Delusions of Grandeur

The rantings and ravings of a modern man trapped in a crazy world

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Early Emily blogs, pt 4

Poor baby

Well, it had to happen. Emily actually got really sick and scared me half to death! She is fine now and it really turned out to be just a super-charged cold, but the child does have a flair for the dramatic (as anyone who has ever met her already knows).

On Wednesday, Emily woke up not feeling well and was lethargic and listless. Even with Tylenol all day, her temperature went up to103.2. That is too high for my baby! We called the on-call doctor for the first time ever. Very stressful. The doctor said not to worry and we waited until morning to have her checked out. We went to the doctor Thursday morning (we arrived at 6:00 am and we were not the first ones there) where Emily had a fever, but was playing and laughing...until the doctor came in. Then Emily began screaming and crying so hard she eventually made herself sick. When the doctor asked how she was feeling, her response was "I not talk about it". Turns out it was a respiratory virus, nothing to do but rest, tylenol, and fluids. Eventually, it turned out to be a bad cold with a fever. She was pretty pitiful with her eyes and nose running "My eyes mommy, my nose" Eventually, it just became "Nosey" and a point to her face. She can wipe her own nose usually, just ask Grannie who runs out of tissues whenever Emily is over, but I indulged her since she was so pitiful. After a couple days of laying around the house, watching lots of Dora, she is pretty much recovered. I knew she was feeling better when she wanted to call Poppi and left him a message of "Poppi I feel better." I bet he still hasn't erased that message!

The funny thing now is that she has a raspy voice that is sooo cute. She could pretty much get anything she wanted right now (probably can anyway) with that cute voice. The sad part of all this that Nana, Pop pop, and I all caught her cold and suffered greatly this weekend. As Pop pop so eloquently put it "How can anyone so smll and cute spread so much misery around?"

Since everyone is getting healthy now, we will hopefully have lots of fun stuff to report about soon.

2007-05-07 01:39:49 GMTComments: 1 |Permanent Link

Planting marigolds

Emily talking to her seeds

2007-04-23 03:27:00 GMTComments: 1 |Permanent Link

Entry for April 22, 2007

Hello! This is my first time "blogging" so please bear with me. I guess this is what I get for complaining that Bruce didn't update Emily's site often enough. I am starting out simple, but trust me it will get more interesting.

Over Spring Break, Emily and I planted Marigold, lavender, and lima bean seeds (though Emily was expecting instruments to grow after watching Little Einsteins). Emily would not touch the dirt, but she did drop the seeds in (from a distance) and water them. Emily was very excited about her seeds and we kept checking throughout the day for progress. I guess her sense of time is a little off still. Our seeds started out well, with marigold sprouts by the end of the week. That was the end of the progress unfortuantely because then we had our huge windstorm with really cold temperatures for a week . Our seeds suffered, but we have started the revival process this weekend. Emily still likes to check them out everytime we return home from somewhere, which in our world is very often. She is very cute, bending down and talking to them. I am not sure what she says, but I bet it will work. To help Emily out while they grow, we did buy full-grown marigolds for the garden. She helped plant them by digging in the dirt with a (clean) shovel while kneeling on a kneepad. No dirt for this girl!

2007-04-23 03:25:38 GMTComments: 1 |Permanent Link

April 16, 2007

Welcome! This is Bruce speaking, and while I may have set this up, and you may hear occassionally from me on this blog, have no doubt that this is KT's Korner, whole domain where Emily's mommy can have her say about anything she wants. But those of us that know her have no doubt that it will mostly be about Emily :) So without further adieu, I'll let the lady of the house have her say....

2007-04-17 02:54:39 GMTComments: 1 |Permanent Link

Early Emily blogs, pt 3

One more school picture

Emily taking a rest in the moonbounce.

2007-06-20 18:44:51 GMTComments: 0 |Permanent Link

More school pictures

I do not know how to add more than 1 picture to an entry yet (I am still learning.)

2007-06-20 18:43:31 GMTComments: 0 |Permanent Link

Emily's school visit

We went to Preschool fun day at Emily's new school (Valley Drive Preschool). It was the graduation for 4 year olds and welcoming for new 2 year olds. It was a lot of fun and really well organized-a good sign. Emily fit right in with the 2 year olds and had a blast making spin art, playing ring toss, climbing on the cool play equipment and junping in the moon bounce. The best part was when the classes would line up to go to the next "area", Emily got right in line and waited her turn. (Gymboree is paying off!) Emily now plays school at home with her cheetah lunchbox, Dora books, and crayons. It is very cute because I am "teacher mommy" and we do storytime, snacktime, and other fun activities. She is really looking forward to school in September (she just doesn't realize teacher mommy is not going with her.)

2007-06-20 18:40:31 GMTComments: 0 |Permanent Link

Happy Father's Day (a little late)

I just wanted to wish all of the fathers out there a Happy Father's Day, especially Emily's daddy. Emily's current favorite things to do with daddy are to play baseball and sneak up on him and tickle his ear.

I am staying home all summer with Emily and it should be lots of fun (hopefully I won't spend too much money.) We have already gone to the zoo on the hottest day ever (if you ask her what her favorite animal was at the zoo, she will say the giraffe, cute except there was no giraffe to see.) We have big plans for Sesame Place, the watermine, and vists with her friends Ella, Jonah, Cooper, and Sully. Also, mommy and daddy went to Jimmy's wedding (it was very nice) and Emily had her first 2 night sleepover with Granny and Poppi. They all survived!

Also, on the growing list of cute sayings- I asked Emily to help me remember to get diapers and her response was "Everybody needs help mommy. It's okay." Awwwww!

2007-06-20 18:31:56 GMTComments: 0 |Permanent Link

An update on Emily

Things with Emily are crazy as ever. We will be going to the Preschool Fun Day at Emily's preschool this week. I can't believe she is old enough for preschool. It is going sooo fast! Emily is now in 3 Gymboree classes (I can't bring myself to cancel any of them.) On Saturdays, she goes to music with Ms. Christina and enjoys playing the triangle and xylophone. This is the class we will probably drop for the summer. The timing is really difficult and she is not as engaged in the activities. She also attends art with Ms. Karen on Mondays. She really enjoys this class and is making baby steps towards getting messy. The coolest part of this class was when Emily learned to do a relay race. Ms. Karen gave each child a crayon. Whne the music started they had to run up to their paper and color. When the music stopped, the kids ran back and got a new color, and this kept going for 5-6 colors. I was so excited that Emily figured this out on the first try! I sat back and just encouraged her, but she did it all by herself. She even began watching Ms. Karen to anticipate the music changes. On Thursdays, Emily goes to a combo play and music class. This is the class with most of our friends. We have been with these kids for at least 5-6 months (some for almost a year). We are going to try summer playdates with Leanna. Should be interesting! We have gone to several very cool birthday parties with these friends.

