Wednesday, April 04, 2007

My life is full of drama...

...and action, suspense, and star power. Or at least the general vicinity of my workplace is. One of my part-time jobs is in downtown Pittsburgh, and the past couple of days, I've been walking past a full-blown television production in progress. Actually, today's the first day I saw them filming, but the accouterments have been all over the place around Smithfield Street, PPG Place, and Market Square.

Turns out it's "The Kill Pit" with John Leguizamo and Donnie Wahlberg, set to air this summer on Spike TV. I figured they were just filming around here, and I wondered why. But it turns out the story's actually set here. It's kind of an interesting story how that came to be. Take a look at this Post-Gazette article.

Not realizing the story actually takes place in Pittsburgh, I figured when I saw part of a scene being filmed today that at least some of the cops I saw around it were just there for crowd control. Obviously the guys in SWAT gear were wearing costumes. But all those actual Pittsburgh police uniforms? Figured it was the real thing. With it being a show about cops in Pittsburgh, though, that was probably all pretend, too. Now I'll have to get Spike TV in the summer to watch the show, wait for this scene and figure out what I was looking at. And they'll probably have cut the scene.

I kept scrutinizing the faces of the folks in the SWAT gear trying to spot Walhberg or Leguizamo, but if one's playing a bank robber and the other a negotiator, it's no surprise I didn't see them.

I'd plan to pull out the camera if I run across any more of this, but with the threat of snow for the next four days, they're probably done filming outdoors for a while. John Leguizamo holds fictional bank customers hostage; bizarre weather holds John Leguizamo hostage.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

I thought we were done with April Fool's.

It's warm, sunny, and beautiful in Pittsburgh today. According to various weather reports I've seen, it's 75 degrees right now--and beginning Thursday and lasting through the weekend, it's likely to be in the low thirties, with snow. Snow. That's ridiculous. That's completely unreasonable. Who makes these plans? I want to file a complaint.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

BigHappyFunhouse

For anyone who might happen to stumble upon this blog (probably searching for info about prawns or the library of Alexandria) and isn't already familiar with Bighappyfunhouse, please take a minute to direct your attention to that marvelous site.

Items from the past few days I particularly like are storytime, celebration, and prepared. Other recent highlights: Conversation. Threat. Uplifting. Wonderment.

Oh my God, no, Leonard, no!

Also enjoyable are the rollover comments on the photos. You know, when you hold the cursor over the image and wait a second, and a little box of text pops up. Humor and/or insight to be gained from that with such pieces as this and this, among others.

Really, any archived month is well worth scrolling through.

Plus, after devoting an unreasonable amount of attention during my teenage years in the early nineties to DC Comics, I was a bit startled to see this careless disclosure of secret identity.

The 61-cent paper archive

There's a coffee shop on Murray Avenue in Squirrel Hill, pretty near to where I live. It's called the 61C Cafe, probably because of the 61C bus line that runs past it. Last night while driving past it, I noticed the sign out front advertised "Sunday, April 1st: 61¢ cappuccinos (and after 10 PM on April 2-7)." I decided I'd have to get one of those on my way to work today, but then this morning it dawned on me--maybe it's an April Fool's joke. Probably not a good business move if so, but it is April 1st, and that is a notably cheap cappuccino.

It turns out that it's no joke; it's just a smaller cup. It got me wondering what other April Fool's jokes are going on today, though. Besides the weather, I mean, which got ridiculous fast. While wondering about that, I directed my browser to Gmail and saw on the login page this promotion of a new feature:

New! Introducing Gmail Paper

Everyone loves Gmail. But not everyone loves email, or the digital era. What ever happened to stamps, filing cabinets, and the mailman? Well, you asked for it, and it’s here. We’re bringing it back.

A New Button Now in Gmail, you can request a physical copy of any message with the click of a button, and we'll send it to you in the mail.

Simplicity Squared Google will print all messages instantly and prepare them for delivery. Allow 2-4 business days for a parcel to arrive via post.

Total Control A stack of Gmail Paper arrives in a box at your doorstep, and it’s yours to keep forever. You can read it, sort it, search it, touch it. Or even move it to the trash—the real trash. (Recycling is encouraged.)

Keep it Secret, Keep it Safe Google takes privacy very seriously. But once your email is physically in your hands, it's as secure as you want to make it.

It's appropriate, I guess, that I rediscovered in a conversation last night with some friends and then another on IM with Jim Henley this morning that, much as I may imagine myself a wit, I'm sometimes too dense or humorless to get some jokes. I must have stared at that Gmail Paper explanation for a good two or three minutes as the thought formed in my mind, "Why...wouldn't...people...just print the stuff out on their printer?" Finally, it dawned on me, "Wait a minute....This coffe was only 61 cents, but...this is a joke!" Artfully done joke, too. Here's more.

Update (x2): Via the comments here [and, uh, now via the comments here, too], this is another, more clever Google prank.