Sunday, February 28, 2010

Recreational Efficiency

I made Minchin laugh yesterday with my use of the term "recreational efficiency" to describe how I am trying to manage my social/creative life within the confines of my new job structure.  I decided this was more of an off-campus discussion than something for the Finishing School. This is not one more "having it all" rant; it is a system for using the time I have available (such as posting at 7:35 on a Sunday) to do the things I like so I don't have to feel like all I do is go to work and thread needles, then come back from work.

My hour commute would be more pleasant by train or bus, where I could be reading, but I have my podcasts to keep me company and the occasional audio book.  Here the efficiency is finding audio books already on my booklists rather than starting another list of books just for this purpose.  The challenge is that I am very easily irritated by audio books, and for the pettiest Seinfeldian complaints such as Barak Obama's whistling S or the way Scott McClellan pronounces the article "a" as "ay" long A.  This approach also requires a library trip, but since other parts of my recreational life do too (parrrr-tay!) I can combine those trips and take care of it all at once.  See, recreational efficiency.

I still drive by the gym on the way home, but now I am much closer to home than to work when I do, so it requires an extra push to make that turn into the parking lot.  If the gym bag is always in the car, I minimize my excuses for not going.  If I can also use any opportunity I am in that town to visit the gym (such as lunch at Minchin's or the aforementioned library) then even better.

I used to be a very efficient person in this regard.  I had to be, because I traveled by public transportation and I didn't work near my house.  When I packed for the day, it was packing for the whole day, and sometimes the evening (which can be tricky with just a courier bag and the late 1980s).  Of course, the kids today dress for work like Saturday at the Maine cottage, and all you have to do to go out for an evening is take off your pants.

I don't have a lot of morning time anymore, and I've lost 2 hours in the evening in order to get enough sleep to make that 7am drive.  Minchin takes a 6 o'clock train and has 2 children.  So I am not complaining.  just explaining.  (I just lost a few minutes exploring the Latin root plangere in both of those words.  sigh).  So I shifted my coffee and letter writing to the office, and my fruit and/or energy bar to the car.  Lunch making, shower, ironing (hell yes I do) moved to the evening, and can be done in under an hour if I do it right when I get home.  While dinner is cooking.

Household crap has to wait for weekends.  sorry.  I am just not that into you, my house.  And bills and checkbook, you are right in there with him. Talk among yourselves.

I am being set-up by RFBandD to begin recording from home (ironically, audio books), which will both save and spend time.  In exchange for this set-up, I am committed to giving them more recording hours per week, which will likely eat into my Netflix time.  But I can watch TV while eating dinner, and I can't record while doing that.  If I could come up with some other chore I could knock out in the shower.....

I have not gotten any better at blogging ahead of time.  The Finishing School takes up a lot of time, and that is without actually writing anything.  This post started out to be my Oscar Picks, but I realize I don't have time for that article this morning.  I need to shower before meeting up with Otto and though he won't care if I am shaven, I need to get the shave in for the week to save myself a second shower today.  Fortunately, I have already had my Cheerios.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Shiny blogs, over here; Happy blogs...over there

I have one precious hour before my new bedtime, and I could have spent it reading, but instead I spent it trying to screen-capture the shot of Jane Pratt in the Shiny Happy People video.  I would write that I did that for you, but you know better.  That kind of rabid focus is never in the service of others.

You know, in her giant close-up, her head is cut off.  Did Michael Stipe cut that out deliberately?  Incidentally, do you think Michael Stipe should play the lead role in The John Malcovich story?  I'll work out the treatment.  "You are neither.... shiny... nor....happy...." {freeze.  purse lips.}

Recently, me blog-mate Charlene bestowed on the DrawingIn Room another honor by naming us one of the 11 best, shiniest, happiest blogs she knows.  Cool indeed.  I'm not Jane Pratt, but I play her on the Internet. 

