29 September 2007

Chuck wore Chucks

Didn't get a chance to watch Chuck on Monday night because of a conflict, so I recorded the Saturday night replay. NBC has really done something right this time, because after an hour of high-octane television watching I can guaran-fucking-tee I will never have to waste my time with this piece of over-hyped shit again. NBC: Bringing you the worst over-hyped garbage EVER! What's that you say? You liked Chuck? Well, retard, go to another blog. You obviously only got here searching for naked pictures of Maria Sharapova (there aren't any: I don't like steroid junkies) or "sex with teacher" or the health benefits of blow jobs.

How many ways did Chuck go wrong? Let's start counting. I'll try to organize the points as well.


  1. The single magic computer with all the combined secrets of the NSA and CIA. In a room straight out of an IBM server ad.
  2. The awesome vid screens in said server room.
  3. The fact that the room was in a basement in an almost completely unsecured building in what was, I imagine, supposed to be Georgetown or downtown DC.
  4. Umm, no backup?
  5. The data that took, what, a full minute to transfer over a USB or FireWire connection but emailed from a wireless device in about three seconds.
  6. Let's discuss the data itself: how is it more efficient to "encode the secrets in a series of pictures" than in, you know, files and words and pictures and video and normal ways? Look, steganography is cool and all, but its purpose is obscuring a message's existence, not encoding information.
  7. The super-virus that makes a computer blow its brains out in mere seconds.
  8. The NSA-super-ninja-lady doesn't grab the hard drive on the computer after it crashes to the floor? It would have survived the fall.
  9. Oh wait. Apparently, that hard drive was constructed from Pringles, so it actually broke from the fall. It's a shame there aren't techniques one could use to recover data. Then again, I would not have expected the Nerd Herd to possess that knowledge or ability. They're buffoons, in real life and the show. I'd hope the CIA could afford to contact one of the many services that exist to do that, however.
  10. Back to the data, again. Chuck gets the intel that the general is going to be killed, by bomb, in the Bonaventure. So that data was encoded in the pictures. Who put it there? Presumably, some agent had to receive the intel, process it, encode it, file a WI-912 form in triplicate, and enter it to the super-computer (I assume at the terminal since it appeared to be detached from the network.) Maybe right after his coffee break, he might have mentioned to someone the fact that he just entered information about a terrorist/assassination plot that was going to occur within the week.
  11. This isn't really a technical quibble, but one about intelligence gathering: his accumulated knowledge is going to be stale and useless in about...three months. Also, the historical data...did it get destroyed in a warehouse fire right after being encoded by that guy up in (10)?
  12. Again, this isn't exactly a technical quibble, but it fits best here. When did the NSA start assigning weapons with LED sights? Because that wasn't a laser Ricky Linderman was holding. Lasers don't spread when they hit a surface at an oblique angle.
  1. It's pretty clear the studio or producers were looking for a Christine Taylor-type. Anyone who's seen the pilot for Heat Vision and Jack knows what I'm talking about. In fact, anyone who's seen that Ben Stiller/Jack Black bit of television genius knows that Chuck is a sad, sad shadow of that unproduced classic. So we're looking for a Christine Taylor-type. In Hollywood. Where every girl is blonde, pert, and beautiful (except the ones who are brunette, pert, and beautiful because they want to stand out from the crowd.) So they reach to the antipodes to find an actress. To her credit, only once did her piss-poor American accent really shine through, so she's doing a lot better than the male and female leads on Moonlight (the only new show this fall that compares to Chuck in terms of suckitude.) However, little miss bottle blonde has the blackest, coarsest eyebrow hairs I've ever seen on a lady. And that was not in HD. I'm very afraid for the poor people who had to see her in HD. Sure, she's cute. Sure she's got a cute body. She also appears to suffer from hypertrichosis. Of course, only her waxer knows and she's not talking.
  2. Sidekick. There are, surprisingly, people out there who continue to compare this show to the excellent Reaper. Technically, they are similar. Here's an SAT-style analogy:
    : Reaper :: AM/PM burger : Steak at Morton's.
    Some of those people further discuss the Battle of the Sidekicks. Many don't like Tyler Labine's channeling of Jack Black, preferring the "style" of Joshua Gomez. Please see the analogy above and substitute "Joshua Gomez" for "Chuck" and "Tyler Labine" for "Reaper" for my thoughts on that.
  3. Chuck's sister. So, they cast a wax-addicted werewolf as the super-sexy spy, and uber-hot Lisa the Gift Shop Girl as the sister? Oh. Okay. Smart. It's like a clever feint. I get it now. Cast the actual hot girl as the hero's sister and not the romantic interest. Genius.
  4. Adam Baldwin. Actually, Jane's awesome here. I would definitely be watching this show if it were Adam and Sarah Lancaster as a young married couple trying to make it in...wait. That's a different show. But it does include two people from the cast of this abortion.
Random Thoughts
  1. Bryce goes rogue. He emails all the ultraviolet, top secret, code red, mountain dew combined secrets of the NSA and CIA to his slacker buddy (presumably because he didn't have time to pick the correct recipient before Jane cut his parkour career short with a shot through the heart. So the CIA doesn't think it might be a good idea to bench his gal pal and see if she's an enemy of the state?
  2. Chuck's been working alongside an insanely hot potential slayer and hasn't found a way to get over getting dumped five years earlier? Yeah, well, if I worked with Julia Ling day in and day out, sweating and slaving to fix the computers of the terminal stupid, I'd have forgotten my ex's name. Open your damn eyes, boy!
So there. It's not so bad. Only 18 items on my list. Of course, I've left out all the times I yelled at the screen because of the three women in the pilot's cast, the one cast as the "hot one" is the one least hot. I left off all the times I yelled because the CIA/NSA agents did something inane. I yelled because of misused and misapplied technology. But mostly, I just seethed for an hour because this was the best new show the Peacock could give me. Put on a fucking sitcom, you jackasses. Oh wait, just call Leslie Nielsen's agent and pick up Lipschitz Saves the World. If you do it for mid-season, I think the Man in Red will be free from his commitment to FOX.

