Sunday, May 20, 2007

TANBR Recommends: Installment #5

Looking over my recommendations, this week's installment has taken on a kind of derisive tone. A kind of so-bad-it's-good type of thing, which is not what I intended with this space. The heart doesn't lie though.

Coors Light Cold-Activated Bottles
I prefer Miller products, particularly High Life--it tastes like a poor man's beer, but it's priced like a homeless man's beer--but you have to hand it to Coors for their innovation. First, they trotted out the retro cans from different eras. Then, they blessed us with the ice chest cases last summer. All of those were just leading up to the bomb they dropped on us May 18: the cold-activated bottles. When the beer gets to its ideal temperature, the rocky mountains on the bottle turn from gray to blue. Because, you know, I was having so much trouble touching something to figure out whether or not it was cold. Hopefully Coors will be able to teleport the beer into my mouth by next summer.

LeBron James
Okay, it's nothing new. King James is my favorite player, even though he mails it in half the time and has serious deficiencies in his game that he hasn't bothered to address. Bottom line is that he's my boy and we have history; there are very few players for whom I have more of an emotional investment--no homo.

LeBron probably pedaled as fast as he could and left those kids in the dust. That's part of what I love about him. As part of a Bubblicious campaign in 2002, Bron Bron entered a bubble-blowing competition with a bunch of local grade school kids and won. Hardness.

But watching these last few playoff series, I've noticed something I had never seen before. A part of the reason I might like him is because he's the first player to ever play in real life the way I use him in a video game. If I were playing with LeBron in NBA Live or NBA Street, Vol. 2 (create-a-baller, bitch), I would stand around the three-point line doing nothing whenever I didn't have the ball, then I would either chuck a trey without following the rebound or put my head down and bully my way to the basket. It's kind of beautiful when you look at it that way.

Claiming, in an Argument, That a Point Is Moot
For better or worse, this always ends an argument. And no one is ever like, "Wait, that doesn't make sense. How is it a moot point?" It just is. People rarely win arguments in a definitive sense, and most of the things we argue about are insignificant or unknowable. In a way, disarming someone by saying that a point is moot is the most insulting thing you can do to them in the heat of a debate: I have come to the realization that what we're arguing about cannot be changed and is thus not even worth arguing about--I'm glad one of us is willing to admit that. It's assuming the moral high ground with no warning at all, and by pulling the dialectic rug out on someone, you kind of always win.
I like classic games, but I hate downloading all those messy emulators. A lot of the places I used to get them were sketchy, and I'd rather not risk opening a virus on my computer just to be able to play Jackal. Luckily, just in time for going back to school, Jelly introduced me to Using the wonders of Java, it allows you to play hundreds of NES games for free.

Oh. So that's what having a purpose in life feels like.

There's really no down side to this. I've already gotten through a lot of boring conversations with my fiancee by playing Tecmo Bowl while she blabbered on and on about wedding minutiae. Choosing how many flower arrangements we need at the reception is much less agonizing if I'm thinking about it while banging field goals with Fuad Reveiz. Not that I play with anyone other than Bo Jackson.

Enrique Chediak's work on 28 Weeks Later
I don't know if I could say that I liked 28 Weeks Later. It's a brutal, intense film. I appreciated it, I might recommend it to other people who would like that sort of thing, but it's too unforgivingly hopeless and ruthless to actually enjoy. It's definitely an effective film and communicates the level of panic it wants to though, and that's mostly due to the cinematography of Enrique Chediak. He's been working for over ten years now, but nothing in his career--muddying blues in Boiler Room or being 0ver-qualified to light the DV of The Good Girl--prepared me for the claustrophobic, impressionistic photography he controls on 28 Weeks Later. Most of the shots during the action sequences (and it's mostly action sequences), are so quick and close and disturbingly hand-held that each scene comes across as a collage. I couldn't storyboard some of these sequences no matter how hard I tried. If the Academy Awards actually meant anything, Chediak would be nominated for this. [end of movie geeking]

Rate Your Students
Speaking of brutal, this is a blog run by disgruntled teachers. The amount of bitterness of the main writer (who has since quit teaching) almost meets the level of pathos the reader has for such a thankless profession and the youth of the nation. And with the school-year ending, it's the perfect time to read professors' opinions on students. An excerpt:

"From your perspective, ignorance is not a curse, and so I cannot curse you with ignorance. Nonetheless, I curse you. May your mergers not merge and may your acquisitions not be acquired. May your perfidy ramify through your life, so that all your dealings are as twisted as you are. May your lack of concentration result in an accident that kills you. May your illiteracy prevent you from reading some crucial document. And may you be transferred to Europe, where your lack of foreign languages renders you deaf and mute, and where your lack of culture will be seen for what it is - barbarism."

My Andres Nocioni Sweatshirt, Handled with Care Straight from Argentina

My fiancee is better than yours.

UGK, the Houston rap group formed by Bun-B and Pimp C, are considered legends within the rap community not because of record sales or critical acclaim, but pretty much because they tell people they are. They're vastly over-rated, and few people outside of Houston would consider any of their albums to be essential in any way. But UGK so tirelessly insists that they're important to the historical rap conversation that rap fans believe them. That's actually pretty awesome. They're like Andy Warhol if Andy Warhol really liked pulling guns on bitches outside of an Orange Julius. I mean, they're exactly like Andy Warhol.

Or Pimp C could have been arrested for vandalism.

Speaking of UGK, they're on a remix of...

Lil' Boosie, Webbie, and Foxx- "Wipe Me Down" (mp3)
This is a local hit that has kind of mesmerized me. It's not a good song, but it reminds you of how easy it is to make a hit. The boys make up a command that doesn't really mean anything and repeat it eighty-five times. Rappers are geniuses. I defy you to make up a command as ambiguous but powerful as "wipe me down." You get the sense that it means the speaker is generally fresh or fly or tight, but how do those characteristics create this dew or whatever that needs to be wiped down? Furthermore, the final third of the song chants, "Shoulders, chest, pants, shoes" over and over. It makes a rap fan wonder how close we are to a legitimate cover of "The Hokey-Pokey."

Sonic's Full Throttle Fury Slush

Trust me, it's much better than you think. Naptime is indeed over.

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