The High Countries

because it’s all paperweight…

NCAA Tournament Moments: Elite Eight

The Bruin Issue

Josh Shipp Foul Ucla Blows Texas A&M Hosed

The Tournament has begun. In my respective pools, my bracket is performing like Hillary in front of a microphone; leading me astray with every game it plays. Nonetheless, my spirits remain high, and three out of four Final Four’s remain. If those dill weeds from Duke would have decided to play basketball and not sit on their hands like a home-schooler at a strip club–I may have a chance in this thing. But alas, with no one over 6’8, I should have known. My chances were slim.

With the Terrific Twelve squarely in place, and the Elite Eight being rounded out later tonight, I want to recap on the shenanigans of the last week. Top five moments of the the NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Tournament through 2.5 rounds of play:

5. The Belmont Foresight: I should have known, I know, I know. It was all I could do not to put Duke as my winners. My ex-roommate (who has since moved to SC, and is a terrible human for it) is a raging, die hard UNC fan. Hailing from the Northwest, I’m a fan of Washington teams, but really couldn’t bring myself to put Washington St. past UNC–so I compromised. I went with my next favorite team, Duke, because I knew, somehow, that my Zags would piss it down their leg like an overheated 6 year old after too much hot chocolate. However, I didn’t think the Dukies could win it all, so I put them to the next closest thing: playing in The Championship Game. Fact: Duke, I hate you. Coach K, I still want to be you. Go Memphis.

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4. Puke-on UCon:
Whowould have thought that such a big UCon team could literally, physically, mentally and emotionally fold once their best player got hurt? Besides that, what’s a Torero–a bullfighter? Who cares. Here’s the deal: At college, I played lacrosse. And every time we played USD, we got our anuses handed to us on a rusted-out platter. One time we were pretty amped because we were leading at halftime, but and in the second half, once we lost the lead, we just started swinging our sticks at anything that moved and drilling players at random–USD still won the National Title, vis-à-vis, UCon had it coming. Go USD. Go Lacrosse. Go Memphis.

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3. Bobby’s Brain, and Mouth, and Charisma: I have never enjoyed pre-game and post game charades more in my entire life than when I get to watch, listen and stare at Bobby Knight in his V-neck sweater get up. His Mohave-dry take on each Tournament saga is like listening to Dante tell a fairytale. Combine that with Digger Phelps’ increasingly noticeable resentment and blithe hatred, and you have on-screen genius. Pure Joy.

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2. I want Curry! Stephen Curry at, let’s be honest, 6’1 (maybe) 170 lbs soaking wet, has taken not only the tournament by storm, but also the weight room. I guaranteed you, here in West LA, across the street at our little Park-le-gangster, there’s a dozen middle and high school kids spray painting their t-shirts red and adopting an anorexic lifestyle, in hopes of becoming The Next Great Under-165lbs-Kinda-White Hope.

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1. The UCLA Plague: I wish that UCLA never existed. Not because it would be doing all mankind a favor, but because their history is tainting everything we know. Yes, Kevin Love looks like my uncle Craig after 14 beers, a nine course buffet, and in training for a role in Meet the Klumps IX. But besides the fact that he’s bra-less, can we address the brewin’ (pun) issue? UCLA is infecting the world. Its like they have a weird strain STD and every time they play, they infect those around them. Its not Mojo, its…like…athletic syphilis. I don’t want to comment on the foul at the end of the Texas A&M game (see top). Nor do I want to speak on Kevin Love’s 9 foot Halo of Death, where upon entering, a whistle will blow faster than at the start of a co-ed mud wrestling match. The fact of the matter is that we all need to use protection, we need to get something to fight it. Turn to what wins: USC. And not just anything USC … USC Football. Get out there and buy yourself a jersey. Then, come game time, you’ve got protection. Be prepared, be responsible, wrap your rascal. Go Memphis, I think it all makes sense now.

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March 28, 2008 Posted by | Entertainment, Sports, Television | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Tourney Time: Only a Flip Away!

Many Shining Moments…

North Carolina Duke

Tourney time has arrived and my food intake has now officially gone on sabbatical in hopes of breaking that hiatus with chips and salsa for the next two weeks.

First things first, we all know its a crying shame that Jon Brockman rolled his ankle in the University of Washington’s ‘basketball Apple Cup’, thus severely weakening UW’s hopes for a championship. But we must face facts: the Dawgs are not in the tourney. I know, I know its ridiculous and the world won’t be the same without them but — OJ ain’t in jail neither — so I suppose this world still upholds various, mind-blowing atrocities.

