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Some spoilers below:

Hello everyone. I had to take a few moments to put down some thoughts about the TV show LOST before it all goes away. I watched the finale with a large group and I enjoyed it very much. That didn't seem to be the consensus of the room around me, and it actually made me a little mad feeling like I had to defend my like of the finale, and the season, and series as a whole.

I think the big conflict depends on how you saw the show. If you saw it as a science fiction show featuring a mysterious island that had strange properties and although it was isolated had an effect on the world. Sure there were miraculous forces and strange groups that wanted to harness it's power, but in the end, the show wasn't about that, that was just a backdrop and a catalyst, so those who looked there would not find what they wanted in "The End."

Even from the start the show was a character show. The show started with the characteristic flashbacks right away, and took a little bit of a twist of the disaster movie. Instead of spending most of the movie learning about the characters before the doomed plane takes off, or the earthquake/asteroid/tsunami hits, we get right to the disaster, then learn about our characters.

And learn about them we did, for three seasons. If the show was about the Island and not the characters, then we would have been able to drop all of the flashbacks and strictly deal with the island storyline. The brilliant part of LOST's storytelling is that the island story isn't everything, but the audience is revealed bits and pieces of information as we go along. Heck, we didn't even know Locke was in a wheelchair for a few episodes, but how much did that affect his character and his actions?

It seems obvious to me that the depth of character, and the connections between the characters is what was the core of the show was about. Sure, the island was a character in itself, but only in the sense that it helped generate conflict, strife and plot.

A side note, LOST's brilliance is how they used the plot device of flashback in a way no other show has. Flashbacks are nothing new, but to make it such a large part of the storytelling was a risk. i'm often annoyed by episodes of regular shows that start with the ending, and then show you how they got there, but Lost didn't do that. lost used the flashback, and later other devices to really tell one linear story of the characters on the island, and then flashed to stories off the island. Even when characters had left the island in flash forwards, the story on the island continued in a continuous line (one could make a mention of season five, where instead of flash backs or flash forwards it was the characters following a linear story, but in different timelines. Still Sun and Locke stayed in a fixed, present day island timeline).

if you think about it, from Jack opening his eye on the island at the beginning to closing it at the end there was one timeline to the entire show, just there were lots of branches from there that explored more about the characters, their flaws, choices and actions, many of them that affected their time on the island.

I see the whole show has one overarching theme, and that's best expressed by the episode title "Man of Science, Man of Faith." Jack starts as a doctor, a man of science and needs empirical evidence and reasons for what is happening on the island. He comes into conflict with Locke who is the man of faith, who believes in the islands mysteries and embraces them. Locke dies, and is replaces by the Man in Black, a being who was a man of science, and the opposite of Jacob, the man of faith. As the show comes to an end, Jack must become a man of faith to save the people he cares about and eventually takes Jacob's place, and embraces the island's need for him.

Still, our castaways are flawed, Jacob even tells some of them that he chose them to come to the island because they were flawed. Since 80% of the characters died on or near the island in this show, the "flash sideways" was a fine way to have these characters, living or dead in the regular storyline, come together, come to grips with their flaws, reconcile relationships, and eventually move on. It was a nice plot device to provide a relatively happy ending. they did this because they had the time to do it. If they were never given that ending date by ABC, it couldn't have worked out like this.

I know many people said that the writers had no idea where they were going, and in some ways, especially in the third season, I agree with them. but I think the final season was well thought out. How would the show seem if the ending was Jack dying on the island, Hurley the island caretaker and Kate and Sawyer flying away and that's it? It would have been a very empty ending. The show would have felt more like Flash Forward where you gave up on the characters because it was all about the events and the causes, not about the people working together.

Looking back at the little changes in the "sideways" world, you see how things were designed to make some resolutions for the characters, Kate was needing to prove her innocence, Locke had to accept help from Science, and Jack had to heal Locke when he couldn't help on the island but also had to reconcile his father issues (and worked through them by having a son, as well).

Most shows would have had the reboot after the bomb in season 5 be the rest of the season, and like Dallas, would have made the whole previous 5 seasons be a dream, but not LOST, the time spend, the connections and relationships made while on the island did matter, and continued until Jack's (and each other character's death. But then those actions and connections affected the core characters in death too, and they needed to work out those issues, and recreate those connections before moving on.

It was a fitting tribute to those characters and a nice reward to those of us who enjoyed them.

I can understand the frustration for those who came looking for a different resolution, I guess for those who were men of science, but I feel as if I read a great novel that still allows you to debate it and speculate about it, and that's why I loved it.



P.S. I do agree with the people who are upset that the whole "Walt is special" thing never worked itself out. That was a production problem when the actor went through puberty when he would have only aged a few days on the island, so there was no good way to reconcile his character. By the time we come to the "sideways world Michael and Walt weren't involved enough with the core group to make them a pert of the congregation (one could say Shannon and Boone were gone even earlier, but i think that was more for the fans). I't the one big question I think would have been nice to have a real resolution.

P.P.S. I do kind of wonder what the show would have been like if Jack would have died in the pilot as was originally planned. Would Boone been the counterpoint to Locke instead? Boone's character seemed rather unnecessary after a while, and then he was killed. Someone would have had to been the sceptic and the leader. Would the show have been nearly as good?
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It seems that Turner Classic Movies channel (TCM) has gotten hold of much of the Disney Live Action films for the 50's 60's and 70's and has been shoing them on Sundays this month. I saw one of the old Kurt-Russel movies, The World's Strongest Man last Sunday, and noticed they had also been showing The Love Bug, The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes and The Parent Trap among others.

Today was the best, though. Movies that really brought back memories. This morning 1979's The Black Hole was on, followed by Escape to Witch Mountain - which really doesn't hold up over time, but is cute. [livejournal.com profile] joshjeffcoat came by to watch Bedknobs and Broomsticks and besides loving Angela Lansbury we both realized we knew a lot of the songs.

It continued tonight with Candleshoe and later the original Freaky Friday both with Jodie Foster. Candleshoe is a fun little young-person's mystery that doesn't get it's due. It's amazing that both of theses squeaky-clean Disney movies were shot after her role as a teenage prostitute in Taxi Driver. They are a lot of fun though, and the Original Friday is a lot better than the Lindsay Loahan remake.

I saw all of these films in the theater growing up, and it's good to see them all again. I normally don't look to TMC for entertainment. I'm not much of an old movie buff, but I do enjoy these bits of nostalgia.

Speaking of nostalgia, TCM is showing two other movies this week I'm interested in. They are showing Fiddler on the Roof tomorrow (as a part of a Chanukah lineup that sadly includes Yentl) and The Man Who Came To Dinner (which is not Guess Who's Coming To Dinner). They were two of the plays I was in while in high school, so it's always fun to revisit those shows.

I guess I'll have to watch TCM's schedule a little more closely from now on.
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We were watching Heroes last night. Surprisingly one of the more plot-heavy episodes. We seem to be following the show just to see if they can actually pull it out of the tailspin that it's been on since the last episode of the first season. Every once in a while there's a spark of life in it, but more often it's full of comic book clichés and characters that change motivations on a whim. Two of the biggest things that bug me, everyone can see the future and to many characters die only to see them come back to life, often in the same episode!

Strangely, this isn't a entry about Heroes, but about network television. One thing about Heroes is that it seems to be run on a series of polls. We're trying to redeem Sylar. Oh no, test audiences don't like that, now he's back to being evil again. Enough of that. The show needs to grow a pair and try to tell a consistent story, but I'm thinking that network executives won't allow it.

