Nothing Special, Really

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

We're Going Streaking!

I had to wait until after Monday to finally post about this. As non-spiritual or un-superstitious as I am, I still feel that certain actions of mine can have an impact on a group of people literally hundreds of miles away, and there's no way I was going to write about this until I knew for sure that my words were harmless.

Because if I had written this on Sunday, and then the Suns lose to Minnesota on Monday..I, I don't know if I'd be able to live with myself anymore.

What an amazing year this has been so far, eh? This season has surpassed all expectations. I don't think it's a shock that the Suns have been neck and neck with the Mavs for the best record, but what's shocking is how dominating, how consistent they've been with their effort all season long.

First, Steve Nash is showing why he's the reigning MVP. For those that read ESPN frequently and are familiar with John Hollinger, he's been critical of Nash's past two MVP awards. He relies on complex statistics to form most of his opinions, and that's a line of thinking I can respect. However, his basis of criticism is that Nash hasn't been the best player in the NBA statistically, especially on defense, and that you can't really use the "he makes his teammates better" line of reasoning because a) most of the Suns players last year experienced a career high in minutes played, so their statistics were bound to go up, and b) you can use that reasoning with a lot of players - Dirk, Kobe, LeBron, D-Wade, etc.

But where I think his criticism falls short is how Nash makes his teammates better in ways that can't be measured statistically. One, he consistently enforces the style of play. It's one thing for coach D'Antoni to create an up-tempo team, but it's Nash's commitment to that style that makes it work. The only other point guard I could see making this work is Jason Kidd, but he's not good enough of an outside shooter to keep teams honest. Two, and along the same lines, he makes it fun for his teammates. Could you imagine this style of play working with Stephon Marbury running the show, or Baron Davis? You can't really measure Nash's decision-making ability, but you can see in their style of play. His focus is on putting the ball in his teammates hands at the right time, and rarely does he fail at this. How easy must it be for Raja Bell or James Jones when all they have to do is make sure they get to the right spot and wait for Nash?

Secondly, how amazing has Amare Stoudemire's comeback been? We were all rightfully skittish at first, especially when his teammates were openly questioning his dedication and his effort. Granted he's still only at about 85% - I don't think we would have seen the 2004 Amare only get 5 shots and 4 points against Kevin Garnett - but he's still almost averaging 20-10 at 85%. I think he's still very ego driven and it's probably hard for him to accept that he's not the star of the team right now, but you really can't ask for anything more from him at this point.

Then there's my man Boris Fuckin Diaw. So it appears the honeymoon is over and we're seeing the real Boris Diaw - a very talented but inconsistent and passive player. It's amazing to see how many times he plays around 36 minutes but still takes less than 8 shots. His biggest problems are that his focus seems to drift too frequently and he relies on having the ball to be active in the game - which isn't going to happen with Nash at the helm and Amare back in the lineup.

Others have been fabulous too - LB, Marion, Raja - there isn't a 6 man lineup in the NBA that's as strong as ours.

The biggest problem this year, as it was last year, is our depth. With Kurt Thomas out we're basically running a 7 man rotation right now. I was excited about the Marcus Banks addition but I just don't think his style of play fits our team. Jumaine Jones was added to be a cheap Tim Thomas replacement, and I know he's been hurt but I'm surprised to see that he hasn't cracked the rotation yet.

But at least we still have Pat Burke, right? I was watching a game a couple of weeks ago with a friend and he asked me "Who's this goofy white guy? And why does he keep launching threes? And why is the crowd cheering for him so loudly?" He just doesn't get it. It cracks me up when even the Suns' big stars are laughing when he comes in the game. What an odd job that must be - getting paid several thousands of dollars to play basketball only when the coach knows there's no chance you're losing the game, only to have the crowd AND your own team cheering for you, albeit sympathetically, to make a shot. It's almost like he won some Make-A-Wish contest to be a Suns player for a day.

Anyways, I'm super stoked for this next game against the Spurs. The biggest criticism I've heard during the 17 game streak is that it doesn't prove we can beat the best teams. But even the best teams will tell you how difficult it is to win 17 games in a row PERIOD, regardless of who you're playing. Would the streak be more impressive if we had a win against Dallas or San Antonio orL.A. Of course. But teams like Detroit, Houston, Cleveland, Chicago, they're no slouch either. And it's not like Dallas destroyed us when we played them - it was only a two point loss. If we hit one more three pointer in that game, and if Gilbert Arenas doesn't make that amazing layup at the end of regulation, we're looking at a 34 game winning streak right now. And you can't criticize that.

I haven't been this excited about a Suns team since, well, last year. But I think these winning streaks we've been on are a testament to the team's focus this year. If the Suns make it to the finals this year, I guarantee I'm making the trip back to AZ to party with everyone. I've spent 16 years waiting for the Suns to get their first championship, and I hate to get ahead of myself, but I think this might be th.......

