Lost – Season 3 Finale – “Through The Looking Glass”

3×22_jack_hospital_hamill.jpgI know it has been a long time since I wrote about TV and I am a week late in talking about the Lost season finale, but it was so good and there is a funny story involving the lateness, so here we go.

My wife and I have been diligently watching this season of Lost since it started. Every Wednesday we make sure we are home so we can catch it first thing. Well, this past Wednesday we were invited over to some friend’s house for dinner after church.

The debate began shortly after. In my head I believed that there was in fact another episode after that week, so it wasn’t finale time, but close to it. We thought about declining the offer and going home to watch Lost. Then we thought about going home to record it and then coming to dinner. Lastly we knew ABC would be showing the episode on their website and we could watch it there.

Of course it is rude to decline a dinner invitation for a television show, but we did consider it. But seeing as we had just dropped the China bomb, it felt especially rude. I knew that if I ran home to tape it, I would just wind up staying there as I was tired. Quite tired, actually. I’ve watched episodes online before, and they always worked out well, so we decided on that option.

Continue reading “Lost – Season 3 Finale – “Through The Looking Glass””

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2 Things I’ve Learned While Being On The Road

1.  There is always construction.  Always.  No matter the season, no matter the road.  Wherever you want to go, they will be working somewhere on it.  I keep thinking someday they’ll be finished with the construction and I’ll be able to make a trip smoothly.  I keep thinking wrong.  My favorite part of the drive to Oklahoma is that I-44 is a toll road as soon as you hit the OK state line, and it is always full of construction.  I pay $3.50 a trip so I can slow down twenty miles per hour and be stuck in one lane.

2.  Other drivers are rude and slow.  I drive pretty fast, but not that fast.  My general maximum is 80 and no more than 10 mph over the speed limit.  I am also a courteous driver.  I don’t ride bumpers, I don’t cut people off intentionally, when there is construction I get into the proper lane quickly, and let others in.

Oh, and I get into the slow lane when somebody faster is behind me.  Why can’t others do the same?  Seriously I was cut off at least 10 times on this trip by people who then proceeded to go way slow.  Get the freak over folks!  Actually, first don’t cut me off, and then get the freak over.  Why is it people can’t wait five seconds for me to pass, when I’m obviously going faster than them, and then why can’t they get back over into the lane after they’ve passed whatever slow car they cut me off for?

Grrrrr.

Nothing I learned, but ticked me off:  Doing my usual 80 mph in Missouri today I hit the breaks cause I see a cop about half  a mile down the road.  He’s not trapping, but driving down the road.  Still, I break cause doing 80 in a 70 is not the best policy when passing a cop.  I do pass cops by the way, just not way over the speed limit.  I’m totally not afraid of them though.  Why is everyone so scared that no matter what speed the cop is going, they slow way down and get behind them?  The cop isn’t going to give you a ticket for going the speed limit, even if you do pass them.

So I slow to 70, the posted limit and begin to catch the cop.  Now I usually spend my time in the fast lane, as I’m usually going faster than everybody else.  But as earlier stated I move over for faster cars than me, or during long stretches of empty highway.  But I see no point in constantly changing lanes when I know I’ll be passing people.

There I am, for awhile I’ll admit, in the fast lane.  But I am passing people.  Slowly I catch up to the copy – slowly as he is going maybe 67 to my 70.  Just as I get up close to him, ready to pass, he jumps into my lane and then points to the right, as in telling me to move over.

Great, I think, he’s pulling me over for something stupid.  I’m not speeding, but I do have a car full of boxes and I wonder if maybe I’m breaking some sort of ordinance.  Like not safely buckling down my boxes or something.

No worries though for he gets into the right lane and keeps driving.  No flashing lights, no sirens, not even a slow down to the curb with his pointy fingers.

What the crap?  What, I can’t pass a cop, when he’s doing less than the speed limit?  What kind of BS is that?  The only logical thing I can figure is he didn’t like me being in the fast lane for so long.  He did have a bumper sticker that said something about staying in the right lane.  I know technically it is a passing lane and only to be used for such things, but give me a freaking break.  I was passing people.  Actually I was about to pass you, you stupid country redneck bumpkin who has to abuse his authority for dumb little kicks.

What a maroon!

Luckily, he exited soon and I hit the gas.

I Got A Mac, Plus Random Bits

With the move to China there has been some inventory checking and some wish listi buying.  We knew we wanted a new laptop as the Dell is getting a bit old and acting its age.  Like pretty much every computer I’ve owned it is now moving slow, locking up and generally giving me more trouble than I know how to handle.

Truth be told, it would probably last us a few more years were we not moving to China, but that kind of a move is a good excuse to upgrade.

The Mac choice is recent.  I’ve been interested in them for along while, but making the jump seemed too difficult and the inability to work in a PC world seemed too great.  But with plenty of assurances from friends that the transition was fluid and that Macs now work well with PCs we got more serious.

This is especially true as I have become more geeky with my blogging and digital camera-ing and all around living on the internet.  Macs are notoriously good at artistic type stuff, and as my life is more artistic-y we finally made the choice to go to the other side.

We went with the basic Macbook.  120 gig hard drive, 1 gig memory etc.  Not top of the line, but way better than the Dell.

Honestly though, I can’t say I’m super impressed.  This always happens with my new technology.  I get all excited about it before I purchase that by the time it is in-hand I expect it to be magical.  Then I look at it going –is this it?

The Mac is a computer, it does computer stuff.  Cool computer stuff, but it didn’t clean my house or make me smarter or anything so I’m immediately kind of let down.

But that’s just me.

It is nice a fast and whiz-bang, but I’m tentative about that as all new computers are.  So far it has been pretty easy to navigate the differences between PC and Mac.  The one button mouse still trips me up, and the keyboard is slightly different, but I’m learning.  I’ve only just played with the video/picture/audio tools, but they look way cool.  I’m already planning bootleg country pod casts for China.

Please slap me if I turn into that annoying Mac guy from those commercials.
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A couple of other odds and ends:

Tomorrow I am headed to Oklahoma.  Will be working with dad in the heat and dirt.  It will be back breaking work, but hopefully I’ll earn enough cash to take care of the bills.  I should be able to keep up with the blog, but please forgive any breaks.

You may have noticed the blog taking on a more bloggy feel of late.  This will continue for a long while.  With the moving and the stress and the business I haven’t been able to do my normal pop-culture madness.  It is hard to review a movie when I haven’t been watching them, or do a Random Shuffle when I’m out of town moving boxes.  It is however a little more easy to do a quick blurb about what I am doing.  I try to write cool essays, but even those are tough.

When I first started this blog it was all about my experiences in France.  It was only later that it merged into the bastion of pop culture goodness.  Now with China looming it will probably turn into more personal bits.

You’ll get used to it. You’ll learn to love it.

Random Shuffle – The Cure, David Grisman And Smokey Robinson

“Just Like Heaven” – The Cure
From Greatest Hits – Acoustic

Does anyone remember the days of scrambled television? Growing up all the cable stations that we weren’t subscribed to (HBO, Showtime etc.) and all the pay-per-view movies we had not purchased were scrambled in such a way as to make you not want to watch them. The images came out in negatives, and often the picture was split into pieces. The idea, of course, was that no one in their right mind would actually want to watch television in this manner.

The idea was often wrong. I used to watch all manner of programs in this way. I can specifically remember watching the first 48 Hours in this manner. The audio remained good, so I got most of the jokes, and could figure out what was going on, and occasionally the image was unbroken enough to actually see what was happening.

There were also, I must admit, a few late night fumblings watching some adult pay-per-view. You couldn’t see much, but if you squinted right every now and again you might see a negative of a nipple. For a pubescent teenager this was sometimes enough.

During the early ’90s, when alternative suddenly became a musical buzzword, The Cure did an acoustic pay-per-view special. To say I was a sullen, depressed teenager seems a little beyond the point because aren’t all teenagers sullen and depressed? The Cure, of course, are the poster band for sullen, depressed teenagers the world over. So, of course, I watched the special. And of course, I watched it in the negative, scrambled version.

Continue reading “Random Shuffle – The Cure, David Grisman And Smokey Robinson”

Ah, The Bitter Cold, Feels So Good

We have a working air conditioner!  The situation was becoming a nightmare, but it is finally over.  For the past several weeks I have gone to our apartment office and complained about the heat, and gotten updates.

It was a missing part you see.  A part they ordered and would be in on this  date.  Except it wasn’t in on that date.  But they told the company to over night it if it wasn’t in on that date.  But then the mysterious company didn’t do that either.  Everybody was mad of course.  Especially me.

Several years ago I lived in a dump.  Crap-central.  Rat-hole’s R Us.  It sucked.  There were many problems, but the main one was that when it rained, our kitchen leaked.  I would go and complain.  They would act all serious and say they’d get it fixed.  They were nice and had homemade cookies so I would relent.  Then it would rain, and I’d be wet.  More complaining, more cookies, more nothing.

It got to where I would go there every single day and complain.  I got fat on cookies.

They.  Never Fixed.  It.

This has kind of made me lose all faith in apartment people.  So with the daily complaining here and the promises of it getting fixed I was weary and tired and kind of not believing them.  But now sitting under the cool breeze emanating from my ven all is forgiven.

The Brewsters Are Going To China

china.jpg

We got the offer to go to China today. We will accept tomorrow. We have to be there early August.

Let me back up. My sister and her husband have been teaching at various schools in China for the last four years or so. They have always said we should go and we have always said we’d like to.

After I lost my job last August, and have had much difficulty finding a replacement, and Amy is out of school and without work, we started to seriously consider it. Finally a month or so ago, I sent resumes to the sister just to see what would happen. I was tired of talking about it like a dream and wanted to see if it was even possible.

Amy then got a call which was followed by multiple interviews and now, an offer.

Holy Crap!

We have talked about this for so long now it is unbelievable that it is actually happening now. It feels a little like we’re being whisked along without much control. Like I wanted to just see what would happen, but now I don’t know what else to do but go along with it.

I’m really excited, and incredibly nervous.

There is so much to do, too. We have to get work Visas. Amy has to have her dissertation proposal approved. I plan to sell most of our furniture and haven’t the slightest idea how much to ask for anything, or how to even go about it. My dad says he can store anything else. We have a car to sell, insurance to obtain, packing to do….and more things I can even imagine at the moment.

China. Unbelievable.

Concert Review: Ryan Adams, Paula Cole, Suzanne Vega, Charlie Louvin and Vietnam at the Brown Theatre in Louisville – May 19, 2007

After the whole Ryan versus Gillian debacle I had settled down into a wonderful Ryan Adams groove. I’ve been listening to his music for weeks and generally freaking out about seeing him. My mantra has been “I’m going to see Ryan Adams, I’m going to see Ryan Adams.” The world’s troubles melt away with these words.

But before I talk about the show, I must say a few words about Holly. She is my wife’s friend from college. I was also supposed to have married her instead -(acording to my sister anyway.) You see while I first started to date the girl who became my wife, my sister was then in college with Holly (a different college than the one my wife and Holly attended, but that’s another story) and she noticed some similarities between me and Holly (all of which have long since been forgotten) and decided we were perfect for each other. And she told us this information, separately and frequently. We both collectively shrugged our shoulder and moved on.

Somehow, a few months ago Holly and I became fast friends. It turns out we do have a lot in common, namely a great passion for music and Ryan Adams. Lots of e-mails have passed through our portals and a few phone calls, but the whole physical presence thing was absent (well except for a couple of weddings, but both of those were brief and pre-friendship weirdness.)

All this to say that I was looking forward to her coming and a little nervous about it all.

She came, it was a little weird, then it was fun and silly and great. There was one of those long, 3 am I’m-sure-I’m-going-to-regret-saying-all-this-in-the-morning conversations. Except I don’t regret it. Not at all.

Continue reading “Concert Review: Ryan Adams, Paula Cole, Suzanne Vega, Charlie Louvin and Vietnam at the Brown Theatre in Louisville – May 19, 2007”

Hidden Treasures

murmur.jpgSomewhere, maybe, I have a small, but quite solid vinyl collection. My mother grew up in the 60s and she had a rather extensive collection of rock and roll records – the Beatles, the Turtles, Sonny and Cher, Bob Dylan, all that early stuff. Unfortunately a good deal of them was ruined during a little home flooding. What wasn’t destroyed, I inherited. Around this same time, we had a family yard sale and my aunt brought over some more Dylan and Beatles records. I took what I wanted and added to my collection.

Somewhere before college the CD revolution hit and my record player broke so my collection became a storage item for my parents. Honestly, I don’t know if they still exist. Mother, for the longest time, threatened to chunk them if I didn’t take them with me. I never believed her, but as I sit and think about it, I haven’t seen them in awhile.

My mother-in-law also has a pretty good collection (in terms of numbers anyways) but as she is a little older the music consists of folks like Engelbert Humperdink. It’s all very easy listening and not very interesting to my ears. She has been asking me if she could sell the records for much, and after looking around Ebay I realized that nothing she has is rare or worth much.

Flipping through the collection, just to see if there was anything interesting, I made a find that made me very happy – Murmur by REM.

I know, you’re saying to yourself, “that’s not very Engelbert Humperdinkish.” And it is true, it is not like Mr. Humperdink at all. Of course it wasn’t purchased by my mother-in-law at all, but my dearly loved wife.

This isn’t really worth very much either, but it has a very big cool factor to it. The thing I really love is the artwork. I’ve often heard how beautiful that cover is, but on the small CD I never really saw it.

It’s just a bunch of moss, I’d say. But in the full vinyl cover mode, it is truly a thing of beauty. It looks like the album sounds – full, dense, dark and beautiful.

She also had a Johnny Cash album and REM’s Reckoning.

And a Fat Boys single, “Wipeout.”

Now if I only had a record player.