You are what you watch.

TV, Movies, Web, Books, and other extraneous things, and why some are worth your time and money - mostly

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Play Underwear iBoxer in Orange

Play Underwear iBoxer in Orange
Just a quicky tonight. If this is not the gayest thing I've ever seen, then I don't know what is.

The sad thing is, there have been times where I've actually been walking around my house in my boxers, listening to my iPod, and going where can I put it? I'll tell you one thing, the elastic strap won't hold it.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Invasion: the best thing on TV

I've officially decided that Invasion is the best show on TV right now (although I can't speak for shows I've never watched.)
Although I'm not usually a huge sci-fi fan, I gave a couple of the new Sci-fi shows a try at the start of this season (read my reviews here), I've since given up on Threshold, it began inching toward stand alone formulaic episodes really quickly, and the characters really bored me.
Invasion is just getting better and better. I'm about a week behind, I just saw episode 8, and well, it's mindblowingly awesometastic. It takes testicles (big ones) to frame a conflict over one character hiding from another character the fact that she'd been... we're not exactly sure yet, but probably abducted by aliens, without giving much more spoilers, anyway the episode set it up as a fight between a married couple, like any serious fight they might have about the husband keeping secrets. The way they fought, quietly, menacingly, passive aggressively, the way he lied boldly to her over and over again, and tried to patch things up by suggesting they have a baby together, it was just amazingly written, like it almost wasn't a sci-fi show at all. In fact part of what makes Invasion great is that it takes seemingly normal family drama plots and gives them the slightest dash of sci-fi creepiness.
It's walking a thin line right now between being mysterious and annoying, throwing us little crumbs while tantalizing us with the suggestion of a whole bakery of goodness. As long as those crumbs keep getting more substantive, and the characters get more ambiguous (especially creeepy but maybe not so creepy Tom [I think he's actually a good guy]) the show will keep getting better.

Of course I have my critiques of the show, but this is a post about how great it is, I'll nit pick later.

PS. If for no other reason, watch for Eddie Cibrian, pictured above. He's uber hot and occasionally seen semi-naked (ie. showering, remember this is network) or with noticeably bulging boxer briefs. And an episode earlier this season featured a skinny dipping teenage boy, also very hot.

Monday, November 28, 2005

American Airlines: We Like Gay People!!!!

While, unlike many liberals, I have a healthy respect for corporate America and the thin line they walk between making a profit and not inciting boycotts from Christians, Jews, Muslims, Evangelicals, Atheists, Vegans, loggers, environmentalists, Asians, African Americans, homosexuals, democrats, republicans, labor activists, child safety experts, the FDA, the FCC, the SEC, extraterrestrials and the Illuminati, sometimes they go too far and pander, which sort of sickens me. I find pandering self-important and condescending. Just listen to this:

"American Airlines and American Eagle have a long history of proudly serving the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community."

While I'm glad they haven't been kicking trannies off flights, if you're not either directly catering only to homosexuals (like a gay bar, cruise, or bookstore) or in a field that normally discriminates against us (Churches and the military come to mind), it's not exactly something to be proud of.
Airlines have no idea who their customers are (they can barely remember that I'm a vegetarian, no matter how often I tell them) and they're in no way changing their services to cater to us (pumping Sondheim instead of Muzak, Go-go boy flight attendants... mmmm.... go-go boys), they're basically just desperately looking for a wealthy market to exploit. If rednecks had money and not us, you can bet there'd be a mullet and a beer can on this page instead.

Slight retraction, hidden at the bottom in small print, are their pro-gay credentials:

We know that you have many options to choose from and many airlines to consider - which makes us especially honored to report that in the 2005 Readers Survey by Out Traveler magazine, American Airlines received the most votes as the "gold standard U.S. carrier for hospitality and service."

For our progressive and fair-minded policies and employment practices, American Airlines is the only airline in the nation to earn a perfect 100% score four years in a row by the Human Rights Campaign for its Corporate Equality Index (CEI). We proudly share that symbol with you, too, as a way of underscoring our welcome.

Good for them.

Almost immediately, I'm beginning to feel bad about this post. It's terribly insensitive. Fifty years ago anyone at American Airlines would have been fired and blacklisted for being gay. It's nice that we're past that stage. That doesn't mean I hate shameless pandering.