No, I'm not gonna say it yet. I'm not going to be a jinx.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Sunblisters, Sweat, and Sonic Youth

I got more comments! Four more! I'm an internet star!

I've received a request to blog about traffic and it's impact on road rage. Just to set the rules; sure I'll take requests, but I won't always honor them if I don't feel like it. But in this case, for Carrie, I will.

(begin rant)

Fast people stay on the left, slow people stay on the right. Got it? Good.

(end rant)

Ok, so I don't really want to talk about that today.

What I DO want to talk about today is the 2007 Coachella Festival. This year, it's going to be a 3 day event. I'm not too excited about this because it just means more money and more time spend eating $3 tacos and drinking $5 beer while trying to dodge the sun. So I was hoping that Goldenvoice, the festival organizers, would do me a favor and schedule the worst headliner of the three on the first day so I could just skip it. No such luck. Here's the (abridged) lineup:

Friday, April 27th


Bjork - I'm really excited for this. Although I'm not the biggest fan (haven't really moved past Post yet, and that was, what, 10 years ago?) I doubt I'll get many opportunities to see her ever again.

Other Bands I'm Looking Forward To:
Interpol - Saw them once at the Curiosa Festival. Can't say enough good things about these guys. Turn On The Bright Lights is somewhere high amongst my list of all time favorite albums.
The Jesus & Mary Chain - I haven't really heard much other than Psychocandy but I like that album. They've been split up for a while, so this should be a good set to check out.
Sonic Youth - Only saw them once, back at the Marquee in AZ, but they put on an awesome show, especially for a bunch of geezers.

Other artists of note: DJ Shadow, Busdriver, Peeping Tom,

Saturday, April 28th

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Ugh. I enjoy a couple of their songs but they're one of those bands that's long past their prime. They're still a bunch of amazing musicians but everything they've put out lately seems so watered down. This actually may be a bonus though; it'll be the first time I'll be willing to skip the headliner and check out some other bands.

Other Bands I'm Looking Forward To:
The Arcade Fire - Although Coachella 05's lineup wasn't spectacular enough for me to check out, I heard these guys put on an amazing performance. Hopefully they can live up to the hype. Funeral is an album I don't think I'll ever get tired of.
Blonde Redhead - I've been wanting to see these guys for a long time now. They're gonna play a show in Seattle a couple days prior, so perhaps I'll check them out and use the opportunity to see someone else at Coachella. Either way, I'm totally stoked about this.
!!! - this should be a fun show, hopefully they're put up in a tent rather than the outdoor stage.
The Frames - Some band from Ireland I heard about a couple years ago. Picked up Burn The Maps, and while "Finally" is an amazing song, the rest is only mediocre. But I get the feeling they're better live than on the album (like The Stills)
The Nightwatchman - I haven't heard any material from this, but it's Tom Morello from RATM and Audioslave, it's his side project (solo project too maybe?). Should be good.

Other artists of note: The Decemberists, The Good The Bad & The Queen, Ghostface Killah, Girl Talk

Sunday, April 29th

Rage Against The Machine - This was a shocker. Never really expected these guys would reform, even if for just one show. I've already seen them three times, but it's always been a great show, and this should be amazing.

Other Bands I'm Looking Forward To:
Air - At my first Coachella, they played the sunset slot, and even as I was laying in the grass, passing out from heat exhaustion, I remember this just sounding INCREDIBLE. The way the air cooled as the sun went down, the glowing of the sky dimming in my eyelids...Air + sunset slot on main stage = heaven.
The Roots - I've missed them the last couple of times they've been in my area, and will miss them again next week. Great hip hop artists with a live band behind them, should be a lot of fun.

Crowded House
- sing it with me: "Hey now, HEY now, don't DREAM IT'S OVER". I don't know any other songs by them but hearing thousands of people singing along to that will be pretty cool.
Explosions In The Sky - Oh. My. God. I almost broke out into spasms when I saw they were coming to Seattle soon, but Coachella too? Anyone who went last year and saw Mogwai's much as I love Mogwai...prepare to be blown away even MORE. Hopefully they get a prime spot and don't get cooped up in a tent at 4pm.
Against Me! - they seem out of place at an event like Coachella, but it seems like Coachella is moving toward a greater variety of bands. I wonder how many kids are calling them sellouts for this.
Junior Boys - Wac turned me on to them a couple of months ago, describing them as sort of a modern day Depeche Mode. I think they're not quite as passionate-sounding as Depeche Mode was, but in many ways that's a fair comparison. I'm not one to dance in public very often, and even soberly much less, but these guys could get me dancing.

