Archive for June, 2009

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My Boys Tunji & Toby (Inverse) video on MTVU!

June 30, 2009

What up ya’ll. Check out the homies’ video for “So Far.” They are in a competition to get regular play on MTV, so click here and vote for them

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Rob Zombie’s Halloween: A Big Rant

June 29, 2009

I grew up on horror films. I was watching the A Nightmare On Elm Street and Friday The 13th franchises when I was as young as four. I idolized Freddy Krueger and Jason Vorhees more than Batman and Superman. I can’t explain my early fascination with these seemingly unstoppable and deformed serial killers, but it was my thing as a kid. It’s kind of sick to think back about it now. My parents probably questioned their leniency in the matter when they came home one day to find out that I chopped their kitchen counter to shit with a butcher knife. I’ll never be able to explain why I did that, but somehow I turned out to be a harmless human being anyways. For whatever reason, Halloween was the last classic horror franchise that I got into and it now stands as my favorite and Michael Myers is by far my top horror icon. While I’ll never be able to understand what it was like to see John Carpenter’s original film for the first time in the late 70s, I can still appreciate it as an iconic movie to this day and possibly the best in the genre. When I heard Rob Zombie was going to remake/re-imagine the Halloween series I had mixed emotions: on one hand, it’s better to leave the classics alone, but that’s a lost cause in today’s Hollywood; on the other hand, I felt like if anyone was going to take the reigns, Zombie was a good choice. I wasn’t expecting the subtle chilliness that made the original so scary or even for the remake to be a good overall film, but I figured Zombie would give us a solid slasher pic with plenty of gore and breathe life into a franchise that has been on life support for about a decade.

The first third of the film is painful to watch. I certainly didn’t expect Zombie to dive into Michael Myers’ childhood and attempt to provide a reasonable explanation for his murderous ways. No thanks. One of the scariest things about the original Michael was that there wasn’t a good explanation for his homicidal activity… something about him was just… pure evil. In Zombie’s version, he spends forty minutes accomplishing what the original film did before the opening credits. We are introduced to the Myers gang and between his stripper mother, deceased father, verbally abusive and alcoholic stand-in dad figure, and promiscuous older sister–plus the added bonus of school bullies–I think we are somehow supposed to understand why Michael Myers just had to go a little nutty. Does Zombie really expect us to empathize with this kid? If not, then what’s the point? If that wasn’t problematic enough, Michael was 5 or 6 in the original version and when he killed his sister, we were left with the impression that he didn’t really understand the severity of what he just did. In the 2007 version, Michael is 10, clearly understands death and the consequences of his actions, and murders four people before finally being locked away in Smith’s Grove. Ugh. The first part of this movie just makes me sick to think about. It’s the ultimate butchering of a classic. Michael Myers has dialogue. He kisses his baby brother (or sister, I don’t fucking know). He has long hair and looks like the raggedy outcast from The Mighty Ducks with the power slap shot. The little shit even puts on the classic inside out Shatner mask and parades around like a Mini-Me version of his future adult self. Hopefully we get to see an infant Freddy Krueger in a crib wearing a glove of knives and a fedora in the upcoming A Nightmare On Elm Street remake. I could really go on and on about how much this shit sucks.

And I will. Once at Smith’s Grove, we are subject to even more unnecessary character development. We are introduced to Malcolm McDowell as Professor Sam Loomis (played fantastically by the late Donald Pleasence in the original series), a child psychotherapist that watches helplessly as Michael slowly dissolves into social withdrawal and the sanctity of the masks he insists on wearing at all times. Again, too much time is wasted trying to explain something that is better off without explanation. None of these scenes mean anything and when Michael ultimately kills the nurse in charge of him (why someone would turn their back on a kid with four homicides under his belt to read a newspaper is beyond me) and his mother cracks under the pressure and commits suicide, I’m still as emotionless as Michael Myers should be. Despite all the added “development,” Loomis’ obsession with Myers doesn’t have nearly the impact that it did in the original series. It all leads up to one important question: Who fucking cares?

