Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

Wintry Mix

Snowblog!

The Northeast (actually just the East, in general) is under heavy attack … by snow! Here in New York it isn’t too terrible, but it’s been a steady foot or so of the stuff every week since Christmas. Fun! I’ve always complained about cold weather but I’m actually finding myself somewhat unfazed by all of this – perhaps I’m finally getting used to frigid temperatures. Or, maybe my gut is just finally big enough that it protects me like a whale’s blubber.

I am, however, deeply affected by my lack of blogging! I’ve been constantly working on other projects – be they music, basketball, or stealing cars and shooting hookers – but I should check in here every once in a while. Here’s a quick recap of what I’ve been up to.

GTA4 – Great game that’s been sucking up a lot of my free time recently, but I’ll keep my comments about and review on it until after I’ve completed the damn thing.

Keeping Up with the JonesesBrandon and Katie came up for a visit several weeks ago. We had a few drinks, grabbed some local grub, and played a lot of GTA4 (ok, so that was just Brandon and I). Good times, but our New York bed and breakfast industry took a hit as it seems our air mattress has finally given up the ghost. Even after a herculean effort by Brandon and 2 rolls of duct tape, the bed was still losing air and we had to toss it. No word on whether this was the result of a terrorist attack by Tito.

UBAS – The Ultimate Basketball Association (no idea what the S stands for) is a fantasy basketball league I’m in with a bunch of other, stats-crazy, basketball historians. It’s a lot of fun but also a lot of work – I’m updating the site daily (no joke). I’m really proud of the work I’ve done, even though I’m stinking it up right now in the standings. Next year, the Rens will start to flex their virtual muscle!

Rusty Meeting – After our latest gig two weeks ago, Rusted Hero is now working on the future of the band. Last week we got together at my place and started hashing out all the business bullshit – band partnership agreements, discussions of management, press kits, marketing, etc. It actually was a lot easier and more fun than I had imagined it would be. I’ll keep you guys updated with any big decisions, but we’re going to get together again this week to hopefully finish everything.

    Site Updates:

  • Updated blog IDs for November 2008 posts
  • Separated Dead Links from Links on sidebar
  • Updated blog IDs for October 2008 posts
  • Updated blog IDs for September 2008 posts
  • Took down R-Bar gig from Rusted Hero sidebar section
  • Removed Celebrity Rehab: Season 4 (2010) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed Crash Kings (2009) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed George Harrison – Dark Horse (1974) from Currently Enjoying
  • Added The Avalanches – Since I Left You (2000) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (2006) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added Jersey Shore: Season 3 (2011) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added The Wages of Win (2006) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added Our Dumb World (2007) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added Dexter: Season 3 (2008) to Currently Enjoying
  • Moved Nate’s Noodle from the Dead Links section to Links section of sidebar (who knows how long that will last)
  • Inserted Rusted Hero to Links section of sidebar
  • Added In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash (1966) to Currently Enjoying

Current Mood: Disgustingly Full emoticon Disgustingly Full

Breaking News: It’s 2011

New Year's drunks

Photo © 2010 Cassie Melnikow

Well, in case you haven’t noticed it’s a new year! As usual, I’d like to give my fond farewell to the 12 months that just left us by wrapping up the best and worst shit I experienced during it. Instead of making one of those Feature websites, though, I’m keeping this thing to just a small post. This one’s been wanting to come out for a couple weeks now. I finally put in an hour and knocked it out. Enjoy (or don’t)!

Albums
Best: Elton John & Leon Russell – The Union (2010) – Dad actually turned me onto this one and I begrudgingly played it at work as I had nothing else to listen to at the moment. I liked it upon the first spin, but it wasn’t until the second and third listens that I truly appreciated it for what it was – a showcase of fantastic, solid songwriting from top to bottom.
Runner Up: Kanye West – Late Registration (2005)

Worst: Avenged Sevenfold – Sounding The Seventh Trumpet (2001) – I wanted to give some more modern rock a chance and Avenged Sevenfold was somewhere on the list. Unfortunately, Random.org picked this album for me. Well, “Sounding The Seventh Trumpet” has to be a joke. Bad screaming, amateur “melodies,” and noticeable mistakes on an album filled with way-too samey-sounding songs.
Runner Up: DMX – Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood (1998)

