Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Backpacking Personal Trainer: Tales of NYSC Part 2

OK, today's NYSC character I will showcase is the personal trainer who looks like he is about to go backpacking, and is also really really happy about it. The thing that annoys me most about personal trainers is especially evident in this guy. When a personal trainer approaches you, you get that uneasy feeling like you're at Best Buy and they are trying to sell you a protection plan. I mean in both cases, in the end they are operating under the guise that they are trying to help you out, by selling you something they need. In both cases, I feel like they are trying to scam me. 

What is odd about this guy, is that he walks around dressed like Wesley Snipes in "Drop Zone". I am not sure how a giant backpack with hooks on it, factors into a personal training strategy, but if it is important, this guy comes very well equipped. Besides Wesley Snipe's ridiculous sky diving backpack, it seems he also stole his big goofy smile as well. Every day he greets you with a huge grin, and invites you to sign up for a free training session. 

A lot of dumb white people fall for this. Just for the record, there is no such thing as a free training session. Everything a personal trainer every tells you or offers you that is free, is another angle to try to get you to pay ridiculous sums of money so they can make you look like an idiot in front of everyone else at the gym. I love, jumping in the air with my arms flailing just as much as the next guy, but when everyone else in the gym is doing curls and bench presses, you tend to stand out. I guess this is fitting because you did fall for the personal trainer scam.

Besides the "free training session" backpack guy also spins some wheel (like the one on wheel of fortune) which has prizes which amount to coupons to New York Sports Cub. Great, the slum lords at New York Sports Club are charging me $80 a month to use their awful facilities, and now the weirdo in the backpack just told me I won 10% off the first month of a personal trainer. When you are simply getting a discount on something you don't need, is that really winning??

Well this creep in a backpack sure makes you believe you just won something. When I think back, the minute I signed up for the gym they brought in personal trainers right away and tried to sell me their services. I cannot begin to list the problems at this gym, and I pay a premium rate to use their second rate facility. They are constantly trying to find different ways to scam me. I don't need your help weird guy in a backpack. Please leave me alone. 

Note: This is making me angrily think about my days at Circuit City so I think I am going to start a new series of blogs about that. Stay tuned.

Friday, November 21, 2008

"Without A Paddle" A Netflix Review

I was just browsing Netflix for movies to add to my instant queue so I can play them on the awesome Xbox Netflix Player , and came across this woman's review of "Without a Paddle".  I have not seen this movie but it looks pretty mediocre to me, and she had the following to say: 

This is a film about a group of childhood friends who decide to follow their childhood obssesion and go on a camping trip in search of a lost bank robber's treasure...and everything bad that can happen does. I am a tough sell on comedy. It honestly takes a lot to make me laugh. With that said, let me say that I laughed so hard at this movie that I almost lost my breath. This movie plays on all the fears a guy could possibly have...A neurotic bear chasing you constantly, wild girls that are hairy but pretty, redneck hillbillies in the woods hunting you, huddling with your buddies for warmth(while practically naked), and a creepy old wilderness guy yelling at you while holding a rifle. This movie had nonstop comedy. The story moved along well and the comedy was played by the actors to perfection! Seth Green is AMAZING! green's brilliant facial expressions alone deserve applause for comedy. Matthew Lillard did not disappoint! And newcomer from the tv show "Punk'd", Dax Shepard, was surprisingly GREAT! I absolutely recommend this movie to anyone! It was wonderfully funny with a small moral about life, love and the pursuit of happiness. See it and enjoy a wonderful ride

I hate when people preface things by saying they are a hard sell, because odds are that is a lie. As we proceed through her review she points out things that couldn't possibly be funny as highlites to what I am guessing is an extremely mediocre movie(making her an easy sell). Putting "while practically naked" in parenthesis reeks of dumb soccer mom, and I am sure Seth Green even knows his facial expressions are not genius. I love how she had to throw in "new comer Dax Shepard" as if she writes for "Rolling Stone" to legitamize her awful writing, but then cancels that out by typing GREAT (notice all caps). I hate this person, you get 0 bananas, that is right I am reviewing your review Melodic from Netflix.

