From A’s to Rays: My World Series 08 Team

As an Oakland A’s fan who follows the careers of ex-Athletics (no matter where Billy Beane trades them), there appears to be a clear-cut choice for who I should root for in the upcoming World Series.

I have no family ties in either Philly or Tampa Bay, so I decided to make a list of reasons why I should back the Phillies or the Rays…which made it obvious and easy.

Philadelphia Phillies

  • Pitcher Joe Blanton was recently acquired from Oakland
  • MVP shortstop Jimmy Rollins is from Oakland
  • My friend & fellow pop culture blogger Cinematically Correct is a die-hard fan

Tampa Bay Rays

  • First baseman Carlos Pena was one of my favorite A’s
  • DH Jonny Gomes is a local boy (born in SF, raised in Petaluma)
  • My buddy Tom is a huge fan & Sports Producer in Tampa Bay; he’s even sporting the team mohawk (“rayshawk”)
  • I’m an American League girl; always have been, always will be
  • They emerged as divisional champs over the perennial favorite Yankees & Red Sox (whom I dislike almost as much as the Angels)
  • Rays coach Joe Maddon is a Lost fan!

So there you have it. Everyone has their own criteria. Feel free to share yours.

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Bull Durham, 20 Years Later

I believe in the soul. The c**k. The p***y. The
small of
a woman’s back. The hanging curveball. High fiber. Good scotch. That
the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe
Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a
Constitution Amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter. I
believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents
Christmas morning rather than Christmas eve. And I believe in long,
slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days.

This week was the 20 year anniversary of Bull Durham. Not only was it one of best sports films ever made, that speech is a classic (writer/director Ron Shelton was nominated for an Oscar for Original Screenplay, which most people don’t remember). I was only 15 when I saw it in the theater, so obviously a few of those lines didn’t really sink in at the time, but the movie has always been a favorite. And you have to admit that it’s one of Costner’s better performances. Ever.

ESPN The Magazine has a great series of interviews posted right now with Costner, Tim Robbins and Ron Shelton.

Hard to believe that Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon met on the set of this film twenty years ago…and that both of them and Costner are now all Oscar winning actors (Costner for Dances with Wolves, Sarandon for Dead Man Walking, Robbins for Mystic River).

Bull Durham is the type of movie that remains timeless and very entertaining; it’s the film you stop channel surfing for on a Saturday afternoon, and one you enjoy regardless of whether or not you’re a baseball fan.

By the way, Shelton is in pre-production for an adaptation of the Barry Bonds book Game of Shadows (for HBO Films). Given his track record with various sports movies (Bull Durham, White Men Can’t Jump, Tin Cup), he seems a very appropriate choice to write and direct this one.

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Life & Pop Culture Experiences

My friend went to a taping of Ellen yesterday and was on TV today, dancing next to her. I was jealous (of the proximity, not the dancing). It made me think about the activities I’d like to experience at some point before I die, as well as the ones I already have.

I’m not trying to be morbid, but I am attempting to be a little less tightly wound, and adopt a carpe diem attitude. Recent back surgery forced me to contemplate/acknowledge my mortality for the first time, and I have made an effort to become more flexible (emotionally, mentally & physically) as a result. I simply need to relax, enjoy and appreciate life more than I have in the past (and for the future).

Most people keep lists of dream vacations. Me? Not so much. Here are a few random things I’d like to experience in my lifetime, in no particular order:

  • Visit the set of Lost, or interview some of the cast
  • Attend a taping of Ellen
  • Throw out the first pitch at a major league ballpark
  • Fly to Boston & Chicago for baseball games at Fenway Park and Wrigley Field
  • See both REM and Bruce Springsteen live
  • Watch the A’s win the World Series at home in the new stadium
  • Go to the Emmy Awards

None of the above are career-related, but my dream job would be to either be on the writing staff of a television series or write a pop culture column for a newspaper or entertainment magazine. No big secret or surprise there.

