Saturday, February 20, 2010

Halfway Through Vancouver

Well, we are halfway through the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. It's been a fantastic event for the U-S team, picking up so many medals you'd swear it was the Summer Olympics.
There's also general agreement from TV viewers that while they're watching the games in record numbers (ha-ha Simon Cowell), they wish they were in Canada, where several different channels are showing everything live. Sure, there is the overnight review, but it's bigger.
NBC is clearly a couple of years behind in how to present the games, especially when it can be shown live. Three times in the past week, NBC underestimated how long an event would take place. One was the opening ceremonies, and that couldn't be helped. Another was the men's figure skating final. Again, that couldn't be helped because some genius thought it was a good idea to end that event, plus the medal ceremony, after midnight eastern time. That's why we should give the gold medal to Comcast On Demand because it was smart enough to have those events available for those who retire early. It would be even better if it publicized that fact. After all, it's thisclose to owning NBC anyway. Why not go that far?

I'm trying to make the new catch phrase I registered, "Vonncusover", popular. That, of course, is combining Vancouver, Lindsey Vonn and Julie Mancuso into one word. The fact the two girls have four medals between them, with three events to go, should make this weird word popular somehow. Maybe it doesn't flow as much as "Vonncouver", but you have to remember Mancuso, too, since she's setting a record for most Alpine medals for any American. If she take another gold Wednesday, I just might make enough to cover the costs of registering "Vonncusover" for sale...including the t-shirt I made for myself.

An unlikely star in these games is fake conservative knucklehead, and genuine Olympic benefactor, Stephen Colbert. It is a crying shame the CBC doesn't have these games. Otherwise, seeing Rick Mercer (Canada's answer to Jon Stewart and Bill Maher combined) and Colbert squaring off would have been bigger than any U-S-Canada hockey clash. Colbert has been a hit during the late-night show, especially when he "warmed himself up" by crawling into the fake fireplace with Bob Costas watching. Oh, and his stuffed moose and Mountie uniform have been getting noticed, too. That's what happens when you do something stupid like ask your fans to help fund the Speed Skating team after one of its big sponsors goes bankrupt--and they do! Not even Fox News can claim that.

The second half should have its moments, like the ladies' figure skating final, and the finals in curling and hockey, plus more skiing. It's already a great games for the Americans. It's just a matter of how much greater they can be.
Sadly, we West Coast fans will just have to wait our turn to see them, because Dick Ebersol says we prefer to see the Olympics tape-delayed...while forgetting there are such things as Twitter and TiVos...and Comcast On Demand.

I think when the Summer games start in London in 2012, there will be an option to see the events live, the major ones anyway, and people will be happy to pay for it. It can be the first reason people will pay for a special Hulu subscription and be glad about it. After all, it works for pro teams.

One more thing: the Olympics should be uncernsored. If there aren't any obscene words being said add some. Works for Mad Men...and Shaun White.
Also, whose idea was it to use that seems to be an Olympic Titantron to introduce the participants in the half-pipe? Did Vince McMahon through some bucks to the IOC?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Conan O'Brien? Who's He?

This week, NBC will be showing more reruns of The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien, but it's not showing the final episodes. In fact, you can't even find full episodes of the show anywhere. Hulu has some bits and pieces, and interviews, but not the show.
That's why it's a great idea to get a DVD recorder. That way, you can record the final episodes, and have proof it really happened. Kind of like Super Bowl XLIV.

Not only that, the NBC Universal store website has a "Getting Rid of Conan" sale. All Conan stuff 20 percent off, then they dump it all at local Goodwill stores or maybe It's a Wrap in Burbank. I got a cap and two shot glasses. Hopefully, if I am lucky to see the new Conan show in Los Angeles, I'll go, wearing the cap. I'm sure they'd encourage that sort of thing. I'm still kind of torn whether to see Leno again when I got to Anaheim and L-A in April. It depends of who's there. Otherwise, it's Kimmel for me.

