Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Science Like Substance

After the kids saw this ad during this past week's My Little Pony episode, they were demanding that they get Taq Polymerase for their next birthday.  Bio-Rad knows how to market to the kids.

In case you didn't see the theme in last five sponsors (including today's), farewell to Chuck.  You won't be missed and barely, if ever, remembered.  Your lightweight storytelling that completely wasted the great Jayne made you immensely ignorable.  But hey you stayed on air for 5 years by selling your soul to Subway, so that has to count for something.  Congrats on that. 

This blog post is sponsored by Orange Orange.


You can tell a lot about a company from the free pens they pass out at conferences. So let's be judgmental about unrelated products and services based the quality of their associated novelty writing instruments.  First up is Kreatech Diagnostics, a biotech company that primarily sells dyes for conducting karyotyping (counting your chromosomes in order to figure out what is wrong with you).

Let's start with the color - orange.  Brilliant choice.  Only the best color in the rainbow.  I also appreciate the novel design of the clip.  The Swiss cheese design with an aluminum finish gives it the faux-industrial feel that we all enjoy at our local Chipotle.  The thick body of the pen provides for solid gripping for your most challenging writing conditions.  The big button for retracting the tip is responsive and its size means thumb injuries from missing the button in instances of emergency tip withdrawal will be limited.  The overall look of the pen is hurt by the semi-opaque nature of the pen.  The shadow of the inner workings of the pen show through disrupting the otherwise clear lines of the pen.  Also, it shows a lack of commitment on the part of the pen designer.  Either hide the spring and let your spring flag fly.  Don't play cutesy with me.  Finally, the heft of the pen is wanting giving it a cheap feel despite the otherwise slick appearance.  It may be made of flimsy plastic but it shouldn't feel that way.  Put a rock in that thing.

So what does that say about Kreatech and their products?  In my opinion, based on their pen, Kreatech is a company of all style and no substance.  They pretend that they believe in corporate transparency but they are really have a lot of dirty secrets that attempt to hide.  They make up for the poor quality of their products with pretty packaging.  You know that extra chromosome 21 you thought you had?  Turns out it was just a French Fry that Kreatech accidentally packaged in their reagent.  See what a free pen can tell you.

This blog post is sponsored by Carmichael Industries.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Triumphant Return of the Solitaire Update

After briefly pausing at our new base camp, our climb up Mount Everest has resumed.  Despite suffering through the setback of a 1 for 27 stretch, we ended up advancing our overall win percentage to 17.2%.  Winning at a 20% clip now seems like it is an obtainable goal.  To win 1 out of 5 hands of solitaire seems above average mean to me.  But then again, soon it will be quite average for me.  That is the greatness that is my solitaire mastery.

At the beginning of this exercise, I said I was going to start giving some names to the various aspects of the game so that I could more efficiently communicate my grand strategies.  I already introduced the term "gutter ball" to mean finishing a hand of solitaire with out being able to make a single card play.  Today we add another vocabulary word - "codon".  From hence forth, this word will be used to refer to the set of three cards you turn over from the deck (see picture below).  My word is law.

Day 48 – 2 of 8 (199.5, 4.01, 49.56)
Day 49 – 4 of 8 (201)
Day 50 – 0 of 6 (201, 4, 49.38)
Day 51 – 2 of 9 (201)
Day 52 – 1 of 1 (202, 4, 48.56)
Day 53 – 0 of 5 (200.5, 4, 48.33)
Day 54 – 0 of 10 (200.5, 4.04, 49.36)
Day 55 – 1 of 12 (200.5)
Day 56 – 3 of 7 (201)
Day 57 – 1 of 6 (201)
Day 58 – 1 of 4 (201)
Day 59 – 2 of 8 (201.5)
Total - 89 of 516 (17.2%)

The Sure to be Wrong Prediction of the Week

This week I am going to take a shot at predicting the first movie this year to break the $100 million mark.  Since none of the movies released so far this year stand a chance of reaching the century mark (Sorry wolf-punching Liam Neeson) this is truly a forward looking exercise.  In 4 out of the last 5 years, a movie released in January or February reached 100 mil.  So I am going to play the odds and say we are going to have our first century club member in hand before Rare Disease Day has passed.  By making that declaration, we dramatically limited the field.  So let's take a quick look at the remaining candidate.

There is no clear cut blockbuster in the February slate.  There are several recognizable names releasing films but none of them really are the type that carry big money makers.  The Rock, Ryan Reynolds, Denzel Washington, Drew Barrymore, Nic Cage, and Harry Potter all stand a good chance of getting a movie a $50 million gross but not much more.  We also have a couple of sequels on our hands but the original Journey and Ghost Rider movies barely made it to $100 million last time and no one seems to really be clamoring for another go around with these stories.  So what does that leave us with?

The three movies that I think have the best chance to go big time are Chronicle, This Means War, and Wanderlust.  Chronicle feels like a really interesting, decidedly dark take on the superhero trope and the found footage angle clearly still has legs.  It is hard to get a real feel for how interested people are for this because it is such a genre movie and the it features unknowns in an understated advertising campaign. There is a chance this could be another Cloverfield but in the end I just don't think there is enough critical mass behind this movie.

Next I will tackle Wanderlust.  This one actually does have a star that has shown she can deliver a $100 million dollar movie.  Jennifer Aniston has scored two $100 million comedies in a row.  But this movie seems fairly generic.  Another movie about harried professionals slowing down and learning to enjoy life.  Haven't seen that story in the theaters....since last month 6 months in a row.  Also, it is released the last week of February so all the other movie in front of it have to fall down in order for it to be first to the finish line.

