Thursday, January 29, 2009

They're the World's most fearsome fighting teens...They're heroes, in a half shell, and they're GREEN...

With the 25th Anniversary of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Playmates toys is re-releasing retro models of the original TMNT toys. Very little of an Ad-campaign and not much publicity, but they have stayed true in nearly all details, right down to the original packaging and figure accessories (although, Donatello is a bit lighter then the original). I happened to be grocery shopping in a Target, saw them on the shelf, and calmly walked over, picked up all 4, and dropped them in my cart. These were among my most FAVORITE toys growing up, and I think I might even have the originals somewhere at my parent's house. Good stuff. I think I will leave these unopened for my kids to play with. Or not.

And just to rattle your memory:

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

And now, the starting lineups for your NBA ALL Star game!! (A bit late, I know.)

Well those are your starters, and some people are surprised that Allen Iverson is starting for the east even though he hasn't played a full season in Detroit. Please remember that this is the results of the fan voting, and I really don't have many problems with the fan's choices. I guess I could see Devin Harris starting for the East instead, but AI isn't that horrible a choice. I certainly am happy to see Chris Paul starting for the West with his near miraculous last minute overtaking of Tracy McGrady in balloting. Some feel that the league intervened with this, but Chris Paul has A LOT of fans all over the world. I'm also ecstatic that the country of China did not put Yi in the All Star game, that would have been a real travesty. I'm really wondering if Tim Duncan has earned this All Star berth, or whether he is still coasting on the fumes of his former greatness. *Full Disclosure: I really dislike the Spurs. Hopefully this year's version of the game will have a little more defense and less sloppy play. Right now, I'm picking the West to win it.

Workout Check In

Ever so often I will list what I have been doing in the gym, feel free to use it or better it.


Warm up lap on track (.25 mile)
25-30 Pushups modifed diamond in 45 seconds
Wall Sit 1 minute (90 degree angle with floor, NO cheating!)
repeat 25-30 Pushups modifed diamond in 45 seconds
Wall Sit 1 minute
Run 2 sets of stairs 4 times
40 crunches
2nd Run of 2 sets of stairs 4 times
40 crunches
Standing in place lunges 2x20
Self squats (no extra weight) 2x20
1 set of 16-20 regular pushups in 45 seconds
Run 1 set of stairs
Hit punching bag
Run 1 set of stairs
Stretch and cool down

Total workout time: ~50 minutes without stretch and cool down

This is what my trainer calls a whole body workout. We normally do this Monday and Wednesday, with Friday hitting the weight room. Every week or so he will replace one of these excercises or tweak it, upping reps, etc. to keep up with progress or as punishment because he doesn't feel I am going hard enough (I'm paying him for this?!) To someone who is always in the gym, this might not seem much, but I am pretty burned out after this. My trainer (James from here on out) doesn't allow any rest time between sets (unless you count me getting off the floor to begin running) as he wants my heart rate to stay up the entire workout. I'll add more later, including some interesting stuff he keeps telling me about my water intake.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

All Good Things....Part 1 (Genesis)

