Yoga and the Hellmouth

I am sitting at Starbucks drinking iced coffee after my yoga class because I figured if I’m starting the day with yoga class, I may as well go all-in on the bourgeois white lady stereotypes. I am still wearing my leggings and everything.

I hardly ever attend yoga classes in an actual studio because it’s not typically in my budget, but we have a newer studio in town that I’ve never visited before, so I’m eligible for the 30-days of unlimited yoga for $30 new member special and here we are. I think I’ll try attending as many classes as I can this month and just really soak it up while my schedule is relatively flexible.

And now allow me a brief moment of woo-woo: isn’t it incredible how when everyone in the room joins together in a collective “om” at the beginning and end of class, the way we all naturally fall into a beautifully harmonious chord? At the same time, it seems both imposible and inevitable. Collective human goodness.

On a very different note: my husband and I have finally started watching The Handmaid’s Tale. I’d been avoiding it for a long time because I’ve been feeling such a deep desire for my entertainment choices to offer me a ticket out of Cheeto Mussolini’s anti-American hellmouth. In the interest of escapism, I’ve been looking for far more soothing ways to spend my limited TV and reading time (Great British Bake-Off, Harry Potter, etc.). But CW and I were looking for a captivating show to watch together and we just decided to dive in and — man oh man — it is really gripping and wonderful storytelling but it is also terrifying. We’ve seen the first 6 episodes so far and will be caught up in time for the finale next week (I think that’s right?), so I look forward to talking about it with you, if you’re also watching, soon!

Namaste.

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TV Guilty Pleasure Confessions: I'll show you mine if you show me yours.

The time has come for me to confess all the terrible television I have been watching lately. With the return of cable to my life, this was bound to happen. Are you watching any of these shows, too? Will you commiserate?

At least two of these people are not smug a-holes -- an unprecedented ratio on reality TV.
At least two of these people are not smug a-holes -- an unprecedented ratio on reality TV.

Taking the Stage

I have a great excuse for watching this MTV reality show about kids in a performing-arts high school – a truly great excuse, just wait for it. I, you see, am a patron of the arts. Just try to impugn me for that, bitches!

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SOMEONE in this picture should have taken a job in Paris is all I am saying.
SOMEONE in this picture should have taken a job in Paris is all I am saying.

The Hills & The City

I have been meaning to write a “Guilty Pleasure Confessions” post about The Hills for so long. I have such a post saved in my drafts, in fact, and it has been there for, like, three seasons. I watched Laguna Beach back in the day, I’ve been watching The Hills since Season 1 (How could L.C. not take the job in Paris, HOW I ASK YOU), and now I am even watching The City. Yes, I am the specific kind of jackass who watches all of these shows.

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"Twelve beatiful girls stand before me, but I only have eleven pictures in my hands."
"Twelve beatiful girls stand before me, but I only have eleven pictures in my hands."

America’s Next Top Model

I have one thing to say about this show: TYRA.

Wait, let me add another thing: NIGEL.

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Every single person depicted here: utterly useless.
Every single person depicted here: utterly useless.

Make Me a Supermodel

This is absolutely the poor man’s ANTM – it’s a little glossier and a little more inscrutable, but the awesomeness of Tyra, Nigel, and Miss J is only sadly mimicked by the less-than-awesomeness of Tyson (boring), Nicole (totally luuded out), and the posse of ridiculous judges. The only one I don’t want to kill is Catherine Malandrino, who is wonderful in all respects. As for the models? I don’t even remember who any of them are from one week to the next. Why am I watching this again? Oh right. I will watch basically any of these Bravo reality shows. I am the one person in America who watched Top Design.

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"Not at the Cancer Society!"
"Not at the Cancer Society!"

The Real Housewives of New York City

Oh my dog, you guys, this show is great! I didn’t catch on to the Housewives phenomenon in time to board the train to the O.C.; the Atlanta show aired while I was without cable; but the N.Y.C. show, in all its awesomeness, makes up for all that I’ve missed in the other franchises. Jill Zarin is probably my favorite, but Bethenny and the Countess LuAnn DeLesseps come in a close second/third. Oh, and if you are watching this, could you please just back me up on one thing: Kelly Bensimon. Is she evil incarnate, or what? A CASH BAR at her own party! THE HELL.