This was a very nice gesture.  I hope to live up to shiny and happy.  I know I often stomp around like Lucy van Pelt, but I am 10 Raves ahead of the Rants, and most of what I complain about is what I bring on myself.   Over at the Finishing School, we tried to kick off the year with an equally positive goal.  It is easy to jawjawjaw about the workplace, and we know it is what most of you tune in for, but what we want you to take away is something you can grow on -- some tools you can use.   So we tried to set Positive Change as the theme of this first quarter.

So here is tonight's Norman Vincent Peale moment, then we all have to go to bed.  Or maybe you don't have to.  Maybe you live close to where you work and/or don't live on the congested 300 year-old roadways of the northeast.  See, that sounded like snark, didn't it?  It's all in how you read it.  We lllooove the congested 300-year old roadways, that are even now icing over to a fantastic glaze just in time for the morning drive...

The reason I have a new bedtime is that I now leave my home at 7am to be at work at 8.  I don't have to be at work at 8, but if I am I enjoy a pleasant early morning drive at a leisurely pace, through the beautiful fields of the Minuteman National Park.
(another guy with a pretty rough commute, carrying both rifle and plow...)

Radio, podcast, or audio book, the occasional school bus or stop light, and a final stretch of highway that is still light before 8.

But it means getting up at 6.  And if I am going to get up at 6, there had better be 7 hours of sleep underneath that at least.  Or there is no shiny, and no happy.

And it should also mean pre-bed ironing and lunch making and charging up of phones and iPods.  Get me, I'm a working mom!  But when, you ask, would I blather on, just to entertain YOU on your lunch hour?

Now you know.

My list of recommended Shiny, Happy, Blogs are to the left in my Blogroll. 

To name 10 that put the emphasis on what you CAN do and not what you CAN'T, I call out

this is not an nod to myself and my partner Miss Minchin, but to the many contributors who so generously share their stories

Monday, February 22, 2010

Happy Celebration Week


The DrawingIn Room gives over this space in Celebration.
and the event planner's event planner who makes it happen.

You don't have to be a Baroness to think of lighting up the Empire State Building...
only to go ahead and ask.

We are so very proud of you and your team.
Another Banner Year.

From the girl who still looks up to you,
Caroline Bender

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Stumping the GPS

GPS and I are still getting to know each other.  I refer to her in feminine personal pronouns, but have not given her a name, because...well, that seems insane.  She knows a great deal, it is true, but what she doesn't know is the particular idiosyncrasies of local traffic patterns.  What she doesn't understand is that I do know them, and when I disregard her instructions, she becomes a little pushy.

It is fair that she doesn't know how to drive in Massachusetts.  It takes a lifetime to master.  And it is hard to see from outer space.  There are certain times of day when you can not legally take a certain left hand turn -- certain places where you wouldn't want to.  You can see why, if you tell her to calculate the fastest time, she will tell you to "Take Ramp.  Onto Eye-NINETY-five.  On right."  But that's madness.  And she certainly doesn't know there is no entrance to the Macaroni Grill off Middlesex Turnpike, no matter what the address says.

I finally short-circuited her by meeting Mrs B for lunch at an out-of-the-way place halfway between us.  Even the Googles had some confusing options for how to get there and shave points.  But I knew my way, so my strategy was to enter the address, and not turn GPS on until I just need to know where the last turn is, or which driveway.  She usually falls for this.

But on this particular day, she wouldn't budge.  She wanted my to get on an Interstate bypass and I prefer state roads.  Not realizing that I was still going in the direction of my destination, she became fixated on turning me around to get to that on-ramp.  She doesn't say "turn around," though, does she?  She tries to trick ya, with a lot flimflam about neighborhood streets ("Turn left on Birch st, then turn left")  That's a U-Turn, sister.  And I'm on to you.

Here's my Future Design Consideration, Gamin.
When I pass your suggested turn, say, "You have passed the turn.  Reverse direction or continue 11 miles to destination."  Perhaps GPS can not calculate that quickly.  And perhaps we can't listen that quickly and make a decision and still control the car (while texting and facilitating a conference call).   But she can simply say "Reverse direction."  or "Take next available U-Turn."  Instead she wants me to turn back through every neighborhood instead of actually recalculating what route I might be on.

The Boston Globe recently ran this puzzle (which naturally was called "You Can't Get There From Here,") that challenges readers to identify the sections of road where you can not actually drive to a spot 20 yards from you.  I challenge GPS to this duel.  I just want to hear her sigh "Surrendering."  Just once.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Marine Letters

Public radio is fond of those stories involving people tracking down family secrets and trying to get everyone to "the truth."  This American Life excels at these -- 2 of the best examples being The Ghost of Bobby Dunbar and The House on Loon Lake (aka The Nasons), which was recently replayed. If you're still wondering what's all the fuss about NPR, these 2 episodes should tell you what we mean by "driveway moments."
What we learn from these programs is that nothing good ever comes from confronting people with the truths behind the family legends they have held onto, especially when you are an outsider in possession of those truths.

I bring this story to The Readership because I am in such an ethical dilemma after becoming the owner of over 50 family letters and knowing that the "rightful owners" would not be so very difficult to find.  But should I?  By what chain of events did they come to be for sale in an antiques barn in New Hampshire, and what wounds will they open if brought to light?

So I am going to bring them to you instead, to clear my conscience, and open discussion.  I can already predict what some of you will say.  Dxr...I can hear you the loudest.  Karen will say what she often says about my finds, that I should write that story.  Dodie wants one of them sent to a certain ailing movie star's personal collection.  S@L has a similar find she has taken no action on either.  Perhaps we should open a museum.  Dr A will be sad that the pack I read to her on our drive was not the pick of the bunch. 

  Enough prologue.  Here is the story.

We were just fishing -- sort of looking for a nice dinette for Dr A's office, but mostly extending our weekend vacation by driving down "antiques alley" to see what was open in the winter.  I am very interested in "primary sources" in places like this -- diaries, travel journals, letters, scrapbooks -- and if the find has enough merit, money really is no object.  Postcards also have a draw, but they are such a drag to look through in stores like these, though they are always well-organized.  Just too many of them.  Letters are usually prized by stamp collectors, and tend to get snapped up during the estate settlement, so I was pleased to find a bag full -- 51 letters for $15.

They were bound into 3 stacks - 3 different senders, to the same couple in NH.  (Not the Nasons).  One stack, from 1960 was from a son in training on Parris Island.  The 2nd stack, from 1968 from a younger brother, also in training, and the 3rd stack from the older brother's wife, throughout the years in between.

We read the 1968 letters on the way home (until I got woozy and had to stop).   Younger Son did a lot of explaining of the order of the day, terms in use, his many restrictions.  Lots of names and relationships, and we had trouble keeping up with the difference between "Dad" and "my father," if there even was one.  The best in this pack is a note from 69 or 70, where he bursts forth in slang and sudden worry about the war.  Until this last letter, no one has mentioned it.

Days later I broke into the rest of the pack and read them through in order.  Older Brother absolutely loved being a Marine.  He developed a mentor relationship with his DI and excelled in all his tests.  During the course of these letters, sometimes 2 or 3 a week, we watch his relationship with the girl back home crumble, though she remains close with his family and even writes a long letter of her own asking Brother to enlist his mother in helping her with a personal problem (and he does, which is how we have the letter).  He also manages a date with Annette Funicello (which is underlined several times) and falls head over heels with her, quite certain that they can have a meaningful relationship, as they are clearly soulmates.  Sadly, Older Brother is injured in training and is discharged.  We will discover that he never quite gets over this.

Four years later come the last pack of letters, from his wife (not the original girlfriend) who is separated from him and their baby, because he has run off and the child has been left in the care of his parents while she goes to Oklahoma to earn some money.  It is clear in every letter that she does not care for this situation, and that she is very concerned that her daughter is forgetting her.  As the letters progress, Brother comes back to her, and they try to make a go of it in Rhode Island, but the baby remains with the grandparents until "the time is right."

The dilemma is that these letters are not from 1915.  They are from 1964.  One can assume that this baby is alive, and possibly her parents, though the grandparents are likely gone (evidenced by the letters being for sale, if for not by the calendar).  What is a person to do?