Bear with me, as this will be the start of some episodic content I feel is kind of personal. The "All Good Things" that is in the title of this post that I am referring to is actually my sedentary lifestyle. After looking in the mirror, lamenting shopping for clothes, hearing the worried questions of family members and friends, I am getting my physical life back together and getting in shape. It really has been downhill since I graduated High School. I was able to eat anything I wanted whenever I wanted because I had the luxury of 2 a day basketball practices complete with running and weight room workouts, even in the summer. I was burning so many calories I could eat Krispy Kreme or taco bell at 3 AM and burn it off the next day (see pic with Clifton, above, circa 2003). However, coming into College, and adding the Freshmen 15 (or 30) and then breaking my foot and sitting on the couch and eating potato chips for 6 weeks, I am almost double the weight I was my senior year in High School. Not Good. While my acutal health is still very good (no Diabetes or anything along those lines) and my heart rate and blood pressure are better then average, I look at myself and emphatically declare that this is not how I wanted to look or feel at 25 (right). The odds are that I am significantly lowering my life expectancy by continuing this trend of eating more then I excercise. I have to big a circle of friends, supporters, and confidants (as well as a very steady and supportive Girl Friend) to allow this to continue. In all truthfulness, I have been working on this since September of last year, getting in the gym and getting a trainer, but since last Thursday, things have become a bit hardcore. I have a friend in my lab named Anup who is trained and ran the Boston Marathon (as his FIRST marathon ever) last year, and this year he is starting to train to run the New York Marathon in the fall. I started training with him last Thursday. I am no runner, but I am now working on it. We did 2 miles last Thursday and tonight did 2.5. While last week was a wonderful 68 degrees and breezy here in College Station, tonight has been hell. A cold hell. 34 degrees with 25 mph wind and dropping, school might actually be closed tomorrow pending whether we see any freezing rain tonight. But I did it. And I realized as we jogged back to the lab that there was no way on earth I could stop now. Not after running through light rain in 30 degrees. Everything else would be a cake walk after this. So I write this as a word of encouragement to anyone looking to better their life physically, trust me, it's not easy, but definitely doable. I am a testimony to that. I hope I have your support and keep me in your prayers as I try to slowly trudge back up the hill to being in shape (I want to Dunk Again!!). I'll do my best to keep the posts coming and let you know of my progress.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Secret Service has signed over the rolling protection of President a Transformer.

If you didn't know, I love Presidential technology. Stuff like Marine One, Air Force One, and the President's secure cell phone fascinates me. This week, the Secret Service debuted the new 2009 edition of the Presidential limo, officially named Cadillac One and affectionately called the beast.My Co-Blogger refers to this new one as "Obamus Prime." (Please refer all persecution to his email.) About a month ago I saw Former President Bush's limo on his visit to Texas A&M and this one makes that look like a Power Wheel. Take a look (from Gizmodo) :
NOTE: The Secret Service, as well as the manufacturers of the equipment of this car have been sworn to secrecy. Not to mention, such specifics as those reported on Gizmodo are classified. So read on with a grain of salt, these are probably highly speculative.

Other highlights:

• It can withstand rocket impacts and it's perfectly sealed against biochemical attacks.
• Fuel tank: Can withstand a direct hit thanks to a special foam and armor-plating.
• Bodywork: made of dual hardness steel, aluminum, titanium, and ceramics to "break up posible projectiles".
• Tires: Kevlar-reinforced with steel rims underneath so it can run away no matter what.
• Accessories include: Night vision cameras, pump-action shotguns, tear gas cannons.
• Comes with bottles of blood compatible with the President's blood.

My thoughts on the Oscar Nominations (see below for list)

I have always had the thought that when the Academy started to turn it's nose up at recognizing blockbuster movies as worthy of nomination is when they started going downhill, both in prestige and television audience numbers. Looking at the list as it stands, I am disappointed The Dark Knight could not get a nomination for Best Picture, simply because of what it has done as far as redefining an entire genre of movie (Superhero) and the overall quality and commercial success of it.  Before Dark Knight, Superhero movies were given a pass for believability and quality of acting and script. Post Dark Knight, the same old Spiderman/Incredible Hulk crap WILL NOT be acceptable. The pressure is on now for studios to make not only good Superhero movies, but good movies, period. All of my Marvel friends hate what they have done with the Spiderman franchise as it is, and I laughingly tell them that I don't know how it feels because DC has always invested so much in Batman. These are the fruits of DC's labor. I also hope and pray that the Academy does not lose it's collective mind (any further) by not give the Best Supporting Actor nod to Heath Ledger for his incredible portrayal of the 3rd worst (best) villain of all time (only beaten by Satan and Darth Vader). Posthumous or not, Heath DESERVES the golden statue for immersing himself and bringing something completely new to the table when the vast majority of people at this point had written off the role of the Joker in their mind as never being better portrayed then by Jack Nicholson. 
For the first time in years, I have  seen a good number of the movies up for the major categories this year. For Best Animated Feature, mail it in, zip it shut, WAll-E is walking away with the prize. Easiest award decision in years. Pixar did it again. They told an absolutely marvelous and socially convicting story with a robot that has a 5 word vocabulary (EVVVVVVVV-A). 
I'm jumping around here as far as categories, but I think the definite frontrunners for Original Score has to be Button and Wall-E. Best Original Song, one of the Slumdog Millionaire. Best Film Editing, probably Button or Frost Nixon although Dark Knight was very good as well. Dark Knight for Cinematography, Sound Mixing, and Sound Editing (Lol I'm biased). Button easily for best Makeup. Dark Knight or Iron Man for Best Visual Effects, probably Iron Man because of more explosions (whatever makes you happy, Marvel fans).  Probably Frost Nixon for Best Adapted Screenplay. And for the big prize, I think Benjamin Button walks away with Best Picture.

