Thursday, January 29, 2009

DIY Shelves

A couple of weeks ago, with the assistance of my mother, I built a wall of shelves in my apartment. It was really simple and fairly inexpensive. I bought 3 Frosta stools from Ikea, 4 8 foot pieces of 1 x 8 from Home Depot (which Home Depot was kind enough to chop to 7 feet), and a box of wood screws. Here is a photo of the finished product:

As you can see, the design is pretty simple yet quite efficient. The shelves instantly made my room feel more spacious and more welcoming.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Peter Gabriel, Hot Chip, & Vampire Weekend

If you haven't heard the Peter Gabriel & Hot Chip cover of the Vampire Weekend song in which Peter Gabriel is name checked - Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa -  then check it out here. It is a great cover even if it conjures images of Mike Jones when Peter Gabriel name checks himself.

Monday, January 26, 2009

(500) Days of Summer

First of all, let me preface what I am about to say by stating that I did not go to the Sundance Film Festival. With that being said, I also realize that (500) Days of Summer did not win any "awards" and that Push: Based on the Novel by Sapphire was the proverbial belle of the ball. Regardless, (500) Days of Summer is still the film I am the most excited about coming out of the festival. 

Why do I feel such excitement you may ask? Could it be due to the excellent reviews and presence of indie superstar Joseph Gordon-Levitt? Maybe. But in all honesty, it is mostly due to my infatuation with the effervescent Zooey Deschanel. I was smitten the moment I saw her in the opening scene of All the Real Girls and the rest was history as they say. I could continue to rave about her other film  appearances or her album with M Ward. I could even go on about her perfect little smile or her appearance on the cover of Nylon. But I won't. I will just let the trailer for (500) Days of Summer speak for itself:

PS I know the voice over dude's voice is kind of creepy. Try to disregard it an imagine how much better the trailer would play with just the great song they chose (Sweet Disposition by The Temper Trap) and the narration trimmed down and done in print.

PSS I like the Curtis Vodka Remix of Sweet Disposition.

PSSS I just watched the trailer again and the essence of my Zooey Deschanel infatuation is captured perfectly at the 29th second of the trailer.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Launch Pad

I saw this ridiculous dunk (it was an and one as well) while eating a bowl of cereal and watching Sportscenter this morning. By now, I am sure it is all over the interwebs but that doesn't diminish the wow factor in the least. In fact, I am more impressed each time I watch it. The dude took off from loooong distance and used the defenders chest, HIS CHEST, as a spring board. Legen-wait for it-dary. The maraschino cherry on top is the teammate running down the court giving high fives to the fans. 

Hopefully I can pull off a similar dunk in tonight's pick-up game. I think the odds are in my favor because I just picked up a new pair of the Zoom Kobe IV. They are so light that I can't help but experience an increase in my vertical jumping ability of at least 35 inches. That last sentence was code for if you don't like some dude's junk in your face than you better stay off the court tonight because I will be dunking on everybody. But not really.


Tonight's two hour premiere of my favorite show of all time sounds like it is going to be intense. Needless to say, I will be glued to my TV for the full two hours. I am so excited that I am having trouble focusing on anything today. I wonder if this is how people feel the day of their wedding?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Keanu Bebop

I just read that Keanu Reeves has been attached to the role of Spike in Fox's live-action adaptation of Cowboy Bebop. I'm not quite sure how I feel about that.

In other news, Fox and Warners came to a settlement regarding Watchmen. It looks like Fox gets a cash payment from Warners to cover their initial development costs of the project as well as legal fees associated with the lawsuit. In addition, Fox gets gross participation of 5-8.5% depending on worldwide revenues. Finally, Fox will also be eligible for gross participation on sequels and spin-offs. Well played Fox. Well played. I imagine Warners will now look to recoup some of this from Larry Gordon so I will continue to watching the saga unfold.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Kobe vs Lebron

Kobe vs Lebron. Who is the best? This has been a common point of contention among NBA fans over the last couple of years. In past years I have always been firmly in the Kobe camp. This year, the debate has become much more blurry for me as evidenced by the box scores below from the games last Friday.

Kobe Bryant, SG4210-201-415-17167131053+736

LeBron James, SF3613-253-79-916764332+2038

My evening began with watching Lebron completely dismantle the Celtics and I must admit that I thouroughly enjoyed the accompanying schadenfreude of the spectacle. While Lebron's complete body of work from the evening was left me feeling equal parts giddy and awestruck, there were two plays that stood out from the evening as it relates to the topic at hand. Both from the 4th quarter.

If I recall correctly, the Celtics had chipped a little off the lead and had drawn to within 5 or 6 points. Cleveland went on a mini-run of about 4. Regained the momentum and the crowd was really loud. The Cavs  steal the ball and get out on the break. Lebron spots up for three in transition, catches the pass, the crowd goes silent with anticipation, and clang goes the potential dagger. The first thought that comes to my mind is that Kobe buries that three and ices the game right then and there. No questions asked.

The second play that stood out to me was a sign of the maturation and self-awareness that Lebron has experienced of late. Boston was embarrassing themselves by intentionally fouling Ben Wallace every time down the court with the hopes of somehow climbing back in to the game due to Wallace's woeful free throw shooting. I think it was the third time down the floor after Boston had started the strategy when Lebron, with a complete sneer of disdain on his face, tried to time his shot with the impending foul. Lebron had just crossed half court, Boston fouled Wallace, and Lebron launched his shot which banked off the glass and went in the hoop. Sadly, the officials were not paying attention and did not count the basket. Regardless, this was the perfect example of how Lebron has matured and become much more aware on the court. A true sign of greatness.

