Arena Maximus

Friday, August 18, 2006

What's the big deal?!

This blog is a little late coming but the essence will always remain fresh for the experienced readers.

Last weekend I went with a friend of mine to NY to the famed "53rd and 6th" truck for some ,amazing as always, platters. As we faced some very unpleasant traffic getting into the city but we coped by discussing the platters of course. My friend's brother came along and was telling of an episode where my friend ordered extra hot sauce and immediately started tearing and nearly went nuclear after the first bite. hahaaahahhaha... I had to laugh at this, "if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen" in this case just go without the extra hot sauce.

Well now to the meat of the matter, as we finally reached there and went to the corner and started waiting the line was quite long as the customers were many. Not once or twice but thrice we were asked "what's the big deal?" as random visitors/tourists inquired since there was two other platters vendors in close proximity to "the corner". What could we say the big deal was?, the line in itself was self explanatory. If people are willing to wait so long for platters then there must be something special about it. Of course there is its the secret of the White sauce. The first of the groups that stopped by was a family from some distant land, we could tell by their accents that they were't from the tri-state neighborhood. They asked us "why is there a line here and only here, there's a guy over there and another one there?", well what could we say it is indeed the line that speaks volumes of this corner in particular. Then we waited and waited some more. After a short while another family came up and asked the same question and only fifteen minutes later decided they wanted to know about the gyro, I'm sure they left satisfied customers. Then came along a lady who seemed as though she'd been from and seen all there was of upper Manhattan and decided to venture to the lowly business area and happened upon the platters and asked us what was going on. Of course my friend gave an excellent account of the platters and the undeniable wave of flavor and spice that is emmitted and she was hooked. Surprise? I think not.

After sometime the first of the family's that stopped and asked came to collect their platters, I figure if your a tourist and in New York no less if you see a line get on it. I don't think just average people would wait on line for something, only the truly dedicated would wait and wait and wait and wait and then wait some more until they get the platter so desired. If your visiting NY don't leave without having tried it. It turned out that after having so many people ask us what was so great and incredible about this gyro that the very people standing in line behind us revealed they themselves had never had but saw the line and joined it.

Finally we got to the "counter" man and gave him our order and then had to tarry further to another cart just for drinks. To our surprise they had expanded and could no longer support the customers with just a box or crate of soda. Having gotten our food and our drinks we walked back to the opposite side of the street near the car and sat and feasted. Each of us ever silent delved only in our food and our thoughts. With nice layer of the white sauce accented by the layer of hot sauce we teared up and sniffled not because the food was hot in temperature or spice but because it was just so good.

So next time your in line and someone says what's the big deal? you'll know how to respond - "It's the platter man! best in the world! now get in line and pass the word."

Man just writing this has made me want to go out and get some. Who knows maybe i'll see you there. Off to platters I go but before I do here is a little something I wrote some time ago:


a land far far away. a land where there is a brilliance of lights
everywhere u look and sounds unlike any you've ever heard. it is a place of entertainment, a place of commerce, a place of fashion, sophistication. but what is it that lurks in the dark places of this land. who is waiting for u in the crevices between the canyon walls. there is a cold and sharp wind and is speaks to all who pass. what it says only those who choose to stay and listen. those who share the
message they've heard given speak solemnly of the one of the greatest
experiences. what is this, this message....

"extra white sauce or hot sauce?"


Monday, July 24, 2006

A Speeding First

Well it was bound to happen someday and I guess today had to be it, it's a Monday and already been a long week. For the first time in my life I got a speeding ticket. Now I know this will put a smile on many of your faces so please take it easy on me. What can I say I've been blessed long enough not to get one and have been always travelling with Grace and still am. Today was a lesson, never speed early on a Monday when you're tired. This will be forever etched in my memory. I suppose I've now joined the club.

So, I was driving along this morning not feeling very awake and neither was my sister; we carpool. I was really wanting to turn around and go back home and crawl back into bed for a wonderful sleep, but NO! Today was the day for a serious wake up call. I was nearing the end of the highway on Rt -- when I noticed on the side lanes mainly used for exits that there was this white blurr speeding all of a sudden. Crap! said my gut instincts, that could have only been for me. Just to be sure I continued on my way and came to the end of the highwas just before entering the city and there right behind me was the white suv with flashing lights. I pulled over but was kindly asked to go around the corner and stop. Nonchalantly the officer met with a friend who just happen to stop in his personal suv infront of me. After some discussion he walked up and repeated the mantra, "license, registration and insurance card please". I had them ready just incase to I handed them over and after a minute of examination came the question that nobody wants to answer.

