Friday, May 29, 2009

Why would this make me drink Diet Coke?

I am sure most of you who have been to an american movie theater in the past few months have seen the, in my mind, rather silly Diet Coke commerical that is attached to the "pre game show" as it were (at least down here in Texas). For those that haven't, here it is:







That, my friends, is Mr. Tom Colicchio...someone who wikipedia tells me is a noted American celebrity chef. Given the option of all the crap he mocks in the commerical would make even me pick Diet Coke over them and I dislike Diet Coke.


Also, I love the waiter at the 25 second mark. With that one simple look, he lets our dear Tom know, "Hey man, you are so right. I mean, I know you chose to come into the place that I work for, apparently, only a Diet Coke since the rest of this place it too gimmicky, over complicated and full of fads, but with your simple hand gesture when you waved away my services you told me that there is a better way to achieve maximum sophistication while keeping complication to a minimum. Thanks to that, I think I will go to one of your craft restaurants to get some food and/or drinks that are not overcomplicated."



This brings me to his restaurants (here is the website: http://www.craftrestaurant.com/craft_style.html) where, i kid you not, the top bar has the following drop down headings:

  • Craft
  • Craftbar
  • Steakcraft
  • Wichcraft
  • Reservations/Hours

Now, maybe it's just the geek in me, but when I hear of something called "wichcraft," no matter how it is spelled, I think of witches. Maybe I am overanalyzing the gimmickyness or over complication with that simple heading, so I will move on to some choice options at his restaurants. Before reading the few things I will highlight, please keep in mind the the big finish in the commercial (which caused our dear waiter to internally expound the entire italicized paragraph above) is from adding garnish to his Diet freaking Coke which was too much for him:

  • Wagyu Carpaccio, Pickled Quail Egg & Fingerling Potatoes
  • Piballes & Sweet Garlic
  • Olive Oil Poached Day Boat Cod, Morels, Fava Beans & Razor Clams
  • Poached Guinea Hen, Wild Onion, White Asparagus & Tortelli
  • Elysian Fields Lamb & Hearts, Baby Artichoke & Ramps
  • Coconut Yogurt Baravois, Basil Syrup & Pineapple
  • Chocolate Ganache Tart, Cocoa Nib & Creamsicle Ice Cream

That list does not even include his section on mushrooms...an entire section on mushrooms! Now, granted, I am not what you would call "sophisticated" or "mature" or "smart," but nothing about the few things that I just shared with you gives me the impression that he is following what he is so masterfully preaching in his 30 second Diet Coke commercial.
The options he puts forth are very similar to a point brought up by one of the greatest philosophical thinkers of our age...Mr. Eddie Izzard:


Honeymoon Reflections

So we got back from our honeymoon down in San Antonio yesterday and I thought I would write up a bit about what we did. It was the perfect ending to our wedding week and, although we did not do much of anything while down there, it was a ton of fun spending time with my wife.

Day 1
We stayed at a hotel called the Omni right on the Riverwalk. When we got there, we got a little bit of valet parking (like a boss) and then went up to the room. We opted to go for the more expensive valet parking at the hotel for the first night and then planned to move the car to the parking garage across the street the next day to save a bunch of money. Well, that didn't happen since we totally forgot to move the car (not like a boss), but it was still cool getting the valet treatment after all. After we got settled, we went for a stroll along the riverwalk and ate at a little place called Ritas on the River. Let me tell you, that place was not called "good food on the river" for two reasons. One, it is not nearly as catch as Ritas on the River adn two that would be a lie and they would get sued for false advertising. After that, we walked around a good bit of the riverwalk and then set up our couples massage for the next day. After that, it was back up stairs to read some comics, watch episode 3 and then the last 5 minutes of the playoff game. All in all, pretty awesome day once we got there.

Day 2
We woke up and headed directly over to our massage (50 freakin minutes of bliss). The midget lady who gave me a massage did an awesome job, but I am pretty sure she bruised my shoulder blade as well. After that, we went back to the room for room service (like a boss) for lunch and we watched Slumdog Millionare for the first time. That was a pretty awesome movie and it had me calling everyone a chai wallah for the rest of the trip. After that was done, I started Iron Man while Tracy fell asleep and I soon followed about half way through. After our short nap, we went to Joe'e Crabshack and she got the most awesome margarita I have ever seen (with freaking pop rocks in it). After that, we headed back to the room and I finished Iron Man and we watched the 2nd half of the playoff game while she journaled and read the most recent Buffy trade. After that, we watched Taken and basked in the awesome of Liam Neeson busting peoples asses and then I fell asleep while she finished Buffy.

