The End Of This One ...

... and a beginning of another.

A new decade, a new journal. Or blog ... yeesh. I say, it's not a "blog" if all you do is write about yourself; it's a JOURNAL. But, I digress.

This new one starts with me as a 30 year old man. And it means the end of me and LJ. She's been good to me, but it's time to get movin' on.

Should be an exciting year ahead; or at least a year better than the last.


Updates will continue to be sporadic at first. But, when I finally move out and have more time to work the ol' brain, more words should follow suit.

So long LJ.

I'm A Man! I'm 30!

Ugh. Couldn't possibly dread this post any more. I'm officially unable to trust myself.

You ever turn 30, but feel like you're still 15 with some bizarro freedom to drink, smoke, and go to strip clubs? Because that's kinda where I'm at right now.

I've been watching a lot of this show in syndication, "How I Met Your Mother"; it's pretty funny and yet poignant at times as well. Like Scrubs, except the cut-away gags aren't quite as zany. Anyway, one of the major themes is growing up and how you're supposed to handle yourself now that you're in your early 30s. I find myself taking that bit to heart, considering the fact that I'm entering a decade where you're supposed to be finally Getting Your Shit Together.

The whole "settling down" thing doesn't really appeal to me, though. Not that I'm Mr. Going Out All The Time Guy or anything. I find "settling down" to be more a state of mind than anything else. It's not just meeting someone, getting married, having kids, buying a home. Sure, those could be parts of it, but those aren't things even remotely on my radar right now.

I'm rambling here, not really getting my point across too clearly. When I was in college, my primary fear was of failure. Failing at life. Getting stuck in a corporate shit-suck job. Not meeting my potential or even remotely approaching it. Not living the life I most want to live because of all the restrictions around me. Having a job and needing money to do the things I want to do (go out to bars, concerts, travelling, experiencing new and exciting things) but not having the time or the means to do them because of the whole "having a job and needing money" thing. You can't have it both ways. You can't work and commute full time and expect to have the opportunity or the energy to do everything else. And when you're restricted in the number of days off you get from said job, and when you don't have the monetary means to travel because you're working so hard just to get out into your own apartment, well, what are you supposed to do? I have precious few days I get to take away from work that aren't weekend days, and all I want to do is fucking sleep. Zone out at home. Drink and fucking enjoy myself before Monday morning rolls around and I've got to start the shit-suck all over again.

Living at home really isn't helping things. Of course, I love my family and I'm grateful that I have the opportunity to get my finances squared so I can afford to move out with a clean slate, but let's be realistic, this is a major reason why I still feel like I'm 15 going on 12. I've got to get out on my own. I've got to be my own man. I've got to live in the same fucking city where I work so I can have the time to do the things I SHOULD be doing. Working out, going out, meeting people, hanging with friends.

My 20's were mostly a good time. College was awesome, post-college was even better. I travelled, I moved around, I partied and went out and met some amazing people. But, the last couple years have been, for the most part, absolute balls. It's been me under a self-inflicted crushing financial burden, it's been me stressed out far too often, it's been me dealing with the same job, it's been me getting disturbingly out of shape. It's hard to feel like I'm not right back where I started when I entered my 20s. All of it just screams "Loser!"

Of course, I have the power to change that and I fully intend on changing that in the coming months. But right now, I just feel like wallowing.

I currently have about $3,300 in the bank. Chop off a grand from that because I need a new computer before I move out. I haven't done the math on the rest of my needs, but I'll certainly need a new bed and a quality mattress. I'll need a couch (not a Futon, but a real, adult couch). That's chewing right through that saving account right there. There will be other incidentals, I'm sure (dishes, bathroom stuff, etc). I'll need First/Last/Deposit in my apartment. I'll want a TV (even though I won't be popping for cable, I'll still want it for movies and whatever those HD rabbit ears will get me). And, let's face it, I'll want some money in savings for a rainy day. Because I WON'T be going back into debt. That's the main and only priority in this thing. I'm doing it right this time. And if that means I have to push things back (like I've been doing since I moved back home), then so be it. Once I'm ready financially, I'll be ready mentally. Once I'm confident in all those bullshit things that are in my power, I can start focusing on things that aren't.

Part of me feels like I should've been on top of this five years ago. That I should've had this grand master plan in place BEFORE I turned 30. So that now, I'd be in a nice little groove and ready to dominate the next ten years. But, you know what, I've always held the belief that your 20s are for fucking around. You throw a bunch of crap on the wall and see what sticks. You figure out who you are, what you like, and what you want to be. Then, when you're 30, you finally start getting that shit done. Sharpen your focus. Implement strategy.

30 isn't old. It's just the foyer of old. I've opened the door, I'm taking off my jacket, shaking off my umbrella, kicking off my muddy shoes, and saying a happy hello to the dog. 40 is old. 40 is the living room of old. It's when you settle into your couch's ass groove, flick on the television, crack open a beer and scratch your crotch while you flip through the channels to find something to watch. And, for good measure, 50 is the bedroom of old. You strip down to your t-shirt and boxers, climb into bed, turn off the lamp, and lie there waiting for sweet, sweet death because your life is officially over.

I had my 30th birthday one week ago today. It couldn't have been more depressing. I threw a "party" in the loosest sense of the word. Believe me when I say that I fully appreciate my friends who showed up and made it a good time. We sat around and watched the Huskies play and win in the NCAA Tournament, then we kicked it up a notch with beer pong and a little pool. But, let's face it, it wasn't special. Of course, I know that's my fault; it's the party I planned. It's the party I wanted. I didn't WANT a big blow out where we dress up and go out and hit the town. I wanted low-key and comfortable. Where I can drink copious amounts of beer and fall asleep in my own bed instead of someone's couch or floor or freezing-ass basement extra bedroom.

