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Book: Deep Storm

Posted by BenSpark on March 11, 2008

This past Sunday I bought the book Deep Storm by Lincoln Child at the West Palm Beach Airport. I finished nearly the entire book on my next two flight by using a speed reading method that I enjoy but hardly every use. I need to keep my brain more focused and speed reed more often. If I had been better I wound have finished the entire book that day.

The book was a very entertaining one. I got caught up in all the action and all the twists and turns. The book starts out on an oil rig. It made me think of the movie Armageddon. I pictured Bruce Willis on the deck winging golf balls at Greenpeace. I wonder what kind of golf clubs he was using? Maybe they were Nike golf clubs. But the action does not remain topside, nope, the main action takes place much further down.

I hate to spoil anything with books. This one was a very good one by an author I enjoy so let me say that it was worth the read. The thrills were worth it and the twists were very cool. I liked the main character, Dr. Crane, very much, too.

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She’ll be back

Posted by BenSpark on March 10, 2008

It looks like the TV show Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles is not ready for the slag heap just yet. Remember that a Terminator always will be back. Arnold’s famous line was not used in the first 9 episodes of the season. According to IMDB there were 12 episodes for this season but only 9 aired. The last three will most likely make up the 1st three of next season.

Apparently Thomas Dekker who plays John Connor on the show has said that the producers are pitching season 2 episode ideas around so there is a chance. Plus those last three episodes from season one should be seen, I don’t know if they were actually written and filmed though.

We still have to wait for the official word from FOX however. If they scrap it I am hoping that the Sci Fi network extends their hand and says “Come with me…..” You know the rest.

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Lost: The Other Woman

Posted by BenSpark on March 7, 2008

Spoilers ahead – You have been warned.

Last night’s episode of LOST was an okay one where we actually get back to flashbacks. This was one focused on Juliette. The begining of the episode made you feel like it was a flash forward and we were learning about another member of the Oceanic 6. However the feelings that Juliette was expressing were because of her ‘celebrity’ status on the island.

This had to be some of the most chilling episodes of seeing into the mind of Benjamin Linus. He is such a master manipulator. Not only does he convince Locke to Free him but in the flashbacks we learn that Ben is so taken with Juliette that he would send people on suicide missions.

Ben also had some funny moments in the episode as well. “That bunny didn’t have a number on it did it?” and “I taped over the game” But the episode was about Juliette. There was one point where she says something about, “you wouldn’t want to see my file.” Really, what were all the terrible things that Juliette did? She had an affair with her horrible therapist’s husband, yes that was wrong but not amazingly shocking.

Juliette and Goodwin became lovers, Ben in his jealousy sent Goodwin to the Taillies and he was killed. Then in a very sick manipulative way that only Ben can do, he brings Juliette to see Goodwin’s dead body. Then he explodes with rage and tells Juliette that she is his. Really? This master manipulator is reduced to the level of a possessive cowardly boyfriend. A sad turn.

We know that Ben gets off the island so I guess his running around the island isn’t that shocking. I just don’t see how his very small amount of manipulation is so easy. Locke is again reduced to an idiot in this season and I hate that. Locke was the man, then a crazy man, then the man again, now he is crazy and impotent as a leader. How soon do you think Ben is going to easily turn on everyone. He has secrets cached all over the island and as he said, he always has a plan.

While Juliette’s backstory was the focus of this episode it wasn’t that important or compelling. However there was one interesting moment where Barbara (Goodwin’s wife and bitchy therapist played by Denis Leary’s on screen wife from Rescue Me Andrea Roth) she appears through the whispers and confronts Juliette, however Jack sees her before she up and disappears. Is Barbara with the rest of the group at the temple or tempest? Where are the rest of Ben’s people?

And what is the obsession with places in Florida. Why not Branson, MO or somewhere else. The show seems to really not like Florida. Bad people come from Tallahassee like Locke’s father and what not. Tonight Ben tells Locke that in Gainesville, FL the Virgin Mary appeared in mold on the side of a building and thousands of people showed up. What would happen if they heard of Locke’s miracle?

