Wednesday, February 28, 2007

At least he's pretty

One of the links on my sidebar is The Futon Critic, so you know I enjoy and respect the site. Plus, months ago I participated in a focus group asked to dissect a national radio program where one of the hosts presented a segment on this strange phenomenon - fans were talking about Studio 60 on this new-fangled Internet thing even before it premiered. She made a snide reference to the Futon Critic's coverage, as if it were a guy in his mother's basement with a following of five obsessive Aaron Sorkin fans. I defended the site's respectability and otherwise slammed the segment for being cluelessly out of touch with popular culture. The radio program has since been cancelled. I blame myself.

Anyway, all that to prove that I say this from a place of love: this Futon Critic interview with NCIS actor Michael Weatherly is clearly a public service announcement for the importance of editing. Or muzzles for actors. Or for interviewers to feel free to yell "please, God, make it stop!" A taste:

And so the first year we made 23. And that was it, we all flew to New York, walked on the stage. It was Pauley Perrette and David McCallum and myself and Mark. Because we didn't have Sasha [Alexander] yet [because] Robin Lively had been in the first two episodes as "the girl." That's, talk about a perilous position on our show, we're on our third "girl." And she's Israeli, I don't even know how she sticks around. [Laughs.] If I were her [lowers voice], I'd be really nervous. [Laughs.] I'd be like sweating all the time. I mean if I were her agents, I'd be like "just take the money, no negotiation." And of course, you know, now I've become comfortable with the fact I'm clearly northern Italian, near the Alps, the blonde Italians. And it just kind of continues, I'm just amazed sometimes that there are still stories to tell. But there always is. There's a lot of jeopardy. We have a lot of female serial killers too.

Don't let that scare you away from the other interviews on the site, though. Site owner Brian Ford Sullivan has a new-ish On the Futon with ... series, mostly with writers and producers of shows like Criminal Minds, The Simpsons, Desperate Housewives, My Name is Earl, etc. Even if I don't watch or enjoy some of the shows in question, the interviews are usually more informative and interesting than blathering. Check them out.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Just a really slow news day

Global TV, Tuesday, Feb. 27: Premiere of Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader.

Vancouver Sun, Tuesday, Feb. 27:
Front page, above-the-fold article on "Do you know as much as a 5th grader," with sample questions and a synopsis of the show rules, leading to the full story on page 6.

Global and the Sun are both owned by CanWest Global. I'm sure it's a coincidence. A respected newspaper wouldn't put an ad for their own show on the front page disguised as an article, right?

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Vacation lust

I have serious vacation lust right now and serious indecisiveness about what to do with myself.

The lust comes partly from the February doldrums, partly from the long stretch between New Year's Day and Good Friday in BC's stat holiday calendar (one reason to miss Alberta: Family Day in February), partly from the fact that my boss has told me I have two vacation days I need to use by March 31, partly from the reminder on my paystub of my new vacation allotment for the year, partly from the fact that I just reluctantly said no to an all-inclusive Dominican Republic vacation with a friend because the timing was off, the price was off, and it wasn't quite what I was craving.

But the lust comes mostly from the book I've been slowly reading while also devouring novels like Margaret Atwood's The Penelopiad (didn't love it) and Zoe Heller's Notes on a Scandal: What Was She Thinking (loved it). I've mentioned it before, in the Bolivian prison tour posts - Pico Iyer's Sun After Dark: Flights into the Foreign. It's a book of essays on his trips to some of the poorest places in the world, where he sees the light and the dark coexisting:

The physical aspect of travel is, for me, the least interesting; what really draws me is the prospect of stepping out of the daylight of everything I know, into the shadows of what I don't know, and may never know. Confronted by the foreign, we grow newly attentive to the details of the world, even as we make out, sometimes, the larger outline that lies behind them.

He visits Leonard Cohen in a Zen monastery, the Dalai Lama in India, sees a Cambodia recovering from the scars of the Khmer Rouge, talks politics in Ethiopia, all the while examining "what was central, what the margins, and how "the two circle around one another like fascinated strangers, each haunted by The Other."

He hits on one of my favourite reason to travel:

We travel, some of us, to slip through the curtain of the ordinary, and into the presence of whatever lies just outside our apprehension. ... The beauty of any flight, after all, is that, as soon as we leave the ground, we leave a sense of who we are behind.

The exotic vacation I'd been dreaming about since getting back from Peru and Bolivia years ago was to Egypt, but that was put on hold when I decided to move to Mexico instead. And it will have to wait a little longer, but there are many other options closer to home.

Now if only I could decide on one of them.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Walk the talk, already

Because there's not enough wrong with the Canadian TV industry, my brother points out a problem with their ambitions to embrace those multiple platforms they're so excited about.

After reading my sister's post about CTV's Robson Arms and their cool decision to put episodes online I decided to check it out. Turns out they've made an uncool decision to exclude Linux users from watching.

He goes on to talk about his difficulties (eventually resolved through web geekitude) with CBC's site, too. He's not alone in his frustration. I couldn't easily view the Robson Arms episodes in Firefox, and by the time I'd realized it might be a browser issue and tried Internet Explorer, which worked, the second season had started airing and I'd given up on catching up. A writer on Robson Arms, David Moses, has pointed out that he can't view them on his Mac. Hmm, don't a lot of writers and artsy types use Macs? He's doing his best to be an evangelist for a website he doesn't have full access to, but it's a little sad that he's not part of the audience for the site.

Looking quickly at browser stats, in Canada, Internet Explorer has about 79% of the market, Firefox has 14%, Safari has 5%. Operating system stats (I assume these are US or international figures) show Windows has about 90% of the market, Mac about 6%, and Linux ... well, I won't break my brother's heart by pointing out they're sitting at only 0.35%. Oh. Maybe I will.

Looking carefully at those stats, you can see why the easy, default solution is to go with something that will work on a Windows operating system running Internet Explorer. That combination represents the majority.

Looking even more carefully, you'd see why strategy is a very, very bad one. If your video will only play in Internet Explorer, you could estimate that 2 out of 10 people who visit your site will not be able to view it. If it will only work in Windows, 1 out of 10 people won't be able to see it.

These are rough estimates with bad statistical analysis, but think about what it means to exclude any browser or operating system: your targeted or viral marketing has worked and enticed these people to come to your site, but your product is not available to them. My brother and I and David Moses weren't casual web surfers. We went to the Robson Arms site specifically to view the videos, and were unable to. They had us ... and then they lost us. Well, Dave might have already seen those episodes, and might have an incentive to stick around despite his browser issues. Still.