2009 Oscar nominations are out:

  • Best Picture
  • 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button'
  • 'Frost/Nixon'
  • 'Milk'
  • 'The Reader'
  • 'Slumdog Millionaire'
  • Best Director
  • Danny Boyle, 'Slumdog Millionaire'
  • Stephen Daldry, 'The Reader'
  • David Fincher, 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button'
  • Ron Howard, 'Frost/Nixon'
  • Gus Van Sant, 'Milk'
  • Best Actor
  • Richard Jenkins, 'The Visitor'
  • Frank Langella, 'Frost/Nixon'
  • Sean Penn, 'Milk'
  • Brad Pitt, 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button'
  • Mickey Rourke, 'The Wrestler'
  • Best Actress
  • Anne Hathaway, 'Rachel Getting Married'
  • Angelina Jolie, 'Changeling'
  • Melissa Leo, 'Frozen River'
  • Meryl Streep, 'Doubt'
  • Kate Winslet, 'The Reader'
  • Best Supporting Actor
  • Josh Brolin, 'Milk'
  • Robert Downey Jr., 'Tropic Thunder'
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman, 'Doubt'
  • Heath Ledger, 'The Dark Knight'
  • Michael Shannon, ' Revolutionary Road'
  • Best Supporting Actress
  • Amy Adams, 'Doubt'
  • Penelope Cruz, 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona'
  • Viola Davis, 'Doubt'
  • Taraji P. Henson, 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button'
  • Marisa Tomei, 'The Wrestler'
  • Best Animated Feature Film
  • 'Bolt'
  • 'Kung Fu Panda'
  • 'Wall-E'
  • Best Foreign Film
  • 'The Baader Meinhof Complex' (Germany)
  • 'The class' (France)
  • 'Departures'(Japan)
  • 'Revanche' (Austria)
  • 'Waltz With Bashir' (Israel)
  • Best Original Screenplay
  • Dustin Lance Black, 'Milk'
  • Courtney Hunt, 'Frozen River'
  • Mike Leigh, 'Happy-Go-Lucky'
  • Martin McDonagh, 'In Bruges'
  • Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon, Pete Docter, 'WALL-E'
  • Best Adapted Screenplay
  • Eric Roth, Robin Swicord, 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button'
  • John Patrick Shanley, 'Doubt'
  • Peter Morgan, 'Frost/Nixon'
  • David Hare, 'The Reader'
  • Simon Beaufoy, 'Slumdog Millionaire'
  • Best Documentary Feature
  • 'The Betrayal'
  • 'Encounters at the End of the World'
  • 'The Garden'
  • 'Man on Wire'
  • 'Trouble the Water'
  • Best Original Score
  • 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button'
  • 'Defiance'
  • 'Milk'
  • 'Slumdog Millionaire'
  • 'WALL-E'
  • Best Original Song
  • 'Down to Earth,' WALL-E
  • 'Jai Ho,' 'Slumdog Millionaire'
  • 'O Saya,' 'Slumdog Millionaire'
  • Best Film Editing
  • Kirk Baxter, Angus Wall, 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button'
  • Lee Smith, 'The Dark Knight'
  • Mike Hill, Dan Hanley, 'Frost/Nixon'
  • Elliot Graham, 'Milk'
  • Chris Dickens, 'Slumdog Millionaire'
  • Best Documentary - Short Subject
  • 'The Conscience of Nhem En,' Steven Okazaki
  • 'The Final Inch,' Irene Taylor Brodsky, Tom Grant
