Thursday, December 25, 2008

Holiday Tradition

No, I'm not talking about hanging stockings or lighting Menorahs, but rather my annual bashing of the BCS and how it skullfucks my beloved college football.

While it is truth that college football has never had a clear-cut way of determining a champion, the BCS has only personified this problem ten fold. How a computer determining who gets to play for a championship is better than a few hackneyed sportswriters determining the same... well, you got me.

(Of course the biggest problem is that the NCAA doesn't even officially recognize a national champion. Seriously. They don't have an official champ for their primary money-maker.)

I used to enjoy the bowl system, I really did. Bowl week provided a plethora of interesting and exciting match-ups that we weren't privy to in the regular season. But over the years the system has become diluted by an overabundance of new bowls.

While defenders of the bowl system will tout the grand tradition of the bowls, they really have lost all of their ground to stand on. Sure, there are a handful of bowls that possess storied traditions. But once the Rose Bowl accepted a sponsor into its name then all hope was lost. Hell, even the Cotton Bowl is moving away from the Cotton Bowl after this year. I will never tell my kids tales of the great PapaJohns.com Bowls of my youth, I can assure you of this.

So that argument is dead. Money? We all know a playoff would rake. Ratings and attendance? Even the great game between TCU and Boise St. had a shit ton of empty seats.

The one semi-decent anti-playoff argument is the fear that a playoff system would diminish from the regular season. To a certain point, this is true. The SEC Championship between Alabama and Florida wouldn't have had the "Armageddon win or be fucked" hype surrounding it. However, Alabama's undefeated season would have still been on the line. Tim Tebow's redemption mission would not have been forsaken. The SEC Title would have still been up for grabs. My point is: shit still would've mattered a whole lot to those kids and the fans.

One of anti-playoff stances that pisses me off most is when people tell me I have no grasp and no respect for tradition. I say fuck you, douchebag. When you tell me that Ohio St. would rest their starters against Michigan, who has lost their grip on reality? If you truly believe Alabama would not have wanted to hand down the same ass beating on Auburn, you are mental.

Bringing a playoff to major college football would not make it the NFL. There is a different passion in the players, a different devotion in the fan base. College football is not the NFL, and it never will be. A playoff would not bring it any closer to its professional brother than all of the corporate sponsorship or media overexposure.

Ohio St. would not rest starters against Michigan. Alabama would still hate Auburn. Happy Valley would still play host to over 110,000 fans.

College football would change with a playoff, and it would change for the better.

So, the question is of course, how do we work this playoff?

In my perfect world, there would be a 16-team playoff. The conference winners -- ALL of them -- get automatic bids. That leaves five at-large bids to the best of the rest. How do we determine said at-large bids? Human selection committee, just like basketball. Use the BCS like the RPI.

To quell the bitching about playing too many games, we shorten the regular season back to 11 games. Begin Labor Day weekend, end weekend after Thanksgiving with conference title games. Max games a team would play? 16. Same as... oh, every other college football division.

Each conference must determine a true champion. Either play a title game or round robin schedule. That means the Big 10 adds Notre Dame, changes their name to something stupid like the Great Lakes Conference.

There are 15 games in a 16-team playoff, so that means 15 sites get to host games (I've long thought the first round should be campus sites, but the bowl cities would bitch too much).

As for teams that don't make it? I have no problem with have a few extra bowls to act like the NIT. Although, I would like a minimum record of 7-4 to get in said bowls.

It's that simple, really.

What would this year look like?

1. Florida (SEC) vs. 16. Buffalo (MAC)
2. Texas (at-large) vs. 15. Troy (Sun Belt)
3. Oklahoma (Big 12) vs. 14. East Carolina (C-USA)
4. Alabama (at-large) vs. 13. Cincinnati (Big East)
5. USC (Pac 10) vs. 12. Virginia Tech (ACC)
6. Penn St. (Big 10) vs. 11. TCU (at-large)
7. Utah (MWC) vs. 10. Ohio St. (at-large)
8. Texas Tech (at-large) vs. 9. Boise St. (WAC)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

TCG Top 25

1 Alabama (14) 419
2 Texas (1) 395
3 OU (1) 394
4 Florida (1) 379
5 USC 357
6T Utah 327
6T Texas Tech 327
8 Penn St 307
9 Boise State 288
10 Oklahoma St 258
11 Ohio St 253
12 Missouri 248
13 Georgia 211
14 TCU 178
15 Ball State 166
16 Cincinnati 161
17 Oregon St. 137
18 BYU 110
19T Michigan St 106
19T Georgia Tech 106
21 Oregon 79
22 Florida State 70
23 Boston College 69
24 Northwestern 50
25 Pittsburgh 30

Others Receiving Votes:
West Virginia (26), Iowa (20), Tulsa (19), Mississippi (16), California (7), North Carolina (5), Western Michigan (3), Central Michigan (3), Nebraska (1)

Dropped out:
LSU #20, Miami #22, Maryland #23, North Carolina #24

My ballot:
1. Alabama
2. Florida
3. Texas
4. Oklahoma
5. Utah
6. USC
7. Boise St.
8. Penn St.
9. Texas Tech
10. Missouri
11. Ohio St.
12. Georgia
13. Ball St.
14. TCU
15. Oklahoma St.
16. Cincinnati
17. Oregon St.
18. Michigan St.
19. Northwestern
20. Georgia Tech
21. Boston College
22. Pittsburgh
23. BYU
24. Florida St.
25. Ole Miss

