Soon To Be Classics

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Lunchtime On 24

It's time for lunch on 24 but Jack doesn't have time to hit the CTU buffet. (Not that he could get in front of Edgar anyway.)

This was a pretty good episode with some nice revelations in it. We learn lots of great things, in no particular order:

- Audrey still loves Jack. Diane wants Jack. Derek is still wearing jeans with another man's blood all over the knees. (Don't they have any Tide at CTU?)
- Oh yeah, Jack loves Audrey. That's nice.
- McGill is just a big pussy. Bill Buchanan is going to eat him for brunch at about 2pm.
- The guy in the yellow tie is doing a really bad Quentin Tarintino impersonation. And he still doesn't have a name.
- Novick is cool. He can deliver important dialogue without seperating his teeth or lips.
- Secret service guys are cool. And Texan.
- Cummings has the biggest balls in the series. I was shocked he confessed to the President. Although the "we'll have a continuous supply of oil for 10 years" was about the stupidest, most political line I've heard on the show yet.
- On two seperate montage scenes coming back from commericals, they showed Chloe frowing without her having any lines in that particular segment. Priceless.
- Did Jack kill anyone in this episode?? I want my money back.
- I like Agent Pierce. "Why is Jack Bauer here? Why is he under arrest? And why wasn't I informed?" Awesome. He kicks ass. I hope he kills someone.
- When did Jack get a badge?
- Wait. They're raiding the docks! They're going for the containers! We have live video! Where's Novick? They forgot to release HIM!!
- Oh ho!! The nerve gas ISN'T going to Central Asia. (How is a container going to go, by ship, to Central Asia in 8 days?) The man in the yellow tie has an entirely different agenda! Terrorists are so sneaky. Mike Novick could tell you that but he's still locked up with the horse feed.

A good episode and a lot of ground covered. But still no lunch. Unless Jack ate some of the horse feed while he was locked up. Can't wait for next week.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Snakes On A Plane

Dear God, what is happening?

Around the office we had a JPG floating around about a (so I thought) made up Samuel Jackson movie called "Snakes On A Plane". I was trying to find the JPG to post on the blog because it's just that damn funny. THEN, I cruise over to IMDB's Snakes On A Plane entry and it looks real. I then start doing blog searches on the name and come up with several hundred references to this.

I haven't found the original JPG I saw, but I found this newsgroup thread of several other creative takes on the poster.

Snakes On A Plane. Some might be a little offensive so be warned. I was laughing my ass off at "boxers or briefs mutherfucker!"

Apparantly, terrorists take over a plane full of snakes and are going to use it to commit an act of terrorism by crashing the plane (which is full of snakes) into a building and the snakes (who are on the plane) will then slither out of the wreckage and bite anyone left. Brilliant.

A handful of posters have discussed very different origins for this film but none seem to agree. Whether it's true or not is anyone's guess, but I can see someone in Hollywood greenlighting something this ridiculous.

A Vacation On The Fly

"The rain here isn't as bad as they say."

"We only tell non-residents that so they stay away."

"This is the best place to winter."

These are just a few of the absolute bullshit statements that I heard when considering taking this job in the Seattle area. Now, to everyone's credit, no one could have predicted how bad this winter would be. It has just simply, not...stopped...raining.

Now, I know that I have nothing to complain about compared to people still suffering the effects of Katrina or any of the other dozen disasters that struck in 2005. Every day I thank God for my blessings. But that doesn't make the toll this crappy weather is taking on my family any easier. It's affecting Jen, the kids and even me in a very bad way. The last week has not been good. And there is literally, no end in site for the rain.

You probably saw that Seattle was closing in on the all time "consecutive days of rain" record. I believe we hit 28 of the 33 days. Then, on one Saturday, the sun came about for about an hour and it didn't rain. Starting Sunday, back to it. And it has rained every day since. The clouds wouldn't be so bad since when they roll in off the ocean, they're at least interesting to look at. It's not the solid grey overcast we had in Columbus. But the rain prevents you from doing anything, and the house becomes a damned prison.

So Jen suggested we find a hotel with an indoor pool and take the kids there for the night. I countered with "let's take $1000 out of the bank and drive down the coast to someplace with sun." I think we need that more than the pool. We spent a while looking at options, not finding anything suitable. Then, the word "Disneyland" was mentioned. I went up stairs to lie down for a bit and a Disneyland commercial came on advertising the "kids fly free" promotion. Jen then spent two days pricing out this package, checking hotels, etc. Money is always tight and without knowing our tax refund, I didn't want to go over the $1000. It turns out that we miscalculated how much we were saving and we have about $2500 more in our savings account than we realized. Made the choice a lot easier.

