Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!!

I hope everyone has a wonderful, safe, and happy New Year! I don't ever remember being kissed on New Year's at midnight and I'm sure tonight will be no different. I want to know what happened to you at midnight on this New Year and I'll post the same sometime tomorrow...

BCS Bowl Picks

Here's my picks for the last five games of the college football year. I'll write a recap after the season has concluded on January 7th.

January 1st: Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs. Oregon
Pick: Oregon
Comments: Should be an interesting match up. Going with the Ducks, I like their uniforms better.

January 1st: Sugar Bowl: Florida vs. Cincinnati
Pick: Florida
Comments: It pains me to pick Florida but it won't break my heart if they lose. I wouldn't mind to see Tim Teabag cry one more time.

January 4th: Fiesta Bowl: Boise State vs. TCU
Pick: TCU
Comments: Picking and rooting for the Horney Frogs.

January 5th: Orange Bowl: Iowa vs. Georgia Tech
Pick: Iowa
Comments: Yawn. The least intriguing BCS bowl. I really don't care who wins, though I'm picking Iowa since I know more about their team.

January 7th: BCS Championship Game: Alabama vs. Texas
Pick: Texas
Comments: This pick is tough! I kind of expect Alabama to win but I've got to root for the Big 12 team. Texas pretty much walked all over everyone this year with the exception of Nebraska in the Big 12 Championship Game. I think the game will be close and will come down to a fantastic finish.

That's it. It's a great time of year for college sports, second only the the NCAA Basketball Tourney.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know what you think.

College Football Bowl Picks Week 3

I did a little better on picks for week 2 but still not great. Here are the rest of my bowl picks. I'm saving the BCS Bowl games for a separate post in a day or two.

December 31st: Armed Forces Bowl: Houston vs. Air Force
Pick: Houston
Comments: Houston will have too much offense for Air Force to handle.

December 31st: Sun Bowl: Oklahoma vs. Stanford
Pick: OU
Comments: I'm probably going to regret this pick but I'm going with the dreaded Swooners of Oklahoma. They've had a lot of injuries this year; however, all of their loses have been close. Brut sponsers the Sun Bowl? That's kind of funny.

December 31st: Texas Bowl: Navy vs. Missouri
Comments: Missouri rebounds from a disappointing season with a bowl win.

December 31st: Insight Bowl: Minnesota v. Iowa State
Pick: Iowa State
Comments: Sticking with the Big 12 on this one.

December 31st: Chick-Fil-A Bowl: Virginia Tech vs. Tennessee
Pick: Virginia Tech
Comments: Easy pick. I saw Alabama and Tennessee play in the Peach Bowl a million years ago.

January 1st: Outback Bowl: Northwestern vs. Auburn
Pick: Auburn
Comments: Should be an easy win for Auburn.

January 1st: Capital One Bowl: Penn St. vs. LSU
Pick: LSU
Comments: I hate to pick Les Miles' team, he's such a d-bag.

January 1st: Gator Bowl: Florida St. vs. West Virginia
Pick: West Virginia
Comments: Florida St. has had a terrible year. Adios Bowden, you won't be missed.

January 2nd: Internation Bowl: South Florida vs. Northern Illinois
Pick: South Florida
Comments: Really? A bowl game in Canada? That's kind of cool.

January 2nd: Bowl: Connecticut vs. South Carolina
Pick: South Carolina
Comments: Going with the Gamecocks... He he, I said cock.

January 2nd: Cotton Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Mississippi
Pick: OSU
Comments: Obviously the game I'm most excited about being a Cowboy's fan. Most of the "experts" are picking Ole Miss. They can suck it. The Pokes will avenge their 2004 Cotton Bowl loss to Ole Miss and give Oklahoma State a rare 10 win season. I hope.

January 2nd: Liberty Bowl: East Carolina vs. Arkansas
Pick: Arkansas
Comments: I don't know a lot about East Carolina and I kind of like Arkansas.

January 2nd: Alamo Bowl: Michigan State vs. Texas Tech
Pick: Tech
Comments: I'm going with Tech's high powered offense even though it looks like they'll be without the evil genius for the game, head coach Mike Leach.

January 6th: GMAC Bowl: Troy vs. Central Michigan
Pick: Central Michigan
Comments: Going with the experts on this one. Why is this bowl played so late in the season?

Current record 6-9 (I should work for ESPN)
Agree? Disagree? Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Stephanie Plum Quotes II

I finished the sixth book in the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich, "Hot Six". I laughed my ass off last night and today reading the book. I think "Hot Six" is probably the funniest entry in the series I've read so far. At this rate I'll be caught up to book fifteen in no time. Here are some funny excerpts from the book I took down as I was reading:

"I've got to get back to the office," Vinnie said. "I've got stuff to do."
Talk to his bookie, play with his gun, shake hangs with Mr. Stumpy.

"Rollswagon." Stephaine's second car in the book after the demise of her car due to a fire. Half Rolls Royce and half Volkswagon!

"Shamu with wheels." The '53 Buick that Stephanie always ends up driving in every book due to a knack at killing her cars.

On Ranger: "The well-dressed urban commando. I could guarantee that any man facing him in a blind alley would have an empty scrotum, his most prized possessions gone north."

Stephaine asking her mother if she ever had dessert before dinner: "She looked at me dumbfounded. As if I'd asked whether she ritually sacrificed cats every Wednesday at the stroke of midnight."

"I wish I had a movie of you wrestlin' with this guy," Lula said. "It reminds me of that joke about the midget at the nudist colony who kept sticking his nose in everyone's business."

"No pickled beets for me," Myron said. "They give me the runs. I don't know what it is, you get old and everything gives you the runs."
Something to look forward to.

"I want you to leave the guns in the car."
"These are Trekkies we're dealing with. They could put the Vulcan death grip on us."

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Link of Interest (6)

Zelda Reorchestrated is a project devoted to remaking all of the songs from the hit video game series "The Legend of Zelda" to sound like they were being played by live musicians.

"At Zelda Reorchestrated, we are committed to lush symphonic performances of the greatest songs from The Legend of Zelda™ as they would have sounded with the warm halls and intimate expression of a live philharmonic.

We do not seek profit or fame. We simply love Zelda and wish to share its inspiration on all of us with all of you."

As a video game fan (and Nintendo fan and Zelda fan) I think this is cool as hell. Check out the site and the music they've redone.

Other orchestrated classic video game music can be found all over the web. Here is a Super Metroid medley, performed by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra at the Orchestral Game Concert in 1994.

Official Book Club Selection

I finished reading "Official Book Club Selection: A Memoir According to Kathy Griffin" last night. I've wanted to buy the book since it's release but I figured I would get it as a Christmas gift, and sure enough I did. Kathy Griffin, for those who do not know, is a comedian, actress, Emmy Award winner, and star of her own Bravo reality series, My Life on the D-list.

Her book is exactly what I thought it would be and a little more. I knew there would be plenty of dish from Kathy about celebrities she's met throughout her career. It's become a staple of her routine the last few years. What I didn't expect was more detail about her personal life, specifically details about her childhood and her suspicions about her brother being a pedophile. Of course other details of her personal life that were very public in past years also made an appearance in her book. She writes about her near death experience with plastic surgery and her really bizarre break with her husband.

The Good: The dish. I love reading her take on celebrity gossip, it's hilarious and cutting. I also enjoyed reading about some of her more controversial moments from the "suck it Jesus" Emmy Awards speech to her joke about Dakota Fanning that started a shit storm around town.

