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14 posts from March 2010

Black gold in a white plight...

It's a pretty late one, but it's still Snippet Wednesday. Unless you read this tomorrow. Then it's not my fault. Sorry. 'Dems da facts, Jack.

Refund
(sung to the tune of "Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel
")

Refund, refund, refund
Too much tax to you I paid
Refund, refund, refund
With more money I'll now play!

Titans
Titans-medusaAnd one of those things it allows me to play with are my tickets to an only slightly advanced screening of Clash of the Titans tomorrow night at 8 p.m. Woo hoo!! I'm so jazzed. Oh, and no, Katie's not going with me.

Gold
Have any of you noticed those Cash-for-Gold storefronts cropping up all over the place? One just showed up in our town and we happened by one in the town immediately north of us just tonight. Now I'm sure there's a business for them and they are being used and it's gotta put people a bit more at ease than the mail-order service that you're supposed to send your jewelry to (wouldn't trust that if my life depended on it), but, as Katie noted, they make your town feel trashy and I kinda have to agree with her. They have their place in some towns, but it just doesn't fit in where they put the one up in our town. It's right next door to a Boston Market. Sell your jewelry and then buy a pot pie! w00t!

Bill
And speaking of gold, as we were driving by the Cash-for-Gold place tonight when this old ditty popped in my head. If any of you recognize it, I'll be quite impressed...

(sung to the tune of the theme from The Beverly Hillbillies)

Come and listen to a story 'bout a cat named Bill.
Poor country pussy, barely keep his tummy fill.
Then one day he was strummin' on his tongue,
Next thing you know, come the money by the ton.

Y'all come back now, y'hear!


Who's gonna drive you home...

Geez, with the furor going around about red light cameras, you'd swear the U.S. Supreme Court just legalized both gay marriage and abortion with one fell swoop of the pen.

Redlightenforced I really don't know if this extends beyond Illinois at all, but red light cameras have been cropping up in many of Chicago's suburbs over the course of the last couple of years to a mixed lot of praise and condemnation. Some love it because they are supposed to result in increases to driver and pedestrian safety while others hate it because they claim it's both a money grab and can result in sudden stopping at intersections that could cause rear-end collisions.

Let me recap what is going on real quickly...

Cameras have been installed by many municipalities at some of their busier or more accident-prone intersections.

These cameras will catch people who make illegal right turns out of the intersection. Yes, just right turns. Well, I think it's only right turns. The ones that I've seen have been right-turn only, but I suppose usage is dictated by each municipal government.

  • If you do not stop at an intersection before turning right on red, you WILL get busted.
  • If you stop past the line into a crosswalk thus forcing a pedestrian who is crossing the street to have to move out of the crosswalk, you WILL get busted.
  • If you come to a complete stop behind the line and then inch out to see what traffic is like before proceeding, you WILL NOT get busted.
  • If you stop a little into the crosswalk, but no pedestrians are present, you WILL NOT get busted.
  • If you run a yellow light, you WILL NOT get busted.

(source: City of Geneva, IL)

I really don't see the problem here. Basically, what these towns are saying is that if you drive legally and follow the rules of the road as established by the Secretary of State's office that we were taught in driver's education and tested on prior to obtaining a driver's license, you're fine.

Drive legal, drive safe... what the fuck is the problem here?

Is it a safety measure? Yes. Has it helped? Arguably. Some cities have noted a downturn in accidents, while others have claimed an increase in accidents or just haven't released any data yet.

But the big question on many people's minds... is it a money grab for communities?

YES.

And why shouldn't it be?

If you're going to drive illegally, why shouldn't a town benefit from your ignorance? Towns, counties, and states already do when you speed or park illegally or run red lights going straight ahead. Are you going to fight against speed limits and stop lights and stop signs next?

If you don't like that they can make money off you, wanna know what you can do about it? DRIVE LEGALLY! STOP AT INTERSECTIONS BEFORE PROCEEDING! DON'T DRIVE LIKE A DOUCHE!

Think about it like this... if you can ask "would a douche do this?" and the answer is "yes," then don't do it!

I need to make bracelets that say WWADD (What Would A Douche Do) just to remind people to do the opposite.