So, no matter if NBC is taking the George Orwell approach by denying it ever had a Cnan O'Brien on the payroll, we'll always have the proof.

By the way, I had planned to go to Anaheim for three days for the Wizard World event, but then I wanted to see Bonnie Hunt one more time before her show ends (barring an epiphany by Warner Brothers that daytime TV will really suck without her...and that Tyra and Martha Stewart are leaving broadcast TV). I also want to shop at the usual places where the unused swag shows up, like Goodwill, It's a Wrap and Out of the Closet. Maybe some leftovers from Dollhouse will come my way. So, why not take care of both, especially when I learned you can get to Anaheim to the Burbank airport at a reasonable price?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Why Super Bowl is America's Answer to the FA Cup

As it got closer to Super Bowl XLIV, my plan was to watch the game at home, eat pizza, and drink Red Stripe beer.
Then I realized I had a replica Archie Manning jersey, a "Go Saints" placard and a CBS Super Bowl hat.
You just can't let that go to I didn't.
I went to the MVP sports bar at 17th and Capitol, and had a great time. I was allowed to drink three glasses of lemonade at the bar, and enjoyed a nice view of the game. I also discovered its bathrooms have TV's just above the sinks. That way, you don't miss a thing. I don't think any other sports bar has that, but it convinced me to come back soon.
It was really noisy, and I didn't get an idea of how the Who did. The stage looked cool, though. As I am typing this, I am hearing the band through YouTube (before they take it down, of course). They do sound old, and I am sure anyone younger than 50 must have thought the show was really a 12-minute ad for CSI. It also makes you wonder who has aged more gracefully, the Who or the Rolling Stones. Now, halfway through "Baba O'Riley," Roger Daltry is recovering well.

I had suggested through Twitter than getting someone who is, say, not quite 40, should be the halftime guest. I remember a classic performance of "Message in a Bottle" with Sting and No Doubt in Super Bowl XXXVII. Damn the Wardrobe Malfunction that ruined everything, the NFL should trust musicians younger than 40 to perform at halftime. Let's have Pink do her act that she did at the Grammys. She'd still be covered up. Green Day is approaching statesmen status with a Broadway show coming up. My guess is the closest they'll get to having a current star at halftime is Taylor Swift, especially when Super Bowl XLV comes to Dallas. She can lip-synch through the event, as others have before. If her real voice improves in the next year, so much the better. The only other possibility would be the Dixie Chicks, and wouldn't that be interesting? It would also make more sense because they're from Texas.
And as I type this, Daltry is now in the zone with "Won't Be Fooled Again". Pink would have been in the zone, too, and the stage wouldn't be more impressive that she was.

The Super Bowl seems to be the one sporting event where people are compelled to see it at a bar rather than at home, unless you're at a friend's hose with chips, buffalo wings and such. I've seen the game a few times from bars, even if they were usually parties sponsored by radio stations. One of the my favorite memories was Super Bowl XXIII, where I saw the game at a bar in Chico. It was the same day as the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, which means a pro-life protest. I covered that for my radio station in Oroville, killing two birds with one stone.

The Olympics are coming up this week, and I have to wonder if bars will be filled when we see out athletes skiing, bobsledding, or even figure skating. I doubt that's likely, but you can expect those events to be on the TVs anyway. If Canada meets the US in the ice hockey final, then you'll see filled sports bars. Canada has a different approach: getting people to see HD coverage at local theaters for a small fee. We, of course, prefer seeing the Olympics at bar for a small fee, also known as buying a round.

It's likely the next big days for sports bars will be the NCAA Basketball Final Four and the World Cup. The latter event will be a bit different because you can expect pubs, rather than typical sports bars, have watching parties. I remember when the US was in the quarterfinals of Korea 2002. The pub close to my house was filled with people eating beans and eggs at 5 AM, hoping the Yanks will reach the semifinals. Since the event will be in South Africa this year, expect a few long lunches when the Americans play.

Make no mistake: the Super Bowl is our version of the FA Cup, Grey Cup, Copa Libertadores final or UEFA Champions League final. It's something that's no fun if you watch it alone. I know that now.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

What video game have you played the most?

