Friday, August 29, 2008

Palin By Comparison

I cannot believe John McCain. I cannot stomach Sarah Palin. This is totally heinous.

Here is some of her awesome resume:

Palin is strongly anti-choice, opposing abortion even in the case of rape or incest.

Palin thinks creationism should be taught in public schools.

She's doesn't think humans are the cause of climate change.

She's solidly in line with John McCain's "Big Oil first" energy policy. She's pushed hard for more oil drilling and says renewables won't be ready for years. She also sued the Bush administration for listing polar bears as an endangered species—she was worried it would interfere with more oil drilling in Alaska.

She's also under investigation by the Alaskan state legislature for abusing her power in firing Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan. Palin was angry at Monegan for not firing an Alaska State Trooper who went through a messy divorce with Palin's sister.

How can people not see how transparently stupid this is?

Obama! Biden! I am behind you 100%. Please deliver me from this madness. Only you can save me now...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Supreme Court of Good Looks: The People Vs Chris Matthews

The Charges: Failure to maintain a respectable hairstyle for a political commentator and a host of cable and network TV talk shows.

Exhibit A: Here is Chris Matthews before and after his strange hair color change.



On it's own, maybe it's not a big deal. But look at what has happened since!

Exhibit B:


Can't someone in hair and make up get him a comb? It looks ridiculous! Why would he do this? It boggles the mind and offends the senses. We ask the court to reprimand Mr. Matthews and force him to return to his normal grooming standards.

THE DEFENSE: People are allowed to change their hair color. Maybe you think it's vain for an older gentleman to do it, but that's neither here nor there. Secondly, he does have a slightly different hair style, but what you're seeing is just the windswept nature of hair that is a part what happens when you broadcast outdoors. The craziness of the convention quaff will subside when he's back in the studio.

REDIRECT, YOUR HONOR?: Windswept? I'm sorry. He is sitting with several other commentators and no one else has a hair out of place! He is styling it that way intentionally and it does not look good. He must be forced to end this national nightmare right away.

VERDICT: By a vote of 9-0, in the case of The People Vs Chris Matthews, the court agrees that Chris Matthews has overreached in his desire to try a new haircut during presidential campaign season, when people are more likley to want to watch his show and are therefore forced to look at his hair. This is not good looking hair. It is our judgment that he must start combing his hair and allow it to eventually return to it's natural color. So say we all.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

True Love Bites, Part 2



Well, I finally got through the end of the Twilight Series. I know all the sercrets and plot twists. The only question left to answer is why the hell was everyone so upset with the ending? I LOVED IT.

When last I left off, I wasn't liking the main characters, nothing was happening and Bella was stringing along a Vampire and and a Werewolf, both who loved her so. The end of the third book was kind of exciting. There was a big fight between a newborn-vampire army and the Cullen Clan, and - oh, SPOILER! - Edward finally killed Victoria. Thank goodness! I was sick of her. So then Bella decides to marry Edward and Jacob runs away as a wolf. Boohoohoo!

Then we get to Breaking Dawn. It all starts off pretty much the same with Bella actually getting married to Edward. Then they go on their honeymoon. Then the plot goes batshit crazy. And it's AWESOME. It's the strangest plot line this side of a week's worth of Passions episodes. There's a mystical pregnancy, Jacob comes back and there's a wolfy insurrection, and then most substantially, Bella gets Vamp'ed. But honestly? I don't understand why people are disappointed or upset. I'll give them surprised, because after three books of the status quo I didn't think Meyer had the balls to go there, but this is really where the story always should have been heading. I totally disagree with the EW review of this book. And I find it really insulting to say that the book is too gross for young readers. What the eff do you naysayers think they watch on tv or movies or see in advertisements for the latest sequel in the Saw franchise? What makes you think they can't handle Bella spitting up a fountain of blood as she tries to give birth to some human-vampire hybrid baby? Get over yourselves.

The last book redeems the whole series of books in my eyes. There's one big final confrontation between the good vampires and the not so nice vampires that could have had a more explosive pay-off, but it was still satisfying. I would've loved if most of the characters got killed in a moment of high drama, but it was not to be. It's pretty much the happiest ending you could hope for, yet somehow they've earned it. It was probably because Bella stopped being a helpless target and started being a target that kicked total ass. Bella and Edward will probably go on arguing who loves who more for the rest of eternity, but thankfully, us readers will not have to listen to it. The End!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Beauty! The Splendor! The Wonder!

Tonight I saw Hair in Central Park. It made me cry. It is not the first time I have cried during a show. It's happened plenty of times. This is the first time the shear force of the crescendoing music reached into my chest and shook the emotion out of me until I burst into tears. It's a very visceral production. I thought it was amazing.

