Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Quick Check

My MLS predicts back in March were not too bad.

I did correctly guess the Eastern Conference spots 2-5 in the right order. But I blew the top spot and the dead last spot (Columbus, who were the best in the entire league).

I got top in the West right, but nothing else, besides Gullitt being out of LA before December.

Interesting note:
Back then, I picked a Houston-Chicago MLS Cup as I did tonight, but guessed Houston would win.

We'll see.

Be Seeing You.

The Five Women I'd Bang in Heaven

WHAT I'M LISTENING TO: Absolutely in love with Jesse Sykes' "Reckless Burning". What a great song. Also rocking out to some great covers of "Bastards of Young" and "Common People" (by the inimitable William Shatner; my man Shat).

WHAT I'M READING: With the release of the fourth book in his Bush series, I have decided to re-read the entire series by Bob Woodward. Great, unbiased journalism.

WHAT I'M WATCHING: Still the X-Files. Still soccer (playoffs start tomorrow!). Also watching the 34 films I've picked as the best of the last 34 years; up to 1977's Star Wars.

OKAY, so my beautiful wife Barefoot Adult and I had this challenge back in January to name our list of five possible sexual conquests. Now we have decided to review and renew our lists. So here goes mine.

If the opportunity ever arises, these are the five women I am allowed to sleep with by my wife.

In no real order:

5. Rachel Ray.
I think she was an alternate on last year's list. Yes, she is an attractive woman. But when I see Ray in her kitchen, cooking up some edibles, I get the image that this is a woman who knows what to do not just in the kitchen, but in bed also. She could work a man's tool like a spatula working an omelet. I just believe this woman could make my legs buckle with some sexual adventures.

4. Leighton Meester
My wife enjoys the Gossip Girl. I enjoy Miss Meester. Again, she is pretty. But I can also imagine her enjoying playtime in bed. Maybe it's just the headbands. I dunno. But she'd be fun, me thinks.

3. Kate Winslet
She always makes the list. Again, I just enjoy Kate. She's attractive, funny, smart, has the accent, and doesn't diet herself to death. Kate would take charge and lead me into an eternal sunshine.

2. Olivia Wilde
She of "House". Attractive with a hint of danger to her. Me likey Thirteen. My wife says she's a bi-sexual character. Interesting.

1. Jewel
I believe she was on here last year too. Just gorgeous, with a spunky persona about her. She's a wild poet from Alaska. Plus, if you saw her second album, there is a photo where she appears to be wiping her chin, like she just blew a guy before the photo was snapped. And she looks like she likes what it looks like she did (?).

These are women that I am allowed to sleep with. Now, a list of women I'd want to date long-term might be different (such as a Zoey Deschannel), but this is the sex list.

Start tomorrow. Should be good, though my beloved DC United are not involved. No more on that. Eight teams will compete for the right to play four more games and lift the gorgeous new MLS Cup trophy (named after Phil Anschultz, soccer's savior in America). Here are my predicts.

#1 Columbus Crew over #4 Kansas City Wizards
Will be tight, and a very good series me thinks. But the Crew should win.
#2 Chicago Fire over #3 New England Revolution
Three straight years the Revs have knocked the Fire out of the playoffs. Three straight years the Revs have been in MLS Cup. Six straight years the Revs have been in the Eastern Conference final. This year it should end. The Fire are dangerous and the Revs have a slew of injuries.

#2 Chicago Fire over #1 Columbus Crew
Though the Crew won the Supporters Shield and 17 games out of 30, I can't see them getting to the MLS Cup. The Fire are tough and the Crew are very young. Should be a great game, but I think Blanco, McBride & Co. will win it.

#1 Houston Dynamo over #4 New York Red Bulls
I see no way that New York wins this series. Houston are tough, have won the MLS title two straight years, and the Red Bulls are inconsistent at best.
#2 Club Deportivo Chivas USA over #3 Real Salt Lake
I'm going with Chivas here, but RSL could pull it out. There is always one upset in the opening round, and this has the best shot at it. Should be a fun one. May even need extra-time in the second leg to decide it.

#1 Houston Dynamo over #2 Club Deportivo Chivas USA
The Dynamo are just too tough. Depth, talent, and a consistent lineup for about four years now. Should be an easy win here.

MLS CUP 2008
Chicago Fire over Houston Dynamo
I'm hoping here, because nobody has ever won three straight titles. DC United came close, winning the first two MLS Cups before losing to the Fire in 1998's final. DC would win title three the following year. But I digress. It's time for new blood up top. Chicago has a solid team with an attacking mindset. This would be one helluva good final, but I just don't think Houston can threepeat.

