Saturday, March 21, 2009

Ze Plane! Ze Plane!

I've lived in the DC metro area my entire life and have never been to Gravelly Point Park, the recreation area just north of National Airport along the Potomac River in Arlington, VA.  Looking for something to do on "guys weekend" I decided to take the boys out there this afternoon.  Two of us loved watching the planes and had a great time.  Alex was a little indifferent.  It's actually a great spot for a picnic or to let the kids run around on a nice day, breaking from time to time to watch planes either land of takeoff.  Planes were taking off to the North today so we could see them lift off and bank sharply to the West overhead.  I found out later that all planes immediately turn to the left to avoid entering restricted airspace over DC.

Josh loved every second of it and didn't want to leave (especially since there were some big planes waiting in the taxi line).  Alex liked the smaller planes but when the big jets took off he would run and cling to my leg for a few seconds.  He never cried but he was ready to go home before Josh was.  For some reason, watching the planes take off never gets old for me.  I find it almost as hypnotizing as watching assembly lines.  I'm sure we'll (at least Josh and I) be heading back later in the Spring.  I'm wondering if we can find a day when the planes are coming in from the North so we can see a few landings up close.

The Last Fracking Episode

While David Chase left me a little peeved and unsatisfied with the ending of the Sopranos, Ronald D. Moore and the folks at Battlestar Galactica truly went out with a bang featuring a significant twist at the end of it all.  The final episode of BSG aired last night on Sci Fi / Syfy and did not disappoint.  For those who have not seen said episode and do not want to be spoiled, I'm giving you about 25 lines of space between the rest of the post.  Come back later and read after you've watched....

...still here?  Good.  The two hour finale did not drag on at all and seemed more like a one-hour episode.  This is probably because it was action packed from start to finish.  The whole invasion of the Cylon base ship was thrilling television and featured some solid visual effects.  The cylon-on-cylon metal-on-metal battle scenes were really well done.  I especially enjoyed the post-invasion scenes on Galactica as Roslin, Athena, Six and Baltar were searching for Hera.  The here and now was a near-exact parallel of the earlier visions the characters had of looking for Hera in the Opera House.  When Baltar and Six looked up to see the final five positioned exactly as they were in the vision, I thought the payoff was well worth it.  After a botched attempt at a truce (thanks to Tory receiving a much deserved neck-break courtesy of Tyrol), all hell breaks loose and Starbuck is forced to jump to coordinates she realizes are part of the music notation Hera painted in an earlier episode.  

It just so happens that the jump leads them to "real" Earth and the crew takes a raptor down to Africa.  After all the metal cylons (centurions?) jump in the base ship and fly it away, Admiral Adama orders all of the remaining fleet to be flown into the sun by Anders.  Essentially the human race is starting over with no trace of technology remaining.  After Starbuck disappears (WTF?) and Roslin finally succumbs to cancer (please give Mary McDonnell an Emmy for this season!), we fast forward 150,000 years!  The last tease is a news report revealing that Hera turns out to be the ancestor of the entire present-day human race.  Everyone on the planet today descended from the human-cylon hybrid.  MINDFREAK!!!

Overall I thought the end to an outstanding television series was a fitting one.  We wrapped most all of the loose ends with the exception of Starbuck.  Can anyone explain why she just vanished?  And why Lee didn't question it at all?  I'm a bit disappointed that my favorite character on the show was not given a proper send-off.  The end twist was awesome though and well worth the wait.  It's completely plausible that advanced intelligent life could have existed elsewhere in the galaxy and stumbled upon Earth hundreds of thousands of years ago only to start over from scratch.  Much better than some random Journey song playing in a diner.

Caprica is the next show I'll be watching on Syfy and we saw previews of it during this final BSG (it looks like "frack" will be carried over to the new series as well).  It looks to be more of a planet-bound drama.  I'll miss the space scenes that BSG did so well but since Caprica is another Ronald D. Moore product, I'm definitely jumping on-board.  

Friday, March 20, 2009

It's Just Guy's Weekend

When I woke Josh up this morning he said what he usually says when these types of weekends approach:  "It's guy's weekend Dad!"  We'll be taking Lori to the train station in an hour for her weekend trip up to Boston to see her friend Kristin, her husband and two adorable kids (who I've seen twice already in the past few months).  While she'll be missed by the three of us who are staying behind, I do enjoy spending some time by myself with the guys.  This will probably be the last pure "guys" weekend with Daughter arriving soon (sniff).

