Sunday, May 27, 2012

Back with still more mea culpas. Late May already -- how did that happen? We have our last day of class time on July 13th.

Even on days that drag, or days through which I'm dragging, the experience continues to be one of the  high points of my entire life. That sounds like hype or drama. It's not.

The mental health services consumer helping the mental health services consumer continues to stand as a radical idea in a lot of heads.

The idea loses some of that "radical" labeling every day.

What feels radical to me at the moment is the belief that I can hold a full-time job, and do it successfully. As in success for me, success for my bosses, and, critically, success for my peers/clients/whatever you want to call them.

I'm praying a lot. I inhale the smarts of every class day, as deeply as I can.

As for my television viewing, reviewing, I have time tonight only for these tiny bites:

 This second season of "The Killing" improves  and builds on season one in ways I never expected.

"American Idol" smelled old and musty. So glad it's over... for ten minutes, anyway.

The latest cycle of "Food Network Star" tastes like grade-A chow plus television intelligence. Applause for the improvements to Food Network.

If I'm going to watch TV while in school, better that it's the stuff with IQ and a reason for taking up air time.

More soon. Thank you for being there.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Thanks for having me back, Bloggerville.

I've been in training to work as a mental health peer counseling specialist.
The 27-hours-per-week course started in late January; I'll be in the 600 hours
of classroom training until mid-July.

Then I pray to get assigned to a good-fit internship (3 to 6 months). After that
comes the big job search.

I'm not seeing nearly as much television as I'd like. I love school, but I miss
the twisted schooling of the tube.

I promise not to disappear for so long again. Current gotta-see-ems no matter how
late they keep me up: "The Killing", season two,  Sundays at 10 p.m., and "Fashion Police" (E!) on Fridays
at ten p.m.

Adequate sleep versus television...not an original tug of war, but it sure yanks me around.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

"The Killing" Leaves Many Viewers Angry...and this one, happy

If AMC's talk forums indicate viewers' opinions accurately, "The
Killing"
might be in some trouble. Enfuriated viewers feel toyed with
 because
the finale didn't wrap up the Rosie Larsen murder questions
as promised (during the season's first half).
So many people are
saying they aren't going to bother with Season Two, that
they've been fooled by show creator Veena Sud and her team
once -- and one chance is all they get.
I've never followed discussion boards about a television show
before. I honestly didn't know that the anger could reach such a
high temperature.
Sure, I groaned out loud, and laughed, when I realized how
many questions I'd be carrying around about the murderer, about the trustworthiness of certain homicide cops, about
what central character Sarah Linden would choose when
she realized how far the case was from being closed. (At the very end of last night's finale, she's sitting on an airplane just about to taxi down the runway when
the expanse of the mess and toxic aftershock hit her.)
Still, it didn't occur to me for a nanosecond to ditch the series.
Even during episodes that didn't live up to the series' standards,
I relished the characters' changes, how the dialogue is written, how
color and shapes are used to set up themes and subtext.
I'm going to do what I can to support "The Killing" next season.
Television this strong is rare.  Angry people in discussion rooms are not.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Break for Maria

If I'd been Maria Shriver a couple weeks back, I would have been praying non-stop for a break in the monsoon of press coverage of my life. This week, Ms. Shriver's assumed prayers were answered. New York Congressman Antthony Weiner -- yet another politician who couldn't or wouldn't control his extramarital sexual adventuring -- got monsooned, so to speak.  Televison coverage suffered a sudden case of temporary amnesia regarding Shriver and estranged husband, the ex-Governor of California. Relish it for as long as it lasts, Maria. You deserve so many more answered prayers. Even those who don't pray agree.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

