Tag Archives: television

I reserved a hotel room – and almost left with a television?

4 Jan

2015 Pithypants.com

Alan and I spend Christmas apart each year, so we celebrate on New Year’s Eve instead. Depending on the timing, we like to make a long weekend of it and get away. This year he had his kids for the weekend, so we needed to limit our celebration to just Thursday night. Add to the equation the fact that some dumbass thought it would be a good idea to schedule the Cotton Bowl (in which our beloved Spartans were playing) on New Year’s Eve, so we a bit perplexed about how to celebrate.

What to do, what to do?

Actually, I decided this was the perfect set-up for an easy Christmas present. Since neither of us own a television, and since every bar that might broadcast the game was likely to have either a cover charge or be filled with rowdy party goers, the answer was clear: STAYCATION.

I did a bit of searching and found that – much to my surprise – most hotels in the DC area were running serious discounts on New Year’s Eve. Apparently we don’t have quite the same draw as Times Square. (Who knew?) PERFECT.

So when we wrapped work Thursday afternoon, we checked into a hotel for the night. We took a quick walk to a nearby grocery store for some wine and nibbles, then returned to the hotel for a swim and a spell in the steam room before the game. As 8pm approached, we donned his-and-her Spartan shirts and settled in to watch what would be a very disappointing game. (If you are the only person in the US who didn’t watch it, Alabama throttled the Spartans, 38-0.)

Needless to say, I was asleep LONG before the clock struck midnight.

The next day we made our way downstairs for breakfast, which was included with our stay. It was a leisurely meal, the kind with multiple coffee refills.

Alan had an omelette, and as he stood by that station of the buffet, I could hear him chatting with the chef.

“Where are you visiting from?” the chef asked.

“We’re local,” Alan explained, “We just don’t have a television and wanted to see the Cotton Bowl last night.”

“Oh,” was all the guy said as he handed Alan his plate.

Back at our table, once Alan sat down, I said, “I bet they’re all scratching their heads right now.”

“Why?” he asked.

“Because they’re thinking, ‘How can you afford to stay here if you can’t afford a television?'”

We then proceeded to debate the idea and eventually decided that my interpretation of the conversation was crazy, because pretty much everyone in the United States who wants a television, has a television. Right?

Later, as we were wrapping up our meal, the waiter stopped by to drop off the check. I peeked. The total was outrageous.

“Sorry,” I said, “This should be comped for us. We had the bed and breakfast package.”

“Oh,” he said, “I’m sorry. I got confused! When he,” pointing to Alan, “said you were local, I thought you just came here for breakfast.”

“No,” I explained. “We spent the night here so we could watch the Cotton Bowl. We don’t have a television at home and wanted to watch the Spartans play.”

He looked at me, and I could see his wheels turning. Then, after a short pause, he said, “You know, I have an extra television. I’ve been thinking of getting rid of it…”

I stopped him, not sure where he was going with it. “Oh no – we don’t have a television by choice! We don’t want one.”

Silence.

He didn’t know what to make of us.

After some consideration, he tried a different angle. “You know you can jailbreak your phone so you can watch television on it? There are videos on YouTube that show you how. People used to pay me to do that for them, but now anyone can figure it out on YouTube. You know YouTube?”

We assured him we did, and only after we asked enough questions to satisfy him, did he walk away to adjust our check.

I turned to Alan. “Wait. Exactly what was on offer there? Do you think he was about to try to sell us a television?”

Alan nodded. “Oh definitely. And even worse? He thinks we don’t even know what YouTube is.”

Sigh. So much for a creative Christmas present. Maybe next year I’ll just get Alan a television. I happen to know where I can get a good deal on one…

Pesky? I prefer “clever.”

27 Apr

I don’t own a television. I’m not saying that in a superior way, the way vegetarians inform you that they won’t eat flesh. I don’t have a television because a) I prefer to read, b) I think they detract from a room’s design, and c) I’m too cheap to pay for cable.

But that doesn’t mean I won’t watch television. Admittedly, it’s probably amounts to only two hyper-calculated hours per week, but still – I’m not living in a total cultural void. Alan serves as my enabler. HE believes in television, so he records Mad Men shows we both enjoy, and I venture his way once a week to watch them.

And when the shows we watch are off-season, we check out a new series (most recently Breaking Bad) using his Netflix account. Kindly, he has lent me his password so that I can occasionally access something without him. I rarely do it (did I mention: I like to READ), but periodically I do hop in there and make his queue a bit more, um, interesting. I think he appreciates it.

Here is what I added last night:

  • Reach for MeWhen his new hospice roommate — 25-year-old Kevin — moves in, the quiet life of senior citizen Alvin turns upside down. (Don’t you think Alan will LOVE that?)
  • Politics of LovePolitics makes strange bedfellows, but never stranger than when a sexy, savvy, African-American Republican reluctantly falls for his counterpart: a beautiful Indian-American Democratic campaign volunteer. (Timely. It IS election season, after all. And before you try to claim this must be sci-fi because there are no African American Republicans, let me remind you: Michael Steele.)
  • Don’t Go Breaking My Heart: Recently widowed mother of two Suzanne catches the eye of her dentist, who secretly hypnotizes her during an appointment to make her fall for him. (Because nothing says SEXY like a medical professional taking advantage of you while you’re in the chair for a procedure. THAT is the stuff dreams – and lawsuits – are made of.)
  • The Human Centipede 2:A disturbed loner is so obsessed with the shocking horror film The Human Centipede that he decides to replicate the movie’s grisly experiment. In this metasequel, the stakes are raised as 12 unlucky souls endure surgical hell. (Actually, I think Alan might have added this one himself. Nevermind.)
  • The Minis: Worried he can’t afford his son’s tuition, Roger — a little person — tries to get his friends to enter a basketball tournament with a big prize. (I would like to meet the screenwriter who thought, “Ah ha! Little person, big prize!” And then punch him in the face.)

