What's Up

What's Up!June 21, 2010


I'm downloading iOS 4 for my iPhone, and it allegedly will take 2 hours to download. With time to kill, and thinking I haven't written an issue of What's Up in a while, let me sit in front of my computer and ramble.

  • Does it bother me that I just got my first iPhone a few weeks ago, and the new iPhone 4 is coming out tomorrow? No. Does it bother me that I got my iPhone 3GS before the price drop? No. Having been a long time consumer of technology, I know very well that everything becomes obsolete instantly, and that this day would be coming. On the upside, I got my iPhone when the AT&T data plans were unlimited and will get to keep that plan. And since the iOS 4 update will make my phone almost like the new iPhone 4 (mine will be like an iPhone 3.8-ish), we'll call it a wash.

  • My new favorite treat: Mrs. Knott's Boysenberry Pie. Yum-freakin'-O!

  • To the world at large, your normal week has 168 hours in it. You can have most of it, but you can't have two particular hours. One for Mythbusters, one for Doctor Who. Work around it.

  • My lovely wife resisted for as long as possible, but in the end, she became a Twi-hard. She ended up downloading all four books on her iPhone's Kindle app and reads them... over and over and over. Stupid Twilight.

  • Saw the new World of Color water show at Disney California Adventure. I'd give it a "B." At least from the odd angle I saw it at.

  • I guess I should formally announce that this year, I will not be working television coverage for Anime Expo. No major fall-out, just a snag with the language in the agreement. Maybe next year.

    But Anime Expo will still be covered by the crew at AX Media. They should do a fantastic job (even without my dashing good looks).

    Anime Expo will be July 1-4. Go check it out. Info at anime-expo.org

  • Also on July 1 will be the new event, Club 2 the Max. It will be at Club Nokia at L.A. Live, right next door to Anime Expo. My good friends at AniMaid Cafe will have two sets there. That in and of itself is reason enough to check that event out as well. Info at club2themax.com.

  • One day, my lovely 2 year old daughter was sitting on a chair. She then ripped a massively long fart. I asked her, "Zoe, are you farting, or is the chair squeaking?"

    "Chair squeaking, daddy."

    She's such a horrible liar. Have I taught her nothing?

  • Still trying to wrap my head around the idea of Chicago Blackhawks = Stanley Cup champions. Does not compute.

  • Unless you're a parent, you have no idea was "Sprout" is. And even if I were to call it "PBS Kids Sprout," that wouldn't help most of you. But I'm not going to lie. It's super awesome. Zoe's a big fan of The Good Night Show.

    But to the animators of Caillou, draw all the way to edge of the frakkin' screen!

  • So I'm trying to determine the best way to make DMOunited.com compatible for the iPhone and iPad. Yes, that means ditching my Flash-based site navigation bar. What can I say, I'm an Apple sycophant and proud of it. Maybe I'll hijack a term Jon Stewart coined and start calling myself an "apphole." Maybe... maybe not. I'm not sold on it.

  • I miss George Carlin. I constantly find myself in amazement at his genius whenever I hear one of his standup bits.

  • Answer: Jigloo. Question: What do you call the home of an Eskimo Pimp?

  • I think my new slogan might be: "Crazy. Lucky. Genius." Simple, to the point, and quite accurate. Don't know what I'd use it for, but if I need a slogan... BOOM, there it is.

    Ok, enough ramble for one day. This should explain why I haven't written an issue of What's Up in a long time. But, I did get some positive feedback about having a guest contributor. Maybe, I revisit that idea.

    Don't forget, the What's Up World Cup Wrap Up to come as soon as a champion is crowned.

    What's Up!May 30, 2010


    I'd like to present a What's Up first... a guest contributor! Please welcome, friend to the show, Roby Brown!

    Roby Brown
    by Roby Brown

    The odds were never real good for Noah. He was born with a underdeveloped heart, lungs and kidneys. One day vitals were good, others, not. If he was able to stabilize, he would have been flown to Stanford where one of the nations top neonatal-cardiologists wanted their shot at saving his life.

    Sadly, it wasn't to be. Ten days after his birth, Noah Timothy White was taken off life support and passed away in the arms of his parents, Andrea and Brian.

    The plight of Noah White was related to me by my friend Debbie Phares' Facebook feed. It was refreshing to see such a story posted as someone's status update, rather than the normally pathetic updates of "Can't wait for Glee" or "Can't find my keys."

    The wondrous tools of social media allow us to know what's going on with almost anyone in the world. We can share where were are, what we're doing there, and whom we're doing it with. With a few keystrokes, we post pictures and zap our opinions. We keep tabs on our high school crushes just to make us feel better that we ended up better than they did.

    Everyone loves a soapbox (raises hand), and we use it for everything. We blatantly tell about our miserable days at work: "Dis Job suxxxx!" And we covertly imbed our feelings in updates that make no real sense to anyone but the writer: "I wish the monkeys would just cry on their rocket ships at BevMo."

    We've crossed into a weird place... we're sharing, but not really saying anything. Tweets and status updates tell me what's going on, but they mainly fail in strengthening our connection.

    What's the last tweet that made you cry? Made you angry? Genuinely laugh? Has a status update made you rethink your purpose in life or enlightened you?

    For all the griping about Facebook's privacy policy, I find it odd how most of us keep our deepest, innermost thoughts to ourselves, away from our "friends" and "followers." Why are we so worried about people we don't know reading about our Facebook status as we profess our addictions to "The Real Housewives of Orange County." Granted, let's not start broadcasting where our kids go to daycare; rather, tell me about the mental anguish of being a parent. Let me walk in your shoes rather than letting me hear the play-by-play.

