Dumb Things I Have Done Lately

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Running a Red Light When You're Leaving a Bar Is Never a Good Idea

For the NCAA Men's Final on Monday night, I was so tired that I thought I might stay at home to watch, but I ended up dragging myself down to Carpool.

Being Monday, it was pretty dead, though I did get to see someone get kicked out for trying to roll a joint at the bar (among other things).

As I was leaving at about midnight (remember, kids: make your free throws down the stretch), there were a couple of cars waiting at the red light to make a left onto Elden Street from the parking lot.

At the head of the line was a grey pickup truck, and after a few minutes, I guess the driver didn't feel like waiting any more -- he just up and went through the red.

This is not the first time at that light that I've seen a driver pull that move. However, it was the first time that I'd seen the driver get nailed for doing it (at least, I think it was the same grey pickup, pulled over by a cop down by the Urgent Care).

And the thing is, he did it for the dubious gain of about 15 seconds.

In other news:

Slow Cookers Are Slow: I did another Brunswick stew tonight. I started it at around 6pm, stripped the chicken off the bone at around 10pm, and tasted it around midnight. I used too much onion, but otherwise it's okay. It'd better be -- I'll be eating it for a while.

I've tried, but I just don't think I can make slow-cooking fit into my lifestyle. I just don't like the idea of leaving it going for however many hours when I'm not at home.

Because of the cooking, tonight was a pretty domestic night. Moreso than I'd planned -- I had to do dishes to clear out the sink, and then I splashed tomato sauce all over my shirt, so I ended up doing a couple loads of laundry. (Including some ironing. I hate ironing.) Also, there's flour all over the place.

An Isotropic Distribution of DVDs at Circuit City: I've been trying not to buy new DVDs until I can get through more of my purchased-but-unwatched ones, but I caved today -- I stopped by Circuit City and picked up Miami Vice, The Good Shepherd, Breach, and A Fish Called Wanda for $20.

The problem with the DVD section at Circuit City is that, as far as I can tell, their shelving system does not conform to any accepted organizational standards and practices. While it's not quite completely random, it is almost completely useless.

It might be a baroque experiment in applying isotropic distribution models to retail. Though I'm thinking it would be better if they just had an associate take a few hours to do some hard core alphabetizing (cheat sheets are available upon request).

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Friday, December 14, 2007

On Consuming TV Series on DVDs

I had a Chipotle burrito for dinner tonight. It pretty much put me out of commission for the rest of the evening (heartburn), which is why I'm staying in and watching a Firefly mini-marathon on Sci-Fi channel. Which is kind of dumb, since I already own the series on DVD.

I also received the Band of Brothers boxed set this week (Amazon, $25), even though it basically runs on the History Channel in a continuous loop. So I have new additions to the evergrowing-pile of unwatched DVDs -- the one that you might think I would have whittled down during my enforced downtime. But no.

(Incidentally, I'm now fully and officially unemployed -- Friday was my official separation date from AOL -- up to this point, I've been technically on the payroll, without actually having to go to work. It was pretty sweet. I will be talking more about it and my AOL career. Eventually.)

Anyway, unless you're one of those people who've ripped their entire DVD collection to a gigantic media center hard drive, you've probably encountered this little problem with TV series DVD boxed sets -- namely, how do you go about choosing which episode to watch?

(Actually, even if you're ripped your DVD collection, it just makes consumption a little more convenient -- it doesn't solve the whole choosing side of things. I'm sure someone [Corey] will tell me about this great Linux/Open Source/Media PC/Ginormous Hard Drive solution, though there's also the problem of bonus features and such. And do they even make DVD jukeboxes that actually, you know, use the actual physical media? I'm old-fashioned that way.)

For something like Firefly, it's relatively easy, since the series tops out at 14 episodes that mostly stand alone (despite having an underlying story arc). But what about something that was actually, you know, successful, like Friends, Star Trek, Seinfeld, whatever, that ran many seasons and had hundreds of episodes? Or something where episode order really matters, and you can't just snack on individual episodes (24 being the ultimate example of this)?

Unless you're going to do your own mini-marathon, or you're actually disciplined/OCD enough to keep track and watch the episodes in order, how do you keep from just cherry-picking the best-known episodes? Especially for a series that you, say, liked well enough to buy the boxed set when it was on sale for really cheap at Best Buy, but you don't have the episode list memorized?

