Friday, June 29, 2007

Cash Cab Tidbit of the Week
Maybe I'm not "with it." But up until this week, I had never heard of a Prince Albert piercing before.
Life was better back then.

(Note: not for squeamish, easily-disgusted readers. Seriously)

How annoyed am I by this article about celebrities not getting free iPhones? Specifically this part about Liz Rosenberg, regarding her client Cher:
"I haven't been successful in getting one for her," the publicist said, adding that she might have to stand in line for Cher or find a fan to do so. "Doesn't winning Oscars, Grammys and Emmys entitle her to move to the front of the line?"
Give me a fucking break. Why the fuck should it? Is Cher really better or more valuable than the rest of people on Earth? Maybe donating money to charity or helping cure disease should entitle moving people to the front of the line, but not this shit.

Fuck you very much, Liz Rosenberg.

Yesterday I come home from work and turn on my TV (with a Time Warner DVR / cable box), only to find that the guide doesn’t function, the channel-line-up is wrong, and trying to get to a channel by pressing the number buttons on my remote leads it to go to Channel 0. I attempt to automatically reset it, which doesn’t work, so I disconnect the box from the wall socket and plug it back in, hoping it will reset the system. The box starts to boot, then flashes one dire word in bright-green letters: FAIL.
I call Time Warner Cable and get a recording informing me that there is a wait time of “19-32 minutes.” It asks if I’d like to leave my info and have them call me back instead of waiting on hold. I’m dubious, but indeed I do. About 30 minutes later I do get a call back, but a recording immediately puts me back on hold. A few minutes later an operator finally picks up.
Over the next 25 minutes, our conversation is peppered with his helpful nuggets of info such as “that’s unusual,” “let’s try this,” or “I’m not sure why that’s happening.” We try various methods of resetting the box, all of which are unsuccessful. Finally he tells me I’ll have to schedule an appointment with a technician, but that he won’t have anything until late next week. He suggests that I’d probably be better off calling back first thing in the morning, as for some reason they would suddenly have weekend slots available, and then he puts me on hold.
Interestingly, as I’m on hold the cable suddenly starts working again. Except that I can’t access any of the shows I’ve saved. When I try to access The List, a message pops up telling me that there may be a problem with the hard drive and asking if I’d like to reset the system. When the operator gets back on the line, I ask him and he tells me no, I should manually reset it by hand. Which I do. And ever since that moment, my box has been on a continuous loop of starting to boot, shutting itself off after 20 seconds, then turning back on and trying to reboot again. Yes, this has been happening for 19 hours straight (at least I assume… definitely 13 ½, as that’s when I left to go to work).
But let’s back up a bit… after a few minutes of this constant rebooting, I’m telling the operator what’s happening, and he starts to make another suggestion when he suddenly says that his supervisor says he’s spent way too long on the phone with me and that I have to schedule an appointment with a technician. Then he hangs up. I call back and am told that the wait time is now 40-55 minutes, and since I’m going out, I don’t bother doing anything else.
I call back this morning, as the system is still stuck in its loop, and talk to another operator. When I tell her I need to schedule an appointment with a technician, she curtly asks “But what is the problem with the box?” I describe the situation, and she informs me that there has been an outage in my area and that the rebooting is a matter of my cable box unsuccessfully trying to find a signal. Therefore I don’t need a technician or a new box. I ask her why my technician last night didn’t know and tell me this; she says she doesn’t have an answer for that. I ask her if I can schedule an appointment with a technician that I will cancel if it turns out I don’t need it; she laughs and says no. I ask how long it should take for the cable to be restored; she says she doesn’t know. She asks if there’s anything else she can do for me today; I tell her it doesn’t seem that way and hang up.
So basically here’s where I’m at: in theory the cable box is fine, and once service is restored from Time Warner’s end, it’ll start working again. I think that my first operator should’ve told me to leave it alone, but after his meddling I fucked up the box. I’ll have missed making a weekend appointment, which means I’ll either have to wait until late next week for one to come (and be without TV until then), or go to the sales center on 23rd St. and swap out the box, which entails an endless wait and losing everything saved on the hard drive, as they have yet to figure out a way to transfer data from one box to another (the first operator told me that, saying it’s baffling but true).

