Distracted By Something Shiny

...scribblings of random musings...

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Technology. Is. Awesome.

I heart... The Office. And my video iPod. And HandBrake.

The Office... Okay, I admit, it took me a while. I was so loyal to the British version I didn't want anything to do with (what I thought initially to be) the bastardization of such a great sitcom. The pilot episode of the American version was an immediate turnoff; they were basically trying to copy all the jokes and brilliant subtle humor of Ricky Gervais. It didn't work (despite his being an executive producer).

So I didn't watch any more episodes for a while. But then I just kept hearing about how good it was getting. So when my roommate dangled his Office season 2 DVD in front of me (a tv drug dealer if you will; the first taste is free), I caved and said I would check out an episode or two.

Of course I went through the entire second season in just a weekend.

Then I got my video iPod. Yes, I wear black headphones and no, I don't watch it on dark street corners in the middle of the night while I wait for the bus. But, as I mentioned earlier, it is wonderful for my morning commute. And yet I needed content. So, since I hadn't seen any of season 3 and needed to get my fix, I bought it on iTunes. Well worth it, especially since it isn't out on DVD yet.

But then what about my DVDs? The stuff that I already paid for and don't want to pay for again just to be able to watch it on that lovely portable device? Well, that's where HandBrake comes in. It works great and today I've downloaded all of my Arrested Development season 2 episodes, the Strangers with Candy season 2 episode I have from Netflix, and I'm in the midst of downloading my roommate's The Office season 2 DVDs. Apparently I'm really big on season 2 today.

Saturday, March 17, 2007


It happens every day in this city: cars get broken into. Hell, my window got smashed a few years back when I was living on Treasure Island and my car was actually stolen when I was living in the Upper Haight (it was found a week later about five blocks away). But last night was the first time I actually heard someone break into a car.

It was about 3:30 in the morning, and I heard and loud, echoing BAM outside my window. Then another one, then another one, followed by the inevitable sound of glass breaking. I'm on the third floor and didn't feel threatened but still my heart was beating fast and I didn't dare look at my window for fear that the guy (or guys) would see me. I heard a car door open, some things being thrown to the sidewalk and then about 20 seconds later an engine starting. I looked at my window then to see a white car pull away. I was about to call 911 but figured I was too late and got mad at myself for not calling earlier, but when I first heard the banging I think I was just trying to figure out what the noise was.

Anyway, as if I needed a pre-emptive reminder as to why I live where I do, I found myself on the sidewalk opposite my apartment yesterday afternoon. I was stunned because I'd never seen it from that angle before. I must have looked like a tourist but I couldn't resist taking a quick photo:

I love my apartment. Burglary be damned.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Speaking of iPods...

I just got a video iPod. I'm so excited! I got the smaller version (the 30 gig one, as opposed to the 80 gig one), because 1) it was 100 bucks cheaper and 2) there's no way I would ever need 100 hours of video at any given time.

I'm basically drowning in iPods now. Okay, well, not really, but I have an iPod Shuffle (the first generation one), which I love and use ALL the time (great for walking around town and at the gym), plus an older iPod, but it's not holding a battery charge anymore and I don't really use it. Basically that's why I decided to get the video one. Sorta phasing the old one out, and getting to look at moving pictures to boot. Oooh, pretty colors.

Of course, with your CDs, you can just pop them into your computer, download the songs and transfer them to your iPod. But with current technology, I can't pop in my dozens of DVDs and download them to iTunes. Well, at least your not supposed to be able to. But my roommate did turn me on to this.

Of course I wanted to be able to watch stuff right way, but I haven't had the patience to download the software, and I didn't feel like digging for free videos online, so I actually purchased the "Season Pass" to season three of The Office. Looks great on the iPod, but it also surprisingly looks pretty decent blown full size up on my computer screen. Watched the first episode during my little commute this morning, and plan on never being bored waiting for the bus from now on.

Oh, and also, one last little product shill. I wasn't about to spend nearly $300 on a gadget and not get a proper case for it. I stared at packages on the accessory shelves in the Apple store blindly for nearly ten minutes and ended up choosing this -- couldn't be more pleased. Fits snuggly, give a good grip, protects the screen... I opted for the plain black, of course. Who wants to carry around a hot pink iPod?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

White Headphones

Apparently San Francisco commuters are being warned of iPod theft, and BART is issuing fliers telling people "Don't be a target: Use ear buds other than the standard iPod white, or other aftermarket headphones."

Well, duh.

I must admit when I first got my iPod, I was all about the white headphones. I'd be on the bus or walking down the street, thinking I was so cool ('hey, look at me, I've got an iPod!') and giving headnods to my fellow white headphoners ('hey, look at you, you've got an iPod!').

I now wear plain black earbuds. Because I realize that shouting, albeit silently, that, hey, I've got an iPod, isn't such a good thing.

Now I shake my head a bit when I see people with white headphones. Come on, guys, you might as well put a blinking neon sign that says "rob me" over your forehead.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

You Know What I'm Sayin'?

Took the 5 Fulton down to the Apple store yesterday (my MacBook, not eight months old, needs to be prepared) and couldn't help observing a couple people on my bus:

- A guy, enthusiastically talking to his Art Institute classmate about teaching, who turned any pause or punctuation in his sentences as an opporunity to say "you know what i'm saying?'" It was quite fascinating, kinda of like how valley girls (and myself, I admit) tend to sprinkle the word "like" into their vocab without even realizing it.

- A girl, perhaps in her late teens or 20 years old, who had her iPod shuffle plugged into tiny speakers so we could all hear her rap music. She never smiled, and tried to look tough, but I'm sorry, you can only look so tough with (no joke) Sponge Bob Square Pants scrubs, a Tweety Bird jacket and a purple backpack.

People watching is fun.