As part of our guys-weekend tradition, we'll go out and get Ledo Pizza on Saturday night (which reminds me, I need to write a post about my favorite pizza places in the DC area).  We have music class today after dropping Lori off (I'm taking vacation hours today), and Alex has his first swimming class of the year on Sunday.  I'm thinking of possibly attempting a trip to the driving range if the weather holds up, but at the least we'll probably go to a park or a playground a couple times.  In a genius scheduling move by the NCAA, Syracuse plays their first game in the tourney today at 12:15 which is smack dab in the middle of nap time for the boys.  Josh will probably wake up and watch the end of the game with me to cheer on his bracket champion pick.  I hope Lori has fun on her trip and enjoys spending time with two of the cutest twins on the planet.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Randy Travis = Alien

Whenever I saw scary Randy Travis on Opry Idol last night I kept flashing back to the Mars Attacks! aliens.

Bracketology: Rose Style

It's the most wonderful time of the year (in sports) as March Madness is upon us, starting tomorrow.  For the first time ever, all members of the Rose family filled out brackets for this year's NCAA Tournament.  While Lori's picks are secret and I can't divulge my own (due to the numerous pools I'm participating in), I do offer two brackets for your review.  Both Josh and Alex filled out brackets last night.  This is the second year for Josh (who picked an all-Wildcat Final Four last year).  Alex is trumping Josh by becoming the youngest person in the family to fill one out.  By "filling one out" I mean that I ask him which team does he want, the bear or the T for example.  He made most of his choices by either the color of the school logo or which letter he liked more.  After picking Clemson to make the Final Four (because their logo is a paw print similar to the Blue's Clues print), Alex's National Champion pick was the M for the Minnesota Gophers.  For some reason he was in  a "M" zone last night.  Josh was more true to his knowledge of Dad's favorite team (that's ma' boy!).  It'll be interesting (to me) to see who comes out on top in the battle of the brothers.

*Note, these brackets are available for entertainment purposes only and should not be used to influence you own bracket selection process.

Enjoy the tournament (I know I will, unless Syracuse bombs on Friday).

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tonight's Idol: A Little Bit Country

Time for another Idol mini-preview.  After my success of picking the first person to go home last week (with appologies to the Jasmine axing), I thought I'd weigh in on tonight's Grand Ole Opry night (again leaving the recaps to the experts).  I believe I actually went to the Opry when I was a kid.  My parents were at a bridge tournament nearby and I'm pretty sure we went and visited.  I don't remember much of it (which is probably a good thing).

Now I enjoy all types of music (rap, rock, classical, alternative), EXCEPT for country!  I can't stand the twangy junk that passes for country music these days.  I'd rather attend a Nick/Norman three-hour performance than go see Brooks and Dunn in concert.  Needless to say, I'm not looking forward to tonight on Idol, but I will give my predictions on who will succeed and who will fail judging by the theme of the performances this evening.

Will Probably Be Awful:

Anoop - This guy doesn't have a country bone in his body.  The best he can hope for is some sort of rockin' Garth Brooks song.

Lil - Even though she'll probably turn any song into her own powerful performance, I just don't see much potential for her shining tonight.

Scott - I don't buy him as being country at all.  He'll have to dig deep to find a piano-heavy country ballad.

Will Probably Leave 'Em Hootin' n' Hollerin':

Michael - He definitely looks the most country out of everyone

Megan - The wobbling bandit will probably find a solid country ditty to suit her weird vocal strengths.

Kris - He's from Arkansas and likes to strum the guitar.  I bet he gives the best performance tonight.

Now Adam is a wildcard here.  You'd think he would struggle with a genre that is not to his liking, but he seems creative enough to put his own spin on a country hit.  I bet he shows up and does well.  That's it for now.  Hmmm I wonder which former Idol contestant they choose to sing at the results show tomorrow on Opry Week.... could it possibly be someone who has taken a Louisville Slugger to both headlights of a car before?

Syence Fyction Gets a Makeover

Over the last few years, I haven't logged major minutes watching the Sci Fi Channel.  With the exception of the fantastic Battlestar Galactica, there's not much else worth watching on the network.  Now that BSG is about to embark on its final voyage to that great tv show trash bin in the sky, the network is scrambling to re-define themselves.  Sci Fi announced recently that they plan on re-branding the network as "Syfy" starting July 7th.  Apparently the change was made primarily so the network can branch out to other medium (games, dvds, etc..) with a branded identity.  The idea is that Syfy can be copyrighted but "Sci Fi," which is short for a genre, cannot.

Personally I think the new logo and name is kinda goofy and will probably turn some nerds off from watching the network.  I think the current logo/name works much better in identifying what the network actually is (I did the purple text and Saturn emblem).  Regardless of the name of the network, I imagine SciFi/Syfy will lose some viewership once Commander Adama and the rest of the BSG cast sail off into the sunset on Friday night.

Monday, March 16, 2009

People Like Their Facebook The Way It Is

Over the last few days, most of America (who isn't on the site nowadays) has come face-to-face with the new face of Facebook.  Once again, The Facebook has decided to revamp the look and layout of the main page which is quite possibly the most visited single page on the internet.  

