Thursday, April 14, 2011

playoffs and lots of videos (make sure to watch the shaq one)

another season of the nba has concluded. playoffs start in a few days. overall this season had a lot going for it. lebron and the heat became super villains and a really fun team to root against. the wizards had a legitimate superstar rookie, only to be outshone by a superhuman rookie. derrick rose emerged as a top 5 player. carmelo got traded to the knicks and his old team improved. celtics started off great but look pretty old right now. they also made a very questionable trade. the kings are probably going to move. doug collins did a geat coaching job and have the 76ers in the playoffs. the blazers have done well even with an ailing brandon roy. my fantasy team went undefeated through the regular season, only to lose to the #5 seed in the semifinals. also, the first american born asian player made an nba team. i'm sad that it could be shaq's last season.

i know that nobody who reads this cares, but i have had a great time watching the season go by. i went to a wizards game this season with josie and her dad to see the 2 aforementioned rookies show their stuff. it was a great time and i'm glad i got to go to a game this season. the wizards were no good, but it was to be expected. john wall looks as good as advertised and for the first time i really have a sens of hope and optimism for the future direction of the team. they were able to get rid of a lot of bad contract money through trades and buyouts. they drafted well last year and got a #1 pick from last years draft. jordan crawford looks like he could have a chance to be special. mcgee and blatche appear to be heading in the right direction. mcgee won 2nd place in the dunk contest. we have 2 first round picks in the upcoming draft. we still have the stupid contract of rashard lewis. we badly need a small forward and backups in pg and c. not sure what to do about nick young.

this year, the wizards will have the 4th most lottery balls in the draft lottery. this year is looking real slim, especially it harrison barnes and jared sullenger decide to stay in school. if we can't get derrick williams, then i don't think it really matters. hopefully they can just find another piece to the puzzle. hopefully ernie will keep making smart moves and there will actually be a season next year.

anyways, since the zards are clearly not in the playoffs, it's time for me to figure out who to root for. not to toot my own horn, but i was big on derrick rose prior to the season. i predicted a breakout year for him and made him my second round pick in my fantasy draft. he is definitely one of my favorite players due to his leadership, temperament and explosiveness. with that said, the bulls ended up with the best record in the league so it's kind of whack for me to be rooting for them. nobody else in the east intrigues me. i guess i just hope for some spectacular failing from the heat.

in the west there are a few teams that could contend for my affection. dirk nowitzki looks like louis, so the mavs are in the running. i am also a fan of owner mark cuban and i had rodrigue beaubois on my fantasy team. i like how portland came together and did well even when the superstar faltered due to injury. the emergence of lamarcus aldridge was a great story. they are underdogs, so i could root for the blazers. the thunder are sneaking up on people, even though they shouldn't. back when i was playing a loot of nba 2k10, i would always play as the thunder and use westbrook and durant to straight abuse chris. they also beefed up their inside by trading for kendrick perkins. out of these 3 teams, the thunder have the best chance of emerging. so i think we have out answer. i will go with them and hope for the best.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

you are wrong. i am right.

everyone is entitled to their opinions and different people's takes on things can often be different or opposing. most people have strong opinions on politics and how we should be running the country and improving aspects of people's lives. i can understand how people from different backgrounds and experiences will have different opinions on how these things should be handled. but that is serious talk left for dan or phil's blogs. being not as smart as them, i will focus on pop culture and entertainment.

the main point of this post was to highlight certain opinions, that while technically subjective, go completely beyond any semblance of reasoning that i can understand.

just to say this up front, i am a documented hater. i tend to get a little elitist and carried away with certain opinions on stuff that is pretty inconsequential. with that said, there are certain examples of opinions that just make no sense to me at all. certain opinions at least have some sort justification. an example would be how my parents like jay leno. they think he is funny. they dislike conan o'brien and think he is just childish and annoying. i say this is justifiable because we are 2 completely different demographics. the generational gap can at least explain how leno's lame and hackey jokes could appeal to an older audience who just want their jokes to be safe and obvious. i still argue with them about it all the time, but i can understand my parents' view on the late night host comparison.
now onto the opinions that seem insane to me.

