Friday, November 26, 2010

Send a Care Package

Trying to figure out what exactly to send in the Christmas package to Kid #2 in Afghanistan: so far the boys are making fudge and German chocolate sandwich cookies, and Kid #5 is designing a scene for an iron-on for a Christmas sweatshirt. Got to get it mailed out this week.

If you don't have anyone in a war zone, but would like to brighten some serviceperson's holiday, you can send a car package via the USO.  This way you know it's legit and will get to someone who needs it. Dog knows I wish my kid was going to be home for the holidays, and there's lots more kids who belong to somebody else who are going to be a long way from home this season.

Sponsor a USO Care Package

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

The cooking marathon has begun. Two pies are in the oven, which already puts me ahead of last year, when Bismarck, the S/O's lab mix, ate an entire uncooked pumpkin pie. We knew it was him because Delphi, my cattle dog, is too arthritic now to hop up on the counter. Also, the vivid splash of uncooked pumpkin across his head kind of gave him away. The rolls are rising, the bread is ready to be torn up for stuffing, the sweet potatoes are ready to be peeled, and miraculously the comically large turkey has been shoved into the fridge with a little room to spare.

Again this year, I'll have made too much food. The blending of traditions necessitates two dressings -- my grandmother's traditional and the S/O's preferred cornbread/sausage/cranberry -- and two different green bean casseroles. I tried one year to get away with just one kind of green bean casserole, but the recriminations I suffered precluded that shortcut.

Having kids flying the coop has also thrown off my planning skills. This year it's just four of us. Kid #1 is going to his fiance's family's, Kid #2 is in Afghanistan, and Kid #3 is in Disneyworld with her boyfriend's family. It's even looking iffy for Kids #4 and #5, because I swear if I hear one more screaming hissy fit about who gets to play LEGO Star Wars, there's going to be bloodshed.

Still, I am thankful. I can look guiltily at the table and remember that we have food to spare. My children are healthy, bright, and relatively well-adjusted. Despite the bumps in the road, I ended up with the one person I love more than anything, and amazingly he puts up with me. (I wouldn't put up with me.)  We are comfortable enough, even thought the bathroom floor needs replacing, the dryer is wheezing suspiciously, and the air conditioning in the spymobile has given out. These are transitory problems, and though sometimes it seems like we're treading water, in the end we'll make do.

So on this Thanksgiving think good thoughts. Be kind, even to those who are not. If you have extra, share. In the end, our kindness and generosity are the best things about us.

Nothing Says Thanksgiving Like Hockey

Tonight Avs play the Canucks, over whom they hold a 2-point lead in the Northwest Division standings. Tomorrow night, they play poor, doomed Edmonton.  In this week's power rankings, TSN moved the Avalanche from 22 to 8. (Not that I care about power rankings. Really.) It is never too early to become overly invested.

Sadly, having to play back-to-back games on Thanksgiving eve and Thanksgiving somehow means that the Avs will not be playing on Boxing Day. No birthday hockey for me, so I guess I'll be consoling myself with more beer and horror movies than usual.

Give Thanks for the Small Victories

Apparently, we're not yet totally doomed as a nation.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Stuck In Second Gear

Watched the American version of Top Gear last night, and was underwhelmed. So far underwhelmed that I couldn't even see whelmed from where I was seated. I love Top Gear, even though I'm not a gear head, and I think that's part of the success of proper Top Gear, that it appeals to a wide variety of people. You don't have to care that much about cars to enjoy it. In fact, you don't really need to care at all. It's literate and delightfully loopy and often hilarious in an OMG kind of way.

The not-proper Top Gear looks a lot like the proper Top Gear -- the theme song, the dewy, artistic intros of cars displayed across gorgeous landscapes, the Stig -- but it's just not right. It's a facsimile that somehow misses the je ne se quois of the original. It was like frat boys broke into the Top Gear set and did a poor imitation of a show they'd had on in the background while they were busy playing beer pong. They have a glancing familiarity with it, but weren't really paying any attention.  "Put a star in our reasonably-priced car" has been changed to "Big Star, Small Car." Just, no.

It would probably be knee-jerk to say that not-proper Top Gear has been dumbed down for an American audience, but it feels right. I don't think I cracked a smile once. It's like fizzy drink that been left open and gone flat while you were off running errands.