    For all its wonders, social media and the internet aren't where we really learn and engage in truthful conversations with each other. Friendships and relationships are formed in bars, coffee shops, bedrooms and ballparks. Our innermost secrets are revealed to those who we trust. That connection doesn't happen on screen. It can't happen in 140 characters. More like 140 hours.

    I never knew Noah White. I'll probably never meet his parents. But, Noah's tale moved me in a way that I didn't know social media could. I'd like to think that more stories, heroic or tragic, will stir us to engage face-to-face, rather than post-to-post.

    "Followers?" Whatever. I need to rack up "People I've Met."

    This piece originally ran on robyontheweb.com, and I asked Roby if I can re-publish it here as I believe it's too good not to share.
    Roby can be found at robyontheweb.com and robybrown.com. Eagle-eyed fans of DMOunited.com will know that Roby is also on the People I Like page.
    And ironically enough, you can follow Roby at twitter.com/RobyMB

    url: http://whatsup.dmounited.com/x/2010-0530.html

    What's Up!May 12, 2010


    World Cup appFriends, we are now under 30 days away from the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. It's one of the few events where you and 6 billion of your closest friends will have something in common to talk about at the watercooler.

    To plan your viewing of the Games, know this: South Africa is in the same time zone as Germany. So if you recall your viewing habits from the 2006 World Cup in Germany, this year's should be very similar.

    And yes, once the Tournament ends, I will be presenting the 3rd edition of the highly popular What's Up World Cup Wrap Up.

    Well, ESPN (who will be covering the event), has a Bracket Predictor. I simply made snap judgements, going with my guts as I filled it out.

    So what do I think will unfold?
    In the semi-finals, I have Brazil beating the United States, and Argentina beating Italy.
    In the finals, I have Argentina winning the World Cup.

    Now, if I gave it careful consideration before offering my pick, I don't believe I would have picked Argentina as my winner. I wouldn't be surprised if they won (don't get me wrong), but I don't know if they can finish. With that said, I like my predictions for the final four. Even with the U.S. there.

    Speaking of U.S.
    Fact: The United States National Team does surprisingly well in World Cups... that are not played in Europe. Throw in their Confederations Cup success last year in South Africa, and I'm liking their chances in this Cup Finals.

    Yesterday, Bob Bradley revealed his preliminary 30-man roster. It'll have to be whittled down to 23-ish on the final selection.

    Here was his selections:
    Goalkeepers =
    Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Marcus Hahnemann (Wolverhampton)

    Defenders =
    Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover), Jay DeMerit (Watford), Clarence Goodson (IK Start), Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew), Oguchi Onyewu (AC Milan), Heath Pearce (FC Dallas), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United)

    Midfielders =
    DaMarcus Beasley (Rangers), Alejandro Bedoya (Orebro), Michael Bradley (Borussia Monchengladbach), Ricardo Clark (Eintracht Frankfurt), Clint Dempsey (Fulham), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy), Maurice Edu (Rangers), Benny Feilhaber (Aarhus), Stuart Holden (Bolton), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew), Jose Torres (Pachuca)

    Forwards =
    Jozy Altidore (Villarreal), Edson Buddle (Los Angeles Galaxy), Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo), Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake), Herculez Gomez (Puebla), Eddie Johnson (Aris Thessaloniki)

    Now, if I had to pick a starting eleven, I'd go with...
    G: Tim Howard
    D: Carlos Bocanegra, Jonathan Bornstein, Steve Cherundolo, Jonathan Spector
    M: Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, Sacha Kljestan
    F: Jozy Altidore, Edson Buddle

    With your top subs being: D: Chad Marshall, M: Benny Feilhaber, F: Brian Ching

    Yes, the standard 4-4-2, but I'd actually slide Donovan up top into a 4-3-3.

    The important thing for Bob Bradley to keep in the back of his mind is that he has to keep a short leash on his players. I don't want him to keep underperforming players on the pitch hoping that they'll turn it around. As I mentioned last time out, Brian "Instant Offense" Ching could have provided a spark but was left wallowing on the bench. Bruce Arena even admitted after the fact that he should have subbed him in. Bob Bradley can't make those kinds of mistakes.

    One Last, Cool, Thing.
    World Cup appESPN has an iPhone app dedicated to the 2010 World Cup, and it's actually very well designed. You can set it to follow your favorite team(s) and break down your coverage by venue, group or country. It's very nifty... and it's free. Also a plus. If you've got a iPhone, download it from the app store.

    For the record, I'll be following Greece, England, and of course, the United States.

    Until next time... see you in South Africa!

    url: http://whatsup.dmounited.com/x/2010-0512.html

    What's Up!May 2, 2010


    I was doing some housekeeping and stumbled across this file. Naturally, I have to share. Sure, it's 3 years old, but what the hell. This is the first (and so far, only) time a round of golf has been played inside the TDA building. Bonus, it was with the blessing of our director. Awesome with awesomesauce.

    Obviously, if you are not familiar with, what I call, "The Salt Mine," this won't mean anything to you. If you are, then enjoy.

    Pirate Putter Classic

    There was one Saturday in May, where there was some sort of bizarro shindig happening in the park. But this is not about that. On that same Saturday, the real action was taking place behind the "Yellow Curtain" of TDA: it was the Pirate Putter Classic: At Cubicle's End.

    Four men... gorging themselves on Chinese food... whacking balls up and down the 3rd floor... praying like hell that they wouldn't break anything... this is their story.

