Saturday, August 23, 2008

More Information For All You Nerds

Do you love reading? So do I. Do you hate spending $8.99 on a novel that you'll read once at the most? Me, too. It seems that I've stumbled upon a solution, and it is at PaperBack Swap. Basically, you post 10 books that you have in your collection that you would be willing to mail to someone else. By doing so, you immediately earn 2 credits that you can use to get two books. I just created my account a half hour ago and I have a couple books headed to me already(One Hundred Years of Solitude and The Black Ice, in case you had an insatiable desire to know). Every time another member requests one of your books and you mail it over to them, that puts another credit into your account. So all you're paying is the postage necessary to mail one of your books. And it seems that books get requested pretty readily; 3 of my 10 posted books have already garnered interest(Lamb, The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove, and Bringing Down the House, in case you're a creepily curious curmudgeon).

Chances are, if you're a nerd, you already know about PaperBack Swap, but in case you don't, you're welcome. Join up and start reading! Help me take down Borders and slow the pace of Amazon's Kindle!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Videos That Are Quite Nerdy Indeed

Let's get this started. All of these videos relate to either sports, music, or video games. If you're looking for shoes, any book in the Twilight series, or Katie Holmes and her infatuation with her hubby's jeans, maximum efficiency would be achieved by moving on to a different page. For the rest of you, video 1 is below, and it is lights out.

I've been wanting to play a Madden-killer ever since the 2K series was obliterated, and while it's still in the early stages, it seems that Backbreaker could do some damage to EA's juggernaut. The most intriguing parts of the video are obviously the unbelievable variations and realism in the tackling animations. Indeed, the game is designed by NaturalMotion, and the physics engine that they developed is now in place for a football game. They claim that their engine yields a near-infinite amount of possible collisions in the game, and according to this post on, they could be correct. Watch the video again if you haven't already. Look at these hits! This is what collisions should look like when two incredibly powerful forces meet up. Even the slightest bits of contact are magnified because of how fast each man is running. Gorgeous. Here's hoping Backbreaker makes it past the development stage. Madden has run its course as far as I'm concerned.

I already wrote about Power Pros on The Lukeout, but this game is a blast. I don't care how kiddy the animation looks; it's deeper and more fun to play than pretty much every baseball game out there. Some things that I've seen in this game that I never see in others: Foul tips, broken bats, throwing and fielding errors, runners scoring from 2nd base on singles, larger hitting zones when a clutch batter is up with 2 outs and runners in scoring position, and a bullpen that you don't ever need to warm up. Plus, there is absolutely no motion tracking, which is saying something considering it's built for the Wii. That means you don't have to look like an idiot swinging a 5-inch "bat" in the depths of your basement. I finally have a solid sports game to play for the Wii, and I am giddy.

I absolutely love that we're starting to see some previews with a kick to them. Brad Pitt calling John Malkovich a dickwad is something that I will definitely pay to see. The Coen Brothers are making another comedy after rocking the Oscars a few months ago. From what the trailer revealed, this looks to be in the mold of The Big Lebowski rather than The Ladykillers. Good things.

Gov't Mule has been sitting atop my "Bands To See Live" list for about two years now. They just never seem to come to Chicago. But when they do, I'll be watching Warren Haynes rock out harder and better than any musician out there. How one man can play such sick lead guitar while at the same time cranking out vocals like that, I'll never figure out. This makes me realize that I am a big, fat waste of space when it comes to playing a guitar.

Just shut your mouth and watch this drummer. He's so good that he gets a rise out of "I've Seen It All and Also I Am Old As Balls" David Letterman. And also, take note that he creates that diverse sound with only two cymbals. Sick.

I miss Michael.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I'm Moving To Europe

Don't you hate it when you have money somewhere that you just can't get your hands on? Maybe it's still in the hands of an expiring relative, or better yet, in the hands of an online poker server. The following conversation is 100% real, and it took place roughly 5 minutes ago. It stars me and my new buddy Nelson. And for those who don't know, I'm moving to Europe to fine poker playing peace.

General Info:
Chat start time Aug 21, 2008 4:57:45 PM EST
Chat end time Aug 21, 2008 5:25:48 PM EST
Duration (actual chatting time) 00:28:02
Operator Nelson Hendricks
Chat Transcriptinfo: Please wait for a site operator to respond. You are currently customer 1 in queue. Thank you for your patience.

Hello, my name is Nelson Hendricks. How may I help you today?