By the way, about the title of the post...I played tennis in Chucks once in high school. Ripped my feet raw. I don't recommend it. So I wouldn't say Chuck wore tennis shoes, no.

28 September 2007

Craft-ed with Love

I think everyone needs one of these.

27 September 2007

Stop- and Start-ups

Work has been an absolute joy of late. Why, this week I put in a good six or eight productive hours!!! Valuable life lesson: when considering employment with a software or web startup, part of your due diligence should include asking the principal her familiarity and comfort with software or the web. It's one thing to work for someone green, someone who's never run a company before. It's entirely another to build a website for someone with a singular vision who has no use for the site when completed.

"It must look exactly the way I see it in my head, but you're the experts, so just go do it!"

I'm reminded of John Larroquette in Stripes. Striding proudly and confidently about the mortar range he orders a recruit to launch a shell. The soldier, beholden to the old ways of the reality-based community, asks for coordinates. Capt. Stillman will have none of it. He tells the soldier the Army has paid a lot of money to teach him how to shoot that mortar, so shoot it.

Poor Sgt. Hulka. "Blown up, SIR!"

I work for Capt. Stillman. Only she looks better in heels.

When I came on board, I expected to work long, hard hours until right around now getting the site built and launched. That's because I was led to believe the requirements had been gathered and analysis performed. Hoohah! They tricked me!

Tomorrow is the last day my buffer - the bastard who sucked me into this job - will be around, 'cause he's pulled up stakes and moved to California, following his wife to school. He gets to drive an hour each way to Oxnard for his new gig while she gets the cushy commute putting her Juris Doctorate to good use at USC film school. And I'm stuck with the crazy boss, her vapid sidekick, the project manager who doesn't manage the project, and my buddy. Thank Ba'al for him; I'd go completely insane if we couldn't work on our pilot spec for Bob Newhart's next huge hit while we wait impatiently for a requirement, any requirement to make it over the transom.

