6/04/2006

A Dish Best Served Cold


After 5 years and 5 months of torture and misery the end has come.

The Reign of Terror is over.

5/27/2006

My Friday Night

7:07
Since I’m sick and unable to go out tonight, I figured it might be fun to chronicle my Friday Night. Fun for me, mind you. Anyone reading this is going to be bored to tears, but writing it should be a good way to pass the time until I can take my next dosage of Nyquil.

7:08
first stat of the night: Bill Hall 1-1 with 2 RBI, Run scored, and a HR. I love this guy. I originally became interested in him because he’d fill out the Hall Triumvirate in our league, but as I learned more and more about him I became convinced that I could make him a late-round sleeper. He hasn’t let me down yet and he’s eligible at every position…even janitor.

7:13
Freddy An. Garcia does not start his night well for me. He gives up a hit to the first batter he faces. I drafted Freddy under the Rob rule. The Rob rule states that any pitcher that has failed Rob will inevitably perform splendidly for me. Needless to say Freddy’s been amazing so far.

7:15
Freddy is sucking big time. He’s already given up a run and hasn’t recorded an out yet. Meanwhile, the Yankee contingent (Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon) are 0 for 2 collectively. I always feel like I need to make excuses for having these two guys on my team…sometimes I wonder if it was worth selling my soul to the Dark Side just to score more fantasy baseball points. Then I realize how much being in last place sucked last year and I happily move on, soulless and whistling.

7:18
Freddy records an out! Unfortunately he is now facing Troy Glaus who exists only to cause me pain. This means that Freddy is about to give up more runs.

7:20
Former Yankee Soriano jumps on board the point-train with a first at-bat double followed by a stolen base.

7:21
Troy Glaus hasn’t homered yet, but Sportsline is being suspiciously slow updating that game.

This seems like a good time to bring up one of the two big issues in my life that I’ve been meaning to address. Specifically the quoteability of the General Zod character from Superman II. Nobody in my life quotes this guy. He’s amazing. Terrence Stamp played the evil dictator/terrorist from Krypton like nobody else could and all my Lebowski-parroting amigos are giving him the cold shoulder. This has to stop and I’m begging any major sports figures out there to help me save the Zod quotes by using them during interviews with sports reporters. For this to work you need to imagine a famous athlete of your choice (I vote for Pedro) saying these things to your least favorite sports journalist (probably Tim McCarver):

“So this is planet Houston”
“Come to me, Superman! I defy you! Come and kneel before Zod!”
“I win. I always win. Is there no one on this planet to even challenge me?”
“I am General Zod. Your ruler. Yes, today begins a new order. Your lands, your possessions, your very lives, will gladly be given in tribute to me, General Zod! In return for your obedience you will enjoy my generous protection. In other words you will be allowed to live”
“I've discovered his weakness. He cares. He actually cares for these Earth people”
“We have no more use for this one. Kill him.”
“Why do you talk to me this way. When you know that I will kill you for this?”

Good ol’ General Zod.

7:31
In Imaginary Baseball news: my team has scored a total of 68.5 points tonight. Excellent. Freddy Garcia has scored negative seven points. At least he didn’t give up a homer to Glauss. Glaus? Gloucester?

Pretty soon I’m going to have to turn on the live broadcast of the Sox game. Living in New York caused me to forget how much of one’s time can be instantly destroyed as a result of having regular access to broadcasts of your favorite sports team. A typical night for me goes like this: come home, eat food, turn on Sox game, fall asleep. That Sox game part usually takes 3.5 hours…but that time passes faster than anything else.

7:35
Time for a quick run upstairs for food.

7:43
The Sox game is about to begin. The Starters tonight are Scott Kasmir for the Stinkbombs vs. David Wells for the Hometowne team.

Both were drafted by me. Only one has not been dropped by me. I’ll let you guess which one.

Freddy Garcia is actually starting to pitch well tonight. Good times would be inevitable if not for the fact that Kasmir is facing my favorite team. This is always something of a gut-wrenching experience. Kasmir is a stellar pitcher, but he has traditionally owned the Red Sox. The dream scenario is that Kasmir pitches a shutout through 8 innings but is relieved by Crappy McSuck Devil Rays reliever who then gives up the game. Anything other than that makes tonight an unhappy time for yours truly.

