This is Epth Nation

Epth is a state of mind, not a place. Reading this will give you a virtual drivers license in that state, but you'll still need to be 21 to purchase alcohol. And you can't get any there anyway, so stop asking.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

A Walk Through the Website

I think it's about time I visited everyone's favorite amoral TV network, don't you? No, I don't mean actually going there and interviewing people or anything -- I prefer to let a company's online presence do the talking. What does one see when one goes to Let me tell you, it's really pretty but also strangely empty, just like the girls on their teenage pseudo-reality shows.

When you pull up their entrance page today (8/19/06), here's what you see (that is, if you have flash installed in your browser): Near the top on the left, ads for many upcoming MTV shows are on an 8-second rotater. They just show pretty pictures with text that says something like, "Ultimate Beyonce'. Watch her work it." I don't know what "it" is, though. These pictures are links to sites that display giant ads for Gatorade and then calm down and give information about the show.

OBSERVATION: The MTV site is so flash-intensive, it's slowing my poor laptop down. The pages take forever to load, and I'm not sre if that's a flash problem, a poor site design problem, or a server problem. Anyway, not only does MTV not want you as a viewer if you're over 22 (or do they?), they don't want you as a surfer if you don't have a new computer. This is age-ism, pure and simple, and I'm not going to stand for it. Well, ok, yes I am, 'cuz I don't care.

The main things being advertised these days on the rotater are the new season of Laguna Beach (feat. 6 new girls and 3 new jerks, er, guys! Plus reappearances by Jessica and several Alexes! This time, they're edited in such a way that they're guaranteed to all be repellent! Yayyyy! And on the website picture, the girls all appear to be wearing stylish shiny cloth bags!), the new MTV show Two-a-Days (a pseudo-reality show about high school football in the south. This actually looks good), the by-now-totally-irrelevant VMA's (hosted by Jack Black), and "watch Beyonce' work it" (which links to MTV Overdrive, MTV's broadband content centerpiece. When Overdrive comes up, you don't see Beyonce'. This probably ticked somebody off.)

In the middle of the screen there's a spinning MTV News cube, and in its section are links to stories about Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, and others. When you click on a news story, you get an actual news story, and that's good. However, a flash animation ad also attacks you as you try to read the story, and that's evil.

RECCOMMENDATION: Don't surf with anything other than Firefox, and that only if you've got "AdBlock" installed. Otherwise, you're just a pair of eyeballs to be advertised to, and they have you right where they want you.

There's also something called "Urge," which takes you to an outside link ( It sensed that I needed to be using Internet Explorer, though. Those jerks just want me to stop blocking their ads. Ok, fine, I'll try it...

In internet explorer now, it turns out "Urge" is just a $14.95/month music download site with extra blogs from some of music's "leading voices." Hopefully that doesn't mean Christina Aguilera, who has nothing of value to say. Wow, that's a horrible thing to say about somebody. Prove me wrong, Chrissy. Talk about something besides being a dirrrrty fighter.

But let's forget about all that boring stuff and go to the whole point of Overdrive, the "extra" show content you can only find on When that comes up, the first thing you see is an ad for some crap you don't want. Then, you can click on whatever "aftershow" you want to watch (they're really just boring presentations of stuff that only rabid fans want to watch, i.e., a tour of Zyndra from Laguna Beach's house from her vapid point of view), and another ad comes up and assaults you before you get to see what you clicked on. It's typical commercialized broadband timewaste hell, and therefore, I give MTV Overdrive an F for both content and character.

OBSERVATION NOT RELATED TO OVERDRIVE, BUT INSTEAD TO KYNDRA, WHO IS ON OVERDRIVE: Kyndra, as you might imagine, is a self-absorbed fashion queen who doesn't stop to think for one second about her opulent lifestyle and its inflated importance in her life. She also never stops to think that she has been arbitrarily awarded a posession-filled life, and with that life comes responsibility. She also never thinks about what her possessions cost her or where the money comes from, except in a braggy way. These are snap judgements I'm making after watching a 7-minute MTV-edited clip of her (and carrying the baggage of 1000 other MTV "Young Reality Stars" that came before her), so take them with a grain of salt. I'm uncomfortable with writing this about a real teenage girl, but I think society needs to point out the absurdity of it all so we can grow past it as a people. Plus, she signed the waiver and gave her body and soul to MTV, and her parents just sat back with dollar signs in their eyes. The sad part? Little girls will totally look up to her.

Kyndra also likes "shabby chic," old crosses (because they look "gaudy," or "God-y," I couldn't tell which), taking her dog shopping with her (yick), and as many gold accessories as she can fit on her fake-tanned body. She also bolts her windows shut so that her sister can't come in and steal her clothes. The parents clearly have full control of things.

In other MTV news, the velociraptorization of Hillary Duff continues. She's clearly still competing with Lyndsey Lohan, this time in the category of having a disturbing life. Instead of just getting trashed every night, Hillary has decided to turn herself into a half-girl/half-dinosaur. Soon she will be able to take Lyndsey's head off with one bite.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Time to Take a Stand

Today I saw a very disturbing ad on the TV -- it was for the bad Robin Williams family movie RV. No, Mr. Williams' mugging wasn't the disturbing part. It was the very end of the ad, when a disembodied voice said that this giant flaming bag o' crap was available in "DVD and Blu-ray disk." All of a sudden we've decided that "Blu-ray" is the High-Definition disk of choice for America just because Sony said so? Like we'd ever pick something with such a dumb name. We need to unite and make them name it something better, or just pick a different format altogether. An American format. How about "Freedom Disks"? Wait, you're right -- that's just as dumb. How about simply calling them HD disks? You know, this is exactly how that whole DVD+/DVD- RAM/ROM thing happened. Think about it.

Oh, and America? You don't have talent. Just because 10 million people watch that bad show doesn't make it true. A dude with bad hair just played "We Will Rock You" using water glasses. This is the kind of thing that succeeds on Japanese TV, not American.

I really don't have a point here, admittedly. I probably should have led with that fact. It all seems so anti-Japan. As a counterpoint: Anime.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

My Hectic Life Continues

Dear reader, I keep letting you know these things because I have to tell someone...

Tomorrow is my first day of teaching. I'm teaching computers 3 days a week to grades 1-6, though for grades 1-2 I'm going to be more of a facilitator and fact-checker than a teacher, I suspect. This is my first time being entrusted with the job of cramming knowledge into the heads of schoolkids, and I really want to succeed. Tomorrow, I'm just going over some classroom rules and basics.

Oh, and it was just last week that I learned I was going to be doing this through my current job. I had suspicions, but it wasn't firmed up until late last week. How exactly this all happened is a funny story that I can't get into right now, but it ends with me teaching grade-schoolers. Hey, why not? I just started a new job and moved into a new apartment clear across town -- Massive and uncomfortable change is just par for the course these days. I would rather have a birdie, but I don't know where that leaves the analogy.

Strangely, I'm not nervous. If all else fails, I'll just blather on and on about "being careful around the cords" as the kids just stare at the screen for a half-hour. I've got big plans for this year, but time will tell whether I get the planning time and on-the-fly-training to accomplish them all.

I need to tell my Microcenter story soon, too. One guy is clamoring for it, and I'd hate to disappoint my fan(s). I'm formulating it in my mind:

Chapter One: "General Sales," or how to succeed in business without selling extended warranties.

Chapter Two: "The R. Years," or how the collapse of the tech market came suddenly and without warning, causing layoffs and confusion and no raises.

Chapter Three: "The S. Years," or "Let's see how much we can impose upon a man before he breaks."

Chapter Four: "The Final Battle," or, Mike finally wises up to their games.

Should be a blockbustah. Maybe I'll bounce some of my ideas off the kids tomorrow.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Um...see if you can spot what's wrong with this...

From the instruction booklet for one of my wife's products:

"Do not use if you are not able to see well enough to read the instruction booklet."