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I don't know.  I'm sorry. There is just no excuse for this.
I don't know. I'm sorry. There is just no excuse for this. They don't even have a decent promotional picture.

Harper’s Island

Exhibit A toward proving that I will watch absolutely any mystery or detective show no matter how bad it is. This is a truly terrible show: gruesome and violent and illogical in its storytelling, peopled with ridiculously inconsistent characters played by mostly terrible actors. This show has exactly two redeeming factors: Christopher Gorham and scenery of the Pacific Northwest.

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"The hammer is my penis."
"The hammer is my penis."

Castle

Exhibit B toward proving my love for and determination in watching all manner of terrible detective shows. This particular gem is based on a ridiculous premise (no police department would ever allow a crime novelist with no police training to basically be partners with a homicide detective; I’M SORRY). Like Harper’s Island, the storytelling is embarrassingly bad: don’t even bother trying to follow the thread of an episode’s plot or of the murder investigation itself. No such thread will ever be found. Each episode is like a collage of ostensibly related scenes that basically either do nothing to move the plot forward or do too much too fast. The one beautifully consistent unifying factor? Nathan Fillion is in every scene. And there you go.

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Your turn. Confess! I know you’re watching some terrible TV out there, people. Help me feel less alone.

BSG: "Daybreak" Part II (The Last Battlestar Recap EVER!)

This post recaps, with pictures, the series finale.  Dude, if you have not seen it yet, a) what are you waiting for?  and b) do not read this, and c) DO NOT EVEN SCROLL DOWN because you will see some REVEALING SHIT HERE, okay? Okay.

First of all let me just say that this entire season of Battlestar Galactica has been incredible, and the series finale is no exception.  I’m glad they aired Part I of “Daybreak” before the finale last night, because I really appreciated getting to watch all three hours of it together.  That first hour seemed so much more purposeful and cohesive in close connection with hours two and three.  The things we learned about the past actually turned out to carry some weight here, as I was worried they might not.  WHEW.

Moving on then: I got pretty snap-happy, as you can imagine, when I was gathering the screen shots for this recap.  Hence there are forty-some photos here.  I’ve divided them into sections and I will provide some thoughts for each section, but otherwise the captions will have to suffice.  Let’s go then, shall we?

Things That Happened in the Past:

In the final two hours of “Daybreak,” the scenes from the past began to take on deeper significance.  While last week they seemed largely irrelevant, this week they seemed more tightly woven into the show.  I appreciated, but did not really love this aspect.

Adama puked all over himself this one time outside a strip club.
Adama puked all over himself this one time outside a strip club.
Boomer was a bad pilot and owed Adama a favor.
Boomer was a bad pilot and owed Adama a favor.
Kara double-dog-dared Lee to do her; said she didn't fear death and didn't want to be forgotten
Kara double-dog-dared Lee to do her; said she didn't fear death and didn't want to be forgotten
Laura had a blind date with a former student and slept with him; kicked him out of bed; joined a presidential campaign.
Laura had a blind date with a former student and slept with him; kicked him out of bed; joined a presidential campaign.

Shit Gets Difficult for Our Guys for a While:

During the battle, the temporary detente, and the ensuing mayhem, I was once again on the edge of my seat every single second.  I even made an effort to pay attention to the usually inscrutable-to-me SPACEBATTLES so I could observe what was happening to which ship at what time.  Among the highlights for me was seeing Six, Baltar, Imagination Six, and Imagination Baltar all together in the same scene.  While I’m kind of grumpy about the direction the show has decided to take with the Imagination Team (angels, higher powers, “divine hands” at work – gag me please), I still loved this moment.  I also found myself excitedly jumping around and screaming at the TV during the scene when Starbuck has to jump the ship but she doesn’t have the rendez-vous coordinates.  Holy frak that was an incredible moment.