Fuck you very much, Time Warner Cable.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Today I was doing research for a Cash Cab question about Chaser tablets, which when Googled lists this site at the 8th result. Clicking on that link brought me to LSTT archives for July 2004. Reading over it, I'm elated at how much I used to enjoy this site... and saddened by how lazy I've gotten (and surprised at how uncensored much of what I wrote was). Maybe my life at MTV was more interesting than I give it credit for. Anyway, give it a read if you've got some time, as I won't really be posting anything worthwhile today.

Well, except for this link to the Worst Commercials Ever.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Holy crap, is this Jack Handey article in the latest New Yorker funny! Now if only he would actually make that movie...

Actually you may as well read all his articles.

Remember the days of Brokeback Mountain, when I caught a temporary obsession with recut trailers (note exhibits A, B, C, D, E, F, and G)? Thanks to this Goonies vs. Pirates of the Caribbean trailer, I'm hooked again. Dang it.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Cash Cab Tidbit of the Week
I'm back to finding the oddest nuggets of trivia. For example, did you know that before manufacturing video games, Nintendo opened a "Love Hotel" back in 1963? So basically they went from catering to people who only want sex to people who never get any (ba dum dum!).

You know what's been bugging me a lot lately? People wearing huge backpacks on the subway who don't take them off their backs when they sit down. It's bad enough that the seats are barely small enough to fit a normal-sized person... now you're gonna take up twice as much room because you can't be bothered to put your damn bag on the floor? Are you scared someone's gonna steal it? Or are you just a lazy selfish jackass?
You know what else really bothers me? That Paris Hilton is (allegedly) getting paid $1 million for an NBC interview once she gets out of jail. Even more appalling is that after ABC offered $100,000, a source (which the New York Times claims is Paris's father) turned it down, saying that amount was "in a completely different galaxy" than NBC's bid. The Hilton family is worth $300 million dollars... do they really need this money? And why should she get paid at all? Is it to justify her spending the time in jail? What happened to Paris accepting responsibility and serving because it was the right thing to do? Hell, I'd be tempted to spend 23 days in jail for $1 million. Sickening.

So this post isn't completely negative, here's a website I approve of. I've always been one to pull for Mattingly making the Hall of Fame... glad to know I'm not the only one.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

I just wrote my 1,000th Cash Cab question. That currently puts me at 3rd place of all time in terms of prolific Cash Cab writers. Not bad for my being here just over one season. It's an almost Griffey Jr.-like start to my career. Hopefully I don't slow down the way he has. I should be able to overtake the guy at #2, who wrote 1,542. But there's probably no chance of reaching #1, who has 3,320 (and counting).
If you want to help the cause, feel free to e-mail me questions.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Hmm, kind of link-heavy today, but here goes...
- This Rocky in 5 Seconds actually lasts about 10 seconds. Damn liars.
- Here's a well-made montage of the timeline surrounding Lost's crash of Oceanic 815.
- Look how cute Jason Bateman was on Silver Spoons. Ricky Schroder in drag, not so much.
- This guy also dislikes some critically-acclaimed music such as The Beatles and Nirvana. But who the hell is he to judge?
- Finally, a few weeks ago I posted about a study finding that people whose ring fingers are longer than their index fingers are better at math. Now this week's New York magazine has an article about possible genetic traits found in homosexuals. It includes the fact that most men's ring fingers are longer than their index, and most women's index fingers are longer than their ring; in gay men and lesbians, that is reversed. So women have short ring fingers... long ring fingers indicate math prowess... this goes to prove, once and for all, that WOMEN SUCK AT MATH.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Here's an interesting article in which artists discuss an album that everyone else likes... but they don't. Their arguments are, for the most part, well-thought-out and articulate. Except for the one about Pet Sounds, obviously...