Then again, if Stephen Fry would post a little more often (but at the same length,) I'd just while my time away reading his glorious blog.

26 September 2007

Dreary Woman

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This new season sucks. Bionic Woman was k-rap. Alright, maybe I shouldn't judge everything on a show I already knew would suck. After all, Reaper rocked, people say Chuck was good, and I'm really looking forward to Pushing Daisies and Dirty Sexy Money.

But 'sblood!!! Bionic Woman was awful. It's hard to put it out of my head right now. Hence the real Jaime Summers above to cleanse the palette.

25 September 2007


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His hand's strong, Armstrong.
via Gaiman

21 September 2007

My Loony Bun is Fine Benny Lava

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As if Bollywood flicks weren't awesome enough on their own...

Marcia, Marcia! Oooh Marcia!

I've been saying for years that Jan was the hot one, but everyone disagreed. Well, now we've got confirmation that even Marcia thinks she was the hot one!!!

20 September 2007


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Huh. It's been awhile since I've checked out any of the Bunnies parodies. This Bond medley's a perfect cure for the Friday doldrums.

You're in the game now

Livin' 'Neath The Law with Jack McBrayer
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"You don't have to look like a criminal to live like one."
Jack McBrayer

19 September 2007

Get off my lawn, you schmendrick!

Kids these days. That's what "Marvin Marks, the retired furniture store owner" from Dallas was saying the other day between bites of blintz. The 86-year-old gentleman from Dallas was mistakenly suspected of being involved in the accidental discharge of a concealed weapon during Temple Emanu-El's New Year's services last week. I say mistakenly, because it was actually his equivalently named doppelganger, Marvin Marks.

In person of course, no one could mistake the strapping 81-year-old former police officer for his elder, but apparently some early news reports failed to indicate his extreme youth - a fact that should have easily been inferred from the nature of the accident. What mature, wise man of the world like Marvin Marks, 86 of Dallas would bring a gun into temple? None of course. Only a reckless youth like Marvin Marks, 81 of Dallas would be so brazen.

via a thoughtful commenter on Ken Levine's blog.

18 September 2007

Take your lovemaking into the station bathroom like the rest of the cops

CoyoteSqrl Watched a bunch of those videos of Andrew Meyer getting tased...tasered...what's the right verb form here?
Thick Rick Teased. He really needs a safety word. When my girlfriend and I play with sparks, we're always sure to have a safety word. Ours is "asparagus".
CS Right. Anyway, he's going to be a crap journo.
TR He goes to UF. He was going to be a crap *something*.
CS True.
TR His website is sure getting a lot of traffic.
CS And that's the problem. He's getting a lot of traffic. Man, he's not good. I mean, at 22 I wasn't particularly in control of my, um, word things, but this kid...here. This should put him into perspective as a budding journo:

I wanted to acknowledge that yes, I read Bill Simmons. He is in fact my favorite sports writer. But let me be clear: I am not stealing his opinions, and I never will. The reason I like him so much is that he thinks much the same way I do.
TR Ouch.
CS So anyway, the kid might have been shooting for more attention than just answers to his questions three.
TR Blue.
CS Whatever. He might have been looking for a bit of confrontation. What's pretty clear from all the reports, however, is that a sitting US Senator told him to ask his question (he was immediately behind the last person who was supposed to query Kerry.) And while he did ramble on and had three questions and not one, he did ask the Senator two interesting (and one slightly inane) questions.
TR Agreed. I wanna know if Kerry was a member of Balls and Shaft.
CS And then he's assaulted. An unwanted laying on of hands by some douchebags with badges.
TR Asparagus! Asparagus!
CS As Kerry's answering!!!
TR Asparagus!!!1
CS If there's anything dumber than a UF student, even dumber than a UF student-athlete, it's a UF pig. Apparently also quite weak and unfit, as it takes four? five? six? of them to subdue a pasty Simmons fan. Of course by subdue, I mean sit on, handcuff, and only then taser. Tase? Goddamit, what's the ruling on that?
TR So you think the police went too far?
CS I think they didn't go far enough. I mean, why not put on the brass knuckles and beat on his face? No Louima treatment in front of the crowd? Show those punk kids who's the boss.
TR Mona. No, really. Watch it again, you'll see.
CS Uh, are you even listening to me?
TR Not really. You're ranting again. Cops bad: blah, blah, blah. It's not new. You've been singing the same refrain for two decades.
CS It's not like they've gotten any better in the intervening years.
TR Maybe, but you've certainly gotten more bitter. Lighten up, dude. Come down to the dung...basement rec room and play...ping-pong with me and my lady friend tonight. You'll forget all about your cares and woes. At least you won't be thinking about his pain for a little while.
CS Uh, maybe another time.