7:47
David Wells manages to get Julio Lugo to fly out weakly. Do you think Wells was scheduled to pitch another rehab start, but then, upon seeing that it coincided with a D-Rays Game he just said “screw it, I’m ready for the Big Show”? Aren’t the D-Rays basically a AAA team?

7:49
Bill Hall is up again, and yes, he deserves live coverage of each of his at-bats. More so than Barry Bonds at least. Wells gets three straight fly outs to escape the first inning unharmed. I’m not buying it Boomer. Your knees are bad and you never, ever, train during the off-season. This will not last.

7:52
Bill Hall struck out. Damn.
Remy just pointed out that Kasmir is red-hot. I’m waiting for him to point out that he also looks like he’s 14 years old.

Youkilis leads off for the Sox. By the way, I’m really glad I decided not to draft him…he’s not awesome or anything. Crap. Youk hits the stuffing out of the ball but one of the Devil Ray’s light-hitting speedy outfielders catches it on the warning track. Yes, I’m pretty sure that this team would be better off if I was the GM.

7:55
The Devil Rays are running willy-nilly all over the field in between pitches to Ortiz. This shifting the shift depending on the count thing needs to stop. I think they do it just so that they look like they know what they’re doing.

7:57
Kasmir strikes out Ortiz to end the inning…Tampa Bay suckmaster Tobey Hall doesn’t realize that there are only three outs per inning until Kasmir reminds him. Only then does Hall leave the field. I’m not making this up. These guys are terrible. Little League bad.

8:00
Now seems as good a time as any for me to bring up the other major issue in my life (aside from the Zod quotes thing), which is “The Gilbert”. Earlier today as I was pulling out of a parking lot and my seatbelt locked up for no reaason. At that moment I decided that this phenomenon is so annoying that it needs its own name. Thus “The Gilbert” was born.

8:04
Aubrey Huff flies out to deep center. Wily-Mo Pena is there. This begs the question: how is it that Wily-Mo is a total nightmare in rightfield but better than average in center? Isn’t center a tougher position? Does he just need more room to move?

Shockingly Wells has been great so far…oh wait, this is the Devil Rays, nevermind.

8:08
Three Devil Rays players surround a Manny Ramirez pop-up but none of them can come up with it. Manny takes a wide turn at first then needs to dive back. He opts for the chin first slide. Good one Manny.

8:10
Don Orsillo brings up the Kasmir for Zambrano trade. Poor Mets fans. Then Remy points out that the Mets would have Pedro, Glavine, and Kasmir in the rotation with Billy Wagner closing for them. In case any of you are wondering: my friend Paul can throw better than Victor Zambrano.

8:12
Mike Lowell gets an opposite field single that puts Manny on third with one out. Kasmir’s looking at negative numbers (or as I am now calling them “Garcias”) if Manny scores. This is what happens when you enter a highly competitive fantasy sports league: you start semi-rooting against your own team.

I’m not saying I want the Sox to lose. I will always want them to win. Let’s just say that when Nixon strikes out here I’m not going to shout at the TV the way I normally would if, say, Gustavo Chacin was pitching.

Scott Kasmir is really very good at throwing a baseball. Tobey Hall, on the other hand, is not very good at catching it as Lowell moves up to second on a passed ball. Luckily for Kasmir, Manny was not able to score on that.

8:16
Wily Mo is up…I’m not liking his chances vs. Kasmir. He grounds out to end the Sox threat. I’m not cheering…but I’m a little more relaxed now when I look at the online fantasy league scoreboard.

Elsewhere in the league: Soriano has doubled for me again and Freddy Garcia is still in “I’m pitching for Rob” mode. Come on Freddy, get it together.

8:20
David Wells is trying his best to win the Gold Glove award. He’s taken away two hits with his glove already.

Wells’ curveball is looking pretty good right now. I’m starting to feel the urge to pick him back up. I guess we’ll just see how well this game goes…I can’t believe I’m letting him pull me back in to his Web of fatness and crazy quotes. I guess that’s more of a pudding than a web.

8:33
The thing I hate most about Carl Crawford is that whenever I hear his name I think of “Carl Crawfish”. I don’t even know who “Carl Crawfish” is, but I hate him, and by extension I hate Carl Crawford.

8:35
Hmmm…perhaps Wells curveball isn’t looking so good after all since Carl Crawfish just took one deep to give the Tampa Bay Speedy Crawfish the lead.

