Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Controversy Attracts Readers

For reasons that are not really important for complete strangers that stumble upon this blog to know, I discovered that even though my health insurance's billing department has been here in Maine for years, and I've paid for 2 appointments with my PCP and 2 eye appointments (the last of which discovered my recent shunt malfunction incidentally) and a neurosurgeon office with no problems, it's now become a problem I have a Connecticut-based policy.  The problem here is if I need to see a specialist, I can't find out if one is covered by my insurance because the website search engine doesn't accept my Maine zip code. So I requested paperwork to transfer over to a Maine policy.  It seemed like forever for it to come so I called them back to see what's up.  Aside from being a huge corporation (Is it any wonder why I'm anti-Big Business?), I'm pretty sure their phone system was having problems.  Anyway, long story shorter, I get a hold of the right operator and find out it was only send out three days before and to wait 3 more days before panicking. Sigh.

Watched maybe the last 2 and a half to 3 hours of the Oscars this weekend.  Being a Seth McFarland fan, I wasn't sure how far he'd be allowed to push the envelope as he does on his cartoons.  No matter what people say and there were a handful of moments that one wouldn't expect see on a Disney-owned network, I was actually surprised how restrained he was.  Yes, dragging a 9 year old girl into his repertoire is beyond the pale; or the pail perhaps for some.

The comment about Jews and Hollywood was funny and not Anti-Semitic. If Archie Bunker said it, we'd laugh or if the Jeff Dunham puppet Walter said it, we'd laugh. What was funny to me about it was that it was anachronistic but you know damn well that their dumbasses in this country that still this and it was making fun of them; not Jews.  The comment about Salma Hayak, Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem and their thick accents is funny because it's true. It's very hard to watch interviews with them without subtitles.

His two funniest moments for me and I love stupid humor was the Von Trapp Family Singer gag (As an aside, Christopher Plummer hasn't already worked with any of those actresses?) and the non-introduction of Meryl Streep. Seriously, why do people say the phrase "needs no introduction" and then go ahead and introduce them anyway?

Seth said going into it it was only one-time thing so please don't be surprised he said on Twitter he'd never do it again. But this leaves the question, who follows that up next year?  Seth succeeded in bringing in the young male.  I can't really think of who else could do that except an action star, that never are nominated for anything except a Razzie, or a wrestler. I'm not sure that would impress the Downton Abbey crowd. There's always a big-boobed actress...

If we, leave the realm of society as we know it and forget about the wants and desires of advertisers, have 2 more suggestions that might attract young men but probably won't.

Wanda Sykes. She's a African American lesbian was frankly the best part of Monster-In-Law and The New Adventures of Old Christine.

Zooey and Emily Deschanel host it together in a sort of Abbot and Costello, Laurel and Hardy kind of thing. Speaking of Emily, this week's Bones dealt with the possibility of time travel.  My cousin and I can't be the only people who think she'd make an awesome Vulcan...

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The KGB Would Not Condone Tech Issues

On Monday, the holiday, the internet crapped out.  Calling my internet service provider to see if there was some kind of outage, it turned out to be my equipment that malfunctioned.  The woman at Tech Support seemed to think that given that I had an older model it had died of old age and to replace the cables etc. as well.  On Wednesday, the new modem arrived and I was back in business thought it was hideously sluggish.  Under normal circumstances with a DSL modem, when this happens you reboot it. Doing so killed it again.  Thursday, I realized I had switched out the Ethernet cable   (Firefox wants to capitalize it. Who am I to argue?) but I had left the original phone cord in place so I switched it out.  Nothing happened. Talked to my father on the phone and made lunch and then it worked.  Better than it had since last weekend.

I spent an entire post on Mission: Impossible last time and that had low readership but I want to discuss another spy show I just started watching. I've wanted to watch the new Keri Russell series The Americans ever since I heard about it. (A Russian sleeper agent plays a big part in my third as yet unwritten Marta Alger novel) But not having "real" cable, I wondered how. Then, silly me, it occurred to me that as an FX series, it's probably on Hulu.  And, yes, it is. Sweet.  The thing that irritates me is new episodes aren't upload for 8 freaking days after it airs! Oh well.

It's a very good series so far.  Elizabeth (Russell's character) is apparently 38 which validates my putting Marta's age at 39. Since it was created by a retired CIA agent, it's historically accurate enough for me.  

Oh.  You're new to this blog and don't know I published two spy novels? Winter Storm and it's sequel, Spring Thaw, gives the continuing adventures of CIA agent Marta Alger.  I also created a espionage agency for NATO for which she is a liaison: Creative Research and Development.   Basically, the character is a female James Bond. Check them out!

