Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Jack Bauer Tortured by Trope

First, a photo: Overflowing book drop at the Reston Regional Library (closed for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday):

I was returning two Charlie Stross books (Atrocity Archives and Missile Gap), and a few other people had beaten me there. I couldn't bring myself to leave the books outside, so I'll try again later.
* * *
In 24 news, I have to say that they're pretty close to losing me again. (Spoilers for Season 8, Hour 3). What did it was the sheer ludicrousness needed to squeeze in the police brutality scene: We're expected to believe that Officer Bullethead, upon getting the drop on an unknown guy (Jack Bauer) who's holding his partner at gunpoint (already a scenario which clearly justifies -- nay, demands -- deadly force)... instead chooses to tase him.

Okay, fine, a poor tactical choice at best, using nonlethal force like that... but then, he makes a big deal about having just tromped through the murder scene and how Jack is a copkiller who needs to be beaten to death so he doesn't skate on a technicality.

Got that? He's a rogue cop who's ready to turn to street justice. Yet when he sees a cop killer pointing a gun at his partner, instead of shooting him, he uses his taser.

It's a horrible example of lazy writing, using the police brutality cliche to justify a gratuitious "torture Jack Bauer scene." (Throw in the rookie redemption trope, too. At least the Asian guy gets to kick a little ass, eventually.)

Speaking of torture, the "I'm not going to cut the bracelet" line in the auto parts store was clearly meant to invoke "I'm gonna need a hacksaw" from Season 2. Although it's sort of interesting to see Jack on the other side of "I'll do whatever it takes," the writers are dipping into a dry well: Mole red herring; serial plots stitched together outlandishly (Yes, by all means, bring the weapons-grade uranium to the US -- the US is a great transshipment point for that sort of thing); annoying domestic subplots, etc.

Oh, and apparently, testifying in front of the Senate in open hearings does not preclude you from doing undercover work.

As I noted elsewhere, "suspension of disbelief" is accepting Freddy Prinz, Jr. as a tough guy badass field agent. This is just silly.

A few other things:

* Jack Bauer upgraded his messenger bag from canvas to leather

* Lastly, assuming that's where CTU: NY is located, might this finally make Roosevelt Island cool? Will we see a battle on the tram?

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

The Last Haircut and Metal Snow Shovel of 2009

The last haircut of 2009 (with bonus floating head goodness):


It's actually just inside the "too short/not short enough" range, as the sides stick up a bit. Though a few minutes of hat-wearing takes care of that (and that's not a problem right now, in this damned cold).

Ode to the Last Metal Snow Shovel:

My snow shovel, survivor of Snowpocalypse '09, broke in that bit of ice and snow we got just before New Year's:


I got it when I first moved into the house, so it lasted about 10 years. Truth be told, though, it was pretty much a few seasons past its usefulness: The blade was curled up at the sides, and rusted into a V-shape in the middle:


I was actually trying to unbend the blade when the handle snapped. Upon inspection, though, I noticed a smooth tunnel hollowed out into the handle, with a bit of shiny fuzziness inside (not visible in the picture):


This, was of course, the work of some sort of carpenter bee. And it was still in there. (Dead. Or really sleepy.) A few thumps on the ground dislodged it:


Thus, I was forced to buy a new shovel. I always swore I'd only buy metal shovels, but when I went to Sears, all I could find were these silly plastic-bladed monstrosities that'll be lucky to last a year or two. (Apparently, the metal-bladed Craftsman snow shovels sell out instantly.)