"Do you know why I pulled you over?" - "no officer", says I. "I clocked you at --mph on a 55mph zone". Now I offer up my one answer not even trying to play around this situation by saying that I was just moving with the flow of traffic... (traffic that I was passing[silently to myself]).

In the end he walks back takes his time writes up a ticket and brings it back. He directs me to a number he wrote on the back where I can call to set a date for the summons and also let me know what I want to plead Not-Guilty he will speak with the prosecutor and I'll pay a very hefty fine but have no points on my record.

Now I wait a few days to make the call and get the right date for the summons since the ticket was written in an unreadable manner. I await even more painfully having to bring my checkbook to court for the ludicrous fee I'll be paying.

Please if you are going to have your laughs do so in a polite manner, well as polite as possible. This was my first ticket for speeding and I hope and pray it will be my last.


Saturday, July 08, 2006

the ticket or not

So I'm driving along keeping to myself. I'm going to Walgreens to get a card for my dad's birthday. Hopefully they'll have a good one. Oh it seems everyone's going a bit faster to make the green light, let me do my part and catch up. Oh $h!+! cop on the right, hope he doesn'tcome out, hope he doesn't come out, $h!t he came out. Now the lights are flashing, instinctively I know that since i'm the last one in line and easiest prey he's after me so I casually pull over. The cop, white, of course, has to be I'm in Lodi, town of Italians. Look at him, he's the stereo type, tall about 6'1, 190-200 lbs, closely cropped army haircut belly about the size of a keg. He must be pushing 40. Oh freakin' great, here I am trying to make today as peaceful for my father as possible and what do I have to show for it, a ticket.

He pulls up asks me what I was doing, that I was doing "40 in a 25", "I was just keeping up with traffic" i say. Then he asks for "license and registration", so I lean over to the glove box, man my back is hurting now. Been going to the chiropractor for a few days now, but its a muscle pain, taken Motrin; it helps but only so much. Finally I reach it an pull out the plastic sleave with the registration and insurance card. Here's the registration, what, where is it, where the hell is that insurance card. Cop asks "where's the insurance card","I had it in here officer, but i think I had to take it out a few days ago"," for the town something", oh no i can't even remember. He says" oh the Lodi sticker", I agree since I can't remember, "Is it the same information", "yes officer all the same except the date". " Do you have your license", since I've been delaying it, I finally pull out my license and hand it over. "Do you have any points on your license?" "No, officer not at all." He pauses.

Oh great the longest freakin' pause ever. And on and on it went.And on. He asks me where I live, "here in Lodi", "where exactly", "on ------- Ave". ... ... ...
Finally he says, "So you'll be driving slower from now on right? Max","oh absolutely officer, absolutely". "Happy holidays" and he hands my the license and registration back. Counting my blessings I ever so slowly take my time putting things back into place and pull out slowly and proceed on my way. No more than 25 mph I go, while he's following me, just itching for me to make a mistake. But I pass and make none so he turns left a block before I do.

I go on my merry way and get the card. It turns out to be a Happy Birthday for my father after all.

Until the next morning I tell him about the other problem I had.

I'm still alive and typing so i'm still counting my blessings. Nothing but hope, prayer and a lot of grace.


Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Superman Returned: With a Vengeance!

It's a bird, it's a plane no it's Superman!


After much frustration with movie attendants and roaming about to another theater I finally saw Superman Returns and I'm impressed. I was hoping that this wouldn't turn out like X3 and totally bomb. Also I am glad that this movie is a continuation from the second of the Superman movies. I can only hope that everyone has forgotten the third and fourth installment of the said series. The story in this movie is one of plausible belief, where Superman after learning that his home planet may yet have survived decides to take a little trip to go check it out and then return. Leaving a little note that said "i'll be out for 5 years, leave your name, number and a short message after the beep" would have worked wonders. In this movie we have a new comer Brandon Routh who was not expected to bring out the character of Superman/Clark Kent but did it with "flying" colors. The flying was superb, I loved the thunderous sound we hear as Superman breaks the sound barrier, also nice fluidic motion in flight. Superman starts out by saving the people on the plane and does a magnificant job. First he uses the heat beams which they seem to have adopted from Smallville, then he lifts the space shuttle off of the plane and releases it into space. Well done. Then going after the plane, speeding past it in flight and putting a giant anti-gravity brake on it and setting it down gently (as possible) on the baseball field. Many things are new in this film, a new Lois, a new Lex, and a new kid! what! Oh yes I said it, a new kid, but I'll get to that later read on. Okay so Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane, at first I wasn't ready to accept it but she proved to be just as annoying and numbingly blind to what's right in front of her. What is new about Lois is the mother side of her we would never have expected. Kate fit the bill and made her mark on movie history becoming the new Lois Lane.

