Saturday, February 26, 2011


Well, I missed posting Thursday because my usual break between English and Biology lab was nonexistent, however the most important thing that has happened since my last post is that I was accepted to UGA! You should all be well aware of this by now, but I just had to tell you all how excited I am about this. I've been wanting to go to UGA since the first time my grandfather took me to a game between the hedges 15 years ago. I plan to make the most of my time in Athens and will definitely be double majoring while I'm there. My official major is Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and my second major is Spanish. It will take me 3 years, but by the time I graduate I will be one smart, bilingual motherf$#@*%. Meg and I are gonna move closer to Athens, probably in the Jefferson or Commerce area.  We're hoping to move at the beginning of June but that's contingent on us getting let out of our lease early. Either way, I start classes in June...

The real reason for this post is to share my thoughts on some current TV shows. I'm gonna take Ryan's advice and split it up by day...

Top Gear is honestly one of the best shows on television. I watched the U.S. version and thoroughly enjoyed it, but it paled in comparison to the riotously funny UK version (the original). The three presenters all have fantastically unique personalities and the chemistry between them is obvious. The show takes an approach to cars that even the least mechanical can enjoy. Episodes regularly feature reviews of new vehicles and often feature ridiculous challenges. One of  my favorite challenge formats is where each of the presenters is given a set amount of money (usually between $2,000-$3,000) and told to buy a specific type of car then go through certain obstacles to see which is best. Here is a classic example:

They also do a big final episode every year that usually involves some far off locale. The best of these is the Vietnam special. If you can find it online, watch it. You WILL love it.

Ahhh, the Bachelor, I don't watch this show because I choose to. I subject Meg to all kinds of boring with the TV that I watch sometimes, so as a good husband I bite the bullet and watch the Bachelor with her. To be perfectly honest it's a truly despicable show. It intentionally preys on the vulnerabilities of the horde of women/men they place at the mercy of whatever suitor is in charge. To create emotional moments they find impressionable people, put them in incredible situations that they would never encounter in a normal relationship and pump them full of booze, all while shoving cameras in their faces and telling them they are there to find true love. I do have to admit, though, that I do enjoy the one absolute wacko they bring on the show every season.

This show has both a UK (original) version, and now a new US version (UK is top picture and US is bottom). The premise of the show is a vampire, werewolf and a ghost all live together in a house...yeah I know it sounds like a bad joke, but it's a story line that allows an incredible examination of human nature. The original is honestly great...well the first season was great, the second was just really good, and the third just started so the jury's still out on that one. The writing is wonderful and the acting is some of the best you'll find on television. The writers do a wonderful job of bringing the natural and supernatural aspects of the show together without going off the deep end, which is something that can't be said about many shows featuring a supernatural element (ahem...Lost...ahem). The US version, unfortunately doesn't quite live up to the original. Shocked? Didn't think you would be. The show is good, it just doesn't quite match the talent, intensity and easy humor of the UK version. It is most definitely the best "original" show that has ever aired on Scifi, though, so at least they got that going for them.

I know I'm not technically gay enough to be watching Glee but I have to be honest and say that I love it. I know the plot is so full of holes it makes a colander jealous, the acting makes the last Jeanne Claude Van Damme movie look like an Oscar contender, and the quality of the episodes is about as consistent as a MARTA train is punctual...but when the show is good, my God it's good. And when it's bad it's usually not all that bad. The musical numbers are always of the highest caliber and the talent level on this show is second only to something on Broadway. I understand what I'm saying sounds a lot like hyperbole, but it really isn't. This style of show isn't for everyone, so if you don't like musicals, don't watch it and then call me to tell me how wrong I am, but if you do like musicals and you have an honest appreciation for musical talent I promise you will enjoy it.

I had essentially lost faith in the concept of the modern American sitcom and honestly believed that the sitcom had gone the way of the Dodo thanks to the rise of "reality" television. Modern Family, on the other hand, has restored my faith. Modern Family is the new American sitcom. It's incredibly funny, warm, lighthearted, and is something that most modern sitcoms seem to have forgotten how to be-family focused and family friendly. I don't believe that the inclusion of a gay couple makes the show any less family friendly, in fact I believe it makes the show one of the most honest on television. It really is a true portrayal of the modern family unit in America today, just with one glaring exception-minorities. I honestly can't understand why so much of television is still so white, but it's honestly disturbing to me that in 2011 there are still so many television shows with all white casts. Yay progress!

Courtney Cox is probably my least favorite aspect of this show. Don't get me wrong, she's actually pretty good in this show, she's just never been my favorite person in the world. Cougar Town is pretty one dimensional and fairly repetitive with the story lines, but what really draws me to this show is the quirky sense of humor. I love quirk, and any show that does not have a conventional sense of humor is something I can really get behind. It's not as quirky or as good as Better Off Ted was, but it's an honest step in that direction.

