Disappointments: things you thought you'd like but didn't

I was at an SF con during the Baker years and someone was selling British candy. Someone suggested they carry jelly babies and the gave this mystified “Why?” as an answer.

Note, too, that jelly babies are one reason why the Beatles stopped touring.

George Harrison mentioned that he liked jelly babies. So fans came up with the idea of throwing them at him. Only Americans didn’t understand the difference between jelly babies and jelly beans and only had access to the latter.

Jelly babies are soft, but jelly beans have a hard shell and when they hit you, they hurt. Harrison grew tired of being hit by them.

It’s not the main reason they stopped touring, but it did help sour George on the concept.

I’d got a medium fancy chefs’ knife from Kershaw Shun in about 2005, amazing 8" knife. I then went on to get the accompanying parking knife. I hate it. The balance is all wrong and I haven’t touched it in like 15 years.

Similarly, Turkish Delight can pretty much go to hell.

Really. Any evil witch-queens want to enlist my help in betraying my family, they’re going to have to make with the Reese’s Cups or something.

Once upon a time in the late 80s, my mom was asked (via phone cold-call, I believe) to be an early watcher for some TV pilot. We would be told to turn to a certain channel and watch the show at the designated time and then answer some questions about it. It seemed all very fun and exciting and almost like doing some civic duty to be part of what would potentially become a weeknight lineup.

The pilot sucked but whatever. I barely remember it at this point. What I do remember is that answering opinions about the show involved some lengthy booklet form that was about as entertaining as signing up for a health care plan. Later in life, I was asked by Nielsen for opinions and that also involved a ridiculous amount of paperwork along with nag letters if you didn’t return it in a timely fashion. I eventually just started pitching it all in the trash (well, I’d open the nag letters since they often included a buck or two of guilt money). And I once agreed to give some opinions about radio which turned into weekly phone calls of 20-30 minutes about shit. Happily, they eventually decided that they had all the 30-something white guy opinions they needed.

So being part of the media ratings system sounded a lot more fun and enjoyable in theory than it ever was in practice.

Wow, similar experience for me when they selected me as a candidate ten, a dozen or so years ago. I knew of Nielson ratings but when I received a mailing my first thought was “Cool! After hearing about these ratings I’m actually going to be one of “those people” that get to shape programming”. Just like you, I became dismayed at the amount of paperwork, with the amount of “work” in general. After a few nag letters, I called them and said I wasn’t interested, and offered to return the money, a small wad on crisp one dollar bills ( which I thought strange…cash in the mail and all ) but they said I can keep it.

In actuality, I was enthralled with the idea of “Big TV Inc” asking my opinion, but by that time, I had little to no use ( no use whatsoever being nearer to the truth ) for the ballyhooed prime-time TV from the big 3 networks. I should have said what I really felt and knew: That if “Big TV Inc” were to secretly monitor my TV viewing habits, and interpret them as typical of the populace, they would begin winding down to exit the TV business.

Sometime in the late 90s I had a similar “evaluate a TV pilot” experience. Mine was on a videotape, which they mailed to me. It played like a regular half-hour sitcom, and included commercials. I was instructed to watch the whole thing, including the commercials, and not to fast forward through any of it.

At a designated time, they called me and asked me about 45 minutes worth of questions. There were one or two questions about the pilot itself (which was God-awful), and then the rest of the questions were about the various commercials–how well I remembered them, what I thought of them, would they make me more or less likely to buy the product, etc. It soon became obvious that this wasn’t about the sitcom pilot at all, it was a survey about TV commercials. Talk about your bait and switch!

That sitcom has never seen the light of day, so far as I know, and you can all be pretty glad of that!

It makes sense that they would do it that way, though.

I was a market researcher for the first part of my career, and I’m pretty sure that I even know which market research company sent you that tape.

The service that my employer used for much of the '80s and '90s did something very similar, but they actually invited people to view TV pilots in a hotel ballroom; they had TVs set up, and would run two actual, older TV sitcom pilots (though neither had been picked by the networks), with commercials, over the course of an evening, in front of about 100 people (and they would do this, on the same evening, in three or four different cities).

And, yes, while they did ask a few questions about the pilots, most of the questions (and the object of the study) was to gauge reactions to the ads.

