An Afternoon With The FBI

Posted in Everyday Life on December 9th, 2010 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

It seemed like something out of a movie, our visit to the local  FBI office yesterday.  Except that it wasn’t a movie, and the office wasn’t exactly local…

Let me back up.  It’s December, and don’t you know, that seems to signal a yearly torrent of bad luck thrown our way.  Shortly after turning the page on our calendar this month, we found out (among other things) that my husband’s website (and our family’s livelihood) had been attacked.  And I don’t mean a little harmless virus or an annoying spam attack – it’s a DDoS – simply put, someone targeted this website, and essentially used thousands of computers around the world to overload this website and crash the server.  It’s enough of an incident to capture both the interest of the local media and the FBI, both of whom politely requested interviews yesterday.  So we drove out to the city, found the government building that houses the FBI offices, walked inside and checked with the doorman who wanted to know who we were there to see.

“I have an appointment with Mr. X at the FBI (name changed for privacy).” said my husband, and once it was confirmed that he was on the list, the doorman stated that he “would get us up.”  He led us to the elevator and punched in a special code – can’t just push the floor number for the FBI these days it seems.  We got off the elevator and waited around for a few minutes, entertained by the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted posters.  One in particular caught my husband’s eye.  “Doesn’t that look like our neighbor?”  He asked me, and I had to agree.  I began to read the description and was surprised to see that it did seem to describe our neighbor – he’s into sports like golf and dirt-biking, and it’s strange because my husband and I would often notice the neighbor packing up his car for weekend trips and coming back, unloading things like helmets, golf clubs, and lots of other sporting equipment.  Such is life when you don’t have kids, we thought, and I guess you should know that the reason we pay so much attention to this neighbor’s activities is because he happens to have a nasty cat that terrorizes our neighborhood.  So while keeping tabs on that darn cat, we’ve observed some of our most wanted neighbor’s behavior.  The kicker of this whole coincidence is that the Wanted-by-the-FBI guy was listed as possibly having bi-sexual tendencies, and that fits in with what we’ve seen about our neighbor as well.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think it’s him, but it was an entertaining wait, to say the least.

So then an agent comes out of a door and asks if we’ve been helped.  We said not yet and repeated the name of the agent we were there to see.  We were led to a door, and there was a sophisticated series of security measures that the man went through to enter (not going to repeat them here on the internet out of respect for the security of the FBI – not that I even knew what he was doing anyway).  In this small waiting area, there was a metal detector, which began to go crazy every time this guy went near it – I forgot to mention that he’s carrying 2 or 3 very large bags.  He disappears behind a door, and the man we were supposed to meet with appears and introduces his assistant – a lady carrying a notepad, a pen, and oh yeah, I shouldn’t forget to mention the large gun she was packing tucked into the back of her skirt.  What kind of assistant is that?!?

Two of the most famous fictional FBI agents in pop culture history: Agents Mulder and Scully from the X-Files.  Ok, so our agents were not Mulder and Scully, but I couldn’t resist making the comparison.

So we go into a conference room of sorts, and the interview begins.  The agent and his assistant are not unfriendly, and they want to know the facts of the case.  They are both taking notes, but probably most surprising to us is the absence of laptop computers –  these FBI guys (from the cyber crimes division) are taking notes with pens on Steno pads, and that’s not even a joke.  But it is hilarious.

The entire day had a Men in Black-like feel…  If you’ve seen the movie, then you remember the part where Will Smith is recruited to be a man in black – he goes to this bland looking government building that turns out to be very sci-fi on the inside with all the security measures and things like that.  Such was the case here – lots of doors, signs about authorization, keypads, things like that, very sci-fi, and my husband told the agent so at the end of the interview.  Mr. X seemed to chuckle (we wondered on the way home, are FBI agents trained to drain themselves of personality?), and he told us that we could just take the elevator back downstairs, no special code needed – thanks for the advice.

