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Skipping past Writober and Nanoblomo . . ? Shit, I dunno. I'm as bored as you are.


Monday, February 05, 2007

Bracket of Commerce!

It turns out that you can rate the Super Bowl commercials and watch the ones you’re not familiar with. You can run them through a bracket to narrow them to a favorite, or just pick one that you KNOW you liked them best. After you “vote” for your favorite, you get to see which ones have been voted the highest. It’s like a sneak-peak into how stupid we are . . . and why advertising works.

shaken and poured by Scott-san on 02/05 at 02:29 PM
The Media (1) Comments closedPermalink

Coronation Time!

DISCLAIMER: I sat down to “liveblog” the Super Bowl like a girl (mostly for the ads). But to me and my thumb drive, “liveblogging” is typing a bunch of crap in real time and then posting it the next day. And not totally because we don’t have wireless working yet. Anyway, pretend I wrote and posted this in real time. Also, pretend it’s interesting. I’m gonna do some follow up to see what the “experts” think are the funniest ads. Because I’m sure they’re wrong. Stupid “experts."

We, quite literally, just got back to the house after driving from Atlanta and swinging by the grocery store in a crush of pre-Super Bowl shoppers.

Look, this isn’t going to be about the game or football, really. I suspect it’ll be more about media and the commercials. There’s only two real reasons to pay attention to the game: to see Peyton Manning fulfill his destiny with a Super Bowl win . . . or fulfill his destiny as being the Greatest Quarterback to Never Win Anything. Being a jaded, contrary asshole, I’m much more interested in the latter, but I’m not rooting for the Bears, or predicting a Chicago win (Grossman ain’t a quarterback of destiny).

FYI: The game won’t be that interesting, but I’m confident that it’ll be interesting longer than this “liveblog” will be.

So, it’s pregame time, just after 6 o’clock and I’m in my pajamas, eating grocery store sushi with Mexican beer. Good thing we weren’t having people over because the guy across the street is having a Super Bowl party (apparently) and there are cars all over the place. And parking already sucks on our street.

Anyway, who gives a shit, the commercials have started and . . . I guess they’re waiting until Kickoff. I’m predicting an ass-ton of Ford. Hopefully a masterful Geico commercial with the cavemen and not that motherfucking gecko. Maybe some good movie previews. Oh, God . . . lots of Survivor. Goddamn CBS shows.

They’re introducing the teams, now, so it’s time to focus on my sushi and Negra Modelo. Oooo, coming up . . . our National Anthem. After the obligatory commericials. (None of them new or interesting. Oh, wait. NFL channel with David Beckham. Ha! “ . . . football player in Los Angeles.”

Billy Joel started a little shaky. Awesome. Oh, wait, STILL shaky. Man, our men and women in uniform must feel so honored. Jesus. Couldn’t they get Chris Daughtry? Coming up next . . . the COIN TOSS! They’re phasing in the new commercials, and the latest Jessica Simpson / Pizza Hut collaboration blows.

Man, that coin toss was impressive.

Jesus FUCK with the lameass Ford commercials. Where’s Toyota when you need them? PLEASE don’t let this be what passes for “innovative.”

Finally, we’re done with the “Built-Ford-Tough Kickoff Show.” On to the actual Kickoff. Which the Devin Hester just ran back for a touchdown. Hey, it’s just like the College National Championship Game! Okay, now the Colts are spotting the Bears a touchdown. Starting on their own 30 and ALMOST giving up a first-down interception. A few penalties and near picks later, and the Bears come up with the first turnover.

The first Bud Light commercial (“I threw paper.” “I threw a rock.”) was okay. Doritos, eh. Blockbuster, eh. Katie Couric?

(12:17, Q1) The Bears’ offense makes its first appearance. About as inspiring as the Colts’. So, yeah, progress for Grossman and Co.

Salesgenie.com won some kind of advertising contest, didn’t they? Sierra Mist . . . eh. Man, what’s up? (Not my optimism about the future of creative marketing.)

(9:56, Q1) The Colts made the first first down of the game. Hey, fun fact: Peyton Manning has never missed a day of practice during his career. Ooooo, how did the Bears leave someone WIDE OPEN? Touchdown Colts. And then missed the extra point. (Bears lead, 7-6)

The next Bud Light commercial (auctioneer-minister) was a step up. Fed Ex premiers with some shuttle/outer space thing (guy gets hit by a comet or something . . . whatever).