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Basketball Games
Best: Atlanta Hawks vs. Dallas Mavericks (2/26) – A phenomenal, triple-overtime game with two near-equal opponents – in the Top 5 of all games I’ve ever seen! Jason Kidd had a monster game, leading the Mavs back from down 15 points with 8 minutes to go. At one point, the crafty Kidd even ran into Atlanta’s coach, who had stepped onto the court. The result was two free throws and possession. I’ve never seen that ever! Wild, wild game.
Runner Up: Dallas Mavericks vs. Denver Nuggets (3/29)

Worst: Dallas Mavericks vs. Portland Trail Blazers (1/30) – Mavericks lose to an injury-decimated Blazers team who were on the tail end of a back to back. Ugly game that didn’t need to happen.
Runner Up: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Dallas Mavericks (1/3)

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Books
Best: Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner – Freakonomics (2005) – I’m only going to do the best book of 2010 since I read just six and pretty much liked them all. Freakonomics just wins over Sex, Drugs and Coca Puffs as I appreciated the similar passion behind it that I see in my own NBA Sim projects. Eye-opening book, even though I wish they went a little deeper into the statistics and research of each essay.

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Comics
Best: Infinite Crisis (2005-2006) – Just like the books section, I only read 6 new comics this year and pretty much enjoyed every one. The best was Infinite Crisis which is a sequel to the legendary 1985 Crisis On Infinite Earths storyline. What’s great is that the sacrificial protagonists from that first book become the villains in this. Great, though dense read and fantastic artwork.

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Live Shows
Best: Kramer’s Reality Tour (1/2) – Ever since Seinfeld did the episode on Kenny Kramer’s reality tour I have always wanted to do it and 2010 was the year I finally did! Brandon, Steve, an unnamed officer, and I braved the chilly weather in January to board a bus hosted by the inspiration behind Kramer and see … a couple of places Larry David referenced in his show. To be honest, this wasn’t the most electrifying thing I’ve ever been a part of, but it was unique and spent with a couple of Seinfeld-obsessed friends so this one takes the cake.
Runner Up: Promises, Promises (7/30)

Worst: Next To Normal (7/24) – Went here with some friends who came up for the weekend. Usually, I’m not a big musical fan – the acting is over the top (as it has to be to convey to a giant room full of people), and the music is usually sub par (emphasis on advancing a story in the lyrics over interesting musical ideas). Well, this one was also way too melodramatic as multiple scene cliffhangers ended in Full House-style with someone running to their room crying. Ugh.
Runner Up: Comic Strip Live (6/5)

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Movies
Best: For A Few Dollars More (1965) – Obviously, everyone is pretty familiar with the awesome The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, but I didn’t see the first two installments in this trilogy until this year. And, wow, good shit! Tons of style, great characters built from very little background, and it’s just very entertaining watching each of the three camps trade the upper hand the whole time. Highly recommended.
Runner Up: Platoon (1986)

Worst: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997) – I saw the original Mortal Kombat movie when it came out during the summer of 1995 and loved it. Upon successive viewings, it doesn’t hold up all that well. Still, I had always wanted to see the sequel just due to the nostalgia surrounding the first movie. Well, as I’m learning more and more, decisions based purely on nostalgia usually turn out to be terrible ones. I was cringing in the first 5 minutes of this movie and only managed to sit through the whole thing as a challenge of endurance.
Runner Up: The Expendables (2010)

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Restaurants
Best: Swig [Bar] (3/26) New York, NY
I’ll keep this category brief and only mention the best place. Swig is a bar located just blocks away from our place and is a great place to grab a drink with visitors. The atmosphere falls right in between a dive bar and an upscale bar – perfect for this comic book reader in old man clothes!

