With the third pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, the Tennessee Titans take Vince Young from Texas.
As I sit back and look at this year's draft, I'm reminded of a few years ago when both Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf came out in the draft. There was much debate over who the better QB would be in the NFL--Manning who'd been consistent his four years at Tennessee or Leaf who seemed to be the hot flavor of the moment and the sexy pick. Well, I think we see how all of that turned out...
I do hope the Titans made the correct choice. I hope that history doesn't repeat itself in this case and that we can now get past the whole "who will the Titans pick?" debate and onto the "how much will he sign for?" debate.
Oh and I'm sure the Jay Cutler Vanderbilt faithful will all call in and whine "Why didn't we pick Jaaaaaaaaaaaay?"
I do wonder if picking Young puts a renewed emphasis and priority on bringing back McNair. Yes, he's under contract but the Titans have so bobbled that ball of late that it looks less likely we'll see him next year. But McNair had a similiar style coming out of college and I think a year or two with McNair as the Mr. Miyagi to Young's "Daniel-san" would be a great thing. Hopefully we won't have to throw Young to the wolves right away, instead letting him have time to learn the system, mature into the role and lead the Titans back to the Super Bowl.
At the very least, I've got my fingers crossed he's not the next Ryan Leaf.
Time will tell...it always does.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 4/29/2006 11:47:00 AM
One of the few drawbacks to swimming laps (I mean other than having to have access to a pool in order to do it) is that sometimes it's hard to find a good way to distract yourself while doing it. Other activities that are land-based, you can listen to the radio, watch TV or catch up on some reading.
But not so much with swimming. You can try to read while swimming, but it tends to not be good for the book. And water plus electrical devices is not such a great combination.
So, I was pretty excited a few years ago when I saw a waterproof swimmer's radio. It was a small device that could clip onto your googles' headband and included ear buds so you could listen to the radio while you swam. It seemed like a briliant idea and a nice way to occasionally add some variety to the swimming routine. It looked cool and I was eager to try it.
Notice I say try it here. I was curious to see if it would work for me and if it was something I'd enjoy using.
What I really wanted was to meet someone who had one and get a testimonial on the radio's effectiveness. Over the years, I've never seen anyone with one so last week, I broke down and bought one. OK, let me back that up and say I broke down and got a new Swimmer's Choice radio on E-bay for five bucks (the asking price on a couple of web sites is close to $40).
For five bucks, I figured nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Well, the radio arrived earlier this week and I eagerly opened it up, put the battery in and got it ready to try out.
I have to admit I was pretty jazzed about it.
The excitement lasted all of one lap. A couple of things that I didn't like about it.
The ear buds are wired directly to the radio--and the connection is not all the good. I kept getting crackling and the sound fading bouncing in and out at will. The next thing is the radio doesn't have a dial or an indicator of which station it's tuned to. Not a big deal, I thought. I will just tune it to whatever station I want in the car. Except that every time you switch the radio off, it resets itself. So if you like a station in the 100s of the FM band, you're going to have to scan through a bunch of other stations EVERY TIME you want to hear that particular station. I don't quite understand this as the radio has a reset button on it to take you back to the lowest FM band if you desire. Why also reset yourself back to the lowest station on the FM band every time the radio goes on and off.
So, I guess you could say this is an experience of nothing gained. I wanted it to work and I was hoping it would. But it didn't live up to my expectations and I honestly don't see myself ever really making much use of it.
Oh well, at least I'm only out a couple of bucks and not $40.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 4/28/2006 01:33:00 PM |
Hallelujah! The NFL Draft is (finally!!) almost here.
I'm about exhausted from every time I tune in to anything sports related, we have to have a break-down of the NFL draft. I understand it's a big story and a big deal, especially here in Titans' town where we have the number three overall pick, but if I hear one more breakdown of the strengths and weaknesses of the big three quarterbacks and who best addresses the overall Titans' needs, I think I am going to scream. (And take into consideration that this is a self-professed football nut talking here).
It reached a new level of insanity yesterday when The Tennessean published half a page, breaking down the personality preferences of each of the big three QBs. Seriously, it's like a MySpace quiz gone horribly, horribly wrong. I mean, sure the Eva Longoria vs Angelina Jolie debate is interesting, but does it mean you can read a defense, direct a game winning drive and lead us to the Super Bowl? (Of course, I realize that as sick of this as I am, the various sports writers in town must be exhausted trying to come up with some new way to cover this story).
Of course, no matter who the Titans pick first in the draft or how the draft plays out (will they trade out of the number three pick if _______ isn't there?) , there will be a backlash Monday morning as the entire viewing and listening audience pretends we're Floyd Reese and goes, "I am happy they took ____________ but why didn't they take ___________?"
At this point, I have only two things I hope from all of this. One is the Titans get the player they need to bring the team back to a competitive level and two that they not waste the pick like they did last year on Adam "Punkman" Jones.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 4/27/2006 12:26:00 PM |
There's Only One Sydney Bristow
"A hundred episodes! That's a lot!" --Jerry Seinfeld, Seinfeld: Highlights of 100
The 100th episode of Alias finally hits the airwaves and I've got to admit--it was actually pretty darn good. In fact, it did pretty much what this show did the entire first season and a half--entertain me no end. It was a pleasant enough way to spend an hour.
I'm glad ABC told everyone involved in plenty of time that was to the last season of Alias. So, instead of starting yet another "How can Sloan be evil plot?" we get instead some attempt at resolution to the entire running plotline of Rembaldi and will Sloan finally get what's coming to him. Oh yeah and will Syd live happily ever after?
I loved all the little connections to old plotlines in this one. The bringing back of Rimbaldi, Anna Espenosa (pretty much a given that Gina Torres is gonna rock...damn you Fox for cancelling
Firefly) and actually tying all of this into the Prophet Five plotline from this season. Cause let's face it--Prophet Five has been a pretty water-downed version of SD6 this year and the chance for it to be tied to Sloane's obsession with Rimbaldi is actually a very good idea. About the only thing missing was Syd's mom, but since we saw her last week we can forgive that. Oh yeah and we got back Will Tippin. Man, I miss the days when this show was about trying to balance the lifestyle of being an uber-spy with trying to have a "normal" life. But we even kind of got some of that here with Syd's having to leave Isabelle and her apologizing to Will over and over again about involving him in this latest spy caper. And the show even pokes a bit of fun at itself with Will saying, "Yeah sure I've been kidnapped 11 times but you always saved me and we're such good friends." That and Rachel's reaction to the "what the hell is Rimbaldi?" made me laugh out loud.
Not to say it was perfect. The snarky part of me has to wonder why the CIA is using its resources to serve as baby-sitter to Sydney Bristow.
But you know, I actually enjoyed the episode enough that the small nitpicky things didn't really bug me that much. And to see Anna undergo the clone treatment to become a duplicate of Sydney...all I can say is this should be interesting to see where this develops over the final four or so episodes.
It looks like Alias is going to go out with a bang and on top of its game. Thank goodness.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 4/27/2006 09:43:00 AM |
If there's anything the latest Star Wars trilogy taught us, it's that just because you can render and realize an impressive looking digital character on screen, that doesn't necessarily make it a good idea to do so. (Jar Jar, anyone?)
To work well, a digital character have a solid story surrounding it, not just the latest in modern effects. (Gollum from Lord of the Rings, for example).
So while the good Doctor has met a variety of the classic monsters over the years--vampires, zombies, etc--he's never really done battle with a werewolf as the central antagonist of a story. I think a large part of that was the BBC wisely realizing that a werewolf, if not done right, would look even less credible than usual and really away the willing suspension of disbelief that is so vital to Doctor Who stories. (We can accept the sets wobble, but if the monsters are too shoddy, it ruins the illusion).
But with "Tooth and Claw" we get a story that features the Doctor facing a werewolf.
And yet as I come away from the story, I'm less impressed with the effects (though they are quite good) and instead I pull out the old mantra of Doctor Who--"It's the stories that make the show, not the effects."
I think we all thought deep down that Russell T. Davies had a really great script in him. And, so far, this is the closest we've got to a great script from Davies. I'll go out on a limb and say it's his best story since the first two episodes of series one. Certainly, it's the least complicated and the most straightforward. The Doctor and Rose arrive in a place, get caught up in a series of events and have to work to defeat some monster or evil by story's end. "Tooth and Claw" feels like it was a lost script from the Gothic era of Hinchcliffe and Holmes. It's a fun, entertaining little story that doesn't have an agenda beyond entertaining the audience for 45 minutes and being pretty edge-of-your-seat for much of that time.
That said, it's not perfect. I'm still not quite sure what the Monks' overall plan was and why they felt they wanted to infect Queen Victoria with the werewolf mutation. Sure it set up a nice joke at the end and maybe it's part of the overall plan for the season, but that part didn't make a lot of sense upon initial viewing. Also, I have to wonder why the Monks left the house after the werewolf is destroyed. I wonder if something was cut in the final edit and if a deleted scene on the DVDs will address this (not that you should rely on DVDs and deleted scenes to cover up plot holes...but we can hope).
