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Friday, January 3, 2003

For an old single guy with no kids, I rent a lot of G-rated videos. I wonder what Netflix thinks of me. They must have a better opinion of me than TiVo, which insists on recommending horror films and raunchy comedies. I don't know where it got the idea those would be my kinds of movies. It's almost as if TiVo has its own agenda, although they swear no personal information escapes the inside of my set.

Almost every day I remix the top fifty titles on my Netflix rental queue. I have well over 400 DVDs in the queue. Obviously I'll never watch them all unless I live to be 154 years old. So I try to decide what I'm going to want to see in the coming weeks and move that to the top.

The first fourteen on the list are all marked "Very Long Wait," except for a couple that are upcoming releases and one that says it's "Out of Print." Usually I get something from this section once or twice a month, but mostly it's from the next few titles that I can expect to see something arriving in my mailbox in its red envelope.

Now, on the list as a whole you're likely to find almost anything. I go through the available movies and check off anything that sounds halfway interesting (sometimes less). Then I try to find a way to see the latest new releases as early as possible, which explains how I got movies I liked (like Frailty and Kissing Jessica Stein), along with movies I hated (like Orange County and 40 Days and 40 Nights), as quickly as I could have had them from the rental place on the corner.

It doesn't explain how something called Horse Crazy was delivered to me today, though. I don't remember requesting it, so obviously I don't remember moving it high enough in the queue that I'd receive it before I got Scotland, PA or High Crimes. (Or, as far as that goes, before The Country Bears.)

Anyway, I watched Horse Crazy tonight, and they can have it back. For this one, you really do need to be eight years old to appreciate it, or at least you need to have an eight-year-old to watch it with. On their way to me are two more movies from my wide-ranging and eclectic list: Pumpkin Man and Hedwig and the Angry Inch. (I see that Pumpkin Man is only 32 minutes long; I don't know where that came from.)

Variety being the best way to keep everything from tasting like mutton, I don't mind spicing up my viewing with a little surprise now and then. I'm just not sure how some of the movies I end up watching get to a place where I can notice them, much less choose to rent them. And I still wonder what the folks at Netflix must think of me.

note the buzzard

Mixed messages in the eastern sky.

As for TiVo, it would like to record such morsels as Chrome and Hot Leather and Crucible of Horror. But I've turned off the automatic recording feature, just to keep my hard drive from being clogged with things I don't have time to watch in the first place. I can do a good enough job of that on my own, without TiVo's help.

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Josh and Claire have some good news for the new year.

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One year ago: Stumped
"Extortion it may be, but effective it is, young Jedi."

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