Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Chipotle

I discovered how Chipotle increases their profits the other day. It's by making my burrito intentionally small.

I think it was Monday that Sara and I went there. Both of us were in line, and if I remember correctly the lady in front of us got a pretty healthy amount of rice and meat. So of course when we get ours, the gal working the line gave us about half of what I would consider a proper amount. I feel like this happens to me a lot when I'm there.

Of course, the appropriate response to the unsatisfactory amount of food would be to politely ask for more, especially in a case where the line really isn't that long so you don't have to worry about pissing off the 100 customers behind you. My problem is that my thought process goes something like this: "damn, that's not a big burrito.... well, guess I'll buy chips!"

This happens just about every time I get a small burrito.

I don't know anything about the financial health about the company, but by shortchanging my burrito, the company has probably made about an extra $20 or so from me... and if they do this to specific other people, they're probably financing the CEO's bonus with all the extra cash. At least I'm assuming they're tricking other people into buying chips. Otherwise I'm an idiot... and Chipotle has yet to discover the gold mine that is pinpointing the customers who are on the fence about chips.

The real question is how they know that I would so easily fall for this tactic...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Hell yeah:

Lots to like about the Oscar nominations:

1) Winter's Bone in the final slot over The Town=great choice. The Town seemed to be in the mix simply because it put up some good box office numbers and it didn't completely suck (even though it really wasn't that good). And Winter's Bone makes a fine replacement... I'm gonna rank the ten Best Picture nominations for you in order of my favorites:

1) Black Swan
2) The Social Network
3) The Fighter
4) Toy Story 3
5) Winter's Bone
6) True Grit
7) The King's Speech
8) Inception
9) 127 Hours
10) The Kids Are All Right

Unfortunately, with 12 nominations... I think The King's Speech is now the favorite to win. Not that I'm completely against the movie--it was conventional, but still entertaining and well done--but it's such a safe choice. But I guess its resurgence adds a little intrigue back into the Best Picture race, cause it seemed for a while that The Social Network was going to run away with it.

2) Coens over Christopher Nolan=wasn't really clamoring for the upset, since I thought the Best Director field was pretty much sewn up, but the idea of people getting pissed off over Nolan getting snubbed again seems pretty funny to me. (Maybe if there's enough outcry, they'll expand the Best Director slots to 10...)

And the Coens getting in is always good, even though I thought True Grit wasn't their best. What's interesting is that the film got 10 nominations, 2nd most behind The King's Speech... which I would think has to insert it back into the race for Best Picture. I mean, The King's Speech and The Social Network will be slugging it out, but True Grit might not be far behind. Inception's dreams are dead, though.

3) Best Actor/Actress had a couple of disappointments for me: Wahlberg didn't get in for The Fighter, and Steinfeld didn't get bumped up from Supporting to Lead. But of the performances I've seen, I can't complain about who made it in... except Bening for The Kids Are All Right, but that's my dislike of the movie and her character clouding my perception of the actual performance (I mean, she did a good job making me hate her, so that's good, even though I'm not sure that was the point of the performance...).

4) John Hawkes for Winter's Bone -- nice! It's kind of a shame that it came at the expense of Andrew Garfield for The Social Network (I would've preferred Armie Hammer anyway, but both of them were deserving), but I can't think of anyone who should have been snubbed instead. Anyway the Academy voted, this was going to be a really solid 5...

5) Exit Through The Gift Shop in--yes!

That's about it, really.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

OK, to focus on something less depressing than the Packers making the Super Bowl... the Oscar nominations come out Tuesday morning.

I have a list I shambled together.

WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO SEE WHEN THE OSCAR NOMINATIONS ARE ANNOUNCED:

-BLACK SWAN AND SOCIAL NETWORK TO LAND MOST NOMINATIONS: I don’t know how that would work out… plus, I’d have to imagine Inception will be up there with the technical categories. But I want the Best Picture to come down to the above films… and I don’t want The King’s Speech to come into that conversation (it was a fine film, don’t get me wrong… but it would probably be the absolute safest pick for Best Picture, which would be pretty disappointing. I’d rather have Inception win, honestly… and I didn’t really care for it all that much). So… maybe leading in nominations will be a good sign for Black Swan and The Social Network? I don’t know.