And while the foreshadowing about Torchwood was about as subtle as two by four to the head, I like the way its been set up. To have it established as a reaction to the Doctor's involvement in the affairs of humanity was a nice touch. And the final scene while it was a bit like "Wow, did you know we've got a show coming soon called Torchwood?" wasn't quite as wince-inducing as I feared it could be. I do hope that as the season goes along, it's not some massive preview for Torchwood. I don't mind setting up the spin-off, but I do mind if the spin-off takes over the parent show.
Overall, the cast is quite solid. Tennant continues to impress though I still get this feeling he's waiting to be really unleashed. Of course, it did take until "Dalek" last year for Eccleston to knock one of the park. I get this feeling Tennant is on the cusp of greatness in the role, though each week he gets better and better.
I will also admit that it's kind of a relief to get past "Tooth and Claw." After five solid episodes by Davies, it will be nice to get some different writers in the mix next week. But I will give Davies credit--"Tooth and Claw" is a great script to mark as your last for a while. It's memorable, fun, scary and entertaining. It's a solid, if not perfect Doctor Who story.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 4/27/2006 07:33:00 AM |
In today's very special podcast, learn the dangers of abusing your library card....it starts to simply but ends in secret shame.
Oh wait--that's not it.
Instead it's an interview of me by my good buddy, John (aka Logtar). You can listen to us talk about a whole bunch of stuff and just have a good time. Logtar has links and show notes over at his site.
If you've subscribed to I'm Just Like You...But I Have A Podcast, I put this in the feed and you should catch it. It's also linked at Logtar's site and you can get the file directly here.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 4/26/2006 03:44:00 PM |
Sometimes in this age of instant information and short attention spans, it can be easy to overlook the long term consequences and results of something. I have to admit I'm just as guilty of it as the next person which is why I'm glad my blogging buddy Sarah brought this interactive photo essay on the children who were born after the Cherynoble disaster.
It's haunting, hard to watch and yet, it's something I think everyone needs to experience.
Also, surf over and read Sarah's post about it. She's far more eloquent than about it than I am.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 4/26/2006 11:09:00 AM |
Look Who's Stalking
I know, it's been a few weeks since I posted about my love for Veronica Mars. It's not that I haven't been watching and loving the past couple of episodes. It's just that they've been so dense that it's been hard to really know where to start. I will say this--while I, as a devoted, rabid fan of the show appreciate how densely layered and plotted this show is, I can see why it might work against recruiting new watchers to the Veronica Mars fold.
This week is certainly no exception. Now, I pay attention to the show but there are times I feel like I need a score card to keep track of who is who and how they all inter-relate. I have a feeling I'm going to love catching all the stuff I missed on the inevitable season two DVD set as I get ready for season three.
But back to this week.
The simmer pot that is season two is coming to a boil. When prom is cancelled due to excessive drinking on the senior trip, Logan decides to hold his own alterna-prom. Jackie and Wallace are delighted to experience the right of high school passage while Mac is less than thrilled as she now has to go with Butters. (Have I mentioned that I love Mac? She is hilarious). During prom, Logan is a bit drunk and overwhelms Veronica with a confession of his feelings for her...leading to the scene we all knew was coming. Veronica leaves and goes back in the morning, only to find Kendall there and Logan admitting all of last night was a blur. I wonder if this will play out next week when Veronica takes the stand against Aaron Echols.
Meanwhile, Gia is being stalked--but we're not sure why. Even after we find out who it is, we're still not quite sure who is watching the Goodman family or why. We are teased but before Keith can find out, Lamb interferes (of course). In a show that usually doesn't have those moments that obvious scream foreshadowing, this one screamed "Foreshadowing!" I wonder if somehow Woody is connected to Terrance Cook's throwing the game. And was it interesting to see Woody start a scorched earth policy with incorporation failing? He seemed to want to deflect the heat away from himself by giving the press another focus. I wonder if he's doing this becuase he's in deep to the Fitzpatrick family or someone else somehow.
All I know is we've only got two episodes left and a lot of issues to be resolved. Just when I think I've got it figured out, I start thinking, "No, but what if..." and a whole new tangent crops up in my head.
Which may be just one of the many reasons I love this show....
posted by Michael Hickerson at 4/26/2006 09:23:00 AM |
Day Five: 1 - 2 a.m.
How many conspirators does it take to have this plan come to fruition?
Last night, we meet the latest evil genius masterminds behind the plan (hopefully these will be the last ones since we're running out of hours in the day).
Let's review who has been behind this plan as the day as unfolded: Walt Cummings, Bierko, Christopher Henderson, President Logan and now this new group led by ER's Dr Romano. I'm a bit confused as to how the chain of command works here, but maybe that's the point. I'm also a bit confused as to why Logan would go along with this group led by Dr Romano (not really the character's name but Paul Crane is best known for that role). I hope that it doesn't turn out that Logan will try to spin it as--well, I was cooperating with them in order to expose the evils of terrorism within our own country.
I do begin to wonder if this group somehow manipulated Logan into power. Did they somehow pull strings to get him into Oval Office so they could pull his strings?
I also wonder if these are questions that will ever be addressed or answered. Maybe, maybe not. We'll have to see.
The most interesting scenes of the show were where Logan reveals his evil plan to Martha. Logan's attempt to try and gain her sympathy were nicely done, as was her reaction of horror, revulsion and then hatred. As much as you want to hate the guy, you do have to feel a bit of sympathy for him when Martha tells him she hates him now. The look on his face as she left the room, leaving him alone there was nicely done. And would it not be cool if somehow Martha had worked with Mike Novak to wear a wire and incriminate Logan now. Of course, if they'd done that, it would eliminate the need for Jack to jump on a plane and get the digital recording of Logan conspiring with Henderson back and we'd not have much to do the rest of the day.
Speaking of Jack--it's interesting that the past few episodes he's been not been in every single scene. Events have unfolded without him at the center of it all. I think we went a stretch of about 20 minutes last night without anything major happening around Jack. He was off to the side and letting the supporting cast shine. I think part of it is they have to find new allies for Jack if he's going to succeed in stopping the conspiracy--whatever it's morphed into for the last five or so hours of day five.
Also, how cool was it when Curtis suddenly shows up at the barn to save Audrey and capture Henderson. Just when you thought it was going to be another instance of bad guy escaping so we can chase him around for a few hours, 24 goes and toys wth that assumption. Great move by the show. And to see Curtis back on the scene was nice. Again, I loved the look on Henderson's face when his plan failed and he realized there was really no way out this time.
Oh yeah and while I applaud Heller for his noble sacrifice, I don't think he's really dead. If the storyline needs him next year, he'll be back. It was left open-ended enough that Heller can crop up next year should he be needed. But you've got to think that Audrey will need some serious therapy should that happen. Two men in her life stage their own death and then reappear. I hope CTU's insurance covers mental health cause Audrey is gonna need it.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 4/25/2006 08:27:00 AM |
Friday night during SciFi's showing of "The Long Game" (actually better this time around but still not great), SciFi teased something about being the ultimate Doctor Who fan and winning an iPod.
Which my first thought was--forget the rest of these people and just send it to my house.
So, I've looked for the past few days to find out how to enter this contest on SciFi's web site and nothing.
Did I miss my chance to have my obsession pay off with a cool new toy?
posted by Michael Hickerson at 4/24/2006 12:48:00 PM |
So the question is--have you ever done the same thing?
posted by Michael Hickerson at 4/21/2006 01:49:00 PM |
Variety reports that the next installment of the Star Trek film franchise will hit the big-screen in 2008. It's reported to be the long in development Starfleet Acadamy story that features a young Kirk and Spock. The film will be written and directed by J.J. Abrams who created Felicity, Alias, and a little show you might have heard about called Lost. Oh yeah, he's got a big budget action movie (also part of a franchise that he's trying to rescue) coming out in a few weeks starring that guy who jumps on couches.
As a Star Trek fan, I suppose I should be excited about this and looking around for a free couch to jump up and down on, declaring my excitement.
But while I'm excited about the possibility of a new Star Trek movie and I will be there opening night to see it, I have to admit I'm not all that jazzed by the guy they're putting in charge of the films. A lot of this has to do with the fact that I'm not really sure J.J. Abrams is as great as everyone makes him out to be. Yes, Alias was brilliant its first year and a half, but it really jumped the shark with that after-the-Super-Bowl episode where Syd and Vaughn took out SD-6 so they could sleep together. Ever since then, it's been a series that has dropped the ball time and again without the internal continuity it so desparately needs or wants (I bet no one on the show recalls that it should be two years in the future now....it was a cool cliffhanger but it was dropped quickly). And I'll give you that Lost is a good show, but I chalk that up more to J.J. having a great staff of writers and producers around him who make him look good. I often wonder if J.J. wasn't the name to get Lost on the air, but the real geniuses are the guys in the trenches with the day to day running of the show such as David Fury (last year) and Carleton Cuse and Damon Lindelof (this year).
But I'm not sure J.J. Abrams is the genius that everyone makes him out to be. I'd love to be proven wrong not only by MI:III but by this Trek film.
I think what the Trek franchise needs is a film that is both epic in scope and scale but captures the essense of what made the TV show so great. In short, they need to recapture the lightning in a bottle that was Star Trek II. That's not saying they need to try and remake Star Trek II, which I think is where Nemesis went so wrong...it wasn't a bad movie, per se, but it borrowed so many elements from Star Trek II (a nebula to hide in, an enemy with a personal connection to the captain, the death of a beloved character) that it felt tired and "been there, done that."
