Friday, March 30, 2007

Broken iPods, Broken Hearts

Yesterday I was interviewed by a reporter working on a story about iPods breaking down after warranty. I would have spoken more vehemently, but time has helped to heal my wounds somewhat, and I'm no longer as upset as I was. To read the story, click here.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Lost S3ep14

Lame lame lame lame lame

How can I put it another way? Oh yeah, this episode was lame! The Paulo/Nicki backstory was trite at best. But really it seems unnecessary, that is unless the writers planted a few seeds that will grow into major plot lines or twists later. Inserting Paulo and Nicki into the major scenes/happenings of seasons one and two was weak and ineffective. There were a few interesting tidbit though:

  • The tying off of the Sun being kidnapped story. Watching Sawyer and Charlie feel the guilt and struggle with what they had done was great - well written and well acted. And Sun's reaction was beautiful.
  • So Paulo overheard the conversation between Ben and Juliet regarding plans to use Michael to kidnap Jack, Kate and Sawyer and for Jack to perform surgery. Did he do absolutely nothing with that information?
  • Being buried alive - and that's only interesting because I imagine it's not a pleasant experience and does this mean they're really dead this time? That is unless they pull a Buffy and dig their way out of their own grave.

This episode was lacking the pedigree that is Lost; it's inadequate and unsatisfactory. But next week's promises to be more exciting - Juliet and Kate get into a cat fight over Jack and it looks like they've escaped the Others' compound somehow. I'm not a Jater by any stretch, but I'm still lookingy forward to seeing this dynamic duo get into it.

HARRY POTTER 7 COVER ART!!!

Cover art for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released today on The Today Show. For an image of the full cover which features Voldemort for the first time, click here. For images of the UK covers, click here.
Where is Harry? Deathly Hallows? Why does it look like Voldemort and Harry are working together? The cover art portrays them side by side with arms raised. And is that Slytherin's locket around Harry's neck? Are those shadows in the background Deatheaters? So many questions - but in 114 days we'll have the answers. Gah! What do you think?

Hump Day Humor: Tennis Elbow

One day Bill complained to his friend that his elbow really hurt. His friend suggested that he go to a computer at the drug store that can diagnose anything quicker and cheaper than a doctor. ''Simply put in a sample of your urine and the computer will diagnose your problem and tell you what you can do about it. It only costs $10."

Bill figured he had nothing to lose, so he filled a jar with a urine sample and went to the drug store. Finding the computer, he poured in the sample and deposited the $10. The computer started making some noise and various lights started flashing. After a brief pause out popped a small slip of paper on which was printed: "You have tennis elbow. Soak your arm in warm water. Avoid heavy lifting. It will be better in two weeks."

Later that evening while thinking how amazing this new technology was and how it would change medical science forever, he began to wonder if this machine could be fooled. He mixed together some tap water, a stool sample from his dog and urine samples from his wife and daughter. To top it off, he masturbated into the concoction. He went back to the drug store, located the machine, poured in the sample and deposited the $10.

The computer again made the usual noise and printed out the following message: "Your tap water is too hard. Get a water softener. Your dog has worms. Get him vitamins. Your daughter is using cocaine. Put her in a rehabilitation clinic. Your wife is pregnant with twin girls. They aren't yours. Get a lawyer. And if you don't stop jerking off, your tennis elbow will never get better."

ANSWER - Tuesday Trivia: NASA

How did astronaut Edwin Aldrin, the second man to walk on the mon, come to be nicknamed Buzz?

When he was a youngster, his sister Fay Ann called him Buzzer instead of brother. The mispronunciation was adopted by others and shortened to Buzz. Aldrin legally changed his name to Buzz in the early 1980s.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Tuesday Trivia: NASA

In a new weekly series I'm calling Tuesday Trivia, I'll post a trivia question and you can leave a comment with your answer. I'll post the correct answer Wednesday morning.

abyssinia!

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How did astronaut Edwin Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, come to be nicknamed Buzz?

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Trio are officially signed!

There have been rumors circulating for a while that Emma Watson would not be returning to the role of Hermione Granger. Well, Warner Bros. has officially announced that Emma, Dan Radcliffe and Rupert Grint will be reprising their roles as Hermione, Harry and Ron, respectively, for Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Grey's Anatomy S3ep19

FOP - what's crazy is these wacky cases Seattle Grace gets are actual medical conditions. Some of them seem so out there that they can't be possible but they are. This week it was a woman who was literally as stiff as a board. Reminds me of the slumber party game Light as a Feather where a volunteer would lay down and the rest of the girls would circle around her and place two fingers under her and chant "Light as a feather, stiff as a board" over and over again and using only two fingers on each hand try to lift her in the air. Never worked though. Her daughter was a jerk though.

