DAMNIT, GETTING INTO THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT IS ELUDING ME AGAIN.And I'm not even moving at Christmastime this year.
It has been kind of warm for December in Ottawa these past few days, with daytime temperatures exceeding 5ºC (low forties). I'm not screaming "global warming" just quite yet, since we did have a colder-than-average November through the beginning of December, and there was enough snow to barely cover the grass on December 1st, though that was followed by some freezing rain that didn't entirely melt the snow, but made it a slippery white glaze. That's gone now. I hope we get some real snow by Christmas.
Not helping much is the fact that this year's slate of Christmas commercials flat-out suck. I think the last great Christmas commercial I saw was Office Max's faux-Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer-styled stop-motion animation "Rubber Band Man" commercial in 2004. The only commercials I'm somewhat partial to are the Bell Canada ones with the beavers, but that's mainly because I'm happy to know that the unjustly-fired-from-Saturday Night Live Norm Macdonald got steady work. (But didn't he used to do Clearnet ads, before that company merged with Telus? Has Norm switched cell phone "teams"?) Also, in the most recent Bell Beaver commercial, they're in some kind of shopping concourse with a directional marker on the floor that I easily recognize as being that in Place Ville Marie in Montreal, near the underground entrance for the Queen Elizabeth Hotel and the escalator to Central Station. I know it's been two years Sunday since I moved to Nepean, but I still get homesick for Montreal, even if I did visit in July.
I so very much miss the old Fran Drescher Old Navy "Holiday Hotline" Christmas commercials. Yeah, they were bad and annoying, but in a tongue-in-cheek "fun to hate" kind of way. This year, the Old Navy Christmas commercials are just bland and forgettable.
One product that's getting heavily-pushed this year, particularly on American talk radio though I also see some TV ads for it, is the Garmin Nuvi personal navigator. "Give a... Give a... Give a... Give a... Give a Garmin." Right... the perfect gift to tell your loved one... that he or she's a freaking idiot who can't even find his or her way to the end of the driveway without satellite assistance. Am I an old fuddy duddy at 32 years old? I just don't see the appeal of the device. Of course, frequent readers of this blog, the few I have remaining, will remember that I'm a chronic procrastinator who still hasn't gotten around to getting his driver's license, but if I had a driver's license, I could easily imagine getting very, very annoyed very, very quickly by that robotic woman's voice nagging me every 20 feet. Maybe I am old-fashioned, but I've always loved paper maps and atlases and have never had trouble navigating using them, even when I was just a wee tyke. I don't even get lost in the mazes that are European cities... well, except for this one particularly hot day in Paris when my brother and I were almost literally dragging our heavy luggage around town as we were looking for a second hotel to stay in in Paris as the first (nice) hotel we stayed at could only book us for one night as the second night was Bastille Day or the day before Bastille Day, though, we had maps, we just weren't using them, and I actually enjoyed the exploration process. But it's not like I couldn't have found where I was on the map in a minute or two if I had wanted to. I consider my ability to navigate the traditional way a source of pride, and I would hate to think that they don't teach it in schools anymore. I make some concessions to modern technology if I'm going to a part of Ottawa I don't know too well, and I'll look it up on Yahoo Maps "to find the dopest route", and I have an ancient (circa 2000) Magellan GPS device that just gives coordinates and headings, but that's as far as I ever want to stray from traditional maps. And aren't men drivers supposed to be able to find their way around town without getting lost? I thought getting lost while driving was mostly a woman thing. Is the popularity of the Garmin Nuvi a further sign of the emasculation of men in modern culture? Bottom line, America? Electronic navigation aids are for pussies. And maybe also Ryoga Hibiki, but he's excused from not being able to find his way because his mind is too preoccupied with trying to avoid switching to pig form.
Oh, another Christmas ad campaign that's getting on my nerves is the Virgin Mobile "Won't you come on down to the freakshow?" cell phone ads that has animation that doesn't seem to have much of anything to do with the products they're selling. A herd of animals followed by a woman with all her money flying out of the window followed by two businessmen types who put themselves through the paper shredder only to emerge intact, making angels in the snow? What the heck does that have to do with cell phones? It's not even all that much of a generic, religion-neutral "Holiday" commercial either. And, yes, I remember that, only a couple of weeks ago, I defended the Erin Esurance ads even if the animation doesn't really have that much to do with online auto insurance. At least they have a coherent narrative I can easily follow. And Erin Esurance is an attractive cartoon character that I would like to have sex with or see having sex with other hot female cartoon characters. The "Freakshow" Virgin Mobile ads just have ugly animated photocollage characters, the sort of which I've never found attractive.
Speaking of Erin Esurance, why couldn't Ghostbot have animated a Christmas-themed Esurance commercial with Erin fighting yetis and evil scientists with "black ice"-making machines, to illustrate how Esurance covers all your winter-related driving woes. Or she could at least do a PSA seducing men away from driving drunk after their holiday parties. Or, better yet, do an Erin Esurance Christmas special that would be aired only in Japan, so they could do shower scenes with full "side-al" nudity.
Oh yeah, someone I know couldn't find the downtown Ottawa Chapters bookstore. He says that he walked around the entire block with the Bay and he thought that there was no Chapters store there and that my brother was making the entire downtown Chapters location up.
Well, I guess Chapters is easy to miss, what with that LARGE STOREFRONT on the most major commercial intersection in the city (Rideau Street and Sussex Drive).
Not to mention that, if he really went around the entire block, he somehow also missed the second Chapters entrance, at the corner of Sussex and George Street.
Oh, maybe there is someone out there who does need a Garmin after all.