February 13, 2007

Why, Comcast? WHY???

I don’t get to see a lot of Kentucky Wildcat basketball here in California, and as this is California, we don’t get a lot of sports news about Kentucky either. So when I saw Big Blue would play the Tennessee Volunteers, and would air today, I set the DVR to record it. In high-definition, no less. I watched part of the game while it recorded, then went out to see my boyfriend Joe (Trader Joe, that is), confident that my magic box would record the rest of the game for me to watch when I returned.

I arrived home from TJ’s, put away my groceries, popped a frozen Thai green curry entree into the microwave, and turned on the TV and Comcast DVR to watch the recorded game.

I fast-forwarded to the end of the part I had already watched and listened to the game while feeding the cats as my dinner spun around in the microwave. Suddenly, Kentucky was down by 3 and the game was almost over. Whoa.

Just as I started to head to the TV to rewind what had just happened, I heard…nothing. Silence. What? Where did it go? Momentary satellite loss? No picture either. Just dark. Then, just as quickly, the audio and video both came back on, but the channel had switched to the local news coverage. Wha? Who changed the channel? I was the only one home. The remote was on the coffeetable, and the cats were in the kitchen, their heads shoved into their food receptacles.

Why? What? Huh?

I ferociously pushed buttons on the remote to take me to the DVR screen that showed my recordings and fast-forwarded through the game to nearly the end. I hit play and watched as the clock ticked down. There it was, 84 to 81, Tennessee. And then? This:

Comcast strikes again.

It just STOPPED recording after 112 minutes. WHILE THE GAME WAS STILL PLAYING IN REGULATION. Mind you, the game was on the Comcast schedule from 4 pm to 6 pm. That means 120 minutes (I’m not good at math, but I think that’s right). Yet, the recorder let me down. Instead of living up to its promise of 2 hours, it decided to stop 8 minutes early. Just when there was a mere 29.5 seconds left, and the ‘Cats were down by three points.

I am very disappointed in you, Comcast.

Kentucky lost, by the way (sigh).

November 27, 2006

Reality bites

elephant cakeI have discovered a fun new reality show. No, wait…don’t go! Did I mention that this reality show is about cake?

The show is Ace of Cakes and it airs on the Food Network. Duff Goldman is an amazingly talented sculptor/painter/baker who employs some seemingly unrelated skills such as graffiti and welding to build his masterpiece cakes. As stressful as it can get for him and his team, they all seem to have a great time working together. If you want to take a peek at some of his work, check out his bakery online. Bring milk.

As I am completely obsessed with wedding planning lately, I originally tuned in to see examples of wedding cakes. But Duff’s cakes are insane. From an airplane-shaped birthday cake for his dad, complete with fireworks to simulate a jet engine to a pair of life-size flamingos for a zoo party, his work is something you just have to see. I have a newfound respect for cake designers, and now I realize why their creations cost so much. (OK, I still think they’re priced a bit high, but now I have a better understanding of the hours of meticulous work required.)

Oh, and if anyone would like to contribute to have Duff make our wedding cake, and deliver it to our venue, I would be your new best friend.

November 10, 2006

Junk food=amuse bouche

On this week’s Top Chef, for the quick-fire challenge, the chefs had to create an amuse bouche (a small bite to tempt your tastebuds before the meal arrives), using only items from vending machines. Each chef had $10 in quarters with which to purchase their ingredients.

Michael, the class clown of the group stuck a Cheeto into a Snickers bar to create a particularly phallic-looking, no-effort mouth teaser. Others were a bit more inventive, taking the fig mixture out of a Newton for sauce on a frittata, or creating a tostada from a Do-r-rito (roll the r) and some chicken salad out of a sandwich. The winning entry was a sunflower seed and carrot loaf with cilantro, sesame, and Squirt.

How do they come up with this stuff? This got me thinking of what type of amuse bouche I would make from vending machine foods. But all of my ideas were chocolate, or otherwise sweet. And as I learned from Top Chef, an amuse bouche is not supposed to be dessertish. For sure I’d sure try to find a way to use Munchos. Muchos are a highly underrated snack food.

What would you prepare?

May 25, 2006

Even the world’s biggest stars love American Idol

Did you all see how emotional The Hoff got when Ryan Seacrest announced the winner of American Idol? He is so a member of the Soul Patrol. Wooo Hooo!!!

David Hasselhoff

March 30, 2006

The Joy of Sex (and the City)

Last night was too much fun. Ninety minutes of non-stop Sex (and the City).