Fortunately, the movie takes a turn for the better once it jumps forward 15 years. In the meantime, Michael Myers has become a mute and Loomis has published a book describing Michael as “the devil.” For some reason, one of the hillbilly security guards at Smith’s Grove thinks it would be a good idea to invite his friend out to rape one of the female patients… in Michael’s room… while he is unbound, working on a mask at his desk, with his hands free. Yeah, it’s always smart to rile up a 6’9″ 250+ pound serial killer that looks like The Undertaker. Obviously, Myers escapes and we finally get to the meat of the movie. Danny Trejo plays a different security guard that has been watching over Michael for 17 years, developing a Dane Cook “thanks for the Snickers” relationship with the pyschopath, and I liked how Myers doesn’t hesitate for a second before drowning him and smashing his face in with a TV. That’s the Michael Myers I know and love.

The rest of the movie plays out pretty similarly to the original. Lots of stalking his sister, Carpenter’s classic score, and ghastly death scenes. Scout Taylor-Compton isn’t nearly the actress Jamie Lee Curtis is and her Laurie Strode is kind of bland. It’s kind of dope to see Danielle Harris in a role. She played 10 year old Jamie Lloyd in Halloween 4 and Halloween 5 and returns in the new franchise as Laurie’s friend Annie Brackett. She’s such a good sport, that she even goes topless for several minutes while being chased by Myers.

All in all, Halloween is a pretty good remake once you get past the first forty minutes or so. Taylor Mane is a beast and makes Michael Myers more intimidating and scary than he ever was. I really liked the look of the mask in this movie too. I just hated the first third of this film so much that it kind of leaves of sour taste in my mouth. Thankfully, in Zombie’s upcoming sequel, we won’t have to wade through any corny background story and can get right into Michael Myers in beast mode. I’m looking forward to it.

Grade: 5 out of 10 (worth watching)

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Leaving Las Vegas updates

June 26, 2009

Click here for an update on my upcoming album.

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R.I.P. Michael Jackson

June 26, 2009

What kind of blogger would I be if I didn’t make a post about one of the greatest entertainers of all-time shortly after his shocking death? I’m not going to lie… MJ gave me the creeps. Accusations of child molestation aside, the guy didn’t even look human. It’s probably debatable that he hasn’t been dead for the past decade and his ghost has been walking the earth in the public eye for the past several years. Sadly, the man’s wacko persona has overshadowed his music-making abilities for quite some time, but upon his death, I think it’s important to remember what he accomplished for the music industry.

I was debating with some of my co-workers if there was anyone on earth that could die that would usurp MJ’s presence on all the news stations yesterday in reference to his death making Farrah Faucet’s passing a minor footnote… and the only reasonable name we could come up with was Barack Obama. Seriously, Michael Jackson was that big.

I remember when I was in elementary school I used to make fun of one of my good friends for listening to Michael Jackson. I thought his music was gay and I used to torment this kid incessantly for being a fan of MJ. Oh, how things change when you grow up. While I’m strongly engulfed in the world of hip-hop, I can still recognize quality music in other genres and not many (if any) people are as talented a performer as Michael Jackson was. His music is great and his dancing skills are probably unmatched. So I leave you with this video of MJ performing “Billie Jean” in 2001 live at Madison Square Garden. The dude was a beast and hopefully he will be remembered for his music instead of his crazy and questionable public life.

R.I.P. to a legend.

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Back to Back Wins!

June 23, 2009

So I won the morning poker tournament at Chips Casino yesterday. Well, sort of won it. The guy I was playing heads up wanted to chop, but when I hesitated for a few seconds he offered me $175 to his $125, which I immediately accepted. Today, I went to defend my crown and succeeded. Amazingly, no deals were discussed. No money back for third place, no chopping heads up… it was beautiful. Finally, I’m having some luck go my way at this tournament. I usually take brutal beats or get involved in unlucky situations when the money bubble approaches, but the last couple of days, I’ve been running extremely hot. For instance, yesterday on the money bubble, I opened 2.5x the big blind with KsTs and got one caller in the blinds. The flop came KdTd5d… which is an okay flop for my hand. I feel pretty safe with it, but lots of things could go wrong fast. Since the blinds were somewhat large at this point and any reasonable continuation bet might have married me to the pot, I decided to check behind my opponent and take a card off… and it was a beauty.. the Tc, giving me a full house and nothing to worry about. My opponent bet $200 into me and I decided just to call since I didn’t think he was all that strong. The river was a blank and he bet a weakish $200 again and I shoved on him. He called me instantly and showed AdJd for a flopped nut flush. Definitely wasn’t expecting that. Sorry for ya!

