Wednesday, August 30, 2006

V for Vendetta: The Graphic Novel


A couple of months ago I reviewed the movie V for Vendetta and this time around I've decided to review the graphic novel. As I mentioned in my last post, a friend of mine gave me a trade paper back of the graphic novel to replace the actual 10 issues that I had lost during the flooding last month. I decided to reread it over the last couple of days and remembered what a complex and detailed piece of work it really is. The movie itself was very well done but seems really to only be a drop in the bucket of the what the author and illustrator, Alan Moore and David Lloyd, were really trying get across.


Alan Moore, Author


David Lloyd, Artist

This had been a pet project of Moore's that was on the backburner due to his ground breaking work on Swamp Thing and the Eisner award winning The Watchmen for DC comics.The story itself was written over a period of years from 1981 to 1988 under which England had been under Conservative Party rule with Margaret Thatcher. Moore, an anarchist at heart, was fearful of the times due to the cold war, the breakout of HIV/AIDS and a general xenophobic attitude of all things non-english around him. He feared that any extreme form of goverment, whether it be left or right wing politically, might do more to harm their citizens than good in order to keep the reigns of their power tight. This fear was what set the times and events of V for Vendetta. He had the setting...all he really needed was a character, the protaganist to give a reason for the novel.

During those years Moore became disenchanted with DC comics and it's eventual offshoot of Mature Comics/Graphic Novel line called Vertigo. He had been unable to retain his rights or his creative freedom and this felt crushed by DC's strict character and plot guidelines. He began to feel that this company was imprisoning him creatively and eventually financially. Thus it would appear this fight against those who would hold him back probably did more to fuel the creation of V as a character than the setting of the story. At this point he now had the finishing touches to finish, what would be his last official effort with DC comics.

When going from page to screen the movie makers tend to leave out a number of important details that made the original work so well received. However, I will add that the changes, one that were a fairly large departure from the novel, were more modeled to fit a modern viewership and thus the movie is entertaining, but as a completely seperate piece work and story in it's own right. In the movie the settings were of a government that created the problems to take control of England and thus V was more of a revenge character towards that particular government's misdeeds. In the book, the government arises out of chaos that was created by the events of a world war, when no one else stepped in to suppress the lawlessness around them. The V of the novel seemed more about restoring the right of humanity to choose it's destiny instead of revenge, although it could be argued that revenge was still a very powerful motivator in the beginning of the novel.

The book was able to capture the actual lifestyle and bleakness of the times in which the characters lived. There was a larger feeling of the government's control with cameras and microphones visible on every street corner. Instead of a political pundit on the television as shown in the movie, it was simply a calming voice on the speakers known as the Voice of Fate which reported the government propaganda as news. The governments agencies were known as the Mouth which was the broadcast of propaganda, The Eye which was the visual monitoring department, The Ear which was the audio monitoring department, The Nose which was the police, The Finger which was the secret police and all were controlled by The Head which controlled everything in the country under one leader who spent his entire working day monitoring all the elements that his groups could provide him from a control booth.

As is usual with any government, politics and infighting always seem to surface. They are kept to minor interdepartment rivlaries until V begins to bring about chaos and destruction and thus you see those rivalries become schemes and plans to take advantage of the chaos to grab power or gain more prestige. Additionally the subplots of the wives and widows of these powerful men are probably the most central to entire book, of which were completely omitted from the movie. These women were as important to the plot of the story as the female protagnist, Evey Hammond's role in her relationship with V. It would seem that in many ways the men underestimated the woman in their downfall and V understood the power in which Evey could ultimately wield and mentored her to become someone much more effective for change than he could ever be. He was created as a monster by monsters, his task was to recreate Evey as a loving mother figure for the new age of England.

Through the course of the novel controversial subjects such as Anarchy, LSD usage torture and violence are used to justify the means to an end. V's character was born of extremes and felt that extreme action was the only way to open the eyes of those around him to the complacency they had fallen into. How they had allowed their freedoms to be exchanged for the illusion of security and safety. It's certainly a bleak time for humanity and the end of the novel leaves you with the hope that they majority of the people will make the next step to save themselves from such conditions again. The consequences and future ramifications of V's actions beg the reader to wonder if his actions will really make a difference. It's an interesting account of whether humanity is willing to actually make the effort of a truly free civilization or should we become savages again until we are truly ready to control our own destinies.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Great Weekend and moving forward...

