Saturday, July 08, 2006

Your purple prose just gives you away

I thought I'd hallucinated it, but apparently not, because I've seen it a half-dozen times in the last week, once in the presence of another person.

I remember people of my parents' generation bemoaning the use of songs from their youth for cheesy commercials. I rolled my eyes and thought that I'd be mildly pleased to hear certain songs in conjunction with selling products. It was going to happen, but surely the next generation would find a way to do it in a way that wasn't so blisteringly stupid.


So now we have a commercial for Kraft Crumbles, which, if the commercial is to be believed, are "crumbelievable."

Ostensibly creative ad person 1: Dude, remember that EMF song from high school? We totally got a good deal on using it!

Ostensibly creative ad person 2: Sweet, but I'm trying to think of something for these Kraft Crumbles. It's due tomorrow.

Ostensibly creative ad person 1: Well, use the song.

Ostensibly creative ad person 2: It's cheese. How is cheese unbelievable?

Ostensibly creative ad person 1: We already paid for it.

Ostensibly creative ad person 2: Crap.

Ostensibly creative ad person 1: Yeah. Oh, wait, I've got it! They're "crumbelievable!"

Ostensibly creative ad person 2: What the hell does that mean? Crumbelievable.

Ostensibly creative ad person 1: It means, I don't know, crumbelievable. What do you want?

Ostensibly creative ad person 2: Something that doesn't suck would be nice.

Ostensibly creative ad person 1: Well, we'll have to settle for something that's done.

Ostensibly creative ad person 2, muttering: Crumbelievable, rassen-frassen...

That's how I like to think it happened, anyway. I could've also lived without hearing faux-Go-Gos singing "We Got the Meat" for whatever pizza place that was.

I'm just worried that this trend will continue, using songs with only the most tenuous connection to the products. Could these examples be too far behind?

Ring of Fire -- Preparation H

Boogie Oogie Oogie -- Kleenex tissues

Wind Beneath My Wings -- Beano

Don't Worry Be Happy -- Prozac

Having My Baby -- EPT

I Just Wanna Stop -- Pepto-Bismol

Pump Up The Jam -- Smucker's (in a new pump dispenser)

Release Me -- Ex-Lax

Smells Like Teen Spirit -- Teen Spirit deodorant

Check Yo Self -- Self-examination health public service announcement

Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm -- Campbell's Soup

Push th' Little Daisies -- Victoria's Secret (from my friend Ken)

Straight Up -- Viagra

Feel free to add your own.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Can't find my way home

When I explained it later, it sounded like I was making it up, or at the very least, pilfering it from a sitcom or something.

I left my parents' house in Tracy recently after a brief visit to claim a computer my dad was working on for me.

Before I left for home, I stopped at Sonic to grab a drink and some tater tots. I hadn't eaten all day, but I didn't want to buy a whole meal because I'd be home in about a half-hour.

After getting my snack, I saw that traffic on 205 was moving at a brisk -3 mph, so I figured I'd take surface streets and catch the freeway farther down. This usually shaves a good few minutes off.

The key word there is "usually." Construction crews had essentially erased the path I'd intended to take, so I sat there. In stopped traffic.

I wasn't going to let it get to me, though. I surmised that though the mile-long construction zone wasn't quite as speedy as I'd've liked, it was still quicker than the freeway once I'd passed the roadwork.

My tater tots were a memory by the time I hit the freeway, but I was practically halfway home.

I approached the 120 bypass and spied a hazard sign that warned of an accident ahead. "Expect long delay," it said. No joke. It was backed up almost all the way to the turnoff to even get on the bypass.

Not a problem. My first thought was that I could swing up to Stockton, catch Highway 4 four a bit and then hop onto 99 south from there.

After driving a little, I realized that I didn't need to go so far. I could catch 99 from Manteca. This epiphany hit me just after I passed Manteca.

I turned around and decided to try the Lathrop exit, as it looked considerably less packed with people rerouted by the accident. I knew I could go down a ways and then cut across into Manteca.

At least, I could've if traffic hadn't ground to a halt because of -- everybody sing along -- construction.

Back onto the freeway and down to the next exit, where, much to my surprise, I was greeted by a long line of cars because of more roadwork.

Normally by this point, I'd be lamenting that there aren't more effective swear words, but I'm making an effort to not let things bug me so much.

All I had to do was just be patient and everything would be okay.

Finally, I made it through the last of the yellow tape and orange cones.

Just in time for the train.

After the train, I made my way through Manteca and caught Highway 99, which looked eerily like a slightly mobile parking lot.

