Sunday, February 26, 2006

Cut Like a Razor Blade

OK OK, I guess I've gotten some backlash about my previous post complaining about the various charges and it sounded like I didn't have a good time. I did enjoy the concert...I think the small part of me that feels like it has any sort of indie cred is yelling " can't like Coldplay." It's those damn fees that pissed me off -- and the official mother of MOL ( even has MOM in there) agreed with me. I'll say it right now, Chris Martin rocks! Hard!

Anyway the OFOMOL and I did some shopping the other night. I took her to a few American legends of capitalism. Well first we went to World Market where she delighted in the selection of fine European food (mostly candy & chocolate). Then we headed to Krispy Kreme where we got some fresh hot doughnuts (or is it donut...). She was quite surprised at the quality of them and delighted in their confectionary goodness. Lastly we went to one of my most favorite~ stores, Wal-Mart. She had never gone before and kept begging me to go. So we get some stuff and I see a display for the new Gilette Fusion. Having screwed up the last time I bought razor blades (I got 2-blades instead of 3) I bit into the marketing and advertising blitz and bought one.

Saturday after my run I had the opportunity to test out the new toy. First though, the design of it is quite sublime. I am quite impressed with the handle although with all those damn blades, the blade itself is quite large and it looks like they've got a gazillon of those rubber "prep bands" beneath the blades. So anyway I test it out. Well I must point out that I didn't buy the Fusion shaving cream, so I probably deprived my face of the closest shaving possibility. I start shaving, and my first reaction is, wow this this is big. Seriously. It is quite unwieldy. I don't know what is going to happen when they have one with 10 blades. It feels like I'm operating a piece of heavy machinery. I finish shaving and it does feel closer...but I'm not sure it's any better then the 3 blades I'm used to. I did use the 6th blade to trim up my sideburns...but I don't know if it did something (but OFOMOL says it did). It does cost $14 for a 4-cartridge replacement...someday I'll calculate the per blade average and see which razor is best economically.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Money, Get Away

My last post I mentioned that on wednesday night I took the OFOMOL to see Coldplay for her Christmas gift. Let see...where shall I start. Well before we left I stopped by th ATM to get some cash (for beer or whatever, and in case they charge for parking) and we head off. It's about an hour and 20 minute drive from the EL. Traffic not a big deal. So we get in and fight traffic to the Palace of Auburn Hills. We pull in and they're taking money for parking. Good thing I stopped at the ATM. So I pull up and I innocently ask how much...the guy says "$15." I'm shocked. Fifteen f****** dollars. I make a comment to the kid that this is ridiculous. Then I ask what would happen if I didn't have the money -- he said he would have to call his manager. So this really pisses me off. I mean Iunderstand $5 or $10 at most, but $15, c'mon now! I'm not pissed at the guy who took my money, he's just doing his job, he has nothing to do with the prices. They build these suburban arenas with plenty of parking with the *assumption* that parking is free. I mean, we never had to pay at the Richfield Coliseum. So my pockets $15 lighter we walk in and I'm still peeved so we buy two beers. Another $15 for two high-quality Bud Light's and we are outta cash. So before we get to the seats, we've spent well over $100 on this concert -- tickets were $36 (honestly not that bad)....with those oh-so-gracious "convenience" fees that tacked on another $25 to the tickets. Seriously, how much does it cost to print two tickets and pop them in the mail for $0.37? We make our way to the quality seats in section 212 and sit down. Since there were people in our row and no one in the row beneath ours, I introduced OFOMOL to the American concept of stepping on seats to get to our seats.

So we sit down and a minute or two later, Fiona Apple comes on. I was looking forward to seeing her, as she has some quality songs in her catalogue. She played for a good 45 minutes and played her two biggest "hits" (Shadowboxer and Criminal) back to back about 3-4 songs in. I like her voice and she's got a nice raspy female jazz singer quality to her. She did "scream" a bit too much and got on my nerves occasionally. The audience did seem to enjoy her set...better then most openers. Then we get the requisite intermission and stage set-up.