    The foursome of Spiropoulos, Faille, Gray, & Holmberg The four mighty competitors. For the record, there was no wagering amongst the participants. With my horrible posture, I look like a turtle in that shirt.
    Onto the 3rd Hole Behold the wireless headset sported by Shaun. 'Twas worn in the event we would get a phone call. For the record, during the competition, we received only one call, fielded by Jerome, and it was a WRONG NUMBER.
    The Boss This was the "Chair Hole" where you had to putt the ball under a standard TDA chair. Right off the tee, Britt strokes this gem, and asks for a photo. Unfortunately, it would take another 4 shots to get it in the hole. Eagle-eyed viewers will notice that the Chief is sans shoes. For the record, the only Hole-In-One on the day was putted on this hole by D-mo.
    The Ramp Hole The "Ramp Hole" proved to be quite the challenging hole. Hit it too hard up the ramp, like Shaun here, and your ball is over by Zazu. Hit it too soft, and it rolls back down. Miss the ramp entirely, and it might cause you to whack the ball as hard as you can, putting a dent in the paper-filled box, and ricocheting your ball back to the elevators. For the record, the Pirate Putter Classic actually had spectators (although we think they were there for the food).
    The Canyon Adriana brought in a mat for us, and we used it in the hole called "The Canyon." Why is it called that? The space in the Community Relations aisle isn't exactly roomy if you know what I mean. For the record, dress code was casual. But someone wasn't notified of this. Can you figure out who?
    The 8th Of course, the couch would make an appearance. Here, on the 8th, the hole lies on the other side of it. Little did we know that by this point, Jerome was on his way to victory.

    L E A D E R B O A R D
    Jerome28(hit par on 6 of 9 holes)
    D-mo34(scored a hole-in-one on the 3rd)
    Shaun34(best hole, the 2nd, was the one at his desk)
    Britt39(maxed out on strokes on 3 of 9 holes)

    Whether there will be a Pirate Putter Classic: On Stranger Tides remains to be seen.

    What's Up!April 28, 2010


    Two years ago, this last Sunday, God showed us all he has a sense of humor when he gave me and Val a baby. And not just any normal baby. No, we got a goliath of an infant. At birth, Zoe Crystal Victoria Spiropoulos (aka "Baby Dynamo," aka "Danger Diva") measured 23 inches, and weighed in at 10 pounds, 11 ounces. Massive.

    Just how big is my leviathan of a child now? At her 2 year check-up yesterday, Zoe measured 40.5 inches tall and tipped the scales at 47 pounds (on average, a 2 year old is 30-34 inches tall and weigh about 27 to 28 pounds).

    Let's put that in perspective. Today, the Danger Diva could go into Disneyland and ride the following attractions (as she now meets the height requirements)...
  • Matterhorn Bobsleds
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Splash Mountain
  • Space Mountain
  • Star Tours
  • Soarin' over California
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

    I know 5 year olds that can't go on these rides yet.

    For two years, the Baby Dynamo has been running amok and wreaking havoc upon the unsuspecting people of Earth; Lord knows there is more to come. And I wouldn't have it any other way (insert evil laugh here).

    What's Up!April 23, 2010


    About 2 weeks ago, me and the Mrs. finally got iPhones (yes, two. there was no way only one of us was getting it and the other left hanging). I'm not going to lie; after I got it, I felt like a hip kid.

    In these 2 weeks, I've used the "i" more than the "Phone." No surprise, I knew I would. As you may have heard, what makes the "i" part so much fun/interesting/productive are the apps. Since we got these phones on April 12th, we have downloaded 84 apps (not a typo). And bonus, they are all FREE apps. I'd say 90% are shared, with 5% Val-exclusive apps (like the Period tracker - it puts little flowers on a calendar to let you know when you're ovulating) and the other 5% are DMO-exclusive apps (like the well-designed Pittsburgh Penguins app).

    After two weeks, it's become apparent what apps are must-haves, and which apps fell short. So, I'm going to do a little app review. With over 50 gajillion apps in the App Store, you might want an opinion or two to cut through the riff raff (remember, these will all be FREE apps).

    The Top Ten

    AAA Roadside
    The premise. Once you've registered, say you need roadside assistance. All you have to do is tap the screen a few times, and the app will send your location (courtesy the GPS) to a nearby AAA service agent, who will show up at your car. Reviews in the app store say help comes, on average, in 15 minutes. I can dig it. I haven't used to tell you myself, but honestly, I hope I never have to.

    ABC 7 LA
    Good for local news, but the crown jewel of this app is that it has Channel 7's LIVE MEGA DOPPLER 7000 HD+ on it. You know you're impressed (for those that don't live in L.A., that's really what it's called).

    Coin Flip Free
    If you need to make a decision, and you don't have a coin to flip for it, this app is ideal for you. The free version works great. The difference between the free version and the full-bodied pay version is the coins. In the free version, you can select a U.S. 1 dollar coin, a British 1 pound coin, a Canadian 1 dollar coin, a 1 euro coin (with the Germany back), and a 2 euro coin (with the France back). In the full version, it has way more coins to choose from, including the U.S. state quarters. If you're a numismatist, it'll be like porn for you.

    ESPN ScoreCenter
    I'll put it like this. I'm at home. I have ESPN on TV, I have ESPN.com on my computer, and I have this app. If I need a score and some stats, I reaching for this first.

    A super clean layout on this app. A more concise version of the website, but the core functions work perfectly.

    Very easy to use. Took into the back yard with the Mrs. and successfully spotted both Mars and Saturn (without telescopes) at where the app said they would be. Has a bunch of other tidbits of useful info and features that makes this app a must for the amateur (or professional) stargazer. It can even tell you where the center of the galaxy is.

    You turn on the app and the screen goes white. Have had to navigate in the dark a few times and this came in handy big time. Can even customize other screens with patterns and colors to add to your flashlight experience (you won't need them, but they're there).

    Virtual Zippo Lighter
    All the joys of having a real Zippo without the possible collateral damage. Ideal for concerts. I got this and now have no desire to get a real one. Strange, but true.