All in all, a very interesting trip.  Made me want to do things like see Salt (a movie about the FBI) or read Special Agent: My Life on the Front Lines as a Woman in the FBI again.  Did the FBI interview do any good for my husband’s business?  We don’t know yet.  It depends if they catch the people who are doing it.  The FBI disclaimed several times that it doesn’t seem as if the damages the business has incurred will be recovered, and we of course are praying otherwise.  Whatever happens, this is part of learning to trust God’s plan for us, isn’t it?  Easier said than done.  I’m really hoping that the stress on my husband dissipates soon…

And oh yeah, a little souvenir from the FBI (the property we gave them was received and not seized, in case you are wondering):

The Abyss

Posted in Movies on January 8th, 2010 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

It took two nights, but we finally made it through the sci-fi 80’s thriller, The Abyss.  What is with me and all the science fiction lately?  Not usually my cup of tea; I guess I’ve just been enjoying a change of scenery.  One reason for wanting to watch the Abyss is that I was very impressed by director / writer James Cameron’s latest movie, Avatar.  I enjoyed the movie in a little theater with old fashioned sound equipment, and I also got to catch  it at a larger theater with awesome sound and in 3D – I REALLY enjoyed it!  That doesn’t mean I’m a James Cameron fan, however, and you couldn’t pay me to sit through Titanic, whose concept I always thought sold out the disaster itself.  I mean, for characters in the movie, there were over 2200 real Titanic passengers from which to choose – why spend millions of dollars to bring to life fictionalized accounts of such a horrible tragedy?

But back to The Abyss, another James Cameron water movie…  Overall, this winner of the 1990 Oscar for visual effects was enjoyable, but I don’t even  know if I can say this is a watch-again-er for me.  Reading the trivia on imdb.com about how the movie was filmed was almost more interesting than the movie itself, which tells the story of a group of oil workers who are hired to go on a dive search for a missing nuclear sub.  Enter some Navy SEALS and a mysterious alien species,  and you have enough action for a 138 minute movie.  All of the diving and talk of the oceanic pressure kinda got to me after awhile; I don’t think scuba diving is something I’m ever interested in doing.  But I enjoyed the story and especially the visual effects, and without risking spoiling anything, let’s just say that in typical 80’s fashion, the plot was predictable.  If you do happen to check this one out, or if it happens to be one of your old favorites, I highly recommend reading the trivia section on imdb.com to further your enjoyment.

A Not-So-Cynical Look At The 2009 Holiday Season

Posted in holidays on December 29th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I was thinking about our family’s 2009 holiday season, now come and almost gone already, and I was envisioning words to describe this wonderful season, despite the fact that this year ours was peppered with unpleasant familial dramatics.  But about a week ago, I made what was a conscious decision to pull myself up from the depths of despair I had fallen into after losing a beloved family member just one week before Christmas.  So, in my good humor, I chose 24 of the best words to describe my holiday season, each beginning with a different letter of the alphabet.  Here goes…

Avatar – Saw it and actually liked it, despite my typical sci-fi reluctance.  But I liked Avatar so much that I’m really hoping the timing and budget work out so that I can see it again in 3D at a more technologically savvy theater.

Big Family Christmas – We traveled to Illinois on Christmas Day and got to take part in a huge gathering of my husband’s large extended family.  His 92-year-old grandmother, who speaks with a thick east-coast Connecticut accent (and who smoked 3 packs of cigarettes a day from age 16 until age 70!) told many of her infamous stories that had everyone in stitches!  After hearing one of Monie’s stories, I could have used the words Blue Boob for B, but I will spare you those details…  😉

Christ Was Born – We went to a beautiful church service on Christmas Eve to celebrate and reflect upon the entire purpose of the Christmas holiday.

De…  There are two words that come to mind for this letter based upon certain recent events in my life, but I’m not going to go there; this is to be “A Not-So-Cynical Look…” blog post.  So here, D will stand for Dumbledore, since I’m almost halfway through my first Harry Potter book and lovin’ it!

Elf – My favorite holiday movie, and we actually had time to watch it this year!  It, unlike a few other favorite Christmas experiences, did not lose any magic this year.  I still felt that warm and fuzzy “Christmas Magic” feeling after I watched this movie – I’d pull it out more often, but it’s not the same unless it’s Christmas! 
“I love smiling; smiling’s my favorite!!”  – Buddy The Elf

Friends – We are so blessed to have such wonderful friends, and I can’t thank them enough for the things they did and just for being there during this bittersweet time.

Grandparents –  We were able to visit 3 of our grandparents this holiday season!  Even being in our 30’s, we have 3 surviving grandparents among my husband and I –  we were blessed to be able to spend time with all of them this year!

