Monday, February 13, 2012

Nerdgasm (w/ a sneaky Dylan reference... bonus points if you find it)

Here's the thing...
Over the last few months, I've been rewatching Lost w/ Solstice & Aiden. We're on Season 3 @ the moment. I've since restarted Season 1 w/ Sara as she has never seen it before. Watching her watch it for the first time reminds me of that scene in Freaks & Geeks when Lindsey is carrying American Beauty through the cafeteria & the Dead Head says, "I wish I'd never heard it before so I could here it again for the first time." Lost is sooooo good!

To make matters worse, I'm waiting for the Dish Network dude/dudette to come and fix the connection in the bedroom. At the moment, the TV screen is snowy. It spent the last day and a half showing just the "Starting Up..." screen, & I spent an hour on Saturday talking through the problems w/ a rather unhelpful Dish Network Help Desk person. I honestly don't watch a lot of TV in bed so it would normally be no big deal, but I wanted to watch the new Kevin Smith show, Comic Book Men in there last night. Seeing as I couldn't do that, I recorded it & in its stead, I read a new Batman trade paperback... it's a collection of Grant Morrison comics about Bruce Wayne finding his way back to the 21st century after being hurled back in time by Darkside.

While waiting, I've spent the last hour catching up on recent episodes of The Office, How I Met Your Mother, & The Big Bang Theory instead of reading 1984 for my Science Fiction class tomorrow. I've also been battling w/ my Internet connection so as to be able to blog about the whole situation. None of this bodes well for my status as a Schwartzernegerian manly man.

Following this train of thought all the way down its nasty spiral, my real concern is that all of this is really just killing time before I see Star Wars - Episode I: The Phantom Menace in 3D this afternoon. In fact, like, the Dead Head on Freaks & Geeks (& like the trailer for the Episodes 4-6 Special Edition releases in 1998, I get to see The Phantom Menace again... for the first time! (I'd like to take a moment to appologize for the fact that I've always been been a George Lucas appologist. Some people have The Lord of the Rings, others, have Harry Potter, still others have Star Trek... I have Star Wars... deal w/ it.)

Deal w/ it? Right! Easier said than done. I'm not dealing w/ it very well @ the moment. I feel like I may need to come to terms w/ an aspect of my life that I have been keeping hidden for lo these many years. I feel that perhaps I'm not the muscle-bound jock I see myself as, but rather something else entirely. I've spent all this time, since middle school in fact, trying to convince myself that this isn't the case. I look at boobs (although I kind of giggle), I've never read a young adult book (but then again even geekdom has its limits), I watch sports (albeit, soccer), & I have what I think is a a decent sense of humor (but who can really judge ones own sense of humor?).

I fear that after all this time, it's time to admit the truth. This is my coming-out narrative so you best enjoy it. The truth is that I may be a nerd. I'd write more, but I need to check on the chickens & look into getting ducks. There's nothing nerdy there... not at all. The only saving grace is that most of you can completely relate. We're all nerds, babe, it's a wonder we can even feed ourselves.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


I used to read Superman comics when I was a kid, but I never dug them the way I dug Batman or the other ones which were darker & stranger. Taht said, he's never gotten the respect on here that other characters have gotten so I thought it'd be nice to show Supes the love for a change. Here are some cool tunes which show that self-same love to the Man of Steel.

The Spin Doctors: "Jimmy Olsen's Blues"

Big Head Todd & the Monsters: "Resignation Superman"

R.E.M.: "Superman"

The Kinks: "(I Wish I could Fly Like) Superman"

Willie Nelson & Snoop Dogg: "Superman"

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Arsenal: Reflections on a Mediocre Season

It's been a while since we talked about Arsenal. I guess the reason is that there hasn't been a whole lot to say. They've been pretty poor of late (today's 7-1 drubbing of Blackburn not withstanding). Over the last month, Wenger has taken a lot of stick from fans & pundits alike & much of it has been deserved. He's made some bad decisions, particularly in his unwillingness to buy in January. That said, much of the criticism has been harsh. Obviously, they need to win more, but I still don't see them missing out on The Champions League next year & they're still in it now (not to mention the fact that they're still in The FA Cup w/ a strong possibility of winning it... of course, I said that last year about the Carling Cup & they lost to Birmingham in the finals so who knows?). The main problems people seem to have w/ Wenger right now though involve his squad choice & his purchases. I think we need to look a bit more deeply @ that though.

His substitutions of Oxlade-Chamberlin should surprise no one. Ox is a young kid getting used to the Prem. & can't be expected to make it through entire matches yet. Walcott got the same treatmet for a long time. The fact that Ashavin has been coming on for him is rough, but the options haven't been there w/ Gervinho in Africa & Henry hurt. Now that Henry is healthy & w/ Gervinho coming back, I highly doubt we'll see much of Arshavin any time soon.

