Archive for the ‘Life on the tube’ Category

Taking a leaf out of NTV’s book

October 31, 2010

One of the funny, but not all that surprising parts of cable television in Rankin Inlet (and I expect other parts of Nunavut as well) was the inclusion of Newfoundland Television (NTV). Funny, because it is/was a really low-budget station from half a country away, but not surprising because of the sheer density of Newfoundlanders up north.

One of NTV’s trademarks was its random filler music videos. Almost every commercial break, at the very end, they would play about 40 seconds of a song/music video. Always ending abruptly before the show resumed.

I don’t totally know why they did this, I figured maybe they didn’t have to pay royalties if they only played a segment of the song. Maybe it was an easier way of timing out the commercials, who knows.

But now MTV (Canada) is doing it too. The channel really doesn’t show any music videos anymore. Just reality TV about short orange italians. And pregnant 16 year olds. And they’ve gotten in trouble with the CRTC for it too. But what they ARE doing now is “promoing” music videos, by showing 40 second clips, and then directing people to their web site to see the full song.

It’s exactly what NTV has been doing for years. But with more web traffic as a possible bonus.

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Touching television or pure PR?

February 22, 2010

Ever seen the TV show “Undercover Boss”? I hadn’t until this weekend. I happened to catch what *might* have been the season premiere. The general premise is the big-wigs of major American corporations spend some time on the ground level, interacting with front-line staff and spend a week doing grunt work (or training to do grunt work) in the bowels of their own company.

Here’s a clip from this week’s episode, where the president and CEO of 7-11 takes a ride with Igor, a charming immigrant-turned-truck driver from Kazakhstan.

“Danny” (aka Joe DePinto undercover) comes off as a concerned businessman, who’s bottom line ISN’T the bottom line, but the people who work it.

He watches in amazement as Delores, a 60-something mother of five changes, coffee filters with lightening speed, and greets all the customers by first name. He teases out of her the sad story behind the smiling face: she’s in need of a kidney transplant and won’t take it from her children, in case they have similar problems in the future. She’s waiting for a donor.

He tries to keep up with the budding artist who works in the pastry warehouse.

He plays the white knight when florescent lights burn out and corporate puts the repairs on low priority.

He watches in pained disbelief as countless bagels and donuts are thrown in the garbage instead of being donated to charity.

Etc. etc. etc.

Basically, DePinto finds a gem in every one of the employees he oh-so-serendipitously meets. And at the end, he rewards them in fun little ways for their dedication to the company.

And yah, I’ll admit. I was charmed by the display of employee-appreciation and it put a personal touch on what’s probably the world’s most ubiquitous convenience store.

But there’s part of me that can’t help but feel this is really just a VERY well orchestrated PR stunt. The CEO is likable, he appears to care about the employees he meets, yadda yadda yadda.

The darkest underbelly that came up in THIS episode was a couple burnt out lights and thrown away pastries.

I’d love to see how customer loyalty and business changes after this episode airs. Something tells me 7-11 will do quite well for itself. But maybe that’s just my cynicism showing.

What’s in a sport?

February 15, 2010

For the first time in my adult life (I say adult because I had very little control over the remote as a tot or teen) I’ve been making a conscious effort to watch the Olympics.

And I’ve found myself wondering a bit about how the Powers That Be decide which sports make the docket and which ones don’t.

I’m no expert, but I always considered sports to be more or less universally accessible. Sure, some are more expensive and gear-intensive (hockey, skiing) than others (soccer, basketball). Some more popular in certain areas (Western vs. Eastern Canada for skiing) or countries (European vs. American soccor/football) than others. But for the most part, when I think of popular sports, there are generally amateur leagues for developing atheltes, for those who aren’t competing at a provincial/national/global level.

So what the HECK is the deal with luge, skeleton and bobsled?