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TV Shows
Best: The Civil War (1990) – I recall watching a few episodes on video while staying at my aunt’s house sometime around 1994 but I didn’t seriously pay attention until I got these through Netflix this year. Wow. This series is 20 year old and it’s still breathtaking – the production values are incredible, it’s both educational and entertaining and, most impressively, it makes the entire setting of the 1860’s come alive. Now, I can’t wait to get through Ken Burns’ Baseball.
Runner Up: Sober House: Season 2 (2010)

Worst: Amazing Stories: Season 1 (1985-86) – This was a series I remember watching a few episodes of back in its original run when I lived in Long Beach, California. I’d never seen it since so I only had a few, hazy memories of it. Unfortunately, those memories weren’t very illustrative of the entire show. The episodes I remembered were alright … everything else was garbage.
Runner Up: Celebrity Rehab: Season 3 (2010)

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Video Games
Best: Heavenly Sword [PS3] (2007) – I have a giant list of games I need to get through and to make sure I actually play all of them, I’m going in chronological order. So, I finally got around to the crop of games that came out right around the time the PS3 first debuted. Heavenly Sword was one of these and was spectacular. Interesting fighting gameplay, a gripping story, and the best acting I’ve ever seen in a game, it also was relatively short (about 9 hours). Great, great game.
Runner Up: Bully [PS2] (2006)

Worst: TitanWars [iPhone] (2010) – Gotta be honest: I don’t remember a thing about this one. I was in a phase of downloading a bunch of random, free iPhone games and these two were pieces of shit that lasted less than a day on my phone.
Runner Up: Bowman Attack [iPhone] (2010)

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Video Game YouTubes
Best: Metal Gear [MSX] (1987) – Video games are, and have always been, a huge hobby of mine but I’m finding that I have less and less time to play all the games I want to. So, to satisfy this demand I’ve grown to love watching people beat games on YouTube. Anyway, this game is NOT the one for the NES – it’s the original one for the Japanese MSX system that the NES version was based on. Fucking awesome game, especially impressive for 1987.
Runner Up: Ultimate Spider-Man [PS2] (2005)

Worst: Brawl Brothers [SNES] (1993) – A lot of the games I watch on YouTube are old games that I either don’t have the equipment or patience to play. Brawl Brothers was a game my brother and I rented some weekend back in 1993 and never beat. As such, it was one I had to see again. Mistake – this thing is boring and shows how far games have come in 15 years.
Runner Up: Splatterhouse 2 [Genesis] (1992)

    Site Updates:

  • Added Grand Theft Auto IV [PS3] (2008) to Currently Enjoying
  • Removed The Bravery – The Sun and the Moon (2007) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed Elton John – Caribou (1974) from Currently Enjoying
  • Added Crash Kings (2009) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added George Harrison – Dark Horse (1974) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added The Cape (2011) to Currently Enjoying

Current Mood: Rocking at Rusted Hero show tonight emoticon Rocking at Rusted Hero show tonight

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Bringing Things Up To Date

Drunks in front of a car

© 2010 Andrew R.

I’m forcing this one out. Beware.

I’ve been so busy that I have been physically unable to work on any new posts for some time now. I hate having to admit that almost as much as I dislike living it, but that’s the truth. I’ve got some really exciting band news to blab about so, unfortunately, I’m going to have to condense the last whirlwind of a month into an underwhelming blog-list. Here we go!

  • Jungle Juicerz Atlantic City Bachelor Party
    Pictured above! For the weekend of July 9-11, I was in the beautiful twin cities of New Jersey: Pleasant Point Beach and Atlantic City. The reason was simple: celebrate Jeff’s final days as a single, gay man. Ok, so there were still 8 weeks left before his wedding. And, ok, so he’s not really gay. But we did have to celebrate! 7 other of Jeff’s closest friends all showed up and we had a blast drinking, dancing, playing football, hot tubbing, and drinking a little bit more. We ripped up the kiddie pool at our White Sands Oceanfront Resort & Spa hotel, drove in style via limo, ate at the fancy Buddakan restaurant in Atlantic City, and crashed the MIXX club in the Borgata. And, even though I left with way more scars (both physical and emotional) than I had going in, I had a great time.

  • Staycation
    I hadn’t taken any vacation up through June so I decided to take a week off in the middle of July and do … absolutely nothing! I just slept in, played video games, worked on a whole bunch of projects, and played music all day for a week. This was right around the time I made my last real post on this site. No coincidence that this was right around the time my life went into hyperdrive.

