Friday, March 31, 2006

big = art

It's as simple as that. Go into any modern art museum and you'll quickly realize that anything that's over 5 feet tall can be called art. I think it has something to do with a human need to feel dwarfed and insignificant next to the huge stature of our own creations. The Pyramids, the cathedrals and castles of Europe, the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, the Mall of America ... we've been absolutely transfixed as a species by Big for thousands of years.

So, for those who are looking for a career change, I now present Jesse Harlin's Guide to Becoming a Famous Artist.

1. Get a really large workspace. You're going to need lots of room for all of the big things you're making. Try finding one with lots of windows for natural light and to let out any potential fumes from your paint/ceramic firing/arc-welding/whatever. Try here for large work spaces.

2. Start looking for something small that you can make a large version of. Really anything will do. Like I said, it just needs to be bigger than 5 feet tall. Now, I would actually caution you against going over 12 feet tall since you'll limit the ability to have your big things put in small rooms.

3. For god's sake, put your big things in a city somewhere! Nothing will make you go from hip urbanite up-and-coming artist to crazy midwest kook faster than your massive statue of a coffee pot sitting out in the middle of nowhere.

So, that's it. Do those three things and you'll be famous. Want some inspiration?

- Building blocks? Too small. But, make them big and you have yourself a museum piece, Johnny!

- "Clothespins are small and stupid. I'd never become famous with a clothespin," I hear you say. Wrong!!

- "That stuff's all sculpture, dude. Stop showing me sculpture, you big sculpture-shower." Fine!

You get the point. Big = art. Plain and simple.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

six wonderful years

Today is the 6 year anniversary for my girlfriend Amanda and I. They've been six incredibly wonderful years and I'm thrilled that she's a part of my life. To celebrate, we're heading down to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, or SFMoMA (which, when pronounced as a word, sounds like "sss-ffff-moe-mah" and is ugly).

I can't wait.

In fact, you know what? I don't have to wait. She just called to tell me that she's outside. So, I'm off to celebrate how awesome Amanda is with a trip to see pictures many people think they could do themselves, but didn't. ... That doesn't sound romantic. But, anyway, it is. And I'm gonna' go meet her. Bye.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

every rose has its rose

Woohoo!! There's another Rose in the world. My great, great friend Ben and his partner Margo have just had a baby.

Ben gets the distinction of being the first friend of mine I know to have had a baby. Congratulations on your successful spawning, Ben and Margo! Post pictures. Now.

cold, cruel truth

You know who doesn't love you and never will, no matter how nice you are to them? Credit reporting agencies. The big three - Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion - get phone calls from people every day who's sole point in contacting them is to complain about why they can't buy a house. Being on the receiving end of a nation's worth of anger and frustration must make you really unfriendly and impersonal.

Why am I talking about this? I took a look at my credit report the other day for the first time. Turns out some bill for $27 bucks had gotten lost among one of my moves from apartment to apartment and I ended up in collections. I had no idea. It happens, I guess. It's part of the difficult nature of moving. Sometimes things slip through the cracks and sometimes those slippery things are important.

Anyway, I wanted to figure out what the deal was and get it resolved so that I could up my credit score. The problem is, the credit report seems to have a limited number of characters it can use when printing out whom you own money to. Mine said:


?? As far as I could tell, I owed the lower half of California $27. Knowing that that makes no sense, I decided to call Equifax and try to get them to fill me in with a little more info.

And that's when I found out how much they'll never love me. Equifax happens to have the most unfriendly phone system I've ever experienced. There are a couple of numbers you can try calling. If you call one, you get stuck in a phone chain of seemingly irrelevant options. If you press "0" (the international key for "I'm tired of your phone system; just gimme a dang operator"), it hangs up on you. It hangs up on you! It's like Equifax is grumpy and punishing you for trying to outsmart it.

If you call the other number, one of two things happens. Apparently most of the time it plays a recording, tosses you into a phone queue, waits a little bit to see if you'll be answered quickly, and if not - hangs up on you without any explanation. I tried that number 4 or 5 times, each time getting hung up on, before it finally went to a customer service rep on the 6th go. But, seriously ... 6 tries to not be hung up on? And like I said, that's just from that one number. That doesn't count the times I was hung up on at the other number for trying to find an operator.

