Monday, January 17, 2011

I hate losing

I hate losing. I really do. I'm usually very amicable (I swear) but when I'm doing anything competitive I'm just a monster. I gloat when I win, I pout when I lose. I nudge the ball forward for some extra yards in two hand touch and I'll elbow you on the way to the basket in some two on two. This week in my head-to-head fantasy hoops league I found myself down 2000 points. Usually I wouldn't panic, but there were only two Sunday games, and I had no players on the four teams in action, meaning a garunteed loss for me. So, I had to get my Pat Riley on and somehow salvage my week. I used the last four matchup acquisitions I had available to get players from the clippers, lakers, nuggets and spurs (the only four teams playing) from the waiver wire and hoped it would be enough to make up for the points I was trailing by and also the numbers Tim Duncan and Nene Hilario were going go put up for my opponent. Sunday night on my way to sleep I checked the final score for the week, and I barley squeaked by with a win, bringing my record to 8-2. I just want to give myself a round of applause for my great job this week and pretty much all the time (feel free to join me.) My compete level is at a constant 10, and my will to win (not the skill of any professional basketball players) got Team teach me how to dougie a come from behind win.

I know not all of new england's team won this Sunday, but I hope that my victory can be a little pick-me-up this Monday morning.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

New England Patriots vs. New York Jets

After leaving Lucas Oil Stadium with the scalps of Peyton Manning and co., Rex Ryan and his New York Jets are blabbering about the “personal” nature of Sunday’s rubber match against the New England Patriots who are coming off a first round bye. Business in New England, however, is business as usual. The press will have to wait until Sunday for a Patriots rebuttal.

New England’s last response to the New York rhetoric was an emphatic 45-3 drubbing on Monday Night Football. The win propelled the Patriots to the top of the division, and they never gave up the crown.

If the AFC championship game is to be held at Gillette Stadium, the Patriots defense has to come out swinging on Sunday. If they are flat or hesitant, Mark Sanchez won’t have to drop back at all. The aging LaDainian Tomlinson will be able to average five YPC on clock killing drives, which will leave no. 12 precisely where Rex Ryan wants him, all while tiring the young defense.

Last year in the Wild Card round, Ray Rice rolled for an 83 yard score on the first offensive play at New England. The Baltimore Ravens were able to dictate the entire feel of the game with that first round haymaker, and were able to fly out with a convincing road win.

A fast start on defense is imperative for a New England victory this weekend.

On the other side of the ball, Tom Brady will find his looks. Darrelle Revis has proven to be a force and when he’s in man coverage, whomever he’s on seems to disappear. Without Randy Moss, though there is no longer any one player Revis needs to focus on. Deion Branch, Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, and Danny Woodhead have all proven to be viable options. It’s a cast of offensive nobodies – Revis thrives when covering the big names.

This New England team has a similar demeanor to those dynasty teams of the early 2000s. Look for them to come out strong and respond to the tabloids with fast, hard-hitting football.

This game should be closer than the last match, but I like the Patriots in a comfy one (knock on wood).

Prediction: Patriots – 30, Jets – 20

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Bruins Are Embarrassing

Thank God for the NFL Playoffs. The Bruins' disgraceful loss to the Canadiens went under the radar for the most part last night, but those who saw the game may have witnessed the end of the Bruins' as a Stanley Cup contender. The Bruins collapsed in the third period, blowing a two goal lead as well as their hold on first place in the Northeast Division in the final 2:22. The first goal was an embarrassing shot from just above the left circle from Scott Gomez that was deflected off a Bruin skate. Thomas apparently missed the deflection entirely despite the puck changing direction a full 8 feet before it hit the net and the puck went in 5 hole without a save attempt being made. Then, just a minute in a half later, the Bruins allow a DEFLECTION in front of the net for the tie. This goal was inexcusable. Every player and coach in the NHL knows that with a minute and a half left any shot taken is being aimed with the intent to deflect and not a snipe. At this point the game was already over, but the Canadiens ended it with 3:49 left in overtime.

The Bruins did show some signs of life moments after the game ended, when Zdeno Chara went at Max Pecioretty after he scored. It was great to see that fighting spark from the Bruins, especially after, and not during, a division game with first place on the line against your most hatred rival. In all honesty it was good to see Chara show some spark, with recent questions raised about his leadership on and off the ice, but the Bruins answered a lot of questions last night. Most critics have argued their mental toughness isn't there enough for them to be serious contenders for the Cup. Between this and the embarrassing 3-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild at home, the Bruins have shown complacency in their style of play and have broken whenever tested or had to step up their game late. They've been saying all the right things about how it has to be fixed and how they won't stand for it, but it hasn't shown on the ice.

