29 May 2008

Nu Asian

"Over the past 18 years, an entire generation of Asian Americans has come of age. And while the world that they've inherited has been radically transformed, the dialogue we're engaged in around what it means to be Asian American has remained frozen in place -- obsessed with issues and ideas that aren't just out of sync with the next generation's interests and priorities, but completely out of touch with their reality.

My generation bristled at any implication of foreignness -- we were Asian American, accent on the second word, and we wanted to create a hard distinction between our native culture and identity and that of our overseas ancestors. We took defiant pride in our ability to speak fluently without a trace of ethnic taint. And we were so deeply wounded by the thoughtless schoolyard chants of childhood that any media image that isn't dominant and heroic and handsome still feels to us like a punch in the gut, a reminder of finger-slanted eyes and bucked-out teeth.

This current generation, on the other hand, has flipped the polarity of our identity. They're Asian American -- American being a given, an understanding, while Asianness is their source of distinction and, more often than not, pride."
-Jeff Yang, The Ides of May-

27 May 2008

Penance St. Croix

A "twixter" is someone who is trapped between adolescence and adulthood. A "boomerang baby" is a young adult, usually a recent college graduate, who returns home to their parents. Somewhat similar to that, a boomerang baby in Japan is called a "parasite single," but they use the term to indicate single men and women who live with their parents so that they can enjoy a comfortable and carefree life. Plus housing in Japan is just scarce.

Isn't it nice to know that there are special definitions out there for people just like you? I don't know how anyone feels special anymore. If you think you're leading a totally unique life, check again.

I've always enjoyed trying to figure out which generation I'm a part of. Obviously, I'm no Baby Boomer (1946-1964). Technically speaking, I should be a part of Generation X (1965-1980), but I sort of feel a kinship to Millenials (1981-2000). What exactly do these things mean anyway? How can you describe a whole generation of people by affixing them with fun little labels? Well, apparently, you can.

Because people born in a common time frame face the world (hypothetically) together, they share common challenges and advantages. Take Generation X for example. We got birth control pills, saw the end of the Cold War, and can remember when modems ruled the Earth. The problem is, I don't have much in common with the majority of Gen-Xers -- the top end of which would be people in their low 40's, an age I generally feel no kinship to. I mean, I really didn't like Singles that much. Then again, Reality Bites is my favorite movie and Troy Dyer is my hero so I guess I fit the profile nicely: slacker.
"If you couldn't neatly place yourself in any of the (generations), then you're probably a Cusper. 1943-1947, 1962-1967 and 1976-1985 are each considered transition times. Many people born during these cusp periods identify with the generations on either side. Often, Cuspers feel like they belong to neither and belong to both. They are generationally bilingual. They can act as translators and ambassadors between the generations."
-John Losey-
Actually the whole point of this post was to share these two articles from Radar Online: Generation Slap, an article billed as a "call to arms against Millenials" and Get Off the Stage, one Millenial's response. My main take on it is that I fear my time is already over and unless I throw my lot in completely with the Millenials, I'll never make anything of myself.

20 May 2008

The Warrior

When Paul Pierce's career is over, will his number rise to the rafters in-between Larry Bird's #33 and Reggie Lewis' #35? Even if the Celtics never win a championship during his career, Pierce has proved himself to be one of the best players of his generation.

Because the Celtics have been bad for so long, it's easy to dismiss Pierce as a franchise guy who couldn't quite carry a team. Look at his career accomplishments so far though. In ten years, he's been to six All-Star games, averaged 23 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and almost two steals a game. In addition, he has great shooting range, is an impeccable free throw shooter, possesses great court vision, and has proven to be a clutch performer time and time again. Oh, he also plays defense.

His Boston teams have reached the Eastern Conference Finals twice, in 2002 and 2008, both appearances coinciding with another All-Star caliber player (first Antoine Walker, then KG and RayRay) sharing the burden. Most of those other years, he's had to suffer from poor management decisions and/or horrendous coaching. Through all the adversity, Pierce has remained a true Celtic. After the glory of the Eighties and the tragedies of the Nineties, Pierce provided hope to the Celtic faithful for an entire decade.

I guess the question isn't really if he will have his number retired -- he definitely will -- but whether or not he'll make the Hall of Fame. If he wins a championship in the next year or two, that's a near certainty.