I checked with work and I'm clear for a very short-notice time off. We booked yesterday and will be leaving next Saturday. All told, the airfare, transfers, hotel, and 3 day park hopper passes ran us $300 per person. We came in $250 over budget but still thought it was a great deal. We checked to see what we can expect and it should be 76 and sunny when we arrive. That's probably more appealing than any of the amenities.

We pulled the kids downstairs because we "wanted to talk to them" and I got all serious faced. Bailey thought she was in trouble so I played it up for dramatic effect. When I told them we were going to Disneyland they both screamed like, well, children.

One drawback is that I will miss the Superbowl. I suppose I might be able to catch it in down there somewhere. I will Tivo the game but I'm not too upset about it. Right now, my general mental health is really stretched and I need a little yellow-sun radiation more than watching "the big game".

So there will be plenty of pics. I'm glad I started my diet prior to this.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

I didn't get a chance to blog about 24 this last week but I did have a few comments to make so pardon the tardiness. It was a pretty eventful hour so I hope I remember everything correctly.

1) So if I'm a terrorist in a building, and I see a truck speeding toward me with 5 guys HANGING ON THE OUTSIDE OF THE CAR I shouldn't be worried, right? Maybe they got one of those really bad air fresheners at the car wash.

2) WTF was up with Edgar running up to Chloe and then just standing there with a maniacal look on his face. She said "What?" and he replied "Nuthing." and turned away. ($10 says the script actually spelled "nuthing".) That creeped the shit out of me on my big screen tv. If I was Chloe, I would have shot him and yelled "It's ok everyone, just another mole! We got him! Back to work! I'm going to run him through a high-pass filter."

3) We know that CTU has a problem with background checks since there's a spy or mole EVERY SEASON. (Next year, it's going to be CTU mascot who runs around wearing a giant foam head of FDR.) But when the hitman walked through the metal detector, it didn't beep. Not even his GIANT FREAKING BELT BUCKLE set it off. I have too much iron in my diet and I set off not just airport metal detector I'm walking through but those in the next terminal as well.

4) Audrey is pretty. I've seen a lot of criticism on her this year on blogs. Grow up. Yes, she's a stick, but so what?

5) I love the split screen "Jack Bauer vs. Walt Cummings" moment at the end of the episode. I really expected to see an explosion and a wrestling cage to wheel out. You know, if Walt was really smart, he'd just avoid jack for another 20 hours and he'd be fine. As it is, he's probably going to have something sharp shoved in a very bad place.

6) Why does Jack kill everyone he could question??

7) Oh yeah. Does anyone remember the Chinese that wanted Jack? Hmmmm.....

Time To Die(t)

Ok, so it's time the bare the soul here.

First, I swear this was NOT a New Year's Resolution. If you make them, you're an idiot because you will not keep them. (Although, many years ago my NYR was to never make another NYR and I'm going on like 20+ years of success!)

Every morning I woke up and said "geez, I gotta watch what I eat. I'll start right after my Egg McMuffin." Not good. Yeah, I've put on a lot of weight since I married a woman who's favorite pastime is cooking and my shadow and personal gravitational field have both increased in size. Our scale was conveniently broken but I was guessing I was hitting about 240. Pretty bad for just under 5'10".

I can tell the actual moment I decided that I had had enough. I was at work and had stood up from my chair, and actually felt the snap are on the front of my jeans flop over. The dam could no longer hold and the crushing weight of my dunlop was finally free!! The noise sounded roughly equivalent to a gallon sized Ziploc bag of pancake batter hitting the foor. MMmmmmmm....batter..

Time to diet.

So I got another scale, took a deep breath and hopped onboard. When I opened my eyes 10 minutes later, I wasn't at the 240 that I thought. Rather, I hit 226. Still pretty bad and considered obese by recent medical standards. So I set two goals. The first, was to drop 10 pounds in five weeks for my trip to New York. I figured that should be attainable. The second was an additional 10 pounds by my mid-March trip to Las Vegas. Could be tougher. I have seen the far side of 200 in a couple of years so 206 sounded awfully far away.

So now came the diet. I have done Atkins and it works great, except it's really expensive and the low number of carbs gives you weird cravings like a cardboard and treebark sandwhich. Not good. Jenny Craig was out since I don't want to pay $8.00 for 4 ounces of food. Jen suggested Weight Watchers and I told her that I can not be put in the position to make choices. (If I'm allowed to choose between eating a rice cake and a cocker spaniel, I cannot be held responsible for my decision.) If she puts food in front of me in the portions that I can have, I'll do fine. To her credit, she's done great for me.