Creepy gym guy: Tales of NYSC Part 1

This should be the first in a series dedicated to the awfulness of the New York Sports Club that I frequent on 8th ave in Chelsea. I suspect that a lot of the staff at the gym are gay. I suspect it for good reason, but that is best left for another blog. It is fine that they are gay, to each their own, and as with anything, I am cool with whatever anyone chooses as long as it is not affecting me. 

Well the problem with New York Sports Club in Chelsea is that it has affected me. It has affected me often enough where I can break these blog posts into a series of bizarre stories and characters. One character, I refer to as creepy gym guy, mostly because I don't know what you would call what he does at the gym. Maybe janitor? His job seems to be to clean up after the people in the gym. 

Any towels left behind, he picks up. Any sweat on the ground he mops up. You can often find him wiping down the showers, oh also you can see him staring down the asses of male patrons and making creepy comments. Creepy gym guy is a short black guy, who seems like possibly he might be a little slow. I don't want to be insensitive and say for sure that he is a full blown tard, but his over friendly nature leads me to believe he is either slow or a sexual predator. The way he stares down other men, and the inquisitive way he he grunts at the male form lead me to believe he is a homosexual. That, and his constantly asking the men if they "need help" when it seems they are just trying to get dressed or dry off. 

Every day I walk into the locker room I have grown to expect a "good morning" or "good afternoon" from creepy gym guy. This seemed like a nice gesture at first, but it is often followed by creepy gym guy freezing in his tracks and watching me as I begin to undress. One day I put on my towel to get into the shower and I swore I heard him sort of grunt "mmm". I am not sure if this was real or if I am homophobic and hearing things, but I am sort of leaning towards real. As I am typing this I realize that the actual story of creepy gym guy is not that interesting. I guess it is something that needs to be experienced. I am confident that if other New York Sports Club members were to read this, they would be relieved that someone else has acknowledged what was on their mind. Creepy gym guy is a retarded ghoul, and Part 1 of who knows how many blogs about the most bizarre gym I have ever been to. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Fable II

After playing the first "Fable" I was left with the feeling that I just experienced something fresh and exciting in the RPG world. The original "Fable" had a story that was unique, and extremely engrossing despite any faults that were contained within the game. When the game was done, I felt sad to leave Albion. There was a definite attachment to the world I have traveled for 15 hours of my life, and I knew I would miss it. On top of that it was a nice break from the typical RPG with antiquated turn based combat and generic Japanese story lines. 

When "Fable II" was announced I was excited. Though the original "Fable" had it's game play faults, it was a great game, and I figured they would certainly take what they had and improve on the concepts already introduced. Combat and magic were great in "Fable", but ranged magic, and ranged weapons were so difficult to productively use that you often had to use melee attacks and short range magic to win battles. It got so frustrating that I gave up on ranged weapons entirely. On top of that, quests were presented in an annoying and clunky way. The guild master presented you with Quest cards as if you were in a giant game of "Magic the Gathering" and you had to find your way around the world using an on screen map and teleportation pods. Travel
 was ok, but it definitely could have been improved on so that your objectives were easier to find.

Rather than address these issues, and make a great sequel to "Fable", a dumbed down game was created that eliminated all skill, and also added new imperfect features that I now want improved in "Fable III". Now, like I said ranged combat was impossible in the original "Fable", but in "Fable II" the ranged combat is so dumbed down all you have to do is press the "Y" button continuously and all your enemies die before you. They tackled the map issue by eliminating all sense of travel in the game. Rather than travel in real time from city to city, you just go into the start menu and select the city you want to travel to and it tells you that it takes 18 hours on the load screen. Apparently, by saying it takes 18 hours to get somewhere, this constitutes a "massive environment" since that is what they claim on the back of the box. Personally I think the first "Fable" was a more massive world. On top of this, the on screen map was eliminated entirely, and a gold trail leads you from place to place. What am I 8 years old? 