1 What's worse than being beaten by cops? Listening to John Kerry drone.

17 September 2007

The devolution of the soft top

I've owned convertibles all my adult life. No tintops. My first was the first car I bought with my own money, a jellybean blue Geo Metro that I bought in '91.

Piece of crap? Tiny little engine? Sure. But it also weighed about as much as a Barbie Jeep so it was quick. Plus, the wee wheels and chassis arrangement made for a lithe, if slightly skittish car. You'd be amazed what you can do with something that small if you're fearless when driving.

I drove the Metro into the ground, putting about 85K miles on it in five years. As it was beginning its very rapid death spiral, I traded it in on the next convertible - a '96 Jeep Wrangler.

Now, the Jeep's a fun ride, but for someone who likes high speed and agility it's a bit of a challenge. Don't get me wrong, I used to bob and weave with her, but it just wasn't the same. And the top's a pain in the ass. The Metro's manual top I could put up or down at a stop light without getting out of the car. The Jeep...that took considerably longer. Still, it was a manual operation, so it wasn't going to break on me.

A few years and several Bay Area job hops later, my salary had gone up just a skoch. Time to trade in and trade up. So I satisfied my childhood dream of owning a Porsche by paying *way* over Blue Book for a slightly used Boxster.

Let me tell you, there are few cars that handle quite like a Boxster. It's quick - though not super fast - and with the mid-engine design it hugs the road like week-old roadkill. Did I mention the mid-engine design? Because of that, every repair costs an arm and a leg and takes an inordinate amount of time. Ever pay $1500 to replace a clutch? If you've owned a Boxster you have.* Ever pay $2500 to replace a windshield? Alright, I didn't pay that thanks to glass coverage, but I could have. And the Boxster had the first power top I'd ever owned. A "clever" two-clutch design: one for the soft top; one for the hard cover. The wife and I got to know our mechanics really well, because that shitty, over-engineered design meant it was broken about every nine months.

Last year I got a chance to pick up one of my dream cars. An amazing deal on an '01 Esperante with only 7K miles on it. I jumped. Now, the Roadster is cooler, but the top on the Roadster is a snap-on affair reminiscent of the Jeep. The Esperante's got a nice power top to go with its sleek lines, high power, and great handling. Well, it has great handling now that we've replaced the shitty deep dish rims and low-profile tires with proper wheels and performance tires.

(That one's actually mine, unlike the other photos I culled from the web.)
Oh wait. Did I say a "nice power top"? My mistake. The Boxster should have prepared me. Last week, the top broke. A few days in the shop and it's been repaired. Well, that's what the mechanic says, but I know better. You see, you can't actually repair a power top. You can patch it so it keeps working for a little while, but it'll give out again. That's what they do. My $9K Metro with the manual top - the top that I could put up or down in thirty seconds including the top cover - that never broke. It also weighed a lot less because it didn't need hydraulics, or electrics, or gears. It was just a hinge mechanism with a canvas top and plastic rear window. Cheap, right-sized, and easy. The Esperante, like the Boxster and all other power soft tops is over-engineered. I believe they do that for old people. The wife thinks it's just for the congenitally lazy.

