The Comeback

Not a deep post about rebooting one’s self. Just a confession that I’ve become addicted to Lisa Kudrow’s overlooked 2005 gem “The Comeback” during my final, furious code marathon. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a treat you can see via Amazon Prime.


Arrested Development Season 4 Mr. F references (MINOR SPOILERS)

I didn’t pick these up during my first run-through of the show. In my grief, I get one spoiler alert. Ok, three. But I won’t reveal what these characters have to do with Mr. F or the Featherbottom legacy. I’ll give the episode, though, if you want to look for them.

Episode 8: Red Hairing

Hey, it’s Herman and Featherbottom!

Episode 9: Smashed

What is Tommy Tune doing on Arrested Development?

Episode 12: Señoritis

Maeby is her father’s daughter…and her mother’s daughter…

Roger Ebert

I’ve become too self-conscious about my writing to tackle a worthy tribute to the great Roger Ebert. I don’t know of great writers because I am a failed reader. But, over the years, I’ve read virtually every movie review by Roger Ebert for virtually every movie I’ve seen. His opinion and his analysis trumped all others. With his insightful and humorous words, he’d tell me why I liked or disliked a film when I couldn’t find the words. (I make a habit of reading reviews AFTER I’ve seen a movie, though I generally don’t go out of my way to see films that have been panned by the top critics.) I had really enjoyed his commentaries on politics and the nature of life and death and love over the last few years on his blog, and I had been amazed by both how prolific and how positive he generally remained as he battled cancer and its cruel repercussions.

And, in the days before the internet and DVRs, growing up, I did dig through the TV Guide as my local stations would shuffle At The Movies around on the schedule, because it was one of my must-see programs each week. Siskel & Ebert were the best.

There are thousands of wonderful writings that Roger Ebert has left. There is so much great stuff being posted around the internet today. This 2012 blog post about his wife Chaz makes me smile.


I’ve got DIRECTV back. When I first moved to my current address, I had DISH, as there was already a DISH satellite attached to a poll rising six feet in the air from my front roof. My most visited blog post remains DISH Network Sucks. I think I may have “cut the cord” briefly but then tried Time Warner Cable…for about a day. The installation process was a disaster. I had heard DIRECTV was better. So didn’t stick with TWC. I went to DIRECTV, and it was terrific.

But then I decided I’d cut the cord again. I took a hiatus. Then I reactivated with a more stripped-down plan. Then I took another hiatus. Then I quit. Initially, I was trying to save money. Later, I decided that all of the TV options were too much of a distraction, and quite a bit too much money. However, I would’ve been receptive to the right deal had the cancellation rep offered it.

So I’d been one of those people who was too cool for cable or satellite TV for about a year-and-a-half. But lately I’ve been wondering why I deprive myself. I’m not happier watching good shows nine months after they’ve aired. I’m not happier only having the option of watching The Daily Show on my laptop…I don’t like watching it on my laptop. I WANT to watch breaking news on the TV when it happens. I LIKE to watch live sports. I don’t like 95% of what’s on, but I can afford the $70/month right now, so, damn it, I’m not going to deprive myself anymore.

I wanted to go back to DIRECTV a couple of weeks ago, but the rep I spoke with would not give me the new customer deal since I had not been an ex-customer for at least two years. Thus, I had another flirtation with Time Warner Cable, whom, as I recently posted, failed to win me over. Today, I visited the vendor selling DIRECTV for Costco. He told me that I should be able to get the new customer deal as long as I didn’t mention the whole being-a-recent-customer thing. In fact, the DIRECTV rep who confirmed my order via phone simply asked if I was currently a DIRECTV customer.

It will be re-installed on Wednesday. 3 free months of HBO and Showtime. (And Cinemax, but, WTF is on Cinemax?) I can watch Mad Men with the rest of the country. I can watch Game of Thrones even if I don’t know what the hell is going on. I can catch up on HBOGO…or I can just read some summaries on the internet. I actually did watch a fair amount of Season One during my last engagement with DIRECTV.

