Wednesday, December 17, 2008

An Aggressive Addiction (re: "skins")

  • Ok, so I know I don't post a lot anymore. My witty banter and unoriginal observations have been bombarding my Facebook friends as of late. I guess I like not having expectations hanging over me, what can I say?
  • My post today is about subject of TV addiction, specifically how Liz and I came to be regular watchers of that most Un-American of channels: BBCAmerica.
  • I honestly don't know how we first got started. Its rare to remember your first hit that clearly, its the "why" of coming back that matters. But, I'm sure it happened when we stopped to watch Gordon Ramsey (who as recently as 12mo ago, I couldn't stand) eviscerate someone on "Kitchen Nightmares," and I noticed that the British version was more amusing than what we got over here. First, the 'bleeping' is so poorly done, that you pretty much know everything that comes out of his Scotch pottymouth, and second, the incompetents in the UK are so much more colorful than the smattering of over-pierced, poorly tattooed, white boys with dreads that we have over here (please note: I'm intrigued by piercings in general, but what is it about fry cooks that they end up overdoing it so bad?).
  • Ok, so yeah enough about him. So, we must have gotten through that (presumably on a Sunday night when we were really bored), and I can only guess that we suffered [ :P ] through one of those horrible horrible (=wonderful!) documentaries like "My Big Breasts & Me," and on came something we had seen advertised before, a teenish dramedy called "skins." Its focus is on the last year or so before HS is over, and how college/adulthood awaits.
  • Ever since we saw our first episode, which was apparently #7 (from Season 1, 9 total), we've been hooked. I can't define as to exactly why. Its just that entertaining I guess. Guilty pleasure or not. I just know we were looking at each other the whole time, going, "is this happening, on tv?" Its been pretty much a constant since that Sunday night at 10pm, and most every Sunday night since. As we were watching them "live" to us, we just followed the sequential format that BBCAm was putting out, with Season 2 starting immediately after Season 1 ended. Don't worry, we'll go back to the beginning, I'm sure of it. (That's Sid below, definitely one of my favorites.)

  • A pretty interesting format awaited us. Not only was there a moderately large cast of characters to keep track of (9 main, with probably another 7-8 important ones), but the pace of the show was harder than most American TV drivel (read: FAST). Lots of inference as to what happened between episodes is apparently the norm, and sometimes you're left saying, "oh man I can't wait to see how X handles this," and boom, you just have to imagine it instead. I'm certain that's common elsewhere, but its just harder with the dynamic lives the characters lead. Its flashy, with appropriate music thrown in constantly, and good lord do these kids sleep around. (That's Chris below, the 'party animal,' he has some of the best one-liners in the series.)
  • I think ultimately, our sheltered TV watching existence, i.e. nothing really tamer than Basic cable (so no HBO, etc) did us in; it really set us up for this. The drug use, the language, the in-your-face sexuality (not that I complain), the equally fragile/damaged adult characters were just too seductive. Did I mention that they warn at the start of the show that its subtitled in English, as sometimes the slang and accents can overcome even the most street-learned of us all (its actually pretty useful sometimes)?
  • I've thus far refrained from linking to the obvious resources of information about the show, its Wikipedia page and its Channel E4 page. For one reason - the spoilers. I find I enjoyed the show more when I hadn't read ahead and learned the fate/direction of several characters. I'll put it here, but just be aware, there's nothing that crucial that you need to know to watch the show. Lizzie hates when I start to smirk as something important is developing on camera, she'll look at me, and yell out questions about fate, paths, and dammit why did I read ahead?!
  • Another fairly interesting tidbit about the show is that its written by young people, and of the main characters, only Tony was an actor previously (I even remember him from About a Boy = damn good movie, btw). For unknowns they're damn good. Also of note is the plan for Season 3. Only one character from the previous two seasons is returning, Tony's sister Effie. For an incredibly popular show (and multi-award winning), to shove off their stars at the height of the show's fame is a pretty ballsy move. Its like re-starting a new cast on Friends with only one semi-obscure character returning (think of lesser importance than Joey, we all know how that ended up....ugh). Here's a review(yar, thar be spoilers!) that summed up how I also felt about Tony, early on. For all intensive purposes, he is the main protagonist of the first two seasons.
  • Season 3 will also keep its eyes on the same transitional period in young people's lives, where coincidentally, choices & decisions matter. (That's Tony below, who you might come to hate, but will likely then reverse course.)
  • Finally I'll leave you with this: the actor that plays Anwar, who my wife and I find extremely hilarious is the star of the new hot *indie movie that will be on all top 10 lists,* Slumdog millionaire. Its probably worth checking out, just to see if good ole Anwar still glimmers in his eyes.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Mustaches for Kids!