Even biathlon (which I keep typing as “biathalong”) is a bit obscure, but at least I can say I know at least ONE person who did the biathlon as a sport (but I’m pretty sure that was just through her work in cadets).

I don’t know a single person who goes home and hits the luge track after work.
I’ve never heard of a guy rounding up his three buddies to jump in a bobsled for a run on the weekend.

Maybe I’m just hanging out with the wrong people, but these are not REAL sports. Real in that they are a part of everyday, common athletics. I’ll admit they’re fun to watch, but… why are they part of the Olympics? Are they more popular elsewhere? Are there skeleton clubs I’m not aware of? What’s going on here?

What have I done?

January 6, 2010

As many seasoned bloggers have learned through trial and error, there are some things you just don’t – or try not to – write about because of the ensuing search results that will direct the public to your blog.

Generally speaking, the search topics that draw you dear readers to this here site are pretty harmless. Mostly variations on the blog name, or my name, or where I’ve lived, past/present (obviously, it’s people looking for YOURS TRULY – I’m famous, you know). Nothing all that interesting.

But then there’s this:

belt

Seriously? I should blog more often about terrible television shows. Apparently it’s a real sell.

Though on second thought… it doesn’t really look like it was ME that drew people to the site. Mayhaps it was the half-naked strummy-strumy Hawaiin. After all, my site is the first listing on Google if you search “Akoni” and “Conveyor Belt of Love” (or any variation of the phrase).

“I’m going to take the conveyor belt of love very seriously”

January 5, 2010

I started a blog post tearing to shreds this new show on ABC called “Conveyor Belt of Love.” But then I got bored of my own ranting and decided instead to post a synopsis of the show and its first two contestants.

This allows me to both watch the show AND mock it AT THE SAME TIME. I’m multi-tasking, people.

Synopsis: Five insufferably beautiful women in cocktail dresses sit on pedestals (coincidence? I think not) as male specimens are trucked out on a (you guessed it) conveyor belt – much like you’d find at the airport. But instead of playing “let’s find the luggage” these ladies are playing a much more exploitive and RIDICULOUS game. They wave oversized auction paddles with the words “not interested” and “interested” taped to the front and back.

To give you an idea of how this works, observe what happened when the first two guys who were unceremoniously wheeled out on the conveyor belt.

Conveyor belt starts. Guy 1 is wheeled out on the stage

(Girl1) “Oh I hope he’s fabulous *giggle*”

We learn his name is ALEX, 25.

(ALEX25) “Oh my god, how am I going to focus? You guys are beautiful. My name is Alex. I’m 25 years old. I still live at home….

(ALL 5 GIRLS HOLD UP THEIR AUCTION PADDLES AND CHIME) “Not Interested!”

(ALEX25) “Wha? Wha??? (as he is slid off-stage by the conveyor)

(Girl5) ” ‘I live with my parents’ is not the first thing you should say to a girl you just met”

(ALEX25) “What-ever” (as he disappears from view)

Guy 2 is wheeled out on stage (music follows him – we see he’s playing a ukulele AND singing – of course)

(All girls) “Oo! Oooo!! OOOOOoooOOO!! *giggle* Oh! Eeee!”

(AKONI23) *singing* “Hey miss, how you doing’ I just wanted you to know I’m in the mooood for looooove” *strummystrumstrum*

(All girls)*Applause* “Oooo! That was fantastic!”

(AKONI23) “Aloha my name is Akoni. I’ve been single for about a year now. So I’m lookin’ for like a solid chick who can sweep me off my feet….”

(Girl3 who looks like she’s from that show Jersey Shore) Akoni, is that a Hawaiian name? Do you surf in Ha-wa-ii? How old are you?

(Girl1) “Take your whole shirt off!” (as compared to half his shirt)

NOTE: THE CONVEYOR BELT HAS NOW STOPPED TO ALLOW AKONI TO SAFELY STRIP.