One Little Girl, Gone

I never anticipated getting caught in the Casey Anthony trial. I don't watch courtroom shows. Justice matters to me, but most trials move with lead-footed slowness. This time, for the Casey Anthony trial, I got my own foot caught in the courtroom door, thanks to HLN's prime-time lineup. "Dr. Drew Pinsky" is coming at it as physician, an addiction specialist, and a father who's shaken that someone murdered Caylee Anthony, age two. "Joy Behar" may be a comedian by trade, but she has the tough bulldog instincts of an exceptional courtoom-and-crime journalist. Even "Showbiz Tonight", which drives me a little crazy with its hyperbolic scriptwriting, pulls me in if the Anthony trial takes a sizable chunk of their hour. Finally there's "Nancy Grace", well-intentioned and smart and more melodramatic than all the "Real Housewives" episodes combined: she's wall-to-wall Anthony coverage, however, so I watch for a least the first fifteen minutes.  
How did HLN hijack the ear and one eye I keep on the tube? How is it dragging me over to the TV to sit down and pay full attention so often?
First, Pinsky and Behar usually provide worthwhile television, no matter what their topics of the night center on. Second, I am baffled by this trial. It twists my mind in a knot that mothers kill their children, mothers who are not suffering from post-partum psychosis. Casey Anthony makes no sense to me. If she killed her child, which seems likely at this point, I want to understand why, as well as I can. I've always been driven to comprehend the human psyche, both its darkest hours and its brightest lights. This trial and the blank-faced young woman at its center hold lessons for me, if I can watch long enough to learn them.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My Bad (TV Habits), Part Uno

Yeah, Memorial Day can be tough on television's consistent viewers. "Encore presentations" and burn-offs of unsuccessful series show up all over TV listing pages. Still, some promising programs do get their slots. Do I watch them? Not this year. Instead I chose the second installment of this season's "The Bachelorette", and the debut of "Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition, from the team that runs "The Biggest Loser"

Not exactly adventurous viewing. Tonight, Monday, I wanted safe, familiar -- and mostly, fun. I didn't get it.

"The Bachelorette"  franchise has not freshened up its formula. Plucky, smart, hot-looking single girl bravely wades her way through 25 bachelors (down to 13 tonight) via staged-for-televion dates and "private" conversations with the suitors, randy and rowdy on the surface, more sensitive in their hidden hearts. Ashley appears sincere; some of the guys strike me as worth dating. Yet even I, with my robust appetite for not-so-good TV, can't do this franchise again. I'll peak in for rose ceremonies and pieces of the finale.  Beyond that, even my tastes are maturing a little. It would be  delightful surprise if future "Bachelorette/Bachelor" seasons could do a modicum of maturing, too.

As for "Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition",  there's hope for a better show coming out of the one that aired tonight. Chris Powell offers tough training  and nutrition facts adaptable to people's real lives. Rachel lost 161 pounds over the course of the hour, but it was a believable fight; in the middle, discouraged, she managed only a three-pound loss in three months. Powell wasn't there to hold her hand through the year of life-saving loss. Unlike the featured  "Biggest Loser" participants, she had to do much of the grittiest work alone. Her final-moments victory didn't get her to her desired weight, but it got her much of the way there. That's some serious inspiration.

Because it's just an hour, however, "Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition" has almost no time to emphasize its takeaway points on exercise and smart eating. It shows the struggling dieter crying about self-sabotage, yet gives us no useful advice on recovering from foiling one's own cherished plans.

It would have held our attention, to learn specifics from the often tearful Rachel and her bright light of a coach. More information and authentic stumbles, less emoting -- if the producers steer in that direction, they'll be steering the show into fresh territory, with its capacity for celebratory moments intact.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

See You Sooner, Oprah....

I have been an off-and-on viewer of The Oprah Winfrey Show over the twenty-five years of its life. When I tuned out, it was often because I felt uneasy with the power Oprah credited to individual persons and the human race in general. I'm a centrist Christian; I'm fine with listening to other people talking about their faith, whatever it may be.  When so much faith was being put in the human psyche and soul, however, I needed to take a break.  During this last season, I've watched more often, been more comfortable. Humans didn't seem like Oprah's elevated powers anymore. During the final episode, Oprah briefly explained to her audience "which God" she was referring to, seeing how some people got "riled" when she made those references. Later in the telecast, she thanked her team "and Jesus", because it was only the grace of God that made it all come into being. As for her final Oprah Show words, Winfrey held her hands in a praying position and said "To God be the glory". Then she looked at the crowd for a few vulnerable moments before leaving.
I smiled. I probably said "no kidding". I meant to say "Amen". See you sooner, Oprah.