Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Fall season has to start NOW so I stop watching this crap.

Okay, two questions about Breaking Up with Shannen Doherty.

One: What the hell happened to Shannen Doherty?? I mean, sure, no one likes you and your career has never been stellar, but how did it come to this?

Two: When your girlfriend has not only dumped you on television, but enlisted the help of Brenda Walsh, what would posess you to sign the release form afterwards?

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Oh, TV, how will you disappoint me this time?

The first new TV show of the fall season that I'm interested in is on tonight, so it seems like a good time to tell you what I'm watching. I haven't done much of this sort of blogging lately, but I'm in the mood.

It's a light season for me, which I'm generally pleased about. I like my TV (probably more than most) but I'm happy to not overdo it. A lot of things I've watched for years ended last spring, leaving me with a pretty clean slate for the fall. And there are a few shows I'm curious about but that I don't expect to actually enjoy in the long run, and a few more that I don't think will last long (which means I'll probably love them). So here's my schedule...

The Simpsons
Family Guy
Desperate Housewives
Really nothing to say about any of those, except that I hope that Housewives sucks less this year.

The Class
This will probably suck, but it has some actors I like, mostly from theater stuff, so I want to check it out. It's an interesting premise (3rd grade classmates reunite 20 years later) but not necessarily...what's the word? ...funny.
How I Met Your Mother
I'm still sort of amazed by how this show has hooked me. I watched the first couple of episodes and wasn't impressed (though I like the entire cast) but when Entertainment Weekly wouldn't shut up about how good it was I watched again towards the end of the season and loved it.
Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip
How can I not watch something written by Aaron Sorkin?
Geektastic! I may hate it. Comic booky stuff is hit-or-miss with me. But Alias' Greg Grunberg is in it, which is a total plus.

Eh. I'm pretty sure I won't make it past two episodes of this, but I really like Gina Torres. I like her less in a thankless supporting role though, so we'll see.
House is a show, like Law and Order and CSI, that I enjoy but don't feel the need to watch regularly. But I might add it to my regular rotation this season, at least as long as I'm not working nights and it doesn't take up DVR space.

I must watch anything Victor Garber does, but do we really need another lawyer show? Or Kerr Smith?
Looks spectacularly creepy. I give it a month.
I was eh on it for most of last season, but the last couple of episodes sucked me back in. Besides, I'd never not watch it; what would I talk about with the rest of the world?
The Nine
Intrigued by the high concept, but afraid it will end up being very dull. And if it's not dull, will it get cancelled so we never get to find out what happened?
30 Rock
How can I not watch something written by and starring Tina Fey? (Does anyone else think it's strange that this and Studio 60 are both on NBC?)
Project Runway
I never really blogged about how I became obsessed with Runway last season. It's just too damn good. I'm hardly the first person to say this, but I love that they actually have to make things ever week, not run a relay race underwater and then solve a giant jigsaw puzzle using island trivia. I'm sure there's some consideration of what personalities will make for good TV in casting and elimination, but ultimately they have to design and make clothes with minimal time and resources. I sometimes get lost in the high fashion stuff, but as Tim says, it's all about taste. And Tim's podcasts are brilliant, especially when he talks about things that were edited out or how the show is made.

Ugly Betty
I know very little about this except that it's called Ugly Betty. That's enough to get me to watch it once!
Six Degrees
Could be interesting. Or it could be like every single mediocre young-people-in-New-York indie film ever made. As Salon put it, "A character-driven drama in which the characters aren't all that compelling."

Battlestar Galactica

Really, for me, this isn't much (except for Wednesday)! And I expect it will be cut in half by the end of October. But since I have very little to do right now, yay TV!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Define "celebrity"

Okay, I'm not admitting that I just watched two hours of Celebrity Duets, but if I had I'd blog about how it seems a little unfair to have Jai Rodriguez, who is, in fact, an actual singer and before Queer Eye was a rising musical theater star, competing with the likes of Cheech Marin and Hal Sparks.

Actually, at least four of the eight contestants have appeared on Broadway. Of course, these days, being a talented singer is not a prerequisite for getting cast in a Broadway musical if your name is any kind of recognizable, but I find it odd that they don't mention that in their little video bios on the show.

