Thursday, March 29, 2012

Squirrel Seasoning

The Wife has spent some time gathering some lovely plants and making something of a garden on our patio.  The problem is we have squirrels in our complex.  A lot of squirrels.  And these little sons-of-bitches seem to like digging up the potted plants and eating roots and generally making a mess of things.  I looked up some home remedies online to keep the squirrels away and found one suggestion that said to sprinkle chili powder, cumin and/or cinnamon around the plants.  Apparently the squirrels don't like hot spices.  Another suggestion said to boil a mix of onions, jalapeno and habanero peppers into a liquid and watering the plants with that.  I don't want to spend time cooking for these little bastards so I opted to sprinkle the dry spices on the plants.

So I did that and was enjoying watching Game of Thrones with The Wife when I saw movement on the patio.  I darted off the couch and saw a fat squirrel digging up one of the plants.  That fucker!!!  Guess I'll have to try some other solution to get rid of these guys.

It made me wonder, though, if the spices didn't do anything to repel them, perhaps the squirrels are the ones posting "homemade remedies" online so we are seasoning our plants for them.  "Yeah, yeah, we hate it when you sprinkle a little mixture of salt, tarragon, crushed garlic and cumin on your plants."  Munch munch munch.   Those sneaky pricks.

Monday, March 26, 2012


I watched a documentary called Stolen last night, which was about the 1990 theft of several paintings from the Gardner Museum in Boston, MA.  I first heard about this heist a few years ago when I came across a book about it.  Sadly, I never got around to reading the book but was excited to see this documentary pop up in our Netflix recommendations.

Sadly, I watched Stolen and was terribly disappointed with it.  It claims to shed some light on this case but instead, it wanders around aimlessly.  Lots of title cards and "artistic" shots that don't make any sense.  And then there's one part where they talk about Girl with the Pearl Earring, a painting which isn't even in the museum, and talk to the author of the book Girl with the Pearl Earring.  Towards the end of the movie, they talk to a security guard about why he took a job at the museum.  I looked at how much time was left at this point and there were like 5 minutes remaining.  It was at this point I realized I'd wasted 84 minutes of my life.  Hopefully I can find that book again because the actual heist and investigation sounds interesting but holy crap, I hope Rebecca Dreyfus has figured out how to make an interesting documentary in the years since.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Bad TV

We were talking about '80s TV shows during lunch at work the other day and I brought up the show Out of This World.  If you're not familiar with the concept, it was a sitcom about a teenage girl who is not only half-alien, but inherited powers from her alien father.  She lives with her human mother in Carmel and can do cool shit like freeze time.  Oh, and she also talks her alien Dad via a glowing diamond in her bedroom.

In this modern age, I can't even imagine a show like this making it to the pitch room.

"Hey, Marcus, whattaya got?"

"Well see, this alien crash landed on earth and fathered a daughter who goes on to..."

"Um, Marcus?"


"You are aware there are super high quality shows on television these days like Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad, and you're proposing a sitcom about a half alien teenager.  Get out."

I just can't imagine shows like ALF, Small Wonder or My Two Dads getting made these days.  Ah, the '80s.

Trivia side note!  The voice of the father was provided by Burt Reynolds.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Battlestar Galactica

As mentioned in my previous post, we watched the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica series.  I was really looking forward to it since I'd heard from a few friends and media sources that it was really good.  The first few episodes were really well done and I thought to myself, "Wow, everything they said was true!"  Then...75 episodes flew by and the show definitely hads its ups and downs.

I started losing interest towards the end of the run but had to hold out to see how it all wrapped up.  As we started the finale, I remember thinking to myself, "Hmm, that would be kinda dumb if the series ended like this" and sadly, that's exactly how the series ended.  Bah, so sadly predictable and anti-climactic!

A while after we finished it, I watched Battlestar Galactica: The Plan which kind of condensed and retold the series from the point of the view of the villains.  I read somewhere that The Plan would make you completely rethink the entire series and put everything in a new light, so I was eager for that.  Instead, The Plan had a ton of rehashed footage (somewhat understandable) but it was so boring and uninspired that it, along with the disappointing finale, tainted my view of the entire series.

So, to sum it up, I eagerly put BSG into the Overrated category.  Give the miniseries and maybe first season a watch and just leave it as a good memory in your mind.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Too Much TV

I decided to take a look back at a previous blog post I'd written about what TV shows I want to watch to see if I've made any progress.  I'm currently on Season 5 of Curb Your Enthusiasm and am enjoying the hell out of that show.  We've plowed through all of the seasons of Dexter, Breaking Bad and 30 Rock that are available to us on Netflix.  All of those are excellent shows, by the way.