The Bad: The chapter about her friendship with Steve Wozniak. The format of the chapter was a series of email discussion between Kathy and Steve. I found it to be a little boring and tedious. I'm just not that interested in Steve Wozniak.

The Ugly: Some of the old pictures in the book. There are some body views of her disastrous liposuction procedure and it's pretty gruesome.

I know Kathy Griffin can be a little hard to take, her humor is biting and sometimes way out on the edge. I recommend the book if you're a fan of her work or if you're gay. Are those two things mutually exclusive? Suck it Jesus!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Sunday Funday Monday Part V

My Sunday Funday yesterday consisted of washing dishes and doing several loads of laundry. Livin' the dream! I did have a pretty fun Sunday Funday last week that I forgot to blog about.

Kim, Haley and I hung out the Sunday before starting off at the 'Sip and then checking out the Drunken Fry. I'd been to the Drunken Fry one time before but I was so trashed I vaguely remember the experience. This time we went mostly sober to chow down of some of their Belgian style fries and to check out the multitude of sauces they offer.

"Drunken fries are hand cut, ice bathed to remove starch, then twice fried at separate temperatures in a soy derived super oil that can withstand over 400ยบ F. We don't want to say they're good for you...but it's as close as you'll get!"

As advertised the fries were delicious. We tried a myriad of sauces (Kung Fu Grip, The Tailgate, Hasta Inferno, The Morning After, and Sunday Morning Coming Down) All the sauces I tried were awesome as well but it did come back and bite me with indigestion the next day but that was probably due to the combination of beer, fries and sauces.

The Drunken Fry is located on Classen Circle, at Classen and N.W. Expressway in Oklahoma City. The location used to be the Sidecare Lounge but the place has been expanded outward so the place is much roomier than before. Though we were there on a Sunday night the place was packed and it did take a while for three of us get a permanent seat at the bar which came available before a table. Not only are the fries and sauces good but they have a great selection of beers to choose from and a full bar. If you're looking for a different experience in the area definitely check it out.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Boys Are Back...

... in the playoffs! America's Team is about to beat the hated Washington Redskins and advance to the NFL playoffs. Thank you Jeebus! Perhaps better, a win against Philly next week will secure Dallas the NFC East title. Maybe Christmas wishes do come true. It appears that the December curse may be over for the Cowboys. Hopefully the Boys will get past the Eagles next week and move into the post season and end another curse, a long overdue playoff victory.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Stand

I haven't written about books that I've read lately since I've only been working on one book the last couple of weeks. I went back to revisit "The Stand" by Stephen King, a book I've read twice before. It's been at least 15 years since I last read the book, the complete and uncut edition. The book is a monster with 1153 pages and 78 chapters. I don't know what possessed me to read the book again but it was just as pleasing the third time around.

In a nutshell the book is about a government engineered "super flu" virus that is accidentally released upon America and presumably the world. Super Swine Flu? The virus has a 99% mortality rate basically devastating the world of it's population. As the survivors of the apocalyptic event slowly gather, a more sinister hand seems to be afoot. Lines are drawn between good and evil and the novel culminates in mankind's final struggle, a kind of biblical last stand of the righteous and of the darkness.

The novel is divided into three books: Book I deals with the devastation of the virus on mankind and technology throughout the country. Book II tell of the consolidation of what is remaining of mankind into two camps, one under the leadership of a dark man of the west and the other under the light of an extremely old woman living in Nebraska. Book III brings everything together in humanities final struggle between the dark man's armies and the population of the good on the other side of the Rocky Mountains, the stand.

If you want more specific information about the story, you can click on the link above. The story is way too massive for me to go into specifics without it becoming extremely tedious. Many fans hail "The Stand" as King's best work. Of that I'm not sure but I have read the book three times over the years and that does make a statement coming from me as I rarely read the same book multiple times. The book is epic and certainly classic King, the older Stephen King I prefer. Highly recommended.

There was also a mini-series of the novel that was made for TV in 1994 but I can't vouch for it's quality as I've never seen it.

Friday, December 25, 2009

College Football Bowl Picks Week 2

I got absolutely raped by last week's picks! Here we go, hopefully my predictions will fare a little better this round.

December 26th: Littel Caesars Pizza Bowl: Marshall vs. Ohio
Pick: Ohio
Comments: No real reason, I'm sure that will screw me over! The loss of the Thundering Herd's coach probably doesn't do Marshall any favors either.

December 26th: Meineke Car Care Bowl: North Carolina vs. Pittsburgh
Pick: Pittsburgh
Comments: Pitt has had the better season and ranking.

December 26th: Emerald Bowl: Boston College vs. USC
Pick: Boston College
Comments: After last week the PAC-10 is dead to me! Oh and is there not a web site for this bowl?

December 27th: Music City Bowl: Clemson vs. Kentucky
Pick: Clemson
Comments: Take this one to the bank.

December 28th: Independence Bowl: Texas A&M vs. Georgia
Pick: Texas A&M
Comments: I have great respect for Georgia's program but we all know they're a little down this year. I expect A&M to pull out the win but they are an extremely young football team.

December 29th: Eaglebank Bowl: Temple vs. UCLA
Pick: UCLA
Comments: I hate to pick UCLA but I can't in good conscience go with Temple.

December 29th: Champs Sports Bowl: Miami vs. Wisconsin
Pick: Miami
Comments: Should be a good game, edge goes to Miami.

December 30th: Humanitarian Bowl: Idaho vs. Bowling Green
Pick: Idaho
Comments: Only picking Idaho since the game is near their neck of the woods.

December 30th: Holiday Bowl: Nebraska vs. Arizona
Pick: Nebraska
Comments: The Huskers great defense will be too much for Arizona. Should be another great game though.

Current record 1-5 (nice huh?)

Agree? Disagree? Let me know what you think.
I'll be back next Thursday for my next round of picks. Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas!

Or Happy Holidays or Merry Davemas or whatever floats your boat!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Oklahoma Christmas Music

There are two Christmas songs that will forever remind me of Oklahoma:

I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas was performed by the Oklahoma City area child star Gayla Peevey in 1953.

"A popular legend holds that this 1953 hit had been recorded as a fund-raiser to bring the city zoo a hippo; but in a 2007 radio interview with Detroit-based WNIC radio station, Peevey clarified that the song was not originally recorded as a fundraiser. Instead, a local promoter picked up on the popularity of the song and Peevey's local roots, and launched a campaign to present her with an actual hippopotamus on Christmas."

Peevey was presented with an actual hippopotamus that she donated to the Oklahoma City Zoo. Matilda, the hippo, lived for nearly 50 years.

"I want a hippopotamus for Christmas
Only a hippopotamus will do
No crocodiles, no rhinoceroses
I only like hippopotamuses
And hippopotamuses like me too"

The other song is the BC Clark Jewelers Anniversary sale jingle.

The jingle was created in 1956. It just wouldn't be Christmas in Oklahoma without it.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Please Ignore My Previous Post

All I really want for Christmas is Chris Pine.

All I Want For Christmas...

Here is my modest top 10 Christmas list:

10. The Dallas Cowboys to not suck in December.

9. The Democrats in Congress to grow a pair and give us health care reform with a public option.

8. A new radio station in Oklahoma City with decent morning DJ's. Jack and Ron's Paula Dean morning segments on 98.9 KISS FM are especially cringe worthy.

7. Roman Polanski to get sent to prison to become Bubba's biatch and salad tosser.

6. President Obama to change his name to James Earl Carter, Jr.

5. Some height for the Oklahoma State Cowboys basketball team. At 10-1 they are off to their best start since the '06-'07 season so I shouldn't complain too much.

