Monthly Archives: September 2007

“Bionic Woman” recap/review

Official | IMDb | Wikipedia
Wednesdays @ 9 PM ET on NBC

Fast Stats
Episode title: pilot, no title known
Notables: David Eick, Mark Sheppard, Aaron Douglas, Katee Sackhoff

Yeah, so I was unimpressed. This first episode sets up the plot by nearly killing the main character, Jaime Sommers (Michelle Ryan), and having her boyfriend, Dr. Will Anthros (Chris Bowers), perform what must’ve been a seriously grueling multiple-hour surgery to replace both legs and her right arm, ear, and eye. We’re introduced to Sarah Corvis (Katee Sackhoff), the “first bionic woman… tada!”, who was apparently supposed to be dead already but wasn’t actually killed or something. There’s a guy in jail (Mark Sheppard), a guy sewing up his own arm (Thomas Kretschmann), and other relatively uninteresting characters.

David Eick is one of the higher-ups in producing Battlestar Galactica, but it’s apparent from this episode that he’s not the one with the vision or talent to pull off a decent remake. I wasn’t particularly impressed with Sheppard’s performance, but I’ve seen him act elsewhere, so I know it’s not him—it’s whoever wrote the crappy character he’s playing—who’s the problem. Douglas makes an interesting (off duty) prison guard, and it’s a shame he’s not in more than five minutes of the episode. Sackhoff’s character is the most interesting of the bunch, and I think that may be because she (the character) has a sorted, intriguing history that isn’t immediately obvious. If you hadn’t noticed, the episode’s notables don’t include any of the main characters… It’s sad, ’cause I was looking forward to this show. Meh, I’ll probably watch next week’s episode to see if it’s any better (everyone/thing deserves a second chance, after all), but I’m not holding my breath.

Another thing: Becca Sommers (Lucy Hale), the younger sister whose father dumped her on Jaime’s doorstep before the episode began, is supposed to be some kind of hacker genius. As in, she’s under court order not to use any computer with internet connection (or something to that effect) because she’s so good. Originally, Mae Whitman was cast in the role, and the character was supposed to be “hearing-impaired and resentful of her sister”… which, honestly, I think would make a much more interesting dynamic between the two sisters. Whatever—cut out the interesting stuff… good job. >_<

Basically, in the words of Jack Doyle, an IMDb user, I “expected the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica [and] got the original instead.” On a side and purely fangirlish note, isn’t this the hottest picture ever?

Cheese, change, phone calls, & respect

Since when does a pound of cheese cost $6.00? …seriously; I’m asking. I know it’s New York and people have to feed their kids and everything, but $6.00??

I think that guy who runs the store across 69th St. thinks that he’s clever when he doesn’t give me my change. Both times I’ve gone in there I’ve been in a hurry and haven’t said anything, but both times he’s gypped me of my change. Granted, it was only 5¢ the first time and 1¢ the second, but it’s the principle of the thing! I don’t think I’m going to buy food/stuff from that place anymore.

Plus… when I asked for help, he just pointed in the general direction of the back of the store and didn’t even pause talking to whomever it was he was talking to on the phone. How rude. I’m a paying customer, right? The least you could do is put the phone down for five minutes to show me where to find what it is I’m looking for. It’s not like it’s a big store or your mother died or something.

Is it old-fashioned for me to think that customers deserve a little respect?

An Odd Dream

I had a weird dream last night. Maybe all dreams are weird/odd in their own right, but I don’t usually remember my dreams. Anyway, I was planning to attend church this morning (voluntarily for the first time in a long time) and last night, the last thing on my mind was when I had to get up this morning to get to church on time. So I guess that’s why I dreamed about attending church. It was weird.

—————–

I was late for the service I wanted to attend at some other church, so I attended one near my house. In the front (or on the side, I’m not sure) of the church was this huge fountain that I somehow had to get across to get into the sanctuary. It looked relatively shallow, so I figured I could just wade across and deal with the wet later. Well, I started in and then, in turning a corner (I said the fountain was huge, didn’t I?) the water suddenly became much deeper and I fell in and was completely soaked. I wasn’t really bothered by this, except that it took my a little longer to get to the sanctuary door.

When I got to the door, it opened into what looked like a choir room that had been converted into a classroom (not the sanctuary, I don’t know why). There were desks and (apparently) each student had his or her own desk. They were real desks, too, not those crappy school ones with fold up tops. The desks were in pairs facing one another and had hutches for books, etc. I didn’t have one since I didn’t attend church regularly, but I set my stuff (I don’t know when I acquired “stuff”) on one of the desks and sat down on the floor to tie my shoes (I think). I was still pretty wet when people started shuffling in to get their own changes of clothes; none of them were wet, but no one was allowed inside the sanctuary without robes. A guy came up to “my” desk and swiped his card in the hutch to get his robes out. I offered to move my stuff, since the desk was obviously his, but he said it was fine and that he was getting anointed and becoming an official in the church (sort of like becoming a priesthood holder in the Mormon church, I think).

I asked him where I could get my own robe, and he gave me a collar thingy (the kind that some choirs wear over their robes) and told me that the extra robes were on stage in the sanctuary. So, I headed into the sanctuary. It was huge. The stage was long and wide and the first row of chairs was pushed way back away from the end of the stage. But there was still room for thousands of chairs behind the first row. The rows were long and sprawling and looked like rolling hills of green grass with interspersed red and yellow “flowers” (which were actually the chairs) placed at relatively random intervals. I went up toward one of the hills and then realized I still needed a robe, so headed back toward the stage. On the stage wall hung four robes of various sizes. I was trying to reach one when another guy came up and pulled it down off the hook for me. I got the impression women weren’t allowed on stage, but he didn’t say anything and I was shown to a small, dark back room where I could change.

When I finished, I didn’t know where to go, so the guy took me to one of the grassy parts of one of the hills stage left. I opened up my blanket (I don’t know when I got a blanket) and laid it out on the grass to sit down. Somehow, Summer (a girl from my high school–Bobby, you remember Summer?) was sitting near me (or rather, I think I was sitting near her since she was there first) but she didn’t recognize me until I said something like, “Hi, I haven’t seen you since high school.” We got to chatting while the service went on and somewhere in that time I noticed that there was a sign hanging above the stage that said “Officials, please direct WOMEN and VISITORS to the seats.” I asked Summer about the “no women” thing and she rolled her eyes and said something along the lines of: “Apparently, only men can receive divine revelation from God.” I was somewhat put off by this fact and said, “I really need to attend a church where there’s at least one woman minister.” Summer laughed and replied, “I wish you’d been here before I joined this church, ’cause I would’ve come along with you”–as if, now that she’d joined, she couldn’t (or didn’t want to) leave.

—————–

There was more to the dream—including a roller coaster behind the sanctuary in that “small, dark room” in which I’d changed into robes, some kind of Canal St.-esque market place selling watermelons, and my meeting with one of the pastors about my conduct after the service (which was, apparently, not becoming of a young lady)—but I don’t remember enough of that stuff to really say anything about it. I remember the whole thing feeling extremely cultish, and when I woke up I was exhausted.

I thought to myself, “Like hell I’m going to church twice today!”

Freeze It for all!

I was given a rare(ish) opportunity to sample Freeze It, a joint/muscle pain reliever comparable to BioFreeze. Here’s me holding two of the sample packets. Shortly after this photo was taken I opened one of the packets and applied it to my left wrist, which tends to be arthritic in weird cycles–sometimes so bad I can’t bend it at all without a lot of cringing and effort. Freeze It managed to cool the ache and the smell wasn’t half bad, either. It wasn’t greasy–I didn’t feel like I had to take a shower (again) just before hitting the sack. Freeze It’s active ingredients are menthol and camphor and costs a lot less than the other brands I looked at when I went to the pharmacy the other day.

There are some things I have to mention, though, so you all don’t just go off believing that Freeze It will fix all your problems. First, it didn’t last nearly long enough for my taste. Also, although it says in the directions not to apply the gel more than four times daily, it doesn’t say how much “one serving” actually is (so to speak). I guess that depends on how much muscle you want to treat, but it seems to me that if it’s going to say “not more than four times per day,” it should say how much should be used each time. Other “take only 2-3 per day” type medications, like Advil, are easier to deal with because the amount is already decided for you. I don’t mean to make consumers sound like idiots here, but you know someone’s going to apply an entire bottle four times and then say, “But it said I could apply it up to four times!” *insert crying and whining here*

Finally, how do you know if you’re treating something more serious? Obviously, ask your doctor about the pain if it doesn’t lessen or returns and sticks around for longer than a couple of days. Sometimes, the muscle or joint pain is something serious, so if it doesn’t go away after a while, have it checked out by a professional. Freeze It works well in the short term, but don’t expect it to help if there’s something more serious going on. A band aid isn’t going to fix a gushing wound, after all. Now, all that said, I recommend trying Freeze It to see if it helps your muscle and joint pain, especially if you’ve been using a more expensive product like BioFreeze. If nothing else, it’ll ease the strain on your pocketbook, and who doesn’t love that?