I'm at the end of three weeks and I'm down to 212 so I've lost 14. The first goal is done with over 2 weeks left to go. I'm considering making 199 my goal for Vegas and I think that's possible. The snap on my jeans has returned to it's perky position and I'm wearing another pair I stopped wearing. My face is thinner and I actually do feel better.

The bad news is that I'm not getting enough exercise and I just cannot drink 8 glasses of water per day. I'm up to 2 and it makes me sick enough. I can honestly say I haven't cheated all that much with the exception of the Mexican lunch disaster last Sunday. It was totally therapeutic, trust me.

If nothing else, the Weight Watchers cookbook has some amazing recipes in it and we've added a handul of new meals to the usual dinner rotation.

So, we'll see how it goes and keep you all in the loop. I do get an extra 35 points to spend per week and I always save them for Friday. Pizza pig out time! Woot!

By the way, in searching for a pic for this entry, I came upon a fascinating article on the 1970's TV cartoon Fat Albert. Check it out here!

Monday, January 23, 2006

There Are Gremlins In My Blog

In case any of the four people that read my blog are wondering, yes, I've changed the Blog template. Why? In a desperate attempt to try and resolve the bugged HTML that is screwing up the top nav bar. I've been through the template source code and can't figure out what happened. I would understand that if I had done something to change the template something could have broken. I could have not closed a link or accidentally deleted a tag but I haven't made any recent changes. Just all of a sudden, the top nav has been scrunched into a rectangular box that obscures my text. I assumed that template changes might fix it, but it hasn't and all I did was lose the links to all of my friends blogs.

Damn gremlins. They'll eat anything.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Ok, Now I'm Lost

I have to admit that I'm a little confused about Lost this week.

Usually, the flash back story elements are very good retrospectives of the featured character for that week. Usually, this flashback in his four or five segments is spliced seemlessly into the current storyline to give the audience some background to the character's actions and motivations.

The storyline last week involving Mr. Eko was, in my opinion, great. Like many other characters, he was a completely different person in his pre-crash life than his current incarnation. I would be surprised if they didn't have his entire storyline worked out from way back to where they found the drug plane in the first place. (Although, the recent TV Guide article seemed to indicate that they are making this stuff up as they go and really have no idea what the "end" of this will be doesn't fill me with great confidence.)

So this week, we learn a question that has always been floating on the edges of Jack's character. What happened to Jack's wife? We know that Sarah, his wife (and current "Boston Legal" hottie) was in a horrible accident and through a "miracle" was able to "fix" her. He went on to marry her and the storyline grew kinda cold. The current storyline involves Michael (who is quickly shaping up to be the dumbest man on the island) going "commando" as Hurley put it, assaulting Locke and stealing some guns in an effort to get Walt back. Jack, Locke and Sawyer form a posse and go after. Kate, who doesn't listen to anyone, sneaks after them.

There's a little interaction between Locke and Sawyer but not much with Jack. This is where I start to lose what the link between the backstory and current story is. A beautiful German woman named Gabriella has brought her father to the U.S. to have Jack remove a dangerous tumor. She has heard of the "miracle" that Jack performed and saved Sarah. There is immediate chemistry between Jack and Gabriella so we know there's trouble brewing. Especially when Jack (who is NOT doing anything wrong) begins coming home late because of his preperations for this surgery.

Sarah, at this point, is pretty unresponsive to Jack and there's a nice touch where Jack gets into bed as she gets out. They're on totally seperate clocks now, both literally and figuratively. Long story short, the old man dies, and Gabriella, in grief, kisses Jack who kisses her back. He then promptly goes home and in fine Captain America style, tells Sarah everything. It is then we learn that she's been sleeping around and is leaving him.

Flash forward to the current story and "Zeke" the grizzly pirate that took Walt is holding the search party at gunpoint and takes their weapons as a trade for the now-captured Kate. Kate realizes she's f'ed up and Jack is pissed. Jack goes straight to Anna-Lucia (ugh, isn't she dead yet?) and begins plotting revenge on the "Others".

So what was the point of the backstory? If it was just to answer what happened to Sarah, I think it was too long and pointless. That could have easily been summed up in a single statement. Sarah comments that Jack is always trying to "fix" things. If that was the message, this storyline could have fit in damn near every episode. Was it to compare Sarah to Kate? Don't know. I do know that after the wench confessed to cheating, Jack should have been at the airport looking for Gabriella. A thought occurred to me that perhaps we'll see Gabriella again. She DID know a lot about Jack and said that she had "done her research". It could be that the plane crash was well set up in advance.

