The Universe and Me

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

24: 4-5 p.m.

24. 10. Just personal preference, but I don’t care for Audrey’s square glasses. Once upon a time Jack was recruited to CTU by this Henderson dude mentioned last week/hour. Henderson was accused of selling classified intelligence, but there wasn’t enough evidence to convict him. Possibly there wasn’t enough intelligence, classified or otherwise, at CTU either. Jack sneaks into Omicrom or whatever the business is called and isn’t the least bit suspicious when Henderson tasers him and insists the leads are wrong and he’s merely an easy target. He can prove it if Jack follows him into one of the bunkers. Clearly Jack hasn’t eaten since breakfast and is becoming hypoglycemic. Henderson shows him files of the scientists who worked on the gas project who all mysteriously died. Jack tries to send the files to CTU but the phones have gone wonky. Henderson sneaks out of the bunker, leaving Jack there with a bomb placed in something resembling a scanner. He takes cover before it explodes & lives to fight another hour.

Back at CTU, Sam misses the peace and tranquility of the Shire. He fires Carrie for no reason and demands to know where Chloe is. I was so wishing Edgar had said, “She went to the bathroom,” just to see if Sam would check the ladies room. NSA has picked up chatter which, when analyzed, contains numbers sequences (morphing into Lost, are we?) and mentions the “downtown corridor.” Chloe figures out the Russian president’s motorcade is being targeted and informs Sam who thinks it’s an unsubstantiated theory and dismisses her. Secretly, Edgar places a blanket over Chloe’s subnet, hacks into NSA’s account and sends them a notice. Audrey asks Curtis to invoke a Section 112 on Sam since The One Ring has made him mentally unfit to rule. CTU informs Logan, who pretends ignorance of the threat. The motorcade starts to turn around whereupon the Hostiles, complete with flamethrower, attack. Aaron easily picks them off so Martha and the Russians are safe. British Hostile is none too happy. He suspects Logan tipped off CTU and plans to retaliate. Best line: Henderson’s “Buchanan? What a stiff!” Next up: I don’t know but I guarantee someone will utter the phrase: “With all due respect.”

Monday, February 27, 2006

see! Posted by Picasa

Man or mango?

Movie: The Book of Love. All I can say is any woman who would cheat on Simon Baker is insane. No, wait, that's not all, after all. Baker's character was a kind, decent, innocent chap whose worst fault seemed to be a habit of correcting other people's grammar. At the end of the movie, everyone else seems happy or content with their lives, while he remains devastated. What kind of message is this?

Friday, February 24, 2006

Music notes

Wanted to mention some bands I like and think are worth checking out. The Guggenheim Grotto was featured on Morning Becomes Eclectic back in January. As was KT Tunstall. I was happy to receive Swede Jose Gonzalez's CD Veneer for Christmas. He features three songs with a heavily Argentinian guitar feel to them on his page at myspace. A new Icelandic band named Myst placed one song titled "Here For You" on their page. They used to have an English page at myspace with four songs, but it's not presently working. I hope the band still is. Also from Icleand, I got a kick out of seeing Brúðarbandið's video to their song "Sid" over at Kvikmynd. It's also featured in audio and video format at their own home page.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

24: 3-4 p.m.

24. 5.9. Suddenly twenty four seems like a lot of hours. Earwig’s supervisor has a British accent and has gone to great personal expense to acquire these canisters and is none too impressed with Earwig’s wasting some of the gas. Here’s a knife in Earwig’s gut for all his hard work. He probably wasn’t on the insurance plan, either. Nathanson hears he’s next and tries to run. Wanting his key card back, Sam calls his sister, but her boyfriend’s trying so hard to think of what he can do with it, I could nearly see the unlit light bulb hovering over his head. Somehow Nathanson knows Audrey’s number at CTU even though she doesn’t even work there. But he doesn’t know Jack’s number. Audrey patches him through. Nathanson offers to help Jack find the nerve gas and hints that Walt was not the only one working inside the government. To avoid being brought back to CTU, Jack blindsides Curtis. To avoid Sam’s wrath, Audrey asks Chloe to delete the record of Jack’s call. Chloe’s skills don’t extend to erasing just one call. She has to erase Audrey’s entire phone log, incurring Sam’s suspicion. Bill, who I’m certain was wearing lipstick, blames it on a system glitch.

