Sunday, February 17, 2008

Mythbusters

I'm not much for delayed gratification. It's about 60/40 whether I lose interest completely rather than be whipped into a frenzy of excitement waiting for the great day. I tend not to pre-plan my leisure actvities. Being someone who doesn't plan ahead much, theater tickets are usually beyond me for shows that sell out. Aside from not buying tickets on the first day, even if I had tickets, I'm the kind of person who might forget 6 months later to even go. I'm everyone's favorite last minute date - I'll go to most any concert or play you have one leftover ticket for, as long as you don't give me too much advance notice that your other, better friend backed out without paying.

But there's a phenomenon that I can often take advantage of if I remember the date of the show in time and manage to get to the box office early - last minute tickets that were being held for various reasons get released within a couple hours of showtime. And sometimes they're really good seats. The downside is that sometimes you go there and can't get in, and often can't get seats together if you go with someone. But today I lucked out. And thank god, because I looked at all the show offerings they've got and this was the only one that even interested me remotely from January to April. Yesterday when I stopped by the box office at our local theater, the box office lady couldn't find me even one single seat. I figured that might change closer to showtime and walked over to the place about an hour before the 'show' went on.

My lucky seat was A13 - 5th row, nearly center, with lots of legroom because the orchestra pit line was in front of me. So my view was pretty much this.
Adam and Jamie of Mythbusters
It's a little blurry because I couldn't use a flash and I'm not a terribly stable platform, even with my elbow braced. There was also a moderator I trimmed out. So sad for her.

I might have been one of 5 adults in the theater who was not accompanying an 11 year old boy, although I did the a smattering of girls too, which was good. The show was promoted by a "Discovery Science Center" group who wants to build an actual facility to work out of. I don't know if the money went to this cause or not. I do find it ironic that the most Hollywood-like thing I've taken advantage in my move to LA of was a show of two guys from San Francisco.

The show was fun. The guys are exactly who they seem to be on the show. Adam is the engaging one and Jaime is more quiet. And as I suspected, they are colleagues, but not really friends. They legitimately get on each others' nerves, but have hammered out a business relationship that works and they enjoy themselves. Jamie talked a bit about the reason he likes to work with Adam rather than do the little competitions that they sometimes do is that their ideas are usually so different from one anothers' that working together they come up with something better than either could do individually. The whole being greater than the sum of the parts kind of thing. In the Q&A at the end someone asked when they'll stop doing the show and Adam said "when they lock the doors". Good news for us fans! And there are plenty of fans. I didn't see a single one of the 1800 seats without a body in it.

Interesting tidbits:
  • The insurance guys are ok with plans that say "when it blows up", they are less good with "if it blows up". So make it look like it wasn't an accident...
  • When they shoot up pig carcasses, they keep them refrigerated, dig out the shrapnel and donate them to soup kitchens, but Jamie still thinks it's a waste of meat.
  • Adam wants to do a "surreal gourmet" show with cooking eggs on a sidewalk, roadkill dishes, etc... But the only thing we'll probably get is what they're shooting next week, literally. They'll be tenderizing meat with explosives.
  • They're voracious readers! JH actually majored in slavic languages.
  • One show you won't see is where they tested whether or not the cereal box has more nutrition than the sugary cereal inside. They had 3 mice each in 3 cages: one control, one cereal diet, one cardboard box diet. The cardboard mice started to look a little skinnier and twitchy. When they came back from a weekend, there was one very fat mouse left in that cage.
  • If you see them running hell for leather, follow them.


They also had to leave out the "lighting farts" section of their farts show, along with making Kari wear embarrassing fart detecting underpants with a strategically placed microphone. Apparently lighting farts was too much for the producers who thought it would offend viewers. I think that's hysterical because every 11 year old boy would think it was great. And I've never heard my grandmother laugh harder than when she related the story of my grandfather's college roommate setting his ass hair on fire while lighting his farts. The "Flatus Ignition Seat" segment with the high speed camera footage did make it to YouTube, though, courtesy of MIT students who got the clip we saw today. I see they still haven't fixed the spelling in the title page.


One of the serious things they discussed was great for educational purposes - getting stuff wrong and making mistakes often tells you more than doing stuff right. Neither one is a trained "scientist" but they do, IMHO, a great job with scientific method even if their sample set is a little small. They admit that due to small sample size, they can't totally stand behind all their conclusions, but they do what they can to try and work through the issue methodically. Myself I like the progression from testing the causes to get one conclusion, to testing whatever causes need to be used to get the expected/myth conclusion. Or just blow it up. That works too.

One of the fun things they discussed was that they've now done so many explosions that they've started to discuss them as if they are rating wine. "That one was a slow starter and had a lot of moving force, but rumbled on for a while". "This one was a fast shocker that blew stuff into shrapnel". You could probably also find the explosions clip reel they showed on YouTube. I should write and encourage them to come up with a nice "flavor wheel" like thing for the explosions. What, in a bang, maps to "fruity, with a hint of spice"? If you get a chance to see them, and you're a fan of the show, go.

Yay! I took advantage of living where I do. (Although it turns out I could have done this where I used to live too, since I worked walking distance from MIT.) I walked over and then afterward spent most of the afternoon ambling around outside, looking at the enormous goldfish in the pond whose eyes look like craft store googly eyes, chatting with my brother on the phone, and taking in the fine weather.

2 comments:

Alaskan Hellcat said...

OMG! The Big Guy is sooooo jealous! Sounds like fun.

newdoorknobs said...

It was really cool to hear some of the inside scoop. And it doesn't surprise me at all that audience was jammed with 11-year-old boys; the boy in my house would sure have loved to be there.