I am also a fan of going against the grain, but they eliminated the concept of mana in the game, and I don't see why really. I guess this is supposed to make it easier to cast? However, the system used to make casting simple, actually causes you not to want to cast at all. They tried to tie all casting into the "B" Button so that you are not constantly cycling through spells like the first game, but this raises a new problem, you have to know which spell you will cast prior to the fight. So I guess their solution was instead of replacing your old spells when you level up new spells, there is a hierarchy of casting. So you set the primary spell you want on the first level of casting, second, etc. and you can chain together spells like this. In theory this is not awful, but once you get passed level 2, the powerup time for a level 3 spell is considerably longer, and you take a lot of damage every time you cast, so it becomes not worth it to cast anymore. I think this is a shame because of how important casting was in the first "Fable".

With all of this aside, "Fable 2" added two really cool new concepts to the franchise. Coop play, and an economy. I will start with Coop play. It was really cool to be walking around Albion and see your friends icons in the game. When you get close to their icon, you can talk to your friends using your headset, and trade items. I think I prefer this for the console over MMORPG's because it allows you to interact with friends while your character still maintains a level of importance in the world you are playing in. You can invite players into your gang, but they will appear as henchmen rather than equals. Once again I think this is great because you can see how your choices have influenced Albion compared to how your friends' Albion appears. While I think this is what ultimately saves the game, it is disappointing that the game is so easy because the coop feature would be much more exciting if the enemies scaled to your level.

The economy feature would have been really cool if it mattered. I really worked on improving the economy in the game just for the sake of earning money, but really after 2 hours of working on the economy you pretty much have unlimited money. The economy consists of taking jobs as a blacksmith, bar tender, bounty hunter etc. and then using the money you earn to buy businesses and homes. When you buy a business you are able to raise and lower prices based on a  percentage up to a 100% the value of current prices. If you raise prices it is seen as an act of corruption, if you lower prices it is seen as a good act. These decisions coupled with all of the other decisions you will make through the game determine the appearance of your character and how he is viewed by others. This was a cool feature, but all the money you will ever need could be raised in 2 hours. 

Overall, despite all of my bitching it was a good experience. There were a lot of throw backs to the original game, and a pretty decent story. The ending was really outside of RPG norm, and like it or not, it's nice to see a game going outside the box. Decisions seem to make a much more significant difference than in the first game, and I am interested to play through again to see how my character looks as a good guy. I have visited my friends world, which seemed much more corrupt than my game. Also, being corrupt can really affect the economy negatively. It is cool to see your decisions affecting the environment so greatly. Overall, this was a good game that should have been great. It seems like they really catered to the casual gamer, and in my opinion this is the major issue facing gaming today. I will give this 2 out of 4 bananas. 

I am tired of hearing about "the poor"

I have noticed an odd trend that started when Barack Obama was chosen as the Democratic candidate for President a few months back. Middle class white people talking about poor people as if they are some static entity that needs to be handled with kid gloves. More specifically I have read and heard many liberals have in depth conversations about the state of black people in America, and redistribution of wealth to those less fortunate.

First, the idea of middle class white people talking about black America as if they know what is good for them, is as insulting as saying "the N word" (I will discuss the ridiculousness of having to say "the N word" in another blog).  White people having an open discussion about black people as if they understand their struggle is like parents discussing their children. It is marginalizing black people to the point where you are implying that they cannot even defend or think for themselves, and it is a way of being racist under the guise of caring. Privileged white people love to seem socially and politically relevant at the expense of treating black people like children, it is a hobby of white people. 

Secondly, I can't stand the idea of "spreading the wealth." I know people who make less than 12k a year, have kids, and live perfectly normal lives. In this country with very little effort you can make 10-12k a year, and have the government pay most of your rent, and most of your food, and still get money back at tax time. I am not against that, that is taking care of your people to me. I think there should be some regulation on how long people can live off the government (since people often spend their entire lives on welfare) but ultimately, I am not for hanging people out to dry. I find it insulting that Barack Obama and the privileged white have this blanket policy of redistributing wealth to "the poor." 