Too much of network television is dumbed down for the masses, just when the competitive marketplace shows they should be taking more risks. There needs to be more talked about shows and not just another season of Two and a Half Men.

Sadly, those talked about shows don't seem to find an audience large enough for the networks, so a show like Pushing Daisies gets canned. It seems that the networks have an unrealistic audience expectation in a world where there's too many other choices. I would have loved if Daisies appeared on a cable network that would have been happy for the loyalty, but that cable network wouldn't have had the money to produce such a show. Well, maybe HBO would have but there's not enough sex on Dasies to have a boob shot now and again.

I guess it's dammed if you do, damed if you don't these days. Shows like Law and Order and CSI can go on and on since there's little to follow from week to week and actors can be plugged in and out at any time. CBS seems to have an entire line up of these shows, and they manage to win in the ratings again and again. What reason would a network have to try something like Lost when you have to hope that an audience will keep watching.

The only show I watch on CBS in The Amazing Race. I really don't like procedural shows. I want something with a little more story, something that make me feel good for remembering something from the first season. The only problem is we all expect these shows to be cancelled (I'm just waiting for Josh Whedon's Dollhouse) so no one wants to get too involved.

So that brings me to the news from NBC yesterday. Apparently NBC has given up, again. A couple of years ago NBC said that they would no longer put scripted shows in the 8 o'clock hour (7 Central), relying on a series of reality and game shows to fill the time. It was purely a cost cutting move, and suddenly you saw as many episodes of Deal or No Deal as you do Law and Order on TNT.

NBC backed off of that plan a little bit, but you may notice that most networks no longer program new shows on Saturday nights, and even Friday night seems to be filled with reruns. The Networks are putting on fewer new shows than ever. The cost-cutting has meant that the big three (NBC, ABC and CBS, Fox never did program a full schedule) no longer have something different scheduled each night. In a 500 channel and TiVo world this doesn't seem to be significant, but from growing up in a time before Cable, it seems crazy to me.

NBC announced yesterday that it was planning to give Jay Leno a new talk show, rather than have him run off to another network. Leno was losing the Tonight Show gig after originally planning to retire, but then changed his mind. For his new talk show, NBC will clear out the 10 o'clock (9 o'clock central) schedule. That's right, NBC will move the Tonight Show with Jay Leno up before your local news and give up on their last hour of programming. This will mean fewer episodes of Dateline, which is fine, but it's seems to be a sign that NBC has given up. They are unwilling to produce shows and try to build up an audience.

If I were a local NBC station that had to earn ratings for my late local news, I think I'd be pretty pissed with this decision. I can't understand why people watch Leno anyway - heck, I can't watch Letterman anymore, either, but Leno always seemed to be a bad host and interviewer. Now they are going to entrust 5 hours of prime time programming to him each week?

I'll admit that good TV doesn't have to come from the networks, but it seems that they are no longer trying, which is odd as advertising gets more scarce. You'd think someone would want to take more risks. The Networks have become so inclined to try to appeal to the masses that they are turning people away from their product. It seems that the Networks are becoming less relevant to the total entertainment package as fewer people watch television in real time, over the air. When does it become viable to pass up the Nets all together and just produce a show strictly for on-demad delivery?

I think many of us are very close to ditching the networks and cable because the programming is available elsewhere. As it becomes easier to get content away from the networks and watch it how we want, well maybe it's time for Network TV to give way and for television to be produced without the need for an actual airdate.

I know I'd be happy to have a few more seasons of Pushing Dasies. Where do I subscribe?
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A few notes today:

● First, I watched the season premier of Heroes the other day, and I think we can start a drinking game with the number of stolen plots. Sure, they say there are only 153 plots in the world, but when you can clearly see they are stealing from “The 4400”, “X-Men”, “The Sixth Sense” and every other movie where the villain is somehow related to the hero. It doesn’t feel fresh and new. Of course, reading comics for so many years makes most of the plots and characters seem kind of old.

Although they didn’t introduce many new characters, there’s too many of them out there, and they rarely work together in any meaningful way. Sure, the idea is that at the end of the story, everything comes together, but the writers seem to have a hard time with that. Here are a couple of thoughts. Kill some characters. We’re starting to get some redundancy in powers and it just muddles everything. When you do kill some of them, then let them stay dead. There’s no way the audience can feel for the danger the characters are in if everyone can easily come back to life.

Speaking of new characters, there was the one “villain” who was locked up with the others in the paper factory. He is a cute Hispanic cubby, but since he apparently has been switched out with Peter Petrelli, now that he’s escaped, we the audience only see Peter, and the cute cubby in mirrors and reflections. It’s a lazy way to not have to explain to the audience that he’s really Peter, but that could be explained in dialogue. I’d rather see the cubby.

It’s also interesting how they are spending their effects budget. Some effects look great (the freezing, the speedster’s streak) others look terrible. I know you are working on a television budget, so you need to choose carefully.

Hopefully with the extra time off, Heroes writers worked harder to put together a season-long story arc like there was with the first season. There’s some indication of this, but it is tough to see how some of the storylines work together. One last thing. Too many characters can see the future. One is OK, but you have dreamers and travelers and sometimes they see different visions. It’s confusing to the audience and it’s used as a cheap way to build a threat – much like our current administration warning about attacks that haven’t happened. Let’s limit the visions of the future on this show.

● The Emmy Awards show was terrible, but I like both Mad Men and 30 Rock. It’s rare that I like the shows that win.

● I love that to try to preserve the economy until at least a week into November the Bush Administration wants to have an unelected official have the power to distribute 700 billion dollars of taxpayers’ money to banks and investment firms that couldn’t control their own businesses? No way. The Bush Administration has done terrible damage to the country grabbing powers that were not a part of the executive branch, or once had oversight by other branches of government. Congress has too many times rolled over to let them take it’s oversight power, or allowed the administration to write in restrictions to judicial oversight. Sorry, but this time we need to say no, even when the economy is tanking.

The bailout will happen, but it needs to be on terms that protects taxpayers and works to protect the government from falling into deeper debt. Mortgage lenders don’t like the idea of the government coming in and re-writing loan provisions, but it’s better to prevent foreclosure and have people pay back the loans rather than to have them just walk away. This was done in the great depression and can be done now. I hope Congress will have the guts to demand it.

I’m sure Republicans will try to block the bailout legislation if it comes in with a lot of oversight. They will say that the Democrats were just trying to grow government and put in a lot of wins for them, but the Republicans can easily use the bill to try to make political points as well by refusing it. Since Republicans like to say they are for free and open markets, they can say, oh, the bill didn’t pass because there were too many demands (like the CEO pay bit) that made it unpalatable to business, and argue that business will drive the economy if it’s left alone. Bull. These companies got into trouble and are driving the economy to ruin. I don’t want long-term oversight, or government ownership, but there has to be restrictions and accountability. I don’t think the Republicans are up to the challenge. Hopefully the Dems will be.

● I’m getting ready with Chris to go to Austin City Limits Festival (ACL) this weekend. I’m ready to get away from the calls and callers we’ve had these last two weeks. It’s been crazy as people are looking for advice, but we can only provide information and a bit of guidance. People always pick the worst time to take action with their retirement accounts, selling out of funds when they are down, and buying “hot” funds when they already are at their highpoint. It’s tough to tell them that. I also hate when we are told to reduce our lunchtime due to the high volume of calls. I’d be happier to stay later than cut my lunchtime.