Hair is not a musical I really know a lot about. I find hippies a little puzzling. My time at Wesleyan did nothing to clear it up for me. I had seen Hair once before in community theater and that production was... not good. The problem was the storytelling. Hair is not an easy musical to produce, it's easy to get lost in it's unconventional nature.

This production handles the storytelling so well. Act 1 flies along with great energy and fun powerhouse performances. Act 2 is a weird trip, but you can still tell what's going, which is wonderful.

It's hard for me to watch the show without a bittersweet feeling in my heart. I mean, you know it's not going to end well. The hippies don't win. It's a celebration of the culture and an examination of the conflict of the time. There are certainly parallels to be drawn today. This is a vital production. I really loved it. Even if it made me sad and I cried. If you want to see it, but frankly don't have time to stand on line from 6am-1pm in the hopes to get a ticket. My advice would be to line up for tickets on the cancellation line between 5-6pm. I don't know why they release well over a hundred tickets. I was #115 on the line and i was far from the last ticket handed out. But they do. So that way you can only wait for 2.5 hours before the show insteand of 7 or 8 hours in the morning. This show is worth sitting in line in the park on a nice summer day for a few hours. Be there!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Peace Out, Olympics!


Well, it's been an eventful two weeks, Olympics. This year's games in Beijing were pretty well structured. The Opening Ceremonies might have used a bit of smoke and mirrors, but was still jaw droppingly impressive. Then, despite the time difference, you managed to have swimming and gymnastics compete Live in American Prime Time. Those are two popular sports at which the United States excels. It was great to watch Phelp's races as they happened. The gynastics had lots of drama as the U.S. battled the impressive Chinese home team. Even the Today show (as I got ready for work everyday) was sort of interesting, and I never like the Today Show.

Granted, things slowed down a bit as the second week carried on. More and more events were tape delayed, and I'd cheat on the internet to find ou the results ahead of time. But you still had some great champions emerge like Usain Bolt, and the whole squad of Chinese divers. You had some great teams competing in both men's and women's Beach Volleyball, In-Door Volleyball, Basketball, Water Polo and Soccer. These Games seemed different and interesting. The athlete profiles were not manipulative and schmaltzy like they have been in the past. I enjoyed it. Good times.

Now we move on, fond memories in hand. It's time for the athletes to relax for a few weeks. Let them scarf down Ben and Jerry's, watch some TV, and stop exercising. It's time for the Today Show to come back to New York and become unwatchable again. Time for NBC to turn off the Robot Bob Costas and let his batteries recharge until the Winter Games in 2010. Time to liberate Mary Carillo from her wacky Asian adventure segments so she can return to commentator glory at the US Open. Time for the rest of us to start living again! And by living, I mean immersing myself in 2 weeks of pro-tennis in Flushing Meadows. Vamos Rafa!

But, before it's all over... once more for the road... USA! USA! USA!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Olympic Shout out #17



Dear US Men's Volleyball Team,

I can't imagine what it must be like to have to deal with such a random horrible tragedy in the midst of a time when you should be at your happiest competing. You're my final individual shout out of the games. I give you a standing ovation. You fought very very hard, through crazy odds, and you did it. You brought home the Gold Medal. It's an amazing story. I wish for you to savor this moment of victory and for you have time when you come home to reflect on your experience and to properly grieve for the loss of your coach's father-in-law. You stayed focused and represented your country well. Now it's time to focus on your loved ones yourselves.

With Sympathy,
Owen

Olympic Shout Out #16



Dear Redeem Team,

I'm gonna keep this short. Thank you for not acting like a bunch of overpaid, unfocused slackers during this Olympics. Back in Athens, the squad was not very impressive. At all. But this time, everyone on the roster really seemed to care. It was nice to feel like your effort meant something to you, so that it could mean something to me. I'm glad you all worked hard, worked well together and got the job done. Let's always have a time this focused and respectful please. I hope a lot fo you come back when it's time for London.

Yours,
Owen

Olympic Shout Out #15



Dear Sanya.

Forget the Redeem team. You got your own shot at redemption from one race to the next without having to stew on it for four years. Maybe the individual 400 meter didn't go exactly as you'd planned, and the 4X100 meter relay was a baton-dropping disaster. But here you come in the women's 4X400-meter relay and you totally put it on the line and grind out a victory, blazing past Anastasia Kapachinskaya from Russia in the final straight away. You got your team to the top of the podium! You got to hear the national anthem ring loud throughout the stadium. Good on you! It was an amazing effort!

