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Just Off-Camera

"They respect you if you write. The dumber the world gets, the more the words matter." -Dan Jenkins


Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Caffeinated Beer, Thugged-Out Google, Digitized Pimping, Misspelled Spam, 86ed Radio, Cloaked Commenters

So I tried that new concoction Budweiser whipped up for the first time the other day. You know, the beer with caffeine (and ginseng, guarana extract, and natural flavor, according to the can). It's called "B to the E."

Let me start with the name. Although I find it mildly annoying, I also have to give whomever created it due credit; it's very clever. It works on all kind of levels. To start with, it tries (in perhaps a stilted way) to incorporate the slang of the people to whom it's marketed. It's not exactly as smooth as "H to the Izzo," though, so we'll see if people will take to actually saying, "Give me a B to the E," or if they'll coin another name for it.

The B is represented on the can by the "B" from the Budweiser script, but at the same time, it's supposed to stand for beer. B to the E is written as the letter B with an exponent of E, so it's literally B raised to the E power, or "B to the E," as the math kids like to say. And the E stands for "extra," which I'm assuming because the can also says "beer with something extra."

And lastly, the name spells out the word "be," which I'm assuming is also no accident - it's already kind of trendy in advertising to emphasize "being." Think of Dr Pepper's "Be you, do what you do." So there you have it - the many levels of the name of B to the E.

Now, how does the stuff taste? Well, kind of like beer. I guess it's like beer if you put trace amounts of cranberry juice and Red Bull into it, which makes sense considering what it is. It's sweeter than normal beer, which I discovered quickly after following my B to the E with a Dos Equis. (By the way, if you drink two Dos Equis, can you just say you had one Cuatro Equis?) I don't know what the alcohol content is, but I'm guessing it's not much, because it didn't taste particularly strong. And it comes in a 10-ounce can, which is kind of a rip-off. It's still a beer, not an energy drink, so I want my full 12 ounces when I get a can.

The big question, I guess, is how well does it work? Well, after one can, I didn't exactly feel like a spastic four-year old running into walls or anything, so it's not exactly liquid crack. On the other hand, I didn't fall asleep until 7 a.m. I'm not sure if that's due to the B to the E or the four-hour nap I took that afternoon, but the lesson I learned is not to take my chances with this stuff. I'm only drinking it early in the evening.

***

Speaking of B to the E (or speaking like B to the E, I should say), I highly recommend checking out
Gizoogle. I mean, that's some funny stuff right there. It works more or less like Google, but everything it returns to you is gangstafied. For example, you type in "http://www.uclahockey.org/" and you get the UCLA Hockey home page - except it's a little different. For example, one news item now reads like this:
"UCLA Takes Home tha Crosstown Cup
02/14/2005
For tha F-to-tha-izzirst time in 6 years, tha Bruins finally reclaim tha glory in tha famous USC-UCLA rivalry. In whiznat may have been tha bizzle period played by UCLA Hockey, tha Bruins came frizzay a 3-1 deficit in front of a sold out crowd ta dominate tha Trojans 5-3. "

And the left nav bar has the following choices:
"Schedule/Rizzles
Varsity Rosta
Statistics
Stand'n
Practices"

I think the results vary each time you try Gizoogling a page, so you might not get exactly the same things I got. But I guarantee they'll be funny either way.

The flat-out funniest thing is when you Gizoogle the roster page (http://www.uclahockey.org/roster.php) and see what happens to the names of the guys on the team. John Harms became "Jizzay Harms." Matt Miller became "Playa Mizzle." But I laughed out loud when I saw that Chris Coker's name had been gangstafied to "Drug Deala Chris."

I mean, that's freakin' hilarious.

***

While I'm on the topic of web sites I recommend, let me suggest
ePimping.net, a site I stumbled across the other day. It's basically one guy completely shedding his humility and writing about his forays into the world of Internet dating, which inevitably results in comedy.

I'm not entirely sure, but I think he's reached a point early on in this site where he decided to have fun writing on the site more than looking for an actually decent date. Nobody (well, not me) wants to read about the dates that went well, after all. In fact, this is one of the funnier ones: his first date with
Cindy.

I don't think I could ever do anything like this. I'd be far too worried about the girls seeing the site and thinking I'm an awful person, blah blah blah. I suppose it wouldn't matter, really, but I like to think of myself as a nice guy. As it is, I try to keep this site more or less devoid of details of my personal life, because I know I'd probably anger more than one person if I wrote exactly what was on my mind some of the time. On the other hand, if you didn't do anything that would portray you in a negative light, then you wouldn't mind if I wrote about you. And if you knew your misdeeds would be made public, perhaps you wouldn't be so quick to commit them.

Lucky for all of you I'm a nice guy.