But, you know what? I feel like I SHOULD have wanted a big blow out. I SHOULD have been living in Seattle at the time where we could've done a bar-crawl and I could've seen more people and STILL slept in my own bed. Instead of just my average Friday night at home in Tacoma, doing the same things I could do on ANY Friday night in Tacoma. It was special because I had so many of my friends turn out, but other than that it was just the same old thing. But, that's the life of contradictions I live. I want what I want, but I feel like I'm missing out on something else entirely.

Last night, I went out. It was pretty much exactly like I'm talking about here. I woke up at my usual 5am yesterday morning and my brother was still awake. He told me about this show being put on at El Corazon by a band we mutually enjoy, She Wants Revenge. It was last minute - which, right there is tough for me. I like to plan things out in advance; get myself in the proper state of mind for going out and doing something different. AND, it was on a work night. Meaning it would be a late one and I'd likely struggle through a work day the next day. So, I told my brother that I'd think about it and give him an answer by the time he woke up later that afternoon.

I thought about it all the way to the Tacoma Dome. Thought about it some more on the bus ride to work. And even more still in the first few hours at the office. I weighed the pros and cons described above. And I came to the conclusion that this was something I NEEDED to do. I NEEDED to get out of my comfort zone a little bit. I NEEDED to go out, drink, let off some steam, and for once let the consequences be damned. So, I texted him that I was in.

A few minutes before quitting time, I found a movie to see to kill some time. Saw "Cedar Rapids", a comedy I've been wanting to see since it came out. Hard not to draw some parallels from that story, I'll tell ya. Ed Helms is put into an unfamiliar situation, lets down his guard, gets into some serious shenanigans, and decides to say "fuck it" and go all out. In the end, the consequences are the consequences, and sometimes you just have to say "fuck it" and take your medicine when the time comes.

After the movie, I went to a bar to watch some Sweet 16 action and wait for my brother to drive up. Sat down at the Gameworks bar and ordered up a 25-ounce Newcastle and a shot of Jack right away. Had two or three more beers after that and then my brother showed up. We each had a beer and then made our way to the venue. Had a few more beers there, enjoyed the show immensely, and left.

While at the show, my brother ran into a lady friend he'd known for a while. Since he's newly single, I got to play a little wingman action which is not entirely unfamiliar, but something I haven't been confronted with in a while. Being the good wingman that I am, when she made it known that she wanted to hit up a club after the show, I sucked it up and went along for the ride.

I didn't know where we were going until we got there. She said it was called Neighbors, but for some reason I had no idea what that was until we started driving into Capitol Hill. Yes, I know what Neighbors is, I've known about it for a while, but at the time it was a complete mental block. She offered to pay the cover for us, which is just as well because there's this thing about me: I don't pay covers to go to places I don't want to be. Just a quirky little trait, I'm funny like that. So, she pays the cover and we go in.

Now, you know me. I'm not homophobic in the slightest. If I look uncomfortable in a gay club, that's not because it's a GAY club; it's because it's a club. I look uncomfortable in EVERY club I'm in, because I'm not a guy who goes clubbing. I don't get off on crappy music and dancing to said crappy music. Again, just a thing about me. I'm more than fine just standing on the outskirts with a beer in my hand and chatting with the transvestites sitting at the bar.

We were in there for, I dunno, five or ten minutes. Just long enough to see, in the distance on the square, technicolor dance floor, a co-worker of mine jamming out. It's always been kind of assumed that he's gay, but he doesn't really talk about his sexuality because - duh - it's the workplace. Nevertheless, I didn't really want him to see me there because by this point in our evening I knew that instead of slogging through a crappy work day, I'd be calling in sick in the wee hours of the morning and going back to bed. And, let's face it, I don't really enjoy answering questions about my sexuality; I don't want to be THAT GUY who seems all offended when someone thinks I'm gay even though I'm not (I'm just being a good wingman for my brother).

So, I handed my brother my half-empty beer bottle and said I was going outside for a cigarette. I took a seat in an empty doorway, leaned against the wall, and found it difficult to keep my head from nodding off. There were other smokers out there, and I was in that sloppy-mess position for a good ten minutes or so, as my cigarette burned down to the filter without me. Since I didn't want them to think I was about to fall asleep in a dirty alley, or that I needed the assistance of an amber-lamps or a buttinsky police officer, I brought myself to my feet and headed back up to Broadway. I was briefly worried that nothing was going to be open - this feeling made worse by the fact that to my left was nothing but that community college of the name I can't remember - so I took a right and was relieved to see an Open sign lit up at the Pita Pit. I'm proud to say that my string of ONLY eating at Pita Pit when I'm drunk and it's after midnight is still intact. That Chicken Crave never tasted so sweet.

I ate slowly, really relished every bite. I sat in the restaurant, eating and reading The Stranger until the food dude pointed out that I had people waving at me from outside the facade. They asked what I was doing there, I told them the only thing I'd eaten since lunch is a small bag of popcorn at the movie, and that if I didn't eat I was literally going to die right there in the fucking alley. Then, my brother said that the transvestites asked where his boyfriend (me) was, and I had a good laugh. Josh's lady friend got herself a pita to go and we bid her adieu as she got in a cab (since she lived all the way across town and didn't want to put us out; I think she's a keeper!). We made it back to my car in the Tacoma Dome parking garage and then home quite safely.