You: Hi Nelson

Nelson Hendricks: Please bear with me while I look up your account details.....

You: I've requested a cashout twice, and both times the money was sent back into my account. The first request was on Fathers Day, over 2 months ago.

Nelson Hendricks: Before we can process your withdrawals we require you to provide a valid copy of your photo ID (Drivers License or Passport) and a hardcopy of a utility bill showing your name and address. This documentation will be requested once only. We accept withdrawals 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and we do our best to get your funds to you within 3-5 weeks, although due to current processor limitations, it may take a little longer. You may request a maximum of two withdrawals in a 24 hour period. The minimum withdrawal amount is $50. At present we can offer a check via either regular mail or express courier. Your first check request per calendar month will be free of charge. Subsequent requests will be subject to standard check-cutting fee depending on the method of sending ($20 for a check via mail, $40 for a check via courier). Should the address on file be a P.O. Box all checks will be sent via regular mail by default.On any withdrawal, we will first attempt to credit back to your card any funds that you have recently charged to that card. The rest of your winnings will be sent using the method of your choice.Only the 'earned' portion of any bonus funds will be available for withdrawal. The Cashier will advise you at the time you make your withdrawal whether you have fully earned any bonus funds awarded. If you proceed with the withdrawal, some or all the unearned bonus funds will be removed from your remaining V-chip balance.Your Personal Identification Number (PIN) is required before you can withdraw any funds from your account. It is a further step in securing that only you can access money in your account. This number was sent to you via email when you signed up.

You: Okay, a couple questions: first, I have cashed out before and did not need to disclose the ID and utility bill. Is this a new policy? And second, because I have requested 2 cashouts to no avail, have I been charged $40 two times over?

Nelson Hendricks: Yes it is a new policy imposed to us on July 22 by our new processors.
Nelson Hendricks: It is known as the KYC clause.

Nelson Hendricks: The new processors and their banks have to abide by the “KYC” international clause which requires that they show “proof” of an established relationship with our members.

Nelson Hendricks: The “KYC” or “Know your Customer” clause is a bank regulation that financial institutions and other regulated companies must perform to identify their clients and ascertain relevant information pertinent to doing financial business with them. Know your customer policies have becoming increasingly important globally to prevent identity theft fraud, money laundering and terrorist financing.

You: Okay. Fine. We definitely don't want to support the terrorists! But my first cashout request was in Mid-June, so I'm having a hard time believing it took over 5 weeks simply to process my request.

Nelson Hendricks: No, we had a lot of problem because of the US legislation against the financial institutions who help us to get the fund to our customers, we are working on getting new processor to get back to the same faster schedule we all prefer.

You: 10-4, good buddy. What about that $40 cashout request fee? Since I twice tried to cash out(and if memory serves, my past requests saw me get charged $40 immediately), have I been charged $80 to let my money wander aimlessly for over 2 months?

Nelson Hendricks: We will look further into that but right now we have to wait to get this funds to you as soon a possible then we will be able to talk to you about the compensation for you and those fees.

You: Sounds like a fantastic plan!

You: How do I go about sending my ID and utility bill? Will a fax suffice?

Nelson Hendricks: You can send a fax or an e-mail, let me give you the instructuions.

Nelson Hendricks: Please send the requested documents to 1800 201 4919 (++1-208-567-3627 if you are outside North America), or if it is more convenient you may scan your documents, attach them to an email, and send them to the following address: Please ensure that your customer ID number is prominent on the fax or subject line of the email. Please check the quality of your scan or fax to ensure that all information is fully legible. Once we have fully reviewed the documentation we will promptly email you with an update.

Nelson Hendricks: Is there anything else that I can assist you with?

You: I think that's gonna do it! Thanks for clearing things up, Nelson. You have been a solid, if gramatically ineffecient, help. Have a great rest of the week! USA! USA!

Nelson Hendricks: I appreciate that, I am sorry for the inconvenience.

And there we have it. What a complete joke of a policy. I have requested cashouts from this site in the past, and all have been successful. The players on the server are so laughably bad that I've been able to overlook the check request fees and awful software, but no longer. After I cash out, I am done with this particular poker site. Good God. Terrorist financing? Do they really have to type that in there? Who is using their measley $75 cashouts to fund terrorism?

It's been 2 months and counting since I first desired to bathe in my well-earned cash, and I still haven't caught a whiff of it. I can't think of anything else in this country that takes over 2 months to process. Can you? If so, please fill me in. I am completely baffled.

