Saturday, May 14, 2011

Walking All Over NY

I missed the game in New York because I was in New York. Planned a Chan visit that happened to coincide with the Red Sox being in town. But as we walked around after dinner we watched pieces of the game as we passed establishments that had it on TV. The last thing I saw was Bard getting Tex with a man on third in the eighth with us up 5-2. And I'm very glad I didn't have to sweat through the rest of that inning. But whatever, we got the win.

But the play of the night was made by me on the streets of Manhattan. At 10:17, Chan asked me what time he thought we'd reach his apartment. We were 30 blocks away and had to get over to 1st from 5th. I used my simple but patented Manhattan math and told him 10:56. When we reached his door after what in total was an 80-block walk (Wanna lose weight? Move to NYC.), he holds up his phone: 10:56. I am a god. The God of Estimations.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Programming Note

Blogger has been down since yesterday. It also took away everyone's posts since Wednesday, but they say those posts will return soon.

Hopefully everything's back to normal shortly.

What I WOULD have said last night was, "the Yanks lost, sweeeeet," or something along those lines.

Sox @ Yanks, to-nite!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Live-Blogging My Own Reaction To The Bryant Park Movie Lineup Announcement

Last year I did a lot of guessing beforehand, thinking a lot of just-turned 30-years old films would be in. But none of those were in anyway, so I guess it's just a crapshoot. (I ended up not going to any of the 2010 movies anyway, terribly.) So this year I'll get straight to looking at this year's list, announced on Bryant Park's blog today. Hopefully I can work an NYC trip around a Monday this year and see one of these...

Here we go. Leadoff movie, June 20th.... One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Okay, here's another one I've never seen but know I'd like. Terrible job by me for still never having seen it. I could see myself going to this opener.

June 27th...The 39 Steps. I love HItchcock...and this is one of his I've never seen. Another good candidate...but, still waiting for the one that makes me mark the calendar.

July 4th...Easy Rider! I saw this at Providence's outdoor movie fest last year! This would be really really sweet to see on the 4th of July. Hmmmm, we might wanna make this happen.

July 11th....Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. I'm a gentleman who does not prefer blondes and who thinks Marilyn Monroe is completely unappealing. Next.

July 18th... In the Heat of the Night. Not familiar but it looks good. Don't know how much the "serious" films work in this setting.

July 25th....The Lady Eve. Uhhh...again, I don't really know this one, but they call this 1941 film one of the greatest comedies.

August 1st....come on, something Bill Murray-related.....Cool Hand Luke. Another one I know I'm supposed to like but have never seen.

August 8th....oh baby! Airplane!! Holy crap, I thought that might be a little too wacky for Bryant's tastes. Good for them! This would be awesome to see outside with a huge crowd of fellow Airplane-style humor nerds. I feel like this is the one. Or one of the ones, hopefully. (And since there's that 30-year cutoff and it came out in '80, it made it on only its second year on the ballot!

August 15th...High Sierra. Tan Sierra, tan Sierra! Ha, Fargo's what I'd like to see instead of this Bogart film I know nothing about.

Okay, the finale...August 22nd....don't even see a 2011 theme but I'll take a guess....maybe some 60s movie with a famous male lead...that's my we go.....Dirty Harry. I was close, as it came out in '71. Not into that stuff. Yet. Maybe one day I'll be a huge Dirty Harry fan who also enjoys jazz and a bunch of other stuff I don't care about. But don't hold your breath.

Final thoughts: Okay, Easy Rider being on July 4th and Airplane at any time is a great thing. I'm very happy knowing I've got those two solid options. We'll see what happens when bodies start slappin'.

Also note, they've changed the setup there. It used to be where everyone waited around the lawn and at a certain time, they'd let everyone loose and it would be a free-for-all to get spots. It was really fun. (Overhead shot of this here. Ground view here.) Now I guess everyone enters the lawn through one spot. [Edit, I was wrong about this, see comments section.] But, whatever. It can't not be fun. And I look forward to the other fests, too. Maybe I'll live blog the Providence one too.

Vids I've shot at Bryant Park movies: Superman theme; that old HBO theme thing that everyone jumps up and down for, rightfully (I got 4,000 views on that one!)

Pics from it: Jaws '05; Rocky '06; Superman '08. And I saw Harold & Maude there in '09 but I guess I never posted pics! I'll have to do something about that.

