Baseball Blues

Posted in Sons-&-Daughters, Television, The-Unit on March 12th 2006 by Randy Reichardt

.: Well, that didn’t last long, but it’s ok, the win over the American team is something that can never be taken away from the Canadians.

.: Whenever discussing All Things Pop Culture, the only constant is the number of hours in the day, and how one parcels out that time. In 2005, the number of movies I watched was way down from previous years, in fact it was the lowest number since the late 70s. Why was the number down? A combination of things: fewer quality movies made it to Edmonton, the cost of a movie ticket continued to rise, and the overall moviegoing experience continued to lose its appeal. Seeing a film in the theatre is a crapshoot. You never know who will be sitting behind, next to, or in front of you, and whether they will talk throughout the film, flip their cells phone open 10 times, or actually just watch the movie peacefully.

But the other reason is the ongoing increase in the quality of television, traceable back to the days of Hill Street Blues and St Elsewhere. HBO has raised the bar very high, with shows like The Sopranos, Oz, The Wire, Six Feet Under, Deadwood, Rome, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Larry Sanders Show, and many more. Last week, I watched two new network shows, and found myself pulled in almost immediately. The two shows are Sons & Daughters and The Unit. If I am able to keep up with both shows, I will essentially write off my Tuesday nights, which already includes Law & Order: SVU. There is always bit torrent files and video tapes to make it a bit easier. Rather than expound on the virtues of either show, read Tom Shales to learn more about why each is worth making the effort to watch.

Various

Posted in google-desktop, SNL, steve-martin on February 12th 2006 by Randy Reichardt

.: Steve Martin hosted SNL for the 14th time last weekend. The opening sequence, his monologue, and a later sketch all played off the new record, and featured Alec Baldwin in a couple of hilarious bits. Milk and Cookies has links to the sketches, all worth the time to watch them.

.: A good reason to avoid downloading and installing Google Desktop.

.: Tomorrow I begin my NINT stint, so to speak, and it coincides with the busiest week of my year, as I am teaching in four classes, and also rehearsing for a Feb 22 noon concert with Amelia. This weekend, I made it to the Y twice for 40-minute cycling workouts, a routine I need to reestablish right away.

Deadwood Podcast Site

Posted in Deadwood, Real Deadwood Podcast on January 26th 2006 by Randy Reichardt

.: Do you love Deadwood as much as I do? Then welcome to the motherlode: my pal Debi sent me a link to this totally brilliant site, The Read Deadwood Podcast, which features audio and video clips, a blog, and more. The photos section is great, and includes shots from the Mt Moriah Cemetery, where Will Bill, Calamity Jane, and others are buried, and the Deadwood actors visit. Love it!

Also, here is a link to The Real Deadwood Podcast With Paul Dennis from FeedBurner.

Stressed Out Truthiness

Posted in Stephen-Colbert, stress, The-Colbert-Report, truthiness on January 12th 2006 by Randy Reichardt

.: I don’t remember working harder or feeling more stressed at work than the past few weeks. Apparently things are worse for my colleagues in the UK, where a new study “suggests that being a librarian induces more stress than working for the emergency services, driving a 125mph express, or teaching a class of ill-behaved children.” Or is it really? The author of the study, Saqib Saddiq is a consultant with a recruitment company. He notes: “It seems they are sick of being stuck between the same shelves of books all day. They also found their work repetitive and unchallenging, and overall had very little job satisfaction. Although police officers and firefighters find themselves in stressful situations, they are at least able to get out and about, and there is much more variety in their work.”

My educated guess is that he interviewed circulation and shelving staff, and considered every employee in the library to be a librarian – just like everyone in a lab coat in a hospital is a doctor. I’ve spent half a day shelving books myself from time to time, and am aware that done full time, it would be excrutiatingly boring. I remember my cataloguing professor in library school telling our class that the Library of Congress had full-time card filers working there for decades. I’ve worked as a librarian for 27 years, and while the stress level is high, the work is never boring nor repetitive. As for being stuck between the same shelves of books all day, I’d be surprised if I’m in the book stacks more than once or twice a month.

.: Congrats to Stephen Colbert, who in “The Wørd” segment of the first episode of his brilliant show, The Colbert Report, returned the word “truthiness” into the mainstream – watch the video segment here. Truthiness, a word dating back as far as 1824, was voted the 2005 Word of the Year by the American Dialect Society. The best coverage of the path of truthiness from its appearance on the debut Oct 17 2005 episode of The Colbert Report to the 2005 Word of the Year is at Language Log. Start with Truthiness or Trustiness?, and follow through to Colbert Fights for Truthiness.

The Wikipedia entry for truthiness provides some background and history, yet opens with the line, “”Truthiness” is a term invented by Stephen Colbert as the subject of a feature called The Wørd…”, which is incorrect, as noted above.

Good/Harder Productions Presents: The Librarians’ Emerging Technology Survival Guide

Posted in Libraries, Television, The Web on November 23rd 2005 by Randy Reichardt

.: Tonight after work, I attended a presentation sponsored by GELA, called The Librarians’ Emerging Technology Survival Guide. The presentation was given by my two friends and colleagues, Geoff Harder and Kenton Good. Geoff and Kenton prepared and delivered a whizbang slide presentation built on a Mac iBook G4, and covered a multitude of cutting edge, state-of-the-art technologies that are changing the way we live, learn, enjoy, and interact with each other. The challenge to those attending was to consider the myriad of ways to implement, exploit, manipulate and apply these technologies to the way we run libraries. They mentioned Web 2.0 a number of times, which helped give a context to their presentation. Web 2.0 is the movement that focuses on the web as platform, and most of the innovative technologies covered in their presentation are ones which fit into this description. I also like the idea of Library 2.0, in which the library considers its patrons as participants rather than customers. It’s all about the collaboration!

Geoff and Kenton presented almost 200 slides in 90 minutes, and worked it as a tag team presentation. It was tight, professional, and not too overpowering. They added appropriate and well-received funny bits, and dazzled us with a virtual light show of a presentation. Great work, guys.

.: BTW, I thought tonight’s episode of Lost redeemed itself somewhat over last week’s rather limp presentation. Now we know why Michelle Rodriguez was so into beating the shyte out of everyone around her. One wonders if any of these plebs is without 16 tons of emotional baggage. I suppose not, otherwise the show would run out of flashbacks. And for those who watched the end of tonight’s episode, will there be love in the stars for Kate and Sawyer, and Jack and Ana Lucia? Someone say soap opera?

The 12th and final episode of Rome was brilliant and maddening. While I’m pleased that the show will be back, having to wait until 2007 is a bit much, HBO! Then again, we haven’t seen The Sopranos since 2004, and they don’t return until March 2006.

Been Lost and Confused For So Long, It’s Not True

Posted in Television on November 18th 2005 by Randy Reichardt

..: Like millions of other teevee fans, I’ve been watching Lost with much interest since the opening episode last fall. Last night was the 30th episode, the 7th in Season Two, called The Other 48 Days. This episode crammed into one hour capsulized the 48 days in the lives of the survivors who were in the tail section of the plane, which broke apart in mid-flight, and landed on the other side of the island, away from the first group of survivors we have followed since Episode 1. The show is a non-stop tease, revealing small bits of information about the island and background detail about one or more survivors week after week. But I’m wondering if the show is beginning to jump the shark.

From the outset, the required suspension of disbelief has been exhausting. In the first episode, the show opens with Dr Jack waking up in the jungle, some distance away from the 45+ other survivors, most of whom are on the beach near the fuselage. Later, we learn that the plane had split apart in mid-air…and 45 people survived, most without a scratch. Still later in Ep 1, the pilot gets snatched from the cockpit section of the plane by a “mysterious force” which has never been explained.

in Season One, we met Danielle, a nutcase living on the island for 17-18 years, weary and frightened of “The Others”. A few episodes in, we met Ethan, a resident of the island who kidnaps two of the Lost’ers, only to be killed by a hobbit Charlie a few eps later. No explanation to date of who he was, or if he was part of “The Others”. Season One ended with “The Others” kidnapping young Walt, shooting Josh in the shoulder, and blowing up the raft on which they, along with Jin-Soo and Michael were floating, trying to escape the island ; Jin-Soo dives into the water and disappears, and Michael and Josh are left hanging onto what’s left of the raft.

Season Two took us into the shaft, where it was revealed that someone (Desmond) was living there with supplies, food, electricity, etc., and was resetting a computer with a series of numbers every 108 minutes to “save the world”. The six numbers he entered matched the numbers Hurley had previously chosen in a lottery, which he won to the tune of $156,ooo,ooo. And so it goes…

But Episode 7 of Season 2 had an opening that hit home for me as to why I’m finding it harder and harder to buy the premise of survival after such a horrific event. The opening shot is of a beautiful tropical beach, sand, blue water, sunny blue sky, tranquil…until shards and chunks of the airplane come flying across the landscape at speeds reminiscent of similar scenes in the movie Twister, begging the question: howinhell could anyone survive such a crash, let alone without a scratch on them?

I will continue with Lost, but confess that my interest to know the answers to some of these questions is beginning to wear thin. I really like this show. However, I think J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof are taking too long to reveal enough information critical to allow their viewers to continue watching, remain intrigued, accept the barely-believable premise, and expend enough energy to maintain a continuing suspension of disbelief as more clues are slowly revealed.

Oh, and speaking of sharks, did anyone notice in the second episode that the Dharma logo was on the shark’s tail as it circled the remains of the raft? Suspension of disbelief?

NOTE: Also posted to Blogcritics.com.