Me Versus Pumpkin, A Television Showdown

Over the past few years, I may have expressed the opinion that the over the top reception given the yearly influx of pumpkin flavored food is a little ridiculous. Soon, my thoughts on the matter will reach more people than ever.

Black and white TV, in color (CCbySA2.0 housing works thrift shop)

CBS News contacted me a few days ago and we discussed the pumpkin situation. They were looking for someone who was sick of “the pumpkin thing” to interview. There was some talk about bringing me to New York to do an interview in their studio. I felt like that was pretty silly, but it wasn’t my money, so I was fine with it.

In the end, they asked if I would meet their correspondent in a pumpkin patch. I agreed to do that. Looking back, agreeing to meet strangers on a farm in the middle of nowhere was out-of-the-box for me. You could even call it risky. Is this really a major media outlet wanting to talk to a small-time blogger or is it something worse?

Sure, it could be something worse. But when they asked if I was available on Friday, I decided to chance it. I didn’t have much else to do besides laundry.

And so today, I am off to a farm to be interviewed about pumpkin and its frenzied fans.  Or, perhaps I am meeting strangers at a farm so they can kidnap me. Either way, I’m going to write about it here throughout the day.

I’m going to update this post from my phone to let you know about this silly adventure. Check back periodically to see what’s going on. I’ll post pictures and thoughts as this unfolds. If you’ve got questions, post them in the comment section (you can even sign in with Facebook or Twitter) and I’ll answer you.

If the updates suddenly stop, please contact the authorities. Also, if you could have a bake sale or maybe a dunking booth to raise ransom money, I’d appreciate it.

9:00 – This thing seems pretty silly. With all that’s going on in the world, we’re going to spend time discussing pumpkins on the news.

But what I think will be funny is the comment section when they put this thing online. I’m pretty sure people will lose their minds and rip me up for saying anything bad about pumpkin flavored food. The thing is, what I say doesn’t really matter, does it? I don’t think Starbucks is going to say “that guy thinks this really effective marketing we’re doing is too much, maybe we should stop”. With that in mind, I’m just going to go on and issue my statement on the matter – “Take a breath. It really isn’t a big deal. I’d like to suggest that you take me as seriously as I take me.”

9:45 – I get a call from the producer on the story. “Hey Rob, Michelle is just going to drive herself there. Can you get there early and shoot all the b-roll stuff? I tell him I’m not Rob, but I can be there early. He says “cool, thanks” and hangs up.

A minute later he calls back to ask me if I can get there early, then apparently realizes that I must sound like Rob.

If this is a kidnapping, it isn’t a good one.

So I’m going early. 12, instead of 1:00.

10:00 – Heading out. Getting some gas. OMG, what if they have pumpkin spice gas?! Wouldn’t that be awesome?

I really need a sarcastic font.

When you see this interview, the orange shirt was specifically selected by my wife. Irony is not lost on her. Actually, not much is lost on her.

11:40 – OK, I’m here. Pumpkins grow in the middle of nowhere. How stereotypical. The farmer looks disapproving.

A bunch of pumpkins lounging around in the dirt. Typical.

So I’m here. The camera guys are here. No reporter, no producer.

12:10. Things are happening. The reporter and producer are here. The producer is wearing flip flops. I should have been a producer.

Quiet on the set

12:30 – and we’re done. I’m starving and all they have is pumpkin muffins. I’m going to find food.

Another update to wrap things up when I get home.

3:15 – I’m back. Did you miss me?

So, the interview went well. I had them laughing and had a good time doing this. That said, I reserve the right to freak out and tell you later how things were edited out of context and that I’m pissed off depending on how this thing turns out when they finally show it.

I’m still surprised at the trouble they went to for this interview. This farm is next to nowhere. There were two camera guys wiht a truck load of gear, a producer and a reporter. Most of the time I don’t need that many people to get me talking.

Near the beginning of this post, I referenced how silly it was that we’re going to talk on the news about what I think of pumpkin spice with all the other, mostly awful, stuff going on in the world. As it turns out, I had no idea how right I was.

“Wait”, you say, “you’re right so often, how is this any different?” Well, you’re right, I am correct about things so often that I lose track of the frequency of my correctness. But in this case, it was really weird how close to home I was.

In my phone conversation with the producer this morning, he said the reporter had to do this story and run because she had a story on the evening news tonight. As we were preparing for and wrapping up from the interview, the producer and reporter were talking about this other story that both of them were working on for tonight. It seems that they both were involved in the coverage of the tragic church shooting in Charleston, SC. The producer had actually spoken to the shooter’s friend shortly after the murders…the guy who was arrested by the FBI today. They discussed getting the video from that interview for tonight’s broadcast. So they pulled these people off of the story of a guy who may have saved nine lives by speaking up about what he knew to come talk to me in a pumpkin patch. Very weird.

Anyway, I can see that a lot of you have stopped by to keep up with this today. Thanks much!  If everything stays on schedule, they’ll run my interview on Wednesday during the CBS morning show, between 8 and 9. I imagine that I’ll be able to get a link up here shortly after that. Of course if something big happens, like a volcano erupting, I will probably get moved up to a more prime spot.

But seriously, they took me way out of context.

Guy Fieri, Please Stop

I love cooking shows on television. Amongst my favorites is Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. Unfortunately, my love for learning about cool places to eat comes at a cost. I have to put up with Guy Fieri.

Before I make fun of Mr. Fieri, I should be fair. When I first watched the show, I sort of enjoyed the way he portrayed himself. It seemed that he didn’t take himself or what he was doing too seriously. Anyone who makes it clear that they know as well as the rest of us that they are not saving the world is OK by me. But I do have a problem with the man.

