30 September 2007

Casimir Pulaski Day

Casimir Pulaski Day

Matthew Luke Sandoval

Sunday Pretties

Saturday at Borders

I spent yesterday -my usual day-off, working at the Borders in Montclair. Starting at 6 am, I spent the morning shelving and helping Lyly get the store back into order.

I'm unsure how she felt about this, but when she left that store 2 years ago to take on Rancho Cucamonga where I work, she left a store in a great position. Even after she left Rancho to take on the very troubled Chino store, I don't think she think in a moment she would be back at Montclair to put it back in order.

But, alas, she is back.

And at first, I thought maybe it was time to let Montclair go, especially after Barnes & Noble opened a huge store with in the Montclair Plaza Mall. Plus, over the last few years, the Montclair Borders stock began to fall, as Rancho stole a bunch of their customers. And couple that with the new B&N and many staff issues, the store was quickly becoming a pariah.

Just last week I found out they were down to two IPT people, their GM had quit and their superviser staff was down to a few. Lyly, who is damn good at what she does, was asked to come back and right a lilting ship. Got to say, even after a week back, she's got the sort room close to where it should be, as she told me that they had over 7 pallets yet to sort through.

I spent the day just shelving, but she had to make sure I was not fixing the sections as I went along. She was concerned about just getting stock on the shelves, which is really the key to all our sales, no matter how much the company wants to focus on customer service.

But she knows me too well, and she stopped me from fixing the computer books. Just get the stock out, she chided me. Got to tell you how hard it was not to want fix these sections I worked on, from trying not put the books in alphabetical order, and taking titles (especially in the computer section) that don't belong where they're at.

But I did as she asked, and by 3pm, most of the back room was empty. I got home at 3:25 and nearly collapsed. It was hard work, really something I'm used too. But still, by the sixth day of work, I'm tired.

I missed Heather's baby shower, and I sent a missive to her myspace to explain it. I lover her to death, but overtime is what I need, especially afte the recent car thingy. It's hard to explain to someone that money -stupid money - stoppped me from going and enjoying myself. And, I suppose, I could've gotten out earlier or even got to Heather's late yesterday, but I figured even if I showered and got out of the house by 3:45, it was still a 45 minute or so drive to Sunland. I would've had a half-hour (for it was over at 5) to spend.

So, hopefully she'll not hate me too much.

Anyways, back to Montclair. The store, besides not being in alpha, looks pretty good. It needs a strong leader, which Lyly is and the previous manager was not. It will never be the money making store it once was, if only because B&N is making it difficult with its store right in the mall itself. But, if a the right person is selected, one who can bring the store back from its tipping point, I don't see why it can't get better. Lyly is only staying for a while, as other plans are in the works for her.

I told her I kind of want to go to the Mira Loma when it opens in February. She was surprised and said that it was further away than Rancho. I told her I was aware of that, but Rancho offers nothing in the way of a challenge, plus Mira Loma is one of the first of the new concept stores in California. It's designed to address the changing music and DVD market, as it will be a store that people can download music -much like what Starbucks is doing. And I kind of want to be a part of it.

She also asked me why I turned down the supervisor position, and basically told her that I now realize where I fit into this world. I'm not cut from the same cloth when it comes to being any sort of manager. I can be a leader, but my brain is not wired to deal with so much gobbly-gook that it takes to be a manager. Plus, I don't think the customer respect us workers, yet they expect us to respect them. I told her I would say something that might get me fired, so I said it was better to keep me on IPT.

Besides, I know, and she knows cause she told me, that Rancho's success is because of me. That Jeff would be at a loss if I left and went to Mira Loma. We'll see. And I know that sounds arrogant, but when I took a week off in August (when I knew things would be slow, so my loss would not be that great) both Natasha and DJ verbalized to me that they missed me, because things that normally got done, little things in some respect, where not getting done.

They seemed suprised, I guess. But that's my greatest strength. I know little reward (as in money) will come my way, but this is what I'm good at, this is what makes the stores I work in bring in the money.

