Monday, December 31, 2007

"The Price is Wrong, Bitch!"

Quick notes since The Price is Right just came on TV:
1. Drew Carey is no Bob Barker.
2. When the four contestants bid to enter a game, they bring out an item and the bidder closest to the price without going over wins. The fourth bidder, therefore, has a competitive advantage because they can bid $1 and will win if everyone else is over. The third bidder at this moment just bid $1200, then the fourth bid $1199, i.e. she literally has no chance to win unless the price is specifically $1199. Am I the only one that gets annoyed watching this type of behavior?!?

Welcome to the 21st Century.

Let us pause for a brief moment of silence to thank God for my parents' new acquisition of DSL, where they will no longer play victim to the perils and heinous waiting times of dial-up, re-acquire use of their telephone, and operate at about 5,000 times their previous efficiency. Bravo!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Rocket - *?

Roger Clemens posted a video in defense of the Mitchell Report statements:


I have mixed feelings on the statements made about the Rocket in the Mitchell report. Clemens is a Longhorn, a former Astro, and a general fixture of Houston, the city I grew up in, not to mention I met him once (I'm pretty sure I did, at least) since his house was next to that of one of my middle school classmates growing up.

Did Clemens take steroids? I don't necessarily think it matters since the Mitchell report was comprised of "statements," not "accusations." So what this situation amounts to, as has been mentioned in the media, is a smear campaign of sort that has no impact on anything but his legacy, which is obviously important to him.

When I first saw the report, I was happily surprised to see that Alex Rodriguez wasn't present on the list. Then I thought, is A-Rod just that much of a talented freak of nature that he can be totally uninvolved in all the roid-rage and still be better than everyone else?

I'm not sure if Clemens used steroids, and no one will ever know for sure, in my opinion. But one thing that we do know for sure is that baseball over the last 15-20 years has a gigantic asterisk looming over it. It's hard to see one player singled out like Roger, but also unsurprising given his historical feats. It'll be interesting to see if he can refute the statements made against him, and what lengths he'll be willing to go through to make that happen.

If there is one thing I can say for The Rocket, it's that unlike other roid-accused peers, he never went through a phase of turning from a shrimp into a bulging giant (see Exhibit A: Barry Bonds and the gigantic head). Plus Roger was a dominating pitcher in the period of time before he supposedly started used steroids. In his case, the "right in front of your face" evidence does not stack against him like it does for others, and for what it's worth, I hope he didn't do it.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

In Rainbows Boxed Set Pictures.

The people demanded pics, so I oblige...

What you're looking at when you get it:

After you remove the grey sleeve, you get this:

...Which folds out into this. On the right are the two CDs (a bonus CD with previously unheard music came with this, that I mentioned yesterday) with a large lyric book. The left and right sides have the two LPs. The left side has a large book of artwork.

Sometimes it pains me thinking about how much Radiohead rules.


Friday, December 21, 2007

Cold Air.

There is something particularly enjoyable about driving a sports car in cold weather. With steam coming out of my mouth and hands shaking, when I turn the key on my Vette, the growl emitted from the 4 tailpipes is raspier, meaner. With throttle application the same sentiments are accentuated, and once I’m rolling, even more so. The combination of slightly increased power (colder air = denser = stronger combustion) and less traction (cold rubber and concrete = less traction) gives me a much greater sensation of power through the gas pedal, available in all gears.

It’s a shame that I’m so addicted to Vettes and sports cars in general. Life would be much easier and money would be much less wasted if I were content to drive around a Chevy Aveo or something of the sort. But then, life would also be less interesting...


The First Listen.

Yesterday I got my "In Rainbows" boxed set in the mail. Well worth the $90, to say the least. The package is impressive. I'll try to get some pics up later, although they are all over the internet already, I'm sure.

What has me perplexed at the current moment is the unique experience of listening to a new album from your favorite band for the first time (the boxed set came with an "In Rainbows II" album, with 8 other tracks I've never heard). For me, listening to music is a powerful experience that grabs hold of my soul and squeezes tightly, so it's odd that when I listen to a Radiohead album for the first time, I'm almost "zoned out," like I can't believe it's actually happening. But I never forget the first listen. It morphs in my mind over time from and event that was a bit unbelievable to one that takes on mythical proportions. The first time I heard "OK Computer" I was in a Best Buy parking lot in Houston, TX, in my 1987 Dodge Ram Charger with Alpine head unit and Eclipse speakers mounted in mini-boxes in the rear seats (the Dodge had no rear speakers from the factory); I put the album in, and I'll never forget the first crack of electric guitar that struck my ears from "Airbag," telling me that the album was a different animal than "The Bends."

