Landis’ Ride

So Floyd Landis may have an epic ride today in the Tour de France (and it really was amazing), but I think OLN’s commentary was as bad as his ride was good. I’ve watched the Tour on television for years and years (I caught Tour Fever when Greg LeMonde won in 1989, and it’s never gone away), and this was possibly the worst single day of commentary ever, in a year that it must be said, is particularly bad. Without Lance Armstrong, the OLD commentary team just doesn’t know who to focus on and swing wildly from hour to hour as to who is the new God of Cycling, who’s failing. Also, while it was probably happening even when Lance was riding (but less noticeale, because it was all about Lance, not some random guy in 100th place), the commentary is horrendously slanted towards the American riders.

Things that do not endear your vehicle to me

I am constantly amazed by what (mostly American) car makers think will entice me to buy their cars. Quite often, the qualities displayed in their car ads are reasons to not buy their cars. These things to do not make me what to buy you car:

  • Cops, even if chasing a completely different car, will surround your new car and force you to stop so they can gawk at it, before continuing their chase. So if I buy you car, not only will I be aiding criminals in their pursuits, but I’m likely to be constantly late for appointments as cops pull me over to look at my car.
  • As I drive past things, they come to life, leaving me to be chased by a horde of robotic toys, while destroying some poor cart-vendor’s business; making everyone in my vicinity’s cell phone ring, causing drying laundry to drop off the line, and even make the Golden Gate bridge play music for me, thus sending tremendous vibrations across the bridge deck. Ummm…no thanks.
  • While driving my nice sports car, the exterior will peel off, flaking away as I drive, revealing an uglier sedan underneath.
  • Occasionally, while turning corners, my car will suddenly split into 2 new cars. Ok, that could be cool. Sometimes I wish there was 2 of me. But the scary part is that some random time after that, my doppelgänger car will slam into the side of me, to recombine into one car.
  • Driving your car is apparently so intense that I will get a workout equivalent to running. I like running, I do. But it would not be fun for my heartrate to elevate to that degree everytime I drive my car.

    It should be noted that there are ads that do make me want to drive your car. The current set of VW ads are a case in point – the whole “safe happens” campaign. What with Liam in tow, safety is suddenly a much higher priority for me. I also quite like the (I think) acura commercials where the wipers are automatic, so the driver gains an extra 1/8 of a second to do something. I like the tongue-in-cheekiness of that ad.

    I’m sure there’s tonnes of other car ads that, if taken literally, would make the car a really bad choice. If you can think of any, please feel free to post them in the comments.

Jim Emerson’s 102 Films

Taking from Kottke’s listing of Jim Emerson’s 102 films ‘you just kind of figure everybody ought to have seen in order to have any sort of informed discussion about movies.’, you can see which of those movies I’ve seen over at 43 Things. I’ve seen, I think, 73 of the 102. Many of the movies I haven’t seen, I haven’t even heard of – the older European (non-French) films, mostly, and a couple of the Japanese ones. My knownledge of Japanese cinema is limited to Kurosawa.

Post your a link to your list in the comments, and we can all compare how geeky we are (or not)

Beware the Easy Button

So I really7 like the Staples Easy Button ad campaign, for one particular reason: I think it’s great that the “Easy Button” is dangerous. The commercial where the dude gets teleported into the closet. Or the one where the dude is sitting on the button, so it starts raining office supplies. These things are sheer brilliance, I tell you. I love the idea of selling ‘too much of a good thing is a bad thing’.

