Tuesday, August 24, 2010


I LOVE/HATE Television. This is my first post that is truly a love/hate. In general, I am a big fan of TV. I spend way too many hours a day in front of its HD goodness. And there are several shows that I look forward to week after week. Between Modern Family, Parenthood, True Blood, Entourage, Hung, Lie To Me, House, and The Daily Show (to name a few) we keep DVR pretty busy.

This last season, we said a bitter sweat goodbye to two of our favorites. Of course Lost may have given us the biggest series finally of our generation and I feel they ended it about as well as any show like that could. The other major show that saw its end was 24. Jackie and I had watched every episode of both of these programs and enjoyed a satisfying ending to each (keep your eye open for a 24 movie in the near future).

So where is the Hate? Ever hear of a show called Flash Forward? Yeah, me too! It was my favorite new addition to the fall line up. It hooked me from the pilot and it gave me something to chew on each and every new episode. And then ... it was cancelled. What?! Do they realize that there are 3 CSIs, 2 NCISs, and 3 Law and Orders (they lost one this year but, don't worry, Law and Order: Los Angeles is on the way this fall). I get why it got the axe, viewership went down from 12.5 million at the premier to about 5 million by the finale. However, it carried that 5 million viewers for about half of the season. Mad Men, by the way, gets less than 2 million viewers an episode (more on that later). OK, I get it, Law and Order gets around 10 million an episode.

Here is what gets me wanting to throw the remote through the TV: When a show is based on mystery and unanswered questions, LET THEM END THE SHOW!!! There needs to be a law that if a network cancels a show, they must be allowed to tape at least one more episode to wrap up the storyline. When shows know that they are going off the air, you at least get something to keep fans happy. Just look at the series finales of Lost, Battlestar Galactica, Dollhouse, Alias, and The X-Files to name a few.

But for every Lost, there are 4 Flash Forwards (Invasion, Jericho, Heroes, Journeyman, Life, Kings, John Doe ...) So, I have a few suggestions to everyone. To the networks, give the shows a heads up. I get it if you have to cancel a show but let them know with enough time to tape a "wrap it up" episode. By burning the 5 million viewers still loyal to Flash Forward you are making us look elsewhere for our episodic entertainment. To the shows themselves, know when to say when. Lost wasn't canceled, it chose to end. The creators knew it couldn't go on forever and were able to give it the conclusion it deserved. More shows should take a hint from this type of forethought. I'm looking at you Dark Angel and The 4400. And to the viewers, it's time to check out what cable has to offer. As I said earlier, Mad Men survives on less than 2 million viewers an episode and will almost certainly be allowed to end on its own terms. My new obsession, Rubicon, is not for everyone but I feel comfortable devoting my time to it as I am sure AMC will let it run its course. Between Breaking Bad, Rescue Me, Mad Men, Sons of Anarchy, and everything on HBO and Showtime, there is tons of great programing out there on cable that probably won't get canceled before its time.

I leave you with this; Will "The Event" get cancelled before I find out what "the event" actually is? It is a good sign that they are pouring tons of advertising dollars into it but I do feel like I am asking for a mid-season rage fest when it goes on winter hiatus never to return. Only time and a devoted fan base of more than 8 million will tell.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


These two are only loosely related to the subject of his blog, but they make me laugh. The one above is from www.xkcd.com which might be the best web site on the internet.

I HATE Advertising. I can't even watch regular TV any more. TIVO has ruined me for good. I just spent an hour watching un-TIVO'd TV at my parents' house and I reached for the remote to fast forward like 10 times. That's more than once per commercial break. I hate ads because they are programmed to be played at a louder volume than normal TV. I hate them because they are (with a few exceptions) unoriginal and mindless. But mainly, I hate them because of how they misuse and abuse statistics to influence the masses.

