So I Just Watched: Cake Boss

Ninth in a series of disorganized thoughts I am left with immediately after watching something.

Well, to be fair, I’m through just two seasons (of five?) as available on Netflix, so it’s an ongoing endeavor.  Why?  Well, some reasons!

There is a comedian by the name of Paul F. Tompkins, with whom I have been familiar for some time.  I first saw his work on the legendary Mr. Show With Bob and David, a mid-to-late 90’s springboard for a whole slew of emerging alternative comedians (in addition to writing, Tompkins made a few appearances, such as in this sketch where he briefly appears as an entertainer-for-hire, Champion “The Drinker”).  Later, I’m sure I’d seen him in other things, maybe a few clips in rotation on Comedy Central in the days where they’d chop up as many stand-up specials as they could and repackage them into those interminable clip shows.

Most recently, though, I’d become reacquainted with him through the intimidating world of comedy podcasts.  He is probably the most prolific man in podcasting, having contributed hundreds of hours of appearances across dozens of shows, as well as sporadically releasing episodes of his own, The Pod F. Tompkast.  There used to be a website that kept track of them all, but I believe they must have given up a few months ago, realizing it to be an exercise in futility.

So wait, what does any of this have to do with Cake Boss?

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Chatterbox: May 29th, 2013

Long time, no see!

I get in slumps, it’s true.  I have so many intentions that they get all tangled up and bottlenecked.  Am I afraid to commit time to one thing for too long, out of fear that I should have committed time to something else?  That seems likely.  But every once in a while I can push through, at least for an evening, and unravel a bit.

I’m 30!

That’s still sinking in.  I gotta keep reminding myself that this is actually the start of my fourth decade, not my third.  But maybe those first ten years are a freebie, in terms of personal development.  Though foundations were laid in that time, I do not feel that I myself built upon them until afterwards.  Of course, I have endless gratitude for my parents and family for laying strong foundations early on, without which I would be a collapsed slump of a manbuilding by now.

My intention is not to get all heady and philosophical today, I just gotta start feeling productive again after my lull.  Brains are rested, fingers are antsy, words will spill about in a mess for a while.

New topic!  On the way home, I had to swing by the store for a few things, and grab dinner. I had it all plotted out: order food, hunt around in adjacent game store for obscure titles, return to pick up order when ready, go to Target, get amenities, go home, eat, watch Arrested Development.

It’s reassuring that my problems are so small…

At Target, found what I needed.  Paid, cashier bagged it all, grabbed bags, left.  Got home. Put milk in fridge, bathroom stuff in bathroom.  Returned to room to exchange new charger cable for my iPad (wire casing has been stripped away on original, and bare wires were exposed).

But…

Where is it?

Was it in the bag with the milk, and I unwittingly put it in the fridge?  No.

Did it fall out in the car?  No.

Do I have to get all dressed again, drive back to Target while my food gets cold, gaggle around in the parking lot looking for a spot amongst the rush hour shopperati, hope the store A. hasn’t tossed my item into restock and B. believes me when I say I paid for it?  Yes.

So I did that.  Thankfully I got what I paid for.

Dear cashier: I’ve done your job before. It’s not difficult.  You have two main tasks: scan the items at point of purchase, then drop them into bags.  Very rarely, you have the added responsibility of letting a customer know they are leaving without everything they’ve paid for (because when you’ve already prepared two bags for four entire items, I am not generally expecting to need a third).

Like I said.  Small problems.  By the time I got home, my food was not entirely lukewarm, at least!

New topic!  I’m four episodes through the new season of Arrested Development.  Capsule review thus far: first episode is strong, second episode is weak, three and four are strong, and I can feel the snowball is has picked up momentum.  Like it got a good shoulder at the beginning to get rolling, but then it needed a little more help to get over the crest of the hill. My biggest fear coming into it was that we would be subjected to a recap and remix of all the best jokes from the first three seasons, but it’s already spun off in very unexpected directions and my favorite characters haven’t even had their time in the spotlight yet.

I’m excited to see where it all lands, but I feel I want to pace it out over at least a few days.  I need the opportunity to recalibrate as I go on.

It does remind me that I wish Netflix would restructure TV show rating to at least the option to score season-by-season, as each creative capsule may carry its own strengths and weaknesses.  I spent a lot of my downtime watching Frasier in its entirety (srsly), and for example I would like to have been able to score some seasons as 5s and others as 3s.  That’s a show that managed to shift its tone season by season, to its strength I think, but for a long-running sitcom like that there’s gonna be a portion of the audience that decries a deviation from the initial formula (which even for the best shows starts to lose steam after a few straight years).