Before I went to bed, I wondered if I was too old for this shit. You know, going to El Corazon to see a band, knowing I was older than most of the people in there to enjoy the show. But I quickly came to the conclusion that I'm not. If it was an All Ages show, that would be another matter entirely; but I'm not too old to hit up a $20 concert. I'm not too old to rock out with other kids in their 20s. I'm right there with them. They're on the front porch, and I'm only in the foyer. I can see them through the open door. I want to tell them that it doesn't have to change. You can still have a corporate shit-suck job, go out late on a weeknight, and every once in a while blow off work the next day because you're "not feeling well." I don't feel bad about that in the least, by the way. I've probably only called in sick without actually being sick one time since I resumed working there upon my return home from New York. It's not like it's a fucking trend. And if they find out about it and decide to take action on it, then fuck them. It's not like I'm going to be heartbroken because I got fired from a job I could take or leave anyway.

This was an experience that I NEEDED to have. To remind myself of my way-faring 20s, and to remind myself that it can still be that way. And when I finally move back to Seattle, I can continue to have these nights. I can go out, hit up bars, stay up late, and STILL go to work the next day. I won't have to tack on an hour for a drive home, then another hour because I have to wake up extra early to go into work the next day. My options for having a good time will open up exponentially. And ultimately, that's going to be what carries me out of my funk and finally lets me start enjoying life in my 30s.

Last night was just the first step. I look forward to the rest of the journey.

Steven A. Taylor's Academy Awards Brouhaha (127 True Black Social King's Kids Story) Round Up

Well, once again, my favorite movie of the year didn't win. And, once again, the should-be overwhelming favorite didn't win either.

I'm not going to go into my picks, because I only hit on a meaningless 12 of 24 thanks to The King's Speech taking both directing and Best Picture. And, of course, thanks to Portman over Bening, which I still feel is a travesty. I'd like to make a point, though, that the last 20 minutes were pretty worthless.

If the Oscars are going to INSIST on making Best Director the director of Best Picture EVERY YEAR, then they MUST put those awards back to back and stop giving away the ending! Only two times in the past decade have these differed; when Brokeback Mountain lost to Crash, and when The Pianist lost to the God-awful Chicago. In both cases, the best director directed the best picture, but that's neither here nor there.

This year, my favorite film was The Social Network. Last year, I don't know if I necessarily had an overwhelming favorite, but if I did it was probably Up (would've been the perfect year to give it to an animated feature for the first time). In 2008, none were my favorite, but I think they should've given it to Milk (not Slumdog). In 2007, No Country For Old Men was great, but There Will Be Blood was MUCH better. In 2006, The Departed was okay, but was certainly a make-up for that Goodfellas botch-job in 1990. In 2005, they could've literally given it to any other movie besides Crash and it wouldn't have been the collosal embarassment it was. In 2004, Million Dollar Baby was good, but I was partial to Sideways. In 2003, LOTR made me want to commit suicide in the theater (and it had NO business winning over Mystic River). Again, in 2002, Chicago was a joke (could've been Gangs of New York or The Pianist in my book). 2001 sucked.

To be perfectly honest, the last GREAT movie to actually win Best Picture was Platoon back in 1986. Followed by The Godfather movies in the early 70s.

The Best Picture is hardly anyone's favorite movies. They rarely withstand the test of time in the re-watchability scale. Are they classics only because they won the Oscar for Best Picture? Because I'll tell you:

The Social Network
There Will Be Blood
The Insider
Pulp Fiction
The Shawshank Redemption
Raiders Of The Lost Ark
Raging Bull
Apocalypse Now
Star Wars
Taxi Driver
Dog Day Afternoon
A Clockwork Orange
Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid
The Graduate
Dr. Strangelove
Mary Poppins
12 Angry Men
It's A Wonderful Life
Citizen Kane
The Wizard Of Oz

THESE are classics. THESE are important movies that will be remembered for generations to come. And these are all nominees who didn't win Best Picture.

No one will remember The King's Speech in 20 years. Or The Hurt Locker. They'll remember The Social Network because it perfectly captured these times we live in. It told the story of a world in darkness finally gaining light in the dawn of this Internet age. They'll remember Avatar because it was the first great 3D movie ever made (and the fact that the story is a little lame, the message a little ham-handed; the fact that it's not much WITHOUT its third dimension is irrelevant).

That having been said, I love a good movie with a dynamite acting performance, so I'm sure I'll enjoy The King's Speech for Colin Firth alone. The fact that Geoffrey Rush is also in it just makes it that much more exciting to finally see. His was the most obvious choice of Best Actor since Daniel Day-Lewis in 2007. Didn't even need to see the movie to know that.

And I guess I don't have a problem with Natalie Portman winning. I really wish I'd been able to see Winter's Bone, though, since it looked like Jennifer Lawrence really did a number.

I ended up nailing both of the supporting actor catagories (changed my mind and went back to Christian Bale for my official picks). The Fighter; HOW have I not seen that yet?

I was correct that Inception got thrown a bone in some of the technical catagories (including both sound, as well as Cinematography), making Nolan's exclusion from Best Director seem like a sick joke. I'll never understand that one; if there was ever a year to split Director and Picture, this was it hands down.

Finally, all anyone can REALLY talk about is how terrible the broadcast was. I don't know why people still complain about it being overly long; what are they going to do? Yes, some of the skits and musical numbers felt tacked on just to give the hosts something to do, but what do you expect? I'll thank the writers (for essentially NOT writing anything entertaining, funny, or remotely edgy) and James Franco (for being the stiff of all stiffs) because the Twitter feed was on FIRE with the mocking and the put-downs.