(6:43, Q1) The Bears fumble (and lose) the ensuing kickoff. Man, these teams have some MAD football skills; I can see why they’re playing for the World Championship. As if to totally PROVE my assertion, the Colts fumble the ball right BACK to the Bears. Okay, I’m really over this game. Whichever team can HOLD ON TO the motherfucking ball will win. Is my prediction.

(5:45, Q1) The Bears just had their longest running play of the season to get the ball inside the 10 yard line. Three plays and touchdown. (Bears lead, 14-6)

Dude, that Snickers commercial was gay . . . and lame. Still, some church group will be all up in arms over the male liplock. After a very BRIEF visit to the game, we’re back to commercials with some minute-long, singing-filled shitpile from Chevrolet. Touching how they got Letterman and Oprah together, in the next segment. (Oh, that’s right . . . Indiana and Chicago ties, respectively.)

(3:??, Q1) Game is still going. I think the Colts just punted back to Chicago.

(2:34, Q1) The Bears just fumbled BACK to the Colts. (WTF?)

I gotta say, I’m always slightly embarrassed when the game announcers have to promote shows on whatever crappy network the game’s being played on. “Rules of Engagement?” Oh, look, the stars of the show are, COINCIDENTALLY, in the stands. Together. “If the show was a hit, they’d be in a suite.” THEN THE CAMERAS WOULDN’T BE ABLE TO FIND THEM, Phil. Jesus.

End of the first quarter. Finally.

This Coca-Cola play on Grand Theft Auto is my favorite commercial so far.

(12:17, Q2) The Colts were on the move. After third down, they’re going for a field goal. Got it. (Bears lead, 14-9)

The Garmin / Godzilla takeoff trumps Coca-Cola. Hope you were watching, because you’ll never see it again.

Peyton’s reportedly complaining about play selection, as the Bears are working wonders with lackluster play-calling. Sports commentators now (and forever) will talk about the woes of the Dome Team having to play in the rain. (Maybe ALL Super Bowls should be played in a dome until Peyton retires!) And it’s Black History Month, so we’re highlighting how a black coach is guaranteed to win the Super Bowl. Oh, wait, I’m being race-insensitive again.

Funny Doritos commercial (THEY won a contest). Careerbuilder.com. And more crap from Chevrolet. Where the FUCK is Geico?

(9:00, Q2) The Colts have put together a couple of positive plays in a row. And it’s raining hard. Y’know what’s NOT hard? Me. (This game isn’t doin’ it for me. Good thing I’ve got, like, many beers at my disposal.) I think the Colts might score, though. Oh, they do. (Still not hard.) “This is not a finesse offense,” says Phil Simms. Yeah, might have something to do with the DRIVING RAIN.

What are the chances Prince will come out at halftime and play “My Sugar Walls” with guest vocals by Sheena Easton? Or a medley of songs from The Black Album?

(6:03, Q2) Man, it’s raining hard. (Colts lead, 16-14)

That GM/sad robot commercial was mildly funny. See, Chevy? What happened to Ford? (I guess there was some previously arranged splitting up of game time for exclusive rights.)

I forgot with all the shitty CBS inside promotion that “How I Met Your Mother” is on CBS. Ooops, and “The Amazing Race All-Stars.” (Hopefully, CW will, again, be doing some liveblogging. That you’ll actually ENJOY reading.)

(1:35, Q2) The Colts turn it over on a fumble. And the Bears turn it over on the next play. Dude, every Super Bowl should be played in a driving rain.

I’m amazed I haven’t seen any repeated commercials yet. A lot of lame, UNINSPIRED commercials, but never the same one twice.)

As time expires on the first half, Adam Viniatari misses a field goal wide left. (Colts still lead, 16-14) “We’ll be back with the Super Bowl 41 halftime show.” CBS is America’s most-watched network? Really? Well, at least it’s not ABC.

Okay, I was sorting laundry until the Halftime Show started. And Prince has opened with a song recorded before the LAST time the Bears were in the Super Bowl. Sounds like he’s having guitar issues . . . well, except for on the solos. Is he grounded? Because he’s playing out in the open in the rain. Wow, even further back in time with “Proud Mary”. . . and that’s the infamous FAMU Marching 100 playing backup. “All Along the Watchtower?” Foo Fighters? Man, he’s ripping up OTHER PEOPLE’S songs. I guess we’re not getting a full version of “Purple Rain,” but that’d be awesome. Oh, WAIT. This is cool. Sadly, we’ll only get a verse and chorus . . . right? (Hope not. This is way better than the game by the way.) Okay, so a verse, chorus, and guitar solo. And the FAMU marching band.

