Saturday, September 10, 2011

Darth Vader and Tedy Bruschi's Fantasy Football Draft

So at the end of this commercial you find out it's actually advertising the upcoming release of the Star Wars saga on Blu-Ray.  I have no idea what that has to do with ESPN and Fantasy Football, but I love it.

I REALLY hope this turns into a whole series of ads; so many possibilities....

Friday, September 9, 2011

Touch screen ordering at Boloco

I get burritos/wraps from Boloco a lot because it's one of just a few food options on my walk to work.  There are lots of other real burrito places I like much better; but this isn't about that, this is about convenience.  The one I go to installed touch screens at the front door last week that give you the option to order without talking to a person.

I like the idea in theory, but not in reality.  The main issue is it just takes way longer.  You have to hit a LOT of buttons, and if you make any changes or substitutions it's much harder to type them in than to just tell a person "black beans instead of pinto."  Then there are also all kinds of other choices the computer forces you to make that don't come up when you order from a person.  For example: "Would you like to add a smoothie to your order?"  No.  I wouldn't.  And I'm fairly certain I never will, so if I have to answer that every time I'm gonna be pissed.

The whole experience reminded me a lot of my frustration with the ipad menus at Temezcal.  Also, you can't pay with cash if you order from the touch screen.  And finally, didn't Taco Bell try this like 17 years ago?  I definitely remember in high school going to the Taco Bell next to the Burlington Mall and thinking it was really cool that you could order from a computer.  That clearly didn't pan out.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Bets I would make if I were a gambler

With the NFL season about to start, and MLB headed for the playoffs, here are a couple "futures" bets that I like.  Even though I pretty much never actually gamble, I think futures are cool because you can get really long odds that make it worth winning even if you only bet a small amount of money.  And underdogs/longshots are always fun to root for anyway.

In case you haven't noticed, in MLB all the playoff spots are practically locked up already.  And here's a little secret about the MLB playoffs: the best team usually doesn't win.  Three out of five and four out of seven game series are such small samples in baseball that upsets happen all the time.  Because of that the playoffs are pretty much random, every team in has almost an equal chance to win.  Basically every team should have roughly 8-1 odds to win the world series.  The Diamondbacks are 15-1 right now.  Good bet.  And they are 13-2 to win the NL, which I also like.  Really anyone besides Philly (Atlanta, Arizona, or Milwaukee) to win the NL is a good bet, since they are such overwhelming favorites.

In the NFL I really like Tampa at 30-1 to win the Superbowl.  Last year they went 10-6 and should have made the playoffs.  They have a young exciting QB in Josh Freeman who makes plays and wins games.  But the odds suggest they are a middle of the road team.  I don't think they actually will win the whole thing, but at 30-1 they're a bargain.

And if you're willing to bet against your own team, I also have a method to guarantee you always win at sports gambling.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Are movie theaters about to become obsolete?

There's a horror movie called "Red State" from Kevin Smith (yeah, the Clerks/Mallrats funny guy "Silent Bob" Kevin Smith) that's available On Demand right now.  But here's the thing: it's never really been in theaters.  It debuted at Sundance last year, and has been shown only 22 times in select locations across North America.  On September 25th it'll be back in a few theaters, allegedly for one night only.  But right now, it's available in just about every living room in the country.

And that got me thinking, why do we even need theaters anymore?  Most people have huge HD TV's, and the option to order movies in their home whenever they like.  You can eat whatever you want, drink whatever you want, and watch whatever you want at whatever time you like without leaving the house.

So if you were releasing a new movie, why not just eliminate the middle man?  Why not sell it right to the viewer in their own home?  Either On Demand, or even over the internet.

Now I'm going to take this even a little further.  I things movies themselves may become obsolete.  They are too long.  People have too many options/choices for entertainment.  I have HBO/Starz/Showtime, and all the movies they have available to me whenever I want, but all I watch are the shows.  Curb, Entourage, True Blood, Dexter, Californication, Weeds, etc.  It's way easier to only commit to 30-45 minutes of TV viewing at a time.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The "Moneyball" movie has no business not being awesome

Until recently I had never read the book "Moneyball."   All I knew of it was a basic one sentence plot summary: that it's about the Oakland A's General Manager Billy Beane targeting cheap players with high On Base Percentages in an attempt to win games and stay competitive, despite a low payroll.  So when I heard there was a movie coming out, I was very skeptical that a book about analyzing baseball statistics could actually translate to the big screen.  Well, I just finished reading the book, and let me tell you, there are actually TONS of plot lines in it that make for a great movie.  Just to name a few:

- Billy Beane as a failed "can't miss" prospect turned GM who hired players the opposite of himself

- Chad Bradford making the Big Leagues as an underhand pitcher, in part because his father suffered a stroke which limited him to throwing underhand

- the author chronicling the A's during the 2002 season in which (SPOILER ALERT!!!) they had a miraculous 20 game win streak (that I remember well), punctuated by blowing an 11-0 lead in game #20, then winning it 12-11 on a walk off HR by Scott Hatteberg (that I had totally forgotten)

If this movie isn't great I am going to be so pissed.  There's also a million more things in the book I'd like to discuss.  The logic to it fits my brain perfectly, and a lot of the ideas in it about baseball are arguments that I make on my own all the time.  But that's another blog for another day.

Actually, this blog I wrote back in April about the problem with another wild card team is very Moneyball-esque.  And come to think of it, so are my thoughts about the Sox leaving 16 men on base against the Yankees in a game last week.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Goodbye Summer

Thanks for playing.  See you next year.

Good stuff tomorrow, I promise.  Oh, and if you know where this is then you probably feel the same way I do today.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

What's the deal with Grilled Cheese Trucks?

I had never seen nor heard of these in my life before.  Then one day last week I saw two of them in Boston.  And they weren't affiliated with each other, they looked totally different and were obviously separate businesses.  Is this a thing?  Are they new?  Do they have them in other cities?  Have they been here all along and I've just missed them?  And if that's the case, how did I see two in one day?!  And neither one was parked and open for business, they were both on the move, and during the middle of the day on a Tuesday no less.  What's going on?

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