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May 2010

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I love the writing of Rescue Me a lot and I also love baseball so it’s no surprise that I think the following monologue nails it on the head.

Anyway, baseball and life, one in the same. Everybody always says that life is too short. Bullshit. Life, unless you get cancer or hit by a bus or set on fire, takes forever. Just like baseball. It’s a series of long, mind-boggling boring stretches of time where absolutley nothing happens. So, you take a nap, and then, after a little while, when that crisp crack of the bat hittin’ the ball, so crisp you could almost smell that wood burning, jolts you awake and you open your eyes to see something so exciting and intricate, and possibly, very, very meaningful has just happened, but you missed it ’cause you were just so goddamn bored in the first place. Oh, you know, a couple of hot dogs, throw in some beers, the occasional blow job, and that’s that.

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I am a huge fan of the TV show Lost so it’s probably no surprise that you’re reading a post regarding the finale that aired this past Sunday. What did I think of it? I loved it and I hated it.

I loved the finale because it was exciting, emotional, and satisfying. Hold up a minute… Satisfying? It was and it wasn’t. If you look at the finale with regards to this season alone, it was very satisfying. This season was all about the characters and faith. That’s what the finale was about. You got to see Jack redeem himself and be the hero he never wanted to be. You see the way faith was intertwined with the story in the final scenes where the castaways are in the church and are blanketed in the light. It was the perfect ending to the story that this entire season set up. But what about the previous seasons? What about those stories? Well, that’s why I hated the finale.

What initially drew me to the show were the mysteries of the island. Why did they crash? Who were The Others? Why is there a polar bear on the island? What was Walt’s power that caused him to bring a bird back to life? What was really going on with the Dharma Initiative? These mysteries that were never answered drew me, and millions of others, to the show. Instead of finding out the answers we were greeted with Allison Janney murdering a woman and raising two boys on an island. No explanation of anything that made Lost so great in the previous seasons. A series that could very-well be considered Sci-Fi quickly became a story of faith and spirituality. Yeah, we kind of find out what the numbers mean. Yeah, we find out that the voices were the people who died on the island and were trapped there. There are so many things that should have been answered but weren’t. I’m thinking the producers and writers backed themselves into a corner when they set the finale date and did not have the time to explain the mysteries. Either that, or they got lazy and knew that they couldn’t explain them so they threw in a magic creek and a temple or two. So, in this respect, I hated the finale.

I’d say overall, it was a good way to end the show. It was a satisfying ending to this season, and thus the series, but I know if they tried to pull that ending a season or two earlier, I would have been upset. Before the finale I planned on buying the DVD set and watching the entire series over again. Now, I don’t think I will. I don’t want to find myself even more disappointed at all the good mysteries that were never solved. We shall see.

On Sunday I made the trip to Missouri’s red-headed step-child, Kansas City, to see Conan O’Brien on his Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television tour. In case you didn’t hear, a while back I transferred the domain teamcoco.com to Conan which ultimately resulted in two free tickets to his show in Kansas City. I took my friend Matt, who lives outside of KC. If you are a fan of Conan’s humor you would definitely enjoy this show. The type of show that Conan is doing on tour is not something I’ve seen before (or not seen in a long while) and the whole idea of this tour might solidify the idea that Conan is a genius. Warning, if you are planning to see this show don’t continue reading as you will get some spoilers.

The show isn’t groundbreaking in and of itself. It’s equal parts comedy and music, a formula that has been done before. What makes it Conan (and his staff) a genius is that this 30-plus city tour came about because of the devotion of his fans. He has capitalized brilliantly over a terrible situation. Instead of fading into the shadows after leaving the Tonight Show, Conan turned himself into a complete brand. He is Coco. He is the underdog. He is the people’s champ. But enough about him, let me tell you about the show.

First off, the seats were quite nice. I got the tickets through Conan’s people so we were in row 18. His opening act, Reggie Watts, was really good. The only issue I had with his performance is that sometimes it was hard to make out the lyrics to his comedic songs because of the way the sound was set up at the venue. His set didn’t last as long as I thought it would either. After about 15 minutes or so of Watts, the Legally Prohibited band came out. The only way I can describe this opening act is the movie Blues Brothers. You know the scene at the end when the band starts playing the introduction song. You had some good old rhythm and blues with loud trombones, saxes, and trumpets? That’s what it was like. I half expected to see Donald “Duck” Dunn and Matt “Guitar” Murphy to come out. It was fantastic. The band was lively, ran through the crowd, and got the crowd pumped for Conan’s entrance onto the stage.