Spent the weekend beering and bowling with the co-workers, hanging out with the normal friends as well as a friend from out of town and we had a lot of fun. I received a copy of the V for Vendetta and Sin City Trade Paper Backs from a friend because I lost the originals in the flood. It was a nice touch and I appreciated it. I helped them a few years ago when their place flooded and they new how upset I was when I lost that collection that I had built from childhood in one swoop. Maybe I should have asked for a new couch and new bed as well but that's what the renters insurance check is for :)

I also saw the movie Little Miss Sunshine which I highly recommend. All I have to say about the movie is that it will swear you off of enterting your children in beauty pageants or fixing up that old VW van you've had your eye on. It's one of the funniest movies I've seen in a long time and the audience literally got up and cheered when the movie was over. Alan Arkin alone was worth the price of admission notwithstanding great performances from Toni Collette, Steve Carrell and Greg Kinnear. Either see it now or watch for it on DVD in a few months. Either way you won't be disappointed.

The addition of fish oils and glucosamine have helped the knee problems a bit but I'm still getting more inflammation. I'm going to try to some aleve as well as it's always been a wonder drug for me when I had back and shoulder problems as a collegiate swimmer and I'm hoping it will help on the knees as well. For someone reason normal painkillers work but naproxian alway does the trick. Still getting on with the 5k challenge and so even though I've been unable to run that last week or so I've been walking and keeping the moderate weight schedule up. Been eating clean despite moving and extended working hours so it's all good there. Work has been a little crazier with hurricane and school season starting up. I have to say I love living in the US but we have some of the laziest people on the planet. The asians, the europeans, hell even the 3rd world countries have better technical customers than the Americans for the most part. They actually read the manuals, they actually troubleshoot the problems and THEN they call us when they don't know the answer. American and Canadian customer freak out if the device shuts down or reboots and immediately calls us before A) checking for power (duh) or B) plugging it into other power outlets. It's just amazing that people get paid for being that stupid and lazy and in some cases rewarded for it.

Hope everyone is having a great week. Keep up the RAH RAH RAH and the PMA!!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Answering the fan mail

This is for Tracey is response to some very tough questions in my last post:

My blog is simply a sounding board, which is by the way a VERY public sounding board, of my own opinions, ideas, thoughts and my brand of humor. Perhaps you felt that my rant about the “other” forum was as bad as what they might be doing over there, but I assure you it was a simple critique like you might read for a movie or perhaps a restaurant. It is simply my opinion. Whether or not you agree with what I write is fine and I’m not one to take down your comments lest you attack my “rah rah” supporters of which I won’t have. But to be certain any critiques of myself or of my site are always welcome. I love getting comments, cheers or jeers. I'm not ashamed to bare my soul and I'm certainly not hiding in a forum where people might be making fun of other people. If I have something to say out loud I voice it here where everyone can read it. It’s my own little R-Rated forum if you will and the admission is free to all.

However, I must admit for someone who "don't read your blog, never have, never will", you seem to know an awful lot about it’s contents and it’s “rah rah” supporters. I guess forming an opinion on something you know nothing about is common for you and I’m sure those snap decisions have always served you well in life. As to your offense at my blog, I can only assume that you are either Dave Chappelle or you're a member of that other forum that I’ve mentioned in a recent posting. I’m certain one of the two is true; otherwise you wouldn’t have had such a reaction.

I’ll admit that the content of my site might be considered offensive to some. I don’t apologize for the contents. Some people like it and I post what I want regardless of who reads it. When I state something as fact or use someone's humor or quotes I try to make sure to cite my references as I try not to post statements on my website without cold hard facts to back them up. You learn to do these things as a history major writing a senior thesis and a network engineer whose job is to detect and root out those who would cause damage to billion dollar networks. However I think you might be mistaken about having never read my blog. If you're confused and think I'm in error I'll certainly check my details and I will eat my words if this proves to be wrong. However I’ve checked my data a number of times and I don’t think I’m in error. The truth as some would say is in the numbers. Let me explain.

I won’t go into any detailed explanations of Layer 3 routing protocols, packetized data, MAC addressing, network sniffers, source and destination or any of that jazz. I’m sure you know all about such things. However, on my blog I use a tool that logs all IP addresses, locations and the ISP provider to track the amount of people that visit my site. It logs other things like the type of browser you are using and other fun stuff too. Real James Bond stuff and best of all it’s cheaper than you might think. It’s a pretty powerful tool and if you don’t have it running on your website you should PM me. I’ll gladly send you a link and help you set it up if you’re interested. But I’m getting off topic.