The core of proper Top Gear is the trio of hosts: Clarkson, May, Hammond, and their goofy chemistry  make the show work. In not-proper Top Gear, they've been replace by Adam Ferrara, Rutledge Wood, and Tanner Foust. I will say upfront that I had no idea who any of these people were, and I pride myself on knowing stuff.

I've read on the Interwebs that Adam Ferrara is funny, so I'll take the Interwebs' word for it. Maybe he used up all his funny somewhere else? Rutledge Wood struck me as a perfect counterman for Radio Shack (Radio Shack: Smell the Desperation). He seems like the guy who hovers around the Wal-Mart toy section late at night in his flannel shirt and off-brand engineering boots waiting to be the first one there when they unpack the new stock of Star Wars figures. I then read today that he writes "comic" reports on NASCAR. Well, that explains it. It's my snooty, elitist classism on full display, but there is NO POINT to NASCAR, let alone a "comic" one. Tanner Foust seems to be some kind of stunt driver. I found him the least grating, maybe because he has the personality of a tea cozy.

Gentlemen, I have seen Clarkson, May, and Hammond, and you are no Clarkson, May, and Hammond.  According to the New York Times review of the show "When you hire three stooges, however, you don't always get Larry, Moe and Curly. Sometimes you get three Shemps. Or two Shemps and a Joe Besser." Ahem.

My point is, why does not-proper Top Gear exist at all? Why do people insist on taking something that works rather spectacularly and reimagining it as something that lays there like yesterday's fish?  There is nothing wrong with proper Top Gear, and even my non-anglophile, somewhat-gearhead S/O finds proper Top Gear perfectly delightful. Top Gear USA is not the worst thing I ever saw, but for dog's sake, if you want Top Gear, just watch the original.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Don't Cross-Check Matt Duchene in the Face

Or he will make your goalie eat the puck repeatedly. With malice.

Let me just say that I'm terribly relieved that Craig Anderson is back. Because when you're out and your agent says, "It's not as bad as people are saying," it usually is actually far, far worse than what people are saying. So I'm glad that Anderson wasn't part of some horrible Weekend at Bernie's scenario, and as a bonus still has possession of all of his limbs.

Have you voted for Chris Stewart today?

We Have Met the Enemy and He is Us: Taking the Train to Zombietown

The Walking Dead has been quite a smash on AMC, which make me gleeful because I think horror is vastly underrated as an art form. But that's a topic for another time. The question is why so popular now? I think one of the reasons is the way that art reflects society, and how society embraces art.

When I was a kid one of the first movies I remember scaring the daylights out of me was 1953's Invaders from Mars, in a which a kid discovers that all the adults he's supposed to trust have in actuality been taken over by aliens. Of course no one believes him. In retrospect the movie is kind of cheesy in the special effects department, but it also has a stark truth about it. There is something utterly terrifying about us not being us.

Elementally, we don't like representations of ourselves that are too close. Ventriloquist dummies, the clockwork Stepford Wives, the mannequins in "The After Hours" from the original Twilight Zone, the inhabitants of the Uncanny Valley. Now take that one step further and hollow us out, fill us with something that is fundamentally not us, or even worse than that, just the absence of us.

In 1968, George Romero directed Night of the Living Dead.  It came at a time when the world was flipping upside down. The Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movements, the sexual revolution, women's lib. Conventions were being torn down, and all this coming on the heels of the McCarthyite era when there was a commie around every corner, well, people were a tad unsettled. Who do you trust? Your government, your neighbors, your kids, no one over 30?

Night of the Living Dead is an embodiment of the '60s. I take George Romero's word that he pays no attention to subtext when he's making a film. The great thing about subtext is that it sometimes just inserts itself, either by luck, by the quiet working of  the artist's subconscious, or by some unknown machination of the universe. Whatever the case, Night of the Living Dead works as well on a subconscious level as it does on a superficial scare level.  Little zombie girl hacking up her parents with a trowel? She would have just have become a hippie in the Haight, and isn't that really the same thing?  Good ol' boys with guns shooting the hero, who just happens to be black? At a certain point, it doesn't matter what was intended, the art takes on a life of its own.

