Escape To New York

For everyone just catching up on my life, a few weeks ago I married my long time partner in crime, Katherine.  So in any future posts here on my website I will, at one time or another, refer to Katherine, Kat (though not Kathy, she hates that–I think it has something to do with the cartoon strip), my wife, my baby mama (more on that as it develops, but the short version is: yes, yes, December 15, 2009), and finally the one person in the house who knows where things are located.

In our consistent approach of reaching our relationship milestones in the complete wrong order, we decided to go on our honeymoon a few weeks before the actual wedding.  We decided, for no exact reason, to spend a week in New York City.  Our flight from Denver to LaGuardia was uneventful.  Katherine gave me the Dan Brown’s novel “Angels and Demons” to read during the flight.  I quickly started thinking the book would make a great season of “24” if Tom Hanks hadn’t starred in the big screen version that came out last week.  And, let’s be honest here, the script just doesn’t have enough gratuitous torture sequences to show off the talents of Kiefer Sutherland.

After a relatively short cab ride to our hotel, we got our luggage put away and started randomly walking around the city.  Central Park to the north, and Times Square to the south– we had plenty of areas to explore.  My first impression of Times Square:  this is not the bisexual prostitute cowboy part of town I saw in that John Voight film.  (Who, coincidentally, was also in the most recent season of “24”, but I digress.)  I didn’t even see that naked cowboy.  No, Times Square is a busy mix of automobile traffic and pedestrians who stop in the middle of the sidewalk because they need to get a half dozen pictures of the 37 foot neon “Mr Peanut” on the corner of 45th and Broadway.

As we visited different parts of Manhattan, we noticed everyone has formed an alliance. Times Square, Chinatown, Midtown, and of course the magicians have all resorted to aligning themselves– presumably against one another, or at least against the magicians, who always seem to have some kind of trick up their sleeve.  Keeping a fragile peace over the island is the Ray’s Pizza Alliance with has locations literally on every block of the city.

Whenever I would see a scene from a movie or television show involving Central Park I always thought it looked like a back lot somewhere in southern California.  But I can now personally attest that, yes, that is what Central Park looks like.  The rest of the island has been stripped of all natural vegetation, but one rectangular area in the middle was spared.  I think of it as an island with a mowhawk.  A pamphlet about the park when on and on about the beauty of Central Park.  Maybe the island would look better if they just built the city where Central Park is and left everything else how it was when they got there.  Somehow I think it is a bit too late for that.

For no particular reason, I wanted to go see Coney Island.  We took the N train all the way south and walked a block to the boardwalk.  The weather was warm, the sun was shining, and Coney Island was closing up for the night.  We arrived at 6:05 PM five days before the unofficial start to summer, Memorial Day, and the place was a ghost town.  We got there just in time for the restrooms “convenience hours” to have expired.  Nothing promotes tourism more than locking the bathrooms when people might be interested in using them.  We headed back to the subway, and we saw an ad on the side of a bus for Coney Island that read, “Coney Island: Really Fun, Really Open.”  And no, I’m not making that up.  We stopped in the bathroom at the subway station before getting back on the train.  Not the best facilities I’ve been in, but I wouldn’t call it a shithole.  Katherine, however, did use that exact description for the ladies room.

So that wraps up the highlights of our trip.  I finished the book on the flight home and we made our way back home to Loveland.  Now I’ll be busy getting everything ready for my wedding in a few weeks.

Dancing With The Stars

I started watching “Dancing with the Stars” with the intention of learning a few good dance moves for my upcoming wedding.  After about 20 seconds of watching the show I came to the conclusion that either A) the entire show is completely computer generated, or B) Dancing cybernetic robots are scheming to take over the planet. (SPOILER ALERT:  In the soon to be released “Terminator Salvation” the machines hypnotize people with their smooth steps and jazz hands– humanity never saw it coming.)

After watching the first episode I came to the following conclusion:  Shawn Johnson, the 17 year old Olympic gold medal gymnast, was going to win this season.  At first I didn’t believe she won a gold medal in gymnastics due to her regular womanly proportions.  I had always thought the rule for these young women is that their breasts must be smaller than the top of their pelvic bone jutting out of her abdomen when they stand up straight.

I felt a bit empty after watching the finale.  I think they should have one last show where Shawn Johnson and Gilles Marrini compete together against their coaches to see if it is possible for the students to surpass the teachers.  Steve-O and Steve Wozniac will dance together for comic relief.  The rest of the contestants with be the judges, the judges with attempt to play musical instruments, and the hosts will do their best to operate the cameras.

Most importantly, none of the dancers get to talk about how much fun they had just being here and the directors will be forced (at gunpoint if necessary) not to use previous footage to fill up 63% of the show’s air time.

Tuesday Morning

A chain store called “Tuesday Morning” opened up a year or so ago in Loveland, Colorado.  I keep wondering how they came up with the name.  To the best of my knowledge, they sell a variety of overstocked gift type items at rather low prices.