Day 3
We slept in longer than I have in almost a year (till noon or so) and then went and ate at "The Original Mexican Restaurant." This place had SUPER spicy salsa for a restaurant and the food, like all mexican food seemed down there, was authentic mexican food so it was not as spicy as the Tex Mex we are used to. After that, we went back to the room and watched the second half of Virgin Suicides (why we watched that on our honeymoon, I will never know) and then watched Man U get embarrassed by Barca before taking another nap (that was kind of a theme through our trip). After that, we woke up and watched Oliver Stone's Alexander (which was totally an Oliver Stone movie, but with more ancient sexuality in it) before watching the 2nd half of the playoff game (another theme) while I got to read Buffy. Then we popped in Love Actually and fell asleep watching that together.

Day 4

Woke up around 8:30 with high hopes of getting home early since we missed the puppies and just being at home. Wrapped up all the hotel stuff, got on the road and then proceeded to sit in the worst traffic I have been in since I was a child. Also, I was reminded how "well" Tracy handles traffic. I think I wanted to kill her at some point, but my memory is a little fuzzy. We stopped at Wendy's and grabbed some food since traffic wasn't moving and I saw, for the first time ever, Sweet and Spicy Chicken from Wendys...that was quiet delicious and I must get more of that soon. Got back in the car and was greeted by more of Tracy's road rage-y absolutes, "We're never going to get home," or "We will never get back on the highway." She deals in absolutes a lot more often than i realized. This is making me start to suspect that she is a Sith Lord (Sith Lady?). Got back on the highway and finally (after almost two hours of moving nearly two miles) saw while traffic was so bad.
Apparently closing two or three off/on ramps and closing a lane on a super busy highway slows traffic. Who knew?! Coincidentally, when we stopped to eat, traffic let up about 20 min after getting back on the road (would have been sooner too, but we exited to eat before the closure spam).

That was the trip all in all, it was awesome to get away and do nothing (especially plan a wedding) and I loved how people kept referring to us as Mr. and Mrs. Frier throughout the trip. I had a few more ideas for blogs when I was down there, so expect some more coming soon. For now, I am off to figure out why the hell my new upgraded recruit a friend WoW account is still in trial mode. I have like ten quests to turn in, but I can't since I won't get any experience on my druid :(

**edit**
The stupid crapping font keeps messing up at the bottom and I can't seem to fix it. Guess I spilled my failcakes all over this entry :(

Live long and prosper

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Wedding Reflections

As my friends know, yesterday I was lucky enough to get married to a very beautiful woman. Now that the madness is over and we are in recoup/recharge mode, I told myself that I wanted to write something about the wedding process for the past few days. At the thought of doing that, I made myself laugh when it dawned on me that I may be reverting to my RA days and basically filling out a program eval for the wedding. That really isn't the case although it may seem like it, but there were a lot of really awesome/funny things that happened that I liked in the wedding hoopla. As I sit back and reflect on everything, a few thoughts stand out in my mind and will probably be the things I remember looking back on the wedding in the years to come.

  • I am incredibly lucky to have Tracy in my life. I am not sure what exactly I have done to trick her into marrying me, but once I figure that out I should both can and sell it to the masses.
  • Tracy and I have some of the best friends and family we could ever ask for. Even for the ones who did not attend the wedding (long list of who we wanted to invite, but limited seating), the support that was shown through the whole process was heartwarming. Seeing people come together to help you out with something simply because they care about you is one of the most amazing things a person can experience. I look forward to doing the same for as many of those who helped us out as I can one day, in whatever way I possibly can.
  • On a similar note, I love the way clean up happened at the reception. From what my parents told me (and from knowing how many Housing people were in attendance), everything was wrapped up super fast like they were closing down a big program or something. People instinctively wrapping things up while laughing and joking at the same time. Between that and the good time that people seemed to have, I am thinking that we have a good shot at getting Program of the Year!
  • The toasts were the perfect mix of silly and sweet. I especially loved the incorporation of the Qui Gon quotes into my best man's speech.
  • Josh and Amanda on the dance floor receiving a round of applause from the crowd was awesome.
  • After seeing how the rain let up and was timed perfectly around the ceremony (starting back up once the reception started) I am now certain that my faithful following of the new Thor comic has paid off. It seemed that the Odinson smiled down on us yesterday and held back the downpour while gracing us with good weather.
  • Having someone tell you, "You got served" after getting wedding cake is a tad more disarming than you might expect...especially if that person is seven years old. I mean, what hope of a comeback did I honestly have.
  • Strangely enough, I only realized in the past few days that, in order to key in "Mom" on my cell phone, I need to type 666.
  • I feel weird for having bought over 100 pounds of ice and still worrying that I did not have enough.
  • You know that feeling you get when people stare at you...how you can feel them staring at you without you even seeing them? I think I know why you can feel their stares. I am fairly confident that having a lot of people stare at you intently seems to slow down time. Our first dance song (Anyone Else But You by the Moldy Peaches) seemed A LOT longer than 2:59. In my mind, there is no other explanation for it.
  • Seeing my cousin's 6 year old daughter and my 8 year old nephew dance to crank day is pretty much youtube worthy.
  • Baker challenging my mom and aunt to a dance off, although unintentional, was quite hilarious.
  • I must admit that walking out of the ceremony while The Throne Room/End Title music from Star Wars: A New Hope was playing was the perfect way to end the ceremony. Even though most people know what the song is when they here it, I will throw it in right here so you can give it a good listen and think about how much of an adult I am for doing that :)




