Saturday, August 18, 2007

Hope Springs Geekternal

It’s almost time for the new TV season to start, and not that I think anyone is really listening, but I thought I would post some things I’m hoping for this year …

Heroes to be more consistent in quality

This was one of my favorite shows last year, but had a maddening tendency to have great dialogue and writing in one episode, and horrible, cheese-tastic crap coming out of people’s mouths the next. Granted, most of the truly groan-worthy stuff (see:Peter’s whining, Claire’s whining, Nikki’s … wait, maybe there’s a trend here) came early in the season and things did consistently improve. This year I want them to start out knowkcing it out of the park and keep it going. Please? Maybe the ability to inspire good writing could be someone’s super-power? Hey, I am willing to relocate.

Survivor: China to have another ethnically diverse cast.

After many, many season’s of mostly white Americans slumming it in various dirty spots around the world, last year’s two iterations of this show, which I Had thought was almost hopelessly overdone, gave us contestants who were from a great variety of races and cultures. Sure, they introduced this concept with that vile “Hey! It’s a race war!” setup, but that was actually the beginning to what I feel was the best season ever. Last year’s promo said nothing about a diverse cast, so we may be back to a bunch of Abercrombie ready wannabe actor/models working in bars and that will just be stupid, and I may be out at that point. Ok, I’ll probably still watch, but complain about it. And blog, obviously.

Pushing Daisies to be incredible.

I really want to love this show. It’s from the same people who made Wonderfalls, which is one of my favorite TV shows of all time. Yes, It’s behind Firely and Galactica and Veronica Mars, but ahead of Buffy. It’s stars Wonderfalls’ witty, laconic, Lee Pace. Its show-runner was a co-creator (I think) of Wonderfalls and was a writer on Heroes.

It’s about a guy who discovers at a young age that he can bring dead people back to life by touching them. He soon finds out, however, that if he touches them again they will go back to being dead. Worse yet, if he doesn’t put them back in the grave, someone else will die. He uses his gift to help solve murder mysteries until his childhood love in murdered on a cruise ship, and he brings her back to life, and lets her stay that way, knowing what will happen if he ever touches her again. It’s been described as a “forensic Fairy Tale” and sounds like it’s right up my ally.

The reviews are mostly positive, but a few have said it can get lost in its ownpreciousness. I hope its wonderful, and a big hit. With my luck, I’ll fall in love and it will be canceled by the third episode (see also: Drive).

Bionic Woman to be really bad.

Ok, this is mean-spirited, but I simply don’t have time for another show, and this one doesn’t look very good, even despite the presence of Katee Sackhoff. The major thing that is bothering me in this revamp is what they’ve done to the main character. Lindsay Wagner’s Jamie Sommers was a tennis pro, adventure junkie injured in a sky-diving accident. She was already a woman of action, which made her a perfect candidate for the experiment. In the new version, Michelle Ryan’s (who I do have to admit is amazingly hot, so its at least got that going for it. See also: Michelle Ryan in Jekyll) character is a bartender injured in a car accident whose boyfriend just happens to work for the project. This seems like a giant step backward.

However, I will feel obligated to want to watch it if it is good. So I hope its bad. I don’t need it cancelled because if it occupies the schedule something else good won’t go there and I’ll still be free.

I make no claim that this makes any sense.

The Amazing Race to come back at some point

If any reality show needs to have a bajillion iterations, it’s this one. Each season is a new voyage through the world, with a variety of interesting characters along for the ride. It’s not starting again this fall, though. I guess it’s being filmed, and held for mid-season. I just hope that’s true and we haven’t seen the stealth cancellation of this show. Honestly, I sort of hope each Survivor is going to be the last. Not so with the Race. Please, though, no more model/bartenders. They make for really vile winners (see: Eric and Danielle, Freddy and Kendra…)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

More inspiration for the new school year

Because the last post got too big for Blogger....these are not by me, unfortunately. They're from, which has a lot more.

Inspiration for the new school year

What I learned on my Vegas Vacation

Sacramento airport has really crappy security.