And now for the traditional closing line/prayer: Ghostbusters in 2014!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Middle Child Fails Again

Down 4-3 in 7th, Crawford was caught stealing as Salt struck out. It kinda stank since we'd just cut it to 1 on two dongs in the previous inning. But also because the pitch was a ball and Crawford was safe! Zaun/Zahn/whoever said Craw was "clearly safe" though it was closer than that. But all the talk of that meant they didn't even talk about the pitch, which appeared to be way outside. They only showed one replay, an overhead shot that showed space between the ball and the plate.

Next inning, helped by several Lackey walks and a misplay on a deep fly by Carl, the Jays pulled away. Before Lackey could say "I'm pretty terrible," it went from 4-3 to 9-3. And there's your final.

Now we go to the Bronx, after our only day off in May. (Yanks are tied with KC in the 11th as I write this.) (Update, 11:42: Yanks lose 4-3 in 11! Hosmer with the game-winning sac fly and I guess that's a big deal to folks in Missouri and stuff.)

Big announcement tomorrow! It's not about baseball. If you follow this blog you might be able to guess it based on the time of year. (If you do know, and you find out the content of the announcement before me, don't tell me! I wanna live blog my own reaction...)

Big News

You can choose your exact seat at Fenway now right on! This is huge. Admittedly, that was an advantage the crappy scalper sites had over buying from the team. But now, you can go right to, pick not only a seating category, and not only a section within it, but the exact seats you want. The only thing bad here is that they instituted this during the season, and a lot of us have already bought all kinds of tickets. But, who cares, this is big. Honestly, I'll miss that moment of picking a seating category and seeing what they give you. But not that much!

Click "view seat map" on any game and get to work. (You have to do some double clicking on sections and stuff, but you will eventually seat each individual seat within each section, and you double-click to select the ones you want.) I also like how you get a better overview of what's truly available throughout the whole park for each game. And some sections are divided into weird new pieces, like chunks of rows within each one. I wonder if this is leading to a major change in price structure or if it's just done to divide them up further to make selecting easier.

Sox @ Jays, 7:07. Happy Cy Young Day!

Seeing Through You

This has been pissing me off for a while now. So many commercials now are made with a contrived attempt to be "lo-fi." The rest of us for years have been making wacky little videos using whatever technology we could get our hands on (or, before that, just acting while a friend points an invisible camera at us). The result, while more inspired than the pros, would always be something fit for public access. (Which is why we'd put it on public access.)

Now, "real" companies seem to be doing what we've always done, despite having access to the finest equipment, effects, actors, etc. Maybe it's just like anything else--a generation grows up seeing something, then they become ad execs and inject it into the public eye (Remember the first time you heard the Buzzcocks in a TV ad?). Or maybe it's the fact that anyone can have pro-quality video tools right on their computer and can broadcast to the world right from home, so there's a backlash from the pros. Or maybe they just want us to think we're watching a friend's YouTube video, and that somehow makes us more likely to buy their product. Whatever it is, it's pissing me off. Because lo-fi will always belong to the little guy/girl. And they're taking it from us and smearing their corporate shit all over it.

One example is jingles. How many fucking ads have jingles now that are purposely made to sound like they're sung by your neighbor? We've got Coke Zero and Farmers insurance singing practically the same song by a chorus of men singing what they want us to believe is a real tune hummed by the average Joe. "Coke Zero: dummm dum da dum DUM dummmm." And "we are Farmers, dummm da-dum dum dum dum dum." (Planet Fitness also has the "dum dum dum" thing but it's relating to "dumb" people--which is a direct ripoff of the South Park episode about Mormons anyway.)

Several other companies also use jingles like that, made to sound like an average person casually singing, slightly out of tune--"like a good neighbor...." for example. In that case, the company uses both the singing method and the "purposely bad music" version of their own pre-existing jingle. "Ooh, that must be Daniel Johnston playing the State Farm jingle on an Atari-era synthesizer, sign me up! For insurance or whatever! There's a company I want to be friends with!" So fucking stupid.