I am hopeful that Abrams and his team can bring some new life and ideas to the Trek franchise. But let's face it--there is one name that could revive the Trek franchise and over which my fan-boy heart would gush and for which I'd be Fandangoing a ticket right now. Two words: Joss Whedon.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 4/21/2006 01:08:00 PM |
So, my blog is two years old this week (I think I missed the actual anniversary date, but thankfully my blog hasn't asked me to sleep on the couch). I didn't know I shared the same blog-versary week with so a couple of other local bloggers.
One of the cool things about the whole blogging thing is that I can take a moment to look back on the past year. I skimmed my archives, glancing at posts in there about various things, remembering all the goods times I've had over the past year. It's been an interesting year. I read over 100 books, watched a lot of TV and suffered through the Vols' and Titans' seasons. On the good side, the Redskins did well in the regular season and playoffs and I'm hoping they take the next step under Joe Gibbs next year. And by next step, I mean Super Bowl win. (Here's hoping for my dream Super Bowl of Redskins vs Titans yet again).
I've met some new friends, caught up with some old freinds and just had another good year in the blog-sphere. So, here's to two great years and the anticipation of more to come.
Here are some of what I think are the highlights of the world that is Big Orange Michael from the past year. Enjoy!
Special Occasions - Wisdom gained from an estate auction
Boys and Their Toys - Not my best written post, but the pictures are worth at least 2,000 words each.
What does your e-mail address say about you?
So how IS that going to work? - First of a series of popular posts about the "totally topless" carwash at Stephanie's Cabaret off 8th Ave in downtown Nashville.
Unrequited - A Fleming and John song and seeing someone who looked like a girl I knew in high school prompted this long post. And for those of you wondering, no Ryan Flynn is not an assumed name to talk about myself and embarrassing myself in front of my high school crush (though you could fill an entire blog with my experiences embarassing myself with women I've been romatically interested in or involved with....Barry--remember when I "lost" Julia in Target or that whole incident at the church picnic?)
To celebrate the start of summer, I ran the (potentially) first-annual Big Orange Michael swimsuit edition week. Oh and look, I found one that is orange. How'd've figured?
Winners and Losers - What is the price of victory?
One thing that happened in 2005 was that I ventured out from the blog-verse to the real world, meeting people who I'd only known via their blogs. One of the first was Becky, who visited the fair Metropolis of Nashville in June.
Maturity is Overrated Anyway - The opening round of the battle to use The Gospel According to The Simpsons as curriculum to senior high youth Sunday School.
These goggles are still cool and I still want some!
Are They Listening? - Be careful what you wish for....
Top 11 - My top 11 sports moments. And since the Titans and Vols had subpar seasons this year, it looks fairly safe this list will stay the same..though the Redskins beating the snot out of Dallas on national TV at home was great.
My name is Michael and I'm a book-a-holic - Admitting the problem is the first step toward healing.
Happy (belated) b'day Rebecca St. James - one of my favorite posts from the past year.
A Trip to the Zoo - Part of the "Things that make you happy" month long meme challenge. And a follow-up podcast about my nephew's reaction to not getting to go.
Seinfeld vs Sex & The City - Do the shows we watch speak to something deeper?
A Plea - Pastor Fred Phelps and his church members descend upon Smyrna to protest a soldier's funeral. I posted a couple of times about it.
It's 10 a.m.....do you know where your children are? - Sunday School curriculum battle, take two.
Nashville Bloggers Luncheon - Another putting faces with blogs, all while discussing politics.
There was a free blogger sneak-peek for Serenity. (Best movie of 2005, BTW) Of course, I went. And I reviewed it.
Looking at cars - What? They exaggerated claims to get me on the lot?!? Surely you jest!
It had been far too long - A trip to God's House (aka Neyland Stadium) to watch the greatest college football team in the universe play...ok, so we lost. But it was still good to go.
Rules of tipping: Are there any hard and fast rules?
Is common courtesy dead?
Blogger Get Together
A series on my grandparents: Grandmother, Granddaddy, Granny and Grandpa
Let's mock the fainter - Funny, I thought nurses were supposed to be a little compassionate.
Group dyamics - I met LB, Amanda, Tiff and a whole bunch of other bloggers who attend church together to go see Harry Potter 4.
The power of Santa - My niece worries about which list of Santa's lists she's on.
A scary post - Confronting scary episodes of TV shows from my childhood
Elderly Man River - A post about political correctness, drawing from an old epiosde of the Stan Freberg show radio program. Hear the episode here.
The day after... - Ah, the interesting people you see at Wal-Mart.
Middle Tennessee Bloggers Meet-Up - My first meeting. Ahhh, the memories.
Bless the Smyrna Library - New Stephen King book early equals backsliding on my 12-step book addiction program.
Sharing: It's not just for 3-year olds
I'm a winner! - I'm both romantic and frugal.
Weighing in with my two cents... - Does reading Harry Potter mean you're going to hell?
Fed up and frustrated
Welcome to the future
Seeing Orange - Well, what else did you expect from me?
The book vs the movie - Comparing Greg Iles' 24 Hours to the movie version Trapped. (Iles di the screenplay based on his novel).
The power of prayer
Enjoy it while you can, kid - My nephew flirts with waitresses...and it works. I need to have him give me some points, though I suspect being adorable and two years old helps a lot!
posted by Michael Hickerson at 4/21/2006 08:45:00 AM |
Or does it seem as if the price of gas rises about a nickel to a dime per day?
Seems like every time I drive past the Kroger gas in Smyrna (which is daily on my way to work) that the price of gas has risen yet again. It's a good thing there are a couple of bank branches in the parking lot and close by so those with SUVs and apply for that third or fourth mortgage and afford to fill up the car.
And yet, there are always cars lined up two-deep at the Kroger to purchase gas. As my old friend Russ would say, they must be giving away a free gold-bar with every purchase. (OK, Russ would sometimes use another free service in that particular quote along the lines of what Finn saw Vito doing last year in The Sopranos, but this is a family blog so I will leave the sordid details to your imgaination...or the comments section).
I wish I could invest in the stock of the Kroger gas station--particularily the one in Smyrna. I mean, I know that if you spend a $100, you get a dime off per gallon, but can this many people be spending $100 on groceries that quickly? Or is it just that promise of three cents off per gallon with your Kroger plus card? (Which alas the purchase of gasoline does not count your $100 total to get a dime off per gallon! Dang nabbit!)
posted by Michael Hickerson at 4/20/2006 11:08:00 AM |
Nicole tagged me with this meme over the weekend. I apologize to her for taking so long to get to the meme.
Here's the rules:
1.Go write weird facts/things/etc. about yourself in my comment box and on your blog, then tag six more people!
2. Then leave a comment that says “You are tagged” in their comments telling them to read your blog.
I'm not going to tag anyone specifically, but if you want to join in, consider yourself tagged!
- When I arrange books, DVDs, etc on a shelf alphabetically, I will not arrange them the typical left to right but instead right to left.
- I tried frog's legs one. When I was younger and we lived near D.C., one of our favorite restaurants was the Chesapeake Bay SeaFood house. My Granny and Grandpa came to visit and we went out there for dinner and had all you can eat meals. You could select any kind of food you wanted from the list of items...one of them was frog's legs and Grandpa ordered them and he got myself and my sister to try them.
- I find it hard to resist a warm Krispy Kreme doughnut. These are ambrosia.
- I power cycle for exercise but don't own a bicycle to actually ride outdoors. I know some of my fellow cyclers take the class to get in better shape for doing better outdoor cycling, but I do it in training for desert.
- For classic Star Trek, TNG, DS9 and Doctor Who, give me about 20 seconds of an episode, I can tell you the title, the season and who wrote the episode. In some cases, I can tell you who directed it as well. It's a sickness and I should get some help, I know...
posted by Michael Hickerson at 4/19/2006 09:23:00 AM |
Britney linked a story on NiT yesterday about Tom Cruise's latest wackiness. After the full body shake passed, I began to wonder something. Cruise and a lot of celebrities these days complain about their lives being under this constant microscope. There are tabloids and paparazzi everywhere, trying to capture the most minute details of their lives. But yet, there are times when I say--guys, you really brought this on yourselves.
I don't really care that Cruise wants to dine on the placenta of his new daughter. Hey--it's his life, he can do what he wants. Doesn't necessarily mean that I want to hear him talk about it. I can only imagine the hour by hour coverage we're going to get of the baby's first poopy diapers and how Cruise is going to have them framed (boy howdy, that will impress her prom date in about 16 years now then won't it?).
But then again, I'm slowly developing this theory that the pressure of all these movies is stating to take it's toll on Tom Cruise. Has anyone else noticed the pattern that he seem to totally flip out right before a new movie is about to open? Happened last year with War of the Worlds and we're getting it again with Mission: Impossible 3. Maybe they should just have Tom not make a big-budget movie for a while so that he can mellow out a bit.
He'd get the rest he needs, the paparazzi could find a new target to stalk and the American public could get sick of hearing about someone else's story. I think it's a win/win for everyone.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 4/19/2006 08:24:00 AM |
Day Five: Midnight to 1 a.m.
