Reeves is just catching up with the rest of the world

Paula already knew it.  Trina already knew it.  Aw heck, it seems most everyone else already knows… Buffy The Vampire Slayer is hilarious.


When I was back in Seattle last month I picked up seasons two through seven for Paula… and ended up watching most of the episodes with her.  I’d never really seen more than a few episodes here and there, Paula, however, had watched most of them and was hooked.

If you haven’t seen them you should.  Go sign up for NetFlix (no, I don’t get a kickback for pushing them) and load up your queue.  If you’re feeling like it you might as well throw in the movie that started it all.

Why, you ask? Because it has great lines like this:

“Martha Stewart isn’t a demon. She’s a witch. […] Nobody could do that much decoupage without calling on the powers of darkness.”

Must not see TV: Heist

Paula and I always love a good caper movie, so when we saw the ads for Heist on TV we thought, hey, looks like a fun diversion.  We were only able to sit through fifteen minutes of this derivative drivel.

NBC sez Heist is “a series driven by unforgettable characters”… absolutely, they’re unforgettable because you’ve seen them in a thousand other movies and TV shows. 

The criminal star characters of this garbage were lifted directly from the Italian Job, Ocean’s Eleven, Mission Impossible, you name it.  There’s Mickey, the handsome, clever criminal mastermind.  James, Mickey’s trusted partner in crime and intellectual fencing partner.  “Pops”, the wise, criminal father-figure (with requisite fedora and members-only jacket).  Ricky, the cute, Bronx-accented, wet-behind-the-ears thief.  And, of course, Lola, the beautiful but extra-tough she-thug who will punch you in the mouth as soon as you call her “babe”.

The law-enforcement characters are no better.  There’s Amy, the beautiful cop with a huge chip on her shoulder… trying hard to make a name for herself in a man’s world.  There’s Billy, the overweight, narrow-minded cop who speaks his mind without restraint… waffling between offensive and endearingly honest.  The only cop who hasn’t become jaded and cynical is Tyrese, the young idealistic black detective.

Let’s see, in the first fifteen minutes, Mickey and James show how clever they are by casually robbing a jewelry store, quizzing each other on ancient history to help pass the time.  Amy, the cop making a name for herself, busts a ring of thieves who rob moving trains (the noisy train robbers driving 4x4s were without hubris or subtlety, it was obvious they’d be arrested).  Amy then (without so much as a good night’s sleep) goes to investigate Mikey and James’s break-in.  Mikey is, of course, on the roof across the street, taking pictures of Amy investigating the robbery.

Scene: looking at Amy through the lens of a powerful camera.  The shutter releases several times, three back and white images of Amy in rapid succession.

Zoom in from street level to Mikey on the roof across the street with a camera.

Mikey: “Keep your enemies close…”

Fade out.  End scene.

Holy crap!  The thing that shocks me is this: somebody in LA pushed back from their keyboard and thought to themselves… “Man, this is great stuff.”

TV worth watching: House

This is why House is the best medical show on TV… period:

There are few shows I must watch, four total, in fact.  House (aka House, M.D.) is at the top of the short list.

Here’s the quickie background: Greg House is a cross between Dr. Hawkeye Pierce, Sherlock Holmes and that grumpy old man next door who’s always yelling at the neighborhood kids.  He loves to solve the tough, mystery illnesses but hates dealing with patients (or just about anyone else it seems).  A bitter, semi-reclusive character, House doesn’t care who he pisses off and, as a result, speaks his mind without hesitation or societal filter.  House’s unedited sarcasm makes watching the show wonderfully cathartic.

A typical episode revolves around a single patient’s mystery illness, broken up with other sub-plots and, one of my favorite parts: House doing his requisite clinic duty.  So, what’s the big deal?  Fantastic writing, a stellar cast and characters with real depth.  Plus, the hospital where they work is not on the brink of some world-destroying calamity each week like E.R. (someone please cancel that show).

The first season is out on DVD, start there… it has no commercials.

Technology that works

My DirecTV TiVo died a month or two ago so I went out and bought a new one (well… it was a shelf model but works great).  The old unit I just kept on a shelf, suspecting the problem was one of the hard drives… and since I had broken the seal and added a new hard drive warranty was out of the question.

This weekend I finally got around to taking an extra hard drive, imaging it and sticking it in the dead TiVo.  The process was not simple due to an intersection of no UNIX knowledge and aversion to reading instructions but it worked.  The DirecTiVo is back up again! 

But wait… I had the unit disconnected for over a month and DirecTV no longer recognized it.  I could tune to the help channels but couldn’t get any real channels.  Every channel has the same message, call DirecTV, extension 722.  Crap!  It was Sunday night… there was no way DirecTV employees were going to be around to help me.  <sigh> Okay, time to break down and call DirecTV, wade through thousands of voice prompts and button presses only to get a “call us Monday” message.

Thank you for calling DirecTV.  For English press 1, para Espanol …
For faster service, please use our automated phone system for paying your bills or adding services.  If you have a 3 digit code or extension displayed on your TV, please press it now, if…
One moment while we check your configuration.  Please check your TV…

What?  I turn and look at the TV… the TiVo is reacquiring satellite data and then the picture shows up.  Freaking magical.  I dialed their automatic phone support, it recognized my caller ID, I input the code and it corrected the problem… no human required.  You see, this is the type of thing people like me in the software industry want to do, but it never quite comes out right and then you end up with things like the Comcast PVR (so Omar, can you record a new show yet without a reboot?).