions? And even in real time, are events unfolding with a "universal truth" or does each individual perception create unlimited, divergent timelines of individual realities?

Flicks that play with those questions in macro (like Total Recall or The Matrix) can make for great, thought-provoking and action packed entertainment. But I find that the movies that bring those stories down a personal level, like Eternal Sunshine, Solaris and Vanilla Sky, stick with me longer and make me ask some unsettling questions about my own human experience.

But no matter how philosophical you get, the Planet of the Apes remake still blows.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I'll take potpourri for $4,100, Alex

For fellow comic book nerds: who were the best artists for each superhero?

More official Lost cast photos have surfaced. Does anyone else agree with me that Juliet is hotter than a thousand suns?

Speaking of hot, Kristin Bell outtakes.

Economy in trouble? Here is a brilliant way to help.

One of the writers of the new Trek film discusses science, canon and how the movie fits.

The quotable Alec Baldwin.

Let Barry light up!

Finally, proof of the Almighty.

This cracks me up. The ALL CAPS are just perfect.

A peek at plans Supernatural's new year. BTW, I was late to the party on this show. I guess it got lost in the CW ghetto for me, but I've been catching up via (simultaneously) 4th season shows on TiVo, and the 1st and 2nd seasons on DVD. And I have to say, while it's not quite to the level of Buffy and Angel, this is an tremendously entertaining and engaging genre show, with laughs, scares, arcs and most importantly, great writing and acting. If you haven't checked it out, you should.

Are these the 7 worst guitar solos of all time
? And 2 of them are in completely awesome songs, too.

I have no idea what this is about, but the title alone makes me want to see it.

Here's some logic and reason I wish was more prevalent

Christopher Nolan examines his favorite scene in The Dark Knight.

The fabulous Maura Tierney joins Rescue Me
? Awesome.

Marisa Tomei has no problem getting nekkid. And we have no problem say "thanks."

Just last week, I said that Stacey Dales is my favorite sideline princess. And just like that, she's out of a job. In case I have magical powers, perhaps I should say that Lou Holtz, Emmit Smith and Mark May are my favorite analysts.

Great news on the voice of the computer for the new Trek movie.

One take on the "best 7 sci-fi remakes." I agree with most of them, including the oft-bashed and underappreciated Vanilla Sky, and one of the best flicks I've seen in the last 10 years, the Solaris remake, but Burton's Planet of the Apes? Really? Ugh.

A preview of tomorrow's Sarah Connor Chronicles, which I continue to heart with a passion.

Around the Dawgosphere

Three of UGA's SEC compatriots have made coaching hires. The orange-wearing devils UT added Lane Kiffykins, and his primary benefits seem to be A) a hot wife, B) a smart dad, and C) adding the unintelligible but skilled recruiter Ed Orgeron. USC's offense didn't seem to miss a beat once he took his (arguable) contributions to the professional wasteland that is Oakland, and as long as Cutcliffe isn't calling the plays for the Vols, I'm okay with this move. Mississippi State only rolls around on our schedule every few years, and the talent base there isn't really solid enough to threaten for the conference championship, so anything that weakens The Jorts is okay in my book (though it would be nice if someone took their DC too -- who inexplicably got passed over on the coaching carousel again). And then there's the WarEagleTigerPlainsmen. Holy shit what a clusterfuck. You get rid of Tubs, only to add a head coach who has unbelievably managed to diminish the program at Iowa State? As a Dawg fan, I can only say "thank you" to Auburn.

How will Knowshon fare in the pros? He certainly has all the skills. The only question will be how he takes the pounding at the next level.

The tennis Dawgs win another national title. (Once upon a time, many moons ago, your TNRLM editor was asked to try and walk on with the team. Of course, your humble editor was more interested in keg parties).

Hey, guess what? I found another Mandel shot at UGA.

Julio Jones named SEC freshman of the year. Excuse me? Team results aside, what the hell were the voters smoking? And how does someone make AP ALL-SEC FIRST TEAM OFFENSE (ahead of the other guy) and NOT get named freshman of the year. WTF?

