Tuesday, March 24, 2009

There's a Bear Outside

I had a dream last night that there was a grizzly bear in my backyard. My yard wasn't the little box that it is in real life. It was much larger and was landscaped. The bear saw me through the window and began pawing around, trying to get in. So I hid.

Eventually, something outside caught its attention. I took the opportunity to come out of hiding to turn the lights out and close the blinds, hoping that it would forget and leave. It saw me through the window, however, before I could close the blinds over the sliding door. It swung it's arm back, gearing to break the glass, so I ran over to the front door on the other side of the house. Fortunately, its back-swing took a long time. Maybe it was charging up its power or something.

When I got to the front door, I suddenly found myself in a house that I lived in as a child, though I was still an adult. I opened up the door, but decided to wait for the bear to break the glass and bound inside. I would slip out and shut the door just before it could get to me. With the bear inside, it would buy me more time to get away from the house and to safety. But the glass never broke.

I saw the bear walk around the house and up to a neighbors house across the street. Somehow, I zoomed in as if I were looking through a camera, and saw that both their front door and inner garage door were open. I was worried that the bear would get inside and get them. But then it turned around and headed back toward my house. That's when I realized that I still had the door open. I slammed it shut, but it was too late. I already got the bears attention. So I deadbolted the door and ran upstairs. For some reason my mom was there all of a sudden, and she ran into a room and closed the door behind her.

The upstairs was open to the outside with no walls. Just beams which supported the roof. I did not find this to be odd. I looked over at the ladder, which ascended to the upstairs from the backyard, and saw that a completely unrelated blackbear was climbing up. I found this to be an odd coincidence. I went over to push the ladder down so that the blackbear couldn't get up, but the ladder was fastened to the side. I managed to knock the bear off by pushing on the ladder. I then went to unfasten it. Two of the ties came off easily, but the third wouldn't budge, so I got out my pocket knife. The black bear began ascending the ladder again at this point.

My knife wasn't sharp enough to cut the tie, so I called for my mom to get a sharp knife. The bear was nearly to the top now, so I started bucking the ladder again. But this time it wasn't falling off. Just then, around the corner of the upstairs, came the grizzly bear from before. I had no idea how it got there. There was nowhere to run from either bear.

I shouted, "Oh come on!" before realizing that I had just woken up from a dream. I felt kind of frustrated as I lay there. It was like the dream had cheated or something.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Starbuck Remembers All Along the Watchtower

One of my favorite scenes from BSG. The look on Tigh's face is priceless.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Tommy Westphall's Universe

Are your favorite television shows merely the dream of an autistic boy?
Listening to the Rick Emerson show this morning, I learned of a show from the 80's that I had not heard of before, called St. Elsewhere. I checked out the pilot episode on Hulu, and it turned out to be pretty descent. It's basically an early hospital drama who's cast includes up and coming actors such as Denzel Washington, Howie Mandel, and David Morse of The Green Mile and Twelve Monkeys.

One thing they mentioned on the Rick Emmerson show, was the series finale, which ended with the implication that the entire series was merely the daydream of a boy with autism named Tommy Westphall. By implication, this could mean that other shows which have tied into St. Elsewhere are also part of this dream. For example, the bar and characters from Cheers not only appeared in an episode of St. Elsewhere, but St. Elsewhere characters also appeared in Cheers. But it goes further; the show, Homicide: Life on the Street included characters from St. Elsewhere, and Law and Order has included characters from Homicide. So, according to this hypothesis, that would make the Law and Order series a part of Tommy Westphall's dream.

But it doesn't stop there. Researchers of the "Westphall Hypothesis" have dug around and created grids, charting all the shows which tie into St. Elsewhere, either directly or indirectly. This grid includes almost every show you've ever heard of, from Buffy to Boston Legal to Dr. Who. There is also a key which explains each crossover. Even if you don't buy the hypothesis, it's interesting to see how each show links to another with crossovers.

Some of the crossovers are a bit sketchy, however. For instance, one episode of the whimsical British sci-fi show, Red Dwarf, featured a spaceship graveyard which included the Firefly ship and a Klingon ship from the Star Trek series. I take something like this to be more of a humorous reference, rather than a canonical crossover. Besides, Firefly and Star Trek can't exist in the same universe anyway; the entire premises of the two shows conflict. Also, if two characters from two shows smoke the same fictitious brand of cigarettes, is that a crossover which ties them into the same universe? Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. Wouldn't it be the same to say that all shows that use the telephone prefix, 555, part of the same universe?

It's important to distinguish a crossover from a reference, for instance, a character from one show appearing in another is a crossover. A spinoff, such as Frasier is a crossover. A character on a show mentioning another show, such as a character from Heroes watching Seinfeld would be a reference, not a crossover. Mentioning a name as a tribute to another show, such as the hospital from House having a Doogie Howser wing, would be a reference, not a crossover. On the other hand, if House were intentionally set in the same hospital as Doogie Howser, or if a character made a mention of having worked with Doogie Howser, those would be a crossovers.

There are a lot of arguments against this hypothesis. I haven't found most of them to be conclusive. For instance, one argument is; saying that the appearance of a character in two shows means that those shows take place in the same universe is like saying that two shows set in the same city take place in the same universe. I disagree in that a writer whose show is set in Chicago may not intend for their show to exist in the same world and another show in Chicago, however, if two writers decide to include the same character in both of their shows, that pretty much implies the intent that their shows exist in the same world.

On that note however, say that the writers of Heroes intends for their show to exist in the same world as Las Vegas, but they never intended to be a part of Tommy Westphall's dream? Do they have to be a part of Tommy Westphall's dream for continuity? And if all these shows are related, how come I never see people with super powers on Boston Legal? (Denny Crane's grandeur doesn't count.)

I suppose the main thing is; it's fiction and involves multiple disjointed writers, therefore each show is dependent on the canon of that specific writer. From the St. Elsewhere canon, perhaps Heroes is a part of Tommy Westphall's dream, but from the Heroes canon it isn't. Hell, from the Seinfeld canon, Seinfeld happens in real life, however many other shows reference it as a television show. So it really depends on the point of view of the show; if you watch Seinfeld it's real life. If you watch Bones, and somebody is watching Seinfeld on TV, now it's a TV show. That's how fiction works. Christ, Tommy Westphall could be having different dreams with crossover characters. But then on that note, isn't that really what we're doing when we watch these shows?

So in conclusion, I guess my stance is that it depends on:

1. the specific canon of the show: do the writers want it to be a dream or real?
2. where no specific canon is established by the writer, it becomes dependent on the viewer.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

J-Dubb's Theatre Upgrade

J-Dubb's Theatre has been upgraded. Watch the video for details.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Seth MacFarlane on YouTube

Seth MacFarlane, creator of Family Guy and American Dad has a channel on YouTube now called, SethComedy. This channel features cartoon shorts which are basically the same type of cartoons you would see as flashbacks in Family Guy or American Dad. Since I enjoy Family Guy, I subscribed.

Widescreen Videos Screw up my Blog

If you saw the previous post that was up for like three minutes and 24 seconds and 17 miliseconds, I took it down because it included an embedded video in YouTube's widescreen format. It seems the widescreen videos break out of my blogs div and look like sh** on my blog. That sucks.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I Wanna Be Part of the Grind.

Call me crazy. Everybody else seems to be wanting to get out of this, but I want to get in. I want to wake up while it's still dark, wishing that I could stay in bed a little longer. Take a nice hot shower as I become lucid, get dressed, and head out. I want to see red tail lights in front of me and white headlights going in the opposite direction in the dark of the early morning as I ease my way to work.

I want to get a cup of joe, a comforting aroma to start the day. I want to walk underneath florescent lights, say hi to Jim and hey to Lorene. I want to sit at my desk, getting up a few times to use the copier, until noon, then spend an hour eating lunch and hangin out. Then I want to go back to work for a few hours, until that sweet relief at the end of the day. I want to sit in traffic again as I head home. Walk in and change into casual clothes, and sigh in relief as I sink into the chair in front of the TV. Me time.

I want to do this five times a week until Friday, when I get that big relief at the end of the day. Five o'clock, and everything seems to sing. I want to sleep in on Saturday, just because I can, and spend the day kicked back. Maybe go see a movie, or hike, or hang out with friends and family. I want Sunday night to be bittersweet, as I feel the weekend coming to a close. And I want to wake up on Monday and do it all again.

Maybe I'm crazy. I'm not supposed to want to be in the grind. Everybody wants to get out; to "transcend" it. But I want in. I guess I just want to feel like I'm a part of things.

Six years ago I got out of the military, still practically a kid at 23. Like everyone else, I wanted to be out of the grind. At the time I wanted to feel special. Not a part of everything, but extraordinary; standing out amongst the civilians. And I did feel that way.

After six months of unemployment, however, I began to go stir crazy. I needed something to do, people to talk to, and most of all, I needed to meet women. I finally got a job working security. I had romantic aspirations involving this job. I wanted to chase down bad guys and protect the innocent. Be a hero. Reality turned out to be much different.

I didn't get to be a part of the employees of the company. I could chat, but I wasn't allowed to fraternize, and I couldn't date any of the female employees (although that didn't stop me ;D). This didn't bother me in the beginning. That was what I wanted; not to commingle, but to stand out. I wanted to be the one who allows the others to commingle in safety.

For two years, I worked swing shift, 4 to midnight. And my weekend was Wednesday and Thursday. In the beginning it was pretty convenient to be able to do my errands when everybody else was working, but when my friends and family were off, I was working. It was a rare opportunity to spend time with someone I knew away from work. People would make big plans for the holidays while I sat in a big empty building. Employees would leave on Friday to go out and party, and I got to watch them leave.

