Random Trek

Rt250I had this crazy idea: I should do a podcast in which I would be joined by a guest (a single guest) and discuss a random episode of Star Trek.

I know what you're thinking, "That doesn't sound too crazy." Well, here's the thing, if I'm best known for anything in the world of podcasts it is my silence. I'm not a naturally chatty person and since most of my podcasting appearances involve panel discussions I can sometimes fade into the background. The idea that I should host a podcast and be joined by only one other person seemed daunting to me (I thought the random Star Trek part was a pretty good idea right from the start).

I did what I do whenever I have a crazy idea: I told Marisa about. Since she has had at least three non-consecutive successful conversations with me about a variety of subjects she didn't think the idea was crazy. In fact, she encouraged me to do something about it.

That's the other thing about my crazy ideas: they usually stay ideas. I don't think I'm alone in this tendency. Sadly, for me, I'm also a classic over-thinker. I think about stuff for a long time before doing anything (you can ask Marisa about this too!).

Emboldened by Marisa's support of the idea I thought about it some more. I pondered who would be a good first guest for awhile and the answer became clear: Jason Snell.

Jason, in addition to being a huge Star Trek fan, is a doer. I figured if he was into the idea the likelihood of it actually becoming a thing would be greatly increased.

Jason did, in fact, like the idea and in turn motivated me to actually do something about it. I registered a domain, I got a Twitter account, and then I thought about it some more.

Now, as I was pondering the podcast Jason launched The Incomparable family of podcasts (The Incomparable, Not Playing, Total Party Kill, and teevee). Random Trek had found a home.

Now you can listen to the first episode (you totally should) and I'm very excited about the whole thing.

Look for new episodes of Random Trek every Thursday for the next 680 weeks or so (assuming there isn't a new Star Trek series released over the coming 13 years).

Binge Viewing: TV's Lost Weekends -

Becky pointed out this WSJ article about TV Binge Viewing on Twitter, and it hit home with me. Oddly enough I just started watching the first season of Breaking Bad via Netflix earlier this week and finished it last night. Seems I'm not alone:

"Breaking Bad" is high on the list of TV shows that drive the most compulsive viewing, according to Netflix number-crunchers. Some 73% of members who started streaming season one of "Breaking Bad" finished all seven episodes. Seasons two and three were longer—13 episodes each—yet the completion rate jumped to 81% and 85%, respectively.

I plan to spend a good part of the weekend watching Season 2 (though when Marisa isn't around since Breaking Bad is one of those shows that I like that is TIM: Too Intense for Marisa. Other TIM shows include The Walking Dead and Dexter).

Put me in coach, I have a clear mind and heart... and a nice shirt.

A few days ago I wore this shirt, which has been featured on Showtime's Dexter:

image from

It would seem Lt. Baptista isn't the only fictional character who likes to rock a Tommy Bahama shirt from time to time. Marisa and I were watching Friday Night Lights on Friday (Marisa is a big fan of the show, I don't hate it) and Buddy Garrity was sporting a fine looking shirt:


Doing Lt. Batista proud


Since I had to leave the apartment today (silly job!) I slipped on a shirt that makes me think of one of my favorite shows: Dexter.

Angel Batista, a fictional member of the Miami PD, often sports Tommy Bahama shirts on the show, and as you can see we both own at least one of the same shirts:


If I were a People magazine writer this is where I would say, "Who wore it best?!" Since I am not, in fact, a People magazine writer I am certain that I look best in the shirt (though Batista knows how to rock a hat!).

Amazon Prime members can stream an odd assortment of shows for free!


Amazon is making headlines today by giving Amazon Prime members (Amazon Prime, for those who aren't familiar, is a service Amazon provides: for $80 a year you get 2 Day shipping on eligible items. I've been a Prime member for as long as Prime has been an option.) access to lots of streaming movies and TV shows for no additional cost (I would say free, but you do have to pay that $80 a year... though this is a nice addition to the service).

