Life's our oyster and we're gonna suck that bitch down with a champagne chaser.

  • Behavioral Therapist
  • MA Developmental Psychology, Columbia
  • BS Psychobiology/ French, UCLA

  • Movies to See:
    Mission Impossible
    A Dangerous Method

  • TV Shows to Watch:
    The Life & Times of Tim

  • Book to Read:
    Game of Thrones
    by George R.R. Martin

  • Album to Listen to:
    The Black Keys
    El Camino

  • Person to Hate:
    Newt Gingrich

  • Group of People to Despise:
    Fox & Friends


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Sunday, August 23, 2009  
Whatever, Productivity
The summer is nearing to an end, and in my chronic status of being a student, that means it's almost time to start school again, and return to my job(s). Many in my field have stayed to attend summer school or have remained employed through the summer months. However, in my defense, it's not for lack of trying that I am unemployed in the state of California, as a 3-month stint as a behavioral therapist is not preferred by employers and parents alike. As a result, productivity this summer has been dodgy, at best. I have participated in my share of (pro bono) consults, done some research on the side in preparation for my Master's thesis and have taken part in an intensive training regiment, gaining 10 pounds in muscle weight as a result (ah'thank you)... but most importantly, I have watched an unholy amount of trash TV.

My love for the likes of Big Brother, Shot at Love and Beauty and the Geek is not a secret. However, while those are relatively well-known shows on mainstream networks, it is shows that one finds when they have a lot of time on their hands and too many cable channels, which are the true hidden gems. Under these ideal conditions, endlessly entertaining specimens of trash TV are discovered, such as Tool Academy and STAG: A Test of Love, can be appreciated. But it is by pure serendipity that I was able to discover the sheer garbage that is Whatever Martha.

One typically lazy night, I was appreciating a vintage episode of Iron Chef on Fine Living Network. Now, I usually appreciate my Iron Chef, or its far less superior sibling Iron Chef America, on Food Network, but for some reason, the old-school Japanese-dubbed-in-English version is only shown on Fine Living nowadays. After the final verdict in which Iron Chef Sakai defeated challenger Toshiro in Battle Lotus Root, I had a strange craving for Dikon radishes and cod roe, and when I returned, Martha Stewart's bitchy daughter Alexis and her Jabba-esque redheaded friend are sitting on a couch watching the Martha Stewart show and making comments about it along the way.

This inherently has great potential, as Martha Stewart is infinitely mockable, but what begins as somewhat funny commentary quickly mutates into learning about Alexis' resentment for her childhood, her overt narcissism, bordering on nymphomania and comments implying deep daddy issues which make Jabba very uncomfortable. The viewer quickly discovers who the alpha dog is in this friendship, as you watch Alexis break Jabba's seashell frame, which they're putting together along with Martha Stewart, when it starts to look better than hers. It's also quickly apparent that Jabba probably started looking, and eating, like Jabba when she began her friendship with soul-crushing sociopath Alexis Stewart.

I'm not sure if anyone has spoken about marshmallows with the kind of lust that Jabba exhibits, other than perhaps with Alexis regarding her latest prey in the form of a limo driver who speaks English as a third language.

While I continue to pan this show, which barely qualifies as one, I do realize that I am the one (male) who has watched it so I am as culpable watching it as Jake and the Fatman are hosting it.

Suffice it to say, I think I've set myself back a few months on my Master's thesis just by watching 40 or so minutes of Whatever Martha. It's time to get back to basic cable, paychecks and normal productivity.

2:22 AM


Thursday, August 06, 2009  
Personality Netflux
At this point in my life, with a post-graduate degree almost under my belt, I should basically know what I want to do for a living, in some part based on my own personality traits. I've always been interested in some sort of health-care, I think people are weird, I like toys, hence....therapist working with young children. It fits, no?

However, I begin to question myself thanks to my old friends at Netflix. Given my academic standing, as well as my impeccable taste in movies and television, summer trash reality TV notwithstanding. As a result of my expansive knowledge of entertainment, 2,015 ratings on Netflix and counting, I would think they would know me better than I know myself, what with all their high-falutin algorithms to generate recommendations. I've spoken about shoddy website recommendations way back with regards to Amazon, but frankly, Netflix knows me better than Amazon and it worries me what they are coming up with.

Now it's not so much that these recommendations are inaccurate, although some of them are, it's the vast range of them that makes them not only just plain bizarre, but somewhat contradictory.

They warm me up with a fairly, universally accurate recommendation based on my preferences:

Then, they segue into flattery by intellectually buttering up my ego:

"Cerebral movies based on contemporary literature." It sounds like a prerequisite interest to become a Mensa member. However, in stark contrast to this recommended category comes:

Now, I won't be as bold to bash the "Goofy Buddy" genre, but I will take issue with the manner in which Netflix is generating its recommendations. It's the same methodology as a horoscope. They either make vast generalizations or say one thing then contradict it right after, i.e. "You are an extroverted person, but at times you remain introverted." Well, obviously. At times, I feel cerebral in my intellectual film choices and other times I feel like a mindless, goofball comedy is more up my alley.

But then, Netflix turns around, and very nearly insults me.

I enjoy watching 'splosions and daggers being uncomfortably placed into other human beings and/or mutants, but why must you include "violent" in the classification? That sounds like a keyword that sets off the Patriot Act police, and I've already been accused of bending minds, so this isn't helping my cause to stay off the terrorist watch list.

I've gone from being classified as a geek, an elitist, a slacker and a barbarian. But Netflix saves the best category.... for last:

The most hated genre in my book is the romantic comedy. Nothing is more forced, fake and over-done than seeing the polar opposite male and female leads hating each other for 93% of a film then magically falling in love after a montage all culminating atop a hill, on a beach or somewhere in Europe. And they go even farther by specifying "strong female lead." It's not like I feel empowered when I watch a strong female character in a film. The only time I feel empowered is when there's a strong female in the kitchen... where they belong. I rooted for the energy company in Erin Brockovich.

One thing Netflix did get right about my personality when it comes to my choices in entertainment, and that is that they are eclectic. From Classics to Comedy, Uwe Boll to Scorsese, The Sopranos to Shot at Love with Tila Tequila. But when they're classified in categories by the Netflix programmers, they're disconcerting to say the least. Can't I just say that I like Thrillers, Sci-Fi, and Comedies, not Thrilling Critically-Acclaimed Female-Centric Comedies in a Post-Apocalyptic Setting?

5:18 PM


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