Hands of note from today:

I limp in LP with 6d4d and the flop comes T64. One of the limpers bets $50 and I decide to make it $225 to go. He immediately shoves on me for about $600ish. Not much to worry about here. I’d be pretty unlucky to run into 66 or 44 since half of those cards are already accounted for. Although I see some people limp in with TT, I didn’t think that was an option either… and T6 and T4 are pretty absurd holdings, so I insta-call and he tables JT and I hold.

I have K7os in the big blind with blinds at 50-100 and check it with 4 people in the pot. Checks to me on a flop of 743, with two clubs. I fire out $300 and get one caller. He’s not the type of person that plays small cards when the blinds get large, so I put him on a flush draw and shove it all in when a 6 hits on the turn. He instantly calls off about $1300 and I’m already heading towards the exit door before he flips over his hand. Then I see that he’s tabling an AJ with no draw and I’m like “what the fuck?” Then he proceeds to berate me for my play and acts like I’m the one that was making the mistake and he CAUGHT me. “I knew you didn’t have it.” Yeah, I don’t have the straight, but I got a 7, you fucking dummy. Then I get comments like “yeah, I started with the AJ and he sucked out on me with the K7.” Yeah, man, should’ve just chucked my cards in the muck from the big blind instead of seeing a free flop. My bad yo. Then I had to watch in horror as a 5 peeled off on the river and put a straight on the board, making it a split pot. Pretty frustrating, but funny nonetheless.

I open with KQ to 250 with blinds at 50-100… someone shoves on me for 600 and I make the easy call. He shows QQ and heads for the exit when the board comes AJxxT. Goodbye!

Blinds at 200-400… a loose, passive player limps UTG and I have A7 on the button and hesitate for a while before deciding that I need to ship it with my stack size. The small blind only has 300 left and calls, but the big blind and limper fold. The SB shows JJ, but the flop comes 77x and I hold.

5 people left, blinds @ 200-400, I open with KJ UTG to 1000 with 2500 in my stack. Folds to my buddy in the SB, who ships it for 2600. I don’t want to make the call cause I know I’m beat, maybe even dominated, but I got 40% of my stack in the pot already, the blinds are going to eat up another $600 in the next two hands, and I’m getting 2.5 pot odds, all of which make folding a pretty stupid option. I call, he shows TT and the flop comes Kxx, all diamonds, giving me the lead, but him a flush draw. I hold and now I got a nice size stack.

My buddy gets his $100 leftover up to $900 when he shoves it all in in front of me, I look down at my first card and it’s an ace, so I know I’m calling already, but then I look at the 2nd card and see another ace and make it 2000 to go. The BB goes all-in and my aces hold against Q2 and Ts9s.

Now we are three handed and usually someone will ask for money back in this spot.. but I probably would’ve disagreed since he only had about 1500 and the blinds were at 200-400… it just wouldn’t make much sense. I shove on him and he calls me dominated and I hold.

HU now. We have roughly even chip stacks and I have him slightly covered. I’m shocked that he doesn’t ask for a chop, but I’m glad that he doesn’t… cause I’d always rather play it out and take my chances. First hand HU, I pick up AT and make it 1500 to go. He hesitates for a bit and finally says “alright, let’s do this” and ships it in the middle. I instacall and cry a little inside when he shows AK. The flop comes 933, the turn is a 5, and I’m calling for a 9 or a 5 for a split, but instead a beautiful ten rolls off on the river and I take down my second straight first place.

+$130 yesterday, +$145 today = +$275 last two days

Looking to make it three in a row at 6pm tonight.

