Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve Stuff...
I haven't posted much this week because it's been a lot of Christmasing -- getting those final gifts for the toddler (i.e. an hour at Mastermind), wrapping up everything I'd bought over the past couple of weeks, introducingmy daughter to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and trying to get all of the insanity of work finished by December 22nd (I was the last one left in my office at 3, and ended up
still sitting there at 5:15...) I also took my 2-year-old daughter to her first movie theatre movie yesterday -- Happy Feet -- and it was pretty much a success, other than her turning to me and asking what the penguin's name was at one point, and some guy behind me shushed her. OK, I'm usually the one thinking, "Shut UP you're not sitting on your couch at home, you are watching a movie in PUBLIC and this public wishes you'd shut the hell up and watch the movie!" but you know, if you show up to a 3:40 screening of a children's movie on a Saturday afternoon, you should, you know, expect CHILDREN. I remember going to see Shrek 2 at 9:30 at night and being ticked off that there were kids talking all the way through it, but it was a 9:30 showing on a weeknight, and what kind of parent brings their 5-year-old out to a movie at 9:30 at night during the week?! But I knew enough to stay away from those weekend matinees of the animated shows, because you're just asking for it. (Besides, he looked like he was in his 40s, was there alone, and was reading Sartre when we got there so, you know, maybe not his scene.) ANYWAY.

Of course, several things have happened where I've thought, Hey, I should blog about that! Like today's news that my dear darling Bono will be granted an honorary knighthood for his humanitarian works. Yay! Of course, they're saying he can't be called Sir because he's Irish, and not a Brit, but I say bah... he's been Sir Bono to me since 1984. Oh, Bono.....
OK, I'm back.

Daybreak has been cancelled, which means that the hour-long spot it was holding until Lost returns on Februry 7, 2007, is now open. Maybe they'll rerun those first 6 episodes again? I hope so. Lost fans have been tuning in to Daybreak just to see the previews, even though they're appearing on YouTube the very next day, and from now on you can see them during the Thursday at 9pm airings of Grey's Anatomy. Speaking of which, I've been remiss in posting the Lost previews from the past couple of weeks, and MAN, are they doozies!! This one blew my mind... someone who we saw kidnapped from the Others in season 2 is back! WOW. Best one yet.

And here's the 6th one, which just makes me go... gah! Wah!! WTF??!!

Continuing in a YouTube frame of mind, it's Christmas Eve, and as mentioned, I've been watching Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer with my toddler daughter, and it reminded me of one of my favourite parodies. MadTV did this one several years ago, where they did the Rankin-Bass cartoon as if it had been directed by Martin Scorsese, and it's pretty hilarious.

Have a safe and happy holiday, and merry Christmas to everyone who celebrates it! May Santa be good to you. I haven't actually received any presents from him in over a decade (ever since I moved out of my parents' house, for some reason) but I'm assuming that's because I've moved around so much. I'm hoping he knows where I am this year. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Joss Whedon has announced who the writers will be for season 8 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which will be carried out in comic book format, as I previously blogged. Along with comic book heavyweights Brian K. Vaughan, Brad Meltzer, and Jeph Loeb (who was supposed to helm the Buffy animated series that never got off the ground, and is now co-executive producer of Heroes), Joss will be bringing back our fave Buffy writers: Jane Espenson (among her episodes, "Conversations with Dead People," "After Life," "Pangs," "A New Man"...we'll overlook "Superstar" and "Doublemeat Palace"... and has since worked on Gilmore Girls, Tru Calling, and is now writing for Battlestar Galactica); Drew Goddard (among his eps, "Lies My Parents Told Me," "Never Leave Me," and went on to write for Angel, Alias, and now writes for Lost); Drew Z. Greenberg (among his eps, "Smashed," "Older and Far Away," "Empty Places," and he edited almost all of season 7 of Buffy, and then went on to Smallville, The O.C., and most recently, is the writer and producer of the phenomenal Dexter); and Stephen K. DeKnight (a.k.a. "the guy who killed Tara," but more importantly penned eps of Angel like "Awakening," "Soulless," and "Shells," and now writes for Smallville). OK, so the big one missing is David Fury (come on, David... come back!) but I can live with this. As long as it's got Jane, I'm happy. You can read the full article here.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Lost meets Weird Al
If you are a fan of Lost (yes!) and Weird Al (double yes!) then meet Robert Montjoy. This guy has put together two videos of Lost clips that are completely in keeping with the show, but he's set them to the tune of Weird Al polka songs. The first one was posted several months ago to YouTube, but I just discovered them today, and they both made me laugh right out loud. He's definitely very influenced by Monty Python's Terry Gilliam (there's a little ode to the Pythons at the end of the second one), so I just love his stuff more now.

The season one video is set to Weird Al's polka version of Bohemian Rhapsody.

I don't know what makes me laugh more: "carry-on, carry-on"; Charlie getting chased by every animal on the island; or Sayid's escape plan. But I love that the guy is a serious Lost fan, and gets all of the nuances right (he even has Steve getting killed by Ethan, rather than Scott, which is correct).

The second video covers season 2, and is equally funny, but far more sophisticated. He's taken the footage from season two, but done a Waking Life treatment of it and animated the film. He's set it to Weird Al's "Alternative Polka," a compilation of alternative hits of the '90s.

I don't know who this guy is, but I hope we see a LOT more videos from him! Check out his website here, where you can also watch the videos if you're unable to view them at YouTube.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

My Nominee for 2006 Hero of the Year
Every year, many people do their year-end lists, and I used to be one of those people. You know, before the baby came along and I stopped seeing enough movies, listening to enough music, or reading enough books to actually maintain said lists (the TV viewing never died...). Instead of a year-end list, I'm just going to talk about one person who I hope is remembered at the end of the year for being the sort of hero who only appears in movies or in books.

Earlier this year, Canadian soldier Captain Trevor Greene was on a peace mission in Afghanistan. He was visiting villages, trying to bring peace and offer help to the villagers, asking them what they needed and arranging for those things to be brought to them. On March 4, 2006, Greene entered one of those villages, and sat in a circle with the village elders, as he had been invited to do. With his notepad open, ready to take down the details of what they needed, Greene removed his helmet, and sat it on the ground next to him. Just then, a villager came up behind him, and planted a hatchet in the back of Greene's head. It was later discovered that Greene had been set up, and the attack had been planned by the Taliban to once again show that they didn't want anyone's help. The man was immediately killed by other soldiers on the scene, and Greene was rushed to a hospital, where, miraculously, he survived. The worry then began, what sort of life would he have? And then he began talking. And joking. And eating. And laughing. And it was like Trevor had come back.

I know Trevor. I worked with him a few years ago on his book, Bad Date, which was an exposé of the missing Vancouver prostitutes. He is a beautiful writer, who wrote with such a passion and grace that I immediately acquired the book and became his editor. The book came out before the pig farm was discovered, so it was more of an account of what goes on on the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, and to research the book, Trevor actually went to live there, on the streets, with the prostitutes and addicts. He got to know them, and they trusted him, and he didn't betray their trust. The families of the women who had gone missing also came to trust Trevor, and told him their stories. The book is a devastating account of a terrible thing that has happened in Canadian history, and showed the social conditions that made the government turn a blind eye rather than actually do anything about it.

