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Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Great New Television Show and A Great New Book Store

Recently I was introduced to a new show on the SyFy network called Alphas. It is about a team of investigators that have special genetic mutations. The team consists of Dr. Lee Rosen who is the leader and has no special abilities. Bill who can activate his fight or flight response and increase his strength and endurance levels. Gary, an autistic person who can see the electromagnetic signals of digital devices such as cellphones, the Internet, and television. Rachel who can increase her five senses to extremely high levels. Nina who has the ability to influence (mind control) others. And finally Cameron who has perfect aim and balance. 

The premise is very similar to the X-Men. The big question of the show is how will humanity react when it learns that there are super-powered beings in the world. Even though it is not a completely original premise, the show is original. The character Gary has one of the most original and interesting super-powers in the genre. In a world that is so dependent on digital technology, having a human that can trace these devices presents many interesting plot lines.

The second season premiered back in late July and will continue through the end of September. The first season is also on Netflix streaming, I just finished it, and I am ready to start season 2.

Secondly  I was on a field trip downtown for my job yesterday and I so happened to discover a new independent bookstore. It is called After-Words Bookstore. It is off of State and Illinois. It is an absolutely wonderful bookstore. They have an incredible selection. In fact I found John Lennon's In His Own Write, which I thought was long out of print, and Raise High the Roof Beam and Franny and Zooey by my favorite author J.D. Salinger in hardcover editions.

The atmosphere of After-Words is that of the perfect bookstore. Quiet, peaceful. I personally cannot wait to go back there. If you are in the neighborhood, go check it out.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Community...My Favorite Episodes

Over the past few months, I have become a massive fan of the show Community. I have not enjoyed a comedy this much since the first two seasons of 30 Rock. Community is absolutely ridiculous with some of its storylines, yet at the same time is grounded in reality. But what makes Community so good, what is at its heart, is the characters. Jeff, Britta, Annie, Troy, Shirley, Chang, Pierce, and of course Abed are a misfit group that you can't help but love. The show is a great character study of today's society and the views of young people.

Here are a few of my favorite episodes from season 1. (I wasn't able to get clips for every episode.)

Introduction to Film
This is one of the earliest episodes of the show. (The third episode I believe.) And it explores the back story of Abed. It does a great job of highlighting the bond between the group and how they view their respective roles in the group.

Introduction to Statistics
Community's first Halloween episode. Like the first 10 Simpsons Halloween specials, these are can't miss. Non-stop laughs throughout in which Annie hosts a Dia de los Muertos party, Jeff tries to hook up with a professor, and Pierce takes some pills he got from Star Burns.

Romantic Expressionism
This is one of the earliest episodes to explore the Jeff and Annie romance. Annie is dating Britta's ex-boyfriend, hence Jeff and Britta need to act as Annie's parents and break them up. This happens while the rest of the gang watch terrible movies, a la Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Investigative Journalism
As someone who runs a college newspaper, I found so much truth with this episode. The dean puts Jeff in charge of the school newspaper.

Modern Warfare
WATCH THIS EPISODE!! I don't want to write too much, but I will say this. It is one of the greatest television episodes I have ever seen. If this episode does not win you over, nothing will.

P.S. This was a very hard list to pick. Watch the entire first season, there is not a bad episode. Especially Contemporary American Poultry, Abed starts a mafia racket over chicken strips.

Monday, August 13, 2012

A New Podcast Idea

So I'm thinking of starting a new podcast with a music buddy of mine. The theme of the podcast would be vinyl and independent record shops. My friend and I are big fans of listening to music on vinyl. We find it to be a superior listening experience. Additionally we would review, interview, and promote independent record shops. These record shops are so vital to the music industry. Currently however they are dying. So anything we can do to help promote them, would be terrific.

My question is, what are today's music generations preferred music listening experience? I'm sure it is digital, but why? Is it the convenience factor? This can be something the podcast explores. Does this sound like a good idea?