The big question tonight that we will find out next week is who is the man on the inside, the man on the boat, Ben’s man. Who could it possibly be? I don’t believe that I hadn’t figured this out before but the man on the ship in my opinion is Michael. Why, because he is the only person to leave the island and not be dead. It won’t be any of the dead people it is gonna be Michael. That is my prediction.

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Vantage Point

Posted by BenSpark on March 6, 2008

It was raining in Florida today and so Allison and I ended up going to see a movie. We were planing on hitting a special theater that has a restaurant and free popcorn and love seats and whatnot. But that is a few towns away so since Eva was doing well in the afternoon we decided to go to a matinée.

We decided upon seeing Vantage Point. This was an amazing movie. Simply amazing. The basic premise is that we see an act of terrorism from several different points of view. Be prepared to go “What!” a few times.

I really enjoyed this way of storytelling and was so glad to see it in the theater. The scale of the story was huge and the way that things came together was incredible. I’m sure that other people were not as thrilled as I was but I really liked the movie.

Vantage Point is the story of a fictional Presidential Assignation and a Terrorist bombing at a fictional anti terrorist summit.

The cast was huge and amazing. William Hurt as the President, Dennis Quaid, Matthew Fox and Richard T. Jones as secret service agents. Forest Whitaker as a tourist with some video skills. Sigourney Weaver as a producer of a huge news channel. Even Bruce McGill makes an appearance as a Presidential aide of high rank. D-Day shows up in so many movies.

I don’t want to reveal anything about this movie as it was so incredible watching everything that happens as it happens. Simply amazing. Allison loved it as well.

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The Sarah Connor Chronicles: What He Beheld

Posted by BenSpark on March 4, 2008

As Always Spoilers.

The second hour of the two hour finale was the better hour, however it was just not enough to make it a season finale. And on that I agree with TV Squad. Sure there are tons of unanswered questions. There are also some cliffhangers but I really was hoping for something more. I am just not sure what it was that I was hoping for.

I loved the use of Johnny Cash’s When the Man Comes Around in this episode. I thought to myself when Agent Ellison was quoting to Charlie Dixon that the Johnny Cash song would fit very well in this episode. I was not disappointed. Judgment Day is Armageddon and it just figures that a song about Armageddon would eventually make its way onto the show.

In this episode we did not get comic relief in the form of Derek brushing his teeth. That was a pretty good part of last episode that I should have mentioned in the last post. I love that sort of humor, very subtle.

In this episode we get way more questions. The biggest one for me is why Cromartie did not kill Agent Ellison when he had him point blank at the end of the battle. It was eerie as swat team member after swat team member landed in the pool and a wisp of blood was seen. There must have been about 10 or so that went into the pool. And in the end Cromartie was let standing and so was Agent Ellison. Agent Ellison is reloading his gun and Cromartie aims his gun at Agent Ellison. And then does not kill him. So the obvious answer to this is that Ellison has something to do with the creation of Skynet.

Throughout the episode Sarah is trying to get the Turk from a man who has killed the gang that was run by Enrique’s nephew. It seems that all were killed except for the girl who kept watch. She seems so cold that I wonder if she is a terminator as well. However Cameron gives her a gun and asks her, “Do I have to kill you now?” I wonder if that was a threat to tell the girl to kill herself or keep quiet? Very odd exchange.

One very interesting part of the episode was the revelation that Derek knew that John was his nephew. And that Derek was the older Reese Brother. I really thought that he was the younger one. Derek takes John to the park and he sees his father as a boy. Young Kyle and Derek Reese are playing baseball in the park. I immediately know who they were because of an earlier flashback of Derek’s. This moment that the two men shared together was very moving. However Derek’s words were chilling and I thought that he was going to do something to either the earlier versions of himself and his brother. The episode ends where Derek is still at the park so I wonder if that is still a possibility.

The crew eventually tracks down the man who killed Enrique’s nephew’s gang. Derek kills him with a single shot in front of a small child. He covers her eyes but still did it in front of her, she heard the shot. However, that was not her father and that man was not the one who had the Turk. Another man did and he rigged a bomb in the jeep that exploded with Cameron inside. While that explosion was not enough to kill Cameron, it probably singed off her human skin leaving the shiny metal finish.