Hugs,
Owen

Olympic Shout Out #14


Dear Usain,

Okay, you're very fast. I appreciate that. Your wins were amazing. Granted. But... I don't know. It took me a long time to come around to giving you a shout out. Why you ask? Well, I just didn't like the way you celebrated after winning. It was not very... sportsmanlike, in my opinion. I understand that you would be super-thrilled winning golds and breaking world records. That's as it should be. But the little dances and the looks you're giving other racers DURING THE RACE, they kinda turned me off. I didn't really think they were in the spirit of the Olympics. But then that Tae Kwon Do guy kicked his referee in the head, because he didn't like a call, and your dancing no longer seemed that high on the Unsportsmanlike Conduct Scale. So here's your shout out for your very impressive wins. Your last name gave Bob Costas all kinds of free reign over lightning metaphors, which was more than annoying, but again, it's wrong for me to blame you for his lack of self-control. Congrats, Usain. You earned it.

Warmest Regards,
Owen

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Olympic Shout Out #13


Dear Matthew Mitcham,

I have to admit, I was not looking forward to China sweeping all of the gold medals in diving. That wouldlve been 8 Gold Medals! That's too many. I mean, Michael Phelps got 8 gold medals, but it's not like he won EVERY swimming race in the whole Olympics. There were victories in the pool for other countries! It came down to your last dive and you made up an insane point differential with a truly amazing dive. With a little help from Choking China, you managed to capture the Gold. Good for you! It showed a lot of composure. After you won, you seemed to be in a state of stunned disbelief. Belive it, buddy. You won! China really shouldn't feel that bad. 7out of 8 is not bad by any stretch of the imagination. Good on you for holding your composure when it mattered. You wom, papi. YOU WON!!!

Best,
Owen

Friday, August 22, 2008

Olympic Shout Out #12


Dear Misty and Kerri,

You ladies rule. You have not lost a match in over a year, and you did not let the pressure get to you here at your second Olympics. Gold in Athens, and now Gold in Beijing. Very impressive. You are the personification of dominance. Personally I think it's hard on a good day to play beach volleyball, but you two won the Olympics in the midst of a TOTAL DOWNPOUR! Very very impressive.

A friend of mine, who is clearly touched in the head, actually took time to write on his facebook page how impressed he was with your Chinese competition. That's right. He was somehow impressed by LOSERS who are not Americans. Now it's fine to give props to your competitors who are obviously great athletes. But he made no mention of your greatness. He only had good things to say about the Chinese, and I think that's wrong. I think it's un-American. He is a traitor. He has brought shame on his family and stoked the ire of our entire nation. Nothing he can do will ever make it right. Just be sure that no one else in this country feels that way. We all love you and are filled with pride because of your victory. Go Team USA!

Thoughtfully Yours,
Owen

Olympic Shout Out # 11


Marie-Pier Boudreau Gagnon and Isabelle Rampling, Canadian Syncronized Swimming Pair.

RAMPLING: M.P.? Are you sure we made the right decision?

GAGNON: OF COURSE! THEY LOVE US! THEY LOVE US! DON'T STOP NOW!

RAMPLING: I got a look at the judges. They look a little scared...

GAGNON: FALSEHOODS! They are only intimidated by our ARTISTRY!

RAMPLING: Perhaps we should not have led with our "Vampire Mermaids from the Deep!" routine.

GAGNON: NONSENSE! STAY FOCUSED! WE ARE AMAZING!

RAMPLING: The Romanian judge looks like she might run away from the judging table.

GAGNON: I have my eye on her. If she makes one false move, I WILL END HER!

RAMPLING: You are taking this theme very seriously.

GAGNON: We are on our way to gold. baby! VAMPIRES RULE THE NIGHT!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Olympic Shout Out #10


Dear Shawn,

You fought hard, always with a smile on your face. I have to say, sometimes I didn't always understand you. You are a great gymnast and you showed a lot of poise every time you did not win a gold medal. You competed in so many events and you were inched out so many times! Other athletes might have gone a little insane at the injustice, but you kept playing your chances. Then, at the last opportunity, you struck GOLD! That's gotta feel good. I know that you gymnasts don't usually have a long tenure on the olympic team, but think about coming back for London. You'll only be 20. And I KNOW you want a shot at the Olympic All-Around Gold. Just think about it...

Best,
Owen

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Olympic Shout out #9



Dear Henry,

Look at you, dude. You've defeated Tomohiro Matsunaga of Japan to win the 121-pound freestyle wrestling final! The youngest American Olympic Wrestling Champion in history! Yours is a crazy ass story of sacrifice and hard work. You've done an incredible job winning your country a Gold Medal, so hurry up and bring that medal back to your momma! Celebrate in style!