Other Artists Of Note: Grizzly Bear, Lily Allen, Willie Nelson

Right now I'm not sure if I'm as excited about this Coachella as I was of the last two, but there's still enough bands that make me want to go. And like past events, I'll either discover a couple other bands while I'm there or check out some bands scheduled to play and see what I like.

Now, if they can actually get Portishead to play this one...that's a different story.

Friday, January 19, 2007

All In A Week's Work

Two fucking comments? All I've got is two fucking comments so far, one from someone I don't even know?

Oh wait, I haven't even told everyone about this yet. Still though. What rule says that you have to be my girlfriend to leave a comment? I know you fuckers are reading this (please be reading this, I need the attention).

Well, although I can only have one girlfriend, you all can still be my bitches.


We've finally moved into our apartment, although everything isn't completely unpacked. But we have internet and cable and beer in the fridge and TP in the bathroom, so I'd say we're pretty much set.

I think everyone's happy with the move, including the cats. The big kitty was starting to get a peepee problem at the last apartment. It seemed, unbeknownst to us, that the entire place was his litter box, although he mostly fixated on the girlfriend's pile of clothes. But the new place has been a welcome change for him apparently. It even looks like he might be smiling every now and then. And all his peepee goes in the litter far.

Every once in a while we'll let them out into the hallway to explore. They really enjoy it. The little one rubs up against the walls because he's a little whore. The big kitty treads lightly then runs back inside when he hears anything louder than a pindrop. They're such cute bastards.

Even though I'm only a block away from the bus stop, I've been driving to work lately. It's been a messed up schedule for me this week - My waking times have been 7am, 6:45am, 6am, 8am (messed up the alarm) and 6:30am, respectively. I haven't been able to get on a good schedule for the buses yet. And I'm lazy to boot.

On Tuesday, I had to walk to work in snow! Did you hear me, SNOW people, I'm talking SNOW! It wasn't too bad, actually. I made the walk because I couldn't figure out where the bus rerouted too and I figured I'd be better off walking in the snow rather than standing in it. I'm proud to say I didn't slip once. And I'll be able to tell someone's grandkids (not mine, someone else's) that I had to walk to work uphill in snow when I was their age.

We watched True Romance last night. That movie doesn't do well with age. I remembered I liked it when I first saw it, then it went to "It's OK status", but then after last night it's now in "not sure when I'd watch that again" status. Maybe it has something to do with having all the best actors in the movie in supporting roles and instead having to sit through two hours of Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette. I'd rather bludgeon myself with my Starbucks coffee mug (it was a White Elephant gift) than watch each one individually for two hours, let alone together. Christopher Walken, Dennis Hopper, and Brad Pitt almost make that movie redeeming. It's not a bad movie, just not really a good one anymore.

I'm at my desk at work, and everyonce in a while it smells like dog shit. I can't figure out why.

Last thing: so our new apartment is a 1 bedroom, a big change from our 2+ den monstrosity of an apartment we were in before. So, we've obviously had to downsize and condense, and that meant taking some stuff to the dump.

Now, if any of you have been to the dump in AZ, it's basically just a big landfill and you set your stuff somewhere and then drive off. Not in Seattle though. Like pretty much everything else up here, it's much cooler than that.

You get to drive into this big warehouse where they've got different sections for recyclable stuff, like motor oil, glass, tires, metal, etc. But for all the garbage, they have this huge pit, about 60 feet down at least, that you just throw your shit into. And there's this bulldozer down there that takes it all and pushes it into the compactor.

So what does this mean?

It means that, until you've thrown an entertainment center into a 60 foot pit and watched it explode on impact, until you've thrown a huge glass cutting board and watch it shatter into about 10,000 parts, until you've thrown a wooden beam like a javelin into a pit of garbage and watch it tumble end over end, you haven't really lived yet.

Trust me on that.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Cut Off The Tongue To Spite The Waist

I've been steadily gaining weight since high school, interrupted with a brief weight-loss period in 04 when I was half-assedly trying to train for a half marathon. But despite this, I would hear others remark to me on occasion that I looked like I had lost weight. I accepted the comments graciously, but I always felt that, more often than not, saying that it looked like I had lost weight was a hollow, vacant compliment. I guess it's better than saying "wow, it looks like you've gained some baldness" or "hey, looks like you still can't see without optical assistance" or "hey, it looks like you finally got rid of that caterpillar-looking goatee", but even then, no compliment was better than trying to tell me that I've lost weight when I haven't.

Since September, I've had several opportunities to see people I haven't seen in a long time. I saw most of my good friends back in October, and in December I've become acquainted with a couple of friends I haven't seen in months. Not once did I hear someone ask me if I've lost weight. It's because I haven't. But you really know you're packing on the weight when people don't even try to lie and compliment you about the weight you haven't lost.

