Ruminations, etc..

Musings, rantings, and pie.

Archive for June 2010

Later Today

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Not really feeling like writing anything today. The books I ordered from Amazon came in, so I’ll probably be spending time with them instead. Here’s what you have to look forward to this week:
1. Another Simple Solutions post about the Usual Suspects
2. A post explaining why I hate vampires
3. Random pop culture detritus

Written by B. Michael Krol

June 29, 2010 at 3:39 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with

July 8th Can’t Come Soon Enough

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I am sick to death of the LeBron James free agency nonsense.  Honestly, I’m not sold on him as a great basketball player yet, and it’s pretty clear he can’t get it done by himself.

I know he can’t sign anywhere until the 8th of July, so I have to endure more of the Lebron James Sweepstakes garbage for several days. Frankly, I hope he signs with the Raptors or the Kings, just to piss everybody off.

Sorry Lebron -- you need at least two stars to win in today's NBA...

Written by B. Michael Krol

June 28, 2010 at 11:34 am

The Problems With Vince: Reviewing Entourage Season Seven, Episode 1

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I watched the season 7 premiere of Entourage last night.  Man, did that show turn into garbage.

There are several problems with this show, chief among them is that there’s no conflict.  No real conflict, anyway. The characters don’t really have any problems or obstacles to overcome, and as a result the show is boring. It’s the basic rule of storytelling, right?  The audience wants to see the main character overcome obstacles, and in the process of overcoming those obstacles, the audience gets to know the character and begins to like and care about the character.  So what was the big obstacle in last night’s episode?  Whether or not Vince would do a stunt.  Way to shoot for the stars guys.

Mark Wahlberg's response to my thoughtful criticism.

Last season stunk, but there were a some seasons — three, four and five — that were actually interesting and had some compelling storylines.   (Compelling for a 22 minute TV show based around Mark Wahlberg’s life, anyway).   In those seasons, the characters weren’t on top of the world. Ari Gold was trying to get his own agency started after getting pushed out of his old agency; Vince and E were trying to get Medellin film made; and when Medellin flopped, they needed to resuscitate Vince’s career. Those are good obstacles for these characters.   It created some interesting individual storylines and some interesting drama.  In short, it was good storytelling.

Season five actually had some potential. Vince’s career was in the toilet. He needed to learn some lessons about how to play the Hollywood game, and he needed to learn how to be an actor.  He had to grow as a person, which could create some interesting stories and themes.  At the same time, E was trying to grow into his own person as well, both personally and professionally.  I’ve often thought that this show was about E, and the wreckage of Vince’s career would give E an opportunity to, perhaps, become a player in Hollywood. And that could lead him to rescue Vince the same way Vince’s career got E out of the pizza parlor.

These guys can't believe how bad Entourage has gotten either...

Or maybe not.  Maybe Turtle did something big and helped Vince out.  It doesn’t matter.  Now, before I cross into the seedy world of Entourage fan fiction, the point is that there  was some potential to develop some challenging obstacles and to allow the characters to grow. And all that potential was destroyed with that stupid deus ex machina phone call from Martin Scorsese.

Look, no one is expecting this show to delve deep into the human experience and mediate on deep themes of life, love and friendship. This show doesn’t have to be “deep,” but I don’t think it’s too much to ask for decent stories.  And at this point, it seems like that’s beyond the creators of Entourage.

Written by B. Michael Krol

June 28, 2010 at 10:50 am

The Quiet Blog

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So there was no activity here this weekend.  Apologies for that.  I was drowning my sorrows over Team USA’s loss on Saturday and Sunday I wanted to finally finish Crime and Punishment, so no new stuff.

To make up for my transgression, here’s a picture of my other pug, Gloria.

The Princess in repose..

Written by B. Michael Krol

June 28, 2010 at 10:17 am

Afghan Whigs: Congregation

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Just picked up Congregation via iTunes.  Not that great guys…Miles Iz Ded is probably the highlight.  Oh well…they can’t all be Gentleman.

