I can't believe they totally reversed course and made Rebecca not a Walker anymore. It's like the Landry murder plot from Friday Night Lights.
I can't believe they totally reversed course and made Rebecca not a Walker anymore. It's like the Landry murder plot from Friday Night Lights.
I don't want to get your hopes up, but this is a great review. I could barely type fast enough.
"I can't believe you recommended that movie! It's so sad to think that sex is put in the front like that, and people can sleep with everyone else -- I tell you, this movie is going to turn children and young fellows and girls into thinking that this is what is done all the time. You know, the part where he's naked, and she's up against him, especially at the end? That's terrible! Terrible! This was terrible. Who made this movie? I feel very sad to think that this is commonplace, to think this is the way life is, and if you're tired of one partner all you have to do is turn around and sleep with another. It made me feel like everything is different in this country with the sex issue. Young people who see this -- is this the way they feel life is? The lessons we learn so early in life -- but to see this in the movies, he's all naked and she's bumping up against him and he's happy, and he just changed from one girl to the other, I don't know, I can't understand it.
"We never saw scenes like that in the movies before. More and more these days, I mean, I know it's in every movie I see but this really seemed excessive. We used to have restrictions on this kind of stuff, don't they have restrictions? To see them both in bed, he's bumping up against her, they're pumping away -- I never saw a movie that was quite so loose on the sex theme. I guess they took those restrictions away. You know, some people have never even seen that, and they'll see this movie and get ideas. A girl in bed and someone on top of her. I'm 92 years old and I'm shocked, I couldn't believe my eyes. And even at the end, why did he have to be naked and she runs up and gets up close to him. That's just excessive. I don't know. There are insinuations in other movies, you know. But it has never been this bold.
"Okay, and besides all that sex stuff, this movie had no essence to me. Big deal -- he made a new life for himself, fine, but I didn't believe any of it. All of a sudden he changed his whole personality. This wasn't how real people behave and live their lives. He's so blue, he's a lost soul, but all of a sudden he makes up that puppet show, and that shows that just because he's in love, suddenly he's creative and he's doing things again, and he's like a new person. In a flash. Didn't seem right to me. Going from an awfully unhappy person to something completely the reverse -- I didn't buy it. And that actor is sort of dumb looking too.
"I don't know how they ever produce a picture like this. Even in that movie [Knocked Up] last year, they were in bed and insinuated these kinds of things, and I guess they showed some of it, but here there were two or three scenes that were beyond graphic, beyond anything in any movie I've seen. I never saw two people in bed, uncovered, pumping away like that. And from behind! You know, a lot of young people, watching this, they get ideas, they'll decide they don't have to get married, they can just have one lover after another, and they will see this and learn how to do this. People will see this and take a lover. Or they are young and haven't seen how these things work, where you put the one thing in the other thing and then they go home and they try things like this. I never saw a scene where someone got on top of someone else in the movies like this and you can see all of what you could see.
"And, you know, you wouldn't believe what thought passed my mind while I was watching the movie -- the setting was Hawaii -- I have a theory that people from Hawaii are behind this movie, the tourism people -- and they paid off these movie makers to make a picture to show how loose everything is in Hawaii and what fun you can have, so people will be stimulated and say, 'oh, next time I go on vacation I will go to Hawaii,' and maybe they paid off these movie people just to project an image of Hawaii and how loose things are and how beautiful it is, and the beach, and the weather, and how you can have sex with anyone you want. I wonder if these movie makers were getting paid behind the scenes to advertise Hawaii, where you can sleep with anyone you want and have all that to drink, all those drinks, in the whole movie, and the beautiful beaches, and these ordinary looking, sad men getting the pretty women, I really pictured -- not seriously -- but I had that thought pass through my mind that this was all just an advertisement for Hawaii. I mean, even I started thinking maybe I want to go there."
8:01 -- I think Charlie Gibson should wear his glasses. I like him better with his glasses.
8:05 -- I am really bored by these opening statements. Really I'm bored by the race, and have been for quite a while. Obama, Clinton, I'm kind of over it. One of them will be the nominee, and I think this thing has gone on for so long that I don't really care which one. That's probably a bad way to feel about it. And I'm sort of hoping this debate will snap me out of it and get me re-excited about at least one of them. But so far I still really don't care. Maybe after the commercial break, I will care again. If I don't care by 9:00, I'm going to watch the American Idol results show, because I do sort of care who wins that one. Sadly.