Best,
Owen

Monday, August 18, 2008

numero uno



Today, Rafael Nadal finally secured the number one ranking in the ATP. I am very happy for him. I fell in love with Rafa years ago, during his first French Open, which he won (and continues to win every year). Along with this year's French Open, he conquered Wimbledon and won Olympic Gold. I have had many tennis crushes in my life, and while Agassi still probably takes the cake with his longevity in the sport and his American Pride, Rafa is quickly giving Aggie a run for his money. I can talk about Rafa's unbelievable skill and tenacity on the court, all day long. He's the perfect adversary for Roger Federer. They are both amazing yet very different, except when it comes to how respectful they are of each other. Rafa just keeps getting stronger and stronger and I hope he stays healthy to battle for the title in this year's US Open and next year's Aussie Open. I really think he could get the Career Grand Slam over the next few years. If you have not seen this guy play tennis you have to check out his matches in the US Open which starts next Monday. His play is exhilarating. And his arms are massive! Dude, he's the best. And the rankings now fully support that fact!

Rafa, we may never meet, but you had me at "Vamos!" Keep taking a bite out of those trophies!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Olympic Shout Out #8


Dear Phelps,

Wow. That was certainly impressive. 8 Gold Medals in one Olympics! Throughout the meet, I couldn't figure out where you were getting this energy from, until I saw the segment where they went over all the food you ate. Who knew you sat down to eat 4 breakfasts worth of food in the morning? That's intense. I don't know how you can stand the sight of it. Day in and day out.

But back to the swimming. Great job. You created an unforgettable story at the Beijing Olympics. It's such an amazing accomplishment. The whole country loves you now, and will rightly celebrate your success.

When you come home, stay on your best behavior, please. No DUI's. The media is quick to turn on people and you are a much bigger star than you were in Athens. Other than that, enjoy yourself and take some well-earned time off. Rest and dream of the London games in 2012, where you will likely get 3 more medals and then be the most decorated olympian ever, over that soviet gymnast girl, who's name i forget. she holds the record at 18. I know you can do it!

Warm Wishes,
Owen

Saturday, August 16, 2008

True Love Bites, Pt. 1



These past two weeks, I've been reading the Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer. I bought the first one a few weeks ago, but never really started reading it. I wanted to get through them before the first movie came out though. Whenever possible, I like to not have actors in my head when mentally picturing the characters. But what really motivated me to read them right now was the release of the 4th and final book in the series, and the apparant fan backlash that immediately followed. What could've happened in the last book that sparked such an intense response? I can't investigate the uproar without spoiling the story, so now I'm racing through to get to the end before someone spoils the surprise. I have my Entertainment Weekly (who gave the last book a D!) with an article on the backlash waiting for me as soon as I'm done. What could have made this the Anti-Seathly Hallows? I must find out.

Going through the books... well they are certainly big on atmosphere even though I don't think that much ever happens. I'm midway through Book 3 right now, and while I don't think they're especially well written and I don't really like any of the characters, they're still kinda fun to read. i have some issues though. They are listed below this.... SPOILER ALERT!

Okay, so basically very little happens in the first book. This has to be an easy book to adapt because of the 500 or so pages of the first book there's about 100 pages of action and 400 pages of chaste kissing. It's dreamy and fun and sorta romantic but it goes on forever. Lin says that it's porn for the 12 year old in your brain. Because it's basically just cuddling and kissing but they are in LOVE. LOVE!!!

We learn a few things and then nothing really changes for the next 1000 pages of the story. Bella can't believe she is worth Edward loving her. Edward thinks he is too dangerous for Bella to want to be with him. They keep saying this over and over again. Bella keeps finding ways to get in accidents and then bleed all over the place in front of Edward's vegetarian vampire family. Bella wants to be a Vampire, but Edward doesn't want to put her through the painful initiation and (possibly) cost her her soul. I think Edward is being a bit ridiculous. He says he will turn her when she becomes ready to marry him, but Bella doesn't want to get married! I think Bella is being a bit ridiculous. There are also werewolves that hate vampires and vice versa and there is a truce between them they barely follow and although Bella wants to join the vampires, she wants to be best friends with the werewolves.

Bella has a single dad who's kind of like Joyce Summers circa seasons 1 or 2 of Buffy. Some of the vampires have special powers and some don't. There's this one female vampire that's been trying to get revenge on Edward by killing Bella for the PAST THREE BOOKS! The other vamps and the werewolves seem incapable of tracking and killing her. Jacob, Bella's werewolf BFF wants to be her boyfriend, but Bella really loves Edward and won't leave him, even though he's kinda controlling and overprotective and, you know, undead. There are anvilicious references to Romeo and Juliet and Wuthering Heights. There's lots and lots of descriptions of Bella and Edward kissing.