I don't mean to suggest this is strictly a Canadian TV issue. Far from it. There are many, many other sites that aren't considering visitors who use anything other than Internet Explorer on a PC. I am the pot calling the kettle black, because the website I'm responsible for at work is only capable of hosting Windows Media Player videos. I had little to do with the decision making, though, and I've learned to pick my IT battles and then wait a couple of years to see who won. Anyway, this post isn't about me and my failings, it's about the Canadian television industry bigwigs and theirs. They have a thicker skin than I do, and they have the nerve to talk about their wonderful multi-platform strategies before they can even figure out how to post a video properly.

TV suits, internationally and locally, are talking a lot about multiple platforms, about how they have to create more than simply a television show, they have to create a user experience that extends online, on cell phones, on iPods, on milk cartons. Maybe not always milk cartons. But they love the online part. They love it. And they talk a lot about it, but they're not doing a very good job of doing it.

Forget videos that alienate at least 1 in 10 people who seek them out. Canadian TV websites barely update their information-based content, never mind use the web to its most powerful advantage. There's not much evidence of the so-called Web 2.0 in the TV industry, though it represents the cutting-edge, user-centric strategy the suits are salivating over.

From ZDNet:

One of the hallmarks of a good Web 2.0 site is one that hands over non-essential control to users, letting them contribute content, participate socially, and even fundamentally shape the site itself. The premise is that users will do a surprising amount of the hard work necessary to make the site successful, right down to creating the very information the site offers to its other users and even inviting their friends and family members to use it. Web 2.0 newcomers MySpace and YouTube have shown how this can be done on a mass scale surprisingly quickly, and of course older generation successes like eBay and craigslist have been doing this for years.

Interactivity with the viewer doesn't just mean slapping up a forum or putting multimedia elements on the site and crossing your fingers that someone will use them and make the effort worthwhile. It is about things like getting users to create and distribute your content for you. Using tags, widgets, user-generated content, syndicating your content with RSS. (I have yet to even find a Canadian TV website that lets me subscribe to an RSS feed or e-mail alert to find out when the next episode airs, or what it's about.)

It's about giving visitors the tools to create mash ups. Getting people to sign up for e-mail alerts and then actually sending them something. (Hello almost every Canadian TV show that has an e-newsletter sign up button on your website: How about sending regular schedule updates? Information on new additions to the site? Anything? Don't just take my e-mail address and disappear into the ether. Robson Arms gets a pat on the back so far, but keep it up.)

There's a quote I love that's attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson: "What you do speaks so loudly, I can't hear what you say." So until the TV industry can get the basics of a website down pat, like telling me when the next episode will air, or posting a video I can view, I'd love it if they'd just shut up about the multi-platform experience that goes along with their shows.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

House meets 22 Minutes and Canadian health care

Earlier today, in answer to the question "What are you going to do tonight with no House" I replied "Sit in front of the blank TV screen with tears streaming down my cheeks." But I forgot - the screen doesn't have to be blank, and the tears can be of laughter. Besides Rick Mercer Report, there's This Hour Has 22 Minutes, which tonight is airing a best of show, as voted on by viewers. Remember when I asked you to vote on your favourite House sketch? We won! I mean, it won. At least, from the episode description, it better have won or there's some sneaky marketing going on there. I swear I only voted once. (By the way, thanks for that heads up, Mef). If you miss the show, you can catch the House sketch online under Nov. 28.

There's other funny sketches, too, of course. Not everything has to be about House.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Little thoughts on Little India

There's a "fact" I've heard thrown around every few months since I moved here four years ago, from people decrying the changing face of Vancouver: white people are now the minority. According to the 2001 census, 48 percent of the population here was a visible minority. That number could very well be over 50 percent now, but the "fact" relies on lumping people into two categories: white and non-white. To me, that ignores a whole lot of difference within those groups in order to create a meaningless dichotomy. And it's partly the differences that make Vancouver an amazing place to live.

I had a boss who drew a Venn diagram to demonstrate his pet theory of life. Yellow is my experiences. Blue is your experiences. His theory was that the way we relate to each other is in the purple - that it's our similarities that draw us to each other.

That theory works for the field we work in. In communications, you want to reach people with a message that has meaning to them. It works to explain that initial connection we feel to someone when we discover they share our affection for House and folk/punk English singer/songwriters.

It doesn't explain why it's more annoying to have a sycophant constantly agree with everything you say than to be with someone who challenges you to let your thoughts venture from the yellow into the blue. It doesn't explain Jerry Maguire's "you complete me."

So overall, I think it's the xenophobe's theory of life. It doesn't explain how we're often drawn to the differences in others.

One of the larger ethnic groups here is Greater Vancouver is Indo-Canadian, and one of the larger subsets of that group is Punjabi. In the suburb where I work, there's a section where the street signs are bilingual English and Punjabi. In Vancouver itself, 49th and Main, there's the Punjabi Market, a two-block area filled with Indian restaurants, sari shops, food stores, DVD stores lined with Bollywood musicals, and jewelry stores laden with sparkly things recognizable from those Bollywood musicals.

My tour guide of the market yesterday was a friend of mine who isn't Punjabi, but whose parents are from India via Africa. She shops there all the time, and explained the intricacies of Indian weddings and other rituals. Our group included a friend whose parents are from Italy, and then two of us generic white girls who can't easily define our own cultural background.

Everywhere we looked in the market there were reams of fabrics in bright colours, some so jewelled and sequined that the brides-to-be trying them on looked both resplendent and burdened. Looked at in one light, it was a festival of gaudiness. Looked at in another, it was a demonstration of an exuberance my culture - whatever it is - sadly lacks.

Browsing the shelves on shelves of dazzling material, I was left really wanting a sari. And yet I'd never have anywhere to wear one, and I can't help but feel I'd look ridiculous, trying on someone else's culture like a costume. Plus, I'd never be able to tie it myself.

I lusted after a Pashmina that was five times as expensive as any of the other ones because of the beautiful, subtle embroidery.

Instead, I made do with a great lunch, some tea supplies, and, from the combination butcher shop/DVD store a few blocks away from the market proper, some pre-marinaded Tandoori chicken. And I'm thankful to live in a place that makes it so easy to realize that life's a lot more interesting when Earl Grey coexists with chai, KFC with Tandoori, and where good friends can act as tour guides to another culture.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

TV Review: House - "Insensitive"

"Insensitive" could really be the subtitle to this entire series. House, M.D.: Insensitive Bastard has a nice ring to it. Too bad they've already got the billboards printed with plain old House.

