Saturday, November 26, 2011

Loralei Repost

A repost from 12-04-08. Today is Loralei's third birthday. If we can get her to put some pants on we'll start the party...

My niece finally gave birth to a bouncy baby girl named Loralei on November 26th. I think most babies are usually on the ugly side especially shortly after birth but this one does seem a little sweet... or so I thought.
Anyone that knows me can tell you I have a very low threshold for children. Sure I like to torment them and terrorize them (just like my ex-boyfriends) but once I'm over them they can go away. I've never wanted kids. Ever. Period. I'm that rare breed of asshole that wants to spend his time and money on himself! That's not to say that I don't love all my nieces and nephews, it just took me 16-18 years to want to "hang" with them for more than an hour at a time.

In a moment of weakness I finally held the baby on her second night in the hospital. Four short hours later that night I was back at home reeling on my bathroom floor puking and shitting at the same time into the wee hours of the night. Coincidence? I think not. What started out that night in my bathroom (the most wretched experience I have EVER experienced) has mellowed into a weeklong offering of achiness, fever, soar throat, stuffy nose, and swollen glands. I felt so bad after work on Sunday I went directly to mom's house for some much needed titty. I returned home Tuesday night. Keep in mind that I'm 35 years old folks!
All kidding aside I think Nick and Casey have done a terrific job and I hope they have a long and wonderful life together as a family. I look forward to torturing "Lo" for many years to come as I still do to Casey, Brandy and her little beast Blaire. One thing's for sure, I won't be holding the baby any time soon just in case she really does have it out for me already!
Oh and in case you're wondering I'm not wearing a wig in the picture above, I'm just six months overdue for some Manicuring as Frank likes to say.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Skyward Sword Impressions

It's that time of year again! No, not Thanksgiving, it's time for all the great holiday video game releases. I've put in a few hours into the new Legend of Zelda game for the Nintendo Wii, Skyward Sword. Here are some of my initial impressions:

The Good:

Graphically the game takes a little step forward from Twilight Princess. The game stylistically is a combination between Twilight Princess and maybe The Wind Waker. The graphics are a little smoother than the last outing and a little more colorful. Probably the prettiest game on the system thus far but still obviously lagging behind what the PS3 and XBOX 360 can do.

Fully orchestrated music! Finally. This is first Legend of Zelda game that takes advantage of a fully orchestrated score and the update is a very welcome one. I haven't heard too many melodies from previous games yet but the music is a fantastic upgrade. In addition, the game comes with a bonus CD of The Legend of Zelda 25th Anniversary Symphony, containing eight tracks from various games in all their symphonic glory. Very cool.

The controls take advantage of Wii Motion Plus, meaning that every move with the wand is in true 1:1 ratio. Simply put, however you move the controller, your sword follows the exact same movement in the game. Puzzles can be solved and enemies can be defeated in exacting ways depending on how you slice or jab with the controller. Indeed this is a huge jump for the series especially when it comes to combat. Most foes will block your thrusts forcing the gamer to attack in precise and differing ways rather than just rattling the Wii remote back and forth.

The Bad:

The game takes its sweet time getting to the action. There's a very long intro/tutorial to the game that takes about an hour before the true story unfolds. While this to be expected, especially after playing the last two installments in the series, it's still a little frustrating for the eager gamer.

From what I've played so far the game is very linear. The adventure seems to go directly from one place to the next without much open ended exploration left to the gamer. Hopefully this will change as the story moves forward as has been the case with previous Zelda games.

The Ugly:

Initially the difficulty seems to be much higher than previous games. Once I finally made my way to the first boss in the first dungeon I literally died at least a dozen times trying to figure out the best means of success. I consider myself a fairly good gamer yet I found myself cusing quite a bit as my ass was handed to me by a foe or while I scratched my head trying to figure out how to progress. I've also found that hearts are less prevalent in this game meaning that it's worth taking along regenerative items before tackling a new area or dungeon.