Friday, November 21, 2008

TCG Top 25

1 Texas Tech (10) 437
2 Alabama (7) 432
3 Texas 402
4 Florida (1) 400
5 OU 388
6 USC 348
7 Utah 328
8 Penn St 311
9 Boise State 304
10 Oklahoma St 278
11 Ohio St 272
12 Missouri 267
13 Georgia 204
14 Michigan St 204
15 Ball State 182
16 BYU 178
17 TCU 158
18 Cincinnati 120
19 Pittsburgh 118
20 LSU 111
21 Oregon St. 82
22 Miami 76
23 Maryland 66
24 North Carolina 56
25 Oregon 23

Others Receiving Votes:
Georgia Tech (23), Northwestern (16), Boston College (10), Iowa (10), Tulsa (8), South Florida (8), Central Michigan, (7), Notre Dame (7), UConn (7), Virginia Tech (3), Western Michigan (2), Florida State (2), Houston (1), Kansas (1)

Dropped out:
Florida St #20, Tulsa #23, South Carolina #24

My ballot:
1. Alabama
2. Texas Tech
3. Florida
4. Texas
5. Oklahoma
6. Utah
7. USC
8. Boise St.
9. Penn St.
10. Missouri
11. Ohio St.
12. Michigan St.
13. Georgia
14. Ball St.
15. TCU
16. Oklahoma St.
17. BYU
18. Pittsburgh
19. Cincinnati
20. Oregon St.
21. LSU
22. Maryland
23. Miami
24. Northwestern
25. Central Michigan

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

TCG Top 25

1T Alabama (7) 413
1T Texas Tech (9) 413
3 Texas 375
4 Florida (1) 372
5 OU 367
6 USC 346
7 Utah 314
8 Boise State 299
9 Penn St 296
10 Ohio St 249
11 Oklahoma St 247
12 Missouri 245
13 Georgia 204
14 Ball State 182
15 Michigan St 178
16 BYU 163
17 North Carolina 156
18 TCU 140
19 LSU 110
20 Florida State 107
21 Pittsburgh 87
22 Cincinnati 73
23 Tulsa 36
24 South Carolina 34
25 Maryland 14

Others Receiving Votes:
California (13), Virginia Tech (13), West Virginia (12), Oregon St. (10), Georgia Tech (10), USF (8), Wake Forest (8), Central Michigan (6), Notre Dame (6), UConn (6), Miami (4), Kansas (3), Oregon (3), Air Force (2), Western Michigan (1)

Dropped out:
Georgia Tech #20, California #20, West Virginia #23, Northwestern #25

My ballot:
1. Alabama
-- RMFT. With a trip to Atlanta clinched, the Tide needs to remain focused on their next two opponents, Mississippi State and Auburn.
2. Texas Tech
3. Florida
4. Texas
5. Oklahoma
6. Utah
-- Big win for the Utes against TCU. After San Diego State this weekend, the Holy War versus BYU stands between Utah and the BCS.
7. USC
8. Boise St.
-- If Utah remains unbeaten, it seems as if the Broncos will get the BCS shaft. But I say I'd rather see Boise St. than a second team from either the PAC 10 or Big 10.
9. Penn St.
10. Missouri
11. Ohio St.
12. Michigan St.
13. Georgia
14. Ball St.
15. TCU
16. Oklahoma St.
17. BYU
18. North Carolina
19. Florida St.
20. Pittsburgh
21. Cincinnati
22. LSU
23. South Carolina
24. Tulsa
25. Oregon St.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

TCG Top 25

1 Penn St (6) 430
2 Texas Tech (3) 425
3 Alabama (9) 386
4 Texas 383
5 OU 373
6 Florida 371
7 USC 352
8 Oklahoma St 335
9 Utah 300
10 Boise State 280
11 TCU 264
12 Ohio St 237
13 Missouri 231
14 LSU 206
15 Georgia 195
16 Ball State 166
17 BYU 154
18 Michigan St 152
19 North Carolina 130
20 Georgia Tech 119
21 Maryland 78
22 California 74
23 West Virginia 66
24 Florida State 42
25 Northwestern 32

Others Receiving Votes:
Pittsburgh (22), Kansas (8), Tulsa (8), Central Michigan (8), Minnesota (5),
Oregon (5), Cincinnati (4), UConn (3), Air Force (2), USF (1), Miami (FL) (1),
Virginia Tech (1), Notre Dame (1)

Dropped out:
Tulsa #16, Minnesota #20, Oregon #23, USF #24

My Ballot:
1. Alabama
-- Here it is, the big date in Baton Rouge. LSU has the type of physical defense that can shut down the Bama rushing attack and force the game into John Parker Wilson's hands. But do the Bayou Bengals have enough on offense to score against the stingy Crimson Tide D?
2. Penn St.
3. Texas Tech
-- Texas down, Oklahoma St. and Oklahoma to go.
4. Florida
5. Texas
6. Oklahoma
7. Utah
8. USC
9. Boise St.
10. Oklahoma St.
11. TCU
-- If the Horned Frogs beat Utah this Thursday, could they be the first non-BCS team with a loss to earn an at-large bid to a BCS bowl?
12. Missouri
13. Ohio St.
14. Michigan St.
15. Georgia
16. LSU
17. BYU
18. Ball St.
19. West Virginia
20. North Carolina
21. Georgia Tech
22. Northwestern
23. California
24. Florida St.
25. Tulsa

Friday, October 24, 2008

I Hate Rocky Top

But how I looooovvvvveeee to beat them.

