Archive for the ‘TiVo’ Category

Our friend Paula (no not that Paula, another Paula) told Sarah about this show.  And they were able to watch an episode together at a conference.  When Sarah came home, we TiVo’d a bunch of episode and we have probably not stopped laughing since.

The premise of Tosh.0 is very simple: Tosh, the host, shows clips that were posted on YouTube and then he makes fun of them.  The clips are certainly lowest common denominator (dumb people doing dumb things), and frankly, it’s not really much of a step above America’s Funniest Home Videos. However, Tosh (real name Daniel Tosh) is a snappy, witty and brutal humorist.  He says things that you only think of about the clips, and then goes one step further to say things that you can’t believe he would say out loud.

In fact, Sarah and I have often wondered if the show isn’t racist. Of course, it is.  And it’s also completely sexist.  Tosh makes many jokes about women’s inability to do things, but they are such patently ridiculous stereotypes that Sarah for one has never been offended by them.  So, we assume that people of the mocked races (which includes whites, lest we forget) are not offended either (or at least they have a good enough sense of humor to be in the audience). (more…)

Read Full Post »

There’s a new (reasonably) new show called “Minute to Win It.”  The premise was so delightful, so “I want to do that” that I of course set up a TiVo Season Pass for it.

Basically, contestants have 60 seconds to complete really stupid, yet slightly challenging tasks.  And, unlike a lot of shows in this vein, there’s no threat of violence, there’s no crazy embarrassment, there’s no nonsense.   Simply: can you empty two tissue boxes, one hand per box in 60 seconds.  Or, can you flick a box of raisins from underneath a bottle and keep the bottle standing.  Or, can you kick a shoe across the rink onto a table and have it stay there.

Genius.  Stupid human tricks.  Best show ever.  Until you watch it. (more…)

Read Full Post »

I can’t say that I pay a lot of attention to trends on TV. But, it seems to me that the use of the insult “douchebag” had been skyrocketing in the last few months.

I’ve always kind of liked the word because it’s almost quaint and it was so underused in conversation.  And it feels so 1970s, like when I was a kid and we would say, They said “Bastard” on TV; somehow douchebag fits into that childish insult category.  There’s so many other insults that are used every day that to hear a weird one like douchebag was kind of refreshing.  To say nothing of the fact that it is actually an object (evidently–I’ve never actually seen one to confirm this).

Yet over the last few months, I think I may have heard it used on every show that we watch.  I would speculate that it’s been used on How I met Your Mother, Community, New Adventures of Old Christine, The Big Bang Theory, Modern Family and Chuck.  Oh and probably 30 Rock, too. (I can’t confirm this, I’m using my admittedly sketchy memory).

In fact, to confirm my suspicions I did a search and found that even the venerable New York Times has observed this increase in douchebag usage.

It’s funny as I’m not prudish at all, but I’m getting a little uncomfortable at hearing the word so much. Once in a while was fine, but it seems a little stale all of a sudden. I think I heard it three times in one night of TiVo catching up.

When it’s used that much, it’s just lazy. (more…)

Read Full Post »

ij4SOUNDTRACK: The Best Albums of the Year

morningAndrew Womack, fellow Infinite Summer player and founder of The Morning News has begun retroactively listing The Best Albums of the Year for each year since 1978.  This is a project that I have often thought about doing myself, yet never had the time to sift through all the music I have.

I was delighted to see how much I not only knew, but also agreed with his decisions.  Although if I’m honest, my list would have more metal and less new wave in it.  But the overall tenor is pretty on par with my feelings.

But, imagine my surprise to see that on the 2004 list I barely knew any of the discs at all!  I wonder what happened to make us diverge so much in that one year.

Anyhow, it’s a noble, well, not noble so much as worthwhile pursuit.  One that we can all enjoy.

