Wednesday, July 21, 2004
Black Ops went out to Hooters last night, for, as Deathfighter put it, "beer, wings and tittie." Fun was had by all. Once we get into the apartment, we're hoping to start a web comic, so you'll be able to follow our adventures in fictional form. For example, last night, some tools outside starting gesturing at Deathfighter through the window. He went outside, and when he did, they ran and nothing came of it. In the comic, he would have removed their spines from their bodies in bloody fashion. That would've been fun.
I picked up NFL 2K5 for my Xbox today and I may play it a little tonight, once I get some other stuff out of the way. Once I play, I'll let you know what I think of it. From what most of the reviews say, both 2K5 and Madden are amazing, but 2K5 might be a little better. Plus, it was only $20. Not bad.
Monday, July 19, 2004
Onto stuff that doesn't involve me apologizing for lateness. Pooz, Moore and I signed our lease yesterday, and I've done ever more packing. In fact, I'm down to not quite bare essentials, but I'm pretty close. My PS2 and GameCube are all packed, as are my 40 GB iPod and my iPod mini and my G4 Cube. I'm down to three active computers, and I'll probably move both of the iMacs over to the pile of boxes by the end of the week, leaving me with just the iBook for my last week here.
Back to the apartment in general, I'll be moving in on July 31, after working a 9-3 shift that day. Then I'll have the rest of the week off, at some point which Pooz will probably move in. He was going to paint his room, but after reading the lease, it seems like there's a lot of damn paperwork to do that, so he may skip that now. Also the first week there should be interesting. The cable and Internet aren't going to be hooked up until August 3rd, so there'll probably be a lot of DVD watching and video game playing (and a lot of not updating my web site, sorry).
So, since I haven't updated you guys on anything in a week, I should probably tell you all the exciting things I did. Ummm.... and we're done. Other than packing, I didn't really do much last week, as far as I can remember.
Oh, wait, I did do one thing that became a very long thing: I bought NCAA Football 2005 for Xbox. Oh, man, this is the best football game I've ever played. I already played through an entire season with UConn and I'm three games into my second season. In my first season I went 12-0 and finished No. 2 in the polls. In a very realistic simulation of real college football, I took about nine weeks to break into the polls, then, even as one of two undefeated teams in the nation, I couldn't break into the title game. I did beat C-USA champ Southern Miss (the other undefeated team) in the Suger Bowl, though. In my second season, I scheduled much tougher, playing No. 1 Texas and No. 5 Miami in my first two games. Despite starting the season unranked (I lost my starting QB and half my starting defense, so I don't blame the pollsters for that one) I'm already in the top 10. I should be a unanimous No. 1 by halfway through the season. Oh, also very realistic, Terry Caulley, my tailback, ran for 2500 yards and 30 TDs, but finished second in the Heisman voting, because he didn't have enough national pub. He did win the Maxwell Award, so that was a nice consolation.
The new features in NCAA 2005 -- Homefield Advantage and Player Discipline -- are very cool, but rather ancillary to the game in general. With a good tailback, homefield advantage is pretty easy to overcome, because you slow the game down. Player discipline is a little tougher. For example, I let Caulley slide on just about everything (he should have been suspended twice for academic violations) and now I'm on two year NCAA probation. I didn't lose any scholarships or postseason appearances, but if I slip up again this year, I could. Which means if Caulley slips up, I have to suspend him.
An extra nice plus in NCAA 2005 is they have I-AA teams, with fairly accurate uniforms, stadiums and logos. In fact, the first game I played was Morgan State vs. Towson, at Johnny Unitas Stadium (and the announcers actually called it that, which was very cool). I destroyed Morgan State, which was extra awesome.
Wrapping up here (sure I've missed a week, but you're not here to read a dissertation), DGOW and Versus are updated. Be sure to vote. Also, check the "Wear Yellow" link on the right side. I have my bracelet. Be sure to get yours. I'll try to have another update tomorrow, should life warrant one.
Monday, July 12, 2004
As I promised, DGOW and Versus have been updated. Actually, Versus was updated around 2:00, and the DGOW was posted to the downloads page around the same time, I just didn't get around to updating the front page until now.