It's Admiral Hoshi and President Crazy-Ass Romo Lampkin - This doesn't bode well.
It's Admiral Hoshi and President Crazy-Ass Romo Lampkin - This doesn't bode well.
Even Caprica Six and Baltar have to fight to protect the ship. Baltar looks mighty ridiculous in that get up.
Even Caprica Six and Baltar have to fight to protect the ship. Baltar looks mighty ridiculous in that get up.
Galactica jumps right into the metaphorical crotch of the Colony and faces attack immediately, a.k.a. SPACEBATTLE.
Galactica jumps right into the metaphorical crotch of the Colony and faces attack immediately, a.k.a. SPACEBATTLE.
Lee leads the team into the Colony.
Lee leads the team into the Colony.
Starbuck has a gun and she's not afraid to use it!
Starbuck has a gun and she's not afraid to use it!
In the meanwhile, Simon is poking a tube into Hera's ear. OH WOE.
In the meanwhile, Simon is poking a tube into Hera's ear. OH WOE. Oh, no, wait, I don't care.
Centurion against Centurion - this toaster battle was clangy and frakking intense!
Centurion against Centurion - this toaster battle was clangy and frakking intense!
Six and Baltar see Imagination Six and Imagination Baltar, and each ne learns that the other one can see the Imagination Angels. One of my favorite scenes!
Six and Baltar see Imagination Six and Imagination Baltar, and each one learns that the other one can see the Imagination Angel Team. One of my favorite scenes!
Boomer pays back that favor, gets all shot up.  RIP, Boomer, you inscrutable Cylon Lady.
Boomer pays back that favor, gets all shot up. RIP, Boomer, you inscrutable Cylon Lady.
OH NOES, MY BOYFRIEND HELO IS HURT!!!
OH NOES, MY BOYFRIEND HELO IS HURT!!!
Baltar, Athena, Six, and Roslin collectively hallucinate that whole Opera House thing again, leading them to the CIC with Hera.
Baltar, Athena, Six, and Roslin collectively hallucinate that whole Opera House thing again, leading them to the CIC with Hera.
In case we forgot, here are the faceless final five as imagined in the past.
In case we forgot, here are the faceless final five as imagined in the past.
And here are the final five, revealed and arranged around and in the Bathtub of Mystery.
And here are the final five, revealed and arranged around and in the Bathtub of Mystery.
Baltar pontificates annoyingly, yet poignantly, about a higher power.  I grumble.
Baltar pontificates annoyingly, yet poignantly, about a higher power. I grumble.
HOT DOG!
HOT DOG!
Bathtime is for sharing - sharing information about Cylon resurrection, that is.  At least until something goes horribly wrong.
Bathtime is for sharing - sharing information about Cylon resurrection, that is. At least until something goes horribly wrong.
Well, Frak. Something went horribly wrong and now Galactica is under sustained fire again.
Well, Frak. Something went horribly wrong and now Galactica is under sustained fire again.
"There must be some kind of way out of here," said the pilot to the FTL drive.
"There must be some kind of way out of here," said the pilot to the FTL drive.
In the most frakking awesome scene ever on BSG, Starbuck uses her crazy music math to jump the ship to Bob Dylan's magical coordinates. HOLY FRAK.
In the most frakking awesome scene ever on BSG, Starbuck uses her crazy music math to jump the ship to Bob Dylan's magical coordinates. HOLY FRAK.
Galactica survives the jump, but is so broken apart she'll never jump again.  It's a good thing they made it to ... wait, where are they exactly?
Galactica survives the jump, but is so broken apart she'll never jump again. It's a good thing they made it to ... wait, where are they exactly?

Holy Frak, It’s Motherfrakking EARTH:

I really, really did not think this was going to happen.  Really.

HOLY FRAK. IT'S MOTHERFRAKKING EARTH.
HOLY FRAK. IT'S MOTHERFRAKKING EARTH.

But What Does this Mean?

For one thing, we find out that Earth is a frakking breathtakingly gorgeous place.  In almost every scene on the planet, the camera pulls back to give us rich, majestic views of the landscape.  The beauty of these scenes is almost a bit hard to take.  We learn what will become of the fleet, the Centurions, and the other Cylons, and shit starts to feel all poignant and ending-like here, but the goodbyes will continue for a nice long while even after the fleet flies into the sun.

