Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Frame the argument

I was listening to Marketplace this week when I heard a comment about how much something cost. According to the reporter a deal was going to personally net a CEO "about a quarter of a billion dollars."

That little turn of phrase reminded me of an editorial meeting I once attended, back when I worked for a large newspaper.

Someone was making their story pitch - trying to get on the front page. I'm fuzzy on the details of the story, except for one clear bit: the cost of the project in the story was "a quarter of a billion dollars."

The editor of the paper was a tough person, inscrutable in many ways. She leaned back in her chair a little and replied, "but that's really just $250 million." Deflated, the reporter's story didn't make the front page.

So what's the difference between a quarter billion dollars and $250 million? Not a penny.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

And the band played...


Red Sox Rally - Afterwards
Originally uploaded by nopity.
Big Red Sox rolling rally today on Boylston Street. I loaned a friend my digital camera to take pictures. She was, apparently, quite excited - and judging by the quality of the photos, she was shaking like a leaf. The fact that she could overcome the image stabilization features was shocking.

This might be the best shot of the bunch - one I took as things closed down for the afternoon.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

BRP 54: I believe it is called "guestation" edition

Derek returns to join me and Deeps to talk about Podcamp Boston 2, meeting cool people and riding their coattails - plus we remind Derek about stomach viruses.

Then we offer up some tiny information about how the Writers' Strike might affect the TV season; I review the latest entry in the Dexter series by Jeff Lindsay; and we talk about some of our favorite (or not so favorite) shows like How I Met Your Mother, The Office, Chuck, Scrubs, Heroes and of course, Dexter. And I throw out a suggestion for a great Halloween rental - John Frankenheimer's classic film Seconds.

Then I threaten to fire everyone from the show!

Listen to this week's episode.

Subscribe to the podcast with iTunes or your favorite podcatcher. Don't forget to leave us some iTunes feedback.

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Friday, October 26, 2007

The girl who lived

I lived. I've been better. And lord knows I've looked better.

But I can keep down water and dry toast, so I will now declare victory over what I think was probably something like a norovirus.

Deeps had been sick with something he thought was food poisoning, but when I caught it after not sharing any meals with him - well... anyway, I blame him. I blame him for keeping me away from Blogtoberfest and my simple goal to meet Adam Gaffin.

Devastating.

Happily, I'm well enough - so far - that I'm able to go back to work and I will be at Podcamp this weekend.

By the way, Deeps feels very, very bad that he got me sick. I told him it was probably unavoidable - but that he could make it up to me. So I'm making a little list of jobs he can do while I'm off learning more about podcasting.

I'm sure nothing on the list will be completed, but a girl can dream.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

ZOMG! I want 2 die

Deeps has been under the weather. He told me had a cold and felt a little nauseous. That was two days ago, but he's a lot better. Although he made some bad food choices last night - he opted to eat leftover Indian food his mother had made.

Just a tip, if you're recovering from any kind of sour stomach - this is not a smart move.

I started to feel a little queasy while I was out running errands. By 9:00 I was starting to spend some quality time unloading the contents of my stomach. At this time, around 6:30 I've been unable to even drink water. The consequences are extremely bad. In sickness and in health indeed.

The worst night of my life? Quite possibly. I haven't been this sick since I got food poisoning from the little Greek restaurant in the Wellington stop in Chicago.

So now I silently beg for quick relief. Sleep is elusive, talking is risky, and my ribs ache. Guess my master plan didn't really pan out.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Like an evil genius

So today is the first day of the World Series. The Colorado Rockies are here to play against the Red Sox. It might rain a little. People are camped out. Everyone is focused on the big game.

That means the city is mine. Maybe not all the city - I'll skip the areas around sports bars and Fenway, but the rest of the town should be quiet and peaceful.

I can shop or park or do whatever with relative ease. You might say, isn't that easy to do on a Wednesday anyway? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. But I'm going to take advantage of the lull in activity to get some errands done.

This is a little trick I learned when I was a kid - I call it the Indy 500 effect. Regular readers may recall that I grew up in Indianapolis and every May we had a really big race. People flocked into town for the event and everyone crammed into like 8 square miles of space. The rest of the city was relatively empty.

No traffic jams, no jockeying for parking position and no lines inside the mall. One year I think I did a lot of Christmas shopping.

Anyway, I've got up to seven nights to take advantage of the luxuries of time and space as the good people of New England crowd around their TV sets. I'll make the most of it.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Dog People

I'm not really a dog person or a cat person. I have owned all types of animals over the years and I don't really have a strong preference. Right now I have the vicious and temperamental tabby cat called Poopus.

