Sunday, February 19, 2006

A Flame Few Have Noticed 

You Are Bobsledding

You're not a world class athlete, but you are a world class maniac.
Your need for speed could have you blazing past the finish line!
What Winter Sport Are You?


Quiz via Caltechgirl.

It's been the usual business for me lately. Last weekend was a trip to Southern CA to visit Caltechgirl, GMT, Bill, Helen, and Sandro. During the week has been lots of stressful work.

Still though, I've managed to get in some Winter Olympics viewing. However, this time around, watching has felt more like an obligation than a joy.

Thanks, NBC.

OK, so it's not all their fault. It's tough covering an event occurring ten time zones ahead of home. Even the Italians are distracted from the Turin Torino games. They're waiting on the 2006 World Cup, which I'll be more interested in too.

Still, watching these games have the feel of eating leftover casserole. By the time you consume it, it's already going stale, and you wonder why you didn't just get take-out to start with anyway.

In 1996, NBC dropped the most wretched, jingoistic, oversapified sentimentality on unsuspecting viewers heads. This time, the 2006 games seem to suffer from Attention Deficit Syndrome. The Olympic Games are one event, made up of several niche events. To cover the wide variety of events, NBC has decided to bounce back and forth. One 5-minute segment of bobsledding, followed by a ten-minute segment of ice dancing, then five minutes of speed skating.

Instead of covering a few events well, NBC has decided to cover all the events poorly. Is it any wonder the Olympics have taken a beating from American Idol among others?

If I were broadcasting the Winter Olympics, I would make the following (perhaps unpopular) choices:

1.) Do the research and surveying. See what events give me the best shot at ratings gold. Pick, say women’s' figure skating, and devote most of the evening to it. Show the other events on m cable channels. That way, I keep the skating fans tuned in, and fans of other events can go to the other channels.

2.) After a big event, especially an American victory, cut to the national anthem immediately after the performance. The Olympics now have a common medal ceremony for a day's events. Big mistake. It's like going out to eat, then not having dessert until breakfast the next day. Follow up on the emotion of the athletes and the spectators with the natural climax of the medal presentation and the anthem.

3.) Stick between live coverage of an event at 5am or delaying the coverage until evening? I say do both. The hardcore fans can watch on CNBC or MSNBC, then the rest of us can watch that evening on NBC if we so chose.

4.) Expanding on 1.), show more of each event. Show the foreigners with the funny names. Show the medal ceremonies of big events, even if it's the Slovenian national anthem that gets played. Yes, Americans want to see our athletes win. But the Olympics (for me as a kid anyway) were about events and athletes I can't see every day. I want to see the German luge champion in the funny orange and black tights go down the course. I want to see the cross-country skiing where the crowds are full of Austrian and Norwegian flags. That's the point; I get to see people different from me in competition for themselves and their country. That's what the Olympics are about. I don't want a snippet; I can only get the impact of an event if I see more.

5.) Get the Games off this alternating two-year system. The Athens games were barely a year and one half ago. Frequent Olympics just turn them into another (nearly) yearly World Championship of Obscure Sports. The Olympics are were special because of their scarcity.

You can tell the Olympics are in trouble. Before people were upset at the disappointing coverage. Now, most people just don't care.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Do You Believe In Lucky Rabbits? 

You're an Emmy-award winning sportscaster with three-and-a-half decades of experience. People still remember you for your broadcast of one of the greatest sporting events in US history.

In the end, how much are you worth to your employer?

Answer: The equivalent of a old-time cartoon rabbit.

ABC Monday Night Football comemtator Al Michaels was part of a trade between ABC and NBC that also involved Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.

The backstory: While working at Universal, Walt Disney created Oswald, but gave up control of Oswald over a money dispute. Walt went on to create a certain cartoon mouse to replace Oswald. Universal kept control and had future Woody Woodpecker creator Walter Lantz take over drawing Oswald. Universal evetually bought NBC.