I guess what I'm looking for is some sort of media management system -- something like a Netflix (with a little bit of iTunes) for your personal collection, to keep track of your personal viewing to show you how many times you've viewed an episode, and what's next in the queue. Which would pretty much mean ripping the DVD and forgetting the physical media -- wouldn't really be workable any other way.

My own DVD player is a now-ancient Apex player which doesn't have many features, save for one of the least intuitive remotes ever made. It also occasionally tries to die on me. However, its saving grace is that it's a 3-disc carousel, which I find helps with serendipity and flow -- I can pre-load it with 3 discs and get around to watching them (or not) when I feel like it.

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Feel the Awesome Healing Power of Kurt Russell

I'm sick. I have a cold. I thought I was getting better, but it was apparently the lull before the peak, which just hit me now.

So right now, I'm grabbing a blanket, loading up the DVD player with 3 movies I've seen a million times before, plopping myself onto the sofa, and striving to move as little as possible for at least the next 6 hours or so.

The lineup right now is Big Trouble in Little China, Escape From New York, and The Thing. I was originally going to go with Predator, but will try the Kurt Russell triple-play. This may change, especially since my DVD player doesn't really like my copy of The Thing.

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Monday, January 08, 2007

Go See Children of Men

Saturday was unseasonably warm, so I took the opportunity to do something I haven't done for a long while.

I went to a movie.

Yes, I took advantage of the rare January shorts and t-shirts weather by sitting inside a climate-controlled multiplex to see 'Children of Men.'

It was worth it. You should go see it. It was intense.

There are plenty of reviews out there, so I won't give away any of the details.

Technically speaking, there are a couple of ridiculously long uninterrupted tracking shots, including a spectacularly complicated 8-minute battle scene towards the end. (I didn't realize how long it was until reading about it afterwards.)

It's also one of those movies that gives movie theaters a reason to continue existing, at least if you don't have a surround sound setup at home.

Anyway, like I said, it's intense, especially the extended urban combat scene that ends in the apartment building. And the thing that halts it (briefly) is even more intense. I teared up.

It's definitely going on the DVD-to-get list, which is pretty ridiculous, considering my existing backlog of unwatched movies (which I just added to today, getting 5 more: The Matador, Brick, Inside Man, United 93, and Land of the Dead.)

Yes, not only am I procrastinating when it comes to dealing with my life by buying movies, I'm procrastinating in my procrastination by not watching the movies that I buy.

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

How Did I Know With Absolute Certainty That Best Buy Would Fuck Up?

...because it's Best Buy, of course.

So, through Saturday, 12/30, every season of '24' on DVD is $19.99 at Best Buy, which, after careful analysis, I determined to be less than a dollar an episode.

I'd seen it in the Sunday circular (which comes on Saturday), so I checked the Web site just after midnight on Sunday, and when it showed up at the correct price, I bought seasons 2, 3, and 5, choosing to pick up at my local store.

I went to pick it up today (they'll hold it for 8 days).

Naturally, after standing in line at customer service (so much for the special store pickup line), then watching them root around in the cabinets, they could only find season 5 from my order, with no sign of seasons 2 or 3 (and of course, it was sold out in the store, which was why I bought it online in the first place). Presumably, they sold it to someone else.

What would Jack Bauer have done? Probably shot some people in the thigh, while yelling, "We're running out of time! You've got to trust me!" which wasn't really an option for me.

So, I took season 5 and got a raincheck for seasons 2 and 3 (if you want to get it at that price too, just get a raincheck). I'll need to keep a close eye on my next credit card statement to make sure they didn't charge me for the other 2.

As a coda, though, when I came home, I saw that I already owned season 3. (I don't really remember the season numbers, just the storylines: 1. Senator Palmer. 2. Nuke LA. 3. Virus. 4. Marwan (that was an especially complicated one). 5. Sentox Nerve Gas.)

So I would have been making a return trip in any case, because of my own dumbness. However, it doesn't excuse Best Buy's failure in this case.

On a side note, I may not be the best manager in the world, but I'm pretty sure you shouldn't throw your employees under the bus to save face in front of a customer, even if they are "retarded."

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