We had already been through the screening and x-ray process, and were sitting at the gate, waiting to board the plane. My wife was fishing for something in her carry-on bag when she said “What the---? I forgot I had this in here” and she showed me a big pair of blue-handled scissors, which were definitely on the forbidden list.

We didn’t want to take them on the plane, of course, but we didn’t want to be scene throwing them away, either, just in case anyone thought we were depositing them for someone else to pick up later. We thought about handing them to one of the security guards, but that seemed … risky, somehow. Yes, we were paranoid. So, she took the old newspaper someone had left in the seat beside me, surreptitiously wrapped the scissors in it, and then nonchalantly dropped them in the trash can next to her seat.

Not five minutes later, the custodian came by to empty the trash can. We just sat there, hoping he wouldn’t notice the scissors. Sure enough, the first thing he does is pick them up off the top of the pile and place them in a special pocket on the side of his cart. He looked around, then moved on. We were sure he was taking them somewhere, and a few minutes later a guard with a dog came by, sniffing the air.

Kate was certain the dog had smelled the scissors and was now looking for the person that had left them there. Again, we did nothing but sit there and try not to be noticed. Either it was a coincidence, or the bomb-sniffing dog was just as bad at his job as the x-ray screeners, because we were not discovered, and boarded the plane without further incident.

Later, she found a huge bottle of lotion, one that far exceeded the 3-ounce limit, that she had been allowed to carry on the plane. So, we know that we shouldn’t trust Sac Airport security to keep anyone safe. Also, that my wife needs to be more careful when she packs.

Don’t talk to strangers.

I’m from the Midwest. I was raised to be polite. When people say hi to me, I usually at least say hi back. It’s not that I like people. I just don’t want to be rude. Of course, in Vegas, or probably in any big city, anyone who talks to you just wants to sell you something. Like the nice lady offering an afternoon looking at time shares, or the gentlemen handing out credit cards. I’ve learned my lesson now, and I don’t even need my wife to pull me away by the arm with a “keep walking” and an eye roll anymore.

The Treasure Island pirate show is no longer family friendly.

It was my wife’s idea to go see this, honestly, she had wonderful memories of watching the swashbuckling pirate show, which ended with the ship actually sinking in the moat. Imagine my surprise when the Victoria’s Secret models walked out and starting dry humping the mast of the ship. And then the Chippendales arrived, dressed like pirates, and … um … a lot of buckles got swashed, we’ll say. There was even some freaky cirque de soleil reject hopping around dressed like a parrot. It was very weird. The ship still sank, I will say that much. Just remember, I was only there because my wife wanted to go.

Las Vegas does not want your quarters.

We didn’t come to Vegas to gamble. We came to see Spamalot! No, really, that’s why were were there, just like our trip two years ago when we went to see Mamma Mia. What? But, like last time, we brought our collection of quarters to play the slots a little bit. Last time, we turned $40 worth of quarters into about $150. This time, we couldn’t find any slot machines that even took quarters. These were even the quarter slots. We’d gone back to Caesar’s, which was where we’d won the money last time. The machines only took bills and, of course, credit cards. So we spent about $30 in tens and ended up winning $25.25, so we didn’t win anything, but we didn’t lose much either. We looked all around Caesar’s and didn’t find a single machine that took coins. We found a couple in treasure island, but only a couple. They did, obligingly, let us waste all of our quarters in them so we at least did not have to carry them around anymore.

Las Vegas Airport has really good security.

No, we did not try to smuggle scissors or hand lotion onto the plane again. This time, it was the magnetic boards we’d bought for the kids as FAO Schwartz. They had to run my backpack through the scanner several times before they finally pulled me to the side to inspect it because they couldn’t see through it.

Turns out the magnets were blocking the sensors, so the security agent took them out and inspected them, and then had to know where we’d gotten them because she wanted them for her own kids. They are really cool. They’re magnets boards with little illustrated tiles marking various chores the kids are supposed to do around the house with a weekly chart, where they can put reward magnets. Not that my kids have been transformed into house-cleaning dynamos, but my son now at least brushes his teeth without argument. It’s a victory, and I’ll take it.

Spamalot! Was really good, bye the way. But how can you not love a musical that includes both a song called “I’m not dead yet,” and a bovine trebuchet.