Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Predictions for the Millennial Generation

Space...the final frontier.

I haven't written an article in list form in a while, so here it goes. Forgive me if it's boring or hard to read; I tried!. Each bullet point represents an individual prediction:

  • Cable Television will die out. My generation is already transitioning to Netflix and other online media sources. There's no way standard cable TV as we know it survives the cut. It costs too damn much and you don't watch ninety percent of the channels.

  • Unless the Republicans remake themselves, we'll be voting in a long line of Democratic Presidents based solely on social issues.

  • Years of being told that every other country under the sun outpaces us in terms of education/economic output will make us hyper-competitive, ushering in a new Golden Age for the United States (I'm hopeful). 

  • Our generation will give up our privacy for the sake of perceived boosts to security, as well as easier integration into whatever replaces the internet. 

  • Airplanes will be replaced by more cost efficient methods of travel, like automated cars and hyper-fast trains.

  • Contrary to popular belief, paper books will survive. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Surviving The Feast

Everyone in this picture is related to me. Probably.

It's a little known fact to some, but I happen to be half Italian. My whole life I've had to reiterate that point to thousands of people, mainly due to my darker complexion and last name. More on that in a second, or not, sometimes I start my articles with random diatribes.

Every year, a small town known as Shenandoah Pennsylvania hosts an Italian-tastic event known as The Feast, which brings in Sylvester Stallone and James Gandolfini look-alikes from across the region for the sole purpose of celebrating their shared boot shaped origins. It's here that I get to celebrate my Italian-ness amongst my brethren; where everyone accepts my racial origins with glee (well, almost everybody, apparently during The Feast's parade/procession people on the sidelines were calling me Bruno Mars...then again based on that whole Shenandoah documentary this isn't too surprising...though at least this bit of micro-racism is mildly flattering).

Let me summarize what The Feast is for anybody who doesn't already know: a bunch of Italians show up to Shenandoah, PA, go to mass, parade around town with religious symbols/statues, then go home and eat tons of good food with their families. This started exactly a century ago as a result of all the Catholic Italian immigrants that settled in that town. Hopefully that's enough exposition...on with the main event.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Cleaning my Grandparent's Attic

Imagine this, but with boxes, mouse crap, and dust stacked high to the ceiling.

This summer I received a job, if it could be called that, to clean my Grandparent's attic. Full disclosure, I'm not even completely finished with it yet. That being said, I figure I've hauled down enough boxes and potentially cursed 1960s baby doll figurines to write about my experience!

So it all started on a humid, oppressive Monday during the month of July. The middle of summer. My Grandpa had been kind enough to provide me with gloves, a mask, and a little bit of an incentive to work hard (read: I got partly paid in advance, also I didn't really get gloves I had to steal my Uncle's). I trekked up the steep, creaky steps of his house, into the black and white picture laden bedroom of my grandmother, through the attic door, and up the crumbling steps into the land of dust and hornet's nests.

Immediately I thought to myself, "what have I gotten myself into..."

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Rocky (The Play) Review


Sylvester Stallone on stage with the actors portraying Adrian and Rocky in the Broadway play.

Rocky. The movie that perfectly encapsulated the quintessential underdog story nearly forty years ago. The movie that launched Sly's career, and influenced the lives of countless baby boomers.

How do you recapture that magic? At least, in a minor sense? You release a version of the story on Broadway, of course. Now, I know what you're thinking..."how in the hell do you take a movie like Rocky and transplant it onto the stage?"

It's a good question, and one I am prepared to answer seeing as I saw the play yesterday. Basically, they stayed true to the movie script, using a brilliant assortment of shifting dynamic sets and clever illusions to keep nearly the same atmosphere and pace as the film. Mixed into dialogue pulled directly from the 1976 blockbuster was a bundle of musical-esque songs that fleshed out some of the plot points previously left to the viewers imagination, such as Adrian's secret adoration of Rocky.

How I Ruined my Championship Team in NBA 2K14

Goran Dragic, a name that will live on in infamy...at least in my NBA 2K14 association.

I was at the top of my game. I had led my ragtag team composed of Goran Dragic, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, and Blake Griffin to the NBA Finals. It was a tough road, with three seven game series, including the Finals. All this despite the face that, at the beginning of the year, we were pegged as a borderline playoff team at best, and a lottery squad at worst.

What allowed us to make it so far? My "big three," so to speak, composed of Dragic, Thompson, and Griffin, played out of their goddamn minds. All three were in the top ten in terms of playoff statistics for PER and Efficiency ratings, and the trio combined for over seventy points a game. They were nowhere near that amazing during the season. While Blake beasted down low, Dragic and Thompson rained down threes from outside, shooting at such a high percentage that I'm sure my competition thought I was playing with cheats.

With these three firing on all cylinders, I won the 2015 NBA Championship. It was touch and go for a while, but it was almost an inevitability that I would win due to both my mad 2K skills and the ridiculous performances of the D/T/G trifecta.

The offseason went spectacularly, to say the least. I retained my coach, all my key players, and had enough cap room to sign an impact player: none other than Kobe freaking Bryant. Now 37 years old, the Black Mamba could still average a cool 20/5/5 without breaking a sweat, and I'd inked him to a multi-year deal at a very reasonable rate.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Shenandoah (Documentary) Review

Shenandoah, Pennsylvania.