(All Girls) “OOOOHHHHHHHHHH”

(Girl1 – undressing what’s left of the poor man with her beady little eyes) “I’m interested”

(Girl 2) *waves “not interested” sign*

(Girl 3) “Well I think he’s cute, so I’m interested!”

(Girl 4) “Not interested. I don’t like bare feet”

(Girl 5) “I can’t pick anyone younger than me. I have to be the baby”

NOW BEGINS A VERY SPECIAL PROCESS!!! Because now we have the part of the show – the only and only part of the show – where the GUYS get to be something other than slabs of meat.

If there is ever more than one girl interested in one of the conveyor-belt prospects, there’s a FACE OFF. And the poor guy has to pick between one of his two suitors.

(AKONI23) Whoa, uh, the tables have turned a little bit. So uh, what’s your ideal guy?

(Girl 3) Strong. Silent. Tight, I guess. (My Jersey Shore reference wasn’t that far off it seems…)

(AKONI23) All right. I’m going to take you up on that. What’s your name?

(Girl 3) Dalet. So go to my box over there.

(AKONI23) (to other girl) Sorry.

(Girl 1) That’s alright. There’s like 30 more other guys.

And the process continues. For a full hour.

Other hilights included:

  • A poet with a lisp reciting his plans for milk baths with the ladies (0 dates)
  • Guy in a speedo and his dog that had two personalities (“Princess in the day time, Rambo at night”) (1 DATE!!)
  • Nunchuck rapping dude (0 dates)
  • “First thing you should know about me I like to date in the Cougar Bracket … that’s over 32” (0 dates)
  • The 31 year old balloon-animal-making virgin (1 DATE!)
  • The self-proclaimed Filipino Criss Angel (0 Dates)
  • Native-pride dude out in full-feathers (0 Dates)
  • Pro figure skater/fashion designer most closeted guy ever (0 Dates)

And because I know the above is going to leave you wanting more… the trailer to this true gem of winter premieres. Enjoy!

Be still, my heart.

October 27, 2009

I love the show House. I really, truly do. I love the witty banter, I love the science and I love that 3 years ago I had the chance to interview one of the staff writers. That was pretty darn cool.

But one of the downsides of shows like House and ER is they make you a little paranoid. A touch hypochondriac. And for me, a tad concerned that when a real problem comes up everyone will think you’re faking.

There was a time not too long ago when I refused to go to the doctor. At one point, in my final year of university, I slammed the door of our apartment shut on my finger and it hurt SO BAD I couldn’t write or type and it was of course right around final paper and exam time. I refused to see a doctor about it, didn’t want to be a wuss and doctors had for the longest time made me really anxious. Eventually my boyfriend at the time convinced me to go to a clinic. I had fractured the tip of my finger.

My how things have changed.

I had to go to the hospital tonite. Four nights in a new town and I’ve already seen the inside of its ER. I was having some strange heart palpitations/flutters yesterday during the workday. They went away when I got home and thought it was just first-day-of-work jitters. They came back today at work and only got worse when I got home (and today I found WAY less stressful). After trying for hours to get through the 811 number (dial-a-nurse – I didn’t want to go to emergency for something silly) my mom finally coerced me into going to the hospital.

I’m glad I did, but not because we found out what was wrong or anything. Every time they hooked me up to the ECG machine the flutters would lay dormant. It was so frustrating, and of course as I write this I’ve had at least 10 or so palpitations/flutters. But at least they believed me. They took blood to run some tests and referred me to the Electrocardiography department. They’re going to set me up with a little do-dad that will monitor my heart activity for a full 24 hours so at least that way SOMETHING will show up.

Hopefully this is just something minor. It likely is, the doctors/nurses didn’t admit me, so obviously that means something. And when I’m not getting those fluttery waves in my chest I feel fine. It’s just a little un-nerving to have to deal with this when everything is still so new and I don’t really have a support system built up yet.

But I guess that’s what the phone and email are for.

