November 30, 2008
Plenty of shows that I watch, I think everyone will like. Of course that isn’t the case. But if I had to pick one show that everyone should at least DVR, it would be NOVA. You may not be interested in every week’s subject, but every once in a while there will be one that sucks you in. I watch every episode. Unless my DVR decides to skip it. Some I pay more attention to than others. Sometimes I’ll fall asleep watching it. Sometimes I will split it into several viewings. This past week’s I wasn’t sure about. I figured I’d watch the first 5 minutes and finish it later. It hooked me right away and I sat there and watched the whole thing.
This episode looked at the Marine Mammal Center is Sausalito, California. They care for sick or injured seals along most of California’s coast. They attempt to nurse them back to health so they can return to the wild.
Many of the animals brought in have either been injured by trash or fishing nets or made sick by some sort of toxin. Most are a result of human influence in the ocean.
The Center is staffed mostly by volunteers. I’m not sure what sort of background you need to be a volunteer but it seems like a very interesting and rewarding way to spend your time. From what I saw when I was in Sausalito this summer, most people there have plenty of money and time on their hands. My only problem volunteering is that I’d probably want to take a Harbor Seal home as a pet.
This entire episode is available on the PBS site. As I said, well worth checking out if you have an hour or so.
A few of the episodes are available to watch online. Some of the recent ones that were very interesting were The Bible’s Buried Secrets (tries to connect archeological evidence with the Hebrew Bible) and Space Shuttle Disaster (looks at the 2003 Columbia disaster). Also, if you are a huge math nerd, Hunting the Hidden Dimension is all about fractals. They still make my head hurt and I learned about them in 10th and 11th grades.
November 29, 2008
November 26, 2008
An extended version of last week’s episode of The Office is on Hulu. Its more than 4 minutes longer than the version that aired. I only watched the opening but there already was a great addition. Was this mentioned anywhere? I feel like I should have heard about this, rather than just stumbling upon it.
November 14, 2008
In this week’s Tip of the Cap/Wag of the Finger on The Colbert Report he wagged his finger at a British reporter who claimed that baseball originated in Britain after finding the term used in a Jane Austen novel. Stephen explains why this is not possible and explains what Jane Austen’s version of baseball would be like.
The baseball part starts at 1:42, but the rest of it is great as well.
November 14, 2008
South Park has been pretty weak the last few weeks. The 2-part Pandemic show and the Obama/McCain Ocean’s Eleven spoof made me forget that there were good episodes only a month ago. This week they spoofed High School Musical. While that part was enjoyable, this clip is really why I love South Park.
November 12, 2008
Today Sirius & XM combined most of their music channels. I only knew about it because I keep tabs on these sorts of things by subscribing to Orbitcast in my Google Reader. Sirius XM didnâ€™t actually make an announcement about the changes, just updated their websites this morning. A lot of XM Subscribers are upset because a lot of Sirius channels were picked to live on. Not that it makes a difference, they we overlapping so everyone will adjust. People just enjoy complaining.
My problem is that with my car only has 6 preset buttons (3 sets of them, but I donâ€™t like changing to other sets). I now have to decide what channels to pick.
Prior to the upgrade these were my presets (in order of channel number and if itâ€™s not clear Iâ€™ll mention what they play):
1 Sirius Hits 1
6 60s Vibrations
9 The Pulse â€“ 90s & Now
21 Alt Nation
24 Lithium â€“ 90s Alternative
28 Faction â€“ Punk, Hard Rock, Hip-Hop, and Jason Ellis in the afternoons
All the channels I had before still exist in some form. 60s Vibrations is now 60s on 6 and The Pulse moved to channel 12. There are 2 new candidates looking to break into the presets: 90s on 9 and Pop2K (looks like a new decade channel for the 2000s, but 00s on 10 doesnâ€™t really work).
For now 90s on 9 and Pop2K will take the place of 60s on 6 and Lithium. I haven’t listened to those 2 that much recently but on occasion I am in the mood for oldies. As for Lithium, its a nice change up. With so many pop stations I think one of them is likely to be cut in the next few weeks.
I’m not sure how other car satellite radios are setup but they should be more like the plug & play units. Those units usually have 10 buttons for presets (like my car they usually have 3 sets). The plug & plays also let you setup alerts for songs or artists. The only bonus of having it built in to my car is that, well, its that it’s built in. No extra unit. No extra connections. No having to plug it in. No speaker wire running all over. Many at some point they will realize if they give the new car owners ALL the features they give to the people that buy it in the store, more people will keep the service when the trial runs out.
November 12, 2008
By now I’ve have had time to sift through all the new shows from this season that looked promising. Thanks to the strike there havenâ€™t been as many as usual. I used this list to remember which shows were new.
First, Iâ€™ll start with the ones I tried and failed.
I was too young the first time around. Hearing all the people that were hooked on it, Iâ€™m fairly certain I would have been a fan. I tried the new version, and was not impressed. Nothing special about it. Just more spoiled kids, I have enough of that on my schedule.
Had X-Files like story lines, except no aliens. When you include aliens, at least for me, it makes it more believable. I realize that sounds crazy.
Kath & Kim (NBC)
I like the rest of the NBC Thursday comedies, so I gave this a shot. I was nervous cause Iâ€™ve never been much of a Molly Shannon fan. Still, it was getting a lot of buzz (wherever that comes from). Iâ€™m not sure where the comedy part came in. I was bored.