Conan came out and talked about his situation, the tour, etc. He did his typical self-deprecating jokes, which were a hit with the crowd. His old pal Andy Richter came out and joined in on the fun. There were appearances by the masturbating bear self-pleasuring panda, a very funny video featuring Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, and the appearance of the Walker Texas Ranger Lever Chuck Norris Handle. KC’s own Jason Sudeikis even came out to pull the handle. In between the skits Conan strapped on his guitar and played some tunes. The show really was awesome.

The only downside to the show was the length. Conan was only on for a little over an hour making the entire show last less than 2 hours. If I paid for the really expensive seats I would have been a bit disappointed, not at the quality of the entertainment, but the length. I know that they are hitting a lot of cities in a short amount of time, but I think they could have easily fit another 15-20 minutes into the show. Other than that, the show was fantastic. It made me look forward to his upcoming show on TBS even more, which in the end, is really what this tour is about.

Everyone who has ever had a website disappear on them knows that having a current backup is essential. I have seen the poor soul who has had his server crash and lost years worth of blogging way too many times. It is essential that you have a plan in place for your backups. Let me tell you what I do for my backups. Note that I’m not saying you should do the same, this is just what I find easiest and it works for me.

Every Wednesday databases from several WordPress sites are emailed to me. I use the WordPress Database Backup Plugin to automatically email me the database backups each Wednesday at a time I set in the configuration. I then have filters set up in a Gmail account so that labels are applied automatically. When the Piece of Shep database comes in it goes directly to the Piece of Shep label and gets marked as read. If I want I can also have an on-demand backup emailed to me or download it directly from the WordPress interface.

Now that my database is safe, on the web and available to download anytime I want, how do I backup my files? The actual website files I download less frequently. I host several sites on my hosting account so a full backup is actually quite large, several gigabytes. Because of this, I only backup the actual files once every month. Using my host’s control panel I generate a full backup then download it to my iMac and then it is backed up to an external hard drive using Time Machine. I also have the full backups backed up over the net using Mozy. Because they are quite large in size, I only keep an archive of two or three of the latest snapshots. Since databases are typically small, (200-600 KB) I keep a much larger archive of those.
So that’s how I backup my sites. What about you? Have you ever lost an entire site and years worth of work? Do you have a backup plan in place? If so, how often do you backup? My motto with web hosting is always plan for the worst because when you don’t, that’s when the worst happens.

There, I said it. She’s a bad writer. The writing in Juno was bad. Jennifer’s Body was the equivalent to your 50 year old dad using slang to sound cool. Just awful. Her columns in Entertainment Weekly are just as bad, which is why I’m baffled as to why people pay her to write.

I know many of you may like the movie Juno. It wasn’t a horrible movie, but the dialogue was. The thing that saved the movie was excellent performances by JK Simmons, Michael Cera and Ellen Page, not the writing that threw in more clichéd phrases than a spoof of teen movies (“What’s your damage?” “Honest to blog” “This is one doodle that can’t be un-did, Homeskillet.”). The story wasn’t all that great but it was something that Hollywood hadn’t overproduced yet. Jennifer’s Body was even worse.

I finally got around to watching it over the weekend and I wasn’t expecting a masterpiece. I was expecting a B movie horror story. Instead what I got was horrible acting by Megan Fox (big surprise there) and laughable dialogue from Diablo Cody. I thought Juno was over the top with the slang, but JB blew Juno away. Cody cannot reasonably believe that normal teenagers talk like that, can she? Seriously, in what world do teenagers say jell-o for jealous or tell someone to move on dot org? When is the last time you heard a teenager say the phrase lesbi-gay? I really think Cody is a mixture of the old dad trying to stay cool using slang that no one uses and the mom who dresses like her daughter to seem young.

I know I shouldn’t come down too hard on her. I’m not a good writer either, but I also don’t get paid to do it. I’m pretty sure I could bang out a script using every slang phrase in the book and make a movie that is just as good, if not better, than Juno or Jennifer’s Body. The only difference between Cody and me is that I’m not a stripper-turned-screenwriter and I think that explains Hollywood’s fascination with her. Hollywood loves success stories and what’s better than a down-and-out stripper hitting it big with a screenplay? Remember, Ben Affleck has an Oscar for writing as well.