These books are fine and enjoyable in their way, but I kind of don't like any of the characters in the main love triangle. I guess that's the Wuthering Heights Angle. They do selfish hurtful things to each other in some misdirected notion of love. I guess that's interesting, but it would be nice if Bella was more than a helpless victim, Edward wasn't so overprotective and patronizing and Jacob wasn't so reactionary and jerky. I do believe it's part of the point they are this way, but as the story goes on, I hope I get more of Edward being dreamy, Bella being assertive and Jacob being understanding. No one seems happy with the ending though, so I'm guessing that doesn't happen. We'll see in about another 800 pages! To be continued!

Olympic Shout Out #7



Dear Irini Merleni,

Holy Crap! What are you doing? You are gonna kill Li Xiaomei of China! Will you stop for a second and look at her face? She is transforming into the Killing Entity from the Grudge right before our eyes! I understand you want to represent the Ukraine with everything you've got, but this is taking it to an unsafe place. That sound you hear from the crowd is not cheers of joy but rather shrieks of horror. You are gonna snap that girl's head off in front of billions of people. Please think this through. There's gotta be an easier way to get you to the podium.

Best,
Owen

Dear Li Xiaomei,

Okay, stay calm. I don't know why the refs have not stepped in to save you, but I've called 911 and they're sending someone soon. Don't lose consciousness! Stay with me! Focus on the sound of my voice!!

Best,
Owen

I Love I Love Money?



I Love Money is my new show of the Summer. It's kind of like The Real World/Road Rules Challenge (Or Inferno, or whatever the hell it's called now) but it's made some improvements on that show. For one thing, I believe the premise of this show. I believe these people love money, don't have much money and would really like to win more money. Another thing about ILM that's improved, is that although they play in teams, there will eventually be only one winner, so eventually teammates will turn on each other. Backstabbing is a prerequisite. Awesome.

If you're like me, you haven't watched the Real World or Road Rules in nearly a decade. That means when it comes to RW/RR Challenges, you won't know anyone on the show. This wouldn't be a problem if the contestants weren't such self-important, totally bland people. They seem to think they are awesome, when to us they seem totally wothhless. They have nothing to offer but their inflated self image. They need to be on a comeptition show called, "I Love Myself." That would really make sense for these people.

With I Love Money, these contestants come from shows like Flavor of Love, I Love New York and Rock of Love - With a pitstop from some in Charm School. As much as some of these people seem to hate each other, they all seem to understand they exist on the same low level of society. They want this money (they LOVE this money!) but if they don't win, they will keep clawing away for it in some other way on some other show. Even if you don't know who they are from those other shows (and I don't) they have more personality than the snobs on RR/RW. And some of them use their nicknames instead of their real names so you are treated to the likes of The Entertainer, Chance, Hoops and Pumpkin! They are like the slacker step-children of the American Gladiators family. I don't think they think themselves awesome, they're just self-serving and lazy and looking for quick cash. They seem to know it's no great feat to get themselves on a reality show. They've all been there before!

I Love Money isn't really entertaining or fascinating, but it does has a tongue-in-cheek melodramatic charm. It seems to know the contestants don't have much to offer, but it celebrates them anyway. I don't care who wins, but I'm interested to see who gets turned on when. I'd be just as happy if in some finaly twist, nobody walked away with any money, because none of them deserve it. And like I said before, even though it's all totally manufactured drama, I have a much easier time believing these people in this atmophere, than in their previous shows. While I can't believe anyone wants to really wind up in a relationship with Flavor Flav, New York, or Brett Michaels, I can totally believe they want cash and national exposure. Screentime is more important than "FACETME!" everytime.

Olympic Shout Out #6




Dear Fed,

I am so happy you are a Gold Medalist. I know this is something you have wanted for almost your whole life. It might not have come in the event you were thinking it would come, but I doubt that matters. You have brought your country a Gold Medal, and honored Switzerland with your skill, determination and amazing sportsmanship.

You and I have had a rough year together. In truth I have been rooting against you for a while now, in favor of Rafa. I didn't want you to win that French Open title that eludes you, so that Nadal could stay undefeated there. I wanted Nadal to beat you at Wimbledon even though thats really your tennis home. I have savored his ascendance in this year's points race, and I'm happy he will become #1 in the world on Monday. I hope that he too gets to wear Olympic Gold around his neck this weekend.

I want you to know that I've seen the pain these summer losses have brought you, and I feel terrible. I think so highly of you and I want you to succeed. I don't want to see you get bounced from tournaments in the second or third round. We both know you are better than that. I've only wanted to see Nadal reach his highest potential this year. The kid has been behind you at #2 for 3 years! That's long enough. Which is why, in two weeks, I'll be rooting for him to win the US Open. Being it's hardcourts, he probably won't win, and you definitely could. I would not at all be upset if you did. The thought of you going all year without a Slam title makes my tummy hurt.