This summer should be busy. Mommy is staying home and not working (1st time since 9th grade). Emily and I have big plans to go to the pool, the playground, go to the zoo, go for long walks, and get potty trained!! We will also have a fun visit with Sarah, Ella, and Jonah when they come up in July, a trip to the beach, a rocking party for Sully's birthday in June, and a trip to Sesame Place on July 1. Should be exciting :)

Emily's favorite thing to do now is sing a long to her Cds and Tv shows. It is very cute because she really does know the words, especially her new Wonder Pet cd we listen to in the car everyday. This girl just continues to amaze and surprise us with the stuff that comes out of her mouth. I thought I would post some of the funny, crazy quotes we have gotten lately from Emily.

  • Going into McDonald's "Nana, I have my moments." Isn't that the truth? (A direct quote from everyone's favorite Wonder Pet- Ming Ming.)

  • At the DC Divas football game, Emily wanted to dance with daddy. Daddy was actually trying to watch the game so Emily tried to convince him "Daddy, don't be shy. It's okay."

  • Emily and I were singing songs at bedtime and she wanted to sing a duck song. I was not sure what song she was talking about so I asked her to sing a little. Her response "Mommy, I'm just a little baby, I can't do it myself."

  • In art class, when Ms. Karen asks for the magic word to open the treasure box, Emily always responds with "Abre." Please forgive my spelling, I do not know how to spell the spanish word for open.

  • While playing "babies" Emily was pretending to be a baby and crying in her daddy's arms. Then she said the baby needs to go in her stroller. I told her we didn't have a stroller inside, it was out in the car. Her response "Mommy, we can just pretend, okay." Made me feel silly.
I am sure there will be much more soon. Thanks for reading

2007-06-04 01:51:13 GMTComments: 0 |Permanent Link

Emily, the early blogs pt 2

More Funny faces

Her favorite face for pictures.

2007-08-06 01:45:46 GMTComments: 0 |Permanent Link

Baseball celebrations

She is not one to hide how she feels.

2007-08-06 01:43:10 GMTComments: 0 |Permanent Link

Playing baseball with daddy

One of Emily's new games is to play baseball with daddy. Emily loves holding her bat and having daddy pitch the ball to her. Daddy has been proving what a good pitcher he is by throwing the ball directly at her bat so she gets a hit almost everytime. We will worry about the real world and she won't always get a hit, blah, blah later. Trust me, her celebration dance is worth it. "I scored! I scored!"

2007-08-06 01:39:33 GMTComments: 1 |Permanent Link

Visiting with friends Cooper and Sully

In July, we were very lucky and it worked out that Abbie and her cute boys (except for Jim) were able to come stay with us for a few days. It was a crazy couple days with 3 kids under age 3, but it was fun. I even borrowed the minivan from my dad- that was really cool. Emily really enjoyed seeing her friends Cooper (2 1/2 ) and Sully (14 months). She was really good at sharing (mostly) and even let Cooper sleep in her room in her crib! Sharing toys was a little harder. At one point Emily was running around the house carrying a toy saying "Help me, help me he's gonna get it." Fortuantely, Emily's overreaction was too much for Cooper and he realized it wasn't worth it and moved on. At that point I adopted Sarah's strategy of if you don't want to share it, it has to be put away before friends come over.

We were able to get our acts together enough to go to Burke Lake Park and played on the playground and walked down to the water (once the kids finally woke up. They all 3 fell asleep right before we pulled into the park. ) Emily was very cute leading us on "the dangerous path" through the woods and being quiet so we didn't wake the animals up. We all had fun throwing sticks in the lake (probably scaring away all the fish from the fisherman). The kids were really cute playing together. I just thought the picture of Emily and Cooper walking in the woods was so sweet.

The most interesting thing about their visit actually started a week after Abbie and the boys had left. Emily's new favorite game is to pretend to be Sully. This is quite an in-depth game too. I have to go by "Ms. Abbie" and nana is "Cooper" and I am supposed to address her by "Sully" or she will correct me. She tells me "Ask Sully what he wants" or "Sully needs his baby toys." It actually lasted over a day and a half once! She has quite the imagination.

2007-08-06 01:31:43 GMTComments: 1 |Permanent Link

Splashdown Waterpark

In June, Bruce and I made an impromptu decision to take Emily to her first waterpark. We went to Splashdown Waterpark in Manassas. Very fun! We only stayed a couple hours, but I definitely feel we got our money's worth. Emily enjoyed riding the lazy river with daddy, splashing in the pools, playing with the water fountains, and she even went down the slide a couple times. She was hesitant about the large pools and crowds of people, but she did a great job and had a lot of fun. Those of you who know of Emily's eating issues (and who doesn't?) will be happy to hear that she ate most of my pizza slice that day. She hadn't had pizza in months. It's a start at least.

2007-08-06 01:12:31 GMTComments: 0 |Permanent Link

In the beginning...

Okay, so now for a little something out of the ordinary.

A few years ago, in a state of temporary insanity did a website --part of which was to catalog my independent film efforts and the other part to chronicle the growing life of Emily. I never did develop at all the indie film side (I've got Keith and his website for that! :) But I did get into Emily's side and was doing some things.

However, the last thing I did for it, much like this blog, was long ago, so I've decided to shelve it...for now. Someday I'll get all my internet skills in a row, but these days there's far too much going on for me to develop it into what I want it to become. But I didn't want to lose the good stuff on there, soooooo...I'm tranferring it to here. So what you'll see is 19 pages of early Emily in its glory with a blog started by Katie that I gave her space for on the website. She has since blossomed on her own and has her own blogspot universe, but here's the early days. Enjoy!


Ok, we survived preschool. Emily is now sleeping and recovering.

She woke up at 4:30 and was wide awake all morning. She was worried when I reminded her we had to get ready for school. Her response "All by myself today?" Later, she assured me she would be fine.

We got to school and she freaked out a little at the idea of kids going in first and playing with her toys, but I assured they were older kids. We found a friend outside and they walked over together :) We went in well (until someone pushed by her on the stairs and I had to carry her.) In the room she started playing but got upset when she couldn't take her shoes off (I had double-knotted them!) I calmed her down and then got ready to leave. She ran to me "Mommy I am scared!" I did not think this would end well. I calmed her down again and then a good parent who was co-oping asked if Emily would play with her and they were off. I waited for the "runners" to do 2 checks, no crying, so we were good :)

After, she was exhausted and hungry. She cried to just go home. She didn't even want lunch with Nana and Poppop. We came straight home and she begged for a nap. (Her usual naptime is 3:00).

We seem to have survived.

2007-09-11 20:35:26 GMTComments: 0 |Permanent Link

Kids say the cutest things...

Everyone who knows Emily, knows that you never know what will come out of her mouth. Well, here are a few of the recent quotes to make you smile. I hope they translate into writing and it isn't one of those "you had to be there things."

  • Opening a new Happy Meal toy (an everyday occurrence)

"That is the cutest thing I have ever seen."

