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December 2002
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February 2003



"Dopplegangland" is one of my favorite of all Buffy episodes, and as I wait for the Super Bowl to begin, I'll join every other Buffy fan with a website and quote the most infamous portent-laden dialogue in the show's history, from said episode, which I just watched on DVD. An alternate-universe Willow, who is a vampire and is known in fandom as either Evil Willow or Vamp Willow, ends up in the "real" world, where she meets up with Real Willow. And Willow, Buffy, and Angel have the following exchange:

Willow: It's horrible! That's me as a vampire? I'm so evil and... skanky. And I think I'm kinda gay.
Buffy: Willow, just remember, a vampire's personality has nothing to do with the person it was.
Angel: Well, actually...


bye bye love

Robin is off to spend three weeks in Italy. Her sister is about to have her first baby, and Robin will be there for her. Robin and I don't spend much time apart, so this will generally suck, but I know it's the best thing to do. Good luck to Katie and John! Hopefully Robin will be able to post updates while she's gone.


Speaking of television ...

One show I don't talk about much is Oz. It's a great show, but due to certain idiosyncrasies of my beloved wife, I don't get to watch it until it shows up on DVD. This means I've just finished watching Season Two, when the show itself has apparently finally ended its run after six years. So there's no one really to talk to about it ... Season Two is old news to fans, and, to take the example of my son Neal, it's hard to talk anyway because I'll say "how about that Beecher" and Neal will say "I can't talk about Beecher because I know what happens the next four seasons and you don't."

So I don't talk about it. But the ending of Season Two was unbearable (as the show often is, although usually in a different, squeamish way). A man with close to twenty years to go in his sentence turned down no-strings-attached clemency, which would have made him a free man, because he refused to accept anything from corrupt individuals as long as there were still men behind bars in Oz. This act of heroism/stupidity/inspiration isn't the only thing on teevee that ever brought a lump to my throat, but it was easily one of most well-earned lumps. There was nothing cheap about it ... it wasn't the usual "now we'll pull the heartstrings and make the audience cry" which is normal for television (and other media, for that matter) ... even the Buffy moment I cited earlier today had a tinge of "we are so good at what we do, watch this," but when Said refused his freedom, you wanted to cry for his error in judgement and you wanted to cry because of the magnificence of what he'd done and you wanted to cry because you couldn't imagine ever making such a decision yourself. It was top-of-the-line television, and yes, I wish I'd seen it four years ago when it was fresh and there were people to talk with.

snapshot of life at the moment

One year ago today (I can say that now that this blog is more than a year old), I wrote: "I used to watch Ally McBeal. This season, I gave up."

What am I watching now? Besides the obvious (sports and DVDs), I regularly watch:

Tuesdays: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 24, The Shield, NYPD Blue
Wednesdays: Bernie Mac, Cedric the Entertainer, West Wing

And we're just about done watching Season Two of Oz on DVD, and I'm halfway through my Season Three Buffy discs. Haven't yet gotten to my Season One Simpsons boxset.

maybe I should get a cape

Bruce Springsteen once wrote, "After all this time, to find we're just like all the rest, stranded in the park, and forced to confess to hiding on the backstreets." So many of us have dreams of greatness; like most of the rest, we eventually confess to hiding.

This week's episode of Buffy was mostly mundane, but it concluded with a scene as good as any in seven seasons. Doesn't quite play right on the page ... the acting, especially by Nicholas Brendon as Xander, makes it work ... but I'm gonna try a transcript anyway. Dawn Summers is a high-school girl whose sister, Buffy, saves the world. A lot. Being the little sister is already a prescription for being ignored; being the Slayer's sister is an even bigger version of the problem. In this episode, Dawn is led to believe she is a potential slayer, and she runs with the feelings of power until she realizes it was a friend, not her, who had been called. Xander Harris is Buffy's longtime friend; in the context of the series, he is the Zeppo, the guy no one much notices, the Friend but not the Hero (although, like the Cowardly Lion in Oz, he demonstrates his innate heroism all the time without realizing it). As Buffy and a bunch of potential slayers go off to train, Dawn does research on the current Big Bad, and Xander has this conversation with her:

Dawn: What's up?
Xander: Oh, I'm just thinking about the girls. It's a harsh gig, being a Potential. Just being picked out of a crowd. Danger, destiny ... plus, if you act now, death.
D: They can handle it.
X: Yeah. They're special, no doubt. And the amazing thing is, not one of 'em will ever know. Not even Buffy.
D: Know what?
X: How much harder it is for the rest of us.
D: No way, they've got ...
X: Seven years, Dawn. Working with the Slayer, seeing my friends get more and more powerful. The witch, a demon ... hell, I could fit Oz in my shaving kit, but come a full moon, he had a wolfie mojo not to be messed with. Powerful. All of 'em. And I'm the guy who fixes the windows.
D: Well, you had that sexy Army training for awhile, and ... and the windows really did need fixing.
X: I saw what you did last night.
D: Yeah, I guess I kinda lost my head when I thought I was the Slayer.
X: You thought you were all special. Miss Sunnydale 2003. And the minute you found out you weren't ... you handed the crown to Amanda without a moment's pause. You gave her your power.
D: The power wasn't mine.
X: They'll never know how tough it is, Dawnie ... to be the one who isn't chosen. To live so near the spotlight and never step in it. But I know. I see more than anybody realizes because ... nobody's watching me. I saw you last night. I see you working here today. You're not special. You're extraordinary.
D: Maybe that's your power.
X: What?
D: Seeing. Knowing.
X: Maybe it is. Maybe I should get a cape.
D: Cape is good.
X: Yeah.

fanta de limon

A couple of days ago, a package arrived at our house with three 2-liter bottles of Fanta Lemon. This amazing drink, which we know from our trips to Spain as Fanta de limon, is unavailable in the States, as far as we know ... in fact, you can't even get it on the Internet. So it was pretty astonishing that these bottles came to our house. The fact that they are several months past their sell-date, meaning the one I opened was flat and kinda nasty, is irrelevant. The irony that the Fanta de limon arrived after I quit drinking sugared waters is sad, but also irrelevant.

No, the main reason I tell this story is because I want to say a word about the person who sent the package, Steve Hammond. When the parcel arrived, I had no idea what it was, only that it came from Eggs, as I call him. And as I stared at the package, I realized that Hammond Eggs is quite simply one of the finest gentlemen around. Before I even knew he'd hunted down some Fanta, I was thinking about how rare it is to find someone who thinks of other people, sees something they might like, and the next thing you know, it's in the mail. Steve Hammond is that kind of guy; he's the perfect person to have as a friend.

So Hammond Eggs, this blog's for you! Thanks for the Fanta Lemon ... Sara sez we should put it on the mantel over the fireplace, a place of honor ... maybe she's right!

no time for apathy

"Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."

"We are called upon to raise certain basic questions about the whole society...We must see that the evils of racism, economic exploitation, and militarism are all tied together, and you really can't get rid of one without getting rid of the others...The whole structure of American life must be changed."

"I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits. I believe that what self-centered men have torn down, other-centered men can build up....human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable.... We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of NOW. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late.... this is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action."

(All quotations from Martin Luther King, Jr.)