People I love who don’t exist

I’m sitting outside of Waves coffee shop on 17th ave getting a solid example of why people fought for the anti-noise law that now threatens to provide me with a bevy of tickets for riding my bike. The riders cruising up and down 17th ave evidently have no functional genitalia whatsoever and have decided to take it out on anyone and everyone by blasting as much vehicular noise as possible. There is absolutely no reason whatsoever to red line your engine while coasting at five kilometers an hour except to draw attention to yourself. Congratulations, gentlemen, you’ve given us ample warning about how much of a douche you are and we now know enough to avoid you.

The Noisy Douche boys also map out every sensitive car alarm along the strip and rev every single time they pass them, setting the alarms off about every two minutes or so. It’s testament to how well placed my condo is that I never hear this noise when I’m home. About the only time I hear any noise coming from 17th ave is when its patrons try to get around some road block and argue with each other about where they’re going as they idle past my building.

Honestly, I’m getting the best of both worlds here. I like the energy of 17th ave in the summer, and it’s a very short walk away, but far enough that I don’t actually hear anything.

I’ve been starting in on a few shows that I thought I might comment on. Haven’t been doing much else so I might as well start there.

Two of my current favorite shows, Warehouse 13 and Alphas, have just started their next seasons. Odd, I know, being the middle of summer, but that’s the way the SyFy channel rolls, I guess.

A wide view of the warehouse

It’s about a lot more than storage.

Warehouse 13 kind of jumped the shark a while ago, in my opinion, but I still watch it loyaly because, well… it’s still kind of fun. True, the stories are getting slightly repetitive and they’re trying very for drama and coming down on the side of overdone and non-believable, but I still like the characters and I still love the concept. I’m constantly impressed with the artifacts they dream up and sincerely feel the series would work really, really well as a role playing game.

Okay, maybe saying it jumped the shark was excessive. It’s actually just finding it’s groove.

The constantly argued rule about not using artifacts for personal gain is the serie’s Prime Directive, that one fundamental rule of the organization that all of the heroes keep ignoring because they’re the heroes and rules don’t apply to them. Besides, if they honestly played it safe they’d lose half their story-lines, just like Star Trek. This season begins with Arty using a diabolically powerful artifact to rewind time and undo the destruction of the entire warehouse. Personally I think it would have been much more interesting to have them rebuild from the ashes, but the writers have to go with what the producers will approve and the producers will only approve whatever has been tried and true for the past forty or so years.

It’s tough to promote a show who’s entire premise rests on a literal warehouse of Deus Ex Machina but, honestly, it is fun to watch. The real pleasure comes from the interation of characters, and I definitely have my favorites. Much of the Warehouse 13 fandom actually doesn’t like Claudia because she’s overly bubbly and impossible to shut up, but I love her for precisely those reasons. Plus she gets, or inspires, the vast majority of the best lines.

Alphas has returned as well, much to my surprise. I don’t know why but somehow the end of last season felt like a big wad of Fail. Objective evaluation of the plot-line shows how the big reveal of the existence of Alphas opens up a whole deck of possible plot twists and complications, but the whole culmination was executed so hurredly it felt like the producers had told the writers there wasn’t going to be a second season and they should just wrap it all up as quickly as possible.

The start of the season doesn’t feel much better. The team is scattered to the wind, some of them working for the man, some of them hiding in their own way, and a couple of them firmly incarcerated. Within a single one hour episode they bring the whole team back together, including freeing the two that are jailed. And their collective recovery from all the damage left from the end of season one is handled in about five minutes.

It’s rushed, almost painfully so. It’s as if the writers are constantly looking over their shoulders, anticipating cancelation at any second, and are trying to cram as much into each episode as they can. If they push it any faster they’ll have to start presenting the episodes as cliffs notes.

But, again, I still love it. And, again, it’s partly because of the characters and partly because of the potential of the concept. Everyday people with everyday baggage dealing with super powers. From the autistic youth traumatized by the chaos of the real world to the daughter of traditional Persian parents who’s low self esteme has her at high risk of becoming a shut in to the red neck jock with nothing but former glory and a divorce in his past and dead end retail food jobs in his future, to the FBI agent trying desperately to return to his once pristine career, to the privileged rich girl struggling with a burdensome sense of entitlement while desperately trying to develope her new found empathy.

Alphas fight club

Hint: It isn’t the 90 pound girl who loses.

It’s rich, it’s diverse, and it has a great deal of potential. They introduce at least one new power a week, and each one is very cool and fairly well balanced. The man who’s body is cranked up to super speed is also cursed with aging even faster. The girl able to manipulate emotions is unable to fully trust anyone who seems to like her. The man who can see every influence in a chaotic system so as to predict it’s seemingly random outcome doesn’t understand how anyone else can’t and thus feels any accidental slight against him is pre-meditated. The woman who’s senses are capable of extreme sensitivity, from microscopic to telescopic, is becoming a microphobe because she can see, smell, hear, and feel ALL the bugs that we can’t.

Again, extreme potential for a role playing game. Of course there are already dozens out there that encompass this kind of story, whch is probably just another reason I’m such a huge fan of the show.

I’ve also downloaded the first seaon of Psych, a comedy detective show about a twenty soemthing with a Sherlock Holmes level of attention to detail with a Joey Tribiani sensibility and his sidekick partner who fills in all the little random skills he doesn’t have. It could be good, but it tries to hard to be funny, and his level of intelligence, his “attention to detail”, would only be impressive to standard American sitcom audiences. Anybody truly interested in an intelligent mystery will find the writing for this show to be incredibly banal. The humor is similarily low brow and unoriginal. Honestly, the only reason I watched the whole series was because I’d already downloaded it and there wasn’t anything else available.

Odd side note, the show used a few former cast members of Jpod as incidental characters, which makes me suspect the show is somehow filmed in Canada. Except that it can’t be because it’s filmed in a beach town where it’s always sunny and warm. It can only be in California, which suggests that those actors are just trying to edge into the American market.

In more mundane news a communal drain linking my kitchen sink to that of the neighboring condo and the laundry room got clogged up. The clog appears to involve water from the roof as well as the water coming back up the pipes was full of dirt and leaves. The water didn’t fill my sink more than halfway but it unfortunately flooded the neighbor’s place which then seeped into mine. The flooring in my kitchen area is soaked and already beginning to warp ever so slightly. The good news is a plumber called by my neighbor seems to have cleared the blockage, but the bad news is I’m still going to have to replace my flooring. I don’t know if my condo’s insurance will cover it or not. I think it should, but they’ve already taken a couple of hits from flooding other condo units last year so I don’t know if it would be worth puting in the claim. Assessing a third claim could jack our premiums up to a point where it would simply be cheaper to repair the floor myself.

And in other mundane news I’m losing the battle against my introversion and utterly failing to socialize. I have no idea how to re-kindle that struggle.

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