Overall a great initial reaction to a series I adore. Better graphics, outstanding music, and precise control makes this a worthy addition to the franchise so far. Best Zelda yet? Of that I'm unsure but I'm ready to devote 60 game hours to find out!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

I Need to Keep My Mouth Shut

Naturally after bragging about Oklahoma State's football team (see the post directly before this one) they traveled to Iowa State and laid an egg, losing in overtime 31-37. After about five minutes of pulling my hair out I got over it. In the grand scheme of things life is far too short to get really worked up over a college football game. After the dust settled Saturday it turns out the Pokes aren't in too bad of shape! They still have a solid chance to win the Big 12, to play in the a BCS bowl, and if a couple of more teams lose, play for a National Championship. Thank you Oklahoma and Oregon for the losses yesterday!

I caught the second half of the OSU game at a bar on Friday night. After the loss, a few Sooner fans began chanting "Boomer Sooner" in the bar. This chapped my ass worse than the game itself. I had the pleasure of explaining to my Sooner friends last night after their loss to Baylor that karma is a bitch...

Finally, one last word about college sports. My friend Amy sent me the following article on my phone Saturday morning:

The details of what happened in between are a blur of tears and anger, sorrow and disbelief.

It had been 355 days since the Cowboys last fell on the gridiron but it had been more than 10 years since this close-knit community has had to deal with a far greater loss.

The tragic deaths of Oklahoma State women’s basketball coaches Kurt Budke and Miranda Serna, as well as two other OSU alums, shook the OSU fan base to its core. Then a 37-31 loss to Iowa State at Jack Trice Stadium poured salt in a much deeper wound.

OSU has suffered more than any school should and Friday just didn’t seem fair.

I typically travel to road games but, for whatever reason, I skipped the trip to Iowa.

Instead I found myself in Gallagher-Iba at a press conference that can only be described as surreal. It felt like a bad case of déjà vu as it was announced, yet again, that OSU had lost members of its basketball family in a plane crash.

No matter how trivial it might seem it the wake of tragedy, I found solace in the notion that the football team could provide some sort of quick relief, a minor painkiller for an ache felt throughout Cowboy nation.

Then the unimaginable unfolded in the Iowa plains.

OSU’s offense faltered. The defense stumbled. The special teams failed. And for the first time in nearly a year, a loss was marked on the schedule on the most painful of days for it to occur.

As I sat at my computer struggling to find the words to describe the indescribable events, I decided I needed to see something first hand before it would be possible.

I got in my truck and headed down the road to Stillwater Regional Airport. I needed to see the team land. I needed to see something positive, something important.

What awaited me at the airport was a touching scene that reminded me just how special the people of Oklahoma State truly are.

At 2:45 Saturday morning, the cold wind aimlessly ripped through the gathering of nearly 150 orange-clad faithful who were already frozen from the events of the previous day.

But then in the distance, a noise grew louder. It was the sound of the jet carrying the Cowboys safely back home. It is something we all too often take for granted but will be challenged to overlook again.

As the team exited the plane and approached a gate ill-fitting of the gathering on hand, the singing began.

“Proud and immortal

Bright Shines Your Name

Oklahoma State

We Herald Your Fame

Ever You'll Find Us

Loyal and True

To Our Alma Mater


Coach Mike Gundy smiled as he appeared to fight back tears. Todd Monken doled out a few hugs. Several players gave high fives and, amid the overwhelming despair, signs of happiness could be found.

The sound that overtook the howling winds and the insufferable hum of desolation was the sound of cheering, providing a soundtrack to recovery from the loss of a team and the loss of lives before it.

The words of the alma mater took on an entirely new meaning. Loyal and true, indeed.

Sure, the national title hopes were lost amid the throngs of cardinal and gold who stormed the field to celebrate the biggest win in Iowa State football history. But the cold dose of reality from the morning helped to put things in perspective.

Monken described the loss as, “… a hard one to take for a long time.”

Brandon Weeden expressed his regret that they couldn’t deliver a win to assist in the healing process from the crash in the Arkansas hills and called it, “one of the hardest days in Oklahoma State history.”