Romero, the zombie godfather, followed up with Dawn of the Dead, where we  are just shells that consume for the sake of consuming, and Day of the Dead, where the military/industrial complex seems to be the last institution standing, or shambling, if you want to look at it that way.

Romero spawned an entire zombie culture. Without Romero, you have no Sense and Sensibility with Zombies, you have no World War Z, you have no The Walking Dead. Which takes us back to my original question. What about zombies gets under our skin?

Right now, the world is an uncertain place. I was a tiny kid in the '60s, so I don't remember it all that well, but it seems like a lot of the things we thought were settled are unsettled. I sure as hell feel nervous. We have come to divide, to another point in time where the populace has fallen into a "them versus us" trap.

The zombie is an all-purpose monster. It's a blank canvas you can spatter with the guts of whatever scares you the most. You're a right-winger? Why the zombie can stand in for every brown/gay/liberal/foreign invader who's come to wrench away everything you hold dear. There are hordes of them. And they keep coming. The only way to protect yourself is to hole up with your guns. You a left-winger? The zombie is the unthinking/unbending/unreasoning/unempathetic other, who can't be argued with, who can't be swayed with decency, who only acts out of the basest instincts. It only wants to destroy you. And the worst thing of all, the absolute worst thing, sometimes that unswayable alien other is right there with you, it's your mom or your husband or your kid.

Apocalyptic fiction has been popular since the Bible. It's a test run, just in case. It's a release valve.  It's a way to play out our fears and walk away at the end of the page, at the end of the episode. A zombie apocalypse is the worst we can image, because it means we are our own destruction, we will devour ourselves.

There is one single thing that every being on earth shares. We all die. We all are dust in the end. Whatever your religion, whatever your belief system, no one really knows what makes us us. And when we cease to be here, where we go. We're all supposed to be wonderful unique snowflakes, but what if in the end we're just meat puppets?  The horror of severing our "us" from our bodies has been around since we first walked out of the caves and told tales around the fire. It's there in "The Monkey's Paw," it's there when the father buries Gage in the Pet Semetary, even after he saw what happened to the cat. It's there when Boris Karloff's monster utters, "We belong dead."

The fitful dead are with us always, and they're not going away anytime soon.

(Next Installment: There's No Crying in Zombietown)

Pop culture recommendation: any iteration of Ray Bradbury's "Mars is Heaven." If you can find the original radio play, it might actually kill you.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sarah Palin is a Lousy Mother. In Other News, Water is Still Wet

I tend not to waste time bashing Sarah Palin, because it's like shooting fish in a barrel. Or like clubbing baby seals. If the baby seals were amoral and totally evil and were trying to simultaneously pick my pocket and burn down my house.

But even though I studiously avoid useless crap on the interwebs, I was still not able to escape all the wailing over Willow Palin calling somebody else a "faggot" on Facebook. Followed by the wailing about leaving poor Willow alone because she's just a kid. Followed by the wailing about...well, you get the picture.

Let me tell you something, if one of my kids called another kid a faggot, I would slap the taste of that word out of their mouth right quick.  And if they had done it on the Internet, they would apologize publicly and it would be a good long time before they saw any kind of electronic device again. Unlike some people, I'm not raising wolverines. Calling someone a faggot is no different than calling someone a nigger or a spic or a kike or -- insert your own pejorative. And while kids do stupid, careless things, and more often say stupid, careless things, it's a parent's job to A) set a better example, and B) let a kid know what is and is not acceptable.

Of course, Sarah Palin cares about neither A nor B. She's content to raise obdurate little guttersnipes who are so full of their own entitlement and self-importance that they're practically choking on it. The Palins are Snopses writ large and they faster they take their little two-bit grifter roadshow back to whatever hellhole spawned them, the better.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

2011 NHL All-Star Ballot Presented by XM

2011 NHL All-Star Ballot Presented by XM

Write in Chris Stewart. I mean it. 

Breaking News to Warm the Hearts of Fangirls and Fanboys Everywhere.

Just got an email alert that tonight, November 16, Craig Ferguson will have an all Doctor Who-themed episode. With Matt Smith. And other Whovian stuff. And according to Craig Ferguson's Twitter, a Dalek.

Add that to that fact that Human Target returns tomorrow night, and it's like Christmas in November. Or something.