  • When I carried her across the grass

"Mommy you are so courageous."

  • Walking into Granny and Poppi's house with new pictures on the wall

"This is amazing!"

2007-08-17 21:31:10 GMTComments: 1 |Permanent Link

Visit with Ella and Jonah

In July, we were lucky enough to have an extended visit with Sarah, Ella, and Jonah (we missed you Andrew). Mommy and Sarah got to have grown-up meals without kids. Wow!!! We actually went to grown up places- Los Tios (our favorite) and the Chart House in Old Town with grown up food, drinks,..... It was really lovely. On Wednesday, Ella, Emily, and Jonah had a great time playing at our house, eating at ... McDonald's of course, and playing at Burke Lake Park. We rode the train and the carousel and then wandered the nature path until we found an amphitheater. The kids had tons of fun until the huge downpour!


Ella and her tiny friend Emily


So sweet


These girls were born to be onstage!


Ella teaching Emily a dance routine.

Emily was actually doing some of the steps at the pool a month later!


I think Jonah was wondering what these crazy girls were doing.

Overall, a great visit.

2007-08-09 02:51:22 GMTComments: 0 |Permanent Link

Emmy and Poppi

So sweet!

2007-08-06 02:07:41 GMTComments: 0 |Permanent Link

Funny face

She loves it when you say "pose for the camera."

2007-08-06 02:04:35 GMTComments: 0 |Permanent Link

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

First Week

Wow, it’s been since ’06 since I wrote in this thing. It seems I only do it when the Steelers win the Super Bowl, so if you want to hear more, they’d better win again next season!

But really, I decided to blog my first week at the new gig because invariable everyone asks, “How’s it going?” and rather than bore everyone with the same story, I figured, why not give a blow by blow detail on one easily accessible space? That way everyone’s happy J

Day 1: Typical first day at a new place. I spend the morning in FAMS HQ in Reston filling out enough paperwork to think I was buying a house again. Invariably the HR person going through this torture with you is your new tour guide to your new job, and mine is Henry Mak (his last name is MUCH longer, but I don’t want to run the risk of mispronouncing it or misspelling it, so he gets shortened). Henry’s an affable fellow -- early thirties, cool – but the weirdest thing is…he’s not HR!!! He’s the exec assistant to the three head honchos. But he’s the one showing me around, introducing me to people, helping me fill out the forms. So hey, this is how they roll, eh?

After signing my life away and ensuring my benefits and government life continue uninterrupted (cross your fingers!), I’m whisked away to take the oath to serve my country. Now, I’ve done this before with the Agency, but that was in a group. So it’s sort of intimidating with my big boss, his second in command, my direct boss, and Henry standing there as I almost have a Justice Roberts moment while being sworn in.

I eat lunch with new best friend Henry and make my way to my new “home”…Ashburn, VA. Yay! For those of you who don’t know where that is, it’s in BFE…well, it was BFE before Leesburg Outlets and sprawl made it a new suburb of DC. But from Reston, it’s a 15 min hike and I’m there in no time. I’m reintroduced to my coworkers Ryan and Basil and our lone female video nerd, Avalon is out, but I’ll catch up with her Wednesday. Ryan is a 29 year old guy who is supercool and laid back. He’s built like Andre the Giant, but has the demeanor of Jack Black with some surfer dude thrown in. I like him immediately, moreso after we duel with “Princess Bride” quotes. Every video shop needs a “senior” member and Basil is ours. Just a little north of age 55, he’s an interesting guy. I can’t quite peg him, but I do know he has a wicked sense of humor and has that old guy, I-don’t-have-time-to-deal-with-a-lot-of-crap mentatlity which I dig.

I get the tour of THIS facility and it’s a vast improvement over what it looked like 6 months ago when I interviewed. Then, they were just standing up their studio and edit room and most everything was happening in tiny rooms in the basement. Now we have a pristine edit room with 4 Avid workstations (we’ll all share the room) and a spanking brand new studio space with a three-camera setup and lights and anchor desk and all. Pretty sweet. My actual desk is on the opposite side of the building, so I have two workspaces I can clutter up :) And evidently there is a full fledged plane nose in the back of the building used for training. Gotta see that.

While the building is pretty massive, really it’s just us and the IT/Internet Security folks who comprise the ground floor. Upstairs is a meeting hall/cafeteria and break out rooms cause there’s training here every once in awile. Coming from a building that’s constantly occupied and ginormous at the Agency to this one, the joint feels eerily quiet at times and is a little weird, but I’ll get used to it. And in the basement is a gym, assembled with great pride by the head of security here, so I have no excuses to get in shape now...but I’m sure I can think of two or three. We spend the rest of the afternoon just hanging out and I’m informed tomorrow is when the guy comes here to install our new Unity system (more on that tomorrow), so I can “dress down,” which here is polo shirt and slacks/cargo pants that look decent. And after talking to my boss, I try for a 5 day a week schedule from 10-6:30, which is GLORIOUS to me. I get to still take Emily to school and keep a late schedule, but he urges me to think about the alternative work schedule idea. I say I’ll think about it. But all in all, a good day. It’s definitely going to be interesting.

GENERAL RECAP: I can have my cell phone again (yay!) and have internet, but can’t access any, ANY, personal email accounts (booo!); Monday thru Friday I have to wear shirt and tie (eh), but no jeans ever, not even on Fridays! (booo!); my commute is averaging an hour and I’m trying different routes to see what works -- today was the Toll Road to Reston, then Toll Road from there to Sterling. I think no matter what, it’s going to be a haul, but it’s not too horrible. iTunes, I have a feeling, is going to make a lot of money off me this year.

And dude, I miss having a TV at my desk. How will I know what’s going on with the world?!

DAY 2:
God has a very, VERY good sense of humor or at the very least a flair for irony.

A little background: for those of you not in “The Biz,” Avid is a company that makes editing systems for post production on films and TV. Their high-end products have been used in Hollywood for years and by anyone wanting a high standard for their productions. They also have more affordable products aimed at schools and indie filmmakers, but Apple has beaten them in that arena with their Final Cut system for some years, and Avid is now trying to play catchup.

A great tool if you have an Avid is the Unity system, which is basically a giant hard drive (server) where you can store files and information and share that with any other computers on that server. At my previous job, management was practically stalking us in an effort to GET RID of our Unity system. In their wisdom, they were replacing our Avids with Adobe’s Premiere Pro editing system. Nothing against Adobe’s offering, but I’ll use an analogy we constantly told The Powers That Be in our futile effort to have them not take the Avid away: “You’re basically taking away our Ferrari and giving us an Accord and telling us to go just as fast.”

So imagine my surprise that when I come here, we’re installing a Unity system. And because I’m the only one on the team with experience with it, I’m going to be leaned on to help everyone get up to speed. And to make the irony even more delicious, when I walk in to help with the install who should be running the show but Chip, the same guy who did upgrades to our Unity system when I first got to CIA. I recognize him, he recognizes me, we chat it up...the universe is very small indeed. Chip will be with us the rest of the week for the install and so I spend time catching him up to speed on what’s been going on at The Agency, much to his amazement.

