Happy '08 Everyone!

I hope everyone had themselves a good holiday weekend. I had an enjoyable New Year's Eve at a friend's house eating some great food, drinking great beer, and watching some awful television. Between Ryan Seacrest's "My Favorite Martian" headset and Tila Tequila's "No-Talentfest '07", I couldn't wait to finish up with 2007 and move forward - with any luck far away from reality TV and internet created "celebrities" whose only notable talent seems to be their unrelenting need for attention and complete lack of shame.

Although, I must admit it was great to just sit and lob insults at the screen, plus see some live performances from Paramore and Carrie Underwood. I'm not crazy about either's music, but I think that Carrie's adorable and that chick from Paramore has a great voice and stage presence, while being cute in a Hot Topic, mallpunk, "I play the tough chick onstage, but cry during sex" kind of way.

Luckily, though, we had the William Shatner Roast DVR'ed and Rock Band plugged into the XBox to salvage the rest of the entertainment portion of the evening. With any luck, this December 31st, I'll be singing live myself somewhere and will be able to avoid all those New Year's TV specials whose sole purpose seems to be to give you one last dose of everything you got sick of the previous year so you'll really look forward to the next.

And now, a few notes on the sporting events of the weekend:

Giants/Pats was great... right up until the ending. It was a fun, entertaining game. As a Giants fan it was great seeing the team coming out and playing with that much heart and passion. The team and fans were fired up and wanted the win. Although, I had to admit I wondered where that Giant team was the last few weekends, and I was very dissapointed with the way they played that second half. Eli nearly made a believer out of me until the last quarter. My only hope is that they didn't empty the tank Saturday and that the Bucs game on Sunday won't be a letdown.

The college bowl games sucked. With the exception of the Michigan win I couldn't find much to get into in any of them. I watched the first two possessions of the Hawai'i/Georgia game before switching over to Robocop on UHD. In fact, in my hungover state I ended up watching much more of channel 11's Honeymooners marathon all day long than any college football.

But... I did end up watching a lot of the NHL's Winter Classic. I've rarely been able to watch regular season hockey on television (although, it is better in HD), but this game, played outdoors in a huge snowy outdoor venue was a great watch. Not only was it a tight, exciting game, it overcame one of hockey's great weaknesses - looking good on TV. Aside from the undeniable awesomeness of the snow, playing in the larger venue helped a lot. NBC was able to get some great wide shots from around the stadium, specifically one from behind the net that you would never be able to get in an arena, where the camera's positioned a few feet behind the goal. Usually, on a hockey telecast, you have one good wide shot for the main action, then a bunch of tighter cutaway shots that will isolate a few players or plays. In this game, though, thanks to how far back the camera's were, NBC was able to switch between a few shots that let you see all the action. Great job.

Besides the technical stuff, this game was aesthetically worth tuning in for. The lighting cast through the cloudy and snowy dusk gave the ice a feint atmospheric glow that you do not get from indoor arena lighting. The chunks of snow flakes in front of and on camera lenses were awesome, and how perfectly did those light blue, retro Penguins jersey fit the mood? The current gold ones would have been an ugly contrast, but the shades of blue flying around the rink on the Sabre and Penguin jerseys perfected the wintry tableau.

Plus, the NHL couldn't have asked for a better ending than having their rising star, Sidney Crosby, win the thing in an overtime shootout. With the bowl games cannibalizing each other and offering up more and more non-competitive games each year, I think NBC and the NHL may have a new New Year's day tradition on their hand. I'll certainly be tuning in to a lot more games from now on, and if you think I'm not already planning a painting of Crosby celebrating that goal in the snow, you're nuts.

Speaking of paintings, here's a Sinatra painting I started a year and a half ago, but quit when I became too intimidated by the oils. I decided to finish it up this week, and began by replacing the horrendous yellowy spotlight background with a far better smoky, ethereal, platinum grey one.

And, for those of you that stuck around this long in the post... My last sketch of 2007, I give you.

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