The episode title, however, refers most obviously to the patient of the week, bratty teenager Hannah Morgenthal, born with a rare condition called CIPA that makes her unable to feel pain or regulate her body temperature.

And House, who is disdainful of everyone, superior to everyone, finds himself, you might say, hypersensitive: jealous of his patient and of Cuddy's date.

The jealousy is at first hilarious rather than heartbreaking. Hannah comes to the hospital after a car accident has seriously wounded her mother and possibly wounded her - but who can tell, when she doesn't hurt, won't let them examine her for internal injuries, and refuses to admit she has CIPA.

Foreman doesn't buy House's instant diagnosis, even though the first of his several reasons - she denies she has CIPA without ever asking what it is - convinced me. That plus the title of the episode, and the previews that talked about the patient's inability to feel pain. Still.

Before smacking her with his cane, House also picks up on her Jewish name, pointing out that Ashkenazi Jews are at higher risk for the disorder, and makes some really lame Jewish jokes at her expense. Almost as lame as the black jokes he usually directs at Foreman. House's barbs seem to sting only when he actually means them.

When Hannah refuses to submit to tests, House and Hannah get into the Battle of the Handicaps Part II, following last week's match between House and the researcher in the wheelchair. Hannah can't cry. "Neither can I," House sneers. She has to check her eyes every morning for corneal scratches. He has to check his for jaundice from the Vicodin shutting down his liver. She can't run without checking her joints for swelling. He can't run. She can't be held by a boy for too long without overheating. He can't be held by a girl for too long because he only pays them for an hour.

Already, with the acknowledgement of his Vicodin habit's long term side effects, and the running prostitution joke-that's-not-just-a-joke-after-"Distractions," and Cuddy dating someone she met online after all House's jokes-that-weren't-jokes about that, and Foreman's once-seen girlfriend making a reappearance, and the reference to House's fellows being in a program (albeit one that probably should have an end point really soon, if not already past), "Insensitive" makes enough connections to the past to feel like it actually fits into a series. Yet it has a nice twist so it doesn't just feel like a comfortable old shoe: the cool diagnosis came at the beginning of the episode.

Sure, we still have the medical mystery of what made Hannah spike a fever after House manages to trick her into getting drugged, but the fascinating exploration of what it means to not feel pain - how far from a blessing it is - adds something new to this show that centres around a character who embodies what it means to be in constant pain.

When the fever indicates there is something wrong with Hannah apart from her extremely rare congenital condition, House orders a spinal nerve biopsy, among other tests. His team balks at the prospect of risking paralysis to diagnose a fever, so House quickly gives up trying to convince them and goes to Cuddy for approval.

The quickness and the going-to-Cuddyness obviously means he's up to something. As fast as he'd diagnosed Hannah's CIPA, he had diagnosed Cuddy's appearance on this snowstormy day as meaning she was going on a blind date. He tracks her down at the coffee shop she'd chosen for prime fleeing convenience ("low expectations work in my favour" says her charming date) to get his biopsy approval. He also gets the added bonus of humiliating Cuddy, though he seems disconcerted to discover her date is not only respectable, but not cowed by House.

While Cuddy is agreeing to the biopsy and hiding behind her menu in embarrassment, House's team is debating how to circumvent the order to get the dangerous spinal nerve biopsy. Foreman, Cameron, and Chase all prove in this episode that they've got some disturbingly similar traits as their bastard boss, and in this discussion, Chase seems just as cleverly heartless. He proposes torturing Hannah to cause enough pain to break through her insensitivity in order to track down where her injury is. Though, as he explains, it would be torture on anyone else, but for Hannah, it's like pricking a finger, and it beats risking paralysis.

However, watching a spinal nerve biopsy would have by far beat watching what they put Hannah through. This is not the best episode for the squeamish. Chase gives her second degree burns. Foreman drills holes in her head until she tricks him and escapes, only to threaten to jump off the balcony in a fit of paranoia, and actually do it when her legs become paralyzed. Hannah goes splat. She can't feel anything, but I felt my stomach turn.

Wilson, who wants nothing more than to gossip about the 11-fingered doctor and his new tranny nurse girlfriend, is exasperated with House because instead he finds he has to be his "damn conscience" again. Wilson and Cameron and everyone who's not distracted by their charming date thinks House is studying Hannah for his own curiosity. "Your focus is going to be on getting your answers, not hers," Wilson chides.

Undeterred, House picks up on the paralysis and nuttiness as two additional reasons to think nerve issues are the root of her current problems, and demands the spinal nerve biopsy again. His hopes are dashed when Cameron suggests thyroid storm, which he has to grudgingly admit is a likely candidate. The silver lining is that he should really consult with an endocrinologist to confirm the diagnosis, and who should be an endocrinologist but Cuddy. She may not be the endocrinologist on call, and he may not have really had to go all the way to her house to get the consult, but again, there's the added bonus of humiliating her.

For as he cannily intuits, she is still on her date when he knocks on her door. "You just met him," he protests. "I like him. And I like sex. Do I need to stitch a letter on my tops?" she asks playfully.

After eliminating thyroid storm as a possible diagnosis, she then does a little diagnosing of her own on House: "Do you like me, House?" she asks, stepping towards him. Since he usually avoids her instead of wanting her to approve his every move, she claims his actions could only be explained as an altruistic person worried about her well-being, or as someone who wants her for himself. He suggests the third option - the option that would seem the most likely except for his adorably disconcerted expression - that it could also be explained as an "evil bastard who just wants to mess with other people's happiness."

Whether it's door number two or three, House succeeds in messing with Cuddy's date. He heard the spark between Cuddy and House and wishes he could be dating that woman. Now it's Cuddy's turn to be disconcerted, since she can't seem to argue against the charge that she thrives on the challenge of House.

House is back to browbeating his team into getting a spinal nerve biopsy until he notices that Wilson has taken some of his papers, and Wilson seems to uncharacteristically pull a House by asking House's team if he's asking for a spinal nerve biopsy. How'd he know? Because the papers he stole indicate the possibility of growing nerves out of a spinal nerve - pain free nerves, if done with a CIPA patient's spinal nerve. House isn't just studying Hannah, he's hoping to harvest her nerves for his own gain. And his jealousy takes on a whole new spin. She literally has something he covets.

