July 31, 2002
Bad Teen Soap Operas and Jimmy Buffett
Last night, after some significant pain involving a balky P2-400 giving up the ghost, I settled down to watch me some television. Two shows were on simultaneously: The MTV "Gen Y" soap opera Undressed and CMT's reruns of Austin City Limits.
Undressed: O the writing, O the acting. It was painful. It was like listening to Brittney Spears Interprets All Your Favorite Songs With A Dance Beat And A Lot Of Wailing. The plots seem to go something like this: Twentysomethings playing teenagers acting like they're twentysomethings are horny, and they want to have sex with just about everything that has breath. Stupid hijinks ensue. Thing is, they seem to sleep together, but it doesn't seem like they ever have sex; they kiss a lot and act like that's intercourse, as if this is 1955 and kissing will lead to marriage and 50 years of twin beds. The acting was abysmal. The writing was even worse. A good soap opera is a mix of plausible relationships and implausible events. The relationships on Undressed are wooden yet paper-thin, as plausible as a dining room set made from balsa wood. The implausible events here are implausible, but not in a campy soap opera coma/tidal wave/fatal hangnail way; instead, you're left feeling that you've just watched a guy with ten seconds of experience writing downright awful erotica fulfilling his lifelong dream of getting a bunch of twentysomethings playing teenagers acting like they're horny twentysomethings to be as stupid as his pointless and impossible scenarios. This has to set a new low water mark in the soap opera genre. It's so bad it passes through good and returns to bad again. And here's the scariest part of all: It's exec produced by Roland Joffé, as in The Mission and The Killing Fields. Then again, as in Super Mario Bros and the over-the-top Demi Moore version of The Scarlet Letter.
Austin City Limits: CMT bought 27 years of ACL tapes and are reshowing some of the best (and earliest) shows. Last night it was Jimmy Buffett, 1984. Three things:
- He had hair back then.
- The crowd was surprisingly old -- mid 30s or so. Didn't see a lot of 20-somethings. And 18 years between then and now is about when you start asking "Why did they ever dress that way?"
- I've always thought Jimmy was overrated (partially because of the Sweatervest's obsession with him), but I think I've changed my mind. Unremarkable songs played extremely well live. If he didn't become the big recording artist he is today, I could see him living on a houseboat and playing bars, frat parties, and cotillions all over central and south Florida. Thing is, seems like he's pretty close to that now....
Note that I am finally using the title function. It's blue.
July 28, 2002
On the ride back from
On the ride back from the M's game today (1-0 heartbreaker to the LA-California-Anaheim Angels -- A team that has moved three times while only using the moving vans once) we were on the $2.50 Metro shuttle heading up 5. Twice on the ride up the woman sitting next to me comments on "the homeless" in the way someone comments on "the pigeons" or "the kangaroos." Maybe more like if you saw kangaroos crossed with flying rats. "Look at the homeless!" like they're both exotic and highly undesirable.
That annoyed me. Say what you will about them, but they are people. On a related note, there were these two morons who decided being homeless meant getting a cardboard box and some Mad Dog.
Posted by dylan at 11:01 PM
How behind in pop culture
How behind in pop culture am I? I only today discovered that The Two Towers trailer is online.
Also today, some comment on this urban legend about putting a certain e-mail address in your Outlook address book. It's amazing how people with little knowledge of computers -- with downright fear of computers -- can be sucked into these urban legends. A basic understanding of epidemiology and genomics (even more than computer science) would tell you that computer viruses have no "silver bullet" outside of vigilance and a good, frequently updated (that is, NOT DELAYING THE UPDATE EVERY TIME IT POPS UP) virus protection software package.
Two things separate computer viruses from viruses in nature:
1. It's very easy to mutate a software virus or worm -- open it up and make your changes. It's not near as easy to do it with, say, a poliomyelitis virus (as seen earlier).
2. It's very easy to prevent a software virus or worm -- save (don't open) your attachments, turn off Outlook's features that automatically run scripts with your e-mail, get a good virus protection bundle and keep it running AND updated. Most of all, remember that things are NEVER EVER what they seem. If you think that Bob in accounting is sending you a love note, he's not. Truth is, no one loves you but yourself.
Posted by dylan at 11:54 AM
July 25, 2002
$75M in the hole, Salon
$75M in the hole, Salon is starting to really look desperate. Now they're hosting blogs.
And the inevitable has happened -- obese people suing the fast food giants. This is very different from the tobacco cases, since McDonald's has never sold their burgers as healthy while one tobacco company had doctors endorse their cigarettes. For that matter, it may taste good, but fat is not chemically addicting like nicotine.
I shudder to think what's next -- maybe a guy suing the garlic growers because his bad breath cost him a job?