I didn't say it before and I probably won't say it again: Anne Hathaway's breasts were all this thing needed. You know what they say about too many hands in the pot


Steven A. Taylor's Academy Awards Brouhaha (127 True Black Social King's Kids Story)

First of all: SONOFABITCH to the Academy for not nominating Christopher Nolan for Best Director. Ostensibly, they felt it necessary to suck the Coen Brothers' dicks for another year instead of recognizing the greatest feat in directing in the last decade. Fine, whatever, moving on. Idiots.

To the list for Best Picture (* denotes a movie I've seen):

Black Swan *
The Fighter
Inception *
The Kids Are All Right *
The King's Speech
127 Hours *
The Social Network *
Toy Story 3
True Grit *
Winter's Bone

Ha HA! Compare that list to last year's and I'm ahead of the game in a big way! Six of those I HAVE seen; two of those I know for sure are still in theaters; one of them (Toy Story 3) will be trouble; and the other I haven't even heard of ever (Winter's Bone? Is that a thing?)

I'm already on record as stating The Social Network WILL win, so that's my obvious pick. If I had to go by favorites ... I dunno, I'd probably still stick with The Social Network. Yes, Inception was a visual marvel, but from what I recall it dragged ass at times. Black Swan had me hooked from beginning to end ... but when you get right down to it, it's a movie about ballerinas. Mila Kunis is hot, but unfortunately she's not in it too much (although that lesbian hate sex scene will be burned into my memory for all eternity). True Grit was solid, but it's yet another western and if you've seen one you've pretty much seen them all. 127 Hours was entertaining, and they certainly did a lot with a little; but in the end it's a tour de force acting job by James Franco and not much else.

You know what I liked a lot and really hope becomes a kind of dark horse candidate? The Kids Are All Right. In my book, both nominated actors (Annette Bening and Mark Ruffalo) would win their respective catagories. It was funny and sad and it just felt real. For a movie about two lesbians, their children, and the sperm donor father they meet 15 years later, there was opportunity after opportunity for trite cliche and squirming hokeyness. But, they refrained, and left you with naught but the raw emotions. Just an excellent film that has no chance in hell of winning Best Picture.

If I had to rank them, Vegas-style in who I THINK will win, it goes something like this:

The Social Network
The Fighter
Black Swan
The King's Speech
True Grit

... and the rest. Again, the token Pixar film is up for nomination, but I doubt it has a chance in hell either. And if I haven't heard of Winter's Bone, I bet a lot of the voters out there haven't either. They totally should've nominated The Way Back. I didn't even think it was eligible, since I just saw it last week (it's opening week); but it must have had a limited release before the new year. The Way Back was excellent! About these Soviets in a Siberian prison camp; they make their escape through the snow, southbound, 4,000 miles to India. All it got was a lousy Best Makeup nomination. What a crock of shit!


Javier Bardem in Some Foreign Bullshit Nobody's Ever Seen "Biutiful"
Jeff Bridges in "True Grit"
Jesse Eisenberg in "The Social Network"
Colin Firth in "The King's Speech"
James Franco in "127 Hours"

Colin Firth in a landslide. They've been talking about him and only him in this movie since its release, he will win. I put my There Will Be Blood Stamp Of Approval on it! As for the actors I DID see in this catagory, it's really a toss-up between Bridges and Franco. I'd probably lean Franco's direction; he's showing he's come a long way from his Freaks And Geeks roots.

Annette Bening in "The Kids Are All Right"
Nicole Kidman in "Rabbit Hole"
Jennifer Lawrence in "Winter's Bone"
Natalie Portman in "Black Swan"
Michelle Williams in "Blue Valentine"

This one's tough. The Globes winners are going head to head (Bening & Portman). I heard great things about Michelle Williams; and nothing about the other two. If you put a gun to my head, I'd say either Bening or Williams, with Portman being the favorite who doesn't win. Just call me crazy if you want, but I think we're going to see a Black Swan backlash combined with some real support for The Kids Are All Right as more people get reacquainted with it via Netflix. My gut is telling me to side with Williams, but when I visualize it, all I can see is Bening.


Christian Bale in "The Fighter"
John Hawkes in "Winter's Bone"
Jeremy Renner in "The Town"
Mark Ruffalo in "The Kids Are All Right"
Geoffrey Rush in "The King's Speech"

Well, now I want to see The King's Speech even more, now that I know Geoffrey Rush is in it. The way I saw this going in, this is Christian Bale's catagory to lose. Since he's a total dick, however, I could see him losing some of the vote. I haven't seen The Town, but I can't imagine a supporting actor in a heist movie would win anything. And, as much as I liked Ruffalo's character, I really don't think The Kids Are All Right is going to do any cleaning up at the Oscars. Put me down for Geoffrey Rush and don't say I didn't warn you.

Amy Adams in "The Fighter"
Helena Bonham Carter in "The King's Speech"
Melissa Leo in "The Fighter"
Hailee Steinfeld in "True Grit"
Jacki Weaver in "Animal Kingdom"

Uh huh, uh huh! Token child actor (Hailee Steinfeld) nominated but won't win! Always the bridesmaid! This one is going to come down to one of The Fighter ladies and since Melissa Leo is on everyone's short list, I'm going with her. What the hell is an Animal Kingdom? And why wasn't Mila Kunis nominated for her hotness alone? SHE'S SO DAMN HOT!