Right at 9:00 the boys of the moment come on. They actually enter via the rear of the stage and due to the location of our seats, we were able to see them before most of the rest of the crowd. The other three (the band should change its name to Chris Martin....and those three other guys) start playing while Mr. Martin hides behind the stage and makes his grand entrance. The band put on a good show. I was actually surprised at the number of the songs I recognized. They took a risk and played which is probably their biggest hit, "Yellow" right at the beginning (I think it was the third song) which I applaud them for. Halfway through the set, a bench was setup in the front of the stage for an "acoustic break." They played two songs in homage of Johnny Cash -- including "Ring of Fire." Chris Martin's vocals aren't really suited for that song (not as low as Mr. Cash's) but I commend the effort. The band finished the first set at 10:13 and left the stage for 2 minutes and then came back for the encore. A two-song encore with a sparkling "Fix You" as the closer and they were done. Let's go over the figures here...spent at minimum $125 and we get an hour and a half performance. Not cool. Not cool at all. Even OFOMOL who had a really good time complained. Then you see the folks they shelled out $35 for a t-shirt and you feel bad for them. Yes, we were able to see one of the biggest bands out there, but did we get our money's worth? I've seen plenty of other big-bands (R.E.M., U2, the Cure, Radiohead) play well over 2 hours...sometimes over 2.5 hours. Now that is getting your money's worth. Hopefully these guys learn that the audience expects more as their career goes on.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Keep Your Money in Your Shoes

This was supposed to go up yesterday, but I was having some connection issues.

A very happy 23rd birthday to my younger sister, Christina. I hope you have a wonderful day.

Heading to the Palace at Auburn Hills tonight to see Coldplay. The OFOMOL (maybe I should change that to TOFOMOL) really likes Father Apple and company so I got tickets for her for Christmas. So in a way, we're celebrating Christmas tonight, two months too late. Oh well. Fiona Apple is opening, which means I won't be suffering too much. I shouldn't say that, I don't have anything against Coldplay...its just that the piano-driven moody brit rock is played out. Speaking of Coldplay, they remind me of the 40 Year Old Virgin and the scene where Cal and David are playing video games. Speaking of that movie, they had it on the movie channel here at school the other day and I just had to stop and watch part of it. For me, it is one of those movies that will never stop being funny. And it is consistenly funny for the duration of the film. It's hard to get that nowadays. I think that already this movie is one of the top-5 funniest movies. No doubt.

In running news, I've got 8 weeks left of training. I just came off a recovery week where I didn't work very hard. I wanted to give my legs and my body some time to recouperate so I can hit the next 5 weeks of training hard. Then its taper time and then time to race. I did break up the monotony of training by running a 5K on sunday. In all actuality I've never run a 5K before so it was a new experience. It was 16 out at race time, so a bit chilly, although that didn't prevent some guy from racing in just shorts and shoes...nothing else. The race was fun as I came in at 17:54 and took 3rd place. Of course I like to catch people and realized that in a 5K, that is pretty hard to do. It also felt like I had done nothing. I mean I was running hard, but 3 miles is a warm-up for me, so I barely had time to work.
If anyone is curious about my running, here is a list of shoes currently in rotation:
Asics GT-2090
Asics Gel-Nimbus
Brooks Axiom 3 (mine are latest version in royal blue)
Diadora Mythos
New Balance 719
Nike Air Zoom Hayward (grey with red trim...not the Oregon colors)
Puma Phasis III

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Each Day is Valentine's Day

A day late, but I hope everyone had an enjoyable St. Valentine's Day. You can find some information here or here on the fella who causes every man wincing in pain in having to succumb to societal ideals about giving gifts; and every woman pain over her beau screwing it up. Of course that is for traditional relationships. I'm sure it is easier for non-traditional relationships as those men don't give each other anything and the women know exactly what to give each other!