What if the Baby doesn't know this story?  What if she doesn't know her mother?  What if she, like the Nason descendants, has always longed for personal artifacts?  What if she does know this story and it is very painful?  And where is "the rightful place" for a collection like this if they were discarded by their original owners?  Or the original owners never knew of them because the house was just cleared out, as houses like this often are?

What would you do in my shoes?  Keep in mind this isn't the only such personal-item-of-a-stranger's that I own.  But it is the one most likely to belong to or be about a living person, probably within 200 miles of me.  I try to apply the Golden Rule here, but I can't imagine any of you selling my letters.  You won't, will you?  Dr A is in charge of getting mine back to you, so you can publish your own book?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Computer Engineer Barbie

I am baiting some of the readership with this post.  I know how some of you have strong opinions about Barbie, software, and stereotypes about both.  This will be both a rant and a rave, and I invite you to comment at will.  You are fully warned that Hatie-ness will not be tolerated.  If you must diss the doll, please do so constructively, as if she were actually standing here.  (awkwardly on her toes and likely to fall over). 

Let me also add that this is a commissioned post, from S@L, who sadly does not blog outside of her brain as much as we would like, but she has remote staff for that sort of thing.

With preamble out of the way.... discuss.

One thing Mattel knows to be true:  Smart girls do still wear glasses.  And.. their machines are pink.  Mattel had a contest to name Barbie's next career, and it seems that "computer engineer" won.  This is what happens when you ask the public.  I am actually surprised that "top chef" didn't win, though of course Barbie has already been a chef.  According to Mattel,  Barbie has had over 100 careers, and Mattel's website will give you a seizure, so instead I'll direct you to Wikipedia, where they are conveniently categorized.  (Barbie became President in 2000.  Insert your own joke)

Mattel held a contest where News Anchor (though clearly she is a reporter, not an anchor) and Computer Engineer won over architect, surgeon, and environmentalist.  "Environmentalist" may have stumped the designers, and Barbie already was a surgeon, veterinarian, a dentist, and nurse.  Medical stuff is more fun.  You would think architect would come with some cool accessories, too, but they don't have interesting outfits.

Which brings us to the Computer Engineer.

I have to say that this is not a phrase one hears around the computo-mills in which I work.  A Computer Engineer would be someone who designs computers.  Perhaps that is Barbie's work.  Perhaps she is meant to be a Software Developer, who designs computer applications.  Hardware/software; potayto/potahto.  It doesn't matter.  She is not dressed like either.

Part of what makes Barbie look like woods-trash made good is the usually cheap and garish quality of current designs.  I am sure Mattel has extensive studies about what little girls respond to.  I think they also respond to Pixie Sticks.  Doesn't mean we should serve them for dinner.

Look at this craftsmanship on a sheath, knit wrap and pillbox hat.  1962.  Barbie's couture was once made of fabric, with snaps and zippers.  (this piece is called Sorority Meeting.  Just to bother you.)  Today, the chemical peel effect and infusion of fuschia cheapen everything.  Can't you just feel Computer Engineer Barbie's weird sweater-vest thingie?

Computer Mills tend to be cold -- they were designed to run steam-powered looms, after all -- so she would be wearing a fleece, a sweater, some corporate swag.  It's really fine with me if it says Mattel right on it.  For a while, the mark of cool was to wear your corporate swag from the failed dot-coms where you used to work.  These were like the service ribbons of our little army.  But Barbie's choice will not keep her warm, and is white, which is going to be stained by the lunch she eats at her desk.

The shirt is supposed to, I expect, represent the har-har Dilbert humor shared around the cube farm.  Programmers do occasionally wear them -- they would be t-shirts, and very understated obscure references like "It is pitch dark.  You are likely to be eaten by a grue."  I understand Mattel may not want to pay royalty on someone else's t-shirt.  They might have done better to make up their own.  But the truth is this:  I have never seen a woman wear one of these, and if she did, it would be black.  Faded black.

Barbie is dressed-down, in slacks.  Accurate.  SPARKLE slacks... no.