And while we're on the subject of people disliking stuff, here's an amusing list of the Top 10 Unintentionally Funny TV Intros. Very 80s-centric... but that's no surprise.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Wake Me Up With the Go-Go’s
Last night I dreamed that I was at a Go-Go’s concert. I was my current age, but the Go-Go’s were at their circa-1985 age. It was a small venue, and I was standing very close to the stage. During “Head Over Heels” (my favorite Go-Go’s song and #38 on my Top 100 Songs of the 80s), Belinda Carlisle invited me up on stage to play the bass solo. Now I can’t really play guitar (I can play a few songs, badly, such as Metallica’s “Unforgiven,” Eric Clapton’s “Wonderful Tonight,” and the Rolling Stones’s “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”), but I’ve never touched a bass guitar. Which turned out not to be an issue, because she gave me an acoustic one. I told Belinda that I didn’t know how to play it, and she said she’d teach me. Suddenly we’re sitting by ourselves on an empty stage in an empty auditorium (dreams are funny that way), and she’s showing me the fingering to play the solo. But I just can’t seem to get it right. Then I come to the realization that I can play the solo by using the six strings without any fingering (which I know not to be the case, even with my poor guitar skills). I show her I can do it, and she applauds giddily. Then my alarm went off and I woke up.
Weird, huh?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Wonder No More
Remember how excited I was when Ion Television started showing repeats of The Wonder Years? It's now been more than 2 months since then, and I've watched every episode since that post. Yup, that's 5 hours of TV a week (well, more like 3 1/2 being able to fast-forward through commercials... thanks DVR). And while I was happy to discover that the first 4 seasons were as funny and poignant as I remembered them, lately it's gone significantly downhill. The main problem is that as he got older, Kevin Arnold became much less likable. At this point (I'm in the final season), he's manipulative, rude, whiny, selfish, lazy, backstabbing, cheap, egotistical, and just plain mean. How do you relate to, and sympathize with, a protagonist like this? Basically I'm rooting for things to go wrong for him. I'm almost tempted to stop watching... fortunately I think that this week should bring the series finale, so I may as well tough it out.

Another problem, pointed out to me by Tommy Himself: the pilot episode mentions the only kiss Kevin and Winnie ever shared, but by the end of the show they were making out all the time. So much for continuity.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Well I'm back at Cash Cab. It's been just over two months... hopefully that's enough time to have recharged my question-writing batteries.
A few things have changed since the last time. First of all, the quota has dropped from 30 questions a day to 25. Secondly, this season will be Cash Cab: After Hours. No, it won't be transforming into Taxicab Confessions. But it will be taped at night, feature slightly edgier questions, and target drunken hipster contestants instead of yuppie ones. All of the above should make the work a bit easier.
And one last Cash Cab note... host Ben Bailey is up for a Daytime Emmy tomorrow for Outstanding Game Show Host. He's up against some stiff competition: Meredith Vieira, Pat Sajak, Alex Trebek, and (in his final year) Bob Barker. I doubt he'll win. But I'd like to see any of the other nominees host a game show while driving a cab in New York City traffic.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Yes, I liked Knocked Up. Probably not as much as everyone else, and probably not as much as 40-Year-Old Virgin, but I liked it. But I am loving these fake outtakes, which I'm sure everyone has already seen. But just in case:
- Michael Cera getting fired.
- James Franco being a jackass.

Also, I hope that new NBC co-chairman Ben Silverman wasn't kidding during this Q&A:
What about recruiting Freaks and Geeks creator Paul Fieg and Knocked Up director Judd Apatow?
Don't think those e-mails have not gone out already.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Spoiled Sport

I don't think it's as good as my Who Wants to Sex Mutombo t-shirt, but this spoiler tee is great. Don't look too closely if you haven't seen / read / watched The Empire Strikes Back, Planet of the Apes, The Usual Suspects, "Dallas," Fight Club, 300, The Matrix, Citizen Kane, Soylent Green, A Beautiful Mind, Donnie Darko, Psycho, The Sixth Sense, The Village, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," The Crying Game, The Wicker Man, and The Others.
Sorry for the lack of posts lately, but work has been consuming my life. I'll start picking up the pace later in the week.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Two brothers were working together in the office where I was in an edit. They were probably in their late 20s or early 30s, both married (or at least both sported wedding bands), and if they weren't identical twins, they were damn close. Besides the genetic similarities, they both had the same facial hair, both wore black t-shirts with cargo shorts, both wore the exact same sneakers, and both sported the same close-cropped haircut. Totally nice guys, and I have nothing against them whatsoever. But it just made me wonder: at what point should this end? It's cute when twin toddlers are dressed the same. For grown men, it's just creepy. And how did it happen? If they're both married, I'm guessing they don't share a house. How do they know what they'll each be wearing? Do they check in with each other each morning? Do they shop together? And the hair. Did they talk about it beforehand? Or did one of them grow a beard first, and the other one decided that looked good and followed suit? If I had a twin and the other was copying my every move, I'd probably get annoyed.
Never mind, I'm just rambling.

