Sunday, February 26, 2006

Katamari goodness

If any of you Katamari Damacy fans eat at Japanese restaurants and like edamame, you will appreciate this food imitating art.

SIRIUS tuner rebate received and processed...

6 weeks later! Better late than never when money is involved, at least when you don't account for interest. I received two email confirmations today. Or rather, after not checking my email yesterday, I saw the following emails today. The first, at 12:03p, PST (it's when it showed up in my email box. 4:55a may have been time sent plus EST adjustment b.s. plus Intertron inferometer telemetry interlineation):

From: SIRIUS Satellite Rebates
Date: Feb 25, 2006 4:55 AM
Subject: Your rebate has been received


Your SIRIUS Satellite Radio rebate submission for 50.00 has been received. Please allow 8-10 weeks for processing.

The second, at 12:48p, PST (again, I can't explain the time differential -- 4:55a to 6:49a is one hour, 54 minutes but 12:03 to 12:48 is 45 minutes. See Intertron, supra):

From: SIRIUS Satellite Rebates
Date: Feb 25, 2006 6:49 AM
Subject: Your rebate has been processed

Your SIRIUS Satellite Radio rebate submission in the amount of 50.00 has been processed. Your check will be mailed shortly. Please allow 2-3 weeks for completion.

Ok, I can deal with that. My guess is that SIRIUS received on the order of hundreds of thousands, if not close to one million, rebate requests right around the time I submitted mine. Maybe I'm optimistically assuming everyone submits rebate requests, but suffice it to say they received a lot.

So, 50 bucks headed my way soon. Nothing bad to say about that.

Related posts: SIRIUS activation; SIRIUS impressions; SIRIUS billing favorable outcome; Rebate received

Saturday, February 18, 2006

The best commercial ... and my favorite show on tv

I saw the commercial for this product and my jaw dropped for the duration. Actually, several times during the commercial my jaw allowed me to form the word "YES!" and then "this is the best ad ... I have ever seen." Check out the video loop on the site -- you can't tell me that's not compelling television.

I ran into that ad while surfing during a commercial break for my absolute favorite show for laughs, MXC (Most Extreme Elimination Challenge) on Spike TV. The Spike site is all flash, so even with broadband it takes too long to load. It also plays a video continuously (and commercials if you pause it) so if I could apologize I would. Just turn your speakers off. A much less offensive and more informative link is at the ubiquitous Wikipedia.

The video and images on the show are from an old Japanese gameshow from the 1980s called Takeshi's Castle. Spike's version has english voiceovers for the ridiculous visuals which, in terms of funny, are second only to the performance of the contestants on the show. The short version of what goes on is that people who are generally uncoordinated confront physical challenges that often resemble a real-world physical manifestation of Super Mario Brothers. The obstacles appear to be made of foam and wood, like something you'd make in your backyard, which just adds to the joyous cheesiness.

For example, one of the events requires a contestant to cross a narrow elevated rope bridge without handrails, carrying a gold-colored volleyball, and make it all the way across the wobbly bridge without [DEUUUUGE!! *-- headshot!] ... without falling while two or three other guys on the ground use a machine to shoot volleyballs at legs, the groinal area, head, face and at the precious gold ball to knock the contestant off.


I just guffaw and laugh at the antics. I cannot control myself. The games are out of control and the contestants hopelessly inept. Sometimes they succeed, but it's rare. This goes on for half an hour, but often this show is run in marathons, so usually there's at least an hour of goodness to be had.

* Hear DEUUUUGE!! (Flash required):


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Audio spam on Howard 100

Lest readers think I see no wrong with Howard Stern's channels on SIRIUS, here's one complaint: ease up on the audio spam. It's nice that the commercial breaks are infrequent and short, but if there is any way to filter for deceptive ads, please do it.