2007, Alabama 41 UT 17


2005, "Rocky Stop"


2002, Ending the streak with a 34-14 stomping up in Knoxville


1990, Unranked Bama upsets #3 UT in Knoxville


Just for fun, and because I share his sentiments, the best interview EVER

Thursday, October 23, 2008

TCG Top 25

Time for this week's poll:

1 Texas (12) 396
2 Penn St (1) 377
3 Alabama (3) 375
4 OU 330
5 USC 320
6 Oklahoma St 306
7 Florida 302
8 Texas Tech 299
9 Georgia 274
10 Utah 254
11 Ohio St 238
12 LSU 236
13 Boise State 216
14 TCU 163
15 USF 147
16 Missouri 145
17 Tulsa 125
18 Kansas 103
19 Pittsburgh 96
20 Ball State 94
21 BYU 92
22 Georgia Tech 87
23 Boston College 55
24 Florida State 53
25 Minnesota 39

Others Receiving Votes:
Virginia Tech (21), Northwestern (20), Michigan St (15), Cincinnati (8), Oregon (8), Arizona (3), Maryland (2), Vanderbilt (1)

Dropped out:
Virginia Tech #17, Michigan St #18, UNC #19, Wake Forest #22, Vanderbilt #23

And my ballot:

1. Texas
2. Alabama
-- I'll admit, I'm a little nervous about this weekend. Fat Phil needs a big win badly, and he has a niche for getting one a year. Combine that with our second half struggles, and there could be trouble... then again, fuck Rocky Top, we win big.
3. Penn St.
4. Florida
5. Oklahoma
6. Texas Tech
-- Time to see if the Red Raiders are for real when they visit Kansas this weekend.
7. Utah

8. Georgia
9. USC
10. Oklahoma St.
11. LSU
12. Boise St.
13. South Florida
14. Michigan St.
15. Ohio St.
16. Pitt
17. TCU
-- Nation, meet the Horned Frogs and their vicious defense.
18. Missouri
19. Kansas
20. BYU
21. Georgia Tech
22. Ball St.
23. Tulsa
24. Boston College
25. Minnesota

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

TCG Top 25

A whole lotta shakin' going on in the TCG Top 25 this week.

1 Texas (9) 415
2 Alabama (8) 412
3 Penn St 397
4 OU 336
5 USC 330
6t BYU 325
6t Florida 325
8 Texas Tech 307
9 Oklahoma St 281
10 Georgia 273
11 Missouri 256
12 Utah 250
13 LSU 226
14 Ohio St 197
15 Boise State 193
16 Kansas 185
17 Virginia Tech 141
18 Michigan St 123
19 UNC 114
20 USF 84
21 Ball State 74
22 Wake Forest 72
23 Vanderbilt 47
24 Tulsa 46
25 Georgia Tech 27

Others Receiving Votes:
TCU (22), California (16), Florida State (14), Pittsburgh (14), Oregon (9), Minnesota (8), Northwestern (3), Cincinnati (2), Notre Dame (1)

Dropped out:
Auburn #25

My ballot:

1. Alabama
2. Texas
3. Penn St.
If the Nittany Lions get out of Columbus unscathed next weekend, I'm penciling them in for the BCS National Championship Game.
4. Florida
5. Oklahoma
6. BYU
7. Texas Tech
A little too close for comfort against Nebraska, but those are the kind of games the Red Raiders lost in the past.

8. Utah
9. Georgia
10. USC
11. Oklahoma St.
I would have the Cowboys higher, but Missouri got a couple of bad bounces and breaks in that game. Not that Okie St. isn't good, but I wanna see more before I put them in the upper echelon.

12. LSU
13. Missouri
14. Kansas
15. Boise St.
16. South Florida
17. Virginia Tech
18. Wake Forest
19. Michigan St.
20. Ohio St.
21. Pittsburgh
22. North Carolina
23. Ball St.
24. Vanderbilt
25. Tulsa
The Golden Hurricane are the only team in Conference USA that possess a winning record. They could end up yet another unbeaten mid-major jipped by the BCS.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

So the Tony Franklin experiment is over

Auburn canned new OC Tony Franklin today, ending a half-season of mind-numbingly inept offense.

Too soon? Probably, but the outcry from the fanbase was insane... and that offense was really bad. I don't think it was a bad hire, I just think Franklin didn't adapt his system to his players very well (or, at all). I'm sure if they had given him another year or two, what with recruits and experience, it would've worked.

But, patience is hardly a virtue in the world of SEC football, so Mr. Franklin goes. It's almost painful talking to friends who pull for the Tigers, their voices ache when they speak of the offense wasting the efforts of a world-class defense. Almost, because the fuckers still have that six-game winning streak to hang over my head.

The question now is where do the Tigers go? Tommy Tuberville has had six different offensive coordinators since he took over Auburn in 1999, and the only time the offense really did anything worth a damn was when they had the all-universe backfield of Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown.

Whatever they do, they better pray it works fast.