PS. Thanks to Queerty for tipping me off to this sight.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

A Parable on the Futility of College Application Essays

A few years ago, I was discussing books with a friend of mine. We had both just finished different books that we had loved and were dying to tell each other about them.
Mine was a murder-mystery set within the Catholic church. What a coincidence, so was hers.
Hers involved all sorts of medieval symbolism intimately related to solving the case. So did mine.
Both books involved conspiracies to suppress knowledge dangerous to the church.
Both were bestsellers.

The inevitable swap was made. My book was Umberto Eco's ruminative The Name of the Rose. Hers was the Da Vinci Code.

Moral of the Story: Covers aside, you can't judge a book in 250-500 words.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

iPod Shrine Contest

So the blog Gizmodo is having this build an iPod shrine contest.

But, you may be saying, that shrine isn't at Gizmodo. Damn Right. that's mine. I entered that last night. It doesn't come off as well in the photo so I compensated by over analyzing the symbolism. Here is the text, straight from my submission letter:
I thought the most appropriate material for the iPod would be to show it atop it's slain foes, including the discman, the walkman,, the CD, the tape, the record, the photo album, the floppy disc, the CD-RW, the USB flash drive, the deck of cards (admit it, who'd play real solitaire when it's so easy on the iPod), and it's newest conquest: TV on DVD.

It is also surrounded by five carefully chosen symbols.

1. The apple is pretty self explanatory.
2. Noah's Arc represents the iPods ability to contain seemingly disparate music, like The Black Eyed Peas and Steven Sondheim. (Note the arc is placed on top of the discmen, each of which could only hold one album at a time.)
3. The boggle cubes represent the randomness of shuffle and rest atop a walkman, since the walkman forces you to listen to music in the order the man tells you to.
4. The Swan represents the iPod's sleek, graceful design.
5. The gargoyle represents the iPods shrewd intelligence and it's planned obsolescence (ie. now that the new ooh ahh video iPod has released, my black & white, click-wheel barely a year old, already seems like an antique because of Apples shrewd marketing.)

Alas, this shrine could have been much more ably decorated if I still had the corpses of the five iPods I've had replaced because they'd been fried. Then I could have placed them where now only a symbol stands.
So wish me luck.

PS. Now I'm totally embarrassed, I just noticed all sorts of typos in the e-mail I dashed off at 2 am last night., which I have now corrected.

PPS> non sequitor: if you haven't seen La Dolce Vita yet, do yourself a favor.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Ads - I feel Great!

I feel Great!
I'm a sucker for good commercials, and I feel bad for not posting for such a long time, so here's about thirty entertaining seconds for your day.

Monday, November 21, 2005

New Look

I was kind of sick of stumbling on blogspot blogs that had the exact same design as I did, so I took some time and fiddled with the template to create a new design. Now I know bubkis about HTML, so everything I did was trial and error, but I think it looks alright for a beginner. The old design will be pretty easy to bring back, what with it being a basic Template, so if you, dear readers prefer it the old way, or if I made some aggregious errors in the HTML and it's buggy or doesn't work on explorer (I specifically designed with my browser and monitor in mind, thus the new narrower margins), tell me and I can change it.

Also, every site I looked at gave color in six digits, but Blogger templates use three, so I had no idea what colors I'd end up with when I put in numbers. I settled on black partially because it was easiest. (I figured out that each number refered to saturation of a certain tone, red green and blue, but didn''t want to waste time manipulating it to get interesting new colors)

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Gay Actors - Gay Parts?

Pretty much the entire gay blogosphere (what a terrible word, blogosphere) has been talking about the NYtimes article that points out that all the gay characters in upcoming films this year are played by straight actors. I wasn't going to hop on the bandwagon, but well, here I am.
I've been arguing about it over at Naked Came I, you can go read the dicussions if you want, I just thought I'd take advantage of the hot topic and shift it over here.
To summarize the argument:
Tim says that a straight actor, like the stars of Brokeback Mountain, because they are not gay, cannot bring that inherent gayness to a role, just as a white person could not adequitely portray a black character.
I say: Actors are called upon to act like they do things that they don't really do all the time, that's their job. Whether or not a character is actually gay, they can portray homosexuals in the same way they can portray cowboys, murderers, schizophrenics, robots, or hobbits without anybody stopping to point out the inherent falseness in their not being any of those things. Hell Gay-for-pay is one of the most popular genres of gay porn out there.

This is really about a lot of much more complicated issues, like "What is homosexuality?" and "How do you seperate the art from the artist?" Not too mention all the questions about homophobia, stereotypes, celebrity culture, and Hollywood in general. I'd love to keep explaining all my thoughts and opinions on the subject, but I have to read like 150 pages of Anna Karenina tonight, so I need to stay away from my computer if possible. I'll talk more tomorrow maybe...

