Saturday, January 29, 2011

Weekly TV Recap for January 29th

You'll notice one show that isn't on here any more.  I decided I needed to cut a show from somewhere, and since I wasn't really that into The Cape yet, it made the most sense.  But everything else on the list is certainly here for the long haul.

Chuck - They are really going serious again. There were a few laughs, mainly with the sub-plot involving Ellie and Awesome trying to come up with a name for their daughter. The rest was very serious. While I'm not worried about Casey, watching him fall was something. And I'm wondering just how far Sarah will go to the dark side before she comes back. I'm especially wondering how long they are going to keep her there since they've said they are going to stretch out the ending of this arc a little when they got a full season pick up. Very fun ride, and I can't wait for the next twist.

Castle - I knew there would be a catch to the kiss they were teasing so freely. I figured they couldn't really get them together, yet. Still, it was played so well, and Castle's reaction at the end was funny. Again, this was a serious episode with very little of the show's normal humor, but it was so good. The stakes for all the characters were real, and that's part of what made it good. Since we love the characters, we actually cared about the outcome. We felt what they felt. Are you listening out there writers? Create and build good characters, and you'll have me for many years.

White Collar - I'd heard such great things about this flashback episode. And I was disappointed. I didn't think we learned enough new stuff, although seeing the characters we know cameo in earlier versions was fun. And I suddenly realized that Kate is the same actress who played Annabeth in the Percy Jackson movie. Anyway, there was some good background to the story arc, but that's about it. Especially after last week's episode, I thought it was a bit of a let down.

The Big Bang Theory (Tuesday) - I always didn't watch this one since it was a season 3 rerun, which I hope to watch on DVD soon, but I'm glad I did because it was so funny. Great lines, starting with Penny's explanation of why Sheldon has to sit in his seat and ending with her reciting the stuff in the last scene. Okay, so Penny's quite possibly a favorite character, so when she gets something like that, I especially love it.

Wipeout - You know, I figured the guy with the long legs would win. They'd be such an advantage on some of the obstacles. But that short woman was surprisingly tough. I wouldn't have been upset if she had won. And boy was it close.

The Big Bang Theory (Thursday) - Another rerun I hadn't seen. Sheldon being so fixated on what Howard had personally done to him was funny, and then he slipped in the real problems. The last scene was a classic with Howard in Sheldon's spot on the couch. Absolutely loved it.

Nikita - It is great to have the show back tonight, although I can already tell we will have a different dynamic for the second half of the season. Alex being on the outside could provide for some interesting situations. I don't really get the flashbacks, however. Did we know she was Russian before? I don't know, somehow it just seemed strange and out of place to me. And I'm wondering how Nikita will be using the CIA guy now that he's been demoted. Certainly plenty of interesting stuff to build from.

Royal Pains - The whole reality show thing was fun, and boy is Divya dropping hints that she doesn't want to leave. I was glad to see Evan's girlfriend back and not happy with how he used her to get the reality show into the club. I hope they actually build on that in the weeks to come. It will probably build to them breaking up, but I hope not since I love the character.  The show really has gotten to be about the characters' lives and not so much about the medical show of the week. Not that I'm really complaining since I love the characters.

Fairly Legal - So it appears we're going to get into some skeletons in the Reed family closet as an on-going storyline. I'm guessing there's a son that no one knows about. I'll certainly be interested in seeing how this all plays out. How Kate treats her step-mother is really shameful, although I was glad to see Kate finally admit she was avoiding the reading of the will because it meant her father was dead. It helps that I truly do like the step-mother. I noticed they toned down the Wizard of Oz references via Kate's ring tone. I wonder if song rights issues were the reason. But they make plenty of references to it in the opening credits song. Oh yeah, and there was a case this week. I felt the resolution was a bit out of right field, but I liked it. It felt right for the character. I hope that they are able to build up to those kind of resolutions better in future episodes, however.

New TV on DVD Review:
Growing Pains - Complete First Season

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Saga of the Water Heater

Well, this week didn't turn out quite as planned.  Okay, so it wasn't super distruptive, but it definitely added some stress to life.