TCG Top 25

Here's this week's edition of TheCollegeGridiron.com's Top 25:

1 OU (12) 418
2t Alabama (4) 393
2t Missouri 393
4 LSU (1) 373
5 Texas 359
6 Penn St 350
7 BYU 304
8 USC 292
9 Texas Tech 277
10 Georgia 257
11 Florida 250
12 Utah 227
13 Vanderbilt 213
14t Kansas 186
14t Ohio St 186
16 Boise State 177
17 Oklahoma St 160
18 Virginia Tech 113
19 USF 98
20 Michigan St 97
21 UNC 82
22 Tulsa 54
23 Ball State 51
24 Wake Forest 43
25 Auburn 42

Others Receiving Votes:
Illinois (29), Georgia Tech (26), Northwestern (19), Wisconsin (15), Oregon (12), Florida St. (9), Kentucky (5), California (5), Pittsburgh (4), TCU (4), Clemson (3)

Dropped out:
Wisconsin #20, Oregon #21, Fresno St #22, UConn #23

And here's my ballot:

1. Oklahoma
2. Alabama
3. Missouri
4. Texas
5. LSU
6. Penn St
7. BYU
8. Texas Tech
9. Utah
10. Florida
11. Georgia
12. USC
13. Vanderbilt
14. Kansas
15. Boise St.
16. South Florida
17. Virginia Tech
18. Oklahoma St.
19. Wake Forest
20. Michigan St.
21. Ohio St.
22. Northwestern
23. Pittsburgh
24. North Carolina
25. Ball St.

Notes:
  • First time I've ranked Ohio St. all season, the change to Terrell Pryor at QB was a very smart one.
  • Ball St... wow.
  • Vanderbilt has a legit shot at winning the SEC East... stockpile your apocalypse supplies now.
  • With the right teams losing, the Utah/BYU end-of-season showdown could be for a spot in the BCS National Championship Game.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

TheCollegeGridiron.com Top 25

So a few of us over at TheCollegeGridiron.com decided that we would start our own poll because hey... who doesn't have a poll nowadays? There are 20 pollsters, all of whom are college football nuts and watch/digest as much pigskin action as possible, so we figure it'll be a pretty solid poll.

First, here's the consensus top 25 (first place votes in parenthesis):

1. OU (10) 438
2. Alabama (7) 427
3. Missouri 407
4. LSU (1) 395
5. Texas 376
6. Penn St 364
7. BYU 322
8. USC 305
9. USF 298
10. Texas Tech 295
11. Georgia 257
12. Florida 233
13T. Utah 216
13T. Auburn 216
15. Ohio St 183
16. Kansas 169
17. Boise State 149
18. Vanderbilt 122
19. Oklahoma St 104
20. Wisconsin 99
21. Oregon 95
22. Fresno State 74
23. UConn 61
24. Virginia Tech 47
25. Michigan St 45

And here's my ballot:

1. Oklahoma
2. Alabama
3. Missouri
4. Texas
5. LSU
6. Penn St
7. BYU
8. South Florida
9. Texas Tech
10. Utah
11. Auburn
12. Georgia
13. Florida
14. USC
15. Kansas
16. Boise St.
17. Vanderbilt
18. Fresno St
19. Virginia Tech
20. UConn
21. Oregon
22. Oklahoma St
23. Wake Forest
24. Kentucky
25. Michigan St

Saturday, September 27, 2008

High Tide

We are back.

From the CBSSportsline.com Bowl Predictions page:

Awoken

Fitting title for this post for a few reasons.

First, well it's the first entry I've had since July. Sorry 'bout that, by the way.

Second, a certain, steady-living part of me has awoken. By that I mean I am in my first real relationship since high school (surprise!).

Third, and perhaps -- nay, definitely -- most exciting: Alabama is playing their most important game in... hell, maybe a decade. The 8th ranked Crimson Tide travel to Athens, Ga. to tangle with the 3rd ranked Georgia Bulldogs.

The last time Alabama played a game with such huge implications was the 1999 SEC Championship. Since then we've (yes we, the entire Crimson Tide family) endured three losing seasons, four coaching changes, a nasty probation, a six-game losing streak to Auburn... suffice to say, it ain't been a lot of fun.

Sure, there were two 10-win seasons. But one was while the team was on probation, and the other was the culmination of a very special senior class.

But tonight, tonight is different. With a win tonight, Alabama gets back into a place where they haven't been in a loooooong time. Back into a place they were for so many decades. Back into a place we as Bama fans feel is somewhere we have a birthright to be.

If the Tide pulls the upset tonight, then we are back into the National Title picture.

And that my friends, is why the butterflies are in my stomach. Roll mother fucking Tide!!!

Monday, July 07, 2008

How I cure boredom

Poor kitty.



Hey, he did get a 71%, not bad for a first timer on medium.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Kid Rock is a funny mother fucker



"I'm fucking rich." I can't stop laughing at that line.

Monday, June 16, 2008

City Stages, day three

Whew, what a weekend. Three days of booze and loud music and I am spent.

Yesterday I closed to City Stages with a couple of superb sets, first from The Wailers and then from my man Shooter Jennings.

I got there in the late afternoon and saw some local acts and The Dynamites featuring Charles Walker. They were pretty groovy, a real good funk band -- plus the bassist had a bitchin' afro.

Then came The Wailers, who were absolutely amazing. "No Woman No Cry" is an incredibly beautiful song on its own, but live it is just euphoric. The crowd was really into it, and that always makes a concert better. The only problem was that it took the sound crew a good 20 minutes to get everything right. Well, that and the usual festival downside: short sets.

We then switched stages and saw Shooter Jennings and his fabulous band, The .357s. As per usual, Shooter brought the noise and blew me away. His set was incredibly varied, he dipped into all three of his CDs and had a nice variety to his track selection. He even broke out the keyboard for a few tunes.

