Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Deb: On another Idol note…

Radley Balko’s come out of the Idol closet now.  :D

07:32 PM | BloggingTV • (0) CommentsPermalink

Jay: American Idol Top 12 Men

I could say plenty about the episode, which was excellent compared to most of what we saw last year.  People will be voted off - and judged - on the little things, because they all can sing well enough.  At the end it looked like some of the girls were shell shocked at what they’d be up against with the guys.

Mainly I concluded at the end that I thought Chikeze Eze and Luke Menard would be voted off.  There are at least two other guys in danger.  There are people I’d like to see stay another round just to see what they do next, knowing they can do much better but made a poor song or presentation choice, or will be entertaining.

I liked Chikeze, too, but he ruined that song and then argued.  He struck me like a potential modern day Philly sound revival, or that sort of thing.

If Luke stays, it’ll be because he dared to do something a bit different, or there was more backlash against the slow tunes.

05:17 PM | MusicTV • (0) CommentsPermalink

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Jay: American Idol Remarks After Hollywood

I think this will be a good year for American Idol.  There were people who didn’t make the top 24 who could easily have been in last year’s top 24, or 12, by comparison.  It’s also a nice variety.  The list, if I have it exactly right, and partly for my own ease of future reference, is:

Asiah Epperson
Alaina Whitaker
Alex Lushington
Amanada Overmyer
Amy Davis
Brooke White
Carly Smithson
Joanne Borgella
Kady Malloy
Kristy Cook
Ramielle Maluby
Syesha Mercado

Chikeze EZE
Colton Berry
Danny Noriega
David Archuleta
David Cook
David Hermandez
Garrett Haley
Jason Castro
Jason Yeager
Luke Menard
Michael Johns
Robbie Carrico

We both love Michael Johns, who resembles Jim Morrison and did a good job singing Light My Fire and Bohemian Rhapsody.

Amanda Overmyer is cool, this years female rocker, who seems to be better than last year’s, and is able to sing Janis Joplin without needing to be embarrassed.

We also liked Syesha and a couple or so of the others.  Heck, a lot of them, to one degree or another.

Kristy Cook and Carly Smithson are the two most buzzed about being planted “ringers,” with the latter having apparently had a $2 million record contract that flopped.  She was definitely pimped out of proportion by the judges.

By the loose definition of “ringer, there are 11 of the 24 alleged to be, but by the definition in question, Taylor Hicks and many other contestants were the same.  Ever having fronted a band makes you a ringer?  Not so much.  Less so if they invite you to audition and pass you through more easily than should be, but who’s ever going to know?  The main thing is that we’re looking for someone with broad superstar potential, whose potential wasn’t previously tapped.

The blue tongues were funny.  Apparently pre-sing candies were rampant.

One guy on the newsgroup has predicted since the end of last season that this year’s winner would be male and country.  Barring that, female and country.  I’m not seeing a lot of country among the men, and not that much among the women, unless someone is holding back a preference for it, as Phil did last year.  I figured farmer Drew was that guy, but he didn’t make it through.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the alternative would be male and rock, learning from Daughtry.

Anyway, I am now excited about this season, more than I had been.  I’d have watched regardless, but the question was whether it would be like a train wreck, or something you want to keep looking at.

02:26 PM | MusicTV • (2) CommentsPermalink

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Jay: Favorite American Idol Contestant So Far

"Jim Morrison” dude who can sing Freddie Mercury probably better than any prior contestant.

Also… love the rocker nurse, Amanda is it?  She does have to beware of one-note, but then people thought that was a problem for Daughtry.

The two alleged ringers I know of offhand got through readily enough, and one of them was pimped (that is, “shamelessly promoted” Hillary, Bill) all out of proportion by the judges.

We had dead dad girl pegged for top 12, and shockingly she didn’t make the cut.

Live in car dude needs to shape up and stop being 18.  Glad they let him through, to see what happens, but…

03:04 PM | MusicTV • (0) CommentsPermalink

Friday, January 25, 2008

Deb: I’ve been reading too much and doing too little, both online and off.

Sometimes, though, that leads me to be an absolute GENIUS.

