Friday, November 30, 2007


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Insert Richard Gere Joke Here

(And insert "insert" joke here.)

From Cute Overload.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A Word From Our Sponsor

Responding to comments and clarifying...

Yes, MCM, that actually solves the mystery of the non-commercial-commercial break in NPR's podcasts completely. Thanks! (I still think Ira Glass sounds silly saying sponsor tag-lines though.)

And I didn't mean to imply that fast-forwarding through ads is BAD. I certainly don't watch commercials on my DVR because I feel morally obligated to support the fine people who pay for my programming. Mostly I'm just lazy. I was talking about all the griping about how networks' websites and and the like make you watch an ad before your video starts. I mean, hey, if users can find a way to skip that, more power to 'em. I just don't blame the content-providers for trying to get paid is all.

On the "DVRs are cool" front, I recently caught the tail end of an ad that had a banner over it saying something like "Press A on your remote for more information." I hadn't been paying attention and it went away just after I looked up. When I rewound, it was gone, so whatever it was it was live and presumably would only have worked for the brief time the message was on the screen. It has nothing to do with fast-forwarding, but it's a pretty cool way of making things more interactive and therefore more interesting. I'm certainly not in the market for a car, but if I'd seen the banner in time I would've pushed the button just out of curiosity!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Playing Catch-Up

Sorry I've been so absent lately. Lots of stuff going on...or, for a good chunk of time, absolutely no stuff going on, which stressed me out far more than lots of stuff would have. I've been thinking about blogging and my three remaining readers a lot though. So here, in brief, are some of the things I thought about blogging about, finally blogged about.

Annoyed as I get by holiday overload, I'm totally willing to compromise and accept the concept of the "holiday month" that's apparently taken hold. Y'know, October is Halloween Month, November is Thanksgiving Month, December is Christmas Month. Valentine's Day gets short shrift 'cause it falls in the middle of February, but I feel fine about that. But the brilliance of this scheme is that nothing overlaps. We finish Halloween and start on the turkey. Then the sales usher in Chrismukah (technically the last Friday in November, but I like to shop so I'll allow it).

But these pictures were taken at my local Duane Reade (NYC's drug store ├╝ber-chain for you out-of-towners) on September 29:

September!! Seriously, people. This is NOT OKAY.

And speaking of the seasons, can I just say that I HATE daylight-saving time (Grammar Girl tells me that's the correct way to write that)? Or maybe I love daylight-saving time; I'm never sure when we're on it and when we're off it, which is one of the things I hate about it. But mostly what I hate about it is the way it's now dark when I get out of work at 6 pm. I guess because 6 am seems a wholly unnatural time for me to be awake anyway, on the rare occasions that I am, darkness feels quite normal, but a pitch black early evening just depresses me.

Speaking of work (you liking these segues?), I have a new temp agency. Reason #1 to hate them is the fact that they've only managed to get me one day of work (and it was low-paying reception work at that). Reason #2 is that they make you mail in your timesheet, but don't provide a postage-paid envelope for it. I don't know if this is actually standard, but it's 2007. If you still require an original timesheet (as opposed to a faxed or online version) to release my check, and don't provide direct deposit, I think the stamp should be on you.

And speaking of checks, does anyone hate the Visa Check Card ads as much as I do? You know, the ones where the store is like some sort of machine and then someone tries to pay with cash and everything comes to a crashing halt? I love my debit card, I really do, but last time I checked it's not magic, or even all that futuristic. What's up with these people in these ads who just swipe and keep walking? No PIN? No receipt? No putting of purchases into bags? Barring especially math-impaired cashiers, I don't think my debit card is actually any faster than cash, however convenient it may be. Not that commercials are meant to be good reflections of reality, but for some reason these just drive me batshit. Maybe it's the misappropriation of Danny Elfman music.

Speaking of commercials, why do people keep bitching about them? Have DVRs really made us into people who expect something for nothing? I know I'm weird but I kinda like commercials. Even though I've been time-shifting my TV for years (working at night and knowing how to program my VCR and all) I still forget to press fast-forward more often than not. And I do still watch live TV, especially these days when I'm home during the day while Boy is at work and the hours of Law and Order on TNT call my name. Or I use the commercial break the way our forefathers did, to get a snack or pee. And every once in a while I see something entertaining, or I'm made aware of a new product I might actually want to buy or TV show or movie I might want to watch. Though more likely I remember halfway through the break that I don't have to watch Sarah Jessica Parker prattle on about her skin and skip ahead. Where was I going with this? Oh yeah, free rides. With all the new online video options, I'm seeing a lot of reporting that says they're "free...with a catch." Yeah, that's kinda how it works. Personally, I'd rather watch an ad or two than pay $1.99 for a TV show (normally "free" on my TV) on iTunes. Does any "free" content not have ads? The "free" podcasts I listen to have sponsors. Even the classiest websites have some sort of advertising. Ira Glass saying "When you get into a Mercury, it gets into you" at the end of This American Life is utterly ridiculous. But that's what makes it freeeeeeeeeee. Suck it up.

Speaking of (extra-bad segue) NPR... since I only listen to them in podcast form, can someone who listens on the actual radio please explain the bizarre musical interludes that seem to be a part of all NPR shows. They sometimes seem to last forever, and never seem to serve a purpose. Once in a while I guess the music relates to the story somehow, or is a show's theme song, or provides a transition between two pieces, and I can see how in a live show the anchors might need a breather, but This American Life is recorded, and most weeks Ira Glass doesn't really have to do much on-air, and it's public radio so there's no commercials, and yet Ira says, "Blah blah blah, when This American Life continues in a moment," as if he were going to a commercial, and Usually bad and/or annoying music. Carefully chosen, I'm sure, by some music geek who thought that "Summertime" on a toy piano was the perfect tongue-in-cheek piece to accompany the story about wildfires (I'm making that up), but... why? Why waste my time? Why make me listen to "Summertime" on a toy piano? You don't have commercials, so why not keep just keep going? It's worth noting that my friends who are amazed that I still watch any TV live, who will start recording a show and walk away if they happen to want to watch something currently airing, are the same friends who are obsessed with This American Life (in fact, are the ones who got me into it), and they have never once complained to me about this colossal waste of their time, during which there's no possibility of any useful information coming their way, of which there is at least a small chance during a commercial break. They're reading this, and they know who they are, and maybe they have a good explanation. Is it different on the real radio than on the podcast? Do tell!

Speaking of...nothing connected at all... my new phone takes surprisingly good photos! (From a wedding we attended at a 13th-floor penthouse on West Street.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Is it wrong...

...that I'm kinda excited about the writers' strike because I'm way behind on the DVR list and my Netflix Queue?