Monday, January 9, 2012

College Football got it right. Leave the BCS alone!

My main grievance is that people forget that these are STUDENT-athletes, but I digress. Every single year the non-championship BCS games are high quality football games, and this year was no different, except for that most of the other bowl games were good, too.

Let's just use the BCS games as an example:

Oregon 45, Wisconsin 38
Two high powered offenses, game comes down to the wire.

Oklahoma State 41, Stanford 38 (OT)
Andrew Luck, Jonathan Blackmon, and overtime.

Michigan 23, Virginia Tech 20
Close, even game, controversial ending.

West Virgina 70, Clemson 33
This game was close for throughout the first quarter, but these two teams would not have made it if not for the fact that they won their conferences.

#2 Alabama vs. #1 LSU
Now this game is tonight, and despite the fact that it's a rematch, these two clubs have been far and away the two best teams this entire season, and their game earlier in the season (LSU won 9-6 in OT) was close enough that it really could have gone either way.

Kudos to you, BCS Selection Committee.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Wow.. Forgot about this

Now that this thing is linked to Google+... might as well keep it updated so I don't look lazy.
Since last writing (almost 11 months ago... damn) -
-Been dating the most wonderful woman for 9+ of them
-Have no summer...
-New Computer
-Marvel 3 happened
-New Best Buds
-Same Best Bud

Here's to keep on keepin' on.

Have two other blogs (not sure why) but I won't be updating them anymore, so if you want to look at the few posts I DID make here's the links.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Windy Bright City

Chicago Day 1 – Observations and Musings

This is the first time I’ve been to Chicago, so I’m going to try and be objective as possible. First the people; Outside of Russia, Chicago probably has the highest concentration of hot girls I’ve seen. Also it has a strange amount of old people walking around, more than any other city I’ve been to (also except for St. Petersburg. . .). Also, people in Chicago, probably because of the amount of hot girls, don’t seem that intelligently/dress slutty. I cannot express how many people (all guys, of course /cry) who didn’t wear shirts. Seriously people, what is the deal, are shirts optional in Illinois? I know your state is bankrupt, but that doesn’t mean you have to look like it is.

There’s definitely a lot of pride in this town, as I see (mostly cubs and some bears) sports teams represented everywhere. Oh, a side note. On the plane here I sat between two elderly women, both from Springfield, IL. One said to me that after Paris and maybe Rome, Chicago has the most reckless drivers in the world. She’s right. Say what you want about NYC drivers, they are just aggressive. Say what you want about Cali drivers, they just go fast (or cruise. Depends).

Since we got here in the late afternoon, we didn’t have the opportunity to do much, so we walked over to Navy Pier. Now, I hate tourist-y stuff, which is why I try to avoid places like Fisherman’s Wharf, the Space Needle, and New York City in general, but Navy Pier was just awful. Nothing to do, nothing to see, luckily the blue angels were flying around (no show, just practicing), so I figured I’d snap some photos and give my 20D it’s first real test. GUESS WHO FORGOT THEIR MEMORY CARD. Fml, people, really. (Of course I was extremely rushed pre-flight and had no time to notice, but still, such a fail).

So after regrouping and choosing where we wanted to go to dinner (of course no one agreed and half my family won’t eat ethnic food), we ended up going to the Weber Grill, one of the most cliché restaurants in town. Surprise! 2 hours wait. Needless to say we went somewhere else. It just happens to be that finding somewhere to eat in Chicago on a Saturday night is impossible. After walking around for a while we settled on an Italian café called Coco Pazzo Café. Atmosphere was nice, not great, service was good, food was a little pricey for my tastes (but it’s a major metropolitan area, its expected), and the food was mediocre. Food was cooked and prepared well, but did not have much taste, was pretty disappointing. It was late (by family standards…….. it was actually 9:30) and we just camped for the night. Let’s hope tomorrow is better.

Chicago Day 2

Today I woke up the worst I’ve felt in a very long time, but I got to explore Chicago for what it is. I walked from Navy Pier(-ish) to Chinatown, about a 3.5 mile walk (~70 blocks), so I got to actually experience Chicago. There’s a lot of cliché parts downtown in the loop, but once you leave, there really isn’t much to do, a lot of residential areas. Chicago, I’m guessing since it’s the Midwest and I’m a jersey boy at heart, so everything is slowwwww. People walk slower here. I don’t know what it is. There really aren’t a lot of places I found that aren’t really many  good local hotspots for just chilling and taking in the environment downtown.

Chicago is also a really bright city. It’s not that hot, but the sun beats down like crazy. I don’t really know how it works, but the Chicago sun will blind you. I ended up

Not really wanting to walk back (especially because I was feeling awful) I called the hotel on how to get back, and they couldn’t believe I had walked all the way to Chinatown, and I ended up with my first experience on the Chicago transit authority, taking a bus back near the hotel. Of course the experience was not complete without a senile black women suffering from dementia yelling something incoherent at me.

Chicago Day 3

Today I got the chance to visit the vaunted “Art” Institute of Chicago. I might not appreciate paintings and such, but there are many in the museum that do not constitute as art. Plain white and black slabs are not art, and neither are child’s scribblings. Regardless, It was one of the better museums I’ve been to. As luck would have it, I got to go to another mediocre restaurant for lunch. It really seems like all this town cares about is meat, booze, and sports, but not in a manly way, so it kind of sucks.

For dinner we went to Ben Pao, a restaurant labeled as “Chinese,” but not one personin the vicinity was actually Chinese. In fact I didn’t see anyone of any Asian descent. The food was not asian, merely asian-“inspired,” since it was asian-american fusion. Not even. It was just white-ified asian food so it was made to look better, when of course, none of it was actually very good. The cool thing about Ben Pao was their tea selection. They offer 8 teas, most of which you’ll find anywhere, but a couple, including their “Organic Bangkok” tea, are worth a look. Organic Bangkok was exactly what it sounds like: Thai food in tea. It was lemongrass and coconut (not the peanut), and it was tasty, but did not compliment the meal.

Chicago Day 4

                I went on a lot of bus tours today. Not much to say about that.

Chicago Day 5

My final day here, I visited the Mexican Museum (I forget it’s official name). Despite its small size, it was a charming museum, definitely the best of the trip. You learn a lot, and the art was, you know, art. Not that abstract impressionistic crap with no detail. Best of all, it was free.


Chicago by the Numbers

1 Restaurant I would go to again (Tasty City in Chinatown)

5 Number of athlete’s autographs I got

0 Number of those players who play in Chicago

50% Estimated percentage of which my total caloric intake was Arnold Palmers

50% Estimated percentage of which everything I ate was ice cubes

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Inception Movie Review - 1.5 Stars

Inception was a cheesy, cliche, unnecessarily 0ver-the-top movie that tries to be much "deeper" than it actually is. Inception toys with the concept of "a dream within a dream," preferring "A dream within a dream within a dream within a dream." The movie doesn't do a particularly good job of explaining much, and I can usually never respect a movie where I don't even know everyone's name (Watchmen is a notable exception).
Inception doesn't try to be a "deep" movie because it is. They delve "deeper" into dreams and add layers. The whole movie is wacky and even goes against what it says (when Cobb didnt wake up after the kick when he was "finding Saito")
Like I said, the plot was extremely cliche: Guy cant get home. Guy offered chance of lifetime. Guy gathers team for mission. Guy plans. Guy has inner demons. Something goes wrong in mission. Guy says to keep going. Guy takes risk. Risk looks like its failing, then succeeds. Plan goes terribly wrong. Guy confronts inner demons and wins. Mission Accomplished.
The cinematography was pretty awful too. The camera angles didnt really add to the situation. Some of the special effects were pretty bad too (mainly just the explosions). Maybe its just me, but there was absolutely no character development except for Cobb who had the same feeling the whole movie but just never let it go until the end. Also, the "humor" in the movie was very forced. No one is funny when they TRY to be funny.
Inception is just one of those over-hyped reasons why I barely watch movies.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Felicitaciones. . .Otra Vez

Alberto Contador won his third Tour de France today by the slim margin of 39 seconds, but of course there was that bit of contraversy. On the Col du Tourmalet, runner-up and Maillot Blanc winner Andy Schleck of Luxembourg had a mechanical problem, and Contador did not wait for Schleck, who was 31 seconds ahead at the time, and Contador ended up gaining 39 seconds on Schelck, catapulting him to a narrow 8 second lead. The two were neck and neck leading up the the final time trial. Before I continue, people have been criticizing AC for not waiting for Schleck, who was his main competition. While getting caught up in a crash earlier in the race, Schleck did not wait for Contador. Schleck, who is not known for his time trialing capabilities, rode the ride of his life, and Contador still gained 31+ seconds on him, at least to me proving beyond the shadow of reasonable doubt that Schleck was the rightful winner.

Also, Spain is dominating sports in general. . . Pau Gasol, Rafael Nadal, the World Cup winning squad, Real and Barca. . .

Monday, July 12, 2010

World Cup Wrap-Up and a Look Ahead

What a month it was. This was the first World Cup I was really consciously aware of everything going on, and it had it's ups and downs, but there were a lot of players and moments I'm going to remember. Here's what I'm leaving South Africa with:

Memorable Moments:
Siphiwe Tshabalala's Opening Goal - Surely a man called Zinedine Zidane II wouldn't disappoint, and South Africa's best player for the tournament scored the first goal of the World Cup on an absolute rocket to the far top corner with his dominant left foot on a breakaway. South Africa couldn't really keep that kind of performance up, but it was a fantastic opening to the tournament.

France's Implosion - France has a lot of top class talent, but without someone to gel their team like Zidane, it was unclear how Les Bleus would perform. Raymond Domenech entered South Africa the most hated man in France, and returned second to Nicolas Anelka, who was dismissed for his insubordinate actions. In response, the top French players , Ribery, Evra, etc., decided to organize the players and not practice before their final group stage game.

Lionel Messi vs. Vincent Enyeama (and pretty much every other goalkeeper) - Messi failed to find the scorecard in South Africa, but his best chances came against Nigeria, and it evolved into a personal battle for Enyeama to make save after save from Messi's shots that would find the back of the net against almost everyone else. Nigeria went home early, but Enyeama was one of the top shot stoppers of the tournament.

The Hand of Clod (Robert Green, ENG) - A soft Clint Dempsey shot up the middle seemed like an easy catch for the West Ham 'keeper, but he decided to not get in front of the ball and it bounced off of him and into the back of the net. Probably summarizes England's time in South Africa.

Italy Sent Home - Gli Azzuri were sent home early, with the reigning world champs failing to win a game, even finishing behind New Zealand.

Pretty Much Anything Having to do With North Korea - From Jong Tae-Se guaranteeing a goal a game, to outsourcing their fan base to China, to almost beating Brazil to then losing 7-0, to have the worst player in the tournament, to always wondering how Kim Jong-Il would kill them, they were fun to have around. Especially in the group of death.

New Zealand. What? - It was a great 3 games for kiwi soccer, who no one thought would have scored against the likes of Slovakia, Paraguay, and defending champs Italy.

The Final Two South American Teams Remaining Were the 'Guays - Wait. . .WHAT??

The Yanks - The best team we've ever fielded, and the world was out to get us. Coming back 2 goals down against Slovenia, Koman Coulibaly denied us a clear goal, and another goal was ruled offsides against Algeria. BUT LANDON DONAVAN IN STOPPAGE TIME AHHHHHHH

Dark Horses - The 'Guays, Small Slavic Countries, South Korea, Japan, Ghana sans Essien, Chile, Switzerland

Spain finally getting their act together - Spain won each knockout game by the score of 1-0, but never looked like they deserved their victories until they defeated an upstart German team that should be favorites in Brazil


RVP/VDV/Sneijder/Kuyt/Robben - Can you ASK for a better attacking 5??

The Best Moment of FIFA World Cup 2010 South Africa -
Tied 1-1 going into added time of the second extra period, Ghana launched a full out assault against helpless Uruguay. after a barrage of just barely saved shots, Luis Suarez swatted the ball down, giving Ghana the penalty. Asamoah Gyan, Ghana's penalty taker, had already coolly put away two penalties in the group stage, so Ghana was ready to become the first African team to move onto the semifinals. Sure enough, Gyan missed the penalty, sending the game to a shootout, where Uruguay subsequently won, even taking a dump on Ghana by winning on a chipped penalty. Suarez, more known for his attacking prowess, will be remembered for one of the greatest red cards in history.

World Cup XI
First Team:
Iker Casillas (ESP)
Maicon (BRA)
Fabio Coentrao (POR)
Diego Lugano (URU)
Per Mertesacker (GER)
Bastian Schweinsteiger (GER)
Thomas Muller (GER)
Xavi Hernandez (ESP)
Diego Forlan (URU)
David Villa (ESP)
Alexis Sanchez (CHI)

Manuel Neuer (GER)
Justo Villar (PAR)
Jorge Fucile (URU)
Phillip Lahm (GER)
Sergio Ramos (ESP)
Wesley Sniejder (NED)
Diego Perez (URU)
Arjen Robben (NED)
Andres Iniesta (ESP)
Clint Dempsey (USA)
Keisuke Honda (JPN)
Robert Vittek (SVK)

