Sunday, February 11, 2007

A Confession

I love Battlestar Galactica. The past few weeks I've been powering through this series in a desperate attempt to catch up with the show. Now, I am not somebody who particularly like science fiction or fantasy movies or books. I mean, sure, I read The Lord of the Rings in 6th grade, but is that really so bad? I have never watched an episode of "Star Trek" nor do I particularly care to. Many of my best friends read that "Wheel of Time" series of books, but my attempt at reading those resulted in catastrophe, anguish, and a whole lot of boredom. Why am I taking such pain to emphasize this point? Well, I want to demonstrate that Battlestar Galactica is a show that is so good everyone should watch it despite the stigma it carries by being played on the Sci-Fi channel.

For comparison, I will use the two other television shows which I regularly watch as a jumping off point. 24 features an unrelentingly intense story, good acting, and movie quality visuals. However, it deals with contemporary issues with all the sensitivity of a bull in a china store. Torture? Only if the interviewee has a possible connection to terrorism. (Read: all 6 billion people on the planet.) Unsanctioned murders and abductions of citizens and dignitaries from foreign nations? It'll make the proceedings much more interesting. Like all of Dick Cheney's favorite dreams, any and all abuses of power are allowed and often encouraged. Now, what about Battlestar? Well, it routinely deals with all of these issues, and a few more, with much more dignity and concern for the human condition than 24 could ever conceive of. What makes this all the more interesting is that the enemies in Battlestar are expressly NOT human, they are half-human and half-machine. However, the mere idea that some modicum of humanity exists within these machines is more than enough to rule out the general acceptance of torture as a viable way to treat a prisoner.

I also follow Lost, a show known for its fantastic characters, mysterious setting and often painfully slow pace. Similar to Lost, Battlestar is an ensemble character drama that has several different plot threads advancing all at the same time. However, unlike Lost, Battlestar actually gets to the point quickly and when a tantalizing concept is introduced the show makes something of it instead of leaving the idea by the wayside. For example, a character in Battlestar went on a mission to a planet overrun by their enemy. When this character was stranded on the planet I immediately thought, "Great, she's going to be stuck on this planet for the rest of the season." My expectations for serialized dramas were shattered when she had rejoined the crew of the Battlestar only a few episodes later. Lost spent an entire season of the show forcing its most interesting character to sit in a bunker and push a button. Please don't get me wrong and assume that I don't like Lost, because I do very much, but I am definitely recognizing that Battlestar has a much better pace. Battlestar is the first show that has thrown off the shackles of science fiction stereotype to create a fantastic, relevant, and captivating program which deserves a wider audience.

Friday, February 9, 2007

My Favorite Website

Today, I thought I'd talk about my favorite website out there on the Internet, The Onion. The Onion has everything you'd want in a great website: it's relevant, it's fun, it's funny, and it's free. Or, the 3 F's and the R of website development. In its satirical take on today's news and current events are always right on the mark and always humorous. It's clear that the editors of the site have little regard for sensitivity or the whole "She died yesterday, can we make fun of her yet?" conundrum that so many topical humorists face. Case in point, Anna Nicole Smith died yesterday, her body's still on a slab in the morgue, but she is already fast fodder for The Onion. It sounds odd, but preserving the kind of (dare I say) integrity in this regard is incredible. However, it should be noted that they are not complete assholes. Just like Jon Stewart came on air after September 11th to comfort us all, the satirical masters at The Onion quickly wrote one of my favorite articles they've ever published. It was called "Hijackers Surprised to Find Selves In Hell." Capturing the spirit of the times and making us all laugh is what The Onion does best. And they do it every day.

Arcade Fire

I love the Arcade Fire. They have a new album coming out next month, and I couldn't be more excited. Actually, I think I could be, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be allowed back in the country afterwards. Neon Bible comes out on March 6th, and if the song "Intervention" is any indication then I think we could be in for a real treat.

I've recently come to the realization that I really like "chamber pop" music. Bands like the Arcade Fire and The Decemberists, and singers like Sufjan Stevens totally get me all aflutter. Something about those string arrangements? Whatever it is, these artists have created some truly great music.

On an added note, the recent Band of Horses album has made a big splash in my life recently. I picked it up a while ago but never gave it much play time. However, I have been completely sucked into their world. If you haven't gotten a chance to hear Everything All The Time, you should get one.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Sometimes A Guitar Is Just A Guitar

In case you haven't heard, there's been a surprising amount of controversy surrounding this year's Super Bowl half-time show. I mean, sure, I thought, "Hey, that guitar kinda looks like Prince has a huge penis" when his silhouette was projected on a giant white sheet towards the end of the show. But I imagine that's just because I'm a college student who thinks most everything looks like it has some sort of phallic reference. Turns out even the old people of the world can't get enough of Prince's super-sized man-meat. Check out what some of these old people have to say about it:

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Bloc Party!

This is the video for one of the singles off of Bloc Party's new album "A Weekend In the City." The song is called "The Prayer" and it really is one of the better songs off the album. I picked up the CD yesterday, and I've been putting it through its paces. It's good, but I don't like it as much as their previous LP. Maybe it'll just take a little time to get used to this new sound. Yes, it seems that Bloc Party is trying to take a bite out of the American market by enlisting the help of U2 producer Jacknife Lee to create music that your average American would like. I would really like to see these guys get bigger, they're so good they deserve to get paid.

A Word on the Title of the Blog

I'm a big fan of the Beatles, and "Yesterday and Today" was a US release of theirs which had an extremely controversial cover. The cover featured the Beatles in white coats (as you can see) holding baby doll parts and slabs of meat. It's kinda gross. They chose this cover because they felt that their music was being butchered in the US releases as compared to their UK counterparts. Well, either way I like the ring of the title so I used it.

Blogs are Weird

This is weird. I just started blogging, and I already feel the need to write out all sorts of things on this page. What's the deal with these things? I'm beginning to sort of see why so many seemingly rational people have put so much time into their blogs.

First Post

This being my first post, I'd like to introduce myself. I'm experimenting with this whole blog thing, seeing where it might lead. I attend Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and surprisingly enough I also live in San Luis Obispo. As this is an awfully long winded city name, we'll just call it SLO from here on out. As this experiment continues, you may see some of the things I'm interested in.