So, Equifax doesn't love anybody. And fair enough, I guess. They aren't loved in return so why should they? The IRS can hand out lollipops all day. At the end of it all, they're still the IRS. I guess it's the same principle. So, they seem to have decided to take the approach of "If you want to deal with us, then you'll jump through our hoops, you sonuvabitch. If you try to be clever, we'll hang up on your ass. If you do finally get through to someone, THEN you can bitch at us about not being able to buy a house. But you're really going to have to work for it if you want to bitch at us, a-holes."

So, just a word of warning if anyone else needs to go through this.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


I finally beat Resident Evil IV. I'm sure that nobody in the world cares about this achievement but me. But, it actually is a big achievement. I've played a lot of the Resident Evil games and haven't finished a single one so far.

Usually it's been due to the fact that I've rented them in the past. I don't know why because I can count on one hand the number of games I've rented in my life. But, amongst that count are three different Resident Evil games. I'm not sure what kind of innate fear I've had about buying them, but whatever it was, it's led me to rent Resident Evil titles.

So, in the olden days of pre-"No Late Fees!!" Blockbuster, I usually found that I had to return the game before I had time to beat it. Many of them I've gotten pretty close to finishing, but it always had to go back to Blockbuster before I was done. But, I was so far into them that I couldn't justify renting it again, let alone buying it. So, I never beat them. Resident Evil IV, however, was a Christmas present and I've been playing it off and on over the last few months. As of this weekend, I finally beat it.

And you know what? The ending sucked. Chalk it up with Spider-man for the PS1 for "worst ending in regards to gameplay satisfaction" rating I've ever seen with a game. After all of the hours involved in playing through it, I get one very short little cut scene with stupid Anime-style dialogue that seems completely inhuman and nonsensical.

Let me set the scene since I know no one who reads this will ever play the game:

Your character just spent hours, HOURS and HOURS and HOURS, in the most stressful situation of his life shooting zombies with limited ammo supplies, watching his friends die, plucking alien parasites from within his own body, and running for his life more times than you can count.

In the end, a rival agent working for the world's most evil and amoral chemical company steals a sample of the alien parasite and flies off with the intended goal to turn it into a world-destroying bio-weapon.

So, how do you react to all of this? You literally ride off into the sunset on a jet-ski, just moments after escaping from an exploding island, and chat with the girl hanging onto your waist about some other girl who you're "apparently unable to distance yourself from."

Roll Credits.

WHAT??! What the hell was that? Talking about girls as you ride off into the sunset? What about something more appropriate like "HOLY Fucking shit!! The island just blew up and the whole world is going to turn into zombies!! Not to mention I have a million zombie brain bits in my hair and a fucking stress ulcer you wouldn't believe!!!"

Stupid. Just plain old stupid. Maybe I'll just rent the next one.

Monday, March 27, 2006

i was gonna call the article "Michael Jackson is Sitting Ontop of the World"

I was all set to write a post all about how today was the first day this year that I walked outside and smelled Baseball Weather. Instead, I get to share the latest goings-on with my faithful old car, The Green Wind.

I'm a relatively lucky guy. Much of my luck seems to center around my car, much to the annoyance of my friends. When you manage to get out of speeding ticket after speeding ticket through sheer luck, it tends to piss off anyone around you who's ever been to Traffic School.

Still, The Green Wind and I have been driving across the ol' US of A for almost 12 years now and she's holding up well. For those who don't know, The Green Wind earned her name when I was about 19 and my brother and I tried to see if we could drive from upstate Massachusetts to Philadelphia in four hours. After averaging about 100 mph, the only way urban sage Joe McGuire figured I didn't get pulled over was that all the highway patrol had seen of my car was "a green wind."

These days, she's getting to be more of The Green Wheeze. She's old and starting to fall apart in unimportant ways. Who cares that the passenger seat window controls don't work anymore? Who cares that I'm down one fog light? Etc. Etc.

