Friday, September 25, 2009

Fashion $ense

I've read a lot of blogs recently. I especially like the ones that talk about money. Sadly, far too few of them talk about giving their money to me.

Today, I read one that presented clothing purchasing in a brand new (well, actually "refurbished") light to me.

I'm going to paraphrase, because I'm not a fan of atrocious grammar. And I'll elaborate, because I think I'm funny.

If I buy a shirt for $50, and I wear it 150 times before declaring it pajamas, it costs me 33.33 repeating cents per non-pajama wearing. If I buy an average shirt on sale for $8 and wear it twice before I realize that I'm not an autumn, and red simply isn't my (or anybody else's in Austin during football season) color, and I'll get beat up if I try wearing it in public (especially to my old junior high, 'cause, dang, kids can be cruel), then it costs me $4 per wearing.

The moral of this story is to buy expensive things.

P.S. Attribution? I found it at this site, and searched for "sale".

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Asylum from Sanctuary

This is not a review of Amanda Tapping and her awful, awful fake British accent. Or her abysmally un-fitting new hair color. This is a review of the first two episodes of a TV show that I really, really want to like, because I have a huge crush on Lt. Col. Samantha Carter.1

I like a lot of the elements of the show. The problem is that I’ve seen them all somewhere else.

I like the concept of collecting the things of this earth that most people wouldn’t understand; containing the dangerous, and learning from the benign. It reminds me a lot of Warehouse 13. (Sanctuary premiered over 9 months earlier.)

I like the character of Dr. Will Zimmerman (Robin Dunne), who combines the youth and psychological expertise of Dr. Sweets (from Bones), a proximity to the field of forensics (every single character in Bones), the looks of Harry Potter, the hyper-observational skills (with nearly identical special effects) of Shawn Spencer (from Psych), and my rippling abs. After two episodes, he’s shown himself to be inquisitive, intelligent, serious, resourceful, well written (not a compliment you want to give most people to their face; “Hi, you’re very well written ... Um, I mean punctual …”) and overall very likeable.

I also like the character of Ashley Magnus (played by Emilie Ullerup), who I can only describe to you as a combination of the young, headstrong, and street-savvy Elle (from Heroes, played by Veronica Mars), and the overdressed Kristanna Loken (“The Terminatrix” from T3), who I hope can avoid Elle’s anticlimactic storyline, and the disappointing cancellation of Loken’s Painkiller Jane.

Next, I like Christopher Heyerdahl’s character, John Druitt, who we learn is (SPOILER ALERT) … none other than Jack the Ripper. I don’t have a particularly good reason for that, other than that I like the actor.

Finally, I don’t like Amanda Tapping’s character. And honestly, it’s only because of the extremely unnatural hair color and the really, really, really, really, really, really bad British accent. I mean, it’s Army of Darkness bad. It’s MST3K-fodder bad. It’s maybe-we-should-just-be-friends bad.

I’ve compared every character and aspect of the show to something else, because nothing feels truly original.2 And if you thought for a moment that the collection of abnormal creatures was potentially original because Sanctuary premiered before Warehouse 13, then clearly I forgot to mention that there is time travel involved, and clearly you’ve never seen ITV’s show, Primeval. (I’m a huge fan.)

If I keep watching Sanctuary, it will be in hopes that Robin Dunne’s character continues to get the best writing.

And that Amanda Tapping’s accent will improve.3

1 - Though it is common knowledge that Major Samantha Carter was hotter.
2 - Granted, this doesn’t bother me in the least.
3 - It will also mean that I’ve run out of episodes of Leverage, Eureka, and Lost to watch on Netflix, and Highlander, Kyle XY, Burn Notice, In Plain Sight, Psych, Warehouse 13, and Gravity to watch on Hulu, and that I’m not in the mood for a rerun of Lie to Me. Or re-re-watching all 10 seasons of Stargate: SG-1.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

What did you do all day?

During my college years, if I wasn’t in class or at the CougarEat (I love you Subway, Taco Bell, and Teriyaki Stix, with all my gut), I was in the library. I did virtually all of my studying in the library, and virtually all I did was study (Sundays and church excluded).

In fact, for the first three weeks of my junior year, I didn’t have time for laundry, and I neither made new friends nor kept the old. Eight months later, after winter semester finals, things started to calm down. I then learned that my roommate of eight months owned a PS2, and so I decided to stay for spring and summer terms.

Okay, so I knew he had it the whole time. I might have even played it by that point. The take-away is that I had not yet become obsessed with it.


That summer, I fell for the PS2, and I fell hard. And tackled hard. And jumped and slashed hard. Skated hard, too. I managed to keep my grades up, but I also developed the kind of emotional bond with “Devil May Cry”, “Tony Hawk: Pro Skater”, and “NCAA Football 2004”* that a fat kid develops with a Twinkie.