I'm moving to Sweden.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Horn Man

People are overly possessive about their music - I know I am.

Why is this? For most, it moves beyond just being music and becomes the soundtrack for life. The album that is playing the first time you're with a girl or driving to a concert becomes as important as the experience itself.

These moments are landmark, and the songs they are attached to are a tangible way to flashback and remember something simpler, something cherished. If you don't believe me, ask someone who's between 55-60 what "Sweet Caroline," "Bad Moon Rising," or "Crimson & Clover" means to them. I can guarantee they'll have a story for those songs. It just happens. Youth is sound-tracked by music.

For myself, and many others in my generation, the Dave Matthews Band is a gigantic part of my life. Last night a little of the luster was taken away, saxist and founding member LeRoi Moore passed away from complications to an earlier ATV accident.

I read it at 11:30pm, just after getting home from a movie. I went to a DMB forum I've been a member of for several years, and all I see is a picture of LeRoi. I knew what it meant and I felt my heart drop a little. I couldn't believe I was feeling bad about a person I've never met.

Panic quickly set in. Was that the end of the band - my band? Could it be the same again? Most casual fans don't know that it's LeRoi who takes Dave's guitar arrangements and turns them into the full-band arrangements we know. LeRoi is considered, by more than just DMB fans, to be one of the finest jazz saxists in the modern era. He was a part of the band I called my favorite and losing him actually hurt a little. Again, the possessiveness of music and bands...

Reading through the various DMB forums, it was obvious emotions were running a little hot. People talking about crying, asking where you were when "the music died" and not meaning Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper. People saying that DMB is not DMB without LeRoi and they should hang it up tonight. Others contradicting and saying that the band must play on - it's what he would have wanted. Some are saying they'll never be the same band, now DMB v2.0. But, all these people have nothing to do with the band personally. It just happens to be their favorite band and the death of its members is enough to throw them for a loop. This is the power of music, especially when music becomes so very personal.

The point here is, while we can feel bad, this needs to be placed into perspective. A man who was a titan of his instrument and a cornerstone to a beloved band passed away. Respect must be paid. Wether the band decides to hang it up (unlikely) or go out and play better music than ever (very likely) it is not any of our decisions. All we can do is say, "we're here no matter what and we'll miss the man playing the horn in his sunglasses - even if none of us knew him."

I just hope I get another night on Alpine's hillside and from now on get to watch my favorite band perform like madmen for their lost friend who's now forever hanging out at stage-left.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Usain is Insane

The 2008 Summer Olympics have been everything I hoped they would be. The Opening Ceremonies were fantastic. The United States seems to be a contender in everything. I think every world record has been shattered. Michael Phelps surpassed Spitz. I didn't think there would be much more to the games.

However, Last night I witnessed the greatest domination in sports history. Ever. It didn't come from Phelps and his eighth gold, or the U.S.A. men's basketball. It even surpasses Tiger's performances on the golf course, and Jordan on the basketball court.

Usain "Lightning" Bolt (awesome name) won the men's 100 meter dash, running it in 9.69 seconds. Now, that is a world record, so that's an achievement in itself. But the way in which he did it blows my mind.

Richard Thompson is at the bottom of this image, and he won the silver medal, running it in 9.89 seconds (fast). But that means he lost by two-tenths of a second, which is basically an hour in 100 meter times. But that's not the end of his dominance.

From left to right it goes Walter Dix (Bronze), Richard Thompson (Silver), and Usain Bolt (Gold). This is a good twenty meters before the race is over. He is so far ahead that he feels the need to do some trash talking before crossing the finish line. If he tried the entire race, 9.59 would've been a more realistic time. Unbelievable.

I think this is the best picture that captures how amazing it was. Notice how even the back of the field is. Why are they so even? Oh yeah, they're the fastest men in the world! Usain is making them look like high school track athletes.

It was the coolest thing I have ever seen in my twenty years on this planet.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Congratulations! You're a Teammate of Michael Phelps!

And look how happy you are! I can't blame you, that's for sure. I know if I had the chance to ride on the same bus and dress in the same locker room as Michael Phelps, I'd react in much the same way that you did in this photo. Wait, that celebration was because you won a gold medal in the 200 meter backstroke? Who are you again? Ryan...what is it?

Lochte? Can you say that again? I'm not sure I'm pronouncing it correctly.

