May 2006 Archives

You know, it’s very satisfying to see your theory validated. I have to believe this is the same way Einstein felt.

Here’s what I said a year ago:

Rambaldi is very much alive… immortality is a simple problem for somebody who can design a floating ball that turns people into zombies…

And so, in the season finale of Alias, Irina Derevko tells us just that: Rambaldi is alive and he has solved that pesky mortality issue.

Now, some of you may think it a stretch to assume from this that Rambaldi is running things on the Lost island. But, consider this: If you rearrange the letters in Hanso’s full name and title:

Alvar Hanso, Dharma Initiative B.U.D.

You get this:

A, uh, Rambaldi vanished in a TiVo rat

Compelling, isn’t it? If you don’t remember seeing his title of Board Underwritten Director (B.U.D.), go back to the episode where they show the “Orientation” film and step through it frame by frame. It’s there, trust me.

I know, I know, you’re in awe of my dramatic series analytical prowess. Me too. It’s a gift, and a curse.



Still, some of the inventions have been pretty clever, and I suspect it will get much better once we get past the open casting calls.

That was my prediction, two months ago, about American Inventor. Well, I was wrong. Very wrong. Pre-war intelligence wrong.

Part of the problem was we never actually got past the open casting calls. They just kept showing them, every night. Which you might think would be interesting. After all, they had 10,000+ entries. That should give them plenty of material, right? Uh, no. They kept showing the same entries every night.

Hey, look, it’s Toe Jam guy!

Oh, and there’s Bladder Buddy guy again!

Remember wacky Therapy Buddy guy? Good times!

Rinse, repeat. Then we get to the judges narrowing the field to 12. “Great,” you think, “now we’ll get some real insight into what the judges think makes a good invention.” Nope. Instead, we got a couple of minutes of meaningless chatter and fighting amongst the judges so that there is more time for sob stories. And, of course, more open casting calls…

Boy, that Bladder Buddy guy sure was funny, remember?

Anyway, after that, each semifinalist gets $50,000 plus one of the judges as a mentor while they improve their product. “Ok,” you say to yourself, “now we’ll get to see how each inventor develops their product in a unique way. And, on top of that, we’ll get to see their mentor giving useful advice throughout the process.”

Oh, you naive little television watcher, you. Every single one of them did the exact same thing: meaningless focus group, design team, crying fit, product unveiling, wacky test video. And instead of seeing them get advice from experts we saw each get a two minute pep talk (even though, according to Doug Hall, the judges spent a great deal of time with the contestants).

Kudos to whomever at American Inventor found that last copy of 90’s Love Ballad HITS in the bargain bin at Wal-Mart. You, sir, got your money’s worth. Now, let’s see what’s next…

Ah, Therapy Buddy guy. Will you never learn?

In the finale we saw… yep, you guessed it: everything we saw in the semifinalist episodes. Plus, the contestants made commercials. Yay! We TiVo viewers are so excited that you made commercials! Bloop-bloop… Oh, sorry, force of habit.

After the finale, America voted on which of the four finalists should win. And, by America, I mean the 18 of us obsessive-compulsives who must finish what we start. The finale was followed a week later by the final finale, which finally finalized the results from the finale. It was an hour long — for no particular reason. There were several long stretches of people standing in silence, waiting for results. This was supposed to be suspenseful. It was not. We also had live remotes in each of the finalists’ home towns where the host talked at the people there. Not with, at. Apparently the earpiece was not such a great American invention. So, we got more stretches of silence — which, ironically, actually were suspenseful. Will he respond, or won’t he? And after all this, the winner is announced and… we gotta go. Yep, they ran out of time — it flew by so quickly, you almost didn’t hear a thing…

Each finalist will continue to get help with their invention, which is cool. Everything else about the show pretty much sucked. They would have to completely revamp it for me to watch next year. Drop all the repeats and show us more of the process, more development. Maybe they will do that. Or, maybe…

Toe Jam guy! Where’ve you been? We missed you!

Anybody remember Way back in 1999 — when dinosaurs still roamed the Internet — they were one of the first streaming music sites. You could choose the genres you liked and rate songs as you listened to them. It died, like so many young sites of its generation, it died before its time (5 points if you know the reference). It was on that site that I first heard Memphis by Catie Curtis and became an instant fan.

About 2 weeks ago, Catie made her first appearance at the Blue Door. This is a unique venue in OKC — an old house converted into a small concert hall. As you approach, the blue doors that adorn the front of the house are at the back of the stage once you enter. Visitors bring their own drinks and the owner welcomes everyone personally. The walls are covered with concert posters from the many independant artists that have performed there over the years. If you live in the Oklahoma City area this is one of those places you need to visit at least once.

Opening for Catie Curtis was Oklahoma’s own Carter Sampson. Carter is one of the best folk artists we have in this area. Actually, she’s one of the only folk artists we have. It’s surprising, in the land of Woody Guthrie, that there is not a bigger folk music scene. Or am I just missing something?

Carter had a great set with some new songs that she’s about to record. She ended with a folk version of Viva Las Vegas, then came back later to do a song with Catie.

Catie Curtis was awesome, as usual. She opened with a cover of Death Cab for Cutie’s Soul Meets Body. She played some new songs (her new album comes out in August) and lots of old favorites.

I highly recommend seeing her in person — her shows tend to have about as much humor as they do music. During one song we started hearing an alarm blaring outside. Catie tried to play through it, but finally stopped and looked through the blinds at the back of the stage. “The thing is,” she said, “that sounds like it’s coming from where I parked.” She managed to get through the song, at which point someone informed us the alarm was coming from the church across the street. Catie then started playing Larry, which had a surprising similar rhythm to the alarm.

Also, Catie was trying out a new loop machine. She caught the crowd by surprise the first time she used it when she stopped strumming her guitar but the music continued. It seemed to work well with her guitar, but less so with the drum-like apparatus (Can you tell I’m not a musician?).

All in all, it was a great show. The place was packed and the crowd was really excited about both performances. Hopefully that will mean Catie Curtis will come back here soon.