● As for ACL, I don’t think there are many people we know going. I’ve heard from a couple, and of course we are excited to see Nakia ([livejournal.com profile] austinchubbylimits) take the stage at the event. It should be cooler this year, too. 90 degrees instead of 108. There’s a lot of overlap this year during the afternoon hours where two or even three good bands are on at the same time. There will be lots of choices to be made.

● Damn, I’m already wanting lunch and it doesn’t come until 2:30 today. The person who popped popcorn needs to die.
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● My parents said their lights came back on last night. I got the answering machine earlier, so I knew things were good. Several parts of their area are still out, and it will take time before all power is restored in the area. My mom was quite happy that she could start washing clothes again, as she has a bit of an OCD thing with laundry.

● The market crisis has been interesting to see how the government and the presidential candidates have handled it. I find it interesting how much it shows that President Bush really has no real power here. Everything is being done by the Fed Chairman and the Treasury Secretary. Even the Congress is getting upset because these big money decisions are being made without their input. I saw the President blathering along, trying to assure people that the free markets are strong, even though we just federalized a major insurance provider. That’s not a free market, laissez-faire move there, that’s the move of a socialist country. When did Republicans become Democrats?

Obama seems to be keeping his cool, trying to show leadership, but he isn’t making headlines. McCain is making headlines, but more for his gaffes than for his leadership. McCain is trying so hard to look like he’s in charge, it makes mistakes like saying he would, as president, fire the chairman of the SEC (or as he said ones, the FEC, a totally different regulation group), which the president does not have the authority to do, look like he doesn’t know what he is doing. Finally the media is noticing this, and calling him on it.

It’s sad to see McCain try to blame everyone but his own party that was responsible for the de-regulation that caused this problem in the first place. It makes him look like he’s floundering, not trying to lay blame on Bush, or other Republicans, but on the regulators that have been de-clawed by legislation and the businessmen who were allowed to run free as they lobbied for the right to do so. Who’s asleep at the wheel here? It’s hard to say you are going to reform “something” when everyone knows you are cozy with the people, and corporations you’re trying to say are bad. It’s bad to be the insider trying to wear the outsider’s clothing.

Otherwise, the bailout plan looks to be another huge taxpayer-funded band-aid on the problem. Much like the Savings and Loan scandal in the 1980’s (which McCain was also involved in, see the lobbying scandal called The Keating Five – it rarely gets talked about), the government is going to open a clearing house to buy up all the bad debt these investment companies and banks have on their hands. As Chris said today, we’re letting them purge, but we’re not putting these companies on a 12-step program to actually deal with the problem.

It will be interesting to see if either candidate actually proposes real regulations to prevent the return to relying on these leveraged investments that had shaky foundations in the first place.

● I’m glad that I worked last weekend, and not this one. This week has been such a drain, especially with people getting out of stocks only to see that the market is regaining most of its losses. Of course it’s hard to tell people to ride it out, or to convince them not to sell at a low point. Heck, I have enough trouble with holding pat in my 401(k) seeing the losses this year, but I try not to think about it too much.

● Something less political, or financial – this weekend looks to be busy. First for me is trying to get goodies at the “Mobile Pie Hole” – the trailer that ABC is using to promote Pushing Daisies. It will be at the Addison Oktoberfest this weekend. My sister wants a pie cutter that they will be giving away. Hopefully there won’t be a whole line of people waiting to get one.

After that, there’s gay days at Six Flags, along with many other pride weekend festivities here in Dallas. I don’t know about going for the parade, but I know I will go out to the rally on Sunday. Chris has to work, so he may join in later.

Somewhere along the way I need to do laundry. Lots of laundry. That’s one thing I wish my mother still did for me.

● Lastly, I’ve come up with a name of the workplace. The Shooting Gallery. The reason is that the office building is next to a skeet range. It’s far enough off that you don’t here people shouting “pull!” but the actual rifle shots echo off the building. Luckily there are trees in between us, and a few horses. They aren’t shooting towards the building. They do shoot towards I-35E, though.
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I'm probably writing this way too late, but system problems at work yesterday made the whole day a total bitch, and I never did get around to writing down my final Olympic thoughts, so here goes.

First, credit where credit is due, NBC did do a better job of showing all of the different sports this year - if you had cable; and you were willing to stay up into the wee hours. Badminton? Sure. Wrestling? Yes, a day after it happened, but yes. Where NBC used to show a more diverse lineup of sports in their latenight segment, this year they just placed it all on cable. There's still the bias of showing events that American's are in, but not as much as NBC Primetime.

NBC does a lot to protect it's affiliates, holding many of the big sports for primetime. This year was very odd because some events would be taking place live in the morning, Beijing time, and others would be held back from the night before. Of course everything was highly edited. It's odd when they are covering just a small group of competitors and suddenly you find that someone has taken a medal and was never covered.

Lets reduce the amount of beach volleyball. it's an awful sport and only serves as a way to get scantily clad women on TV. At least they aren't underage, but still. They barely show the Decathlon, the classic Olympic sport, won by an American even, but they show hours of people in the sand.

The second week of the games just fell flat, not only because the Michael Phelps show was over, but because the US wasn't doing so well in the running events (we did fine in the field events, but they don't focus on that), that NBC seemed a little bitchy about it. The games seemed to run out of steam after swimming and gymnastics were over.

Lastly, the closing ceremonies certainly didn't bring the excitement and the wonder that the opening ceremonies did. It didn't help that NBC tried to stretch out a 90 minute event into 3 hours with tons of flashbacks. The large tower just made the floor show look like the worlds largest showing of Chinese Acrobats at Six Flags. The fireworks still amaze, though.

London really came in and rattled the whole thing with the rock-and-roll double decker bus. Leona Lewis and Jimmy Page? Talk about a change in tenor at the ceremonies. They really livened up the ceremony, and then China couldn't really comeback because their pop-spectacular features government friendly songs sung by Jackie Chan and a group of people you never heard of. "Beijing, I Love You" is no "Whole Lotta Love."

For the 2012 games London should just load up the entire opening ceremonies with world-class pop acts, Annie Lennox, Paul McCartney, Elton John, Pet Shop Boys, Spice Girls, and whoever is hot at the time. Screw the thing of we have a billion people, just show that a small island has put out a ton of pop culture over the last 50 years or so and have that as your opening ceremony. Done.


Hey, note to the Republican convention guys, if you also thought the second week of the Olympics was too much, so will the second week of political stump speeches. People are already tired of presidential politics this year, and will be even more so next week when your giant American flag is up in St. Paul.

Otherwise, I am sunburned again. I can't seem to use the aerosol spray cans of sunscreen without missing some very large swaths. I have stripes right now.

Off to work, from what I hear the software problem we had yesterday still isn't fixed, so it should be quite a day.
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It was announced today that Project Runway will move to Lifetime (television for women) after the next season. You can read more about it HERE.

While the last season seemed to drag to an end, it seems like the change from Bravo to Lifetime might really change the show for the worse. Here's how I see it going down:


(On the Runway, Heidi walks out to the designers in their chairs)

Heidi Klum: Hello! Designers, here's this week's models for you to choose from. You should be familiar with them. Here's Merideth Baxter, Valleri Bertinelli and Lindsey Wagner. Also we have Raven Symone, as well. She's new to the Lifetime line up as well having grown too old for Disney. Too. As Well.

(Quick cuts to three designers in fronto of the scrim describing discovering the clients)

Contestant One: I was all, who are these women? (Off screen mumble) Really? Couldn't they get Joan Collins? At least she wore gowns.