The craziest thing about all this is that Pierce was stabbed in September 2000 multiple times and was inches away from dying. He came back two months later, played like an All-Pro, and carried the Celts, just like he's always done.

He also has one of the best nicknames in sports: The Truth. Shaquille O'Neal, the originator of the nickname, dubbed him such after playing against Pierce early in his career.
"Take this down," said O'Neal. "My name is Shaquille O'Neal and Paul Pierce is the (expletive) truth. Quote me on that and don't take nothing out. I knew he could play, but I didn't know he could play like this. Paul Pierce is the truth.'"

19 May 2008

Stuff I've Been Reading 6

  • Down & Out in the Magic Kingdom - Cory Doctorow
  • Lullaby - Chuck Palahniuk
  • Writing Down the Bones - Natalie Goldberg
  • How To Be Alone - Jonathan Franzen
  • The Fifties - David Halberstam
  • Self-Editing for Fiction Writers - Browne/King
  • The Modern Jewish Girl's Guide to Guilt - ed. Ruth Andrew Ellenson
Do you read for entertainment or for edification? Most people mix it up between the two, and for the most part, reading a book should give you some food for thought, regardless of how trashy it might be. The problem is, as always, what to do with all these books you've read? Not literally, but metaphysically speaking.

Let's say it takes me six hours to finish a normal sized book. That's three movies, half a night of sleep, and an afternoon of sitting around. Sure, I could learn some really interesting information (the Halberstam book this month is great) or I could feel like I've read something totally spectacular (Lullaby was like that) but at the end of the day -- or life -- what application does either of them have? I can feel a bit smarter, a bit wiser, a bit more knowlegeable, and possibly content but most books just come and go without a lasting effect. That kind of sucks doesn't it?

The only way I can come to grips with this problem is to think about books in the context of other entertainment. Do I enjoy it over most movies, television, and other media? Most certainly. I couldn't live without books. Then again, I couldn't live without movies and television either. There's a huge letdown to know that even if you can read twenty books a month, you'd hardly be making any dent into the huge sum of human knowledge.

For example, if we could someday just download every single book straight into our brain, would we? That would perhaps suck the romance and fun out of reading but it would quickly and effectively give us more free time to... watch more TV or something. I think I would probably opt for that option if it were available actually. So I guess the final answer is that I read for entertainment and hope for edification to justify the expense.

I, like, feel sad about that.

17 May 2008

Lucy, I'm Home!

"The great strength of the Lucy show... was the mirror it held up to every married couple in America: 'Not a regular mirror that reflects the truth, nor a magic mirror that portrays fantasy. But a Coney Island kind of mirror that distorts, exaggerates and makes vastly amusing every little incident, foible, and idiosyncrasy of married life.'"
-David Halberstam, The Fifties-

14 May 2008

Let's Hear It For The Boy(s)

I feel the need to write a running diary on the crucial Game 5 between the Celtics and the Cavaliers. Larry Bird once said that Game 5 was the most important game of the series. I believe him.

Before you read further, make sure you check out Bill Simmon's column on how terrible Doc Rivers is. He pretty much captures exactly what I've been feeling as I watch this Celtic team try to win a championship by losing every away game they play. It's riveting stuff. Warning: This post is super long but my team needs me -- especially since Lebron posterized the entire team -- so I don't care.

5:07 pm - Lebron James hits his first shot, a long jumper from the top of the key. It's only 2-0 but the Celtics have had two of their shots blocked, one 24 second violation, and a Garden full of fans who have nothing to cheer for. LBJ just hit a leaning fadeaway from the right corner. Greeeat. So much for shooting 26% this series.

Ray Allen falls down as Wally Szczerbiak drives around him, steps back, and hits a three in his face. Well, it would have been in his face if he had been upright. Ray Ray proceeds to miss a wide open three at the other end. Who said he's too old for this game?

Six minutes in, score tied 7-7, Paul Pierce drives the lane, flops around for a foul, and has the ball ripped out of his outstretched hands by LBJ. The King heads toward the open court and Allen isn't sure what to do: foul or let him lay it up? How about both? Way to weakly swipe at the ball Ray. Two plays later, he picks up his second foul and heads to the bench.

5:18 pm - Jmz had pointed out to me how those half-and-half NBA commercials featuring two players have everything coordinated, including the blinking. It's pretty incredible. Imagine how much work it must take to get these guys to blink and talk at the same speed. I wonder what the complete list of players they have footage of is. I mean, Derek Fisher is on now (paired with Deron Williams). He's like the fourth best player on his team. Do they shoot these things on the off days between series or everything is pre-shot? I need an ESPN story about this.

The Celts have probably missed five or six shots from within three feet. Either blocked, bounced off their hands, or just rocket balled right off the backboard. This team is starting to resemble my real life basketball game, I can't layup either.

Paul Pierce's role on the Celtics is "Scorer." TNT does this thing where they assign team roles to every player as their stats flash up. What might Brian Scalabrine's role be? We may never know but I'd guess "Mascot."

Wally World is on fire, three for five, with two threes. Why are the Celts shooting so many three pointers? Rondo just shot a three -- and missed -- while Pierce and everyone else has been jacking them up for no good reason. The only player who should be unconscionably jacking up threes is James Posey, who I'm convinced is a true winner with his defense and clutch shooting.

End of the first quarter, 23-18 Cavaliers. Not too bad I guess. But LBJ is back on the map offensively and he's getting anywhere he wants on the floor.

5:40 pm - The Cavaliers have extended the lead to nine points. Sam I Am misses a heavily contested jump shot from the left side. Shock. The announcers say that he's 0-12 in the last three games. Zero for twelve? Isn't his forte instant scoring? Instead, his bricks are sinking the Celtics' ship. Vinnie Johnson was "The Microwave;" Sam is "The Freezer."

LBJ heads into the locker room, probably to get a phone call from The Commish telling him to cool it a bit before this becomes a blow out. There can be no LBJ fourth quarter heroics if the Cavs are up by twenty. Last year, Lebron went wild in Game 5 and won the game in overtime against the Pistons by traveling on the last two plays. The Cavs won the series by taking four straight games from the number one seed. The Celtics are working on being another footnote in Lebron's legend and it looks like they're well on their way there.

It's disgusting how the Celts are getting outhustled on everything. Rebounds, blocked shots, transition game. The Cavs are huge up front, with Ilgauskas, Joe Smith, Ben Wallace, and Anderson Varejao. They keep blocking and harassing everyone inside.

Is KG the skinniest seven footer ever? I'd like to imagine that given a foot or so, I'd be a Chinese version of KG. I can block shots, I have a turnaround fadeaway, I can pass well out of the post, I have spindly arms. He's also wearing my (old) favorite number, 5, this must be fate.

Scramble for a loose ball and Daniel Gibson ends up with it. He drives hard on KG, throws it up, and the ball rolls in. The crowd is booing. It's a thirteen point Cleveland lead. If it gets to twenty, I'm shutting the TV off. Sam's now zero for fourteen. Ray finally hits a shot though. Three!

5:55 pm - Four minutes left in the first half. The best Celtics player has been, well, nobody. The Least Valuable Player award goes to Ray Allen (check out his pre-game routine, he's like the Jerry Rice of the NBA). It's impossible to tell what he's thinking as he takes a wild drive toward the basket and turns it over. In just under an hour I'm questioning why I spent so many hours of my life watching basketball this season. Didn't I give up caring about sports four months ago?

Rondo hits two three pointers in a row, the Celtics are only down by six! The crowd is going wild. The announcers comment on how consistently the crowd has been cheering "Dee-fense," as if that's a commendable thing. It's like saying they're doing a good job of staying awake.

Well, if the Celtics lose this game, at least I can cheer for the Lakers to lose to Utah during the next game. Maybe it can be a Cavs-Jazz Finals, with the main storyline being how badly Carlos Boozer stabbed Cleveland in the back. That would be fun, watching the ABC execs shoot themselves. Why aren't the Celtics getting more calls? Doesn't the league WANT them in the Finals?

Delonte West hits a three too. Delonte West and Wally are both former Celtics back to haunt their former team. This probably wasn't what they meant by "the ghosts of Celtic past." KG puts up a turnaround airball from ten feet away. Nice. He comes back and hits a smooth jumper from the top of the key though. One thing I've been impressed with is how good KG is at shooting faceup jumpers. He's Duncan-esque in his consistency. He's not Duncan-esque in his clutchness however.