4. Susan Boyle: The remixes CD.

3. A Cotton Bowl win for Oklahoma State football and coach Mike "I'm a man" Gundy.

2. An end to the long, tragic, and bloody war on Christmas.

1. My own personal Zamboni (stolen from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels).

Friday, December 18, 2009

It's the Weekend, Bring it!

Under Pressure

"Chippin' around - kick my brains across the floor
These are the days it never rains but it pours..."

"Insanity laughs under pressure we're cracking
Can't we give ourselves one more chance
Why can't we give love that one more chance
Why can't we give...
'Cause love's such an old fashioned word
And love dares you to care for
The people on the edge of the night
And love dares you to change our way of
Caring about ourselves..."

Thursday, December 17, 2009

College Football Bowl Picks Week 1

I won't be blogging about the Top Chef: Las Vegas reunion show last night as I missed it and may or may not catch it on rerun. Instead, for the next few Thursdays I'll be making my college football bowl predictions. Feel free to join in and make your predictions as well.

December 19th: New Mexico Bowl: Fresno State vs. Wyoming
Pick: Fresno State
Comments: If I remember correctly Fresno State has a decent offense and they beat a talented Houston team this year. I'm just making these predictions on the fly so my memory may fail me, fair warning.

December 19th: St. Petersburg Bowl: Rutgers vs. UCF
Pick: Rutgers
Comments: Some of these picks are going to be tough since I know little about some of the teams in the smaller bowl games. I'm going with the east coast biased and picking Rutgers.

December 20th: New Orleans Bowl: Southern Mississippi vs. Middle Tennessee
Pick: Southern Mississippi
Comments: I know nothing about Middle Tennessee.

December 22nd: Macco Bowl: BYU vs. Oregon State
Pick: Oregon State
Comments: I nearly picked BYU based on their win against the hated and dreaded Swooners of Oklahoma earlier in the year, but I remembered the Swooners suck! Best game of the week, I think. Both teams are ranked at or near the same in the polls. I went with OSU since they play in a better conference.

December 23rd: Poinsettia Bowl: Utah vs. California
Pick: California
Comments: Another toss up. Once again I'm going with the PAC-10. What's wrong with me?

December 24th: Hawaii Bowl: SMU vs. Nevada
Pick: Nevada
Comments: Rooting against the Methodists! This is probably the best location for a bowl game.

Current record 0-0

Agree? Disagree? Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bama Slaps Gators

I met up with my friend Lindsay last night at Pearl's Oyster Bar. She was in town visiting from New York City and unfortunately she'll be on her way back later today. Lindsay and I used to work together at Pearl's Oyster Bar on the south side of Oklahoma City before I moved to the north store to manage. My favorite shift was Sunday brunch when I would bartend with Lindsay. Often times after the shift we would hang out, usually on the north side of town, to enjoy Sunday Funday. Lindsay is a really sweet girl and a lot of fun to hang out with, I miss her immensely. I just wanted to let her know, if she's reading, to have a safe trip back to NYC!

Our friend Scott also came out to Pearl's to eat and drink with us last night. Scott and I bartended together at Old Chicago on the south side, ironically in the same building as the old Pearl's Oyster Bar. He told us a story last night that I had to share here.

When I worked at Old Chicago, one of my coworkers, named Dustin, was a huge Florida Gator's fan. During football season it's all he ever spoke about, mostly talking smack. His smack paid off after the Gators beat the Sooners in last years National Championship Game. Anyways, I guess Scott is not only a Sooners fan but is also an Alabama fan. Scott said he bought an Alabama jersey to placate Dustin so he could root for 'Bama during the SEC Championship Game and prove that he wasn't a fair weather fan. Dustin was so confident in his Florida Gators winning the game that he made a "slap bet" with Scott. The bet was straight up, to win.

Slap Bet: A bet where no money or property is involved, and the prize for losing is getting to slap the loser across the face. Excellent for bets of extreme importance. A slap bet is often monitored by a slap bet commissioner, that regulates the rules of said bet.

Below is the results of the slap bet, recorded for all time! Dustin's Gators lost the game so he was the recipient of the slap. It couldn't have happened to a nicer Gator fan... Idiot.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mr. David

There is an office in Georgia that I provide technical support for which seems to be a predominately Hispanic office. I spoke with the receptionist today who placed me on hold while she tried to connect me with my contact, the office manager. When she came back on the line she said the following: "Mr. David? Can you hold for a moment, please?" I immediately thought of the clip from Framily Guy below.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

No, not the video game, the movie. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, the movie, is based on the popular video game franchise of the same name. Most often, movies based on video games turn out poorly. Super Mario Bros., Doom, and Mortal Kombat are just a couple I can think of off the top of my head. I think Prince of Persia shows promise and it helps that it's being made by Disney.

The feature releases on May 28th, 2010. For a decent blog with more media and information, click here.

Monday, December 14, 2009

On the Cover of Rolling Stones

My mother subscribes to Rolling Stone magazine. It seems an odd choice for a woman nearing her 60's but I benefit from it by getting a hand me down copy once she's done reading. Actually I think she mostly reads for the articles by Matt Taibbi. Anyways, the December 10, 2009 cover features Taylor Lautner. I'm beginning to see why everyone is crazy about that New Moon movie, especially all the thirteen year old girls (whenever I'm asked if I've seen the movie, I say "no, I'm not a thirteen year old girl!").
Yeah, so this is just an excuse to create a new post label called "eye candy."

The Princess and the Frog Sunday

I went to see "The Princess and the Frog" yesterday with my friend Kim, her daughter, and her cousin's son. I'm a huge fan of Disney animated movies, especially the classic hand drawn animation. In my computer room at home I have three framed Disney movie posters hanging on the wall. They consist of "Peter Pan", "The Little Mermaid", and "Beauty and the Beast". I bought the posters from movie theatres after each movie's run. I planned on collecting more over the years but I kind of lost interest. I take some shit every now and then when my friends see the posters hanging in my spare bedroom, but I don't really care.

The movie was enjoyable and the animation superb. I really liked the New Orleans setting of the movie and the jazzy music that went along with it. The kids (5 and under) said they enjoyed the movie and they didn't seemed to be scared by the voodoo wielding villain throughout the show. I would rate the movie in the middle of the pack as far as Disney animated musicals, good but not great.

Perhaps even more fun than the movie was seeing Kim handle her daughter and her cousin's young son. Kids are truly evil, little people but I have to admit that I do get a kick out of seeing all the goofy stuff they do. Kim shared a popcorn and a soda with the kids, making sure to place three straws in the drink so each person drinking would have their own straw to use. I thought this was hilarious! Is this normal parenting behavior? Aren't mommies supposed to be immune or unafraid of cooties? I also got a kick out of watching the kids bob up and down the stairs in the theatre trying hard not to lose their footing, oblivious to everyone else around them with Kim dragging behind trying to get them to stop and wait for her. At moments like this I regret that I do not have children... That moment faded quickly and that ship has sailed.

Go see this movie, and hey, why not take some children to amuse you?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicals: Crystal Bearers

I have been anticipating the Nintendo Wii game Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Crystal Bearers since the game was announced even before the Wii was released three years ago. The game is a sequel of sorts to the Nintendo GameCube game Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. I estimate Timmy and I spent at least 100 hours playing Crystal Chronicles, dungeon crawling, leveling up, and looking for secrets and upgrades. Hopefully the sequel will encompass all the great multiplayer fun as the GameCube version. View the game trailer below:

Crystal Bearers is due to be release on December 26th of this year, only on the Nintendo Wii.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Godfather

I love "The Godfather" movie trilogy. It's one of those movies I always stop to watch when I see it on TV even though I own the collection on DVD. My mother has an original 1969 hardback edition of "The Godfather" by Mario Puzo in her collections of books. I've been eyeballing it for sometime, interested in reading the book version that precedes a film trilogy I adore. I put off reading the book until the last couple of days because I rarely read novels that have been made into movies when I've seen the movie first.