The sports world is wrought with the woes of a poorly-filled bracket. Each piece of advice claiming supremacy above the rest. Then it dawned on me: what if I threw my proverbial bracket into the hands of George Washington? No, not the team (they didn’t make it to this year’s tournament), I mean the President. More precisely, the President on the quarter. Yes, let’s do it. That is my stance. That is my advice. Before you fill, before you scribble and scratch and rant and rave; flip a coin.  Flip two coins. Flip till there’s a victor –– this is the President of the United States speaking.

Round 1:

The flips began much more smoothly than I had imagined the first round going with all my #1’s and #3’s squeaking by with wins. I noticed that I had suffered devastating loses by two #4’s, three #5’s and…all my #2’s. Who would have thought in round one Austin Peay could present itself as a clear favorite?! With my #1’s still in tact, the next toss rose high…

Round 2:

Soon I found that this game didn’t allow for as much control as I thought it would. Each flip causing new emotion as if the coin was speaking fact and no longer rose as a game. Surprisingly, all my #1’s made it through round two sprinting headlong towards round three.  I’m sweating…

Sweet Sixteen:

UNC faced off against a blazing Winthrop team who had just taken down Washington St (my father’s Alma Mater) in the first round only to slip by George Mason in the second. Kansas would have to defeat Villanova for their chances for National Title to stay alive. Memphis would face off with Michigan St and UCLA will play the LDS boys from BYU, respectively. As the Coin was flipped, in true Presidential form, our Elite Eight held three of the four #1’s (what?!), with the only loss coming to our Midwest buddies, Kansas.

Who has the stamina  to overcome President George? Up until this point, it seemed nearly feasible. Outside of UMBC, San Diego and my boys over at Austin Peay, this could happen…maybe. My Elite Eight was as follows:

Louisville over UNC
UMBC over Villanova
Austin Peay over Michigan St.
Purdue over San Diego

Sometime between the Michigan St.––Austin Peay game, I drop my quarter in toilet. I was sitting there doing flips and — bloop! — there it went. I’m finishing this out with a Penny.  Generally, rules are rules and I would have to go after George, but this is flippin’ basketball folks, and Lincoln knew better anyway.

The Final Four:

Apparently Lincoln didn’t know squat either because Austin Peay pulled out the upset…again.  Lucky-to-be-there Purdue didn’t show up and got smashed, whereas Louiville came to play — simple as that.

My Championship: Austin Peay vs. Louisville.

As I sit here thinking of the implications of this flip, nothing is going through my brain except, “Come on Louisville, come on Louisville.” If Louisville wins, there’s still hope for this to come true. Without thinking, my thumb released. As it turns over in air, my eyes read its high looping arc, all fate resting on its descend.

Louisville wins!

If I were a gambler, I would be out a lot of cash right now. I’m not, I’m a blogger. I’m a blogger that takes back everything he said about flipping a coin. Don’t do it. Never do it. To be forced to watch your teams fall to the wayside and get played like black/red Roulett is far too painful. I feel like the guilty middleman, forced to deliver the news. As I sit there in their locker-room, I look into the player’s eyes and slowly begin. “I’m sorry guys, it wasn’t your day. That terrible, under-performing UMBC team brought a lot of talent into this gym tonight.” Devastated, they look at me, hoping for answers. I open my mouth and say the only thing one could. “I know, its like, I mean, what are the chances…”

March 20, 2008 Posted by | Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lost: Ji Yeon

Ji Yeon Lost Season 4

Well, its the homeward stretch to the bow-your-head-and-hope-for-quick-filming session that we have all be so dreadfully awaiting for the past 8 weeks. Question: has it been more fun to look forward to Meet Kevin Johnson, or less fun knowing there will be a substantial hiatus from our addiction in the aftermath of the Writer’s Strike? Regardless, we press on. With the winds of theory as our guide, we once again hit the beaten, battered path to Episode 8.

Last night I watched Rescue Dawn. If you haven’t seen this movie, I challenge you to sign up for the free Netflix membership (which, I did), wait your two days for delivery and watch a solid flick. If for no other reason, if gives you a chance to watch two fellow Losties at work (François Chau and Jeremy Davies). Currently, Davies’ character Faraday is my second favorite on LOST, second only to Desmond and therefore Rescue Dawn was that much more terrific. It also happens to be, quite possibly, the best role of Davies’ career. It truly is a shame that no one saw this movie––both Steve Zahn and Jeremy Davies are absolutely brilliant in this film. Anyway, sign up, get er’ done.