John Curley remembering how bad Congregation was...

Written by B. Michael Krol

June 25, 2010 at 2:39 pm

Icing a Bro…Really?

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Seriously?  Do people actually do this?  Is “Icing a Bro” real?

For those of you that don’t know, Icing a bro is when some random douche bag walks up to another guy — a bro, as it were — and hands him a Smirnoff ice.  That “Bro” is supposed to drop to one knee and chug the Smirnoff Ice.  However, if that Bro who is about to be Iced has a Smirnoff Ice, he can hand to the the Icer and then he becomes the Icee, who must then  drink both Smirnoffs.

This guy aint afraid of being iced by a bro...

When I first heard about this I almost put my head through a wall it was so stupid.  This just proves my theory that all Frat guys are secretly gay.  How else could this kind of stupidity catch on?  These guys are running around hoping someone ices them so get to drink it “as a punishment.”

Jesus guys, the net time you engage in that kind of public humiliation and degradation, at least use a safeword.

Written by B. Michael Krol

June 25, 2010 at 2:04 pm

Posted in Random Stuff

Simple Solutions to Complicated Movie Problems: Buffy the Vampire Slayer Edition

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Okay, so last night I was watching Buffy season 7 episode 18 (Dirty Girls) and a thought occurred to me: Buffy was screwing up strategically.

This will be Dick Cheney's favorite post of mine...

For those of you who don’t know, this is the episode where Buffy goes after Caleb for the first time.  She gets her ass kicked, several potential slayers die, and Xander loses an eye.  Oh yeah —  there were spoilers in that last sentence.

Caleb and these weird guys without eyes (the “Bringers”) are holed up in some weird barn looking thing on a vineyard.  Buffy decides she needs to take them out so she gets her army and heads over there.  At that point the whole thing goes kerplooey. Afterwards, she wants to go back and everyone bails on her. Her own sister kicks her out of the house.  Harsh bud, bro.

The problem was Buffy attempted a frontal assault and got defeated, handily, by her enemy.  Caleb is stronger than her and the Slayer potentials are just weak.   Buffy’s main strategy in combat — close quarters hand-to-hand — is an effective one in this case.

Here’s what she should’ve done.

Get some machine guns.  A lot of them.  Aim them at all the doors from fixed points pretty far away. When the Bringers and Caleb come out, shoot them. A lot.  Shoot them in the face. Shoot them in the chest, in the legs, in the junk, etc.  These guys aren’t that tough.  Knives can bring down the Bringers, and Caleb is only tough in close quarters. Solution: shoot them in the face. Dick Cheney them, as it were.

How should Buffy get them to leave the barn?  I’m glad you asked.  The barn is made out of wood and stone.   So here’s what you do: when the machine guns are in place, fire bomb the shit out of it.  Just start throwing Maltovs like you were playing GTA IV.  Eventually, the jackasses inside the barn will get the picture and leave. When they do, they get shot in the face.  Done.  Caleb is killed, the First needs a whole mess of Bringers, and Xander still has both eyes.

What’s really irritating is Buffy has used this strategy before.  When she went up against the Judge, another devastating hand-to-hand opponent, home girl used a goddamned rocket launcher.  That’s forward thinking.  That’s being pro-active and getting shit done.

He got blowed the F up...

In conclusion, when in doubt, shoot people in the face.

Oh, and about that Seal in the basement of the school. You know the one — it’s where all the killer Uber Vamps come from.  Here’s a solution: concrete.  Lots and lots of concrete. Fill the damn room full of concrete and then go have a shake.  Easy, right?  Somehow the idea of using a lot concrete to seal up a room eluded a crew that includes a dude that works in construction.

Anyway, still a great show and a good episode.