The new format does not contain many drastic changes but moves the status/news feed area to a much more prominent location.  The new news feed area features rounded profile pictures and looks very Twitter-esque in design (for the record, I have not signed up for The Twitter....yet).  While I consider the changes to be very minor, most of Facebook nation is already up in arms over the redesign.  Some of the status messages I've seen over the past few days include:

  • Holly doesn't like this new Facebook thing, it's weird.
  • is trying to get the hang of this new interface...
  • just got hit with the "new" Facebook layout. Booo.
  • is not sure why FB moved to a less intuitive way to update your status
  • not sure about this FB change.. ugh

In addition the What's your Status to What's on your Mind question change at the top of the page brought about this comment from one of my friends:  

  • nothing is on my mind. why is this being asked of me?

I'm perfectly fine with the new look/features (especially the ability to hide certain annoying friends' status updates without mercilessly de-friending them) and I'll just go with the flow.  I really don't feel like joining Twitter though since Facebook status is essentially the same thing.  Apparently all the celebs do it now though, so I may eventually need to succumb to be able to know what Ashton Kucher is doing every minute of the day.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Wild and Wacky Basketball Weekend

So a LOT has happened over the past few days (including one embarrassing moment in front of 16,000 people) since I last posted and most everything of note is basketball related. Rather than spew out some paragraphs describing everything I'm offering up a timeline starting on Thursday night.

Thursday | 9:30 PM - After getting my weekly Survivor on, I settle in for UConn vs Syracuse in the Quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament.

Friday | 1:22 AM - 70 minutes and six overtimes later, the game is over and my Orange win 127-117. The best college hoops game I've ever witnessed and I'm totally wired.

Friday | 1:45 AM - After calling my friend and fellow alum Navin to remark on what we just witnessed, I manage to somehow fall asleep.

Friday | 7:00 AM - My alarm goes off and I'm up and off to work (still in a basketball stupor after that crazy game).

Friday | 10:00 AM - I make plans to go watch the Big East Semifinals against West Virginia with my sister-in-law Besse and her parents (WVU fans) as well as Navin and his fiancee.

Friday | 9:30 PM - The SU / WVU game tips off with us watching at my brother and sister-in-law's apartment (Nate is at school at UVA so he's not watching with us).

Friday | 10:30 PM - Besse's parents leave at halftime (not sure if they're tired or frustrated that their team is losing at the half).

Friday | 11:45 PM - After another overtime, Syracuse hangs on and beats WVU to advance to the Big East Final. One more game tomorrow night.

Friday | 12:20 PM - Back at home and before bed, I order one of these shirts online.

Saturday | 12:00 PM - I embark on a 4-hour fantasy baseball draft that (thanks to Syracuse and the Big East tourney) I am under-prepared for.

Saturday | 9:00 PM - I start watching the Syracuse / Louisville Big East title game.

Saturday | 10:00 PM - Despite playing 7 overtimes in just over 24 hours, Syracuse is actually beating the #1 team in the Big East by 8 at halftime. I can't believe this is actually happening.

Saturday | 11:15 PM - The Orange run out of gas and lose to Louisville by 10.

Sunday | 4:30 PM - Josh and I head out to Uncle Nate and Aunt Besse's place to get ready for Josh's first Wizards game.

Sunday | 6:00 PM - The Wizards game tips off and josh is elbow deep in a big bag of popcorn.

Sunday | 6:35 PM - I find out that Syracuse jumped to a number 3 seed in next week's NCAA tourney. I thought for sure they were a 4 but I guess multiple overtimes does something for your reputation.

Sunday | 8:00 PM - Thanks to an earlier botched promotion where Josh was going to be on the big screen but there was never a stoppage in play to make it happen, we got to go out on the Wizards court during a 3rd quarter timeout. As part of the Papa Johns 3-point shot promotion, Josh was allowed to go on the court along with an adult to shoot the shot that would win everyone free Papa Johns pizza. Unfortunately for everyone in attendance, he picked me. All my practice in the Bahamas did nothing for me and I botched the attempt big-time. Josh had fun though and it was really nice to be able to take my son out on the court during an NBA game. You can see some of the terrible attempt in a video my brother took below. I got a little bit of ribbing on my way back as people claimed my miss was due to the Syracuse hat I had on.

Sunday | 9:30 PM - Josh goes to bed after a memorable first professional basketball game.  We stayed until the very end of a 106-104 Wizards victory.  Josh is 1-0 on the season and I am a crazy 4-1.  Keep in mind the Wizards are 16-51 on the season.  Josh was a trooper all the way and had a great time, not complaining about being tired while going to bed two hours past his bedtime. His tally for the game: 3 free t-shirts (1 papa johns for him, 1 for me, and another for him that he won for the earlier missed promotion), 1 free burrito card he caught, 1 bag of popcorn, two waters and a pretzel.

Sunday | 10:00 PM - I finish this blog and I'm all basketballed out for one weekend. The madness starts again for me on Friday as Syracuse starts their run in the Big Dance.