8:07 -- Why are they wasting time with quotes from the Constitution? Anyone who cares already knows the Constitution. Of course, Clinton and Obama's standard stump speeches are starting to feel just as old as the Constitution. I'm glad Gibson put his glasses on.
8:08 -- Good for Obama for volunteering to talk first here. It's a silly question about running mates, because everyone knows their answers are not going to be revelatory. "It's too early to talk about running mates when we don't have a nominee yet...."
8:09 -- I think Obama's people gave him a sleeping pill before the debate. He seems a little unfocused and low energy, more than I've seen him in the past.
8:10 -- Stop quoting from the Constitution. Or at least if you're going to do that, pull out some big piece of parchment or something like that, make it a whole big spectacle.
8:11 -- Clinton took that same sleeping pill. They are so much more fun when they're fighting. Calm candidates debating is boring, especially since they agree with each other about absolutely everything.
8:12 -- These questions are really long.
8:13 -- "wedge issues" -- I like that term, but have no idea what it means.
8:14 -- Clinton: "I am the granddaughter of a mill worker..." -- wait, is she John Edwards? I'm very confused. I haven't heard about her mill worker before. I really think my TV is only playing this debate back at about 85% speed, they're both really low energy.
8:16 -- Clinton is not answering this question about whether Obama can beat McCain, but why should she. I hope they press her on actually giving an answer to the question asked, but I bet they won't.
8:17 -- Oh, they did press her! And she said yes, she thinks Obama can win. Okay, and he thinks she can win. Great. But does anyone else think either of them will win if this thing goes on forever and they both die of exhaustion?
8:21 -- Clinton -- "my passion for empowering people" -- is this new? I haven't heard about that yet.
8:23 -- These questions are so long! I don't personally care that much about this Jeremiah Wright stuff. Maybe I should. I don't know.
8:24 -- I am really looking forward to the upcoming health care discussion, which I'm sure is coming, and I'm sure will be exactly like it was in all the other debates.
8:28 -- Lots of this Reverend Wright stuff.
8:32 -- Ooh, people don't think Clinton is honest and trustworthy. I wonder if she'll respond by saying she is honest and trustworthy!
8:33 -- Wait, what -- "I said some things that I knew were not in keeping with what actually happened." That is an AWESOME way to say "I lied" without anyone realizing you just said it! "Unfortunately, on a few occasions, I was not as accurate as I had been in the past." Again! Did she write these things out beforehand? Those are great.
8:41 -- I haven't heard anything about this guy who bombed things being Obama's friend. I think I tuned out for a second -- did this guy bomb something, or just make a statement supporting people who bomb things? I guess he didn't actually bomb things. Yeah, okay, he just talked about wishing bombers set more bombs. That's a little bad. I can't decide whether Obama is doing a good job or a bad job. I am so bored by this debate. This is really really boring. And I suspect that if they want to get into a "whose friends suck more" debate, Clinton's friends aren't awesome either.
8:44 -- Is Obama getting angry? Ooh, maybe this will get interesting. Or maybe it will remain boring.
8:45 -- Maybe they will come back after their commercial break, but I'm not so sure I will. Gosh. Okay, I will, but I think I will be asleep before this is over. Is anyone else watching this?
8:47 -- Man, what happened to Indians pitcher CC Sabathia? This is his third straight terrible start. Yes, I'm using the commercial break to check baseball scores.
8:48 -- Why are they bothering to advertise the sleeping pill Lunesta during the debate? The debate probably works even better. Actually, no, this makes sense -- anyone still watching this probably needs
a sleeping pill. Also, I want some free granola from Kashi. I think I'll go to Kashi.com and sign up.
8:51 -- Kashi's website is slow to load. I guess everyone else wants their free granola too.
8:52 -- I'm giving up. The Kashi commercial made me hungry, and I don't want to watch this anymore. Sorry. I'll leave it on in case anything interesting happens and blog some more.
I write a post called "blogging kills" and then I forget to blog for a week! Ha. Anyway, no blogging because not much to say. I finished a script today that I've been playing around with, a half-hour medical comedy-ish thing. My intention, very generally, was to see what would happen if I set out to create a character sort of like the Anonymous Doctor version of Anonymous Lawyer, but while writing it I realized while imperfect lawyers are potentially funny and not necessarily inherently unlikeable, imperfect doctors kill people, and that makes them not so funny, and hurts their likeability just a bit. So the idea morphed into something else, not sure I've cracked the code on it yet but am happy to have finished a draft I am reasonably happy with.
I read some books recently that I will blog about later this week. Just figured I should post something, after reading the comment questioning if blogging in fact killed me. It did not.