Follow that simple credo, Timmy, and you'll be fine! You won't owe any money. You definitely won't have caused any accidents. And you can say you "stuck it to tha man!" by not giving them any more of your hard-earned cash.

Yes, in case you couldn't figure it out, I fully support red light cameras.

So what did we do this weekend?

If you didn't see it on Facebook or Twitter, Katie was Hobnobbing With the Stars. Well, actually she only got a picture with them, not really hobnobbing, per se. But it's still pretty cool all the same.

Yes, this is Katie with 2010 Winter Olympic Men's Figure Skating gold medalist Evan Lysacek and his Dancing With the Stars partner Anna Trebunskya.

Evan, Anna, and Katie

It's the wallpaper on her iPhone now. I've been trumped.

*sniffle*

Here are a couple more of my favorite shots from the event...

Anna scans the crowd

Photo365 Day 78 - Twirled and Recropped


Four to the floor, I was sure...

Happy Snippet Wednesday, y'all. Giddy up!

Shaving
While I love having a shaved head, the process is the biggest pain. I don't want to shave every day as that's just a big ol' PITA, so I only shave a couple times a week. The rest of the time, my head is basically 100-grit sandpaper meaning that anything gets stuck to it. I've got one sweatshirt that loves to shed and Katie will wind up picking yellow fuzzies off my head the rest of the day. It's pretty bad. Is there some trick I'm missing to keep myself from being semi-velcroish?

Signatures
One of the things I meant to mention in my post about the memorabilia show was that, while I initially went to get Andre Dawson's signature, I never actually got it. A couple weeks prior to actually going, I found out that he (or his handlers, I'm not sure) was charging $60 per signature. That's just ridiculous, IMHO. Actually, everyone there was charging for signatures, but some cost less or they allowed more than just a single signed item. Whatever. Personally, I am very ethically against paying for signatures. I don't have anything against buying a pre-signed item if you're a fan of somebody and have no other way to obtain a signed piece from them. But to be there in someone's presence and have to pay for them to take a few second to whip out a pen and sign it just strikes me as nuts. Not even someone like Dawson who I loved so much as a player will get one red cent from me for his signature. And especially not after I was told by another guy there that Dawson was in Schaumburg the night before signing for free. However, I'll trade him my signature for his. Deal?

Blackhawks
I was listening to the radio this morning and hearing news of how great a game Chicago Blackhawks goalie Antti Niemi had last night. They also mentioned that after a bit of a post-Olympics skid, the team seems to finally be getting its act back together. And it dawned on me... I really want the Blackhawks to go all the way and win the Stanley Cup. I want them to be good for a long time to come. I don't mean they have to win the Stanley Cup all the time, but just play well and provide good competition for other teams and just not suck like they did for that time period between the loss of Jeremy Roenick and the start of the Patrick Kane/Jonathan Toews era. And I would trade the Chicago Cubs ever winning a World Series again for a consistently successful Blackhawks team. That's how important hockey has become to me. I'll trade the success of a World Series-starved team for our hockey team. And Katie agrees. This coming from a lifelong Cubs fan.

Four
Wow. The Illinois House has approved an option for a four-day school week for public schools in Illinois. That's insane, if you ask me. Their reasoning is that it saves operating costs and in this cash-strapped state, it's needed. But, while I agree that it's a cost savings, how is this ever going to benefit Illinois students? To clarify, students would likely attend for longer hours on the four days they are in school. But still. This just reeks of a bad idea. I could see this being used against college applicants from Illinois as it is unproven how a four-day school week affects their learning ability. Maybe I'm just being cynical...

Issues
Womens_writes
Marie invited me to take part in a special day of posting called "Women's Writes" on Monday, April 5, 2010. This is something she's coordinating with a friend in response to Utah's recently passed Criminal Homicide and Abortion Amendments Bill. I really like the idea of this posting extravaganza, but I feel weird being a man writing about women's rights. It's just like how I feel uneasy when asked for my stance on abortion. I have a stance that I feel very strongly about. But, being a man, I sometimes feel it's not my place to get involved in the debate. Am I wrong for thinking this way? And that's just how I feel about this Women's Writes day. Does the fact that I'm a man diminish what I could potentially have to say? Do I worry too much?