[READ: Week of July 27] Infinite Jest (to page 434)

In the August 2009 issue of Wired, they have a little scroll across the bottom of one of the pages that lists  “Word Counts”.  King James Bible: 784,806; Where the Wild Things Are: 338; Infinite Jest: 483,994.  So, at almost halfway done we’ve read over 240,000 words!

Also, I haven’t sufficiently acknowledged some of my fellow Infinite Summer bloggers.  So I want to send a shout out to Infinite Tasks.  I especially enjoyed this post which takes a decidedly more philosophical approach than I did about a section that I found really enjoyable.  And Chris Forster, who gives a lovely discussion about Eschaton.  And I would be remiss if I did not mention Infinite Zombies, just because he may have written a letter here but his posts always get sucked up into spam, so I’ll never know.  (And because the posts are really thoughtful and worth reading too).

But enough back patting, onto the book.

solIt was a fun place to pick up reading.  At the small paragraph where I left off, we learn that the Statue of Liberty’s book now advertises that year’s Subsidizer.

On a couple of occasions there is the suggestion that the year 2000 is the first year of Subsidization, as they talk about things being different in the new millennium.  Although Matthew Baldwin’s argument here is very convincing which would make Subsidization begin in 2002.

And then we return to A.A.


Read Full Post »


spikeBilly Idol plagues my existence.  Ever since he popped up on the scene (my first exposure was “White Wedding”) I thought he was kind of goofy. He has some kind of claim to cred and fame from being in Generation X, and yet I have never heard a song by Generation X and I never hear them mentioned anywhere except as being the band that spawned Billy Idol.

And yet, through the 80s he proliferated with a series of increasingly stupid singles: “White Wedding” (Everyone mocked the lip thing.  And that scream at the end–come on!).  Then came “Dancing with Myself” (This guy is a punk legend? And that “sweat sweat sweat sweat” chant–come on!).  Then we get “Eyes Without a Face,” (A ballad that is apparently be profound, but really?  “Eyes without a face got no human grace”–come on!).

So, basically I can’t stand Billy Idol.  Which would be fine.  I don’t have to hear him right?  I mean it’s been 27 years since these songs came out.  But no!  I was working in the garden, which means listening to the radio.  Between 101.9 WRXP (my new favorite station) and Radio 104.5 WRFF (my even newer favorite station) I heard TWO Billy Idol songs in three hours.  And this was in the midst of an otherwise awesome collection of tunes.  And then, just to add insult to injury, TiVo had recorded a VH1 morning music block, and as I was fast forwarding through it “Eyes Without a Face” came on.

Three Billy Idols in the span of a day.  Good grief.

I can only hope that by writing this, I can purge my Idol dismay and break the curse.  And I had to include a picture of Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer just to take away the stigma of a Billy Idol photo on one of my posts.

[READ: March 25, 2009] “The Quarrel in the Strong-Box”

I’m surprised at how much Mark Twain has been coming up lately. This piece is a fable, (written in 1897), about two pages long, and is very Twain-ian.

The basic gist is that all of the money in a strongbox is vying for most important coin or bill. It begins with a simple argument between a nickle and a penny. The nickle argues (in a not-so-subtly racist manner) that the copper coin is second class, since the nickle is worth so much more. Then various denominations chime in, all arguing that they are more valuable.

It is taken to a court, where the penny argues that all coins are created equal. The judge determines that all of the coins get the same amount of interest (at the time 5%) regardless of their actual value. And in that regard they are all created equal. What happens after that is up to them to determine.

A good and pertinent fable, even if it is 112 years old.

Read Full Post »

geek1I have a Periodicals page already, but I rarely look at it or update it.  So, over the next few months I’m going to mention a magazine that I subscribe to.  When I’m all caught up, I’ll remove that page.

I was inspired to do this when I got the latest Geek Monthly. I stumbled upon Geek magazine last year when I was gathering magazines for the library’s annual magazine survey.  I really enjoyed it and when I saw the next issue it was a Futurama feature, so naturally I had to subscribe right then and there.