So now, I don't own a convertible. I own a car with a rattly cloth top. I picked the car up this afternoon with the top up, and up is where it'll stay until I sell it. The only way I'll put it down again is if we can get the good folks at Panoz to retrofit the top and make it a manual. Since it's highly unlikely they'll do so, the car will soon be someone else's problem and I'll be looking for a manual top. Of course, since the only new car on the market with a manual top is the Wrangler...and since they've ruined the Wrangler by giving it a suspension built for soccer moms...I'll definitely be forced to go used. And that really pisses me off.

Manual tops are pretty much extinct, as manual transmissions will be within a decade. Idiots.

Remember: technological advancement to solve a problem that doesn't exist, and is prone to failure, is no advancement at all.

* No, I didn't burn it out. The previous owner had ridden it.

14 September 2007

The cell tower is next to the baobab tree

So John August had "four bars in villages without electricity, roads, or running water". As if I needed proof that Scottsgrad is less civilized than Malawi.

Then there's still time!

December 8th is Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day! Some suggestions:

  • Discover and become obsessed with one trivial aspect of technology, like automatic grocery doors. Stay there for hours playing with it.
  • Be generally terrified of people who are dressed immodestly compared to your era. Tattoos and shorts on women are especially scary.
via Alex Epstein

13 September 2007

This is Piss. Piss with Ink!

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A fun clip, from the SF performance of Sweeney Todd in Concert. Davis Gaines leads off this clip with a great rendition of "Johanna", but anyone who knows me knows the reason I'm posting this starts at the 3:45 mark. Watch and enjoy.

Shark Wang Ninjas

Never Before Aired SNL Sketch w/ Conan O'Brien
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Cut? How could this skit have been cut???

12 September 2007

If only you were smarter, I could call you stupid

I caused some grief over at Steve Gimbel's virtual place the other day. I'd made a comment that had an unintended second reading:

Fundie religionists are the retarded kids who eat paste and whose parents bitch and moan at youth coaches demanding that their precious little ones get to play. Basically, George Will.
I thought it was pretty clear that I was calling out George Will as a former paste eater, but someone read it as a comment about George Will as a parent. I was unaware the be-bowtied one has a child with Down Syndrome, but given that knowledge the incorrect reading is understandable. And that reading could certainly be construed as extra mean.

However, it got me thinking.1 Is it alright for me to call someone of average intelligence stupid? Is it alright for me to call someone of slightly below average intelligence stupid? How about significantly below average? Is there a hard line below which it crosses from acceptable to impolite, or rude, or mean? Or is it never acceptable to call someone stupid?2

To some extent, these are quantifiable things. For example, I'm obese. I mean, you see me walking down the street, or hanging out, or playing tennis and I just look a little overweight, but I'm clinically obese. I'm not insulted if someone calls me fat. It's a valid, accurate statement. I'm also a genius. Not in the mad, super-evil way, but the IQ in the 99th percentile way. Somehow, it's considered socially unacceptable - and conceited - to mention the latter, though it is just as quantifiable as my weight.

I can call Tom Cruise short, right? Can I say the same about Peter Dinklage?

Here's the thing...I'm not a nice person. I don't much care about the feelings of others. That said, even I don't want to be a complete dick. So how many standard deviations below the center of the bell am I allowed to mock, and at what point does it become wrong? Two standard deviations below mean? Three?

So, any thoughts? How short is too short to be noticed? How stupid too stupid?

1 I know. It's shocking to think I'd think.
2 Oh please, don't tell me I can't call people stupid. That just wouldn't be fair.

That joke totally needs a...caesarian

Jane Espenson is mad at the media for their coverage of Britney Spears' appearance at the VMAs. And who can blame her? They've totally trashed Sarah Silverman's great post-lipsync joke.

10 September 2007

30 Rock

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Last weekend, you'll recall, was Doog-arific. Fun, but awfully dated. This weekend we went a bit more modern with NOT-Studio 60.