Well, I'm off to bang my head against a wall.


Forget about your house of cards...

On Saturday, I braved the slushy snow and wind to drive out to Rosemont for something I had not done since high school... a baseball card show!

Bat bucketWell, in all fairness and to be correct, they are actually called memorabilia shows since they do often sell much more than just cards and all the dealers who do sell cards have more than just baseball cards. Anywho.

I went to this show with my BiL and his fiancee who are big card collectors as well as the other BiL who was pretty much just along for the ride to get a signature from his hero Andre Dawson, formerly of the Montreal Expos and Chicago Cubs.

I was along because I wanted to see what card... er... memorabilia shows were like as I hadn't been to one since the very early 90s. Oh, and I wanted a Dawson signature, too.

This place was NUTS. It was at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center and was absolutely enormous. Vendors had booths that were just massive and elaborate and covered in stuff that you could not possibly find anywhere else. Honestly! It's kinda amazing to think that some of this stuff was even made.

Did I buy anything? Actually, yes.

Bucspatch I bought a cool All Star Game patch from the 1974 MLB All Star Game in Pittsburgh (see patch on hat at left; image from eBay). I know I live in Chicago, but, because pretty much my entire family was born and raised in The 'Burgh, I have a healthy love of the PIrates and Steelers. And this patch, not just being a Pirates patch, but also having my birthyear on it, just made it call out to me.

I also bought a small box of hockey cards. I suddenly had an urge to open card packs like the good ol' days so I found a relatively inexpensive box ($12) that could have something I wanted (rookie cards of Chicago Blackhawks stars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane) and Katie and I went to town on the box that night. It was pretty fun opening them again. Yanno, for old time's sake

Norman got something, too.

Trooper love

If you'd like some more pictures of the Stephenson Madhouse, check them out either below in the slideshow or over on Flickr...

I've said it before and I'll say it again...

Anybody who rents out DVDs that are in such sad shape that they are completely unplayable even after cleaning should be shot!

That's my feeling toward my library right now after waiting for the season 2 set of Monk. We got through the first episode without a problem then started the second. We were more than halfway through when it all seized up. Yanno, just enough time to get FULLY FREAKIN' VESTED in the episode and get no payoff at the end. So we skipped to episode three and also got FULLY FREAKIN' VESTED just to have it lock up halfway through.

DONE! The set is going back to the library and they can have them professionally fixed or replaced, dammit!

This blows.


Here come the geese...

Yesterday at lunch, I saw simply the coolest thing I've seen in a long time (click through if you don't see a photo slideshow below; or click through to the album on Flickr)...

Four geese throwing down in a pond. It was so cool. In all, I snapped 46 photos. It was so cool. I was so enthralled I Tweeted and Facebooked it.

Geesetweet

Sadly, no casualties. Shame since we all know how much I looooovvveee geese.

</sarcasm>

I have Geeks of Doom to thank for this one.

Copies of The Crazies comic book and two biohazard bags advertising the movie's release.

Too cool!

The Crazies


"Hurrah my soul," sez I, my shillelagh I let fly...

Hey! It's a special St. Patty's Day Snippet Wednesday! So buckle up and kiss your blarney stones g'bye!

Clover  Clover Clover Clover

Grub
Tonight, Katie and I are going to make homemade fish n' chips for dinner. No, not the same as going out to a pub to celebrate this holiest of Irish holidays, but much better on the sanity front, that's for damn sure. Trying to get into an Irish bar on St. Pat's is akin to suicide. And, thankfully, we already stocked up on some Irish beer this past weekend. I'm sure there will be a run on some brands at many grocery and liquor stores tonight.

Google
So are these supposed to be Celtic symbols or is this what Irish crop circles look like?

Stpatricksday10-hp

Dragon
The other night at P.F. Chang's Chinese restaurant in Schaumburg, I think I discovered my ideal tea. It was called Dragon Eye Oolong and it was bliss in a tiny ceramic mug. I wanted to walk out of there with a box of the tea bags along with the mug and the metal pot and cooling rack they brought it in, it was that good. Would that have been wrong?

