Category Archives: Channel Surfing

Unintended effect, part the first

TV commercials for Apple products usually come off as smug, but I have to say I’m really liking the Mac and PC commercials featuring John Hodgman as PC and Justin Long as Mac.

The only problem is that these commercials aren’t convincing me to make the switch. I’m not the only one. In fact, they make me glad I’m a PC owner. I wasn’t inclined to get a Mac in the first place, and these commercials pretty much tell me not to.

I work with some pretty technical stuff sometimes, and if the PC excels at it, as the ad spots would have you believe, why would I even consider getting a "lifestyle" machine such as the Mac? Here’s a wonderfully executed ad campaign that achieves exactly the opposite of what it aims to do.

Play gay

My gaydar is notoriously out of whack, and what little ability I do have with it is entirely misdirected. That’s my disclaimer to describe something of a game I play when I watch TV — Can This Actor Play Gay?

I can picture some actors more easily than others taking on gay roles. Before I ever knew Det. Tim Bayliss on Homicide experimented with his sexuality, I had a sense Kyle Secor would be convincing playing gay.

Even though Jesse L. Martin plays Det. Ed Green on Law & Order as tough and suave, I thought something about Martin could work in a gay role. Then I learned he was cast as Tom Collins, a gay computer programmer, in the musical Rent.

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I thought that ‘L&O: CI’ was kind of gay …

I don’t watch Grey’s Anatomy, so I don’t know off-hand who T.R. Knight is. The AP report of his coming out mentioned he appeared in Law & Order: Criminal Intent, which I do watch.

So I looked up the episode in which he appeared and realized which criminal he played. Knight played a computer programmer with a very desperate need to get his writing partner to focus on finishing the sequel of their hit game.

The final scene in that episode kind of struck me as gay. Det. Goren, of course, is summarizing the crime and getting the criminal (Knight) to incriminate himself. I don’t know if Knight intentionally telegraphed a gay vibe to the desperation his character felt to maintain the distracted attention of his partner, but I rather liked that subtext.

It felt more human. And Knight looked kind of hot in glasses.

An open letter to the webmasters

Dear webmasters,

I could suggest all manner of ways in which you could make less of a "hot mess" of clusterfucked Flash. I could point out all the navigational quirks which make your content confusing. I could plead for the use of fewer images to display plain text.

But all that pales in comparrison to the fact your site gets slammed regularly, and the strain on your PHP-database backend results in glacial load times.

Instead, I would like to propose the judicious use of the following line of code:

header("Cache-Control: private");

By allowing users to cache the pages on your site, you can reduce the frustration they feel when they attempt to access a page to which they’ve been before, only to be hindered by a non-responsive server. I started using this line of code when I started getting frustrated by the load times of my own websites.

And my websites never had to contend with the kind of traffic you guys get.

If you could somehow work that into the code for the site, it would be a tremendous help and probably a nice ease on your servers.

Looking out for your best interests,


‘Gilmore Girls’ s.3-5 on sale @ Target

DVD boxed sets of televisions shows are mighty esspensive, so I’m always comparing prices when I stop by the DVD racks of various retailers.

Gilmore Girls viewers may be interested to know seasons 3-5 of the show are on sale at Target for $18.99, more than 50% off suggested price. Sale ends Oct. 16.

Of course, I can only speak of the Target location around the corner from my apartment, so check the location nearest you blah blah blah …

Eureka is this summer’s …

Amy Amantangelo over at Zap2It made a list of summer substitutes. One I’d like to add is "Eureka is this summer’s Desperate Housewives".

Yes, it’s an odd comparrison, but something about Eureka reminds of the promising early episodes of Desperate Housewives.

Both shows are set in a community with a very defined social environment. A town full of geniuses where things routinely get strange is every bit as insular as a suburban community with a dark underbelly.

Both shows are also very funny, but hell — I could have made that comparrison with Gilmore Girls. But beyond the snappy, ’40s movie-style dialogue of Gilmore Girls, there’s a realism to the way each generation of Gilmore interacts with each other.

Eureka and Desperate Housewives aren’t saddled with that kind of undertone. They’re funny because they’re ultimately absurd. And the characters, on some level, buy into that absurdity.

Moreso with Eureka.

The arm of NBC stretches long

Yes, NBC is the lowest-rated network on broadcast television. Yes, the former home of The West Wing and Seinfield must rely on a talent show and a Howie Mandel vehicle to stay afloat.

And while I don’t usually tune in to NBC except when the permutations of Law & Order are on, that doesn’t mean the Peacock’s feathers don’t stretch far.

In addition to NBC, parent company NBC Universal also owns Sci-Fi, USA and Bravo, three cable stations around which I surf constantly. And a number of shows on those networks have a Season Pass on my TiVo.

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