Callie's dad was hilarious and quite enlightening as to why Callie is so demanding of George. It'll be interesting to see what her mother's like.

In the beginning of this episode, I was relieve to see Izzie creeped out over the whole sex with George thing. Then when she was stripping the sheets off her bed, I got the impression that she actually wants him. That scene in the linen closet was awfully charged and not just with indignation and frustration but also with sexual tension. It was unmistakably there. I am still not adamantly against the Izzie/George relationship but if there's going to be that much tension and that much electricity I could handle it for a few more episodes. I loved how she knew he remembered without him actually saying anything. That's how you know you really know a person - when you have an understanding without any words being spoken.

Addison said McSteamy is that good - and you know she knows he is ;-)

I had an analogy going for the three face choices before Alex alluded to Ava being Addison. But then I started thinking about it. Miranda, Callie and Addison are mirror characters of Izzie, Christina and Meredith and not just because they're friends. Meredith and Addison (Ava) are both tough, neurotic and have been through a lot that has only made them stronger. Izzie and Miranda (Maggie) are both the maternal types that need a deeper purpose than the glory of surgery. Christina and Callie (Elizabeth) are angry and fired up. Now, they're not exact matches, or mirros, because that would be boring. But they do share certain distinct characteristics.

So Burke looks good in a suit but McSteamy is hotter and way more charming. Perhaps it will be McSteamy who gets to play interim chief? We know it's not going to be Addison as she's moving to LA. I'm thinking it might actually be Derek as they're doing a good job of carefully diverting the chief spotlight from him - but I don't have any hard evidence or theories. What do you think?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Lost S3ep13

Update
How could I forget about the Man from Tallahasee? I wrote my post with all intentions to visit this question and just plain forgot it. So, who is the Man from Tallahasee? Locke's dad? The guy pushing Ben in the wheelchair, who also was the guy who recruited Juliet? My bet is that the Man from Tallahasee is Anthony.

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What a fantastic episode! Lost is back baby!! I liked the dialogue between Locke and Ben. They have great chemistry on screen, no I don't mean that kind of chemistry. They work well together, and the result is fabulous scenes. While Jack doesn't really trust Ben, Locke understands that it's a game, and he plays the game as long as he can benefit from it. Then he demands answers. Locke is a man of faith. And he gets the island and what it is (although we still don't know) in a way that know one else does, except for maybe Rose and even then I think she only has a small idea. Locke because he is a man of faith is able to see a much bigger picture and can accept what may seem far-fetched to everyone else.

I had a feeling that Locke being in a wheelchair had something to do with his father. You gotta admit, being pushed out an eight-story window by your own father kinda sucks. It sucks in the first place that his dad convinced him to donate a kidney then left him. But then your father attempts to kill you, man does Locke's dad get the worst father ever award. It seems like the reason Locke was in the chair should have been bigger. But how do you get bigger than attempted murder by your dad? Maybe because the actual breaking of the back moment was such a small part and happened late in Act V. Maybe it'll just take some getting used to.

When Ben started talking about the magic box at the end, I began thinking that if they pulled Locke's dad out of the box I was going to be upset. But then when they actually showed his dad tied and gagged, I thought that it actually might kinda work. Locke is one of the few characters on the show who has kept his cool pretty much the whole time. His behaviors may seem strange, and his reasoning certainly is. But more often than not, his actions benefit the rest of the Losties. So to introduce his dad, the one person he desperately wants to trust but cannot, the one person who intimidates him, takes the show to a whole other level, and I'm excited to see what happens.

I'm glad to see Ben is back to his manipulative self. That you want to believe he's telling the truth, only to realize later that of course he was telling you what you wanted/needed to hear to do what he wanted you to do. What is his end game I wonder?

Finally! Finally, someone mentioned Danielle to Alex. Someone suggested that what she has believed all her life about her parentage is not true. Finally! I wondered all through the mini-season, why Kate didn't bring it up. Possibly because she was focused on staying alive, keeping Pickett from killing Sawyer and trying to escape, but still. I wish they had shown more of her questioning everything. More of that please!

how do they know these things?

Pirates Again

So I was able to actually post the theatrical trailer for Pirates 3 here but it's been cut off and I'm not techy enough to figure out how to fix it. If you want to see the trailer in full size, click here.

Pirates of the Caribbean 3

If any of you are like me, you're really looking forward to the third installment of Pirates of the Caribbean. Well, they've released the theatrical trailer, which you can see here. Coming to theatres May 25!