Records and Milestones Spain Broke:
- Fewest Goals Scored by World Cup Winner (8)
- Most Consecutive minutes Clean Sheet kept at a World Cup Final for Spain (Iker Casillas, 434)
- First team to lose opening game and win World Cup (ESP 0-1 SUI, NED 0-1 ESP)
- Best disciplinary record
- First World Cup in nations history
- First team to win European Championship then World Cup
- First European Team to win a World Cup not held in Europe

Awards Ceremony:
Best Player: Diego Forlan (URU)
Best Goal: Any David Villa Goal
Best Hair: Fabio Coentrao (POR)
Best Eyes: Jesus Navas (ESP)
Antonio Valencia Award for best young player from South America no one's ever heard of: Alexis Sanchez (CHI)
Best Young Player: Luis Suarez (URU)

And Now, a Look Ahead. . .
Brazil 2014. 4 long years away. So much can happen in that time. If I had to call it now, Germany will win. They average age of their team is just 24, and will be 28 if not younger in Brazil, so if their players keep maturing and progressing, Germany will be unstoppable. A team I think that will turn a lot of heads is Belgium. They've got a ton on great young players like Thomas Vermaelen, Marouane Fellaini, Axel Witsel, and Moussa Dembele to name a few. Keep your eyes open for the Belgians to make a shock run during the next world cup or two.

World Cup Final Round Wrap-Up

Netherlands 0-1 Spain AET
15' NED Van Persie (YC)
17' ESP Puyol (YC)
22' Van Bommel (YC)
23' ESP Ramos (YC)
28' NED de Jong (YC)
54' NED Van Bronckhorst (YC)
57' NED Heitinga (YC)
67' ESP Capdevila (YC)
84' NED Robben (YC)
109' NED Heitinga (RC)
111' NED Van der Wiel (YC)
116' ESP Iniesta (0-1)
117' NED Mathijsen (YC)
118' ESP Iniesta (YC)
120+1' ESP Xavi (YC)
By far the most yellow cards in a world cup final, this was not a pretty game. Entertaining at points, but too violent for my tastes. While there were some very physical challenges, Howard Webb didn't get them all right, including not showing straight red to Nigel de Jong who dug his cleat into Xabi Alonso's chest, and not booking Heitinga for a challenge on Iniesta until after the Spanish bench had complained. All in all, it was a goalkeeper's day. While real chances were few and far between, each time had multiple one-on-one breakaways, and each time Iker Casillas and Martin Stekelenburg rose to the occasion. La Roja dominated possession, but defending in numbers, the Dutch were comfortable relying on Robben's speed on the counterattack, which almost worked, since Carles Puyol was having an awful game, and was finally beginning to show his age. There was also a lot of diving, with Robben, Xavi, and Iniesta doing their best Ronaldo impressions.
NED Verdict: A strong showing offensively and defensively, but the Dutch reputation will be tarnished because of their violent physical performance. They came for blood and got it. They also got the loss. Sneijder, who had dictated so much play, was largely invisible for the match, but it was clear Oranje's plan of attack went through Robben.
ESP Verdict: It wasn't pretty, but the better team won tonight. With their one touch passing and ability to make the best of broken plays, La Furia won it late again.
Man of the Match: Iker Casillas (ESP)

Uruguay 2-3 Germany
5' GER Aogo (YC)
7' GER Cacau (YC)
19' GER Muller (0-1)
28' URU Cavani (1-1)
51' URU Forlan (2-1)
56' GER Jansen (2-2)
61' URU Perez (YC)
82' GER Khedira (2-3)
90+2' GER Friedrich (YC)
Though the defenses might have looked a little shaky at times, but both teams really showed what they are capable of offensively.
GER Verdict: Not the promising display we've seen from Germany's wunderkind, but they showed their resiliance and got a little bit of luck. Germany will most likely enter the 2014, if not 2018 as well, world cups as outright favorites.
URU Verdict: The best team Uruguay has fielded since winning their two world cups, we've most likely seen Diego Forlan's final world cup, and what a ride it has been for him. It was nice to see Uruguay not in a state of trying to defend for 90 minutes, and almost came close to forcing extra time on a Forlan free kick that rattled the post.
Man of the Match: Diego Forlan (URU)

Golden Boot: Thomas Muller (GER)
Golden Ball: Diego Forlan (URU)
Silver Ball: Wesley Sneijder (NED)
Bronze Ball: David Villa (ESP)
Golden Glove: Iker Casillas (ESP)
Best Young Player: Thomas Muller (GER)