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Name: Michael
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Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Nary a trick or treater to be found
So, I had a grand total of zero trick or treaters tonight. Not sure if it was the rain the kept them away or just that I'm new to the neighborhood and an unknown quantity. I have to say I'm a bit dissapointed that I didn't have any kids come by, but hopefully I will have some next year.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 10/31/2006 09:59:00 PM | |

Happy Halloween

Davis and I at Trick or Trunk Sunday evening.
I didn't dress up as anything for Halloween today. I figured going out as myself would be scary enough.

So, tonight is the big trick or treat night. In Knoxville, I recall buying a good amount of candy the first year I was in my apartment and having only one trick or treater. And he was driven in by his parents to visit Uncle Michael for Halloween. In fact, I'd have to say the only trick or treaters I really had in Knoxville were Brainy Boy and Giggle Girl from Inn of the Last Home. But boy howdy did they make out well when it came to the candy. I recall for a while Brainy Boy really liked jelly beans and I'd get him an entire big bag of Starbust jellybeans for Halloween.

What is the point of being Uncle Michael if you can't spoil the kids?

This year is my first year in my new house. I'm wondering how many trick or treaters I will have. I hear the weather forecast is not predicting good things for the prime trick or treat hours here in Nashville. For the sake of the munchkins, I hope that the rain holds off and they get in some quality candy time.

I was thinking back on all the costumes I had over the years. I went as Babe Ruth for a couple of years, a couple of years I was Batman. I was one of the characters from the Misfits of Science (man, I loved that show...such a geek I am) one year and I even went as a rudimentary sixth Doctor from Doctor Who. (I had the question mark supsenders made and people thought I was the Riddler from Batman). I have to admit I see all these cool costumes kids have now and I'm jealous. Back in the day we had the hot, plastic outfits and the masks with the elastic string to hold them on your face. I see the plethora of cool costumes the kids have these days and I want to be kid again if just for evening.

And let's face it, the big thing about Halloween was, the candy. I recall growing up on Air Force bases, it was pretty safe for trick or treating all over the housing. The MPs were out in force, patrolling to make sure no one was speeding and, for the most part, you were fairly safe on the base. I remember Halloween happened on a Friday one year and I trick or treated for hours. I was thinking this morning of the various candies I used to get and which ones I liked the best and which ones I'd rather trade in or not eat.

Which brings me to the questions of the day--what is the best kind of Halloween candy? What was your favorite growing up? And what was the one thing you didn't want to get or if you got it, you traded out with your friends or siblings? And now that we're grown up and giving out the candy what kind of candy do you give out?

posted by Michael Hickerson at 10/31/2006 08:44:00 AM | |

TV Round-Up: Heroes
Better Halves
First of all, let me do a little celebration dance of "I knew it, I knew it." I knew Eden (up until now only know as cute neighbor girl) was a plant, sent to spy on Mohinder. I knew it, I knew it. But it does make me wonder--how much of her attraction to Mohinder and her romancing him is an act and how much of it is real? And will that cause problems for her later when Horned Rimmed Glasses Guy (HRGG) asks her to betray him? Because you know he will at some point.

One thing I find interesting about this show is how we're still not quite sure who the heroes and villians are. It's not quite Battlestar Galactica shades of gray but there are still some nuances to it. For example, HRGG who could come off as totally evil and almost Snidley Whiplash like but yet instead we see that at least some of what he's doing is motivated out of fatherly concern for Claire. Of course, you're left to wonder how much is fatherly concern and love and how much of it is him being the bad guy, but at least we've got that question. Also, for weeks we had some build-up to Niki's husband being a not so good guy, but when we meet him, he's anything but the personification of evil we thought he might be. And then to find out that it was evil Niki who framed him and let him take the fall. Yeah, I think they're going to need some serious counselling over in that house.

And did the husband go all Neo's hand in Trinity's chest in The Matrix Reloaded on Niki at the end? I don't think she's dead. I'm pretty sure evil Niki wouldn't allow them to die, but you never know. One thing that's interesting is the show could possibly kill off a character this early and have it work. It would certainly be a great suprise if they did that, especially to Ali Larter's character, since Larter was one of the bigger names on the show when it launched.

I still don't necessarily buy Mohinder's chance of heart though. I know he'll be back and I figure there will some catalyst that sends him back. Perhaps sending Hiro back in time again might work becaues it seems as if Mohinder is needed as Professor X of this group of potential heroes.

As if all of that weren't enough, we had the plotline of Hiro, that just keeps being entertaining. I love it when the show acknowledges its sci-fi roots, with Hiro explaining he couldn't meet himself without destroying the space-time continuum. Now, if he'd only brought in the various conflicting theories of what might happen ala season 20 of Doctor Who, I'd have been totally geeking out.

Oh like I don't know you wanted to say it.

The one thing I think helped this week's episode the most was the focus. Part of that may be that the stories are starting to cross (I did sort of call that when D.H. says Niki got up in the night that she'd somehow be connected to what happened to Hiro and his buddy at the poker game. Also, if Hiro wants to convince them they're not cheating, why not throw a few hands? Why not have the other guys get really lucky as well once or twice to throw off suspicion?) . But the stories are now unfolding with longer scenes and scenes that are much more demanding of the attention. The scene of Niki's two halves talking to each other was great and the focus on Niki's storyline worked well.

Maybe it's all starting to come together for Heroes. It's starting to live up to its potential. Now if it would start exceeding it like BSG or Lost does, we'd have yet another close to perfect show on our hands.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 10/31/2006 07:57:00 AM | |
Monday, October 30, 2006
TV Round-Up: Battlestar Galactica
One of the things I've come to love about the re-imagining Battlestar Galactica is that every action on the show has consequences. There have been epic storylines on this show and situations that stretch the characters to their limits, but some of the most satisfying epiosdes of the show have been those that dealt with the fall-out of those epic storylines and big events.

Last week, we had the big event--Adama and company rescuing the human colonists from the Cylon occupation on New Caprica. But instead of just now continuing on the quest to find Earth and escape the Cylons, the show takes an hour to deal with the effects of just what happened.

And, for the most part, it is not pretty.

It's interesting that now with the Cylons not there as the main enemy, how quickly humanity turns on each other. I loved how the circle that served as judge, jury and executioner for the alleged Cylon collaborators took the moral high ground, justifying what they did because they were on the "winning side." You have to recall that just three weeks ago, Tigh was approving the use of suicide bombers to try and take out Baltar. Tigh said there were costs to everything in war and sometimes people die. He was willing to sacrifice the innocent then to further his cause. But yet now he looks down on those who took a different method to survival than he chose.

I think a lot of this may be influenced by his experiences last week--not just having to poison Ellen but also the fact that Adama got all the credit for rescuing the fleet while Tigh was left to obscurity. In the war, Tigh has lost a lot, from his eye to his wife and possibly more. As Ron Moore said in a podcast last year, when it hits the fan, Tigh is someone you want on your side, but he's maybe not cut out to be the same kind of leader Adama is. For Tigh, there is only black and white. He's not willing to consider shades of gray as much as Adama is.

It's also interesting how is in on the circle--it goes all the way up to Tom Zarak, the acting president of the colonies. The scene with Zarak telling Roslin and Adama what he did and why he did it may have been the highlight of an episode that was full of highlights. It does make me wonder something--will Roslin accept Zarak as her vice-president now? Can she take back that promise now? And if she does, how will Zarak react? Zarak has become a supporter of Roslin, but could easily go back to being her biggest critic and a thorn in her side. I'd like to think the experience of being on New Caprica maybe helped Zarak seek a bigger picture than his only interests and gain, but I'm not sure. He may see it short term, but I bet it won't be long before old habits return.

And it was not a good week for couples on this show. Starbuck and Anders look on the outs and it appears that Six is breaking up with Baltar. I loved the scenes of Baltar being held prisoner on the Cylon basestar as his fate was decided. I found the parallels of Baltar and Gaeta's fates being decided by some type of appointed group compelling. Though I did question more if Gaeta would make it to episode's end and then we'd find out later that he was innocent. I'm not sure that isn't too dark a place for this show to go though.

And then we have Roslin's first decision as the new president. She pardons everyone in the fleet. At first, it seemed like an easy out to me, but the more I thought about it, the more I liked it. It really was the only way to hopefully bring the fleet back together and move them forward to the future. Otherwise, everyone will continue in-fighting and turning on each other. And the real threat lies from without with the Cylons. And after four months under the rule of the Cylons, I'd bet everyone there needed a little forgiveness--some more than others.

That said, there are still some huge lingering questions. What is the chain of command like now? We've got a lot of people who are now used to their positions of power in the show and that could be an interesting clash in the coming weeks.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 10/30/2006 11:02:00 AM | |

Early voter
I stopped by the fire station in Smyrna on Saturday and early voted for the upcoming election. At this point, there's very little that would change my vote either way, though I do admit I had to wrestle with some of the issues and candidates on the ballot this time around.

From what I understand talking to the workers at early voting, I hit a good window. I didn't have to wait more than five to ten minutes to vote, which earlier in the day, I understand there was a longer line. Hearing that encourages me a good deal.