Since I have a great support group I'm constantly having to sign 8x10 glossies of myself to all of my “rah rah” supporters and send them out. I was noticing a lot more traffic on my blog this week from Canada, which is great because I love my wonderful blends from the North. They really kick ass and boy do they know how to party. But this week I noticed a lot of IP traffic from Oakville, Ontario. I mean this person was ALL over my blog!! I mean if they were just coming to my page to find a link to say…Jess’s blog then I might be hurt. But no…this person was on multiple times and was looking at different pages in the blog. They really seemed to be eating it up. I mean what a FAN!! As I was about to get an 8x10 glossy autographed and ready to send to this person I noticed that at least one of their visits originated as a referral from that "other" forum that seemed to taunt my fellow blends. Apparently I have quite the fan club there as well since a few others have come to my page from that forum. You know what…I’m getting off topic again.

When you commented on my blog I actually decided to pay your blog a visit for the first time in a long time. I’ll admit I’ve read your stuff in the past. Nothing too exciting but not terribly dull either. You can imagine my surprise when I actually did read that you lived in Oakville, Ontario. Thus I did the math and came to the only logical solution: You were the person all over my site this week. You have to be…the time stamp on your comment matched up exactly to the IP in Oakville and thus I can’t think of anyone else it could be.

Please tell me it was pure coincidence. I would be heartbroken to know that you are a member of a support forum that would simply exist to try and jab at considering that you and I have some of the same blogging friends and some of the same people commenting on our blogs. Some of whom are actually members of the forum. Does the fact that you refer to my supporters as “rah rah” and “fake” mean that you feel the same about them when they comment on your blog? I assume you do since it would appear to be a blanket statement covering our common friends. Perhaps you believe your comments about them are different than what you were whining and complaining to me about as well. I don’t know to be honest. I see lots of holes in your arguments and frankly when your blog has a link to a site that taunts the myblends forum, of which you appear to be a member in good standing of, your credibility, at least in my humble opinion takes a hit. I’m not one to say I’m perfect but I make a point of not spending a lot of time throwing rocks in houses made of glass.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

You're not Dave Chappelle, and you're not funny.

Click on the pics above to read more about it. It's a graphic that I have borrowed from a...well bitter man that is tired of people taking a cliche line and using it from themselves until it's completely dead and cliche!! They best part is the rant he makes below!! Love this guy!!

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Story of Girlie

There was once a girl named...well Girlie who had voices in her head. One voice said "I'm a Kitten" and then another said "NO I'm a sweet Ray of Sunshine" and another said "those are all silly names...just call me Debbie" and she moved all over living in grand places like New Mexico and Maryland and Canada. She had many personalities to go with those names and place as well!! Some were slutty, some were annoying, some were two faced and yet as much as she tried she couldn't find one that was funny and frankly none were very smart and usually got her into trouble. Thankfully her mother finally realized what a problem her child was, spanked her ass red and locked the door.

Friday, August 18, 2006

My blends are better than your blends...

A review of the forum "my blends are better than your blends"

The latest in the craze to find a new "Tracker" brings us to the forum "My blends are better than your blends." Finally the R-rated tracker trolls have their own little cage to play in and bless them for it. First off let me state that I'm glad it's private as I hate going to the zoo and seeing monkeys throwing shit at each other. It's smelly, stinky, cliche and it loses it's appeal fairly quickly. Much like their juvenile brand of humor but more on that later. Secondly I must applaud their originality in their name as well. I mean I'm just amazed at the ingenuity, creativity and original think that went into the name "My blends are better than your blends." I mean that's the kind of creativity I haven't seen since the classic "I know you are but what am I" followed closely by the "you're cool....NOT!!" phrase which had the shelf life of M.C. Hammer and Vanilla Ice. Lastly it speaks volumes to their obvious lack of intelligence, general creativity and low self-confidence that they start a website designed to hate on other people. Hmmmm sounds a lot like the rise of National Socialism party in Prussia aka Nazi Germany. But I digress...on to the review.

The first thing you notice when you see the splash page is sheer quality. You know you're in the throes of a very stupid operation when the first thing you notice is "bullshit" misspelled as "blueshit." But wait there's more. In their rush to make it feel more like tracker they've created a site that may have MORE pop up ads if that's possible. First rule of the forum? Don't talk about the forum. Second rule of the forum? Don't talk about the forum. Third rule of the forum? Don't talk about the forum. Fourth rule of the forum? You don't use a cheap ass message board just because it's free. You see freeware is short hand for "we would still be doing doing prison time if we actually charged you for this software." Thus when you create a board it helps to A) Buy some server space and B) Shell out for some decent forum software. Total out of pocket you're maybe less a hundred bucks in startup and less than 10 bucks a month in webspace. But when did the trolls ever care about quality or creativity? Most of them probably feel that inane trivia questions for free laps tops and ipods are a small price to pay so they can feel like frugal finance wizards while they check the tire pressure on their homes. Lastly...where are the inflammatory images and pictures of blends with devil horns, mustaches or faces superimposed on fat bodies or in the middle of homosexual orgies? Seriously I'm offended they didn't make it more offensive.

Now I haven't tried to join up yet although as it's tempting to lurk. I think I'll be more offended because they probably don't have a special place to hate on me. Thus I'll just wing the rest of the review based on my assumptions of the actual forum content. I imagine it's a lot like the little yellow short bus for all the haters who couldn't win us over with their humor. A sort of Special Olympics if you will. They realized they couldn't get laughs in the real world and thus they all get together and laugh at their lame jokes, slap each other on the back and everybody wins. You know who else laughs at their own jokes? Schizophrenics. I'm sure we can all guess who their members are and the kinds of moronic behavior they engage in. Hey it's their forum and they can do what they want.

Why do I even care? Well mostly they are calling out the myblends forum by name. But I think it's something more. Something more insidious than that. Bottom line...they just aren't funny, more like an annoying mosquito. Anyone can be offensive but it take pure genius to make it funny. If you really want lessons on how to be offensive and still be funny check out Lewis Black, George Carlin, Dennis Leary, Bill Hicks, Howard Stern and many others who have stood the test of time. They were offensive yet knew how to be creative enough to win univeral laughs. The R-Rated forum twits? Their dick and fart jokes didn't even rate a chuckle save from their own cronies. I'm not offended by the kind of topics they made jokes about I'm offended at how bad they were at it. But again low IQ's breed lame ideas, and eventually they have found themselves corraled in one place laughing at each other for support like high school virgins in a pathetic circle jerk. Reading much of their "humor" in the past reminds me that they are to humor what fan fiction writers are to the sci/fantasy genre: a group of people that have no talent and shouldn't quit their day job. Frankly the refrigerator artwork of the average 3 year old holds more potential for greatness.

In conclusion I give their site 1 out 5 start only on the fact that they started their own support forum. Somebody has to laugh at these people since no one else does.

Monday, August 14, 2006

The week ahead and some new motiviation...

Well a few things to get off my chest about the new girl. I think it's over and done with as soon as it started. It was weird we went out friday night and we had nothing to talk about. Don't get me wrong she's a great gal but the more we did talk the more I realized that we just weren't on the same page going forward. She doesn't share a lot of my fitness goals (in fact she want's to open a bakery) we live and hour a part, and we just don't have many other common interests but...well kissing...which is really good...but just not enough to make it work. But she WAS blog worthy which is more than some of the rest lately sooooo...I think I'm heading in the right direction at least.

Woke up today and walked/ran for about 25 minutes started off on the new couch to 5k program I found on Chantal's site. Mostly walking and my back and knees are going to hate this program I can already tell. I'm going to take it easy on the back and knees but frankly I'm going to buy some stock in those icee hot pads for the knees and back. Sheesh. But...I want to do this and move on I must. I don't have any specific weight or fitness goals for the next two months aside from working up to running 30 minutes a day without any problems. I plan to eat the EFL way and keep up a moderate weight workout, but overall this little challenge is about getting my aerobic base back to where it was back in the last 90's.