The computer is pink, but then everything Barbie owns is pink.  I missed when this happened exactly, though my Barbie's princess phone was indeed pink.  In our day, there was a pink/orange motif, and at some point orange disappeared.  The computer screen has some binary code on it, which someone will eventually decipher, and heaven help us, it will turn out to say something like "math class is tough."  Or the geek they asked to come up with something sent back "No Girls Allowed."  Either way, it will funny.

Sidebar:  in the 80s, there was a popular trend of wearing shirts with Japanese characters on them as graphic design.  Japan had all the money and we wanted to turn into them (we really thought so..).  One day at lunch, the Japanese dance professor who ate with us couldn't contain himself any longer and asked Jules "what does your shirt say?"  She said, "You tell me," and of course it turned out to be Japarish.  (I think that is the opposite of Engrish.  I have strayed)

The Bluetooth is a cool accessory.  Each release must have at least one accessory small enough to choke the dog and be lost within 14 minutes of opening the box.  It is in the requirements.  Barbie is really dressed more as a Product Manager, but even then she has too much bedazzle.  Looking at one of these Collectors' websites, I actually found what Computer Engineer Barbie would really be wearing.

In fact, that hair is back too.

I could write an entire blog just about that video. Maybe later.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sweet Nothings

Valentine Day exchange overheard in a Mass Pike service area convenience store.

in the candy/snack aisle, a young couple in black skinny-jeans and rock tour t-shirts can't decide on their car snacks.

She: I'm just going to get coffee

He (in a cautionary singsong): It'll make you poop...

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Now that I know about this Google feature....

...I have lost whatever "free time" I had left.

I don't even have to write anything.  I just need to post this every day and it writes itself

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Release the Kraken

Someone is remaking Clash of the Titans, and it isn't me.  But I sure do have a story about that.

Here is what we can tell from the trailer already:
1.  things will fly
2.  people will throw their arms out to the sides with great force
3. there is a big scorpion
4. the editor has had too much Red Bull
5. the ancients, as always, will have British accents

Here is what we know without the trailer:
it has to be better than the 1981 original.

Dodie and I had (2) recurring themes in our play: Gone With the Wind and Greek Mythology.  Say whatever you care to about your Barbie, but mine wore armor and the head of a wolf.  So show her some respect.  We were capital-A APPALLED by this mess of a movie, and I am not referring to the stop-motion special effects.  That is unfair.  While they were not "state of the art," they were not what drove us to write a multi-page screed of what was wrong with it -- from the minimalist conception of Olympus, to the pouty non-hero casting of Harry Hamlin, to the cartoonish inclusion of Bubo, the ROBOT OWL.  I'm sorry, did I shout?  Honey, you had me at Burgess Meredith.

If that white paper still exists, it is in Dodie's General Archive.  What I have is the Casting List of our remake.

This document lives where it has always lived: pressed in the pages of my Bulfinch Mythology. One side is our brainstorming casting session, rewritten and categorized on the reverse, as we had designed the credits to roll.

We would film in Cinemascope, naturally, as we felt the current film had over-used close-ups of very ungood-looking people and missed the majesty of Olympus.  (If I appear to be italicizing more than usual, you must understand that in our girlhood, we always spoke emphatically.)  Keep in mind that we had never actually seen a film in Cinemascope as it was meant to be seen.  We were used to Sunday TV airings of "One With the Win" and "Klahom," where Shirley Jones sings in profile, then cut to Gordon McRae grinning in the opposite direction. We fully expected our stars' names to be cut off as well, and we found this hilarious.

I do intend to run the full credits, but I want to caution that in addition to real actors, we cast other celebrities we liked, and people from the neighborhood.  We figured they could act as well as Ursula Andress, and it was our movie dammit.  We also said "dammit," a lot, which we thought sounded very grown-up, or at least like Guiding Light.  So for the sake of those people from our high school that we cast, I'll just describe them parenthetically, so you can get the gist of the casting decisions.  We stayed with Roman names because Dodie is Italian and insisted.

Please remember that it is 1981.  And we still had Olympic Fever.