Oh, here's something about crazy jelly bean flavors and something else about matzoh that I things to say about when I first read the article, but I'm not sure I do anymore. Let me try anyway -- I think gefilte fish and borscht get a really bad rap in this article. My grandma's gefilte fish is awesome. And I like beets.
Or so the New York Times says. This is a very stupid article. The headline:
In Web World of 24/7 Stress, Writers Blog Till They Drop
Oh, wow, this must be quite an epidemic for the Times to decide it's newsworthy. Bloggers dying in front of their computers, by the dozen, after days without sleep. Young, otherwise healthy, active people, dropping dead, in this "web world of 24/7 stress," distinguished from the ordinary world where jobs are not stressful at all, and no one demands anything from them, right? Even before we get to the rest of the article, I wonder -- is blogging really that special, as far as stressful 24/7 jobs? In fact, I would venture to say that being a fireman, or an emergency room physician, or even a big firm lawyer tethered to the office via BlackBerry -- those are probably all more stressful than sitting at a desk and blogging. And in terms of the 24/7-ness of the job, most blogs I read don't post all night. I'm trying to picture a "blogging emergency" that might create middle-of-the-night stress for bloggers, but not for other people. Anyway, even if I accept that blogging is stressful... let's see what this epidemic looks like...
Two weeks ago in North Lauderdale, Fla., funeral services were held for Russell Shaw, a prolific blogger on technology subjects who died at 60 of a heart attack. In December, another tech blogger, Marc Orchant, died at 50 of a massive coronary. A third, Om Malik, 41, survived a heart attack in December.
Oh. Two middle-aged guys had heart attacks. And they were both bloggers. Well, obviously there's a link. Let's stop for a second and do something the Times didn't. Look at actual data. How many bloggers are there? Let's err on the conservative side and say there are a thousand people blogging. That's probably low -- even if we're just counting people who are blogging for a living, writing dozens of posts a day, I can probably name a couple hundred active blogs pretty easily, and there are lots I don't know of. But I really want to be conservative with my estimate here, just to highlight how stupid this article is. So if there were a thousand bloggers, how many would probably die over the course of a few months just by chance? Looks like a little under one percent of people die every year (825 per 100,000). Skewed toward older people, obviously. But these guys who died weren't that young. For a 60 year old man, the death rate is 1.4% per year. For a 50 year old man, it's 0.6% per year. By chance, some bloggers are going to die every year. There's no way these two people dying is statistically significant. So surely there must be something else linking their deaths to blogging, right? Otherwise there's no article here. Right? Anything?
There is also no certainty that the stress of the work contributed to their deaths.
So, two middle-aged guys died of heart attacks. And they were both bloggers. Amazing: blogging causes death.
“I haven’t died yet,” said Michael Arrington, the founder and co-editor of TechCrunch, a popular technology blog. The site has brought in millions in advertising revenue, but there has been a hefty cost. Mr. Arrington says he has gained 30 pounds in the last three years, developed a severe sleeping disorder and turned his home into an office for him and four employees. “At some point, I’ll have a nervous breakdown and be admitted to the hospital, or something else will happen."
Or maybe nothing will happen. Or maybe you should get some exercise and hire some more employees so you can sleep. Or try to lose some weight. Just because you are a blogger, doesn't mean you can't be healthy too. This is really silly.
It is unclear how many people blog for pay, but there are surely several thousand and maybe even tens of thousands.
This is really silly too. You write for the New York Times -- can't you do better than this sentence? "I have no idea how many people blog for pay, so instead of trying to figure it out, I'm going to make a random guess, and support it with nothing." How about looking on Technorati to see how many blogs there, about the kinds of things that would require someone "on call" to post all day, and that have enough of a readership to justify paying someone to blog. According to Truth Laid Bear -- and this is taking me eight seconds of research -- if you sort by blog traffic, once you get down to blog #1000, you're looking at about 2500 readers a day. That's not that many, probably not enough to be able to make nearly enough money to pay someone to blog for you. And looking at some of those blogs, it's pretty clear they're not the kind of things causing 24/7 stress on their writers. Even if this ranking is incomplete, I think it's probably a real stretch to say there could be tens of thousands of bloggers blogging for pay. Actually, I think my conservative estimate of a thousand may not actually be that conservative after all. But in any case, at least I'm trying to justify an estimate using some kind of data. The Times just guessed. I have no idea how a sentence like that -- "unclear... surely... maybe..." makes it into print, honestly. There are ways to estimate this.