You know what? Forget it. I don't care that much. So you're telling me that this moment of joy you're experiencing is in no way because of the great Michael Phelps, but because you won a gold medal of your own?

Wow. You sure are selfish.

I mean, it's not like you've trained your whole life to come to Beijing and establish yourself as one of the world's best, right? There's no way you're that dense. This is 2008, son! The year of Phelps! All of us back in the states were under the impression that the other U.S. swimmers are content to race in the anonymity that the shadow of Michael Phelps provides. Why can't you be the same way, Lochte? Huh? Why can't you be a team player? You know who really gets it? NBC Sideline Reporter Andrea Kremer. She always knows the important, relevant questions to ask. Here's a sample:

Andrea Kremer: Ryan Lochte, you won a gold medal in the 200 meter backstroke mere hours after saving 7 Chinese children from a burning recreation center. Also, you pledged any future endorsement money to the Unwed Golden Retriever Mothers of America. So tell me, Ryan, what exactly was on Michael Phelps' iPod this morning?

Ryan Lochte: Excuse me?

Andrea: What was on his iPod, Ryan?

Ryan: I...I'm not sure. I'm sorry.

Andrea: Well, if you had to guess?

Ryan: I really don't know. Public Enemy, maybe. Or Guns 'N Roses.

Andrea: Excellent. There you have it, America!

And that's how it's done! Thank you, NBC, for constantly reminding us, the idiotic American public, that we are indeed witnesses to history. We were unsure. If it weren't for you, we'd probably forget that the Olympics were even on television. We'd all likely grunt in our chairs and bash our remotes against our foreheads if it weren't for your constant stream of information.

Also, thank you for devaluing the unbelivable accomplishments of the rest of the United States swimmers. Thank you for making them all talk about Michael Phelps before and after their respective races. Thank you for never, ever, EVER ceasing to remind us that Michael Phelps is an American treasure, a dynamite swimmer, and perhaps the greatest Olympian to ever live. Thank you for making the rest of the athletes, who have worked their entire lives for the chance to make the most of this cruelly short period of time, talk about Phelps instead of their personal journey. Thanks, NBC. You douchebags.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I heart the Summer Olympics

I love the Olympics.

I love the storylines that I’ll forget about in two weeks, but right now are more dramatic than Shakespeare and Rasheed Wallace, combined.

I love fireworks. Seriously, they could have invaded Georgia with that much firepower.

I love the cracked-out buildings they created and the fact that they call them what they are, e.g., The Water Cube, The Bird’s Nest.

I love Michael Phelps. I don’t care if he gets all eight medals. What everyone is going to remember is him screaming (like your mom, giggity) as his teammate chased down the overconfident French to steal a gold away.

Speaking of the French, I love that they will never win a medal in fencing because they always surrender before the match starts. Ba-dum-dum.

I love watching sports that I didn’t know were sports. 40mm air pistols? It’s hard not get a medal when seven other people in the world compete in your event.

I love watching G.W.B. get all hot and bothered around Team USA beach volleyball. He was back at Yale with girls in bikinis. Fantastic.

I love Bob Costas.

I love that I have another week and a half of basketball, soccer, wrestling, track, gymnastics and all the other Olympics goodness NBC and their thirteen affiliates have in store.

Man, I Can't WAIT to Get Old!!

I always want to laugh at this commercial, but I stop myself because of the fear that King Karma will come enlarge my prostate while I'm helplessly sleeping. As funny as this constantly peeing old man is, there is another Avodart commercial that's even better. It stars a middle-aged man whose vocation is to shrink objects from outer space and put them on display. He realizes that his going problem is, in fact, a growing problem. Taking a cue from his hilarious job, he then asks his doctor, "How can I shrink it?"

On my list of things I never, ever want to say to a doctor, "How can I shrink it?" easily cracks my Top 3.

It seems to me that the inaugural prostate exam is the point in a man's life where he stops simply living and he starts trying to juke away from death like Barry Sanders on astroturf. Before that first prostate exam, words like 'rectal,' 'sphincter,' and 'poopchute' are gut-busting. But afterwards, they are horrifying reminders that death is already whispering sweet nothings into his ears. Needless to say, I'm not looking forward to prostate exam #1.

Nor am I looking forward to the possibility of taking Avodart and enduring its side effects. The most noticeable ones are sexual side effects(which I'm assuming is a new and profound attraction to other men) and tenderness or swelling of the breasts. That means that once I've asked my doctor "How can I shrink it?" I'll have to go back and ask him to shrink my jiggly man boobs. Great.