Today, I was so happy to see you so happy. It was adorable the way you and Stanislav hugged and jumped up and down in each other's arms after you won the decisive 4th set. I know that loss at Wimbledon was very difficult to accept. When you look back years from now, I hope this Gold Medal brightens your memories of this summer. You are one of my heroes. Even though you are younger than me... but not by that much!

So, I will not be in your cheering section when you come to Queens. I will be shouting "Vamos, Rafa!" from my couch (and this year, from my seat in the stadium!). Just know that deep down, even in my silence, I am wishing you the best. You're a true champion.

All My Love,

Owen

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Olympic Shout Out #5: Lip-Sync Edition


Dear Yang Peiyi,

You are a cute little girl! I'm sorry the Chinese Government thought you were not camera-ready. People can be morons. First, your country's officials load up their "women's" gymnastics team with 13-year-olds, and now they try this stunt? It's a shame. Don't let this international incident put you in therapy for years to come. You are so young, no one can predict what you'll grow up to look like. But even if you never look as pretty as Lin Miaoke, just remember that the music industry is FULL of people who look busted, but are successful because they know how to sing the hell out of a song. Your future's so bright, I gotta wear shades!

Best,
Owen

Dear Lin Miaoke,

You are also a child, unless once again the Chinese government is playing tricks on us. Lip-syncing is frowned upon in this country at live events. We put up with it, but we don't respect it. Since you live under an oppressive regime (and we know of oppressive regimes!) I'm not blaming you for what went down. I'm sure you have a lovely voice. Sing loud! Sing proud! I'm sure you'll always impress the crowd.

Best,
Owen

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Pure Torture... I mean, Imagination... Pure Imagination... yeah...

Back in the spring, Miguel and I came up with a game we would play on the subways and during walks around the city. It was an off-shoot of a game we play in the park called, simply, Superheroes and Bad Guys. In Superheroes and Bad Guys Miguel plays all the Superheroes and I play all the Bad Guys and we pretend to fight each other (everything has to be mimed, Miguel gets hollered at if he gets overzealous and tries to land some of his punches in my stomach). The script is mostly the same, he's the Transforming Good Guy who can turn into any other Good Guy and I'm the Transforming Bad Guy who can turn into any other bad guy. Usually we pretend to hurl different attacks at each other while attempting to climb to the top of the biggest slide available.

Miguel wanted to play Superheroes and Bad Guys when we were not at the park, but i couldn't take the swinging of his arms as he tried to hit me with "purple lightning" or a "thousand poison dagger attack!" when we had to weave in and out of pedestrians. I'm a fan of imaginative play, and needed to find a happy compromise. Eventually we came up with a role-playing game in which we only TALKED about what we were doing but we didn't actually act it out. It was our own sort of radio play. We called it Cops and Ninjas. The initial conceit of why we weren't physicalizing anything was that all the characters were talking to each other over walkie talkie. It was a cast that included Officer Cuffs, Major Fury, Commander Courage and Sam Rye as they led the armed forces in an effort to destroy the monstrous forces of Hiroshi Maru and Shredder, who were threatening to take over the world. As in Superheroes and Bad Guys, Miguel plays the good people and I voice the villains. We played this for weeks anytime we walked anywhere or were taking the subway. The forces of good would race around the world to destroy some monster, only to have a new one pop up some place else. Eventually Miguel decided this storyline was over and started us into the sequel Cops and Ninjas 2 As with most sequels, everything needed to be bigger and more frenzied and have more characters in crazier circumstances. I enjoyed his enthusiasm and the game was fine and I ran with it.

Fast forward five months, and I am pretty much going out of my mind. We are currently playing Cops and Ninjas NINE and there is NO indication Miguel is getting tired of playing this game. At this point the game has dozens if not hundreds of characters that span several UNIVERSES with different royal families that rule over different planets. Every time we play, Miguel insists we each create two more characters. We have such interesting characters as Gunosaurus Rex, Triceratiger, Millimantis, Centisaur, MilliSpider, The Shredds Family, Goldenbeam, Landquake, Starsmasher, Vortex, Infernape, Ground Stalker, Lilyfern, Spikehead, The Goblin Army, Sam-Rah, M-Slash, Cryptogram, Tiger-Hulk, Gravibear - the list goes on and on. Miguel remembers all of them and how they are all related. For instance today I referred to GoldenBeam as Landquake's girlfriend and Miguel corrected me that they were married and in fact Vortex was their son. We hadn't used these characters in the story in weeks, but he was right, that's where we had left them.