Homemade spaghetti – Best.  Christmas.  Gift.  EVER!!  My mother-in-law sent us home 4 huge frozen batches of her out-of-this-world spaghetti sauce!  AND a large bag of grated Asiago cheese.  AND…  something I’ll save for another letter…

Ice – Drove through plenty of it to reach IL and get back to Ohio on Christmas day.  Luckily, traffic was light and travel for us was smooth and safe.  The kids were good as gold and slept for the majority of both drives.

Jill – Screwed us over again!  This little story begins with Walmart.  Since this is “A Not-So-Cynical Look…”, I won’t go off about Walmart, but I will simply state the facts:  the pump in our windshield wiper cleaner fluid dispenser stopped working after the last time we got an oil change at Walmart.  We didn’t really need it until Christmas night, when we were driving past the city of Chicago, and apparently smog + snow = some sort of disgusting pollution paste.  So visibility is limited, and we still don’t know exactly what happened since we’ve driven this route dozens of times, but basically the express lanes on I-90 seemed to suddenly dissolve into city streets.  So now it’s 10:30 on Christmas night, and we’re wandering around in the city.  We can’t see out the back of the car since there’s tons of Christmas presents, and we can’t see out of the front of the car because of the pollution paste.  This is where Jill comes in – and she directs us straight back to I-90.  Only problem is, our van can’t just jump guardrails; we needed an entrance ramp, and Jill was only directing us to streets that crossed over the expressway and didn’t actually intersect with it.  So we crossed bridge after bridge, and we criss-crossed I-90 until one of those streets had an entrance ramp.  Then Jill freaked out and tried to get us off of the expressway again, but she got her power button pressed – we knew our way from there.

Kalachkies – I have a fun memory of a Christmas years ago when my forgetful Polish grandmother was sitting in her wheelchair, instructing my equally Polish uncle and myself how to make kalachkies, a usually delicious Polish cookie.  The end results were inedible and referred to as “hockey pucks”.  This year at Christmas, my husband’s cousin made homemade kalachkies – real ones, no hockey pucks, and they were delicious!  Thanks Lilly!

Late night drive – One night, we took the kids out in the car in their pajamas with some snacks, and we drove through the snowy countryside to a town  about 30 minutes away for a drive-thru lighted display that’s just wonderful.  Late night drive could also refer to my husband’s and my peaceful drive home (after the unscheduled tour of the city) while the kids were asleep all the way from Illinois to Ohio – nice.

Mashed Potatoes – My mother-in-law is a great cook!  I guess it’s been  awhile since the last time I had her mashed potatoes, because I  didn’t remember how they tasted.  But I told her the truth after Christmas dinner – they were the best mashed potatoes I’ve ever had!

Noodles – My mother-in-law’s spaghetti sauce also came with EIGHT pounds of whole wheat gourmet organic pasta!  I love whole wheat pasta – it actually tastes better, and you don’t get the pasta-stomachache / horrible stuffed feeling that can accompany pasta over-indulgence.

Onions – One of my favorite holiday dishes is creamed onions, and it was a nice surprise to see this dish on the Christmas buffet.  Fortunately for me, my husband can replicate the taste of his mother’s creamed onions –  yum!

P.A.S. – Pompous Ass Syndrome – my poor brother-in-law is a victim.  Enough Said.

Quiet – With 4 kids and Christmas celebrations spread out over 2 weeks, there really wasn’t much of this.

Revenge – My brother and sister-in-law gifted our kids 3 little gumball machines.  Cute, but not when you realize how many gumballs needed to be pried out of our candy-obsessed toddler’s little hands, for one thing.  Who would give little kids gumball machine gifts?  Wait, isn’t that what we got her 3 kids last year?!?  I’m all for re-gifting; I really think it’s a smart thing to do.  But maybe next year I’ll choose our Christmas gifts more carefully…

Snow – It’s been snowing on and off for a week and a half here in Ohio.  The Chicago area was unexpectedly blanketed with about a foot of snow on Saturday – thank goodness we left for Ohio on Friday night!

Turkey – We ate it and it was good.

U-Turn – see “J” – Jill the GPS.  Besides the time we were lost in Chicago, Jill caused us to make at least one other U-turn on this trip.

Vile – Odor in Gary Indiana – I don’t care what the Music Man had to say – Gary Indiana STINKS!  Literally!!!

