TV-PGOctober 9, 2002: It's (apparently) official: Macworld Expo is returning to Boston. Meanwhile, Microsoft must be kidding with its new "Ms. M.o.X.i.e." contest, and free iPods abound for motorcycle purchasers and one lucky contest winner...
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From the writer/creator of AtAT, a Pandemic Dad Joke taken WAYYYYYY too far

Big Dig? WHAT Big Dig? (10/9/02)

WOOOOOO-HOOOOOOOO!!! Yes! Yes yes YES! Awwwwwww YEAH! Yeah, buddy buddy buddy! Yee-haww!

This is the sound, ladies and gentlemen, emitted by a Boston-based online soap opera production staff upon learning that negotiations are complete, and our modest little burg has emerged victorious in its struggle to wrest its rightful booty back from the clutches of the Big Apple. By which we mean, of course, that six years after its defection to New York City in 1998, the mid-year Macworld Expo will indeed finally return to Beantown come the summer of 2004, as reported in a Boston Herald article pointed out by faithful viewer Zalix. For the full effect, you'd also need to see us doing our Funky, Funky Butt Dance of Joy while deliriously singing snippets of "Celebration" and, inexplicably, "It's Raining Men" at the tops of our voices. (No, QuickTime footage will not be made available. Deal with it.)

Note, however, that as we've stated numerous times in the past, we have nothing in particular against New York; in truth, we love the place. We've had a blast visiting the city multiple times ever since the Expo bailed on Boston five years back. The museums kick much booty. The Southern Fried Cutlet at Kate's Corner in the Village haunts our dreams on a semi-regular basis. The Chocolate Ambrosia at Zenith on 8th Avenue is the cocoa-derived equivalent of a brick to the temple (in a good way). And where else on earth could we ever have seen Luke Perry of 90210 fame cavorting in his underwear while Dick Cavett swore a blue streak at out-of-towners? (The Rocky Horror Show on Broadway, or just a random sighting on the street in Midtown? That's for us to know and you to find out.) Our only complaint-- aside from the expense, the traffic, and occasionally the smell, pretty much all of which applies in various degrees to Boston, too-- is that it's not here.

Yes, as we've also stated on numerous occasions in the past, we're lazy and cheap. And a Boston-based Expo means that we get to forgo the airfare, hotel, taxi, and restaurant bills incurred by a yearly New York trip, and you all know what that means: more cash on hand for scratch tickets and strip clubs. Let's hear it for the city of Boston and other involved parties for their blindingly desperate concessions to IDG World Expo in return for moving the show back here, to wit: use of Beacon Hill's Parkman House and the Boston Public Library courtyard; banner advertising on city lamp posts; and free rent at the brand-spankin'-new convention hall in South Boston. Well, it's not actually new just yet-- it's still under construction. In fact, we drive past it every weekday as Katie, AtAT's resident fact-checker and Goddess of Minutiae, sallies forth to her day job. But we're sure it'll be lovely when it actually exists. (Added bonus: the Expo will be just a couple of blocks away from Katie's office. Heck, she won't even need to use any vacation time.)

Note that the move doesn't happen until the year after next, so 2003 will be a last hurrah of sorts for Macworld New York. We assume the city will be mature about this and won't intentionally sour next year's shindig just because of the future change of venue. In truth, we can't help but feel a teensy bit bad for New York, especially given all that it's been through in the past year-- and we can definitely sympathize with New York-dwelling Mac users who now face the prospect of dealing with a Boston trip every year. It's a hassle, we know.

But that won't stop us from saying "WOOOOO-HOOOOOO!!! Yeah, baby! Weee-haaaaa!..."

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I Also Want World Peace (10/9/02)

Man, we knew we were sleep-deprived, but who knew that by taking a day off to catch up on some Z's we'd wind up sleeping until April 1st? Apparently we were even more tired than we thought. Overall, we can't say much for this year's crop of joke postings, though. They all look pretty much just like every other day's postings, so we just aren't feeling the laughs. Except for Microsoft's April Fool's Day posting, of course, which we're forced to admit is so marvelously absurd and over-the-top, it actually makes up for all the other lame attempts out there.