The B's just haven't been able to put a whole game together consistently throughout the season. Glimpses of their potential have been there, but they haven't played a full sixty minutes of competitive hockey in weeks. The next stretch will be gut check time for the team, to see if they have what it takes to once again be taken seriously in the Stanley Cup discussion. They play Pittsburgh (4th in East but likely without Crosby), Ottawa, and Philadelphia (1st in East).

There's no question this team is elite when things are going their way. The line of Savard, Horton, and Lucic could be one of the best lines in hockey if Savard gets back to full health and confidence and Horton regains the scoring touch he had earlier in the season. Lucic has been great around the net this season, but he's forgotten what made him a star in the Boston. He's been less aggressive in the corners and hasn't shown his physical side deep in the offensive zone, a key factor to the Bruins' deep cycle offense. Past that first line changes need to made. Blake Wheeler couldn't hit a barn, much less the broad side of one, and he's wasting a right wing spot with either Krejci or Bergeron. My option is to move up Thornton, who only has two less goals than Wheeler despite playing more than 5 minutes less per game, and could start producing more if he was given more minutes. The defensive side of the ice looks fine, with Thomas in the MVP race and Rask starting to get back to last year's level with a great game against the Wild. The Bruins lead the league in goals against, and if their offense can get going who knows what could happen, but it doesn't appear that they have the balls to do it.

Marshawn Lynch's Run Was One of the Greatest of All Time

The fact that at the end of this game the announcers were focusing on the Saints collapse rather than the Seahawks improbably upset is a joke. This was the best offensive football game of the year and it was capped off by the greatest rush that I personally have ever seen live. Im fairly certain God granted Marshawn Lynch this moment of brilliance purely because he granted him with one of the ugliest faces the world has seen. Regardless, anything that makes me jump up and down screaming "holy shit!!" when the runner is on the 30 yard line and then proceeds to BREAK 2 MORE TACKLES before hitting pay-dirt is more than blog-worthy at 2 in the morning. The Seahawks will get spanked in Atlanta but the NFL just found its greatest playoff rush of all time.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Wake Up and Drink.....but don't actually

I was reading waykg the other day and realized that I am far and away the worst writer on the site. If you don't believe me read my old beer posts and check how many times I use the same word in one sentence, or even across two or's bad. I'm going to start by blaming the subject matter. I usually post after having drank the beer I'm talking there's that. Also the rest of these fools are still in college, and I can barely remember how to write my name since graduating 6 months ago. So sue me.

On to the beer! I have such a hard-on for anything Clown Shoes does. The first of their series I tried was the "Hoppy Feet" Black IPA. They made this "Hoppy Feet 1.5" in honor of their first anniversary. As you could probably guess from the label, this edition has 1.5 times more alcohol than the regular, and from what I remember - loads more flavor. Black IPA's have only been around since the early 90's; invented by this dude up in Vermount. The style uses roasted malts for the dark color - like a stout or porter, and plenty of Cascade hops from northern california to retain some of the hoppy taste and smell signature to IPA's. Another name for Black IPA's is Cascadian Dark Ale, in reference to the area the hops are grown.

This was the first thing I drank New Years Eve night and wow. It was love at first sip...maybe even sniff. You taste all the loveliness of a Guiness plus the punch of an IPA (which happens to be my favorite style of beer.) It really is the best of both worlds, and an awesome option if you're a fan of either style looking for something interesting to try. The best part is that you can barely taste the high alcohol percentage. There isn't a liquory feel to it like most strong ales, so it is very easy too enjoy.

Overall- the Yummiest Yummy Beer of my new year!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Wake Up and Jam

Malcolm Kelly - Let Me Sit Sideways (freestyle)

Maolcolm Kelly destroying it after a big bowl win way back when.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Predicting the BCS Title Game

As the resident College Football expert on the blog, I figured before I head off to Arizona to partake in BCS festivities I would give you my keys and prediction for the title game between Auburn and Oregon. I expect it to be a hard fought, close game that could go either way depending on how both teams execute.

Key No. 1: Third Down Efficiency
For Oregon to have any chance to slow down Auburn's offense they have to get off the field on third down. This is going to be very difficult as Auburn was third in the country at converting 3rd Downs at an amazing 53.1%. One of the problems had with Ohio State last year was allowing Terrelle Pryor to convert 3rd and longs with his legs as the play broke down. They are going to have to keep contain and force Newton to make some throws or Auburn will be able to move the ball at will. On the flip side, Oregon has to convert third downs to keep Auburn's defense on the field and push the pace to their advantage. If Auburn can hold the Ducks to some three and outs in the first half, don't be surprised if they go up big early.