Then you've got the hand-written signs and/or logos. "Oooh, that's not a corporate logo, it's just a drawing! This isn't a multi-million dollar beast, it's my fun-lovin' peer!" "Awww, poor Long John Silver's, they must be feeling the recession just like I am...they have to have a young employee with hair mussed just the right amount to let me know he's real hold up a hand-drawn sign because they can't afford graphics. I shall ingest their fish-like product. And all my fake friends will know about it!"

And don't you love it when a TV spot uses "Internet" imagery, like a time bar scrolling along the bottom or multiple "windows"? "Oooooh, I think I'm watching the Internet! Who turned off my stale old TV and sneaked the Internet on to it? Honey Dew donuts? One day-old mass-produced confection, please! And America's number one addictive drug in a styrofoam cup to go, friend!"

It's just offensive to me, because over the years I've made the hand-drawn signs and logos; I've used "actors" who are really just my friends; I've cut out a TV screen from a pizza box; I've sung the jingles and played them on a shitty keyboard...because that's what you do when you're the actor, editor, director, writer, and producer because you're just one kid, not a corporation with thousands of employees and endless resources at your fingertips.

Maybe I should be impressed. Maybe I should be glad that my generation is in control. Maybe I should realize they're paying homage to all the bad amateur shows and spoofs we've all loved for decades.

Fat chance. These aren't our friends. Okay, maybe some tiny companies mean no harm, but I'm talking about the big boys. They know exactly what they're doing, and it has nothing to do with anything but getting your dollar so they can lube it up and wrap it around, well, you know. All while acting like they're our "friend." I don't want to electronically "like" your car dealership or peanut butter! And if I do give a shit about your company, I want you to give me real content with a real web site! I don't want to see a list of incongruous comments or pasted backlinks left by yahoos. The whole point of you being a company is that you're not one of us.

(It's interesting that purposely bad hair and South Park came up in this post, because these are similar things to what I'm talking about. The whole bad-hair-as-a-"look" thing, and "using crude drawings to look like that cartoon that's so popular," yet it was crude at first because they were just a couple of no-name guys. It just messes everything up when instead of doing something new, people imitate others, instead of just being influenced by them. Doing new things preserves eras. I love 70s style so much because it was unique. Now it seems every "new" trend is just the return of an old one. And every Hollywood movie is a remake or the big-screen version of a TV show.)

[Note: Though I've been wanting to write this post for a while, it was inspired by Maxwell Horse's comments on this post, which go into another aspect of the current world: crappy digital vs. old-school film.]

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

10-Inning L

You know how the Red Sox seem to have this theory of just ignoring baserunners for no goddamn reason? In the 10th tonight, Davis got on base, stole second on a pitch-out, and stole third, with one out. That was all they needed--a sac fly scored the winner for them. We miss getting to .500 yet again.

Five dongs in the last eight games for Adrian. We're really starting to see that Opp Fie Pow. He keeps reminding me of when Pop in The Natural says "anything he wants to hit, he hits." One of his two HRs tonight tied it in the ninth.

Geoff Zahn was in the booth with Don tonight. Some minor fun was had, even if Geoff kinda sounds like George W. Bush if he was an expert in the field of catching. A few times, NESN stayed on for the entire commercials. Of course, I rooted for them to start swearing, but the best we got was Zahn singing along to that weird Blue Jays-specific 7th inning stretch song and doing the secret Canadian arm motions.

Iglesias played again, and wore #76 again. It's now updated on Red Sox Diehard!

Aceves was sweating buckets. Like, he could actually fill a bucket up to a noticeable level with the perspiration coming off his hat brim. It made me gag. I couldn't look at the screen. And I have extensive experience watching Youkilis! At one point they showed him in the dugout, and he had a towel on his head, over his hat. I wondered if this was a sweat tourniqet.

Anyway, this could have been a win. We had leads, we had comebacks, we had a guy thrown out at home...goddamn.

Cub Reporter

What's up with that Cubs series? I thought it was gonna be a huge deal. First it was lottery-only. Then they put it on sale in those SRO Pax. Then they made a "double play pack" where you could get a Cubs game and an Angels game. Then they made it so you could get a Cubs and an Angels/Twins/Tigers game. Now they just went ahead and put the Sunday Cubs game on sale the normal way--you can get EIGHT TOGETHER in the bleachers or right field boxes. (Or get them for twice as much on shithub, your call.)

Maybe they just really wanted normal people like us to be able to go, so they're dumping them often and in a variety of ways? Or maybe the Sunday night factor kept even the lottery winners from buying--I still can't believe every single one of those games is at night.

