Dexter: Added to the list of good television.

4 May 2008

The last thing I need is to become engrossed in another television show. Thanks to netflix though and my wife’s persistence that’s exactly what happened when the first disk of Dexter came in the mail. I prefer watching shows through netflix because I can essentially watch an entire season in the matter of a week. In fact all of my television now has migrated away from the actual broadcast. Since ABC thought it was necessary to put Lost on late into a Thursday night I catch it on streaming HD.

flickr: Montana Becky

Dexter is, well amazing television. While I don’t consider myself an expert on what is good TV, the following has made my list:

Twin Peaks
Quantum Leap [still]
6 Feet Under
Pushing Daisies
Arrested Development
Battle Star Galactica
Freaks and Geeks
The Wire
X Files

Back to Dexter

I started streaming season 2 from Showtime’s website. I’m disappointed in the first episode but I can’t tell if it’s due to the quality or the over zealous bad dubbing. Its a show about a serial killer that gets pretty graphic, I don’t think it’s necessary to dub in phrases like “mother lover” and “frickin”. I doubt they’re dubbing it for broadcast so why now? I figured the internet would be the place to throw in all the extra stuff. Apparently what’s happening is the censored version for CBS is being streamed. I’ll give it another two episodes, but I don’t know how much longer I can stand it. Maybe it’s the excuse I’m looking for to get back some more time in my day.

Yet another reason I stopped watching Cable News years ago.

17 March 2008

If one were to have watched five hours of cable news, one would have seen about:

* 35 minutes about campaigns and elections
* 36 minutes about the debate over U.S. foreign policy
* 26 minutes or more of crime
* 12 minutes of accidents and disasters
* 10 minutes of celebrity and entertainment

On the other hand, one would have seen:

* 1 minute and 25 seconds about the environment
* 1 minute and 22 seconds about education
* 1 minute about science and technology
* 3 minutes and 34 seconds about the economy
* 3 minutes and 46 seconds about health and health care

From: Framing Science
Further Reading: Less is More

Guilty Pleasure: The End of the World.

13 February 2008

Robert Talbert at Casting Out Nines recently recommended watching Jericho as it is nearly the only television he watches. With all of the previews and views of a post apocalypse future, I took the bait with a little help from happening across a marathon yesterday and catching the first three episodes. I have a weakness for the whole end of the world theme. My wife says it’s because I’m a guy, I like to think there’s something more to it, but I doubt it and she is probably right.





I read somewhere once that people will have nightmares if the ambient temperature exceeds eighty degrees. I can offer no proof of this. Years ago though when I was conducting desert training in the army while working nights I had nightmares every afternoon while I slept. Perhaps it was the recent disappointment of Y2K, or maybe it was the constant machine gun fire and percussion grenades exploding out of my tent, but nearly everyone of those nightmares involved the end of the world. I had also just read Douglas Coupland’s Girlfriend in a Coma and discovered an eerie abandoned toxic waste land fill that reminded me of the book.

I was hoping that Jericho would quell my sci-fi craving brought on by the lack of Battle Star Galactica, but after watching today’s episode I doubt it will. A while back these guys I worked with tried to get me into Battle Star but I refused thinking it would probably be the most horrible thing on television. A few months later I found out they were right and have been addicted ever since. We have been waiting so long for season three to come out on DVD and it looks like it might actually happen next month. Watching Jericho online is not as pleasant as catching up on Lost due to the lack of full screen viewing. There are a lot of similarities between Jericho and BSG in that most of the characters are horrible actors. But aside from maybe Star Wars and Quantum Leap isn’t that par for the Sci-Fi course? Another similarity in the two, is that frankly I don’t care what happens to the characters. I find myself more intrigued with the bigger picture of the story and feel that the character development and side stories that make shows like Lost phenomenal, rather obstructive. So I will give the show a few more goes. I don’t know if I have it in me to actually dedicate anymore time into another show. One is bad enough.

Related Links:


I just haven’t learned how to stop the nightmares.

Season 3 of ‘Battlestar Galactica’ Coming to DVD in March

Girlfriend in a Coma.