All in all, City Stages '08 was a resounding success.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

City Stages, day two

It's not often you can go to a festival type concert, only see two acts all day, and still consider it a great time. But, yesterday was exactly that for me.

I arrived at about 2:30 p.m. and caught the end of Jon Black's set, which didn't do much for me until he busted out his electric guitar and did a little "Rockin' in the Free World" -- and he did Neil Young justice.

But what I really came for was The Dexateens at 3 p.m. And man, did they rock. Their set was fast-paced, loud and just plain fun. Yesterday marked the first official set as guitarist for Lee Bains, and he did not disappoint. The band was in-sync, and you could tell they themselves were just having fun up there.

After that, myself and a few friends with nice little backstage passes ventured around and enjoyed some free beers in the VIP section, and then got backstage for the one and only Rev. Al Green. This was the second time I have seen Green, and once again he was amazing. So amazing, in fact, that I decided to abort my original plan of leaving his set early to see Buddy Guy. Hey man, sometimes you just go with what's good.

So, what did I learn from yesterday? One, it's good to know people. And two, I am shitty photographer... or maybe I should just remember to bring my real camera instead of my cell phone.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

City Stages, day one

Just got in from day one of City Stages, and had a blast.

Started off the evening by catching the tail end of the Carolina Chocolate Drops (MySpace) set. They are an African-American string band, and they were pretty damn cool. Very talented musicians and great showmen.

Then came Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit. Isbell of course is famous for his years spent as one of the front men for the Drive-By Truckers, but his solo work doesn't miss a beat. He puts on a very entertaining show, and the 400 Unit can rock. He even threw in a couple of my favorite DBT tunes, "Outfit" and "Goddamn Lonely Love."

After that was my personal highlight for the evening, Old Crow Medicine Show. This was the second time I've seen OCMS in action, and once again they blew me away. This time around, they were much more upbeat and energetic than the first time I saw them. A lot of quicker, faster tempo songs, audience participation, and just good-time havin'.

Lastly, we stopped by to catch a glimpse of The Roots set, and naturally they were wicked. Talk about some boys with talent. And after a late night snack with one Lee Bains -- lead man of Arkadelphia -- we headed back to Tuscaloosa. Tomorrow I will journey back into the Magic City to catch, among others, the Dexateens (with Lee Bains making his debut on guitar for the band), Blind Melon, Al Green, Buddy Guy, and Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals. Should be a blast.

"So while you sit and whistle Dixie with your money and your power, I can hear the flowers a-growin in the rubble of the towers."

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Turn the radio dial to "Southern"

I wouldn't say I've gone through any musical "awakenings" recently, but I certainly have noticed a slight shift in my listening habits.

Most notably, since moving back to the South I've been listening to more Southern-skewed artists. While I've always had an affinity for Southern Rock and country, the new music I've discovered has always leaned towards the harder side of rock.

But, in the past few months I've discovered bands both new and old that are more Southern-influenced. The songwriting just appeals to me more. The lyrical content, melodies and song structures have just struck a chord with my ears. I can't really explain why, maybe I just hear more of it in the bars or something, but these are some guys I'm really into now:

Drive-By Truckers
Not a new discovery by any means, but new to me. I don't really know how I never got into them before, because they're right up my alley.
MySpace
Website

Dexateens
Another band that has been around the block, they're Tuscaloosa boys who deserve more recognition than they have.
MySpace
Website

Arkadelphia
I was introduced to these guys by my buddy Caleb, who is good pals with lead man Lee Bains. Lee is an extraordinary musical talent, and one hell of a guy who I've been lucky enough to befriend. Hopefully, you'll know his name well in the coming years.
MySpace
You can follow Lee's thoughts on recording and his music at his blog, The Great Wall of Birmingham


Blaine Duncan and the Lookers
Another Tuscaloosa-based band, their songs have great variety to them, something not seen enough nowadays. Not to mention the fact these guys can just flat out play.
MySpace

Some other notes...

Going to City Stages this weekend, and although it's a replacement for the original trip to Bonnaroo I wanted, the lineup is still pretty solid and I'm stoked. Artists I'm looking forward to: Al Green, Ben Harper, Buddy Guy, Dexateens, Old Crow Medicine Show, Robert Earl Keen, Shooter Jennings, The Roots and The Wailers.

I've started to play my guitar again, after a few years hiatus. More notably, I'm writing songs again, so that's pretty cool.

Two more things before I go: some new links over there on the right, namely two of my good friends. Caleb "C.R." Johnson talks music over at Sounds of Life, and Aaron Suttles spews about sports and over things of note at On Deadline.

Peace out, I'll try to post more.

"Rock & roll means well but it can't help telling young boys lies."

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Movie Musings

So I've been doing a lot of movie-viewing this year, and I felt like sharing. Joy.

I got Blockbuster Online earlier in the year and it's been awesome. The two biggest highlights have been Gone Baby Gone and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Not surprisingly, Casey Affleck has a major role in both. Extremely underrated actor, right there -- and while brother Ben isn't the best actor, he excels behind the camera. I highly recommend both titles.

In theaters, the two best movies I've seen were Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which I've already talked about, and Iron Man.

Iron Man is potentially the start of something extremely beautiful in the world of comic book movies. The casting was superb, something that wasn't really a weak point before, but Iron Man definitely raised the bar in this category. Robert Downey, Jr. was the perfect selection for Tony Stark, and add in the likes of Jeff Bridges, Gwyneth Paltrow and Terrence Howard, and wow what a cast.