This morning, however, the battery was dead. I had a feeling something weird was going on Thursday night when I suddenly couldn't roll up my power window anymore. With everything else that was breaking, I didn't think it was anything major, though. I was wrong. Friday morning the car was dead and I managed to forget about it until 3 AM Monday morning.

Not able to find someone to give me a jump, I called AAA who sent a truck and got me back on the road with plenty of time to only be slightly late to work. I thanked the guy, drove off, and went on a nice scenic drive around the back hills of San Mateo to let the battery charge up for a while. Problem being, I could only do that for so long since I was critically low on gas and eventually had to turn back around so that I could fill 'er up. When I stopped the car at the gas station, I decided to do a quick check to see if I could restart my car.

Nothing. It was totally dead. The ol Green Wheeze won't hold a charge anymore. Frustrated and imagining money leaping out of my wallet, I went inside the gas station's little snack hut and got some breakfast while I gassed up.

Why did I talk about luck earlier? Because just as I got into my car and opened up my cellphone to call AAA again, who should I see pull to as stop at the stop sign next to me but the AAA guy who gave me a jump start earlier in the day. I stuck my hand out the window and he pulled in, gave me two more jump starts, and finally I was on my way. The Wheeze is now at a service station next to my house while I wait to find out the diagnosis.

So, through a little luck, I still might be able to make it into work for a half day. Fingers are crossed. We'll see how it goes.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

i'm a loser, baby ...

Yep. Republic Commando lost its bid for Best Interactive Score for 2005. Who won? "God of War." Congrats, Sony. Congrats, Clint.

So far, with the exception of my car battery dying this morning, GDC's been great. I've been meeting a bunch of nice people and keeping up with the state of the industry, the state of audio technology, and the state of the available pool of audio contractors.

So, good stuff. Tomorrow is the last day and I'm looking forward to a very quiet weekend of hanging out at home and trying to finish Resident Evil 4. That and just rest. Plenty and plenty of rest. Trade shows are tiring.

where game developers go to learn about the current state of technology ...

This is my favorite quote I've heard so far from a floundering speaker at GDC:

"The Web is up on the Net now."

WOW! They got the Web working on the Net now?! Incredible!

Just thought I'd let everyone else know since this may impact some of your work.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

turns out, I wasn't eligible anyway

Things happen in cities. Weird things. Things you don't expect.

As I was driving home from work today, I decided to drive through downtown San Fran instead of my normal route along the outskirts of the city. Unfortunately, as I was stopped at a red light, I think I found myself on the receiving end of someone's attempt at a career change.

Like I said, I pulled up to a stop at a red light. To my right was a bus, the general bane of inner city traffic. Usually, the only real danger these behemoths represent is their slow pace if you get stuck behind one. I didn't think there was any danger sitting next to one at a stop light.

I was kinda' wrong.

As I'm sitting there, something very large suddenly smacked into my windshield. Scared the bejebus out of me. When I tried to see what it was, it seemed to mostly be hidden behind my windshield wipers What I could see looked like a complete stack of Post-It notes. When I looked up at the bus next to me, I saw that I was right next an open window - the apparent source of the flying post-it note stack.

Kinda' weirded out by the whole thing, I drove down the street for a bit until I could pull into a parking lot and see what new gift I'd been forcibly given. When I got out of my car, I found I had a stack of flyers explaining about some kind of low-income based Tax Credit that I might be eligible for. It was written in five different languages and looked like something that had been produced by some kind of local government agency.

The first few sheets of this thing had been torn off already, but it was mostly still intact. It was then that I got the sense someone riding the bus had probably take a low-paying gig handing these things out, gave out one or two, and then realized that the best way to be done early was to simply launch the remainder out the bus window.

So, yeah. Weird things happen in cities that you don't expect. And now I have even more reason to fear buses.

Monday, March 20, 2006

wanna Hearst donut?

Amanda and I had a really nice weekend. As mentioned on Friday, we hopped in the car, headed south along CA-1 and made a beeline for San Simeon, CA. Why San Simeon? Because it's the home of Hearst Castle, or as we found out its official name is: Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument.

Catchy, no?

