Friday, February 24, 2006

Don't "Miss" Out on Lost....

....or you'll be assaulted by execrable puns.

I was a bit tardy in joining the worldwide blog party so I might as well continue the johnny-come-lately trend by stating that I really enjoy the ABC hit show Lost.

Grace and I have been catching up on it via Netflix (actually she's already seen a few scattered episodes when they first aired but is patiently allowing me to catch up from the beginning) and it seems to have hit the mark on all the major areas:

WRITING - The show seems to have been thoughtfully scripted (mind you we're only through the first twelve episodes of season one so i remain blissfully unaware of any subsequent decline in quality that may be lurking in future discs). The show thus far has done an excellent job of establishing the main thread ('hey we're all stuck here on this remote island!') while sprouting up numerous points of interest and intrigue along the way (gradual character backstory reveals and intercharacter conflicts, suggestions of deeper meanings behind statements and actions, etc.). Each episode has its own unique feel and theme, mostly due to the general association of a particular character and his/her story to each one (though this may wear off in future seasons after the character bio tanks have been run dry).

Seems the mystery of the island is tied up in the characters' history but, while a few of them seem to have packed 85% of their emotional backage suitcases with guilt issues, there's no complete uniformity to the motivations; i guess time will tell how the survivors are connected. i'm sure there are countless fansites and discussion boards out there that could clear a few things up, but i'm one of those who would rather wait it out and see (i could barely stand to go to the IMDB page for links as they list the beginning /ending years of actors' involvement with the series; thanks for telling me when each character gets killed IMDB!)

ACTING - Contains a well-acted ensemble cast (good ensemble casts, like Newsradio before Phil Hartman's exit / Jon Lovitz's entrance, to me are one of the key pieces of quality entertainment) with grounded, realistic character profiles.

Locke (played by Terry O'Quinn) gets top honors from me for now but in truth there isn't a single character that isn't fascinating to watch. The personalities are widely varied and (credit again to the writing) they all seem to remain true to their nature over time (as opposed to changing when needed to suit the convenience/laziness of the writers.... jerkass Homer, anyone?)

Grace's favorite character is Sayid (played by Naveen Andrews.... hey, he was in that laugh-riot Rollerball! side note on this movie, my good friend Kevin and I listened to the commentary track and this pretty much sums up LL Cool J's contribution to the session: "aw yeah, that's my boy Chris Klein there!") i like him too (Sayid, not LL Cool J) but as i said earlier everyone does a bang-up job with their roles.

CINEMATOGRAPHY AND MUSIC - you couldn't ask for a more vibrant backdrop than a lush tropical island; i'm not sure if the colors were this vivid when the shows first ran on the network but on DVD they look fantastic. deep rich shades of green, blue, brown.... i'm not a cinematography buff or anything but it looks top-notch to me.

The music is appropriately minimal and creepy to suit the disorientation of both the characters and the viewer; it gets out of the way when it's unneeded but returns to underscore dramatic scenes in just the right amount. Again, I'm no music expert so I haven't bothered to look up who does the music or what his influences were but he/she gets a thumbs-up from me for not overdoing it.

A great example of the combined audio/video prowess is a scene where Jack stumbles by torchlight through the dark jungle, pursuing visions of his recently deceased father. The camerawork and music create this great mix of fear, delirium, and desperation; it's the closest I've seen to a live-action rendition of the pyschological-horror mastery of Silent Hill.

TITLE SEQUENCE - ok normally i don't pause to reflect on the title sequences of TV shows or movies but i think Lost's deserves a mention here because it captures the spirit of the whole show. Stark white letters "LOST" on a pitch-black background spiraling dreamlike from the distant background to the foreground and disappearing behind the camera's eye, accompanied by a plaintive bit of sound/music that gives the whole thing an out-of-time, surreal feeling. what better way to set the mood for a show about a a mysterious island and the group of strangers stranded there by a catastrophic event, unknown if by accident or fate.

(or maybe i like it because it reminds me of that old lead-in for the special presentations they used to run on CBS when i was kid) there you have it, i perform a public education service by painting a glowing review of a hit show that's been in existence for nearly two years now.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

10 char, what's the code?

i frequent some message boards from time to time and feel relatively comfortable with the various abbreviations used to express common sentiments (IMHO, YMMV, etc.) but one nut i haven't cracked is the use of '10 char' (sometimes '10 character', sometimes in parentheses, i think).

if i recall correctly it seems to be used in the context of someone agreeing with a previous poster's comments but i'm lost as to what the phrase itself represents.

so let's have it BB trollers, what's the scoop?