    Wanna know how to safely swim with piranhas? How 'bout how to escape a minefield? How to kick down a door? How to start a fire with sticks? I think you know where I'm going with this. A must-have survival kit that (most importantly) runs offline and doesn't need 3G/WiFi.

    2Do Lite
    The full version of this app is like $5-6 or something, but the free "lite" version is pretty satisfactory on its own. One limitation on the free version is that on your To-Do list, you can only break it down to 3 categories. The full version lets you do more. Frankly, before this app, I only had one category... the piece of paper I was writing my to do list on, so this app is actually an upgrade for me. Very easy to use. There are many "To Do Lists" out there, but I stumbled across this one and have no complaints.

    Honorable Mention

    Imagine having the Kelley Blue Book in the palm of your hands when you're going car-shopping. The dealer can say, "Hmm, the trade-in value is X." You can reply with, "Well, let's double check." Yes, this is an app that wouldn't normally see consistent use, but you'll find it very handy it when you need.

    Eternal Fire
    All it is, is a wood-burning fire with realistic sounds. Why is this cool? Stay with me on this: 1) fire up the iPod and select some Sade or Barry White; 2) back out of the iPod, select this app, tilt into landscape... BOOM! INSTANT ROMANTIC EVENING. You're welcome (to be fair, I'm going to give the Mrs. the credit for this gem).

    Lightsaber Unleased
    You can customize a lightsaber, turn it on, and as you swing your iPhone, your lightsaber hums and clashes. This is the free app. There is a pay app where you can duel with a buddy via Bluetooth or WiFi. You might think a lightsaber app is silly, but everyone I know with an iPhone has it... even the Mrs.

    Paper Toss
    Simple, free, quasi-addicting game. The object = throw paper into the trash can. Not as easy as you'd think.

    What Knot
    The full title is "What Knot to Do in the Great Outdoors" and is put out by Columbia Sportswear. Wanna learn how to to tie binders, hitches, loops, or even a Man-of-war Sheepshank? This app is for you. Slick layout and easy to use. You can even make certain knots "favorites" to find them easily the next time you use the app.

    Other apps worth a look:
    BABEL Rising (the Mrs. loves this game), ESPN 2010 FIFA World Cup (to follow the event), iHandy Level Free, Urbanspoon.

    The Bottom Three

    Surprisingly weak. What does it do? Only one thing. Imagine opening the Maps app, and in the search field, typing, "In-N-Out." The map will open with push-pins highlighting the locations. That's exactly what this app does. I mean, EXACTLY. All this app does is save you the hassle of typing "In-N-Out" in the search field of the Maps app. Disappointing.

    California Lottery
    Let me give you the review I wrote for it in the App Store... "If the only thing you play is SuperLotto Plus, this is a fine app. But if you play any other California Lottery game like Mega Millions, Fantasy 5, Daily 4, Daily 3, or Daily Derby, this app's usefulness drops like dead weight. Yes, the number generator is a fun feature, but in general, this app is too limited and found wanting."

    Coleman Lantern
    When I mentioned this to the Mrs., she was surprised. I told her, "It's not as bright as the Flashlight app and not as cool as the Zippo." Her response, "Well, it's a Coleman, they're never bright enough." ZING.

    Other apps that aren't that great:
    Victorinox Swiss Army (and it pains me to say that, but no app should open with a 10 second video), Amazon Kindle (don't have any books on Kindle, but with iBooks coming as part of iPhone OS4, I probably won't need this app), David's Harp (sounds out of tune), Star Trek Phaser (the Mrs. downloaded it, toyed with it for a bit, found it suuuuper-boring, and deleted it. I never even saw it).

    My fellow iPhoners, if you think there is an app worth a look, shoot me a note, and I'll check it out. I'm a newbie on this handheld delight, and I'm willing to investigate anything. Who knows, maybe the App Review will be a recurring piece.

    Two things before I leave you. Last night, Lonely Planet was offering some of its City Guides for select European cities for free, to help those stranded by the Icelandic volcano. At press time, they are no longer free, but at a super reduced priced of $4.99. They normally retail in the App Store for $15.99 (the Asian and North America cities are still this price), so if you're going to those select European cities, you better take advantage of this deal (search "Lonely Planet"). But kudos to Lonely Planet for offering that.

    Finally, as we were purchasing the phones, I was with the sales rep and the manager was over on the other side of the store where Val and Zoe were. Zoe was tossing some display Blackberrys around. I piped up with something along the lines of, "Hey Danger Diva, stop chucking phones." The manager leaned over to Val and said, "You guys are buying two iPhones. She can do whatever she wants."

    Peach out!

    url: http://whatsup.dmounited.com/x/2010-0423.html

    What's Up!April 10, 2010


    Guess what's hitting your televisions screen on April 17?

    Doctor Who

    That's right... it's the new season of Doctor Who, with Matt Smith taking on the role of The Doctor (the Eleventh Doctor to be precise).

    So, to repeat, the new DW (that's what the promotional materials are calling it) will air on BBC America on Saturday, April 17th. Yes, this will be the first full season of Doctor Who to be first-run on BBC America, as opposed to SyFy (nee Sci Fi). I, for one, am in favor of this move.

    Ironically enough, I was going to write a big fat article about the programming on BBC America, but it unraveled quickly, as I actually lost sight of what I was trying to say early in the piece. Man, when that happens, that's never a good sign.

    I felt it important to highlight the new season of Doctor Who, but now I have all this space to fill. Time to dive into my brain for another of the popular "ramblings" issues of What's Up.

    Over at Auntie Beeb's
    At the very least, let me give you some of the bullet points that I wanted to include in the bigger BBC piece.

