Michaelmas ~ September 29, 2009

Alike pervaded by His eye, all parts of His dominion lie;The Golden Road_roxicons

This world of ours, and worlds unseen, and thin the boundary between.

~ Josiah Conder

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Meandering

Every person’s Life is a Fairytale written by God’s fingers ~ Hans Christian Anderson 1805-1875

You can only be young once. But you can always be immature.” Dave Barry

It is a melancholy truth that even great men have their poor relations.” Dickens in Bleak House

Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere ~ G.K. Chesterton

The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people ~ G.K. C.

Si tollis hostem, tollis et pugnam
Si tollis pugnam, tollis et coronam
Si tollis libertatem, tollis et dignitatem

“Without an adversary, there is no conflict;
Without a conflict, there is no crown;
Without freedom, no honor.
Saint Columban

How can there be evil if God exists?
How can there be good if He exists not?
Boethius

There are dark shadows on the earth, but its lights are stronger in the contrast.”
Dickens “The Pickwick Papers”

In manus tuas commendo spiritum meum.
“Into thy hands I commend my spirit.”

Not all who wander are lost ~ Tolkien

To see a World in a grain of sand,
And a Heaven in a wildflower;
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour
.
William Blake

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”
Jane Austen in Pride and Prejudice

A set o’ dull, conceited hastes (dunderheads)
Confuse their brains in college-classes,
They gang in stirks (go in young bulls)
And come out asses, plain truth to speak
.
Robert Burns

The society of girls is a very delightful thing.”
Dickens in David Copperfield

Three may keep a Secret, if two of them are dead.”
Benjamin Franklin

In principio mulier est hominis confusio.
Medieval Latin Proverb

True happiness demands courage and a spirit of sacrifice, refusing every compromise with evil and having the disposition to pay personally, even with death, to be faithful to God and His commandments.  J.P. II July 2003

Today Christ asks the baptized: “Are you my witnesses?” And each one is invited to question himself sincerely: “Do I live a strong, serene and joyful faith, or do I portray the image of a Christian life that is falgging, marred by compromises and easy conformity?” J.P. II

Sometimes I think about time. That the star that I am looking at is that star as it looked a hundred or four hundred years ago. That when I stand here, in this time, and look at that star, I am not just looking at space. I am looking at time-at another time. That fascinates me. ~ Madeline L’Engle

All earthly things age, decay and die and thus any attachment to a beautiful thing must inevitably cause sorrow because one will sooner or later be separated from it by the ravages of time. Even a child can intuit the basic cause of sorrow in this world, the passing of beautiful things. Think Tolkien, Lewis-this is a theme well rehearsed in literature. There is this sense of mournful sweetness or wistfulness for that which was or will pass away forever in this time but which perhaps may be reclaimed in eternity.

 

Fringe

Last year Fox (the network most likely to give a series a chance and then kill what has the makings of a phenomenal show) debuted Fringe, a darkly intriguing show from the minds behind Lost, Alias, and Transformers.

Officially: FRINGE returns for a second thrilling season that will continue to explore the unexplained phenomena and terrifying occurrences linked throughout the world – known simply as “The Pattern” – in pursuit of a larger, more shocking truth.

Set in Boston, the FBI’s Fringe Division formed when Special Agent OLIVIA DUNHAM (Anna Torv) enlisted the help of institutionalized “fringe” scientist WALTER BISHOP (John Noble) and his son, PETER (Joshua Jackson), to save her partner and lover from a mind-bending death. Through unconventional and unorthodox methods, the FRINGE team imagines and tests the impossibilities while investigating unbelievable events, macabre crimes, and mystifying cases involving pyrokinesis, neuroscience, cryonics, genetic engineering, astral projection, and other fantastical theories. When the unimaginable happens, it’s their job to stop it.

Agent PHILLIP BROYLES (Lance Reddick) guides the group, while by-the-book Agent CHARLIE FRANCIS (Kirk Acevedo) and Junior Agent ASTRID FARNSWORTH (Jasika Nicole) provide support and depth to the team. Underscoring the unfolding mysteries, enigmatic Massive Dynamic executive NINA SHARP (Blair Brown) asserts that the advancement of technology is changing the world of science, and conversely, the science of the world.