You see, we have no TiVO.  So we have no device noticing for us that, say, one of our favorite shows is making a surprise Thursday appearance.  All we’ve got is my uncanny sense of just when to check the schedule.

So it happened that I was sitting here last night at 7:55 and thought, I should check and see if there’s anything on, even though I hadn’t done that in weeks.  And so it happened that when CHUCK (!!!) came on at 8, we were recording it!  And at 9, we were watching it!  And at 10, we were watching it some more!

I’d claim to be the best wife ever, but I enjoyed it too much for the thing to count in properly martyr-istic (!!!) fashion.

I rock.  I really, really rock.  :-D

09:13 PM | Totally RandomTV • (2) CommentsPermalink

Friday, January 04, 2008

Deb: The Biggest Loser

I started to watch it again, and when they were doing the intros and the mother and son came on and mom insisted that her kid looked like her because she’s a terrible mother, I turned it off.  Because science is cool and I can’t take all of this bullshit anymore.  *headdesk*

Anyway, tuns out that I was way right to do so.  I don’t think my blood pressure could have taken the rest of the episode, per Jeff Jarvis, anyway. 

Just remember, that blood pressure spike would have had nothing to do with having to endure outrageous would have been brought to you by TEH FAT!

Honestly, I’m starting to really enjoy having given up TV again.  Thanks, WGA.  I *heart* you.

07:11 PM | MedicalNewsHealth CareTV • (1) CommentsPermalink

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Jay: TV Problems (Updated!)

I mentioned recently that the hand-me-down TV from my father seemed to be dead, in the form of UHF no longer processing a signal.  It had started as bad sound on some stations, before becoming pure fuzz.  We haven’t swapped the smaller TV back into place yet, given that there’s nothing to watch, really, and the TV displays DVD perfectly.  That’s 95% of its normal use, to the point where I thought of keeping it for the kids for DVD viewing only, rather than trying to dispose of it or return if for a refund.  Heh.  Yesterday the sound starting flaking out on some of the VHF stations, so the assumption was it’s dying the rest of the way.

Last night Deb noticed it was getting signal on some UHF channels.  No sound, and the best of them barely usable, but clearly UHF was not in fact dead, as it had appeared.

I just played with the connections and at least briefly managed to get sound, but it didn’t really change much.  If I unplugged the antenna entirely, there was nothing, so the antenna does something, and its signal gets through the splitters and cables, however badly.  The connections are all solid, and I put the mess of cable and splitters back on the shelf, though likely no harm existed in the way it was hanging.

So.  Any opinions as to whether this is likely to be death of the antenna, or a cable, or a splitter, rather than the TV?  Again, DVD works fine.  I don’t believe we have tried a tape since the onset of the UHF problem, but that would have more in common with the antenna than does the DVD, which plugs one to one into the TV.  VCR is the reason for the splitters in the first place.  Tests would be to play a tape, and to record something, anything on a UHF station and play it back.  Dang, I should have thought of this before.  It’s no different from computer troubleshooting, the way you can rule things in or out.  All I had thought of was trying the other TV with the antenna and cables, but the VCR processes incoming TV signals from the antenna independently.  If VCR to TV is clear, then if antenna to VCR is clear, we’ll get clear tape of UHF via tape and know it’s the TV’s UHF processing.  If UHF to tape is fuzzy, it’s probably the antenna.  If commercial tape to TV is fuzzy, it’s probably a splitter or cable problem.

Still.  Thoughts until I get around to testing more?


I didn’t even have to test recording through the VCR, since duh, the VCR processes incoming signals and feeds them to the TV live if it is the active device and not just recording on one channel while you watch another.  I played a previously recorded tape and it was fine.  Then I saw what the reception of UHF looked like upon stopping it.  Beautiful.  If anything, better than normal.

Conclusion: It’s a specific cable or splitter that affects the antenna to TV routing but not antenna to VCR or VCR to TV routing.  I’d have to look back there to see which that must be.  I may even have a spare cable around, but I’d have to find it, and buy a splitter.  All we really have to do for now is watch the TV through the VCR feed.  That becomes an issue only when we return to having shows opposite each other that require the TV and VCR to be used on separate channels.