Sometimes when I am out on a particularly nice day, like today, I think it would be great to have a dog to take out for long walks. Today I was strolling through the Public Garden on my way to work when a giant dog bounded out from behind a tree. He was chasing a squirrel.

Soon another joined him in his merry hunt. Two more dogs appeared on the scene. They all looked strangely similar.

Labradoodles.

And they came from four different owners who marveled at the coincidence. The dogs scampered about on the grass, darting around trees.

I don't have much else to say about this except that it probably isn't news that designer dogs have invaded Beacon Hill. Maybe we should alert the NYT Styles section.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

BRP 53: Derek is on the run edition

Derek is on assignment this week - or on the run. You decide.

Deeps and I talk about Dexter, Heroes, Mad Men, the new series Samantha Who?, what Pushing Daisies can learn from Ugly Betty, the final one hour episode of The Office, and our weekly showdown between Chuck and Reaper.

Plus we're getting ready for Podcamp Boston 2. Can you feel the excitement?

Listen to this week's episode.

Subscribe to the podcast with iTunes or your favorite podcatcher. Don't forget to leave us some iTunes feedback.

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Podcamp Boston 2007

This year's Podcamp Boston will be more awesome than last year's - if for no other reason than because Derek and I will be attending.

So if you're going to be there, keep an eye out for a tall fellow and his short, redhaired companion. Also - we'll be wearing t-shirts that say Big Red Podcast on them. Derek loves conventions. I love name badges. See how this works out?

Deeps, aka my husband, life and podcast partner, refuses to attend for reasons that are unknown. Well, they're known to me - sometimes he's a crank. Plus I think he wants to master Wii Golf. He'll be missed.

We're also going to be giving away delightful and probably delicious swag. And in helping to push the agenda that pop culture is actual culture we'll be giving away some books. I have a small collection of novels I read as part of the 50 book challenge. These are some of my favorite novels, and you could get your own new, unread copy. Enjoy!

In addition, I will be at Blogtoberfest 2007 next week at the beautiful Pour House in Boston. You should say hello and then tell me how much you love the Big Red Podcast. I might be persuaded to buy you a drink!

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Test Drive the Models

I've tried out two products lately that I thought were impressive enough I'd actually write about them in the blog.

So I don't get paid for this. Nobody approached me, I'm not an expert - I've just used these two products under normal conditions. Is that disclaimer-y enough?

First up: L'Oreal Bare Naturale mineral make-up. Basically, it's like a powdery foundation that you apply with a brush. I like it because it has SPF 15, which is essential for me, and because with a bit of practice I found it very easy to use. I'm not a big fan of foundation. As I get older I do appreciate a little extra smooth coverage, but usually it's just too much.

I needed to practice applying it a few times - it can be a little messy until you get the hang of it. It didn't take me long to get a light application, the way I prefer, with minimal mess. My skin looks even, which it naturally is under most circumstances, but there are times when we could all use a little extra help. I often only wear foundation make-up for weddings or big events. But this stuff is so light and applies so quickly that I've integrated it into my morning routine.

I bought mine for about $11 at Target.

My other product is Pureology Hydrate shampoo and conditioner. I first tried it about nine months ago when my hair lady mentioned it to me at the salon. I don't normally go in for the shampoo upsell, but since I color my hair I have noticed that some shampoos preserve the color better than others.

In fact, I tried another type of fancy shampoo/conditioner when I ran out of Pureology and hated it with a white hot passion. Red hair color is hard to maintain because you get roots and the ends of your hair fade pretty quickly. I don't think this is as big a problem for blonde or brunette. Anyway, the Pureology stuff seems to keep all my hair the closer to the red I leave the salon with. Plus the conditioner (sold separately for about $22) is really nice and gives you a nice tingly scalp.

Now this stuff is more expensive, I think I paid about $25 at Target for the shampoo. But it lasts me a while. A little goes a long way and I do have a lot of hair. So there you have it, I have used two products that I liked enough I figured I'd tell my internet friends.

The other information you can infer is that I'm watching so much TV for the podcast that I don't have other fun stories to share with you. I'm working on it!

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Night Moves

I listen to the PRI podcasts for Marketplace a day after they air - last night while walking to the T I listened to Monday's podcast.

Near the end of the episode I heard a funny piece from Sandra Tsing Loh about shady Halloween stores. While hunting for a costume for her 2nd grader she mentioned that many of the displays in those places are graphic and freaked out her kids.