Everyone knows the premise of the novel and the movies, if you don't, stop reading now and go read the book or rent the movies. Rather than recap the story here is what is said in the jacket in the first publication of the book:

"Mario Puzo has here created an extraordinary novel; it pulsates with dramatic and evil incident, brute rage, and the naked terror of an infamous underworld. Puzo takes us inside the violence-infested society of the Mafia and its gang wars. He shows us its trials by gunfire and torture and the nature of Mafia friendship. The Godfather is essentially the story of a man and his power, and it is a reading experience one is not likely to forget.

The Godfather is Mafia leader Vito Corleone, benevolent despot who stops at nothing to gain and hold power.

The Godfather is a friendly man, a "reasonable" man, a just man -- and the deadliest gang leader in the Cosa Nostra.

The Godfather's command post is a fortress on Long Island, from which he presides over a vast underground empire that encompasses the rackets, gambling, bookmaking, and unions. Tyrant, blackmailer, murderer -- he gives his friendship (no man dares refuse it), rights wrongs (even murder is not too great a price for "justice"). His influence runs through all levels of American society, from the cop on the beat to the nation's mighty.

Mario Puzo introduces us to an extraordinary gallery of men and women and re-creates the feudal world of the Mafiosi. The elements of this world explode electrically to life in this violent and impassioned chronicle. It is a spellbinding story, written with authentic knowledge of this particular milieu and with the hand of a master storyteller."

I was surprised how well the first movie followed the story of the first novel so closely. Characters, quotes, and storylines are all strongly based on the book. What made the book an interesting read was the further detail it provided to the story we all know as well as to provide more depth to some of the minor characters and events. For example there is a character arc involving Johnny Fontane that runs throughout the book that was never really told in the movies, other than very lightly at the beginning of the first film. We learn more about the brutal cold blooded killer, Luca Brasi, as well many other intriguing characters.

If you're a fan of the movies, I highly recommend this book. The storyline may be very familiar but the depth the novel adds is well worth the read. Puzo crafts a novel that flows well and moves along at a remarkable pace. I enjoyed his style so much that I'll probably look into some of his other written works. I'm also eager to watch the movies again. "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!"

Top Chef: WTF?

Last night was the season finale of Top Chef: Las Vegas. I have to say it was probably one of the more disappointing episodes I've seen this year. The show was a little bland and the conclusion was very surprising.

The last elimination challenge consisted of a face off between the three finalist, Kevin, Michael, and Bryan. They were to each prepare a four course meal. The first serving was a dish that reminded them of home and the meals their mothers would prepare, the second was a predetermined dish with ingredients they all had to use, the third was any dish of their choice using whatever was available in the kitchen, and finally the last course was a dessert. Each finalist also drew knives to determine which previous chef contestant would help them with prep on the first day and cooking the second day.

Each chef finalist seemed to prepare their food well but nothing I saw really blew me away. I knew overall by what the judges were saying that Kevin was out of the running, he just had a bad day, too bad it was during the last challenge. Based on what else I heard throughout the show I thought for sure Bryan was going to run away with the top honor. I was shocked when Michael was proclaimed Top Chef. Maybe he truly did prepare the best dishes on the finale but it just didn't seem to be presented that way, to me, while watching the show last night. Interesting finish. I haven't read other opinions about the show yet, I wanted to write my recap first. I'm curious to see if everyone was as surprised as me about the outcome.

Other thoughts:

I thought the drawing of the knives to select a sous chef was a bit ridiculous. It would be one thing to draw a number and then get to pick a helper in order but it is quite different to draw the name of the person helping you. Did Preeti's prep work hurt Kevin's chances? He wasn't pleased about her work.

I gave Padme shit last week about her bangs. I take it back, her hair looked pretty good this week.

Bacon on ice cream? Yummy! Bacon goes with everything, it's the new pink.

I found it odd that all the gay people from the contest were involved in the finale. Ash, Ashley, and Preeti. Bravo conspiracy to pander to their favorite demographic? Probably not but it is quite a coincidence.

It was ironic that pork was the downfall of Kevin aka the Porkmeister! I felt bad for the guy having an off day when I thought he was the leader throughout the competition. Toby gave him high praise saying something to the effect that he would be a superstar in the culinary world. I think and hope so. Speaking of Toby, I though it was funny that he defended one of the dishes that had a bad element but had other impressive elements that in his eyes redeemed the dish. Problem with part of the dish? Don't eat that part.

I'm having a hard time coming up with anything else that stuck in my mind from last night's show. I usually only watch the episode once and then write a post about it the next morning. Nothing too memorable means it was a pretty dull finale. I would have preferred that the final challenge was a heads up competition between two chefs with free reign to cook whatever they wanted. Having said that, I did like the inclusion of the last course having to be a dessert. I figure if you want to be Top Chef you've got to be knowledgeable in all facets of cooking.

I guess that is all. If I remember anything else I want to write about I'll add it in the comments section of this post. I've had a blast writing about Top Chef this season and reading all the other bloggers who do the same. Next week is the reunion show. I'll post some impressions about that as well next Thursday. Please pack your knives and go...

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Cotton Pickin' Cowboys

College football bowl season is upon us. Later next week I'll be making my predictions for every bowl game. It will give me something new to blog about on Thursday's since Top Chef: Las Vegas is coming to an end for another season. Here is a list of this year's bowl schedule.

Obviously the bowl I'm most excited about is the Cotton Bowl. It features a rematch of the 2004 Cotton Bowl between Oklahoma State and Ole Miss (damn you Eli Manning!!). I expect a Cowboys win but they did struggle their last game of the year against the dreaded and most hated Oklahoma Swooners. We'll see how long they carry that loss with them.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Stephanie Plum Quotes

In between reading "I Know This Much Is True," I read three more Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich. I'm really enjoying the series about the bounty hunter bombshell from Trenton, New Jersey. Rather than writing a recap or my impressions of each book, I thought I would just provide some fun quotes from the books. For more information about the general premise of the series of books, click here and here.

"Three to Get Deadly"

"I make lots of mistakes. I try hard not to make the same mistake more than three or four times."

"Adaptation is one of the great advantages to being born and bred in Jersey. We're simply not bested by bad air or tainted water. We're like that catfish with lungs. Take us out of our environment and we can grow whatever body parts we need to survive. After Jersey the rest of the country's a piece of cake. You want to send someone into a fallout zone? Get him from Jersey. He'll be fine."

"Four to Score"

"You're going to find this hard to believe, but cops aren't required to carry emergency condoms."

"High Five"

"I'm a firm believer in denial. My reasoning is, why deal with unpleasantness today when you could get hit by a bus tomorrow?"

"I had a lot of unease over Ranger's definition of 'broad horizons.' I suspected his horizons were a teensy bit closer to hell then I might want to travel."

"How many times have I told you not to hit people in the face. You kick them in the body where it doesn't show."

Monday, December 07, 2009

New Blog I'm Reading

I've clean up some of the blogs that I follow, mainly I've removed some sites that were hardly ever updated. I usually check out Daily Thunder a few times a week for information on our NBA (National Basketball Association) team here in Oklahoma City, the Thunder. The NBA isn't exactly my favorite of professional sports but having our own team here has piqued my interest in the game and the league. There are frequent updates here and lots of valuable information if you want to keep up with Oklahoma City's only professional sports team.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

It Doesn't Pay to Drink and Drive

I've mentioned a few times over the last few months what a wretched year this has been. There are many reasons for this but one that is most prominent was getting arrest in April. I hadn't written about the experience until now mainly due to an extreme amount of embarrassment and humiliation.

