Battlestar Galactica: Pegasus
In this week's podcast, series producer Ron Moore reveals that they debated super-sizing this episode of BSG
. Basically, the show has about 15 more minutes of footage which turned out to be too much for an hour but not enough to pad it out to an hour and a half. So what does this mean? Well, it means we have to wait for the deluxe, extended version when season two comes out on DVD sometime next year. I look forward to seeing the extended version because I think it's going to be one of those things where more time will allow a great episode to become even better.
If you're a fan of the old Battlestar,
this is probably the only storyline that has been screaming out for re-imagining since the series started. I don't think it's overstating things to say that the 2-part story "The Living Legend" is the best of the original BSG
and probably one of the most fondly remembered stories from the original series' run. Part of that had to do with the fact that Lloyd Bridges was just great as Commander Cain.
I like that the story here did a nice little homage to the original. In the original, Cain was obesssed with chasing the Cylons and delivering a strike against them. (I can't recall the exact details as it's been a while since I've seen the original episodes in question) And we hear hints of this here in the dialogue about chasing Cylon ships around and trying to find out their secret. It's a small thing but it's a nice little throw-back to the original show.
But, back to 2005.
After two episodes that addressed the sense of futility and exhaustion the fleet is facing, it was interesting to have their prayers answered. But as the old saying goes, be careful what you wish for. Pegasus
shows up and things are immediately thrown into disarray.
At one point, Adama cautions Tigh to try and remember the context of what has happened on board Pegasus
(there are rumors that Cain shot and killed her second in command on the bridge for defying her orders). It's interesting that Adama is willing to give Cain this benefit of the doubt but she won't return the favor. I think part of that is that Adama sees the shades of gray and Cain is very much a by the book, things are black and white kind of leader. She refuses to see that maybe Lee is the best choice for Galactica
CAG and instead sees only the potential conflict that Lee being Adama's son can bring.
Also, our heroes on Galactica
look like saints in their treatment of Sharon as compared to what Pegasus
has done to the Six copy they have in their brig. Six's anger at her counterpart being brutalized so is amazingly well done. Also, you have to wonder if Pegasus
's crew won't pick up that fact that Baltar is a bit too odd for his own good. I think Galactica
's crews can dismiss it as, "Oh that's just that wacky Baltar" but will it go unnoticed and unaddressed.
The scenes where the Pegasus
crew interrogate Cylon-Sharon were pretty intense, all leading up to the--holy-frak,-he's-taking-off-his-belt-cause-he's-gonna-do-what-I-think-he's-gonna-do moment. Meanwhile, we see Adama do the slow burn as every decision he's made is counter-acted and questioned by Cain. Until Adama reaches a breaking point--basically, his family is threatened--and he takes action.
And the series leaves us hanging until January. Ugh...it's going to be a long wait.
Looking back, I think they should've gone with a 2-hour season premiere episode. If we had enough material to fill in that much of the time down in the vault with Locke, then surely we should have gone two hours last week. From a pacing standpoint, it just seems to make more sense to me. But then again, I don't have my own hit TV show, so what do I know? I'm just that guy who watches too much TV for his own good.
Anyway, moving on to this week's episode. We find out the fate of the crew of the raft. They're out at sea, being threatened by something--whether or not it's a sea monster or the long-lost relative of Jaws, we're not quite sure. Michael is able to wound it or kill it by shooting it. Which if you think about it, while you're saving Sawyer that killing of the creature by shooting it is only going to encourage more sharks to come into the area...and you're running low of bullets. I'm just saying this is probably not the best long-term idea when it comes to surviving out on what's left of the raft.
Meanwhile, we get fewer answers than ever to the confrontation down in the vault. Desmond is looking for someone...but we're not sure who. He also thinks that the island is contaminated somehow and that's why he has to say in his underground bunker. Now, after seeing Serenity Wednesday night, I began to wonder if a key plot point from the movie was going to be repeated here...I won't say what it was so as to not ruin Serenity for those of you who haven't seen it. But it does make a bit of sense, especially when you wonder just what the numbers mean when typed into the computer and then you hit the execute button. What exactly is being done and what would happen if you didn't do it? And why do they only have a Commodore 64 down there and Desmond isn't playing Ghosts and Goblins
? I mean, everyone who had a Commodore had that game...
But I digress. We got no answers this week, but I wasn't expecting any big revelations either. The flashbacks of Michael losing Walt both times and his reactions to it were OK but not exactly breaking new ground. Again, the flashbacks have been really chasing the episode where we find out Locke was in a wheelchair pre-island for some time now. We've learned things about the characters but nothing quite as jaw-dropping and series-defining as that episode. And honestly, I keep hoping for something like that. And once again, they tease me by putting Michelle Rodriguez in the opening credits but she is no where in sight....maybe next week!
Alias: Prophet Five
A new season of Alias
begins and I faithfully tune in, hoping against all hope that maybe, just maybe the show can right the ship somehow. And after months of hearing conflicting rumors as to the fate of Michael Vaughn and wondering about the car crash, I have to admit I was kind of curious.
And the thing is--the show had me for about fifteen minutes. The opening where Vaughn is taken and we question his loyalty, even seeing him admit to having another name had me thinking, "Wow, this could actually turn out to be pretty interesting." Seeing the APO team work outside the rules to find out the truth was a nice touch and, again, they had me for that period of time. Then, suddenly the revelations start coming fast and furious and my eyes start rolling up into my head as I repeatedly say, "No, but seriously.....you're kidding right?" over and over again.
Let me see if I've got this one--Vaughn's dad was involved in some kind of quest to translate/decrypt this book about Prophet Five. Apparently it was so super cool dangerous that he went into hiding and changed his identity was well as that of his young son. OK, so I guess that's OK, but you don't think the CIA would have maybe, just maybe uncovered that on a background check when Vaughn applied to work there. I'm just saying security should be a bit tighter. Also, the idea that every destination in the world is only five minutes via plane on Alias continues as the main bad guy for this week is able to hunt down Vaughn and Syd in South Africa after being in D.C. not ten minutes before. Seriously--come on, Alias
at least have a shred of plausability! A shred--it's all I ask.
Over the course of the episode, Vaughn and Syd find out they're pregnant, have a made for Emmy nod moment in the car right before Vaughn goes to the big CIA in the sky (oh yeah, and if you think he's really dead, raise your hand....yeah, didn't think so), and have a touching death scene. OK, I've gotta ask--how incompetent were these bad guys that they can't kill Vaughn by firing off several dozen rounds into him. I'm sorry, but most mere mortals would be dead after the cascade of bullets they took..and why do the baddies leave Syd alive? I mean, are they new to this super-spy game and think--well, that crazy woman can't hurt us. Seriously, have they seen this show or did they just watch old Bond movies to figure out how to be bad guys?
So, yeah, I guess you could say I was frustrated with this show. We're in what should (hopefully) be the final season and since we've completely trashed the Rimbaldi plotline last year, we've got to come up with a new uber-conspiracy. In a lot of ways it reminds me of The X-Files
in the final two years after they'd revealed all the details of the conspiracy and had to come up with a new arc to keep things going. Yeah, that didn't exactly work there either...
posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/30/2005 09:08:00 AM
Over the years, every time Joss Whedon has announced he’s going to do something new, daring, radical and different to push the envelope, I’ve always been the first in line to say “Go, Joss, go!” while secretly wondering if this is the time he’s going to go too far and, perhaps, fail spectacularly. I wasn’t sure he could pull of a musical episode, but he did. I wasn’t sure about the experiment with an episode that would feature no dialogue for 45 minutes of screen time, but it worked. I even wondered if an entire story told at a ballet would work as well as it did, but wow, he pulled that one off too.
So, you’d think at this point, I’d just sit back, put my blind faith in Joss and just go with it.
But when I heard that Joss Whedon planned to make a big-screen continuation of the too-soon cancelled series Firefly, my reaction was exactly what it’s been every other time I’ve heard about Joss making the next big leap—damn, that’s cool, but can he pull it off.
Going into Serenity, I have to admit I was a bit concerned. Other TV shows have made the jump to the silver screen, but a lot of times you’re left feeling like all you got was an 2-hour episode of the TV show you loved but at the cost of having to go down to the local cinema to see it.
For example, as good a movie as Star Trek: Generations was, there are times when it felt like it was trying too hard to call attention to itself, saying “Look, I’m a movie, dammit!” Suddenly, the Enterprise was artistically lit and we had Data getting emotions, both of which I enjoyed but why couldn’t they have been done on the small screen? Or The X-Files movie where an entire season built up to the supposedly huge revelations we were going to get on the big-screen, only to have it come off as little more than an elaborate mythology episode only with more scope and bigger sets.
So, I have to admit that as much as I was looking forward to Serenity, previous movies had left me wondering and doubting that Joss Whedon could pull it off.
Again, you’d think I’d’ve learned by now.
So, I’ve said it before and I hopefully won’t have to say it again—Joss, I am sorry I doubted you.
OK, let me warn you right here that if you’re looking for a wholly unbiased review of Serenity, you might want to look elsewhere. I’m just saying I’m likely to be a bit more gushing and fan-boy than a lot of other reviewers out there, though I am going to attempt to be objective about the film. Also, if you’ve not seen the film and are a big Firefly fan, I would suggest not reading this review until after you’ve seen the movie as I’m going to give away big-time SPOILERS for the whole thing.
