Saturday, October 29, 2011

It's not you. It's me.

Dear Terra Nova,

This sort of letter is never easy.  I guess I could start with, I think you have a great personality.  You do!  You're interesting and easy on the eyes, but there just seems to be...something missing.

When TV Guide set us up, I think we were all sure that this would be a match made in heaven.  You are a cheesy, sci-fi, TV show.  And I LOVE cheesy, sci-fi, TV shows.  How many times have I seen V (the original, not that recent mockery of a remake)?  And you are chock full of dinosaurs.  I can't even remember how many times I saw Jurassic Park in the theater.  Lots.  I love dinosaurs so much that I have even seen Jurassic Park 2...more than once.  That's how much I love cheesy sci-fi and dinos.  And then there's the fact that you're created by the same guy, who had quite a lot to do with Star Trek Enterprise...the guiltiest of my cheesy, sci-fi, guilty pleasures.

Yes, we all thought that this would be perfect. 

But I think we're just at different times in our lives.  I mean, let's be honest.  You seem to be looking for a serious connection.  But I'm so busy, that all I've got time for is a light, half hour, quickie.  And if I am going to devote a whole hour, well, it had better be mind blowing.  I'm talking BSG caliber...great acting, great stories, and it had better look GOOD.  And I'm sure that your acting, and stories are good... for some people, they're just not for me.  I know you're asking, "But Star Trek Enterprise!  Surely if you liked that, you must be into me?!?"  What can I say, Enterprise and I just had that special something.

So Hot.
And as for looking GOOD.  You certainly have nothing to worry about there.  Come on, the hotness is a little more than I am capable of handling.  But again, you push with your serious relationship.  I mean, your hottest character...and I'm talking the hottest thing I've seen on TV since Joel McHale played naked pool on Community; he's that kind of hot, and you've got him tied down in a serious relationship.  I don't want my hot guy living in marital bliss, happily settled down with his equally hot wife.  No, I want my hot guy troubled and distant, so afraid of relationships that it's enough to sustain at least 4 seasons of sexual tension (maybe take a little lesson from X-Files)  You've taken all the surprise and heartbreak and the waiting, waiting, waiting out of it.  Boring!

But let's talk about the elephant in the room, shall we?  Perhaps your acting and stories would be better if you didn't have so many kids.  Come on!  Three kids, two of them teenagers, and the teenagers have teenage love interests, and then last week there were two more kids.  We all know what great actors kids make.  Especially TV, kid actors.  Let's not kid ourselves (hee hee), you've got no Dakota Fanning, no Growing Pains Leo DiCaprio...I just don't think I'm ready to see, let alone commit to some one who has so many many tragically, awful, acting kids.

I'm sorry Terra Nova.  I'm sure that special viewer is out there somewhere, desperately hoping to meet a show just like you, with your dinos, and hot dad.  But I think for now, I'll stick with my DVDs of Battlestar Gallactica.  Robots, and Jamie Bamber, and all kinds of baggage!

Best Wishes,

TV Math

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Things that I will never do

Wear leggings or tights as pants.

Watch an episode of Two and a Half Men.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Oh Crow!

Most of you know how I feel about crows.  If not, it's safe to say that they rank right up there with whales and cats.  I love 'em!  So clever, so funny to watch, and while not quite melodic; possessed of their own kind of compelling cacophony.  My fondness is marked and sincere, even if they don't know it and sometimes dive-bomb me while I'm on a neighborhood run, or eat my unattended, reconstituted, backpacking eggs.

Please note the beak holes.

And no, my encounters aren't all bad.  What about the time I saw a crow caw on an early, chilly morning, and swore I saw his breath?  And all the times out at the bookstore when I would watch their evening commute to the rookery?  Standing outside, eyes to the darkening sky while they flew passed in all their magnificent multitudes, heading home after a long day of crow-awesomeness... yes, I like crows.  A lot.

And so today when I saw a crow face plant into a pane of glass, I couldn't help the involuntary "OOOOH!" that escaped, and the urge to rush in and help him.  Good thing I didn't, as he quickly brushed it off and flew on, with what I'm certain was a backward glance at the glass (and perhaps me as well) of the kind you give that raised bit of sidewalk that trips you up.  It sounds much worse than it was.