Sox @ Jays, 7:07.

Proof of Cubs availability below. Check out the 12-minute clock they've got now. And I don't like how at this stage of your order, you only see the color and number of your section, not the name. (Which would be a problem for people unfamiliar with Fenway, or if seats aren't available in your section and they offer you ones in a different section--though it does show it highlighted on a the seating map which is farther down the page.)

Monday, May 09, 2011

76% Uncertain Of Who Wears What Number

During the game NESN showed Jose Iglesias in the dugout, wearing #76. Two days in the bigs, two different uniform numbers, as he wore #68 on Sunday. (MLB Gameday doesn't know about the change. But what do you expect? Remember, for real news and truth, turn to fans.) In the 11th, after a Lowrie walk, #76 came on to pinch run. Going on the 3-2 pitch, Crawford sends one off the Wall, and Jose makes it all the way around to score his first major league run, the game-winning one. Beckett was great, and the Twins only tied it because of another Aceves balk and a bloop hit off Pap in the eighth.

So we've won six of our last nine, and finally this homestand is done. We cross the border later tonight.

Huge News: Your New England F**d dealers, "official and enthusiastic sponsors" of the Red Sox, have finally switched over to the updated Red Sox logo in their ads. They made it a month and a half into the third year of the new logo's reign before changing. Maybe they saw my recent post! (And right after I saw that ad, I saw a Bob's one--they've corrected their misspelling of "chocolate"! The world may finally be coming around to my way of doing things un-wrong-ly. Speaking of all this, before the game, they showed outtakes from the Red Sox doing their DD commercials. I couldn't help but notice that sadly, none of them went, "hey, look at these two Red Sox logos we've got on the wall here in the Ft. Myers clubhouse--they're over two years old. Whoops! Hahahaaha. Take two...")

"Stuff I've been forgetting to say" section: Have you noticed the volume of the PA system at Fenway is lower this year? First I noticed it halfway up the bleachers. I figured they just re-positioned the speakers or something, because I could hardly hear. Then up in the third base deck SRO section, I noticed you almost couldn't hear it at all. People weren't clapping for the players in the starting lineups, because they couldn't hear them. Then yesterday, I was down by the dugout. They played that snippit of that "leader of the pack" song which they've used for years as an intro for people who are being honored for doing stuff in the community or whatever. In the past, when they would play that, on the motorcycle-revving part, it would *almost* hurt your ears. This time, it was weak as a Bizzaro Rondo. That's when I knew the volume is down overall. All these surveys they've been doing, I wonder if people complained--I know I've tried to talk to the person standing next to me with no luck in recent years between innings at Fenway. So, nice job, Fenway--but I'd like to be able to decipher what's being said when you're trying to tell me something. Tweak it just a little. This paragraph is dying for a "just make 10 louder, don't go to eleven, like the Red Sox did tonight" joke, but it would just be so predictable and unfunny. I miss the days when only some people knew what Spinal Tap was. And who Ozzy is.

Jose Iglesias' Debut/Mother's Day At Fenway 2011

Driving up to Boston I heard that Jose Iglesias was called up and would be wearing #68 for the Red Sox. I knew he probably wouldn't see any game action, but as the team took the field for the ninth, there he was--to the surprise and delight of Dustin Pedroia! (Click pics to enlarge, he told the Internet in 2011.) But now back to the beginning....

11:40ish a.m. No batting practice at all, for my second straight game. Gray and cold, also for my second straight game. But I was really taking this picture because they were testing colors on that left scoreboard. Here's purple...

...and here's yellow. And I can assure you, I took a picture for each color, but I'll leave it at those two.

Some guy had a Pat O'Brien's shirt! The Red Sox bar right near where I used to live in NYC. (Update: They did finish painting that Red Sox logo on their window--and terribly, it's the non-updated one.)

Just walkin' around, stuck between the bases, checkin' out the fog....

Finally I decided I'd try for pics of Iglesias, so I went to the far edge of the dugout. In front of me was this swivel for a camera they no longer use. (I assume.)

Artsy NESN microphone shot. Artsy meaning "close-up" I guess.

Wheeler was signing for a while. People can be so rude--as soon as a guy starts signing, they just start throwing shit at him. Fortunately one security guard is in charge of repeatedly yelling "one at a time" at people.