Monday, November 15, 2010

On the Town

Had a lovely evening on Saturday. Went to a nice restaurant, the kind with only seven entrees on the menu, none of them that come with fries. Saw Forbidden Broadway at Le Petite Theatre, and found it quite amusing, especially since we're the kind of people who actually entertain the Rita versus Chita question, wonder if Mandy Patinkin is really as crazy as he would seem, and worship Joel Grey. We are not in any way...typical. Of anything.

I did end up with a nice blister, which is what comes of trekking 20 blocks through the French Quarter in shoes I wear only once a year. Was somewhat disconcerted to find that I am, against my will, beginning to turn into my grandmother. You see, we had reservations at 6:00, but boys had their final soccer games during the day, so I had to rush home and wash my hair and set it in curlers. But there was a turkey sale at the Winn-Dixie and no room in our freezer, so the turkey needed to be bought THAT afternoon to be transported to my in-laws' freezer in New Orleans when we dropped off the kids for date night. Long story short, I ended up in Winn-Dixie in curlers covered by a red polyester scarf (the only scarf I had) and flannel slippers, hauling a 20 pound turkey and a can of hairspray. Hopefully there are no pictures.

In the end, any nice evening has to end. Like Cinderella, I am returned to my hovel, where I still have a cold, the dog has thrown up, my desk is still a mess, and the furnace is on the fritz. Maybe this year we'll have a grand history experiment where we live without central heat, just like the pilgrims did. We will complete our living history unit by churning our own butter, pressing our own paper, and building stocks to put the neighbors in when they've been naughty. And then someday the children will write amusing memoirs to help them pay for their psychotherapy. Fun Times!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Shoot Me, Shoot Me Now

I feel like microwaved cat vomit, I have sick kidlets, my house looks like Hessians have ransacked it looking for the liquor I already drank. I have lots of work do to that I don't at all feel like doing, but will do anyway, because, hey, the holidays are coming, and I can't as of yet barter bales of dog hair for turkey to feed my wan, sickly children. (I seem to have an excess of dog hair in my house, so I'm hoping when society falls there will be a market for it, maybe to spin into garments to keep us warm while we're trying to run from wandering mutants).

I'm sending my kids to an expensive school (at least when they're not vomiting copiously) that is apparently managing to escape the word "slavery" when teaching American history. No doubt, by the time the kindergartner gets to fifth grade, the phrase "captive Africans" will have been swapped out for the more-unwieldy-yet-less-offensive  "undercompensated-laborers-who-only-received-room-and-board." In light of this I realize in my musings about Piggly Wiggly's new "No Hood and Sunglasses" policy, I neglected to factor in the possibility they weren't actually talking about hoodies. Trying to figure out if Klansmen wear their sunglasses over or under their hoods is less amusing than it should be.

In other words, everything sucks. I feel like I would feel better if I can just say FUCK often enough, but it doesn't seem to be fucking working.

Don't Get Me &(*$W%^(* Started, or The Power of Words

Was studying with kid #4 for his social studies test last night. (This was prior to the technicolor vomit sprinkler incident that negated the need to study).

He's studying the original American colonies, in particular the Triangle Trade. You remember the old Triangle Trade, don't you? The way we learned it was Sugar, Slaves, Rum. Yeah, there was more to it, but that's what stuck out. Well, according the Pearson Publishing Scott Foresman Louisiana edition of "Social Studies: the United States of America" there were no slaves. Really.

There was something called "captive Africans."  Now, you could argue that captive Africans = slaves. But you would then be an idiot. The words "slave" has ingrained connotations. It brings up very specific images, especially to someone of my generation who was a kid when Roots came out as a miniseries. What was practiced at the time was slavery. The people were slaves. They were yanked from their families and treated like livestock, well, worse than livestock. They were degraded, beaten, raped, tortured, killed, forced to live their lives at the whims of others. "Captive" implies being held against your will, whilst slave means so, so much more. Prisoners of war are captives. Criminals are captives. Slaves are slaves.

(They did use the phrase "enslaved," perhaps because "encaptivated" implied that they were particularly taken with a piece of classical music. But nowhere in the chapter do they use the word "slave.")