This morning I heard these two commercials:

1. Make up to $140,000 selling satellite TV! You can make $75,000 just from the materials we include with your start-up kit;

2. Don't take risks with investing. The smart money is on [online gambling web site]. Go now for a free $1 million dollar tournament.

No disclaimers about "results not typical" for the sat TV sales or any details about the gambling tourney. This is crap you see in unsolicited email and the weekly pennypinching "get rich quick" classified ads you receive in the postal mail. The ad content is probably not within Howard's direct control, but I hope SIRIUS' ad sales department isn't so desperate that it has to accept money from companies making unsupported and deceptive claims.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Guitar Hero madness caught on video

I've been playing Guitar Hero since just after Christmas and have beaten it on "Medium" difficulty. I'm making my way through the "Hard" setting, but I don't know that I'll ever reach "Expert" and play the way this guy does. The game allows hammer-ons and pull-offs and this guy uses them to extreme effect, even using his right hand (otherwise his "strum" hand) to finger some of the notes. He's showing off, but damn, I might do the same thing if I had that ability. The cool thing is, the way this guy plays the solo with both hands is very similar to how the actual guitar player in Pantera would play solos, so maybe it's also a sort of tribute.

The camera placement for this video is just perfect, and the sound from the game is also captured very well. The song is Cowboys From Hell by Pantera (site seems to like IE best), and the original guitarist was Diamond "Dimebag" Darrell whom you may remember was tragically shot and killed onstage by a "fan" who was upset that Pantera had broken up. Darrell was playing in his new band Damageplan.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Adam Carolla is on in Sacramento

While looking for a station to wake up to on my analog-dial clock radio I discovered that Adam Carolla's morning show is on 106.5 KWOD here in Sacramento. For some reason I had thought we would either have "Jack FM" (93.7 KHWD, now KQJK) or nothing to take Howard's place on regular terrestrial radio here in Sac-town. The show is decent, pretty funny, and his co-host / newsperson is the smokin' hot Rachel Perry. She's another hot Canadian, has appeared in Maxim Magazine, and has been a VJ and host of a couple of shows on VH1. I don't quite know how to describe my attraction to her other than to say that I'm genetically drawn to her. It's not just that she's physically beautiful. There is a primal, unconscious compulsion at work here. Somehow I know that our genes vibrate in unison.

"Jack FM" is part of Viacom / Infinity Broadcasting's "Free FM" Howard Stern Replacement Strategy. Seriously. Check out the press release. The other day I heard a "Free FM" promo on another local station, 98 Rock KRXQ, stating that "you shouldn't have to pay for radio." Disgusting. Corporate Crap™. That station was immediately off of my listen list. Interestingly, you'll notice that the domain for Carolla's show's web site is "," indicating it is also part of the vast Viacom conspiracy. That there are at least four radio stations, the fourth being 100.5 KZZO, owned by Viacom in Sacramento is a cruel irony to the "Free FM" moniker.

PS -- the best Rachel Perry pics are on her bio page for Carolla's show.

Related link: 93.7 drops Stern in Sacramento

Cool Starmate Replay feature I just discovered

The Instant Replay memory feature of this tuner is cool enough, but since I have mainly used this feature while listening to Howard in the morning, I hadn't discovered its ability to skip backwards and forwards to particular songs within the recorded period. If you pause the live broadcast and then have, say, 20 minutes of music in the buffer you can press and release the "<<" or ">>" buttons to skip back and forth, respectively, between songs in the buffer. Until today I had only used the "<<" and ">>" buttons by holding them down to just rewind and fast forward through commercials on talk channels. Since the talk channels don't appear to have logical breaks of songs like the music channels do, the skipping feature doesn't work.

My brief initial skim of the tuner's User and Installation Guide upon purchase and installation had not revealed this feature to me, but once I read about it today I learned you can also hold down the "play/pause" button to change the display to a listing of the artist's names in the stored audio, giving you the ability to skip to any particular one, including the option to go back to "live" radio. Very cool.