30 July 2007

34+20+21 = 17

A few weeks ago I posted about how excited I was, on the heels of their trade for Ray Allen, that the Celtics would be relevant again. I said, "While I'm not delusional enough to think that adding Ray Allen will take the Celtics to a championship, this will at least make them respectable." Well, forget respectable. The Celtics have landed the original kid wonder, Kevin Garnett (who wears my favorite number) and despite having to mortgage the future, this will make the Boston Celtics a contender in the weak Eastern Conference.

If Lebron James and nobody can get to the Finals, what will Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett do? That's a fantasy team roster filled with a trio of franchise players. I bet Larry Bird is ready to suit up and give it a go. Or at least Danny Ainge and Kevin McHale -- the two GMs and ex-Celtics who have screwed up their respective franchises for the past few years -- are getting ready to play again. Celtic pride made them agree to this blockbuster trade and championship number seventeen is surely on the way.

Doubters may say that we won't have enough depth but I say: "What, Brian Scalabrine doesn't scare you? Are you crazy?"

28 July 2007

Ratatouille (2007)

I heard from semi-reputable sources that Ratatouille was surprisingly good. After I watched it the only surprise I got was how mediocre it was. Sure it's a Pixar film but Pixar films written/directed by Brad Bird need to come with a caveat: they suck. Incredibles was pretty bad (with some good moments) and Ratatouille is worse than that. Put it this way: We sat directly behind an obnoxious lady laugher but after the film trailers she didn't laugh once. That's how un-entertaining this film was. 'Nuff said.

20 July 2007

The Takeover

It makes sense right? Billions of people plus blogging? Eventually some Chinese person would take over the top of the blog charts. It's finally happened as Xu Jinglei, a Chinese actress and director, became the world's most widely read blogger recently. For approximately two years she's averaged 167,000 page views a day. That's a lot of page views -- and cash, if she monetized her site.

Tragically, I can't read a lick of Chinese -- despite years of Chinese school -- so I can't understand anything she's blogging about but apparently she's pretty good. Then again, the abundant use of emoticons and pictures of her cats makes me pretty wary to read her blog, even if it were in English. Some things require no translation.

More importantly, this means I'm about 166,999 page views a day away from being the world's most widely read blogger. Maybe I should get a cat.

17 July 2007

Fallen Angels (1995)

"Wong Kar-Wai" directly translated from Chinese means "pretty good movie." Well, unless you don't really get what happened -- like my initial watching of Fallen Angels. I kept fearing the dreaded "it's about to end with no resolution" moment. I think you'd have to be a real film buff to enjoy this guy. Well, maybe not a real film buff but a viewer who goes in with an understanding of what Wong is doing.

The acting, mood, and scenery are all excellent but it's hard to wrap American film ideals around this movie. I can't honestly say I liked it or got it, but I'm going to watch it again. Who knew it's a semi-sequel (part of a semi-trilogy) to Chungking Express? I didn't.
"The best thing about my profession is that there's no need to make any decision. Who's to die... when... where... it's all been planned by others. I'm a lazy person. I like people to arrange things for me. That's why I need a partner."

10 July 2007

One Is a Genius,

I was once a psychology major. Well, I was once an everything major, meaning I went through a new major about once a semester. My fondest memories of psychology class involve me showing up after a shift at Rendezvous Cafe -- a Middle Eastern spot that served killer sandwiches, grape leaves, crepes, and smoothies -- stinking like all hell.

One of my friends in class insisted she possessed an enhanced sense of smell and refused to sit next to me. It really wasn't a subtle hint that she didn't like me; I just stank from all the delicious aromas. What're you gonna do when you have a $400 long-distance (girlfriend) bill to pay for? Keep working and stinking, right? I started skipping my psych classes, maybe partly out of shame, maybe mostly out of sheer laziness, whatever. A few weeks later, psychology wasn't for me.

Fast forward to this past weekend when I met a Professor of psychology -- who, very coincidentally, taught the last six years at Michigan. The "p" in professor shouldn't be capitalized but trust me, when you meet an actual professor, even in a social setting, the "P" screams to be capped up.

This very young for her age professor specializes in social psych, the exact area of psychology I'm most interested in. Her further focus is toward Asian-Americans and people of mixed descent. How it affects their self-esteem, how it forms their identity, why Asian-American males are such wussies, that kind of thing. It's the exact topics I like to think about on an amateur level. I wanted really badly to validate some of my observations and theories with a professional but I curtailed that curiosity as much as I could.

