Friday, May 16, 2008

"It's like elf food."

I watch what TV I watch online via a site called You have to register for it (it's beta right now; beta, of course, being internet speak for hip*), but it has a good sampling (and clean design supporting) some of today's best shows. The downside is that during each show, you have to watch "limited commercial interruptions," which means anywhere from 3-5 15ish second commercials. There is not a wide variety of commercials.

A particularly frequent commercial is a Citi Card commercial, in which a couple go to an exclusive restaurant, enjoy the decor, the ambiance, the service, the wine--and then the food comes. It is, as the husband/boyfriend says, "like elf food." The scene changes, of course, and we see the couple happily/hungrily grabbing chips at a convenience store, as they buy real food and end the commercial by toasting each other with dingdongs or Hostess cupcakes or something. (You can tell I've watched this commercial too often. I have, as a final recourse, taken to muting the commercials to at least avoid the haunting, tinkling music and ergo keep my sanity.)

Tonight I went to SF to hang out with Kristine, a good friend who moved there last year. We walked the streets of the Castro, where she lives. We climbed a beautiful hill and walked a park that gave us a view of both sides of SF--towards the bay and towards the sea. We wandered down Market and Valencia, looking for a place to eat. We passed up Thai and Indian (they've been feeling too sweet for me lately, which is ironic, seeing as I just downed a late-night bowl of chocolate frozen yogurt/banana/chocolate chips/mini chocolate peanut butter cups/and milk) and an Italian restaurant with only five dinner entrees and a room full of patrons but only one female. (This is the Castro, after all.) We ended up at Farina, a lovely looking Italian place that boasted a 40-minute wait (it was a beautiful evening, and everyone and his mother was getting out to eat). Kristine and I were hungry--we'd walked this big hill--and we were eager to eat, but we put our names down and dutifully meandered till she was called.

Once in, we drained our bottle of water, manhandled the four pieces of bread they gave us, and chose quickly before our server could forget we were there. I ordered pasta with pesto, green beans, and patate (potatoes). $20.

I was told once, by somebody, that a true serving of pasta is one-half cup. I was also told by this someone that American restaurants typically serve pasta in two-cup quantities. (Just another example of American gastronomic excess.) Well, ladies and gentlemen, I'm here to tell you--I almost found myself wishing I'd ordered the primo and the secondi whatever, cost be darned, just like the menus always intimate I should. On my plate, my little pesto pile was very much like elf food.

It was such a small pile of green, on such a big plate of white, that I wanted to laugh. In fact, I did laugh. I laughed between each of my ten bites, until I scraped the plate clean of sauce, ate the basil garnish, and cried.

Afterword: But you know what? Afterwards, I wasn't particularly hungry. Turns out maybe one-half cup of hand-rolled, homemade pasta is a serving. Dieticians, you win.

*william corrected me: no longer requires registration, which maybe means it's no longer beta, which maybe means that while it's both more user-friendly, it's also more mainstream and is quickly becoming both (a) (revenue for) the man and (b) closer to jumping the coolness shark. That being said, I've recently watched more than 30 hours of hulu, and I was supremely grateful. Note: If you are watching a show on hulu and you are being limitedly interrupted by the new commercials for Reese's Peanut Butter Cups--you've scored. They're all music and printed text that is, all things considered, comparatively witty. No muting required.


William said...

Even though you only used Hulu as a briefly mentioned springboard into your real point here, I'm going to focus my comments on it.

I use Hulu, and I love it. It has been several weeks, I think, since registration was required; anyone can just load up the site and watch whatever they've got.

Concerning the advertising: I don't mind it. If that is all it takes to put those shows/movies online for "free", and in as good a quality as they are, that's wonderful. Much less commercial consumption than if I was watching them on actual television.

And as you say, you can mute or turn away for 15 seconds if you find them bothersome. But just remember, that without those commercial interruptions, there would be no show to interrupt at all.

Also, I like Italian food. And elfs.

Rebecca said...

Yes, I always want to order stuffed pasta, but seven raviolis is never going to fill me up. Even though it does.