Them Oscars

So I semi-watched the first half of the oscars, while hanging out with Liam yesterday afternoon. I’ve a couple of observations:

  1. When a team won an oscar (always technical), if the team involved a man and a woman, the man ALWAYS spoke first, to give his thanks, while the woman looked on anxiously. Normally this resulted in the woman only being able to get one thank you in, after the man had, oh, a dozen or more. In one case, the poor woman didn’t even get to speak. So what’s up, Hollywood?
  2. Jon Stewart, I have to say, fell flat. His humour did not go over so well there, even though he had Leah and I laughing out loud at one point during the opening. I look forward to the self-recriminations that are sure to follow over the next few episodes of the The Daily Show
  3. If there’s a technical Oscars, why are things like Costume, Make-up, Set Design included in this telecast? Aren’t those technical skills? I’d go so far as to include the Scoring oscar in the tehcnicals, and leave the telecast for the actors & directors – that’s who the telvision audience wants to see at any rate.

The new Mac Mini

So, Apple has released new Mac Minis. My question still remains: Can the Mac Mini replace my VCR/PVR? Can it be my TiVO? And why, for the love of god why, is the hard drive so small? 80GB? that doesn’t even fit my music, let alone record any tv shows for me. Because once I have to add an external drive, the elegance of it is lost. Is this upgradable?

What I’d like is for someone, probably Apple, to show me a product page/instruction page that shows me how to make this the hub of my home entertainment centre. Because that’s what I want. Oh, yeah, and I gotta be able to use my TV as a screen. I’m assuming that with the DVI out, that can hook up to modern TVs? Does anyone know this?

Update: According to this guy, it works great with TVs. Now, I wonder how I can convince Leah we need this….oh yeah, I’d still need an external drive, just to jack the price a little higher…

The superbowl

I watched the superbowl on Sunday. I’m kind of a closet football fan – I’ll watch football if I get to, and I don’t really care who’s playing, normally. That said, I was excited to watch the superbowl. I’ve been a Seahawks fan since my mum brought me back a Seahawks Jersey from Seattle when I was a little kid. I wore that hideous teal-colored jersey for years. Long before I had any idea that it was a football jersey, or knew where seattle was. Once I learned about footbal, I learned to love the Seahawks. And the Patriots. Because they were both lovably terrible. Not like the Bills, who were frustratingly good back then, and were my “local” team.

Most Superbowls are actually pretty bad games, more about the spectacle than the sport, and this game was really no exception. A dull first-half, punctuated by a couple of big plays by the Steelers and it was done. What really pissed me off though was that this game was totally Seattle’s: They completely dominated the first half. Except virtually every big play they had was called back because of a stupid penalty. I have no idea how many yards they lost due to penalties, but even that would only count yards from scrimmage, not “potential” yards, which would have made it huge. They could easily have come out of that first half up by 3 scores, instead of down 7-3. And the kicker!? How do you miss 2 field goals (Admittedly, 50 yds) indoors? There’s no wind!

Oh well. At least the Seahawks can safely stay in the lovably ineffectual pile now. There’s something satisfying about cheering on a perennial loser. It’s like you can safely cheer because there’s no expectations for success – there’s no need to boo or be despondant when they fail. I wonder if the Red Sox lost fans after winning the World Series? I was never a Red Sox fan, but if I were, I could imagine losing interest once they won. I certainly lost interest in the Pats once they won the Superbowl.

C’mon, enough already!

So I’m watching CSI: Miami tonight. In the show, there a crime spree based on a video game. So, of course, it’s a terrible show. All crime shows where the crime spree is based on a video game are ridiculous, with crazed, psychopaths with no concept of reality. Also, like all other game-based episodes, the game-company owners are less than helpful. In this particular episode, the game creator refused to divulge the contents of the video game, claiming trade secrets, or something. Which, of course, it totally stupid – anyone who plays the game would find these “trade secrets”, and in the real world, every popular game gets a “game guide”, often created by the game’s publisher, which, you know, reveals the game’s “trade secrets”. And if you have to please a board & shareholders, stopping a killing spree based on your game is going to help your share price far more than it becoming public that you actively obstructed an investigation. Stupid show.

Update: so apparently (and I should have guessed this, because no one but the guilty is such an asshole on cop-shows) the game-developer was actually behind the killing spree, giving guns to gamer-kids to play out his game in real-life as some sort of completely bizarre viral-marketing ploy.