Monken then added, “It’s one thing to lose early in the year, but it's another to get to this point and see the light at the end of the tunnel. We're 10-1, and I don't know if I've ever been 10-1 and felt so empty."

But that empty feeling preceded the warm arrival that awaited them in the early morning hours. That emptiness found some relief.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe it’s not a title this season, but it was a light nonetheless.

That light was provided by the Cowboy fans at the airport and by those who were there in spirit.

The football team might not have won Friday night but you, dear Cowboy fans, are already winners.

This university, this athletic department and this community will overcome tragedy once again and the reason is you. There was undeniable proof that Oklahoma State will again rise above.

I know I will remember Nov. 18, 2011.

I will remember the pain of losing cherished members of the Cowboy family. I will remember watching OSU’s football championship dreams fade away. But most of all, I will remember how lucky I am to be a Cowboy and to be associated with people like you.

One sign at the airport terminal struck me in particular.

“KB and MS would be proud.”

There is no doubt.

It's always good to keep things in perspective. The artice above can be found here.

Ride 'em Cowboys...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


I've been a little hesitant to write anything about Oklahoma State's football team this year as not to jinx them. With only two games left in the season I think I'm ready to do some bragging. With their win over Texas Tech Saturday, OSU moved to 10-0 on the season, the best start in school history, the previous best being 9-0 in 1945. They've also achieved their highest AP, Coaches, and BCS rankings at number 2. How did we get there? See below, the two games in bold is where I needed resuscitation:

Sep 3 Louisiana-Lafayette W 61-34
Sep 8 Arizona W 37-14
Sep 17 at Tulsa W 59-33
Sep 24 at (8) Texas A&M W 30-29
Oct 8 Kansas W 70-28
Oct 15 at (22) Texas W 38-26
Oct 22 at Missouri W 45-24
Oct 29 Baylor W 59-24
Nov 5 (17) Kansas State W 52-45
Nov 12 at Texas Tech W 66-6
Nov 18 at Iowa State 7:00 PM
Dec 3 (5) Oklahoma 7:00 PM

Obviously we should smoke Iowa State on Friday night which really leaves one competitive game left on the schedule, the dreaded Sooners in the annual Bedlam game. What's on the line in the last game of the season? Nothing much, just a chance to play for the National Championship in New Orleans! Also at stake is OSU's first Big 12 crown, a Heisman Trophy for Brandon Weeden, and another Biletnikoff Award for Justin Blackmon. No pressure.

What do the locals think of all this Oklahoma State success?

If it is the end of the world I could go out a happy man with a 12-0 regular season record... Go Pokes!!

Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen

Really Bravo?

In another unusual twist to the Top Chef cooking competition, Bravo gives us Last Chance Kitchen. The last person eliminated on the show has the chance to cook one final time to stay in the competition. The goal for the losers is to cook every week against the most recent person eliminated for a chance to get back in the contest at the end and compete for the 125,000 dollars!

This being the first week of Last Chance Kitchen we are treated to Andrew and Janine (the last two chefs out in the qualifying rounds) cooking in a best pizza throw down.

Andrew prevails over Janine and wins a chef coat that he will defend against next weeks eliminated contestant.

The online only Last Chance Kitchen footage can be found here.

When I heard about this final, final cut that Top Chef was offering I rolled my eyes but upon watching the video I think I'm kind of down with the concept. At the very least it will potentially give a good chef who was prematurely eliminated the chance to get back in the finale.

Thoughts or comments?

Sexual Orientation Protected in OKC!

"A measure proposed by Ward 2 Oklahoma City Councilman Ed Shadid that extends employment discrimination protection in city offices to gay people passed Tuesday by a 7-2 vote."

Wow. This is great news for Oklahoma City, or at least for those employed by the city. I don't know if I'm more surprised that the vote was actually held or that the margin was so wide.

I think city leaders are finally starting to realize that in order to compete with bigger cities it's legislation like this that actually helps attract economic development. The state of Oklahoma may still be living in the Dark Ages; however, Oklahoma City itself seems to be making moves in the right direction.

So proud of my city and its council right now!