We all know about the textbook wars, where conservative Republicans are rewriting history, but this was my first personal experience. The S/O was not shocked by this, partly because he's a white Southerner and partly because he's a Republican. He reflexively chalked it up to "liberal PC," at which point had I been drinking something I would have done quite a magnificent spit-take.

Anyone paying attention the last two years realizes that we are not anywhere near the "post-racial" society decent people wish to exist in. If anything, the demeanor of the old white right has ripped the mask off and shown us what's really wriggling underneath. Republicans, especially that bastion that exists in the modern South, have tried valiantly to -- pardon the pun -- whitewash our history. In their world, "slavery" didn't exist. Or if it did, it really benefited the "captive Africans" in the long run. It was a matter of commerce, not cruelty. It was "state's rights" not torture and genocide. The Confederate Flag is a symbol of pride, not a tired, ragged emblem of people's bigotry and evil.  Well, I call bullshit. Further, I say fuck you. Fuck all y'all.

We know the power of words, and you can't take it from us. You can't prettify history, you can't make it go away. I told my kids last night that when he took his test he should use the word "slave" when it was called for. Scratch out "captive African" and put "slave." We understand the power of words, and in the dustbin of history, when our brief flame here has flickered out, what we leave behind is our words. They are enduring and you can't fucking have them.

Add This To The List of Things I Wish I Didn't Know

The remarkable distance that a child on the upper bunk of a set of bunk beds can projectile vomit.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I'm Up, I'm Up, or I Would Do Some Work if I Could Find My Desk

Being deathly ill ensures that it's your one morning during the week to get up at 6 AM and drive through the fog-shrouded moors to get the kids to school in time for pancakes.

Hamster Check, Day 3: Dead? No. Zombie? Undetermined.

My desk looks like London during the Blitz. I need a manservant. Or a flamethrower. A manservant armed with a flamethrower.

Being still ill, I have have supplied myself with a jar of pickled ginger, ginger/lemongrass tea, Luden's cough drops (I had a coupon) and a half-gallon of orange juice, which I will drink from a tiny glass and not straight out of the carton, because we're not barbarians. I have my flannel slippers and the space heater is on under the desk. Provided it does not set the paper-covered desk on fire, I should be good to go.

Whether is was the vodka or the off-brand nyquil, I dreamt last night that my house was filled with otters. I guess there are worse things. I also dreamed that we had two Christmas trees and Donal Logue was rifling through my kitchen cabinets. Then I dreamed that I adopted a child that had been raised by wild animals. Although how you could tell whether my real children have been raised by wild animals or not is a good question.

New sign on the Piggly Wiggly door this morning: "Please Remove Hoods and Sunglasses Before Entering Store. Thank You!" Really? Now all I can think about is finding a hoodie and sunglasses and going back to the Piggly Wiggly.

Watched Terriers last night before drifting into an otter-filled sleep, and I don't know which was more heartbreaking, watching Hank struggle to not fall off the wagon and not wreck his ex-wife's wedding, or Britt find out that the woman he adores has casually been unfaithful. Also, my life would be so much better if I had a Winnebago filled with techno-squids at my beck and call. And a traveling mariachi band.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Blargh, or Not So Random Thoughts Hopped Up On Cold Medicine

One of my hideous children has infected me with the disease du la semaine. Filthy little germ factories. I'm prepared now to see if the old adage is right -- okay it's not an adage, but I'm pretending -- that vodka, limeade, off-brand nyquil and six hours sleep will kill a cold. I don't hold out hope.

Woke yesterday to a smear of blood on the kitchen floor, indicating that the remaining hamster, the evil one, had escaped the surly bonds of its cage and met up with Spike the Cat. Found said hamster, who was not dead, but tres disgruntled. Which proves that the evil, narcoleptic hamster is indestructible. Two days and still going strong. Either that or she has turned into Zombie Hamster and will soon be coming for our tender brains.

I would be much happier if I had my own horn section that could just follow me around, providing theme music, or emphasis when I speak. Barring that, a mariachi band. That would be cool.

The fact that my computer went kablooey and I had to hijack the kids' computer has put me horribly behind on work, the kind of work that pays the bills, not the kind of work that just makes me feel guilty and worthless and vaguely suicidal. I even have five blog posts mapped out -- full of zombies and Irish music -- that I'm itching to do and have no time for yet.