Kid doing the lineups for NESN. ("Rico...ka ch ch Baldy.") Yes, it says "Mr." on the "cue cards."

With this new gates opening system, a lot of people don't get to work until after we're in the park. I noticed the standings weren't updated, so I kept my eye on it so I could see us move out of last place. Here they are mid-change.

We're out of the cellar, ready to be moved up.


Dice-K, who would get the W despite a rough start today.

Tito in the dugout.

Tito did some autographing too. When one kid chucked a ball that nearly konked him in the noggin, he yelled "hey" at the kid. Once he got his attention, he just laughed and said a sarcastic "thanks," and kept signing. Nice job not losing his cool. I woulda just ducked back inside at that point.

Tito laughing near his special bench. I'll give you one guess as to which player he was goofing around with non-stop. Hint: Your guess should be Pedroia.

And there's Jose! The first known picture of Jose Iglesias in uniform as a Red Sox at Fenway Park. Actually, I have an earlier one but then I zoomed in a little more to get this one.

Jose Iglesias again.

Everybody had their various pink items on for Mother's Day. I didn't bring my mom to this game, but only because she's 2500 miles away right now.

More Jose action.

Dustin Pedroia. Wiping his nose.

Doesn't Adrian Gonzalez look like Dwight Evans circa '82 here?

Here comes Wally with "Momma Monster."

Youk and Pedroia out on the field.

Happy Mother's Day, from a bunting Dustin Pedroia.

Youk with the pink.

My new hobby is getting shots of Pedroia with mascots in them.

Youk about to hand Wally's mom a rose. My video of the moment is here.

Crawford with pink bat.

Pedroia making a face after the national anthem. At this point I finally left the dugout area. I had a seat under the CF board, so I just hung around in stading room all day.

Here's Papi up with a pinky. Today was a crappy weather day. The wind was blowing the wrong direction. So the "warm spot" (the third base deck) was actually cold. Down on the field in the sun I'm sure it was fine. But we poor people had a rough day.

Adrian Gonzalez with a Gong over the Monster.

Around the 8th, I got a good spot in front of the section 16/17 pole. Got a shot of the scoreboard guy peeking out.

Gonzalez and Youk.

Mr. Morneau and lil' Dusty.

And that's when Iglesias came out. Wow, it's like One Hour Photo. (Or any other of the scores of movies where it starts at the end and then goes back and then, ya know....)

This is the moment after the first pitch of the Jose Iglesias major league era has been thrown.

Close-up of Jose.

He had three (or so, up to infinity, but it turned out to be three) chances to be involved in a play. And with two outs, there was a grounder to short! He threw the guy out (ball in air in the above shot) to end the game.

Before I headed for the runway, I got a shot of the team celebrating, and there's Jose, probably wondering if he's doing the post-game lineup correctly.

Then I met Kim (second straight Sunday we did different things in Boston that ended at the same time) for dinner, my first time at Grasshopper in Allston. I got the coconut curry with fake chicken. It was good. I told Kim they should do fake dog, fake anything--hey, as long as it's just seitan, who cares what you call it, right? She did not agree, and asked, What if someone piled a big pile of horse meat on your plate, and I answered, You could cut the seitan into the shape of an actual horse, and I'd eat it. I don't eat meat, but I'll eat a fake version of any meat. Ooh! I should open a vegetarian cannibal restaurant! "You won't know the difference!"

Oh and I found the Jamba Juice. Thwarted in my earlier attempt, I asked a different woman at the pizza counter, and she pointed me over to where the lime rickeys are sold. I went over (knowing I'd checked that obvious spot before) and looked at the menu, and it wasn't there. I walked up to the woman there, and as I was asking about Jamba, I saw a sign behind her on the wall. "Jamba Juice $6.75." It's got the logo and everything. But if you're just looking at the menu, you'd never see it. Anyway, I didn't shell out for it. I don't remember how much they cost in NYC--then again, I would always buy them on Chan's gift card that I got him for Christmas or something. (That's a sneaky way to get something you want--buy it for a friend, then get it from them. No guilt--YOU paid for it! Well, okay, guilt.)

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Video I Shot Today

Youk gives "Momma Monster" a rose. Pictures from today coming soon.

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