It's a nice sentiment, but I'm not sure I would be as positive with the trade as Michaels is:

"Oswald is definitely worth more than a fourth-round draft choice," Michaels said, referring to what the Kansas City Chiefs gave the New York Jets as compensation for releasing coach Herm Edwards from his contract. "I'm going to be a trivia answer someday."

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Franken-eggs 

Here's a story I'm not quite sure is creepy or cool. Actually, I think it's both:

Scientists Turn Fish Sperm Cells into Eggs.

Scientists have tricked male fish cells that were destined to become sperm into switching sex and becoming eggs instead.

The technique could one day be used to quickly produce animals with desired traits, speed up breeding programs and help repopulate dwindling populations of endangered species or creating sushi on demand, the researchers said.


Hmmm, I like the whole repopulation idea. But if this technology ever got applied to mammals (read: humans), I can see a lot of abuse. Could you imagine? You though inbreeding was bad, try breeding with yourself. Also kind of puts a new spin on that whole "men are usuless" arguement. Oh well.

Regardless of what the discovery or invention is, there are two things for certain. Decent people will use it to help improve the world they live in. And some twisted bastards will find a way to exploit it for their own good.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Sunday Update 

I was hoping to be a little more verbose the past few days, but it turned out the past week was a doozy. Work was super-intense, at least in terms of deadlines and meetings and such. Lots of late nights and little time for reflection on the meaning of life. Throw in a few misunderstandings between people (which I choose not to get into here), and it made for a week where I was just trying to get through one day, even one hour, at a time.

Likely famous last words: but next week should be better.

As I promised, I come to you with the Guppy Update. Bill's suggestions turned out to be pretty useful, as a couple of the originals ended up with the name "Waiting to Be Flushed." Sigh.

Undeterred, I went back to the pet store and got some more companions. So now I have two males and two females (males being the more colorful ones).


morefish Posted by Picasa

Wanda is a good name, so that can be the name of the lighter female on the right. Nemo is a good name for a boy guppy, so that one will be the darker of the males, in the center of this photo. I actually like the name Bait, but I'll change it up a bit and call the other male Gorton, as in Gorton's fisherman. I'll call the last female Frisky, since I had goldfish with that name as a kid.

Hopefully, I won't have to put out a request for more names anytime soon.

Yet Another Pop Pysch Quiz... 

You guys should know by now that I love to take these things...

Your Five Factor Personality Profile

Extroversion:

You have low extroversion.
You are quiet and reserved in most social situations.
A low key, laid back lifestyle is important to you.
You tend to bond slowly, over time, with one or two people.

Conscientiousness:

You have medium conscientiousness.
You're generally good at balancing work and play.
When you need to buckle down, you can usually get tasks done.
But you've been known to goof off when you know you can get away with it.

Agreeableness:

You have high agreeableness.
You are easy to get along with, and you value harmony highly.
Helpful and generous, you are willing to compromise with almost anyone.
You give people the benefit of the doubt and don't mind giving someone a second chance.

Neuroticism:

You have medium neuroticism.
You're generally cool and collected, but sometimes you do panic.
Little worries or problems can consume you, draining your energy.
Your life is pretty smooth, but there's a few emotional bumps you'd like to get rid of.

Openness to experience:

Your openness to new experiences is medium.
You are generally broad minded when it come to new things.
But if something crosses a moral line, there's no way you'll approve of it.
You are suspicious of anything too wacky, though you do still consider creativity a virtue.
The Five Factor Personality Test


Taken from the medium extroverted Caltechgirl.

This Remote Was Made for Muting 

It's over two hours before the Super Bowl kicks off, and I already hate the new Jessica Simpson Pizza Hut ad. Exactly who's idea was it to use the song from her box-office bomb Dukes of Hazzard?

Dear ad execs: It's the freakin' Super Bowl! Ya know, there are these guys and they're called writers. Try using real ones for your mega-expensive ad next time.