I chuckled a bit and thought nothing more of it.

Then around 11:15 last night, minutes after I fell asleep, I awoke to the sound of screaming. My screaming. Apparently I'd had one of those weird, brief nightmares where I'm not so out that I can't still move around. I was sitting up, swinging at the imaginary skeleton that was hanging over my bed. The skeleton looked like the type Tsing Loh described in her piece.

Clearly I was working through some issues with Public Radio and Halloween.

Deeps raced up the stairs to find me laughing at my stupid dream.

Me: It was just a nightmare.
Deeps: You're okay?
Me: Yeah. And don't worry. Whatever it was, I was punching the hell out of it anyway.
Deeps: When I come to bed, I'm going to announce it so you don't punch me.
Me: That's probably a good idea.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Holidays!

Yesterday I pitched a solution to my family for a new holiday celebration called LyssMas.

See, they live in the midwest and I live in the Boston area. Every year I fly out for Christmas and things are nuts. I'm the only one who has to fly and since several members of the family haven't flown for a while, they've forgotten how horrific it can be.

Holidays + stress + airline delays x the TSA = enormous pain in the heiny. Desperate times call for creative solutions and that's how I came up with LyssMas.

LyssMas is a four-day holiday sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I haven't discovered all the fun, cultural traditions yet - like do we have Turkey or Ham or maybe enchiladas.

I'm really hoping for enchiladas.

Anyway, I think the other good thing about LyssMas is that I don't have to shop for the holidays. I just hand out $20 bills and dental floss. Flossing is important. This is a win/win situation for me - I can fly during a less stressful time, I catch up with the family, and I get to remind people about important dental care.

LyssMas could sweep the nation.

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

BRP 52: Someone is a little cranky edition

Look - we didn't mean to be angry. But some TV disappointed us a little bit this week. Some shows are on probation, some shows have been dumped altogether.

But it wasn't all doom and gloom. We still liked Ugly Betty, Supernatural, Pushing Daisies and Chuck. Plus we belatedly take a look at Women's Murder Club and reconsider Carpoolers.

Listen to this week's episode.

Subscribe to the podcast with iTunes or your favorite podcatcher. Don't forget to leave us some iTunes feedback.

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Vote for coverage!

Others are voting about health care for children or whatever. But let's focus on what is important: What shows should we be sure to cover for the Big Red Podcast?

Pushing Daisies is pulling ahead! Do you care?

I'm talking to you, Bionic Private Gossip Carpooler Cavemen Girl.

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Fast Track

Last night around 10:30 we heard this weird thump and felt the house shake. Since it was raining pretty hard at the time I thought maybe there was a car crash - but it didn't really sound like it.

Deeps and I went outside to investigate along with several of our neighbors.

The tree across the street fell down. It was a big tree - similar to the tree in front of our house. It fell along the sidewalk so neither the house or the car parked in the driveway were damaged. No injuries, no damage - what luck!

I threw Deeps a flashlight and he inspected the situation with some of our neighbors while I called the cops to let them know what's what. By 11 I heard the chainsaws and my 11:30 the industrial woodchipper was silent.

In fact, everything happened so fast that I didn't even have time to take a picture. This morning a few logs are on the side of the street, but that's it. I'm not sure the people across the street were home. They may not know what happened.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Vote and be heard!

Last week I made our very first poll for the podcast. (That's why I made it look weird!)

Anyway, take a look at the list of new series and be sure to vote. Your votes will help us determine what shows we should cover in the podcast. Otherwise, it's all Painkiller Jane all the time. 'Cause that's what Derek likes.

More polls will happen in the future. If I don't mess them up.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Big Red Bonus: How to fix CBS' Moonlight

Every year television executives throw up some horrific shows for us to watch and every year we have to endure some truly awful stuff. Because we’re smart, awesome and feeling a bit magnanimous we’ve offered up some suggestions for how to fix some shows.

This week we’ve decided to figure out how to fix Moonlight, a show we savaged in episode 50. It’s a bonus episode! Sure, it probably should not be saved, but like I said we’re magnanimous.

And that’s the word of the day! Live it, love it, use it.

Listen to this bonus episode episode.

Subscribe to the podcast with iTunes or your favorite podcatcher. Don't forget to leave us some iTunes feedback.

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Monday, October 08, 2007

Waffles and Oysters

Last week I wrangled an invitation to brunch with some other bloggers - some I know virtually, some I've met in person before, and some I've met for the first time. They are a brain trust and if I'd had more time, I'd have picked their brains on lots of topics. But I had to insulate the basement.