Written by B. Michael Krol

June 25, 2010 at 1:46 pm

How Quickly Things Turn…

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Been watching the Brazil/Portugal game on ESPN.  Brazil is ranked #1 in the world and Portugal is ranked #3 and it was interesting watching two world powers play the game.  It’d be even more interesting if I knew what I should be watching for.  That being said, Brazil’s ball control looked very good.  That’s my game analysis. Insightful, huh?

The new US Soccer themed commercials were fun to watch. Landon Donovan is being featured in quite a few of them, in the same Titan of the Game way that is normally reserved for people like LeBron James.  I think that’s pretty cool, myself.  Soccer has always been a 2nd tier sport in America and it’s nice seeing our team capture the geist of the zeit.

Americans need someone to look up to (better to tear them down later, after they’ve become successful) before rallying behind a cause or a team. We’re suckers for the charismatic leader.  Now it appears that Mr. Donovan is that face of US Soccer.  Good for him and good for his sport. If his team can pull off a win against Ghana on Saturday, US Soccer will win over a lot more people. Cause if there’s anything we love more than a charismatic leader, it’s a winner.

Written by B. Michael Krol

June 25, 2010 at 12:11 pm

Posted in World Cup

World Cup Soccer

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Like I wrote yesterday, I watched the USA take on Algeria in the final match of World Cup pool play. What a game that was. Seriously, there were some amazing emotional highs and lows.  And beer.  Lots and lots of sweet beer.

Now, like most Americans, I have no clue about soccer.  I am completely ignorant of its traditions, rules, and techniques.  But I am learning. For instance, yesterday I learned that FIFA will only count 1 goal for every three the US scores. An odd rule, but I can appreciate it.

I also learned yesterday that where you watch the game is very, very important.  At least in Pittsburgh.

Game Winner

Yesterday morning, we tried to go see the game at Piper’s Pub in the south side.  We watched game 2 — US vs Slovenia — there and man, was that a blast.  The whole pub was filled with US supporters and people would sing and chant and cheer. It was wonderful to get caught up in that kind of honest, spontaneous joy.  I mean it was fantastic watching my countrymen wave our flag and sing fight songs and anthems.  It was also great being able to cheer USA! USA! USA! without having to go to some douche bag teabagger rally.

And I think that kind of exuberant joy is really the key to getting involved in the sport.  At least to me it was. It was one of the best afternoon’s I’ve had in recent memory.

Yesterday, however,  we arrived too late to get into Piper’s Pub so we went down to Mario’s.  Now, I like Mario’s, but it didn’t have the same kind of joyous manic energy Piper’s did.  Apart from one song, there was no singing, and not as much flag waving.  So the atmosphere wasn’t as great and that can hamper the appreciation of the game.  Particularly to a newbie like me, that needs the crowd interaction to know when to cheer, like for penalties and what not.

Luckily, the game was fantastic.  There was such dramatic tension in that game it kept me riveted.  The US needed to win this game to advance or they needed Slovenia to beat or tie with England. So even though this is pool play, this was basically a must win game.

Algeria came out aggressive and would’ve scored first had an Algerian’s players shot not hit the cross bar of the goal.  That created some tension right there.  Now, also playing at Mario’s was the England – Slovenia game.  That game was being shown on two TVs to the side.  Shortly after the cross-bar incident, England scored a goal, which meant that the US had to win its game.  Having both games going on simultaneously was beyond tense.  As each second ticked away, it became more and more desperate for the US.

And finally, Donovan’s goal in the 91st minute.  The bar erupted into cheers and screaming.  It was amazing. I felt connected to everyone in the room.  We had just witnessed something spectacular happen.  And we saw it as Americans.  That was the key.  Nothing mattered then except national pride and pride in our team.  People yelled, screamed, and embraced each other. It was a wonderful show of simple joy.

I think I now know why this is called the beautiful game.

Written by B. Michael Krol

June 24, 2010 at 2:36 pm

USA! USA! USA!

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Going to take the morning off to watch the US World Cup game. More bloggy excitement when I get back.

Written by B. Michael Krol

June 23, 2010 at 8:32 am

Posted in Sports