Monday, November 14, 2011

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword - Origins Trailer

Six more days...

Top Chef: Sweet Sixteen

I was finally able to catch the second episode of Top Chef: Texas after missing the first run last Wednesday. Luckily Bravo always shows re-runs of all their shows twenty times a week!

This week we conclude the third round of the qualifying challenge as well as the bubble round. In the qualifying round the contestants choose from ten different ingredients on a table with each item having a mystery time for competition which were 20, 40, and 60 minutes. Top Chef always has to put in that little twist.

The bubble round was a little more simple. The chef contestants were asked to just make any dish they wanted with the ingredients in the kitchen. Six chefs were left in the bubble round while only two spots were left on the show. Edward and Grayson were the two last chefs to make it into the competition.

Other observations:

Chaz (mama's boy) sure got a lot of talking time this week. I figured this was a pretty good sign that he would make the cut and be part of the final sixteen but unfortunately he wasn't able to even get his food plated in time. His crush for Padma turned into being crushed by the judges.

I love the line up when everyone is spouting their resumes at their introductions. I was really hoping that one of the contestants would confess to being the day shift team leader at Arby's.

It's cool that Paul made the final cut. He's the food truck guy. I think it will be interesting to have a contestant from a non-traditional food background on the show. Hopefully he'll last.

Speaking of lasting. People who usually never advance very far into this competition, older chefs and private chefs. Case in point this week, Laurent (51) and Jonathan (private chef). I guess Robin did manage to hang around for a while on Top Chef: Las Vegas much to my dismay...

Has anyone ever had ox tail? Just curious. I've eaten a few crazy things in my time but never tail of any land animal.

No Gail this week. Boo. I was going to try really hard to pay attention to her boobs.

Grayson wanted to be a professional drinker at age 15 but went into the restaurant business instead. In my experience the two aren't necessarily mutually exclusive.

I like how Molly defended herself for being a cruise chef and being just as good as the other chefs in the competition. She was promptly sent home on the bubble round for over cooking her shrimp.

Next on Top Chef: apparently a lot of cooking, a lot of crying, and a lot of mother fucking cussing.

Next chef out: since I still don't have a good feel about everyone I'm going to say either Ed or Grayson simply because they had to cook twice to make it into the competition.

Next week predictions: a more traditional Top Chef episode?

For me next week is when the show really begins. I look forward to getting to know, and hate, the chefs in this competition!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Feast for Crows

Once again I return to George R. R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" series with the fourth book "A Feast for Crows (1060 pages). From Goodreads:

"After centuries of bitter strife and fatal treachery, the seven powers dividing the land have decimated one another into an uneasy truce. But it's not long before the survivors, outlaws, renegades, and carrion eaters of the Seven Kingdoms gather. Now, as the human crows assemble over a banquet of ashes, daring new plots and dangerous new alliances are formed while surprising faces—some familiar, others only just appearing—emerge from an ominous twilight of past struggles and chaos to take up the challenges of the terrible times ahead. Nobles and commoners, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and sages, are coming together to stake their fortunes...and their lives. For at a feast for crows, many are the guests—but only a few are the survivors."

"A Feast for Crows" is actually half of one book that Martin had originally intended to publish but it became so large it was released into two separate novels, the other being the recently released "A Dance with Dragons." What he did was take half of the characters and placed their entire story into one volume while the other half is represented in the next book. I was a little put off initially by this concept but I got over it fairly easily. As with the other books in the series each chapter is written from the perspective of a single character with the action possibly being in different parts of the realm.

I love this series in spite of the mammoth length of each installment. The only other minor nit I might make with "A Feast of Crows" is the slowly evolving story, at least in comparison with the other entries. Highly recommended. Read this series and start with "A Game of Thrones."

The Madness Meme, Part 2

I thought I would do some Sunday Stealing today while I'm oozing here on the sofa watching my beloved Dallas Cowboys...

Cheers to all of us thieves!

