Eureka, etc.

I wish yesterday was just a dream. Faculty development days just go on way too long: workshops, department meetings, safety meetings, etc. And, it’s not even over. There’s an orientation for new adjuncts later on today, and then there are some more meetings this week for another school, and next week, there are some more for another. School starts for one of the community college districts I work for next week and I still have some homework to do for my coming classes. Yikes!

I guess this is as close as I get to having a shared dream with others, as there are other teachers in the midst of this craziness.

Thankfully, I haven’t had any shared dreams with anyone while I was asleep. In this week’s Eureka, the hapless locals share each other’s dreams. This is an excuse to get Carter’s clothes off, as he first experiences the daytime nightmare (awake) of getting decontaminated from something on location, only to have the classic naked dream later. Fargo has a cheesy Zorro dream involving a woman he’s had his eye on (try to guess who) with Stark as his rival. If I had the Zorro dream with Stark, I’d first cut the laces on his shirt and then do some deft moves to cut his clothes in strategic places and watch them fall off.

Speaking of Stark, he doesn’t even fall asleep in this episode, as we don’t get to see him try to fulfill some fantasy of getting back together on his estranged wife. He’s quite blatant about this goal in his waking life to the point of making Carter feel inadequate about his offer to fix Allison’s water heater. Of course, even the simple things in Eureka needs a PhD. from MIT to get done.

I missed Flesh Gordon Flash Gordon last Friday, but I downloaded it from iTunes. Flash Gordon has had many incarnations on the screen, but I have memories of the campy film from 1980. It’s hard to get the Queen theme song out of my head, which is what the Sci Fi Channel counted on for many prospective viewers as a version of it played in commercials. Flash (a blond beefcake for sure) and Dale go to Mongo, thanks to a creepy Dr. Zarkov, that is more Italian futurist (with the fascism to go along with it and a touch of 1984) than the over the top orientalia of previous versions. Ming the Merciless Dictator is after some strange device invented on Earth. No doubt, this will fuel plenty of episodes, along with the unfulfillable love between Flash and Dale.

Eureka, Season 2: Phoenix Rising

I just caught the second season premier of Eureka last night.

In Season 1’s finale (Once In A Lifetime), Henry changes the timeline by preventing Kim from getting burnt to a crispy critter, only to have it restored because it threatens to unravel the universe. Season Two picks up after Kim’s tragic death, where two more people in Section 5 suddenly combust. Chili and a solar eclipse are the initial culprits in the the two scientists’ deaths, but the “Artififact” turns out to be cause and nearly claims Dr. Stark.

Henry and Jack Carter are the only ones with the memory of the alternate timeline, and this episode strongly hints that Henry’s actions will eventually bring about the “Once In A Lifetime” timeline. Facilitating that move is his “blinky-thinging” Carter Men In Black style to forget and seeking an official job at the laboratory.

The technology angle is definitely more Star Trek as Henry plays a holographic record of Kim’s death and Dr. Stark gets a burn treated with a dermal regenerator. Carter doesn’t miss the opportunity to quip about Stark getting a botox injection.

The ending leaves us expecting some stranger things regarding the “Artifact” to come.

As for hot men, we get treated to some skin shots with both Carter and Stark (not together, and definitely in the same scene). Carter takes a phone call from Allison while in the shower, only to have it be a video conference (a decision made by the Smart house when he expected audio only). Stark being only in boxer briefs is medically motivated, but he has a nice, fit body. He gets electroshock therapy to prevent him from suddenly combusting, so we get to see him “naked and tortured.”

Nathan Stark looks like he’s approximately 6’5,” which is hot. I’ve always been a thing for big, tall men.

The trailer for Razor, the two hour movie about more that happened in BSG’s “Pegasus” highlighted the suspense and action we can expect in TV movie coming up in the fall. Michelle Forbes will reprise her role as Admiral Cain. Though there’s been a lot of information out there that the Pegasus story line is expanded in the movie, why eludes me. Perhaps there is something from that period that connect to where BSG left off.