British Hostile calls Walt’s phone which the Secret Service has probably felt like dorks guarding. Since the U.S. has made it impossible for him to transport the gas to Russia, he will strike at Russia on U.S. soil. He demands Suvorov’s motorcade route. Logan knows what a bad shot those Hostiles have been in the past and figures they’ll never be able to hit a limousine. Jack can’t reach Nathanson before a chopper full of Hostiles does. Before leaving this mortal rooftop, he directs Jack to a chip in his pocket. While keeping beneath Hobbit Radar, Chloe tries to data mine the chip’s files. For some reason she needs Audrey’s DOD code. Bill tries to divert Sam from Audrey’s station, but Sam hears a suspicious bleep and places Bill in custody. From now on, all stations will be mirrored through his office. Chloe gives Jack some info about a company possibly named Omicom whose Senior Vice President of Research and Development, a Christopher Henderson, Jack knows. After learning about the terrorist’s plans, Martha decides to accompany the Suvorov’s to the airport. Best line: “CTU has become way too porous.”

Monday, February 20, 2006

Til Hamingju Ísland

And the results are in. Silvía Nótt will represent Iceland at the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest. She won the final competition with a massive 70% of the votes. In a country of give or take 300,000 inhabitants, almost 120,000 votes were recorded. Which goes to show how seriously Eurovision is taken. Unless there’s not much else worthy of attention these dark winter days. Silvía is actually actress Ágústa Eva Erlendsdóttir who will play the part of Eva Lind in the upcoming movie Jar City. She’s also playing a role in this song which could either prove hilarious or embarrassing. It appears most of Iceland thinks she’s hilarious. Here’s the song's video. And here’s a translation of the crazy lyrics:

Til Hamingju Ísland - Silvía Nótt

Hey you! Really cool! I wanna talk with you.
I'm Silvia Night shining in the light.
I know you're longing for me.
I'm born in Reykjavik, talentful, no village freak.
I know I'm gonna win the f’ing final.
All the other songs have lost.
Congratulations Iceland, that I was born here.
I'm Silvía Nótt, and you support me.
Eurovision Nation will have a fit when I come along.
I'm born to win this, walk over it.
Cool, cool, cool.
Nice song, really cool, nothing 90s disgust.
It's cool, okay, it isn't gay, I'm here to stay.
The other bitches have spots, but I'm a virgin.
You love me. You worship me. But again it sucks.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Ricky, Karl, Steve Posted by Picasa

"I've seen him blossom from an idiot to an imbecile"

On the latest Ricky Gervais podcast, he urges listeners to write in their blogs about one of his cohorts, Karl Pilkington (aka Dilkington to the British Post) who he is trying to turn into a global phenomenon. So, I’m doing my part here. Karl’s a radio producer who was born in Manchester, apparently near a chemical plant, which explains a few things about his mental capabilities. He possesses a perfectly round bald head which would be ideal for placing advertising on. He has a girlfriend named Suzanne who must be the most patient woman ever born. He believes dinosaurs should be brought back because there are too many people on the planet due to less natural selection. And he’s a very good sport to put up with the ribs, insults and “You’re an idiot! You’re an idiot!” comments from Gervais and Steve Merchant. Give the podcasts a listen, as well as the archived old radio show to learn more and laugh. Some quotes Wikipedia attributes to Mr Pilkington include:

  • There hasn't been one publication by a monkey.
  • Don't chuck stuff about because you'll break it.
  • People who live in glass houses have to answer the door.
  • Were those presents the three kings brought Jesus for Christmas or his birthday?
  • Even caveman had little pants on when you see footage of them.
  • One day, you'll be able to wake up and eat a yoghurt you can have a chat with.
  • If you saw an old fella eating a Twix, you would think, 'that’s a bit weird innit?'
  • Knowledge is almost annoying.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Lost: One of them

Lost. 2.14. Okay, who’s in charge of the wigs on this show? I wouldn’t have thought it possible Sayid could look geeky. So we learned he was arrested for shredding what probably weren’t love notes to Nadia. While in captivity, the US soldiers asked him to translate for them. The head of chemical warfare, who coincidentally used nerve gas on a village where Sayid had relatives, also knows where a US helicopter pilot is. It doesn’t take much coercion to make Sayid torture his compatriot for the information. Turns out one of the US soldiers not only knew Arabic after all and merely used Sayid to perform the torture so he wouldn’t have to, but he’s also Kate’s father. The backstory interconnections thicken.