Have we even SEEN a Pepsi commercial? (Sierra Mist, I guess?)

Okay, so I went to finish some laundry as the second half started. Came back to the Colts still having the ball. Have they REALLY run six minutes off the clock? How long did it TAKE me to do the laundry?

(7:26, Q3) Viniatari gets one, still in the driving rain. (Colts lead, 19-14)

Is Revlon making fun of gay stylists? A little? I’m really happy that, even though the commercials are earth-shatteringly funny, Coca-Cola and Budweiser seem to be rolling out a LOT of new stuff in budget advertising time. (And informal count has Bud with six commercials since 6 o’clock and Coke with four.)

(Deep in the third quarter) The Bears are pissing the game away.

Taco Bell busts out the lions and overplaying Spanish pronunciation. And CareerBuilder.com continues their entertaining Lord of the Flies-esque campaign. I bet the Bears wish they could be seeing these ads. (4:35, Q3) The Colts are driving. Get out that Golden Crown, NFL.

(3:16, Q3) The Bears manage to hold the Colts to a field goal. Penalty? No automatic first down so declined. (Colts lead, 22-14)

Federline is really funny until Bud Light busts out the axe-as-bottle-opener spot. He wasn’t even the funniest in the same commercial break.

(1:14, Q3) The Bears get a field goal. (Colts lead, 22-17)

Mark it! We’re seeing old commercials now. Which I think is remarkable, actually. Oooo, Budweiser and . . . crabs? (Funny stuff . . . Top Five, maybe. For now.)

(11:44, Q4) I really thought the Bears could claw (Ha!) their way back into the game, but then Grossman throws an interception that’s run back for a touchdown. Maybe. (Bears challenge the call. To no avail. Colts lead, 29-17)

(9:15-ish, Q4) Grossman. Another interception. Bears fans collectively wonder when this is going to be over.

CareerBuilder.com is getting more funny with each entry. (I think that was the third.)

(5:55, Q4) Are the Bears on the move? My guess is no. Not for much longer. They’re forced to go for it on fourth down (5:16 left). Colts injury slows things down. Here we go. Oh, oh, oh . . . incomplete. There are still lots of ways the Bears could win . . . none of them realistic. (HAHAHA, they’re already promo’ing the post-game show. And, for the love of God, don’t let Manning be the MVP. The Colts are winning this game on the ground.)

At the 2-minute warning, we’re going to get some kind of contest-winning commercial. I’m guessing it’s not this Honda commercial. GoDaddy.com? (Nope, saw that one earlier.) Snapple? (“It’s on the back of the bottle.” That must be it; Snapple WOULD have a commercial contest, wouldn’t they?)

The game is over now. I’m just watching to see who the MVP is. (I fast-forwarded* through three commercial breaks—stopping to watch the brilliant Comcast turtles—to find out that Peyton is the MVP. Jim Nance used the word “coronation” when presenting him the car keys to some red Cadillac parked on the field.

In summary, Budweiser had something for everyone (in the commercial-humor department, anyway), bird-shotting us with no less than nine spots. I think Emerald Nuts only had one, but it was pretty good, featuring Robert Gulet. CareerBuilder.com had an awesome concept that they spread across a few commercials. Coca-Cola’s Grand Theft Auto (in reverse) idea was masterful, which I appreciated because their other spots blew. But the only Garmin ad, featuring a map that unfolds and transforms itself into a giant Godzilla-like beast. I dunno . . . doesn’t sound very funny in retrospect, but it struck me as oddly hilarious and out-of-left-field at the time. And “at the time” was a couple hours ago, right?

* Liveblogging? C’mon, I was at LEAST 10 minutes behind for the entire game. There was lots of pausing so as to not miss any commercials. And zoomed through boring parts of the game to try and “catch up” with real time.

shaken and poured by Scott-san on 02/05 at 09:45 AM
(3) Comments closedPermalink

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Sick of School. Or, Sick AND School.

One of the crappier blogging conundrums that occurs when you’ve been away for a few (or seven) days is when you feel like you need to come up with something brilliant to justify being “gone” for “so long.” Yeah, it’s those times when I wish I had the gumption to post every day.