You have been warned.
When the news that Firefly was cancelled came out a few years ago, I have to admit I was pretty disappointed. Not just because I loved the show and not just because I thought Kaylee was hot. (Though that was part of it) I was disappointed it never caught on enough for it have time to realize the potential of the groundwork laid in those first 11 or so episodes we got to see on FOX.
Instead, we were left to wonder what might have been.
And then, along came DVD sales and Joss’s refusal to let it die. And Universal Pictures took notice and gave Joss a second-chance for Firefly to live on.
Or was it thank goodness?
See, Joss’s shows are those that reward viewers who watch and pay attention. He likes to tell long, involved story arcs. So, going in to Serenity, I wondered how he’d walk the fine line between appeasing the long-time fans that have worn out their DVDs and the non-fan who might be accompanying we obsessive fans or had their interest piqued by the marketing campaign for this film.
The good news—if you’ve not ever seen Firefly, you can walk into this one and the movie gives you enough information to understand what’s happening. And the better news—for Firefly fans, the way the information is presented is incorporated well into the narrative so you don’t feel like you’re getting a primer on Firefly and wasting a few minutes of valuable screen time. Don’t get me wrong here—there are things that crop up with no explanation to non-fans that we obsessive Whedon-ites will get and they won’t. But I never got the feeling that these events were unfolding in such a way that a non-fan would feel left out or like they’d come to the party late. Specifically, I refer to how Book is presented in the film. If you know who he is and what he was in the series, then his scenes take on a bit more resonance as a fan. If you don’t know, his scenes are still important but you won’t feel like they’re going down a side-street to include a character from the show who maybe shouldn’t be in the film.
Another concern I had—would Serenity turn into a Next Generation movie? By this I mean, you’ve got the top tier characters, all of whom are going to get a significant amount of screen time (Picard, Data, Worf) and then you’ve got the supporting cast who might get one isolated scene if they’re lucky (Crusher). Firefly had a larger cast than TNG did, so this could be a concern. In this case, it wasn’t. Yes, the emphasis in this one is firmly Mal, River and Simon, but there are enough other threads running that you get a nice character moment or two with each one (Kaylee does steal the show with two of the best lines in the movie). I think part of this is that Joss’s strength is writing characters and finding great dialogue for them. The dialogue in this one is, as usual, imminently quotable and well worth paying attention to. Joss not only gives great lines to the usual cast ,but also to the new characters created for this movie.
The story manages to bring up a lot of elements from the show—Reevers, what happened to River and why, the Alliance hunting her and why they want her back—into the story and move them forward. Questions are brought up and the answered. When we find out why the Alliance wants River back so badly, it makes sense. When we find out what they’ve done and how they helped create the Reevers, it’s a jaw-dropping moment. It’s one of those where all these plot elements come together and you go—of course, that makes perfect sense.
I won’t give away the big revelations—it’s more fun to go in unaware of them as I did.
The movie is also significant in that, like Generations, it kills off some popular characters. Yes, you read that right—characters. Both Book and Wash die in the course of the movie. And there were time I doubted anyone else would make it out alive—esp. poor Simon and River. But unlike Generations where one of the selling points of the film was to find out the final fate of Kirk Serenity has kept this in the dark. And going back to my Star Trek analogy, their deaths are more Spock than Kirk in terms of emotional impact. I really felt sad to see these characters die and pass out of the Firefly universe, as I did with Spock’s death in Star Trek II. With Kirk’s death, it just felt like a selling point to a film instead of something that naturally came out of the story being told. Yes, I was sad when Kirk died, but I honestly still get tears when I see Spock’s death. And I got a bit misty here, esp. when Wash died. That one I never saw coming….and it makes me wish we had a TV show to see just how Zoe would react in the coming weeks.
Of course, all the trademark Whedon bits are here. There is his trademark dialogue and the ability to switch from horror to comedy effortlessly and naturally. His direction is good and apart from one scene that shouts out, “Look, I’m a movie!” he does well and it’s unobtrusive. Also, I give the movie credit that it has special effects but they aren’t effects that say, “Look at me and how cool I am.” About the only part that comes close is when Mal and company lead a fleet of Reevers to take on the Alliance so they can spread the word on what the Alliance has done. I found myself comparing this to the opening of Revenge of the Sith earlier this year..but finding Serenity coming up stronger. The battle here is easier to follow and feels less like a video-game than Sith’s did. Also, there’s a bit more of an edge-of-your-seat suspense feeling to this sequence than we saw in Sith.
And Joss does throw in a few bones for his long time fans. We get a nice homage to the Buffy-bot from seasons five and six. Jayne uses Vera, which was a plot point in the show. And I am sure there are others that I will catch up repeat viewings. Because this one is worth repeat viewing. It’s just that good—from the visual to the dialogue to the characters, it all works.
I don’t think it’s too far to go out on a limb and say Serenity is the best movie I’ve seen all year. And while it is self-contained and it does wrap up all its plot threads, Joss leaves the door open for more movies or (better yet) the show coming back to the small screen. I am hopeful that Joss will get the chance to tell us more stories from this universe. It’s compelling, intriguing and entertaining.
Joss Whedon has done it again.
I should never have doubted him.
And if you want a counterpoint, check out Sarah's review that she posted after seeing it.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/29/2005 02:05:00 PM |
Last night was the blogger preview for the new Joss Whedon masterpiece Serenity. (I will go into a gushing, fanboy review of the film later, I promise!). Well, at least I'd heard it was the blogger preview but it appears that bloggers is defined as also "listeners of 102.9 the Buzz" and fellow Browncoats (the adopted name of the Firefly faithful).
OK, so I admit I was a little psyched to see this movie...in a way I haven't been really excited about seeing a movie since Spider-Man 2 came out last year. Because, yes, I'm a Firefly snob. I watched it when it was on TV and had taped every episode because, well, I'm just that way. I was one of those fans who helped the first set of pre-order sets sell out on Amazon in less than a day. I really wanted to go to this year's DragonCon to meet Joss Whedon and the cast behind the movie, but then Joss cancelled and life got in the way, so I didn't end up going. Oh yeah, and I spent a good bit of time looking for the three-issue limited run comic book that leads up to the movie.
But I don't really have a problem. Seriously, I can quit anytime. No, really I can.
I arrived out at the theater early because, well, the instructions I got from the Universal marketing department said we had to be there early and just cause I got an e-mail didn't guarantee that I'd get in the show. So, I figured there must be this huge mass of fans just waiting to see the movie--or more likely a whole bunch of us bloggers who can't resist a free movie on a Wednesday night--and I made plans to get out there, eat dinner and then go to the theater early. Now, after reading about how I had to promote the movie on my blog and bring the e-mail printed out because if you don't you won't get in, I thought security to get passes would be a bit tighter than it was. I was fully expecting full body cavity searches to take place to ensure we weren't somehow going to pirate the film out to the Internet. Instead, it turned out to be rather anti-climatic when the guy handing out passes didn't even look at my e-mail or ask who I was but just handed me a ticket. In an ironic twist of events, my cousin who attended the movie with me, also got a free pass and she doesn't even have a blog. Of course, she is a female and the guy handing out the tickets is male, so you do the math. But seriously...all she had to do was hold out her hand and grab one..which we got to give to my good friend Sarah, who made the same mistake I did last week of trusting Yahoo Maps to give you good directions somewhere. Thankfully the waiter at Rafferty's was kind enough to give her directions on my cell phone.
Now, when we were standing in line, I had the first of my "wow, I'm sure glad I didn't bring someone who barely knows me" moments of the evening. See, when I heard I could get two passes (actually each pass was for two people) I thought--there are some lovely women I know who I'd enjoy spending time with and getting to know better, so maybe I could ask them. Then I thought--yeah, you're one of the biggest Firefly goobers out there and if she made the mistake of, oh I don't know, speaking to me during the film, that might not bode well for a potential second-date. I mean, you want to make a good first impression and I didn't figure this would be the best way to do that. Standing in line, waiting for theater guy to get back with passes, there were some people in front of us who were very serious about the movie...as in more serious than I was. One of them had blue gloves that they were ready to pull out and threaten theater employees with if we didn't get our passes. Also, there were threats to "go all River on their asses" if we didn't get into the screening. (If you've seen the show or movie, you'll get both of those...well, except the blue hands who don't show up in the film.)
Of course, we have nothing on the Star Wars fans....
After getting our passes, Rebecca (my cousin) and I went and into line to wait to get in. At this point, I joked that it'd be a shame if someone was driving up on a Wednesday night to catch a showing of The Man and left thinking the lines were too long. Actually, standing there, I don't think we saw one person walk up and buy a ticket for any of the other shows at the Regal Hollywood 27.
Since I knew there would be fellow Nashville bloggers there, I decided to make it easy to find me and I wore an orange shirt. Well, that and coupled with my still deep well of pride that we came back to beat LSU Monday night. Right away, I met Katherine from Just Another Pretty Farce, who went far more subtle with her prop to identify herself by bringing a book. I met her husband Tim and we chatted a bit in line until Sarah and her friend Carrie Anne finally arrived at the theater. I also met Pam from PKNail.