Tina Fey's greatest strength as a writer is finding room for her actors to breathe. The first season is a great showcase of that talent. Each new episode gets a little more chaotic and a little more improvisational in feel as the great performers surrounding Fey get to stretch out. Alec Baldwin is the obvious standout, but Jack McBrayer's Kenneth is a revelation. And let's not forget Tracy Morgan's ¿fictionalized? version of himself - Tracy Jordan.

It's a tough call whether I'm more anxious for 30 Rock or HIMYM to return, but based on how steeply this show went from so-so funny to can't-miss hilarious, it might be the gang in Rockefeller Center.

I've not yet tried out any of the commentary, but the extra features are decent. Kenneth's late-night interviews, McBrayer and Lonny Ross walking around the Silvercup Studios with a camcorder, and Judah Friedlander being...himself. Fun stuff. Definitely worth owning, as I'll watch these again and again.

08 September 2007

Smoke 'em if ya got 'em

You know, those smoking bans in bars and restaurants also help explain why freedom-loving Americans have bolted to the Cuban side. They smoke a lot of cigars, you know.

As insane as Fred Thompson's comments in Iowa were, they weren't as strange as this quote from the Daily News:

Thompson received mixed reviews from several listeners who had reservations about his late entry into the race.
Really? It's a late entry? We consider four months before the first primary early now? Considering that Senator Fred's been campaigning off the books for months now - safely too, he hasn't allowed himself to be humiliated in a debate yet - I'm not sure I'd call this "late".

Fastest Bug Turnaround Ever?

I've had the beta of ID installed on the blog for all of two days now. Thanks guys for commenting, by the way. I've had my account with them for a little less than a week, I think. This evening I took a look at the blog and noticed a weird problem with the way the javascript was rendering the comment links. I emailed my bug report at 11:53pm and at 12:44am - a scant 51 minutes later - I had a response email from Jon Fox at ID reporting that the bug was resolved. On a Friday night.

Now I've turned around bugs faster for in-house business units, or for fellow developers, or for other dev teams; however, I can't recall having ever received a bug report from the field to which I turned around a hot fix that fast. These guys are good.

06 September 2007

Sugar Shock issue 2

Even funnier than issue one. Hand to Dog.

Uh, yeah...the link.

05 September 2007

Comment system beta test

Not because I get much in the way of comments (unless I pick on day laborers or Tim Burton) but because I'm a pretty compulsive beta tester, I installed a new comment system from Intense Debate. I haven't been able to import old comments over, so right now only posts with no extant comments on them will be using the new system.

Please help out a startup and try it out when you've got a chance. I'm not 100% sure I'll stick with it, but if it doesn't blow shrapnel all over the place and seems to work well I'll probably keep it around at least for a little while. If you do decide to leave any comments on this post or any others and use the new system, please indicate whether you like or dislike it. If you dislike it or have problems/feature requests, be specific. The Intense Debate guys will want that feedback.

Popeye wants his forearm back, Roger

Check out this line:

1st Serve %AcesWinnersUnforced ErrorsElapsed Time

Another great three-set victory for Andy Rodd...wait. Sorry. Three-set loss to Federer Express. It's got to be incredibly demoralizing to play tennis that well, that cleanly, and lose 6(5)/6(4)/2. And believe me, those limited unforced errors didn't even start to accumulate until that quick-rising third set.

Free Earl!

I'm quite late coming to the Earl bandwagon. I blame it on bad luck. The first episode I watched was "Joy's Wedding" and that was unpleasant on multiple levels. While I think Jaime Pressly is a cutie-pie (and shots of her in that stars and stripes bikini above are almost enough to get me to see the long-shelved DOA) I find Joy to be the most abrasive personality on tv. I'm including Faux News blowhards, Bush press secretaries, and Bob the Enzyte ad guy. Bad first exposure to an awesome show.

I've recently started watching so I could provide script coverage to some friends and realized how good this show really is. My bad. At least I figured it out eventually.

Anyway, here's a great video Earl's friends put together to help the world know his plight. Free Earl!

