Some random thoughts

Hrumph! I don’t have a topic as such, so I am just going to put to words some random stuff, like a syndicated columnist would do. That way I can justify a blog…

Not sure why, but I am still playing Sid Meier’s Pirates! I think its probably one of the most enjoyable “casual” games I’ve played. Since its not timed, and the goals are varied and open-ended, its a good game for just opening, playing an hour or so, then moving on. For the wife its WoW (as it was for me for a while), but I just can’t get into the grind: Every time I get into an MMORPG it eventually feels like endless journeying and hacking. And I really don’t enjoy being called a useless dumbass when grouping by some 15 year old who spends more time studying how to level and respec his character than on other quality pursuits like grammar and social interaction.Now Pirates!, while having the obvious plus of being single player, is also varied enough to not get too repetitive, but not too varied as to be unfocused. Its a game that sits on the hard drive for a while, then I fire it up and play a couple of games to relax and be amused.

I have to complain about a commercial that has been running lately. Its for a liqueur, one of the dozens of brands that have now stormed back onto the airwaves to position themselves as sophisticated, urbane symbols of today’s sophisticated, urbane young socialites, and not just another flavor of ethanol. This particular ad is entitled “How to order a Cuervo Black and Cola”.Immediately I am struck by the title: Do we really need a primer for creating this particular drink? Let’s see…Cuervo…cola…okay, I think we got it. What? 24 more seconds? Oh man…

The announcer, your slicky advert big-voiced guy who sounds like he gargles with road salt and ash cinder mix, introduces this particular playlet. Three young men approach a bar. They look as though they haven’t touched a razor in days: All three could have walked off the set of Lost. It is entirely possible that they had been working in their particle physics lab all week, attempting to refine their real-world calculations of Randall-Sundrum models and their relationship to a standard model of quantum chromodynamics, but theoretical physicists rarely have chiseled features, tussled mops of hair, and actual pecs, so I can only assume they have not forgotten basic hygiene and wanted to look that way.

They approach the trendy bar and accost the bartender, who appears to have spawned from the same cloning chamber as the three patrons (unkempt facial hair and all). “Cuervo Black and Cola” comes the order, and with a smirk and a nod, our hapless soda-gun jockey turns to prepare this woefully simple drink. His hand hovers briefly over the old-fashioned glasses, when…

“No no, buddy! With COLA!” a scolding bass voice interjects.

Hey! Where the hell does this big-voiced bastard get off? Just because his hand HAPPENS to be near the short glasses, the announcer feels the need to chastise this fellow, forcing him to reach quickly for a highball. If I had worked hard to get my mixology degree, then pay my dues to work my way into a classy joint like this fellow has, I’d tell this announcer jagoff to fornicate himself, painfully. The other case, sadly, is that this bartender is so unbelievably inept that he needs guidance to pour these two fluids into the appropriate glass. Sad, actually.

Apparently voiceover man is in cahoots with the three empty vessels ordering at the bar, since the three fools erupt in mocking laughter. Our bartender can only smile, and shake his head, since beating in their smug faces would only get him fired. He’ll finish their stupid 2-part mixed drinks and shuffle off, the humiliation gnawing away at his tract like an acid, hollowing him from the inside and rotting his spirit. Nice one, frat boys.

The big voice, high on feeling his power over a mere barkeep, now finishes the recipe for us, “Kick back, relax…”

“…and enjoy!” This last part is intoned by the blond woman who…wait, what?

Seemingly conjured from nowhere, a blond woman with horribly severe features appears with the three pinheads at the bar. No explanation is given for her arrival, and there is no evidence that she is in any way connected with these three fellows. Theories abound: Perhaps she was just returning from the bathroom, one of those ladies restrooms in fancy places with honest-to-god furniture in it. But she walks into the conversation effortlessly, as if she had been watching them. She could be a random woman, who has taken a liking to one of them (any one, since they are all the same guy). But empirical real-world evidence shows that this doesn’t actually happen outside of body spray ads. The most unsavory theory is that she is, um, a courtesan, or escort, or (what the hell) hooker, who is seeing lots of money and less of brains in this trio. My own favorite is that she is, in fact, a succubus that will insinuate herself with these poor guys, take them out back, and proceed to feast on their still-quivering flesh and drink heartily of their marrow.

Dumb? Oh yeah. Still a question lingers: Is Cuervo so in need of exposure that they must resort to inventing mixed drinks? For that matter, if they had to do that, couldn’t they come up with something more clever? ANYTHING with cola will be decent, not just their fire water. Sadly, I hate to say, their campaign worked, if in no other respect than getting me to spend this much time with it in my blog.

Fortunately I’m not the only one who hates this ad. Read some more venom here at Adrants.

Twitter is new. You’ve probably noticed it on the homepage, replacing my now bizarrely nonfunctional news feed parser. To borrow a term from a friend, it is a “microblog”, built on the SMS (Simple Messaging Service) protocol. SMS comes from the world of cellphones, better known to folks as “texting”, or “txt”-ing for the vowel-challenged folks who utilize it. A compact format, it only allows a maximum size of 140 alphanumeric characters. Twitter collects these “texts” from various sources, including cell phones, instant messengers, and the web, and displays them. What you get are ongoing snapshots of people’s lives put on display. For some its addicting, posting “twits” almost non-stop with every mundane aspect or random thought that hits their head. Some are enjoyable to read, while others can be dull, unassailable, or cryptic. Some use it as a de-facto instant messenger, albeit in the public view.I do enjoy posting there, but alas like this blog I sometimes don’t post to it like I should.

I got a chuckle out of the generic cereal my wife bought one time. It was analogous to a cereal like Special K, and it had the title “Essentially You”. My first thought was that it was actually Soylent Green since the cereal is, essentially, YOU! I’m always amused at generic store brand names, especially when they try to evoke a national brand.

Vista or not Vista? At the moment, not Vista. Microsoft has really made the Windows community gun-shy on OS upgrades, even though there are some good initial reports on this one. My boss is going by the old saw of “Service Pack 2, then upgrade”, which probably means 6-12 months at minimum. We recently had a peek at Vista in action when a new PC we ordered had arrived with it loaded. I do admit it looks very purty, what with the semi-translucent windows and Flip 3D. We also discovered its tenacity, when it refused to be deleted from the hard drive so we could load our updated and patched version of XP (to keep the office standardized). Ah, Microsoft: Only America Online is more difficult to exhume from a machine. I may decide to give Vista a whirl if I get a new laptop (someday…soon I hope).

Life in Dadland proceeds apace. Sean is growing, by height, by weight, and by teeth: Suckling on a knuckle has now become downright dangerous. He’s eating food, but we’re getting a dangerous precedent. He’s started to refuse some of his veggies; peas, squash, etc. But he’s totally mental over any fruit, like applesauce or bananas. So he will start to clam up on his greens, grunting and being difficult, but bring the fruit over and he’s wolfing it down. So we’re employing a trick learned from my mom: alternate, one fruit, one veg, one fruit, one cereal, one fruit, etc. The boy wants to get his fruit but he doesn’t know which one is coming, so he’s forced to eat it all! Ha! Outsmarted you now, you baby you!


Comments are closed.