I spent the other part of this morning dealing with the insurance adjuster in regards to the property damage at my old apartment. I'm a little put out because this more than anything was the reason I've been behind on the rest of the move. I had to keep everything in the closet just like it was and they waited nearly 3 weeks to finally come and investigate. Oh well as long as I get compensated for this crap it will be worth it. I have another dental appointment tommorow and a few more comping up in September since I had to reschedule due to the unexpected move. Overall things are getting a little better but I'm still having that weirdness of living in two different places. In a word it sucks. But this too shall pass I suppose. That's it for now I'll see you in the forums.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

A few final words about the tracker

When I originally started this BFL journey I searched long and hard for a support group that would not only help me but had members that actually responded to my questions and actually supported me. I found that in the bodyforlife-tracker and for a time I was very happy. I supplemented my support by started a blog and eventually met more and more people as a result. Using the powers of that challenge tracker and the open mike feel of the blogging community I succeeded beyond my wildest dreams and had everyone from that site to thank for it. Then things started getting silly, petty and eventually ugly around December.

You began to see a number of trolls, angry posts and frankly a lot of negativity. There was a debate about a seperate off topic forum (which I didn't necessarily have a problem with) as well as a discussion of moderation that needed to be adhered to. At that time the webmaster was nowhere to be found. All emails to him for assistance, suggestions and frankly financial help if it was needed fell on deaf ears. In short the inmates seemed to be running the asylum. Frankly I don't care what people talk about, do or say necessarily as long as it's not directly attacking someone on a forum. Dick and fart jokes, nude pictures and risque topics are and always will be topics that are discussed in everyday life. Fine I honestly have no problem with that.

My problem still came down to simple and effective moderation of the site. So what did the webmaster do? Instead of getting rid of the worst offenders he decided to build an R-Rated forum to contain them instead of giving them a harsh warning, temporary or permanent bans from the forum. Well that lasted about a month and then eventually he posted "rules" and thus he now had let everyone know, in bold print, what was acceptable and what wasn't. Well folks rules and laws are only effective if you enforce them! So they calamity ensued and to some degree I found that he was able to get rid of some offenders and in other cases he seemed to give a long rope to many who had ridden that edge for a long time. At that point I found that the tracker was no longer a safe place to live and I kept my profile active for PM's with people that I would keep in touch with there but essentially moved on.

Then came the implosion of this past weekend which is still hemorraging over there to this very moment. The webmaster had let things go too far and for too long without effective moderation and some of the key members of the trackers began to leave. People like Lori and Jennifer for God's sake. People whom I felt were fixtures in the community. Consistent Top 20 members who had been there for countless others. Then the webmaster accused Casey of trolling in a public thread. Now he claims there were smilies attached to that accusation but frankly the webmaster should have used better judgement than to do it publicly. He should have followed his own rules and PM'd Casey directly with his concerns. At that point I felt the need, perhaps foolishly in hindsight, to call the webmaster out publicly in that thread. Needless to say it was soon locked and removed.

Yesterday DreamCatcher aka Jennifer asked me to post an open letter for her to share her greivances about what the site had become and to address challenges to some of the members that felt everyone else should have thicker skin. I agree with the content of that letter wholeheartedly yesteday as much as I do today and felt it was a fair and well written op ed piece so to speak. Unfortuntely the webmaster PM'd me about 2 hours after it was written and instead of a well structured and calm email to explain that he felt the letter was not helping matters he essentially tore into me in a manner that was simliar to his behavior surrounding Casey and to be honest probably in line with my rant, in public, towards him. I wrote a firm, angry but I felt professional response back to him at which point he essentially claimed that everyone that had left were all trolls, that I had no idea what is was like to run a website and that he was a victim.

Fine. I decided that I just didn't want to pursue it anymore. I didn't want to be part of a website in which the webmaster refused to be professional, refused to seek help in moderating the board when he was clearly in over his head and furthermore someone who was blindly shooting in the dark about who the trolls were and who they weren't. So I left and I can't say any reason I would come back. You see I am a network engineer with over 10 years of experience and I've worked on not one but NUMEROUS networks with customers with billions of dollars on the line. I have to make judgements everyday and I'm constantly scrutinized for every decisions I make. However, I follow the rules and make fair calls everytime. If I don't I get fired, my company loses money and legal action is very emminent at that time. For him to tell me that because I didn't understand his position and to assume that I didn't have any experience juggling a website, network or any number of items at the same time didn't hurt me, it simply revealed that he had lost control of the situation and was grasping at straws. So like a customer who is summarily dismissed after numerous attempts over the months to assist in making the website better I decided to move to another vendor. I don't suggest you take my story as a reason to leave the tracker. You should make that decision on your own. I am simply stating my reasons, away from the tracker as requested by the webmaster, and that I have decided to find a new home in what he referred to in a public thread that was posted today...and I quote "your cloistered web community where no one else you don't like can get in or post anything you don't want to see."