Here are the ones that stuck, hope you have HBO.
The Life & Times of Tim (HBO)
Itâ€™s a poorly drawn cartoon. It may not look like much at first, but hang in there. Tim is just a regular guy who is very friendly. Of course he winds up in bad situations and while trying to be nice, makes it worse. It is a half hour show but itâ€™s split into 2 15-minute stories.
True Blood (HBO)
I watched the preview shows, but those spent most of their time talking about the history of vampires, which was very cool. However, I almost gave up after the 1st episode. I wasnâ€™t blown away and I already have enough on my plate. I came back and by episode 3, I was hooked. Not only my favorite new show, it might rank up there with my current favorites. There are only 2 more episodes this season, but that is even better if you havenâ€™t watched. This is the perfect DVD show. Something dramatic seems to happen right at the end of each episode so you want to see the next one right away. There are also a ton of storylines you want figured out. If you have HBO, just tear through them On Demand, otherwise be sure to get the DVDs.
And one other not so new show …
Celebrity Rehab (VH1) â€“ Not new, the 2nd season just started. Iâ€™m not sure how many people got hooked last season. I thought the 2nd season wouldnâ€™t be as interesting. I was very wrong. Every week I put it on saying Iâ€™m only going to watch the first segment then finish the rest later. I always wind up watching the whole thing. You really get to know each of the characters while they try to figure out where their addiction comes from.
November 12, 2008
Dan Savage appeared on The Colbert Report on Tuesday to discuss Prop 8. Savage has been on Real Time a few times and is always enjoyable. Here he really gets Stephen a few times, he seemed to be having an odd night right from the start of the show. I can’t remember too many times that Stephen lost it on his own show. It usually happens more often on the tosses from The Daily Show. A few times Stephen uses his cards to cover his face as he cracks up.
October 30, 2008
One of the more enjoyable parts of The Colbert Report is when you can tell Stephen is really enjoying himself. Especially during interviews where a guest, who is not all that well known, keeps up with him and even gets him to laugh.
Tuesday night Sherman Alexie was on. He wrote a book called The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. They didn’t talk too much about the book. The author came loaded with jokes and was able to toss back whatever Stephen through at him.
October 13, 2008
Review spoiler warning: minor plot spoilers
I have a firm belief that every type of movie can be great. Eagle Eye is part of a subgenre of film that has in general, has gotten a bad rap. This is in part due to the major amount of crap that is out there within this subgenre of â€˜super-computer becoming too smart and goes crazy starting to destroy everyone and everything.â€™ In truth, Eagle Eye is the first movie in a long time within this subgenre that I would even consider good. Eagle Eye is a decent, action packed experience that I can honestly say I was not expecting.
After the tragic death of his twin brother, Jerry Shaw (LaBeouf) is forced into a deep plot, that brings him into the realization that his brother may not exactly be who he thought he knew him to be, and that he is neck deep in something he could never have imagined. We follow Jerry and his female companion thru an emotional and political whirlwind. With a decent story and decent acting, Eagle Eye was a decent cinematic experience for anyone who loves a car crashing, gun slinging, politically driven, evil super computer containing (who has a GUI any tech-buff will drool over), action packed movie will love. Oh, and there is a pretty good, thick story, and decent acting thrown in there too.
I am consistently impressed by the progression Shia LaBeouf has taken into becoming a good well-rounded actor. It is hard to remember him as the awkward pre-teen he played in Even Stevens, after cranking out good performances in pretty much every movie he has been in sense. Eagle Eye was no exception to this trend, his script seemed very rushed at parts, and he worked with what he had like the great actor he is turning into.
I think it is safe to say I enjoyed this movie, and I think anyone looking for just a decent action flick will too. One thing when you do see it, yes, there is a much simpler way to deal with the main problem of the movie, we all can see this. But hey, where would the fun be in that?
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, and for language.
October 2, 2008
A dealbreaker movie is a movie that you love and that your significant other has to like for the relationship to have a chance. Perhaps knowing which movie (or movies) that is could save a lot of time, money, and trouble.
The first movie that popped into my head was Field of Dreams. Incorporates baseball and a great story.
I like that choice but I feel like I should explore further. I immediately disqualified any sci-fi, fantasy, or action movies. The areas I’ll focus on are sports and comedy. Even sports might be eliminated. Movies like Field of Dreams and Rudy are loved by all. Meaning it doesn’t tell you much about a person. If you don’t like them, there is something wrong to begin with.
I think comedy is the way to go. It’s also the easiest to test. A serious movie someone can sit through silently and then at the end say, ‘Sure, I liked it.’ You have know way of knowing for sure. With a comedy it will be noticed if you are laughing the whole time sitting next to silence. The first movie I cam up with was Christmas Vacation, but that also falls into the category above, any normal person likes that movie.
It has to be something along the lines of Mel Brooks, Farrelly Brothers, or Naked Gun. The King of those movies is Mel Brooks and my favorite of his is Robin Hood: Men In Tights. So I’m going to go with Field of Dreams and Men In Tights to cover my bases.
While looking through my DVDs to figure this out I actually found a TV Show that would do the job better than any of these movies. Arrested Development. It’s one of my favorite shows of all time but a great test. The show doesn’t tell you when to laugh and you really have to know what’s going on and remember what has happened. There’s no way you can cheat on that test.
Or maybe, we just watch Jackass: The Movie and if she still talks to me, it’s meant to be.