03:28 PM | GeekeryTV • (3) CommentsPermalink

Sunday, December 30, 2007


My father gave us a hand-me-down old 27” TV recently.  It’s been great!  Odd, though, the sound would sometimes be fuzzy on UHF stations.

Last night UHF died entirely.  Since the antenna still works to receive and modify reception of VHF, it would appear to be the innards that process and display the UHF signal.

Where is most of what passes for kid’s programming on broadcast TV?  UHF.  Where is at least half of what we watch otherwise?  UHF.


Notwithstanding that it still works fine for watching DVDs, looks like I will promptly be swapping our 23” 21” set back into usage, and hope it doesn’t get any ideas from the other one.

03:24 PM | Totally RandomTV • (0) CommentsPermalink

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Jay: It’s Annoying

To wake up at 5:00 and never be able to return to sleep.  What I really needed then was to go to the computer for 20 - 60 minutes, as frequently happens in the middle of the night, then go back to bed snapped back into sleepy and out of whatever pain or mental state was associated with waking.  I decided not to do that for a change, and as I was about to get back in bed, Valerie flew out of her room and tried to climb on Deb and the baby, in the recliner.  I grabbed Val and put her in bed with me, which made her happy.  Just enough restless to add distraction, though.

I just couldn’t get comfortable.  Which I find happens perhaps more in the bed I should be comfortable in than on the office floor, or on the floor in the kid’s room, or certainly on one of the air mattresses in there.  There was a distressing lack of white noise, made worse by the windows rattling loudly in the wind and making it sound like the house might fail to hold up.

My mind raced through the work I once did for a travel agency, whether I might be able to collect anything from one client I never got around to billing for some work, or whether I should settle for a good reference, whether I might be able to guilt another client into paying anything at all toward what she never paid, updating the old business web site to reflect the PO box, updating the WTH site and shaking loose some possible work even if I am just going to get side or interim work through it, replying to a couple neglected e-mails, my stubborn psychology distrusting employers and how it came about, finding a CotC host, what needs to be done in the house and how to divide time between work and that today, remembering I have the girls for a couple hours by myself today, how easy it was to complete a resume the day last week I psyched myself in the wee hours into being undepressed - even in the face of Deb having a bad day - and the need to keep that change of mental state from slipping, hourly rates and the conflict between what they must be to live on and what so many people - including me - perceive as excessive, posts I want to write and whether I am making things worse when I make myself not write them because dammit there are other things to do, how it would be fun to actually fire up some of the spare computers I have in the office and fiddle with them and whether I make things worse by failing to have that kind of fun, how energized I feel, say, cleaning up a bad patch of malware or other stubborn problem so maybe it’s odd for me to wonder if I want to change careers entirely, how I can possibly make money helping people with a combination of undervalued work and work that’s given away free on the internet if you know to look for it, whether I’d fall asleep more comfortably in Val’s bed since she’s not using it, how rough the day might be if I get up now, whether the Heroes newsgroup will be updating in the morning so I can see what people posted about the finale, what I think of Twitter and whether to delete my account and whether it would be useful to start some special purpose accounts, and well, yeah… sleep didn’t seem to be in the cards.

So here I am, at the computer, only just starting to feel sleepy again, though my back still hurts from sleeping, hesitant to drink any of the coffee I started brewing an hour ago, wondering if I stayed awake because my system knew I would need the bathroom soon, not just because of a worried and overactive mind.

11:27 AM | BloggingBusinessGeekeryHumorJob HuntingKidsMedicalMoneyTotally RandomTV • (0) CommentsPermalink

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Jay: The Clark Brothers

Are clearly the band The Powers That Be behind Next Great American Band want to have win.  They were so outrageously bad tonight it was painful, yet the judges waxed orgasmic again.  Last week it struck me there might be an agenda.  This week is hard to explain otherwise.

Every song is not a skeletal hymn of what it could have been, or a heartfelt plea for salvation to your imaginary friend from another dimension.  Who wants musical Dementors?


Anyway, so sad Tres Bien is gone.  I am likely to buy whatever they put out when they sign and cut an album.  They were arguably best last week, but apparently the demographics were unkind.