Trevor Greene was never difficult to work with. He occasionally missed deadlines because of his time in the army, but always came back with a big apology and an amazing chapter to hand to me, and I forgave him the lateness. He never had a handful of excuses, just apologized and handed it in. He was generous with his time, he was compassionate to his subject matter, and I was very proud of him and the book. There were always tons of emails from him, always ending, "Yours, aye" and then his name.

When I opened the Toronto Star that morning in March to discover what had happened to him, I stared at the paper in shock. I burst into tears, and suddenly the war going on in Afghanistan became so much more real to me than it had before. I scoured papers and news stories for days afterwards, but after the initial shock of the story, the media stopped covering it. I eventually found a blog that was started by his family where friends and family could leave messages, and the most important messages were left by Greene's fiancee Debbie, and by April, she was saying he was joking around with the nurses, talking, and was clearly aware of his surroundings and seemed to be coming back to his old self. I breathed a sigh of relief, cried happy tears, and thought wow, someone was surely smiling down on Trevor that day.

And then this past week, the Toronto Star published an article by Mitch Potter -- a reporter who was with Greene when the accident happened, and had been the one to break the story -- showing the downside to Trevor's recovery that I hadn't heard about. In the article, Potter explains that Trevor was making a great recovery, but didn't actually know what had happened to him. When he was told in late April about the attack, he slipped into a depression that severely marred his recovery, and began regressing at such a rate his family were terrified he wouldn't recover after all.

Now Greene is beginning the slow road back, after several operations to his head, recovering from pneumonia, and overcoming numerous other obstacles that have gotten in his way. Despite everything that he's been through, and the upset and betrayal he must have felt when he discovered the truth behind his injuries, something tells me Trevor would still absolutely back the peace mission to Afghanistan, and would be urging us to keep troops there. Trevor is one of those rare, rare people who believes he can change the world, and then goes out and does what he can to actually follow through on his beliefs. I know too many people who believe that it's useless and silly to think you can change the world because it'll just get you killed. But if the world had more Trevors in it, we really could change it. I'm not saying we should be in Afghanistan, or we shouldn't, I just respect Trevor for his beliefs and what he's done to stand by them.

I wish Trevor and his family all of the best wishes for the holiday season, and beyond. His daughter is only a few months younger than mine, and in her young life she's known her daddy mostly as a man in a hospital bed. But what she will eventually learn is that her father is incredibly strong, and so is her mother, who goes to see Trevor daily and who has no doubt been his rock. This little girl will grow up to be one heck of an amazing little person, if she only gets a fraction of the strength her parents possess. Good luck to you Trevor, and know that so many people are thinking of you.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Zap2it is reporting that Nathan Fillion and Tim Minear will be joining forces again on a new series called Drive (since everyone else will be posting pics of Fillion, I am going to post the talented and lovely Tim Minear instead). In a very cruelly titled article, "FOX Plans Midseason Firefly Reunion" (oh, you think you are SO funny, don't you??!!) they explain that there aren't many details, just that the show will be about a bunch of people involved in an underground race across America. Sounds weird, but hey, I'm there.

Firefly/Serenity fans will know Nathan Fillion as Captain Mal Reynolds, Buffy fans will recognize him as the evil Caleb, and Lost fans will know him as Kate's ex-husband. Tim Minear was the brilliant executive producer of Angel, co-executive producer of Firefly, and wrote for a little gem called Wonderfalls. All three shows: cancelled. The latter two shows: FOX cancelled.

So is this exciting news? Yes. Will it last longer than five episodes? Sadly, probably not.

Oh Tim... couldn't you have taken this to the CW network or something? Sigh...
Michael Scott, on romance
Last night's The Office was SO funny, I almost reconsidered my vote yesterday for Alec Baldwin over Steve Carrell for the Golden Globe. After Carol (played by Carrell's real-life wife, Nancy Walls, also a former Daily Show correspondent... I miss her...) dumps Michael because of an inappropriate Christmas card he sent to them, he goes into a deep funk, cancelling Christmas, and then going out to lunch with the "boys." The camera gets a monologue from him in the hallway of Dunder-Mifflin that is SO awesome I backed up the PVR three times to watch it over and over. Here it is, from YouTube.

Were truer words ever spoken?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Why you need to be watching THE WIRE
As promised, I'm going to get to my review of season 4 of HBO's The Wire (a.k.a. The Smartest Show on TV), but as I was working on it, I realized I'm writing it for the person who's already watched it, whereas the important thing here is to bring in new viewers, since not enough people are aware of this unbelievable show. So, this one's for the people who have never seen The Wire.

I wanted to give you a taste of the show, and there's no better way to do it spoiler-free than to show you the awesome three-minute opener of season 4 (which has been the best season). I'll set it up for you first.

Snoop walks into a hardware store with her DeWalt nail gun, complaining that if she doesn’t charge it properly, it runs out of juice just when she needs it the most. Snoop is one of the soldiers for Marlo Stanfield, who moves in as the prime drug dealer of season 4. She's from the streets, and works with her partner Chris, disposing of Marlo's enemies and boarding them up in vacant houses in West Baltimore (hence the nail gun). In this scene, the hardware store employee -- oblivious to the fact that when she says she did 5 jobs last month, her definition of “job” is NOT the same as his – helps her out and suggests the “Cadillac” of nail guns, which impresses Snoop about as much as Snoop will ever be impressed with anything (though she later insists that he meant to say “Lexus” of nail guns). When she peels off a bunch of $100 bills, he stares at her like she's from Pluto. It’s the perfect beginning to the season, showing the dichotomy of the two worlds – the underground, dangerous, cash-driven world of the drug trade, and the mostly unaware, mostly white day-to-day world that continues around it – and how they clash, yet need each other to survive. When Snoop gets to the car, she wonders why they use the nail gun as a nail gun, and not as an actual gun, and Chris just laughs. Yet, she's hit on a really important point -- gun casings can be traced, but can nails?

Snoop, aka Felicia Pearson, is played by… Felicia "Snoop" Pearson. Her life is as fascinating as her character on the show, and you can read about her here and here. She's a self-professed "crack baby," born premature and weighing only 3 lbs, with two incarcerated parents. Thrown from one foster home to another, she grew up on the streets, surrounded by violence and drugs, and was pretty much raised by the type of character you see on The Wire. She did time for shooting a woman, and while incarcerated, heard that her father figure had been killed, and decided she needed to change her life. When Michael K. Williams, a.k.a. Omar, a.k.a. my all-time favourite villain, met her, he instantly saw something powerful in her, and introduced her to the producers of The Wire.

I'll warn you: when you hear her talk in this clip, she's a little hard to understand, but that's because she's one of the only actors on the show who really is from West Baltimore, and she put on the true accent of the area. She's a quiet secondary character for most of the season, but whenever she's on screen, you can't take your eyes off her.

So enjoy... and I hope this clip helps pull you in to the world of The Wire. As I said in my last post, start with season 1: this clip is just to give you a taste of the world of The Wire, but you can only truly understand it by starting at the beginning.

Lost and Heroes up for Golden Globes!!
One thing genre fans are really good at doing is expecting very little from awards shows. Not that we've given up, but year after year, when Buffy went completely unnoticed, I'd get my hopes up, wait with bated breath, and then... nothing. Sigh... back to waiting and hoping for next year.

