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"This is just like television, only you can see much further."

This morning I find myself hanging out at the Lexus dealer waiting for my car to be finished. Ah, the wonders of technology where I can sit here blogging while I wait for my surely over-priced car repair (air flow sensor anyone?)!

No new DVD news of note today (though DVD Savant has a good review of the new Random Harvest DVD, found here) so I thought I'd veer off into a couple of tangents, somewhat related to TV.

PVRblog has a link about hooking a certain HDTV cable box to a Mac (via Firewire) to do recording, DVD burning, or whatever, whithout any hacking of hardware or software. This is quite cool for those of us who choose not to do the Windows thing at home as most of the action in the PC/TV area has been centered around the Wintel platform. Yes, I am a Tivo fan, but they don't really have a product to do HD outside of their box for Directv. This solution allows you to actually save HD content via cable to your Mac where you can exercise your fair use rights till the cows come home. Tivo does offer Tivo ToGo, which allows you to transfer shows off the Tivo (over a home network) to a PC where it can be archived to DVD. The problems with this are:

A) It's Windows only; this is probably due to the fact that they use Microsoft DRM to allow the media companies to restrict how you use the content.

B) It can't do HD; the Directv box doesn't work with TivoToGo.

C) You have to buy a commercial DVD burning package to burn discs (it has to do with the DRM again).

Yes, using Tivo is a lot nicer than a computer hooked to a cable box, but it does have advantages as long as the cable companies don't cripple the technology down the line. The actual article can be found here.

I am now going to break one of my own rules and mention politics here, so feel free to tune out now...

As you probably all know, I'm a bit of a leftie (no!) and after the disaster of 2004 (aka the election), I have steered a wide course around TV news, finding it inadequate and biased too much in favor of the Administration. I still keep up with the news, but choose to get if from alternative sources such as public radio, the internet, and leftie talk radio (sorry, I need my bitter, angry leftie talk these days!). Since Shades and I have satellite TV, we have a lot of other things to waste our time....one of the things we've been watching, perhaps taking the place (at least for me) of bad TV political coverage has been stuff on Food Network. Sure, I've been watching staples such as Iron Chef (the original, thank you very much) for a while now, but some of the other stuff has been amusing to watch. Our current favorite is a show called Good Eats. It's a show that centers on a particular dish or ingredient where the host goes into the background...oops, car's ready...back in a few....OK, back at it after forking over a large chunk of change, ouch! So he goes into the background of the food and ways to prepare it, often with really dorky skits, examples, and a good dose of somewhat scientific mini-lessons about why certain food ingredients behave like they do. What I like about the show (it grows on you) is that it aspires to culinary heights without being pretentious. Also, much of the stuff that's prepared could realistically be made by people like me and his advice about kitchen tools/appliances is about as realistic as possible on a cooking show. Even if you're not a cooking fiend, I suggest giving it a try. Another show we like well is America's Test Kitchen. This PBS show is also pretty practical, though not as entertaining as Good Eats, it has great advice and recipes (it goes along with a print magazine). So yes, there's always something to watch if you want to take your mind off current events....oh yes, another very fun time-wasting show we caught over the weekend was VH1's 40 Most Awesomely Bad #1 Songs; the songs are bad and the videos even worse. OK, enough random stuff...next I'm going to try and get my Netflix queue to display like this guy did.

Comments

I accidently told John that Jody doesn't really care for "Good Eats" and now he won't stop talking about how much he likes it! ;) She feels that the scientific explanation can take some of the soul or magic out of the deal. Emeril's "Food of Love Thing". I think we got a foodshowfued a brewin'! To be fair, we've only watched a few Good Eats. I liked the coffee one. I'm glad a show like this exsist, but I don't watch it that often. I can see why you like it though John. It appeals to your foodgeek sensibilities. ha ha!

My problem, OK it isn't a "problem" per se, with Emeril is that it seems as though what you take away from watching him is that he kicks ass, says some really silly things (nothing wrong with this of course), and has a well-trained audience. Unless you have a pretty high level of culinary skill, I doubt you could really do much of what he does on the show...so you just have to eat at his restaurant! Maybe that's the idea, but Good Eats isn't as flashy, but you learn stuff you can actually use in cooking, even if the chemistry of food doesn't appeal.

Hey, I figure the only way you really learn to cook without recipes is by knowing a good deal about how food works. If you don't, you'll never be able to predict your results.

Plus, it's cool. But I've always been a non-scientific science geek (as in, I want to know how stuff works, but I don't always want to do the mental heavy lifting to actually learn it).