Sunday, January 21, 2007

May the Colts crush the Bears

Well, the lesser of two evils - the Colts - made it to the Superbowl on a last minute touchdown, while the Bears unfortunately decided to lead their undeserving quarterback Rex Grossman to victory over my hopeful to win it all, the New Orleans Saints. It is not that Grossman is bad - even with all of his problems he still lead his team to an amazing amount of wins - but it's just that he's not that good. Now he gets to wear a Superbowl ring. What. The. Fuck.

I am now, at least for the next two weeks, a Peyton Manning fan.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

My trip to the far off fantasy land called Canada

To boldly go where no man has gone before, I drove two hours north to Vancouver, British Columbia. And not just Vancouver... No, North Vancouver, a posh little area with eateries, my company's Canadian office, and Canadian women.
What a business trip it was. Unlike my last business trip where I stayed in Hilton Shanghai, here I really lived in luxury here: I drove myself and inflicted upon my new car its first heavy dirt; I lived in the company apartment, a nice place other than the Ikea beds (if a thin piece of something resembling a mattress can be considered a bed) and the fact that no one cleans up after you every day; and, well, that's about it.
The trip was good. I got some meetings out of the way, have several big projects steamrolling along, and best yet I got to go "home" to a nice apartment and just veg out without any to bother me. And at the same time, every night I went out with coworkers, ignored my New Year's resolution to drink less beer, and drank a lot. It's fun watching coworkers "enjoy" themselves, and enjoy themselves they did. Oh, how the martinis were pouring.
On my final days, I neglected coworkers' calls to drive them back down to Seattle immediately, a border with zero wait time and hundreds of friends back home dying to hang out with me (actually, make that around five friends and only one had requested my presence that evening). Instead, I stayed up in North Vancouver by my lonesome to enjoy the peace and quiet and do the unthinkable: watch a movie at a movie theater by myself. Yes, I hadn't done it in years, but I did it: I watched Letters from Iwo Jima (read the Letters from Iwo Jima movie review here) by myself. Some may call it pathetic (as did I for a few minutes), but then again, business calls and I did.
Anyway, before the movie, I spent three wonderful hours standing at a bar (heaven help my feet!) watching the Canucks lose a hockey game in overtime. Those who know me would say that was a sarcastic comment, but it was not: it was a lot of fun (and this I did not do alone, mind you! Two coworkers attended with me to drink booze and watch the Canucks blow a lead in the last 45 seconds of regulation).
One thing I noticed, or at least was reminded of: Canadians are nicer. They are more cheerful than Americans for whatever reason. You hear it in their voices, in their accents. They are just happier people, or at least are born to sound like it. Well, I was going to go into much more detail on this subject, but I've losted interest, so until another day, I bid adieu, if that is how you spell "adieu."

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Reaction to 24: Season Premiere Part I

24 debuted tonight. While very, very good, it does not quite compare to the explosive nature of some of the previous season premieres, although there are several explosions to be found. The plot of the show is simple: an Islamic terrorist group had rooted itself in America and is performing suicide bombings around the country. Americans are feeling unsafe and going paranoid. The President is considering putting Muslim-Americans in concentration camps.
How much you want to bet that President Bush has had one or two conversations on the very topic?
Anyway, the first two hours are good, although I have to say the producers lost a perfect opportunity to take 24 overseas and out of Los Angeles for a season. While last season was probably the best, you can only conceivably do so much in LA. As of the end of last season, Jack had been captured and taken to China - why not spend a day in China with Jack trying to break out and uncovering some kind of political plot to overthrow the Chinese government?
Well, the producers didn't go that route, and two hours after Jack arrived in America with a beard, he has returned to normal form - clean shaven, perfect teeth (he couldn't shave but he could brush?) and extremely dangerous. For God's sake, he rips a man's artery out of his neck with his teeth!
24 looks to be as exciting as it was last year, as the show delves further into the Muslim theme it started last year. If most terrorists are Muslim and from the Middle East, is it right to give people who fit that bill harsher treatment, even if 99% of them are just as safe as any other American?
The previews for the second half of the season premiere also seem to imply something huge, and is that a rumbling that you hear in the background? A nuclear bomb going off perhaps? In a city this time? Tomorrow we shall see.