The whole thing is just a train wreck. And you know I'm gonna watch it again next week.

...and your chicks for free

Today I received my Workforce New York Direct Payment Card in the mail. The New York State Department of Labor, in its infinite wisdom, is doing away with unemployment checks next week, and instead has given everyone with a current claim a Chase debit card and an account that's not quite a real bank account into which our money will be deposited.

Now, I'm sure this will save a lot of money and tons of paper for the state. And, not to stereotype, but I'm sure a lot of people on unemployment don't have bank accounts and until now have had to rely on those check cashing places with their high fees. And I should never complain when someone gives me money for not working.

But I don't care about any of that, I only care about how this affects ME. I do have a bank account, so now rather than just walking to an ATM and depositing my check, I have to go to a different ATM (lest I pay a fee), and not even get all the money out 'cause it's not like the unemployment "check" is in multiples of 20, or even whole dollars, then I have to wait in line at my bank 'cause you can't deposit cash in an ATM and I pay all my bills online so I need the money in the account. So this little innovation has turned a simple transaction into a huge inconvenience for me.

Since you can file all your unemployment stuff online anyway, would it have really been so hard for them to just start doing normal direct deposit, and offer the Chase account to people who need it? Is there some way I can blame Governor Pataki for this?

Monday, August 28, 2006

You take the good, you take the bad...

Good: Extra 7 trains running due to a Mets game and the US Open.

Bad: An off-peak train being packed with drunk baseball and tennis fans.

Back to life

The detox begins today. I was shockingly good this summer. I didn't exercise nearly as much as I wanted to, and I carbed out daily (let's not even discuss the beer intake), but I managed to not gain nearly as much weight as I did last year.

And then I came home. And spent a week sitting on the couch. Eating nothing but take-out. It's amazing how fat one can get in just seven days. I mean, really amazing.

I'm still off this week (and by "off," I mean "unemployed," but I'm taking a couple weeks to enjoy not working and not even looking for anything), but I'm changing my routine and using my free time for good. No carbs, and I'm going to the gym every day. Stop laughing! I'm serious, dammit!

Oh yeah, and I want to blog more too, so I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

"I find that A) tremendously comforting that we're so close and B) like Chinese water torture that we're so close."

Back around 1996 or so - the end of the Internet Stone Age - I became mildly addicted to a site called Sixdegrees did one thing and one thing only: it showed connections between people. It was all text, with no photos or profiles or anything like that. Very simply, you typed in someone's email address and indicated how you knew him (friend, coworker, family, etc.). Your friend got an email asking him to confirm, and if he did, you were linked. The site would then show all your connections. I was fascinated by it. I often looked up someone I knew, and discovered they were on the site and we were already connected through three or four different paths. The first degree on my end of each of those paths would be unique, and I knew for a fact that those people had never met each other. Six degrees indeed.

With no services beyond entertaining procrastinating college students to offer, folded in a year or two. But when Friendster came along using the same networking idea it didn't take me long to get hooked on that too. It's a fantastic way to while away the hours temping, and since I'm constantly working with new people, I always have new people to stalk search for. Plus, having lots of "friends" gives me an amazing feeling of validation. Really, it's like the perfect website for me.

But now Friendster's not cool any more. Well, I don't think it was ever cool, which makes it all the more baffling that MySpace has become the website. Why??? It's like the worst web design I've ever seen. I mean, ugly aside, which I guess is a matter of taste, I find the navigation counter-intuitive (Why isn't there a search box on every page like on Friendster? Why does it take so many clicks and endless page loads to add a friend?), the number of fictional profiles, profiles for TV shows and movies, and fake friend requests I get drives me nuts, and it's fucking slow. I guess I'm a web traditionalist, but I just don't want my networking site to play music or video at me. That's what YouTube is for. It also makes it harder to browse at work safely.

Oh yeah, and speaking of work, because MySpace asks and displays my sexual orientation (one of the few features I actually like, 'cause Friendster can be annoyingly vague on the subject), I get ads on the site for gay dating services full of shirtless, groping boys. Of course I'm a fan of shirtless, groping boys, but it's not exactly office-appropriate. And since they also ask for and display my relationship status, what's with all the dating ads anyway?