Contestant Two: So is this the everyday woman week? We're going to need to stock up on a lot of Vaseline this week.

Contestant Three: Oh my god! I love these women! As a little boy I watched their movies and just cried and cried!

(tight shot on Heidi)

Heidi Klum: Alright, go see Tim in the workroom. Bye!

Workroom, Tim Gunn stands across from the remaining designers)

Tim Gunn: Designers, this week's challenge is to design an outfit for your models for their next Lifetime movie. It's important that the out fit says "fashion" and says "victim", but the accouterments don't say "fashion victim." Make it work!

(Tim leaves and the designers go to work)
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The TV show Jericho left the airwaves Tuesday Night.

I'm sure most people didn't even know it was still on, after a seven-episode reprieve ignited by a fan mail-in and the need to have television with already written scripts. The show may be one of the more depressing series in all of television, but was also very critical of the handling of the Iraq war in a very twisted way.

The show explored the aftermath of a great terrorist calamity, nuclear bombs going off in most of the major cities of the US. The questions stayed for many episodes, who did it, why, and what was to gain for it? Was it the Chinese? Islamic radicals? What was the tie between the bombings and this little sleepy Kansas town that seemed far away from the targeted cities?

The answers (spoiler alert) came mostly in the second season, more of a coda to the first season, showing that the leaders of a Haliburton type organization, not liking the current state of US affairs after already "running" Iraq, decide to place the country into chaos and take over with their own self-appointed president and bringing in their own Blackwater-like militia.

The first season was paced too slowly over the corse of 22 episodes, and lost viewers quickly. Still, the show took some chances, not only killing off major characters often, including several townspeople dying in the middle of winter of starvation and lack of heat, but also outwardly criticizing the Bush administration, albeit from the perspective of the aftermath of the continuance of current policy. One could see Dick Cheney working to keep control in some way like this.

Still, even with the serious side, with people scratching to survive until the Halliburton overlords come in to rebuild (again, mirroring Iraq), there was several problems, like the bagboy who inherited the grocery store after the grocer he worked for was killed over food became a smuggler himself. Skeet Ulrich's character seemed to be able to fly, drive a tank, and do almost superhuman feats. A few different love stories were attempted, one where the chapel of the tiny Kansas town was filled with burning candles, just days after all the electricity was lost. Seemingly bad judgement when no one seemed capable of going out to the electric plant to work on it (or see that there wasn't fuel for it.)

In the end, the last seven episodes tried to explain much of the background that was only speculated in the first season. The pacing went up several notches with the producers knowing that were likely to only get the one chance. Fans wanted to know who was responsible, and that's what the writers delivered.

While I love episodic, serialized, television, it seems like it just doesn't sell to a mass audience. Networks can't take the time to let the show build, or allow it to finish a story line. They also end up breaking up the episodes too much, where you go several weeks before the show comes back. This not only hurst Jericho, which had several long hiatuses, but also hurt shows like Invasion, which also suffered because of interminably slow pacing, but also since it was always in reruns.

It's much easier to pick up an episode or two of CSI or Law and Order that doesn't have a consistent storyline. Besides a few actors, what's that different between season two and season 18?

Lost would be right this year if it wasn't for the writer's strike puting in a monthlong break in the season. Create shorter seasons and run the episodes together as a series. It's much more like the 13 episode runs of british television. With short attention spans, this should be the way to run shows, and not like the television year of old, trying to string 20 or so episodes over a 40 week period.

There should be room for shows like Jericho, Wonderfalls, Firefly, Invasion and even Sports Night, but perhaps these shows shouldn't be made for the major networks. maybe something new is needed. Perhaps they should be sold more like comic books...you pick up the episode on demand, maybe the first week, or maybe sometime later. It's not like we'll take the book out of the bin when the run is over.

Perhaps these stories should be sold more like graphic novels. In DVD sets they almost are, and I know many people have watched Lost and 24 as DVD sets after their first run on TV. Perhaps they shouldn't be on TV at all, but just sold to the public ala carte. Delivered directly through Tivo, or your on demand cable box rather than broadcast. It's close, with box sets and iTunes, but it's not quite there yet.

Sure it would take a different type of marketing to get you to pick up a series that isn't just flown over the airwaves, but as much as music isn't on TV anymore and people still manage to discover artists not found on the radio, perhaps shows like Jericho could survive outside the need to please the lowest common denominator.
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This morning I woke up, checked the news online and saw that Marvin Zindler had died. It's hard to explain Marvin to those who didn't live in Houston. He was a crusading consumer advocate who used the power of television to shame businesses and people to apologies for what ever people wrote in. He wasn't an investigative journalist, just a loud noisemaker, and one of the most peculiar men to even be on TV, and that's saying a lot.

For years you would hear him close a report with "I'm Maaaaaarin Zindler, Eaaaaaahwitness News! No one knew how many plastic surgeries he had has, or how many white wigs he had gone through or how many blue-tinted glasses he owned. He was known for his "Rat and Roach Reports" on Friday which he'd pretty much read off the previous weeks health inspector's report. I remember one week in college coming back to school on a Monday talking to everyone that had had lunch in one of the mentioned places on Marvin's report the day before.

Blech.

Marvin would finish the report with all of the restaurants that had failed inspection due to (yelling loudly) "SSSSSSSLIIIIIIIIIIme in the ICE Machine!" The call had become so famous a person put it to music, and even that was used in the report in later years. There's a YouTube video of it HERE, if you want to hear it, and see it for yourself.

He had a contract with the station for life, so on his deathbed in the hospital he was still doing stories for the station - wig and all. It was always amusing to see how Dave ward, the Channel 13 news anchor would try to keep a stiff upper lip after Marvin had bellowed his signoff.

Now there is a little peice of Marvin you may have seen. In the musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas Melvin P. Thorpe is Marvin Zindler - and I can say it's with little exaggeration from reality to the stage (except for the singing and dancing). Melvin, played in the movie by Dom DeLuise sings "Texas Has A Whore House In It" with all the bombast of the real deal. The reason is Marvin Zindler really did shut down the brothel known as The Chicken Ranch (because during the Depression men paid for sevices in chickens) thatwas out in LaGrange, Texas, between Houston and Austin. The story is true, just the real players weren't as photogenic as the movie.

There was a lot of death in the news today, director Ingmar Bergman, football coach Bill Walsh and TV talkshow host Tom Snyder. I remember watching him in the seventies when we were off on summer vacation. Both my mom and I were nightowls, so we would watch The Tomorrow Show and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. Years later I watched late Night with David Letterman and The PTL Club because who didn't love the trainwreck that was Tammy Faye Bakker. I liked to call the show, The Pass The Loot Club.

I guess it's interesting in this day and age where we have people who pass on, and not only do we remember, but we also have the ability to go see their work. We've graduated from tales to portraits to pictures to moving images of those who have passed. Lucille Ball has been gone for some time, but she's still on TV. Glenn Miller died before my time, but I can still hear his band and see old movies of him. in this day and age, the departed don't have to be gone.

Chris came back over the weekend from a trip to his grandmother's in Florida. He purchases a video camera so he could capture some of it. She's in her eighties and has started to have some memory lapses. Chris showed me some of the movies and there she was telling tales with Chris's parents. I may never get to meet her, but I've seen her.

I wish I had done the same with my grandmothers. I don't know why I didn't. I did own a video camera at one time...one that fell apart after two years of heavy use around the marching band. Sure there's pictures, but the stories are lost. I guess you always want to hear more from them.

