The TV post (Spring ’11)

I usually end up making these type of rants posts this time of year because it’s at the point where the frustration has built and I need to trip the release valve. Well, frustration and just general commentary.

For instance, “V“: I wrote about this previously, and, well, I’ve bailed. I don’t know what happened to the production or writing of the second season, but when a major plotline is the Visitors’ obsession with finding and destroying the human soul—well, I should hope the ludicrous nature of this is evident in itself.

Plus, the “science fiction” aspect of the show finally diverged entirely into “fantasy.” Last week’s episode highlighted the human resistance creating a “DNA bomb” that would, I guess, scramble a person’s DNA (which the Visitors are purportedly collecting). Um, what? I didn’t know we had such crazy technology. And never mind the Visitor method of collecting DNA samples from humans: giant spiked Iron Maiden-looking devices tortuously exsanguinating the victim for a single small vial’s worth of DNA. Um, hello? We have this advanced technology known as a “cotton swab” which does the same thing.

So I’m done with “V”.

That’s the big one. I’m still watching and enjoying (to various degrees) “Hawaii Five-0”, “The Event”, “Law & Order (Various Flavors)”, “American Idol”, and the other usual suspects. I think I doze through the various “CSI”s.

Hawaii Five-0” I enjoy because there’s not a lot of thinking involved, and it looks good. My brother has the amusing observation that they are some sort of crazy Gestapo force but I suppose to a certain extent that’s what makes it entertaining.

The Event” is definitely filling in certain roles left vacant by both “Lost” and “24”, a fairly decent show (not dragging out the mysteries too much like “Lost” did) though lately the editing or something has been really choppy; when they jump from plotline to plotline, it’s never quite obvious what timeframe they’re dealing with, as you go from one storyline that’s taking place in the middle of the day to one in the middle of the night.

I finally concluded that each thread must be self-contained and not happening concurrently—otherwise someone producing that show has to get their editing and sense of time straightened out.

Not too much to say about “American Idol” yet other than, I’m glad the assholes were booted last week, and damn, that Hailey girl acts like she’s pole dancing on stage. My nickname for her is Stripper Pole.

And the first rule of this season’s Idol drinking game: take a shot every time Steven Tyler uses the word “beautiful.”

NYTimes on Bend (late review)

I don’t know how I missed this the first time around (December 23rd, probably because I don’t read the New York Times): Where Timber Was King, the Golf Club Replaces the Ax.

I don’t really know what to think about this article. I certainly can’t relate to it, it’s aiming for the affluent and reeks of elitism. A little fisking, anyone?

WHEN you own a home in the sixth-fastest-growing region in the country, you worry about letting the cat out at night because of the coyotes howling in the forest. You scribe fresh powder turns down 9,000-foot-high bowls and muscle bicycles through high-desert hills. At some point, perhaps on a fairway between Holes 4 and 5, you wonder whether those lonely volcanoes lingering on the skyline will ever blow. The thing you rarely do is call your town rural.

Dammit, I do call my town rural; I grew up rural, that’s how we are. We actually did lose a cat to coyotes, growing up. I don’t ski, I’m sorry to say, nor do I golf. So far, it’s failing to hook me.

Albert Angelo Jr., an owner of a family-run development company, bought in Bend for its 300 annual days of sunshine and the 4.3 million acres of public land just beyond his floor-to-ceiling windows. He plans to divide his time between his houses in Vancouver, Wash., and Palm Desert, Calif., and his new $3 million, 5,100-square-foot single-story house in Pronghorn, a resort on the outskirts of town.

“When I look out my Pronghorn house facing north, I see a covered patio with a 10-foot-diameter barbecue pit, a pop-up plasma TV and a view of the golf course – but of a putting green, so my house won’t get hit by golf balls,” Mr. Angelo, 59, said. “You have a good lifestyle down there.”

Okay, I totally cannot relate. I’d say this guy’s idea of “a good lifestyle down there” is completely out-of-sync with the reality of Bend.

About 300 people are on a waiting list to purchase another dozen town houses at the Bluffs at the Old Mill, a neighborhood with views of the Mount Bachelor, Broken Top, and Three Sisters volcanoes.

Again with the volcanoes. In my day we just called them “the mountains.” And for everybody wondering about the high real estate prices, look no more… the 288 people on that waiting list who won’t get a choice home want to go somewhere…

Bend’s proximity to trails for hiking and cross-country skiing, coupled with a bustling vibe, appealed to Stephen Johnson, 29, a salesman from Medford, Ore. In November, he bought a new 1,933-square-foot, two-story weekend house for $215,000 in southeast Bend. “It still feels like a small town but with more amenities that make it a fun place to visit,” he said.

Holy shit, there was a two-story, 1,933-square foot house for sale in town for only $215,000 as recently as November? Who did he have to kill to get the place for that cheap??

When Benders aren’t bouncing through the 370 inches of annual snowfall at Mount Bachelor, about 30 minutes west, much of the après action centers on Wall and Bond Streets, downtown’s two main arteries. Today, you’ll find no hardware store off the brick sidewalks, but should you seek information on a $2.75 million resort home or wish to make a donation to pierced buskers outside Bellatazza coffee shop, you need walk only a few blocks.