David Hale takes a great, in-depth look at next year's lineup. Yep, the losses of (potentially, but probably) of Stafford and Moreno, along with Sutherland and MoMass, will hurt. But I think the offense will be much better collectively than it appears. The line, with experience and recovery from injuries, not to mention CSS coachin' 'em up, will be very solid. And even though Cox has been there for a while behind Staff, I don't envision this as a Tereshinski situation. The question will be how the D -- and the coaching of the D -- responds to a horrific year.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Lost complaints from the future, and other geeky news

The blogging around these parts has been a bit sporadic of late. Real life has been a tad odd and intrusive, and promises to be moreso in the coming days. However, here are a few interesting geeky tidbits from around the intertubes to share:

From the new Lost DVD: producers Damon and Carlton report "from the future" on the anti-Lost backlash. (This was shown at Comic-Con this summer. Funny stuff).

The new Terminator: Salvation trailer is up on iTunes. Count me among the skeptics who didn't have faith that the guy responsible for Charlie's Angels could deliver a badass Terminator movie. But this new footage? Pretty damned awesome. I09 breaks down the footage shot-by-shot.

Kristin Bell, bloody and quite soon to be dead on the set of Heroes, doing crossword puzzles. Be still my heart.

An obscure license plate from my area, that makes me want to do the "dance of joy." See if you get it.

Joss says he would put Dollhouse on Friday, too. Plus, "7 trouble signs for Dollhouse."

Time's Top 10 TV Series of 2008. Notable, and completely correct, inclusions: Mad Men, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, Lost, Battlestar Galactica, Chuck. Missing: Dexter. Also, the Top 10 Episodes of 2008. Number 1 on their list is also number 1 on mine: Lost's "The Constant."

Wow, this sounds interesting. Has anyone read the source material?

The BSG webisodes start tomorrow! Sadly, I won't be near a computer all day, and won't catch the premiere until much later.

New Watchmen trailer on iTunes. Go find it.

The Robot Chicken creators asked Ron Moore and Joss Whedon for a job

And yesterday, I was meeting with the general manager of a corporate dining establishment, and we were talking about various promotions for their patrons. He said that for a couple of weeks, they put a sign just above the salad bar that said "The secret of the universe? 42." Now that is just truly and magnificently geeky. They had a "prize" that they were going to give to the first few people that asked about it, but unbelievably, no one did.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Catch the Frak Up!

Here is another of those delightfully deadpan "what the frak" recaps of Battlestar Galactica. In anticipation of the January return of TV's best show, the powers that be have put together a recap of the entire series -- all three and a half season -- in just 13 minutes. Must viewing.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

I'll take potpourri for $4,000, Alex

Playboy unveiled their annual poll about America's sexiest sportscaster. Sideline princess Erin Andrews is an obvious choice (anyone remember when she first started doing updates during Braves games for their regional coverage? She was awful on that, but has improved dramatically and seems like a nice person. You know, for a Gator), but I have a soft spot for Stacey Dales.

The stories behind the studio logos. (People thought Annette Benning was the torch chick? Really?)

The phenomenon of "TiVo Guilt." I suffer from that, along with "Google Reader Guilt." I get antsy if I don't clear out all the unread items in Reader. Thank Zeus for the CrackBerry.

Will any "final Cylon" live up to the anticipation? I hope for the best, but I'm sure the hype and time spent pondering it can't possibly live up to everyone's expectations. And I'm still on record as guessing Zack Adama.

What will your college smell like? (Right now, I think the eau du Dawg would have strong undercurrents of whiskey with notes of disappointment and bitterness. It might look good in the bottle on the shelf, but won't be quite the same once you open the package).

TWOP looks at 10 shows that were cancelled too soon. I was passionately in love with 6 of them (which certainly parallels a lot of my real life), and watched one regularly because it was a trainwreck of epic proportions. (Guess which one that was?)

Morena Baccarin wins Newsarama's "who should play Wonder Woman" poll. I think Morena is gorgeous, obviously, and has an exotic appeal, but I'm not sure if she's statuesque enough for an Amazonian princess.

Glad I don't live in Gwinnett County anymore. Stick this old newspaper up your tree-hugging ass.

Someone has captured all the scenes of "The Observer" in the background on Fringe. Pretty cool.

A look back at one of my favorite albums.