So I wonder if the show will return so we can have our questions answered. We shall see.

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The Sarah Connor Chronicles: Vick’s Chip

Posted by BenSpark on March 4, 2008

TV Squad treated the two hours of the finale as two separate episodes. Me, I saw them as one. One pretty long and uneventful season finale. However I am long winded so I will break this into two posts. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the show and wish it well in FOX hell. I just don’t see much chance for it because, it has decent ratings, a fair following and a great story. This usually adds up to FOX flubbing the whole thing and canceling it before its time.

The first hour was about Cromartie searching for John Connor. Cromartie goes in search of John Connor by getting information about new students in the school district. The district won’t release the information but Cromartie gets it his own way.

Derek has searched Cameron’s room and finds the chip from Vick, the T-888. Cameron kept it for her own reasons. She also tells John that she lies, all the time.

John gets his first taste of hacking the Terminator chip. He is the one who reprogrammed the terminator in T2 to come back protect him. I would think that John is smart enough to program skynet himself. He’s a pretty good hacker after being away from computers for 8 years of development.

We see many flashes of images from the T-888’s perspective. He was married to a woman who created A.R.T.T.I.E. This was a system that controls all the traffic cameras and lights in the city. They say in the show that if the chip is the brain then the A.R.T.T.I.E. is the eyes and ears of Skynet.

John keeps trying to get close to Sherrie, a girl who may or may not be from Kansas. I think that she is a terminator like Cameron. Will we ever find that out? Will the show be picked back up?

The rest of the episode John learns more and more from Vick’s chip. They find a woman who was opposing the A.R.T.T.I.E. project and who was killed by Vick. Sarah and Derek go to plant a virus in the A.R.T.T.I.E. however it was blocked by the system itself. So instead they try and hack the system using Cameron’s chip. So Cameron was deactivated, her chip removed and then used to hack into A.R.T.T.I.E. from a traffic light. Cameron shuts down the system but has it affected her in some way? Will we find out?

When Derek asks who Jessica Peck was Cameron says, “A Threat to Skynet” How did she know that? Why didn’t anyone ask that question? Cameron knows so much about A.R.T.T.I.E. too. It looks like she may know way more than what they are asking. So I think that next season, if there is a next season they had better start asking her questions because, unless they ask Cameron will not tell them. You can’t get information from a computer unless you ask.

I was really wondering if Cameron was going to go bad after the chip was re-implanted in her head.

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Rest in Peace Jeff Healey

Posted by BenSpark on March 3, 2008

Jeff Healey from the Jeff Healey band has died. He was 41. He had a lifelong battle with cancer that has claimed his life. Healey suffered from a rare cancer that left him blind since age 1. He taught himself to play guitar. He was an amazing player and singer and his words and music will be missed.

Hi most famous song was “Angel Eyes” and he and his band were also featured in the movie RoadHouse. I really liked his sound. He will be missed.

For a more complete story see the CNN article.

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Sea World 24 years later

Posted by BenSpark on March 3, 2008

24 years after my last trip to Sea World I returned. Wow, the place has changed so much. I remember the ski jump show with the Hatfields and the McCoys, there was only one Shamu and there was a big playground area. Sea World also felt like it was hundreds of miles form Disney and yet they are not, they are pretty close.

I remember going down to Florida with my parents and two sisters. We would stay at a Days Inn, make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to bring with us to the park and we would stay all day long. I also remember buying some LEGO like sets of building blocks that had little spacemen. I still have them somewhere.

Now the park is much bigger, there are thousands of people with children so hyper it is like everyone got a free espresso upon entry to the park. Which is preposterous because you get NOTHING free in Orlando. I couldn’t believe how many people were in the park. It was hard to walk and Disney sure has a much better way of getting people into the parks. But Sea World tries. It really does.

Despite the throngs of people, the hyper kids and some little girl who screwed up my best shot of the day we had an awesome time. I hope to come back sometime when Eva is much older and can appreciate the park. We may even sit in the high splash section.

Check out my photos from the trip.

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Lost: The Constant

Posted by BenSpark on February 29, 2008

Spoilers observations and the like abound, you have been warned.

I really enjoyed last night’s episode of LOST. It was a Desmond, time traveling Brotha, episode. This one is one of my favorite episodes of the season. We do not learn about another Oceanic 6 member, which is good, gotta save something for later. But what we do learn about is a bit of how and why Desmond is able to time hop.

Last season, Desmond would get these flashbacks that were so vivid and real. He would travel back in time and relive certain evens and attempt to prevent the outcome. He would protect Charlie over and over as Charlie was destined to die. What Desmond learned last season and what was confirmed again by Daniel Faraday is that you cannot change the future. I hope Sarah Connor realizes that and starts stockpiling Thermite somewhere as Judgment day is coming, but I digress.

In this episode, as the helicopter made its way through a thunderstorm Desmond had a flash and returned to his time in the army. This didn’t bode well for his squad because his disorientation caused them additional PT in double time. It was good to see a Desmond episode because we learn more and more about his past. Desmond joined the Army to impress Penny’s father. He learns that this was incredibly futile as her father will never accept him as anything. Desmond even asks why Mr. Widemore hates him. I missed the answer. I will have to watch this episode again next Thursday int he enhanced version as there were many little things that need repeating.

While a time jumping episode leaves many people confused I was not confused at all. I could see a resolution coming and was very happy with it. The best part of this was that Daniel Faraday may be okay because Desmond is his constant. Out of all the new characters I like Daniel Faraday very much. I hope he doesn’t get killed. I think that his introduction in his home with his caregiver where he is crying over the crash of 815 was probably the end of an episode of time jumping. But who knows.

There was one scene that should be of particular interest and that is of the logbook of the Black Rock. IT was written by a Hanso and then acquired by Charles Widemore. Connections like crazy I must say. I am really looking forward to the enhanced version next week to see more of that.

We meet a very more of the freighties including Minikowski, who was played by Fischer Stevens. I like Fischer Stevens, he plays such wacky characters. He was the bad guy in hackers I think. Anyway he was the communications officer and he got a little too close to the island and went nuts, he time jumped (I presume) and I bet that he whacked out and destroyed the communication room. Anyway, we meet him as he is strapped to a bed, he ends up dying in Desmond’s arms however as the time jumping finally catches up to him and since he had no constant he expired.

The constant refers to having an anchor to keep you grounded as you time jump. All throughout the episode when Desmond Time jumped he was unfamiliar with the people and the surroundings. He took time to get acclimated. In te future he still had the consciousness of his past and knew no one in the helicopter or on the ship. In the past he was confused for a few minutes each time but knew where he was, just not why he was there at the time.

AS Desmond began piecing things together he would remember important things like Penny’s number and when they finally got a chance to talk Desmond was cured because he had found his anchor, his constant.

And the big reveal at the end was that Desmond is the constant for Daniel Faraday. I hope this means that our brilliant scientist (who had a terrible head of long hair in the past) is going to get better.

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Dollhouse, destined for Fox graveyard?

Posted by BenSpark on February 28, 2008

Joss Whedon and Tim Minear’s new show titled Dollhouse is going to be on Fox. While the show sounds promising and interesting with a ton of potential I have to wonder about the mental state of Tim Minear in going back to Fox again for one of his shows. He’s been used and abused by FOX several times in the past (Firefly, The Inside, Wonderfalls, Drive ring a bell.)

There has to be some sort of shelter or foundation set up for Network abuse victims. Minear, break free from the circle of abuse that you have been riding the past several years. It is like taking something like dangerous diet pills and hoping that this time, this one time things will work out and you will be happy. Seriously Tim, get your head checked. When not shop the show to the Sci Fi network or the CW. Even USA takes more chances than FOX. Fox is the lowest common denominator network with the basest set of viewers. The smartest thing on that network is “Are you Smarter than a Fifth Grader” And that ain’t saying much.

Dollhouse sounds really interesting, here is the synopsis.

“Dollhouse” follows a top-secret world of people programmed with different personalities, abilities and memories depending on their mission.

After each assignment — which can be physical, romantic or even illegal — the characters have their memories wiped clean, and are sent back to a lab (dubbed the “Dollhouse”). Show centers on Dushku’s character, Echo, as she slowly begins to develop some self-awareness, which impacts her missions.

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