  • According to Eve Myles' website (she plays Gwen Cooper on Torchwood), filming for the fourth season has begun. Let's give a big "WOOT" for that. However, I've got to temper that with the constant word floating around town that FOX is trying to launch their own version of Torchwood.
    I am firmly against this idea, especially if what they say is true and John Barrowman will cross the pond to play Captain Jack Harkness on the American version. Don't get me wrong, I love Barrowman's portrayal of Captain Jack, but will this new series be a continuation of the BBC's version, a companion to the BBC's version, or a full fledged reboot (sorry, a "re-imagining." Got to use the modern lingo). Too many variables here. Have we learned nothing from ABC's failed attempt with Life on Mars?

  • Top Gear may be my new favorite show (well, I doubt it'll topple my love of Mythbusters). Truthfully, I feel like an idiot for not watching it sooner. Even the Mrs. likes the show. Though, after every episode, she says wistfully, "It must be nice to have a job that you actually like."

  • Jonathan Ross and Elmer Fudd both suffer from the same condition. It's called "rhotacism." The similarities end there. One is constantly bested by an anthropomorphic rabbit, the other is the highest paid performer on the BBC.

    Don't Judge Me Too Harshly
    I couldn't get that song out of my head, so I ended up downloading it. Which song? "Tik Tok" by Ke$ha. What can I say, hearing a whitey-white girl say "krunk" tickles me to no end.

    But Speaking of Music...
    Every respectable rock fan has a copy of "War Pigs" by Black Sabbath in their music catalog. But do yourself a favor and download CAKE's cover of it. Yes, that CAKE. It's very good. On par with the original. No kidding.

    A Little Spring Cleaning
    A day before I wrote this, I went through the DMOunited.com website and tidied things up a bit. Two thing of note: 1) The People I Like page. It has more people on it now; and 2) The major change to the Weekly Goods. It no longer is its own subsection. All the Goods have been consolidated onto one page and is listed under the "News" section.

    I'm also experimenting with not having a Joke o' the Week. We'll see how that pans out.

    On the ol' Facebook, I made mention that I thought about hiring people to review movies for this very website. I got some eager volunteers. I may or may not do it, but I am leaning towards doing it. Your thoughts?

    Facebook Follies
    Speaking of Facebook, how 'bout a quick hit of the popular Follies.

    So... what was on my mind?
    With, of course, bonus commentary in blue.

    In someone's office, there is a sign that reads, "Shoot for the moon, and if you miss, you'll land amongst the stars." That's astronomically incorrect. If you miss, you will actually land in the cold, heartless vacuum of deep space.
    Not a pessimist... just a scientist. And if you think about, if you don't get enough thrust on your moon shot, you'll enter a degrading orbit that will result in your burning up upon re-entry into Earth's atmosphere. Look, I'm all for motivational statements, but let's think these through a bit.

    If you're you a security guard, and your name tag says "Dick," you're being redundant.
    That about sums it up. Nothing else I can add to that.

    Things heard today: "There's nothing worse than a koala that's gone all apeshit."
    As a point of reference, this was regarding a children's cartoon. Seriously.

    On my desk, I have 30 pounds sterling and 30 euros. American currency? One nickel. What's wrong with this picture?
    To put it mildly, I don't have cash to fly to the places where I could use this foreign money, and I can't use them here. Double awesome.

    Things said today: Michelle, "Any plans this weekend?" D-mo, "Well, it is Palm Sunday this weekend, so I'll be riding around on the back of an ass."
    She didn't get it. Still doesn't. Donna, who was with us, got it. Thanks for laughing at that, Donna.

    On the way home from the bookstore, El Del Barge comes on the radio. Awww hell.
    And I felt the rhythm of the night.

    To be fair, I don't know the details of this health care bill. However, if you read the posts and comments of those who opposed it, it feels like they're saying, "We love America, but we hate our fellow Americans." Apparently, the opposite of so-called 'socialism' is blatant 'selfishness.' Pick your poison.
    Based on the comments, it seems my friends are all socialists, except one who's apparently a selfish bastard. Hey, it's his right to be.

    Just found out the name of the Evil Queen from Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs. It's Betty.
    Look it up!

    Smells Like Freedom
    Matterhorn I'm going to end this issue and talk about armpits. Remember, me = random.

    I'm sure you've seen the commercials for the new Old Spice deodorant called Matterhorn (technically, it's an anti-persperant). As with most Old Spice marketing campaigns, I enjoyed a good laugh with it. Well, as I was cruising my local Target, I see 3 of the 4 new items in their "Fresh Collection;" Matterhorn, Fiji, and Denali (Cyprus was not available). The label on Matterhorn says it smells like "Ice, Wind and Freedom." Ok, I'll take a sniff. Not bad. I go though the line; Fiji smells like "Palm Trees, Sunshine & Freedom;" Denali smells like "Wilderness, Open Air & Freedom." I ask the Mrs. which she likes the best, and we go with Matterhorn.

    In the spirit of full disclosure, for the last 20 years, I've been a Degree man (seriously, twenty years. I started using it when I was 16, and I'm on the brink of 36 now). But lately, Degree would stop working by midday. Distressing, given that it's been a solid performer for me for two decades. So I was open to trying something new.

    So on the first day of use, I was telling people my armpits smell like freedom. That night, I went clubbing (yes, you read that right. I went to a nightclub... and closed it down. I think the last time that happened, Roosevelt was President - Teddy, not Franklin). So the next morning rolls around, and my armpits still smelled like freedom. That's quite empowering having freedom emanating from your pits, especially with it being 'nightclub tested, nightclub approved.'

    If you're a man, or know a man, get some Old Spice Matterhorn for you/him... and have your armpits smelling of freedom! Hooray FREEDOM!

    What's Up!March 26, 2010


    I was struck by something recently. A mini-epiphany if you will. I write way too many Sports stories here on What's Up. Shocking, I know.