  • Upper East Side Bed n’ Breakfast
    In the month of July we actually had 3 guests stay at our place! First, Janelle came up while I was in Atlantic City. This was probably for the best for all involved as it sounds like it was a very girly weekend. Then Jeff and Megan crashed here to attend a JMU Alumni booze cruise. That was a lot of fun (open bar!) and we also did a few typical touristy things that were actually enjoyable. Then we did the whole thing again the next week when Cassie’s parents and sister, Tori, crammed into our small place. Needless to say, Tito (not the friendliest cat to guests) was a hit (literally) with all of our visitors.

  • Celebrating One Year of Terror
    And speaking of that bean, happy 1st birthday to Gatito (Jun 17)!

  • Hot New Sound
    Based on talks with the Tone Jedi I met a while back and some research I bought a tube amp head – a Marsh 25/50. Unfortunately, even though I’ve had the amp for a month I have yet to actually play the damn thing!

  • Pap
    I lost another family member a couple of weeks ago. My grandfather on my mom’s side passed away rather suddenly and, although it came as a bit of a shock when it happened, it unfortunately wasn’t altogether too big of a surprise. It was an emotional and hectic two days as I was on the road for 14 hours just to get to Harrisonburg, VA and back but I was glad to participate. It was my first time being a pallbearer and, to be honest, it actually was a bit therapeutic as it satisfied my natural thoughts of “wanting to do something.” Steve wrote an excellent write up of the event on his site, and I’m afraid I probably won’t be able to get to doing one here. We’ll see, though for now, I’ll move on.

After that I had my wild two weeks at work where I sunk in 65+ hours one and 50 the other. It wasn’t cool. Luckily, things started to take an upswing as Rusted Hero (my band!) ran into the recording studio over the weekend and will be playing our first gig tonight! But those will have to wait for other blogs (that I promise to get to)!

    Site Updates:

  • Removed Superman in the Sixties (1999) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed Ochocinco: The Ultimate Catch (2010) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed Lionel Richie – Can’t Slow Down (1983) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed The Streets – Original Pirate Material (2002) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed Ryan G. Van Cleave – Unplugged: My Journey into the Dark World of Video Game Addiction (2010) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed The Civil War (1990) from Currently Enjoying
  • Added Freakonomics (2005) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added Jay-Z – In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 (1997) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added The Go! Team – Thunder, Lightning, Strike (2004) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added The New Batman Adventures: Season 1 (1997) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added Superman in the Eighties (2006) to Currently Enjoying

Current Mood: Accomplished emoticon Accomplished

Mac World

Return of the Mac

I was the first of my programmer group to receive a new laptop. These new computers will be replacing the laptops we all were given in 2007 as they’re beginning to break down. Hell, I needed to have an external fan on mine 24-7 so it wouldn’t shut off! As welcome as this replacement is, I was a little nervous going in as … the new laptop is a MacBook Pro. Oh, and I haven’t used an Apple machine since 1999!

Anyway, it’s been almost 2 weeks with the laptop and I’m pretty much used to it. Although I do have a virtual machine running Windows XP on the laptop, I mostly use mac software. However, to tell you the truth, even though this machine is super nice, fast, pretty, and displays gorgeous visuals … I still wish I had a PC! Sorry, Apple, even after giving you the ol’ college try I’m still a PC guy.

That said, I am a little excited about a few new Apple products in my future (and present)! First off, I upgraded my iPhanus to the new OS 4 and … ’tis hot! The big hype is all about multitasking but so far I’ve been digging the app folder and wallpaper functionality the most.

Finally, as a combination of the new laptop and iPhone, I’m starting to get psyched about dipping my toe into the app building pool. I have dreams of one day creating the ultimate iPhone necessity – the NBA-Sim app! If I make any progress in this field I’ll let you all know.

Ok, actually that wasn’t really “finally” as I’d like to mention: wow, what a fucking game! Go USA! I suddenly care about a game where people used to kick decapitated heads around!