I think it's important to get out and vote. Of course, I think it's important to understand the issues and the candidate's stands and platforms before you get to the polls. Call me crazy that way. But I'm encouraged that it seems like a large group from my area is out and voting early. Hopefully that will continue and we'll get a good turnout on election day. It just saddens me when you hear the stats that less than fifty percent of registered voters could be bothered to get out and vote.

Anyway, if you can early vote, I'd recommend it. Quick, simple and easy to do.

And no matter what--early or on election day, I hope you'll get out and vote on the issues and the candidate of your choice.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 10/30/2006 08:45:00 AM | |
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Tennessee 31, South Carolina 24
Well, the officials tried their best to give the game to South Carolina but in the end the Vols pulled out a win against Spurrier and the Gamecocks. I guess we know where all that millions Spurrier got paid in D.C. went--to pay off the refs in this game. There were so many blind eyes turned and phantom calls to help South Carolina in this game that it was criminal.

Once again, I was impressed by Eric Ainge in the fourth quarter. Whereas last year he would have imploded, this year he shows leadership, driving Tennessee down to the deciding touchdown. Please, please let David Cutcliffe stay around next year to help this growth continue.

I will admit I am sick to death of ESPN's completely biased coverage. Seriously, if Todd Blackledge were any more in love with Syvelle Newton, they'd have to pick out china patterns together. I mean, we heard this report of him pulling out a poem or something after their go-ahead TD drive. Maybe it was some religions material, we're told. What is his next trick--walk on water?!? What in the world is it with ESPN and any QB who plays the Vols and we have to hear their whole life story or hear their sob story. Waaaah, get over it. Come on ESPN, at least pretend like you've not got a bias.

Oh well, the Vols still won. And a win is a win. Especially when you get to see Spurrier frustrated. That is priceless.

GO BIG ORANGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

posted by Michael Hickerson at 10/28/2006 10:30:00 PM | |
Friday, October 27, 2006
TV Meme
Becky started this a few days ago. You knew it could only be a matter of time before I jumped in...

Shows I Love

Battlestar Galactica
Doctor Who
Veronica Mars

Shows I Like
The Office
My Name is Earl
How I Met Your Mother
Two and a Half Men

Shows that have been on but I just started watching and they're pretty decent

Shows that have either jumped the shark or suck, yet I still watch
Gilmore Girls (though this is fading fast. I missed this week's episode and just don't care)

New shows that I really like
Friday Night Lights

New shows that I kind of like and am still "trying out"
The Nine

New shows that I tried but didn't like
The Class

New shows that I liked but have already been canceled

posted by Michael Hickerson at 10/27/2006 12:58:00 PM | |
Thursday, October 26, 2006
A shock
There's an old episode of Wings with one of the brothers, Brian, talking a minster who was a passenger on his plane. Brian then runs over to Joe and says he's figured out the whole loophole to getting into heaven--just ask for forgiveness on your death bed.

Basically, it's the whole sin now, repent at your leisure mentality.

But the loophole to that loophole is that you may never know when your call comes.

I got a voice mail last night from a good friend, who asked me to give him a call. It sounded kind of serious, esp. the part about call as soon as you can, whatever time it is. I started having horrible visions of all kinds of disasters that could befall he and his family. It wasn't helped by the fact that I got voice mail. My mind is a very scary place.

I eventually did get to speak to my friend and found out the bad news. A friend of ours had passed away suddenly yesterday. No details, no information beyond the fact that she was no longer with us.

It was a shock. Ellen, the woman who died, was older than I am, but I saw her not more than a month ago when I went to Knoxville to the UT game. She was in good spirits and even teasing me that I needed to move back to Knoxville to re-assume my old place in the bell choir.

And now, she's gone.

It just underscored how amazingly fragile life is. And how we shouldn't always be so quick to take advantage of putting off until tomorrow what we could do today. Because sometimes in life, there isn't that deathbed to ask for forgivness, to tell your family you love them, to make a difference in someone's life.

I don't think I'm saying anything most of us don't already know. But I hope I am reminding everyone of what a gift every day we have on this mortal coil is.

And I also want to ask for prayers for Ellen's husband Lee and the rest of her family during this time of sorrow and loss.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 10/26/2006 10:18:00 AM | |

TV Round-Up
Lost: Every Man for Himself
As we move toward the holiday hiatus for Lost, things are really starting to pick up some steam. "Every Man for Himself" was a great episode, with (hopefully) hints to come of great things in the next weeks and then in January when we get an uninterrupted run of new episodes.

I have a feeling whatever cliffhanger they're building toward it is going to be a doozy.

It was interesting that we kept the flashback sequences to a minimum--in fact, there was one act with no flashback in it. I like that because, at this point, the flashbacks aren't quite as revealing as they were in season one, though it's nice to see elements from the flashback have a payoff in this epiosde. Sawyer and Ben both making reference to Of Mice and Men was nicely done and Ben's throwing back the line "don't you read?" was great. (And now, I have to probably seek out Of Mice and Men to read. Yes, I'm totally uncultured and haven't read it.) That said, the rest of the flashback was kind of predictable. I called early that Sawyer, the con man was working for the warden. I guessed that he was somehow working for the warden directly and the warden himself was corrupt but that proved not to be the case. Of course, we see how Sawyer puts up a big front both in the time before the island and on the island--in both cases refusing to admit that he has any feelings about any of the women in his life. But deep down, we know he cares.

We see it in his setting up the fund for his daughter and then his trying to get Kate to escape while she can.

Interesting to see Sawyer get conned by the Others. I also figured early the whole pace maker thing was a ruse to con him. But it's interesting that the Others want to earn his respect somehow. What purpose do they have there? And is Sawyer there as some kind of bait to keep Kate around? I've heard a lot of theories that Kate is there to hook up with Sawyer and produce a child for the Others. Is that why they want and need to keep them around?

And the revelation that there are two islands....that was a pretty big one. But it raises more questions about why the Others are so interested and involved with the other island. Is there something there they need or want, besides our group of castaways?

Meanwhile, Jack is slowly sewing seeds of doubt and mistrust in the Others. Interesting to see Jack's defiance and attempts at manipulation of the Others, esp. Juliett. Jack's barbs about her not being in charge and maybe he should talk to Ben, who is the real power of the group was nicely done. And I have to wonder--did Ben take advantage of the situation of having to move Jack from his cell to the operating theater to put up the X-Rays (which I am going to assume are his, but we can never assume on this show) so that Jack would see them? Interesting that when Jack could refuse to help the Others, his oath as a doctor takes over and his training. I wonder if the temptation that will be offered to Jack isn't going home but instead being part of the Others? Would this be the kind of acceptance and validation he's sought his whole life and never full received? Could Ben be some kind of strange father figure who gives Jack the approval that Jack so desparately yearns for? And how would our group of regulars react if Jack went over to "the dark side"?

Meanwhile, back on the other island (we can say that now, I guess), Desmond continues to have pre-cognition. At least we can forget the theory he's one of Hurley's friends since others interact with him. I am not sure where his storyline is supposed to go, other than to possibly show is ability to predict the future last week wasn't a fluke.

Jericho: 9:02
In one episode we see all that's good and all that is frustrating about Jericho.

Jericho continues to delve into how ordinary people would react to the destruction of life as they knew it and the slow erosion of civilization as we know it. Selfishness and vigilantism takes over a bit as the authority figures in town try to maintain their authority over the general population. I wondered how long it would take for someone to figure out--hey, the old rules and law and order don't necessarily apply here any longer. In a lot of ways, Jericho has now become a frontier town from the old west, which makes me wonder--who will be the marshall, appointed to uphold law and order in town and keep the chaos of the wilderness at bay?

It may or may not be Jake, who we find out more about his mysterious past. This week we find out that Jake was maybe somehow sort of responsible for someone's death because he hung out with the wrong crowd. We're quickly made to believe Jake didn't kill the person directly, but that still leaves a whole lot of unanswered questions out there about what Jake did and why he left town. Also, it's interesting that Jake was gone four years and Hawkins was gone four years. Is there some other connection between these two or am I just hoping for too much?

Meanwhile, the town descends into near anarchy with every person looking out for his or her own interests. It is interesting to see how the cute IRS agent (whose name I can't recall) is the attempted voice of reason in the debate over the pestacide. I also found it interesting that Stanley tries to go the mayor for help, only to be annoyed when he's asked to share his crop. Staneley is clearly, like the rest of the town, guarding his resources and the balking at sharing of resources was interesting. (Though it is interesting that Ms. IRS agent, who can't get past that Stanley's debt is pretty much null and void at this point as she's so by the book there, is the one who goes outside the law to get the pesticide. Ends justifying the means sort of thinking).

It's interesting to see Jericho try to deal with these types of issues, but then it's totally negetated by the last scene in which the town comes out and harvests the corn. It's a touching, wonderful, feel good scene but.....OK, why not have them use the pesticide? I thought we had some dialogue that said he had to either use the pesticide soon or harvest the crop immediately? I kind of got the impression that wanted to let the crop grow a bit more before harvesting. Of course, maybe they only harvested the area of the field that was affected by the bugs. If so, why give him all the pesticide and why not keep it and ration it for next season? I can't imagine that these bugs aren't going to go away and they might become more prevelant next year if the supply of pesticides runs out and is gone forever.