So I’ve missed essentially two entire Duke basketball seasons now. On one level, I haven’t cared at all. Truly. Being a fan just hasn’t been that important. Yet…on another level, I miss being a fan. Being a fan is a lot of fun, and it does take you out of your decrepit life for a couple of hours here and there. (I don’t mean your decrepit life; I mean mine. And I don’t mean my life is decrepit. It’s just the random adjective that popped out).

On that note, I’ve gotten a subscription to MLB Extra Innings for what amounts to something like $5/month. I truly did love major league baseball when I was a kid. I haven’t loved it in at least 20 years, but I feel like giving it a try.

The moral of the story is…let yourself be entertained for Pete’s sake.

Stuck in the YouTube ’80s TV theme and credits vortex

This would’ve just been a Facebook post, but then I remembered I had a blog.

Wow…Jeffrey Tambor played Mr. Hart on the short-lived early 80s sitcom version of 9-to-5. If only this knowledge could get me places.

Now, this show I remember. Another Arrested Developer, Jason Bateman, had his first starring role here after stints on Little House on the Prairie and Silver Spoons.

I remember this one, too. I liked this one. Katey Sagal’s younger twin sisters starred.

And this one, too. How did I enjoy these shows? I cannot possibly have understood this. Any credit sequence with heads in boxes looking around at each other is a winner.

I’ve had my fill. These are all 30 years old. Sick.

Satellite TV Round 4?

I just came perilously close to signing up for DirecTV for second contract, where my first run with them lasted three years which included two viewing spans and two hiatuses. Prior to that, I was satellite-less for about a year, had canceled Time Warner Cable before it started due to a terrible installation experience.

Before that, I had Dish, but got rid of it because it only worked with the ridiculous dish-on-a-pole erected on the roof in the front of the house. It had been put there by past tenants, so I inherited it upon renting the house six years ago. Since Dish requires a higher clearance angle than DirecTV, there was no viable location for the dish, so I dumped it. My 7-10-07 post “DISH Network Sucks” is the most-viewed and most-commented-on post I’ve had. Google “dish network sucks” and…well, I used to be on the first page of search results; now I’m on the second. People post their stories. I don’t even read them. But it’s amusing.
So this would be my fourth round of satellite TV service in this house…if I signed up. I’m on the checkout screen. Factoring in the second 12 months’ rate hike as part of a 24-month contract, the various rebates, the Costco cash card, and taxes, I would get what I want, on average throughout the 24 months, for just $54.

And what I want is specifically:
– MSNBC (for shows like Rachel Maddow)
– CurrentTV (for 24/7 liberal Kool Aid)
– AMC (for maybe 1-3 shows)
– FX (for maybe 1-3 shows)
– ESPN (for the occasional sports I care about)
– Comedy Central (for Stewart and Colbert, which I don’t bother watching on the Internet)
– TNT (for maybe 1-3 shows)
– Other (for maybe 1-3 shows that may arise on some other channel at some point)

All of the rest is distraction. And this is what is preventing me from going ahead. $54 is a pretty good deal, I think, for the contentment I will get from having what seems like not a whole lot of television. Still, it is inevitable I’ll watch far more. I don’t have to have a DVR, but it’s free with this deal, and I will inevitably record network programming that I wouldn’t otherwise keep up with now. I’ll find other stuff.

Watching current TV programming can both keep me better connected to the world, not just current events but entertainment that other people are also currently enjoying. On the other hand, watching all that programming gives me more excuses to hole myself up in my house and avoid trying to connect to the world in more meaningful ways.

I imagine I might cancel Netflix streaming, so that would save me an extra $10 a month. I wouldn’t need to spend $1.99 to watch same-season episodes of Mad Men and Dallas, which I’ve done in recent months.

There’s the principal of living without cable/satellite.

Then there’s the live-is-short principal. Why miss out on stuff I enjoy?

I’ll sleep on it.