I’ve heard comparisons to shows ranging from X-Files to CSI and none of those labels due the show justice. Not only is Fringe its own unique self, when people see it likened to another show so constantly, it gives a misleading expectation of what the show is and so they go into viewing it with preconceived notions that affect how they see it, often spoiling it from trying so hard to fit in into the vision of what they thought it would be rather than just watching it for itself. And when one does that, it shines on its own merits.

It had a slow and stuttering start, and was a bit touch and go as the show found its path. But by mid-season I found myself quite intrigued and the show did not disappoint.

Olivia has a poise, a grace under pressure, that makes her excellent at handling these impossible cases and which also makes you hope that she comes out of this entire mess all right. She is quickly hired by Broyles, who knows way more than he is saying. Nina Sharp knows more as well. Just how much is still vastly unclear. Olivia’s step-father was a psycho and is likely going to come after her at some point. (I certainly hope that they do not drop that subplot!) Olivia has a very accurate memory, is adept at connecting things, almost preternaturally so. She never forgets a face. She also never forgets numbers as well. We find out that she was dosed with the drug Cortexiphan (sp?) as a three year-old child by Walter and William Bell. It is a drug that works on “perception” and appears to be able to basically give people any ability. All the other children that we have encountered that were given this drug have come to deadly ends and tragic circumstances. There was Nick, who was Olivia’s partner in the drug trials, who ended up becoming so dangerous to himself and others that he was put into a coma indefinitely. And pyrotechnics Susan Pratt and her twin sister, one of whom blew herself up and the other narrowly avoided the same fate. It is obvious that the drug has been affecting Olivia, esp. the issues with the tank and John’s consciousness. And the thing with the lights and the bomb in “Ability,” which was glossed over in the following episodes. Olivia seems to be better than the other children, but is she really?Do we have any real idea of what she is capable? And just how important is she supposed to be? At the end of the finale, she was stuck in the parallel world/ dimension with William Bell (Leonard Nimoy), who appears to have been hiding out there.

Peter has an I.Q. of 190. He is brilliant, cynical and sarcastic. The son of a mad genius scientist, he has lived on the shady side of things and is in trouble with any number of people. At first he wanted nothing to do with his father, but then he becomes personally involved and decides to stay in order to find some answers. This is a man who has cared about no one, never really had friends, no real family. He starts to connect to his father for the first time. That connection between father and son, so off-kilter and unusual given their background and individual issues and demons, is very interesting. Also, he is starting to care about Olivia, and Astrid. He is finding a family and maybe even finding he wants that responsibility of caring for others and being there for them. And I do see Olivia and Peter as family – brother and sister with their wacky father figure Walter, who has harmed them both in the past but genuinely cares for them now. So, Peter has quite a past that may well cause problems for him, as well as being in the dark about where he comes from…

Walter is a madman. He is perfectly frightening and can be equally perfectly frightened by his own behavior. He swings from periods of lucidity to muttering, confused asides, to furious rants and temper tantrums to complete obtuseness, often obsessing about a food or beverage. He can be a sweet, vulnerable old man and the next moment he is a soulless, disturbed scientist who will do anything to attain his objective. John Noble plays it so brilliantly. Walter loves Peter, but also grows very angry with at times. We find out that Walter lost Peter to an illness when was seven years old and this loss so consumed him that he was driven, with the aid of William Bell, to travel to another dimension. Walter brought back the Peter of that parallel universe back with him. Which explains a lot of Walter’s cryptic remarks about Peter’s health records to Olivia toward the beginning, the fact that Peter rarely recalls the childhood incidents that Walter brings up and why occasionally it seems Walter is a different person. Question is what happened to the other Walter? Why doesn’t Peter remember? At what age did Walter bring him back? When will Peter find out and how will this impact him? And his relationship with Walter? And just why exactly is Walter so messed up? His memory loss? Is that all from the drugs or is there something else going on?

And what is up with the Observer? He saved Walter and Peter from drowning, even though he is not supposed to interfere, but merely observe. He should not have been there, but he was. Why? And does he have a connection to the boy from “Inner Child”? Are they connected or was he merely observing him?

EW’s Fall Preview Issue w/ Fringe on the cover, an interview and a great video.


