Wednesday, June 29, 2011

"True Blood" Season 4 Has Started

My fix is back.  And so far, not disappointed after watching the first two episodes.

"Wait," you're saying, "the first TWO?"

For those not in the know, for HBO subscribers, HBO GO has the second episode posted already.  So if you need your fix you can go there and watch it now.

For now, though, since it hasn't officially aired yet I'm going to focus on the first episode in this post.  I'll post on episode two next week. But there will be spoilers for the books in here, as a fair warning.

In the meantime, to me this first episode is somewhat promising, although it did have some feeling of "filler" at times.  But let's get started, plot point by plot point.  I'm also going to be doing a lot of comparing of the book to what happens in the show, too, just to show how, right from the beginning of the season, they are deviating quite a bit.

1) At the end of last season, Sookie got taken into the faerie world by Claudine.  While there, Sookie not only runs into the bellboy Barry from season 2, but also into Grandpappy Earl (Gary Cole), who has actually been in that world for the past 20 years.  Sookie figures out that the whole thing is a trap, and her and Earl escape with the help of Claudine and her brother (going by the books, I'm guessing we have our first glimpse of Claude).  Sookie and Earl manage to escape, but since Earl ate the Light Fruit while he was there he immediately ages 20 years and dies.  Sookie had only been gone 15 minutes in the faerieworld, but in the real world, she's actually been missing a year.

Thoughts: I'm sure this world will be revisited later in the season, or at least the concept of these troll-like faeries will.  I know from what I've read online that two more additional powers are going to be introduced for Sookie this season related to her "fae-ness."  In the books, though, the faeries are nothing like these "trolls," with Claudine and Claude constantly being described as "beautiful."

2) Jason is now a cop.  Andy Bellfleur, who is still the sheriff, seems to need the constant eye of Jason on him now that he's become addicted to V.  Jason is still doing his best to be the caretaker of the residents of Hotshot. We also find out that in the ensuing year he sold Sookie's house to a real estate company.  When he goes to Hotshot towards the end of the episode, though, he gets bonked on the head and thrown in the freezer.

Thoughts: Well, let me start off by pointing out what happens in "Dead To The World" first: In the book, Jason meets up with Crystal somewhere and takes her out for New Year's Eve. Fenton gets jealous and kidnaps Jason and attempts to make him a were-panther so that Crystal wouldn't like him anymore.  In the show, Crystal and Fenton have been missing for the past year because Fenton kidnapped her, forcing Jason behind to take care of Hotshot.  It looks like they're taking the vague idea from the book just from what happens in the end of the episode.  We'll have to see where this is headed.

3) At the end of last season, we saw Sam shoot at Tommy.  And it looks like he's been hit -- in the leg. He's now being taken care of by Hoyt Fortenberry's mother (although knowing Tommy it's most likely a scam since Sam is paying the bills).  Sam enters an unusual form of anger management where he joins a group of shifters where they turn into horses and go running off in the night.

Thoughts: Interesting development -- especially if you aren't aware the whole group are shifters at first and they start stripping down. In the books Sam isn't realy mentioned much, so giving him something to do is always fun.

4) Tara, now going by Toni, is an MMA-style fighter in New Orleans. And she now has a "hot asian" girlfriend -- she's become a lesbian, but it really shouldn't be all that surprising considering her experiences in the last couple of seasons.

Thoughts: Really, IS this all that surprising?

5) Jesus gets Lafayette to join him at his coven, which he isn't too wild about. During the session, the leader Marnie (Fiona Shaw) manages to channel the spirit of Lafayette's "john" and V supplier Eddie from season 1, which has Lafayette scared.  Later, when the group gets together, they manage to raise a love bird from the dead, scaring Lafayette even further.

Thoughts: Well, they decided to carry over the witch plotline from the books, albeit loosely.  In the books Marnie was more "naturally" evil -- she wasn't possessed by an evil witch, she was just evil on her own.  And she was a werewolf, which is what made the coven so dangerous in the books -- they were werewolves who had been taking V. At this point we don't know what the danger is with this coven, although the fact that they raised a bird from the dead got someone's attention.  Which brings us to...