Like with a lot of literature, I get something different out of it when reading at different stages of my life. Perhaps more than any other set of books, my impression of the LOTR has changed over the years.

As a teenager, when it seems like everybody was telling me to read the Lord of the Rings, I just couldn’t get into them. Seemed boring.

But as a 30-year old with some life experience, and also in perhaps the right frame of mind, the books clicked and seemed to move swiftly, and were very interesting. I really enjoyed all 3 books. (NB this read-through, my first, occurred a full year or two before the 2001-2003 movie series came out.)

Looking at the books again, nearly 20 years after I’ve become accustomed to the movies, I am struck by how much is left to the imagination, and how much singing and poetry there is. An awful lot. But then, this creates an entire atmosphere that the movies often miss in their pursuit of cinematic action. There’s a really important scene with a “Pukel man” (IIRC), after announcing their intent to work with the good guys’ army enroute to Minas Tirith, where this wild man suddenly notices “The wind is changing!” which is kind of a big deal.

But as for my disappointment: I tried, and failed, to read the Game of Thrones books.

I bought the first and borrowed some others. They were really popular about 10 years ago. My mom even knows the author personally (in Santa Fe). But…I just couldn’t. I found it really annoying that all the characters were either awful or extremely put-upon, or both. I couldn’t identify with anyone. I realized that without doing this, without having a “sympathetic” anchor in the world of the book, I just couldn’t read it. Too painful.

That was pretty much my exact experience with GoT. I started reading the first book about 15 years ago – a few years before the TV series premiered, but it was already a very well-known and popular book series. I love well-written fantasy books, and so, I gave it a try.

I got about halfway through the book, and set it aside. As you note, it struck me that the few likeable/sympathetic characters kept having truly horrid things happen to them, and I just wasn’t enjoying reading it, at all.

Indeed the TV version is similar, but somehow I can sit through it more easily. Oh well.

The liquid is usually only tangentially related to the real thing, and doesn’t contain any actual truffle at all. Just a synthetic compound. Only really high-end truffle oil is actually made with any scrap of real truffle. Real truffle (and real truffle oil) has complex flavours.

His writing style is annoying, keeps doing long descriptions of every detail of the food, how many times can you describe ham with honey? And intricate detail of armour which can easily be summed up as “boiled leather”.

I think I learned to skip those chunks. “Oh he’s writing half a page on food and armour which has been boiled into shape again”.

Ah thanks.
(heh - not that I coud really afford the genuine stuff, I’d imagine.)

My gf went to a “salt tasting” a few years ago. She purchased a little container of salt with truffle shavings in it. From the price you’d think it was cocaine.

But I have to admit it was good.

I had the same experience and hoped that I could help shape the direction of rock radio, but that turned out to be impossible. They only asked my opinions on songs that they were already playing, and the clips were only 5-10 seconds long so even the few I didn’t know I couldn’t offer an opinion on.

You’re looking at around $30-$50 for a small bottle. But it goes a long way.

I’ll second this and also say - ANYTHING Kinder. I was very disappointed in their new candy bar a year or two ago. I saw or heard someone talking about it like it was the best thing ever. One bite was enough for me. Flavorless.

I’ve mentioned this one before.

A long time back I acquired a copy of The Phantom of the Opera - the 1920s version with the color sections in it. It was a pretty good copy, but the music was atrocious. I wanted to dub my own copy, with appropriate music – orchestral ballet pieces for the stage sequences, vocal recordings where appropriate, maybe selections from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical for the opening titles, and so forth.

And for the Phantom’s organ music, I wanted to avoid the overused cliche of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor and substitute something else. I liked the idea of using Rick Wakeman’s piece Judas Iscariot from the album Rick Wakeman’s Criminal Record. It sounds like the work of a psychotic organist.

I never did get to do my project, but shortly after I thought about it, I saw that there was a new restoration of the silent Phantom of the Opera , with a completely new score by Wakeman. Christopher Lee did the intro, from the basemen of the Paris Opera House. I saw the film as soon as it showed up at the art cinema (which we still had in those days). I looked forward to it with anticipation.

It was abysmal! Bad in every possible way. I didn’t buy the video when it became available.

Now you can get extremely good restorations with appropriate music, so there’s no need to dub your own. But none of them has the Phantom playing Judas Iscariot.