Me and My Nine Iron

December 27, 2010

The forecast

Filed under: On the 6 o'clock news — BJ @ 7:06 am
Tags:
Mon Tue Wed

Partly Cloudy

Showers

AM Rain/Wind
High: 60°

Low: 46°
High: 57°

Low: 50°
High: 53°

Low: 39°

Hopefully, like Vegas (and many other times), the weatherman is wrong.

BJ

December 26, 2010

Movie reviews

Another quick month, and as the year winds down, it becomes harder for me to suppress my stress from the disappointing progress of my work, as evidenced by the white hairs that slowly permeate my full head of hair. I am surprised that I’ve managed to keep up to date with this though. Here’s to hoping my messed up priority does me any good down the road.

Buried

I couldn’t stop thinking about this movie for days. If you’re tired of the mindless action and overdone effects, look no further. There isn’t one shot that leaves Ryan Reynolds in a box and a few items meant to help him get out, albeit not on his own. His job: to be found and rescued before the oxygen runs out. A very low-key movie with under a $2 million budget, Reynolds showcases his acting ability with a raw and embarrassing-to-film performance in the type of role the Academy should but won’t consider for top actor.

The controversial ending didn’t sit well with any of the dozen high school kids I sat in the theater with, giving such remarks as, “I could’ve been studying” or “Ryan Reynolds, you suck.” Yeah, because actors have control over how they want the movie to end. If you yearn for great storytelling, check it out.

Con: Less than 90 minutes long.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Easy A

I was surprised to hear so many friends and people I know interested in watching this female-led comedy. They all loved it and when I finally caught it, I realized what all the buzz was about. It’s a feel good movie that has just enough laugh-out-loud moments to make it a solid comedy. Critics hail Emma Stone as a stand-alone star now, and I have to admit my attractiveness to her is growing.

First-time screenwriter Bert V. Royal claims to have written the entire screenplay, except for the last ten pages, in five days, which is just jaw-droppingly impressive. He also stated the word “fuck” appeared 47 times in the original draft, but it wasn’t used once in the final cut. Director Will Gluck put forth a solid sophomore movie, his first being Fired Up!, and I can’t wait for his next writing/directing project to come out next summer, the star-studded Friends with Benefits.

It’s funny that Penn Badgley is shown as one of the stars of this movie when he probably has a total of five minutes of screen time. Lisa Kudrow gives a performance as awkward as Amanda Bynes looks, and local Aly Michalka (Hellcats) looks bangin’ in this movie.

Con: Less than 90 minutes long.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Let Me In

Chloe Moretz is hands down the best actress of 2010. No female has had three more solid roles this year than the 13-year-old in Kick-Ass (8.1 IMDb), Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Let Me In (7.4). As much as I liked this remake of the 2008 Swedish movie, the critics loved it. Hear from none other than Stephen King, who said, “Not just a horror film, but the best American horror film in the last 20 years.” Wow. Surprisingly, it never found an audience and barely covered its $20 million budget.

I loved the simple and innocent dialogue between the two kids, but therein lies the problem. The superficiality of their relationship failed to engage me emotionally. Regardless, Moretz is so sought after she could release eight movies in the next 18 months. Ridiculous.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

The Other Guys

Adam McKay‘s fourth collaboration with Will Ferrell is along the lines of the first three, solid with a few hiccups. The first half of the movie is non-stop hilarity and then just like Step Brothers, it finishes with a slower pace of laughs. I don’t understand the nature of McKay’s formula, which is the only thing keeping him from producing 5-star comedies, but that’s what it is for now. Mark Wahlberg, who was also in Date Night earlier this year, is now a proven comedian while Eva Mendes gave an awkward performance as Ferrell’s counterbalance.

This movie was given a whopping $100 million budget and maybe more surprisingly, turned in $169 million at the box office. This is the movie that knocked Inception off the No. 1 spot and if you didn’t know Adam McKay before, hopefully, now you know. He is among the king of one-liners in the game right now, and Richard Roeper had this to say about his film in comparison to Cop Out, “”Note to Kevin Smith: THIS is how you do a spoof of the buddy-cop genre.”

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

TRON (1982)

Another movie I was hooked for days on. I didn’t even know the new one was based on an existing movie and I thought the idea of killer frisbees was dumb, but now I’m pumped to see it. If you can get over the concept of computer machines resembling human life form and fighting each other and the impressive-for-1982 special effects, it was a well-made movie in being based on a video game.