Goofily named Dot Dot Dot won’t win but keeps improving.

Who told the luminescent kids of doom they could be arguably second best performance this week?

Oh well.  Nothing else is on Friday nights.

03:15 AM | MusicTV • (0) CommentsPermalink

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Jay: Well That Sucks

Next Great American Band was not surprising, but was disappointing.  I really enjoyed Cliff Wagner.

Worst of this week?  Light of Doom and Clark Brothers, IMHO.  When the judges praised the latter to an unnatural degree, I remarked sarcastically that no, they don’t have an agenda at all.

02:29 AM | MusicTV • (0) CommentsPermalink

Friday, November 23, 2007

Jay: Ugh

I think I’ll need to be rolled into bed.

Dinner was turkey, gravy, stuffing, mashed potato, butternut, candied sweet potato, peas, and cranberry/apple/orange sauce (more like an apple sauce than a jelled cranberry sauce).  The turkey came out solidly good, but particularly pretty.

Sadie devoured the sauce, gravy and turkey, barely touching the rest and refusing to taste the sweet potatoes, which I’d made in a hurry and gotten especially maple flavored.  Valerie devoured the sauce, stuffing, gravy, peas, and some of the rest.

Afterward it was apple pie for me.  The girls ate a lot of it for breakfast.  Sadie wanted “pie pie” when offered “cranberry pie, which isn’t really pie,” and then she clarified “I want apple pie.” We took pity, and then I took pity of Deb, so I had a small piece.  Valerie, meanwhile, feels about the cranberry “pie” with apple the way Sadie does about the traditional apple pie, so she devoured a piece of that almost as completely as Sadie did her apple.  I thought it was, if anything, even more amazing cold.  Valerie had already eaten almost as much cranberry pie shortly before dinner, a little handout at a time.  Unfortunately, being full didn’t translate into an easy bedtime for them.  For the record, if I ever wonder, today before bed was their first time watching the original Grinch, for haphazard values of watching.

What’s sad is I kept nibbling while putting things away, almost finishing the last bit of the cut loaf of pumpkin bread and further sampling the turkey.  Then I got thirsty, which after a couple big glasses of water probably has as much to do with how I feel now as the copious food.

Now the challenge will be to finish the leftovers.

I’m pleased with myself for having kept dishes washed substantially as I went along, so the dishwasher isn’t all that full and there’s little left to process that isn’t already clean and air drying, or in the dishwasher waiting for it to be full.

Speaking of rolling, unless someone has done it since Deb looked, I need to go down and roll the trash barrels to the street for pickup in the morning.  I’d much rather toll myself into bed.

02:50 AM | Food & CookingKidsTotally RandomTV • (0) CommentsPermalink

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Jay: Timely Next Great American Band Thoughts

Friday’s Next Great American Band was a shocker.  Franklin Bridge was a victim of demographics in the voting, much as Light of Doom was clearly a beneficiary.  Tween girls have to be burning up the lines voting for the pretty little boys who actually managed to impress me this week.

Franklin Bridge was extremely popular from what I could tell of the buzz.  While not entirely my thing, I consider them extremely talented and marketable.  I’d be shocked not to find them signed by someone after the show’s run ends.  I would, from a business perspective.

When it came down to them and Tres Bien, much as I like Tres Bien, I was certain they were gone.  So were they, based on their shocked reaction and their classy nod toward the other band.

That makes it especially cool that Tres Bien was hands down best of the week, much as Cliff Wagner was the previous week.  I was reminded of early Stones or perhaps The Who.

The Clark Brothers were meh this week, to me, in a way I perhaps can’t define well.  I thought the choice of song was foolish, and the singing reminded me of my brother when he is so-so trying too hard and not using his own voice as he should.

Dot Dot Dot was at their best this week and they’ve grown on me to the point where I have to say I like them.  The dude can sing, and it might matter less for him the genre than for the others there.  The look and antics aren’t necessary, except for marketing and proclaiming their expected audience.  The talent is there.  In fact, I can’t see any remaining band, or any remaining after Rocket and The Muggs, not being marketable in some reasonable form.  Denver may be “corporate,” for instance, but they could make a good living performing.  In fact, they are Taylor Hicks-like in their appeal as a potentially compelling live show in a modest sized venue.