Mr. Sunshine is one dimensional, vapid, shallow, features Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing reincarnated in a different setting and features probably my least favorite black actor in the world. It does, however have Allison Janney, whom I am madly in love with and who is absolutely hilarious in this show. Those of you who share some of my phobias may wast to skip the first's pretty circus heavy.

I've been a big fan of Timothy Olyphant ever since Deadwood and he did not disappoint with this FX series.  FX managed to score a hit with Rescue Me and then preceded to make what is probably the best show on television, Sons of Anarchy. They followed their success with Justified, a show every bit as good as Rescue Me and very worth watching...even if it isn't as good as SoA. The show's southern setting appeals to me and the writers are very adept at using honest southern dialogue. One of my favorite things about the show is how easily Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) is able to mingle with normal people in his work setting (he's a federal marshall) and then easily slip into his less humble roots and blend in with the hicks from his home town.  The show moves at a fairly good pace and is one of the only shows about law and order that doesn't suck.


I'm still up in the air about Perfect Couples. The show hasn't really managed to hit it's stride yet, and the characters so far are all pretty shallow and one dimensional, but it does have an enormous amount of potential and manages to produce a good amount of serious laughs. None of the couples on the show are relatable, which is something that will have to be addressed if the show is going to succeed, but I'll keep watching until I decide the show isn't getting better or until I get hooked because the show became great.


JJ Abrams, the creator of this show, is my kryptonite. I honestly can't resist any show he makes (with the exception of that horrible spy show he made for NBC, but I blame NBC more than I blame him). Fringe is an honest treat and I love it. The episodes are gripping, the charaters are rich and lovable, the writing is very good and the three main actors (Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson and John Noble) are all great. John Noble is one of the most talented actors I've seen in a long time, it's a shame it has taken him this long to get a good role, and Joshua Jackson hasn't been this likable since his days as Pacey on Dawson's Creek. He has also managed to step away from most of the Paceyisms that followed him after that show ended and has proven himself a capable actor. Anna Torv, while not the most beautiful leading lady (which I find refreshing), is strong, compelling, and fantastic in this role. The show is pretty far out there on the ridiculous spectrum, but that's honestly the point, and maintains one of the more entertaining aspects of the show...what weird-ass way are the people gonna die this time?

All Time Favorite TV Show

If you're laughing right now, go ahead and get it out of your system before reading on. If you're balking at the suggestion that the West Wing is the best television show ever, then you might as well stop now, but if you're honestly interested to hear my thoughts then be my guest and read on.

The West Wing is the most intelligently written show ever in the history of television. It is smart, fast paced, riveting (to me at least), compelling and brilliantly acted. The cast is one of the best ensembles ever to be assembled and almost everyone in the cast is incredibly talented. I can't say how honest their portrayal of life at the top of American politics is, but the show captivates my attention like little else manages. I love that the show does little to explain itself and simply assumes the viewer is informed about politics already. There is no pandering to the lowest common denominator, allowing the show to rise to a level I have yet to see repeated. I have seen each episode of every season at least twice and if Bravo was still airing it in the mornings I would still be watching it. The West Wing is the only show I can watch repeatedly without tiring of it. This is the show that started my love affair with Allison Janney and introduced me to the immense talent of Dule Hill, Janel Maloney, Bradley Whitford, Richard Schiff, Kristin Chenoweth, Elisabeth Moss and Mary-Louise Parker. It also manages to prove that there is at least one talented and sane Sheen in the family and Martin Sheen shines as President Bartlett. I can only hope that some network takes a chance on another show as genuinely intelligent as the West Wing was but I have trouble believing that a show like this can survive in the Youtube era we live in.

Future post: Movies! It may not be my next post, but I will make sure to do a post on some of my favorite movies soon.

Random thoughts: the weather lately has been fantastic, I need a vacation, got to see all of my nieces and nephews was awesome, I'm gonna be at UGA in 3 months, UGA, UGA, UGA, UGA, I'm missing some honest sports in my life, I miss my family...Ryan, Heather, Mawmaw, Cody I miss you and love you all.

Thanks for reading. I love you all!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thirsty Thursday

Well, a week went by and I'm just now posting again. Needless to say I did not fulfill my promise to write my next post before Sunday. Somehow I think we will all live.

I guess I should start where I left off. Elianna Violet Gillespie was born January 30th and what would normally have been a joyous occasion was darkened when Meg's grandmother Virginia Rollick passed away the next morning. Meg wasn't particularly close to her grandmother, and Virginia was 96 years old at the time of her passing, but Meg was still pretty upset. There was a memorial service on Friday in Peachtree City, which was for me more an opportunity to spend time with my niece and nephews than mourn the loss of a loved one. I was there to support Meg as well, but she had already done most of her grieving before the service. The next day was the burial in Maryville, TN and the highlight for me was the trip through the mountains to get there. The burial service itself was miserable. It was around 40 degrees outside with sustained winds of at least 15mph and gusts up to 30. By the time we left my face was frozen.

I withdrew from my Spanish class this morning. It was hard to do because I almost feel like I failed for having done it but the class just wasn't working for me and I needed some relief from my schedule and it was the best option for what to drop. I ended up making a 94 on my English test so it didn't make much sense to drop a class I was doing so well in, plus it would really screw up my schedule. I'm gonna take the Spanish maymester instead, which crams the class into 3 weeks in May.  This option probably sounds much worse to most but I did several math classes that way and I actually prefer the breakneck pace, and it will be the only class I'm taking at that point so keeping up won't be a problem.

I've found through my continued studies of language that I greatly prefer French to Spanish. I can't honestly explain it beyond my familiarity with French but for some reason I find it easier to study and much easier to speak.

Unfortunately it's time for my biology lab so I will have to cut this post short. My television post is coming and I think I'll weigh in on some movies as well.

Random Thoughts: I have horrible heartburn right now, I wish UGA would hurry up and accept/deny my admission, I like lima beans...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Time Since Mid January

So it seems that I haven't posted anything since January 13th. I apologize for my extended absence and will do my best to fill you in on the important things that have happened since then without writing a post that will take several days to read.

I've been inspired by my brother's blog. Both because he called me out and told me to post more, but also how he started his last post talking about the narrative voice in his head. I could not agree more that extended reading will alter the voice with which I hear my thoughts. I think that is why my thoughts have been so all over the place lately. I've been reading a crapload of stuff, but none of it by one single writer. I also liked his take on current television and will do one of my own in my next post (before Sunday I promise). I will say this though, An Idiot Abroad is one of my favorite new shows. It chronicles the travels of Karl Pilkington around the world but is nothing even remotely like any travel show you've ever seen.

So now to the latest and greatest in my life. I survived the snowpocolypse only to be greeted by a chorus of "We have a lot of catching up to do!" from all of my professors. So we have been moving at a breakneck pace thus far. It wouldn't be so bad if they weren't in collusion to make me have a nervous breakdown. I had 2 quizzes and 3 tests this past Tuesday. Yes, all of them were on Tuesday.  I had intended to write a post that night, but my brain was too far gone to put words together in any coherent manner. Aside from the large workload school has been going nicely. It's hard to tell you exactly which class is my favorite right now because I am enjoying so many of them. The biggest surprise of the bunch has to be Linguistics.  I had fully prepared myself to be completely bored by this class but so far it has been incredibly fascinating. I've never been so aware of both how I speak and the manner in which I produce sounds before and I love it. It's easy, however to list my worst class-American Lit II. The class is a wierd freeform, open discussion, broad topic format where there are no real conclusions reached about the works we are reading.  This would be fine if the teacher evaluated us in a similar manner, but instead we get tests with fill in the blank sections, quote identification, and definitions. I've been told by my education studying wife that they are two totally different teaching methods...I assume that's why I'm going crazy in there. My plan is to see what grade I got on the most recent test and go from there...although if the professor doesn't start doing some sort of critical analysis in class I might just drop it for fear of my sanity.

Things in my personal life have changed as well.  My sister had her baby, Chadwick Scott Brooks, Jr. on Monday, January 24th at 8:00 am. He was 8lbs 1oz and 19" at birth with dark brown hair and blue eyes. He is beautiful! My sister and I have an interesting relationship and for some reason my working in the medical field has opened the floodgates with regard to medical questions. I've never even thought about breastfeeding as much as I have in the last few weeks.

Shortly after that, on Sunday, January 30th at 7:32 pm my sister in law Michelle had her daughter Elianna Violet Gillespie.  She was 7lbs 6oz with strawberry blonde hair and blue eyes (can't remember length). She is beautiful! I'm amazed that they both managed to have such beautiful babies and thrilled to have two new infants in my life. Michelle is understandably more reserved with me so I thankfully have been spared all the nipples and breastfeeding talk. I am extremely excited that Meg and I will be going down to Michelle's on Fridays to help her take care of Elianna and will be spending the occaisional Friday in Fayetteville taking care of CJ.

The day after Elianna was born Meg's grandmother died, but that'll have to be a story for next time, I gotta get to class.

Random Thoughts: My biology lab starts in 7 mins...we're looking at plant reproductive organs today (yay plant sperm!), I'm hungry, tonight is pizza night and that makes me happy, walmart has really good chocolate frozen yogurt, if my jeans get any tighter you'll be able to count my pubes, gotta lose some weight, I'm desparate to get back up to PA and see my brother and everyone else up there.

Thanks to anyone who bothered reading this. I love you all!