I'm watching the MLB Home Run Derby right now, which ESPN is showing in high definition. It's pretty cool just be able to see how good sports can look in HD, and the home run derby is a pretty cool event. Just seeing guys crush the ball is awesome. Bonds came real close to hitting the $1,000,000 sign in right field, and then said he'd take aim for it in the second round. That'll be something to watch for.
So the Carlos Boozer saga is starting to get out of control. Recapping: the Cavs declined to pick up Boozer's minimum salary option, so they could offer him a more fair contract. Boozer agreed, and said he'd sign with the Cavs. Then the market went crazy, and the Jazz offered Boozer $20 million more than the Cavs could. Now, rather than decline and stick with his agreement with Cleveland, Boozer said he'd sign Utah's offer sheet. Then, after a weekend of being lambasted by the press and public, Boozer's agent (who is also Kobe's agent) resigned as his agent and SFX, the agent's company, cut ties with Boozer. Now Cleveland is offering Boozer a one-year, $5 million deal which would be less than he'd get from Utah this year, but he'd become an unrestricted free agent next year, when Cleveland could actually offer him more than this year, but the open market might not be as crazy.
Right now, I'm split on my feelings. One half of me says the Cavs should cut ties with Boozer, publicly declare him a traitor and then state that their mid-level exception is up for grabs to any power player who is an "honest, stand-up person," cutting right at Boozer and killing his endorsement capabilities. Then again, there's no one out there as good as Boozer, and if there's a chance they can keep him around, my other half asks, why not go for it? This is probably the debate going on in the Cavs offices right now. If Boozer decides to sign with Utah, even with the Cavs' latest offer, Cleveland has to come out firing, but in a way that makes it seem like they're a family and they were wronged so they send a message to the rest of the NBA future free agents that Boozer made a mistake and Cleveland is a place to play for years to come. Of course, the prospect of playing alongside LeBron should make Cleveland a place to be by itself.
Yesterday was Sharkbait's birthday party and we played a big game of football on his lawn. Borawski took some video, so hopefully I can post something on here once I get my hands on the edited footage. I had some decent throws, but I paid for it. My shoulder is killing me right now, as are my back and my knees. Still, it was worth it. Surprisingly my neck doesn't hurt, despite getting nailed by the ball on a pass. If we'd been playing NFL rules, I would've been called for pass interference for not turning my head toward the play. But we weren't even playing tackle.
Just to let you know, I didn't forget about DGOW and Versus. They're coming later in the day. Right now I'm working on getting a timeline history of my book up. It should be ready by tomorrow.
Oh, and if you didn't notice, the iTunes Music Store hit 100,000,000 songs sold. The song count on the front page of Apple.com doesn't seem to be being updated anymore, but the actual count does, so I'm leaving it up on the right for a few more days.
Saturday, July 10, 2004
On the other hand, I'm all about getting a Rafer Alston Raptors jersey. I just don't have any confidence in Vince Carter staying in Toronto, and I'm a big fan of Skip 2 My Lou. Some of the stuff he does on the court is just amazing. Sure, he's probably a little overpaid with his new contract, but he may also break out and become an 18-point, nine-assist player like his talent would suggest.
Oh, so I don't know what's up with Netflix taking so long to receive my DVDs that I just sent back. They went out on Wednesday, and they still haven't received them yet, at least according to my queue. Hopefully they'll get them on Monday and I'll have some new shit to watch. I'm also hoping my check for my stock sale will come Monday. I paid for overnight delivery, but I guess since it didn't get approved until Thursday night, it didn't go out until Friday, and they don't do Saturday delivery. But once I get it, I'll be real close to paying off my bills. And once that happens, it's G5 time!
Wednesday, July 07, 2004
Last night, just after I posted, I watched the original theatrical ending for "The Butterfly Effect." While the director's cut was much more depressing, I thought the ending was more effective than the one from the theatrical edition. I won't spoil either ending for you, but I will say, if you haven't seen the movie yet, watch the director's cut first, then watch the ending for the theatrical edition. Don't do it the other way around, because the alternate ending won't make sense without some other scenes that have been added to the director's cut.
I watched all my Netflix movies today, and I have to say, I actually enjoyed all of them. Sure "The Princess Diaries" was sappy, but Anne Hathaway is really cute. And "The Core" was completely ridiculous in terms of its science, but it was fun to watch (and hey, the black guy in the group wasn't the first one to die). Last was "Collateral Damage," which was my least favorite of the three. It was OK, but I'd rather watch "Predator" or "T2" or just about any other Arnold action flick.