I was right! I knew that Jack's coming into possession of the digital recording of Logan conspiring with Henderson was too easy and would somehow fall into the wrong hands so we'd spend at least one of the last few hours of day five chasing it around L.A.
I have to ask this--does it make sense of Henderson to keep in in tact? Surely it makes sense that he should destroy the recording somehow. As we saw in the last five or so minutes, without the proof that Logan is the mastermind of this plot, it's going to be hard to make a case against him or get him to step down. I wonder if this plot will have to be resolved with a second President buying the farm on day five of the show. Or perhaps Martha will serve as the conscience that Logan is so clearly in need of and force him to step aside.
Now, as cool as the idea of having Heller drive over to confront Logan was, I'm not sure how much sense it made. I get Heller's assertation that he didn't want to go public for fear of diminishing the presidency as an office and throwing the country into disarray. But wouldn't it make more sense to get the vice-president on your side as well so Logan can't pull the bait and switch he did in the episode's closing moments? If you are able to present the evidence to the vice president, then he might be able to better help you remove Logan from power. Also, Heller missed the chance to go, "Well, if I am such a crackpot as Logan says, why does he have a resignation letter drafted on his desk?"
I think Heller has overplayed his hand early. And it could end up costing him the life of his daughter. I had a feeling Audrey was in trouble yesterday when TV Guide On-Line posted a long interview with Kim Raver, talking about the show and being positive. Last time they had such a--golly, I sure love working on this show interview was with the actors who played Edgar and Tony..and we all see how that turned out. I am just not sure Jack's fragile grip on sanity can take losing Palmer, Tony, Michelle and Audrey all on the same day. If it does happen and I were Henderson, I'd find a way to leave the country immediately if not sooner as Jack is gonna be hella-pissed.
And after weeks of moaning about it, I was happy to hear the Chinese thread brought up. And it was brought up in a way that made sense! Man, I am telling you...I think the 24 writers are reading this blog and really listening to what I have to say. Of course, in my world the sky is also orange and UT wins the national title in every sport every year. So take that for what it's worth.
And wow, did we get a lot of cliffhangers to end this one. I am not sure we've ever had that many blocks within the scene, showing the number of cliffhanger moments we're going to have to pick up on next week. As I see it, they are: Audrey's injury that could leave her dead, Henderson has the evidence, Heller's been forced to resign, Chloe and company are on the run (though does it make sense to do all this covert stuff at Buchanan's house which might be the first place they'd look), Logan has almost absolute control of the situation and fan favorite agent Pierce might be dead. All I can say is I know a lot of us are gonna be pretty annoyed if Agent Pierce is gone.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 4/18/2006 07:46:00 AM |
As a Doctor Who fan, I've often wondered what it was like to tune in and see "Robot" on its first airing. Did fans then have an inkling of what was to come? Did they know they were witnessing the birth of a what many fans consider to be the golden age of the show and they were seeing the first tentative steps of the man whose name, face and costume would become synonymous with the show not only in the United Kingdom but world-wide?
And now, over 20 years later are we at another crossroads for the show and witnesses the dawning of a new, golden age for Doctor Who.
It's hard to ignore the similiarities.
Jon Pertwee's era on Doctor Who had been, by all accounts, a huge success. In fact, I'd imagine if the Internet had existed back in the 70s there would be numerous debates on whether or not this new guy could live up to the consistency of the third Doctor. Now, here we are in a new century and we've just come off a successful run as the Doctor by Christopher Eccleston. Luckily, we have the Internet today so fans can wonder if this new guy will live up to the consistency of the ninth Doctor.
With Pertwee, I think history shows us exactly what Tom Baker did in the role. And while the book is still to written on David Tennant's tenure as the Doctor, I get this strange feeling we're on the verge of a new, golden age for Doctor Who. And I have a feeling that in a few weeks, we may all be saying, "Yes, Christopher Eccleston was good, but wow David Tennant is just fantastic as the Doctor."
(Please don't take this as a condemnation of Eccleston. I love what he brought to the role. He did a great job and I do wish we'd got more than one season with him in the role.)
So far, we've had two episodes featuring Tennant as Doctor. The preview of what's to come with "The Christmas Invasion" and now we've got the first episode of series two, "New Earth."
With the regeneration crisis past, we can jump back into the adventures through time and space that make Dr Who what it is. For their first adventure together, the new Doctor and Rose travel farther than they ever have before. The Doctor's received a message from the far-future, asking him to come to visit a hospital ward. Beyond that, he knows nothing else but this is the Doctor and he can't resist a good mystery. He and Rose head to New Earth, which is the planet that was created after the sun expanded in last year's "End of the World."
"New Earth" serves as backdrop to allow us to check in with some of the creatures we met last year in "End of the World." Whether that's good or bad depends on if you liked "End of the World" or not, I suppose. I like it, but I can honestly say I was't screaming for more of Cassandra. Which is what we got. Cassandra proves to be the Rani of the new series in that there is nothing she can't somehow survive.
The plot for "New Earth" is pretty jam-packed and complicated. It's one of those blink and you'll miss it type of stories in terms of plot twists and developments. Russell T. Davies seems to write stories that combine everything and the kitchen sink into the script. Visually it can be stunning as we see the alien vistas of New Earth, but when it comes to following the story or summarizing for a review, it can be a bit much. I will say that this script pays homage to a lot of elements from the classic series including the villain wanting the companion for some nefarious purpose, an army of "monster" skulking about and running down corridors.
Visually, the story has some callbacks to previous eras as well. I had to wonder if the medical pod set was somehow meant to invoke images of the tombs of the Cybermen that we've seen over the years.
But the real strength of "New Earth" is the work done on the characters. Russell T. Davies manages to make Cassandra a more realized character, to the point that when we got the final scene, I actually felt sympathy for Cassandra and her fate. Davies managed to make those last scenes bittersweet without being too cloying or over the top. Yes, it was tugging on the heart strings a bit, but it felt like an earned moment and not manipulative--as it easily could have been.
But the real heart and soul of this were David Tennant and Billie Piper. Tennant seems to be relishing the role and brought an almost Tom Baker like air. He was whimsical, wide-eyed enthusiasm and wonder we saw in the best of Tom Baker with the undercurrent of deadly seriousness when the situation called for it.
And Piper, as usual, continues to be a revelation. She's growing in the role of Rose. A year ago, I'm not sure she could have convincingly pulled off creating two separate personas as she does here. But now, she does it with style and is utterly convincing. The scenes with Cassandra trying to convince the Doctor she was really Rose were a delight. As were the first few scenes as Cassandra gets used to inhabiting Rose's body.
About my only real complaint is there are almost too many good ideas packed into a 45-minute storyline (a typical complaint with stories by Davies). But the program is a showcase for Piper as Rose and to a lesser extend Tennat's first steps as the Doctor. Hopefully as the series progresses, we'll get to see Tennant have a tour-de-forced like Piper does here. Because based on the glimpses I've seen, he's set to knock one out of the park.
Also: Looks like the BBC is taking a page from Battlestar Galactica and having podcast commentaries on their site for new episodes. This week, you'll hear from Russell T Davies and David Tennant.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 4/18/2006 07:24:00 AM |
If you watched SciFi's showing of "Dalek" the other night, there were a couple of key scenes to the story and the overall season arc that were cut so we could have more commercials. I know SciFi has had to edit the shows to fit in the time slot here, but the cuts made this week were ones that took away from the plot.
The first was they cut the scene of Van Statten's helicopter landing, thus establishing that he has a helicopter there should they choose to flea the Dalek as the story progresses (kind of important to know since they reference going to the heli-pad later in the story). This scene also included this week's reference to "Bad Wolf" which is important as the series goes along. It's also flashbacked to in a later episode so if you wonder--where the heck did the helicopter scene come from?!? as you watch, it was supposed to be here.
The second obvious cut was the Doctor's initial meeting with Van Statten. After the Doctor and Rose are captured in the musuem, they are taken to his office. In this scene (one of my favorites from the season), Adam has a large box full of alien treasures purchased for Van Statten's collection. The Doctor and Rose come in and the Doctor is able to use one of the devices to create some soothing sounds. It's a quiet scene and it establishes the Doctor as the alien expert that Van Statten refers to later in the scene. It also gives Van Statten the idea that the Doctor could communicate with the Dalek he has locked up since the Doctor knows how to connect to the alien devices.
Now as an obsessive Who fan, I would prefer to see the episodes air uncut. But as a person who likes it when things make sense overall, the two cuts made here make the episode more jumbled and more confusing. I think there are times when the series could pull a Lost and run two to three minutes over. Hell, cutting five minutes of Stargate: Atlantis could only help that show...
Of course, on a good note for WB DVD, it makes owning the DVDs of the stories that will be uncut that much more essential...
posted by Michael Hickerson at 4/17/2006 07:48:00 AM |
One of my favorite episodes of Star Trek (any show) is the first season classic Trek episode "A Taste of Armageddon."
In the episode, the Enterprise is sent to Eminiar VII to investigate the disappearance of a ship several years before. Reports from the time indicate the planet was at war with its closest neighbor Vendikar. Despite being warned not to visit the planet, Kirk is forced to take the Enterprise there under the orders of ambassador Robert Fox. Upon arrival, Kirk, Spock and a team of red-shirts (who don't die!) beam down to the planet and meet the leaders of Eminiar VII. They learn the two planets are still at war and experience an attack during their time on the planet. But this is not an ordinary war. This is a war fought entirely by computers. Attacks are carried out via computer and then casualties are tallied up for the area. Lists of names of the victims are created and the victims have 24 hours to report to a disintegration chamber or risk violating the rules of war as established by the societies. The people die, but the civilization and culture lives on.
