Tagged: HBO Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Michael Krakovskiy 8:03 am on October 22, 2006 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: CTOs, , , , , DirecTV, , , , , HBO, , , industrial manufacturing processes, , , , , movie review site, , , online scheduling, Richard, Roger, , , , , , , The Job, , , , , well-designed dvd player   

    Boooo, HBO. Yay, Netflix 

    My TIVO has fallen on hard times. It seems that the network executives cancel shows faster than I find new ones to watch. The ones they don’t cancel, become bad. Let’s have a moment of silence for the dearly departed…

    Futurama, Firefly, The $treet, Invader Zim, Deadwood, Carnivale, The Restaurant, Six Feet Under, The Job, Insomniac With Dave Attell, Samurai Jack, Sex and the City, NYPD Blue, Friends, That ’70s Show

    SEO for CTOs and CEOs
    Note to those working hard on search engine optimization. How did IMDB get me to give them so many valuable links? Why does it have a pagerank of 9? Why didn’t I use some certain other TV and movie review site? Simple. IMDB does not change URLs every couple of years, the search is simple and fast.

    Well, in fact most of the shows that were on my old TIVO list. In particular, HBO has been especially keen on destroying my viewing list. Granted, some of the shows like NYPD Blue and Friends have lived longer than they should have, but on HBO Deadwood and Carnivale have been cut down in their prime, most annoyingly, not even ending cleanly.

    In light of this, and to protest the cancelling Deadwood and Carnivale, I cancelled my HBO subscription and got a Netflix subscription instead. I still like Rome and The Sopranos, but I can wait until they are out on dvd. So HBO, I have only one thing to say to you. Booooooooooooooooooooooo. Boo. Well, OK, that was two things.

    Compared to $12 a month for HBO, Netflix is a bargain at $9.99. The only problem is that I don’t like the DVD player’s interface – I have to wait for the menus to load, skip the previews. Fast forward and back is not as smooth as in TIVO and there’s no way to watch some other disk, and then come back to where I stopped watching another. I think I need something like Kaleidescape, except cheap and with storage for only a couple of DVDs at the time. Or maybe just a well-designed dvd player.

    Sadly, Netflix does not have a particularly impressive inventory. Peerflix has a much better one, and is also a good way for me to get rid of the dvds that I don’t need anymore and get some obscure stuff that I do need.

    All’s not too bad in TV Land overall though. I am frustrated with DirecTV TIVO not having networking and online scheduling and for that reason I am not upgrading to HD DirecTV TIVO. Tivo Series 3 does not work with DirecTV and is outrageously expensive. Well, at least there are some new shows that I like.

    At the top of the pile is How It’s Made. It’s a Canadian show that mostly takes you inside factories and shows you amazing manufacturing and automation techniques. There’s a number of similar shows around, but they are all suffering from the same problem: TV personalities. It’s annoying to see idiotically grinning morons making bad jokes and drawing attention to themselves rather than to what the show is about.

    For instance, Dirty Jobs is not really about messy, smelly, funny and horrible jobs. It’s about messy, smelly unfunny and horrible host, Mike Rowe. The last segment of Dave Attell of Insomniac with Dave Attell often had a segment similar to Dirty Jobs, but Attel, unlike Rowe is both charismatic and funny. Well, at least I think so.

    Overall I feel that in a show about working a host is not very important. Take This Old House, for instance. It’s really about Tommy, Norm, and the lesser subcontractors such as Richard and Roger. But you can take one host with another and then with another without the show suffering. I, for one, find the last host least annoying.

    Anyway, what’s different about How It’s Made is that it does not have a host, only an invisible narrator. The show walks you through various industrial manufacturing processes accompanied by the Wakka Chikka Wakka Chikka-like music and almost hypnotic narration. It’s pure engineering porn. It seems like youtube has pulled down most of How It’s Made clips, but there’s still one on google video.

    Now I can’t look at any mass-produced item without trying to picture the assembly line that created it. Some of the machines that I’ve seen are still haunting my mind–the ingenuity with which they are made are just amazing. I wish the show would interview the engineers who made the machines and spent more time on some of the more complicated ones.

