Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Children Running Through, Old Guys Sitting Home

I was talking to my friend Will Briarwood. As Will mentioned recently, now that we’re out in the suburbs, neither of us go to shows in Chicago as much as we used to.

Patty Griffin played two shows in the city last weekend. I was thinking of going, but didn’t.”

She played at Schuba’s, right?

“Yeah. That’s one reason I didn’t go – Schuba’s is a great club, but there aren’t many places to sit.”

Something to consider for those of us with occasional back problems.

“General admission shows just don’t appeal to me anymore. And once I hesitated about going, the shows sold out right away.”

There’s quite a buzz about her new cd, which is due out next week.

“Yeah, I saw someone in No Depression raved about it. I ordered it from Amazon already. So, anyway, I thought I would check online for reviews of the Schuba’s shows. I couldn’t find anything from the local papers, or at Google News – but then I learned that you can search blogs through Google.”

I just learned that myself.

“Someone named unglaubliche caitlin was at one of the shows. And sakistore was at Saturday’s show. And Patty’s webmaster was at both shows, and took some great pictures.”

I suppose that us aging suburbanites will have to enjoy some of these shows vicariously.

“Good thing we know how to use The Google.”

Thursday, January 25, 2007

"Television, say you care."

Will Briarwood and I continue our discussion of tv in 2006.

“In addition to Battlestar Galactica, Veronica Mars and Lost, which we discussed already, we watched Gilmore Girls, 30 Rock, Jericho, Heroes, Project Runway, Supernatural, Desperate Housewives, Queer Eye, Eureka, Numb3rs, The 4400, Threshold and Invasion.”

We seem to be watching more tv than ever.

“I know. It’s because we’re getting older, it’s moving to the suburbs and going into the city less often, and it’s the damn DVR.”

But it’s also true that there are some good shows these days. Let’s go through your list.

"Gilmore Girls is in their seventh season, and it’s probably their final season. And this season is even weaker than last season. I can’t believe they married Lorelai to Christopher.”

They’ve jumped the shark, as the saying goes. Do you want to discuss that Ausiello debacle?

“You mean the major spoiler he threw at us before the end of last season? Nah, don’t get me started on tv writers and spoilers. Let’s just go through our list.”

30 Rock is a new comedy. Alec Baldwin just won a Golden Globe.

“Great show. I wonder how they get all those jokes on, the ones about GE and NBC and product placement.”

Jericho is a new drama.

“I enjoy Jericho, but I’m not sure they have the writers or actors to keep it interesting.”

Ashley Scott is as attractive as ever.

“I think Heroes is my favorite new show this year. It’s the first show that I was able to get caught up with via the internet – I think I watched like seven episodes online.”

They do seem to have plenty of talented actors.

Project Runway had their third season last summer. I hated the ending.”

Yes, I do recall you expressing your distaste for Jeffrey. Have they said whether Tim Gunn will be back this year?

“Not yet. He’s got his own show, his own book – I don’t know. Yeah, Jeffrey was even more of a jerk than Santino was.”

Supernatural is in its second season. How’s it holding up?

“I think I like this season better than last year. The new supporting cast helps a lot – I don’t think either of the lead actors is good enough to carry the show.”

It does have its scary moments.

Desperate Housewives , yet another show in season number three. Better than last year, not as good as the first.”

Marcia Cross had her baby yet?

“Babies, plural – she’s having twins. She’s on bed rest, and apparently they’re going to shoot her scenes at her home.”

Queer Eye finally reaches the end.

“Yeah, they’re kind of out of ideas. TV will be much straighter without The Fab Five.”

Lots of friends and family watch all those CSI shows, but Numb3rs is the only cop show we watch these days.

Numb3rs has a good cast, and some interesting stories, but sometimes they do lapse into those stupid cop show cliches. And I can’t believe a show that violent gets those family-friendly tv awards.”

The science fiction shows: Eureka on SciFi, The 4400 on USA, and the cancelled Threshold and Invasion.

Eureka was pretty good in its first season. I think Colin Ferguson carries that show. The 4400 had its moments, but I think the first two seasons were better. And I still can’t believe I watch this much tv after the networks jerked me around by cancelling Threshold and Invasion.”

And they jerked us around with Firefly and Point Pleasant, and Wonderfalls, and Kitchen Confidential, and Love Monkey, and even Buffy and Angel had plenty of life left in them when they were ended.

“If Bill Gates gave me a couple billion, then I would start a network and have shows like those. And you know who I would get to run things.”

Help me, Joss Whedon, you’re my only hope…

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

"Television, say you love me..."

