Archive for May 2009

24 Season finale

May 19, 2009

I just finished watching the 24 Season 7 finale and overall I would say I’m satisfied with how things turned out.  As to how it stacks up with past 24 season finales, I would put it somewhere in the middle. 

Some of the things that I did enjoy in the episode were the final twist with Tony Almeida declaring that all his actions were to get to Alan Wilson, the man at the top of the conspiracy who was behind the killing of his wife Michelle and their unborn child back in Season 5.  I think this explanation of Almeida’s actions makes things a little easier to understand.  Although his actions were wrong and contributed to the loss of many innocent lives you can understand the fact that he was doing it in the name of someone that he loved.  Love is the most powerful emotion that people feel and can make a person act in many different ways both right and wrong. 

I really enjoyed the scene between Jack and Gonar, the Muslim Imam.  I thought it was a beautiful way for Jack to confess and ask forgiveness for his wrongs as he lay dying and it was a great way to symbolize peace between two sides in a modern day war. 

I’m alright with the fact that a couple of loose ends were left untied between what will happen with Tony Almeida and what will Renee Walker do in her interrogation with Alan Wilson.  After all, there needs to be something to build next seasons plot lines around. 

Something that should have been tied up was what will happen with Jack Bauer himself and his daughter Kim’s willingness to use her stem cells to help him back to life.  In a world with information just a click or two away and many viewers already knowing that 24 will be back for a Season 8 in January, I thought it would have made much more sense for the treatment to have worked and Jack’s life to have been saved and on the road back to health before the ending.  There is no show without Jack Bauer as the main character so there is no sense in leaving his well being in doubt. 

As for what happened with President Taylor and her daughter Olivia’s role in the death of Jonas Hodges, I can’t say that I’m surprised that she made the decision to send her up the river and prosecute her.  All during the season the President had acted in a way that showed she believed that the duty of the oval office and protecting the constitution and the American people was above all else.  If she had given her daughter a free pass it would have gone against everything that she stood for.  While I completely understood what the President’s husband was saying, he is not the one who would be taking the fall had any information about the President’s daughter getting away with her role in someones murder been leaked to the media. 

As someone that has watched 24 from the very beginning I understand people’s complaints with some of the story lines and unrealistic scenarios but long ago I decided to suspend my disbelief and take this show for what it was, an hour of entertainment once a week for several months out of the year.  I have no doubt that the eighth season of 24 will deliver in the same way and so it is for that reason that I look forward to January 2010 with great anticipation and eagerness for another entertaining ride.

Lost season 5 finale

May 15, 2009

I know that the finale was two nights ago but I had to watch it a second time to have any kind of chance of absorbing all two hours.  As has been the MO with previous Lost season finales, the end of season five left us searching for more answers as opposed to answering all the questions.  Who was that disguising himself as Locke?  What was the “loophole” between Jacob and his adversary?  Did the “Losties” live through the bomb detonation?    What effect did the explosion have?  Did it reset things in a way that Jack had hoped or did it ensure that things will happen just like how it did since the time Oceanic 815 crashed on the island in 2004?  What was the name of the man that was talking to Jacob in the very beginning and why does he want to kill him?  Is Jacob really dead?

At least we got some answers as to whatever happened with Rose, Bernard and Vincent the dog.  I think that the writers did a good job of answering the question of what happened to those three in regards to the fact that they are living peacefully with each other near the beach in a state of “retirement”.  Those two truly love each other more so than any two characters love each other on the show with the possible exception of Jin and Sun.  When told of how a bomb going off could kill them both, they were completely unphased because they had each other.  That love in itself is more powerful than any other force on the island.  Another answer in the episode was that we were able to find out why Dr. Chang has the prosthetic left arm that was seen in the Dharma instructional videos from earlier seasons.  It also looks like we are going to get an answer in season 6 as to how the Black Pearl ship wound up on the island.  The ship was spotted in the beginning when Jacob and his adversary were having their conversation in the beginning of the episode.  I also think we’re going to get an answer as to how the ageless wonder Richard Alpert got to the island next season and we’ll also find out what metaphor or symbolism his character represents.  When you’re the only character that is in both time periods and you don’t age at all, you are not a character that can simply be taken at face value. 

All things considered I really enjoyed the season finale.  I wish Jacob’s story could’ve been developed over more episodes as opposed to cramming it all in over the two hours of Wednesday night’s episode.  I wonder if the season six opener will show flashbacks of any kind of interactions his adversary had with the characters before they got to the island in the same way that they showed Jacob’s flashbacks with the Ocanic 6 in the season five finale? 

The show has definitely taken on a conflict theme, whether that conflict is good vs. evil a la Stephen King’s The Stand with Jacob and his adversary being God and the devil using those on the island to wage their war or the two being on different sides of the fence between fate/destiny vs. people being in control their future?  Unfortunately those questions will have to be answered in January when the sixth and final season begins.  I will be counting down the days until then.

Second half effort slightly better but overall still embarrassing

May 14, 2009

The second half effort for the Lakers was slightly better than the outright disappointment of the first half.  I did get my hopes up for a moment when they cut the deficit to four points but my hats off to the Rockets as they once again showed their resilience and responded to the Lakers challenge by defeating them 95-80.  Overall the night was still an embarrassment for those on the basketball court wearing a Lakers uniform but the bright spot is that they have the opportunity to fight another day.  Game 7 should be another adventure to say the least.  The fun begins on Sunday at 12:30 pacific.

Embarrassing

May 14, 2009

That’s the only word that I can come up with after watching this poor effort by the Lakers in the first half of this game.  I just don’t understand how a team coached by 9 time champion Phil Jackson with the players that are on this roster can come out this flat for the second time in three games.  Before my seat was even warm for tonights game the Lakers were down 21-3.  

I’m going to use a reference that I received from a text message during the game but how in the heck do you let Luis Scola play like he is Hakeem Olajuwon circa 1995?  It was so bad that I thought the MVP trophy was presented before the game and I was seeing David Robinson out there against the Rockets in the post.  With every effort I see like this, I become less and less confident of a Laker championship this season.  I just feel that when you have an undermanned opponent on the brink of elimination you need to show your killer instinct and put that team away.  Last time I checked the team’s got better as you advance in the playoffs.  I really thought the Lakers had turned a corner after the 40 point blowout in game 5 but after the first 24 minutes of play tonight I see that I was wrong.  Maybe things will change in the second half but at this point I will not be getting my hopes up.  That being said…Go Lakers!

Lakers-Rockets Game 5 second half thoughts

May 13, 2009

It’s hard to really complain about a Lakers team that won 65 games in the regular season and has a record of 72-20 if you include the playoffs but if there is one thing that I find as a flaw with this team, it’s that they let their opponents back in the game too often after getting out to double digit leads.  A recent example of that was the first round series against Utah.  They led by double digits at one point in every one of those games and in every case they let Utah back in the game. 

This brings me back to my point with tonight’s effort.  The Lakers went into the locker room at halftime tonight with a 64-39 lead.  They had completely dominated the Rockets in the first half and as we have seen the Lakers don’t always play with a full 48 minute effort.  The “glass half empty” guy in me was expecting them to ease their foot off the gas and let Houston back into the game and end the third quarter with a 10-15 point lead.  Boy was I happily wrong.  They continued to put the pedal to the metal and go for broke increasing their lead at halftime from 25 points to 40 points at the end of third quarter.  With the game all but out of hand to start the fourth quarter both sides emptied their benches and the Lakers still did not take their foot off the throat of their oppenent and maintained that 40 point lead all the way through the end of the game.  

I know it’s only one game but I am optimistic that this could be the start of a trend for the Lakers and that is to play hard for 48 minutes a night.  If they do that, I don’t think there is a team that can beat them in these playoffs.  Not Cleveland, Denver, Orlando or Boston.  The Lakers showed me that they had pride tonight.  I’m sure that they heard all the deserved negative comments about their game 4 performance and they responded.  They clearly set out to make a statement tonight and they did…a 48 minute, 40 point blowout statement. 

All 12 players that entered the game scored points including seven players in double figures.  Even DJ Mbenga got in on the scoring frenzy finishing the night with two points.  The Lakers won the battles on the stat sheet in every category except offensive rebounds.  They shot over 51 percent from the field and over 46 percent from behind the arc while holding Houston to only 32.6 percent shooting including only 17.2 percent from downtown.  

I also need to touch on the effort of Andrew Bynum, who was back in the starting line up to replace the less than 100 percent Lamar Odom and for the first time this postseason showed signs of life finishing with 14 points and 6 rebounds in 20 minutes of play.  I think it was the right move to start Bynum and I feel that he should be in the starting line up in Game 6 on Thursday night.  The Lakers were able to punish the the undersized Rockets front line and I think that coach Phil Jackson should go back to what worked and try to demoralize the Rockets once again with the Lakers sizeable height advantage in the front court. 

As fans of the purple and gold, we can rest easy and sleep well tonight rejoicing in the Lakers statement, beat down victory but mark this date on your calendar as the date that the Lakers have flipped the switch to “on” in the 2009 postseason.

Lakers-Rockets Game 5 first half thoughts

May 13, 2009

I’m not even going to hide it.  I am a life long Lakers fan so just note that my perspectives may have a little bias in them when it comes to this team.

As the end of the first 24 minutes of play I am pleased with the effort that I am seeing out of the Lakers tonight against Houston.   After stumbling out of the gate trailing 11-4, i’ll admit that all I can think of was the  embarassment that was Game 4 on Sunday but unlike that debacle they showed some character and played like the championship contenders that everyone considers them to be and they were lead by the one and only Kobe Bryant.  Number 24 got off to a fast start scoring 12 points in the first quarter which fueled a 23-6 run to close out the opening frame.  Bryant finished the first half with 20 points.  From what I can see the Lakers brought their defensive intensity forcing the Rockets into repeated turnovers and careless mistakes, they are going inside to take advantage of the lack of size that Houston has without Yao Ming and they are being aggressive in attacking the basket, Kobe in particular.  As far as the intangibles go I feel that they are also playing with a lift due to Lamar Odom being able to take the court despite being listed as a game time decision for tonights game after a rough landing on his back in game 4. 

This is the kind of effort that I expect the Lakers to come out with every game as far as defense and aggression.  When they bring this mindset to the court they play like the championship contenders that everyone knows that they are.   So far so good in Laker Land after the first 24 minutes.  Lets see how the second 24 minutes plays out.

Welcome to the Clubhouse

May 11, 2009

Starting a blog is something that I have been giving some thought to doing for several months now.  Since expressing that thought, alot of people in my life have been urging me to start a web page where I blog and express my thoughts on whatever is on my mind, from sports to entertainment, to news to whatever.  So with the help of wordpress and with the support of those around me, I have decided to make that a reality.  So today May 11, 2009 I have begun putting the pen to paper (or in this case punch some keys on a keyboard) on my first blog. 

So now that I’ve come this far, the next logical question is where do I begin?  I guess I should start by telling you about me.  I was born and raised in southern California and am an avid fan of the LA Lakers, LA Kings and Oakland Raiders.  When it comes to baseball I guess I would consider myself a LA Dodgers fan but I also will root for the California/Anaheim/LA Angels.  To those of you coming across this south of the grapevine, I know it’s pretty much blasphemy to say that now, but when I was growing up, southern Cali belonged to the Dodgers and the Angels were a complete after thought and not seen as any kind of threat to the “Azul” (some of you will get that Vic The Brick reference) and considering how little they had accomplished until the 2000’s you can see why.  My dad was taking me to my first Dodger games at the age of four or five.  I didn’t go to my first Angel game until I was 10…and it was a closer drive from where we lived to Orange County.  While I love baseball and am heavily involved in fantasy baseball with some long time friends, I don’t feel that I really root for my baseball teams with the same kind of passion that I root for my teams in the other sports. 