The First Six
Jupiter - Richard Burton
Neptune - (the local piano teacher.  I forget why.  Perhaps because he was bald, and we felt that Neptune should be)
Pluto - Christopher Bernau (Shout out, fans.  this is Alan Spaulding from GL, who also had the distinction of being on Dark Shadows)
Juno - Elizabeth Taylor (not yet a car wreck in a dress.  And we thought, Cleopatra AND Juno?  Yeh, that's about right)
Ceres - Vanessa Redgrave (the Zionist Hoodlums boooo)
Vesta - (our Latin teacher in a cameo role)

The Children
Mars - Michael York
Vulcan - Gary Burghoff (if your spit-take is over, let me explain.  We felt this could be his dramatic breakout role and allow him to exploit his withered hand)
Hebe - (one of our classmates - Hebe was a favorite of mine, an obscure descendent that I thought needed more screentime.  And it rhymes with Pheobe, you wiseacre)
Apollo - remains uncast.  I think we could not agree on Parker or Shaun
Artemis - June Allyson (note that we also had the power to cast younger versions of people as we saw fit.  In retrospect I like Susan Hayward better here, or a teenaged Maureen O'Hara.  One thing is certain -- we thought Artemis was a redhead)
Venus - Vivian Leigh
Mercury - Mark  Hamill
Hercules - Christopher Reeve
Prosephone - what's written here is "Hope Bauer."  See how nicely that goes with our casting of Alan at Pluto?  ha-HAH, you're catching on.  For the record, we meant Elvera Roussel.
Bacchus - (Dodie's first kiss.  It was a joke.  oh, how we laughed)
Young Cupid - Ricky Schroeder.  (I really wrote "Ricky")
Cupid - Randy Gardner (don't worry...Tai will play Psyche)

Minor Olympians  Dodie has scratched this and written Featuring
I guess there were Union troubles
Pan - George C Scott (known in our secret twinspeak as "Pig Paws."  His name is never meant to be spoken, so Dodie has written "G.C.S")
Prometheus - Richard Chamberlin (I wanted him shirtless)

The Heroes
We scratched Orpheus here, moved him to a section called The Lovers, then cut that entire section.  It was made up of the A-List couples in school and Ben and Amanda from GL.
Perseus - Harrison Ford.  Seriously.  Harry Hamlin?  Please remember that in 1981, Ford looked like Indiana Jones.
w/Dodie as Andromeda
Theseus - (Dodie's current crush)  w/Eve Plumb as Ariadne.  We wanted to rescue her from Brady Brides
Jason - Timothy Murphy (this is a real one-hit wonder.  He was in the Kent Chronicles movies.) w/ (the English teacher we hated) as Medea.

The Iliad
I would think I had added this on my own, if not for Dodie's handwriting in the casting of Paris.  I made sure Parker got in the movie by putting him here.
Achilles - Parker Stevenson
Helen - myself.  I cast myself as Helen of Troy.  I looked like this at the time.
Paris - Robin Cousins
Aeneas - Clark Gable (maybe with a moustache.  definitely with an open shirt)

There follows another section of cameos of people we just liked, like our World History teacher, my next door neighbor, the spinster/sister school teachers who all lived together and probably were Graeae already.  ("GIMME THE EYE!")

There is also a note that Katharine Hepburn and George Cukor should be "Associate Directors."  Cause that's a thing.

Like most great is in permanent Turnaround.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

115 days

I didn't count them all along.  I didn't even count them correctly in the beginning.  I suppose John Kennedy would have done more in 100+ days than I did while laid off, but then I sir, am no John Kennedy.  But what I did do was turn around unemployment within 3 months, with an entire holiday season thrown in.  Made a gross of cookies.  Ate a LOT of lunch. Took a vacation and turned 46.

What have you been up to?

