Archive for July, 2009

Netflix woes

Not to end my week-long blogging sabbatical with a gripe, but I’ve got a valid complaint here.

netflixI’ve been a loyal Netflix member for a few years now; and I love to find those friendly, red envelopes hiding amongst the penny-saver coupon catalogs and credit-card offers in my mailbox, but the $17 I pay a month for the service seems increasingly out-of-sync with the entertainment value the once-revolutionary company offers.

I’m talking about three little words that constantly appear in the expected availability column in my cue queue: “Very long wait” with a capital V.

Here’s what Netflix has to say about it:

What does Very Long Wait mean?
Sometimes movies in your Queue may display a wait status. This means that more customers want to see this movie than we have copies. You should keep your movies in the order you want to view them, regardless of their availability, because we ship all copies we have available and you will receive the movie eventually.

Very Long Wait: This means that there is extremely high demand, limited availability and/or a very long wait for this title. Usually the wait is less than 30 days, but could be longer if, for example, the movie is out of print or we are otherwise unable to secure additional copies.

I’m not buying it.

I’m not sure where in the chain of DVD delivery this problem occurs. Are the distributors not making enough copies? Is Netflix not foreseeing the popularity certain flicks will have? I think I’m missing something here. It could very well be part of some elaborate marketing scheme that I don’t have the energy to comprehend.

Because last time I checked, burning a DVD copy wasn’t exactly pricey. There has to be some kind of copyright agreement distribution companies and the royal-red envelope can come to. Supply and demand, Netflix… supply and demand. They would have you believe there’s too much demand. PISH POSH! We’re not talking about diamonds here. They’re ten-cent plastic discs.

So what do I get during this long month of waiting for my no.1 pick? I get some really crappy movies; that’s what I get.

As much as I enjoyed Paul Blart: Mall Cop I dropped it in the no.35 slot right below Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li for a reason. It was plan Z. I didn’t really want to watch it.

I don’t support a free internet. I think artists deserve some compensation for their creations. But this snag has me thinking companies like Hulu should really get into the “extremely high demand” business.


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Rubbing is racing

Let’s talk about cheating. Not the matrimonial kind. The kind that’s wormed its way into every competitive activity… ever. I’m talking to you, guy-who-calls-shotgun-in-the-living-room-two-hours-before-departure.

Tadese Tola... running somewhere

Tadese Tola... running somewhere

The latest non-steroid/doping circumstance of poor sportsmanship took place at the Peachtree Road Race — an event I’ve probably placed too much emphasis on in the past month. My bad — just a little displacement anxiety.

It seems Tadese Tola is disputing claims that he deliberately elbowed Boaz Cheboiywo in a battle for fourth place. This occurred, where else, but 30 meters from the finish, making Tola ineligible for the $2,500 prize.

Throwing bows is an important part of every team sport. I can think of one suffering-in-solitude sport that unofficially promotes the rough stuff: Nascar. “Rubbing is racing,” as the Days of Thunder expression goes. Hmmm…

Maybe what running needs — to reduce some of the ridiculous registration numbers we see at races like the Boston Marathon — is some full contact action. Perhaps it’s not more miles or better times we need; the answer could be some old-fashioned body checking.

Running in helmets doesn’t sound so great, though.

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I’m constantly fighting a deep-rooted propensity for melancholy music. It’s easy to forget the importance of starting the day with something upbeat… or funny even. This song meets both of these qualifications. Don’t let the reaction shots of Minnie Driver and company steal anything from the glory that is… Mr. Tang’s song.

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Running in the sun can do a number on your face. No one wants Indiana-Jones-jacket skin. If genetics dealt you the dermis of a ginger — like it did me — your sunshine woes can be ten-fold. For the fair-complected, five years of daily exposure can leave a 30-year-old looking like a septuagenarian.

lrg_sun_visorsHere’s a simple solution to keep the rays off your mug — in addition to copious sunscreen application of course: Wear a hat. Easy-peasy. If you’re worried about the heat, try a visor. Your skull should be able to breath. Visors are typically lightweight, and after a minute or two, you won’t even notice them.

You take the squint-wrinkle factor out of the equation, and you’re golden. Not your skin. It’s actually more beige… or pink even. Unless you’re naturally brown. In which case, you’re probably still brown.

I’ve even considered rocking one of those 80s Panama Jack safari jobs with the tails in the back to keep my neck in check.

Running Warehouse has a few stylish lids that should be to your liking.

Now.. what to do about the arms?

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Blogging en route

I’m typing this on tiny little keys in the back seat of my car next to my napping 2-year-old. Starting to feel a bit queasy.
Impossibly small digital devices like the one in my hands seem better suited for wee abstract thinkers like the rats of Nimh. Forgive the typos — no spell check.
Anyway, I’ll be rolling into Atlanta momentarily. I’m actually looking forward to what is now called called a “10-degree heat index” in polite conversation.
Calling it humidity went out with words like “fireman.”

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Another girlie tune for the masses. Me thinks your pace will benefit from it.

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The Peachtree Road Race came about in the transitional year that was 1970. One-hundred and ten runners ran from the old Sears building at Peachtree Road and Roswell Road to what is now Woodruff Park. The next year, 198 runners registered. Organizers bought T-shirts with the revenue. By 1975, there were over 1000 runners; the T-shirts and bib numbers had become coveted commodities.

The race is now a mainstay of Atlanta culture with 55,000 participants and a whopping 150,000 observers cheering and imbibing on the sidewalks of Buckhead and downtown.

It’s a big deal. I’ve run it, and I enjoyed myself. If you can score a number, I recommend it. But don’t do it for the T-shirts. They’ve been less than appealing the last few years.

I’ll be here in B-more for the fourth, but I’d like to hear about the race from you. The weather seems to be the variant typically discussed, but clue me in on the weirdos (costumes and inebriated onlookers). They’re the story in my opinion.

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