Saturday, May 5, 2012

Who knew I would get married? Hah.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Year In Review and Charlie Manual is an idiot.

Generally, I have always felt that the MLB All-Star game did a much better job than any of the other sports all-star games.  They generally do a better job of putting them team together, fan voting notwithstanding.  This year just shot all of that built of tolerance right out the window.  Charlie Manual, your an idiot.  That is absolutely all there is to it.  Last year I railed on and on about Manual picking Ryan Howard for the team when he was about the tenth best first-basemen in the National League.  It was embarrassing then, and its even more embarrassing this year.  Why?  Because he left Joey Votto off the team.  Joey Votto who is probably the front runner for MVP.  Joey Votto who is leading the league in OPS.  THE Joey Votto that is a much better hitter at 26 than Ryan Howard is at 30.  Then he has the nerve to add a fifth Brave to the team over Votto.  A guy that isn't a full time player, isn't a regular on his on team, is putting up a .337 OBP with a .706 OPS.  Yes, folks, come on down Omar Infante.  Thats right, the same Omar Infante that was a super prospect with the Tigers way back when.  Apparently his .706 OPS in limited action is more impressive than a .997 everyday OPS.  To put it bluntly this is bullshit, and I hope Joey Votto sticks it to you in the playoffs.  I have no doubt that hitting bombs against the Phillies will be at least a bit sweeter than before.

Yes, folks, Stephen Stasburg is the real deal.  Yep, he will probably win a Cy Young award injuries not withstanding.  Yes, he is only 2 down from leading his team in K's with only a fraction of the innings.  But no he does not belong on the All-Star team, not this year anyway.  He will have plenty of those in his future, he has enough hype, let him earn it, and for once Manual actually got something right.  Also, keep in mind he hasn't even been the best rookie pitcher this season so far.  Jaime Garcia takes that honor, and he isn't an All-Star either, although he probably should be.  Thems the breaks of being a rookie.

I just don't like Colby Rasmus.  He is dumb as a box of hammers, makes dumb mistakes, can't throw the ball straight, doesn't learn from his mistakes as he repeats them, runs the bases like he has his eyes closed, has a diva complex, and his father things he should be on staff just to coach his swing.  The possible upside just isn't worth the negative baggage, plus I think he might be peaking this year.  At the end of the season I will break down his retrosheet, and I am quite certain I will discover he does poorly in games that matter, against quality pitching, and that his RISP numbers with 2 outs will be terrible because damn it, every time he comes up with runners on and two outs its generally a strikeout.  If you could get a good trade out of him that could make the difference this year I say do it.

Trevor Hoffman, call it quits, your just embarrassing yourself.

I have decided that on the whole I really just despise baseball journalists.  The beat writers anyway.  I used to think I liked Rob Neyer, but after following him on Twitter he really is just a pretentious prig.  The Cardinals beat is mainly covered by 4 guys, Matthew Leach, Joe Strauss, Derrick Gould, and Bernie Miklasz.  Leach is  talented writer, but practically just gushes at the seams trying to show the fans how well rounded he is and what a cool hipster he is.  Always talking about the new album or whatnot and reviewing it mostly during the Cardinals games.  Apparently it became enough of an issue that his bosses censured him and told him to focus more on baseball and less on being cool.  As it is, he basically spends his time trying to be a journalist, bookwriter, music reviewer, and stat guru, and unfortunately he just does a half-assed job at all of them.  He likes to gripe about managerial decisions with the pitchers and gripes constantly about the bunt.  Here is a hint Matt, if you think you are a better manager than TLR grow a pair and say so, if not quite being such a whiner, that type of stuff is not productive for the fan base or the team.  Joe Strauss is an all right who talks enough about poker and horse races that it makes me suspect he has a problem.  Miklasz is a confrontational burnout that rarely says anything relevant.  That leaves Derrick Gould, who is mostly just boring.  I think the state of journalism is really just depressing.  Getting to the point where now, I don't even like baseball writers, and that was pretty much the last group of journalists I had any tolerance for left.

When Roy wants out of Houston you know things have gotten REALLY bad.  I have a feeling its going to be a long 3 or 4 years there.  That team is pretty terrible, and it might get worse next year.  Fortunately at least Pittsburgh is in the division, and they might not could win in Double-A.

