Posts By: Mark Alexander

What We’re Currently Watching

In no particular order:

Zoo (CBS) This show started out with an interesting premise: that the animals are done with our shit and they’re doing something about it. Unfortunately, the show just isn’t panning out. I won’t go so far as to say it’s completely jumped the shark, but, well… it’s a good thing James Wolk is pretty.

The Strain (FX) Pleasantly surprised by this one. What would you do during a Zombie Vampire Apocalypse? The Strain is relatively slow burn and some reviewers have called it “plodding” but I think it’s moving along at a good enough pace to keep the interest up. The cinematography is beautiful (as expected with anything Guillermo Del Toro has a hand in), but as seems to be the norm in this sort of show these days, some of the characters do incredibly stupid things. Additionally, the the writers have left gaping holes unpatched (How exactly did the main character get back from Washington DC into to a quarantined New York City after being shot with such relative ease?). But there’s a lot of good backstory exposition outlining how the creatures came came to be…and Corey Stoll is pretty.

Under the Dome (CBS) Initially, this was an interesting and entertaining way to spend an hour every week, but it this season the writers not only jumped the shark, they’ve gone to airline cruising altitude. It’s pretty bad when I learned this morning there are only two more episodes until the series conclusion (not just the season’s) and I thought, “Praise the Baby Jeebus!” So why am I sticking through until the bitter end? Mike Vogel is pretty.

The Whispers (ABC) A decent cast headlined by Lily Rabe and Barry Sloane with an interesting storyline has kept us engaged. “Unseen forces use unwitting human children to achieve their nefarious ends.” As of last week we still don’t know what their nefarious ends are (I haven’t seen the season finale yet), but Barry Sloane is pretty.

Fear the Walking Dead (AMC) I’m giving this one the benefit of the doubt, despite its glacially slow first episodes. What did the world look like as it was transforming into the horrifying apocalypse depicted in The Walking Dead? I realize that as viewers we have the advantage of knowing—unlike the show’s characters—what’s going down and simply want it all to hurry up and happen, but I’m hoping the payoff will be that through the extended character building we actually come to care about them the way we do in The Walking Dead. So far I’m not impressed by the drug-addict teen (who physically reminds me way too much of Johnny Depp) or his angst-ridden sister, but like I said, I’m willing to see where this goes. And let’s be honest: until The Walking Dead returns, what else is there to watch Sunday night?

The Walking Dead (AMC) Needs no commentary. If you don’t know what this is, you’ve been living under a rock the last five years.

Talking Dead (AMC) Immediately follows The Walking Dead to recap that night’s episode. And it’s anchored by Chris Hardwick—whom I have impure thoughts about.

At Midnight with Chris Hardwick (Comedy Central) Chris Hardwick. Duh. (Even if Ron Funches—who I don’t find funny at all and is annoying as hell—always wins when he’s on.)

Rizzoli & Isles (TNT) Yeah, I know this one is a little out of place in this sci-fi heavy lineup, but I do like Sasha Alexander. I loved her as Kate on NCIS, and I think this character gave her the opportunity to bring her own personal brand of “Ducky” (from NCIS) to the role. And Jordan Bridges is pretty. MOAR SHIRTLESS JORDAN BRIDGES PLEASE!

Masters of Sex (SHO) The first couple seasons were hot and steamy, and did a great job of bringing the story of William H. Masters and Virginia E. Johnson and their groundbreaking (and very scandalous for its time), Human Sexual Response to the small screen. The series was rooted in the repressive 1950s and rang true on so many levels, but as the story has progressed beyond the publishing of the book and into the 1960s, it seems to be grasping for direction—openly flashing a disclaimer before every episode that the characters of the children are entirely fictitious. I’m still watching, but it seems to be turning more and more into a soap opera, and I’m rapidly losing interest in (or caring about any of) the characters. In real life, we know Masters and his wife eventually divorced and he married Johnson, but while the onscreen story seems to be heading in that direction, it’s taking way too many detours.

Ripper Street (BBC) I love these period BBC dramas, although for the life of me I have no idea what’s actually happened to this program. According to the website it’s still on, but we missed the first couple episodes this season and it seems to have completely disappeared from our lineup, which is a shame. Because Matthew MacFadyen and his awesome sideburns is pretty. But unfortunately, not pretty enough that I want to spend $2.00 per episode to catch up.

Deutschland 83 (Sundance) This is an eight-episode German television series starring Jonas Nay as a 24-year-old native of East Germany who in 1983 is sent to the West as an undercover spy for the Stasi. I’ve made it through about two episodes thus far. I like it enough to keep going, but it’s definitely not one of those shows I call “background noise” (and not only because I have to pay attention to the subtitles since my memory of German only allows me to pick out a word here and there). You need to pay attention to follow what’s going on; definitely not something that can done if you’re sitting with your laptop in the evening reading tweets and downloading pr0n.

Mr. Robot (USA) This show is OFF. THE. RAILS. (And I love it.)

Humans (AMC) While the season just ended, I have to include it here because it was one of my favorite shows of the summer. It presented our near-future in the most realistic, believable way I’ve ever seen portrayed. The scenarios under which the human characters interacted with the “synths” resonated and were simply believable.

This scene was straight out of Ray Bradbury’s classic I Sing the Body Electric but it worked.

Extant (CBS) This is one of those shows that started out with a very interesting premise and after a great first season, totally jumped the shark and went into low earth orbit in season two. I think the problem is that they were trying too hard to tie together disparate storylines and ended up turning it into one incomprehensible WTF mess. (See also: Murder in the First.)

Quote of the Day

Donald Trump is trying to insult his way to the presidency. It’s not gonna work. People want an uplifting, hopeful message. People come to this country to pursue their dreams. Sometimes they start without speaking English. But they learn English. And they add vitality to our country.

To say you can only speak English is kind of ridiculous, if you think about it….This is a diverse country. We should celebrate that diversity and embrace a set of shared values. Mr. Trump doesn’t believe in those shared values. He wants to tear us down. He doesn’t believe in tolerance. He doesn’t believe in the things that have created the greatness of this country. ~ Jeb Bush (Someone whom I never thought I’d find myself quoting.)

Wut?

Speaking of NASA…

Okay NASA, what the fuck is that thing in the lower right corner of this photo from Mars Curiosity?

“It’s a twig.” LIFE

“It’s an insect leg.” LIFE

“It’s a piece of dangling wire insulation from the rover.” NO LIFE ON MARS. NOPE. NEVER HAS BEEN. MAYBE SOME WATER ONCE, BUT NOT NOW. WE WON’T HAVE A DEFINITIVE ANSWER UNLESS YOU FUND ANOTHER PROBE. AND ONE AFTER THAT. AND ANOTHER ONE AFTER THAT. BECAUSE IF WE ANNOUNCED LIFE ON MARS, SOCIETY WOULD COLLAPSE!

Any guesses which explanation they’ll provide—assume they even address it?

Original NASA image here.

And while we’re on the subject of things that need to be addressed, WTF is this? 

“OH, IT’S JUST A TRICK OF LIGHT AND SHADOW.”

Original NASA image here.

Um…yeah. Something that looks totally out of place, is a completely different color and shape than the surrounding rock, and for all intents looks organic. Whatever, NASA. Whatever.

 

Oh NASA…

overlyobsessedfanqueen:

I’m fucking pissing myself.
You know how all of Jupiter’s moons are named after his lovers and affairs?
Yeah. NASA is sending a craft to check up on Jupiter.
You know what the craft is called?

JUNO.

Who’s Juno?

JUPITER’S WIFE.

NASA IS SENDING JUPITER’S WIFE TO CHECK ON JUPITER AND HIS AFFAIRS AND LOVERS.

FUCKING NASA

This is pure awesome.

Why We Look

We look because it’s there. We humans look towards violence in order to define it, to decide where we must run (or if we should stand and fight). We are fascinated by suffering. There is a cognitive bias towards the terrible. Many complain that there is not enough “happy” news. The problem is that there is happy news all around us, we just don’t notice. A baby smiling or someone offering someone else a spot on the bus doesn’t go viral because most humans experience little kindnesses and forget them. But we don’t forget violence.

We look because it’s always available. There is a moment, as you watch a violent video, that you feel you need to fast forward. ISIS fighters in front of ragged flags, knives out – fast forward to the death. Gunshots on a pier – fast forward to what thousands of live viewers saw. The destruction of culture, of lives, of futures, of belief in the decency of mankind – we look because in the end we want to see how far we’ll fall if given the impetus. We want to see how thin the spiderweb veil of sanity really is, how deep the well truly goes until we hit rancid water. And we look to feel superior and to give the amygdala that tickle of surprise we crave. Broadcasting is not new. We learned to sing so we could make others feel strange things, we learned to orate to raise the blood of soldiers, we learned to repeat horrible stories to outrage and distract. From the Lives Of Saints with a pierced St. Sebastian to the latest LiveLeak link, we need violence to feel whole. And that’s why we love these videos. We love them. We share them – “OMG” “#prayers” – we post them, the news organizations replay them over and over. They are our reward for staying out of trouble.

more…

I Can So Relate

“Bobby was enjoying this new brand of paint. The fumes were stronger than anything he had ever sniffed before, and the hallucinations seemed stronger, and wilder. Never again would Bobby see his old paint supplier, from now on he was sticking to the hard stuff like the big boy he had become.”

Most people associate Christmas day with the smell of freshly-baked cookies, or turkey and stuffing cooking in the oven. Not me. What takes me back is the smell of plastic model paint. Being a geeky child of the 60s, nothing recalls Christmas to me quite as much as building plastic models, whether they were commercial airplanes, movie monsters, anatomical displays, dinosaur skeletons, or spacecraft. And they all required painting.

Recommended

Those of us who are of a certain age will undoubtedly remember many a smoky night spent on a flashing dance floor gyrating our once pert-and-perky asses to Cerrone’s 1978 classic Supernature.

The reason I bring this up is that this morning while scrolling through iTunes I ran across Cerrone’s 201o  Cerrone Symphony Variations of Supernature, essentially a symphonic 44-minute remix/augmentation/updating of the original 1978 source material that I orgasmed over when I first heard it years ago.

I’m pretty sure I’d written a review back then, but like all the rest of my posts prior to moving to Denver, it was consigned to the depths of internet hell.

Anyway, I had forgotten how good it really was.

It’s also kind of funny in that CBS’s Zoo (yeah, I watch it as ridiculous as it is because James Wolk is pretty) seems to be loosely based on the premise Cerrone explored in his music nearly 40 years ago (I can not be that old!)—that the animals will one day rise up and rebel against mankind.

While it’s not available on iTunes (WTF?), you can can still pick it up on physical media from Amazon.

THIS.

From Dave at Blogography, copied in full because it was just too good not to and perfectly sums up what I’ve been feeling myself lately:

Jared Fogle, the Subway Sandwich Whore… whom I loathe, but tried to treat fairly when he was dragged to the police station for questions regarding child pornography(because, hey, innocent until proven guilty, right?) is, in fact, apparently going to plead guilty to not only possession of child pornography… but also of having sex with at least fourteen underage kids… THE SICK FUCK! What a piece of garbage. He used his millions in sandwich money to prey on innocent children… and continued to do so even after his best friend got caught producing kiddie porn for him? As much as I loathed him before, he has managed to sink even lower. Holy crap what a repugnant asshole. Fuck Jared for making me watch his idiotic commercials and listen to his pathetic lies all these years. Hope you like the sandwiches in prison, you disgusting pig.

Josh Duggar, the “Family Values” Douchebag… whom I loathe, but tried to treat fairly when he was crucified for having sexually molested five girls (including four of his sisters) as a teenager (because, hey, growing up in that dysfunctional shit-hole of a family was bound to screw him up, right?) is, in fact, not only a teen pedophile… but also an allegedly unfaithful husband who has been outed as a “Life is Short, Have an Affair” Ashley Madison member. That’s right, all the while he was dictating morals to people on how they should live their lives… he was apparently living his life contrary to his own standards. Like the fucking pathetic hypocritical piece of shit he is. As much as I loathed him before, he has managed to sink even lower. Holy crap what a repugnant asshole. Fuck Josh Duggar for making me even be aware of his parents’ idiotic clown car vagina reality show all these years. From the depths of your very own belief system, hope you enjoy rotting in hell, you disgusting pig.

George Zimmerman, the psychotic asshole that stalked and killed a kid for being Black “in the wrong neighborhood”… whom I loathe, but tried to treat fairly… as in “they-should-have-hanged-the-fucking-murdering-asshole-fairly” because HE WAS CLEARLY LYING AND GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY is, in fact…

Donald Trump, the misogynistic pile of shit (and hairspray)… whom I loathe, but tried to…

Pat Robertson, the bigoted…

Scott

Jan

I give up. I just give up. If I were to write up all the assholes, idiots, and clowns that are pissing me off today, I’d be here all week. Holy crap are there a lot of repugnant pieces of shit in my newsfeed lately. Some days I think I’d be much better off with my head stuck in the sand.

Knowing what’s going on in the world isn’t good for your sanity. Not anymore.

There are days that after reading one or two posts, I simply “mark all as read” in my newsfeed now because I just can’t.

Back to Work

OH MY GOD. I know it’s been only one day, but the place I’m going to be working at for the next month or so is about as far removed from my previous work environment as possible. I’d forgotten what it was like to work in an I.T. Department that isn’t dripping with drama and dysfunction; a department filled with people who are genuinely friendly and actually seem to like being there and enjoy what they’re doing.

And really, who can blame them? A relaxed dress code (I can wear jeans every day), an onsite cafeteria, more than adequate restroom facilities, and completely covered employee parking (something that if you don’t live in Arizona you can’t fully appreciate).

The folks I work with are helpful and encouraging; such a change from the majority of coworkers at my last place of employment. I didn’t hear a single disparaging or inappropriate comment from anyone in the department and so to my former boss I say, See bitch? It’s not like your feculent vat of toxic hellstew everywhere.”

I was initially concerned about the commute. It’s  about seven miles further each way than the one I had in Denver, but it turns out that even with it being a greater distance, it takes the same amount of time thanks to the valley’s properly sized transportation infrastructure.

My only regret is that this is slated to be only a short-term gig. But then, so was my last job in Phoenix that ended up turning permanent and lasting nearly 8 years.

We shall see. In the meantime, I’m just going to relish actually looking forward to going to work again.