     
  • Michael Krakovskiy 7:18 am on July 15, 2006 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bullock, , HBO, , interplanetary network, , , , Sol Star, , , Timothy Oliphant   

    Old Photos 

    I borrowed some pictures from my grand-aunt for scanning. Amongst them was this awesome picture of my great-grandfather.

    In the picture he looks very much like Seth Bullock. Here are for comparison pictures of great-gramps, Timothy Oliphant as Seth Bullock in HBO’s Deadwood, and the original Seth Bullock.

    In reality my grand-grandfather was more of a Sol Star character. I learned from my grand-aunt that he studied to become a bridge builder, but his father refused to support him because in that profession he would have to work and study on Saturdays (great-great-grandfather was very religious). Instead, grand-grandpa was forced to enter the family business which was, just like for Seth Bullock and Sol Star – a hardware store. He became rather wealthy, owning 3 hardware stores at some point.

    Then during the Bolshevik Revolution his hardware stores were nationalized and he became a lishenets. Thinking on his feet, he made a quick trip to Kiev and quickly learned the photography trade. That was a pretty good profession and it allowed him to support his large family in the Soviet times as well.

    Amongst the pictures I found a photo of my dad (looking eerily similar to myself at that age) wearing a flat cap, just like an outstanding comic book character The Goon.

    I wonder if in the age of flying cars, teleportation, personal robots, spaceship yachts and the like, someone will post a picture of me on the interplanetary network and marvel at my new-media-blue shirt, fatness (I believe by then they’ll solve this problem) and a cubicle with a primitive computer in the background.

     
  • Michael Krakovskiy 3:02 am on April 24, 2005 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Al Swearengen, Brooklyn Yiddish, Carnivale, Clancy Brown (Mr), , David Milch, David Tufte, , , Eugene Krabs, HBO, , paint dry, preacher, , professor at business school, Southern Utah, Southern Utah University, ,   

    Morning Deadwood 

    People were filthy and smelly in the olden days. And HBO capitalizes on amazingly good historical dramas teeming with filthy, period authentic characters. First there’s Carnivale, a mystical drama set at the turns of the Century. It has everything : carnies, okies, tarot cards, old cars, Art Deco and Craftsman interiors, mysteries, psychics, telekinesis, Knights Templar, evil preacher played by brilliant Clancy Brown aka Mr. Eugene Krabs from Spongebob and a lot of filthy people. And absolute tivo-worthy show.

    Then there’s Deadwood, set during the gold rush. A high quality historical show, Deadwood writers try to stay as authentic as possible, hygiene and all. Famous hacker JWZ is not a fan: “It’s like watching paint dry. Dirty, foul-mouthed paint, but paint nonetheless.” I guess he is just not used to “Milch-speak“, a very peculiar style of dialogue that the show’s creator and writer, David Milch uses for his characters.

    Familiar to fans of NYPD Blue, Milch-speak is a rather weird . I real life I encountered Milch-speak being used by often smart people with difficult and important jobs, who although lacking formal education, try to sound educated. It’s rather hard to explain, but I’ll try. First of all, milch-speakers use a lot of long words, meanining of which they more often know than not. They often mispronounce them though. The sentence structure is strange and tortured. It’s almost overly formal, Victorian in nature, and at the same time involves elements of Brooklyn Yiddish. It’s like as if listening to a very profane Victorian Yoda from Brooklyn. The sentence structure often resembles programmer-speak, so many logical twists and turns it has. There’s also lot’s of irony and slang.

    Here’s a quote from recent episode: “Bad news or tries against our interests is our sole communications from strangers, so let’s by all means plant poles across the land and festoon the c*cksuckers with wires to hurry the sorry word and blinker our judgments of motive.”

    The character who spoke that line, appropriately named saloon owner and master criminal Al Swearengen, according to Entrepreneur magazineinspired David Tufte, a professor at Southern Utah University’s business school to use Deadwood as a source for his students.

    Here’s Al staring at me from an ad inside special Deadwood themed subway train:

    Subway seats wrapped in special plastic to resemble old-timey leather chairs. Add a lot of filthy passengers and you’ll get a full Deadwood experience.

     
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