House is usually the bastard willing to risk everything - his medical license, his desire for a semblance of a normal life - to help his patients. But now he is the bastard willing to risk paralysis for Hannah in order to help himself. He's willing to forgo his ethics and risk a shorter life span to be free from pain.

Except Wilson actually succeeds in being his conscience by asking House to examine whether he's the right person to decide whether the spinal nerve biopsy is necessary. House does the right thing and leaves it to his team. They choose a nerve further from the spine that gets them the information they need - Hannah's symptoms are being caused by something systemic, not a neurological condition.

As Cameron and Foreman discover that in the lab, they have a happy Valentine's Day discussion about true love and commitment, with shades of their mutual affection post-"Euphoria," and shades of their tension, pre-"Euphoria." Cameron doesn't realize that House has correctly diagnosed Foreman as trying to avoid commitment on his path to a lonely life of success, and envies his relationship with Wendy, the pediatric nurse we saw once, way back when, in happier times.

Foreman points out that Cameron could have a social life (translation: sex) any time she wanted. She says she had "the real thing" once and isn't willing to settle, prompting Foreman the Tactful to express some skepticism. She presses him into confessing that while he doesn't know what she had, the sacrifices she made for her dying husband were at the height of her love for him. "I wasn't criticizing you," he explains gently, seeing how hurt she is. "People who avoid commitment are people who know what a big thing it is." Foreman, however, is not quite the Mr. Sensitive he thinks he is, considering the girl who's avoided commitment is also in love with a man who avoids commitment even more.

While the rest of the team debate what Hannah's systemic illness could be, Cameron takes off - under House's protests - to reunite mother and daughter. While giving her the satisfaction of seeing a human connection that doesn't involve her dysfunctional coworkers, it also gives the team the clue they need to solve the case: Hannah starts to cry and feel pain while fighting with her mother over who's sorriest about the accident. House adds "guilt" to the white board of symptoms.

It's natural that in House's world of rationality, an emotion would be a symptom, and apparently guilt is a sign of vitamin B-12 deficiency. That diagnosis would be easily curable by, strangely enough, providing vitamin B-12. But guilt is also a sign of sadness, which wouldn't be so helpful to the white board. House's cool theory is blown when it turns out Hannah had already been given B-12 when she was first admitted, leading to the conclusion that Hannah is, in fact, just sad.

Back to the drawing board. House brings even juicier hospital gossip to Wilson as well as Hannah's file, looking for a consult on leukemia as a more prosaic diagnosis. While stealing Wilson's sandwich, House has a food-related epiphany and takes off to rethink his B-12 theory. As he tells his startled team, "Someone else ate it." This is how dumb I am: I'm thinking "Her mom? Really? Why?"

But no, House wheels Hannah into an already occupied operating room and proves his versatility as a doctor by performing the surgery himself. Look ma, no mask AND no anaesthetic. The other surgical team looks on in horror as Hannah screams and protests in another paranoid fit.

The cool diagnosis came at the beginning of the episode, and the gross one comes at the end. House starts to pull out a 25 foot tapeworm from her gut, as those looks of horror turn into disgust evident even on faces hidden behind surgical masks, and one woman whips out her cell phone to catch it on camera.

With her B-12 stealing friend gone, Hannah's going to be just fine. Her mom is going to be pretty much fine, making the running comments about "oh no, what are we going to tell Hannah" a little anticlimactic, but giving us the happy reunion scene at the end.

Foreman and Wendy break up after he gives her the most romantic Valentine's Day present ever - the gift of moving away from him - and ridiculing her for not being rational in their break up fight. "Only you'd expect an argument to be rational. You and that ass boss of yours," she says cuttingly.

So Foreman is newly alone, by design, and we see Cuddy in bed alone, very much not by design, and Wilson and House together again. House is looking wistfully at Hannah and her pain-free spinal nerves, so Wilson encourages him to ask her to donate one. "If you want to do it, do it while her B-12 is still low. Guilt can be your friend." House has snapped back to the oddly ethical unethical bastard he is, though, and doesn't even consider it.

In a closing scene that's as funny as it is credibility stretching, Cameron proposes an arrangement to Chase: sex with no complications. She's picked him because he's the coworker she's least likely to fall in love with. Poor Chase. Wait, what am I saying? Sex with no strings: lucky Chase. Except Cameron is apparently too busy with the doctoring to have ever seen a sitcom before, so I know what she doesn't: there's always complications. At least she's not paying the guy by the hour.

FOX is being insensitive to my House needs and withholding the show for the next couple of weeks. It returns in three weeks.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Not to be construed as a reflection on the quality of the episode

I'm going to bail again on the same-day House review. Though I took an hour out to watch the show, I'm still working, and after a very full day of editing hospital-related stuff, I won't have the energy to write about a hospital-related show. Tomorrow night - that's a 99.9% guaranteed promise. (.1% leeway because you just never know.)

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Not to be construed as a real review

I'd missed the first season of Robson Arms, because it was swept into the "never heard of it" vortex before I started paying attention to Canadian TV. I tried to watch the episodes CTV helpfully put online recently, but couldn't get them to play smoothly so gave up trying to catch up.

Anyway, season two premiered tonight, and I really enjoyed it. It was more of a straight comedy than I was expecting, given the fact that it's been called a dramedy, and yet with a bit more depth than I was expecting, given John Doyle's comments. Based on those, it might be a good thing that I started season two with no way of comparing it to season one.

Jeff Ltd. made me want to poke my eyes out.

Both shows, however, reminded me of the jarring reality of paying attention to Canadian TV: there's, like, five actors who play all the roles.

No, not really, but among other familiar faces, John Cassini plays major roles in both Robson Arms and Intelligence, and I'm pretty sure I spotted at least one other Intelligence face in the show tonight (the big guy who served Leslie Nielsen with papers for running over the dog I think was Bill the snitch, who Mike Reardon had killed). Jeff Ltd. features one of the main women from Rent-a-Goalie prominently.

I can't begrudge the actors for making a living, but it definitely makes it seem like a small, small world. And with the close proximity of the shows, I half expected Yuri the superintendent to make arrangements to whack the guy in the wheelchair and then retire to his strip club office. Disconcerting.

Who are these masked ... links?

I don't have all the sites I visit or blogs I read in my sidebar because I like to keep it short, but I suppose it's pretty obvious why most of them are there.