And then there's Hawkins. For a super spy, he's not very bright. He leaves the door to his secret lair unlocked and the info on Jake on-screen. The only thing I can think of is he did this so the daughter would find out and they could connect or she'd see how important it was that she followed his every order. And, of course, there was much hilarity when they used Vanilla Ice CD's for target practice.

As a whole I'm not sure where exattly Jericho is going. I keep tuning in to find out who attacked and why, but we get no closer to the answers as the weeks go by. Also, the rather two-by-four-to-the-head mystery on Jake is not as compelling as it could be and I have a bad feeling the revelation of where he was and why he left town will be no where as interesting as everyone on the show wants it to be. But yet, I'm still intrigued enough to keep tuning in, for now.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 10/26/2006 08:01:00 AM | |
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
This Story's Just Six Words Long...
Ernest Hemingway once wrote a story in six words and called it the best story he'd ever written. The story was: "For sale: baby shoes. Never worn."

Wired recently issued the six-word story challenge to some promiment sci-fi authors. They got some very interesting results, all of which you can read here.

Here are a few of my favorites.

Computer, did we bring batteries? Computer?
- Eileen Gunn

Gown removed carelessly. Head, less so.
- Joss Whedon

Longed for him. Got him. Shit.
- Margaret Atwood

The baby’s blood type? Human, mostly.
- Orson Scott Card

- Harry Harrison

Mozilla devastates Redmond, Google’s nuke implicated.
- Charles Stross

Time traveler's thought: "What's the password?"
- Steven Meretzky

posted by Michael Hickerson at 10/25/2006 10:42:00 AM | |

Won't you be my neighbor?
A couple of days ago, our national accounts department buzzed over to me and asked me why pictures from their golf tournament weren't on-line. I replied that I hadn't found about said tournament until after it happened so I hadn't come out to take pictures. I asked if they had some from the tournament I could scan and get on-line for them. (I'm such a good co-worker!)

So, yesterday I braved the elements to get the pictures. Our national accounts department is across the street from our building.

I should, at this point, throw in that I work close to downtown Nashville, about two blocks up from the Nashville Rescue Mission. So, we see quite a few homeless people. They will come wandering in from time to time, especially on these colder days.

I went out, looked both ways and proceeded to cross jaywalk across the street. As I got halfway across, I heard a voice calling out to me, "Sir, sir, sir!" I looked to see where traffic was (there was none) and looked behind me. I saw a guy with long, unkempt hair, a scraggly beard and wearing a camoflauge coat. He saw I'd looked at him and said, "Can you help me please?"

I sighed and crossed the rest of the street. He quickly crossed over and began to tell me his story. His car had run out of gas just a few blocks over and he desparately wanted and needed to get home. If he could only have a few bucks for gas, he could make it home. I pointed the mission out to him and he said he'd been there. They would give him a place to stay and a meal but not money for gas.

Now, I was downwind of this guy and he reeked of pot. So, I looked at him and made a decision. I fibbed and said I didn't have any cash on me. At this point, I could honestly see him taking the five bucks I had in my wallet and going out to buy some weed. How much weed you can get for five bucks, I'm not sure. I'm not really hip on the whole how much money it takes to get weed thing. Call me tragically unhip.

He looked a bit downtrodden, said he understood and said again how he just wanted to get home. I said I was sorry and he wandered off.

And I went about the rest of my day. Got the pictures and went back across the street.

But for some reason as I scanned pictures of people acting like fools at the pre-golf tournament party and during the tournament, I couldn't stop thinking about the guy. Maybe he'd been sincere about his need. Maybe he really did need to get home. And had I unfairly judged him because his story was so much the standard story and he smelled like pot?

And then I got to thinking more. So, Monday night at the Y, I'm signing up for spin class on Tuesday (you gotta sign up early with it getting dark earlier and the cold weather settling in). As I was at the desk, a woman came up and said she'd parked across the street and didn't feel safe going to her car alone. Was there someone at the Y who stood outside and would make sure she got to her car safely.

The guy at the desk was in a bit of a hard place as he was the only one there and couldn't do it. I looked up and said I would be happy to make sure she got to her car safetly. She smiled and accepted. We went out, I threw my stuff in my car and I walked her to her car. We passed the time (all 30 seconds of it) discussing the weather and how it was getting dark early. She got to her car, I made sure she got in and I went back to mine. Good deed done and I have to admit I was feeling pretty good about myself. (OK, she was also cute...does that hurt?)

Anyway, as I walk back to my car, I notice another woman from my spin class walking out the long way. I figure she's going to her car and don't think twice about it. I get in my car, start it up and head out...only to see the woman from spin class walking even farther to her car. I think about rolling down the window and asking if she wants a ride to her car as it's both dark and cold, but then I get this fear she'll wonder who the freak in the blue Honda is trying to pick her up in downtown Nashville on a Monday night. I am relieved that as I look back, I see her getting into her car, which was only a few steps away from where I thought about offering her a ride. Part of me is relieved to have avoided the embarrassment of being a complete freak show, which is easy for guys to do.

As I thought about my three encounters with people in my path that I could have helped within a 24 hour period, I have to admit I didn't feel too hot about my ratio of those I helped. In the Bible, Jesus gives us the story of the good Samaritan and also tells us that when he help one of the least of his kindgom, we are helping him. I kept thinking of the whole "when did we see you hungry and not give you food?" line the disciples came back with.

And yet, I felt really covincted yesterday as I thought about. I was more willing to help two women get to their cars safely than I was this guy on the street with his story. I suppose I could have given him some money and had faith he'd use it for what he said he would. But I made a snap judgement about all three people who crossed my path...and whether or not I chose wisely or fairly, I'm not sure about.

I do know that it's been something on my mind in the hours since the encounter. It takes me back to a sermon I heard a few weeks ago. Our pastor, Michael O'Bannon, asked the hard question--if people around you have to use Google to find out about God, what does this say? See, I believe that part of the walk I'm on is to reflect the love of Christ and God to everyone I encounter on a daily basis. I'd hope after being around me, people wouldn't need to Google to find out more about God.

But I have a feeling that the homeless guy on the streets of Nashville would feel differently.

It's made me sit back and think about who is my neighbor and am I doing enough to love all my neighbors as I'm commanded to do. Or am I only loving those that it's easy and convienent to love.

I wish I had a good answer for you, but I don't. At least, not yet....

posted by Michael Hickerson at 10/25/2006 07:59:00 AM | |
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
TV Round-Up
Heroes: Hiros
After last week's great episode, I was hoping it might be a turning point for Heroes. Instead, we got an episode that had one huge revelation and then seemed to be content to tread water for the rest of the show.

Once we get Hiro's message from the future of "save the cheerleader, save the world" (thanks to the promo department at NBC for ruining that one...), there wasn't a lot else really happening here. Instead it all felt like we were moving pieces into place for future episodes. If that happens, I'll be more forgiving but for right now it made for a pretty lackluster episode of Heroes.

I do have some questions about the episode as a whole. The biggest is--how much English does Hiro speak and understand? It was established in previous episodes that when he called Issac, he was speaking in Japanese. But if he knew how to at least say hello and introduce himself, why didn't he use that on the phone? Here he greets Nate and apparently is able to communicate enough with him to indicate he knows Nate is special. I wonder if part of Hiro's power is along the lines of Peter--being able to absorb things from others. In Peter's case, he can absorb and mimic the powers of others around him and maybe in Hiro's case it's that he can easily pick up different languages given enough exposure. And yes, I know he did speak in some English in his trip to New York. Maybe he's picked up all his knowledge of English from comic books....

I also will admit I felt a complete disconnect from the Matt storyline. It seemed so disjointed and out of place. Also, it seemed to cover the same ground Buffy did a couple of years ago in "Earshot." Hearing people's thoughts is fine and dandy, at first, but it quickly becomes overwhelming. The scene in the 7-11 at show's end just reinforced that a bit. Of all the powers we've seen so far, it looks as if Matt's could be the most intrusive to his having a normal least until he learns how to control it or finds the off-switch as it were. (Maybe he should watch old re-runs of Next Gen and get some advice from Troi).

Now, I did like the Nate storyline a bit, though it did raise some questions. Has he been practicing his flying skills or is a matter of he was in a panic at being caught by evil Dad and that is what allowed him to fly with such skill? Also, it's interesting that he is willing to take a potential disaster to himself and his campaign and turn it into an opportunity for two million dollars more for his slush fund. I have to wonder how all this will play out as the storyline continues.

And elsewhere things are happening that I really feel is some kind of set-up for future installments. I'm beginning to think that evil Dad's assistant can teleport around the country and take evil Dad with him. Becuase there is no way he's getting that many frequence flyer miles and travelling from place to place so quickly. He makes it from Vegas to Odesssa too quickly. I did find it interesting how far evil Dad will go to keep Claire's secret. Fatherly love or something more sinister? I am going with something more sinister, though I'd be the whole "you tried to rape my daughter" element didn't help the quarterback's chances much.

And the Heroes signature cliffhanger this week was....just OK. After the last two weeks when they were as interesting as they were, this one was more of a "let's see where things go next" instead of overly dramatic and something that had to be resolved quickly within the first five minutes of the story.

And I'm left, once again, both compelled and frustrated by this show. It has such potential and there are times when it lives up to it. But then there are times when it just doesn't seem to do so. And yet they always leave enough questions to keep me interested enough to tune in next week.