And it’s quite funny going from a super secure environment like the Agency to here where it IS secure, but people look at me funny when I ask questions like, “I can use a credit card?” and “I don’t have to lock up when I leave?” I get a lot of head shaking at some of my questions, but to their credit, they understand where I just came from. Oh, and I did learn this: while I do work for the Federal Air Marshal Service, when talking to the general public about where I work, I should just say TSA (cause I don’t want ANYONE thinking I’m a marshal. Jack Bauer, I ain’t!), but internally I should refer to myself working for FAMS. Nobody respects TSA it seems.

And it isn’t til today I put my finger on the different vibe I get here and at HQ. A lot of The Service is made up of former military and law enforcement, mostly Secret Service (who have come from local police and/or military backgrounds anyway). I must’ve been asked was I former military about 4 times walking the halls at HQ. At the Agency, you got a mix of backgrounds and that made things a little more...”relaxed.” Here I do get a little more rigid feel and I’m warned by all of my team that there are huge egos we bump into, so watch out and don’t be afraid to let my boss Jesse take the hit. Mental note: so it seems I’ll be running into a lot of egomaniacs. Must talk to Jamie Cave for practice :) .

DAY 3:
Chip has us knee deep in Unity system training. At the Agency, we didn’t do any admin and had one of our IT guys be the “custodian” of managing the server. Here we’re all the custodians and while there are benefits to us having the responsibility and power, part of me is worried we may just shoot off our foot one day by accident. Stay tuned.

And my last team member, Avalon, is back. Avalon is a lady same age as me, also cool like Ryan, but is his physical opposite. Tall and slender, she’s always on the go and at times talks so fast, I’m like, “Huh?” She has amazing energy and is clearly leaned on by Jesse for IT stuff and is his go-to person for most things -- a natural second in command, which I find interesting given Basil is older. She defers to him on stuff very respectfully and all, but you clearly get the sense she is the one who knows the most of what’s going down at any given moment other than our boss.

So after a day of being battered with Unity info, my brain hurts and I head home. Fairfax County Parkway has become a viable way to and from work, but darn that Fair Oaks Mall. Traffic is a bottleneck mess at that point and at Reston off the Parkway, but it seems the best way for me to go, especially from Mom and Dad’s house. And I’ve talked with my boss Jesse; I WILL do the alternative work schedule. After talking with Katie, it just made sense to work 9hrs/8hrs-for-one-day and then have a day off during the two-week work period. I liked the way things were (remember me, the guy not a fan of change), but I still get to at least have Emily in the mornings and maybe now a whole day with her. And if we do film another Sapling Pictures masterpiece (Keith, Brian, and I) or I get one of my own projects up and running, now I have some time without using my annual leave. So we’ll see.

And I still miss having a TV at my desk. And March Madness is upon us! Even worse timing on my part!

DAY 4:
More Avid Unity training by my main man, Chip. Before, the guys had been saving footage to hard drives at each workstation and working off of those, and since all the files they were working on depended on which machine they were at, their file management isn’t the best. With the Unity, it almost demands that you’re really descriptive with your stuff and organization of your materials is key. As much as I lamented the amount of paperwork and strict workflow at my last gig, this one is the polar opposite and it looks like I’m going to have to come up with a way to wrangle that. Again, God and irony. He’s laughing at me, I just know it.

And today is Chip’s last day with us. I tell him it was good to see him and that if I do see him again, it’ll be here and not at yet another new place. Chip’s a really good guy and it was great to see a somewhat familiar face in this new place, sort of like an episode of a spinoff series and you have someone from the old series show up. But man, Chip smokes like a chimney and the way he smells after a smoke break is not something I’ll miss.

DAY 5:
So I come in late from a doctor’s appointment and the “On Air” light to the studio is on. No shoots were scheduled, so I totally think this is a gag or maybe someone accidentally hit that switch when they turned on the lights and walk in the door anyway. Imagine my surprise when there IS a shoot going on in the studio! Luckily they were in between takes, and everyone was cool about it, but I’ve now established Rule #1: Believe what you see! After helping out with the taping and all, I go through the gear we have, getting an inventory of what I’m dealing with here. They have some good stuff; not nearly as much as we did at MPG when I first got there, but not bad for a new operation that’s two years old. Basil, Avalon and I mess around on our respective systems, see if there are any bugs from Chips handiwork. It’s Friday and everyone’s just killing time to go home and sure enough, I decide today is my 8-hr day and jet.
So Week 1 is done amazingly and I lived through it. Not much of my morning has actually changed in the time I get up and stuff, but that extra hour time in the car IS a bit different for me. And the people here seem nice, but it is the first week. We still need time to annoy each other. :) But I do miss my folks at MPG. It was very weird Monday not going to Langley as I had every day for the past two years. And I miss joking with those guys, and going to lunch with Greg and Brittany, and talking the latest in movies and Idol with Laureen, Rick, and Stephanie, and bitching about management. It’s definitely weird. I’ve just go to find my rhythm here and I’ll be alright. It is only the first week! Oh, and I get my first trip to Atlantic City in April, so that’ll be a hoot. Then I’ll really get to see what we do.

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

24 The Conclusion of Season 5

Ah, it's that time, my friends. The moment we dreaded has finally come and gone--the end of yet another non-stop year of "24." I must admit, what am I going to do for Mondays now? Watch reruns on FX? Borrow friends' DVD collections? Damn straight! Gotta have my Jack Bauer, and January's just to far away! All in all, I'd give this finale a 3.5 star out of five. They hit the right beats for the most part and as I've said before, this was the most consistent season where they've stuck with the main story without too many..."stupid distractions." And the acting performances alone push it almost to a five. Greg Itzin totally deserves to have an Emmy on his shelf next year, and if they need someone to head the petition to get him nominated next year, I'm there. Superb acting by everyone really and it held up the tradition of truly heart stopping moments for some episode cliffhangers (Edgar!). Out of all the finales this year (be on the lookout for my Finale Round Up in the coming days), this one wasn't the best, but it by far wasn't the worst either. SO what did we learn going out with a bang?:

--that coporate sponsorship is alive and well in primetime. Chloe boots up a computer and Cisco Systems displays for like a good five minutes just to let you know what preferred hackers/computer geniuses use. Also during the Palmer funeral, Mike Novik or someone uses a Sprint phone with streaming capability to watch CNN's coverage on TV. You know the real sponsorship deal they should be working on? ADT or freaking Corby to get some really good security on CTU next year. If CTU factors in next year's storyline or anything, I certainly hope there's nothing disasterous going on there. Been there, done that too much.