Who will go next week?  On the merits of being stellar this week, maybe not Tres Bien.  Someone will probably be a combined victim of demographics and their own not-as-good this week.  Clark Brothers?  Cliff Wagner?  Both still adequate to good, but given that the youngsters were both better than before and clearly riding the crest of the youth vote tsunami, they have to be called safe.  Dot Dot Dot apparently benefits from the demographics too.  Call them safe.  I was surprised how well Denver did.  If that was demographics, and their performance, which I liked, didn’t hurt them, they may be surprisingly safe.  Six Wire is too good, too favored, and too sexy to be in danger.  Who does that leave?  Clark Brothers, Cliff Wagner and Tres Bien.  On strength of performance, It should come down to Cliff Wagner or Clark Brothers.  However, it could come down to one of them versus Tres Bien.  I love Cliff Wagner, but if I had to deduce who goes I would probably name them based on voting patterns and performances.  It should be the Clark Brothers who go.  They’ll Carrie on regardless, after all, but they’re almost too niche even compared to others, and they don’t have enough other appeal.

04:47 PM | MusicTV • (0) CommentsPermalink

Deb: Thank God they finished the story arc before all hell broke loose.

***Spoilers below the jump***

04:44 PM | TV • (1) CommentsPermalink

Friday, November 16, 2007

Jay: Size Matters

In early 2000, after I’d settled into the Quincy apartment and my reliable old 13” black and white TV from 1979 died, I finally broke down and bought a new color TV, my first brand new one, and a VCR, my first VCR ever.  Before I did, I asked my friend Bob’s advice on brands and such, the such including screen size.  He asked about the size of the room and distance from the screen and opined that 23” would be about right.

I ended up at Sears in Braintree.

After looking at the offerings forever, I settled on a fancy VCR that still works great.  As well it should, having had a price to match its high end nature.  I also settled on a 23” TV of a recommended brand.

The sales guy for that area ended up fighting with the warehouse guy, who refused to look for my TV in stock, so he had to do it himself.  Something like 40 minutes later, they didn’t have any.  But wait!  Here’s a different brand, same thing, and it’s on sale like $80 lower!  It cost less than the VCR and was an amazing price, even with what I will note later in this post.  I decided I could accept the substitution, especially having had luck with the brand, even if it was not top tier in Bob’s recommendations.

Another wait ensued, now in the pickup area, by which time I just wanted to be out of there.  Finally I got the TV and VCR, to go with the antenna I’d also bought, and dragged it all home.

Fast forward to yesterday.

We recently got a hand me down 27” TV, which is fantastic and makes us want to watch Transformers again.  Not to mention other things, for which there should be ample time during the writer’s strike.  That’s going to be a boon, ironically, to DVD sales and rentals.  In our case, we could go weeks watching a movie we already own each night from the neither have seen it, she hasn’t seen it, and I haven’t seen it subsets of the combined collection.  That’s without starting rewatches of movies and going through TV shows on video.  Not to mention presumably catching reruns of things we missed, like Life and Reaper, and the convenience of fewer new shows competing with what has to be a better season of American Idol this year.  But I digress.

Yesterday I looked again at the juxtaposition of the old TV near the new one and remarked how small it seemed.  Deb got the measuring tape.  The new one really is only 27” and not some unexpected larger amount.  The surprise?

The old TV is only 21 inches!

Apparently I never noticed this when I unpacked it, or else I mind wiped myself and am completely deluded about what size I thought I was supposed to have bought.  That’s possible too.  It would certainly explain why the price was so dramatically lower than the out of stock one.  It would also explain why I’ve kept wondering over the years why Bob told me to get such a small TV, as it seemed small even at the distance from which I watched it in Quincy.  The size recommendation was based on where it would be relative to me in that room.

And so I say… DOH!  But at least it has been a superb TV, which will be a spare in the bedroom once I get an antenna for it.  For now it’s just set aside.

04:30 PM | BusinessGeekeryHumorMoviesTV • (2) CommentsPermalink
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