Posted by dylan at 10:42 PM
July 24, 2002
You'll all be disappointed to
You'll all be disappointed to know that clientandserver.com will remain in my possession for the next two years. I got Register.com to straighten out the domain mess finally. You can check the whois if you're planning one sending me something nice.
Posted by dylan at 03:46 PM
Serendipity in cooking is a
Serendipity in cooking is a good thing. Highlights of last night's dinner:
Chicken Breasts in Mustard-Beer Sauce
- 1 lb chicken breasts (basically one breast split in half; you can cut up the chicken if you prefer)
- olive oil
- 1 bottle of Alaskan Amber (or any beer in the amber/pilsner family. I prefer Alaskan Amber over canned beer because of step 4)
- 1/4 cup big-grained mustard (like Plochmann's Natural Stone Ground. You want the seeds in there. I think I used a deli mustard that had a little horseradish)
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- grind or two of black pepper
- 1 tbsp vinegar (optional -- I used white balsamic because it was closest at hand)
- Put in a little bit of olive oil into skillet and heat it to med-high or so.
- Add chicken and brown it on each side.
- Reduce heat. Open bottle of Alaskan amber and pour about half of it into the skillet. As it boils try to get some of the crusties off the bottom. Add the mustard, thyme, and pepper (and optional vinegar). Stir.
- Increase heat again and boil down the mustard-beer-thyme until the sauce thickens, stirring occasionally. Drink the remaining beer while you're waiting (See? You want Alaskan Amber here!)
- Serve with a nice salad.
2 pints of strawberries with their tops cut off and then slivered, a couple of tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, and some sugar to taste. Toss. Eat. Heaven.
Posted by dylan at 12:25 PM
July 23, 2002
I now have my Winamp
I now have my Winamp playlist displaying over there in the far right column.
Posted by dylan at 08:44 PM
My faith in the world
My faith in the world continues to be shaken. Now the Second Law of Thermodynamics doesn't work for microscopic systems.
Posted by dylan at 01:26 PM
Submitted without comment: One Hundred
Submitted without comment: One Hundred Albums You Should Remove from Your Collection Immediately.
Posted by dylan at 08:59 AM
July 13, 2002
Hopefully I haven't completely botched
Hopefully I haven't completely botched my blog template from the work I've done.
TV Guide has released its 50 Worst TV Shows list. Since the XFL is #3, I'll relate the following story:
Last year, we put some items in the church auction, among them my old 19" television from college (since we had upgraded a few months before). Someone there set up the TV to prove that it worked, stuck on the rabbit ears and went looking for channels. Inexplicably, this person put the XFL on.
At one point during the evening I'm checking over the bids for the television and someone came over to ask me about the television and its assumed value. I told him what I paid for it in '94 and that I guessed it was probably worth between $75 and $100.
"$100? Does that include the XFL?" he asked me.
Maybe you had to be there....
Posted by dylan at 11:34 AM
July 11, 2002
While I'm thinking about it,
While I'm thinking about it, a big HOWDY to the Changs of Boston, who have been nice enough to put a link to this here blog on their own web diary, Changnet.com. Hi George. Hi Becky. Seattle is still treating us well. BTW, your picture's not coming up on your archive pages....
With Susan getting a blog going shortly, expect some traffic revisions on this site in the near future.
Posted by dylan at 03:38 PM
You know, just because it's
You know, just because it's possible to do something doesn't mean you should do it. The human race is toast, folks.
A child takes a crayon and draws a black rainbow
Over a city where nobody is
What are they thinking, these small-minded people?
That they can decode words on the wall?
(IMHO, one of the best albums released in the 90s. If anyone out there has a CD copy of this they'd like to sell me for a reasonable price, please drop me a line. The second worst three word phrase in the English language is "Out of print." [The worst is "This won't hurt."])
Posted by dylan at 03:31 PM
July 09, 2002
GRRR. ARRRGH. (Apologies to Joss
GRRR. ARRRGH. (Apologies to Joss Whedon)
After 11 innings, Citizen Bud calls the game. Why? Just because. Doesn't matter that we played the damn All-Star Game until we dropped before. Doesn't matter that we played 13 in 1987. (That was a great game....) Oh no. Bud calls the game. Just as the game gets interesting, he 86'd the denouement. Then, he runs for his life and whines at the postgame press conference about the fans.
And they wonder why a strike looks more and more likely. I personally wish God would smite him and the head of the players' union, Donald Fehr. Sadly, that won't happen.
Posted by dylan at 10:17 PM
After a few years of
After a few years of musical malaise, we get two albums in short succession that either bring hope that the corporate hegemony don't have complete control over music -- or are a swansong for decent music. Those albums? Yankee Hotel Foxtrot by Wilco and Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots by the Flaming Lips.
Posted by dylan at 04:33 PM