Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Mall madness

Colonie Center is seeking approval for $55 million renovation plan. Among the new restaurants and stores expected to come to mall is an L.L. Bean store. I just called Kris and broke the news to her. Here is her response:
"(GASP!) Really?!? We're gonna go broke!"

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Winter wonderland

The boys enjoyed playing out the backyard this afternoon in something we haven’t seen too much of this winter—snow!

After romping around in the snow for awhile they eventually started climbing into the kiddie pool that’s stored away in the back corner of the yard. Thomas kept asking me to put water in it. I tried to explain that there was water, but I don’t think he was counting the snow.

The snow wasn’t all fun and games. We had a little fender bender while we were out and about today. An idiot woman stepped out into the road right in front of us. I hit the brakes and wound up sliding into a gaurdrail. No one was hurt, but the car is a little banged up.

I can’t wait for summer.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Back in black

This was all over the Internet today. So if you’re a geek like me, then you’ve already seen this. But I’m posting it anyway.

This is the first official teaser poster for “Spider-Man 3.” The official movie site stresses that this is not a black and white photo, but rather it shows Tobey Maguire wearing a black Spidey costume.

This of course further fueled the rumors that Topher Grace will be playing Venom in the movie.

Comic book nerds are all excited about this. Personally, as much as I loved Venom when he first appeared in 1988 I’m really not sure he’s a good fit for this film series or that Topher Grace would be the right actor for the part.

I’m also not wild about this teaser poster. If you have to actually explain that it’s not a black and white image, then exactly how effective is it?

Also, I always thought Spidey’s black costume in the comics was kind of cool and I’m disappointed that they’re not sticking to that design.

Still, the first two movies were so good that I’m willing to give Sam Raimi the benefit of the doubt. Surely, he must know what he’s doing, right?

Thursday, February 23, 2006

'The constant variety of sport'

Enjoying the Winter Olympics has really made me miss this bit of TV nostalgia.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Quote of the week

"I read somewhere that you said in addition to testing yourself against the best, winning a gold medal and competing in the Olympics would help you get so many babes, which is pretty much what Baron Pierre de Coubertin had in mind when he founded the Olympic Games."
- BOB COSTAS to U.S. Snowboarding gold medalist Shaun White.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Bryant Gumbel: Gold medal jerk

I might be a little late to the party with this one, but for those who haven’t heard about it yet, I wanted to chime in on Bryant Gumbel’s remarks about the Winter Olympics.

Bryant’s not a fan of the Winter Games and he stated his reasons on the Feb. 7 edition of his HBO show “Real Sports.” You can find links to watch or listen to the commentary here or read the full transcript here. In the middle of his rant came this sentence:

“So try not to laugh when someone says these are the world’s greatest athletes, despite a paucity of blacks that makes the Winter Games look like a GOP convention.”
Wow. That’s a pretty bold and prejudiced statement. Granted, there are not a lot black athletes in the Winter Olympics. But what would happen if a white commentator said the NBA looks like an NAACP conference? He’d be crucified, that’s what would happen!

We should note, Mr. Gumbel, that American speedskater Shani Davis became the first black athlete to win gold in an individual event in yesterday’s 1000m race. Meanwhile, 2002 gold medalist Vonetta Flowers is going for another medal in the bobsled starting today.

But that doesn’t count for much because, by Bryant’s standards, they aren’t real athletes. Gumbel—who probably doesn’t care about any sport that doesn’t involve a ball—continued to take a shot at the validity of the competitors and their sports:

“Try not to point out that something’s not really a sport if a pseudo-athlete waits in what’s called a kiss-and-cry area, while some panel of subjective judges decides who won. And try to blot out all logic when announcers and sportswriters pretend to care about the luge, the skeleton, the biathlon and all those other events they don’t understand and totally ignore for all but three weeks every four years. Face it — these Olympics are little more than a marketing plan to fill space and sell time during the dreary days of February. So if only to hasten the arrival of the day they’re done, when we can move on to March Madness — for God’s sake, let the games begin.”
I’m not a fan of, say, ice dancing. But I recognize the skill and athletic ability involved. I’d like to see Bryant Gumbel strap on a pair of skates and see if he fairs any better than the athletes who took nasty spills yesterday.