EDIT: after retrieving some samples from the web that failed to show any contextual pattern, it seems apparent to me that 10 char is the bulletin board's way of saying 'something in my underlying HTML code is broken'.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

origins of the social bobcat

so i'm self-named as The Social Bobcat (though I have also answered to Sobby and Check, most often in relation to sports activities) but maybe a brief explanation is warranted.

those that know me know i keep a fairly small circle of close friends and lack the kind of dynamic personality that keeps the party rockin' til dawn. so why the 'social', why the 'bobcat'?

the answer is Microsoft Word.

my last name, when entered into Word, is seen as a misspelling (what with its traffic wreck of consonants in the middle) so Word in its infinite helpfulness suggests two words as possible replacments for the typing 'error': Social and Bobcat.

hence the social bobcat was born.

Monday, February 20, 2006

the social bobcat transforms

so it's Presidents Day and my employer has been kind enough to give me the day to let me reflect on and remember my favorite American president (, why not?) so of course the answer to your question is 'yes, i would like to use up some of my holiday putting on my goaltending gear at home and taking low-quality pictures to post online'.

Thanks to the forced perspective camera angle, see me as my opponents do as I loom Incredible-Hulk-like in size over my now-seemingly miniscule living room

Marvel at the impenetrable wall I have created, all but ensuring that no pet toys can be rolled under the couch out of reach

For comparative purposes, witness my David-Banner-like sans-equipment regression as I show how ridiculous the goalie stance looks without gear, while sporting a shadow afro and making a comical monkeyface

Finally, check out our dog Pugston's own green-eyed Incredible Hulk impression as he barked angrily at me for dressing up in my gear at home and looking like a big scary alien or something

lucky bastard is me

i guess i'm just about as prone to bouts of dumb luck as the next guy:

- i have a beautiful fiancee', Grace, who tolerates my dual obsessions of hockey and videogames with reasonable understanding

(here's a picture of her, shown holding a small Caucasian boy for ransom circa Christmas 2005)

- i occasionally make exceptional saves in the course of a hockey game that leave teammates (or sometimes opponents) politely applauding efforts not expected of a lowly beer-league netminder

- and just last Friday I held a seat at a Texas Hold Em game hosted by one of Grace's coworkers (she and her counterparts have been held under the whip by their corporate overlords for several months now on a grueling assignment, so a little organized R&R is appropriate) where I won a substantial pot by coming up with a ROYAL FLUSH, helped out by a timely Ace of Spades on the river.

I checked the stats on this one (thank you Interweb!) and the odds of this happening in Texas Hold Em are 1 in 649, yes, i can be a lucky bastard at times.

for the road, here's a pic of some of grace's crew (give credit to Travis AKA T-Unit AKA T-dizzle, second from the left, for dealing me the RF):

Friday, February 17, 2006

"humor" from a mile away

so this past week our veep Dick Cheney accidentally peppered his hunting buddy with grapeshot while trying to down a quail and immediately the lazy minds of a thousand crappy musician/comedians sputtered to life.

for those of us who heard the news and are at least somewhat familiar with Aerosmith's body of work, the glaring pun flashed instantaneously in our brains.

99.99% of everyone who registered this thought already knew how predictable and lame it would be to actually bring the idea to life, in fact probably 99.99% of everyone only thought it up at all as part of the normal guessing game as to what crappy humor would soon spring forth from the latest embarrassing news item.

but, without fail today, i got to enjoy my daily foray into the Houston morning traffic gridlock to the radio accompaniment of some loser singing "Cheney's Got A Gun", the musical equivalent of cinema's 'Big Momma's House'.

EDIT: after further review and doing the math, replace "99.99% of everyone" in the statement above with "100% of reasonable, smart people and 1.2% of the 'intelligently regressive'"; gotta account for the fact that someone out there seems to persist in paying money to watch Martin Lawrence make faces and flail about like a moron.

from the unholy internet depths...

random note: my good friend Steve introduced this site as "the Sobblog", a clever melding of my last name and the medium being used here. sounds to me more like the name of some H.P. Lovecraft monstrosity, lurking about in the depths of the Atlantic just offshore of some small east-coast USA hamlet.

"the Ancient Sobblog shuffled along the ocean floor, turning its eyes upward to the surface and waiting for the moment to launch another multi-tentacled nightmare on the village populus."

Monday, February 13, 2006

the power of online peer pressure

as steve has been kind enough to stake out this small slice of online real estate for me i thought the best way to thank him would be to post a quick response here to show that it is indeed in use. (...considering that right now this blog probably has a readership population of one i could just as easily be addressing this directly to steve, and so will i do now)

hey steve, thanks for the initial first push on the Sobblog to get things rolling! i'll see if i can keep up its momentum in the tradition of the enduring

once i actually post something amusing on here we'll work on getting this thing out to the masses (or at least those friends and relatives who will humor me with a visit to the site from time to time)

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Today is my birthday

Hello, welcome to The Sobblog.

Little does the internet know that in my spare time I am uproariously funny, a master of needlework, and a a kick-ass goalie.

All introductory blog posts are a little lame, and this one has been done for me by my friend Steven. So really, that means that I, Steven, am writing to Steven while pretending to not be Steven.

I'm sorry for making my friend's first post so much more lame than it should be.

I now relenquish control for something much more enjoyable.