I wonder how I'll reflect on this one years from now.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Watch Watch.

Lately I’ve become somewhat infatuated with watches. This sounds somewhat ridiculous because until 6 months ago I never even wore watches on any sort of consistent basis. I have discovered at this point that’s for two main reasons: 1. The only watch I had at that time, although I like it, has a bracelet that pinches hairs on my wrist when I wear it, so it’s sort of an annoying experience to wear it. 2. Said watch is a pretty good watch, but it’s not a watch that I love. Those who know me know I’m the type of guy who’s really passionate about things. I am typically borderline obsessive (see: cars), passionately negative (see: most top-40), or purposefully indifferent. So you can imagine that in the case of a watch, or “man jewelry” as some on the internet would say, I’m not likely to wear it often unless I’m really into it.

My wedding band is red gold. Somehow, months ago, I became someone fixated on the idea of getting a watch that matched my wedding band, so I began eyeballing red/rose gold watches (brief editorial note: gold is “yellow.” There are variations including red/pink/rose which have varying degrees of silver and copper mixed in which give the gold a general copper-color hue, which I love. I have discovered that although my wedding band is called red gold, most of the time this color is referred to as “rose” gold, although it means the same thing). I shortly discovered that watches made with solid rose gold are hellishly expensive. However, on, I discovered a wide variety of watches that are rose-gold plated. After a couple months of deliberation, I wound up purchasing a skeleton watch by Stuhrling with automatic movement, rose-gold plating, and a black leather strap. And I must say, the watch has exceeded my expectations and I actually like it quite a bit. I’ll get to the gripes in a moment, but I wear it every day, unless I’m wearing one of the other watches I bought – a Fossil with a brown strap to match brown shoes or a white Casio G-Shock to accompany gym clothes. The gist, though, is that I now wear a watch all the time.

Here’s the thing about the Stuhrling, which I wear the majority of the time: for starters, the watch was well worth the price for the materials and craftsmanship. In other words, the watch was on the order of $150 and it has real gold plating, self-winding movement, etc. That’s not a lot of money for a lot of functionality. As far as materials are concerned, though, the crystal isn’t of supremely high quality, unsurprisingly. In almost any light condition I can detect imperfections in the crystal, which amount to “cloudy lines” here and there, which are annoying. For the movement, I was actually shocked and surprised to see the second hand “swoop” through the dial Rolex-style when I first fired it up, as opposed to “ticking.” However, the pendulum on the back of the case, which is behind the kinetic powering of the watch, apparently doesn’t do a well enough job of powering the watch under normal wear. In practice, I actually have to physically wind the watch on a daily basis using the knob on the right of the case, until I see the wound spring in the skeletal movement get tight enough to know the watch will be okay for the rest of the day. This problem isn’t the end of the world by any means, but it’s a gentle reminder that my watch isn’t exactly the highest quality piece.

Regardless, I’m still a big fan of my Stuhrling and can without hesitation say that based on my experience, I’d recommend this brand (from Overstock) to anyone looking for a well-presented, perfectly functional watch that looks great. On the same token, I’ve become incredibly intrigued by the concept of watch craftsmanship, movement, and rarity. It’s fascinating to me, for example, that many watches like Rolex, Omega, Hublot, Tag, etc. simply do not lose much value over their life span. Plus, if you never want to get your money out of it, at some point in your life you can pass the piece down as a family heirloom, and it carries the sentimental value. A messageboard I often frequent had a heated debate about whether a watch is worth more than $500, the conceptual argument being that watch movements are mostly similar, and otherwise you’re just paying for name and/or materials (gold, platinum, etc.). Ultimately, there is no argument to be had here since value is in the eye of the beholder and if a watch sells for $20,000, it’s because the purchaser simply valued the materials and craftsmanship of that piece at that price; it’s really no different than those that spend excessive amounts of money on Lamborghinis, diamonds, speed boats, etc.

So, I’m thinking about buying a Patek Phillipe because they are only $20,000 and I think that it would be a good investment for…admit it, I had you going there for a second!

Seriously, though, clearly I don’t have the money for something like that nor do I personally value one watch for that much money, especially since I’m obsessive about matching and could probably never pull off just one. However, I have become intrigued enough by the craftsmanship and materials to start watching the prices on some watches that have solid red/rose gold in their construction, and hopefully I’ll be able to save up and pick up one such example in a year or so. I figure that if I’m still this interested by the time I’ve saved up the money, the purchase will make sense and it will have been well-thought out.

