Tuesday, June 1, 2010

New blog!

The new podcast now has a blog! From now on, all updates will be at the TMI Chicago blog. Please update your bookmarks accordingly. Daily posts will continue over there.

If you're reading my blog on Facebook, you can ignore this one.

A Commencement Speech I'd Like To Hear

In addition to Memorial Day, this was a big weekend for me as I graduated from college on Sunday. When I graduated from high school, it was quite chilly. At my high school, the men wear suits and the women wear white for graduation (instead of caps and gowns), and I was glad that I had decided to go with a white pantsuit instead of a sleeveless dress like a lot of the other girls did. On Sunday, I had the opposite problem. The temperature hovered around 90 degrees, and we were all in black graduation robes. I did have a water bottle, but I didn't want to drink too much because there was no way to take a bathroom break while they read all of the names.

We didn't get anyone exciting as our commencement speaker; it was an alumna of the college who was being honored with an honorary doctorate. Hers was the last speech in a long line of speeches I'd heard during the pre-graduation baccalaureate and the graduation ceremony itself. It struck me that the people who write commencement speeches don't remember their own commencement and how much they wished the speaker would be DONE already. With that in mind, here is the type of speech I think many graduates would like to hear.

"Class of (insert year here), congratulations! As you sit here on this (hot/cold/rainy/sunny/etc) afternoon, there is one quote that I believe we should all keep in mind, from William Shakespeare: Brevity is the soul of wit. Rather than giving advice you will not remember, or share personal stories that you cannot relate to, or attempt to pass on some profound message, I shall simply say a few words. Here they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak! Thank you."

In other news, I'll have a review of Iron Man 2 up either tomorrow night or Thursday morning.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Trailer: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

I had never heard of this movie until I found the trailer posted on Kung Fu Monkey. It looks...really different. And amazing.

In other news, happy Memorial Day! Take a minute to think of all of the brave men and women who gave their lives fighting for our country, and those who are currently serving in the military. To the veterans past and present: Thank you for your service.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Meta-post: A blog about blogging

So the new podcast will debut in the next couple of weeks. One of my goals is to have a good number of people who listen. I'm doing the daily blog posts as part of getting more listeners and followers. But I'm not really sure how to draw more people in.

I looked at the blogs that I read regularly, and they fall into 2 broad categories: blogs I started reading because of the content, and blogs I started reading because of the person writing them. Of course, they all fit both categories to a certain degree, but it follows that if I want people to read this blog I need to fit those categories for other people.

The author-oriented blogs are mostly from well-known people (like Stephan Pastis or Neil Gaiman). They write about what's going on in their lives. They're interesting and funny. But, to be honest, if I had never heard of Stephan Pastis, I probably wouldn't have started following him online.

The content-oriented blogs can be summed up pretty easily. Cake Wrecks, for example, shows what happens when cake decorators fail. The Comics Curmudgeon has daily snark about newspaper comics. It doesn't matter if I've never heard of the person writing the blog, because I like what they write about.

I'm not well-known enough to sell the blog because of who I am. I need a gimmick. Still trying to think of one (suggestions are welcome).

Saturday, May 29, 2010

News + Blind Date Hoedown!

Here's something different: I'm doing a blog today! Monica and I have been busy at school, plus I have finals coming up soon, so major bummer there. However, we hope to get our new show up and running after that... except I'll be taking summer school also... but whenever we get it running, expect something exciting!
And no, we won't be doing an exciting finale like we were hoping for, because frankly, we couldn't think of any darned thing to talk about.

In other news: Gary Coleman died in the hospital at age 42. He will be missed majorly and, like Michael Jackson, jokes made about him are not really all that funny after Coleman's death. However, certainly they'll at least be a little funny in about a year or so (I'm sorry, but jokes about MJ just aren't funny yet).

In comedy today, a hoedown from Whose Line is playing in my head: one about a blind date. Just hilarious (that's what the video is).

Friday, May 28, 2010

Instant streaming from Netflix rocks!

This is not meant to be an ad for Netflix; I'm not getting anything from them for promoting their service. They just took a great idea and made it work really well.

All right, so I was re-reading some of my older entries and I found one from last summer about watching TV shows online. I concluded at the time that none of them were perfect, but I liked iTunes the best because of their selection. The thing that I didn't like about iTunes (and still don't) was that you have to buy the episode before you watch it, and if it turns out you don't like it you can't get your money back. Also, the files take up a lot of space. I envisioned a service where you could pay a monthly fee and watch anything you wanted...which sounds exactly like what Netflix does. I dismissed their online streaming at the time for not having a very wide selection of TV shows.