2, 4, 6, 9, I Have to Have NHL '09!

Sorry about the title. My creativity is currently paralyzed because of the miraculous news I just read on Here's the article, and below is the video describing the new feature to the game. In the words of Christopher Mintz-Plasse, "I have a boner."

Some highlights of the video:

-A black guy with an Edmonton jersey named Bill Cosby is tearing up the league. Hilarious.
-You can have up to 50 friends on the same squad, or "guild." If 24 of them are online at one time, that means your guild can play 4 simultaneous 6-on-6 games and score some major points for your squad. Effing awesome.
-The game rewards knowing your role and playing as a team. Playing pee-wee hockey will get you nowhere. It's what I like to call "the swarm strategy," in which everyone just skates after the puck no matter where they are on the ice. Your team will lose, and your individual player will be marked down.

This is incredible. I recently wrote on The Lukeout that I was a bit upset with Microsoft. But now it appears that I'll have to go ahead and repair my 360 just to get this game. Damn you, EA!! You have revealed me to be a fraud! I mean, what am I supposed to do, buy a PS3? Nobody has a PS3 other than Dan, and he is garbage! All my cool friends have a 360. Thus, I will get it repaired simply for the chance to play NHL '09.

And in the words of Christopher Mintz-Plasse, "It's in!"

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Enough Already!

Before I tuck myself in every evening, I need me some Baseball Tonight. It's a fantastic program, especially when Karl, Krukkie, and Timmy K are all behind the desk.

It goes without saying that irritation sets in when I catch the program just as Web Gems is running. I missed my nightly recap! Oh well, at least I have SportsCenter. If I have to stare at Linda Cohn to get my highlights, then so be it. She's gotten much better as she's aged, which should be every woman's goal. I wouldn't have predicted it, I must say. I mean, did you see her a few years ago? Let me see if I can scare up a photo...

Linda Cohn, 1994. Yeesh.

But as I was saying, I needed my baseball highlights. Alas, I quickly came crashing down when I realized that it was 11:40 PM Central Time. 20 minutes of NFL Live was upon me. Now, don't get me wrong. I love me some Trey, Golic, and Merril. But this is the offseason. I don't care that Romo loves T.O., or that Chad Johnson is a fantastic teammate, or that John Clayton in HD haunts my dreams(if you close your eyes while he's talking, it's much better. He really is the best) Plus, a certain retirement tease has been in the news lately.

Lo and behold, I get 20 minutes of Brett Favre. But I pushed through it, as all champions do. And finally, after an interminable wait, SportsCenter is here! And Linda's with me tonight! Grease me up! Let's do this!

...And of course, the first 8 minutes are all Brett Favre. And every piece of coverage on him is something that I JUST FREAKING WATCHED on NFL Live.

Seriously, enough is enough. I can't take it anymore. What is the deal with SportsCenter and their need to push off-the-field stories into my face night after night? Good lord, don't they have focus groups? Is this what the masses really want to know? Do we need gossip in every single facet of our lives? I just want to watch highlights!

Hey ESPN, I LOVE SPORTS! I love collisions, loose balls, hanging curves, 100 MPH slapshots, diving catches, hustle plays, and little things! I don't care about Chad Johnson's new 'tude or Brett Favre's red Escalade. I don't. Sorry. If they're not making plays, it's not worth knowing.

That's why I love Baseball Tonight. Welcome to the show. Here are some highlights before we even introduce ourselves. That's how it should be. And it gets less than two hours of programming per night. Meanwhile, SportsCenter, that intolerable Hollywood hussy, is on ESPN roughly nine hours each day. Can you explain to me how this makes sense?

Oh wait, I have to go. They're about to tell me what Favre had for dinner.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

A Month at the Movies: JULY 08

Well, July just ended and the month was filled with some good movies, some bad movies, and one Oscar worthy performance. Now since this is my first set of reviews, I find it necessary to tell you what you need to know:

1. I am always right.
2. I am not biased in any way. Although I may be looking forward to seeing some movies more than others, there is nothing more overrated in film than trailers. I go into each movie with an open mind.
3. Each movie will be given anything between 0 and 5 stars.
4. Unless you want to start sending me money, I will not see every movie that comes out in the respective month. I try, but I’m poor.
5. Along with each review will be a Most Valuable Performance (MVP) and Least Valuable Performance (LVP).