The kids' winter schedule of activities and obligations has taken shape, making all carefully-balanced previous calenders of said events and obligations obsolete and quaint in a sad, pathetic way. I now see that this weekend will necessitate the building of a time machine.

In what could be either happy or sad news, the S/O and I have the opportunity for a date this weekend. A real date, the kind that involves a restaurant that doesn't offer a plastic cup filled with broken crayons along with the menu. And a show, a real show, like an off-off-Broadway show, where patrons will wear clothes without unnoticed holes in them and they will laugh gaily with the sound of tinkling crystal.  What is the sad part, you ask? At this rate, I will be bedraggled and consumptive, like an extra from Les Miserables, and people will throw pennies at me as I slump in front of the venue. Here's hoping the vodka and cold medicine work.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Random Thoughts 11-8

On Halloween: you can go to the store and buy six bags of Butterfingers, but the truth is they will never taste as good as FREE CANDY given to you by STRANGERS.

I went to pick up the kids after school today. I was in the car for a few minutes before I realized to my horror that I was an hour late in picking them up. Never mind that I hadn't left the house late, I had suddenly lost an entire hour. It took a good 30 seconds of panic for me to realize that the clock in the spymobile doesn't automatically reset for the time change. Hopefully this just means that I need more sleep. Or a spymobile with an automatically resetting clock.

Had some time to kill, so I was reading the forums over at Television Without Pity. I used to visit the site a lot, but when it went all corporate I found that there was too much to keep up with. Anyway, I was reading the discussion forum on The Walking Dead and somebody posted that they were disappointed by all the zombies and stuff because they really hated zombies and stuff, and they wouldn't be tuning in again. Which is like saying "I watched Monday Night Football, but was disappointed in all the football. Why couldn't there be more gardening? I really like gardening. That's the last time I'll watch Monday Night Football."  Or "Gee, that chocolate cake would have been really delicious, expect for the fact that I enjoy neither cake nor chocolate. Boy, that's the last time I'll be eating chocolate cake."  Sigh.

Avs skunked Dallas 5-0. The Avs beating Dallas is second only to them beating Detroit. Mark my words, Chris Stewart is going to be captain someday. He's like you took the best of Sakic and Forsberg and smushed it together: he's fast and smart and he takes no bullshit from the opposing team. I would get a Stewart jersey if they weren't those hideous Edge jerseys. Reebok = evil.

I have managed to cut down the series on my DVR list from a total of 53 to 41. This is progress. It was helped by the fact that I finally realized Sanctuary sucks. I feel liberated.

I really don't care for the DARE program. It forces me to explain to my kid why I'm in favor of marijuana legalization and to explain that one of the reasons I drink so much is being forced to justify to my 10-year-old why I drink so much. I find that between religion and "social" issues, I spend a lot of time explaining to my kids why their teachers are unsophisticated, small-minded, and poorly educated.  Add in the idiocy of the whole Texas textbook bullshit and soon I'll just be able to shorthand it as: "Kids, everything your teachers say is a lie." At that point, does it not just become more effective to homeschool? With the $10,000 I would save in tuition, think of all the pot and vodka I could buy!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Looking Over the Wreckage of the Fall TV Season

The jack-o-lanterns have gone mushy, uneaten smarties litter the floor, the American electorate has proven that it is both not very bright and pretty much a dick. Almost every fall show has premiered (I'm still waiting on Human Target, dammit) and I've watched a fair portion, mostly to distract myself from the prospect of the slow dissolution of everything good and decent in our society. Here's the good, the bad, and the meh, in order of awesomness.

Luther - BBC America
Episode Watched: 3 out 6

Idris Elba is brilliant; the writing, acting and direction is lean and crisp. I can't think of adequate superlatives to describe how much I love this show. It avoids being derivative or cliched, and it's like nothing you're going to see on American TV.

Terriers - FX
Episodes watched: 9

Terriers is like reading a good book series. It's complex and rich, and the characters slowly evolve . Donal Logue and Michael Raymond-James are excellent as private detective partners, one an ex-cop, one an ex-thief. The leisurely, indie-movie pace is part of its charm, but ironically may be the reason nobody's watching it. People have the attention span of spaghetti.

