Archive for the ‘Buffy: Vampire Slayer & Angel’ Category


Monday, October 5th, 2009

Since my friend Sparky got a job at Harmonix Thursday night games has frequently involved playing Rockband. I was never very good at Guitar Hero, and I was never a huge fan of the songs it came with but Rockband is awesome for two reasons:

  • Lots of great songs as downloadable content, which Sparky picks up for us.
  • Singing!

I have never been very musical. DDR and Guitar Hero proved that rhythm is not my thing. We’ll, the amount of concentration it takes me to clap in rhythm proved that long ago, but they reinforce it well. I’ve also never been good enough at singing to earn any sort of accolades for it. Thanks to my elementary school drama teacher for making me an understudy every year to get that little lesson across. But I still enjoy it, and I can apparently fake it well enough to make a machine happy, which makes me happy.

But I’m only any good on songs that I’ve heard before, so I have added the Rockband 1 & 2 songs to my usual playlist, so that I get used to them and learn what they sound like. I’ve been consequently paying more attention to all of the songs on my playlist and thinking about them in the same way as the songs that I’ll someday have to perform in from my friends to the satisfaction of the machine. It’s a lot of fun. I just wish that you could take any old song and play it in Rockband, as there are pleary of songs I already love to sing that aren’t options (pretty much all of Avril).

The other good thing about Rockband is that its introduced me to some new music. Avoiding advertising really cuts down on access to music pop culture. Well for those of us too cheap for satellite radio, and whose musical tastes are not well captured by Pandora. Anyways so lots of the new songs on the latest revision of my car mp3cd are from rock band. You know, i should really put my car mp3cd under subversion control. Anyways some of them are:

  • Panic at the Disco – Nine in the Afternoon
  • Weezer – Say it Ain’t So
  • The Main Drag – A Jagged Gorgeous Winter
  • Silversun Pickups – Lazy Eye

But my two favorite songs these days, both oldies from the ’90s, that I really wish were in Rockband are:

  1. Alanis Morissette – That I Would be Good: I’ve had a cropped short version of this song for a long time, but the full length one is even better.
  2. Aimee Mann – You Could Make a Killing:This is the only Aimee Mann song that I even approach to liking, but it is great. She was in an episode of Buffy and even that association couldn’t make me like the song she sang in the show.

Speaking of oldies, Beatles Rockband. I’ve always had an issue with the Beatles. I love the parts of their songs that I remember from my childhood, listening to oldies radio, but the songs I never heard, and even the non-choruses that I don’t remember I don’t like very much. A couple weeks ago I went to Beatles Rockband night at Improv Boston, entirely because of a girl, but while I was there I noticed that I like a lot more of the Beatles catalog than I realized. Last week at Thursday night games we had an actual singer, Ethan, and so I eventually settled into providing some harmonies while playing the drums. I can actually drum to the Beatles with some sort of competence on easy mode! It was way more fun to drum when I didn’t suck at it.

End of Angel

Monday, January 19th, 2009

Last week I finished watching Angel, the spin off from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Overall I didn’t like the series nearly as much as Buffy. It was darker, and had more action. These are traits that made Star Trek Deep Space Nine such a nice change from Star Trek the Next Generation, but they did not work positively for Angel in my mind. Missing from Angel was the whit and humor present in Buffy.

Spoilers Follow
I’d been told that seasons 4 and 5 of angel (the final two) were the best. I completely disagree. The best season of Angel was season 2, especially the story arch at the end in the alternate, daemon dimension. In season 3 the show seemingly jumped the shark because Angel had a son and he grew up overnight, that was nothing. In season 4 they had Cordelia sleep with him, having held him in diapers a mere handful of episodes beforehand. They continued to burn up the capitol in Cordelia’s character throughout the rest of season 4, never actually explaining how everything was happening. They eventually claimed that everything that happened since season 1 was a setup for the evil that occurred in season 4. That is hogwash and I don’t buy it, the writers were just being lazy. Season five was just plain awful, they were constantly looking over their own shoulders and the finale was crap; they cut to credits right before the biggest battle that ever took place in the Buffyverse.

Angle did have some saving grave due to the fact that it had many surprising guest stars. Of course, Buffy, Willow, Spike, Faith, and Andrew? made appearances from time to time on the show. He’res my thoughts on some of the others:

  • Josh Holloway – The first vampire killed by Angel, Josh is better known as Sawyer from Lost.
  • Daniel Dae Kim – Also from lost, Jin, had a 12 episode stint as a lawyer for the evil lawfirm wolfram & heart before being turned into a zombie.
  • Adam Baldwin – Known as Jayne from Firefly, Showed up for 5 episodes at the end as strong-ass bad guy. He delivered what I consider to be the best line in the whole show. Angel sets him up, “people who don’t care about anything will never understand the people who do.” Marcus Hamilton responds, “Yeah, but we won’t care.” It is so straight out of firefly’s script, it was perfect. Also, it is in the middle of a fight sequence.
  • Gina TorresZoe, also from Firefly was the bad guy from the awful season four.
  • Sarah Thompson – Hasn’t been in anything of note since Angel, but before she was in the craptacular movie Cruel Intentions 2. But she totally wins the the hotly contested prize as the hottest girl in the show. Runners up include Alexa Davalos, who’s x-men’s rogue like character had no business being in the show at all and Stephanie Romanov, who’s character was a well rounded villain who died at the right time, before joining the good fight.
  • Amy Acker – Also a runner up on the hottest list, she’s slated to be in Dollhouse, the new Joss show everyone is salivating over. Of course, being in 70/111 episodes and the main title credits hardly counts as being a guest star so I’ll end the list here.

