crazy colored glasses

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Early Final Four

Every year I have a group of people who ask me for my Final Four predictions very early. I used to watch a lot of NCAA basketball so I could make very good informed opinions very early in the season. I've watched a lot less NCAA basketball this year (mostly just Duke games) but that still won't keep me from predicting the Final 4.

I always make my predictions in early February, way before the brackets are released. That didn't change this year. I made my selections but because work has been so busy I haven't had a chance to jump on the computer and post themfor the world to see. Last year I predicted 3 of the 4 Final Four teams. Both teams in the finals, but selected Ohio State over Florida. I slavishly stick by my picks and I had predicted that Ohio State would win in the preseason and I feel like a loser if I dont stick by my picks.

With all that said here are my picks for the Final Four. Duke (big surprise), Georgetown, Kansas State and UCLA.

Duke plays great defense and is practically unbeatable when they are knocking down the outside shots. That plus they are 10 deep. If Zoubek can give them 10-15 minutes a game, at 7'1" he could be the size they have missed all season. Georgetown was in the Final Four last year. Although they lost their best overall player (Jeff Green) I still think they have the talent and experience to make a deep run. I also believe we havent seen the best that big man Roy Hibbert has to offer. I have a hunch he will be a game changer in the tournament and solidify his place as a lottery pick next year. Kansas State is the biggest surprise on this list. They are a fringe top 25 team, but they are a team that has one phenomenal talent Michael Beasley who can have what I always call the "Danny Manning effect" (or in this freshmans case the Carmelo Anthony effect). Beasley can absolutely take over the game. He has a very complete inside-outside game and is easily one of the best freshmen in the country. One who like Manning or Melo can put his whole team on his shoulders and carry them to a deep run. Again, just a hunch I'm having. The final pick of the four is the team that I think is the top team in the country... UCLA.

Top to bottom no team in the country comes close to the talent and athleticism of UCLA. I go gaga over teams that utilize multi-skilled big men, and UCLA has one of the best in the country, freshman Kevin Love. Love might be the NCAA player of the year and could be the person that takes this Final Four team from a year ago to the title. At least they are my pick. They have too many weapons (Love, Collison, Westbrook will all be starters in the NBA) and will be to tough to beat. UCLA will hoist the championship trophy at the end of March Madness.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

New Art?

So this is cheating a bit. My pledge for 2008 had been to draw at least a picture a week for the whole year. I wanted to be able to have 52 pieces at the end of the year... so far, not so good. Counting the piece I drew on the napkin (i'm stretching a bit) as well as this piece (again an stretch) I'd be at 7 for the year... I'm gonna have to step it up a bit.

This piece was a piece I did for work. It's a quick sketch on what I want the photographer to do on a photo shoot. I don't really sketch so these things always take me longer than most. I wish I could say more about the project or the advertiser, but it's still top secret... can't have my competitors checking out my site and getting ideas ;o)


Friday, February 15, 2008

I got published in SI

So I was reading this week's issue of Sports Illustrated (Feb. 18, 2008) when i got to the Letters page and saw the following...

After having a subscription to SI for practically my whole life (my mom started subscribing for me when I was about 8) I wrote a letter for the first time. I must say I was quite excited to see my name in print on the Letters page.

It's different for me than actually having my name in the masthead of a magazine (which is something that has happend for most of the past 14 years... save for my current gig that doesn't put the creative folk on the masthead... wtf), this was actually something I wrote. I'm not a very good writer, but I am highly oppinionated and can always argue my point in person a lot easier than I can by writing. And although, I'm not a very good writer... it's something I like to do (easily evidenced by the amount of blogging I do), so it was very reaffirming to me. It easily made my morning.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Getting Lost

Over the past 6 weeks we our TV viewing has consisted of trying to watch the last two seasons of Lost while waiting for the new season to begin. Last night our long journey was finally complete. We watched the last disc of Season 3 which led me to ask "what were people complaining about?" I thought it was a great season, especially the season finale. Of course it was a little ruined for me, because I had read that it was flash forward and not flash back in the last episode with Jack. Regardless, I thought it was amazingly done.

Kudos must go out to one of my favorite comic writers Brian K. Vaughn who is the Executive Story Editor on Lost. He joined midway through Season 3 and I loved every episode he worked on. In fact Lost is one of the rare television shows that has had comic writers involved all the way since Season 1 (Jeph Loeb and Paul Dini both had involvement). The comic flavor and the general brilliance of a J.J. Abrams show make Lost one of my favorite television shows of all time. The multi-layered storytelling as well as the insane attention to detail are mind boggling. You must watch and sometimes rewatch entire scenes to try and see who was in the background or walked by... there are no throw away moments. Every scene is filled with television goodness. I absolutely love this television series... I can't wait to watch the first two episodes of Season 4...

Is it me or did the helicopter parachuter, Naomi, appear in the episode Greatest Hits as one of the street listeners to Charlie's Wonderwall... I wonder... see what I mean, no throw away moments. I love it!


Monday, February 11, 2008

more new art

I'm not really considering this a piece of my art... I just thought some of y'all might get a kick out of this quick sketch I did (on a McDonald's napkin) for a Fantastic Four costume redesign I plan on drawing soon.

I believe the conversation started over how badly I thought the Paul Pelletier redesign of the FF's costumes were. I quickly then jotted down the above piece on said napkin to prove I could do it better. I plan on "really" drawing this version soon. As with my Bart Allen Flash redesign... I'll also attempt to colorize it as well. I probably won't submit it to Project Rooftop (the FF have had so many costume changes that I dont think anything is an original redesign) but I should maybe do some more work on Nightwing (good god, I drew that forever ago) if I ever intend on getting him over there.



Green Arrow

Although technically not a member of the Justice League I felt it was necesarry to give this iconic character my treatment. Green Arrow is a figure that really has been brought to the forefront of the DC Universe ever since his rebirth a few years back at the hands of Kevin Smith and Phil Hester. That led to a run by the incomparable Brad Meltzer which was followed up by another strongly written turn by Judd Winick.

With all that said, the high point of this character to me is his involvement in Identity Crisis. He is clearly the moral compass for the DC Universe in that story. He doesn't have any super powers but he's still very different than Batman. Whereas Batman is very black and white, Green Arrow sees the very hard to find grey area. Identity Crisis brought that into focus even more.

Green Arrow has grown a ton since IC. He became mayor of Star City, stepped down as mayor but most importantly married Black Canary (or wait... did he). The Black Canary and Green Arrow comic currently out has some of the best art (by the great Cliff Chiang) on the market today. Which leads me perfectly into who the best Ollie artist of all time are... any list must start with the great Neal Adams (a god walking among mortals), Rags Morales, Phil Hester, Mike Grell and the aforementioned Cliff Chiang.

This piece was inspired by the great Jim Lee. This piece doesn't compare at all with the original inspiration. Jim's piece is a lot more complex than mine. This Green Arrow piece was pretty quick to put together. The pencils took around an hour. I was watching a college bball game while my wife worked and so I had some alone time to draw. After finishing the pencils I fell right asleep. The inks took me about an hour and a half to two hours. This piece has been done for about a week, but it's taking me a while to post. Hope you all enjoy.

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Rocket Crash!

I've pussy footed around this topic enough...

How do I feel about a pitcher who was an idol of mine growing up. Someone I named my Strat-O-Matic baseball teams (and later my fantasy teams) for. Someone whose intensity for the game I loved. Someone who made me forget what uniform he wore (that of the hated RedSox) and made me appreciate him for what I always called him "the greatest pitcher of our generation... if not all-time"

Today in court, Roger Clemens former trainer Brian McNamee turned over what he calls hard evidence. Syringes and gauze pads with traces of blood as well as vials with traces of steroids. I'll forgo commenting on what (besides a potential payday) would make someone save blood stained gauze pads and syringes. It's looking more and more like my favorite pitcher of all time Roger Clemens will go down as a cheat.

As much as I've said on this blog before that this era will go down in history as The Steroid Era I must express the deep disappointment I feel. I always thought Rogers late career resurgence had more to do with his insane workout habits. When others (usually RedSox and Mets fans) doubted him, I stood by him and talked about pitching styles and how Nolan Ryan and Satchel Paige pitched very effectively into their mid to late 40's. Is that all a sham now. Am I to believe that the focus and rage like intensity could potentially be roid rage?

As much as I'd like to reserve judgement it's becoming harder and harder to do so. I've complained in the past how Bill Simmons (one of my favorite sports bloggers) will avoid difficult subjects and write about fluff. I could no longer stand idly by without saying a word about one of my sports idols... so I'll simply say I'm saddened and disappointed... and holding out hope that maybe, just maybe Roger is telling the truth and he will be vindicated.