You can't barge in on someone's lazy Saturday and pound them with questions about their work. But looking through her bookshelf filled with familiar social psych books, I was like, "Hum, there's a good chance she's written some of these. I should probably stop talking right now and just shut up -- about anything."

It must be so cool to be a social psychologist. You get to dream up fun theories like the "Dunning-Kruger effect," which states that people who have precious little knowledge believe they know more than everyone else. Basically, people overestimate how good they are at something. Wait, this isn't news! Everyone (needs to) thinks they're better than they actually are. But Dunning & Kruger get to create blanket statements like this:
  1. Incompetent individuals tend to overestimate their own level of skill,
  2. Incompetent individuals fail to recognize genuine skill in others,
  3. Incompetent individuals fail to recognize the extremity of their inadequacy,
  4. If they can be trained to substantially improve their own skill level, these individuals can recognize and acknowledge their own previous lack of skill.
Then they design human lab rat experiments to test these hypotheses out. How fun is that? How about I make up some tests to figure out how much I think people are incompetent and then you sign up to prove it. Sound good? Thanks.
"Tis better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt."

09 July 2007

Transformers (2007)

Talk about a much hyped movie. I was pretty excited to watch Transformers but was prepared to be underwhelmed. Then I started getting emails, texts, and blog comments about how great it was. It boggled the mind. How good could this movie be? Well, we finally watched it on Friday night (after waiting in a long ass line) and the verdict? It's good. Like, pretty good.

Michael Bay knows how to make an entertaining movie. All the gripes I had with the way they designed the robots melted away once we saw the first few scenes. Throw explosions, cars, robots, and hot girls (omg, Megan Fox -- soon to be Megan Austin Green) together and Bay knows what to do with them. Sure, it was like watching Armageddon, The Rock, and Gone in 60 Seconds mashed together but hey, who cares?

There's plenty to nit-pick about the movie -- and some horrible lines and a weird cheezy sense of humor -- but I'll leave it all alone because at the end of the day, there are plenty of "this is so cool" moments to justify the long running time. Transformers, just watch it.

02 July 2007


Here's what's going on right now. I have an iPhone. Well, I have an unopened box with an iPhone in it. I have an iPhone charged to my credit card. I haven't opened it because I'm not sure I'm fully committed to the wonder that is the iPhone. I thought I wouldn't have to worry about this since iPhone's would be in short supply and I'd have a 3-month window of waiting to decide.

But no, Jobs and Co. insured that there would be plenty of iPhones on-hand and my technology Moses easily purchased one at the mall on Saturday. So being the sheep that I am, I bought one at the mall on Saturday too. However, I need a week to think this out. The iPhone comes with a fourteen day return policy -- if it's unopened. Thus, I'm not opening it. Turns out I'm an indecisive, conservative gadgeteer despite touting the benefits of the iPhone for months.

I hate T-Mobile right now (no reception at my house); yet I love my Sidekick. If I could only keep the Sidekick but be able to make phone calls on it. It's a digital era Elizabethan tragedy. I have loved and lost and I'm about to dump my steady companion of many years. Here are the most important thing to me in a smart phone:
  1. Ability to type fast
  2. AIM
  3. Easy and efficient email client
  4. Ability to moblog easily
Guess what the iPhone doesn't do well? All the above. I'll get faster on the keyboard but there's no AIM on the iPhone. On top of that, the email client isn't easy to use and moblogging would require sending an email of each picture. That's retarded.

What do I like about the iPhone? Well, just about everything else. I mean, sure it's not that fast Internet-ing -- unless you're near Wi-Fi -- sure it's still got some weird little kinks in it, but there's no doubting it's an amazing piece of technology. $650 worth of amazing technology? Well, that's tough to say.

I've been researching other options, and I'm narrowing it down to the iPhone or Helio's Ocean. It's stupid to even doubt Apple but the things I need a smartphone for, the iPhone doesn't provide. Also, the reception on Cingular isn't that much better at my house than on T-Mobile.

This may not sound like a love letter, but it is. It's like I'm deciding between the hot girlfriend that makes no sense or the boring girlfriend that makes perfect sense. The thing is: Aren't I a senseless guy? Hasn't this been proven over and over? Should I even bother fighting myself?

I hope I have the mental fortitude to resist tearing open the box without considering every angle. God grant me the strength to resist technological temptation. Amen.