I’m thrilled to have already had the opportunity to experience and participate in a few amazing events, including:

  • Meeting Mary Lou Retton & attending the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles (I was a budding/failing gymnast at the time)
  • Having coffee with Shawn Colvin in London before her show in 1993 (I was studying abroad, it was snowing outside, and she invited me in to watch rehearsal)
  • Working as an ‘extra‘ on The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers in 1994 (a story for another blog post altogether)
  • Attending a private benefit honoring Ellen DeGeneres in 1998 for her groundbreaking coming out episode (and meeting the Indigo Girls)
  • Being among the 73k fans watching the Women’s World Cup semi-finals at Stanford in 1999 (USA defeated Brazil)
  • Hiking through the rain forest and cave-tubing in Belize
  • Climbing to the top of the Duomo in Florence, Italy
  • Seeing Barry Bonds hit #71 & #72 at PacBell Park in 2001, breaking the single-season homerun record (not a huge fan of the man, but it was electric in there)
  • Watching The Incredibles and Cars at Pixar Animation Studios before they were released (both for events benefiting local education)
  • Going to  Sundance in 2007 (the coldest days of my life)
  • Sitting in the front row of the bleachers at the 2007 MLB All-Star Game in SF (and not getting pummeled by large men attempting to dive for homerun balls)
  • Attending the Grey’s Anatomy/Private Practice benefit show earlier this year

This summer, I will be going to Comic-Con in San Diego, and I’m pretty sure that it will wind up on the list above.

I can’t believe that this entire post was inspired by a friend dancing onscreen with Ellen for three seconds, and I’m not sure I even had a point. Oh well. I know that my List of Things To Do Before I Die will be amended and updated shortly and often, because there are far more places I’d like to travel to and events I’d like to attend.

Thanks for reading yet another entry of rambling and lists. Good night!

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New Toy, New Season, No Joke

Oh happy day.

Although it might seem that blogging, movies and television rule my life, I actually have two other favorite hobbies: baseball and music.

Not only am I enjoying opening night of A’s baseball on TV right now, I am setting up the newest addition to the JOpinionated family of gadgets. I have a new toy, one which I’ve been waiting patiently for.

Say hello to my little friend…

She’s a Classic; thin, beautiful, spacious (160GB; room for approximately 40k songs/25k photos/200 hours of video), and my new best friend.

Given that I already have a 40GB iPod (functional but with a cracked cover and weird mechanical sounds), I had to justify this purchase. Here goes:

1. I have been selling various gadgets & electronics on CraigsList just to buy this. My hand-me-downs have been other people’s treasures. Thanks, strangers!

2. I am about to fly back and forth across the country for the first time since back surgery in December, and rather than schelp my laptop & accessories, I can watch TV on this instead. Yeah, it’s good for my back!

Many of my friends have iPhones, but I do not like having music on my phone and it certainly cannot accommodate the amount of tunes I like to have at all times. I know, I know, the iPhone screen and functionality is amazing. I have email/Internet on my cell phone, and now I have 160GB to hold ALL of my music & photos, plus several seasons of TV shows. So I am a very happy camper.

I have to christen the iPod with some new music, and I’m open to suggestions. Right now the new REM and Counting Crows albums top the list, as well as the Madonna/JT and Death Cab for Cutie singles. My favorite song of the moment is Bruce Springsteen’s “Girls in Their Summer Clothes,” but by all means…recommend some others.

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Just a quick note of exasperation. My favorite baseball team just traded away their best player and the only one left who had an actual personality, to which I say: WTF? Seriously? Boo, hiss, and a huge thumbs down.

Sending Nick Swisher to the White Sox (for a few more of those infamous minor league “prospects”) sealed my fate as a (normally very dedicated) A’s fan this year; I’m stashing the crisp white home jersey away in the closet for the entire 2008 season, and I won’t be going to any games. So there.

I’m sure that a few years down the line, I will laugh at this because of one the guys they acquired for either Swisher or Haren will lead the team to the World Series at their new ballpark. But in the meantime, I’m a bitter kitty with a Mark Mulder trade flashback headache.

Have a nice weekend!

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The last movie I watched before going under the knife was Lucky You. I will watch almost anything from Curtis Hanson (except 8 Mile; no thanks). LOVED LA Confidential and Wonder Boys, enjoyed In Her Shoes.

But here was my reaction after sitting through Lucky You on DVD: “Nothing can happen to me tomorrow, because this cannot be the last film I watch before I die. Yikes.”

So no, I didn’t like it.

And I think I was delusional when I agreed to watch several movies a day during recovery. Because frankly, my eyes are rolling to the back of my head when I attempt to read Entertainment Weekly, so they certainly aren’t capable of focusing on indies and character-driven pieces of cinema.

Oh, and I also found out right before anesthesia that several members of my favorite baseball team have undergone the same procedure, at the same facility. Wow, do I feel like a wuss. Those guys are out there playing professional ball a few weeks after being operated on, and all I want to do is curl up in a corner and throw books at the wall in a wallowing pity party. But I can’t curl up, because I am a stiff beast right now. And I can’t really lift those heavy books either. Like I said, wuss.

See you tomorrow.

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