Monday night I was sitting home about to start watching Chuck when my neighbor rang my doorbell.  "Your hot water heater is leaking."  And sure enough, it was.  Fortunately, it wasn't a bad leak, so I didn't have to figure out what to do that night, but it wasn't the kind of thing I could leave for several days or longer without fixing.

So Tuesday I took an extra long lunch hour to shop for hot water heaters.  Frankly, the few places I went seemed to be pretty much the same, so I went with Sears since they could get it installed on Wednesday.

And that meant I got to take Wednesday afternoon off so the guy could come and install it.  Of course, there were all kind of things he had to fix to bring it up to code.  Seriously, what's with all the added costs to things when you get it installed.  That's just frustrating on top of the stress of dealing with a situation like this.  Drives me up a wall.

That rant aside, he was able to get things installed without any further mishaps.  So, now, my water heater is 10 gallons bigger and I think it heats stuff to a better temperature, which means it will be harder for my roommates and me to run each other (or ourselves) out of hot water.  And I got most of it paid for with a 12 month no interest payment deal.  I'm not happy at spending that kind of money, especially on top of my car repairs the last few months, but these silver linings make it easier to live with.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Word Association for January 24th

Monday, so it's time to do this week's word association.

  1. Girlfriend :: Boyfriend
  2. Crushed :: Shattered
  3. Source :: Site
  4. Corner :: Street
  5. Gossip :: Girl
  6. Encounter :: Brief
  7. Make an offer :: I can't refuse
  8. Stylish :: Clothes
  9. Profit :: Loss
  10. Waste :: Waiste

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Weekly TV Recap for January 22nd

Another week, another new show.  But this time one I completely love.  But that's at the end of the post.

Chuck - Wow.  I thought I knew where that episode was going and then it went in the opposite direction.  I'll say it again.  Wow.  Yes, it was set up well so I actually believed it, but this is going to make for an interesting few weeks as Sarah works to free Chuck's mom.  And how perfect was the proposal with Morgan and Casey watching from half a world away?

The Cape - Once again, I was entertained but I wasn't exactly thrilled.  Obviously, the wife is going to keep digging into it herself and get into lots of trouble as she gets close to finding out the truth.  And Orwell is obvious the main villain's long lost daughter.  They might as well have told us to get it out of the way.  Things are going to have to pick up quickly if I am going to keep watching it.

White Collar - I had been missing this show, and the second half season premier fit the bill.  So many funny lines.  Great plot, especially the take down.  Just absolutely so much fun.  I can't wait to see next week's show.  They can put on an episode like this every week and not have the quality suffer at all, right?

No Ordinary Family - Once again, the left us with a soft ending where someone who could cause trouble for the Powells just decides not to.  Come on, let's give them some antagonists already, especially if they'll carry over for a week or two.  Meanwhile, the main story did advance, and I enjoyed seeing the kids in detention.  I just hope they start really building on that main story soon.

V - Getting a little graphic there, aren't you?  Yuck!  I'm still torn with the obsession about the soul.  It could be interesting or it could just go no where.  Still not liking this whole Tyler was messed with by the V's story.  I am glad that Chad is now part of the official group, and I found how Anna was able to manipulate things and public opinion very interesting.  Kinda like the media really does, isn't it?  And the scene at the end where Anna told Tyler she thought of him as a son while Erica was comforting Lisa to be great.  That's the kind of thing that this show has always done so well.  If the next episode lives up to the potential of the previews, it looks like it will be awesome.  Probably only move the story along some without all the twists they were teasing, however.

Royal Pains - There was a medical case in there?  I missed it because of all the fun I had catching up with these characters and their lives.  So, Jill and Hank are interested in getting back together?  What about Emily?  Divya is obviously upset.  Will this be why she finally calls off the wedding to stay on the show?  And Hank and Evan have switched sides on their dad only to have him facing major jail time.  This is all very interesting stuff.  Can't wait for next week already.

Wipeout - Okay, of all the third round things they've had, I hate the Seven Letter Word.  It's just boring.  Bring back their version of baseball already.  But I love the ski lifts.  Lots of great puns and gags as well.  I was rooting for the rocket scientist, but the dancer being the most agile didn't surprise me too much.