As for the purchases, it's had to say that Fabregas or Nasri where ever replaced properly, but otherwise, the buying hasn't been nearly as bad as people like to suggest. Considering the fact that the board hasn't been releasing the funds to buy people like the other top clubs, perhaps we need to take a look @ the players who have come in over the last few years.

Mertesacker: A bit of a let down, but an experienced defender w/ plenty of international caps including strong runs in The World Cup & Euros. Everyone assumed he'd be fantastic.
Arteta: A great signing. He's been ever present & always reliable. He's not as flashy as most central attacking midfielders, but he rarely makes a mistake.
Park: A top scorer in France last year, & teh Captain of S. Korea. He hasn't had many opportunities yet, but all signs point to yes w/ him.
Santos: Brazilian international left back. He's slower than Clichy & Gibbs, but he's stronger than them too... & maybe better @ actually defending.
Henry: 2 goals since his re-debut less than a month ago... not bad.
Oxlade-Chamberlain: He looks the real deal. We'll see.
Jenkinson: I've been impressed by him when he was healthy, & no one can blame Wenger for an injury to the back-up right back.
Gervinho: Like Park, a huge scorer in France last year. Maybe he could find the back of the net more, but he's great on the wing.
Benayoun: Underwhelming, but everyone knows how good he can be. He had trouble @ Chelsea, but @ Liverpool he was always strong.
Ryo: Looks to be another one for the future. I hope his loan spell goes well for him.

Squillaci: He hasn't done well, but when he was signed, everyone was excited. He was an experienced French international. The fact that he's taken a shit couldn't have been for seen.
Koscielny: In 2008 he was in the 2nd division of French football. He was just named Arsenal player of the month for January. He's been getting better & better. No one seems to complain about him anymore.
Chamakh: Like Gervinho & Park, a huge goalscorer before joining Arsenal. He did great when RVP was hurt too. I imagine leave in the summer, but I bet if he had a run in the 1st team he'd be back scoring goals again. He's been a flop this year, but no one complained about the signing last year.

Campbell*: Rejoined on a short contract to help get the team through some injuries. He was good & there was even talk about getting back into the English national team.
Vermaelen: Ummm... fantastic signing. One of the best defenders in the league... maybe in the world.

Ramsey: He's been good this year, but not quite as great as people hoped. Considering his major injury 2 years ago & his age, he's only going to get better & better.
Silvestre*: He'd won everything w/ Man U & had tons of experience w/ France. He sucked, but everyone assumed he'd be fine, & he brought bags of experience to the locker room.
Arshavin: Wenger signed him to make fans happy after the 2008 Euros. He was fantastic, but has gotten lazy. I think he'll leave after the 2012 Euros, but everyone hollering for more big-name buys needs to remember that spending the money is no guarantee.
Nasri*: Was great if a bit of a dick. I was definitely sad to see him go, but Arteta has been fine & the team made a bag of cash.

Sagna: best right back in the league. He's been hurt, but buying another one would have been ridiculous. Besides, he's back now & looking good.
Eduardo*: Like so many of the strikers we've talked about already, he was huge when he joined the team. His massive leg-break sidelined him for a year & he lost a lot of confidence. I still like seeing him do well w/ Croatia & Shakhtar.

Gallas*: Was a great center back & even became captain for a while. He went nuts, but he's still pretty good when he plays for Spuds.
Rosicky: Another one w/ some injury problems, but he's always been great for The Czech Republic & when he plays, he looks good. He even kept Ramsey out of the line-up today & looked really good. I don't know why, maybe the injury, but I've always liked him. There has been talk of his impending departure, but I hope he sticks around.
Diarra*: An odd buy. He only stuck around for a few months before he was shipped off to Pompy. From there he made his way to Madrid & got into the France 1st team. I never liked him much, but many people do.

All in all, the signings have been good... or at least they've seemed positive @ the time. Besides, the recent calls for the sacking of AW, need to remember that in order to replace him they'd need to find someone better. Real Madrid have been sniffing around & they don't usually make mistakes. There's been talk of Jose Mourhino, but I can't imagine he'd do well w/ a small budget. All things considered, AW has been great, & while I may be in the minority right now, I still trust him to right the ship.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Artist et al.

I know that you're really hoping for a Burns Night round-up, but what can one say? It was cool. A small showing, but we had fun. Next time there will be haggis, but as is usually the case (& to quote Phil Lesh), minor technical difficulties became major technical difficulties. We enjoyed Scotch. we enjoyed potatoes, & we enjoyed cheese & smoked salmon. Abby & Annette read poetry. Andy threatened to read poetry. Everyone loved the candlestick collection.