The guys investigate an existing civilization they found on the planet.
The guys investigate an existing civilization they found on the planet.
They may be pre-verbal but Baltar has some plans for them already. No verbalizing necessary.
They may be pre-verbal but Baltar has some plans for them already. No verbalizing necessary.
The Centurions will finally be free.
The Centurions will finally be free.
Adama pilots the last viper out of Galactica, like we knew he would. Flight suit looks good on you, dude.
Adama pilots the last viper out of Galactica, like we knew he would. Flight suit looks good on you, dude.
Sam Anders pilots the rest of the fleet into the sun, in a moment pf physical perfection. I sniffle.
Sam Anders pilots the rest of the fleet into the sun, in a moment pf physical perfection. I sniffle.

Goodbyes, Try Not to Cries:

More wide shots of velvety grassland, rugged hills and mountains, and a perfectly blue sky. In so many of these scenes, though, it seems as  if everyone is destined to be utterly alone.  Tyrol, Lee Adama, Bill Adama – they all wind up facing the future completely alone.  Just as I was feeling a little despair over that, we saw groups of settlers heading off into the future together.  Anonymous civilians, the Tighs, the Agathons – they all walk off toward their futures together.  That’s nice. If you watched these scenes and didn’t find need of a tissue, I don’t know who you are.

Tyrol says goodbye to Tigh and Ellen before jetting off to Scotland, Iceland, Labrador, or some other cold island.
Tyrol says goodbye to Tigh and Ellen before jetting off to Scotland, Iceland, Labrador, or some other cold island. Alone.
Lee and Kara wave goodbye as Adama and Roslin take flight.
Lee and Kara wave goodbye as Adama and Roslin take flight.
Lee and Kara discuss their plans for the future, except SOMEBODY doesn't seem to have any.
Lee and Kara discuss their plans for the future, except SOMEBODY doesn't seem to have any.
And now Lee is alone.
And now Lee is alone.
Adama takes Roslin flying over the continent looking for a place to build that cabin.
Adama takes Roslin flying over the continent looking for a place to build that cabin, only he'll have to do all the building ALONE because she frakking dies in the Raptor. Sheesh.
Tigh and Ellen walk off toward their future.
Tigh and Ellen walk off toward their future.
Karl, Sharon, and Hera walk off toward their future.
Karl, Sharon, and Hera walk off toward their future.
Oh hey, it's the Imagination Team come to say goodbye to the real SIx and Baltar.
Oh hey, it's the Imagination Team come to say goodbye to the real Six and Baltar.
Baltar knows a lot about farming.
Baltar knows a lot about farming.
Six and Baltar walk off toward their future.
Six and Baltar walk off toward their future.
And now Adama is alone.
And now Adama is alone.
Hera. Still anoying.
Hera. Still annoying.

The Part I Would Happily Pretend Never Happened:

All right.  Now we have come to the last five minutes of the show, a.k.a. the part I wish my DVR had failed to record.  Let me say that I do think the implications and the ideas behind this ending are solid.  After all, the notion that this has all happened before and will all happen again has been emphasized so strongly all season (and throughout the show).  We know this.  There was also always the thought that our Galacticans would possibly find their way to Earth — our Earth — and somehow connect with our society here.  Nothing really came out of the blue with this ending.  What I didn’t like about it was the quality I always call “too explainy.” I just don’t like it when movies and television take ideas that should best remain in the realm of implications and shared understandings and instead of implying them they spell them out directly in BOLD ALL CAPS BLINKING NEON. Give the viewer a little credit, please!

So while it was mainly the element of blatant explainyness that turned me off about the last five minutes here, I was also (only mildly) disgruntled with the whole worlds-colliding quality that occurs when characters from a fictional television show appear in the non-fictional world we viewers inhabit.  It renders everything that was acceptable in the Reality-of-the-Show Fictional Realm into something that is, for me, unacceptable in the Reality-of-Life Nonfictional Realm.  I can accept all the angels and higher power bullshit in the realm of fiction, but I find the assertion (and it really was an assertion) that there is a higher power designing our universe to be pretty distasteful. Well, mildly.  I loved the show too much to get all het up about it.