The trip that should've taken just a little over a half-hour ended up taking two full hours.

And my wife wonders why I don't like to drive.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Journey into Jeff's Brain II

Big Trak

I don't think I had this toy, but I sure wanted it. Big Trak was one of the first toys I can remember that you actually programmed. It still looks pretty neat in the commercial, but I know I would have gotten mad at the toy because I would have been trying to make it do things outside its programming parameters (bully stun ray, flying car, etc.). You can read a bit more about this (and other cool toys like the Micronauts) here

Chicken McNuggets

This commercial isn't interesting because it showcases the then-new Chicken McNuggets, a neat-o contest or the old-school dipping sauce containers. No, if you pay close attention, when they show you the McDonald's food you could win, they pan across a whole bunch of stuff, and there on the left, is my beloved fried apple pie in its keen cardboard container.


Pinball song

I didn't watch as much Sesame Street as some of my peers, but there are a handful of things from the show that I love dearly -- this song being one of them. This runs through my head on a daily basis. No, I'm not kidding. After you watch it, you'll find yourself humming it for at least a fortnight.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Journey into Jeff's Brain!

Trying something a little different this week. It's time to Journey into Jeff's Brain!

If you were somehow able to visit my brain, this is the kind of stuff you'd find there. I'll try my best to explain it, but in the end, there's really no good reason why this stuff occupies space in my brain instead of phone numbers, people's names and remembering to eat lunch.

These clips are from YouTube, so they may or may not still be there if you read this in a few weeks. Also, most of the people who uploaded them also have tons more interesting material, so be sure to check them out. You can end up spending way too much time watching these...


My brother and I had to wake up at the buttcrack of dawn on school days, and the biggest problem with that is that there wasn't much in the way of interesting stuff on at like 6-6:30 in the morning. We opted for Mousercise, the Disney Channel's kid-friendly exercise show. We never actually exercised along with the show, but we had a choice between watching this or boring old news, so we endured a half-hour of Kellyn, her headband and leotard as well as perkiness that made Katie Couric look like a mopey emo kid.

I felt bad for the people who had to exercise in the character costumes. That had to be hot in there.

The Edison Twins

Another offering from the Disney Channel by way of Canada, "The Edison Twins" featured twins Tom and Annie Edison, who used science to solve problems. They had a younger prother, Paul. The weird thing is that I know I watched this show a lot, but about all I remember is the theme song and Tom talking "aboat" things.

What's funny is that Marnie McPhail, who played Annie, is also in one of the shows my son watches on the Disney Channel, "JoJo's Circus." She does the voice for JoJo Tickle's mom, Peaches. I could have sworn that JoJo's mom was named Tess, but once I thought about that for more than I second, I realized how horribly wrong I was.

Moving right along...

Donald Duck Presents

One of my favorite shows on the Disney Channel. Partly because of its vaguely "My Sharona" theme song, but mostly because I loved Donald Duck. To me, he was one of the only Disney characters who had a discernible personality. I practiced doing the Donald Duck voice, planning to make it my job someday. I actually wrote that down in my baby book under "My Ambitions."

"30 Years -- To do the voice of Donald Duck or work at DC Comics as an artist for Superman and Action."

I'm 31 now, and the closest I ever got was doing Donald's voice during a performance in elementary school. In our music class, we were learning a song called "Digital Duck." It was from the Disney record "Splashdance," which contained some catchy innocuous tunes about the various characters. This song revolved around Don's bad luck with gadgets. It was a snap for me to pick up because I already had the record at home.

This, our music teacher informed us, was the song we were going to sing for some parent-teacher dinner function. Lame city. I really didn't want to sing in front of teachers and parents, but there wasn't really a way to get out of it.

Somehow, the topic came up that I could do a fairly decent Donald Duck voice. He punctuates the song with typically Donald comments. If I did the voice parts, I wouldn't have to sing. And when my teacher mentioned the possibility of getting a Donald Duck costume, I couldn't believe my luck. I wouldn't have to sing and nobody would know that I was even there.

The day before our performance, my teacher told me that alas, she couldn't secure a costume. I'd just have to stand at the front of the stage with my classmates singing behind me. And since I was going to be up front, I should be sure to wear something nice.

Much to my amazement, my performance didn't elicit tossed tomatoes, but compliments in the parking lot. I remember thinking that the parents were just being polite and trying to make me feel better about looking like a dork, but I suppose they really meant it.

But after that, I decided to keep my bill shut.