Toy Story 3 wins best animated feature. Alice In Wonderland wins Best Costumes. Inception gets thrown a bone with best Art Direction and/or Cinematography. The Social Network also takes Best Director because - thanks to Inception's exclusion - it has no competition. The Social Network continues its overall domination with Best Adapted Screenplay. And The King's Speech takes Best Original Screenplay.

Finally, let's take a look at the "Popular" movies and what they were nominated in!

Iron Man 2 - Best Visual Effects
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 - Best Visual Effects
Alice in Wonderland - Best Visual Effects
Salt - Sound Mixing
Unstoppable (a.k.a. "That Denzel Washington Train Movie") - Sound Editing
Tron: Legacy - Sound Editing
Alice In Wonderland - Costume Design
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 - Art Direction
Alice In Wonderland - Art Direction

That's it. Tell me again, what was the point of expanding Best Picture to 10 films? Wasn't it to put SOMETHING the public at large liked into a major catagory? Aside from Token Pixar Film (which is the movie MOST average Americans have seen), what was actually popular at the box office? Inception I guess? I'm actually kind of surprised it's in the Top 5 grosses of 2010, but I wouldn't say it's generating the kind of public affection of something like Alice In Wonderland (#2 in 2010), Iron Man 2 (#3), that Twilight movie (#4) or even the Harry Potter movie (#6). Unless you're prepared to give it to Toy Story 3 (#1 in 2010 by a large margin), you're likely not giving it to anything in the Top 25. Here's the list of Best Picture Nominees as ranked by money earned:

#1 - Toy Story 3 ($415 mil)
#5 - Inception ($293 mil)
#17 - True Grit ($138 mil)
#29 - The Social Network ($95.4 mil)
#38 - Black Swan ($83.3 mil)
#45 - The Fighter ($72.7 mil)
#60 - The King's Speech ($57.3 mil)
#114 - The Kids Are All Right ($20.8 mil)
#129 - 127 Hours ($11.3 mil)
#145 - Winter's Bone ($6.2 mil)

So ... that's something. Three of the ten have topped $100 million. Not good for the ratings, Academy, not good at all. Did Winter's Bone REALLY need to be nominated? Look at those numbers!

Also, I saw Exit Through The Gift Shop and I hope it wins Best Documentary, if for no other reason than to see if Banksy shows up and/or sends a video thanking absolutely no one


The Golden Pre-Oscar Nomination Brouhaha

Without knowing who's going to be nominated for the Oscars (acknowledging that "The Social Network", "Black Swan", "The King's Speech", "The Figher", "Inception", and "Toy Story 3" will all likely be major players), I feel that this year couldn't BE more cut and dry.

The Social Network WILL win Best Picture. Colin Firth WILL win Best Actor. Pixar WILL win Best Animated Feature. Christian Bale WILL win Best Supporting Actor. One of the women from The Fighter WILL win Best Supporting Actress. Something tells me there will be even less suspense than usual. Something tells me the Golden Globes have beaten us all to the punch once again!

Why does the Academy let them do this year in and year out? You'd think they'd either move up the date, or start choosing VASTLY different winners. Instead, you don't just get a preview of things to come, you get a cheat sheet of all the answers before the teacher has even written the quiz!

But, this year, it's nobody's fault but the movies. Let's take a look.

It's not just hype with The Social Network; this WAS the best film of 2010. Like it or love it, you can't deny it. It's not just the result of rampaging through the Hype Machine either. The Social Network is the most complete film of the bunch. A number of powerhouse performances, explosive Aaron Sorkin dialogue, a plot derived from the most pervasive website of our generation and the battle for its soul between its creators. Timely, impactful, moving, it's got everything any Oscar Winner has ever had. In probably a down year, but still.

The Fighter might be the next on the list, but it's a sports movie - a boxing movie at that - and I just don't think it has what it takes. Black Swan is "The Figher" for women; neither of these movies have that transcendent quality The Social Network has. Inception might be too cool for school or just too weird for school (but this is the case where I would give Best Director to a guy who didn't direct the Best Picture; because Inception is a marvel to behold). And The King's Speech has the Best Actor and nothing else.

Best Actress will actually be the most loaded catagory of the bunch (with Portman, Bening, Michelle Williams, and even Anne Hathaway all proving their worth). I think Portman was deserving of the Globe and will likely be rooting her on for the Oscar (then again, Hathaway's nudeness might prevail for my boner heart if I ever see Love And Other Drugs.

If you just look up and down the list of winners and nominees, most are no-brainers. And that's what I think will happen at the Oscars. Still doesn't squelch my desire to know the nominees. January 25th. The Brouhaha Shall Return!


I Didn't Even Have To Use My AK: Fuck UCLA!

(my website is officially sucking my will to live right now, so I'm posting this here until my web host tells me what the fuck is going on and fixes my shit) ...

So, was it just me, or were those Pac-10 refs last night doing their best Wyatt Earp impressions? They're going to single-handedly, in one game, clean up the game of college football! All these fouls that nobody ever calls, THEY'RE going to call every two seconds! Thus dragging the game down to a fucking CRAWL; but it'll all be worth it, generations from now, when we look back on THESE REFS who were so bold, so brave, as to throw the flag on EVERY, FUCKING, PLAY.

Anyway, Jesus, other than that, it was a pretty good game last night, no?

Boy was it tight. Started out with a UCLA 3 & Out where the guy flat out dropped the ball on the third down conversion attempt, then we went 3 & Out, then they drove 90+ yards for a touchdown, most of that on the ground. Just churning out the yards! I had the sick feeling that this was our season right here. Once again, we were going to be run off the road by a speeding truck.