But now that the big boys like ABC and NBC are in the game with their genre shows, suddenly really good television is getting noticed. The Golden Globe noms just came in this morning, and while they cover both TV and movies, I'll just focus on the TV one, and the categories that interest me. :)

So, first up, Best Drama! The nominees are:
Big Love
Grey's Anatomy

Wow... what a great category. Grey's Anatomy is that one show (ok, one of two if you count House) that everybody except me seems to watch, but I've heard great things about it, and I love Sandra Oh, so one of these days... 24 used to be one of my favourite shows, until season 3 seemed so much like seasons 1 and 2, and I stopped watching it. This year my husband picked it up again and watched the latest season, and loved it, so it's nice to see it on here. Big Love is the HBO series about polygamy, and it was a PVR'd show while I was working on Finding Lost, and is now recorded onto DVDs waiting for me to watch them. As soon as I'm finished Battlestar Galactica, I will. But Heroes and Lost?! Oh wow, not one but TWO of my favourite shows are competing against one another. How can I possibly pick a favourite? It's like choosing a favourite child... I'll have to think about this one.

Best Actor in a Drama:
Patrick Dempsey, Grey's Anatomy
Michael C. Hall, Dexter
Hugh Laurie, House
Bill Paxton, Big Love
Kiefer Sutherland, 24

Well, I've already filled you in on where I stand on the others, so the only one left is Dexter. And while I know the sort of work the other four actors have done, I hope Michael C. Hall takes this one. I've come back to Dexter and I LOVE THIS SHOW. It's phenomenal. As a massive fan of Six Feet Under, I wondered how the guy who played David -- the emotionally tortured, gay, quiet, difficult brother -- would ever crawl out from typecasting. And he's done it like I never could have imagined. As Dexter, the lovable sociopath who kills people and has no emotions, he's the polar opposite of David, who sometimes felt too much for his own good. Michael C. Hall even manages to LOOK different in this role, and when I'm watching this show, I never think of him as David. There's a good chance the creep factor of this series will hurt his chances, but the Hollywood Foreign Press Association doesn't seem to get the oogies the way the Emmy Award people do, so he might be able to take this.

Best Dramatic Actress:
Patricia Arquette, Medium
Edie Falco, The Sopranos
Evangeline Lilly, Lost
Ellen Pompeo, Grey's Anatomy
Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer

Grey's Anatomy yadda yadda, haven't watched Medium (though I'd heard great things about it) or The Closer (ditto), love Edie Falco but she really didn't carry this past season the way she's done before, with the exception of that fabulous episode where she goes to Paris and breaks down, so, SHOCKINGLY, my vote goes to Evangeline. Go Kate!!

Best Musical or Comedy Series (musical??):
Desperate Housewives
The Office
Ugly Betty

I've never thought of myself as someone who watches a lot of comedies, but I watch 4 of these 5 regularly. (Desperate Housewives has never been on my must-watch list.) Entourage is brilliance. The Office, well, you know what I think of The Office. Ugly Betty is awesome, and Weeds is good, though I thought season 2 faltered compared to season 1. The tie for me comes down to Entourage and The Office... and they're like Lost and Heroes. I don't think I can choose a favourite.

Best Actor in a Comedy:
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Zach Braff, Scrubs
Steve Carrell, The Office
Jason Lee, My Name Is Earl
Tony Shalhoub, Monk

Zach, you are funny. Jason, ditto. Tony... um... couldn't tell you. But once again, it comes down to two (HFPA, you are KILLING ME). Steve Carell has the ability to deliver lines like, "You have very exotic features. Was your father a G.I.?" in such a way that makes you feel uncomfortable and laughing out loud all at the same time, and he does it week after week. Alec Baldwin is newer to the game, but his character makes me howl every time he appears on the screen, before he's even uttered a word. So I'm torn... but I'm actually going to give the edge to Baldwin on this one. Sorry, Steve (maybe tomorrow I'll have switched back to you).

Best Comedy Actress:
Marcia Cross, Desperate Housewives
America Ferrera, Ugly Betty
Felicity Huffman, Desperate Housewives
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, The New Adventures of Old Christine
Mary-Louise Parker, Weeds

Housewife...housewife... does ANYONE watch the New Adventures of Old Christine? I have never seen this on, I've never seen a commercial for it... Mary-Louis Parker is very funny, but sort of a one-trick pony on the show. I love America Ferrera with all my heart, and I would be THRILLED if she took this one.

Best Supporting Actor in a series:
Thomas Haden Church, Broken Trails
Jeremy Irons, Elizabeth I
Justin Kirk, Weeds
Masi Oka, Heroes
Jeremy Piven, Entourage

GROAN. Skip the first 3 (I heart Justin Kirk, though... he's the highlight of Weeds for me) and just look at those last 2. How can I not vote for Masi Oka, the guy I've totally fallen in love with over the last couple of months, who plays Hiro with such a lovableness that makes you want to reach out and hug him? Who else could answer the phone when Isaac calls and say, "Mystery sock?" so adorably?? (TWoP came up with that one, not me, sadly.) But then there's Jeremy Piven. Ari. What can I say about Ari that hasn't already been said? Funniest character on television, period. It's Ari who makes me unable to choose between Entourage or The Office. It's Ari who has me not just laughing, not howling, but doubled over screaming whenever he's on the screen. I've loved Jeremy Piven since his Ellen days... so, Hiro, I love you. But I have to go with Jeremy on this one. Please don't hate me, Hiro... wait, stop scrunching your face up like that, I didn't me--

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

While the Toddler Goes to Sleep...
These days the way to get my daughter to sleep is to turn the lights off and sit in the room with her for about 10 minutes while she chatters incessantly about her day, often adding in tidbits of things that happened weeks ago but she insists they happened "yessuday" and then you get up, go to the door, and scoot through leaving it partially open. If she calls out to me, I simply lean my mouth to the door crack and say, "I'm standing right here, go to sleep, shhhhh" and then I leave. Problem is, she's calling out every few minutes, and I have to sit in the next room so I can go to that door when she calls out so she thinks I'm still standing in the room.

SO... while I wait for that to stop, I shall blog about cool things I found today.

Once again on McSweeney's, I found something to make me laugh out loud. In "Poems that were Considered and Rejected before 'Twas the Night Before Christmas Was Established as 'The Official American Christmas Poem," the author parodies Allen Ginsberg, Sylvia Plath, and Edgar Allan Poe, and nails it. I laughed out loud, and then emailed it to my former American Lit prof.

Continuing in an American lit mood, The Book Standard has a great article about banned books in the U.S. that's definitely worth reading. I think my favourite is a 1989 banning of Little Red Riding Hood for promoting alcoholism in children. That and a letter from Mark Twain all excited that the banning of Huck Finn would be sure to sell 25,000 extra copies (it sounded exactly like something my boss would say).