Big Bang Theory - This episode started out slow, but it just got funnier and funnier as it went on.  All the room hopping was great.  But the scene that took the cake was their panel.  I was about ready to die while watching that.  And can Penny get a normal person to be with her on the show?  She needs someone else, not as a romantic partner, but just someone to sympathize.

Fairly Legal - The USA Network has done it again.  I may have mentioned before that it is rare that I find a show where I am hooked from the pilot.  That's why I often give a show several weeks before I decide for sure.  I don't have to decide anything on this show.  I loved it from the moment when Kate mediated the hold up.  I was laughing and yet totally sold on her character.  The two cases she mediated during the rest of the episode were great as well, although I didn't completely love the resolution to the one.  For someone who hates conflict, it seems like she has too much of it in her personal life, but that wasn't a super big turn off to me.  All in all, I already can't wait for next week.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Time for an Update

So, I know I've been neglecting my blog, and it is way past time to update it.  But I can't for the life of me think of something major to update about.

Of course, there is my new roommate.  I lost one and gained a new one in two day's time.  Very sorry to see the old one move out, although I support his reasons for taking a semester off and therefore living at home.  The new guy seems very nice, although I am going to be his ride to and from the college.  Here we go again being a driver and landlord.  Sigh.

And in mud run news, the friend I was planning to do Tough Mudder with in May has dropped out on me since he's moving out of state.  I'm not giving up on the money I already spent, but this is the one I really, really, really didn't want to do alone.  Who wants to do an insane mud run with me Memorial Day weekend?  You know you want to.

Working out on my lunch hour really cuts into my reading time.  I'm going to have to figure out what to cut out of my schedule so I can still get some reading in.

And I was right, I was very sore after the hard workout I did Wednesday.  I think I'm glad I had to take today off and I couldn't find the ultimate Frisbee game (if there was one) Thursday night.  I'll be going for a run tomorrow morning, however.  Got to keep that up no matter what with all these mud runs I want to do this year.

I did play some ultimate on Sunday, however.  And let me tell you the weather was gorgeous.  It was in the low 80's.  Couldn't have asked for a nicer day to play, especially in January.  Usually, I am cold this time of year, but it hasn't been as bad as normal.  And believe me, I am not complaining.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Word Association for January 18th

So, let's do this week's word association today.

  1. Bootie :: Baby
  2. User :: Tron
  3. Child :: Adult
  4. Scribe :: Writer
  5. Manager :: Supervisor
  6. Upsetting :: News
  7. Puddles :: Rain
  8. Hopeful :: Good News
  9. Procrastination :: Me!
  10. Statistics :: Epinions

I'll explain some of these for you.  Later

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Weekly TV Recap - January 15th

The Cape - I wasn't going to start this show, but my friend Joe was excited about it, so I decided I'd at least give it a few episodes. So far…it has potential. The circus characters training the main character makes things interesting. I like them. And I like our main character. He's up against overwhelming odds, which is always interesting. Yet I find the fact that, if the series does well, he'll spend years trying to clear his name and get back with his family depressing. I'll give it a few episodes before I decide one way or the other, however.

Castle - I was hoping an episode centering around a magician would be fun, and it was. I especially loved Castle insisting that things had to follow the same pattern as a magic movie. Great twists and funny lines. Plus word that the show has already been picked up for season four. All around great.

No Ordinary Family - This episode had the same defects as the others, but they actually got to me for some reason. Guess I wanted something more. Something where the plot wasn't rushed at the end. A cliffhanger that wasn't just glossed over in the first few minutes of the episode. I know this should can deliver more, but it seems afraid to really raise the stakes.

V - Well, now we know why the Visitors are here and what they want. I could do without the graphic looks at them. They seem to just be bloody to be bloody. The bombers targeting the reporter was interesting as well. I wonder just how long it will be before the V's turn on him. And will Ryan turn in his friends to save his daughter. This is still a very interesting show.

Wipeout - Someone I was rooting for actually won! And all I can think as I watch this show now is how glad I am that I didn't make it on the show. What was I thinking trying out? I'd be killed by the first obstacle and so afraid of being hurt it wouldn't be any fun at all.