And since then I have not been disappointed.

They have fun geek quotes from famous and non-famous people.  Some short articles about tech gadgets and new products. And an Ask Alienware category for high tech and gaming questions.

geek2They’ve also started a Green section (this latest one has a computer built into a cardboard CPU unit…very cool).

They also have a music section (six album reviews and an interview with a cool geeky person).  This latest issue has a great interview with Will Oldham & The Arcade Fire.

There’s obviously the interview with the cover person (Zach Braff & Nathan Fillion are recent cover stars).  Plus, there’s other film-related articles.  (An interview with Wallace Shawn and an inevitable piece on Battlestar Galactica).  There also usually an opinion piece about a film or TV topic, and sometimes a debate on a subject (Film Adaptations of Books).  There’s also a regular Rant from Mark Altman, and Secrets of a Lady Geek.

As you get near the back, you get film reviews (mostly sci fi & horror, but there’s also some comedies and documentaries), and DVD reviews.   And, of course book reviews (comics and otherwise).

And then you get one of my favorite sections: product reviews.  The Office Arsenal shows awesome gadgets that you can bring to work (sadly I don’t work in an environment where Nerf rockets and Super Soakers would be appreciated.)  But the best part has to be random reviews at the back of the magazine.  Things like: MyGlowKeys, or Van Dorn Gourmets Onion Dip and Bath Bomb, or the thing that’s been making me laugh for days: FX Neo: Hard Minty Eyedrops, which has the hilarious review: “Hard. Minty. Eyedrops.  I can’t think of two more terrible adjectives for something I’m supposed to stick in my eye.  Hot stabby eyedrops?  Grating infectious eyedrops?  Nope, can’t do it.” (more…)

Read Full Post »

harpersmarch3SOUNDTRACK: THAT METAL SHOW (VH1 Classics) (2008-2009).

metalTiVo taped 120 Minutes on VH1 Classics as a suggested title (thanks TiVo), and while we were watching it, there was an ad for That Metal Show.  So, I made sure to record that as well.

The premise of the show is that three metalheads (Eddie Trunk, whose name sounded familiar–and it turns out he’s been a DJ for years in the New York area–and two comedians I’d never heard of: Jim Florentine and Don Jamieson) host a half hour talk show about heavy metal.  There were 7 shows last season and the new season has just started.

They had a brief marathon so I was able to watch a few of the last season’s episodes and the new one.  And my opinion is mixed.

I enjoyed the interview with Geddy and Alex from Rush, and I even enjoyed the Twisted Sister episode.  And yet, like with everything on VH1 there’s more fluff than substance there.  Eddie Trunk is a good host, and although he is also from New Jersey, he’s no Matt Pinfield when it comes to interviewing.  And the comedians are kind of funny in a meathead sort of way.  Because yes, even though there are ladies in the audience, the show is a guys show.

The set up is fairly straightforward–discussion of metal “news” which is often way out of date, the guests interview, “Stump the Trunk” in which 3-4 studio audience members (almost all decked in black leather) ask Eddie Trunk a question.  If he gets it right, nothing.  If he gets it wrong, they get a prize.  The last episode I watched I got two of the three questions right and was surprised that he missed one of the ones I knew).  Then there’s the Throwdown, in which a topic is discussed for two minutes: two that I remember were “Old vs New Metallica” and “Tawny Kitaen vs The chick from the Warrant’s Cherry Pie video” (See, it’s a guy show).

And so really what you get is a bunch of affable meatheads talking about music (just like high school–how serendipitous that Yngwie Malmsteen was a guest…bummed that I missed that one!)

I quickly tired of the comedians, and if the interviewees aren’t very interesting, the show is pretty much a wash.  I do enjoy the prize section (although their segment on “picking the hot chick to hold the Trunk of Junk or whatever it’s called was just foolish).  But TiVo will keep recording it and I’ll keeping skimming through.