In case you can't see it coming, the Enterprise is a target and the crew is declared a casualty. This, of course, doesn't sit well with Kirk who refuses to allow his crew to be killed and takes matters into his own hands to show the people the true horrors of war and why it's not just a game to be played by computer.
Captain Future (aka William Koninski) over at Soul of Star Trek has a long series of posts about how this episode was particularily reflective of events occurring in the real world when the show first aired in 1967. And how it has some reflections of the war going on today in Iraq. It's an interesting piece (and a long one. It includes a detailed synopsis of the episode before Captain Future begins to examine the real world implications the episode had then and now. It's definitely worth reading and considering. It also re-inforces how relevant Star Trek can still be as a social commentary on the world today.
If anything, the war fought by computers is even more relevant today than it was in the 60s. I know Star Trek is credited with predicting a lot of the technological innovations we have today. This is one I kind of wish they'd not been so accurate about.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 4/14/2006 09:17:00 AM |
The best episode of first series of the new Doctor Who airs tonight. Simply titled "Dalek" the episode finds the Doctor discovering the potential last member of his mortal enemies locked up in a bunker somewhere under Utah. The story from there is one of the best hours of any TV show you'll see anywhere and this one ranks as one of my top five Doctor Who stories of all-time.
If you've not seen the new Who or tuned away after the initial premiere, I urge you to somehow see this episode tonight. Stay home to catch it at 8 or 11 p.m. CST, tape it, TiVo it, use the DVR. I've already seen the episode at least three times and I'm excited to see it again...I like it that much. Also, I think this is the best example of why the new Who has been such a success with obsessive Who fans like me and the more casual fan. It's an almost perfect blend of paying homage to the show's history without being bogged down by it, but being perfectly accessible to the casual fan. It's also bittersweet because you see how great Christopher Eccleston is as the Doctor.
And after you're done, if you're interested, you can read my original review of it here and listen to my good friend Sarah and I comment on it here. I will warn you about the commentary--it does have SPOILERs for the rest of series one.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 4/14/2006 08:42:00 AM |
At long last, we get the backstory of two island dwellers who aren't part of the main cast--Bernard and Rose. From what I understand, there has been a pretty loud clamor in the fan community for this story. What interests me most about this is that we didn't really know much, if anything about Bernard (including if he's alive) until this season.
I will give them this--the reunion of Rose and Bernard was one of the most memorable and moving moments in the history of the show.
So, to have a backstory for them is not a bad thing.
Once again, we have a little Mutant Enemy reunion. I found it ironic that this time, Sam Anderson is trying to be a boss-figure to Daniel Dae-Kim and this time Dae-Kim can tell him to stick it and walk off. Try doing that at Wolfram and Hart and see how far it gets you.
Bernard and Rose are the manifestation of the two groups on the island-those who want to stay and those who would prefer to be rescued. Interesting to also see that Rose is all about enjoying the days she has left in this world, while Bernard can't accept her fate and wants to do something, anything about it. I love the give and take as Rose tries to convince Bernard she's made peace with her mortality and she just wants to enjoy the time she has with him. In some ways, it's like a compressed version of the character arc that is going on this season for Tony Soprano over on The Sopranos. Tony has decided every day is a gift, though in his world there are some days to dig around for the gift receipt and see if you can get a return.
My theory has been that the island is giving people what they need and/or want. It's interesting to see Rose visit the guru in the Australian outback and not be able to be healed, but she is healed on the island. Did it take nearly losing Bernard and missing him to make her want to be healed and to not be as resigned to her fate? Is that what helped her to find healing on the island? It's an interesting theory and one that could bear out as the story progresses.
Meanwhile, Rose is the one person on the island who knows Locke's secret. And she also shares his faith in the island, which is sorely tested. If anything, Henry has managed to make Locke question his faith in himself and the island in this epiosde. Luckily, Rose came along at the right time to help Locke regain some of his faith, though how solid a ground that's on, we'll have to see. I have a feeling that Henry will throw a monkey wrench or two into that equation.
Which brings up an intersting idea to me. Follow me here. Assume that the island is giving people what they want and/or need. Is the real purpose of the Others to serve as some kind of distraction from that? Does the island require some kind of blind faith of those who follow it and to the Others need to disrupt that? Is there some battle going on there and the Others are a manifestation of one side? If you follow that reasoning, could having Walt be important to the Others as some kind of power source or bargaining chip or leader in their side of this, for lack of a better word, crusade? And will Aaron eventually become a target as well since from all we've seen the island seemed to want and need him born and living there.
It's an interesting idea. If we're having some kind of spiritual battle here with the souls of the inhabititants as the prize, then what has happened to Boone and Shannon? Which side did they end up on--heaven or hell? Or are they in some purgatory waiting the outcome of this battle?
OK, I've really wandered off on a huge tangent there this week...
Back to the episode as whole.
Now, I know that fellow bloggers have complained that the past few weeks has been 50 minutes of build-up and then 10 minutes of action and plot-twists. I can't argue that, but I do think this week gets the balance better. Jack decides it's time to face the Others on their terms and bargain to get Michael and Walt back. So he and Kate head out to the point where they weren't supposed to cross and wait. And there's tons of sexual tension along the way. Thankfully Michael has escaped from the Others just in time to come running out of the jungle before Jack busts a move on Kate by the fire and we get some Scantily Clad Kate time. The loud, "Dammit!!" you heard last night was me, teased by the thought of some Scantily Clad Kate scenes.
Meanwhile, Henry Gale is in full out manipulation mode. He has power over Locke by his silence. How cool was the scene with Henry smiling to himself in his cell as Locke begged for answers. He knows exactly what he's doing, though what his overall agenda is, I'm still not sure. I have to wonder if it's a divide and conquer thing. As much as Jack and Locke don't get along and disagree, they could be stronger together as leaders. Split the apparent leadership of the group and you could split the group. Also, I find it interesting that as the season goes along, the overall threat of the Others has become less and less worrisome to the castaways. As we saw on the season finale of Battlestar Galactica, an enemy can lull you into a false sense of security and comfort, coming in and lowering the hammer when you're getting comfortable and thinking your worries are long past. The Others have not come on the aggressive since taking Aaron and pursing the Tailies through the jungle. They say they will respect a boundry, but is all that a false sense of security?
And will we see the big bad that Henry referred to as the real power before season's end? Or will that be one of the many mysteries to contemplate, fret and worry over as we spend all summer dissected season two in anticipation of season three?
posted by Michael Hickerson at 4/13/2006 02:04:00 PM |
It appears the Trek 2.0 episodes airing nightly on G4 are the original syndication edits. I know this because one of the syndication cuts from last night's episode "The Corbomite Maneuver" occurs early in the story. So, I caught it and now my mind can rest at ease...
On a related note, I am in desparate need of a life...
posted by Michael Hickerson at 4/13/2006 10:00:00 AM |
Driving in to work, I looked up and saw two hot air balloons headed out of downtown. One of them was for Sonic (mmmmm...Sonic).
I took a quick digital photo of them...they're the two specks way off in the distance of the photo.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 4/13/2006 07:54:00 AM |
File this under "Confessions of a book geek, part 47"
Every once in a while, I scan through Amazon to see if any of my "must read" authors has a new novel coming out. Or a collection of short stories. Or scrawls made by them as a three-year old child because you never know this could be page-turning, compelling stuff!
I was doing that is morning and found out that a new Elizabeth George novel will be hitting the shelves in October. Now, all I have right now is a title and a release date. It tells me exactly nothing and there's not even a page count. But I can say, I'm pretty excited about this news and have that tingly "new book" sensation all the way down to my pinky toes.
And, yes, before you ask, I did already check to see if I can put it on reserve at the library....
posted by Michael Hickerson at 4/12/2006 10:34:00 AM |
I got a call yesterday from my real estate agent, letting me know that there was a great property on the market that I should come take a look at. The price, the location and a lot of other factors meant this one wouldn't be on the market long so it would be better to act sooner rather than later. I was able to juggle some things, not take a lunch break and head out to see the property yesterday afternoon. Which, I will admit the house was nice but it's not what I'm looking for. For one thing, there's a lack of storage space (only one closet in between two bedrooms) and the other is it's located on a road that could be widened in the near future thus meaning I'd have traffic coming right past my front porch.
All this is to say I got out of my normal afternoon routine of leave work, go and work head, head home and then eat dinner. Yesterday I went wacky wild and left work, headed home, ate dinner and then worked out. Seems the Smyrna Y is open until 10 p.m. weeknights with the indoor pool open until 9:30.
So, I decided to head up there and give it a chance later in the evening. And I've got to admit, it was a pretty pleasant experience. The Y was less crowded around 8 p.m. (honestly, the nursery closed for the night) and I was able to work out while enjoying a new episode of Scrubs (before I hit the pool that is).
The only negative was--well, I was watching a new episode of Scrubs and I'm sure the people around me were a bit worried about the guy on the elliptical trainer who was trying his hardest not to laugh out loud at some of the jokes on last night's show.