  • Well well, I'm a terrible poster. But if you manage to stifle your murderous rage at my lack of posts, I am a grower (keep reading!).
  • And of course a lot has happened in the times since I last spoke to my wide audience of maybe four (love you dear/all). Thanks to my wife for helping make those awesome buttons.
  • Therefore I interrupt my lack of posting for a plea of your hard-earned Lincolns (see right).

Anywho, the organization that we're pseudo-participating in is called, creatively enough: Mustaches for Kids. We're operating on the outside this year, to see how well we can do, then perhaps we'll join next year as a formal chapter. Here's my friend Konrad's description of what we're

Hi all,
Next week (Nov. 17th, 2008), many brave gentlemen in the Department of Biological Sciences at Notre Dame (and indeed others across the country) will be shaving it all off, for the kids. We have decided to participate in Mustaches for Kids, a nationwide effort to raise money for children’s charities. Participants in this noble cause will be growing sweet ‘staches for a 4 week period, and collecting donations for local charities. Think of it like a fun run of facial hair. This year, our charity partner will be Big Brothers Big Sisters (of South Bend, IN).

We will also have a big ‘Stache Bash at the end of the semester, which will include a Mustache Competition (which will probably be a cross of a beauty pageant, dog show, and police lineup). I’ll hopefully be going for most funds raised and sweetest ‘stache (and hopefully not worst ‘stache!) If you’d like some more information (or just to confirm that this is for real, and not just a bunch of weirdos growing mustaches and stealing your money), please check out

That’s about all for now. In the coming weeks, please ask me about my mustache, how the fundraising is going, and (hopefully!) what you can do to help. I look forward to sharing my facial hair adventures with all of you in the coming weeks. Take care.


So you see, it is real. I have already given in, and shaved it all off. Personally, its the first time I've been completely clean-shaven since 1996-1997 (egads I'm old!). Its a sacrifice, indeed, as winter is most certainly here. Why its not beards for kids is beyond me...I guess its just our manly sacrifice. It really is a nationwide effort, so grow with me!

(dough + nate!)

Finally, I leave you with one final frightening image that will haunt your dreams (scroll at your own risk). If you don't donate, I'll hunt you down, and show you this face! Albeit, with a freshly grown, sweet mustache of course.

By the way, this was pre-full-shave, post-beard destruction. My attempt at a three musketeers / french-kinda thingie. Sigh, boy is my nose not straight (Mike + diving board *attempted leg tuck = Billy Joel Nose).

Monday, June 30, 2008


I remember my Aunt Sharon mentioning what a pain in the ass these are to keep around....coming soon everywhere!

You would think the in-house container-design-expert would offer them some friendly advice. How about a pull-out spout?

Saturday, June 28, 2008


is awesome. That is all.


/further bulletins as events warrant (C&H)!

Monday, June 16, 2008


Ok. I hate the Lakers. Their lack of geographic sense has eaten away at me forever. If you're going to move a team, it damn well better make sense (Utah Jazz anyone?). Add in the "L.A" factor (stars I don't care about - stubble doesn't make you look cool, you chaches), and you have a recipe for hate almost as strong as my feelings on Deion Sanders.

That said, I also dislike the Celtics. Their entire season this year, of inevitability, selling off their young talent for one shot at the finals (ok, when KG is available I get it, I'm just bitter the Bulls whiffed), reeks of desperation for an entire city. They are Hillary Clinton to me.

So, who do I root for. I hate Kobe Bryant (*cough* r-A-p-I-s-T *cough*), and that whiny baby Paul Pierce....about the only thing going for him is his slight avoidance of the full-on "whites of the eyes" look when complaining, perfected by King Sulky, the Virgin Islander Tim Duncan.
Enjoy the offseason Spurs, have fun playing shuffleboard and canasta (oh, and Sweet Jesus Ginobli, just shave it all off or get a hair transplant, you look like a Dark Ages Monk)! Damn you "gentlemen (except Horry, duh)" for derailing my Nawlins' finals fantasies!