We were finally allowed inside the theater and went on the Bataan death march to the farthest auditorium from the front of the theater. Which is OK, but I think I saw St Bernards with barrels around their necks running around out there in case anyone passed out from the long march. We found seats, got settled and then...well, it was time to wait some more. Cause they let us really early--I think we got seated by about 7 and the movie was scheduled to start at 7:30. The guys from the Buzz were there and attempted to entertain us by being funny (they weren't) and handing out free stuff such as t-shirts and passes to another movie next week. Of course, they handed out the passes by putting them down front and I was up close to the top so by the time I got there, the passes were all gone. Headed down to get a pass, Katherine asked me if I had no shame to which I responded, "You've read my blog..."
After my humilating defeat to get free passes, I stopped by to chat with a group of bloggers who'd come out. It was Pam, Katherine, Tim, and two new people I hadn't met yet--Pink Kitty and Elena. Katherine and I discussed last week's BSG (which I swear to y'all I will do my commentary at some point this week!) and other SciFi topics (such as which BSG set is the one to buy) I pointed out that I was once again mad at SciFi for screwing with us--last week they announced "Oh make sure you don't miss the last two minutes and we're gonna run over two minutes on BSG on Friday!" If by run over, you mean end early and then make you wait to see a clips package telling you all the shows would return in January. First you cancel Farscape, then you pass on the new Dr Who and now this! I tell you, if not for BSG, I'd be rioting in the streets, SciFi.
We looked around for other bloggers who'd said they'd be there, but not everyone went the obvious distinguish yourself in public route I did so we don't know if they were there. I did look for Dana from Ain't No Rodeo Queen but never saw her there before the movie started and we never did see A.C. Maybe next time we should all agree to wear a button or something....
But, anyway, after all that build-up, it was finally about time to start the movie. I went back to my seat and got settled, announcing to Sarah, CarrieAnne and Rebeeca that my watch said it was 7:29 and 50 seconds, so the lights should go down in ten seconds cause it was all about me. The lights went down twenty seconds later...thus only reinforcing that assumption.
We got a preview for Doom (dear heavens why?!?) and then...it was time for Serenity.
I will have a long, gushing, I love Joss Whedon review later....but suffice it to say--I loved it. Best movie I've seen this year, hands down.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/29/2005 07:53:00 AM |
Sept 24 to Oct 1 is Banned Book Week, according to the American Library Association
. Their web site encourages you to celebrate your freedom by reading a banned book. I participate in Banned Book Week last year and I plan to drop by the library later today and pick up a book or two from the ALA's list of the top 100 challenged books
of the past ten years. Also, here's another list of books
that have been challenged or banned at one time in history. A good list of choices there as well.
Will anyone else be joining me in reading a banned book?
posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/28/2005 12:31:00 PM |
Not even 24 hours after the Vols' amazing comeback in Baton Rouge and ESPN is giving credit not to Tennessee but saying it was an LSU collapse. I was at the Y yesterday and they had on that idiot show Around the Horn and the guys on there can't pile on the "oh LSU blew the whole thing, let's not give Tennessee an iota of credit because we're ESPN" thing. And here's the scary part--Lee Corso wasn't even involved!
Oh good grief, ESPN, can't we just enjoy a moment in the sun for ONE STINKIN' DAY before you idiots begin your usual "we hate all things Tennessee" campaign?!?
Meanwhile, Vanderbilt fans....Ok, I get that you guys are 4-0 and we're all really happy for you. But, let's examine the facts there--who have you beat? OK, you beat down Richmond, but you were supposed to do that. And you had some dramatic fourth-quarter heroics by Jay Cutler to win the first three games. But those were Wake Forest, Ole Miss and Arkansas. Not exactly what I'd call the cream of the crop of their respective conferences. And I get that you're confident about this week's game against MTSU.
But to steal a line from Lee Corso, "Not so fast my friends."
I can't tell you how many people I heard yesterday saying, "When Vandy goes into the LSU game 5-0 we should upset them. After all, they lost to Tennessee." OK, first of all-let's not overlook MTSU guys. I know you're 16 1/2 point favorites but let's face it--MTSU is in a corner. Their coach is on the hot seat and a win against you guys would at least quiet down some of his critics and might save his job. Also, last time I looked, MTSU beat y'all the last couple of times you played.
Second thing--assuming you win the MTSU game, being 5-0 does not mean you will beat LSU. Yeah, you've got Jay Cutler who is having a good season, but I am not sure you have the overall depth to compete for four quarters with LSU. Yes, it's at home for you guys but honestly, when you can't sell out a 40,000 seat stadium when you're going for 4-0 and the game ain't anywhere on local TV, you don't have home field advantage. And after seeing how raucous Tiger Stadium can be, I don't think LSU will be intimidated by any noise factor you bring to the table.
Now, I don't begrude you your pride in your start. Hell, if UT was 3-0 right now, I'd be unbearable to be around (OK, more so than usual...) But you're a long way from 5-0 and an even longer way from beating LSU. I'd love to see both happen as I think it makes for a good story and it only helps show the SEC is the BEST conference in all of college football, hands down. But let's not go putting the cart before the horse, OK?
posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/28/2005 08:09:00 AM |
Joss Whedon, the Oscar® - and Emmy - nominated writer/director responsible for the worldwide television phenomena of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, ANGEL and FIREFLY, now applies his trademark compassion and wit to a small band of galactic outcasts 500 years in the future in his feature film directorial debut, Serenity. The film centers around Captain Malcolm Reynolds, a hardened veteran (on the losing side) of a galactic civil war, who now ekes out a living pulling off small crimes and transport-for-hire aboard his ship, Serenity. He leads a small, eclectic crew who are the closest thing he has left to family –squabbling, insubordinate and undyingly loyal.
You'd think the sense of euphoria at getting to go see Serenity at a special blogger sneak-preview on Wednesday evening would have worn off by now....
Which can only means that by Wednesday, I will be little more than a blathering idiot.
I am looking forward to seeing some of the Nashville Is Talking bloggers out at the event. I promise I will not dress up like any of the cast from the show. But I will be the one blathering like an idiot about getting to see it early. Yes, I really am that excited about it.
Note: This was originally posted on Saturday, but I've relinked it to today....just cause I'm that excited about it...oh yeah and part of my getting the free tickets is promoting the movie here. Not that I wasn't going to anyway....I love all things Joss Whedon.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/28/2005 03:31:00 AM |
Katherine Cobble is reporting that fellow Nashville Blogger Sharon Cobb's surgery yesterday went well.
She's come out of surgery without any complications, which is a huge answer to all of the prayers floating in the blogosphere. The doctors didn't see any signs of cancer remaining and have sent the excised tissues to pathology to have the growths analyzed. The fact that she's been given a clean bill of health is just amazing.I'm glad to hear that the surgery went well for Sharon and I pray for her a speedy recovery.
They plan on keeping her for 3 or 4 more days. She's experiencing Hendrix and (hopefully) Terrapin Station as they were meant to be received--through the purple haze of the morphine drip.
As excited as I am about UT winning, this is even better news....
posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/27/2005 07:42:00 AM |
So it wasn't exactly a comeback on the scale of the Miracle at South Bend.
But it terms of a season, it could have been.
The Vols travelled to Baton Rouge last night and played two very different halves of football. In the first half, we couldn't get out of our own way fast enough, spotting LSU a 21-0 lead at the half. But thankfully, there are two halves in football. (Or in this case two halves and an overtime period) And in the second half, the Vols delivered. An offense that hadn't scored in forever finally got on track with Rick Cluasen at quarterback. Now, a few weeks ago, I berated UT for giving the number 16 jersey to Clausen becuase it was supposed to be given to special players. I said at the time Clausen wasn't one...I take it all back. After last night's performance and show of leadership, Clausen definitely deserves to be wearing the number 16. The offense suddenly clicked and the defense was stout in the second half, giving up only 56 yards to LSU after getting ripped in the first half. But hey--the offense did no favors, basically giving LSU 14 points in the first half.
And suddenly, the Vols are in it. We tie it up late in the game and in overtime, Gerald Riggs rips off run after run against a tired, worn down LSU offense and carries the ball in on third-and-one from the half yard line to seal the deal in overtime. This was after a superb effort on defense to hold LSU to only a field goal in their possession.
Needless to say, I was pretty happy. OK, I was very, very happy to see the Vols win. And not only win but get the offense going. In the first half, I wondered--we hear so much about our offensive line but yet they aren't making any plays..what's up? In the second half, they took over the game, giving Clausen the time he needed to make plays. And the receivers finally started making some plays. It was if the lights all suddenly went on for UT on all sides of the ball and as the game went on, you could see UT waking up and being the team we all hoped they'd be when the season started.
And let me just give Rick Clausen some credit. After the game on live, national TV he praised his teammates not once but twice. For all he's been through off the field, I thought he showed some real class and what it means to be a Volunteer and a team player.
As for the ESPN coverage, it was hit or miss. Bob Davies actually had some nice things to say about UT during the lead up to the second half. He resisted Todd Blacklidge-itis in not piling on UT or having too big a love fest with the other team. Now, I will admit that I was irritated that he couldn't pronounce Clausen's last name right twice in a row. It's Clausen not Clowson. I noticed Brent Musburger had this problem on ABC a few years ago when UT played Miami, but I chalk that up to Musburger being an idiot more than anything else.
And here's the thing...I'm happy as a clam that we went in and upset LSU. I understand that this game was a big deal for them after all the area has faced. But, by the third time we got to the "please give to the poor LSU students" thing, I was over hearing about it. Yes, I understand you've been through a lot and you need all the help you can get. But let's not have it crammed down our throats anymore. And certainly, I'll give ESPN some credit that they dropped this angle in the second half, but in the first half it was a bit much.
Of course, as a UT fan, I can't sit and enjoy this one too long. Yes, we had a dramatic, emotional win over a top five team. And Ole Miss sits out there, waiting on Saturday. Too often in these cases, the Vols have had a letdown....I hope this doesn't prove true on Saturday.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/27/2005 07:09:00 AM |
I've seen and heard a lot of chatter from the Nashville bloggers about going to see Serenity Wednesday evening.
And I wonder--who is going to be there?
So, speak up in the comments and let me know who's gonna be there. I'd love to meet as many of y'all in person as I can and say howdy before the movie starts.
And yes, I know...this is a shameless troll for comments. But hey.....it's for a good cause!
posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/26/2005 03:32:00 PM |
We interrupt the usual happy-go-lucky nature of this blog for a few real world prayer requests and concerns.
The first is for fellow Nashville blogger Sharon Cobb. Sharon is undergoing surgrey today for ovarian cancer. The good news--she insisted upon the test for it and they caught it early. But prayers are still needed for Sharon as she recovers. Katherine Cobble will be passing along updates to us as she (Katherine) gets them. Sharon, I know you can't read this now, but please know that there are prayers coming your way and best wishes for a speedy recovery.
The second is for my grandfather. I've talked about a few times before that he's 91 years old and his body is just starting to wear out. Well, we got a call this morning that he couldn't remember quite how to take off his PJs and put on his clothes to head down for breakfast in the retirement community he lives in. He's also got a hernia and the doctors are working to find non-surgical methods to help him because surgery is extremely risky for him at his age. My mom is on her way to be with him and help him out during this time and to start the necessary wheels in motion for him to go into assisted living.
I have to admit, seeing him so is hard on me. When Mom called to tell me about this, I had this sudden memory of my grandfather and I in is backyard and him teaching me how to properly throw a frisbee. And then I thought about him taking me out to the driving range to hit golf balls. And million memories of his being active and on top of things flooded over me. Tears started to well up in my eyes and I got a lump in my throat as I thought about how unfair it seems for him to be robbed of all of that in his final days here on earth. He's not living, just existing at this point and it's hard to see that. I don't doubt that God has some reason for my grandfather still being here with us all..but right now, I'm having a hard time figuring out just what that is. So, I ask for prayers for him and my family during this time.
And now, we return you to our usually scheduled blog...
posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/26/2005 12:20:00 PM |
Well, it's been a while since I did a podcast, but hopefully this will get things back on track. Here is the latest episode of I'm Just Like You, But I Have a Podcast in which I ramble on about Battlestar Galactica's summer mid-season finale and all kinds of other TV show stuff.
Or if you want to download it directly, try here.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/26/2005 08:14:00 AM |
This afternoon, we had a re-match of one of the better Super Bowls ever played--the one between the St Louis Rams and the Tennessee Titans.
Of course, there are very few players left from that Super Bowl game in which my beloved Titans came up one yard short of potentially tying the game and going to overtime. And, of course, since this is the first time these two teams have played in the regular season, we had to have a lot of rehashing that final play in which Kevin Dyson stretched to get that one last yard. (Could McNair have taken off and run for a TD? I guess we'll never know...)
And in a lot of ways, this game was pretty much the Titans' entire season, so far, in one game. We had some brilliant play early where it looked like someone forgot that last week's game had ended. We owned the first quarter and then...we just couldn't get out of our own way fast enough. Self destruct after self destruct happened and it seemed as if we were doomed to a repeat of week one when suddenly, the Rams couldn't get out of their own way fast enough. The game was tied and then they're up by seven, then we get a field goal and the ball with two minutes to go. And we drive down, with a chance to win, this time coming up a few more yards short and still on the losing end. But wow....could you get any more drama out of a single football game? I mean, the highs, the lows and everything in between. I know we're a young team but I have to love the resiliancy the team showed late in the game. When the wheels appeared to be coming off the bus, they dug down and stuck it to St Louis and crept back into the game . It may not show in the win column, but we stayed with them. And with the Colts offense struggling mightily, we could maybe, possibly pull an upset at home next week.
Of course, the way our luck runs, the Colts offense will start clicking next week and they'll roll up on us like Florida did on Kentucky yesterday.
And it looks like bad news for Titans fans...Travis Henry will be suspended for violating the league's substance abuse policy. Travis--I expect that of Jamal Lewis, but not of you....
posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/25/2005 07:37:00 PM |
OK, so it's been a good while since I updated my progress on the 50 Book Challenge. So, I'm going to do that now and while I won't comment on every book I've read in the past couple of months, I will throw in some thoughts as I feel necesary.
69. Dune: Messiah by Frank Herbert
70. Foundations's Edge by Issac Asimov
71. The Cat Who Walks Through Walls by Robert Heinlein
I'm a enjoy science-fiction a good bit and every once in a while, I get this niggling feeling in the back of my head that maybe I haven't quite read enough of the classics. Which is why I picked up each of these novels. Of the three, I enjoyed the second Dune novel the most, but that's kind of damning with faint praise. The other two are by authors who started to produce novels again in their later years and had this insane obession with tying together all their various universes. With Asimov it's a bit more successful, though this Foundation novel suffers from way too much padding in the middle. And I hate to say it, but the Heinlein was hard for me to get through. Not nearly as strong as his older works.
72. FireTime by Poul Anderson
While I was in my science-fiction tear, I figured I'd try and gain some ground on the Hugo/Nebula Do-Over being done at SF Signal. Now, I've not read a lot of books by Poul Anderson...in fact, I think this pretty much brough my grand total of Poul Anderson books to one. And based in FireTime, I am not running out to the library to check out more. Because is the stuff that's up for the best that SF had to offer in the year of 1975, then it must have been a pretty sad state of affairs. (Which is odd since Philip K Dick's Flow My Tears, Said the Policeman was so good). In an attempt to be fair, I will say this novel actually had an intriuging premise--in that you've got a planet with three suns and you've got natives attacking each other in this war for territory and another side that pulls a Prime Directive and just looks on. That could have been intriguging, were this world not populated with characters I could have cared less about. I was reminded of Lucifer's Hammer in that I was pulling for the asteroid to just go ahead and strike the Earth already just to kill off some of the annoying characters who populate the first 50 or so pages of that novel. And anytime I'm bringing up Lucifer's Hammer (one of my least favorite books EVER), that is a bad sign. I guess it'd been a while since Anderson wrote anything and they threw him a bone with a nomination to reward him for his other good works. Honestly after suffering through this (and I do mean suffering) I am not inclined to pick up any of his other work any time soon.
72. The Dispossed by Ursula K LeGuin
Another book for the 1975 Hugo/Nebula Do-Over and this one was substatially better than FireTime. This is one of those sci-fi novels that is heralded as a classic and I'll give you it's a good read. But I am not quite sure it makes my top ten of great sci-fi novels of all time. LeGuin tells the story of two worlds--Annares, which operates under anarchy and Uras, a planet that expelled the people who founded Annares. We see both planets in alternating chapters as we learn about the mission to unite these two worlds by a physist named Shevek. In a lot of ways, this reminded me of Stranger in a Strange Land where an outsider comes in and re-examines a way of life, trying to influence it in some way. I'll give LeGuin a lot of credit--as an exercise in world-building this novel is unsurpassed. However, she chooses to populate her worlds with a lot of character whose name sound a lot a like and it's easy to get a bit perplexed as to who is who as the story progresses.
73. By a Spider's Thread by Laura Lippman
74. To the Power of Three by Laura Lippman
I loved both of these books. Lippman is one of the best mystery writers out there today. If you've not yet found the Tess Monahan books, do yourself a favor and try them. And To The Power of Three is a stand-alone novel that is definitely worth the read. Not quite as good as her Every Secret Thing, but still very close.
75. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
I read it, I like it, but it suffers a lot from having to set up the final book I think.
76. Storky: How I Lost My Nickname and Won the Girl by Debra Garfinkle
77. The Closers by Michael Connelly
78. Magic Street by Orson Scott Card
79. The Confession by Dominick Stansberry
80. A Change of Heart by Phillip Gulley
81. The Last World War by Dayton Ward
82. Star Trek: Vanguard - Harbinger by David Mack
83. A Long Way Down by Nik Hornby
Nik Hornby writes great books that become even better movies. And his books just keep getting better. His latest is about four people who all go up on a rooftop on New Year's Eve to end their lives. Upon meeting, they form a pact to not kill themselves just yet and they become freinds and a support system. Hornby tells the story from four points of view, shifting effortless between them. Even without the chapters telling you who is speaking, it's easy to figure out because he makes each voice and person distinctive enough that it's easy to follow who is speaking. Not the most uplifting start, but the book has the usual Hornby touches of humor and observations that hit too close to home. And like all his books, it's just compellingly readable.