Season 1 Catchup:

  • Pilot: Something’s not right about this small town. One of them’s a temporal anomaly. Also, Carter gets more than he bargained for when he gets a “promotion.”
  • Many Happy Returns: Here, we’re introduced to the evilly sexy Dr. Stark, the new head of Global Enterprise, who’s obsessed with the “Artifact.” Problem of the anomaly solved for now. Also, the Smart house where Carter lives is introduced.
  • Before I Forget: Henry finds his romance with Kim has been erased, but rekindles it at the end.
  • Invincible: The “Artifact” enables a socially phobic researcher to heal himself.
  • Once In A Lifetime: Carter finds himself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife (Allison). However, it’s an alternate timeline created by Henry to prevent Kim from dying in a freak accident by the “Artifact.”

Season 1 episodes are also available on iTunes.

ShindoTV’s iTunes Download of the Week

Around the same time Style Council’s Confessions of a Pop Group was released on iTunes, the Jam’s Snap! was also made available, this time in its entirety. Paul Weller‘s earliest and perhaps most definitive aspect of his career, The Jam took on a mod identity (much like the Who and Small Faces during the 1960’s) for a new generation of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, and their music shared affinities for power pop, punk rock, sixties rock, and Motown and Stax soul.

While there are many Jam compilations out there, Snap! is the most comprehensive of the collections, offering the hits such as “The Modern Word,” “That’s Entertainment,” and the R&B swansong “Beat Surrender,” and giving the listeners what other anthologies may or may not offer, such as “Man in the Corner Shop” and “Absolute Beginners” (one of my all-time favorites). Here, the listener can follow the Jam’s evolution and see how they went from playing like the Beatles and the Who to the soul style foreshadowing Weller’s work with the Style Council and his solo career. An absolute must for any fan of Paul Weller and/or the Jam, but also a great introduction to anyone discovering this legendary band’s music for the first time.

Also on the iPod
While these albums may have been on my iPod for a while, they deserve some mention.

Lloyd Cole, Antidepressant. The brainy and handsome Lloyd Cole has long toiled in obscurity, whether with his band from the 1980’s, Lloyd Cole and the Commotions, or his own solo work. The follow-up to Music in a Foreign Language, Antidepressant shows Cole as literate and artful as ever, ranging from Leonard Cohen-eque ballads (“NYC Sunshine”), witty story songs with some jangle (“Antidepressant”), and the memorable closer “Rolodex Incident,” which highlights the more instrumental aspect of Cole’s music. Antidepressant is a mature album by Cole, definitely one that won’t be dated in years to come.

Wilco, Sky Blue Sky. Putting behind the Radiohead-ish experimentation of Yankee Foxtrot Hotel and A Ghost Is Born, Wilco‘s latest effort is anything but ordinary. However, their dabbling with the sonic palette in those previous releases pays off in Sky Blue Sky. Most of the songs may be slower paced and more conventionally structured, but you can’t ever accuse Wilco of being boring. Sky Blue Sky may be one of their most country albums in a while (as evident in “Impossible Germany”), but definitely not in the same class as the commercial monstrosities that define country music.

Smashing Pumpkins, “Tarantula.” One of the 1990’s most interesting acts, Billy Corgan and company managed to defy genres in an era heavily fixated on them. Synthesizing heavy metal, goth, power pop, and new wave into something uniquely theirs, the Pumpkins were heavily prolific with their dramatic style. After an eight year absence, Corgan, Jimmy Chamberlain, and company teases old fans and a new generation of listeners with “Tarantula,” a song off the upcoming album Zeitgeist (due tomorrow). Reminiscent of “Bullet and Butterfly Wings” off Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, “Tarantula” shows the Smashing Pumpkins can compete with contemporary, but comparable bands such as Muse.

TV on ShindoTV

Here’s some TV reviews for Monday. “Television turns me on” is an appropriate quote from the House of Love’s “I Don’t Know Why I Love You.”