That was in no way all of the stuff that was awesome about the wedding, but in my delirium since only getting a few hours of sleep thanks to those damn chirping birds, that is most of the stuff that stands out for now. I am now off to nap for a bit with my wife (love saying that, but I LOVE typing it), read some comics (I finally got Young Avengers/Runaways for both Civil War and Secret Invasion) and then probably head out to see Terminator again with my wife (had to toss it in one more time). For anyone who might be interested, look out for upcoming blogs on racial representation in geek set cartoons and/or, one of my favorite topics, time travel. If any of the two people who read this have an ideas for what I could blog about, please feel free to let me know in whatever way you can.

May the force be with you.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Relationships and Movie Reviews

So I just got back from seeing Terminator Salvation with my roommates, my brother and his sons and something dawned on me. In the past few years, I have tried my best to avoid reading reviews of movies that I had an interest in seeing (especially my beloved geek movies due to fanboyism which I will touch on later) and this movie was no different. What I had heard, however, was how the reviews were less than flattering from the sites I frequent. After getting home, I went through my normal post movie routine and read reviews on a few sights to see how my thoughts on the movie matched up. These reviews, overall, can be sumed up in one word:

Naive.

Now, don't get me wrong, my intent here is not to kiss the throne of the new Terminator movie (I really enjoyed it, but did not think it was a perfect movie or even the best movie I have seen this year *cough* Star Trek *cough*). I think a lot of movie reviewers, especially my fellow fanboys when viewing our beloved geek content inspired movies, view movies the way teenagers view romantic relationships. Now, of course, both components of this analogy are generalizations and do not refer to ALL of either set, but read on to see my point.

I know you all remember feeling differently when you were in High School, but that feeling you felt when you and that hot chick from Bio II started going steady was in no way love...no matter how hard you wanted it to be. It may have been puppy love, but there is a reason for the differentiation between puppy love and love. You are not going to marry your childhood sweetheart. You are not going to spend the rest of your life with the first person you ever went to spring formal with. Relationships, especially romantic ones, are one of the most important things developmentally for people to experience. That is not because you are going to be set for life, rather it is because each one serves its individual purpose in your development as a teenager adult on the path to adulthood. Some of these relationships don't even feel like the one while you are in it, they are just a ton of fun. Some are terrible and you know that as soon as it becomes official, but you stick it out for a time anyway. Some are even so real (this is the puppy love) that you think you are going to be 2getha4eva even though that is rarely the case.*

*I will come back to this a little later on.

As such, I feel that movie reviewers often expect so much from a movie that the movie doesn't even have a chance before it is viewed. You see, I feel that movies, much like relationships, are made up of a lot of different pieces and serve a lot of different purposes for a lot of people. I have to believe that every filmmaker, on at least some level, thinks that they are making a good movie. The definition of what a good movie is probably varies depending on who is making it, but I imagine that the filmmakers ant others to enjoy their work. Do all filmmakers think that they are going to change the landscape of movie making as we know it? Do they want to revolutionize the specific genre with a film making technique or plot device? Surely not.

Then I ask this question to the movie reviewers of the world...

Why so angry? Why is it, when a movie doesn't live up to your unrealistic expectations that you lash out at it. Why does the fact that the movie not fitting into these expectations mean that the director is terrible or that the writing was bad? Granted, there are some movies that are just plain bad movies from a film making point of view, but that is not often the case. What it normally is, told you I was coming back to the relationship thing, is that movies reviewers often want to "marry" these movies that they highly anticipate. They expect that it is going to change everything and that they are going to be happy forever after seeing it (because they are married...duh). They do not often seem to think, "You know, this movie is going to be a lot of fun and, although I will probably forget most of it after it is done, I will have a great time with it." If more people did, specifically fanboys, movies would be much more enjoyed on the whole.

We fanboys are the worst at this by labeling someones interpretation of a script. I literally read this tonight about the Terminator movie, "He (McG) is still a crap filmmaker and he managed to brutally kill the Terminator franchise for me."

Seriously Mr. Movie Reviewer? He killed a franchise for you? Wow...that is pretty deep. So McG's interpretation of Terminator makes you dislike the world of T1/T2?

