Commercial Entertainment

I wonder if I'm one of the last people without a DVR but sometimes, like during the Academy Awards, the commericals are more entertaining than the program. One in particular had me wondering whether to cry or laugh.

This is the Day, a song from the The The album, Soul Mining, is the music for the latest M&Ms commercial and web site. After my initial anguish over yet another piece of my musical memory being sold out (thank god for Fugazi), I couldn't help laughing about the irony. The lyrics “this is the day your life is going to change” were unquestionably an anthem to teen angst, not a call to carpe diem. I just hope Matt Johnson is also laughing all the way to the bank. He deserves it because his 80s albums never got the credit they deserved and usually get left off 80s best-of compilations. Maybe this will spark a revival of interest.

Tonight I saw a Michelin commercial that begins with horn-honking, bumper-to-bumper traffic and pans over to the Michelin factory where the “road of tomorrow” is being created through better tires. It left me wondering how better tires (even if they are recyclable) are going to solve our gridlock problems. Someone needs to remind Michelin's ad agency that it's only “a better way forward” if you can actually move forward.

RCN's Customer Retention Strategy: Hold Them Hostage

In late December I decided to switch my phone, Internet and cable TV service from RCN to Comcast. Almost three weeks later Comcast is still waiting for RCN to allow them to make the switch. Comcast reported that RCN is the only provider with which they have this problem and that sometimes it takes as long as a month and a half. And I'm sure I'll continue to get billed for RCN's service (or lack of service) in the meantime.

Soy Crayons

Had a conversation today about whether crayons are petroleum-based. They are. And whether there is a more environmentally responsible alternative. There is. These took me a little work to track down:

Prang Fun Pro Crayons

Prang Fun Pro Crayons, made from pure soybean oil, are a totally new kind of crayon. They're smoother and brighter without waxy flaking.

Fun Pro Crayons are environmentally safe and non-toxic. Instead of being made from petroleum wax, they're made from pure soybean oil.

They are pretty much the same price as regular paraffin crayons.

1997 Round-the-World Trip

In 1997 Ilyse and I quit our jobs and traveled around the world for 8 months. We still haven't put the photos in albums but when I discovered the Wayfaring site I decided to go without sleep one night and create a map of the trip. Here it is:

The Microsoft Runaround

I just switched from using a PC to a Mac and need to be able to IM with some people who use MSN Messenger. On my PC I was using Gaim, a great IM client that lets you connect to AIM, MSN, and Yahoo, and I never had a problem logging into the MSN Messenger system.

But, after installing MSN Messenger on my new PowerBook and trying to login, I received the following message:


I waited for the email. It never came. I tried again. Still no email. So I filled out the support form on the MSN Messenger Technical Support page. Twelve hours later I got a response telling me the problem is with MSN Hotmail and has been referred to them. Six hours after that I got a message from MSN Hotmail Technical Support telling me the problem is with the Microsoft Passport Network and giving me a link to that support page, which is the same support page I started with. I fill it out again but this time I indicate the problem is with the Microsoft Passport Network rather than MSN Messenger

38 hours later I got a response telling me the problem is with MSN Messenger and giving me a link to the same page on which I submitted my original support request.

Now what?