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Spy Genre That Me Loves

Finding movies (or sitcoms for that matter but that's better left for another post) on Netflix that look interesting but haven't already seen has been Mission: Impossible lately. Case in point, I re-watched Mission: Impossible III last night. The most recent installment, Ghost Protocol is even more Mission: Imnpossible-y and therefore even better but III is a nice first step. One of the little things I liked about Ghost Protocol was use of the Alias codename "Outrigger." In my third viewing of III, I finally noticed the use of the codename "Phoenix." Also, having watched Maggie Q, who played the "femme fatale" here, in her current role of Nikita, I found myself comparing the two roles.

My cousin and I have contended for years the franchise can work again on TV. It was established in the '80's that there was more than one team simultaneously so the movies would not be affected. Also, it wouldn't have any of the issues other recent "reboots" like Knight Rider or Bionic Woman when they were clearly stressed over making the shows relevant to today's audiences. (Please don't mention Beauty and the Beast in my presence.) as the film franchise has already done it. (Sure, making Jim the villain in the first one killed original cast member Greg Morris but...)

After watching both Star Trek: Nemesis and the most recent Bond film Skyfall, screenwriter John Logan clearly has a knack for giving characters things to do. In Nemesis, the only characters that don't have anything special to do are Crusher and LaForge and the former is still needed because she's the only one who knew Picard as a young man... In Skyfall, M leaves the the office and has an opportunity to kick ass. Q also seemed to have more to do than usual. Who else would you want to write "team concept" movie? Not to mention, like Star Trek, it has Desilu origins.... The clincher for me is this: Logan wrote The Last Samurai which is probably my favorite Tom Cruise movie...

Friday, February 08, 2013

The Even Newer Musings of the Quiet Geek?

I'm back! I guess. We'll see how long it is before I don't want to do this any more and take another long hiatus... I could have just scrapped this blog and started afresh but then I would have had to change the signature thing in my e-mail and who's that ambitious? Though, my life is somewhat different now as my cousin now lives in Alaska which he had a blog about but I can't remember the address so you'll just have to take my word for it... I have a new roommate now who's a student at the seminary I work at... Oh, and the seminary finally hired me after 5+ years as Assistant Librarian. They're effectively going out of business as a seminary in June and becoming a continuing ed/support system for "ministry in the 21st century." It's really hard to describe. "You'd have to be there" is is an overused, and possibly too inaccurate, a phrase but but we'll go with that... Anyway, this new identity won't include a library... Now let's move on to more interesting topics. (Well, to me but it's my blog etc., etc...)

1. Amazing Spider-man- I loved the first two Sam Raimi directed Spider-man moves and the third, while it did have too much story, could have been the '90's Captain America. Anyway, Amazing went in enough of a different direction, I really enjoyed it. Going with Gwen Stacy was a risk considering the average moviegoer only knows Mary Jane but it's about time studios gave us geeks something... Picking the Lizard was a good choice for villain. The sequel will have Electro and the Rhino, (How are they going to make a guy in a rhino suit look cool?) as well as Harry Osborn, leading to speculation that they're building up to The Sinister Six. which would be awesome...

2. Dark Knight Rises- A good conclusion to an awesome trilogy as the story was brought full circle but, honestly, the weakest of the three.  (Contrary to the bandwagon, my favorite was Batman Begins; not The Dark Knight. As it was a fresh and new direction being presented and Nolan used the more obscure Ra's al-Ghul and Scarecrow.) Bane imitating Connery instead of someone like Ricardo Montalban is an odd, and, to me irritating, choice but I suppose necessary for story purposes... Anne Hathaway was awesome. "Do those heels make it hard to walk?"

3.  I know what you're thinking, "But Likestrek, what's your favorite new TV shows this season?"

A. Vegas- It's like Walker Texas Ranger set in the '60's with decent writers and actors... Dennis Quaid, for some reason, does a Harrison Ford imitation which makes me want Ford to guest on the show somehow...

B. Arrow- When the show was announced I thought they were just going to do Smallville again. They are not. (Well, much less so than I thought...) My one complaint is they take the Chis Nolan-esque realism too far.  The Royal Flush Gang and Firefly episodes could have been so much better if the writers didn't have their hands tied. Also, Count Vertigo a drug dealer? Why such a drastic change? European aristocracy exists as do sonic weapons that affect the inner ear...

C. Elememtary- OK, it's not Sherlock but so what? I will ask why the went with his father instead of his brother Mycroft since that would certainly be in character but whatever... Also, the Super Bowl Episode was much better than the reviews stated but was not a Super Bowl episode.  When Alias was bestowed the honor, it changed the freaking game.  Ooooh...Watson lost her apartment... Whoop. Dee. Doo...
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