It’s no Henry Rollins Show, let me tell you.

[READ: March 11, 2009] “Seven Stories”

This was indeed a collection of seven very short stories.  Most are a couple of paragraphs long.  I would consider this flash fiction except, well, I don’t think they really work as flash fiction.  In my experience, flash fiction is a complete cohesive story in a few paragraphs.  These were actually fairly convoluted and never really led anywhere.

In fact I would have not finished this work, except the whole thing was only two pages long.  The stories seem to tie together (there are a couple of stories where the names are the same), but I’m unclear how.  Characters are mentioned as if we know them, but they are never explained further.  I’m actually surprised it was published at all.

Read Full Post »


Because I TiVo, and since I don’t have an iPod, I never heard the Fratelli’s smash hit when it was a smash hit.  However, when I saw them on the Brit Awards, I was impressed enough to check them out.  And I really liked the debut a lot.  Costello Music was brash and snotty and a whole lot of fun.

The follow up, Here We Stand, shows the Fratellis maturing somewhat.  And by maturing that means mostly, slowing down a little and, unfortunately, making their songs a little bit longer.  Now, as anyone who has heard “Flathead” knows, the Fratellils write a great pop song.  Short and to the point.  The songs are simple, concise and very good.  However, on the more mature version, the songs aren’t any more complex, but they are a little longer.  And that’s not really a good thing. Longer songs are good when they have different parts, but just repeating the same parts MORE doesn’t make the song any more dynamic.

Having said that, the album overall is pretty good.  The songs are solid, if a little less catchy than Costello.  When I listened to it as background music I enjoyed it very much, for multiple listens.  (It was only under closer scrutiny that i didn’t like the longer song format).

Unlike most albums, I found that the last few songs were much stringer than the rest.  The first half simply doesn’t resonate.  It’s not bad to listen to, and can be quite enjoyable, it’s just doesn’t stick.  Starting with “Mistress Mabel” (the 6th song!) the album perks up a bit and the songs become more fun.  “Acid Jazz Singer” and “Lupe Brown” are the two real highlights of the album for me.  On these songs their raunchy/ silly/devilmaycare attitude really comes out.  It’s a shame it was hidden for much of the rest of the disc.

I hate to be part of the bandwagon that dislikes 2nd albums by bands.  It must be hard to know if you should repeat yourself or branch out, but I think a bit more repeating and a bit less branching would have served them well.

[READ: July 10, 2008] “Call Me Lloyd”

I don’t write about every article that I read in magazines, because honestly, that’d be ridiculous. However, this piece, a memoir, read enough like a story that it would be fun to include here. (more…)

Read Full Post »

SOUNDTRACKWRXP, 101.9, New York City

Since I’ve been talking about Sirius radio, I also wanted to mention this excellent station that was just added to our local lineup. WXRP 101.9 used to be smooth jazz. Then when they realized that people like rock, they went to this new format. It is something of a mix of classic rock and alternative (not heavy alternative, but 80s and 90s style alternative music). It is the only place (aside from my CD changer) where you could hear The Stone Roses, Live, and Pink Floyd back to back. I had the radio on the other day while I was working in the garage, and I couldn’t get over how much I enjoyed this station. It was actually a better collection of music than anything on Sirius (whose stations are actually too narrow to do this mix).

Of course, there were commercials…a lot of commercials. We’ve been living commercial free basically since we got TiVo and we listen to NPR radio stations (even 88.5 WXPN Philadelphia, a fantastic radio station in its own right is commercial free). So, it’s always a shock to hear radio commercials (they are just so terrible). What was especially weird about WRXP’s commercials is that there weren’t for the radio staples: cars and beer. All of the commercials seemed to be about debt consolidation, online dating, and free laptops:services rather than products. How weird. So, in a nutshell: great great great radio station guys. I guess I’ll put up with the commercials. (more…)

Read Full Post »