Live Earth
I have to confess, I missed out on this whole event. On Saturday afternoon, I was dealing with my personal clutter and thus being environmentally responsible on a very local level. Plus, when it came time to watch TV, I watched Sex and the City re-runs instead. I then fell asleep a little after 10:30. I got a phone call from my friend Sharon, who’s been following this event, that Yellow Magic Orchestra (Ryuichi Sakamoto‘s old band) reunited and had the last performance. Unfortunately, I got her message on Sunday morning.

Great idea, but poorly promoted. Only on Bravo and the Sundance Channel? Only the truly devoted who have cable and are with it can tune in. However, the people who need to hear the message miss out and go on with their pollutin’ ways.

Eureka
I’m so looking forward to Eureka tomorrow night. Considering how hooked I was on Battlestar Galactica and that I’ve been experiencing withdrawal symptoms, this quirky dramedy is a nice subsitute. Though the small town with bizarre (supernatural) secrets is not original, the hot lead, the ensemble cast, and the writing make up for it (even though it tends to have shades of Star Trek).

Although there are not videos to catch up with Eureka on the Sci-Fi Channel, you can watch this brief behind the scenes vid about “The Science of Humor” and get treated to the scene of Colin Ferguson in a bedsheet.

Catch up with Eureka‘s First Season on iTunes.

Speaking of Battlestar, stay tuned during Eureka’s season two premier during breaks for the Razor trailer.

Guilty Pleasure
Charm School had its first class reunion last night, and it showed some of these girls need to be enrolled in a real charm school. Shatar of the bad weave at least took some time to get a new one, though she is as delusional as ever (descended from royalty my ass!). The slutatious (a Mo’Nique moniker) Brooke offers no apologies for her whoring around, though she is in constant danger of falling out of her dress. Sapphyri has her moment as a gracious winner, but runner-up Leilene maintains her aplomb throughout the reunion, given the easy temptation of of bitching out Brook (who counted on her being a pushover when they were in Charm School). The best is saved for last as the reunion sinks to a Jerry Springer low: the unrepentant Larissa shares some words with ex-friend Shay, Mo’Nique sternly lectures Larissa, and Larissa’s mother demonstrates the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree as she rushes the stage to confont Mo’Nique.

Shindo’s Weekend Downloads from iTunes

I downloaded a few albums this weekend. I’m not into buying CD’s anymore, and being a member of the Mac cult, the iTunes store is my favorite place to get tunes. Here is what I listened to this weekend:
Bryan Ferry has covered Bob Dylan songs throughout his solo career (e.g. “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall” and “It’s All Over Now Baby Blue”), but never has he done an entire album of Dylan. The title refers less to his style of music than the material performed, but Dylanesque is different from slick productions (Boys and Girls, Taxi), overworked masterpieces (Mamouna), and even eclectic “returns to form” (Frantic). Vocally, Ferry treats Dylan with his own familiar style instead of copying Dylan’s, and the music, while low key, is Ferry at his most spontaneous. “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues” and “All Along The Watchtower” evoke Ferry’s solo work from the 1970’s, while he avoids the typical rock and roll temptations in doing “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” and transports the listener. Dylanesque is very fresh mainly because Ferry loves the songs. Definitely worth a second and a third listen.

A Beastie Boys album without the rap. It’s hard to imagine, but they pull this one off. To The 5 Boroughs was their love letter to New York, serving up affectionate addresses, pointed satire, and post-9/11 anger with old school hip hop. Here, in The Mix-Up, they forsake odd lyrics and samples, and just jam (an approach done a decade ago with Ill Communication) and they are excellent musicians. No hip hop here, just the Beastie Boys doing their take on music they enjoy very much such as jazz, blues, and bossa nova. Overall, very groovy.