After the first few months, I started school part time, as I had planned to do. It was nice as a student; to get to be just one of the students. But it still felt so part time, like I wasn't fully one of them. I yearned for the old days in school when I was one student among many. Of course I have to take responsibility for this situation, however, as I did still have this attitude of wanting to stand apart from everyone else. I wasn't one of these civilians. I had been in the military. I was experienced. (ha)

That attitude left during the two years I worked there. I quit my job to go to school full time, just wanting to be a part of things again. Ironically, this move took me further in the opposite direction. I would sit in class for two hours as the teacher lectured, then move to a different class with different people. Then, after three months, I would have all new classes, never really getting acquainted with anyone. I did get to spend some time with friends and family, which was a plus, but most of my free time was pent up in my room doing homework. When I wasn't doing homework, my activities were limited by my finances, or lack thereof.

During this time, I would listen to new agey types tell me I need to "transcend the rat race" and "be my own boss" etc. Corporations and anybody with power were out to use and manipulate me. Down with the man. So I would spend my time trying to figure out how not to be a part of things.

I switched my major to graphic design, which assuaged this feeling for a while. I got to go to classes with the same group of people for a year, getting to know them and being a part. But then after a year, I switched to web design. Classes were pretty much like they were before graphic design. No solid group of people; just fleeting faces. Things were better than before, however. My primary goal was to do well in school. Having a mission helped. When I was off, I would make time as much as possible to get to know the people I knew again. Plus I was wiser with my money, enabling more reserves and more opportunities. Things were much better than before. Still, I would leave school each day with this melancholy feeling of wanting to be a part of things.

Now I'm done with school and looking for work. I could go all for freelance, be my own boss and make my own hours, if I want to. But I don't. Six years after my term in the military has ended, I just want to be part of the grind. At least for now. Maybe a time will come when I just need to transcend it all. But not now.

When I get up in the morning miserable, everybody else is miserable with me. When I'm stuck in traffic, everyone else is stuck in traffic with me. Counting down the hours, so does everyone else. Feeling that sweet relief at the end of the day with everyone else. And then I want to do it all again with everyone else.

Either that or I just like coffee and pretty traffic lights.

Friday, March 06, 2009

LisaNova; Out to Pasture

Well, that does it. After her latest video, LisaNova is now over as far as I'm concerned. Lisa's new video, titled "Subscriptions Are AMAZING!!!", is a video that she put out for YouTube's Adopt a Feature contest. Google has started this contest to encourage content providers to make videos explaining how to use certain YouTube features that users might not know about. LisaNova chose to make a video touching on subscribing to channels, creating an account, and the new freind activity feature. (See my rants on YouTube's new features.)

This video begins with a neanderthal like person, grunting in frustration, as he seems to have some desire to touch the people in their videos. The good fairy, played by LisaNova, then takes the ape man to some magical realm type place, where he is now shirtless and wearing star shaped nipple pasties, for whatever reason. Obnoxious tirades ensue, as LisaNova uses the computer which dominates this place to explain the afore mentioned features to her simple compatriot; perhaps her way of saying, "so easy a caveman could do it."

Now, I lost interest in LisaNova quite some time ago. Her last video that I enjoyed was "LisaNova Does YouTube", in the summer of 2007. I was trying to still like her prior to that when she did her 300 parody, her obnoxious Affirmation Girl series, and that Pirates series where she expresses her bizaare annoyance with Kiera Knightly. But then, LisaNova Does YouTube was refreshingly fun (though many people would disagree with me). After that, however, it was all down hill and I eventually just stopped watching. I kept my subscription out of courtesy. This latest video was the final straw, and judging from the bulk of comments, I'm not alone. As far as I'm concerned, LisaNova is gone, and has been replaced by an impersonator played by a chimpanzee.

As far as something constructive that I would advise LisaNova on, all I can really say is; it happens. I know this happens to people all the time. People pass their prime, and they really don't know what to do about it. Perhaps in her fame, she has lost the charm of being an independant video maker. Perhaps she knows this and is trying too hard to get this charm back. She has certainly tried to play the "I'm with the little guy" card.

One thing I would have to say, about LisaNova now in contrast with LisaNova then, is that her videos used to have a more contemplative feel. She was never really that funny; she was more interesting. She kind of had an artistic apeal. Now it seems she is going all for funny and has lost her charm. Whereas I used to see LisaNova as being pensive and witty, I now associate her with high pitched squealing and flailing limbs. Perhaps what she needs is to move on from being the small time video maker she once was, while at the same time, stop trying so hard to be funny and recapture the contemplateiveness she once had.

Now, I will by no means imply that she should quit. Instead I would encourage her to keep doing it untill she finds something new that works. Maybe when that happens, I'll start watching her again.

And finally, I will not post or link to the offending video. You can find it if you really want to torture yourself. Instead, I will conclude by posting a LisaNova classic.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

The Network - A Third Option part 2 of 2

Finally! The second season of my summer series, The Network, has finally reached it's conclusion...

at the beginning of March.

Anyways, I think it was worth the wait for this video, the most dramatic of the series.

J-Dubb, possessed by Belphegor, has figured out how to see into the real world. Consequently, he can also interact with the parasitic executive, and is driving him quite mad. How will Belphegor respond? Will J-Dubb regain control of his body?

Watch The Network - A Third Option part 2 of 2

Absentee Blogger Disabled

Absentee Blogger has been deactivated by an authorized user. This blog will now proceed as normal, as it has been doing anyway due to the activation of absentee blogger.