I went to a birthday party for a friend at Edna's on Sunday, April 5th. After many lunchboxes and shots I made my way to Nichos Hills to find the after party. I was pulled over in a residential area primarily for going ten miles under the speed limit. I refused to take a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) test and I was immediately arrested and hauled off to jail for a DUI (driving under the influence). I spent a few hours in the Nichols Hills jail and was eventually transferred to Oklahoma County jail.

I write about this experience now as a precautionary tale for those who do or who might drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Here's what you can expect to pay for a first time DUI offense in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County:

Cour costs, fees, and fines: $2000.00
State required drug and alcohol assessment/evaluation: $160.00
10-hour DUI class fee: $150.00
Lawyer: $750.00 (I found a really cheap attorney)
Drivers license reinstatement fee: $315.00
Vehicle impound and towing: $150.00
Victim Impact Panel (VIP) class: $50.00
Total probation fees: $960.00
Bail: $180.00

That's a grand total of $4715.00! That's probably a conservative estimate! It does not include increases to my auto insurance. So if I drank ten beers and shots on that Sunday night (probably a conservative estimate) it cost me $417.50 a drink.

Aside from the monetary cost, you will be taken to jail, an experience I assure you that isn't pleasant, and lose your license for a minimum of 6 months. The last time I drove a car was May 5th. I should have my license reinstated early next week.

I will never, never, never drive a car again when I'm intoxicated and urge all readers out there to do the same. Remember, not only are the fines and fees costly but it could be a whole lot worse, you could kill yourself or someone else. Take a cab home, or better yet take a cab out initially when you know you're going to be drinking.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Top Chef: Napa Valley

I was too tired and little stressed out last night to pay full attention to the second to the last episode of Top Chef: Las Vegas so I won't be writing as lengthy of a recap this week. Here are some observations:

Bangs? Really Padme?

I think most of us would agree that the best chef contestants are the final four that were left in last night's episode.

The quickfire challenge was really creative, I thought. Make a dish with your main ingredient coming from grapes. It was a great way to let them know they were in Napa Valley, the land of grapes, food and wine. Michael ended up winning the last "high stakes" challenge and was awarded a third generation Prius! Sweet. I want one! Although at this point I'd be happy with a rusted out station wagon ala National Lampoon's Vacation.

On to the main event. All four chefs are given the task of creating a vegetarian dish and a meat dish using only local vegetable and proteins save for salt and pepper. They were to feed 150 people! Talk about tough. Everyone did a stand up job from what I could tell. Bryan won the elimination challenge and heads on to the finals.

Jennifer had the least popular dishes and was sent home unfortunately. She was sad about it, I was sad about it. You can really tell that the chefs have all grown close through their experience so it's a bit touching when one of them has to leave at this point in the show, especially since there isn't a traditional villain left. Well maybe Michael is kind of a villain but he seemed pretty laid back this week and not his usual cocky self.

I was a bit worried about Kevin leaving early just because I picked him to go far but luckily he's going to be in the final episode. I still hopes he pulls out the victory but at this point I truly think it's any one's contest to win, or lose.

I can't wait to see which previous contestants come back next week to help in the finals. Will Robin be there? Would you want her as your sous chef?

So my final prediction of the season:

1. Kevin - Top Chef Winner
2. Bryan - 1st Runner-up
3. Michael - 2nd Runner-up

Fan favorite: Robin! Just kidding, it'll be Kevin.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Technical Support Horror Story of the Day

Everything bad comes in threes. Much like celebrity deaths, the same happens when working technical support. I'm not exactly sure what the hell is going on at work this week and why I'm even involved! I guess computer systems across the country had too much turkey to eat over the long weekend.

1. So your server dies over the weekend and somehow it's my responsibility to "fix" your system? Medical software is what you pay us to support, not your crappy Snap Server. Basically I spent most of the day Monday walking a medical office receptionist, over the phone, through getting her network up and running. Good times.

2. Another office upgrades their system with all new computers. On this occasion I'm dealing with their hardware tech. Should be a breeze. Everything I've told him to do has been done but they are unable to open our software program through the network. Permission issues I say. Couldn't be he says. He has done everything I've told him to do and like Santa Claus he's checked his list twice. So I bang my head against the wall for most of yesterday afternoon and I'm stumped. This morning I call the client and log into their server and look over their set up. The permissions on the shared directory for our software was not set up correctly after I had been assured yesterday they had checked and rechecked it. I forgot the number one rule of technical support: the customer lies. In this case I was too naive to believe a hardware professional was telling me the truth.

3. Today I'm expected to be Medicare. I have no clue why you can't download your electronic EOB's (explanation of benefits). Again, I do not work for Medicare and the information you're wanting is completely independent of the software I support! I guess it's easier for me to queue for three days waiting for a return call from the government Payor.

I hate people. Maybe I'm in the wrong profession. Actually I'm really good at what I do, I'm patient and pleasant and I never make anyone feel like they're asking a stupid question. I should've been an actor!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

O Christmas Tree (2009)

I nearly decided not to put up a tree this year but I changed my mind since my niece had an SUV to help haul it to my house. Naturally I ended up picking a tree with a crooked stump! It took my dad and I many attempts to get the sucker to stand up straight. The tree is even more plain than last year, I went with white lights and my eclectic mix of ornaments and bulbs.

Maybe I need to add ribbons or bows or something.

View from the other side.

Pistol Pete always near the top.

I'm glad I ended up putting up a tree, though it is kind of a bummer doing it alone. Here's last year's entry.

I Know This Much Is True

I just finished the book "I Know This Much Is True" by Wally Lamb. The read was a bit of a monster, clocking in at just under 900 pages but well worth the time.

The story follows three generations of a family and is told from the perspective of Dominick Birdsey. Central to the story is Dominick's struggle with his identical twin brother, Thomas, who suffers from schizophrenia. The narrative jumps from the present day to childhood memories of Dominick's and even further back through a memoir by Dominick's grandfather written shortly before he was born. Not only does Dominick struggle with his brother's illness (and his lack of it) but he also tries to come to grips with his own issues from his abusive childhood to his recently failed marriage due to the death of his infant daughter.

The story is mesmerizing with rich and often (mostly) flawed characters. The novel is also extremely sad at times. There were several moments where I shed a few tears while reading, something I don't usually experience with books. Some of the more torturous bits of the book pay off nicely with themes of forgiveness and life renovation. The only minor problem I had with the story was the ending. It seemed to wrap up a little too clean and tidy for me, maybe a little bit of a jump from "real" life, a minor quibble.

Highly recommended, read this book.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

It's Bedlam!!

Go Pokes beat the Sooners!

Ride 'em Cowboys, ee-yah!
Ride 'em Cowboys, ee-yah!

Ride, ride, ride, ride
Ride 'em Cowboys, down the field
Fight, fight, fight, fight
Fight 'em Cowboys, and never yield
Ride, ride, ride, ride
Ride on Cowboys to victory,
Cross OU's goal,
Then we'll sing.
Oklahoma State!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today I celebrated a traditional Thanksgiving meal with my family, cedar plank salmon. OK, maybe not so traditional! We ate at Deep Fork Grill. Sometimes we do the big meal thing and sometimes we eat out depending on how many of us are together for the holiday. Last year we celebrated a day late due to Lo's birth. You can read about that event here.