23. Do you ever walk around the house naked?
Sometimes but not very far, maybe to and from the bathroom.

24. If you were an animal what would you be? Why?
Ozzy Osbourne because he's rich.

25. Hair color you like on someone you’re dating?
I'm not particular just as long as it isn't a soulless Ginger.

26. If suffering an injury, would you rather be left blind or deaf?
I think either would be truly tragic but I think I would have to go with being left deaf though I would miss music dearly.

27. Do you have any special talents?
I'm an expert at drunk texting.

28. What do you do as soon as you walk in the house?
Hang up my keys on the wall near my door.

29. Do you like horror or comedy?
I like both, who doesn't?

30. Are you missing anyone?
A couple of people that I don't get to see very often.

31. Where do you want to live when you are old?
Someplace that isn't solidly a "red state" in Presidential elections.

32. Who is the person you can count on the most?
The Rents (parents).

33. If you could date any celebrity past or present, who would it be?
That's a tough one. Maybe Paul Rudd ala the Romeo and Juliet years.

34. What did you dream last night?
Nothing, I was so exhausted that I had a dreamless night.

35. What is your favorite sport to watch?
College football.

36. Are you named after anyone?
My dad and I guess his father before him.

37. What is your favorite alcoholic drink?
I like all kinds of beers from lagers to stouts and everything in between. If it's a mixed drink I like Captain Morgan and Coke.

38. Non alcoholic drink?
I drink water mostly. I hardly drink caffeine anymore but when I do I go with a Dr. Pepper.

39. Have you ever been in love?
A couple of times, it was a waste of time.

40. Do you sing in the shower?
Sometimes. I blast music through the house when I'm showering more times than not.

41. Have you ever been arrested?
I have and I wouldn't recommend it.

42. What is your favorite Holiday?
Arbor Day.

43. Would you ever get plastic surgery?
Maybe a nip and tuck here or there but nothing major.

44. Have you ever caught a fish?
I have. I like to fish but I hardly ever get to do it.

Friday, November 04, 2011

"In God We Trust"

"In a 396-9 vote, the House of Representatives reaffirmed 'In God We Trust' as the nation's motto on Wednesday. The resolution's Republican sponsor said it would clear up any confusion President Obama created by once referring mistakenly to 'E Pluribus Unum' — a Latin phrase meaning 'out of many, one' — as our motto. ('In God We Trust' replaced 'E Pluribus Unum' in 1956.) Obama mocked Congress for frittering away its day on such a symbolic gesture instead of focusing on creating jobs."


Does anyone else like "E Pluribus Unum" better? Why was it changed, along with The Pledge of Allegiance, back in the last century? This would be a great springboard into attacking religion again on my part but I think I'm going to take a pass today, anyone who reads this blog already knows my views: if you're a Christian get some help! There are some great psychotropic medications on the market these days...

In other news, the House of Representatives will be holding votes all week to reaffirm the following:

The bald eagle as the nation's symbol. Too bad we didn't go with the turkey, it seems more apropos these days, no?

The Star Spangled Banner as the nation's anthem. However, the House may try to tweak Francis Scott Key's famous poem by adding God somewhere in the patriotic song.

The American Flag. The House will declare that yes indeed the flag has 13 stripes representing the original 13 colonies and 50 stars representing all fifty states. The colors will also be reaffirmed as such: white signifying purity and hope, red standing for courage and sacrifice, and blue representing freedom, truth and justice. Why one of these colors doesn't represent the Christian God was an egregious oversight by our forefathers!

Taking a back seat to the legislation mentioned above will be jobs and the economy. God bless America...

Thursday, November 03, 2011

A Lion Among Men (Revisited)

It's been almost two years to the day that I first read "A Lion Among Men" (309 pages) by Gregory Maguire. In fact tomorrow would be the exact date. My first impressions of the book can be found here. It's amazing that I can remember exactly what I was doing the day I received this book (helping a friend move) but I had forgotten many of the details of the novel. From Goodreads:

"While civil war looms in Oz, a tetchy oracle named Yackle prepares for death. Before her final hour, a figure known as Brrr the Cowardly Lion arrives searching for information about Elphaba Thropp, the Wicked Witch of the West. Abandoned as a cub, his path from infancy is no Yellow Brick Road. In the wake of laws that oppress talking Animals, he avoids a jail sentence by agreeing to serve as a lackey to the warmongering Emperor of Oz.