84. The Lunatic Cafe by Laurell K Hamilton
85. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
86. Dance of Death by Doulgas Preston and Lincoln Child
87. Star Trek: Voyager - String Theory, Book 1: Cohesion by Jeffrey Lang
88. The Traveler by John Twelve Hawkes
89. The Gate to Woman's Country by Sheri S. Teper
90. The Big Over Easy: A Nursery Crime by Jasper Fforde
Fford's first non-Thursday next novel. Instead, we follow the story of Jack Spratt, who is a detective investigating the death of Humpty Dumpty. At times hysterical but a bit tedious towards the end. The jokes wear thin a bit fast. The middle drags more than anything.
91. Permanence by Karl Schroeder
92. Star Trek: The Next Generation: A Death in Winter by Michael Jan Friedman
posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/25/2005 07:00:00 PM |
Before more sane heads prevealed and tomorrow night's top ten tilt between Tennessee and LSU was postponed until Monday night, the Vols were prepared to forfeit the game should it not be moved. The concern by UT was the students (both players and trainers) and staff who would have to fly into Baton Rogue where Hurricane Rita is expected to hit later today.
Now, a cynical part of me wonders if we hadn't lost to Florida, how willing the Vols would have been to forfeit the game.
But, I am proud to pull for a school that realizes that sometimes in life there are more important things that a football game. Don't get me wrong--I love the Vols and I love UT football, but in some cases, other things take priority.
And can I just come out and say, I'm tired of feeling like UT is the bad guy in all this. They have made reasonable requests such as having the game earlier in the day or moving it due to logistical issues of not having any rooms in the area for the players and staff to stay at. But it seems to me every time we hear about it, LSU is saying how unfair it is for UT to even make such a request and it's their tradition for a night game...yada, yada, yada. (Sorry but getting liquored up all afternoon so you can treat opposing fans and teams like dog-doo is not a tradition....) I'm sick of hearing about it. Yes, you've been through a lot down there. I am sympathetic. But you know, we're asking for some help and consideration here to accomodate another team and show sportsmanship. If the shoe were on the other foot, I know my team and university would show you far more consideration than you're showing us.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/23/2005 03:49:00 PM |
Watching the reports about Hurricane Rita, a couple of random thoughts struck me.
- In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, there was a lot of criticism for all levels of the local, state and federal governement for the lack of a timely response to the disaster that had occurred. How could we be caught so flatfooted? a lot of us asked. Well, this time around, each of those levels of government has a chance to restore some faith and confidence in the eyes of the American people by how the response goes to this crisis. But we'd be foolish to assume that because we're able to respond to this disaster better that, in the future, things will be better. In a lot of ways, this is a similiar situation to if you're driving your car in traffic and nearly rear-end someone. You are on heightened sense of alert for the rest of your drive or maybe even the next day or two. You're likely to show more caution while driving and to be more alert. But the real test is--in six months, are you still going to be the safe, alert driver you were ten minutes after the potential collision or will you have gone back to your bad driving habits that nearly caused the wreck to begin with? I applaud that all levels of government stand ready to assist those in the path of Rita, but I'm still not convinced we've "fixed" the problems that were exposed by Katrina. Unfortunately, only time and experience will be able to tell us that.
- As I watch the news of evacuations from Houston and other cities in Texas, I keep seeing images of clogged highways with no one moving. We hear about airports being short staffed because staffers choose to head for the high ground rather than come in to work. We hear those stories of trying to evacuate but only going three miles in as many hours and having to turn around and go back home due to lack of gasoline in your car. In fact, I heard that they are filling up tankers and having to re-fill cars on the highway in order to keep things moving. It just worries me that in a lot of our major cities, the transit systems are not prepared to handle a mass evacuation. I mean, it was one thing when that was part of the plot on the fictional show 24 this year, but it's far more disturbing when you see it unfolding on the evening news.
- In all of this, the news came out that the SEC stepped in and moved the Tennessee/LSU game from Saturday night to Monday evening. I applaud the SEC for realizing there are more important things at this time than football--even UT football. And I understand LSU wants a home game and they want home field advantage. But I think that in this, the SEC is missing an obvious solutions. UT plays LSU at LSU this year and they come to visit Neyland next year. I think one solution could be to just flip that schedule--have them come up to Neyland for this game and then have us go there next year when hopefully the area can handle and support a football game. This was an obvious solution weeks ago, but yet no seems to have brought it up or if you do, I am sure some fans will scream it's unfair to LSU. Also, I have to wonder if the damage from Rita is severe, will the area be ready to host a football game? As much as I love football, it's just a game and it can be postponed until such time as it's safe for all parties involved--players, fans, etc. And the real winners of this decision--the SEC schools from Mississippi who get UT and LSU next weekend on short weeks, this leading to huge potential upsets.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/23/2005 07:20:00 AM |
Britney over at Nashville is Talking has a post about a sneak preview screening of Joss Whedon's soon-to-be-released masterpiece Serenity that is being done exclusively for bloggers. After picking myself up off the floor, I surfed over and signed up.
Woo-hoo! I am gonna go see Serenity next Wednesday! Oh man, I am so excited!
I am now doing the official happy dance. (Just be glad you're not here to see it..it's pretty sad.)
posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/22/2005 02:56:00 PM |
Davis's second birthday is coming up soon (good grief..the boy can't be getting ready to turn two! It seems like just last week, I was meeting him for the first time!) My sister is trying to plan his birthday festivities and so she decided to ask Davis what he'd like for his birthday party theme.
Her: "Do you want Bob the Builder or dinosaurs?"
Her: "Do you want dinosuars or Bob the Builder?"
From what I understand, it was just pretty much an entire conversation in which Davis would say whatever the last choice was. Which for one second, Uncle Michael thought about coming over and saying, "Do you want Star Trek or Doctor Who?" but that would be wrong.
I am not sure what the theme of his b'day party will be. I do know a good time will be had by all and Uncle Michael is psyched to go out and find a great b'day present for
me Davis to play with.
I may be looking for something that is aquatic related. I took Gracelyn to the zoo a few weeks ago and she loves the big catfish there. So much so that it convinced them to get an aquarium. Every time I come over, Davis runs to point out the fish to me, saying "fishies" in the cutest voice possible. Last week, they took the family to the Chattanooga Aquarium. My sister told me they were convinced Davis was pyschic for a bit. They got there and as they pulled up, Davis suddenly started saying, "Fishies! Fishies! Fishies" over and over. They'd told him they were going to see the fish, but hadn't told him they were there yet. My sister and her husband were impressed until getting back in the car, they saw all the street lights had signs hanging down with pictures of fish on them, so Davis wasn't so much pyschic so much as pointing out the fish he was seeing.
I do know from talking to both G and D, they had a great time and they love the fish. So, Uncle Michael is looking for something aquatic related to give them for their b'days and Christmas.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/22/2005 09:41:00 AM |
Lost: Man of Science, Man of Faith
It's a new season of Lost, so let me warn everyone now--if you've not seen the season premiere of Lost, you definitely need to skip this post for now. I am going to give away everything we found out in the course of the episode.
Yesterday, I talked about how there was a lot of debate among Lost fans about whether or not the producers should have or could have given us more definitive answers to some of the mysteries unfolding on the island last year. Specifically, I know a lot of fans were speculating on just what could be inside the hatch and would the reveal be worth the half-season of build-up when we did find out what was in there. For now, I have to admit the results are mixed. I loved that the show went for the jugular early and revealed what is down the hatch before the teaser. (I assumed for a good bit that we were seeing some kind of flashback from one of the castaways in the group that is supposed to be lurking out there this year on the other side of the island). But then we find out that it's some kind of elaborate, underground layer with someone living in it for....what purpose? Well, we don't really find out. In good X-Files fashion, one solid answers yields three more questions. Add into that that the guy living down there, when revealed, has a connection to Jack in the past and it suddenly gets all the more muddled.
Now, I have to admit as the episode unfolded, I felt some of the suspense of what was going on was taken by the big reveal to start the season. I wonder how much better or more sustainable the tension might have been had we not found out what was down the hatch before the Jack, Locke and Kate did. In a lot of ways, from a dramatic/suspense standpoint, it rendered some of the scenes mute since we, the audience, know what is down there. Instead of being on the edge of our seats to find out what's down there, we are saying, "OK, let's get down there and start exploring this thing" instead. Really, it's a no-win situation...reveal too early and you lose some of the storytelling momentum, reveal too late and you have the audience go, "Gee, is that it?" Lost has been particularily good at juggling that particular storytelling element, though I'm not sure they did such a great job here.
Now, before you start thinking I didn't like the season premiere, let me assure you I did. It's just that after four months of waiting, it's hard for any premiere to live up to expectations. Also, it's not like a season finale in which huge things must happen before the final credits roll. I have to remind myself we have a long season ahead and if we get all the answers at once, why would I bother to tune in next week (I mean other than the potential of standing in the surf in her frilly unmentionables Kate). But I digress.