6:09 pm - Pierce makes another patented awkward drive, runs over Delonte, and throws up a prayer that rolls in. A few years ago, I read something about how Pierce's game is "beautifully awkward" (whereas Antoine Walker's game was "awkwardly beautiful") and the term describes his game perfectly. He always looks slightly slow and out of control but somehow manages to be a dominant scorer.

The Celtics head into the half down by three, which is a huge moral victory since they've been getting killed. Lebron has 23 points on 8/14 shooting and a perfect 7/7 from the line.
This is actually a good series for nicknames. The Celtics have Garnett (The Kid, The Big Ticket, KG), Pierce (The Truth), Ray Allen (Ray Ray, Jesus), Cassell (Sam I Am) and Glen Davis (Big Baby).

Lebron has quite a few by himself (King James, Bron Bron, LBJ), and gets to add Daniel Gibson (Boobie), Zydrunas Ilgauskus (Big Z), Szczerbiak (Wally World), Ben Wallace (Big Ben), and Anderson Varejao (Sideshow Bob) on his side. I'd add "the real Joe Smith" in there too since he's been playing so well.
6:28 pm - Here we go, the most important twenty four minutes of the season -- until the inevitable Game 7, of course. Ray Allen starts things off with a three to pull them within one. Pierce picks up his third foul on a weak call by the refs. Rondo steals the ball and gets a quick layup. Celtics have their first lead of the game. Rondo is seriously good. It's only his sophomore season but he's great on defense, smart on offense, and definitely on his way to stardom -- like a Tony Parker-lite. He's the Tayshaun Prince of this team. Ray Ray rims out a seven footer. Alliteration is fun.

I have this theory that the Celts are so good on defense and so bad on offense because they tighten up the rims. How many times have LBJ's shots rimmed in and out during games at the Garden? Sure, the Celtics would have the same problems but they usually get past it by only shooting short jumpers and layups. I heard that the Showtime Lakers used to cut their nets a little shorter to get the ball out quickly on a fast break. Cheaters.

Pierce makes a great drive toward the basket and then throws it backwards directly to Delonte West, who streaks down the court only to be knocked silly by Garnett -- after Rondo stripped him of the ball. KG then blocks West's next drive directly to Ben Wallace, who gets an uncontested dunk. Can't complain there though, I guess. Especially since KG comes right back and hits another long jumper to tie things up. Seven minutes left to go in the third.

Big Ben hits a beautiful floating layup off the glass and then helps KG off the floor. That's so nice; there must be a fraternity among Defensive Players of the Year. PP makes a subtle head fake to get LBJ flying past him. Big three, count it! Garnett has hit his last six shots, Pierce is playing Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde, and Ray Allen slow rolls in a layup. They're up by five!

6:45 pm - You know what's super funny? LBJ telling his mom to "Sit yo ass down!" in Game 4. PP had wrapped him up on a breakaway and took him into the stands. Gloria James happened to be right there and started yapping. Lebron was seen clearly telling her to back the hell down (video). Afterwards he said he was glad it wasn't Mother's Day. Gotta love this game.

The Celtics are shooting 82% this quarter and Lebron has no points. LBJ drives and then gets his shot double blocked by KG and KP (Kendrick Perkins). This is the way the Celtics should be playing. It's hard to lose when you shoot over 80%, keep it up.

Big Baby is coming in. He's good for a few fouls, a quick burst of energy, and knocking people to the floor. Why isn't Leon Powe playing? Doc Rivers is so terrible. Big Baby makes an easy layup off a beautiful pass from Garnett. I don't care, Powe should still be in there. A Rondo-Garnett-Pierce passing frenzy leads to a give and go PP dunk. They're up by eleven. Big Baby falls backwards onto Varejao at the other end, crushing him and sending him to the line.

7:05 pm - Start of the fourth and it's looking like a Celtics win. I mean, Big Baby just put in another basket and short of a miraculous effort by LBJ, the game's over. Oh wait, isn't this exactly what David Stern called LBJ about in the first quarter? Crap. I'm mentally preparing myself for a Lebron-led comeback.

Luckily, Sideshow Bob keeps missing free throws. Why is he the offensive focal point exactly? Come to think of it, Mike Brown is a horrible couch too. Coach, I mean, coach. Eh, I'm not even gonna bother correcting that, they're essentially synonyms in this series.