Which brings me to Pittsburgh.  In all the 17 years they have been losing, this might be the worst of those seasons.  The fans truly don't seem to care anymore.  They are going to see that cool ballpark more than to see that team.  Even at homes games the players often hear louder cheers for the away team than the home team.  Sad state of affairs for such a historic franchise.

Whats the deal with Ike Davis?  People talk about him like he is, well, good.  But, the numbers just don't really support that he is anything hype worthy.  I just don't get it.  East coast bias?  Last I heard . An average in the .250's a low .300 OBP and low .400 SLG were not anything to be exciting about in a corner infielder, even if he is a rookie.  Literally has next to the worst numbers at the position in the league.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Retro Movie Review L.A. Confidential 9/10!

I get asked every now and then what my favorite movies are and for some reason even though its definitely one my five or six favorite movies, I always forget that this one exists.  This is an absolutely fantastic movie folks, and if you haven't seen it you need to go add it to your Netflix queues right this minute.  It has an absolutely fantastic cast, featuring Kevin Spacey, Guy Pierce, and an early career showing for Russell Crowe.  They each play very different but equally conflicted police detectives on the 1950's L.A.P.D.  Their boss is the always good James Cromwell, and the rest of the extended cast, although not so well known, turn in some very good performances.  The plot is twisty, with a sort of noir flair storyline but not shot in the film style of film noir.  There is really much to say about this film except GO SEE IT NOW!!

The Last Airbender 0/10!

I have never, ever, received so little for the price of a movie ticket than I did with this movie. This is, probably the worst movie I have ever seen in a mainstream release. It has replaced Eragon as the worst movie with a budget I have witnessed and has created absolutely new lows in movie making. I don't know if ever I have left a movie theatre with absolutely nothing good to say about a movie. The only thing I can say is that I laughed a lot. At the terrible dialogue. 

Firstly, the special effects were terribad. The opening scenes in the snow were laughable and you could actually pick out the halos around the characters where they were either put on a screen of imposed over CGI. That beautiful trailer we all saw that had all the ships and the kid in the tower in an epic war scene, totally not in the movie, and in fact nothing anything near that good or cool is in the movie. Truly hack work. This movie is so melodramatic that from hence forth all melodramas shall be known as airbenders, but that’s the least of this movies worries really. I don't really prescribe to all the hubbub about them not casting enough Asians. This is a made up world, and if they wanted to cast some white folk, and some Indo/Pak kids that’s fine with me. This movie had people of all flavors and there were plenty of Asians cast. However, they should have casted some kids in the lead roles that had at least a smidgen of acting talent. Sadly the worst of the worst were two of the characters that received a lot of air time. Noah Ringer, who plays Aang, the Last Airbender was terrible, even when held to standards for his age. This was his first gig, and frankly, I am wondering if he dad knew the casting director or something, because he should still be an unknown. He wasn't the worst though, Jackson Rathbone takes that honor. He plays Sokka a non-elemental bending semi-warrior who serves no real purpose to the plot but to say stupid things and deliver lines with all the emotion of a robot. Of course this is probably how they taught him to do things on the Twilight set. 

Perhaps, though, these guys could have done something if they were giving anything, and I mean ANYTHING to work with. This is the worst script I have ever had the misfortune to stumble across. The lines are absolutely laughable. This literally makes Twilight look like an Oscar winner. Its generally a pretty good sign of poor script writing when actors that are generally average to good in quality are as equally terrible as the untested young talent. Dev Patel, who has talent, place a flat, completely non-dynamic character. Cliff Curtis, Shaun Taub, Aasif Mandvi are all at least adequate, but all come up short here. The other problem is this movie lacks any sort of resolution whatsoever. It was clearly made to be in a series of movies, but it makes it shamefully obvious that its part of a series. Unlike most other series, which has a full arc in each film this one just sort of ends like the first night of a three night mini-series on NBC. What makes it worse is that since its so terrible and is getting such terrible reviews there won't be anymore movies. Given the way this one ends THERE IS NO REASON TO WATCH IT. Its seriously like watching half of a movie and then stopping right before a lot of stuff happens, and never going back to it. Tell you what, I will sum it up for you: 

