Tuesday, October 04, 2005

"Wicked" Weekend Rundown

Finally got to see Wicked over the weekend, after my sister pounding the soundtrack all summer, and it certainly lived up to her hype. The Chicago cast didn’t have a very good Wizard, and our Madame Morrible was definitely no Rue McClanahan, but I was so impressed with Ana Gasteyer as Elphaba. I dreaded being able to look past the former SNL-er as the Wicked Witch of the West, but she was fantastic. Our Glinda didn’t have that great of a voice, but she was entertaining, had energy and didn’t really hurt the show.

All in all, well worth the trip, and if you haven’t yet invested in (see: downloaded) parts of the soundtrack, it’s definitely worth your time. Let’s use the template of that soundtrack for a little recap of the last week, since I’ve been an absolutely terrible blogger.

(Before I do that, some clippings on Chicago's Wicked. Everyone enjoys it.)

No One Mourns the Wicked

I really wanted to use this track if either the Yankees or Red Sox didn’t make the playoffs, but since the Indians managed to drop three straight games to the White Sox’s B-Team, both the defending AL East champs and defending World Series champs will be joining the October party. Playoff action starts tomorrow, and since my attention for this last month has been focused more on the pigskin realm, I’m not qualified to give a full preview as I would have been if you’d ask me about this in July.

However, I’m going to toss out the Angels winning the AL, because I don’t trust the pitching of the AL East teams or the run-producing power of the White Sox. In the NL, I’ll go with the Braves narrowly edging the Cardinals, the fact the Padres suck and the Astros can’t score setting up the NLCS. But you have to figure that if FOX has anything to do with it, we’ll be teeing up our third straight Yankees/BoSox ALCS, not that I’d mind too much.

Dear Old Shiz

My old college rooting interest, Penn State, is back on the collegiate football radar, and we’re all better for it. While I applied there and stuff, I never really had any attention of going, but I wanted to maintain my ties to the program that helped contribute to my disappointing sporting adolescence (Thanks for 1999). Of course, because he’s capable of making me hate anything, Dill turned me on them in the time it took for us to lose to BYU and the Lions to blow out Akron.

But we’re reconciled our differences, with Brady’s arms and Jeff’s hair uniting South Bend and State College. I’m back on the Nittany Lion bandwagon, and while I don’t think they’ll beat Ohio State this coming Saturday night, College GameDay will be there, which is quite the highlight in itself, since Chris, Lee and Kirk haven’t been to Happy Valley since the previously noted 1999 season. I guess the top recruit in the country can do wonders for a program.

The Wizard and I

We’ll dedicate this one to Brady Quinn and Charlie Weis, who took about four games to become a symbiotic monster of collegiate offensive destruction. The fact D-Walk didn’t get his fifth consecutive 100-yard game was due to the fact Brady checked something like fifteen plays at the line, reading the highly-overrated Boilermaker defense perfectly. All the problems he had against Michigan and the miss-throws against Michigan State were erased Saturday night, and now the tutor and pupil have two weeks to prepare for the perfect offensive performance they’ll need against the Trojans. (more on this in a bit.)

What Is This Feeling?

The feeling you start to get when the man you hate most in the NFL, Peyton Manning, has his team rolling to a 4-0 start with a defense that now looks Super Bowl capable. Of course, this could all just make it more interesting when he crashes and burns in the playoffs again, but a Steelers/Colts AFC Championship game or Eagles/Colts Super Bowl would definitely cause me to reconsider my role as an NFL fan.

(Still, what are the odds of the Colts making the Super Bowl with Evil Lord Manning at the helm, even if they finish the season 15-1? You still have to account for the fact he can’t play Jake Plummer every round. Always remember: Jay Fiedler beat him.

Something Bad

The feeling I can’t help but get when I think about Arrested Development’s future. Ratings are actually down from last season, when we needed a miracle to get the Bluths renewed. You can still put all the blame on FOX, putting AD against CBS’s established Monday night sitcoms and failing to promote it in any way that isn’t completely terrible. At this point in time, the show’s so inside new viewers would probably be turned away, and while that’s tragic, I’m just going to continue to enjoy the time I have left with the funniest show on television.

Dancing Through Life

Or what the cast members of Real World: Austin do with their time. The last two episodes have been great, because the Danny/Melinda “I love you, but I don’t know if I love you” drama finally broke through into an actual fight, while Johanna got sent to jail and subsequently tried to have Lacey stay in the room while she fucked Leo.

To make it even more entertaining, Wes continues to tread the line between “Likeable dork” and “Terrible wannabe pimp” so perfectly it makes him one of the more entertaining characters on TV. He’s not nearly as cool as the Brad/Randy/Jacques trio from San Diego, but his slow-burn attempt at getting with Jo coupled with random quips and throwing things into the pool keep the fun coming all Tuesday night long.


Or, what Notre Dame is to next year’s football recruiting class. We just scored the top defensive back in the country, and looking at Rivals.com, we’re going to have one of the top classes, and this is after five games. Can you imagine the offensive prospects Weis will be drawing to the Bend after high schoolers are spending their formative years watching the Fighting Irish aerial assault embarrass teams in primetime, like we did to Pitt and Purdue? I like it.