Was the story great, good or okay?

Well the story was acceptable, I guess that is not the answer you’re looking for but it's really a matter of perspective. I didn't think too much of the story because I didn't appreciate the villain. Oh yes get ready for Kevin Spacey
as Lex Luthor. In this movie he's made out to be a weak criminal who's become a swindler of old lady's. Although I wouldn't put it past him but if you click on the link for Lex Luthor you learn that he is no weakling. He is a very smart, strong willed and very very rich man. I expected him to come out of prison, go into the city (Metropolis) and take the elevator to his penthouse office open the window blinds and look out to his next diabolical project to rule the city if not the world. What I didn't appreciate is how easily he was able to waltz into the Fortress of Solitude and steal the crystals that hold all there is to know about Krypton, Superman and everything else alien as if it was the local Barnes & Noble. Please read about the Fortress it's not as easy to get into as shown. Also the fortress is located in a place where the normal or at least human can't roam nor is it visible or detectable to radar or any other known Earthly technology.

What was great about the movie?

Superman! What did you expect? This movie is about the return of Superman in more ways than one. After many years and two more movies, 3 or 4 tv shows (Smallville being the best of them) and tons of comics later we have our new Superman. Many people don't like Superman they want the anti-hero not the "goodie two-shoes" that saves the day and offers token advice about what's good and right. Well forget you people Superman is no joke. You want struggle well try putting up with villains as insidious as Lex Luthor and their incredibly new and vicious ways to off Superman. If you saw the movie you’d realize that he hears everything from all the spoken complaints to all the radio frequencies to the foot fall of an ant a hundred miles away. Having to put up with all that and still not being able to fully reveal your identity to the woman you love for fear of danger to her and all those around you doesn't sound easy. The problems he faces go beyond national and international but rise to the globally disasterous scale as well. He is incredibly strong with powers and abilites beyond normal human comprehension but what I think makes him strong is his sheer will to surpass the situation and defeat his weaknesses in all aspects. It was his raw strength and unflinching will that even after getting stabbed with deadly and poisonous kryptonite he was able to lift that entire land mass out of the water while its poisonous effects weakened him during the trip to space. So, at this point I feel I’ve argued my case as to what Superman is to me as a fan.

Lastly, the son of Superman has made an appearance. This would explain the rage and resentment that Lois has for Superman in the movie. For those of you who aren’t Superman fans or just don’t know when or how he and Lois had time for it there was a scene in Superman 2. In the scene Clark trips and his hand falls into the fire and Lois learns that he is totally unscathed. Only later in the movie does he go back to the fortress and gives up his power. Is the boy worthy? Well he seems to be very sick and is in need of nearly every medication the pharmacy can provide. He is however unaffected by kryptonite which is maybe his one saving grace. He is after only half super. Well I don’t know if it was a good idea to play this card on the comeback Superman film but let’s see where they go with it. Ultimately he will learn of his heritage. I only feel sorry for the unknowing surrogate father. To that point let me say kudos to James Marsden for having a starring role in the X-Men films of the Marvel world and stepping into the most legendary of all DC series, Superman.



Postscript (You knew it was coming.)

As much as I loved to see Superman and Batman films of the DC world I hope to see more characters as well hint hint Justice League. I’m also looking forward to Spiderman 3 and Ironman movies to come out. Also for the video game fans Hitman will be coming out as well as Spy Hunter.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Ode to College

How I miss thee let me count the ways...

I miss the halls, I miss the classes, I miss the laughs, I miss the passes.
The fun the roaming about; the fun the hanging around.
The friends and their jokes, the fiends and their pokes.
The teachers the courses, the leechers the forces

The girls and their giggles, the girls and their giggles.
I even miss the buildings, miss the mazes, summer hazes.
What I would change if i could go back,
What I would change not even a tack.