6) Bill and Eric, who have both had Sookie's blood, both sense her return from the faerie world. Bill greets her at her house, although Sookie is still kind of cool to him because of what happened in season 3.  Eric tells her he knew that she was still alive, even though others were ready to give up on her. Both Bill and Eric end up politicking for Vampire Rights, in ways that only they can each do it. By the end of the episode, we find out that Eric was the mysterious buyer of Sookie's house so that she was now "his" so that he could protect her. We also find out that Bill is the new King of Louisiana, and that he's now possibly dating Portia Bellefleur.

Thoughts: The politicking scene was cute.  And it looks like we aren't going to have a whole season where Bill is pining for Sookie the entire time -- he's actually going to have something to do.  It's hard to describe Eric's character at this point -- he's evil, but only when he has to be.  He has odd ways of showing how he cares for people. It'll be interesting to see how they address the other big plot line from "Dead To The World" regarding his character.  In the book, Bill is hardly around -- he's there in the beginning to let Sookie know he was going to Peru to do research on a computerized directory project for the Queen, and comes back in the end.

7) Arlene and Terry Bellefleur.  They are now married, and the baby, named Mikey, is now born.  But Arlene thinks it's odd for a baby to pull the heads off of  Barbie dolls...

Thoughts: I don't know if they are really going to make the baby "evil" because of who his real father is (the deceased Rene from season 1) or if he was possessed by a witch spirit because of Holly (who tried to help Arlene abort the baby last season with no success), but it's cute to see Terry be so caring towards the little guy even if it's not his biologically.

Next Week: Things start to pick up, and the two main plotlines are introduced.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Thank You, NH, for SB 500!

I wrote about Gregory Floyd back when I first started this blog.  He was found not guilty in the death of a man named Liko Kenney and was declared a hero because Kenney had shot and killed a state trooper.  In the years after that incident he has had some anger management issues, shall we say, that resulted in him being arrested on charges of threatening his neighbor on a road when she was trying to pass. (Here's a link to all the posts that I did on this)

Well, Floyd is about to be let free 9 months early.  Because of a law that was passed recently called SB500.

What is SB500? Well, in an effort to curb overcrowding in prisons and hopefully make a better transition into the "real world," the law states that any criminal, regardless of the crime they were convicted for, will be released 9 months early into a halfway house before being released into society.  If they violate their probation, the maximum sentence they could serve back in prison is 90 days.

The promise is that it would only release nonviolent offenders.  Problem is that it only takes into account the more recent charge and doesn't consider the entire criminal record when determining this.  If a violent offender in the past is now in jail because he stole candy from a baby, for an absurd example, then he can be let out.

Which is why I'm now puzzled by why Floyd was allowed to be released.  He threatened people, including a state trooper in the courtroom when he was on trial.  He might not have done anything, but doesn't that preclude the idea that he's a violent offender?  Or does he actually have to hurt someone in order to be considered violent?

The neighbor in question has a restraining order against him, but is still afraid he'll do something to her because of this.  I really hope that nothing does, because I would want him serving more than 90 days if it were to happen.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I've Been Thinking About This For Awhile

I sometimes dread going into the Netflix documentary listings because of the number of food documentaries that are there.  Not that I have anything against food documentaries in general, but it's just that it seems like the goal of a lot of these filmmakers is just simply to bash the big business of food.  Whether it's over genetically modified food or fast food or whatever grievance they have about the food industry, it basically almost always ends with the same message -- either it's to just simply bash the industry or to get people to eat organic.

So far, the only real documentary that I've seen on the subject that I've liked is "Fat Head" (which I reviewed in my last post).  I watched "Supersize Me" when it came out on video, and thought it was entertaining enough as a piece of fiction.. Most of these documentaries I looked at the description adn it turned me off.

Penn and Teller have had some decent shows on the topic of food. The "Eat This!" episode tackles not only diets but also GM food and food snobbery.  And the "Organic Food" episode tackles the idea that organic food is better for us.