Oh, by the way, "The Real Slim Shady" moved back ahead of "Cleanin' Out My Closet" into the No. 5 spot on my most played list, 35-34. Although, if you added up different versions of the identical song (not remixes), Britney's "I'm a Slave 4 U" would be No. 5. The version from "Britney" has been played 33 times, the album version off the "I'm a Slave 4 U" single has been played once and the album version from the "Overprotected" single has been played twice. This is basically a Britney phenomenon for me. At least three of her songs would jump up a few spots if I combined playcounts. But I don't do it that way.
Tuesday, July 06, 2004
OK, time for a sports rant/mini-column. If you're only here for Desktop Girls and the like, skip to here.
For years, the NBA has been wrangling with the debate over an age limit for incoming players, and the debate once again flared up when the Lakers flirted with hiring Coach K. Some experts said Coach K was only thinking about leaving because the college game is falling apart, mostly due to players leaving college early or skipping it altogether.
I think something needs to happen to fix this: there were eight high school players drafted in the first round last month, and most of them probably won't even see the court in the '04-05 season. This comes right after the two high school players other than LeBron taken last year were non-factors.
Still, an age limit is arbitrary. Should it be 21? If so, Magic Johnson wouldn't have joined the NBA alongside Larry Bird and who knows how different the '80s would have been. Maybe the age limit should be 20. If that's the case, then we don't get either LeBron or Carmelo last year, both of whom were teenagers when they entered the league. Besides, it's been proven with guys like LeBron, Carmelo, KG and Kobe that an 18-year-old is capable of being physically ready to play in the league.
So how do you stem the tide of guys who aren't ready? Well, I have a plan. (Of course I do. Why else would I have been writing this long?) And with the CBA up for renegotiation next year, there's a chance this could actually happen.
Step one: rework the rookie contract scale to include a sliding scale of both years and pay based on pre-NBA experience. Right now first-round picks get a three-year deal with a team option for the fourth, and it's all guaranteed. Well, what if we did this:
•College juniors and seniors get the current deal (maximum of four years before free agency).
•College sophomores get a three-year deal, with the first year at 90 percent of the junior/senior rate, and the team has two option years (max five years).
•College freshmen get a three-year deal, with the first year at 80 percent, the second year at 90 percent, and two option years (max five years).
•High school seniors and international players who are 18 years old get a three-year deal, with the first year at 75 percent, the second year at 85 percent, and the third year at 95 percent, with three team option years.
There's one other piece to make this work: better use of the NBDL, aka the D-League. Right now the only thing the D-League is developing is end-of-the-bench fill-ins and semi-competent role players for lottery teams. Under my system, the NBA teams would be able to send players under rookie contracts down to the D-League for limited amounts of time. Something like this might be the system:
•Junior/Senior players couldn't be sent down. People with three to four years of experience don't need more at the D-League level, especially if they're first-round talent.
•College sophomores could only be sent down in their rookie year, and if they weren't recalled by Feb. 1, the team would lose the second option year on the contract, and the first option year (the fourth year overall) would become a player option.
•College freshman could be sent down for any length during their rookie year, but if recalled to the NBA team, they'd have to remain on the roster (in other words, no up-and-down stuff). A player who starts the season with the NBA team could be sent down to the D-League once -- without this violating the up-and-down rule -- but could not be sent down after January 1. During their second year in the league, standard college sophomore rules would apply.
•High school players would be able to be sent down at any time during their rookie year and be recalled at any time. After being recalled, they could only be sent down once more, and at that point, they could not be added to the playoff roster for their NBA team. If a high school player spent more than four months in the D-League, he'd void the final option year of his contract and his second option year (fifth year of the contract) would become a player option. If he spent less than four months in the D-League, he'd move on to college freshman rules, with the exception of having two more guaranteed years left, and three option years. Also, once a high school player moved into the college sophomore category, he couldn't go back to the D-League, as no third-year player could be sent down.
Sure, this would take a lot of compromise on the players' part, but the NBA could get them to go along with it by doing two things: first, raise the max salary for veteran players (seven years and above) and second, grant unrestricted free agency to all players with two years or more of experience. This would mean that any player not drafted in the first round would still have a chance to prove himself and cash in big after just two years. Some high school players may still take this risk, and some might be willing to live with the restrictive contract rules for a first rounder, but most would go to college for at least one, if not two years.