So, Hearst Castle (for those who don't know) was the weekend getaway built by 1920s gadillionaire William Randolf Hearst as a means of keeping all of the art he collected from Europe out of the rain. Despite my general disgust in gaudy, overly-ornate interior decorating (Trump, I'm looking in your direction), Hearst Castle was actually quite beautiful. Yes, it's full of more finery than you can shake a gold leafed Italian Renaissance stick at. Still, that said, it's largely done tastefully. There's a very successful mixture of American art deco and European everything else that came before. I think I also liked how much carved wooden detailing there was, as opposed to gold ugliness.

I tried to take a bunch of pictures. The problem is that they only allow you to take pictures with the available light (read: no flash photography) which didn't seem to work well with our night tour. Still, there are some nice shots and I thought I'd share:

This is one of the many exterior stairwells that leads all around the grounds. I love the art deco light columns.

Billy Hearst's outdoor pool. Pretty snazzy. Looks like a good place for a music video or a teen sex comedy party scene.

This is part of his large main living room. On the night tours, they have actors portraying visitors in 1930's garb. These were playing poker.

This is either part of the living room again or it's part of the sitting room. I can't remember.

This is a shot of the kind of woodworking found all throughout the castle's ceilings. They're really incredible and they change from room to room. Very impressive. It tends to feel like a gothic cathedral in miniature.

Old Bill's personal library. The lampshades on the lamps are made of sheets of vellum manuscripts, mostly old musical texts.

See? I wasn't lying.

This is maybe the prettiest desk clock I've ever seen. It's just an absolutely stunning piece of art deco design. Gorgeous. Sadly, the picture doesn't really do it justice.

And lastly, our cat Pipsqueak who has recently decided that she likes playing with toys. She now likes to roll around on the floor and mess with various cuddly things. It's pretty freakin' adorable.

So, that was our weekend. I had a great time. Definitely a nice way to get away and chill out before a big crazy week of GDC. I'll blog when I can this week, but I'll be at GDC from tomorrow and don't know what my availability will be like.

Friday, March 17, 2006

up, up, and away

Things just keep moving up in terms of my career which is a really nice thing. Today I had lunch with the editors of Game Developer Magazine. Really nice people. I had a nice time talking games and the industry with them. I've been writing some guest columns for them recently and they've been well received. The point of our meeting was that they've offered me the position of monthly contributing columnist for the Aural Fixation column. This means that each month I'd be writing new columns on Audio-related goodness and talking to people throughout the industry. I'm pretty psyched. It's not a done deal yet, but things look like they're going in the right direction and I have my fingers crossed.

On my way over to the CMP Media offices, I passed a homeless man stationed at a freeway off-ramp. The sign he was holding was one of the more original I've seen. It read:


I like that approach. It's a fun challenge for me and fiscally good for him. Good thinking on his part. And yet, I bet a GameBoy game called "Beam the Transient with a Quarter" wouldn't pass Nintendo's submission process. Too bad, really.

This weekend, Amanda and I are heading off on a little weekend vacation. The rain is supposed to be subsiding so we're going to head off south along d'ocean and see some touristy California sites we've never seen before. Should be a really good time. I'm looking forward to it.

I'll give details when I get back. And maybe some pictures, too. Who knows.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

so confused ...

Last night, I slept like ass. I kept having recurring dreams that confused the hell out of me. It's rare for me to dream relatively mundane dreams (as opposed to the horrific crap I'm used to) and it's even more rare for me to dream about celebrities, a dream market my brother seems to have cornered.

And yet, that's exactly what I dreamt last night. I have no idea how the dream began, but let's just say it went blahblahblahblahblah Jesse lying in bed waking up to the radio. As I was lying there trying to wake up (in my dream, mind you), I was apparently listening to the Howard Stern show. The topic of discussion? Vaz Hoil, the 80s hair band I've been in off and on since high school. Stern et al were talking about how great they thought the album was, how funny the lyrics were, etc. I sat up astonished in my bed, woke up Amanda, and we both listened with amazement throughout the entire conversation. As soon as they were done, I called my brother who was also astonished and we began to plan how we'd get onto the show and play some music live on the air.

