Friday, May 22, 2009

Mandy Moore Broke My Heart

So in one of my earlier posts, I reported on the sad state of UFC 97. Now, the day before I once more brave the drive to East Brunswick to watch the [hopefully] thrilling Rashad Evans vs. Lyoto Machida championship bout, I have just seen what can only be described as a bad, bad omen.

Following the status update "I don't know which is more sad, Mandy Moore's new single or the video," Kim and I decided to take on the challenge and critique the former teen bubble denizen's newest foray into mass entertainment.

How are these two stories related you ask?

Sadly, I have an answer for you: Chuck Liddell.

The former UFC powerhouse makes an unexpected (and truly sad) cameo in this confusing video for a bad pop song. One can only wonder what kind of career move the former light heavyweight champ thought this would be, though it's strange to think of any kind of "career" that is boosted by a swift kick to the jewels by the star of A Walk to Remember.

Though I have to admit, I've never gone through a mixed martial arts career, I do know that being degraded by a twenty-something pop star is not the best way to follow up a massive defeat at the hands (and feet) of a grown man wearing booty shorts with eyes on the cheeks. Unless, of course, he has decided to star in light hearted movies, possibly my reccomended third installment of the Step Up film franchise with Channing Tatum, or maybe High School Musical 4: MMA mentoring an aspiring Zac Efron.*

I don't mean to seem overly critical of the Iceman; don't get me wrong, I really like him. I'm just trying to put things in perspective. Mr. Liddell, if you're out there, please, please deliver a swift kick to your agent's face, as he clearly does not have you or your image in mind.

My hopes for tomorrow's fight have suddenly dampened, though perhaps if I go into it with the mindset of a comedy rather than a sport, I'll enjoy it the same way I did the last one. Well Dana White, what do you have to say for this one?

*Legal claim - if any studio actually makes either of these movies (or similar ones), I claim 15% gross for providing the idea. There, I'm covered.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I, Xander

So I've decided to build a robot.

Yeah, it sounds hokey, but hell, why not? I mean, look at it this way: I'll be learning some real skills and learning how to build an army of minions. It's like kids with an off switch!

The first thing you need to know about robot building is that it's not just putting wheels on a little metal man, you've actually gotta put some thought into it. I have a feeling that this is going to take a long time and there will be parts (the soldering and the electronics laying around) that Kim may not be a fan of, but what the hell, if I can recreate that R2D2 from The Sharper Image that can beer you, then I will have fulfilled my life. Plus, I can justify myself as "it's either this or let's have kids." The threat of children, always good for when you want to push something through the relationship committee.

I know that it'll be a steep learning curve (as I've never had training in this kind of thing before), but I think I'll be able to muddle through. And as much as I like doing things myself, if anyone out there has even taken a stab at building a robot before, please don't hesitate to let me know, I need all the resources I can get (especially finding all the parts), since servos and on board memory are not exactly in one unified place (or in one unified country).

I know I'm cutting this one kind of short, but until I actually start, there's really not that much more to say. I'll be sure to keep everyone updated!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Why I Am Not A Tweeter

So Twitter is (was) the new big thing.

A month ago, you couldn't go more than two hours without someone telling you about a memorable tweet. Now I only see it quoted on the web.

I feel this blog and my Facebook are self-serving enough, I don't need to plug the Matrix into my life anymore than it already it is. That's not to say that I'm a Ludite or anything, I just have a feeling that using Twitter would only serve to either enhance the possibility of awkward situations or simply seem a bit too egotistical, even for me.

Let's say I'm going out somewhere. I want to give a shout out to all my peeps to show up at The Ale N 'Wich or other such watering hole. An ex-girlfriend, friend that's got beef with me or ::insert annoying acquaintance here:: sees it and decides, 'this would be the best possible time to go start something.' I show up expecting Smithwick's and fun, I end up with Jack Daniel's judgement and bad decisions. At best, I wake up the next morning with a bit of explaining to do. At worst, I'm kicked out of one of my favorite bars. No good.

Okay, for argument's sake, let's say the tweet is something benign and harmless. Do people really need to know "Buying tickets for Foo Fighters show in August!" or "This is going to be legen-wait for it-dary!"? The short answer is: no.

If I feel the need to tweet something that badly, I can easily update my Facebook status, thus avoiding any ex-girlfriends (since they're all pre-Facebook break ups...yes, I'm getting old) and friends with beef/::insert annoying acquaintance here::, since my update would be lost in the plethora of others, or I would have them on a block list.

While I do see the subtle irony in blogging against getting a Twitter account, I feel every great man deserves to have one great fault. Mine has yet to be found, but when it is, you can be damn sure there'll be no tweeting on the matter.