--Jack is a control freak. We know this of course in the past five years watching our galliant hero face off with terrorists, but my man tells Petty Officer Rooney the EXACT way to filet a dude. I thought showing people how to hotwire cars and pick locks on TV was pushing it. What's the word of the day, class? "Carotid Artery." I bet you thought you'd never save a Russian submarine on your own when you signed up for the Navy, did you Rooney? I do like those moments in the show though because while Jack is a baddass and can take out the Army without blinking, it's good to show how killing and mayhem don't come as easily to some of the folks Jack comes across and are put in these incredible situations.

--RED SHIRT ALERT! Dude with Jack as you're checking out the sub while Henderson is fiddling with the missiles, I'm sorry to tell you, you are dead. Look around. You're a no name, you're with Jack, there are hostiles nearby. You're dead. Hope you've got your fall perfected cause you're going down.

--that killing Henderson closed a great door for them. As being badass #2 on the show, I kind of wish they hadn't killed off Henderson. It would've been great to have him, as part of his pardon deal, have to go in and save Jack. But then again, Henderson did kill David Palmer, and that's a no-no we fans can't tolerate. Justice is a dish best served cold...and boy, did Jack serve him a helping.

--that Chloe at this point doesn't work for anybody but Jack. She might as well change her name to Q and call him James. Jack makes one call to her like, "I'm going after Logan, I need this," and you almost see her shrug her shoulders and throw her arms in the air like, "Oh, why not." I mean, the woman has been doing all this stuff behind everyone's back all day anyway, might as well do this one. Only Jack could inspire such loyalty :)

--we learn that we ARE watching a Fox show and not the WB when Martha and Aaron say goodbye. If it were a WB show, clearly there would've been a long, deep kiss and James Blunt's "You're Beautiful" would've been playing under it as they parted ways perhaps never to meet again. I was so like, "Aw, no kiss! Come on!" but it didn't fit the honorable knight in shining armor Aaron is. She is still married...married to a putz, but married nonetheless. I'm still mad Aaron didn't get to kill more people, but hell, I'm just glad he survived. He's a good character; I hope he pops up next year. Also, Aaron escapes the compound with Mike only to come back with Jack? Sorry, um, I think we're missing the definition of the word "escape" here.

--that Chloe has an ex-husband? And he's British(?)? And he's a womanizing cad? How delightfully juicy. Now here's one of the major inconsistencies of the finale: They take out the submarine that it took 10 minutes of the episode before to capture in 20 minutes, which is so throwaway and you kind of scratch your head why, but we get this great part of Chloe's life with this seemingly cool character and we see him here and when he's dropping off stuff to Jack and that's it?! Bad producers, bad. Let's get more of the husband next year, possibly back with Chloe even though you can clearly see they're wrong for each other.

--the Chloe O'Brien Line of the Week: Martha and Mike Novick know that Jack is coming for the Prez --
Martha: Will he hurt him?
Mike: he says this much nicer, but Mike's line is basically "Jack will f--- that fool up if necessary." The definition of badass, people. You don't have to say what a badass you are, other people do it for you because THEY KNOW.

--that this is something I had a problem with throughtout the season. You're the President of the U.S. I know we're not in the Nixon era anymore, but you mean to tell me that nothing in that room of his was wired for sound, no cameras, no survellience equipment to spy on what's going on? I mean, it helps when you're trying to be a sneaky, underhanded President not to have electronics that could, oh, provide evidence, but I found it interested none of his rooms at the compound were heavily survellienced.

--that a commercial break is all Logan and Martha needed for a "quickie." No, didn't want to really see them "getting down," but man, that's quick! I know you gots stuff to do as Prez, but dang. And Martha's seduction proves that yes, even against our instincts, we men are slaves to the..."other brain." We can't help it. It's stronger than freakin' Kryptonite. Know and learn, females of the world.

--Chloe O'Brien Line of the Week #2:
Chloe to Jack: I don't mean to put added pressure on you, but if you don't get a confession, we'll be arrested for treason. Classic!

--The whole storyline getting the confession from Logan through Martha was handled brilliantly. Some people say they could see it coming a mile away, especially when Jack didn't shoot him, but I'm sorry, I was surprised and loved seeing the smirk on Martha and Mike's faces as they hauled Charles away like a common criminal. Again, I was holding out for someone taking a shot at him and ending his pitiful life, but I can take jailtime. Speaking of which, and I of course haven't mentioned how good he is before, but Itzin was great in his speech to Martha about putting her away in an asylum and drugging her. Viscious and evil, I loved it cause I soooo hated this dude! I like what they did with the Logan character and totally going from this sniveling guy last year to diabolical criminal mastermind way over his head. Well done.

--that at the end, I thought for sure Audrey would buy the farm. Have we killed enough women in Jack's life? Yes. But there was that beat when they were talking in the open I thought for sure someone would take her out. Instead, we get Jack taken out. Kim Raver's starring in a fall show, so it might be the last we see of Audrey, but hopefully they can work it out next year that she can be back.

And that brings us to the end with Jack on a slow boat to China...literally! People doubted me, but I told you, the Chinese would come into play and get our boy back. That dude was adamant last year and didn't believe for a moment Jack was dead, so I knew this season could end no other way, but Ari has a good point about in that highly secure area, four dudes can sneak in, take Jack out, and leave undetected? Ah, but it's that dash of implausibility we love about "24"....okay, it's more like a freakin' pint of implausibility, but it tastes oh so good! And that was a nice touch with the Edgar picture. All in all, a good season and they cleaned house. Can't wait to see who they add to the cast next year and how the heck Jack gets out of this one. I sincerely hope though they have someone like Curtis go in and get him rather than him escaping. I want Jack to rely on someone a little bit...then kick some ass. We also never learn more about some of the loose ends in the story--Wade Palmer, Martha's assistant, just how many more government agents were available to help bad guys escape--but all in all, a very decent finale. Thanks for reading everyone and please check here as I write about stuff OTHER than "24" now ;) Have a great Memorial Day weekend...


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

24 This Week: 5/15/06

Three more to go! Three more eps to go and this season of 24 will come to an end. How time flies. DirecTV has this thing called Showcases and one of them was a 2-minute summary of this season so far and has a few clips from the finale, and I've gotta say after watching it, this season has flown by and man, they packed a lot into it. I don't know about the rest of you, but I feel like this season was the best in terms of them presenting a good, straight coherent storyline and sticking to it. I mean, it wouldn't be 24 without the plot twists and turns (Edgar dying, President Logan being the baddie), but in terms of the overall arc of the season and all the things they did to get there, it was very straightforward and not...all over the place as some seasons have tended to be. Last night's episode, not one of my favorites I must say. They save a sub full of missiles as the big gun of the end? I just as well would've had Jack destroying the gas plant as the finale, or even the diplomat plane siutation. I just felt the sub thing was too much to present in just three episodes left. But last night did have some great moments...