Ji Yeon (Season 4: Episode 7) left me with sort of a bittersweet taste in my mouth. Altogether looking forward to the episode and coincidentally impacted by its story, the more I think about it, the more it frustrates me. LOST, could you do me a favor? Could you answer one friggin’ question? I’m not asking to know exactly what the Smoke Monster is. I’m not relinquishing to use my wish to discover the Island’s true power or Ben’s ulterior motives. I’m just asking to know, say, does Jin get to see dry land again? Can you give me that? Can you just tell me some of one person’s story? That way, when I lay in my bed, thinking of all that just went on, I don’t have to look at the list of characters and repeat over and over, “…don’t know this, don’t know this, don’t know that…” One time. That’s all I’m asking. One character, 99% answered, with the final 1% coming in the Series Finale.

As the past couple of weeks went flying by, I wrote (as you can read above) that I got the impression that Juliet was going to die. This could still be very true, but after watching last week’s episode, I didn’t realize how much I’d be both taken by suprise and how much I like(d) Jin; how much we all liked Jin. Probably the staple for change, Jin presented to us the simple side of Lost and combined cross-cultural divides with unbridled social boundaries. Jin was the friggin’ man. If were on the island and Jacob came screaming looking to throw me in the cabin, I’d hide behind Jin. We’d all hide behind Jin. I could guess, I suppose, as to how he died. We all already have. We all want him to defend Sun in their attempt to leave, only to give his life for hers. We all want Jin to continue to be the man. Producers, if you screw this up, I will hunt you down and take your first born. Needless to say, as soon as I saw Hurley, I knew what had happened. Usually, for stuff like that, it takes me a second because I don’t enjoy trying to figure it out––I call it my Sixth Sense Motive. If I sit back, take it all in and play the viewer, its usually more fun. But as soon as Hurley was standing at the door, I knew we were about to go see a very dour situation.

Last week’s episode, although understandably gloomy, was not fun––for three reasons. It tore me up at the end of the episode, tore me up throughout the entire week and then, to cap it all off, they played us for idiots with that retarded Michael ‘surprise’. Come on, really? That was about as surprising as heartburn from Greek food. Ji Yeon was about as enjoyable as a hangnail and proved its a sad thing when I find more comfort from filling out NCAA practice brackets than I do from my favorite hour of the week––thanks for the gloom; my despair ends Thursday.

March 18, 2008 Posted by | Entertainment, Lost, Television | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lost: The Other Woman…and…Etc.

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Strategically located between episode 6 and 7, respectively; our discussions here are as needless as tassels on wedding tables––but in some minds, still necessary. Throughout this intense and emotional roller coaster that is Lost: Season 4, we’ve been nailed with Time Travel, broken down with the Desmond-Penny story and left out to dry like an old batch of heroine, only to be used when they need us again––Thursday nights at 9pm. Our addictions have been leveraged to a point of contention, but still we talk, we think and we revel in our ability to genuinely hate the thing that we love so much. Time Travel? In your brain? Hmmm, I want to time travel in my brain…

There are a couple quotes I want to share before we see Episode 7. They are as follows:

Jorge Garcia (Hurley):As shocking as these scripts have been for us, nothing has shocked us more than the end of episode 7.

(What he didn’t include, is that he said the same thing about the end of episode 8, which trumps episode 7. why i outta…)

Elizabeth Mitchell (Juliet):Yesterday I was reading the script of the episode that comes after the one dedicated to my character. I cried a lot, because I learned something that I didn’t like finding out about.”

Michael Ausiello (AP): “A significant death occurs sometime after Episode 4, but before Episode 8.”

(It hasn’t happened yet, so we’re good to go! America, go for launch!)

For the past couple of weeks, my sister and I have been discussing the various paths that Lost could take, now that its regained strength, story and fervency. I try to be as up front as I can after that weeks episode, saying things like, “Yeah, I thought that would happen”, “I honestly didn’t think they’d take it that way” or even “Molly, no due respect––you are wrong”, but every time that week’s installment ends, I find that I try to seemingly convince myself that I did think that was going to happen. So, once and for all (and probably more than once?), I’m going to get this stuff on paper…er, electronic paper. Earlier today I was asked, “Why do you blog?” My simple response was, “Because if I don’t, I don’t sleep as well.” Five is a good number, so we’re going to go with that. Here’s to sweet dreams.

1. Juliet is going to die––before last weeks episode, I wasn’t sure if this was going to be the case, but after they did a little ‘telling of her story’ it seemed as though she could go. Then she kissed Jack. Then I realized Jack’s life blows. Then I knew she was going to die––at some point.

2. Michael (and Walt) is Ben’s spy on the boat––I know, I know, you’ve heard this already, but the fact of the matter is that he’s his spy in 2004 and 1996, or should I say Walt is. How much would Michael want to go back in time and relive his life, this time with Walt? Ben not only has spies in different topographical locations, but also various time locations. Do we call it time locations? More like, year locations. No, we’ll call it Ben Locations.