So, um, yeah, I've come to resent MySpace a little bit, because I'm hooked on the Friendster, and while it remains a pretty vibrant site (they've added most of the same extra features as MySpace, but in my opinion they've done it much more elegantly) people don't seem to be joining it like they used to. And I'm definitely a joiner, so I felt like I had to get on MySpace to stay... relevant? cool? validated? connected? All of the above, I suppose.

But wait! The Youth of America have proven themselves as fickle as ever, and there's already a new networking site making the rounds. As the name implies, Facebook is college-oriented, and I discovered it through my young friends at Undisclosed Location Summer Theater last year. It's got a very simple, attractive design, and lots of fun features for networking and playing. My favorite element is photo tagging – like all of these sites you can upload photos to an album, but Facebook lets you "tag" the photo to indicate who's in it. If those people are your "friends," the photo shows up in their profile too (you can remove tags of yourself if you don't like them). I mean, that's just cool. I also like that you get to tell it how you know someone (which the other person must confirm, of course), and there are many options including the tongue-in-cheek (I hope!) "We hooked up and it was _____. It went down in ____."

I gather that some of these kids just live on Facebook. You can update your "status," which most of my friends seem to use for jokes, or for general statements, but the defaults include "at work," "at a party," and "at the library," as if you're supposed to change it every time you go somewhere (I guess this isn't all that different from my other friends under 25 who leave their instant messenger on 24/7, with absurdly personal away messages, but that's another post).

So here's the problem. Well, two problems. One, I have very little to do right now, so I've gotten a little hooked on validating my self-worth by having lots of online friends in general, and Facebook in particular. Two, Facebook is, as I said, geared towards college students. They've added high schools and companies too, but to join you have to have a network, and an email address that matches that network. (There are geographical networks too, but you can only get into those after you've joined with another one.) I have an alumni address from my college, which is how I was able to join (and in fact how I got on in the first place, 'cause some of my interns last year harassed me about it), but my contemporaries are few and far between (my college class, 1997, has 12 people on Facebook; the class of 2001 has 71, and 2006 has over 500) and almost my entire network consists of people from the summer job. Like I needed another online addiction and something else to make me feel old! The sad thing is, I think it's be best of these sites.

So, readers, I beg of you: If you have a .edu address or your company is on the list, please join Facebook and help me feel popular enjoy this time-wasting networking website!

As a side note, with all the time I've been spending on FaceFriendSpace, I've outed myself as a blogger by putting Judgment Call in my profiles. I mean, really, everyone and his mother has a blog these days, it's hardly something that needs to be kept secret at work anymore. I don't plan to change the way I write – I'll still be vague about jobs and coworkers – but maybe some new people will click over here. (And hopefully the first post they see will be something less boring and geeky than this one!)

Thursday, August 24, 2006


The Face Transformer is fucking creepy.

Easier to quote others than to write myself

Real post to come, but first a fun meme via melz3000 and mcm.

It's simple enough: Go to the Random Quotes Generator and share "the first five quotes that reflect your outlook on life."

Well, I'm not sure I found my outlook on life (in fact I think I'm a little more cheerful than this), but these are the first five that stood out to me as re-quote-worthy.

The worst loneliness is not to be comfortable with yourself.
-Mark Twain (1835 - 1910)

Nothing takes the taste out of peanut butter quite like unrequited love.
-Charles M. Schulz (1922 - 2000), Charlie Brown in "Peanuts"

Whatever God's dream about man may be, it seems certain it cannot come true unless man cooperates.
-Stella Terrill Mann

Transported to a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first woman she meets and then teams up with three complete strangers to kill again.
-Unknown, Marin County newspaper's TV listing for "The Wizard of Oz"

It is better to be quotable than to be honest.
-Tom Stoppard (1937 - )

Monday, August 21, 2006

Catching Up (by the numbers)

I've been home for about 19 hours.

In that time, I've watched 6 episodes of Project Runway (1 more to be all caught up) and 3 episodes of Battlestar Galactica (all caught up).

It's nice to know that all that time away from home hasn't changed me.

More updates to come!