--From my boy Cameron's mouth to the writers' ears: Friday we were talking about how would Jack handle Miles' betrayal and destruction of the tape and Cameron says, all Jack is gonna do is grab him by the throat, yell at him, and almost kill him. And lo and behold, that's what happened! I'm just glad they caught Miles and realized it was him, even though they had to let him go so he could hump the President's leg. And did you see how Jack took out the guard Karen told to stop him? One punch in the chest and dude was DOWN. I've gotta learn that....

--Henderson is Jack Bauer version 1.0 I mean, dude thinks like Jack, doesn't give a crap like Jack...he may be one of the best characters created yet for Jack to deal with. I just wish they had made him an out and out villain. That would've been a good battle of wits (he escapes and comes back next year?). And as for him saying he was helping them to obtain the files and stuff: dawg, you're going to tell the guy they're trying to apprehend you've got CTU with you, ask for a gun, and you want Jack to trust you that you're doing what you agreed to? Come on. I'm surprised Jack didn't shoot him on sight after the gun fight.

--The lovers, Aaron and Martha Logan. Ah, love is in the air. She finds Aaron, shoots his captor, and is tending to his wounds. Okay, who else thought they would go there and kiss? I totally thought they'd go there, but I guess with Aaron being all honorable, he wouldn't get all freaky with the still married Martha...but you could see the "unspoken bond" between them. I still have Vegas odds Aaron shoots Prez Logan, despite the tease for next week that shows Jack possibly doing it. On a side note: Keifer's movie "The Sentinel" features a Secret Service agent who is set up and blackmailed due to his having an affair with the First Lady. Coincidence, no? And the Chloe O'Brien Line of the Week goes to Aaron: "You are not a man and you have disgraced the office, CHARLES." I mean, all that was missing was Aaron spitting in his face. To no longer call him the President and give him no respect, you go, Aaron.

--So Bierko has one canister of nerve gas left, I can get with that. But you use it on a submarine? I mean, in that enclosed area, you'll never get all that gas out and you know how it stinks up the upholstery! But seriously, how did they know that submarine was in port there when it wasn't --as far as we know -- part of the original plan? And why do all the bad guys have great HR people? Because I always hire a team that's multitasked in not only chemical warfare, but how to RUN A FREAKIN' SUBMARINE! These guys can do it all. No terrorist plot too big, none too small. I find it amazing. And like Kathy was saying, that poor sub captain. Even if you're talking to Jack on the phone, you're a red shirt waiting to die. My man pokes his head out of the hatch, boom. Don't get next to Jack Bauer, I'm telling you.

--In one weekend, I've seen two "What Would" scenarios. On the West Wing finale, there was "What Would Leo Do?" In 24 last night, it was "What Would David Palmer Do?" Wise men to follow and live by. Something tells me there will be no "What Would George W Do?" ever uttered because that would mean interrupting our TV viewing with a political soapbox speech that could be shown on C-Span in the time it took to reiterate stuff he's said before. Fool! I'm not saying the immigration issue isn't important, but a national TV address? In the middle of sweeps?! To say things you've said already and just looking to ease the tension you, yourself, created? David Palmer would have known the value of not doing that....and the value of All-State Insurance :)

Next week, the stunning two hour season finale. How in God's green Earth are they going to bring Logan to justice without evidence? Will he even live or die (chant with me now: Aaron, Aaron, Aaron)? Will Chloe stop the submarine with her computer LIKE ALWAYS and give Jack the window he needs to save the day? And what happens to Jack? Now that every government agent in the world (thanks to that arrest warrant by the President) and everyone in LA knows he's alive, will the Chinese come knocking? Dude just signed on for a couple more years, so unless we're now called 24: Prison Break II, he's got to get away or be exonerated somehow. Will he and Audrey live happily ever after? And what about that Grey's Anatomy finale? What a let down! :) Until next week!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

24 This Week: 5/8/06

So after waiting for what seems like an eternity again for the new episode, we get the softer side of "24" this week. I must say, I liked it, and I'm a little biased because I like the writer of the episode, Manny Coto. He's cut his teeth on a lot of TV, but Coto was responsible for bringing some humanity to "Star Trek: Enterprise" in its last season, and he brings a lot to this episode where we get the action of landing the plane out of the way from the get go, and then on to personal relationships in the show. Jack and Audrey....Karen and Miles...Logan and Marty...Chloe and--the nearest laptop. :) Some people may think this one was a little slow, but I liked it a lot. But....what did we learn?

--that budget ain't necessarily going to special FX. I don't know, the plane stuff just looked bad to me for a show of "24"'s caliber, but maybe the money is being spent on all these freakin' guest stars this year and not CG. I mean it was decent for episodic TV budgets, but yeah, this show ain't Battlestar Galactica.

--that Jack shouldn't have to repeat himself. When the co-pilot/traitor is giving Jack some lip, Jack gets his gun a little closer to his head as if to say, "Just in case there's some confusion here, I have a gun. It's pointed at your head. Do as I say." That's effective negotiating in my book.

--that I thought at one point "24" would get wacky and it'd be the Marines vs. CTU (Curtis' ground team picking up Jack). Thankfully they realized we've had quite enough "Oh, come on" moments so far, so they gave us a break with this one. Besides, we all know who'd win--CTU agents can't keep a building secure to save their life, but in the field, with Jack Bauer, who can stop 'em?!

--that someone--oh, Miles--needs a BIG timeout. Okay, first of all, if I had a subordinate talk to me the way Miles talked to Karen, whoa nelly, there'd be some bitch slappin' going on! Maybe that's why I work alone, hmmm. But yeah, he demands that she tell him what's going on? She needs the Jack Bauer School of Counterterrorism, especially the class on "Do as I say or people will die, starting with you." And who couldn't see the treatchery from Miles coming a mile away. I didn't know if he was already in on the plot with the President, but I knew in some way, scuzzy Miles would do something underhanded and piss me off even more. Execution at the end of the show for two, please--Miles and President Logan. I do kind of feel like his betrayal of Karen is sort of not in character--he's a weasel but so far had been a loyal weasel--but hey, we need all the villains we can get on this show to keep it chugging for another 3 hours.

--speaking of villains, what's up with the driver of Beirko's transfer detail being in on it and the one eventually to lead to his escape? Come on! Is like every third government agent on the take in this universe? Grant you, we've gotten up the the President being crooked now, but damn, every time you turn around, there's some "inside man" giving a wink and a smile to the bad guy in custody to say, "Don't worry, man, we're going to the Sizzler after we get you out of those cuffs." Hopefully as the show is winding down, we've seen the last of this. Again, whoever's doing these background checks for these employees...we have a serious HR problems in the CTU/government world.

--another TV law: Right before you're ready to kill yourself, if there's not enough time to eat that last great meal, but just enough time for you to reflect, a character will always take a drink of alcohol...always. And it's most of the time a dark liquor, all the better to see on camera (gotta love that aged scotch someone always has stashed). Is it that you want to get sloshed enough to do the deed or we like liquor so much we want that to be the last taste on our lips? You be the judge.