I change them up now and then, but there's the core TV and movie links, including a couple of TV writers who have taught me a lot about how things work behind the scenes in general, and sucked me into the weird world of Canadian TV specifically. There's the word nerd link to the fabulous OneLook Dictionary. I've written about the Internet Archive and LibraryThing before. There's my geek brother's blog, and a few other nods to my own pseudo-geek leanings.

Then there's a couple that just make me laugh.

Scott Feschuk's Weekday Update

Every weekday morning Scott Feschuk's Weekday Update has at least a few laugh-out-loud reflections on the news of the day. His last entry, for example, warns people they might need to up the ante this Valentine's Day, following the arrest of the lovelorn astronaut:

Criticize and ridicule Lisa Nowak all you like – seriously, go ahead: big fun! – but understand one thing: once somebody drives 900 miles in their own urine to don a disguise and wield pepper spray, a BB gun and a steel mallet in the name of love, we have entered a world in which flowers and a card are just not going to cut it.

Feschuk writes for Macleans magazine, used to write for the National Post, worked as a speechwriter for the Liberals, and did a kick-ass job of interviewing Paul Haggis at the Banff World Television Festival and writing about the festival. I said this at the time, but his article on networks' obsession with multiple platforms is the kind of writing that makes me want to pack it in. Except I won't.

Nowadays a TV show is apparently "a subset of a bigger experience . . . a wonderful content experience" that incorporates the Internet and digital platforms. That's how it was described by Fred Fuchs, newly hired as a senior programming executive at the CBC. So next time you watch a terrible Canadian television program, don't say, "This show sucks." Remember to say, "This subset of a bigger experience sucks."

Meldraw's Let me get this straight.

I just re-added Meldraw's Let me get this straight to my blogroll, since she's finally back to blogging regularly (so she says, and she invites nags if she falters). I "met" her through my days at TWoP (House forums, of course), though we don't really know each other. She writes witty and thoughtful essays, often on the minutia of life. Her most recent post is a recap of her first year working for "The Man," where she details what she's done with her new salary and benefits, including signing up for high speed internet:

I read somewhere that the average American spends 14 hours online per week. In other news, I am Rhode Island.

They're two very different blogs, but I'm grateful to both for consistently making me laugh, and sometimes think a little bit. But mostly it's the laughter.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Cool tools for blogging fuel

“Cool” may not be quite the right word for these tools, except in my world where cool describes anything I’m interested in. But there’s a few web geek tricks I use to keep tabs on particular topics for one of my blogs, and it occurs to me other blogger types might be interested for their own purposes.

The TV, Eh? What’s Up in Canadian Television site is focused on a specific topic: it gathers existing news, media releases, and scheduling information on Canadian television programming. I started it because I wanted a one-stop resource, since it’s a huge pain to find information about Canadian programs on the web. Then I realized, doh, maintaining the site would be a challenge because it’s a huge pain to find information about Canadian programs on the web.

Add to that the fact that Canadian networks subscribe to the stealth theory of marketing when it comes to homegrown programs (“shhh, don’t tell them about it or they might watch!”), and I need all the technological help I can get to make all this scattered information come to me.

You might not have exactly the same need to obsessively scrounge for every single article on a specific subject, but you might want to use these kinds of tools to keep on top of the news in your particular field and get blogging inspiration. Or, better yet, you could make my life easier and let me know what tools you find even more helpful.

Google News

You can personalize your Google News page by logging in with your Google ID, adding custom searches – I mostly use the title of shows currently on the air – and getting rid of the defaults. I don’t need to see the sports section, for example, so I deleted that and every other default section I could. But I do want to track every instance of “Little Mosque on the Prairie” and “The Jane Show,” so those are two of my custom searches.

You can see what I’m talking about on my personalized page. (Though if you're logged in to your own Google account, you might see your own personalized page and think I’m making this up.)

Finding good search terms for some topics is a challenge. I use “Canadian television” as a hail Mary catch-all, but it’s too broad to be very useful. The CBC show Intelligence was nearly impossible to create an accurate search for, which is why I have “Chris Haddock CBC” now as I wait for renewal news, assuming those announcements will mention the creator. And you might be surprised how many corner gas store mentions I need to sift through to find articles on Corner Gas the series.

But the major problem with this system isn’t all the false positives, since, with the exception of something as generic as “intelligence,” I can easily skim right over those to find what I’m looking for. The major problem is that these custom searches only look for what I tell them to. Stupid computers, no critical thinking skills. So a show’s not going to appear if it’s new, or I don’t know about it, or it never gets press coverage so I haven’t bothered to create a custom search. That’s where another tool comes in handy.

Google Reader

Instead of individually visiting the various websites I know about that regularly write about Canadian television (well, as regular as it gets here), I subscribe via a web-based reader in order to scan for relevant articles. This collection includes online versions of newspapers, most of which have RSS feeds for the entertainment sections, at least, if not specifically television.

Google Reader isn’t my preferred reader for sites I follow for my own interest – that would be Thunderbird, where each post is delivered like an e-mail – but it’s great for this purpose because I can skim all the recent articles in each feed online. Plus, since I use a Gmail account and Google News for the TV, Eh? site, it also means the small comfort of having one login for all of them.

Cite Bite

Gathering the material for the TV, Eh? site is the hard part. The easy part is linking to the original content. But sometimes there are several items on one page and I want my readers to jump right to the good stuff, so I’ve started using this nifty site called Cite Bite.

Input the bit of text you want to jump to, and the URL of the web page that text is on, and Cite Bite creates a link to that part of the page with the given text highlighted. See an example where I was only interested in pointing out the item on Robson Arms.

Nothing’s perfect

Even with these tools, I still have to comb a few sites, like network media release pages or episode information (stealth marketing, remember). Of course I still don’t catch everything, and it still takes some time to cull through all the resources I’ve gathered. I’ve learned to let go of the ideal of perfection and accept that I’m doing the best I can. Except it really, really bugs me. So let me know if you have your own web tricks to bring web-based content to you. Please. Pretty please.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

TV Review: House - "Needle in a Haystack"

After the rule-bending episode last week - no medical mystery, gobs of philosophical dialogue, House in close proximity to the patient throughout - "Needle in a Haystack" is by-the-books House. And it's a pretty good book.

If last week's is the kind of episode I'd special order, this week's is the kind I could describe in my sleep. If I had a very specific kind of sleep disorder that led me to describe TV shows. We meet patient, patient gets sick, patient responds to treatment, oh no he doesn't, conflict with family, hmm what's wrong, OK we've got the real diagnosis this time, House and Cuddy and Wilson shenanigans, doctor-patient parallels bring out emotional side of the story. That may be the overall template of most episodes, but the depth is in the details.

So is the fun. In wintry weather, House pulls up to his hospital parking spot to see someone else's name inscribed on it, and his now some distance away. He clomps into the hospital, more peeved about getting his shoes wet than the effort of walking, it seems, but that's not how he's going to make his case.

He asks his team who this J. Whitner is. Cameron identifies her as a new researcher.

Chase: Is she hot?

Cameron: She's in a wheelchair.

Chase: Doesn't mean she's not hot.

And she kind of is, though the fact that the actress, Wendy Makkena, played Sister Mary Robert in Sister Act infringes on that image a little. That's unfair since, after all, Bertie Wooster and Prince George haven't exactly diminished Hugh Laurie's claim to the adjective. In any case, sparks fly a little, as they usually do when House meets a woman who can snark right back at him.

Their battle of the snarks results in a hilariously un-PC battle of the handicaps, as each asserts their right to the closer spot. "Cane!" he cries. "Wheelchair!" she responds.

He does have a point, as he usually does - walking causes him pain, and he could easily slip on the ice, so he needs to be close to the door. But he is also incredibly wrong and pig-headed, as he usually is. "Oh, well, since you asked so nicely ... wheelchair" she tells him when he asks her to trade spots. Cuddy has no sympathy either, pointing out that his new spot is still within the limits of his application for a handicapped space.

The dilemma does let them get into another of their ridiculous but ridiculously funny bets. Cuddy says he can't last a week in a wheelchair. He says he'll do it for the better parking spot. So he proceeds to spend the rest of the episode in a wheelchair.

As much fun as it is to see House do his stupid cane tricks, it's a nice treat to see his stupid wheelchair tricks this episode. My favourite is how he closes the passenger side door after scrambling in there with the wheelchair, followed by House's satisfied smile. And here's some random trivia that hard core fans already know: creator David Shore originally wanted House to be in a wheelchair, but FOX's Gail Berman vetoed that and suggested the cane - the only time, Shore joked, that he's appreciated network interference.

All this, and there's an interesting medical story, too. Written by doctor writer David Foster, "Needle in a Haystack" starts with the usual patient of the week teaser. Even the content of the pre-credits scene is familiar, with teenaged sexual fumblings ending in one of them gasping for breath, in the "I'm going to die" way, not the "was it good for you" way. Sex kills, you know.

Our patient of the week with the long dark hair is 16-year-old Stevie, who went into respiratory arrest and seems to have a plural effusion - which Google tells me is fluid in the lung lining - and a leaky artery. Despite his lack of formal education (which we don't know about yet), Stevie is a science whiz, asking all the right questions as Foreman performs tests on him, saving Omar Epps from having to take on too much of the boring medical exposition. As Stevie asks, if there's a leak in his pulmonary veins, then where's the bleeding on the scan? Strike one on the diagnosis.

Everyone lies, but Stevie does it badly. His lies lead to suspiciously unanswered phone calls to his parents and a wild goose chase at the wrong address when Chase and Cameron try to scout out his home - embarrassingly but entertainingly interrupting an adulterous couple.

Stevie's blonde girlfriend has an annoying attachment to the truth, and fills the doctors in: Stevie is Romani, a gypsy, whose parents would consider the outsiders, like the doctors, like her, as contaminants.

Sure enough, when toothpick-chewing dad (clue alert!) and soup-bearing mom arrive at the hospital, they view Foreman and his fancy MRI with high skepticism. But the MRI helps narrow the diagnosis to Wegener's granulomatosis (a form of vasculitis, if you've been playing spot that disease), whose pokey granuloma things are punching holes in the kid's vital organs.

Though the treatment for Wegener's is making the kid worse, House insists it's the treatment that's wrong, not the diagnosis. He sends Foreman to sell the modern-medicine-skeptic parents on an experimental, non-FDA approved treatment. Shockingly, the parents refuse.

The confrontation does allow Foreman and Mr. Lipa to compare the racist oppression of their peoples - their very own version of "my handicap trumps your handicap."

There's got to be a little mini theme about the consequences of not playing nice here. Foreman didn't bother to win over the parents or make any accommodations to their beliefs, partly leading to the mom's distrust. Not that I think she'd have agreed to the experimental treatment anyway. But it fits nicely with House not playing nice with his parking space rival, partly leading to her refusal to trade with him. Not that I think she'd have agreed anyway. OK, that's not even a themelette, really. But it's a nice moral: play nice. Unless you're House, in which case you'll get your way anyway.

Foreman not only likes the kid, he identifies with him, bringing up his own underprivileged upbringing in a less than stellar school, facing prejudice, using his brains to pull himself up. He also wants him to live, so he finds an excuse to clear the room and talk one on one with his patient.

The episode's established that Stevie's mature and bright enough to understand what's happening to him, so Foreman asks him to make the decision to take the experimental treatment, and hide it from his parents. Foreman points out that he's putting his medical license at risk by ignoring the parents' wishes in a bid to win Stevie's trust.

Before Stevie can even make the decision, however, his spleen explodes. Surgery to remove it can, as a bonus, confirm the diagnosis. Except it unconfirms it. House, watching from his wheelchair in the observation deck above the operating room, refuses to believe there are no granulomas. So he races down before the cranky surgeon can close the patient up. Even though time is crucial, House can't let go of the bet. He first waits for the elevator, then bounces the chair down the stairs. See - stupid wheelchair tricks are fun.

House does forget about the bet and stands when, to prevent the surgeon from closing before House can prove the existence of granulomas, he desperately inserts his hand into the incision, then removes the poor kid's guts and squeezes them inch by inch to find those elusive lumps. Which don't exist. Because it's not Wegener's, no matter how much hoping would make it so. And also, yuck.

House has - well, you could call it an epiphany, but it seems more like a hail Mary. Anyway, he decides they need to do a colonoscopy, and Foreman is for once eager to take the leap with his boss and help, racing to the ICU before the parents' limited visiting privileges kick in. "I like that kid. He's got spunk," House says, and he's not talking about Stevie.

While House distracts the dad with slurs about gypsies, and Wilson distracts House with the news that even if he wins the bet, Cuddy has no intention or legal basis for honouring it, Foreman finds a toothpick in Stevie's gut. Remove the needle in the haystack, and the haystack ... oops, that metaphor doesn't quite go there. Stevie's fine.