I wrapped things up with some laps in the pool, took a shower to rinse the chlorine off, went home and unwound watching the new Veronica Mars on tape. Yeah, I know--it's hard to unwind watching Veronica Mars since it requires that you pay attention to every single detail but it worked for me.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 4/12/2006 08:22:00 AM |
G4 started airing their new Star Trek 2.0 last night. As a Star Trek fan, I am delighted to see the show get a big relaunch for the classic 79 that were what made me first love all things Star Trek.
I tuned in for the first few minutes of Trek 2.0. G4 aired the original pilot, "The Cage" last night and we'll kick off the Captain Kirk episodes tonight. What makes this Trek 2.0 is that the episode is shown inside a window and all around it, it's got all kinds of nuggets of Trek trivia and information. On the bottom is a live chat that I assume you can take part in on G4's web site. Across the top are random, totally useful trivia facts about the original series. On the left side is a scrolling count of how often certain things occur per episode such as a red-shirt dying or Spock saying "logical". And on the right side is the SpockMarket where you can log in and buy shares of ships, characters and events from the show. I've already signed up and purchased a few shares of my main man, Captain James T. Kirk.
But I've got to admit that while all of this is kind of fun, it's a bit of an information overload. I found myself either paying attention to the epiosde and blocking out the useful facts or trying too hard to figure out the tally of cues on the side of the screen and ignoring the episode. Plus it's not like "The Cage" has a lot of the tyical cues from a Trek episode to start with.
But what's really great about what G4 is doing is they're showing the full-version of the classic episodes on Saturdays starting at 8 a.m and running to 3 p.m. CST. As a Trek fan, I'm delighed to see the episodes restored to their original versions. On Satudays, there is no Trek 2.0, just the classic Star Trek we've come to know and love. It's nice to see the act breaks all in the same place and the butchering of stories done by SciFi to fit into their alloted time-slots reversed. (I saw a repeat of "The Trouble with Tribbles" that skips the entire scene where Kirk finds the tribbles are in the ventallation system on the Enterprise and realizes the trouble this could mean on the space station).
Now, I'm not sure if these are the full, un-edited episodes airing on Saturdays or if they're the full original syndication edits. Star Trek was made in the 60s when we had fewer commercials. Over the years, in syndication as much as three or so minutes per story were cropped out to allow for more commercials as well as putting in a fifth break per hour for commercial time. There was an entire book by Phil Farrand that detailed these edits as compared to the commercially released version of the stories that were unedited. And yes, I loved every last page of it and for months kept it by my chair as I'd watch classic Trek, looking up where this lost footage was. (I am a sad, strange little man...I admit it).
Also, G4 is airing the episodes in production order as opposed to the air order. SciFi went in the order of airdate on NBC, which is OK, but after 30 plus years of being syndicated in the production order, it was hard to get used to. I've got to admit this is the one thing about the DVD box sets that bugs me--they're in the air date order. Sure, you can watch them in production order, but it requires flipping DVDs between stories. And while it's not like classic Trek was built on an on-going arc storyline, there are some things that happen such as Kirk's becoming friends with Spock in the first few stories that it's fun to watch for. Also, it's fun to watch the show evolve on-screen, esp. the character of Spock in the first six to eight episodes.
The thing that bugged me was when SciFi purchased the rights to be the exclusive home of Star Trek for a few years, they promised they would restore the epiosdes to their original glory and never edit them again. This lasted one and a half times through the original run. (Oh sure, they digitally remastered the show and such, but that was just a warm-up for the DVD releases. Speaking of which--I wish the interviews with cast ,crew, etc from the SciFi Special Editions would be released commercially. I learned stuff I never knew about Star Trek from them..and this is me--the world's most obsessive Star Trek fan talking here!)
But it doesn't really matter. All I know is that classic Trek is back in a less butchered format. Cheers to G4 for running the episodes on Saturday in a longer time slot (about 70 minutes) we the fans can get as close to the original version as possible. What a great way to celebrate the 40th anniversary of one of the greatest televsion shows ever made.
Sure, TNG and DS9 are great, but there's just something magical about classic Star Trek.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 4/11/2006 02:29:00 PM |
Day Five, 11 p.m - Midnight
Jack Bauer: Is there anything he can't do? He is a field doctor, he avoids military patrols! He can do it all! He can break into a house in the middle of the night, kidnap a man, break into a bank vault and escape from the forces of evil without breaking a sweat. I'm telling you--there is nothing this man can't do. I seriously think season five will end with Jack taking out Logan and setting himself up to be president when the voters of L.A. all vote him into power. Really at this point, the only thing Jack hasn't done is make jualine fries, but you never know when that might come in handy in the next seven hours.
Wayne: How are we going to tempt Logan out of his secure Presidential compound?
Martha: He sure does love jualine fries.
Jack: I'm on it!
Once again, this is one of those episodes that if you stop and think about it, the little details start to unravel. For example, how did Evelyn find time during the day to record the conversation between Henderson and Logan, leave the Presidential estate with it and open a safety deposit box to put the digital recording in? I mean, sure if she'd had the evidence on her person or hidden somewhere at the compound than Logan could easily get hold of it or Henderson could drop by for pizza and to pick it up. Then we'd have Jack and company chasing Henderson around, trying to retrieve the evidence (something we've seen before many times). Also, it brings in to question that whole timeline of things for setting the events of this day in motion--when did Logan hatch this plot? When did he contact and recruit Henderson? And just how long has he known that Jack is alive? And really, if he knew Jack was alive all this time and wanted to frame him for the murder of Palmer, why would he not have the back-up plan of turnig him over to the Chinese? That more than anything else that Logan has--fake evidence of Jack's involvement in the murder of Palmer aside--is the best bargaining chip and weapon that Logan could have. And they had a perfect way to work that in. Instead of Logan wandering about, blustering that he's got new evidence and everyone should just shup up and accept it because, by jimminy, he's president, if he says--"oh yeah, the Chinese called and they want Bauer. For the safety and security of America, I've got to let them take him in", then you'd get a lot fewer questions of whether or not this order is right, wrong or indifferent.
But that didn't happen. Namely because I think the writing staff has forgotten about this little plot thread. I guess I should just give it up and let it go as well.
Also, I did wonder why Logan was calling a press conference at 11:30 at night pacific time, which translates into 2:30 a.m. on the East coast.
Anyway, moving on.
So, Jack's new partner of the moment is Wayne Palmer. Has Wayne checked the track record of Jack's previous partners becuase it's not so good. Anyone want to bet that Wayne is either killed or seriously wounded by day's end?
Meanwhile, over at CTU no one trusts anyone esle. It's like an entire office full of clones of the Cigarette Smoking Man. Seriously, if CTU put half as much effort into finding terrorists as they did into policing themselves, the world would be a much safer place. Chloe is keeping an eye on things for Audrey and the head honchos are watching Chloe and Audrey because they want to get to Jack. And my goodness, my head is starting to hurt as I try to figure out who is on what side of this equation. And the thing is--with 24 it could change from episode to episode. Such as we saw here. Last week, the people from Homeland Security were hell-bent on the "we are sure right in closing y'all down" and then this week they're questioning if they did the right thing. I could see that maybe after a few hours, but 10 minutes later? Again, I sometimes think that 24 forgets that only a few minutes have passed between episodes and not a huge chunk of time like 20 to 30 minutes.
As we often see in the pick-up to the cliffhangers. How they got from last week with Jack and company outside the vehicle with a wounded Evelyn to being inside the car, tearing down the streets of L.A. in two minutes is beyond me. I'm just saying--if I'm shot in the leg like Evelyn was, I'd not be moving so quickly no matter how much Jack yelled at me.
Now, last week I said that it was going to take a lot of work by the episode this week to convince me that having Logan as the chief mastermind of this horrible plot was a good idea. I can't honestly say I'm there yet. The thing is I'm not sure why Logan came up with this elaborate plan or what his motivation was. Yes, he spouted off that he wanted to make America more secure for the future but what led to this mis-guided patriotism of his? What motivated him other than having him as the mastermind behind the entire plot would be a really, really cool cliffhanger? And who approached who is this elaborate plot--was it Logan approaching Henderson or the other way around? Early in the day, we had Logan worried about establishing a legacy for his time in office and this treaty being the best way to do it. So did he create this series of events to help cement his legacy? Is he really so driven and blinded by his own ambition and desire to be part of history that he'd willingly kill thousands of his fellow Americans? And could he get away with setting all this up, considering how closely monitored the President of the United States is? (Not from a Big Brother standpoint, but from the security issues). Did no one go--gee, Logan sure is spending a lot of time off alone and talking on his cell phone....I wonder if he's up to something? And how does the President of the United States find time to get a cell phone that no one else knows about?
So many questions and I bet we only get answers to about one of them. Again, I may be thinking too much, but these seem to me to be pretty obvious questions.
Though I will admit, his scene with Martha was pretty good. Boy is Martha going to be pissed when she finds out she nearly had make-up sex with a man who orchestrated the entire day for his own gain. I am telling you, next season could be all about her righteous fury at Charles for his part in this plot and that would make for one hell of an interesting day.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 4/11/2006 07:15:00 AM |
The title is supposed to refer to the void in everyone's lives they're trying to fill by communicating with lost love ones. For me, the void is the hour of my life I won't have back from watching this week's Smallville.