But all this talk about food and the politics behind it just got me thinking about doing my own documentary on the subject.  As much as I liked "Fat Head," it's still advocating a particular diet (something close to Atkins, which I plan on starting soon).  What I would like to look at is the industry of food politics. You have so many documentaries and shows on the subject, what is the ultimate goal? And are they really changing minds?

I think I would have to figure out financing on a project and resources before starting.  But it would be interesting.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

"Fat Head" -- You HAVE To Watch This!

Tom Naughton is a comedian and former nutrition writer who has created a documentary that is not only eye opening, but also very funny.

Going after Morgan Spurlock's documentary "Supersize Me," where Spurlock went after the fast food industry by living on fast food for 30 days to prove that the industry was purposely making people fat, Naughton sought out to prove that people could lose weight eating fast food for 28 days.  At the same time, Naughton also advocates for a high saturated fat, low carb diet citing numerous studies that show that saturated fats do not cause heart disease as we've been told, but that those things we were told that are supposed to be healthier, such as processed oils like corn and soybean, are worse.

Along with parodying certain aspects of Morgan Spurlock's documentary, Naughton also takes information that could possibly be very dry and makes it entertaining.  With a lot of research on his side, Naughton doesn't simply present the facts -- he presents them in a way that anyone can understand.

If you have a Netflix account, it is now available for streaming. Otherwise you can either watch the film on Hulu or get the DVD from fathead-movie.com. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Like The New Look?

I just started another blog to supplement my new gig at Examiner.com since not everything related to anime can be localized. The name of the new blog: Turning Japanese.

While I was working on the design for that blog, I came to the discovery that Blogger had added a lot more options since the last time I redesigned THIS blog.  So I took advantage of it.

Let me know what you think of the new look!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Book Review: "The War For Late Night"

The Late Shift: Letterman, Leno, and the Network Battle for the Night
The first book, which resulted in a film
based on the events within.
Around this time last year, Late Night television was the best it had been in awhile, and it was over an unfortunate situation that was playing out in the press.

In 2004, Jay Leno announced he was retiring from "The Tonight Show" and handing the reins to "Late Night" host Conan O'Brien, citing that he didn't want the same acrimony that happened when he had taken the job after Carson's retirement.  In 2009, NBC announces that they are going to retain Leno in a 10pm show, where O'Brien once again will be following Leno. "The Jay Leno Show" turns out to be one humongous flop, and leaves NBC executives scrambling for a solution to their problem.  What ends up happening is O'Brien leaving the network for cable, Leno gets his old job back under a cloud, and NBC executives are left wondering how this could have happened again.

The War for Late Night: When Leno Went Early and Television Went Crazy
Will there be a movie made from
this book also?
Bill Carter, who wrote about the Leno/Letterman fight in 1992 in The Late Shift, does it again in his latest book, The War for Late Night: When Leno Went Early and Television Went Crazy.  Reporting all sides fairly, Carter takes us back into the world of late night television. Although quite a few of these details are familiar to anyone who was following the Second Late Night Wars, there are some surprises.

-- The decision to side with Leno over O'Brien by the NBC executives had to do with money -- primarily, they didn't want to lose Leno because of his strong "play and pay" contract that guaranteed him a big payout if his show was on less than a year.  And unlike most late night hosts, O'Brien's contract didn't stipulate a start time -- his people just assumed that having the words "The Tonight Show" in the contract meant that the show started at 11:35pm.

-- Despite Letterman's monologue one night where he criticized Leno for not going somewhere else after he was fired from "Tonight," Leno DID approach ABC soon after, even hinting to people around him that he was strongly considering any offer they would make.

-- When Leno and his producer was told about the cancellation of the show and the move to 11:30pm for a half hour, he asked if O'Brien was okay with the move.  After finding out that he wasn't told about it yet, he and the producer asked if he didn't want to go along with it if they would be let go from their contract.  The executive said "no."

-- NBC Entertainment president Jeff Zucker doesn't really come off as a bad guy in all of this -- just as a guy who couldn't adjust to the entertainment side of the business because he ran news for so long.

-- One of the problems with Leno's show had nothing to do with Leno or his production staff, but from meeting the demands of the affiliates, who wanted the strongest comedy bits at the end of the show to lead in to the late night news, leaving the weaker bits for the beginning -- a time when most people would be tuning in to the show and deciding whether they wanted to continue watching it.