Anyways, now I have to choose my next show. I’m accepting input, the choices are:

So Much Snow

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much snow fall at once. It snowed from Friday at about 1:30pm until Sunday at about 9pm without stopping for more than an hour in between. I haven’t been able to find a measuring tape but it looks to be more than a foot on the front lawn, and the balcony and the back deck. Work let us out early, so I was home on Friday before the snow hit, thankful to avoid the problems of the snow day last year when it took 2.5 hours to get home. Saturday morning I got up and uncovered the car, which was on the street. We had the driveway plowed by some guy with a plow and I moved the car into the driveway for its 2 week long winter nap. I’ve no plans to dig it out today, I don’t need it since I’ve decied to take my vacation day anyways.

Here I mostly just complain about the MBTA for a paragraph you may want to skip it

I ventured out twice on Saturday. Once to the Harvard Natural History Museum to pick up a Christmas gift I’d had my eye on since I went there in the spring with my mother. That trip was alright. The bus was about 15 minutes late, but I picked it up heading outbound about 5 minutes after it was supposed to arrive heading inbound. It’s not a long loop, and I was happy to ride and be warm instead of waiting in the cold and snow. At this point there was already 8in on the ground. On the way back the bus was running on time apparently so I missed it by 3 minutes. The entire loop takes maybe 25 minutes to run, even in bad weather maybe 35 minutes and they ensure that the bus always leaves Harvard on time, so I don’t see how it could be so late by the time it gets out here 1.5 miles away. I’ll have a post about my other adventure Saturday soon.

Sunday I woke up and finished packing. I waited patiently for my ~6pm flight home to be canceled by the falling snow. I was canceled about 1pm, which was nice only in that I didn’t have to trudge my way to the airport in 6 inches of freshly fallen snow. I spent the day watching Angel, the spin-off series from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I finished season 3, in record time, and started on season 4. I’ve been told season 4 is the best. I thought season 3 wasn’t so bad, so this should be good.

Around 6pm I went out to shovel the snow again. It wasn’t so bad, the snow was heavy but not icy. I cleared the sidewalk and had a good bonding experience with my neighbors who were out uncovering cars and sidewalks themselves. It was still coming down, although lightly, so when I was done one couldn’t see the brick anymore anyways. After that I joined my downstairs neighbor Karen to watch the news. We chatted for more than an hour, which is the most we’ve ever talked.
Afterwards I made myself dinner and watched some more Angel. Anyways that’s the story of my last few days hunkered for the snowstorm. Enjoy the pictures.

No More Buffy

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

After about six months I’ve finally fished all of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I am not saying that with exasperation, more pride. There is a big fat check mark next to that spot on the pop culture checklist for me now. I’m already using my Buffy fanship it to solidify two friendships! I also understand why it is such an enduring show. It has likable characters and an upbeat humor about it while also not lacking in the suspense (as Anya would say). It is not dark like a horror movie, which would surely have been the death of it.

As a postmortem I must admit that my favorite character was Anya, the former vengeance daemon who dated Zander. She was crude, direct, vengeful, greedy, and had an irrational fear of bunnies which they kept with until the end. I don’t think that I would find a real person with these qualities very enjoyable, but she was so much fun in the show. Willow maybe a close second. I much appreciate her story of a quiet girl really coming into her own, but that story was weakened significantly by the doubts she developed in the last season. So much for the strong Willow, back to the cowardly weak one from before it seemed.

I think that I will give Angel a try next. I wasn’t ever a huge fan of the show, but if I’m ever going to watch it, now is the time. Before, I leave the buffyverse behind for one of The West Wing, Dr. Who, Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek Voyager, or Xena, which are all somewhere on my to watch list.


Friday, September 19th, 2008

I am completely spell bound by the story that ends the fifth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I still have two episodes left, yet I’ve watch the last 3 unable or unwilling to take my attention away. The plots have converged wonderfully, even the remnants of the awful fourth season have found a way to do their part. They have shown that they are willing to go beyond the killing of the Star Trek red shirt analogs; they are willing to go beyond the episodic and harm long time characters. This is normally, not something I like, but it being done so well. It is successfully adding to the suspense.

