Monday, April 14, 2014

The Last of King Joffery

Ramblings Post #261
I don't watch a whole lot of TV. Most of it is badly written, but not on purpose like say Archer. And I'm not a big fan of badly written series shows, where you have to watch every episode to know what's going on. But if it's written well, and like stays faithful to the source material, then a series show can be a thing of beauty. Like say Game of Thrones.

Via AV Club via HBO via Westeros
Was it wrong that I cheered when Game of Thrones character King Joffery died?

The actor who played him, Jack Gleeson, deserves an Emmy and although the show doesn't qualify for it, an Oscar, for creating a character so palpably despicable. He wasn't a character you loved to hate, you just hated him. I haven't read the books, but I have read the Wikipedia synopsis so I knew what was coming. And since the showrunners have moved some things around in the line for clarity or dramatic purposes, I actually thought they might save the King's Wedding until the second to last episode or something. But seeing it start, I suddenly ran to the kitchen get snacks so I wouldn't have to move again, and prayed it wouldn't be a two part episode.  

Is it wrong I want to watch the episode again, just to watch him die again?

Although it would have been fascinating to watch the reign of King Joffery before he inevitably strangled his queen, or had her beheaded for looking at him funny or sighing too loudly or something, this seems to be more fitting. Karma wise. That and I hate stories where the villains, and make no mistake I see the Lannisters as the bad guys of this tale, get so absurdly powerful that the writer has to create something so ridiculously implausible for the hero to accomplish to balance out the tale. That both sides have ups and downs, that the smaller side players affect the story (WARNING: this link may spoil the story for you) feels more organic.

There is a bunch more story to tell. This all happened in book three of the "theoretical" seven part series, and with most of the principals of the first few seasons dead, you have wonder where all this going.

Don't mind me. Just going back to watch the episode again. For um, you know what, I just want to see that damned character die again!

Barkeep. Let me get some of the good good.   

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Bar chatter

Bar chatter #28
Sometimes it ain't enough to equal a whole post, but still needs to be said.... it's bar chatter. 

It's been a long time since I did one of these, (2012, really?) but this I have to say....

I didn't really watch How I Met Your Mother a lot. I watched some of the first season, then law school and so now I catch re-runs. But I thought the original premise was cool: A long story about how this guy met his kids mother. I also realize that because TV is a tricky medium with renewals and cast changes, so getting to that titular moment was going to be teased out.

More than few episodes were neatly written. The characters familiarly kooky. The situations just different enough to be fresh. It was a fairly good show.

Then Monday the series ended. And the main character runs to be back with the chick he met in the first episode. Who was not the mother. When the story was supposed to be about meeting the mother. The term McGuffin comes to mind. They could have just called it Friends II if this was the plan, and since they shot the ending nine years ago, it was. I wish the actress playing that "friend" had quit so they would have been forced to do something different, something better.

What would have been better you ask? The whole last season with Ted and the Mother (Tracy) getting to know each other. And the change of the dynamic and the growth of the characters. Instead, we get the a finale that could have been written by M. Night Shyamalan.

It makes me glad it's gone...sorry ass writers.   

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Odd Quotes

It becomes rote. You miss little miracles.
The problem is, that if you repeat something over and over again, it loses it's meaning. Our lives for example. You watch the sunset too often, it just becomes 6pm. If you just keep waking up and keeping it moving, one day you'll forget why you're making the effort. You"ll make the same mistakes over and over, and you stop calling them mistakes. This is why we should take chances. This is why we should chase our dreams. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

And Boom, there goes your bracket...

Ramblings Post #260
I'm just curious as to why Warren Buffett and Quicken Loans only offered a billion dollars. I mean, since nobody was going to win it, why not offer five or ten billion? As I understand it, only the first day of games have been played and more than 99% of the participants are already eliminated. So the only real winner was the intended winner: Quicken Loans...who now have your information. That you gave them. Willingly. Isn't America grand? 

Well, it's the first day, and here we are. Around 9pm last night I wondered if I could sue the NCAA selection committee for intentional infliction of emotional distress. Really, North Dakota? Okay, I picked Harvard, but Dayton? Kiss. My. Ugh.


Oh, well. More ball today. Should I keep watching, or maybe I'll just load me up some Grand Theft Auto V? Oh, I'm a glutton for punishment. Where is my remote?

Barkeep. Just a beer. Cold. Whatever.

Monday, March 17, 2014

How To Put Together Your Bracket

Ramblings Post #259
March. Wasn't it supposed to warm about now? Hello? Can I get a little heat up in here. I'd like to thank that California station for their bold musical effort to end winter, but I'll guess we'll just have to move on. Basketball! This used to mean the start of the Atlanta Pro Party Circuit. Ah, the good old days.

My brother is not a sports fan, not really. For years he seemed amazed that I would devote time and attention to following my favorite football team. Only recently has he started following a team of his own, the exact rationale of which I'm not sure, although at one point he articulated his interest as the game being a small metaphor for life: No matter what happened on the last play, you have to line for the next play, etc. He may have another motivation now, but I don't know what it is.

This life long attitude is why I wasn't surprised when he asked me about NCAA brackets a week or so ago. I think he's doing this because in his office, much like in every other office in America, it's a thing you do. Print a bracket, put in $5 bucks, and comment on it going forward. Realizing the truth of the matter, that the lottery has better odds, I've taken a few moments to put together a little primer to get him and all the rest of you interested in donating to office pool started.

Step 1. Watch every college basketball game, keeping track of who did what.

I realize that this step is long and tedious, and at this point will require a time machine, two cases of red bull, a unlimited pizza account and a cray supercomputer. Since this particular step may prove a bit pricey and difficult for most, so let's chuck this one and start over. But, if you can afford it, get the time machine with XM, you're gonna be in there a while.