Fieri, at a restaurant called Dish, in Charlotte, NC. I’ve been there a lot. No one took pictures, but the food is amazing. Go there. (image via

Guy Fieri has done the Guy Fieri act so many times that he is becoming a cartoon of himself. Yes, there are only so many ways to take a bite of food and say that it is really good. But I can’t take another declaration that someone’s grilled cheese is “the bomb” or that the ribs at a particular restaurant are “off the hook”. Read the rest of this entry »

My Soap Opera

I’ve never been a soap opera fan. There might be a reason for that.

Perhaps I don’t like them because my nap time fell during my mother’s favorite shows when I was a kid. Even toddler me found it a strange coincidence that my biological for a nap started just before Days Of Our Lives started and ended when the credits rolled on The Doctors. Or it could be that I am no more the target audience for soaps now than when I was a tot.

God, I hated nap time (image public domain)

Every Girl Crazy ‘Bout A Sharp Dressed Man

When I go to the gym in the afternoon, I can count on a few things being on the array of televisions in front of the elliptical machines – a cop show, the Kardashians, news, ESPN, and a soap opera. I always exercise in front of the television showing the sports channel but, from the corner of my eye, I can’t help seeing what’s going on in the soaps.

In the past few weeks, out of the soap opera corner of my eye, I’ve seen: Read the rest of this entry »

What I Learned From New Year’s Eve

For a long time, I didn’t do New Year’s Eve. I was either working or had to be at the office by 5 a.m. on New Year’s Day.

I was on call too. Remember Y2K? So do I. I was expected in the office early on January 1, but was on call overnight for four additional assignments that I had in case the dreaded Y2K bug hit and the world came to a stop. My employer called four times, once for each extra job, to wake me and tell me I was no longer on call but was still expected at 5 a.m..

Times Have Changed

Y’know this looks like no fun. Where do they all pee? (image by Rob Boudon, CCbySA2.0)

I don’t have a long, positive history with New Year’s Eve. But now things are different. I don’t have an office to show up at on January 1; I can stay up late and I’m not on call for anything at all.

This year, my wife and I waited to see the ball drop in Times Square with good friends in their living room. It was a great time and a learning experience. Read the rest of this entry »

My Review Of “The Man With The 132-Lb Scrotum”

In the course of checking the TV listings Monday night I discovered there was a show called “The Man With The 132-lb Scrotum” on The Learning Channel. As you might imagine, the title got my attention.

a bag of balls

A bag of balls (Photo credit: neil_mach)

I didn’t watch “The Man With The 132-lb Scrotum”, because there was a football game on. I don’t know anything about The Man or his show. I’m going to review the show anyhow.

The Review

“The Man With The 132-lb Scrotum” (or M 132 S, as the cool kids call it) is the pilot episode of a situation comedy series that is in development for the fall season on The Learning Channel. Television insiders question what viewers will “learn” from a sit com about a man with all that… down there. I’d say that they’ll likely learn as much as they learn from the 25 shows about “little people” that take up most of The Learning Channel’s broadcast schedule. Read the rest of this entry »

Mentos Lessons: The Car Movers

A number of different Mentos flavors

A number of different Mentos flavors (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We can all agree that when something needs to be made fresh, Mentos should be involved. Of course, if we can’t all agree, I can always use the power of those mints to convince any foolish naysayers.

I am a fan of the old Mentos commercials, the ones that showed how resourceful people who ate that candy could be. Mentos consumers were not only minty fresh, but capable of creatively resolving any situation while winning their tormentor’s admiration.

This is the first of a series of occasional posts I’ll be writing to discuss the lessons of, and the complete spectacularness of the old Mentos ads. Today’s lesson will be on the classic ad, The Car Movers.

Let’s watch: Read the rest of this entry »

My Audition for Who Wants To Be A Millionaire (Part 2)

When we last left me, I was near the end of a long line waiting to go in to audition for the game show, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. To pass what I thought was going to be a long wait, I began finding reasons to eliminate other people who were in line with me. And then, the line started to move.

Who wants to be a millionaire?

I will not be wearing an orange and blue vest if it happens (Image by Roo Reynolds via Flickr)

I was certain that this would be a long process, given how far back in line I was. I was wrong. Fortunately, guessing how long the audition process takes is not actually part of the audition, so I was still in the running.

The entire line moved into a building where we formed six or eight smaller lines. We all got Who Wants To Be A Millionaire pencils and t-shirts. Then we moved into a room with enough chairs and tables to seat all of us. As we were filing in, “Mr. I’m Going To Put My High Priced Education To Work” decided to make his move.

It Doesn’t Go Well For Mr. Education

Most of the people in line were already in the room and were seated at long tables as those of us at the end walked in. A woman involved in the production of the show was speaking to those already seated. Mr. High Priced Education did not see her banter as an obstacle. He decided he needed attention. He got to the middle of the room and seized it. Read the rest of this entry »

My Audition For Who Wants To Be A Millionaire (Part 1)

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (UK game show)

Obviously the answer is me. (Image via Wikipedia)

Last week I mentioned to those of you who follow me on Twitter that I was trying out for the game show “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” Since this tale would be several hundred tweets long, I’ll fill you in here.

My head is full of useless things. I know scraps of information about a lot of stuff. I don’t know enough about any of that stuff to actually be productive, unless you define productivity as being able to administer some truly medieval beatings to people in trivia contests. My head is so full of these scraps that I have no room for things that are important – things like mathematics and people’s names. Read the rest of this entry »