Thursday, May 28, 2015


Film: Welcome To Me

Wanted to like the film more than I did. Kristen Wiig picks weird roles.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Suicides in Palo Alto

A cluster of teen suicides at Palo Alto high schools in 2010 was followed this year by another four suicide victims from the wealthy and achievement-blessed Henry M. Gunn High School. Fifty-two of its 1,900 students were treated for suicide ideation this past school year.
Increasingly, Americans are looking to career achievements as the basis for "the good life." Anyone who reads novels or history ought to understand this to be foolish, but these people don't have time for that between SAT prep courses, reading self help books, and checking their bank balances.

Monday, May 18, 2015


TV: Game of Thrones, ep. 5 and Mad Men Finale

I'm a little worried about Game of Thrones. As I said last week, I think DD (as you'll see Benioff and Weiss referred to on nerd GOT forums) have done a terrific job of paring the books down to the show and with casting. But there is no proof, or even suggestion, they can come up with creative and artful ways to tell the stories and deliver the twists and turns of GRRM. Last night was full of this stuff. I dread watching the Arya stuff. The Sansa-Ramsey scene was brutal and a bit too much, if you ask me. I actually liked the fighting scene in Dorne, but those Sand Snakes physically don't match up. If there were ever an anti-feminist moment in the show, watching these little girls play fighting was it. Although, I liked the detail of Bronn getting cut. That might be lights out for Bronn for those who pay close attention and know Oberyn poisons his weapons. I'm just worried and feel like the pieces aren't adding up and the show is getting a little predictable - strange as that sounds - since they are actually veering off story-wise.

Mad Men. I haven't watched in years, but I thought it'd be fun to watch the finale. The show just isn't for me, but I do have a quibble with those who contend "this is the best show or TV or the best drama ever written." I don't see it. At all. It's soppy melodrama and John Hamm doesn't do emotional well. The scene with January Jones and John Hamm on the phone was pretty tough to stomach. Peggy realizing she is love reminded me of a cartoon fairy tale for children.

The best parts were Roger's quips and the one really good moment when Joan's beau leaves. In some respects, maybe Roger and Joan were always the best part of the show.

I totally didn't understand the Coke ending, but just read that supposedly Don came up with this iconic ad campaign. I thought the ending was that Don finds Buddism. I suppose the idea that he came up with the idea makes more sense, but was I supposed to give a flying shit about a 70s Coke campaign that seems dated and cheesy? Maybe ultimately that's the problem with the show: I don't give a flying shit about advertising campaigns.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Clippers Eulogy

Ultimately, I thought they played a little soft. Rockets came out with more energy and heart. In the end, they were down 10 with about 2 minutes left, there was a play where Blake got the ball at the top of the key wide open and rather than knock down the shot like he did all playoffs, he pivoted around for an eternity trying to find JJ Redick to get a contested 3 that he missed. Now, I'm sure they designed this play and felt they needed 3 at the time, but it just summed up how Griffin played in the 4th quarter all playoffs - hesitant, confused, tight. I don't know why...I guess the defense picks up, etc, but it would've been nice to see Blake rise above -- take the ball to the hoop, or make a play on defense, or get a big time offensive rebound...something...just make an important basketball play when his team really needed it. Is that so much to ask a star player? That said, I think Blake has an underrated weakness: height. He isn't very tall. And I think taller players, like Josh Smith, can give him trouble on both ends of the floor. On defense, if they are athletic enough, and come crunch time to put in the effort, Blake has trouble getting easy buckets around the basket, which is his bread and butter. And then, on the other end, he can get scored on and muscled around on the block. Sure, he has huge hops and quickness and during the game, make incredible scoring plays -- but as a power forward, he's a little short, and it shows up when the game's intensity is upped a notch.

But, in the end, the 1&2 seeds from the East and West are moving on. I don't see anyone beating Golden State 4 out of 7. They're too deep.

Film: Mad Max Fury Road

Balls to the wall action. Audience clapping. Tom Hardy is almost pre-language primal for the first 30 minutes of the film. The movie didn't deliver any profound emotion, but it was an awesome cinematic experience in IMAX 3D at the Mann's Chinese. One of my favorite "summer movies" in quite a long while.

Friday, May 15, 2015

First Nikki Finke and Now Bill Simmons

Simmons built Grantland and his corporate overlords took it from him in a nearly identical situation to Nikki Finke and Deadline. I say this only as a consumer and knowing nothing - nor much caring - about the behind the scenes. These sites were built by those two writers. If not for them, they plainly do not exist. And within 4-5 years (not a long time), these individual voices are pushed out in favor of more amenable, and less powerful people. As a reader, it saddens me, but I'll probably still visit each, just not enjoy either of them as much. But apparently whatever makes the money men's job easiest is the way it ought to be...