If anyone has any opinions, let me know. I feel like I either missed a point, or there just wasn't one.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Being a fun dad


I'm probably a terrible dad most of the time, but last night, Bailey told me she wanted a pirate hat. Somehow, inspiration hit me and we pulled out the construction paper, scissors, glue and began a pirate assembly line. Two hats, one hook (ingenously constructed out of a paper plate) and an authentic treasure map later and we were off on an "adbenture" as my daughter says it. A treasure of M&M's booty awaited these swarthy adventurers as they tore the house apart yelling "AAARRRRHHH".

Being a dad can be so awesome sometimes. Posted by Picasa

A Flank 2 Position

So last night was the second 2 hours of the 4-hour 24 season premiere. (Fox does love their numbers.)

There could be spoilers here so please stop reading now if you haven't seen it and have the fortitude to await the DVD box set which will cost you an arm and a leg at Best Buy next Christmas.

Jack Bauer (has anyone else noticed that no one says "Jack", they all say "Jack Bauer" over and over?) is trapped in an airport with a bunch of surly terrorists, several hostages and what appeared to be a taco stand. Sharp eyed viewers noticed that Terrorist #1 (he had the most lines) was also a Lamaze coach at some point as evident by the fact that he told Derrick to "control his breathing".

Terrorist: Just breathe. Slow down you're breathing. I'm going to kill you and I don't want you to hyperventilate.

I love fatherly terrorists. Clearly, Jack will realize this and discover a hidden terrorist base below a Babies R Us in Los Angeles. (Which will coincidentally be "10 minutes out" from wherever he happens to be.)

What I want though, is a show of hands to how many people knew EXACTLY what was going on when Jack Bauer (damn!) repeated twice in the first call and at least once in the second call that he was in a "Flank 2 position". Obviously, Terrorist #1, the Lamaze Coach didn't see Star Trek II (more numbers!) The Wrath of Khan. Had he spent just a little more time at the cinema he would realize that when communications are being monitored by hostile forces, no uncoded messages are to be transmitted. Of course, we now know that "a flank 2 position" means "blow up the front wall because the sponsors love explosions but come in the back door and shoot everyone in the ass". How Curtis didn't realize this is beyond me. Further, it took Curtis over an hour to get his team into the first position, and then 2 minutes to get them into the "flank 2 position".

So now we have to wait a whole week to find out:
- How everyone will react to Jack NOT being dead, except for Tony who is almost dead and Michelle who is. Oh yeah, and President Palmer who's probably still lying on the floor of his brother's deluxe apartment in the sky-high-high. (5 pts.)
- Will there be a catfight between Audrey and Jack's landlord?

Audrey: "You know Jack?"

Landlord: "Yes, he trimmed my bushes."

- Will Edgar finally reveal his ambitions to eat Chloe with Fava Beans and a nice Chianti?
- How long until Sean Astin uses the word "gosh"?
- When are we actually going to just see Jean Smart give us a boob shot? Stop teasing us Fox??
- When will the President get a fricking clue? And why is there a spy everywhere? His advisor is working for the bad guys now, because apparantly things worked out so well for Marwan and his boys last season it looked like a good idea.
- What ever happened to Beruse? I was really rooting for him and Chloe. Oh wait, Edgar ate him. Nevermind.

God damn this is going to be a fun season!

Monday, January 16, 2006

The streak is broken

The forecasters in Seattle are very upset. 26 days of straight measurable rainfall ended yesterday when (gasp!) it didn't rain. (Rain, by the way, is defined as a measureable amount of precipitation as read via the high tech instruments at Seatac Airport. I understand that these instruments include, among other things, a plastic pail, a sharpee, and a ruler.)

Now despite the worry caused by the national news (and I do so thank the voluminous outpouring of concern) Seattle is not slipping into the sea. We have had mudslides, yes, but that's what happens when you build your house on:
a) mud
b) a slide

A couple of days ago, the news announced that homes were destroyed or damaged in Renton (which happens to the be the city I live in) but in at least 4 successive newscasts, failed to mention exactly WHERE in town this happened.

Also, it's not like we haven't seen the sun. Fellow WoWer friends of mine will recall a morning I couldn't follow them into Blackrock Depths because the sun streaming in the window blinded me to the Orc that was pounding on me. To some of you, that will make sense. To the rest, blame it on waterlog.

So the streak is done. Gosh, I hope we try for it again next year. Or next month. By the way, it's raining like hell right now.

The following takes place...

TV is great, once again.

