Category Archives: Entertainment

Putting it in Perspective

Today I heard Pearl Jam’s Even Flow on Q107, Toronto’s classic rock radio station.  I’m not sure how many would consider it classic rock, but it certainly has a better home there than on Edge 102, Toronto’s station that calls itself “new rock” (despite still playing Nirvana 6 times a day).  The time when Even Flow came out is about as far from today as from when Led Zeppelin started making music.


Literary Analysis

I’m watching Pulp Fiction, and I started to notice extra details like shot selection and scene construction, and character development.  So now as I’m watching the movie, I’m spotting them, and looking them up on another website to learn even more about them.

I’m using film theory and literary analysis, by choice.  I feel so mature.

Framing Pitches – Jose Molina, you cunning devil.

Makes it seem like far less of a coincidence that it was Jose Molina catching when Brett Lawrie was twice denied a walk.

Fun vs Effort

I went surfing and it wasn’t great.  It just required so much paddling compared to the thrill of riding waves (if caught, and even then, standing up is tough).  So I started wondering about the fun of an activity vs the effort it requires.  I wondered if there was a ratio above which the activity becomes “worth it”.

Volleyball and golf are low-effort and lots of fun.  Squash, soccer, and ultimate are high-effort, but also fun.  Baseball isn’t as fun, but definitely requires less effort.

The issue of going to the gym to work out – not fun by any means, but still something I enjoy, ruins this whole idea.  There must be other factors.  Feeling of reward from good exercise and possibly endorphins.  And then level of competition, the company you’re around, etc.

It’s nice that things can’t be boiled down to just numbers.  Some concepts are just too complicated.  Life is complicated.  If it was so simple, it wouldn’t be worth doing.

The all-star lineup

After 15 years of having the Yankees (and to a smaller degree, the Red Sox) as the MLB team with the killer roster, it took me longer than it should have to realize that it’s now the Phillies who have that role – and in the NL, to boot, for ages considered the weaker league.  Rollins, Utley, Pence, Howard, Victorino, Ibanez.  6 quality hitters that can generate runs any inning.  Compares well to Jeter, Damon, Teixeira, Rodriguez, Matsui, Posada, Cano (2009 Yankees), or even to Henderson, White, Alomar, Carter, Olerud, Molitor.  Not only that, but they have one of the best pitching rotations I’ve ever known.  Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Oswalt, and young Vance Worley?  Scary.   Their fourth starter was the ace of his previous team.

I tend to cheer for the underdog in sports. (I wonder what that means psychologically…)  When the Phillies were coming together, I was enjoying their pursuit of a championship.  I’m still not tired of them, because this group has only won one Series.  And I really want Doc to win a ring, because we in Toronto still have a collective major crush on the best player ever to wear a Jays uniform.  It’s sad for us that he’ll probably enter the Hall of Fame as a Phillie.

Not to say it always happens.  I booed the Yanks even when they started winning in ’96.  But the rising of the Red Sox and Rays earlier this decade was enjoyable, despite them also being division rivals.


I think that the all-star lineup is far more common in baseball, with it not having a salary cap, meaning a team with a lot of money can go out and buy a good team.  The NFL seems to have the most different playoff-bound teams and champions.  The NHL might be the biggest test of good management, with a tight salary cap forcing good drafting and development, and scouting projection as necessary in order to build a winning team.  (Detroit Red Wings, I tip my cap to you.)

The NBA has a few all-star rosters, and is far more disparate than MLB.  I hate how a few teams absolutely dominate the league, and that’s pretty much always the case.  I don’t have the stats, but I’d bet that the NBA has the fewest playoff upsets of all major leagues.

Super Mario Indeed!

Here is a list of many of the super powers that Mario has shown in games:

  • Can jump to multiple times his own height
  • Can change direction in mid air
  • Can fly using a cape, hat with wings, or (even more amazingly) a raccoon tail.  At least the propeller mushroom makes some sense.
  • Can ingest a magic mushroom and grow to twice his size
  • Can ingest a “fire” flower and be able to generate and throw fireballs
  • Can ingest an “ice” flower and be able to generate and throw ice pellets
  • Can walk up walls beyond the normal limits of physics
  • Does not get hurt falling from a great height
  • Can jump and accelerate quickly downwards
  • Can fly through empty space without suffocating.
  • Can spin with enough force to break through otherwise solid ground or kill otherwise lethal enemies
Omitted from the list are things that are more properties of the surroundings or items:
  • The enemies that die by being stepped on from above
  • The vines that are strong enough to support his weight when he holds on or climbs
  • The frog suit that improves jumping makes some sense (similar to wearing something on ones feet)
  • The penguin suit that allows him to slide around on some surfaces
  • The hat that allows him to walk through some walls
  • The hat that turns his body into a metallic substance.
The ones that break the laws of physics are most incredible.  But those kinds of things happen in many video games.


What if more large concerts had closing bands?  It sounds like a weird idea, and possibly taking away from the headliner, but really, it would be a great way to ensure better outflow (is that a word?) when a concert ends.  Might be a big improvement from 20,000 people leaving the venue all at once.

I wonder why it doesn’t happen more often.

We Need to Talk About Literary Analysis

I’m reading one of my favourite books, We Need to Talk About Kevin, for the second time.  It’s fantastic.  I’m devouring it just like I was the first time.

What I’m noticing in myself is how I’m analyzing it like an English teacher might.  Noticing foreshadowing, narrative, the highlighting effects of opposites, giving serious thought to the characters and who’s right and who does Kevin hate more, etc.  Not that doing this is ruining it for me, it’s just passive thinking while I read.  If anything, it’s provided me more enjoyment.  I’m getting a lot more out of it.

Since this is the first time I’ve been conscious of such analysis, I wonder what it is about the book that evoke it.


EDIT (8:40pm) So the print edition I read has book club discussion questions at the back.  Somehow, this cheapens the realizations I made while reading.  Sad.


Does it make a difference to a hockey team if the player who takes a penalty is a defenceman rather than a forward?  I’ve never played hockey, but it seems like it would be worse to have a defenceman in the box.  Because a power-play unit is usually 2F, 2D, that might tire your 5 defencemen a little more.  Or would it not really matter?

What a good night for Burrows.  And Vancouver.

Televised games

What games would people watch on TV?  They probably all exist already in some fashion, but here are some thoughts:

Televised Chess
Televised Bridge
Televised Scrabble
Televised Poker (nobody would ever watch this, right?)
Televised Call of Duty
Televised Magic: The Gathering
Televised Beer Pong

When I thought about things like poker and darts, I wondered where the line is drawn between “game” and “sport”, and also “activity”.  Is darts a sport?  If a sport involves physical ability, including dexterity, then beer pong is just as much a sport as darts.  And considering “activity”: I would think that snowboarding and biking are sports when you race or do tricks in competition, and activities otherwise.  It follows then that individual things can be “activities” but team things can’t.  No matter how little you care about winning, I would still call volleyball and rugby “sports”.  Golf is some sort of exception, because playing a round alone, even if you don’t keep score, I believe would still qualify as a sport.

And now I can’t stop thinking about this.