Go Fug Yourself had a HILARIOUS post yesterday about Anne Hathaway looking like a toilet paper doll, and it reminded me of this totally creepy toilet paper doll that my friend Sue's grandmother has in England, and it's become an ongoing joke with us. We went over to England in 2000 and Sue's sister had gone ahead to her grandparent's house. Then Sue and I showed up, and Anne was standing at the door with saucer eyes saying, "Oh. My. God. You SO have to go into the bathroom. I'm not even going to prepare you for it." So we wandered down the hall and peered in, and there, on the back of the toilet was this toilet paper doll with one of those knitted outfits that covers the roll, but it was missing most of its hair. It looked like some sort of radiation victim, like something had been plucking the hairs out of its head one by one in some sinister voodoo weirdness. We totally freaked out and ran screaming from the bathroom, but eventually got the nerve back up to return to take its picture. A few years later Sue went back over to England to visit her relatives, and when she came back she said, "I brought you a surprise," and pulled out... a NEW picture of the creepy doll! After my initial horror and dead faint, I was revived and got to study the photo more closely. Even MORE hair was missing -- no doubt the result of the radiation poisoning creeping through its little plastic nervous system -- and it looked insane. Then this past summer Sue headed back yet again, and came back with photo #3. This time I thought I'd braced myself, until I looked at it and saw a doll with nothing but three black hairs sticking out of its little dotted head. What is wrong with that doll?! Or better yet, why are Sue's grandparents plucking its poor hairs out of its head? Maybe it IS a voodoo thing... I wonder who ticked them off?
OK, Her Highness has gone from calling out to me to actually wandering out onto the landing and asking if she could fall asleep in my arms in the chair, so I will give in to her whims and desires. It's my job. :)
Fourth Lost Preview

Sorry this is late. This is the Lost February preview that ran during last week's Day Break. And WOW, it's so much better than the last one!!
What I'm Reading
When I was in NY on the weekend, I went into a Barnes and Noble and probably spent over an hour in there. You're probably thinking, "You were in NY for only a few hours, and you wasted it in a BOOKSTORE?!" but you have to understand, I used to spend all of my free time in bookstores, and now if I go in, my toddler wants to ride the escalators, I'm constantly chasing her around the store, it's a case of get in there, grab what you need, leave, there's no time for browsing, and if I happen to also be with my husband, he usually lasts 10 minutes before he's tired of chasing her and he's pleading with me to go. So spending an hour in a bookstore ANYWHERE is a luxury that I will take if offered. :)

So anyway, I wandered around the store, browsing, picking up books, looking at their covers, when the one pictured here caught my eye, Third Class Superhero by Charles Yu. I loved the comic book style of the cover, and when I turned it over to see what it was about, saw that it was a collection of short stories. I opened it to the title story, about a guy who really wants to be a superhero, but no matter how many times he takes the exams, he's never granted anything beyond his "good-guy card" because his power is not considered important enough:

My power, if you can call it that, and I don’t think you can, is that I am able to take about two gallons of water from the moisture in the air and shoot it in a stream or a gentle mist. Or a ball. Which is useful for water-balloon fights, but not all that helpful when trying to stop Carnage and Mayhem from robbing a bank.

For years I was on a self-improvement kick. I read all the books and listened to tapes. I ordered everything there was to order by mail. Studied physics, how the big brains can change gravitational constants. I read history, I learned theory, the balance of good and evil, stuff like that. Still doesn’t change the fact that I’m minor. Not even minor. A sideshow. A human water fountain.

He begins to think he should have chosen a better moniker:

Part of the problem is my name. Moisture Man. Doesn’t exactly strike fear into the hearts of the wicked.

For a few months last year, I tried to get people to call me Atmosphero. A few people did it to be nice, but it didn’t stick—I think the problem was too many syllables. Shortening it to Atmos doesn’t work either, because there’s a physicist up in Seattle named Atomos who solves science crimes with a group that calls itself The Nucleus. The registrar says if I use too similar a name I could be sued for infringement. She suggested the name ’Sphero, but that’s just plain wrong. Makes me sound like a force-field guy, and, anyway, -o endings are usually for villains.

So I’m stuck with Moisture Man.

A couple of years ago I listed myself in the phone book, which was a mistake, because you can imagine the crank calls I get.

I found myself laughing out loud in the store at this, and when the superhero's friend, who is really powerful, finally takes pity on him and asks him to come help some other heroes save the world, Moisture Man goes along, but while they're out shooting fire and ice and flying around, Moisture Man can't get his seatbelt undone, and is stuck in the car.

At that point, I was completely in love, and bought the book. The story actually ends up moving from the funny to the sadly beautiful, and I was so glad I'd bought it. This is Yu's first book, and I hope he writes several more.

The rest of the stories in the book have a similar quirkiness. He plays a lot with the actual short story form, and while his bio doesn't say it, I'm assuming he comes from a mathematical background. In one story, A is traveling on a train going 60 mph, and he sees B on the same train, and wonders if their integers would go together. They get married, and when B becomes pregnant they're not sure about introducing a baby into the mix because they're not sure what A+B equals. It's hilarious.

I'll admit there were a couple of stories that lost me, and I just skipped by them after I'd gotten halfway through, but that wasn't the case for most of them. And the stories that I skipped might end up being someone else's favourites. These are weird little tales, often told in a dry manner, but with hilarious moments that will have you laughing, and poignant examinations that will make you think about relationships and why we're in them. I definitely recommend this, especially to the Heroes fans looking for something to read in the hiatus. :)

Monday, December 11, 2006

THE WIRE: The Smartest Show on Television
The Wire was one of the shows that my husband and I decided to PVR for its entirety and then watch when everything went on hiatus. If you’ve ever watched this series, you’ll know what I mean when I say it’s MUCH easier to watch the episodes back to back then to let ANY time pass between then. If you watch Lost and think it’s confusing, try The Wire. You’ll be backtracking and scratching your head and taking notes just to get through one episode. And it’s SO worth it.

The Wire is, hands down, the smartest show on television, possibly ever. I’ve never experienced anything like it on my TV. I’m going to devote this post to writing about The Wire for those who have never seen it, telling you why you MUST BE WATCHING THIS SHOW. (Every month EW has at least one column where they ask the simple question, “Why aren’t you watching this show yet?!”) Later this week, I’ll post a second one full of season 4 spoilers, discussing what happened in this mindblowing season.

The show grew out of a miniseries, which grew out of a book, called The Corner. The book was written by David Simon and Edward Burns, and was a difficult, heartbreaking, and fascinating look at what happened to one real-life family in Baltimore. Edward Burns is a former Baltimore cop, and David Simon is the writer and creator of Homicide: Life on the Streets. In the book and miniseries, we follow one family who should have had it all… until the mother became a crack addict, followed by the father, and the son was thrown in the middle of the devastation. We meet the other drug addicts living on the streets, the dealers slinging on the corner, the cops who know what’s going on but don’t handle it well. Simon and Burns spent years working on it, and interviewing the actual family who features in it, and what happens to them is shocking.

The six-episode miniseries of the same name, put out by HBO, was amazing. I’d urge you to watch it if you’re a fan of The Wire and haven’t yet seen it (or if you’ve never watched The Wire, this is a great way to enter it). When the series received critical accolades, winning the Emmy for best miniseries, among other awards, HBO realized they could take this premise and expand it. And thank god they did, because for as jaw-droppingly good as The Corner is, The Wire is that much better.

Don’t come to The Wire looking for laid-back, happy entertainment. This is a searing look at the real drug battle being waged in the U.S. right now, showing the consequences. After watching a couple of episodes of this show, you’ll realize just how fruitless – and patronizing – the Just Say No campaign really is.