I blame the government as much as anyone else. There needs to be better truth in advertising laws. For example, how is it that I can save hundreds of dollars with every car insurance company? That can't possibly work unless I am on some sort of MC Escher inspired never ending staircase of savings. I've got it! I will just keep changing companies and because I can save with each one, eventually they will be paying me right? I realize that they are using hand picked stats with very specific amounts of coverage to prove their point, but does anyone get to know what that given set of data is? The worst part is that because I can't trust all of these claims, I don't trust any of them. Each ad might as well be someone saying, "Hey, we also sell car insurance."

Other ads claim "#1 in customer service" or "America's favorite hot dog". Rarely do they go into how they came to this bold statement. Occasionally, they mention some sort of national poll which I am immediately skeptical about. What was the sample size, who were the subjects, what was the method of randomization, and how many times did you do the poll before you landed on the result you were looking for? OK, that may be the Statistics nerd in me talking and I get that few others care about these things, but these companies should have to put this stuff on their websites so that nerds like me can look it up and tell everyone else if the claims are legitimate. Well, no such rule exists. Companies can say that they are the best at something with basically no proof. I think that there is a rule that if a company says something like "clinically proven", there must be some study that proves what they are saying. But the company is not required to make that study public so what good is that to me?

Lastly, here are a pair of phrases that get me every time. First, be on the lookout for the words "up to". As in, "you could lose up to 10 lbs." So, I could lose nothing or even gain weight? Awesome! With that in mind, I am starting my new "do nothing" diet. Just pay me $20 and you could lose up to 5 lbs in the first week alone. I'm sure that in a random sample of, say, 1000 people, at least one person would lose 5 lbs right? The other phrase is "no one does _____ more/better". As in, "No one provides a better picture than Sony." The thing is, they are not actually saying that they do it better than anyone else, just that they do it at least equal to everyone else. By way of ridiculous analogy, and this is true, no one alive today has been to Mars more times than ME! And if anyone tells you otherwise, they are a big, fat liar!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

La Jolla

This whole building (above) is the La Jolla Cove Suites

I LOVE La Jolla. If you are looking for a little vacation spot that makes it feel like the rest of the world has faded away, look no further. Specifically, I am talking about "The Cove" area of La Jolla. And specifically, I am talking about The La Jolla Cove Suites. Recently, we took a group vacation to this very spot and had an amazing time.

When I was a kid, my parents and I would vacation with some family friends and their two daughters. Often these family group trips would be to the La Jolla Cove and we would stay at the La Jolla Cove Suites. So now, all of us kids have kids of our own and we decided to take a big group trip with everyone. So, there were 4 grand parents, 5 parents, and 4 kids between us. The beach was the big draw, but the main street (just around the corner) has some great restaurants and a nice casual nightlife atmosphere. We spent 5 fun-filled days and 4 relaxing nights there.

On multiple occasions, members of the vacation party mentioned that it felt like Hawaii. I love to swim and snorkel and the Cove is a great place for both. My dad and I rented some snorkeling equipment on an exceptionally clear day and I saw some amazing things in that little cove. The Garibaldi is a bright orange fish that is actually California's state fish. And they were everywhere. Usually they are very territorial and stay in their own littler area, so you can understand my shock when I turned around to see 15 of them in about a 6 foot radius. Topping that, was my close encounter with a local sea lion. It actually circled me three times from about 8 feet away. That was exciting and a little scary as I didn't know if I had ventured into its territory or gotten near one of its kids or something.

Possibly most importantly, the vacation gave me a chance reconnect with my childhood friends and their kids. This also marked the first family vacation for me, Jackie, and Kyra. All in all, we had a great time relaxing, catching up and watching our kids making new memories right in front of our eyes. Well, it may be too early for Kyra to develop memories but she will enjoy the pictures when she gets older.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Movie Talkers

WARNING: The following blog entry contains MINOR spoilers for the movie Knight and Day. I mainly reference moments shown in the previews and DO NOT comment on specific plot points.