I hope not.

That's all I got. I'll have to look back at my pre-season picks to see how close I was (probably not very).

One last note, don't forget to vote next week. And if you do vote, vote Obama. We need him.

Be Seeing You.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

TV's Best

WHAT I'M LISTENING TO: A bunch of different things, but today I was really enjoying Martha Wainwright's "Bloody Motherfucking Asshole".

WHAT I'M READING: Trying to finish "The Wrecking Crew" by Thomas Franks. Interesting.

WHAT I'M WATCHING: We finally got to watch the season premiere of "The Office" tonight, which was funny. Still working through the James Bond collection.

SO I made the challenge to my wife, Barefoot Adult, to blog about her five favorite TV shows currently on TV. I mean shows that are still producing new material. My friend Adam started the thought in my head when he blurted out his five favorite shows one day when I was working his store. My wife and I enjoy the tube. She has many more programs she watches then I (I tend to go in more for TV on DVD myself), so I knew it would be hard for her to narrow it down. For me, it's almost tough to find five shows still running that I enjoy enough to make the list.

But here it goes:

5. Robot Chicken. It's very short, but rarely fails to deliver mucho laughs. Sick humor at times, immature at others, but funny is funny. If you've never seen what they do with the manger scene, hunt it down. Easy to sit through since it's quick, and it makes me laugh hard.

4. How I Met Your Mother. I don't watch it often on my own, usually just catching it while my wife watches it. But I do like it. The characters are endearing but also make me laugh. I especially enjoy Neil Patrick Harris as Barney. Again, another show that rarely fails to make me laugh.

3. The Ultimate Fighter. Spike TV's reality show done in conjunction with the UFC entertains. I get a strange kick out of these grown men behaving like idiots once they are put in this house. You are given a shot of a lifetime in the career you've chosen, and they still, season after season, drink too much and destroy the house. I like that I can never call the winner ahead of time. Keeps me guessing. I get a big kick out of UFC President Dana White. Here's the head of the company in one of the world's fastest growing sports, and the guy cannot, if his life depended on it, got three sentences without dropping the F-bomb. Even in tender moments, such as having to tell a fighter that his dream is over and he's off the show due to an injury, Dana sits there in "comforting father-figure mode", and still can't help but drop a few F-bombs. It's hilarious. Imagine if your company's boss constantly cursed in a meeting. One of the few shows I can never miss.

2. The Office. Yes, I still like the British version better (same as with the Brit version of football), but this is the finest show on network TV today. I'm not such a big fan of Steve Carrell's work here. He's very good at what he's trying to do, but I just find the Scott character so over the top bad as a boss that I cannot see how he wouldn't get axed. That's why the Brit version wins for me. Six episodes in season one, another six in season two, and Gervais's boss did get let go for his incompetence. Scott still having a job kinda takes me out of the show at times. But the supporting cast is great. We love Jim and Pam, but all the others are top shelf too. Barefoot Adult loves her some Creed. It's that office staff that keeps me coming back and loving the show. I just wonder when this documentary they're filming will ever be shown.

1. Football Matters. I left my soccer off the list here because the games are not technically TV shows for me. Yes, soccer would be my entire top five if I just chose games, but this is a list of TV programs. In that case, this is the best show on the planet for me. It's on Setanta Sports every Monday night for 90 minutes. It's a simple show. James Richardson and Rebecca Lowe host in front of a studio audience of footie fans representing each team in the English Premier League. Every week, they are joined by three "experts". The experts range from former refs to retired players to current or former managers. They simply discuss the past weekend's footie action from England's top flight, with some side jaunts here and there onto other football topics. It originates in England. I just love this show. I get a kick out of Richardson's slight humor and toss-off puns. This past week one of the guests was marveling at how once in a scrabble game, he had the right letters to spell out "Tottenham", the name of a club. Without a seconds pause, Richardson added "Of course you only got two points for that". Now, if you don't know your English footie, it's meaningless. But if you know that right now Tottenham are bottom of the league with only two points out of the first seven games, it's hilarious. Even more so because they always cut to the fans in the studio of whatever club he's just jabbed at. Add in Rebecca Lowe, who at first glance isn't much to look at. But week after week, she's gained hotness in my eyes. A large part is due to her accent and her knowledge (and love) of football. Now she's like a English Sex Goddess to me. Plus they always have her scrambling into the studio audience to ask the fans questions. I enjoy that she never just lets them answer, but always challenges what they've stated.