The episode doesn't really pit science versus traditional therapies, but it does pit modern life versus traditional. When Foreman offers to recommend Stevie for an intern position and encourages him to explore a life beyond his family's boundaries, Stevie proves again that he is mature enough and bright enough to know exactly what he's choosing. And "I'm choosing them," he tells Foreman.

"I see you with Doctors Chase and Cameron. You've all got empty ring fingers. You're alone," Stevie points out. Good thing the kid never met House - he'd have sworn off modern life forever.

To further emphasize the message, we see Stevie and his family in their joyous escape from the hospital contrasted with Foreman reading a medical paper while eating dinner alone, and the sad triumph that is House's battle of the parking spot.

Cuddy might have thought she had power over House post-Tritter (Tritter who?), but he still knows how to manipulate her with her guilt and pity. He unfairly appeals to her sense of fairness in making a bet she had no intention of honouring, and she caves. He's not a proud man, but he's a man who gets his own way. And he's a man who has the prime parking space again.

The next episode of House airs next Tuesday, Feb. 13, at 9 p.m. on FOX.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

TV Review: Intelligence - "Down But Not Out"

Let me preface this by saying that if we don't hear soon about a season two of Intelligence, I will personally hire a Henchman Bob to do some damage. OK, I won't, but I'll be really, really peeved.

The season one finale, "Down But Not Out," resolves some issues - mostly issues known as Dick Royden - but ends on a cliffhanger. And we're hanging from a very tall cliff here. If the show does come back, obviously Jimmy's an integral part of the show and I don't believe he'd be killed off. If it doesn't come back, we could be left thinking he's a goner, except that title offers a some hope, if we choose to look at it that way.

The season's ratings weren't great, but you could say that about most CBC shows this year, and I can't believe the network has anything surpassing the quality of Intelligence in the pipeline, or that scheduling it against frequently top-rated House didn't have an effect on its popularity.

Written and directed by series creator Chris Haddock, the season finale is another pulsating drive toward a frenetic conclusion, all to a pulsating soundtrack by series composer Schaun Tozer. Jimmy is frantic to find out who in Canada's intelligence community is threatening to out him as a rat, giving Ian Tracey a chance to show the menace that is always bubbling below the surface of the generally diplomatic Reardon.

In the meantime, he arranges his affairs as best he can, including getting his undercover cop connection to scout out the guy's identity; spreading the word that Dante's Disciples are out to smear the Reardon empire, to counteract any word on his informant status that may leak to the street; and to get his banker to stash Reardon's cash. Bankers are trustworthy, right? Ronnie shouldn't worry when no one can find banker Hogarty by the end of the episode, right?

Mary is frantic to stop Dick Royden , American mole and Jimmy's unknown target, ascend to the job she covets - head of the Asia/Pacific region of CSIS. So she gets faithful - or is he? - subordinate Martin to wire Royden's hotel room, and old friend Eddie to drop a hint to the Americans that their mole has been exposed. "Which one?" ask the CIA, complicating matters further for that second season that better be on the horizon.

Her senator connection has reiterated that Royden is untouchable, implied Mary's job is in danger, and taken her off the case of proving Royden's American connection, so Mary has also had to warn informants Randy Bingham and Katarina to get ready to run.

Ted, who is ecstatic to learn Mary will be losing her job and he'll be finding it, is less frantic than relieved that Jimmy plans to head down to the US to talk to his American distributor - the guy who's been coerced to work with the DEA as part of Ted's master plan to have Reardon arrested on American soil. He's a little less relieved that Jimmy is bringing ex-wife Francine and daughter Stella along for the ride. Is it possible Ted has a shriveled little heart somewhere in that chest cavity? There's even further evidence when Jimmy arrives in Seattle with his family and Ted discovers that his DEA connection might just be planning to kill Reardon instead of arrest him.

Ronnie takes advantage of Jimmy being away to give Bob orders counter to Reardon's own - to let Phan take care of Dante if he's so inclined and therefore remove that particular threat to the Reardon empire.

Jimmy's undercover cop has come through and narrowed the search for the person threatening to expose him to Dick Royden. Mary and her team overhear Royden talking to his American handler and head to arrest him. Katarina, who's been warned to pack her bags and get her family prepared to move - again - makes arrangements to see Royden, against Mary's orders.

Those three threads come together when the Organized Crime Unit's wireroom overhears room service (otherwise known as Bob, perhaps?) enter Royden's room, then later, a woman screaming in that room. When Mary and Martin arrive, they find Royden dead and Katarina swearing that someone got to him before she could.

Jimmy meets his American distributor in a bar, but realizes it's a setup and finds himself trapped in the bathroom with a gun that doesn't work, a bar full of armed DEA agents, and a cell phone that lets him tell his daughter - who has discovered what her daddy really does for a living - that he's sorry for the life he leads and that he loves her. It also lets him tell his clingy and slightly insane ex-wife Francine that he's always loved her. Stress does bad things to people.

The next episode of Intelligence ... well, we don't know yet. But it better air sometime in the fall. Don't make me hire a Bob.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

TV Preview: Rules of Engagement

There are stereotypes in triplicate in Rules of Engagement, the otherwise engaging and - praise the lord - generally funny new CBS sitcom premiering Monday, Feb. 5 at 9:30 p.m.

The show revolves around two couples -- one who've been together long enough that they've "wrapped up the sex portion of the marriage" and replaced it with Letterman, and one who are newly engaged and navigating new relationship territory -- -and one bachelor ladies man.

Married couple Jeff (Patrick Warburton, The Tick and Puddy on Seinfeld) and Audrey (Megyn Price, Grounded for Life) try to act as role models for young lovers Adam (Oliver Hudson, The Mountain) and Jennifer (Bianca Kajlich, Rock Me Baby), who have moved in together and gotten engaged a mere seven months after first meeting.

Jeff doesn't quite get that his wife means they should be positive role models, and gives Adam life lessons such as: "We compromise all the time. Like when we got our first apartment, she wanted to get a cat. I didn't want to get a cat. So we compromised and got a cat."

David Spade (Just Shoot Me) unfortunately plays Russell, Adam's bachelor pal who's appalled that he'd want to limit his options to one woman. He brings his usual persona to the role, and it still stretches credibility beyond all belief to see him as a hot-young-chick magnet. Still, I suppose it's fitting that the only two remotely appealing male characters in the series are in serious relationships, and Russell does get a few good moments, especially when he's poking fun at Warburton's gentle giant Jeff ("I like Jeff. He's enormous." "Mongo like art.")

