Friday, July 30, 2010

Luddite technie FAIL

Last weekend at the fantatic wedding of my friends A and A, someone used my iPhone to take a picture of me wearing a strapless dress and a plastic Viking helmet.  The dress was not visible in the picture, so as far as the picture was concerned, I may well have been wearing nothing but the Viking helmet.  I thought the picture was fab, so I set it as my contact picture for myself in my phone.
I am not sure exactly what I thought that setting a contact picture meant, and then I forgot about it.  Today while taking care of bizness in my work email, my cursor passed over my name in the Gchat thingie.  (My work uses a Gmail-based email system.)  To my horror, the Viking helmet picture popped up!  Aghast, I clicked on "Edit picture" and then chose "No picture."  Whew!  
But no!  A few hours later at work, I saw that the Viking picture was still there!  Here began an insanely long process of repeatedly removing the picture from my Gchat thing, only to have it reappear immediately.  Eventually I figured out that the picture was not assigned in my Gmail preferences, but on my phone, to my work email address as a "contact."  Whatever.  I finally got it to go away.  But now I am not sure whether it was visible to everyone else at work for the last week.  Shudder. 

Monday, July 26, 2010

Ebooks and independent bookstores

Today on my lunch break I went to Kramerbooks in Dupont Circle to buy a guidebook for an upcoming vacation.  With vacay on the brain, I had been thinking about whether I should buy a Kindle or Nook or whatever those things are called.  Even though I generally dislike the idea of reading a book on a computer-ish device, the idea of being able to fit a zillion books in one small space is appealing, packing-wise. 
So I asked the woman working at the checkout counter whether Kramerbooks sells eBooks.  She said (not unkindly) No, that's the antithesis of everything we stand for, and directed me to a cartoon on the subject posted on the wall.  The cartoon made the point that the qualities eBooks are striving to accomplish--indestructability, lendability, ability to read "offline" without recharging--have already been achieved in actual books.  Not untrue!  But they left out "ability to pack 15 of them in my suitcase."
So now I feel like if I buy an eBook machine maybe I am screwing over independent booksellers.  But surely they should be able to get in on the act?  Is Kramerbooks' antipathy an ideologial thing, or do Amazon, etc. bar indepent booksellers from participating in the eBook market?  (And does anybody have any recommendations for good vacation books--preferably in paperback?) 

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Hot in the Sitcom Kitchen

OK, so I may need to somewhat walk back my statement that that Hot in Cleveland is not "dated."  The other night I watched a double-header of Golden Girls and Hot in Cleveland, and goodness there are some striking parallels. 
Such as:  both shows use a kitchen set with a small table in the foreground.  I can't think of a single other TV show that has used this setup.  It seems so unique that it almost must be a shout-out to GG -- or is it just an attempt to be realistic about how an old house in Cleveland would be laid out? 
There is also the more obvious Betty-White-and-three-other-women-over-the-age-of-40 parallel.  Mr. TA (joining me in most of the double-header) pointed out that in HiC, Betty White has kind of taken over the Estelle Getty/Sophia role from GG.  This led us to start trying to draw more parallels between the characters.  Arguably:
Betty White = Sophia (old, curmudgeonly, cracks one-liners) 
Valerie Bertinelli = Rose (happy/ditzy)
Jane Leeves = Blanche (slutty (arguably?), has an accent)
Wendy Malick = Dorothy (This one doesn't work as well.  Tall?)  
But then, you could sort of do the same thing with Sex and the City:  
Charlotte = Rose (ditzy)
Samantha = Blanche (slutty)
Carrie = Dorothy (looking for love)
Miranda = Sophia (The practical one, I guess?)
Alternately, this might just mean that all these shows are using variations on some pretty old-school stereotypes--the virgin, the whore, the mother (and the other one, I guess).  That's definitely dated.