At least they didn't succumb to the obvious temptation to get Clark and Lana back together. Nor did it become the "Oh Clark why can't be we be together" dance we got at the end of every season three episode.
Instead, Lana isn't take the break-up well. She's become a death-junkie literally. Using some kryptonite serum stuff, she is able to go under, be dead, talk to her parents and then be shocked back to the land of the living. Of course, her dealer is charging her out the you-know-what for this priviledge and she's gotta turn to stealing from Lex. (Seriously, does the guy even have security..the mansion is broken into every other week and that other week, it's some crazy person coming in to kill Lex. You'd think being a gazillionaire, he'd invest in some personal protection.) Anyway, this leads to Lex getting injected and talking to his mom and Clark being injected and seeing his father. I honestly cared more about these two meeting their deceased loved-ones than I did about Lana's selfish attempts to talk to her parents. Ummm, anyone remember that Lana has an aunt who raised her? Maybe, oh I don't know, Lana could talk to her. And the implication that Lana has this wierd death-wish thing is never brought up really. Seriously, me thinks this girl needs some serious counselling. Of course, the counsellor might make her realize--hey, that Clark guy ain't all he seems and you should look into that.
Anyway, back to Lex and Clark. Lex sees his mom who is pretty upset that he's not really acting on the chance she showed him back in "LexMas". Holy cow, we've got follow-up and a story arc that is actually kind of working. Of course, Lex had the choice of lose Lana now or then...yeah, not much of one, really. And Clark sees Pa out in the barn (as if there'd be anywhere else) and the two have a heart to heart in which we find out a)Pa sure is proud and b)Lionel is up to something. At least now we have it confirmed that Clark knows that Lionel knows about Clark...(did I just type that?!?). How this plays out could be fun as the season goes along. I'd be interested to see how Clark slowly becomes alienntated from those around him he's closest to. Kind of switching places with Lex from the past few years if you will, where he can't trust anyone and how that affects his becoming Superman. Oh yeah, I'm sure some of you will argue that he becomes Supes for some other lofty and noble reason, but this could be a fascinating take on the established mythology.
Veronica Mars: Plan B
After weeks of wondering where he vanished to, Mayor Woody is back! Woo-hoo! (Wait, why does that sound like a commercial for Viagra?)
Anyway, moving on.
"Plan B" is almost Seinfeld-ian in the way the various plot elements come together in the final act. Veronica is asked to help Weevil find a way to bring Thumper to justice--either by legal means or by whatever means Weevil finds necessary. Veronica isn't able to do so in time, thus leading to Weevil hatching a plan to frame Thumper for stealing from the Fitzpatrick's. They handcuff him to a restroom in the stadium as the demolition occurs, thus sealing his fate. But it was just as Lamb was given enough evidence to bring about legal justice on Thumper for the death of Felix. Meanwhile, Molly may be feeling some guilt that Thumper died because her family wanted to break the two of them up.
I will say this--this course of action may put Weevil beyond redemption. Until now, he's had a rough edge, but he did the right thing when push came to shove. He may have crossed too far over to the dark side now to come back.
This one could be deceptive as the season progresses. Mayor Woody is sent a DVD that was taken inside his house. But he's quick to dismiss it as the gardner his wife fired, when I think it's probably something a bit more sinister. It was too obvious to bring it up for it not to lead somewhere.
Meanwhile, Mac is throwing herself at Beaver, who couldn't be less interested. Wait, he's a typical teenage guy and he has Mac practically begging him to sleep with her and he won't do it?!? Something ain't quite right here. It's not that Beaver even seems nervous or that he's offering any type of reason for his lack of interest. He just seems to not care, which is odd. His total lack of reaction is what got my attention. Could it be that Beaver is behind the bus crash and is feeling such guilt that he won't allow himself to be happy or that he's filling the void in his life with things that should make him happy? Or is he trying to use what made his father happy--women, making money, etc--in some attempt to gain his father's approval?
Oh and don't forget--Veronica moves to Tuesdays this week! Set those VCRs and TiVOs accordingly.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 4/10/2006 02:29:00 PM |
Logtar has an interesting new meme. Basically, you write out "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog" and then sign it with your screen name or name. (But not your signature! That is how identity theft occurs). Then you link back to his entry about it.
Logtar's been after me for a couple of days to do it. I'm glad I was finally able to help out a friend and now I implore you to do the same thing.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 4/06/2006 02:15:00 PM |
Maybe I just watch too much TV, but the twist of Dave being Hurley's version of Harvey was a bit obvious from the beginning. Sure, we knew Hurley was only seeing Dave on the island, but the elaborate lengths the show went to to show Dave seeming to interact with people (most noticeably the basketball game) but yet not really interacting with them worked. Just as we saw in The Sixth Sense, Dave never interacted with anything directly or influenced anything directly beyond Hurley.
So, I'm glad that wasn't the only central twist of the episode or else I'd have been disappointed big time.
And let's face it--Hurley is among the more interesting of the survivors on the island. So an episode focusing on his back story is probably going to be, at the least, entertaining. And this one was, for the most part. Sure the whole Dave thing was an obvious call (I think the writers made it so blatantly obvious to throw us off the scent of the big reveal that Libby was also in the mental institution with Hurley), but the rest of it worked fairly well. Interesting to see that Hurley punishes himself with food. His guilt causes him to eat, thus throwing up a protective shield around himself. He figures no one wants to get close to the overweight guy and creates his own self-fulfilling prophecies. Even to the point that while Libby is obviously attracted to him, he has to talk himself out of it by having Dave convince him she's not real.
Which Libby doesn't take all that well. But at least she takes it in stride enough to kiss him a couple of times.
The back story does bring up some questions. How did Hurley get released from the mental institution? Are we to infer that his locking Dave outside was his breaking from the non-reality that is Dave? And was Hurley still on his medication at the time and should be taking it now? Also, how dangerous to the rest of the group is Hurley is the barrier between reality and the world he's created starts to break down?
I did like the possible explanation that Dave offered to why everything is happening on the island. It's all a fantasy that Hurley has created in his mind. When he locked Dave out, his mind had a collapse and couldn't handle the information. So now Hurley is catatonic and in the pysch ward. It reminds me a bit of a Buffy episode "Normal Again" where its supposed that what if Buffy wasn't really the Slayer but was instead in a psych ward and hallucinating the whole experience so as to not deal with reality. It's an interesting idea, esp. the way Dave brings up the fact that everything could be way too coincidental to be believed. That said, I hope we don't find out the end game of the show is that this is all Libby's big fantasy.
Interesting also that on the island, every time Hurley ate, that triggered Dave's arrival. Whereas it seemed before that Dave's arrival was triggered by Hurley not eating. Could it be that Dave was there now to help Hurley get better and over his self-loathing and drowing that by eating?
And while I can see the theraputic value of destroying all the food, does it really make sense? I mean, here we are on an island with limited resources and Hurley destroys a good amount of food. Yeah, you know, just because you don't want to eat it, doesn't mean that maybe others don't. And if you want to be rid of it, I could see symbolically pouring out the ranch dressing and the returning the rest of the food to the group. Can you imagine how you'd feel as a fellow island dweller to be wandering in the woods and find all this perfectly good food just thrown away?
Meanwhile, elsewhere on the island, the interrogation of Henry Gale begins. Henry reveals that Zeke may not be the real genius behind all of the issues our heroes are having with the Others (what is this, 24?) and that our heroes haven't even met the real big bad yet. (Again, what is this, 24?) But you can bet that come season finale time, we'll either meet said head honcho big bad or we'll be coming to meeting him or her.
Henry continues his campaign of divide and conquer. He continues to work on Locke, saying that God is not watching the island and that the inhabitants there are outside His purvue. Interesting to try and rattle Locke's faith that way, esp. since his faith is being shaken in a lot of ways. Locke believes there is some grand masterplan to everything, which Henry is slowly eroding that by revealing--hey didn't put in the numbers and it all turned out OK and oh yeah, God doesn't care about us. I will admit the Henry interrogation took a backseat to Hurley and I have to admit I'm a bit irritated that we heard about Jack going to tell the group about Henry but didn't see it happen on screen. Maybe next week.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 4/06/2006 07:42:00 AM |
Last night, my family and I met for dinner at Toot's in Smyrna.
My parents had purchased WhittleMania tickets and wanted to use them to treat the family to dinner. For those of you not in Rutherford County or not familiar with what WhittleMania is, WhittleMania is a program sponsored by the Daily News Journal for one of their editors/writers Dan Whittle. (Whittle is an active voice in the community and a big supporter of Habitat. He's also just a great, all-around guy and one I've had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know over the years. His stories of his days in the trenches as a newspaper man are great.) You purchase a ticket for $10, which can be used for up to $7 toward food at two popular local restuarants, Demos and Toots. All proceeds to go Habitat for Humanity. It's a great program and a great cause.
So, we all met for dinner at Toot's. And again for those of you not in the middle Tenenssee area, Toots is a restaurant kind of like a tamer version of Hooters for lack of a better term. They have lots of TVs tuned to sports stations with the typical sports food such as ribs, wings and, of course, beer. They also have attractive female waitresses in short-shorts and t-shirts. But I would have to say that overall the waitresses at Toots are more attractive in that cute girl next door kind of way than the a majority of the women I've seen who work at Hooters.