It’s been a tumultuous week. Most of the tumult started Friday when Michelle woke up and croakily announced that I’d need to take Mia to school. She had hints the night before that she was coming down with something, and by Friday morning, it was full-on kicking her ass. Neither of us are strep-prone (*knock on wood*), but she was convinced that she’d picked it up from Mia. Michelle was in shambles and couldn’t drive, so I took her to the doctor HMO’s urgent care center (because her doctor is a worthless, overflowing douche). Not only did she NOT have strep, but it wasn’t even the flu. Just some non-specific virus that’s caused across-the-board symptoms and from which she’s still recovering.

In the middle of all of this, we had a couple school tours set up. Friday was the school she’s zoned for, and Monday was a well-regarded local charter school. The crux of the school search is, as I’ve discussed before, the feared culture shock that our tender flower may experience if she enters a school that’s up to 75% not-like-her.

The tours were eye-opening and shone a bright light on our own prejudices . . . and those of our “neighbors.” Y’see, the school Mia’s zoned for has been called “ghetto” by many people we’ve talked to. But it fluctuates between A and B ratings . . . unlike the “South Side” schools that are solidly C- and D-level schools. Interestingly, the new community/development in our corner of town is zoned for the same school. And that area is chock-full of upscale white families. Both the elementary school in question and the high school we’re zoned for are now being extensively renovated. See how that works? The money moves in, and shit gets “fixed.” And it turns out that the elementary school, which currently has a “magnet” program is going to become a “non-zone” full magnet school in a couple years; if Mia is there when that happens, she’ll have first priority to continue on at the school. The upscale community is reportedly the site of a new elementary school that will, in essence, replace the school we’re currently zoned for. Which would be nice, but the location would be totally out of the way for either Michelle or I. (Mia isn’t riding the bus. Ever.)

My visit to the first school made me much more comfortable with the situation, making it much less of a “only as a last resort” school. Yes, it is, as the tour guide (drama teacher) described, “diverse.” But there is a huge focus on the arts and infusing art into learning and social studies. Very interesting concept. The other worry was an on-site “after school” program, which turns out they do have. (I’d found no evidence of such on the school’s website.) Overall, I got a good feeling from that school.

The charter school is much less traditional and more Montessori-esque. There are mixed-age classes, and all of the learning is participatory/hands-on. Which is another interesting concept. The students there are taught to respect one another above all else; it’s a somewhat touchy-feely atmosphere, and I never saw any tension between students during the whole tour (and we walked through SEVERAL classrooms and came in contact with just about every student at the school . . . which is relatively small). The downside here, for one, is that they have 26 kindergarten openings each year, and those spots are available to any child in the county. Reportedly, the list for the lottery drawing (in March) is over 500 children long, but not all of those are kindergarteners-to-be.

We’re still trying to decide, although I’m guessing we’ll enter her in the lottery for the charter school and make the best of however things turn out. At least I’ve learned enough now that we won’t have to panic.

ETA (the next day): Okay, so this should be the last earnest/serious post I ever do. It’s been pointed out that even bringing all of this up makes me seem like a racist. I was a little uncomfortable throwing it out there because I didn’t want to create that impression.

I was raised in a solidly middle-class environment. We moved from Connecticut to Florida in 1974. My parents hadn’t made a big deal about racial issues with me growing up because none of us had lived in a racially charged place until moving to The South.

So, yeah, this was all new to me and, in a moment I’m not proud of, I busted out the “N” word speaking to a black child on our front porch . . . right in front of my mother. My white friends in the neighborhood were all about using that word, and not playing with black kids. Anyway, that night, I got the first (and worst) spanking I can remember. Oh, and I was five or six at the time.

I have a very idealistic view of race and ethnic differences now, in that I try to treat everyone the same and believe that everyone is equal. This is why I don’t favor affirmative action policies; I just want to rocket ahead to where we’re all just on a level playing field . . . even though we’re not (yet).

We’ve made the decision not to even “prepare” Mia for dealing with people of different cultures/races because she shouldn’t be hampered with predispositions either way when interacting with other children. If she has questions or problems when she starts school, we’ll work with her on them. It’s just that I’m not four or five years old, so I’m not exactly sure how she’s going to react; things have changed a lot since the mid-1970s. My gut says that she’s going to be fine, as she’s fascinated with other children, regardless of color, and has shown no prejudices in interacting with (the very limited number of) black children at her preschool. Except for that one little prick who’s always being mean to her, but he has emotional problems that are unrelated to his being black.

Thus ends me being serious.

shaken and poured by Scott-san on 01/30 at 10:09 PM
Being Sick (26) Comments closedPermalink

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

“You Can Blow Me.”