Let the games begin.

The Dark Knight 5 Stars
Wow. The second Batman picture under the direction of Christpher Nolan does not disappoint. Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and the brilliant Heath Ledger join the cast with Christian Bale keeping his role as the “Dark Knight.”
I’m not giving you a summary. Go see it right now.
MVP: Heath Ledger: The all-star cast, amazing script, and superb special effects make this a great movie. Add Heath Ledger as the Joker and it’s the best of the year. I hear Oscar calling.
LVP: Katie Holmes: Oh, wait!!! She wasn’t in this one!!!

Felon 3 Stars
Having never been to prison before (I’m cool like that), I can’t honestly claim that this movie showed everybody the “true” part of prison life. However, I can say that Felon showed a non-fairytale side of prison, and that scares me to death. After watching it, you will never want to step foot in a jail.
Stephen Dorff plays Wade Porter, a family man who basically gets F’d in the A by the judicial system. After being accused for involuntary manslaughter, he experiences the hell that is prison life. With insane inmates and two-faced prison gaurds, he has basically no chance of getting out alive (seems a little too extreme for me). The acting is sub-par in parts, and the story itself literally seems “unbelievable,” but the movie was an entertaining watch and Val Kilmer as John Smith brings a huge amount of power to the film.
MVP: Val Kilmer: You can’t tell its him. You just get more and more into his character.

Hancock 3 Stars
Hancock had the horrible luck of being made during superhero uproar. It was a good movie, although I thought the script could’ve been better in places, but being among Iron Man and now The Dark Knight, it seemed to fade off in the crowd.
Will Smith created an excellent character in Hancock, but unfortunately, he saved this movie. Jason Bateman didn’t seem to compliment Smith well, and even though I love Charlize Theron, I thought she was a poor person to cast. The basic plot is, superhuman Hancock is bad, then sad, then good, then human, then superhuman again, then good because he’s bad. The End.
MVP: Will Smith: Comedic one-liners are delivered by no one better.
LVP: All-star cast: They should’ve built around Smith instead of adding Bateman and Theron

Mamma Mia! 1½ Stars
Meryl Streep’s a slut. Men singing and dancing with other men. 50 year old women acting like seventeen year olds. Bubblegum songs from the 70’s. This movie had no chance.
With her wedding day just around the corner, Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) wants to finally know who her father is so he can walk her down the aisle. Unfortunately, her mom’s sluttish ways has left her with three possibilities. Story seems simple enough, right? I’m sure that’s happened before in this world. But then all hell breaks loose. She invites them all to her wedding (weird), they all reminisce about how awesome it was to bang Maryl Streep (gross), and I hate to give it a way, but the movie ends with a series of quotes going something like, “I’ll be a third of Sophie’s life.” I almost threw up just writing that. Oh, and Pierce Brosnan sings. Thought you’d wanna know.
MVP: Amanda Seyfried: This “mean girl” is an extremely underrated actress and has without a doubt the best voice of the cast. She gave this movie 1 of the 1½ stars.
LVP: Pierce Brosnan: He is most likely the worst actor ever. Let’s make him sing too!!!

Meet Dave ½ Star
I want to kill Dave Ming Chang. This movie is guaranteed to be on my worst of 2008 list. The only reason I gave it half a star was because it is, in fact, a movie. That’s all it has going for it.
It’s the basic alien/end of the world movie where all life in the universe revolves around a little ball (which also stresses the message of “little people can do big things.” So cute). So the story in itself means nobody under the age of eight will enjoy this movie. However, it doesn’t stop there. The acting, effects, and “jokes” were all terrible, and I couldn’t tell if I hated Eddy Murphy’s “European” accent (Captain) more, or his alien mumbling (Dave). So, in the end, nobody under three years old should ever even consider watching this.
MVP: Elizabeth Banks: Hot
LVP: Everything else

Step Brothers 4 Stars
It’s a Will Ferrell movie. People who are expecting something different are dumb. It was hilarious. It was Ferrell’s best since Anchorman.
If you saw the trailer at all, you probably know the whole movie. That’s not the point. Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly play old step brothers who hate each other, then figure out that they are completely alike, which makes them best friends. Whatever normal step siblings would argue and fight about is in this movie, but the siblings are 40 year old men. And since the film is rated R, somewhat normal situations are made funnier with unnecessary F bombs and a certain lead characters testicles. An overall great movie.
MVP: Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly: Easy Choice. They are a great comedic duo.
LVP: It’s a Will Ferrell movie: Although that is what makes it so good, it has limitation to how good it can be.