DSCF2111

Me goin’ all “white chicks and gang signs” with my hot electrodes and hosptial bracelet. Who says sick ain’t sexy?

Finally! A Smartie even *I* can enjoy!

September 20, 2009

Little known fact about your humble blogger: I’m allergic to red food colouring. Not yellow. Not blue. Red.

As legend goes, it all began one stormy Valentine’s Day when I was just a wee one. Small enough to fit in your pocket, but big enough to eat cake. Specifically, a large heart-shaped cake with deep red icing.

Not long after consuming what was likely a very large piece for a very small girl, I broke out in a bevy of itchy hives. Our thoughtful family doctor suggested some kind of hive-repellant syrup. But to everyone’s dismay the hives just got worse. Yep, you guessed it… like many medications for kids these days… it was cherry flavoured AND coloured. It was a little while before everyone figured out it was the red dye that was causing the itchy splotchies, but I came out of it no worse for wear… save a couple scabs.

I was, from that moment, banned from consuming any red artificial colourants. For most of my childhood I had only ever experienced what cherries, watermelons and strawberries tasted like when they were, well, cherries, watermelons and strawberries.

My parents were vigilant, and I was too. In fact, my sister and I even re-wrote that classic candy jingle to sing “When you eat your smarties do you eat the GREEN ones last?” (we’d normally shout the GREEN part really loud so everyone else’s ‘red’ was drowned out)

My first hotmail address (way back in the 7th grade – that’s 1998 folks) actually was ‘smartiegreen.’ A little tribute to me being artificial-food-colouring-ly-challenged.

So imagine my surprise to see the following advertised on TV this evening:

smarites

That’s right! I can now, if I choose, eat the FULL BOX of Smarties UNAIDED if I so choose! No more begging my friends to trade the red ones (and sometimes pink) for green or blue. Actually, according to Nestle’s press release/FAQ, green and blue aren’t even a trading option anymore! Their artificial colours are TOO artificial to create just yet.

So while the 24-year-old-me has gained a colour in that box of candy-coated chocolates, it lost two. And with them, a legacy.

Tragic!

Gleeful

September 15, 2009

I’m hooked on a new show.

Luckily this time around I’m not joining the party halfway through. This time, I spotted the show from its trailers.

I’m not going to pretend that Glee is for everyone. I like it because I see a lot of myself in the characters: it’s about a group of high school students trying to keep their glee club alive. And while we didn’t have a glee club in our school, we had a drama club, and for years lamented the fact that our high school wasn’t included in the ‘annual musical rotation’ like the two neighbouring schools.

So when I watch the show, I’m admittedly hit with a bit of nostalgia. I see myself and I see my friends. And I see the struggle to normalize and fit in and … okay I’m getting a bit off track here. Glee isn’t about Jackie Sticking Out, it’s a fun show that is about misfits. And misfits have the most fun of all 🙂

Frankly, the show probably is too niche-market to last very long. It’ll probably be criticized for being too teeny-boppy, too quirky, too ‘riding on the coat tails of High School Musical’ … because let’s face it, there are 70-odd songs performed at least in part throughout the first 13 episodes – and that’s a lot.

But there’s some real gems in there.

For starters, three of the main characters are former Broadway alum. All the characters do their own singing (which blows my mind because I could have sworn that was Kayne’s voice) but most of them are ‘nobodies’ – – at least in the film/tv world. Seriously, I checked them out. Ninety per cent of the cast have almost no tv or film appearances before this show. That’s unreal.

And it’s got this cute little underlying theme: that being different is okay. Gleeks (Glee Geek, natch!) rule and Cheerios (Cheer leaders) are just vapid little grain nuggets. And that’s pretty cool in my books.

My only concern is that as Townie pointed out about Pushing Daisies a couple seasons ago when IT premiered… Yes, the show’s quirky and fun, but quirky doesn’t get you picked up for a second season.