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Getting Back On Track

June 23, 2009

Man…I can’t believe how lazy and unmotivated I have been the past month. Aside from work, really the only productive thing I’ve done over the past 30 days or so is work on my album. I stopped lifting. I started chewing again. I’m just completely unfocused and I can feel my self-worth and happiness levels sinking with me. Not only that but my sleeping patterns are retarded right now. Whether or not I work the next day, I haven’t gotten to bed before 4am in quite a while. However, I’m starting to feel a change coming finally. Last night I went to bed at 11:30pm and woke up this morning around 8:30, a trend I would like to continue, seeing as how the hours I get in the morning tend to be much more productive than my late night hours. I finally hit the gym again last Thursday, a moment I’ve been dreading for quite some time. The first thing I noticed was how the computer flashed that I hadn’t signed in for 32 days… sad, over a month w/out working out. The second thing I did was hit the weight scale, another thing I haven’t been looking forward to. The result was good and bad. Bad, because I lost 6.5 lbs. Good because I’m still 9.5 lbs heavier than I was when I started working out in mid-March. So I’m glad that I haven’t regressed back to my post-appendicitis weight. Now I start my second round of consistent lifting at 153.5 lbs and I’m going to start cycling creatine and bumping up my calorie intake again this week. I’m also switching up my work schedule a bit, so that I’ll be able to lift regularly on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

I have to say, hitting the gym again was a painful experience. Not only was I extremely sore the next day, but I lost some pretty significant muscle mass. I was repping 225 lbs on back squats (3 sets of 5) at my peak and Thursday I was struggling to do 185 and I felt like my hamstrings were going to snap at any moment. I didn’t lose as much on my bench press, but again, I was struggling to put up a weight that I was easily doing a month ago. It will be interesting to track how fast I get back to where I was.

I’m starting to feel skeptical about releasing my album in September. I’m pretty far along in the writing phase, but recording is a different story. It’s almost impossible for me to get a take I’m completely satisfied with and even when I think I hit my standards, I’ll be listening to a finished song and find parts that I know I could do better. It’s quite a maddening cycle. Right now I have one song that is completely recorded, mixed, and mastered, and another 3 songs that are completely recorded, but not entirely finished. I debuted a new song at work this past week and the reactions were solid and actually kind of funny. There are few things more satisfying than watching someone listen to your music and reacting to certain parts the way you envisioned people reacting: the laughs, the “oh shit”s, and the shaking of a head with a smile on the face. Ah yes, I am doing my job. When I get my desired reactions while someone is listening to an unfinished, completely unmixed version of a song, it makes me wonder how much effort I really need to be putting into this. From here forward, I’m going to be trying to finish recording at least one song a week, which should put me pretty close to my desired release date if the mixing process doesn’t take me too long.

After missing over a month of the season, and thinking I wasn’t going to be playing at all this year, I finally found a softball team to play on. My buddy asked me to play for his team last Monday and I did well enough and they are regularly short on players often enough that the coach asked me to come out every week. After having what I consider to be a great season in 2007, I didn’t play all that well last year, but so far this year, I’ve gone 4 for 7 in two games, making pretty solid contact most of the time. I also pulled off an out-saving slide into third base last night that I wish I had on video. It was a true beauty. I was on first base when someone hit a single to left-center and as I was heading into second I see the third base coach waving me over and I’m thinking in my head: “this is a bad idea.” But as a new member of the team, I decide to go ahead and go for it. Halfway to third, I can tell that the throw is going to beat me easily and I can see the third basemen lining up for it on the right side of the bag, so I slide head first far to the left and clearly avoid his tag, while barely hooking my arms onto the base. Usually in softball, the umps like to go with the “if the throw beats the runner, he’s out” rule, but I actually got rewarded for my heads up play and he called me safe. Instead of being out, I scored on the next play. It was beautiful and my new team likes me even more. I look forward to playing regularly the rest of the year and hopefully I can see some added pop to my bat when I get deeper into my workout routine.