There are a bunch of 14 year olds standing around, giving bad lines with even worse delivery, they do monumentally stupid acts for no particularly reason while one or more of them watch and say with little emotion "no don't you dare do that exact act in which you are going to do." Then they do that act and something else happens, then they get on a terrible CGI'd luck dragon clone and go somewhere else where they do some sort of combat that looks like it should be part of stomp. Then he doesn't something with water and the movie blacks out. The fire lord says something to his daughter blah blah blah, then you get ready for the real parts of the movie to start, oh but then it ends. Generally I believe that quality and enjoyability are not mutually exclusive, but there is a point in which a movie is just so bad that there really just can't be an reason to enjoy it. This movie is one of those. I just can't see how anyone can honestly say they enjoyed this movie. And from the rotten tomatoes reviews it doesn't really look like anyone has.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The A-Team Movie Review 7.5/10!

There are various ways in which to judge a movie.  Sometimes you don't judge purely on the quality of the product.  The A-Team is ridiculous.  The plot doesn't always make sense, there is very little logic, the action is huge and over the top, the characters are caricatures, but, it works.  Why does it work?  Why do components that generally make a bad movie result in an entertaining movie here?  Well, its because it captures and epitomizes the spirit of the TV series perfectly.  Sure, they could have made a gritty, dark, artistic movie, and it probably would have been high quality, but, that wouldn't have fit very well, the characters would have been off and it would have born no resemblance to the action series that so many people love.  And, its darn funny as well.  The characters are very well done, with the only stretch being Rampage Jackson, and his performance wasn't to terrible for a guy that’s really just not an actor.  Bradley Cooper was excellent as Faceman but Sharlto Copley truly stole the show with his characterization of Murdock.  He is not exactly a household name but he played Wikus in District 9 and he is very, very good.  Very surprising given his inexperience.  He is a guy to watch for in the future.  Jessica Biel doesn't really add anything, but she is hot, and this type of movie does require at least one really hot girl to be in it.  Its not going to win an Oscar or anything, but if you liked the television show you will love this movie, and if you are not a fan of the television show you can do a lot worse than watching this flick.  

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Video Games aren't art? Anything is art.