Keep in touch, but not too in touch.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Get Ready to Rock Out With Your Spock Out

I have to admit it. For a while, I was a hater.

I'm one of those old school (TNG old school, but hey, I've only been on the scene since the early '80s) kinda Star Trek fan, so when I heard the early rumors about the new movie, I'm man enough to admit that I had little faith in it. But what you need to understand is that the show, in all of it's incarnations through the years, has been my constant. It has fueled my imagination and my ambition. Hell, because of Trek, I met two of the coolest people on the planet.

But when I heard J.J. Abrams was doing the latest revival of the franchise, I thought 'Whoa, Lost is awesome, but c'mon...this is Star Trek. Granted, some of the most recent stuff wasn't anything like it used to be, but Ron Moore (of TNG, DS9 and recent BSG fame) should be put in charge of it, if anyone (no offense, Rick Berman, but things are a little off track these days). I thought the worst came when I heard about the (rumored) changes to the Trekkie universe. Kirk and Spock & Co. in the Academy at the same time. The Enterprise built on Earth. At Area 51, no less. Kirk not reporgramming the Kobiyashi Maru, but seducing another cadet into doing it. The list went on.


Then I heard about the cast. 'Who?! Sylar as Spock?! Doom Marine as Bones?! Harold (minus Kumar) as Sulu?! Scotty of the Dead?! And who the hell are those people in the familiar roles of Uhura and Checkov?! Man, that pretty boy, O.C.-looking kid better not be Kirk!

Now, however, I am singing a very different tune. After the multitude of previews I have sought out (thank you Apple Trailers) and the reviews, comments and interviews I've read since the initial, sometimes erroneous, rumors got filtered to the truth (in the movie the Enterprise is built on Earth, though this is just part of a novel being made cannonical, there is no Area 51 in the movie, according to Abrams, Kurtzman and Orci).

One can understand, I hope, my initial detraction of this addition (nay, ressurection) of the franchise. My worry, as I'm sure fellow Trekkies would agree, was that the Great Bird of the Galaxy's "wagon train to the stars" was being preempted a Fast and Furious with aliens. Thankfully, this seems not to be the case, and I am excited to see the result of the hard work put in by the new cast and crew.

Now that you've got this power J.J., push for Ron Moore to become the head of Trek. The man is amazing enough to handle that and Caprica, I'm sure of it. Mr. Berman, see the above apology, then explain to me how you wasted the opportunity Enterprise could have been. I'm suprised you didn't have Dean Stockwell appear on the show, then have Dr. Beckett take over Captain Archer's body to save Trip in the finale.

Sorry, I had to get that out of my system.


Sidebar: Trekkie vs. Trekker

Get a life. Really, I mean that. Trekkie was here first, it sounds better, and above all THERE'S NO DIFFERENCE!!! News outlets: do not address this issue, simply refer to us as Trekkies or fans. The people that get upset and differentiate the terms are the same as the kid that stopped talking to Kim in high school because she called Star Trek a saga (it's a series, but it's not that serious).

=good. Starfleet Jedi=loser.

Monday, April 27, 2009

This Is A Call

What happened to my generation?

When did we collectively sell out? Aren't we supposed to be Gen Y, this crazy new kind of generation, looking forward instead of stuck in the past. And yet we have gone the way of those before us, perpetuating things we once said weren't set in stone. And now we have our chisels out. Punk rock and counterculture weren't invented by our generation. Neither were conformity or the value of personal gain. And yet it seemed as if we could perfect these and other seemingly opposed ideas by marrying them in the most dysfunctional yet perfect union.

Maybe it was just me, but I thought we would collectively eschew the labels of our parent's generation. Republican, Democrat; the Coca-Cola:Pepsi, DC:Marvel, Hershey's:Nestle of the adult world. And yet now, even Facebook, the site that started out only for us has such self imposed labels as "Very Liberal" or "Very Conservative," just pseudonyms for close minded, entrenched in the viewpoints of others and unwilling or unable to compromise, all of which are the very enemies of democracy and freedom we hold dear.

Before you pigeon-hole me into whatever label on the precious political spectrum makes you most comfortable, realize that I identify with neither. I choose to think for myself, to make independent choices, some of which may be viewed as liberal, others conservative. These self determinations and constantly re-evaluated conclusions are precisely what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they built our Constitution.

It should come as no surprise (though to many it is) that George Washington himself had no political party. History books and teachers will try to pound into your head that he was a Whig, an archaic party that no one truly knows about anymore (quick lesson: they were a British political party that supported Colonial independence), but that's just a historian's way of pigeon-holing one of the greatest historical figures so they can feel at ease. In reality, anyone that has even read the cliff notes of Washington's farewell address can clearly see that he had a distrust and dislike of political parties, for exactly the reasons we see today.

