Annoying: VH1’s show viewer’s repeated adds, Twitter app, bling

I’m currently watching an older series of VH1’s “Celebrity Rehab,” and aside from the “can’t look away from this trainwreck aspect,” there are several annoyances.

  1. Repeat commercials. Sometimes the same spot is repeated 4 times in a row. I started out watching last night using Firefox, and at one point the playback just stops on a black screen after several repeats. I’m now trying to watch using Google Chrome, just as an experiment.
  2. The Twitter app (login in the sidebar of VH1 pages) auto-posts the first time, saying “I’m watching and chatting about #[show name] – join the conversation at [show name].vh1.com” and you have no control over this.
  3. After that, it edits your tweets that you post from there to add the hashtag automatically (not that bad a feature) and a link to the social networking site (somewhat annoying).

I used to watch Celebrity Rehab online a year or more ago – got very involved with watching poor Jeff Conaway, who passed away in May of this year. That made me cry, because I’d always liked him and the things that he revealed about himself and his life during his stint on Rehab were just horrific. Also, his wife/girlfriend was a piece of work. I prefer to remember him from his performance in Babylon 5.

I’d fallen out of the habit of watching Rehab because it is itself somewhat addictive. If you get into watching it once, you want to see what happens next. I skipped a couple seasons, but there seem to be patterns that I can discern.

First, there’s Celebrities, and there’s celebrities. Most of these people, you’ve never heard of them, or you might have heard their name or seen it in a tabloid. There are a few truly celebrated people who have appeared on this show, and generally, there’s just one or two truly famous people per season. Then, there’s a few “also-rans” and at least one reality-show person.

In the fourth season, there’s a young woman woman who’s famous for being famous. I doubt she’d be on this show if she weren’t very pretty.

There are very few ugly women on this show. There can be ugly, unattractive young rich men (viz. Season 4’s Jason Davis, billionaire fat slob diabetic addicted asshole). There are damaged women, there are older women who were once very beautiful, but there are never life-long unattractive women. Would Ayn Rand have been on this show if she were alive and was an addict? Probably not. Perhaps this is a function of the extreme rarity of life-long unattractive women (let’s call this “LLUW” in the ranks of the famous).

Now that I’m watching via Chrome (in another window, using Scribe Fire to liveblog in a Firefox viewer), I’m finally getting to the spot last night where there was a long, long pause and a black screen. So far, there have been no black screens at all, and although the ads are repeating, there don’t seem to be as many.

So now I’m waiting, waiting to see the part of Episode 2 that froze up last night right after the dramatic “To Be Continued” card that came up near the end. At least my headseat has a volume control when the ads come on.

Well, this is probably what stopped me before. A survey popped up that I never saw using Firefox. Only about… 4 more little ads to go.

On to Episode 3 at last. I’ll probably watch a couple of episodes today, this kind of thing gets old if watched too much.

A related note: I recently caught up on all the existing episodes of Felicia Day’s “The Guild.” It’s frustrating; all of the ones through Season 4 are available on YouTube, and thus if I wanted to I could watch them via a link on the big-screen TV using TiVo. But Season 5 and on are sponsored/hosted at Bing/MSN unless you watch at www.WatchTheGuild.com. And Bing is really hard to search, ironically for a search tool (also there was a big “cloud” outage the other night and the links were broken). I finally was able to find the latest episode and watch, but it took a while.

The Dearth of Blogging

Who has time to blog? Not me, apparently. I think about potential blog posts all the time, but never at a time when I am both connected to the Internet and able to use it (two very different things, especially given my office’s policies).

On the weekends, for months now, I’ve been shirking. Well, ya basta.

I’m constantly reading news and blog posts about politics, and shaking my head with dismay at the sheer… blind arrogance exhibited by many Big Name Pundits on both sides. Truth be told, the folks on the conservative side, with a few shining exceptions, all seem to be shouting just loud enough to drown out the voices in their heads.

