Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Saturday, January 15, 2021

I was mildly pissed when, yesterday, my cable company dropped FLIX from my channel lineup. I didn’t get any advanced notice of this move, but since I haven’t gotten a paper bill from them in years, I guess that makes sense.

Why was I pissed? FLIX, with its ecletic mix of movies (shown uncut and commercial-free), was a channel I watched quite frequently. In fact, with no hockey on TV this season, I’ve been watching it more often than usual. What’s most galling to me: It looks like FLIX is the only channel that was dropped; and they didn’t even replace it with anything.

To get it back, I’d have to upgrade to digital cable. Which means my cable bill would probably double, and there probably still wouldn’t be anything on the tube half the time. So guess what? I’m going without FLIX.

Actually, going to digital cable would have its perks: A DVR, a few more channels I’d probably enjoy, and some music channels. And the doubling of the cable bill still wouldn’t translate to that much money.

But really, I don’t need any more reasons for staying in most nights. I’m not going to drop cable completely anytime soon, but I’m certainly not going to enhance it.

Still, I’ll miss FLIX, with its frequent Woody Allen marathons. And shoot, it’s showing Master of the Flying Guillotine tonight! I’m going out tonight, and would have regardless; but a cheesy chopsocky classic is a great example of the offerings FLIX serves up most months.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 01/15/2005 07:46pm
Category: Movies, TV
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… Apparently. In this land of ever-fattening individuals, which condition necessitated the advent of plus-sized mannequins, I can’t easily find a belt small enough to fit around my rather modest waist.

A little background: I’ve lost a few pounds over the last couple of months. More than a few, actually — at last check, it’s about 25 pounds (and still slowly dropping, although I think I’ve pretty much stabilized). And yes, I did it during the time of year when most people manage to gain ungodly amounts of weight. Hey, I zig while you zag — deal with it.

I don’t feel like going into detail about the “how” right now. In a nutshell, it’s involved a little more exercise and a little less junk food; nothing complicated.

Anyway, as a result, I’ve needed to refresh my wardrobe with clothes that fit better (and I’m overdue for some new threads anyway). Among the first items: A couple of new belts for a 34-inch waist.

Frankly, I don’t consider 34 to be that skinny. Skinny is 31 and under (a territory I once inhabited, several years back). In fact, in my mind, 34 is edging toward chubby-ville, although still average.

But it seems my bar is set far too low for such things. The couple of stores I hit today had belt sizes that pretty much began with 36 as the low end — the low end. That means 34 is now considered skinny in this newly-skewed view. The 31 and under zone? Anorexia, I guess.

There were literally 3 or 4 belts in each place that were 34; I bought one, simply because it was so rare, and it was dirt cheap and actually decent-looking.

Granted, I didn’t do much of a hard-target search. I’ll probably take another stab at it tomorrow, and hit some higher-end shops that are bound to have a wider selection. But still, going through the loads of wide-load belts with the numbers 38, 40, 42 and 44 on them really made me wince. I’m crossing my fingers on finding something tomorrow.

Since this shopping experience demonstrates just how much heftier most Americans are getting, I’m sure this post isn’t eliciting much sympathy. Who wants to hear some schmuck bitch about the problems associated with losing weight, when the average person probably would kill to be in this situation?

But that’s the way I shake, baby. As long as I can keep my pants from falling down, I’ll deal with it.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 01/15/2005 06:49pm
Category: Fashion
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Hello… You may recall that recent TV commercials by Vonage and Chevy used the same exact background music.

I just caught that same Chevy ad — again, while watching football — but this time, the background music was different. The former frenetic “do-do, do-do-do / do-do, do-do-do” (or “woo-woo, woo-woo-woo”, whatever) rhythm is now replaced with some kind of rockabilly, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy wannabe ditty (heck, it might really be BBVD, but there seems to be more electric guitar than their tunes usually have).

No clue if Vonage has held onto the original music for their ads. I think I saw one of their commercials yesterday or the day before, and I’m pretty sure it had the same tunage.

I guess the original coincidence was unintentional. I still bet some ad rep got chewed out over it. And take note: I still can’t recall the name of the particular model of car that Chevy is selling in this spot, which makes me question its effectiveness regardless of the music. Heck, if it hadn’t been for the Vonage situation, I likely never would have paid the ad any mind at all.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 01/15/2005 05:45pm
Category: Advert./Mktg.
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Lots of Hollywood movies start out with working titles — titles used during production for convenience’s sake, but not intended for use when the film gets released. Most of the time, the audience is never aware that the movies they’re watching ever had a title other than the one they see onscreen.

But sometimes, there are slipups. Like at Excite Movies, where this weekend’s likely box-office champ In Good Company is listed as Synergy, its abandoned working title.

This happens quite a bit with Excite, probably once a month; and it happens with mainstream and independent/foreign movies. I wonder why. I guess they’re getting some kind of advanced database information on the flicks, then don’t get updates (or bother to update the data themselves).

In this particular case, I think the re-titling was a good idea. “In Good Company” may be corny, but it’s more inviting than a business term referring to maximizing organizational or operational efficienies. No doubt hours of focus group testing brought the same conclusion.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 01/15/2005 05:09pm
Category: Movies
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I’ve just now decided, after having some spicy rolls for lunch: I very much prefer my sushi without the adornment of wasabi. I think the wasabi too easily overpowers the other flavors, no matter how little of the condiment you dab on.

Can’t pass on the soy sauce, though. And the ginger slices for cleansing are good, too.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 01/15/2005 12:38pm
Category: Food
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