Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Queen of the Dairy

Dr Sighted loves Blizzards.  I like them too, but I am not very discriminatory in my dairy needs.  Any high quality ice cream is perfectly fine by me.  There was an old style Dairy Queen in my home town that I didn't realize was "old style" until I moved away and saw that there were others that serve hamburgers and what not.  I also found out that ice cream places close in the winter time up north, which is very sad.

They have a new commercial out and I don't even know what they are trying to sell me, but I love it.  While well placed Lionel Richie "Hello"s will never not be funny, I particularly like the guy who sings in front of the Corvette.  When this commercial comes on, I move kind of slowly to the remote to fast forward past them.  I also like how wooden the cheerleader's delivery is, and how unnecessary such an elaborate set piece is for two seconds of commercial.

This commercial is not special.  It is not Pie and Chips for Free, which apparently was posted 9 years ago, which is a weird thing to make me feel old.  I cannot imagine we will be talking about I'm a Fan a decade later.  But it is strangely charming and there are a lot of small details that show this was a very thoughtfully crafted commercial and you should pay attention to the Lionel Richie fan's mug and shirt.

Friday, August 28, 2015

The cheese that goes...

There is an apocryphal story of my youth that immediately after I had my tonsils removed, I asked for not ice cream, which is the standard request, but Cheetos, which are not soft nor smooth.  I liked Cheetos as a kid more than I do now, but if I'm line for a catered sub lunch, I'll reach for the Cheetos probably more often than I'd reach for anything else since nobody seems to go for sour cream and onion anymore.  I guess onion breath is more offensive than orange teeth.

A couple of years ago, Cheetos sort of rebooted Chester from a sort of loser who thinks he is the coolest cat on the block who spends the commercials trying (unsuccessfully) to get his paws on some delicious Cheetos into a weird kind of jerk who uses Cheetos not for food, really, but more as props primarily to embarrass some of the people around the human characters (usually friends or family) in the commercial.  (I tried to find more samples on YouTube, but searching for Cheetos is mostly crowded out by videos like this about getting Irish people to try American things.  I must admit, I was amused.)

As an example, two recent ones have a child firing Cheetos out of a catapult at her father (I think?) for stealing the remote or something.  Another has a child making a Cheeto bikini for her sleeping father so that when he wakes up, he'll have bikini tan lines.  In none of these are there anything about the Cheeto dust that gets on everything.  It's not as bad as Dorito dust or glitter, but it's in the conversation.

There are a number of baffling aspects of these commercials.  First, none of the people seem to be fazed by the fact that there is a cartoon Cheetah telling them what to do, which, now that I think about it, is reasonably consistent with the commercial universe.  But really, why not show case the snack as being desirable?  The earlier incarnation was not Geico Cavemen or anything as far as commercial quality goes, but it was clear that the snacks were so good that Chester was willing to endure physical pain.  In the new versions, I'm not really sure that the effects would be any different if they replaced the Cheetos with a bag of bread crusts cut off from little kids' sandwiches..

They've made more of these commercials that Darrell Hammond got to make Colonel Sanders commercials, so there must be something to it.  But to me, it makes me sad.  I cannot imagine 3 year old me wanting to ask for Cheetos with a mascot like this after a tonsilectomy.  I guess it really isn't easy being cheesy.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Pieces and Cups

I just saw a commercial for Reese's version of Nutella, and I must say I'm intrigued.  I have had good luck with Nutella, but, to be honest, I could do without its pretentiousness.  It's all European and hazelnutty and what not.  What is a hazelnut?  I'm not convinced it's not an invented flavor by coffee shops like how wine tasters say that a Merlot tastes like chocolate and leather.  Leather in my wine is neither probable nor desirable.

Reese's has to potential to close that gap with the lovable peanut, which all of us can easily identify.  There is a question, however, about Reese's that I really can't believe I hadn't already written about by now.  What does Reese's rhyme with?  I had a bevy of coworkers about a year and a half ago challenge me on this to the point of calling the question line phone number located on the wrapper of the cup.  Unfortunately, they gave them bad information -- citing their famous slogan of "There's no wrong way to eat a Reese's" -- they said there's no wrong way to say Reese's, either.  If I called it Rice's or Race's, that would be ludicrous, right?

In short, I think that anyone who calls Reese's Pieces Reesey's Piecey's deserves at minimum a night in the drunk tank.  I don't think they belong in the general prison population or anything, unless there are multiple offenses and lack of remorse.  Saying Reesey Cups deserves a harsher sentence, because there's no cutesy but tempting gateway rhyme built in.  It's going straight to the hard stuff.  Reese rhymes with piece.  Reese's rhymes with pieces.  Piecey's isn't anything.