A fun look at "best replacement actors."
(And even though Hannibal was a baroque mess, I thought Julianne Moore nailed Starling's West Fucking Virginia accent. And I think Gambon has more of Dumbeldore's playful, and malevolent, side).

10 songs that "resemble" other songs. (And Joe Satriani just sued Coldplay, too). There are tons more suggestions in the comments. One that made me giggle: "Almost every recorded artist on the planet rips off John Cage’s “four and a half minutes of silence” for their 2-second pieces between most tracks of their releases. Vinyl lead-in and lead-out grooves also appear to quote the Cage composition."

TV show episode naming conventions

TIME's TV critic has seen the Dollhouse pilot. Anyone else concerned about Eliza playing multiple characters convincingly?

Like Doctor Who? Like crochet? Then this is for you, and it's awesome. (h/t Pop Candy).

FINALLY! One of my favorite albums, by a band that should have been much bigger, is coming to an iPod friendly format next week.

Nerve looks for 40 lost pop culture icons.

ESPN's Pat Forde references a restaurant in Athens called "The Last Resort." Was this after my time? Any of my local readers know about it?

In honor of your birthday, I've enjoyed several this week.

Ralph McQuarrie's original concepts for the "first" Battlestar Galactica. I remember seeing some of these in Starlog when I was a kid. Pretty damned cool.

Married Iowa fan who was fucking a stranger in a bathroom stall said the incident "ruined her life." Ya think? (On a related note, one of my dates to UGA games a couple of years ago would vanish for significant chunks of time during the games. In hindsight, a lot of things make sense now).

Classic style pin up pics of several Hollywood hotties

Mr. Skin's Top 20 movie nude scenes of 2008 (with 10 bonus scenes from TV).

Interesting new sci-fi pilot at ABC
, from the guys behind the underrated Threshold.

Watch and listen to Al Pacino go from a whisper to a shout.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Wow, it's HUGE

Access Hollywood recently paid a visit to the Dollhouse set, and the thing is massive. I had seen still pictures of the set before, but in the videos, you really get a sense of how impressive and expansive the "dollhouse" itself is. The correspondent also talks to Joss and Eliza about the basic premise, the reshot pilot, the internet rumors and the Friday night timeslot*. Must viewing for all fans eagerly anticipating the show.

Part I is here.

Part II is here.

Part III is here.

*As I've said before, I think the Friday night pairing with Sarah Connor could be a blessing in disguise, especially if the new regime at FOX takes the "long view" of the property. Expectations for an initial audience are certainly lower for Friday nights (especially when compared with airing after American Idol, 24 or House), and may give the show time to build a critical following and add in some DVR viewing numbers. Also, since the show is produced by 20th Century Fox (along with Mutant Enemy), they maybe more likely to give it additional room, knowing how devoted whedonites snap up Joss's series on DVD (count me among them, as a proud owner of every single one of them) and purchase ancillary products. Thematicially, it's also a nice fit with the increasingly well-done Sarah Connor (Monday's ep focusing on Cameron's nocturnal adventures was particularly interesting). FOX also built the X-Files on a Friday night before moving it to Sunday. Of course, all that said, Firefly did die horribly on a Friday night (but both Firefly and X-Files were in completely different eras). So we'll just have to see.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Dawgs vs. Bugs: The Weekend Travelogue and Gameday Experience, Vol. V

The extra special extended edition director’s cut of the weekend started off early Wednesday morning, where I got up at 4:00 AM in order to catch a 7:00 AM flight back to the motherland.  Needless to say, getting up at the ass-crack of dawn, only to find an airport and plane full of harried parents and mewling infants, really set the tone for what would transpire Between the Hedges later on.  