    In all seriousness, I did a count from the Olympic-o-rama issue in 2008 through this recent Olympic-o-rama series in 2010, and I wrote 12 Sports-related issues. How many non-sports issues? 17. For those who love math, Sports accounts for a whopping 41% of What's Up in the last 17 months.

    I'm sure you're asking yourself, "Why the shock and drama D-mo?" A fair question, as it's not like I'm not a sports fan. However, I love and enjoy everything in this world. From the Arts to the Sciences to everything in between. Up, down, left, right, I have thoughts on all of it (some funny, some profound, some ridiculous, all entertaining).

    More importantly, I get the best feedback on my more heady stuff. Also, my Sports-based issues generate immediate buzz, but the buzz quickly fades. As far as longevity and relevance over time, I still get comments on such epic What's Up offerings as: Party of 3; The Best Video Game Consoles of All Time; and Iron Chef vs. Iron Chef America.

    So what's the point of this issue, the one that you're reading right now?

    This is a pledge, from your humble scribe to you, the faithful What's Up readers.

    I will endeavor to write and produce a more balanced variety of offerings for What's Up. Yes, I probably will continue to write on Sports topics, but it will no longer dominate this venue.

    What will be the first topic documented and attacked by my brain under this new pledge? I don't know. But I do know that the possibilities are infinite (yes, I know, a little cliche, but let's run with it)


    What's Up!March 22, 2010


    Time to wrap up the What's Up Olympic-o-rama.

    Today's piece. Some rapid fire thoughts on the sports of the Olympic Winter Games, part 2.

    Speed Skating
    Long Track, Short Track

    My Long Track thoughts:
    My Short Track thoughts:

    Freestyle Skiing
    Aerials, Moguls, Ski Cross

    My Aerials thoughts:
    My Moguls thoughts:
    My Ski Cross thoughts:

    Halfpipe, Parallel Giant Slalom, Snowboard Cross

    My Halfpipe thoughts:
    My Parallel Giant Slalom thoughts:
    My Snowboard Cross thoughts:

    Men's, Women's

    Men's, Women's

    Friends, there you have it. The 2010 Olympic-o-rama. For more Olympic-o-rama goodness, come around London in 2012.

    url: http://whatsup.dmounited.com/x/2010-0322.html

    What's Up!March 16, 2010


    I just want to briefly touch on something that kind of bugged me, plus hit up an What's Up Olympic-o-rama tradition.

    Own the Podium
    If you watched the Olympics, you probably heard how Canada didn't sniff a single Gold Medal in either the 1976 Montreal Summer Games or the 1988 Calgary Winter Games. It's always a little tough when the home nation goes 0-for.

    You probably also heard about the Canadian initiative entitled, "Own the Podium." In essence, money was going to be poured into various sports to better train athletes and give Canada a legit shot at earning Gold... and lots of it.

    Well, this is where I get a little chaffed. After the first week of the Games, Canada did get its first Gold Medal at home, but didn't, ahem, "Own the Podium." That, in of itself, it ok. The crap that Canada got because of it is what bothers me. Here you have an entity that decided it was going to try to be better. To try and have a decent showing for itself. Sure, maybe it was overhyped, maybe even a little overconfident, but to discredit their progress out of hand after week with such remarks as "Blown the Podium" or "Flown the Podium," come on...

    Canada: owning podiums since... um, February
    No, Canada was not, a week in, owning the podium. Fine. But give them some credit. Here you have a country that isn't known for being the arrogant, blowhard type, that's trying to have a little pride in itself, and better itself. And what's the consensus response? Mocking, sarcastic condemnation. Really?

    Maybe "owning" the podium was too far a stretch, but you know what, I applaud that they had the chutzpah to try.

    Then something wonderful happened. In the second week, Canada starting earnestly "owning" the podium. And when all was said and done, they finished third in total medals, but earned a record setting 14 Gold Medals! Canada made an effort to have a good showing, and despite the slow start, made good on their effort. Good on you, Canada.

    And to all those who were hating early on... SUCK IT!

    For the Record
    I'm not Canadian. I am friends with only 3 actual Canadians (and two are still in Canada). But I'll admit, I do have a soft spot for the Great White North, or as I like to call it, "America's Hat" (well, I do like hats in general, maybe it's related).

    Own the Podium, Part Deux
    No one really wants to admit it, but Canada could have only won 1 Gold Medal, as long as that Gold Medal was in Men's Hockey, and the Olympics would have been seen as a success. Conversely, if Canada had won 13 Gold Medals, but only the silver in Men's Hockey, the Olympics would have been considered a failure (maybe "breaking even" at best).

    Again, no one will readily admit it, but luckily, it's a moot point.

    Share the Medal Love
    What I like to do is highlight the athletes that came to the Games but didn't walk away empty-handed, and managed to pick up one medal for their country. So much is made of who's at the top of the medal table, let's cheer the guys at the bottom (sure, the bottom of the table would be the countries who got zero medals, but work with me here).

    Obviously, as the Winter Games have fewer athletes due to fewer sports, the medal table is much shorter. That gives us only three countries for our list. As an interesting point of perspective, the British consider their sole Gold Medal to be a better showing at the Olympics than Finland, who had five total medals (1 Silver, 4 Bronze) but no Golds. I guess they look at quality over quantity. Whatever floats your boat, baby.

    Close It Out
    Yes, the next installment of What's Up Olympic-o-rama will be the final piece and feature "The Games - Part 2."

    url: http://whatsup.dmounited.com/x/2010-0316.html

    What's Up!March 6, 2010


    What? You thought I was going to give you The Sports - Part 2 this time around? Just keeping you on your toes.

