Random Memory: The “Bionic” Shows #TV #science #engineering #bionic @mslindsaywagner

If you enjoy this post, please retweet it.

I had a random memory pop in my head last week. During the early part of its run, my favorite show was the Six Million Dollar Man (1973-1978). Lee Majors played the titular Steve Austin. I also loved its spinoff, The Bionic Woman (1976-1978). The origin of the latter was a sad and frustrating one. The bionics screwed with Jaime Sommers’s body and seemingly killed her. The premise of the show was that she was somehow saved but lost all memory of her romantic relationship with Steve Austin.

Like most of society, I lost interest in the shows as I grew up, but when they announced an upcoming made-for-TV movie bringing back the characters, I was moderately intrigued. It was a huge part of my childhood that wasn’t that far removed from (what was then) the present day. I don’t remember watching the first one, The Return of the Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman (1987), but I do remember seeing the second one, Bionic Showdown: The Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman (1989) with an unknown Sandra Bullock playing the next generation of bionic human.

Proof!

What stood out in my memory of that show was that Jaime Sommers’s memories had returned, and at the end of the second movie, she interrupted his proposal of marriage to propose to him. Even though I remember not liking the movie, I remember being happy with the resolution. Why? I don’t know. They’re make-believe characters, and they’re not part of a series I was currently watching, so their relationship meant nothing the second the final credits rolled. But humans are weird like that, and their failure to connect even upon her resurrection for the Bionic Woman was disappointing.

There was a third movie, Bionic Ever After?, but I’m sure I never saw it. By 1994, I had more important things to do.

As of this writing, Lee Majors and Lindsay Wagner are still going strong at 83 and 73 years old respectively.

Follow me on Twitter @gsllc
Follow Lindsay Wagner @mslindsaywagner

Inktober for Charity, Day 31: Stranger Things Eddie #Inktober #JDRF #StillBrave #JosephQuinn @JDRF @stillbrave @KevinBednarz

If you enjoy this post, please retweet it.

September’s series of musical selections is officially over! It’s October! Or should I say . . . Inktober?

Do you remember what happened the last time I celebrated Inktober? No? Well, you’re not going to like it. You’re certainly not go to like this one. You see, a friend posted to Facebook a list of Inktober assignments, and being the smartass I am, I’ve taken on (synonym: stolen) those assignments despite my . . . “modest” drawing skills. Look, mine will be funnier, okay? I’d link to his (which are going to be much better), but he protects his tweets. You’ll have to settle for mine.

He’s drawing for a charity by offering his drawings for sale, the proceeds for which go to the Stillbrave Childhood Cancer Foundation. Noble, but my choice of charity is the JDRF. Unfortunately, no one will buy my work, so until their link breaks, you can directly donate here. Or you can donate to Stillbrave. I won’t get angry. Here are the assignments:

I don’t know all of these things.

<< Prior

And here is today’s entry.

Day 31: Stranger Things

Thankfully, Inktober ends with this one. I’m tempted to recycle the other Eddie (Day 4), but I’ve made it this far. There’s no sense in giving up. (Well, maybe there’s some sense to giving up.)

You have my most humble apologies for this entire month. I think we can all agree is great that it’s over.

Clearly, I didn’t draw this. Happy Halloween!

Before you laugh, try to remember that it’s for charity. Then laugh.

Follow me on Twitter @gsllc
Follow the JDRF @JDRF
Follow Still Brave @stillbrave
Follow Kevin Bednarz @KevinBednarz

Nostalgic Watch: The Americans @MatthewRhys @HollyTaylor97 @CostaRonin @TheAmericansFX @hulu @RoysRestaurants #TheAmericans

If you enjoy this post, please retweet it. For other entries in the Good Watch category, click here.

I’ve been binging The Americans on Hulu (FX Network). I had never seen a single episode before I started but had heard good things. I knew the premise: Soviet spies operating in America at the start of the Reagan administration. When the current young guns talk about their time in the war, they’re talking about Viet Nam, not Desert Storm. When the older crowd is talking about fighting the Nazis, they mean fighting actual Nazis in World War II. I admit that it drags at times, and it relies on the far too frequently used trope of emotional idiots making huge mistakes to create the needed drama. The latter is especially frustrating considering that it unnecessary in a show where the anti-heroes are being chased by the FBI and CIA. However, it’s a good show overall with a solid cast of actors, some of whom are new to me. The first five seasons have 13 episodes each, and the sixth has 10 episodes. They do a good job of demonstrating how most spies are recruited; most aren’t government workers. Each episode is about 45 minutes, but with a Chrome extension that allows me to speed up the episodes to 1.25x speed, I’m blazing through it.