I find that comment amusing.

He seems to come right out and claim that his website is indeed the anti-thesis of a support website. If you're wanting to go to a website to learn about cooking you don't go to a claymaking site. If you're wanting to see hardcore pornography don't go to a feminist book reading forum. From that statement I would gather from the webmaster that he has clearly defined a support website as one for people that should have thick skin and just deal with those who would bash on them.

I purposely took that quote somewhat out of the original context only prove a point that the webmaster is consistently unclear and doesn't seem to want to get involved in issues between members except the ones that would directly attack his site and his ability to be seen a competent webmaster. I understand and have always respected that he has been running the website on his dime, his own time and his technical accomplishments have been more than impressive. His failure, however, was allowing things to get out of control and letting his emotions dictate the flow of the website. That's bad business for everyone involved and from the looks of things he's on his way out or at least will have a long road back.

As for me I've chosen this "cloistered web community where no one else you don't like can get in or post anything you don't want to see." Why? Well damn Sherlock should a support site be about support? Should you make it a little sheltered that the morons don't get in? Shouldn't you get support instead of being bashed or shown a bunch of things you don't want to see? Sheesh out blogs are for T and A and topics on shaving the pubic hair :) The forum is for support of a commitment for fitness and we all show up to it in different shapes and sizes and have so many different needs and deeply ingrained insecurities about improving ourselves. My new forum is exactly what I need it to be and if I'm cloistured and not living in the real world then so be it. And on a final note...if he considers a silly forum on the internet the real world he's further gone that I thought :)

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Jeremy Get's a little Action...

Okay I decided to edit this post lol. So I went on a date last night with a wonderful woman and to say the least there was an incredible amount of chemistry and lots of just...well if you've ever experienced the lightening in the bottle feeling in your stomach about someone which I know most of you have...well that's the best way to describe it. We met for coffee at Starbucks, had a great time talking and getting to know each other a lot better, came back to her place for a few drinks and I also met her son. We sat out in the backyard and just talked and had a wonderful time. She finally sent me home at around 11 pm and let me just say the woman can kiss. Wow. So yeah I'm really really really looking forward to seeing her again.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Going for a record... blog updates in a week. I don't think I've been updating this much since the Jolly Roger/Tracker incidents that first raised their heads back in December. Well I decided to get out a bit last night and meet up with some friends for dinner. We had Mongolian which was excellent and I actually persuaded a few of them to help me move the rest of my stuff by the end of this weekend. I'm pretty excited about that and can't wait to get all of it into the new place and just forget about the old one. I'm feeling empowered enough to get back in the gym again as well and hopefully it will stick this time. the new Apt complex has a gym and I'm pretty happy to say it's nice new looking equipment. Now I just need to see if it works!! Well that's all for the moment I'll keep you updated on any other changes.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

On a lighter note...

I recently watched the DVD of all 14 episodes of the cancelled television show "Firefly" and was completely overjoyed and saddened at the same time. I was blown away at the chemistry of the cast as well as the way each episode pulled you in and made a sci-fi/Western seem fairly believable. I am saddened by the fact that it was cancelled after 14 episodes despite massive fan protest. Again that seems to prove that FOX TV has absolutely no idea what the have on their hands (see Family Guy, Undeclared, etc) and cancel anything that isn't completely T&A or American Idol. Not that I have a problem with a little T&A every once in a while ;)

For those of you that haven't seen this show I highly recommend it. The premise is a space crew set in the future where Earth is overpopulated and other planets have been colonized or terraformed to support human life. The most recent events are the after affects of a Civil War between the Alliance (The Union) and the Independents (Confederacy) which is similar to the War of Northern Agression (what we in the South call the Civil War lol) back in the 1860's in the U.S. The two main characters were member of the Independents who were present at the Battle of Serenity which essentially broke the back of the Independents and ended the war in the favor of the Alliance. Years later the Captain and First Mate are crewing a firefly class transport ship know as Serenity which engages in illegal activity (Smuggling, petty theivery, etc) on the outer worlds (the old west so to speak) away from the watchful eyes of the Core Planets which are more apt to give them trouble. The crew of 5 eventually becomes a crew of 9 in which all play a part in each episode of either being a part of the con, providing the moral compass or simply stirring up trouble of their own.