Weather  – I was worried about it all week, but thankfully, it didn’t impede our journey in the slightest.

X-changing gifts –  Ok, that’s too generic?  What else could X stand for, the rating of Monie’s Blue Boob story?  We x-changed gifts many gifts, and that’s all I’m going to say.

Yellow Puppy – When our friends heard about our family’s heartbreak, they gifted us a gigantic (stuffed) dog.  This cute puppy’s headband wouldn’t even fit on my head, and she wears a sweater that could probably fit me – or at least all 4 of my kids in it together…  so cute and so thoughtful, and the kids LOVE her!

Zoo lights – With everything that was going on during this December, I’m so thankful that we were able to make it to  one of our favorite Christmas destinations this year –   the Toledo Zoo for their Lights Before Christmas displays.  Beautiful lights in a peaceful atmosphere, and if you get there early enough, you can see some zoo animals, which is probably my favorite thing to do in the whole world!

Hope you had a Merry Christmas, and best wishes for a great New Year!!!

Down And Out In The Magic Kingdom

Posted in books on November 24th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I was doing a search in the library’s database, and I came across the title Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow.  Further investigation showed it to be a science fiction book about Walt Disney World in the future.  Not usually my type of novel (and I strongly prefer to read non-fiction anyway), but since we’re Disney affectionados, I couldn’t resist the read.  It took me over a month to read it, and that’s not even soley because I’m so busy.  The book is difficult to read – author Doctorow does a nice job at placing the reader in the characters’ futuristic universe, but it’s almost too much – he neglects to provide an explanation of certain things.  For instance, the characters all have “Whuffie” and “HUDs”, and these concepts are constantly revisited throughout the story, but it’s never explained exactly what these things are!  My interpretation is that Whuffie refers to a meter in one’s body that measures a person’s positive characteristics, experiences, and emotions – and others can see your Whuffie level.  A person with low Whuffie is shunned in society, and sometimes even denied entrance to Disney World.  HUDs seem to be a person’s computer – it almost seems to be a part of their brain.  They can look up stuff and send things to each other instantly with their HUDs like directions to places.  It seems to be kind of like today’s internet, yet it’s built right into people’s brains.  So, yeah, you can see why it was slow reading as the reader had to get around all of these unfamiliar concepts.  But onto the story itself…

In the future when Down and Out…  is set – and I don’t know what year that is, he never specifically says – Disney World is now a retro-park; something that is preserved only because it’s an example of the great works of our current time.  The main character, Julius and his girlfriend Lil (who was raised in the Magic Kingdom) are on a mission to save the Magic Kingdom and keep the attractions as they are: old-fashioned rides through vintage dioramas.  There is a group of people trying to “rehab” all the rides and give them a futuristic makeover, and they do get ahold of the Hall of Presidents – they make it so that the guests can actually see what it feels like to be Abraham Lincoln and the rest of the former Presidents.  It is the goal of Julius, Lil, and their friend Dan to keep the rest of Liberty Square (a section of the Magic Kingdom), especially the Haunted Mansion, away from the “ad-hocs” as the rehabbing group is called.  Throw in Julius’ murder (don’t worry, he’s been “backed up” and can reclaim his life in a clone) and the fact that he now has to find out who killed him and keep it from happening again, and that’s how the plot thickens.

Overall, it was a very interesting read, but probably not something I’d re-read.  It was worth stepping out of my usual non-fiction genre for the experience to read a science-fiction tale, but it wasn’t anything stupendous.  The story was interesting, and the author did a great job of detailing life in the future, even if it was at times confusing to the reader.  I kept feeling like I was coming in on a sequel having missed the first part.  I thought there’d be more details about the Magic Kingdom, and in that respect, I was disappointed.  But if you like sci-fi books and you’ve been to Disney World, I recommend this book only if you read a lot and have lots of spare time.  On a grading scale, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom gets a C- from me.  Up next for me is My Lobotomy by Howard Dully- a non-fiction book about a guy who was involuntarily given an “ice-pick” lobotomy as a 12-year old.

The Office – Great As Ever

Posted in TV Shows on October 15th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Well, we’ve now gotten a taste of two new episodes for this season, and I think I can safely say that the Office is back on track and as funny as ever!  It’s always been funny; it’s just that the few episodes that aired after the writer’s strike weren’t the best ones.  But I’m happy to see that so far, this season is a riot and will keep me looking forward to Thursday nights.

