Archive for February, 2012|Monthly archive page

Busy, Busy, Busy

The other tech writer at my day job quit last week. Personal reasons, emergency trip to London, etc. So, in a four-day week (Monday was the Presidents’ Day holiday in the US), I’ve been doing the work of two technical writers. Plus reviewing resumes for hiring a new technical writer…in another state.

In addition, I’m updating graphics for customer portals so that 12 business units can migrate to our new! improved! software-as-a-service in the next few weeks. And I’m going to the main office in California for two days next week. Translated from Geekspeak to English: Work is really busy and I’m doing some stuff I’ve not done before. Oy!

So don’t be surprised if there’s a couple of weeks of Valradio silence. I’m here. I’m just working.

The Date (Heineken), new butchered version

Someone cut this ad down to 15 seconds (I think; I didn’t time it but it seemed very brief) and replaced the fabulous 1960s song “Jaan Pehechaan Ho” (from the 1965 Bollywood-before-there-was-a-Bollywood film Gumnaam). Badly on both accounts; the singer’s mouth is still singing the original, but the music and words we hear are different.

I would post a link to the short-short version, but I couldn’t find one.

One has to wonder what happened; the original ad was 92 seconds long and didn’t take itself too seriously, but this…wow. A meaningful look, a magic trick deliberately shot from the wrong angle and a song that doesn’t match the vocalist’s mouth movements just doesn’t make a story.

There must be an interesting story behind the machete-edit, because it makes the editor look bad (though I’m sure he/she worked hard to make it as good as possible), it makes the ad agency that produced the original version look kind of bad, and it makes the brand look bad–or at least less good.

I read somewhere that the first ad in the series (“The Entrance”) had to fight off a complaint from another brewer in the UK who claimed it implied that drinking the beer made a person more interesting…except it never showed the dashing male character drinking the beer.

Was there a similar complaint for The Date? The couple doesn’t get their beer until the end and are never shown drinking it. An issue with the song rights? I hope not; I love both the song and the 1960s Eurasian vibe it conjures.

Maybe it was the song’s Ghostworld association–the Gumnaam scene featuring it is shown in the opening scene of the 2001 film made from the comic book.

In any case, I don’t think it was Heineken International’s intention to set off a bunch of speculation as to why the original filmlet was cut down so drastically (OMG, maybe they couldn’t afford a full 30 seconds on the obscure cable channel I was watching!). Perhaps they would have been better off not using the short-short version.

Kind of a bummer for their image, as it was pretty good beer back when I could still drink beer.

Update: I saw this ad again, but it appears to have been fixed. The singer’s mouth movements fit the song, the ad is longer, and now the Facebook contest connection is explained well enough that a non-Facebook person (I’m a Twitter person) can understand what’s going on.

Either I saw a trial run that was later fixed, or I was extremely tired and not paying attention. (My money’s on a trial run, because I was paying attention as soon as I realized the song was different.)

Stuart the IT Cat

Stuart somehow reformatted Spooky Man’s shiny-new-laptop solid-state hard drive RAID on Tuesday. He (Spooky Man, not Stuart) had downloaded a rather large file and wanted to copy it onto a flash drive. Stepping into another room for a moment, he returned to find him (Stuart, not Spooky Man) standing on the keyboard, trying to remove the flash drive (bad kitty! you have to unmount it first!).

Upon rebooting, the computer couldn’t find Windows. Spooky man spent most of Wednesday reinstalling and reconfiguring the computer. But even after all that, it still wasn’t right. The third drive was missing, somehow — I say “somehow” because when I asked “so what’s wrong with it?” he made a face, then mumbled something along the lines of “Damned cat, I should have skinned him.”

So this morning, on the way home from the last doctor appointment for the month, we stopped at Best Buy and he asked a Geek Squad person for a second opinion.

The drives are all fine. They’re just uncoupled, and the third one, which I understand is some kind of hybrid hard drive that is half-solid state and half-normal, is empty. Somehow, Stuart managed to reformat that hard drive, says Spooky Man.

I say, he’s quite an intelligent cat — by nine months of age, he had figured out how to open drawers and understood that the doorknob opens a door — but I don’t think he’s quite that intelligent. Perhaps Spooky Man did something (or failed to do some other thing) while reinstalling Windows yesterday that changed his RAID from all three drives to only the fully solid-state drives and reformatted the hybrid. I didn’t say that in the store, because then he would have looked stupid in front of a Geek Squad Geek. Because of a cat. And he’s an A+ certified nerd (Spooky Man, not Stuart).

Not acceptable.

However, the final answer is that the computer is fine, the cat is fine, the hard drive is fine, and Spooky Man didn’t look stupid in front of the Geek Squad. They didn’t even charge us for looking at it.


At some point, Spooky Man will have to accept that a highly intelligent cat is far more dangerous than a normal cat and treat Stuart accordingly. You cannot stick something interesting and different looking into the edge of the thing that you put on your lap (instead of a cat, the horror) and not expect him to investigate as soon as you’re not looking.

Well, you can, but you might end up looking stupid in front of a Geek.

‘Twas a week before the feast of St. Valentine

Love is in the stores, but things are low-key at my house. Finally.

Spooky man has successfully had a birthday, his nose’s inner workings are healing nicely, the Year of the Dragon has begun, chocolate-covered macadamia nuts have been ordered. This is how we’re celebrating Valentine’s Day 2012–good coffee, dark chocolate, and maybe some flowers because they’re pretty. Ahhhh.

One nice thing about loving the same person for 20 years is that you don’t have to make a big deal out of Valentine’s Day.

Spooky Man knows I love him because I made sure he had a new leather recliner, a full refrigerator and fresh books before his nose was remodeled. I know he loves me because he spent his VA-disability backpay on home improvements to keep us and the furbabies safe and dry. It’s all good.

Now that Things Have Settled Down, maybe I can get back to some serious word count on my works in progress.

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