I HATE people who talk during movies. Jackie and I recently made it out to see the new action, romantic-comedy Knight and Day and 5 min into the movie, the fire alarm goes off and we all have to vacate the theater. It actually only took about 30 min for them to clear and re-set the theater and turn what could have been a disaster into just an inconvenience. Now, it is saying something that I almost wish we had not been let back into the theater. This is not a comment on the movie. I think Knight and Day may well be a very good movie, but I couldn't tell because the couple directly behind me WOULD NOT SHUT UP!!!

It all started during our second run through the previews. Having already seen these exact trailers, the couple (who seemed to be on their third-ish date) decided to break the tension by joking about and narrating all 6 of these mini-movies. I let this go because it seemed ridiculous to demand silence for previews we had already seen and I fully expected them to tone in down once the movie began. I was wrong. In fact, I am not sure that I have ever been more wrong.

The woman was by far the more vocal of the two. During the 5 min of the movie we had already seen, I heard several "Oh, yeah"s and "Right"s as she felt the need to express to her date that she did, in fact, remember these moments from a whole 45 min ago. Through the rest of the movie, I must have heard "Oh, wow!" from this woman around 15 times (Jackie will say that I am underestimating this). It wasn't just what she said, it was when she said it. Now, Knight and Day is a spy type movie, and Mrs. Obvious would blurt out "Oh, wow!" when ... wait for it ... a spy type person would show up somewhere. This includes almost every time the Tom Cruse character, a very accomplished government operative, showed up somewhere (un)expectedly.

These comments paled in comparison to the number of inane and obvious comments that she made about the story progression in the movie. For instance, in the preview, you see Tom Cruse shoot a guy in the leg and then explain to him that he is going to be OK, it was a "through and through". During the movie, when Tom shoots the guy in the leg and then they show the wound, the woman behind me questions, "He shot him in the leg?" and then when Tom explains that he didn't hit any bone or major artery, Queen Of All That Is Obvious announces, "Oh, but he's gonna be alright." Or how about this gem? In the trailers, there is a scene where Tom takes out a plane full of people intent on harming him. So, sitting in the theater having watched Tom at his action hero best, we see Cameron Diaz exiting the lavatory having missed everything. As Cameron walks down the aisle, the genius behind me says, "Oh, they're all out and she doesn't know." WE SAW THEM ALL GET TAKEN OUT! And, of course she doesn't know, she was in the bathroom and ... THAT'S WHAT MAKES IT FUNNY!!!!!!!

Imagine that for 2 full hours and you have some idea of the hell I was in. Jackie and I did turn around a shush them early on in the movie. That worked ... for about 2 min. Then they were right back to stating the obvious and ruining my movie. We also looked into moving. We have done so before in other movies (I swear we attract these wackos). But, this was opening weekend of a big blockbuster, the only open seats were in the first two rows. Instead, we sat there and took it, not wanting to ruin the movie for anyone else around us. But, with every comment, I was pulled out of the movie and even when she wasn't commenting, I was sitting there wondering what obvious remark she might make next.

So, please don't talk at the movies. Don't let anyone you are with talk at the movies. Gare at and shush other people who talk at the movies. And, if you absolutely must talk during a movie, I have one word for you ... Netflix!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


I HATE Misquotes. Don't get me wrong, I don't care if someone messes up a word or two here or there. But when the meaning of the quote is lost or even reversed, I get a little bothered. My two biggest pet peeves come from Shakespeare. Oddly, the two quotes that I am talking about are often stated word for word correctly, but the intention tends to get all jumbled up.

First is, "O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?" The only time I ever hear this quote (often in TV commercials) it is used as if to say, "Where is my Romeo?" This is overly simplistic and actually a little insulting to the true meaning of the quote. Instead of just asking where her man is, Juliet is actually asking why the man she loves has to be named Romeo (a name that belongs to her family's sworn enemy). This line, in fact, is followed closely by another famous line, "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." Famously, this speech is, however, given from a balcony which just adds to the myth that she is looking for Romeo from the high vantage point.