My friend Will Briarwood and I were discussing tv in 2006. Warning – there may be some spoilers below, if you have not watched current episodes on USA tv.

“The best show on tv is Battlestar Galactica.”

So say lots of critics.

“There was a story line, in which one of the Cylons, played by Lucy Lawless –“

She’s excellent, by the way.

“—she is excellent. Almost made we want to go back and watch some episodes of Xena. So, she’s trying to see the face of God, by killing herself over and over.”

The Cylons that die are reborn in a new body.

“Right. So, in last week’s episode, she does see part of what she was seeking, but because of what happened to her when she reincarnated, no one will know what she saw.”


“That’s a metaphor, kind of, for people who watch the show. We know it’s the best show in many years, but no one – well, not enough people – are seeing what we see on the show.”

I did hear that their ratings were pretty bad this past week.

“Part of that was the football game on that evening. And part is that people like my brother, who would like to check out the show, don’t think they can figure out what’s going on in the middle of the season, and don’t have the time to get caught up on all the previous episodes.

So they watch football. What else did we watch in 2006?

“The next best shows were Veronica Mars and Lost.”

Both in their third seasons, and both supposedly not quite as good as they used to be.

“Veronica is adjusting to college, and so are the show’s creators. I worry that they’re not getting support from the network – I heard they’re going to stop with the multi-episode mysteries, and just go with one mystery per week.”

Another situation where they don’t want the new fans thinking they’ll be lost if they show up midseason.

“Which is also part of the declining ratings for Lost. And they have the most convoluted storylines in the history of television.”

What was their deal this year – they did six new episodes in the fall, took three months off, and they’re going to do all new episodes February through May?

“I think so.”

What else did we watch last year?

Gilmore Girls, 30 Rock, Jericho, Heroes, Project Runway, Supernatural, Desperate Housewives, The 4400, Queer Eye, Eureka, Numb3rs, The 4400, Threshold and Invasion.”

Let’s continue this conversation in another post.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Body Blogs

I also talked to my friend TS Elmwood the other day. I mentioned to her that I had started this blog a while ago.

“A few years ago, I read a bunch of blogs, but I realized that most of them were what I called Bodily Function Blogs.”

I hate to ask.

“There are three kinds of Bodily Function Blogs. The first is the Navel Gazer.”

Is navel gazing a bodily function?

“Close enough. If you are a good writer, you can use an interior monologue. But most of these blogs reminded me of the things I wrote in my diary when I was thirteen.”

Dear Diary, I wish that cute guy in math class would notice me. Ten Joni Mitchell Songs That Make Me Feel Better.

“It was The Moody Blues in my diary. Second type is the Diarrhea Blog.”

Again, I hate to ask.

“You know what I mean. Long rants about nothing. Crap, crap, and more crap.”

And the third?

“The throat clearer. The blogger who might have something to say, but cannot seem to say it.”

Ahem. I haven’t really gotten my blog going yet.

“I know you, and you have plenty to say. Find some focus and discipline, which are the writer’s friends.”

I once had someone summarize my posts as “terse and cryptic.”

“If you intend to be terse and cryptic, that’s fine. I assume you actually want to communicate, so it’s not fine.”

Focus and discipline.

“You can do it. I’ll be checking up on you.”

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Vulcans Are Coming, The Vulcans Are Coming

I talked to my friend Sherry Maple the other day. She was my next-door neighbor many years ago, when I lived in Evanston. After updating each other on spouses, kids, pets, jobs, etc., we discussed the important stuff.

“Can you believe it’s the year 2007? And can you believe the Vulcans will be here in only fifty-six years?”

You’re referring to the Star Trek version of the future.

“Of course.”

And that would be the events depicted in Star Trek - First Contact?

“Yes, the one where the Next Generation crew stops the Borg from messing up Earth’s future.”

Planning on being around to greet them?

“I wish. Let’s see, if the Vulcans show up on April 5, 2063… I’ll be not quite a hundred and five years old.”

I’ll be almost a hundred and seven. Although we might not be there, your kids will probably be around that year.

“Makes you think. You know, about our place in the planet’s history and all that. What do you always say about the three ways to understand things?”

You don’t remember?

“Of course I remember. I just think you like saying it outloud.”

There are three ways to understand the world: through baseball, through Star Trek, or through Buffy.

“Speaking of which, I saw that the Buffy singalong phenomenon has reached Chicago.”

At the Music Box.

“Are you going?”

Probably not. It would probably be fun, but it’s way past my bedtime.

“Past your bedtime, past our lifetimes… what’s that saying, when you’re young, the days are like years, and when you’re old, the years are like days?”

Talk to you next year, Sherry.

Live long and prosper, Kalikoolin.”