Big Baby with an ugly turnover. Ten minutes left and KG's still on the bench. Hey Doc, maybe you should get your MVP back in the game? I wonder if Danny Ainge will fire him at the end of the season. I wouldn't even mind Avery Johnson or something at this point. Hell, bring back Rick Pitino.

Ray's looking good. He just hit another three. Too bad it was a practice shot after the whistle. We'll take it though. Big Baby trucks through for a tough lay in. The lead's only eight points and LBJ still hasn't done a thing the entire second half. Oh never mind, he just backed up for a short floater. Hold onto your panties.

Ray misses from the exact same spot he just hit one from during the stop. This one counted...as a miss. Rondo and Garnett go to the same high pick and roll that produced a dunk three seconds earlier. Not surprisingly, Cleveland's ready for it this time. Big Baby goes flying and somersaults over Wally Sczerbiak on the ensuing scramble. Good effort, time to get him out of there. Hello, Doc?

7:22 pm - Five minutes to go, up by ten after a Delonte steal and LBJ dunk. It's now or never to seal this game. Delonte has been everywhere this second half and he just got another steal. Two in five seconds. If the Celts can't pull this one out with West and Varejao spearheading the Cavalier's "attack," the Celtics don't deserve to win.

I'm such a sports pessimist. I can't watch anything without thinking something horrible will happen to my team. It really sucks the joy out of my viewing experience. I'm constantly focused on the negative and never the positive, as this diary has clearly demonstrated. Maybe I am a Debbie Downer like Jmz said...

Rondo hits another runner in the lane. Goddam he's good. Stars of the game: Rondo (20 PTS, 13 AST, 2 3PT/STL/BLK, 1 TO), Garnett (26 PTS, 16 REB, 3 BLK), Big Baby (3-4 FG), Paul Pierce (29 PTS, 11-13 FT), and David Stern for telling LBJ to take the night off so they can get a few more games out of this series. Let's hope Rivers pays attention and never plays Cassell again except when Rondo needs a rest. Rajon is clearly twenty times better at this point. Hell, dial up Eddie House if you need instant offense. I'm a big Cassell fan but he's horrible this year.

KG, Pierce, Rondo, and Allen have all played over forty minutes this game. That doesn't bode well for the next game. Oh look, Danny Ainge was presented with a little glass trophy pre-game for winning Executive of the Year. I got better trophies for participating in read-a-thons in middle school. The glass bauble is seriously tiny. Weak.

7:32 pm - There's only two minutes and thirty seconds to go but I'm still not convinced the game is over because the Celtics are only up by eight. The free throw disparity is the Cavaliers 27 and the Celtics 13. Ray Allen just missed what could have been a back breaking three. Missed pretty badly too. Luckily, LBJ can't hit one at the other end either. Oh wait, Delonte stole the ball in the backcourt and laid it in. Lead down to six. Pierce misses a layup. And then a free throw. This is going perfectly according to plan I'm sure.

King James with an easy drive and layup. One minute left, up by five. Hold the celebratory balloons. The Cavs are pressing full court and the Celtics can't get the ball past half court. Way to go best team in the regular season. Bob Cousy just collapsed.

7:45 pm - There's still 11.6 seconds to go but it should be over. Should. It's a six point lead and it's just a free throw medley. The game sealing play? Ray Allen, of all people, tipping a rebound to Garnett with forty seconds left so the C's could run out the clock. What a disgusting game. At least they won I guess. Nothing about this team screams championship to me.

See you in two days for Cavs 110 - Celtics 69. If you made it through this entire post, we should probably hang out.

11 May 2008

The Beat Generation

"They were the first to protect what they considered to be the blandness, conformity, and lack of serious social and cultural purpose in middle-class life in America. If much of the rest of the nation was enthusiastically joining the great migration to the suburbs, they consciously rejected this new life of middle-class affluence and were creating a new, alternative life-style; they were the pioneers of what would eventually become the counterculture.

If other young people of their generation gloried in getting married, having children ,owning property and cars, and socializing with neighbors much like themselves, these young men and women saw suburbia as a prison. They wanted no future of guaranteed pensions but instead sought freedom -- freedom to pick up and go across the country at a moment's notice, if they so chose. They saw themselves as poets in a land of philistines, men seeking spiritual destinies rather than material ones."
-David Halberstam, The Fifties-

09 May 2008

That's What Friends Are For

For a long time we've talked about this concept of friend's "stocks." Something happens and we make a head nod and say, "Yup, her stock is definitely at an all time high." Or "he's such a loser, I can't believe he did that. Stock way down." I know you do the same thing with your friends. Just admit it. It's similar to the concept of Whuffie from Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom I was talking about a few weeks ago.