--Great acting by the way of Greg Itzin (Prez Logan). The quiet moments during his walk back to his room after talking to the First Lady...his dialogue with Rocket Romano hinting at suicide...the guy is doing a great job. I must admit, they almost had me thinking he really was going to off himself...but then I looked and there was like 10 minutes left in the show, so I knew SOMETHING was going to happen to stop him :) And great little tender moment with Jack and Audrey as he visits her in the infirmary. I actually felt it was genuine. What can I say, I'm a mushy guy...

--two quotes of the week:
MILES: I'm just doing my job, Chloe.
CHLOE: Well, if your job is to slow things down, you're doing a great job, Miles.

and then when Marty says she'd be impressed with the President's ability to lie if she wasn't horrified that she was married to him. Ouch.

We're in the home stretch now, people! Secretary Heller IS alive after all, so that's one mystery solved. Aaron is tied up and looks like he's been beaten to a pulp. Here's hoping he says, "And I'm going to have relations with your wife," right after he plugs Logan upon his escape :) Jack tries to get the evidence from Henderson after the sabotage, so this is probably the last stand with Robocop--may the best badass win. And I've got to admit, I'm curious now with the tape destroyed how they're going to bring down the President. Unless someone talks, there's no way to get him. But we'll soon find out, same Bat-time, same Bat-channel.

You must, must, must check out this website. It'll mean more to those of us in the 30 and up category, but will be nostalgic for you younger tykes, too. It has a lot of intros from old TV shows and sadly, I have some in my video library I could give them to fill in their blanks. This is your warning: it is highly addictive and once you start watching, you can't stop! Till next week....

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

24: This Week 4/24-5/1

I'm baaaaaack! I know, I know...everyone went through withdrawal with no 24 update last week--and I humbly apologize; life got the best of me-- but I'm here and I'm ready to rumble about our good buddy Jack Bauer.

So, where have we been? Jack confides in his former boss, Secretary Heller, who then bogarts him, ties him up and proceeds with his own plan which results in the Secretary taking a spectacular swan dive off a cliff. I've gotta admit, I didn't see that one coming at all. I audibly said, "Whoa," as they cut to the wide shot and that Caddy speeds up to take the leap. I thought he'd maybe do some evasive driving on the road, maybe even he'd get out of the car and defiantly give the middle finger to the guys in the copter, but jump off a cliff? Never. So who wants to take bets now whether he's REALLY dead, or was saved?

We also now have Chloe escaping CTU --which isn't hard to do for the bad guys, so why should it for the good guys--and working out of Bill Buchanon's house. And everyone was right: the best line of the last week was when Chloe basically said, "Your equipment's crap but it's all we've got to work with so we'll deal." President Logan confesses to his sanity-hanging-by-a-thread wife of his misconduct of the day, Aaron our Secret Service hero disappears, and Jack is leavin' on a jet plane and we know he'll be back again, but...will he have the tape recording for evidence?! This brings us to this week and the things we've learned!

--that this week's episode was good for such a bottle episode. I mean, mostly we're dealing with Jack on the plane, Audrey's out of action, and we have good back and forth with Karen Hayes helping out at CTU and that's the show. So good show overall. Not great like the last ones have been, but of course....

--Chloe steals the show. Her taking out the tazer and tagging the drunk dude? BRILLIANT! And not once, but twice! I loved it; I was howling laughing. So the Chloe O'Brien line of the week isn't a spoken line, it's the powerful yet subtle hum of a tazer gun. I love that woman.

--that Jack Bauer is still The Man. Sing to the tune of "The Candyman Can".... who can take out an air marshal/knock him out cold/ take his gun, take his badge and take a plane alone/the Jack Bauer can/that Jack Bauer can....
I mean, I've really got to check if this is possible in the real world, but my man cuts open a panel and takes CONTROL OF A PLANE FROM THE BAGGAGE HOLD. That's the power of Jack Bauer. I do wonder though why he didn't enlist the aid of the air marshal instead of just putting him in the hold, but I guess it was easier than worrying about trusting him. After all, Jack did whip his ass and I don't think air marshal's take that too kindly :) Jack don't need no backup! And if I'm the pilot, I'd watch my back as I'm trying to give some lame excuse of a cramp to unlock the door to the cabin. But we are dealing with TV IQs, not real ones, so I understand we must have some dramatic effect.

--speaking of the plane, I don't know about you, but when they were doing the whole Jack to Chloe to get the pilot to not decompress the hold and running through Karen at CTU, it was a little reminiscent to me of the trash compactor scene in the original Star Wars. Chloe as C-3PO: "Curse my rusty innards, I can't save Jack in time!"....I mean, it was just so apparent I started shouting, "Shut down all the planes on the detention level!" If you don't remember this scene, or think this joke has run its course, please skip ahead...

--that the First Lady has taken the one way trip to Looney Toon Town and she ain't comin' back. Poor woman. She gets faith in her husband, he destroys it...she seeks out comfort from her Secret Service man Aaron, but her husband has him taken's a wonder she held onto the sanity she had to begin with. And Jean Smart is brilliant in this episode conveying a woman who's totally on the edge of losing it fully. Again, Emmy nomination in her future, gotta be. And how cold is Logan? She calls to ask him why he didn't confide in her in the beginning and he snaps back, "'Cause you crazy, ho! Why am I going to tell you anything when you're a drop away from drinking the Jesus Juice?" That was just mean and gave you insight into how Logan really feels about her. Two things have to happen: either the First Lady gets to take a shot at Logan or Aaron gets to plug him and stand over him saying, "AND I'm taking your woman!"

--And that Miles is a W-E-A-S-E-L, pure unadulterated sniveling toadie. He follows orders given by the President that are clearly weird unconditionally, but then Karen does something out of line and he calls Mike Novick?! Jerk! Oooh, I hate that Miles. Since we now have Rocket Romano from E.R. (welcome Paul McCrane to the "24" family), can we have a helicopter cut off Miles' arm and fall on him in the medical bay as well?

So only four more hours left, people! Can you believe it's gone by so soon? I can't. And I know they can't tie up everything, but I want to know the final fate of Evelyn, the First Lady's aide who gave up Jack's position to Henderson. Is Aaron dead or just detained? Wayne Palmer has to show up when President Palmer's body gets to DC, so what's the end for him? Will we find out who the heck Paul McCrane and his dark suited cronies are and how he got the President of the US to do all this crazy mess? Will Curtis get to be head of CTU so his life can be ruined? Ooh, maybe Chloe! Can you imagine Chloe running CTU? Priceless. And holy Snakes On A Plane...Jack has to avoid being shot down out of the sky? And here's a thought: a plane full of diplomats--did anyone see a Chinese diplomat? Cause if so, our boy Jack has bigger problems....