After watching Lebron destroy the Celtics, I capped off my evening with the absolute clinic that Kobe put on against the Pacers. He was in absolute control of every aspect of the game. His control was on perfect display with 25 seconds left. The Pacers had just hit a long 3 to tie the game. Kobe walks the ball up the court, burns some time, backs his man down, and drills the turn-around jumper from about the free throw line. Game over and it was never in doubt. That is just what Kobe does. He is so technically sound that he is unguardable. He is so smart and understands the agnles and the nuances of the game so well that he is unguardable. Kobe is operating at the absolute peak of his talents. The one "flaw" in his game that I see is that he is not quite as explosive as he was in his younger days. I don't really see him throwing down a nasty dunk with his junk in Steve Nash's face anymore.  He just doesn't seem to have as much spring anymore. Maybe he is just older and wiser now and doesn't unleash the nastiness unless he absolutely needs to.

So I spent the weekend thinking about this Kobe vs Lebron and who is better debate. The comparison between the two is very difficult because their games and styles are so different. Lebron is an absolute force of nature who is unstoppable because of his raw strength and speed as well as his freakish agility who does the bulk of his damage around the basket. Kobe is unstoppable because of his unmatched technical proficiency and knowledge of the game. Kobe has a much, much better jump shot yet Lebron is like a runaway train on his way to the basket. Kobe as of right now has a much, much more exapansive knowledge and understanding of the game yet Lebron has physical attributes that have never been seen on the court before. He is built like Karl Malone and moves like Michael Jordan. Scary. So who is better? Both? Neither? 

Kobe is operating at his absolute peak while Lebron appears to have just begun to scratch the surface of his potential. Does Lebron's "potential" make him better than Kobe? Depends on how you define better. I guess what I am trying to get at is that after a weekend of thought, I have decided that I don't want to make a definitive statement as to who is better. I want to simply appreciate both for what they bring to the game. I want to be awestruck by the brute force and raw energy of Lebron barreling down the lane ready to rip off another earth shattering dunk. I want to watch Kobe cooly drain morale snapping 3 pointers with his perfect feel for the tipping point in a game. I want to jump out of my seat and yelp when Lebron tracks down a break and swoops in to block a lay-up. I want to appreciate Kobe abuse defenders with his footwork as he gets to any point on the courth he desires.

Really I just want to stop the forced comparisons of the two and simply appreciate them for who they are and the differences in their styles. I am tired of sucking the joy out of the game with the question of who is better. I am just going to sit back and continue to be fascinated by them both.

This post didn't come off as coherently as I would have hoped. I just started writing without any planning as to where I would go. My bad. One last thing I wanted to throw in that more succinctly sums up the whole point I wanted to make is an idea from Mercurialblonde, an anonymous poster on a blog I frequent:

Kobe is Batman. The sociopath from priviledge. Lebron is Captain America. The genetic freak who intuitively makes all the right moves. Lebron's Captain America is only fully appreciated when in his presence. Kobe's Batman haunts opponents when he is not in the room. Both get the job done.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Max Wanger Photography

I stumbled upon a website for a great photographer in LA today. His name is Max Wanger and he takes really great photos. I loved the  Joanna + Alex set of photos taken at The Getty.

In other news, I thought that 30 Rock last night was finally bringing the heat again. Liz wasn't painfully condescending and annoying. Jack was really on point. I got just the right amount of Tracy. Perfect dose of Kenneth. And Salma Hayek. Salma Hayek was perfect. She added to the show without being a spectacle. She also did not jolt me out of the story. She fit right in and I look forward to a recurring role. My only wish is for the writing room to not completely disappear. I miss Toofer and Frank. And where did Pete and Josh go? Did they die?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Tiger Style

A couple of weeks ago my cable provider finally upped its HD offering in order to be more competitive with DirecTV and Dish Network. One of the channels they added was Golf Channel and I must admit, I am quite addicted. I couldn't stop watching Big Break: Ka'anapali. I loved how much the contestants on Big Break: Michigan bothered me. I love the Tiger Woods infatuation of the channel. It seems like every other program is somehow Tiger related and really, I am not complaining. Because of the Tiger-centric programming I was able to enjoy a little walk down memory lane at 88 miles per hour. The program I was watching was counting down the 10 best shots of Tiger's career on and around the green. The number one shot and what might quite possibly be the greatest golf shot of all time was his iconic chip on the 16th hole at the 2005 Masters.

Let me set the stage a little. Tiger's father had recently passed away and some would argue that the emotional strain from this event was evident in his game. Tiger had been erratic the entire tournament yet somehow held a 1 stroke lead over the hard charging Chris DiMarco going into the par 3 16th hole in the final round. Tiger's tee shot sailed long while DiMarco was safely on the green, 15 feet from the hole. The intensity and drama of the moment was literally palpable. I remember sitting in my apartment that Sunday morning watching the HD broadcast in all its glory and thinking that Tiger was going to completely fall apart and being a little disappointed. I have always been a Tiger fan. And then this happened:

I remember rising out of my chair as the chip began to break. I remember holding my breath as the ball trickled ever closer to the hole. I remember time seeming to freeze as the ball was suspended over the lip of the hole. And I remember jumping in the air and yelping like a little girl when the ball dropped into the cup. Remember that Michael Jordan ad from many years ago where everything is in slow motion as people watch in awe as he spins through he lane? Yeah, it was kind of like that. If I wouldn't have seen it with my own eyes I would never have believed it. The lie of the ball. The break of the green. The pressure of being on the verge of collapse. The emotional drain of losing his father. Truly amazing. Truly Tiger. That sounds pretty lame, I know. I just am at a loss for words. I don't know how to capture the emotion of that moment and the way it was transported to me via a TV screen. A TV screen. I can only imagine what it would have been like in person.