Hey, The Internets! You play poker a lot, right? Then surely you’ve had one of those hands . . . the magical, I’ve-waited-all-my-life-for-you hands? Like you’re holding a pair of, say, eights and the other two eights come up in the flop? How are you gonna keep from bursting and still get the other fools to give you all their money?

Well, first wait for them to come to you. Bingo! The first guy to act throws in five bucks, and the other guy still holding cards goes all-in. It’s not a giveaway to call the all-in, as it doesn’t add up to a huge bet. The first guy calls, too. Fucking AWESOME! Okay, the Turn card is something that doesn’t matter, but you wince in a very non-poker-face way, sending out a “tell.” The first guy moves all-in to push you off the hand. You say, “I call” and drop the quad eights on him. End scene.

Yeah, this happened. And it was fucking awesome. But I wasn’t the guy with the quad eights.** No, I was the “first guy” with pocket fours (so, two pair . . . ouch). Anyway, not an awful day of poker tournament action; I did score a $5 bounty for eliminating one player. I finished tied for fourth out of 12. One (and a half) players from getting my money back. In retrospect, I did okay, but I should’ve known that guy’s “tell” was fake. (It was pretty obvious . . . likely why I noticed it to begin with.) Still, I dream about doing that to other people. Except my quads beat a full house . . . or something better than two pair, anyway.

I’ll have to tweak my strategy a little, I think. It kept me from chasing bad cards, yes, but I didn’t follow up with effective betting. I won less than a quarter of the hands where I paid to see a flop. And one of THOSE was an instance of everyone folding to a big bet after the flop. (I guess a pot bought is not a pot lost.)

There's more to drink (click for it) »

shaken and poured by Scott-san on 01/23 at 04:56 PM
Poker (6) Comments closedPermalink

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Hollywood (9999 Turns)

I followed through with my Civ III / “American Idol” combo plan, but actually got bored playing Civ III and had to turn it off for a bit.* I stretched out on the couch to watch the rest of “AI” and nearly laughed myself off it at one point. And taking it to the next level, as usual, is Brian Byrne. He’s got “American Idol” screen-shots on Flickr**, along with his Grade-A commentary. I’m really starting to believe that reality television should be 100% focused on humiliation, and blogging should be 100% focused on making fun of celebrities and/or television shows.

On a semi-related note, I think it was Patricia’s Vox site that included the link to this, a MySpace page set up for Robin Sparkles (of the famed Canadian music video in “How I Met Your Mother").

There's more to drink (click for it) »

shaken and poured by Scott-san on 01/18 at 05:08 PM
Boob TubeGames (4) Comments closedPermalink

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Now Not Knowing When to Quit on Multiple Fronts and Levels

Despite C-dub’s warning, I’ll probably watch “American Idol” with Michelle, looking over the top of my laptop screen periodically while playing Civ III. Like I did last night. Really, it’s embarrassing to watch the audition rounds, so I mute my game and just listen to the tone-deaf vocalists and stinging commentary while hordes of Chinese and Babylonian and Zulu and Persian and Roman forces totally beat the living Christ out of my doodz. I got into the 1400s playing Japan, rather peacefully, which it turns out is a waste. I should’ve been kicking ass from the get-go. Anyway, I got saddened and deleted the game. Actually, ALL of the games I had saved. Then I started over as the Germans. On a bigger “world.” I’m making nice with the Aztecs right now, but if they get snotty with me, I won’t hesitate to go Apocalypto on their tanned asses.

In other news, I think my newfound optimism may have resulted from not being in a band anymore. That said, I think I’m going to be joining another band soon.

shaken and poured by Scott-san on 01/17 at 05:04 PM
Boob TubeGames (0) Comments closedPermalink

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Year was 1275 . . .

Michelle’s threatening to watch the Golden Globes. Considering how far removed from what’s going on in the world of cinema as it relates to pop culture I am, I’ll probably just sit here on the laptop blogging, or playing Scrabble or Civ III. (Illustrative tidbit: Entertainment Weekly printed a list of 25 movies you have to see before the Academy Awards next month, and I’ve seen NONE of them. Not a one.)

The past six days with Mia being sick and/or out of school have been surprisingly unharrowing. Except when she was being snotty and demanding. (Yawn.)

On to the bullets!


There's no "I" in threesome.


I can't remember whether I've seen anything new since my birthday. Oh, right, that one.


I was hoping for a little more detail in the accounts of mauling-by-zombie. But the anecdotes were disturbing, nonetheless..


I don't have a solid grasp on which exact cheap beers I had at the ATL watering holes.