A Lion Among Men chronicles a battle of wits hastened by the Emerald City's approaching armies. Can those tarnished by infamy escape their sobriquets to claim their own histories, to live honorably within their own skins before they're skinned alive?

Gregory Maguire's new novel is written with the sympathy and power that have made his books contemporary classics."

As with my other readings of any of the "Wicked Years" novels, I find the second time through to be much more enjoyable. Freed of any expectations I can take in the book for what it is. Though fans commonly like this book the least, I now consider it to be just as strong as "Wicked" or "Son of a Witch," an opinion that is new. True, the book moves along at a much slower. What the pace of the story lacks, it makes up for it with answers to questions readers have wondered about since the first novel. And as I've said before it opens up a whole new can of worms to wonder about.

Having re-read the "Wicked Years" saga, I'm very eager to get down to reading "Out of Oz," which was released last Tuesday, the final installment in the series. From what I've read online the last novel should tie up all the loose ends and storylines proposed in the last three volumes.

"The Wizard was revealed as a mere mortal, and a bit of a charlatan at that. As clever with his hands - all those tiktok inventions, those terrifying images he projected - as he was with his diktats and fiats and fatwahs. Oh my."

Top Chef: Texas!

Dear Top Chef, I really tried to like your Masters edition, All Stars edition, and Just Desserts edition but I just couldn't. Now that we're back to the original format I couldn't be more stoked. Welcome to season nine of Top Chef Texas!

Blogging about Top Chef is always difficult in the first couple of weeks. It takes some time to get to know all of the new contestants. Bravo made things even harder this years starting off with 400 chef contestants. Well not really. Actually they're starting out with 29. After two episodes all of these contestants will be narrowed down to a more traditional number of 16. The first two rounds focused on the first two groups of chefs where they would be rewarded with a chef coat and make the cut to be in the competition, sent home from the competition, or placed on the bubble where they would have to cook yet again for another chance to make the competition. After two rounds we're left with 11 locks for the show and a hand full of cooks left on the bubble. Next week the third group of chefs will compete as well as those left on the bubble. Whew.

Some random musings on the first episode:

Two new celebrity judges join Tom, Padma, and Gail this season, Emeril Lagasse (I can never look at the man again without thinking of Elzar from Futurama) and Hugh Acheson, who is in dire need of an eyebrow specialist. What happend to everyone's favorite sell-out, Anthony Bourdain? Lame.

As soon as chef contestant Tyler Stone opened his mouth in an interview snippet I knew he would be leaving sooner rather than later. They guy was way too cocky not to be sent home early. In fact Tom sent him home before he even had a chance to cook! Note to future contestants: if you can't butcher a pig you probably shouldn't (1) volunteer to do so and (2) be on a cooking competition show.

A couple of chef contestants failed to finish plating their food, costing one a spot in the final 16 and sending another to the bubble round. Have these people not watched an episode of the series before?

According to the opening it appears as though all the cooking competitions will be split between Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin. No love for Houston? And what about my favorite Texas city of all time, Amarillo? A city that's 300 miles long and 1 mile wide...

Is anyone else disappointed that there isn't a contestant named Suck Lord?

I can't remember what Gail was wearing or what her boobies were doing! Hopefully that's not a bad omen of things to come this season!

It looks like Chicago is going to be well represented this season. I eagerly await to see if there's actually anywhere good to eat in Chicago and where those places are located.

Next on Top Chef: more of the same. Two more rounds of potential contestants duking it out for a spot in the final 16.

Next chef(s) out: a ton of them. There are only five spots left in the competition.

Next week predictions: I think it's a little too early for this, let's wait until we have all of our finalists in place.

So far so good with season nine I think. I like the new opening rounds format where the contestants have to cook to get into the competition. The season should be a lot of fun, as you know everything is bigger in Texas (I wonder how often we're going to hear that gem of a line this year?).