8:47
My team is suffering at the hands of its own suckiness. Drop Dead Fred Garcia sits at negative 34 points for the night. Meanwhile the Sox ground into a double play. I need some more Bill Hall homeruns to make me feel better.

8:52
David Wells is panting like a mad dog…an un-athletic mad dog. This guy is a pro athlete? Just as I type that Travis Lee hits a ball off of Wells’ knee. This could very well be the end of his career. I’m a horrible person.

9:21
Things are going well for the Sox and despite Garcia’s terrible outing, my fantasy team is doing alright too. By the way, I think part of God fell to Earth and became David Ortiz. Or maybe it’s all of God…I’m not sure. Anyways, Ortiz just hit a bases clearing double to give the Sox a 3-1 lead.

9:31
Lowell homers over the Monster. Kasmir is sad...and the 2 run bomb is bittersweet for me. I need two more Bill Hall homers to cheer me up. In the spirit of disclosure I should let you know that last year I referred to Mike Lowell as “Mike Lowell’s Deflated Carcass”. Meanwhile, Lugo boots a routine play with an assist from Travis Lee.

9:55
After falling asleep for 20 minutes I see that the Devildogs are mounting a meek comeback. They have runners at first and third with one down and some light-hitting speedy guy at the plate. I can only tell that it’s not the Crawfish. Uh-oh…Foulke is warming up. Things are about to get interesting.

Damon Hollins is this guy’s name. He comes through with a single to make the score 6-2 with runners at first and third again.

10:02
Typical Devil Craws play: Damon Hollins rounds third and has all kinds of time to get home to score a crucial run but manages to fall down between third and homeplate. As a result he needs to run back to third. Keep in mind, each of these guys is paid to do things like run the bases without falling down…and they can’t do it.

By the way, Keith Foulke is now pitching for the Sox, which might explain why the diminutive Julio Lugo just hit a towering foul ball that barely missed becoming a homerun. It was one Lugo-length away at most. Instead Lugo is retired and the Sox are set up for another easy win over the crap-balls of the league.

10:07
As if to prove my point, NESN presents a stat regarding the current matchup of relief pitcher Brian Meadows vs. the batter, Manny Ramirez. What was the stat you ask? Manny is 4 for 6 in his career vs. Meadows with 4 homeruns. Gotta love the Devil Rays bullpen strategery.

The strategery works (kind of) as Manny hits a very very high fly ball into left field that’s caught in front of the warning track.

10:11
Whoever made the rejuvenation machine that Mike Lowell hooked himself up to is going to make a lot of money when that thing ramps up to mass production.

11:00

All of a sudden the night comes to an end. The Sox doubled up the DRays 8-4 and now I must sleep.

While my peers were out getting drunk and clubbing, I did this. Awesome. Oh, and I hocked up a lot of goo and blew my nose about two thousand times.

4/14/2006

Somewhere, from the darkness, a voice cries out

I know I don't update enough for all of you heartless jackals, but I like to think that when I do add crap to this blog it's an amazing experience. Check this out and tell me if I'm right.

3/25/2006

The Greatest Thing Ever Part 732

Follow this link to see the following:

A TV Pilot directed by Ben Stiller
Jack Black playing an astronaut who becomes a genius when exposed to the sun
A talking motorcycle that has been possessed (voiced by Owen Wilson)
Ron Silver playing himself as an astronaut/Nasa hitman/actor

Thank me later.

3/22/2006

Best Buy = Worst Buying Experience

Recently I accompanied Pablo to The Mall where he purchased a computer from a well known electronics retailer that shall remain nameless. Let’s just say that this retailer has a lot of blue and yellow in its stores and that it sucks the life out of you if you stand inside of it for too long. Also, it is called Best Buy.

Some things you should know about the Best Buy Experience:

They will ALWAYS try to upsell you.

I warned my compatriot of this one. We had selected a severely marked-down computer, monitor, and printer/scanner package. The price break on these three items was so good that we would’ve been hard-pressed to find a better deal on the internet. This means that the five-headed, slimey-tentacled, beast-creature that runs the place was betting that the sales crew (aka: the assface squad) would be able to turn a profit by conning the buyer into purchasing additional peripherals that any normal human would never actually need.