Heroes is a good show. It's just not a great one yet.

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip: The Wrap Party
"The Wrap Party" has a lot of good parts but none of them add up to an overall coherent episode.

Oh, where to start?

Let me start with Nate's parents. I get that Nate's dad is not happy with his choice of career. But his parents have never heard of "Who's on First?" Seriously, there are Amish people who know this routine. It was just beyond frustrating how far the story went to make Nate's parents such complete and total rubes. But I guess we're seeing some of the Hollywood view of those of us who are the "fly over" states. We don't know nothin' and it sure is good Hollywood is there to tell us about all this culture and such we are missin'.

Meanwhile, Simon is unhappy about the lack of diversity on the writing staff and takes Matt to hear an up and coming African-American comedian. Turns out this guy is doing the standard, cliche ridden routine and while discussing that over a beer, the two hear a better comedian who is bombing. He has potential and so he's hired by the show. Huh? I get maybe bringing him in and giving him a chance, but to hire him full-time seems a bit too contrived for my liking. But while I didn't like where the story went, I did like the journey along the way. I liked seeing more of Simon and what drives him.

And then we had Harriet's new boyfriend who is a flirt and maybe not faithful. Yeah, Sorkin, I saw Sports Night when you did this plotline there with Dana and Casey. And it wasn't exactly new ground back then.

What kept me watching was the storyline with Cal. Even though I called early that the old guy stealing the picture would somehow be a connection to the history of the network and theater, it was still a nice, human story that actually worked. It didn't feel as contrived as it could have and it gave us some better understanding of Cal. I liked that part and that part alone helps me keep the faith in the show.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 10/24/2006 08:34:00 AM | |
Monday, October 23, 2006
TV Round-Up

Battlestar Galactica: Exodus, Part 2

I’m kind of torn about this week’s installment of Battlestar Galactica. On the one hand, I loved just about everything that unfold on-screen. But there was one huge niggling detail that really seemed a bit too convienent and easily resolved (from a conflict standpoint..I have faith the impact on the characters involved will be far reaching).

I’m referring to Kaycee, the alleged daughter of Starbuck.

Deep down, I knew that despite all of Lebonen’s claims to the contrary that Kaycee would not be the daughter of Starbuck. But the way in which Kaycee is so quickly taken from Starbuck back on Galactica seemed a bit too convienent. I’d love to have seen a few weeks of how the hard-edged pilot and fighter that is Starbuck, who last year admitted she had nothing to fight for except that was all she knew how to do, suddenly have something to fight for. And would being a mom somehow affect her as a pilot? Would she be more ruthless and determined to take out the Toasters now that she had something to fight for? Though one off-shoot of this that I wonder about is will Starbuck now feel the call of motherhood and try to have a baby with Anders? Or has this soured her and burned her out to where she’ll close off from everyone around her?

OK, so maybe I talked myself into it being sort of a good idea, if they can go somewhere with it.

And that’s the big if.

Also, I have to wonder just how long will Roslin’s honeymoon as the apparent re-instated president of the Colonies last. Sure, she’s a better alternative that Baltar but how long will it take for Zarak to begin to question whether or not she should hold the office.

Last season it took eight episodes to wrap-up the various threads from the cliffhanger. This year, it took four to get back to where we were, though I don’t believe the fall-out from this one is even close to over. We have humans who joined with the Cylons against their brothers, we have the extreme methods the resistance used to stir up trouble for the Cylons and we’ve got the changed dynamic of many of the character relationships on the show from the big jump. I think we’ve got plenty of character ground left to cover.

That said, this one was pretty jam packed, edge-of-your-seat full of action. You could really see the budget for this show spent here with the battle sequences. The thing I loved was they were easy to follow but yet there was an urgency to them that you could feel just coming off the screen. The sight of Galactica plunging through the atmosphere behing the defenses of the Cylons to deliver the Raptors to New Caprica…wow. And the sight of Pegasus ramming the basestar was just spectacular.

But while the Colonials won a battle, there were losses. Gaeta was ready to kill Baltar. Also, Tigh had to make a huge sacrifice, killing Ellen. The scene as Tigh poisons here was moving as was his return to the Galactica. The part where Adama is lifted up on shoulders as some hero while Tigh, who made some huge sacrfices and is just as responsible for the success of the rescue as Adama, is left to slowly fade into the distance. Tigh is the right-hand man without whom none of what happened would be possible but yet the crowd has forgotten that. And it’s intersting that this time last season, Tigh was under heavy fire for stepping in and doing what needed to be done with Adama down. Could this lead Tigh to become bitter and deeper into the bottle?

And then there’s Baltar. So I guess he’s travelling with the Cylons now. And we should see him in the swivel chair any day now.

All I know is–New Caprica has been left behind. And now we’re ready for the next run of episodes to see where the fleet goes next. I am hooked and can’t wait.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 10/23/2006 11:31:00 AM | |
Sunday, October 22, 2006
I figured it out!
So, I was in Wal-Mart earlier and saw the cover of Sports Illustrated. The cover story was about why the SEC is the best conference in the country (no arguments from me!).

Well, the cover photo was from UT's destruction of UGA a few weeks ago.

This might explain why the Vols didn't play well yesterday--the stupid SI cover jinx.

But the good news is--we still won! Yes, I'm still happy about it.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 10/22/2006 11:35:00 AM | |
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Random Sports Thoughts
  • A Vandy fan cornered me in the breakroom at work and asked me what I thought about the Commodores big win over UGA last week. Jokingly, I said something along the lines of I wondered when they'd issue a DVD of the game since they'd issued one within ten minutes of defeating the Vols last year. As I was listening to the radio today, I almost drove off the road laughing when I heard they'd issued a DVD of the win already.
  • As a Tennessee fan, I can't tell you how huge the difference between Eric Ainge from last year to this year is. Three interceptions in the first half, but when Tennessee needed him most, he stepped up and was one hell of a leader. Even when the refs screwed Tennesee out of a touchdown, Ainge never blinked. I guess being screwed the refs all day he was used to it. Instead, he showed resolve and leadership on third and goal, guiding the Vols to the huge win over the Crimson Tide. I was thinking, had this been last year, Ainge might have imploded at half-time. Instead we saw a leader emerging yet again. He may not be Peyton Manning, but he's the best leader at QB we've had since Tee Martin.
  • Everyone is always saying how baseball is America's past-time. So, maybe I'm un-American by saying this but I do wonder something. ABC shows college football on Saturday nights, every Saturday except this one. And tomorrow night no Sunday night NFL game. And it just so happens to be the first two games of the World Series. It makes me wonder if baseball begged football to not have any prime time, network games those two nights becuase, quite frankly, it'd get trounced in the ratings. Coincidence or have I discovered a deep, dark secret? And who are these men in dark suits knocking at my door as I post this?

posted by Michael Hickerson at 10/21/2006 10:11:00 PM | |

Any win over Bama is a good win
Well, it took just over seven and a half quarters for the Vols to get a TD against Bama, but they did it.

Thank goodness for a strong defense and the will to put in the end zone when it was needed and win the game.

A win over the Tide is always sweet!

posted by Michael Hickerson at 10/21/2006 09:58:00 PM | |

This officiating is pure crap
Could the refs in the UT vs Bama possibly call the game any more in favor of Bama?

What a load of complete horses**t this is....

Why not just give them a TD? Oh you did....


posted by Michael Hickerson at 10/21/2006 05:07:00 PM | |
Friday, October 20, 2006
It's UT vs Bama weekend
Forget Ohio State vs Michigan or any of those other mamby-pamby rivallries attempted to say they're somehow even close to the tradition and greatness that is the rivallry between Tennessee and Alabama. You can try, but you'll never, ever come close. But thanks for playing.

Last year was an epic, stomach churner of a game that the Vols squandered away countless opportunities to win, losing 6-3. This year Alabama comes to the greatness that is Neyland Stadium for what should be yet another classic grudge-match between these two schools.

Las Vegas favors the Vols by 11 points in this one. Now, I'm not a betting man, but I think that is a bit high. Sure, I'd love to the Vols destroy Bama like we did back in '95 when Peyton "I am a god among men" Manning went down and led the 41-14 whipping of the Tide. That game is still one of the highlights of an era and I was there. (I'm getting a little misty just thinking about it). I would love to see the Vols deliver a knock-out early and often to Bama with the game never being in doubt in the second half. That said, I don't think it will happen. The Vols will win the game and we may pull away in the second half but I think it will be closer longer than the pundits expect. I'm calling for UT to win 24-14 and become bowl eligible.

And now a few Bama jokes.....

What do Alabama fans and maggots have in common? They can both live on the remains of a bear for 30 years.

How many Alabama fans does it take to change a lightbulb? Four--one to do it and three to say the light was brighter when the Bear was coaching.

GO BIG ORANGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

posted by Michael Hickerson at 10/20/2006 09:43:00 AM | |
Thursday, October 19, 2006
TV Round-Up
Lost: Further Instructions
This is how you do a great episode of Lost (notice I don't say perfect here).