The books, the looks, the crooks, the nooks.
The papers the projects, Beuchner and his crazy logic.
The young system admin, Linux was her game.
Unforgettable blue hair, Scalf was her name.

The labs Dana, Hill and Englhardy, professors smoking the wack tabacky.
Gotta name some names, so don't be afraid.
Assadipour with his mad codes, Boylan the mad math jokes.
Farney all over the history, Randall his hair still a big mystery.

Hadas, Morrison, Sturm and a Gilman
Some profs were great, some were a pill man.
Went to the Law lab, gots reasons to stay,
Whatever you do, don't pull a Li Wei. °ö°

Chillin with the fellas watchin the view,
Watchin' the clock checkin what's new...
Enjoying the summer, never just a few,
Everywhere I look a different hue.

Truly, a cabralian moment,
It was, it is the main component...
Since that he left, there were less of us, few.
No more Cabral, what do we do?

Lu with his hmmmm, Monis, long emails,
Nenad with the wit, Max talking to females;
Pizza at Robs, gyros at Jimmys,
Neither was great, unless you were hungry.

Ratin' my professor every semester,
Check his sylla before go register...
Parking where where, deck 1 - 2, no more i cant think...
Kinda like water, water everywhere not a drop to drink.

Conklin o Conklin, the nursing the history,
Whatever you want just look for the staring...
NJIT always the Roger, always tryin' to collaborator
The nerds the clubs, where are the girls, huh?

The platters the stories,
The pool nights and the scoring
But whose here to compete,
Leave it unfinished that is complete.

Don't forget Eljabiri cocomo, cots, funtion pts and the project
If you screw yours up don't worry, if its his he'll forget it
Take the time and be the best;
Don't zeek to find like all the rest,
Tell all the posers the php the players
That we're the best and we're here for staying.

Eli, his primates, his tech-a-la-forgery,
We used our skills, even 3 point Apache :)
Pick on one of us, you pick on all of us
One more pick on us, we'll leave you in the dust...

When you get there and when you start to walk,
Don't just stare there, idiot! learn to talk;
Enjoy your time enjoy your season,
It goes by fast all with good reason.

The day you're out you're all about,
You celebrate you go all out
You think its a prison
A sentence your serving;
Then next day your workin
Thinkin you you're tired
Should've stayed in,
And kept on learnin'.

Had a convosation
With a girl the other night,
Reminded me of so many
Others shed to light,
Made me think of college
And that an ode was due
Remember your time and give this Ode a renew.


Saturday, June 03, 2006

X3: The Last “Straw”!

I am a diehard X-Men fan and after seeing this movie I've become highly disappointed in the script writers, the directors, the cast directors for putting together this farce.

In just three movies they've completely destroyed the essence of what were the X-Men and their long, interesting, exiting, elaborate and thrilling stories. I am a big fan of Marvel and have done my fair share of reading upon the characters and the plots. I didn’t understand the need to change anything. The comic book authors have set up the stage and characters for you. All that was required was to use the imaging technology to bring it to the screen. Unfortunately the characters were changed and why you ask, because they were trying to show what the softer side of the X-Men, yea that's really what people who've read about these characters for over 20 years will be worried about. They manipulated one of the key story lines (Phoenix) and killed off the main characters (Xavier, Jean Grey, and Scott Summers) of one of the greatest comic series. Right from the first movie, making Rogue a young hapless girl who can't touch anyone without killing them... dude have you ever heard of struggle. Since when did life become easy, X-Men are not in the world of the freakin' Care Bears. Life is tough in the comic world and Rogue is tough, she is strong, smart, attractive has more tact and charisma than this unsatisfactory depiction. You want softer side read up on her back story here. Find out where she really got her powers or rather from whom.

Wolverine what can anyone possibly say about Wolverine, he is by far my favorite character from the first. He although was depicted close in his nature had a few ridiculous syndromes and complexes which the true comic Wolverine just doesn't have but does have a very complex history. And for once and for all let me make it clear about his mutant powers. Wolverine has three mutant “powers” as it were, the first being heightened senses which include: sight, hear, smell, touch, taste and intuition (not to be mistaken with Spiderman’s Spidey-sense) the second “power” his claws (bone claws which are stronger than average bone) and finally his healing factor. As part of Wolverine’s story it is said that they grafted adamantium to his skeleton which was only possible due to his third “power” the healing factor. To put actual metal claws in his arms would be ridiculous as they would have to stretch is forearms’ width. His healing factor is constantly working with having an alien metal in his body such as adamantium; without adamantium in his body his healing factor increases to higher levels and the recovery speed is also increased. He is over one hundred years old and is familiar with every martial arts on the planet and he can speak about 10 languages fluently and is highly skilled in all vehicles and computer systems although his rage and claws do sometimes do the negotiating for him.

Scott a.k.a. Cyclops could have been taller and more built like a proper soldier other than that he is totally the by-the-book asinine jock. Jean Grey the second strongest mind in the Xavier mansion doesn’t have the double personality issues and power control issues as shown in the movie X3. As far as the Phoenix is concerned there are probably chapters and books that can be written about her and her connection to Jean Grey and Dark
Phoenix. They are not however limited to stupid double personality syndrome. Xavier although sometimes too passive even by my standards should have had more cool and clear precision when it came to his enemies and colleagues. Aside from Jean Grey having the powers of the Phoenix Force, Xavier is the strongest mind on the Marvel planet and can surely take out most if not all the mutants and humans with a thought and multiple at a time. I can stop here and go on about the Phoenix Force but I won’t or otherwise this blog might move to ludicrous and I don’t want to go there.

The Juggernaut is a whole ‘other can of worms. Just go to the link and read up. He’s not a mutant his powers are mystical and his helmet is not for good looks. He’s not susceptible to Magneto’s power. His helmet is similar to Magneto’s but its more part of his mystical uniform and it protects him similar from Xavier and other telepaths. He doesn’t eat, sleep and doesn’t need to breathe so no, he will not drown.

The movie had a lot of mishaps and was just a ball busting piece of $#!+ I’d rather not say. Like Monis said in his blog watch X2 or as I say go read a comic book. I know it may seem like you might be digressing but trust me the comic stories are so much more fulfilling than this drivel X3: The Last “Straw”.

Sadly disappointed,


Post Script ~

Under strong conviction from a fan I have to mention a few more pieces of enlightenment. Let me start by saying nobody in the X-M
en got “cured”.
Not Magneto, Mystique or Rogue; whether in the story lines they might have wished for it or not, it has not occurred. As I mentioned earlier Rogue might consider getting the “cure” but not as was depicted in X3. Magneto would certainly never put himself in a position to be attacked so easily. Lastly Mystique is the allure, the eye catcher, the elusive ending, she is

equivalent of all the characters in all the stories you’ve ever read about “the one that got away”. She is it, she always gets away it’s her nature; call it a self defense mechanism of hers. As you saw in X1 she portrayed Senator Kelly and walked out of the press conference. Killing Xavier, Jean Grey, Scott Summers and Rogue giving up her powers was beyond mention but to add insult to injury they offed’ the essence of any mystique by ripping Mystique of her powers.

Should anyone ever be even able to rise like the Phoenix and make a new movie about the X-Men I will be there to see it but if it sucks I’ll write the X-Men blog of my life, naming names and causing all kinds of havoc in the Marvel Comic community.

If you haven’t done so already go back and click on all the links, they’re worth it.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Secret Satchel Revisited

Let me first of all say that I had to do it. If you can't already tell I'm talking about the season finale of 24. Wow. What an amazing show! More happened in less than the first thirty minutes than most 2 hour movies. I know I've said that in the past but come on people don't deny it. Offer it the respect that it truly deserves. It is the definitively the best show on tv.

He went the entire season with that satchel and I still don't know the full contents of it. He pulled out PDAs, cellphones, lockpicking equipment, digital decryptors, rope, handcuffs.... I feel that if I had that satchel I could undoubtedly get out of any possible earth-bound situation. One of the most important tools he has was his connection to one Chloe O'Brian. She is basically the entire backbone of the CTU computer system. The season has just ended and I'm just left with a bit awe. Mrs. O'Brian? what's that all about. I think that might have surprised me the most and as of yet baffles me. Well let's reflect on all the losses of this season: Tony, Michelle, Edgar, David Palmer and the unknown number of agents and civilians who've died this season to bring about justice. A moment of silence if you will...


Every season of this show has gotten better and better by the hour. I and my many 24 fanfriends all i'm sure have been captivated by this cast and writing. Now we must endure somehow these next seven months one day at a time instead of second by ever waking second. Now we have to know what's happened to Jack, will he return whole, he's been beaten to a pulp but such resolve its beyond belief. I don't know about the next season of 24, about the cast or the story but I know one thing for sure. Jack will be back.