Hump Day Humor: Sean Connery

Here's a link to a video featuring the best of Sean Connery on Saturday Night Live's Celebrity Jeopardy. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Deathly Hallows page count announced!!!!

Scholastic has confirmed that the American edition of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will be 784 pages long. This makes the 7th installment longer than Goblet of Fire but shorter than Order of the Phoenix.

FYI - the inital print run of DH is 12 million copies and "will be printed on paper that contains a minimum of 30% post-consumer waster (pcw) fiber"

Only 122 days to go!!!!

Lost Links

2 Lost links today. First is the preview of tomorrow's episode. Locke's looking for the submarine?? Why??? Second is a celebrity March Madness of sorts where Sawyer is up against 24's Jack. Vote for Sawyer!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Grey's Anatomy S3ep18

Alex has moved into the intern house and while I think it's great because it makes Izzie uncomfortable, it's weird to see him there. I feel weird about it because compared to the rest of the characters, with maybe the exception of Callie, we know very little about Alex's background. Plus, it's weird because he started out being a giant jackie and now that he's growing out of that, it's a little disconcerting to see him actually be genuine. It was awesome though to see Izzie struggle with her former fling have no interest in her and at the same time, it was very self-absorbing in that way that only Izzie can be. She feels like she should be over Denny but she isn't yet and she's struggling to find a way to take those final steps towards being ready to date.

Callie's an heiress?!?!?! Did not see that one coming - although I did wonder how she could afford to live in such a nice hotel for so long.

I understand that Meredith had issues with her mom - but she's showing no signs of grief whatsoever. I wonder how much time was supposed to have lapsed between the last episode and tonight's. Obviously, tonight was not the very next day. Although I do like the dynamic between her and her father, and I really look forward to where that story line is going to go in the future. It is quite cute to see Meredith and her father end up with significant others who get them with very little explanation.

I love conversations that are made up with one word sentences - like the one tonight with Burke and Derek. I think they're hilarious and so indicative of the relationship between two character. If your characters can carry a conversation made up of single words, you know you have a good thing going and I enjoy the friendship between Burke and Derek because they respect each other while at the same time competiting and acting like little boys in a pissing contest.

I don't think Colin Marlowe is there to be the ringer for chief surgeon. I think he's there to expose the attendings and their weaknesses while Richard searches for the interim chief until Miranda's ready. So brilliantly backhanded I love it!

Please tell me the Izzie/George thing is not going to be long-term. That this was a one time thing. That Izzie needed to feel like she would be able to move forward and live her life instead of pining for Denny for the rest of it. That George had some silly juvenile fantasy to fulfill. That they were just drunk - although that's not an excuse but one thing that contributed to the end result. I don't particularly love Callie and George together, but I'm more behind that couple than Izzie/George. Their chemistry does not compute in that fashion and I really hope that they don't take it too much farther because I'm not sure I'd be able to handle it. Although based on the look on Izzie's face at the end, it looks as if she at least thinks it was a mistake. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Yay! They're backing off the Addison/Alex story. Mainly because Addison's getting her own show but no matter - it makes me excited that that story won't come to fruition. Speaking of Addison's show, the casting they're doing for it is amazing! Taye Diggs (Daybreak), Tim Daly (The Nine), Amy Brenneman (Judging Amy), Chris Lowell (Veronica Mars), Merrin Dungey (Alias) and Paul Adelstein (Prison Break) have all been cast AND it's going to take place in Los Angeles. The main surgery story lines will focus on Addison's field of neonatology, natch, and plastic surgery and psychiatry.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Lost S3ep12

Another frakkin unbelievable episode! Dare I say they're getting their groove back?!?!

What is up with Charlie acting like an ass? You know, just because you're going to die and Desmond's trying to save you, does not give you the right to act like a freakin jackie Charlie. And he does this all the time. And then because he refuses to tell Claire the truth, she overreacts, like usual and wants nothing to do with him. Luckily, this time it was resolved by the end of the episode and Claire and Charlie released the bird and held hands in the sunset, oh so romantic...

How does Mikhail know Locke? It's got to be more than whatever files the Others have on the Losties because he talked of a fleeting memory. Does Locke remember Mikhail? There weren't any signs that he does, or at least if there were signs they were very subtle. And Locke does what Locke does best which is act impulsively and expect everyone to go with it. But at least Locke doesn't apologize for who he is, he knows people will either accept him or not and he's okay with either outcome. It would be so annoying otherwise if he did and I probably wouldn't like the character nearly as much if he tried to get along with everyone.