Entitled, ‘Business Ethics’, the 2nd Office episode of the season saw Michael and Holly in a major disagreement.  But no need to fret, it was resolved by the end of the show, thank goodness.  Sorry if I spoiled something for you, but you wouldn’t want to be left hanging about that, now would you?  I think I’ll copy n paste the tvguide.com episode sysopsis and comment on it.  That’s an easy way to write a review of the show and share the tvguide.com summary which I always enjoy.  Tvguide.com is in italics, my comments are in BOLD CAPS.

 

With the exemplary premiere behind us, in which we were treated to Jim and Pam’s engagement, Dwight and Angela’s torrid and super-secret affair, Michael and Holly’s evolving ‘friendship’ and Ryan’s return as Pam’s temporary replacement, does the second episode of the Office continue the momentum? The answer, my friends, is …

Definitely. Maybe. Ummm … Not so much.

It’s hard to follow up near-perfection.  WHILE I AGREE WITH THAT COMMENT, I WILL DISAGREE WITH THIS WRITER TO SAY THAT I THINK THE 2ND EPISODE WAS ALMOST AS GOOD AS THE FIRST – THERE’S JUST NO COMPETING BETWEEN AN HOUR OF THE OFFICE AND A HALF-HOUR OF THE OFFICE. “Weight Loss” was a one-hour gem, while “Business Ethics” had some nice moments, particularly during the beginning of the show, but it had some disappointments for me as well. I’ll list out my quibbles with this episode first, and then I’ll get to the funny:

1) The Absence of Pam
After their shocking engagement, Pam is relegated to a disembodied voice on the telephone at the beginning of the show. No doubt there will be plenty of opportunities for her to take center stage as the season develops, and I understand that sending her to school makes it difficult to include her in the office’s day-to-day, but it was jarring to all but ignore the Jim and Pam relationship right after their shocking engagement. 
AGREED – I MISSED PAM TOO, BUT IT WAS ONLY ONE EPISODE, AFTER ALL.  IF SHE ISN’T THERE NEXT WEEK, I WILL HAVE A BEEF.
2) Ryan’s ethics
Reflecting back on an episode entitled “Business Ethics” I guess I was surprised that it focused primarily on Michael, Holly and Meredith, and only tangentially referred to the busted and now-humbled Ryan. I was expecting the episode to center more on Ryan somehow (don’t ask me how, I’m just a recapper). 
RYAN CAN BE ANNOYING IN LARGE DOSES, SO I’M GLAD HE WAS ONLY ON THIS EPISODE FOR A LITTLE BIT.
3) Holding back the crazy
Creed didn’t say or do anything
Creed-like; Andy didn’t sing a capella or punch a wall; even Michael and Holly’s “Let’s Get Ethical” intro was a schtick we’ve seen before. So even in an episode with Dwight peeing into a soda bottle, the usual absurdities of the Office family felt somehow muzzled or restrained.  CREED DID SAY AT LEAST ONE REALLY FUNNY THING – SEE BELOW.

But enough with the criticisms. Let’s get to the kudos. I thought the “personal time” subplot was the highlight of the show, and led to the episode’s two best scenes:

1) Battlestar Galactica.
This scene was so pitch-perfect, especially for a sci-fi nerd like me, that the only way to do it justice was to transcribe it:

Jim: Hey Andy
Andy: Yo
Jim: By any chance did you see Battlestar Galactica last night?
Andy: No I did not. Is that any good?
Jim: Actually not, it’s really so-so.
Jim: I don’t like all the crazy monsters and stuff, like Klingons and Wookies and all that.
Jim (looking at Dwight): Sorry, is there something you wanted to add Dwight?
Andy: Is that like the original Battlestar Galactica?
Jim: You know what’s weird, it’s practically a shot-for-shot remake

(Dwight crumbles paper in frustration)

Jim: The story is kinda bland, it’s about this guy called “Dumbledore Calrissian” who needs to return the ring to back to Mordor
Andy: That doesn’t sound right …

2) 19:48

It’s easy for Jim to push Dwight’s buttons, and it’s easy for us to laugh at it. Jim’s pranks on Dwight have been the stuff of legend, but this was the first time that Dwight had it over on Jim – and Jim didn’t even know it.