Somewhere there's several reels of Super 8 movies that my paternal grandparent's took, and I've watched some of them, but the people in those movies, shot in the 50's don't remind me of my grandparents as i knew them.

Perhaps I should start filming my parents. At this point it would be totally for myself, as neither I nor my sister have children. Perhaps there will be some niece or nephew someday, but it's going to be a while and the parents aren't getting any younger.

I'm in the middle of my years now, and I know the losses are going to star steamrolling, parents, friends, etc. Time marches on. The true losses in my life have been minimal, but I've cried over grandparents and pets. I wonder what it's going to be like as we go along. The future looks promising and dower all at the same time. There's losses you plan on, but I'm sure there will be many changes that will take me by surprise.

I just hope we can go out as loudly as Marvin Zindler.
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It's been a pretty busy weekend here. I guess I did get a little jump start on being more social. We saw Hairspray on Friday night which was good. much better than I thought it would be. Travolta seems to be in another movie, or doesn't get the joke, but he does OK. The new Tracy, Nicole Blonsky, does a really good job with the whole thing, but it seems, thinking back to my recollection of the original movie Tracy get's the spotlight. in the new film they turn the attention away from her at the very end, and highlight her more famous co-stars. The new Tracy is so good, I wish they would have let it play out as it once did.

I just finished Michael Tolliver Lives which is a good book. Not high literature or anything, but a good solid read. It has much to do with getting older and the changes your relationships with people take, so it resonated a lot with me, even though the character is 15 years my senior.

I finished that book so I can now get on to reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Yes, I'm one of those people as well, but I tend to read at a more leisurely pace, so I probably won't be finished with it for a couple of weeks or so. I don't think I could - or even would like to devour the book like some have done this weekend. I fully expect to have the ending spoiled for me by the time I get through, if not by LJ (and some of you have already come close...) probably by Chris.

Chris bought me a copy of the book when he got his on Saturday morning. we bought two because I didn't want to wait on him to finish before I got started, and I thought he would take it on his trip to Miami coming up. Well, Chris is already half way through it, only slowed down by some training he needed to do and my desire to pick up comic books. I guess I could have waited and would have had it in my hands by Tuesday. oh well, we can always give a copy to a library or something when we're done.

We went to Zeus because their 7th anniversary sale included discounts on the new titles, so it was a good deal. Richard ([livejournal.com profile] dedagda) was very excited about his upcoming trip to Comicon. I know it will be cool for him because he goes in as the reigning champ of store owners after last year's Eisner win. We talked a lot about what new TV shows they might introduce at the con. I mentioned The Bionic Woman, Chuck and New Amsterdam (which I think has been retitled). Perhaps they will talk about the upcoming plans for a Shazam! movie, or the long awaited Watchmen flick.

One of these days I should go out to Comicon. It sounds like a total nerdy blast!

Chris and I finished the weekend going out to Dave and Busters for their dinner and tokens special where we earned a lot of those yellow tickets at things like skeeball and those strange coin drop games. Unlike say Chuck E Cheese, the food is pretty good and you don't feel like a dork playing skeeball next to a 10 year old. Still, most of the prizes you can win for those tickets are made for those much younger than us, though I don't know anyone who needs a set of clip on dolls of the Blue Collar comedians.

I also picked up some new music, including the new Magic Numbers album, which is good. We did miss Entourage tonight, so we haven't totally gotten our fill of pop culture this weekend.
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Over the weekend Chris and I actually went out and were social. We skipped the True Colors tour on Saturday, though we knew people would would be there. I was a little wary of going out on Saturday night to the Denton County Bears pool party not only because I didn't know too many people who were going to be there, but also because i was a little mad from not being able to get a haircut. Yep, good old vanity. Seems like all the cheap ass haircut places were full of people, and after working yet another saturday morning, I really didn't want to have to wait around reading stale magazines waiting for the one or two people to finally get around to me.

Sadly, our friend the stylist has left the haircutting industry to pursue other interests. Good for his wallet, though. Good for our hair too, because although he's a friendly guy, he gets a little attention-deficit disorder when he's cutting and kind of forgets spots.

We made it out to the pool party fashionably late, but not so late to chow down (are we not bears?). I met some nice folk, didn't freak out once I got warmed up, and had a good time. On sunday our little neighborhood had a get together out by our pool. Again, it was tough to meet people I didn't know. Even after living here a year and a half, I really don't know any of the neighbors. Only one of them recognized me from walking Joey occasionally. Still, it was good to put some faces to townhomes around the area. People started to bring their dogs and eventually the dogs were swimming in the pool - and none of the people were. Joey stayed fascinated by the water, but didn't jump in. I'm not so sure she really cared for the other dogs, except for the big lab puppy who she felt needed to be put in his place.

I think it's both Chris' and my goal to be a little more sociable and get out more often. Over the last few months we've been homebodies and really haven't gotten out much. We do know people, people that haven't moved away, and maybe it's time we started calling a little more often around here.

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Otherwise, in one of those looking back themes that will crop up from time to time in these 40 days, I find that I don't watch old movies. Pretty much anything prior to Star Wars (1977) is out, and certainly anything in black and white. I know this leaves a ton of really great films out, heck, most of the AFI top 100 are pre '77, but there's just something about old movies that makes me want to go do something else.

This isn't the same for old television shows. I'll be happy to watch a black and white episode of My Three Sons, or Bewitched. I love watching reruns of The Monkees or Green Acres. Perhaps it's just the timeframe involved, 30 minutes vs. 90.

It's not that I've never seen an old movie, there's plenty of old Disney films I've seen, animated and not, say, the Computer Wore Tennis Shoes? There's also Song of the South which I saw on one of Disney's re-releases sometime in the 70's before they pulled the picture for good in the US. I wouldn't make a big effort to go see them again.

that's another part of it, I rarely re-watch movies. I see them once, maybe twice, and that's it. I don't buy many DVD's because I really don't re-watch them. Even my Kevin Smith movies sit in a box, unwatched. The movie I've likely seen the most is either Airplane or Sixteen Candles because they ran on Showtime all the time in the summer during high school. they seemed to show The Wiz a lot, too.

Part of this may be due to my Dad. He's such a fan of John Wayne and WWII movies that he'll re watch them over and over. I don't know how many times I've seen parts of The Fighting SeeBees or The Searchers or Force 10 From Navarone. I never saw Saving Private Ryan because it seemed like it would be the same thing all over again, just with Tom Hanks.

There's something about needing to move forward in movies that's bigger than my need to move forward in music listening. I love to find new music, and listen to what others of you are listening to, but I like to mix that in with favorites across the last 60-70 years. Movies seem to be more of an in-the-moment thing. I caught a few minutes of Deep Impact on cable the other day and I was already thinking that the movie looked dated.

I'm sure I could ask for, and get a hundred different classic movie selections, but really, I'll stick to trying to see new stuff and the movies i've missed over the last few years...like over the weekend watching The Italian Job, which was fun. Of course it's based on a classic Michael Caine movie that I really have no desire to see.

Of course that doesn't mean I want to see every remake, either. At this moment, I'm still thinking of skipping Hairspray.
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1. It’s been quite a time here lately. I’m totally stressed out about my upcoming test, the Series 7 brokerage exam, is now just about a week away. I’m really thinking I’m going to fail it, especially if I don’t get some stuff into my head about mathematical formulas. These things were the bane of my existence in school and college, and now here they are in real life – or something. Options seem to be something I can't get my head around and consist of a large portion of the test. Personally, I feel options are legalized gambling on stock and I think that it should be eliminated…if they could bann them before my test, that would be all the better.

