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The buffering internet and streaming concerts from a laptop, links unrelated

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Ars: Why YouTube Buffers
I’d recommend this article to anyone who users the internet. So, everybody. It doesn’t get too technical and explains a bit about how the content you consume online (specifically YouTube and Netflix) make it from it’s source to your house. It’s not Verizon or Comcast connecting right to Google or Netflix.

There has been lots of talk online about Verizon and Netflix and how companies aren’t cooperating causing Netflix to be unusable at times. I have Verizon Fios at home and haven’t noticed any major issues. Sometimes it takes a long time to start playing, but I don’t run in to buffering issues. YouTube also has been fairly solid, although not perfect. However, having Comcast for the past few months, I can understand the YouTube frustrations. With Comcast, every few days YouTube would just stop playing videos for a few hours. Although for Comcast that’s a step up from when we first got their cable internet and every few days the whole internet would just not work for a few days.

Mike Herrera on Stage It
If you don’t recognize the name, he is the lead singer of MxPx. If you have known me at any point since 10th or 11th grade, then you’ll know that band. Just listening to the Tomorrow is Another Day track is a musical time machine back to high school. The track on the link is live and acoustic, he stops a few times along the way. Here is an album version to hear it with the full band.

The 8-track performance on Bandcamp was done on Stageit, which I wasn’t familiar with. Taking a look at the site, I’m a huge fan of the idea, so long as the quality is there. An artist or band can decide they are going to do a show from their webcam. Tickets are sold and then fans can watch and chat (even with the band) during the performance. Most of the shows I clicked on are Pay What You Can, but you can also Tip, and Top Tippers get rewards from the bands.

The site says that the shows aren’t recorded so they are once-in-a-lifetime, but the Mike Herrera one is on Bandcamp. I would think Stageit would also want to sell the live tracks for them and the musicians to make as much as possible. People would still pay more for the live experience, especially with the interactivity and rewards.

I didn’t recognize many of the bands currently on the site, but it looks like they’ve had some in the past. I’ll have to keep an eye on it.


Board Game Commercials: Trouble, Mouse Trap, Crocodile Dentist

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I posted about board games last month after I had come across a great board game related QOTD from years ago. While I was thinking about them I spent a little time on YouTube checking out old board game ads from the 80s. The type with poor production value and cheesy jingles than rocket me back to my childhood. I could probably include a ton here, but I’ll try and choose a few and maybe do this again soon.


‘Hey, wanna get in to trouble?’ I’m not sure this one can be topped. Even loading it up again to post this, I had to stop because I didn’t want the jingle in my head for another three days. But seriously, I think it’s about time for a comeback of popamatic bubble games.

Mouse Trap

I knew to look this one up. I always loved the Mouse Trap commercials. The game looked so amazing. That seemingly gigantic contraption with so many parts that appeared to work together seamlessly. I never had the game for myself but I remember playing it a time or two at friends houses. All I really remember about it was that it took forever to set up and it didn’t work at all.

Crocodile Dentist

This one caught my eye while looking at the Mouse Trap ad. It caught my eye because I haven’t thought about it since the commercial aired. I certainly remember seeing it a hundred times. I didn’t have this one either, but I didn’t really care to. I can only imagine the number of oral surgeons who got their start here. If this game were invented today I’m sure Disney would snatch it up and do a Peter Pan/Captain Hook tie-in.

On Amazon: Trouble Mouse Trap Crocodile Dentist


My Pitch: Creed should be a prequel

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A Rocky spin-off featuring the grandson of Apollo Creed being trained by Rocky. Are tickets on sale yet? Michael B. Jordan will play the lead. He’s popping up everywhere. And while I’m sure Fruitvale Station is an amazing movie, I don’t think I’d be able to watch it.

Saw this on the Philly blog. Sounds like this is usually an event where you pitch your ideas but is now trying a web site. It reminded me of ThePult, just before the idea, where ThePult is for after launching. So far there is just one pitch. I like the idea so I’m going to keep an eye on it, hoping to see lots of interesting ideas.

Freakanomics Radio: The Upside of Quitting
I’m finally reading Freakanomics (I think it was really cheap on Amazon), but I’ve seen the documentary and subscribed to the podcast. This is only the second episode that sounded interesting enough to listen. I’m not sure you need the whole hour to get the point that quitting isn’t so bad.

I completely agree, no surprise, since I decided to listen. I don’t think I’ve quit nearly as much as I should have in my life. I quit baseball during high school, that came more from a series of bad coaches than not wanting to play anymore. I quit my job to go back to school. A possibly crazy decision that I’ve never once regretted. Most everything else I muddle through until I get to the finish line.

These days when I think about quitting, it’s a variety of things, from simple to large. Should I delete a TiVo Season Pass for a show that I don’t really like anymore that has become more chore than enjoyment? The most recent examples are Mad Men and The Newsroom. Should I unsubscribe from a podcast or give up on a book or video game that is just average? There is so much good content that I have to raise the bar a bit to great to free up time to write more than one blog post a month.