The folks on the left side of the Internet strike me as reasonable, but perhaps a little wistfully optimistic, quoting polls and such that indicate that things maybe aren’t as bad as everybody says they are, or that the President is not really that unpopular with most people who don’t shout at computer screens all day.

Sorry, no links… it’s kind of awkward putting them in without a mouse, and I’m on the iPad at the moment with a paired wireless keyboard. Maybe I should fire up the laptop or the desktop? Naaaah, this chair is comfy.

David and I just went to Panera to have a cuppa in relative calm; the house is completely covered in roofers – small energetic mean tearing bits off and pounding new bits back on. They had completely stripped the old roof off by about 9am, when we left to take David’s car to the dealership for maintenance, and when we came back, even more guys arrived with some more materials, and the original guys had gotten the roofing felt mostly on and were adding other layers before the final layer of shingles. I’d say there are at least 6 guys up there, plus more on the ground who seem to be in charge of getting materials up the ladders (they’re not using a portable conveyor belt).

Fortunately the weather is clearing and it’s becoming quite a pleasant spring day, if a bit damp around the edges (we did get a LOT of rain last night).

We’ve been… occupied the last couple of months dealing with Riley’s diagnosis of chronic feline leukemia. He’s still fine, but still too skinny, and it’s gotten more and more difficult to “pill” him consistently. We’ve managed the important stuff (the chemo pills he gets are only given every two weeks, after a blood test comes back) but I’ve funked the small stuff more often then not. However, we’ve gotten him past a couple of upper respiratory infections where he wasn’t eating much due to not being able to smell his food, and just now he’s nibbling away at his kibble in the kitchen.

This is a sound to make a catmom happy, believe me. I’ve been rather ludicrously desperate to get him to eat, even going so far as to hand feed him when he was all stuffed up. When he eats, David and I look at each other and smile. Riley is otherwise active, if a little subdued and a little wobbly; he still jumps up on the bed and runs up and down stairs, and string is still a favorite toy. He’s been wonderfully cuddly at night (sometimes too cuddly and needy).

And in fact he has now plopped down in my chestal area, as there’s not room for him in my lap with the keyboard and iPad, and he’s happily leaning into me with the tip of his tail twitching.

I cherish these little cuddly interludes, because who knows? He’s currently happy and interested in the world and loves us, and as long as he’s happy and eating, we’re content to continue with the struggles to pill him, and the twice-monthly vet visits for the blood tests.

I just wish he’d eat more consistently, as he continued to lose weight every time it was checked, until this last time when at least it was the same. He’s just too skinny, and doesn’t have any body fat at all. I think he’s put on a bit since the last visit, but won’t know for sure until after Monday, his next appointment.

Work continues to be work – it’s busy enough, is sometimes slow-ish, but more often it’s pretty lively. I’ve been complaining a lot about excessive scent or perfumes, though, and not sure if it’s worth continuing to complain, because nothing will really be done. I recognize that management does not really want to open up the can of worms and advise people face to face that they wear too much hair gel or cologne or highly scented hand lotion. Meanwhile, pretty much as soon as I arrive at work, my head gets stuffed up, my eyes sting, I get a “taste” in my mouth, and then I get a headache. The culprits are mostly on teams that sit on either side of our bank, but I think some of the scented hand lotion is somewhere on my team. Leaders can’t seem to bring themselves to say anything… so I bitch and whine and moan and generally bore people to death with my complaints.

Oh, and I sneeze, sniffle, and groan too. Passive agressive bitch that I am, that’s about all I can do.

I watched the first episode of Game of Thrones last night, since I got home early enough from the Good Friday service (and again, thanks be to God that we decided to keep that one short and non-choral).

Maybe it’s my background as an English major and a reader of a hell of a lot of “epic” fantasy novels, but the foreshadowing in the first half hour or so was so blatant to me that I correctly predicted which of the 5 legitimate Stark children would be the first to die; if you’re going to line all the kids up, and also note that there are 5 of them, and then the mother warns one of them not to keep doing something dangerous, um, that kid’s wearing the Red Tunic.