-A SWEEP OF NOMINATIONS FOR THE ACTORS IN THE FIGHTER: This was the last “consensus Best Picture nominee” that I was able to see. The standard sports movie conventions seemed to permeate through the entire film, but it felt new in some ways. Most of this is probably due to the acting, which is superb. Christian Bale will be getting in (and winning, for that matter), Melissa Leo will be getting in, but I’m hoping that both Mark Wahlberg and Amy Adams squeeze in as well.

-THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT TO GET AS LITTLE NOMINATIONS AS POSSIBLE: I might be alone in my intense dislike of this film. I mean, the performances are good, but the dialogue annoys me… and the characters are assholes. Well, I mean… Mark Ruffalo’s character wasn’t a bad guy (kind of stupid and ruled by his Johnson, but still…), but he gets unceremoniously dumped upon at the end. I’d write more about my dislike of this, but I don’t think anyone cares…

-HAILEE STEINFELD GETTING NOMINATED FOR BEST ACTRESS INSTEAD OF SUPPORTING: Because she is the lead of True Grit, that’s why.

-JOHN HAWKES: BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Absolutely intense and menacing. The absolute best part of Winter’s Bone. Also, he’s a native Minnesotan. Also also, he was in Eastbound & Down, which threw me for a loop when I looked him up after seeing this.

Best supporting actor category is really loaded, though… and I wouldn’t know who I’d kick out in favor of him. Maybe Jeremy Renner… who’s good in The Town, but the film itself is pretty mediocre.

-EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP IN FOR DOCUMENTARY: Because why the hell not? (I’ve only seen two docs this year, so… my perspective on whether or not the film deserves the nomination is limited. But it’d probably still deserve consideration.)
This year has sucked so far.

The Wilfs should just take the Vikings out back and put a bullet in its head. It's nothing but nonstop misery.

Jay Cutler, you are the worst.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

things

-Parks and Recreation is premiering its third season tonight. This is exciting news. I am excited, at least.

I don't really want to pitch why anyone should watch the show, because all I would really say is that it's well-written with an amazing ensemble (plus it added Adam Scott, so... somehow the ensemble just improved), but I hope that it gets decent enough ratings since it seems to be in danger of getting canned by NBC.

Also, more episodes of Community... which I am excited for only because I heard they are going to do less "event" episodes in favor of character based episodes. I mean, the second season has been OK, but the Modern Warfare episode--while great--seemed to have derailed the show a bit. They realized everyone loved that episode and in the process the whole concept became a "show about pop culture" instead of a "show about a weird college", which was the entire appeal for me. It's still fun and entertaining, but still.

-I might write more about the football games this weekend, but I'm predicting that it'll be the Packers vs. the Steelers in the Super Bowl. Which pains the hell out of me. I'm not entirely convinced that the Bears won't surprise, since I wasn't big on the Falcons in the first place... but I mean, the Packers steamrolled them.

As for Jets/Steelers... there seems to be less motivation for the Jets in this one, since they've already sort of proven themselves against the Patriots and the Colts. So Steelers.

-I haven't done a thing *at all* today.

Sometimes that makes me feel incredibly lazy and unproductive.

Right now it's feeling very nice.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

More Youtube stuff:

I watched Zodiac for the first time last night... really, surprisingly solid, actually. Knowing nothing about the actual events that took place, I expected it to be sort of like Se7en, David Fincher's other serial killer movie in which the murders are based on the seven deadly sins. Except... you know, based off of the 12 signs of the Zodiac. Well that was wrong. It was more about obsession and those agonizing over piecing together a puzzle long after everyone had stopped caring about it... but that isn't why I'm here right now. I'm here to post silly Youtube videos.