The Apprentice: Gay Bombshell

Donald Trump is gay! He announced it on The Apprentice LA. Okay, actually one of the gaty competitors of the show (and by gay I mean homosexual) completely throughout all his business intelligence for personal taste and got fired because of it. Carey, along with his team, was tasked with creating three women's bathing suits and three men's bathing suits. For the men's bathing suits, he "forced" his team to do three highly gay swimsuits that 99% of America wouldn't buy. They were tight, colorful, short and... tight!
Not that I have anything to hide (or not that I don't have too much to hide), but when I'm at the beach, I don't want my bulge to be sticking out. And I don't want shorts that are short enough where that bulge would be more than just sticking out. This is speaking from a heterosexual viewpoint, of course, but come on! Apprentice! Hello? You're not marketing to gay consumers - you're marketing to a select group of buyers who want to sell to the general population.
Sadly, Carey seemed like a smart player and it would have been nice to see him go a little farther. Unfortunately, he lost sight of the end goal and got way too excited about a fashion show. Sort of like how the runner-up last year lost the tailgate party task because he became consumed with throwing the best party rather than making the most money. And this swimsuit was just plain hideous.
And that's my rant about this week's Apprentice LA.

The HBO Television Series Rome

With the second season premiere tonight, I figured I would go On Demand and take a gander at HBO's Rome, a series that had never interested me for whatever reason despite my huge interest in ancient civilizations and politics. Someone had told me the show sucked and for some reason I engrained that in my head, which is a silly thing to do. One thing I have learned is to never doubt an HBO series (at least an HBO dramatic series).
Rome is not as good as HBO's best shows, like Sopranos, Deadwood and Carnivale. It has a lot of characters, and it took me a long time (a.k.a. the entire first season) to figure out who they were. The series is also slightly predictable, at least if you've ever read anything about the rise and fall of Julias Caesar.
Still, like most HBO shows, Rome is still one of the best series on TV. The acting is terrific, the sets well designed, and the bloodshed is shamelessly wonderful. In one of the final episodes of the first season, a main character gets sentenced to death via gladiator fight, and he ends up taking down all the other gladiators who are sent against him. One man gets a spear through his shoulder and down through his body so that it parallels his spine. Yuck.
Wonderful. I have now realized that this is yet another television show I am going to watch. With American Idol, 24, and The Apprentice kicking into high gear, and Lost, Battlestar Galactica and Heroes returning soon, I am in for a lot of productive evenings...

Notes on a Scandal Movie Review, and the Seahawks

Today, January 14th, I wake up to surprising warmth in my apartment. The reasons are unclear, though one would suspect the heat has risen from our wonderful neighbors downstairs. Outside, the temperature is a timid 19 degrees, which is really damn cold for the Seattle area. We're used to 40 degrees and raining in January, not 20 degrees, snow and ice. That being said, I don't completely mind the weather. I worked from home Thursday and Friday and watched the entire season of Rome, one of HBO's latest series.
Anyway, I wake up expecting it to be cold, but the temperature is pretty bad. I hop out of bed naked (okay, not really, just wanted to plant that frightful image in your head), turn on the heat, and turn on the television in two rooms. After all, the Seahawks are about to kickoff for the NFC Divisional Game, and I can't possibly miss a minute.
I wake up the roommate and the game begins. Thankfully, the game is close and not the embarrassment that was the Monday Night Football game against the Chicago Bears earlier this year. Rex Grossman is unfortunately pretty good after a season of inconsistencies, but the Seahawks are matching him step for step. Near the end of the game, the Seahawks take the lead, but then the Bears tie it up with a field goal. We have a chance to get down the field in the last two minutes, but can't quite do it. Again, this happens in overtime and the Bears manage to kick the longest field goal of the year (a piddly 49-yarder) to win the game. The Seahawks defied expectations and nearly went to the NFC Championship two years in a row, but their inability to convert on 3-and-1 and 4-and-1, which has been a problem all year, stifled their chances.
The game ends, and my heart returns to normal speed. After a variety of calls from friends calling to console me, I head on out to the botanical garden for some winter wonderland fun, where I meet my parents' new greyhound and my dad proceeds to lose his car keys in the middle of a snowy field. We find the keys, end of story.
I then drive to Seattle, pick up two friends and we head to Pacific Place for some Notes on a Scandal action, with every intent of seeing some Judi Dench lesbian action (and hopefully nudity). Not really, but it'd still be better than Kathy Bates in About Schmidt.
The movie is decent, but not what I expected. Thankfully Dench is everything I wanted and more, minus the nudity. Read the Notes on a Scandal movie review here.
I then return home for some pasta made by my roommate - while he doesn't like them as much, I like them more than his other pasta concoctions. We watch some Simpsons, and I prepare for the season premiere of 24. And now we are all caught up, and I can end this dreadfully dull post...