Anyway on monday I received a card from my parents. They are nice like that and send me cards for every relative holiday. It would be better if there was a couple of dollars in there, but the thought is what counts. So I open this card and in typical Valentine's Day fashion it is pink. It's got a pig (a pig...not sure what that has to do with V's Day) holding a heart and says "Hope your heart feels hugged" on the inside. It is also signed (in my mum's writing) "Love, Mom & Dad." OK, this is cool. Every card I get is signed like this. But for whatever reason this time around I start thinking about it. It says Mom & Dad. Mom....&... DAD. The DAD part is what pops out at me. Having both names implies that Dad helped pick out the card. I picture my parents at the store looking at the cards and my dad opining..."no...I like the pink one with the pig, I think my 27-year-old son will like that one...not the one with the bikini girls. Yup, the pig it is" I'm pretty sure my dad has NO CLUE I even got a card. If he did have a say I'd definitely be getting the bikini girls. I'd rather at least get a card that is signed something like "Love, Mom...your father is too lazy and men aren't suppose to share emotions with each other but he still cares about you." This is by no-means a slam on my parents. Just quit the charade that my dad actually helped with the card...have him actually sign it or send two.

So apparently there is something called the Olympics going on. Those involved in sports (especially some of my swimming buds) know that acronym DFL. For the uninitiated it stands for Dead.......Last. I have smart readers, you can fill in the blanks. Well DFL is keeping tabs on who finishes DFL in each event. (via Deadspin)

There was something else I wanted to post about...but can't remember. Oh well, it's floating off in cyberspace somewhere.

Friday, February 10, 2006

It's Friday Night....

And I'm on duty for the weekend. Usually not an exciting time. But this weekend is an exception. As curator for the weekly Owen (my hall) movie nights last semester I got the idea of doing an International Film Festival. I figured I'd do it 1) in the winter when it is easier to stay inside, and 2) when I'm on duty so I don't "waste" a weekend. So this weekend is the first Owen International Film Festival (OIFF in my anacronym-filled world). Tonight is the official kick-off event which is the Winter Olympic Opening Ceremonies from Torino. Then tomorrow we're showing the following films:
The Piano -- New Zealand
Fireworks (Hana-bi) -- Japan
Open Your Eyes (Abres los ojos) -- Spain
Italian for Beginners (Italiensk for Begyndere) -- Demark

and on Sunday:
Good Bye Lenin! -- Germany
Shower (Xizao) -- China
Amelie (Le Fabuleaux destin d'Amelie Poulain) -- France
Amores Perros -- Mexico

Anyway I'm quite excited for this event. I'm lucky that I've got some great coworkers who are eager and helped with promotions and advertising. There is a good there is a GREAT buzz! Not to get egotistical (ok, to get egotistical), I've seen plenty of people checking out the lineup and discussing which films they will see. Of course I've heard some complaints about "Why movie X" or "Why not movie Z from country Y?" As a wise sage once said, Suck on the Good. I'm just focusing on putting on a wonderful event.

Random Opening Ceremonies thoughts:
The dude hitting the anvil looks like Mega Man. No joke. It looks like the Stanford Tree made it. Cows on skates?! Moos? People dressed as cows?! I like the big skier of people. Yeah that is cool. Is that "Gonna Fly Now" they are playing? I don't think there is a better symbol then the Olympic Rings. For as good as he is, Bob Costas always seems a bit...pompous and arrogant. There must be some kick-backs going on for 70s music stars. So North and South Korea are marching together, but not competing, but may be in 2008. I think if I was a high-ranking official in S. Korea I would want nothing to do with Kim Jong-Il. Hey, there's Germany...I think I know someone from there :) Mrs. Blair and Mrs. Bush next to each other...awww. Is anyone else like me and ever thought of getting citizenship in some small country in order to go to the Olympics? So now we've got 80s music going and apparently Mongolia has troops helping us in Iraq. Really, Mongolia? B-Dubs knows his 80s music. And the US enters. Jeremy Bloom, now there is a guy who pretty much got screwed by a certain sports organization. Hey it's Hungary (but as BC let us know "Ungaria in Italian"), which is the only country of heritage I quasi-identify with. Although when people ask what I am I just say American.

Looks like the Cavs have a plan to keep LeBron. They better. Being the ultimate cynical Cleveland sports fan, I've often felt that getting that #1 pick for LeBron was both a blessing and a curse. A blessing in that we finally won something. Now it's not a championship but we got probably one of the best draft picks of all time, a team player, and a guy that is better then advertised. The cynic in me believes that after his 4/5 years in C-town, he will bolt for some team like the Knicks, or the Clippers, of some big-city team. Well after all the flack Dan Gilbert got a year ago when he took over the ownership, it looks like he is headed in the right direction. He knows the importance of LeBron to the team, the franchise, and the city. Hopefully this all works out. Of course us Cleveland fans will understand if it doesn't.