-- Leno thinks Conan should have stuck it out and doesn't understand why he didn't. Because Leno IS planning on retiring in the next few years, and we may actually start seeing some guest hosts in the lineup to be tested.

Even if you know most of the details, you'll find this book entertaining.  It's a hard one to put down.  And if you can find a copy, read "The Late Shift," also, to find out how this all began.

  

I've Been Holding Back These Past 10 Days

Since the shooting in Tucson of Gabrielle Giffords and 14 other people, I've wanted to make some kind of comment on it.  But something's been stopping me.

I don't mean the usual "I'm too busy with school to comment" thing that I've been going through the past few months. Which I have -- I'm scheduled to turn in my portfolio and have my teaching certification follow soon after that.  I mean, as much as I send my sympathy out to the victims of the shooting and their families, I've been having a hard time putting into words what I've been feeling about what's been going on in the past week-plus that we've been experiencing. Not about the event itself, but the aftermath.

How would you feel if your values were attacked on a regular basis by a bunch of people who call themselves "journalists?"

Since the shooting, we've experienced a wave of hate from the leftist media that, right from the gate, decided to use this tragedy as a way to attack those on the right, reflecting their own hate onto those of us who don't think the way they do.  There's been times during this whole thing that I've wanted to pull my hair out over this because of how these people want to characterize the right, but I was afraid that I would end up bald before I could teach in a classroom.

Through numerous tragedies, there's often a call to not rush to judgements.  For some reason, before the dust could even settle the liberals watching the news assumed that the gunman had to be a Tea Party member or at least someone in the right wing because Giffords was a Democrat.  And despite the details coming out that the shooter, 22 year old Jared Lee Loughner, was just a kid with a possible undiagnosed mental illness, the liberals would not let go of their idea that this kid had to be a conservative.

They tried to blame a "crosshairs" map that SarahPAC (Sarah Palin's Political Action Committee) had released last year prior to the November election which had Giffords district targeted. It failed because the Democrats had their own "target" map, and liberal gadflys Daily KOS had their own "target" list which also featured Giffords.  They tried to blame political rhetoric from talk radio hosts such as Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, despite the revelation that Loughner didn't listen to talk radio or watch the news according to a friend.  And despite all the finger pointing in the direction of the right, it's becoming more and more clear that the shooter had no real political agenda but was a sick person that needed help.

I'm at the point where I can't stand listening to liberals anymore.  Because it depresses me.

There are times where I take politics personally.  This is one of those times, because I feel like that my views are being attacked because of something a lone idiot did.

I know that I'm not planning on sitting down and taking it.  I plan to fight.  I will not let the liberal elites knock me down.  I will stand and defend myself and my views.  I refuse to believe that anything I say can cause someone to be violent.  Words may have meaning, but they don't have magic powers.  Those who act on those words in a violent way are deranged, and would be set off if someone said the word "pancake" to them.  Would we have to ban pancakes in fear that someone would act violently?

I needed to get this all off my chest.  It's been weighing heavy on my heart this entire time.  I don't like the idea of being accused of something that is wrong based on my ideology.  And it's been tough going online and reading the stories from those who hate what I stand for.  Well, guess what? I'm not backing down.  And you shouldn't, either.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The School You Go To Does Not Make You Any Smarter Or Better Than Anyone Else

You would think that would be common sense, but some people apparently didn't get that memo.

I don't know at what point Michael Medved went from reviewing movies to having his own column, but I felt like if I didn't comment on this stupidity that I was going to explode.

His whole argument in the column is that people should stop harping on people's education in the political arena. However, who he argues for in this case is not for us average monkeys who couldn't afford to go to an Ivy League school, but for those who go to Ivy League schools who are considered "elitist" in their attitudes towards us peasants.

Former White House speechwriter David Frum (another Canadian-born U.S. citizen with Ivy League credentials) makes the interesting point that "American populism has almost always concentrated its anger against the educated rather than the wealthy." He classifies contemporary politics as "a class struggle between those with more education than money against those with more money than education."