I am not really here to toot my own horn (though, ya know.... Toot).  This production number comes with some credits, and they are these:
- The team down-the-Mill who packaged a painless layoff and made it possible to leave them laughing.  (Well, I was, anyway.) 
- Financial Dan - the first person I called
- Smurph, who hooked me up with Outlook before I went into the DTs
- The at-home moms, dads, and self-employed contractors who make Facebook the best malt shoppe to hang out in
- The unemployed Emersonians network, including those who are re-employed, and came forward with a lot of advice and encouragement
- The People's Republic of Massachusetts.  If this is what a Nanny state feels like, well tuck me in.
- All your kids.  Everything seems possible with a little Lego.
- Everyone who made time.  Fuh li'l ole me.
- Memphis.  Still.  I can't tell you enough how right place/right time that trip was.
- NaBloPoMo, for somewhere to put all the brain energy.
- Miss Read, for the project
- The dear dear Readership.  You know who you are.

It hardly felt like a hardship.  Just the leave of absence I needed that might have forgiven a host of sins.  But that is not how we do, is it?  Instead we work 1900 days at full throttle until we are too flooded to keep in the garage.  I rounded up, because there were a damn lot of Saturdays.

Signing on to the New Mill on Monday.  Please flip your calendars.

*Ouija Lunchbox by Paul van Scott, available at

Friday, February 5, 2010

It is really OK for you to watch the Super Bowl for the game

You don't have to pretend anymore.  In fact, if you are still telling yourself  (and others) you are watching the Super Bowl for the ads, you are unneccessarily making  Football Dip.  Because you have ample opportunity to see these ads before the game ever airs, and you will be unable to get away from them after it does.

Here are my Top 4 reasons for missing the game if all you say you are interested in are the commercials.

Super Bowl Ads are not really relevant
They were once, it is true -- in a Ad Game Sweeps Day of sorts.  For about 20 years, the big companies saved their top dollars and high-concepts for late-January (when the game used to air) and we could look forward to them like the prom theme and the yearbook cover.  Which were also, in the scheme of an academic year, irrelevant.

SuperBowl splash no longer launches an annual campaign (because there rarely are any anymore) or a slogan or logo shift, and they are hardly considered game-changers.  Advertisers and PR big names admit that they look to the zeitgeist first and make their ad based on that, rather than try to shake up the culture.  Hence, watch for send-ups of YouTube videos you have already seen, and inside jokes from Facebook.  They aren't abstract impressionists, they are advertisers.  Remember that scene in Nothing in Common, where Tom Hanks says, "I don't have a novel in my drawer.  I like advertising."  Showing you something that already makes you feel good is a sure thing.

Super Bowl ads are too expensive to bother
The price came down this year, by half a million dollars.  Super Bowl ratings are up, it's true, but for all the talk of "we watch for the commercials," there is little evidence of return on the investment.  Do sales go up, does market share increase, does anyone remember the product in question?  When the contest involves middle America (as it does this year), the major markets check right out.  For $3M, even a multi-billion corporation knows it can get more impressions elsewhere.

We don't always remember the product
When we do watch it, and talk about it, and parody it, we can't always remember what it was for.  Recently, a radio host described an entire storyboard from last year's game, but didn't know what it was for.  (In fact, it was Pepsi, the big player who elected not to buy this time.  Now that's a game-changer.)

We don't have to watch the game to see the ads
Morning news magazine love them the most, and will show them all, and discuss them to death in the days before and after they air.  I suspect that the "controversial ads" we hear about are in fact made up.  Why pay 3M to say your company's name for 30 seconds when you can pay the cost of making one, tell the news outlets you think America "is not ready" for it, and let them say your company's name 50 times in 3 minutes, 5 times before 9am.

In fact, Apple, Monster, CareerBuilder, Snickers, Coke, Pepsi, Budweiser, and e*Trade enjoy the residual-free luxury of having their commercials replayed every year when we talk about legendary Super Bowl ads.  It is true that if you tell a story often enough for long enough, it becomes -- by definition -- a legend.

(nice to see that Coke in a glass bottle, ain't it?)

If you really do watch the game to see the ads, good on ya.  TiVo the game and skip through to the ads.  Nothing would make the advertisers happier.  Then spend your Sunday where it really matters" catching up on Oscar nominees.