Season 1 of the series focused on a group of detectives in the major crimes unit who were wire-tapping “The Towers,” a collection of low-rent high-rises where a group of drug dealers were slinging for Avon Barksdale, the young drug lord of the area. They tapped the pay phones in the area, and when Barksdale’s people got wise, had to move on to trying to get the signals of the cellphones. But, as every season does, season 1 showed how it wasn’t as easy as getting proof over the phone that Avon was indeed dealing drugs. In order to get The Big Bust, you needed major proof, and lots of it. Months and months of it. And while the major crimes unit was closing in on getting all the proof they’d need to take down the entire operation, the mayor of the city needed to show his constituents that he was making drug busts, and waiting on wire taps to come through wasn’t showing anyone anything. The media was getting antsy, the governor was demanding results. Meanwhile, other politicos were getting kickbacks from the drug trade, and didn’t necessarily want it to stop. And the cops were getting pressure from all sides. We were introduced to McNulty, a brilliant detective who was a drunk; Avon Barksdale, the ruthless but not-brilliant drug lord; Bodie, his loyal and also not-brilliant soldier; Bubbles, the drug addict who wanted to be clean and escape his horrible existence, but felt trapped. It was a GREAT season, and showed just how complicated this process really is.

Season 2 moved the action to the docks, while still maintaining its sharp dialogue and defiant message. We saw how the stevedores were losing money despite their unions, and how they were getting pulled into the drug trade (admittedly, I didn’t like the dock storyline that much, but luckily it wasn’t all about that.). Away from the docks it showed what happened when the drug slingers moved away from the towers to lower suspicion, and onto the neighbourhood corners. The politics heated up, and with one of the key players from season 1 out of the game, two faces we’d seen in the previous season moved up to become major characters. One of them was Omar, who is BRILLIANT, one of my all-time fave characters. This guy has a scar that literally splits his face in two, and is played by Michael K. Williams with aplomb. He’s dangerous, he’s gay, and if you touch anyone he loves or cares about, he will eat you for dinner. He walks around in a long brown trenchcoat with a flap on the back (think Holtz in season 3 of Angel), usually with a giant gun under one arm, and hangs around in dark alleyways. He’s not a drug dealer… he ROBS the drug dealers. Some of season 2’s best moments took place in the middle of the night, with some tough standing on the street corner, thinking he’s invincible, when suddenly, out of the darkness, you’d hear someone whistling Pop Goes the Weasel. The guy would look up, confused, his head darting around, as the sound got louder and louder, and just as Omar would get to the “Pop” part of the song… the guy on the corner would be no more. Do NOT mess with Omar. Simon created this dangerous and terrible character who is menacing and terrifying, yet made us actually root for him, despite knowing everything he’s about. The thing about Omar is (and he’ll often explain this, speaking of himself in the third person) he lives by a code, and if you understand that code and live within it, you’ll be fine. He has his own ethics, and doesn’t screw with them, and the cops actually come to trust this guy, despite him moving in on Barksdale’s territory and becoming a force to be reckoned with himself. He’s the best part of season 2.

Season 3 illustrated the mandate that the only thing more dangerous than a drug dealer with weaponry and people to back him, was a drug dealer who is educated and intelligent. Stringer Bell moved in as the head of Barksdale’s gang, running the drug trade as if he were running a business (he’d already been running it from behind the scenes, but now took the public reins). He took economics in school, and when he got the corner kids together to discuss who would be selling what product that week, he made them sit in an orderly fashion and forced them to follow Robert’s Rules of Order. Omar returned, and things heated up within the Barksdale gang to a boiling point, with other factions entering. Some tried to work together, with Proposition Joe playing all sides (as he always does), but for the most part, they were just stabbing each other in the backs. A new kid appeared on the scene – Marlo Stanfield – and he stirred the pot even further. The wire tap from season 1 had been disbanded, and now the cops were on their own, as one after the other they kept screwing up. The sergeant came up with the idea to just legalize the drugs, and turned the corners into free-for-alls, setting up a zone where you could sling all you wanted and you wouldn’t be touched by the cops, thinking that if he could just push all the madness to one section of Baltimore, the rest of it would be safe. It seemed like a good idea… at the time.

And then along came Season 4, where people who were in high positions in earlier seasons were now in lower ones, or fired altogether; where the politics established in the first 3 seasons came crashing down and a new day arrived; where the drug dealers had all changed, and the drug lords had turned over to a new regime run by Marlo Stanfield; and where the writers figured they’d explained all of the levels to a point where we didn’t need them to do it anymore. So they moved the plot to a new focus: the kids. What happens to the children who live in West Baltimore, in abandoned buildings, with crackheads for parents, with corner kids slinging all night long right under their windows? This season moved into Tilghman Middle School, where we not only watch the teachers having to deal with these unruly kids on a daily basis, but as the season went on, hope begins to dissipate that it will ever end, and we realize that even if a child WANTS to leave this life behind, everything will conspire to make sure that won’t happen. It was the best season by far, just when I thought this show couldn’t get any better. After every episode my husband and I would discuss it for ages, talking about the possibilities, even pausing an episode in the middle to look at each other and just say, “Wow.”

Watch this show. If you haven’t seen it, start with season 1, and watch straight through. DO NOT start anywhere after the very first episode. Lost will drop in a clue about something in episode 3 of season 1 and expect you to remember it in episode 5 of season 2. But The Wire? They expect you to remember EVERYTHING. Every conversation, every character, every nuance. It’s a downward spiral, and you must start at the top to understand what life is really like at the bottom.

Next up: I’ll run down season 4 and why I loved it so much. I’ll warn you of spoilers in that one.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Robbed at LaGuardia
This post has little to do with television, and more to do with the state of the world right now. On Friday and Saturday, I travelled to NYC on business with my boss. I've flown since the incident in the summer that forced all airlines into their stupid gels and liquids policies, but I've never been subjected to the sort of behaviour that I was on the weekend.

First, leaving Toronto from Pearson airport, the security guard took my boss's toothpaste. You're allowed 100mL of a substance, and his toothpaste tube was 125 or something. Because, as we all know, if a terrorist is going to smuggle a substance and hide it in a toothpaste, they will ONLY insert it into a tube that is over 100mL. They took my water bottle that I'd just gotten -- because they assumed there was some toxic substance, and apparently it wouldn't have been effective had I just taken a swig from it to prove it was OK. No, of course not. I had to turn it over, walk through the checkpoint, and right into a variety store where I bought the EXACT SAME BOTTLE. (I stood in line behind my boss, buying the same tube of toothpaste they'd just taken from him.) But that wasn't all they took. After the guy at the checkpoint took my lotion (it was a 200mL bottle that had maybe two squeezes of lotion left in it, but hey, it's all about the SIZE OF THE BOTTLE, despite the signs saying how much GEL you are allowed. You must get this straight, people.) and my bottled water, he looked through everything else -- with the sheet of guidelines sitting right in front of him -- and said it was all OK. He sheepishly admitted that he thought this was bordering on ridiculous, and said they'd definitely bumped up security to a level that was ludicrous. I went through and put my bag on the conveyer belt. Other end, another official stepped up and took it, and said he'd have to look through it. Great. So while I'm standing next to my BOSS, they open up my bag and pull out panties and other unmentionables (my boss was gracious enough to walk away at that point) and they find -- GASP, horror of horrors!! -- my shampoo and conditioner. Both had been put into 75mL bottles, and both were in a Ziploc bag, just like we'd been told to do. So what is the problem, you might ask? He pulled out both and said, "nope, can't have these. See, these are unmarked containers that you've filled with shampoo and conditioner; if they'd been from the manufacturer, they'd have been fine." SERIOUSLY. Because, as we all know, if you buy the travel size of Pantene shampoo from your local pharmacy and it gets used up, you can't possibly refill it. I looked at him like he was insane, but said nothing. I assumed there would be shampoo and conditioner at the hotel, and it wasn't any big deal. I was pissed, but not furious or anything. My boss muttered that this was a conspiracy by toothpaste companies. I said the airports were in cahoots with Ziploc.

