Friday, September 30, 2005

"Alias" premiere

Okay, so why should I watch Alias next week? They just killed off the hot, hot hot guy! With no teaser for next week, hinting that maaaybe he's alive, and they faked his death so that this new Prophet Five international conspiracy group doesn't come after him.

C'mon, ABC! Tell me you passed Market Demographics 101! The under-40 female viewers (or at least this one) are not okay with this!

I understand writing a pregnancy into the script to accommodate Jennifer Garner's real-life expectancy. But killing (dare I say "killing"?) off a character because the show's two stars are exes and can barely work together anymore? Get over it! I want Vaughn back on the show!

Sometimes the phone number is one digit off...

Note to Future Self: Make sure it really is yo' mama's voicemail before you leave a message saying "I'm jumping in the shower, but come on over anyway. I should be out by the time you get here. See ya."

Otherwise, the person whose voicemail it really is might call you back. . . . And then there will be awkwardness.

Monday, September 26, 2005

The Ticket

It's now officially West Wing season again!

Nice surprises -- Will is elected to Congress in three years! (Although getting put on the Ways and Means Committee as such a newbie is a stretch...!!!)

Questions -- Can Santos overcome a 9-point poll deficit? And who is the leak???

Addiction, addiction. But it's been fun, especially since I figured out two seasons ago that Haffley's character represents the WA 5th congressional district (inspired, methinks, by George Nethercutt's politics and Tom Foley's stint as Speaker of the House).

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Policy instead of caffeine

Just need to say... I LOVE having fast-paced conversations with savvy people about campaign strategy! Even at 9:30 in the morning! Despite having barely sipped my coffee, I think going over campaign failures of a new Arizona law and trying to defeat the same awful initiative in Washington revved me up enough for the rest of the day.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

No man is an island (especially with all this technology!)

Maybe it's just because I've worked 9-6 today, will still be working from 7-10, and have only an hour to restore my sanity, but I found this to be the most hilarious thing since I re-watched Chicken Run last week:
Pardon My Planet,
Sept 16, 2005

I think Donne, Hemingway, andHugo would get a kick out of it!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

As You Like It

Loved Catcher in the Rye, and loved this book too. In typical Salinger style, it's cynical. It addresses the emptiness and the facade of American material culture. Though it's set in the 1950s, the characters and their disillusionment are still relevant.

The title characters are the two youngest siblings in the Glass family, all of whom have been child stars on a radio show called "It's a Wise Child." The central plot of the book revolves around what it means to pray incessantly. Since they're also geniuses, the answer doesn't come easily to the pair! For all their precocious wisdom, for all their intellect, the Glass kids are not happy. Franny and Zooey are actors (literally and figuratively), and all the world's their stage. The story is a little angst-ridden, and in contemporary terms could be classified as a record of a quarterlifecrisis. I can ignore the fact that the one having a nervous, hysterical breakdown is the female character. I can even ignore the undertones of Asian exotification (those wise Eastern philosophers always sound so mighty appealing to those trapped in the throes of Western materialism!).

But between the preachy monologues of the two main characters are such amazingly accurate glimpses of human behavior! There's a scene where Franny's date picks her up at the train station, and Salinger describes the faces and actions of those waiting on the platform. Later, they're eating lunch and Salinger describes Lane's satisfied look at being seen with the right girl in the right place; Franny knows what he's thinking, feels guilty for knowing it, and adjusts her actions accordingly. The descriptions of Mrs Glass are also so apt, so human, and so universal: while her two rather privileged children are bemoaning the lack of intellect in American society and trying to reach a higher spiritual plane, she worries about their health and warmth and happiness. The irony that Franny and Zooey are missing the accumulated poignant, smaller and real moments of life while they're busy deconstructing the larger, complex facade is hard to miss.

Ultimately, I think that's Salinger's point about "praying" without ceasing. Maybe Zola was onto something.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

"All politics is local" --and the locals are loony!

After The Stranger's City Council candidates' debate, a friend and I walked away knowing exactly who we'd vote for this primary season. Planned to stay for half an hour and ended up watching the whole circus.

Primaries are always more amusing than generals!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Of Mice and Men

So deciding to go through the Senior Class Book Recommendations was a good idea. Choosing to first read the shortest book on the list was ... maybe not the best idea. (I might add, it's one of those books you try to hide under a napkin when you run into three people you know at a coffee shop.)

I forget which of my peers in that "community of scholars" recommended Who Moved My Cheese?. Basically, it's one of those inspirational guides for corporate managers, about learning to roll with the punches. And it doesn't even attempt to hide the metaphors! Two mice, Sniff and Scurry, adapt to Change (ever with a capital C!) quickly when someone moves the Cheese (again with the proper nouns) in their little maze. Two "littlepeople," however, named Hem and Haw, plan their lives around the Cheese never leaving, and are not equipped to cope when their Cheese is moved. Haw decides to leave his comfort zone and go off in search of new Cheese. Whenever he learns a lesson, he writes in on the walls of the maze in case Hem decides to follow. In the end, of course, he learns how to deal with Change and finds new Cheese.

Next time, I won't opt for the 40-page huge-font book. =)

What would be fun, though, is to apply a Marxist analysis to the whole situation! Are Sniff and Scurry the ever-trampled proletariat, and Hem and Haw the comfortable bourgeoisie? Why can't the mice and littlepeople unite to destroy the maze and explore the bigger world outside? Don't they wonder where the Cheese is coming from and why it's being moved? Shouldn't they try to own the means of production? Or even a postmodern slant would be fun --- how do they know the maze or the Cheese is "real"?

Too much fun with managerial morality tales!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

"As for my own kingdom ... "

Uber-humanities dork that I am, I took two Geo courses to get rid of my science requirements. The only vaguely interesting things about Geology were the volcanoes and earthquakes, mainly because once they're documented they become part of the social science realm (if a tree falls in a forest and no one records the effects, does it really matter if it fell? Makes a good discussion topic.)

This is not a random tangent!!! The anniversary of Vesuvius' eruption in 79 AD was almost two weeks ago. (Just now weeding through the old "This Day in History" emails....)

Pliny the Younger's account is a disturbingly detailed account of the event --yay, primary sources! (And ah, fond memories of zoning out of math class in middle school to flip through archeological magazines.) But I'd forgotten Vesuvius is Europe's only active volcano -- its last eruption was in 1944. The blast that leveled Pompeii and Herculaneum is the most famous but certainly not the end of the mountain's capabilities.

Now I have the Dar Williams' song stuck in my head.

But, "as for my own kingdom..."

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Scheisse on several fronts

Late-night bad news can create ripple effects, as with the passing of Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist. So now Bush gets to appoint two Justices, and the country is screwed for the next 50 years. (The two newbies, whoever they will be, won't live that long, but the precedents they set in court cases for the next 20 years will resonate for considerably longer...)

So, WTF, Rehnquist died. Ben is in Iraq, and the updates from his family in Maine are heartbreaking. The PATRIOT Act will be reauthorized and essentially made permanent by Congressional conferees. REAL ID will be implemented. I-343 is coming to Washington State.

Pre-emptive apologies to anyone who will encounter (or has encountered already!) the extreme bipolar moodiness that can result with a slew of scheisse on every possible personal and political front.

Time for some cheesy pop music to make the world go away...!!!