And the final straw; she comes to me: if they don't start calling "moving picks" on Kevin Garnett with some sort of regularity I'm going to pull my hair out (beard first, then soulpatch, then head, ending with pubes = OW). Look, I understand the unsubtle finesse of an NBA game (non-call fouling, screwing the Mavs in the finals when you breathe on Dwayne Wade), and although I loathe to see traveling uncalled, I sorta get why they let it slide (just occasionally, because it usually enrages me).
That said, the very act of moving during a pick, you know the rule being that a pick setter MUST be stationary lest it be considerd a foul (BY DEFINITION), taints the game as just another subjective competition. Let's just decide whose dish is less salty (Go Chef Morimoto!). Either way I don't like the taste of these finals.

Ugh. Go Lakers. Now I need a shower. And I use parantheses too much.

Phone home Sam!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Tidbit + music

After watching Ché sway and swoon to tunes at the lunch we ate today, we came to an exciting decision.

I will promise that before I die, people everywhere will loathe the phrase "Toddler Interpretive Dance," and that our DVDs (Vol. 7 now in prep) will sell better than Baby Einstein. Now where can I get my hands on some children and a camcorder.....

Boy that last sentence sounds like a invitation from "To Catch A Predator."

How is it that daycare centers don't do this already? Screw the Christmas production, throw up some 2-3 year olds swaying on a stage to "Welcome to the Jungle!" My bet is that in 3.5 minutes one kid will be already crying from being accidentally somersaulted on....

What I'm listening to (over and over, via a very very long battery life!):

Oh yeah, one more thing. Thanks to AJ, a recent grad working in our lab, I now know the joy that is the Drive-By Truckers' 2006 album: A Blessing And A Curse. Wow what a great band. Occasional distortion, but boy great Southern rock, mixed with what CCR might sound like in this century (see "Gravity's Gone").
Not too many bands can write a beautiful song about a boy wondering about his deceased older sister (that he never met), but "Little Bonnie" is gorgeous. Other standouts are: "Daylight," the best showcase of the main singer's vocal range, and the closer "A World of Hurt," a sullen look at how life will always keep you from dodging the inevitable - losing integral parts of your family. With all of that though, he can still confess, "Its great to be alive." How did I ever miss these guys? I'm really slipping.

I like Man Man a lot too. Let's just say that their song "Werewolf (try and make sense of that!)" is the reason I can be found constantly singing in a low voice:
"Yer a diamond in the rough, baby
A werewolf on the hood of your heartbreak
Yer a diamond in the rough, baby
A werewolf on the prowl, come and save me"
  • It then goes on after this 3:00 or so, with sounds of a (what can only be a) beach, waves, and something vaguely gullish. It finally clocks in at over 10+ minutes.
"Van Helsing Boombox (skip to 1:20 in)" is without question, their best song. Did I mention these guys are just a tad insane? Wonder-mous pornstaches abound!
But, more about that song another time.

/off to keep up the "busy" that we require this weekend. Ew, I know? You're like totally grossed out, no doubt! Scrub your mind of the mental image of glorious me! You're welcome!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Yet another impersonal post, about software!

I generally don't like regurgitating other people's "content," so to speak. That said, I'm happily re-reporting on more updates and add-ons to a program you may have seen before. "John's Background Switcher" is a free Windows-only program that does only as named; its not "John's Expensive Program That May Or May Not Work" or "John's Bloated Spyware Memory Hog."

It uses about as much memory on my laptop as Thunderbird does (although I have 2GB of RAM), and really does work, for free. Beyond even the novelty of a program changing your background on your terms, it can not only use local pictures and local folders (this is how you can use the really nifty choices - more later), but suck in photo albums, or tagged photos from flickr (top 10 cute pictures of Nadja or Romana), picasa, and yahoo among others.

Besides just displaying an image on the desktop, and switching it
for you, when you select a local folder the nifty features I mentioned appear: the ability to create a "snapshot scrapbook," a "four-picture montage," and "thumbnail mosaic."
It can also stretch, center, scale, and over-scale pictures (just select them all and right-click) for your local resolution.

Best of all, its fairly intuitive (did I mention FREE?), and clean-looking, and lightweight.

It makes me want to up the delay of the cool screensaver I was all excited about a few weeks ago. Confession: I put it on all the computers at work. :/