Sunday, January 25, 2009

The 100 Coolest Things of 2008... 40 thru 31

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The Introduction and Recap
The 100th thru 91st Coolest Things of 2008
The 90th thru 81st Coolest Things of 2008
The 80th thru 71st Coolest Things of 2008
The 70th thru 61st Coolest Things of 2008
The 60th thru 51st Coolest Things of 2008
The 50th thru 41st Coolest Things of 2008

40. "Bolt"
I'd been seeing the previews for this movie for a while--Bolt was a television dog, owned by Penny, who somehow is abandoned, or gets out of the studio lot or whatever. He seeks to find his owner, and ends up being accompanied by Mittens the cat and Rhino the hamster. The fact that it was in 3-D made it even better.

After working a while at The Happiest Place in the Mall, the anticipation was even higher, as I saw the preview twice an hour, up to eight hours per day. It seemed like it would be a pretty good film, with the voices of John Travolta (Bolt) and Miley Cyrus (Penny), but the scene stealer appeared to be Rhino, the hamster in the ball who was nothing but a fanboy and Bolt geek.

I laughed, lots. It was well written, well done, and really, it was just a fun movie. Would easily watch it again--looks to be on DVD and Blu-Ray in the Spring (April, maybe) and will pick up... and I recommend you do the same.

39. Getting a Blu-Ray Player
Speaking of "Bolt" on Blu-Ray... we wouldn't be getting it on Blu-Ray if we didn't have a Blu-Ray player, which we do now. The day after Thanksgiving, after spending Black Friday at The Happiest Place in the Mall from 1am to 10am, I ambled on over to Best Buy. Dreary eyed, blurry sighted, foggy brained, I was looking for a Blu-Ray.

The Lovely Steph Leann and I had already discussed it, of course... we had a limit, and the goal was to find one that came under--hopefully well under. And what better place to find one than Best Buy, what better time than the day after Thankgiving. I found our Sony Blu-Ray with all the bells and whistles, upgradable software and BD Live capabilities for just around $200.

And I'm watching the 8th episode of LOST on it right now.

38. The Chipotle Mexican Grill
I had first eaten at a Chipotle around the mall--at the old place, The Casa de Pesos, we lived very close to it, and one day, decided to give it a whirl. Fantastic food, by the way. Had the tacos, with meat and cheese only, topped with sour cream, soft shell please.

When we moved to The Cabana, across town, we moved away from the Chipotle. So, imagine my wonder and happiness when, right across 280, perhaps a mile (if that) from where The Cabana sits, they turned an old Captain D's that had closed down into a Chipotle Mexican Grill. For their "grand pre-opening", they were giving away free food to anyone and everyone for two straight days.

I had Chipotle for lunch, then dinner, then lunch, then dinner. And it rocked.

In fact, The Lovely Steph Leann just came in, and asked me what I wanted for dinner. I think I know the answer.

(That last sentence was written about an hour ago. In the time between typing "...know the answer" and "That last sentence...", We went to Target to get some groceries, then ended up at Chipotle Mexican Grill. The music overhead was some strange tune I'd never heard, sounding like a Mexican Beck. Beckez? Becko? Anyway, I usually go for the chicken soft tacos, tonight I was daring and did the carnitas. Not a fan.)

37. ESPN's The Sports Guy
His name is Bill Simmons, and he used to write as "The Boston Sports Guy" before he was incorporated into the wide band of ESPN columnists. He's actually been there for 9 years, and I think I've been reading him for just that long, even back on ESPN's old site and his first book is just great. And The Sports Guy just gets better with age.

He's funny, he's irreverent, and he does what most columnists do not--keeps politics out. Granted, he's made illusions to not necessarily being a fan of Dubya (but then again, neither is Brad Latta. Or NYC Jenny. Or J Rob. But I love ya, Dubya) but he's never let that really intrude on his topics, nor does he ever make that the focal point. No, his topics range from the Celtics (his NBA team who won a title) to the Red Sox (his MLB team) to the Patriots (his NFL team) to favorite movies to whatever else happens in pop culture. Its also no secret that sometimes I borrow phrases from him here and there.

One of the great things this year too, though, was the B.S. Report with Bill Simmons, the ESPN Podcast... just like his columns, he'd have great shows discussing all the aforementioned topics, but this time he's also got guests with him--Chuck Klosterberg, Michael Lombardi, Cris Collingsworth, NBA Commissioner David Stern, SNL star Seth Myers and so on.

36. "Moratorium" by Alanis Morissette
I've never been this accountable-less and within
I've never known focuslessness on any form
I've never had this lack of ache for dalliance
To let go and let god in ways I have never even imagined

I declare a moratorium on things relationship
I declare a respite from the toils of liaison
I do need a breather from the flavors of entanglement
I declare a full time out from all things commitment

I've never let my grasp soften fingers like this
I've never been careless other... less like autonomy's twin

From the album "Flavors of Entanglement", the excellent newest release from Alanis Morissette, and one of my favorite songs of the year.