Big Bang Theory - Yes, I know it was a rerun, but I hadn't seen it before. Very funny episode, again without Penny. This is the second she hasn't been in since I started watching season four. Anyway, I especially loved the final scene where they were talking about all the horrid things they've done to each other.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

2011 Mud Run Plans

I've been meaning to make this post for a week, but with everything else going on, it just hasn't happened yet.

So in 2010, I wound up doing 5 mud runs.  And remember a year ago I was wondering if I would do more than one, right?  I really do enjoy them and how I feel after running, and this is the only way to get myself up and running on a regular basis.

So, what about 2011?  Well, I'm glad you asked.  For 2011, I intend to do 6 mud runs.  That averages out to one every other month, so it shouldn't be that bad and should keep me running all year long.

My first one isn't until April 2nd, when I'll be doing the Warrior Dash with a couple of the friends I did the Volkslauf with.

May 29th, I'll be tackling the Tough Mudder with Dave, the friend I did Gladiator Rock n Run with.

And June 11th will find Josh and I back at Camp Pendleton.  This time, we've talked our friend Joe into joining us as well.  (Talked, shamed, it's all the same thing, right?)

That means I still have three more to do.  I have a few ideas, but no one has committed to dates yet, so I can't nail things down for sure.  I'm not too worried about hitting six.  In fact, I'm thinking I'll slide right past six.

Helping me out, my friends are starting up Fit Quest again.  The first few months are going to kick my ass since all I've pretty much done is run the last year.  But it will be good for me overall.

So expect lots more muddy pictures of me as the year progresses.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Word Association for January 12th

Let's see how quickly I can knock out today's word association.

  1. Speech :: Impediment
  2. Meredith :: Andrews
  3. Consensus :: Opinion
  4. Attack :: Violent
  5. Sue :: Court
  6. Voted :: election
  7. Epic :: Story
  8. Checking in :: Safe
  9. Dishwasher :: Dishes
  10. Underneath :: Ground

So Meredith Andrews is a singer, and as I was typing this, she was the person I was listening to.  I had to include her.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Mystery Bookstore

So far, this has been my week for bad news.  It started with the news yesterday that one of my roommates will be gone by the end of the month.  I'm sorry to see him go and have to replace him for the obvious monetary reasons, but I also don't want to lose my friend.  Hopefully, he'll be back at some point in the future, but we'll see if that happens or not.

Today came the news that The Mystery Bookstore, an independent bookstore near UCLA is closing at the end of the month.  Since I read mysteries, I quite obviously go there some.  It's one of the bookstores I go to for book signings.  Several authors I like hold their launch parties there.

But I don't go there all the time.  In fact, I usually support Amazon and more than anything else.  Why is that?  Because I am 45 minutes to an hour away from them.  Gas and time mean something, too, not to mention that I can buy more books.  And, yes, I will buy my paperbacks from Border and BN here in town or use them to get free shipping.

A month ago, there were reports of Borders stores closing, some of them down here.  My first thought was, maybe that will be better for independent bookstores.  Obviously not.

Obviously, I am sad.  I have found some of my favorite authors by going to book signings that sounded interesting.  That will not happen in a chain bookstore (or rarely happen).  It definitely doesn't happen on line.

Could I have supported the store more?  Probably.  I'm sure it doesn't help that I drive to another mystery bookstore that's about as far away as that one is just as often as I drive there.

But maybe I couldn't have.  If I had bought more there, I probably would have bought fewer books because of the added gas I would have spent getting down there and back again.  Who knows.

Yeah, so maybe I am trying to justify myself a little bit.

But mostly I am just sad.  I have many happy memories of that bookstore.  I hate to see an era ending.

There is talk going around about a way to save the store.  I hope it works.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Unbelievable Weekend

Sadly, I'm not talking about my weekend.  I'm talking about what happened in Arizona.

Keep in mind that this is coming from someone who reads mystery novels.  I just can't imagine what would drive someone to take a gun and shoot into a crowd.  That is completely a totally messed up.  The stories coming from Arizona are so sad I can only watch a little bit of the news at a time or I completely break down.