The smugness on Jim’s face when he got Dwight to admit that he took “personal time” paled in comparison to the sidelong glance Dwight gave the camera when he admitted that “Yes, maybe I’m not” ethical. The camera panned over to Angela buttoning up her shirt, and we understood how Dwight spent that 19:48. I loved that the writers gave Dwight this moment over Jim – unexpectedly turning the tables and making Jim’s prank just seem irrelevant.  THAT WAS A NICE MOMENT.

And finally, here are my favorite one-off lines:

“The tall guy got engaged” – Creed  CLASSIC CREED, HILARIOUS!

“I’ve listened to Cookie Monster Sings Chocolate Rain 5,000 times” – Michael. (By the way, I tried like heck to find this video on You Tube, but no luck. But here’s the consolation prize)

“You’ve been cuckolded by a stronger, smarter male” – Dwight

So, what did you guys think?  LOVED IT.  Am I right that this episode – while good – did not live up to the season premiere’s lofty heights?   I THINK YOU’RE WRONG.  IT WASN’T AS GOOD AS THE PREMIERE, BUT PROBABLY ONLY BECAUSE IT WAS ONLY HALF AS LONG AND FOR THE PREMIERE EPISODE, WE WERE SO HAPPY TO HAVE THIS AWESOME SHOW BACK AFTER SUMMER HIATUS!

The Island of Dr. Moreau

Posted in Movies on May 6th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , ,

No, I’m not talking about the movie The Island of Dr. Moreau…  Many people thought it was awful, but I actually liked that movie, last time I saw it anyway over a decade ago.  Scared the heck out of me though; I saw it in college and had to walk home from my friends’ dorm all by myself late at night afterwards…  I was so freaked out that I ran all the way home, prompting some other college-aged jerks to jeer at me, “Run Forrest, Run!”  See what they did there?  That’s a reference to the great movie, Forrest Gump.  Clever kids, weren’t they?  I will have to try that Dr. Moreau movie again; even though I bet nowadays the special effects would appear outdated and it would just be dumb, but I’m not about to try it any time soon with all the nightmares I’ve been having…

Anyway, I was just looking for a way to tie in my latest activities, that’s why I called the post The Island of Dr. Moreau.  I went to the Dr. today, and watched the movie called The Island last night.  The Dr. visit was routine…  but I do have to mention how I just sat there waiting for the Dr. to come in with nothing to do but stare at the walls because after reading the CNN article called “Don’t Let a Hospital Kill You”, I was too afraid to touch any magazines in the Dr.’s office.  See one of my previous posts of that title if you would like to experience the same paranoia.  Dr. told me we’re going to induce me a week before my due date because I have large babies…  thank goodness for that, except that I’m ready NOW – do we really have to wait until July?!?

Now for the movie…  The Island is a sci-fi movie about a factory that manufactures humans.  It is set in the future – but not too far in the future, 2015 or something like that – there are monorails, flying motorcycles, and human clones aplenty.  It’s funny how in one scene, they thought they were being clever by showing gas prices to be over $4 / gallon, but I guess our 2008 society is a bit ahead of them, not in a good way either 🙁

So anyway, in The Island, the general public is under the impression that their “insurance policies” – as the clones are known – are simply organisms being grown for spare parts and will remain in a vegetative state.  The “insurance policies” however, are living, breathing, thinking, feeling humans who are housed in a self-contained facility within the factory.  They live from day to day with the hope of winning “the lottery”, which will send them to “the island” – supposedly a place of bliss where they will live happily ever after.  Ewan McGregor‘s character accidently finds out however, that winning the lottery is fatal, and “the island” is really what happens when a customer needs their insurance policy – ie, the clone is killed for its spare parts.  I’m not normally a fan of sci-fi, but this movie has a very interesting premise that doesn’t go too over the top, and I enjoyed it.  Without giving too much away, I would trade a scene in the middle (too cheesy!) for 2 at the end – scenes I thought should be added with things I’d like to see in the movie…  if you see or have seen the movie, I’ll tell you what I mean.  But I did like it, and like I said, I am not normally a fan of sci-fi, so I would recommend this one to sci-fi fans or action movie enthusiasts.

Defunct TV Part II

Posted in TV Shows on April 1st, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Since my first post about defunct tv was SO lengthy, I had to omit some of my favorite tv shows from yester-year which were so great they warrant a mention and another post.