Predictably, when the sales-sack returned with a cart for the computer it already contained two DVDs and a large box of crap. The following conversation went something like this:

Pablo: What is this disk thingy?

Sack: That’s a virus protection CD. You need that to keep your computer safe from viruses that will ruin it.

Pablo: How much does it cost.

Sack: $120 bucks, but it’s a great deal.

Pablo: I don’t want it.

Sack: Ok, well, I’ll take it out, but once you get set up you should really come back and buy it.

Pablo: Right. What’s this other thing?

Sack: That’s a spyware killer. You need that so your computer won’t get ruined by spyware.

Pablo: How much does it cost?

Sack: $30

Pablo: I don’t want it.

Sack: Ok, well, I’ll take it out, but once you get set up you should really come back and buy it.

Pablo: Right. What’s this thing?

Sack: That’s a battery backup. You really need one of these if you live on Cape Cod because we have lots of power dips in the summer and if that happens you don’t want your computer to just shut off because that will ruin it.

Pablo: How much does it cost?

Sack: $130 but it…

Pablo: I don’t want it.

Sack: Sack: Ok, well, I’ll take it out, but once you get set up you should really come back and buy it.

There. Now wasn’t that fun? What a great time you can have when the supposedly “helpful” sales staff is trying to sneak over $250 worth of useless crap into your purchase. The Sack was kind enough to inform us that he was not working on commission. So basically The Sack was telling us: “Look guys, I’m not being sleazy for the money, I’m just doing this because I’m a whore for my manager and--since I'll always be a frustrated virgin--I need to screw people any way that I can”.

Everyone There Is An Idiot

That one is self-explanatory. In the middle of the sales pitch a friend of The Sack almost poked me in the eye. I can’t even explain how this came to pass.

Everyone There Thinks You Are An Idiot

At the checkout register The Sack tried to sell Pablo a $220 service plan. He actually started figuring this into the cost of the product. I asked if the computer came with a manufacturer’s warranty and he replied with a very Sackesque “yes, but that’s only for defects in the machine that come about as a result of normal use”. So either Best Buy is so totally evil that they’re willing to scam EVERYONE who buys a computer, or they’re good people who think that Pablo is going to take his computer home and use it as a sparring partner for ten rounds of bare-knuckle boxing. I pity the naïve parents that go in there just trying to buy a computer for their kid. By the end of it, I wouldn't have been surprised if he tried to sell Pablo a flux capacitor. Although, in that case, I probably would have stepped-in in order to buy it for myself so I could go back in time and kill The Sack's father so that he would never be born. Either that or I would've just bashed his face in with it.

They Will Screw With Your Life Even After Your Purchase Is Complete

This one is my favorite. Pablo pays for his new computer, takes the cart from The Sack, and begins to leave, when suddenly The Sack intervenes. At this point we’ve withstood so many up-sell attempts and attacks on our intelligence that I thought we had The Sack beat. We were basically getting this computer at cost; but no, I was wrong. The Sack had more damage to do. It was like an arch-nemesis coming back from the grave for one last sudden attack. Like a smellier, pimplier version of Dracula.

“You can’t take that yet, first we need to give it to our technicians for testing”. What???? Best Buy has technicians? I refuse to believe this one. There’s not a goddamned technician of any kind in The Mall. There are barely any sentient beings in that place. “It should only take 20 minutes, we’re just going to make sure everything works before you get it home”. Yes, because you people with your spyware, virus, and “power-dip” paranoia are really qualified to tell us what is and is not working. Awesome. We decided to go get some dinner. Meanwhile, I'm pretty sure the "technicians" got busy re-enacting the last scene of Bloodsport with Pablo's new comp.

Best Ending

When the dust (and food court chow) finally settled, Pablo was a pretty happy camper. We managed to solve the power issue by getting a $25 surge protector from Staples. As for viruses and spyware: there are free options out there, and even if Pablo does have to pay for it, he won't be paying $220 to a tentacled beast-creature.

3/14/2006

The List of Pablo's Debts

My least net-savvy friend Pablo has a nasty habit of making bets that he can't possibly win. Not just typical male-mind bets like "dude, I bet I can get that chick over there to go home with me" either, if Pablo made those sorts of bets he might actually have a chance at winning some of them. Instead things go something like this:

Pablo: The Pats are going to suck this year. I can't believe we didn't even sign anyone good.