Now ... that's all pretty whatever. Where the dream begins to drive me nuts is that I then dreamt that I woke up from having dreamt about the Stern Show. I was very confused (in my dream), couldn't tell what was real and what wasn't, and decided to go Google "vaz hoil" to see what would come up. Lo and behold, there was a bunch of new links all discussing Howard's like for our completely unknown band.

What then proceeded to happen for about 3 or 4 hours was a continual string of dreams in which I would make more progress towards getting Hoil onto the Stern show and then dream that I'd wake up, be confused, and have to start the whole process again.

When I finally did wake up this morning, I had no freaking clue what was real anymore and what was a dream. I was exhausted from dreaming about waking up all night and I had an overwhelming urge to google Hoil again. Needless to say, actual reality eventually set in. Still, the whole ordeal has left me completely fatigued this morning and still more than a little muddled.

I'd almost rather dream about being impaled by gigantic mosquitoes or chased by men who cut their own hands off as a show of just how tough they are. At least then I know when I wake up that it was a dream.

When I was a kid, I remember seeing an episode of G.I. Joe where Shipwreck kept having dreams that he was dreaming and waking up over and over again. I remember being really creeped out by it and thinking that it must be terrible to not know when you were awake and when you were asleep.

I can now say for certain that it's insanely disorienting. I'm gonna start a support group for me and Shipwreck. No COBRA allowed.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

nothing's up

Nothing's really going on with me.


Monday, March 13, 2006

Gotta upDate Calendar

I need to get off my ass and figure out what my schedule's going to be like next week at GDC. There are two major Game Industry trade events every year. E3 is the big spectacle event where the big new game titles are shown off for retain chains and the new game consoles debut. GDC is more for game developers. For those who've never been, GDC is the big tech-oriented show that consists of three main parts: software and game development tools on display like a typical trade show, panels and discussions on the art and business of making games, and a job fair.

Basically, it's a huge-schmoozefest. As far as Audio goes, the show floor is pretty useless. There's just a whole lot of nothing right now when it comes to 3rd-party game development tools available for audio. What does exist right now is pretty piss poor. Anyhow, there isn't much to see there.

That leaves a week's worth of panels and discussions all about Audio to schedule. So, I'll be sitting in on talks about implementing interactive orchestral music, post-mortems on various games' soundtracks, and meeting with people at GANG events.

I'm not a radically out-going person and for me networking and schmoozing at things like GDC is REALLY exhausting. Beneficial? Yes, but exhausting none the less. So, it's going to be a long week and I really need to figure out where I'm going to be when.

As of right now, I have no idea. I guess I just keep waiting for someone to figure it all out for me, but that's not gonna' happen.

Maybe I need to become rich and get a personal assistant.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

we're ridiculous

As of today, Chile now has their first female president. I heard this story yesterday on NPR as I was trying to get ready for work. What seriously bothered me was the fact that about five minutes before the Chile story, they were announcing the results of some new poll that asked Californians if we were "ready for a female President." It's absolutely ridiculous that we even need to ask this question. Let's look at the list of countries that have had female leaders:

Central African Republic
New Zealand
The Phillipines
Sao Tome and Principe
South Korea
Sri Lanka
the Ukraine
The United Kingdom

47 countries. And that's not counting any countries that have been ruled by female monarchies. That's just a list of 47 countries that have elected or appointed female presidents or prime ministers. Now, there are 192 countries in the world which means that over one-fourth of the world has been lead by a woman at one point or another.

Do you see what I mean? Mongolia, Pakistan and Rwanda are more socially progressive than the United States. Part of China, one of the main Muslim countries in the world, and a nation that slaughtered millions of its own citizens -- all of them are more progressive than the good ol' US of A.

What is our problem? Who is it in this country that actually thinks we'd dissolve into anarchy with a female President? Don't those people realize that their children are taught by women and that their cities most likely have female city council members? This ridiculous Neanderthal notion that the US has to be run by men is a joke that a fair chunk of the rest of the world seems to realize is outdated. We need to get with the program.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

a cultural divide?