    Site Updates:

  • Updated blog IDs for May 2009 posts
  • Removed Gorillaz – G Sides (2002) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed Stone Temple Pilots (2010) from Currently Enjoying
  • Added Alanis Morissette – Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie (1998) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added Daft Punk – Homework (1997) to Currently Enjoying
  • Created Rusted Hero section on sidebar
  • Removed Superman in the Fifties (2002) from Currently Enjoying
  • Added Superman in the Sixties (1999) to Currently Enjoying
  • Updated blog IDs for April 2009 posts
  • Removed Bumping into Geniuses (2008) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed Lost: Via Domus [PS3] (2008) from Currently Enjoying

Current Mood: Patriotic emoticon Patriotic

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Karate Twin

Me and the Karate Kid

Photo © Cassie Melnikow, Montage © 2010 Stan Syckes

Celebrity Doppelganger week on Facebook occurred last week but, apparently, it’s still the thing to do. I got sucked in and tried it myself, but since I never use Facebook, I decided to dump my celeb-twin results here (thanks to Facedouble.com … or no thanks to them since it took trying for 24 hours to finally get it to work).

So I’m Ralph Macchio?? That’s definitely cool but I don’t understand where that came from, really.

    Site Updates:

  • Removed Batman: R.I.P. (2009) from Currently Enjoying
  • Added Dog the Bounty Hunter: Season 6 (2010), Celebrity Rehab: Season 3 (2010) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added cityscape background to bottom of screen
  • Removed Lost: Season 5 (2009), Foreigner (1977), The Roots – Do You Want More?!!!??! (1995) from Currently Enjoying
  • Added Frank the Entertainer in a Basement Affair (2009), Hall and Oates – War Babies (1974), Eric Clapton – 461 Ocean Boulevard (1974), Lost: Season 6 (2010) to Currently Enjoying

Current Mood: Star Struck emoticon Star Struck

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Christmas List

The 50s: women and dirty old men

Ok … I’m having a lot of trouble getting to the blog for several reasons (none of which are good). So, I’m just going to quickly bullet my way through what I’ve been up with to catch up!

  • I traveled back to Virginia for Thanksgiving. Most of the tale can be gleamed from this SteverOnline post.
  • I went to my 10th year high school reunion during this same weekend. That deserves its own blog – and to tell the truth I’ve had one set up ever since I came back but I just haven’t gotten to it. Don’t hold your breath but maybe I’ll go back and knock that one out. In case I don’t – it was fun and I’m glad I went. I spent a little too much of my time talking to people I don’t remember … but I was drunk!
  • I had a rash show up on my arm randomly. It freaked the hell out of me so I showed it to a doctor. The result: shingles! Yep, I am now the proud owner of the chicken pox 2.0!
  • After the last 2009 band practice we had a great talk about the future of the band. Expect some big things!
  • I took off my final 5 days of vacation to get practically the last 2 weeks in December off. I did another Virginia run for Christmas and had a great time. I’m kind of glad the presents are now just cash rather than hours of opening smaller gifts. My 12-year old self can’t believe I just said that.
  • We had a band meetup this week. No instruments, just hitting up John’s new townhouse in New Jersey. It was the first time since I moved into the city that I had to deal with Port Authority. How I survived living through that hell hole twice a day for over a year is beyond me. Oh, and I got trashed and took a spill into some rocks. RIGHT INTO MY FACE! Yep! I’m currently healing but wow … time to lay off the sauce, right?
  • Cassie’s Christmas gift from her sister, Tori, were 2 tickets to see White Christmas on Broadway. It’s one of her favorite movies so she was psyched. And … actually it was pretty good! I’m amazed that such a limited engagement and post-Christmas Christmas show was that good but I really enjoyed it. It’s no Phantom of the Opera but I was actually entertained. I felt weird not to clap the entire time though (hands are still scraped up).

Site Updates

  • Made banner link back to home page

Current Mood: Feeling Stupid About Drunk Diving (Into Rocks) emoticon Feeling Stupid About Drunk Diving (Into Rocks)

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TWITTER: Unibrow

I’m kind of rocking a unibrow today

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TWITTER: Real Kramer

I just talked to the real Kramer (http://www.kennykramer.com)

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TWITTER: 30 Minute Run

Just ran for 30 mins straight – a record. James Bond and NBA on tv at the same time helped immensely …

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Comments:
  • Lindsay
    Friday, December 4th, 2009 at 01:07 | #1

    Stan, would you post some pix of you or what? I hear you’re the total package. Also, please tell me that Defeat Me is getting back together.

    My brother sent me this blog link. Can’t believe you youngins are all growed up.

TWITTER: Forgot Keys

Just got home from work to find I left my keys on my desk. Back to work at 12am after a 13 hour day …

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