I have three figure skating nieces, two cousins who used to speedskate, a close buddy who's a "retired" curler and a co-worker who is also a competitive downhill skier. I wouldn't call any of them "pseudo-athletes" (well, except maybe Aaron ;-) ).

Just because a sport doesn’t interest you is no reason to knock these athletes who have worked so hard to get where they are. I have more admiration for a lot of them than for most of the multi-millionaire pros—and certainly more than I do for Bryant Gumbel.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Hooray for kindergarten

Nolan reached another scholastic milestone on Friday when he brought home his first report card. He got pretty good marks, so we went out to dinner to celebrate.

Friday was also his 100th day of kindergarten. They had a “100 Day Party” to celebrate. All of the kids in class had to make a poster with 100 things on it. Nolan drew a picture of a fruit basket and glued 100 pieces of Freaky Fruits cereal to it.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Curling crazy

I’m enjoying watching the Olympic curling that’s on live this morning.  I thought about calling Aaron to see if he’s watching, since odds are someone is awake over there.  But then there is also the chance that this is one of the three hours of the day that they’re sleeping, so I don’t want to bother the Hulls!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Olympic oops

I don’t whether to feel bad for Stratton, Vt. native Lindsay Jacobellis or say “serves her right!”

In case you don’t want the details of today’s women’s snowboard cross event I’ve placed the rest of this post in inviso text (highlight to read)…

Lindsay was waaay out in front, cruising to a gold medal when she tired to grab her board on the second to last jump and wound up wiping out. She got back to her feet, but not before Tanja Frieden of Switzerland—who otherwise had no chance of winning the gold—cruised past her for the win. Jacobellis got the silver.

She claims she was not trying to show off, but others insist it was an unnecessary attempt at a hot dog maneuver that cost her.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Walk Like an Egyptian

Ok, "Lost" fans. What do you make of this?

The buzz seems to be that those are Egyptian hieroglyphics meaning "cause to die" or something to that effect.

And how about that soldier-dad from Sayid's flashback? The picture of his daughter looked an awful lot like Kate. Was that her father (who we've seen as an Army recruiter)?

Then there's this site, which, according to the terms and conditions is owned by Disney and therefore we can assume is officially connected to the show. Click on one of the "interface" links and see what you get. Play around a little and you may just learn the meaning of the fabled "Lost" numbers.

The plot thickens...

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

'What Would Brian Boitano Do?'

Tickled by life, Boitano even enjoys 'South Park' ribbing
Brian Boitano enjoys the cult hero status awarded to him by "South Park."

The former Olympic figure skater turned NBC commentator says he's been approached by kids who have no idea what he did in the Olympics, but think he's cool because he was featured on "South Park."

It seems Boitano may be one of the few celebrities pleased with his dipiction on "South Park" (remember Tom Cruise?). After appearing the original short that started the series, he was featured as the subject of one of the best songs in the movie "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut."

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Time shift turmoil

I know a lot of people like to keep themselves in the dark when it comes to Olympic results so they can watch the events in prime time.

But it bugs me when broadcasters try to pretend the events aren’t taped. Specifically, I don’t like when teases for coverage are worded as though something hasn’t happened yet.

For example, MSNBC’s Tucker Carlson just mentioned that “Tonight Courtney Zablocki will try to end the German women’s reign as luge champions” (I’m paraphrasing). Except she won’t be doing that tonight! The event is already over and she didn’t win a medal! I knew that this morning.

Likewise, at noon ET on Friday I head an anchorperson say, “The opening ceremonies are just eight hours away,” when they were more likely one or two hours away.

I understand not wanting to give things away, but acknowledge they’ve already happened.

Maybe I’m just being nitpicky.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Net term goes mainstream

I just saw MSNBC using a big graphics that said “SPOILER ALERT” before giving out results to Olympic events that might be included in NBC’s taped broadcast tonight.

I’ve seen the term “spoiler” tossed around in other places discussing coverage of the Torino Games.

It’s sort of interesting to see what was once an “Internet geek” term become mainstream. The word has been around for about as long as the Internet as a way to warn people when details about a movie or TV show were spilled online. You see it everyday on sites like Ain’t It Cool News.

Deadeye Dick Cheney Gun Club

The folks at CafePress.com waste no time coming up with new T-shirt designs...

Spotted on Lost Remote.