The second Shakespeare quote that gets correctly quoted, but misused is from Richard III. "Now is the winter of our discontent ..." Generally, this gets used in a situation in which people are feeling discontented. This is fairly understandable as it is stated by the villain of the play who is often discontented. However, the remainder of this quote is, "... made glorious summer by this son of York." Richard is actually publicly praising his brother for bringing the kingdom out of a state of discontent. So, "Winter" in this case means "end of".

Just for fun, here is one last pure misquote but, this time, from 1971. Dirty Harry never said, "Do you feel lucky punk?" Instead, he said, "... you've gotta ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya punk?" This isn't a huge deal, but I just think that the actual quote is way cooler and it is interesting that so many people misuse this one in particular. In general, I have way less issues with this misquote because it is at least it is being used with the correct meaning. But, you better be feeling lucky if you misquote the meaning of a Shakespeare line in my presence.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Summer Blockbusters

I LOVE Summer Blockbusters. I can't help it, I am a sucker for a big budget action flick. Every summer at about this time I get all jacked up about the months of big name movies that are about to hit the theaters. It is like every week is a new chance for an adrenaline filled joyride. During the summer, I will see almost anything that looks flashy and fun.

Some of my friends joke that I have no taste in movies. I disagree. I know when a movie is bad, it's just that sometimes, I like bad movies. To be clear, I have hated movies before, even action ones. Spiderman 3, for example, was inexcusably terrible. However, Daredevil, for example, was technically awful. But, I had a good time watching that bad movie. While Spiderman 3 was tired, overproduced, overcomplicated, and insulting to the audience with its plot and character development. Daredevil was simple, inventive (blind guy kicks ass by hear/seeing), and unencumbered by any hint of self-righteousness. It knew what it was; a cheesy, popcorn, comic book, action movie.

Now, my favorites are true masterpieces like The Dark Knight, Iron Man 1 (and to a lesser extent, 2), and The Matrix. And, while I am hoping for something great to emerge this summer, I will settle for a few fun date nights with my wife at the theater. Jackie, by the way, is a real trouper and goes with me to most of these potential suckfests. She even enjoys herself on occasion.

So, what am I looking forward to this season? Iron Man 2 set the bar fairly high, but there is definitely room for improvement. I have high hopes for the A-Team, The Last Airbender, Predators (Robert Rodriguez producing), and Inception. My guilty pleasures may be Prince of Persia, The Karate Kid (learning Kung Fu), Salt, and Jonah Hex.

My biggest problem is that I get too excited about movies too early. So, thank you JJ Abrams for the sneak peek at "Super 8", a movie that hasn't even started principal photography. But, the movie that I might be most excited about, won't come out for over 6 months. While technically not a "summer" blockbuster, I cannot wait for Tron Legacy. I remember watching Tron at a young age (it came out when I was 6 years old) and I hope that this sequel captures the same magic. Here is a look at both the trailer and the teaser. So, until December 17th, I will have to make due with my unflappable optimism for this year's Summer Blockbusters.

Leave a comment with the movie you are most looking forward to this season.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Bluetooth Headsets

I HATE Bluetooth Headsets. Listen carefully, Bluetooth headsets are not fashion accessories. They are meant to aid in the safety and comfort of making cellular phone calls and that is all. But, people tend to use them in a way that says, "Hey, I am so important, I could get a call at any moment." I'm not sure how the trend started, but someone thought that these ear plugs looked good and began wearing them for the "style" of it. Around 2005, I thought (hoped) that the trend would end, but here we are, 5 years later, and still some people insist on perpetually wearing these ear protrusions like they are a part of some sort of low budget Star Trek reenactment. Here is the deal, you have about a 2 min window before and after an actual phone call in which it is acceptable to continue wearing said device. Beyond that, you are wading into "Jerk" territory.

There are a few scenarios in which these headsets can be warn outside of the two minute window. If you are driving, no problem and thank you for making America's roads a little safer. If you are working or may receive a work related call at any moment then, fine, you are on the job and I can respect that. Also, some of these devices are actually hearing aids in disguise, in which case I disagree with your choice of hearing aid, but OK, fine, I guess you have to hear.