Fortunately, I have political hacks to take me to the other extreme, boiling mad.  The bodies weren't even cold - heck we were still getting conflicting reports about whether Congresswoman Giffords, the main target, was alive or not - when Liberals started using this as an opportunity to blame Palin.  Okay, so she had this woman in her sights for the last election.  Really?  That's what led this guy to pick up a gun and kill six people?

As it turns out, that's not the case.  This man is a seriously sick guy who needed help.  I will be shocked at this point if Palin had more than a passing presence in his world.

But that hasn't stopped some in the media.  They seem insistent on blaming her and talk radio for driving the hateful rhetoric in this country.  Right.  And all those people wishing Bush would die?  All those who have dreamed about killing Palin?  The list of hate coming from the left could go on and on.  In fact, it does.

What I love most are the pieces I was reading on Sunday that basically said, "We know this guy is a nut job, but that doesn't mean that Palin is any less responsible."  Never let the facts get in the way of a chance to attack your opponent.

And that's what really bothers me most about this whole thing.  On Saturday, when we should be finding out facts, praying for those affected, and mourning as a nation, instead we were treated to hateful rhetoric from those who wanted to use this for political gain.

Not to mention the idea of personal responsibility.  Back in the 90's when conservatives wanted to tone down movies and violent video games, we were preached to on the left about personal responsibility.  Now that they can score points against the right, they'll apply personal responsibility to Palin and talk radio but not to those who actually pulled the trigger.

Much has been written about this by those better able to do so than me.  I suggest you take a look around and think critically about what you are reading.  To me, this paragraph from Glenn Reynolds best sums up what I saw this weekend:

To be clear, if you're using this event to criticize the "rhetoric" of Mrs. Palin or others with whom you disagree, then you're either: (a) asserting a connection between the "rhetoric" and the shooting, which based on evidence to date would be what we call a vicious lie; or (b) you're not, in which case you're just seizing on a tragedy to try to score unrelated political points, which is contemptible. Which is it?

I hope everyone involved thinks long and hard about that before they try to make political points from a horrific tragedy again.  (Yeah, I live in a fantasy world.)

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Weekly TV Recap for January 8th

Things are coming back already.  I sure thought that most shows didn't start until the second or third week of January.  Anyway, there were some pretty good episodes.

Castle - Ever since I heard they were going to do an episode where we met the actor playing Nikki Heat was going to show up, I have been looking forward to it. It surpassed every single one of my expectations. It was absolutely hilarious as it mocked Hollywood turning books into movies and the entire process. I loved Castle's reactions to things. Beckett's increased freaking out as the actress continued to nail her was great as well. Plus they really advanced the romance between Beckett and Castle in some nice ways. By far, my favorite episode of the show this season (or possibly ever).

No Ordinary Family - I was glad to be seeing the Powells again, but overall I was disappointed with the episode. I pretty much called all the twists a scene or two before they happened. Still, I'm very interested to see next week's episode. I have a feeling that Katie is going to be in for an emotional rollercoaster, and a well earned one, too. That will be the B story once again, but it will probably be the most interesting part of the show.

V - Talk about coming back with a bang. I didn't remember for sure everything that was happening, but the writers managed to bring back all the plots in ways that made sense. This thing with Tyler and Erica being messed with seems a little forced, but I will have to learn to live with it since that is obviously going to be a big storyline in the future. I was glued to the screen for the entire episode and it felt like an hour hadn't passed by at all. Definitely looking forward to next week.

Wipeout - "I'm on TV and America is going to watch me get hurt." That may be the line of the show for me. I was laughing so hard. That sweeper ski lift looked brutal, as did those "snowflakes" at the end. Yeah, I think I'm glad I didn't get a call back to be on the show. It would be hurt and embarrass myself. I'll just stay on my couch, laugh at these people, and then do mud runs.

Big Bang Theory - Sheldon was a royal pain in the neck in this episode. I absolutely loved it! I was laughing so hard at several of the scenes, especially Sheldon speaking sarcasm. And he and Penny going back and forth in the tag about being bored was also pretty good. Yes, I have definitely found myself a sitcom to watch that is very funny.

