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Feb
23
2005
1 comment
First, I must admit an irrational fear I have...it's not so much a 'fear' as 'intense hatred for.' The object of my hatred: Peacocks. Ever hear a peacock? They have the most horrible call ever. Peacocks, when not startled or calling one another, make a little sound like a child yelling, "help! help!" Zoos that have peacocks wandering the grounds (as most do) are full of little 'help!' screams. Call me irrational; I'm not going to change for you. Peacocks, because of this sound, are the most horrible bird in the world. This is why my family does not have a peacock.

Next: Wrong Number Of The Week! We've got a 1-800 service that forwards our voicemails as a WAV email attachment...this week's wrong number came from a carpet layer, calling to make an appointment to measure for installation. My wife says it's a euphemism for something else, but I don't get it.

Feb
13
2005
0 comments
I've got a new project, my first real "Derek's crazy idea" project in quite a while. I'm finally using my infomercantile.com domain name for a purpose: The Infomercantile is a news satire site, updated by me (and eventually users) throughout the day, mocking current news and events. It's sorta inspired by The Onion, sorta by Fark, and sorta by The Daily Show. I've been writing humorous headlines on Backwash without too much fanfare, and I've been submitting funny headlines to Fark which haven't been accepted -- and my blog isn't exactly a news-satire sort of a place. So, a whole new site was in order! The format looks kinda Farkish (the current layout which, incidentally, was partly inspired by my work long ago; what comes around goes around, eh?), but, y'know, there's only so many ways to create a 'comment on this content' system as it were.

In celebration of the Infomercantile launch, and to promote the site, I'll give out free rotating advertisements (you can read more on the site for a confusing explanation of how ads work). You'll have to email me an ad to use, but I won't put it in rotation until your site shows up in the referrer logs (and will remain in rotation as long as referrers keep showing up). I want the site to become a "check every half hour" destination for a goodly-sized audience -- but the audience won't become goodly-sized without a little promotion. Help me out, oh loyal readers, and I'll repay your loyalty! Huzzah!

Feb
6
2005
0 comments
I notice that my comment on The Screen Savers got posted to a TSS message board -- without much interest. It seems I'm late to the game; all the complaining about the crappiness of the show's hosts came and went shortly after the cast rearrangement. Oh well.

Last night, in watching a rerun of The Screen Savers, we came to a realization: the show isn't for viewers like me & D. The "TechTV" part of G4TechTV really isn't there anymore: the channel is all about video gaming. Not just one or two shows...ALL of it. The Screen Savers seems to be the "other geeky stuff for gamers to do when latency interferes with their MMPORG," and that's about it.

I can see why -- gaming companies have a lot of money to pump out for advertising. Of course a channel should go where the money is! However, it leaves the viewer out cold. Are there really that many gamers out there watching TV? Shouldn't their XBox be dominating the TV time?

It's surprising how much computer-oriented television there really has been: this site has a long list, some of which are still on the air. Computer TV shows were nice -- they showed you neat stuff without having to go find it. I remember seeing the BeBox for the first time on some PBS computer show, heard about MP3s...tech TV shows were a place to learn a little something without already knowing what you wanted to find.

The first computer TV show I remember is "The Next Step," an obscure TV show with very little internet presence, other than to be noted as the launch of Richard Hart's TV tech empire. I thought I was crazy at first, because I couldn't find any information on it. I still think I'm kinda crazy, because I could swear that Soledad O'Brien was on the show, sort of a 'field correspondent' who existed only in a TV near the host's desk. OK, that does sound crazy - but I swear that's how I remember it. It aired on Discovery Channel and KRON in San Francisco (Ha - Soledad worked at KRON; I might not be so crazy), and covered basic 'cool tech' stuff for the time.

Richard went on to start C|Net, which, in turn, spawned much of what we now know as computer television. For a while my Sunday morning ritual was to sit in front of the SciFi channel and watch shows about computers. As time passed, it evolved from a news-digest format into a series of focused shows.

A few years later, Ziff-Davis started ZDTV, a channel I sadly did not recieve here via North Dakota shabby cable. ZDTV was spun off as TechTV, around the time Ziff-Davis and C|Net merged up. TechTV went on to merge with G4, becoming G4TechTV, and is where I'm at now, sitting in front of the TV watching twentysomethings ramble incoherently about video games and hipster websites.

What happened to C|Net? Honestly, I've sat here for almost a half hour running a variety of searches. Nothing. C|Net apparently died without fanfare. The shows apparently weren't making money, despite an early appearance by Ryan Seacrest(!) as tech host. Sadly, the lack of interest in C|Net's departure is probably a sign of why it went away; technical TV shows aren't worth much.

So, it seems G4 took cues from the Create Your Own Marginally Successful Cyber TV Show in Nanoseconds! manual and generated a bunch of mildly entertaining shows that put money ahead of content. I don't blame them; focusing on content didn't get C|Net or ZDTV anywhere. Too bad, though; I'd much rather watch a smart, intelligent show than one with witty banter and cool clothes.

Feb
3
2005
0 comments
Allie was being a pill in the morning, as she often does.

"Sign this."

"I told you, I won't sign homework that's older than a day. You have to bring them to me the same day it's due."

She exhales forcefully, her tongue pulled against the back of her throat, to make a exasperated hissing noise.

"And tie your shoes."

"I can't, I have my gloves on, and I'm carrying..."

"I don't care, you have to tie your shoes. Go back inside if you have to."

Allie disappears back towards the house, and returns with shoes approximately tied.

The ride to school was mostly uneventful. Upon arriving, Allie reaches between the front seats and offers her hand.

"Shake my hand."

I grasp her hand, only to be met with a loud noise and a shocking vibrating sensation in my palm.

Last weekend, Allie traded $5 of amusement-park tickets for a joy buzzer. She had been waiting to pounce, the chance to use the buzzer on a completely unexpecting fool.

I was that fool today.



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