The Wackness 2 Stars
It’s an independent film trying too hard to be an independent film. Director Jonathan Levine was probably thinking he was being “deep” and brilliant, but this has all been done before.
In 1994, Luke Shapiro (Josh Peck) is New York’s drug dealer who is trying to figure out who he is. In 1994, aging Dr. Squires (Ben Kingsly) just wants to be a kid again. In 1994, the two become best friends, who smoke pot and save each others lives. Oh in case you didn’t know, this movie takes place in 1994. I think they wanted you to know that which is kind of hard to do because that was barely ten years ago. The Wackness drags on and by the end you feel like you wasted 30 hours of your life.
MVP: Mary-Kate Olsen playing a hippie: It’s about time.
LVP: Josh Peck talking: All I heard was him bitching about how much it sucks to be alive. Keep on crying. I hear it helps.

Friday, August 1, 2008

A Very Special Sit-Down With Ryan Braun

I consider myself to be an avid sports fan. I like to think that I'm well-versed in the fields of baseball, basketball, football, and hockey. I know more than the average bear. With that intro, I can now say with full confidence that Ryan Braun is one of the most aggravating star athletes currently circulating the quaint little Chicagoland bubble that I've built for myself.

Needless to say, I thought it would be a virtual impossibility to convince Braun to sit down in an interview with me(especially after such an atrocious showing in the recent 4-game beatdown the Cubs just put on his Brewers. But lo and behold, here he is!

Luke: Hi Ryan, thanks for taking the time. I know it must be difficult to meet with me after such a tough 4 game set against the Cubs.

Braun: Well, to be honest, I wasn't all that affected by the losses. I've always felt that my personal performance trumps any team outcomes that come into play.

Luke: Fantastic perspective! Wow, what a refreshing take on team sports!

Braun: On the contrary. Baseball is a highly individual game. I'm constantly on an island, whether it's at the plate or in the out in the outfield.

Luke: Out in the outfield?

Braun: Yes. I know it sounds stupid, but I said it and I can't take it back. Let it go.

Luke: Little testy today, are we, Ryan? Ok, let's move on. So if you're an individually-minded player, can you explain your decision to TWICE try for bunt singles in one game against the Cubs? That seems to be a team-minded strategic maneuver.

Braun: Yes, I can easily explain that. You see, I'm an idiot.

Luke: I'm slightly confused. Can you please elaborate?

Braun: Certainly! You see, I tried to bunt for singles despite the fact that my team counts on me to be a run producer. My batting average is .301, and I have 29 bombs and 82 RBIs.

Luke: Very solid numbers. I must confess that you're on my fantasy team. It doesn't seem to me that you should be bunting. Like, ever.

Braun: Yes, precisely. But you see, after Prince hit a bomb and woke up the Brewers fans for the first time in the game, I thought to myself, "Ryan, you know what would really push this crowd to another level? A bunt single!"

Luke: And then you popped your bunt up to Geovany Soto.

Braun: Unfortunately, I don't often get the chance to practice my bunting.

Luke: Brilliant. Oh, and I just noticed your great forearm tattoo!

Braun: Oh, you did? I'm so glad! As you know, I like to embrace my individuality, and I just love the personalization that tattoos can give you. Right? You gonna leave me hanging here?

Luke: I actually don't really understand what you mean. I personally don't have any tattoos. But if I did, I likely wouldn't go in the direction you did. I mean, the color choice and the phrasing of your tattoo are downright perplexing.

Braun: Well, I'm pretty sure that the tattoo is short for "Dimebag," which is totally fine with me. I'm no Josh Howard, but I sure do love to light up the ganj. Plus, I sometimes enjoy listening to Pantera, so the tattoo has a nice little double meaning for me.

Luke: I'm pretty sure there's a third meaning to it as well.

Braun: What do you mean?

Luke: Never mind. Nice diving attempt on Fukudome's line drive. It's not like that decision completely screwed over Ben Sheets and changed the course of the entire series and likely the season. Fantastic job. And if you ever try to bunt for a single again, I swear to The Talented Mr. Roto that I will trade you straight up for Paul Konerko and feel good doing it. You suck. Ladies and gentlemen, Mister Ryan Braun!