Tuesday, May 20, 2008

As Beck would say, "How's it Made?"

Where it's at?

I don't watch a lot of TV, but when I do, and sports isn't on, I have found where it's at. I've had my run with Scrubs, Walker, Texas Ranger and the late night shows. Seinfeld died at least 5 years ago, and CSI was never enough a mystery. Syndicated cable has let me catch up on my history -- missed sitcoms and should-have-seens. And then there's the trademarked history channel and the family band of education cable, for lack of a better description.

"The Learning Channel," e.g.

(Random fact: Did you know that in NYC circa 1907, the mailman (mailperson) used to make deliveries 7 times a day? That's like instant messaging via quill.)

And so in my ramping down time, I've found a new go-to show, when sportscenter is somehow still talking about the NFL (and the freakin Senate? (we don't have problems with leadership in this government; the NFL is a matter of national importance! (let me go deeper, you are paying senators to investigate whether or not some NFL coaches videotaped other teams practicing))) and the Twins game is over and no other baseball is on TV.

This show is called "How It's Made".

This is one of the best shows of all time. It's nerdy and informative. It has a soundtrack that would make a seasoned porn star blush. And I'm pretty sure it comes mostly from Canada, with so much overt modesty and weird-brand-names in tact. (There are plenty of shows featuring fine American craftmanship, do not despair.)

They usually feature 3 items per half hour show. They walk you through the process of making each item, with a serious voice-over somewhat similar to Jon Miller's in both timbre and descriptive depth as well as lots of close shots of people's arms/fingers doing stuff or machines doing stuff in slow motion.

(Let me paraphrase (Roller's imitation of Jon Miller:"The pitcher had the ball, and then... he threw it! And the catcher, caught it!!") hilarious and dead on. I know lots of peope who hate Joe Morgan with a passion, but Jon Miller to me is the worst.)

So this is the basic flow and pace of the show.
They take the spools of cotton fiber...
Next, a worker smooths out the rough spots in the first mold to get a finer mold...
Heating the cakes to 450 degrees for 7 minutes ensures...
Seven layers of lacquer are added to protect the...
The attacher and the fastener produce 4,700 blibbits per minute.

And each one ends up with a slightly cheery statement of how this thing ends up in your house.

The simple descriptions are necessary because you have no idea what is going on. What's an extruder? I know now. Sorta. Heating and cooling are extremely important, so is moisture, air pockets, air bubbles, creases and dirt. Oddly enough, I find the shows about the simpler things more interesting. Creating tubes of aluminum foil is more interesting than how john deere tractors are made.

And don't forget the soundtrack.


Roller said...

I like the suggestion Rye. I will add it to my Tivo's list of things to record.

Your spot-on rant on the NFL/Senate could have been a Really? Why? for Coovo. Incidentally, you posted your post exactly 24 hours after Coovo posted his. Crazy, I know...

Roller said...

John Miller has awesome jowls. It would be awesome to get some video of him when he shivers.