Add to that the fact that every now and then she tosses out a "blimey", and I'm in TV studio hostess love.

Most people would probably not care much for the show. My wife only likes it because she too has a thing for the accents. But I absolutely love this program. It's my favorite, and Monday's would not be the same without it.

Football Matters. Mondays at 9:30 pm on Setanta Sports. Check it out.

So there's my list. Ball's in your court, Barefoot Adult.


Be Seeing You.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

End of a Saga, Beginning of a Dynasty

WHAT I'M LISTENING TO: Some "Willy Wonka" soundtrack that the boy picked out at the library.

WHAT I'M READING: Just finished a multitude of soccer magazines. Plus still working through some Frank books.

WHAT I'M WATCHING: Well, soccer. Duh. Plus more, which is hinted at in the above title and will be explained below in the body of the post.

SO after many weeks and billions of questions, the boy and I finished the Star Wars SAGA. He enjoyed it, though he missed 95% of the dialogue because he was peppering me with questions along the lines of "Why doesn't the Emperor have a child?" (which in Jude speak tends to come out as "Empirate") or "Where's Han Solo's daddy?" or "Why's Yoda a bad guy?" (because Yoda looks angry when talking to Mace Windu) or "Who's that?" (which was asked roughly ten times about Luke Skywalker IN RETURN OF THE JEDI!)

It was fun though. Cool to sit with my boy and see him experience these films for the first time. After some time, I'm sure I'll look forward to watching them with Sully when he's old enough.

One quick observation. The new "trilogy" is not nearly as bad as so many make it sound. In some ways, I like it as much as the original "trilogy". I mean, as bad as Jar-Jar is, the Ewoks are just as annoying to me. The acting in Jedi is lacking in parts, which you don't notice when you're nine years old. Natalie Portman is way too hot to be Carrie Fisher's mom. Okay, Fisher in Star Wars IV is pretty attractive, minus the cinnabons on her head. But in Star Wars VI, just six years later? The woman is shoe leather rough looking. Even the skimpy sex slave outfit (which is nice) only covers up a face that has been ravaged by what looks like six straight years of coke binges.

I love the political stuff in the new trilogy. Looking back on it, the Emperor's plan is brilliant. A brilliant set up of the Jedi and grab for power.

Call me an idiot, but the first three stand up well with the second three in my book.

To finish the title, after finishing the saga, I've moved on to a DYNASTY. That is, the twenty-one films in the James Bond ouevre (I probably misspelled the hell out of that). Thus far, I'm three films in. Good stuff. Yes, yes, Sean Connery is the best Bond. But I've always thought Lazenby had tremendous potential if he stuck around past one film. He was damn good. Moore is good too, but a little lighter. Dalton was okay, but for me the worst. Brosnan was the best choice at the time. So far, one film in, I've no problem with Craig. I would like to see him lighten up, and he needs a Q and a Moneypenny to play off. But Casino Royale was good. It'll take a long time to finish all the films, but I'm trying.

After that, I'll probably move on to the Living Dead films of Mr. Romero. Once through that, I might be ready for the films of Andrei Tarkovsky. The legendary Russian filmmaker who made films that moved slightly slower than molasses running down a tar hill.

But Solaris is brilliant. And I can't die until I understand at least three minutes of his sci-fi film "Stalker".

I picked my winners for the best in cinema 2007. You can check the link on the last blog, as it has been updated.


You can just read this.

MAKE-UP: La Vie En Rose
COSTUME DESIGN: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
VISUAL EFFECTS: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
ART DIRECTION: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
SOUND: There Will Be Blood
FILM EDITING: Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
ORIGINAL MUSIC SCORE: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Paul Thomas Anderson "There Will Be Blood"
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Cristian Mungiu "4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days"
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Amy Ryan "Gone Baby Gone"
SUPPORTING ACTOR: Casey Affleck "The Assassination of Jesse James..."
ACTRESS: Marina Hands "Lady Chatterley"
ACTOR: Daniel Day-Lewis "There Will Be Blood"
DIRECTOR: Andrew Dominik "The Assassination of Jesse James..."
BEST PICTURE 2007: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

That's how I see it. I recommend any of them for viewing. Enjoy.

And if you hate it, don't blame me. Blame yourself for trusting an idiot who writes a blog called "Dung 2: Electric Poopaloo".

Be Seeing You.