All you Case alums and others who've made it this far, the UAAs are underway. As I grow older, my contact with the team and knowledge of who can do what is limited, but they look to be having a decent meet. Of course I have no idea how the teams are doing as Emory isn't posting team scores! Or at least that I can't find.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Here We Go

In case you missed it there was something resembling a football game on sunday. As any self-respecting Cleveland Brown's fan, I promptly cheered for Seattle. But congrats to my native Pittsburgh-area friends: Jess, Miller, BJ, and Bluemle (I hope I spelled that correctly). I know the game has been analyzed to death, I still feel compelled to let my feelings be known:
This was probably the worst-played SB I've ever watched.
Yes, the officials stunk it up. I'm not saying it was a conspiracy against Seattle, but I sincerely object the PI and Holding penalties. More so the PI -- this is the Super Bowl folks-- let them play for goodness sakes! The receiver barely touched the defender, c'mon now. And I'm still not convinced Big Ben scored.
Speaking of the wunderkid...a QB rating of TMQ let's us know, if every pass falls incomplete, the QB rating is 36.something. What were you thinking throwing that pass that was intercepted? I'm convinced BB is overrated and has been the beneficiary of having a wonderful supporting cast.
Bad clock management on Seattle's part. Apparently Mike Holmgren has already won a Super Bowl, but you wouldn't have known with the way he handled things at the end of each half.
Commercials: nothing wow'd me (do you sense a theme here) but I enjoyed the promo of the new ABC show "Sons and Daughters." Gillette now has a six-blade razor (5 on the main area, plus one on the back for sideburns and what-not) but I guess Hitatchi has a 10-blade one.

Onto other topics:
You can get your Mr. Pibb + Red Vines = Crazy Delicious t-shirt here. Join the minions of wanna-be-hipsters! I thought about 2 seconds about buying one and then my senses got the better of me.

Last week both Bonnaroo and Coachella announced their lineups. There are a lot of overlapping artists. Good bands at the 'Roo: Radiohead, Petty, Beck, Elvis Costello, Death Cab, Bright Eyes (hate to admit it), Ben Folds, Matisyahu (to see if he's all really just schtick), My Morning Jacket, Cat Power, Nickel Creek, Steve Earle, Malkmus!!!!!, Son Volt, Clap Your..., Rusted Root, Devandra Banhart, and Mike Doughty. At the 'Coach: Depeche Mode, Franz Ferdinand, Sigur Ros, MMJ, TV on the Radio, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Cat Power, Devandra Banhart, Massive Attack, Block Party, Oakenfold, Matisyahu (again to see...), Sleater-Kinney, Mogwai, James Blount, Ted Leo, Go! Team, Art Brut, Stellastarr*, Minus the Bear, and Youth Group. Having been a 'Roo veteran (2004 yeah!) I can testify to the wonderful organization behind that one and with a lineup that I'm more into this time around, I would be more than inclined to go (any takers?). After drooling for several years at the Coachella fest and wanting to travel to the desert of SoCal, I feel they are taking a step back this year. It is a bit of a financial commitment, but a multi-day music festival is some fun times. If you have a chance to go to either, I would encourage you to do so.

I mentioned a couple posts back about Pandora and the Music Genome Project. TMT has an interview up with the founder of MGP. Very insightful and sheds some light on how they do things. It is quite a complex process.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Mr. Pibb + Red Vines = Crazy Delicious

My beautiful friend Greer urged me to finally include this on my blog, for the sake of the fans. She really cares y'all. In all actuality I've been meaning to post this for quite awhile. In case you don't feel like watching the Super Bore, here is a little video for you to ponder over. Its been quite the rage over this thing called the interweb.
Here's the Chronic(what?)cles of Narnia! So go to the SNL link, scroll onto videos and find the video. Or you can go to this link on YouTube .