The best part of meddling with Alan’s queue isn’t even watching him sift through the items that populate it. It’s seeing the “intelligent” recommendations at populate as a result. The formula I just created with these movies looks something this:

Hospice + racial/political switcheroo + widowed date-rape + human centipedes + Dennis Rodman =

Netflix's "Recommended for Alan" pick.

Actually, that sounds about right. I guess technology IS smarter than we are.

I would consider owning a television, mate.

18 Sep

Even the weather is entertaining because of the town names.

I’ve now been back from Australia for almost a month, so this is a bit, um, untimely. Whatever. I just stumbled across some notes I took while watching television my last night in Sydney. Since I don’t have a television at home, it hadn’t occurred to me to reach for the remote before then, and it’s one of my only regrets. Australian telly is entertaining.

On a cooking show:

Describing herring: “It’s knobbish.”

Instructions for crushing garlic: “Smash it. Just wail on it, mate.”

On an entertainment show, interviewing a celebrity about his stay in rehab:

“I wasn’t downstairs in the drug and alcohol unit. I was upstairs in the mood unit.”

Mood unit? That sounds like a gaping hole in the American health system.

They have a show that is like “The Bachelor” in the US. Except the Australian version is called, “The Farmer Wants a Wife.” Seriously. And it features six farmers who – you guessed it – want wives.

On Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, the contestant passed on this question:

Fill in this song: “I want to wake up in the city that never…”

When given multiple choices, she couldn’t decide between “ceases” and “sleeps.”

Even better, the host mispronounced ceases as CREASES.

And the contestant still got it wrong.

Also on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire:

When trying to select “Capuchin Monkey” as the animal in Hangover II, the contestant instead called it a, “Cappuccino Monkey.” Not sure why this tickled me so much.

Last reference from Who Wants to Be a Millionaire:

The contestant had to determine which charity was the beneficiary of a large fundraiser earlier that year. He ruled out “Save the Children” right out of the gate, but it was his rationale that made me laugh. “Why would they need fundraiser? Everyone already wants to save children.”

On the news:

A woman’s death (which had previously been ruled a suicide) was re-examined in light of new evidence. The evidence? A spear-throwing reinactment showing that the woman could not have jumped to her death, but could only have arrived in that position if thrown by a master spear-thrower. Because that’s a common skill.

Other Observations

This is where my notes get a bit fuzzy because I’d had a sleeping pill so I’d be well rested for my flight home. I won’t even TRY to make sense of them. Here’s the stream of consciousness: 

All the websites mentioned on commercials in with .com.au. How much would that suck to have to clarify your country after .com?

Apple commercials use American voiceover talent, not Aussies. I wonder if that makes Apple products seem more modern, or if people find it insulting to get technology lectures from Americans.

Even their channels have cool names: 7 Mate.

Awesome Australian words: Brekkie. Nibbles.

Carbon Tax in Australia. Why didn’t we think of that? Oh, because we are too busy trying to pretend we aren’t causing Global Warming. No wonder other countries can’t stand us.

I could become addicted to “Bondi Rescue” – it’s like “Cops” but about the lifeguards at Bondi Beach. And they’re constantly pulling people out who are caught in rips or have their heads split open by surf boards.

Finally, eyes heavy under the weight of pharmaceuticals, I managed to click the “off” button. I slumbered and awoke to a city that never creases.

Where did I end Christmas day? In Cabot Cove. With Jessica Fletcher.

28 Dec

Look closely: this is a towel wrapped around her neck inside a warm-up jacket. Yes, that's what Jessica wears jogging.

And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’ve clearly never been a “Murder She Wrote” fan. You should probably stop reading now, before this post makes you dumb.

Oh Lord, this is a shameful admission. Christmas evening, trying to wind down from a fun and full day, Alan and I tapped into one of our favorite guilty pleasures: crawling into bed to watch a streaming movie or TV show. We were both fidgeting and exceptionally tired, so that’s the only way I can explain our <my> choice for viewing: the pilot episode of “Murder She Wrote.”

If you enjoy bad television, then let me tempt you: the pilot episode of Murder She Wrote is nothing short of a train wreck, including an absurdly long title sequence that features Angela Lansbury (aka “Jessica Fletcher”) jogging or riding a bike all over Cabot Cove, a small fictional town in Maine.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but generally the only seniors I see running are the ones who have made it a lifetime habit and aren’t packing any extra pounds. I’m willing to suspend disbelief and pretend this woman got a book published by a lark, but ask me to believe she’s a runner and you lost me at hello.

As for the show itself: how it ever got picked up as a series is beyond me. Must’ve been different viewing standards then (or the aging Boomer population at play), because these days I think you’d be hard-pressed to center a show around an overweight senior citizen.

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