So, we're all there at dinner. Davis, my nephew who is all of two, is having a good time, coloring for his dinner (if the kids color a picture that Toots provides, they get free dinner...) and looking around. He was seated between Grandpa and his dad so he can't escape and run around the restaurant. Behind him is a window cut into the wall. Davis was having a great time standing on his chair and looking out the window behind him, observing what was going on around him.
Oh yeah--and flirting with one of the waitresses. She would come by and he'd giggle at her. She's stop to play with him, make him smile and laugh and mess with his hair. As she'd leave, Davis would lean up on the window a bit and look at her go. We jokingly said he was checking out her short-shorts because that's what it looked like he was doing. At one point, I wondered if I should teach Davis how to ask her for her number for her poor, lonely uncle, but I'm not sure if that would have soured their new found relationship.
Ah, Davis..you're going to be quite the ladies' man when you're older, buddy. But all I can say is--enjoy the fun now. When you're two and leaning over the window to check out the cute waitress, it's cute and endearing. When you're a bit older and stare at her every time she wanders by like that, she has to file a restraining order...
posted by Michael Hickerson at 4/05/2006 09:06:00 AM |
Day Five, 10 - 11 p.m.
What is it with 24 and airing colossally huge episodes during the national championship basketball game? Last year, it was the episode where Air Force One was attacked and this year we have the dramatic revelation that....wait for it...President Logan is the mastermind of this entire plot!
Now this is one of those huge revelations that should have been jaw-dropping but wasn't. The show worked too hard to set us up to dislike and suspect the vice-president so that seemed way too obvious a choice. It did lend some tension to the scenes with Wayne Palmer at the compound, but beyond that, it was a blind alley. Also, I have to bring this up because, well, I can. So, Logan is behind all this and if we follow the logic of 24, Jack Bauer is the only man who can stop him. With me so far?
Now last year Jack really torqued off the Chinese and odds are they'd be really upset to find out Jack is still running about, saving America's collective rear end from the deadly threats of terrorism. So if I'm Logan, I'm calling up the Chinese and tipping them off that, oh by the way, Jack is still alive. Because I would think this would severely complicate things and it might effectively put Jack on the sidelines.
Of course, that assumes we know what Logan's role is in all of this. I think we need some motivation here. Sure seeing him on the other end of the phone talking to Henderson is a nice cliffhanger moment, but we've got to find a way to make it pay off. It can't just be a super cool moment to end an episode and nothing more. If it is, I'm going to be annoyed.
Meanwhile, over at CTU, things are not going well. Audrey has to sell-out the entire staff in order to keep Chloe in the loop. And Homeland Security is playing big bully on the block, taking over and firing everyone in sight. And yet as duplicitious as Homeland Security is, they don't see anything could be suspicious about Audrey suddenly changing her mind and loyalties. She goes from, "Oh, I'm proud of what we've done today" to "No, really where do I sign?" in under five minutes. I think I'd wonder why she had this sudden change of heart.
And in keeping with the finest tradition of not really acknowledging that events are supposed to be unfolding minute by minute, Jack is able to dig himself out of a car covered in burning debris and carry Bierko out on his back in under two minutes. Man, that Jack--he takes a licking and keeps on ticking.
I also had a moment in the episode when Wayne confronted Evelyn about what she knew and Evelyn reveals she can't tell or her daugher dies. Anyone else want to hear Wayne say, "There's only one man who can help us now...Jack Bauer!" I am telling you that would have been awesome!
posted by Michael Hickerson at 4/04/2006 07:42:00 AM |
You ever get the feeling that a show you're watching isn't running the episodes in their intended order? Or maybe it's just the producers think we won't notice little detials like--oh that Clark and Lana supposedly broke up for good as the end of the huge 100th episode because Clark wouldn't come clean about the fact that he's got super powers so he could save Lana from death but make himself and the rest of the cast miserable....
Oh wait, I forgot. Maybe Jonathan's death pushed Lana back to Clark for a while and she stayed with him to help him through a rough patch. Thing is--I think the five seconds I put into coming up with a reason as to why Lana and Clark are still together on the show is more than the entire writing staff of Smallville did.
As good as the first half of this season was, the show is really sinking back into the same mistakes that plagued all of season four. Maybe we just had all the build-up to the 100th episode and we put all our eggs in that basket. But whatever the case, it better start picking up some momentum here soon.
And maybe it will because--woo-hoo, James Marsters is back as Brainaic! Forget all that random stuff about freaky girl who can hypnotize Clark into being her errand boy and sex slave (meanwhile, Clark once again punches his card for doofus hall of fame when Lana goes -- my room is free tonight Clark and Clark totally turns the offer down!). Let's just feature entire epiosdes that have Lex and Professor Fine chewing scenery and threatening each other. Now that is good television my friends. I am far more interested in whatever nefarious plot that Brainaic has hatched and why he needs four copies of himself to do it. Cause that seems new whereas the hottie back in Smallville taking advantage of Clark and pitting him against Lex just seems like been there, done that.
But at least Clark and Lana are broken up for good.....maybe. Who knows? With this show you're never quite sure.
Doctor Who: Aliens of London (Part 1 of 2)
Doctor Who has always been built around cliffhangers. So much so that during the first few episodes of the new series, I kept looking for moments that could be cliffhangers in the classic format.
And now we get our first one of the new series.
Looking back on "Aliens of London", it's not as good as I first thought but it's not a bad as I seem to recall. It's a decent enough set up with some interesting ideas. The idea that Rose's family would be that upset that she'd up and vanished for a year was nice. Suspecting Mickey is also a nice touch. But as is obvious with all of Russell T. Davies scripts, he has some good ideas but he just doesn't connect the dots as effectively as he should. I like Jackie being so pissed at the Doctor that she calls the authorities on him but this ends up helping things.
Also, I kept hoping that somehow we'd get some mention in the file of what to do with aliens pop up that step one is--find the Doctor. If we're to believe that UNIT is involved and that the Brigadier was involved it these protocols, that would seem to be priority one. And it a series that is full of shout outs to the past and homages, this would have been one that made this fan-boy's heart skip a bit. In a good way.
Anyway, if you want to read me blather on longer about the story, I do so here.
Veronica Mars: The Rapes of Graff
Watching "The Rapes of Graff" I get the feeling this is to be the final catch-your-breath, stand-alone type of story for the season. And yet, it's not really a stand alone story since it could be setting up next year (assuming CW is not a bunch of turkeys and cancels the show!) and it may have given us some big clues about where the final few episodes of the season are going.
Veronica and Wallace visit Hearst College for the weekend. Hearst is a local school and while Veronica seems to have the scores to get in, it doesn't meet her basic criteria for a school of being really, really far from Neptune. Because this is Veronica and she can't go anywhere without a mystery finding her, she soon finds herself embroiled in a mystery. Seems that Troy VanderGraff is there as well and is accused of being a rapist. Sure, he's a jerk, but he's not that or so he claims. He enlists Veronica to help him clear his name, which Veronica does by finding out the rape is part of a pattern of such crimes and one occurred before Troy was on campus. We don't get a culprit caught, but we do see Veronica catching the eye of a dean at the school. That said, what I liked about this plotline was that we got to see Veronica investigating something outside of her comfort zone. She doesn't have the same access and resources she does at Neptune so to see her thrown for a loop like that and adjust to it was a nice touch. Hopefully should she end up at Hearst next year (assuming CW is not a bunch of idiots...), we'll see more of this.
Meanwhile, other things are going on. Lamb is caught on tape with a high school student. And it seems Cliff had his briefcase removed from him, containing a bunch of files related to Logan's case. Which was dismissed at episode's start but may be back on the plate since he wouldn't leave Hannah alone. Though it seems as if her father's only option was to ship her off to Vermont. Not sure he can change his testimony and then change his mind again. If anything, this would be a huge point for Cliff on the stand to blast the witness credibility. Of course, it's not like Logan would look really good since it would appear he was only using Hannah to get to her dad.
And now the Fitzpatrick's might be behind the bus crash. I still say it's the mayor who is once again absent from things. But I wonder if he used the Fitzpatrick's to faciliate the bus crash...
The Sopranos: Fleshy Part of the Thigh
As I've said before, The Sopranos enjoys a unique spot in terms of storytelling. Since the season is pretty much guaranteed and HBO would run it in whatever order David Chase tells them, it allows the show to build up a storyline. Also, running it without breaks helps to keep the momentum and build it up. This week we see Tony continue to improve. Though we see there is still fallout from his being in a reduced capacity. Tony has a new lease on life and his new found compassion and outlook that every day is a gift is surely going to come back to bite him. Also while he was out of things, his lietunants got a taste of power and how to operate under the radar or without his consent..and they seem to have got used to it. Esp. Paulie who ignores Tony's promise to the mother that her son won't be harmed if the company sells.
There are some who'd calls this seaon slow moving. I'd say no more so than usual. The show has always been about setting things up for a pay-off later. And as long as we get the pay-off I will give them the benefit of the doubt if the early episodes seem a bit slow moving.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 4/03/2006 09:30:00 AM |