family guy
oh man do i hate this show. the jokes are formulaic, obvious, lazy and obnoxious. yet many of my friends who have shared similar experiences and also enjoy other similar things seem to love this show. 80's tv reference? hahahahahaha. shut up. repetitive nonsense till everyone laughs? i will end you family guy creator. one time i was having an argument about the show vs futurama (which i love). i decided to take it to the tv critic of the washington post, who was having an online chat. i asked her which show was better. her answer: "family guy. it's more subversive." what the fuck is that shit? more subversive...ugh. when i am strongly on one side of an opinion, i can usually count on the snooty critics to align themselves with my 2 cents. apparently not this time.


i am a big fan of radiohead. the way i view their career is basically, put out generic early 90's alt debut album with a few decent songs. the next album was a huge jump creatively. the 2 following albums were amazing masterpieces. the rest that followed took a decidedly electronic turn and were excellent, but maybe not as immediately catching or accessible. i think this opinion is so clear cut and obvious that i just assumed that everyone was on the same page. apparently not dan and chris, think the first album was the best! really? it wasn't awful, but it's so obviously inferior to the rest of their discography that i was sure they were joking when they first revealed this to me. even the band itself admitted that, pablo honey, their first album, was rushed and not very good.

nbc thursday night

i still watch sitcoms. well, pretty much only the ones on nbc thursday night. it's a great lineup consisting of the office, 30 rock, community and parks and recreation. while everyone has varying thoughts on all of these shows, i think it's pretty safe to say that these shows are good and the rest of the offerings are bad (i think paul reiser is serving up another crappy sitcom to replace nbc's last failed sitcom). right? i am personally a gigantic fan of p&r and think it's the funniest show on tv by far. it's smartly written with great characters. amy poehler: great/amazing. aziz ansari: hilarious. nick offerman: should win an oscar. chris platt: always makes me smile. aubrey plaza: top 5 celebrity crush. there is a growing list of small characters inhabiting the town that people are now making comparisons to springfield. anyways, i was enjoying my thursday night stories when jill reveals to me that p&r is her least favorite of the shows. what was her favorite? outsourced. yikes. wtf? that show is all sorts of awful. i was left speechless and have now blown up her spot on my blog.

wow, this was a long and petty post, all about me complaining that my friends have different opinions than i do. i want to reiterate that obviously people should have differing opinions and like/dislikes, but some are so obvious to me that i am left confused and astounded when people similar to me disagree.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

clean and press your face

for about the last 3 months i have really focused my lifting to one exercise, the clean and press. this is an intense movement that i believe is still an olympic lift. i have never had a lift take so much out of me like this does, as you are essentially taking a bar off of the ground and working it up to above your head. i have showed some of my friends this lift and they have tried to incorporate it into their routines. eskay saw me do it at the gym once and referred to it as eurotraining.

so when i started back in mid january, i was a little burnt out on spreading myself thin with too many exercises and for once, i would just really focus on one. the clean and press made sense as it is probably the most metabolically challenging exercise and one that generally requires 2-5 minutes of rest between sets of 5. it works then entire body.

when you set up, you step as close to the bar as possible, with feet shoulder width apart. you reach down and grab the bar (both grips overhand), get down low, maintain good lower back posture, chest up, arms taught. this is the same as with a deadlift. from there you explode up, bringing the bar with you. your legs are driving, your back is extending, and you are pulling with your shoulders, arms and upper back. as the bar is on it's way up, you dip your legs, and snap the bar to the top of your chest. stand up straight and press the bar over your head. lock your arms for a second and then, under control, reverse the motion, bringing the bar back to the ground. it's a move that requires some practice, as you are really having to coordinate and teach your body to explode and do it in the correct motor pattern.