Speed can be of the essence. If a blogger is beaten by a millisecond, someone else’s post on the subject will bring in the audience, the links and the bigger share of the ad revenue.
This is a stupid sentence too. Millisecond? No. And blogs may have fickle audiences, but bloggers aren't breaking scoops by the millisecond, and even if I'm reading a blog in part for the timeliness of its posts, writing counts for something, and how many people are really cutting a blog off their RSS feed because it doesn't update at 4 in the morning? This is a ridiculous way of thinking about blogs and why people read them.
Matt Buchanan, 22, is the right man for the job. He works for clicks for Gizmodo, a popular Gawker Media site that publishes news about gadgets. Mr. Buchanan lives in a small apartment in Brooklyn, where his bedroom doubles as his office.
He says he sleeps about five hours a night and often does not have time to eat proper meals. But he does stay fueled — by regularly consuming a protein supplement mixed into coffee.
Can we really blame blogging for the fact that he doesn't eat proper meals? Unless he's actually blogging his stream of consciousness, 24 hours a day, non-stop, he has time to make a sandwich. I mean, where does he get the coffee? How does he go to the bathroom? Making food doesn't take hours. If he is choosing not to eat, that's fine, but it's not the fault of his job. People with more stressful jobs than blogging find time to eat. Sorry.
For his part, Mr. Shaw did not die at his desk. He died in a hotel in San Jose, Calif., where he had flown to cover a technology conference.
Oh, no wonder we're blaming blogging. Gosh, what a useful article.
There was an NPR piece last week about some woman who decided to cook her meals using only ingredients found in "99 Cents Only" stores. This specific chain of 99 cents stores, big in California and the West, is distinguished from other 99-cent stores because (1) nothing at all costs more than 99 cents, and (2) they have produce, dairy, and all sorts of other food. I passed one today. So I went in. I was genuinely surprised at the quantity of produce they were selling for 99 cents. A bag of oranges. A bag with about three dozen key limes. A package of 8 plum tomatoes. 2 heads of broccoli shrink-wrapped together. None of it looked great, but it all looked edible, nothing looked spoiled. Frozen pizza. Brand-name yogurts at 3 for 99 cents. Butter, milk, cream cheese. Besides the expected canned vegetables, pasta, soup, crackers, etc that you'd expect to find in a 99-cent store. Two things I wanted to blog about though:
1. 99-cent home pregnancy tests. I mean, I assume in CVS these things are not 99 cents. Perhaps if you think you're pregnant, maybe you should spring for a name-brand pregnancy test? Then again, maybe not -- maybe the mechanics of these tests are so basic that there's no reason not to get the 99-cent one, because it's not going to be any less accurate. In any case, surprised to see that -- and at the checkout, no less! Next to the candy, chocolate, and batteries!
2. They play up the 99-cent thing throughout the store, gift cards are $19.99, open until 9pm... except, near the cash register, I noticed a sign saying things are "99.9% guaranteed"! Wait a second. Do they think they're being cute, with the 99 thing, or is this something their lawyers dreamed up to excuse the fact that one in a thousand things someone buys is going to kill them? What is a 99.9% guarantee? Do you get 99.9% of your money back if you return something? Ridiculous.
"I didn't understand it. It all seemed very unimportant. I didn't really care for it. Women wouldn't respond to it because they don't know much about football. And the way they played it in the mud. Why would they have to do that? Women won't really want to go watch that. And why do they keep hitting each other? Why were there so many fights? Did they think it was supposed to be funny? The whole movie, all they do is fight. It was like slapstick, I guess. But not funny like we used to have, the Three Stooges, people like that. Although he's very handsome, that George Clooney. I didn't see the reason for that picture, really. It wasn't about anything real, anything I could relate to. And those fellows in the uniforms at the end, I didn't understand that part of it. Not that it matters. It's not like I felt like I was missing anything of any real value. I talked to other people after the movie, they didn't care for it either. It was all very inconsequential, nothing of any depth, of any emotion. The girl in the picture -- thought I heard someone in the theater say that she had won an Academy award or something. I don't know who she is from Adam. She didn't even look that young to me. In the movie she says she's 31, but she's not 31. She did not look 31. I wasn't that impressed with her at all."