  • 'Smile Pinki,' Megan Mylan
  • 'The Witness - From the Balcony of Room 306,' Adam Pertofsky, Margaret Hyde
  • Best Cinematography
  • Tom Stern, 'Changeling'
  • Claudio Miranda, 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button'
  • Wally Pfister, 'The Dark Knight'
  • Chris Menges, Roger Deakins, 'The Reader'
  • Anthony Dod Mantle, 'Slumdog Millionaire'
  • Best Costume Design
  • Catherine Martin, 'Australia'
  • Jacqueline West, 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button'
  • Michael O'Connor, 'The Duchess'
  • Danny Glicker, 'Milk'
  • Albert Wolsky, 'Revolutionary Road'
  • Best Sound Mixing
  • David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce, Mark Weingarten, 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button'
  • Lora Hirschberg, Gary Rizzo, Ed Novick, 'The Dark Knight'
  • Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke, Resul Pookutty, 'Slumdog Millionaire'
  • Tom Myers, Michael Semanick, Ben Burtt, 'WALL-E'
  • Chris Jenkins, Frank A. Montaño, Petr Forejt, 'Wanted'
  • Best Sound Editing
  • Richard King, 'The Dark Knight'
  • Frank Eulner, Christopher Boyes, 'Iron Man'
  • Tom Sayers, 'Slumdog Millionaire'
  • Ben Burtt, Matthew Wood, 'WALL-E'
  • Wylie Stateman, 'Wanted'
  • Best Live Action Short Film
  • 'Auf der Strecke (On the Line),' Reto Caffi
  • 'Manon on the Asphalt,' Elizabeth Marre, Olivier Pont
  • 'New Boy,' Steph Green, Tamara Anghie
  • 'The Pig,' Tivi Magnusson, Dorte Høgh
  • 'Spielzeugland (Toyland),' Jochen Alexander Freydank
  • Best Animated Short Film
  • 'La Maison de Petits Cubes,' Kunio Kato
  • 'Lavatory - Lovestory,' Konstantin Bronzit
  • 'Oktapodi,' Emud Mokhberi, Thierry Marchand
  • 'Presto,' Doug Sweetland
  • 'This Way Up,' Alan Smith, Adam Foulkes
  • Best Makeup
  • Greg Cannom, 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button'
  • John Caglione, Jr., Conor O'Sullivan, 'The Dark Knight'
  • Mike Elizalde, Thom Flout, 'Hellboy II: The Golden Army'
  • Best Art Direction
  • James J. Murakami, Gary Fettis, 'Changeling'
  • Donald Graham Burt, Victor J. Zolfo, 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button'
  • Nathan Crowley, Peter Lando, 'The Dark Knight'
  • Michael Carlin, Rebecca Alleway, 'The Duchess'
  • Kristi Zea, Debra Schutt, 'Revolutionary Road'
  • Best Visual Effects
  • Eric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton, Craig Barron, 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button'
  • Nick Davis, Chris Corbould, Tim Webber, Paul Franklin, 'The Dark Knight'
  • John Nelson, Ben Snow, Dan Sudick, Shane Mahan, 'Iron Man'

Wednesday, January 21, 2009 knew they had protocols in place to protect him but this is beyond even what I could have imagined...


Obama sported bulletproof suit for inaugural proceedings?

