Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Coming to a concensus

So, Quarterlife is on right now and within the first four minutes, I was fairly certain that I had no desire to see the remaining 56.

I know that it was four minutes in because my wife helpfully pointed this out as I voiced my displeasure with the show. She, however, is on board through the first episode. You see our dilemma.

While we each have our "take one for the team" shows - for me, it's her Law and Order in all 14 flavors, for me it's endless baseball games - where we'll watch when the other person is home, but if either of is out, it's safe to assume that those shows won't be up on the screen.

It's important to have a safe overlap of tastes in television, music and movies so that you're not driven crazy in 22-minute bursts or on road trips.

Still, at the risk of sounding much older than my age, I'm not buying into these stupid kids. I'm sure that I've been too unaware of my surroundings until now and that this isn't the first time it's happened, but I liked this concept much better when it was Singles. And was only an hour and a half long. And wasn't quite so heavy-handed.

So, there's all of that.

Sometimes a show takes off after the mess that is defining the boundaries of the pilot. Usually that's not the case, but I'll cross my fingers and hope, because it's apparently been penciled into the lineup at our place.

Still, I have to hand it to anyone who has the stones to take a running start at the whole question of "how does this generation try to change the world." It's a huge, slippery bastard that everyone tries to wrestle to the ground at one time or another - some of us more than once - and virtually no one is ever really able to get a handle on.

The more immediate issue is that I'm not invested in the characters, I'm not buying the premise and at a very basic level, the whole feel of the show is uncomfortable. I'm generally opposed to boiling down entire generations to thumbnail sketches, and I just can't see how the show will keep any sort of momentum. OK, we get it, she's young and she blogs her innermost thoughts... now what?

Well, I can, but the show seems to want more for itself than just a Melrose Place knock off in thrift store garb. I'll give it points for effort, but the execution fell far short tonight.

(Image from LAist.com)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

I wanna see stuff!

I followed a link from a local paper's web site this morning and was sorely disappointed by what I found.

The Go Chicago Card is an offer for those visiting our fair city and allows them access to the big attractions - the Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum, both zoos, etc. - over three, five or seven days as they make their way around town.

It's a great idea for tourists, but leaves city residents out in the cold, unless they take a week off of work.

Here's my idea - a city pass for city residents that would allow Chicagoans to do the same circuit, but wouldn't have the truncated timeline.

How nice would it be to have six or eight months to take in the museums, zoos and other attractions for a discounted price? Just a simple punch card that would get you through the doors once at each location?

It wouldn't cost the company much more to print some different cards and get people out the door in the cold to see the museums. They could even leave the Lincoln Park Zoo off the list - with that being free anyways, there's no need to pad their record with the locals.

So come on, Go Chicago Card - help out Chicago residents. Why should Iowa get to have all the fun?

(Image taken for Siberia, Minnesota)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Noooooo! Really?

One of our guilty pleasures is watching television shows devoid of any redeeming qualities. Give us any of the wife-swapping, nanny-involving or humans versus animals tests of strength and we're so there.

Tonight's Supernanny features Wendy Wilson and the episode is billed as a superstar's appearance. For everyone outside of her immediate family, Wilson was the utterly forgettable member of Wilson Phillips.

Remember them? Me neither.

OK, there was the chubby one, the pretty one and the other one? She's the other one. (And points to the nanny for nailing the line, "You're a talented woman," without cracking up on the spot. I suppose it could have been the third or fourth take, though.)

Sister of Carnie Wilson, Wendy Wilson now has four kids and no sense of how to raise or discipline children. It's like placing a camera in Britney's house, only much less relevant.

Need an example? So far, I've seen three minutes of the episode and the kids are literally taking a dump on the back lawn like a golden retriever.

Really, Brian Wilson's kid is having a hard time recreating the nuclear family? This guy? You're freaking kidding me.

"I think that structure was missing in the household," she says in the opening montage.

I would never have suspected that from the family that brought you "sand in the study so Dad could feel the beach on his feet while he wrote music." This will be a totally craptacular hour of my life wasted.

On a related note, can the government step in at some point and pass legislation to remove children from the lives of celebrities and just raise them somewhere else in a protected environment? If it works for polar bears, how bad can it be for Hollywood's elite?

(Image from: uberreview.com)

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Yup, that's the mayor

Sean Connery spoke of the "Chicago Way" in The Untouchables, where he said, "They pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That's the Chicago way!"

While this is the type of stereotype that makes Olympic organizers cringe, it gives me a strange sense of pride when my mayor throws being politically correct out the window and just runs his yap.

The mayor took the Chicago Way to a different place when speaking about bicyclists in the city and telling the press that he flips off drivers. I'd pay to be in that car just to have the story to tell my children.

This has to rank up there with Daley's quiet approval of vigilante justice when it comes to the Chicago school of space saving in the wintertime.

I can honestly say that if pictures appeared online in five minutes that showed an angry Daley dumping a bucket of water on someone's windshield, I wouldn't be surprised in the least and I'd probably set it as the wallpaper on my laptop.

(Image from: USAToday.com)

Monday, February 04, 2008

Why my life is worse today because of the Giants win

Two quick points today to wrap up the Super Bowl postmortem. They both relate to how the New York win last night will impact my life in the short- and medium-term.

First, the big reason I didn't go off the deep end two weeks ago when Green Bay fell apart at home and let the Giants escape with a field goal in overtime was because I assumed that the winner of the NFC game just won the "get your ass kicked by the Patriots" medal.

So much for that.