Honestly, I would have been fine with this being the last shot of the series. But, sigh, it wasn't.
Honestly, I would have been fine with this being the last shot of the series. But, sigh, it wasn't.
Oh look, it's Ron Moore.  How frakking clever.
Oh look, it's Ron Moore. How frakking clever.

On the whole, though, I really, really loved this series finale.  It certainly cemented Battlestar Galactica‘s place in my all-time top-five list of television shows.  I have now begun collecting the DVDs (as some of you know I am obsessed with waiting until I can buy them at a low, low price from Amazon Used) and I plan to start re-watching the entire series sometime soon.  And oh yeah! We have both Caprica and BSG: The Plan to look forward to as well.  So I suppose it isn’t really truly over, yet.

What did you think? Favorite moments? What about the last five minutes? Am I crazy here?

BSG: Daybreak Part I

Positively rife with spoilers.  You have been warned.

This week was part one of “Daybreak,” the two part series finale of Battlestar Galactica.  I know, y’all; I can’t handle it either.  The episode begins by taking us back to Caprica City before the main events of the series, where we learn, via flashback, gripping background details like that some of our main characters had families and relationships, and they they were either happy or sad.  I know. Deep stuff, man. SHOCKING.

Caprica City - Stirring up interest for the Cparica Project, are they? Not like they need to.
Caprica City - Stirring up interest for the Caprica Project, are they? Not like they need to.

There were some amusing moments worked into the flashbacks, like when we learn that Gaius is fixin’ to sleep with Caprica Six right here in this limo and that he doesn’t even know her “name.” Oh, Gaius, you douchebag.  Also, Lee is a drunk and Sam is a self-aggrandizing jock.  I CONTINUE TO BE SHOCKED.

Gaius and Caprica Six, as always a couple of louchetastic horndogs.
Gaius and Caprica Six, as always a couple of louchetastic horndogs.
Lee Adama did not exactly have his shit together back on Caprica. Shocked?
Lee Adama did not exactly have his shit together back on Caprica. Shocked?
Anders, a bathtub kind of man, pontificates about sports à la Ebby Clavin "Nuke" Laloosh
Anders, a bathtub kind of man, pontificates about sports à la Ebby Clavin "Nuke" Laloosh

Then it’s back into deep space, where we see some inscrutable space images (not the first nor the last, to be sure) and some crazy cylon music math.  MYSTERIOUS.

Something strange and anatomical in space.
Something strange and anatomical in space.
Math and Music, a natural partnership of CRAZY.
Math and Music, a natural partnership... of CRAZY.

As I have told you all before, I get inordinately excited whenever Hot Dog comes on screen, mainly because I like to shout out “HOT DOG” at my TV.  Its also always nice to see Edward James Olmos and Bodie Olmos on screen together, as they were in this touching moment where they discussed taking down the memorial wall.

HOT DOG! IT'S HOT DOG! With his biological spawn, the Not-Cylon Baby.
HOT DOG! IT'S HOT DOG! With his biological spawn, the Not-Cylon Baby.
Adama has a moment of solitary contemplation.  It's like we hardly ever see him do that anymore.
Adama has a moment of solitary contemplation. It's like we hardly ever see him do that anymore.

A series of one-on-one conversations brought the episode to its climax, starting with Hot Dog and Hot Dad and continuing as we saw Bill and Kara discussing, Lee and Gaius disputing, and Ellen and Tory dissembling.  (You like what I did there. Admit it.)

Starbuck and Adama have some quality time together as father figure and dead girl. I have missed these scenes.
Starbuck and Adama have some quality time together as father figure and dead girl. I have missed these scenes.
Gaius swear, HE SWEARS he is not up to no good.  Honestly.  He swears.
Gaius swears to Lee -- HE SWEARS! -- he is not up to no good. Honestly. He swears.
Two crazy bitches.
Two crazy bitches.

As we all knew it would, it comes down to our Man with a Plan, Admiral Bill Adama, to make some kind of stand.  If any man can make a stand, this man is that man. He can.  He’ll even draw a line in the sand.