    Let's talk about what a lot of people like to complain about... NBC's coverage of the Olympic Winter Games. This time around, the coverage received even marks. For every one person that liked it, one person didn't. But I had an epiphany (that I'll get to in a bit) that totally made NBC's decisions covering these Games seem somehow... logical. Oh yes.

    This Isn't Summer
    Working in NBC's favor was that the Winter Games have significantly fewer events than a typical Summer Olympics. The Winter Games have about around 20 sports (and only two of them, true "team" sports). The Summer Games have about 850 sports. Obviously, with less entrees at the buffet, NBC could offer more comprehensive plating choices.

    With that said, what genius at 30 Rock decided it would be a great idea to shuttle the U.S.-Canada men's ice hockey game (the one in the round robin play, not the Gold Medal game) over to MSNBC. That should have been on the flagship network. And really, it wasn't like there was something better on the main NBC broadcast. Thankfully, NBC heard all the flak they got and showed the remaining U.S. ice hockey games live on NBC.

    In general, NBC received high marks for not marginalizing less popular sports, and showing as much as possible of all events. Yet, we have to temper that with the fact that there were less events to cover. Talk to me in 2012 and tell me if you see any Judo, Shooting, Archery, Team Handball, etc.

    The question we have to ask is... with NBC's family of networks, why wasn't there 24 hour coverage of the Olympics? If you had put women's biathlon on Bravo on a Tuesday at 12 noon, you would have had people tune in (honestly, it would have pulled the same number of viewers as the rerun of Million Dollar Listing that was on)

    This Isn't China
    With the last Summer Games in Beijing (which, if you are not familiar with it, it's on the other side of the planet), you really couldn't go live with major events. In 2008, when the Opening Ceremony started, local time, I was still in bed, getting ready to start my day, my time. It's like a 16 hour difference; totally understandable.

    With that said, for the Vancouver Opening Ceremony, I was in the same time zone, yet I was hostage to NBC's programming who felt compelled to show it to me in prime time. And for the record, when I saw it start on TV, it had already ended in reality. Unacceptable.

    To NBC's credit, in China, they did show live events... it was just that live in China is 2 a.m. in the U.S. But that's ok, at least they showed it. There was a surprisingly scant amount of live coverage (and if not for hockey and curling, they may not have been any).

    The question we have to ask is... would it have killed you, oh friends at NBC, to show me and everyone else in the Pacific Time Zone the Opening Ceremony live? (psst, the correct answer is 'no')

    This Isn't Canada

    Ummm, what's with the hat?
    For the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games and the 1998 Nagano Winter Games, I was fortunate to watch the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's coverage (my dad had a big satellite dish on the house and we'll pull in all sorts of signals. I think he actually talked to astronauts on the ISS once). Their coverage was superior to NBC's, far and away.

    Why? On NBC, the only way you'd see an event is if an American is in it. Seriously. Think if you can remember an event that got decent coverage where an American did NOT have a really good shot to medal. You can't. Granted, the United States always send the most athletes, and competes in everything, but come on.

    In Canada, they don't compete in every event, and honestly don't medal often (though I'm glad they improved this time around). So our neighbors to the North broadcast whatever is on. Downhill skier from Mexico? They'll show him. Speedskater from India? They'll show her. The only time NBC will show another a competitor from another country is when the obvious medal favorite is a foreigner, or to see if "the plucky Swede can challenge the Americans."

    Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of the United States, but when showing the results, don't tell me who came in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and then where the three Americans were. It just looks bad when the leader board reads 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 27. Maybe the sole athlete from Backyardistan placed 6th in that event. Let's show him some love. And Americans wonder why the rest of the world think we're arrogant.

    This Isn't News
    I read something a week into the coverage (and I'm sorry I can't remember where) that made so much sense, it was an epiphany.

    Someone had written, "NBC is programming the Olympics as entertainment, not as sports or something newsworthy."

    Yes. Yes they are.

    They are not broadcasting live events. They are broadcasting select sporting vignettes that will keep and maintain eyeballs on TVs, which also keep and maintain eyeballs on advertising (it's always about the money)

    CNN, ESPN, and the L.A. Times (or at least their respective websites) treat the Olympics as newsworthy, or at the very minimum, actual sporting events. I was never actually looking for results, but superficial scans delivered results in real time to me, negating any need to watch the prime time coverage. Yes, I was watching anyway, but the excitement was muted when I knew Shaun White would win before he even took his first run of the night.

    In NBC's defense, they do put together a clean production, but after a while, it's apparent you're just holding me hostage. Was it really necessary to wait until 11 p.m. before you started showing the final group of skaters in the women's figure skating free skate? No. I'm sure from a dollar and cents point of view, it worked for NBC, and actually, the Olympics beat American Idol in the ratings twice (whether that's because people just like the Olympics, or Idol blows this year is a discussion for another website), so NBC will look at this as doing something right.

    Ultimately, what's my point? The world treats the Olympics as something special. A unique opportunity for global brotherhood (if only for two weeks). NBC treats the Olympics as a vehicle for ad revenue and self promotion (yes, Al Michaels did call the Miracle on Ice in 1980, but looked so out of place here, and constantly dropped plugs and references for Sunday Night Football). Let's raise the bar a bit. The 2012 London Games are going to be on NBC, but the 2014 and 2016 Games are up for grabs (I'm looking at you ABC/ESPN) and maybe we can make the Olympics special again. Just like it is on the rest of the planet.

    url: http://whatsup.dmounited.com/x/2010-0306.html

    What's Up!March 1, 2010


    I'm going to break up my Olympic Review into smaller pieces. No reason, just trying to mix it up a bit. Today's piece... some rapid fire thoughts on the sports of the Olympic Winter Games. Riveting, I know (but let's be honest, you love what's rattling around my head).

