The Universe and Me

Sunday, January 28, 2007

My name is unimportant

The Genesis Member Personality Test

Banksian: You have a personality that closely matches Tony Banks. You are intellectual and classy. Somehow you seem to be battling the feelings of isolation within you. In addition, you feel like you don't quite fit in with the crowd. Still, you are pleasantly unique. Your quirky and witty sense of humour is truly one of a kind. You are easily frustrated if you are restrained with too many rules and regulations. Sometimes you can be a bit hard on yourself, yet a lot of people do highly respect you. Just don't be afraid to shine, for Banksians are a rare type.

Take this quiz!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

From the land of the ice and snow

Your Viking Name is...

Véný Swifthawk
(Well, actually, that wouldn't really be your name -- since you're female, your name would be something like "Véný Björnsdottir". But this is the twenty-first century, and you want to be known for who you are, not for who your father was, right? Right.)

Your Viking Personality: The tougher Vikings might let you on the boat, but generally only when they need ballast. You're not a belligerent person by nature, which is unfortunate if you want to be a Viking. You probably know which end of a sword to hold, but you're not a fearsome fighter by any stretch of the imagination.

You would have a very tough time making a long sea voyage in a Viking longboat. You possess some skills which other Vikings respect, though in your case their respect is tinged with fear.
You have a fairly pragmatic attitude towards life, and tend not to expend effort in areas where it would be wasted. You sometimes come off as a bit of a snob. Vikings are not snobbish people -- they either like you, or they kill you. Try to be more like a Viking.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

24 : 10 - 11 a.m.

24. 6.5. One square mile around Valencia has been destroyed. Chloe wonders, “Why do people I know keep dying?” Well, either because you work for CTU for because you know Jack Bauer or both. Fayed calls some Aussie who stole him the bomb or bombs. Aussie wants to try his luck in Vegas but is lured by Fayed’s promise of more money to find someone who can replicate the Device. The House always wins in Vegas, anyway. President Wayne and staff move into the bridge of the Starship Enterprise, or The Bunker. The Joint Chiefs convene. Admiral Somebody has the line of the hour: “These people want to live in the Stone Age, let’s put them there.”

Assad’s taken to CTU. Let’s all stare, everybody. All he knows about the Nuke Trail is that he sent Fayed to negotiate with Soviet General Gredenko a year ago. Ever quick on the uptake, Chloe pulls up a list of Gredenko’s contacts. Floating near the top is Phillip Bauer, Jack’s dad. They haven’t spoken for around nine years, but Jack’s ready now. In the dull subplot, the FBI enlists or forces Walid to help even though he’s not trained. He’s established a confidence and that’s good enough for them. Sandra/Saundra is livid. Aussie picks up Meg Ryan who doesn’t look like she can fasten her seatbelt, much less replicate a Nuke Device.

Jack calls Jeeves/Sam, his dad’s butler or boyfriend, we’re not sure. Dad mysteriously left yesterday. Didn’t take his cell. Next Jack tries his brother Graham or Graeme or Gray who turns out to be Bluetooth Evil Mastermind from last season. Harbouring a few grudges about not getting the rugged good looks and hair, we’d say. Jack drops in for a little chat and uncomfortable hug. Gray’s wife (Marilyn?) doesn’t appear to be over Jack. We’re betting teen son Josh is really Jack’s. Gray wishes Jack would relax a little so Jack decks him, then ties him up. Gray knows nothing, he swears on his family’s life. Says Jack, “Not good enough” and starts to suffocate him with a plastic bag. End of hour. From the previews, it appears Jack’s dad is Stretch Cunningham. Does Donald Sutherland know about this?

Friday, January 19, 2007

24 : 9 - 10 a.m.

6.4. President Wayne wants Jack to take charge and lead the search but Jack doesn’t feel up to it. He does sick Chloe on finding out what’s the deal with Curtis and Assad. Whoever the Nuclear Engineer prisoner is, he escapes with a suitcase. Fayed and Company are in possession of a rogue nuclear weapon manufactured by the formerSoviet Union. Fayed had the weapon as of last Thursday, so it’s clear he needed Nuclear Engineer to reprogram the trigger and make it functional. To reprogram the trigger, Engineer needs Ahmad’s device which Ray has. Ray wants his family released first butAhmad wants to play Sophie’s Choice. When Ray chooses his son, Ahmad realizes he values Scott over his wife Jillian, so he releases Jillian instead. There goes that marriage.