May the Force build with you

Ever since Nolan got his GameCube I think it’s a safe bet his favorite game has been “LEGO Star Wars,” which lets you replay the action from the prequels—except all of the characters, vehicles and environments appear to be made out of LEGOs. He loves the game and I have to admit, I get a pretty big charge out of playing it too.

Now comes good news: LucasArts announced at the American International Toy Fair 2006 that they’re developing “LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy.”

They’re adding a bunch of cool new features that make it sound like this game will be a must have. But it’s not scheduled to come out until 2007. Can’t wait!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Calvin & the Snowmen, part 10

Flashback

I guess this is my week for culture at the theater. After seeing “Phantom” Tuesday today I went to see “8-Track: The Sounds of the 70s” at the Capital Repertory Theater.

Ray and Marlene were supposed to go, but unfortunately Marlene was under the weather—so I go the invite (thanks, Ray).

The show was comprised of four people (two men, two women) dressed in 70s costumes and performing songs from the decade. They packed in a ton of songs. Name a 70s song, it was probably in the show. OR as they say on the Cap Rep site:
From Barry Manilow to Barry White, Marvin Gaye to Melissa Manchester, "Desperado" to "Afternoon Delight," from "Taking It To The Streets," to "One Toke over the Line," and from "Carwash" to "Convoy."

They threw together some interesting medleys that sound odd, but when you see them sung/acted out it makes sense—like “Convoy” and “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover.” Or how about the Creature Cantina music from “Star Wars” with a bit of “Bohemian Rhapsody” tossed in.

Songs like “Brick House” brought down the house and, of course, the big disco finale.

It was a fun way to spend an afternoon. Now I’m looking forward to “Walkman: the Sounds of the 80s.”

Friday, February 10, 2006

Tedious in Torino

Is it just me or were these perhaps the lamest Olympic opening ceremonies we’ve seen in a long time?

The performance pieces didn’t grab me (gratnted I did miss a big chunk near the beginning—maybe that's when all the good stuff was).

Why did all of the nations march in to American pop music from the 70s and 80s?

What the hell was Susan Sarandon doing carrying the Olympic flag?

That Yoko Ono poem was just awful—isn’t time for her to go away? Peter Gabriel didn’t do much for me either. Is it just me or is “Imagine” a bit overrated (there, I said it—don’t hate me).

Even the lighting of the cauldron paled in comparison to some of the ones in recent memory.

It all made for pretty ho-hum viewing.

One highlight: the addition of Brian Williams in the broadcast booth with Bob Costas. I'll take him over Katie Couric any day. Brian brings some gravitas to the table. Katie's commentary always makes it feel too much like the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade.

The sportscaster and the rabbit

Did you see all of the things NBC Universal was willing give ABC (Disney) in exchange for Al Michaels, who will now do play-by-play on NBC’s Sunday Night Football? Here’s the laundry list (taken from today's edition of “Cynopsis”):

Paired again with John Madden in the NBC booth, Michaels was in effect traded to NBC, and in return for letting him out of the final 8 years on his current ABC contract, NBC came up with a shopping cart of stuff to give ABC. In that shopping cart are the rights for ABC to rebroadcast the Friday coverage of NBC's Ryder Cup coverage for four consecutive championship matchups, broadcast highlights from the upcoming Olympic Winter Games thru the 2012 Summer games, air highlights from a variety of other NBC Sports events including the Kentucky Derby and Notre Dame football games, and finally Disney will get back Oswald, a 1927 cartoon series of 26 episodes created by Walt Disney, to which Universal had the distribution and licensing rights.

Note the last item. “Oswald the Lucky Rabbit” was a character Walt Disney and his animators were contracted to create for Universal Studios. After a falling out, Disney broke off to create his own studio and a new character who looked suspiciously like Oswald, only with round ears.

But Universal retained the rights to Oswald and created more shorts without Disney throughout the 1930s.

The Al Michaels deal gives Disney back the original 26 shorts Walt Disney created. Universal keeps the non-Disney episodes.

Oswald is also credited with being a forerunner of another famous animated character. So in a sense, Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny started as split personalities of one character!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Phenomenal 'Phantom'

At last! After nearly 20 years I’ve finally seen “The Phantom of the Opera.” Kris and I attended the performance tonight at Proctor’s Theatre.

The show was fantastic (or should that be “phantastic?”). The music was great and the performers were awesome. Not to mention, the show is a technical marvel (except for poor Raoul, whose mic was clipped as he was delivering his first lines—the only flaw I could notice in the night).