At the age of 22 I decided to leave the comforts of home in southern Cali and move to Las Vegas with two of my friends if for nothing else to get away from home and experience a different way of life in different surroundings.   Sin City is truly a unique place to live.  It’s too hard to explain in one blog but those of you that have lived there at one time in your life know what I am talking about.  While living there I decided to return to school and earned my Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication from UNLV.  After school, I began my career in media as a freelance writer being published in Henderson Home News, Las Vegas Sun, Smash Magazine and LV Sports Magazine.   But while I enjoyed writing I loved the spoken word even more and wanted to give radio a try so after seven years in the desert I packed up my bags and headed to the agriculture capital of central California…Fresno, to try my hand in that medium.  Since living in Fresno, I have kept writing on the side and have had the privilege to be published in His Magazine, The Valley Amateur and on ValleySportsPulse.com.  While I had fun working in radio and had wonderful experiences that will last me forever, life circumstances dictated that it was time for me to move on and do something else. 

This brings me to where I’m at now.  I decided to go back to school and get some different training  so that I can go out and get a “real job”  for steady income but since I love media I am going to keep my hand in some projects both on the writing and radio side of things.  Besides this blog, you can read some of my work at valleysportspulse.com and I’m also working on a MMA radio project called the “Jim and Joe MMA Show” that we are currently trying to bring to a viable outlet near you.  You can follow what Jim is doing over on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jimmmashow.com  One of these days I will probably get on Twitter myself and register a name.  For whatever reason I have been lazy about getting on there and registering but I realize that to get a following and be noticed you have to be made available to as many outlets as possible.  (Update: I now have a twitter page at www.twitter.com/joesclubhouse

Before I wrap up my first blog, I would like to thank the following people:

Kelli Martin for her love and support and for encouraging me to do this.

The Pacheco, Canzoneri, McCaulley and Verburgt familes for their love and support and for raising me to become the person that I am.

The Martin family for also helping me to plant the seed from which this blog will grow and for believing in me.

Chris Pacheco for giving me the opportunity to get into radio.

Jim Verros and Marcas Grant, two of my best friends, for showing me the ropes in the world of radio and for believing in me as a media person.  You can hear Marcas give you updates every 20 minutes on the Sporting News Radio Network.  Check the website http://radio.sportingnews.com for an affiliate near you.  Follow Marcas on his blog at http://tiomt.blogspot.com or at www.twitter.com/MarcasG and check out his view of the LA sports scene on www.ValleySportsPulse.com

Jason Phalen, a friend that taught me a thing or two about being in radio and also believed in my abilities as both a broadcaster and writer and made my transition to life in Fresno a lot easier than it could have been.

Joe Arrigo for being one of the best friends in my life and being as encouraging and supportive as anyone.  He gave me my first radio exposure as the sports guy on his afternoon show.  Check out his blog at http://joeslockerroom.wordpress.com

George Takata for giving me a platform to continue writing and for making my two and half years as his radio producer some of the most enjoyable times in my life.  Check him out on TV here in the Fresno area on CBS 47 and visit his website at www.valleysportspulse.com for the best coverage of the local sports scene here in the central valley.

Daryl Howerton who is one of the best people that I have ever met since moving to Fresno.  Check out his NBA stories on www.nba.com/hoop and his website www.fresnobeach.com

Mary Hausch and Cathy Scott (www.cathyscott.com).  They were two of my former teachers at UNLV that really believed in my writing abilities and helped teach me the skills to be a writer and it’s because of Mary that I was able to get my first writing assignments and get published.

To all of the other important people in my life that I call friend, family, or whatever I thank you too.  I know that  we are all over many parts of this great country and even though we don’t talk as much as we should or see each other very often, I still think about you frequently and consider you an important part of my life. 

Hope you enjoy hanging out in Joe’s Clubhouse.  Thanks again.

Joe Pacheco