Even though I know exectly what they sell, I keep imagining they specialize in selling the “Plan B” contraceptive/birth control device. (FYI:  “Plan B” is a pill women can take up to 72 hours after unprotected intercourse that prevents conception from occuring.)

I can just visualize the advertisement:  Ladies, were you out late on Saturday night having unprotected sex with anonymous male partners?   If so, remember you have until Tuesday morning to get to Tuesday Morning if you don’t want to start baking a bun in your oven!

A Word From Our Sponsors

No, doesn’t have any sponsors.  Not that I would mind someone giving me money for something that I’m already doing for free.  “A Word From Our Sponsors” is my idea for another television reality show.  I’ve worked for UPS for seven years now, and in that time I’ve come up with several ideas for what I think would be great commercials.  Unfortunately, UPS doesn’t accept unsolicited marketing concepts– even from it’s own employees.  With some 400,000 employees, I guess I can understand their position.  This is where “A Word From Our Sponsors” comes into play.

Instead of having commercials in between the show, the show is all about making commercials for specific products, and there aren’t any traditional commercial breaks.  The show starts off with 30 contestants:  10 writers, 10 directors, and 10 graphics specialists.  Each week, teams are randomly assigned with one person from each of the three groups.  At the beginning of the week the CEO of a company makes a presentation about a certain product they would like to promote.  Then each team of three has until the end of the week to come up with an idea for a 30 second commercial, film it, and add any needed computer graphics.  Next all the teams are brought back together with the sponsor to view the results.  Each team gets to score all the other team’s finished product.  The sponsor gets to decide if he wants to “buy” any of the commercials.  If the sponsor purchases a team’s submission the team automatically gets to go on to the next week.  The team with the lowest score gets eliminated.  The next week everything starts over.  The remaining people are randomly assigned new teams, and a new CEO and product line is introduced.

The show should be geared to encourage “outside the box” concepts that are funny, non-traditional, and memorable.  Here are examples of the UPS commercials I’ve thought of:

In the style of the television show “24”, show how a next day air package moves through the UPS system.
Show what it would be like if all the UPS drivers and pilots met in one place with their vehicles.
A “Lord of the Rings” themed commercial on an easier way to deliver the ring

So, if you are reading this and happen to be the CEO of General Electric or Viacom give me a call and we can work something out.  If you are a nobody, don’t call me– I’ve got a truckload of packages that need to get delivered before I can go home for the night.

Star Trek 11? I’ve Lost Count

I have to start out by mentioning that back in the day I used to just skip out of work so I could be one of the very first people to see the latest Star Trek movie on Friday afternoon.  Being a UPS driver doesn’t make this very easy, and I didn’t really want to use one of my two option days I get each year.  So Katherine and I went to the theater on Sunday afternoon to see what all the fuss is about.

My first impression of the movie was, “Wow– they must have saved a lot of money by using the set of ‘Ugly Betty’ as the bridge of the Enterprise.”  Every time they turned a corner on the ship I was expecting to see Vanessa Williams bravely holding up some comically large space weapon with her assistant Marc cowering behind while making sarcastic comments about how the crew dressed such as, “if this is the best outfits the future can come up with, well just phaser me now.”  I’m not quite sure where America Ferrera fits into this situation, but I’ll bet she would stick her nose in everyone’s business and find a quirky resolution to the problem.

Here is a run down of the some of the main characters:

James Kirk: fiesty kiddo who spends most of the movie dangling perilously on the edge of things.

Young Spock: realizing that the television show “Heroes” isn’t going to last forever, Zachary Quinto stepped out of the role of the evil Sylar and hopped on board as Spock.  His biggest challenge for the role: shaving his facial hair between every take.

Old Spock:  according to the movie, Leonard Nemoy was 147 years old when he got sent back in time.  I swear he didn’t look a day over 90.

The Bad Guy:  Had some strange tatoo on his face and went around destroying Federation planets.  I’m not sure if these two facts are related.  Too bad Ricardo Montelbon wasn’t around when they filmed this– now there was a guy you just couldn’t help but hate.

And the big surprise at the end:  There wasn’t any!  None of the main characters were killed because they all have to be kept alive so all the stuff that has already been made at least kind of makes sense.  I guess that’s the problem with making a movie that is both a prequel and a sequel in the Star Trek Universe.

I suspect the next film will focus on how William Shatner became such a bad actor.

Asset Management

Facing Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Chrysler announced a new “Employee Pricing Plus Plus,” incentive program Tuesday.  A top executive at the automaker explained how the new system works.  “Not only will employee pricing be offered for the purchase of all Chrysler, Jeep, and Dodge vehicles, but for a limited time customers will also receive an actual Chrysler employee.  Have them clean up the yard, help the kids with their homework, or take the dog for a walk in the afternoons.  When we start up our factories again we will have the employee shipped back with no charge to the customer.”