It's not that the first two episodes were necessarily bad, but when viewed next to this one they pale in comparsion. Of course, part of that may be that I find Locke to be one of the most interesting characters on the show and any time you explore his connection with the island, you're almost guaranteed a gold mind of great character development. In the past, the Locke episodes have been some of the strongest stories the show has done, including the episode that got me permaently hooked on this show three years ago when we had the huge Locke reveal.

I will say this--I still find it frustrating that we haven't yet found out how Locke got into the wheelchair. It makes watching his flashbacks a bit more frustrating because I keep wondering is this the time we find out just what happened. Honestly, at this point, I'm not sure they can come up with any reason that will meet the lofty expectations for how he got in the wheelchair that the fan-base has built up in our minds. But you know what, I'm game for them to at least try. (I have a feeling this will be one of the last backstory details we ever find out on the show).

And let me also throw in this criticism--the flashback pieces this week were a bit repetative. I get that Locke trusts too easily and that comes back to bite him in his life pre-island. I'm not quite sure what the overall point of the flashback was supposed to be since it really told us nothing new. We've known that Locke fancied himself some kind of hunter and adventurer before he got on the island, but it was only on the island that the desire became a reality. Here we see Locke on a commune where they're--plot twist shocker--growing marijuana in the green house. I guess having seen this plot two weeks ago on Veronica Mars, I wasn't necessarily picking up my jaw off the floor. Also, it was telegraphed way too early that the Locke's new buddy was more than he let on when he took a big interest in the green house and wanting to know what was being grown in there.

That said, the rest of the episode was great. The storyline on the island of Locke's getting a message from the island and going to rescue Eko was great. I am sure there will be those who quibble about the the polar bear plotline, but I bought it. It's Lost for heaven's sake. The polar bears have been there since the beginning. I do have to wonder just why the bear drug Eko off to his cave and then left him there to snack on him later. I think part of this may have been the island giving people what they need--in this case, Locke needed to get back to what he was in season one--a hunter and a leader on the island. With Jack in the grip of the Others, our main group has no real leader or authority figure. And Locke is finally being granted what he's always wanted--the chance to be looked up and lead this group. And he's taking advantage of it as we saw in the final scene.

Also, the show seems to be pushing forward and giving us some hints as to what's to come. I loved the Locke hallucination in the sweat lodge where Boone shows Locke a vision of most of the castaways in the airport. The images of which characters are with who and were in the airport was nice, as well as the hints of who is safe for now. Then later the island seems to give Locke a second message via Eko--that Jack and company need to be rescued and Locke is the one to do it. Having restored Locke's faith in himself and the island, he can now move on and lead the group. This could be an intereting dynamic shift when and if Jack returns to the group. Also, if Jack is being tempted by the Others, it could be that the group won't trust him anymore, wondering if he's become one of the enemy now.

And then there's Desmond, who has hints of the future. It begs the question of why was he naked, running around the island. Is he from the future of the Terminator where they send people back in time sans clothing. He knew about Locke's speech before he gave it and it brings up the question--what else does he know? And is he going to allow it to play out the same way or will he try and somehow change the future he's seen?

So many questions and all of them intriguing. For at least this week, Lost is back to form. I just hope next week continues to build on this momentum.

Federal Response
Unless I blinked and missed it, this is the first time since the bombs fell that we don't have the show tell us how long it's been since the bombs feel.

But for the first time on the show, Jericho felt like it was realistically dealing with how things might unfold and how people would react in the wake of such a devestating attack. To see how everyone reacted to the phone ringing (though I don't buy that everyone in town waited to the right moment to pick up..but that' s TV for you) and the power being restored was nice. The teaser portion of this week's episode was as solid as anything they've done on the show so far (I know, that's kind of damning with faint praise).

The town's reactions to the fires worked well, with the resources being to certain areas but not others. It leads to the destruction of Eric's house and he and the wife moving back in with his parents. Now the whole dysfunctional family is back under one roof and wackiness can begin. I did like the scene at the dinner table when the family talked about the food they'd missed having in the days since the attacks. And while it's a nice moment of family bonding, it doesn't make much sense since it's been, what six days at most since the bombs all fell? Add in that three days ago we had the world's biggest BBQ to save the meat and it seems a bit odd that Skeet is already missing a cheeseburger. But then again, part of that could be the whole you don't miss it until you can't have it thing.

Of course, it was one of many things about this episode that stuck out like a sore thumb. It was also frustrating to hear everyone talk around why Skeet left town but never address is. "Gee, Skeet, you left town and that sure is a good story." "Yes, we should tell that story." "Dad, I"m ready to talk about why I left town." "Oh son, don't tell me why you left town yet..let's just have some scotch." Seriously, the only thing missing was a huge neon sign that said, "Plot development! Foreshadowing!" And then while it was nice to see Skeet discover Hawkins is up to something, we are no farther along at figuring out what that is, except we now know that Hawkins knows Skeet was some kind of....well, something. I think there is going to be an X-Files tie-in and Skeet is one of the super soldiers that Chris Carter and company came up with in seasons eight and nine. And that Hawkins is really the CSM in disguise. Any day now, we can expect Mulder to show up and start investgiating....

OK, maybe not.

But back to Jericho. I also had to wonder about the common sense of some people on this show. I can see why we'd rush into the fire to save various people but I kept going--come on now. And then you have Eric who promises his mistress he's going to leave his wife only to have the house burn down, find she'd filed for divorce but now she doesn't want it. How much y'all want to bet that the wife ends up pregnant and that will be the first child born in Jericho following the disaster?

That said--the show knows how to keep you. The scene at the end as everyone is gathered in the bar, awaiting some sign of governmental authority and then seeing the missiles go, it's got me intrigued enough to tune in for yet another week, not matter how clusmy the foreshadowing is and how colossially idiotic these characters act and react.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 10/19/2006 07:40:00 AM | |
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Gracelyn says grace
Today is my sister's birthday, so we had family dinner to celebrate over at my parent's house. Mom made one of my sister's favorite meals--homemade meatloaf and mashed potatoes.

Usually, getting Gracelyn and Davis to try something new is a hit or miss proposition. Seriously, there are times I think they will turn into a chicken nugget is they eat too many more.

But tonight they decided to have some meatloaf. Well, let's put it this way--Mommy and Daddy decided they'd try meatloaf.

My mom was telling Gracelyn before the meal that meatloaf was just like meatballs (which Gracelyn apparently likes) only better. As we sat down to pray, Gracelyn asked to bless the food and we all bowed our heads. She started to thank God for the day and for each individual dish. She covered the potatoes, the bread, the green beans and then she said, "and the stuff that is just like meatballs but I can't remember what it is."

In case you didn't already know, I have the cutest niece ever.

Oh and just in case you were curious--Gracelyn thinks meatloaf is just like meatballs only better. For Davis, I think the jury is still out...

posted by Michael Hickerson at 10/18/2006 10:03:00 PM | |

The whole Sara Evans thing
Once again, Nashville proves itself to be the world's largest small town with the whole hub-bub surrounding the Sara Evans separation and filing for divorce.

I've got to ask my readers outside of the middle Tennessee area--is this story getting nearly as much play and hype up there as it's getting here? Because it seems to me that the news seems to be leading this way. "Today North Korea continued to move toward a second test of nuclear weapons but first up, the latest sordid details about Sara Evans' divorce."

Of course, part of me wants to ask that we all give Ms. Evans her privacy in this matter...until it dawns on me that she's really gone and courted the publicity and scrutiny. In a way, it's almost like she wanted to file first or be the wronged party so we'd all feel sorry for her and take her side in things.

I have to keep reminding myself of a couple of things. The first is that there is his side, her side and then somewhere in the middle of those two, the truth of what actually happened and is happening. Also, I have to recall what a lawyer told me during my divorce process--that just becuase one side alledges something happened or is happening doesn't make it true. It's just part of the whole game that is divorce. And I have a feeling that is what may be happening here on some level. And with a public figure like Evans, not only will this be tried in a court of law, but it will be tried in the court of public opinion.

I do wonder if we're watching some kind of implosion here in Evans part. She's always had that sweet, Southern girl next door kind of charm to her, but I wonder if that was all a facade. I wonder if as these proceedings progress and we hear every last sordid detail of the story played out, if the view of Sara Evans will change.

That said, the parties I feel the most compassion for in all of this are her kids. Divorce is hard enough on the kids as it is without the three-ring circus going on around this one.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 10/18/2006 12:20:00 PM | |
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
TV Round-Up
Heroes: Collision
This may be the best episode of the show so far. The plotlines are starting to converge and the number of taking you out of the show moments are kept to a minimum--though there are a few.

One big one is that Claire goes to school in regular clothes and we come back to her a scene or two later with her in cheerleader outfit. Man, this girl must have a ton of those outfits. Also, how did she explain losing the last one since quarterback guy removed it from her when he had to hide her body. And did quarterback boy have help in disposing of Claire's body in the river?

Also, I have to wonder--how did her father jetset around the globe so fast. He goes from being with Matt in the lab to being at home to then being in Las Vegas. This guy is wracking up the frequent flyer miles. Unless, of course, his friend has the ability to fly or teleport. Then maybe, just maybe I could buy it.

Finally, the change of heart of Mohinder is a bit much. One scene he's at Nathan's office, ranting about powers and then the next he's skeptical of Peter's abilities and claims. Ummmmmmm, ohkay then.