The Walking Dead - AMC
Episodes Watched: 1

I've been waiting forever for The Walking Dead, and I wasn't disappointed. Lennie James rocks, and if you don't know Lennie James, you fail to rock. It's beautifully shot and appropriately frightening, and I'm glad the zombies look like real dead people, not TV dead people. You can also count me a fan of slow zombies in the great debate of slow versus fast. Promises to be a great ride.

My one caveat is that I haven't really warmed to the living characters yet (except for Lennie James, and his character, as Stephen King might put it, has at least for now "passed from our story") but I suppose you can't ask for everything from one 90 minute episode. If they don't shape up, I look forward to rooting for them to be dispatched in suitably horrifying ways, because that's the kind of mood I'm in lately. I have hopes for Andrew Lincoln, as I've realized my standoffishness towards him may be residue of how much I came to dislike his character in Afterlife. Passive/aggressive much? And besides, Michael Rooker!

Hawaii Five-0 -CBS
Episodes Watched: 6

It's not great art, but it's great fun. I don't care if my opinion is colored by nostalgia, I'm enjoying it. And Scott Caan is the cat's pajamas. I want him to move in next door. And that's high praise indeed, because I really don't like people.

Raising Hope - FOX
Episodes Watched: 6

Low-brow? Maybe. But it's funny and surprisingly sweet. Garrett Dillahunt, Martha Plimpton, and Lucas Neff are all great, and it really is quite hilarious in an over-the-top kind of way.

Well that does it for the bright spots, now the dull spots.

Undercovers - NBC
Episodes Watched: 4

Dammit, I really wanted to like this show. All the principles were swell, but the concept and execution was not. At. All.  Here's hoping all the actors find better work elsewhere, because they deserve it. JJ Abrams, consider yourself on probation.

Blue Bloods - CBS
Episodes Watched: 2

I gave this a shot, mostly because I like Donnie Wahlberg and Len Cariou. But this was talky and dull and derivative. It seemed to consist mostly of Tom Selleck looking pensive. Dude, your face is going to freeze like that.

No Ordinary Family - ABC
Episodes Watched: 1

I like Michael Chiklis and Julie Benz, but the one episode I watched was kind of all over the place. There were some cool moments (like when Michael Chiklis' buddy builds him a lair) but not enough cool to displace the decidedly lukewarm. Where they lost me? The teenage girl finds out she can hear people's thoughts, and throws a whiny little hissy fit. If I was a teenage girl who suddenly discovered I had the power to read minds, I would be immediately plotting my takeover of the world. Just saying.

The Defenders - CBS
Episodes Watched: 1

Let me begin by saying I have nothing against Jerry O'Connell. He seems like a nice guy. I don't really have anything against Jim Belushi, except for the fact that According to Jim has been beamed into space and someday aliens may see it and rush over to destroy the planet. That said, this is dreck. Not malicious dreck, but dreck nonetheless. It's like Funyuns. It's the vaguely onion-flavored Styrofoam of TV.

The Event - NBC
Episodes Watched: 1

It's the present. Now it's 18 months in the past. Now it's 6 months in the past. Now it's 30 minutes ago. It's the present - maybe. It's 30 minutes ago, but from a different angle. It's 3 minutes in the future. It's 8 months in the past, but in a different language. It's the present - wait, it's 1 week ago. No, it's the present.

Halfway in I actively wanted to hurt someone. Instead of 3-D glasses, they should have provided anyone watching this with a bottle of Vicodin and a gun.

Running Wilde - FOX
Episodes Watched? 1/2

This is a black hole that lets nothing funny out. NOTHING.  I would say more, but that would entail remembering watching it.

Bring on the midseason replacements! And where is my Human Target? I need some Chi McBride and Jackie Earle Haley and Mark Valley to wash the taste of the last few weeks out of my head. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Farewell, Halloween

Have not yet watched The Walking Dead on AMC. I'm saving it for after election day. I figure contemplating a zombie apocalypse is far more cheerful than contemplating a Republican apocalypse. Besides, I understand zombies have more cogent policy positions.

Costumes are put up, candy is bagged. (Except for the 26 miniature Milky Ways I ate today to forestall my ennui. Milky Ways taste like Halloween.)

Via, illustrations of the inside of my head.

More zombies than usual, indeed.