And then, the unimaginable happened. Our defense tightened up! Our defense responded! Our defense made adjustments! Our DEFENSE got a turnover in the first half!

As much as it pained my ass to see us flail about on so many 3rd & short's, the best thing Sark ever did for us last night (and probably the best thing he's done all season) was play conservative. Resist that nagging, stinging urge to go for it on 4th down when you just proved to everyone in the free world that you can't convert 3rd & 1. Punt that shit. Play the field position game. Trust your defense. Trust that their offense sucks dick.

Of course, conservative game play doesn't just stop with punting at the 50 yard line on 4th & 1. It also incorporates running the football. And boy did the Dawgs expose the Bruins for the frauds that they are on defense! 41 carries for the team, 253 yards! Including 26 for 138 for Polk and 10 for 107 (that'd be a 10.7 yards per carry average) for Callier. With that kind of mass destruction on the ground, we didn't NEED to throw the ball!

And, that's a good thing, because Locker wasn't exactly precise on his throws (10 for 21 for 68 yards; and I'm not blaming the dropsies either, some of those throws were God-awful).

This is something I've been begging for all year. Run the ball! Run the ball some more! Just because you're down by 10 points in the 3rd quarter doesn't mean you're finished with the run! God Dammit, it's the single best thing you do on this team! That doesn't even mean I'm calling for a return to Jake the 1,000-yard running back. I'm just saying, feed Chris Polk. I'm saying more fly-sweeps to Jesse Callier. Keep doing it until he breaks it!

With this defense that we employ, there's no excuse for trying to up the tempo of the offense. We need to grind, grind, grind! Mash that clock into a bloody mess on the floor. This isn't even about giving the defense "a rest". It's exactly about keeping our biggest liability OFF the field!

Of course, having said that, yesterday's Time of Possession game was almost even; which is a testament to us being 1 for 12 on 3rd down. And, of course, having said that, our defense actually came up pretty big. We held their 3-pronged passing "attack" to 55 yards on 6 for 25 with 3 interceptions. And, we held their running game - which was among the top quarter in the nation - to a mere 108 yards (and to almost nothing after that touchdown drive back in the first quarter).

In short, yes, our defense is our biggest liability, but yesterday they played like they were our biggest strength. Mason Foster is a god on the gridiron, plain and simple. I can't wait to watch him at the next level just destroying people. Our secondary - often a source of frustration - played their best game of the year, hands down. A pick six, a lot of jarring hits, some excellent zone-type coverage (in part thanks to UCLA's terrible quarterbacks). All in all, it was a defense to be proud of. We haven't been able to say that since the last two games of last season.

Here's to hoping the last two games of this season are exactly alike


The Monday Morning Long-Snapper: Last Tailgate of 2010

I'm officially working on the hangover of all hangovers. It's getting tougher and tougher to get out of bed before 3pm after a night of blitzkrieg drinking.

I need to start eating when I go to these tailgates! More than AH kebab followed by umpteen beers and shots. Lordy lordy kripes almighty.

Look, I'm not really of sound mind or body right now; not to mention I don't really remember too much of what went down this weekend, so I'll just give it to you straight.

The pool table was all set up by the time I got home on Friday. Had a few beers, played a few games, then I turned in sometime before midnight so I could be fresh as a daisy for waking up early Saturday morning.

Which I did, around 8am. Got ready, drove up to Seattle, hitched a ride with Eric and Julie over to Padelford, set up camp, got into character, cracked my first beer at 11am, and it was off to the races. Played a lot of beer pong, got rained on quite a bit, took a few shots, had some laughs, and before I knew it it was time to go to the game.

From here, man, I'm not gonna lie to you, I don't have a clue. I remember wearing my Husky poncho correctly (which probably means I had help putting it on). I remember it raining like a son of a whore. I remember Stanford scoring in bunches so fast I couldn't see straight. And I remember walking out of that stadium by myself (I want to say it was at least after the 2nd quarter, but I can't be sure).

Somehow I found my way back to the car. I waited around with some fellow tailgaters who were listening to the game on the radio. Then Eric and Julie came back, we got in the car and drove over to their place. Once there, we started getting ready to go to a Halloween party in Capitol Hill.

At this point, I was feeling better than I was at the game. But, that quickly went sour after someone gave me a shot or two. Who can keep track? I will say this: if I had been denied all further alcohol, I most likely wouldn't have thrown up at the party. I don't really remember the first time I threw up, though it's rumored I may have said something to the effect of, "I don't think I got it all in the toilet". I do remember the second time I threw up though (at least, I THINK it was the second time), because that was when I was in the courtyard and that was when I puked all over MYSELF. Good times.

Can't say as I remember anything else from Saturday night. I do remember waking up early on Sunday for round three with the toilet. Then passing back out until a little after 2pm. Watched most of the Seahawks game with Julie before willing myself back to Tacoma; the only thing keeping me going was an English muffin and a bottle of water. The rest of yesterday sucked just as much ass as the beginning, so I went to bed at around 7pm for a terrible night of sleep.

I just want to go home and die. Three hours to go.

The Monday Morning Long-Snapper: Halloweener

Some things of note I did over the weekend:

I got my phone back. Or rather I got a new version of the same exact phone I had before, only this time it functions as a phone rather than a semi-lightweight paperweight.

I went to the Department of Licensing and ordered a University of Washington license plate. Should arrive in the mail in the next few weeks.