But before you tell to me take a chill pill, let me say that despite all of those, I still found a lot to like about this episode. It felt more solid and less disjointed than the other episodes we've seen until now. We really did see the plotlines of the various players in the game beginning to converge. I do wonder if we'll have two separate storylines running--those who have met up in Las Vegas and those who are meeting in New York.

I do have one huge complaint--NBC's promo department stinks. I hate it when a show gives away the last five or so minutes of a storyline in the promos. I did like Claire's scaring the pants (no pun intended) of the quarterback, but if we hadn't had the final image of that story in all the promos it might have had more impact (and I didn't watch the preview at the end of the episode but it cropped up in The Office, so I did at least try to avoid it). Interesting to see Claire's tears to start the story and their her slow embrace of her powers and how she can use them to put a stop to what the quarterback is doing. It does bring up an interesting concept that Spider-Man is famous for--with great power, comes great responsiblity. We've seen Claire respond to those in danger with her powers and use them for good. But now that she's used them to possibly kill a person, is she on a slippery slope?

Sort of like the slippery slope that we have with Niki. Interesting to see the shift in personality happen on screen this time. I've got to give Ali Larter credit here--she made the transition from one Niki to the other quite well and very convincing. And it's also interesting that "bad Niki's" motivation seems to be protecting herself and Micah.

Now, I did have to wonder something. The mob brought Nicki in for some type of job. So, are we to assume it was for her to cross paths with Nathan? And was the mob in the pocket of Claire's father? Was their goal to get to Nathan somehow? I am wondering if whatever they are up to, they want Nathan to win his bid for office so they can have an in and possibly exploit that?

Meanwhile, the artist draws some more visions of the future, including Claire being stalked by someone. I'm betting its Syler. I guess we'll see where this all goes.

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
: The Long Lead Story
Again, the NBC promo department ruins the end of an episode. Why do shows feel they have to advertise "and in the final seconds..." in order to draw in viewers? Is this some attempt to keep people from tuning away from the final moments of Studio 60 and flipping over to CSI: Miami to see whodunnit?

This week, it's less about Matt and Danny and more about Harriet and Jordan. Jordan is coming under pressure to pick up a new reality show that will make the network a ton of cash but Jordan finds disgusting. She passes on the show, instead choosing to pursue a new drama that the young producer really wants to go to HBO. Jack is, of course, upset about this choice and wants the new show that will make a ton of cash for the network--who cares if it's a deplorable concept. You can really see Aaron Sorkin's view of reality TV coming through here. Also of interest is the fact that it seems that the young hot shot producer choosing between two networks is a thinly veiled allegory for the behind the scenes bidding that CBS and NBC had for Studio 60. Did NBC win because they got rid of the Fear Factor and while they have game shows, they don't have any of the worst examples of reality TV out there....

Maybe I'm reading too much into it here..

Meanwhile, we find out more about Harriet's background. We find out where she came from and interestingly enough, we see that her star and Matt's are tied together in terms of their rise to the top. Matt upped his game to try and impress Harriet, which he admits to Martha O'Dell late in the game. Hearing about Harriet's life and why she went into comedy and how she reconciles what she does with her faith was some fascinatng stuff. I have to admit I like the character of Harriet a good deal and she may be my favorite on the show. (OK, Jack is really my favorite but Harriet is a close second).

Of course, Gilmore Girls fans probably tuned in to see Lauren Graham on the show...yeah, blink and you miss her. She's in one sketch and is a total non-factor to the show. Maybe we'll get more of her next week when she's supposed to come back.

Personally, I enjoyed this one a good bit. It was better than last week's episode, but it's no where nearly as good as the first two. I like that we're trying to explore the other characters in the universe, but I wish we could see more of Timothy Busfield's character, besides just running the boards.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 10/17/2006 07:37:00 AM | |
Monday, October 16, 2006
Football thoughts from this weekend
Some random thoughts from the world of football this past weekend.
  • Georgia was unimpressive in the second half, yet again, allowing Vanderbilt to steal a huge win (for Vandy) between the Hedges. I will say to Vandy fans what I said to UGA fans years ago when they came into Knoxville and finally ended our winning streak--OK, it's only huge if you do something with it. If Vandy goes out and tanks this week to South Carolina, it will be same old Vandy. If they go out and win or at least play respectably against the Gamecocks, that will tell me a something. Oh and Vandy, when is the DVD retrospective of this game going to hit the shelves?
  • Well, there are no more undefeated teams in the SEC, which means the best conference in the nation is out of the national title hunt (for now). Honestly, it's really pathetic how teams like Ohio State and USC can have the potential to go undefeated in weak conferences. If they played in a real conference that was competitive, they'd probably have at least one loss. Well, USC would have more, actually.
  • Well, the BCS standings are out for the first time and we can all (once again) see how screwed up the system is. Case in point--Tennessee is behind Cal, who we beat like a drum to open the season. Again, Cal, get in a real conference and then we can talk.
  • I've seen the footage of the brawl between Miami and Florida International Saturday night. Disgusting. I've never had any great respect for Miami and this doesnt' help matters. I think it's good the teams suspened the players but it may be too little, too late. Miami has had a pattern of going back to its old ways in the past few games and being a bunch of thugs on and off the field. I hate to tell Miami this but in order to get the respect you so desparately crave, you have to give it as well. And the way you act doesn't show it..hence why no one respects you.
  • That said, I have the perfect solution to this situation--both teams should forfeit the rest of their games this year. Just don't play them at all. It will send a strong message that this will not be tolerated.
  • Speaking of that, have you heard the comments of the Miami play-by-play guy, Lamar Thomas, that went out on ESPN's GameDay package? I think the man should be asked to not call any more games for the Canes...but that's just me. Here's a sample:

It didn’t take long for Thomas to get his wish. And as the violence erupted on the field, he cheered it on. “That’s what I’m talking about,” he exclaimed. “You come into our house, you should get your behind kicked. You don’t come into the Orange Bowl playing that stuff. You’re across the ocean over there. You’re across the city over there. You can’t come over to our place talking noise like that. You’ll get your butt kicked. I was about to go down the elevator and get into that thing.”

If anything, Thomas seemed disappointed that the referees finally got the game under control. “You know, I say, why don’t they just meet outside in the tunnel after the ball game and get it on some more?” he urged. “You don’t come into the Orange Bowl, baby – we’ve had a down couple of years – but you don’t come in here talking trash. Not in our house…

“You come in here talking smack, it’s time to get it on. We let you play in our stadium – they play well, I gotta give it to FIU, they played well so far – but you cross the line at some point.”

And even when the game started again, Thomas was still at it, complaining that referees threw a flag on a blatantly late hit on the kickoff following the brawl. “You gonna call that?” he exclaimed in disbelief. He ended the night by urging Miami coach Larry Coker, whose team was leading 35-0 with 40 seconds to go in the game, to run up the score with a field goal to teach FIU a thing or two.

  • So, my Redskins stunk it up at home yesterday and the Titans won their first game of the year. Were it any other team besides the Redskins, I'd be excited. But since it was the Redskins I am just bitter. I do wonder if this win will energize the fan-base this week. Maybe the Coliseum will fill up this week and we'll have an enthusiastic home crowd. That would be nice to see for a change.
  • Say what you will about the apparent (at the time) desparation of Jeff Fisher in starting Vince has made a huge difference. You can just see the team's confidence in him and around him when he's on the field. Something severely missing when we had Billy Volek and Kerry Collins in the game. The question I still have is this--will Fisher make it past this season to reap the rewards of this move?

posted by Michael Hickerson at 10/16/2006 10:36:00 AM | |

TV Round-Up
Battlestar Galactica: Exodus, Part 1
I will admit that when the words "One hour earlier" flashed up on my screen to start this week's episode, I almost went "Oh come on Ron Moore. You can't get out of the cliffhanger this easily."

But instead of being a lazy way out, Moore and company use the going back in time to show us the resolution of the cliffhanger to Battlestar's advantage. Instead of being an easy way out, the show gave us the impact of the what was going on on the characters. Seeing Tyrol's panic that Cally was targeted for death and the race against time to save her was nicely done. Seeing how Tigh reacts on the fly to these events and serves as the calm voice of reason (scary thought) was superb. And even when Cally had escaped, she still could have been killed by friendy fire to save the larger group of rounded up humans.

In the first five minutes Battlestar once again showed me why I love this show so much. And then we got into the other 55 minutes of the hour.

If last week was about setting the scenes for season three, this week is about putting some big pieces of the puzzle into play. We learned that Deanna is having dreams of Hera and knows she's alives, even going so far as to plant this idea inside Sharon's head and that the Cylons are having a harder time downloading. (I expect that will be huge in the coming weeks). Also, the Cylons are having a harder time maintaining control than they thought they'd have. The idea that they could just nuke New Caprica and be done with it was alarming. Wasn't their goal to bring the love of their god to the Colonials and now all they can think of is how to get out of New Caprica without any greater losses?

The thing with this week's episode is that while we have a ton of action in terms of fire fights and gearing up for battles, the real heat of battle is between characters. Ellen's betrayal comes to light even to Tigh. The look of horror and betrayal in Tigh's lone eye as the new sank in of just what Ellen had done to free him and the implications. But Ellen was doing all she did to save Tigh because on some level she loves him. But will she have saved his life only to lose him by this betrayal? And what will the cost to her since we know Tigh is very much a man who sees thing as us or them.