I was walking along the outside, upper-level of the library at school where a railing, complete with clear glass, encircles the patio.  The crow was sitting on the back of a chair, saw me approaching, and attempted to fly down to the lower level until he was abruptly halted by that pesky glass.  The clatter of his beak and feet, combined with the soft "woomph" of his body, and his little, post-collision, head shake was pretty funny.  Which is why my "OOOOH!" was accompanied by a little bit of a laugh.  It's one of the few times I've seen a crow do something stupid, or be less than composed.  (Don't crows have that put-together, regal feeling about them, even when they're eating cold french fries out of a crumpled, fast-food bag?)  I mean think about many times do you see a crow as a road-kill victim, compared with how many pigeons meet that fate.  I'm telling you, survival of the fittest, crows be smart!  I'm sure this crow must have been young, or new to the area, but I'm guessing he's not going to forget about that glass pane next time.
I hope he doesn't equate the incident with me, because we all know that crows remember faces... it might be time to transfer schools. 

Completely accurate diagram of the incident.

Friday, October 7, 2011

What Matters

We mourn what is important to us.  We mourn what matters. 

Steve Jobs passed away this week.  And judging from the internet noise, and social media flurry; he mattered. And it's hard to claim that he didn't.  As an innovator, he changed technology and altered how we compute, communicate, and consume in ways we are only now realizing.  If not for Steve Jobs and I-Pods, I would still be rocking out to the Wallflowers on my Discman.  Instead, I rock out to the Wallflowers on my MP3 player.  No, it's not an I-Pod, but it's certainly a cousin or other distant relative.  My touch screen LG phone would not be the same had the I-Phone not come first.  And I'm sure that sometime down the road, a tablet computer is out there, waiting for me.  I myself don't own any Apple products, nor do I plan to.  I find their cost prohibitive in the sense that why would I pay so much for a cute, little apple icon when I can spend a lot less money, a few months later, on what I believe to be a higher quality, comparable item.  Plus, I really don't want to unlearn all my PC ways.

Yes, Steve Jobs mattered, and his passing is terribly sad.  So bright, so young.  The world is different without him.

But the world is also different without Wangari Maathai.  She passed away September 25, 2011, almost two weeks ago.  She was 71, she succumbed to ovarian cancer.  But that same internet/media noise that bugled the passing of Steve Jobs, was strangely silent for Wangari Maathai. And I saw nothing from my social media friends mourning her passing.  It's not a judgment.  I myself wouldn't have known had I not happened upon the story at the bottom of another online news item.  And at this point, I'm sure you're asking, "Why would I care about someone I don't think I've ever heard of (though I think her name does sound vaguely familiar)?"

Wangari Maathai was a scientist, professor, politician, and activist.  Her Green Belt Movement planted trees across Kenya, focused on environmental conservation, and worked to protect women's rights in a place where, let's face it, women's rights don't have an easy time of it.  She served several months in jail after being held in contempt of court during her divorce proceedings; a divorce from a man who claimed she was too strong-willed and couldn't be controlled.  And, oh yeah, she was the first and only African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize (that same prize Barack Obama won, amidst so much controversy, his first year in office).  Incidently, she's also the last women to have done so- winning in 2004- but the next prize is awarded tomorrow...if some of the internet buzz is to be believed, Facebook wunderkind, Mark Zuckerberg is in the running.

And lest you think that Wangari Maathai was simply an "African phenomenon," off of our "Western" radar, I'll just point out that she was also a New York Times bestselling author, with her memoir Unbowed, (available at Third Place Books..SHOUT OUT!), undoubtedly read by countless book groups across the United States; as well as being the inspiration of numerous, English-language,  children's books. 

So...what am I getting at?  First world, gadget innovation, versus "all world," life-long, struggles?  Technological consumerism, versus human rights crusading?  Land fills overflowing with last year's cutting-edge, out-dated invention, versus Kenyan valleys thriving with, new, verdant life?  No matter how I feel, one person isn't better than the other.  Wangari didn't live a better, more world-altering life than Steve... and vice versa.  All I can say is, I felt a strange "ickiness" with all the Steve Jobs love and the marked absence of Wanagari Maathai props.  It's okay for Steve Jobs to matter.  But I think we may need to reevaluate our priorities when one life matters SO MUCH and the other is barely a footnote in the next day's obituaries; virtually non-existent.

Mourn for what matters, but don't forget to recognize and mourn for what really matters.