OK, back to more stuff about me. My mom, sister and niece got back from Florida today, and my mom picked me up a Lamar Odom jersey. A picture will be added to the NBA gallery shortly. I also went to Champs today to see if there were any other jerseys I wanted, since I found out today I'm only 12 teams away from the entire NBA. Hopefully I'll have all of them by the end of the '04-05 season.
I also picked up "The Butterfly Effect" on DVD, which is actually a pretty good movie. Ashton Kutcher does a better job than you'd expect. Oh, and I had fun at Best Buy when I went to pick it up, because they had a PS2 set up with "Fight Night 2004" playing. The guy playing before me was losing a fight as Roy Jones, Jr. in the 5th round. I can't remember the name of the guy I was fighting, but I do know I knocked him down nine times in three rounds. Yeah, it was crazy bad
Monday, July 05, 2004
Seriously, why are we having a second holiday? Where is it mandated that banks have to have a weekday off for every major holiday? Wasn't Sunday enough? Is the 4th of July less important because it landed on a weekend, like America couldn't be bothered with fireworks and the related pomp because it's not Monday through Friday?
If you couldn't tell, I think the 5th of July being a "holiday" this year is ridiculous, mostly because the mall was insanely busy and the stock market was closed. I'm waiting for some stocks to go up before I sell, so I can pay off my debt (I've mentioned this like 20 times in the past month, if you've been following along).
I've only owned the game for three days, but I already beat the story mode in "Spider-man 2." That's what happens when you play from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Friday and then repeat that on Sunday. The gameplay style is very addicting. You just keep playing "one more mission." The coolest thing about this game, though, is the replay value. After you defeat the storyline, you get a new chapter, "The First Day of the Rest of Your Life." The only goal on this chapter is to earn 50,000 hero points, which, conservatively, estimates out to about 200 missions. That's actually lots of fun. Grabbing purse snatchers, beating up thugs, and tracking down hidden secrets is a lot of fun. Plus, you can set goals for yourself, like beating all the Mary Jane meeting missions, or beating all the Pizza missions. Still, as awesome as the game is (and it's one of the best I've played in awhile), the movie is better.
Want proof the movie's better? Read this. $180 million. That's just a crazy amount of money. The movie cost $200 million to make. It shouldn't become profitible after a week, but that's what "Spider-man 2" is looking at. If you haven't seen it yet, what the hell are you waiting for? The IMAX edition? Oh wait, that's coming too.
Saturday, July 03, 2004
As if "Spider-Man 2" the movie wasn't awesome enough, the game also rocks. I picked it up for Xbox, which was probably a good move, because it's 480p and Dolby Digital for that system. It looks stunning, the gameplay is great, and the semi-linear style is perfect for capturing the "Spider-man" feel. The only quibble I have with the game is the hand-to-hand combat system isn't great.
Still, the movie is so good it dwarfs the game. I'm gonna go see it again today. And maybe again after that. And after that. And this is why it's gonna become the second-highest grossing movie of all-time. It's been out for three days, and I know multiple people who've already seen it twice, and plan on seeing it again. It's that good, and worth seeing in the theaters.
Friday, July 02, 2004
Thursday, July 01, 2004
In more important personal news, I'm back to being a Mac Genius. Obviously I can't get into all the details, but a position came open in the store, and I decided I'd be happier as a Genius than a keyholder. Plus, the title is so much cooler!
As for apartment stuff, I'm already packing, even though we haven't heard back on our application yet. I'm only packing things right now that I don't need (like my CDs and my books) and I don't see any reason our application would be denied, so I'm trying to get ready early.
If you get a chance, check out my buddy DJ's column on Page 2. He's been writing a little bit more for them lately, but still manages to put out SportsPickle on a weekly basis. If you're not a SportsPickle regular, you should be. It's a great site (and I'm the webmaster. Go now, dammit. Or go when you finish reading my site, whatever).
Oh, and Eric, if you happen to be reading this: HA-HA! Coach K's leaving Duke! I'm so happy! "Coach L.A." is gonna be a total bust. It's awesome, baby! (Sorry, I had to slip a Dookie V reference in there).