New Step 1.  Print out a bracket.

If you can't find a printable bracket online, you might want to just go ahead and let this go now. Just donate that $5 to the office pool and tell everyone you'll submit it later, then pretend to get busy and forgot. Yeesh, everybody has one. ESPN, CBS Sports, NCAA, Slate, everybody. Okay, I don't have one on here, but I know everyone else does. Just type "printable bracket" into Google. You may need to just type "printable br" and auto fill in will get it.

Step 2. Pretend to do some research.

Traipsing about I found this wonderful tool on HuffPost, which also has a printable bracket. It's a research thing type bracket dealie whatsits that lets you decide how much weight to give to all the pertinent factors - experts, seeding, defense, rebounding - and to all the non-pertinent factors - tuition, graduation rates, etc. Play with it, it's kinda fun.

Or you could read through an ESPN, USA Today or Sporting News article to see who is hurt on which team, who looks hot for the tourney and who is off their game right now. Expert opinions are crucial in pretending to know what you don't know. It won't matter, but do it anyway. Reading is fundamental.

Step 3. Fill in your bracket.

Yes, just fill it in. Let your pretend research guide your hand. Just remember that #1 seeds always beat #16 seeds. Well, there is always a first time they might lose, but what are the odds? And #2 seeds almost always beat #15 seeds. Almost always. After that it gets, well, I want to say tricky but I'm gonna say easy. Pick the higher seed unless you know the team, in which case pick the team you know, unless you know one of the coaches, then pick the coach. Unless of course you know which team has the more prominent shoe contract, or if you read an article about them, in which case flip a coin. Not rock paper scissors, that would be unscientific. If you know a player or a water-boy, pick that team, unless it's Wednesday and you had fries with lunch, then pick the team with dark colored jerseys. Unless the coach has a G in his name. Now, if it's Tuesday and you use a Mac, pick the team whose mascot comes first in the alphabet, otherwise, you'll need some soup bones, some chicken blood and then draw a circle on the ground with 64 numbers around it. Let me look up the spell you'll need.

Your pretend research should have also revealed a few "bracket busters", teams which nobody expected to win and which ruins cumulative wins by removing a team everyone thought would go far. Actually it won't, I'm just playing. You won't see them either, heck, half their fans won't, but it's nice to pretend you did see it, so claim you meant to pick them, but hedged your pick.

Step #4. Relax. 

If anyone asks how you're doing, you always have to "Go check your brackets." Never have it handy. In reality, the only person paying that close attention after day one is the person running the pool. If it's online, he's not even doing that. Feel free to use the phrase, "I think I got that one" after a victory or loss if anyone asks. No one expects you know all the teams or all your picks.

The weird part is I've actually won my office pool in the past. I don't know how, I was told that I did and I accepted my winnings. Just so you know, the odds of picking a perfect bracket, getting all the teams right, are 1 in 9.2 quintillion. I was nowhere near perfect. You see, you don't have to beat those odds, you have to only get luckier than anyone in your pool. As the tourney proceeds, few of the expected winners are going to have off nights and lose. There will be a Cinderella story that will fizzle out before its all over. But in the end we'll all get to see some pretty good basketball, and that's what counts.  

Barkeep, I'll need a bucket of beers, a thing of nachos, a bowl of peanuts, the wing appetizer, and double order of ribs. I don't know if anyone else wants anything. And no, I'm not leaving for a while.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Truly Living

Ramblings Post #258
There are hard questions in life. Should I stand here and let her go or chase after her? Do I take a chance and jump? Should I put ketchup on my hotdog and damn Chicago? Does the toilet paper hang over the top or from the bottom? You know, tough questions. And sometimes we get an answer. Not because we thought hard about it or weighed all the factors to reach a reasonable solution, but because we're so shocked the question answered itself. Which is why we need to learn to step up, even if we're wrong. And for the record, toilet paper hangs over the top.

I was asked the question recently : Do you know how to truly live? I answered with the legal professional staple: Depends. And by that I meant that the asker of the question has to define what is truly living, from their viewpoint.

Is living a constant seat of pants adventure, a being only in the now experience devoid limitations and fears created by past failure and to whom the of the ambiguity of  future consequence is but delicious
possibility, filled with the highs and lows that come from happy accidents, fortunate mistakes, or even terrible decisions and trusting that what comes as an undeniable inevitable?

Or is living a meticulous attention to detail, a constant drive for betterment and self improvement, an
existence checking off the boxes of an per-ordained existence structured by societal ideals mixed with
expectations created by loving family, faithful friends and seductive commercial marketing?

Because most of us live neither. (Although there are some single women I know whom I had in mind when I made up second group.) To some it is going to be caring for family, raising good kids, being a good neighbor. For others it will turn out to be seeing the sunset off the coast of Morocco, a wine tasting in Rome and swimming with the dolphins. And some will locate it chasing their dreams until their souls bleed to exclusion of all else, leaving their mark on the world, being remembered. For most however, it will be a mix of all of this because most of us aren't one-dimensional. We'll want the school recitals and the surfboard lessons, meticulous in this, carefree in that.

Sadly, although many are loathe to admit it, there is no blueprint to a "correct" way of living, one universally recognized as the one path. Many will profess to be able to sell it to you, but I suggest you keep your receipt. Some will find it in religion. Others find it in sport. Still others find it at the bottom of a empty glass. Well, maybe not find it, but I'm fairly certain they feel if the keep looking it will be there one day. No, we have to remember that the concept of "living truly" is what WE make it.

Living is personal. So "truly living" is one of the most personal things you can do.

Barkeep. I swear the answer to life is the bottom of the next glass. Well, maybe not life, but this week for sure. But note, if I do find it at the bottom of this first one, I'll need to check a few more just make to sure.