    Alpine Skiing
    Downhill, Slalom, Giant Slalom, Super Giant Slalom, various combined disciplines

    My Skiing thoughts:

    Nordic Sports
    Biathlon, Cross Country, Nordic Combined, Ski Jumping

    My Biathlon thoughts:
    My Cross Country thoughts:
    My Ski Jumping thoughts:
    My Nordic Combined thoughts:

    Sliding Sports
    Bobsled, Luge, Skeleton

    My Bobsled thoughts:
    My Luge thoughts:
    My Skeleton thoughts:

    Figure Skating

    The best story of
    the whole Games
    Mens, Womens, Pairs, Ice Dancing

    Told you... rapid fire thoughts.

    Next time, Speedskating, Hockey, Freestyle Skiing, Snowboard, and yes, Curling.

    photos were swiped from nbcolympics.com

    What's Up!February 27, 2010


    One of my favorites oldies is "Louie Louie" by The Kingsmen. However, I (and everyone else on the planet) didn't know what the hell they were signing. In fact, long time radio personality, Brian Burns, from KRTH-FM here in Los Angeles, often stated that he was in the studio when this song was recorded, and even he doesn't know what the words were. Strange.

    But I think that mystery has just been solved. See, The Kingsmen actually remade this song that was originally recorded by Richard Berry. So taking his lyrics, coupled with some high tech audio equipment, I figured out what the hell they were singing.

    Without further ado, the lyrics to Louie Louie

    I don't want to descibe deciphering this song as a personal vendetta, but I feel much better knowing another mystery of the universe has been solved. Next up, illustrating that black holes actually prove Einstein's Theory of Relativity.

    What's Up!February 20, 2010


    Last year, after our triumphant return from Buffalo, New York, I tried a new journalistic technique... I rehashed my Facebook status updates (while also pointing out that "some 'professional' journalists, working for real, print newspapers, publish a weekly article of what they tweeted over the last 7 days"). That article was met with positive feedback, and since I tend to drop some real gems of anecdotes as my status updates, it only made sense that I repost some of those priceless tidbits here.

    Behold, the new What's Up regular piece... FACEBOOK FOLLIES.

    So... what was on my mind?
    With, of course, any further pontificating added in blue.

    Am I the only one who thinks "Beauty & the Beast" is a case study in Stockholm Syndrome? I shouldn't be.
    Seriously. Belle is kept as the Beast's prisoner. After time, Belle, as the hostage, starts to sympathize with her captor, eventually falling in love with him. That, my friends, is textbook Stockholm Syndrome. And I could so create a Ph.D thesis around this.

    Things said today: "Damn, there are a lot of Taco Bells up in this bitch."
    In reality, the so-called Things Said Today are really Things HEARD Today.

    Things said today: "Am I still drunk?"
    Again, HEARD. This was the day after Val's Valentine's/Chinese New Year dinner party. We all know I can't get drunk (and I've tried).

    My iTunes library is now complete. I gots me some Ethel Merman. Everything's coming up roses, bitches.
    Coincidentally, there's no business like show business.

    It doesn't matter if you're a smart-ass or a dumb-ass... you're still an ass. Just sayin'.

    DMO Lab 3.0's opening day has been delayed. The Faraday cage that was shipped was not the one ordered. I can't fit in a 5'x5'x5' cage, fellas.
    For those wondering at home, the original DMO Lab and DMO Lab 2.0 both met the same fate... lost in an explosion. I'll admit, the second was kind of my fault. The first one, however...

    Things said today: They're not "Gay Indians." I believe the term is "Alternate-lifestyle leading Native Americans." Get it right.
    For the life of me, I can not remember what spawned the "Gay Indians" comment in the first place. Which is odd, given there are never really opportunities to bring'em up. Wait... was it a Village People reference? Man, I don't even know.

    Things to remember: L.A.'s Chinatown is not the same as San Francisco's Chinatown. Not. Even. Close.
    On the upside, Olvera Street is just two blocks over, so that sort of makes up for it.

    Sorry Disney, but I think Ni Hao, Kai-Lan is my new favorite cartoon. It's unnecessarily cute at times, which the Baby Dynamo loves.
    I might dedicate an entire issue of What's Up to this. Or I might not. I'll leave you with this... I'm not sure about the koala with the panda fetish.

    Just bought a (barely used) bazooka from the army/navy surplus store. Does anyone need me to dispense some "frontier justice?"
    Many people thought this was funny. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms did not.

    I need a TARDIS!
    And who doesn't. I think another Doctor Who issue of What's Up is coming.

    Things said today, "With enough chloroform, you can sedate any feline."
    FYI, the feline is question is actually feral. Good luck with that.

    Halfway though this six-pack, and I don't think I'll be purchasing Sapporo again. Not bad, but not that great either.
    If Japan made Budweiser, it would be called Sapporo.

    Just another excerpt from "D-mo's Rules of Life." -If you find yourself in a street fight, and you aren't carrying a knife or gun, pick up any nearby rattlesnake and swing it over your head. Your street cred will skyrocket as your opponent flees.
    Yes, this only works in Arizona and New Mexico, but don't underestimate how awesome the sight of you swinging a rattlesnake over your head really is. Honestly, just take a moment to visualize it.

    Revenge is a dish best served with alfredo sauce and breadsticks. Maybe with some sorbet for dessert.
    No, nobody wronged me. I just thought it was funny, so I wrote it down. With that said, if somebody did wrong me, I wonder what would happen if I poured alfredo sauce into that person's car's gas tank (not that I would recommend that you do it... leave it to the professionals.)

    Oh, and I'll leave you with this.

    So what's odder? That imperial stormtroopers were at my office... or that they were there for "training." Seriously.

    Until next time... peach out!

    url: http://whatsup.dmounited.com/x/2010-0220.html

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