Monday, February 04, 2008

Arggghhhhhhhhhhh... Sport's Hell

So in the past week, the hated New York Mets finalize a deal for Johan Santana. Then lock him up for the next 7 years. Then the hated New Jersey Giants go on and beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl... thankfully the Lakers finally traded for an All-Star big man (Pau Gasol) and have another emerging big man who will be healthy soon (Andrew Bynum)... so all is not totally lost in the world of sports... I still might just take a nap until the NBA playoffs.


Friday, February 01, 2008

Top 10 Toys of 2007... #1

After weeks of blogging, the wait is finally over. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the Number 1 Figure of 2007...

DC Direct has made a ton of Wonder Woman figure to varying degrees of success. The Kingdom Come and JLA (both Modern Age and Ed McGuiness versions) stand out as being good... the rest not so much. So although I proudly displayed a few versions of Wondy in my display case, I still felt that I was missing the best. That all changed when DC Direct released this Terry Dodson designed Wonder Woman. One word describes it... WOW!

As with most DC Direct figures a greater emphasis was placed on sculpting and pose rather than articulation. And while I've heard people complain about the lack of posability the cocked hips give I say ridiculousness... this is quite easily the best Wonder Woman ever produced. The color applications are spot on and the likeness looks like it jumped right off of Terry's pages. Simply put a gorgeous version of Wonder Woman, and in my eyes the top figure of 2007.

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Top 10 Toys of 2007... #2

This is a bit of a repost, since I first posted an image of this figure when I first got him way back in September. This time we have a new shot by my brilliant and talented wife which includes Timber.

This Snake Eyes figure is based on the cartoon version of the character, which was based on the second Snake Eyes release. This figure comes packed with Timber (as mentioned above). No corners were cut here with this figure. This figure is just unreal. Sculpting and articulation are the best ever for a Snake Eyes. Sword, uzi and grenade belt (which is removeable) are nice touches. The paint apps on this piece are great as well, the little small details (buckles, pocket flaps, etc.) really take this figure over the top. This figure is great.

It could just be that I love this figure because when I think of Snake Eyes this is the version I think. This is the way he looked in the cartoon, so for me, this really is Snake Eyes. A truly great G.I. Joe figure.

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Top 10 Toys of 2007... #3

On of my favorite stories of all time is Kingdom Come. So when Kingdom Come Superman started appearing in the Superman/Batman series (and late in the JSA) I quickly thought to myself one thing... a new figure of Kingdom Superman in the style of Ed Mcguiness. Let me just say that I am a huge fan of Ed's art. He has sort of an Americanized Manga take that only he can pull off. I have brought just about every figure DC Direct has done in his style (short of 4 heroes which I will have to buy on the secondary market).

While this figure is limited in articulation and is basically a repaint of the original DC Direct Superman/Batman Superman release I simply could not keep it from this list. The geeky fan boy who loves Superman and Mcguiness' art just wouldn't allow it. I absolutely love this figure. The pain applications are slick and spot on. I have always been a fan of the stylized S shield that Alex Ross designed for Kingdom Come. In a year that saw numerous Superman releases from DC Direct (Last Son, JLA, Elseworlds) this figure stood out to me.

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Top 10 Toys of 2007... #4

I cant believe its Feb 1st and I'm still posting my Top10 figures of '07 list.... I'll try and get the rest of them up today. It seems to be a pretty quiet day in the office. Plenty of time to blog.

Madman is one of the greatest independant comic book of all time. He somes to us from the genius that is Mike Allred. I must personally say that I never paid any attention to Madman until the Superman/Madman Hullabaloo. That was a wonderful comic series and it truly did introduce me to the art of Mike Allred. Ever since then, I've been a huge fan. I have brought everything he has released.

With the released of this figure (wonderfully produced by Marvel Toys... which incredibly doesn't produce Marvel toys) Madman was finally properly represented. The articulation and sculpting are great. The likeness is also top notch. What stands out to me is the light blue shadow wash over certain areas of the body. Anyone who is a Allred fan knows that his simple pencil style is always flourished with great blues and grays by his wife Laura. This action figure captures their style perfectly. It was my favorite figure from the Legendary Heroes line and a wonderful intepretation of a great character.

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