The more complicated decisions come to projects I work on. Some of them I’ve worked on over a few years, others are some that I just spent a lot of time on recently. Most of them don’t require much time currently, but none of them have been successful, so why bother to continue? One problem is a lack of feedback. No one ever provides feedback, positive or negative. So I never know if my idea or execution is lacking or just poor marketing. At some point I think I’ll have collected enough domains that one of them will come up for renewal and the $10 will push me over the edge. I like cheap domains, but if they were a little more expensive, I’d do a little more contemplating when it comes time to renew.


Wednesday Links

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QI Infocloud
QI InfocloudSadly I only discovered QI a few months ago. I’m upset at everyone that I didn’t find out sooner. I don’t remember exactly where I found out about it, but it wasn’t from a friend. The show is on the BBC and the show is just a panel that discusses some amazing, or Quite Interesting facts, that are so amazing, you get mad you didn’t already know them.

This Infocloud site is a great web time killer to find out a bunch of facts on various topics. You can pick from the cloud of topics, or, cause you can’t really pick, just click ‘Lucky Dip’ for a random one.

St. Louis Cardinals – Baseball Village
Watching the Phillies end their season again, until they sweep the Tigers this weekend, only to blow it again next week, while visiting St. Louis, the announcers highlighted the construction of the Cardinals Baseball Village. I’ve seen enough of these entertainment complexes near newer stadiums. They are usually feeble attempts to show that stadiums actually improve the surrounding community. The Cardinals one is right next to the stadium and will have bleacher seats to watch the games, plus a Cardinals Hall of Fame. I was a big fan all around.
Cardinals Village

Jack Handey
I don’t think I knew Jack Handey was an actual person. Or at least that while he may have been a real person that multiple people wrote the Deep Thoughts on SNL. Apparently he is a real guy and this NY Times piece is a good look at him and his career.


Board Games from the Archives

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I found two board game related items I had saved for posting (or actually had posted and nobody noticed).

1. I came across this QOTD from June 2007, What board game would you want to play if it were made to be life size? I think it’s a pretty great question (and got some confirmation on that opinion), but no one answered it when I posted it six years ago.

2. Going along with my dig through the archives, here is a story from CBS Sunday Morning from April 2011. Mo Rocca goes to a board game convention and shows off a couple of different games and historical games.



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I’m still weighing if I like this or not.

Hanson is celebrating 21 years as a band. The logical way to celebrate that is to release a beer. Their biggest hit is Mmmbop, so they are calling it Mmmhops.

While I could care less about the beer itself, I didn’t like the idea when I first heard it was called Mmmhops. I mean, come on, be at least a little creative. But since it is for the 21st anniversary, I give them some clever leeway. They actually moved up the release so that proceeds could go to victims of the tornado in Oklahoma. More points.зъбни импланти


David Sedaris: Company Man

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David Sedaris: Company Man

Another great story in the New Yorker from David Sedaris. Every time I think I might want to write a story down I come across one of these and think it’s a waste of time, I can’t be that good.

In other David Sedaris news, he was on How Was Your Week, and it was awesome. I’ve yet to read (listen to) his new book yet.


Must Go: Any Minor League Stadium

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Minor League Baseball is having a contest to determine the best ballpark food. To be socially relavant, they are calling it a #foodfight. It’s the sort of thing I have to warn you in advance that you will become hungry or drool on your keyboard.


It’s broken down into four categories: Gut Busters, Hots N Dogs, Local Legends, and Scrumptious Sandwiches.

Your natural instinct might be to stick with Gut Busters, but don’t sleep on the other categories. You might even find something local. I’ve been to the State College Spikes, but I had no idea they had a spam pizza (nominated in the Local Legends category).

But really, must go to Rochester and haz cheeseburger plate.


Fox 2013-2014

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My Current Fox Shows
New Girl, Mindy Project, Raising Hope, Simpsons, Family Guy. So really, 2 nights.

So 24 is coming back as 12? Was anyone asking for it? I gave up the last season while it aired. I actually watched it a while later on Netflix and I actually enjoyed it. I think it had a lot to do with being able to watch a couple at a time. The show had a lot of dead time as they attempted to realistically (not really, but sorta) tried to move from one story to the next. For that reason, a 12 episode season actually makes a lot of sense and I’ll probably watch it. My biggest issue with 24 isn’t the show itself, it’s the people who thing it’s based in the real world.

More Tuesday
I mentioned that I watched 3 of Fox’s Tuesday comedies. It looks like more are coming. I don’t know much about them, but the little I’ve read will force me to give them a chance. Dads – Seth MacFarlane producing and Brooklyn Nine-Nine from people related to Parks & Rec.

Us & Them
A replacement for later in the season, but probably the new show I have the most thoughts about. Keeping up with all of Alexis Bledel’s career moves I heard about this show a couple of months ago. That it was an American version of a BBC show called Gavin & Stacey. I looked into it and found out it was about a young couple getting together and their families getting to know each other. Sounds promising. The first season was streaming on Netflix and the whole thing was only about 20 episodes, so I gave it a shot. Currently I’m waiting on the last disc of the last season (there were only 3) to arrive from Netflix. I’ve liked it a lot, but I’m not sold on it working here.