New topic!  Writing.  I am exploring new opportunities to adapt old unfinished stories into the ol’ visual novel format so popular in Japan (I know it’s usually used for romance games but there is no good reason why it can’t be used for other stuff, too).  Plans: learn a bit of code to do more interesting stuff with the purpose-built software engine I found.  Import and adapt some existing unfinished projects.  Try to make them finished projects (or at least, like, a chapter of a longer novel as proof-of-concept, cuz it’s the kind of thing I could release serially (like Dickens! (I’m not really like Dickens (but I bet he would totally be into those dating sims))).

It’d be nice to have some physically adjacent collaborators, or a work space separate from my little ol’ room, but let’s not get ahead of myself.

Anyway.

Arrested Development: so far so good!

Being 30: so far so good!

Writing: we’ll see how I fare!

Keeping dinner down: so far so good!

So I Just Watched: Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Eighth in a series of disorganized thoughts I am left with immediately after watching something.

Thanks to Comedy Central, I’ve never seen John Hughes’s 1987 frenemy road comedy all the way through, or in a format that wasn’t cut for time and content, and edited to fit my screen.  Hey, my screen is versatile!  Don’t be so presumptuous.

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So I Just (Re)Watched: Beauty and the Beast

Seventh in a series of disorganized thoughts I am left with immediately after watching something.

I don’t know what it is about the letter “B”, but if you ask me “what are some good ______?”, my mind gravitates towards it.  I certainly like things that start with other letters, but I kind of jump to “B” at a moment’s notice.  It’s a fun, round, plump letter that’s produces a warm, soft, and cozy phoneme.  You might say it’s my favorite letter of the balphabet.  No, that’s stupid.  “Alphabet” derives from the common sequence of Greek letters (alpha, beta, gamma, delta, etc.)  So it would be more appropriate to say it’s my favorite letter of the betagam.

Anyway!  Examples.  “What are some good musicians?”  Beck, Bowie, Byrne, Badly Drawn Boy, Basement Jaxx, Björk.  “Esoteric or idiosyncratic games?”  Bayonetta, Bastion, Braid, Borderlands, Bushido Blade, Breath of Fire.  “Movies you can watch over and over?”  Big Lebowski, Brazil, Barton Fink, Beetlejuice, Back to the Future, Being John Malkovich, Beauty and the Beast.

And so I watched Beauty and the Beast again!  The Disney one with the singing and the animations.

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So I Just Watched: “Ringing Bell”

Sixth in a series of disorganized thoughts I am left with immediately after watching something.

A few weeks ago, I was at Fry’s Electronics, looking through their movies.  In the Children’s & Family section, I was somewhat amused to find Studio Ghibli’s grim “Grave of the Fireflies” wedged alphabetically between such fare as “Ferngully: The Last Rainforest” and “The Great Mouse Detective”.  Ostensibly, it was created as a family-oriented feature, and in fact debuted on a double billing with the much much lighter “My Neighbor Totoro”.  However, due to its harrowing depiction of the trials and tragedy of young war orphans struggling against starvation and societal collapse in the wake of the Kobe firebombings of WWII, it is very often reshelved under, say, drama.

Think about that… a double feature of children dying during wartime, backed with “My Neighbor Totoro”, one of the breeziest, most cheerful, most fantastical fixtures of Ghibli’s catalog.  Heck, recreate the experience at home!  Watch them back to back, and I doubt you’ll come away from it thinking, “doing that was a normal kind of idea”.  I’m guessing they showed Totoro second, kind of a dessert after the main course?  But in my American upbringing, it’s basically, “no dessert until you finish your vegetables”.  This is more like, “no dessert until you finish your vegetables, and I smack you around a bit”.

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Writer Blocks

I’ve been feeling unduly stressed and introverted this week and I’m not sure why.  Like my mind’s a tightly-packed ball of rubber bands bundled up around an idea, and I can’t seem to snap it free.  I had plans to finish, like, three posts this week (though they fortunately linger in partial draft form, thanks WordPress!), but didn’t get there.  I was waiting for something to arrive all week, and when it didn’t get here yesterday (when I thought it was going to) I got more stressed… I didn’t want to have to wait the whole weekend to get it!  But fortunately, it showed up today, so I’ll take this opportunity to exhale and force myself to release some of this mental congestion. And, as an added incentive, I’m not gonna get dinner til I’m done. But what was so cool, after all?

My huge-ass Lego set came in the mail!

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