“Kid Nation” recap/review

Official | IMDb | Wikipedia
Wednesdays @ 8 PM ET on CBS

Fast Stats
Episode title: “I’m Just Trying to Be a Leader Here”
Awarded the gold star: Sophia, green team
Left town for home: Jimmy, green team
Episode favorite: Jared, red team
Days elapsed this episode: 4
Total days elapsed: 4
Remaining residents: 39

Kid Nation‘s first episode, “I’m Just Trying to Be a Leader Here,” covers the first four days out of forty and follows forty kids, ages 8 to 15, who are stuck in a ghost town called Bonanza City and are working to make the town not die (again). According to the town council’s “book,” the town was originally founded in 1885 but failed because the residents lacked willpower and leadership.

The town council consists of Anjay, Laurel, Mike, and Taylor, who lead the blue, green, red and yellow teams (respectively). Each team represents a class in the town: red team is upper class and earn $1 per day for doing whatever they want; blue team members are merchants and earn 50¢ each day for running the (root beer) saloon, the dry goods store, and candy store; yellow team cook (and clean the dishes, supposedly) and earn 25¢ per day; and green team members are the laborers (cleaning the outhouses, washing the laundry, etc.) and earn only 10¢ a day. All “wages” are paid in buffalo nickels; candy and games at the stores cost anywhere from a nickel (a couple of pieces of butterscotch, for example) to $3 (an old-fashioned bicycle) and beyond.

The teams didn’t get their classes arbitrarily, however. A competition consisting of finding “black gold” via manual pumpjacks and filling the teams’ respective bottles with said liquid (actually just colored water). The first team to fill their bottles and get their pump back over the finish line won the privilege of being upper class… and so on down the line. Plus, if all the teams finished in an hour or less, the whole town got a communal prize. Red team came in first, blue next, then yellow, and finally green (with just seconds to spare under the hour mark). Upon winning their prize, the town was informed they’d have to choose between seven more outhouses (thus far they’d dealt with only one for all forty of them) OR a television. The town council decided on the outhouses (a smart, but less fun, choice). So, now the ratio of residents to outhouses is 5:1 (instead of the yucky 40:1)… but no TV. Ah well, you win some, you lose some.

So, at the end of the episode, a town meeting was held in which concerns/complaints were heard, the kids were asked if anyone wanted to go home (one said yes and is no longer a part of Bonanza City), and the council awarded a solid gold star worth $20,000 to the most deserving resident. The star and money are for the real world, not Bonanza City, so the kids have college money or whatever. The cool thing is, a gold star is awarded at every town council meeting, so the council (who collectively decide who should receive the star) has a chance to spread the love. No one is ever “voted off the island”–someone only leaves when and if s/he wants to, but once s/he leaves, s/he can’t go back.

Before the first episode aired, there was a lot of controversy over things like child labor laws, etc. etc. What if one of the kids gets hurt? What if they end up hurting each other, a’ la Lord of the Flies? Who’s going to make sure they eat right and sleep well? Or… eat and sleep at all? I even received an unsolicited email asking me to sign a petition to have CBS (the show’s network producer) pull Kid Nation from it’s autumn line up completely and stop recruiting for the second season. (CBS stuck to it’s guns and backed the show and has not stopped accepting applications for the second season.) Whatever the intentions of the naysayers, they only succeeded in creating more advertising for the show; there’s no such thing as “bad press,” after all.

I’m of the general opinion that kids can (and, more often than not, will) choose for themselves in most cases, maybe even all cases. “What were those parents thinking?!” many people have been asking. Well, I’d like to know, “Has anyone asked the show’s participants what they think?” After just one episode, it’s obvious these young people have opinions and aren’t afraid to share them. Technically, yes, it was the parents’ decision to “let” their children be a part of this experiment, but the kids had to have some say in the matter–they’re the ones on the show, after all. This all boils down to age of consent, really. I mean, it’s like saying, “Whatever happens behind closed doors between consenting adults is none of my/your/anyone’s business.” Here, the line between “consenting adult” and “child labor law infraction” is blurred. These young people are consenting persons, even if they’re not “of age” according to some arbitrary law created more than a hundred years ago.

In any case, we’ll see how this thing pans out. I’ll be tuning in next week.