Monday, September 1, 2008

And the Nominees are...(plus random thoughts)

WHAT I'M LISTENING TO: Some "Yankee Foxtrot Hotel" by Wilco.

WHAT I'M READING: A hilarious book about youth soccer written by a Scotsman living in America coaching an inept team. It's called "Kick the Ball". Even if you hate soccer, this book is hilarious.

WHAT I'M WATCHING: Well, some MLS action, some Football Matters (probably my favorite show in TV), and some movies...see below for more. Oh, and we did finally see The Dark Knight (helluva movie!)

AND THE NOMINEES ARE....Some may know, few may care, but I have another blog that is dedicated to my own version of the Academy Awards called The Jeff Awards (nice name, huh?). Every year I watch movies and decide on what I think are the best of the best. The last three years, that list was 100 films long. But time is short. This year, the list was 100 films long, but I set myself a time limit. Well, the time limit is up now. I only made it through 80 films released in 2007, but here is a link to the blog detailing the nominees for the uberprestigious Jeff Awards. Enjoy, complain, ignore, or use the list as a resource when you wish to see a good or great movie.

It's always fun to do. Now that the movies have been watched and the nominations announced, the only thing left to do is watch those five Best Picture nominees again, to see which is truly the best. I force my wife, Barefoot Adult, to watch any that she hasn't already seen. Thus far, she's sat through "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" and "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly", and thought both were excellent.

Of course, she doesn't get a vote :)

Some things floating around in my head on a fine Labor Day morning.

1. Still loving my time at the gym. I recently moved all my weights up. Results are starting to come in. I'm down to 209 (or 211 depending on the day). I'm able to run on the treadmill, at ever increasing rates of speed, without dying, so that's good. All around, I'm loving my Cardinal Fitness membership.

2. Well, the Democratic convention is over. I actually watched the speeches of both Biden and Obama. Good stuff there. Obama's speech was the kind that makes you think that things can really change for the better for all Americans. And I do like Biden as a VP.

With the GOP and McCain not really offering any change, and actually arguing that things are good right now in America, there's no way I can vote for him. Obama's speech made me proud that I'll be voting for him in November.

As for McCain's running mate choice, it's too early to tell. Maybe she is as great as some conservatives are saying, but I'll wait and see there. Even if she is that awesome, she's still just the VP choice, and McCain is still the candidate.

3. I never did make my annual English Premiership predictions this year. Well, as much as I love Manchester United, I'm thinking they might not be able to threepeat as champions. Chelsea are looking very strong right now, and have an excellent coach in Scolari. If I had to pick, I'd say Chelsea to win it all, with Man U finishing second. As far as the relegation battle, I see Hull and Stoke going right back down, joined by another club that I haven't decided on yet.

World Cup qualifiers have kicked off for the USA, and with a big win on the road. Got games coming up Saturday in Cuba, and next week in Bridgeview, IL versus Trinidad & Tobago. For Europe, the long qualifying process begins this weekend.

4. If you aren't part of the $500 million worth of viewers who've seen The Dark Knight, go do it. It's an excellent film. Not the best ever, and Ledger does not give the greatest performance ever, but it is a damn good piece of film.

5. Enjoy the holiday, get outside, and relax. Hard to believe it's already Labor Day. Summertime flew by. Seems like just yesterday that the pool was first put up, and the water didn't get warm fast enough, so that the swimming was ice cold. Now, the night's get cooler, and the water doesn't warm fast enough, so that the swimming is ice cold.

That's all I got.

Be Seeing You.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

For Mojo

WHAT I'M LISTENING TO: Right now, the keys being typed.

WHAT I'M READING: Right now, this blog as I type it.

WHAT I'M WATCHING: Right now, the computer screen as I...okay, lame joke is old already. Actually, I've got the Superclassico betwixt LA Galaxy and Chivas USA ready to go on the DVR.

But first...

PER Mojo's request, since we like to keep the people happy (and Mojo is good people), here is the listing, in order, of the mix CD I burned to facilitate better writing on my little project.

1. World at Large by Modest Mouse
2. Banana Puddin' by Southern Culture on the Skids
3. Comfort Eagle by Cake
4. Tenderness by General Public
5. Country Funk by Southern Culture on the Skids
6. Apple Candy by Ben Lee
7. Cheated Hearts by The Yeah Yeah Yeahs
8. Engine Driver by The Decembrists
9. Girls Just Want To Have Fun by Greg Laswell
10. All the Way Down by Glen Hansard
11. Title & Registration by Death Cab for Cutie
12. You Are Loved (Don't Give Up) by Josh Groban
13. Karma Police by Radiohead
14. Swans by Unkle Bob
15. Trouble by Lindsey Buckingham
16. Alone With You by The Outfield (pure 80's trash)
17. Marching Bands of Manhattan by Death Cab for Cutie
18. Talking Shit About a Pretty Sunset by Modest Mouse

If you know the tunes, you might be able to piece the story together.