When you think of "Shenandoah," you probably think of that valley in Virginia. Or anything really, besides the sleepy, deteriorating town nestled in the forested, formerly coal-rich hills of Pennsylvania.

What happened that made this town worthy of being documented in a, uh, documentary? A hate crime occurred there, and as you know, those attract filmmakers much like the IRS and late tax payments. Members of the town's lauded football team, the Shenandoah Blue Devils, killed a man of Latino descent late one summer night in a drunken fit of gory blood-lust that ended with their target convulsing on the pavement, choking on his own fluids.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Air Travel Sucks

Don't be fooled by the fancy new paint job. It's pretty much the same plane your grandfather used decades ago.

We've all been there. Checking your bags with the psychotic caffeine deficient clerk. Going through the TSA security checkpoint, groped and scanned like you're the antichrist. Then you sit and wait at a musty old terminal, possibly sipping an overpriced cup of burnt coffee from the nearby Starbucks, trying to avoid eye contact with the serial killer sitting across from you.

But I don't want to talk about any of that. I'm talking about the actual air travel itself. Just think about it for a second. You start off taxiing on the runway for thirty minutes, the infected "air-conditioned" air contaminating your lungs. Then, you take off. The hunk of junk Boeing 737 or Airbus A320 you're riding roars to life, lifting off the tarmac in such a reluctant fashion that you're usually surprised the metal deathtrap actually managed to fly.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Tale of Jack Martin - Part 5

Part 4: http://www.gainsense.com/2014/07/the-tale-of-jack-martin-part-4.html


The wave of energy threw all four of them back several feet. The demon stood there, his bulging arms at his hips, cackling maniacally.

"There is no hope...submit to my power and I shall make your deaths as painless as possible."

Jack felt nothing besides his heart beating in his chest.

Ugh...I think I broke a rib...

He glanced up, squinting his eyes as he did so. He saw the leader, standing above him, facing the demon. Locke and Dean lay in crumpled heaps besides Jack, blood dripping from their mouths. The leader himself was breathing heavily, barely able to stand. He looked hunched over, the confidence etched upon his face earlier gone. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Capsizing in a Canoe

This is what I looked like today, except less grizzled and far more bruised and wet.

Today I find myself thousands of miles from my typical habitat, otherwise known as the parched, dry, hellish inferno known as Southern California. I'm in upstate New York (or at least I am for the sake of this story, I could be elsewhere, one can never be sure), and with all the water around these parts my family decided to go out boating on the Hudson river.

I decided to take a canoe, with one other person. Let me set the scene up for you.

It was hot and slightly humid. On top of all that there were suspicious looking backwoods people driving by in their strange vehicles, speaking in accents that I didn't even know were possible in the English language. Bugs of indescribable composition and size buzzed around my face, vigorously attempting to suck out my life essence every few seconds. For a moment, I yearned for my nice Southern California oven. Then again, everyone likes to pretend that their home is better than it actually is when they're away from it, so whatever.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Tale of Jack Martin - Part 4

Part 3: http://www.gainsense.com/2014/07/the-tale-of-jack-martin-part-3.html

Jack awoke in a daze upon what appeared to be a flimsy looking cot; simple canvas stretched between two aluminum tubes.

The room he was in was large, to say the least. His cot, along with several others, lined its edges, while the majority of the space was devoted to a large concrete floor, bare of anything besides certain markers denoting some arcane instructions that Jack could not decipher.

He noticed on the far end of the room that there was a woman staring at him. Before he could get out of bed and investigate, a voice reverberated throughout his skull.

There is no need for such effort, child. Allow me.

Jack watched as the women raised her right palm, closing her eyes, seeming to focus in on him. With a start, he noticed that he was rising from his cot, floating in mid-air.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Tale of Jack Martin - Part 3

Part 2: http://www.gainsense.com/2012/07/the-tale-of-jack-martin-part-2.html


What the...where am I?

Jack awoke, groggy and disorientated, still in the van with Dean. His captor's head, topped with an acorn colored crew cut, bobbed to the rhythm of an AC/DC song playing loudly over the speakers.

"So the kid finally woke up? Guess I don't know my own strength!"

Dean grinned, flashing nearly-perfect teeth at Jack, then focused once more on the road.

"We'll be at the compound any minute. Don't worry, our leader has great things in store for you. I know that sounds contrived but in this case, it's just a tiny bit true so bear with me."

Do I really have a choice? Asshole. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Edge of the Galaxy

Commander Ridge peered over his rectangular screen, out into the black abyss of space. His face furrowed.

"Captain, sensors indicate we have breached the plane of the Milky Way. We are now in intergalactic space."

The Captain, usually quite stoic, let a slight grin briefly color his worn visage of a face.

"Very good Commander. Computer, this is the Captain, enter log, year 2614: we've done it. Man has left the Milky Way. A momentous occasion indeed."

With little fanfare, the Captain returned to his seat, positioned centrally on the bridge.

The alarms began to blare.

"Commander, what is that?"

Ridge punched a few commands into his computer, analyzing the data flashing on the screen. His mechanically enhanced eyes took in the data far faster than any normal human. The nano-modifications to his brain allowed him to process the information he received in seconds.