I really liked the cast in this groundbreaking film to which the head of Pixar’s and Disney’s animation group said, “without Tron there would be no Toy Story.” Scary. You can play a flash game here:

http://www.classicgamesarcade.com/game/21670/Tron-Game.html

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Bruno Mars – Doo-Wops & Hooligans

A solid debut album for the already well-known artist, with versatile range from R&B (Our First Time) and reggae (Liquor Store Blues) to pop rock (Count on Me) and pop (Just the Way You Are). I’m just disappointed with the lack of new material, only seven new tracks, and he may have turned some people away with the wrong choice for his first single, the sappiest song on the album.

Favorite (new) tracks: Grenade, Just the Way You Are, Runaway Baby

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Who said pianos aren’t portable?

BJ

December 23, 2010

Las Vegas day review

I think I’m allergic to Las Vegas. It could’ve been the rainy weather I accidentally played in when I got back on Monday, but it was likely Vegas. After my last visit four months ago, I had a peculiar and frightening viral infection that the doctor attributed to checking in and out of the air conditioned hotels. Surely, you could come up with something better than that, Doc. Fortunately, this one lasted less than 24 hours, but you better believe I’ll be on high alert when I come back next time.

BOA Steakhouse

http://www.boasteak.com/balboa/index.htm

We wanted to have one nice meal on this trip and after learning we’d have to wait two hours in line to eat at Paris Hotel, which means we’d be having breakfast at 3p, we decided to do our nice meal for lunch. Some of us wanted to indulge in a steak so we walked over to Caesars Palace and ate at the swanky BOA Steakhouse. Steak recently joined omelettes and burgers over $10 among other things on my list I try not to order at a restaurant because it’s overpriced and I could get it elsewhere for cheaper. Although I didn’t too well on that on this trip because I also had a $16 burger the night before. And no, I will not put pasta on that list.

I was excited to try this place though because it was a step up from Ruth’s Chris, the best steakhouse I’ve tried to date. Of course, I ended up being the only person of us five to actually order a dinner steak. Was it better? Hard to say when you’re already on such a high level of grading, but it was tasty. I fell in love from the first time my knife sank into that New York Steak like melted butter.

I got the 40 Day Dry Aged New York Strip ($46) with a Blackened Rub ($1) on the side and Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes ($9), which serves 3-4 people. I was also pleasantly surprised to get an entire cooked garlic with my steak, which was more than enough for me to share with everyone. I was stuffed after my 14 oz. steak, and everything tasted great. Prices vary at the celeb hotspot West Hollywood and Santa Monica locations.

Some reviewable items the others ordered:
Oysters on the Half Shell (Appetizer) – Delish.
Spaghetti & Kobe Meatballs ($16) – Meatballs didn’t taste any different, and the dish was okay. But isn’t that what you get for ordering spaghetti at a steakhouse?

Ambience: Besides the front of the restaurant which is where we sat because it was relatively empty, the bar and the main dining area look real chic and intimate.
Service: One of the best waiters I’ve had in a while, I know this sounds weird, but he made me feel comfortable. He had excellent product knowledge and was willing to take the initiative and go down the list of steaks with how big each was. Although, that wouldn’t be necessary if they just put it on the menus to begin with.
Recommended: For steak lovers or anyone wanting to go to a nice restaurant.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Le Reve

Ka, this is the oohing and aahing I was talking about.

Story

Completely confusing until the end put it all together, but you still scratch your head as to the number of things that could’ve actually happened.

Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Aesthetics

With the center stage as a one million-gallon water tank with emerging platforms when necessary, the main spectacle is the commonly used hole in the ceiling, where performers and props come in and out of. It’s hundreds of feet high and suspends performers to pick up divers from the pool and drop them at insane heights.

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Routine

I had a debate with my friend I saw it with about how appreciable the theatrical dancing portion of the show is. I understand it’s necessary, but I thought this one could’ve been done better. Besides some of those slow moments, I was really amazed at the athleticism and build of the male performers, probably another weird thing to say. Anyway, the whole time I was thinking that they’d probably need to hire just divers, buff gymnasts and synchronized swimmers. Speaking of the latter, can someone tell me if there’s something underwater because these swimmers were often underwater for minutes at a time?