35. Dr. Earl does Dinner Theater
Got a buddy of mine who is a doctor, we like to call him Dr. Earl. Well, the Good Doctor has come along in his acting performances over the years, joining Impact, the adult drama team for Valleydale Church (an sbc fellowship), and this year, he was cast as "Gabriel", in the modern retelling of the story of the birth of Jesus.

The Good Doctor and Yours Truly over Christmas

The Good Doctor had the majority of the lines, and was in about 90% of the entire show... don't get me wrong, Rhett Barnette (Joseph) and Lisa Whaley-Bowen-Whaley-Owens (Mary) were great, and those who had smaller parts were great too, but for my money, The Good Doctor Earl stole the show. Good job, Earl. Good job.

34. McQ Writes a Book
Got another friend of mine, McQ, who runs the Strength In the Struggle blog. She is alot like me, as in, she likes to write alot. McQ is funny, she's got a contageous laugh and now... she's an author.

She started working on this book early in the year... well, I take that back--she's been working on the book for years and years, but she started compiling her writings to turn into a book. Taking the title from her blog, she calls it "Strength in the Struggle" (you can also order the book from this site) and its a pretty good selection of writings. The photography is also taken by McQ from her adventures around the country and is excellent.

Mostly, though, what's cool about it is that she's achieved a dream that not too many people can say they have done... published a book. Self publishing is something I've already considered.

33. "Role Models"
Here's what I wrote on December 17th...

As a follower of Christ, we are bound by the law of what is good and what is right, as listed in the Word of God, telling us be careful what we see and what he hear, be cautious of what we put before our eyes and in our hearts. I say this to head off anyone telling me this exact thing, Amy McL, because I have to say, for me...

...this movie was absolutely hysterical. I mean, unbelievably funny, to the point I was cracking up every few minutes. The plot is a little contrived--two guys get into trouble and are sentenced to work with some troubled kids at a center. Of course, it goes without saying, the ending will be that, though they hate the kids at first, they end up loving the kids, and the kids, though hating the two guys, end up loving the two guys. Duh. That's how movies like this are supposed to end.

That being said, this movie is driven by Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott, two extremely funny and talented guys. Their timing and delivery of what might be unfunny dialogue turn this from cliche to completely a riot. I like Paul Rudd anyway, for his work in the little-seen-but-very-funny "Wet Hot American Summer" (directed by David Wain, as is "Role Models"), the slightly overrated "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy" and of course, my 91st Favorite Movie of All Time. Seann William Scott, who will forever be known as Stifler, is also emerging as a great go to guy for silly, stupid comedy, and in the case of genius like "The Rundown" (also on The Dave100), smart, sharp comedy.

Anyway, if "Superbad" offended you, or "Knocked Up" got under your craw, stay away from "Role Models". Its got language, its got unnecessary boobage and its got boy potty humor... but man, its funny. And its great to watch Fogell emerge as a decent actor.

Thinking back on the movie, and all it contained... I still feel the same way.

32. Brad Latta
The Lattas have turned into quite a large group... the youngest, Scott, one of The 100 Coolest Things of 2007, is about to get married to his love, Jessica (Scott says, "That should rank among the Top 20 Coolest Things of 2008, right?") in April, so I figured it was about time that eldest brother Brad found his way amongst the blog.

I call him the Clouds Ombudsman, as he likes to give many times a different viewpoint on what I have to say here... and this was a good year for it--the election gave plenty of debating material for sure. He's not a fan of the former president and isn't exactly a huge supporter with the current one, and his law background gives him good insight on what is and is not concerning many, many topics, including politics and even Constitutional law.

Every now and again, when I know I've written something perhaps a little controversial, or tossed out a viewpoint that I know will be unpopular, I cringe thinking of how Brad will respond--then I look forward to it. If there were such a thing as "Coffee Drinker of the Year", he'd be nominated.

31. The Apple Store
Early in December, my iPod started dying. Wouldn't hold a charge, had to plug it in to the computer or the wall to listen it, and so on, and I had to take it to the Apple Store... here's what I wrote on December 3rd:

Adam the Apple Guy called for me, and I told him of my ills. He was impressed that my iPod battery had lasted almost 4 years (March would make it 4, methinks) and I told him how bummed I was that I was going to be without it for a few weeks.

Adam the Apple Guy said, "Well, that might not happen. If we have them in stock, we can give you a refurbished one, just trade them out. The battery and casing will be new, the hardware will be refurbished. Is that a solution?"

You mean I can walk out with this thing tonight? All bright and shiny? Heck yeah!

Adam the Apple Guy even did the registration online for me, with the new serial number and everything. And the price? Not the $80 or 90 I was planning on... but it was $59.99, plus tax. Total cost? $64.20. Love it.

I'm a PC guy, and will be one for a while, mostly because I can't afford to be an Apple guy... but their customer service? Primo fantastico. Those guys rocked that night.

Note on the Pruitt Cool Awards
After further consideration, I have decided to award only one of these per year... I had 3 more recepients in mind, but I am going to wait. This should be more of a "lifetime achievement of coolness" award... so, James & Jessica Hawbaker will remain the sole Pruitt Award for Coolness winners... until 2009.

Coming soon... we dive into the 30 Coolest Things of 2008, with some Rhett, Rick, Rush and "Hey! I read your blog!"

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