Okay… now I’m off to Chips Casino to play in the morning poker tournament, which I took first in yesterday ($175) and hope to defend my title. I’ll also be playing in the 6pm tournament… so hopefully I can turn today into a profit as well. I’m seeing The Hangover at 4:30 today and I’ve been hearing some of the most ridiculous reviews in quite some time for that movie. It didn’t look very funny at all to me in the previews I’ve seen, but it’s hard to ignore the extremely positive word-of-mouth it’s been getting and a #130 ranking on http://www.imdb.com’s all-time list is intriguing as well. I’ll be back with a review tonight or tomorrow. Stay tuned.

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Another Alcohol Post

June 21, 2009

As a recovering alcoholic I don’t make it a habit to go out too much, but my conviction is so strong that I do go to the bars with friends once in a blue moon. This past Thursday was one of my co-worker’s 21st birthday, so a group of us went out to celebrate with her. Despite being surrounded by drunk people and alcohol, I never feel tempted to drink myself. I just enjoy a couple of O’douls and think about how much I’d rather be at home watching a DVD, but sometimes I feel so isolated in my sobriety that it drives me crazy if I don’t get out with some friends once in a while. Unfortunately, social interaction in my age bracket almost always involves alcohol and I usually find myself in situations most sober people are advised to avoid. While I strongly agree with that logic and even offer it to people in similar situations, I simply don’t apply it to myself. Honestly, if the events of the past 3 months of my life don’t drive me to drink, I can’t imagine that anything will. My mind is made up and it’s not something I’m concerned about.

Anyways, to continue with my story, one of the girls I was hanging out with was planning on driving home after the bar closed. This was the second bar we had attended that night, and I didn’t think anything of her driving when we switched bars, but this time it was pretty clear that she shouldn’t be driving. Her speech was slurred and she was having some problems even walking straight. I told her I’d give her a ride home or call her a cab, but I got the “I’m fine… I’ll be okay” line I’ve used so many times myself in my lifetime. After pressing further, I got hit with “you’re the one that’s got two DUIs, why would I listen to you?” Here’s a better question: why wouldn’t you? I don’t want to see anyone go through what I’ve been through… and I certainly don’t want someone to die after I couldn’t convince them to find another way home. I don’t want to ever have to live with that kind of guilt. It’s so frustrating being able to see the big picture and to be able to realize the severe consequences of such minor actions. Lots of people think “I’ve driven home drunker than this and I’m always fine.” Yeah, that’s probably true, but do you realize how many times I drove drunk and never had anything bad happen? In 10 years of having my license and 5 years of being able to legally drink, I got one DUI and one Hit & Run. I can’t even imagine how many times I’ve gotten behind the wheel of a car with alcohol in my system… that’s an extremely small percentage. Also, one time, two weeks after my DUI, I got pulled over in downtown Seattle completely wasted. I was so drunk I barely even remember interacting with the cops and I woke up the next morning in my bed still wearing jeans and found a business card in my pocket with a hand-written note that said where my car was left. Even though I was more drunk that time than I was for my DUI or my Hit & Run, I never got into trouble for this incident. I can only imagine how different my life would be today if I got booked for two DUIs within a couple weeks of each other. So yeah, out of hundreds of times driving drunk, I had a potential problem only three times. Some people might get away with it for their whole life. However, it only takes one time and sometimes the stars don’t align for you. Things just go bad… and when they do, they can be tragic. One of my best friends was killed by a drunk driver when we were 14. Two of my buddies from high school were killed in 2002 when their friend got into an accident while driving with alcohol in his system. It really makes me wonder how I ever reached a point where drinking and driving was an acceptable thing for me to do. I guess once you hit 21, it’s really easy to make that excuse to drive home. Again, I never listened to anybody, so why would anybody listen to me? Well, because I understand the consequences of those few times when you don’t make it home without hurting yourself or someone else and I’m sober for Christ’s Sake! I’m not trying to be a nuisance, just trying to save people I care about from fucking up their lives with one little mistake. It can be a pain in the ass to get a ride home and have to track down your vehicle the next day, but believe me, the $10 you spend on cab fare is a lot cheaper than the thousands it will cost you if you get a DUI or worse.