So off I went to NY where I stayed in Queens (or, in my world, the land of Ugly Betty and Entourage), and the conference was right downtown. I met my pal Fionna for lunch, and she came with her friend Shar, who instantly became my friend when we wandered into Times Square and I said, "I suddenly have an urge to throw my hands up in the air and yell, 'I DID IT!'" and then Shar not only DID do that, but in Japanese. Instant love. ;) NY was awesome, finding a cab back to the airport was impossible, but we managed, and that's when I had to go through Round 2. Now, my bag had been searched, x-rayed, and parts of it confiscated, but the guys had opened everything and explained to me why they were letting other things through. But apparently, at LaGuardia, the rules don't matter. It's whatever the gals feel like confiscating that particular night. This time, I was ANGRY.

My boss made it through, no problem, but once again he had to stand by a wall while they stopped me at the end of the conveyer belt again. This time we had 4 women, all in the middle of a VERY IMPORTANT CONVERSATION about some woman named Charlene who was dating the wrong guy (to the point where my boss, standing before the metal detector, finally shouted, "CAN I WALK THROUGH NOW??!!" to get their attention). This woman opens up my suitcase without the formalities (no, "is this yours, ma'am? I'm going to have to open it" like the other guy did), and immediately pulls out my bath gel. It's in a 75mL bottle, less than 1/3 full. "You can't have this." "Why not, it's less than 100mL" I say. She just looks at me. "You can't have it." Then pulls out a second one. "You can't have this one, neithuh." I just stand there, beginning to fume, but they were both small bottles, easily replaceable. Whatever. Then she takes out a moisturizer. Doesn't say anything, just tosses it to the side. My blood pressure is rising, and finally, just as it seems she won't take anything else, she grabs my hair sculpting stuff. Not a word, tosses it. I finally say something. "That's not a gel. It's not a liquid. It's solid." She's so busy talking to her friends she doesn't even answer. I speak up. "EXCUSE ME, that's not a gel!" I point. She stops, cocks her head at me in mid-word, mouth still open, turns and grabs the stuff. "This? Do you use this in your hair?" "Yes, and it's not a gel. Can I show you?" She opens it herself. "See?" I say. "It's a mud. That's solid, it doesn't fall under the category of gels or liquids. Not to mention, the card there says I'm allowed a maximum of 100mL, that's less than 50, and you've confiscated everything else I have. That stuff is more expensive, and I'd like to keep it." "Nyuh-uh" she says as she tosses it, "Gel."

WTF?!! What's with the "you can have a maximum of blah blah blah" if chickie here thinks she can take whatever she wants? Here, you want a sweater? How about a hairdryer? They're not a gel, either, but hey, hasn't stopped you yet!

"So ANYWAY," she continues to the other 3 women, "I said to Charlene, 'Girl! If you go back to the guy I swear to GOD I will never talk to you again,' and she did! So I'm all up in her face about it, and..."

"I got on a plane just last night with all of the things you have sitting right there, and they said they were fine."

"...she said she loved him, and I said, whatevuh, and so whatevuh. I'm just not talking to that ho no more."

I stood there, decided to give up (I'm Canadian after all, not to mention my boss was standing nearby with that worried look he gets when he thinks I'm about to stir shit up and we're going to be late for our plane), and in my head thought, "Good for you, Charlene. Stick with the guy. If it means you never have to deal with this bitch again, it'll be worth it." I walked away.

And by the way, they had a bin where they were tossing the confiscated material. They tossed two of my things in it, but I had a nearly full container of moisturizer, and my hair sculpting stuff, and she set those onto the shelf where the girls were sitting. I have no doubt she just popped both of them in her purse to take home with her. Maybe I should be thankful she didn't need a winter coat that day.

Yeah, I know I sound like one of those people who accepts the way things are until they happen to her, but I've actually never thought all of this insane crap made any sense, even when I wasn't flying. Look, if a terrorist is going to smuggle something onto the plane, they will KNOW about the stupid strictures they have on everything. They will hide the chemical in a toothpaste tube that is 75mL. They will go to the doctor and get some prescription meds and hide it in there (by the way, I had a whole bottle of tylenol in my purse that they didn't touch on either end. So why did they think a terrorist couldn't put it in pill form, walk through security, and then go buy his bottled water on the other side and pop the chemical into it there?!) They will find a way to get past all of this idiocy at the checkpoints.

And in the meantime, at the airport, the old adage "innocent until proven guilty" has fallen by the wayside. You are Guilty. Period. There's no jury where you can plead your innocence. If you don't hand over your stuff, you don't get on the plane. Simple. You are guilty. All of us are criminals. Honest, hard-working citizens by day, terrorists the moment we step into the airports. Somehow the airports have become areas that are separate from the rest of the country, where the laws of privacy don't apply, where your personal belongings can be taken from you, where martial law has been declared. I was only going overnight, but what if I was going on a weeklong vacation? I'd have to bring nothing, and buy it all in the stores in the airport. It's a scam, and there's nothing we can do about it.

Now, you might say to yourself, Yeah, yeah, I hear ya, but in the end, I feel much safer knowing that they're taking these precautions. Well... think again. See, after we passed through these checkpoints and had half our stuff stolen, we got onto the plane and sat there. And sat there. The flight attendant (only one, small plane) looked perplexed, and kept calling someone on the phone. The pilot came out a couple of times and looked at us and went back into the cockpit. The flight attendant made another call, and looked ticked, and finally said "I'll need to see all of your boarding passes." We pulled them out. He walked up and checked all names off on the manifest, and then, OH! Found someone who didn't have a boarding pass, and had managed to just slip by all the checkpoints and was sitting on the plane. But they realized she'd been booked, she just didn't know she had to actually get a pass or anything, so they LET HER STAY ON.

So yeah, they took my boss's toothpaste, my shampoos and conditioners and hair stuff and moisturizers, but managed to let a HUMAN BEING onto the plane that had made it past them all. Awesome.

I believe somewhere in the future, someone will uncover this period of history and look at us the way we look at people in the medieval period who believed in the vapours and cured illnesses with leeches. They'll wonder what the hell was wrong with us.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Oh yeah, baby, my girl Caridee won America’s Next Top Model last night! What a great episode (I always love the finales). I was never a huge fan of Eugena/Eugenia (I can’t even remember her name) so when it came down to Melrose (“I don’t have time for the ‘issa’”) and Caridee, I knew it was ON. (OK, so usually the winner is the one with the best Cover Girl shot, but you never know when they're gonna change that.)