As I mentioned earlier, the company is so concerend about customer service and its investors, they don't realize that the key to the success of any store is the ability to get the stock out in a timely manner. If the product is out, the customers will buy. Yes, customer service is important, but to trim hours forcing IPT to work FOS (cause their hours are guaranteed) and register effects the ability to get the stock out.

But, at the end of the day, I'm still unsure about my future. Most days, I still want to work at Borders, as I still love doing what I'm doing. But there are times, when money comes up short, that I have to make a choice soon; get a part-time job or find something else.

And to be honest, the only thing that appeals to me at this time is Starbucks. I think there is a great company there, one that treats it employees (or so I've heard) with diginty and respect.

Funny, how it all comes down to respect. I just wish our customers saw us more than just stupid folks who could not get a real job, what ever that is. But that is for another post.

29 September 2007

The Sarah Jane Adventures begins

After the success of the revived Doctor Who, Russell T Davies created a spin-off around popular guest star John Barrowman. Torchwood is a more adult version of Who, featuring stories that have more violence, sex and swear words.

It was as huge a success as the mother series.

But who would've thought another spin-off could work? Well, with three CSI's, three Law & Orders, why not three shows based around Doctor Who? That third one, The Sarah Jane Adventures, came about due to School Reunion, a second series adventure that featured the return of Elizabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith, who ventured with the Third and Fourth Doctor during TOS run back in the 197o's.

Sladen could be considered the series best companion ever created, as she really was the first fully, three-dimensional female traveler of the Doctor. And she certainly remains, after 30 years, one of the most loved companions.

But unlike the very dark, sexualized Torchwood, and the semi-dark whimsey, pop cultural refrences within the new Doctor Who, The Sarah Jane Adventures is designed for the younger crowd -maybe, even what TOS was designed to be back in the 1960's.

The new series launched on New Years Day in England with a special episode called The Invasion of the Bane. It's a hoot, with current James Bond Miss Moneypenny, Samantha Bond, just tearing up the scenery as an alien out to convert the world into zombies. And it's amazing in many ways to see Liz Sladen back as the iconic character of Sarah Jane, a role she seems to love playing.

On September 24, the show launched with Revenge of the Slitheen, bringing back the farting family of aliens first introduced in a 2-part Who episode from the first season of the new series.
The show, it seems, was slightly retooled, as one actress was dropped in favor of new one. Which, I think is better.

(I caught both of these episodes off of Youtube).

While the show is geared towards young audience, I liked it, including returning to the old format of Doctor Who, by having the show run a half-hour, with a cliffhanger to get people to return for the next episode.

And while, like Torchwood, The Sarah Jane Adventures are not directly linked to Doctor Who, Sarah does mention him, and UNIT. In the pilot, we saw K9 (though due to copywrite issues and licensing fee's, the robotic dog will not be a part of the series) doing something with a blackhole, which was just odd and very random. But I suppose they could not say anything about him, considering at the end of School Reunion, Sarah is seen walking away with an upgraded verison of K9.

Besides, an animated series featuring K9 is scheduled to debut in 2009, so that may also be the reason why he's not on The Sarah Jane Adventures.

27 September 2007


Bionic Woman and Reaper

I watched the Bionic Woman last night.

And I spent most of today trying to figure out what bothered me about it. Then I realized that the show looked like it had been longer, and then cut to fit the timeslot. It seems they cut all the character development out, and just kept the set pieces and the tons of exposition, which confused me a lot.

And while "pilots" have a tendency to drop so much plot to set up the rest of the series, here it becomes a huge problem as too much is given, forcing me to cry foul. And while I love Katee Sackoff on Battlestar Galactica as Starbuck -because she's three dimensional - here she comes off more as Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2; mean and dumb.

The ending was choppy, with way too many close-ups during the fight between the first bionic woman and her replacement. It was just confusing as a hell to see what was going on.

I'm hoping in future episodes they'll explain how Sarah Corvus (Sackoff) survived being shot by her then boyfriend Jae Kim (played by WillYun Lee) and why she went rogue (beyond the bionic do-hickeys driving her crazy).

Michelle Ryan is going to take a while to get used to, as she is forced to spout dialogue such as "I'll bury one guy after the next," which is pretty horrible in her delivery, and you never believe her for a moment that she even believed it, plus just bad writing.