I carry my study books all over the place. It’s incredibly dry reading, and I finally finished reading the whole thing last week. I haven’t carried a book around this much since I was pledging the frat. One of the book’s cover is starting to tear away in places.

Something tells me to just take it and fail and don’t worry about it, since it is not required for my current job, but it is required to become a manager. I’m afraid that if I do fail, and I get two chances before I have to wait a year – if the company would sponsor me again – that if I do fail, then I won’t be seriously considered for a management position. So, if failure does occur, then I’m going to really have to sit down and figure out what I want to do with my life, because maybe this isn’t the industry for me. It’s odd, I know so much about other parts of the business, like retirement accounts that are barely touched on in this test, but things like options and bonds and tax shelters, well, that, not so much.

Of course one of the bigger problems is that I’m going it alone, where others at the company, working in roles that require the license get classes and tutoring and handouts and such. I have the books and the online testing tool, and that’s it. The book is very poorly written, rambling and difficult to understand. When I took my Series 6 exam eight years ago, I had much better books. I’m really at a disadvantage, and I hope that will be seen in the future, fail or succeed.

After working 10-15 hours of overtime the last few weeks, I’m going to have to go home and study this week. I’m also thinking of holding off on the workouts just to give me more time.

2. Of course all this comes in one of the busiest times for television viewing. Last night I felt I had to get away from studying and watch The Sopranos, Entourage and The Amazing Race. Some shows I can miss and catch up with on Tivo in another week or so. Some, like Heroes and Lost I’ll want to keep up with. Others, like 24, Smallville, and America’s Next Top Model have been permanently dropped from my viewing list.

24 you may remember was a pickup this season for me, but when they totally scrapped their original storyline and have Jack move on to a totally different one for the overnight hours of the day, it was a good time to get off the boat.

Then there’s the recently cancelled show, Drive. I really should know better about getting involved with a show on FOX. Especially when it’s a show that stars the guy from Firefly and is written by the creator of Wonderfalls, two other good shows that FOX canned after only a few episodes. Let’s see, you premier a show on a Sunday, the busiest night of television, preempting Family Guy, immediately move it to Monday, and the next week cancel it. How would a show ever get an audience when you give it a start and finish like that?

The show wasn’t great, but it had a nice premise and it was fun watching the racers go up and down the same stretch of California freeway, and trying to make us believe it was rural Florida. The characters all had some reason to be in the race, but it wasn’t given to us right away. Nathan Fillion’s character’s wife was kidnapped, why we’ll never know, and he had to enter the race to try to get her back. Why the police weren’t good for finding her, I don’t know. Still, for fans of shows like The Amazing Race, and Bullrun, this was a good drama version of a reality show. Let’s face it, I like the serialized shows like Lost and Jericho. Of course Jericho has to be one of the most unrealistic stories of the apocalypse, ever. I’ll be shocked if they give Jericho a second season – it really doesn’t deserve one, but at least they are getting to ride out the whole year, probably because the show isn’t on FOX.

I’ll admit that FOX irks me. The few episodes of House I’ve seen were good, and I like the lead actor from the old BBC Blackadder shows, but it was on FOX and I thought they’d cancel it. Same thing goes for Bones. They manage to surprise you, but more often than not the shows thay choose to keep are really awful like The War At Home and Til Death.

Speaking of Bullrun, why is no one (besides [livejournal.com profile] jeremasur) watching this? This is a fun cross-country race with cars and some stupid, bitchy people (necessary for a reality show). One of the guys, a “flower delivery guy” from Austin is really cute, but he never drives. Looking at host Goldberg is pretty good as well. Since the show is on Spike, there’s lots of “male bonding” type talk, flag chicks and plenty of unnecessary explosions and fire during the challenges, all for the Hooters crowd. Still at the end of it, its really a good race for those who can do long distance driving, and it’s interesting to see what helps and hurts the racers.

3. Sort of on the cancellation lines, why do people just refuse to see Hot Fuzz? The movie is hysterical and really well put together, but it can’t seem to climb higher than number 6 at the box office when awful stuff like Nicolas Cage’s Next do better? Is it the British humor? Do people not know anyone in it (they’d be surprised)? Did they not see Shawn of the Dead? Come on! Well, the whole box office will be killed by Spiderman this weekend.

4. One more work thing, I’m perplexed about how many people bring a Bible to work with them here, or carry one around. I just don’t feel like the workplace is the place for Bible studies. I’m fine with people having their religion, but it’s something I think should be kept away from the office – but there’s plenty of people who talk about church and of course one who keeps saying “Lord Help Me, Jesus” at least a couple of times a day. I have yet to see a Koran, but I have seen a Book of Mormon here. Compared to my last workplace, I can definitely tell that I moved closer to the Buckle of the Bible Belt.

5. Otherwise, over the last few weeks things have been mostly well, with both of us working long hours. Joey is rambunctious as ever. We had a great visit with David ([livejournal.com profile] metacub) who I hope had great fun at Coachella and Palm Springs, and won’t have trouble getting home to Oakland with the big freeway collapse. friday we went and saw [livejournal.com profile] cristalskye kick it on the soccer field. CAPE is this weekend and I look to go see how well Richard ([livejournal.com profile] dedagda) and Chris ([livejournal.com profile] amyboy00) have done this year with their mini comic convention. I hope the cute but straight artist is there again. I think we disturbed him a little bit last year.

6. Lastly, I’m looking to go to Baltimore again the first weekend of June to visit my sister. This will likely be my last trip up there as she’s thinking of moving back to Texas – mainly because her fiancée wasn’t thrilled about leaving the state in the first place. It’s my big chance to see a Phillies game in their home stadium, and I may see if I can double up and also go to see a National’s game in DC, as they both play that weekend. The Nationals aren’t quite as important as they are still playing in old RFK stadium and I’ll want to see the new field once they move into it. Otherwise, I wonder if I can convince my sister to finally drive over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Something I’d really like to do. It will be my only vacation before the Alaskan Cruise in September. Chris may go back to California for a few days to see his family, but I can’t get the time off to join him. I'm lucky to get off what I can.

Here’s to test taking. If I do manage to pass, I’m going to get drunk after it.
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❄ Other people in the DFW area have been talking about snowflurries today. I haven't seen any here, so I must be in the warm part of town. Still, there's predictions of more as we drop below freezing tonight. I doubt any will stick, but it is still strange. I'm guessing that this is going to put a big damper on the Easter Pet Parade in Lee Park tomorrow, which sucks. We always see some great folks and their pets out there. Last year temps were in the 90's!

❆ About a month ago I saw a story stating that gas prices shouldn't go to $3.00 a gallon this year (in Texas). At that time prices had risen to $2.25. Now the price is 2.75. I'm going to guess that we'll hit $3.00 right after April 15th. *sigh*

❅ So I've been catching up with episodes of 24 this weekend. It's the first season that I've watched this show as I've seen a few people rave about it. I have one question: Has the show always been this bad, or is this season just terrible?

It's not necessarily the acting, but it's just the writing that seems awful. They have an interesting scenario, a suitcase nuke goes off, and not only do we see how we try to get those responsible, but we also see leader's response to it. The problem is, they throw away characters all the time. Someone shows up for an hour or two and then they disappear, having little impact on the plot arch of the show. Then there's the need to give the series regulars something to do, so they look for moles and have office romances and suspect each other of drinking on the job, none of which is interesting or does anything to move the story forward.