Melrose has taken some beautiful pictures throughout the season, and you can’t deny her runway walk totally rocked. When she did the photo shoot as Donald Trump and, er… Trump’s trophy wife (can’t remember her name, either), it was possibly the best photo EVER on ANTM. But as the competition’s gone on, I’ve gone from being her apologist (early on the other models bitched that Melrose made them wash the dishes after she made the meal… uh, and the problem is…?) to agreeing with the other girls. Last week when she lost the flamenco competition after thinking she was too good to practice, she completely broke down because she HATED losing. This week, not only did she call Caridee a ho when they were in hair and makeup (!!!!!! OK, maybe she thought she was being all cool and stuff, “Shut up, ho!” but, um, no. We know you don’t talk like that, so don’t get all ebonics on us at the last minute here) but at the fashion show, Caridee stepped on her dress by accident and it ripped, and Melrose had a total fit. She practically ran off the runway, freaking out to Jay that Caridee had made a hole in her dress, and she’s crying and saying she wants to kill her. Caridee apologized, and Melrose was all, “Oh, you’re SORRY? I have a RIP in MY DRESS!” Whoa, Melrose. Learn to take it down a notch. If anything, it’s a bonus to you because you show grace under pressure, and whammo, the judges love you even more. But she wasn’t looking at it that way.

Caridee has been my favourite in this competition ever since my lovely little Meg got booted early on (or was it Megan? The one with the short hair, not the talentless one who called herself the rocker chick). Caridee is funny, she’s fun to be with, she has a heart, and she has passion for this competition. Most of all, she’s sincere. Everything that comes out of Melrose’s mouth is staged, rehearsed, and fake (right down to the “I’m just happy to be here” crap she spouted at the very end, which was SO not true: she felt it was her right to be there, and would only be happy if she’d won). Caridee, on the other hand, is SO sincere her problem is toning it down and pretending she’s not a spaz all the time. (Since I, too, am mostly a spaz, I loved her.) She got into trouble a couple of weeks ago with Nigel when he told them they were going to be holding a pole in a photo shoot, and she asked him if he’d pulled it out of his ass right after the previous judging panel (the one where he’d been uncharacteristically cruel to her). OK, maybe that wasn’t the best time to have said that, but I thought it was HILARIOUS. And, like I’ve said before, what we don’t see are the hours and hours it takes to film each one of these scenes. The judging scenes take about 10 minutes on screen, but they probably film it for 4 hours, and between takes they’re all laughing and joking around, and she probably thought she was just joking around with “I’m not a funny guy, so please don’t crack a joke around me” Nigel.

Speaking of Nigel, I thought he was on crack this week. They ALL were. When they got to the bull-fighting pictures, Nigel – who, two weeks earlier, said Caridee’s photo was weak, and they all agreed her mind wasn’t on the shoot and she’d totally screwed up because she had pissed off Nigel with the ass comment only moments earlier – now said her picture was one of the BEST. And they all agreed. Huh?! And then they said Melrose’s picture, which two weeks ago they’d said was one of the best, now became one of the worst. Way to change history to make it fit your ultimate decision, judges. And then, with Jay sitting right there on the judging panel as they discussed the runway competition, he never actually brought up the meltdown Melrose had with the stepping-on-the-dress incident. Wouldn't that have been something to mention? "Yeah... see, the thing is, she walks a great walk, but under stress, um, runs off the stage and threatens to kill other models. Might be a bit of a problem."

But hey, I’m not gonna complain, because their decision was mine, too. Caridee can learn a runway walk. Their hangup with Danielle (or Dani, as she is now called) was that she couldn’t talk, and did you notice the improvement in her speech this week when she came back? So our girl will learn to walk and tone things down. That particular fashion show was AWESOME, by the way, with the only low point being “Miss Jay” deciding to take a walk (I’d like him to take a walk, too, but I won’t say where).

Yay, Caridee! I hope my pal Crissy was watching, because she and I need to take notes for when we try out for Canada’s Next Top Model. Hey, I might be a decade older than Melrose, who they thought was “old” at 23, but then Tyra said all you need in this business is the passion, not the talent. So I’m in!! Wait for me, Jay, I’m COMIN’!!!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

In other news...

Some of this news is old now, but I'm gonna post it anyway. :)

30 Rock has been picked up for the entire season. YAY!!! I don't know if y'all are watching it, but it's SO funny. This past week had some of the funniest moments I've seen on TV all season.

"OK, very funny. Ha. Ha. You're wearing a beeper. You can take it off now."
"No I can't. I'm waiting for a call from 1983."

"Nice tie you're wearing there."
"Yeah, that douchebag out front made me put it on."
"Does he know you're the Beeper King?"

Heroes was the highest rated new show for November sweeps, beating out EVERYTHING. Yay!!! It garnered ratings of up to 16 million viewers in some weeks, which are the numbers most shows take most of a season to get.

Lost has been moved to 10 p.m. on Wednesday nights starting February 7, 2007 (sigh). The network doesn't want it going up against Fox's American Idol, which kills most shows. Of course, I don't want our precious show to be killed, but 10 p.m.? Just reminds me why I never watched AI beyond season 2.

24 is coming back January 14, 2007, for a 2-night, 4-hour premiere. Jack Bauer (i.e. the world's unluckiest man) will be returning, and this time, he's the sacrifice. We can only hope that at the last minute, he changes his mind and throws his daughter Kim to the wolves instead. The mountain lion didn't do it, maybe this season is the one that will see her go. Fingers crossed!! Rick Schroder, last seen on NYPD Blue, will be joining the cast this season. You can see the special 2-minute trailer here:

Heroes Ep 11: Fallout
First of all, I want to comment on an article I read in the paper yesterday that was picked up from the New York Times news service. As in, this is an article that appeared in the freakin’ New York Times, and then went out to other papers, who picked it up and printed it there. I read it in the Globe and Mail. It was an interview with our beloved Masi Oka, but here’s the issue: The woman writing the article is writing about a show that is being dissected week after week, layer by layer, and she got really, REALLY basic things wrong. She said Milo Ventimiglia (Peter Petrelli) has the power of flying. Um… yeah, that’s what we thought after TWO episodes. She says that Hiro uses his time-stopping powers to play poker. Right. That’s all he uses it for. She said that this past week’s episode was the 10th before going on hiatus (it was the 11th). Does the New York Times not have a fact-checker?! Anyway, enough bitching. On to the episode.

I LOVED this episode. Personally, as much as I’m on pins and needles waiting for the next ep, I thought last week’s episode was the perfect way to end this particular arc, and make us wait until next year. Then I saw this one, and no, they’ve left this one on a MUCH better cliffhanger, and made the whole season thus far come full circle. Brilliance.

Claire and her dad: Claire has told her dad her secret, her dad tells her he already knows, and we find out his Haitian can remove memories. He says everything he’s been doing was for her own good and to protect her, but what did that have to do with erasing Matt’s memories? “I’ve done some things I’m not proud of to keep you safe.” I can’t wait for us to see more of this. This guy is so creepy he pours chocolate milk while they’re discussing the death of one of her “friends” and telling her that he’s done bad things. Later in the episode, Claire talking to her brother and to Zach has got to be one of the spookiest things we’ve seen. And the saddest, since Claire has just said that Zach is her best friend, and now he thinks she’s a freak on crystal meth. Removing a person's memories must be one of the most invasive things you could do to a person. Without your memories, are you really the same person? Now we also understand why her mother is always in such a daze, obsessing about Mr. Muggles and not seeming to notice her own kids sitting there. Did you notice, when Mr. Bennet and Claire went to visit Peter in the cell, Peter shook his hand and then began coughing like something was wrong with him all of a sudden. It suggests Mr. Bennet has a power as well, but not a good one.