Now, the problem is not that I dislike the game, it's just that my imagination is MAXED OUT. I cannot keep making this crazy story up at this breakneck pace! It's really exhausting! There are times when I literally fall asleep mid-conversation with him on the subway because I can't keep up anymore. No matter what. Miguel is adamant we keep playing. I've taken to limiting the amount of time we can play in one afternoon. West of Broadway and south of 72nd street is a no-play zone (too much traffic). We don't play indoors (too loud and disruptive to others) we don't play on the subway if it's too crowded. To combat these restrictions Miguel "saves the game" as we walk into a building, usually by saying, "saving! saving!" as if his brain is a Nintendo DS (maybe it is). His new thing is also to give previews, saying "next time, on Cops and Ninjas Nine!" and then talking through different conversations he wants the characters to have once we play again. It's totally endearing but it just shows his obsession with Cops and Ninjas is only growing!

I don't know what to do with myself. For now I will continue to play along, hoping something better will pull his attention, Until then, I'm resigned to keep going. Cops and Ninjas 10! Cops and Ninjas 11! Pray for me. Can I really take much more of this? I need to imagine different things. I was away from Miguel for about a week and half due to vacation, and as soon as I saw him again, his second question to me (after a hug and an immediate request for food) was that we play Cops and Ninjas. There's just no letting up. I'm really gonna have to dig deeper and find new degrees of creativity and patience. Because the story continues to be continued...

Olympic Shout Out #4



i think this picture RULES. China's Chang Yongxiang is... not in control right now. He in the process of getting schooled by Georgia's Manuchar Kvirkelia during the final of the men's 74kg Greco-Roman wrestling competition. Kvirkelia won the event and I'm happy about it. China's got enough medals this Olympics anyway. Plus Georgia is having a very bad week. So I'm glad for Manuchar. Enjoy this moment!

Olympic Shout Out #3



Dear Bridget Sloan, Alicia Sacramone, Samantha Peszek, Chellsie Memmel, Nastia Liukin, and Shawn Johnson,

Listen Ladies, I'm not one of those people that thinks anything less that Gold is a disappointment. I'm sure it hurts to come up short. You train so hard, you can do these moves in your sleep, and then at the moment it counts, somehow you fall, or step passed the line, or you don't stick the dismount. It happens. It could happen to anybody. Try not to beat yourselves up and wonder "what if?" Think of all the things you contributed to get the team to this place. You did a great job and brought home a team medal for your country. Hold your heads up high!

Best,
Owen

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Olympic Shout Out #2



Great Job, Men's US Gymnastics Team! It was very fun to watch you guys compete this year. You all did very well and got a hard fought bronze medal even without those Hamm brothers. I appreciate your fierce determination and supreme confidence in the face of a sports media that was all too happy to write off your chances before the games even started. You showed 'em! The competition was tough, but you showed great poise in the high pressure moments. And now you've repp'ed your country well and added to the medal count. I salute you!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Farewell, Fanny Pak!

As the summer reality shows come to a close, new winners of random competitions are being crowned. Gladiators Season 2 has come and gone. Some guy and some woman won, but the real accomplishment was that Crush remained gloriously undefeated in all her events. Over on Fox, Joshua was named America's Favorite Dancer according to the viewers of So You Think You Can Dance, and it was an emotionally satisfying result. Next week will bring the somewhat strange conclusion of a show I guess i sort of enjoy, but ultimately think has become a puzzling enterprise.

I speak of Randy Jackson Presents: America's Best Dance Crew. It could easily be called So You Think Your Crew Can Dance? if that wasn't someone else's intellectually property. Hosted by the eternally super fit AC Slater, last season was really quite compelling. The problem with this season of this show is that 1) The voting public seems to fanatically support the most boring crews in the competition, and 2) the judges cannot seem to accept this and won't stay impartial. For realz, the people voting have got some weird preferences. One of the best crews is Super Cr3w, and the whole show seems geared toward having them win. The studio audience loves them, the judges rave about them, but people at home don't vote for them. They've been in the bottom 2 at least 3 times. The judges react by calling the voters fools and continually saving Super Cr3w from elimination.

There is something refreshing about this transparency but if they somehow win the competition, it will not be because they were well-supported throughout the competition but because the judges refused to drop them. A much quirkier and exciting group left this week; my belovedly strange Fanny Pak. They are total dance dorks. Great Dancers, very creative and athletic. But giant dorks. And it's awesome. In truth, the final should've been between Fanny Pak and Super Cr3w, but SoReal Cru got the most votes this past week and was safe, and then they proceeded to dance two of the most boring routines ever. The judges were not pleased. But ultimately, the judges refuse to ditch Super Cr3w, and Fanny Pak was sent home despite giving better performances this week. Sigh. So it goes. Here are two of Fanny Pak's best routines. Keep dancin', kids. This thing is RIGGED, but you made it so far!