Summer Series: Royal Pains

USA‘s newest in-house series is Royal Pains.

Officially: Hank (Mark Feuerstein) is a rising star in the New York City medical community, until he loses everything fighting for the life of a patient. With his career stalled and his personal life in shambles, Hank is in need of a new beginning. That’s where his younger brother Evan (Paulo Costanzo) steps in. Fed up with Hank’s personal pity-party, he convinces Hank to join him on a last-minute trip to the Hamptons for Memorial Day weekend. When the brothers crash a party at the home of a Hamptons billionaire and a guest falls critically ill, Hank saves the day. His dramatic medical rescue draws attention from the crowd, and soon Hank’s phone starts ringing off the hook with patients demanding house calls.

Inadvertently, Hank has become the hot new “concierge doctor” in town.

Though Hank is initially reluctant to embrace this new career, with encouragement from Evan and an ambitious young woman who volunteers to be his physician assistant he decides to stay in town for the summer. Once again solving medical crises and helping those in need, Hank is back to doing what he does best. And now he’s reinvented himself as the Hamptons’ hottest new doctor-in-demand.

Other supporting characters are Reshma Shetty as Divya Katdare and Jill Flint as Jill Casey. These two women superficially may seem similar given they both work in the medical profession and both seemingly find the lifestyle of the rich and indolent less than admirable and seek something more fulfilling. Yet, while Divya was for me a fun character to get to know and I looked forward to her scenes in each episode, I found Jill to be annoying and shallow and most of her scenes made me cringe or just turn the channel. As a love interest, zip. Nada. Divya’s struggle with her parents and their plans for her life made for far more compelling viewing.

Each week some medical emergency, usually exotic and rare, (much like the cases that continually find their way to House’s institution of medicinal practice) pops up in Hank’s sphere of influence and he saves the day, usually with the help of his small group of companions, notably Divya, but Evan and Jill occasionally are instrumental in solving what the mystery illness is. Evan and Jill are also the main source of Hank’s other problems. Evan, as Hank’s wilder younger brother, has his share of foibles, many of which inevitably somehow involve Hank. Afterall, it was one of Evan’s party-crashing escapades that landed Hank in the Hamptons. And Jill and Hank’s attraction to her… well, that was simply painful to watch. My favorite episodes were those involving Tucker and his girlfriend. They were quite interesting, as they were rich but also had some character to them. I was glad when they brought them back for two more episodes and am really hoping to see them again in season two. As the story stood at the finale, Jill had broken up, in a sorta, kinda, not really sure fashion with Hank, Divya had failed to break off her arranged marriage minutes before the engagement ceremony, Evan had lost all Hank’s money in a scam and we discover that the scammer that just took their money is none other than Hank and Evan’s father! So, there’s all that to address when things come back and, of course, Evan is on the outs with Hank, who said he could not trust him, so it will be interesting to see where everything goes from this point.

Overall, this first season did not wow me, but neither did the first season of In Plain Sight. Admittedly, the characters in most of USA’s series are very unique, as shown by their channel’s tagline “Characters Welcome.” And this particular type of show has done very well: Monk, Psych, Burn Notice and In Plain Sight. All of these shows have either charismatic or very forceful, memorable leads like Adrian Monk, Shawn Spencer, Michael Weston, and Mary Shannon, with superb supporting casts. And while Royal Pains remains the weakest of the group for me, it is still light, breezy fair for the summer and worth a try. It returns for a second season in 2010.

Give ‘Royal Pains’ A Try @ Starpulse.com  This was a good review of the pilot.


Academy 7

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Aerin Renning is a girl on the run. A fugitive. Who happens to be offered the chance to attend the most prestigious school in her galaxy: Academy 7. The catch? You need to be a citizen of the Alliance. Which is something that Aerin isn’t.

Dane Madausin is the son of the Alliance’s leading military officer, whose life should have been one of privilege and prestige, but has been that of a rebel. So, against his father’s wishes, he is attending Academy 7.