And then we have Sharon's unwavering belief that Adama would not lie to her about Hera. Yeah, I see that blowing up in everyone's faces soon. And could it be that Galactica Sharon would kill herself to download back with the Cylons and come after the fleet? Oh man, that could be great.

Meanwhile, Baltar apparently needs some Viagra as the pressures of the presidency are affecting him. I loved his asking Six to stay with him and the disconnect the two have in trying to relate to each other beyond the physical.

All that and I was a bit misty eyed when we had the "farewell" of Lee and Bill Adama. That scene was so perfectly played by both actors. The quick looking away by Bill and the salute by Lee. Perfect, absolutely perfect.

And once again, I am on the edge of my seat, eager for the next installment.

Doctor Who: School Reunion
Dammit, Russell T. Davies, you made me cry--for a robotic dog! In the final few minutes when K9 sacrificed himself to stop the Kryllatine, there were tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat.

And it's all for a robotic dog from the 70s whose originally purpose on the show was to compete with R2-D2 and to be a plot device.

For that alone, this episode would be in the category of greatness. But yet, it wasn't done there.

I have to admit I had severe trepedation about this episode when it was first announced. The return of K9 and Sarah Jane Smith--that could easily go down the path of every self-referrential Who story from the 80s and easily dispell all the goodwill and accolades the show has earned to this point.

But it didn't. And not only that but it had a solid, wonderful storyline that felt like the perfect mixture of new and old Who.

The new--the consequences of being a companion and loving the Doctor. Rose gets a preview of what will eventually happen to her in Sarah Jane Smith. And we once again get the reinforcement of the Doctor's sense of isolation. Not only is he the last of the Time Lords, but he never ages. He stays young while those he cares about become older. He just keeps replacing one companion with the next and while they have fun for a time, does anyone really know him.

And we see how the Headmaster uses that to try and tempt the Doctor into helping them solve the equation to bend and space and time to their will. That that was the old style Who right there--innocent place being used for nefarious purposes. In this case, a school and computers.

As if that weren't enough, the Headmaster is played with delight by Anthony Stewart Head. Head has shown on Buffy he can be more than just the librarian and what a delightful villain he is. The scenes with the Headmaster and the Doctor by the swimming pool are just one of many highlights of this story. I still say we find a way for Head to be the Master. I don't care how you do it, just do it.

And then, as I said, this one had me misty eyes. OK, I'll admit in the end, I had tears in my eyes as the Doctor said "Goodbye, my Sarah Jane" and hugged her as the music swelled. And even knowing there is a Sarah Jane and K9 spin-off, I still went, "How could you not rebuild K9?!?" as the TARDIS faded away..and there he was. Such a wonderful coda to a great episode.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 10/16/2006 08:39:00 AM | |
Friday, October 13, 2006
Fall is an urban legend
I've heard reports of this mythical season in between summer and winter, where the days are pleasant and the nights are cool but comfortable.

Apparently, this is just a myth since we went from really warm days to bust out the winter gear here in Nashville.

Man, it was cold this morning..

And for those of you keeping track at home, I'm officially a curmedgeon now because I'm complaining about the weather being too cold....

Now all you whipper snappers get off my lawn!

posted by Michael Hickerson at 10/13/2006 09:05:00 AM | |
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Are the Titans really THAT bad?
Paul Kuharsky of The Tennessean has five reasons that the Titans could be worse than anyone in initially imagined in today's paper.

The first one is kind of scary--should the Titans fail to beat the Texans, they could go for NFL history and be 0-16.

Honestly, I'm not sure that will happen. I think the Titans will find a way to sneak up on some team at some point this year.

I just hope it's not this week vs my beloved Redskins....

posted by Michael Hickerson at 10/12/2006 02:58:00 PM | |

TV Round-Up
Lost: The Glass Ballerina
Up front, I have to admit that the Sun and Jin backstory is not the most compelling, so I was a bit disappointed to see them go it so early in the season.

When the story started up, I was worried that season three was going to repeat the same mistake season two did--re-examining the same events and day on the island from 18 different angles (anyone remember last year how we saw three episodes showing us where various people were when we first went inside the was fun the first two times but after that, I was ready for the show to start moving forward). I'm glad that Lost seems to have broken that pattern here. Yes, we did cover some of the same day, but it was from a wildly different persepctive. We got to at least see what Sayid and company were up to on the boat during the same time period. Also, the storyline is moving forward a bit.

I do have to wonder something--why do the Others not want the castaways to have the boat? What secret are they hiding? Is there something that had Sayid and company kept sailing around the island they would have discovered? Also, Ben claims he was raised on the island and I wonder--is this true? We saw Alex again last evening (talking to Kate while Kate was breaking rocks), who also appears to have been raised on the island. It seems as if the Others are fascinated with taking children and raising them on the island...but for what purpose? Are the Others, perhaps, the children of the original Dharma Initiative families who rebelled against their parents somehow?

And why does Ben have everything wired and is observing everyone? He seems to be some kind of spider in the middle of web, observing everything. But for what purpose is he doing it?

Let me admit that when Ben took the chair into talk to Jack, I was having Battlestar Galactica season-premiere flashbacks. All you needed was Ben to whip out his sunglasses and you'd have almost the same scene, though I think Galactica's was far more compelling. (It had Dean Stockwell, who is just plain great in everything he does...) I do wonder why Ben is so interested in Jack. Is it that he feels some kind of connection as they're both the leaders of their respective tribes? Or does it go deeper? Is Ben perhaps romantically attached to Juliet and sees Jack as some kind of threat? Or is there a rift between Ben and Juliet and Ben wants to break Jack first? It is interesting to see how both sides are trying to break Jack. (Could it be good cop/bad cop?)

As cynical as Jack was last week about the information they had on him, why was he so quick to believe that the Sox had won the World Series? He never questioned if it was some digitally maniuplated footage and sound to make him believe or to break his will. And what exactly does Ben want in return from Jack? And will Jack give it to him or just pretend to go along in order to get back to the other castaways?

Meanwhile, Kate and Sawyer are put to work...breaking up rocks. I don't quite understand why the Others have them do this, other than so Sawyer can test the defenses and figure out an escape plan. But maybe that's part of what the Others are doing--observing how these two react to being locked up. Of all the castaways, it's Kate and Sawyer who have the most experience being on the run from the law and escaping, so perhaps the Others are looking to beef up security in this area. Or maybe they just want to watch Kate do some manual labor in her sundress....not that there's anything wrong with that.

Intersting that Sawyer's kiss is a calculated move. Or was he just saying that to cover up his true feelings for Kate? After all, this is the man who never lets anyone close to him.

You know, there are times I just love this show.

And then there are others I don't. Pardon me while I can't get up much interest in the Sun and Jin storyline. The early scene shows Sun lied to her father about breaking a glass ballerina. It show a pattern of lying to men in her life, despite being caught in the deceit. I guess that Jin knew of Sun's betrayal as he alludes to it here. Also, you have to wonder if the baby is really his. I also wonder--the scenes we've seen earlier in the show when Jin comes home upset with blood on his hand--do they take place directly after the events we saw here?

I don't think we really discovered much new about the characters here. I think a lot of us had wondered if Jin was really the father of Sun's baby..and now we have it confirmed that may not be the case. I wish I could say it should be interesting to find out, but honestly it's just not the compelling to me. I do like the way Jin feels like an outsider and how his instincts are often on the money. And the scene where he loaded the gun so efficiently as Sayid looked on in awe and horror was great.

But other than that, this plotline didn't really do a lot for me. At least we got it out of our system early and we can now start to focus in on the other castaways as season three progresses.

Jericho: The Walls of Jericho
I made the mistake of watching Jericho after Lost. Bad idea. Jericho is a nice warm-up for Lost but viewed right after it, it pales by comparison.

It probably doesn’t help that this week’s episode of Jericho was the weakest we’ve seen so far.

And it had the potential to be so good. It’s four days after the bombs fell and the town is starting to deal with some harsh realities–such as when some supplies of things run out, that’s it. For example, gasoline. The gas is needed to power the generator for the hospital and Eric promises some to keep the bar running as well. Our heroes scramble around town trying to find gas and get it where it needs to go. I do have to wonder why the mayor and the town government hasn’t stepped up with some rationing of some type. I mean, does it make sense that people are out driving around town like nothing has happened? Yes, it’s only been four days but it seems to me that the town leadership might step up and do some rationing. Because as we saw with the teens and the party, not everyone has the best interests of the whole at heart.

The one good thing I can say about that plot this week–at least Skeet didn’t come up with the plan. Oh sure, he was there running the plan but at least it wasn’t his.

Meanwhile, a stranger comes into town who is apparently part of the conspiracy of….well, whatever it is. I’m not quite sure what Hawkins and his group did or what role they play but we’re getting little tiny clues each week. It almost feels like they’re some kind of cell sent in to infilitrate the towns. For what purpose, we’re not quite sure. And how much you want to bet that little flash drive Hawkins had comes into play as something huge and big by season’s end? Call me crazy but I was having images of Jack Bauer chasing across L.A. to get a flashdrive as I saw that.