I have had people the last few months criticize me for supporting politicians who are not "for the poor." Why the hell would you be for the poor! They smell, and eat up tax dollars, so I am not for the poor, but poor people will always exist and I acknowledge that. My problem is that people are talking about the poor like they are some static entity. I have heard people who are not poor say "I am poor" as if they are a group that needs representing. I don't know when the idea of being poor gained this acceptable connotation where it is almost as if they are their own race. Being poor is a personal economic situation, not some disease that can't be cured or a skin color that will be discriminated against. So I am tired of acting like we need to help this entity called the poor. What we need to do is create more jobs, so that being poor is not a static state of being, but a temporary economic state. 

I never thought I would see the day in the United States where spreading money around without earning it was a popular idea. Our country is built on ambition and will die on the backs of well off liberals who feel like they have some social obligation to help the unambitious. I don't expect to throw people out on the street with no food or clothes, but "the poor" shouldn't be treated like dogs waiting near the dinner table for supper either. 

Monday, November 17, 2008

Earth Wind, and Fire. Who will stop them?

The other day, I gave my good friend Ryan fantasy football advice. I told him it would be a bad idea to start Derrick Ward because there is no way the Giants would run strong on the Ravens.  Up until yesterday, the Ravens were allowing 67 yards a game, and had a string of 29 straight games not allowing a 100 yard rusher. Well they still haven't allowed a 100 yard rusher, but only because there was no reason to run Brandon Jacobs anymore after the game got out of reach. 

I woke up excited yesterday, excited about the prospect of a Ray Lewis/Brandon Jacobs collision. The idea of the best rushing offense, against the best rushing defense would get any football fans' attention. Instead I watched Brandon Jacobs steam roll the Ravens carrying what seemed like the entire team on his back 10 yards at a time. Up until yesterday, the biggest run day for any team against the Ravens was 76 yards, and I watched the Giants 3rd string running back, Ahmad Bradshaw run for 77 yards in one play. Going into yesterday's game, I questioned whether the Giants could reach 100 yds, well their 3 back onslaught gained over 200 yds, and the only question left on my mind was, "How did these guys lose to the Browns?"

I try to pride myself on logic, and not being superstitious, but I find myself every week thinking that the Giants are "due for a loss." I feel like if I gloat the Giants will lose, and as I type this I am thinking I will probably jinx them, but I do not see the Giants losing. I don't see them losing to anyone at any time. It is a proud time to be a Giants fan, and it seems like that maybe the defending champs could indeed defend their title. Anyone remember when sports writers all picked the Cowboys in the wake of Osi Umenyiora going down? It seems so long ago. 

Friday, November 14, 2008

One of these things doesn't belong

Courtesy of my good friend Dikran:

I'd think that White House photos like these will look a little more natural come January. Am I right? 

You know Michelle is a two in the pink one in the stink kinda gal. 

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Keith Olbermann is a douche

The issue of gay marriage has come up the last couple of days over at anicid.com, and I realize that I have a hard time separating my hate from people and my real feelings on issues. I think although it is a more slippery slope than advocates of gay marriage would like to admit I am generally in favor of gay marriage.  I also believe it is wrong that they have taken that right away in California once it was already given to those people, but on the other hand maybe something this controversial should have went to a Democratic vote to begin with.

However with my feelings on the issue aside, the one thing I know for sure is that I hate Keith Olbermann. I do not see how people can see him as any different than Bill O'Reilly. Granted Bill O'Reilly makes some crazy comments based on lies, and absurdities but they are both out for only one person, themselves. 

I remember back about a year ago during the Don Imus controversy, when Keith Olbermann came out against Don Imus. He said he urged his bosses to take action, and begged Jessie Jackson to take action against Don Imus. Don Imus is a guy who has made a career out of dumb jokes, and crude comments. Don Imus was also a colleague of Olbermann, and you know what a bigger man would have done? He would have sat back and allowed Imus' actions to dictate what happened to him. 

