Monday, September 25, 2006

All God's creatures, fresh off the grill...

come on down to Mr.Meaty, where friends meet to eat meat.

I thought Mr.Meaty was pretty funny, in a juvenile, Beavis & Butthead sort of way. The franchise manager in the Buffalo Burrito episode cracks me up. Nickelodeon did a good job (along with Mr. Meaty creators) to pick the first 2 episodes. Buffalo Burrito focused on the store and introduces the manager & owner, while the second episode was more mall focused - the girls who hang out there and the saleslady at Pantosphere make their debut as Parkerina tries to find out 'why the ladies are hatin' on the Josh'. Just one unresolved question: why is a 1/4 Seagull w/ fries on the seafood menu? Seems more like a poultry entree to me. hah!

Of course the REALLY interesting thing about this show is how the public has reacted. There are vegetarian groups petitioning Nickelodeon to pull the show. I'm guessing they didn't even watch it first. If anything, the show makes fast food seem even grosser; it certainly didn't encourage me to go out to eat at my local mall food court. Mr. Meaty is about two teenage boys who have a typical teenage job - working at a fast food restaurant. While I respect the protesters right to peacefully assemble, I think they are being a bit ridiculous.

And while on the topic of fast food... why is it that a McDonald's cheeseburger is $0.99 but a double cheeseburger is only a penny more on the $1 menu? Is the meat really that cheap? Are buns and pickles more expensive than I thought? Is the profit margin on the single cheeseburger insanely high, while the double is being sold at a loss?

Even more mind boggling, a double cheeseburger weighs in at 460 calories, while two single cheeseburgers are 620 (and would cost you an extra $0.98). There are 160 calories in the extra bun, pickles, and condiments? That would mean that the meat and cheese in a double cheeseburger is just 300 calories - the same as a grande Caffè Mocha(no whip) from Starbucks. yikes.


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Friday, September 22, 2006

being an early adopter

yeah, check it out, two blog posts on the same day. where are the porcine aviators?

I have a bit of an elitist geek thing going on with my television watching habits. Often I ride the early wave of a show that ultimately becomes uber popular (X-Files, Crocodile Hunter, Mythbusters, Junkyard Wars, CSI, Battlestar Galactica) and can later feel superior to the masses because I 'called it' and watched the very first episodes before the water cooler buzz got going and made it popular. But sometimes it sucks when a show you fall in love with doesn't get renewed for a second season (Firefly, Freaks & Geeks, John Doe, Conquest). And of course it also sucks when a show that rocks becomes so popular that it starts sucking as the network start interferings more and more (Junkyard Wars) or they start running out of plot (X-Files, Stargate SG-1)

So here are my predictions for the new season based on years of being an early adopter of cool television:

My big bet: Nickelodeon is about to debut a show that will fill the same niche that Ren & Stimpy, Crank Yankers, and Space Ghost have filled. Tonight is the first episode of a puppet based program called Mr. Meaty. Its interesting to note that as with so many of the really great offbeat shows, this isn't produced in the USA. I've only seen the previews on TV, but I've got Tivo fired up to record it. I guess I'll know tomorrow if I'm right on this. But if parents in Canada are trying to get the show banned, it can't be all bad. heh.

Eureka is a new SciFi original that appeals to the geek in all of us - the premise is that there is a secret town in the USA (called Eureka) where all the scientific geniuses live and do their research. As with all scientific research, things sometimes go BOOM in the lab. The technology is creatively visionary like Star Trek used to be, and who wouldn't like to live in a place where its cool to be ridiculously smart? Its fun to watch, and SciFi isn't under the pressure the big basic cable networks are to produce big winners so it might be on the air long enough to pick up a reasonable following. You should start watching if you aren't already. Just don't trust the redhead.

I've seen a couple episodes of Standoff, and it isn't bad. It stars Ron Livingston (Office Space) and Gina Torres (Firefly) so I have to admit to being kind of biased. It is all about crisis negotiators, and has real promise if they can manage to keep the stories interesting - it has high risk of becoming repetitive, and just because Law & Order can stay alive for 16 years of the same thing every week, doesn't mean this will.

Not a new show but a new season, Survivor 13 is edgy, dividing tribes along ethnic lines was pretty risky. But I have found it to be a fascinating social experiment. The only tribe to not feel pressure to perform well to represent their entire race? The Caucasians (Raro). The only tribe (so far) to throw a challenge to kick 1 of their 5 team members off? The Latinos (Aitu). The strongest, most cohesive, and hottest tribe? The Asians (Puka). All in all the first two episodes have been pretty interesting; this Survivor rises above the typical boring high school style angst with this new cultural-bonding twist so you know a human nature and personal identity student like me can't resist watching.

Other shows I am watching and look forward to seeing develop over the next few episodes: Jericho, Shark, Heroes, and Kidnapped (I liked the first episode & think it is good, but success depends in part on audience saturation - competition is the established Without a Trace and the new Vanished, a conspiracy filled show which can't seem to decide if it is about OC style drama, politics, or kidnapping).

So go set your Tivo for some new shows and let me know what you think.



Happy Autumn

Tonight is the Autumnal Equinox. huzzah. I love autumn. The crispness in the air invokes a Pavlovian reaction in me. I've always loved fall. Growing up I loved the sense of newness and anticipation of a new school year - yeah, I was a smarty-pants academic geek. So why was I looking forward to another year of being reminded daily that I wasn't one of the popular kids? All I can say is that sometimes when it appears that someone is running towards a cliff, they are actually running away from the herd of stampeeding buffalo.

Now that I'm older, the excitement and anticipation of fall remain, but for all different reasons. I love the crispness in the air, the clear blue fall sky, the leafpeeping, the autumn fashion (sweaters! boots! tweed!), the holidays (having social justification to wear costumes out of the house RULES)... I always overspend in the fall, my seasonal enthusiasm translates into retail recklessness as I refresh my closet and kitchen with warm comforts that exude a sense of family. Never will you see placemats and fabric napkins on my table but in the fall. I don't do spring cleaning, I do fall cleaning. And most of my culinary adventures are in autumn - I make amazing butternut squash bisque, moroccan roast lamb, beef vegetable stew, and roast carrots.

Winter is fine, I love Christmastime almost as much as the turn of summer to fall. And you can't beat the eggnog lattes. :) Spring is okay, summer is nice, but no season positively affects my mood like the fall does.

So I hope you are having a lovely last day of summer, and are looking forward to autumn as much as I am.


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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

a sheila in mourning

Today after a long weekend away from all devices that transmit news and current events, I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Steve "Crocodile Hunter" Irwin. I've been watching Croc Hunter since his first episode (1992) of tracking, capturing, and relocating rogue crocs in the backwaters of Australia with his dog Sui. Before he was famous, he was just the crazy Aussie guy who jumped on the back of crocs and talked about conservation. So when I read that Steve was killed in a freak snorkling accident by a sting ray, I took it pretty personally. I feel terrible for him and his family. What a terrible way to die. And what a reminder that life is precious, and temporary. If the sting ray had struck six inches away, he might have hit Steve's arm or belly with his stinger - not a direct hit to the heart.

While I weep for the Irwin family (Steve leaves behind his wife Terri, daughter Bindi and son Bob), one can only be thankful that Steve appears to have led a full and exciting life, and had the opportunity to share his love of nature with so many people around the world. At the time of this blogging, the Australia Zoo website is inaccessible, probably inadverdantly DoS'ed by all the fans visiting the site to mourn Steve's passing.

S'long Steve, you'll be missed.