Years ago I lived with a partner, for lack of a better term. We started dating when I was 19, eventually we moved in together and lived in a kind of "marriage" for ten years. The last Thanksgiving we spent together we went to a friend's house to celebrate with a few other couples. Very traditional spread, turkey and all that, yadda, yadda, yadda. Before we began the feast, we went around the table and shared with each other what we were thankful for that year. I can't remember what me or my partner said, but as soon as we listened to the others around the table, I recall clearly now what we failed to say. Neither of us mentioned that we were thankful for each other! How funny. How sad. I have no clue why I thought about that time today but when I did it made me sob nearly uncontrollably. Fuck the past, right? That was a long time ago. Why do I still carry that kind of shit around with me?

"Life is short, time is flying, I'm looking for baggage that goes with mine." It's from RENT in case you don't know the reference.

This year I'm thankful, as always, for my family who continue to support and love me no matter what. In good years and in bad years. This year has been especially bad, a real beauty. Definitely the year of the Ox. It's almost over.

I'm also grateful for my friends, past and present, even those that I hold a grudge against... for a decade or two... I'm especially thankful for my friendship with Kim, even though she thinks it was me who broke the "let us have shots" seal last night. Funny. She never judges and always fiercely supports me. She is a totally super bad ass person, in a good way! Her battle cry: "I'm a grown ass woman!"

So that's it, I'm done with my bitter party of one for the day. Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Top Chef Rerun (Again)!

Boo (again)!

Apparently Top Chef: Las Vegas will not have a new episode on tonight so I won't be writing a recap tomorrow. In the absence of a post, here is a list of blogs that feature Top Chef postings that I usually read on Thursday mornings:

Top Chef Blogs on Bravo

Please Pack Your Knives and Go

The Troll Report

Tales From LaLa Land

Dealing in Subterfuges

Check them out and enjoy.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

There's Somthing About Mary... Landrieu

I got a nice chuckle out of this photo shopped picture of Senator Mary Landrieu(D)-Louisiana, on Huffington Post today. Apparently it was provided by Mark Halperin on Time's "The Page." The picture has since been removed, I can't imagine why.

Landrieu, along with Blanche Lincoln(D)-Arkansas, is a Democratic Senator I won't be sorry to see lose her seat in next year's midterm elections. Thank you so much for your votes, ladies, to let the Senate debate health care reform! Why is it always the poorest states in the Union, with a small population that hold up progress for the rest of the country? I certainly wouldn't want our two idiot Senators from Oklahoma to do the same, though it is expected since they carry an (R) next to their names and are "conservative".

Sorry, I'm a little grumpy. I'm really tired of the endlessness of the whole health care reform debate (debacle).

She Wolf

Nothing to blog about today, so that means it's video time!

There's a she wolf in the closet,
open up and set her free (auuuuu)
There's a she wolf in the closet,
let it out so it can breath (inhales, exhales)

I think my favorite part of the song is where she howls during the chorus. It also goes without saying that Shakira is hot, hot, hot!

She Wolf - Shakira

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thirteen Years Ago...

On November 22, 1996 I went to the opening day showing of Star Trek: First Contact at the mall in Enid, America, Oklahoma. I only remember the date since it is also the anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

I had been following the movie information on the Internet and AOL for several months before its release. I even downloaded the movie teaser and trailer online. The video below took me hours to download at the time on a dial-up modem.

I'm not sure why I'm remembering all of this today, I obviously have too much time on my hands.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Let Them Eat Cake!

A phrase never uttered by Marie Antoinette, by the way.

Today I ventured to the land that time forgot, my hometown, for my great niece's first birthday party. I've stated before on this blog that I'm really not a kid person. They are vile, wrethed, evil, little people! Having said that, I do kind of have a soft spot for Loralei, or Lo for short. Why doesn't "i before e except after c" not apply to her name? Anyways, I love her so much that I'm willing to take a tour through Dante's nine Circles of suffering for her, again by visiting my hometown. As tradition requires she got her own mini birthday cake to destroy and spread all over her face and clothes. Below is a picture of her just getting started.

Let them eat cake. Indeed.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Golden Orange

I've finished my third Joseph Wambaugh book in the last couple of months. The Golden Orange was published in 1990 and was the first publication at the time for Wambaugh in five years.

"When forty-year-old cop Winnie Farlowe lost his shield, he lost the only protection he had. Ever since, he's been fighting a bad back, fighting the bottle, fighting his conscience. But now he's in for a special fight. Never before has he come up against anyone like Tess Binder. She's a stunningly beautiful, sexually spirited three-time divorcee from Newport Beach-capital of California's Golden Orange, where wallets are fat, bikinis are skimpy, and cosmetic surgery is one sure way to a billionaire's bank account. Nearly a year ago Tess Binder's father washed up on the beach with a bullet in his ear. The coroner called it suicide, but to Tess it means the fear of her own fate. And Winnie Farlowe is a man willing to follow wherever she leads-straight into the juicy pulp of the Golden Orange, a world where money is everything, but nothing adds up . . . where death and chicanery flourish amidst ranches, mansions, and yachting parties. In his long-awaited new novel, best-selling author Joseph Wambaugh combines harrowing suspense, scathing humor, and a moving portrait of a man on the brink of self-destruction."

The novel was far better than "Fugitive Nights" but not nearly as good as "The Choirboys," the previous two books of Wambaugh's that I've read. The novel has all the great, dark humor I've come to expect from Wambaugh, as well as an intriguing story that had me scratching my head up to the final revelation near the end.

Recommended. As much as I've enjoyed the three books by Wambaugh, it's time to take a break from his writing. Any suggestions out there on good fiction or non-fiction books or any good book blogs I should be following?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Top Chef: Bocuse d'Or

"The Bocuse d’Or (the Concours mondial de la cuisine, World Cuisine Contest) is a biennial world chef championship. Named for the chef Paul Bocuse, the event takes place during two days near the end of January in Lyon, France at the SIRHA International Hotel, Catering and Food Trade Exhibition, and is one of the world's most prestigious cooking competitions."

Last night the chef contestants of Top Chef: Las Vegas participated in their own Bocuse d'Or. The quick fire challenge, create a dish with a protein inside of a protein inside of a protein. Awesome. Guest judge, Gavin Kaysen. Awesome. Jennifer combines calamari, scallops and salmon for a much needed win. As soon as Padme said, "welcome back," I knew Jennifer had bagged the last quick fire challenge in Las Vegas, her reward was 30 extra minutes time in the elimination challenge. Kudos also were in order for Eli who, for the second week in a row, made a dish that looked and sounded good, to me anyways. Too bad for him the competition isn't Top Chef: Brunch!

The elimination challenge, Top Chef's own version of the Bocuse d'Or. Each contestant made a platter with protein and two garnishes. The protein choices are lamb and salmon. The stakes? Nothing much, a place in the final four in Napa Valley, 30,000 dollars for the best taste, creativity, and execution, and oh yeah, a chance to compete for a spot on the 2011 American Bocuse d'Or team! Wow. Talk about cooking under pressure. Here's a breakdown of what was served by the contestants:

Kevin: He prepared poached lamb loin, sherry-glazed beet and asparagus in sunchoke cream. Kevin was dogged a little by the judges for being over simplistic but once again his flavors were good enough for him to win the elimination challenge. He really beat himself up over the ordeal but it was clear based on the comments by the judges about the other entries that he was going to win.

Bryan: He presents crusted lamb loin, lamb shank crepinette and orzo au gratin. He under cooks the lamb, the kiss of death this season.