Key No. 2: Auburn's D-Line vs. Oregon's O-Line
Cal was the only team that really slowed Oregon down during the regular season and the big reason is that they won the battle up front. Oregon's O-Line got pushed around all game and they were unable to make big holes for LaMichael James to run through. A lot has been about Nick Fairley, but I think it is going to be the rest of Auburn's D-Line that is the key. Oregon's zone reads are based on leaving a defender unblocked and I think they will leave Fairley open and make the zone reads off of him. This means that Fairley will probably have a couple of sacks and tackles for loss, but that will be the trade-off for blocking 5 of Auburn's weaker players to try and create running lanes. If Auburn can create a big push for most of the game, Oregon will struggle to run the ball up the middle and be forced to put the game in Darron Thomas' hands.

Key No. 3: Punt Returns
Oregon's Cliff Harris has been the most dangerous punt returner in the country this season and is a legitimate threat to take it to the house every time he touches the ball. He already has four punt return TDs this season and Auburn has struggled this year with punting. A special teams TD could blow the game wide open and would be a huge help for the Ducks. However, Harris also has fumbled the ball several times this season, although none have been too costly so far. Oregon's kick returners Josh Huff and Kenjon Barner have also put the ball on the turf and I think Auburn can take advantage of this huge weakness. Oregon is 105th in the nation with 15 fumbles, and if they put the ball on the turf more than once, Auburn will almost certainly win.

Prediction: Oregon 42, Auburn 31
This may be a homer pick, but I actually believe that Oregon's D will be able to limit Cam Newton like Alabama and Clemson were able to do. The difference in those games were that both teams didn't have the offensive firepower (the Tide were also killed by injuries) to weather the storm. Oregon's offense will struggle early, but I think James and Thomas provide enough big plays for Oregon to hold on. Cam Newton throws a late pick, and Thomas throws a TD to Maehl midway through the 4th quarter to seal the win.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Expanding Your Cinema Horizons- Adaptation

Note: Rififi was scheduled for today, but I figured people wouldn't read about two French films in a row, so I switched it with Adaptation

Screenwriters often go under the radar in Hollywood. Seriously, most any movie fan came name a decent amount of actors and directors, but I doubt that only real cinephiles could name more than one or two screenwriters (unless or course they also direct or star in films). One of the few screenwriters that actually has star power is Charlie Kaufman, who was had major success despite the fact that his films are often surrealistic and deal with our metaphysical nature. In his 2002 film Adaptation, directed by Spike Jones, Kaufman explores his own struggle to adapt Susan Orlean's book The Orchid Thief into a coherent screenplay. What follows is a very interesting look into the screenwriting process and a closer view of one of Hollywood's most interesting minds.

The film essentially follows two stories, Charlie's struggles to adapt The Orchid Thief and Susan Orlean's experiences interviewing John Larouche (the subject of the book) about his role in helping the Seminole Indian tribe steal orchids from national parks. The majority of the plot details both of the journeys they take to take their subject matter and turn it into something else. However, the film is anything but boring and it uses many odd twists to show changes in narration and mood. The film is also notable because Kaufman created a fake brother Donald who gets a real life screenwriting credit. In the film, Donald is Charlie's more fun-loving sibling who begins writing very generic crime thriller screenplays. His success selling his screenplay The 3 and his involvement with Charlie's struggles turn the movie into much more than a look at screenwriting.

This film is about a lot more than its complicated plot. It is extremely well acted and includes some amazing performances from Meryl Streep, Chris Cooper, and believe it or not Nicolas Cage. Cage portrays both Charlie and Donald Kaufman and is just perfect in both roles. He is excellent at portraying the subtle neurosis of Charlie especially. In the film, Charlie Kaufman is an absolute head-case and weak willed person and Cage's performance (opposite of his usual movies) is full of nuance and pained emotion. Charlie is one step short of a nervous breakdown and Cage masters his awkward tics and speech patterns, especially in this scene where Charlie attends a screenwriting seminar done by the famous Robert McKee, played well by Brian Cox.

Cooper is also perfect in the role of John Laroche, a very odd man fascinated by orchids and their relationship with the rest of nature. His scenes with Steep are incredibly fascinating and I was shocked at how interesting he makes orchids seem.

Adaptation is a film that is about much more than its plot. It's about writing, specifically adaptation, and how we take something and make it our own (even if that means writing us into our own screenplay), but its also about people and their relationships with one and another. It is certainly not a popcorn movie, but if you love great acting and writing this is a film not to be missed. Adaptation is vintage Kaufman, and also in my opinion the best film ever about the art of crafting something for the screen. Put it number one on your Netflix queue, you won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Wake Up and Jam

The New Pornographers - Jackie Dressed in Cobras