I’ve been a longtime fan of Paul Weller’s music in its various incarnations: The Jam, The Style Council, and his solo stuff. I’ve had Confessions of a Pop Group on LP and CD and now I have a nice digital version of it thanks to some of the Style Council’s catalogue being released on iTunes. The artsy, pretentious answer to Wham! in the 1980’s, the Style Council predated stylish acts such as the Pet Shop Boys, Saint Etienne, and the Brand New Heavies (Paul Weller plugged them once in a radio interview and that’s how I got into them). Like a previous album Our Favourite Shop, Confessions shares the Marxist politics and the blue-eyed soul, R&B groove, but is less pop accessible. Weller and company attempt more sophisticated ballads, funkier grooves, and even 1960’s style surf music. However, this is their last full length album, as their post-Confessions “Promised Land” (very much house music) ultimately killed them. Confessions of A Pop Group holds up to the test of time more than some other Style Council albums, but this is not an album for the casual listener.

Catching Up With Eureka Via iTunes


Eureka will be one of my science fiction fixes in the absence of Battlestar Galactica. I just downloaded a few episodes from iTunes, and a second season is due in July, so I have plenty of time to catch up. I just watched the pilot, so here’s my take on it.

The hot leading man is what lured me in. A lot of TV shows have hot men, but it’s often not enough to keep me hooked. However, Colin Ferguson is someone I can watch all day. He’s ruggedly handsome and he’s got a nice body (there’s a scene where we get treated to a view), and his suit fits him like a glove (I hate to use a cliché, but this one is very appropriate). He’s definitely charming in his role as Jack Carter, a U.S. Marshall who eventually gets a “promotion” to the sheriff’s office in Eureka.

For the straight male viewer, female eye candy comes in the forms of Allison Blake, an agent of the Department of Defense, and Beverly Barlowe, a sensuous and sympathetic town psychiatrist who is more than she appears to be. Agent Blake is a strong, professional woman who doesn’t want Jack to get any wrong ideas and reacts strongly to his jokes, hinting at some romantic tension and chemistry to come.

As far as pilots goes, the storyline is typical fare, though the events are not. Jack and his daughter Zoe come into Eureka by accident and wind up staying in the town in the end. Their relationship is anything but perfect. Jack meets the stereotypical county sheriff, a middle-aged paunchy man who turns out to be more than just a sheriff. Here and there, he encounters super-intelligent children, one being Agent Blake’s son. This kid gets to have a Wesley Crusher moment and helps save the day. Setting up the entire storyline (and making the Wesley Crusher moment possible) is the genius whose experiments in a temporal device go awry. Even though the main dilemma occurring from the machine is resolved in the end, there are still plenty of loose ends for the show to follow up on.

Is this show set in Eureka, California? Perhaps, as Eureka is on the way to Los Angeles, where Jack and Zoe are headed for a custody hearing. It’s vaguely hinted that Eureka is in the Pacific Northwest. This Eureka is a town created as a haven for the geniuses responsible for all the interesting technology from the Cold War and on. No one is who they initially appear to be, such as the sheriff and the mechanic who fixes Jack’s car. And for Jack to work there in the end, his security clearance is upped and he is given a “promotion.”

Overall, I loved the pilot and I’ll keep downloading episodes. It’s a quirky show, and even if some things appear to be borrowed from Star Trek or the X-Files, it works. And, I don’t have to wait long for Season 2.


Eureka - Eureka, Season 1
Catch Eureka‘s pilot on iTunes.

shindo is now on iTunes

It’s official. My podcast is now available on iTunes. Actually, I have a site on iTunes, but the RSS feed comes directly from my site.

Now there are two option available for accessing my podcasts. The first option is to go to the shindocast page on shindotv and click subscribe. The new option is the one mentioned above, and here’s the link: http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=219752087. Note: you need to have iTunes on your computer to view this. It’s not strictly a Mac thing, you know.

Check it out and subscribe! Keep in mind this podcast is weekly, so the next episode is coming next Friday, 12:00am EST (Thursday 9:00pm PST). I’ll be reading “Benny’s Narratives,” which has come explicit content.