Anyway, the first murder scene of the movie is soundtracked by Donovan's Hurdy Gurdy Man... and it's absolutely awesome and chilling. I tried finding the actual scene on Youtube to no avail, so just use your imagination with the entire song.



The only songs I know by Donovan are his hit singles and the crap that Wes Anderson includes in his movies. They're all sort of dopey and hippie, but in a charming way. (Donovan himself looks really dopey... which apparently has led to an impressive resume of girlfriends/wives/whatever. Go figure.) The Zodiac scene casts him in a much more exciting light, which makes me want to delve deeper into his catalog to see if anything else invigorates me similarly. But I'm probably either going to find just 3rd rate Bob Dylan ripoffs or 3rd rate psychedelia. So let's just admire the singles that I know I already like!

-Sunshine Superman (this is his best song, for the record. Also, I find myself really favoring 60's pop over anything released today. Sure, some unpleasant stuff was going on, but a lot of stuff sounds joyful and idealistic, which is nice. Today I don't think anyone could release a song of this caliber without lacing it with a strong coat of irony.)



-Season Of The Witch (this has probably been in a bunch of films as well... including, hopefully, Nicolas Cage's Season Of The Witch. I'm trying to figure out which film I remember this from, but I can't place it.)



-Mellow Yellow (I really liked this song when I was younger until I found out that it apparently was a reference to smoking banana peels... and now by looking at Wikipedia I see that it's actually about vibrators. I feel like if I paid attention to lyrics I might have figured that out by now.)



-Atlantis (just saw this in an episode of Futurama. It's also in Goodfellas. And speaking of irony a few songs back, I'm surprised that the spoken word interlude hasn't made a huge comeback by now. It'll be stupid if it does... cause it was sort of stupid back in the 60's, but in this song it somehow adds its charm.)




This song isn't Donovan... but I found it while looking for all of these, and... it's pretty awesome.

Monday, January 17, 2011

I was thinking about this in the car today, while I was listening to Packers/Bears NFC Championship talk on the radio (by the way, I hate life):

If the Vikings were to move, who would I cheer for?

(I hope it never comes to this, but... I'm feeling rather negative about their chances to stay at the moment. My current thought is that the NFL will be locked out for 2011, then they'll bolt to warmer climates the year after that using the Metrodome roof as the scapegoat.)

This presumes that the fact that the Vikings moving would be so crushing and heartbreaking that I would no longer cheer for a team that would do such a thing, and most likely assume that the new incarnation has no relation to the team that played here for 50 years. And most likely, I wouldn't cheer for them... unless if they moved someplace like Nebraska. But LA? Screw that. I couldn't bear to have rich people not care less about the team that's supposed to be mine.

I always thought that I would go one of two directions:

1) Cheer for the Steelers, since I've always had an affinity for them, dating back to the Jerome . Bettis/Bill Cowher days. Problem with this is that Roethlisberger is kind of a douchebag, and I'm kind of hoping they win it all despite him.

2) Go for the closest non-former rival team, since you're supposed to cheer for the local team, I suppose. This would mean that I would go for the Chiefs, which I don't mind. I don't mind the Chiefs.

But then, I thought of a great third option.

3) Cheer for the Bears.

Now, I kind of dislike the Bears a bit. Cutler annoys the crap out of me (can't stand QBs who pout... and can't stand QBs who throw a ton of INTs), and I honestly think they really shouldn't be in the position that they are this weekend. Plus, they tend to be a thorn in the Vikings' side at least once a season... sometimes twice when we play a rookie QB and have the game relocated to a different stadium. So what possible benefits might there be for a Vikings fan to switch allegiances to the Bears if the Vikings decide to no longer be the Vikings?

I'll list the benefits for you right now.

1) It would allow me more opportunities to hate the s*** out of the Packers.

...

You might be able to guess who I'm rooting for this weekend.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

TRUE GRIT

I saw this about a week ago. I don't know why I'm deciding to write about it now, but here goes...

-The fact that it's doing really well at the box office = fine by me. Not that the Coens need to have one film break $150 million in order for their careers to be validated... but it's nice to see anyway.

-I thought the film was pretty pleasant, but was really surprised at how... inessential it felt. A lot of talk I read was about how it doesn't really feel like a Coen brothers film--which... I mean, it had a bit of their brand of humor, and the typical cast of colorful characters that permeates their films (even if Mattie might be the least flawed character they've ever had), so I don't know if I agree with that. But there wasn't enough intrigue for me. I enjoyed the small moments--the courtroom scene, the winter scene in the woods encountering that bear guy... but I guess I was expecting something a little more tense, a little more violent... I don't know.

-I think it boils down to the fact that everything with Chaney (the bad guy who they've been looking for the entire film) is kind of a let down. Which might be the point, but when Chaney is first introduced, I thought that the film was just getting started, and we'd have a great 30-40 minute third act to transform the film from merely good to great. Instead, Chaney comes onto the scene... and then what feels like 10 minutes later, the movie is over. Umm... what?

-I never read the book (nor did I see the original movie), so I don't know if that I'm just missing the entire point of the ending (and I probably am)... but as it is, the resolution feels more than rushed, which sorts of cheapens the rest of the film for me. Maybe I just need to see it again. Or maybe it's just supposed to be a little slight. I don't know.

-Bridges is pretty great, though. It's almost a shame he won for Crazy Heart, because if he hadn't you'd have to assume he'd be the favorite for Best Actor this year. I might rank him a little bit over Jesse Eisenberg in terms of my favorite for the Oscar, but that might change day to day--not that it matters since Colin Firth is going to win it anyway... oh well. Hailee Steinfeld is pretty great in her role as a tough little critter as well... Matt Damon didn't really have much to do, which is unfortunate, but he did what he could, I suppose.

-I forgot that Jeff Bridges kicks over two Indian kids. That might be worth an extra point if I had bothered to give the film any form of numerical value.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

What a great season:

I mean, we finished in last... but if you were going to have a 6-10 season, wouldn't you want one as crazy as this one?

-We started the season as Super Bowl contenders... and never ever looked remotely close to ever accomplishing that. So that sucked. But still...

-Brett Favre had the worst season of his career... got embroiled in some sleazy controversy... got knocked out a couple times... was finally broken down enough to miss a game... tried to make a GLORIOUS RETURN on Monday night only to get knocked out again. And now he's retired. I mean... if you hate Brett Favre, that's the best season right there. Sure, it sucks that it happened to my favorite team, but still.

-Randy Moss had a four game cameo. Remember that? It was awesome. I recommend all Minnesota coaches that I'd like to see fired bring in former Minnesota superstars only to unceremoniously dump them four games later.

-Brad Childress is gone, which is great. I would have let him go after the game in which we won against Arizona, though... right off the heels of the Moss fiasco, it just felt right. Plus it would have been a sweeter f*** you to do it to him after a win. (For the record... I am fine with Frazier as our coach. I don't know how great he is with the X's and O's... but he seems like the type of guy you'd like to have as a boss. Plus he managed to win reasonably OK in the midst of the weirdest few weeks the team has ever had. My only problem with him is that he looks sort of dopey in official team photos... he looks OK and efficiently authoritative on the sidelines, but the team photos of him I've seen make him out to be a dork... that's the reason I was never sold on Childress and his sex offender stache, and the reason why I'm not sold on new Gophers coach Jerry "Manager at Arby's" Kill... you need to look the part, you know?)

-The roof collapsed! What the hell! I mean, the fact that we didn't have home field advantage against the Giants effectively killed our season right there... and the fact that this will probably be used as a reason why the Vikings will move to LA in a couple of years kind of sucks... but in the meantime, this could only have happened during this season. Which makes it all the more awesome.

-We won a game on a Tuesday night (which was stupidly postponed) against a playoff team on the road with a 3rd string rookie QB that we drafted as a WR. And that was the one on field highlight that involved us actually doing well.

So yeah, we sucked. That said, if we had only won one more game... and we played in the NFC West, we'd be rolling towards the playoffs right about now.

So that's something to hang your hat on.