In case you were wondering, here are the lyrics. And if you are interested, here is some background on the video. Be sure to watch the girl in the ticket booth, she can't keep a straight face. And what about the line " You can call us Aaron Burr from the way we're dropping Hamiltons" -- classic.

Dont forget about the the "More Cowbell" skit .

Its all about the Hamilton's baby!

Saturday, February 04, 2006

I'm a Liar

So on thursday I said I was going to have my Super Bowl XL preview/prediction up on I didn't get to it until today. I apologize to all of my faithful readers.

Before I get onto the matter at hand, a couple of associated thoughts. Since I know a substantial amount of international students I've been asking them if they are going to watch the Super Bowl or if they've ever seen it before. We always watch the game and hear about how there are millions and millions watching across the globe and how the Super Bowl is truly an international event. Nevermind the fact that this is a strictlyl American sport which is pretty much ignored anywhere else. Anyway, all these international students respond that no, they've never seen it. Steve Rushin offers more opinon in this week's SI.

What else? Oh yeah, there is that whole cliched-to-death opinon of "I just watch it for the commercials." Apparently there will be an ad with MacGyver/MacGyveresque (didja know his first name was Angus?) and the next shot will be fired in the razor-wars (click on Fusion).

Onto the we have a #1 seed (the Seahawks) that has been playing terrific all year but is somehow the underdog versus a #6 seed (the Steelers). I'm sorry, how can a team that did not win it's division and have to win its final 5 games to make the playoffs be favored over a team that has been doing it all year? Not to mention that Seattle has NFL MVP, Shaun Alexander on their team. I'll take him over the combination of Bettis/Parker any day. What else...quarterbacks. Big Ben has gone from the anonymity of the MAC to the Super Bowl in 2 years; Matt Hasselbeck, better known as brother-in-law of Survivor alum hottie Elizabeth, certainly has the experience and the better numbers. Coaches -- gotta give props to the dual mustaches (when are those finally going to be trendy again?) but remember that this is Holmgren's 3rd SB in 10 years and he already has one ring...this is Cowher's 2nd in 11 years. Defenses.....Pittsburgh has the edge, but only by a few. For me it comes down to two things -- can Seattle put enough points on the board over the Pittsburg D? If they score over 27, then Big Ben & Co cannot keep up and the game will be a route. If the Pittsburgh D holds strong, then I see a game coming down to Special Teams with a FG deciding the game. I give the edge to Seattle here. Ok, so I guess it is pretty obvious that I'm picking Seattle (an unsexy pick btw) to win: Final Score: 27-17.

Oh yeah for those keeping track, two cities have never hosted or been in a Super Bowl -- Cleveland and Indianapolis.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Armona, the Mean Scent

Deadspin today has a nice post about Manute Bol and his work for his native Sudan. 99% of their posts are making fun of athletes, but here is a prime example of an athlete using their fame and celebrity for a good (and devastating) cause. Be sure to read the comments.

Punxsutawney Phil apparently saw his shadow indicating 6 more weeks of winter. Compared to last year, this winter has been quite mild which is quite fine for me and my running schedule. It is nice that every day I leave for swimming practice at 5:45 there is more and more sun. Nice.

So I think we've all seen those overtly obnoxious Axe Body Spray commercials. You know the ones, some average guy puts it on and then the women (his date's mother, girls in the library) around him are all over him. Pretty over the top and not very believeable, right? That is what I thought. I scoffed at these commercials. Then something funny happend. First, for whatever reason (I think I had to buy books) I picked up a free sample. Second, I ran out of traditional soap. So I used the Axe Shower Gel until I get a chance to go to the store and buy some more soap. The stuff smells pretty good and seems to get me clean -- I'm a traditional soap and washcloth guy so the gel stuff is a bit out of my element. Later on I'm spending time with OFOMOL (for those that asked it stands for: Official Female Of Metamorphosis Of Life) and she seems to be a bit (ok a lot) more affectionate then normal. I'm enjoying it and she's telling me how good I smell. So yeah, I'm sold. I guess there is truth in advertising.

For those that spend every waking moment of their free time checking this site to see when I update it, my Super Bowl predictions will be up tomorrow.