Jennifer: Her dish is salmon and caviar, shrimp flan and truffle, celery root and shiitake. I believe the judges had problems with her vision and the salmon was not cut properly where one judge had an under cooked portion.

Michael: Mr. Arrogant prepares salmon with cauliflower chickpea tart and zucchini tzatziki. It was discussed that he was the only one of the chef contestants that had ever competed in a similar event. He was slammed pretty hard by the judges for a lack of vision and for a bone that was found in one of the judge's salmon! Michael also described his presentation as Mediterranean influenced. Bad call. I thought for sure Michael would be exiting the competition but somehow he survived.

Eli: He makes his final appearance in Top Chef by presenting sausage wrapped lamb loin, carrot puree and tomato-piquillo canape. Once again under cooked lamb is the straw that broke the camel's back. Adios d-bag.

Some final thoughts on the last Las Vegas episode:

Gavin Kaysen is incredibly cute! Too bad he looks like a hobbit when standing next to Padme.

I actually felt bad for Eli for a moment when he was eliminated. Very emotional, not just for him but for Jennifer and Kevin. Then I remembered what a turd he's been. You do have to give him credit, though, for making it as far as he did in the competition.

With Eli gone, my new villain is Michael. He really dumps on Kevin about his simple approach to foods and pops off saying something like, "he makes food that I prepare on my weekends off." His whining about not winning challenges in previous episodes has also soured me. "It's hard to be humble when you're perfect in ever way!"

Kevin rebounds after a poor performance in the quick fire challenge. I'll take simple, prepared well, and good tasting food over more technically challenging, under cooked food any day.

Jennifer also rebounded in a big way. She won the quick fire challenge even though she said she's never cooked a ballotine (or is it a ballotine technique?). I also believe she probably finished in the top three of the elimination challenge.

I think the final four is fantastic! I truly believe that all four contestants we are left with are the best of the whole competition. I hope Michael is the next to go but who can say. I'm still sticking by Kevin to win it all. On to Napa.

I want to give a big thank you to Dealing in Subterfuges for the fantastic recap on her blog. Without referencing this site there is no way I could remember specifically what everyone prepared!

Three Years Ago...

Three years ago today (November 19th, 2006) I camped out at Best Buy overnight in line to be one of the first to purchase a Nintendo Wii. I've blogged about the night before and it was a really great experience even though I froze my ass off!

Timmy's red blanket was hideous but it sure was warm!

In honor of The Wii's birthday, here are my picks for the top five games released on Nintendo's motion control system:

#5 - Punch Out!!: Little Mac returns after a hiatus since the SNES days. I bought this game last summer and spent an insane amount of time boxing my way up the rankings to become the champion. The game offers 14 opponents, most of them throw backs to the NES and SNES games. Once you work your way to champion the game opens up challenges for each opponent to keep you playing. The game can be played arcade style by flipping the Wii Remote on its side or you can plug in the Nunchuck attachment and hop on the Wii Balance Board for a more immerse experience. Go old school and just use the Wii Remote. Lots of depth and the Nintendo nostalgia factor is through the roof. Good stuff.

#4 - Super Mario Galaxy: Mario returns in another 3-D adventure in a much better installment than Super Mario Sunshine on the Nintendo GameCube. Explore different planets for a truly 3-D experience, pushing the envelope of physics. The best platformer on any system since Super Mario 64 on the Nintendo 64.

#3 - The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: A release game I bought along with the Wii at launch. The game was originally a GameCube game that incorporated some motion control features of the Wii. Another great Zelda game with a long and satisfying quest with plenty of upgrades and secrets to find. I've played through the game completely three times, something I rarely do with any game.

#2 - Metroid Prime 3: Corruption: One of my favorite series was given a prequel sequel (does that make sense?) during the summer of the Wii's first year. Corruption took all the best of the Metroid Prime series, a ton of upgrades and a hybrid shooter/ action game, and brought to the table pointer functionality via the Wii Remote. If you like first person shooter games, this is a great example of how the Wii expands and brings a whole new level of game play to the genre. Earlier this year Retro Studios and Nintendo release the entire Metroid Prime trilogy in one package incorporating Metroid Prime 1 and 2 with the same great control system in Metroid Prime 3.

#1 - Animal Crossing: City Folk: I love this series. I'm sure that I've logged in hundreds of hours collectively between Animal Crossing, Animal Crossing DS, and the Wii version. Basically the game is a life simulation game Nintendo style. Create a town, build a house, work to pay off your debt, upgrade your look and the possibilities go on and on. Probably the best thing about the latest version is playing online with others. I've had great fun playing along with my nieces and my sister-in-law, though we're all in different cities. Yeah, so, it's kind of a chick game...

Honorable Mention - The New Super Mario Bros. Wii: Having just purchased the game Sunday I didn't want to include it to my top five list but the game is awesome. Take a Mario old school side scrolling game and upgrade the graphics and power ups. Classic.

So that's it! Happy birthday Nintendo Wii.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Latest Reads

Having been so impressed by Joseph Wambaugh's novel The Choirboys, I borrowed a couple of newer novels by Wambaugh from my mother. By newer I mean written in the '90's. "Fugitive Nights" tells the story of a retired police office, Breda Burrows, who sets up shop in Palm Springs as a private investigator. She enlists the help of a boozer Palm Springs cop waiting for his disability retirement, Lynn Cutter, on what should be a simple domestic case of surveillance and reporting. From here all hell breaks loose in the desert in and around the glamorous California town.

I like Wambaugh's style tremendously, particularly in this book he has a great talent for three things: writing cop talk, burnout alcoholic heroes, and profanity. Indeed the humorous parts of the book are on par, mostly, with The Choirboys but overall the story falls decidedly flat and shallow. The book is much more light hearted than I thought it would be, given what I've read of his so far. I don't know that I would recommend the novel; however, there is definitely some good stuff to be found here but the story is just too uneven.

A book that I can wholeheartedly recommend is "Two for the Dough" by Janet Evanovich. It is the second book in the Stephanie Plum novels. I made a blog posting about the first novel, "One For the Money", last month. Here's what I had to say about the first book in the series:

The book is a super easy read, told from heroine Stephanie Plum's perspective. It chronicles her bumbling rise and eventual success as a bounty hunter. "One For The Money" is the first in an ongoing series of 15 books to date. I highly enjoyed the humor and fast paced storytelling that was provided and if I come across the next installment I'll definitely give it a read.

The second book picks up a few months after the first. The same funny characters are present (Stephanie's grandmother is hilarious) with the same situations that literally made me laugh aloud while reading. Bounty hunter Plum definitely has a knack for getting herself and others into a lot of trouble with funny results. Again, the book is pure fluff but there's nothing wrong with that, especially when it's provided by a story that only took me a little over a day to read, even with all the interruptions at work. If you want something fast, easy and funny, check out the best selling series.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Time to Pretend

I'm totally obsessed with the band MGMT right now.

Time To Pretend - MGMT

Star Trek (2009)

Star Trek is boldly going to DVD and Blu-ray today. If you haven't seen J.J. Abrams' reboot of the classic sci-fi television show, I would highly recommend that you rent or purchase the movie today.

I've been a Trek fan as far back as I can remember. I used to watch the original series in syndication after school back in the '70's. Later, I enjoyed most of the original cast movies and really dug The Next Generation in high school and college. I believe the pinnacle of the franchise was Deep Space Nine; however, it was all downhill from there, the franchise slowly lost steam with two more mediocre series (at best) and a couple of forgettable movies.

