Some… uh, Stuff

Briefly I have a few things to touch upon.

Tee to the Vee

I’ve caught a few of the new shows for this season and so far the best is (by far) Heroes. I admit that Ali Larter’s Niki Sanders character is either really lame or she’s just a terrible actress (maybe both); Adrian Pasdar plays the same exact character he always does (good guy/bad guy… who can tell?) and the cliff hanger commercial breaks were rarely ever thrilling. But still, this is a show that has something a lot of shows never have: Promise. Consider another show I caught the premiere for: Smith. A show about the other side of the law. I’m thinking Goodfellas. I’m thinking Heat. I’m thinking high-tech Sopranos. But instead it’s more like Desperate Housethieves than anything cool. Too many personal stories. Why does he have to have a respectable alter-ego? I don’t understand why someone would go through the hassle of trying to maintain a dual identity (complete with respecable sales job) if they were either that good at being a burglar or if doing their theiving would compromise their family. I mean, either you can support yourself without breaking the law or you can’t, right? It doesn’t make sense that someone would even try to do both.

At least on the Sopranos they made that part of the story.

I also caught the Shark series premiere which I enjoyed quite a bit despite it being only a shade more intriguing than would be if Sam Watterson were given the whole show (Law & Order), primarily because James Woods is fun to watch pretty much no matter what he’s doing. Although, I got the impression from the premiere that Woods was going out of his way to be all Emmy worthy. Like he was trying too hard or something. Still interesting but it did break the spell a few times.

I also caught the premiere of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip which was basically not very funny and not very dramatic and therefore not very good. It seems very much like a show that the writers really wanted to do, but it turns out that watching the creative process behind the shows we watch each week? Not very interesting after all.

The only thing I’m still waiting for is The Nine and I missed the first episode of Kidnapped (but it looks like they’re re-airing it on Saturday). Other than that the few shows I’m holding onto from last year is all I’m anticipating so I have a feeling that since they usually cancel the shows I like, I’ll probably have nothing to watch in a few months.

Sporting Bads

  • The 49ers are a better team than last year, but they still managed to showcase their patented “Sieve Defense” on Sunday versus the Eagles. Here’s something I was wondering for some of you older-school Niners fans: I recall Joe Montana only as being the dominant, clutch-thriving QB that earned him a bunch of championships in the eighties. But it occurs to me that he must have had some sort of career prior to that time. Was he always good? Did he dominate in college? Was he a solid NFL QB right out of the draft? What I’m (probably obviously) driving at is, can we even hope that Alex Smith was the right guy to draft or is his so-so performance thus far indicative of a long term trend of not living up to his hype?
  • I guess the Giants are officially out of the playoff race this year. Big surprise when your starting rotation starts serving up whiffle balls on the most pivotal road trip of the whole year. So now people are starting to talk about next year. I guess nearly the whole team is up for contract renegotiation. I don’t know if you remember but back a couple years ago when the Giants choked in the World Series an East Coast radio personality and lifelong Giants fan had a screaming rant after they bowed to the Angels about how difficult it was to be a Giants fan.

    I’ve talked about this before because while the Indians and the Cubs have longer streaks without championships, it has to be easier for fans of those clubs because they have had a lot more crummy teams that can’t win the World Series (like, big surprise). The Giants reserve a special brand of torture for their fans by actually fielding good teams… who can’t win the World Series. Anyway, the guy from the East Coast (Chris Russo) got on the horn this morning with one of the local SF sports talk stations and had some pretty spot-on opinions.

    Basically he thinks that the management of the Giants has made a bunch of bonehead moves in the last few years and I agree. I mean, let’s compare the two Bay Area teams. On one hand we have the revolving door of the Oakland A’s where each year is a new crop of random youngsters and league no-names. But they’re built to be a team and somehow they keep having legitimate chances at winning stuff. Oh, and they do it with no money but having a rich farm system and focusing on things like winning games versus breaking pointless records and having recognizeable names. The Giants have a decent payroll which they squander on has-beens. San Francisco has become like the pre-retirement community for the Major Leagues. I don’t want to go to the park and watch a bunch of washed up geriatrics struggle to make basic plays, I’d rather watch a bunch of kids who have something to prove run their butts off and make stupid mistakes. For every A’s game I watch where I see some rookie get caught in a stupid rundown or something because he tried to stretch a long double into a weak triple I see two games where Bonds can’t score from second on a stinking double or Morris forgets his bifocals and walks six batters in a row. Forget these old codgers. Let’s set up a farm system, let’s get a real game plan that is more in depth than “let’s get people on base and then bring Bonds to the plate!”

