Miraculously, I got my Angel season 2 DVDs two days after Amazon shipped them, even though they used plain old USPS. I don’t really see how the USPS can stay in business for much longer. Bills can be paid online easier then using paper, nobody wants all the junk mail anyway, and FedEx and UPS deliver packages quicker, cheaper, and with better customer service than the USPS. USPS will never leave my packages somewhere, they always make me go out of the way to the post office to pick them up myself. If I had wanted to go get stuff myself, I would have driven to Longview to buy it. They just don’t fit in the 21st century.
Lest week I went to Salt Lake City for business, and I have to say that they win for most confusing street system. It is laid out in a grid and seems like it should be very simple to navigate when you look at a map, but that is far from the case. The streets are all numbered by how many blocks they are away from the Mormon Temple, so you can have 4 streets all named 1200 (12 blocks from the temple) north, south, east, and west. They also change numbers if the street happens to go diagonal for a while. It makes trying to read a map next to impossible. The air is also very dry. As annoying as Texas humidity can be sometimes, I prefer it to bone dry air.
I have the Angel season 2 DVDs on the way, hopefully there will be some good commentaries. Season 2 has some of the best standalone episodes of the series so far.
I finally got a chance to watch Spirited Away yesterday and was suprised at how much I liked it. It is very surreal and odd, even for an anime movie. Even though it is technically and “kids movie” and Disney distributes it over here, I would suggest it to everyone. Now I need to go track down some more Miyazaki movies.
I have gotten pretty deeply into DVD ripping and encoding (for personal use only) lately and for some reason I’m not getting tired of it. This is despite the fact that it is time consuming and some people would think a little strange to be ripping my own DVDs so I don’t have to put the DVD in when I want to watch some Buffy or Angel. So far I have 3 seasons of Buffy ripped and I am working on the first season of Angel. I (and the tools) have gotten much better since I stated, so I will probably start over and do it all again when I finally finish.
I have finally gotten my development server back up and running, and hence have made a long needed update to many of the sections of this site. I am not finished yet, there are still many things that need to be updated, most notably my thoughts on all the new movies and TV shows I have added to my favorite lists.
Once again, I am going to try and make regular updates to this journal, and as usual I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for them.
I really need to update most of the sections on here. I think I am going to drop the ranking of books and games and just list the best ones. The old ones haven’t gotten any worse, but I have found new stuff that I think needs to go on the lists. I also want to add a TV show section.
Speaking of TV, the more I think about it, the stranger it seems. Recently, within the past 10 years or so it seems like the quality of TV(at least some of it) has gotten much better. Old TV shows seem very weak in plot and execution compared to modern shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Alias, West Wing, and Scrubs. Even taking in to account that shows were done on a lower budget and with older technology, I can’t find a single pre mid-90s show that can hold up to the current best shows.
I have recently decided that Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the best TV show I have seen. I had always heard about how good the writing and acting was from people whose opinion I respect on such things, but due to circumstances beyond my control I was not able to catch the first or second season when they first aired. After that I watched a few episodes here and there but never really got into it because of all the back-story I knew I had missed. Then, last year after getting my computer->TV hookup all set up I was looking for DVDs to get and decided to pick up Buffy season one. After a marathon viewing weekend (or so I considered at the time) of all 12 episodes I ordered the second season. The next weekend I watched all 22 of those in an even more marathon session. At the time that was all the DVDs that were available so I set out to collect season 4-7 by other means by the time the season 3 DVDs came out in January.
When my season 3 set came in early January I had succeeded in my quest and over one weeks time I watched seasons 3 through the current episode of 7. I am now thoroughly convinced that good shows should be watched in the same manner as a good book is read, all at once with as few interruptions as possible.
Joss Whedon has managed to create something totally unique and absorbing from elements that seem boring and clichÃ© when laid out without context. Somehow he balances the Comedy, Drama, Action, and Horror elements perfectly.
Buffy does have its problems, after season 3 the dynamic greatly changed when the main characters left High School and the show changed to accommodate this. Seasons 4-6 were much weaker when looked at individually than any of the first seasons. I think this is partly because of the fact that Joss was spread thinner working on more projects and partly because of the issues the show was exploring. If you take the whole show as one long continuous story, the unhappy depressing parts are far more bearable. I think this is more visible to me than some of the fans that have been watching for seasons because I would probably be unhappy too if I had been watching for years and had 3 years of things looking continually grimmer. It is looking like season 7 is going to be the end, at least of the show in its current form, and hopefully he will be able to pull off a fitting ending.
I can say that season 1-3 taken together is the best story ever told on TV. The writing on the episodes is consistently amazing and just when you think it canâ€™t get better; it does, again and again. The pacing is nearly perfect and there is continuity like no other show on the air. The characters are constantly referring back to previous events and foreshadowing future ones.
I will end this rambling post with what I think is probably the best delivered line in the whole series from episode 2×06 Halloween which captures the essence of BtVS:
Spike: “Well, this is just… neat!”