All in all, I'm a fan of this development. Jeff Bezos took to the front page of, as he does, to announce the news with a giant image of a letter. In his letter Jeff highlights an odd assortment of available TV shows (which are also all available via Netflix streaming):

Clearly people who watch streaming TV shows like sci-fi, British shows, and old sitcoms (plus the streaming rights for most of these shows must be pretty cheap).

Stream on, you crazy diamonds!

Oh, and Netflix seems to think I like Canadian TV:


Theme songs: they just don't make 'em like they used to

I watch a lot of television.. more than I know I should, but I like it so much! When I was a kid all the shows I liked had an intro with a great theme song (well, at least a memorable theme song).

The Greatest American Hero:

The Facts of Life:

Silver Spoons:

Family Ties (a classic, sha lalala!):

Even the not so great sitcoms had great intros, like Dear, John:

or Small Wonder:

Whatever happened to the art of the sitcom intro?

Talking to people about golf in 3D

For ye olde day job I'm often tasked with mixing and mingling with a crowd, and interviewing folks about the topic of whatever event I'm at. I'm also in charge (most of the time) of editing the resulting video (though generally I don't have to shoot the video, which is fantastic).

The other day we had a 3D viewing party, and I grabbed a microphone, a camera guy, and worked the crowd. I enjoyed how the video came out, so I thought I would share it.

I was on Attack of the Show for some reason

Above is the video from my appearance on last night's Attack of the Show. They had me on the Loop to talk Apple rumors before Apple's WWDC event that starts on Monday.

Luckily for me my segment was only a couple of minutes long since I seemed to have lost the ability to form coherent thoughts. I even called OS X 'the OS X,' like some sort of crazy old man ('Isn't your Apple MAC running the OS X or something? Where's my soup?').

Having seen Attack of the Show before I figured I was going to be one person on a panel during the Loop, which they often do. Imagine my surprise when I was on air, live mind you, and I figured out that it was just little old me and Kevin Pereira chatting about Apple rumors. Kevin did say he was a big fan of TUAW, which is always good to hear.

Thanks to the wonders of technology I didn't have to board a transcontinental jet to appear on AotS, but I did have to walk 5 blocks from my apartment to VideoLink, which has a satellite uplink thingie. I then sat in a green room for a few minutes (there was free candy, but I didn't have any) while I waited for my close up. One of the VideoLink dudes let me know I was ready to go, and I walked into another room with some bright lights, a camera, a table and chair, and a screen on which they would magically show Philadelphia's skyline. I even got to wear one of those in ear mics things, so I that the people on the west coast to talk to me.

A few minutes later and my second television appearance was over. (Note to John Gruber: I was wearing a Daring Fireball T-shirt under my 'ready for TV' shirt.)

When I was all done I walked into the green room to retrieve my umbrella and I was greeted by an older gentleman who was wearing a suit, though his coat was off. He was very busy looking into a mirror and applying makeup to himself. Looking up at me, with a sponge full of makeup in his hand, he said, 'How'd it go? You didn't shoot a booger out your noise or scream fuck, did you?' I acknowledged that I had not, in fact, yelled any profanities and anything that was in my nose at the start of my segment remained solidly in place until the end. He explained that he was a lawyer in Philly and he often appears on CNN to talk about legal stuff. I asked about the makeup and he said, 'I learned long ago if you don't do this you end up looking like a vampire on TV.' Since I hadn't applied any makeup to myself before my appearance I can only imagine I looked like a vampire (though vampires don't have reflections, so they can't be caught on film, right? Take that, Mr. Lawyerman!).

All in all, I had fun and I don't think I came off too badly. Here's to being on TV more often!

