Monday, August 18, 2008

The Secret TV Show of the American 20-something

ABC Family recently premiered a new show called The Secret Life of the American Teenager, a family oriented show that, refreshingly, talks openly and directly about issues surrounding teen sex and pregnancy. Despite the potential pitfall of stereotyped characters, the acting is believable, the writing magnificently real and oftentimes hilarious, and the underlying moral messages quite agreeable to my personal taste.

Why would I watch such a show, clearly targeted to an audience several years younger than myself? It all started while I watched through the 4th season of Wildfire on ABC Family’s website a few weeks ago - every “commercial break” they play an ad... except they literally only had three ads, which, after 13 episodes and 5 ad breaks per episode, became quite old really quickly. Anyway, after seeing the add for TSLOTAT no fewer than two dozen times in a three or four day period, I was tempted enough to check it out - it looked entertaining, and I typically like “chick-flick” type TV shows anyway.

What I loved most about the pilot episode was the writing. Seriously, I wish I could talk like these characters on the fly in real life, especially Ben - even in his awkward telephone moments he ends up saying something either profound or at least potentially meaningful. I also greatly appreciated one of the very first lines that Amy’s character says near the beginning: “I had sex.... It was not that great.... And it wasn’t fun and definitely not like what you see in the movies, you know all romantic and stuff.” Despite wearing its motives on its sleeve (to adapt a cliché), I greatly enjoyed how open TSLOTAT was at making such an anti-cultural statement. It’s high time television took a more realistic and less idealistic tact toward real-life issues of teen sex and teen pregnancies. Which is why I also appreciated the PSA-style monologue Amy’s actor delivers at the end of the episode, a well-scripted paragraph something to the effect of ‘teenage pregnancy is 100% avoidable.” Because it is. Regardless of one’s views on abstinence-only education, that fact remains, there is a simple solution.

On lighter notes, I also absolutely love Ben’s friends Alice and Henry - they are so hilarious! Every time they appear on screen, I know I’ll laugh. Alice is a 100% straight shooter, she acts as the dictionary pop-up-video with facts about everything Ben and Henry might banter about; and Henry serves as one wonderfully delightful (and friendly) foil to Ben through making bets that force Ben into action.

Thanks to a really good friend (someone who is even more addicted to the show than I; yes, I’m not the only one who loves it), I’ve finally caught up to the current episode, which means Tuesdays at 7:00, I’ll be on my couch watching ABC Family... except for tomorrow, when I have to work at that specific time to tech an event at school. Alas.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Exponential Growth

While reviewing the first 150 pages of The World Is Flat as preparation for a brief Internet introduction to a group of Minnehaha eighth graders last week, I came to a scary realization: my 16GB iPhone 3G has a larger “hard drive” (even though it’s flash based memory) than my first several desktop computers as a child. Moore’s Law, you’re creeping me out!

NetBooting from OS X Leopard Server 10.5.4

I spent the better part of my day battling our new Leopard Server installation trying to get NetBoot working. It should have been as easy as creating a NetInstall set with Mike Bomich’s software, however, turns out there’s some funky graphics driver included in X.5.4 that causes net-booted PowerPC machines to kernel panic on startup... Well that won’t do. After lots of Googling, these threads looked promising, and for some admins’ issues, they may very well solve the problem:

Careful in that last one - if you delete your /etc/bootpd.plist file (like I did several times), it also mysteriously deletes your DCHP subnets... all of them... so if you had 10 configured... gone. And it turns DHCP off, which, if you’re NetBooting from your DHCP server, means all of a sudden you can’t NetBoot at all, because your client can’t get an IP address. Arg.

It was finally this thread’s solution that worked for me. Recreating kext files, who’d’a thunk?

kextcache -a ppc -m locationofnbifolder/ppc/mach.macosx.mkext -N -L /Volumes/Netinstall-Restore/System/Library/Extensions/

Friday, August 08, 2008

I Hate Chain Mail

There’s not a whole lot more to say on the matter. I hate urban legends that spread like e-wildfire, and I’m anything but fond of the emotional letters detailing heart-wrenching events that almost always prove to be fiction. I hate the pompous arrogance of emails that promise you something good in your life... if only you’ll forward this to ten more people... because if you don’t, of course, you’re uncaring and heartless. Worst, I hate how nobody ever bothers to delete the old email addresses out of the mail they forward (because almost no one knows how to BCC, even though it’s painfully simple), which means every time I receive an unsolicited chain email, my email address is suddenly also sent to 20 other people, some of whom may have virus-ridden PCs, and others of whom will forward that letter again, *still with my email address* to more and more people... No wonder spam emails have become so abundant over the years - well-intentioned, but problematically ignorant, people are helping it.

The rant is over. Kudos and thanks to those of you who forward using blind-carbon-copy (Aunt Judi, you’ve been trained well), and especially those who check Snopes first!