Monday, May 30, 2011

The Director's Seat - Andy's Blog

I figured this could last at least two weeks. The next few Mondays I'll be traveling, so this is the last you'll hear from me for a while. Maybe somebody else will pick up the slack and throw something on the blog while I'm gone.


Arctic Monkeys - Library Pictures

The new Arctic Monkeys album is really good - certainly better than their last album, and in my estimation, better than their sophomore effort as well. This is one of the shorter, faster paced tracks on the LP, but the whole thing is worth a listen. It's streaming online here.

I've listened to a lot of other new music recently, including efforts from Bon Iver, The Vaccines, Givers, and Battles, but nothing has really captivated me, besides perhaps the new Bon Iver. It's not so easy finding new music you love every week.

The big buzz this past weekend was about the release of the Hangover II. I wasn't particularly blown away by the first edition, but it was funny enough, and so I watched the second installment with moderately high expectations. II is, and you'll hear this 100 times, the exact same movie in a different setting, and how you interact with this fact will color your viewing experience. Accept that it's the same movie again, remember that you enjoyed it the first time, and you'll have a pleasant enough time with the second. There are some classic Alan lines, and I laughed out loud more frequently than I did during the first movie, so there's that. All in all, worth a look.

The summer means your favorite shows are going on hiatus, but one you should be watching that will kick off a new season on June 23 is Louie, on FX. I don't know how it took me so long to get around to watching Louis C.K.'s show, but I watched the first season in a couple days, and it's really good. C.K. is hilarious, and a good third of each episode is just him doing standup, which is what he's known for and best at. The rest of the show plays on a down and out Dad theme, and as a sucker for self-deprecating humor, I'm a fan. You've got three weeks to watch the first season before the premiere of the second.

(Inter)national Sports

I hope everyone watched the UEFA Champions League final between Barcelona and Manchester United on Saturday afternoon (evening for me). Because it was dazzling. Barcelona dominated much of the first half but saw the score level at 1 after a glorious strike from Wayne Rooney. Barca came out and completely dominated the second half, and we were treated to some Lionel Messi magic. This will be at least the third place I say it, but it has been a privilege to watch Lionel Messi play football, and I will not soon forget this Barcelona team. After they shredded Arsenal in a much-mocked match in an earlier leg of the Champions League, I have to say I was rather pleased to see United suffer a similar, albeit less embarrassing fate. This Barcelona side will go down as one of the all-time great teams Europe has ever seen, and it's pretty special that we get to watch them. Highlights here, but sure to disappear soon.

The big story yesterday was the FINAL TURN collapse of rookie J.R. Hildebrand at the Indianapolis 500. I didn't see it live, so I know I've missed out on that special quality of watching it as it happened, but it's one of the most incredible things you'll ever see in sports.

There's just something special about live sports, and the sense that ANYTHING can happen and you could be witnessing history. I remember watching a bowling event earlier this year, and one guy had the championship all but sewn up, but inexplicably CRATERED on the last throw and lost. It was bowling, but my jaw was on the floor. Through the magic of the internet, here it is. Relevant portion around 9:20.

The NBA finals start tomorrow night, pitting Dirk and the Mavericks against the Miami Heat and its trio of stars. Better people than myself will preview this somewhere else, I'm sure. I just cannot get into the NBA playoffs. Dirk is a compelling story with his playoff feats, but I don't understand how anyone could be genuinely interested in the Heat. I don't like any of their larger than life superstars, and could not care less about whether or not they win rings. The nature of basketball - that one player can completely dominate a game - turns me off to it, especially in the star-driven league that is the NBA. Spare me the egos and theatrics, please.

Wednesday, however, brings us the Stanley Cup finals, pitting the Vancouver Canucks against the Boston Bruins. I'll be shocked if Lord Stanley's Cup doesn't belong to Vancouver at the end of this series - the Sedins are too good, and the Canucks roll too much depth for the Bruins to handle. Tim Thomas will have to be huge for the Bruins to have any chance, and I suspect Roberto Luongo will be equal to the task in net for Vancouver. This should be a fun one to watch on NBC, as long as Pierre's time is as limited as possible.

Michigan Sports

The biggest news of the past week was perhaps the worst kept secret in the Michigan sports world - that Michigan men's lacrosse would be making the jump to D-1 next season, with women's lacrosse to follow in 2012-13. Details here in the MGoBlue roundup. It's extremely exciting to be the first team in 30 years to make the jump to D-1 lacrosse, and Michigan's dominant varsity club side finally moves up to the top level. The next couple seasons expect Michigan to play in a hodgepodge of venues, but you can be sure that Dave Brandon is crafting a plan for a dedicated lacrosse facility to compete with the best in the nation. For an introduction to the team, watch this series of video blogs.

WCBN hopes to broadcast Michigan men's lacrosse next season when the facilities afford us a steady internet connection and power source.

That's going to do it for now. Thanks for reading, hope to see you again soon!

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