I played a lot of darts and almost never won.

I played a lot of beer pong and almost never lost.

I watched the Husky game and just about slit my wrists.

I watched the Seahawks game and pre-ordered some home playoff tickets.

I watched the movie Pirate Radio and longed for a time I've never actually known.

This was a good-ass weekend. I got my shit together on Friday in time for the Halloween Party / Someone's Birthday. I ended up sneaking three friends past security, though The Hammer didn't appear to mind. Someone said before the party that there might be upwards of 20 people (not including those I invited), but I don't think we were ever in danger of breaching that mark all night.

Pete and I started off the evening 5-0 at Beer Pong, just absolutely on fire, then lost the 6th game against two drunk girls who had no business coming back against our potent lead. So, that was kind of a bittersweet way to end things. Though, the night as a whole was very reminiscent of my run of wins with Eric.

Look, is it coincidence that I keep being part of teams that have awesome streaks on the Beer Pong Table while the likes of The Vers just brings me down and forces me to be the Troll Under The Bridge? It might be. I'll say this: I'm not much for carrying a team to the promised land single handedly. However, I'm pretty much the most complementary player you could ever find. I'm hot when you're not, I'm cold when you're hot. Pretty much, whenever I play, I know that one of us will most likely pick up some slack eventually, before we lose this thing!

The good thing about me - assuming this is like a match-making website for Beer Pong Players - is I'm never too down for too long. Of course, that means I'm never too up for too long either. And I have a tendency to fail at closing more often than I succeed. HOWEVER, I'm pretty adept at picking my spots to bounce the ball. And my defense is above-average when I'm actually focused.

Anyway, that was a lot of the night right there. I was, indeed, the Party Doctor, handing out little bottles of booze and little candy bars on a regular basis. I actually only took, I think, just the one or two shots of jager. I was actually maintaining a solid, yet not too strong buzz for most of the party. Pretty much, aside from that random shot (or two) of jager, I only drank beer when I was playing beer pong. Considering we were playing with 10 cups, and most of the time were only winning by a cup or two at most, I got my fill without requiring much in the way of a Walking Around beer.

I'm not too sure on when things started winding down, but I'll be damned if they didn't eat all the fucking pizza rolls! Anyway, I ended up passing out hungry (though, probably not before taking a leak right smack dab on the floor next to my bed ... if that's what I'm to guess the wet stain came from). I woke up the next morning around ... sometime, and had breakfast. Watched a little hungover football with Pete and others, then when he left I went back to bed for most of the afternoon.

Didn't really start feeling right until the Husky game started, then started feeling like crap shortly thereafter.

With all the sleep, I was up for most of the night Saturday night. Got to watch an Almost Live rerun after SNL ended. MAN, I miss that show! Seattle really was the center of the universe there, musically and artistically for a few years in the late 80s and early 90s. I was born 10 years too late, that's all I have to say about that.

Sunday was all football all the time. And we got the downstairs ready for the impending pool table; it will be arriving on Friday. So, that's where I plan on being, if anyone was wondering. You're all invited if you know where The Hammer lives.

The Monday Morning Long-Snapper: Best Weekend Ever?

I have this thing about me when it comes to the competitive environment. Especially when it comes to games where I'm forced to hurl balls at or around a target (but if I put my mind to it, I could probably apply it to any number of competitive endeavors). I generally prefer to be on teams deemed "weaker" by an impartial judge, rather than be partnered up with someone generally thought of as "athletic" or "talented". Partially because it's a case of: if you beat us, then so what, you were supposed to beat us; but if we beat you, then that's doubly embarrassing for you and doubly awesome for us. I like that. Kinda takes the pressure off a little bit.

This comes up most often in Backyard Baseball, where growing up I would often take the lamest of my friends (when it comes to sports, anyway), and give Jake's team the better hitter. But, it also comes up when I'm forced to pair off for bowling, or most applicably Beer Pong.

Yes, being the weaker of the teams reduces some of the pressure. But, more often than not, I take that pressure back and put it on my shoulders. I feel like I should be a good enough pitcher (in my back yard, with a tennis ball, against a large plastic bat and a humongous strike zone) to hold the other team at bay single-handedly. I feel like I should be a good enough bowler where, if I'm playing superior competition, I can summon an extra level of technical skill and rip off five or six strikes in a row down the stretch to take the game. And I feel like, if I'm playing Beer Pong with a struggling partner, I should be seasoned enough to make more shots than the other team combined.

Now, whether I do that or not is another matter. Most of the time in Backyard Baseball, I succeeded. More often than not, it went the other way for my team in bowling and pong.

Which is what made Saturday such a refreshing change of pace. To be on a GREAT team, with Chipwich by my side, rendering the more inferior teams completely impotent time and time again ... why, I'm not used to such grand displays of ass-kickery! We were the Globetrotters, they were the Generals! We were Ivan Drago, they were Apollo Creed! We were a horse, they were Christopher Reeve! We were Nazi Germany, they were Poland!

OK, this is getting a little inappropriate.

Kicking ass and taking names aside, I'd say I had a damn fine weekend. It's too soon to say if it was the best ever, but let's roll down the list:

-- Had a mini-party at the Hammer's on Friday night. Lots of drinking, lots of card games, lots of Beer Pong, lots of darts.

-- Picked up my car from Maaco on Saturday morning (the fact that I wasn't hungover shouldn't be lost in this list). It's looking absolutely amazing; much better in person than it looks in pictures.

