Monday, October 30, 2006

At the Lake

You know, I love going home, but everytime I do it makes me nostalgic. I wish I had my old life back. The college life. The one where home was a weekend and four loads of laundry and football lights across the lake. But now I know I have an actual apartment, not just some place I rent for the year and when the semester's over I move out.

Sometimes I feel like I didn't spend enough time in college doing college things. I don't think I took enough road trips, if any. I just don't feel like I should have had to graduate just yet.

But I guess everyone feels that way.

May it's because up until last year I had planned to stay for a fifth year. Then I looked at my credits and realized I could graduate in four. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad I didn't have to go for five, and yet I wish I could have stayed there forever.

Sometimes I wish I could be that kid, the one who goes to grad school right out of college. But then I know that that would be bad, that I should get experience.

I want to be a professor, so I need to work as a reporter for five or ten years, so I have stories to tell my students 30 years from now.

Wow, when I say it that way, it seems just around the corner.

Driving back down here, I just got incredibly homesick for college. Maybe it was the route I took -- the drive back to college was straight down 81. Maybe it was just going home and seeing my family for the first time since moving away and getting a job. (Caitlin and I went up to the lake in August, but no one was there.)

But then I got back here, and walked in the apartment complex, and smelled the hallway, and it smelled like it did when we drove down to Hanover in the summer and first saw the place. And then it made me glad that we actually found jobs together and a place we could afford and a cat and a life. So I guess it isn't all bad.

But I do miss high school and Lake Wallenpaupack and going off to college and stuff.
As much of a loser I was in high school, I still have very fond memories of being ridiculed in those halls.

And college probably was (Warning: Horrible Cliche) the best four years of my life.

So I don't know. Looking through all my stuff this weekend (I had to repack a bunch of boxes) I just got all these memories flooding back to me. Like looking through my Boy Scout stuff.

Yeah, go ahead, mock me. But camping with those kids and learning all that outdoor crap, it was probably the coolest thing ever. I got to backpack on the AT. I got to camp every weekend, in the coolest places.

In the summer I got to spend two whole weeks at scout camp learning more outdoor crap, sleeping in a canvas tent and goofing off in the woods.

It was like Brendan Heaven.

I even found my OA sash. I made brotherhood, bee-hotches. That's what I got for being an Elangomat five times and donating my weekends in the fall and spring to working in silence all day with a bunch of other kids, eating little balls of wheat and orange juice. But that's another story entirely.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Is Your Galaxy in Good Hands?

It's sort of creepy-yet-humbling that this will happen to our galaxy in a bazillion or whatever years.

Creepy because I cannot imagine looking up into that far-futuristic sky and seeing a slow-moving apocalypse, knowing maybe in 30 years, maybe in another 100, our planet would be a casualty of what that article calls a "fertile marriage."

Humbling because, well heck, the universe just is that HUGE.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

10 Things You Will End up Doing in: Hollywood

1.) You can see the Hollywood sign from, literally, everywhere. Regardless, you will take two memory cards-worth of pictures of the sign, and then regret it later.

2.) Hollywood, like Los Angeles that surrounds it, has a subway system. Or so it claims. The system is a primitive model of a proper mass transit system. Think toothpick Eiffel Tower. You'll take the bus.

3.) The Beverly Center is meant for people driving cars. Your bus-taking self will walk around it for twenty minutes before finding a way up to the parking garage, and then spend another 10 minutes trying to find how to get up to the actual stores.

4.) No matter what angle you look at it, you will not be able to visualize how the Acadamy lays out the red carpet for the Oscars in front of the Kodiak Theater.

5.) You will mispronounce Graumann. And I'm not giving you a hint on how to pronounce it, because every should go through the embarassment of being an ignorant tourist.

6.) You will see one-half of every famous pair on the walk of fame. But only one half. You will never find Penn's Teller, or the Shatner to your Nemoy. Or Ozzie's Harriet.

7.) If you try to find Cecil B DeMille's grave, you won't be able to. But you might find Mel Blanc's grave. And all of the eastern-orthodox graves in California. And you'll take a picture of the Hollywood sign, because you can see it from the cemetary, too.

8.) Bob Barker, you'll discover, is actually orange. Secretly, you'll wonder if that's why the set to The Price is Right is so colorful -- to mask his freakish hue.

9.) You'll see George Hamilton in the Beverly Hills The North Face store, but you'll be too afraid he'll yell at you to go up and say "hi." Later, you will learn Hamilton is actually very nice to fans. You will kick yourself.

10.) Ever since your pilgrimage to the Pacific Ocean at Santa Monica, you will say "hey, I've seen that coast!" to every Hollywood beach shot you see. Trust me.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Television

So, in my spare time, I watch a fair amount of television. OK, a lot of television.

I wanted to talk about one show I've been watching in particular, The Class. It started out in the slot right before How I Met Your Mother on CBS. CBS moved it shortly thereafter to after How I Met Your Mother, obviously to try and get the established audience from switching channels.

Now, a little aside. How I Met Your Mother is probably the best thing to happen to the sitcom since the first season of Scrubs. I don't really like sitcoms. They all seem cookie-cut. They all seem laugh-track-y. Scrubs, in its first season (and first season only), didn't have a laugh track, in a time in sitcomland where it was unheard of not to tell the audience when they should laugh. Yes, Scrubs did substitute the laugh track with whoosing sounds to emphasize a character's hand or head movements, but it worked. For the first year. Then it sort of wet crazy, and the Scrubs that's on television now is not the same show as the first season. But I don't really know where it changed, so I hesitate to put a label on seasons 2, 3, or however many they have now.

How I Met Your Mother is this great little show that dragged Alyson Hannigan back to television, and it's narrated by Bob Saget. Also making a post-Harold & Kumar appearance is Neil Patrick Harris, in what is probably the funniest character he's had a chance to play. It -- very uniquely -- tells the story of how Bob Saget's character (younger Bob saget is played by Josh Radnor, who's like a pretty, likeable version of Jimmy Fallon) met his wife. It's narrated in second-person, and the audience takes over for the spot of "Ted's" (Saget/Radnor) two children. It's in its second season, and is really growing into a fantastic show.

Back to The Class. I have some issues with The Class. I like the show, in fact (in a rare moment) I laughed out loud. Namely when Sean Maguire's (who plays Kyle) boyfriend is stuck "entertaining" Kyle's flambouyant husband, The flambouyant husband makes him say "Welcome, to Fantasy Island" over and over again. Oh yeah, he has a latino accent. Or Spanish. Or Ricardo Montalbanish.

Anyway. My biggest nick pick with the show is the writing, because the acting is phenominal. But the writing treats the audience like idiots. First, the show recaps every previous episode, which is fine for a new show, because hey, people who don't catch the first episode are always curious to find out what happened. But in tonight's episode...

Well, OK. Let me start from the beginning. The show stars Jason Ritter as Ethan (Yeah, John's son, and a pretty good actor. But he doesn't have his father's charisma), Lizzy Caplan (you might recognize her as "that lesbian chick from Mean Girls") as Kat Warbler -- a name which can only be some weird allusion to a bird like quality she possesses), Jesse Ferguson as a very funny, very neurotic Richie, who we learn was trying to commit suicide when Ethan calls him up to invite him to a reunionish party he's throwing for his girlfriend. You see, everyone in the show went to high school together, and they all get back in touch with one another because of Ethan and the party that turns out to be a complete bust because his girlfriend goes "oh that's so sweet, we need to see other people).

SO. Richie falls for Kat's twin sister Lina (played by Heather Goldenhersh, who is a capable actress, but I can't stand her voice, it sounds like a bad impression of a character), and then he runs over her, and Kat yells at him and he feels bad and goes home and swallows pills. And then she -- Lina -- wants to talk to him. Anyway, Richie, we find out, isn't as sympathetic as we think, he's married and he hates his wife. Who hates him, rather vehemently. Yet I know in about five episodes she's going to want to hang on to him when something comes out about it, or when she realizes she's still in love with him, or whatever. Drama, it's what makes the (Neilsen) world go 'round.

The whole point of this blog was to address this interaction. It turns out that Richie's wife works as a janitor in the office building in which Lina works. Lina, now bound to a wheelchair for six months, has spilled water while trying to put a new bottle on the water cooler. Lina remarks to Richie's wife (while on the phone with Richie... ooooo..) "I spilled something over there, you might need a mop" or something like that, to which the wife responds "It's OK, I'm not in any hurry to get home," in a very very mean way. Like the audience is too stupid to realize the janitor and the mean wife are the same. It makes me angry. It makes me angry that the wife, obviously depressed that her life sucks, wouldn't be moping around and just say "OK." Instead we are conditioned to hate the wife more and more. She's a bitch. She isn't worthy of Richie. She's mean. I hate her. You hate her. We all hate her. Hate her. Come on. That just isn't realistic.

But it's really an OK show, and I suggest it. Actually, I suggest clearing your timetable Monday nights and watching How I Met Your Mother, The Class, Heroes, and Studio 60 in the Sunset Strip. But that's just me. And Caitlin.

Now excuse me, Aaron Sorkin is calling my name...

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Just Like Riding a Bicycle

So it's been a while, but I think I've finally settled into my life post-college. For one thing, I'm not working in a factory 40 hours per week, like I was last month.

I'm the southwestern Adams County beat reporter at The Evening Sun. So I'm in the business, making $.36 more per hour than I was at the factory, but with infinitely more satisfaction.

I'm living in McSherrystown, Pa., a place with a traffic light at each end of town -- a sort of modern-day city gate. It's right outside Hanover, so it isn't total bumpkin-town. Although Hanover itself isn't Metropolis, it's actually quite nice.
I'm only like an hour north of Baltimore, and 2, 2 and a half hours from D.C., which is probably the place in which I most want to live some day.

So for now, I'm writing about herb farms and robotic milking machines, but it's O.K. Life is pretty good. I can pay the bills each month, and I can still exercise every morning (that is, every morning I get myself out of bed early enough to do so).

Plus, it's Fall, so it's my favorite time of year. Hanover may be surrounded by corn fields, but the trees still change, and I can still wear sweaters and sportcoats.

Maybe I'll begin blogging in earnest again. Though with the advent of MySpace, I doubt many people take the time to actually click on links anymore. Oh well, it's better off if no one sees the musings of my mind.

So did you all see Bono and Oprah launched (Product) Red? I think it's actually a really neat idea. According to the stuff I've read, you basically choose to buy a red shirt at the Gap instead of a regular one and Gap gives like 50% of the profit to African AIDS relief efforts. In Apple's case, it's 10%, but I suspect that will outweigh Gap and American Express.

So if any of you feel the need to buy an iPod Nano, get the red one. It doesn't cost anything more, and you're doing the world a favor. And if you want a new RAZR, get the red one. If you're the SLVR kind of guy, well, move to the UK. Or wait a couple weeks and look on Amazon. I'm sure some will be there.

There isn't anything on television, so I'm being forced to watch Ghostbusters II while I type. Bad movie, but better than Rat Race.

Oh yeah, I have a cat now, too. His name is Remus, he's a tabby with white legs. He followed Caitlin and I home one night when we were jogging. He was only 4 months old when we found him, so we took him in. He's actually the nicest cat in the world.