Pong, but that was a loooooong time ago

Ask me anything

Ask me anything

If you had a bucket list, what would be the top five goals?

1. Get a nice condo, at least
2. Attend the Olympics
3. Go to Europe, England at least
4. Somehow wind up as an extra in anything Joss
5. Get invited to a panel in a convention

Ask me anything

How would you improve bradcast TV?

Allow adult themes shows at 10 PM, and allow nudity and profanities. Cable has taken away the lead from broadcats TV when it comes to innovative dramas. This is the only way the networks can compete. Apply this t late night shows, too

Ask me anything

What was your #1 fan moment?

Shaking Joss Whedon's hand after the premiere of Serenity in Los Angeles, followed by Summer Glau noticing I dressed up like Simon Tam

Ask me anything

Ask me anything

Ask me anything

Friday, February 5, 2010

What would your dream job look like?

A nice office, lots of space to place my personal souvenirs, and maybe a small flatscreen TV

Ask me anything

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Cinematic Titanic Back in the Bay Area

Cinematic Titanic Crew

It's been nearly a year since Joel Hodgson, and his fellow MST3K alumni, visited San Francisco to entertain people with their clever way of mocking bad movies.
More than a thousand people at the Castro Theater decided to forget about getting Lost, and encounter "Danger on Tiki Island," another Independent International picture that carries on a movie tradition equal to Coleman Francis, Sandy Frank and Ed Wood. Yeah, that bad.

Apparently a scientist and his sex-starved wife encounter a monster who desires sacrifices from the local village. They are helped by a Fabian-ish assistant, a lot of short natives and a suspiciously handsome rich guy. The scientist, by the way, is played by Kent Talyor, the same guy who played the evil surgeon in the first CT classic, "The Oozing Skull."

I couldn't get all the jokes because the sound system wasn't as good as the one at the Marines Memorial Theater, where the CT gang appeared nearly a year ago. It's just as well, since the next DVD will be a live version of the same movie people saw at the Castro.

Nemeses Now United

When that DVD is available in April, or at least that's what Joel told the fans after the show, we'll have comments on the doctor's face ("Mount Rushmore isn't that chiseled"), the natives doing Blue Swede's version of "Hooked on a Feeling", the doc's wife looking for sex ("Good God, woman, you've struck man"), and some of the midget natives being called "Filipino Time Bandits." As for the monster, Joel said it looked like the Michelin Man after a fiery car crash.

Dave "Gruber" Allen

Aside from that, it was basically the same show as last year's event. Dave "Gruber" Allen was back, ready with a joke about Avatar and even one about a kid's magazine I hadn't picked up since I was 12.

Gruber with J. Elvis Weinstein

J. Elvis Weinstein, the artist formerly known as Dr. Forrester's sidekick, joined in for some cool be-bop haiku.

It's Orange-Flavored TV's Frank

Then we had TV's Frank Coniff, who talked about how a CHP officer stopped him, then let him off with a warning: don't see "Tooth Fairy" (wise cinematic advice, that). Afterwards, he went into his Convoluted Man routine.

Cinematic Titanic was the official end of this year's Sketchfest, which featured more comics than you can shake a rubber chicken or clown nose at. It's interesting Rifftrax was there in 2007, perfecting their "Plan 9 From Outer Space" routine that was quite the hit in theaters nationwide.
It was also great they chose the Castro for their second visit. It's probably the most impressive looking movie house around, aside from Grauman's Chinese and the Arclight Dome. Here's a link to some of the pictures inside the place, plus CT's appearance in 2009. To wrap up, here's two more pictures of the CT crew...

Joel with TV's Frank and Mary Jo

...and the rest

and a true MST3K fan, because he's wearing a shirt from its first convention from about 20 years ago.

Actual Hard-Core Fan

Of course, the ultimate dream would be Rifftrax and the CT gang joining forces to meet its greatest challenge....riffing Avatar and both Transformers movies to submission.