I will also admit I pretty much called that the guy Jack met at the stadium while running would turn up later. I figured he'd somehow be part of the other group of castaways we've heard so much about in the press coverage of Lost, but the fact that he showed up down the hatch was also interesting. I have to wonder if Jack now "owes" him for saving Sarah? (And let me give credit to the make-up people....it took me a few minutes to recognize the normally cute as a button Julie Bowen in the hospital flashback scenes). It's also of interest that both times Jack has encountered him, it's been related to trying to save a woman he cares about--the first time, Sarah and now he's gone to find and help Kate. Is Jack's "angel" showing up at these times to take advantage of Jack in an emotional moment? Or is he like Babylon Five's Mr. Morden who had the uncanny ability to show up at just the right moment with exactly what Londo needed to further his own agenda.
Because let's face it--Jack is losing some face on the island. Locke defies him, choosing to go down the hatch whether Jack likes it or not and Hurley questions his bedside manner. Jack was thrust into the role as reluctant leader last year but now we're starting to see it slip away a bit. I think a lot of it comes back to what his father told him in the flashback--his bedside manner. We do see Jack trying to rally the troops as it were, who are all afraid the Others are coming in the night. (Shannon's seeing Walt in the jungle doesn't help things at all). But is it too little, too late? Jack is the calm voice of sanity and reason, but is he shouting out in wilderness of panic and insanity? And then his running off to find Kate after saying everyone else should stay put will probably not go over well once that news gets out.
And Jack's rift with Locke is getting deeper. And that could set up a power struggle between the two as the season progresses. Locke is a man of faith, Jack a man of the real world. They need each other but Jack seems less accepting of Locke's role in the tribe and island than Locke does of Jack's. Also, as a doctor who is a lead surgeon, I have to wonder if Jack is not used to having his orders or dicates questioned or defied and that's what he's getting from Locke. And how will all that play itself out.
However it happens, I am definitely along for the ride this year. And I can't wait for next week to see what's happening to the survivors out in the water.
Since Veronica Mars doesn't start up until next week, I decided I've give Invasion a try--basically to see if it would be worth catching or if I should go for my tape of Vernonica Mars instead. After one episode, I have a feeling I'm going to be going to the videotape...
It's not that it wasn't good, it just wasn't quite instantly addictive in the way Lost was last year. Part of this may be that a lot of the premise has been revealed in the commericals leading up to it (and that aired during every Lost commerical break), so that suspense was gone. Yes, there is something weird going on out there and it might be aliens. OK, so tell me something I don't know already, I kept thinking. Also the scene of the little girl saying, "Mommy, you smell different" was ruined because it was in every promo I saw or heard yesterday.
Invasion comes to us from creator Shaun Cassidy, who also gave us the underrated American Gothic. Interesting the parallels between Gothic and Invasion. For one things, we have a small town where more is going on that meets the eye. And in both cases, the town sheriff is at the center of it all. Oh yeah, and there's a cute, precious kid in the story too. So far, the cute kid hasn't exhibited any special or interesting powers, but give it time. And that may be what has led to my sense of "been there, done that" with this show. It's wanting to be fresh and original, but instead we've got many of the elements that made American Gothic work transplanted here. Maybe my insane, I watch too much TV lifestyle is slowly starting to destroy the fun.
For now, I'm not sure how Invasion will shakeout on my viewing calendar. It has some interesting stuff--such as the questions of who and what the sheriff is. But it doesn't have as many long term questions as Lost does. There aren't a mulitude of questions out there just yet...and maybe that's what was meant to happen since it's only a pilot. But for now, I'm going to have to think I'll be rewinding and watching Veronica Mars instead of going out of my way for Invasion.
Battlestar Galactica: Flight of the Phoenix
Last season began with "33", an episode that addressed what would happen to the Galactica crew and fleet in the wake of an unrelenting series of attacks by the Cylons. It was a fascinating episode and a great way to kick off the regular series. It was also one of those types of episodes, along with "Water" that really looked at the dire straights the fleet finds themselves in.
And now, after a string of episodes dealing with huge, long term, sweeping events and changes, we've had a couple of breather episodes that look at what the effect is on the crew now that reality is slowly sinking in. Last week, we got an episode that went for the "rah, rah let's build up the morale" piece and this week, we get an examination of just how bleak and desparate the situation really is. Tempers are short and the crew is slowly coming to terms with the fact that when you get exhausted and burned out, there is no one coming to relieve you so you have a few days off. There is no vacation from the day to day reality of surviving the pursuit of the Cylon fleet. Instead, it's just a keep on solidering up and keep on going, despite wanting to drop or just give up.
But in all of this, Tyrol comes up with a rallying cry...an attempt to infuse some sense of normal into the lives of the crew and maybe, just maybe distract people in their off hours. He decides to build a new viper. At first, he's scoffed, but even the most ardent detractors (such as Tigh) all come around to see that Tyrol and company are doing more than just building a ship--they're trying to rebuild some sense of hope that not only will they just survive, but they might also thrive under the worst of conditions. It's hard to not feel a bit of hope and be moved just a bit when the ship does fly and flies successfully. I will admit I was holding my breath along with the crew that the new ship would work. I mean, this is the new BSG where hope can be dashed on the rocks at any moment and it could have gone either way. I think we all assume it will all work out in the end, but you can't be quite sure.
Meanwhile, with the limited number of eligible bachelors and bachelorettes, the fleet has become like junior high school in a way. Hormones are running wild and attractions come and go quickly--as we see in the scene with Duala and Lee. Nice touch that Billy shows up just as things are getting tense between Lee and Duala, but you have to wonder where this all might go. It does make Starbuck's hooking up with the rebel guy on Caprica that much more plausbile simply becuase he's a new guy she may not know that well so there may be some new sense of mystery to him instead of just being a guy she's been with day after day for months on end who happens to be a convient bed-mate.
And to wrap it up, let me remind all you BSG fans that this week's summer finale runs two minutes long. So, if you are taping it or TiVOing it, set it two minutes later or else you might miss the mid-season cliffhanger (and you know there will be one). And let me also say now--it's gonna be a long time until January and not getting any new episodes, despite all the other great distractions that are back in full force now.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/22/2005 07:25:00 AM |
Tiff over at The World According to Tiff Sniff tagged me for this little game. So here we go...
7 Answers to 7 Questions
7 things i plan to do before i die:
~Get married and have a family of my own.
~Visit the United Kingdom to go on the "Rock Quarries of Dr Who" tour
~Buy my own house.
~Travel to Alaska.
~Vote in every election that comes along--big, small or indifferent
~Write and publish a book of some kind
~Get one huge-ol' TV for the enjoyment of the various shows I watch with a kickin' sound system to go with it.
7 things i can do:
~Spoil Gracelyn, Davis, Brainy Boy and Giggle Girl (a personal favorite)
~Watch more football than any one person should legally be allowed to.
~Quote various episodes of classic Star Trek and Doctor Who to you
7 things i cannot do:
~Turn off a UT football game before it says 0:00 in the 4th quarter on the game clock.
~See the future.
~Change the past
~Root for Florida or Alabama.
~Save people from themselves.
7 things that attract me to another person:
~Ability to communicate
~Someone who is comfortable with who they are
7 celebrity crushes (what...only 7?!?)
~Sarah Michelle Gellar
~Rebecca St James
~Dana Scully (the character, as opposed to Gillian Anderson who is waaaaaaaaay too thin!)
7 Things I say the most
~I'm just saying...
~Go, Big Orange!
~What the hell are you thinking?!? (This is mostly at idiots driving to and from work)
~Here's the thing...
~I got a call that you had a book/DVD in for me on reserve...
~So, anyway, moving on...
7 bloggers I am tagging:
posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/21/2005 03:17:00 PM |
Fresh off the win for best drama series, Lost returns tonight for its sophomore season. (Don't forget, ABC has moved the show to 8 p.m. CST, an hour later than last year).
And there's a whole lot of buzz going on for the show as it enters the second season. Who is joining the cast? Who might be leaving or killed off? What's in the hatch? Will we get any answers?
There seem to be two very divided camps when it comes to Lost these days. There are those who felt that the season finale promised a lot of answers but really failed to deliver on those promises and then there are those who say--don't worry, they have a plan, let's just go along for the ride and see where all this goes.
I'll be honest with you here--I thought last year's season finale was pretty good. It doled out a few answers but raised a lot more questions and while I was frustrated at the time at the apparent lack of resolution as to what was in the hatch, I have to admit it was nice to speculate during the summer on just what would happen next. (To go back to Star Trek, it was a DS9 type cliffhanger where the storyline leaves you what will unfold next and not the "Holy s***! how are they going to get out of that?!?" cliffhanger we had in most of the TNG cliffhangers (esp. Best of Both Worlds, Part 1))
And I do think Lost has found a good middle ground of giving us answers to burning questions. It's not the slow, four steps forward, eight steps back the later years of The X-Files got to be but it's also not the everything and the kitchen sink in one giant episode that we got in the early seasons of Alias. Instead, I have confidence, that the producers and writers have an idea of where this all might go and how they're going to get there. Not that that it can't change as the series continues--such as we saw happen on Babylon Five when Michael O'Hare left after one season or in season three of Buffy when Joss Whedon realized Trick just wasn't cutting it compared to Spike and killed off the character mid-season and shifted the villian plotline to the Mayor. But I don't think the show has lost anything just yet and I will admit I'm in for the long haul of seeing how this all plays out.