I love period pieces because of the music and current events that they work into the script, some worth remembering, and some worth forgetting, but this one is particularly special to me. It takes place in the Washington, DC area, and the creators did a remarkable amount of research (perhaps because they grew up there as well). They get a lot of small details correct, from long gone television commercials playing in the background to various restaurants. The spies live in in Falls Church, Virginia, and though I didn’t move to Northern Virginia until 2000, I grew up in nearby Montgomery County, Maryland. I know all of the areas portrayed. As a recent graduate of the University of Maryland in the 90s, I started spending my weekends bar hopping in downtown DC and Northern Virginia. Honestly, the night life in Montgomery County was atrocious around that time, so the spots the show visits are where I hung out. I hope they visit the “Exorcist Stairs” before the show ends. I urinated down them when I was a stupid, young adult who had a lot too much to drink. It’s not an uncommon thing to do, though I doubt you’ll find mention of it on many websites.

Early this morning, I watched an episode entitled “A Roy Rogers in Franconia.” For those of you from the western United States that have a special place in your heart for In-n-Out, Roy Rogers is my burger joint that I like more than I should due to nostalgia, but with a menu that went far beyond burgers. When I finally moved to Northern Virginia, it was near Franconia, so I visited that Manchester Lakes Roy Rogers more times than I could possibly count. The last episode I watched before this post went live is called Lotus 1-2-3. I forgot that software existed. It was released when I was in high school but was already losing the war against MS Excel and Borland’s Quattro Pro by the time I was out of college and working as a software engineer.

Watching the show really brings me back to several times in my life, from childhood to recent college graduate to recent law school graduate, even though much of that time occurred long after the period in which The Americans is based.

As always, YMMV.

Follow me on Twitter @gsllc
Follow Matthew Rhys @MatthewRhys
Follow Holly Taylor @HollyTaylor97
Follow Costa Ronin @CostaRonin
Follow the Americans on FX @TheAmericansFX
Follow Hulu @hulu
Follow Roy Rogers @RoysRestaurants

Medical Watch: House, M.D. @peacockTV #GoodWatch #HouseMD

If you enjoy this post, please retweet it. Other posts in this series can be accessed by clicking here.

Every now and then, I pick a show that for some reason interests me but I’ve never watched, and I binge watch it. It may be because I’ve seen a bunch of episodes that I liked (e.g. The Office and, well, House M.D.); I’ve seen a bunch of scenes via Facebook that I liked, which sometimes worked out and sometimes didn’t; it stars actors that I love; or I just heard really great things (e.g., Parks and Recreation). The past two weeks, I started watching House M.D.

Overall, I like the show, but this isn’t about making recommendations. I just want to make two quick observations. First, other than the Shield, I can’t think of any shows I watched that had multiple antiheroes working with multiple heroes, all working well together. Second, for a relatively short time, I had to walk with a cane, so I know how to do it. You’d think that wouldn’t be a difficult skill to master, but apparently it is. Let me put it this way: I don’t think I’d ever trust a doctor would used a cane with his right hand if his right leg was the problem (or vice versa). You hold the cane with the hand on the same side as the injury.

I didn’t like the last episode of season 2, which turned out to be a massive dream sequence (it could have been worse), and the trope of a disapproving and interfering boss is annoying (especially when the main character is always right), but so far I’m good with the episodes I had never seen before. I’m on season 3, so I have a long road ahead of me.

I can’t wait to see the episode where it actually is lupus.

Follow me on Twitter @gsllc 
Follow the Peacock TV @peacockTV

Connections @BBC #physics #science #engineering #history #tv

If you enjoy this post, please retweet it.

Look at me. Ending my streak of posts after an entire year, and the very next day posting every day for a week. Will it last? (No.)

I recently rediscovered the BBC show, Connections, hosted by James Burke. I used to watch this with my dad when I was a kid. This is a show about the marvels of science and engineering throughout history and, more to the point, their connections to one another. That is, a technology over here gets merged with a technology over there, and voila! A new invention. 

It’s enough to drive you mad.

I apparently remember it extremely well, because I find myself saying the host’s lines before he says them. Nevertheless, I’m relearning a lot of material. I recently learned about, and wrote a post on, the Cistercian numerals. To my recollection, I never heard of the Cistercian monks before learning about their numbers, yet they were mentioned in the one of the first few episodes, so my memory is exceptional, but not perfect. (My short term memory is failing, which is very unsettling.)

Another thing threw me off a bit. In the first episode – which is a bit scary, by the way – the host describes the New York City blackout of 1977, which left several planes circling overhead with nowhere to land. The flight he expressly mentioned was flight 911. A spooky an odd . . . connection.

Whether your academic or professional background is in science (like me) or history, this is still a fascinating and relevant show.

Follow me on Twitter @gsllc
Follow the BBC @BBC

Disappointing Watch: Bill & Ted Face the Music @BillandTed3 @paramountplus #BillAndTed #ParamountPlus

If you enjoy this post, please retweet it. For other entries in the Good Watch category, click here.

Two movies recently hit Paramount+. Yesterday, I wrote about A Quiet Place 2. Today, I’m really sad to report that Bill & Ted failed me.

I don’t think this is a case of growing out of the material. I’ve grown out of professional wrestling. I know what it feels like to just not care anymore because of who I am now. On the other hand, I haven’t grown out of Star Trek or Star Wars. Weirdly, I’ve absolutely grown out of the old Godzilla movies but love the new ones because I loved the old ones. I’m not sure that makes sense, but there it is.

This movie was atrocious. The pacing was terrible. The new characters were stupid. We all thought Station was stupid, but we didn’t throw the baby out with the bath water. We sucked it up and enjoyed Bogus Journey anyway. But here, I couldn’t do that. There were too may actors/characters added that were a second rate versions of the actors/characters they were replacing. What’s worse, the android was replacing Death even though Death was still in the movie. Death was a watered down version of his character in Bogus Journey, but my nostalgia kicked in and I was okay with that. But nostalgia couldn’t save this movie. Probably worst of all is that the heroes aren’t even Bill and Ted. Why did they name the movie Bill & Ted [anything] if Bill and Ted aren’t really the heroes.

It’s rare for me to be this disappointed in a movie that I want to love so much.

Follow me on Twitter @gsllc
Follow Bill and Ted 3 @BillandTed3

Not-Quite-My-Thing Watch: A Quiet Place 2 @quietplacemovie @johnkrasinski @paramountplus #AQuietPlace #ParamountPlus

If you enjoy this post, please retweet it. For other entries in the Good Watch category, click here.

Two movies recently hit Paramount+, and I’ve been dying to see them both. First up is A Quiet Place 2. I’m not a fan of horror movies, so when a few of the typical horror tropes reared their ugly heads, it took quite a bit away from my enjoyment of the movie. As with all horror movies, people make stupid decisions just to advance the plot (lazy writing), and are then saved because logic always gives ground to the needs of the script. If that doesn’t bother you as much as it did me, then you may like this movie a lot more than I did.

That’s important, because I still liked (not loved) it despite these flaws. As much as I wanted to punch the main characters in the face, I found myself really caring for them. I wanted them to win. The opening act was also very tense, and while it didn’t answer all the questions we have, it gave us some more with which to work.

I should warn you that the movie doesn’t really have an ending. I guess that’s to make sure there’s A Quiet Place 3.

Kylo Ren More GIF - KyloRen More TheLastJedi - Discover & Share GIFs | Star  wars sequel trilogy, Kylo ren, Star wars kylo ren

Next up: Bill & Ted Face the Music

Follow me on Twitter @gsllc
Follow A Quiet Place @quietplacemovie
Follow John Krasinski @johnkrasinski
Follow Paramount+ @paramountplus

Good Watch: Ragnarok, Season 2 @jonasgravli @SunthDanu @netflix #MythologyMonday #Ragnarok #Jotunn #Thor #Loki #GoodWatch #tv

If you enjoy this post, please retweet it. For other entries in the Good Watch category, click here.

Last week, I watched season 2 of Ragnarok. I previously discussed season 1, which I think I liked more than I should have. I’m a sucker for mythology, so I sometimes give modern dramatizations a little more credit than they deserve (though this is not absolute). This certainly applies here. The acting was rather sour at times, and I’m not sure whether that’s because the English is dubbed. However, I haven’t seen a better representation of mythology on film than this show, and that’s despite the fact that it intentionally (and appropriately) takes the “gods” and “giants” in a different direction.

The premise is that the war between gods and giants never ends. Both groups are continuously reincarnated but in different ways. You learn in season 2 that the giants know who they are their entire lives, even as they take on new ones through reincarnation. However, because the gods represent the interests of humans, they possess or are reincarnated as (probably the former, but unclear) humans, taking time to remember/learn who they are. This creates a foot race. The giants are busy destroying the world (in the most modern of ways in this show), searching for evidence that the gods are returning. Once they learn that the gods are back, they race to complete their plans, or even kill the gods, before the gods gain their full strength. The complication for the giants are that they’re bound by the rules of the game, which doesn’t allow them to act directly at times.

See? Giants aren’t all that bad.

Despite getting to the action this season, there’s still character development in play. For example, there’s an obscure character in Norse mythology, Járnsaxa (don’t click the link if you don’t want to be able to infer spoilers), whose role took me by surprise. Her character was in front of my face for two seasons, and I didn’t recognize her until the last episode of season 2. Based on the myths, her presence is important to how the series should wrap up. Some new characters were “born” in this season as well, including two extremely important ones, Loki and … something else.