Miguel Ferrer, late of Crossing Jordan, plays a goverment "baddie." Molly Rice returns to TV, thinner and with blond hair, a few years after Third Watch was canned.

It wasn't bad, and has potential, but its success should not be built around Ryan acting so tough - it just does not suit her.


Meanwhile, Tuesday brought the CW's Reaper, which is a clever and laugh out-loud show. Something, you may or may not know, the network that was The WB and UPN were never known for.

It mixes goofy comedy with believable action. Bret Harrison, last seen on FOX's very underrated and little seen The Loop, plays a slacker who through no fault of his own discovers on his 21st birthday that his parents sold his soul to the devil.

And the devil is played with devious, delicious delight by Ray Wise -Leland Palmer from Twin Peaks - in what amounts to a brillant piece of casting.

Now young Sam must retreat escapee's from hell (because its overcrowded; "I blame myself", muses the Devil) and drop them off in locations that are described as "hell on Earth", such as the DMV.

Its fun and the cast seems to be enjoying the silliness.


26 September 2007


The Gay Card Question

Will they -who ever they are - take my gay card away (or force me to return my toaster oven) because I loathe Dancing with the Stars and most, if not all, of Bravo's reality crap-o-rama?

23 September 2007

Okay, my last post on this bitch.

But going on Maury I think proves, she is as White Trash as White Trash can get.

Which means, sadly, we'll be seeing "Chris Crocker" in his own series by January.

Sunday in September

Saturday turned out to be what the first day of fall should be like, rainy and cool.

For the first time since April, most of Southern California got rain. Much needed, thank you. Of course, some of the burn areas of SolCal had some landslides of mud, but that is to be expected.

But it was nice, in one perspective, that even though a Saturday was rotten day to do anything out side, we got the much need rain. And to be honest, right now, I would not mind a better winter than we had last year.

Anyway, today is cool, yet sunny and the air is clear. If there is another advantage to the rain, it cleaned the stale, polluted air that has been hanging around for months.

The birthday week came to close, and while it was not great -which is why I don't usually celebrate it -I'm sort of happy I'm 45. Maybe.

After 6 weeks, I shaved off the beard. I got what I wanted it out of it: which was to see how white it was. I'm over that.

So while I hate to shave, I hate the white in my beard. So shaving wins.

One last thing, after months and months of putting it off (and for really, no reason), I got my car registered here in California. There's a whole, nightmare story that goes with it, but I won't go into that. Needless to say, it cost me big time to get it done.

I need a new job so something tlike this does not kill me financially. Or, more likely, I'll have to get a part-time job.

18 September 2007

Death not the end for popular authors

A few years ago, when Stephen King was struck and severely injured by a van, he had time to ponder his career. Beyond doing other things, he decided that he needed to finish his Dark Tower series before he shuttled off this mortal coil; if not for the fans, just for himself. He felt that had he died with the seven volume series unfinished, he felt that might be his epitaph. And that was not going to happen.

The death of Robert Jordan brings up some questions as to whether the proposed 12 volume series will see its final book, which Jordan claimed had a working title of A Memory of Light. When he revealed to his fans back in March of 2006 that he was suffering from primary amyloidosis with cardiomyopathy (cardiac amyloidosis), he said to them that he would beat the odds, as the life expectancy with this disease was four years.

Its been reported on blog entries he made a dragonmount.com that, while he was not working full force on the final volume, he was sharing and writing down significant plot details and passing that on with family and associates.

While Jordan’s death is a blow to fans and bookstores everywhere, the book industry will see his death as an opportunity to continue publish his works. Over the last few decades, publishers -usually working in tandem with the writers estate - have found that a popular series or franchise does not need to die with its author.

As an example, since her death in 1986, V.C. Andrews has 8 novels published (2 of which her own, six by a ghost writer). Robert Ludlum, who died in 2001, has since published several new works, including three new volumes of his Jason Bourne series, all written by another author. L. Ron Hubbard, who long before becoming the center of attention for his Scientology, was a science fiction author, and has had several books published under his name since his death in 1986. And lest we forget Brian Herbert picking up where his father left off, publishing multiple new volumes in the Dune series, and Christopher Tolkien helping finish his fathers The Children of Húrin.

So, I’m guessing that Memory will see the light of day eventually, as I don’t think Jordan -probably knowing he was not going to survive much longer - wouldn’t want to disappoint his fans, plus have that as a footnote in his biography. Another author, either selected by him or his estate, will probably write the final volume based on those notes, and maybe the two proposed prequels.

Or course, all of this could’ve ended years ago, as when the Wheel in Time series was first released back in 1990, it was only a proposed 7 volume series. Somewhere along the line, Jordan and his publishers got 5 more volumes, a short story expanded into a prequel novel and two more prequels.

Still, a prolific author like King, I’m also sure we’ll see s few more posthumous works carrying the Robert Jordan name.

17 September 2007

It's My Birthday

Happy Birthday to me. 45 years young.

The passing of author Robert Jordan and Match Game's Brett Somers

Robert Jordan

Despite his desire to fight this disease, Robert Jordan was much aware of his illness and the potential possibility he would not survive it. While book 12 remains -at this time - unwritten, he began a detailed instructions on how that final book in the Wheel in Time series would end. Additionally, he also has detailed papers on the two prequels he was planning to write.

And from what I've heard from various sites, he had already selected the writer who would finish book 12, plus write the two prequels.

So his legacy will continue, but don't expect that final book for some time.

On a personal note, I gave up on the series long ago. I've tried to get through book 4 at least three times, but found all the characters -especially Rand - to be annoying and felt, at times, that they all deserved to die.

Brett Somers

I remember her from a memorable guest shot on the original Battlestar Galactica. But with the passing of Charles Nelson Reilly and now her, another memorable, in your face funny face has left the world. She was one of kind.

16 September 2007

You aren't really anybody in America if you're not on TV.”

"His" 15 minutes of fame is now ticking.

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

At one point while reading Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild, I got a sense that Chris McCandless did what most people never do. He followed his ideals and a path to see the world from a point of view many are afraid of: from within.

You have to admire a kid who came from a “well-to-do family who hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley.” Who “had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself.”

But then as you read on, that admiration gets a little wonky when, four months later, his decomposed body was found by a moose hunter.

What went wrong is interesting and you get many perspectives from people he interacted with and his own journals. Of course, one could say that he was a young man betrayed by his fathers past, or blame authors Jack London and Leo Tolstoy, two of his favorite authors.

Even Alaskans seem to hate London, who’s Call of the Wild has sent many people to the Great White North in search of themselves and adventure, only to discover that this life usually led to harsh conditions and many deaths.

Still, when you get to the point at which we learn why McCandless did what he did, you begin to wonder if it was more of a irrational act based on youth. Though extremely intelligent, I thought his “logic” was based on a faulty premise.

And there is the “supplies” he went with when he finally arrived in Alaska. While there was no conclusive evidence of what killed him, it is assumed -based on his journals - he died of starvation. It seems a dumb way to die when your suppose to be really smart.

A movie version is do this fall, and I can see why actor/director Sean Penn would be interested in such a subject, as he grew up in the sort freedom from reality that I think McCandless lived.

Plus, both have very big, but fragile egos.

What's the reason behind the flat Book sales ?

There can be several reasons why the book industries sales are flat, and are predicted to remain flat for the foreseeable future. If there is one example of why the two major book chains and the slew of independents are in trouble, is because of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

When it went on sale 2 months ago, it was carried by everyone. Not just bookstores, but grocery stores, department stores, and discount retail chains like Target and Wal Mart. Then there was the online retail stores like Amazon and Deep Discount DVD (which just got into the book business this year), not to mention the warehouse stores. It was so widely distributed by Scholastic (after all, they had a 12 million first printing) that you could literally go almost anywhere, besides a bookstore, to buy it. It was like they thought that Joe America, driving his 18-wheeler on I80 could buy his book at the truck stop in Nebraska, thus not having to search for that old chestnut, the bookstore.

And to me, that’s a bad thing. I have no problem with other outlets carrying books like Target and Wal Mart. But when they start to increase their presence in the market, by taking a deeper discount than either Borders or B&N can take, then there is something wrong.

Oh, true, these other outlets don’t have the breath of stock that Borders or B&N have, but according to recent survey’s, American’s are reading -when they do read - popular fiction that you can get at other stores besides the traditional bookstore.

One in four adults say they read no books at all in the past year, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll released a few weeks ago. Of those who did read, women and seniors were most avid, and religious works and popular fiction were the top choices.

According to the survey (which as was conducted from August 6 to 8 and involved telephone interviews with 1,003 adults. It had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points), a typical person said they read four books in the last year. Not very ravenous, me thinks. Then there was a Gallup survey in 2005 that asked how many “started a book” and the typical answer was only 5 -down from 10 in 1999, but it was close to 6 back in 1992.

In 2004, a National Endowment for the Arts report titled Reading at Risk found only 57 percent of American adults had read a book in 2002, a four percentage point drop in a decade.

The AP-Ipsos poll also found that of the 27% that had not read a, a third were men and a quarter were women. Plus, of these non-readers, they were older, of low income, from rural areas and less religious.

Then there was split between fiction and non-fiction. Among avid readers surveyed by the AP, the typical woman read more books in a year, at nine, while men only read five. Women read more than men in all categories except for history and biography -which more or less confirms that men have always liked reading non-fiction. And when it comes to fiction, the gender gap gets pretty big, with men accounting for only 20 percent of the fiction market.

People from the South read a bit more than those from other regions, mostly religious books and romance novels. Whites read more than blacks and Hispanics, and those who said they never attend religious services read nearly twice as many as those who attend frequently, which I find very interesting. Does that mean the success of those Left Behind books are based on those lapsed church goers?

I also found it fun that the survey said that there is also a political bend when it comes to reading, with Democrats and liberals typically reading slightly more books than Republicans and conservatives.

The most popular category read by two-thirds surveyed were the Bible and religious works. Popular fiction came next, with other categories such as biographies and mysteries being cited by about half, while one in five read romance novels!

Part of problem with non- readers, and a popular excuse it seems, is they claim they get “sleepy” when they read. One person in the survey said he would “rather spend time in his backyard pool” than read a book. While there are others who cannot go a day without reading.

Then there’s the fiction gap, which is confounding the book industry. I read an article on Publishers Weekly that talked about this issue and says “cognitive psychologists have found that women are more empathetic than men, and possess a greater emotional range—traits that make fiction more appealing to them.”

Some say that this gap begins in childhood, and that’s because, according to Louann Brizendine, author of The Female Brain, girls can sit still for much longer periods of time than boys”, thus they have an easier time with reading. Plus, at least where I grew up, reading by boys -especially fiction- was seen as weak and not manly (whatever that means).

Plus, while more boys read the Harry Potter series than girls, they’re still reading less than a generation ago. Some are blaming this on television, movies and the Internet. What worries some with in the book industry is that these young kids who are not reading will not read when they get older, thus causing more problems for the typical bookstore -be it huge chain or independent.

Playing the "bullshit" game

I’ve never been able to play “the game” as it where. In that, I mean, when it comes to work and other general things of life, I say things that are truthful, and don’t bullshit just to get ahead. My philosophy when it came to my work ethic was that I would be promoted based on my ability to do the job, and not by licking someone’s boot (or stepping on ones shoulder) to get the promotion.

Sometimes, I think Star Trek: Deep Space Nine hit a bulls eye with the Ferengi and their Rules of Acquisitions. One of them was “Employees are the rungs on the ladder of success. Don't hesitate to step on them.”

My work ethic, especially, comes from what I was taught in High School. In my C.W.T class back at Conant High School, my teacher, Mr. Bill Severino instilled in me something that has never left me: pride. I was taught to go to work, do the best you can, always. Even if you hate it. And, until you moved on, even if you did hate it, you still worked your ass off. He taught me the cause and effect of workers who called off, thus I’m one of the few employees who hardly miss a day of work. In the 10 years I’ve been with Borders, I think I’ve called off no more than 5 (if that many) times and in the last 5 years, I don’t think I’ve had one call off -though I had one sick day earlier this year and that was after still going in. I guess, some of it is outdated, after 27 years. But, I hold these values close to me. Some would say that being the sort of proto-typical liberal (able to see both sides of an argument, but unsure which to choose) that I am comes from 1960's ideals of flower power and everyone working to help everyone.

I take, as I mentioned, a lot of pride in my work. I strive very hard to make everyone’s job easier. As an example, keeping the sections I maintain at my Borders in alphabetical order in each of its sub-sections. To my view, this means on the weekends and evenings I’m not there, an employee (or for that matter, any customer) should have no problem finding a book, because I make sure the sections are maintained.

But that is in my job description, so I should not be surprised when my DM comes in and does an alpha check, in say the Business section, and discovers it to be nearly 100% alphabetical. She asks my GM who maintains the section, and he says David. And she says, it figures. To me, in someway, this should make me a better candidate for promotion. I mean, I am doing my job.

But that won’t get me a promotion, because that is my job. Nope, licking some customer’s boot or actually believing that old chestnut “the customer is always right” is the only way it will happen. Thus, my inability to play “the game” and “office politics.”

I’m not a guy who says I hate this, just because my RM hates its. Again, an example. Floor stacks at our store. Our current RM hates them, thus our DM is forced to say she hates them, thus my GM is forced to say he hates them, and he has to convince me that I should hate them. The thing is, I don’t and won’t be forced into saying that I do, just to please the RM.

I can cite example are example why floor stacks work -especially in this current business model where the company wants no backstock; basically everything is on the floor. But during the holiday season, this idea does not work. And I’ll tell that to my GM, to DM and even my RM when and if I meet him. But see, I’m told I should not do that. Things like this can hurt my career, because I’m infringing on these people’s shallow ego.

Plus, I have a finely tuned bullshit detector. And I know when some one is bull-shitting me and I will call people on it, which they hate. And there is the rub, because I usually call people who are in the position to help promote me.

Playing the “game” is hard, and one that I find very hard to live with. Should I not get the job based on my ability to do it, and not how much false praise I can give to the boss, or the bosses boss?

Self Pic's 5: Sunday Edition

14 September 2007

Tears for Spears

I guess I knew, deep down, that YouTube bitch boy Chris Crocker was some how going to parlay his semi-fake rant about Britney Spears bizarre performance at the VMA’s last week into a possible reality series. At least that’s his hope, now that this video has become hugely popular. Still, what I can’t get past is how much Spears should be afraid of this shrill queen. The first time I saw this, however, I had a strange feeling he was auditioning for the remake of "Misery", with him cast as the psychotic #1 fan Annie Wilkes.

According to Entertainment Weekly, this androgynous looking, hyper active, Britney Spears loving twit is hoping that this one rant will net him a career in Hollywood. He’s 19, and living with his grandparents -which is a sure sign that he comes from white trash country. And his grandparents must be enabling him, as he’s unemployed -another sign. And he claims he’s an “aspiring actor and comedian.”

Bingo. The wannabe star has won the White Trash Award. Rod Roddy, tells what he’s won.

I suppose as talent less as Spears is, Crocker will land a reality series -probably either at gay friendly Bravo or MTV -both cable networks that are bound and determined to prove they can produce more banal crap than the entire FOX News Network and The Golf Channel combined.

I mean, you don’t have to have any talent to be in the entertainment industry. Or as Nicole Kidman said it best in “To Die For” as social climber Suzanne Stone Maretto “You aren't really anybody in America if you're not on TV.”

11 September 2007


Britney has at least one fan left. I like this guy, but at the end of the day, you gotta give it up.

May want to turn the volume down on this one, BTW. The girl sure can wail.

Indy 4 has a title

May 2008

We Remember

09 September 2007

Sunday's Guy Watcher

It was 20 years ago this past June

So, I came across this picture of me taken in June of 1987 when I was in England. I was 24.

God, I wish I was this skinny today, plus I wish I could grow a beard as full and brown/red as this. Today, I'm about 20 lbs heavier and my beard is more white than brown or red -along with my hair.

Juste un peu de réconfort - Sinéad O'Connor

05 September 2007

Random hotness from the internet

Larry Craig's big problem

So, let I play Devil’s Advocate here.

What if all this Larry Craig stuff was just a huge misunderstanding? What if the police got it all wrong?

Hey, I still think he was an idiot to copping to a plea -especially if he did not do what was said accused of doing- and expect it to go away. Every time Lindsey Lohan takes a shit, Billy Bush is there to report it, so the man was nutter to think this was going to stay hidden.

While I’m all for getting rid of the hypocrites within both parties, I think the Republican party hung this guy out to dry before every thing could be sorted. Jebus, Phil Spector has been on trail for 18 years now because everything has been sifted through like flour for a cake.

Arlen Specter has a point: that if he did nothing wrong, he should force the police to prove their case. Resigning still might have to happen -whether he’s found guilty or innocent in a trail or what ever they come up with. His career is damaged, and odds are he’ll lose the election in 2008.

And that won’t be because of the Democrats, it will be people within his own party.

And I’m not blind to his past -that whole page incident from the 1980's. I just wonder if we’ve all decided that he’s guilty because he’s a conservative, family values senator. Not might like him because of that, but it does not make him guilty of touching feet in an airport bathroom (which is just ewww, BTW).

04 September 2007

BBC confirms a year hiatus between series four and five of Doctor Who

What happens when a TV star agrees to take on the role of Hamlet with the Royal Shakespeare Company, one that will run July through November of 2008, and one that will conflict with the time you usually film your hugely popular series?

For the BBC, it throws a spanner into the juggernaut that is the revived Doctor Who series.

Filming is already underway on series four of the show, schedule to bow in the spring of 2008, followed by airing here on Sci Fi next summer. After that, the show will not return as a full season until 2010.

However, there will be 4 Doctor Who specials, starting with the 2008 annual Christmas Special, followed by 3 more of those “specials” peppered out through 2009. All of them will star David Tennant as the Doctor.

A fifth series has been commissioned, but the BBC was mum on if Tennant will continue on with the title role, as there had been speculation that both he and show runner Russell T. Davies would depart before filming on series five would begin production.

The BBC press release came after unconfirmed rumors -at the time - that were speculation the series going on hiatus after series 4 screens on BB1. Then the Royal Shakespeare Company confirmed that Tennant indeed would be spending 6 months with their production as Hamlet.

Doing the math, most people realized that while Tennant would be doing Hamlet, it was also suppose to be doing a potential fifth series as the Doctor.

While this hiatus comes on the heels of series star David Tennant’s agreement to play Hamlet for 6 months, one cannot help but remember the near year off TOS took back in the 1980's. And that was forced by the BBC. Back then, of course, its departure for a year was based on many factors: low ratings, directionless stories and high violence. It would also hasten the end of Colin Baker’s tenure as the Doctor, as he was not asked back when production resumed. It would be cancelled in 1989, after three more, unremarkable seasons. One hopes history will not repeat itself.

Anyways, the BBC seems to be going out of its way this time to say that this is a “temporary hiatus” in 2009 after which they are emphasizing the series will return for a full fifth year in 2010. And like Tennant’s future involvement in a fifth series, there is no word if Davies will also continue as show runner beyond the 2008 Christmas Special and the three other stories set to air in 2009.

01 September 2007

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Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon

I read Mark Haddon’s already acclaimed debut novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, a few years ago and found it to be one of the most interesting books I read in years. Plus, it was damn funny, in that English stiff upper lip sort of way.

In his follow-up novel, Haddon takes the same approach as he did with his first, but instead of detailing the inner world of an autistic teenager, he takes on a recent retiree named George Hall who exhibits all the trademarks of men who find that once they have to deal with their wife and family 24/7, that they almost would welcome death as a good friend. Also, George is a man who cannot articulate his problems, because, well, that would not be right.

Still, convinced a bit of eczema on his hip is cancer, George goes into a tailspin, just as family situations become even greater than one can think of. This laugh-out loud slice of domestic life is wonderfully realized by Haddon, and it zips along from one major family problem to George’s increasing morbid fascination with death. There is some deft comic touches here, and while there are no big surprises here, and you know how it will end, Haaddon’s ability to create real characters with real problems is a talent little seen in today’s fiction.