The Bozo Show – If you grew up in Chicagoland, this show was an icon.  Some people in Ohio have told me it was on tv here too, but I know it just wasn’t the same as growing up with Bozo next door.  First of all, EVERYONE you knew went to see the Bozo show live.  The girl I went with was put on the waiting list when she was in utero, and we were 9 or 10 years old before her mother finally got the tickets that allowed us entry into the show.  But I’m just glad I got the experience, and I’m even more glad that I was old enough to remember seeing Bozo live – it was really neat.  I was really scared of a character named Wizzo though, and I hoped he wouldn’t be there on the day I was…  Ironically, I don’t remember if he was in that episode or not.  My husband went to a Bozo show taping of course, since he was also a Chicagoland kid, but neither of us were on the Grand Prize Game.  There were other characters on the show, mainly Bozo’s clown sidekick, Cookie, and also a puppet dog named Cuddly Duddly.  I think I’m going to have to dig out the tape of the show I was on, just for memories…  So was Bozo aired nationally?  Since it was so hugely popular in our area, it’s hard to say; it’s not like there was an internet back then or like I traveled a lot or had pen pals as a kid to ask.  I would guess so, since lots of people have heard of it, but I’m sure it was nothing like the phenomena it reached in Chicagoland.

Land of the Lost – Saturday morning tv at its finest.  This was a live show about a family who was transported back in time to contend with all kinds of prehistoric creatures like dinosaurs, etc.  While looking up the show on imdb, I learned that there were 2 versions.  One that aired from 1974-76, and one from 1991-92.  I will dismiss the 90’s remake since I wasn’t a big fan.  But as for the original, I barely remember it but I know that I LOVED it!  I must have watched it in syndication however, because I was not around to see it from ’74-’76.  But, when I saw the photos and synopsis of the episodes, I know that’s the show I watched and loved.  Interesting note – they are currently make a movie version due out next year starring Will Ferrell as the dad!  I am a big fan of Will Ferrell’s.  I think he is great in almost everything I’ve seen him in; he’s always funny and surprisingly versatile.  He stars in one of my favorite Christmas movies of all time, Elf.  So I am anxious to see what they do with this remake of a classic tv show for our generation.  I think the movie is slated to be a comedy, but with Will Ferrell as its star, that’s no surprise.  I wonder if they’ll do what they did with the Brady Bunch movies and make it a satire of the tv show?  It was very effective and funny when they did it in the Brady Bunch movies, but it would seem difficult to pull off for many tv shows without being too over the top.  With the cheesy sets and special effects and costumes of the ’70’s Land of the Lost, satire might be a good avenue to explore for the movie remake.  It’d be cool to see the movie set in the 70’s – well, the family gets sent back in time, but if the family were still from the ’70’s…  Guess we’ll just have to wait until 2009 to see!

The Littles – A catchy theme song which began, “We are the Littles…”  It was an awesome Saturday morning cartoon (which of course spawned into toys, lunchboxes, books, and even a few movies) about a family of small people with pointy ears and tails who lived within the walls of a Bigg (literally, this was the surname of the family!) family’s house.  The plots revolved around Tom and Lucy Little, a brother and sister who tried to keep their dopey aviator cousin Dinky out of trouble along with their Grandpa Little.  The Littles had rigged up their own little world within the walls of the Bigg’s home which they entered through a light socket, and it was neat to see how they used normal size objects to make things they needed.  They would often enlist the help of Henry Bigg, the human regular-size kid who lived in the house, since he was the only human to know about the Littles.  Cute show – I could probably find it on youtube or somewhere like that if I looked. 

Shirt Tales – Adorable little animal characters who began as a line of greeting cards were turned into a cartoon.  Their shirts would display different sayings to express their feelings; such as Hug Me, Cuddly, or Dig Me (worn by a mole).   A really cute cartoon which aired on the USA network as part of its Cartoon Express, of which Pac Man the cartoon was also a part; see below.

Pac Man – A cartoon based upon the popular video game.  I don’t remember much about it, but I know I liked it, and it didn’t last long.  I think if I were to see this cartoon today as an adult, it would be dumb, whereas Shirt Tales might be cute.  I haven’t checked youtube, but they both just might be there; it seems likely.