Why I might not like it …

  • I love the British cast. Stacey was in Love Actually, she was the, umm, adult film actress. The real starts though are the family and friends, that will be the key to the show.
  • The short British seasons make the show great because they only have to hit the big moments of relationship progression. For this version, they will have to drag things out over 20 episodes instead of 6.
  • The best parts of the show are due to the writers (they play the friends). I just watched one where they spent what seemed like half the episode ordering Indian food. And it was fantastic. Also, I don’t know much about Wales (where half the show is set), but the accents and phrases they use are outstanding.

Why I might love it …

  • It’s actually the story that works.
  • They cast the family right.
  • They nail the little meaningless scenes that make it fun to hang out with the people in the British version.
  • They figure out how to do their own thing (like The Office).


What it all means for me
It looks like I’ll have a few shows to try out. Us & Them I’m probably in for half the season even if it’s terrible. Oh, and let’s be honest, everyone is going to give 24 another go round.


SNL: Kristen Wiig

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I had some concerns going into the Kristen Wiig SNL. It seemed too soon for her to come back and that such a short time away might lead to falling back to a lot of her characters. While I enjoyed her on SNL, I really didn’t like any of her recurring characters.

The monologue started off alright, I was relieved when Gilly (my least favorite) showed up and was gone so quickly. I hoped that was how the rest of the show would go. But then Lawrence Welk showed up with the doll handed sister (my 2nd least favorite). Then Garth and Kat, and finally the Target Lady (a great one time sketch that has no purpose recurring).

Disliking them means that I think they could do better by trying new things. Just throwing those characters out there leads to an average show. That averaged was boosted with The Californians along with a few other sketches that were good (and I hate myself for laughing at the Second Hand News Guy). Subtract points for the odd Double Date sketch and Vampire Weekend and that totals out to an average show.

My favorite sketch of the night: Acupuncture. It went just about exactly how you’d expect it to go, and it was still great.

I’ll be honest, with any good leak situation (be it water or blood), you can’t go wrong trying to use some chewing gum to plug the whole. It was the only thing missing.

Finale next week with Ben Affleck and Kayne West.


NBC 2013-2014

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All sorts of exciting events to read about online this week. Near the top of the list, TV Network Upfronts. Meaning we get the fall schedules and find out what shows are new/renewed/cancelled.

Up first, NBC. Will there be anything to watch? Well, besides the Winter Olympics, which I will watch all of.

Late Night
First, there is the late night shakeup, with today’s news that Seth Meyers is taking over for Fallon. Now I’m a big fan of Seth Meyers. I’ve enjoyed him on Weekend Update and saw him do stand-up a year or two ago. My first reaction is that it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Two Weekend Update hosts, back to back, both from New York. Will they be the same show? Actually no, and I actually warming up to the idea. While both Fallon and Meyers were Weekend Update hosts, they have completely different styles. Fallon can kill the music parts, which are the only thing I see of his, online. That’s not Meyers game. What could be his game, is a 12:35 Daily Show style show. He already does this once a week at the Update Desk. Add in a daily format, which he can handle, since most news jokes get played out by the time SNL comes around. The question will be if he can handle the interviews. I don’t know if he can, but he should be better than Fallon.

If I had to rank the bubble shows up NBC from this past season for the order I’d renew them.

1. Parks & Rec – No doubt.
2. Community – I didn’t like this season, but the cast is too good to give up on.
3. Guys With Kids – I didn’t get how no one watched this. It was the best pure sitcom I had seen in a long while.
4. Go On – I like Matthew Perry a lot. I watched this whole season. It never quite figured itself out. There were some really good episodes. The cast was a bit too large and they weren’t developed enough. Even at the end of the season, I didn’t know the names of all the members of the support group.
5. New Normal – The only one on the list I didn’t stick out for the season (I quit short of half way through), which is why it’s last. I tried to like it. I wanted to like it. The leads were solid. The show was actually destroyed by the grandmother and assistant. 

Just Parks & Rec and Community. No surprise. I would have liked for one of the others to make it.

New Shows
Not a ton jumped out at me on the schedule. The Michael J. Fox Show will get a watch, but the fact that it was given the 9:30 spot, and not 9, makes me wonder if it turned out less than excellent. Although if NBC is the judge, that either means it’s actually good or so bad even they realized it.

I see a midseason show from Bill Lawrence, Undateable. I always give his shows a chance. Ok, maybe I never gave Cougar Town a chance.

The odd one on the list: The Million Second Quiz. If I understand this correctly, players live in a bubble answering questions 24 hours a day for 12 days and it will air in primetime. But people at home can play along and possibly appear on the show. So I don’t really know how it works. It’s pretty save to say during those two weeks if you watch any NBC, they’ll mention it.

I’ll give some of the new shows a try, at least the Thursday night lineup. It looks like the spring might be where it’s at for me on NBC. Whenever Community and Undateable show up along with Seth Meyers, they will add to Parks & Rec and SNL. Hopefully for NBC’s sake, one of the other shows makes the list.