Less is More

19 December 2007

A former acquaintance of ours swears that they don’t watch television. Ever. Period. But then days or weeks later they’ll tell us in passing about something they were watching. There are no points awarded for not watching television, or being up to date on the happenings of American Idol, The Office, or whatever people talk about around the proverbial water cooler.

flickr: danagraves

My apartment did not have a view of the southern sky. If it did we would have subscribed to satellite television. Not for the need of how ever many hundred channels at the crystal clear resolution that my dad raves about, but simply because of cost. Dish Network was offering a free DVR upgrade, with a monthly bill of 19.99. A few years ago when we first moved to Washington we switched to satellite, which Comcast offered to buy back from us if we switched. A few months later when our apartment changed their policy on dishes, we took them up on their offer. We had a great deal with digital cable with on demand, which had just come out. It was fun, for a while. Eventually the novelty wore off, and prices increased. Just coming back from six months at sea, I was happy to completely get rid of cable, and tv all together, not yet accustomed to miss it yet. My wife however was not so excited about that. So like in every good marriage we met somewhere in between on common ground. We dropped digital cable for the archaic basic cable.
Have you ever found yourself late in the evening flipping through the channels complaining that nothing is on? Sometimes even staying up late, trying to find something to watch? I found myself watching tv just for sake of watching tv. Even when I had found something worth watching, i would still skip around saying, that I would come back it if I couldn’t find something better. There is nothing better. And still I will search for it during the commercial breaks. This is when I changed my television watching habits.
About a month ago when prices increased again we called Comcast and politely threatened to switch to satellite if they didn’t reduce our rates. When talking to the service or sales representative it helps to play dumb. When I called told them that my parents had just gotten satellite and were getting a pretty good deal on it. And because I’d be saving so much money I wanted to know if they could reduce my rates or I would be switching. This is where the sales pitch begins. For now cable’s advantage over dish is its High Definition capabilities. I had just bought a new TV, apparently one of last ones that isn’t HDTV according to the cable service rep, trying to persuade me that if I ever planned on switching cable was the way to go. For now I don’t care about HD, but if in the future I do there is an alternative to cable. With local network affiliates switching to an HD signal it is possible to pick it up with an HD antenna. A quick check at froogle or amazon showed me indoor HD antenna’s in the twenty to thirty dollar range. Less than what it would cost you for a months worth of HD cable. After accepting that I wasn’t letting up the cable representative offered to give me the new customer discount saving me $20 a month for the next six months. A total savings of $120.
But why stop there? Even with basic cable I still felt that I was still wasting too much time. So I programmed the channels that I don’t watch our of the rotation. Shopping networks, jesus networks, reality tv all the time networks, no longer come up when I’m scanning. With less to choose from, my watching has at least gotten more efficient. We are often obsessed with the availability of choices then the choices them selves. If I only have to choose from the most essential channels, instead of a hundred more that I didn’t even know I needed, the idea that something better must be on out here somewhere, has dwindled. Every week or so, or when I find myself flipping through the stations two or three times, I re evaluate what I’m really watching. I try to remove at least one more channel from the line up. Today I removed a few more. MSNBC, the Golf channel, Nick, and MTV. Eventually I suppose I will one day only be watching Northwest Cable News, CNBC, The Discovery Channel, and the Food Network in addition to regular network television.

Your refrigerator is the larger door below your freezer. The stove is usually close by.

18 December 2007

People at work tell me that they want to learn how to cook but can’t get into it. Their mind set keeps them perpetually serving themselves frozen dinners throughout the week.

flickr: k gibbons

When we first got married we were introduced into an entire new life of poverty. The staple of our diet had become peanut butter, ramen noodles, instant potatoes, and home made ice drinks to keep us cool during those unseasonably warm nights. Once we got on our feet a little more cooking just sort of came naturally. My wife started watching the food network, her favorites being Rachel Ray, and Alton Brown. I began picking up simple recipes from the news paper and trying them out. Then we started buying the cook books of our culinary heros. Eventually this developed into a passion.

Here’s how you can fuel your new interest.
-Think about what foods you like most and think about what it might take to make them yourself. Then try it.
-Food has become a voyeuristic event in this country, stop at the food network next time your surfing.
-Buy a cook book. Don’t go into this blindly, flip through the book and see if you’d like the recipes and if they’re not completely over your head.
-Try short recipes you find in the newspaper and magazines.
-Cooking is trial and error, don’t get discouraged when you botch a meal, this will happen more than once. Its what you can learn from it that will make you a better cook.
-Remember to have fun, and take pride in your ingredients. Better ingredients can be the difference between an amazing meal, and a bland entree’ for the elderly.