And we enjoyed a viewing of Rob Roy on the new HDTV. Of course, the movie is a bit old to really be in HD, but it is fantastic none-the-less. If anything, the hi-def showed how grainy & piss-poor it looks. We also assumed Revenge of the Sith & Pirates of the Caribbean would look sweet on the new HDTV... we were right!

In other movie news, we watched 2 other films recently... a really good one & a really bad one. One is called The Artist the other is called The Lost Treasure of the Grand Canyon. I dare you to guess which one is the bad one. Give up? OK, I'll tell.

I can't imagine you'll be surprised to find out that The Artist is really good. We saw it in the screening room @ The Michigan Theater. I kind of wish we'd seen it in the main theater, but it is so good, I kind of don't even care. I'm sure you've heard all about it by now & maybe even seen it. If you haven't seen it yet though, be sure to do so soon. It's a beautiful film w/ lots of fun Frenchesque stuff. It sort of has a Singin' in the Rain meets Mel Brooks' Silent Movie feel to it w/ a bit of Life is Beautiful thrown into the mix for fun. See it if you haven't already.

As for The Lost Treasure of the Grand Canyon, there are 2 main problems involving a sort of misnomer (plus some basic cultural stereotypes that are a tad offensive). 1) The treasure isn't really lost since the ex-pat Aztecs know right where it is. 2) It's not in The Grand Canyon. It's in a canyon, but calling it "grand" even w/ a lower case "g" is problematic. I can't imagine anyone would watch A Hidden Treasure of a Mediocre Canyon... but then I can't imagine many people watched it as it is either. The only reason I watched was because it was in keeping w/ my "Watch anything that features a cast member from Mallrats" policy; however, I don't think even the Lees (Jason or Stan) could have saved this piece of shit. Shannon Doherty's character's father is lost in the SW in the late 19th Century while looking for a city of gold. As we soon learn, he's been captured by the New Mexico Aztecs who are ruled by some version of Quetzalcoatl & his magical powers. In the end, the white people triumph over the nasty Mexicans (& their goofy religion) & all is right w/ the world. Do yourself a favor & avoid this one. Of course, I will watch it every chance I get!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Star Wars Uncut: The Director's Cut

Thanks to Steve & Annette... the entire film as told in 15 second sections from fan films!

Star Wars Uncut: Director's Cut from Casey Pugh on Vimeo.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Nap Time?

I'm sitting here watching a DGQ concert on Netflix when I should clearly be grading. What I'd really like to be doing though is taking a nap. It's been quite a while since I've scheduled a nap as I used to do, but I still get the occasional impromptu doze once in a while. A few years ago, I used to be thinking about naps from the moment I rolled out of bed, scheduling them around my lunch & break opportunities. These days, they happen more or less based on the convenience.

However, I laid down the other morning after taking the kids to school & running a couple errands intending to sleep for a bit. I couldn't fall asleep though because I laid there obsessing over a simple question: "Does going back to bed @ 9:15 actually constitute taking a nap or is it simply continuing the slumber from before?" When is a nap a nap? Clearly, laying down @ 3:00PM when one has been awake for 6 hours & sleeping for a half hour is a nap. Not every afternoon sleep could be called a nap though. People working midnight shifts sleep daily @ 3:00PM but would never see that as a nap. The same could be said for any time's slumber so naps are clearly not determined by the time frame.

What about the length of the slumber? Is a 20 minute rest always a nap? I would have said yes except that many people have trouble sleeping & only get 20 consecutive minutes on a nightly basis. They are not taking 25 naps; they are simply not sleeping soundly. I can relate to this some nights... not as often as others though. On the other hand, 8 hours probably shouldn't be called a nap either, but in "A Visit from St. Nicholas" I think it is. We can presume that the speaker of the poem is planning to sleep through the night when he hears the prancing & pawing on the roof. In this case, "laying down for a long winter's nap" is simply akin to going to bed.

Maybe that's always the case though. Had I slept @ 9:15, just an hour & a half after waking up initially, I may have been napping even though in my mind I was simply continuing the previous sleep session. See, here's the thing: I clearly feel there should be a duration of time between waking & going back to sleep for the second sleep to be considered a nap. That specific duration is hard to nail down though. Then again, perhaps I napped w/o realizing it. I mean, I know I didn't fall asleep, but maybe the nap is really just the act of laying down w/ the intent to sleep. Napping seems contingent on sleep, but people go all night w/o sleeping yet still claim they "went to bed." The phrases "going to bed" & "taking a nap" seem almost synonymous except that one can nap w/o a bed. If this is the case, & if sleep isn't really necessary for a nap, I guess I took a nap after all. I don't know. I know I could use one right now though, but alas, I'm off to class.