-- Did the Husky tailgate

-- Huskies won in Double Overtime

-- Made it home Saturday night without passing out at the wheel (not drunk too drunk to drive, as I'd spent about four or five hours sobering up; just really REALLY tired from all that sober-ness)

-- Woke up in time for 10am football

-- Seahawks won in Chicago

-- Saw Iron Man 2

Look, was it perfect? Did I get laid? No. So, it wasn't the Most Perfect Weekend Ever. But still, pretty damn sweet.

As for the car, yeah, it's my favorite. $2,500 will do that to a car. Now, all I need are wheels & tires and I'm all set.

As for everything else: damn shit yeah.

Also, Iron Man 2? It was OH-kay. It would probably help a lot more if I were a huge comic book nerd, but I'm not, so the Avengers or whatever doesn't impress-a-me much.

The Monday Morning Long-Snapper: Beer Pong, Tailgate, Football, Etc.

This was my weekend, for better and for worse: Beer pong, tailgate, football, football, movie, movie, Chinese food.

My brother has three Saturdays in a row off of work this month, starting with this past one and running through the 23rd. Since we don't get to NEARLY spend enough time drunk together, I've devoted these three Fridays to getting rowdy in Tacoma.

Last Friday was supposed to include a podcast, but that wish was derailed - mostly by poor attendance - so we just stuck to the basics. Pong pong pong!

We're finding it just a little bit frustrating. Since there was only 3 of us for most of the night, we had to play singles. And since we wanted to play a lot, and not die of a ruptured stomach/kidneys, that meant putting 1 can of beer into 6 cups. The amount isn't necessarily the frustrating part; 2 beers per person per game would be insane. It's just that the amount is EXACTLY the frustrating part because we keep knocking cups over! You know what 1/6th of a beer is? NOT MUCH! I wish there was some way to weigh these cups down. Why haven't they come up with sturdier, re-washable, hard plastic beer pong cups yet? Anyway, if they haven't: PATENT PENDING BITCHES! I'll sue the ass off of anyone who steals my prototype!

You know, I ALMOST had too much to drink on Friday night. Almost. One more beer, I probably would've been sick/useless the next day. As it stands, we stopped at the exact right time. We inhaled a bunch of pizza, passed out, and I was awake with plenty of time to hit up the tailgate.

Oh the rain. I hate you Seattle and I wish you would die. You'd think after however many years I've been living here I'd be used to it; but no, I hate it more than ever!

Anyway, a little rain isn't going to hamper a Husky tailgate. Some more beer pong. A lot of flip cup. ANNNNNND we ran out of beer. I KNOW! We totally ran out of beer at a point in the tailgate where we could've still been drinking! I was reduced to playing flip cup with an IPA because that's all that was left! You want to know the dictionary definition of "Desperation"? Me and Angie, 1 on 1 flip cup with an IPA. It felt like the day before Prohibition! I probably would've stopped anyway, considering I would have to drive home after the game. But, just the simple act of running out of beer immediately made me want to do nothing more than drink more beer!

Et tu, alcoholism?

The game wasn't until 7pm. Apparently, Eric and Colin and Juli were there at 10am. I, on the other hand, was just waking up from a night of drinking at 10am, so I didn't get there until 1pm or so. With a backpack full of 24 Bud Lights and a couple packages of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. We probably ran out of beer around 5pm or so. I dunno, I lost track of time I had to shit so much thanks to all the beer in my system.

Everyone else had tickets; Devin and I had to scalp. He was turning down people left and right, waiting for the right price. I got my ticket at $30 before running into Hec Ed for another shit. He stood firm and got one for $20 from somebody else.

The game sucked. It rained on me the whole time and I was the only one without a stupid plastic poncho, so I got fucking DRENCHED. I didn't even bother wearing my cotton hoodie, so Devin put that in his backpack. If the rain ever would've fully relented, I was planning on just taking my t-shirt off and wearing the hoodie commando. THAT never happened. And the Huskies lost because their offense sucked a lot of dick. It was a long, cold walk through campus alone to my car on 11th and 41st. Free parking though!

I was plenty sober by the time I got to my car, at around 11:30pm or so. Took me FOR-E-VER to get out of the U-District. Probably a half hour just to get from 41st up to 45th. Once I got on 45th, though, it was smooth sailing down I-5. Watched SNL; it was aiight.

Was up in plenty of time for Sunday morning football. Pretty brutal stuff. Had to watch the Green Bay/Washington slugfest and the Baltimore/Denver snoozer. THEN I didn't even get to see the Seahawks, what with the bye, so I was forced into watching the mildly-entertaining Dallas/Tennessee game. My picks sucked a whole lotta dick and I ended the day losing in Fantasy Football with 1 tight end going against a running back and a quarterback (and that deficit). In other words, goodnight Sally.

I did get to watch a couple movies that were on my Netflix queue forever. Coraline was good. Probably would've enjoyed it more in 3D. But still quality in that Nightmare Before Christmas style. Then, there was this Samuel L. Jackson movie called "Unthinkable". Pretty much it was just about this guy the government hires to torture terrorist suspects into revealing where they hide their bombs. You want to know the "unthinkable" part of the movie? Torturing the terror suspect's children. Yeah, because no one's EVER thought of that before. This movie wasn't nearly as well acted to make up for the complete lack of a plot (it also featured what's her name from the Matrix movies in her usual drab and boring style), but there was the fiery Samuel L. Jackson Yelling At Stuff scene, so that made my life complete.

And, yeah, I had Chinese food for dinner. Which was almost as awesome as the home made omlette with ham and bell pepper for breakfast.