I also think I didn’t have a girlfriend that summer.

Eventually, I moved out of that apartment, and a few semesters later, to Texas. I was as far distanced from gaming systems as I had ever been … until That Night, That fateful, glorious Night.

(Aside) If nothing has ever convinced you that having friends is good, let me simply throw this out there: friends are good because friends own things that you don’t.

My landlord had a projector and a killer sound system. My other housemate had a friend at work who had an Xbox and a handful of games. One of those games was the very first Guitar Hero. So, That Night, we had a party.

“Iron Man” was the first, and therefore easiest song on the playlist, and I can count on five hands the number of times I heard it that evening. Some people picked up the game kind of quickly, and others were booed off the stage by the game. (I only booed out loud once.) I quickly discovered that I have a natural (albeit useless) talent for this sort of game. I even got 100% on a beginner difficulty song while people were still there to be awestruck by my magnificent ability.

I’ll skip over the details of the party now, partly because I don’t remember them, and partly because I was just anxious for everyone else to leave. And leave they did. So I played it all by my lonesome. I must have played until 1 AM. I even got pretty good. However, even an Iron Man such as myself has to sleep, and when I woke up the following morning (afternoon?), it was all gone.

“Why did you tell us that story?” you ask. “Us?” I respond, incredulously. “There are multiple people reading my blog?”

I tell you this story because the PS3 just went through another upgrade (slimmed down, quieter, etc.) and another price cut ($299, down from $399), and I was researching it. You see, I desperately want to get my hands on its luscious Blu-ray capabilities so I can watch Transformers and Live Free or Die Hard, which I already own in Blu-ray (I knew this day would come!). I also want to play the five PS1 and PS2 games that are sitting derelict on my dresser.

But it’s not backward compatible.

And I don’t have a job.

Kind of funny that one of the main reasons I won’t buy it is the principle reason I would have time to use it, no?

P.S. I actually wrote this whole blog for a far, far geekier reason: to make fun of the people who claim the PS3 had a 0.5% failure rate (it’s actually 10%, according to GameSpot), and the Xbox 360 had a 52% failure rate (only 23.7% fail within 2 years of purchase). I just couldn’t find a place to put that.

* I may have also played Halo all the way through with a buddy in the two days between winter and spring terms, but that could have been a frozen pizza-induced hallucination. Either way, it was totally awesome.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

It’s all on you now

I used to work on 6th Street in Austin. It’s not as glamorous as it sounds. It’s better.

No, just kidding, it’s not better. But it certainly had its perks. Whenever I left the office late at night and wanted to go kick back and listen to some live music from a talented local band*, I was just a few blocks away from some of the most famous places in the self-proclaimed “Live Music Capital of the World.” And I didn’t even have to fight for parking. (That that, Boston!)

Ahhhhhhhhhhh, parking. The city of Austin recently started replacing perfectly good, respectable parking meters at individual spots with parking stations for whole groups of spots. You can still feed the parking station with the coins and prepaid cards that worked at the meters, OR you can now use bills or credit cards. The machine prints out a receipt that you stick to the inside of your front windshield on the curb side of the car, and then you best be on your merry**.

I love that you can pay with a credit card. I currently carry around quarters for parking and laundry, so if I ever get around to buying a washer and dryer, and assuming I never leave Austin (why would I need to?), I can stop carrying quarters altogether! Certainly, they must be a drag on my car’s mileage; I could save at least … $0.25 every year on gas alone!

I love that they increased the time limit for many spots from 2 hours to 3 hours. However, I don’t think they changed the meter-feeding law (which is really just enforced on the honor system, so far as my former co-workers who have NEVER BEEN TICKETED have informed me).

The down-side? Well, first let me ask you a question. What’s the best thing in the world that has to do with parking meters? When you get there and there’s still time on the meter! Yessssssssssssss!

Well, you can now call the city of Austin, Dr. Kill Joy. Unless you pull up as someone is leaving, and they say, “Hello good chap, here’s the 25 minutes I haven’t used yet on my sticker,” and you happen to need 24 minutes or fewer to complete your errands, then and only then do you benefit from someone else’s insufficient powers of estimation. Otherwise, you’re feeding a machine that is annoyingly obsessed with the concept of “starting … … NOW!”

I don’t think people are going to lose a lot of money on this. But this is a city of starving musicians and students. A quarter can mean a lot to a lot of people, and people without money get desperate. If you start to hear about bar fights on 6th Street over loose change on the floor, don’t say I didn’t warn you. And don’t say that the parking meters had nothing to do with it.

Just know that if I hadn’t lost my job, I might have been there, “accidentally” dropping the change.

* - I never went.
** - Firefly lingo for “go on your way.” If you didn’t know that, I don’t know why you’re reading this. Go watch Firefly!