The writing was excellent. The characters were well-developed, the dialogue was solid, and the story had depth. If anything hurt the genre before, it was bad writing. But not here.

In terms of future comic movies, I'm excited. I absolutely cannot wait for The Dark Knight this summer, it has epic potential. As for Marvel movies, I may not miss another one -- even though I'm still not completely sold on the Fantastic Four series, I finally watched the Silver Surfer the other day and it was pretty decent. But with the tease of the Avengers series at the end of Iron Man, I may go see The Incredible Hulk this summer -- especially since Ed Norton, a total badass, is playing Bruce Banner.

So let's take a second and look at those names: Downey, Jr., Norton, and now Samuel L. fucking Jackson as Nick Fury? Hell. Yes. Not to mention that Ray Stevenson (Titus Pullo from HBO's Rome series) is taking over the role of Frank Castle in the Punisher series -- and Dominic West (aka Jimmy McNulty from The Wire) is playing Jigsaw... I mean holy shit people, some GREAT actors are starting to appear in these movies.

The future is bright indeed.

One more thing about movies over there to the right. Oh yeah, that's a ticket to the midnight showing of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Krystal Skull... which I shall be departing for very shortly. Word up.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Forget Sarah Marshall...

I want Mila Kunis. Bad. Saw Forgetting Sarah Marshall last night, and besides falling in love with Mila Kunis (not that I didn't know who she was, That 70s Show is one of my favorites series ever), I also laughed every five seconds. Great job all around -- the actors were superb (Russell Brand stole the show as the rockstar), and the writing was great.

Definitely recommend this one.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Movies I'll Stay Up Until 5 In the Morning to Watch

So I get home from the bar last night, pretty much ready to hit the sack after a late night snack and some internet surfing. This was about 2:30 in the morning. I'm munching on some chicken nuggets, and what do I see on my screen about to start?

Robin Hood: Men in Tights -- another Mel Brooks classic.

Now, I know that most people don't agree with me that Men in Tights is one of Brooks' better films, but dammit it cracks me up every time. Sure it ain't Blazing Saddles or Young Frankenstein, but it's still pretty solid.

First of all, it's got a damn good cast. Cary Elwes is brilliant as Robin Hood, and Roger Rees is a great counterpart as the Sheriff of Rotingham. Plus, there's Issac Hayes, Tracy Ullman and a young Dave Chappelle in his first movie.

It is parody at it's finest: smart, witty and fresh. The morons who keep churning out crap like Epic Movie and Date Movie really need to watch some Brooks films and see how it's done. Now, it's obviously a Robin Hood spoof, but the movie also parodies The Godfather, previous Brooks movies and even Gone With the Wind.

You know what? You just can't describe funny, you have to watch it:


Note: That list does the movie no justice, just grab some beers, head on over to my place and we'll watch damn thing.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Pardon our dust

So, the site's under construction, both physically and philosophically. Expect the new look... well, who the fuck knows when. Whenever my buddy Tim "Design Dude Extraordinaire" Schmidt gets around to it, it'll be done. I keep telling him that the favor he's doing me is far more important than all that "work" he gets paid for, but whatever.

Philosophically, that won't take too long. Just working the kinks out on what exactly I want this to be. What I can tell you for sure is some things to expect:

More creative posts -- poems, short stories, the like. Creative writing is honestly a bigger love of mine than journalism, so it only makes sense to include on here.

No angry posts about the Orioles. Why? Because I have given them up until the team is out of the Angelos family. Now you get to read more bitching about the Braves.

I WILL keep up with my running features (what? shut up, I promise I will), like "Movies I'll Stay Up Until 5 in the Morning to Watch," "Random Thoughts," the Livin' Book Club, CD and movie reviews, the Weekend 6-Pack, and some others I either left out/thought up but never actually posted.

Precious comedic gold only found within my skull.

More pictures. I mean, I have a camera, why not use it?

A more well-rounded TD. So, there it is. Bear with me for the time being.

"I wanna be as big as a mountain, I wanna fly as high as the sun. I wanna know what the rent's like in heaven, I wanna know where the river goes."

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Allow me to reintroduce myself...

My name is HOV! H to the O-V, I used to move snowflakes by the O-Z--wait... shit.

(Note to self: you are not, repeat, NOT Jay-Z).

So, I know what you're thinking: "where in the bloody blue fucking hell have you been you slacking son of a bitch?"

Reasonable question. Well, I moved back to Tuscaloosa in October, and due to shoddy internet connections and a busy work schedule, I really haven't had time to keep this updated daily.

But, beyond that, I just haven't had anything to say. I suppose it all relates to the reason I came back to Alabama in the first place: I just needed to do some soul searching.

Searched I have. Baltimore -- as much as I owe and love it -- is not for me. It doesn't fit my personality, it doesn't hold my heart, and most importantly it does not inspire my writing. While I will always be a Baltimore Boy, I will always have a Southern Soul. I feel more at ease, more at home in Dixie.

So here I am, in the Heart of Dixie. What has my searching uncovered? A lot.

For the 17 months between my graduation from the University of Alabama and my return to Tuscaloosa, I thought I was unsure of what I wanted to do with my life. I couldn't have been further from the truth. I know without a shadow of a doubt what it is I want to do with my life: this. I want to write. I want to pour my soul out through my words. I want to share my opinions, my views, my thoughts and my imagination with the world.