[Sorry, clearly my cold meds are making me  a leeettle bit crazy.]

Bill Adama makes a stand -- but not out of sentiment or emotion!
Bill Adama makes a stand -- but not out of sentiment or emotion!
Bill Adama draws the line!
Bill Adama draws the line!

The episode comes to its end with more inscrutable space pictures (told you so) and the implication that our Galactica crew would be walking into nothing less than a death trap as they tried to rescue Hera from Cavil at the Colony.  What will become of the Cylon Baby? The noble Admiral and his faithful crew?

Just when you thought the crew might make it out of this mess safely, wait! There is...something inscrutable in space. As usual.
Just when you thought the crew might make it out of this mess safely, wait! There is...something inscrutable in space. As usual.
Good thing they have the Inscrutable Space Map!
Good thing they have the Inscrutable Space Map!

Will the Inscrutable Space Map get them in and out safely?  OH WOE, WE MUST WAIT ONE MORE WEEK.

CATCH YOU NEXT WEEK BITCHES.
CATCH YOU NEXT WEEK BITCHES.

What did you think of this episode?

What I'm Watching Tonight: Northern Exposure Season 1

Basically since I’ve moved to hot, steamy New Wye, I’ve been taking a perverse pleasure in watching films and TV shows set in cold, northern climates.  See as cases in point: 30 Days of Night, Twilight, Into the Wild, the “Mountains” episode of Planet Earth, and so on.

It only recently occurred to me, however, that there is a whole entire television series set in snowy Alaska, and it incorporates my love of shows set in quirky small towns (à la Stars Hollow) and my love of mountains, trees, and snow.  Northern Exposure! And I never even watched it while it aired, so the whole thing is new to me.

Rugged people! Beautiful landscape! SNOW!
Rugged people! Beautiful landscape! Plaid! SNOW!

I am currently on episode four, and while it’s certainly enjoyable, I am still waiting for Rob Morrow’s character, the fish-out-of-water New York doctor, to get slightly less annoying.  Please say he will!

If Dr. Fleischman ever does kiss a bull moose on this show, you can be sure that ndignant whining will ensue.
If Dr. Fleischman ever does kiss a bull moose on this show, you can be sure that ndignant whining will ensue.

Are there any fans of this show out there?  Keeping in mind I don’t want to hear any spoilers, what was your favorite season?

TV Boyfriends: Tahmoh Penikett

Since my TVBF Tamoh Penikett is (albeit briefly) on two of my favorite shows on every Friday night, I thought he deserved a post celebrating that fact.

Oh yes indeedy, folks.  You can tune in for some Agent Paul Ballard on Dollhouse at 9:00 / 8:00 Central

Agent Ballard is on the case!
Agent Ballard is on the case!

Followed by Helo, a.k.a. Karl Agathon on Battlestar Galactica at 10:00 / 9:00 Central.

Helo is on the mission!
Helo is on the mission!

Oh indeed, whether you prefer your Penikett in a straight-laced FBI-style dark suit or in his Colonial Fleet uniform, your important needs can be fulfilled on Fridays.  Oh, and did you prefer your hot dudes sweaty and in confusingly layered tank-top things?

"I'm glaring because I'm still mad about how complicated my tank top is."
"I'm glaring because I'm still mad about how complicated my tank top is."

They have that, too.

If, however, you prefer to see Tahmoh Penikett screaming comedically like a girl, I suppose you will have to see this hilariously bad looking horror movie he is apparently in, called Trick’r Treat.

What do you mean, you "haven't seen" this movie?
"What do you MEAN, you 'haven't seen' this movie?!"

Um, yeah.  Why the apostrophe, guys?   Well, no matter.  It has Penikett; I’m sure it’s great.  Let’s admire some more, shall we?

Oh, hello, Helo.
Oh, hello, Helo.

Ah, yes.  And — JUST BECAUSE I CAN! — one more.

I seem to have gotten distracted my something here and have failed to think of a caption.
I seem to have gotten distracted by something here and have failed to think of a caption.

Alrighty then.  You may continue with your day.