Tuesday, September 18, 2007

in defense of (great) television

it’s been awhile. i wanted to write an entry about my new sewing/crafting set-up in our office, but then i stopped using it the moment i set it up (but i'll share later, because i am excited about it).

the blame for my neglect falls on mad men and the wire, which are two really excellent cable TV dramas. i'll craft later. right now, mad men’s season one is stored temporarily on on demand and seasons one and two of the wire are on loan to me. so, i have to diligently watch them in blocks, because i don’t want to miss the deadline or keep my friend waiting. but i really want to watch them; they’re both really exceptional shows. and they both share critical acclaim, but neither seem to have the commensurate viewership. the earlier is set in the 1960s, capturing the dramatic metamorphosis of american social norms as it follows ad agency executives and their lives. what i like most about it is its look into middle and upper-middle class american gender roles, which are realistically driven more by individual interests than an over-arching allegory. the characters are simply people, flawed and relatable.

though i am not quite done with the first season, i feel comfortable saying the wire is probably one of the best shows ever made. i’ll say upfront that it is a cop drama, but quickly add that no other cop drama before it is as realistic and as compelling. it takes place in the baltimore ghettos, surrounding a homicide police unit focused on drug-dealing gangs. i love this quote by its writer/producer, david simon, who says of the show, "[it] really [is] about the american city, and about how we live together. it's about how institutions have an effect on individuals, and how... whether you're a cop, a longshoreman, a drug dealer, a politician, a judge [or] lawyer, you are ultimately compromised and must contend with whatever institution you've committed to." it's smart, gritty, and forces you to think about it, especially when you're not watching it.

and because this entry has become a recommendation list, i will also say that small town gay bar, who the #$&* is jackson pollock, and sicko are documentaries you should see, if you haven’t already.

i have zero problem enjoying TV or movies with the same enthusiasm that i give reading novels, doing puzzles, playing chess, video gaming, or crafting. everything in moderation, as the saying goes. but i wanna say that i think TV and movie watching gets a bad rap as being lowbrow and/or a waste of time. and although karl and i have our guilty pleasures like wife swap and real world, there’s a difference between those and, say, a documentary or a realistic cop drama that do something more for your awareness, bringing you to see and learn things that you might never be able to (or want to) experience. anyway, i guess what i am saying is anti-TV movements brought on by groups like adbusters are kind of silly to me. watching TV and movies can be as rewarding experience as you’d like it to be. and on that note, i’ve saved you the time of finding some good ones.

Friday, September 7, 2007

romy and melissa's myspace reunion

dear web journal,

karl’s sister recently attended her ten year high school reunion and had some mixed feelings over the event. as per usual, her blog even when "a confusing rant" (her words) is a good read. it got me thinking about my own, which is just at my heels.

i seriously doubt i’ll go. if i can’t have a romy and michelle type reunion, i want nothing of it. and besides the friends i’ve still managed to keep in contact with from my graduating year, i think i can safely assume that rest of the people i’d be interested in seeing wouldn’t go anyway.

and better than that, the internet is a much more efficient (even if creepier) way of tracking down the answer to the question of ‘what is he or she doing these days?’ hell, even my mom decided to get a facebook account, which is a disturbing fact. but the point is, the resources are out there.

and then sometimes you’re in a random store and you stumble upon a maybelline ad with a close-up shot of a face belonging to some girl you did skits with in drama class. apparently, this girl, who everyone said should become a model, became a model and very successful one at that.

or sometimes you watch an episode of project runway season two, which you love, and find this guy who you knew in high school and at the time swore was gay, but his closest friends who were some of your closest friends swore he wasn’t. it’s pretty clear who was right, i guess.

but back to using the internet and simultaneously becoming a total creep. see, there’s something in me that generally has little interest in actually communicating to these ghosts of my past. but i still have the curiosity that usually brings me to myspace: who becomes what they set out to be? do those friggin’ AP classes really matter? who had a slew of kids? what druggie/alcoholic became an overnight christian? and so on. and of course, these questions are never limited to my graduating class. i guess i am a nosey one.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

spider and the fly

dear web journal,

look, i know that spiders are "our friends." it's just that some friends are not worth cavorting with. like that time at age ten, one attached itself to my legs and it kindly sank its little fangs into me repeatedly.

and yes, most spiders are harmless to humans. like the beastly one i found next to our back door. it's just when you turn around in the dark and come face to face with one the size of a child's fist, you have to take the time to warm up to it (and google it). black and yellow argiopes are menacing looking, but completely safe to handle, if you were that kind of weirdo. i'm not.

i've named our little pest-murderer, gaia. she's supposed to be big on cicadas, which is good news to me. and besides having some pretty color to her, gaia's kind is famous for really beautiful and intricate webs that they maintain daily. sometimes this kind of spider is known as a "writer spider" because they create this weird zipper design down the side of their webs. ours does this and then undoes this and then redoes it. it's a pretty good show.

maybe, just maybe, gaia will help me get over my thing with spiders. ugh.