Back on the island, Ana Lucia sees Danielle creeping around and notifies Sayid. She’s trapped an Other who says his name is Henry Gale. He insists he isn’t a witch at all and hails from Minnesota, not Kansas, but the balloon flight is far too Wizard of Ozish to be credible. When Henry tries to make a run for it, Danielle shoots an arrow in his shoulder. Sayid takes Henry to Locke. Henry’s sticking with the balloon crash story. He and his wife lived in a cave on the beach until three weeks ago when she got sick and died. Since they need to find out the truth, Sayid asks Locke to change the armory’s combination. Bypassing Jack, Sayid locks himself in with Henry and interrogates him. Or takes out his frustration on him over Shannon being killed because Ana thought she was an Other. If Locke doesn’t open the door for Jack, the button won’t get pushed. And here once again Jack seems extremely egotistical, risking everyone’s lives for his own agenda. The countdown reaches zero, some glyphs appear in place of the 108 and a strange noise that might have been the blast doors about to drop shakes the hatch. Locke presses a command that isn’t The Numbers and all is righted. Hmm.

Meanwhile, Sawyer’s not very popular anymore, especially with a certain noisy tree frog. When he discovers Harley/Rerun pigging out on the Dharma ranch dressing, peanut butter and other goodies, he enlists him to help find the little critter. Or threatens to tell the Lostaways of Hurley’s Ranch Disorder over the island’s Coconut Internet. Hurley tries not to be offended. He may be fat and like to eat, but the Lostaways like him. Dude, for the sake of the frog, I’m thinking you shouldn’t have hurt Sawyer’s feelings. One less croak to wake him. Best line: Sawyer’s “If this were a scary movie, I’d be with a hot chick.” Next: What’s behind the door of Hatch #3?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

24: 2-3 p.m.

24. 5.8. There’s increased chatter related to the canisters. Jack decides he can pose as Rossler and deliver the chip. Evelyn interrupts Martha’s disgruntled blogging with questions about Walt. We didn’t know she cared so much. Chloe talks Jack through reconfiguring the trigger but The Hostiles kidnap him and plan to take him to Earwig who’s bound to recognize him from the airport. Jack’s certain he can handle it. Mike convinces Logan not to tell the public the truth about Walt. The cover up doesn’t sit well with Martha. It’s the president’s job to tell the truth, or she will. Logan gives her the task of telling Walt’s wife, then. I suspect the First Couple will soon be featured in Reader’s Digest’s next edition of “Can this marriage be saved?” We think not. The Hostiles plan to test a canister at the Sunrise Hills Mall to see if the reconfiguring worked. Hobbit Sam thinks it’s best to accept the damage from one in order to find the other nineteen. Audrey wishes they could arrest and interrogate/torture the information out of them. When it’s time to unlock the trigger, Jack gives them the wrong code. Since it doesn’t work, the Hostiles live up to their name, punch him into unconsciousness and chain him to a table leg. Then they call Earwig.

Someone named Andre has an alternative way to release the gas. Jack comes to as the ventilation system starts spreading it. Seemingly with nothing but his very powerful legs, he trips one Hostile and crushes him to death. He grabs a gun and mask and the keys from the fallen guard and stops the rest of the gas from escaping. But not before it’s infiltrated the food court. Shoppers start dropping. Jack does not have a visual on the Hostile but Chloe remembers the tracking device in the trigger he’s carrying. In a break from the action, Martha hasn’t got the guts to tell Suzanne Cummings the truth about the traitorous Walt. Back to the action. When the Hostile is told he’s being followed, he shoots himself. Earwig and the canisters are gone. Most appropriate quote: “We’ve got nothing here.”

Monday, February 13, 2006

Prove it

Movie: Proof. I’m willing to pitch in and hire Gwyneth Paltrow a voice coach so she can learn to stop speaking through her nose. Of course, an acting coach might be needed too. Since she’s won an Academy Award, it could just be me, but I wish she would learn some emotions besides whiney and annoyed. Her character in this film seems bored, and therefore I found her boring. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in school and around mathematicians, but it’s my understanding that they’re passionate about their work to the point of fanatical. That they feel compelled to do math, either in their head or on paper. This film’s character seems totally ambivalent about the talent she possesses and is only spurred to action by her father pushing her. In fact, the math books lining her bookshelves she says are only for show. She really reads Cosmo. Perhaps that was her attempt at a joke. I was also unimpressed with the lack of mathematics in the movie. The one interesting thing mentioned is that there have been so few women mathematicians throughout history. It isn’t because women are incapable of such thought, so what happens to all the math-minded females of the world? I suspect they end up working in a library.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Go lightly from the ledge, babe

Movie: Just Like Heaven. Adapted from the French novel If Only It Were True. Starring the always cute Reese Witherspoon as an overachieving doctor who’s not quite dead and Mark Ruffalo as the depressed, gruff big lug who’s had his heart broken and needs to help her to help himself. Recipe for a winning romantic comedy. Add a sister played by the director’s wife, Dina Waters, who was remarkably funny (“Who put SpongeBob in the lasagna?”) in addition to poignant and reminded me a lot of Cindy Williams (aka Shirley from Laverne and.) Jon Heder as the somber yet hysterical new age bookstore guru was wonderful or “righteous” as well. I appreciated hearing The Cure’s version of the title song at the end, but not the Katie Melua cover version at the beginning. Can’t we make a law forbidding anyone to cover any song, like ever? I heard a countrified version of Bob Dylan’s “It Ain’t Me Babe” the other day and nearly had a brain aneurism.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Lost : The Long Con

Lost: 2.13. Right off the bat, Locke answered one of my questions. He kept the statues for future therapeutic value. Jack thinks it’s irresponsible only one of them has the combination to the gun room, so Locke shares the info. Charlie’s been relocated to the suburbs and has lost his mentor. “That’s like getting Gandhi to beat his kids.” Sawyer’s not so amused when Jack takes his painkillers. That’s one less Christmas card he’ll have to send this year. In his backstory, he tries his usual con game with Jo from Facts of Life, or a divorcee named Cassidy with a 1974 shag haircut. But she’s not that dumb. Nor does she have any money for him to swindle. She does, though, want to learn the art of the con, so Sawyer teaches her. As the episode plays out, he falls for Cassidy but with pressure from his partner Gordy, goes through with the long con against her anyway. Everybody say hi to Kate’s mom, seen waitressing at the restaurant.

Kate’s miffed that Jack and Ana Lucia didn’t ask her to join their little army. Sayid has never heard of Harry Nilsson and probably thinks Hurley’s whacko telling him to “put the lime in the coconut and drink ‘em both up.” Hurley doesn’t now the difference between Norway and Nigeria, but he does know Bernard is a dentist. More importantly, he passes along the shortwave radio. Sayid’s still mourning and isn’t interested in any glorified walkie talkie but his nature gets the better of him and he’s able to “switch the blue wire with the red wire and make it stronger.” While gardening, Sun is dragged off. Sawyer and Kate hear her scream and find her. But something doesn’t make sense to Sawyer. Sun (aka Tokyo Rose) is too weak to have escaped from The Others and the hood they used is a different weave than the one used on Kate who figures Ana and Jack are trying to scare the others into joining their little army. It works. The Lostaways demand the guns.

Locke’s putting the Dewey Decimal System to good use while Sawyer gives him the heads up. Locke decides to move the guns while Sawyer pushes the button. Major twist: there’s a new sheriff in town. Sawyer’s got the guns and he’s done taking orders. Get used to it. I understood his point that the Lostaways took his things while he was off trying to rescue him, but am baffled as to why he wants to be in charge of these lunatics. Kate believes he wants everyone to hate him. But it’s just his nature to con people. Sayid interrupts Hurley’s reading a mystery manuscript and they listen to “Moonlight Serenade” on the radio. Sawyer offers the heroin statue to Charlie, but he doesn’t want it. He only helped Sawyer to make Locke look like a fool. Looks like Locke has a nemesis. Best quote: “I’m this close to the high score of Donkey Kong.” Next: a stranger is captured and the countdown reaches zero.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

24: 1-2 p.m.

24. 5.7. Jack needs to be debriefed and only me at home raised my hand to volunteer for the job. Nathanson/Blofeld, formerly with the CIA, now working on his own initiative, seems to have taken a break from his big screen TV viewing and popped out for lunch. Or he’s on to the fact that they’re on to him and he’s disconnected his line. The terrorists are also working on their own. Since the ports are closed, the gas can’t be used against Russia. Ivan (last name either Erwich or Earwig) isn’t particular. The US will do. But the micro circuitry on the remotes have invalid codes and need to be reconfigured. Jacob Rossler begins providing the specifications but CTU finds his penthouse and wings him. With a little pressure from Curtis, Jack makes Rossler say he planned to deliver the chip (but no dip.) He still will, complete with a tracking transponder, but only if CTU provides him with what he wants, including jailbait Inessa from Kiev. Sam orders Jack to accept the deal. Jack promises to save Inessa from Rossler’s clutches, but she must have heard of his track record. She starts shooting, killing Rossler who they need to answer Ivan’s next call. Oops.