As I mentioned before, the parts of this show that really sell it to the viewer is the sense of family established by the chemistry of the characters and the actors that play them. You feel this was a troupe that LOVED to come to work on this show and it shows. The Captain is pretty much a caricature of Han Solo only less cool. He's funny and flawed but overall confident enough to keep control of the crew and eventually come out ahead in the end. The marriage of the pilot to the first mate cause plenty of friction as the first mate as a female soldier and the pilot is a hawaiian shirt wearing wise cracker that play with his action figures when he's not flying his ship. Then there is the big stupid muscle aptly name Jayne (oftened reminded of his effeminate name when he gets out of hand) wonderfully played by Adam (not related to those idiots brothers) Baldwin who I fondly remember in the movie "My Body Guard". Kaylee is a young woman who is the engineer and the one person on the ship who always sees the bright side of life. She even writes with hearts and flowers and constantly has a smile if this gives you an idea of how sickening it can get.

That rounds out the crew of smugglers. Now was move on to the 4 passengers. First is Inara who is a companion which is pretty much a Geisha in the era this show is set in. She is considered an Amabassador of her order and has the ability to bring a "respectable" presence to the ship. She is quite beautiful and is probably the closest thing to a mother on the ship. Next is Book who is a Shepard, or what passes for a priest. He is played by Ron Glass who you might remember from Barney Miller. He has a secret past that creeps up from time to time but overall his ability to try and spread the word of faith and keep a cool head in a heated situation garners the respect of the otherwise surly shipmates. Finally there is the brother and sister combo of Simon and River. Simon is a brilliant young doctor who rescues his sister from a secret lab in which she was experimented on physically and mentally. According to Simon, He's brilliant, but she makes him look like the village idiot in comparison. They are wanted fugitives from the law since he broke her out of the lab and are constantly a threat to the crew of the ship because of this. However, Simon's status as a doctor is in constant demand due to the dangerous nature of their jobs and thus he and sister are dangerous yet indespensible.

I believe Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel) originally intended for this to be a drama, but as with many of his shows, his cast tend to put a smile on your face as well because of the underlying human element that we can all relate too. In all episodes nothing goes to plan and the events make the crew sure to lose your clothes or wind up with a ship full of cattle as to actually make the big score. However, you realize that they are still fighting against the alliance in their own way because all the want to do is be free for their own reasons. It makes you focus more on whether or not the loser of a war was really a bad person or just someone that didn't have the stronger army. It's a David and Goliath struggle every episode but in the end they always seem to make the best of the situation and come away learning something new about themselves.

So if you have a few days I highly suggest renting the DVD's and if you're hooked I highly suggest renting the follow up feature film Serenity which was released last fall and picked up where the cancelled show left off.

Moving on...

Well the fact that every piece of furniture was slippery from a mix of condensation and sweat should give you an idea of how hot it was last night while moving more things from the old place to the new place. I can't get ANY relief on this at all!! I've sacrificed the bed and the couch and have decided that a few more casualties may make the list if this heat continues. The coch and bed were items that I've had for years so I don't mind parting with them. The bookshelves, coffee table and chest will of course be coming to the new place. However I have to draw the line at the blood donation chair, the easy chair and the art desk. I'm fairly bummed about this. I have filed a claim with my renters insurance company and hopefully that will start moving forward this week as well as anything my landlord or the managment company might provide to assist me (ha ha yeah right) out of their own good will. As of right now I'm on my own with this. I'm hoping to get everything finally squared away by this weekend. Also...air mattresses just really aren't that comfortable. As of right now things look pretty ghetto furniture-wise. I have two lawn chairs and a folding chair in the living room along with a card table for the dinner table. In the bedroom I have an air mattress, a night stand and 5 drawers from the chest stacked upon each other. Charly is having a wonderful time finding wonderful new hiding places and has gotten dirtier than ever once she discovered the wonders of the fireplace. She's pretty restless and she keeps me up at night which combined with the air mattress has pretty much equaled little to no sleep. I'm happy to be out of the old place, I really am, I just hate moving on a moments notice because I won't have any extra help until later this week/weekend and it will be limited which means I've had to do a majority of the leg (and abs, and back and upperbody) work for everything that isn't furniture which frankly isn't very productive in this heat.

Okay enough of the bitching for now. I did take some fun pics of Charly hiding in the new places so I'll have to post those soon for the cat lovers. Other than that work is going well and I'm hanging out with some friends tonight to help me relax.