Thursday, May 14, 2015


Caught the 3rd quarter of Cavs-Bulls. Both teams looked atrocious. Made me think Memphis might be the 2nd best team in the NBA. Or maybe the Clippers.

The worst player in the playoffs is Pablo Prigioni. He is not an NBA basketball player. Seeing Austin Rivers squaring off with him is goodness...there must be bball players all over the world pulling out their hair.

Memphis-Golden State

Golden State overwhelmed Memphis yesterday. GS is a funny team. My impression is that they can easily blow you out, but if you keep the game close and physical, they are vulnerable. They can get jittery and frustrated when the shots aren't falling.

Without Tony Allen, Memphis only has three real ballers and one of them, Z-Bo is past his prime. Conley is injured, but effective, and Gasol is elite. Courtney Lee is okay. Jeff Green does not play to his potential. I find him very frustrating to watch. Yesterday they need him badly. They needed him to take the ball to the hoop and create offense. He tried, but kept missing at the basket. They need him, Conley, Lee, or someone to knock down the outside shots that become available when doubling Gasol and Z-Bo.

I like Memphis a lot, but their offense let them down yesterday and GS was hot enough.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Sports Thoughts...

1. Joe Montana never cheated.

2. Seemed like Memphis was getting hacked to pieces down low during the first half of game 4 and the refs simply weren't calling the fouls. I could hear Marc Gasol get slapped while watching TV and they didn't call it.

3. Jeff Green is totally unreliable and seems to shrink from the moment.

4. James Harden has a lot of trouble against the Clippers. I'm not sure why. Does Doc draw up some really good defense? Or is it just DeAndre Jordan makes it hard to finish at the basket.

5. ESPN firing Bill Simmons in the midst of NBA playoffs seems to be a vindictive and dumb move by both sides.

6. If I played in the NBA, I'd want to be on Memphis. I love how they play.

Monday, May 11, 2015


TV: Game of Thrones, S. 5, ep. 5

Great beginning, a few cool scenes, but I didn't love the episode. I'm a little worried with the showrunners veering off the books, whether they're going to be able to pull off the big narrative turns that make the seasons. Certainly one cannot expect another Red Wedding, but consider the Battle of the Blackwater, Ned getting his head chopped off, the capture of Jamie Lannister, or the Oberyn death -- these are huge, series defining moments. GMM has a few twists and turns laid out for season 5, and maybe he's shared with them ideas for the book 6, but those big world-shifts are GMM's storytelling. And while the showrunners have done a terrific job trimming the show to essentials and making the tone less nerdy, we've yet to see any evidence that they could pull off the sweeping narrative twists that are the bread and butter of the show.

Friday, May 08, 2015

Thank God For Armond White

I love this bite regarding the Avengers sequel:
Age of Ultron works only if you’re already in the Marvel cult. Just buy the ticket, barter your brain, and give up real movies.

Film: Ex Machina

Underwhelming. In fact, I felt sleepy during the film. Beautiful location. Cold movie. Decent technical research in the writing, but poor, predictable screenwriting for my taste. Very poor staging of scenes...a lot of two people talking. Felt nothing by the end. Do we need another dystopian sci-fi flick?

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Sons of the Harpy

Best episode yet of this season. Highly entertaining and exciting. I really hope Barristan the Bold is alive. Given the nature of Game of Thrones death scenes, which tend to be definitive, stopping short of getting his neck sliced seems to indicate the man will live to see another day. And shit, I just want to see the old man swing the sword some more.

A few qualms: tiny bit weird that the Faith Militant so quickly become this powerful entity in Kings Landing. I'd imagine Tyrell guards and Loras himself ought to be able to kick their asses, especially given this was the same army that threw back Stannis at the Blackwater. And speaking of Stannis, I imagine others will start to join team Stannis (which I've been on since the beginning) after that scene with his daughter. But knowing how GOT operates, the scene has me worried. It means they are thinking off doing something awful to Stannis and he gets this high moment before the "fall." Also, Melisandre showing off her boobs to Jon Snow also suggests they are setting up Stannis for a fall.

Last note, it also seems they are setting up R+L=J given the multiple mentions of Rhaegar in the episode.

Moving is a pain in the ass and in the middle of it, I recall the (paraphrase) quote from Fight Club, "You don't own your things, they end up owning you."