(Did we ever get a solid reason for why Green Bay didn't want to rush the ball in subzero temperatures and insisted on trying to force the passing game? Aside from the Giants' front four, what was the reasoning behind keeping the ball out of Ryan Grant's hands? The Packers do realize that in the span of a dozen years the team has gone from winning a Super Bowl to losing home playoff games to Michael Vick and Eli Manning, right? Mike Holmgren must be rolling in his grave.)

In addition to not enjoying seeing the Giants win, I got a delayed suckerpunch from seeing New York pull out the win against the unbeatable Pats. I'm just saying that it could have been Green Bay. That was something I never even considered as a possibility.

I think that's why I'm still shocked at the upset.

Secondly, this is going to be an annoyance for me of epic proportions as the Red Sox season ramps up in two weeks. Whether it's on the surface or not, the subtext for Patriots fans who will probably just stay drunk until pitchers and catchers report in a few weeks (can't really blame them) will be that the Red Sox need to pick up where the Pats left off.

This has happened before as both teams have put together handsome post-season resumes. This year will be much worse.

Most baseball fans will just be able to enjoy the usual Boston freak outs, so remember this in May when people are screaming and acting irrationally on message boards because the Sox got off to a slow start.

It's going to make for a very long summer with meatheads blowing every stupid loss out of proportion for three to five months.

Thanks for nothing, least of the Mannings.

(Image from: SportsByBrooks.com)

Wait, Eli did what?

If I was just a bit more motivated, I would have gotten this up sooner in the day, just so it didn't seem like I spent all morning scouring the Internet to build a case and then try and run with it.

I'm just not that motivated.

But, unlike Super Bowl victories, judging what the media will do next is really easy to predict. The blogosphere is as easy, if not more so.

So, here's my version of the prop bets for what to expect in the next week and beyond.

From New York:

* Tales of the "never say die" Giants, primarily focusing on Eli and Strahan (Come on, that's a total gimme and it will be just as bad as press for the Patriots, if not worse)
* A push to make Eli a legitimate star. This will be awkward and hilarious. (I'd like to see it set to rap/rock so it will look more like the montage in the middle of movies like The New Guy.
* Fans using this as leverage against the Yankees collapse in 2004.
* A sudden exodus from the remaining Jets fans who don't give a crap about football.
* Story after story about how Eli is now an elite QB (he's not), how he's caught up to Peyton (he hasn't) and how the sky is the limit for the Giants now with such a young QB (it's not - they are a suspect team, just like they were before the playoffs).

From New England:

* Brady was hurt.
* The Pats lost the game, the Giants didn't win it.
* Brady was at fault for being too distracted / not into the game enough / hurt. Pick one.
* The coach wore a new sweatshirt.
* The Pats didn't deserve to win, so everyone should stop paying attention because it's being handled by angry fans.

From Everywhere Else:

* This is karma for winning so much lately.
* This is karma for cheating during the season.
* This is karma for all the ads, being too cocky, etc.
* The Pats have lost focus.
* Did New York win or did New England lose (Deadspin Commenter Slapfight Division)
* It is somehow Randy's fault (Minneapolis Bloggers Division).
* This is what happens when fans tempt fate with the whole undefeated thing.
* This is the ultimate karmic payback for Pats fans being so unbearable all season.
* The league is rigged (I'm nearly on board with the VanPete theory here, hatched after the Falcons' trip).

And Further Along the Line:

* Long, boring submissions about autumn in New England, mortality and the quest for perfection.
* Long, boring submissions about how one person or another personally jinxed the team (Bill Simmons Division)
* Pointless soul-searching for a scrap of meaning the likes of which we haven't seen since the Buckner Game.
* Letters of resignation to allow people to spend time living quietly in a small shack in the Carribean (Tiki Barber Division).

(Image from: ABCNews.com)

Friday, February 01, 2008

Good Samaratins and Bad Language

Having time on my hands, I started to dig out from the last day's worth of snow. I was feeling pretty good this morning, so I started in front of our apartment and kept going down to the alley to help out our neighbors.

The snow is pretty light, so it's actually a good snowstorm to rack up the big accumulation numbers.

Anyone who has lived in a cold climate knows that powder is better than packing snow on your back, just like they know that rear wheel drive cars can be hell in the snow.

As I was coming back from walking around the neighborhood, I see a car stuck with the back wheels just churning up snow and making ice. Some poor knucklehead had his Porsche stuck in a small drift, while another guy had stopped to try and push him out into the plowed part of the street.

I stop to help push and realize that the guy in the car has no idea how to rock the tires up and over the snow drift and he's just laying down as much rubber as the good people in the Porsche production facility will let him. It was a total circus.

As we're pushing, the other guy who stopped is cursing away about what a clown the driver is and he's yelling at the driver to slow it down, drop it a gear if he can, etc., but every time he leans over to get him in line, the driver sprays him with a new tirefull of slush.

It was good work from everyone on the team.

If the tires would have grabbed at any point, we would have seen the car's touted 0 to 60 speeds headed for the broadside of the cars parked across the street. (OK, maybe that's the biggest reason I stopped - you can't miss that.)

I just shook my head at how worthless a Porsche is in the snow (like it's distant cousin, the Mustang) and how a random guy walking with his wife will have it in his heart to stop and help, but have such a foul mouth while doing it.

The driver fell into the "not from around here" category (European-ish) and thanked us after he got free. He promised he'd look into getting a "shovel, no?" Good for him.

As the car slipped down the street, the other pusher thanked me for stopping and made the easiest called shot imaginable - "That guy would have been here all fucking day, otherwise."

I'm not sure if that's true - eventually he would have melted his way down to pavement or been hit by a passing garbage truck, right?

(Image from: viewimages.com)