3. Sun will actually have her baby off the Island––making her and Jin the last two of the Oceanic Six. Pregnant women die on the island, that’s just a fact. Unless they pull a Thank You for Smoking and add the necessary, ‘Thank god we invented the ________’ explanation line, she’s going to die. And if she did, Jin would go Anton Chigurh on The Others, The Freighter Folk and Mr. Penny’s Dad. It will take a full season to contain his furry. Not being able to speak to anyone + a deceased wife + everyone blaming ‘the island’ + not knowing what ‘the island’ means = Lost-esque frustration. Oceanic Six are final: Jack, Hurley, Sayid, Jin, Sun and that hooker Kate.

4. Jeremy Davies character will continue to be awesome. I’ve never loved a wide-eyed, frizzy haired relativity-fueled, molecular electromagnetic physicist more in my entire life.

5. Kate is going to do a couple things, both of which are explainable (i.e. Its Kate).
a. She will somehow get on The Freighter and screw something up bad––this is like saying ‘there will be a bomb explosion in the middle east in the month of March’, but still, its a prediction. Even great writers have filler.
b. Kiss Jack again soon. They may even get together, but this is obvious speculation. If they did get together, it would explain why jack is so standoffish in the flash forward. Stupid Kate. She’s like that 8th cup of coffee––know its not good for you, but always gets your heart going.

One thing’s for sure: for the next two weeks, Lost is going to be real good.

March 10, 2008 Posted by | Entertainment, Lost, Television | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Lost Season 4: The Constant

Lost Season 4 The Constant

The morning began with a slow and steady beeping, rising with time, gaining momentum as it rang out in my ears. Outside of cancer or a kitchen full of home-schoolers, I don’t’ think there’s anything I hate more than my alarm. Now granted, if I liked it, I wouldn’t get up and its track record for a brisk, day-ruining wakeup proves its flawlessness. However, as I lay there at 5:58am, completely unconscious as to the reason I had set my alarm nearly 75 minutes early––it hit me. Like a bucket of water dumped on the brain, it was time for…

L O S T

Going to Pepperdine’s University’s rendition of The Bartered Bride made it impossible for me to watch the previous night; however, coffee in hand, eggs on the stove––I was the readiest. The Constant (Season 4, Episode 5, Summary: Desmond=Awesome) brought a sense of hope for a series that finds its audience in a very hopeless place. We are all lost on an island together; the island of doubt. We don’t doubt that there’s answers, we just doubt that they’re satisfactory. Last night gave us all a taste of some of the puzzles we have yet to be introduced to. The puzzle piece of time. The puzzle piece of The Freighter. The puzzle piece of new characters. And yet, as my roommate Todd (who has yet to officially start the series [re: obscene anger]) sit in the wee hours of the morning, awaiting The Constant’s end, he could see my face––beaten by feeble morning fog, but simultaneously gleaming with a new light: Progress. We’re making headway! As I said before, I feel as though I am on the island with them. Each episode like a pot hole for a blind man, each mystery as ghastly as the last, as if I were to wage my fate along side them and take up arms against the enemy. Wait, who’s the enemy! Which side would I join? And yes, watching me watch Lost is nearly as good as the show itself.

Regardless, The Constant brought up situations were have yet to see in a full episode of Lost (outside of Finales). For example, when Faraday (Davies, my new favorite character, fyi) decides he needs to talk to Desmond, it actually happens! Obviously, no on thinks they should talk, but then Sayid throws that guy around like its their wedding night and––right on––they talk on the phone! We get some answers! Now, I completely understand that Kate has to do her thing. With last week, we saw that Jack has some Dad issues, Kate has some matronly issues; I get it, it all needs to be laid out. But don’t you just find it ridiculous that we have to waste an entire week on that stuff? Don’t you wish we could get some good ol’ we’re-in-the-future-this-is-JACKED(no-pun-intended)-UP secrets every week? We want answers, but 95…hmmm…96% of the time, they’re pointless. We’re like a guy on the JV bowling team––we want our chance, but we know once we get it, it probably won’t live up to expectations.

So there I sat. So incredibly happy that the way I believed the show would go, was actually becoming a reality. Overjoyed that my two favorite characters (Des and Faraday) got to have an episode all to themselves. And not only to themselves, but also with some progress. Do I still doubt that the show can live up to my hype? Sure. But do I still think it has a chance? Definitely. And up until last night, I would have given a much different answer. One that most likely involved chairs flying across the room.

March 1, 2008 Posted by | Lost, Television | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments