Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tomorrow I won't have time to post anything. Not that I'm cooking. No, we go to my brother's house at 1pm and eat, then we lay on the floor and swill wine while football plays across the massive screen.
Later we go to MK's parents' house. This actually is the best possible scenario for us because my family will have a traditional Thanksgiving and MK's family will prepare a bird, no stuffing, no gravy. The starch for the meal will be the dinner rolls. It's completely barbaric. There will be plenty of meat and veggies and two fruit salads, but no yams, no mashed potatoes, and worst of all, given all the veggies, no green bean cassarole.
Fortunately we'll be stuffed from the previous meal so it never seems that bad.
And now my stomach is growling in anticiaption...for the first meal, not the second.

Fringe: The Dreamscape 1.9

Best Walter line: A shame I don't have a lab. I'd like to examine him.
Oh but Walter, you do have a lab, famously so in the cellar at Harvard, with a cow and a piano.
So, we open with Mark Young, a big shot at Massive Dynamic about to give a presentation. Skip the presentation. Afterwards when mark is alone in the conference room gathering up his stuff, he spies a beautiful butterfly flitting about. It lands on his finger and he studies it, but then it cuts him. It flies around and slashes him some more. The butterfly effect teetering on a razor's edge. The butterfly lands on the table and Mark rolls up a magazine. Funny, isn't it, how we feel compelled to sneak up on insects before we overkill them. I once shot a garden spider with a BB gun. Mark smashes the butterfly, but more appear, and more, all slashing at him relentlessly until he takes a header out the window and falls to his death.
Agent Dunham is getting ready for a party when the call comes about the case. Even as she resists attending to her duty, she wipes off her lipstick and that reveals everything. Dunham, the Bishops, and Astrid all go to the scene. Later, Dunham ends up at Young's apartment. He had a flight out on Oceanic Air, a not so subtle nod to the lost flight on LOST, but more interestingly, he was a lepidopterist, a collector of butterflies. The mounted, and presumably dead specimens flutter before Dunham's eyes, and she sees the word 'MONARCH' written in Young's day planner.
The b-story in the episode was that Peter Bishop's past is catching up with him, but honestly, who cares about Peter?
That night, at home, Dunham gets an email from Agent Scott, directing her a basement somewhere, where she discovers crates of frogs that turn out to be toads with psychoactive venom. The world is a wonderous and glorious place, is it not?
Dunham decides to go back into the isolation chamber to retrieve more of Agent Scott's memories. By reconnecting with his dead, nondead, mostly dead consciousness she's supposed to merely be a viewer of his memories, not an active participant. But, at some point during the 'dreamscape' he looks directly at her, leading me to believe that he's not all dead. Also, while in the dreamscape, Dunham sees Agent Scott, a black man, a latino, and a man who turns out to be Mark Young all in cahoots concocting some scheme. When the latino and Young depart, Agent Scott viciously knifes the black man and Dunham freaks and yells for Walter to end the session.
So, the toad poison is being used as a weapon to manifest your fears in such a psychosomatic (a term out of favor I discovered and a condition now referred to as psychophysiologic, which just trips off the tongue) manner that you die. Apparently Young carried quite a bit of guilt about his butterfly collection, since that's what lead to his death.
Anyway, Dunham figures out that the MONARCH in the day planner corresponds to a telephone number. Hmmmm, who is still alive? That's right, she dials it and gets the latino. Of course he flees, but they capture him when he gets hit by a car. At the hospital he begs Dunham for protection and to be moved, and says that he can give her all the information she'll ever need to bring down massive Dynamic and it's founder, Something Bell, or Belly, as Walter refers to him. That Dunham believes him is obvious, but not eager. Still, dude, you are sooo dead. In fact, the very first injection that went into his IV, before Dunham even entered the room, was nothing but uncut toad spit. His fear? That Agent Scott will slit his throat, which is exactly what happens as the attending nurse watches (and screams) in horror.
Next Up: Looks like Agent Scott is still on ice over at Massive Dynamic. God I hope they make him a zombie!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dog and Cat Show

It took a long time for Whitey to get used to Bela. Of course Bela loved Whitey, and indeed all cats, from the very start. But Whitey looked at us like we were out of our minds getting this puppy.
Now I have both of them under foot when I'm in the kitchen, begging for scraps and fighting over every crumb that falls to the floor. They romp around the house together and often sleep together on the couch. It's really sweet, and quite a relief because the pets have to get along, ya know?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fringe 1.8 "The Equation"

Best Walter line: These medieval cracks are more proficient at phrenology than psychopharmacology.
Best Astrid line: What's up, Chachi?

With Fringe you never know if something just is something, or if it's something more, or something else entirely. That said, I caught the whole windshield wipers-as-metronome before the kid, Ben, mentioned the tempo of them to his father. But wipers are like that anyway, back and forth, back and forth, almost hypnotic. Not unlike the hypnotic effect of sequentially flashing red and green lights one often finds under the hood of a car when a strange woman is in distress along side a darkened country road on a rainy night. Yes, Ben's dad, whatshisname, stops to help a stranded motorist and regains his senses later only to discover that the woman and his son are gone.
When Olivia, Peter, and Walter are brought on the case we learn that this has happened three other times in the last ten years. All of the abductees were subsequently released, but were rendered totally insane!!!! The same woman was the abductor in all of the cases, and all of the previous victims were academics, geniuses. Ben was a normal kid before he and his mother were involved in a fatal (for the mom) auto accident. When Ben, after 6 days, emerged from a coma, he'd become a musical virtuoso. Initially I thought that we were going to trot down fribonacci lane with math and music, but they didn't address that at all. I was both relieved and disappointed. I didn't want the story to be that predictable, but I still thought that it would be a fun mental exercise to see where they might go with it.
Anyway, Ben's own repetitive composition is the musical equivalent of one of Walter's former mental patient friend, Dashiell's, unfinished equation. I saw this coming, and felt a little smudge over it.
So, Agent Dunham goes to talk to Dr. Sumner, head of the insane asylum, to get permission to speak to Dash. Sumner is not unlike Dr. Chilton in The Silence of the Lambs. Part meglamaniac, part asshole, he runs the place like it's his personal lab and all the men and women merely rats. He's chilling in that "I know best" kind of blind way. Sumner only will allow Walter access to Dash, which begs the question, What is this mad doctor up to? It's just so manipulative, and more than a little sadistic. Still Walter agrees to the terms and venture back into that dark place to interview Dash and hopefully gain some info that will help rescue Ben and save him from losing all of his marbles at such a tender age. Where are my aggies! I want my aggies!
Sorry for the lame ass joke.
In an effort to get Dash to reconnect to his former obsession, an unfinished equation, Walter begins scrawling the equation out on the table with a blue crayon. I mention this because...why a blue crayon? Why not red or yellow (if we have to stick to primary colors)? Dash insists that he doesn't do math anymore and becomes angry and hostile. Walter becomes mixed up in a melee and ends up sedated, at which point Dr. Sumner refuses to allow Walter to leave and Olivia has to get a court order for the following morning to get Walter out of the mental hospital.
Meanwhile, Ben is being pushed by the woman and a virtual reality version of his dead mother to finish the musical score. The kid is at a loss on how to finish it until the woman makes his mother start to degrade into a severely injured accident victim. Ouch! I loved my mom desperately when I was a kid, so I would've figured out how to finish the thing too.
Back at the asylum walter approaches Dash once more about his won kidnapping. The only thing that Dash can offer is that he was in a dungeon in a red castle.
With Olivia out in the field canvassing, Peter shows up to pick up Walter. Dr. Sumner definitely turns nasty, throwing Peter's past back up at him and threatening to petition for guardianship over Walter. Well, this dude is definitely working on some agenda. Is he on Massive Dynamic's payroll? Does he want to be? The whole thing reeks like a self serving self serve buffet left out in the noonday sun in Miami in August.
Finally, and a little conveniently, Olivia stumbles across the red castle. A former carousel of the future damned, she finds Ben...but then the woman who took him, Ritz (or some such ridiculous hotelier name...why not just go for Hilton? Marriot? Red Roof?), tries to prevent Olivia from taking him. Girl Fight! Girl Fight! Rinse, repeat. Of course once the green and red lights start blinking we know that this isn't going to go as Olivia planned. Ritz escapes, but Ben is left behind and eventually reunited with his dad, which makes Olivia smile and I just want to cuddle her, give her a cup of coco with a big shot of Jack Daniels in it, just like what my mom used to give me when I had a rough but gratifying day at the playground.
Ritz pops up in a warehouse lab with Agent Loeb. They plug in Ben's finished composition, and voila! Loeb reaches through the solid wall of a safe and extracts an apple. While he chews on that, he kills Ritz. We hardly knew ye, Ritzy! Where's Blair Brown? You just KNOW that she's got to be behind some of this crap. She's like a female Cheney, the great puppet master pulling the strings from an undisclosed bunker.
Next Up: Peter's past catches up big time and Olivia risks the Altered States isolation chamber again to get into the mind of Dead John.

Monday, November 17, 2008

More Musings

Here I am trying to look not dopey at the pre-rally gathering. MK was chuckling on the other side of the camera.
MK: What are you doing?
Me: Concentrating.
MK: On what?
Me: Not looking like an imbecile.

I think I ended up looking like I'm holding in a fart.
But that's neither here nor there. In the end, I hope that all of the energy and goodwill generated on Saturday around the country continues to build and we realize our goal of equal rights for gays!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Prop 8 Protest Pittsburgh

This afternoon MK and I joined about 500 or so other people at Schenley Plaza, between the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University campuses in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh, for the National Protest March against Prop 8. I have to disclose one thing about my personality: I'm not a joiner. I'm not antisocial, I just don't enjoy being part of something big, or organized, especially if bylaws are involved. But I thought that this was important, and I want to marry MK one day, preferably legally right here in Pennsylvania. So, I stuffed my dread of being an active participant in anything (including my own fate) down into the same dark hole that harbors the vestiges of my Christian upbringing and off we went!
Even though the meteorologists all predicted meteors, I mean rain, all day, it was clear for our entire rally and march. See? Some aspect of god loves us :) It was exhilarating! The people were not only hopeful, but ENERGIZED. The coattails of the Obama presidency spread wide enough for us all to believe that change not only can come, but will come. A woman somewhat older than me sidled over to us at one point and said, "I never thought that I live to see this day...But, here we all are." Yes, indeed. All of us. Gay, straight, white, Asian, Indian, Hispanic, African-American. All there, chanting and marching down Forbes Avenue, up Craig Street, down Fifth Avenue. Over and over chanting, 'What do we what? EQUALITY! When do we want it? NOW!' My throat was raw by the time we wound things up. Drivers on the streets beeped their horns in support, workers came out of businesses to cheer us on and wave their arms in collective solidarity. It was a powerful experience. I am so glad that we attended.
The photo accompanying this post is of one of the many families attending. The sign reads: Focus On Your Own Damn Family. Heh, Dobson and his Focus on the Family minions will be getting an email from me shortly relaying the message.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Graphicless Update

Sorry for the lack of posting, particularly about the latest episode of Fringe, but the entire family has been down all week with a wicked stomach flu. Better now, but still kind of beat.
I'll be back next week with whatever strikes my fancy.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Bela Update, 11/5

After last night's election watching, I'm exhausted today. So, I'm offering up a beagle update. This past weekend Bela figured out how to jump up on the table out back on the patio, but then couldn't figure out how to get back down.
She's a sweetie, a bit nebby, but still a sweetie. She's almost entirely moved out of her puppy biting phase, and our fingers and ankles are grateful for that. Lastly, she is a bit of a tudball, so I guess I'm going to have to cut back on her morning eggy (typically a soft boiled egg like my mom used to make for me when I was a kid).

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I Voted!

This morning at 6:50am Cree and I walked down to our local polling place and stood in a line about fifty people deep and then voted. I'm wearing a little 'I Voted' sticker on my flannel shirt. Of course it wasn't easy for me because I have a hyphenated last name, it took the poor old lady looking me up in the register forever to figure out that I'm listed under 'R' and not 'M'. Biggest mistake I ever made (and I'm being facetious here) was to tack on my exhusband's last name on the end of my own. I had resisted doing that clear up until my second son was born. Now I've got this awkward, cumbersome name trailing behind me like toilet paper stuck to a shoe. It's a pain in the ass, this name o' mine. I really need to get it legally changed back to just the 'R'.
I'm so glad that we were able to get out early this morning and cast our votes for Obama and our US Rep, Jason Altmire. I hope they both win and I can finally give up this anger I've harbored ever since Gore lost to Bush in 2000. I for one would like some sun to break free from this awful dark cloud we've endured for lo these eight long years.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Revisiting an Angel, somewhat obsessively

I've been tinkering with this image lately, blowing it up to 11x14, trying to figure out if this is something I want to hang on the wall. The snow and the patina on the angel kind of appeal to me, yet I don't know why. Maybe it just seems cold and harsh, starkly aged, brutal solitude. I dunno.
Anyway, here's an interesting tidbit for horror and cemetery fans alike: H. P. Lovecraft's headstone reads, I Am Providence. He was a life long resident of Providence, RI, and for all I know that's what he meant with that, but it's eerie nonetheless, no? Anyone who has read his work knows that to think of Lovecraft as actual 'providence' is unnerving. I think the duplicity in meaning probably appealed to him.