Meanwhile, Eric and his wife are having problems because he’s more interested in being down at the bar, having a drink and checking out his mistress than being at home with her. Or being a leader in the town. At some point, someone in this town is going to have step up and establish some authority or else it could really ugly, really fast. Last week we saw the Mayor slug his opponent for trying to use the situation for his own political gain, but honestly we don’t see the Mayor acting like the leader he was in the first episode. Maybe that’s part of the plan of the show…or maybe it’s just lazy writing. I am hoping for the fomer, but with this show it’s really hard to be sure.

Veronica Mars: My Big Fat Greek Rush Week
Nothing is every what it seems on Veronica Mars. That refers not only to the on-going mysteries that throw in one red-herring after another but also the individual episodes themselves. Most of the time it works but there are times when the show tries too hard to surprise us.

This wasn’t one of those cases where the show worked too hard.

Veronica joins the college paper and is assigned the story of cracking the secrets of the sorority. Veronica accepts the assignment, figuring that the sorority may be a lot like the 90ers from Neptune High. At first, it appears that way but as the story progresses, we find out that not only are there the stereotypical sorority gals in the house, but there are some genuines, authentic people with whom Veronica could have been friends. And then Veronica gets caught in a dilemma. She uncovers the truth but instead of being shocking and lurid, it’s the sorority coming together to help their den mother. Veronica faces a dilemma and ends up betraying both sets of her new friends and losing both. In one move, Veronica is shunned from two new peer groups, both of whom would have accepted her for who she was. Which is why when Veronica laments with Keith that she’s really messed things up, the scene rings so true. (Side note: is there any better father/daughter relationship on TV right now than this one? I think not…) And this all ties in so naturally to the on-going mystery of who the Hearst campus rapist is. We got some clues and right now I suspect everyone…well, except Veronica, Mac and Keith. But so far it seem as if everyone is a suspect and I am beginnng to wonder if this isn’t a group of people setting up these things. The girl on the ride home golf cart seemed pretty bitter and hateful toward the sorority girls. It might not be too huge a stretch to suppose she is somehow in on it, helping the serial rapist.

Meanwhile, we get to see the man behind Homer Simpson as a professor of sociology and a sociology project gone horribly wrong. We even got a little “d’oh!” homage. And another use of “frak” How can you go wrong?

posted by Michael Hickerson at 10/12/2006 07:16:00 AM | |
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
SI Jinx
Sports fans can be a superstitious bunch. We can find trends anywhere.

Over the years, there has been a "jinx" associated with being on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Well, now it appears the jinx extends not only from the cover but to SI's web site.

One Georgia fan hypothesized that one portent of UGA's loss to the mighty Vols Saturday night (still revelling in it...will be for weeks) was that cheerleader Christine Conley was featured as Cheerleader of the Week on SI's web site earlier in the week. Seems the trend started a few weeks ago when Alabama cheerleader Jody Reeves was featured before the Tide lost to Arkansas.

So does this make it an official jinx yet or just some type of odd coincidence.

I say SI should feature a Florida cheerleader this week and see what happens....

posted by Michael Hickerson at 10/11/2006 03:28:00 PM | |

Something you may not know
According to a display at the library, October is Sarcasm Awareness Month.

Does this mean we should try to be more aware of it or practice it more?

posted by Michael Hickerson at 10/11/2006 09:32:00 AM | |
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
TV Round-Up
Heroes: One Giant Leap
Last night, Heroes became the new Alias for me. And not in a good way.

See, I tuned in faithfully to Alias, no matter how eye-rolling and absurd the plot twists and turns got. To see how many times in an hour I could go, "No really, you've got to be kidding."

Heroes did that for me last night.

Here are just of the absurdities from last night's episode:
  • If Niki wants Micah's grandmother to not be part of his life and stay out of it, then why did she go running to the grandmother's house? Also, wasn't it incredibly lucky that Micah slept the entire time Niki was out in the desert buying bodies?
  • Who didn't see coming that Mohinder would find the apartment of Sylar and come back with the proper authorities only to have it emptied out? Wouldn't it have made a bit of sense for him to stay while cutie from next door went for the cops? Also, why didn't he show them the digital photos on his camera? Also, awfully convient that Mohinder's dad happened to have the address of Sylar hidden a journal that is hidden in a secret compartment on his laptop? Also, I still don't buy that as paranoid as Mohinder is that he doesn't somehow think that cutie neighbor could be a mole of some kind.
  • How many freakin' ways can Clair die or get hurt each week? This is getting a bit absurd. I get it Heroes--she can heal herself from any injury inflicted upon her. Let's start moving this process forward a bit here. Oh and does the girl have any outfit besides her cheerleading costume? Honestly, this reminds me of a bit from an old radio sketch on the Stan Freberg Show about Little Orphan Annie and the debate of does she have just one red dress or a whole closet full of them. So, does Clair have one cheerleading outfit she washes nightly or just a whole closet full of them?
  • Gee, Peter, you're shocked your opportunistic, politician brother would use your attempt to find your powers and plummeting off a roof for his own politcial advantage? Man, who didn't see that one coming? Of course, you are lucky that you get the girl in the end with the crappy line of "I've loved you since the first time I saw you." That only seems to work on TV.
All that said, doggone it if Heroes didn't end on such an interesting note that I will have to tune in next week. The image of Claire on the table, looking like she'd been autopsied was just haunting and it made me want to tune in next week. But it doesn't make a whole lot of sense if you think about it--because why would they leave her there like that? I mean other than for the cool image to end the show.

The two interesting plots were Hiro, trying to convince his buddy that he's been to the future and following their destiny and Matt's storyline about his powers emerging. And who was the guy in the bar that Matt couldn't read his thoughts. Anyone want to bet that was Sylar?

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip: The West Coast Feed
I called fairly early that somehow the show would own the joke or the writer who gave the joke to two head writes would turn out to be a huge misunderstanding. But despite all of that and it seeming to be wrapped up a bit too neatly and cleanly, I think this episode was overall very good. Yes, it had a lot of the tension between Matt and Harriet being upped a lot with her dating a baseball pitcher (loved the joke about how he wasn't a real baseball player by Matt that ran through the show), but it seems to be working. I thought we'd kind of resolved this thread two weeks ago, but I guess not. I just hope this doesn't become the focus of the show, though I expect this subplot to run into the Christini Lahti as a journalist subplot at some point.

Once we got past the intial 20 or so minutes, the show really picked up. Seeing the discovery that the material was plagerized and what to do about it worked well. Seeing Danny blow up at Ricky and Ron was nice, as was their standing by the writer and not revealing who did it. To see them want to fall on their swords and take the hit was a nice touch.

That said, would SNL have gone that far to explain a mistake? I can see breaking into the tape feed once but at three times, it got a bit absurd. At that point, the audience might start thinking it was a running joke on the show. Which maybe was part of the whole point of the thing.

I did love the call Jordan got from Jack where you could hear him shouting over the phone. Man, Stephen Weber was missed this week.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 10/10/2006 08:27:00 AM | |
Monday, October 09, 2006
Monday morning funny

Tom Wilson (aka Biff from Back to the Future) sings a song about all the questions he's asked by fans about Back to the Future and other things. In a word: hysterical.

The video starts off grey but gets better quickly.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 10/09/2006 09:44:00 AM | |
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Football thoughts
  • Apparently the way to get the Titans to show up for a game is to have them be 21 plus point underdogs. It seemed to have worked this afternoon. I have to admit this loss was a bit easier to take than the trouncing we received last week from Dallas and a few weeks ago in San Diego.
  • So, my day of getting to see both my teams play at the same time was a bit of a dud...both the Titans and Redskins lost. Oh well. Good news is I get to see them both play again next week. Bad news is they play each other. Before you ask--I am pulling for the Redskins.
  • In case you've been living in a cave, T.O. went back to Philly this afternoon. Game wise, the big game has lived up to the hype. Hype-wise, it's not. I swear FOX can't go two seconds without showing us T.O. or mentioning T.O. or throwing in that, oh by the way, T.O. is back in Philly. Honestly...does anyone care? I mean, besides T.O.?
  • So, watching the UT vs Georgia game last night, I was hating the ESPN coverage. Did we really need the baby pictures of Joe Terrashinski? First of all, it borders on child abuse to bring up a child to pull for the University of Georgia, much less make them play there. I could have handled one or two shots, but when we kept going back to it again and again I was ready to throw up. Of course, I shouldn't be shocked since we had Todd "I hate all things UT" Blackledge calling the game. Oh well, I suppose I can take my comfort and satisfaction in knowing that the whole UGA team was crying like babies after being humilated by the mighty Vols on national TV.
  • Speaking of ESPN and their bias--being too wound up to go to bed after the destruction of UGA, I watched some highlights. And dear heavens, could Corso and Herbstreit pander any more to the Gainsville audience anymore? "Oh Florida is number two...we love them..." Yeah, whatever. If you guys were in studio, you'd be along with Mark May in wanting to kiss up to USC. Please, for the love of Pete, will someone go and beat USC. I know they play in a crappy, inferior conference, but I am sick to death of hearing about it. Vandy could run through the Pac 10 undefeated....

posted by Michael Hickerson at 10/08/2006 06:03:00 PM | |

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