I really like peanut butter desserts, and Reese's has got some fine products.  I enjoy the cups in any context and the pieces especially on my ice cream.  My favorite specialty variation is the eggs at Easter, giving us a delightful twist on the chocolate/peanut butter ratio.  So I may grab some Reese's spread at the store, and with any justice, that will be the product that ends this Reesey madness, since their is no melody to Reesey's spread.  Only the cacophonous nightmare that follows me everywhere there is a piecey.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Binge watching

I know it's a bit late, but Dr. Sighted and I just finished watching Parks and Recreation on Netflix and I cannot imagine how Ron Swanson isn't everyone's favorite everything.  It's a strange sort of wistfulness when you complete a series, a termination of a universe (or, Indiana town on an Indiana night) for which there is nothing further.  Like when you get to the the end of your fruit by the foot.  That's what we watched when we are together.  Well, I got a pass to watch them without her initially, but once I started enjoying them, she wanted in on the action too.  It's really better, so that when I say, "This is *litrally* the best animal cracker I have ever eaten."

She, though, is closing in on home plate on a show all her own -- Pretty Little Liars.  I catch a few episodes here and there (maybe 30%?) and this show is bonkers.  Every show has a little bit of the "if any single episode happened to somebody it would be the most intense year of your life" every week, but this is in Grey's Anatomy territory.

Describing the plot is basically impossible.  So, I guess I'll put a spoiler warning here, but honestly, I have no idea if these will count or not because the whole experience is like a soap opera taking place on a zany murder mystery inside of an after school special.  There's the pretty one who is kind of dumb, the pretty one who is really smart, the pretty one who is making risky decisions with her future and the pretty lesbian.  It's not called Ugly Little Liars, after all.  Oh, and the lesbian one is multiracial.

Four high school girls are being harassed by what amounts to basically a Bond villain.  The bad guy knows everything about them, can be anywhere, has unlimited money and is super clever.  The biggest thing difference is that while we know that Blofeld wants to hijack nuclear weapons to ransom the world for lots of dollars, the bad guy in this show has no discernible motive -- since there are like four different bad guys, I think -- or sense of proportion.

The main characters begin likable and sympathetic, but as the story progresses, that stops being true.  This conceit can't last forever.  They are in high school, after all, and I'm pretty sure they were stressing over college at one point, and eventually they won't be pretty little liars anymore.  Then the show will make even less sense.  But Dr. Sighted will see it through to the end, and, consequently, so will I.  This universe feels different than Pawnee, though, and not just because it is still going on.  Pawnee was populated by likable people with credible motives.  Rosewood feels like just an excuse to put pretty people on camera together looking vulnerable.  Which, I guess, is the kind of thing that people like to binge watch.

Saturday, July 11, 2015


Not long ago I discovered a podcast called James Bonding (which, when you search for it delightfully causes this to come up also [note: I do not endorse that service]) which has reawoken my interest in the movie franchise.  So I am rewatching the ones with which I am not as familiar as I used to be and the ones I just like watching.  I've mentioned my fandom of podcasts before, but these are like listening to fans talk about things they like.  I am convinced that every sports broadcast would be improved by simply having two well informed fans of one of the teams that have some chemistry call the game, because like 97% of the announcers are worse than having your county council replaced by an aggressive race of crab people that outlaws butter.  (Brent Musburger, you're in that 3% you magnificent bastard.)

Anyway, there are all kinds of comedians who talk about finding henchmen and talking about how incompetent they are in movies like this, and I have all those same questions.  But mostly, as an engineer, the questions that keep coming up for me as a I watch an army of technicians sit quietly at their workstations helping Stromburg in The Spy Who Loved Me end humanity are more about procurement.  There's a scene late in the movie where the henchmen are all wearing custom made Stromburg navy uniforms.  Where'd they come from?  Somebody had to make those.

Also, the plot of this movie hinges on a lot of big machines -- an underwater lair, the largest cargo ship in the world, and all sorts of vehicles that are blown up -- that have to come from somewhere.  And while they do establish early in the movie that he's one of the richest men in the world, helicopters are still expensive.  Another one of the in jokes is that the Russians know a lot about what the English are doing, and vice versa, but the bad guy has a secret submarine swallowing and underwater mansion including underwater aquarium, which makes sense, I guess.  I just can't believe that there isn't some chatty pipefitter who might mention at the local watering hole that he's working on a project that is just bananas.

Don't get me wrong, though -- I love these movies.  I own all of them (even Die Another Day) and this sort of supervillainous silliness is part of what makes it great.  I just wish I could be in the room when the writers were trying to explain to Cubby Broccoli just how they could fit two missiles plus 007's and XXX's luggage into a Lotus Esprit.  But, to quote Larry Miller in episode 22, "I don't know why Ursula Andress comes out with a knife.  Who cares!  It works."