I was little dubious when I heard the news years ago about a reboot of the Star Trek franchise. Why go back and recreate the original series? It turned out to be a wise decision. The new movie captures the essence of the original series and takes it a step further with a younger and energetic cast with great special effects and a decent story. The casting is especially top notch, particularly Zachary Quinto playing Spoke and Karl Urban playing Bones. The only downside, if there is one, is the story. It is a bit weak but as a first effort and certainly as an origin story it succeeds. The direction of the story also takes care of events and the canon of the previous series and movies which I actually appreciated. The new series of movies can truly venture forth without being beholden to previous storytelling.

Review from DVDFile.

Review from Trekweb.

Again, highly recommended, not only as a Trek flick but as one of the better movies of last summer.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The One I Love

Nothing going on today, enjoy some R.E.M.

The One I Love (2003 Digital Remaster) - R.E.M.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Heartstopper in Stillwater

Wicked hit, ouch! There's no status on Zac Robinson yet. The bad news, the Cowboys have a short week and play again on Thursday night. The good news, they play Colorado at home.

The Pokes have quietly accumulated eight wins so far and are on track to their best win season ever, provided they can beat the Swooners in Norman in a couple of weeks. A trip to the Cotton Bowl looks likely and a BCS berth is not out of the realm of possibility with a little help from other teams. I never thought the Cowboys would be in this position after a disasterous loss to Houston at home early in the season and after the loss of all world receiver Dez Bryant and Big 12 leading rusher Kendell Hunter. The future looks bright... and orange! Ride 'em Cowboys!!

How sweet would a Cotton Bowl match up with LSU be? I'd love the Pokes to kick Les Miles in the nuts.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Saturday the 14th!

"It gets bad on Friday the 13th but it gets worse on Saturday the 14th!"

Funny. I actually remember this movie when it was released. I think my favorite part is the voice over, it reminds me of other voice over gems:

Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!
Rice-A-Roni, the San Francisco treat!
Live from New York, it's Saturday Night Live...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Happy Friday the 13th!

Anyone superstitious about this date or have superstitions in general?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Top Chef: Breakfast with Padme

Top Chef: Las Vegas returned last night after a week off for another Top Chef reunion show. After some of the recent challenges and the dwindling contestants, last night's episode was pretty tame. The quick fire challenge was simple. Deliver breakfast room service in 30 minutes. D-bag extraordinaire Eli ended up winning the challenge with a take on a Reuben replacing the 1,000 Island dressing with a hollandaise sauce, it actually sounded pretty good. Kevin was in the running as well with another simple dish, a hearty steak and eggs concoction. I found it funny that Jennifer made SOS (shit on a shingle), a combination of bread, gravy and meat which I've eaten many times, just never for breakfast.

The elimination challenge sent the contestants out to a casino on the strip to draw inspiration for a meal they would prepare. Here is a breakdown of who went where:

Jennifer - Excalibur: She took in the Tournament of Kings, an experience I've never had on my many trips to Vegas but it looks like it might be kind of fun. She ended up making a "Sword in the Stone" dish that landed her in the bottom three.

Bryan - Mandalay Bay: He explored the shark reef and was influenced by seafood sustainability.

Robin - Belagio: She was influenced by the Chihuly glass sculptures lining the ceiling at the entrance to the hotel. I thought initially her plan to use sugar to recreate the sculpture effect was great but once again Robin proved she couldn't execute basic cooking techniques and was finally, finally sent home. Never seen Dale Chihuly's work? Check it out his giant sculpture at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art.

Kevin - Mirage: He hung out with some Dolphins (the second most intelligent species on the earth, after mice, according to Douglas Adams).

Eli - Circus Circus: Poor guy. Probably the worst casino on the strip for inspiration! The place is just wretched. I'd rather stay home than have a room booked for me at Circus Circus, OK, maybe that is a bit drastic, I don't sleep much in Vegas anyways.

Michael - New York New York: Somehow he came up with chicken wings as his inspiration. Yeah, I think wings when I think of food in New York. Anyways, it must have been good since he ends up winning the elimination challenge.

So in review, nothing has changed much from last week. Kevin and the Voltaggio wonder twins continue to dominate. Jennifer's lost her confidence but didn't whine about it as much this week. Robin continues to prove she is out of her league and is finally sent packing. Finally, Eli is still an annoying penis who is lucky to still be around.

Predictions for next week: Jennifer finally gets her shit together and edges out Eli to reach the final four. Either way one of these two are history in a week barring some catastrophe from the others. I still think Kevin wins the whole thing.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Release the Kraken!!

Clash of the Titans hits theatres March 26th, 2010. Yes I know, I'm a geek.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Berlin 20 Years Later

I watched with interest some of the activities from yesterday's 20th anniversary of the collapse of the Berlin Wall. C-SPAN had coverage of the event in Berlin at the Brandenburg Gate. I can't believe it's been 20 years since the fall of the wall. I remember vividly the event in 1989 when I was a Junior at dear old Woodward High. The wall coming down was of particular interest to my German teacher and our class at the time and I remember we discussed the historic event heavily.

I was lucky enough to travel to Germany a few months later on an exchange program. I had the opportunity to travel all over West Germany and travel through East Germany to West Berlin. The only significant time I spent in East Germany besides traveling was in East Berlin. The wall had come down but the countries were still not unified. Mostly what I remember of East Germany was that it was like going back in time 30 years when compared to that of the other half of the city, West Berlin. The wall had not yet been removed but it was a skeleton of it's former self from everyone that wanted to save a piece of history. I didn't take a piece of the wall as I had heard it had asbestos in it! Isn't that silly? One other cool thing I saw (besides the wall) that was still in use was Checkpoint Charlie.

This morning I scanned one of my favorite photos from Berlin during my trip (pictured below). I believe it's of me and an East German guard at the Berlin Wall, at least that's how I labeled the picture almost 20 years ago, though, I could be wrong and it could be a West German guard. Gotta love that late 80's/early 90's hairdo, rolled up shorts, braided belt and paisley shirt!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Sunday Funday Monday Part IV

It's been a while since I did a Sunday Funday Monday post. I haven't had anything new to report in a while on my favorite day of the week. Lately I've just been hanging out at the Park and catching some football every now and then at Old Chicago. Yesterday I was looking forward to an uneventful day oozing around the house watching football and reading until I was abducted by Kim. She had fifty dollars in gift certificates to Red Pin Bowling that had to be used last night.

It's been a while since I've been to Red Pin Bowling. The environment is kind of fun, they have a full bar, kitchen and of course bowling lanes. If you bowl there I would recommend taking your own equipment, i.e. shoes and ball. The bowling ball I finally settled on using was not the best quality. I bowled well below my average the two games we played. We were able to listen to some (outdated) dance music while we bowled and we were able to watch both the Thunder game and Cowboys game simultaneously on the big screen TV's above the bowling lanes. The only down side to the experience was the cost. For us to bowl two games, shoe rentals, and a couple of beers cost over 50 dollars! Luckily we did have the gift certificates.

After bowling we made a stop at Sipango Lounge and then back to bricktown to Maker's Cigar Lounge. Maker's is not the kind of place that I would usually hang out but our friend Lacy was singing there so we thought it would be a fun destination. We settled in on a big comfy leather love seat and enjoyed some mellow music. All in all the lounge wasn't too smokey from cigar smoke nor as stinky as I anticipated. Given the choice, though, I would pick Sipango's anytime. I just love hole in the wall bars.

I really dig hanging out with Kim. We seem to get each other's dark sense of humor which always makes for an interesting adventure no matter where we're going. Unfortunately we don't get to see each other too often these days. When we do get time to hang out we just pick up where we left off, two peas in a pod.