The TV is happy now

Our new media centerThe Big Move In continues! My fancy new TV has been in Apartment 2024 for awhile now, but a couple of days ago we finally bought a fitting stand for it. That's the West Elm Modern Storage Media stand in acorn. The website lists it for $349.00, but luckily for us there is a West Elm in Center City. Marisa and I stopped in the store on our way back from Fork You Live (more on that in a little bit) to get a look at this media center in person. We had seen it online and liked it, but you want to touch these kinds of things. Boy, are we glad we did! It would seem that the acorn colored Modern Storage Media stand had been recently discontinued and was available in the store for $200 less than what was listed (and still is listed) on the website. The only problem? Finding a store that had one in stock. Luckily, we had the most helpful salesperson ever who looked up what stores were listed as having some of these in stock, and called them to make sure they had them. He then handed the phone over to Marisa, who ordered the stand and had it shipped to the apartment for $20. Not too shabby at all.

Comcast, you minx!

comcastI have been meaning to add HBO to my digital cable package for awhile now. If you live in downtown Philadelphia you get your cable from Comcast, which I don't have a problem with... for the most part. My cable modem is great, and the while I wouldn't mind spending less on my cable it is luxury. No one is making me subscribe to cable, so I really can't complain.

johncinnci8.jpgThe reason I wanted HBO? I managed to watch a few episodes of John from Cincinnati, on the recommendation from Joe, and I really enjoyed it. The writing is top notch and very stylized. The situations are odd, and Al Bundy is in it (Ed O'Neill is his real name, and he is really great in this series)! What's not to like?

This is how I found myself on the phone with a very nice employee of Comcast. Somehow I got it into my head that adding HBO to my cable package would cost $10 a month. I was willing to pay this because John from Cincinnati isn't available by any other legal means and it is a more enjoyable experience watching shows on my TV with its nice sound system. The dude on the phone told me that adding HBO was a snap, and he went ahead and did it. I was happy as a clam until he said, 'Okay, so that'll add $18.95 to your bill every month.'

What the heck?! That didn't make the entirely made up amount I had in my head. How dare Comcast!

I said that seemed like an awful lot of money just to add one channel to my package. I thought that since I had Silver Digital I could add a premium channel for less, but the dude on the phone explained that wasn't so. I asked about any specials Comcast might be running and he told me that there weren't any special offers that included HBO.

Okay, Comcast, I can play your game!

I asked him if there were any way for me to get HBO for a little cheaper. What would happen if I upgraded my entire package to the Gold level? He asked me to hold, and then came back to me and said, 'Well, if you upgrade to Gold you'll get HBO, Showtime (which means I can watch Big Brother: After Dark. Bonus!), and Starz for $5 a month more than you're paying now.'

That's more like it! Though, I do wonder why he didn't tell me about that option in the first place. I imagine Comcast doesn't really want people to save money if they are hot to get a premium channel.

The moral of the story is to ask lots of questions when adding something to your cable package, it might save you some serious dough!

Wanna see me get yelled at on TV?

meoncnbc-2.jpgI have been a busy, busy panda here at WWDC (that's Apple's World Wide Developer's Conference to you, bub). Oh, that's right, I was so busy leading up to it that I didn't mention on Ye Olde Blankbaby that I would be in San Francisco this week. I'm here until Friday, so if you are a Blankbaby reader and you live in the Bay Area now is your chance to meet me!

Anyway, right after the Steve Jobs Keynote I get an email from a producer at CNBC. It would seem Steve Rubel (thanks, Steve!) gave him my name (and the names of a few of my fellow TUAW bloggers) because he was looking for someone to appear on Fast Money's Face2Face segment. They wanted someone to talk about the Keynote, though the catch was that they wanted someone at the conference. Since I'm currently in SF covering it, they went with little old me. They had me log into a WebEx session, dial up a conference number (using speakerphone) and talk into my iSight. They also made me take off my glasses, which made me sad but anything for TV (there was some glare from the glasses).

You can check it out here on iTunes and see me try to talk some sense into these fast talking traders (or you can look at it on Viddler. Thanks, Alex!). I don't know if I succeeded, but at least I didn't sound like too much of an idiot.

It is useful to keep in mind that I really didn't have any idea what they were going to ask me about. I knew they wanted to hear the 'Man on the Street' view of the Keynote but they didn't give me any specific areas they wanted to talk about. I wanted to talk about Safari 3 being on Windows but they were more interested in the iPhone (shocking, I know).

Oh, and thanks to Frank for the kind words. It was quite an intro that Dylan gave me... and one I try to live up to though I fail miserably more often than not. What's that saying, 'being there is 90%.' I might have just made that up.

Calvert DeForest, a.k.a Larry 'Bud' Melman, is no more

caldeforest.jpgCalvert DeForest died today. You might remember him from David Letterman's show where he played the character Larry 'Bud' Melman. He always got a laugh from me, what with his odd delivery of pretty random stuff (my favorite kind of humor).

Death has been in my thoughts a lot as of late. Well, perhaps not a lot, but more than usual. A friend of mine recently died due to complications from surgery and I don't think he was much older than I am. Not to mention the sudden, and entirely unexpected, death of Star. It really makes you think about what you're doing with your life.

Death is also a great motivator, at least for me. It is the main reason I have managed to shed 75 pounds in recent months. Death is a constant thought in the back of my mind as I go about my day. I really don't want to be another person who dies because they didn't take care of themselves (though heart disease does run in my family. Hurrah!). I'm not afraid of dying, really, so much as not willing to miss out on everything that will happen after I'm gone. I don't believe in an afterlife, or reincarnation, or anything along those lines. This life is the only one I get, and I damn well better enjoy it.

Heavy stuff, huh? I promise I'm not depressed! I'm a pragmatist when it comes to my own death (cremation, I think, is what'll happen to my body since I doubt any of my organs are harvestable... but the doctors should check. If they can use it, they can have it!) but I am against it happening to other people.

3, 2, 1 Contact!

mimesoul.jpgI was walking back from lunch today with Joe and Kurt when the topic of television came up. I'm not sure how we arrived at the subject, but I started to sing the theme from 3, 2, 1 Contact as we were walking down the street (I sing in public, often and loudly). That got me thinking about watching 3, 2, 1 Contact as I was a child and for some reason a shiver ran up my spine. Why would 3, 2, 1 Contact freak me out?

Ohh, right... the mimes.

I don't know who thought it would be a great idea to have people dressed in black leotards with oversized heads and toilet paper rolls for eyes cavort around on a show about science, but it always creeped me out. Especially when the mimes were sad (they cried by pulling lots of toilet paper out of the rolls that were their eyes). I'm getting the chills just thinking about it.

Anyway, Youtube has the intro to the show. Be sure to turn up the volume and sing along. Let's make contact!

Bring on the Cylon threesomes

newcylonTable of Malcontents has a post about listing the Ten reasons Battlestar Galactica is doomed. Now, I still think that BSG is the best show on television, bar none, however, last week's episode was pretty lame. I mean, boxing? Come on. It felt like filler, and that's the first time I have ever really felt that way about a BSG episode.

One bad episode a series does not doom! Plus they list Cylon threesomes as something that points to doom. Silly blogger, threesomes never point to doom (unless you're in a committed relationship, in which case I would recommend against threesomes).

Studio 60 did suck last night

Studio60Well, maybe it didn't totally suck like Dave says, but it was far from good.  I know, we'll dig up the old cliche of the fish out of water and combine it with a small backwards town!  Brilliant!  They did try to address the cliche with Joh

n Goodman's character, but sadly his character still rather one dimensional (did we really have to show this small town judge laying a revolver on the desk?).  Methinks Studio 60 isn't long for this world.

On Tuesday nights I turn into a girl

KristenbellI watch the Gilmore Girls, and I have for a long time. I'm not ashamed to admit this, however, it is clear from the commercials that accompany GG (or 'The Girls') that I am not exactly the target market for this show. Sadly, it seems I am now watching another girly show: Veronica Mars.

It is on directly after GG, so the other week I just left the TV on, and now I'm hooked. I used to be so manly (Hey! No laughing at that). Though there is a common theme, both show feature attractive women. I wonder if Kristen Bell is single.. and perhaps just a little desperate?