Apparently, the Photosynth glitching and iPhone-like GPS blip on CNN weren't the only high tech actions in play at President Obama's inauguration yesterday. According to one of our favorite daily reads,, the Prez was wearing "bullet-resistant clothing," which experts (and sci-fi fanatics) are taking to mean a bullet-proof suit. The folks over at Slatespeculate that he might have been adorned in an outfit manufactured by MIguel Caballero, a Colombian company that specializes in bullet-resistant gear like leather jackets, windbreakers, and yes... ruffled tuxedo shirts. We'd like to imagine that stuffed into the pocket of that handsome outfit he was sporting was a Kevlar handkerchief -- but listen up Obama: Sasha and Malia are not going to be down with that bulletproof backpack.

Congrats to two friends of mine launching blogs!

Hey everyone, check out Dear Theodore and my friend Alexis' new blogs as well. Good stuff going on and I wish them both the best! Blogging isn't easy, lol.


Monday, January 19, 2009

My NBA All Star 2009 Ballot Picks:

Here are my NBA All-Star 2009 picks:

Western Forwards:
Carmelo Anthony, Denver
Tim Duncan, San Antonio

Western Guards:
Kobe Bryant, LA Lakers
Chris Paul, New Orleans

Western Center:
Yao Ming, Houston

Eastern Forwards:
Danny Granger, Indiana
LeBron James, Cleveland

Eastern Guards:
Allen Iverson, Detroit
Dwyane Wade, Miami

Eastern Center:
Dwight Howard, Orlando

Reaching the Mountaintop...

Martin Luther King has always been someone I admired. We have had a unique connection since the day I was born. You see, October 20th, 1983 (Thursday) was the day it was announced that Dr. King would have a National Holiday. The only reason I know this is because my father had the presence of mind to photograph me next to the Newspaper on the day I was born to save all the headlines. So today, my note is of a speech I think was Dr. King's most powerful. I believe he knew he wouldn't make it to 40. But he was not afraid. And this speech, given the night before he died, showed that. I hope we all have a nice day, and I pray the Inauguration goes well tomorrow.

Excerpt from MLK's Mountaintop Speech, given the night (4/3/1968) before he was killed in Memphis, TN.

"And then I got to Memphis. And some began to say the threats, or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers? Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord."

Some MLK quotes.....

All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.
Martin Luther King Jr.
I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. That is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.
Martin Luther King Jr.
I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.
Martin Luther King Jr.
In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
Martin Luther King Jr.
It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can stop him from lynching me, and I think that's pretty important.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Let no man pull you low enough to hate him.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man's sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars... Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Segregation is the adultery of an illicit intercourse between injustice and immorality.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Ten thousand fools proclaim themselves into obscurity, while one wise man forgets himself into immortality.
Martin Luther King Jr.
We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.
Martin Luther King Jr.
When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative.
Martin Luther King Jr.
The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood.
Martin Luther King Jr."Strength to Love"
All progress is precarious, and the solution of one problem brings us face to face with another problem.
Martin Luther King Jr.'Strength to Love,' 1963
The good neighbor looks beyond the external accidents and discerns those inner qualities that make all men human and, therefore, brothers.
Martin Luther King Jr.'Strength to Love,' 1963
Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time; the need for mankind to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence. Mankind must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.
Martin Luther King Jr.December 11, 1964
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
Martin Luther King Jr.Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963
The church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society.
Martin Luther King Jr.Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 1963
Now, I say to you today my friends, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: - 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'
Martin Luther King Jr.Speech at Civil Rights March on Washington, August 28, 1963
I submit to you that if a man hasn't discovered something he will die for, he isn't fit to live.
Martin Luther King Jr.Speech in Detroit, June 23, 1963
...And I've looked over, and I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land. So I'm happy tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man.
Martin Luther King Jr.Speech in Memphis, April 3, 1968, the day before King was assassinated
Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
Martin Luther King Jr.Strength to Love, 1963
Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.
Martin Luther King Jr.Strength to Love, 1963
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
Martin Luther King Jr.Strength to Love, 1963