***

Sticking with the topic of the Internet, here's an e-mail I got the other day:

"Date: Sat, 26 Feb 2005 23:22:03 +0200
From: 'Ebay Represenitive: Robyn Mosley '
Subject: Problem with your eBay Account Sat, 26 Feb 2005 15:23:03 -0600
Dear eBay user!
Our records indicate that you account has been inactive for a long
period of time.
As a new security measure to protect from fraudsters,
we have temporarily placed your account on limited access.
During this time you will not be able to list any new items for sale
and your account will be locked.
To restore full access to your account, you have to login within 7 days
after receiving this notice.
After 7 days your account will be deleted.
To login to your eBay account, click on the link below:
[link removed]
Thank you for using eBay!
**Please do not reply to this email, as you will receive no response**"

Did you notice the glaring mistake in this e-mail? Please, God, say you did.

It's from an eBay "REPRESENITIVE!" Seriously, is there any way anyone will fall for an e-mail purporting to be official when the "From" line is spelled incorrectly?

I firmly believe that if you fall for this spam, you deserve to have your identity stolen.

Don't misconstrue this as a wish that people have their identities stolen. It happened to me on a minor level, and it's not fun. Instead, think of this as a wish that nobody would be stupid enough to think this is for real. Unfortunately, if someone is vacuous enough to write "represenitive," someone's definitely going to accept that as the true spelling of the word.

I swear, I can feel myself getting dumber just because I'm thinking about people who would spell "representative" that way.

***

Now I'm going to change gears completely.

I never really listen to the radio anymore. I'm strictly a CD guy. I have a booklet of CDs in my car as well as a sleeve of CDs on my visor. So I ordinarily wouldn't care about a radio station being bumped off the air, especially when it's back in Philly and I'm in L.A.

But we're talking about Y100, the radio station that really guided me through my formative musical years. For over 10 years, Y100 was the modern rock station in Philly. All throughout high school, Y100 played bands like Counting Crows, Tonic, Toadies, Green Day, and Goldfinger - bands I grew up listening to. Y100 also hosted the annual FEZtival concert, of which I have a t-shirt. I checked the date on the shirt - August 3, 1999, right before I began college. In fact, I remember when I first arrived in Ithaca for orientation my freshman year and turned on my car radio - it was tuned to Y100's frequency of 100.3, and I was caught off-guard when an Ithaca classic rock station (I-100) came on. I even wore my FEZtival t-shirt the other day, not knowing Y100 was going the way of Airheads' Rebel Radio.

It looks like the corporate suits really did it to Y100 in the same way rock was forced off the air in Airheads, too. Apparently, it came out of nowhere. There were a couple stories in the Philly papers on Friday about the station's sudden execution:
http://www.philly.com/mld/philly/entertainment/10987621.htm; http://www.philly.com/mld/philly/entertainment/10985374.htm. The modern rock format is being replaced with the hip-hop station that was previously on 103.9. And the hip-hop station (which replaced WDRE, another modern rock station, on that frequency, in 1996), is being replaced by a gospel station. So there you have it. The music of my youth, unceremoniously dumped in favor of gospel.

For nostalgia's sake, here's the lineup of bands (not in order of performance) for the last concert I saw before I went to college: the August 3, 1999 Y100 FEZtival:

G. Love & Special Sauce
Barenaked Ladies
Offspring
Smash Mouth
Lit
Fuel
Everlast
Fathead
Luscious Jackson

Yup...pour one out for Y100 and the musical era of my high school years. I'll miss you, Smashing Pumpkins.


***

And finally, I want to say a few words on anonymity. I can put the settings on this site to allow people to leave comments anonymously, or I can set it so that commenters are required to have an account with Blogger, which hosts this site. Or I can choose not to allow comments at all. Because I like feedback, I kept the settings to the least restrictive one. Comments can be made anonymously, although I would prefer that people sign their comments.

The point of permitting anonymous comments was to facilitate public dialogue about what I write here. It was not to provide a forum for people to address me personally behind a veil of anonymity. If someone wants to contact me directly, it's very straightforward. There's a link to my contact info on this page. If there's something anyone would like to say directly to me and get a direct reply, that's the way to do it - not by playing pseudo-stalker hard-to-get games.

That said, I'll now address whomever left the comments on today's earlier post and yesterday's post (I'm going to assume that someone left them seriously and that it wasn't a friend just messing around). If you'd like me to call you, but your number isn't in my phone, there are two likely explanations. Either I don't know you, or I don't want your number in my phone. Leaving anonymous comments isn't a good way to fix either of those problems.

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  • At Wednesday, March 02, 2005 8:19:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    A word from this one-person focus group: I feel about your new-fangled web page design, like you do about that funky beer can. It just doesn't do it for me. As the perfectly disinterested reader that I am (and here finally, is proof!), I find the color scheme more difficult on the eyes, and the lay-out far less reader-friendly than the old one. BRING BACK THE OLD DESIGN! PLEASE! M.B.

     

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