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Totally unoriginal thoughts on TV plus an apology with an extra aside about Tron thrown in to sweeten the deal

Theaters seem overwhelmed with second-hand ideas ripped from TV shows, comic books, books, and other movies. While some of these movies are good, and many more make money, I wish there was more original content out there. Yeah yeah, there's no such thing as a new idea, and I know people are more likely to see something if they're already familiar with it. But it's depressing, as a writer, to see that original ideas are no longer being rewarded in the marketplace. There's no obvious solution to this pandemic, since even if the movie buffs who are bothered by this trend boycott (and most already are, I'd assume) millions of ignorant, illiterate hicks are still forking over cash to see and own the Dukes of Hazzard.

Sorry to be away so long. I know my legions of readers (ha, that's a laugh!) have been waiting with baited breath for my next post. Unfortunately, it's just been a couple days since I had any interesting thought. JK. Actually, I got buried under school work, specifically a history debate where my team was me and a stoned slacker whose ebonics were so heavy that when he did say something, I couldn't understand him. Also I spent a lot of time figuring out was wrong with my iPod. Turns out, nothing, it's my computer that's fucked up. "Hey guess what, don't worry about the asthma, you got lung cancer!" So I've been in a pretty foul mood this week. I'm glad I'm back, and if you are a reader of this blog, please comment, I'm desperate for validation and encouragement, my ego needs stroking. Shit I'm getting needy, I'm so sorry.

In other news: I saw Tron last night, and all I'll say on the subject, for now, is :"What the fuck was that?!"

The motor-bike-thing from Tron, one
of many illogical if pretty set-pieces
from the movie

Saturday, November 12, 2005

How to Sell a Movie (or Fail) in Four Hours - New York Times

How to Sell a Movie (or Fail) in Four Hours - New York Times
The New York Times has yet another article on the movie industry. Apparently people only see movies they've heard of, the money's in the DVDs, oh and piracy still sucks.

So basically, same as last time they reported about the film industry.

Save Arrested Development!! Petition

Save Arrested Development!! Petition

To: FOX Network

For the second consecutive year, Arrested Development, the most brilliant comedy on television today, is in danger of getting cancelled. Reports indicate that it's episode order is getting cut down to 18 to make room for the premiere of American Dad on May 1st. This is terrible news, and we need to do something. Make your voice heard. Save the genius that is Arrested Development Today!!!!!


[Your name here] - 'Arrested Development' gets the ax - Nov 11, 2005 - 'Arrested Development' gets the ax - Nov 11, 2005

Friday, November 11, 2005

Instant Classic: Brothers Donathan

Instant Classic: Brothers Donathan
FInally, my favorite Web Comic updated!!!!!!!! It's been so long Instant Classic, please keep up the good work.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Inside Higher Ed :: Is College Application Becoming too Easy?

Inside Higher Ed :: Efficiency or Mediocrity?

Let me tell you from the other side of the process, absolutely not.

This article pissed me off so much I don't even know where to begin. It makes me want to smash my monitor if I thought it would send a message to Teddy O'Neill instead of just destroying my monitor.

See Teddy (the article refers to him as Theodore but I refuse to grant him the diginity) thinks that on-line application, especially the common app are destroying college applications.

A good college admissions process “is not like computer dating — it’s like love letters,”

And other pretentious bull shit. The idea that an already pressured and overworked teenager, one who, because of guys like him, is already breaking their back doing college level work, wiling away in all sorts of extra curriculars and taking some thirty hours worth of standardized tests.
And he thinks that what we really need is to fill out all of the stupid little forms (name, age, mother's maiden name) by hand and write different essays for each school, which would quickly add up to dozens of different essays.
Well as a students, schmucks like him piss me off. He has our futures (theoretically) in his hands, and he wants to be treated like a special princess. Bugger off.

Thank god I'd rather slit my wrists than go to U of C. [no offense to my neighbors at the U of C, I just can't stay in the neighborhood/am not a socially inept shut-in like all of you]

Alias: Why have you forsaken us?

I just watched the newest episode of Alias, and well, we are not amused. Alias is officially tired, cliched, and formulaic. The new characters are boring as hell, the old characters are all in ruts, even Sydney, who's pregnant, the new villain is lame, the old villain is now pathetic to watch, oh yeah and the episodes are boring. It makes me sad/sick watching how much it's sucking this season, and wondering if I should just give it up...

PS. Worst line of dialogue tonight:

"You were going to kill me, anyway."
"But I would have felt bad about it."