Now, I know the biggest thing with fanboy related rants is that these movies are often drawn from source material that has been around for some time and that has a rabid fanbase, but I do not remember reading reviews of old Kenneth Branaugh movies based on Shakespeare plays that said, "He (Kenneth) is still a crap filmmaker and he managed to brutally kill the Shakespeare franchise for me" and I doubt I ever will.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Science, Statistics and Street Fighter 4!

Lately I have noticed something while playing matches on the recently updated Championship Edition of Street Fighter 4. There is a new feature that shows a person’s disconnect percentage on the game lobby and, for a while, I saw a lot of 0%. This, of course, makes sense since it would stand to reason that these percentages were a reflection of disconnections that have taken place since the update that placed the Championship Edition in the game. Recently, I have started to see low numbers show up, but there seems to be a trend that stands out in relation to players having a disconnection percentage higher than 0% and the character that they have selected when I fight them.

From my experience, people who choose Ken Masters in Championship Edition matches on Street Fighter 4 generally have a disconnect percentage higher than other characters.

Now I know that some of you might have just yelled out loud, “A-HA Eugene…you cannot honestly make this point since correlation does not imply causation.” Yes, I do know that…I am not postulating that correlation proves causality. I learned that is not true by watching The Simpsons as a child and seeing the episode where Lisa explains it to her dad with the magical rock that wards off tigers (her point being the existence of this magical rock and the non existence of savage tigers roaming around Springfield means that the magical rock is the reason the tigers are not there).

For those of you who did not just yell that, I will explain what that means so that I can prove it, in this case, to be inaccurate. To explain it in a simplified way, a correlation between age and height in young children is fairly causally transparent, but a correlation between mood and health in older people is less so. Can you honestly say that having a more cheery disposition directly leads to improved health or does good health lead to a more positive mood or both for that matter? Is it possible that some other, undefined factor underlie both variables? Is it pure coincidence? How about the classic example of ice cream sales going up at the same time of year that drowning is at its highest for children? Does that mean that the increased amounts of ice cream in the environment are the cause for the higher rate of drowning or is these something else shaping the outcome in addition to both variables being present.

I propose that there is a spurious correlation between the two variables which, in turn, creates a third causal variable. I do not think that there is an inherent causal connection between the two, but I think that the third variable in this situation, that I was at first overlooking, is what leads to this occurrence. The three below examples show the three possible relationships that can exist in this situation with the last example being the spurious correlation that exists (thus supporting what many of you might have yelled in regards to correlation not implying causation)

· Choosing Ken Masters causes people to disconnect mid fight in Street Fighter 4

· People who disconnect mid fight in Street Fighter 4 choose Ken Masters

· Douchebags exist and play video games, when they play Street Fighter 4 they choose Ken Masters and disconnect mid fight like cry babies.

Although, based on the information presented, we cannot say that the established correlation between character selection and disconnect percentage is a sufficient condition to establish a causal relationship, I think we can all agree that a majority of the douchebags that play SF4 end up selecting Ken Masters (and probably support Man U or the Dallas Cowboys, play Hunters in Warcraft or pop their collars IRL).


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Also, as an addendum to this initial blog (and while still on the topic of video games) I would love to talk about someone familiar to most of us...The Internet Tough Guy.

This guy is the COOLEST. He is totally better than you at every video game ever made (aside from the one you are playing right now) and he can TOTALLY KICK YOUR ASS IRL. I had my first XBL encounter in quite a long time about 10 minutes ago and for you, my loyal reader, I will give you the back and for that went on between myself and DRO NOOB KILLER after I beat him (apparently, I do not even remember playing him honestly) in a SF4 match. The last line in this back and forth that I put in italics was said in a very high pitched voice to add emphasis:

DRO: "Wow, you're really good...hey, who else do you play with, Zangief? Just rememba, if this was Street Fighter Alpha or Street Fighter 2 or 3rd Strike, you wouldn't last two rounds in that fuckin game cuz you couldn't do nonna that bullshit pussy.

me: wow Dr. Killer. You are a winner. You really are the best. You totally got me there after I beat you. You are a winner, you are a winner, you are a winner, you are a winner!

DRO: "Its DRO NOOB KILLER dumbass and this is the only Street Fighter that you can do dumb shit cuz it's the dumbest one they made. In Alpha you wouldn't last two rounds in 3rd Strike you wouldn't last two rounds and in Marvel you wouldn't last two rounds cuz you suck."

me: you got me right where you want me Dr Killer. I guess you are better than me at games that we are not playing. You've backed me into a corner by bringing up an irrelevant point. I bet I can beat YOU in Halo because my ePeen makes me the winner of life and I am an Internet Tough Guy!

I honestly don't even remember playing this guy, but I bet he was one of the million Ken Masters I beat while playing today.