The other day, fueled by my recent foray into the real stock market, I was messenging Ameer and trying to figure out the best three letter stock ticker symbols for people we know. Some are obvious: AMR, JON, JMZ, LLY, RYN, DES. Just take out the vowels. Then there's a tough one, like Georgette, what do you do with that? GRG looks like Greg. GGT looks stupid. After some deliberation, George settled on GTE. Try this with your friends, it's super fun! No, I promise.

Anyway, the next night I decide to look around for a custom stock market application. Lo and behold, I found Friend O'Nomics. It's "a completely superficial, multiplayer, stock market based game, which allows players to trade shares of their friends, just as they would trade shares of a publicly traded corporation. The main goals of the game would be to have your personal stock achieve the highest value, as well as building a portfolio of friends with the highest value."

Um, yeah, that's exactly what I was looking for! Somebody had already created the perfect application for us and it was just launched last month. How incredible is that? The site is awesome because it's clean and easy to use and it's absolutely free. You create an account, make up your stock ticker symbol, and then you're free to create or join markets. Currently me and a few others are beta-testing the site but I'm going to figure out the best way to use this thing for sustainable fun and then launch a full scale assault on everyone I know.

For example, what if we used Friend O'Nomics to buy or sell someone's "romance" stock? "BET is looking awesome because she just went on a hot date. Buy buy buy!" See the many applications available here? I emailed the creators of the site and they have new features in the works so I'm excited to see what they are. Maybe an integration with Twitter feeds? They already have a RSS feed for the updates.

Seriously, check it out. Here's a screenshot of my JON stock.

For aesthetics, I think it's way cooler when the stock ticker names are in caps and three to four letters. I don't want nicknames, I want real names! The other thing is that I think there shouldn't be insider trading; you shouldn't be able to buy and sell your own stock. Anyway, to be discussed.

A key feature right now is creating a dividend for a particular stock. Basically, you can nominate somebody to be exposed to a market wide vote for something they did that week. For example, if AMR bought a new car this week, you could create a dividend that says "AMR just bought a grey car, now he owns two. Awesome?" People can vote Yes/No and each vote counts at +/-$1 to his stock at the end of the week. It's similar to the "Who had the best week ever" emails I used to send out.

If you wanna play, sign up!

06 May 2008

If You Don't Know, Now You Know

You know when you're driving along on the freeway and you're a little tired and you think you can get away with a nano-nap because nobody's around and you're going straight for awhile anyway? Ten seconds later, you feel the thump thump of those little lane dividers that signal "Stop swerving and wake up (to avoid killing yourself)!" What are those little things called?

If you knew that the answer was [highlight and/or click for the answer] Botts' dots, I applaud you with my mouth agape.

I attended a trivia night in North Park tonight and came away a loser -- tied for tenth actually. But I learned so much in the process. After all, I already knew I was a loser, right? The main thing I learned was that there are people out there with a freaky ability to know lots of random facts. What was advertised as a pop culture night was sort of that but oh so much more. The four lead off categories were: TV Sketch Comedies, Movie Quotes (as spoken by Stephen Hawking aka computerized voice), Disgusting Foods, and Misconceptions.

Now I know I may not be particularly great at trivia but I don't suck either right? Guess again. Let's talk about how many vaginas a kangaroo has. A kangaroo has three vaginas. THREE. Oh that crazy intelligent designer. Sneaky bastard. Here's a question that should be more up my alley. What's the name of Master Chief's AI robot buddy? No clue. My video game guild badge is going to be revoked. Her name's Cortana. Duh.

Yeah, I thought we had a chance to maybe sneak in a few genius answers but in reality we got pummelled. There was one guy, an army of one, who managed to place third all by himself. The other teams were surprising too. A whole bunch of people I'd never suspect of harboring intense trivia knowledge seemed to know things I've never even heard of. Never judge a book by its cover, just don't do it.

Even pure reason failed us. For example, what do you think is the most widely eaten fish in the world? Maybe tuna, maybe salmon, perhaps cod, or tilapia. Or whatever they mash together to get those delicious Filet-O-Fishes. How about herring?!