Well, my friends, that has all changed now. The Netflix instant streaming selection has grown EXPONENTIALLY, and now there's more TV than I can watch. It all started when I decided to start watching Doctor Who, after multiple recommendations. They have all three seasons with David Tennant (who is ridiculously talented...and I have a TV crush on him) as well as some of the classic Who serials. Tom Baker is hilarious, and now I want to knit a twelve-foot scarf. Anyway, from there I decided to see what else they had to offer, TV-wise. I discovered that now you can stream Mythbusters and Heroes and Leverage and Dexter. And Buffy the Vampire Slayer. All seven seasons.

Pardon me while I go and do my happy dance. Seriously, you can't find anything from BtVS past season 2 online unless you're shelling out $50 for a DVD box set. And now I can watch any episode, any time, for free. Well, not exactly free, since I have to pay the monthly subscription fee. But there's no extra charge, so it feels like it's free.

Oh, and to top it all off now I can even watch it on my TV instead of my computer, and I didn't have to buy the hundred-dollar box. The latest way to stream movies is through the Wii, with a (free) disc that I requested in the mail. I'm constantly amazed by how easy to use everything from Netflix is.

My one complaint is that the video quality isn't that great when I'm watching on my computer, but that's probably the fault of my Internet connection more than anything else. It looks great on the TV.

In conclusion: It's good I have a life, because otherwise I'd sit and watch Netflix movies all day.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Muppets: Bohemian Rhapsody [Original Version]

I found this on YouTube the other day, and I couldn't stop laughing. It's hilarious! Just watch.

So if the Muppets are awesome, and Queen is awesome, then this video must be awesome SQUARED.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Leverage update!

Leverage is one of the best shows currently on TV. I cannot say enough good things about it.

Never heard of it? Read all about it here (on the TNT website) or here (CAUTION: This is a link to TV Tropes. TV Tropes is highly addictive and may lead to a significant decrease in productivity. Viewer discretion is advised).

Also, read the Kung Fu Monkey blog (by one of the show's writers himself) for behind-the-scenes info!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Thoughts on horror.

My mom and I are alike in a lot of ways, but when it comes to taste in books we're basically polar opposites. She will happily read a history of post-millenial religions, or the importance of salt in international sea trade, or an account of the early 20th century flu epidemic. And I'm not making any of those up.

I, on the other hand, tend towards lighter and less realistic fare. Something like a story about a possessed car, or an angel and devil working together to prevent the Apocalypse, or a vampire-turned-rock-star. And I'm not making any of those up, either.*

*For the curious: Christine by Stephen King; Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett; and The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice.

Occasionally, however, our interests will overlap. I loaned her memoir from a woman named Carolyn who escaped from the FLDS (the offshoot-Mormon polygamist cult) with her eight children. It's a fascinating read, but reading about some of the things this woman went through made me sick to my stomach. For example: Carolyn's husband wanted her to manage a hotel he owned in another town. This continued even after a shady-looking man came around and began stalking her. The husband refused to call the cops on the stalker. It's like he wanted her to end up getting raped or killed. And the worst part of this is that it actually happened. That is terrifying, and not in a fun way.

I do like to scare myself sometimes by watching something creepy on TV or reading a horror novel. But the horror is self-contained, and I know that no matter how creepy the monsters are, when I turn off the television or close the book, they're gone. I also tend towards media where the monsters are limited by clearly defined rules and weaknesses. One of the things that makes vampires so fascinating is the paradox that they are powerful (super speed and strength, immortality, near-invulnerability) and, at the same time, powerless (depending on the author, they will run away from crosses, mirrors, or seasonings, plus the whole deal with sunlight). Sure, they can tear your throat open to drink your blood, and turn you into a soulless demon, but only at night and only if you're not wearing protection (in the form of a cross necklace).

In my mind, the most effective horror takes something familiar and makes the audience look at it with new, suspicious eyes. That's one of the things that makes Doctor Who so creepy: previous episodes have managed to make viewers terrified of broken clocks, statues, and shadows.*

*For the curious: Girl in the Fireplace; Blink; and Silence in the Library.

It's Too Hot

I'm posting this song for several reasons:
1. Spent 6 hours on the second floor of a building with no air conditioning, and found a new appreciation for the sentiment of this song.
2. The song includes the lyrics "endothermic organism." Find another song with THAT phrase. I dare you.
3. Hank Green is just generally awesome.

DFTBA (which, if you didn't know already, stands for "Don't Forget To Be Awesome." As coined by Hank and his brother John over on their channel).