Olympic Shout Out of The Day #1



The Olympics are something that I'm never really interested in while they are not going on. Out of sight. out of mind. Whenever they come around, I always roll my eyes at how much build up there is. It's over the top. But then i sit down and watch an event, and get totally wrapped up in it, because inevitably something amazing happens. So that time has come again, and I'm feeling the Olympic Spirit.

One of those amazing things was last night's final of the 4X100 Men's Freestyle Swimming Medley. Going in to it, France was heavily favored, and the US needed the win to keep Michael Phelps's dream of 8 gold medals in 1 Olympics alive. The French team was talking smack before the race, just to improve relations between our two countries. Then they got in the water. France had a good lead throughout well above the world record pace, but then in the last 50 meters the US men turned it on and then narrowly edged out the French to win the gold. Everyone went crazy, none more so than the US swimmers who just won gold. France was stunned into silence. It was awesome. I stood up and cheered. It was amazing.

So props to the US Men's Swimming team. You guys brought it and it was awesome. I must say though, that nothing I've seen at this or an Olympics makes me think that the Summer Games of 2012 in NYC would have been a good idea. The tourism would have been good for the city, but it would've been impossible to live here. Traffic can barely handle an event like The All-Star Game or a parade in the Canyon of Champions. Two weeks of gridlock would have driven everyone crazy. Unless you are travelling, I believe the Olympics is best viewed from a distance.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

This past week I took my first paid vacation ever. It was so nice to have a week off. Work had been very busy for a very long time, and it was very nice to get away and take a breather. For my first week off ever, I decided to take my first trip to California. My buddy Ryland who had moved out to LA in October was gracious enough to put me up at his place for a few nights. He has a very nice studio in Koreatown and I appreciate the use of his air mattress and his car and having his uncomprable company for a few days of sun and fun on the West Coast. A special shout out to American Airlines and JFK Airport for having my flights there and back both leaving on time and actually arriving at their destinations EARLY. Considering their recent track records for cancelling flights and loosing luggage, I consider myself very lucky.

So arriving in LA, I learned a few things off the bat. 1) The sun is very intense and the temp. is hot, but the air is not humid. I find the dry air preferrable to the swampy humidity of NYC. It's too sticky here. 2) It's very easy to see why they keep having these horrific forest fires. The whole country side, while beautiful with it's cliffs and shoreline beaches looks like kindling. All the grass is much browner than I thought it would be.

So my several days spent in LA were filled with trips up and down the PCH, stopping off for lunch by the ocean in Malibu, trips to Griffith Observatory and hikes through the hollywood hills, lunch at In-N-Out Burger, and swimming in the Pacific at Santa Monica Pier.







I also got to have dinner from fellow wes alumn and FB Mafia Star, Ariana, and I drove myself from Koreatown to West Hollywood without getting lost! Amazing. Ariana guided by Grauman's Chinese Theater on our way to seeing a movie at the Arclight. They have fancier movie theaters in LA, with assigned seating and such. We saw Stepbrothers which was funny, but I honestly can't remember most of it now, because there is almost no storyline. It was fun though! Thanks, Ariana!

On Tuesday I got to go to Disneyland. A dream come true! But that's a story for another day. I'm very glad that I got to go though. It was great fun.



I came back to NYC on Weds, finishing Twilight on the plane ride back East. That book is deliciously boncos and will also get it's own follow up post very soon.

Thursday, Lin and I filmed his latest Youtube project. It was an hilarious all-day shoot with many awesome actors giving us amazing performances. I can wait for us to pour over the raw footage this coming week. We were going to do one five minute piece, but we know we have enough footage for a mulit part series. It's gonna be great!

Friday I went to Great Adventure with BFF Amanda. Clearly, I like to spend my time off from work going on rides. :) We went last year as well, just the two of us, so there was no real reason to take many pictures, since they would basically be interchangable. The weather was great, the lines were short and we had an awesome time. We did not go on the new Dark Knight coaster because the wait was 90 minutes and I haven't been able to find a person anywhere who liked it. My favorite quote of the day was from one random park-goer who summed it up thusly: Dark Knight? Dark CRAP.





Saturday and Sunday I sat around watching the Olympics and got my apartment organized. Very fun and very restful. I am now recharged and ready to go. Time to go back to work! Bring it on!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

So You Think You Can Win?

Tonight is part one of the SYTYCD finale. Very exciting times. I will be on a plane back to NY as it airs and i will probably not get back in time for me to vote. The final four is very strong: Courtney, Twitch, Katee and Joshua. I am rooting for a Katee or Joshua win. Especially for the lovely Katee, who I have enlisted friends to vote for on my behalf. But Joshua is probably the most dynamic and versatile of the four, so a win for him would be well-deserved. They danced so many great dances this season. here are two from last week and their original dance in the top 20 to get you motivated and rock the vote tonight! Only one person can win the title of America's Favorite Dancer! Who will it be?