Cplpowers Jobs
A while back, I featured an announcement about a video contest that was being held by the Chicago Public Library. They're back and this time they're asking people to describe how using the Chicago Public Library helped them with their business. It's pretty sweet if I do say so myself. If you're interested, check it out at www.CPLPowersBusiness.com.

Photo365
I think the biggest mistake I've made this year with regard to the Photo365 challenge is that I've been using whatever camera I have available to me at the time to take my pictures. This has resulted in weird, non-chronological uploads on Flickr as well as me searching through five potential cameras to figure out where the heck the photo is that I want to post. Could be my big Sony D-SLR, my little Canon P&S, Katie's Canon P&S, my Blackberry, or her iPhone. I've used them all. This morning I was scrambling to figure out where they all were because I was nearly two weeks behind in posting my photos. Thankfully I found them. Next year, I may try to limit it to one camera (hopefully a network-enabled cameraphone) so they're all in one place. This is getting nuts. And I'm only a quarter of the way into the project.

It's time to go celebrate what's left of this fantastic holiday!


I get lost...

I swear, sometimes the stupidest things can make you completely lose track of time.

Tetrisgb1 For me, today, it was one of those old handheld Tetris games (literally Tetris, the actual game, you sickos). Katie and I found a bunch of them recently and discovered the batteries, after years of non-use, still work.

This morning, I woke up and got out of bed and started playing it instead of taking my shower and getting ready for work. I figured I could get in a couple dozen rows of a game and then pause it to continue later. That's kinda how Katie and I take to this Tetris game, one person starts, another continues, and so on and so forth to see how far we can get (our record is 985 rows and it took a couple weeks of on-again/off-again play).

Well, I sat there this morning and started playing a new game and got sucked in.

A little while later, Katie comes in and informs me that nearly a half hour had elapsed. I was more than 160 rows deep in the game and seriously needed to start getting ready for work.

I need to watch out for that damn game. I feel I could easily lose a whole day to it.

Two years ago, I took part in an NCAA March Madness bracket pool with some people I know. I did pretty decently.

Last year, I did horrifically.

I think I discovered the reason why... two years ago, Katie helped me with my brackets. Last year, she didn't because I was in a rush to get them done in time and she wasn't around to help.

Damn right she helped out again this year. She pretty much took it over. She has a strange insight when it comes to this sort of thing.

And all I can say is... GO UK!


Clean, the cleanest I've been...

The concept of "Spring Cleaning" applies to computers and online accounts as well, doesn't it?

Right now, I'm spending some time clearing out my iTunes account as well as my Netflix queue. I'm not sure why now, but I am.

I told myself, back when I got my 1TB Time Capsule that I'd never have to delete music again. I loved that idea.

This morning, however, I found myself with 13,010 songs in iTunes and I realized that I had a bunch of stuff that I just didn't give a crap about. Even though I never wanted to delete stuff again, I did. I tore it up in there and, when all was said and done, I deleted 1,500 tracks. Mostly stuff I had gotten as freebies from Amazon or Pitchfork or the library or whatnot. But they're gone and it feels very liberating. I almost want to go through and find more to eliminate.

As for Netflix, I've had a bunch of movies in there that I just kept bumping further and further down in the queue. A lot of Oscar-nominated or Oscar-winning flicks from the last couple years that just no longer held any appeal to me to ever get around to watching. I think I figured that if I didn't watch them immediately after their release, I never would. Right now, my queue looks a bit like this... 

Queue

...and it feels great!

Some of you may have been reading on some other blogs about their participation in a project involving Stormin' Norman, my little Lego Stormtrooper.

I feel it's about time that I introduce the project here. Right now, it includes a Flickr Pool, a Twitter account, and a blog called Stormin' Norman's Adventures (subscribe to the RSS feed).

It's been a lot of fun to take part in and been a lot more "freeing" to write as someone else a bit. Is it sad that, for the last couple weeks anyway, I've enjoyed my side project more than my brain child?

BTW, a full list of all the bloggers taking part in this project are listed in the right side bar of the blog under "Hairless Wampas." Hey, I like the name.


Losin' touch with all that's real...

Yep, another late one, but a Snippet Wednesday all the same.

