Bmax Comes Alive

I reckon that Bmax fellow swings by this corner now and then

Friday, June 23, 2006

World Cup Fieber!!!

So, if you're reading this, you've probably caught the bug, the football bug that is. Who am I kidding? You likely have no interest whatsoever in the global productivity meltdown known as the World Cup, especially now that the lackluster American squad made a hasty exit. Nevertheless, I'll give you my rundown. If nothing else it may give you some hot tips to call your bookie about.

Before today, my pick to go all the way was definitely the Argentinians. They're pretty explosive, but they'll have to get by the hometeam heroes to make it to the final. I said before today, because I also thought that Ghana would give Brazil some trouble at the beginning of the elimination round. Of couse, I also thought Brazil should start that whippersnapper Robinho instead of Ronaldo.

That was before Brazil decided to wake up. Its not that Ronaldo all of a sudden got skinny. Nope, he just started doing what he's always done, sit around at the top of the box and put balls into the back of the net instead of whiffing everytime the ball got near his foot.

That said, the dark horse candidate on my slate is Ecuador. This was a credible inside tip from a friend, but then I saw them get thrashed by Germany. However, they were apparently resting their best and brightest. Speaking of brightest, the Ecuadorians(?) have hands down the best uniforms of the tournament.

We'll just have to see how they do in elimination play versus England and their robotic striker.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Death Proximity Alarm

I nearly had a go at the pearly gates twice in as many days. The first experience was on the famed interstate 80. I was taking this illustrious thoroughfare the extreme distance of two exits down to Oakland. After merging onto the interstate, I decided to move one lane over. Being the expert driver that I am, I checked my mirrors AND my blindspot for surrounding cars. Nevertheless, as I began to make my move my friend in the passenger seat blurts out "Watch out!" midsentence and I swerve the wheel back. A sweet sportscar comes screaming by approximately 1-2 inches away and promptly slams on his brakes as he realizes that not everyone is going at 200+ mph. Of course, this realization doens't stop him from flipping me the bird when I roll by him a minute later. Yay for roadrage (or roidrage, he may have been heading to Balco for all I know)!

The second time I cheated death was on the East Fork of the Carson River. Alex, my research advisor, is an avid outdoorsman and invited everyone in our research group up to his place near South Lake Tahoe for a rafting trip. He had a raft and a couple of kayaks that a couple of experienced guys were going to use. Alex suggested that people who had never kayaked could take this class II river in an inflatable kayak. Well, Benji made the mistake of instead getting the Cobra Tandem, which (in keeping with its rockin' name) was a rockin' boat, in the sense of being extremely top heavy.

It was a bad sign when he and his wife flipped the boat less than five seconds into the adventure. A quarter of way down the river and many flips later, he and his wife were shivering and looking for someone to take over the Cobra. Kenny and I gave it our best, but after flipping at least 5 times we ditched the boat and sprinted shivering into the 100+ degree hotsprings ate the lunch take out. After lunch Benji and Mike (the most top heavy member of our expedition) valiantly attempted to tame the beast, but didn't even make it five minutes down the river. I took over for Mike and it appeared that Benji and I had the Cobra charmed.

Until we got sucked into a whirlpool! Yeah, they're real. Before this weekend I thought they fell into the legendary category with quicksand and the Big Foot (who Benji claims to have seen in Oregon?!?). As Benji and I tried to take a sharp corner, the current pushed us behind a rock and then the whirlpool caught us and flipped our boat. Having become very adept at quickly righting the boat we jumped back on and steadied ourselves. Thinking we could avoid the pull we sprinted as fast as we could away from the swirling waters only to to be flipped and sucked back in. I threw myself away from the boat and thankfully the whirlpool spun me around but gently deposited me up against the rocks. I clambered out and tried to get around to Benji, but the rock was too steep. Luckily some other boaters in some very manuveurable pontoon boats came along and gave Benji and I rides down to our capsized craft.

After that adventure we didn't flip the raft again, oh yeah, except right as we were parking it to get out, we flipped the Cobra once more for good measure. Take that!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Pure Energy

I recently passed an important milestone in my life. I'm not sure of its meaning in the cosmos or if its even a universal milestone. Of course, I'm talking about that moment when I added the dance music station to one of the coveted six buttons on my car stereo. Energy 92.7 is firmly in place between the indie kid's station and classic rock.

This happened one day as I was cruising the dials. I came across a bodacious mash-up of queen and the beatles. I figured that whatever this station was it needed to be on my dial. When the break came and it was revealed as the dance station, I was faced with a conundrum, am I the kind of person that listens to dance music? Well, it ended up staying on my dial, and exclusively so.

It's got fewer commercials, you know what you are getting and its been playing Xtina'a new single "Ain't No Other Man." Makes you remember that a couple of those mouseketeers had talent.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Disappointing Moments in Pop Culture History

No talk of Timberlake-induced wardrobe malfunctions or the seven week actors strike that stopped you from finding out who shot JR. Nope, just ordinary pop culturabilia that came out recently and got three thumbs down; one from me, one from Roeper and one from Siskel (Thats right Ebert, you're on the list!)

Paul Simon
The big suprise about this release is how much... I can't bear to finish that, but seriously this album is a stinker. I thought, Paul Simon produced by Brian Eno sounds like a good idea, right? Nope, it sounds like schlocky Graceland b-sides. Wait, that makes sense, Paul Simon hasn't done anything good in twenty years. For a much better collaboration of Eno and an aging rocker, check out Fripp & Eno's Equatorial Stars, but only if you like the ambient side of the moon.

The Secret Machines
Ten Silver Drops
The Secret Machines last album, Now Here is Nowhere, had super heavy drums, monster synths and in general brought some serious rock. With this album, they went much more poppy, and not the good kind of poppy. They kept their indulgent song structure (only one less than 5 minutes), but scaled back all the good parts of their over indulgence. A much better choice for pure rockage is Wolfmother's debut. Seriously, check out that cover art and how can you go wrong with lyrics like, "We've been drinking on the wine, That we drank from the serpents vine, Now we live in another time."

X3:The Last Stand
Plot synopsis: Wolverine cries, a main character is killed off screen, the titular character is vaporized, Wolverine cries somemore, Kitty Pryde tempts Iceman with some Hard Candy, some more main characters make cameos, no one touches a black man's radio, pan out on Wolverine crying. One final question the movie left me with though, remind me again just how exactly Halle Berry won an oscar for Best Actress? Following the rule of threes, I should have known that this was going to be a poor movie. But bucking that trend, Die Hard 3 was pretty awesome. Then again it had Samuel L. in it. Speaking of Sammy, he has the cure for any pop culture disappointment coming out at the end of the summer.