That leaves us with This Means War.  Bane (an English national working for the CIA?) and Captain Kirk fight over Reese Witherspoon who every seems to have stopped caring about 10 years ago.  But it is a big budget action/comedy coming out around Valentine's Day.  That "holiday" has helped other movies break through to the rarefied air.  And has alot of the look and feel of Mr. and Mrs. Smith (the folks that made that movie made this one too), which was quite successful and really enjoyable.  So, I am going to put all my Monopoly money down on This Means War as the year's first $100 million movie.  (my hedge - I would not be surprised if this movie topped out at $75 million).

Bonus Prediction - This one isn't mine but I agree with the person who said it - Reese Witherspoon turns out to be a spy too.

This blog post is sponsored by Weinerlicious.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

There Is No Call For That Language

I  enjoyed this video.  Yes it is cliched and stereotypical.  But what do they say about stereotypes.  They become stereotypes because their is a nugget of truth to it that everyone recognizes.  I know for me, the first 15 seconds or so of this video are a common part of my everyday life.  And no, it is not endearing.

But here is the thing I don't get.  Never have.  The title of the video.  The completely unnecessary pejorative.  I know it may seem silly and maybe prudish.  Yet here I go into my grumpy old man routine.  

I personally stay well clear of working blue but I have no real problem with it in the right context.  Big fan of South Park.  Greatly enjoy the comic stylings of Daniel Tosh and Kevin Smith.  Let's not forget that fondness for always naked residents of True Blood.  Yes, this isn't exactly cutting edge stuff but still it is entertainment that can make one squirm when watching in the company of a parent.  So, even if I don't partake doesn't mean I can't take a little pleasure in a well placed profanity.  What I don't get is the totally unnecessary one, like in this title.  It adds not one extra giggle to the skit or a deeper meaning to the proceedings.  It is swearing just to swear.  Just as most swearing on the major networks.  Feeling pay cable envy, your routine procedural will now include a choice #$@?! or *$#&)!% in any given 40 minutes of time wasting.  Doesn't make the action more believable or the characters more credible.  In fact it is more the other way.  Growing up expecting a certain level of censorship on my TV, the precess of a network cuss immediately pulls me out of the show.  It is lazy writing.  By Grabthar's Hammer, can't they smarten up a bit and think of something more intelligent for their fraking screen avatars to spew from time to time?

This blog is sponsored by The Nerd Herd.

Friday, January 27, 2012

A New Leaf

As we now head into our next 100 blog posts, it seems like a good time to rethink how I go about doing my irregular writing.  I recently read an article about a guy who did a blog post about Mario (The Plumber not the former Bayside Wrestler) every day for the year.  I found that article a bit inspiring.  Why can't I do that?  Maybe if I found a topic that I really cared about it might be easy to bang out a little something, something everyday.  Heck, if this person can do a post (almost) everyday, why can't I.

The problem isn't a topic that I am interested in enough to dive into it for a full year.  I certainly don't have that passion for a video game (except for maybe Tecmo Bowl and Agent USA) like my inspiration.  So instead of fixating on a single topic, I am going to try doing a rotating schedule of alternating subject matters to power me through this mission.  

Do I believe that this is the trick that it will take for me to post regularly?  Not in a million years.  How long do I think it will take before I miss a day or abandon the schedule all together?  Wouldn't be surprised if it was within the week.  But hey, why not at least try.  And with that as my introduction, here is the tentative schedule with explanations to come as to what many of these topics actually represent.

Monday - Pen of the Week
Tuesday - A Science Like Substance
Wednesday - Art Apprectiation
Thursday - This Week in Pirate Futility
Friday and Saturday - What ever strikes my fancy

And there you have it.  The quest begins.  But before I call this post to a close let's enjoy a fine piece of classical music.  Rock it Rockapella!

This blog post is sponsored by Buy More.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Momentous Milestone

My 100th blog post.  Few thought we would every see this day.  Mostly because no one has actually spent anytime thinking about this blog, let alone how long it might continue on in abject anonymity.  But here we are so let's take the time to reflect on a few things.  This blog got its start on June 27, 2007 so it is taken me 4 and a half years to reach the century mark, a pace that would put a tortoise to sleep.  Good thing, my livelihood isn't determined by my creative word per decade output or I would have starved long ago.  In that time, the Idle Worship blog has been visited 3,498 times.  Of course the majority of those visits have likely either been me looking at my own words or my sister (a real live, documented reader of the blog that is willing to openly admit it).  But there are those unlucky few that I have been tricked into clicking through to the blog by some keyword that I typed and that Google zeroed in on.  Residents of 95 different countries have stared confused at their web browser and pondered why they were looking at the Idle Worship blog (a shout out to my Moldovian visitor).  I am surprisingly popular in Germany.  And on the home front, I have enjoyed hits from 48 states and D.C. (If anyone out there knows someone who lives in Alaska or Montana, please ask them to visit.  I want to collect them all).  What is driving this thundering herd of wandering eyes your not asking?  Well, as I mentioned before, it is actually may favorite part of doing the blog and it has nothing to do with what I write.  It is my sponsors.  224 visitors came from searches for Goliath National Bank.  Number 2 on the search engine referrals, Massive Dynamic.  Many times during this historic run of blog posts I thought I might run out of sponsors but without failure another company stepped up and laid down the Monopoly money to keep the words flowing.  So, in honor of the sponsors that have been so generous to this little person, I am going to use this post to do a complete review of all of our benefactors up to this point.  But before we get to that please watch this video about what you can do to help support your favorite corporation from those that would seek to hurt them.

This blog post is sponsored by All of These Great Companies.