So where have those words been you ask? They've been brewing inside, waiting to ferment, if you will. I always wanted this site to be a forum for me to express my opinions and such in the journalistic manor I studied in school. What it turned into was an assignment for me. I felt obligated to churn out something, and that never leads to quality writing. I thought I had a few solid pieces here and there, but when I got here I took a look at what I wanted Livin' to be and what I thought it had become -- and they just weren't the same.

Now, this doesn't mean I haven't been writing and brainstorming and the like. I have begun my novel, and I have crafted a shit ton of ideas for numerous other projects. My mind has been cultivating these ideas, rather than half-heartedly spewing them out in thoughtless blurbs.

I read an interview in Esquire with Tim Burton, and one particular passage really stuck out to me:
I sometimes meet people who say, I’m going to be this and I’m going to be that. You feel kind of bad for them because they’re limiting themselves. It’s different from having an enthusiasm for something and seeing where life takes you. I feel lucky to never have planned to go into what I did. I always just said, “All I want to do is make things, whether it’s drawing or writing.” If I’d said, “I’m going to be a director,” it probably wouldn’t have happened.
That is what I believe. I have a great passion for my words, but I don't want to limit myself to any one thing. I want to do many things -- write a novel, write a movie, write for an HBO show, write for a major publication (Rolling Stone, ESPN, something big), have this blog become well-known, hell even starting a band is still in my head. And those are just the things I know I want to do. This world is filled with endless possibility, so I'm sure there are new things I will want to try somewhere down the road.

As for the present, I am here. I enjoy living where I do. I enjoy working with some of my best friends at a job that isn't all that bad. I have all I need in life right now: money to pay the bills, money to buy the booze, good friends, and myself.

It is the last of those that was missing in Baltimore, it is what I have found here. Funny thing is, I didn't know I needed to be found. But lo and behold here I stand a renewed man.

I realized that while I wasn't sad in Baltimore, I wasn't as happy as I thought I was either. I had fun, had wonderful new experiences and met wonderful new friends -- but I feel like I wasn't truly me. I felt a certain disconnect from life, something that prohibited me from emotionally investing myself in anyone or anything. Life wasn't life to me, it was a process. And I never want it to be that. I don't want to get into any routines, because I am not your routine person.

I can't nail down what it was that made me that way, perhaps I'm not supposed to know. I just know certain details. I know that those new friends didn't get to know the real me, and maybe that's why I felt that disconnect. I never felt truly in touch with them, almost like they didn't understand me and I couldn't help them do so. Sometimes it got to the point where I almost convinced myself they weren't really my friends, that I was some joke to them -- some slacker, some big-talking, no-action taking bum who would dream of what-ifs until the day I died. I secretly resented them for this, yet they did nothing resentful.

But now I have come to realize that their purpose in my life was to show me where I needed to be. We were miles apart philosophically, yet we worked so well as friends because I needed that opposite to keep me grounded. You see, they were of the group that feels the need to grow up fast. Get your career, find your love, have kids and into your nice family home with the white picket fence -- and do it all before 30. For them, this works. They wake up before 10, eat breakfast, go to work/school, and finds things to keep them preoccupied until bedtime at 9. And that routine is what makes them go. Their lives are motivated by goals set by them -- they make challenges to themselves and strive to accomplish them.

I, on the other hand, am simply motivated by life. I do not need a morning latte, I do not need a set schedule. I map out nothing because I do not want to limit myself to anything.

But, at the time, I didn't remember this. I knew it, but I didn't live it. I became a pawn in a game I never wanted to play: the so-called real world. The world that is supposed to hit you like a brick once you leave college. You get a job, you pay bills, you move on to the next step in life. You keep moving on until death. You ask me, this sounds unpleasant.

Life to me is a forest full of beaten and unbeaten paths -- not a staircase. And just as so long as you know where you are -- be it on a path, up a tree or in a bush -- you are doing just fine.

And now, now I know where I am. I am here, and living life, and that is all I can ask for. While living life, I have learned many things about myself, and some about the world.

I realize how one could think the idea of me considering myself Southern to be absurd, because I grew up in Baltimore and am really nothing like your prototypical Southern boy. However, I am comfortable with this because I know that's just the duality of the Southern thing.

I fully understand what Henry David Thoreau meant when he said, “How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.”

I still don't see the big deal with The Lord of the Rings.

I truly believe in Free Love -- and I don't mean that in the 60s hippie sense. Free Love is not a ploy or some justification for me to get laid. Rather, it is the belief that as humans we should love one another simply because we are brothers, sisters, neighbors, fellow humans. I believe we should find love in everyone we meet, and everything we do.

I don't believe in organized religion -- it divides people and it serves greedy, political purposes. But I do believe in faith, and that we all should believe in something we can't see. I believe.

I know my my vices, and I acknowledge them. It is through that acknowledgment that I am able to overcome them. My biggest vice? Women. Simply said, I have been in love with every girl I've ever met -- be it for two minutes or for two years. I know there are always three girls in my life: the random bar girl, the girl I have mixed feelings for, and the girl I am very into.

I know there is one girl has recently inspired me, yet I have no idea how to tell her how I feel.

I smoke cigarettes when I'm drunk, and I have no idea why. I have no desire to smoke them sober -- in fact I am for the most part repulsed by them.