The constant jokes about the hells of marriage might get old, and the wide-eyed innocence of the newly engaged is going to have to morph into something more sustainable, but in the first three episodes of Rules of Engagement, the series got more consistently funny and better defined characters.

The married couple are by far the most fun, and also inject some warmth into the show. Because while they demonstrate all the typical marital frustrations you'd expect from a fairly stale premise, they also have an obvious affection for each other. Price is appealingly no-nonsense and wry, while Warburton is both thick-headed and sweet, and his deadpan voice and expression make even lukewarm-funny lines hilarious.

Hudson, brother of Kate, son of Goldie Hawn, is a bit too smirky and stiff as Adam, and Kajlich didn't make much of an impression at first. But the engaged couple showed the most progress from bland near-caricatures to more rounded characters by the third episode.

Rules of Engagement plays with relationship and gender stereotypes without getting too terribly mired in the predictable. As long as you're not expecting cutting-edge jokes or a revolutionary premise, the show is well worth a look Mondays at 9:30 on CBS.

Book Review: Everything You Know by Zoë Heller

Willy Muller is an ass. Recovering from a recent heart attack, he belittles his faithful if stupid girlfriend Penny, avoids ghostwriting a celebrity biography even though his deadline has long passed, and is both repulsed by and drawn to the diaries of his estranged daughter Sadie, who killed herself a few months prior.

He flees to Mexico to recuperate and spend more time avoiding the book and the notes on his screenplay, based on his own autobiography where he details his strained marriage, and his imprisonment and later exoneration for killing his wife. Because Penny isn't immediately available to join him in Mexico, the unfaithful Willy brings the even stupider girlfriend Karen to keep him company.

While juggling his career and relationship issues, Willy struggles with a central philosophical question -- if he can't classify himself as a good man, is the only other possibility that he's a bad one?

"I have to be -- because there's only that or being good, right? It's like when you see the news reports about men who go rushing into burning buildings to save their kids or whatever. And you think, okay, so that man's a hero -- but what is the man who didn't rush in? Is he a coward? Because it seems like there should be more options on the moral menu. If doing the thing is so bloody extraordinary, then not doing it should just be considered regular."

The heart attack and the diaries from the dead put him face to face with mortality, and force him to re-evaluate his life, reluctantly and nearly subliminally.

Reflecting on his notoriety following his imprisonment and tell-all book, Willy says: "It was as if, having been tested once, and found so sorely wanting, I was now forever exempt from any cramping expectation of good taste or virtue."

But Willy is not that sanguine anymore. Everything he knows, everything he thinks he knows, is perhaps not the complete picture of the man. And reading about Sadie's childhood, a childhood he largely missed, Willy finds himself contemplating how much his past dictates his present and future. If you've done bad things, as he undeniably has and does, can you still be a decent person?

British writer Zoë Heller, author of Notes on a Scandal, convincingly gets into the mind of a misanthropic, selfish man who is, nonetheless, appealingly self-aware, funny, and sharply intelligent.

The book is infused with snide humour and vivid comic images, such as: "And the cockroaches! Vast, shiny brown things that stroll nonchalantly along the street, like ambulatory patent leather handbags."

Heller's sympathetic yet critical portrayal of her protagonist makes it a pleasure to read the witty, thoughtful story of a man's slow realization that he may not be quite as much of an ass as he thinks he is.

Everything You Know by Zoë Heller is available from Vintage Canada, a division of Random House Canada.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Why Jordan should push Danny off the roof

I waver between love and like of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. I mostly get why it doesn’t appeal to some people. I don’t get why some people watch it religiously and then spend additional time analysing it if it doesn’t appeal to them. It’s not The West Wing. It’s not even Sports Night. But it’s not nearly so bad that I can understand expending much energy into pillorying it. I don’t understand that with any show, but I’m repulsed by the glee of some writers who are not only revelling in Aaron Sorkin’s supposed fall from grace, but hoping to accelerate that fall.

But the last couple of episodes have left me repulsed by the show itself. Sorkin has said, in response to criticism, that he’s retooling his drama-about-a-comedy show to focus more on the romantic comedy elements. And yet one recent storyline makes his grasp of romantic comedy seem a lot shakier than The American President would suggest: Danny as stalker.

We’re used to the romantic comedy scenario where the man and woman hate each other but really love each other. See Bridget Jones’s Diary. Sometimes one person supposedly hates the other and the hatee must work to win over the hater. See You’ve Got Mail.

But, like some of the worst romantic comedies, Studio 60 has veered into stalker fantasy. I was willing to overlook it when Danny told Jordan in the Christmas episode: “You'd better run, because I’m coming after you.” Just a figure of speech, after all.

But no. He then proceeded to come after her despite her repeated objections, and declared his intention to continue coming after her following another unequivocal “stop.” Just what we need — to have “no means yes” become a more entrenched part of our romantic mythology.

I know we’re supposed to get that Jordan secretly wants Danny, too. The last episode made that clearer, when she was less than thrilled when he told her that while he was in love with her, he’d stop aggressively pursuing her. That still doesn’t make it romantic. That makes it worse. Just what we need — to have “she secretly wants it” to become a more entrenched part of our romantic mythology.

In real life, women are far, far more likely to encounter annoying and sometimes frightening situations where men will not accept that their attentions are not wanted, than they are to regret missing out on the love of their life who turned out to be that annoying or frightening man.

But watch enough romantic comedies, or enough Studio 60 lately, and you’d think aggressive persistence was romantic. You’d think putting your own desires far above the object of your desire’s desires was romantic. You’d think not respecting someone’s right to say no was romantic.

It’s not romantic. At all. It’s just plain creepy.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Snark vs. Snark

In a nice convergence of my House obsession and Canadian TV ... hmm, what to call it? Canadian TV adventure? ... This Hour Has 22 Minutes is collecting votes for its best-of clips show (vote for House). One of the clips is the House sketch I linked to a while ago (vote for House). Vote on your favourite 5 clips of the last 2 years (vote for House) and the top vote-getters will be seen in the February 20 show (vote for House).

I would never want to influence anyone's vote (vote for House) so I won't encourage you to vote for any particular sketch, but if you're a 22 Minutes fan, head on over and vote (for House).