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

My Posting Frequency May be a Little Low This Week

because George RR Martin FINALLY CAME OUT with his new book, that is. This is a total nerd bust, but I actually went into Borders and just stroked the cover of it for about five minutes. And it was worth it.
I should be getting a birthday copy tomorrow morning, after which school work and college applications may fall to the way side. I mean who needs college next year when I can have medieval incest right now.
If you're not familiar with George's books, you can read up on them at Amazon or in the centerfold ad in the weeks New Yorker, which was another total nerd moment for me.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Boing Boing: Cinemas as police-states: why box-office revenue is in decline?

Boing Boing: Cinemas as police-states: why box-office revenue is in decline?
Another interesting take on the slow spiral down the crapper the film industry is taking.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Happy Hundredth Post!!! [oh yeah and I talk about prejudging movies]

First of all, as you can see from the title, this is my 100th post. I had planned something exciting for this, like a best of column, or a pic of myself, or outlining my personal philosophy of active media consumption (hey that sounds familiar). But I didn't and I really want to post anyway, so I'll put it all off for the 111th post, (yes, it's a LOTR reference, yes I'm a nerd, and yes, I'd do every member of the fellowship. Yes, even the dwarf.) Now down to business.

Looking over my last post, I realized I implied that Daredevil was a bad movie. Now, I'm almost certain it is a bad movie, but I haven't actually seen it. Obviously there were lots of good indicators that it's a bad movie, not the least of which was bad reviews, and the presence of Ben Affleck who is bad news for any movie except Dogma and Good Will Hunting. There were all sorts of little cues besides the press that led me to believe that I would not really enjoy Daredevil, or that I might be pleasantly stimulated by the wash of bright colors and loud noises on the screen, I might even care a little about what happened (I have disgusting capacity for emotional investment in movies) but would have come out of it wanting my two hours and ten dollars back.
But like I said, I haven't seen it, so is it right for me judge it?
It's sort of a catch 22 you can't really know for certain if you'll like a movie till you've actually seen it but you can't give every movie a chance. This is less of a conundrum with obvious wastes of time like Yours, Mine, & Ours than with movies that seem like they could go both ways, like Walk the Line, it could be really good, or it could be a rehashed middle-brow oscarbating formulaic bio pic. (Reviewers tend to like these, so there's no way to tell)

But you can pretty much guess a movies quality from it's trailer. I guess this is sort of the trailers job, to convey to you what the movie is going to be, but they might make more money if they made the movies at least look like movies we want to see. [check these videos out]

Bittorrent bad news

Is it worth going to prison for this?
From the BBC: a Hong Kong man is being sent to prison for three months for using bittorrent. Poor guy, and for such bad movies, too; Daredevil, Red Planet and Miss Congeniality. This is pretty big news since no one has ever been sent to jail for using bittorrent before.
I myself never download movies from bittorrent [other things we'll discuss another time]. I was wondering about one of the things the article said though:
When anyone downloads a file it becomes a source for others, making it easy to share or trade music or movies, but very hard to trace who has uploaded or downloaded the material.
I kind of thought that the opposite was true from what I'd previously heard on other sources, which I can't find at this instant. Either way it's worrisome. Thank god I don't live in Hong Kong.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

New York Times Film Business article

Naked Came I
OK, just wanted to post this really interesting article from the Blog Naked Came I. Some of his numbers are a little funny (note that he used the same marketing budget for every movie he talked about) but his basic premise is pretty good: stop making shitty movies and people will see more movies.
But this is only part of the problem, after all it's the bigging of the Oscarbation season, when pretty much every "high quality" movie comes out, mostly to poor box office. Part of this is over saturation, if all the "good movies" come out around Oscar time, then most won't get seen simply because of the number of films out to see, then in the rest of the year there simply aren't any good movies so people don't go to the movies at all. OF course shuffling the debut dates probably won't do too too much for film sales, since most of the "quality/artsy" movies have limited appeal anyways (I mean how many people wanted to see Hotel Rwanda in the first place)
MAybe it should be make fewer shitty movies and give the good ones a chance.
As for the shitty movies, the vast majority of them are adaptations sequals, remakes, or adaptations of of Tv shows. Maybe hollywood needs some original ideas, instead of relying on familiarity to draw people to the theaters. I mean isn't the whole point of going to the movies to see something new and different, not something rote and familiar.
Not too bash adaptations, lots of the "quality" movies are adaptations and remakes, too, not to mention the blighted biopics, which are so routine there's really no point in seeing them.