Also, if you’re going to have blatant creepy undertones of brother-sister incest in one clan of hyper-blondes, you likely will have secret creepy undertones of brother-sister incest in another clan of quite blonde and impossibly beautiful blondes.

However, I’ve enjoyed the show for all that, as I like Sean Bean and the others in the cast all seem to be good at what they do. As a Jason Mamoa fan (he was Ronin on Stargage: Atlantis) I wasn’t thrilled at they way he’s made up as a sort of barbaric horse lord with weird eye makeup and a goofy topknot, and so far he’s done little more than grunt and paw his “bride,” who is little more than a sexual pawn in her hyper blond brother’s plans to regain his lost throne.

As a side note, Winterfell, the place where Sean Bean’s character rules with a long and sharp sword before getting “asked” by the high king to be his “hand” or fighting regent or whatever, is also a place in Second Life. I don’t know if the Winterfell region is in the same theme as these books, as I thought it was in the Steampunk genre. Could be wrong, though, as I don’t know if I’ve ever visited there.

As a completely different side note, the opening credits of “Game of Thrones” are very helpful, with an animated clockwork map showing where the various locations are. I keep confusing some of the places and plot points with the ones from another “sword and fantasy” series I read recently, but that one had lots more sorcery and this one, so far, just has undead zombies with a knack for beheading.

It’s a pretty gory show, there’s lots of female nudity and not nearly enough male nudity, and there’s even plenty of simulated public or not-very-private sex (mostly very energetic doggy-style, probably more practical given the medievalist garb everyone wears). The gore, at least, is not done in close up and is very fast and efficiently done, although there’s the occasional galloping head being tossed around. This ain’t no kid’s show, that’s for sure, and the inevitable DVD will no doubt show even MORE gore and sex.

This is probably why HBO moved to renew for a second season immediately after the premiere episode aired – they’ve got swords AND sex, how could they not? And I can tell you that female fantasy fans do like to see a lot of headboard rattlin’ along with the swordplay and the costumes. Fortunately, the dialogue is refreshing – it’s somewhat elevated in tone, but the high and mighty use each other’s nicknames in private and the dialect they’ve chosen is a fairly rough-sounding North of England one for the “good” characters. The effete hyper blonds have elegant clothes and diction, especially the brother who lost his throne (not knowing the storyline, I’m guessing he was a child when he was exiled).

The costumes are very good – worn, dirty, very full and lots of quilted fabric and big shoulder furs for the men, and interesting dresses and easy-access chemises for the women. The outfits the poor hyper-blond princess wears were both designed to be unfastened at the shoulders and dropped to expose her fully – poor thing, women in her society pretty much are chattel unless they’re lucky enough to marry for love.

I can’t pretend to understand all the underpinnings of plot and character yet, I’m content to let it be revealed, but so far the exposition has been reasonably paced and not too, too Basil for words.

I will say that although I expected it, I was still shocked and saddened by what happened to a perfecly nice and sympathetic young member of the Stark clan. All hope of a miraculous rescue seems lost, according to dialogue shown in the preview for the next episode (which will be shown tomorrow, although I probably won’t watch until Monday). I hope that justice is soon served but suspect that there’s much more than needs to happen plot wise before punishment is meted out.

Making Light: Babylon 5 Rewatch

Ooooh. A worthy topic, will enjoy following this.

In the world of science fiction TV, Babylon 5 is generally considered the first of the modern* story-arc series. It’s a genuine departure from the “Wagon Train to the Stars” paradigm that Old Trek created. I don’t think we’d have had Buffy The Vampire Slayer and the Battlestar Galactica reboot without it and Deep Space Nine to convince the studios that genre audiences had long attention spans and an appetite for moral complexity.

For me personally, Bab 5 was the the TV series of my mid-twenties. I watched it as I settled into married life and into the strange rhythms of being an expat. I watched it as my professional life and a good deal of my interior life fell apart. I watched it as I built both back up and started to become who I am now.

And then I never watched it again.