Off Ray goes to Old Mill Road in Valencia. Jillian calls 911 and ends up patched through to CTU where Morris insists he has no lingering jealousy about any films Milo and Chloe may have seen in the past. Sure. I thought I heard someone say they needed to callCarol Channing and laughed for several minutes, probably missing extremely important dialogue. Sandra/Saundra is released but boyfriend Walid is held. He hears some of his fellow prisoners whispering and figures they know something. Why Walid can’t speakArabic eludes us but he makes sure Sandra/Saundra passes on the phrase. Ray delivers the component without realizing that when someone has a gun to your head, you don’t tell him, “You’re insane.” Fayed orders Scott’s death.

A CTU team storms Suburbia house. Ahmad is shot and dies en route to the hospital. Scott gives them the Valencia address. Chloe finds out that Curtis was part of an Army special battalion squad ambushed by Assad. Unable to deal with the US giving Assad a pardon for cooperation, Curtis puts a gun to his head. Well, what can we say? It seemed out of character that he couldn’t wait to see how the day played out. At least we won’t have to spend the entire season worried Curtis will be offed. Jack takes care of him and saves Assad. But Engineer hits the detonator and a nuclear bomb takes care of Valencia. Though seemingly close, Jack appears unscathed. The Arabic phrase is something about there being four more nukes. Line of the hour: “There’s you, there’s us, there is no we.”

Thursday, January 18, 2007

24 : 8 - 9 a.m.

6.3 Fayed’s 110 Freedom Fighters/Enemy Combatants/Prisoners are transferred to a plane without a headcount. One of them does the old hide-in-the-bathroom trick and escapes. Jack and Assad, in separate (need I say stolen?) cars, trail the Handler. Jack smashes into Handler so Assad can offer him a lift. Assad leaves his cell phone open so Jack and the gang back at CTU can monitor the trip. Just swinging by, Curtis picks up Jack. He holds no quarter for Assad. No dimes either.

Ahmed asks Suburban Dad Ray to exchange the package for a component. Scott grabs a butter knife from the kitchen. I have in my notes, “Is the logic thrown completely out of the window?” but I don’t remember if a character said it or if I was thinking it. Probably both. At the component shop, the package proves to be full of money, but not enough for the component. So Ray does what apparently every average guy whose wife and kid are being held at gunpoint would do. He hits the seller over the head with a lamp and proceeds to bash him to death.

Assad drops off Handler at a storage warehouse. When the Handler spots CTU sneaking around, Curtis shoots him but he’s still able to blow up the place with a grenade. Jack recovers a laptop for CTU. It’s mostly toast but Chloe recovers a page and a half of its hard drive which lists components for a nuclear device. Somehow this leads them to one of the prisoners being released for Fayed. Numer? Namir? Nemir? I must have been tired because my notes for this hour are sketchy. And I wasn’t even flipping to The Golden Globes. Best line: Chloe’s “It’s your character flaw, not mine.”

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

24 : 7 - 8 a.m.

6.2. Free, Jack calls CTU and begs them to call off the air strike against Assad. Do they ever trust him, even though he’s always been right? Heck, no. So Jack hurries to the target and warns Assad to get his men out before they’re blown up. There’s a transponder (transponder? Wasn’t that Chandler’s job on Friends?) on one of the men. They run just as the building is blown up. On an aerial frame enhancement of the site, Chloe notes Jack and informs Bill who realizes they better look for Fayed too.

Ahmad’s received a call to retrieve the package hidden at his house. Pal Scott wants to give him a good luck necklace but Ahmad isn’t ready for that kind of commitment. A vigilante starts to beat up Ahmad who shoots him. Although he’s cut up, Ahmad refuses to go to the hospital with Scott because Scott can’t pronounce his name properly. Accchhkmad. Tell it to Björk, pal. The president’s sister Sandra (pronounced Saundra) who works for the IAA is none too pleased when the FBI arrives and demands the files ASAP. When they can’t find them, Sandra admits she erased them so they arrest her and her co-worker/boyfriend.

Jack follows Fayed’s Bomber Guy on the subway. In a clever move to avoid paying the fare, he tells Ticket Taker Man he’s a federal agent hunting down a bomber. He stops Bomber Guy from hitting the detonator the first time. As Bomber Guy tries again, Jack’s massively powerful thighs come in handy once more as he kicks him out of the back of the train, onto the tracks. Cue explosion. Ever alert, Chloe intercepts a call of Fayed’s where he admits he’s behind the day’s attacks. Best line of the hour: President Wayne’s: “This is gonna get much worse.”

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

24 : 6 - 7 a.m.

6.1. Everyone’s tense and fearful. On the show, too. The government wants to set into motion detention facilities with reasonable criteria for admittance. Not Britney’s spa, I’m guessing. Right away we had the best line of the hour: “Do you ever open your mouth without sarcasm spilling out of it?” aimed, surprisingly not at Chloe, but at her ex-husband or current boyfriend (status eluded me), Morris. Chloe seems to think she’s learned to fit into CTU. Another sign the terrorists have won. Don’t blink or you’ll miss the cameo by Smerch! No lines for him. Not even a “Sure…sure…”

Some changes at CTU. What Not to Wear has upgraded Chloe. Bill and Karen are married. President Wayne has negotiated with the Chinese to trade Jack for well, I missed what the Chinese got in exchange. If it was possible for the US to trade something for Jack, why wait 20 months? Seems a bit harsh when they know Jack’s over there being tortured. Terrorist Assad’s man Fayed promises to clue CTU in on Assad’s whereabouts for the pleasure of killing Jack as retaliation/revenge/whatever for Jack’s killing his brother in ’99. Somewhere in suburbia the FBI takes away Ahmad’s dad. His neighbour Scott wants to help, but should be suspicious because Ahmad looks about 35.

Wesley Guy (was his name Miles?) had the second best line: “Plain English does not allow for the nuances my job requires.” Try that one at work. Morris configures a privately owned satellite he just happened to know about to pick up a visual on Jack’s transfer to Fayed who, like many Evil Guys before him, can’t resist gloating to Jack that they have it all wrong. Assad wants to stop the attacks. Fayed’s all for them. CTU is going after the wrong guy and Jack’s about to die for nothing. Not so fast Blofeld. Jack probably hasn’t had much to eat for 20 months and he’s so hungry, he takes a bite out of his guard’s throat, ripping the jugular to shreds. Jacula lives, indeed.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Winter is watching us

I read a book last week that mentioned that to survive winter, frogs create their own antifreeze. That sounded too general, if not impossible, so I thought I’d look up what really happens. Turns out it’s not all frogs. The phenomenon concerns mostly wood frogs, boreal chorus frogs (I can’t help wondering what their songs sound like), spring peepers and gray tree frogs. When temperature drop below freezing, these frogs, seemingly by magic, flood their cells with glucose, a natural body sugar. Not actual antifreeze, which is ethylene glycol, an alcohol. Glucose prevents formation of ice crystals in their cells, body cavities, and under the skin as well as in their vital organs. With up to 65% of their bodies frozen, they stop breathing and their hearts stop beating. When the weather warms up, they thaw out. Their hears and lungs resume activity. Nice trick.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

We decide which is right

Movie: The Illusionist. I see the blog has been ailing. Let's hope it starts to recover. Here's another movie that, before watching, I didn't have high hopes for. It seemed to be previewed on a lot of DVD's this past year. That amount of hype is never a good sign and didn't look interesting. So I was pleasantly surprised to like it and find it extremely well crafted and acted. Mostly a love story. With some magic and conjuring tricks that I had no idea how he did. (Finding out would have spoiled them, so unlike the policeman, I didn't want to know.) What was going to happen at the end seemed clear to me throughout most of the film, but didn't ruin the suspense of the plot. The royal intrigue was a nice addition but I wasn't sure whether the crown prince was politically evil. We saw evidence of it in his personal life, but there wasn't an explanation I heard (I may have missed it) as to why he wanted to overthrow his father. Perhaps his father was even worse. And this from me, who never gives anyone the benefit of the doubt. I highly recommend this movie. A wonderful feel & ambiance from the Victorian Era that is captivating.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Quote for the day

"Vomit on the left, Pats."
- Edina Monsoon