Meanwhile, in the subplot, Hobbit Sam’s junkie sister Jenny calls, begging for $500. Sam meets her outside whereupon her boyfriend beats him up and steals everything in his wallet. Martha slaps Logan (as we’d all like to) for not listening to her, then sets about writing a speech for him. Audrey can’t track down Kim. Chloe has Spenser reinstated, then un-reinstated. Do not mess with Chloe. Walt wimps out and hangs himself in the West Hallway. Best line: Jack’s “Trust me, you don’t want to go down this road with me.” Next week: The Mallrats discover a sale at The Gap and it’s a gas gas gas!

Monday, February 06, 2006

The Substitute People

Movie: Elizabethtown. I remember when this was released, the reviews were unkind, so I was prepared to dislike it or at best, find it painful to watch and severely flawed. Instead, I really liked it. For the first half hour, Orlando Bloom’s efforts at an American accent are distracting, but I got used to his inherent Britishness seeping through. The most confusing character was Susan Sarandon’s. Her husband’s death happened a few days previously, yet she’s hyperactively made good use of that time (perhaps she didn’t sleep), and none of it spent grieving. I also didn’t understand the significance of mentioning the blue suit several times for what turned out to be no reason. I don’t know if the film editor was in awe of or afraid of Cameron Crowe or what. Otherwise, there’s a sense of realness about the movie. Which means it succeeds in sweeping up the viewer in the lives and emotions of its characters. Kirsten Dunst is quirky and spunky and charming, even if I sometimes wondered about her sanity. I greatly appreciated the messages she shares with Bloom. That work failures mean so little compared to what’s truly important in life. And her theories of “substitute people” which I related to. Add an excellent soundtrack which tied in with the themes perfectly. I should be so lucky to have a band play “Freebird” at my funeral. I recommend this movie, especially to my niece Shannen, an Orlando fan.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Síðasti Bærinn

The Last Farm, directed by Icelandic filmmaker Rúnar Rúnarsson just received an Oscar nomination in the short film category. Filmed in Dýrafjördur in North Western Iceland, it's a story about a man who lives on the last surviving farm in a remote valley. He and his wife come under great pressure give up their dream and to move to the city. Desperation leads him to find a way to keep it all, but at a price. Thus ensues a final struggle between modern and traditional ways which “ends with a dramatic, tragic but genuine victory.” The film has already won at least a dozen awards around the world. Musical score provided by Sigur Rós's Kjartan Sveinsson, a sampling of which you can download at their site. Good news: the film already has three offers from companies regarding distribution rights in the US.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

24: 12-1 p.m.

24. 5.6. Congratulations to Kiefer Sutherland on the SAG award. I’m sure he’d like to thank Marwan, without whom Day 4 would not have been possible. As for Day 5, they haven’t got time to build a case so Jack text messages Mike to call him on a secure line that Blofeld easily tapes. Since the jig is about to be up, Walt confesses to Logan that he leaked information on the gas so the terrorists could take it. But it’s no threat because as soon as they reach their base, Viggo Mortenson’s older brother Shaffer, who’s reprogrammed the detonators, will blow up the canisters by satellite. All this will prove there are weapons of mass destruction in Central Asia. Using phrases like “limited collateral damage” for murdered hostages and “unfortunate but necessary intervention” for a murdered Palmer sound traitorous to Logan, but he’s scared of being implicated. Suddenly Jack’s channeling Radar from MASH and hears the choppers arriving long before they make a sound. He’s taken to Class 3 Detention, held in study hall, but finds a cahooter in Aaron who brings him to Logan. Before Walt can call for help, Jack pounds him and threatens to cut out his eyes, to start with, if Walt doesn’t spill all. Copy that. The canisters are in a container of medical supplies scheduled to leave Long Beach at 2:30. CTU sends a retrieval team but finds no canisters, only the dead Shaffer. Though dead, he manages to call. Or Ivan, a chemical engineer and member of the separatist movement who’s stolen his cell phone, calls. He knows Walt altered the codes. Ivan doesn’t negotiate with his enemies. He eliminates them. Meanwhile, Martha is found in the stables. Why she didn’t leap on a horse and gallop away, I’ll never know. Logan stops her transfer to the dreaded Vermont but she wants no more of his weasely kisses. Good for her because it was making me sick. I suspect Grunge Boy has a crush on Jack. I also suspect we haven’t seen the last of him and Diane, even though they left CTU. Best threat: Jack’s “I’m done talking to you, you understand me?” Next: someone else is in the penthouse. Could it be Zorro?