04 September 2007

Doogie Does my DVD

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Rough weekend. First there was the lack of productivity, then the shitty construction (see below, for my racist comments about that), then the dreaded Three Red Lights on the XBox's Ring O' Light.

Since it's our DVD player as well as my sometime gaming console, it needed to be replaced quickly. I was just not confident enough in the weekend's tennis offerings to go without a backup plan. So we ran out to Best Buy and picked up an Elite. While there, wifey-poo found the perfect (and way cheap on sale) DVDs for the weekend - the above season 1 of Doogie Howser, M.D.

I remember it being better. NPH rocks, even as a kid, but the show doesn't hold up that well. First off, it doesn't bring the funny. It was one of the first single-camera, half-hour dramedies and it shows a bit of the awkwardness of a new art form whose legs aren't quite strong enough to support its new frame. Worse than the shortage of humor is the heavy-handed moralizing in Doogie's "youseetimmy" journal entries that close each episode.

We're most of the way through this first season (whether we buy the remaining three is open to discussion) and Doogie's already learned so much. Those valuable life lesson - so neatly summarized in two or three pithy sentences that reek of co-creator David E. Kelley's touch - are so easily spoofed because they are so facile. Take those away and the episodes are actually stronger. With them, the previous 22 minutes come off as little more than a live-action Davey and Goliath.

To its credit, there's no laughtrack. There's also Vinnie - the redoubtable Max Casella. Vinnie brings the funny. And thank goodness for that. The show would drown in its own treacle if not for the lifesaver that is Vinnie. He especially makes up for wet-blanket Wanda. Ugh.

Should you watch Doogie Howser? I can't possibly answer that. Before this weekend I'd have recommended it heartily based on my fond recollections. After making it through episode 23 of 26...um, well...it's still NPH. It's hard to go wrong there. Besides, the first season's pretty damn cheap. If you're the right age and have fond memories of Doogie, give it a shot. At worst, you just appreciate NPH more on HIMYM or in Harold and Kumar.

03 September 2007

Removing Sub-Baseboards

We've got a date for the new floor - October 15. That Monday, we'll have every room of the house but master bed and bath emptied out and ready to go for the tile to be ripped up and the new cement floor to be laid by Vision Concrete. They do some really beautiful work and we're very excited about finally having a floor that can be cleaned. And that isn't ungodly ugly.

Of course this means we have a lot to do around the house between now and then: prime and paint the entry; finish painting the kitchen/family room; choose colors and paint the office; remove all the baseboards and door casings. Yeah. That last one. The butt-ugly, contractor's pack moldings throughout most of the house have to be ripped out so we can replace them after the floor's done. Which in a correctly built house would mean some spot repair and touch-up of walls after ripping the molding down. In our house, it means a lot more.

See, when they built our house, it seems they didn't just use illegal day laborers for cleanup tasks, they let them do everything. Framing, plumbing, electrical, taping, painting. Hell, I'm not sure they didn't let Pedro and Paco draw up the original blueprints and do the engineering calculations for the vaulted ceilings. What I'm saying is: this house was built by functional idiots.

Today's example: the baseboards were installed before the tile floor.

Now, perhaps you don't know anything about construction. Perhaps you think that sounds reasonable. If so, perhaps you should hang out at the Home Depot weekday mornings hoping to get asked into the bed of a random pickup.

Normally, prying up baseboards is a moderately challenging and back-bending task. In this case, it's back-breaking. And when you've had holes drilled in your lamina and bits of disk material cut away, one of the things the surgeon suggests post-operatively is that you maybe not come back to see him if you can avoid it. So right now, the wife is very slowly prying up a few baseboards. She's been at it for about an hour and a half and has gotten a good section up. About twice as long as what I pulled up this morning in 30 minutes. Advantage: she won't have to put my socks and shoes on me every morning for the six weeks following surgery (again). Disadvantage: oh will she be crippled tomorrow.

This was supposed to be a productive weekend. I was supposed to complete all the painting other than the office and start the molding removal. Instead, we're hoping to have about a quarter of the baseboards (and none of the door casings) removed. Excellent.