The flight and subsequent MARTA trip was relatively uneventful, thanks to A) Bloody Marys, and B) the constant distraction of the iPod.  It took me a long time to join the iPod generation, mainly because I’ve never been one of those music snobs who thrills to discover the little known emo band that seems like they’re speaking directly to me, only to discard them once more than 15 people know who the fuck they are.  Sure, I listen to music on the iPod, particularly when I’m reading, but the thing has been a (insert fictional deity here)send for listening to audiobooks and podcasts.  There are a few “business” podcasts I’ll listen to, but I’ve primarily enjoyed sports and entertainment podcasts.  I admire the hell out of folks who put out the weekly content devoted to their favorite TV show, often for little or no compensation.  Their passion is contagious, and it certainly helps drown out the sound of the chatterboxes on the plane and makes the trip go faster.  (Note to FAA, who may be looking for clues after the next great air disaster:  I willfully disobey the request to turn off all electronic devices during takeoff.  I keep the earbuds in, make a show of hitting some buttons and put the iPod down beside my leg.  I also look and pretend to listen attentively when the flight attendants walk by me.  But I’m really listening to someone rattle on about the latest episode of Battlestar Galactica or Lost.  So if this makes our big shiny winged cylinder of death fall out of the sky, so be it.  To my fellow passengers:  Ooops.  Sorry).

The pick up was fine, though it was a different Freebird chauffeur.  Miz F (along with the WeeFree) grabbed me from the station, and the only problems along the way resulted from the overzealous Georgia Highway Patrol (we didn’t get busted for anything, just moved slowly) and the fact that none of the 6 DVDs in the rear seat player featured the exact Mickey Mouse video that was being vigorously requested.  We stopped along the way at the Redneck Bloomingdales (WallyWorld!) and at 5 Guys for lunch.  I had never eaten at a 5 Guys before, but the burgers were good, and most importantly, the fresh-cut fries were spectacular and plentiful.  We also made a run to the usual stop for the IPTs (Inexplicably Priced Tallboys).  I noticed that the prices went up slightly – but most intriguingly, they went up correspondingly.  So a 12-pack of 12 oz Lites was $10.49 (up from $9.99), but the 12-pack of 16 oz tallboy Lites was also $10.49.  The bargain remains the same.  4 free beers is still 4 free beers.

The rest of the “holiday” was rather languorously uneventful.  Lasagna was made and eaten.  Some unbelievable “red velvet” cookies were made and eaten.  I wound up talking to someone dear, and as usual, it was intriguing, delightful and wound up going nowhere.  A turkey cooked all night (with a wake up call to pull it out of the Big Green Egg) and it was delish.  The football games on TV were a colossal SUCK, with barely watchable blowouts running rampant across the screen, and no amount of Crown, crushed ice and water could make them any better.  House reruns, and my 42nd viewing of The Lord of the Rings on TNT, alleviated some of the boredom, as did the new CrackBerry.  Google Reader on the handheld (especially coupled with wi-fi) is just about the greatest thing since the invention of the TiVo.  I also added a micro-SD card with 4 gigs of memory, and now have an option of which tiny device I want to use to listen to podcasts while smoking on the porch.  Two quick things about that:  4 gigs of memory on a tiny, tiny card?  When I graduated, my first computer (a Mac) didn’t even have built in memory for storage.  To save files, you had to use a floppy disc (remember those?) or an external hard drive.  I bought one, that was about the size of a VCR circa 1985, that had 20 megs of available storage.  That new 4 gig card in my phone holds 4096 megs, or roughly 204 of those ancient, humungous external drives.  It seems like my waistline is not the only thing to have expanded exponentially since graduation.  Second, if I had had this CrackBerry about 10 years ago, I might be married today.  One of the constant wedges in that relationship was my complete and palpable boredom during soul-sucking regular visits to DSW or an antique shop.  Had I had the ability to listen to audiobooks or podcasts, surf the web, blog, twitter or watch videos from my fucking phone, then I might still be up to my ears in mind-blowing sex.  Well, as a tradeoff, I guess I can just watch porn on my phone.

Gameday arrived, and it was wet, rainy and overcast.  Not particularly cold, just tangibly dreary.  We drew the short straw again for a televised game, and had a noon kickoff.  The Freebird woke up with a continuing, skull-crushing headache, and we didn’t even pack any IPTs or a cooler, if that tells you about the enthusiasm for the game.  (Before you get the wrong idea and think we were starting a 12 step program, due to the rain, we were meeting and “tailgating” at a bar).  The ride down to the motherland was odd, in that we didn’t spend an hour and a half dissecting the game, talking about how to defend the triple option or wondering why the fuck it’s so difficult to keep a kickoff in bounds.  Nope, we got caught up in a miasma of soap opera drama and social niceties that turned out to be much ado about nothing.  The Freebird and I also received an offer to play George and Weezy, and “move on up” to the SkyClub for the game.  We weren’t going to leave one of our troops alone in the rain, but once we knew he had some equally rain-soaked companionship, we took advantage of the kind offer and were only too happy to ride the elevator up to the De-Luxe Apartment In The Sky.  We scalped our 4 “regular” tickets to the game for $10.  $10 TOTAL.  (In hindsight, you get what you pay for).  We undercut the hustler trying to sell two blissfully dippy chicks a pair of tickets for $10.  Sign of the recession, bad weather forecast or foreknowledge of the outcome?  As the good Doctor would say: “Goff Prices……Goff Product!”

The best thing about the game itself was the spread of delicious chocolate chip cookies in the SkyClub.  That game, and in essence the whole season, was nothing short of an EPIC FAIL.  We were out-hustled, out-manned, out-schemed, out-coached, out-rushed, out-played and obviously, OUT-SCORED.  It breaks my fucking tiny, jaded and cynical heart that MoMass played the best game of his career and left his guts strewn across that field in his last time clad in red and black, and had to suffer the indignity of losing to the Trade School.

I guess this time of year is when we’re supposed to give “thanks.”  And I do have some things to give thanks for, such as the dear friends who pick me up, put me up (and put up with me).  Or the neverending wonders of the tiny CrackBerry.  But looking at this game, here is a list of things I do not give thanks for:
  • A third quarter where we were outscored 26-0.
  • A defense that, according to their own players, took things for granted at halftime and thought they had the game locked up.
  • A DC that could seemingly skin puppies alive at the 50 yard line, bludgeon crippled orphans with a piece of rebar, play “Iowa Fan” with 14 year old girls, and give up 30+ points and a gazillion yards week in and week out, and remain steadfastly confident about his continued employment prospects.
  • Confidence in the kicking game, such that going for it on 4th and 7 seems like an infinitely better option than a field goal attempt.
  • Kickoffs that have all the precision of a scud missile launched from a giant rubber band, and can’t seem to stay in bounds even though there are 53.3 yards of width to play with.
  • That if you did a search on “tackle football,” the first part of that phrase would filter out any reference to the 2008 Georgia Bulldogs.
Look, maybe we all got too jacked up and excited about our prospects for this year.  And there will be plenty of time to exhume the rotting corpse of this season and perform an autopsy.  (One pleasant housecleaning result is that I can now throw out all the preseason newspapers and magazines I've been keeping for posterity).  But there was no way to leave the stadium Saturday without feeling bitter and wondering about what might have been.  Keep in mind, there was no “Jasper Sanks” call or other shenanigans going on.  We didn’t show up (at least for two of the three phases of the game – can’t pin this one on the “O”) and got our asses handed to us.  Give the bees their props, tip your cap to them, and move on. 

Other than the offensive fireworks that were not quite enough to compensate for our 11 man (and one DC) sieve, here was the only other highlight of the game:

If you can't tell from the pix, that's Larry Munson being honored.  Thanks for all the memories, Larry.

As for the post game, the walk back to the car was dryer than we expected.  The chili was tasty.  The company and camaraderie was wonderful.  The texting was terrific.  And this quote still amuses me, even though I was at the bottom of a flask and can’t exactly remember the context:  “Can't fix me a liquor drink and tell me to take my shoes off!”

This puts a perfect capper on the weekend:  I got an upgrade for the flight back home.  Boarded early, and started quaffing a few bloody marys.  There was some delay in getting the rest of the flight boarded, so I built up a nice little buzz and enjoyed my spacious accommodations.  We finally take off, 45 minutes late, but the weather is so bad across the entire east coast that they decide to keep everyone seated, with no cabin service, for the whole trip.  No cocktails.  So, not only is this big cigar tube of doom flopping all across the skies for a good 90 minutes, causing me to get arthritic from vice-gripping the armrests, I also can’t have any whiskey that might mitigate the stomach churning terror I’m experiencing.

Oh, and also, for the first time in 20 years of traveling, Delta lost my bags.  Yep, give thanks, y’all.