December 21, 2010

The Bro Ideal

What constitutes a "bro"? Also: can I not put that in quotes from now on? It seems like a lot of work. Thanks! Continuing: Watching the works of Aaron Sorkin (Sports Night, The West Wing, Studio 60), I'm struck by the pairs of dudes that exhibit bro-like behavior. I'm not sure how true-to-life this behavior is, but it's fun to watch. I've noticed some commonality in most of Sorkin's bros. Specifically:

(1) Work relationship. These guys work together or have some kind of working relationship. Leo is Bartlett's Chief of Staff. Matt is the writer, Danny is the producer of the same show. Dan and Casey are co-anchors. This is likely out of convenience since the shows focus on these guys' jobs but it's also an excuse for these guys to be around each other all the time. Indeed, guys being around each other all the time without the working relationship seems pathetic (sorry, Isaac).

(2) They've known each other for years. A bro-lationship doesn't happen overnight! A long backstory gives weight to the relationship, and provides fodder for conversation (and sometimes conflict). The backstory also makes the type of dialogue Sorkin writes for them more believable. Things are frequently spoken without words between these characters, and a years-long relationship makes that easier to buy as well.

(3) They are fiercely loyal to each other. I guess that's a fundamental part of being a bro, and you see it in Sorkin's characters as well. I don't recall anyone ever starting a fight or anything, but it's in the subtext that they're willing to.

I suppose good writers aren't limited to drawing on their own experience, but I can't help but wonder if Sorkin has a bro-lationship (bromance seems played out) similar to what he depicts onscreen. Or perhaps this is a lofty but unattainable ideal for him. He does seem to work with Thomas Schlamme a lot, but maybe that's just a coincidence.

One thing that has always irked me about reality shows is the dialog between (supposed) bros. There are certain things that dudes typically don't talk about, or at the very least there are ways that most dudes don't talk. Reality shows ring false every time. Am I just being too suspicious of these "unscripted" shows? Or have I bought into Sorkin's mythical bro ideal?

December 10, 2010

Testing again

Yep, I'm in the storage room again. Random observation: there's a lot of calculators in here. I've got nothing much to say, I was just annoyed that this didn't work before and I can't seem to let stupid stuff like that go. Maybe at some point I'll get a new phone (I've got a Motorola Q that's going on three years old), but AT&T won't let me buy a new smartphone without also purchasing a data plan. Call me cheap, but $15 for 200 megabytes of data just seems ridiculous when I have unlimited (and much speedier) data from Time Warner at home, and I don't really do anything productive on my phone. But I like smartphones, so I guess at some point I'll have to compromise either in my choice of phone or my choice of monthly bill.

December 9, 2010

Testing mobile device

People sadden me sometimes. I think they think they will automatically (or magically?) get into gear when things get difficult. Or maybe they just think things will never get difficult? I think the difficulty is a forgone conclusion but perhaps they're right about themselves. I wish I were that optimistic. Obviously, I don't want anything bad to happen to anyone, but it's almost like they're asking for it! It's odd for me because, under other circumstances, I wouldn't care. I think I could totally ignore it. But circumstances force me to take note. And circumstances compel me to be encouraging (or at the very least compel me not to be discouraging). Hopefully I'll get used to it. An even better scenario would be getting good at it. But there's only so much any of us can do.

I'm writing this entire entry from my phone! I realize that kind of thing isn't nearly as impressive as it once was (what can't you do from a phone these days?), but I'm excited anyway. I'm on a break from work hiding out in the storage room. If this works out maybe I'll do it more often. The blog entries, I mean. The hiding out I do all the time. I'm not hiding from my work or anything, I just take my breaks here because there's no people. And did I mention people sadden me sometimes?

UPDATE: The mobile post didn't work. So much for used-to-be-impressive technology!

November 24, 2010

Let's get physical (media).

I'm still not sure how old-fashioned I am when it comes to strictly-digital entertainment. I like getting a tangible product for my money. But if the price is right, I'll buy an mp3 album instead of the CD. This is also slowly becoming the case with digital TV shows and movies as this type of media becomes more popular. But for certain movies, TV shows, and albums, I think I'll always want physical media. So my entertainment is two-tiered. The music I really like I buy on CD and put on my computer. The stuff I somewhat like and find a deal on I'll download. Music is easy that way, especially with lessened emphasis on DRM (thanks Steve Jobs). But video adds more wrinkles.

It seems like people envision a future in which whatever video entertainment they want is easily accessible and streamed instantly over (presumably) the internet. And yet more and more the digital video picture gets increasingly complicated (and don't even get me started on how unlikely flying cars and jetpacks are looking). You can subscribe to streaming services like Netflix and Hulu Plus, but content is limited, and there's no guarantee that available content will stay the same (or that these services will be around for the long haul). You can buy digital video content from companies like Apple and Amazon, but content is similarly limited, and can get expensive. There's also still that nagging question of, "will this always be available?" If it's downloaded content, you could lose it; if it's streamed content, you might not always have the internet available (or you might have some kind of bandwidth cap to worry about, or you could get annoying lag or pauses in your stream). There's also the problem of getting access to the content from whatever device you're using. And what about your family (and their device of choice)? Are they allowed access, or must they purchase their own digital copy?