Medved misses the point, though.  You are not "elitist" based on your education.  You are "elitist" based on your attitudes towards having that education. Those who graduated from these schools who work in politics tend to make it a point that they graduated from these fancy schools as if it impresses the general population.  They're downright snobby about it, actually.  And the press plays into it by making it seem important that they graduated from these schools.  But all it does prove is that you paid a lot of money for a degree

In fact, with this article Medved makes my point very clearly. He graduated from Yale University, and has that condescending tone that some people who graduate from these Ivy League schools have towards those who don't have the same education that he had.

To get into my own educational background, I have a Bachelor of Arts degree from Keene State College in Film Studies, and am finishing up my coursework to obtain a Masters of Education degree in English Education from Plymouth State University.  I chose to go to KSC because it was the only school that I knew of at the time that had the film program that I was looking for, while I chose PSU primarily because of distance after I got married, but also because their Masters program had the English program that I was looking for.

So why should someone look their nose down at me just because my degrees aren't as "fancy" as theirs?  So what if I didn't go to Harvard or Yale or any of these other Ivy League schools?  I still obtained an education. And I'm not the type to look down at those who decided not to go on to college.  It isn't for everyone.

So to Medved, I say this.  If some of those who graduated from Ivy League schools weren't so snobby about it, you wouldn't be called "elitist."  It's the attitude that makes you that way, not the degree you obtained.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

2010 Blogging Year In Review

It’s the annual year end list!  Yay!

Everyone will be doing the major news stories.  I’ll be doing the highlights from the ConChrist blog.  Because I’m just that self serving.

Anyway, despite all that has gone on this year, I haven’t done that much blogging this year.  It’s been a “rebuilding” year for me since I’m thisclose to getting my M.Ed. and even closer to the certification.  So by May of next year, I’ll be posting a very happy picture of me holding my well-earned M.Ed. and hopefully about my new job by then.

Okay, this year’s highlights in the ConChrist blog is mostly entertainment – I didn’t do too much in regards to politics, so I couldn’t follow it as closely as I would like to.  So hopefully in the upcoming year you’ll see more on me commenting from the national scene.


I commented on another one of Mark Millar’s works after reading about it in the comments at Hot Air.


My interest in anime and manga gets rekindled after buying my stepson a couple of volumes of a manga last year for Christmas called “Death Note,” and I get sucked into the story.

A NH State Representative named Nick Levasseur (D) makes a Facebook comment that ticks off more than just anime fans. And his MySpace page doesn’t fare any better.


Meth lab blows up in Franklin not even a mile from my house.




I get footnoted in an academic film book.  It’s just that the topic is a little…weird…

Do you have a Sassy Gay Friend you can rely on?

ThatGuyWithTheGlasses.com runs into Copyright issues over two reviews for the “so bad it has to be seen” film “The Room” on the site.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Newsweek Goes Beyond Food Snobbery

Okay, this article was making the rounds yesterday.  I first saw it linked from Fark, but have seen it in a few other places since.

The author, Lisa Miller, is trying to make a point on how food has become the new marker to social class.  But she kind of loses me when she starts the article out this way.

For breakfast, I usually have a cappuccino—espresso made in an Alessi pot and mixed with organic milk, which has been gently heated and hand-fluffed by my husband. I eat two slices of imported cheese—Dutch Parrano, the label says, “the hippest cheese in New York” (no joke)—on homemade bread with butter. I am what you might call a food snob. My nutritionist neighbor drinks a protein shake while her 5-year-old son eats quinoa porridge sweetened with applesauce and laced with kale flakes. She is what you might call a health nut. On a recent morning, my neighbor’s friend Alexandra Ferguson sipped politically correct Nicaraguan coffee in her comfy kitchen while her two young boys chose from among an assortment of organic cereals. As we sat, the six chickens Ferguson and her husband, Dave, keep for eggs in a backyard coop peered indoors from the stoop. The Fergusons are known as locavores.

Do I really care about what kind of pot you made your coffee in?  I don't even have a coffee pot in my house! (Not necessarily because we can't afford one, but because it would take up counter space and we tend to be tea drinkers, mostly) Telling me what kind of a pot you make your coffee in goes beyond food snobbery.  It's just plain snob.