Issac and Ishmael

June 23, 2009

I’ve got goosebumps.

I sat down with my laptop this evening, switched on the first episode of the third season of the West Wing, and prepared to write a photo-heavy entry about my last couple of weekends, out on the land.

But that’s not going to happen. Because the first episode of the third season of the West Wing isn’t regularly-scheduled fare. They say so in the first minute of the episode. Rather, it’s a stand-alone “play” (their words, not mine) whose profits were to go to disaster relief funds after 9/11.

I’ve got goosebumps because it caught me by surprise. The show’s not new. It went something like 7 or 8 seasons and ended years ago. So I guess I should have known it would eventually cross the September 11, 2001 timeline. But didn’t necessairily figure in there’d be a special episode they’d include on the series DVD. So yah. I’m surprised.

I can still remember that day. In my little PEI-centric, 16-year-old existance.

I was sitting in Chemistry class. I hated chemistry. I hated chemistry and I didn’t like my teacher. Actually he was a fine PERSON but he sucked at teaching. Not just teaching chemistry, but teaching. Period. It was just about noon time. “In those days” I can only think of one … *maybe* two teachers who had computers at their desks. There were another five in the library. And we had a couple computer labs, but you had to be in a class that had reserved one to be allowed to use them. Two twelfth graders (I even remember who they were, one I was in drama with for years, the other a classic class-clown) burst through the room asking if we had a television in the class. We didn’t. But they explained in breathless voices that planes had crashed into the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon. I didn’t know what the WTC was back then, but I sure knew what the Pentagon was. And I knew it was big.

I don’t remember much else about that day, other than the endless newsreel, similar to the way things unfolded with the Columbine shootings. You couldn’t escape the coverage. And I think that’s one of the things people remember most about the whole event. Those images. That media coverage.

It’s funny though. It will have been eight years ago this fall. And memories fade. But little things, like that West Wing episode, still give me the shivers. Because, for better or worse, it’s strange being a part of history.

 

Why I’ll never be a mormon

June 17, 2009

Funny what watching enough TV will do to you (and no you evil evil uban-myth-fiend parents, I don’t mean turn your eyes square).

A combination of the Grand New Orleans Adventure and birthday giftcards has meant I’ve recently stocked up BIG TIME on TV-series.

But really, who can blame me when both The Sopranos and West Wing are going for $19 a season, and Big Love for just a hair more than that.

If I had my way I would probably just spend the next couple months holed up in my living room with a little oompaloompah whose only mission in life is to press the “eject” button on my DVD player and fetch snacks.

But being as Oompaloompahs are in short supply these days (hell, they had to use special sci-fi effects to produce enough for the most recent Willy Wonka movie) and I probably should finish out these last couple weeks at work… I have developed a productivity formula.

It goes as follows:

Get home.
Take pup out for some sort of activity that will tire him out so he doesn’t drive me crazy all night.
Make supper.
Watch an episode of Big Love.
Pack a box.
Watch an episode of West Wing.
Do dishes and/or pack a box.
Lather.
Rinse.
Repeat.

But somewhere in there is a session for Deep Thinking. Because as I’ve been watching Big Love I’ve come to one very large, very important life decision.

I could never be a Mormon.

Or rather, I could never be a polygamist. Because as I’ve learned (HBO is soooo educational) while most polygamists are Mormon, not all Mormons are polyamists.

But either way. I couldn’t do it. Maybe it’s deeply rooted in serious jealousy issues… because I really can not imagine sharing my husband with anyone else for the rest of my life. It just wouldn’t work. I’d be forever plagued by relationship-insecurities like “does he like HER better or ME” and “is it better to be the first wife because you get to be ‘official’ or is it better to be the second/third wife because things are still ‘fresh’ ” etc. etc.

So yah. Mom, Dad don’t worry.

While I like the show, I am way too self-centered and paranoid to be a polygamist.

Current album: Metric’s Fantasies