Kin
I guess one of the great things about listening to the radio is the occasional reintroduction to an old favorite song that you haven't heard in a long time. That happened to me earlier this evening when the station I was listening to chimed in with Aerosmith's "Mama Kin." God I loved that song.

Soundtrack
However, for every good song, there comes a crappy one. For me, this morning, it was Death Cab for Cutie's "Meet Me On the Equinox" from the New Moon soundtrack. I love Death Cab, but I hate this song. I can't really explain why, but it sucks. And I mentioned it to Katie a little later on. She also doesn't like the song, but went so far as to say she hates the entire New Moon soundtrack. I thought about it and realized that I agreed with her. It was a shitty soundtrack despite having a bunch of big-name artists on it that you would otherwise think would be great together. Before you accuse us of being vamp-haters, we both loved the Twilight soundtrack. I just think this album suffered from the Sophomore Soundtrack Jinx, as I'm now dubbing it. It happens a lot. For example, I loved the Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure soundtrack and hated the one from Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey. Same goes for the soundtracks from The Crow and The Crow: City of Angels (in all fairness, TC:CoA wasn't terrible, but just wasn't nearly as good as its predecessor, save for Hole's cool take on "Gold Dust Woman"). I think what happens is that the first soundtrack is released and shocks everyone by doing fantastically well in terms of sales. So, when the second one is planned, every artist in the world wants in on the action and all the cool little relatively no-name acts that made the original soundtracks so cool get bumped in favor of bigger names and the albums wind up sucking as a result. Sure, not all the artists on the first albums are no names, per se, but compared to the level of notoriety of the sophomore artists, they're nobodies. Well, this is my theory anyway.

Human/e
Have you ever had a word that, for whatever reason, you just can't type correctly no matter how hard you try? That word for me of late has been "humane" as in "Humane Society." I keep typing it without the "e." Then I see that I've typed "Human Society" and all I can think of is that it's a support group for survivors of Soylent Green. And I chuckle to myself. How sick am I?

Haim
Most of you probably know by now that actor Corey Haim was found dead this morning (or was it last night?) after an overdose. I have nothing against the guy. I enjoyed several of his movies in the 80s including Lucas, The Lost Boys (although I maintain his role was written with an 8-year-old in mind), and License to Drive. But, considering what he'd become in the last couple of decades, you had to see this sort of end coming a mile away. Hence why I tweeted this...

Haimtweet 

I maintain it was not in bad taste and cannot wait for Avitable to interview him.

Legacy
Please live up to the trailer. Please live up to the trailer. Please live up to the trailer.


I can't see that thief that lives inside your head...

Katie and I were wrapping up the season one DVDs of Monk when B-roll video of the Golden Gate Bridge showed up on screen. I paused the DVD player and looked at our TV... underneath the photos on the wall... we were both officially creeped out.

Why?

Check this out...

Photo365 Day 58: Stolen Art

Here's a better view of my original photograph taken back in 1999 or 2000...

GoldenGate-sm

Now, I realize that this shot has been taken many times in the past. Hawk Hill is a great place to take photos of the bridge. But damn. Creepy to see them stacked like that.

While I've loved taking part in this Photo365 challenge, I think it's starting to play with my head a bit. To the point where I'm having dreams about photography. Actually, two nights ago, I had two dreams involving photography.

In the first, I was running through the woods taking pictures of a bunch of weather phenomena. Around me were a bunch of teenage kids also running. A few of them stopped me and asked me to take pictures of them. I said yes. As I'm snapping the pictures, another kid stops and asks what I'm taking pictures of. I point to the three kids and say, "them." He counters with, "who?" I point again. I can see them, he can't. I look at the review screen on my camera and see that my pictures are filled with nothing but fallen trees and rocks and other scenery items, no kids.

The second found me in some coastal village in southeastern Asia. There's a big festival going on and I'm taking some pictures. A monk (I think) walks up to me and lets me know that it's a private festival and they'd appreciate me not taking pictures. I apologize and go to delete the pictures off my memory card. When I hit the button on my camera, parts of start falling off and, no matter what I do, I'm unable to put it back together. I pretty much start freaking out.