September was very much a letdown for me. The 2005-2006 TV season was heralded to be "the best yet!" with a bunch of Lost clones and about 12 more CSI's and Law And Order's. The Lost clones frankly stunk. I mean, you could stomach Surface perhaps but Invasion was just painfully bad. Boston Legal is back but the junior lawyers they brought in are so bad that they weaken the entire show. Further, the episodes that I have watched list Monica Potter in the opening credits but I have yet to see her on screen yet. THAT is a crime.

So January rolls around and the real TV season starts. Two weeks ago, Sci-Fi rolled out Battlestar Galactica with an amazing two-part thriller that wrapped up the edge-of-my-seat cliffhanger from the Summer. It certainly didn't disappoint.

But last night was the big one, with the beginning of Day 5 (season 5) of
24, the best weekly cliffhanger series to ever air. I actually know of many people who will wait a year to get the season on DVD because they can't wait 6 days and 23 hours to see the next chapter. To be honest, Dr. Heimlich taught me the "24 Tivo Skip" where we wait 20 minutes to begin watching the show so we can boop-boop-boop through the commercials. (If you have Tivo, you know what I just said.)

Jack (or Frank) has "gone dark" after the results of last year's events. His death was faked, and only a handful of trusted friends know he's still alive. Of course, that doesn't last long. And, as Fox promised, the first 10 minutes did indeed "change everything". As Holly McClain asked at the end of Die Hard 2; "Why does this keep happening to us?" Because you're on 24, that's why.

So I won't delve into story spoiling. I think the statue of limitations on spoils contains extenuating circumstances when it comes to 24. I just hope enough people go along for the ride to keep it going for a long time.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Collecting the animals, two by two

The biggest obstacle to taking this job in the Seattle area was overcoming the notion that it rains here all of the time.

"Doesn't happen", one person told me.

"We just say that to scare away tourists", said another.

So when we got here, the weather was beautiful. Really, the later Summer and Fall were pretty spectacular. It never got above 80 and we had lots of sunshine, or at least, very pretty cloud action.

Then winter hit. And as of today, we're at 25 straight days of rain. The whole frickin' upper Northwest is washing away. Schools are closed, trees are falling, mudslide is making it so it takes over an hour and a half to get to work.

The record for consecutive rainfall in Seattle is 33 days. The weathermen here are VERY excited.

I know the sun is up there. I miss it.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

"Two thumbs, way up!" - Denny Crane

How can you not love William Shatner?

Wait, don't answer if you don't. I don't know why, but I've always been a fan. He's about the only Trek actor I've never met but I'm still a fan. I watched Star Trek, T.J. Hooker (although perhaps not for Shatner as I was 12) and I loved his first appearances on The Practice, which led to his first Emmy AND his recurring role as Denny Crane.

Now, his latest enterprise (pun intended) is a DVD club. However, you won't get a cheap copy of Cocktail here. Rather, this is a club that focuses on sci-fi films that never got a fair shake in the theaters. It's interesting to see Shatner boldly go (pun intended) into the realm of sci-fi, especially with his interest to put Kirk behind him. Still, the critics have looked at the club's choices and have fairly positive comments. Better still, you get a free DVD just for signing up.

Ok Bill, I plugged your club. Will you please repeal the restraining order???

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Star Wars R Us

In most recent offering of "craptastic" Star Wars toys, the characters that we're SUPPOSED to take seriously have now been transformed into...



Tee hee. Here's the posted list of the character you will buy and what he will change into:

Anakin Skywalker Starfighter
Boba Fett Slave 1
Darth Maul Sith Infiltrator
Darth Vader TIE Advanced
General Grievous Wheel Bike
Luke Skywalker X-Wing Fighter
Obi-Wan Kenobi Jedi Starfighter

The Complete Line

Since LucasFilm is just trying to bury this franchise, here are a few ideas for George:

Tickle Me Vader
General Grievous' Home Emphazema Playset
Midichlorians In My Pants
Star Wars Operation, The Wacky Doctors Game ("Give birth to Luke & Leia, but watch out! BZZZZZZT!! Oh sorry, you just lost the will to frickin live.")
Star Wars Clue ("Who killed Anakin? It was Yoda, in the study, with a pipe wrench!" - Ah, to dream.)
Star Wars Ouji Board ("Speak to the lost plot of the Star Wars saga!")
Star Wars Barrel of Jedis

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Caption the Photo

I was thumbing through the best sports pics of 2005 on FOX Sport's website and came across this.

Have fun, if you wish.

The Numbers Behind WoW

If you're a bit of a techno-geek and like to construct your own system AND play World of Warcraft, here's an interesting article that gives you the nuts and bolts of WoW performance on processors, graphics systems and how to set some of the ingame graphic settings. Not very exciting blog reading, but it's worth looking at.

World of Warcraft Performance Guide