I don't know if the big reveal this week counts as giving us answers. Anyone that applied half a thought figured out a long time ago that Claire and Jack are brother and sister - this was merely confirmation. Although we did learn tonight that the woman we all thought was Claire's mother was really her aunt as her mom was in a coma. How much time lapsed between the Goth Claire and Prego Claire? I'm thinking it was definitely more than a year. Probably more than two. And Claire looks so much better blond, I'm glad she didn't stay with the goth look as she was downright scary. But I'm curious to find out if Claire and Jack will figure it out - oh I hope they do because it would be so interesting and add a whole other level.

Why did Claire and Charlie not think to protect the letter from water? From what I could tell, it was just paper tied to the bird's leg. And it is going to get wet, that's pretty much a guarantee.

Sawyer was reading The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. I've never read this book before but I wonder if there were any other references to the novel in this episode considering how much the Lost writers love their literature references. Any one read The Fountainhead that could tell us?

I'm glad it didn't take the rescue party too long to find the Others - it would have gotten tedious and overdone if they had tried to stretch it out. But Jack was hanging out and playing football freely with Tom it looks like - no guards, no guns, no cages. Has he been brainwashed? Or has he merely accepted his new role in the new society? I hope we find out soon.

Next week is a Locke-centric story - Woohoo!!!! We get an answer as to what put Locke in the wheelchair. And there's a confrontation between Locke and Ben - who mentions that he knows why Locke was paralyzed for four years. Now I'll reiterate this question from an episode from the mini-season where Juliet was reading Jack's file -- how do they get this information and did they have it before or after the plane crashed? And why is it so important to the Others to have all this information on the Losties? To show off, to get an advantage? And why is Locke so concerned with Ben - he's pretty much admitted that he wasn't part of the rescue team for Jack, so why is he there then? Gah! 7 days til we can find out!!

Hump Day Humor: Top 10 Reasons Why God Created Eve

Top 10 Reasons Why God Created Eve

10. God worried that Adam would always be lost in the garden because he knew men would never ask directions.

9. God knew that Adam would one day need someone to hand him the TV remote because men don't want to see what's on television, they want to see WHAT ELSE is on television.

8. God knew that Adam would never buy a new fig leaf when the seat wore out and therefore would need Eve to get one for him.

7. God knew that Adam would never make a doctors appointment for himself.

6. God knew that Adam would never remember which night was garbage night.

5. God knew that if the world was to be populated there would have to be someone to bear children, because men would never be able to handle it.

4. As "Keeper of the Garden" Adam would never remember where he put his tools.

3. The scripture account of creation indicates that Adam needed someone to blame his troubles on when God caught him hiding in the garden.

2. As the Bible says, "It is not good for man to be alone." He only ends up getting himself in trouble.


AND the #1 REASON WHY GOD CREATED EVE is ...



When God had finished the creation of Adam, He stepped back, scratched his head and said, "I KNOW I can do better than THIS!!"

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Key is in Being Legendary

February 14 a memo was sent from Howard Schultz to the executve team of Starbucks lamenting the "commoditization of the Starbucks experience". This memo was leaked from one of my favorite blogs, Starbucks Gossip, on February 23. The response to this memo has been staggering, both in the blogosphere and in traditional media.

In fact, a blog conversation has been taking place over at Brand Autopsy and Idea Sandbox, two blogs written by two friends who happen to be former Starbuck's marketers. In their series of posts, each responds to a particular part of the memo offering real solutions to bring value back to the Starbucks brand. Then other responds to that post and the memo also offering real solutions.

What I find to be most interesting is this post on the "Loss of Theatre", where John of Brand Autopsy laments the loss of stage presence and entertainment. He says, "Forget the expeditor/floater on the labor deployment chart. Baristas behind the bar need to call down the line to take orders. They need to take charge. They need to initiate conversation with every customer. They must command stage presence."

I wholeheartedly agree. Back when I worked at Starbucks, the first thing anyone asked me when they found out I was a partner (besides, can you get me free coffee?) was "Is it as much fun to work there as it looks like?" My answer was always yes. The first part of my tenure at my store in Boston was a lot of fun. This was due to many reasons. 1. The managers and partners were fun to work with. 2. While reaching goals and adhering to Starbucks standards was enforced, we were allowed to have fun on the floor. 3. We interacted with our customers. I worked at the busiest store in Boston. And it was the responsibility of the person in the Bar 1 position to call the line if he/she had the capability of doing so. This wasn't always possible, but I found through practice that if Bar 1 is able to call the line, it made the rushes go smoother and faster, we had more interaction with the customers, and activity on the floor was not as stressful or hurried while still delivering drinks in a timely manner. In addition to Bar 1 calling the line, we used the floater position which was filled by whomever was currently running the shift. This person grabbed drip coffee, hot tea and pastries for the partners on register. Also, he/she would grab ice, milk, brew ice coffee or whatever other small tasks would help the partners on bar. We were a well-oiled machine, and we were happy doing it despite the stress of the long rushes. We'd sing, we'd laugh, we'd joke throughout slow and busy times.