I wonder if the writers are also writers of videogames, as there is a similarity of plot devices where you go from one situation to another on a path to the finish. There's several small bosses that must be defeated (or as Jack Bauer does, interrogate them) until you finally get to the big boss.

There's also a lot of M. Night Shamalan "Ohh! What a twist!" moments that aren't as big a reveals as they seem to think.

I'll watch the rest of the season just to see what craziness they pull out to show that it's not the Muslims or the Russians or even the Cheney-like vice president. It's probably Jack's Dad who was seen in two episodes early on and promptly forgotten. After it's over, it's getting deleted off the Tivo.

❄Otherwise, Chris and I were at the local mall last weekend and it was a little dead. We walked by center court and there was the Easter bunny sitting there waiting for children to come up and get photos. At this mall he's a overly large brown furry with a nice waistcoat and tie. He was sitting on a park bench and the area was decorated like it was New York's Central Park. Why this was, I have no clue.

We're looking at the rather-lonely bunny from the second level, and Chris asks me if i found the bunny a little creepy. I said no and asked him what he meant.

He says, "Well you have a guy in a bunny suit waiting on a park bench for kids to come and sit on his lap."

Yeah, when you put it like that, yeah, it's creepy.
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Saturday night I'm looking around at what was on television and saw that the Battlestar Galactica miniseries was playing on the Universal HD channel. Now, as someone who's rewatching all of the episodes of arrested Development on HD despite the fact that i own all of the DVD's, I can truly tell you, everything is new in HD.

On a side note, they are showing the old Northern Exposure series on one of the HD channels, but that was never shot in HD, so it's this square picture in the center of the screen with nothing added. I have no idea why they are showing it on these channels. I guess it's going to be this way for a while as we have the old, non HD reruns. Sort of like watching back-and-white series growing up. those shows have pretty much disappeared from the tube now.

Still, at the end of the last Battlestar season a couple of weeks ago I was interested in how far the show had come, and here it was right on cue. sure, lots of things have changed and we know a lot more about the mysterious Cylons than we did when the series started.

My question is, has this been a good thing? Are we learning so much about the Cylons that now they aren't that compelling of an enemy. They are getting more and more human. They are getting more and more petty. the human population deals more with bigger social questions, including if unleashing a virus to kill the Cylons is genocide, and if it's right to try to wipe them out much like the Cylons attempted to do to them. the Cylons however, seem to be squabbling about each other more than actually going after the rag-tag fleet.

So it begs the question: do the Cylons really have a plan? I know that they have said it has changed, but still, they don't seem to be the driven predators they were at the start of the series. Only Cavil...the Cylon played by Dean Stockwell, seems really focused on this, or at least getting on with their plan while the others are trying to figure out what to do with Baltar.

I still love this show, and there's still a lot going for it, but I'm wondering if delving into the Cylon background has taken away a lot of the mystery of the show. Sure, there's still "Athena", the sharon model on the Galactica who will want to get her daughter back, and there's still a lot to be done in the conflict with the civilian government, lead by President Roslyn and the military, lead by Adama. and i think they have some twists planned for Baltar in the new season that starts in a couple of weeks.

i just think they should lay off of "Three", the Lucy Lawless character. Her individuality has made her a leader in the collective, and pretty much a poor one. They should box her for a while. Let's get back to the idea that there's a reason, beyond jealousy, that they want the humans gone.

Oh, and please make the Chief grow his beard back.
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❅ It's been a strange weekend. For most of it, I've been watching Chris playing The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. I have to admit, it is intoxicating. There's a lot going on and I'm enjoying trying to solve the puzzles and get through the rather lengthy story.

He's playing this on our new Wii. I played the Wii sports, and I really liked it. Making the moves was pretty easy, but then again, you're only using one controller. Zelda takes two controllers with a lot of moving of them, slashing for the sword, moving the other for your shield. In a way, it's even more difficult than using the XBox controller, but it looks to be more intuitive, too.

I'm enjoying the fact that we're starting to see some other Mii's in the parade. It's stupid, and overly cute, but it's something that makes the Wil different than the other game consoles.

❆ I hate that the NFL games throw off my watching of the Amazing Race finale. Could we please move the show off Sundays?

❄ We went last night out to one of the largest Christmas parties that I've seen in someone's home. I'm guessing there were at least 250 people in the home and there was booze and a full catered meal. Anyone who follows my journal knows that large crowds creep me out, so i ended up leaving, leaving Chris and Mikel there fro a while while I worked on calming down.

I freaked when I was left alone as Chris and Mikel went off to the hour-long line to get booze. I just stood by myself and felt that everyone was looking at me for being ugly. I was in a house full of hot men, and didn't feel like I could talk to any of them. Why can't I even try talking to someone? Maybe if I didn't feel like I needed to run of to the fringe, and stay out of the crowd.

❃ Enough of that. Here's something about a crowd I hope to do better with. Chris and I have decided to go on a cruise. I said that the one cruise I'd be interested in going on is an Alaskan cruise, and lo and behold, next year's RSVP/Lazybear Out to Sea Cruise is going to Alaska in September.

I have to say, I'm actually more excited right now of getting to go to Seattle, and after the cruise I'll get to cross Safeco Field, the Seattle Mariner's stadium, off my list to have seen a game at.

Still, the cruise is the main thing, it's a seven day cruise on the ms Amsterdam going up to the Alaskan panhandle and making a stop at Victoria Island, BC - so I'll have to get my passport renewed. Given the pictures that Chris came back from his last cruise with, if even half of those guys came on board it would be a pretty hot crowd.

Of course, that's why I'm mentioning this now. I'm hoping that several of our LJ friends will join us on the cruise. Come on and get on the boat with us!

❉ Wow, 2007 is just three weeks away, and i haven't done my christmas cards. Why can't I multitask, filling out cards and saving Hyrule from the forces of darkness?

4-Play News

Dec. 2nd, 2006 12:29 pm
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Here's an actual television news teaser from the "Arctic Blast" coverage. "A cat trapped in an icy tree. The dramatic rescue, tonight at ten." Why the anchorman wasn't laughing his head off, I'll never know.

For the last couple of days there have been reporters near freeway overpasses all over the metroplex reporting if there is, or is not ice on the bridge. Like a NASCAR fan, what they're really wanting to see is a crash.

Still, the cat didn't get as much coverage as the lady who's car slid off the road and into a full apartment complex retention pond. That included helicopter coverage.
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Today I went out with Chris to his gay softball team's first practice of the season. I know he's trying to get me to join, but so far I'm not so sure. I'm not much of an athlete, as you might guess, and just going after gay softballs that were not caught had me thinking, why am I putting out this effort? I guess I'm just a man of leisure.

Still, I know Chris likes the gay softball, and I may at least keep score, since it's a skill I actually have from watching too much of it in the past. In fact, I learned to keep score when I was in the press box at the Astrodome, interviewing players back in college. the closest I'd really ever gotten to playing was being hit in the head by a batting practice ball hit by Jose Cruz.

Well, that's not entirely true, I did play a few games back in summer camp (a few years of YMCA camp, and another couple of years in Methodist Indoctrination Camp near Palestine, TX) when I was forced to do so. I call those years the worst summers of my life. The longest was a month long camping experience where I was accused, and got an award for showering with this girl named Amy. Hell, I tried to shower when no one else was looking, so scared for someone seeing me naked, I was.

Still, I played some softball at camp, and then in college there was the great games between the Tubads and the trombone section. I remember catching for one of those games, and was dubbed the worst catcher of all time (which is still true today). Still, I did have a hit that brought a run in.