One Short Day

In Wicked, this song is about Glinda and Elphaba’s trip to the Emerald City, and how amazing it is. The day I’m most excited about? October 15th. Let me put this into perspective for you:

First off, it’s Trippin Tim Rippinger’s 21st birthday, so I probably won’t see him for three days. Old Man Winter makes his return to the Bend. Dill, Shane, Pete and Tina are all coming out. You’ll have an undefeated USC team going up against a 4-1 Notre Dame team that just castrated Purdue on national TV. How in the world can things even get better?

I’ll tell you how: Charlie Weis is getting two weeks to prepare for the Trojans, and I doubt he’ll be watching Matt Leinart film for the first time when he settles into the Gug to prepare for USC. To complement that, the Trojans play Arizona this weekend, and while the Wildcats are going to get crushed in the Coliseum, it’s very possible Mike Stoops might find some small wrinkle in the Greatest Show on Earth that can be used to slow it down with our superior athletes. I think we can eliminate the running game of Lendale White and Reggie Bush, but then again, that’s not exactly the best thing in the world, since it means we’ll get a heavy dose of Dwayne Jarrett, Steve Smith and Reggie Bush.

Still, we have a thrower’s chance, and if Brady throws like he did in West LaFayette, that’s a pretty good chance.

A Sentimental Man

To Marty Schottenheimer, who seemed more apologetic and sad about routing the Patriots in Gillette then happy after San Diego’s big win Sunday. It was the Chargers who put the first nail in the tire after New England’s first Super Bowl win, blowing them out in Qualcomm when we all swore there was no way Tom Brady would ever lose again. (Trivia note: That was also the day Tommy Maddox made his debut and saved the Steelers from an 0-3 start. And it was on September 26th, because we were at Shane’s house for his birthday. But no, I don’t revolve my life around sports or anything.)

Anyway, the Patriots Hell Schedule continues with games at and Hotlanta, finally culminating in a Monday night showdown with a Colts team that looks to be favored at New England for the 2nd time in under a year. I know these are the Patriots, and they handle adversity and injury better than anyone, but this is getting ridiculous. Whether they can patch a season back together or not remains to seen.

Defying Gravity

The catchiest song of the show goes to the catchiest show on television, everyone’s favorite addiction, The OC. After struggling out of the gate last year, FOX’s non-reality crown jewel is pushing all the right buttons. Granted, it’s a little predictable – did anyone not see Dean Hess hooking up with Taylor Townsend – but when you want it to happen and it’s executed well, does it matter if it’s predictable?

Kudos for the new Newport Union characters, despite the fact the writers apparently think everyone that goes to a public school thinks they’re in Seattle in the early 90’s. I also like how they gave away enough details of the Jeri Ryan storyline so that we’re not all confused going into the October Break (stupid baseball…), then are adding the layer of Julie Cooper in to make it more interesting. I’ve stated here quite a few times before I like Dean Hess and Taylor, if only because they add a high school element that is lacking some times. I also think that Super-Depressed, Potentially-Suicidal Ryan is fun to have around, especially when you get him playing off an Extremely-Confident Seth.

Also, it cannot be stated how important it is to have Sandy, the Greatest Dad in TV History, and Kirsten back together. I really hope they don’t consider making them lose money in some scheme and become poor, because that’s just proving the lessons of Rocky V were lost on the writing team. Keep the Cohens rich, keep JuJu scheming, keep Ryan depressed and keep Taylor giving the Dean BJ’s and everything will be just fine in Newport.


Basically how all the Miami Dolphin fans in the world are feeling. Through four weeks, our quarterback situation looks okay and Nick Saban is getting ready for his Coach of the Year acceptance speech. After last year’s disaster, the fact we’re putting a competent football team on the field would be great, and the fact we’ve won two of our three games would be even better.

But the Football Gods have smiled upon the Orange and Teal for the first time in a long time, removing Chad Pennington, Jay Fiedler, Takeo Spikes, Rodney Harrison and Matt Light from the AFC East for the remainder of the season, and then turning the JP Losman Experiment for the Bills into a complete and total disaster. Granted, our schedule is still incredibly tough, but we catch a lot of the better teams at home – Broncos, Panthers, Falcons, Chiefs – and have some winnable road games – New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Cleveland, Oakland.

I’m not getting that excited – I’ve been trained otherwise - but things are getting interesting.

For Good

The heart-breaking, end of the show song goes to the end of the first half of the semester, as midterm exams and papers bog every down in a nervous, agitated, wanna-get-out-of-here stupor. As previously stated, it’s not like sophomore year has been bad or terrible, it’s just that when you think of something as being potentially “All-time”, and it ends up people are doing way too much work and going their separate ways, it’s a little disappointing.

Sure, Thursday Night Rat Pack has been excellent, and Tim’s been as good of a random, thrown-in roommate as you could possibly ask for – better, probably, as he’s fit in so well – but I guess the losses of Pete, Flanny, Schulte, Burkavage, Meg and the section itself were underestimated in my Life Ledger. It’s hard to replace that sort of wisdom and fun, no matter how sweet your quads are or how amazing Tivo is. (Okay, I take that last part back – Tivo has eased a lot of pain. It’s the greatest invention ever, bar none.)

So while I’m definitely not hating on sophomore year, and my story has certainly been rewritten, I’m just in a limbo-funk right now. I’ll attempt to get some more blogging in, but between all the junk I have to do, that’s going to be sketchy at best.

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