From later in the article:

And so the conversation turns to the difficulty of sharing their interpretation of the Pollan doctrine (ed. note: The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan) with the uninitiated. When they visit Dave’s family in Tennessee, tensions erupt over food choices. One time, Alexandra remembers, she irked her mother-in-law by purchasing a bag of organic apples, even though her mother-in-law had already bought the nonorganic kind at the grocery store. The old apples were perfectly good, her mother-in-law said. Why waste money—and apples?
The Fergusons recall Dave’s mother saying something along these lines: “When we come to your place, we don’t complain about your food. Why do you complain about ours? It’s not like our food is poison.”

This just strikes me as rude.  You're telling your host that what they cook isn't "good enough."  You don't make any converts to your cause this way.  We tolerate it because we are in your home.  If you want to be stupid enough to pay $5 for a carton of eggs just because they say "free range," be my guest.  But when you are facing an economy where people are trying to save money in any way possible, expensive apples don't come across as being "healthy" or "smart."

Miller tends to think this gulf between lower vs. upper class is now divided by food.  To me, the food issue is more of an issue of politics.  If I get anything that's labeled "organic," it's usually because by some miracle it might be cheaper than the regular stuff.  You won't see much "organic" or "free trade" items in my pantry for the simple fact that 1) it's more expensive on average, and 2) it's not necessarily healthier just because the word "organic" is on the label.  If you have an entire cupboard of organic food, I'm going to assume you're a lefty.

If Miller really wanted to make a difference in the chasm, she would donate some of that overpriced food to a food pantry.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Picture from igourmet.com.


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

It's a time to think of the things that we are thankful for over the past year.  So here's my list of things that I am thankful for over the past year.

-- My family and friends. I have a wonderful husband and a beautiful son that I am so happy are in my life, as well as my two stepchildren who are such good kids.

-- That my husband and I have such a good relationship with my husband's ex-wife.  Believe me, if you've ever been in a blended family situation that involves a divorce, this is a BIG thing to be thankful for. She has just been so great to us and our son that I thank God every day of my life that she's not just "someone we deal with" but is an active member in our family.

-- That I almost have my Masters in Education degree.  Officially graduate in May, but will have all the requirements by January. I've already started looking for a job, and will be working as a substitute teacher in the meantime.

-- That my internship ends after vacation so I can be more active in my job hunt.  Although this school district would be where I would like to end up eventually (the high school and middle school are only five minutes from my house).  I'm going to miss coming here every day.

So what are you thankful for this year?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

"SuckerPunch"

New movie coming out March 2011.




Other than the fact that this trailer looks pretty cool, you want to know another reason why I'm highlighting this trailer?


Yeah, a fantasy film takes place in Brattleboro, Vermont, of all places. I had to rewind the video to make sure I read that right.

From what I read online, the movie takes place in the 1950s, and the Lennox House is possibly based loosely on the Brattleboro Retreat, which at one point was the Vermont Asylum.  I lived in Brattleboro from 3rd grade until Freshman year of high school, so I got a kick out of this.

Conchrist -- Episode 4 is now up!

Conchrist -- Episode 4

On this week's podcast:

-- An update on StickyDrama.com
-- One blogger Vs. a candidate's campaign over the word "many"
-- Proposition 8 gets struck down
-- Raw Food activists vs. the government
-- Lindsay Lohan participates in a bad movie (what else is new?)

Ending theme song: "Bad Things" by Jace Everett

Thursday, July 29, 2010

ConChrist: Podcast 3

ConChrist: Podcast 3 is now up!

This week, I talk about the site that got 11 year old Jessi Slaughter bullied on the internet -- Stickydrama.com.

Sorry I don't have more than that this week, but I've been in a summer institute for teachers. But I should have more next week.

ConChrist Podcast Rundown: Episode 3

This week I've been busy with school, so I'll be focusing on just one topic this week: the ongoing revelations about the site StickyDrama.com (now offline) and its founder, 31 year old Christopher Stone.

I should have more to talk about next week.  I'll post the link when it's ready.

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