Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Security check.

Soon I'll be going to the airport to catch a flight for a mini vacation. I haven't been on a plane since the TSA became a hot topic. This time I will and I am preparing a list of things that will make this trip more memorable. At least it will for one lucky TSA agent.

Things to do:

1) Start going "Psst. Psst" to a TSA agent. When you have their attention, start pointing at the person next to you. Walk away whistling when that person is dragged off to the special room.

2) Keep your head down and mutter incoherently. No one ever pays attention to that. If someone does approach you, turn away and start growling.

3) When you deposit your money into the tub to get scanned demand a receipt before it goes through.

4) If you decide to do the full body scanner, undress before going through it. Ignore the panicking TSA agent who is now declaring that you do not need to undress to walk through it.

5) If you choose to have the pat down, tell the agent there is a $5 in it for them if they take their time and do it right.

6) Give a TSA agent a covered box and then run away as fast as you can.

7) Have your carry on luggage vibrate when you go through security.

8) When the agents tell you to do something, you tell them to do the same thing but angrily.
"Empty your pockets, please."
"No, you empty your pockets!"

9) When they finish your pat down announce loudly that is now my turn and proceed to run your hands over their body. Tell them "Don't worry, this is free of charge".

10) Pop a balloon near a security counter.

I believe this will make your stay in the airport much more memorable. Especially if they decide to hustle you to the small room in the back.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

My review of "Bunheads"

Amy Sherman-Palladino is at it again. She was the force behind the show "Gilmore Girls" which I thoroughly enjoyed. The writing was sharp, the characters were interesting while flawed and the lead actresses (Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel) could handle the speedy dialogue as well as looking like mother and daughter. They lived in Stars Hollow which was a small town with a quirky cast of characters. Lauren Graham and Scott Patterson had good chemistry and their relationship was one of the foundations of the show.

Now ASP has turned her attention to another small town which is located on the west coast. The town of Paradise has been created and does not even have a movie theater. Michelle (Sutton Foster) moves there after a drunken night and quickie wedding. She quickly runs into her new mother-in-law played by the strong willed Kelly Bishop (who also played Lauren Graham's mother on GG). This is culture shock for Michelle since she was in Las Vegas dancing as a showgirl. Going from a big town to a small one can always cause drama what with the culture shock.

Just like in GG, Mrs. Sherman-Palladino is filling the town with quirky characters such as Truly (Stacey Oristano). I think she may be the Kirk of this series. Several other characters are introduced and they will be fleshed out in later episodes just as it was done in GG.

What I like:

Michelle is likable. She is another tall brunette (like Lauren Graham). This means that ASP tends to have a type she likes. Michelle is flawed in that she is a talented dancer but has no real focus in her life. She knows her mistakes are her own and is very frustrated (like Lorelei was at times). Drinking is a release for her and is how she ends up in Paradise.

Kelly Bishop is back. She did a fantastic job on GG and I think she will here even though the two characters are worlds apart.

The writing is good and characters are quickly fleshed out so none of the major players seems shallow. The dialogue is not as fast paced as with GG. Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel did well with it but to do that again would just mean this show is another version of GG (not that would be a bad thing).

Other people from GG pop in; Rose Abdoo (Gypsy in GG) makes a quick appearance as a new character.

What I did not like:

How the first episode ended. I feel this was too dramatic and cut short potential for some great story lines as Michelle grows as a person. Granted, the ending event will have long running repercussions for the series but I would have liked it to go another way.

The title "Bunheads" apparently is a term referring to ballet dancers. I am not sure if it is derogatory or not but I do wonder if this the title they should have chosen. Remember that the creators of "Cougar Town" regret that name.

I think Truly was a little too much in the first episode. I understand she is who she is but a little less would have made her more accessible and understandable.

Overall I recommend this show. As I stated before, ASP is a good writer who creates interesting characters. I want to see what Michelle does here and how being here will change her life. ASP has experience is writing small towns and making it engaging. I am curious to see where the show goes and that is the best thing a show can do for its audience; make viewers interested in seeing where it goes.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Goodbye Ray Bradbury

The world lost Ray Bradbury yesterday but he left a rich body of work. He had been writing for decades and his work is one that explores the nature of man while taking a look at futures that may not be pretty but are all too real based on the world we live in today. He wrote about books being burned which is something that routinely goes on today. He wrote about the colonization of Mars which is not so unrealistic as it once was. There are many works one could talk about when discussing his writing; Something Wicked this way Comes, "The Illustrated Man", The Martian Chronicles, Fahrenheit 451The Halloween Tree, etc. I could spend many blogs just beginning to cover part of what he had done.

His work had a lot to admire.  "It was a pleasure to burn" is still one of my favorite quotes. This novel, Fahrenheit 451, turned things on a head since firemen were not there to help but to destroy. Bradbury did this a lot. Take something ordinary and change it to extraordinary.

I think his greatest asset was his characters. His storytelling really shone through the people populating his stories especially in works such as From the Dust Returned. Where else could one see people we define as monsters as a tight knit family who love and support each other? Don't we all want environments where we are accepted and appreciated? Bradbury did that. The family was not what we could call conventional but they were still a family.

How can you not admire a character, Charles Halloway,  who defies having his deepest wish granted while all those around him are succumbing? The protagonist saw through the promises and stood firm. One has to wonder how many of us would have the same resolve in Something Wicked this way Comes.

If you have never read "The Veldt"  you need to. It was the first thing of Mr. Bradburys that I read and still haunts me at times.

I never met him but I wish I had. The only contact I had with him came through the mail. I was finishing my senior work at college as I wrote a paper about Poe being the father of modern horror. I sent letters to several authors asking how Poe had influenced their writing. Only one author responded to my inquiry Ray Bradbury. His typed letter described what an influence Poe was and how Mr. Bradbury continued that with his continuation of "House of Usher".

Now I think I need to send out letters to current authors to ask how they were influenced by Ray Bradbury. The answer should be "enormously".