Aerin wants to stay unnoticed, doing her assignments and attending her classes without drawing undue attention to herself or the little differences between her and the other students that could give her away. Dane doesn’t care about his reputation and when he thinks that his father is going to order him home, he pulls a stupid prank that lands Aerin in serious trouble. Dane feels guilty for implicating Aerin in his offense and tries to apologize but even though they work together daily on chores as punishment, Aerin wants nothing at all to do with Dane. He is a troublemaker, which leads to attention, which she cannot afford; he got her into trouble and due to other earlier misunderstandings and misleading statements from other spiteful students, Aerin has a very poor opinion of Dane.

Still a tenuous friendship springs to life after Dane discovers that she is not a citizen and they form a bargain – Dane will coach Aerin on the Alliance and she’ll teach him fighting, at which she excels. And as their friendship develops, surprising aspects of each character’s history and personality are revealed. But is this friendship strong enough to overcome the scars that burden them, the walls that they have built to protect themselves, or the dark past that plagues both Aerin and Dane?

Aerin has been so hurt, so injured by life. She trusts no one, cares for no one. But she retains her courage and dignity. Dane is able to bring a part of her to life that was never allowed to exist before. Dane, as well, as been damaged by his past – abused physically, verbally and emotionally by his father (who could use a few anger management classes), set upon by his brother Paul who plays him against their father. He is furious, lashing out, recklessly endangering his life. But that changes when he meets Aerin. She is the one person who doesn’t treat him like the son of the General. She doesn’t show him the least bit of respect or deference. But as much as she intrigues him and as much as he admires her, he cannot let her in because that would be too painful.

The suspense and intrigue was overhyped. The big reveal, while certainly tragic, is not all that fraught with peril nor is it as immediately dark and dangerous and terrible as it is made to seem. I blame the cover blurb – don’t overstate a matter to get me to read only to have me be disappointed by false advertising.

That said, the friendship story, as it progresses toward something more romantically inclined, is very well done. And for as short a book as this is, I felt that you get the feeling of a lot being done and you feel that sense of time passing and change. You can read 700 page books that get less done, so it is really a compliment when I say that it feels like the story accomplishes something and I honestly wish this book was longer. I never skimmed and did not feel like skipping ahead, a constant trouble with the majority of books I pick up. So a truly excellent blend of pacing, editing and development of character and dialogue that never left me wondering “Why is this here? What is the point? Get on with it already!” If anything, more conversations would have made this book better. And a little less ambiguity in sections.

But with all these secrets beginning to come out, I foresee many troubles ahead for Dane, and especially Aerin. So, please, please, let’s see that sequel. Or two. I’ll break my “no more trilogies” rule if I can just see their story completed!

Supernatural

So, Supernatural. Several links  to share.

 

Supernatural-Season Two Finale: About Dean and Sam

Supernatural – Running up that Hill: About John Winchester and the deal he made. Not too many of those.

And for all things SPN, the Supernatural Wiki. Some useful info, but beware as you search there. Some crazies will show up and scare you. For real.

Squidoo’s  Supernatural Music List (1-4) w/ lots of other videos and tidbits.

TV IV’s Supernatural Music List (seasons 1-4)

MR: Can you talk a little bit about Sam and Dean? Between them, is it pretty rocky or do they just kind of move on and go back to hunting together? Do you have it mapped out?

EK: Yeah, we certainly have the main emotional sweep of the season mapped out. Sam’s part for the season is primarily one of redemption.  He has a lot of wrongs to set right. For Dean, it’s a little bit about understanding what his role is, but having the strength of character to do the right thing.

I mean, Dean’s story has really always been — both boys’ stories have been — [about the same thing]. The core concern of the show is free will versus destiny.  And when you’re destined to do something, can you rail against it?  From Sam’s perspective, when he’s destined to do something and then he has fulfilled that destiny, which was to end the world, how can you come back and be redeemed?

And so they both have their stories. But I always say that it’s about them coming together, because the story is really not about one or the other; it’s about the bond between them that’s called brotherhood.  It’s about this connection of the two of them.  The two of them being one unit is for us really what the story is about.

And people online, they get furious — alternately furious and upset — or they throw their arms up because they think we’re focusing on one brother or the other, and some people are Sam fans, and some people are Dean fans.  And in my mind, anyway, you know, they’re both on completely equal footing because the story is about the two of them being intertwined.  For me, the story is about, “Can the strength of family overcome destiny and fate, and can family save the world?”

Source.