I assume that each January there are probably thousands upon thousands of people that make a New Year's Resolution to finally lose weight. "This is the year!" they all say, as if the stroke of midnight, January 1st, 2007, they'll be magically blessed with the motivation to exercise 3x a week and the will power to stay away from pizza and coke and beer and burgers and chocolate. I've done this before too. I've tried it all. I've tried to challenge myself to abstaining from some particular food for X amount of days . I've tried any number of self-developed exercise schedules. I've even tried linking my fitness to the affection of a woman. None of that works. So I've decided what I need to do to lose weight:

I need to have my tastebuds surgically removed.

It's the only way. I need to stop deriving so much pleasure from foods I eat. If I can't taste the difference between a bag of carrots or two slices of pizza, then it doesn't really matter what I eat, right? It's not that the food I eat is unhealthy, it's that I love unhealthy food, and I love it because it tastes good. Yeah, salads and fruits and chicken, that all tastes good, but pizza tastes good, pad see yew tastes good, turkey & bacon stuffed croissants taste good, Coke tastes good. How am I supposed to eat healthy when there's so much good food just begging to be eaten?

But that's also undoubtedly an expensive, and probably painful surgery. It'll take years to save up that kind of money, and I doubt it's covered by my health insurance.

I could use sandpaper I guess. Or an emory board. Or some Brillo. Maybe a Mach 4 razor? I don't know if I've got the stones to do that.

Ugh......Fine! I'll start eating healthy. But I'm NOT gonna like it.

Friday, January 5, 2007

Gadzooks! You Found Me!


In all likelihood, you're reading this blog because I've directed you here if you want to read what I have to say. Or you don't want to read what I have to say but feel compelled to read it anyways. It's like in "Private Parts", where they're trying to explain why people who hate Howard Stern listen more than those who do; they want to see what he'll say next. You want to see what I'll say next. Although I can't imagine why. I'm far less interesting or controversial than Howard Stern. And I get less chicks.

Either way, this will be the new home for all my musings about really inconsequential stuff, like bathroom etiquette and the weather in Seattle. Perhaps I'll through in a couple of tantrums about the Suns' recent loss or why I still find it confusing that some people we identify as "Asians" don't like to be called "Oriental". Yes, I know the refrain "Asian is for people, Oriental is for rugs." But you do realize that the area of the world where China, Japan, Taiwan, and others reside is known as The Orient, right? When did this become a racial epithet and why? I'm not trying to be insensitive, I respect one's feelings if they don't like to be called that. But according to Wikipedia, which IMO is the highest authority on knowledge these days, this phenomenon is really only an American cultural thing. It's not a big deal to call someone Oriental in France or Luxembourg or Morocco. Why is that? These are things I want to know. These are things you'll find me talking about.

Or maybe I'll just talk about how big of a whore Britney Spears is, and that the only reason we still talk about her is BECAUSE she is a whore. What has she done in the entertainment industry over the past 3-4 years besides flash her 'gina to the camera and make home movies about the possibility of time travel? A premise of being succesful in the current state of pop music is to take advantage of new singing talents when they're younger, pump out a few generic-sounding catchy songs, and then let them enjoy their millions as they wish while we all move on to the next one. Some get lucky and carve out a nice little career (see: Justin Timberlake) but most we don't really hear from again (see: Debbie Gibson). Why can't Britney follow the latter path? You don't have a career anymore, just go away and let everyone enjoy their Hillary Duffs and their Lindsey Lohans. She can't really believe that everyone's laughing with her, can she?

But, more often than not, this is the place to go just to see how me and ma'lady are doing. These days, we're working on finding a new apartment. You may know this already, but this little town of Seattle got hit pretty harshly by some windstorms, which either included or was followed by that infamous (yet overestimated) Seattle rain. We were one of the lucky ones who didn't lose power, but instead we started losing our apartment like it was made of straw. First, the roof partly fell off, but don't worry, it broke it's fall by landing on my car. I can still drive, but I've got some unsightly scrapes along the roof. Then, the water started seeping in. Our neighbors above us were worse off than we were. While we just got a couple drips, they got a collapsing ceiling. So, they've moved on and the landlord's gutted their apartment for repairs. The water's moved on to us, and we're now living in a unit with a hole in the living room celing, fans blowing the water away, a leaky floor in front of our bathroom, and a machine to suck out the moisture of our apartment. And none of that's working, so we're left to find a new place. But it looks like we've lucked out again, and hopefully by next week, we'll be living in a place that's around the corner from Wac's work and closer to the neighborhood that we love.

Anyways, it's time for lunch. I'm Matt. You stay classy, San Diego.

And thanks for stopping by.

But mostly, stay classy.

(thanks for stopping by)

(stay classy)