But, here are some examples of the ridiculous uses I have seen of these headsets. First, there was the employee of my school district who wore one through the entirety of the superintendent's welcome to school address. This seemed genuinely rude in my opinion or, at least, lazy. Second, was the woman I saw wearing one in a nightclub/bar. There was a live band playing so loudly that we could hardly hear ourselves think let alone carry on a conversation with someone. So, what in the world was she going to do? Even if she noticed someone was calling, the place was so crowded, there was no way she was making it to the exit in time to field the call. But, hey, she looked cool and that is what matters. Last, but not least, there was my favorite. A guy was walking into the Arclight theater with his girlfriend wearing two different kinds of these awful devices, one on each ear. I KID YOU NOT! One on each f-ing ear! I mean, come on! What is the thought process there? Did he have two different cell phones that he might be getting calls on at any moment as he was entering his movie of choice for the evening? In the end, the most baffling part is how the girl that was with him put up with it. One thing I am teaching my daughter for sure,"If a guy shows up wearing a Bluetooth headset, you walk away. If he is wearing two, you run."

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Parking Structures

I HATE Parking Structures. More specifically, I hate this scenario: A car in front of me decides to wait for a pedestrian walking to their car when there is clearly going to be a wealth open spots on the upper levels of the structure. Being stuck behind this driver could be used as torture on me and I would give up national secrets after about 2 minutes. Of course, there are exceptions. If the person is pregnant or in some way physically impaired and must have a spot close to where they are going or if the lot is truly packed and there are no spots anywhere, then fine, wait for that slow walker. But, if the person is able-bodied and they decide to hold up even a few cars for the chance of a spot opening up in the near future, my blood begins to boil. Here is an easy way to remember what to do, "If the reverse lights aren't on, move along."

Now, my rage can occasionally backfire and sometimes my friends are caught in the middle. Zac, Ben, and I were caught in just such an unfortunate situation on one of our many trips to The Vegas. In the parking structure at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino (a lot basically designed with the thought that there should always be an open spot somewhere), some genius decides to wait for a spot to open up near the exit of one of the levels. It wasn't even in a prime location. But, because it was near the exit, and because the person leaving the spot took and exceptionally long time to execute that maneuver, this genius created an extraordinarily large back-up of cars who were all just trying to leave the structure. The line was so long that it wrapped down the isle and then doubled back down the next isle where we waited at the end of this line-up about exactly opposite to the perpetrator of this terrible crime. I don't know who honked first (it may have been me), but what followed was the most glorious outpouring of automotive honkery that I have ever heard. When the spot finally opened up and we were freed from our concrete prison, we were in a position to count the cars that were held up by this terrorist. 14! I ... I have no words for the rage that I felt.

Well, even-tempered Zac, playing off of my rage, decided to roll down his window and, as we passed the perpetrator, he yelled something on the order of, "Hey, F*** you A**-hole!" I thought it was hilarious, until two seconds later when I had to slam on the breaks because the 14 cars that this guy had held up had now reached a stop light at the base of the ramp leading away from the structure. So there we stopped, about a yard away from the genius "we" had just cussed out. The cherry on top was the family of six on Ben's side of the car with the mom's hands over the youngest child's ears shaking her head in disgust. There being no escape, we all just sank down in our seats and waited for the stack of cars to get moving again. It felt like an eternity, it was probably about 30 seconds. Too far? Probably. But, seriously, 14 cars?! He couldn't have just moved onto the next level?! As a new parent, I regret that the kids had to be put through that vulgarity, but if that guy never holds up a line of 14 cars for 5 min again, it may have been worth it.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Modern Family

I LOVE Modern Family (and Arrested Development). I don't think that I will ever get over the loss of Arrested Development. Nothing will ever replace that show's genius. But, Modern Family is coming close. If you have seen it, you know what I am talking about and if you haven't seen it yet, do yourself a favor and Hulu and episode or two. Arrested Development's fatal flaw was that it was hard to jump into in the middle of the series. The relationships were so absurd that it was tough for new viewers to connect with the seemingly chaotic jumble of characters. Modern Family, on the other hand uses more stable family archetypes and is less dependent on inside jokes. Whereas I feel you MUST start watching Arrested Development from the beginning, you can jump into Modern Family at any time and be up to speed instantly.

