Robert Chesley

What I WPR’d #9

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This edition I talk about sports (*gasp*), Duels of the Planeswalker expansions, and also two amazing comedians.
This past week or two has been a whirlwind of excitement for me. Before I really delve into it, I wanted to talk a little bit about our collective “bucket lists”. I don’t have one that I keep. I know some people have lifelong goals and feats they want to accomplish. Mine are pretty simple. Play as many games, watch as many movies and television shows, and try to be as educated as possible. I may not always succeed on all of these all the time, but a good majority of the time I feel I do pretty good. This past week I got to knock off one of my lifelong goals. I had the opportunity to sit in “Jack Nicholson Seats” at an NBA game.

For those of you who may not know the legend, the term “Jack Nicholson Seats” comes from the famous actor and his love for the Los Angeles Lakers. He famously sits court side near the opposing team’s bench. These seats are some of the most coveted in all of professional sports. He has been known to heckle opposing team’s best players when they are having a bad night at Staples. It has always been a dream of mine to sit court side for an NBA game. I always enter the Jazz’s yearly contests to try to win tickets. You never expect to win something like this. You have a lot of factors involved. One, many people enter these. The Utah Jazz are the only professional sports team within 400 miles in any direction of Salt Lake City. In fact, I believe the next closest professional team is Denver. Not only that, it is the only national professional team in Utah. Which makes Jazz tickets a hot commodity in the state, particularly for sports fans.

The seat was pretty amazing. For those who watch a lot of basketball. I was sitting directly behind the bench closest to the locker room. This is where the “injured reserve” players usually sit. I was sitting next to the team doctor, another assistant coach, and injured Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko. The best part the experience for me was seeing player reaction on the bench. Ironically, it was one of the final games that legendary coach Jerry Sloan would coach. Which means a lot to me personally as a Jazz fan. One thing I was surprised the most was lack of “yelling” on the bench. Sloan is known for his fiery coaching style and I didn’t really hear him yell that much. Not as much as I expected going in. Complimentary bottles of water, gum, and cough drops were pretty interesting. It seems the players chew mint Trident gum if you were wondering. I thought it was pretty interesting. I was hoping to get an NBA towel but they made sure they kept a hold of them. I imagine the laundry bill for a game is pretty high, seemed to get fresh towels everytime there was a time out or a player substitution.

As for the game itself. The Jazz played really well in the first half. The Thunder perservered and shot lights out in the second half. The Thunder are one of the best young teams in the NBA and took the defending champion Los Angles Lakers to a game 7 last year in the playoffs. I love watching Kevin Durrant play basketball. The guy is the most likable superstar. Has no intentions of pulling a “LeBron” and leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder, arguably one of the smaller markets in the league. It was an evening I won’t soon forget. Watching a game from that close was an opportunity I’ll likely won’t have for a long time. I would personally like to thank the Utah Jazz organization for not only giving me the best seat in the house, but giving this opportunity to fans every year.

The night previous, I saw two of my favorite comedians and two of the best comedians that will come to my small town to perform. I’m speaking of course of Utah geek comedian, Marcus. He brought with him his usual opener and local talent Guy Seidel. I took the parents out with me. The show was late for local standards ( usually the two shows are at 7 and 9, for this event the show times were 8 and 10:30) we went to the 10:30 show. The crowd was comparatively small for what I’ve seen both of these guys pull at Wiseguys or another club setting in a bigger area or hell, even Price at an earlier hour. It should be noted that the last time these two comedians came to Price, it wasn’t a very good experience for everyone involved. Marcus made a jab that he nearly quit comedy after being heckled by a couple of really disrespectful people. I was at that show and this group not only were talking the entire time, but also wouldn’t let him get out any kind of jokes or get in any kind of rhythm. Stand-up needs to have a good flow for everyone involved. The comedians have better timing and nail their jokes far better when they have a great audience. Besides, heckling can’t be very fun to do.

Both comedians brought some new material with them. I really liked Guy’s new stuff. He seemed to rely less on “I’m from a small town” and “for Carbon County only” jokes and more on humorous stories. My favorite was his story about going to a Nickelback concert. I really enjoyed a lot more of his more experimental, at least for him, material. I enjoyed the stories about long drives and the few Indian jokes he made. Marcus brought a lot more material that I hadn’t seen him perform yet. He seemed to rely a little less on “geek” humor. Some of my favorite stories included his adventures while being high and hanging out at a bar with a bunch of islanders. I’ve seen the pair once before at the same venue. Marcus had noticeably more energy this outing. He didn’t try the “Caddyshack” song joke this time, which was too bad, I really wanted to see that one actually hit the mark. Marcus always has a few funny stories about being on the road with his former “Last Comic Standing” crew and I enjoy those as well.

My parents particularly liked the jokes about “music today”. My mom’s reaction was “They (meaning both Marcus and Guy) didn’t resort to easy vulgar language jokes and that made the vulgar stuff funnier when they did use it.” My parents see a lot of comics and they too, followed Marcus’s rise on LCS. So, they enjoyed themselves are were a little shocked by the quality of comedy we can pull into our comparatively small area.

I wholeheartedly recommend picking up Marcus’s latest release Hell Oh Well You should follow their respective Facebook or Twitter accounts ( Guy Seidel and Comedian Marcus). They are two of the hardest working and most accessible people in the world. So, go see them if they come to your town. Or at least pick up a CD or something.

As for gaming of late, I’ve been playing a lot more “Duels of the Planeswalkers” on the 360. I bought the final two expansions I needed to fill out the set. One of my biggest complaints about the original game and the first expansion was how incredibly easy the challenge mode was. They not only added more then the previous expansion did, but they also made them a lot tougher to figure out. Most required multiple turns to complete and some cleaver card play to get the correct answer. As for the new cards and decks, the decks added with the last two expansions are far better then the ones we were given in the original game. The new cards added to the previously available decks were a lot better too. Especially now that I can put a Baneslayer Angel in my White deck and multiple Lightning Helixes for my Naya deck. The only real downside with all these new decks is that the new decks use newer (and easily “better” cards) then the original game. The Vampire deck and Landfall deck could have easily been played at a local Friday Night Magic as is and done extremely well. It feels like the only way you beat these decks is by getting extremely lucky or the AI making mistakes. Speaking of the AI, they seem to have tweaked the AI just a bit. It is a lot harder to beat them now. I consider myself a very advanced Magic player, so I play on the most difficult setting and the results are usually mixed. I usually outplay my opponent due to programming. For example, the will always use spells to deal damage directly to me instead of creatures I control. That usually mean my creatures will do more damage over the course of the game rather than the really small amount of damage to me in the mean time. The AI now responds to blockers by pumping attackers or playing removal spells. This emulates what you would see in an actual game of cards a lot better. I can’t help but recommend getting both of the expansions. They add a lot of gaming for very little. It takes a very long time to unlock all 30 or so extra cards for each deck. Most of the decks are well balanced so they play really well against each other too.

I’m hitting close to my word count. But before I go, I wanted to thank Wizards of the Coast and Marcella in particular. WPR recently was sent a very special Magic themed Christmas card. And I thought that was very nice of them. I am a huge fan of the game and the majority of the product line the company puts out every year. There is a lot of blood, sweat, and tears that goes on into making this site all it can be and I am grateful that people actually notice our little corner of the web.

Until next week.

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