There may not be many serious life applications for knowing trivia but goddam it's impressive. I didn't feel stupid -- okay, a little -- so much as just wonder at the awesomeness of my fellow human beings. Now I must plot to form an All-Star team of trivia and hope to get out of the double digits.
Here's what I can bring to the table (with specialties in parentheses):
Sports (Basketball, Football)
Movies (Titles, Actors)
Comics (Marvel, X-Men)
Television (1990s, Reality TV)
Geeky Stuff (Nothing too esoteric unless it's Magic related)
Foods beginning with the letter "Q"
So yeah, basically, I'm nigh useless at trivia contests. What I'm looking for is someone who specializes in entertainment and celebrities, someone with great musical repertoire, a history and geography buff, and a guys' guy who knows about cars, fishing, and things that are manly. Whatcha got? Feel free to list your five specialty areas in the comments because yes, I am recruiting.

To add insult to injury, the final round was three minutes to list the top forty best selling books of all time. Each correct answer was worth one point. We got five. And that's with the Bible as an obvious answer and Harry Potter as an even more obvious answer. Five out of forty. And I call myself a reader. I disgust myself.

But damn it was fun.

05 May 2008

04 May 2008

Curse of the Jon-bino

I've been religiously watching the NBA playoffs this season. Normally, I'll catch a few games on if I'm around but usually any excuse to get away from a TV will take me away from the game on-screen. Part of the reason is that the dominant teams of the past few years have been so boring to watch. The Spurs, Pistons, Mavericks, and just about every other contender outside of Phoenix seemed incredibly boring. Well, this year it's been a different story. More specifically, the Celtics are back!

After winning the regular season and getting acclaim and accolades, Kevin Garnett and Co. were hailed as championship contenders and virtual shoo-ins for the Finals (possibly against the Lakers no less). I tried to watch as many Celtic games as I could, even going so far as to schedule their nationally televised games into my Google Calendar. I bought McFarlane figures of Pierce, Garnett, and Ray-Ray for good luck. Everything was going swimmingly as the playoffs started.

Now, after three straight home wins for the lowly Atlanta Hawks, the Celtics are on the verge of being on the wrong end of the biggest playoff upset ever. Seriously. The team with the best record in the league could lose to a team that won just barely half as many games as they did. That's not just embarrassing, it's catastrophic. And it's not due to injury, unfairness, or bad officiating. The Celtics have been trying hard but they just can't seem to win.

For some reason, whenever I watch an important game and cheer on the team I want to win, they lose. It's as if all my other good life karma is turned upside down when I watch sports. So now the dilemma is if I should make the effort to wake up early and watch tomorrow's deciding game or not. Right now, since it's 4:51 AM (the game's in five hours) and I haven't slept, I'm leaning towards "No." Then again, if this is possibly the last Celtic game of the season, shouldn't I lend my support? Would it be better if I didn't watch since I'm like seriously cursed?

Should I have bigger life concerns to be worried about?

03 May 2008

Iron Man (2008)

On the short list of perfect marriages between actor and superhero, it's hard to say that Robert Downey Jr. and Iron Man wouldn't top the list. Hugh Jackman is Wolverine, albeit a really tall one, and technically speaking, Downey is probably shorter than Tony Stark, but height doesn't matter in movies. Screen presence does. Downey is amazing as Stark, it's that simple, but we knew he would be. More surprising was how fun Gwyneth Paltrow is as Pepper Potts, Stark's assistant. And it's wonderful to see Leslie Bibb get some movie love (I'm in the middle of watching Popular: Season 2).

Iron Man's been receiving rave reviews and I'd have to agree: it's easily the best comic book movie ever. And I say this with my chest still beating strong with love for the X-Men franchise. There's so many ways this movie could have gone wrong but it's awesome to see Jon Favreau come out on top with a pitch perfect blockbuster movie. This movie is so good that I find it hard to imagine how the sequels can match it. Downey has signed on for a trilogy so I guess we'll find out soon enough.

Also of interest: This is Marvel's first independently financed feature so they'll reap the rewards. I once owned a few hundred shares of Marvel stock at one dollar each. This was years ago when they were failing and on the verge of bankruptcy. Sadly, those shares were sold when my father passed away but it looks like now it's time to buy back in! How many shares can $100 buy me?