Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sorry - Shit Spiral

OK, the lady wife and I attempted to watch the last 2 hours of the ABC "drama" impact on Sunday night. The first half last week was so bad it was good. It included ridiculous special effects and science unencumbered by fact, or even reasonable speculation.
Unforunately the producers apparently shot their creative wad on the first half. The second part was devoid of humor, apocalyptic drama, or anything approaching originality. Guess what? The hero scientist was chosen to lead a suicide mission to the moon to insert a magnetic field flux capacitor (which only he knew how to build) in the only possible crevasse as defined by the heroic German scientist (who of course was the only person alive with the requisite knowledge of lunar geology to do this). The idea was that they would create a magnetic field which would propel Gary Coleman (whoops, I meant the brown dwarf) out of the moon and into the gravitational field of the sun, thus returning the moon to its original orbit and saving the earth for more dramas like this.

Instead of more fun special fx, societal chaos, and gripping action we were burdened with 1.5 hours of watching the heroic scientist's children and grampa struggle with the situation. Outside of a pretty good scene where grampa's caddy escaped the hold of gravity for a short flight, it mostly consisted of the doe eyed little scamps working up bogus tears while grampa succumbed to the longest heart attack in television history. I confess that after the death of grampa I fell asleep missing the heroic moon repair mission. I still have this mess on the DVR but I suspect that early round matches of Wimbledon will take precedence. I just don't seem to care if they saved the planet or not...

Monday, June 22, 2009

Shit Spiral from Space

I must confess, the Lady Wife and I are hopelessly addicted to bad/inappropriate/sophomoric TV. An excellent example of this oeuvre is the current Sci-Fi Thriller on ABC entitled "Impact". This wildly entertaining two part drama highlights the activities of heroic scientists, politicians, army guys and everyday joes as the Moon begins an orbital death spiral soon to result in a collision with Earth. How can this happen? Well it turns out that the Moon has been impacted by a Brown Dwarf (no not Gary Coleman!) which increases its mass to 16 times that of Earth resulting in a decaying elliptical orbit replete with great special effects. Cool stuff includes massive bouts with static electricity, big waves, and best of all random reversals of gravity with people and their stuff floating helplessly skyward then plunging helplessly back to earth when the gravitational polarity flux is suddenly reversed. Its science. You get it. Right?

The first picture focuses on the whiz bang special effects but I would be remiss if I didn't provide a taste of the dramatic skills of the actors. The scene depicted on the right is where the token Asian scientist has an existential crisis which is solved entirely by scotch and a couple of monumentally glib comments from the hot blond scientist. Let's get back to the lab! Everyone is counting on us.
Here's the good news! Part two of this opus is on next Sunday at 9:00pm. Tune in for another in the great tradition of apocalypse movies. This one of course is derivative of the original Brit version "When Worlds Collide" by Phillip Wylie. The moon is one bad ass meteorite!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

First Day of Summer

Yes I know cacti aren't suppose to grow here but actually most prickly pear, and many of the agave varieties do quite well if not drowned by the winter rains. The bonus (though short lived is the summer blossoms.

This little clematis surprises me every summer with its big oversexed blossoms. I usually forget it is there until it rises once again, phoenix like from a tangle of shrubs and grasses.

I actually planted this Euphorbia Wolfii. While it looks like a "plant" it could well be classified as a noxius weed. They are dramatic, fast growing, toxic, and can be grown by a complete blithering idiot.

The first couple years for this hydrangea didn't look too good. Go figure...

The pink smoke tree has turned into a fairly large bush and will someday be a small tree.

The Yarrow in pink, yellow, and orange fires up as always

The Star Jasmine likes its new location out front. Its fragrance is almost overpowering!

This red calistemon is the smaller of the 3 we had last fall. They are a really cool drought resistant shrub from Australia. The largest one succumbed to the cold and was sent to the compost heap.

Friday, June 5, 2009


Last night the Lady Wife and I watched an episode of the television docu-drama "30 Days". This program takes individuals from one cultural or economic environment and plops them down in what is designed to be the opposite (rich/poor, educated/not, religious/other religion, gay/stright, etc.). The camera follows them for the next 30 days as they experience what it's like to live like the other guy. Usually this results in somewhat of an epiphany for both sides as they learn to appreciate the others situation, feelings, humanity etc.

This one really got to me. The scenario was that we had an individual Frank (actually Francisco) who is a member of the Minuteman organization which is dedicated to preventing illegal immigration from Mexico (by force if necessary). Frank is originally of Cuban ancestry and makes a lot of noise about his patriotism and how his parents entered the country legally after the Cuban revolution.

The program proceeds to drop Frank into a tiny studio apartment in East LA with a family of illegal immigrants. Frank gets a lesson in humility, hard work, and humanity, but still has a hard time overcoming his prejudice and xenophobia. If you have time, please watch the following video: