Monday, January 31, 2005

I'm going to hell

When I came home last night there was a sign in our lobby with some information about the wake for a woman in the building who had "past away."

Is it just awful that my first thought was passed, and my second thought was I wonder what apartment she was in and if it's for sale?

Friday, January 21, 2005

Home Sweet Home

I'm still working on reviews of all sorts of things, but as a delaying tactic I'm finally making good on a months-old promise. I said I'd post photos of the new apartment once we were "settled in," only we didn't get fully settled until minutes before our housewarming party in mid-December. Then we, y'know, had a housewarming party and the place was a mess again and unsuited to showing off. It's not like we didn't clean up, or like we live in filth, but we had some visitors yesterday for whom we wanted to make the place show-off-able, and the sun was out today, so it finally seemed like a good time to take some pics and show off to the rest of you. (Click the photos to see them full size.)

Here's the living room. We had a little mishap with the curtain rod, but otherwise it's pretty done:

The living room from the other side, with the entryway beyond:


The kitchen from the entryway:

A better look at the kitchen (yay, orange stripe!):

We know, we know, the fridge is far too big for the space. We don't care, we lurve it! I worked some Container Store magic on the vast tundra inside and it's a thing of absolute beauty. Anyway, here's what's on the other side of the monolith:

A few angles on the office -- it's less cluttered than it looks but still tough to get all in one shot!

Not much to see, but here's the bathroom:

Finally, our very spartan bedroom. We're waiting 'til we have some money again to get new furniture, so we've held off on making any other decorating choices until we do that. It's okay, we don't spend much time awake in there anyway!

So that's the tour! Now you see why it was worth all the drama!

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Luke...Carbs are your destiny...

What would I do without friends like Jenn to make me aware of things like Darth Tater?

Monday, January 17, 2005

Not One Damn Dime Day?

So there's this email going around proclaiming January 20 – Inauguration Day – "Not One Damn Dime Day." The idea is that to protest the war in Iraq (and presumably the reelection of President Bush) you shouldn't spend any money on Thursday, to "shut the retail economy down" in protest.

I was all set to do this, but just my luck my uncle will be in town on Thursday for just one day, which will involve a meal out, and while I probably won't spend any money myself, surely somebody will on my behalf.

But then I got to thinking about it a little harder, and I wonder if it is, in fact, an incredibly backwards idea. If this is actually successful, wouldn't it hurt countless small business owners and not actually make a dent in the likes of Target and Wal-Mart, whose sales will be slow in January anyway? And shutting the retail economy down – doesn't that sound a bit like an act of terrorism?

Oh well. I like the idea in principle anyway. Here's the email that's been going around, annoying formatting (but surprisingly good grammar!) and all:

>> Not One Damn Dime Day - Jan 20, 2005

Since our religious leaders will not speak out
> against the war in Iraq,

>> since our political leaders don't have the moral
courage to oppose it, Inauguration Day, Thursday,
> January 20th, 2005 is

>> "Not One Damn Dime Day" in America.

On "Not One Damn Dime Day" those who oppose what is
> happening in our
>> in Iraq can speak up with a 24-hour
national boycott of all forms of consumer spending.

During "Not One Damn Dime Day" please don't spend
> money. No one damn
>> for gasoline. Not one damn dime for
necessities or for impulse purchases. Not one damn
> dime for nothing
for 24
>> hours.

On "Not One Damn Dime Day," please boycott
> Wal-Mart, Kmart and Target.
Please don't go to the mall or the local
> convenience store. Please
>> buy any fast food (or any groceries at all for that

For 24 hours, please do what you can to shut the
> retail economy down.
The object is simple. Remind the people in power
> that the war in Iraq
>> immoral and illegal; that they are responsible for
starting it and that it is their responsibility to
> stop it.
"Not One Damn Dime Day" is to remind them, too,
> that they work for the
>> people of the United States of America, not for the
international corporations and K Street lobbyists
> who represent the
>> corporations and funnel cash into American
> politics.
"Not One Damn Dime Day" is about supporting the
> troops. The politicians
>> the troops in harm's way.

Now 1,200 brave young Americans and (some estimate)
> 100,000 Iraqis have

>> died. The politicians owe our troops a plan -
a way to come home.

There's no rally to attend. No marching to do. No
> left or right wing
>> to rant about. On "Not One Damn Dime Day" you
take action by doing nothing.

You open your mouth by keeping your wallet closed.

For 24 hours, nothing gets spent, not one damn
> dime, to remind our
>> religious leaders and our politicians of their
> moral
>> responsibility to end the war in Iraq and give
> America back to the
Please share this email with as many people as
> possible. THANK YOU!

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Back soon

Sorry for the blogging lag. I'm back in rehearsals, not at a blog-friendly office temp job, and of course there's been all that video gaming to get done. Exhausting! Anyway, expect TV reviews (Alias to the rescue! 24 to the rescue of insomniacs!), gadget reviews, and, of course, game reviews soon. It's January and most of the tourists have left town, so there's been surprisingly little in the Stupid People department lately.


Friday, January 07, 2005

Books? What are these books of which we speak?

There's a somewhat less harsh post on the state of TV to come (JJ Abrahms to the rescue!), but Boy came home with a PS2 last night. We are now a two-game-system household. Just start preparing the crane to remove me from the house when I'm too fat to fit through the door now.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

TV, I trusted you!

I don't want to shock anyone, but I think I'm kinda over TV. There hasn't been anything on in weeks of any interest whatsoever. I don't require quality, necessarily; you know me, I'm always happy with entertaining crap, but lately the crap has just been...crappy. For a while I was watching The Real Gilligan's Island out of some sense of ironic duty, but it was shockingly un-fun. The Explorer 8000 Home Entertainment Server automatically recorded four episodes of High School Reunion before I even realized they were there, decided I had zero interest in watching them, and deleted the series from the record list.

Sure, there's Lost and Desperate Housewives and Chrismukah goodness, but with everything on hiatus for the holidays I find I haven't missed any of it one little bit. 24 and Alias return after, what, nine months? And my excitement about them feels obligatory.

So, um, yeah, The Real Gilligan's Island... It's a fascinating idea, actually, if just to see how ridiculous the original show was when put through the filter of reality. Not real reality, reality show reality, but even so we see that those castaways were fucked. I really enjoyed how fabulously weird the first episode was, because they really seemed to be taking the idea of recreating the sit-com seriously. There were two teams, and everyone involved was an actual whatever (skipper, professor, millionaire, etc.), which meant they needed two actual movie stars. Enter Rachel Hunter and Nichole Eggert. Genius! And both were utterly charming and self-effacing and lovely. Then there was the fact that the sets and costumes from the sit-com were very faithfully recreated, but the whole thing was also a spoof of Survivor. This meant the "cast" had to do ridiculous challenges in full costume. This meant the Gingers -- actual supermodels, remember -- had to do ridiculous challenges in silver lamé gowns. Genius!

Sadly, the genius ended quickly. They seemed to stack one of the teams entirely with hideous people who were doomed to fail. True, we never knew what The Professor was a professor of, and he may have been gay, but I'm willing to be he wasn't a gay sociology professor. I'm also willing to bet that gay sociology professors, in general, are intensely annoying. The one they cast here was possibly the most irritating person on the planet. And of course he's on the same team as a millionaire's wife who was possibly the dumbest person on the planet. I mean, not just mean and nasty and selfish and homophobic and racist, but exquisitely dumb. Which might have been entertaining were I more interested in trash TV right now, but instead I just wanted to claw her eyes out. Some of the other castaways "got an idea" to dress Professor Homo in drag, and there just happened to be a dress that fit him perfectly lying around? Okay, very truthful to the wardrobe department of the original Gilligan's Island, but absurdly contrived and transparent on the part of the producers.

Once the smidgen of fun in the concept wore off, the show was just dull. There's an inherent problem in casting a married couple in a show that involves voting people off and not given them one vote as a pair. Especially when you've also cast people too dumb to realize that and get rid of one of them right off the bat. There's also a huge problem in casting a multi-millionaire in a game show with a $250,000 prize. Especially when he's one half of that married couple and it's kind of a foregone conclusion that he or his wife will win. And when he's an asshole. And when he does a little victory dance around the car with a trunkful of money he's just one even though he could easily buy it anyway. It makes for hateful television with non stakes and no incentive to watch or care. And yet I just spend three paragraphs on it. What is wrong with me?

At least it wasn't as dull as Regency Party House. I love the House series. It's reality TV for smart people...or PBS for dumb people, depending on how you want to look at it. So the real problem with Regency was the large number of dumb people. All the previous versions of the show involved serious immersion in a particular place and time in history (Colonial House, Manor House, [Edwardian] Manor House). The participants were, for the most part, serious about "the project" and, if not prepared for the hardships compared with modern life, at least willing to deal with them. I guess the idea behind Regency was to make it a period dating show. But no one seemed to keen on either the period or the dating. The women kept whining about how bored they were and how hard it was to be chaperoned all the time. Um, yeah! I guess that's also a flaw in the choice of "house party" and not, say, "American colony" as the setting. Once you get past the clothes and the bathing rituals, there's really nothing to do. The other shows have had some serious work involved. Watching the show felt like school, since everything even remotely interesting was conveyed in voice-over, and even that wasn't that interesting. (In contrast, I'm renting Manor House on DVD and it's brilliant, but more on that later.)

life as we know it remains just interesting enough that I feel like I should keep watching it in case something slightly more interesting happens, but I may not pick it back up again when it comes back this week. I know it's supposed to be a teen drama from the typical dumb guys' point of view, which is a little radical, I guess (let's face it, Dawson and Pacey were basically girls), but does that mean the female characters have to be so hateful and annoying? I want to smack each and every one of them. Especially Kelly Osbourne. I hated that girl in high school and I hate her now (I didn't go to high school with Kelly Osbourne, I mean I hated that type). They seem to be pulling back on the nudity, which was really the show's main appeal. And what was up with that hideous musical production of Romeo and Juliet? Why were the men and the women costumed by two different designers? What the hell kind of public school puts on such a huge lavish production, written by students? I mean, I don't expect a ton of realism, but in a show that claims to be edgy, I'd like a little drop.

I once defended Drawn Together against the critics, but it's really degenerated into just its worst parts. For a while the visual gags (eating-disordered Toots as Jabba the Hutt with Xandir as gold-bikinied Leia) were funny and creative even when the stories and more overt jokes were lame and gross, but towards the end even that shred of fun was gone. The (season?) finale did have a fun moment rallying against all reality TV (and gave me the title for this post), but I'm glad it's over.

Over in real reality TV, the end of Manhunt was very disappointing. Jon might have been better-looking in a traditional modelly way, but he was just so astonishingly dumb. Rob had the advantage of being not only gay, but smart and charming. And intelligence is always sexier than a bag of rocks. Which made the agents asking Jon, "So if you lose this contest, will it be hard to go back to astrophysics." Wait, what? The guy with only one facial expression is an astrophysicist? Oh, reality TV, I just don't know what to do with you anymore.

Speaking of, how how how did Chris win Survivor?? Again with the not smart!! I can't deal.

Finally, Jack and Bobby remains problematic, but I figured out just in time for the hiatus both what bothers me most and what is most awkward about the show. The thing is, I'm not even a little bit interested in the boring teen drama element of the show. They finally added an interesting character, Grace's gay brother, and then wrote him out three episodes later. The teenagers are boring, the adults are inconsistently written, and the ridiculous conceit of this happened to Bobby when he was 12 so this then happened when he was President (apparently the intervening 30 years were irrelevant) gets more absurd each week as they run out of life lessons for him to learn.

But, I find the flash-forwards to the Presidency entirely compelling. I'd much rather see a West Wing clone with that cast of characters (maybe Christine Lahti in old-age makeup) than anything involving the kids. And they're telling better stories there. I mean, it's totally weird that the pre-holiday cliffhanger was in the "documentary," not the "main" show. Of course, the way the show is structured, we may not come back to that storyline this week, if ever, because the flash-forwards aren't in chronological order. And I really am dying to know what happened with the nuclear bomb in Chicago, but not so much with Jack and Diane, or whatever her name is.

Well, JJ Abrams Night starts tomorrow, so maybe there's still hope for my never picking up a book again.