Of course that is not what Olbermann did, he has to let you know that he is cut from the finest moral fiber that exists. He has to constantly let you know that you are dumber than he is with his ridiculous cadence, and unnecessary use of "powerful" adjectives. Keith Olbermann wants to be a star so badly, and all he ever will be is a dumb sports anchor that somehow made it a little further in his career. Who is Keith even preaching to? He has a liberal show and a liberal audience, does he really think people who oppose him are going to tune in and be swayed by his rambling? No one is impressed by your words Keith, knock it off. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"lol theology for 1000$"

This was the title of the email I received last night from my brother. My brother, who despite his age is probably one of the funniest people I know, wrote a fictional religious tale and submitted it to his teacher. His teacher then loved the story so much, she had him submitted into a contest for $1,000 for the most inspirtaional religious experiences. The first story, is the tale up for consideration:

I believe I have been a witness to Christ many times in my life. I believe the act of witnessing Christ is important in itself, but you must also learn from it. I believe that good Christians will have the honor of witnessing Christ often in their lives, but must keep an open mind. Being a Catholic I believe that most near death experiences, miracles, and experiences of being saved all related to God or Christ.

      My first experience where I believe I have had an encounter with Christ is when I was upstate visiting family, and a bear suddenly came out of the woods while I was walking the dog down the road. The bear growled and waved its paw furiously, causing my aunt’s dog to bark and chase after the bear, as I held her back with her leash. The bear seemed infuriated and walked towards me and the dog when suddenly there was a loud crash in a nearby brook which sounded like rocks falling. The bear got scared and ran back into the woods. I went to check what the sound was but there was nothing there, or at least nothing out of the ordinary.

      My second experience where I believe I had an encounter with Christ or became a witness of him is when my dad had a heart attack. This caused him many health problems such as eating problems. I prayed and I prayed for him to get well, but the doctors said that even after all the treatments there was a high chance for further complication. I believed that there was hope and I continued to pray and went to church to pray. After all of his operations he began his recovery very weak, but over time he gained strength and made a full recovery, despite what the doctors told us. I believe that Christ helped me through these hard times and helped my dad.

      My third experience that I believe I have had an encounter with Christ is when my friends and I were waiting for the bus in the city.   We saw a homeless man lying on the ground with very little clothes in the cold. He asked for money for clothes but everyone that walked by either ignored him or said no. I saw this happen for ten minutes and I could tell the man was really suffering and cold so I decided to give the man enough money to buy a coat from a small nearby store. I gave him about twenty dollars and when I got on the bus I had second thoughts about what I did but moved on. Later that day when we were on our way home, I found a hundred dollars lying on the ground. I believe that Jesus gave me this because of my kindness towards the homeless man, even when I did not have a lot of money to begin with.

      Many people take these experiences and chalk them up to luck. At the time of Christ everything was much simpler and there was no mass media or television. Now there are many people who try to bash or make fake examples of God’s presence just to get a laugh. We believe only in miracles that are pre approved by the church, and this I find to be sad.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Role Models

I saw "Role Models" on Saturday, and it was great. This was probably the funniest movie I have seen since "Superbad", and although I love Kevin Smith, it was a lot funnier than "Zack and Miri Make a Porno." 

Paul Rudd, and Stiffler were hilarious, but Jane Lynch and "the little black kid" stole the show. Cheap laughs include little kids cursing, and Stiffler waking up naked in a fire pit, but even the cheap laughs were great. I am giving this movie 3 bananas. 

On a side note, I was in line waiting to go into the movie, and some ghetto Spanish Girl says "You know who I would love to meet..."

My anticipation meter goes up...

"Jack Black."

I hate when people say, "You know who I'd love to meet..."

It is such an empty statement. Personally I have met a lot of people I consider to be "heroes" of mine, and it has always been awkward and boring. 

Moreover, who wants to meet Jack Black?!? I am sure Jack Black doesn't even want to meet Jack Black. Why would this dumb girl want to meet him? What has Jack Black even done in the past 2 years, Kung Fu Panda? 