I have one season left of Smallville left to watch, of which I cut back the Netflix queue to get only 4 out of the 6 discs.  That show has gone incredibly downhill and I can't wait to finish it off.  I'm tempted to just get the first and last disc and cut out all the rest.  But alas, there's a Booster Gold episode!  How can I pass that up?

I watched the first 2 episodes of Treme and gave up in the middle of the third.  Just couldn't get into it so that one got booted from my list.  Similarly, I tried and gave up on Mad Men and Justice League.

We're 4 episodes in to Game of Thrones and it seems good so far.  The Wife is more into that show than I am at the moment but it's enjoyable.  I also just started Damages and am really loving how that show's storyline jumps around.

I finally finished watching FlashForward and really liked that one.  I wish they'd made more than one season of it but alas.  I think I would have enjoyed it more if I watched it in a shorter amount of time.  Not that the storyline is ultra confusing, I just feel like I would have enjoyed it more if I watched it all in the span of 2 months instead of the 6-8 months it took me to watch it.  We also finished Battlestar Galactica, although I think that one might require a separate blog post.

So, the trimmed down list of shows I need to watch / catch up on looks like this --

The 4400
Eastbound and Down
Friday Night Lights
Freaks and Geeks
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Rescue Me
Samurai Jack
The Shield
The Sopranos
Terra Nova
The West Wing

The Wire

Ahhhhh!  Too much TV!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Cosmopolitan Parking

I went to Las Vegas a several weeks ago. Sorry I didn't tell you all about it at the time but I don't feel the need to post my location updates or flight information on any means of social communication.

At the close of our weekend there, we drove over to The Cosmopolitan and pulled into the underground parking and I was thrilled to see my invention in use. I technically didn't invent this, but I did have this idea several years ago.  I guess the fact that someone else manufactured and sold it proves it wasn't that original to begin with, but I digress!

So.  You pull into the underground parking and look up and you see...lit up signs telling you how many parking spots are available on that level.  Now that's no big deal because they have that at my local mall but what they do have is a sensor above each individual parking spot.  If a car is parked there, it's red.  If nothing is parked there, it's green!  You don't have to drive all over Kansas trying to find the 13 available spots on Level 2.  AND even better - as you navigate your way through the level, it points you in the direction of the available spots.  It took me less than 90 seconds from pulling into the parking structure to finding a spot and parking the car.

Ahhhhh!!!!  So brilliant!  Why can't they do this everywhere?!?!!!!

Congratulations, Cosmopolitan -- you've just claimed the #1 spot on my list of Favorite Parking Structures.

Saturday, March 3, 2012


One interesting thing I've learned from my job is about markup.  Since we have stores nationwide and I am involved in the advertising for those stores, I am sometimes privy to information about how much our products are marked up.  Said information is confidential so any examples I use in this post are purely hypothetical.

Much like Bed Bath & Beyond, my company posts/mails out/advertises a lot of 20% off one item coupons.  I never thought about this before, but I take this to mean that every single product we (and BBB) sell is marked up at least 20%.  So if you pay full price for something, you're probably dumb.  Wait for your coupon.  Use your coupon.  Or at least wait until it goes on sale.  The company will still be making a profit but just not as much profit.

I overheard that one item (hypothetically) we sell for $9.99 is something we actually buy for 70¢.  This means the manufacturer is cranking these out at a factory for probably 20¢.  I understand you have to factor in production costs, shipping, etc. but that is (theoretically) one hell of a mark up on that product.

Like I said, I never really thought about this stuff before I started working for a company with retail stores but it's changed my shopping mindset.  It is incredibly, incredibly rare that I will pay full price for something.  I don't shop for a lot of clothes, but I buy a majority of my clothes from Salvation Army.  If I got to Target or Kohl's, I will head to the clearance racks first and the sale racks second.  If I don't find anything I like then, I probably won't get it.

If I have a gift card, it skews my perception but I still try to follow my rules.  I really want to buy the DVD for Thor since I didn't get it for Christmas.  It's currently $19.99 at Best But and I have quite a few gift cards there.  However, The Avengers film is coming out soon and I'm pretty certain the price for the Thor DVD will go on sale around the time to capitalize on the tie-in so even though I have a gift card, I'm going to wait on it.

I'm sure there are a lot of economic and market factors I don't understand but the thought that kinda blew my mind was that a store sells everything for a profit.  Even if it's on sale or you have a 40% off coupon, they're still gonna profit.