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

24 This Week: 4/17/06

Dude! Okay, so the show is BACK! "24" is kicking on all cylinders again and last night's episode demonstrated again why we keep tuning in each year. Great balance of intrigue, drama, action, conflict...tell your friends! Here's my random thought in watching last night's show: Remember when Startac cell phones came out and they were the hot thing and you saw them then appear in every TV show/film known to man? Now Razors have taken over. I can hear the commercial now: "When the leader of the free world wants to make clandestine dealings to known terrorists to secure oil for America, there's only one phone he'll use. The Motorola Razor: now in silver and black...and pink. Get one and destroy the world today!" Gotta love product placement. :) And now...

What have we learned this week:

--That again actor Gregory Itzin was PERFECT as a choice for President Logan. We think he's a boob, then we think he's diabolically evil, and now you see a little of the...the best word I can come up with is "cowardice" creep back in. He's definitely more manipulative and savvy than we thought, but you see the side now where he's not sure his little machinations will hold up and how long until he's found out and a goner. And the scene with Mike Novick where he's questioning him about his search for Jack--I honestly didn't know if Logan might do something to Mike. There were a couple of times I thought he'd grab something and beat him (okay, just knock him out, but he's crazy, right? :) It's a testiment to what Itzin's done with the character that you actually think he can be a man of action now; Logan's got some chops, he's dangerous! But great acting job. I wonder if they knew this in casting him last season, where they would take Logan and that's why they chose him.

--that Jack Bauer is, once again, The Man with a capital MAN and you shouldn't go against him. Exhibit A: Secretary Heller taking Jack and Audrey out once they present the evidence. HELLO! As pointed out by my homeboy C. Young, Heller worked with Jack, trusted Jack, knows Jack is the man, yet goes against his advice and does the complete opposite in confronting Logan. Come on, man! You've been a politician long enough to know you guys can't be trusted! And that Logan will hold onto his power no matter what rather than "step down quietly." According to the scenes from next week, Jack tells Heller he feels betrayed by him and rightly so. Let's see a little Jack Bauer justice go on where Heller is concerned. And Exhibit B: Jack is James Bond, McGyver, and freakin' Chuck Norris put together. My man burns his wrists to get out of bindings, subdues the guard, gets in a firefight he survives, and saves the life of the woman he loves as she's bleeding to death. This is after a day of running out of a gas building where chemicals are being set off, evading arrest a gazillion times, surviving mutiple firefights, and surviving possible exposure to a nerve gas in CTU. Jack for President, baby....

--that speaking of bindings, TV prisoner rules are still in effect. In the history of television drama, there are just stupid things you have to do as a captor in dealing with your intended victim-- reveal the whole of your nefarious plot to them...not kill them immediately upon telling them your nefarious plot...not make sure there is nothing the prisoners can use as a means of escape (especially frisking them and taking any knives or even paperclips away) ...leaving the most inept guards you have on staff to guard said prisoners so they can subdue them and get away. And so we have last night, the dreaded guard peeks in to check on prisoners then stands watch. NOOOOOO! You always keep your eyes on the prisoners! What else do you have to do? Seriously. There may be that commando unit coming to save them, but guess what? They're coming to save the prisoners, you know where they're going. You either stand in the cell/empty room/torture room with the prisoner and watch them all the time or at least one guard watch them through the door constantly and the other look out for any rescue attempt. Ah, gotta love TV prisoner rules...

--that Audrey's having a freakin' day from hell. The love of your life returns from being dead, you think he's killed, you're tortured, and now this nutjob has cut your artery and you're bleeding to death. But Audrey is a quality woman: she yells for Jack to forget about her and keep the evidence--and honestly I didn't know which he'd do--but to make that kind of sacrifice...she's been reading my blog, too :) Jack, if she also unlocks the door for you as you come around to the driver's side in a car, that Audrey's a keeper. When you disappear yet again at the end of this season, you'd better take her with you.

--that the Red Shirt Death Tally is up to, what, 100 now in the course of this season alone? Heller's man is in the same position Jack is under the wheel of a plane in a firefight, but he gets shot. Jack's unharmed. People, again, read the blog....if you are with Jack Bauer, and you're not a character we love or love enough we'll miss when they die, you are history. Don't even pull out the gun and shoot back or run to the car where you and Jack will supposedly make a getaway. Accept your fate. You're a goner.

--The "twang" soundtrack is back and it, indeed, does sound like a soundtrack for Chloe. Don't like it. Please return to the haunting melodies and occasional maracas when there's tension. Don't get fancy.

--that Chloe would make the worst magician in the world. The slight of hand in taking Miles' key card as he left her cell? Come ON! He couldn't see that?! I mean, I guess I should be glad she didn't do the cliche of coming on to him or anything, but this was so blantantly bad and obvious. But it got Chloe out of the cell, and that's all that counts, right? And was it just me, or did I sense sparks when she reached Bill Buchanon's house? Hmmm, Bill and Chloe sittin' in a tree....

--and speaking of sittin' in a tree, Martha Logan got awfully close to Aaron when she was trying to get him to tell her why Heller was there. "You can trust me, know that." I tell you, that Martha Logan's a naughty little minx playing her two men like she's doin'. Secret lovers, yeah, that's what they are/trying so hard so they can't see/but we both belong to someone else...

--Chloe O'Brien Line of the Week: when Jack says, "Our government has no integrity...." and then pauses and finishes with the rest talking about Logan. Hmmm, you think they might be trying to say something there underneath about our current real-life administration? Hmmmm....

So next week, what the heck happened to Aaron in meeting Martha? The way they shot it made it seem like we were watching someone watching Martha, but then....nothing happened other than her finding the phone. Has our favorite Secret Service agent gone too far and gotten taken out? And I brought this up to peeps, and the lovely Laura C. had theories as well when we talked, but what do you think happened to Evelyn, the First Lady's aide, after she told Henderson where Jack was? They still haven't answered that this week. I think he killed her and her daughter. He's not the type to leave loose ends, but I am curious. I hope they address it at some point before the end. And now that he's disgraced, what can Heller do now? And I've got to say, a hero is only as good as his adversary and in Henderson, they've created a great villain for Jack. The only thing that could make it better is if they could really go at it in a physical matchup [but come on, for real, Keifer would kick Robocop's ass], but as far as minds, Henderson has been Jack's equal and then some. Cutting Audrey to slow Jack down as he escaped? Brilliant! No one since Nina Myers has there been someone more diabolical and Jack's equal. I'll shed a tear when Jack plugs him full of lead :) Next week, come on, get here soon! It's gettin' good, I can't wait!

Oh, and blatant plug of the week: for those of you who tuned in Sunday night to see Grey's Anatomy and were greeted with "What About Brian," I hope you gave it a shot. It actually is pretty good. It airs on Mondays 10pm and it's been described as the male Felicity, and I can see that, but in watching it, I think they totally capture what it's like for young couples (and the obligatory single friend) in their late 20s/early 30s. I can see each of my friends in each of the characters. I know I have a lot of TV, too, and don't wanna add onto the plate, but this one is worth it....