Matt: He and Peter begin reading each other’s thoughts, which just seems to cause excruciating feedback in their brains (brilliant idea). I never thought about what might happen if those two ended up in the same room, and what a great result. It’s through Matt that we realize the Haitian has power over people’s minds, not physique, and he can block Matt’s powers. Can he block other people’s powers, too?

Peter: I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… his power isn’t solely that he can take on the power of others around him, but that he has these prophetic dreams. The scene with him in the jail cell dreaming about Nathan talking to him, and then Sylar is suddenly sitting there saying he doesn’t know the first thing about his power, totally freaked me out. Peter hasn’t seen Sylar’s face like that, yet there it was in the dream. This is something far beyond the average vivid dream. Does that mean he has two powers, or are they connected into one somehow? Question: When he was in Sylar’s presence, did he become all-powerful?

Jessica/Niki: Her power still eludes us for the most part, but it definitely took on new proportions this week. Niki is becoming far more consumed by Jessica, though something like Micah being hurt can jolt her back to Niki. Did you notice when she ran up to Micah, though, and appeared to be Niki, that the camera – for the first time – didn’t zoom in on the right shoulder? We only saw the left one in that scene. I’d like to think she reverted to Niki, but she was acting strangely, and seemed a little too compliant. The only thing that makes me think it was Niki is that Micah believes it was, and he seems to know the difference between Niki and Jessica. But maybe Jessica’s caught on.

DL: OK, what is up with this guy? He gets shot in the shoulder, and it’s a serious wound, but when he’s shot in the HEAD the bullet just whizzes through, we see an actual HOLE, and then it’s gone. The bullet cleared his head, his hand can move through wood to open a door (much to Micah’s delight), yet he sustains a shoulder wound. What I’m assuming is he can control his ethereal nature with his mind. So when he didn’t know the first bullet was coming, it felled him. Then he knew more would be coming, so he changed his chemical makeup so the rest would whiz through him. I believe he can become a solid or a liquid at will, but if caught off guard, he remains a solid.

Micah: We see in that final scene in NY, Micah is there, which means he’s one of the heroes. What is his power? We saw him momentarily fix the phone in the phone booth, so I wondered if it might be a healing power. Will he be able to put his hand over DL and heal the shoulder wound? Notice how he falls over at one point because of his knee, but he begins kneading the area in a strange way and then stands up again, saying he’s OK.

Mohinder: He’s back in NY, and calls someone on the phone asking them why they weren’t warning people in advance (he mentions Charlie). Who is he talking to?

Eden: DAMN. Just as I was getting to like the girl, she goes and eats it. Sigh… Unfortunately, the lead-up to the scene was a little too obvious, “Hey, I’ll explain it all later, but right now I have to do something. But don’t worry, I’ll be over soon and fill you in on all of it.” Uh huh. Bye bye, Eden. We know she’s a good person in the end, because her final act is to do what any of us would hope to do in that situation. “If you could have killed Hitler…” etc.

Isaac: Eden also lets Isaac go, which brings Hiro and Ando back into the fold. We see him go all white-eyed for the first time without his heroin, and realize he’s done it before, but didn’t know he was drawing the future. Is there some significance to the fact that he couldn’t draw with Eden helping him, but can do it with Hiro and Ando standing nearby?

Hiro and Ando: “Who is it?”
“I wish Destiny would lose our number.”
They believe they haven’t saved the cheerleader, and after a funny exchange about whether “Save the cheerleader, save the world” is an “if then” statement or two separate statements, they get the call from Isaac. I thought the transition scene from Isaac’s comic panel of the two of them standing in front of the bloody “Welcome Home” sign to the actual scene was amazing; go back and watch how they do it, with the black panel lines on the side staying there as we watch Ando and Hiro talk. And how hilarious is it that Hiro gives him the Vulcan sign when he sees him in person, haha!

“The Haitian”: Or “Hay-tee-an” as Cher would say on Clueless. “Can you keep a secret?” We finally hear him speak, and realize he’s not completely on side with what Claire’s dad is doing. Why does he choose this moment to finally diverge from what HRG has been instructing him to do?

Hannibal, er, Sylar: Forget what I said about Sylar’s cell looking like Spike’s on Buffy. Instead, the scenes are stolen right from Silence of the Lambs. But hey, worked for me! The fact that Claire’s dad hasn’t killed him, but instead wants to study him, shows that Claire is NOT his major concern. He’s far more interested in what is making these people mutate and change. Sylar is the only one doing it willingly, and doing it over and over. The scene where he grabs Eden is terrifying and SO well directed. It would seem that maybe HRG has some sort of power, but Sylar isn’t interested in it. He knows Eden has the bigger power, and he’s been holding out for her to come into the room to make his move. But in a final moment, Eden prevents him from getting her power, which is arguably the biggest of all of them. I found it interesting that Sylar seemed angry that she hadn’t stopped him -- don’t forget in an early episode, we see his room with “FORGIVE ME” plastered on the walls, like there’s a part of him that still thinks what he’s doing is wrong, but it is being overpowered by the monster in him. Kinda like a vampire that still has the human part of him in there somewhere, unable to come out.

The final scene:
“How do you stop an exploding man?” asks Hiro earlier in the episode. And in this final crazy scene, we see that it’s Peter who explodes. Why is the street abandoned? It’s easy to understand why Peter explodes, and why Matt is trying to get everyone to run away from him. Think about it: Peter can absorb any power around him, and if surrounded by the powers to paint the future, stop time, be invincible, fly, read minds, become a liquid, and split your personality, you just might… explode. Clearly the heroes know Peter’s power by this point, and they’re trying to get away from him so he DOESN’T blow up real good. Claire hesitates, as if thinking, "If I stand next to him, could I stop him from exploding?" but she runs away, too, apologizing as she goes. Notice Isaac pulling Simone away, begging the question: What is her power?? Yet Nathan strides right up to him. Why doesn’t he shy away like everyone else? Doesn’t he know about Peter's power? Has he become a bad guy? Or is he trying to foist his power on him, thinking that if Peter could just fly away, he could be spared the immolation?

Next episode: Godsend, January 22, 2007

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

OK, so I lied...
I forgot about this clip, too. The overall sketch should totally be skipped, but this one clip made me laugh out loud, only because I'm picturing Jack Shephard as DJ Luxe. It's HILARIOUS.

Lost with Matthew Fox on an Elevator
This past Saturday, Matthew Fox starred on Saturday Night Live. As usual, the show sucked to a degree television just shouldn't suck, but this sketch was the one shining moment in the entire horrible mess. This is actually really funny if you're a Lost fan. Warning: Do not watch if you're not up to date on season 3 of Lost: The UPS guy and the Yankees fan will ruin it for you. :)

Heroes Recap: Where Be It?
Hey all, sorry I don't have a Heroes recap for ya. I haven't actually seen the episode! (And yes, on the verge of meltdown because of it.) ;) There was a death in my family on the weekend so I'm away for the funeral, and got caught in a snowstorm last night away from home. I'm currently borrowing a neighbour's wireless signal to post this, har har... Anyway, I should be home today and I hope to post tonight on it. I'm looking forward to discussing with all of you!

Friday, December 01, 2006

This week's Lost preview

Uh... OK... Not exactly the excitement the last 2 have promised us. But I do like Hurley saying "Desmundo." :)