I think digital video libraries would become more mainstream (as digital music libraries are) if there was an easy way to rip your existing DVD collection. Music is easy to rip when you buy CDs (providing free digital download for vinyl buyers is becoming standard practice too). Not so with video. Video takes lots of disk space; there's not really an "industry-standard" file format (let alone which codecs to use); and many times the software to rip DVDs isn't (a) easy to come by, (b) easy to use, or (c) legal. If disk space and software aren't an issue, ripping a movie is doable. But a typical season of a TV show can run between four and seven discs (and I've got two shows that are each seven seasons)! It just seems like that would take forever. With the advent of Blu-ray, digital copies of movies are becoming more popular, but these are often proprietary and rely on DRM. And I haven't seen the digital copy offers for TV shows on Blu-ray.

As usual, there's no easy solution. Chalk it up to paranoia, but I think it's designed that way to make me spend too much time thinking about pointless stuff like this. Digital music is much less of a headache now that DRM isn't really an issue, but I don't see movie and TV studios agreeing to drop DRM like music studios have (seriously, Steve Jobs must be incredibly persuasive). As much as I like it, entertainment is essentially fluff, but the OCD/perfectionist side of me wants all my fluff in a single digital stable that I can easily access from anywhere...without spending a lot of money doing it. Is it likely to happen? No. But maybe slightly more likely to happen than flying cars and jetpacks.

November 19, 2010

I routinely stay up late.

I'm the first to admit I'm not a great conversationalist. That having been said, I think I'm at least somewhat proficient at gauging the appropriate response to what people say. Usually. I've never found the appropriate response to the following statement:

"You look tired."

Maybe my difficulty comes from not knowing why anyone would possibly want to say this to another person. Unless maybe they mean it as a not-very-witty insult? But that doesn't seem to be the typical motivation. In fact, judging by their tone, people seem to think this statement is somehow useful! As if maybe the tired-looking person wasn't aware? Here are some responses I've used:

"How flattering!"

"Thank you."

"..." (that's me staring through (apparently) tired eyes, waiting for the rest of the sentence...because there must be more, right? Surely you're going to add something useful to this statement. Really, no? That's it, you're just sticking with "you look tired"?)

I think the sarcasm is appropriate, but I don't want to be witheringly sarcastic, just enough to make them think about what they've said. It usually doesn't work. If I come up with a REALLY good one, I'll stay up all night and see if I can solicit the comment, George Costanza style (the jerk store called...they're running out of YOU!). But I don't have my ultimate zinger I should go to bed.

November 3, 2010

Keeping it classy

So Isaac and I have made some videos I'm fairly proud of, including this one we made a few days ago. We wanted to make fun of "epic scenes" that directors like JJ Abrams often seem to make, complete with video effects, slow motion, and music in place of sound effects. Plus a mini-editorial on violence to boot! Hope you like it.

August 29, 2010

Scott Pilgrim

I can't say enough good things about this movie, but I have one complaint. And let me preface this by saying that maybe I can't hear as well as I used to; but the movie just isn't loud enough. It's clever, it packs a visual punch, I just want my ears to be punched a little harder. Come to think of it, maybe this is why I can't ear as well as I used to.

Side note: I'm also thoroughly enjoying the video game. It's got a very NES-y feel.

April 26, 2010

lifesaving inventions...household materials

I won't be seeing it, but they're making a movie out of the SNL "MacGruber" sketch. I think it's interesting that there was never a MacGyver movie (despite it's popularity (I know Marge's sisters both love it)), yet its SNL parody gets one! I'm reminded of Ricky Martin. "She Bangs" was SUPPOSED to be a follow-up hit to his first single "La Vida Loca" but it didn't really happen. Then William Hung came along and actually made it a popular song. A sad commentary on our culture? Follow-up question: what culture?

March 26, 2010

Radiohead completist blues

Okay, I'm not really a Radiohead completist. I've seen them live twice and they were both great shows but I don't see the need to obtain bootleg recordings of all their shows. I don't have Thom Yorke's solo album. I'm actually a terrible Radiohead fan. But my blues stem from this: the Radiohead re-issues. Their first six studio albums have been re-issued both as 2CD and 2CD/1DVD sets. The sad part is I already own most of what you get on the CDs and spent a lot of money doing it. But they offer JUST ENOUGH extra stuff that I want to buy them. So I did. Well mostly...I didn't get the DVD version of Pablo Honey (I just don't care that much) and I didn't bother with Kid A (the b-sides became Amnesiac and there were no official promo videos so the second CD and DVD are all live stuff). I also didn't get HttT because the COM LAG EP (which I have) has all the b-sides. Now my (I realize this is no big deal, so it's a very small) dilemma is...what do I do with all these singles and EPs I had to buy to get all this until-recently-hard-to-get stuff? Not to mention the four albums that I've replaced as my count I've replaced 16 CDs altogether. Where were you when I needed you, Radiohead re-issues?? Oh well...some say pretty soon we'll never "own" any music anyway, that we'll just pay our monthly subscription...but that's another post.

March 17, 2010

New Home

Rescue the cows? While they seem like decent enough animals and they taste delicious, I'm not too concerned about rescuing them. But one day, I wanted to play an online game with my girlfriend slash future wife and needed to come up with a hotmail address. And there it was. I'm not sure what made me think of it, but it's super easy to remember and not usually (okay, never) taken as a username. So here's my first post at my new home, In fact, if you ever want to find my online footprint, google bing 'rescuethecows' and you'll probably find every facet of my web presence (I won't blame you if you don't, it's not that exciting). For those that are genuinely interested in saving cows, consider these links.