The best part of Modern Family is that every character is perfect. I can't stop laughing at the precocious 11 year old professing his love to women twice his age (trust me it's adorable and not creepy) or at the well-intentioned dad who describes himself thusly, "I'm cool dad, that's my thang. I'm hip, I surf the web, I text. LOL: laugh out loud, OMG: oh my god, WTF: why the face?" Not to mention the BEST gay couple on television. On top of all of that, the show has heart and will surprise you with moments of sentimentality. Bottom line, it's a great show, tell a friend. Because if this show gets cancelled before its time, then ... well ... you will be reading about it in my HATE column.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Century City AMC

I HATE the Century City AMC! Movies are a big part of my life and around late March, I start getting very excited for the upcoming summer blockbusters. You give me a flashy trailer and I will be excited for months leading up to opening day. Such is the case with Iron Man 2. I think that I was jacked up to see this movie the moment the first one ended. So, Jackie and I went online tonight to reserve some tickets for opening night, May 7th. We are (or were) big fans of the Century City mall. Ever since Westfield remodeled the place, it has been amazing. Recently the movie theater has changed to an assigned seating facility. This was great, a theater we like and now no waiting in line. So, why the hate? Well, this may seem petty, but they raised their prices. Normally, I wouldn't post on a buck or two, but when I went to select my tickets, they were charging $16.50 a ticket!!!! And, that's before the one dollar per ticket "Convenience" Charge (a whole post on this concept is no doubt on the way)!

I get that LA is going to charge a little on the high side, but I think the regional average is about $12 or so. I kind of get charging an extra dollar or two for IMAX or maybe for 3D (however I think this is a scam anyway) so maybe if this was a 3D IMAX movie, they MIGHT be justified, MAYBE! But, this particular screening was neither on IMAX nor in 3D (the IMAX showings were $17.50). This was just an advanced purchase for a normal movie in a normal theater with assigned seating. The happy ending to this story is that, in the end, Jackie and I reserved 2 assigned seats at the Landmark theater (a better theater, by the way) for $12.50 each. Of course they still hit us with that darn "Convenience" Charge.

PS - I did a little more research on this specific showing and they mention something called ETX which stands for Enhanced Theater Experience. I looked it up and it says there is supposed to be a bigger screen, better sound, etc. This sounds like a major scam to me. Please, if anyone experiences the ETX, let me know if it is worth a 35% increase to the ticket price.

Tipdawg? Blogs

So, here we go. I have decided to start writing a blog. Partially to get my ideas out there in the world. Partially to have something to do in all my spare time (I am being sarcastic). But, mainly, to show-up my friend Joe who hasn't updated his blog in 5 weeks. What will this blog be about? Well, I have opinions, they span a variety of issues, and some I feel passionately about. My feelings on these issues range from blind rage to irrational adoration. Thus, I have named this blog after my Love/Hate relationship with the world. Things I hate are more fun to write about, but I will try to mix in some posts on the things that I love.

To start this blog off on the right foot ...

I LOVE my family. My parents are the best parents on the planet. They gave me a solid upbringing and have continued to give me support while letting me live my life. I owe them the world. My wife is the love of my life, she is my rock and my best friend and I wouldn't be half the man I am without her. Last, but in no way least, is my daughter. She is the light of my life, the reason I rush home form work, and the thing I spend most of my time thinking about. At this point my wife reminds me that I also love my cats, which is true. At times this blog may get a little negative, but I want my family to know that I always love them.