Leggo My Preggo!

Britney Spears' 16-year old sister, Jamie Lynn, is now pregnant.

"It was a shock for both of us, so unexpected," she said. "I was in complete and total shock and so was he."

She continued, "I mean, I didn't know that having sex is how babies are made. I'm only a sophomore in High School, people, give me a freakin' break. I haven't taken that class yet."

Casey Aldridge, the father, was found toilet-papering a friend's house for comment. "I think I'm ready for this. I mean, I just got my license and now I'm banging a rich chick so my life is pretty much taken care of - hey, who are you? Turn off that recorder!"

If everything goes according to schedule, Jamie Lynn's 17-year-old beaver will be appearing on gossip websites in approximately 1 year, setting a new record for underage debauchery.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Inspired By "The Dark Knight."

Walking down a dark alley bring feelings of brooding and loneliness, accentuated by the incessant drops falling from the gutters, mercilessly hammering the ground below, slowing eroding the surface. The moonlight beams down upon me at a 30-degree angle, elongating my shadow, intriguing me to ponder what life would be like if I were taller and thinner. If my arms and cape were longer, I could glide for longer, maybe forever; I’d fly through the night casting my gigantic shadow on the ground below, reminding criminals that I’m everywhere, watching, waiting…

Absolute Jibberish.

Something tells me that
Without further explanation
You can see further than
You previously thought you could
But in case by chance
You have a moment of revelation
Sufficient to bring you further clarity
Instead of banging your head against the wall
You’d instead bang the wall against your head.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

"Le Sigh."

Today I went to the Cowboys game, which also happened to be my first live professional football game. I have few words to say other than "shit" and "freaking Brian Westbrook." TWM has been extolling his virtues for a while and now I understand why. What took his mastery of the game today totally over the top was his final play, a potential walk-in touchdown that he decided to knee on the one-yard line to guarantee his team's win (as opposed to allowing the possibility for a quick drive by Dallas followed by an on-side kick, etc.).

Otherwise, bravo to the Cowboys' defense today, who were rock-solid for the most part. Honestly, I'm curious to hear some feedback from those that saw the game on TV today - was the Eagles' defense that perfect today, was Romo off, were our receivers just not "on"? Because I haven't seen our offense look that gimpy all season.

The official "to polish a turd" comment on this game is that the 'Boys needed to lose a close one like that. Twice already this season they've pulled games out of their asses that they had no right to win, so hopefully this game taught them that a hungry opponent (especially one with a grudge against a former player) isn't just going to hand over a victory.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Is This True?

I’ve complained about Rolling Stone’s liberal BS in the past (though I will forever subscribe for occasional music-related bits I enjoy, so ultimately it’s “shame on me”) and recently wrote about interesting articles I read in the last of the 40th Anniversary Issues. This month’s RS featured letters to the editor regarding a few of the articles, and the one that popped out at me was from a person complaining about the fact that despite featuring noted environmentalists, including now Nobel-Prize-Winning Al Gore, not one of them mentioned the fact that global meat production’s negative impacts on the environment are even worse that those produced by the sum of auto manufacturers.

I plead ignorance: is this true? I’ve seen and read a lot about global warming, especially endless railing against auto manufacturers, ever-increasingly stringent CAFÉ standards, etc. But not once have I ever seen mentioned that meat production has such a drastically negative impact on the environment. Is this true? Can someone send me a link to this so I can learn more about it? If it is true, how come the first time I’d ever heard of it was in a letter to the editor of Rolling Stone?

Note, I’m not going to turn vegetarian either way, just as I’m not going to stop driving my 400-hp sports car that happens to get 30 mpg on the freeway. For now, I just want to be informed.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Conquer the Night.

On the way to work this morning I popped in Deftones' White Pony and blasted one of my favorite songs, which is especially powerful at night. If you don't have the song "Digital Bath" somewhere in your inventory, go get it:

You move
Like I want to
To see
Like your eyes do
We are...downstairs
Where no one can see
New life
Break away
Tonight...I feel like more
Tonight I...

We make the water warm
You taste
And I know
You can see
The cord
Break away
Cause tonight...I feel like more
Tonight...I feel like more
Feel like more

You breathed - then you stop
I breathed - and drive you off

And tonight I...feel like more...