Sure, it was 80 degrees on Saturday but winter could show up any time. I can never forget that we live in New England. The Red Sox t-shirts are another reminder.

Anyway, brunch was great and I had a fantastic time. Usually we record our podcast on Sunday after we have brunch. Our brunches at home are pretty lavish, but Henrietta's Table is positively obscene. I think it's easy to say that you could eat yourself into oblivion at such a spread - what a way to go.

So who'd I meet? Well I met Lisa, Len, C.C. and Jeremiah for the first time. And I got to see John and Jenny after meeting them for the first time at last year's Blogtoberfest. By the way, if you're in the area in a few weeks you should check out the event. The Big Red Podcast is a sponsor, so you know it is quality.

What a great group of people. I don't usually try to crash in on events - especially when I don't really know people that well. But after listening to podcasts and reading blogs of some of the group for a while I didn't feel like these people were really strangers. It was pretty easy to push myself a bit outside of my comfort zone. I'm glad I did - the waffles and conversation were worth it.

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Sunday, October 07, 2007

Episode 51: Cliffhanger Edition!

Last week we had a little cliffhanger on episode 50 of the Big Red Podcast. This week we resolve it and quickly move on to new stuff like Pushing Daisies and the sustainability of whimsy; most improved second episode; hair and underwear; and of course what shows are on probation.

Plus we talk about a bunch of other shows and try to keep closer to 30 minutes. We did it in 39 - which is good considering how much we talk about. Oh and I make an argument for wacky. And did I mention there's a poll? Go answer it!

Listen to this week's episode.

Subscribe to the podcast with iTunes or your favorite podcatcher. Don't forget to leave us some iTunes feedback.

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Friday, October 05, 2007

Friday Night Lights

Podcast Pal, fellow TV watcher and my husband - Deeps - would like to remind you that Friday Night Lights comes back tonight on NBC. He's a big fan. I'm giving it a shot. He was right about Ugly Betty.

Also - we celebrated episode 50 with a supersized podcast about the rest of the Fall TV season. Did you listen yet? Tell a friend!

Listen to this week's episode.

Subscribe to the podcast with iTunes or your favorite podcatcher. Don't forget to leave us some iTunes feedback.

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Your team

I'm not a big baseball fan. I've lived in two big American cities - Chicago and Boston - with incredibly dedicated and frustrated fans.

A couple of days ago was the first big playoff game for the Sox. As I made my way home I encountered dozens of fans. Their dead-eyed, grim determination was overwhelming as they pushed past bodily and in vehicles.

You don't look like you're having fun. Your team won the Division Title, they are doing well in the playoffs. Enjoy yourself a little. I promise, I won't tell.

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Ask the experts

Yesterday I was riding the T, minding my own business when lovely woman sitting near me gently tapped by arm.

In very hushed tones she asked if I color my hair. Of course I do. God, this red hair doesn't just grow in.

Anyway, after some careful negotiations I gave her the name of my salon and the name of my hair stylist. She's going for the same red I have.

A couple of weeks ago we were at the grocery store check-out. A cashier from a few aisles over approached to ask me about my hair. She wanted the name of the color, any information, if I had it.

Usually these encounters happen when I'm washing my hands in the ladies room (or worse, waiting in line at the loo). I'm surprised every time.

Looking back, I'm not sure if it was a good idea to give the lady on the train my hair information. Can you use that to steal someone's identity? Probably not.

Unless she goes all Single White Female on me.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

When the to-do list makes itself

At the end of the summer we look at the list of projects we wanted to do and see how we fared. And we check to see if there is anything more we'd like to get finished before winter.

We were talking about putting in a new storm door when I raised a topic that's been bugging me for a few days.

Me: The toilet has been making weird sounds for a while.
Deeps: Oh yeah?
Me: It gurgles and glugs.
Deeps: It's always done that.
Me: I don't think it's supposed to be so noisy.
Deeps: I don't know if it's a big deal.
Me: I think the toilet might be haunted.
Deeps: I don't think so.
Me: It's unhappy and wants to make itself heard. Heed my warning! The toilet is haunted.
Deeps: I can try to fix it.
Me: That's all I want.
Deeps: That reminds me, we should pick up Halloween candy soon.

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Monday, October 01, 2007

Nine Kinds of Awesome

It's Fall, so squirrels are getting ready for winter. I thought they collected acorns, but this photo reveals that perhaps they have a more sophisticated palette.

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