I'm getting too involved in this, aren't I?

BTW, if you're interested in seeing my work on Photo365 to date, check out the slideshow below...


Call it education, it was somewhere in between...

Today was supposed to be another in our relatively new series of Friday Firsts for Katie and me.

To clarify, Katie and I started to implement a series of new stuff to do on Fridays since she already has the day off and I have many vacation days banked up. It started several weeks ago with the trip to Shedd Aquarium and the Sears/Big Willie Tower in Chicago. The week after, it was the Chicago Auto Show. We had a couple weeks off after that, but I took today off so we could figure out something new to continue this tradition.

Radio2Well, we did make it a First, but not in the way we were hoping. It marked our first trip to the radiology lab at the local hospital for chest X-rays on Katie. She has bronchitis, which could potentially lead to pneumonia.

Yay!

So much for today, eh? 

Any predictions on the Oscars this Sunday?

Listening to XRT 93.1 FM, The Regular Guy (their movie reviewer) picked his longshot win as being Inglourious Basterds for Best Picture. He thinks that all this battling between Avatar and The Hurt Locker might allow Tarantino's masterpiece (that I like more and more with each viewing) to creep in and take the win. How cool would that be? 

Katie's longshot is Jeremy Renner in The Hurt Locker over the likely winner, Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart.

Me? My longshot pick was going to be Anna Kendrick from Up in the Air over the heavily favored Mo'nique in Precious (I refuse to type up that ridiculously long BS name that the film officially goes by even if I did just type a much greater amount of characters in my parenthetical inclusion than the title would have, but oh well), but I think I'm going to shoot for Carey Mulligan in An Education over, oh hell, I don't even know who's really favored... Streep?

Should I pick both. Oh why not?


Shake, rattle n' roll...

Sorry this is coming so late in the day. Heck, some of you may not even receive notice until tomorrow considering how slow both my RSS feeds and subscription service are to update. Oh well. You'll just have to take my word for it that it was posted on Wednesday.

Steak
As much as I like trying new restaurants and going to small, non-chain places, there's something about Steak 'n Shake that does it for Katie and me. And we had to cave into temptation tonight. God that's some good stuff. The only kinda strange thing is that they've recently introduced Kool-Aid flavored milkshakes. Even our waitress wasn't too keen on them. Oh well.

Blanket
After Steak 'n Shake, Katie and I went to Aldi for some groceries. While loading the purchases into the bed of my truck, Katie noticed that I had a blanket spread out in the bed. She noted that it looked like I was hiding something.

Me: "It's a body. It's perfect because it's so cold that decomposition is delayed a bit."

Katie: "I knew it!"

Me: "Yeah, there are some things about my family I haven't told you."

Katie: "..."

Brooke
I don't know if you've all seen tonight's Criminal Minds yet, but Brooke Smith of Silence of the Lambs and Grey's Anatomy guested as the mother of a kidnapped child. At one point, she's talking to one of the agents who is reassuring her that she's working with the best. She says, "I know." Well, duh, of course you know. You've been helped by the FBI before. Hell, you were even working with the Behavioral Analysis Unit. Back when you were kidnapped by Buffalo Bill and kept in a well and threatened with hoses when you didn't properly lotion your skin. Silly girl.

Lincoln
Who ever heard of a trailer for... a book? Well, somebody thought to do it for the new Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith. I was already stoked about this book to the point of pre-ordering it, but if I wasn't, this trailer sure would've sold me on it.

Things
We bought our first Blu-Ray DVD today. No, we don't have a Blu-Ray player yet, but for a mere $3 more than the standard DVD edition, we got a combo edition with the standard DVD, Blu-Ray, and digital copy of Where the Wild Things Are. I really like this combo pack idea that some studios are doing (they're also offering a combo pack edition of the Bourne trilogy). Oh, and if this film sucks, @LarsenonFilm will pay dearly. We almost never buy a DVD sight unseen, but I'd read so many good reviews from some of you as well as Josh Larsen's testament that we figured why not. Don't judge us. We really don't buy many DVDs at all anymore.

Time for bed. I hope.


You got nothin' to hide...