The night before a mid-shift, I had gone to the Aerosmith concert. I had gotten home late and didn't get much sleep, but I managed to drag myself out of bed and go to work. I didn't perform with my usual "stage presence" and a customer actually made a comment about it to my manager. Not to blow my own horn but...She told her that I always seemed to be having fun singing and laughing and that she really enjoyed coming in to our store in the mornings. (In fact this was the same shift during which I was forever coined Becky Mochaface, but that's another story.) Customers do notice when baristas are having fun and those that can add a little entertainment or stage presence are being legendary - remember that term from your Starbucks class? Being legendary is how Starbucks has become the giant of a brand it is, it is how Starbucks has managed to grow to 15,000 stores. Being legendary is what needs to continue/happen in order for Starbucks to continue and not be "disrupted" by other brands stealing market share.

This post is dedicated to my second manager from Boston, Brian. (For the life of me, I can't remember Brian's last name, but it's probably just as well.) Brian came to our store - Boylston & Berkeley in Boston - and the dynamic completely changed. He insisted on the expeditor/floater position, we were no longer allowed to call the line. Customers and partners viewed him as fake and our store sales dropped and we could no longer pride ourselves on being the busiest store in Boston. I can't say he's completely at fault for the significant drop in sales and morale at that store as there are too many factors to count, but he certainly had a considerable role in it.

Brian - if this somehow finds you - this post is what I should have said to you, but by the time I realized it and was able to verbalize it, I didn't care anymore, and I was moving back to Texas.

A boyfriend gets his revenge

A guy bought his girlfriend an engagement ring and before he had the chance to give it to her, found out that she had cheated on him with her married boss. He convinced a radio show to call her, trick her into thinking she was getting engaged and then breaking the news that in fact she was being dumped live on the air. I feel bad for both of them. How humiliating on both sides.

Lost Ping Pong shirts

Get your Lost Ping Pong shirts. Some crazy fan created a logo inspired by last week's episode. There's many styles to choose from.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Lost S3ep11

No nicknames for a week is impossible for Sawyer. It's like expecting a dog not to bark. But it will definitely be interesting to see Sawyer struggle to stop himself. The ping pong game and corresponding wager was very reminiscint of the first season. It was playful and pitted Sawyer against the rest of the Losties. And Sawyer is a very sore loser, but this is not new information to us. It is so cute that he misses Kate and worries about her. But they definitely need some time apart after what happened to them on Alcatraz.

Sayid is a Renaissance man - he knows electronics, how to fight, how to interrogate, he's a master manipulator and now we find out he can cook. What can he not do? And was that cat at The Flame the same cat that the woman he tortured had? Part of me wants to say no, that it just strongly resembles him. But on his walk to the farmhouse at the beginning he was staring rather intently at the cat, so intently that again I question whether it was the same cat.

How big is this island? It holds a minimum of four Dharma stations, plus "the barracks", the Black Rock and the beach where the Losties live. It has to be huge if Rousseau never came across The Flame. This island grows with every episode. Well, at least we know the Others and Dharma are not one and the same. There was C-4 everywhere for the specific purpose of blowing up that station just the hostiles overcome it. And according to Mikhail, the Others were there way before Dharma, although we may want to take that at face value.

What were Mikhail and the dock lady (forgive me, I can't remember her name) saying to each other in Russian? The way I see it, it happened one of two ways. Scenario 1: they were discussing how to get out of the situation and Mikhail thought he'd try to save himself so he shot her. Scenario 2: she was ordering him to shoot her. Both of these are extremely likely. Anyone speak Russian?

Looks like next week, we're going to get confirmation that Claire is indeed Jack's half-sister. This episode was incredible, on the same level as Season 1. It was intense but had it's lighter moments. And while we may have a few more questions, at least one was answered with possible clues to answers for others. I'm very pleased with this direction.

Hump Day Humor: Dorcs

Here's a fake commercial making fun of Crocs. Quite hilarious, especially if you despise the sight of these ugly shoes.