When I was first approached to do this, the screener suggested going out for a drink first. I declined for two reasons:

  1. Where in San Ho are we going to find a cool bar nearby that will make us flirtinis?
  2. I envisioned myself having cocktails with stuffy people dressed in suits and ties.

When I greeted the three women who came to talk to this Extreme Sex and the City Fan, I wish I had accepted the drink offer. They looked like the same people who walk through my door all the time, like my girlfriends. And they looked fun, not scientific-researchy at all. OK, I didn’t expect lab coats, but in the past when I’ve participated in focus groups, the leader has been a bit stiff. But these chicks were cool.

Damn, I should have bought cosmopolitan fixin’s. Ah well. And I make a mighty fine cosmo, if I do say so myself. Shoot. I didn’t even offer them a drink of water. What kind of hostess am I? Oh, that’s right. I was a Research Subject, not a Hostess. That lets me off the hook. Right?

At first, the prospect of having this conversation at my house seemed weird. (Mom always said not to let strangers in the house.) I was told that meeting at my humble abode would allow me to be more comfortable than I might be in unfamiliar surroundings, like a corporate boardroom. But it also meant that I had to clean. Like a madwoman I cleaned. My apartment needed it and I am the type who doesn’t clean because I want to, I clean because someone is coming over and I want to make a good impression and I don’t want them to think I’m a giant slob. These people already knew I watch a lot of TV, and that conjures up images of dusty furniture, empty soda cans, and potato chip bags and the only things you can see in the mess are a reclined La-Z-Boy chair and the remote. So I had to get rid of all that stuff before they came over.

I was put under the microscope for an hour and a half. Only, it didn’t seem like a microscope. It seemed like my living room. Oh wait, it was my living room. It was exactly like three friends had come over to talk and get to know me better. Except my friends don’t videotape me or take pictures or notes, hanging on my every word.

I’ll admit that my fondness for television sometimes embarrasses me. But not when I can make some extra dough talking about how much I like it, and one show in particular. I also know a LOT about pop culture. You want me on your Trivial Pursuit team or Celebrity Taboo. Yes, I will be your Entertainment Lifeline if you ever get on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (for a small fee). Some call it useless information, but others just paid me $50 bucks an hour for that uselessness. So there ya go.

I didn’t know just where these women were from and I tried to guess, based on the questions they asked. I figured maybe they were from HBO and were looking for interest in a new reality series that HBO is working on. Nope, HBO didn’t send them. In they end, they told me they were from a cable network (the one that airs Sex and the City). I gave them and the network permission to use all of last night’s footage (quotes, video, photos) in whatever way they see fit. (Damn, I should have fixed my makeup and worn a push-up bra.)

It was easy and fun, and damn, I wish I could do this all the time. Get paid just for talking about TV. So, get your ass on that couch and start watching some TV! It could be a whole new source of income for you.

March 28, 2006

Latest Development

In case you haven’t heard by now (it’s all over the Internets), it looks like Arrested Development is over. For good.

The show’s brilliant creator, Mitch Hurwitz, says he won’t be continuing the series. Originally, Showtime was interested in picking up the Show the FOX Forgot, but only with Hurwitz’s involvement.

Just this morning, I was discussing the lack of outstanding sitcoms on TV these days. The jokes are irritatingly predictable and the laugh tracks are ridiculous. I am one of a very few who didn’t love Raymond. Part of the charm of Arrested Development (and The Office) is the welcome absence of fake laughter. Don’t tell me when I should laugh, thankyouverymuch.

The witty writing that consistently pushed the envelope is a rarity in broadcast television, yet a staple of cable TV (HBO’s Sex and the City, Six Feet Under, and Showtime’s Queer as Folk). Many had high hopes that Showtime would extend the chronicles of the Bluth family and give Arrested Development a new home. But, it doesn’t lood good, people.

Yes, I know there are more pressing issues in our world than the fate of a television show (or mullet comebacks), but it makes me sad that shows like Hope & Faith and The War at Home continue to air and Arrested Development is, well, arrested. I’m afraid what that says about the American television-viewing public is that we are unintelligent boobs who don’t enjoy smartly written and produced comedies.

January 5, 2006

and this year’s oscar host is…

jon stewart

yes! according to the los angeles times (citing unidentified sources). sounds kinda wishy-washy, but I hope it’s true. apparently he accepted just before christmas.
zippity-doo-dah day!

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