Last night, Katie and I got home from work and, since this was the first time we had seen each other (she's still asleep when I leave in the morning), we were checking out what each other was wearing.

She had on a turtleneck.

I love turtlenecks.

I find them completely and utterly sexy if well chosen and well worn.

Katie's was both well chosen and well worn.

Some guys dig on swimsuits or lingerie or underwear on women or any number of other articles of clothing that show of skin. I'm not saying I don't find that stuff sexy, but few things compare to a good turtleneck sweater. And there are few things that cover up more of a woman's body.

Am I weird for thinking this way? Is it strange that I find something like that sexy?

I wish I could explain why I think this way, but I cannot.

Well, one good thing about the Olympics being done is that we now have most of our standard network shows back.

In addition to the usual suspects, though, last night marked the return of Rules of Engagement on CBS. This is far from one of the greatest comedies on TV, but Katie and I find it enjoyable. We love the cast, even David Spade (Russell) who I otherwise find annoying.

But the coolest thing about last night's episode was finding out that Adhir Kalyan has become a full-blown cast member! For those of you who watch, he plays Russell's personal assistant, Timmy.

I do, however, think they may need to redo the opening credits. The final still image showing all of them in bed now features Timmy and it's clearly a bad Photoshop job. Seriously, just retake it. He's crushing their legs.

If you're interested, you can download an episode (or maybe it's just a teaser, not sure) free from iTunes.

Oh, an unlike yesterday's post, this was not solicited. Just something I decided to write of my own free will. Yeah, I still have some of that left.


Here we are now going to the southside...

The late night wars are over. Jay won, Conan lost. Well, actually that remains to be seen. Sticking at NBC could still prove the losing end of the deal while Conan will likely wind up on his feet elsewhere.

But what people forget about in all this are the shows that got dicked by NBC in the 9 p.m. (Central) time slot. They were cut to make room for Jay's crapfest and, even though he's gone, none of them are coming back to NBC. We almost lost Chuck, which has proven to be one of Katie's and my favorite shows. But we did lose the then-relatively new Southland, a drama about cops on the job in Los Angeles.

SL_Running_Ben Katie and I were interested in this show almost immediately because of the cast. We were fans of Ben Mackenzie from The O.C. (don't judge us), Regina King from the multitude of roles she's been in including Jerry Maguire and 24, Michael Cudlitz from Band of Brothers and Life, and Tom Everett Scott from Philadelphia (I think we were two of the only people who watched that show).

Aside from being a procedural cop drama, what made this interesting was that it focused on two different arms of the police department... homicide detectives and beat cops... and the strained dynamic between them.

At times, the show became a bit overlong, but when it was on fire, it was on fire. However, you could tell it did not belong on a regular television network. It had much more to offer if it could afford to be edgier.

Thankfully, somebody else realized this as well... TNT... the home of two other shows we love, The Closer and Men of a Certain Age (while we've heard good things about it, we have yet to watch Leverage). And new episodes of Southland are scheduled to start tomorrow night.

Southland is a good show and if you are even half interested, I suggest checking it out. And if you started watching it on NBC and thought something was missing, that's because it was airing on NBC and that should be all the answer and justification you could possibly need to give it a second chance.

So tune in at 10/9 Central on TNT for new episodes of Southland starting tomorrow.

In accordance with FCC regulations, yes, this was a solicited review. But, also in the pursuit of honesty, Katie and I truly were fans of the show back when it first aired and we were already going to be watching it again so it didn't take much to convince me to write this. All I got in exchange for this review was a cool talking greeting card with audio from Southland as well as a branded thumbdrive and a hand-written thank you note. Money might've been nice, but c'est la vie. Reviewers have to start somewhere, right?

Congratulations to Canada on their big win in men's hockey yesterday to close out the 2010 Winter Olympics. Katie and I were watching intently and hoping against hope that the USA would win out. Although our team wasn't playing all that well throughout most of the game, around the end, for a second, we really thought we would.

It was a hard-fought battle, but Canada came up with gold in the end. To the victors go the spoils. At least with men's hockey, the spoils didn't include underage beer consumption.

To Ryan Miller, goalie for the US squad, you are a god. Would you like to come play for the Blackhawks? Please?