And I'll have to kill you.

Except for Mojo.

(Mojo is good people).

ONE quick thought for the night:
1. Why the hell do smokers think the littering laws do not apply to them? They toss the butts out the windows as they drive, or drop them on the ground mere inches from an ashtray, with wanton disregard for the laws of the land. What the hell is up with that? If I were to toss a receipt out my window, people would have a conniption. So why do we all turn a blind eye when Johnny Tracheotomy decides he's done with his life-shortener and figures he can't be bothered to actually dispose of it properly?

If I was a cop, I'd pull their asses over, then stick my nightstick up their asses until they were spitting splinters out, and write a ticket for littering splinters too.

After that, I figure I'd lose my job and/or get sent to prison.

But sometimes you gots to stand up for things you believe in!

Be Seeing You.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Writer's Block

WHAT I'M LISTENING TO: Enjoying some "These Things That I've Done" by The Killers. Awesome tune. Plus, I got soul, but I'm no soldier either.

WHAT I'M READING: A book on Buddhism, called "The Big Questions" by Lama Surya Das. It's supposed to help me find my own damn answers to life's essential mysteries, or so the cover tells me.

WHAT I'M WATCHING: STILL working my way through 2007 films. More on that soon. Today it was Rescue Dawn, which is dawn good. Plus, X-Files and English football. So the usual.

THIS past week I finished an outline for a new original screenplay. This is a big deal, because I haven't written a completely new original screenplay since 2004, and before that it was 2001. Sure, I've done some rewrites. But nothing entirely new. And now I've got a outline.

And it's good.

See, I always have ideas kicking around in my head. Always. Right now, if I had no fear of a reader (there is really only one, isn't there) stealing an idea and making it not only better but actually getting it sold, I could toss out four or five original new ideas for scripts that I've got stored in there, always working and reworking them in preparation for writing them.

But that has been my problem. I'm always reworking, but not writing. Recently, the reality of it all hit me in the face like a slimy salami (or sweaty spaghetti if you like the alliteration). Without even realizing it, I had given up (this being the malaise I foreshadowed last blog out). In my head, I gave up the dream of writing a screenplay and actually seeing it make it into a movie on a big screen somewhere (even if it was only somebody's 32 TV). I settled for the fact that I wasn't a writer. That I wasn't any good. That it was all just a...well, a dream. A dream I'd never bring into reality.

It hit me hard. See, I've always had sucky retail jobs because in my mind, I was a writer (a writer of fiction, for you Decembrist fans). So these jobs were just temporary. Something to pay the bills until daddy sold his baby for cold hard sheckles.

Tangent, but could a sheckle be anything else but cold and hard? I can't picture a soft sheckle for the life of me.

But at some point recently, those temporary jobs became my (and I hate to even type the word) career. And writing? That was just a fantasy that would never happen.

It really tore me up. Close to depression. To give up something I've always dreamed about. Well, not always. But since fourth grade when I "wrote" my first book, a fifteen page illustrated tome called "Attack of the Sludge Monster", in which my friends and I defeated (take a guess)...the Sludge Monster.

Throughout school, and even into college, whenever I was asked what I wanted to be, the answer was a writer. Coupled with my love of film, and screenwriting was the goal. I even wasted four years studying to be a secondary education teacher because I thought having all the time off would allow me to write. I didn't love teaching, but that wouldn't matter because very soon I would be a professional writer.

The dream died. But now it's back. One day I woke up and realized that my plight would fit perfectly into the antagonist of one idea floating in my head. Because he was already a writer (in his head), why not give him my problems. They say you should write what you know. This is what I know, so why not write it?

Now, I've got a completed outline. I've burned a CD of music to inspire me. Most importantly, I'm not only ready to write the damn thing, but confident that it is good enough to make some agent's job easy.

I've even got an opening line. "They say you should write what you know. This is what I know." (is there an echo on this blog? Actually, with so few readers, there might be).

It's good stuff, and I'm excited. The dream is back. So now I just have to write this cinematic masterpiece and sell it. But that's the easy part. Getting here was the hard part.

The title? "Writer, blocked".

Wish me luck.

Be seeing you.