Roger Ebert is quoted as having said that "Video games can never be art."  His logic for this is that you cannot take the pinnacle of its creation and compare it to the great works in filmmaking, art, poetry, literature, etc.  To use a metaphor quoted in his blog about this, video games are much closer to the chicken scratches on the inside of caves than they are to the Sistine Chapel.  This is an incredibly idiotic statement.  Actually amazingly idiotic, rarely does  a critic say something that makes me wish I could actually talk to the guy face to face and really see why he thinks this.  Perhaps he thinks that this will keep his fading reputation in with the pretentious bigwigs of the art house scene, or this is just last ditch efforts at staying relevant.  Regardless there are many reasons as to why this is just a purely flawed statement.  Firstly, no one can say what is or isn't art.  You can fully have the right to say something is bad art, or terrible art, or something even a third grader could do, but you don't have the right to say that something somebody put their hard work and soul into "ISN'T" art.  If someone considers what they are doing art, then it is art and no one can say different.  Secondly, saying something has to have reached its apex to be art is also idiotic.  Since the Sistine Chapel was achieved that means that all painting is art? Merely because one person was great in that field that means all others who could never hope to achieve that level are creating art because one person was great in it?  How about graphic art?  No offense to anyone in that field, I have seen a lot of quality work, a lot of really great work, but I have yet to see anything that belongs in the Louvre.  Does that mean that it's not art?  According to Ebert it does, and I don't think anybody in their right mind believes that Graphic art and design isn't a form of art.  Even in my field of art, photography, there have been many greats, but I don't think a single photography has reached the transcendental level of Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Joyce, Van Gogh, Etc.  Is that any less art because of this? NO its not.  And to follow on that line of though, I am a moviephile, I appreciate good movies, and I would doubt that 1/10 people I know have even seen even close to as many movies I have. I know cinema history, theory, and I know the great movies of all time.  And the greatest reason why Ebert's logic is flawed is because his field is no more art than video games are by his theory.  In no way shape or form has there been a movie made that can match the pure genius of the great works of art.  Hell, a large portion of the "greatest" movies of all time use Shakespeare as the direct basis of their screen plays.  The point is very few things can rival the beauty and awe inspiring nature of the works of the masters, saying that a field has achieved that mastery to be art is going to prevent most fields from being considered art.  And then saying because one great person practiced an art makes all of that form art regardless of who does and quality is also just pure idiocy.  Video games are developing as any art.  REGARDLESS of what you think about video games even in its beginning its essentially animation.  Its developed with hand drawn concept art.  Notice the term concept art.  Well, wait a minute Roger, since the sprites are rendered by hand generally first doesn't that make it art?  Then it tells a story.  Just like a movie does.  In fact most games nowadays are movies broken up by periods of time in which you blow shit up, or hit it with a sword , or driving around looking for stuff and progressing to the next point in which the plot advances.  The recent game "Heavy Rain" is a an example of what video game as art can be.  It is an incredibly detailed plot driven game that allows for virtually all aspects of the plot to be controlled.  It is cinematic, story driven, and has a better script than 60% of the new movies coming out.  Not all scripts for video games are great, but several games companies have been telling a great story for many years.  I was affected more by the death of Aeris in Final Fantasy 7 than I have been by any movie by that point in my life.  The story of Chrono Trigger was amazing and that was on a 16 bit system.  Ever heard of Final Fantasy 3/6?  That game has more detailed characters with more nuance than most movies could ever hope for.  And Square Enix is not the only game company that can tell a story.  Bioware's Knights of the Old Republic had a better story than the Star Wars Episode I did.  Rockstar hit it out of the park with their tale of revenge in GTA IV.  I can go on and on.  Video games can hold a narrative, tell a compelling story, and provides often awesome displays of CGI.  If James Cameron can make Avatar (which has a far inferior plot to most video games) through out a bunch of CGI and get praised for his "art." Then its absolutely idiotic to deny video game there place as an art.  It may not be quite to a level of a Sanjuro or an 8 1/2 but its getting damn close.   

Friday, June 11, 2010

Repost of an old blog from 07 on medical testing.

So I am taking a class at ASU and it is an online graduate class on the History of Medicine. One of our discussion topics was Medical Testing in prisons. Here is what one of our brilliant and ranking ASU police officers posted in the discussion board. 

"Well this week discussion is a tossup for me. The men and women in prison are there for a reason, they have been convicted of a crime. I'm not saying that everyone in the prison system is guilty, but they have been tried and convicted and sentenced to prison. Once convicted the inmates loses their right to anything.( Examples- right to vote, right to carry weapons, ect). I think that the companies should use the men and women in the prison systems especially the ones on death row. I don't think the inmates need consent to do this. Yes, you can in return for participating in the study give extra commissary. I think that most inmates are educated, being in law enforcement, we deal with the same people a lot on the street from the prison system and they come out smarter than when they went in. Most men and women in the prison system get their GED or read law books to try and make them smarter. I don't think they should be asked for consent."

Brilliant, not only does a law enforcement officer think they all prisoners no longer have any human rights, but he is under the delusion that apparently prison is good for them, and that it is an improvement for them. He thinks they are essentially animals. Actually maybe not that highly... this is another quote on the same thread.

" Its not that I am a bad police officer cause I take my job very serious. I have been in Law Enforcement since 1992. The thing that gets me is that once someone's convicted and sent to the state prisons, that they belong to the state. which means we have to pay for all there meals, all there doctors appointments, everything, even though they are locked up and guarded 24 hours a day seven days a week, we have to foot the bills. You are right they are humans,and I can see where some of the men and women have the right to consent.

I am a big animal lover to, so why test the animals, they have rights too. I don't think its right to do the animals either.

sorry to get the class stirred up, but just to let you all now that I do take my job very serious to protect and serve the state of Arkansas. Everyone has there own feelings about this, I knew this one would be a tough week for me. I just know that arriving on some of the scenes that I have in the past, just gets to you sometimes. Again I hope you can accept my apology for stirring things up."

Apparently he actually value animals to a greater extent than human life. Pretty amazing really.