The actor playing Loki is no Tom Hiddleston — who is? — but he does a good job, and the writing for his character is as good as any I’ve seen for any god from any mythology ever on television or in the movie theater. He’s exactly what Loki is supposed to be, which is hard to fit into modern storytelling. He’s not evil. He’s not even always selfish. He’s . . . Loki. Moreover, Thor’s reluctance to remove Loki as a threat makes a ton of sense, just as it does in Norse mythology, but not in exactly the same way, because this show takes place today.

Season 1 was very slow — all set up — but season 2 really got us into the mythology. Unfortunately, it’s only six, 50-minute (or so) episodes. I wanted a lot more.

I can’t guarantee you’ll like it if you’re not a mythology nut like me, so as always, YMMV.

Follow me on Twitter @gsllc
Follow Jonas Strand Gravli @jonasgravli
Follow Danu Sunth @SunthDanu
Follow Netflix @netflix

I Refuse to Drop Either of These, Part 2 @StarTrek @StarWars #StarTrek #StarWars

If you enjoy this post, please retweet it.

Yeah, I’ve done this before. Here I go again with something stupid. Just try to remember that I love both.

So you’re admitting that the Enterprise would win. Thank you.

And before you think you have a clever retort. . . .

Star Wars vs Star Trek | Star trek funny, Star trek ships, Star trek
Good plan. I just think that Star Wars fans must be heavier smokers.
Star wars star trek Memes
It’s true, you know?

You may have us on this one.
20 Star Trek Memes That Will Give You A Chuckle
This is just going to make things worse.
Too good to be true...lol's for days! | Star trek funny, Star trek series, Star  trek characters
Can we all agree that this is sacrilege?

Okay, maybe I’ve finally gotten this out of my system.

Star Trek >> Star Wars. (Guess not.)

Follow me on Twitter @gsllc
Follow Star Trek @StarTrek
Follow Star Wars @StarWars

Good Watch: The Last Blockbuster @blockbuster @netflix #Blockbuster #GoodWatch #movie

If you enjoy this post, please retweet it. For other entries in the Good Watch category, click here.

I finally caught the Last Blockbuster on Netflix. It was an interesting telling of how Blockbuster failed. Absolutely nothing was a surprise. Blockbuster died because technology changed; everyone knows that. I was disappointed that they tried to spin its demise, refusing to admit that Netflix, et al. killed it. The argument is that Blockbuster died because they didn’t have the capital to invest in streaming technology. Well, yeah. Duh. We know that. When we say “Netflix killed Blockbuster,” what we’re all really saying is “streaming technology killed the video rental business.” Nothing in the documentary proved otherwise.

Great. Now I’ve developed another nervous tic.

Nevertheless, it was, as I said, and interesting telling. I love learning about history regardless of how recent it was.

No Nostalgia Here

What surprised me the most about the show was my own emotional reaction. I really don’t care. That is, despite renting videos being a huge part of my teenage life, it was kind of a pain in the neck. I’m not immune to nostalgia. Most of the people who have ever read this blog have done so only because nostalgia brought me back to D&D 24 years after the Satanic Panic took it away from me. I have the same love of childhood garbage food that all of you have. However, renting videos wasn’t without cost.

First, my parents had to get with the program and actually buy a VCR. That took a while. Second, it was about a 1.5 mile (each way) walk to get to the video rental store. There are also occasional war stories related to renting videos. For example, I’m a middle child, and when I say I’m a middle child, I mean I’m the middle child, as in the poster child of middle children. Look it up in your dictionary. If my picture isn’t there, buy a new dictionary. Ergo, I never got to pick what movies I wanted unless I took matters into my own hands, and even then, I had to wait my turn for the VCR, which sometimes never came. That leads me to a specific war story. My cousin and I once rented Bachelor Party. We were in high school and didn’t have credit cards, so to rent it (without our parents’ assistance), we had to put down (IIRC) a $75 deposit (that’s $187 in 2021 money . . . for a high school student). We were dipshits.

Overall, I suspect I have more fond memories of renting movies than poor ones, but I just don’t miss it. I can imagine how inconvenient it would be if I still had to do that. As I type this, Netflix proceeded directly to Stowaway. I like being able to just grab movies at the touch of a button … errrr, click of a mouse. Of course, you all probably agree with that, but nostalgia isn’t really about actually wanting to go back, but rather about remembering what was going on in your life at that point. Well, I’m a big movie theater guy, so going to the movie theater is still a far more enjoyable experience than renting and watching a video at home. I suspect that’s why this documentary didn’t pull at any heartstrings. Perhaps I’ll have a nostalgic reaction when and if movie theaters die. (Fuck you, COVID-19.)

Still a good documentary. As always, YMMV.

Follow me on Twitter @gsllc
Follow Blockbuster @blockbuster
Follow Netflix @netflix