Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I Am Old: Part 1

Editor's note: this is the first installment in yet another completely sporadic series, which surely has little hope of going beyond three parts.

The Vulture blog posted an article yesterday about the 25th-anniversary release of the Back to the Future trilogy on Blu-ray. My first thought, "I don't have Blue-ray. Oh well." My second thought:

"Holy shit! Back to the Future is 25-years-old?!"

I know I'm not that old -- I'll be 27 in August -- but I do feel that old. I feel like I'm crossing that line where I'm just not that cool anymore (not that I was ever all that cool before). For example, about a year ago I watched MTV one morning because they actually play music videos at that time. When the song name and artist came up, I honestly had no idea which line was the artist and what was the song. I changed the channel because I felt so defeated and confused. I changed it to CNN so I could watch the news.

Another example, last week on the way home from Six Flags, Brando, The Rainmaker and I  were discussing The Smashing Pumpkins. Apparently, they're going on tour this summer; I had no idea they even reunited. In the midst of our conversation, Sanrio, a 2009 college graduate who was in the car with us said, "Who are The Smashing Pumpkins?"

I said, "Seriously?"

Brando and I started rattling off the hits: "1979," "Today," "Disarm," "Tonight, Tonight" and "Bullet with Butterfly Wings."

"When were they big?"

"Early to mid-90s."

At that point, we started playing a few of the songs on iPhones to see if anything rang a bell. She had never heard any of the songs. They didn't even sound vaguely familiar.

Brando and I just looked at each other in disbelief. How could this girl not know any of these songs? It's The Smashing Pumpkins! It's Billy Corgan! We totally felt like our parents trying to explain the cool music of their day. "The Smashing Pumpkins were so awesome! That double CD was so good. You don't know Mellen Collie & the Infinite Sadness? 1979 was the best song. Tonight, Tonight was such a good video." Riiiiiight.

Time really does fly. There was a moment when I was 8-years-old (it was 1992) sitting in my grandparents' living room with my parents, aunts and uncles, and one of them asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I remember saying I wanted to be a scientist and invent stuff, specifically hoverboards and the flying cars from Back to the Future: Part II.

I was so hopeful and ambitious (and a huge geek -- scientist?). Now, not so much -- I'm just another drone at an ad agency. Sweeeeet. What happened?

Monday, June 21, 2010

First of Summer

Happy summer! In celebration of the summer solstice, which marks the official kickoff for the upcoming hot and humid nastiness, I figured I'd post a song for Music Monday. Today's video is from a Filipino band called Urbandub. The song, appropriately enough, is called "First of Summer."

No deep or interesting thoughts from me today. It's just a nice coincidence that it's Monday, it actually is the first of summer and this was one of my favorite songs from when I was working in the motherland four years ago. I still consider that time one of the happiest, most fun times in my life (I saw Backstreet Boys live from the 2nd row, so how could it not be), and this song brings back good memories. Have a good week.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Announcing the World Cup

The day is finally here. The greatest sporting spectacle in the world is upon us, and I'm particularly excited this year because ESPN finally decided to listen to its audience and get some legitimate announcers. As a bonus, the worst announcer ever, JP Dellacamera, "has been relegated to ESPN Radio for the World Cup." Praise the heavens!

The only mistake ESPN made in its announcing teams was keeping John Harkes. He's the only member of the six-man rotation who calls the game "soccer." No, I'm not being a snob who thinks it should be called "football." I usually say "soccer" because that's what I grew up saying and what everyone in America uses, though I do often switch to "football" in the presence of other players. I think we naturally say it without really thinking. It's like when we put our hands in our shorts to keep warm during the cold-weather season -- just a natural reaction to being in the situation.

In any case, I feel it's going to be weird when he says "soccer" when every single one of his counterparts will be saying "football." Also, he just has nothing of value to say. During last night's NBA Halftime Show, where they did a short segment to promote the World Cup, Harkes said, "Landon Donovan  is the Steve Nash of the soccer world." Really?

This is a stupid comparison, indicative of the type of rubbish we'll hear from him for the next month. Steve Nash has been a superstar year-after-year in the top league in the world for his sport, and he has been officially recognized as the best player in that league -- twice .Landon Donovan had three unsuccessful stints in the Bundesliga and "conquered" the MLS, which is akin to conquering your college's intramural league when you have the talent to start for the varsity team.. To his credit, he played well during his 13-game loan spell in Everton.. Maybe it shows he has the potential to excel in a full, grueling Premiership season.

However much I dislike John Harkes, he's not as bad as JP Dellacamera. He just won't shut the hell up, and he knows it too. Regarding the American proclivity to speak to much versus British minimalism:

"I'm not sure that it's a style difference as much as a cultural difference. Let's say British announcers and probably those in other countries, too, I think they talk less than American announcers. I think they talk more about their particular game they're calling than other games. There's not as much storytelling, not as much promos."

We tuned in to watch a game, not to listen to a puff piece about how some player grew up playing barefoot in the streets of Rio using only a ball made out of old socks. ESPN should continue to relegate him until he's working darts competitions.

Despite all of my bitching, I am very excited for the next month. I hope the Ivory Coast is triumphant, but it would be interesting if Argentina won -- Maradona has promised to run naked through the streets of Buenos Aires if victorious.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sperm Shoes

I'm a big fan of Sky Mall, the in-flight magazine well-known for hawking everything from pool vacuums to garden bridges, as well as the latest offerings from Brookstone and Hammacher Schlemmer. Who doesn't want The Telekinetic Obstacle Course to pass the time?

On a recent trip, I was flipping through the magazine to check if Sky Mall still sells a hot dog cart because owning a hot dog cart intrigues me. As I was flipping through the pages, I came across an ad for the most ridiculous product I have ever seen -- Gravity Defyers.

The most glaring thing is the logo. It looks like sperm. It's on the side of the shoe, and it's used as the "g" and "d" in the logo lockup. Who designed this? Was the decision to use this logo unilateral? Was there not an employee who said, "Hey, Mr. _______. We shouldn't do this. The logo looks like sperm?"

After the logo, we need to examine the claims from the print ad (my comments in italics within parantheses):
- Feel Like You're Defying Gravity... GUARANTEED! (I always wanted moon shoes when I was a kid. Maybe this is my chance.)
- Imagine not being tired anymore... Imagine being pain free and filled with energy... Stop Imagining. (Aren't there drugs for all of the things just mentioned?)
- Should G-Defy be banned from Athletic Competition? They might be considered an unfair advantage. (I have no words.)
- Genesis of Athletic Excellence... Go from the weekend warrior to the daily champion at your gym and on the street. ("On the street?" Like, for street fights?)

Lastly, the shoe design is horrendous. The sneakers look like they were leftover models from 10 years ago. It's as if Payless and Skechers sold their shoe surplus from last decade to these guys, who then decided it would be a great idea to stick sperm on the side of the shoe. Honestly, I'd rather wear Shape-ups. I don't even want to get into the casual shoes.