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Overall

My parents loved it when they went to go see it last year. Me and my friend loved it. If you’ve already watched the major Cirque du Soleil shows or want an excuse to go to Wynn, this show’s worth checking out. No seat is more than 40 feet from the stage and while I thought the first two rows, named Splash Zone, was $30 cheaper than all the other seating because you get wet, it’s really because you can’t get the best view being on the floor with the stage. I didn’t forget about you, Holly.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

As Notorious B.I.G. once said, “We can rendezvous at the bar around two.” Well, our bar happened to be a little more of a sinful pleasure, if you know what I’m saying. Allow me to say this. Some guys can have sex without having any emotional attachment. I can’t even achieve that after a dance from a stripper. After Googling her, I found out her and her girls were in The Bounty Hunter, a movie I might have to watch now just to spot her. The pictures in that article were less than flattering and while I’m pretty sure I know which one’s her, I’m really hoping that it’s not because I really found her attractive. Plus, it was eight months ago. Maybe, she could’ve gotten a lot hotter in eight months, right?

I could’ve posted T-Pain‘s I’m ‘n’ Luv (Wit a Stripper), but after the pictures, this one more closely resembles my current sentiment.

BJ

December 17, 2010

This weekend’s forecast

Filed under: On the 6 o'clock news — BJ @ 11:20 am
Tags:

FRI              SAT               SUN

Rain          Showers   Rain

High: 58 High: 63   High: 61
Low: 53     Low: 52       Low: 51

Hey, at least I’m mixing it up between the rain and the showers. Have fun Christmas shopping!

BJ

December 13, 2010

Dr. Dre – Kush

Filed under: For your pleasure — BJ @ 7:35 pm
Tags: ,

It’s been seven years coming for Detox, the third and final album from the 45-year-old legendary producer to be released in February 2011. And, it’ll be 12 years since his last album, 2001. Here’s his first single, Kush, with Snoop Dogg and that faggot that throws people off stage Akon.

BJ

December 9, 2010

Lakers vs. Clippers 12/8

Last night, I went to the Lakers’ and Clippers’ first meeting this season and boy, was it a good one. After a Lakers’ 8-0 start to open the game, my worst fear was being realized: an uncompetitive game, not surprisingly, of the defending champs punishing the league’s worst team. Thankfully, the Clippers got back into it and even led for most of the second half with the help of the Lakers’ off night. There were exciting finishes at the end of both quarters in the second half, as Baron Davis nailed a three pointer with one second left, only to have Shannon Brown heave the ball for a miraculous make from well behind midcourt to end the third quarter.

While the Clippers held a two-point lead at halftime, the numbers were ugly. Both teams were shooting under 40% from the field, with the Lakers shooting 53% from the free throw line. Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom all didn’t bring their ‘A’ game for whatever reason and sadly, they still ended up beating the lowly Clippers with their lowest effort, albeit with the help of an unlikely Derek Fisher buzzer beater.  Gasol, Odom and Ron Artest combined to shoot 9-for-31 (.290), and Bryant played a quiet 31 minutes.

The Clippers looked lost on offense at times due to their two main needs: lack of another go-to scorer and a true point guard. Blake Griffin‘s still unreliable and Eric Gordon has got to be the least feared number one scorer on a team. There were several times in this game where they moved the ball around well but then had to rush a bad shot to avoid the shot clock violation. It’s like no one wanted to take the shot. As for their point guard problems, I know it’s unfair to grade Eric Bledsoe this early and he might even end up losing his job to Davis, but here’s to hoping he becomes their Russell Westbrook. For now, he’s unable to make plays and isn’t looking to score, even though he seems capable of attacking the rim which he showed flashes of in this game. Davis, meanwhile, despite superior handles, can’t shoot or pass the ball accurately. If only they morphed into one player.

On paper, this was the Clippers’ first sellout of the season, although I can tell you thousands of people didn’t show up to the game. They need to make attendance the number of people who actually went to the game, which should be easy since they scan every ticket that comes through. For those that were there, it actually felt like a playoff atmosphere, especially at the end…I sat next to a Lakers fan to the left of me and a Clippers fan to the right of me. I have to admit there was a lot of sexual tension and prolonged stares from the two, I was starting to feel a little comfortable…Lastly, some player notes from the game.