If you’ve never seen this show before then you should really get yourself down to Proctor’s while you have the chance. You won’t be disappointed.

I’ve been dying to see this show since I was in high school. I fell in love with the music first when we sang it in the high school choir.

I also went with some friends to see a show at Proctor’s called “The Phantom Strikes Again and Again.” Allen Mills performed some of the music on the theater’s famous Wurlitzer organ, “Goldie,” and the then they played the 1925 silent movie version with live organ music. All along a guy in a Phantom costume could be spotted lurking about different parts of the theater.

Even though I never got to see the show, I felt like I knew it well. For various occasions my parents got me as gifts the Broadway soundtrack, the book “The Complete Phantom of the Opera” and the original novel by Gaston Leroux.

I even dressed up as the Phantom for Halloween one year (a pretty good costume if I do say so myself).

Now that I’ve finally seen it I can say that it was well worth the wait—every bit as good as I imagined.

Kris loved it too. She didn’t know that much about the story going into it. She said she could see why I liked it because it was a little “comic booky.” I never thought of it that way, but she may be on to something.

The question remains: which do I prefer, the musical or the classic Lon Chaney movie? Hmm…that’s a tough one. I think the musical gets the edge, but I’ll always have a soft spot for that great silent movie. Chaney is probably the definitive Phantom. It pops on TCM now and then. In fact they have an airing scheduled for March 26—fire up the VCR (or TiVo for those in the 21st century).

Misjudgment

Who says it takes brains to be a judge?

Judge apologizes for Super Bowl cheer
TACOMA, Wash.


The judge who led her courtroom in a Super Bowl cheer before a manslaughter sentencing hearing has apologized.

Judge Beverly Grant had said she was trying to ease tensions Friday when she asked everyone in a Tacoma, Washington courtroom to say "Go Seahawks."

But Grant has drawn heavy criticism, and now says she never meant to hurt anyone's feelings. She's apologized to the victim's family, prosecutors and others in the court.

The case involved a man who was shot in a fight outside a tavern, and Super Bowl Sunday marked the one-year anniversary of his death. The defendant was re-sentenced Friday to more than 13 years in prison.

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Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Don't be a drip!

The NFL season may be over, but it's always a good time to enjoy... Terry Tate: Office Linebacker!



Thanks, Alex.

Game time

Not to keep harping on a point I've made here before, but...

I really enjoyed watching a chunk of the first half of the Super Bowl last night with Nolan and Thomas. Nolan was interested. He was asking questions about what was going on and I was explaining the game to him.

With a 6:25 p.m. start time it made it very easy for us to have dinner, clean up in the kitchen and then settle in on the couch in time for the kickoff. We still had a good hour before bedtime (the kids didn't spend that whole hour watching the game—it didn't hold their attention that well).

I'd love to share a World Series game with the boys like that. But thanks to the geniuses at Major League Baseball and Fox you're lucky if the first pitch is thrown before 8:30 p.m.

Why can't MLB get with the program? Couldn't they at least start the weekend World Series games around the same time as the Super Bowl?

A timeless love story

I just spotted this on Lost Remote. Check out the trailer for what is sure to be next year's Oscar darling, "Brokeback to the Future."

It was an experiment in time. The only variable they forgot was love.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

15 years together

I didn’t get a chance to mention yesterday, Feb. 4 is the anniversary of when Kris and I started dating.  We’ve been married for 10 years, but we’ve now been a couple for 15!

We celebrated by ordering a feast of Chinese takeout.  It doesn’t get any fancier than that!

Friday, February 03, 2006

Baby news

A big conogratulations go out to my good buddy Aaron Hull and his wife Chris on the birth of their daughter. Charlotte Sandra Hull entered the world at 6:02 p.m. Thursday. Way to go guys!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Thanks for the memories

I'm stealing this from Joe Video's blog, who in turn stole it from someone else's...

Assignment from your English teacher:

If you read this, if your eyes are passing over this right now, (even if we don't speak often or don't really know each other) please post a comment with a COMPLETELY MADE UP AND FICTIONAL memory of you and me. It can be anything you want - good or bad - BUT IT HAS TO BE FAKE. When you're finished, post this little paragraph on your blog and be surprised (or mortified) about what people DON'T ACTUALLY remember about you!