I watched way too much baseball today. The MLB Extra Innings free preview week is actually the biggest reason I don't buy the Extra Innings package -- having all the games available for a week shows me how much I'd watch if I had them all year, and scares me into not subscribing. I did subscribe back in 2001, when I lived in Texas, worked for a software company, and since I actually had a job in an actual office, I didn't have to feel guilty if I watched more baseball games than I should have when I came home. Then again, in the 18 months I lived in Texas, I probably wrote more than I've written in any eighteen-month period since. Ah, the productivity fueled by loneliness, boredom, and the crushing unachieved ambitions of a kid right out of college who absolutely couldn't convince himself that all he was meant to do was work in marketing for a software company in Texas. Boy, that feels like a long time ago. Sort of. Yet as I think about it, I've kind of taken a seven-year journey back to a very similar emotional place. Hmmm. I should fix that. I'm not sure I know how. This post is becoming cryptic. Sorry. Let me sort out what I mean in my head first and maybe I'll blog more about it tomorrow.
You know what's great? When How I Met Your Mother mentions a fake website, they actually create it. Awesome.
I've been putting the books I read in the sidebar but haven't been writing much about them (or anything lately), but I thought I'd try and get back in the habit. Michael Pollan's carved out a nice niche for himself. If you read The Omnivore's Dilemma (which was terrific), In Defense Of Food is the sequel. It's a less ambitious book -- instead of talking about where our food comes from, it's just about what we should eat. He wrote a New York Times Magazine article last year that's basically the short version of this book. The really short version: Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants. But he's a good enough writer that he's able to take those three sentences and make a whole book, most of it really quite readable. It provides a lot of ammunition for talking to people about food and the evils of supermarkets. Good stuff. Made me want to join a CSA. Actually, there's a short documentary (25 minutes long) running on The Sundance Channel called Fridays at the Farm that's about a CSA in Pennsylvania and a guy who decides he wants his kids to grow up feeling closer to the food they eat. It's a beautifully done film -- I stumbled across it in the listings and DVR'd it and am really glad I did. It's definitely worth watching.
Punching In is Alex Frankel's attempt to be Barbara Ehrenreich, sort of. Frankel is a business writer who decided to get a bunch of service industry jobs and write about them. He ended up working for UPS, The Gap, Starbucks, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and the Apple Store, and getting rejected from jobs at The Container Store, Whole Foods, and Home Depot. I guess I liked the book -- I read it in two sittings, Frankel's a fine writer, it's reasonably engaging -- but it feels kind of like he sold it on proposal and ended up delivering a much less revealing book than he hoped to write. I am not surprised that working at The Gap is boring and involves a lot of folding. I am not surprised that working at Enterprise is boring and involves trying to upsell customers to buy insurance. I am not surprised that working at Starbucks is boring and involves tasting coffee. I am not surprised that working for UPS is boring and involves carrying heavy boxes. What did surprise me was that he was rejected from Whole Foods, The Container Store, and Home Depot, although since he was lying about his background and trying to game the online personality tests, I guess I shouldn't have been that surprised.
To be completely frank, I can't decide which of two lessons to take from Frankel's book -- I'll get to them in a second, but I need to set this up a bit. See, what Frankel did here was sort of what I did with Anonymous Lawyer -- I worked somewhere for a couple months, and then I wrote about it. The fact that Anonymous Lawyer is fiction and Frankel's book is non-fiction doesn't feel like a real difference to me -- he was trying to observe the worlds he was in and say something about them, and so was I. I've just assumed post-Anonymous Lawyer that if I was really smart, and really motivated enough to act on what I know would be best for me, I'd try and repeat the process -- go work somewhere else for a few months, and then write a satirical take on that other world. (To some extent, I'm probably equipped to write something reasonably interesting about either publishing or television, but I'm just not thinking about it in that way, at least not yet.) I still could, and should, and probably eventually will, once this TV stuff runs its course. But I lie to myself with the excuse that it all depends on the industry, and I'd really need to find what that right industry to satirize would be. I know it's a lie though. Or at least I thought I did. But here, Frankel's tried to do that, and, to at least a certain extent, he's failed. There's not really enough here. It's a 200-page book with a big font and a lot of white space on the page, and still he's got 5 jobs and a bunch of talk about rejections... he just didn't find all that much to say about his experiences. And so I can take one of two lessons from this. Either Frankel didn't execute this very well, or not all jobs are interesting enough to find things to write about. It's pretty easy for me to assume it's the latter, and since I liked the book well enough, and have absolutely no reason to think Frankel isn't a perfectly good writer and observer of things, that's where I'm going to put my money. In which case, it's just an overambitious idea executed as well as possible -- but what it tells me is, yeah, my justification that the industry really does matter is in fact not just a justification but a genuine thing to think about.