We've discovered a weird cultural divide at work. Apparently, Generation Xers are at serious risk of being too old to know what Emo is.

The circumstances behind how it came up are unimportant, but what we've found is that only about 50% of the Xers polled had any clue what emo was. Goth? No problem. Punk? Sure. 100% recognition. But, Emo?


And beyond just not knowing, it started to make people get defensive and angry. I was told "I pride myself on being up-to-date on pop culture and I've never heard of emo." as if to say "So, stop making shit up that no one knows but you." And yet, the people who had heard of the term looked at me like I was retahded even asking them about it.

::smirk:: "Of course I know what 'emo' is. How could you not know what 'emo' is?"

Now, I don't think I'm crazy in saying that emo is a pretty common term these days. I think what disturbed the people that didn't know the term is that it was the first sign that they might be getting old and out of touch with youth culture.

Anyway, it's an interesting division and one I thought I'd point out.

I'm not crazy, right? Emo is well-known ... isn't it?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

i've been called worse ...

There's a new article about me on by Justin Bielawa. Called "Commando Composer," it's mostly about my score to Republic Commando, though some of it is just generically about game scoring and some more about working for LucasArts.

Anyway, check it out if you want. Just scroll down to the bottom of the main page and click on my huge, swelled head. I think the interview turned out nicely. Nice work, Justin! And thanks.

Monday, March 06, 2006

TIE fighters at 6 o'clock

When I learned how to drive, my dad decided to draw on my love of Star Wars in order to teach me the threat of other drivers. According to my dad, "when you're in your car, it's just like the Death Star scene in Star Wars. You're the rebels and there are TIE Fighters flying at you at all times. Your job is just to not crash into them."

It was a good analogy for me at the time and I took it to heart. The older I get, the more applicable his analogy seems to get, though, and the broader in scope it seems to become. No matter how much planning you do, no matter how much you think you have everything figured out, there will always be some kind of TIE Fighter headed your way that you didn't count on. The best any of us can ever do is just do our best to not crash into it.

It's like John Lennon said, "Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans." Although, I don't know what he'd think of being likened to TIE Fighter analogies.

Anyway, my point is: things are changing. Quite rapidly, too. Things are work at changing. Things with other people I know are changing in terms of their careers. Right now, the skies over the Death Star are full of a full TIE squadron of different opportunities jockeying for attention.

I'm quickly realizing the retahdedness of this post. Mainly it's due to my superstitious feeling that if I name specifics in terms of these unnamed opportunities, they'll evaporate. And so I'm left with an ambiguous and muddled blog post. But, so be it.

I just feel this afternoon how odd life is. 3 months ago everything felt as though it were stagnating and ruttifying. Today I feel like I'm watching the ends of everything fray and fly apart into unexpected directions.

I don't feel nervous or scared about it all; just ... inquisitive. Anxious to see what comes of everything. When I know more with more certainty, or I dodge some of these TIE Fighters, I'll fill in the specific details. As for now, this muddle of ambiguous mess is all you get.

Friday, March 03, 2006

RIP, my once-beloved SY-77

Today is my three year anniversary with LucasArts and I celebrated with a cheesesteak from The Cheesesteak Shop. 'Twas good.

You know what's 'twas not good, though? Listening to things from my musical past. I burned a CD of old music by my high school band Phenix. On bass: Ben. On guitar: Ry. On drums: either Mr. Googazu himself, Mike Klova or Anthony Sciamanna. And on lead vocals and embarrassingly ridiculous keyboard solos: me. Christ ... why the rest of the band didn't stop me from playing keyboard back then, I'll never know.

Anyway, listening back to this stuff is like looking at an embarrassing school picture of yourself. Only, instead of it being a single photo, it's 15 different testaments to the fact that your lyric writing never really graduated beyond the level of "pretentious ass."

I'm listening to more of it while I write this. Seriously, Ry and Ben, what was with me and freakin' saw wave patches? Gah.

Anyway. I guess I'm celebrating my current musical gig by inspecting my musical past. But, since I have some music to go write, maybe I shouldn't be sitting here making myself feel like I don't know the first thing about music. Yeesh.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

number 2 is a jet car

The first thing I'm going to buy if I make enough money to ever be considered ridiculously rich is a private bathroom.

I really don't like public bathrooms. They're dirty. They smell like ... well ... public bathrooms. And you have to share the "experience" with other people. I don't like that. Is there anything more awkward in 21st century daily life than having to pee while standing next to people you know professionally? Urinals completely fly in the face of the concept of personal space bubbles. If that weird little metal divider wasn't there separating your shoulder from the shoulder of the person next to you, you'd be very uncomfortably close to each other - whether you were peeing at that moment or not. It'd be like standing next to people in an elevator while you were all trying to pee. >: P

Where does this weird rant come from? From having just come back from the restroom where I had to listen to someone in one of the stalls.

This poor guy ... As with all bathroom etiquette, I don't actually know who it was due to averting eyes and staring at walls. Still, whomever it was was breathing so hard in there. As far as I can figure, it was either someone who 1.) had just run a marathon, 2.) weighed a metric ton and has trouble breathing, or 3.) was pleasuring himself at work.

It's not No. 1. I feel bad for the guy if it's No. 2. I feel bad for the rest of us if it's No. 3. Anyway, having to listen to this guy gulp for air like a beached trout really seemed to cross some kind of privacy barrier.

Metal shoulder divider or not, his breathing sounds invaded my personal space. I really didn't need to share that moment with this guy.

So, when I'm rich = private bathroom. Day one.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

putting the amazing back in the race

Ah, reality TV ... I'm such a slave to your contrived ways ...

The new season of "The Amazing Race" began last night and I'm already hooked. I'm thrilled that it's back to its usual 11-pair format. The Family Edition of The Amazing Race was ass. Pure ass.

First of all, it wasn't much of a race around the world. They raced around the USA, for sure. But I constantly had the feeling they had no idea how long families with little kids would be in the race, so they decided not to risk sending 8 year-old kids into the heart of Indonesia. Instead, they went to strange and exotic sites like Utah (oooooo!!!) and Lancaster, PA (aaaaahhhh!!!). Anyway, the show sucked and I'm glad to see that they've ditched the retahded format change and gone back to what works.

So, what's working for the new series? Well, how about this nice contrast to the Family Edition? Phil (the host, for those who don't know) says "Aaaand ... go!" and suddenly everyone's already off on a race to Brazil. Already I found myself thinking "Yeah!! That's right! Shove it up your ass, Family Edition!! They've already gone further around the world that you, you a-hole!!"

Clearly, I have some issues.

Never the less, the show is pretty good and I already find that I have favorite and least favorite couples that I'm rooting for and against, respectively.

The Good:
- David and Lori, the nerds They just seem like nice people who make me smile. I dig 'em and they remind me of Amanda and I to some extent.
- Wanda and Desiree, the mother/daughter team. They're fun. Good TV to watch. Seem like nice people.
- BJ and Taylor (Tyler? Teylore? Teighlure?), the hippies. Hometown pride, baby! SF representin'! Anyway, they seem good. They seem like what it would have been to have Ry and Jeff on there (you guys should so be on this show).

The Bad:
- Lake and Trophy Wife, the dentist and his assistant/baby machine. This lady has no mind of her own and her husband is a complete tool. I can't wait for them to get eliminated.
- Danielle and Dani, the "cute girl" duo. Bleh. They are so freakin' annoying.
- Jimbo and Mimbo, the future welfare recipients. I can't remember the names of these guys, but they're the guys who have so far disparaged concepts such as Thinking and Working. Way to go, guys. Way to go.

And the ugly:
The Frosties, aka the Glamazons, a pair of middle-aged sisters. Why are they in "the ugly" category? Because of their freakin' shrill voices. I can't stand them and they're always screaming at the top of their lungs. It's so goddamn obnoxious. If they're not eliminated from the show soon, I honestly don't know if I'll be able to watch the whole season. I find them that annoying.

Anyway, The Frosties aside, I'm excited to see that the show is good again. Hopefully it'll just keep getting better as previous seasons have tended to do. I have my fingers crossed, anyway.