Now, I don't expect a lot of huge, earth shattering answer tonight. I've heard rumors we see inside the hatch and what's there. I expect it to be one of those things where we go, "Oh, of course" and that it will raise three or four other interesting mysteries to explore as the season goes along. But I can say, I don't want a definitive answer of where they are and why just yet...I'm enjoying the ride and finding out where it all might go. Also, I know that there are those who are TV watchers who will start looking for signs of a fin in the water and all I can say is--stop. Let's just enjoy it and not keeping looking for ways to destroy the show, but instead just enjoy the ride.
And to answer the biggest question I know none of you have--yes, I will do my recaps of Lost after each new episode....
posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/21/2005 02:45:00 PM |
Last week, while browsing Nashville Is Talking, I saw an entry and link to the Nashville Bloggers Lunch. Since I've managed to miss about every other real world opportunity to meet some of the people behind the words of the Nashville blog-sphere, I figured made plans to attend. The guest this month to the forum was Ed Bryant, who is running to be the Republican candidate to the U.S. Senate .
Now, as most of you know, I'm not a huge political blogger. So, when I saw that the guest of honor was from the political arena, I e-mailed those promoting it and made sure I wouldn't take up a space of someone who was really into the political blogging scene. After much reassurance from Sharon Cobb and Bill Hobbs that I wouldn't be doing so and was welcome to join the group (again...they'd not ever met me in person and so had no idea that I have the alarming bad habit of...well, that would be telling...).
So, today I went out and joined the group at the Sunset Grill for a pleasant lunch and some interesting political discussion with Mr Bryant.
First of all, I have to admit I was a bit nervous about meeting all these bloggers in person. I felt like I did when I was in high school, wondering if all the cool people would accept me? I decided what with the name of my blog being what it is, I'd go all out and wear something orange today, though I admit it's a more restraining pastel orange than the shirt I wear on Fridays in football season that needs to be recharged all week. (Also, let me add that it was really the first time I've felt like wearing something orange since Saturday night....). To add to the pressure, I made the mistake of trusting Yahoo Maps to help me find my way to the Sunset Grill. I've really got to stop doing that.
But, it all worked out for the best. I arrived only a few minutes late and before Mr Bryant arrived, so I didn't feel too bad. Also, no one had placed an order yet, so that helped. I pulled up a chair between Whitney, a woman from Belmont who is part of the college Republicans at Belmont and John Hutchenson who runs the blog Salem's Lots. After finding out who I was, John noted that he was happy I'd come out as a guy and said I liked Gilmore Girls as it made him feel better about admitting his love of the show in public. He then noted the best reason for watching it was the good writing, which I agree with....and again, Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel delivering those great lines doesn't exactly hurt.
But I'm getting off track here. There were a lot of bloggers there from all different walks of the blogsphere life as it were. I also admit I was worried I'd feel out of place or like a fish out of water, but everyone I spoke to was very pleasant and made me feel immediately at ease being there. It was definitely not like high school in that respect. Among those there were Jay Bush from Blogging for Bryant, Bruce Berry, Blake Wylie, Sharon Cobb, Bill Hobbs, Britney Gilbert, Jeff Vaness, David Bander, Toni Albani and Matthew White. (And I bet I am misspelling someone's name or leaving them out and I apologize in advance. It was done out of ignornace and not being able to read my own handwriting...) As I said earlier, it was interesting to put names with faces and voices.
After having some nice chatter with those near me, Mr. Bryant arrived.
I will tell you that I didn't much to the dialogue, but I certainly enjoyed sitting back and listening to the debate. Bryant talked very conversationally about the issue of the election in Memphis, where he stands on important social issues such as abortion and illegal emigrants and the work being done in relief for the victims of hurricane Katrina. He also spoke about social security reform and why he is running for the Republican nod in Tennessee. Now, I know there are a multitude of other blogs that will encapsulate what he said far better than I did (Sharon Cobb recorded the entire discussion).
What I found the most fascinating is in the day and age of soundbytes and seeing candidates for maybe fifteen or twenty seconds on TV, that to get a chance to sit down, break bread with Mr. Bryant and watch him share his ideas with us in a reasonable, polite and intelligent discourse was a refreshing change. So many times we sit around and say--I'd like to vote for so-and-so, but I am not sure exactly where he or she stands on this issue or that. And I think that those of us who came out for the luncheon meeting got a chance to get beyond the plain rhetoric and the political soundbyte speech that we live in today and to hear the candidate talk frankly, candidly and honestly about the issues he sees as important to our state and nation. And he came out and did it to a crowd that wasn't necessarily all going to be ardent supporters of him or his campaign. He came out to where there were going to be critics and those who'd ask hard questions and now allow him to give easy answers and then move on.
I have to admit, as the person who got his degree in communications with an emphasis in journalism, it got those juices flowing again.
So, I'd like to say a big thank you to Mr. Bryant for taking the time out of his schedule to come and meet with us and to those who arranged for this meeting to take place. And let me also send a bit shout out to the Sunset Grill for giving us space to meet at no charge to the blogging community. Thanks to all of you for a great time and for those of you I met and talked to, I enjoyed the expereince. And hopefully, I will be able to come back next month for more good food, conversation and company.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/21/2005 01:54:00 PM |
...you'll know the point of this web site that was featured on last night's show (which was a riot BTW). Enjoy!
posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/20/2005 08:23:00 AM |
OK, so I'm a bit sleepy and groggy today, but it's worth it. Three and a half quarters of futility on offense were overcome by four or so minutes of brilliance offensively for the Washington Redskins as we scored 14 unanswered points in the final four minutes to defeat the Dallas Cowboys in Texas Stadium, 14-13!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The loud whoops and cheers of delight you heard from the Smyrna area of Tennessee last night were yours truly as I celebrated taking the lead and then our defense coming up and stopping the Cowboys to give my beloved Redskins their first win in Texas Stadium in 10 years. The 'Skins are 2-0 for the first time in a long time and I couldn't be happier...well, unless the Vols were 2-0 also and then I'd be intolerable to be around.
Two of my three teams beat our bitter rivals this weekend. That has to qualify as a good weekend.
Hail to the Redskins!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/20/2005 07:25:00 AM |
I was just looking for Ron Moore's podcast for this week's Battlestar Galactica, when the SciFi channel's web site alerted me that this week's summer finale would run two minutes past the hour this week. So if you have to tape and don't want to scream, "Noooooooooooooooooooooooo!" when it cuts off two minutes early, you might want to take that into account.
The cynical part of me wonders though--is it two more minutes of episode or is SciFi going to just pad those commerical breaks?
posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/19/2005 11:58:00 AM |
Just a few random things that have crossed my mind this Monday morning as I struggle to get into the working groove and figure out the softball line-up for tonight.
- Watching the end of Family Guy last night, FOX has a great promo for the season premiere of Arrested Development. Jason Bateman came on and said that the show won five Emmys last year but gained few new viewers, so this year if the season premiere got 15 million viewers, they'd give an Emmy they won to Carmen Electra (who was also featured in the promo). For some reason, this just cracked me--I think part of it is how deadpan Bateman was in the promo, just like his character Michael Bluth. Let me say this--if you've not yet watched AD, I cannot recommend it enough to you. I know it's a hard time slot, espeically tonight when it faces off against a special NFL game with the Saints facing the Giants from New York. But I'd love to see the show get 15 million viewers.
- Speaking of Family Guy, there were reports last week of the shuffling of episodes for the kick-off to the season. Last night's had a couple of references to a hurricane and there was a tidal wave scene out of The Perfect Storm. But honestly, I think the reason they switched was that last week's was funny and this week's was not so hot. It's not good that in your fourth season, you're starting to repeat gags.
- Speaking of repating gags, after being pretty funny last week, American Dad was just not so great. Sorry, but the master-of-your-domain jokes were a lot funnier when Seinfeld did them a decade ago. Also, re-watching old episodes of The Simpsons on DVD only serves to remind me how much the show has fallen off in the past couple of years.
- The Emmys. OK, so I didn't really watch, but I kept up with the awards. First of all, Hugh Laurie was robbed, plain and simple. And as much as I love William Shatner, how in the world does he get a nod over Terry O'Quinn who just kicks all forms of you-know-what as Locke on Lost?!? At least Lost won the Emmy for best drama and it returns later this week! Woo-hoo! (And no, I'm not bitter that Scrubs and AD didn't get the nod as best comedy...nope, not me!)
- Driving into work today, I heard the UT fans on the radio, calling for the head of Randy Sanders. I'm sure had I tuned in after the game to the Vol network coverage, I'd've heard the same type of comments. There were rumors swirlling before the season started that should Randy not have a good year, then maybe David Cutcliffe might be invited back to the role of offensive coordinator. Honestly, I'm not sure how I feel about that. I think Randy Sanders does a competent job, but he's so Jeckyl and Hyde out there. He has flashes of brilliance and then he also has flashes of mediocrity. As a Vol fan, I want to win every game and I am not sure if Randy Sanders gives us the best chance to do so. Of course, I am saying this now in the doldrums of disappointment after losing to Florida. Should he pull out a great gameplan against LSU, I might feel differently.