Chris: Um...we did get Corey Dillon.

Pablo: No we didn't.

Chris: I'll bet you (some ridiculous thing) that we did.

Pablo: You're on.

Now, why would you make that bet? Why would Chris make something like that up? Furthermore, if he had made it up, wouldn't he KNOW that he made it up and NOT bet on it? That's just a terrible maneuver by the Pablofactor, and that's not even close to his most absurd bet. As a result of this ridiculous habit, Pablo is bound by honor to:

-Get a tattoo on his arm that says “Big Papi”...this would go along with the two Sanskrit tattoos that he already has: one means “wet” the other means “dream” (the Papi tattoo bet is kind of understandable, it occurred during the 2004 ALCS)
-Wear a Doug Christie Jersey everywhere he goes for one week straight (this one was my invention and I managed to sink a half-court shot to guarantee it, Pablo sort of pussed-out and ended up having a custom baseball t-shirt made that said “Christie” on the back...not nearly as cool as my idea. I still feel a little robbed but forcing him to buy a Doug Christie jersey on eBay for $80 would be too cruel)
-Eat a dirty sock (I think his own? I don't know where this one comes from...Chris would probably be able to explain it—he has an encyclopedic knowledge of all of Pablo's screw-ups)

And that's just the tip of the iceberg folks. I haven't been able to keep track of all the other stuff but I'll try to remember to post more as they happen.

1927 All Over Again

It's time to get excited about movies again.

Not because of HD TV sets. Not because of Blue-Ray DVDs. And definitely not because of anything coming to a theater near you. It's time to get excited for video on demand.

Right now you people think I've gone out of my mind, and I have, but I'm right about this and you need to hear me out. Apple is, right this very second, rolling out a Movie section on iTunes that features movie downloads for $9.99 a pop. Yes, these things are DRM'd to hell, yes these will probably be only DVD-level quality at best, and yes you still have to wait for Comcast or Verizon to shepherd every byte of that over-one-gig file to your hard drive, but it's worth it.

Think about Netflix. Most subscribers pay $18.00 a month and patiently wait 2-4 days to receive their scratched up DVDs. If they “rent” too many DVDs in a month Netflix throttles them back by putting artificial delays on the DVDs that are sent to those movie-hungry subscribers. Apple's model costs a bunch more than Netflix but it represents near-instant gratification AND YOU OWN THE MOVIE (make a backup copy).

I'm sure it won't happen instantaneously, but within 10 months the movie content on iTunes will rival Netflix in both quantity and variety. This is something that everyone wants a piece of (including the cable companies who already have Video on Demand options for their customers...but they are terrible) but Apple's going to win because they are going to get there first, just like they did with music. They'll probably do it better than everyone else too, but that's pretty much assumed at this point.

It's worth mentioning that not too long ago Steve unveiled the new Mac Mini with Front Row and Apple Remote (people are going to be using those WAAAAY more than anyone thinks right now). This spicy little number, designed to be the “entry-level” Mac was priced $100 over the previous Mac Mini's price point. This basically made this computer the most expensive entry-level desktop computer since 1997. Is the remote really worth $100? The obvious answer is “no”. The remote probably costs Apple $2 to make, but I shouldn't have to tell you that the ability to sit on your fat ass and tell your computer to download, save to the hard drive, and play movies for you as if it was just a natural extension of your TV/Stereo-system/Altar-to-Bacchus is priceless. You're probably an American, and if I know anything about Americans it's that we'll pay anything if it means we get to sit on our asses more. It's great to be a citizen of the greatest country on the planet, isn't it? Isn't it?

Could this all fall through? Of course it could. If Mad Dog Steve can't cut the necessary distribution deals he's boned. Is that likely to happen? No. I can't imagine that the Majority Stock Holder in Disney and the Hottest CEO in this Dimension is going to have a hard time finding movies to put in his online store. If Pixar doesn't have every one of their movies on there within a month I'll be shocked. As soon as they get one killer flick on there (like The Incredibles or Aladdin), all the other studios will see how absurdly lucrative this new model of distribution is and they'll jump on like a hat full of rabid monkeys. But since all of Hollywood just doesn't get it yet we'll have to handle being excited for them. So get excited for the movies, because not long from now they're ALL going to be a click away from your living room.

3/13/2006

Why Know These Things?