Saturday, February 24, 2007

Physical and emotional pain

That is what I feel every time I watch Adult Swim.

Many years ago, a good friend and I sat in my living room in Auburn, Alabama, and talked about creating a cable television channel that would show all of our favorite shows from the 70s and 80s, predominantly cartoons we grew up watching. Little did we know that, while we merely talked about The Damn Channel, one state over in the heart of Hotlanta, people were apparently having the same conversation. One difference is that they went one step further and talked about not only showing great cartoons, but making their own. Of course, the main difference is that they then went to Ted Turner and asked for large bags of cash to actually make it happen.

Now, every time I watch Adult Swim, as much as I enjoy it, at the same time, I also think, "Why am I not making this show?"


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Fun in Sin City

Back from a long weekend in Vegas; once again, we had a fantastic time. Here's a video I shot of the view from our hotel room:

The food highlight was Mix, situated on the 64th floor of the Mandalay Bay. The food was great, but it was not the best meal I have ever had, and I am not sure it was worth the price. I think we were paying for the ambience more than the food. On the entertainment front, we saw The Producers, "starring" David Hasselhoff. I will give him credit; he went for it, and the show was more entertaining because of it. I took a small ironic pleasure in the idea that The Hoff may end up alienating some of his German fans by playing a gay Hitler. As far as gaming went, I managed to play hours of poker every day, and was pleased with how I did. I played in five tournaments; I made the final table in three of them, and won one of them. In addition to the money, they gave me a souvenir chip that says "First Place" on it; that may have to be my card protector at our next home game. In addition to the tournaments, I sat down at three different cash games and played for a couple hours each time. When you add up the money I won, minus all of the buy-ins, I ended up losing $30 over three days and probably 12+ hours of play. Not bad at all.

Our trip to Vegas inadvertently overlapped with the NBA All Star game; fortunately, we were not exposed to any of the ugliness that we heard about, both through the media and word-of-mouth from cabbies and hotel workers (apparently the casinos are still very good at suppressing news that may have a negative effect on tourism). The short version of what we heard seemed to go like this:

  • If you live in Las Vegas, made money due to the game being in town, BUT didn't have to be anywhere near the actual game/city/people, then you probably loved the event.

  • If you live in Las Vegas, tried to make money on the game, AND had to actually be there to do so, you probably hated the event (and, according to three separate cab drivers, probably made less money than you would during a typical weekend without the influx of people).

What I know is that there were an extra 300,000 people in the city over and above the normal amount of tourists (which, given that it was a holiday weekend and Chinese New Year...Gung Hay Fat Choy, by the already a lot), so it was hard to get a hotel room, a cab, and dinner reservations. Good thing we planned ahead.

As usual, we had a great time, and as usual, it is good to get out of Vegas after a couple days. That way, in a couple months, I'll be ready to go back.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

The funk of forty thousand years...

What a fantastic weekend for left-of-center entertainment! On Friday, I finished World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, by Max Brooks. If you read this blog with any regularity (or if you just scroll down a little), you will see that I have been hitting the philosophy and heavy literature pretty hard of late, and I think when you add that in to my job stress, I was working my way into a pretty dark place. So to lighten the load a little, I read a book about a zombie war. The end result? This was, hands down, one of the most fun reads I have had in a long time. I tore through this book like Zack through the Army at Yonkers (inside [the book] joke), and I loved every minute of it. The oral history angle is a good one; a great way to make the book global, and yet personal, all at the same time. On top of that, add in the sci-fi zombie angle, as well as the alternate history what-would-the-world-look-like-afterwards angle, and you end up with an exciting, interesting, and (surprisingly) thoughtful book. If you like any of the above themes, I recommend this book highly. After I finished, I found a cheap copy on eBay and mailed it directly to my brother. Others must know. Solid A.

Then last night, we went to see Pan's Labyrinth, the latest film from Guillermo del Toro. I really liked this movie; it interweaves a fantastical fairy tale within a painfully realistic story of survival and hate. I thought the visuals were amazing, if often grotesque, and I was pleasantly surprised that I recognized more Spanish words than I thought I would. I would recommend seeing this movie on the big screen, for the imagery, the sound, and because it makes it easier to read the subtitles. See this film!