When enough isn’t enough

I’m legit hurting in my soul right now.

I though I was done with caring for the Knicks, but last night proved I was only kidding myself.

In case you haven’t heard (or don’t care, it’s ok) the 2015 NBA Draft Lottery Order was determined last night.  Each year, the leagues worst teams get to find out in what order they will be selecting players from June’s upcoming draft.  This is significant because NY’s last great player (sorry Carmelo) was selected 30 years ago.  Patrick Ewing was the #1 overall pick in the 1985 NBA Draft.  Knick fans were hoping to strike gold again in this year’s lottery, and they deserved to.  The New York Knicks had the worst record in the NBA for almost the entire season.  They were “tanking” or deliberately loosing games to improve their draft position.  The worst record in the NBA guarantees that a team will have the greatest number of ping pong balls, which equates to the greatest probability of earning the right to choose first in the draft.  All projections had the Knicks earning the #1 pick for their efforts, with even the most extreme models showing them no lower than #2.

But the Knicks had to go ahead an Knick.  For no reason whatsoever, they went on an uncalled for streak to end the season, winning 3 out of their final 6.  Because of this Minnesota (who wasn’t tanking as obviously as the Knicks were) ended the season with the worst record by a single game, and thus the greatest chance for that coveted #1.

So what did the Knicks earn for their untimely righting of the ship at the end of the season?

The 2nd pick?  Nope.

The 3rd pick? Wrong again.

The 4th pick?  Bingo.

4th.  This may not seem like a big deal but it is.  This year’s draft features 3 virtual can’t miss rookie NBA draft prospects.  New York went from having their pick of the best, to potentially missing out on all of them.  That’s why Knicks General Manager Steve Mills has his MJ cry head on.  He knows his organization just blew a golden opportunity to start over fresh.

But these are the Knicks we’re talking about here.

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Our Obsession with Zombies

A few years ago it was Vampires.  That’s not completely out, but today it’s definitely all about the undead.  Everywhere you look, they’re there.  Movies, TV, Video Games, even cartoons for the kiddies (what’s up with Monster’s U though?).  We can’t get enough of Zombies, and there appears to be no sign of it slowing down.

Most people will say it’s harmless fun.  Other’s will simply ignore it and wait for the next societal infatuation to sweep over us.  But wherever you are on the Zombie spectrum, the phenomenon has lead me to think about why it has struck such a cord with so many.

Mankind inherently understands the concepts of good an evil.  No matter where you are from, what culture or society you were raised in, all humans know the difference between what is right, and what is wrong.  It’s what separates us from animals, the ability to reason and make judgments based on our circumstances and surrounding environment.  As we’ve gotten more “civilized” and “enlightened” as a people, the clear cut definitions of right and wrong have become hazy.  Is it right that I have the ability to run my children’s bath water for 5 minutes until it gets to the perfect temperature, or purchase a ridiculously inexpensive toy made by modern day slave labor?  Is it right that Geo-Political forces destabilize the governments of most of the World’s poor and disenfranchised, while the “developed” world lives relative stable and free lives?

But there’s no interpretation or rationalization needed when it comes to Zombies.  They are universally evil creatures with one purpose: predation.  It doesn’t matter who the Zombies were or what walk of life they possessed before they turned.  Once they transformed, anyone who is not like them becomes their enemy.  Zombies are relentless in their pursuit of their prey; anyone still living.  It’s no accident that virtually all Zombie premises take place in a post-apocalyptic world.  It is our presumption that all layers of society will have to break down in order for such a thing to occur.

What if that weren’t the case?  What if the resonance of the Zombie end times is due to society’s realization that things in the World are not right, and have not been right for quite sometime?  Maybe people yearn for a time when things were clear again: this is good, that is bad, and our focus wasn’t comfort, wealth accumulation, or success in our vocation?  What would it take for us to see things as they really are.

Abusive Video Game Manipulation

I’ve been playing video games for over 20 years (man, that sounds bad). It used to be a fairly straight forward transaction: you played the video game, beat it, and then moved on. But lately I’ve noticed a disturbing trend.

Video games now have decided to keep you playing for as long as possible. They achieve this by applying a reward system. The more you play, the more rewards you obtain.  When you consider that many video games are played on mobile devices these days, and employ the use of “micro transactions” (they call it micro so you don’t pay attention to how much money you end up spending over time) and you can see the problem this can present.  Video games have always played on humanity’s addictive nature, but things have turned more sinister.

A deleted scene from the movie Indie Game does an excellent job of describing the phenomena as Abusive Video Game Manipulation.  I have to admit that I’ve fallen victim to these tactics.  (I play the game you see up there.  I know, I know).

Check it out and stay woke.

Yo, where my Roshes at b?

ugh…

One of the most hopeless feelings is dealing with the United States Post Office.  This is one of the few bastions of absolute power left in modern American Society.  Need to mail something quickly during your lunch break?  Too bad; there’s only one counter open, and the clerk is in know hurry.  Mail need to be help while you’re on holiday?  Fill out this form.  And don’t let your passport expire (which reminds me).  They have all the power.  You know it, they know it, and they remind you of this fact at every waking moment.  But the worst is finding a lost package.

So I spent a while mulling what kicks I would be copping next (i’m kinda obsessive-compulsive when it comes to most purchases that are not food).  I finally decided on these:

(pic from freshnessmag.com)
(pic from freshnessmag.com)

I found my size for a fair price, and made the purchase.  I was giddy once I received the tracking info, but that expectation turned to anxiety once the shoes traveled from Boston, MA to Nashua, NH.

WTF? 

What’s that for? I exclaimed (get your mind out of the gutter).  Why would the package travel North, further away from me, than towards the Commonwealth?  Then, when they do arrive in town, the latest update shows they departed early this morning.

Yo, where my Roshes at b?

Anxiety lead to borderline anger as I realized that there was little I could do, being the receiver.  The Post Office won’t even entertain my inquiries once they find out I’m not the sender, so why bother.

My feet wait.