    Come on. Bonds has been on the team for over ten years (since 1993) and (as Russo points out) they haven’t won with him. This year he’ll play maybe 132 games and he’ll have the lowest HR total in a season since he was a Pittsburgh Pirate which includes 1999 where he barely got in 100 games. I don’t care about the steroids thing. I don’t care about Babe Ruth’s home run record. You know what I care about? The Giants doing something that makes me glad I’m a Giants fan.

  • I was glad the Saints won last night, even if the second half of the game was pretty much snooze-fest. I wanted New Orleans to win for the same reason I’m guessing most non-Atlanteans did, although ESPN’s incessant badgering on the Katrina angle got really old after about oh, the first quarter, But I had ulterior motives as well: My opponent in fantasy football had both Michael Vick and Warrick Dunn going last night and needed them to help him make up about 30 points. Not insurmountable for a running back and a QB, but both of them sucked last night which was just fine with me. Thanks, Saints!

And the Rest of It

  • I know we just came up big time on a new-to-us 36″ TV, but the lure of HD is strong and my will save vs. techno-geekery is like -8. Thus it was with rapt attention that I followed the announcement and ensuing hullabaloo regarding the release of the TiVo Series 3 HD DVR. Of course to take advantage of such a device I would need:
    1. A HD-capable TV.
    2. HD content, probably in the form of cable television we cannot receive or an XBox 360 I can’t afford.
    3. Some place to put it and/or our existing equipment.
    4. $800 for the TiVo3.

    I have been looking at HD TVs for some time now. Remember that the Trinitron acquisition was more of a kind blessing from HB and Gin than something we sought. I keep seeing a very nice one at places like Best Buy for what I consider to be pretty reasonable (roughly $1,700 for a 42″ Sony Plasma) but then I recall that we don’t have any way of really getting HD content and we can’t afford it and we don’t need it. But like I said, I can’t resist. Stuff like this usually helps some and reminds me why, though I may be a covetous geek-tard, my patience for technological foulery is far, far too thin to be a true early adopter.

  • We’ve played a couple of sessions of a pretty fun large-party game called Werewolves of Miner’s Hollow. It’s kind of like the old elementary school rainy-day recess game “Heads Up Seven Up” where players close their eyes and someone is randomly chosen and they have to guess who picked them. This slightly more sophisticated version uses a series of phases that last through the “night” (the time when players have their eyes closed) during which various different people get to open their eyes and perform tasks. Primarily, the werewolves (determined by randomly distributed cards) look around and choose a townsperson to kill or remove from the game. The remaining players try to figure out which of those left in the morning (when all players open their eyes) is the werewolf in their midst through debate and discussion. Eventually they all must choose someone to “lynch” or remove from the game through democratic voting. Sometimes they pick correctly, other times they kill an innocent. There are a lot of other special townspeople like the Mystic who can examine one player’s card during the night and the hunter who can take someone down with him if he’s killed during the night. It’s a good game for parties because it doesn’t require a lot of set up and it encourages people to interact. We played it for Whimsy‘s “surprise” 30th birthday party last weekend and I think everyone really enjoyed it. It’s also fun because the individual rounds don’t last that long (maybe fifteen minutes) so players don’t get stuck doing the same thing and you can play through several dozen rounds in an evening. There is a very comparable game that uses similar mechanics but with a few variations that Nik and I purchased called Lupus in Tabula. The main difference between the games (from reading the Lupus instructions) is that in Lupus you don’t reveal the dead players’ identities until after the game is completely over which would probably work well to increase the general tension and paranoia since you don’t necessarily know (if you’re a regular townsperson) how many allies you have left at any given point in the game.
  • There is a new poll up. In case you were interested.
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One thought on “Some… uh, Stuff

  1. Don (a.k.a. Dad)

    Hear, hear, re the Giants. As to Joe Montana, things were a little different in his case. He was a quality, savvy albeit
    less than spectacular college player at Notre Dame (led a fantastic finish in the Cotton Bowl his last college game).
    Joe was drafted in Bill Walsh’s inagural season when the 49ers went 2-14 for the second straight year–but at least
    looked like they had some idea what they were doing. Joe played hardly at all that year but took over the reins midway through the next (1980) season when Walsh’s revolutionary new system (now known as the West Coast Offense) showed it could score readily but the 49ers defense was so poor they finished 6-10. The next season it shockingly all came together when 3 rookie defensive backs (including Ronnie Lott) and a quality pass rush resulted in their first Super Bowl. Walsh focused an unprecedented amount of attention grooming Montana to his system right down to how to position his hips after a 5 step drop to best check-down his 4 or 5 receivers in progression and then choose and hit the correct one. Joe would have been a good quarterback in any system but Walsh made him a superstar.

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