Also, it's not bad enough that this guy is bound to a wheelchair... now this has to happen? And why is the last 911 caller so hysterical?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Bite Me
Last night at 2:30am, I wake up with an itch on my right ankle. I scratch it and try to fall back to sleep, but it's still itching like crazy. Then so is the sole of my left foot. And my left bicep. I turn on the lights and discover I've got mosquito bites on all three spots.
I can't see a thing, because my contacts are out, so I put on my glasses and try to spot the little bloodsucker. No luck. I want to go back to sleep, but I keep thinking that the mosquito will bite me again. So I completely submerge myself under my sheet. It's really hot under there, but I refuse to leave any part of my body exposed.
After about an hour, I still haven't fallen asleep, so I take a chance and expose my head to cool off. Big mistake. A couple minutes later, my right cheek starts to itch. Bitten again. I'm being attacked on all fronts (much like Tony on Sunday night's awesome episode of The Sopranos). So back under the sheet I went. And that's where I stayed until dawn.
There were no more bites, but also practically no sleep. Overall a terrible night (much like Sunday night's nearly-unwatchable episode of Entourage).

Monday, June 04, 2007

Well, I'm back from L.A., where I worked on a shoot for an MTV movie special on the stunts of Live Free or Die Hard. We flipped a car 100 feet off a pipe ramp, where it hit the ground and flipped over several times (with a stuntman inside), and also had a stuntman run away from a car moments before we blew it up, sending the car 15 feet in the air. To give an idea of how powerful the explosion was, our safety guy actually asked the stunt expert, "Is it possible that the earplugs [which everyone within 300 feet had to wear] the stuntman is wearing can melt in his ears, and if so, how will we get them out?" It was a unique experience, to say the least. I'll try to upload photos in the next couple days... just need to get pictures from other people who were there, as I was the idiot who forgot his camera.
I've always told people that I don't want to move to L.A., even though I've never really spent much time there. After staying there for 5 nights, I stand by that statement more than ever. True, I was staying in West Hollywood (right next to the Kodak Theater), which is like staying in a cross between Times Square and South Florida. But I just don't think that L.A. has any character. It's so filled with strip malls and donut shops.* And I developed a smoggers cough, which I wasn't too fond of. So New York City, I'm here to stay.
On the plus side, I got to hang out with one of my best friends from high school, along with his wife and their 3-year-old son. During dinner, the wife and son were looking at a book with educational exercises. One of them asked which of 4 items in a series does not belong. The first example had a hamburger, a sandwich, a hammer, and a hot dog. The son pointed to the hamburger. I shook my head, thinking "Uh-oh, the kid's a dummy." The wife asked why the hamburger is different, and the kid said "Because it has seeds." Sure enough, the burger's bun was the only item in the series with seeds. Turns out he's not a dummy; he's actually smarter than the test.
One last note... I took a car service home from Newark Airport last night (er, more like 1:00 this morning). I don't remember how the subject came up, but my driver explained to me that he used to be a member of the Israeli Mussad, and that when he moved to the U.S., the mafia hired him to "retrieve" money people owed. He actually said "I was a killer, is all I'll say. I can break your neck like that." Needless to say, when he called me a "health pansy" for not drinking coffee, or when he berated me for complaining that NYC is an expensive city to live in, I didn't feel the urge to disagree.

* Not only are there more donut shops per square foot in L.A. than anywhere else in the country, but a large percentage of them also sell Chinese food. What a strange combination.