But I realized this past November that I wanted to go back through the whole series, to see how it looks to a 40 year old. I’ve grown up enough, and seen enough of the real world, to more deeply appreciate the themes of failure and redemption that run through it. And I’ve become more aware of the technical side of storytelling; another thing I’m doing right now is reading Learn Writing with Uncle Jim. Straczynski planned the series as a novel-length story, and I’m interested to see the techniques he used to tell it.

Or perhaps it will be pyrite: fool’s gold. Perhaps the Suck Fairy will have visited it in the 16 years since it first aired.

It also strikes me that it might be amusing to blog this process. I’m not planning on going episode by episode, but rather tackling it in somewhat larger chunks of plot. I don’t know how many people on Making Light are fans, or have seen it, and might be interested in discussing it. But I can’t think of a more interesting community to try such a thing with.

via Making Light: Babylon 5 Rewatch: A Dream Given Form.

Resolutions Not Meant To Be Broken If I Can Help It And Not Force-Fed Chocolate

Isn’t this a boring blog? Isn’t it? My life’s not really this boring, it’s just that I rarely take the time to write a full-bore flat-spin blog post anymore. I fall back on my old standbys, Google Reader (shared news) and my various Twitter accounts. I can’t catch up on blogging during the work week for going on 3 years, so every now and then I do a big “here’s what’s been going on” catchall.

Yeah, boring. And I haven’t even really done a big London mixed-grill slap-up bang-up, either. The pictures are still on my hard drives – the laptop, the desktop, AND the iPad – but I hope to work through the main archive, cull the weaklings, and upload the lot to Flickr and Facebook.

Come to think of it, I don’t think I even did a write-up of the last trip to Hawaii. I suck at blogging, so I resolve to do better.

I resolve to write more blog posts – ideally, every other day if possible. I used to update multiple times a day but most of that was “ZOMG look at this dumb political hack putting his big fat cloven hoof in his pie-hole” stuff.

No, I want to blog more about what goes on, day-to-day, in a house with 2 somewhat disorganized geeks, more computers than can conveniently be counted while wearing shoes, and a cat who stalks dust bunnies and re-delivers them up in covert locations.

Also, I resolve to write something so funny, rant-astic, or well-written that it blows “How Old Is Your Whirlpool Washer” off my ALL-TIME MOST READ, MOST COMMENTED POST list (I don’t mind that the post about installing the graphics card is second, I’m just glad people find it useful).

Meanwhile, Allie Brosh gets all kind of love from famous Internet geeks like BoingBoing and TV’s WilWheaton, and any day now I expect that she’ll get a book deal, rather than self-publish like Betsy did. And while I’m at it, gosh darn it, I’m going to update my blogroll. Okay, done.

I also resolve to find more awesome for my blogroll.  However, this could take some time, as I tend to burn about 10-15 minutes per link, because I keep finding more and more awesome stuff.

Other resolutions: I will sign up for the health club at work after the new year. The monthly rate is higher – no longer subsidized by the office – but dammit, I’ve regained some weight and I liked feeling trimmer and slimmer. I know I can do it, and I know I can say “NO DAMN YOU CHOCOLATE BROWNIES, YOU MAY NOT GET IN MY BELLEH” when necessary at work. It’s tough getting through the candy holidays, though. I did it last year, didn’t avoid it much this year. Will have to be strong for Valentine’s Day and Easter, and then we’re good until Halloween.

Another resolution: I will try to get to bed earlier.

And some more:

  • I will try to read more books this year.
  • I will not settle for another Top Gear or Mythbusters rerun, I will seek out new worlds, new civilizations.
  • I will try to update the church website more frequently and promote events via Twitter and the blog.
  • I will try not to grumble, bitch and moan about those things that frequently make me G, B, and M.
  • I resolve to make eye contact and smile at people more often. I don’t do this, and it seems to matter. Duh.
  • I will try to behave as if I have a normal-sized amygdala.
  • I will try not to bore people with my doings at church, with the cat, or in Second Life.

And oh, crap: now I need to do a whole raft of boring, Second Life-specific resolutions like everyone else. Huzzah!

Happy New Year, everyone! Let’s be not boring out there!

To Be TiVoed: Portlandia

I never lived in Portland, but I might have.

The 6-part IFC Original short-based comedy series PORTLANDIA, created, written by and starring Fred Armisen SNL and Carrie Brownstein vocalist/guitarist, WILD FLAG, Sleater-Kinney, premieres on IFC Friday, January 21, 2011 at 10:30 PM ET/PT. Each episodes character-based shorts draw viewers into “Portlandia,” the creators dreamy and absurd rendering of Portland, Oregon.

via Portlandia – Series – On Air – IFC.com.

Why #SGU Is Worth Watching And Worth Renewing

It’s compelling drama, and the stories aren’t neatly tied up with a bow at the end of the hour. You really should be watching it if you like character-driven stories, that develop in surprising ways, that aren’t telegraphed in the first ten minutes.

SGU follows a band of soldiers, scientists and civilians, who must fend for themselves as they are forced through a Stargate when their hidden base comes under attack. The desperate survivors emerge aboard an ancient ship, which is locked on an unknown course and unable to return to Earth. Faced with meeting the most basic needs of food, water and air, the group must unlock the secrets of the ship’s Stargate to survive. The danger, adventure and hope they find on board the Destiny will reveal the heroes and villains among them.

via Official Stargate Website: Series: Stargate Universe.

A lot of science fiction fans are talking about Stargate: Universe. It has its detractors, sure. A lot of fans of the previous show in the franchise, Atlantis, are still pretty gruntled over the cancellation of that series in favor of this one. Frankly, at first I was angry too, but I wanted to give the new show a chance as much as I wanted to see more of Shepard, McKay, and Ronan.

Many complain that SGU is too dark, literally – it’s set on a spooky near-derelict spaceship and the lighting is deliberately moody. But more importantly, the storylines are dark, full of interpersonal conflict between different groups on board the Destiny, and between individuals. Not only that, major characters are quite often flawed, and depicted as dealing (or not dealing) with those flaws in different ways.

A lot of the storylines deal with these interpersonal conflicts, but fortunately it doesn’t devolve into a soap opera in space; there’s too much at stake. People stranded on the ship have lives back home on Earth that aren’t just on hold; they have the ability, in a clever plot device, to transfer their consciousness to someone else on Earth temporarily, so they can visit family or consult with Stargate Command.

One of the most moving recent episodes involved Eli, aka Mathboy. His mother is HIV+ (she’s a nurse, contracted via needle stick I think) and she wasn’t doing very well, so Eli got the alien mind-transfer version of a compassionate leave home. For various reasons, it was some of the best drama I’d seen on TV this season. There’s some fan chatter going around that the show might not get renewed, which would be a terrible thing; just as the story has ramped up it would be a shame to abandon ship now.

SGU is on tonight and we’ll be watching. Why don’t you join us?

Spotted A 800-Got-Junk Truck, Wonder If AETVs #Hoarders Were In My Area?

My current favorite show is AEtv’s Hoarders, and fans of that series always cheer when the 1-800-Got-Junk? trucks show up, because that means the horror show is about to start (but also some hard physical and pychological work will be done).

I spotted one of their trucks over by Arlington Park; wonder if the village hired them. NO mention in the article of the show, but I heard on the fan grapevine that the show will feature someone from the Chicago area next week.

Besides guns, the strangest thing inside John Wuerffel’s house was a partially-decayed cat, said Schaumburg officials helping on Wednesday to clean out the cluttered home.

via Wuerffel back home after arrest — Schaumburg news, photos and events — TribLocal.com.

Uh, oh! SAILCAT!

James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 Sold To American

The name’s Yeaggy; Harry Yeaggy. The Top Gear guys are in mourning.

The 1964 Aston Martin DB5, which boasts revolving licence plates, ejector seat and bullet-proof shield, featured in the films Goldfinger and Thunderball.

The silver model is still capable of 145mph and 0-60mph in 7.1 seconds.

It was bought at a London auction by collector Harry Yeaggy, who will display it at a car museum in Ohio.

Via BBC News