You've seen it, right? The "Search for Ms. M.o.X.i.e.," as chortlingly passed on to us by faithful viewer James? Microsoft actually put up a joke page claiming that the company had launched a contest called "Ms. M.o.X.i.e." ("Microsoft Office v.X Integrated Experience," an acronym so forced it sounds like it came out of a Play-Doh Fun Factory), in which the company allegedly seeks to give away $10,000 and a new iMac (complete with a copy of Office v.X, natch) to a "savvy businesswoman" who uses "Microsoft Office for Mac to stay ahead of the pack."

Now, in competent hands, there isn't necessarily anything wrong or offensive about a contest designed to encourage the female entrepreneurial drive. But the fact that Microsoft is purportedly seeking a savvy, "agile" (ahem) Ms. Moxie is masterful enough, particularly since the last documented non-parodic use of the word "moxie" to refer to anything but a near-undrinkable beverage was by a grizzled ex-prospector back in aught-seven. On top of that, though, it was truly inspired of Microsoft to offer up, as an example of the sort of hardcore entrepreneurial woman full of "gutsy determination" (we swear we're not making up these quotes) they're looking for, a photo of Shoshanna Lonstein. In a sundress. No sirree, no business suits here; granted, Shoshanna's business is a fashion line, but still-- are we the only ones flashing on Barbie saying "Math is hard"?

And correct us if we're wrong, but we're pretty sure Shoshanna was Jerry Seinfeld's scandal-bait teenage sweetie-pie whom the comedian had dated when she was 16 and he was about a kajillion years older. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) Not to impugn Ms. Lonstein's kill-or-be-killed business instincts, of course, but it was a masterstroke for Microsoft to choose, as a businesswoman poster girl, a woman that it could legitimately show posing in a sundress and whom at least some people might accuse of having exploited her celebrity-dating notoriety to get her fashions into the stores. Pure genius!

So anyway, at the conclusion of this alleged contest, Microsoft will "crown" (once again, we swear-- their word, not ours) some other gutsy entrepreneurial broad (okay, that one was ours) Ms. M.o.X.i.e., and she'll walk away with the ten grand, the free iMac, and presumably a tiara, a sash, and a beautiful bouquet of roses. To think that a major multibillion-dollar company could launch a women-only contest just brimming with stuff straight out of the "Don't" column of the corporate sensitivity training handbook-- why, the satire is simply hilarious. Kudos to Microsoft on an April Fool's prank well done. About the only improvements we'd suggest are the liberal use of the words "gal" and "broad," and an additional entry requirement for a glossy 8x10 of the contestant, sundress optional. Maybe next year?

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More 'Pods For The Asking (10/7/02)

In the past we've mentioned several straightforward, simple ways to score a free iPod-- such as performing at the Grammy Awards, becoming an Academy Awards nominee or presenter, or, far more prosaically, signing up for business-class DSL from Speakeasy. Well, it turns out that there are a couple more options for all of you Free 'Pod seekers out there... options that slipped right under our radar, possibly because we're too busy listening to the iPods we already have to notice all the ways to get more of them for free. But we're here today to remedy that grievous sin of omission, so please don't hit us. We bruise easily.

First up, faithful viewer Dave kindly pointed out that BMW is giving away free 5 GB iPods with every F 650 CS motorcycle they sell. This is presumably so you can enjoy the best of Steppenwolf while riding, thus being the only person in a two-block radius not listening to the noise from your bike's engine. (Not that we know anything about motorcycles, of course-- for all we know, the F 650 CS might be comparatively silent. Heck, we can almost guarantee that it's at least no louder than our dual-800 MHz Power Mac. "ARE YOU SURE IT'S ON?! IT'S WHISPER-QUIET!!")

And, of course, now that the senility and the sleep deprivation are combining to form a fizzy potent brew of forgetfulness, we completely neglected to point out that Small Dog Electronics (an AtAT advertiser from Day One) is having its own iPod giveaway later this month-- although there are some significant differences between BMW's promotion and Small Dog's. For one thing, Small Dog is giving away a super-deluxe 20 GB iPod, which means you get the solid-state touch-wheel, the nifty earbud remote, and the ability to cram an extra three thousand songs in your pocket. For another, with BMW's promotion, you have to shell out several grand for a motorcycle, which isn't necessarily a problem if you're looking for light transportation, but it's potentially extraneous (not to mention a little bulky) if you just want the iPod. For Small Dog's giveaway, on the other hand, all you need to do is register. Of course, there's that little distinction between "sure thing, free with purchase" and "random drawing, odds of one in thousands," but hey, why would you want to dwell on that?

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