Sunday, February 11, 2007

I give up, here’s a list


I’m having a lot of trouble thinking of something to write. I have a lot to say about the two new hobbies I picked up in Vietnam, which are contemplating the history of chess and trying to learn simple Chinese characters, but somehow I don’t think anyone wants to hear more from me on those topics. I know I don’t.

I also acquired a third enthusiasm while in Vietnam a few weeks ago: solving sudoku puzzles. But obviously I’d rather gnaw my own arms off than write anything about the joy of sudoku. For one thing, I know I’m several years late to the fad. And there is an entire groaning set of shelves in every bookstore now devoted to sudoku. Why do we need hundreds and hundreds of books about sudoku? I assume that the average person probably needs one book of sudoku puzzles in their life, ever. Maybe. Need some tips on how to solve them? I’m guessing that info would take up a page or two, max. Why the shelf?

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I hate fads where people rush out crappy books to try to make a quick buck. There are now probably more books about sudoku in your typical large bookstore than there are about philosophy. What were all these sudoku scribes doing until three years ago when the fad hit? Staring at the wall, imagining square grids and waiting for their big chance? Keeping themselves alive through the winter by burning their unpublished manuscripts on how to play tic-tac-toe or how to win at Tetris? Then the great sudoku boom hit, and dozens of unemployed autistic people suddenly became bestselling authors? I don’t get it. Well, I hope they all saved their earnings, because it might be a while until the next numeral-based grid fad hits.

Or for example, there are two or three entire shelves at the bookstore bulging with books entirely about “Texas Hold ‘Em”. Isn’t that a type of poker? Note that I didn’t say “a type of chemical engineering”. Why hundreds of books? And I’m not talking about Hoyle here, these books don’t cover all types of poker but just one variant that is suddenly popular because there was some cable show about it or something? Ugh. Don’t get me wrong, I am pretty sure that I’m the world’s worst poker player and I’m definitely sure I could use all of the advice in those books, I just don’t like the gold-rush fad overkill aspect of things like that.

So, while I do find the puzzles delightful, I refuse to write a word on the topic of sudoku. Aside from those which I just wrote in those last couple dozen sentences. Dammit. I’ll start again.

Since I’m bored and tired and not sure what to write about, I will voluntarily descend deep into the clotted cloacal crevices of the absolute worst common denominator of crap blogging. I refer, of course, to the ancient, unkillable cockroach of blog formats, the list. Whether it’s answers to some stupid “meme” questions, or a list of interesting scents you burped up this week, or a table of Brad Pitt’s weird pointing hand gestures organized by frequency, or whatever, we all know, deep down, that this sort of thing is not really reaching for the brass ring. Not aiming for the stars, aesthetically speaking. Fine by me, I’m out of other ideas. Here are my top ten favorite television shows of all time, which are also by a strange coincidence exactly identical with my favorite shows at this precise moment.

1. The Office (US)
I’ve probably watched every episode of this show up to the middle of the third season around 15 times, and I still find new things to laugh at. The show’s hilarious, everyone in the cast is incredible, and something about the workplace + fake documentary + unrequited office romance formula is just perfect. I don’t think my opinion is too inflated because it’s a recent show, I really do think in hindsight I’ll still say it’s one of the funniest shows of all time.

2. Futurama
My love of this unbelievably good show is only overshadowed by the anger I feel that it only ran for four seasons, while South Park and other vastly inferior shows have gone on longer. Supposedly they’re making new episodes for DVD, but either way I’m still bitter.

3. The Simpsons
I don’t think I need to go into why I like this show.

4. Curb Your Enthusiasm
I think I like this show so much because the mix of comedy and public humiliation are very cathartic for me. I often feel like all my public interactions are on the brink of devolving into the sort of thing that happens on this show, so watching the absolute worst shaming happen to Larry David week after week, and watching him somehow survive nonetheless, is deeply satisfying.

5. Arrested Development
Requires close attention while watching, and is best in small doses, but in terms of jokes per minute and running gags this was basically a live-action equivalent of The Simpsons. GOB, Tobias and Buster are among my favorite comedy characters of all time.

6. Seinfeld

7. The Office (UK)

8. Monty Python’s Flying Circus
Looking back a lot of these episodes don’t seem quite as funny as they did when I was in middle school, but still.

9. Aqua Teen Hunger Force
I actually get really tired of the character Shake, who probably gets the most screen time, but Meatwad, Carl, the aliens, the robot ghost of Christmas past and a lot of the other minor characters make the show.

10. Blackadder
I hadn’t seen a single episode of this series before a couple months ago when I got a box set, and I can’t believe what I’d missed out on. The second and third series are my favorites, the Elizabethan and Georgian ones.

There’s the top ten. Little Britain almost made the cut, hilarious show, but they got bumped because each of their characters basically has one joke they do over and over.

1 comment:

armando said...

If you want to try out something new in sudoku, try shendoku, using the sudoku rules but playing two people, one against the other, like battleshipps. They have a free version to download at http://www.shendoku.com/sample.pdf . Anything else they are bringing out or they are working on you can find at www.shendoku.com or at they´r blog www.shendoku.blogspot.com . Have fun, I am. I specially like one slogan I heard about Shendoku: SUDOKU is like masturbation (on your own)…. SHENDOKU is like sex (it takes two).