New TV on DVD Reviews:
Big Bang Theory Season 1

Friday, January 07, 2011

Christmas Break

So you might have noticed that I was gone for about two weeks.  That's because I had two weeks off work.  But doesn't that give you more time to blog, you ask.  I would have thought so, but instead I found myself struggling to get any of the stuff I wanted to do done.

Of course, I spent a week of it at my parents' house, so that cut down on my time to goof off.  But it was a great visit.  Naturally, I was there for Christmas.  My niece (and brother and sister-in-law) were out from Texas as well, which was super neat.  Have I mentioned recently how cute my niece is?  One day we went to the Redwoods and we walked around a man made lake three times while I was there.  Well, I actually ran one of the times.

When I was in town, I was hanging out with friends quite a bit.  I went running wish Josh, in the rain no less.  That was a blast.  I went to see the new Tron movie with Joe and see Narnia a second time with Angelique.  I went to Kurt and Kellie's annual Christmas party.  New Year's Eve I played ultimate Frisbee for three hours in Pasadena then came home and played games with Kenny, Katherine, and Kenny's parents.

Frankly, I could have used another week to try to get more stuff done.  I'd been planning on watching some movies I had missed this summer, but only got one watched.  My Christmas decorations are still up; I need to start taking them down tonight.

Someday my life will slow down, but I'm revising my estimate.  Now I think it will be at least 10 years after I'm dead.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Word Association for January 5th

Here's this week's word association.

  1. Carwash :: water
  2. Intuition :: Instinct
  3. Desperate :: Measures
  4. Tears :: Crying
  5. Purple :: People Eater
  6. Storage :: Space
  7. Duct :: Tape
  8. System :: Overload
  9. Cabinet :: Dishes
  10. Manager :: Boss

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

I Might Have to Change the Name of My Blog

In case you haven't heard, we had snow here in town Sunday.  Yes, you read that right.  Snow.

Now I know in the past I've talked about snow, but that was always 10 miles north of us.  This time it was actually here in town.

Actually, when I was leaving church Sunday I was talking with a friend about how it was cold enough that the predicted rain for the day could be snow.  I went out to lunch with some friends, and by the time I was driving home, it was raining.  It had turned to snow by the time I got home.

At first, it wasn't sticking, but you could definitely tell it was snow falling.  But when I went to head to Joe and Erica's for the night, it was sticking.  In fact, I wish I had brought my camera to show just how white things were.  Okay, so I doubt we got an inch, but the ground was covered.

By the time I left my friends' to return home, it was back to rain.  But there was still plenty of white around on my drive into work Monday morning.  Again, I left my camera at home, too.

All the snow has melted now, and we've got cold weather under blue skies.  It's supposed to be 60 by the end of the week.  And I'm glad.  This was something fun for a day, but I wouldn't want to try to live with it any more than that.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

First Weekly TV Recap of 2011

Happy New Year!

Wow, it's kinda like I've been gone for Christmas or something. I can't believe I haven't updated my blog in almost two weeks. That means we've got several finales to talk about in this weekly TV recap, so let's get to it.

Survivor - I've got to admit I actually started to really root for Fabio just because the arrogance of the alliance really was getting to me. Yes, they were in great shape, but come on! Plus he was the underdog. So I was thrilled he won. And the reunion show proved just how crazy NaOnka really is. I was starting to sympathize with her for a moment, but then she went all crazy again. One final thought, when will people like Sash learn that having alliances with everyone doesn't help you at the end because people talk and they realize you are lying plus they see where your true loyalties lie as you vote them out.

The Sing-Off - Okay, I was rooting for Committed followed by Street Corner Symphony, so their one, two finish was perfect for me. Yes, we only needed to watch the last 30 minutes to get any results, but if we only have one filler episode per season, I can't complain. Plus those performances were good. With how popular it got this year, here's hoping it comes back before next December. July maybe? Twice a year would be great. And don't change the format since I like having few results shows to wade through.

Psych - Much better final episode of the season. True, not super funny, but the twists in the conclusion to the Yin/Yang trilogy was great. And the small character advancement was well done. The ending with Lassie finding out about Shawn and Jules was very funny. I'm looking forward to seeing them again in July.