I was not disappointed. It is so surprising to see a show have its best plot after it has previously gone down hill. Television quality is rarely bimodal.
And now for some details that make things so great. First, the best thing is that the only mention of Riley is in passing when detailing the litany of bad things that have occurred. This is how it should be, his one and a half season stint should have only lasted one episode. Spike’s transformation to trusted ally is complete. Buffy has been amazing at returning old characters back to the show in new roles, and this is possibly the best one yet. Although, I do love Anya, so. This above all else is what makes the show so solid, it feels like a real, whole world. Willow’s powers have grown so much; it is exciting to see what she can do. The addition of Buffy’s sister at the start of the season, what seemed like a jump the shark (although i hear the term is Nuking the fridge now) was later explained in a less than satisfactory manner, but has become so central that it must have been done. Best of all, there was actually an episode that setup the possibility for that kind of thing to happen. And, there was a episode before that one, on which it stood. Let know one say that they didn’t build their basis up well. Best of all, Buffy and the scooby gang might just loose this time! I’m hooked, I’m off to watch the rest of the season.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Seasons 1 & 2

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

I’m back to my usual habit of spending all summer watching all of a particular TV show in order. Actually, it is not really just a summertime thing. I started it the summer I lived alone in Columbus for an internship and I always had a show I was watching all of until I finished How I Met Your Mother, in February. I didn’t pick up another show after that. I guess I actually had things going on for the last five months and didn’t need a show.

Anyways, I recently started watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I tired to watch all of it with a girl in college, but we got through about 2 episodes before that fell through. This time I’ve managed to finish off nearly 34 episodes in two and a half weeks. There are some problems with blogging about a show that went off the air 5 years ago. Mostly that anything interesting, like cameos by people who went on to do other things are well documented on imdb and pretty much anyone else who might care about the major plot points already knows them. With that in mind there are still some things that surprised me.

I’ve seen the show before, enough to know that I’m going to most readily identify with Willow. That is at least until she comes into her own in the latter seasons. What surprised me more was how I identified with Jiles, the library/watcher and the relationship story line with another teacher, Jenny Calendar. In fact, I was sort of surprised to see that kind of thing at all. It is somewhat unorthodox for a parental figure in a teen drama to have such an important relationship so early in the show. But they did it well, and made it much more important that it seemed; a hallmark of good story telling.

Although, I know know why I was unaware of the story line. *Spoiler Alert* She dies in episode 217, the first real character that they kill, who stays dead at least. I generally hate shows that kill of real characters. I suppose that is because I like character development driven shows, and it seems silly to waste the capital built into an already beloved character. But one goes into a show like this with an open mind.

Fireworks Outside My Window

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

somerville independence day fireworks, 2008
Updated to a photo from this year by the same user, old one here

There were fireworks outside of my window tonight. Somerville may very well be the only city in the country that celebrates the Fourth of July in late June on an annual basis. This did make it somewhat easy to find pictures from last year’s event on flicker. Another, non CC one here. The fireworks are supposed to be viewed from Trum Playground, a few block to the northeast of my apartment, but I never actually remember to go; although, I did read about them in advance this year thanks to the Davis Square Live Journal Group. Last year I was just really surprised when there were random fireworks.

The view from the front windows of the house isn’t so great. There are lots of trees in the way, and some of the shots don’t make it over the roofs of the houses on the other side. But there are plenty that do make it high into full view. There is something different about watching fireworks from your window. I mean other than that it’s a perfectly acceptable, unique, and anti-mundane activity to do alone, in the house, when no one else is home, as was the case tonight. Totally worth pausing, in this year’s case, Buffy the Vampire Slayer to watch.

Perhaps I’m just nostalgic. You see in 1994 when I lived in Mobile all summer long there were fireworks outside my bedroom window on Friday nights. There was a non-major league affiliated professional baseball franchise, the Baysharks, playing at the local college field. After every Friday game they would launch fireworks, win or lose, and my bedroom window was the best seat in the house.

It was then, and probably still is the best thing about baseball. I’m actually sad that the Red Sox don’t do anything like that. Now, they clearly don’t need fireworks to sell our their stadium like Baysharks did, but I still think fireworks would be a good addition. I especially like the idea of shooting off fireworks under only certain conditions. Like when they win the game. That way the whole city can instantly know the good news without turning on their television. Last summer I was at a roof deck party and everyone was trying to check the score on their cell phones as the game ended. We could see the lights at Fenway, if they launched fireworks on a win, we could have enjoyed ourselves a little more and relied on high technology a little less – a welcome reprieve.

I don’t remember what I thought about while I watched the fireworks from my windows as a child. Perhaps I was just dazzled, but I remember making it a point to watch them all. Granted they were short shows, shorter than tonight’s which must have lasted half an hour to forty-five minutes. Tonight I just thought about how much better it’d have been had my admittedly long shot plans panned out and I could use the event as yet another in a broad sequence of fun activities to impress my girl, stretching out from June through August. And how, my team winning an award at work – with an accompanying awards dinner – wouldn’t suck because it gives me exactly 28 days to find a date. *gulp*