- Vanderbilt is 3-0.....apparently hell has frozen over. Oh wait--they've not played the big boys yet....
posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/19/2005 09:22:00 AM |
Well, it's a rivallry weekend for all three of the teams I pull for. The Vols, Titans and Redskins all play teams that are big rivals this weekend.
Of course, we all know how the game of UT vs Florida came out. Not the outcome I'd hoped for. Though if you're a Florida fan, don't start telling me how great you are just yet...sorry, but against a superior defense you just looked OK. And our offense just went into a shell after the blocked field goal. That took a lot of the wind out of the Vols' sails and we just never recovered. Which is a shame as outside of beating Bama, there is nothing more satisfying than beating the Gators.
And you know, I'm sick of CBS's coverage of Tenenssee games. Could Todd Blackledge be any more biased? The man loves anyone not playing in orange and white! The freakin' love fest he was pouring on Chris Leak last night was embrassing. If you love him that much, pick out a china pattern with him...but just shut the hell up and call the game and stop talking about how great every other damn team on the planet is. I am not sure what Todd has against us but if he can't get over it, it's time for CBS to make a move and send him to ESPN, the network that hates all things UT.
On a brighter note, the Titans just finished winning their first game of the year against the hated Baltimore Ravens. I could not be happier that the Titans would go out and put it all together in a game to dominate and humilate a team like the Ravens. Capping it all off--five sacks, a blocked punt, one safety and keeping former Titans players in check. If I were a good sport, I'd be glad that Derrick Mayson got a late, meaningless TD. But when it comes to my teams, I want to see a good old-fashioned butt-whuppin' from start to finish and the late TD only served to give the Ravens some hope they might come back at that point. But in the end, the jerk that is Brian Billick left the field 0-2 and grimacing a lot. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy...
Unless that guy was Bill Parcells. I would love to see my Redskins put it all together tomorrow night and take care of the Cowboys on the road. I hate the 'Boys (American's team, my ass!) as much as I hate Bama and Florida. So, I'm hoping I can sing a few dozen choruses of "Hail to the Redsksins" tomorrow night as the nation gets a glimpse of one of the best defenses in the NFL.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/18/2005 03:26:00 PM |
So last night, I'm sitting there watching President Bush address the nation and thinking--as a blogger shouldn't I be taking notes on this so that way I can write a clear, concise post on my thoughts surrounding this speech and the entire situation? But as I watched, I honestly didn't feel all that moved by it either way...I wasn't ready to throw things at the screen and declare Bush, the incarnation of Satan on earth, but neither was I ready to run to New Orleans and give him a high five or jump up and down screaming, "Yes! Yes! Yes!" like I did about this time last year when the field goal went through the uprights and UT beat Florida.
And I sometimes wonder--does this mean there is something wrong with me? Am I failing my as a blogger because I just can't get that worked up either way about this speech and because I rarely, if ever, post about politics? Or is it more along the lines of--well, there is a lot of rhetoric and debate out there, by people who I honestly feel are a lot more qualified to discuss in a reasonable intelligent manner than I am.
I think a lot of it is that as I think about it, I'm not sure I have anything to add to the overall debate. I will say that I thought Bush did a good job with his speech and that it was encouraging to see the man acting presidential, which I think is what all of us have wanted since this whole mess began. We needed him to be the calming voice that he was on 9/11 and he was a bit late in picking up that ball and running with it. Also, to hear him say that we will rebuild and learn from these mistakes was good. And to admit that there was still work to be done to ensure that all of America is safe gave me some sense of hope and an overall feeling of security.
But again, I'm not sure those thoughts are the most original in the world. Nor do I think they are going to add a lot to the overall rhetoric. Don't get me wrong--I care about politics. I care about who our leaders are and how the policies they impliment will affect my life and the lives of my fellow Americans on a daily basis.
But it's also hard to sit by and see my fellow bloggers get tons of hit and lots of debate about these issues on their sites and wonder--I am really pulling my weight as a member of the blogging community?
posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/16/2005 11:33:00 AM |
I used to be a big Survivor fan..but after All-Stars, I found my interest has kind of waned a bit. But I guess I gave into the CBS relenteless marketing of this week's episode during the Titans game this week because I found myself tuning in--if only to see who the two speicial deluxe Survivor players would be. Honestly, I was sort of hoping we'd get Rupert back as outside of Rudy he's my favorite Survivor ever. But instead we got Stephanie and Bobby Jo...wait a minute..Bobby Jo?!? Was he even memorable last time? I mean, I only saw a couple of episodes, but was this guy in any way worth bringing back again?!? Stephanie I can see bringing back as she was plucky, resourceful and you couldn't help but root for her as the underdog, stuck on a team that lost every freakin' immunity challenge they ever competed in. But Bobby Jo?!?
Also, my first thought on seeing them--who has a job where you can take 70 plus days a year off and still have one?!?
Anyway, enough of that...it's first episode which means that we're introduced to a whole lot of people who we're never going to see again after the first month of the show. It was weird to have Stephanie there as at least we kind of knew who she was from the get go and I admit it--I rooted for her team to win that first immunity challenge just so the girl doesn't have more of a complex than she already must have . Meanwhile, Bobby Jo's tribe wins the super deluxe camp of doom but yet all the men are sick as dogs. Yes, that's lovely to see on TV. Thank you Mark Burnett for all the lovely scenes of them all wretching and losing what little lunch they'd had. You know, you have to think it was good that they had a nurse on their team. Also, Blake gets poked by a vicious tree with needles and goes down hard. Makes me wonder if he got some kind of poisoning that will affect his health in days to come. And boy howdy, did that team have a lot of bad luck--men getting sick, Jim tearing his muscles. It makes me wonder at what point the medical staff of the show is going to be forced to step in. I mean, back in Australia, Michael feel into the fire and they were on set pretty quick.
Anyway, not sure if this will be must see for me or not...James Marsters will be guesting on Smallville this year in the same time slot and not matter how much I try or say I should, I just can't break up with Alias...
Prison Break: Cute Poison
Four weeks in and already the plotholes in this one are beginning to show. At least on 24 and Alias it takes at least five or so episodes before I'm shaking my head and going, "No, but seriously...come on!"
So what was the point of moving the original cell mate (the one with the girlfriend who is being manipulated by Hector to dump the con and hook up with him) to move in crazy new guy who doesn't sleep only to move him out again? Seems to me like this is a plot of a contrivance to create some suspense to the plot early becuase how much fun would it to be to see Michael loosening the cinder block behind the sink for a week or two? Answer: probaby not as much.
Also, I have to wonder--how exactly does time pass on this show. In the scenes in prison, you get a feeling that only a day or so is passing per story, but then outside it feels as if more time has passed. The problem is the premise of this one is built around the fact that we have a limited amount of time to break the brother out of prison and I've got to assume that as we get closer to time, the security around him will get tighter. Also, I've got to wonder this--so the brother is allegedly innocent. But Michael is apparently very guilty of what he did as are the rest of this crew he's assembling for the great prison break. What are these guys going to do when they get out? I can assume that Michael and the brother will be exonerated but that does nothing for the rest of the crew, some of whom aren't exactly the nicest people around. I'm just saying that having these guys out on the street again doesn't seem like the best idea I've ever heard. But I am guessing for Michael that the ends justify the means.
And can I ask this--does anyone really care what happens in the Robin Tunney plotlines? I have to admit I was a bit shocked that she seemed to feel nothing about calling off her wedding last week. I'd hope that if someone was going to marry me and we called it off close to the date she might be a little more affected than Tunney's character was here. But a day or two later, it's like it never happened...
Out of the gate last year, this was one heck of a show. But, man it hit a stride about mid-season and never looked back. This year you add Sela Ward to the cast and it just continues to get better.
House takes the case of a death row inmate whose heart was beating too rapidly and has a condition that could kill him before the state can. Meanwhile, Cameron treats a woman who has come into the clinic and probably only has six months to live because of cancer. I loved the point and counterpoint of the two cases. Cameron feels more compassion for the woman who will die alone of cancer and feels that House should focus his energy there instead of on the death row inmate. It's interesting to see how detached House is from both...he is more interested in solving the mystery than looking at the circumstances of why each person is sick or should be given care. He tells Cameron the woman is dying and that she should break the news and move on instead of giving the patient false hope. Meanwhile, he continues to puzzle over why the inmate would have such periods of blind rage that he'd kill four people. In the end, we find out that due to surges of adrenaline in the system, the inmate had these blind rages. And in the end, House says that will it was a medical condition, it is something that people learn to live with and it doesn't excuse the four killings. It explains them but he also points out the patient could have some control over this as others do.
Interesting debate and not one with easy answers. Nor does the show necessarily volunteer any. Again, I find it interesting that we had the characters created as they were--the death row inmate is a young African American man and the woman is a young white woman. And in the end, they will both die alone since neither have families who will be there for them in the final hours. And that may be the real tragedy of both circumstances--no one will really notice or mourn the passing of these two people from the planet.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/16/2005 08:48:00 AM |