Gasol – One of the best big men in the game certainly did not show up for this one with a lackluster 10 points on 4-for-13 shooting and hopefully, receiving a wake-up call when he got swatted nasty by Griffin.
Odom – Probably the most versatile player in the game also took a dump. He spent the whole game elbowing Griffin as he ran by and fouled out with a measly 8 and 6.
Artest – While Gasol might be the most underrated player in the game and is finally receiving some consideration, maybe, we need to start considering Artest to be among the overrated. I find his effect on the game minimal, and he showed a lot of bit of Dennis Rodman in this one, falling on Gordon and flopping like a fish out of water after getting a jump ball call.
Griffin – A sure thing to get the defensive board, in possession of an insane vertical and an electrifying player that should sell out seats in the coming years. The scary thing is he could get better. On his only breakaway, everyone quickly got off their seats in anticipation of something crazy, in which he settled for a light dunk. That’s LeBron James status, is it not?

I almost forgot…

Lakers 87

(16-6, 6-4 away)

Clippers 86

(5-18, 5-8 home)

BJ

December 7, 2010

GM test drive

Filed under: For your pleasure — BJ @ 5:49 pm
Tags: ,

As I mentioned a few months ago, car companies are in full swing to release the new year’s models. On Sunday, I went to Santa Anita Race Track to partake in GM’s annual Main Street in Motion, a weekend event where you can test drive 2011 cars from Chevrolet, Buick and GMC against all of its comparables for free. That’s right, they also have cars from Ford, Honda, Nissan, Toyota, Acura, Lexus, Volkswagen, Lincoln and Dodge.

It was a blast. In under four hours, I test drove most all the cars I wanted to;

Chevy Volt

I felt like I was at an amusement park waiting in line for the performance cars. Plus, they gave out unlimited hot dogs for free, and I spotted a high school classmate I used to kind of pick on, who’s now a buff homosexual. There were six closed courses to drive the 66 vehicles, not including the main attraction – the much-hyped Chevrolet Volt.

Here’s the list of the ten cars I test drove, along with some remarks if I felt like it:

  1. Chevrolet Cruze – A cheap sports car. Fun to drive, but noticeably slow. Well worth the estimated $15,500 starting price.
  2. Chevrolet Malibu
  3. Chevrolet Equinox
  4. Toyota RAV4 – Poor suspensions.
  5. Acura MDX – Considered by my sister to be the best practical car on the lot. MSRP starts at a steep $42,500.
  6. Nissan Murano
  7. Chevrolet Suburban
  8. Ford Expedition
  9. Chevrolet Corvette convertible – With a professional driver sitting next to me, I experienced what a true sports car is. What impressed me almost as equally as the acceleration speed was the steering; the feeling that I was in total control of my car.
  10. Chevrolet Volt – Unlike the Toyota Prius, this car is a true electric vehicle if driven less than 50 miles at a time. If you happen to drive no longer than that each time, consider this vehicle. You can charge your car every night for just $2 of electricity in your standard household outlet after you come home from work and theoretically, you would never have to fill up at the gas station. Starts at $41,500 less a $7,500 U.S. federal tax credit.

If you have any questions about any of the cars I drove or anything else, feel free to ask me in the Comments. I drove the heck out of all of them, including an off-road simulation course with the bigger cars.

BJ

December 3, 2010

Asher Roth – G.R.I.N.D.

Filed under: For your pleasure — BJ @ 3:52 pm
Tags:

Remember Asher Roth? The white guy who barely snuck his head in next to

Ash.

B.o.B. on XXL’s 2009 cover of up-and-coming rappers? The guy whose debut album, Asleep in the Bread Aisle, hit No. 5 in the U.S. last year? This summer, he dropped his first single, G.R.I.N.D. (Get Ready it’s a New Day), off his sophomore album, The Spaghetti Tree, which is being produced by Pharrell and Nottz. The release date is set for December 30.

As the holiday season hits the ground running, contrary to what we hear about “The Great Depression II” being over, many people are still down in the dumps financially. This one’s for those who see the light at the end of the tunnel.

It’s a much more mature sound from Roth, who although he’s probably not struggling himself, does a nice job portraying the common, unkempt man hustling, or grinding, if you will. The song has received universal praise, and it’s a nice start to carving out his own identity, which I hope he does in this album.

BJ

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