Most Americans find a party and latch onto it, clinging for dear life. Part of what Washington (and I!) feared is that citizen's loyalty would be first to their party, then to their country. The scary thing is, he was right. We can see today, everyone voting along or against party lines. Party lines should have nothing to do with our politics if we are ever going to move forward. We have seen how bad things get when the nation becomes polarized, from personal experience I have been looked down upon simply based on who I voted for (this sin belongs to both parties, trust me).

Wake up, Generation Y. Our parents are too set in their ways to hear any of what I'm saying, so we owe it to ourselves and those who come after us to set things right and make party names meaningless. The day I hear someone say "That dumb guy" instead of "That dumb liberal/conservative" will be a happy day indeed.


Thursday, April 23, 2009


So I recently received an e-mail from a friend, a brain teaser of sorts. It's not one of those "90 percent of people give blah blah answer, only 10 percent say blah blah" (though it did have some statistic thing...but whatever).

Anyway, it's a number puzzle, which you really have to let go of math and see patterns for. I enjoyed it, so here it is:

"First you have to have Excel on your computer. If not just delete this email. The missing number is the password to open the Excel Spreadsheet attached to this email. If you can open the spreadsheet add your name, save it and attach to a new email and send it on.

It is said that engineers take 2 minutes to resolve this, architects 3 hours, doctors 6 hours and Supervisors/Managers 10 hours.

If you guess which the 6th number is, you'll be able to open the excel file. Once you discover it, enter your name, save it and send it on.

What is the 6th number in the below series?

1, 2, 6, 42, 1806, ___???

Good luck!

Here's a link to the Excel file. Have fun, while I finish today's Diabolical sudoku puzzle on Kim's Centro.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Step Up 3: The Octagon

I went to a co-worker's house on Saturday night to watch UFC 97. I must say, I was less than impressed. The first fights of the main card weren't anything to write home about, but then, opening matches usually aren't. Little did I know, I had just watched some of the best fights of the night.

Q: When did the UFC become a dance off rather than a fighting match?

A: Probably around the time it started promoting the movie Fighting, starring a guy whose only recognizable credits are a street dancing movie and an Amanda Bynes movie.

At this point in my rant, let me state that I'm not a hardcore UFC fan. I don't think most people would even consider me an average fan. I'm more a moderate enthusiast, as the only real matches I've seen (other than the odd episode of The Ultimate Fighter) are the ones a friend has invited me over to watch, so if you're looking for a real blow-by-blow, 'I've been there since it was no-holds-barred' review, this is more a 'Wow, I'm glad I didn't have any money on these fights, because they were awful' rant.

It started with Steve Cantwell and Luiz Cane dancing around each other, then quickly progressed on to Cheick Konga very impressively beating down Antoni Hardonk and Krzysztof Soszynski taking Brian Stann appart. From there, it was downhill. Chuck Liddell came in, showing some promise, but Mauricio Rua walking in to techno music, wearing booty shorts I've never seen on a man before (and hope I never will again). From there Liddell walked around the ring on obviously bad knees and got beaten by the man we dubbed "Booty shorts-techno guy." Not exactly a shining moment. After that, Sam Stout came in the ring, looking clean cut and ready for a fight, followed by Matt Wiman, looking and fighting remeniscent of a man who has just seen his first sandwich in three years. I know this recession is bad, but man, Wiman came in looking like "Hobo sapien."

But the real dissapointment came when the indominable Anderson Silva stepped in the ring with jiu-jitsu challenger Thales Leites. The fight was billed as a main event to remember, and it was...just not in the way Dana White and the rest of the UFC were hoping. In what was to be a fresh, hard hitting challenger battling to take the title from a hardened, professional champion, the match quickly degraded from a minute (yes, a full sixty seconds...if you don't think that's a long time, try staring at two grown men dancing inside a cage around each other for that full minute) with no one throwing a punch, to Leites falling on his back, trying to take Silva to the ground were he has notoriously underperformed. When he finally did get Silva down it was more like a tickle fight than a UFC match. After Silva got back up he made sure not to be taken down again. Leites, obviously determined not to be KOed by the champ repeatedly went to the ground, often for no reason, to an embarassing degree. The fight quickly degenerated into Leites on his back and Silva slapping his toes. Silva won.

Through it all were plugs for the aforementioned movie Fighting, and Channing Tatum, who will hopefully do less dancing in his next movie than the UFC fighters did Saturday night. I know we paid for a fight, but we got SNL.

C'mon UFC, show me some backbone. No one's gonna pay for a parody of a fight, when they can go to any bar on Easton Ave in New Brunswick and see it live for free.