Land of the Living


It’s good to be back. Typically when I’m sick I spend a lot of time doing the kinds of things I like to do even when I’m not sick like playing video games and reading, that sort of thing. Then when I end up feeling well enough to go back to work, I kind of miss the free time to do whatever, you know?

Not this time. I had possibly the worst sick week (plus) ever this time around and it was nothing even close to fun. In fact I felt so bad the whole time that it was actually a pain to watch TV or movies, although that’s pretty much all I did. Even with the TiVo and Nikki constantly making runs to Hollywood Video to pick up movies for me to watch (eventually she just rented a whole season of 24 for me to watch which shut me up for a good four days) I was still scraping the bottom of the entertainment barrel quite a bit. I guess that’s what happens when you’re at home sick for 10 days straight, but it left me with a new appreciation for the time I have to do other, more interesting things.

As a matter of fact I got a new perspective and appreciation for pretty much everything in my life while I was sick. Being too miserable to sleep or eat or do much of anything for that long leaves a lot of time for thought and I kind of started realizing how much of my life I spend being grumpy about really pointless things. I came to a lot of other conclusions about some of the unfortunate choices I’ve been making lately mostly in terms of my attitude toward things that are either not worth the bother or indifferent attitudes toward things that actually do matter and hopefully I’ll try to be better about that. I suppose the only positive thing that came from being sick is that I got (hopefully) an improved perspective on my life. Something about absence making the heart grow fonder would probably be aproppriate here, if not tiresomely clichéd.

Anyway, I don’t have a lot of time or anything since I’m still trying to play catch up from all that time I missed out on, but I did have a few things I wanted to say today before I forget:

  • One of the many movies I watched last week was Double Indemnity, an old 1944 black and white noir picture starring Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck and Edward G. Robinson. It’s really quite good (although I liked The Big Sleep better) as many of the old pictures I’ve been watching have been. Unfortunately, I’m starting to run out of ideas for old movies to watch. I fully confess that this is due to ignorance and not a lack of quality material to check out; the next couple I have coming from Netflix are From Here to Eternity, All About Eve, The Guns of Navarone, Suspicion, M, Touch of Evil and The 39 Steps. Anyone know some others I should check out?
  • I watched season four of 24 like I mentioned above and it was much better than the season that stopped me from following it every year (the piteous season three), but the show still drives me insane. Mainly what makes me nuts is two things: One is why everything has to revolve around LA. I mean, I know the show is set there but c’mon: There should be enough time to make the travel realistic (how anyone gets all over LA in less than 20 minutes is beyond even the most forgiving critic) by spreading the love a little bit to different CTU branches and making things more plausibly spread out. Related to this quibble is why everything is handled by CTU. Aren’t there any other governmental agencies that can do some of this stuff like, say, the military? It makes no sense, especially when they spend twenty minutes of each episode griping about how “stretched thin” they all are. Well, delegate, people! Problem solved. My other beef is that they’re constantly sending like three people to go pick up these potentially well-armed suspects and then they act all surprised when only the main character survives the assault and they have to be rescued by someone else. I’m thinking if I need to bring in a suspect for questioning because they are the only person in the world who might be able to reveal the location of the bomb/terrorist leader/plane/kidnap victim/whatever, I’m sending in a freaking army to get them. I think the CTU people kind of cause more of their own problems than they seem to realize.
  • One show that I don’t have a lot of complaints with right now is Heroes. Man, I love that show. Last night’s episode was superb, yet again. The only thing that really bugs me about the show right now are the naysayers. Yes, it is very much like the X-Men. So what? The X-Men are cool, and this gives us a chance to see an X-Men-like story with new characters (so we aren’t bored with the origin stuff if we’ve read the comics already) and a re-imagined take on the whole superheroes concept. I think it’s working very well and the pacing seems to be just about perfect: I’m always left wanting more but they aren’t killing me slowly with the glacial pace of the plot like Lost. One of the great Lost debates is the Characters-vs-Story discussion where some people say they are more interested in the character development and therefore don’t mind the so-slow pace of the Island Mysteries aspect but others (like me) think the characters should really be there to move the story along so the development of the characters becomes almost meaningless since it takes over the whole show leaving the plot to flounder. With Heroes they got it all right by developing the characters at a nice clip but letting those developments also push the plot forward. Very well done and I was quite pleased to hear that the show got picked up for the rest of the season. If you haven’t already started watching this show, I can’t recommend it enough and I’ve heard they plan to run a brief marathon of the last three episodes (not including the Pilot) sometime in the next week so if you haven’t seen it yet, keep an eye out for that to help you catch up.
  • So the final consensus on the new Decemberists album is that it may surpass Picaresque in terms of total quality and has quickly shot to near the top of my all-time favorite albums list. Love it. On the other hand, the new Evanescence album, The Open Door is bland and uninspired and quite a disappointment. Nik also picked up AFI’s Decemberunderground album from iTunes on the strength of a couple of singles she heard on the radio. It’s not too bad, really although I need to give it a few more listens. AFI is kind of a more intense Green Day but they have some catchy riffs and some nice melodies going on, so I think it could get some decent playtime.
  • I had a bit of a chance to listen to some of Sirius satellite radio driving around to doctor’s appointments and stuff in Nik’s car while I was sick. It’s a pretty cool thing and the lack of commercials on the music channels is really, really nice. There’s a lot of selection available as well which means it usually isn’t hard at all to find some station playing something you like. My only complaint so far probably has more to do with the head unit than Sirius itself, but I’m having a really hard time finding the non-music channels. There is supposed to be a way to choose a channel via category but I can’t seem to make it work the way the manual describes which means a lot of the NPR, comedy and sports stations are ostensibly there but not accessible. This is going to become a problem pretty quickly when I want to start listening to Sharks games on the way home from work and can’t even get to the stations.
  • Speaking of the Sharks, I got better just in time since Nikki bought me a three-pack of Sharks tickets for our anniversary and the first game is tonight versus the Dallas Stars. I’m heading out after work to pick HB from work and then heading on to the tank so hopefully my body will cooperate and I’ll be able to enjoy myself. I’m kind of counting on excitement to push me through some of the weariness I still feel, but it should be a really good time.
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2 thoughts on “Land of the Living

  1. Don (a.k.a. Dad)

    Glad to hear you’re back in the pink! I’ll be watching the Sharks on TV tonight; I’ll look for you! Loved your comments on 24.
    Your mom and I are midway through the season 2 videos. As for good B/W movies, just off the top of my head are these:
    “Witness for the Prosecution”
    “And Then There Were None” (a.k.a., Ten Little Indians)
    “Requiem for a Heavyweight” – if you haven’t already seen it
    “No Time for Sergeants” – first 15 min. is a little slow but hang in there
    “One, Two, Three” – but you have to grasp the cold war context to get most of the gags
    “A Place in the Sun” – based on “An American Tragedy”
    “Come Back, Little Sheba”
    “The Haunting” – mild, but watch with the lights off. Shows an effective spook story doesn’t need blood & gore. NOT the Zeta-Jones rehash!

  2. ironsoap Post author

    Unfortunately it looks like No Time For Sergeants is not available on DVD at this time. A bit of research shows that some people have made transfers from the VHS version to bootleg DVD and sell them on eBay but my (brief) investigation shows that there are no pending release dates for a DVD version. However, almost anywhere you go there are long lists of comments left by fans demanding to know where a detailed collector’s edition DVD is and why it has been held up for so long.

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