Reamde and Bill Cosby

No I’m not entirely sure how those two things go together: one is the latest novel from Neal Stephenson which had me riveted all the way through the 1000-odd pages, the other is the comedian best known for his influential TV series from the 1980s. I suppose it’s a pop cultural thing, but I’ve been trying to figure out what theme might be running through both topics in order to produce something profound out of a blog post.

Instead, well, here we are. The “theme” if any is that both were things I experienced in July, and it now being the end of July I figured I’d get it written down.

Reamde is a terrific novel that I nearly couldn’t put down; it weaves high-end World of Warcraft-style MMORPG cyberpunk er, nowpunk(?) with straight thriller style shoot-em-up almost seamlessly and so adeptly that you have to keep turning the page. I loved it and it occupied the better part of my mind while I was reading it, and except for one nagging minor plotline that never got addressed by the end, it’s nearly a perfect read.

Seeing Bill Cosby live in Central Oregon was, despite its significance for Central Oregon, an event I was less excited about. Mostly because it took place on a Sunday afternoon (during a kid’s birthday weekend) out at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds—not exactly the ideal venue for which to see a comedian (seriously, the Tower Theatre would have been much better) but my wife won free tickets so what are you gonna do? The performance itself was fine, not entirely the caliber of his earlier years, and despite several issues with the handling of the venue and event itself (not Bill Cosby’s fault), it was an entertaining hour and a half.

So what does one have to do with another? Well nothing really, but there’s an interesting contrast between stories of a childhood framed by an era very few of us can understand (Cosby was born in 1937), and the modern future-is-now headspace of works like Reamde from authors like Neal Stephenson. And it seems like there should be something profound in that.

Cartoon theme music…

Does anyone remember the music in the ’80s Transformers and GI Joe cartoons that I can only best describe at “battle music”? It was only really played when the good guys were staging some sort of comeback, and the best example I can think of (supreme nerd alert here) is in the GI Joe “Serpentor” mini-series which introduced Sargent Slaughter, where Sgt. Slaughter led the charge against the BAT battalion in the first few minutes and then later in the third episode or something, fighting Dr. Mindbender at Sun Tzu’s tomb.

(Yeah I told you it was supreme nerd alert!)

It was reused a number of times in both series, and while I can find the clips on YouTube, I can not find any other references yet on the web—much less an MP3 of said music. Other than most of that music for those cartoons was composed by Robert Walsh, I think.

Does anyone else know what I’m talking about? Or am I just crazy?

The TV post (Spring ’11)

I usually end up making these type of rants posts this time of year because it’s at the point where the frustration has built and I need to trip the release valve. Well, frustration and just general commentary.

For instance, “V“: I wrote about this previously, and, well, I’ve bailed. I don’t know what happened to the production or writing of the second season, but when a major plotline is the Visitors’ obsession with finding and destroying the human soul—well, I should hope the ludicrous nature of this is evident in itself.

Plus, the “science fiction” aspect of the show finally diverged entirely into “fantasy.” Last week’s episode highlighted the human resistance creating a “DNA bomb” that would, I guess, scramble a person’s DNA (which the Visitors are purportedly collecting). Um, what? I didn’t know we had such crazy technology. And never mind the Visitor method of collecting DNA samples from humans: giant spiked Iron Maiden-looking devices tortuously exsanguinating the victim for a single small vial’s worth of DNA. Um, hello? We have this advanced technology known as a “cotton swab” which does the same thing.

So I’m done with “V”.

That’s the big one. I’m still watching and enjoying (to various degrees) “Hawaii Five-0”, “The Event”, “Law & Order (Various Flavors)”, “American Idol”, and the other usual suspects. I think I doze through the various “CSI”s.

Hawaii Five-0” I enjoy because there’s not a lot of thinking involved, and it looks good. My brother has the amusing observation that they are some sort of crazy Gestapo force but I suppose to a certain extent that’s what makes it entertaining.

The Event” is definitely filling in certain roles left vacant by both “Lost” and “24”, a fairly decent show (not dragging out the mysteries too much like “Lost” did) though lately the editing or something has been really choppy; when they jump from plotline to plotline, it’s never quite obvious what timeframe they’re dealing with, as you go from one storyline that’s taking place in the middle of the day to one in the middle of the night.

I finally concluded that each thread must be self-contained and not happening concurrently—otherwise someone producing that show has to get their editing and sense of time straightened out.

Not too much to say about “American Idol” yet other than, I’m glad the assholes were booted last week, and damn, that Hailey girl acts like she’s pole dancing on stage. My nickname for her is Stripper Pole.

And the first rule of this season’s Idol drinking game: take a shot every time Steven Tyler uses the word “beautiful.”

V

So the new season of “V” premiered tonight; you might recall it’s the TV remake (reimagining?) of the the original nearly-30-year-old alien invasion TV series. I watched it from the beginning last season, with the presumption that I’d bail if it looked like it was going to go off the rails.

It must have been good enough, because here we are at the start of the second season and I’m still watching it; I’m still operating under the same ready-to-bail presumption though. Overall the show is better than I’d thought it would be, though it could very easily swerve into extremely cheesy territory. It’s this tenuousness, I think, along with occasional plot/character moments that seem a little too “What the–?” or convenient that have me wavering still.

Plus, for an advanced alien race with seemingly godlike omniscient technology—and rampant lizard paranoia—it sure seems awfully easy to manage and get away with all sorts of conspiracy literally right under their leader’s nose.

The Ultimate Star Trek Collection

This is one of those over-the-top, for-the-person-who-has-everything, I-have-too-much-disposable-income type of things: The Ultimate Star Trek Collection on Amazon. It’s insane:

  • 212 discs
  • All 5 TV series
  • All 10 movies
  • Commentary, interviews, documentaries, featurettes, deleted scenes, trailers, and more
  • All for the whopping-low price of $2,499.99!

What a deal! Especially since you save $1,409.

Local Fox news

Today Shannon writes:

i’m surprised that other bend bloggers haven’t commented on this but apparently the fox station is going to start a 10 p.m. local newscast at the first of the year according to our local paper who doesn’t have the story online. yea, two news stations! maybe i can stop watching portland and eugene news.

We don’t get the paper, and if it’s not online, then I wouldn’t otherwise see it. Anyway, what I’m wondering is, will the local Foxcast be bringing in new talent, or are they going to poach it away from Z21?

4 8 15 16 23 42 (my long rambling post on Lost)

So these days the one show during the week I have to watch is Lost. Any other show I could miss and catch in reruns and it’s no big deal. What can I say—I’m hooked. I’m along for the ride, and despite my best intentions to simply sit back and enjoy the story as it unfolds, I find myself getting caught up in rampant speculation about—well, everything. So, it’s spilling over into a long blog post that will contain spoilers and that has no central thesis, just random musings and speculation about the show.

Continue reading “4 8 15 16 23 42 (my long rambling post on Lost)”