here is a guy doing 225, though he is starting from a hang and is not pressing to lockout.

so back in mid january i arbitrarily chose the goal of performing the clean and press at 185 lbs for 5 sets of 5. i guess having a 45lb and 25lb plate on each side seemed aesthetically pleasing to me. i started at 135 and have worked my way up to 180. i increased the weight 5 lbs at a time, generally every couple of weeks, when the current weight would begin to feel more manageable. getting up to 160 wasn't too bad, and my cardio was taxed more than anything. but my elevation up to 180 from 160 has really been a test of my will and focus.

as corny as it sounds i think the progression of the last 20 lbs has set off a light bulb in understanding a little bit more about breaking through barriers in lifting. i didn't even realize this was something until i got there and it's impossible to really explain here, but i have a better idea of what it takes to really get stronger (no, not roids) and i think it will benefit me with my next lifting goals (i'm thinking 300/400/500 bench/squat/deadlift). it's scary to really push myself, especially with this exercise. i tend not to think about it, but there are so many things that can go wrong if i have a lapse in focus or a muscle tears or some other random accident takes place, i could be in a really bad spot. my ankle is wonky and there is no real way for anyone to spot me. but i think for the first time in my lifting i have fully challenged myself and it feels good.

i have been lifting regularly for the last 3 or 4 years now and have made general, vague gains in strength and fitness, but i never really set specific number goals with my lifting. while the rest of my lifts have definitely suffered and i will be starting way back on the ground floor for most of them when i return, there is definitely something different and fulfilling about completing this (hopefully).

i think this is the record holder:

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

it got me

josie and i went to see a late night (10:30pm) showing of the new movie, insidious. this made for a pretty memorable evening at the theater for many reasons. first off....teens! so many teens. so loud and obnoxious. it really needed a call from the teen hunters to have them sequestered somewhere while i viewed my movie. i guess i should have figured that going to a scary movie on opening night would lead to that kind of setting, but it's still always disappointing.

second, josie snuck in organic fruit gel slices. delicious.

third, i bought movie tickets online for the first time ever. it involved a $1 surcharge per ticket. that's pretty reasonable i think.

i am a big fan of horror movies and will see some pretty bad ones in hopes that they end up being entertaining. my standards are cast much lower for what i will deem viewable for horror over any other genre. so lately i have seen a lot of crap and some decent stuff, but nothing that really stood out to me, or left me thinking about it days after viewing. those good ones are the ones that stay with me and i enjoy watching over and over again. i won't give away any of the plot or specifics.

fourth, this movie scared me multiple times. the scare techniques were very well executed. the scares came often and it was the kind of movie where dread really builds and even though you know the scare is coming, it gets you anyways. they also mixed in random, out of nowhere scares. it was a scare buffet. the crowd was really on edge throughout the entire movie and you could feel the energy in the theater.

fifth, this movie was rated pg-13, just like the new big momma's house movie. i never see horror movies that are pg-13. they seem like a tease. this movie had me tense way more than almost any r rated movie.

i jumped and audibly screamed (like a boy, not a girl) along with everyone else in the theater. josie had to look away most of the time. she squeezed my arm with a boa constrictor-like grip and mashed her face into my shoulder like when jessie gets her lean on. it was definitely the visceral reaction i had been searching for. i probably am whitewashing how i felt a little. as i look back as i was probably more scared to the point where i wasn't actually enjoying it, but maybe took some sort of masochistic pleasure from it.

as a result i feel satisfied that i have discovered a new movie to add to my favorite horror movie list, josie is now a little spooked and feels uneasy because of the movie and i now recommend this to everyone, especially if they can see it in the theater. i think part of this is trying to spread the word on a quality movie that scares without gore or cheap tricks. if i dig a little deeper, part of it is probably me trying to make other people suffer the same way i did in my dread-filled movie experience, that i am now remembering fondly but probably at the time just wanted to end.

go see it. i would probably pay to see it again...just expect a lot of "oh man, watch this part!!!"