I believe I have a message to the world:
In the grand scheme of things, life is short and we live on borrowed time. There are things in this world well beyond our control, and there is no need stress yourself out on the rat race. Let it be. Don't busy yourself trying to find true love, because you might not be there when it finds you. You will find a career -- just make sure it is one you love. Too many people fall into careers they don't enjoy. People, for fuck's sake read this twice: 25 is not old, neither is 40. Enjoy your life, every single day of it. Let the good times vastly outweigh the bad. Toast on every drink. Smile every day, laugh every hour. Break the rules and challenge authority. Go against conventional wisdom and the popular consensus.

LIVE.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Super Bowl XLII

Livin' starts its triumphant return with the 3rd edition of the "td2kool Super Bowl Diary." And remember, it's not stealing from Bill Simmons, it's paying homage to him (hey, you shut up).

All times Central, all thoughts/comments/jokes property of td2kool Ltd.

2:30 - We're back in Tuscaloosa for this year's Super Sunday, with my buddies Nate, Brett and Pat playing the role of hosts. We've got all the necessities: wings, chips, dip, beer, a big screen and people on both sides of the ball ready to trash talk all day long.

2:35 - Watch the pregame show? Hellllllll no, Halo 3, baby.

4:30 - So maybe we felt like we needed more stuff: fries, Chex mix, M&Ms, more dip, Cheetos... I think we're covered.

4:40 - The number one thing I miss about Baltimore parties? Natty Boh, hon.

4:47 - I've come up with my prediction: Patriots 35, Giants 17.

4:48 - Say what you will about Frank Caliendo, but the dude's Madden impersonation is hilarious.

4:53 - Did Terry Bradshaw just drop an F-Bomb on live television?

4:56 - What in the fuck is this Declaration of Independence shit?

5:06 - Prediction #2: Anheuser Busch once again reigns supreme in the commercial wars.

5:18 - Jordin Sparks looks terrified.

5:20 - But she nailed the anthem.

5:21 - Drillbit Taylor looks hilarious.

5:30 - Kickoff time, baby... I love the flashbulbs.

5:36 - What did I tell you about them Anheuser Busch boys? They've got one hell of a marketing department and/or firm.

5:40 - Decent little drive the Giants got going here... and great pocket presence by Eli right there on the 3rd down blitz.

5:45 - Big hold by the Pats D there, those are the kind of opportunities the G-men need to take advantage of.

5:50 - My buddy Nate: "Hey guys, I think 'House' is on after this."

5:54 - You would think that by now, 18 games into the season, people would know to cover Wes Welker on 3rd down. Just saying.

6:05 - So, I checked out that Danica Patrick ad on GoDaddy.com... meh.

6:09 - Wow, Amani Toomer showing he's still got it.

6:13 - First big break of the night for either team, those are the kinds of things you need to happen to finish 19-0.

6:19 - Movies I want to see this year: Iron Man and Leatherheads.

6:20 - Joe Buck saying "we may not be the best announcers our there" is better than any joke you can think up.

6:21 - Giants dodge a big bullet right there by falling on that fumble.

6:54 - Well, that was a pretty boring 1st half of football, lots of missed chances by both teams. The highlights: lizards doing the "Thriller" dance and a big mouse beating the crap out of that dude in the Doritos commercial.

6:58 - Our halftime entertainment? My buddy Brett trying to launch a cookie across the room in D.J.'s mouth. Beat that.

7:17 - My pal Caleb: "How much do you think they got paid for that?" Me: "Enough for their Viagra."

7:24 - Movie #3: Semi-Pro. Actually, there's four: There Will Be Blood looks BAD ASS. Let's hope for a much better 2nd half of football.

7:35 - I didn't even know you could challenge 12 men on the field... guess that's why I writing this sitting on a living room floor and not on the sidelines at a Super Bowl.

7:42 - The Giants' pass rush is just nasty, big third down sack there.

7:43 - Interesting decision to go for it by Belichick there, let's sees if the Giants get some momentum off of that hold.

8:00 - Somehow, I don't think my 35-17 prediction might be a bit off... I vote we play 7 on 7 in the 4th quarter.

8:06 - I think the fight between the Terminator and the Fox robot might be more exciting than the game itself.

8:07 - And right after that, the Giants get a big play, naturally.

8:10 - Touchdown Giants, on a play that Asante Samuel probably should've made.

8:23 - Everyone talks about giving Belichick two weeks, but damn if the Giants' defensive staff hasn't looked brilliant today.

8:26 - "Bud Light: Suck one." Hahahaha, God I love Will Ferrell.

8:32 - Here comes Mr. Brady...

8:34 - Let's see, you blitz all game long and hold the most prolific offense in history to 7 points... but with the game on the line you fall back and only rush four. Really?

8:39 - Touchdown New England! Your move, Eli Manning.

8:51 - Ho-ly shit, what a play by Eli and what a catch by David Tyree.

8:56 - Big Plaxico wide-open for the go ahead score... abut damn time this game exciting. Good thing for the Giants their kicker's not named John Casey.

8:58 - 29 seconds, three timeouts and Tom Brady, gotta love it.

8:59 - Brett: "Tom ain't played like himself today." Caleb: "I think he's still torn up about Heath Ledger dying, personally."

9:03 - And the Giants will win, great finish. Now the Patriots go down as the 43rd best team in the Super Bowl era. And now I get to heard a ton of "Manning back-to-back" stories... lovely.

So we sign off, folks, hopefully I'll be back in swing full-time soon enough. Until then: peace, love and rock n roll.