Do people want to meet Jack Black because of Kung Fu Panda? What is wrong with people. 

Would you want to meet this guy? Cause I wouldn't, and he kind of looks like me. 

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I want to give Frank Caliendo a hug

I am a long time Opie and Anthony listener, and over the years Frank Caliendo has been a semi regular guest on the show. When I first heard Frank on the air, he had a couple of impressions that were pretty good, and he came across as a pretty funny guy.

Somewhere along the line, his Madden impression took off and for some reason TBS thought this meant he could do any impression, and turn it into a weekly tv show. I cannot even make it 5 minutes into Frank's show, without feeling extremely embarrassed for him.

I find it easy to hate people who are annoyingly unfunny, but I do not even think that this is the case here. I think Frank is a genuinely funny guy, and there is a certain aura of self awareness that comes across during his show.

He has been on Opie and Anthony to promote standup acts since the show has aired, and he seems to avoid the issue of the television show completely. I feel for Frank, and how blatantly awful his show is. I want to be annoyed by the idea of him cashing in on this show, but then I hear his George Bush impression and I just want to hug him, or take him out back and put him out of his misery. Frank TV is the epitome of awfulness.

I Hate Your Guts

Help Jim Norton stay filthy rich, and pick up "I Hate Your Guts" from Amazon. The little I have heard/read so far has been hilarious. I liked his first book, but I think this will be 1000 times funnier. 

Four Christmases

What is Vince Vaughn doing? 

His father, her mother, his mother and her father all in one day.

Get out the wacky hats! How could this ever be good? What happened to Vince Vaughn being funny? 

When is the last time I didn't want to kill Reese Witherspoon

This is not even an interesting movie plot, this is like a common life situation. Is that supposed to be the appeal? Are we supposed to relate to the fact that Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon are in a non funny, non interesting situation?

Look at that poster, how could you not want to kill both of them?

Has Reese Witherspoon ever been funny? I don't remember this. 

I wonder if when comedy actors do shitty movies and have to pose for these posters, if they get the douche chills inside. 

Also on a side note, what is wrong with Vince Vaughn's skin? That is a publicity photo, and he looks like a cadaver.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Morning After

After reading and seeing Barack on TV, even though I still do believe Obama is more of a rock star than a politician, and that is the reasoning most people voted, it is still exciting times. I am happy Obama is President, and it is nice to have a leader who is not a complete embarrassment to our country. I hope he does a great job and represents our country well. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Thoughts on Election Day

Ok, so I voted for Obama today, because I think he will be a better symbolic representation of America throughout the world. However, I would not call myself a McCain hater, or an Obama supporter. I just think that at this point in time, with everything that has happened the past 8 years, this makes the most sense.

What I have found unbelievable on the Internet the past few days, is how incredibly vocal Obama supporters have been. There have been countless people on Facebook or Myspace, that I guarantee have no idea why they support Obama pushing him as if John McCain becoming president would be the end of the free world.

Personally I consider myself to be relatively politically ignorant. Because of this, I rely on a few close friends who are extremely politically knowledgeable to keep me up to date with what is going on etc. I am not ashamed to admit that, but because of my ignorance, I think it would be pretty irresponsible for me to go out and campaign for Barack Obama simply because that is who I was voting for.

During the past 3 days, I have seen people use such strong language, and paint our country as doomed if Barack Obama does not become President. Most of these people couple probably not even explain how Barack will affect their lives, but they are out there telling you that you have to vote for him.

I voted for Obama for really simplistic reasons, but like I said I am pretty politically ignorant. Now my main point here is that since most people are just as ignorant as I am, I can't believe that there is some profound reason that makes Barack Obama way greater than John McCain. I am fine with the choice I have made, but I have never seen so many people so passionate about something they know nothing about. These are just vague generalized thoughts for now, once everything settles down I will probably write some more about what I have noticed more specifically the last few days. If anyone cares.

Let's just hope that if Barack wins, he will be as great as the hype machine has made him out to be.