First of all, that should be “Bendites,” not “Benders”—we’re neither (mostly) drunks nor a certain sarcastic cartoon robot. Second of all, don’t remind me that there’s no hardware store downtown—it was a sad day when Masterson St. Clair finally closed down. But it’s good to know I can find that info on that $2.75-mil home, that’s important. Otherwise, this whole paragraph? Pretty much reeks of narcissistic self-importance. “Après action” and “pierced buskers” my ass.

Bend is 94 percent white. The joke among locals is that diversity means Subarus of different colors.

I’ve never heard that joke. I’ve lived here most of my life.

Okay, that’s enough. Go read the article, even if it bothers you as much as it seems to have me. I can’t help but wonder if they’re writing about the same town that I live in…

Tarding down literature

Does this sound like a good idea?

Woe un2mnkind! The text message is trying to summarise the great poet John Milton and a respected academic thinks this may be a smart new way to teach literature.

A company offering mobile phones to students has hired Professor John Sutherland, professor emeritus of English Literature at University College London, to offer subscribers text message summaries and quotes from literary classics.

The hope is that messages in the truncated shorthand of mobile phones will help make great literature more accessible.

So butchering the classics into text-messaging shorthand that are barely understandable will make them more accessible? Oh, this is so, so wrong.

First of all, there’s no “teaching” of literature going on here; you might as well be getting summaries of last night’s episode of “Lost”—only reading “MadwyfSetsFyr2Haus” would not entice me to pick up Jane Eyre.

Second of all, what does a professor emeritus of English Literature even know about text-messaging shorthand? Jeez, I don’t know much, but the examples they give seem contrived even to me.

Third, what self-respecting teen would subscribe to this service? Here’s a hint—those of us who, as teens, were into literature and could quote from various works really, really weren’t a part of that crowd. If you wanted to be part of that crowd, well, you wouldn’t be getting literature on your phone, as it were.

Via Slashdot.

Update 11/17: CNN has a better article which has more on the pushback against the service.

MySpace rant

I’ve been seeing lots of referrer hits from MySpace on my site lately, so I thought it was apropos to point to this article on Kuro5hin: MySpace: A Place for Dolts. It’s just too funny not to, and it’s full of great soundbites.

You see, when you sign up for MySpace, you instantly have your first friend. You’re immediately best buddies with the most popular person on MySpace: Tom. Now, to understand the stupidity of this, you have to understand that this is a social networking mechanism; if I’m friends with John and John is friends with Sally, then Sally is syllogistically my friend, and if I visit her profile it will tell me just that: “Sally is in your extended network”. But if EVERYONE is friends with Tom, then there might as well not be an extended network feature at all, and he is defeating the purpose of his time and his website. Basically what I’m saying is, Tom is a dumbshit.

But there’s a reason why none of this matters. There’s a reason why he wins even though he programs in Cold Fusion (I have yet to meet someone who uses Cold Fusion and isn’t a complete moron), even though he has no sense of style or ergonomics, and even though he’s lazy as hell: he gets an enormous amount of money from the website. Movies, bands, dating services, clothing companies, non-profit organizations, and even the US Army advertises on MySpace.

Ah, you gotta love cynical internet rants.

See also Movable Type Rant, a pointer to another great Kuro5hin piece.

Yahoo is cold calling me

My wife fielded a call this afternoon from a telemarketer looking to speak with the owner of (which is what I use as the registrant for my domain names), and was confused to find out it wasn’t a business he was calling. This wouldn’t be noteworthy except for the fact that the guy identified himself as working for Yahoo! and was trying to sell their Pay Per Click ad service.

Since when does Yahoo—or any of the big internet players, for that matter—resort to telemarketing? Cold calling no less? I would have thought that Yahoo especially would know better. I may or may not have looked into their ads in the future, but I’m pretty sure I won’t at all now. Here’s a hint: I don’t like telemarketing. I used to work for a telemarketing company in Spokane, so while I can totally sympathize with the individuals who have to actually make the day-to-day calls and deal with people that basically hate them, I really, really don’t like the companies/corporations behind telemarketing, especially the ones trying to sell something. It’s a sleazy business.

In the interests of transparency, here’s the info from call: the number was 888-254-2716 (toll free, which was kind of odd), and the person my wife spoke to was Walter. He specifically identified himself as working for Yahoo. I Googled the number (heh), but didn’t find much, just enough to indicate that it points to Yahoo/Overture.

Extending daylight savings time?

This may possibly be the dumbest idea ever: Congress may extend daylight-saving time. Come on, are you kidding me? What a monumental waste of… well, everything. Jesus Christ, if you really need that “extra” hour of daylight, just get up an hour earlier.

And that whole “The more daylight we have, the less electricity we use” line is a crock of shit, too. Think about it.

Yeah, strong feelings against it. I’ve ranted about daylight savings before. I just think the whole concept is retarded.

Wikipedia, as usual, has an excellent article on daylight savings, worth reading.