I'll have to think about it. I'm still trying to figure out what my work commitment will be once I'm out of training, especially since we've been told that there is a lot of overtime done on saturdays. I'm not sure what my commitment will be once things get going, so I'm not sure I want to say yes to a lot things, like gay softball, or the chorale.

After being rebuffed by the oil change guys for coming to late to get the car's first oil change, we ran over to Dillards to take advantage on their clearance sale, then we got ready to watch some television at Matty's ([livejournal.com profile] mattycub) apartment. We watched episodes of Project Runway, Lost and Battlestar Gallactica, but really, it wasn't a lot of excitement this week. I think it was more interesting talking comics with Richard ([livejournal.com profile] dedagda) and Chris ([livejournal.com profile] amboy00). Kenny ([livejournal.com profile] kennydoug71) was somewhat silent (except for the space whore on BSG), probably since he has to see half of Runway.

Due to majority rule, I was forced to eat chinese food, some year of the dog thing, I guess. I had some sesame chicken, being deemed low enough on the veggie scale to be tolerable, but the broccoli on the side of the tin was kind of menacing. Luckily Chris took it away, and I was safe to play gay softball another day.
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Congress wants to extend decency rules used on broadcast stations to cable, satellite and pay services. The current decency standards are related to the FCC being in charge of doling out areas of spectrum that broadcasters can use, and are given to broadcasters who will not charge the American people to receive their program.

On the flip side, pay services like cable and satellite television and radio are considered opt-in and it's harder to justify the ability to regulate and censor content. Of course, that's why racier programming, like HBO's shows, Nip/Tuck and even the soon to be Howard Stern Show on Sirius, finds a niche.

Well, in league with the current administration's appointees, the Congress is wishing to extend the FCC rules to Cable and Satellite, because we need more bureaucracy, and people cannot be able to think for themselves, for they will see and hear things that the people in powers see as "indecent". Obviously they can't find the clicker, the "off" button, the power cord, figure out the channel block, or the ability to walk away from a service that they pay for.

Because of innocent children, adults should not be allowed to find the programming they want, Apparently.

But wait, Congress has thought about giving you some choice. A suggestion from the Congress is to allow people to choose channels a la carte. Well, the Cable and Satellite Industry isn't too crazy about that because some offerings that you might currently get might not find enough buyers to keep justifying carriage. Really, who's watching C-Span, anyway?

Still, there's opposition to this plan from a seemingly surprising source, yep, those very Christian Broadcasters that would want to keep you from watching Skinemax and LOGO. Suddenly they realized that people could choose not to receive their channels as well, lessening their potential reach.

I certainly could do with out the Purple-Hair Lady channel.

Apple Pie

Jul. 12th, 2005 08:27 am
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I watched a little of the Home Run Derby last night as I was eating dinner at Chili's (alone *cries*), and I think that this once cute sidebar to Baseball's All-Star Game has really fallen into being a real bore.

The biggest problem was that there was no star power. Now I haven't been following baseball as much this year as usual, but I still have a pretty good idea who the big sluggers are, and - they weren't there. Sure, there was Pudge Rodriguez, the hometown guy there in Detroit, and the longest playing guy in the exhibition, but where was Sammy Sosa? Has getting off of steroids finally showed that he's not a natural homerun hitter?

A few years ago, you would have seen Sammy, and Barry Bonds and Mark McGuire bashing the ball in this competition, and it was worth watching. This year they tried to manipulate the competition to have each player from a different country. Nice gesture, but it just showed that the big names bowed out. There was also something about some gold baseball that they would try to hit out of the park, trying to avoid making the last out. I didn't understand what it meant, and I don't think anyone else did.

They try to make this more interesting by having them play for people who will win a house if their player wins the competition, so the commentators, who are struggling to find enough to talk about during the long competition, are talking to these regular folks as they root on the unknown players. We at home, not winning a house for watching this, don't care.

This competition goes on for two and a half hours. About the length of a real game. It's way too long. And to think last year, when the game was in Houston I waited outside the stadium watching the balls sail out of the ballpark. Last night, I didn't even watch the end of it.

As for tonight's game, the All-Star Game, well, I'll probably catch a little of it, but it's still a game that means just a little more that the Basketball All-Star game, and I still think it's stupid that they make home field advantage for the World Series contingent on this. Why would the Tampa Bay player even care? He won't be going to the World Series.

Baseball's a crazy game.
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While Spain has their gay marriages (Roger, see, I do care) Houston does not have Logo.

It's no surprise. Logo, the cable channel from Viacom, features gay and lesbian programming and would feature commercials, so it would be on regular or extended cable, like TVLand or Bravo - the almost gay channel. For most of the US, this channel might be a little too hot to handle, even though it's promised that the programming will be as tame as a kitten. Still, put the work gay in front of anything and watch people's blood pressure rise.

Of course I already knew that our cable system, Time Warner, wouldn't be carrying it, and there's very little reason for them to take it up. Time Warner is the only player in town - well, the only cable company. There's always satellite TV, but the city of Houston long ago gave the city contract to Warner, and that's the way it's always been.

I called Time Warner a couple of days ago to ask about the channel. After finally being connected to a human (once being dropped by the menu service three times) I asked her if they would carry Logo, but hey, what a surprise, the operator had never heard of it. When I told her it was a new gay and lesbian channel, she asked me if I meant Here! - one of the pay-per-view channels currently available. Those channels are not only easier for Time warner to swallow, since they are only accessible after they are requested. They also make Time Warner extra money.

I understand the problem, to an extent. Just a few years ago, living at home, our local cable system took off MTV, siting that those oh-so-naughty videos were too controversial. There had been some complaints that had come in to the company, so they took it off.

We lost MTV for several months, and I remember we complained for quite some time (this was back when my sister and I were young and we though MTV was worth watching). Eventually the cable company - don't worry, they've been sold a couple of times and are now a part of Cox cable - brought back MTV due to the continued outrage of teenagers who just had to know what tattoos Cher had added to her butt.

When they brought it back though, the person on the account had to request the channel specifically. It's still an "electable" channel in my hometown of Conroe. I don't suspect that they'll be seeing Logo anytime soon.

Properly informed, the polite Time Warner woman took my information that I wanted the channel, and maybe someday i'll be contacted about it. Consider me not holding my breath. I'm sure that in conservative Texas, Time Warner is way too worried about having mom and dad see little Johnny flip between Cartoon Network and Boomerang and pass by two men kissing.

Of course just the knowledge that there's a gay channel would be enough to send some people fleeing. I know that there are people who won't buy Sirius because of OutQ. Of course, it just may open a new market - a new company that will provide service that doesn't have offending programming. It's happened in many other entertainment venues, why not television distribution? Of course Time Warner could just offer a non-offensive package (surprising that they don't).

Still, I don't even know what Logo's showing. Their website is surprisingly vague. I'm not sure I'd even watch it, despite hearing that a livejournaler that I've met works for it ([livejournal.com profile] umkinda). I guess I want to support it just to support the community. One day, perhaps we won't need channels like Logo.

Surprising for a channel I can't see, and I'm not sure I'd watch, I just wrote a lot about it. Still it's about our continuing visibility, and it's more important to be next to Fox News on the dial, and not near the spice channel to really make an impact on people's lives. It's all about not being put away in the closet.

I see that Direct TV is carrying Logo, so this weekend at Chris' I guess I'll be on the couch changing channels between the Live 8 broadcast and finding out what's on Logo - as long as real life doesn't take me away.

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